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I am trying to do a setting based off of Warhammer 40k, but less grim dark and more 'realistic'. In this game, a brutal theocracy rules humanity and protects it from daemon, alien, etc. There's what they call a Geneseed that comes from the settings equivalent of demigods. It is only compatible with boys and turns them into super soldiers. These special children would represent about 10% of humanity and is completely incompatible with girls.

What I was thinking was that instead of the geneseed only working with men, it would simply affect the sexes differently. Boys get the physical benefits (enhanced musculature, etc) and women get access to divine power that come from the gods These abilities would be based on ritualized magic and would be very powerful but complex and time consuming. They would take hours to activate and some may take days to prepare.

In this setting, these special individuals would rule over humanity. Men would be seen as protectors and defenders, who mould and shape it to suit the emperors vision. Women would be seen as its guiders, who have access to the gods and would be seen as sacred. They would dominate the faith and serve as keepers of religious law, as some sort of high council or supreme court.

My question is can a setting like this work as a story or is it too implausible? What pitfalls should I watch out for and avoid? What elements of it should I expand on?

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    $\begingroup$ This question is too broad. 'Can this work' is generally only a good question with a science based answer. Since you tagged this with 'magic' the answer is, of course it can work. Please re-work your question to more specifically ask HOW to make it work. $\endgroup$ – kingledion Oct 14 '16 at 15:53
  • $\begingroup$ This sounds a lot like the Greek Oracle of Delphi, who besides being a spiritual leader was also influential adviser $\endgroup$ – Kys Oct 14 '16 at 16:00
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, this could work but without more detail, the breadth of this question won't be much use. $\endgroup$ – Green Oct 14 '16 at 16:15
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, this is more or less the norm. You're just used to modern religions which have erased that part of their theology. It's nothing special at all. $\endgroup$ – Durakken Oct 14 '16 at 16:24
  • $\begingroup$ Is there anything about this question that makes gender relevant in any way? Anything in the background story that otherwise differentiates between males and females? $\endgroup$ – user10945 Oct 14 '16 at 17:21
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Of course it is possible. Perhaps it is even likely.

Your setting has divine magic for females only. Those mages/priests have more power and influence than the average member of society, right? So even if not all women become priests, the importance of female children will rise.

  • Imagine a village that could afford to "subsidize" either a (male or female) scribe/teacher or a (female) priest/teacher who can also use healing magic. The village does not have enough surplus productivity to "subsidize" both. So they will get the priest/teacher. The scribe is out of work.
  • But of course the male scribe would not be there, anyway. If parents (or society as a whole) has only limited resources for education, would they teach reading and writing to a girl child who may become a priest/mage or a boy child who definitely won't become a priest/mage? Of course they'd teach the girl. The boy can become a farmer, or apprentice to a craftsman.
  • Upper body strength suggests that close combat roles still go to males unless the magic helps with fighting. But literate priestesses might become officers. Is there any divination magic? Communications spells? That would help a battlefield commander.
  • It is an interesting question if there would be female primogeniture in noble families. If it was non-priestly magic, I'd say yes. Better to have a mage-noble in the dynasty than a noble who must hire a mage. With magic tied to the clergy, maybe not. Is a priestess taken out of the line of succession? Can she have heirs?

A couple of centuries of these trends and people would get used to females making the decisions, and males doing the hard physical work.

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I can't think of any specific examples of this, but it certainly is possible if you combine the traits of societies that did in fact exist.

For example, there are societies were the women govern society, and it is very different than our own.

One example had the following traits:

  • Women made the decisions in society and were the leaders.
  • Children lived with their mothers.
  • Children took the mother's family name, not the fathers.
  • Inheritances were passed to the daughters, not the sons.
  • Women could chose one or more mates, who usually did not live with them.
  • Men usually lived with their parents or relatives or in their own abodes, rather than with their mates.
  • Paternity was not important since the females controlled the finances and owned the property.

So there are example of societies run by women. They just are rare in modern times.

Take elements of this and combine it with a society or religion that has a priesthood and religious elements you want to incorporate.

There are so many religions that have elements you describe. Just substitute women for men.

To make such a society realistic, you would need an economy where women were in control of the finances and the religion. It is certainly plausible, and would make an interesting read.

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  • $\begingroup$ can u name such societies, to make google live easier ? $\endgroup$ – MolbOrg Oct 14 '16 at 20:22
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    $\begingroup$ @MolbOrg One that comes to mind are the Masuo people. mosuoproject.org/matri.htm There were some others, but I can't think of their names at the moment. $\endgroup$ – Scott M. Stolz Oct 15 '16 at 2:57

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