Thunder Rift currently has no established, overall ruler or government. It seems to be a wilderness area with several autonomous/self-governing communities. The main communities are:
Melinir - a mayor is in charge (I believe his name is Valum?)
Torlynn - a burgomaster is in charge (I don't recall if a name was ever given?)
Kleine - seems to be governed by a council (could this be an oligarchy, or perhaps a city run by guilds?)
Hearth-home (dwarves) - they had a King once (Farolas), but now lords seem to be in charge (are these similar in structure to medieval Germanic/Scandinavian feudal systems, or something along the lines of Celtic clans?)
Are these titles and positions earned by election, bequeathed by some greater lord, a birthright? Are the positions for life, or a fixed term?
Havard's Timeline seems to indicate that Melinir, and perhaps all of Thunder Rift had been ruled over by a king at some point:
But would Melinir really have ever been large enough to warrant a king? At best I can see a Landed Knight or Baron in charge of the lands. In fact, a Landed Knight or Baron could possibly be in charge of all of Thunder Rift considering its size. Could he have been a bit too big for his britches and referred to himself as a king? Could this hubris have been a contributing factor in his demise (sabotage/assassination, or shot himself in the foot)?Havard wrote: AC 350
The King of Melinir and his sons travel to meet the eldest son’s betrothed in Kleine. However, the King’s Barge is destroyed after sailing too close to the Plunging Catatract and is lost on the bottom of Lake Ostrel. Since then, elected Mayors have been the official rulers of Melinir (Thunder Rift).
And what of the dwarven and elven communities? Are these separate and autonomous nations/enclaves that fall within the official boundaries of the established local (human) government (similar in fashion to Alfheim and Darokin) or are they beholden to the same ruler/power structure at some point?
Regardless of who ruled in the past, who would rule now? Do the Quadrial make a good fit as rulers, or are they best left as the Thunder Rift version of the "Justice League"? Should Thunder Rift have a ruler, or should it be left as a wild, fringe/wilderness society?
If Thunder Rift is placed in the Known World of Mystara (regardless of where it is placed - Darokin & Karameikos have both been suggested in the past), should it come under the jurisdiction of the local authorities and power structure? If it falls within the borders of Karameikos (which it does in my setting), would it be part of the Duke's (future King's) domain, or would it still be a wild area, possibly even contested?
I have personally placed it in the mountains at the borders of Karameikos, Thyatis, Ylarum, and Darokin. Since this is a mountainous wilderland filled with all manner of horrible beasties I don't imagine the Duke's men having an occasion to make it up here to enforce any laws often; unless, of course, a garrison was placed in Thunder Rift. I think this placement not only serves to make Thunder Rift both isolated and remote, but putting it so close to international borders could cause some confusion and contention with regards to ownership, especially if it were to hold something of value. Could such a simple valley hold something of such great value to be so hotly contested, similar in fashion to Kashmir on Earth? Could a great source of magic, faith, or power (or all three) provide this source of contention?
What do you guys think? How do you personally handle government in Thunder Rift? Do you have more questions that I may have missed along the lines of who's running things? I'd love to hear all of your ideas.