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Errant Lobe
12-10-2015, 12:26 AM
Hi, everyone.
Thank you for reading my post. Can anybody point me to a resource that can supply me with multiple ways to destroy a wealthy family or career using words alone; and never any physical altercations?
I am writing a fantasy piece and it is heavy on governmental, community and domestic politics in multi-generational households.

I did research episodes like Water-Gate and the Lewinsky-Clinton scandals, but I know there have to be endless ways to accomplish this.
I wish to contrast how when a domestic resident throws a tantrum, dinner is burned; but when a viceroy throws the same tantrum, half of the population revolts, foreign policy fails and all trade stops, and suddenly there emerges an unavoidable war which devastates the treasury.

The above are good examples but I know that there have to be more ways. So, I guess that I am asking more than one question.

I am not ashamed to admit that I don't know everything, which is why I ask.

Glyax
12-10-2015, 12:34 AM
If you are looking on times when the masses have been incited, look at The French Revolution (the rich were ruined before the revolt haha), also read up on Machievelli (sp?) for some fun. Also, you could look at how words were used for the Arab Spring.

Parametric
12-10-2015, 12:42 AM
There must be a TV Tropes index for these tropes.

Errant Lobe
12-10-2015, 01:21 AM
There must be a TV Tropes index for these tropes.

Thanks guys.
I am working at something off-line while I post.
Thanks.

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There must be a TV Tropes index for these tropes.

Please, explain with further info.

mirandashell
12-10-2015, 01:24 AM
Here you go:

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/search_result.php?cx=partner-pub-6610802604051523%3Aamzitfn8e7v&cof=FORID%3A10&ie=ISO-8859-1&q=how+to+destroy+an+aristocracy&siteurl=&ref=&ss=&siteurl=tvtropes.org%2F&ref=www.google.co.uk%2F&ss=9805j5284815j31

Errant Lobe
12-10-2015, 01:30 AM
My thanks to you, mirandashell.

mirandashell
12-10-2015, 01:33 AM
You are welcome, kind sir.

King Neptune
12-10-2015, 03:10 AM
Which kind of ruined do you want to do? All sorts of damage can be done with a borrowed name and a few purchased passwords. The security software and monitoring companies that steal data to prove how vulnerable the data is soemimes sell spare copies to third parties. No physical attack, just few keystrokes.

Errant Lobe
12-10-2015, 03:42 AM
Which kind of ruined do you want to do? All sorts of damage can be done with a borrowed name and a few purchased passwords. The security software and monitoring companies that steal data to prove how vulnerable the data is soemimes sell spare copies to third parties. No physical attack, just few keystrokes.

Thank you, king neptune. Mirandashell's info has been keeping me busy.
I like what you just wrote. But, FYI, I am writing a fantasy from an outline heavy on the world building and cultural setting.
So, please rephrase without the computer language.

King Neptune
12-10-2015, 04:34 AM
Thank you, king neptune. Mirandashell's info has been keeping me busy.
I like what you just wrote. But, FYI, I am writing a fantasy from an outline heavy on the world building and cultural setting.
So, please rephrase without the computer language.

Without computers you could simply use securities fraud.

Roxxsmom
12-10-2015, 04:51 AM
Without computers you could simply use securities fraud.

That still sounds pretty modern. Approximately what era is your fantasy society analogous to, EL?

Cyia
12-10-2015, 05:03 AM
Depending on the era, suggestions of illegitimacy (especially if there's another, distant legitimate heir) or of the family being an enemy sympathizer in the wrong armed conflict. Doctored records, like court or church records or family ledgers that suggest someone wasn't baptized in the right church or had died and been replaced. "Long lost" relatives of ill repute who might sully the family name. Gambling debts, financial ruin from shipwrecks or fires, plagues, a female heiress unable to provide a male child - even if the one who's sterile is actually the heiress' husband. Being caught in a compromising position with a person of lesser status. Being caught in a compromising position with a person of the same sex (assuming your setting is in the right time period and location). There are literally thousands of ways an old family could be ruined.

Filigree
12-10-2015, 08:42 AM
Read Scott Lynch's 'Locke Lamora' books. Plenty of well-applied and disastrous words and sneakiness there, as well as action.

Kaidonni
12-10-2015, 01:08 PM
Without computers you could simply use securities fraud.


That still sounds pretty modern. Approximately what era is your fantasy society analogous to, EL?

To expand on these - OP, what sort of magic is possible in your fantasy world? Shapeshifting, illusions and potions instantly come to mind as fantastical ways of committing fraud, fooling people and influencing behaviour.

