Fantasy Civil War Idea

31 Jul

I was reading the new biography of General Lee (Clouds of Glory, well worth a read) and I started to have an idea. Then a few more ideas …

There’s a fantasy world where magic exists (yeah, surprise, surprise). Magic needs a talent to use, but once you have that talent you can call on the Mana and use it to power your spells (a little like The Magic Goes Away, but I’m not sure if Mana can be actually depleted on a global scale or not.) Generally speaking, you need lots of practice to learn how to use magic on a large scale safely, with an increasing risk of madness the more power you channel (there are ways to speed up the process, but they also result in increasing the risk of going bonkers.)

There aren’t actually that many magic users, as magic tends to kill its practitioners if they’re not very careful. Those that do tend to survive do so because they were taught by another magic user, who shares his carefully-acuminated knowledge with his apprentice in exchange for service of one kind or another. Magicians rarely share knowledge outside the master-apprentice system, as they see their private discoveries as something to trade, not to give away freely.

For generations, therefore magic has largely run in a handful of bloodlines lucky enough to have enough magicians survive long enough to master their powers.

Once you get enough knowledge, there are plenty of options, from ‘conventional’ magic to making bargains with demons and suchlike.

The principle power unit in this world, at least for the story, is the High Kingdom of Unnamed (I haven’t started working out the nitty-gritty.) Roughly 200 years before the start of the story, a monarch of a small kingdom launched a series of wars against his neighbours, rather like Alexander the Great. He succeeded in uniting around forty kingdoms, assorted minor political units and suchlike under his banner. Surprisingly, he managed to pass the kingdom down to his eldest son, who proclaimed himself the High King.

There’s something of a gap between the two halves of the kingdom, however. The east is very traditional – it borders various other independent kingdoms, so it tends to think in terms of land power and keeping the peons under control. (Think of France or Russia in 1800). There’s no such thing as social mobility in the east – everyone knows their place, from the serfs working the lands to the nobility in the high castles.

The west, however, is built around smaller kingdoms with access to the sea. Think the Netherlands or Britain in 1700-1800. They have a far more open mindset, greater social mobility and a vigorous approach to innovation. There’s not THAT liberal by our standards, but they’re definitely more open to people rising as far as their ability will take them.

This has had a major impact on magic, starting with the introduction of what we might as well call disciplined magic. Basically, some low-power magicians set up an academy (a cross between a school, a university and a research lab) into how magic actually worked, pooling their knowledge and building on it. This new scientific approach to magic, studying how mana actually worked, allowed them to develop a certain form of magic technology (magitek?) which revolutionised the world. The West loved these innovations – the East hated them.

East-trained magicians tend to be more powerful, West-trained magicians tend to be more numerous.

As of now, the High King is dead (probably assassinated, though I’m not entirely sure.) There is no male heir – there are only a pair of sisters, Princesses Alpha and Beta. Alpha is legally the heir, as there are no male heirs, but there has never been a High Queen before and many of the power elite are concerned about allowing a female to take the throne. (Britain went through something similar when a female ruler stepped up to the plate more than once.) The nobles of the East see this as an opportunity to reverse the changes of the past – they want to capture and marry off the princess to one of their number and crush the free-thinking West. The West sees this as a chance to change the ways of the past still further.

The East attempts to mount a coup. It fails – and outright civil war breaks out between the two sides.

Thoughts?

Chris

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53 Responses to “Fantasy Civil War Idea”

  1. Michael July 31, 2014 at 4:54 pm #

    I think it has a lot of potential and can go several ways. In part it depends on how advanced this world has become in the physical technology. Swords and magic or beginning gunpowder, to steam and atomic power all good settings. A group like the Dumas Musketeers to protect/ support the Princess/Queen could be one path. It could one member from the east, one from the west and a third a “physicist”. For another, you could have an eastern Mage that owes a “blood debt” to the old King support the Princess/Queen. Or you could go rogue and have the the Princess/Queen be evil with a good sweet Princess Sister.

  2. Daniel Silver July 31, 2014 at 5:03 pm #

    I agree the world has a lot of potential. Some thoughts on the king being assassinated or not. I don’t think he needs to be assassinated, he could have been old and it was known he had no male heirs this would give plenty of time for schemes and plots to be developed by the various factions. If he was assassinated make it by one of the independent kingdoms to the east that way the Eastern nobles want to use this to take more land with the Queen as a figurehead. This could be the catalyst for their coup, they want to seize power quickly, crush any Western uprisings, and then avenge the kings death. An understandable motive.

