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Night of the Nine (Ignobles)


Cutlass gets serious!

In order for a Bonaventure to return as the monarch of France (tracing back to the Carolingian Dynasty tie to Louis fifth, c. 987), the players will need to consider these nine elements:

1. End the present line of Capetian Maxime and his new born daughter. The girl, Clarisse, is sickly and may not survive the year. The King, still a teen, is quite malleable. He also takes chances with sports, jousting and boxing. There are murder plots against him from agents of Spain and England. Historically speaking, the line of Capetians should last until Bonaparte, another two hundred years. But the parallel of a beloved general being crowned works.

2. Earn the favor of the Fuggars, the bank which controls the royal debt and most of the economy. This can be considered completed. Not only do you have an insider, assuming the player character becomes a loyalist to the returning Bonaventure, you have assisted the bankers with establishing trade to a number of distance lands. You also have at least four active colonial governors in support, which offset the wars and extravagances of the young court. Some fiscal responsibility would be welcome to lessen the seventy-nine percent colonial tax.

3. Defeat the insider threat. You know the Fasci Friars (of Spain) are both rabblerousing and planting insurgency. This preparation can actually be coopted as your own. But, the dog has a master in the Vatican. The Church would need to be thwarted or convinced to stay neutral as the change occurs.

4. The religion needs to be reformed. The old guard of the faith resist change, but they lost the ecumenical debates in Tours. The Church (part three) will not want this. If the parish priests support your power grab, then the people will. The priests do not like foreign control of their appointments to office coming from out of the Vatican. Even Bonaventure, himself, as Archbishop of Marseilles is only acting without official Bull from the Patriarch. Some members of the hierarchy are actually foreigners, Spaniards and Lichtensteinees, and would need to be convinced to leave France. Adding new liberties would help change France from an Absolute Monarchy to a Constitutional One. (Whether the Bourbons then decide to abolish or amend that Constitution is a matter for another day in another age.)

5. Defeat the three legal claimants to the throne. Succession passes according to the heralds to three claimants. They would have to be defeated in civil war or with covert means. None can be allowed to be crowned; each has a small window between the end death of Maxime and their own sworn oaths of abdication. If any of the claimants make it to Nice and have the archbishop there perform the rites, then each and their offspring would continue the present Capetian line. Joan of Arc supported a claimant and the rest is history.
a. Duke Louis, second brother of Alexandre and uncle of Maxime. He lives in Mainz. He fought w/ Vert Valliant to take the city. He is eighty-seven.
b. Antoinette Phillippe, age forty, lives in a nunnery outside of Madrid, after having her marriage to a lesser prince of Spain annulled. She eloped (or was kidnapped) and lived as a hostage princess for many years. Her husband, Juan Phillippe, might claim the throne in her name, but he remains lost after a failed expedition in Africa, trying to cross the Cyclones.
c. King’s cousin, Henry of Paris. Man is related to Alexandre’s long dead younger third brother. Henry is a black sheep, his own father disowned him, but the document was signed without the royal seal. Henry is a soot and lives somewhere in Genoa, perhaps Pola. He is unwed, has no legal heirs, so even if he returns with noble backers, his claim might not be lasting.

6. Play politics. Convince the ruling nobles this is for the best. The north is secure, many loyalists. The heartland and south are uncertain. The lesser nobles want hereditary titles maintained. They are vulnerable to all the tricks: bribery, coercion, murder, patriotism, etc.
a. Lord Mayor Balzac of Vichy hates both the English and Bavarians. He wonders why expansion has happened in the north across Mainz but not the south. He would like the lands around the Twins returned to his ancestral control. The two river split was once all the same county, before a deal brokered two hundred years before placed the border along the rivers. That agreement ended the Hundred Years Wars (or turned them into a cold war). Balzac’s lands have fine trade, large stores of munitions, but are openly rebellious from religious conflict. The squabbles and armed raids put the region in famine. Solve his problems.
b. Warden-Constable of the Ardennes Forest, Viscount Dupont, has a surprising amount of clout. He is respected for managing the hill folk, a brutal and impoverished region. Many rank and file soldiers come from there. The rest of France seems too weak to make into a man-at-arm. Yet never have the hill-gillies rebelled against a king. Dupont has quarreled with his son, Lord High Mayor Favre of Noire. The son is touched by God, a mad man who claims he has been to the imperial court of Sho Nei, a holy mystic of the eastern Yuezhi. Favre was crippled by frostbite on his solo return from travels; his tales make the city unruly for change. The Yuezhi are another Mughal ice land with trade opportunity (if they exist).
c. Count La Marche, the largest land owner in the heartland. His fortune has been exhausted by inflation and the influx of Incago gold. He needs money, badly, and has debts with the Bullingdon Club of Budapest, a Wine Cartel, and additionally with Das Kappas of Saxony, the Wool Cartel. La Marche’s flocks suffer blight, yet he has borrowed against a future fortune in wool, for which he has no way of supplying the herds.

7. Convince the standing army not to intervene. Easy since the Field Marshal is a player character and the army seems to only prosper when led by the Vert Valliant. Still, the act of succession includes many with romantic ties and oaths to the Capetian Dynasty. Of twenty-one royal companies, fifteen are fully loyal or neutral. The rest are unknown if stressed. Be best to befriend or rout any possible vanguard of trained resistance.

8. Convince the Navy and colonies to continue to pay rents and tributes. The cities will stay out of this so long as wealth of colonies is not interdicted. A rising impoverished poor and middle class, is employed in the cities, crafting finished goods for the colonies. Easy alliance, since Admiral is a player character and the colonies are run by many alternate roles. If the colonies of Viceroy of Japan, New Vert, Alexandria, Ceylon and Protectorate of the Incago, collectively revolt, the clean-up would be long. The time lag is a problem, by the time any of them know what’s happened, it has already become a fait accompli. That never sits well with colonists and foreign powers. The wealth of the colonies allows the nation to have these sorts of affairs, without ending up a puppet state of another country. Serbia, Scotland and Carpathia all have standing armies which would try to broker a deal by blockade or invasion—bad for Bourbons—to keep the entire continent out of another Hundred Years Wars. (The soon to start religious Thirty Years Wars will be bad enough.)

9. What they don’t know? Besides themselves, the player characters may face one or more other usurpers, people with tenuous ties and a resolve to be king. There is one unknown of particular threat but would take some delving to even find that person’s name. Assume he is already planning the exact same thing and may help the players complete objectives before facing them for a real bruhaha.

In total the effort would take eight to ten missions, of which I think number four is the hardest. They can be accomplished in any order. I will work diligently and set them aside for the inevitable.

Sure you don’t want to just lord over a glass palace, insulated from the cold wastes without, adorned within with many a pretty thing? The faint dulcimer and burbles of Alph beckon me back to Xanadu.



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