2017/06/05

Table of Rulers: Byzantine Edition


I was going to write a table of rulers for my War Rules, but I realized that someone else already did the work for me. Rather than write out endless tables of events, characteristics, deaths, and wars, I decided to copy someone else's work.

John Julius Norwich is not an academic historian. His books, while entertaining, aren't exactly scholarly works. I wouldn't use them as a source for a paper, but they are fantastic holiday reading, and are an excellent reference to get your bearings before diving into serious discussions or primary source texts. The tables below are made from sentences copied from all 3 volumes of his "Byzantium" series. Some of the quotes are from primary source documents, but most are  his words, mangled and edited very slightly for ease of use. He doesn't use the Oxford comma either.

Neither Byzantine history nor John Julius Norwich are particular kind to women. Where they are mentioned at all in the primary texts, they are inevitably scandalous, pious, savage, or scheming. Norwich softens the language his sources use but also introduces an element of caricature. He is also (in the first book, at least) particularly disgusted by homosexuality, particularly "tall, blond German" homosexuals. I've copied useful sentences in the order in which they appeared, and then randomized the order. All events listed are true, for a given value of true.
 
Anyway, on to the tables. Imagine you are reading a history book about your setting, or a ruler in your setting. Roll 2 or 3 times on these tables to get some sentences that might appear in a paragraph about your ruler. Ruler Tables 1 and 2 can be used interchangeably. I had more than 200 entries and couldn't pare them down to just
100.
  
Byzantine Emperor Heraclius Beheading Khosrau II, King of Persia, Jan der Beer




Result Ruler Table 1
1 He flung himself at the feet of his adoptive mother, promising to be her slave. Old, weak, stupid and gullible, with no one to advise her, she was easily persuaded.
2 He found himself the rallying-point of all his mother's enemies, including many of the old guard.
3 His triumph had brought out a degree of brutality that none had suspected. He now set about eliminating everyone who stood between himself and the throne.
4 The two had also been firm personal friends, no small consideration where ruling monarchs are concerned.
5 He showed every prospect of proving himself, in the fullness of time, as great a ruler as his father.
6 A sad and sickly young man, probably consumptive...
7 ...the furious old lady received with the greatest possible reluctance the crown.
8 Horrified at the prospect of a marriage to a man nearly twice her age, she decided on a desperate course of action.
9 Entirely illiterate, he could boast only two obvious assets: herculean physical strength and a remarkable way with horses.
10 He was spending more of his time with monks than with ministers, gradually losing his grip on the state as he sank into morbid religiosity.
11 Presumably to protect the interests of his elder, legitimate, sons he had had him castrated in infancy.
12 Everywhere he set himself up as a champion of the poor, of all those oppressed by high taxation and the corruption of officials.
13 This may have been due to his rapidly-growing insanity. 
14 He therefore had no objection to leaving affairs of state to his sister, long after he had reached the age when he should have taken them over himself.
15 Tall and haggard, his features clouded by constant pain after a lifetime of exaggerated austerities, he was consumed by a blazing zeal.
16 With advancing age he was becoming ever more convinced of a divine dispensation that singled him out from his fellow-men.
17 At the time of his accession his wife  had borne him at least six children, and before her death she was to present him with two more.
18 Weak-willed and easily led, he was a natural puppet who could be manipulated by anyone who seized the strings.
19 He showed all the makings of a capable ruler. Unfortunately he had inherited that streak of insanity that had clouded the last years of his father's life.
20 Her unpopularity increased sharply after the murder of her son, and she now attempted to redeem it by granting enormous remissions of taxes.
21 His immediate predecessors had been sensualists and sybarites, happier by far to recline in their palaces, surrounded by women and eunuchs.
22 His reign began with perfidy and bloodshed; its close was also clouded by the imprisonment and garrotting of a famous philosopher.
23 He took much pleasure in rubbing his decaying teeth, putting new ones in the place of those that had fallen out through old age.
24 Among his many unattractive habits was that of surrounding himself with favourites and cronies who would accompany him in wild roisterings through the capital.
25 Uncouth, almost illiterate and possessed of a quite uncontrollable temper...
26 In war, he had been merciless and brutal; with the coming of peace he proved moderate and understanding.
27 For some time he had been conscious of his father's growing jealousy – jealousy aroused by his popularity with the army and citizenry.
28 Now about thirty-six, fair-haired and broad-chested, he must have appeared something of a demi-god when he stepped out of the palace, his young wife on his arm.
29 For the three younger sons he cared little, and his second he loathed, but his eldest was the only human being, perhaps, whom he ever really loved.
30 His only son had predeceased him, worn out by homosexual excesses and venereal disease.
31 ...not only a foreigner but a heathen, who had killed his own brother and who already boasted at least four wives and 800 concubines.
32 He was unfailingly courteous to everyone and was never known to lose his temper.
33 He scarcely seemed to have noticed the decline, imitating rather than restraining his wife's wild prodigality.
34 She was said to flaunt her depravity by wearing a fringe low over the forehead, the trademark of a courtesan.
35 He passed his entire life at play or the chase, and contracted several habits of pronounced viciousness.
36 A supreme strategist and a superb commander; there was only one quality that he lacked: the ability to inspire the loyalty of his subordinates.
37 He had no military or even administrative experience; but he was intelligent, serious-minded and a hard worker, and his loyalty had never been in question.
38 He sold government offices like vegetables in a market.
39 Many believed him to be a great man; few would have called him a lovable one.
40 He displayed embarrassing signs of falling in love with his half-sister.
41 An elderly nephew of the former ruler, he had done his best to hide when the mob began calling his name.
42 ...made no objection to his continued association with his second wife's niece, a lady of unusual charm who had uncomplainingly shared her lover's exile.
