Welcome to... Canonfire! World of GreyhawK
Postcards from the Flanaess
in Greyhawk
Cities of
Jason Zavoda Presents
The Gord Novels
Greyhawk Wiki
    Canonfire :: View topic - Primogeniture
    Canonfire Forum Index -> World of Greyhawk Discussion
    Author Message
    CF Admin

    Joined: Jul 28, 2001
    Posts: 615
    From: on the way to Bellport

    Send private message
    Thu Jul 13, 2023 9:44 pm  

    In canon sources, or your campaign, which kingdoms practice primogeniture? I've started searching the canon sources but have yet to find anything directly on point.

    Presently, I'm thinking that the practice, later codified as law, is Oeridian, as this seems to track Sargent's The Marklands and Ivid the Undying. For example, in the former, Sargent characterizes Nyrond as a "hereditary monarchy." Id. at 60.

    But, I wonder if Keoland is different, because of its Suloise influence, not mandating that a noble's eldest son inherit all of that noble's real property but instead allotting real property in a complicated manner to all of the noble's children?

    In turn, and this is the impetus for my question, I invite suggestions for how inheritance might work in the Hold of the Sea Princes, which wrested its independence from the Lion Throne from CY 444 (declaration of the Freehold of the Sea Princes) to 453 (death of Tavish III during the "siege" of Westkeep), and underwent a substantial codification / reformation in 464 (after Luschan V dies during the Battle of Jetsom Island). In other words, how might the Sea Princes have modified the Keoish law of inheritance and testament over the past hundred-and-twenty years or so?

    In the aftermath of the Scarlet Brotherhood's mass assassination attempt, which occurred IMC during Richest CY 583, I'm puzzling over the disposition of the Commodoreships of Fairwind and Flotsom Islands and thought to ask for the community's ideas.
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Jun 29, 2001
    Posts: 691
    From: Bronx, NY

    Send private message
    Fri Jul 14, 2023 6:28 am  

    Due to the generally egalitarian nature of the game, inheritance seems presumed to be a general primogeniture.

    Functionally, I expect it is more "to the strongest", with inheritance going to whoever can survive long enough to claim it, modified by favoritism and alignment.

    However, I think that applies primarily to personal wealth and property. Titles have a large elective component in most places, modified by competitiveness. Just because your parent thinks you should get the treasury does not mean the villagers/elders/knights/barons/whoever think you should get the rank and title. "To the strongest" will apply even more here, though generally in terms of influence and generosity. Whichever heir has the best standing within the family, the advisors, and the vassals will be picked to succeed, and if someone without approval is selected people will not renew their fealty.

    This element shows up with the Ivids, is hinted at with Keoland, and I would expect carries on in the Hold of the Sea Princes. Children will seek to prove their worth as ship captains and the like, bringing in wealth, making alliances, and influencing other family members and servants. The parents will distribute their wealth based on that success while alive, siblings will make deals or "deal with" rivals, and when the time comes, the family will elect a new head, with consideration for personal power and retinue, influence in council, influence in the family and fief, and similar factors. While the eldest child is likely to have an advantage in all of this due to more years being active, it is far from guaranteed, and few families will turn things over to a weakling just because he was born 30 seconds or 30 years sooner.
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Apr 30, 2022
    Posts: 112
    From: France

    Send private message
    Sat Jul 15, 2023 3:30 am  

    Among the Merovingians and the Carolingians, the principle was to share the empire. With the Capetians, primogeniture settled in the kingdom of France. There were also successions by election or designation. It would be interesting to find this diversity in Greyhawk.
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Apr 30, 2022
    Posts: 112
    From: France

    Send private message
    Sat Jul 15, 2023 3:31 am  

    Among the Merovingians and the Carolingians, the principle was to share the empire. With the Capetians, primogeniture settled in the kingdom of France. There were also successions by election or designation. It would be interesting to find this diversity in Greyhawk.
    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Apr 11, 2009
    Posts: 374
    From: Verbobonc

    Send private message
    Sat Jul 15, 2023 2:48 pm  

    Regarding only the head-of-state positions:

    Based on sources, the Great Kingdom, under the house of Nealax appears to function with a form of "to the strongest", think the Ottoman Turks post-Mehmed III. Primogeniture with the latest dynasty only matters in so far the older offspring have an advantage over babes. Historically, only one woman, Yerlanda, has ruled the Great Kingdom, and she ascended to the throne through marriage (Ivid the Undying). So, inductively, it appears at least that the top job is only held by males.

    Keoland is an elective monarchy that considers candidates from two houses, and I am not quite up on my Keolandish history, so I am not sure if a queen has every been elected.

