A False Justification to Usurp

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Travisimo, Feb 7, 2012.

  1. Travisimo

    Travisimo New Member

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    Quick question :) I am in need of a cover-up story for a prince that would be able to fool the majority of people (and convert them to his side) on a reason that prince would usurp his brother's spot on the throne....

    Any clever ideas?
     
  2. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    Accusations of improper relations with a goat.
     
  3. Telcontar

    Telcontar Staff Moderator

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    Off the top of my head:

    Brother was an illegitimate child - a bastard child is not generally considered eligible to sit a throne.

    Prince is actually the elder and should have been on the throne all along (figure that out yourself).

    Elder brother is actually a girl.

    Elder brother is actually a sentient speaking cactus.

    The above dealt with eroding the brothers' claim, which in our own history is the only real path to gaining the throne yourself. 'Fitness to rule' played second fiddle to 'legitimacy of claim' based on various rules. Maybe your own world will have different rules for each.
     
  4. Drakhov

    Drakhov Master

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    Brother slain by dastardly foe. Meanwhile, dispatch assassins to ensure allegedly deceased brother doesn't inconveniently turn up during the coronation.

    Brother captured and imprisoned by dastardly foe. My duty to take over ruling in his stead until we can negotiate his release. I'm sure you'll all agree this should be our greatest priority - on that note, I'm forced to raise everyones taxes in order to pay their exhorbitant ransom demands. Meanwhile, dispatch assassins to ensure allegedly incarcerated brother doesn't inconveniently turn up during the coronation.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2012
  5. Ravana

    Ravana Istari

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    Insanity is always a good one. Most of the subjects probably think their rulers are all looney tunes anyway, so it's an easy sell. Not to mention it's widely historically precedented.

    Hey, I already used that one in Machiavel.… ;)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 11, 2017
  6. Jess A

    Jess A Shadow Lord

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    Brother committed an unspeakable crime against the Kingdom/Empire or religion (if it has a lot of power). Prince comes up with 'undisputed proof'. There could even be a little bit of truth to it, though the prince could exaggerate it enough or have the King/brother framed for another crime - a real crime which was committed by the prince or someone the prince paid off.
     
  7. Klee Shay

    Klee Shay Lore Master

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    Only a partial quote above, but on that note;

    Brother's closest advisor is actually a female, sentient, speaking, motile cactus. Or some variation on that. Maybe the brother is insane, and maybe the cactus really is sentient.
     
  8. Anders Ämting

    Anders Ämting Dark Lord

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    I think you'll want something that can't be easily disproven. For example if he accuses the king of being a woman, all the king has to do is call in the royal physician as an expert witness or, if it comes to it, take his trousers off in public, shouting: "Go on, look all you like! Gaze upon the royal scepter!"

    And even if it's something like the king being illegitimate, the burden of proof will still be on the prince. It's not like the king has to prove he is who he says he is.

    Your best bet is to think of something the people might be very displeased with to begin with, and then have the prince find a way to pin the blame on the king. (Which shouldn't be that hard, since the king does have a responcibility towards his people.) Perhaps there's a plague an the prince convinces them the king spread it deliberatelly? Or maybe the people are starving and the prince tells them the king's pantry is overflowing with food. Sadly, most humans are only too willing to blame their suffering on a scapegoat, and if you tell a bunch of angry people what they want to hear, you will have an easy time manipulating them.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2012
  9. Drakhov

    Drakhov Master

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    Hmmm, not sure about this - the problem here is that most kings, at least as far as medieval-esque settings go, are absolute rulers by divine right, they're above the law (heck, they ARE the law). He can make mustaches illegal (or compulsory), abolish Tuesdays and appoint his horse Chancellor - clearly as mad as a spoon, but still King. They can't be impeached, charged with a crime or voted out of office (i guess they can abdicate, but that's their choice, not somebody elses).

    He CAN be accused of heresy, if such a concept exists in your society so that may be something.

    Your prince, for whatever reason, seems to want his peoples support and approval as well as some justification beyond 'because I say so!' :D - here's an interesting idea for your consideration...

    King is an absolute ruler, can't be accused of any crime.
    Rules of Succession state the brother is next in line to the throne (assuming big brother doesn't have an heir)
    Little brother walks up to big brother and outright kills him, then sits down to breakfast - he can do this in full view of everyone, since with big brother lying in a pool of his own blood, little brother is now King, no ifs or buts (despite the fact he's peeling an apple with the same blood stained dagger he drove into his brother's heart a few seconds ago, and is possibly giggling to himself or has his underpants on his head). After the initial shock wears off it's business as usual - "The King is dead! Long live the King!"
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2012
  10. Queen Medb

    Queen Medb Acolyte

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    Brother has a disease like tuberculosis which makes him weak/sick/bedridden all the time and gives the people doubts about his ability to rule.
     
  11. Drakhov

    Drakhov Master

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    I don't think this matters - he's King until his death, however long and drawn out this might be, and even bedridden can issue edicts and the like, or still father children who will succeed him when he finally shuffles off - the brother may rule in his stead as a Regent or Lord Protector or whatever, but he's not the King.
     
  12. Aidan of the tavern

    Aidan of the tavern Dark Lord

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    Frame him for something like:

    Greedy use of the people's money.

