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How to Build an Aristocracy, and Accomplish Our Season Four Goal



OOC: Season Four is upon us! I have been considering Taldor's overarching goal, "Establish a new aristocracy in Varisia with loyalties to Taldor," and I realized that this objective is both very difficult and incredibly vague. So, I'd like to offer some help to Taldan PCs, by showing some ways of working together to accomplish the goal. The ideas for things to do shown below might be minor by themselves; instead, they represent a part of a larger effort which will accomplish Lady Morilla's goal. In addition, they are unlikely to draw the ire of other factions at your tables. Enjoy!

The 16th of Arodus is nearly upon us, a date which coincides with the first of many Pathfinder Society-sponsored expeditions to Varisia. As we know, Lady Morilla has given all of us a common objective for us to pursue while in Varisia: the establishment of a Varisian aristocracy. Such a change to the local social order would prove a very difficult task, if undertaken by a series of individuals working independently. How does one go about forming an aristocracy?

By helping them do it themselves. It is a natural process for a society to undergo; even Andoran has its aristocrats, though under a different name. All we have to do is give the fledgling social order of Varisia a chance to express itself.

If there is one pastime that is a favorite of the aristocracy, it is the arts. Attendance at the opera is only one form of aristocratic expression; there are plenty of fundraisers, dinners, and other social gatherings that go along with being involved in the arts. All Varisia requires is development of a schedule of artistically-related events, development of their "scene," so to speak.

On the 17th of Arodus, the premiere of The Fangs of Ambition, an epic play dealing with the story of Varisia's own city of Korvosa, will be held at the House of the Immortal Son in Oppara. It will be quite a lavish affair, an envy of the world of the kind that only Taldor can produce. Where the Varisian elite could only hear of these wonders of the world, soon they will be able to experience the wonder of Taldan opera themselves. Fangs will be adapted for the Varisian audience, in preparation of a Varisian production. The opera of Taldor will come to Varisia!

Of course, along with the production itself will come the dinners, the fundraisers, the balls, and all the other events which are associated with the well-established and aristocratically-inclined Taldan arts. Starting with Fangs, the Varisian elite will have the chance they need to express themselves, thus placing them well on their way to the established aristocracy they already crave. There is plenty to be done, of course. The perfect production is not built in a day.

The local culture will have to be researched, as well as the intricacies of the language, so as to ensure a proper adaptation.

Ideal sites for social gatherings will have to be found and opened up to the production.

Costumes, scenery, and other props will have to be made. That will require talented Varisian craftsmen and laborers.

Worthy attendees and donors will have to be identified. The production must attract the Varisian elite.

For the production to succeed, it will have to be advertised. The most effective methods of advertisement will have to be found.

The local arts culture will have to be brought on board. Support will have to be built among Varisia's entertainers, musicians, and artists.

The Varisian bureaucracy, both official and unofficial, will have to be dealt with. Procedures for attaining all the necessary official permissions and permits will have to be researched. Also, the Sczarni hold influence in the cities, and ways to deal with them will have to be learned. The last thing a production needs is a union dispute which halts it entirely.

And of course, the venue itself will have to be found, examined, measured, and reserved, and it will have to be perfect.

Certainly, there are plenty of things to be done to ensure that this first production brings the maximum amount of happiness to the Varisian people. Though individual actions may appear small, it is the combined efforts of all of us that will let us succeed at the goal which Lady Morilla has given us. Once this first production of The Fangs of Ambition is complete, the successive productions of Taldan plays will become easier and easier, as the local scene and the local social order becomes more and more established. I wish all of you the best in your expeditions to Varisia, and I join you in wishing prosperity to the Empire as a result.

Lady Gabrielle d'Apcher

Sovereign Court

Well, it sounds like we're gonna have ourselves a hootinany!

I'll make sure those permits get filled out nice and right.

