WatchNon-threaded

Forums » Writing Workshop » Read Thread

Toss around ideas and brainstorm your story.

Does this government make sense?

one year ago
I've had people here before complain that the way the Thieves' Guild worked in my Redlion City setting from Honor Amoung Thieves and the sequel I started awhile back wasn't logical. (But I think I just did a bad job explaining it and used rushed examples.) So because of this I wanted to post a little about how all the factions work and how the kingdom is ruled, because it will be important in the next Redlion City story I write and I want to make sure there's no confusion, or anything about it that needs to be fixed. I have thought this all through very carefully however. 1: The Royals These are the families descended from the original kings that drove out the orcs and built the cities when humans first settled the island. Most of the time they rule their city just like a normal monarchy, but any law can be challenged by another faction and then voted on by the others. 2: The Merchants' Guild They have the most money and have connections all over the island, as well as ships. They're the most powerful faction and disliked by most of the others, but the taxes they pay are important to keep things running. Even though they're the most organized, most of them view each other as competition and never truly work together. 3: The Church They're also an island wide organization, but their leaders in the current time take a vow to never use money or carry a weapon, so they're not capable of being much of a threat to the others as they were in the past. They look after the poor and run the orphanages, and they're viewed as the most trustworthy and nuetral in settling arguments between the others. 4: The Guards The Redlion Guard hails back to a time of crime and corruption, when only the merchants and the royals could afford protection. A militia formed from common people protecting their homes, and they were so organized and popular that they were able to demand to be made an official faction. They get money for equipment and training from the other three, equal amounts so that they won't ever play favorites. In the time period the stories are in, the Redlion Guard is relied on by everyone to uphold the law, but in the past they were regarded as dishonorable thugs by the nobles and traitors by the criminal gangs, and have had to work hard for the respected position they have today. 5: The Thieves' Guild The Thieves were a secretive vigilante group that originated before the Guards did and have always been dedicated to keeping corruption in check. The original three factions all tried to wipe them out at one time or another, while they've always had a respectful relationship with the Guards, recognizing that even when they're opposed to each other they have the same goal of protecting the city. They don't get a vote on laws the way the other factions do, but if it's something they care about they'll leave a dagger or arrow wherever the meeting takes place: white for support and black for oppose, so the others always will know to expect trouble if they vote against them or can't come up with a compromise. The Thieves keeping their distance and being willing to fight oppressive laws is one of the main reasons they're less likely to be made, even if the other factions are taken over by corrupt leaders. On the island there are four other major cities besides Redlion. All the cities are independent, but ruled by the same system and factions, which some factions being more or less powerful in each place. The Church and the Merchant's Guild are organized factions that connect all the cities, but the actual governments are forbidden to interfere with each other except to protect each other if attacked. Orcs in this setting by the way don't live in caves, but are pirates and slavers. Humans first found the island by many of them being brought there as slaves and then escaping. Another unique thing is that there are no magic users, unless they're working with the orcs. Magic is always evil, and there are no wizards living on the island unless they're in hiding. If anyone has questions about any of this I can explain more about it.

Does this government make sense?

one year ago
Commended by mizal on 10/25/2020 12:40:07 AM

Wow, that sounds fascinating. I already love the setting.

It sounds very believable. Particularly motivating a thieves guild is hard, and sometimes one just has to suspend disbelief. In fantasy worlds thieves form guilds all the time because thieves guilds are fun, that's reason enough. But if you are looking to poke holes or looking for inspiration here are some questions that I would ask:

