With the vote for a new governor of the Vale set for the 15th, the two most popular candidates meet in Citadel for a debate on the 14th. Rovert of the Shadow Spires was called upon to moderate the debate and sent some questions he intended to ask to the candidate ahead of the debate. The debate mostly followed these questions, though they did deviate from time to time.
Rovert threw a curveball by wandering through the questions out of order to keep a smoother flow, but for my own sanity and because my notes aren’t great, I’ll take them in the original order with the two candidate’s being Verdis of the Prickly Keep and James the Grover, Nephew of Zebedee. I can’t possibly capture the back and forth, but I’ll make some comments.
Rovert: How would you attempt to better relations with out neighbors?
Verdis: The Vale currently has the best foreign affairs of any nation that we have seen in the past six years that we’ve spent on this land, this is largely due to our willingness to aid the countries around us, the Vale has been known to mediate conflict between rivals, to protect those that we call allies, and to be an enemy that isn’t worth having. My plan is to continue to show the integrity of the Vale, continue to build our strength, and continue to do what is right. The countries around us respect the strength that we have shown, I plan to continue to build this strength.
James: While my opponent believes we have gained good relations through intefering with others, I believe we will be better served by staying out of their affairs. The Ar-a-mach became a thorn in our side because the Citadel House Adventurers hindered them in their cultural tradition. The Dragon Empire attacked only after they had several times slain their scouts.
Rovert: What do you think should be done about the Hope situation?
James: Though they have moved away, they are still our brothers and a road should be established to connect them to us so they can again be united to us. That way we will be in a position to take advantage of the bounty of the seas along the coast there. It would pave the way for us to expand further south away from the other nations we are competing with for land in the north.
Rovert: How would you pay for that road?
James: The cost of this road would be about 100 gold coins, if adventurers help protect it effectively. This cost would be easily covered by the sale of land along the road.
Rovert: And Verdis?
Verdis: The people of Hope need to come back. The Vale does not have the size required to expand so far, a road built to Hope would be expensive, it would be time-consuming, and could potentially be dangerous, but if the people of Hope insist on staying where they are, they are allowed to hire guards to protect them, Gorg Sneaky Foot offers guided trips for a modest wage, I would be willing to help them find guards to hire, but I will not fund their poor decision to live outside of the Vale.
Rovert: How would you handle another crisis like the one just a few weeks ago where the Union of Schek and the Dragon empire almost went to war? (oops, should have gotten around to writing that behind the scenes report)
James: Their wars are their own. Our peace with both of them can be maintained while they are at war and if anything it makes them less likely to pursue an attack in our own lands.
Verdis: The same way that I handled it last time and every single time before, I will assess the cause of the conflict, see what each party involved wants, and mediate a compromise.
At this point, James questioned how Verdis handled the situation and Verdis gave a detailed description of how he used his forces to create a situation allowing both groups to pull their forces off the border. James then attempted to accuse Verdis of being beholden to Ellizari after these events and would hand the Vale over to her, to which Verdis replied that he was already powerful enough to do that already if he wanted. James claimed this was a threat.
Rovert: What are your plans to help better the economy?
Verdis: The Vale has a high standard of living, but we can increase numbers our numbers only through new people from abroad. Adventurer loot will continue to bring in funds for large works. Trade with gnomes and orcs will also add to our prosperity.
James: I agree with my opponent. The people of the Vale are prospering. I have no doubt they will continue to do so and flourish more as our efforts are turned to finding and using resources in our own lands rather than continue to meddle in the affairs of our neighbors.
Rovert: What is your plan in case the Vale falls under attack?
Verdis: I have spent the last three years making treaties, and building armies, I have held leadership in the most effective and powerful adventures guild that our people have ever seen. These last three years I have worked endlessly to prepare the vale for whatever comes it’s way. If the Vale falls under attack, I will assess can I reason with our attackers. If yes, then I will do so, if not then I will lead a defense, if need be I will call the orcs, the gnomes, the satyrs, or one of our many other allies to our aid. I have been protecting the Vale for years, and as long as I live I will continue to do so.
James: Obviously, we don’t have the strength necessary to resist a serious attack from any of our neighbors, despite my opponent’s noble efforts. This is why I have picked dedicated diplomats to be sent to each of our neighbors to renegotiate our treaties and keep us apprised of their standing toward us.
If an attack becomes inevitable, the road and lands to the south toward Hope will be a safe place to retreat to, as those lands seem uncontested by all parties.
Rovert: What are your plans to expand and create new Vale settlements?
Verdis: I intend to continue on a similar path to what I’ve been.
