femkes_follies: (Default)
Sometimes I feel the need to clarify the stuff in my head via a post (or two). Y'all seem to know this and put up with me anyway.

In the midst of discussing something else in the last post, I made a remark regarding opinions.

I shall expand.

When Big (or even not-so-big) issues come up, opinions fly thick and fast. Often folks are admonished to "be reasonable" or "talk it out."

Let's analyze in a little greater depth, shall we?

Now, I made a remark that I felt that (making the remark as re: Principalities) Opinions(TM) being expressed by Peers were not sufficient. I don't think I explained myself terribly well.

What I mean to say is thisL

A Peer or Person of Rank of any kind, is certainly entitled to an opinion. As are we all. They are entitled to express that opinion. They may, but are not obligated, to express the reasons behind it. All well and good.

However, there is a world of difference between saying, "I do not want to us to become a Principality" (which is the right of anybody), and saying, "We won't do it because I say so." Which is nobody's right. It's the difference between voting against something and announcing "I forbid it." Last I checked, the SCA does not have a tribune of the plebs, and in this matter, no one has the right of Veto.

It can certainly be argued, sometimes successfully, that the Opinions of Peers of the Realm and other Long Time folks should have more weight than those of the Rank and File. Hrrrmmmmm. Yes and no. Because, while they do have wisdom and experience to bring to bear, there are other issues.

Often we admonish people to "Think about the pros and cons" and to make a logical decision. We hold this up as the best way to make decisions.

Except that none of us really do this. Every time we make a decision, it gets recorded along with the emotions that accompanied it. And that colors every similar decision we make after it.

This means a couple of things. First, this conversation every time it comes up in the Midrealm is colored by the pain of similar past decisions (Calontir, Ealdomere, Northshield, and various failed conversaitions). Except - it's only colored by those emotions for those who were present for them (one or more), or who have heard enough about them to have absorbed that emotional flavor to the very topic.

And so - it's important that people consider not just what they think about it - but also what they feel about it. It's an emotional decision. And we buy into our Baronies, our Kingdoms, and Shires on a deeply emotional level. You can't make a logical decision about this without considering how it makes you feel.

But at the same time - those folks who have a strong emotional reaction against the idea need to understand that other people don't share it. Possibly because they don't share the emotional "recordings" of previous attempts. But that makes their opinions and their feelings no less valid.

So in the end, Peers (etc) are in a position where they may (and should) offer wise counsel to the populace on the topic as they see fit. This, in and of itself, will sway some folks. However, their opinion holds no more weight in a Straw Poll than anyone else's, and they have no inherent right of Veto. Even if they were present for the Midrealm's first Coronation (Which, IIRC, took place in what is now Calontir.)
femkes_follies: (Default)
The things ya find when ya go diggin':

The first is for one of the Ealdomeran history, dated March 1976:

"Earlier in the year the western part of North Woods had separated to become the barony of Andelcrag. Now the two baronies were planning to form a principality. The people of Eoforwic were concerned at this, for such a principality would lie between them and the rest of the Middle Kingdom. Therefore Finnvarr, Gillian and Jehanne went to Three Hills to take part in a great folk-moot which had been called to discuss the issue, and to see if it would be in Eoforwic's interest to join such a principality. The question never arose, for the people of Andelcrag and North Woods distrusted each other to the point that the moot quickly degenerated into fruitless argument. Its sole result was the name Pentamer, which some used later to refer to the land including Andelcrag, North Woods and Septentria."

Then there was this from a post that again comes from that 2004 discussion regarding a proposed Oaken principality that was almost immediately shouted down:

The first excerpt is from a Northshielder named Tirloch:

"I am from the Northshield. Before the successful polling in the early 90's that allowed His Majesty Finn to create the Crown Principality, we had two previous attempts that I know of (there may have been a third). One attempt began with some interested gentles in Nordskogen, which is a very central location in the Principality and the largest Barony, and all sorts of accusations about power grabbing and political intrigues killed that one. The next one was killed by the shires. I lived in a small shire at that time that had never seen a hat at one of our events (not even a court Baron(ess)). Basically the shires at that time felt the Baronies did not come and play with us and that we lacked the cohesion to be a principality. Over time this changed and people began to travel as much within the Northshield as they did to the rest of the Kingdom. The third and successful attempt was started as sort of a populace movement. The "powers that be" stayed out of it in the beginning to avoid the perceptions that developed in the first attempt. The shires recognized that the level of support from the Baronies had
increased and that a Principality meant we would actually be able to have Royalty at our events.

My point is, that if you go strictly by attitudes and actions of events that happened a decade or more ago, you will not really be taking a look at how being a Principalty may benefit you today. Also, this seems very similar to the early populace conversations that began when Northshield first began discussing the idea."

