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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Elections in a fantasy world

Something that pretty much never happens in fantasy settings are elections. They really don't fit the genre, so it's not surprising. It's also MUCH easier to write about a ruler and his nobles than about a mob of ever-changing politicians.

Election security would be a nightmare. You'd have to defend against mages changing votes, legal duels between political opponents, and the random monster attack.

Serfdom would also be non-existant. You can't have serfs if they can vote. One way to deal with that would have only rich people vote, or maybe only elves can vote. Then you'd have an aristocracy with voting, which really isn't the same thing.

In any case, having election season roll around during a campaign would provide hundreds of potential adventures. Players could defend candidates, blackmail candidates, or even just straight-up kill candidates (either for money or because the guy did something to them).

4 comments:

Tzimiscedracul said...

That's why I love Shadowrun metaplot regarding Dunkelzahn's elections (and yes I'd have use it differently).

John said...

Serfdom would also be non-existant. You can't have serfs if they can vote. One way to deal with that would have only rich people vote, or maybe only elves can vote. Then you'd have an aristocracy with voting, which really isn't the same thing.

You're looking at it as if the modern electoral system were just laid right over the top of feudal Europe. It could be like the Greeks or Swedes, where only free men get the vote, or the Roman Republic, where the richer classes voted first, and the proles only got to vote if the matter hadn't already been decided.

anna Sonata said...

Nice article, thanks for the information.
Anna @ rental mobil

1d30 said...

Also, serfdom could still exist as long as people were lied to and believed it. For example, a politician could say "even if you weren't serfs, you wouldn't have land, so you'd be working for small wages, and you wouldn't have a lord whose interest it is to keep you alive."

It's pretty clear from modern American politics that you can make a poor majority refuse to vote to take everything the wealthy have and redistribute it to the poor.

Although in China for example there's a solid history of a cycle of poverty, destitution, revolt and slaying of the wealthy landowners, splitting of land among the poor, conglomeration of land under certain successful farmers, rise of a new aristocracy, repeat.

I guess it has a lot to do with the culture and how much control power groups have over the opinions of groups of people (churches, guilds, unions, etc).

I think the best campaign for this would be if elections are still new. All the scamming, cheating, beating up voters, stealing bales of votes, voting in the name of dead people, etc. are being done constantly and it's less an election and more a cloak and dagger fiasco. And after you win you somehow need to convince people the election was valid while your opponents try to expose all your misdeeds.