The Chronicles of Elyria game is to be set in a feudal society, reminiscent of Medieval and Renaissance Europe. Thus, the political titles built into the game are King / Queen, Duke / Duchess, Count / Countess, and Baron / Mayor / Magistrate.
However, CoE is not meant to be a mirror to the roots of Western Civilization, but an entirely new culture, shaped and created by the players. Theoretically, it should be entirely possible to create new forms of government in Elyria, and I believe it would be possible under the current construction of the feudal government system. Here is how I envision a Republic forming...
The first recognizable form of democracy was in ancient Greece (although there has been evidence of earlier forms of "primitive democracy"), which predates Medieval Europe by hundreds of years. Under the current mechanics, a democratic kingdom could exist as follows:
Thus a transfer of power could exist, by popular vote of the people, without the need for bloodshed. The titles would remain the same (unless Soulbound Studios decides to allow the changing of title names).
The structure and laws of regarding the structure of the nation would vary. For example, if a kingdom were to take a Representative Republic route, then citizens could vote for their Barons / Mayors, who would vote for their Counts. The Counts would vote for their Duke, and the Dukes would vote for their king.
If a nation wanted a more Confederate route, then each Duke would be considered head of his state and king of said Confederacy would be elected by the Dukes. Each Duchy would have their own laws and be joined to the other Duchies by contracts (alliances). If the alliance was not working out for a particular Duke, he could secede from the union, as allowed by their contract of Confederacy.
In any case, regardless of which form of democracy or republic that is created, there could be an effective separation of powers. At the Kingdom level, you could think of the King / Queen as the President, head of the executive branch. While ultimately responsible for passing laws that govern the kingdom, he could delegate that authority to the Dukes (analogous to US Senators) who would vote to pass laws.
You could even construct a bicameral legislative branch by making the Upper House (Senate) being made up of elected Dukes and the Lower House (House of Representatives) being comprised of elected Counts. The process by which laws are passed can be contractually spelled out and abided by.
If one were to take a page from Britain's Parliament, there could be a House of Lords (Nobility) and a House of Commons (Aristocracy and Commoners) to cover a bicameral legislative branch.
Corruption and Revolution
As with any system of government, there will be people seeking to corrupt it for their own personal gain. A Republic in CoE would be no different. For example, what if the sitting President lost his re-election bid and decided that he would not surrender the ring to the victor?
This has happened many times throughout human history where a democratic country becomes a dictatorship (known informally as a "banana republic" and it could happen in Elyria. What would happen if this event were to occur?
Well, a civil war would result. Due to the votes of support being contracts that curry favor, the challenger who won an election would have a claim of casus belli. Therefore, if the seated king (or other noble) refused to surrender their position, then the challenger could then gather an army of his supporters and take the seat of power by force.
Furthermore, nobles could be impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors. If a particular count or duke was committing crimes, then the other counts, dukes or even their king could support a usurper to replace that noble. Articles of impeachment could be contracts of support for casus belli.
I understand that the feudal system will probably be the first form of government during Exposition. The reason I believe this is because all of the nobility and aristocracy will have spent copious amounts of real-life dollars for their positions in support of the CoE development. What person would want to spend $10,000 to become a king from launch only to potentially give away his kingdom a year later to some charismatic commoner?
Due to this, I sincerely doubt that any Republic or Democratic kingdoms will exist in game at launch. However, I feel that as the Nobility and Aristocracy begins to become corrupt and oppress the common folk, the desire for self-rule will be instilled in the People, leading to violent revolution(s) or mass migration to unexplored lands to being a new country.
In my next post, I will be discussing some of the lore for the Dagger and Crone Inn & Tavern.
~ Paddy Bardic
Owner / Proprietor
Dagger and Crone Tavern and Inn