The Grand Game
The Grand Game, or simply The Game, is the term applied to the politics and intrigue of the nobles and rulers of Edora, and more specifically, the Vintian Imperium. In the south, the political scene is an incredibly complicated "game" or "dance" of intrigue, seduction, ambition and scandal, an approach to politics, high culture and morality that is quintessentially Vintian. The northern kingdoms Game consist of more feudal and strict movements in higher circles, relative to it's southern one. Yet, the political and familial infighting that characterizes the Game is as common there as everywhere else, even if somewhat less subtle and blunt.
The Game and it's players have no clear origin, it is more of a loose system that developed and changed (for better and worse) over the millenniums of its existence. Almost every act of great importance done through history has its roots in the Game. A whisper passed in a ball or a document unearthed by a spy. The game had, and continues to have its fair share of plotting, scheming and even outright murder. A famous co-ordination of the game is the The Twin Assassinations , in which both the heads of the Vintian Imperium and Andorian Church were killed by nobles and other "players" that wanted to seize power in both regions.
Each play can take from mere moments to decades, as goals change and powers flux. To succeed, a player must gain the upper hand over it's rivals. This is done by forming alliances with the correct people and by hiring spies, minstrels, courtesans and even Wizards. The Dwarven version of the game is possibly the longest and most convoluted of all, with plans usually stretching over centuries and comprising of thousands of steps. Music, masks, cosmetics, and dancing are key parts of the Vintian society, and masquerade balls naturally become battlefields of the game. Both allies and enemies are traditionally invited to such events, which gave rise to several institutes that train and prepare Bards, traveling performers also trained in espionage, larceny, and assassination. While the term has since been popularized and now used almost any ministerial that perform, it remains true to it's origins in the Vintian Imperiun. Matching wits with bards is one of the Game's biggest thrills, and nobles usually welcome bards with open arms even when suspecting ill will. Control of these agents is a vital part of the Game. Every word, gesture, and facial expression is all measured and evaluated for strength and weakness, claiming that the Game is like a card game played to the death. Players who do not play the Game well, or reveal their cards to their enemies, might cause his enemies paint them and their allies to look like villains. Additionally, finding evidence of someone else wrongdoing might give a player a new angle of leverage and extend their circle of influence. The Game is never truly over, and continues as long as power exists.
Most players of the Game are of noble decent, and have goals related to their status and their power. Other notable players affect the balance of power and the movement of the game, such as bards or even entire organizations like the Pacificatores could be swayed to the side of a particular player.
The to common people, the game makes very little sense and they care little for it. Some scholars and more educated folks understand the implications of the game on trade, borders and alliances and would pay attention to the moves of the game to predict where and when they can profit as a "side effect". Those who practice such endeavors do so while taking extreme care not to be considered players themselves.
Current Date: 2nd of Latsum, 1572