EXERCISE Create a Government

Discussion in 'DEVELOPING CHARACTERS & CULTURES' started by Jorick, Jan 25, 2015.

  1. Governments in roleplays and fiction in general often go unexplained and end up being lazy plot devices at most. Maybe there'll be a mention of the king or queen or some other authority figure, and perhaps the intrepid adventurers will actually meet them, but it's fairly rare for them to progress beyond this level as far as the story is concerned. However, they can be powerful plot driving tools if you bother to give them some details, so this exercise is meant to make it simple to craft a government with enough depth to actually be useful.

    Who holds the power of the government? Is it a single person, a privileged group, or the majority/everyone?

    What type of government is it? Depending on your above answer, you've got a few options. If a single person holds all the power, then your government is a form of autocracy. Common types of autocracies are dictatorships and absolute monarchies. If a privileged group holds the power, then your government is a form of oligarchy. Common types of oligarchies are aristocracies (which can sometimes include constitutional monarchies), plutocracies, timocracies, and nominal republics or democracies that are actually controlled by such privileged classes. If power rests with the masses, then you most likely have some kind of republic or democracy (be it direct or representative). There are all sorts of variations on all of those types, such as how most of them could also be a theocracy, so if you're not sure what you want then do some digging around. The governments section of Wikipedia is a pretty good resource for this, which is why all those links lead there.

    Where does this government fall on the scale of authority versus liberty? This is a pretty vague question, I know, but it's an important one. The answer can range from the government being totalitarian to totally individualist. It's a matter of how much control the government has over an individual's choices and actions. There's no need to find a specific term for what kind of authority level the government has; something vague like "very authoritarian" or "slightly liberal leaning" can suffice.

    What sort of economic policy, if any, does this government enforce? Are they all about mercantilism? Do they support capitalism? Socialism? Do they not really care about the workings of the economy as long as people pay taxes? Keep in mind that very authoritarian governments and all sorts of plutocracies would want to control the economy a lot, so for those types at least they'll need to care.

    Where/what does this government derive its authority from? Monarchies and theocracies tend to claim that they have been given a divine mandate to rule. A military dictatorship would probably derive its authority from military might. Democracies hypothetically derive their authority from the consent of the governed. Plutocracies likely derive their authority from the power of money. If the leaders of your government were to ask where their authority to rule comes from, what would their answer be?

    What is the military like? Do they have a standing army, or do they just raise an army at need? If they lack a standing army, how do they raise an army when they need one, where do the soldiers come from? What is the command structure of the military like? Who in the government is the highest authority as far as military matters are concerned?

    What are the laws like? This doesn't have to be extraordinarily detailed, but there are a few points you should hit to get a good general picture of the laws. What is the punishment for treason? What is the punishment for murder, and do they make allowances for self defense or defending the life of another? What is the punishment for theft? What is the punishment for rape? Is slavery legal or not? Are there any social groups that have less legal protections than others, and if so what are the differences? This is a great place to answer pretty much everything about social issues in the nation if you feel like shaping out a basic culture alongside the government. Answer anything else that you think is important to know.

    What is the law enforcement like? Who catches lawbreakers? It could be a police force, or a city guard, or the local noblemen might have their own private guards who catch criminals, or something else entirely. Who judges those accused of crimes, and how does it work? There could be judges, or magistrates, or the local ranking noble could decide cases, or something else entirely. It might be a single person giving the verdict and deciding on the sentence, or there could be a few judges, or there could be a jury, or something else entirely.

    That covers the general structure of the government. This could be enough for your purposes, but I'll give some extra detail questions for those who want to get more specific.

    Who exactly is in control of the government? Give at least the names and positions of all the important people who run the government. King, queen, president, members of the ruling council, military commanders, and so on are all plausible candidates for having some power. Provide further details as you desire.

    Are there competing parties or factions in the government? If so, what are they like? How powerful is each group relative to the others? What sort of impact do their power struggles have on how well or poorly the government functions?

    How is the government structured down to the local level? Aristocratic governments likely have things like dukes and barons and so on that each rule lesser portions of the nation, down to local lords at the lowest level. Democracies might have things like governors and mayors. What does the government structure look like going from the topmost layer down to the smallest layer? How are people at each level selected to fill that position?

