Well, I had my first ‘Ethics of Wealth and Poverty’ class today, which was actually really good. One of the cool things is that we have to put together a project for one of the grades in the class, and I got permission to write a short story dealing the the comparison of the redistribution of wealth with the redistribution of opportunity (something I’ve written about here before). So, needless to say, I’m excited about this, and I thought it might be a good idea to use some of my posts to 1) plan out parts of my world and story, and 2) show all of you some of the techniques I use when planning something. So, first things first, this story is going to be between 2000 and 2500 words (I have to be able to present it within fifteen minutes). I’m going to set it in the world of Kalagrosh (again, I’ve written about this before), in the nation of Mathal. I’d been planning on making Merethal a mercantile nation anyway, and now I’m leaning towards making it a mercantile oligarchy. The Mediere are a small group of powerful merchant families that rule the nation, but the term ‘Mediere’ can be equally used either of the ruling body or, more generally, of the upper class (which is entirely made up of merchants and is based on wealth, not power, honor, etc).
Mathal sits on a large lake (I haven’t named it yet… perhaps Kath, or Suina… or Krana… not sure) that serves as a border between the nations of Merethal, Azan, and Fa’ar. the cities of Sa’a (in Fa’ar) and Hazim (in Azan). Fa’ar is a beneficent theocracy ruled by a powerful priest-king, however the fact that it is bordered by the Eight Cities of Hag (…not friendly people), the Mountains of Mourning (in which exist the Twilight Gates to Ezgarl… really not a nice place), and by wildlands, Fa’ar is also a heavily militarized society. Azan is a place that I need to work on more, hoever, much of Azan has recently been conquered by the nation of Agnasci, and so it is a nation in flux with a large number of refugees and needy individuals.
Merethal is a nation that has only two real classes: the merchants (who are extremely wealthy and powerful), and everyone else. Poverty is rampant in the nation, and there is little opportunity for those who aren’t in a favored group. The Mediere does provide certain positions, but there is a large population of extreme poor who are have no real opportunity to improve themselves. The Mediere do have many charity projects, but these generally give limited amounts of money and property (food, etc) to the poor, rather than creating opportunities for them to improve themselves.
Further, the city of Mathal is inundated with two further issues: 1) refugees fleeing the warfare in Azan, and aid (in the form of food, clothing, etc) from Fa’ar. Again, most of this aid is in the form of gifts, not in the form of opportunities, and many people of Fa’ar consider the poor of Merethal and Azan to be ‘beneath them’ or ‘unclean’. So, here’s a little data on the city of Mathal:
Population: 35,000 (mostly human)
Mediere: under 500
Highly Ranked Servants: around 1000
Craftsmen, Laborers, Farmers (etc): around 15000
Refugees: around 7000
Poor: Everyone else
Primary Exports: Fish, Flax
Primary Imports: Food, Basic Building Material (i.e. wood, stone, etc), Clothing
Ok, that’s what I’ve got thus far off the top of my head. If anyone has ideas, I’m open to them :).