Ah, this last paragraph is what I've been trying to say. That's handy....

Hmph. Back to the low level grass-roots politicking. That is - explaining to groups of folks who have joined the SCA in the years since Northshield went Kingdom what a Principality is, and what it means.
femkes_follies: (Default)
I am possibly entertaining no one but myself, here. But, hey, it's my journal and all that. ;-)

More mining of the Middlebridge archives yields the following gem from Mistress Joscelin, on of the original Stallari members of Northshield:

"My prediction is that Midlands will be the next Midrealm region to form a Principality, followed by South Oaken. My political theory is that, at least in the Midrealm, the will to become a Principality is largely driven by perceived neglect by the Royal Family and Kingdom Officers. As most Kings and Queens come from Michigan & Ohio (followed by Indiana), and a large plurality of Kingdom Officers seem to come from Michigan & Ohio (mainly for reasons of SCA population density), it is in the Midlands and South Oaken that folks are less likely to see frequent Royal visits or personally know the Kingdom Officers.

While there may indeed be active, vocal people in both regions who are vehemently opposed to the idea of going Principality, the same was true in Northshield 12 years ago. Some of those people became resigned to the idea of Principality; some even embraced it, as they discovered that it turned out far better than they had anticipated. Some others stopped playing, although there were usually other factors involved as well. I suspect the same will be true as we go Kingdom. On the other hand, people drop out of the SCA every day for various reasons; who knows how many members are still around because they were greatly inspired by the Prince & Princess of Northshield?

The important thing is that the will to form a Principality, or to not form one, must come from within the region. Different folks in Northshield made at least two or three unsuccessful attempts to work toward Principality status before sufficient will existed to make it happen. I remember one such attempt, circa 1989-90 (the other/s were before my time). Then, there was a straw poll circulated to all of the group seneschals in the Fall of 1992. It was in the form of a roster petition, allowing folks to answer "yes" or "no". It was not a secret ballot. Not all seneschals circulated it very widely within their groups. Not all groups discussed the issue in depth. However, there was sufficient interest expressed on the straw poll petitions for King Finn & Queen Garlanda to declare Northshield a Crown Principality and appoint a Stallari Council to start working on the laws, heraldry, etc."

Now, 6 years of time and political movement have, I think, changed the foundation upon which the first paragraph is based. Michigan (that is to say, Pentamere - because we should include Starleaf Gate in this) Crown and Kingdom Officers have gotten rather thin on the ground. This fall's Crown List is much heavier in Midlanders than Pentamerans. But the principles of her statements are the same things I've been saying.
femkes_follies: (Default)
How would you go about sort of conducting an informal straw poll without opening things up to the Trolls? And without getting into hot water for usurping anybody's perceived authority (remembering the great Oaken Principality Poll of '05 and the furor therewith).

Especially if'n you want actual commentary, rather than multiple choice answers.

femkes_follies: (Default)
Or at least turning the skein over and over - looking for the end so I can start pulling.

When it comes to Principality development, most seem to trace their beginning to a committee. But this begs the question - Who appoints the committee? Is it no more than a group of interested individuals who take the task on themselves? Where then comes their authority to speak? Or is this committee appointed by the Crown? Which seems unlikely for the Mid, where Principality formation generally has to get to the point of inevitability before the Crown will concede the point and let it happen.

I'm going to post some tidbits out of An Tir's Wiki on the formation of Tir Righ - with that text in red and my own maunderings in regular ol' black.

We talked about principality a *lot* before the movement actually began to get underway. The concept wasn't a surprise to most people. We also had Avacal and Summits to point to and say "we think we should be like them".

OK, the idea of Pentamere as a Principality has been around for decades. The only people it might be news to, one way or the other, are those relatively new to the Society. Unfortunately, it's been long enough since Northshield became an independent Kingdom that there are a fair few Pentamere residents who don't know what's it's like to live in a Kingdom that has a principality. And frankly, don't even know what a Principality is. The rest - have heard the notion more than once.

We had a committee of wildly divergent people who represented most of the populace. In nine people, we had men and women, peers and newcomers, core and hinterlanders, officers and partiers, supporters and opposers, and fighters, artists, and servers. Early on we set a tone which valued and respected each others' honest opinions. That respect and consideration got us through a lot of heated... uh, discussions.

We come back to the question of who appoints the committee? I can think of a list of people I'd like to have on one. Given that they're willing to do so. But how does such a thing become sanctioned to perform the task?