    The County of Urnst is ruled by a woman as well, though the culture of the Urnst states has a significant Suel component.

    My understanding is that Sterich is also later led by a Marquess.

    Hardby, is a gynarchy with a strong Suel influence.

    So, I would guess that the basic Oeridian structure assumes male primogeniture as far as the crown, though there are several examples of titled nobles who are females. I would suggest the Oeridians have a broadly medieval view of a monarch as being partly divinely inspired.

    The Suel, on the other hand, see even the job of King as an office, and not as mystically anchored, and are more flexible with rulership, and do not feel a particular need to make it directly hereditary. This is a more Byanztine/Roman approach.

    Current Flan states, such as Tenh, largely follow an Oeridian pattern in my setting, though historically, the Flan would have had kings and queens (Queen Ahlissa).

    At the lower levels, I think the pattern is a little looser, maybe general primogeniture in Oeridian states, designated heir in the Sheldomar, and maybe divided among all descendents and spouse among the Flan. Of course, I like to have a large Flan underclass, so perhaps all of these exist together at the same time.
    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Apr 26, 2002
    Posts: 530
    From: Canada

    Send private message
    Sun Jul 16, 2023 1:56 pm  

    It would really depend on which state you're dealing with. Given the orientation in the 1983 boxed set towards male rulership and primarily male military forces (only two of the heads of state are female, while military forces seem to be based on 'fit males only') then most states, particularly ones with Oeridian influences, are going to have male primogeniture by default.

    The Great Kingdom and all its successor states will certainly do this. So would Ratik, although in my Greyhawk Evaleigh is the Archbaroness because Lexnol is too sick to do it and Alain is probably decorating some gnoll chief's bed frame with his bones. The Ratikkans do not truly accept her as their leader, much to her frustration and dismay.

    Onnwal, the Lordship of the Isles and the Sea Barons would also be hereditary male monarchies, but I see Idee and Sunndi as being more egalitarian. The Eddris would choose their best military leader to become Count(ess) regardless of gender, while Sunndi would select the eldest child to take over as Count(ess) or now King/Queen, again regardless of gender.

    The Frost, Ice and Snow Barbarians, as well as Blackmoor and the Wolf and Tiger Nomads are all male primogeniture countries. Stonehold becomes one too once Sevvord Redbeard transitions it to a monarchy.

    Nyrond and the Duchy of Urnst both lean much more towards patriarchy, so they would have male primogeniture. The County of Urnst would be one of the only states to have female primogeniture, in that the eldest daughter would be primed to become Countess, rather than the eldest son. The Duchy of Tenh passes the throne on to the oldest child regardless of gender, as did the Shield Lands. Any Bandit Kingdoms that had monarchies would typically have male primogeniture-women are not well-respected in the Bandit Kingdoms, in many ways.

    Furyondy has male primogeniture, although some of its hereditary provinces don't. Veluna's government is not technically hereditary, although the secular nobility pass on leadership of the Celestial Order of the Moons to the eldest child regardless of gender (hi, Jolene!)

    Ket, Tusmit, Zeif and Ull have male primogeniture, due to long-standing traditions in Baklunish culture that run even deeper than they do among the Oeridians. The Plains of the Paynims are too varied to make a blanket assertion-some use male primogeniture, others use female primogeniture, 'genderless' primogeniture where the oldest child takes the throne regardless of gender, or some other means of choosing leadership.

    Bissel, Gran March, Sterich, Verbobonc and the Principality of Ulek all use male primogeniture. Keoland uses male primogeniture in a sense, namely that only men may sit on the Throne of the Lion. Geoff, Celene and the Duchy of Ulek use 'genderless' primogeniture of giving the oldest child the throne regardless of gender. The line of succession in the Pomarj is unclear now that Turrosh Mak has made it a formal empire-and he's not in any hurry to designate it.

    Any state I didn't mention here like the County of Ulek, some of the Bandit Kingdoms, the Yeomanry, Dyvers, Greyhawk, the Theocracy of the Pale, the Rovers of the Barrens, Almor, Iuz, the Horned Society, Irongate and Bone March, are not monarchies. They have different ways of choosing their heads of state beyond the scope of this post.
    CF Admin

    Joined: Jul 28, 2001
    Posts: 615
    From: on the way to Bellport

    Send private message
    Mon Jul 17, 2023 1:09 pm  

    Thanks all for sharing your thoughts. Below, I apply my synthesis of what you shared to my campaign.

    As noted in my original post, I am focused on two successions / dispositions, the Commodoreships of Fairwind and Flotsom Islands in the days following the Richest Massacre of CY 583 (my version of the Scarlet Brotherhood's canon assassination of 28 of 30 "minor nobles" of the Hold of the Sea Princes, which some later sources made into 28 of the Hold's 30 nobles).

    IMC, these two Commodoreships are particularly important in the days following the mass assassination attempt, as Prince Jeon, and the other surviving Seolder nobles, need their successors to take command of those islands' naval forces. (The Commodore of Jetsom Island survived the massacre.)

    Then, as I pondered these two instances, I realized that I wanted to understand how "national" succession works in the Hold.

    For that, CY 464 was significant, for that's when Luschan V died during the Battle of Jetsom Island. In the aftermath, the Council of Princes (a.k.a., Princes' Council) met and elected, not Jeon's heir, but the Prince of Port Toli. (The notion of such an election derives in part from Samwise's Grand Sheldomar Timeline Expansion and Revision, Part II, Gary Holian's version of Keoland in the Living Greyhawk Gazetteer and Living Greyhawk Journal #1, Kirt's version of Keoland from Oerth Journal #16 (and prior GreyTalk postings), and of course Gygax's original, brief description of the Hold of the Sea Princes in the Folio and Guide, which indicate that the Prince of Monmurg lacks the power to impose abolition / manumission upon the Hold.)

    In short, despite their successful rebellion, IMC, the Sea Princes followed—with some modifications over the years—the Keoish custom / tradition / law of the Council of Niole Dra (a.k.a., Council of the Land): the Council of Princes constitutes the top of the Hold’s social hierarchy and consists of people who credibly claim descent from the original buccaneers who confederated in CY 444 under the leadership of the original Sea Prince, Luschan Vilchar V, or who proved their loyalty to the Hold through strength of arms and skill at sea in the following nine years (i.e., prior to the "siege" of Westkeep in CY 453). Through the Council, the "Sea Princes" coordinated the rebellion (which Samwise characterizes as the "Keoish civil war").

    Thus, after the Battle of Jetsom Island, the nascent Hold faced a potentially fatal challenge. Despite the loss of their leader, the Council persevered and preserved the nascent nation. Refusing to establish royalty, the Princes deliberated for ten days before ultimately selecting the Prince of Port Toli to coordinate rule of the Hold until he died (or abdicated). Hence, the Council of CY 464 established the tradition / law of requiring its majority vote to seat a new ruler of the Hold.

    Returning to Fairwind Island, IMC, the Brotherhood's assassination left two principal contenders: the old Commodore's younger brother, versus the Commodore's second son. Following Mortellan's Oerth Journal #32 article, the Commodore's first son is Orlando, the young man who ran off with his sweetheart, Juliana of Sybarate Island. (In other words, I've not decided if adventurers ever returned them from Porpherio's Garden. See UK 1 - Beyond the Crystal Cave.)

    Based on what you've shared, I've decided that the Council of Princes heard the claims of the Commodore's brother and son, certified them as the two only legitimate claimants, and allowed them the privilege (choice) to settle the matter by duel. Older and with substantial martial and command experience, the Commodore's brother, Durand, was well favored to win, but his son, Talren, chose to duel his uncle rather than live with the shame of deferring without a fight . . .

    In a future post, or maybe a Greyhawk Visions submission, I'll detail what transpired. For here, what seems useful is to conclude by asserting that IMC, the Hold of the Sea Princes has a Council of Princes, which generally would not interfere with noble succession, but is available for disputing claimants. Where the Council's jurisdiction is successfully invoked, the Council may form the audience for a public duel, with priests of Kelanen officiating.

    Of course, not all claims make it to Monmurg (or wherever the ruling Prince lives). Especially for minor nobles and small holders, a dispute over succession may lead to a public duel on site with the locality providing the officiant and audience. (And for underhanded, for foresighted, types, a potential dispute over succession might be dealt with "privately" in ways that run the gamut that Samwise describes above as "to the strongest.")

    What do you think?
    Display posts from previous:   
       Canonfire Forum Index -> World of Greyhawk Discussion All times are GMT - 8 Hours
    Page 1 of 1

    Jump to:  

    You cannot post new topics in this forum
    You cannot reply to topics in this forum
    You cannot edit your posts in this forum
    You cannot delete your posts in this forum
    You cannot vote in polls in this forum

    Canonfire! is a production of the Thursday Group in assocation with GREYtalk and Canonfire! Enterprises

    Contact the Webmaster.  Long Live Spidasa!

    Greyhawk Gothic Font by Darlene Pekul is used under the Creative Commons License.

    PHP-Nuke Copyright © 2005 by Francisco Burzi. This is free software, and you may redistribute it under the GPL. PHP-Nuke comes with absolutely no warranty, for details, see the license.
    Page Generation: 0.30 Seconds