    Do any individuals or groups outside of the official government have a lot of influence with it? Some governments might be horribly corrupt or need to bow to the whims of people with very strong social influence. Perhaps the local religious organization is very powerful and influences the government, or maybe a merchant guild bribes officials to get their way. If any such major outside influence exists, what is the nature of it and how much power exactly do these outside groups have on the workings of the government?

    Are the people pleased with the government right now? This could of course potentially range from total approval to open rebellion and civil war. You may want to decide how they feel about each major player in the government as well, though that's not at all required.

    What are the biggest problems facing the government at this time? Are they currently at war? Is there a food shortage? Problems could be any number of things. It's rare, if not unprecedented, for a government to be working perfectly with no problems to worry about. Problems tend to shape the priorities and activities of the government, so figuring them out is always a good idea.

    What are their political relations with other nations at the moment? Feel free to skip this if you're just making a singular government rather than answering these for a government in an existing world. Like problems, relationships with other nations tend to influence a lot of their actions and priorities. If you want to get crazy with it you could also determine how each powerful government figure feels about each other nation, for a more nuanced answer.

    And that's it. There are a lot of other areas relevant to governments that you could delve into, of course, but this is supposed to be a simple exercise rather than an exhaustive guide on how to make highly detailed governments. This should be enough for you to have a government that stands out from the crowd of generic monarchies and republics, and to give it enough of a structure to actually function in a world. Add further details at your own discretion.

    Template [u]Overview[/u]

    [b]Who holds the power of the government?[/b]

    [b]What type of government is it?[/b]

    [b]Where does this government fall on the scale of authority versus liberty?[/b]

    [b]What sort of economic policy, if any, does this government enforce?[/b]

    [b]Where/what does this government derive its authority from?[/b]

    [b]What is the military like?[/b]

    [b]What are the laws like?[/b]

    [b]What is the law enforcement like?[/b]


    [b]Who exactly is in control of the government?[/b]

    [b]Are there competing parties or factions in the government?[/b]

    [b]How is the government structured down to the local level?[/b]

    [b]Do any individuals or groups outside of the official government have a lot of influence with it?[/b]

    [b]Are the people pleased with the government right now?[/b]

    [b]What are the biggest problems facing the government at this time?[/b]

    [b]What are their political relations with other nations at the moment?[/b]
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  2. Overview

    Who holds the power of the government?

    - The 'Aizolauxu' -
    The Council of Ten

    Noir'an civilization is ruled by an appointed council of ten individuals of at least 30 years age. Appointments are carried out by the council itself, selecting individuals from the population whom they believe will serve their "Seat" well or properly. While it is within a council-members power to appoint another Noir'an without consulting the rest of the Seats, it is generally seen as underhanded or senseless. Appointments can occur at any point during the council-members, generally carried out prior to the member's death (otherwise the decision is left to the council as a whole).

    Council members are given access to life terms, but are not obligated to carry out the entire term, and can appoint a successor after at least 2 years of service. Appointees are often fellow politicians serving under the Council, most of them participating in an exclusive program that effectively trains for a potential position as a council member.

    What type of government is it?


    Where does this government fall on the scale of authority versus liberty?

    Government control is a mixture of totalitarian and individualist policies. Citizens are given a large amount of freedom when it comes to life decisions such as their profession or place of residency, while things such as income and merchandise available for purchase are heavily moderated. Any Noir'an is free to decide where they want to live, though obviously it is suggested one lives nearby their workplace. Attaining occupations works in a primarily capitalist method, with employers selecting potential employees based on merit.

    Corporations are heavily controlled in terms of "production"; that is, the government monitors and manages what each corporation's quota is, to maintain a consistent amount of merchandise or services available to the populace. As all individuals are paid equally in government-supplied "tickets" that pay for merchandise or services in place of money, enough of a product must be available for everyone to feasibly get what they want. Items that are simply incapable of being produced enough (such as luxury items) are often given away in raffles, and forbidden from being "purchased" normally.

    What sort of economic policy, if any, does this government enforce?

    The government enforces what is undoubtedly a socialist economic policy; any and all corporations and business are registered with the government such that their production quotas (including instances of service, such as how many times a taxi service transported pedestrians) can be easily monitored. The government sets certain production quotas given a number of factors including demand, the number of other businesses selling the same thing, and the feasibility of certain production quotas.

    Businesses that sell merchandise or services with limited availability are called xa-roulal, or luxury businesses, and their products are given away through government-controlled raffles. Non-luxuries are attained by trading in government-supplied tickets, received monthly. Regardless of the job, Noir'an receive an equal number of rations unless they are deemed to be "non-compliant"; that is, they are failing to work as hard as they need to. The government conducts weekly reviews of businesses to ensure production quotas are met, and gives a chance for business leaders to point out workers who aren't working as hard. In such cases, ticket reception can be reduced temporarily as punishment.

    Where/what does this government derive its authority from?

    The current government primarily derives its power from historical standards reaching as far back as 2000 years ago, as well as the fundamental nature of Noir'an behavior. With little control over the military, they technically have no physical force over the populace, but rather garner authority due to the tendency of Noir'an towards heavily gerontocratic family structures. Seniority receives an immense level of respect, and due to the manner in which elders manage their families throughout life, experience in various fields lends towards 'authority'.

    What is the military like?

    The military is much like a profession, though due to disciplinary reasons, has its own system of ticket supplying, meaning the military possess a definite hierarchy unlike in mundane society. The government manages the amount of equipment the military receives from production companies, whose quota is managed by the Military Seat of the Aizolauxu. The Military Seat has no command over the exercise of forces, but instead is a sort of liaison between the military and the council to ensure adequate equipment reaches the military. Raising an army is in itself a production quota, with campaigns being used to recruit a certain number of potential soldiers.

    Due to the defensive nature of Noir'an military, there is very much a culture of self-accountability that maintains soldiers should be consistently training. Failure to meet certain levels of physical capability, much like failing to work in a business properly, also results in a drop in tickets earned.

    What are the laws like?

    What is the law enforcement like?

    Noir'an physiology prevents the capacity for lying, and so either criminals confess or they go into hiding, at which point a military branch is sent to investigate the crime and search for the culprit. There is no local law enforcement. Punishments are primarily isolation regardless of the crime, and due to the infrequency of crime, prisons tend to be small, uncrowded, and actually rather lavish compared to human prisons.


    Who exactly is in control of the government?

    The Ten Seats of the Aizolauxu are as follows:

    -Seat of Military Suppliance
    -Seat of Cityscape Energy Suppliance
    -Seat of Agricultural Suppliance
    -Seat of Infrastructural Suppliance
    -Seat of Science Research
    -Seat of Educational Development
    -Seat of Entertainment Suppliance (believe it or not, but Entertainment is the only industry whose success is dependent on subjectivity!)
    -Seat of Industrial Suppliance
    -Seat of Material Suppliance
    -Seat of Medical Services

    Are there competing parties or factions in the government?

    Interest groups can heavily influence the decisions of the Aizolauxu, though as a whole there aren't any 'factions' that exist.

    How is the government structured down to the local level?

    Very little low-level government structure exists. Due to the monolithic nature of higher government, most everything big and small is controlled primarily by them.

    Do any individuals or groups outside of the official government have a lot of influence with it?

    Experts in various fields tend to influence the decisions of the council, as well as the highest members of the military.

    Are the people pleased with the government right now?

    Noir'an psychology offers little room for being dissatisfied with decisions made by elders, though are certainly extreme instances in which decisions made cause the populace to react very poorly. These are generally very rare, however.

    What are the biggest problems facing the government at this time?

    Business and employees exist in a sort of unanimous state of extreme work ethic, despite being proscribed attainable production quotas by the government. Honor is a big part of Noir'an psychology, and despite them receiving specific tickets regardless of their work, attaining honor and respect is highly desired. It's a common saying that, "A Noir'an would rather go poor than to be seen as dishonorable by their parent."

    Due to this, an unfortunate number of deaths occur throughout the year due to Noir'an overworking themselves. The government faces issues in forcing companies to enact programs that increase the value of working safely whilst maintaining certain production levels, as well as educating families on the importance of not overworking yourself.

    In addition, issues arise when it comes to the battle between solar and wind power companies. Currently, wind turbines serve as the primary modem of energy production across Noir'an cities, though due to their structure and required positioning, the creation of vertical living spaces becomes increasingly more difficult.

    Current debates are about whether or not solar-powered generators stationed closer to the front face of Oristania (their home planet) would be better for further city development, or if wind turbines should continue to be used in increasingly strange ways within the city.

    What are their political relations with other nations at the moment?

    Varies depending on the setting. ;)
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