Gallan Court

Like any royal home, the palace in Corus is a place of decadence and extravagance. Everything from the stables to the throne room is built out of the most quality materials, and the royal family has spared no expense to turn their private estate into a place of awe and grandeur for the rest of the country to look up to. However, nowhere is the food more lavish, the paintings rarer, or the clothes more expensive than in the Royal Court of Galla. Located on the upper floors of the palace, the Royal Court cannot be contained into any one room or event. Technically a social circle of the highest class, the Royal Court consists of the highest ranking government officials, members of the 50 noble families of Galla, and a few select other people. Of course, this is an unimaginably large amount of people, but only a small fraction of them ever receive an invitation to the palace, and an even fewer number have any sort of political influence at court. Generally, the Gallan Royalty will be hosting anywhere from 100-200 noblmen and noblewomen. These guests either live in prepared guest rooms or, if the nobles are particularly wealthy, in a personal townhouse in Corus. The Royal Family hosts regular balls, dinners, and other social events where the nobles mix and mingle, seeking spouses for their children and currying favor with those who matter. Visiting the Royal Court involves playing a large and complex game. This game is ruled by a series of rules and niceties, a delicate dance of manners, compliments, subtle threats, and backdoor deals. Those who win the game gain power, and those who loose are left only with an opportunity to improve their standing during their next visit to court.

This page is split into three major sections. The first talks about some of the most important or influential figures at Court. These are the people who have a huge influence on the country and how its run. The second section focuses on parts of the court that have less of an impact, but that might be interesting people to feature in your game. The final section has ideas for how the Court can be used as a part of your campaign. Ideas for PCs, adventure hooks, and secrets for the GM are all included in this section.

Major Figures of the Court

These individuals are those who currently hold (or held) a good deal of power, and possess the ability to leave a lasting impact in court. Each has their own motivations, their own alliances, and their own connections that have helped them obtain the position of influence that they now currently hold.

Jonathan of Contei: The current King of Galla, Jonathan inherited the throne three years ago when his father passed away from illness. Jonathan is average height with the dark black hair and eyes that define the Contei line. At 23 years old, he is the youngest monarch that Galla has seen in over 150 years, and he is quite aware of his inexperience. Due to his relative youth and lack of experiences in command positions, Jonathan has found himself relying on others in court more than his predecessors had. While he doesn't enjoy this feeling, he realizes that he does not yet have the knowledge needed to effectively run a kingdom without relying on help from those around him. He isn't naive enough to believe that others aren't taking advantage of this opportunity, and he is extremely vigilant to discover who truly wants to assist him and who is simply using this opportunity to obtain more power over the going-ons of the country. Additionally, he is single, an odd trait for a member of the royal family of his age. He isn't really interested in marrying, but he realizes the importance of producing an heir as soon as he can. Time has found Jonathan dragging his feet, for though he has met no shortage of women seeking the crown, he has yet to seriously court any of them.

Jonathan is rather idealistic for a member of the nobility. He spent much of his youth sneaking out of the palace with some of his close friends and exploring the city. Through these excursions, he met George Cooper, who is now the King of Thieves in Galla (see Court of the Rogue), and saw a variety of things that many noble children aren't exposed to. He saw the suffering of the common folk, and these experiences have left him with a desire to improve their positions. Unfortunately, he has met a large amount of resistance from several of his initiatives, which include rights for servants and support for the lower class's economic stability. Many powerful nobles have been blocking his efforts, and his goals have earned him a certain amount of scorn at court, although nobody will say as much to his face. Jonathan plans to eventually launch offensive initiatives against Attica and Miristan, but at the moment he is struggling to keep Galla from being eaten up from threats on all sides.

Roald of Contei (Deceased): Jonathan's father (and the previous monarch of Galla) was known by many as the Peacekeeper. He ceased the expansionist tendencies of the kings before him, and sought to obtain peace treaties with Attica and Miristan. Like his son, Roald's positions aroused a certain amount of resentment among the noble class, though he had an almost ironclad hold on those who served him. Roald was a master of politics and social maneuvering, and he made several strategic moves that established himself as a master royal, such as marrying an Attican princess, although she died in childbirth. Roald died three years ago, leaving the country to begin folding in on itself in power struggles.

