It's kind of a classic logic puzzle: you get a picture of a table and a list of guests, each with their own special quirks about who they're willing to sit next to, or who they have to sit next to. Then it's your job to position them so that they'll all be happy. It seems to me like this could be a neat way to build a setting, hence this scroll. I want you to help me churn out guests for a royal banquet and their ridiculous seating demands, which hopefully reveal interesting insights about their lands, the political situation, or just their own snooty personalities. Naturally, they don't all have to come together to a viable seating arrangement - what's the point of nobles if they can ever be satisfied?
In theory, this should help to create an interesting kingdom or collection of kingdoms, complete with all of the stupid feuds and nitpickery that make the real world such an interesting place.
Here are some examples:
King Alfric the 3rd
Naturally, the king must be seated at the most prominent position at the table. But you know the king's tastes: he wants to be totally surrounded by beautiful women. Just make sure that one of them is the queen. And whatever you do, make sure that he's not within shouting distance of Lord Grey.
It would be terribly improper for the queen to sit next to any man other than her husband, so make sure that that doesn't happen. Also, the queen is terribly self-conscious about her weight, so make sure that neither she nor the king is seated next to any women slighter than she is. Ideally, the queen would prefer to sit next to one of her cousins.
Lord and Lady Pemberton
The Pembertons must of course be seated together. Lord Pemberton considers himself quite the military man, and will be terribly insulted if he isn't seated next to one of the king's generals. Lady Pemberton is much less picky, but she is allergic to cows, so you must make sure that she isn't seated next to any of the cattle nobility. Also, while I'm assured that the rumors aren't true, it would probably be wise not to put either of the Pembertons next to the Knight Commander, his wife, or any of her cousins.
Additional Ideas (11)
The Priest Lenard
Lenard considers himself the utmost of moral righteousness, and as thus must not be placed near anyone who takes unkindly to religion. Lenard is struggling with his own attraction to women, so placing him next to an attractive woman is likely to cause a scene.
Old Man Henderson
Old Man Henderson, the uncle of the current King, has a wealth of stories to tell. Anyone seated next to him must be willing to endure an endless torrent of stories about his glory days.
The alliance with his country means that the whaling and seal hunting interests stay in the black. It also means that rotten toothed long haired heathen lechers such as Finkvskyl have to be entertained at dinner parties. Finkvskyl would prefer to be surrounded by beautiful women, but most beautiful women would prefer drunken sailors to the likes of Finkvskyl. Putting him next to cabinet ministers leads to the dullest conversations about tariffs, and true men or women of birth would be offended to offer up their ear for half an evening. Best to put him next to military men, they are use to rough talk, and his uncouthness confirms their assumptions about his country.
The Widow McIntyre
It pains a soul to think of a fine young flower like the Baroness a widow at only three and twenty years. Here introduction to society made for one of the most exciting social seasons in the last decade, her physical charms, her poised manners, her literary wit and her graceful dancing excited the entire court. Every ball that season was an adventure with all the eligible Knights and Lords falling about for her favor. It was almost a scandal when her engagement to Baron McIntyre was announced. He was more than twice her age, he was twice married before with no children and all his wealth and lands were in northern cattle interests and island estates respectively. His passing must have been so hard on the young Baroness, because she now must manage all that land and wealth on her own with out any man to lean on. As a rich beautiful young widow she is chased by the most unscrupulous of social climbing noblemen. Best sit her next to some one kind if you want to impress her, but sit her next to a money grubbing rake if you want to impress the cad.
The Ladies Adara & Adalia
The voluptuous twin sisters, Lady Adara and Lady Adalia, daughters of Count Adamount the II, pride of the Devonshire nobility, and envy of women. The twin sisters are beautiful and they love to show it by taking any dinner party as an opportunity to flirt and drive the gentlemen crazy. Wearing expensive, revealing, low-cut dresses and sporting a more than adequate figures, the Adamount twins always stoke the other noble ladies to anger and the noble lords to addoration. The twins prefer to sit across the table from each other (to see how well the other is doing) with a studly gentleman on either side. Be sure that they aren't placed next to a married gentleman or someone who will bore them too much with dull stories.
This no-nonsense duke hates dinner parties attending them only to quell the incessant pleas that he make himself more sociable. He is hum-drum and logical, hard-headed and proud. His duchy exports the highest quality silks and wool used across the kingdom. He would much rather talk business and make a few prosperous transactions than attend a dinner party. He hates having to listen to social gossip. He should be seated next to other wealthy and successful businessmen as he has known to leave unacceptably early if he feels he is wasting too much time.
