The Government of Amber

Amber is a composite monarchy.  In theory, King Tylor is simultaneously: Each of these has somewhat different laws, different ways of making laws, and different ways of enforcing them, and the King's authority varies in each.  In practice, Tylor governs them all from Amber, using a system which was originally developed to run a single city and castle.  As might be expected, this gets messy.

Executive Bodies:

The King's Privy Council is made up of the major office holders, who together advise the King on what to do, then in theory carry out the policies developed there.  This is complicated by the fact that some parts of the kingdom have their own executive, legislative, and judicial branches...

The Mayor of Amber City holds executive power in Amber City; he is elected for ten year terms of service by the Aldermen.  Most of the cities of Sethfore have similar arrangements.  The Steward of Amber City (for Amber City) and the King himself (for Sethfore) must approve these elections, but in general, unless a complete freak or someone blatantly hostile to the King is elected, no intervention is made, especially since discreet bribery usually works better.

The Warden of Arden serves as the executive officer for Arden.

In the colonies, the chartered boards, which are usually either self-selecting, or chosen by stockholders, hold executive power, although they often elect one of their number to act as Chairman, President, or some other such title.

In Harad, the Viceroy of Harad acts as the King's representative, unless the King is present himself.

Legislative Bodies:

The Privy Council handles legislative work for Amber proper.  It must approve any taxes as well.  In practice, this largely amounts to control of customs duties.

Amber City has an elected board of Aldermen.  Each ward elects one Alderman; only those who possess 'the freedom of the city' can vote.  There are, as a result, always 100 Aldermen.  They control the creation of legislation (although the King or Mayor can veto laws), and they control taxation within the city.

The situation is similar in most of the Sethfore cities.

Harad has four provincial Parliaments, and a national Parliament.  Each has three houses, all of which must approve all measures.  The High House is home to the highest ranking nobles and priests.  The Middle House is elected from the ranks of the petty nobility of the countryside.  The Low House is elected by the residents of the cities.  They control the initiation of legislation, and the levying and expenditure of taxes.  In practice, however, various permanent taxes exist which enables the monarchy to do without the Parliaments, which mostly simply deal with local problems and enact local legislation.  The national Parliament rarely meets.

In the colonies, the chartered boards, which are usually either self-selecting, or chosen by stockholders, hold legislative power, although the King can veto their laws...once he hears of them.

Judicial Bodies:
This is handled under Amberite Law on the Settings Page.

What Amberite Government Does:

Amber's government doesn't do half as much as a modern state does.  The main functions of royal government are:

Amber has no public education, except for the school run in the Palace for the children of the Palace staff.  Some cities do maintain free schools of various kinds.  It has no welfare system, although there is a fair amount of private charity which has highly variable levels of efficiency.  Businesses are largely self-regulating through the Guild system and monopolies.  Amber does have fairly highly developed business law, and thus government does have some entanglement in commercial affairs through the court system.  Amber has no energy or environmental policies, except to forbid people to cut down Arden or hunt in it without permission.  Many areas of Amber restrict hunting rights to the nobility.

The only permanent taxes in Amber as a whole are the customs taxes.  However, many regions of Amber have locally levied or traditional taxes.  Serfs in Harad pay a variety of taxes, most of the cities of the South levy Alien taxes and other permanent taxes, and so on.  The Customs Service maintains its own small fleet of cutters, as does the City of Amber itself.

The royal government is entangled with the management of the royal estates, in part because the king is expected to live off his own revenues as much as he can.  Careful management allows the King to do this in peace time, and usually run a large surplus as well.  Most of Amber's wars have been defensive because the monarchy can most easily raise new revenues under such circumstances.

The Privy Council

Admiral of Shalomar and Admiral of Mystara:  Utena and Sumire

Each of these two admirals commands one of Amber's two fleets. Each possesses a secure naval base commanding one of the major naval routes to Amber, one of the Grand Fleets, and a large force of marines and sailors.  Each has a naval intelligence network and can hire mercenary ships easily. Amber is a nation that lives and dies by its fleets, so they are top notch.

Each Grand Fleet contains:

In peace time, each Grand Fleet therefore contains: At any given time, there is usually one fleet from each grand fleet stationed at Amber itself, one stationed at its naval base, and one fleet out and about the seas, hunting pirates, assisting Amber's allies, or looming threateningly off the shores of something which needs to be threatened.

Castellan of Castle Amber:  Makoto

The Castellan of Castle Amber commands the thousand man palace guard, the royal armory, and Castle Amber itself.  This post is virtually always held by a member of the Royal Family.  He also is in charge of hiring and managing the palace staff, keeping the castle running and functional.  In times of peace, he also usually gets stuck planning royal trips and finding ways to keep the king and his men fed during those trips.

Lord High Chamberlain of Amber:  Nabiki

The Lord High Chamberlain is the most overworked woman in Amber.  Most of what passes for Amber's government is supervisised by her:  customs men, tax collectors, lawyers, judges, prisons, and a swarm of diplomats.  He supervises the  Chief Justice, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Minister of Customs (import/export taxes, not cultural practices), and the Head of the Foreign Service.

Marshal of Amber:  Tsuwabuki

The Marshal controls the armies of the various kingdoms.  He can call upon the cities of Sethfore for troops, call out the feudal levy in Harad, and order the Steward of Amber City to call out the Trained Bands.  He also controls a substantial standing army which defends the various borders.  He controls military appointments, and thus has great influence among nobles seeking jobs.  He's also known to have a large military intelligence network.

Amber's Standing Army is currently 5 corps.  Two are spread across northern and western Harad.  Two more are spread across Sethfore and Amber's possessions abroad. The fifth corps is spread along Amber's coasts and interior.

Master of the Revels:  Wakaba

The Master of the Revels is in charge of organizing all festivities at the palace, but she does much more.  She regulates all the theatre companies of Amber, and he regulates the printing and distribution of books, thus acting as the royal censor.  Because many festivals in Amber are religious, she also deals with the various churches of Amber.  The Master of Revels is also in charge of education, although Amber's government has little to do directly with education.  Mostly, she simply runs the small school for the children of the Palace, overseeing the various teachers.

Steward of Amber City:  Nanami

The City of Amber is under her thumb.  She doesn't have perfect control, but she can call out the Trained Bands, declare martial law, depose city officials, and generally manipulate the city to her liking.  She is in charge of the City of Amber Customs Service, can influence the appointing of the city's judges, and in general make life hard for those she doesn't like.  She also controls the police forces of Amber City.

Warden of Arden: Shizumaru

The Warden of Arden acts as the King's agent in Arden, protecting it and enforcing Forest Law.  The Warden hunts poachers, protects travellers, and guards the Grove of the Unicorn and the Unicorn's many children.  He commands a strong Forest Guard which can be reinforced by the Elves who live in Southern Arden.  In Arden, he is Judge, Jury, and Executioner if need be.


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Last Update April 18, 2002