How Many Kingdoms to Create? - The Art of World Building
Aug 162018
How Many Sovereign Powers to Invent

Now that we have a high-level understanding of different sovereign power types, we can create one with better clarity. The process of inventing each is similar unless we go into details on roles and responsibility of individual government officials, which is not the focus here. We’re taking a higher aim at overall subjects because those apply to the broadest issues in decision making and affect the most number of world builders. If you want the nitty gritty on any government type and its operations, numerous books by experts can provide the insight you need. I’ve created scores of sovereign powers over the years and have seldom needed more than what’s discussed herein.

While this chapter focuses on inventing one sovereign power, we likely need more, particularly if we’re going to reuse the world. The variety of government types outlined in a previous section should provide ideas for options. Strive to have differing governments.

Authoritative states and oligarchies will have abusive leaders and a suffering public. They are great for being overthrown by our hero, as the source of some evil that is threatening the world, or as a dangerous place that has valuable things our characters want to plunder at their peril. Monarchies can differ in severity. They can be benevolent but with few options for lowborn people to advance. Federations and democracies are more likely to be decent places to live, minimizing abuse from the state itself, but evil can lurk anywhere. Our characters from such a place might be better informed about the world and have far more opportunities to make their own way.

Invent for Today

The invention of time and history is covered in more detail in Chapter 10, “Creating Time and History,” but when creating a sovereign power (or settlement), we’re usually deciding what it is like right now. “Now” is when we’re planning to use it. We can just write in our files, “present day Nivera Kingdom is…” without deciding what year that is. Or we can omit the “present day” comment and assume that, unless we say otherwise in our files, we’re always describing present day conditions. Eventually, we might decide present day means 5403 AE, but it isn’t necessary now. Just make a note in your files or in your head about what you’re doing.


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