noble titles and StockNPC(ing) StickySerial

titles. The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001
…terms used to designate degrees of sovereignty, nobility, and honor.

Perhaps starting to talk about stocking the castle starts with some idea of noble titles.
It would be unusual to have important nobles attending on a casual court, but more likely for a formal court. IOW, an earl might want to be the steward for a king that holds important decisions at the castle court while a tightly held royal decision making process (like Amber) or a casual court (like Random might favor) would not confer serious advantage to a steward.
In the latter cases, the castle staff would likely be educated commoners, priests, or foreign experts like Bill Roth.


In history, being the king’s secretary might or might not make you a very important person yourself. IMC, the steward is a lord, the chatelaine is a dame, while the rest of the staff are commoners.
So how indeed do we populate a castle staff? We manage resources. Note we probably only generate key positions.

  • Steward: seneschal and leader of staff
    • Royal Secretary: king’s time (may also work for queen)
    • Queen’s Own: queen’s confidant
    • Master Clerk: royal paper trail
    • Chatelaine: head of domestics
      • valets (more often personal to each visitor)
      • maids
      • footmen
      • pages
      • launderers
      • musicians
    • Headgroom: stables
      • grooms
      • couriers
      • coachmen
      • trainers
    • Smith: weapons and metalwork
    • Chef: kitchens
      • cellarer
      • cooks
      • scullery
    • GroundsKeep: gardens and grounds
      • herbists/medicinal
      • arborists
      • landscapers
    • Librarian: family archives
    • Commander of Royal Guard: elite troops
      • in your campaign, this position might be equal or superior to the Steward
      • guards: several shifts for 24/7 duty
    • Secretary of Finance: IMC this is treasury, trade, taxes, etc.
    • Secretary of Portfolios: IMC this is diplomacy, treaties, justice, etc.

If your court is more ornate, you add clerks for each important office.
IMC, castle officers send their paper through the Master Clerk, do their own, or pay for clerking out of their own pocket. Some ministers use nephews, daughters or friends.
IMC, a few positions not listed above are taken care of informally by family members.

  • Physician
  • Education
  • Arcane Arts
  • Environment

With this list in hand, you can start to fill in the main positions and quickly realize the basic size of the entire staff given 24 hour duties. IMC, the complete staff is not on 24 hour call and yet I have over a hundred headcount.
[updates: here]

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4 comments

  1. We have a complete stable staff, courtesy of Brenda. But we generate other positions as needed.
    Don’t forget that Vialle needs a secretary, and possibly a staff, too.

  2. Do you count the politocos among this?
    The different ministries (such as the Foreign and Diplomatic, Defence, Finance … even discounting areas such as Health and Education). Or do you shunt all this into a separate area, with a Prime/High/First Minister?
    And all of these would need their secretaries, and loads of clerks (if you have a medieval court).
    Medieval Courts tended to be peripatetic, just because they placed such a huge burden on the infrastructure. The Tudors went on Royal Progresses only partly to avoid the plague. And the news that Elizabeth was intending to have ‘slept here’ filled her loyal subjects with appalled horror (she bankrupted many).
    Lady Macbeth’s speech, when Duncan arrived with his Court to stay the night was clearly made smiling through clenched teeth … a sentiment that many must have echoed, even if they did not got to her lengths to deal with the menace:
    Duncan. See, see, our honour?d hostess!
    The love that follows us sometime is our trouble,
    Which still we thank as love. Herein I teach you
    How you shall bid God ?eyld us for your pains,
    And thank us for your trouble.
    Lady M. All our service,
    In every point twice done, and then done double,
    Were poor and single business, to contend
    Against those honours deep and broad wherewith
    Your majesty loads our house: for those of old, 24
    And the late dignities heap?d up to them,
    We rest your hermits.

  3. In Hard Lessons we have a Court (and government) in transition. The King (Benedict) prefers to leave most operational decisions to his prime minister. The PM has three direct-reports: The Lord Chamberlain, who runs the Castle and immediate Court; The Chairman of the Amber National Security Council, responsible for military matters; and the Lord Privy Seal, who heads the PM’s cabinet of goverment ministers. (See the whole thing here. )

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