1
$\begingroup$

The setting : a world at a nexus of realities called the Axis. It's a place where different aspect of reality collide. Elements, though, lights, concepts, shapes... Each of those has its own world close to the Axis. Anyone can use those primal forces as magic and even travel to the various worlds. On the other hand, the more you are attuned to one reality, the harder it is to contact the others, up to the point where one become one with its preferred reality. Those who get this far are called Sources as the act like a source of their preferred reality. They are really powerful, free from most limit of the Axis "rules" as long as they act within their own reality rules.

The Axis inhabitant are mainly linked to elemental planes and a transcending though-plane. The lords of those two realities have a kind of higher authority over the other, being each at the end of the spectrum of realities.

While everyone on the axis perform some magic to help with every day tasks, those that make that their job are called mages.

The main continent is shaped like a croissant, with the opening at the north. The west side is primarily occupied by people tied to the elemental lords.

On the equator, there is a huge Forest called "Maiden Forest" heavily link to Earth and Wind elements, with pocket of anything fluctuating around.

Below, there is a land shattered by too many realities interacting. The lord of this land is called Gorthor's the immortal.

This guy is your regular villain : powerful himself, with cunning, scheming and powerful mage underling, lots of soldiers,...
His realm maintain a low level state of war with his neighbours as the underlings try to bring more gifts and power to their master.
All he cares for is power and his own pleasure (have I said he is a big bad guy ?). His goal is to become a Source of several realities. So far he has managed to be a Source of elemental power and use other realities magic. This is a huge accomplishment, but he needs more guinea pigs.

The population has to cope with reality shift regularly as Gorthor's Lieutenant fight and scheme against one other. One day they live by a lake created by a water mage, the next they have to cope with a fire forest (not, not a forest on fire) sent by his fiery concurrent, then they are in 2D because a Shape Source has decided to take control of the region. Inhabitants are also drafted into the army and taken as guinea pig for the various mages experiments. As long as his realm does not collapse, Gorthor does not care.

So, how does Gorthor's domain not collapse?

Why don't people just revolt and throw him out of power.

I'm not asking for a realistic explanation, as the setting is high fantasy. I'm waiting for believable, logic and explainable, within the setting defined. Details can be handwaved but the broad picture has to make sense.

I have more detailed explanation and some reasons for this kingdom to keep on going but I think that giving away more would just limit creativity.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ "A world...each has its own world" each what? One world or many? $\endgroup$ – JDługosz Jan 27 '16 at 12:53
  • $\begingroup$ Each aspect of reality has a corresponding "world" $\endgroup$ – MakorDal Jan 27 '16 at 13:11
  • $\begingroup$ This is so confusing. I thought I was "getting" what the author was talking about, then the actual question floored me. How does what not collapse? Is this not "high fantasy"? What's there to explain? $\endgroup$ – AndreiROM Jan 27 '16 at 14:19
  • $\begingroup$ The "world" in itself is fine, it's this big bad's own kingdom that is a bit more problematic. I have some idea of how and why it stays as it is, but I'd prefer to have a couple more outsiders input. Everything else is context. $\endgroup$ – MakorDal Jan 27 '16 at 14:36
  • $\begingroup$ So, the question is, what is the dystopia? The northern country? Because the southern crazy one just sounds like a dictatorship, without the premise of a utopia to disguise it. Maybe the southern country is really the good one, and it just seems evil to the dystopian northern country. Because the northern country is hogging all the good land, and these people just want out of the fire forest. Because everything is not as it seems... $\endgroup$ – Xandar The Zenon Jan 27 '16 at 15:22
2
$\begingroup$

The same reason any dictatorship persists: Gorthor is a master at manipulating both public opinion and the opinions of his subordinates.

If Gorthor is good enough at manipulating others then he can spend all the time he likes mastering the various aspects of reality at the same time as keeping his domain intact.