We got the people involved. We had a registered badge that anyone could wear. We recruited many people to be on sub-committees (Regalia, Laws, Ceremonial, US/Canada Concerns, ... there were others). A lot of discussion was held on our regional/principality mailing list. We made a concerted effort to hold our regional events in remote branches as well as downtown principality.

I think it's way premature to be doing this. We need to talk about if and structure before we start gilding the Lily, so to speak. The only part that maybe ought to come up is name and device - strictly because registering those items takes time and we can't move past a certain point without them.

We stayed on good terms with the Crown and Kingdom Officers. We consulted with them and drew on their expertise.

This one is only 1/2 within our control. I anticipate a degree of knee-jerk empire-protecting resistance. What I am unsure of is how much and from whom, precisely.

Keep your old newsletters. You're going to want to track officers, events, and champions.

This one might be served with a note to the Regional Chronicler. It's possible the .pdfs could be dumped to a CD and added to over time. All in one, handy-dandy location.

The logistics of getting the ball rolling is actually harder to work out than the logistics of actually constructing the structure of the Principality-to-be!

femkes_follies: (Default)
"Beginning the conversation

Perhaps the most critical point in creation of a principality occurs when the conversation
first turns serious, when the first group of individuals in an area ask themselves “why
not?” The importance of this moment rests on the reasons from which this question arise?
Do not allow either the misdirected motives become established, and do not allow the
legitimate motives of good people to be rebuked.

It is not the case, of course, that there will be agreement as to the desired end state of the
principality, but often the wise person can, by listening intently to the concerns of those
proposing a principality, uncover issues or concerns that ought to be addressed
immediately. Thus, the wise person sees initial discussions of principality as a tool for
improvement of the kingdom.

The wise see in each person met a teacher, the fool can only learn from teachers already
understood. The greater the fool, the smaller the number of available teachers.
Early in the discussion is the best time to provide guidance to help mold people’s
expectations of their principality. Realistic expectations established early may prevent
heartache, disappointment and angry charges of deception later in the process.
Finally, it is early in the discussion that the tone of the pursuit will be established. If
people who begin to discuss principalities are given permission, informally and
nonverbally, by respected leaders, it is far less likely that these discussions will quickly
turn angry. “A soft answer does turn away wrath.”

Potential concerns, stated in gentle terms such as “have we considered that it is possible
that …” expressed early, will be more likely to be gently received, contrarywise, these
same concerns expressed late in the process will more likely be perceived as strategic

Finally, it is important to involve a large number of potentially concerned individuals in
the discussion, without the pressure to make some sort of decision. Establishing a
principality represents a large change, and to those who are relatively comfortable with
the present situation, change is threatening. Stewing wild game moderates the taste."

I think we're at this stage. One wonders... whose informal permission do we need to continue the discussion and really get the Region involved?
femkes_follies: (Default)
Thanks to [personal profile] pearl and the Faboo Lochac website, I present some more very interesting, well written articles by Master Griffith.

The first is on consensus decision making in the SCA. I'm sort of tickled that it's the sort of thing I've been promoting regarding the possibility of Pentamere becoming a Principality. That everybody have a chance to speak up. That the decision be made slowly. That we recognize the fact that not everybody will agree, no matter what the ultimate decision. But that we make an effort to put the good of the Region above our own wants and needs. So, yeah, worth a read.

Remember that I've linked to his article on Principalities before. I think it's very wise, and well written. Though I would disagree with a few of his contentions. I don't think it even begins to be possible to bring to life a Principality with solely and utterly noble thoughts and purely positive intentions. Because any group of people so contented with Kingdom life will not have the motivation to go through all that work. There must be some degree of impetus provided in the form of dissatisfaction of some sort with the status quo - or nobody will want to be shifted out of their comfort zone.

That said, I also did like his piece on Regions. Which goes rather a long way to (somewhat obliquely) confirm some of why I feel Region status begins to be inadequate for Pentamere.

Anywho, this Educational Moment has been brought to you by the letter "P". ;-)
femkes_follies: (My Way)
(yes, the Pratchett references continue. Though bonus points for identification of the totally unrelated icon image).

Words of Wisdom of the day:

"Of course, I haven't been around when a Principality has been formed, but in my mind, it's a little like a peerage. I think that in a perfect world it's recognizing something that's already happening informally. "

We've all been round and round the discussion about "What does it take to become a Peer?"

So, in a metaphorically similar vein... What does it take to make a Principality? Not the official requirements, but the less tangible - more important - essence of the thing. Sort of a list of PLQ's - Principality-Like Qualities. And the conditions that allow them to exist.

