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Old 01-18-2021, 07:11 PM   #671
jason taylor
 
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Default Re: Exotic Governmental/Legal Systems

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Originally Posted by Johnny1A.2 View Post
This one really doesn't quite fit human nature, and probably couldn't function without some external force of coercion. Of course that external force might exist in setting...likewise, this might work for a near-human humanoid race with slightly different psychology.

Historically, in the early agricultural age, and well into relatively modern times, settled agricultural civilizations tended to get periodically overrun by nomad peoples. The most recent big example of this (very possibly the last, for technological reasons) was the Mongolians, but it's happened many, many times back into the mists of prehistory. The Indo-Europeans appear to have done this number more than once, among others.

Now imagine a settled agricultural civilization, comfortably ensconced in lush river valleys and other pleasant places. Barren highlands and hardscrabble lands surround it, breeding tribes of hardy nomads. So far, much like real history. The nomads form a confederacy to attack and overrun the lowlands, again, that's how it usually happened.

But the nomads break the pattern. Instead of settling down in the cities and being more-or-less absorbed after a few generations (possibly leaving behind an aristocratic class), they remain nomads. Tribe A rules the valleys for a period, say ten years, then moves out and Tribe B comes in. Tribe B vacates after a while and Tribe C takes control. The tribes take turns ruling the comfy lowlands and refrain from interbreeding with their subjects (mostly, anyway, people being people). When they aren't ruling the lowlands the nomads live like nomads, and retain their harsh lifestyles and combat orientation. The nomad confederacy takes turns looting and ruling, and exercises enough restraint to keep shearing the sheep.

Like I said, this really doesn't work for human beings absent some outside compulsion, but it would make for an interesting variation on history.
The habit of preserving elements of nomadic culture in a sedentary aristocracy is a downplay of this. Examples of this are elaborate gardens and sumptuary laws about hunting practices.
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Old 01-19-2021, 10:22 AM   #672
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Default Re: Exotic Governmental/Legal Systems

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I think the gameshow would have to have instant-response answers. Otherwise, you'll get Trivial Pursuit geniuses, who can know all the answers without internalizing them.
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Yeah, but the 'right' answer in this scenario is the one that the majority of other people pick, not the one that is objectively right. Say the question is:
"One thousand people surveyed, six best answers on the board, 'What star does the Earth orbit?'

Well, the technically correct answer is 'Sol' or 'the Sun'. But if 753 people said S Doradus, 210 said the Earth is the center of the universe, 20 said the Earth is flat, and 17 said 'the Sun', then the correct answer is the wrongest, and the best answer is S Doradus. You win this game by matching the majority, not by boning up on technical information. You'd do better to hang out in bars and restaurants listening to people talk than hitting the library.

The biggest issues I'm going to see in this is the manipulation of the sample population the answers come from. Its going to end up as this weird circular thing that ties itself in knots as the public opinion on public opinion starts to matter. The corruption of the whole thing will also be interesting to gauge.
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Old 02-16-2021, 09:49 AM   #673
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Default Re: Exotic Governmental/Legal Systems

Here's one that is a modification of a couple ideas that I thought of earlier.

Each citizen has one electoral vote, and seven legislative votes.

The first decides who will actually serve on the legislature. The others are distributed to the various representatives the voter prefers. They remain with that representative until they are withdrawn and either given to another representative or declared to be in reserve.
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Old 02-17-2021, 06:26 AM   #674
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I'm running a DFRPG adventure (and hopefully extended campaign) in a setting where a populist rebellion about 150 years ago forcibly united a more traditional fantasy band of principalities.

They overthrew the landed gentry and aristocracy, as well as crushing non-human tribal resistance and assimilating everything into a racial melting-pot and meritocracy simply called The Union.

Now there are two legislative chambers in the capital: the Chamber of Tribunes (local syndics and tribal leaders, nominally geographic) plus the Chamber of Guilds (tradesmen and nominally meritocratic) - both on rotating memberships. At the top is the Sovereign Council, also rotating, with a strong sense of rule by committee without the appearance of any single member as dominant or indispensable.

Behind (or more specifically, underground below) the corridors of politics, a powerful lich sets most policy through a covert police. The lich is primarily concerned with magical advancement of the art, and sees the establishment of a utilitarian mercantile state as important to its goals. Its covert police have a mission primarily to keep the Sovereign Council in line, the tribunes and syndics weak enough so the aristocracy never reforms (meaning "never recovers from its dissolution"), and the guilds loyal and orderly.

