I am curious if you all could help me out, I've come up with a case of writer's block for my homebrew world. Essentially, I would like to know if you guys could offer some ideas on fleshing out the rough concepts I have.
All that is mentioned below is simply some original thoughts. All that I really want to keep in stone is the idea of the small races collectively working together in cruel, calculating, results-driven manners. Not explicitly evil, but willing to do anything and everything necessary to accomplish a goal, moral shortcomings aside. A nation that is quite literally run by the Halfling Mafia.
So, lets get on with it - I am currently developing the nation in my homebrew world where the smaller races generally reside, halfings, dwarves, gnomes, etc. They are currently very much like current/historical Israel – had a cultural/ethnic homeland for many centuries, before being forcefully removed by war.
Some (WIP, subject to change) history on said nation: The dwarves were the only group of smaller peoples that had its own government and cities, that effectively ruled itself. Gnomes and halflings were essentially gypsies, moving in groups of varying sizes from place to place. The dwarves had been doing well and good, minding their own business, until some sort of unexpected and violent blitzkrieg forced them from their homes, and invaders took the lands for themselves. This forced the dwarves to become a migrant nation, and in their wanderings they took in the smaller groups of traveling gnomes and halflings.
Now what I am curious about is how to handle the migrant midgets from this point on… I had originally been thinking that the exiled group of dwarves along with spellcasters from the gnomes and halflings worked together to cast some sort of magical sending/distress signal to others of their kind in different parts of the world; and several years later a small armada of dwarves arrives that is led by an absolutely brilliant and ruthless leader. This leader would organize the small peoples into a ruthless crusade that would retake their original homeland in a storm of blood and dead babies…. However, another idea I like is that several years after being exiled, a new leader rose up (same ruthlessness and cunning as the armada leader mentioned earlier) and once they had enough manpower, the migrant midgets could well have just founded their own city by the water. It would be far enough away from their original homeland that they would not have to worry about harassment from the peoples who stole said homeland from them. They could start their own massive trade city on a large lake with a river that leads to the ocean, and plot their revenge.
What do you all think could be a better idea to run with? Any other ideas I haven’t come up with? How can I better expand on them?
What could be an appropriate enemy to have driven the dwarves out in the first place? Goblins, dragons, trolls? Some kind of Axis of Evil comprised of the smaller, evil leaning races (goblins, kobolds, etc)?
Also, one last thought, how would a Mafia-government work (excluding rampant bribery, I suppose)? One that is almost exclusively results-driven?
I would appreciate any thoughts you all could give me, it would make the world-building process much easier!
First off, I LOVE the idea of a halfling mafia! It is a little bit funny, but deadly serious!!!
As for the story, I personally like the idea of the smaller races undertaking a bloody reclaim-the-homeland holy war or series of wars. It would be very simple to model after the Crusades, as the Roman Catholic church in those days pretty much WAS run as a mafia!
As for a mafia-type government, it is actually quite similar to many monarchies of the middle ages. A few things off the top of my head:
Quasi-hereditary rule, where the current Don picks a successor, usually family
Officials are granted power as reward for loyalty
The wealthy can buy their way into positions of rank and power
Profit is key! If you can't pay your "taxes" you quickly lose favor
All important figures/families keep tabs on favors owed, which can be more worthwhile than cash in many cases
Common folk are probably taxed by the government, the police, and the military... all separately.
Depending on your status, being unable to pay taxes may mean conscription or may mean you start owing HEAVY favors to officials
Originally Posted by Keneth
Evil Guy: Your reckless display of power shall have a steep price today, mageling! *attempts to throw an undisclosed number of babies in the fiery pillar*
You: NOOOOOOOOOOO!! *hero point => standard action (dismiss spell)*
Babies: *bounce "harmlessly" off the ground*
Evil Guy: Damn you, sorcerer! This is not over!!
Since its going to be a major historical point for them, the crusade will have to have some kind of name. Perhaps a title like the "March for the Mountain", or something along those lines. One thing I would like to note for the crusade is that it is known for its exceptional violence and brutality, could you perhaps think of any "infamous" acts or battles that may have occurred during the crusade. I want to establish a reputation for ruthlessness that started in the crusade and carried over into the new government/nation that followed.
Example: Collective magical might of the crusade spent like a month casting some complicated ritual that opened a massive portal to the plane of water, inside of the mountain... They let it force out/drown any enemies dumb enough not to get out, and then mopped up the rest easily. The force of the water was enough to burst out of some of the lower parts of the mountain, and created a couple of new rivers. The crusade then leaves the portal open, abandons the mountain halls, and builds a new civilization on the surface surrounding the mountain. Hell, the new rivers that are made could be harnessed as a source of infinite energy too, via waterwheels and such.
Utilitarian and brutal!
Thanks for the thoughts on the mafia government, those ideas hadn't occurred to me! After the initial crusade leader died, the government could have then fallen into the hands of his hand-groomed successor!
One last question though, what do you think would be good flavor for the Crusade to be fighting against? The peoples that forcefully removed the dwarves in the first place? I haven't decided on anything in particular, but I know that I don't want to do dragons, as that is too reminiscent of The Hobbit.
As for who took over? The Elves. Make them like the Alyeids from Elder Scrolls Oblivion, brutal slavemasters, demon worshipers, cruel jerks to anything that might get in their sights. Beautifuel, in the way that a electric current is.
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