Politics and Primary Factions
The balance of power of this world does not reside in one particularly clearly defined direction. There are numerous centers of influence, which each have their own sphere of interest and quality of power.
The easiest to observe is the Dragons, which technically hold the near totality of the available territories of the world.
But, for one, the Dragons themselves are under the authority of the Council of Wyrms, which can be quite fractitious in its agendas and objectives, not to mention change direction 180 degrees within a day, all depending on who won particular arguments, often at the cost of life of others.
Secondly, the Dragons themselves rarely, if ever, have a common goal. They are by definition independent and proud, not to mention greedy and unwilling to cooperate with potential rivals.
Dragons also have an entire spectrum of interests. From military power, to a thirst for knowledge, to simple greed for material wealth, without forgetting about magical power, adding territory and natural resources and places of influence and beauty, and perhaps the more base desire to subjugate others under their will, it is not so simple to define the power of the Dragons as a simple, unified force.
Quite simply, they are a vast collection of competing interests, each equipped with millenia of time to grow in power, vast intellect and magical might, that have no compunction against murdering one another for personal gain.
So, despite the fact that Dragons own the World, it is not “The Dragons” that own “The World”.
The next most logical candidates for superpowers could be considered the Guilds, but even here, the picture gets quite messy.
The guilds, by their very design, mimic the Dragon’s tendency on fraticide. They call it competition, but do not limit themselves at simply offering better products and services for better prices.
Industrial espionage and sabotage are perfectly worthy tactics. Guilds also employ Mercenary forces for military interventions. They assassinate key members of opposing guilds, kidnap interesting workers, bribe, intimidate, manipulate, if not outright enchant people to do their bidding.
In one sense, the Guilds are more flexible than the Dragons, because of their immunity to the individual local laws. But, they only exist at the Dragon’s sufferance, and are never allowed to gather military power that could rival the Dragon’s own.
Even if the guilds do hold certain armies easily capable of toppling the forces of the youngest Dragons, the rest of the Dragons would not take kindly to this humanoid insolence, and rapidly gather against this collective enemy, crushing the guild outright.
Where the Guilds do hold sway is in matters of Economics. They hold tremendous industrial and financial power over the world, easily capable of toppling stock markets and currencies if they would so chose to do so.
But money is not everything, and the Guilds can just as easily end up taxed by the Dragons, or worse yet, by the Council of Wyrms directly.
The power of the Guilds, while undeniable, is only functional, therefore, as long as they can get the Dragons to cooperate.
And that is rarely a simple matter.
The next candidates for world power would therefore be the Fey Courts.
For starters, the Fey Courts are surprisingly cooperative with one another, despite being both spawned from seemingly opposing ideals and processes.
Fundamentally, however, both of the Fey Courts come from the collective imagination of the sentient beings from the world. Therefore, though they may bicker at times over relatively trivial matters, and even engage in occasional bouts of mutual racism, they still function along the same worldly mechanics, and can reach consensus relatively easily, especially compared to the other great forces of the world.
The Fey’s very existence, however, is not dependent upon land and economics, however, they simply need to ensure that a sufficient number of sentient beings exist, and that these people have both hopes and fears.
Therefore, so long as war is not waged on a sufficiently large scale, it will probably generate sufficient Nightmare material to keep the UnSeelie court well fed and healthy. And along the same token, with enough prosperity, it gives enough Hope to keep the Seelie court equally energetic and capable.
The Fey, therefore, have every interest in keeping a world in which there is sufficient tension to keep things interesting, but never past a certain breaking point.
They hold a certain accidental neutrality in matters of the world, therefore, by making certain no one current gains too much traction.
Even certain excesses going in one particular direction or another is not necessarily detrimental to one or the other one of the courts.
Periods of great wars can be seen as temporarily damaging to the Seelie Court, for example, but it also means that when peace is finally reached, they will rapidly gain a surge from their temporary diet, and a lasting peace will endure, lest the sentients face the horrors of wars again.
And the reverse works just as well. Seeing just how fractitious the other factions are, long periods of peace typically do not last terribly long, and all of the accumulated hope of the sentient crashes very quickly for them, giving birth to particularly potent despair. A delicacy for the UnSeelie court.
All things are cyclical for the Fey Courts. They simply make sure that the cycles do not become too pronounced, lest one of the Courts suffers for it.
The next factions to consider might be the Dragon Slayers or the Harvesters, but to include them in this section seems to give them much more credit than is worth.
Simply put, neither of these factions has sufficient clout, sufficient influence to be worthy of being described as “world powers”.
They are both hunted down much more frequently than assisted, and they both often work against the objectives of any of the other factions.
Besides, their numbers are simply so vastly fewer than the other factions, they simply don’t bare mentioning.