  • So military power is centralized in the guard. Why do they see the need to follow the nobles? In the real world the nobles in feudal societies legitimize themselves by military strength. If they don't command the military strength themselves, what keeps the leaders of the guard from becoming the new nobles.
  • What keeps the church from deciding they should be in charge? If their deity is real would it not be natural to use their power to seize leadership. Is there a religious doctrine against it?
  • So over time the Royals increase in numbers. One could guess that in a reasonably stable world they could double every 25 years (medieval dynasties did), so in 250 years their numbers would increase a thousandfold. How do they deal with this, or have they suffered great losses in the recent past?
  • So the royals vote? Have they all equal votes? Why don't the more powerful ones think they should have more influence?
  • Reading that part again, you say the factions vote, if there is an equal vote on policy what role do the nobles play at all?
  • One result of coalition theory is that a three sided power balance always decays into a two against one situation. Basically the risk of being the isolated party is so great that one just has to conspire with one of the other two. The outcome is normally that the two weakest parties band together against the stronger one. So that would mean ...
  • How does the thieves guild actually work internally? If they disagree on policy, how do conflicts within the guild get resolved?
  • The same question could be asked for the merchants. So likely there are internal power dynamics. Why don't the leaders of the merchants use their power to increase their profits. (And then use their profits to increase their power). Or do they?
  • The psychology of the thieves guild's role is interesting: They basically vote by blackmail, but the most efficient form of blackmail would be to target the actual delegates of the other factions that cast the votes. But then, I guess, at least the delegates of the guard could never vote with the thieves guild, because they would seem to be corruptly influenced, which would undermine their standing in their own organization. Any thoughts on this?

Does this government make sense?

one year ago
These are all great questions, thanks!One thing I should have been clearer about is that individual people in a faction don't get a vote, they have a representative in each city just like in real world government for states. How they pick them can be different for different factions, but it's usually more respected older members. How each group decides their vote can also be different, but there's a lot going on within each faction in each city that the others don't interfere with (unless someone is murdered or something.) A lot depends on who's in charge and what's the most practical for where they are and the others they're working with. With the Royals also, it's really just the king or queen that decides things. They're run like a normal monarchy, but after the king and queen and their kids or siblings, others related to them will have a title but not be especially important. The guard is just dedicated to keeping order and protecting people, they don't take over for the same reason the military doesn't in real life. It would be opposed by everyone and it's just not what they signed up for. And the ones that get promoted are going to be the best at their jobs and at representing their ideals. The church is like Christianity, they want everyone to follow the religion, but the teachings are about helping others and being humble, so nobody violent or greedy is going to be running a monastary unless things go really wrong. The merchants have the most complicated politics and criminal behavior among the upper ranks, since unlike the others there only motivation is to gain money and influence. They get cleaned up every now and then but there's always someone looking to get away with something underhanded. And finally, the Thieves don't always get involved with the votes, but if they do they're just letting everyone know what their position is. It's hard to explain but there's this balance with them and everyone else. If they make it clear they're going to oppose something and then they do, the guards would know to expect trouble and try to stop it without being upset about it, because that's what people asked for when they voted that way. But if it comes out they're threatening faction leaders and forcing their vote or anything else that crosses the line, then they'd all work to hunt them down and get rid of the current leadership. And the Thieves are careful because they're the only ones that can have their entire group ganged up on like this.

Does this government make sense?

one year ago
If your thieves are vigilantes than the easiest and most obvious comparison would be someone like Batman or Spider Man. No matter how good their intentions are and how good they are at helping people, they're still breaking the law and how easy that have it depends a lot on whether they have the personal support of the police. Or at least have them willing to look the other way.

Also a lot probably depends on how often 'stopping corruption' is a euphemism for 'stealing shit.'

Does this government make sense?

one year ago
This all sounds pretty believable to me, and it's cool you're getting more involved than just the usual generic monarchy. I'm sure it's possible to come up with ways it could all go wrong, but governments in real life obviously are never perfect either. And more importantly I see a lot of cool potential ideas to explore in a story here.

Honor Among Thieves was a smaller scale story that didn't get into any of this, so maybe that was the main issue if anyone had problems with it there. You're obviously really into this Thieves Guild stuff and should just run with it...like Northwind said, those are a fantasy staple mostly just because they're fun.

Does this government make sense?

one year ago
Thanks Mizal! I planned Honor out all wrong from the beginning. Rebels will do a much better job showing how the city works and letting you meet important characters. The factions will be important to the plot and for character motivation however so that's reason for the thread. I'm glad no one has seen any major problems with it all so far.

Does this government make sense?

one year ago
Really looking forward to this now.

Does this government make sense?

one year ago

No. No government makes sense. All government is a farcical system of oppression. This story, like all fantasy, is worship of a brutal and bureaucratic state. The only order that can truly be maintained is Voluntary Order.

Does this government make sense?

one year ago
Okay Ogre.

Does this government make sense?

one year ago

Oh fuck I forgot to log into my alt for this didn't I

Does this government make sense?

one year ago
^