Errant Lobe
12-10-2015, 05:32 PM
That still sounds pretty modern. Approximately what era is your fantasy society analogous to, EL?

Thank you, Roxxsmom.
It is about in the renaissance period.

Errant Lobe
12-10-2015, 05:36 PM
To expand on these - OP, what sort of magic is possible in your fantasy world? Shapeshifting, illusions and potions instantly come to mind as fantastical ways of committing fraud, fooling people and influencing behaviour.

Interesting concepts, Kaidonni.
Thank you for your input!

To Kaidonni and to everyone else, just so that I don't misunderstand.
So, you are saying that to combine the parish records scenario with shape-shifting, simply have a member of the enemy camp assume the identity of the priest and then falsify the records or even act as an impostor and officiate at the baptism?

Or, the patriarch secretly has abysmal debt but to make matters worse he is about to discover that his bookie is an impostor from the enemy camp who removed "the real bookie" from the picture years ago?

Please show me other directions in which this could go.

Kjbartolotta
12-10-2015, 09:02 PM
Count of Monte Cristo is the best example of this I can think of. Also the best book I can think of. Might require some suspension of disbelief to buy in to the count's machinations though.

danatcsimpson
12-10-2015, 09:33 PM
Full disclosure: I'm a bookkeeper in my 'Real Job' so money troubles are where my mind goes.

Pros: these can be absolute DISASTERS for a ruling family and their people without a single fist flying. Cons: it's hard to make accounting interesting. The Traitor Baru Cormorant pulled this off really well, I recommend it for the sneakiness of the politicking and fantasy economics. GoT also has it running as a subplot, with the Westerosi government hopelessly in debt to the Iron Bank of Braavos.

Goofy speculation like the Dutch Tulip Mania could tank a family and make them look like idiots. Collusion or perceived collusion with an enemy power would ruin them socially, and financially if the government seizes their assets. See internment of Japanese Americans during WWII. Massive gambling debts were mentioned upthread, those are good.

Teinz
12-10-2015, 09:50 PM
How did the wealthy family get wealthy? What skeletons do they have and in which cabinet are they lurking? Have they commited any crimes?

Those are questions I would ask myself first.

waylander
12-10-2015, 11:06 PM
Take a look at the genesis of the Indian Mutiny, how a rumour about the lubrication of a rifle cartridge nearly cost the British Empire India.

jjdebenedictis
12-11-2015, 03:04 AM
Take a look at the genesis of the Indian Mutiny, how a rumour about the lubrication of a rifle cartridge nearly cost the British Empire India.Ah yes, the "don't ask your soldiers to chew pork and beef fat when your soldiers are mainly Muslims and Hindus; they won't appreciate that" debacle.

Funny, how basic courtesy for other people's beliefs will aid in civil relations.

Maxx
12-11-2015, 10:41 PM
Thank you, Roxxsmom.
It is about in the renaissance period.

Renaissance -- much harder to ruin people then. I've read letters from travelling Italians to their wives from that period. One guy wrote, "I just bought the prettiest little slave girl. You'll like her a lot." Plus lots of quick use of swords and knives to dispose of problems fast. It's hard to ruin a dude who is just going to kill you himself as fast as he can if he even suspects you might mess him up. This begins to fade around 1600. If you read say, Lord Herbert of Cherbury's autobiography, (he was in Venice around 1610), there are plenty of threats of violence and challenges, but the Aristocracies have learned to work things out in their own interest without anyone Aristocratic being killed. Not even their wives! I suppose all that violence got channelled into other channels such as the Thirty-Years-War or the Eighty-years-War or the Nine-years-War.

Errant Lobe
12-12-2015, 01:24 AM
Full disclosure: I'm a bookkeeper in my 'Real Job' so money troubles are where my mind goes.

Pros: these can be absolute DISASTERS for a ruling family and their people without a single fist flying. Cons: it's hard to make accounting interesting. The Traitor Baru Cormorant pulled this off really well, I recommend it for the sneakiness of the politicking and fantasy economics. GoT also has it running as a subplot, with the Westerosi government hopelessly in debt to the Iron Bank of Braavos.

Goofy speculation like the Dutch Tulip Mania could tank a family and make them look like idiots. Collusion or perceived collusion with an enemy power would ruin them socially, and financially if the government seizes their assets. See internment of Japanese Americans during WWII. Massive gambling debts were mentioned upthread, those are good.

I purchased The Traitor Baru Cormorant after reading Amal El Mohtar's visceral, yet, understated review of the plot for NPR books' review.

The first lines hooked me!

