Thursday, 12 September 2013

Fun with Family Trees #1

A Noble House from Scratch
House Mahuran, Siridar-Counts of Bromus, was the first Noble House I had created for my campaign in over twenty years. All this activity was sparked by work I was doing for upcoming game sessions with the "Tunnels of Tonivar" party, and by work I had recently done on Planetary Defence Units.

While the original "Tunnels of Tonivar" game had essentially been a treasure hunt, for the next chapter I decided to introduce a political and military element. To this end, I cast around for a suitable background world and, eventually, settled on Bromus/Miazan - where the Planetary Government type, a Charismatic Dictatorship, offered some interesting possibilities.

A brief account of Bromus has already appeared on this blog. During my solo game, "Aloin's Saga", one of the characters aboard Aloin's ship, the Iridium Queen, commented sarcastically that Bromus was a xenophobic dunghill of a police state, and only produced potatoes for export. Obviously, this wasn't the entire story of Bromus, but it made for an amusing conversation.

The Universal World Profile (or UWP) for Bromus is: C-4757A8-7.

What this means is that Bromus has a C Class Starport (routine services, no ship building); is 4000 miles in diameter (about half the size of Earth); has a standard atmosphere that is slightly tainted; 50% of the planet's surface is covered by seas, lakes, and other bodies of water; has a population in the 10s of millions; is ruled by a Charismatic Dictator; private ownership of firearms is prohibited and bladed weapons larger than a knife are controlled; and the planet as a whole has a technology level equivalent to the 1970s on Earth.

The Charismatic Dictatorship government-type got me thinking. My theory for how the Nobility work is that a Planetary, or Siridar, Noble is in effect the Planetary Head of State. The Planetary Government does the day to day administrative work, while the Siridar-Noble sets budgets, policy, laws, and represents the planet in interstellar forums. A Charismatic Dictator falls neatly into the category of Siridar Noble who has taken personal control of the planetary government - obviously, in this case, with the support of the populace.

At this point, I had no information on any noble house attached to Bromus. I had only created family trees for two Houses Major in Miazan Subsector - House Geyukthi, Dukes of Miazan, and House Sehlemarl, Viceroys of Celephais - and a couple more spread across Gamelea, Nolgor and Gazul Subsectors. I had some notes on two other Miazan Subsector Houses Major - Houses Rivokul and Van Zaquerl, both of Kamperel, but nothing as organised as a family tree. Scanning through the family trees I had completed, I discovered three female members of the "House of Bromus" - Stefani, married to Duke Pahran of Gamelea, Elemyl, married to Duke Mah'radys IV of Miazan, and Susan, married Duke Edenar I of Nolgor.

Basing the birthdates of these three women on that of their husbands, and arranging a sequence of Siridar-Counts of Bromus around them, I created a family line stretching from the mid-10th Century through to the current incumbent, Count Sakkan III (who, at this point, was just a name I had written in my notebook as I worked up scenario ideas for the Tunnels of Tonivar game). Given their ages, Stefani and Elemyl were obviously his aunts, while Susan became Count Sakkan III's great-aunt. House Mahuran, as the House of Bromus had become, was taking shape and had already demonstrated that this, supposedly xenophobic and isolated, House Major was actually connected to two of the most powerful Houses in the Spinward/Rimward portion of the Imperial RimWorlds.