  3. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard July 31, 2014 at 5:10 pm #

    A few questions/thoughts.

    Is there an overlap between the Magic families and the Noble/Royal families? I’ve seen arguments both ways on this.

    Another thought was to have the “division” within the High Kingdom reflected in the daughters.

    Have Princess Alpha, the heir, being more attuned to the western half with Princess Beta being more attuned to the eastern half (with the obvious exception of their views on female rulers).

    So then the Eastern “coup” has more to do with making Princess Beta the High Queen than it does with controlling Princess Alpha. After the coup failed, you have Beta as the High Queen of the eastern half with Alpha as the High Queen of the western half.

    Another thought would have the sisters with different personalities. Alpha would be happier as a College Professor (especially if she is a wizard herself) even though she would be a fairly good ruling High Queen. Beta sees herself as the “practical” type while thinking of her sister as an Ivory Tower Dreamer. Now Beta would also make a good ruling High Queen even though she’d be more “conservative” than her sister.

    Another division might also be the choice of consort. Alpha’s “true love” is a high level commoner (likely a wizard). While somewhat acceptable to the leading non-noble powers of the west, he’s still not completely acceptable to the nobles of the west. Obviously, he would completely unacceptable to the nobles of the east. Beta’s “true love” is the second (or third) son of a leading nobleman of the east. While Beta and him will clash over who will be the true power in the marriage, he’s more willing to listen to her than would his father and the other eastern nobles.

    Oh, after the division occurs (and the true civil war starts), there will be pressure on both “High Queens” to provide an heir. If Alpha isn’t married at the start, there will be pressure for her to chose a different consort. Beta’s choice of consort is acceptable to the eastern lords (even if they’d prefer she accept one of the others sons).

    Final thought, Beta wasn’t involved in the coup but joins with the eastern lords more because she doesn’t think Alpha could control them and she thinks she can. (May be a slight element of truth here.) While Alpha *might* agree here, she believes rightly that she’d be the High Queen that the west and the overall High Kingdom needs.

    Feel free to consider or reject. [Smile]

  4. johntae71 July 31, 2014 at 5:23 pm #

    Magically speaking it’s very reminiscent of Raymond Feist’s magicians and sorcerers.

  5. lamparty July 31, 2014 at 8:25 pm #

    It seems there is lots of options for how this could play out, so much so that I am at a lose on how to proceed without being too derivative. Whatever happens, Civil wars tend to be the most nasty and brutal type of warfare there is!

  6. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard July 31, 2014 at 9:45 pm #

    A few more thoughts.

    It might be more interesting if you have “eastern” nobles deciding their loyalties lay more with High Queen Alpha and the ideals of the west. Going along with this have “western” nobles whose thinking is more in line with the “eastern” nobles. You might have families (noble or otherwise) divided on the issues.

    Research the medieval guilds. While guilds had problems with nobility, some of the eastern guilds may have major problems with developments in the west. Many of the medieval guilds were as “closed to new members” as the nobility. To work in the crafts, you had to be members of the guilds and to become a member of the guild you about had to be “born into the guild”. IE your father or grandfather was a member of the guild. If the western guilds are more open to membership for people not “born into the guild” and/or open to new ways of doing things, the eastern guilds may feel threatened.

    Going along with the guild thought, has there been elements of an industrial revolution in the west? The eastern guilds would feel threatened by factory made goods since these goods aren’t made by “guild craftsmen” and are less expensive than their handmade goods.

    Next, IMO there is likely a Royal Army answerable only to the High King, not answerable to his nobles. (This IMO follows from the origins of the High Kingdom.) Are the generals nobles and what about the common soldiers. Are their oaths to the High King? Are their oaths magically enforced? If Princess Beta joins the Rebels, it may be easier for some of the commanders to join the Rebels.

    Also, even with a Royal Army (divided or otherwise), what forces do the nobles have available? Are there mercenary forces available for hire from outside the High Kingdom?