Last edited by SolemnGolem; 02-21-2021 at 10:25 AM. Reason: Edit: clarified meaning of "reforms"
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Old 02-21-2021, 07:05 AM   #675
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Default Re: Exotic Governmental/Legal Systems

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Behind (or more specifically, underground below) the corridors of politics, a powerful lich sets most policy through a covert police. The lich is primarily concerned with magical advancement of the art, and sees the establishment of a utilitarian mercantile state as important to its goals. Its covert police have a mission primarily to keep the Sovereign Council in line, the tribunes and syndics weak enough so the aristocracy never reforms, and the guilds loyal and orderly.
I think the trigger for stories would be an idealistic young politician who once in place in the elected hierarchy and seeking reform discovers that things don't actually work the way they have been taught they do.

They should have the protection either of a god who wants the truth brought to the surface or some innate protection (Luck and Magic Resistance perhaps) that means neither mundane nor magical attempts to rein them in work.

EDITED TO ADD: And, of course, the noble young reformer should not have the slightest clue that they are anything special. The gods choose who they love but they don't always bother to tell the beloved how they feel.
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Old 02-21-2021, 10:40 AM   #676
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I think the trigger for stories would be an idealistic young politician who once in place in the elected hierarchy and seeking reform discovers that things don't actually work the way they have been taught they do.
One of the PCs in my party is the partially-estranged daughter of highly placed Guild and Sovereign Council members, but she chose to forego the politics to be an adventurer instead. She may have a pipeline to an ulterior plotline if the campaign progresses far enough.

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They should have the protection either of a god who wants the truth brought to the surface or some innate protection (Luck and Magic Resistance perhaps) that means neither mundane nor magical attempts to rein them in work.
This part may be harder to include - I'm trying for a godless society in my DFRPG setting. The Union is ostensibly atheist and the closest thing it has to a church is more like a network of community councils that disburse central funds and support to localities. They get "healing tablets", "curing tablets" and other boons from the central government which can be given out to those in need, who then break them and enjoy the benefits. The 'church' does hold weekly gatherings but these are ceremonial castings for things like Urban Thaumatology's magical civic logistics (clean water, waste disposal, etc.).

The lich is also very old - over a millennium in existence - and so it's had plenty of time to observe societies and dynasties around it. One possible intriguing plot hook is: not only is the Union its prized social-engineering project, but it's merely the latest such project. (The lich has been around for centuries longer than the mere 150 years of the Union.) Which brings up the interesting question of: "what was the lich doing before this latest experiment, and how did those turn out?"

[Lich's notes: "Have completed preparations for departure, including removal of identifying features from all left-behind records. Note to self: have somebody go to Ozymandias statue and remove reference there before fleeing."]
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Old 02-21-2021, 04:18 PM   #677
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Default Re: Exotic Governmental/Legal Systems

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This part may be harder to include - I'm trying for a godless society in my DFRPG setting.
A DF game with no healing magic? Or are you altering that bit of the system? Or on the third hand has the lich so successfully altered history that no-one now remembers the gods and thinks alchemists potions are the top limit of what can be done?

Just because the gods are no longer worshipped doesn't mean they aren't there. And can't reach down and bless someone who acts in a way they count as 'virtuous'.

I think what I'm asking is:

Are you going for a godless universe or a god-ignorant society? I can see the lich going to a great deal of trouble to set the second one up.
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Old 02-21-2021, 04:54 PM   #678
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I'm still working on that aspect of it, but I want deities (if they even exist) to be "superpowered beings understandable to mortals and which mortals can aspire to be". So any gods that exist, could have germinated from some proto-state as a mortal which then transcended into apotheosis.

The lich overthrew the various powerful tribes in this realm, burning their temples and burying their faiths - which also resulted in the deaths of their religions and the gods themselves fading away. Whether a god can truly die or not may be open to debate, but I favor the option presented in GURPS Fantasy (or maybe Discworld, I can't recall which one) which implies that when their last worshippers die, the gods are reduced to just a sighing whisper in the wind that may try to persuade madmen and hermits to believe in them once again.

One of my PCs wants to be a half elf who worships an elven deity, which I'm allowing on the understanding that he has to hide his faith and practices from the Union, since it will at the very least want to put him under observation and containment. (Imagine if radioactive people walked the earth in 1870 and were apparently purged - and then in 2021 the governments discovered another one was spontaneously walking around. Even assuming the gov't has no personal animosity against the outlier, its very likely response would mean imprisonment and curtailing freedoms.)