43 ... a miserable childhood: a father dead, a mother reviled as a concubine and twice exiled, he himself facing constant accusations of bastardy.
44 ...ascetic and celibate, to whom food and drink were of little interest and creature comforts of none...
45 He was already in a state of grave religious uncertainty. No man, in short, was readier for conversion.
46 His energy, too, astonished all who knew him, while his capacity for hard work was apparently without limit.
47 His immense efforts to reform the administration and to purge it of corruption were repeatedly sabotaged by his own extravagance.
48 She was a deeply selfish woman and a pragmatist. They detested their her, but they never questioned her fundamental right to occupy the throne.
49 Of her nine children, four had died in infancy, one had a twisted neck and another was deaf and dumb.
50 He proved a hopeless hedonist who, in his serious moments, seemed interested only in reviving the old theological disputes.
51 Though he had received little formal schooling, a lively intellectual curiosity had given him a modicum of culture.
52 A few days later on fuel was added to the flames when he excluded his wife from his coronation.
53 A huge and hideous eunuch never seen without a whip in his hand...
54 He was accustomed to spend the greater part of the day in bed. Whenever the sun appeared he would seek the darkness, like a wild beast.
55 Finding that his affection was not reciprocated, he became suspicious, jealous and at last openly hostile.
56 There she remained for the next seven years, constantly intriguing against her husband.
57 Few doubted that she was capable of such a crime; but it is hard indeed to see how her position might have been improved by widowhood, self-inflicted or not.
58 In physical strength he so surpassed his contemporaries as to fill them with terror.
59 As she reached maturity she became a harlot. Never was any woman so completely abandoned to pleasure.
60 Her father had been a bear-keeper, her mother an acrobat – antecedents more than enough to debar her from polite society.
61 At twenty-eight she was still as beautiful as ever; her embraces cannot have been altogether distasteful.
62 ...took no interest in power, preferring to lead the life of a gentleman-scholar in one of his innumerable villas.
63 He had inspired his subjects with the morale to withstand five years of siege by a power hitherto considered irresistible.
64 He finally decided to send his mother, together with his unmarried sisters, to a convent.
65 ...the initial trickle of footloose younger sons in search of wealth and adventure rapidly grew to the point where it became a steady immigration.
66 He cared now only for the state of his Church and for the endless theological disputations in which he found both stimulus and relaxation.
67 At the age of fifteen he took a mistress, but his mother forced him to cast her aside. 
68 He was a man of total moral integrity, intelligent but narrow-minded, incorruptible, impervious to flattery and hard as nails; but he could also be pitiless and cruel.
69 Of his four younger brothers, the two eldest were eunuchs like himself; the youngest, outstandingly handsome though unfortunately epileptic...
70 ...until a hideous wound in the face put an end to his military career.
71 This rectitude did not, however, prevent him from putting aside his first wife in order to make an infinitely more distinguished alliance.
72 His eleven-year-old bride had turned into a formidably ambitious woman, and relations between the two had long been tense.
73 When he was sixteen he had been married off against his will to an ill-favoured girl of asphyxiating piety.
74 He was lazy and pleasure-loving, with little of his father's intelligence and finesse.
75 The tragedy was that as he eliminated corruption from the government, so he himself grew more and more corrupt.
76 She herself was strong and determined, with a love of power for its own sake; she was also excessively pious. 
77 He was weak and irresponsible, and the effective power soon passed into the hands of his uncle.
78 ...in appearance, little short of grotesque; bandy-legged and pot-bellied, with a ferocious squint...
79 Those whom he believed to possess hidden riches he subjected to imprisonment, flogging or even torture.
80 A vulgar illiterate who had been neither educated in the palace nor initiated in the proper traditions...
81 ...Immersed in sensuality and the most frivolous pleasures
82 The violence of his nature has been attributed to the mutilation that he had suffered and the hideous face which he was thenceforth obliged to present.
83 His peers were as irritated by his arrogance as they had been revolted by his cruelty.
84 He was short and squat, with broad shoulders and barrel chest; his face swarthy and weather-beaten with small, dark eyes under heavy brows.
85 He was almost too holy, living on a diet of berries and water, wearing the same filthy robe until it disintegrated, sleeping on the bare earth.
86 ...transforming him into a monster whose only attributes were a pathological suspicion of all around him and an insatiable lust for blood.
87 He was a compulsive liar and inveterate schemer.
88 She saw her chance and proposed a joint monarchy. He would enjoy all the pleasures and privileges of kingship, while she took over the regulation of affairs.
89 He was always ready to sell justice for gain and every day, as a rule, he would repeal certain laws and propose others.
90 It was only to be expected, in view of his character, manners and appearance, that he should have been incapable of maintaining the affections of his subjects.
91 He emerges from the chronicles as an able yet somewhat sinister figure. Highly intelligent and energetic, he was also greedy, self-seeking and cruel.
92 A more unsatisfactory consort for a lusty young prince could hardly be imagined.
93 His only interest seems to have been the raising of poultry.
94 By his early twenties he was already a seasoned campaigner, and his physical courage in the field was never in question. What he lacked was will.
95 Although he had had little formal education, he learned fast. Within months of his assumption of power he was ruling with a sure and steady hand.
96 ...carousing with his cronies, cavorting with his concubines, watching obscene performances in his private theatre and avoiding whenever possible the affairs of state.
97 His popularity was greater than it had ever been, his supremacy undisputed. The future was his. And he threw it away.
98 A woman of immense build, she hardly ever left her husband's side least of all in battle, one of her favourite occupations.
99 Her indecent advances were received, however, with coldness and disdain.
100 ...nightly to the corner of the palace where, among other less reprehensible occupations, the two of them cold-bloodedly planned her husband's murder.



