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Looking For "Titles, Terminology"...?

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Night Gardener, Jan 11, 2019.

  1. Night Gardener

    Night Gardener Sage

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    I'm at the point where my placeholder names are getting ridiculous. I need a term to describe a ruler, (and right off the bat, don't like the term "ruler") who comes to power under these conditions:

    * They are nominated from within their own dynasty (House). It is up to each House how to nominate their choice for...rulership. Power between the 13 Houses is shared rotationally; Every 33 years, power automatically shifts to the next House. (This is to keep the peace.)

    * This person has a big range of responsibilities and powers, some are absolute others not.

    * There is a council (not thrilled with that term either) for magical and a council of non-magical representation of citizens that this ruler works with, that composes and enforces the laws and the rights of the citizens.

    * This person can be male or female

    * The founding Houses based their governance on meritocracy and democracy, not divine rights.

    * They are automatically counted as an (Honorary) General during war times, but not the highest-ranking one by default. So calling them 'General' during the majority peacetime seems silly, as they aren't acting as a General in any capacity 98% of the time.

    As there are no divine rights asserted, King/Queen Emperor/Emperoress doesn't seem right. (Czar / Czarina is -forgive me- evoke too much regionalism.) As they are appointed by 1 House out of 13, 'President' seems off. And, 'Prime Minister' seems decidely British, too regional again.

    Without invoking other divinity titles like Your Grace, Exhaulted One, Your Majesty, what's left? ...Chief? And 'Supreme Leader' is cringe-worthy to my sensibilities.

    I've painted myself into a corner, haven’t I?

    What terminology fits this political description?

    I'd rather not venture into the territory of made-up words if I don't absolutely have to go that route, as that gets into deeper language-building that would not be expanded on otherwise. Might be jarring.

    Thanks in Advance!
     
  2. ScaryMJDiamcreep

    ScaryMJDiamcreep Troubadour

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    Lord, maybe? I don't know enough to give a proper answer, but Lord seems like one of those titles that doesn't have any divine influence.

    I might look into Patrician, see what that actually means, but for now I think Lord should be good.

    Edit: Upon looking at what Patrician means, it seems much more fitting than Lord. And given that the only thing I've seen that uses Patrician (Terry Pratchett's Discworld books) has the Patrician be a role much like what you're describing (no divine choice, not a true democracy, subsequent title-bearers aren't (typically) related), it seems quite perfect. And it seems like the only people eligible to be Patrician are Lords, so that works out nicely as well.

    Patrician:
    1. a person of noble or high rank; aristocrat.
    2. a person of very good background, education, and refinement.
    3. a member of the original senatorial aristocracy in ancient Rome.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019
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  3. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Vala

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    You could go the [self-]deprecating route of calling them First Citizen or just Citizen.
    Or a Tolkien twist with Steward.
     
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  4. Night Gardener

    Night Gardener Sage

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    The short list of placeholder names I'm willing to disclose have thus far included combinations of High Lord, Lord, Lord Regent. ...some others below.

    ScaryMJDiamcreepScaryMJDiamcreep the titles of "Lord" and "Lady" are already in use frequently for addressing distinct members of the Houses, like how we might use 'Mr.' Or 'Ms'. I tried adding a distinctions "High", "Grand" "First" but that feels off. "Patrician", from the word 'patriarch'? Is it also available as 'Matrician'? I'll have to look into it... defining things by gender role may not work, as sexism as we understand it isn't exactly a thing in this meritocracy. It's egalitarian because magic became an early 'equalizer' between genders.

    CupofJoeCupofJoe hahaha we're on the same wavelength: 'Citizen' and 'First Citizen' is already in regular use for the non-magical persons side of government, like how we might use President, vice-president or Speaker of the House in the US.

    Other titles that have circled the drain include: "Overlord" (way too negative in connotation) and permutations of "adjective+Master".

    'Governor' is also already in use on local government levels, as is 'Magistrate'.

    The 'peaceful', automatic transition/transfer of power from one House to another occurs during a predictable recurring celestial event, an Ascension, which occurs every 33 years. It will be some comination of star constellations and a planetary alignment that will produce a "Lunar Rainbow Aura" (looks like a rainbow ring around the moon).

    The ceremony is simply called "the Ascension".
    I thought about calling the ruler "The Ascended" and after a while of that term being utilized it became so clunky in character conversations I grew to try and outright avoid using it, which is just silly because the MCs sister is next to rule and is a huge conflict/motivator in the plot.

    Hmmmm... I'll have to think about these suggestions... Thanks!
     
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  5. ScaryMJDiamcreep

    ScaryMJDiamcreep Troubadour

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    From the looks of it, the word that Patrician stems from translates to "chosen fathers", but that was its original meaning back in the time of the romans. I think at the moment the title can basically be used in place of president or prime minister, though it seems more like a halfway point between those and royalty. Not a true democracy, but not ruling because of your ancestors either.
     
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  6. Firefly

    Firefly Troubadour

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    "Ascendant" might work there. Or Lord/Lady Ascendant (Although that's still two words so I'm not sure if it really solves the clumsiness problem.)

    If it were me I probably would just call them emperor/empress. I don't really like regionalized names much either, unless I'm trying to evoke a certain culture, so I get where your coming from with that, but hasn't "emperor" been used in all sorts of cultures? Chinese, Roman... I don't think it really carries any connotation of divine right, not for me at least. I'I'm pretty sure it just means "ruler of an empire"

    I also really like Lord Regent, or maybe High Regent. It seems to click really well with the way different groups take turns ruling the kingdom.

    My favorite ever term for a leader like this was "Lord Ruler" from Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn trilogy. So gloriously redundant.
     
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  7. Insolent Lad

    Insolent Lad Sage

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    Or the more-or-less equivalent from Latin, Princeps (which, of course, became prince). Or Number One, if you want to go slangier.
     
  8. Night Gardener

    Night Gardener Sage

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    "Number One" is immediately associated with Star Trek and Captain Picard/ Commander Riker dynamic for me, so I don't think I can use it without giggling at my own nerdiness ;)
     
  9. Miles Lacey

    Miles Lacey Sage

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    The term Knight is both a title awarded to civilians (particularly in the United Kingdom) as well as a medieval military rank so perhaps Knight-Superior might do the job.
     
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  10. Insolent Lad

    Insolent Lad Sage

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    The old "The Prisoner" series was actually what came to my mind when I wrote that, not Star Trek. I suppose it would have a number of associations depending on the individual (even Charlie Chan and his 'number one son'). Incidentally, the chief aide to the sorcerer/ruler in one of my novels was referred to as 'Thun' which is sort of Etruscan for Number One. :)
     
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  11. Sitra Achra

    Sitra Achra Acolyte

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    Monarch, Sovereign? Lord/Lady Superior? Chancellor? I would suggest looking at words which mean "leader" and "most important" and perhaps blending a couple together, I did that for my novel when deciding what to call the council. Though you might be against inventing titles, translating things into Latin (or another language) and bastardising them can help with ideas, for example, Coronat, from "crowned".

    Chancellor just means someone who is head of a country or state, is not region-specific, and unisex. Anyway, good luck!
     
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