Senias, the Mystic
Senias is a druidic shaman and leader of the tributary Norlands. Senias is a kind-hearted old man who is very easy to please. He doesn't ask for much, and he doesn't impose his beliefs that Mother nature is the supreme force of the Earth and should be worshipped as such. Senias never cares who he sits next to, but pious religious nobles are usually offended by his presence and prefer to be seated away from him. He usually smells strongly of herbs, so those with a sensitive nose might find his musk a little overpowering and should not be seated close to him.
Gren is the man in charge of security for the party. As such, it is very important that he be seated in a position from which he can easily leave if something should come up. Furthermore, Gren's brother died in the last Goblin War, and he shouldn't be seated next to anyone who favors a trade agreement with our former adversaries. Also, he hates to be seated next to
Lady Catherine of Wesshire, his Wife
Lady Catherine is very finicky about table etiquette. She should absolutely not be seated next to anyone who is not certain to possess the most flawless of manners, and she should probably not be seated next to anyone who would take offense at her snide remarks about other guests. Also, considering the rumors about her and Lord Pemberton, she should not be seated next to any gossips.
The arch-chancellor of the Wyrmfang magic academy is a tentative ally of the King, but always gets into a quarrel with him over the topic of magocracy vs. feudalism (don't seat them together).
Also, considering his temper, if you seat him next to any guest who happens to be both talkative and a fool, said guest will spend the rest of his life on a lily pad, munching flies.
comtessa Beatrix Beaufort
A socialite, sole heir to a fortune and provocatively independent, the young lady is a famous single and her suitors many. The reason why she's unmarried is that she's solely interested in ladyfolk.
She will be very pleased to be seated with ladies young, impressionable and charming - but if any of those ladies are married, their husbands will voice their displeasure at the many strange ideas the wife brought from your party.
We now come to the King's mother herself. By now, we are all aware of the grand old dame's proclivities and acid-tongued irreverence i am sure, so no matter what you do, DO NOT seat her within earshot of the "spineless, effeminate duke", "that no-good slut" the duchess, or the "bombastic baron blunder" (all her titles, not mine) and under any circumstance do not seat her next to the wine-spouting fountain. Having said that we must also make sure she is somehow front and center and able to receive the proper respect of all the guests. Good luck with her. We all know how much the young king--uhh--cherishes his senile mother.
The King's fool is likely to pass scathing commentary on all those seated around him. His bawdy jokes, rhymes and other entertaining diversions are likely to send those with snooty dispositions into a towering rage. The Fool delights in being seated near smart company, preferably those who he can banter with at will. The Fool will use his bardic immunity to pass judgement on all those nearby, so best place him near those who can handle his barbed jokes.
Prince Briar annoys his father greatly, and must be seated at least half the table away from his father. Briar is sloppy, craven, and displays terrible table manners. Being the Prince, nobody but The Fool or the King sees fit to let him know of this. Briar would prefer to be seated next to attractive, loose women, although his family would disprove of such seating.
A noble from a small holding, Honest John is renown as one of the most decent men in the kingdom. Being loyal, kind, and courteous, John is likely to take offense being seated next to someone anyone rude, unscrupulous, or unkind.
Those seated next to Silk have a maddening tendency for their valuables to disappear. Silk is a master of wit and guile, wanted in no less than four different nations for crimes ranging from theft to sleeping with the King's wife. Silk should not be seated next to the fool under any circumstances, lest they be allowed to brew trouble, the likes of which might cause wars. Silk's business transactions must also be watched carefully, as he loves discussing them over dinner.
Ambassador Sara Pemberton
The ambassodor from the Queendom of Vallermoore, like many Vallermorians in the highest positions, is a lesbian. As such, she hates being sat next to openly sexist or lecherous men. She has a crush on Lady Adara, but Lady Adara most certainly does not feel that way and so it is best that the two are not put together.
Count Hobran, the Reaver
A minor noble from up north, Hobran has been invited because the king wishes to get on his good side. Anything to stop the raids! As such, despite his low station, it is important that Hobran be seated in a position of dignity. But don't put him close to anyone who would be offended by his relatively low rank!
Ever since Clay was awarded his title last summer, His Majesty has had his eye on the young adventurer. He wants Clay seated next to one of his eligible female relatives, in the hope of binding the ambitious young man to the kingdom. Like Hobran, Clay shouldn't be seated near anyone who would object to the presence of the lower classes, and he probably shouldn't be seated near Hobran himself, either. The two have history. On the other hand, they might get along well in person.