Result Ruler Table 2
1 Not surprisingly, the masses responded. All too soon, he began to see himself as universally beloved, the father of his people.
2 He worked ceaselessly, indefatigably, as few rulers in history have ever worked, for what he believed to be the good of his subjects.
3 ...charm, elegance and panache that, together with the fame of his almost legendary exploits in the bed and on the battlefield, had won him an unrivaled reputation.
4 It was the first time he had shown a trace of spirit, but he could hardly have chosen a worse moment to do so.
5 He was not, however, as pleasant as he looked. Debauched, drunken and pathologically cruel, he loved nothing more than the sight of blood.
6 He was less qualified to rule than to be ruled by others.
7 Shamelessly bisexual, he filled his court with exquisite young favourites and was said to be an accomplished harpist.
8 He possessed, too, an easy-going charm that won all hearts. He too was a widower, but his way with women was still irresistible.
9 Though a competent general, he knew nothing of politics; besides, he was already well into his seventies.
10 In theory he shared the throne with his brother, but his brother was a pleasure-loving nonentity.
11 Physically, he was magnificent. Once a superb horseman and athlete, he still remained an impressive figure.
12 Her throne was placed slightly in advance of her sister's, who seemed perfectly content with her inferior status.
13 His quicksilver mind saw possibilities everywhere; and once seen they were immediately pursued.
14 ...though flattered, he remained far from enthusiastic; but he received careful instruction from his brother, and his own ambition did the rest.
15 ...had bundled his daughter off to there to pursue her studies until her infant fiancé should be of marriageable age.
16 At least twelve years older than her husband, she had already had several children, in and out of wedlock.
17 ...with his ridiculously cross-gartered scarlet leggings, speaking an incomprehensible language and unable even to sign his name except by stenciling it through a plate.
18 Her mind possessed a whole extra dimension compared to those of the three dismal princesses.
19 There were those who were quick to accuse him of sacrificing his principles on the altar of political expediency.
20 She had made no attempt to reform her character after her marriage, and in the years to come was to cause her husband both embarrassment and anguish.
21 ...then in his early thirties, whose moustaches were apparently so long that they had to be tied behind when he went hunting.
22 He was a courageous fighter, a brilliant tactician and leader; of all his subjects, it was his soldiers who loved him the most.
23 His wars were fought not for conquest but, unashamedly, for plunder.
24 Though liable to sudden bouts of irresponsibility, he was to prove himself a fearless soldier and, normally, a conscientious ruler.
25 He was almost insanely prodigal with money, lavishing huge sums on churches and monasteries.
26 Almost immediately he fell victim to the drunkenness and dissipation that was to kill him before he was seventeen.
27 Amid a huge and fundamentally hostile family he was alone, unwanted, and unloved. Fortunately his physical weakness was offset by a lively mind.
28 In the three years since his accession he had developed a persecution mania that led him to new extremes of cruelty.
29 He was crowned with a bystander's gold necklet and seated on the throne.
30 His eyes twinkled so brightly under his reddish-brown hair that he always seemed on the point of laughter, but beneath this breezy exterior lurked a will of steel.
31 Despite his proclivities, he was three times married, fathering six sons and a daughter.
32 He employed trickery and deceit in plenty, but he was neither violent nor brutal.
33 He was the very archetype of the younger son who cannot forgive fate for the accident of his birth. Cold and cruel, ambitious and self-seeking, he...
34 He was devoid of any semblance of moral fibre, reacting to every challenge with mindless cruelty, ordering executions and mutilations by the hundreds.
35 He adopted the habit of wandering incognito through the streets, listening to the grievances of the people and endlessly investigating prices – especially of food.
36 A former  admiral who had been dismissed from his post after eloping with a local nun and, on the theory that opposition was the best defence, had risen in revolt.
37 ...led a life of quite exceptional austerity, eating and drinking sparingly and avoiding women altogether.
38 The boy was quick-tempered and perhaps over-fond of women, but he promised to make a fine ruler.
39 Power had gone to his head: as his reign continued he became ever more arrogant and overbearing.
40 The degree to which this tiny but irresistible man returned her love is somewhat less certain. 
41 His widow should properly have waited for her father, as her nominal suzerain, to appoint a successor. Instead, she assumed the Regency herself.
42 He was a puppet of his father-in-law and made little pretence of being anything else.
43 His love was awakened by the more forcible passions of ambition and avarice.
44 As he sank ever lower into dissipation, he became less an embarrassment than a serious liability.
45 Unfortunately, his character was no better than that of his surviving brother.
46 He began to withdraw further and further into himself, lapsing into deep depressions and even bouts of insanity.
47 ...historian, politician, and philosopher. The pity is that he should also have been self-seeking, conceited, sanctimonious and untrustworthy.
48 She was to reign at his side, taking decisions and giving him the benefit of her counsel in all the highest affairs of state.
49 Never had any of his predecessors inherited so desperate a situation.
50 Few had ever shown greater promise, but, at the age of twenty-four, he was already growing lazy.
51 He lost the sympathy of his sister by having her lover assassinated.
52 She was obliged to listen in silence while her son read from a prepared script, informing his mother that her Regency was at an end.
53 Under a tangle of red hair, his thick, beetling eyebrows met across his nose; the rest of his face was deformed by a huge, angry scar that turned crimson when he was aroused.
54 Once enthroned, he distributed his entire fortune among the poor and adopted an extreme asceticism in his private life.
55 His only possible rival was completely under his control and, incidentally, his son-in-law.
56 After death of his first wife, he had gone through a ceremony of marriage with his niece.
57 Violence and brute force seemed to be his only weapons. Before long, however, his popularity was gone. 
58 Short, swarthy and snub-nosed, with tiny beady eyes set in a head too big for his body and a thin, straggling beard...
59 ...his subsequent behaviour when, having spent his wife's immense dowry, he had the marriage annulled and sent her home, was never forgiven.
60 ...a minister of unspeakable depravity...
61 ...he was carried to his throne and seated upon it with the heavy iron shackles still on his legs.
62 Of his three nieces, two was villainously plain: the middle sister was however a good-looking girl of twenty-three.
63 His vicious wife held him up to public ridicule as a fool, an incompetent, and a cuckold.
64 His appetite for women was prodigious, his way with them irresistible.
65 ...he thought only of appeasing the divine anger which had reduced him, while still in his twenties, to a bloated travesty of what he had been.
66 He seems to have been possessed of considerable charm, a first-rate academic mind, and very considerable learning.
67 ...slow in speech and movement; and his character was as weak as his intellect.
68 The shared monarchy, by contrast, was to last only sixteen months – principally occupied by religious affairs.
69 He had absolutely no social graces.
70 Worn out at forty-one by dissipation, he was to occupy the throne for a little under thirteen months.
71 His courage and determination are the only bright spots in a saga of frustration and disorganization, of cowardice and chaos.
72 Scheming and duplicitous, consumed by ambition and ever thirsty for power...
73 His harshness and austerity had won him little love from his subjects.
74 Seven years younger than his brother, he equalled him only in brutality.
75 She had turned all her thoughts to religion to the point where she became mildly ridiculous.
76 In an explosion of rage still almost audible down the centuries, the old king burst out of his monastery, seized back the government, and deposed and blinded his rival.
77 ...showing all the energy, stamina and endurance that had made him a legend among his subjects.
78 While he lived she was all-powerful, with her own future and that of her children assured. Now that he was gone, they were in grave danger.
79 Had he allowed his soldiers only a little more bread, or his people just a few more circuses, he would easily have escaped his fate.
80 Outside the army he had no interests save his religion, leading a life of almost monastic austerity.
81 One of his first actions as Regent was to have her arrested, shorn of her hair and dispatched to a distant convent.
82 Meanwhile, he had forfeited his last remaining supporters and was now defenceless against his most formidable enemy – his mother.
83 He was to prove a better ruler than anyone had expected, and his reign was to be characterized less by stupidity or cruelty than by sound common sense.
84 Content to leave the responsibilities of government to others, he was unable to check his own moral decline.
85 Her subjects despised her, her advisers were at each other's throats, her exchequer was exhausted. Sooner or later a coup was inevitable.
86 This dandified young fop was promoted by his uncle to the rank of general.
87 ...since he is perhaps the only monarch in all history to have been crowned in utero.
88 ...a nonentity who was incapable of rebellion but unfortunately of everything else as well.
89 His conduct when the legality of the union was called in question suggests that he loved his young wife to distraction.
90 He inherited both his father's magnificent physique and his charm of manner. He was devastatingly attractive to women; and, not surprisingly, he himself fell in love.
91 She insisted on personally holding the keys of the treasury, granting him a meagre allowance for himself and his family.
92 As he gradually came to understand who was responsible, his early respect for his cousin turned to an undying hatred.
93 Though now nearly eighty years old, he was still remarkably spry – he had a daughter of four – and no one else could match his record.
94 Her beauty was breathtaking. She was also intensely ambitious and utterly devoid of moral scruple.
95 If he ultimately fell short of greatness, this was largely due to his uncontrolled liberality.
96 His military gifts and physical courage were unquestioned, and he was a natural leader of men. He had but one liability: his wife.
97 It was a position for which she had long striven but one which she had little opportunity to enjoy.
98 He had wielded his ill-gotten power with wisdom and moderation.
99 He had had the misfortune to fall in love with his own daughter-in-law, for whom he had abandoned his wife; the ensuing scandal was the talk of the capital.
100 Tall and broad-shouldered, his ruddy complexion half-hidden by a thick black beard above which shone eyes of a brilliant pale blue...

