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This exercise is meant to apply the concepts from this post, which discusses the tensions between wealth and power and how they end up shaping the entire structure of society. If you like the exercises below and want to use them, read the linked post first and then come back.

  1. Spend five minutes and list all the forms of power—loosely defined, for our purposes, as both the ability to harm people and break things, and the ability to force other people to do what you want—in your setting. Fighting ability, magical power, or command over a band of robbers count; what else?
  2. Spend five minutes and list all desirable goods in your setting. Money or valuables count, but so would fame, social status, immortality, attractive romantic partners, et cetera.
  3. For our purposes, let’s define all of the above as “wealth.” For each relevant type of wealth, how might someone use different forms of power to get more wealth? List as many possibilities as you can.
  4. Likewise, for each type of power, how might someone translate different forms of wealth into more power?
  5. Now, imagine that centuries pass in which powerful people try to gain wealth, and wealthy people try to gain power. List at least five scenarios for how the society might end up looking. If a given group of people became stronger over time, who else would be threatened? How might they react? Who would win? Imagine as many possible social conflicts that you can, vary the outcomes, and list them all.
  6. Of all the ideas you’ve listed, which have the most resonance for the story you want to tell?
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