One secret, end-of-campaign, über-powered final mission would be for the PCs to uncover an accidental case of theogenesis, where the lich's mumbo-jumbo fake-religious propaganda accidentally created a death tulpa god (in D&D terms, an Atropal Scion) and it started granting certain prayers addressed to it. The lich is equal parts intrigued and deeply concerned about this, and is both containing it zealously in an extraplanar dungeon, while also studying its habits. If the lich can complete its studies, then it can unlock the secrets of apotheosis - with potentially questionable concerns about how it intends to use this power.

Healing stuff would indeed need a workaround, since healing spells are usually the realm of faiths and clerical magic in DFRPG and That Other Dungeon Crawl RPG. In my Gothic horror campaign I replicated this with a faith that claims falsely to heal people, but its magic is actually only able to "wound Peter to heal Paul" so to speak. Maybe something similar could be the case for my DFRPG-adapted setting. Priests could channel human sacrifices (or perhaps sacrifice their own blood and suffering) in order to provide modest healing for supplicants.
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Old 02-23-2021, 12:02 AM   #679
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Default Re: Exotic Governmental/Legal Systems

Imagine a republic (loosely defined) emerging from a beginning a little like the Roman Republic, but in a Western cultural pattern.

The founders of the state were all males and heads of extrended families, and they designed the state's constitution partly around a concept a bit like the early-Roman 'gens'. The mature Republic has a three-chamber legislature:

1. The popular chamber is elected by the general public along traditional Western lines, i.e. the U.S. House of Representatives or the House of Commons.

2. This chamber is made up of appointed members, along the lines of the UK House of Lords (life peers) or the Canadian Senate. If the Republic is federal in nature, this chamber might instead or also be made up of representatives of the federal components, like the original form of the U.S. Senate. The existence of the second house might be optional, there might be no second house unless a specific purpose for it existed.

3. This is the exotic chamber. Each of the founders of the state also founded a 'gens', the blood-line descendants (presumably patrilineal but other arrangements could exist), and all the direct descendants make up that gens. The head (laird, chief, whatever) of the gens/clan sits in the third house and casts the vote for his gens. The headship might be transmitted by primogeniture, but it might possibly more likely go to the oldest member of the gens. Either way, it's passed down within the family.

The head of state has to be chosen from among the heads of the clans in the third house, though most likely with the approval of the two lower chambers.

Where it gets really complicated and exotic is that the voting power of a clan head depends on the size of his clan. So if Clan A, descended from Founder A, has twenty million people, and Clan B descended from Founder B has 90 million, the clan head B has 9 votes (say) to Clan head A's 2 votes. Or something along those lines, the bigger the clan, the more voting power in the third house.

Which in turn means that rules about who qualifies as being part of what 'gens' are absolutely critical! For ex, can you be 'adopted' into a gens? If so, that gives the great clans a huge incentive to adopt new members. If a member of clan A marries a member of Clan B, which Clan are they part of, and which Clan are their kids part of? I suspect that marriage rules would require that inter-clan marriage means that one of the spouses leaves their native clan to join the other.

This could work several ways. It could be that the couple chooses which clan, or maybe the wife always joins the husband's clan, or vice versa. This rule would have a huge effect on the popularity of inter-clan marriage. For ex, say the wife leaves the native clan to joint the husband's clan, and the kids belong to the father's clan.

In that case, small clans have a vested interest in their males marrying out, but in their women marrying within the clan. Big clans have the same interest but with far less intensity.

OTOH, if a couple chooses which Clan they are part of, then Clans might compete to be the 'preferred' clan, while individual families might put tremendous pressure on their young people to only marry out-clan if they can find a mate that will join their native clan.

The permutations are almost endless. What is the clan-status of 'illegitimate' offspring? What does divorce do in inter-clan marriages? Is there any acknowledged divorce?

It also means that there's a strong political pressure toward big families, since the bigger the clan, the more voting power in the third house. There might be all sorts of official and unofficial incentives toward large families.

Political parties of the traditional sort might well exist in the first house, with the traditional franchise, and might cut across Clan lines, since it would be elected 'normally'. The third house might have parties within the clans,
but would seem to serve little function across Clan lines for the third house.

There would probably be some legal (and probably more unofficial) powers of the elders of the Clan over the general membership. Exactly what those would be could vary, and would have a significant effect on how the whole system operated.
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Old 02-23-2021, 02:30 AM   #680
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Traditional rules for which clan the couple counts as and what happens at divorce with the kids clan etc. But pre-nuptial contracts can change that. Maybe with the head of clan approval which is one of their powers.

Is everyone in a clan or are their people that are not represented in the third house? If so their Romeo/Juliet story is about a couple that runs off to be together and pretends to be clanless.
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