Merchant of Venice
- Oct 2, 2012
The Lion of St Mark
by Ab Ovo
This is a rather delicate time for Venice as she recovers from the shock of the Bajamonte coup and attempts to fix her damaged relations with the Papacy over the late Venetian seige of Ferarra; still suffering a holy interdict. In this time of crisis and uncertainty it is your job to sail the ship of state; and provide for the future of the Republic's territories and her very soul.
RulesThe rules are rather similar to the established format seen in other political games. As GM I shall serve as God, foreign nations, the Public and certain portions of the Venetian Government. I shall also supervise the legislative debate, and ensure everything goes civilly. You, as players, may do all that a member of the Grand Council and government may do - propose legislation, decide foreign policy, and so forth. In addition, if you are appointed to, say, the Council of Ten, you shall also have to perform the duties that are expected of you as a holder of your respective office, such as arrest reports, keeping order, and even, on occasion, war planning.
As GM I'll post updates, either posing as one of the forces that I have assigned myself to, or directly as GM. There will be Mini Updates, dealing with events and issues that the Government must tackle, Election Updates upon the election of a new Doge, and Yearly Updates, which shall highlight the beginning of a new year, aswell as provide a synopsis of the previous year's events and the results of orders. There will also be a number of other updates, mostly dealing with minor and flavour issues.
How It WorksThe Venetian government system was famous for its elaborate and convoluted workings spawned from a deep neurosis in fear of monarchy and autocracy. At the height of the Republic, the Venetian government was comprised of seven distinct branches; and each divided into numerous sub-branches which may or may not exist for more than a period of days. As such, I have simplified the system for ease of play and divided it into the following:
The Grand Council
The Grand Council is the main governing body of the Republic; and is composed of members of the leading aristocratic families such as the Dandolos and the Querini. Concerned with the day-to-day tasks of legislation and governing the Grand Council has recently become rather unwieldy after the Serrata; and it is not uncommon to have over a thousand noblemen qualified to sit in-Council. As such, it is essential that there be other government bodies to carry out some of the more pressing business.
The executive arm, as it were; the Signoria is composed of the Doge, the Minor Council which acts as the Doge's Privy Council, and three members of the Quarantia. The Signoria acts as the executive branch in technicality but in reality exists mainly to make sure the Doge is not up to any sneaky monarchist tricks. The Minor Council deserves some explanation in that it has six Ducal councillors elected from the Grand Council; who we will elect every year.
The Supreme Court of Venice. Decides cases of law, treason, examines laws for their own illegality, etc. Generally meant to be NPC but if one's character has a particular interest in law then he is welcome to ask for appointment.
The Council of Ten
The Council is tasked with maintaining the security of the Republic and preserving the government from overthrow or corruption. However, its small size and ability to rapidly make decisions is leading to increased power being accumulated in the hands of it's members. In particular, it oversees Venice's diplomatic and intelligence services, and enforces the law. It;s Ten members are elected annually by the Grand Council.
The position of Doge is a unique one. Head of State, Head of Government, and semi-monarch of the Republic; the position of the Doge seems tempting at first. However, historically the dogadi was no treat. The Doge existed as quite possibly the most limited executive figure in the history of European politics; after Ducal autocracy and excess during the days of vassalage to the Byzantines lead to a backlash that only intensified as the centuries passed.
By the year 1311, the Doge has been stripped of all practical power. He may not leave the Palazzo Ducale unless given express permission, he may not receive gifts beyond rosewater, he may not open private correspondence without his advisors present, etc. So being Doge gives you absolutely no power whatsoever in-game and actively restricts and hampers you. However, having a Doge in the family line or being related to one gives a huge Influence boost to your family; and the Doge exerts massive influence in and out of game in addition to being trusted to act as co-GM if needed,
Lion of St Mark has three stats: Trade, Wealth, and Influence. Wealth is measured in ducats, and represents a character's material's worth. Trade is how large a portion of Venice's formidable trade your family controls; starting at 100 for each family and then rising or falling depending on orders. Influence is measured in clout, and is representative of the sway, friends, and favors a character accumulates over time; also starting at 100 for each,
So how are they useful? Well, each turn your trade generates more wealth for you. Obviously you will responsibly use your limitless cash to better the Most Serene Republic 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.
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 a loan from one of Venice's famous banks, or selling come country estate might be useful. If you are looking to carry out a plot, visiting other 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 Republic, such as hiring mercenaries, raising taxes if you are a governor, or other such things. 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.
Plots are group covert efforts, for example assassinations of a member of the Council of Ten. 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, mainlander 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 for any assassination you, will need a very powerful plot backing to succeed.
Characters are, of course, the most important part of LSM. However to maintain realism and accuracy, I also take care to regulate the Patrician characters. If you intend for your character to be a member of the Patricianate instead of a member of the grandi middle class; than for the time being I would like it if your character could be picked from the following list:
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Table of Contents
Passed Laws in Venice
Finally, credit to the marvelous RedNomNoms; whose template from SPT I have unabashedly ripped off.