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Political tensions

by Ville Lähde

Interesting thread. I had to tackle a lot with the Thadder political system when I wrote and GMed a long scenario after the Death of Oran Meditor. I'm sorry that I never got around to explicating that stuff. I did a lot of work to get a working interpretation of the country -- and it has ever since been my favourite place in Mystara.

Basically the intrigue in the scenario is based on the following tension within the country:

- The Family Guilds, which could also be called Ethnic Guilds, form the foundation of the Minrothad "Social Contract". They have long historical roots, and it is through that clumsy yet pacifying division of labour that the country was able to solidify.
- The Political Guilds, and the post of the Guildmaster and the associated organisations, have been born in layers over time, as a result of both building the state, its foreign policy (for example the Thadder mercantilism) and its internal power-struggles. In juridical term the Political Guilds are separate entities from the Family Guilds, but in practice the older and deeper allegiances affect the workings of the political system deeply. The troubles during Oran's reign are a testament to this.
- So de jure, when a person joins a political guild (even the Tutorial Guild, see below), he or she is technically required to relinguish old allegiances. In practice this rarely happens. The result is a deeply conflicted and labyrinthine power structure that is always in danger of collapsing, but both the official and inofficial security forces created by the Guildmasters, the associated social coercive systems (Balc mark etc.) and the promise of economic growth and ethnic self-rule work against that.
- However, the figure of the Guildmaster is so vital to keeping this whole shebang together that a successful assassination would create a lot of discord. Already in the GAZ era we can see that things are building towards that: the leaders of the Corsers are working thr ough the Tutorial clan (with Murl as a key asset); the leaders of the Verdiers, both Rewen and Ulard, have their own plots; Kasan is still plotting (and IMC he still has ties with Hamilvar).

IMC the reason why I created Eluna Kelar as the main antagonist was that during the X10 the PCs had already destroyed Ulard Forster's main asset (Bailey's lycantropes), and I wanted an immersive and dangerous sub-camaign for a PC. I added some dark magic from Taymora and linked it to the PC actions in Colhador years ago (Eluna got interested then, learned dark secrets there, and her secret lair is actually there!).

Tutorial guild is an interesting and problematic thing, since in OD&D all elves know magic. But perhaps joining Tutorial Guild is a requisite of learning certain kinds of spells, or using magic in certain areas of life?

I don't know why, but I alwyas thought that the Verdiers and the Vyalia are distant relations who diverged after the Taymoran cataclysm. The Vyalia were left on the mainland, and the Verdier on the isles. Perhaps some clan strife developed because of events during those times, and it furthered the split? But as I said, I can't remember where I got the idea from.