1. Territory. This isn't as obvious as it looks on the surface. For some nascent Principalities, it's a difficult question. Not just "Do we want to?" but "Who should we invite?" as well. For that matter, any nascent Principality in the Mid isn't necessarily limited to a single Region or an entire Region. However, that's the most likely scenario here, because we've been lumped into these regions for such a very long time. Which brings us to:

2. Identity. "We're Us." A bit like School Spirit or Hometown Pride. Sometimes it works better than others. It isn't necessarily exclusive either. You can be part of your town. And your county, and your state. Some loyalties are firmer than others. But they don't necessarily have to split. So we can be part of our local group, and our Barony, and our Region, and our Kingdom - all at the same time. The question is - has the loyalty of the Region for the Region become strong enough to warrant a physical manifestation? Because that's what a Principality is - the physical aspects of that Loyalty. The equivalent of college sweatshirts, painted faces, and pom pons. With its own home team, and its own dean - and hey, maybe they're not perfect but they're OURS.

3. Drive. There is a heck of a lot of grunt work involved in setting up a Principality. Possibly even more in maintaining it. For every person who has an idea for the new Principality's arms... there needs to be someone willing to sit down and write its laws. For each person who wants to embroider the throne cushions... there needs to be someone who'll solicit and review event bids. For every fighter who wants to stand for the Coronet... there needs to be someone who will wrangle local officers and make sure the work of the Principality runs smoothly. In fact, before any of the shiny is needed - there is a lot of talking, and writing, and basic infrastructure that needs to be created.

4. Environment. All of this needs to happen in a social environment within the Kingdom that is conducive to it. Particular grudges on either side can derail the whole business. Ideally, the Kingdom Curia is composed of people who keep their eyes clear and be willing to try to really determine what's best - their own empire-building "personal power" trips and personal grudges aside. Sometimes, for the incipient Principality - this will mean waiting out somebody's term. Especially if the Kingdom Seneschal is openly hostile.

5. Impetus. Even if all the other factors are present, the population of a potential Principality may choose to forgo all the work, pain, and trial of formalizing their nature if they are comfortable as they are. This is where the Peerage metaphor kind of falls apart on us. It is the nature of people to want to continually advance. It is the nature of groups of people to resist change as long as they are not too uncomfortable. Therefore, no motivation will exist to do that work unless the situation has become such that people begin to believe they are in a worse position when compared with the rest of their Kingdom. It can take a number of forms - a feeling of isolation from the Kingdom, political monkey-business for silly reasons all there own, even the economy causing people to cut back on travel and feel a need to stay within their own borders more.
femkes_follies: (Default)
I will grant that some days I get so many people bristling at me when I mention the "P" word (Principality, for those of you just joining us) that I feel like a Fuller Brush Man. Though most of the responses I actually get are to the effect of, "Well, it's a good idea, and I'm in favor, but who's going to bell the cat?"

Which is a reasonable question - and one (just in case anybody still thinks I'm wonkers) that has come up before.

Take a look through this thread in the Middle Bridge archive. Now, I'd disagree that it would be a good idea for ALL of the regions to simultaneously be granted Principality status. This has a tendency to strip the King and Crown of all their glory. There is no contribution that does not come via a Principality. There is no levy of troops that he does not have to go to his Princes for. Bad juju. Still, even that long ago, it was recognized that the Kingdom is too big for good governance.

Now, the geographic area has shrunken. But the population of the Kingdom has been growing. Some of that may have slacked off, due to the economy. But not notably so. Still, travel expense is keeping people closer to home (though I still splorked at hearing contributions being solicited for a "Baronial Travel Fund." O_o). It's even harder to keep a good eye on the Kingdom and have a good feel for what's going on at the distant ends when fewer people are providing "eyes on" reports and less Royalty is in attendance. I'd said before that Royal visits weren't dropping off. Of late - they are.

Talking with [personal profile] tattycat brought to mind the stir ups that happen periodically over the Northern Atlantian Principality movement. Interestingly, there was a thread on it 12 (!O_o) years ago on the Middle Bridge. I link you to one of the posts, if you're interested. I'd argue that running a poll that included both the name, device, and desire all into one initial action might have been an error.

The most germaine bit is this:

"As to how long it takes to plan and implement a principality, this action
was actually postponed considerably, a few years back, because someone
argued for it too loudly and too long. Going principality or kingdom seems
to have more with choosing the correct time, socially, than with the
length of the administrative process. "

I think it's reasonable to state that Pentamere could stand on its own as a Principality. We have the resources, and to a large degree, even the innate desire to be Us.

The question is - is this the right time, socially. There is certainly at least one segment of the Kingdom that will resist, for the sheer joy of resistance and the defense of what they consider to be their own turf. As to the rest - I do not know. Hopefully, enough people will speak up to indicate it's suitability - or a lack thereof.
femkes_follies: (Default)
As it turns out, pulling a membership roster is easy-peasy for a nominal fee.

