Here it is, a rare late night, weekend post. It doesn’t happen very often, but I’ve found myself with time this evening to write and stumbled on something that really tickled my fancy. As many of you may know, I enjoy hanging out on Reddit, particularly in the RPG sub-reddit /r/rpg. If you have not been there, I’d highly suggest dropping by. It’s a great community.
As you also probably know, I’m hard at work on my latest project, Encounters ~ Plots ~ Places. This post is relevant!
As I was commuting home this evening, I was struck by a funny thought. Wouldn’t a nation state modeled (very) roughly after Reddit be kind of interesting? How would that play out? Would it work in a game setting? Can I do it in a page and half or less? I’ve posted what I’ve written (it’s a draft right now) on Reddit, and I’ll post it here for your perusal. If yo u have any comments, and I hope you do, I’d encourage you to make your voice heard in the Reddit thread. Unless it’s entirely shot down or ruled far to silly to work, I plan on including this in Encounters ~ Plots ~ Places.
A curious, small nation amidst a cluster of larger kingdoms, Redd’optalis is a unique society with a unique form of government. They have no immigration laws, allowing anyone to take up residence. Even so called evil races are not prohibited.
Redd’optalis has a government based primarily on ad-hoc committee. Whoever is available in one of the many small to medium sized cities which dot the country may vote on an issue submitted by another resident. All residents are allowed to submit any issue they see fit, provided they do so in writing and place it in a publically viewable space, on a sheet of vellum. Often these issues are commented on by citizens scrawling their own remarks on the vellum sheets.
The public then has the ability to vote on each proposal as individuals. Votes are tallied as they are made by shifting the written issues up or down one inch per citizen. Interesting and important issues often rise quickly while controversial issues may never rise above the six foot starting mark.
In all villages larger than a group of a few huts in Redd’optalis, special poles are erected, often rising to hights of 30 feet or more. The larger the settlement, the wider around this voting poll is. Large cities may have several spanning more than 40 feet in circumference.
Specially elected or appointed citizens, often claiming some distant familial relationship to the founding clans of the settlement, are put in charge of monitoring the voting poles and ensuring that only issues pertaining to their settlements are posted. They have power, only somewhat limited to remove issues.
Issues which make it to the top of their voting polls are then sent off to the capital city of Redd, where many citizens can vote and have their say.
The issues which are voted highest are often the talk of the whole country for some time, and can be enacted as laws, if that is what they are meant to be.
Redd’optalis has no standing military or police force, but its citizens are devoted to their nation and are willing to take up arms as a decentralized militia at nearly a moment’s notice. They have successfully defended themselves from several attacks without and many smaller uprisings within, particularly early on in the nation’s history.
Redd’optalis has managed to balance itself politically as a mostly neutral country. Its decentralized nature makes it very hard to conquer; meaning most of its larger neighbors have deemed it too costly an effort. Thus it has become something of a neutral ground, where members of other nation states may come for short periods to work out their differences.
For its citizens, the decentralized nature and the ability to call attention to the plight of an individual through posting an issue on a voting pole means that there is a great deal of individual freedom, coupled with disparate communities coming together to help those in dire need.
Criminal elements can be tolerated, but if they become too much of an issue, they are often unmasked before every through posting an issue and driven out of the country.
Artwork copyright William McAusland, used with permission.