Politics and Governance (Shard Ne'Vaal Supplement)
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Kingdoms rise and fall, and people come and go. In the old times, nations were well established and kingdoms were better defined. But with the current state of things, such ways of law are transient. Tribalism rules and groups of savages can overrun the poorly united groups calling themselves nations. Somethings change, and other things don't.
Old World Rule
The world was much more clearly defined then, with continents being ably grouped and people finding their neighbors to be the same as themselves. Order was kept by larger nations who kept populations of creatures like gnolls and goblins at a minimum. It's not that different from a typical history lesson of medieval powers with a smattering of colonialism and imperialism.
Autocratic governments have seemingly the most simple of politics. They are strictly hierarchical, with a narrow top-down structure. Most forms of monarchies are classified under this label.
- Centralized Powers
Whether it is a monarchy or dictatorship, the structures of an autocracy are fairly simple. There is a concentration of power at the top of the hierarchy, which makes all the decisions and has all the power. There are instances where there is a legislative or judicial body that impedes, but these are few and far between. This minority is usually of the constitutional variety.
- Militaristic Types
Nation states like Hocheim or Toryu were largely militaristic. They focused on aggressive policies that expanded their reach on their respective territory. However, Hocheim was unable to expand far beyond the Igdrys Scepter due to the orcs and giants who ruled the mountains. They then attempted to conquer the Sarushian Isles, but the many tribes proved a challenge to tame. Toryu militarized but was largely unable to conquer much land on the Dasoon mainland, especially when Jjan and Ba Xin united.
Militaristic nations usually have a great emphasis on military power and harsh rule of law. Betterment of welfare depends on the state of military forces. Therefore, security of the nation comes first before certain civilian concerns. Most monarchies or dictatorships conduct themselves as such. Hocheim is a kingdom over a confederacy of tribes, and Toryu is ruled by an emperor Typically there is either one or two nexuses in these systems where the power is concentrated. They have the final say over legislative bodies beneath them, and command direct control of the military.
One of the cons with this system is mainly the lack of development in other areas of the country. The focus on military power sometimes leaves communities underdeveloped and things like education and the arts underfunded. Another problem is the concentration of power in the military. There are some famous coups conducted by powerful generals that successfully usurped power from nobles. While no kingdom on record was ever overthrown by this, militaristic nations always need to be on guard for such traitors. This risk is particularly dangerous for mercenary countries whose armies have connections to many foreign bodies and are therefore sometimes funded to conduct a coup.
Literally "rule by the best," aristocracies formed typically out of power vacuums from the fall of autocracies. Some are more organic, formed from the heads of a large community to help make choices.
One of the less popular forms of aristocracy was rule by feudal lords who were endowed status by birthright. This structure sometimes occurs in monarchies, but the nobility have power and status possible on an equal level to the crown. This makes for a larger group of leaders who hold similar powers. The lords in these instances usually had their own armies, meaning they could wage war with the king if needed. They also usually held large tracts of land tended by serfs who lived off them in exchange for protection.
- Oligarchic Republic
A republic was a system of representation less common but more popular for common folk as an aristocracy. The ruling caste was composed of several representatives from different groups. They convened to make important decisions for the society as a whole throughout times of the year. There were no known democratic republic states.
- Military Juntas
- Kingdoms like Preius were ruled by a group of military powers as opposed to a centralized king figure. The power is dispersed evenly among the four generals, affording a myriad of powers. They share a zeal for the use of force to establish legitimacy, but this does not necessarily make them violent.
- Tribal Systems
- There are many nomadic groups throughout the world, and most of them operate under some form of oligarchy. If the tribe is nomadic, they most commonly are spread out over an area. These groups convene in set locations in intervals to discuss issues among their clans. Stationary tribes usually have an upper crust of chiefs who all share equal power over important societal aspects. They make decisions as a group on all facets of the tribe life.
- Technocrats are basically experts. Such societies are usually merit or result-based. Those who prove themselves the most able or most intelligent usually gain power rather easily. This is one of the rarer forms of governance, as technocrats are highly specialized and therefore this forms control silos at the top of their hierarchy. Usually, strong coordination is needed between them to ensure harmonious efforts.
Aristocracies are one of the more expansive forms of governance, and are usually found in nations with large areas of territory and many, many splintered groups. So a nation formed of multiple princedoms is classified under such.
Some nations are not fully realized in any one specific aspect of rule. For example, a nation with a bicameral state of rule has two apexes of equal power rather than one. They have aspects of aristocracy, autocracy, and even possibly some democracy.
- Managerial State
Nations like Ba Xin have a state which manages most aspects of life. They are not focused in any one area like in a military autocracy, and they manage all facets of society, from education to childbirth and business. This requires a large expansive system and is therefore often apportioned out to people who know the way things work in localities. While there is a central emperor along with his court of esteemed judges, the villages have their own headmen who are locally more respected than the distant capital and its officials. This form of laxer rule is beneficial for controlling large areas with different cultures and making them subservient towards the central crown. However, it has the same problems of decentralization as an aristocracy of nobility. But for Ba Xin in particular this is mitigated through their standardized education system so as to lessen the chance of dissidents. Officials from the capital are also sent on frequent and random intervals to check on the locality and are allowed to use force if necessary to remove rogue leaders.
Mixed systems have a great deal of reach and versatility, mainly in the lower branches of power. Some villages in Jjan and Reza are democratic and elect their leaders under the watchful eye of the central government. This is not to say sometimes the main governance does not have a hand sometimes in manipulating elections. Due to the vast network necessary to operate this kind of system, officials usually have to be both technocrats and influencers. There is a lot of emphasis in education to raise the most versatile of people so they can be moved to other areas of government and perform just about anywhere.
Shard Ne'Vaal Rule
Governance changed drastically with the Gorge destroying the Old World. As people tried to put back their lives, despair and cynicism changed the political arena into one that was even more hostile and toxic than before. Alliances are almost never heard of, and people play vicious games for any shred of power. Because that could be the difference between life and death in a new dog-eat-dog world.
- Control Systems
The two main systems of governance in civilization left in the world are pretty much just authoritarian and oligarchic.
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