War, Law & Money for Fantasy Fiction

When worldbuilding, pick exotic and exciting ways of creating new planets and societies. Political issues can be anything your people want to stand for. Never rely on the clichés.

When world building, polemology is a good conflict topic. Polemology is the study of war, defence and diplomacy. Decide what towns or countries are allies, neutral or enemies. This can change through time. Research world history you enjoy for inspiration.

•         Regular - These are organised military vocations. They need good pay, or may rebel.
•         Conscription - Countries can call citizens to fight in urgent times.
•         Mercenary - Hired hands help armies in exchange for cash, land or titles.
•         Gang Warfare - Crime syndicates can be organised by business tycoons. This includes pirates and the Mafia.
•         All - Every citizen is part of an army, or fights alone.
•         None - Is an army needed if there is world peace?

•         Sex - 1/2 - Some cultures don’t allow female fighters. Women fight in modern warfare, but through much of history they didn’t. Fantasy can reverse this trend.
•         Age - 1/4 - Youngsters and pensioners don’t fight but can.
•         Health - 1/10 - Part of the population is likely to be unfit through illness.
•         Cowards - 1/100 - The rich may escape service by donating or running away.
•         Other - Certain races or any other discriminatory factor may get preferential or detrimental treatment.

If the above applies, only 20 to 33% will be fight worthy. You can force villages to give up 1/5 to 1/3 for the good cause, but of course you can allow all sexes and ages to fight.

•         Army Total - On earth, we have seen everything from about 100,000 to 10,000,000 per unit.
•         World Total - If you have the largest planet possible for humans, then imagine a twelve billion-soldier war! Two of those worlds would be immense!

10 Military Tactics
This lists tactics, lifted from the ‘Art of War’. I have added parts, but retained their essence. They are the essentials for successful warfare.

1.   Knowledge - Spies can gather intelligence on enemies. Scouts can obtain information about the terrain.
2.   Evaluation - Leaders must excel at predicting chances of winning battles. Weighing up the cost of human life is the key component of morality.
3.   Avoidance - Fewer battles fought leads to better morale, which cause less injury.
4.   Technology - The military needs to stay ahead of the enemy, and be aware of how to stop their technology.
5.   Health - Armies needs good medics and medicine.
6.   Professionalism - A trained army is the only way to success. Make them not fear death, but fear shame.
7.   Movement - Quick and easy movement is essential.
8.   Deception - Bait and lure enemies to traps.
9.                Stability - Strength requires balance between defence and attack.
10.                Morale - You can boost spirits with... spirits, beer and fun. Use religion to call in favours from gods.

Think about how people fight in close quarters. This is important when writing. You cannot deliver blow-by-blow accounts, like movies. Writers can use fight scenes to explore character emotions. Note, big swords and duel weapon wielding may look flashy, but the weight causes fatigue to the user, as well as being sluggish. 

Weaponry & Armour
The main types of weapons and armour encountered are the following. I have paired them to show their historical rise but you needn’t follow my matches.

During humanities rise, the weapons developed have become better at their main purpose, killing. We have gone from humble roots, using ourselves as weapons in fights, to inventing weapons causing instant death, with no skill, like guns.

Armour materials have changed lots throughout history. They have become lighter, flexible and more resilient.

•         None/Magic
•         Martial Arts vs. Wood
•         Pike vs. Bronze
•         Arrow vs. Iron
•         Sword vs. Chain
•         Gun vs. Kevlar

When creating fantasy cultures, decide their considered criminal activity, and how criminals see justice. One of the earliest examples of law was the Ten Commandments, but we moved on since biblical times.

There are thousands of things considered criminal. Here are some examples to steer you in the right direction.

1.    Abuse - Killing - Attempted, Manslaughter, Murder
2.    Abuse - Major - Sexual, Torture, Psychological
3.    Abuse - Minor - Kidnap, Libel/Slander, Verbal/Bullying
4.    Criminal - Theft - Burglary, Counterfeiting, Stealing
5.    Criminal - Damage - Property, Physical, Mental
6.    Criminal - Social - Trespass, Indecency, Noise
7.    Contraband - Weapons - Gun, Knife, Explosives
8.    Contraband - Drug - Trafficking, Dealing, Possession
9.    Contraband - Inebriation - Driving, Lewdness, Rudeness
10. Deception - Evasion - Tax, Justice, Probation
11. Deception - Breach - Bail, Driving, Curfew
12. Deception - Illegal - Immigrants, Prostitutes, Conspiracy
13. Money - Finance - Bankruptcy, Bribery, Extortion
14. Money - Gambling - Fixing, Illegal, Fraud
15. Other - Magic - Misuse, Abuse etc
16. Other - Accessory - Knowing party to any above crime

Once decided what defines crime in your world, you can assign sentences. Perhaps losing a hand for stealing is a norm in your world. Common sentences can be things like the following: -

·       Community Service - Make convicts repay their debt to society.
·       Prison - Fixed sentence or life, you decide!
·       Death - There are many brutal options including hanging, guillotine, the electric chair and lethal injection.
·       Eye for an Eye - I use this in my stories.

Money and economics are important in world building. A pauper buying a spaceflight is unbelievable, unless your cultures made it cheap. Think about how alien cultures in sci-fi would interact and trade. Focus on what they consider valuable.

There are three main types of economic system available to your fantasy cultures.

•         Self-Sufficient - Contained specialist cultures redistribute wealth and resources amongst their people.
•         State-Controlled - A central power governs all industries and businesses.
•         Market - Citizens are free to trade and make money, within the confines of law.

There are many ways to trade at different levels. Small day-to-day customers trade at markets, on-line, and in shops. On large scales, companies, and countries trade by importing goods, and exporting surplus goods. Countries and people can trade long distance across nations or globally.

Most countries have their own currency, unless an agreement is in place like the Euro. Towns could work on bartering systems, avoiding money.

There are different payment systems you could use for money. Here are some: -

Coins - Coins are normally used for smaller every day amounts.
Notes - Usually have more value than coins, but are prone to forgery.
Electronic - Pay for everything with debit and credit cards. E-coins are becoming popular too. 

The evil, shady world of banks unfortunately is a necessary one in the modern age. A bank stores a customer’s money for them. The bank then lends this money to a second customer and charges them interest for the privilege. They pay a portion of the interest to the first customer for their custom.

Pay can vary drastically dependant on your type of culture. Capitalism will mean there will be rich and poor, while socialism provides a level playing field.

Pay and price will go together. Even the poorest can afford minimal provisions. It’s supply and demand. Make lists of items found in general stores in your world. Rate how highly citizens value them. That gives them a cost to set prices.

Happy Creations!

1.         POLITICS 101
3.         TECHNO 350 Human Feats
4.         HOWTOCREATE Magic Systems
5.         HOWTOCREATE Religions
6.         HOWTOBE Psychic
7.         CULTURE for Fantasy Fiction