Rodger of Contei: Rodger is Jonathan's cousin and the last living member of the Contei line. Rodger is extremely well liked among the nobles in court, which he owes in large part to his looks. Often called the most handsome man in Galla, Rodger has all of the classic Contei traits: black hair, black eyes, and a strong jawline, and he makes these traits his own. Additionally, he is a master clairsentient, and his skills have assisted in the arrest of no small number of criminals. Additionally, he is a talented fencer, and many have suggested that he take the post of King's Champion (which is currently vacant), although he has declined numerous times. While everybody is aware that Rodger is next in line for the throne, the nobles are also acutely aware that if both Jonathan and Rodger pass away before they marry and have children, the throne will be up for grabs; anybody with even a distant relationship to the Contei line - which includes over half of the court - would have an equal claim to the throne. Such an event would result in civil war, but there have already been two attempts on Rodger's life since his cousin took the throne.

Lady Sithara of Nevereln: The Duchess Sithara (officially a Duchess, though she goes by Lady) is perhaps one of the most powerful people in court. As the matriarch of House Nevereln and a permanent resident of the Court, the Lady Sithara has control both over the affairs of one of the most influential noble families and much of the policy making that goes on in the castle. Her fiefdom contains Port Cain, and her family is responsible for a full fourth of commerce in the nation. This gives her a huge amount of leverage with other nobles, as she can use the economic power to her advantage. At 57 years of age, the Lady Sithara still has the elegance of her youth, but she has an aura of authority that is hard for any of the younger nobles, including the King, to match. However, she generally doesn't actively try to force policies that benefit her, since she is already happy with her family's position. Over the past decade, she has been taking young noblewomen under her wing to teach them ways to climb the political ladder and obtain positions of power inside their own family instead of simply trying to marry into an influential family. In recent years she has devoted time to supporting King Jonathan as he solidifies his position and establishes his authority among the noble class. These actions presumably stem from her close friendship with the late King Roald and her position as a surrogate mother for the King after his mother's death in childbirth. However, she can only do so much, and she has encountered resistance from several other noble families who are trying to use this period to establish a place for themselves. She now finds herself flexing political muscles that she hasn't used for over a decade, and people are beginning to remember why the Lady Sithara is a noblewoman that one does not cross.

Duke Tirragan of Stonemountain: Duke Tirragan leads the Stonemountain family, which is one of the four most powerful families in Galla. While he rarely appears at Court himself, he makes his opinions known through his several sons, one of which can always be found at Court. As the leading conservative of the noble class, Tirragan has the backing of nearly 60% of nobles in terms of ideology. He has been bitterly fighting many of the initiatives that King Jonathan has been starting, seeing them as the death of the noble class and the rise of peasant rabble. Unfortunately for the King, Tirragan's defiance has prevented him from launching many of the projects that he has proposed. Additionally, Duke Tirragan is currently supporting several old, but less powerful, families in their attempt to rise up the social food chain, which has made life difficult for many of the newer, more influential noble families. However, Duke Tirragan's attitude and actions are balanced by the fact that Stonemountain provides more army troops than any other fiefdom, and his forces have been instrumental in defending the southern portion of the Galla/Miristan border in the past years. Tirragan's sacrificial actions have given him leverage at court, and he isn't afraid to use it. Tirragan is a man fiercely loyal to both the country and his ideals, and, even if he doesn't agree with the current King on issues, he will defend the country more staunchly than other families would be willing to do.

Duke Baird of Queenscove: Duke Baird is the head of Queenscove, one of the four most powerful noble houses in Galla (with the other three being Nevereln, Stonemountain, and, of course, Contei). In addition to this position, Duke Baird is a talented Empath and has received the title of Royal Healer. Some say that he has been blessed by the gods, and his skills certainly live up to that claim. He was unable to save King Roald however, and he still repents every month for his inability to save him. Duke Baird is rather uninterested in politics, and he generally refuses to talk politics with other noblemen, leaving that business to his wife. Instead, he spends his time keeping the palace free of illness, which can spread like wildfire in a place as packed as the royal house. Additionally, Duke Baird has an interest in the breeding of hunting growlithe. His kennels supply more well-bred pokemon for the crown than all of the other kennels combined, and he has a team of excellently trained arcanine.

Garrath of Naxandal (The Elder): Garrath the Elder (called such because his only son shares his name) is a high ranking member of House Naxandal and current Training Master of the palace. After serving as a full knight for several years, Garrath took on the role of general for Roald's only major conflict against the Miristani Army. He then retired to a life of leisure in a country estate, but Roald called him back to court ten years ago to take on the post of Training Master. In this position, Garrath is responsible for training the young noble boys as pages, which is meant to prepare them for their jobs as Squires and Knights. Garrath is old, tough, and a master swordsman. Under his tutelage, the quality of knights in Galla has increased dramatically, and members of Court respect him and his authority. A vocal conservative, Naxandal has resisted many of Jonathan's proposals, mostly relating to the treatment of criminals and the reduction of noble lands, and this has led many nobles to see him as a powerful voice of reason to influence the king. Unfortunately for them, he has put full support behind the recent proposals to increase the rights of commonborn citizens, which he points to as one of the primary tenants of chivalry. This has caused a drop in popularity among the noble class, but he still commands complete respect and deference as one of the most experienced warriors in court.