So - time to pull one and count noses NOW? Before we go too much further with it.

Any fellow residents feel like contributing a $ or 2 to the cause?
femkes_follies: (wedding)
It is an interesting thing to really sit and listen to concerns that get aired regarding a potential Principality.

Most internal concerns are of the nature of "Well, yes. But how do we bell the cat?"

External concerns tend to be along the lines of "What makes YOU so special?"

Though today's version from one shire was new to me:

What about the actual process? We've heard this before and it was all talk - no one would work to make it happen.

Heck, I had to sleep on that one for a bit. It's valid. But its not one that anyone could offer a guarantee on. A Principality won't go forward if the majority of the populace doesn't want it. And we're no where near being ready to come to a consensus on the matter.

Thing is, it's really not something that you can sit and let someone else work on. If it's something you want, speak your mind. Make a banner, a tabbard, a surcoat, a favor. Put the Regional device up on your groups' website, along with the local and Kingdom arms. Read and contribute articles to The Gauntlet. Talk up the idea to others. Make the Region feel like a Principality.

Unfortunately, there's not any outline formal process for this. At least not until you've gotten far enough to be talking registration of a name and device, and a poll regarding a Crown Principality. I wish there were a manual. It would make my life easier. There isn't any guidance. And there isn't anything to hide behind, should someone get upset about the rabble rousing.
femkes_follies: (Default)
A few more counter-arguments I've heard against Principality status:

1. Landed Barons and Baronesses could hold Regency Courts instead. Well, yes. But Shire members might not always be exactly delighted to receive their Award from a Baron they don't know, rather than the King. And, more importantly as far as I'm concerned, it doesn't address the larger role a Prince and Princess would play. It also doesn't bring with it the level of pageantry that a Territorial Coronet would. Plus, it has the potential to lead to wrangling amongst the Landed B&Bs over who GETS to host such Courts. It also won't lend anything to improving our cohesion and ability to operate as a group.

2. We don't need more Royalty or Royal Peers. Wait... whut? OK, I admit this one generally makes me giggle - because I've only ever heard it FROM Royal Peers. All I can say is, successful people don't desire company. ;-) But the nature of the game is that the rolls of Royal Peers will be ever-growing.

Overall reaction still positive. And what negatives I've heard as yet are mostly knee-jerk responses to the idea of such a big change. I'm hoping those people will sit and think about what really disturbs them about the idea, and come back and express THAT concern. Because I'm afraid that as yet either the real objection isn't being expressed or maybe isn't as yet even conscious for the concern-ee. When I think about how much I've had to sit and think about this to determine where my own buttons are, I don't believe that many people, when first approached on the issue, will be able to articulate fully their real opinion. At least not without having the time to go away and think it through.

John also opined that the general increase in fighting opportunity has appeal where he's concerned. Not just Coronet Tourney, but also selection of a Champion, possible even Princess' Champion or Guard. Plus another Princess to field a team at Rose Tourney. In effect, a "level" between Baronial Championships and Crown suddenly exists. Especially for fighters from Shires, who currently don't have access to much in that arena. He mused that Pentamere Open - isn't really a Pentamere Tourney. It has enough cache to attract Dukes from other Regions, and therefore is just as intensive as any big Kingdom Tourney.

I've also been skimming the Middle Bridge archives. The issue of Principalities has come up before, but more in the hypothetical tone. Most of the same arguments that I've made get expressed there, and I see less out and out resistance than I would have expected. Though, again, nobody posting was in the position of having to actually support or resist the idea of a specific Principality.

I have, in the past, mentioned that I was against the colored "P" badges for Principality supporters to wear being advocated by an An Tir group working toward the same goal. Though it occurs to me that bearing the current badge used by the Region could save the same purpose, as nearly nobody does it. Hrrrm.

John thinks we should continue on for a while as the Principality Underground. I think we're outgrowing the stage of talking to people we know personally and it's time to begin a more general dialogue. Hence the lack of locking of the posts, lately. I really don't want to set up an E-list if I can help it - that way lies madness, and I think we all know it. But I'm hoping interested parties will start contacting me - evidence that the movement is growing.
femkes_follies: (Default)
Had another penny-drop moment today.

Most of the issues I have with the MK these days can be attributed to sheer inertia. This comes in two flavors:

Size. The Kingdom is ridiculously big. And, the thing is, you don't really notice the "bigness" if you don't go looking. (Well, you might if you're a Kingdom Officer and collating reports from all ~100 or so groups, but by then you've been Sucked In!). Administratively, bureaucratically, it's just insanely large for the way we run things in the SCA.

