My setting an, ideally, low magic fantasy setting will be ruled by 3 City States. I don't want any of these to feel right. As in there's no good guy. i.e. the reader is not supposed to see the setting and go "oh, that's obviously the best city that will win"
- This city is basically an unbridled science! as long as it's progress it's fine. As such there will be a lot of innovation that won't be seen in the others. I'm thinking they'll be more "elite" troops rather than mass troops. Likely the "eliteness" is due to better weapons and/or armour.
- This city is more Might is Right. They favour the strong and field a fearsome military. I'm thinking kinda Sparta and/or modern dictatorship as a basis. They'll field the largest army and it will be rather homogeneous a la centurions or hoplites etc. Obviously not all will be a half naked dude with a spear.
- Finally, this city would be peak HRE where, if there even is a "secular" head of state it would be symbolic only (kind of like the role of the English Monarchy to the Parliament). I'm thinking the military is likely Crusaders and is probably middling at both, they field a respectable army with respectable weapons.
I'm kinda wanting a rock->paper->scissors scenario in the order posted in the title and/or above however I don't want rock to always beat scissors, but it would be ill advised to "meet them on an open field" without an advantage.
I'm not quite sure how to go about this whilst still keeping a low fantasy kind of feel.
I'm open to some magic and/or magitech but magic will always be at a cost, similar to the magic in Paolini's Inheritance Cycle the user will still have to pay the energy to expend it.