The "Death" table below also includes some implied fates. If you've got a death in mind, use that. If you are stuck, or you want to start with a death and work backwards, use this table. You'll probably need to adapt them significantly.


Results Deaths
1 Three subordinate commanders were respectively hanged, impaled and crucified.
2 He lost - all too predictably – his nose, together with as much of his hair as was necessary to provide him with a tonsure, and was packed off to a monastery.
3 Seven of the leading citizens were roasted alive, countless others were drowned in the approved manner.
4 A willing assassin was found among his many enemies, and the deed was soon accomplished.
5 He commuted the death sentence to one of blinding, with perpetual exile.
6 He left behind him a heavy heritage: one that would have defeated better men by far than those who were, alas, to succeed him.
7 ...but his attempt ended in fiasco. He was captured, thrown into prison and never heard of again.
8 There remained the problem of her husband; but fortunately – some people thought a little too fortunately – he chose this moment to die in his turn.
9 He was suddenly compelled by a call of nature to retire; and immediately, falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst and gave up the ghost.
10 Two soldiers of barbarian origin stepped out from behind some bushes and ran him through with their swords.
11 He left behind him clear orders: the crown should go to his son during whose minority his maternal uncle should act as Regent.
12 Abandoned and humiliated, she withdrew to a convent where she lived for the next thirty-five years, writing the history of her father.
13 He was on the whole a just and merciful ruler, and when he died he had, by the standards of the time, remarkably little blood on his hands
14 A little over four months later his eyes were put out. It was, as it happened, his eleventh birthday.
15 The following year he was murdered by a drunken eunuch.
16 Death delayed its coming for another ten years, during which he persistently refused to delegate his authority, while possessing neither the ability nor the appetite to wield it himself.
17 ...who was found hiding in a haystack and was recognized only by his protruding teeth.
18 Their lives were spared, though the three boys were castrated to prevent their making any bids for power; his wife and their daughters were immured in convents.
19 Already stricken by mortal disease, he was approaching a state of both mental and spiritual collapse.
20 Just as his new expeditionary force was ready to march, he suffered a sudden seizure; within minutes he was dead.
21 Even on his deathbed he had done his best to perpetuate his catastrophic policies.
22 ...but just short of his objective he stopped to await his rearguard; a disastrous mistake.
23 ...met her fate in the calidarium of the bathhouse – though whether by scalding, stabbing or suffocation by steam we shall never know.
24 His hands and feet were to be cut off, his body then to be impaled on a stake. The sentence was carried out on the spot.
25 Her tongue was cut out; his nose was slit, and she was exiled.
26 ...in the palace baths; though whether it was caused by a sudden seizure or by his head being firmly held under the water was never established.
27 All those involved in the burial ceremonies were put to death, so that his last resting-place might remain for ever secret
28 Only when he came to leave was it politely explained to him that his departure would unfortunately not be possible.
29 He was exiled with his family where, the following winter, cold and hunger did for the lot of them.
30 ...but in the course of a memorial service held nine days later they murdered him at the high altar and hacked the body to pieces.
31 ...he seized him, stuffed his ears, nose and mouth with horse dung and tortured him to death.
32 Arrested and brought to the capital, she accepted the situation with dignity. She was exiled, and a year later she was dead.
33 He complained of exhaustion and, on the following day, was stricken with a violent fever. Five days later he was dead.
34 ...was captured and brought in chains to the city, where he was led around on a donkey and finally put to death.
35 ...killed by an arrow, and two-thirds of the army perished with him.
36 The unhappy youth was then clapped into irons and eventually succumbed to the bowstring.
37 Accused of every kind of vice, he was stoned to death in the street.
38 At the sight of his once-splendid army he collapsed in a fit of apoplexy, dying two days later.
39 The news of the murder seems to have been received with little regret outside his immediate family.
40 It was fortunate for the treasury that he died – of poison, it was rumoured, taken in a dish of mulberries.
41 ...his eyes gouged out and his face and head alive with worms, he lived on a few days in pain with a foul stench all about him until he gave up the ghost.
42 He was suffocated in his sleep by the vapour of charcoal, which extracted from the walls of the apartment the unwholesome moisture of the fresh plaster.
43 ...a slow-acting poison was slipped into his cup; he awoke the next morning scarcely able to move his limbs.
44 After several days without food or water, he was blinded in one eye and brought forth on a scrawny camel to face the fury of his erstwhile subjects.
45 Instead, he was seized and burnt alive.
46 His spinal cord severed, he was carried back in unspeakable agony to the capital.
47 Whether he dismounted to drink and was swept off his feet by the current,  or whether his horse slipped and threw him, we shall never know.
48 Flung into prison by his son, being allowed only as much bread and water as would keep him alive and so prolong his agony.
49 On the fifth day he was shot slowly to death with arrows.
50 Alive, they would have defended him to the last breath; dead, there was no point in avenging him. They had a new master now.
51 Most of the chroniclers record that he died as a result of a hunting accident, and two give us a detailed account; but the story they tell is, at least, improbable.
52 She was placed under close surveillance, in which condition she remained for the rest of her life.
53 His subjects, in short, were well rid of him; and his death came not a moment too soon.
54 She was left in her second widowhood at her half-brother's court.
55 He was then thrown to the ground, kicked and spat upon, and beaten until he lost several teeth and was on the point of collapse.
56 During one of his regular tours of inspection, a group of prisoners fell upon him, seized an axe from one of the workmen and struck off their victim's head.
57 Though still only in his middle fifties he looked old and ill.
58 All others suspected of disloyalty  met their deaths by the axe, the bowstring or, more frequently, slow torture.
59 While he was lathering himself in his bath, one of his attendants, in a fit of uncontrollable nostalgia, felled him with a soap-dish.
60 ...until his death, almost certainly by poison, in the following year. His corpse, we are told, was dragged naked through the city...
61 He was obliged to interrupt his journey and there, broken alike in body and spirit, he died.
62 ...hanged with all his staff officers on a row of gibbets erected along the city walls; others were tied in sacks and thrown into the sea.
63 ...men, women and children by the thousand were slain in cold blood and flung into the sea.
64 ...whereupon her husband fell upon him and stabbed him to death. His friends, dashing forward to avenge him, were surrounded and quickly dispatched.
65 Sent back to the capital, he was next thrown into a prison where he was beaten and two of his teeth were knocked out.
66 His captors cut off his ears, nose and hands, put out his eyes and tore out his tongue. He survived his subsequent trial and lived, after a fashion.
67 To his successor's eternal credit, he suffered no blinding, no exile. Abdication was enough. He died soon afterwards, a private citizen.
68 ...he was shipped off to end his days in the prison he so richly deserved.
69 Out of the corner of his eye, he saw the chamberlain make a surreptitious signal. His hand flew to his sword; but it was too late.
70 He was the first ruler for half a century to expire, while still a reigning monarch, in his bed; the first, too, to leave a strong and healthy son to succeed him.
71 He set off on a brief hunting expedition, in the course of which an arrow accidentally wounded him in the hand. Septicaemia set in.
72 ...with one tremendous stroke of his sword, sliced him down from collarbone to thigh.
73 Less than four months later came the final, unmistakable sign of divine displeasure: she suffered a miscarriage, which proved fatal.
74 His second successor had been hammered to death by jealous relations.
75 His wife and three young children were captured. Of the four, three never appeared again; one son was still in prison forty-three years later.
76 Thus, with a transparent lie on his lips, he expired in misery and shame.
77 His death, was pious, efficient and well-ordered, like his life.
78 As he was marching in the fierce heat, his legs grew so swollen that they could no longer support him. He did not live to complete his journey home.
79 ...the ceiling of his new study fell on him and crushed him to death.
80 His stomach and feet were hideously swollen, while his mouth, tongue and throat became so inflamed that he could no longer swallow.
81 ...but he was by now an old man and the strain was too much for him. He died, of rage and a broken heart, before sentence could be passed.
82 His four younger sons were butchered before his eyes; then he himself faced the executioner and was dispatched at a stroke.
83 ...felled by a well-aimed javelin.
84 The palace guard mutinied, fell upon their hopeless master and flung his dismembered body into the river.
85 He was attacked by a sudden violent fever, and within a few days he was dead.
87 Saintly and hideous, magnificent and insufferable, he had deserved a better end.
88 ...was suspected of having adulterous relations with his stepmother and was therefore executed.
89 ...but some time autumn with the air already growing chill, he stayed in his bath too long. Pleurisy resulted. He lingered on until the new year.
90 He died, in the most characteristic way he could have died, bravely but unnecessarily.
91 The envoys arrived in early to find him gravely ill with typhoid fever.
92 The aggression was costing him far more than the commercial privileges he had withheld. He swallowed his pride and restored them.
93 By this time, however, it was plain that he was mortally ill: the monks bade him prepare for death.
94 ...murdered while attending a banquet – under a promise of safe conduct – with his captors.
95 There remains, however, the fact that he was deposed by a popular insurrection after only four months and eleven days on the throne.
96 The anger welled up within him as he listened, his face turning a deeper and deeper purple until he suddenly fell forward in a fit of apoplexy and died.
97 ...ordered him to be hurled into the huge furnace that heated the baths of the palace.
98 ...enabling his old rival to win the victories and the acclaim that should have been his own.
99 ...during the night following his marriage to yet another of his innumerable wives, his exertions brought on a sudden haemorrhage...
100 He managed to escape but was quickly recaptured and brought back to the palace; and there his eyes were put out.