With this many people and groups - and the accompanying Baronial Investitures, transitions, new group inception, local infighting over territories and groups - it isn't possible for one Couple (even with Heirs to delegate to, and the MK has never been good at delegation) to due justice to everybody's needs. This is why I keep getting told by the old hats when I raise an issue "Well, you can bring it up, but nobody's going to do anything about it until it goes nuclear." Why? Because "management," if you will, has gotten caught in a process where it can do nothing but reel drunkenly from crisis to crisis. There isn't time for anything BUT crisis management. So if you have a problem that isn't a crisis - grab and old, cold tater and wait.

Tradition. Anything that happens three times in the Middle is effectively "traditional." And traditions are sacrosanct. The King and Queen not attending Val Day? *gasp* Don't even say it!! Change the A&S Faire system? Bite your tongue!

In some ways, the Crown is as constrained by Custom and Expectation as they are by their own time and resources. I suspect many a couple has stepped up with the intention of doing things differently - only to find that it's like trying to paddle upstream on a raging, flood-stage river. Making any alteration of significant nature would be the work of several successive Crowns. And you generally don't know for certain that your successors will carry on the job. At which point you have to ask if it's worth the effort (and the sacrifice of the other things that will suffer - see above) to try to make that change. How important is it, really?

The beauty and glory of a Principality would be a comparative sleek and nimble entity, it's history and traditions as yet a blank slate. Yes, still part of the Middle Kingdom. But able to address problems more easily and create solutions that are more than so much paperwork. To develop a new way of interacting with each other that's less impersonal, more responsive to the needs of the people, and more inclined to let talents shine.
femkes_follies: (Default)
The Middle Kingdom still does prohibit regional identity....

Middle Kingdom New Groups Policy:

XIV-700 No geographic area, other than a group officially recognized by the Kingdom Seneschal, may have officers, a champion, or defined borders. Groups listed on the Middle Kingdom Collegium Seneschallorum are officially recognized by the Kingdom Seneschal.

Unless we are now considering Regions to be "groups" rather than "administrative constructs?"

One wonders....
femkes_follies: (Default)
I'm finding it's hard to discuss "pros" and "cons" for becoming of Principality. Why? Because each factor can be either a positive or a negative, depending on how you choose to view it. But, lets hit some of the "pro" highlights, anyway. I'll include caveats as to how these might be seen as negatives by some folks.

1. The primary motivation for most people for moving to Principality status is to have our own Prince and Princess, chosen by Tourney, with accompanying retinue, heraldry, regalia, and splendour. This is the obvious visible aspect. It brings Royalty closer to the populace. It gives more people a chance to participate in that splendour. It fosters a feeling of cohesion. (And some folks will look at it and only see the extra work it also creates.)

2. Delegated Royalty - The Prince and Princess would have the authority to grant AoAs, as well as any Principality Awards that end up being created. So, more Courts at more events. More opportunity for recognition. And, when the King and Queen do come for Royal Courts, those are likely to be shorter and more devoted to the higher awards. Who knows, it might even help alleviate the issue of none of the recipients being present to receive their awards? Now, the downsides to this one: There might be folks who would prefer to receive their AoA from the King and Queen directly. Also, being relieved of the burden of bestowing all those awards might lead the King and Queen to visit less.

3. Wise Counsel - Who better to keep TRMs informed of those residents in Pentamere who are deserving of awards than our own Prince and Princess? They can convey that sort of information directly to TRMs. And their word is likely to carry weight. Also, the Prince and Princess are entitled to sit in on Curia meeetings. And opportunity thus opens itself to fix small problems before they become large problems. This can only be a benefit both to Kingdom and Pentamere. This one is pretty hard for me to find a downside to.

4. Smaller, more remote groups have a greater chance to participate in the most inspiring part of the Game by hosting Coronet or other Principality events as they develop. Though their failure to do so could potentially place a greater burden on the larger groups to do so.

5. Creating a brand new Principality offers an opportunity to improve on the traditions of our Parent Kingdom as well as create new ones, all our own.

6. Cohesion. We needs it. Having a rallying banner and an undisputed official head would, quite frankly, help solidify the Pentamere Regional Army. At the moment, Baronial loyalties are much stronger than nebulous Regional ones. Nobody really takes the Regional offices all that seriously. Can you tell me who the Regional Commander is? Regional Seneschal? Chatelain? No one can get behind any one person, because nobody recognizes any central authority. This makes it difficult to act as a group. Difficult to deal with some aspects of the relative isolation from Kingdom events that has been a fixture of the past few years.

