Spoilers follow for Sabres of Infinity and Guns of Infinity. If you haven’t played them yet, go do that.
Today, I’d like to talk about what happens in Lords of Infinity if you choose to set your Dragoon Officer up in Aetoria, the political and cultural capital city of the Unified Kingdom. More precisely, I’d like to talk about how to take advantage of that proximity to power and social prestige, and the primary method of turning that proximity to power into genuine power and influence in its own right.
As a Lord of the Cortes, the Dragoon Officer already possesses a measure of political power tied to their birth and noble title, along with whatever his accumulated wealth and military repucation can get him. However, he is still a very small fish in a very large pond. There are nearly six hundred seats in the Cortes, and no matter what happens, the Dragoon Officer can only personally sit in one of them. If the Dragoon Officer wishes to acquire real political power, then he must find ways to influence others to follow his lead, so that he can not only control his single vote, but others as well. To do that, the Dragoon Officer must have access to his fellow Lords of the Cortes, not just physically, but socially as well. To amass and exert influence over others, he needs to make himself seen not just as one more face in a very large crowd, but as an individual player, one known to others as a figure worth trusting and working with.
He does this by joining a club.
Private clubs are a longtime and prominent fixture of Aetorian society. Located in private and well-furnished premises, they allow like-minded individuals of means (usually banebloods) to interact in a casual milieu. In the Cortes, the Dragoon Officer is one voice among hundreds, but in the sound-proofed rooms of a private club, he is able to speak privately and candidly with other club members, in places where they are almost certain not to be overheard. The outcomes of Cortes votes are often determined by backroom dealings, and private clubs are the backrooms.
The clubs themselves are well aware of this, of course, and most are very selective about who they allow as members. The more prestigious a club’s membership is, the more exclusive it becomes, as the great and the good take pains to ensure that they cannot be inconvenienced by the presence of their “lessers”. If the player intends for their Dragoon Officer to wield real political power, then they’ll have to find a way to meet, or sidestep the often-stringent requirements for membership in one of these private clubs. If they succeed, the Dragoon Officer could be rewarded with a level of access and influence among the major players of Cortes politics vastly disproportionate to his relatively humble standing within the Tierran aristocracy.
Likewise, the player will have to be careful of which club to pursue: the Dragoon Officer can only join one, and each club has its own requirements and advantages to membership. For example, the extremely exclusive Rendower Club will only accept members with royal blood, which means an Aetorian Dragoon Officer (with a distant, but certifiable link to the House of Rendower) would be able to get in far more easily than a Wulframite or Cunarian Dragoon. However, getting in means getting to interact on familiar terms with closer relations of the royal family, including major players within the Cortes.
Players preferring to amass wealth instead of political influence might find it a better idea to try and get themselves into the somewhat less-prestigious Shipowners Club, one of the few private clubs in Aetoria which allows membership to the baneless. A rather less hidebound organisation than the Rendower, the Shipowners are primarily business-oriented, and count among their members the heads of shipping companies, banking houses, and some of the foremost captains of Tierra’s naiscent industrial economy.
Of course, these are not the only choices. There is also the prestigious Admiralty Club, the firebrand Reform Club, and the newly-formed Overseas Club, the latter founded to allow veterans of the War in Antar to keep in touch. What club the Dragoon Officer chooses to join will determine the political players, factions, and ideas he is exposed to. It will make certain paths easier, and others much more difficult. It is a choice which will determine just how much the player will be able to access and influence the political leaders of the realm. As Tierra grapples with the repercussions of their long war with Antar and the very soul of a kingdom is debated and voted upon on the Cortes floor, it may become a choice which will determine whether the kingdom emerges from its postwar crisis better off, worse…
Or at all.
New installments of A Soldier’s Guide to the Infinite Sea and An Adventurer’s Guide to the Fledgling Realms are up. As usual, these worldbuilding articles are funded by my backers on Patreon. If you’d like to see more of this sort of content, or get perks like early access and the ability to vote on future articles, then please chip in if you can.