Perhaps the first thing Gorthor did was to become the source of the realm of Politics, and so can coerce, cajole or convince any and all opponents into his schemes. Maybe he was a natural manipulator born of the chaotic interactions between the worlds. Either way: at first Gorthor held no real power, but could manipulate others to do his bidding. Later when he'd consolidated his power base he became the Source for other realms.

The reason his empire doesn't crumble is because he's set things up so no one party can be certain they would be able to take control. If any one party starts to get too powerful the Goethor convinces another faction or factions to work against them. This both keeps him in power and leads to the chaotic environment you described in your question.

In short: Gorthor is the ultimate politician, always manipulating things so he's on top and no other party is strong enough to challenge him.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ Brilliant. I'll make Politics a subset of the "Thought" Realm. you get the point and the answer. $\endgroup$ – MakorDal Feb 9 '16 at 9:07
3
$\begingroup$

"Why don't people just revolt and throw him out of power?"

Fear.

Say one bad word about Gorthor, he banishes you to the fire forest. Actually take up arms against him, and oooh, the nasty things he will do! You'll be lucky not be thrown completely out of all reality.

History is full of this kind of thing- Hitler, Stalin, Caligula. But take warning- many of these do get their comeuppance eventually.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ I had this idea, but found it a bit short. As Xandar said : it's only a common dictatorship if things stays at that point. $\endgroup$ – MakorDal Jan 28 '16 at 5:50
3
$\begingroup$

Most dictatorships are a pyramid: the leader at the top, a few trusted lieutenants below him, a few more semi-trusted chiefs under them, and so on, until the very bottom is reached: the peasants. Every member of the nation (apart from the peasants) looks down and sees his own little pyramid, and (apart from the leader himself) looks up at the bottom of another pyramid.

On the one hand, this structure works well if all the pieces cooperate; each pyramid-top controls those underneath. On the other hand, if one section fails, the entire structure crumbles. A peasant revolt far below will destabilize the entire structure, all the way up to the boss at the top. And when the top fails, the rest is left in chaos. Thus, if even one tiny village were to revolt, there is a high chance that the entire nation would end in chaos.

What Gorthor needs to do is subvert the structure: he needs to add a middle layer, under his lieutenants and their lackeys. This middle layer is a comfortable middle-management red-tape bureaucracy, with no change over time, and comfortable funding. They help prop up the peasants by being a listening ear ("Oh, I know, I hate the lake just as much as you do! Ruined my weekend plans! Sigh, but it'll be something new next week, you mark my words!"). They don't make money by conquest, or by hard work; they just get money for doing their jobs. If anything terrible were to happen, these managers know they lose their jobs, so they'll fix any complaints (be it through violence or bribery) before they can upset the structure. The lieutenants can war back and forth as much as they want, and the peasants revolt, but the middle managers will make sure the long-term effects are minimal. All Gorthor needs to do is keep his middle-management well-fed, and his rule is secure.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ Are you suggesting... a working bureaucracy ?! Not bad. $\endgroup$ – MakorDal Oct 3 '16 at 8:07
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Bureaucracy works for one thing, and one thing only: inertia. It adds tremendous inertia to any system, which is why long-lived governments can be so; even long after the point of death, bureaucracy keeps moving, spinning the cogs and swinging the pendulum. $\endgroup$ – ArmanX Oct 3 '16 at 16:55
2
$\begingroup$

Because he is all powerful. Consider this: he controls reality. If he controls electricity, he can literally control the thoughts and nerve-firings in someone brain. Thus, he can prevent any thoughts of rebellion from even popping into someone's head. Also, if he only had control of water, because a human is ~70% water, he could literally make his opponents pop like balloons (sorry for the graphic image). In short: history has never faced such absolute power. There is quite literally nothing anyone can do about it.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ One aspect of water control I had forgotten about. As for electricity, it opens up quite a lot of power to fire mages. Thanks for both. $\endgroup$ – MakorDal Jan 28 '16 at 5:53

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.