Official materials do not offer much insight into Malphas upper court, but we do get two very interesting tidbits.
- Malphas does not grant Higher Distinctions to his Wordbound
- The Demon Prince delights in the resulting rancor.
This means that Malphas has probably established a system that puts his landholders and wordholders into direct opposition.
Parliament of Factions
Within the realm of Malphas there are two ways to pass a law into general use. Executive fiat from Malphas himself, or by moving a bill through all three Chamber of the Parliament of Factions.
- The Chamber of Lords is comprised of any Demon of Factions who commands a County, March, or Duchy.
- The Chamber of Words consists of all Demons of Factions who have been granted words by Lord Lucifer. Any Demon so honored must immediately surrender any distinction beyond Baron.
- The Chamber of Commons includes “elected” representatives chosen by all other full fledged Demons of Factions. It may or may not include representatives for the demonlings or damned souls depending on the current politics.
The system is designed to be factious, and any productive legislation to make it through all three chambers will generally result in an “audit” of political leaders led by their opponents (and strongly “suggested” by Malphas himself).
Should the audit also turn up nothing untoward, Malphas will personally see to a major house cleaning in the upper echelons of his organization.
Duchies of Factions
Aside from the ban against noble Wordbound, Malphas is fairly traditional. Each Duke is granted dominion over a vast swath of infernal territory and those within it. This does mean that the Dukes outrank the Wordbound (even if the latter tend to buck that authority).
I will not go into details at this time, but here are some of the legitimate Duchies in Stygia:
- Duchy of Argos – The Chamber of Commons is located in Argos. The wordbound demon Publius makes his home here.
- Duchy of Corinthia – Corinthia is one of the older Duchies in Stygia. Malphas’ original tower can be found here.
- Duchy of Khemi – Malphas’ most prominent priest and theologians call Khemi home
- Duchy of Kheshatta – The lords of Kheshatta are actively trying to court Wordbound, and have allowed some to take lesser titles of nobility
- Duchy of Khoraja – Khoraja is even more mountainous and inhospitable than most of Stygia. There are perpetual rumors that Malphas intends to move his tower to the Duchy
- Duchy of Koth – Some of the most scenic (if barren) territory is in Koth. Malphas’ designed it that way, it’s where his private tower is located
- Duchy of Luxuria – The Chamber of Lords is located in Luxuria
- Duchy of Ophir – Ophir is the trade capitol of Stygia and widely considered to be infiltrated by Mammon
- Duchy of Shem – Malphas consigns to the fields of Shem the souls of Semites who even in death cannot resolve their differences.
- Duchy of Thuran – The Chamber of Words is located in Thuran
- Duchy of Valusia – The Hierarchy of Bands is of paramount importance in Valusia, making it popular among Balseraph all across hell
- Duchy of Zamora – Duke Zamora is assumed to be a puppet of Valefor
You may recognize these names from the works of Robert E. Howard. Since Malphas rules in Stygia, this seemed only appropriate.
Each of Malphas’ Dukes sits at the helm of a great House. These houses are robust administrations, each with unique and arcane mechanisms of governance. Key among these are the means by which each House selects its successor in the event the Duke dies or is diminished.
Without the power of a Word behind them, such replacements are unfortunately more common than the lords would like to admit. However, the relative continuity that these rules create keep the Wordbound from gaining too much of an upper hand.
Members of a Ducal, March, or County House are fiercely loyal in the face of external pressures (even if they are factious among themselves). It is about the only loyalty you will find in the Courts of Malphas.
Word or House
When creating a Servitor of Factions, it is useful to consider whether you serve a Word, a House, or Both. Your choices can help recommend paths of advancement to your GM if they’re planning a more political campaign.
Factions and Thieves
Given the amount of scheming and backstabbing that goes on within the Parliament of Factions and the Great Houses, Malphas’ lords and wordbound actually find it quite convenient for Valefor to hold court in the same Principality.
Some lords like the association, other don’t; but all will use the presence of the Thieves in one way or another.