So far, we've mostly examined the matter for the perspective of Pentamere. What about the Middle Kingdom? Is it just asking them to do more work just for our benefit?

Nope. Let's examine some of the pluses from the Kingdom's side.

1. Trusted Vassals. If the Crown is willing to let go of some of the responsibilites of ruling, a Territorial Prince and Princess can significantly ease their burden. Someone else can now shepherd 1/4 of the full status groups of the Kingdom. Minor tussles, complaints, and petitions can get filtered. Recommendations for deserving individuals can be distilled. And the guilt of not being able to visit small groups that haven't seen Royalty in 20 years can be assuaged by the knowledge that the Prince and Princess will be there. The Princess can work her magic as local Patroness of the Arts and Sciences, even if the Kingdom A&S Faire becomes permanently fixed in KY and largely out of the reach of many Pentamerans. The Prince can provide leadership and stability for the Pentamere Regional Army.

2. Training Grounds. While some people worry about our ability to fill those Principality Offices (which for the most part are already filled as Regional Offices) others will note that the greater responsibility will cause the creation of a pool of people more able to move on into Kingdom Offices. Serving the somewhat less demanding role of Prince and Princess will also train more able candidates for the Crown - and possibly aid some of those people in coming to the understanding that they don't really want the Crown... before they've gone and won it. And will create a pool of Royal Peers to draw on. While we have a lot of fine people, most of them don't have a rank that implies that it's appropriate to call on them - they way one often does a Royal Peer. Heck, it would even broaden our ability to bid for Rose Tourney (Traditionally, Rose Tourney is officially hosted by a Lady of the Rose. We have... 3? I think?)

3. Minions! Who doesn't love minions? Admit it. And Minions in pointy hats, at that! The King and Queen would possess another couple to delegate to, to have in their entourage, to add to their Glory at Pennsic and other large events. A Prince and Princess of Pentamere could have served as the Crown's representatives at Border Skirmish this past summer, when both TRMs and TRHs were committed to North Oaken War Maneuvers. Pentamere has a special relationship with the current King of Northshield, and such a visit would have been a Good and Noble thing. A Territorial Prince and Princess who DID travel out of the Kingdom from time to time would also be excellent emissaries to other Kingdoms. The King and Queen get to preside over Coronet Tourney, and then participate in the emotional moment of investing the new heirs. And I don't believe for a minute that anybody stands for Crown who doesn't thoroughly enjoy such moments.

Does a Principality create more work for the Kingdom? Yep. We'll be trying the patience of the Dragon Herald and imposing mightily on the Kingdom Seneschal over the years of founding such a thing. I would hope we could do it with their support and encouragement, strengthened by the wisdom of the Kingdom proud of its new child.

So, before you dismiss the idea out of hand, take a walk with me into the world of What Could Be.....

Picture a Fall Coronet Tourney and Investiture, at Castle Farms in the Barony of Donnershafen. The King and Queen sit in State to watch the best of Pentamere's fighters contend for the Coronet. The victor to be the new heir to the Michigan Maple thrones, and bestow on his best beloved a chaplet of apple and cherry blossoms. Banners fly - both of the Kingdom, and of the Principality. The evening sees the investiture of the current heirs as Prince and Princess - with gleaming silver coronets; as well as their new heirs, our own Lord and Lady of the Lakes who step up to take their place at the head of the Principality of Pentamere. Shouldering the burdens, spreading the glory, and nuturing the Pearl of great Price that is Pentamere.
femkes_follies: (Default)
I'm going to make a few assertions here that you may or may not agree with. No roastin' the postin', please. My blog, my opinions. By all means, disagree. But no ad hominem arguments, please.

The Middle Kingdom is overlarge, unwieldy, bureaucratically bloated, and beyond the capacity of any Crown to manage in any significant way. Management as such tends to involve doing what is Expected by Tradition, fulfilling the requirements for meetings, and stomping out actual Forrest Fires and Erupting Volcanoes.

Historically, the Middle Kingdom has spun off Principalities as a response to its overlargeness making it impossible to minister to all of its people equally. In the case of Calontir and Ealdomere, the "largeness" was pretty much geographic. With Northshield, it was a combination of geographic size and growth of both Northshield and the Middle Kingdom as we know it. More groups, more events, harder for the King, Queen, and Curia to make everybody feel part of the Kingdom.

I'm going to come out here finally and admit that I think it's time to at least discuss the notion of creating another Principality within the Middle Kingdom. And I think that Pentamere is the current best candidate for such a mood. We already have enough geographic isolation to have developed an internal culture of our own. It's a bit diffuse, but it's something to build on.

