Settings: In a Fantasy setup, different factions face up for the control of the subterranean territories they live in. One of the 4 factions is the Government (Human race not including the tribal people) and is basically a medieval society almost achieving steam engine level of technology. The Government is led by the Elite 4 composed of 4 representatives of each class (Inquisitors, Scholars, Workers, Soldiers).

The way I would want the Elite 4 to be chosen is simple: Whoever in each class has the most points. One gets 1 point for each citizen voting for you and accomplishing small or great deeds will award a certain number of points (a scholar making a breakthrough in science, a soldier surviving many battles, an inquisitor proving many people to be heretics...)

To avoid everyone voting for himself, say we implement a minimum point threshold to enter the elections.

If enough people vote against a class leader, no matter his point score, he will be dismissed and the next in score will take his place.

The technology level is close to steam engine, but there are remains of the surfacean's technology that they think of as magic (Nanotechnology that is voice controlled. Not anyone can wield them and only a few fist-sized orbs of nanomachines have been discovered).

Now my problem!

We cannot really expect a book to just contain any single possible deed and its point value

=> The book would soon be outdated by the scholar scientific advances

=> New threats could rise and their defeat reward for soldiers wouldn't be recorded in the book

Very specific situations could rise and just following the book wouldn't be enough.

so how can I describe this system? What means could I use to evaluate any deeds achieved in order to keep the Elite 4 a "fair" meritocracy?

Feel free to ask more questions (about the other factions or the setting or how the "magic" works).

By "Medieval" I meant a society where religion still has a strong political power.

Farmers work the field for a lord (Veteran soldier or Inquisitor. Scholars are fed by the tax on the lords' harvests to the Curatorium) or in the machine rooms/labs for the scholars.

Edit: Separatrix exposed a big flaw in this setting. I'll try to reformulate my story in a new question. Thanks to everyone who helped on this matter.

  • $\begingroup$ Could you reformulate/explain the question perhaps? Why can't you write down what gets awarded with how many points? There are some really boring books out there with thousands of pages containing nothing but tables of data. And even if you think this is debatable, why don't you just have a jury? Do you expect the nanotechnology stuff to have any impact on an answer? $\endgroup$
    – Raditz_35
    Commented Jul 12, 2017 at 10:39
  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to WorldBuilding! Interesting question. If you have a moment please take the tour and visit the help center to learn more about the site. Have fun! $\endgroup$
    – Secespitus
    Commented Jul 12, 2017 at 10:44
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ "Medieval" and "meritocracy" don't belong in the same society. "Government" and "medieval" don't belong in the same society. The very essence of a medieval society is that everybody is someone's man, from the king down: the links are from person to person, not from persons to institutions. There is no such thing as a "government" the way we know it: the tenant governs his farm, his lord governs his lands, his lord's lord governs his lands and the king governs basically only high justice and the mint, in addition to what lands he may possess personally. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Commented Jul 12, 2017 at 11:57
  • $\begingroup$ @AlexP I am going to clarify as what I meant for "Medieval". Government is just the name of the faction. In no way is it what we know as a government. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 12, 2017 at 12:36
  • $\begingroup$ Any system of government has massive flaws, often related to who approaches the game with most resources. Whether or not you think that invalidates the system is another matter, but it's very hard to be "fair" when playing power games. $\endgroup$
    – Separatrix
    Commented Jul 12, 2017 at 13:49

1 Answer 1


You're going to trigger a cultural problem, that of the importance of being seen to do over actually doing.

Let's consider two people

  • One is a young man of no great resource, he helps little old ladies across the road, works in a soup kitchen during his holidays and helps his elderly neighbours with chores they can't handle any more. There's no question that he's a good chap at heart and does what he can to make the world a better place. It's mostly invisible work for invisible people though, nobody (important) knows he does it and it's not going to be recorded in the great book of deeds.

  • The other is a wealthy self publicist. He doesn't move without a media circus and wouldn't give a penny to a beggar without at least a dozen people standing round to see him do it. His good deeds might be minor and of no consequence to his available resources but he uses those resources to make sure they're seen and recorded.

The second man here is going to have a lot more base points against his name before standing in the election. It's a standard case of paying the piper for the tune and your system is going to be very vulnerable to it.

There's a second factor between these two candidates, that of available resources.

  • The first gives most of his free time to do small things directly for the people in immediate need, his resources are small, his effect is small, but that effect is disproportionately large relative to those resources.
  • The second has vast resources, he could give millions to charity, without discomforting himself in any way, and help vast numbers of people, but that effect is disproportionately small relative to his resources, he is capable of so much more.

This means they must be judged subjectively based on their capacity for great deeds, not just on their actions.

Batman is a greater hero than Superman, because Batman puts his life on the line every time he goes out. Superman for the same actions, would not be in personal danger.

To gain equivalent credit under a fair system, the person with greater resources or greater ability must achieve proportionately greater effect.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .