So it occurred to me while developing the political landscape for my world, that throwing fantasy races into the mix in an absolute monarchy/feudal system and pretending they just fit right in may in fact have some problems.
What I am attempting to generally figure out is: How would including fantasy races impact the politics of a particular medieval monarchy?
For aid in answering this question here is what can be generalized about each of the fantasy races and what is known about the kingdom in question
- Orcs are big and value strength, they share a lifespan in common to humans
- Their society is tribal, with a war chief being chosen based on combat and feats of strength.
- Some tribes are nomadic but others are not
- This practice leads the orcs into conflict with other races as young orcs must prove themselves in battle to get a mate and for a chance at power.
- Orcs as a race virtually never band together and regularly fight with neighboring tribes be they orc or not.
- Orcs tend to distrust gnomes and dwarves whose small stature leads to a belief that they are sneaky and underhanded (which is sometimes true)
- Orcs respect humans and elves mainly due to the wars they have fought with the two races
- Few orcs are capable of using magic, those that do become shaman and are revered...until they are sacrificed to the gods at age 30.
- Elves are long lived though not immortal. On average elves live to be 350
- Each elf tends to choose a few skills (usually fewer than 6) to perfect in their lifetime. These can be manufacturing skills, martial skills, as well as things like trading and public speaking.
- Elves would rather be working on honing their skills (even martial skills) than fighting with others. They are not so much peaceful as often self absorbed and will ignore provocations
- Once roused to fight they are deadly. They are not naturally stronger or faster but their combat skills are second to none.
- Elves live in multi-racial cities for the most part, though some shun society and live in small enclaves reserved for elves (yes, in the forest mostly).
- Elves can excel at pretty much anything due to their long lives and penchant for focus on certain things.
- Elves generally tolerate most races, though can often see them as lesser beings due to their short lives
- Elves inherently distrust orcs due to the fact that the orcs can't keep long term agreements
- Elves would probably rule the world if they were not the smallest race by population
- Elves have a higher percentage of their population capable of using magic
- As usual humans are sort of the in-between race and have no race wide tendencies appearing to most other races as infuriatingly random in their actions (on the whole)
- On average humans live to about 60 years of age, though social status can skew those numbers significantly.
- Humans generally live in multi-racial cities though there are many human villages/farming communities. In the rural setting humans are often much more distrustful, though not outright racists.
- Magic is uncommon as a general rule, but humans fall somewhere between elves and orcs in the regularity of a person using magic
- Short and stocky and fond of mountains, caves and basically rocks in general. The average lifespan is around 100 years
- Dwarves are excellent traders and craftsmen
- Dwarven society is very organized particularly in dwarf only settlements
- Social standing is very important and a sort of caste system has developed though above average individuals are capable of changing their caste.
- The only other race to frequently live among the dwarves are gnomes
- Dwarves tend to be secretive and self interested (as a race)
- Similar to orcs dwarven mages are uncommon. Those that do have magic tend to become priests.
- Dwarves tend to mistrust virtually all other races with the exception of gnomes and are generally closed off to outsiders
- Dwarven cities are well organized militarily and all dwarves are expected to serve in the military for a period of time when they come of age. In mixed cities you will often find dwarves as leaders of city guards/militias/militaries
- Similar in height to dwarves but not as stocky, gnomes tend to live to about 130.
- The most friendly of the races and most welcoming. A stranger in a gnomish village can expect that they will be welcomed fed and given a place to sleep
- This friendliness probably developed as a defense mechanism for a race that is smaller and weaker than all the others.
- Gnomes also have a natural curiosity for anything new and different...this can make them appear eccentric to the other races
- With the exception of small villages there are no gnomish kingdoms
- Like elves mages are fairly common among gnomes (though still rare)
- Gnomes tend to like everyone, even orcs who seem fascinated with "the wee people"
The kingdom in question is a monarchy.
Within its borders it contains:
- 4 large multi-racial cities (all races present in the city limits)
- 2 Elven forest settlements
- Many human villages
- Many gnome villages (Humans and gnomes often mix together in these smaller towns)
- 1 dwarven stronghold
- A section of the orc tribe lands (though the orcs would probably disagree that they are part of the kingdom at all)