The most common forms of government in the Egron are feudal monarchies, found in the Human Kingdoms, Elven Enclaves, and Dwarven Holds and more isolated lands, and plutocratic monarchies, common among city-states and realms dominated by trade. In either case, a hereditary lord, king, monarch, or potentate holds the power to make laws, dispense justice, and manage foreign affairs. The monarch’s power is checked to a greater or lesser degree by the powerful feudal lords or wealthy merchant princes who owe him allegiance.
Since the nobles or great merchants are ruled only by their own consent, many city-states and kingdoms are realms of weak central authority, and strongly independent nobility. A monarch who pushes a willful noble too far might drive that noble to open revolt – and in many cases the noble’s strength-of-war is nearly the match of the overlord’s, so quelling a rebellious province is hardly an easy undertaking. Worse yet, a monarch may be forced to solicit the support (or at least neutrality) of other nobles of the realm as he goes about suppressing one of their peers. This support usually comes at a price, further eroding royal authority.
Civil warfare in the mercantile city-states of The Heart is rare, but the lords and princes who rule these small realms must contend with merchant-nobles every bit as willful and haughty as a feudal lord in his castle. In the walls of a city-state, a wealthy noble thinks carefully before defying the ruler, since he lacks the safety of miles of roads and empty lands between his demesne and his ruler’s army. Powerful lords deal with overmasters they don’t like through palace coups, feuds, and assassinations.