- Jun 29, 2011
Hello, and welcome to Saint Peter's Throne. This forum game has both similarities to other political role-play games, but also a handful of differences. I, RedNomNoms, will be your Game Moderator, and you, the player, will navigate your character through God's Halls, looking to rise in rank through the Roman Catholic Church.
Saint Peter's Throne will begin on May 25, 1085, moments after the death of Pope Gregory VII. This was a time when the Pope held sway over the entirety of the Western Christian world, crowning Kings and Emperors, and wielding the power of excommunication, a weapon more powerful than an army a hundred-thousand strong. Now, the Papal States is without a Pope, and it is up to you to elect, or even be, his successor.
Whether you choose to use the church to amass personal wealth and power, to charge out to make the Papal States great, or look to reform the Church to make it truly Holy, I once again would like to welcome you, and offer you a chair next to the Throne of Saint Peter.
Rules of Saint Peter’s Throne
So how will this all work? Everything is below. Enjoy.
Joining the Game
The game can be joined at any time.
All players must join the game as either a priest or a soldier. For the sake of the game, for the first conclave I will promote the first players to Cardinals (or Captain-General). After this, the Pope will appoint priests to the College of Cardinals.
To join, simply make a post in the following format:
Culture: (Acceptable cultures: Italian, French, German, Norman, Scandinavian, Hungarian, or Croatian)
Field: (Must be cleric or soldier)
Biography: (Short background story for your character
All players start as a bishop in a region controlled by their culture (i.e. French bishops would start in the Kingdom of France). Elevations to Archbishop and Cardinal are by Papal investiture, unless in-game events change this.
If a player's character dies, the player is welcome to create a new one. Players are strongly encouraged to create a family for their character, so that when their character dies, a family member can succeed them. Players who do this will get some on the income, wealth, and influence carried over from their last character as 'inheritance.' Each turn the Pope has a 5% chance of dying, increasing 1% every year he is older than 60. Every character has a 5% chance of dying at 60, and increases 1% every year they are older than 60.
After the death of a Pope, all Cardinals must return to Rome to elect a new Pope, in a process known as conclave. The game start predates the Papal Bull that forced Cardinals to be locked in until they elected a Pope, so if you wish you can journey to foreign lands to get gold or other items to support your papal campaign.
In order to elect a Pope, one needs to have a supermajority of two-thirds (2/3) of the vote of the College of Cardinals. Players are encouraged to bribe, blackmail, and force their way into the Papacy. This practice was commonplace in this time period, as all of Europe pushed for their candidate to take the most powerful throne in the Western World.
Votes will be via private message to me here on Paradox Plaza, or on the IRC channel that will be discussed later. This allows you to have a secret ballot. The subject for the message should have 'SPT - Papal Conclave' with the year. For this first Conclave the subject would look like this: 'SPT - Papal Conclave 1085'. In the message text simply include your character's name and who he is voting for.
Note that during this time, there was always a struggle for the Papacy. Backroom deals, behind-the-scenes maneuvering and campaigning, and bribery with land, wealth, or title are all open options to secure the most powerful throne of all. If a Cardinal needed to transfer gold or sources of income to other Cardinals in order to secure their election, upon their election they must PM myself with these transfers so I can update the stats.
Once a new Pope is elected, there will be an update about it, he will choose his new Papal name, appoint their Curia in an IC post, and have a coronation update, which they can PM me any requests for. He will then begin his reign.
Once elected Pope, the newly elevated Cardinal must choose his Papal name, usually the name of a past Pope or a Saint, though they are free to choose any name (I reserve the right to regulate this as a GM). Following this, they must appoint the five members of the Roman Curia. The Pope has unlimited power as Vicar of Christ on Earth, but outside his normal duties of elevating Cardinals, running the Papal States, ruling on religious issues, and the occasional excommunication, he must find a precedent for his actions. This is obtained by the Pope submitting an IC (or PM, if it is of a sensitive nature) request for the ecclesiastical lawyers to find such a precedent. If one is found, the lawyers will respond either as IC or PM, depending on how the Pope requested it, and then the Pope is free to order it. If the Pope cannot get a precedent, he can go through with it any way, but a rebellious Cardinal may use this to justify the deposition of the Pope. Do note that should all Cardinal positions be filled, and the Pope does not wish to create more, he can elevate worthy priests to be bishops or archbishops, increasing their income and influence (and hopefully making an ally).
