Dinosaur Riding Barbarians: Stego-Hittites

The king of the Stego-Hittites is not considered a god, a speaker for a god, or even a descendant of a god. The king of the Stego-Hittites is first among equals, the man who is in charge because someone has to be and he seems to be doing a good job of it. This has two important consequences. First, Stego-Hittite society is relatively egalitarian, with most social mores being enforced by mob justice and most disagreements being deferred to judges, who are appointed informally and ad hoc, and whose only legal power is that they are respected enough to command the loyalty of the able-bodied men of the village. Generally speaking a judge will select and groom his successor (often one of his children) and the community will accept the succession upon the judge’s death, but a judge can be cast out at-will. Disputes between villages are settled jointly by their judges, and if they cannot agree, they appeal to the king. Sometimes the king will appoint a regional governor to act in his stead over a certain area.

The second major implication of the king being first among equals is that, like the judges, his only claim to authority is the loyalty of the able-bodied soldiers within his kingdom. Other prestigious psuedo-noble families can split the kingdom with civil war just by claiming that the current king isn’t doing his job properly and calling upon the army to defect. If things have been going poorly economically or militarily, the army might indeed split or throw a coup outright. The Stego-Hittites are thus an unstable kingdom, whose borders expand drastically whenever there is a powerful king on the throne and then contract during periods of civil war when outlying vassals break away while the heartlands fight one another for control. Sometimes the kingdom will remain split for multiple generations before one side or another happens across a powerful enough ruler to reunite them.

The Stego-Hittite military is assembled by the king taking a tour of the major population centers, where the locals gather up their arms and join him to march on foreign lands for plunder. This means they have an awful lot of light infantry and slinger artillery. Wealthy warriors show up with armor as heavy infantry or, if they’re especially wealthy, with a stegosaurus or ankylosaurus, usually crewed by a few family members (often adult children, siblings, or niblings).

Working for the Stego-Hittites

The Stego-Hittites are an extremely loose coalition. You aren’t really required to show up even for war, although cowardice or disloyalty from able-bodied warriors, and especially from capable veterans, is frowned upon to the point of being totally outcast if you make a habit of it. Popularity with the community in general and the local judge in particular is the entirety of your legal standing in Stego-Hittite society, so the degree to which you have to help out your fellow Stego-Hittites (and especially the village or city within which you specifically live) in order to remain a member of the society is very vague. Close ties with prominent families who are related to kings or else have enough fame and respect to theoretically become king if the current one should become unpopular are also an enormous benefit. Anyone seeking to become not just a part of the Stego-Hittites, but prominent amongst them, would be best off forging ties to prominent members of these prominent families.

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