Writing an autistic ruler in a fantasy setting

Discussion in 'Make It So' started by Chiomi, Jun 30, 2018.

  1. Chiomi

    Chiomi Master of Disaster

    So my spouse is writing a cool fantasy universe. In broad cultural strokes, think pre-industrial polytheistic desert country. One thing is that the gods are fairly . . . present. Their main character is the god of the royal family that was ousted by an empire that took over. Gods also get power from their followers, so part of the attempt to overthrow the empire involves kidnapping a member of the royal family. As one does.

    But we were talking today, and the future ruler of this country is autistic. They figures maybe also non-verbal, which is much less of an issue when your god can read your mind. So. What are some traits you would expect in an autistic ruler? Like, quirks of their court and policy positions, but also what sort of fixations would make them a better leader, what autistic traits would cause the most difficulty, etc
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2018
  2. keltka

    keltka the green and brown one

    based on my own way smaller scale interactions with Formal Things

    pattern spotting is incredibly useful! I'm not sure if there's a different term for it wrt social interactions, but it makes the basic memorization of what someone is or isn't like, how they are, etc etc, a lot easier, and then people think of you as being Very Perceptive
    it also helps with those policy bits? like for me, it makes spreadsheeting easier, and it also means I can sort of...pick out things that might be harder to spot
    (I'm really good at finding change on the ground because when I'm walking I'm keyed into spotting the Perfect Circles Are Weird pattern)
    (I'm also really bad at finding framing words for this)

    for difficulties? "fidgeting". fidgeting, all the way. a lot of people absolutely hate it when you "fidget", even if it's a totally necessary stim-type fidget, so I can see that being something that people Dislike or have serious trouble with in a ruler, especially if they're supposed to be all Proper and Stoic

    will let you know if I think of others but I hope this helps
    • Like x 5
  3. unknownanonymous

    unknownanonymous i am inimitable, i am an original|18+

    here are some of my thoughts on it:

    it's hard to explain but, like, i'm autistic and i have made human interaction a bit of a special interest, something that i study and analyze and learn how to work it well, and i try to understand how people work. and i don't do it the same way neurotypicals do it and it doesn't come as naturally but i think that kind of thing would be a great trait for an autistic ruler to have.

    and it's a thing that seebs does too.

    so, like, i think the ruler wouldn't know how social interaction works naturally but they'd observe and study and analyze it and learn how to work it well 'cause, being a ruler, they'd feel like they have to and they'd end up with a whole systemized theory in their head of how it works and how to handle it and what to do. and they'd pick up on stuff neurotypicals miss and figure out social rules that neurotypicals just consider a Fact Of Life 'cause they are constantly questioning things and learning and just...

    i'm probably not explaining it properly but yeah, it's entirely possible that an autistic ruler could figure out how to do really well at social interaction in a distinctly autistic way.
    • Agree x 2
  4. IvyLB

    IvyLB Hardcore Vigilante Gay Chicken Facilitator

    depending on whether or not your ruler is or is not eye contact averse there's a certain amount of 'Not allowed to look at ruler directly' I would potentially expect either to be fully embraced by the new ruler, or to become fashionable among court as a way to show respect/deference and not cause the new ruler undue discomfort. I would also be a fan of veiling/masks whatever, either of petitioners or of all nobility. