You often see lists of random towns with everything from hamlets to cities run in all ways: monster theocracies to run of the mill monarchs, and everything in between, except for anything without a government. Well, I suppose they are included, unless you mean the crazy, violence filled ‘anarchy’ a la Mad Max. As an anarchist myself, I do have to say that this is more than a little inaccurate. I’ll be starting a series hoping to impart my impressions of various anarchist flavors into town structures you can use in your games. Let me blur the line between anarchy and gaming a little bit.
1. Anarcho-Monarchist: Let me apologize first, as this is one of the forms of anarchy I understand the least, so I hope I put together a fairly decent representation of it. Here are some sources. I can certainly see the appeal to the basic tribal instinct inherent in having a regency to represent you, your community, and your very way of life.
The people here revolted from their republican or oligarchic past to return to a chosen monarch who will protect their way of life. It is both their tradition and expectation that any monarch who fails to uphold their beliefs will be ousted to maintain their way of life.
Their choice in monarch is voluntary, and every person is given the free choice in supporting any of the noble families on each decennial Regency Festival or leaving the town. Those who leave are free to take one year’s earnings plus the value of their land.
The town’s laws will be heavily based on their culture, and defending their traditions. Outsiders who approach will be confronted to make sure they understand what sort of city this is and a vague idea of what rules lie within. This action is the way that the townsfolk absolve themselves of harming any outsiders who do not consent to their way of life. This core part of their belief makes them incredibly proud of their heritage and ‘better’ than the uncultured lands surrounding them.
The town’s economy will revolve around the traditional and specialized economies of the people and region. They are not backwards and will readily adopt new techniques and tools, but will run such things through a series of noble families, regents, or the monarch. Prices are set yearly by the monarch and the monarch occasionally sets labor practices in accordance with the good of the realm.
The monarch is expected to and limited by the will of their subjects to uphold the kingdom, rather than any singular monarch’s power or wealth. As long as the monarch maintains their side of the bargain, the people follow the edicts, rules, and laws to the letter. Those who break the laws are given one appeal to the monarch before they are expelled. Expelled individuals who return are killed.
The architecture of the town will be very conservative and traditional. Such builders put great emphasis on strong defensive designs, able to outlast and defeat aggressive warlords and countries that surround an anarcho-monarchist society.
Anarcho-monarchists have no problem allying with others if it benefits them, but most kingdoms do not respect the anarcho-monarchists’ domain out of principle (believing that the peasants are beneath them, rather than part of a mutual relationship), other anarchist hate them for their ruler, and other forms of governance generally do not trust them. Often, anarcho-monarchist towns will cluster near each other as a result of people leaving one city to form their own monarchy. Most surviving monarchies of this type result from multiple anarcho-monarchist towns allying together against outside forces, with singular towns often getting swallowed up. These towns often see new towns branching off to form new monarchies. The people greatly enjoy the rivalries, betrayals, and diplomacy between anarcho-monarchic societies. Wars between anarcho-monarchic towns only result in diplomatic concessions such as humiliation, extravagant gifts, or nominal land exchanges. These concessions are out of respect to the belief in the people’s right to choose their ruler.
If you are looking for good historians, anarcho-monarchies will have the grandest libraries and the most enthusiastic scholars: Maesters, historians, scholars, librarians, history buffs, students, teachers, mentors…
|Or is the whole thing REALLY voluntary?|
d6 Encounters in an anarcho-monarchy
1. King/Queen Day! Everyone is celebrating with the traditional gold and purple pastry made with oats and honey. If the players join the celebration, they may end up drinking the free ale. Joining the festivities might mean meeting some cute or handsome villagers who will be disappointing that the party won’t stay and join their town. The King/Queen would surely find a great place for such powerful adventurers. There would be plenty of quests and treasure too…
2. The players have unknowingly broken an archaic rule! Something having to do with garter belts on Tuesdays or maybe with stepping on chipped cobblestones without visiting a cobbler… The players better read up on the laws of this town because they are about to have an audience with the monarch. Better hope they can talk their way out of this, or maybe they wanted to meet the monarch already.
3. Small children run up and ask the players about their own rulers back home. They ask who they voted for last, and are confused if the players don’t understand voting. If the players try to explain their governing body, the children chide in worried tone “why can’t the people choose for themselves?” or another similar line.
4. A kindly old couple stop the adventurer(s) in the street and ask how them how they are doing. They are honestly curious about the adventurers, the outside world, and try to tie the topic back to their hometown (which is nearby one of the players’ villages). If asked, they moved to this kingdom, found happiness, and were unsuccessful at bringing their relatives along. They suggest the players retire here when they are done.
5. A man in patchwork robes drunkenly stops the party to argue the finer points of anarcho-monarchy. If the players agree with him, he thinks they are mocking. If they disagree, he thinks they are stumbling buffoons. Either way, any response will send him into a drunken rage where he will attack the party with song and sword, revealing he is a moderately powerful bard whose drunkenness imposes a 50% failure on all of his abilities.
6. A young adult runs past the party holding a bag, dropping jewelry all over the road, as armored guards slowly walk towards him. He has rejected the current monarch but refuses to leave, and the guards unhappily must remove him from the town. Does the party step in to let him keep his home and jewelry business or will they side with the rules of the town that he agreed to for most of his life?