Creyeditor wrote: ↑11 Jun 2021 23:24
I plan for one of my concultures (Bólks) to have a permanent military regime at some point. Now I was wondering, how is succession of leaders supposed to work under a military regime, apart from Klingon promotion?
Well, bear in mind that European cultures had more or less permanent military regimes from circa 400 to... maybe 1500? 1600? And on many occasions before that (much of Roman history) and after that (a lot of modern history).
Succession of people who own swords happens the same way as any other sort of succession: there's a shortlist of candidates, and the powerbrokers select the one they prefer. This can involve meritocracy, popularity, the stated preference of the preceding leader, or obedience to a fixed consensus rule (such as primogeniture). Succession can happen at the death of the old leader, at the predetermined retirement of the leader, or when the leader spontaneously chooses to resign, or when the leader loses the approval of the powerbrokers; in the case of succession through retirement, the retired leader may continue to hold considerable power. Leaders may also choose (or be forced) to give considerably power to their likely successor ahead of time. Obviously, as in any such system, succession is easier when the institutions are more institutionalised, so that candidates can be sorted into clearly-defined statuses and roles before the time of the succession.
It can also, of course, work very badly in some instances, which is a big part of why societies have generally attempted to evolve beyond military rule. The problem with military rule is that most of the candidates to succeed will have military power, which means that disgruntled failed candidates may have the resources to seriously contest the succession post facto, causing a civil war. The most famous example of this was the 'barracks emperors' era of Rome, when emperors tended to die quickly and every succession was accompanied by a civil war. The saving grace of mediaeval Europe, in this regard, was the the countries were so weak, and the armies so small and hard to raise, that failed candidates often didn't really have much military capital to attempt a recount with; nonetheless, a great many of these conflicts did break out nonetheless, such as the approximately one century of civil war triggered by the death of Edward III. The strongest tool for minimising civil war is strong institutionalisation - particularly to limit the number of viable candidates. But there's really no good way.