    Clandestine orgies.

    Incest.

    Practicing black magic.

    I also like the bastard idea.
     
  13. SlimShady

    SlimShady Lore Master

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    Maybe he's mentally incapacitated. Maybe he committed a great sin. Maybe he pissed off a powerful group of people that would ally with the one trying to overthrow him. There's a lot of reasons, but you just got a make sure it would be big enough for enough people to follow the one doing the overthrowing.
     
  14. Jess A

    Jess A Shadow Lord

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    Depends on the world/rules of the culture/society in the book. In some, the King might be accountable for his actions. In others, he may have to follow religious law. He might also be considered unfit to rule if he is ill.
     
  15. myrddin173

    myrddin173 Scribal Lord

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    Eh, I have to disagree on this. Kings are not always all powerful, i.e. the English monarchs. Before you say that's a "recent" development they haven't had absolute power since the signing of the Magna Carta and that was almost eight hundred years ago. As for the public fratricide, I don't think that would work. The higher ups probably aren't going to allow a kinslayer on the throne even if he is the rightful air.

    On the insanity plea, it would really depend. I think one of the King George's was insane (he was called Mad King George, I think) and he wasn't deposed. Of course it depends on the laws of the land.

    My favorite is the bastard idea as I think that would have the best chance of working. Especially if the prince pays a guy to pretend to be the "bastard's" father. It would be even better if the queen mother was dead and couldn't deny it.
     
  16. Anders Ämting

    Anders Ämting Dark Lord

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    I'd like to point out that being above the law is not necessarily the same thing as being an absolute autocrat. (That is, having supreme political power.)

    Fun fact: The current Swedish law says the monarch is not to have any political influence at all, to the point where he is not even allowed to express political opinions in public. However, he still enjoys complete immunity from prosecution.

    That means that even thought our current king's role is entirely ceremonial, he can't be put on trial for any crime whatsoever. The cops have caught him speeding a few times, but all they can do is ask him to please not do that. :D
     
  17. Ravana

    Ravana Istari

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    Keep in mind that the usurper doesn't need to depose the brother in order to assume control of the realm… just render him incommunicado. Which is why insanity's such a useful claim: with physical diseases, it would be expected the victim will eventually either recover or die, whereas madness can be forever.

    George III is the one you're trying to remember, myrddin: the last ten years of his life, his son governed as regent. Though the textbook example–and one closer to the historical times most fantasy aims for–is Henry VI. He assumed the throne in 1422 and died in 1471… during which time he was under a regency for fifteen years while he was under age (he was born in 1421), under regency again in 1453-1454 (madness), deposed and imprisoned 1461, released from prison the same year (mad again–for some reason, the powers that be felt this was a good reason to allow him to be at large), lived in exile in Scotland four years, was recaptured and reimprisoned in 1465, was released and restored to the throne five years after that, then reimprisoned a final time a few months later, dying in 1471 (madness, "melancholy," or murder, depending on who you want to believe). So: out of a total of 49 years in which the law said he was or ought by right to be king by virtue of being his father's son, he reigned roughly 23 of them–and seven of those were the opening acts of the Wars of the Roses, during which his power was often nominal at best, even among those loyal to him. As, according to most accounts, was his stability.

    All of which, of course, is why he got more Shakespeare plays than anybody else. My recollection of reading them is a bit hazy, but I'm pretty sure his isn't the largest or most important role in parts II and III.…

    The Wars of the Roses is one of the best examples of dynastic turnover in general: the Lancastrians had come to the throne by deposing Richard II (whose father, Edward III, had come to the throne upon his father being deposed–by his mother); they were in turn deposed twice by the Yorkists (who had a reasonably legitimate claim to the throne, essentially having been "deposed" indirectly when Henry IV took over from Richard); and the Yorkists line ended upon being deposed by a distant relation of the Lancastrians, the Tudors. Who had a few incidents of their own later on. So look to it for good examples of reasons people might accept for deposing a monarch.

    -

    So, uhm… what can anybody do about it if he does express a political opinion, then? :D
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 11, 2017
  18. Jess A

    Jess A Shadow Lord

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    -Chuckle- I had the image of a man wearing a robe and a crown and sporting a big thick beard - in a sports car.
     
  19. Benjamin Clayborne

    Benjamin Clayborne Dark Lord

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    Now you've got me thinking of King Radical.

    [​IMG]
     
  20. Dark Huntress

    Dark Huntress Journeyman

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    Maybe he has no royal blood but was the result of an affair. Their mother so wanted this child to be a future king she kept it secret. Only some old hag living in the woods knows the truth since she helped with the birth and, while in pain, the queen told her. The prince finds out when the old hag tries to get money from him.Hum..that sounds like a story in itself filled with betrayal, dark secrets and finally murder!

    Or maybe he fathered a boy child with a servant girl totally taboo since this child would have a right to the throne. Perhaps this brother has an addiction to a powerful herb. One that slowly turns him to the dark side. This cause him to sometimes act in irrational ways that the people around him keep quiet. And lastly, thank god, maybe he's in league with the enemy because he secretly hates his kingdom.

    Not the best suggestions, but maybe the worst....
     
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