Fleshing out a Government

One problem I had when creating the world my game is taking place in is that I hadn’t really come up with any form of government. It hasn’t come up yet, thankfully, but I can foresee where it might end up a problem.

Nominally, Alfheim is a colony of the Imperium. The only things known for certain about the Imperium is that it is primarily human, it is on the border of an elven kingdom, and the deer are the king’s. Alfheim itself, just as little is known. There are nobles (the party’s patron is among them), but no system of government has yet been established in the narrative. Stull is a company town. No one seems concerned with who is in charge of Alfort. I’m going to rule that Portsdam and Estport are ruled by a council of Nobles and Burgesses under a Mayor appointed by the Empire.

What brings this up is that I just finished reading a brief history on the origin and evolution of the House of Commons in England. The short summary is that Parliament is established as a court of King, not as a representative body (democratization and the voice of the people was the furthest thing in mind), but as a means of centralizing the king’s power. Force your nobles to congregate along with the knights of the shire and burgesses with the power to bind their counties, tell them you need money, send the knights and burgesses home and then discuss important matters of policy and enactment with the nobles. In this way, the King would be able to exert influence on the barons of the realm, hear news and grievances both public and private and ensure that his rulings and decrees were known to all in the land. The only legislative power of the knights and burgesses was the ability to introduce bills of grievance for the King’s court to rule on, those rulings becoming statues of the common law.

This is a gross oversimplification, but it gives me some ideas of power structures within medieval style fantasy. Colonies, often unable to participate directly in the government body of the home-country, may be more likely to be driven to self government, as the authority of both judiciary and executives cannot as easily aid or hinder them.

Later today, or later this week, I’ll be posting my summary of the last session, including the issues I’m facing with having multiple clerics in an undead campaign.