Excommunication is the Pope’s most powerful weapon. It is a censure from the Roman Catholic Church, damning the excommunicated soul to hell until the Pope decides to lift it. This can destabilize Kingdoms and Empires, as no one wants a damned liege, and is a useful tool for the Pope to defend himself in face of an unstoppable invasion force, or a powerful rebellion, etc. Excommunication is done via order, and will get its own mini once the ritual is completed.
The Roman Curia is essentially the Papal equivalent of an executive cabinet. It is made up of the Vice Chancellor, the Secretary of State, the Chamberlain, the Prefect, and the Captain-General. These positions will all be Cardinals appointed by each new Pope (except the Captain-General, which can be a Cardinal or any rank soldier), add significant income and influence to the character appointed, and grant them the Curia order. The Vice Chancellor is the head of the Chancery of the Apostolic Briefs, and serves as the Head of Government of the Papal States, as well as keeping the College of Cardinals in line and combating plots against the Pope. *The Secretary of State controls matters of foreign affairs, and will often be called to negotiate with powers intervening in the Italian Peninsula. The Chamberlain is the head of the Apostolic Camera, and is in charge of economic affairs of the Papal States and the Holy Mother Church. The Prefect is the head of the Apostolic Signatura, acting as the supreme judicial authority in the Papal States, second only to the Pope. Trials of Cardinals, Bishops, and priests will generally go before the Prefect first, who will act as judge and jury for their trial. The Captain-General is the commander-in-chief of the Papal armies, and must maintain the military forces for battle, appointing lieutenant commanders for each regiment, and leading them in battle. Members of the Roman Curia are expected to use their Curia orders to carry out their duties. The Pope is free to create new Curia positions, though he will need a precedent.
College of Cardinals
The College of Cardinals will start at nine people, and will obviously be expanded as the Pope decides so. The Pope can elevate priests (or soldiers, if he would like) to Cardinal status, and can also take a rebellious Cardinal’s hat should he find a precedent to do so. Besides electing the Pope, expanding their personal power, and vying for a spot in the Curia, Cardinals have one duty: deposing the Pope should he violate his sacred duties (or a clever enough plotter finds an excuse to take the throne). In order to call for the deposition of the Pope, a Cardinal must simply IC demanding one, have a justification for the deposition, and get two other Cardinals to support it. A charge of simony, lechery, or murder is sufficient for deposition, though other charges are possible with a precedent. A vote will then be taken, and it requires a supermajority of two-thirds *to depose him. This will be an open vote on the thread. Beware, a failed deposition vote could mean horrific consequences for the betrayers, and unless the desposer has a large and powerful army to ensure the operation goes smoothly, he may face armed resistance.
Saint Peter's Throne has three stats: Income, Wealth, and Influence. Wealth is measured in ducats, and represents a character's material's worth. Income is measured in ducats per year, and represents the net tithes or income a character has. Influence is measured in clout, and is representative of the sway, friends, and favors a character accumulates over time.
So how are they useful? Well, each turn your income generates more wealth from you. Obviously you will responsibly use your tithes to better the Holy Mother Church and give your extra ducats to charity, but you are allowed to spend it as you please. Influence is gained by having position, courting favor among nobles, and so on, and will make your orders, actions, and plots generally go smoother.
The Roman Catholic Church has three stats as well. Net Income is the Church's yearly income in ducats after paying the Papacy, the Curia, and the College of Cardinals, as well as upkeep for the Papal Army. Treasury is the ducats the Church as stored up for later use. This money can be used to carry out any functions the Pope or the Chamberlain sees fit, and players are able to use the Church's money to pay for their orders if the Pope or Chamberlain gives consent. Moral Authority is the Church's equivalent of influence, and represents the Catholic World's view of the Church. Successfully crushing antipapacies and heresies, asserting papal dominance, successful crusades, wondrous cathedrals, and good works are all ways to increase the Church's Moral Authority. The Pope, Curia, or College of Cardinals being caught in a failed plot, being over lavish, the existence of an antipope or a heresy, or failed crusades are all ways that Moral Authority is degraded. A higher Moral Authority allows the Pope to exert more influence in diplomacy with European lords, and makes excommunication a more powerful weapon. A lower Moral Authority means the Papacy will lose its influence, make excommunication negligible, and allow the spread of heresy.
