I've read a number of fantasy settings and almost all of them have the same formula: something happens in the beginning, nothing happens for a very long time and then change appears and it's time for heroes to return the realm to peace, prosperity, and autocratic dictatorship. Is that the best thing? Probably not. It's probably better to let the bad guys win, let chaos fill the void, and change happen. But then we don't have Joseph Campbell visions of heroism!
I'm musing here how to build a society like that and settled on using 16th century Neo-Confucianism more or less as a model. The Ming overreaction to foisting off their Mongol conquerors was so strong they moved to xenophobia (with the Ch'ing making this 10,000x worse). But they had good methods for establishing stagnation -- professional bureaucracy, ancestor worship, prescribed books approved by the Emperor, etc. This is how North Korea is structured today. And interestingly enough, the Neo-Confucian model fits almost all generic fantasy settings!
I tweaked the timelines by allowing the Dynasts to be hyper-conservative Elves but even with Elves, decay sets in around the third generation of inheritance. Essentially this is a society ruled by Elves in the Elven vision of timelessness and control.
And I'm fascinated how the only thing that can ever save the world is the ancient weapon left by the ancients and never the new things made by, say, physics.
I originally thought about the conquerors who come along more like the Mongols. In my mind, Dwarves, like Mongols, are the exception.
Anyway, fun stuff. #gaming #dungeonsanddragons