    Speaking of “outside the High Kingdom”, while the High Kingdom is the principle power unit, are there lesser powers willing to support/hinder the two sides? A principle power unit would likely have nations worried about its power and would likely support a long civil war or a break-up of the principle power.

  7. wraiththirteen August 1, 2014 at 3:41 am #

    It seems to me that every fantasy I have ever read happens in a kingdom so my first thought would be to have the setting in a republic, democracy, oligarchy, or maybe an alliance of some sort.
    I like that they are learning new forms of magic as too many fantasy stories revolve around a decaying kingdom where the oldest magic is best.
    A big reason for the civil war in the states was that the north had more congressmen and senators and they taxed the south (the south sent out a lot of exports and they had to pay tariffs on it where as the north had few exports and few tariffs), and they north also tried to keep the south from building industrial buildings. Basically the north was a powerful voting block that constantly screwed the south when it came to the economy.
    when it actually came time to fight the war the south ended up killing four times as many yankees as the north killed southerners. The south had all the good generals. Since the north could not beat the souths army they started attacking the cities in the south instead and targeted civilian populations (they called them war crimes back then). So the south surrendered to protect its civilian population. Interestingly enough sherman would go on to practically wipe out the Indians in the west.

    In your story I am uncertain as what both sides want from each other. Do they both have righteous cause? one side have righteous cause and the other a fiend? Heck are they both fiends throwing pawns at each other hoping they manage to become the biggest fiend on the block? Maybe both sides want to marry the princess off to their own fiend and push their devilish ideas on the whole empire (As an american if an empire or kingdom exist I must always assume its filled with bad guys, sorry).

    Does oliver cromwell show up and cut off anybodies head? (We need more oliver cromwells)

    Do you have a magic system in mind? are their different magic skills (healer vs fire user or in the case of avatar air vs earth vs water vs fire). If magic is bloodline based does that mean each family has its own specialty magic? And assuming you keep the kingdom idea does that make magic users automatic aristocrats? Also if its family based would that take away the master apprenticeship and instead make it the father son type deal? If so what happens when two different groups of magicians marry? If they are the same type are the children stronger? If they are different do the children get multiple skills or a hybrid skill? If they inter marry are they getting some of the more common genetic disorders?

    As the armies fight is everyone in the army a magician or do the magicians back up the armies?

    • chrishanger August 1, 2014 at 12:45 pm #

      I think it has something to do with the fairy tale aspects. And kings and suchlike were pretty common until 1777 .

      I was thinking, though, that some of the kingdoms would be more democratic than others (which is a major cause of unrest, as ideas are spreading.)

      My thinking was that one side would want, basically, freedom to experiment with magic and developing liberalistic thoughts (much like the Dutch and English and to some extent early America) while the other would want to stay ready for the possible threat from the other side of the border and keep the power structure as it is.

      Yes, magicians are automatically aristocrats. I was thinking that noble bloodlines would generally try to train the second or third son in magic (few women would learn) so they’d have at least one world-class magician for each generation. Common-born traditional magicians would be rarer, but if they were trained they’d be considered aristocrats too (and who would want to tell them otherwise.) Yes, interbreeding helps blend both strength and weaknesses.

      Armies wouldn’t be magicians, but they’d have a lot of magical tools and weapons – the west would have more, as they can mass-produce things the east needs a dedicated craftsman to do.

      Chris

      Date: Fri, 1 Aug 2014 02:41:05 +0000 To: christopher_g_nuttall@hotmail.com

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard August 1, 2014 at 2:57 pm #

        On “magicians are aristocrats” and “few common born magicians”, unless the male aristocrats do something to prevent bastards there could be more common born magicians than you may think. [Wink]

        IE young (and not so young) aristocrats fathering children on commoners.

        By the way, one of the differences between the western aristocrats and the eastern ones might be that the western ones are more willing to allow “common born” magicians to marry into their families.

      • chrishanger August 1, 2014 at 3:45 pm #

        That’s true, but they also help more magicians to learn how to control their powers too. So they end up with more magicians in the end Chris Date: Fri, 1 Aug 2014 13:57:10 +0000 To: christopher_g_nuttall@hotmail.com

      • wraiththirteen August 1, 2014 at 10:18 pm #

        maybe have something a little closer to a aristocratic republic where only the aristocrats get a vote, where each family or clan or some such gets to send a Representative to the capital to vote for them. With the king being more of a executive than an absolute ruler.