This table is useful if you need to add a bit of chaos to an ongoing war, or determine the outcome of  a distant war, or detail some element of a ruler's history or downfall.




Result War
1 Six months later he tricked his way into the city, slaughtering the garrison...
2 Dismissing the embassy with the minimum of courtesy, he prepared for the fray.
3 ...whence they are said to have returned with no fewer than 292,000 captives.
4 In the previous siege, the fighting had been limited to the summer months; now it continued throughout the cruelest winter that anyone could remember.
5 Then, and only then, came the tragedy. The entire city now fell victim to an orgy of pillage and destruction.
6 ...appropriated empty houses and settled in with their families; refugees were encouraged to return; damaged buildings were repaired and restored.
7 Men and women, monks and nuns, young and old. Some were hanged, some beheaded; many children were buried alive.
8 Of the rest, nearly half lay dead; the survivors were secured with the same ropes and fetters that had formerly held the captives.
9 He had effectively immobilized both of his enemies. The unprincipled adventurer was at least a worthy adversary.
10 ...announcing their own imminent arrival and calling upon the people to rise against the new usurper.
11 By his courage alone, he had saved the day. But the war was not yet over.
12 He had not taken it by force; his men had simply occupied a place abandoned by its former inhabitants.
13 These commanders, however, realizing that they would be hopelessly outnumbered, refused to advance.
14 It was over quite quickly: the army was progressively outflanked and outfought until, as the sun was sinking, it fled in panic and disorder.
15 As spring turned to summer they marched down from the north, fell on the sick and demoralized enemy and killed, we are told, 22,000 of them.
16 Meanwhile a troop of soldiers quickly ran the fugitives to earth.
17 He would probably have won the day had not his cavalry unexpectedly defected.
18 The mercenaries took their own decisions; when there was any plunder they kept it for themselves. 
19 The admiral had been horrified to find his new allies not only far fewer than he had been led to expect but roaring drunk in the bargain.
20 More probably the raiders, finding the city impregnable and having exhausted the possibilities of extramural plunder, simply decided to call it a day.
21 Their overbearing arrogance caused constant disaffection among their allies.
22 ...the performance of the army having been characterized by a combination of treachery, panic and ignominious flight.
23 ...disbanding the seasoned regiments in favour of groups of wanderers and refugees whose cheapness was no substitute for discipline or experience.
24 Rather than return and report failure, the leaders of the fleet decided to rebel.
25 Fearing, presumably, that his general might turn against him, he also gave him too small an army to be of any real use.
26 Whole companies were massacred, others were flogged or blinded.
27 ...defended by so few soldiers that all able-bodied male citizens were called to the ramparts.
28 The once-glorious army had given up the whole enterprise after four days' fighting.
29 All that she managed to obtain was the recall of her husband; if failure was now inevitable, she was determined that he should not carry the blame.
30 The effective elimination of the fourth participant in the struggle for supremacy led inevitably to a radical realignment among the other three.
31 It was under this new and deeply uninspiring leader that the sad and weary retreat continued
32 Many of the inhabitants took refuge in a large church, in which they were promptly burnt alive by the conquerors.
33 He would have to come to terms with the barbarians in order to free the most brilliant of his generals for another period of service.
34 ...but of the fleet, much of it by now dangerously unseaworthy, only five vessels returned home in safety.
35 ...a fleet massive enough to carry some 27,000 mounted knights and all the equipment necessary for the most ambitious campaign of his career.
36 One promise he kept to the letter: there was no looting of private houses, rapine or killing.
37 All the male citizens were put to the sword, the women being reduced to slavery and presented to the barbarians in gratitude for their alliance.
38 A few of his men carried him, unconscious, to a nearby stream to bathe the wound; the remainder fled from the field. The war was over.
39 Their shameful flight was probably due to treachery rather than cowardice, but it was not a jot the more excusable for that.
40 Thus, within a matter of weeks, he had antagonized both his prospective allies.
41 Sweeping down from the mountains to each side and concentrating their fire on the beasts of burden, whose dead bodies soon blocked the road...
42 It was an astonishing document. In return for the vague promise of insignificant reinforcements a long time in the future, it secured for him a small empire.
43 ...while his bailiffs toured the island, requisitioning without compensation grain, fodder, horses, cattle and pigs to sustain the army on its long journey.
44 Storms arose without warning and engulfed his entire fleet.
45 They might have escaped, had not the engineers lost their heads and drawn the bolts too early.
46 After this second disaster the besiegers seem to have been overcome by panic. Their siege engines had proved useless, their subtlest stratagems thwarted.
47 After four years of bloodshed, both found themselves politically very much where they had been before.
48 The garrison, totally without provisions for a siege, surrendered without a struggle.
49 As the first of their ships was engulfed in flames, the remainder turned abruptly away.
50 He resolved on a final onslaught, this time from the sea.
51 In the interests of a quick agreement, with a marriage alliance as a further guarantee, he was quite prepared to make a few minor concessions.
52 The mercenaries predictably chose the moment of supreme crisis to demand impossible increases in their pay; meeting with a refusal, they disappeared.
53 It was more than a disaster; it was a disgrace.
54 promised at least that there would be no killing or torturing, and no destruction of buildings
55 But this was not the old story of a mortally sick man seeking a glorious death on the battlefield. The campaign was meticulously planned.
56 They also told him of a postern gate in the walls, through which a handful of men could easily pass into the city. The opportunity seemed too good to miss.
57 sparing neither women nor children – babies, we are told, were hurled into threshing machines.
58 Instead of begging for peace he appealed to his better nature and pressed him earnestly to mend his ways.
59 He had then advanced deep into enemy territory where, while sparing the adult populations, he had seized all the children he could find and dashed their heads against the rocks.
60 The battle was furious, and for a long time indecisive.
61 For three days he waited, during which his scouts discovered an old conduit, long disused, running beneath the walls into the city.
62 When he found himself betrayed by a whole regiment of 7,000 auxiliaries he knew that the battle was lost.
63 Only at nightfall did the conquerors call a truce and withdraw to their camp in one of the great squares of the city.
64 The capital was sacked, the harbour installations destroyed, the surrounding country ravaged.
65 ...but though the capital was secure, the provinces were falling away.
66 The horrors of that summer were long remembered as he engulfed the land in a fury of destruction.
67 Meanwhile, some time in the early spring, a secret agreement was concluded and a peace treaty duly signed.
68 Of each hundred prisoners, ninety-nine were blinded; to one man a single eye was left, that he might conduct the remainder to the presence of their king.
69 But he was not yet ready for annihilation. He had lost the first round, but he had now shaken off his habitual lassitude and his blood was up.
70 Firing streams of arrows from their decks, his ships slowly forced their way up the river.
71 ...he too was obliged to accept vassalage. His motive was probably sheer despair.
72 Most of his army was cut to pieces. Many were burnt to death when the enemy fired the palisades, others were crushed by artificially-induced landslides.
73 The inhabitants of the suburbs sought refuge within the gates, which were closed and bolted behind them; and the long-threatened siege began.
74 The garrison, who had been reduced to a diet of dogs and mice, gratefully accepted the terms offered them.
75 By dawn the crowds were already gathering in the streets. Before long, inevitably, they went on the rampage.
76 The mercenaries behaved as mercenaries all too often did: nevertheless, their wages had been paid, and they might have shown a little more spirit
77 ...a mixed force of cavalry and infantry with which he was able to enter the capital in strength.
78 The carnage ceased only when the conquerors were too exhausted to go on.
79 ...a thousand men behind him. Six days later, agreement was reached.
80 This was not just an army but an entire nation on the march.
81 He offered peace in return for a down payment of 5,000 pounds of gold, plus 500 more each year.
82 ...and he fled back into his wilderness fastness, his army pell-mell after him.
83 Soon cases of cannibalism were reported. As the weather worsened, cold and undernourishment brought disease.
84 Food was short; the rivers were all in flood; the heat was murderous; and the flies were so thick that they blotted out the light of the sun.
85 ...but his newly-recruited army mutinied and he was obliged to return.
86 Dispirited and homesick, with its pay long overdue, the army fell away.
87 The bloodshed and butchery continued for a week; only then did the raiders re-embark with their plunder and – we are told – more than 30,000 prisoners.
88 The next morning they struck their camp; the day after, they were gone.
89 Hardly had they entered the  territory than they began pillaging, ravaging, raping and even murdering as the mood took them.
90 He enjoined his brother-in-law to make every effort to avoid bloodshed, and to offer all those who submitted a guarantee that they would go unpunished.
91 But none of these small triumphs brought him any nearer to his goal.
92 ...carrying not only two and a half thousand fighting men – more than half of them cavalry – but also their wives, mistresses and children.
93 Everywhere, order was preserved. There was no murder, no bloodshed, no looting.
94 Summoning all his subjects to the main square, he exhorted them to resist with all the strength at their command.
95 A few words of conciliation might yet have saved the day; instead he blustered, threatening to cut off all the city's supplies of food.
96 Plague broke out in the overcrowded ships and spread with terrible speed. By spring thousands were dead, the survivors weakened and demoralized.
97 Only when the sun set did they realize that there was virtually no enemy left to oppose them.
98 A day or two later the siege began. It continued for eight months, and as winter came, the citizens' morale began to flag.
99 But the conspirators had gone too far. The army supported him to a man.
100 ...politely drawing his army aside to allow the newly arrived garrison, 6,000 strong but panic-stricken, to flee for its life.


The "Events" table is a grab bag of interesting sentences that didn't fit anywhere else. Use it to add some flavour to a ruler's reign or to add supporting characters (usually priests).


