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Basic Information

A form of government where one individual has effectively unlimited power. This would include dictatorships, absolute monarchies, despotisms with a single leader and similar things.

Strictly the term does not imply anything about the character of the ruler, although there is a strong negative connotation in general use.

Very much not to be confused with autarchy.


Game and Story Use

  • Benevolent autocracies (generally in the form of "the good king") are popular in myth, legend and RPG settings. They are also ripe for subversion.
  • Likewise an apparently oppressive autocracy may turn out to be a surprisingly sane place (For example Terry Pratchett's Havelock Vetinari has the appearance of a tyrant1, but is actually a reasonable authority figure … especially in comparison to some of his predecessors).
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