        Maybe give the kind and his family the power of prophecy (can you really think of a better power for a king, knowing who your enemies are before they know they are your enemy and being able to smooth problems over before they happen)

        I have never seen this done but it would make sense for this story, have the people who perform magic actually do it for economical reasons. For instance someone who has power over earth instantly builds dams and canals, or someone who has plant powers makes harvest happen several times a year. Or someone with wind powers makes windmills run all day long, etc. (on a side note I imagine magneto from xmen would be an awesome prospector)

        In the east since they are all boarded by enemies they have to build huge fortresses and have mutual protection pacts with the other aristocrats in their area, do to war and constant raids (that the enemy nation swears up and down are bandits that give them trouble too). So they have become very clanish, maybe they even marry along the lines of we need someone with such and such magical power to do some vital work in our castle/lands and because of the problem of enemy spies and saboteurs only family members are taught the secrets of magic

        But out west since they do not have the threat of war and rarely have to deal with bandits anybody who has any talent in magic is taught it so that they can immediately become very beneficial to the economy. So the east is having a magical revolution similar to the industrial revolution since the aristocracy is becoming open to all.

        The east is trying to pass laws that take away the aristocratic privilege of the east and the east constantly gets most of the tax money taken from the west. ive them both legitimate reasons for the civil war. The obvious answer is that they form different nations but they both want one nation under their rule.

        if you want to make them sexist instead of the women not being trained make it so that the women have to use their powers for economic reasons and the men use their powers only for war

      • chrishanger August 3, 2014 at 5:53 am #

        Definitely a fun set of ideas, although I’m not sure how well they will merge with what I have in mind. Chris Date: Fri, 1 Aug 2014 21:18:59 +0000 To: christopher_g_nuttall@hotmail.com

  8. wraiththirteen August 1, 2014 at 4:44 am #

    did a quick check, the south was paying 87 percent of the taxes in 1860 when they seceded. you can check it out here http://archive.lewrockwell.com/rockwell/civilwar.html

    he actually makes an interesting point “Adams believes that both Northern and Southern leaders were lying when they invoked slavery as a reason for secession and for the war. Northerners were seeking a moral pretext for an aggressive war, while Southern leaders were seeking a threat more concrete than the Northern tariff to justify a drive to political independence. This was rhetoric designed for mass consumption .”

    I wonder if you could throw in a moral pretext for both sides underlining the real reason why the two sides are really fighting?

    • chrishanger August 1, 2014 at 12:39 pm #

      Well, I was thinking that the East views magicial research as inherently dangerous, so they’d want the kingdom to ban it. . Or that they believe that liberalism is also dangerous – i.e. there are no lords looking out for their people. Chris Date: Fri, 1 Aug 2014 03:44:33 +0000 To: christopher_g_nuttall@hotmail.com

  9. Qanelin August 2, 2014 at 10:48 pm #

    Seems a interesting idea, but I think your going to have trouble making the eastern wizards a credible threat with that setup.

    They would be swiftly,if not already even in your setup, surpassed by the western wizards. Your going to have to be careful or your going to end up with a their dangerous because I said so to make the story work situation, not because they actually make sense as a threat.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard August 2, 2014 at 11:14 pm #

      Not necessarily.

      If you study the comparable strengths of the American South and the American North, it would seem obvious that the North would have won quickly.

      Instead, it took about four bloody years before the North won.

      The North could put more men into the field and supply them but at first those forces weren’t used properly.

      In Chris’s case, the Eastern Wizards are out-numbered but are individually more powerful.

      In addition, it could be very possible that the Eastern Wizards are more highly trained in making war (in terms of commanding troops and in terms of commanding “war-magic”).

      While out-numbering the Eastern Wizards, the Western Wizards could be more interested in peaceful uses of magic and thus have to learn war as they go along.

      There’s also the “political aspect”.

      There might be strong voices in the West that support the goals of the East.

      • wraiththirteen August 3, 2014 at 3:03 am #

        The only reason why the north won was because they attacked civilian populations. Research sherman, he did the same thing when he fought the indians except their he would attack their villages during the winter and burn their food supplies. The guy was a mass murderer but since he was on the winning side he got a promotion.

