Politics and other stuff in the Kingdom of Stormwind

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Politics and other stuff in the Kingdom of Stormwind

Post by Wrylas on Tue Jan 06, 2015 3:43 pm

Although as much of this as possible is based in lore, there may be some inconsistencies or inaccuracies, and it is not a complete guide either and I don’t claim it to be official! These are guidelines so treat them as such. Please ask if anything needs clarification or you want to see a source, I hope it excites you as much as it excites me!


Politics in the Kingdom of Stormwind
Due to the lack of clarity about politics in lore, it can be difficult to determine who holds the power, and when your role-play takes you into politics, it can be tempting just to make it up. Even if you don’t role-play like this, your character ought to know these things. Using sources from in the game and the lore, as well as interpretation and a little speculation (marked with *), I’ve put together an analysis of the political structure of the Kingdom, as well as some extra stuff that could be useful to know. 

Overview

The Kingdom of Stormwind (or Kingdom of Azeroth) operates as an absolute monarchy using the semi-feudal system, where sovereignty (the right to rule) lies within the monarch, who is head-of-state, but where the monarch’s power is reliant on support from their subjects and vassals (Nobles). In a feudal system, the monarch rewards his vassals fiefs (land) in return for their support. This way, the vassals govern their land on behalf of the monarch who could not realistically rule all by himself. In the Kingdom of Stormwind, King Varian Wrynn invests land and power in the House of Nobles, who rule the provinces of the Kingdom of his behalf. In theory, it is the King who has all the power, but in practice power is spread amongst the Nobles. Unlike a true feudal system, there are no real serfs or peasants and no-one is tied to the land involuntarily. Rather than this, citizens of the realm can move and work freely.


The House of Nobles

The House of Nobles is made up of noble houses from across the Kingdom, and is currently headed by House Wrynn, whose head of house (Varian Wrynn) is the monarch. The House of Nobles are the government, as they are able to lobby for legislation (laws and policies) and command political power on behalf of the monarchy. Their influence is overbearing and they are able to over-rule decisions made by democratically elected officials. Seats within the House are hereditary, meaning generations of the same noble house can wield power within it. Not every noble house has a seat, and some families marry into the House of Nobles, as did the Ellerian family by arranging the marriage of Tiffin Ellerian and Varian Wrynn.   Unlike in a true feudal system, the Nobles do not command levies (their own soldiers) and the Kingdom of Stormwind has its own standing army, where the chain of command is mostly separate from civilian politics. A male Noble is a Lord, and a female Noble is Baroness. Sir or Dame are not titles given to Nobles, and a Lady is a title to the wife of a Sir.


Provincial councils

Despite being an absolute monarchy, the Kingdom of Stormwind also shows traits of local representative democracy. Although Nobles own the land, they further devolve political power as many of the provinces in the Kingdom of Stormwind have councils. In the Redridge Mountains, Magistrate Solomon is the elected ruler of the province and he heads a council. He is responsible for the day-to-day ruling of the province. However in Duskwood, Lord Ello Ebonlocke is the ruler of the province, and is presumably not democratically appointed due to his title. He does however lead a council. This would suggest some nobles are inclined to be more democratic while others are more authoritarian in governing their people.


Township councils


Below the provincial councils are town councils, headed by Mayors. There are many instances of mayors in the Kingdom of Stormwind, but the only existing example of a town council is The Pyrewood Council. It presides over Pyrewood Village, which was formerly part of the Kingdom of Gilneas, but it must be assumed that the two Kingdoms have a similar political structure. The council was made up of councillors who presumably where picked by the townspeople. 



Where does our council fit in?*
There is a council run by players in Stormwind City, and it commands authority over the player organisations, particularly guards, within the city. Following my analysis, it mostly likely fits in as a provincial council. While Stormwind is a township within Elwynn, and should be underneath the provincial council in Elwynn Forest, due to Stormwind’s size and self-dependency as an economy I class it as a separate province. Therefore the head of the player-run council may wish to assume the title of Magistrate.


The military and politics*

It is fair to say that, given the great esteem placed on the military and the military’s role in law enforcement and security within the Kingdom of Stormwind, the Kingdom is very militaristic. The Kingdom of Stormwind has its own standing army, where the chain of command is mostly separate from civilian politics. But in some cases, political power within the Kingdom corresponds to military power. In Elwynn Forest, Marshal Dughan is the elected leader of the province. While democratically elected, he also commands the forces of the Stormwind Army within the province, which could have influenced his appointment. In Westfall, there is no civilian council or government and the province is effectively under martial rule, with power being held by the military. Marshal Gryan Stoutmantle is the de-facto leader of the province as he commands the Westfall Brigade. King Varian Wrynn is also commander-in-chief and takes a big role in Alliance military conquests, having landed with his men in Pandaria during the settling of Lion’s Landing. The titles Sir and Dame exist within the Kingdom and are almost always held by someone of military capacity and the titles also imply these people have some form of political power.