Result Event
1 Here he spent the summer in an intensive programme of tactical training, testing his own generalship and building up the stamina of his men.
2 The conclusion was obvious: he must marry a third time, and have a son. But was such a thing permitted?
3 He  singled out two officers as his potential assassins, and invited them separately to his house; as they entered, he leapt upon them and strangled them with his own hands.
4 The barbarians were disappointed about the ban on bigamy, but on the whole more than satisfied.
5 They learned to their horror that the he had divorced his wife and was contemplating a second marriage.
6 In order to be able to introduce his longtime mistress  into the palace without provoking a scandal, he persuaded his chamberlain to marry her.
7 He hastily embarked his child-wife and his favourite concubine on to a waiting ship and fled with them...
8 He was not unduly disturbed; he knew that some at least of his supporters would join him under cover of darkness, and so they did.
9 This ban extending to all comic, tragic or satyrical masks, all transvestites, and all those who ‘curled their hair in a provocative or seductive manner’.
10 Sinful as it might be, his marriage was now at least recognized.
11 The general found himself relieved of his command; his magnificent household was disbanded, his accumulated treasure confiscated.
12 He was asleep when the messenger arrived, but was roused by his  grandson. At first he refused to believe the news and boxed the boy's ears.
13 he became convinced that a bronze boar was his other self, and had it provided with new teeth and genitals in an attempt to remedy the extraordinary wear and tear that he had inflicted on his own.
14 The chariot races aroused such excitement that the final contest had to be cancelled for fear of public disturbances.
15 Clearly, his subjects whispered, he had incurred the wrath of God by his incestuous marriage to his niece. 
16 The insurrection was quickly put down and its ringleaders punished, the five brothers being tonsured and forcibly ordained.
17 He countered this by using two undercover agents, a priest and a prostitute, to disseminate copies of a letter. The priest was arrested, but the prostitute did her work admirably
18 There were those who attributed this decision to a desire to escape hideous visions of his brother, whom he had murdered two years before.
19 Here he somewhat imperiously began stripping the city of what few valuables it still possessed.
20 In the first four years of his reign he could never have afforded such a luxury; but now every key post was in the hands of one of his own supporters.
21 For a girl of just sixteen, those first four months must have been little short of a nightmare; and it is only right that we should spare a thought for her loneliness.
22 This saintly but insufferable prelate, by his scorching castigations, had made himself dangerously unpopular at court.
23 ...he discovered that whereas other ambassadors had brought magnificent presents, his own master had sent nothing but a letter, 'and that was full of lies'.
24 Furious, they took ship for home and their tempers could hardly have been improved when pirates stripped them of all that they possessed and held them captive for nine months.
25 ...a sentence which, in default of anyone courageous enough to pronounce it, had been transcribed on to a piece of parchment and pinned to the back of his cope.
26 ...those famous Persecutions that were to rage, scarcely controlled, for the next eight years.
27 ...but when she returned to tell her husband that she had given away two of his most important cities, he immediately launched a furious campaign,,,
28 Never for a single second did it occur to him that he might be wrong.
29 Considerable numbers of potential soldiers were settled, receiving inalienable grants of land on condition of hereditary military service.
30 Earlier that year he had accused him – quite unjustifiably – of high treason.
31 The popular reaction was immediate: the commander of the demolition party was set upon by a group of outraged women and killed on the spot.
32 The flash-point was reached when the captain imprisoned the city's most popular charioteer.
33 ...solemnly read a sentence of anathema on a whole string of heretics, including his own predecessor...
34 Several of the old senatorial families were already beginning to trickle away, lured by the promise of magnificent palaces in the city 
35 His wife was now determined on divorce, and he dreaded the attendant difficulties and embarrassments.
36 All the old charges were revived, and new ones introduced; hosts of new witnesses were called, each prepared to swear that the archbishop had committed every crime in the statute book.
37 Private loans to merchants were forbidden; shipowners were permitted to raise money only from the State, which charged interest at 17 per cent.
38 Twelve years of seclusion had done little to improve her appearance, but he was not interested in her looks.
39 ...the famous stylite of the city actually descended from his pillar for the first time in fifteen years...
40 His instinctive reaction when he received this portrait was to hurtle it into the fire.
41 The riot spread like wildfire through the city, and as it gathered momentum it began to reveal a guiding hand.
42 Here was a dangerous doctrine indeed. Its propagator was arraigned before nearly a hundred bishops and excommunicated as a heretic.
43 If a bishop should dare even to raise the subject, he would be deposed; a private person doing so would be flogged and banished.
44 Their capital lay in ruins around them; it must be rebuilt – where possible, on a yet grander and more impressive scale than before.
45 Meanwhile, profiting by the latter's absence, he looted his house, laid waste his estate and finally seduced his wife.
46 He had his rival blinded, and ordered that all four of his other uncles should have their tongues cut out.
47 He was once again preoccupied; and the problem was once again theological.
48 That night there was an earthquake, which so frightened the superstitious woman that the exiled prelate was recalled and reinstated.