Grand Lodge *

hum sounds promising, i have been working for the honor of Taldor for a long time

but what i feel we are doing is a bit off, what we should to perhaps is deal with internal problems before starting somthing with other nations

maybe then we could be so much more

thanks for reading this letter

Benrill Cleric of Gozreh

Sovereign Court ***

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Lady Violetta d’Armand Countess du Plessis is the picture of supernatural beauty – lithe of form, she appears draped in a clinging gown seemingly spun from dewdrops and strands of silvery light, honey-hued hair draped with a headdress of glittering jewels and platinum threads lightly blowing as though in an unfelt breeze, eyelids shadowed in actual shadow, the kohl-like darkness offset by eyelashes seemingly dusted with tiny diamonds. She glides into the room, a vision of sorcery and grace, her limitless vanity made tolerable only by an incredible charisma. The fear and desire of onlookers is palpable; she adores it.

“Lady Gabrielle… I have heard lovely things about this play. Your idea certainly has merit.

I was actually born in Varisia. I was sent to Oppara for school at a young age, but as a youth I was well exposed to the culture of the land. Varisia and it’s fortunes wil always be close to my heart, and I am overjoyed that we have moved forward to embrace it.

There are few things more beloved in that superstitious land than music, song, and dance; bringing high art into the land is probably the least painful way to expose it to Taldan sophistication and mores; indeed, it is an inevitability that wonderful new actors and performers will be discovered there if performances are eventually cast locally. I do think it’s the best way to begin an acceptance of Taldor; that, and awareness of Taldor’s opposition to Cheliax, a common enemy.

However, it must be remembered that the Varisians are a proud people; they have a rich and ancient culture, and a very strong sense of cultural identity. To try to impose a duplication of Taldor there will be a mistake. The play you mention is involved with Varisian themes, but – and my apologies if I sound the critic, as I know nothing of its subject matter – it must demonstrate a respect for Varisian values, not an attempt to simply use a Varisian story to explicate Taldan mores. They will react negatively to such an exercise, for they are proud, but they know the more ”civilized” lands regard them as backwards and superstitious.

One of the great misconceptions – and this is especially problematic, I think, in Varisia – is that Taldor is very elitist and “classist”; in fact, it is a place which greatly rewards merit, but this is a fact seldom emphasized.

The idea that Taldan patronage can create opportunities for Varisians in Varisia will go far, I think.

As for the Szarni… they are a fact of life. A people who mistrust authority tend to seek social order in gangs; we see it in poor neighborhoods in large cities all the time. Varisia just happens to take this to a national scale. The Szarni are tolerated because they DO bring local security and opportunity to Varisians, especially those of low birth. But the Varisian is practical, and when opportunities for security and opportunity arise, they will take it, Szarni or no; they will weaken in time, but to try to attack the Szarni directly is to attack Varisian families. Best to work with the Szarni; they will fade in time.

If your play is very fine, the Szarni will not interfere with it; they are not foolish enough to stand between the Varisian and his entertainment.

One more thing – these are not a sophisticated people… yet. The Varisian likes a good show, so any entertainment there must deliver that. Think of what works in Oppara, and then make it a little more colorful, a little louder, the dance a little faster. And the pomp and parties? A little gaudier, the food a little spicier. These are not a subtle people!”


Lady Gabrielle smiles at the entrance of Lady Violetta d'Armand, apparently happy to play hostess to such a lovely guest. With a wave of her delicate hand, she arranges for a fresh pot of tea for both of them. Its flavor is a confirmation of Lady Violetta's assessment of Taldan taste, begging the taster's introspection.

"Thank you for the advice, Lady Violetta. I am glad that there is one amongst us with a measure of expertise on the subtleties of Varisian culture. It is fortunate that this particular avenue of pursuit requires nothing but cooperation with the Varisian people and the promotion of their culture."

She takes in the scent of her tea, as well as a short sip, before continuing. "It would of course be best if as little conflict with the Sczarni was experienced as possible. Though it is best to work with them, what I am more concerned with is their motive for profit. When the prospect of foreign gold is dangled before them, we can only assume that they will seek as much of it as they possibly can. If enough local excitement is built up, however, they may yield, so as to, as you say, not stand between the Varisian and his entertainment."

Sovereign Court ****

Well hopefully this year will have fewer delivery missions. I'm a little weary from. ...obtain...and some dreary backwater ... I was seriously thinking I'd died and reincarnated as a porter.

Sovereign Court *****

O, how I do sincerely wish the Crown would reconsider this stratagem and concentrate efforts on restoring the Monarchy to Galt.

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