I want to create a mood of a royal court. A bit of a cozy atmosphere where the emperor knows everyone. I'm not the fan of all sorts of filters and making more courtiers than visible at once, because the player won't be able to manage/remember all of them (and be sad when they die). I think those 17 is about right... I mean, I would not be able to handle it if there was more of them, I think (also, most likely there will be a separate screen with officers for the army/fleet and for governors of the planets, so the total will be probably around 17*3 personnel to manage).
I wonder about the unused 12 courtiers, maybe they could be utilised somehow? I mean, you still have some control over who is in your court because you can kick out a courtier (and get a new one next turn). So, why not make this a decision as well?
I thought of these (tell which you like/don't like):
1) The middle row is made of some sort of clerks (all would have a white border similar to red for ministers), you can appoint the courtiers and they move to the middle row, clerks stats add to the empire stats/stability. I don't like that one...
2) All the ministers would select their henchmen, each minister would select (AI decision) 2 courtiers and mark them as working for their ministry (the decision would be based mostly on the likes/dislikes of the minister, the family and friends need to get the job first, competence is secondary )
3) The 12 non ministerial courtiers would not be assigned anything, but they would be checked upon events like overthrow check (they could join the coup OR on the contrary, help to defend the emperor), their influence would be much smaller than ministers of course (so it's still very important if appointed people are loyal)
Factions - there could be 6 factions in the empire. Each courtier would have an icon indicating to which faction he/she belongs. Your task would be to maintain balance of power (like making sure no single faction get 3 or more ministerial positions or they might think they could replace the emperor ). My worry is that it makes the whole Loyality stat useless/redundant... and I like the loyalty stat
Assassinations - I think a real court needs assasinations What if they were not only plotting how to overthrow you, the emperor, but also try to backstab each other? An impatient courtier would want to assisnate a minister so there is a vacant spot. You would be able to regulate the likeness of this by increasing security within the court (but only to a degree, we don't want a game with assassin free court, right? )
Generally, I think about adding a tiny little bit of AI to the courtiers. Some very, very simple (almost random) decisions to make (like whom to kill next, whom to appoint as their second in command). Do you think I should go this route?