Politics in Ephia's Well
This page is an introductory guide to some of the basics about Politics in the Sands of Intrigue. These complexities are best fully explored in the game world, but any character would be familiar with some of the following concepts, terms, and realities of politics outlined in this page.
Ephia’s Well presently exists as a dependent of the Sultanate of Baz’eel, but considerable leeway is permitted to its people in matters of governance.
The Accord is the term used to describe the agreement by which the three major factions uphold, protect, and support the Citadel of Ephia’s Well. These three factions are the Fourth Legion of Janissaries (the Sultan’s direct military representatives), the Cinquefoil Rose (a collection of smaller subgroups that controls and defends the Krak des Roses), and the Astronomers of Q’tolip (who maintain the magical ‘Shade’ shield that protects the Well from devastating ash-storms). All three factions can be joined by characters, and all three factions have an important role to play in maintaining, supporting, and directing the future of the Well. All three factions receive a regular wage from the Well’s treasury as well as a small allotment of the miraculous healing water that is produced by the Well.
The Assembly is the term used to describe the governing body of Ephia’s Well that is made up of the “Voiced,” or those characters who have paid for the privileges of full representation. Only the Voiced are invited to speak at Assemblies, and only the Voiced are able to vote for a Legate. It is customary for all Voiced to speak their views at these regular Assembles while wearing their togas, but ultimately it is the elected Legates who directly set policy.
There are also three Political Leagues that all residents (not merely the Voiced) can join. Named after the dye coloring that their supporters often utilize, these leagues are the Gold, Purple, and White. Information about the political goals and tenets of the different Political Leagues are best explored in the game world.
Ephia’s Well is governed day-to-day by two Legates (normally played by PCs) who have considerable control over the direction of the Well. Legates must agree with each other to make changes. It is also possible for the Sultan and his representatives to directly veto any policy, but this is as yet unprecedented. Legates have direct control over the following:
- The Legal System (the writing of new laws, removal of old ones)
- The Judicial System (the judging of major crimes, and the appointment of Magistrates to do so in their absence)
- The setting and lifting of proclamations of Exile upon a character
- The appointment of a Prelate who will take the position of Legate in the event of the Legate’s death
- Tax Policy (controlling the cost of rented property & the setting of a sales tax of items sold by NPC merchants in the Well)
- Allotment Policy (determining how much gold the different factions receive as their share of the Well’s treasury)
- The appointment of special governmental organizations or groups and establishment of their budget
- The appointment of a particular deity as being especially recognized and honored by the Well
- The supervision of the Scribes of the Sublime Garden
None of this requires a DM supervision, all can be done in game by Legates through the systems available to them.
Legates will also play a key role in various DM-involved plots and activities, such as making decisions about war, diplomatic relations, or other policies. As this is an important role, we ask that players take the position of Legate seriously in their role-play and only seek such a role if they are prepared for (among other things) the considerable time commitment required.
A Legate’s Term is approximately 2 months, staggered, such that there is one election for a particular seat every month. When an election period begins, switching from one League to another is temporarily disabled. For a period of five days (the primary period), candidates for Legate can gather signatures in order to be considered as the nominee for their particular league. Candidates can also directly donate gold to the league, with every donation of 3k being equivalent to the signature of a league-member. At the conclusion of this period, the candidate with the highest number of signatures / donations will become the league candidate. There is then a period of five days (the Campaigning Period) for characters to shore up their support, make deals, and campaign.
Finally, there is a voting period for three days, where all Voiced characters are able to vote for one of the three league candidates. The candidate with the most votes at the conclusion of the voting period will become the next Legate.
It is important to note that the treasury of Ephia’s Well (at least, those parts accessible to PCs) is purely dependent upon a player economy. You might think of it like NPC taxation pays for NPC costs, PCs pay for PCs. Legates have control over a treasury which is funded by renting properties, sales tax, Bellows cost, and by characters purchasing their Voice. This treasury is used to fund the factions of the Well, with the Legates dispensing money to faction treasuries from which their wages are then drawn. At least once a month the Legates will provide an Allotment, granting excess from the treasury to each faction of the Accord, who each must convince the Legates why they deserve more than the others. It is entirely possible for the Well’s treasury to go dry, in which case wages for all factions will cease and the Legates will need to find some way to raise funds.
Note from the DMs
Politics in Ephia’s Well is almost entirely player-driven, and the DM team places a considerable amount of trust in players to allow this to happen. We expect and hope that players will take this system seriously and use good taste if and when they choose to engage with it.