I will personally continue to fund the creation of strongholds, this gives people a safe place to begin to make homes at. As far as finding people to fill these homes, I will trust Matthias and his missionaries to convert people among our neighbors to the Gospel and that many of them will move here to make their homes.
James: While we currently seem to be bent on expanding in the north where our neighbors are already crowding in close, I propose that we focus our new settlements to the south, where satyr nor gnome nor orc nor dragon is known to make any claim. My opponent is naïve to believe we can continue to welcome people from all over without more hostile individuals like the Ar-a-mach sneaking into our population.
Rovert: Do you plan to establish more consistent trade with our neighboring countries?
Verdis: Yes, but we should keep trade free.
James: Currently, we have treaties which open these countries to trade which merchants engage in to their own sole interest. This is not always in the interest of the Vale. What trade was established intentionally by Matthias was more intended to build amity with the gnomes than for our benefit, especially now we have our own mines in Aithreachas. To the extent that neighbors have goods that would benefit the Vale as a whole, I will facilitate much trade to obtain them.
As a business man, I can see that coins are becoming common enough in the Vale to cause inflation due largely to adventurers coming back with large piles of coins, but also merchants selling goods abroad and returning enriched with coins. Coins should be taxed as they come in and goods taxed as they go out.
Rovert: How do you plan to deal with crime within the Vale itself?
James: What crime we have in the Vale has largely been due to our feud with the Ar-a-mach, not to mention the adventurer gone mad, Torren. Beyond that, Michael and his guard do a fine job pursuing criminals.
Verdis: In this I agree with my opponent. Michael is very capable and I will support him.
Rovert: How do you plan to deal with organizations like the Ar-a-mach extremists and the threat they pose to the safety of the Vale?
James: Adventurers have so far been our answer to these organizations and their threats. Adventurer efforts, though noble, seem to have often led to escalations of these threats. My diplomats will call upon those governments close to these organizations to deal with them on their end while our policing and possibly adventurers will respond to their actions within the Vale.
Verdis: The efforts of adventurers abroad were asked for by the gnomes because they feared the Ar-a-mach would succeed in awakening their ancient king Luath Draoidh. They are grateful for our help in stopping these extremists.
James: I have no doubt that they believed that this king could be raised and would be powerful and dangerous to the world, but we have no evidence that would have succeeded. Indeed, it has been over a millennium, if I understand it right, since the king was supposedly sealed away. If indeed it were possible to find and awaken him, why would it only occur now?
Verdis: These events came about due to special conditions due to our arrival. The Ar-a-mach extremists believed we might distract the Dragon Empire long enough for them to succeed and before the Dragon Empire was dominant, they believe the gnomes were distracted from this possibility by other forces. It may seem unbelievable that this king could rise, but it is clear that the contemporary gnomes, indeed, those who sealed him away, believed he would if not stopped. I have seen many incomprehensible things adventuring in this land and I believe the Ar-a-mach could have achieved their goal if we had not stopped them.
At this point it somehow came out that adventurers had been entrusted with guarding the seal keys they had captured. James asked why they hadn’t been destroyed and accused Verdis and the adventurers of wanting to hold Luath Draoidh’s return over the people as a threat of impending doom to retain their power.
Rovert: What are your immediate plans for the Vale if you are elected?
James: My first actions will be to send my diplomats to our neighbors to begin lengthy discussions to revise our treaties. I will also begin discussions to negotiate with Aithreachas, Ghost Keep, and Rilindje to try and reclaim some price for the lands they have occupied in exchange for official township status. These funds will be used to hire one of the now free construction crews to begin the road to the south, as well as hiring adventurers to escort a surveyor and ensure the way is clear. Investigate Wraecliff and Verdis.
Verdis: I will also send diplomats to strengthen relationships with out neighbors and increase awareness of diplomacy and politics abroad. I will also build a another keep to secure another front of the Vale against attack and attract more fighting men to the Vale.
At this, James challenged Verdis on how the keep would be paid for, being much more expensive than his proposed road to Hope. Verdis replied that he would pay for it from his own funds. Then James raised the hard question: if Verdis is paying for these strongholds, who will they belong to when he is replaced as governor, or will the Vale be helpless before him? Verdis is shaken a bit by this, but then affirms that he will be donating the stronghold to the Vale.
Their closing remarks are poignant and they await to hear the results of the vote the next day. When the results come back, Verdis has run away with 56% of the vote, leaving James with 42%. James conceded and agrees to counsel Verdis in his new post.
When Matthias of the Seventy announced that there would be an election to replace or retain him as Governor of the Vale, I wasn’t sure how it would play out, but I did hope Verdis would take the opportunity (he didn’t go for Mayor of Citadel because he wanted more). I didn’t expect the players to get into it enough to merit a debate.