IntroductionThis page provides information on the politics of Fennas Drúnin and how meetings of the Town Council will be run. All the information provided here is in the Player's Guide, which will be sent to you before the game.
The Council of Fennas DrúninHistorically, Fennas Drúnin was part of the Kingdom of Rhudaur, but once Rhudaur fell to the Witch-king of Angmar, Fennas Drúnin’s Lord effectively declared independence, although the town retained ties with Cardolan. In the aftermath of the war in 1409, Fennas Drúnin was very much left to its own devices. It's Lord had died in the war and once it was clear that no-one was going to step forth to claim the title, the town decided to govern itself.
Fennas Drúnin is now ruled by a Council, though day-to-day power lies in the hands of the Mayor. The Council consists of ten people, elected every year by the popular consent of the townsfolk, though it is rare that more than 10 people stand for the Council. The Mayor is elected from among the Council members and serves until he stands down or the Council dismisses him, although no-one can recall the Council dismissing a Mayor. In recent years, the Council has only met twice a year to debate important matters, although the Mayor or a majority of the Council can call a meeting at any time.
The Council has the power to raise taxes, spend the revenue gained from taxation, and to try and judge criminals. The Council is also responsible for the maintaining the town’s defences (the Town Guard, Keep and Town Walls). In general, these powers and responsibilities are delegated to the Mayor, but the Council can overturn any of his decisions. This is rare, although not unheard of, since previous Mayors have usually had the sense to consult the Council on any contentious issue before making a decision.
Politically, Fennas Drúnin is a very class-based society. At the top are the ruling class, the Dúnedain, who generally own the town's major business. These are followed by the tradesmen and craftsmen, who are by and large, Common Men. At the bottom of the pile come the peasants, fishermen and unskilled labourers, about a quarter of whom are Common Men, the other three-quarters being of Dunnish descent, the lowest of the low.
The Dunnish peasants are descended from the Dunlending tribesmen of Trollshaws, but have long given up the hunter-gather ways of their forefathers. Now there is something of an enmity between the two groups, with the peasantry regarding their tribesmen cousins as barbarians and the tribesmen regarding the settled townsfolk as having gone "soft". In reality, there is little in common between the two groups.
In general, the peasants and "lesser" folk of the town are happy to let the richer, more educated folk rule on the Council. While the Council is dominated by the Dúnedain, several Common Men and one Dunlending, Rannor, have seats on the Council so that the ordinary folk feel that they have a representative. Traditionally the Council has also been dominated by men, although since the Plague, that is changing.
The Council is generally very parochial, with seats being handed down from father to son. However, since Beradan's election to the Council this is changing. Beradan has been very vocal in his criticism and the common people are becoming increasingly unhappy with the way things are being run. They have seen that Beradan, a Common Man with no family on the Council, has changed things and they are beginning to think that they might be able to change things too.
Council meetings are fairly informal affairs. There are no written rules and generally things proceed by precedent and common sense. In all matters, a majority of the Council carries the day and if there is a tie, the Mayor has a casting vote (even if he has already voted).
Council meetings are held on the last day of March and September every year and can also be called either by five Council members or by the Mayor. However, all members must be given a reasonable chance to attend, so five members can't get together and immediately declare a meeting amongst themselves.
Meetings must be held in the Great Hall in the Town Keep. The Great Hall consists of the Council Chamber itself and the Public Gallery. Only Council Members, Council Officials (Hallas and Balchor) or those invited to speak may enter the Council Chamber. Everyone else must stay in the Public Gallery, unless the gallery has been cleared, in which case they are not allowed in the Great Hall.
Once a meeting of the Council has started, no Council member may leave the Keep until the meeting has been closed. This is an ancient tradition which ensures that the Council can't put off taking decisions.
The MayorThe Mayor is elected by a majority of the Council and should always be present at meetings. The Mayor will chair the Council meetings and keep them to order. In all that follows, powers of the Mayor can also be invoked by five Council members or, if less than 10 members are in attendance, then by a majority. In all cases, a majority of the Council may overturn any decision of the Mayor before it is enacted.
The Mayor's powers are as follows:
The Council in PlayInterpreting the rules in actual play is fairly straightforward. In general, Council meetings are cooperative things and therefore the rules aren't really needed. If you have any questions about procedures, ask Balchor the Scribe (a Referee), who will tell you what precedents have been set (if any).
However, it is worth pointing out that: