World Building for Game Devs and Writers 101 – Lesson 14 – Government

Thank you for coming to my world building blog.

My name is Mark and this is Amazing Gaming Productions. I am the creator of Tales from Trinity City, a dark sci-fi tabletop RPG.

Today’s blog is the last blog on culture, government.

There’s always someone leading a group of people. Whether there’s a chief of a tribe, or a complex 3-tier municipal, state/province and country government, we all need leadership at some time in our lives. You can’t expect a teenager to conduct their lives – but a 40 year old should have enough life experience to lead their families.

Throughout speculative fiction, you can have an empire that spans entire worlds or galaxies. We have the Empire in StarWars, the Federation in StarTrek. We also have kingdoms like Gondor and the Horse Lands in the Lord of the Rings and powerful cities like WaterDeep in the Forgotten Realms.

Every government in speculative fiction needs to be as different as all the governments in the world.

What kind of individual, or council rules over your people? Are there shadow influences in your world – making sure the government does their will? Do they use figure heads to get their will done? Are the people free? Is the government a tyranny? Is it a democracy? Is it a republic? Is it socialist? Is it capitalistic? Is it theocratic? Is there a separation of church and state? Is there an antagonistic relationship between church and state?

Take some time to think about these questions when you are creating your world, it can add kinds of context and conflict in your stories.

First, one trope we need to think about with governments in speculative fiction, we usually think about the most negative ones. President Snow was a bastard in the Hunger Games.

Yes, that was an excellent version of a tyranny. He was a dictator who controlled everything with an iron fist. He demanded absolute control over everything.

Fuck President Snow

But not every government is like that.

Take the United Federation of Planets. It’s based upon a constitutional republic in space.  All races have representatives and they debate what is best for all members of the ‘Federation’. Everyone is free. You can be whatever you want to be in the world of StarTrek. That’s pretty cool.

Much of the Dungeons and Dragon’s worlds are kingdoms. but Some kings are working for the betterment of their citizens, while others are doing destructive things in the world. These Kingdoms don’t always make the best decisions, so you can create a real DnD world that can be in conflict for 10 different reasons.

The Lord of the Ring was very similar. Kings ruled over kingdoms to take care of their citizens. The current steward of Gondor was a bit of an idiot, but he took care of Gondor for decades. The loss of his favoured son destroyed his mind.

The Steward of Gondor – faithful until the end.

The Orcs from the world I’m creating for this blog series have a tribal government. There’s a Chieftain, a shaman and a war chief in each tribe. They will talk on a regular basis to ensure all the needs of their fellow Orcs are meet. They also make plans to deal with any threats.

And what about theocracies? Some people are so religious, they make the leader of their country a religious leader. They want to honour their oath to their creator, so they choose a ‘man of the cloth’ to seek the will of their God. This can create all kinds of conflicts with other Kingdoms. Not all Kingdoms share the same religion. Sacred things and ideas in one religion is mundane in another, or even profane to others. That is going to cause all kinds of conflicts. And what about citizens who don’t believe in the religion. Do they have their ‘religiousized’ gulags to re-educate unbelievers? Are they like the Qunari, killing their own race who reject the Qun?

What about governments who are hostile to religion?

Stalin had millions of religious people starved and re-educated in gulags for their faith. Could the same thing be happening in your world? If the state and church are at conflict, this could make for an awesome dynamic.

But Christianity is not under attack, amirite!

There is so much to think about when it comes to government. You need to think about how it conducts its business, who runs it, how leaders are chosen, how much freedom people have, what does the government control. How it runs their economy and what relationship does it have with religion.

This is no small feat. And there is plenty of historical evidence of how things can go right and wrong.

When it comes down to it, you need to start thinking about these things so you can create a robust world that everyone will believe.

Thanks for reading my blog.

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Have a great day!

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