IMC :: you’re a royal; clique or not?

— JZ wrote:
> > —–Original Message—–
> > From: Arref
> > But I’ve always thought a campaign that explored the cliques
> > that really reflected their patron would be a nifty exploration
> > of Amber court. I’ve also suspected that the scions of Amber
> > don’t have true cliques because of what they might reveal.
> I guess I’m not getting your meaning for cliques in this instance.
> In my games, I assume that each of the members of the royal family
> inevitably collects followers.

I see a great difference between ‘followers’, those under your command and/or hangers-on and the personal clique that reflects your psychology and social wants.

> Some do it more formally than others.
> Some founded knighthoods. Some just have their usual
> band of cronies. It’s sort of a mix of “the sort of assets
> that the royal values” and “the sort of person the
> royal attracts.” So in a troupe style game like the one Franklin
> describes, one session could involve members of Corwin’s knights
> of the Silver Rose, another session could have Flora’s
> sycophants scheming at a ball, another session could be
> a poker game with some of Random’s old drinking buddies.

I suppose my meaning is the difference between the cliques you describe that might be true of any shadow court, knights, sycophants, drinking buddies and old war veterans….
…and the notion I infer from Zelazny’s canon that such people are trivial or Very Rare.
Now true, Zelazny carries us along with that masterfully sparse style that has allowed us to create between the lines, so how much time would he spend on describing sycophants? Well, in fact he describes one: Lord Rein. Who is hardly in reciprocal favor with Corwin.
At least I don’t read Corwin’s reaction to Rein that way.
IOW, while I’ve played games based entirely on the cliques around a scion of Amber, I also see just how uneasy it might make a scion to allow reflections of your inner wants and needs to gather around you.
So I expect that the royals fake it. They allow the trappings of hangers-on, the kinds of folks who are superficial or have logical practical applications that do not reveal any personal slant. Their true cliques: lovers, artists, scientists, philosophers, dress-swapping gal pals are hidden elsewhere and unlikely to see the light of Amber.
Or stealthed in plain sight, like Wixer, Carmella, Roger and Droppa.
I think this is part and parcel of the loneliness of being more Real than 99.9% of the universe around you as well as being raised in the environ of the ancient sadness of Oberon, King of Amber.

JZ again:
> I guess I view it a little differently. I don’t necessarily see the
> cliques as being a strict manifestation of wants and needs.
> But I also don’t see the royals as being as cold and hard as
> they are often portrayed in the game. In my games they might
> not always be approachable, but I rarely try to make
> their goals byzantine or incomprehensible.

I have to agree with most of that.
I believe that they are not nearly as byzantine as they might wish. I also think that the closer to the “center” (Amber and Oberon) they are, the more guarded they are with their sibs.
The cold/hard is only the outer fortifications of half-completed sentences, implications and deflections; the family game. If you get invited inside the complex, there are many layers and rarely trod halls; even a few cheery little nooks where a True Clique might spend a pleasant weekend.
Using Corwin as example, Bill Roth seems a closer friend than Lord Rein, but is Bill a reflection of Corwin’s personal wants and psyche? I don’t think so. Does Zelazny show us anything that suggests a royal has a best friend, let alone a clique?