    • wraiththirteen August 3, 2014 at 3:04 am #

      Numbers are a quality all their own.

    • chrishanger August 3, 2014 at 5:56 am #

      Maybe not. Each of them would be staggeringly powerful. (I was also thinking they’d be drawing in supplies from overseas.) Chris Date: Sat, 2 Aug 2014 21:48:42 +0000 To: christopher_g_nuttall@hotmail.com

      • Qanelin August 3, 2014 at 7:03 pm #

        While I’m sure one on one they would win, why would the western wizards ever confront them one on one?

        That’s like those action movies where they confront the protagonist one at a time so the protagonist can win.

        Also everytime the western wizards killed a eastern one, they wouldn’t be able to be replaced. Each time a western wizard lost they could be relatively easily replaced. That leads to the western wizards strongly having time on their side.

        It seems that any advantage the eastern wizards had knowledge wise would be swiftly counterbalanced by the west. Any advantage in power would be counterbalanced by the wests numbers. Any advantage advantage in conflicts would be counterbalanced by the wests far superior ability to replace losses. Not to mention any advantage they have at all would disappear and be surpassed simply by time.

        So what abilities would the eastern wizards have that would be so dangerous to counterbalance that and why wouldn’t the western wizards be able to replicate them?

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard August 3, 2014 at 8:04 pm #

        IMO it won’t be “abilities” per say but types of training.

        It could be that the eastern wizards are more likely trained in “combat wizardry” while the western wizards aren’t.

        It would take time for the western wizards to learn “combat wizardry”.

        The western wizards might be able to “hold ground” thanks to their numbers but “taking ground” would require more “combat wizardry” training than they have.

      • chrishanger August 4, 2014 at 3:27 pm #

        That’s what I had in mind. I also intended to have the Eastern wizards be polymaths (know more about several separate areas of magic) while the Western wizards were quite limited. Chris Date: Sun, 3 Aug 2014 19:04:48 +0000 To: christopher_g_nuttall@hotmail.com

      • chrishanger August 4, 2014 at 3:28 pm #

        Raw power. Each of them would be very dangerous in combat . The West couldn’t match it so much because they’d be courting madness. Chris Date: Sun, 3 Aug 2014 18:03:51 +0000 To: christopher_g_nuttall@hotmail.com

  10. Tarjei Jensen August 5, 2014 at 7:30 am #

    It would be wrong to allow magicians to be nobility automagicall. There is no way the old nobility would allow the upstarts to join the ranks. Too many perks.

    Magicians are tools who may be elevated to the nobility if they provide a valuable enough service. Much like inventors/industrialists. They should be kept down until you can’t ignore them.

    • wraiththirteen August 5, 2014 at 12:05 pm #

      I dont know it would seem to be a legitimate reasons to start a civil war especially if the new aristocrats have some sort of voting rights.

      That said it would also be introducing a class system, I dont know if I have seen that in Chris’s books yet. King aristocrats (both magical) then their are peasants. Depending on what Chris does this story can go out of control and last a while.

      I am more interested as to what the magic system looks like. Is it a regual black mage vs white mage, or is it more complicated like naruto or hunterxhunter, or is it more confining like avatar the last airbender. ,

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard August 5, 2014 at 3:30 pm #

      Tarjei, there have been discussions in fantasy fans circles about “why don’t wizards rule?”.

      There’s several answers but it is possible that in Chris’s world the first Nobles were Wizards and that’s how they became the rulers.

      • chrishanger August 5, 2014 at 4:09 pm #

        Wizards DID rule the Empire of Schooled in Magic, but the Empire shattered and (as of the books) everyone is living in the ruins . It really depends on the situation, I suppose. Do you have enough wizards to balance each other or only a handful? Are they physical gods or do they have limits? Are they prepared to work together or do they fight each other? Could be it’s simpler easier to have the mundanes do the hard work of ruling. Chris Date: Tue, 5 Aug 2014 14:30:47 +0000 To: christopher_g_nuttall@hotmail.com

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard August 5, 2014 at 4:19 pm #

        Going along with “having the mundanes to the hard work of ruling”, there’s the wizards as scholars theme. IE wizards are too busy researching “the secrets of the universe” to waste time ruling.