Law and order


Formal courts of law do not exist within the Kingdom of Stormwind, instead justice is meted out by the council within whose jurisdiction the crimes were committed. In these de-facto courts, the councillors form the jury and the head of the council becomes the judge, deciding the sentence. In the quest Crime and Punishment, The Darkshire Council rules Dextren Ward as guilty and Lord Ebonlocke sentences him to beheading. However the House of Nobles, and individual Nobles have the power to overrule and interfere with matters of law and order. Targorr the Dread’s execution was put on hold by an unnamed Noble and the House also interfered in the case of Dextren Ward, stealing him away to the Stockades before his execution. Guards have lots of autonomy when it comes to justice, and they quite easily capture and punish criminals without having to take their case before a council, with the exception of complicated or serious crimes. Arrest and search warrants do not exist and the word of a council or Noble will do as justification. Corporal and capital punishment is widespread, with gallows and stocks commonplace across the Kingdom. All this suggests the Kingdom comes down hard on those who step out of line.    


Civil rights and nationhood*

There is no evidence of a constitution or bill of rights in the Kingdom of Stormwind. However there are principles that the Kingdom adheres to and shares with its Alliance allies. These principles such as justice and honour are vague, but they suggest the Kingdom is a strong and unified society. The majority of citizens respect these principles and do not violate them. The average Stormwind citizen may have no formal rights, but there is a much more powerful force protecting them: nationhood. The Kingdom has gone through such anguish and suffering that it’s people, peasants and nobles, share a deep respect for one another and can indentify strongly with the nation of Stormwind. This way, the peasant doesn’t need to fear the tyranny of the nobleman because he knows the nobleman feels as strongly about Stormwind as he does. It is this patriotism that glues the Kingdom together. Occasionally, the sense of nationhood can be lost on some, especially those who are privileged, and lack of formal rights can mean exploitation does occur. The House of Nobles contracted the Stonemason’s Guild to rebuild Stormwind City after the Second War, but once they had finished the nobles refused to pay them, leading to the formation of the Defias Brotherhood.


Ownership and property*

There are many different forms of land tenure in real-life law, but observations in the lore suggest The Kingdom operates loosely on a feudal land tenure system, meaning all land is ultimately owned by the Crown and other owners are simply tenants and sub-tenants. In return for the land, Nobles may pay fees and pledge support to the Crown, which they collect from the citizens they allow to live on their land. Most land in the Kingdom is held by a Noble, who can then lease it out to citizens on a variety of conditions. A farming family may be allowed to hold the land if a portion of their produce is given to the Noble and a tavern keeper may be allowed to keep his tavern if a portion of his earnings go to the Noble. With housing, especially in the city, it could simply be done on a rental basis, where the Noble collects a fee at regular intervals for use of the house or apartment. Since not even nobles truly own their land, it is impossible for someone of common birth to also own land, but a citizen could technically lease out the land he leases from a Noble to somebody else.


Last edited by Wrylas on Thu Jan 08, 2015 1:41 pm; edited 2 times in total

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Re: Politics and other stuff in the Kingdom of Stormwind

Post by Amaryl on Wed Jan 07, 2015 1:40 am

Honestly the random bold-faced is really annoying to read.

That said, where do you get that the magistrates are elected, let alone that marshal dughan is also elected?

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Re: Politics and other stuff in the Kingdom of Stormwind

Post by siegmund on Wed Jan 07, 2015 2:35 am

Lots of text, I always prefer to to keep it simple in my head.

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Re: Politics and other stuff in the Kingdom of Stormwind

Post by Wrylas on Wed Jan 07, 2015 3:57 am

In the town hall in Lakeshire, some of the citizens complaining to him say "you can forget about the re-election, magistrate". Also he and Marshal Dughan are both said to be elected in Lands of Confict (although RPG lore is non-canon, I consider it true if there is pre-existing lore about the topic in-game). 

There is a lot of text because it is not that simple, and I've tried to explain the ideas too. The bold text was in fact intended to make it easier to read, as it highlights key points.

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Re: Politics and other stuff in the Kingdom of Stormwind

Post by Amaryl on Wed Jan 07, 2015 4:15 am

Yeah but its too much bold, and the bolded sections are too long, making it slightly schizophrenic to read Sad

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Re: Politics and other stuff in the Kingdom of Stormwind

Post by Lexgrad on Wed Jan 07, 2015 11:38 am

SW isnt feudal at all tho.

