Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
You know, reading through the polities presented in various fiction and gaming settings, it strikes me that it's hard to get variety and distinct flavor, and yet avoid the pitfall of "cities of hats".

"This is The Warlike State."
"This is The Trading State."
"This is The Mage State."
"This is The Intrigue State."
Cities of hats are convenient for stories about travelers. The civilization might be more complex, but really, they're only going to be playing with it for a single story (or a few sessions), so why bother with going into too much detail?

For more complex cities, you need multiple factions that want things. I find that looking at the Estates is a good way to accomplish this, classically determined as being the Clergy, the Nobility, and the Burghers, but having other estates is a good idea for your older setting.