    • chrishanger August 6, 2014 at 1:32 pm #

      On the other hand, it might be unsafe to reject them from the aristocracy. Chris Date: Tue, 5 Aug 2014 06:30:42 +0000 To: christopher_g_nuttall@hotmail.com

      • wraiththirteen August 8, 2014 at 3:27 am #

        you need a like button on this website for comments like that. That is pretty funny.

      • chrishanger August 8, 2014 at 11:28 am #

        Beyond my competence Chris Date: Fri, 8 Aug 2014 02:27:40 +0000 To: christopher_g_nuttall@hotmail.com

      • Tarjei Jensen August 12, 2014 at 9:54 am #

        Not really. All you need is a hope of being elevated and see other with similar abilities get elevated.

        “The family of Arch Duke Keonk is the most powerful in the kingdom. His great grandfather the Golden Armen was the first magician to survive transmutation.of iron into gold. And also iron into water.”

        Why is the famiiy the most powerful in the kingdom? Hint : “survived”.

  11. wraiththirteen August 6, 2014 at 5:32 am #

    Chris do you have any idea what the magic system looks like yet or are you still trying to figure it out? To continue Pauls wizerd question of why dont the wizards rule, I would point out that in avatar the last air bender the benders do rule, but then again in other stories it takes 30 years of intense learning to learn wizardry and they tend to be weak to the guys with the swords and armors. I would think that powers like prophecy, or mind reading would lend itself very well to ruling, but powers like flamethrower or healing would only lend itself to ruling in very specific cultures. I would imagine in this context the wizards rule either because they keep the chattel under foot, their power makes them super rich in some way, their power means they lead better, or its just feudalism where the king recognizes that the best wariors in his kingdom are the wizards so he gives them the land and when it comes time to go to war he expects them to fight for him and it could be a mixture of all these across the empire depending on the aristocrats.

  12. George Phillies August 6, 2014 at 7:37 pm #

    Having the west win is more than a bit hackneyed. Have the East win.

    • chrishanger August 7, 2014 at 11:32 am #

      But … they’re the bad guys! I’m still working on the background, more seriously. I’ll start the plot afterwards. Chris Date: Wed, 6 Aug 2014 18:37:44 +0000 To: christopher_g_nuttall@hotmail.com

      • wraiththirteen August 8, 2014 at 3:24 am #

        when you say bad guys do you mean they eat babies, or do you mean that they are not in your political party or do you mean somewhere in the middle? Perhaps in the end both sides can decide that they need a divorce as a country?

      • chrishanger August 8, 2014 at 11:31 am #

        I have great difficulty in seeing a bunch of old-style fuderal lords (the same as the ones who were responsible for a great deal of suffering in Europe) as anything other than the villains. Chris Date: Fri, 8 Aug 2014 02:24:18 +0000 To: christopher_g_nuttall@hotmail.com

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard August 8, 2014 at 4:30 pm #

        Plus, I get the impression that these feudal lords would see what’s happening in the west as a threat to them even if the east became a separate kingdom.

      • chrishanger August 10, 2014 at 6:44 am #

        That’s true, particularly once the west starts luring in people from the East. Chris Date: Fri, 8 Aug 2014 15:30:57 +0000 To: christopher_g_nuttall@hotmail.com

      • wraiththirteen August 9, 2014 at 6:26 am #

        Chris when you say old style feudal Lords you mean the people who were granted land rights and pretty much used all the people on their property as slaves/serfs, when war came all the men were called up pretty much as cannon fodder, and if they did something that the lord did not like they were stuffed in gibots/beaten/killed/kicked off their land with their family to starve? I have noticed some talk about benevolent dictators who felt it was their duty to take care of the people on their land, but lets be honest most men would abuse their authority with abandon. And sadly some people today think a benevolent dictator would be the best form of government.

        does that mean the west will be filled with aristacrats that are not feudal lords or are feudal lords of a slightly different era? if I remember correctly the long bow help bring about the middle class in the western part of europe simply because it was a weapon that allowed pretty much any peasant to kill a knight, or their fully armored Lord. in other words for a few generations the Lords have learned they have to be nice to the peasants or they become pin cushions and the peasants with technical skills they need go to work for other lords who abide by their agreements?