Before you jump down my throat and shriek and yell about "disloyalty" and "the glory of the Midrealm," lets make sure we're talking about the same thing.

I am not bucking for independence. A Principality of Pentamere would still be very much a part of the Middle Kingdom. Essentially, a territorial Principality is nothing more than a Region with the right to select it's own Prince and Princess.

Let's discuss some of the arguments in both directions:

1. We don't have enough people willing to serve as officers - Well, we already carry a full slate of Regional Officers, who would simply become Principality Officers, instead. Though it is a valid concern. If you speak to people who've been through the creation of a Principality, it's usually the case that those people FROM the Principality who would otherwise serve at the Kingdom level tend to pull back a bit and put their energies into the developing Principality instead. At least for the first 3-5 years. So the better question might be, will the Kingdom be able to cope without being to able to draw much on Pentamerans for offices for a few years? I have no idea how difficult/easy it is to fill those positions, so I can't speak to that. Anyone?

2. Coronet Tourney and Investiture would put at least 2 more necessary events on an already crowded Kingdom Calendar - This is true. However - there is nothing to prevent events outside the Region from taking place the same day. And - I think with the clogged, overloaded calendar as it is, we all need to be giving some serious thought to how badly we really need all of the Cookie Cutter events we have. I suspect that more than one group in the Region would be willing to forgo their "usual" event to host Coronet instead. And, since Coronet is a smaller event than Crown or Coronation - it would give some groups who can't manage a Kingdom Event the chance to host Royalty. There is SOME danger of the larger groups taking excess burden in hosting. And it's something that we'd need to talk about as a region seriously. Setting up some sort of "assigned date" system in advance is a potential solution. Yes, it does place a small burden on the King and Queen of an additional event they are required to attend. Thought, to be frank, I do feel a certain shake up in the Royal Progress might be a healthy thing, as well. Some branches might have to sacrifice traditional event dates. Others might suffer attendance if they're on the calendar opposite Coronet. How many events to we have/need as a Region?

3. Attendance at events by the King and Queen may actually decrease if we have our own Prince and Princess. Possible. Likely even. But there are some larger events in the Region that are pretty frequently graced with Royal Presence. And Coronet would ensure at least one visit per reign. It's likely that most people in Pentamere would therefore end up receiving their AoA from the Prince and Princess, while Courts held by the King and Queen are likely to be devoted to mostly higher awards. Bad thing? Good thing? More courts is likely to equal shorter courts. ;-) And, as a Wise Woman once said, More Royalty = More Fun.

4. More of the resources of the Region would get poured into the Region, rather than the Kingdom. Especially for Regalia, gifts, and donations to the Royal Travel Fund - True again. And we'll have to ask ourselves and evaluate both A. If we can find the resources to BE a source of Pride to the Middle Kingdom as a well managed, well developed Principality with a Prince and Princess who are provided with Regalia fitting to their station AND B. How much would the Kingdom suffer the lack?

5. We don't need to be a Principality - Well, True and False for multiple values of "need." Now, if you have the money, availability, and resources to travel widely across the Kingdom and frequent Kingdom events, you yourself, may not "need" a Principality. Any more than the average stick jock needs there to be A&S classes at an event, or that a Fencing event needs to have a Heavy Tourney. But a lot of the fun and Splendour of the SCA is involved with Royalty. Especially the pomp and circumstance of Crown and Coronation. There are a lot of people who can't travel across the Kingdom for these events. And a lot of relative newbies who are becoming full fledged members and have never experienced this, because they haven't got a reason to go - they've never been. Having a Prince and Princess would allow more people to BE Royalty, Retinue, staff, etc. To attend a Tourney and Coronet Investiture. To host one. It may turn out that we manage to train people and build their confidence enough to host Kingdom events, stand for Crown, etc.

6. A section of Pentamere provides a large segment of the Kingdom's income - OK, this one threw me for a bit. I have no idea if it's true. But the concern stems from some misinformation. Moving to Principality status doesn't take anything from the Kingdom. Including Pentamere. All income collected from membership would still go to the Middle Kingdom.

7. It may regarded as "disloyalty." That it might. The Middle Kingdom has traditionally had to be forced into accepting any new Principality. I hope this has changed. I hope that we can explore the idea with the support of the Kingdom and the expectation that our decision on the matter will be supported - whether to proceed or not. It is certainly the case that the process will not come without pain. There will be people hell-bent for leather to create a Principality as quickly as possible and will see any delay as an attack. There will be people who will regard any more toward Principality status as flat out treason. Most people will fall in the middle. It's going to create a certain amount of turmoil. But growth is always uncomfortable.

More on the positives in a future post.

Play nice in the comments section, kids.

May 2014

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