49 The last thing he wanted was his daughter's return; he had six others, and she was serving a far more useful purpose where she was.
50 When the news reached the capital, he flew into another of his rages; his subjects, however, felt no sympathy.
51 The story, assiduously circulated, that he had repented on his deathbed can safely be discounted; but it solved a potentially embarrassing problem and no serious objections were raised.
52 No clearer mark of divine displeasure could be imagined.
53 ...a most marvelous sign appeared to him from heaven...
54 Once again the air was thick with sedition; traitors were everywhere.
55 ...his own incarceration – made a good deal more irksome by the presence of his wife, who had insisted on sharing it together with their infant daughter.
56 Her more thoughtful subjects despised her for supposing that their affections could be so easily bought.
57 He listed all his sins one by one, asking absolution for each. Then, before the high altar, he was scourged by a young novice before returning to his cell.
58 Strangely enough, both were wearing peaked fur caps to protect their heads from the bitter cold, and the first blows were directed against the priest.
59 A mob marched on his palace, pillaged it and burnt it to the ground. His country estates, too, were destroyed.
60 Taxes were kept deliberately, low, and payable not in gold but in kind.
61 It was suggested at the time that, dazzled by the her beauty, he had fallen passionately in love with her; and it is not hard to see why.
62 There was no purpose in overthrowing a ruler whose subjects were obviously about to do so themselves.
63 He was also becoming dropsical – a disability which quickly led to impotence.
64 There was no swagger, no insolence or arrogance: everything bought was paid for, promptly and in full.
65 He wisely refused to say a word, even when sentence of anathema was pronounced upon him; but this hardly mattered.
66 His aspect grew still more sombre, his religious observances ever more morbid and morose. He no longer slept in a bed, but on a panther-skin laid on the floor.
67 Only then, half-starving, freezing cold (for it was now mid-winter) and unable to walk, was he brought before the tribunal.
68 The hapless princess found herself immured in a convent, with which she was doubtless far from pleased.
69 He was a blinkered bigot who did not even wait for the end of his own consecration before ordering his rival out of the church.
70 At night the streets were loud with the carousings of drunken soldiery, to the point where honest citizens feared to leave their homes.
71 ...only on his arrival did he discover the local commander to be his incompetent and profligate brother.
72 He turned on the ambassadors, abusing their countrymen as a race of hideous and filthy beggars, ruled by a prince dressed only in the skins of animals.
73 ...an agreeable old reprobate who spent most of his time telling dubious stories to the rest of the commission.
74 He knew that he had one duty that took precedence over all the others: to survive.
75 He had returned to find himself facing a number of serious charges fabricated by his enemies, including simony, perjury and adultery.
76 Famine and pestilence followed.
77 After that, there could be no question of departure; the crisis, it was agreed, must be resolved by force of arms.
78 He agonized, but his wife did not hesitate. Cutting off her hair, she immediately entered a convent.
79 ...and when the decision was taken to replace him with someone more amenable there was no shortage of bishops ready to testify against him.
80 ...by the richness of his presents and promising him the hand of his daughter  in marriage. Flattered beyond measure, he offered 40,000 men in return.
81 Silently a rope was let down from a window, and one by one the conspirators were drawn up into the building.
82 Citizens were no longer permitted to hold nocturnal feasts, on the grounds that they led to unbridled licentiousness – which indeed they very often did.
83 He cheerfully admitted his former hostility; this time, however, he had come of his own free will, as a friend.
84 The treasury was empty; the new taxes that he was obliged to introduce were openly resented by his subjects, who knew full well where their money was going.
85 ...ordered a mass conscription of all able-bodied men, including foreigners, within his dominions.
86 By this time, we are told, they had even tried to force him to resign by bribing a young woman to accuse him of seduction.
87 When the soldiers arrived he stood implacably before them and turned them away, while the trembling eunuch cowered beneath the high altar.
88 Quietly he made his plans, and when all was in readiness he summoned his enemy to the palace.
89 ...declared the entire agitation to be unfounded and unnecessary and forbidding any ecclesiastic to venture any further opinion on it.
90 They obediently ruled that the law in question had been promulgated during the reign of a condemned heretic. The decree was consequently without validity.
91 ...but mass conversions almost invariably have political undertones, and this was no exception.
92 In their efforts to force him into an abdication he had been arrested once again, subjected to further repeated beatings, starved for a fortnight, and incarcerated.
93 To them he was an impostor: an ecclesiastic only in name, whose ordination had made a mockery of one of the most solemn sacraments of the Church.
94 But now came the Terror: an orgy of blood-letting worse even than that of a century before.
95 There was no other obvious candidate for the post, and a sickly youth, unlikely to last very long, may well have seemed a harmless stopgap.
96 To make matters worse these missionaries were spreading two dangerous heresies.
97 He enjoyed, however, considerable support among the people: and furious fighting broke out in the streets.
98 He knew she would never countenance the marriage on which he had set his heart. It would have to be war after all.
99 Despite her vow of virginity, she was able to contract a nominal marriage to a senator and ex-soldier.
100 Finances were restored, by taxation, forced loans, crippling fines for past corruption and – for the first time in its history major contributions from the Church.


