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Building a comprehensive ‘world’


toujours gai, archie
Much depends on how you define nobility. In Europe, anyway, nobility was a quality of blood, quite literally. Today we would say it's in the DNA--a quality of existence independent of behavior or of external validation. Marrying outside nobility literally diluted the purity of the blood and required several generations to restore.

But people often confuse nobility with titles, and titles did need a monarch. This was more true in some places than in others. By the time we're in Norman England, for example, the crown was the source of all titles. By the time of ... the Tudors? ... even noble status had to be granted from above.

France was more complicated (of course). The greater titles--particularly duke and count--were not only granted by the king but could be revoked by the king. In theory, the king could even make a commoner a count, but I don't believe that was ever done. But almost anyone could be made a "sieur" (we would call this a knight). Curious side note: the word knight derives from Knecht, which in German translates to "boy" or "servant". Roughly equivalent to garçon in French. The German for knight is Ritter. Which means rider. Which has the same sense as caballero in Spanish, or chevalier in French. All three languages basically have "guy who rides a horse." But the English just had to do things differently.


Down in Italy, nobles got some titles from the Emperor (who was also King of Italy), and a few from the Pope, but they did not hesitate to bestow titles on themselves. I confess I'm not sure how it worked in the Iberian peninsula, nor over in Hungary or Poland. But the general rule is easy: there was no general rule. Welcome to the Middle Ages!

Mad Swede

You've effectively described the situation in Wales before the English conquest, and also the situation in Sweden before the Union of Kalmar. In both countries leaders were elected by the freemen, and the criteria for election varied depending on the situation. Wales only had a single ruler when there was a major threat to everyone, otherwise each of the regions (the English referred to them as princedoms although they weren't) ran itself. In Sweden the King was elected by the clans, which consisted of freemen who lived in an area and who were often related to one another. The clan leaders were usually chosen from amongst those who had travelled inside and outside Sweden, and a part of life in the clan was ensuring that suitable youngsters got to travel so that there would be a cadre of people with the experience and contacts needed to act as leaders. In both countries the idea of nobility and titles came much later.

You should also not confuse nobles with those who have power. An English and later British example of this is the group known as the landed gentry. These were people (originally freemen and later usually farmers) who owned large areas of land but who didn't (and don't) have titles. They had a great deal of practical power, because they had money and they were literate. In the later 1700s and the 1800s they made up the largest part of the electorate (often because they had votes in several constituencies as a result of their land ownership) and provided most of the administrators needed to run things: JPs, parish clerks, parish overseers etc.
Lots more research to do! Wales and Scotland are big inspo for this project.

I’m toying with the idea of calling it the Gifted Blood series where I explore social mobility and class divides etc too.


So I have come up with a confederation of provinces, with each province ruled by a noble family
I am pretty sure the meaning of province is a partition of a kingdom or an empire. The provinces of Rome for example was the conquered lands. Like someone said, instead of nobles you could call them patricians or maesters so it doesn't sound like it needs a central power, and solve that problem. Or keep them nobles and give them different titles, counts, princes etc, and then give each area instead the name princedom, county.
Or just use the names of each area, and not mentioning them as counties or provinces at all.

There is also a court culture where nobles are expected to hold events to show off their wealth and status, make political alliances and allow a culture of courtship between nobles who have come of age
This could just be that the nobles invite each other to dinners and parties and tournaments, social events between the highest classes.
The more popular nobles (for some reason or other) have other weaker nobles trying to get invited to their parties and events, and other important nobles and allies and actual friends who are always invited, and are more likely to get married into each others families.

Does it matter that there is no monarchy but there are nobles?
The nobles could have begun as the foremost warriors and chieftains in their early history, as nobility normaly begins with spilled blood, and later on important events and money and magic could have added on more nobles to the list.
If they are all originally from the same tribe it makes sense that they keep together.

for example of there are more healers needed in a certain province, or more more populated areas such as cities

Magical servants would also be expected to give their services to any war.
If you have magic as something none-Star Wars then you get around alot of the explaining that has to be done, i.e. why the fireball shooting mages of the commonwealth didn't destroy their enemies, sending armies flying over walls (requiring new kinds of defensive structures,) simply earthquaking walls to dust, flying invisible assassins etc etc.
Instead, healers like you mentioned for instance, would be used in wars without needing some serious explanation, or magic that makes weapons sharper or not break, or making wooden palisades resist fire and catapult attacks.
More civilian magic, like helping crops grow for example, helps that non explaining stuff as well.
The fireball and earthquake magic could still be there, but only as ritual magic where great sacrifices and maybe thousands of mages are required, or devine interventions from the gods (who might be enslaved by the mages to do such big things?)

Just wanted to add that. I liked your idea.


In terms of rule of law, the confederation is overseen by a council of nobles with each nobleman having a seat on the council.
It could be like a forum, where they walk around in gardens and and discuss matters, and sometimes one or more of them have important changes they want to make and try to get as many other nobles as possible to come to the great hall to hear them out.

I had this idea before of a political system where they mostly don't sit down parliament style, but have a palace where they talk with each other and if someone who feels important wants to have a big speech, there is a large hall for that