Garrath of Naxandal (The Younger): Garrath the Younger spent his last two years as a page with his father as an authority both in the home and the practice courts. At 23 years old, Garrath the Younger has spent several years as one of King Jonathan's closest friends. The two spent their years as a page together playing pranks and exploring the city. His political views are in line with his King's, and he lends Jonathan his full political support, though it isn't much. This has led to several instances of him butting heads with his father. Garrath is in and out of court. As a full knight with potential to become a man of equal skill as his father, Garrath is often travelling in service to the crown. He has spent a large amount of time at the southern border defending Galla from Attican raiding parties. Recently however, he has been spending more time at court to lend support to Jonathan.

Halt Lannister: Halt is a man resented and feared at Court by just about everybody. Halt is a retired ranger, and in his retirement he took over the logistics of the rangers. Then, seven years ago, King Roald appointed Halt as the spymaster. While this appointment is not officially decreed, everybody is aware of Halt's status. Unfortunately, Halt is a commoner, born and raised on a farm near Port Cain, and the nobles that make up the majority of the Court look down their noses at Halt. However, Halt spares no effort in obtaining information for the King. He has ears in the Court of the Rogue, the Rangers, and the militaries of several other countries. Halt doesn't help his popularity by quietly poking around in noblemen's affairs and reporting offences to the King's Law. Many men would like to see Halt dead, but he has gotten Galla out of a couple close scrapes in the past couple years. Even the King, who expresses his heartfelt thanks, is never quite sure where he stands with this mysterious archer.

Princess Zeena Han: Princess Zeena is part of the ambassador's party to Galla from Gavent. She is a fourth ranking princess, meaning she is only connected to the royal family through Emperor's great great grandfather and has no chance at becoming a royal of any power. However, Zeena is young, beautiful, and ambitious. She volunteered to come to Galla as both a show of goodwill from Gavent and to see if she might be able to marry herself into a position as Queen. Zeena and her handmaidens are extremely popular with the men of Tortall, though they have not yet spent much time in the country. Zeena has a large amount of competition to contend with, though the possibility of an alliance with the far off country may tip the balance in her favor.

Tian Han: Tian is the official ambassador to Galla from Gavent. He is the Emperor's nephew, and his presence here is a sign that the Emperor wants an alliance between the two nations to work. Tian has absolute loyalty to his Emperor, but he is enjoying his stay in Galla very much. However, he will never forget his mission in this country, and he has been seeking several private audiences with some of the more powerful members of Court. Zeena has discussed her plans with him, and he has given her the official support of the Emperor in her endeavors to win Jonathan's heart.

Minor Figures of the Court

These members serve much more minor roles, and are meant more as people of interest for a campaign rather than an explanation on the true movers and shakers of the Court. However, that isn't to say these people won't become powerful, they just haven't reached that point yet.

Sir Zairon of Jessel: Sir Zairon is a retired knight belonging to an extremely minor noble family. He really has no political power at Court, and he spends much of his time training young commoners in the art of the blade. Many look down on him, but he doesn't show his face at Court enough for the scorn to really matter to him. Currently he is working with Halt to improve some new ranger's ability to fence, which is becoming a more and more vital skill for the police force.

Archpriestess Daniella Clearwater: As one of the leading religious figures in the Church of Mew, Archpriestess Daniella represents the interests of the multitude of churches and temples throughout Galla. She rarely visits Court however, and tends to weigh in on political decisions only when they relate to the churches, or when a church petitions her to advocate a position on an issue.

Raul of Silvendale: Raul ran in the same crowd as Jonathan and Garrath as children, and, like Garrath the Younger, Raul has adopted a progressive attitude and is lending support to Jonathan. His family isn't particularly influential, and he doesn't have much opportunity to spend time at court. Raul is the best swordsman of his generation, though he has been spending his talents defending his home fief from wild pokemon instead of defending the country, which some nobles have faulted him for. A giant of a man with long blond hair tied back in a ponytail, Raul is unusual in the fact that he fights with a greatsword instead of the more traditional fencing weapons. Raul wants to take the title of King's Champion, but he doesn't have the status or influence to win support from the noblemen.