Errant Lobe
12-12-2015, 01:38 AM
Read Scott Lynch's 'Locke Lamora' books. Plenty of well-applied and disastrous words and sneakiness there, as well as action.

I have committed to purchasing the Locke Lamora books Filigree.

Errant Lobe
12-12-2015, 02:00 AM
If you are looking on times when the masses have been incited, look at The French Revolution (the rich were ruined before the revolt haha), also read up on Machievelli (sp?) for some fun. Also, you could look at how words were used for the Arab Spring.

Great information, everyone!
I find it interesting that, at least, some, among the progressive youth among these embattled political demographics, think that there is a "Turkish Ideal."


I.e., according to wikipedia:
Some protesters looked to the Turkish model (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turkish_model) as an ideal (contested but peaceful elections, fast-growing but liberal economy, secular constitution but Islamist (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamism) government).

The Arab Spring is a great summation of political instability and social breakdowns that will forever ensure that there will always be conflict to keep the reading public swimming in blood shed.

_TOG_
12-12-2015, 03:52 AM
"Let's play Monopoly!"

It is cited as the game most likely to ignite a family fight. It sounds innocent enough at first, but those words just might do the trick.

Errant Lobe
12-13-2015, 01:22 PM
Sage, gave me the idea to ask.
So, how about situations where we are not limited to the Scifi and fantasy genres?
How about broader examples? Like those to be found within a contemporary novel?
What are some examples?

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Latina Bunny
12-13-2015, 07:39 PM
Sage, gave me the idea to ask.
So, how about situations where we are not limited to the Scifi and fantasy genres?
How about broader examples? Like those to be found within a contemporary novel?
What are some examples?

For contemporary, I guess the equivalent would be rich families, or rich, political families?

I would think about things that that society considers "scandalous" or "undesirable", or think of some kind of secret that would affect careers or family standing.

If the family was filled with bigots, then something like being gay could be considered a big deal, especially if the person in question was considered straight and/or was married in heteronormative relationship and had kids, etc. Sex change (especially if done in secret) could also bring about some drama as well.

Another thing that could bring about drama is something like sleeping with prostitutes, like in the original plotline of the Good Wife TV series.

Anything that society looks down upon or is considered controversial to that society could be fodder for drama. Any "hidden skeletons in the closet" could bring about ruin or alter existing relationships and families and/or affect careers, etc.

(When I talk about affecting career, I'm thinking about situations where someone had done something illegal or something that people in that career field would down upon, and if that secret was exposed, then the person may lose their jobs or credibility in the field, etc.)

ETA: Basically, exposed secrets make the drama.

Helix
12-13-2015, 07:56 PM
What about Michael Dobbs' political trilogy -- House of Cards, To Play the King and The Final Cut? All three books were made into BBC miniseries in the 90s. Plenty of intrigue and shenanigans.

(HoC was remade recently for American television.)

Errant Lobe
12-14-2015, 12:31 AM
For contemporary, I guess the equivalent would be rich families, or rich, political families?

I would think about things that that society considers "scandalous" or "undesirable", or think of some kind of secret that would affect careers or family standing.

If the family was filled with bigots, then something like being gay could be considered a big deal, especially if the person in question was considered straight and/or was married in heteronormative relationship and had kids, etc. Sex change (especially if done in secret) could also bring about some drama as well.

Another thing that could bring about drama is something like sleeping with prostitutes, like in the original plotline of the Good Wife TV series.

Anything that society looks down upon or is considered controversial to that society could be fodder for drama. Any "hidden skeletons in the closet" could bring about ruin or alter existing relationships and families and/or affect careers, etc.

(When I talk about affecting career, I'm thinking about situations where someone had done something illegal or something that people in that career field would down upon, and if that secret was exposed, then the person may lose their jobs or credibility in the field, etc.)

ETA: Basically, exposed secrets make the drama.

Excellent ideas, bunny!

Errant Lobe
12-14-2015, 12:33 AM
What about Michael Dobbs' political trilogy -- House of Cards, To Play the King and The Final Cut? All three books were made into BBC miniseries in the 90s. Plenty of intrigue and shenanigans.

(HoC was remade recently for American television.)

Hey, Helix!
Where have you been? I've missed your brilliant contributions?
I've missed maccardey's, too.

jjdebenedictis
12-14-2015, 01:53 AM
More people might comment if you interacted with them in substantive ways. This thread still feels like another exercise in "be my brain, be my research engine".

You always start the threads off with some really good ideas, so I'm always confused why you're pumping us to fill in the details. You seem quite capable of being creative without help. :) Maybe trust your abilities more and just work on your own ideas for longer?