        Simply asking because I am an american and dont really understand how one set of aristocrats can be that different from another.

        finally is the empire set up a little like japan where one lord/aristocrat is allowed to fight another lord for territory?

      • chrishanger August 10, 2014 at 6:39 am #

        Based on European history, most lords tended to have enough land and power to build private armies of their own (thus making them able to stand up for themselves against rebels and kings alike.) Some of them probably thought they were benevolent, but they were never questionable by their subordinates, which included serfs. It largely came to an end as gunpowder weapons were developed, more or less ending (in Britain) in 1745ish.

        (Things are quite confusing. For example, there were few truly ‘Scottish’ or ‘English’ lords during the Scottish Wars of Independence. There were quite a number who had ties to both sides, confusing the issue.)

        Smaller states (like the Dutch) enjoyed more political freedom for various reasons. They’re the ones I was going to use as a pattern for the West.

        Date: Sat, 9 Aug 2014 05:26:57 +0000 To: christopher_g_nuttall@hotmail.com

  13. Tamara August 6, 2014 at 10:55 pm #

    I didn’t read all of the above …so I’m not sure if somebody covered this already but my first thought was why should an eastern “traditional” magic user be stronger then one coming out of an academy?

    A magician is training his apprentice in the eastern part. The master won’t give all of his knowledge to his apprentice. At least not without a strong bond that will prevent that the apprentice uses it against him. Normally he / she would give a basic knowledge into magic and then move on to the next apprentice. I don’t see why this kind of training makes stronger magic users.

    An academical trained mage is probably more flexible in the way he / she uses magic because there is more than one teacher.

    It comes all back to the mages power and discipline in mind. Well maybe not personal power but the power to channel environtmental power (mana). A person with a highly disciplined mind can probably channel more raw power which would make a martial artist or a monk a good mage. I have problems seeing a spoiled aristrocrat as a good mage.

    Well that’s my humble opinion about it….

    Oh and something that just crossed my mind….
    make the princesses twins with different abilities…
    let’s say one is a strong magician and the other a mastermind…
    alone they suck together they are a force

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard August 6, 2014 at 11:04 pm #

      IIRC It’s a matter that Eastern Wizards “push” themselves (and their students) to the edge of “sanity”. IE the more the wizard seeks power, the greater the risk of insanity.

      The Western Wizards aren’t as concerned about “seeking power” as they are concerned about using what they have skillfully.

      • chrishanger August 7, 2014 at 11:29 am #

        More or less To be fair, the East will also be fine tool smiths and alchemists, while the West will use mass production. Chris Date: Wed, 6 Aug 2014 22:04:27 +0000 To: christopher_g_nuttall@hotmail.com

  14. George Phillies August 7, 2014 at 11:30 pm #

    “The master won’t give all of his knowledge to his apprentice.” This tends to lead to the result that magic dies out. One might equally say “Magicians gain prestige and rank by revealing new spells and classes of magic.” However, Magicians will only train magicians who are part of the magical hierarchy, not to be confused with the clerical or noble hierarchies, all of whom have electors. As a result, since the West is not part of the magical hierarchy, it has only dog wizards (phrase due to Barbara Hambly: amateurs who know a few tricks and lots of our world sleight of hand magic.

  15. Michael W. Riley August 8, 2014 at 2:30 am #

    Can anyone jump into this?

  16. Michael W. Riley August 8, 2014 at 2:34 am #

    I liked the idea of complimentary twins augmenting their separate abilities, especially if they were separated for a time and only discovered the augmentation after a series of apparent conflicts.

  17. George Phillies August 8, 2014 at 3:27 pm #

    Chris: Minor warning – the historical accounts of the American War of the Slaveholder’s Rebellion from the Lou Rockwell group are the worst sort of historical revisionism and have little semblance to reality.

    You might consider: West: Fine individual craftmanship for export. East: mass production of similar items for everyone in his and her place happily follows sumptuary codes.

    At some point you have so stacked the outcome, like Weber’s Safehold, that it becomes less interesting.

  18. Tarjei Jensen August 14, 2014 at 5:14 pm #

    If conservation of Energy also applies to the use of magic (that is the result), then using magic can also be very dangerous unless the magician knows what (s)he is doing.

    If you convert a heavy element into something lighter, you have an instant tactical nuclear weapon.

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