Orders cost wealth to carry out, and plots use influence to increase their chance of success. If you are low on wealth, you can spend Influence on orders, but not vice-versa. If you plan to do this, note it in your orders.
Every character gets one personal order per turn. This can be anything, though you may want to make it useful. For instance, if you are short on wealth, getting favor from a bishop would be smart so you are granted more land. If you are looking to carry out a plot, visiting noble families and currying their favor would be a good idea. This should be limited to a single action, and should take up no more than four lines in the message box.
In addition to their personal order, all players get an an administrative order. This is used to carry out their duties for the Church, such as being a Papal legate, or drilling troops, etc. The Pope has one of these, and he is to use it for administering the Papal States (i.e. if he wants to improve the army, build specific buildings, etc.) The administrative order can have multiple actions in it so long as they are related, and should take up no more than six lines in the message box.
Note that the personal order is for actions that help your character, and the administrative order is for doing the duties that a character is tasked with doing by the Church or other organizations. You can use an administrative order to help yourself, but you must make it reasonable (i.e. the Chamberlain can raise the salaries of the Curia).
Finally, the Pope gets an additional Papal order on top of his administrative and personal orders. This is used to do Papal actions such as excommunications, expanding the College of Cardinals, promoting (or demoting) priests or bishops, etc. The Papal order can have as many appropriate actions as the Pope wishes in it, and it will have no limit for length.
Orders should have a subject of “SPT - Your Character’s Name, Current Year”. So, for example:
Subject: SPT - Pope Gregory VII, 1085
Lots of fun stuff.
Even more fun stuff.
The most fun stuff.
Plots are group covert efforts, for example assassinations of a Cardinal (or even Pope). These will be treated as a special kind of order. Players are free to secretly plot, gather influence, etc without GM approval. When the plot leader feels he is prepared to act, he must send me a PM detailing the plot goal, its plan, and those who back it. Any requests for NPC support (such as the King of France, Italian noble families, etc) can be directed to me. Once I confirm the people that back the plot, it will be considered an order. A plot serves as the player’s personal order for the turn he decides to launch it, as well as for all those backing the plot. The greater the combined influence a plot has, the more likely it is to succeed. Note that any assassination of a higher-ranking church member, or the Pope himself, will need a very powerful plot backing to succeed.
Updates, Events, and War
There are three types of updates. These will contain the results of orders, events, and other important happenings. The first type of update is a Main Update. It will cover a year in-game, and will contain the results of all the orders sent in, among other events that happen that year. The second type of update is a Mini Update. It will highlight or cover a specific event during the year. The final type of update is a Conclave Update, which will be updates relating to Conclave as votes are cast and moves made.
Events are significant happenings (such as a war, a new ruler in another land, a natural disaster, or an unexpected benefit) that will usually cause a headache for the Pontiff, though sometimes will bring him joy. The majority of SPT will be player-driven, but the events will provide the substance for you as a player to create this content.
In the event of war, the Captian-General will use his Curia order to determine general strategy. His lieutenant commanders will be given a special war order for determining their regiment’s objectives in combat. I will write up mini updates for major battles, and perhaps if you are a soldier or an officer you will be noted in such a mini for commendable service to the Bishop of Rome.
The IRC Channel is for OOC conversation and speaking with me. It is not a requirement, but is strongly recommended.
Channel name: #StPeters
1) Go to ColdFront using the link above.
2) Choose the Flash or Java Client
3) Create a screen name
4) The client will auto-add you to #coldfront. Leave this channel.
5) In the command box type "/join #StPeters"
You should then be logged in and ready to chat.
GM NOTE: Saint Peter's Throne will not be a place to discuss or satirize the current sexual abuse scandals in the Roman Catholic Church. There is a place for everything, and this is not the place for said discussion in any way. To make this clear, the first instance of violating this rule will result in the removal of the offending player's character and suspension for one week from the game. The second instance will result in banning from the game.