Weildon of Jannis Hill: Weildon is the Master of Ceremonies of the Court. This means that he is ultimately responsible for all of the balls, the social gatherings, the festivals, and parades that involve the Court or the royal family. A rather stuffy individual, Weildon is the nightmare for pages and squires, who often find themselves working under Weildon as waiters for the various banquets and balls.

Lady Delia of Eldorn: Lady Delia is a new arrival at Court. She comes from a family of moderate influence, and she is breathtakingly beautiful. Like many of the noble women at Court, she is seeking the hand of Jonathan, and Jonathan has showed interest in Delia. She has monopolized on this interest, although she hasn't made as much progress as she might like to. Outside of her attempted romances, she is representing her fief along with her brother, and she has used her looks to convince several noblemen to back proposals that would be advantageous to her fief. She realizes that she doesn't have the outright political power that others do, but in the month that she's been at the palace, she has already made a marked difference on some of the policies being enacted.

The Court in Your Campaign

While all this information on the people of Galla's nobility might be interesting, this page has yet to supply you with any explicit ideas on how to incorporate the Court into your game. This section will provide ideas for both players and game masters to use at the table. Additionally, at the bottom of this page is a collapsible labeled "DM Secrets." Do not open this if you are a player in Galla (or who is likely to visit Galla). If in doubt, ask your GM before looking at that information.

Ideas for Players There are a variety of ways for players to get involved in the Court even before the game starts. The easiest way for players to get involved in the Court is for them to be members of the Gallan noble family. Age is important here, as it will likely correlate with their level. Most noble boys come to court to become a page and start their journey to become a knight at the age of 10. This isn't set in stone, as some do choose to come later, but they are few. Of course, not all pages take the martial artist class. Ace trainers are also quite common, as are researchers. It is recommended that these individuals take at least one or two feats such as "I Can Take a Hit" or "Weapon of Choice" to reflect their combat training at Court. Nobles who possess the gift of magic have a choice, they can either become a knight (and develop their skills at the palace in a special program), or get a more thorough education at the City of the Gods. As young trainees, your adventures would involve training under Garrath the Elder, an annual summer camp somewhere in the country for additional training, visits home, fights with other pages, secret voyages into Corus, and any other trouble you could dream

For characters who want to start as full knights or graduates of sorcery programs, they should be at least 18 years of age and have obtained skills of at least level 12 or so. These characters would have much more freedom than pages or squires, as their only duty is to the King if he requests their service, which he generally will only do in times of war. They could travel together and go on adventures, but Court would remain a place that they would constantly return to, a home base of sorts. Of course, if you are interested in intrigue, your GM could supply you with no shortage of plots. It could also serve as a wonderful backdrop for a war campaign, as the PCs are sent by Jonathan to combat threats from around the country. It could even be the basis for a dungeon crawl style game, where the PCs are searching for ancient artifacts in the ruins of Galla to save their country and liege.

However, a game can include the Gallan Court if the PCs aren't of noble blood. There are a multitude of commoners throughout the palace. The Army, Royal Guard, and Ranger Corps all have warriors stationed in the palace for security. Serving boys constantly get under people's feet, and they often sneak into the training ground to learn how to use the sword (often with help from Sir Zairon). It would be entirely conceivable for half of the party to be nobles undergoing page or magic training while the other half consists of commoner boys living in the city and working in the palace. The games would be a mix of the nobles venturing into the city with their common friends and the nobles sneaking their friends into the palace and pretending they were also noble boys. The current King underwent this very process, and a campaign could even center around himself and his friends as they were growing up.

For an espionage focused game. The PCs could be spies for Galla that investigate events both in Attica and Miristan, but also inside Galla's own borders. They would report in regularly to Halt, the spymaster, and may even be asked to spy on nobles every once in a while. This style of campaign would involve long stretches of time away from Court with sporadic instances of large amounts of time investigating some nobleman or woman.

Even when PCs have no direct connection to the Court, it can still be an occasional visiting place for PCs. The grandeur and majesty of the palace are second to nothing in Galla (except perhaps the temples in the City of the Gods). Anytime PCs perform a service of significant national benefit for Galla, they should be invited to Court so that the King can officially express his gratitude to the PCs. These invitations should not be handed out lightly however, and should only be used when the PCs have done something truly heroic. It is a chance for the PCs to feel important and that they have enacted some sort of significant change in the country's future.

Only open this collapsible if you are a GM or a player that will not be interacting with the Gallan Court (if you are a PC in Galla, stay away).

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