The Government Types are meant to fit within an adventure and do not reflect every conceivable type of government that is in use. These charts allow a Dungeon Master to randomly select a government.
There are 3 basic types of government; individual control, collective control and NO control. Some governments can fall into two different types. For example, a monarchy can be considered as a individual controlling the goals of the populace and at the same time use a collective set of allies to exert control. The latter forces the monarch to relinquish some power.
Anarchy is the most difficult to use because the Dungeon Master should create some type of system with 3 or more entities that are vying for power within their city. Thus, the DM will need to spend a lot of time creating this fragmented form of government.
- More than One Government
- Government Complexity
- Common Government
- Aristocracy Types
- Uncommon Governments
- Rare Governments
- Unusual Governments
- Definition of Governments
More than One Government Type (d100)
- 01-95 Only One Government type in town
- 96-00 Two Government types in town (roll twice on Government Complexity Chart below)
Government Complexity (d100)
- 01-75 Role on Common Government Chart
- 76-90 Role on Uncommon Government Chart
- 91-98 Role on Rare Government Chart
- 99-00 Role on Unusual Government Chart or create something weird!
Common Government (d100)
- 01-22 Aristocracy (check on Aristocracy Type chart for the specific type)
- 23-31 Autocracy
- 32-47 Oligarchy
- 48-68 Monarchy
- 69-75 Democracy
- 76-82 Theocracy
- 83-00 Anarchy
Aristocracy Type (d100)
- 01-30 Geniocracy
- 31-55 Kratocracy
- 56-75 Meritocracy
- 76-87 Timocracy
- 88-00 Technocracy
Uncommon Government (d100)
- 01-32 Kleptocracy
- 33-55 Plutocracy
- 56-75 Feudalism
- 76-00 Despotism
Rare Government (d100)
- 01-21 Banana Republic
- 22-42 Ochlocracy
- 43-55 Demarchy
- 56-74 Anocracy
- 75-00 Magocracy
(no roll needed if you rolled a 99 or 00 on the Government Complexity Chart.)
- 01-00 Uniocracy
Definition of Governments
- Aristocracy (common) – Rule by elite citizens. Rule by people of ‘Noble birth’. Monarchy is an aristocracy as well, but not included in this breakdown, due to the table design. Monarchy is a very common occurrence compared to these specialized aristocracies and is given its own weight on the randomized table.
- Geniocracy (common)– Rule by the intelligent; a system of governance where creativity, innovation, intelligence and wisdom are required and used to enforce law.
- Kratocracy (common)– Rule by the strong; a system of governance where those who are strong enough seize power through physical force, social maneuvering or political cunning.
- Meritocracy (common)– Rule by the meritorious; a system of governance where groups are selected on the basis of people’s ability, knowledge in a given area, and contributions to society
- Timocracy (common)– Rule by honor; a system of governance ruled by honorable citizens and property owners. (Or power given to people named Tim!)
- Technocracy (common)– Rule by the educated or technical experts; a system of governance where people who are skilled or proficient govern by using their respective areas of expertise in technology.
- Autocracy (common) – Rule by one individual, whose decisions are subject to neither external legal restraints nor regular mechanisms of popular control.
- Oligarchy (common) – Rule by a small group of people who share similar interests or family relations.
- Monarchy (common) – Rule by royalty; a system of governance where an individual who has inherited the role and expects to bequeath it to their heir
- Theocracy (common) – Rule by the religious elite; a system of governance composed of religious institutions in which the state and the church are traditionally and/or constitutionally the same entity. Citizens who are clergy have the right to govern.
- Anarchy (common) – Rule by no one; the term “anarchy” is used to refer to a society without a publicly enforced government or has a violently enforced political authority.
- Kleptocracy (uncommon) – Rule by thieves; a system of governance where officials and the ruling class pursue personal wealth and political power at the expense of the wider population.
- Plutocracy (uncommon) – Rule by the rich; a system of governance composed of the wealthy class.
- Feudalism (uncommon) – Rule by delegation of authority; A system of land ownership and duties. Under feudalism, all the land in a kingdom was the king’s. However, the king would give some of the land to the lords or nobles who fought for him. These “presents” of land were called manors. Nobles gave some of their land to vassals. The vassals then had to do duties for the nobles. The lands of vassals were called fiefs.
- Despotism (uncommon) – Rule by a single entity with absolute power.
- Banana Republic(rare) – A banana republic is a politically unstable kleptocratic government that economically depends upon the exports of a limited resource (fruits, minerals), and usually features a society composed of stratified social classes. A great, impoverished ergatocracy (government by the working class) and a ruling plutocracy.
- Ochlocracy (rare) – Rule by the general populace; a system of governance where government is controlled by mob or a mass of people, or the intimidation of legitimate authorities.
- Demarchy (rare)– a variant of democracy; government in which the state is governed by randomly selected decision makers (juries) who have been selected by lot from a broadly inclusive pool of eligible citizens.
- Anocracy (rare) – Rule by power where power is not vested in public institutions (as in a normal democracy) but spread amongst elite groups. Similar in scope to a Plutocracy.
- Magocracy (rare) – Rule by a government with the lead authority being either a magician, sage, sorcerer, wizard or witch. An organization of political power that uses magic to govern the populace. This government can contain multiple branches (similar to Dragonlance novels – black robed, white robed and red robed).
- Uniocracy (unusual) – Ruled by one over an entire populace. Think of the Borg on Star Trek or a Queen Bee in a beehive. Both have every citizen responding to calls for action. This type of government has almost no response to outside persuasion unless the ‘leader’ is challenged. If the leader is challenged, the entire populace will behave in a way to protect the leader and follow the leader’s instructions.
Government Officials are individuals that are recognized to be in command of the populace. This doesn’t mean that Government Officials can’t be challenged.
Some Government Officials are recognized by the city as the elected authority in charge of decisions that affect the populace, infrastructure and defenses. Otherwise, if the Government Officials are NOT elected by the population, they may have acquired their power through underhanded means, been elected by their station (like a monarchy), or acquired their power in society by force.
No matter which government is in power, a good Dungeon Master will create a backbone of government to add complexity and ideals that will help focus the player’s attention and keep them engaged.
There are multiple positions of power associated with each government. Descriptions are listed to give the Dungeon Master a framework;
- Mayor – an elected city official. A mayor is usually an individual that is focused on preventing crime, protecting their constituency, protecting property and enabling growth of the city. This person is usually lawful or neutral in alignment and is never evil. Associated with Aristocracy, Monarchy, Plutocracy, Magocracy
- Regent – an assigned official that oversees a kingdom. This official is often seen as a villain within movies. However, the Dungeon Master should determine the regent’s alignment. A regent should never be chaotic but would be best played as a lawful character that could be good, neutral or evil.
- Counselor – an elected city official. A participant to a governing body that is focused on governing through a group of peers. Associated with Oligarchy, Theocracy, Kleptocracy, Plutocracy, Banana Republic, Demarchy
- Treasurer/Tax Collector – an elected city official. The treasurer is an individual focused on maintaining records related to the city and the government as a whole. This person is usually lawful or neutral in alignment and is never chaotic. This person can be evil on rare occasion.