Political Considerations…

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Yesterday, I voted in my local elections. None of the races that I really cared about turned out the way I wanted it to, unfortunately.

Last night, I started thinking about the new D&D (3.5) game I’ve been playing in… the game is currently set in a mid-sized town in a human-dominated mageocratic empire. The three main political powers in the town are the Magistrate (representative of the mageocracy who serves in a judicial capacity), the Mayor (the local, secular ruler and leader of the town guard… technically ranked below the Magistrate), and the Priest (the empire is religious – the Emporer claims divine descent – and the church serves as a check on the mages).

My PC is a monk. The GM and I set up monks as a martial tradition within the Church, and my PC is specifically part of the inquisitorial arm of the church (with a high wisdom and ranks in Sense Motive, he’s pretty good at that sort of thing). The GM set the local temple up with a young priest as well, but he and I are more or less equally ranked in the church. This set me up as, essentially, one of the political powers of the town.

By the end of the second game, I’d arrested the Magistrate for blasphemy (and nearly causing the town’s destruction). His apprentice (another PC) became acting Magistrate.

In the third game, we met the Crown Prince of the Empire (who was travelling through town on his way back to the capital city).

It is shaping up to be an intensely political game, with a likely focus on local politics, which is really interesting. I’ve played PCs who eventually gained political power, but I don’t know that I’ve ever played one who had it starting at low level… have you?



3 Responses

  1. Wasn't Birthright expressly designed for this?

    When we realised that someone inheriting the throne from his parents isn't likely to be a 20th level fighter, my group immediately ran a bunch of first-level noble characters. Each person had their own domain to run. This was back in junior-high, using 1st ed AD&D.

    That campaign didn't last very long, and quickly broke down into squabbling. Since the DM decided we were all nobles of the same kingdom, we couldn't send soldiers after each other. It finally devolved into three 1st level magic user pc's getting into a melee fight.

    Decades later, I have successfully ran political-type campaigns for characters of all levels (and have an open one currently), but none had the carefree innocence of instant and violent competition that marked that first one. Sigh.

  2. I never actually played Birthright – it came out during a lull in my gaming-life – though I’ve heard good (if vague) things about it.

  3. In one of my current games, one of the PCs has political ambitions (in the church as he’s a cleric, but political nonetheless). Another PC joined a secret society. They have thwarted a Thieves Guild conspiracy (and then left that city for a while). They were ‘invited’ to play ambassadors for a desperate nation of lion-men losing badly their war with gnolls, and they are now neck-deep in an action to prevent a tradition of early deaths for child-emperors in the lands of the Elves.

    And they just turned 6th level.

    If this campaign wasn’t also filled with jokes and sillyness, it’d be dead serious! 🙂

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