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A large part of world building I feel, even if it never comes up in the story, is the way the various communities of people are governed. So I have a couple of questions for discussion. The first off is this. What system or systems of government does your world or worlds run off? How did you choose that system? Is it important to the story or just there? And here's a bit of a doozy. Do you think there are certain systems of government better suited to certain settings or conversely that won't work in certain settings? 

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There are normally many different governments in each story. Sometimes the type of government will be critical to the plot, sometimes not, but I always try to design the government in a way that makes sense for the setting and culture. Where do they live? What drives them as a people? What challenges do they face? In one story, Natani lives in an isolated tribe of about 200 people. Their biggest obstacle is survival in a harsh environment. There are no armies, no wars with other tribes. They have no need for an elaborate government to manage 200 people. The three elders are chosen by the people, yet even the elders must contribute to the survival of the tribe. The men must hunt and the women must work the fields and bear children. There is no room in this society for lords or kings.

In another story, Ak is heir to the throne. The primary conflict centers around the power behind the throne and Ak is a pawn in that game. The bad guys want to kidnap him, to use him against his father. For the story to work, Ak has to have political value, so a monarchy with inherited rights makes sense. If he were simply the son of an elected official, Ak's value as a pawn would be less. Obviously his father would still place a high value on him, but Ak as the heir and only son gives him greater value still. Also, Ak's father would be in less of a position to meet the demands of the kidnappers. If he can't give them what they want, then Ak becomes less important and the plot falls apart.

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I don't usually think about the government system of my writing unless it directly effects the characters or plot. They just kind of work until I need an explanation for what they do.

In my current works, the ones not set in our world or some future version of our world, I mostly use oligarchy or democracy. In my unnamed post-apocalyptic fantasy, the setting most used is the city state of Sao Viro. Sao Viro is a pure democracy. Everyone in the city is allowed a say in what happens and is allowed to vote, regardless of status, gender, anything. The debates can be a little messy, given how many people like to turn up, but it works on a "drop a stone in a certain bowl" method so anyone present can have their say. The day to day running of Sao Viro is left up to the unofficial military/politicians guild, the Fireguard. I chose this because I wanted the autocratic empire to be a threat to the city. They want it for resources and would be a threat to the freedom and culture of the people.

In the Caerellí Chronicles, Annwn is a monarchy in name and an oligarchy in practise. Arawn is the king of Annwn and has absolute power, but he won't make any changes to the way things are run without his lords (gendered term for a non-gender-specific role) input and agreement. This is for two reasons: making sure it is actually a good idea, and because he wouldn't be king if the lords didn't support him. This is a problem for the main characters as they need to convince not only Arawn but all his lords that ignoring Havgan in favour of fixing the veil is the best course of action.

The only other work where I've made decisions about the government is Solis, where there are five separate countries to consider. Two are oligarchies, one based on military rank and the other on position in your respective tribe. Two are democracies, one very similar to modern day UK and only concerned with people within the city walls, and the other where only rich merchants can vote. The last is an autocracy/theocracy, with the leader being considered divine and infallible. Four out of five of these are corrupt and are more than willing to let people get hurt or die if it's easier for them, with the fifth falling apart due to a lack of succession for the chairman of sorts. All these are tied into the main plot in some way or another.

I think what system you use is best chosen through two things: what kind of setting you want, and what message you want to convey. A typical fantasy includes elements of royalty, and if you want to play with royalty, a monarchy or autocracy is the best way to do so. It also allows you to include a lot of political drama centred around a single character and give a reason for why this particular person has to do the thing. An egalitarian society would be hard to have if the people didn't have a say in the running of the country. With themes, systems that would help you make a point or draw attention to the themes are always a good choice, like using a monarchy to show how power corrupts.

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My world has a lot of city state theocracies, with the exact form of government being different for each one. Larger cities with vassal towns might have something more like a royal family, while a smaller city might have elected officials. Others might have a ruling priesthood that fills the function of government. I like variety. And flexibility, because I leave a lot of my worldbuilding fluid until my characters actually encounter something.

Basically, the gods are quite present in the lives of the followers, and are each geographically bound (with some overlap in territory/influence in the case of the more powerful, 'bigger' gods). So a lot of them have a centre of power where their followers live, and where they carry out their trade (in the case of gods bound to more physical things like pottery, smithing, music, dance). The form the government takes is formed by the god's preferences and the needs of the followers. The smith god's area has him as more of a God-King, he is a control freak and very much involved in macro-level politics. The towns and villages aren't as influenced as much, and would have mayors. Whereas the god of pottery is more hands off, and his city is run by a counsel of merchants and producers of goods without much of his input.

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I admittedly haven't thought much about the government system in my current project. There's four fairy courts, with each court having a royal family, but they're all basically part of the same thing. It's pretty much the typical thing you see in medieval setting based novels, just with fairies. Each of the courts have the same amount of power, as far as I'm currently aware, though that could end up changing. There's also a human kingdom and a....group/clan (haven't decided yet) of dragons. There's more than four dragons (or at least there were - most were hunted down at some point by humans), but there are four dragons who were assigned to each of the courts as their guardians.

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So part of why I started this was because I'm trying to figure it out for my own. My world is sort of a Late Middle Ages/Early Renaissance with technology, excepting gunpowder. So I at first had my main city as having a queen without fleshing that out, now I'm thinking it has a nobility based on the rich trade houses and merchant families. I *think* the queen is mostly there to run a NIght Watchman state, with the nobles doing everything else. But it got me to thinking, and I decided that this city is a city-state that is part of a confederation of independent city states. And I decided that even though High Fantasy tends to be sort of feudal, it might be fun to have each city-state with a different sort of government. I have run ran by a council of judges, one that is a pure junta, one sort of modeled off the Roman Republic etc. 

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