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Re: Politics and other stuff in the Kingdom of Stormwind

Post by Wrylas on Thu Jan 08, 2015 1:40 pm

Sorry for the late reply - I'll change that bold text then if it's difficult.

The Kingdom of Stormwind is semi-feudal, there is an aristocracy in the form of nobles who govern on behalf of the King and hold land (or fiefs) which must have been granted to them to the monarchy in return for support. The similarities end here - there is no manorialism or serfdom - hence why I said semi-feudal.

If you mean Stormwind City, House Wrynn rules it and it's the King's own fief, but it could also be true that numerous Nobles own land in Stormwind - so far it sounds feudal. It's also the heart of the Alliance, and the one true globalised city in the Eastern Kingdoms with great economic and cultural importance. Because of this it is almost it's own province, and may have a more liberal atmosphere and like most other provinces and towns it could have a council. So you might be right, it isn't like the rest of the Kingdom.

I draw on sources from lore and in-game to try and give the most truthful picture, but everything is open to interpretation as Blizzard rarely discuss politics in-game. You can disagree with the analysis by all means, but I will try and justify my points.

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Re: Politics and other stuff in the Kingdom of Stormwind

Post by Lexgrad on Fri Jan 09, 2015 2:43 pm

Well nobles dont mean Feudal, as you say you need land ect.  A feudal system the king does something that he dont really want to do which is to delegate power.  They do this as they dont have the control or the technology/institutions to operate the country.  It is also as their armies are recruited from the peasentry, with some professionals and retinues, professional Armies are very difficult to run you see.  Without feudalism a nation is vunerable to outside forces.

Now SW clearly has a Proifessional Army, a huge one compared to the size of the kingdom.  I dont see SW soldiers belonging to the retinue of lords or such like.  They wear SW colours and the leaders seem to belong to the state, not their own authority.  There is a house of lords, or was in SW.  There is one in the UK too dont make us Feudal.  

SW is one kingdom under the crown and crown officials.  There is nothing I can see in the game to suggest it is feudal.

I draw on sources from lore and in-game to try and give the most truthful picture, but everything is open to interpretation as Blizzard rarely discuss politics in-game. You can disagree with the analysis by all means, but I will try and justify my points.

Smile I like that and love to debate lore. Very Happy

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Re: Politics and other stuff in the Kingdom of Stormwind

Post by Mallucis on Sat Mar 28, 2015 11:42 am

Wrylas, I'd like to thank you for this summary and I don't mind it's long. This problem is complex and hard to settle from potential scraps we get from questing. Maybe, through discussion, those pieces will be brought together.

Lexgrad, maybe the very Kingdom of Stormwind is not feudal (it's too small). But the Alliance seems to be that.

And, Wrylas, are you certain that Kingdom of Stormwind equals Kindgom of Azeroth? Is Varian superior to the Council of Three Hammers, Warchief of the Horde, "Darnasian communism," Magocracy of Dalaran, et. al.?

I myself have recently tried to solve how all this works, when I realised, that becoming a knight is not just about a fancy title, but should be connected with the responsibility of owning a land or venue. But who decides about that, who rules what land on Azeroth? Has anyone at any point tried to set the list of landlords? As Drustai recently replied (in Finding threads): "None were ever created as the Council by and large should not have any involvement with this. This kind of thing is dictated by noble houses, of which the Council should not be an arbitrator of." But we all know, that it works this way; however, it was never introduced to DB roleplay.

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Re: Politics and other stuff in the Kingdom of Stormwind

Post by Drustai on Sat Mar 28, 2015 12:14 pm

Mallucis wrote:Lexgrad, maybe the very Kingdom of Stormwind is not feudal (it's too small).

It's only small in-game. Canonically, it's large enough to be a feudal society, with the House of Wrynn being the reigning noble house.

And, Wrylas, are you certain that Kingdom of Stormwind equals Kindgom of Azeroth? Is Varian superior to the Council of Three Hammers, Warchief of the Horde, "Darnasian communism," Magocracy of Dalaran, et. al.?

It should be noted that Azeroth has only very recently come to refer to the entire world. Originally, Azeroth was just the name of the Kingdom of Stormwind. The seven kingdoms were Azeroth (Stormwind), Lordaeron, Kul'tiras, Gilneas, Stromguard, Alterac, Dalaran.

With the launch of WoW, the devs decided to expand the Azeroth term to refer to the entire world, and changed the Kingdom of Azeroth into the Kingdom of Stormwind.

But who decides about that, who rules what land on Azeroth? Has anyone at any point tried to set the list of landlords?

The closest we've had for player nobles is this thread:

http://www.defiasrp.com/t4251-registry-of-noble-houses#109876

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Re: Politics and other stuff in the Kingdom of Stormwind

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