Example:

I'd like to see what the reign before King Crimson's was like. I roll twice on each Ruler table to get: 2,84,47,86

2) He found himself the rallying-point of all his mother's enemies, including many of the old guard.
84) He was short and squat, with broad shoulders and barrel chest; his face swarthy and weather-beaten with small, dark eyes under heavy brows.
47)...historian, politician, and philosopher. The pity is that he should also have been self-seeking, conceited, sanctimonious and untrustworthy.
86) This dandified young fop was promoted by his uncle to the rank of general.

I think we have 2 different people here. Let's edit this to:

King Crimson IV was short and squat, with broad shoulders and barrel chest; his face swarthy and weather-beaten with small, dark eyes under heavy brows. He was a historian, politician, and philosopher. The pity is that he should also have been self-seeking, conceited, sanctimonious and untrustworthy.

In the sixth year of his reign, his nephew Basil came to the attention of the court. This dandified young fop was promoted by his uncle to the rank of general, and swiftly found himself the rallying-point of all his mother's enemies, including many of the old guard. 

We have the old king (the current king's father) and a rival, Basil, who is more or less a puppet. Somehow Basil's mother (the old king's sister) is involved and has many enemies. Let's roll twice on the Events table to see if that gives us any insights: 29,21
29) Considerable numbers of potential soldiers were settled, receiving inalienable grants of land on condition of hereditary military service.

21) For a girl of just sixteen, those first four months must have been little short of a nightmare; and it is only right that we should spare a thought for her loneliness.

Not too helpful at first. The 1st Event seems like something King Crimson IV would do (if he's not a terrible person). The 2nd might be how Basil's mother came to have so many enemies. Maybe she was married to a barbarian or a heathen prince, and then, upon returning to court, was considered to have brought foreign influences with her, influences even a 2nd marriage (which produced Basil) could not remove?
King Crimson IV was short and squat, with broad shoulders and barrel chest; his face swarthy and weather-beaten with small, dark eyes under heavy brows. He was a historian, politician, and philosopher. The pity is that he should also have been self-seeking, conceited, sanctimonious and untrustworthy.

In the sixth year of his reign, his nephew Basil came to the attention of the court. This dandified young fop was promoted by his uncle to the rank of general, and swiftly found himself the rallying-point of all his mother's enemies, including many of the old guard. His mother Eugenia had been married as a child to the son of the Terrible Potentate Rham II. [...] The marriage did not last long, and she returned to her brother's court. Her outspoken criticism of [...]

Considerable numbers of potential soldiers were settled, receiving inalienable grants of land on condition of hereditary military service.

We also need a war. I could generate one using my system here, but I'm in a hurry, so I'll just roll once on the table: 37
37) All the male citizens were put to the sword, the women being reduced to slavery and presented to the barbarians in gratitude for their alliance.
That makes sense. Clearly, King Crimson III had cemented an alliance with the barbarians (Terrible Potentate Rham II) by marrying his daughter to the Potentate's son. Together, they'd attacked a city and sacked it, with the barbarians doing the usual sort of terrible things, explicitly encouraged by King Crimson III. Eugenia would be seen as a symbol of this dreadful alliance.

Finally, we need to find out how the whole sad story plays out. Let's roll 3 deaths: 74,62,26

74) His second successor had been hammered to death by jealous relations.
62) ...hanged with all his staff officers on a row of gibbets erected along the city walls; others were tied in sacks and thrown into the sea.
26) ...in the palace baths; though whether it was caused by a sudden seizure or by his head being firmly held under the water was never established.
We'll never find out how Eugenia died. King Crimson III died in the bath, while Basil's rebellion was clearly unsuccessful. Finally, we also learned that King Crimson IV was not the first choice heir. The other successors were apparently hammered to death.

In the end, we get:

King Crimson IV was short and squat, with broad shoulders and barrel chest; his face swarthy and weather-beaten with small, dark eyes under heavy brows. He was a historian, politician, and philosopher. The pity is that he should also have been self-seeking, conceited, sanctimonious and untrustworthy. It must be noted that during his reign considerable numbers of potential soldiers were settled, receiving inalienable grants of land on condition of hereditary military service, an act which immensely strengthened the borders of his realm.

In the sixth year of his reign, his nephew Basil came to the attention of the court. This dandified young fop was promoted by his uncle to the rank of general, and swiftly found himself the rallying-point of all his mother's enemies, including many of the old guard. His mother Eugenia had been married as a child to the son of the Terrible Potentate Rham II. [...] The marriage did not last long, and she returned to her brother's court. Her outspoken criticism of [...] Basil was coaxed into a rebellion. Within a year, his army had been crushed. He was hanged with all his staff officers on a row of gibbets erected along the city walls; other rebels were tied in sacks and thrown into the sea.

King Crimson IV did not long survive his rebellious nephew. In [year], he drowned in the palace baths; though whether it was caused by a sudden seizure or by his head being firmly held under the water was never established. A struggle for the throne immediately ensued. His designated heir was immediately assassinated, and his second successor had been hammered to death by jealous relations. The crown fell to an unlikely choice, his third son [...]


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