Re: governing powers in fantasy

#1
what would be a good governing structure built around a church like religion?
for example, if they used a puppet ruler or one with a cooperative relationship. it could be equal relation or a relation where the religion has the power over the monarch, even if the main church may claim to be independent of the kingdom despite being situated in it and may have their own elite military power.
what could be the different stages of hierarchy and governing status(heck I don't know how to say it, like ranks of nobles or something?)?
 
BTW.suggestions about other types of governing systems would be welcome as well.

Re: governing powers in fantasy

#2
Well, all ruling systems have to answer a simple question: Why don't people just bash them over the head and take their place? How can systems remain in place for centuries and then suddenly fall? The answer to that is the idea of legitimacy. There's some quality that justifies their rulership to the people. 

Over the course of human history, this quality was often said to be divine charisma - the one who has the favour of the gods/spirits/magical beings. In our world, religion confirmed or bestowed this favour. So even if we have this notion of noble kings and princes and blood heritage, really, without confirmation by religion, their reign was often short-lived. 

So whether you are building a religious world government or a different one, ask yourself what gives them legitimacy. Maybe strength, maybe divine power, charisma and favor or magical ability, imagined qualities (discipline as a moral, etc) maybe election or something else that gives them the 'right' to do what they do. Then build your hierarchy around it. Those closest to the legitimizing quality are in places of power. How are they close? Blood? Ability? Amount of money? Ability to blackmail? Contract? This points you in the direction how they get into power, and how they can be ousted. The degrees of closeness can then also be used to generate ranks. 

Maybe magical ability? Could be that some folks are just better at divine spells than others. So those with access to nine tier magic are called the Ultimar, because there are none higher. Those on the fourth tier are named Quatrari, for they only know spells up to that level. While the ranks are based on various concepts of closeness to the legitimizing quality, what they represent can be rather practical and bureaucratic. A quatrari may govern over a piece of land while the Ultimar reigns supreme over entire countries. 

Naturally, there are other systems. Anarchy for example. But that would be moving away from ideas of rulership. 
/edit: Oh right, if you want to read up on this stuff: Bendix, Reinhard: Kings or People, Power and the Mandate to Rule.

Re: governing powers in fantasy

#3
As a social studies teacher who teaches about all forms of government, after answering some of these important questions that Felias has posed, I would also ask you this: What is the function of the government? Is secular and separate from the church or is it there to impose religious law b/c those laws are the law of the land? Do they really need to be separate?

If the government and church are separate, does that mean the church has its own power? In that case, who is in charge, the church or the government? Does the church choose the leader of the government, like the Catholic church did for centuries by supporting and crowning their own kings based on loyalty? Would the leader answer to the church, and if he goes against them, what happens?

If they are related in power, then you don't need both because what you have is a theocracy. Make the church the governing power. You don't need a king or a president to enforce the laws if the church has the power to do so on their own.

Keep in mind- a government has three basic functions- Create laws, enforce laws, and interpret laws. In most democratic countries, such as my own the United States, there are separate branches to balance the power. In a monarchy, all that power falls to the monarch. A dictator simply does what they want because they have the power of a king and the power of controlling the military to back them up.

So, you first have to decide, who really has power and why they need that power?

For example, in my own story, Intrepid, the story takes place in a transition period in their realm where the religious structures of the past have fallen and they are moving from an absolute to a constitutional monarchy. Some of the conflict in the story comes from the fact these new branches of government feel the need to flex their power against the monarch to assert their power.
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