Of Might and Magic: The Driving Forces of History

As a fantasy/sci-fi writer – so I claim – I often get to a point where I have to ask the most basic of questions, a question that seems simple at first, but really has powerful consequences in my writing.

What is the driving force in this country?

  • Military?
  • Politics?
  • Religion?
  • Trade?
  • Science/Technology?
  • Magic?

However you answer this, and there may be more than one, determines how things can reasonably play out. Those six factors are the driving forces behind most events in history. They shape a country, and guide it down the paths it must take. However, it should be noted that they overlap. There is almost always two or more driving events, as one gives, another takes.

If a country’s driving force is military superiority in a medieval setting, they probably have solid blacksmiths, and a large population that weakens their food control, thus pushing a more war-mongering kingdom. Remember as population increases, so does resource consumption.

The invention of the firearm was a major advance in military combat. Nobunaga Oda, of warring states Japan, was quickly feared as he was able to easily defeat the legendary Takeda cavalry with simple barricades and rifles.

Ever hear of the Inquisition? How about the Crusades? Religion with political control turned into horrible genocides in the name of Christianity.

A shift in power could lead to a country breaking up into smaller countries, creating several new economies where there was once one, sending global economics into an upheaval.

But what about Magic? It seems to be an oddball here. Well, I include it because I like to write fantasy. As such, magic can become a driving force for a country. It can be what bolsters its economy, its military, its science! A religion can be built around magic if we so choose. That’s why it’s an oddball in the list, but just as important.

I’ll leave this off here, as I don’t know how much more I can go into a broad subject range without needing to get into specifics on all of the topics. Needless to say, there is plenty to work with from there, and more if you put your imagination to it.

Keep writing!

~ Underdog


About writing underdog

I'm an aspiring writer of fantasy and science fiction. I graduated from a university with a degree in Writing and a minor in Philosophy. I try to learn a little about everything. I hope to update regularly, meaning at least once per week. View all posts by writing underdog

3 responses to “Of Might and Magic: The Driving Forces of History

  • Libby

    Oh dear! Looking at this list is putting me in a dither — I’m not entirely sure which of these my world would fall under. Politics, mainly…but a with bit of trade and technology/science are gaining influence. I don’t include magic, because while I consider it ‘fantasy,’ magic has been hidden for the protection of all, and doesn’t play a large role until the last quarter.
    You bring up some excellent, thought-provoking points. Great post! 🙂

    • writingunderdog

      I’m glad you enjoyed it! I actually found a question about how to create history the other day, and this was my response. Most major events are brought through these fields. I’d never actually considered it as deeply until then. I thought I’d expand a little and bring it over here. I might have to do a small series off of this…

  • Of Might and Magic 2: Breaking Down a Military « Writing Underdog

    […] the army, the more power you hold, and the more devastation you’ll bring in your wake. As I mentioned before, the bigger an army, the more you have to feed it. An army can’t live entirely off of […]

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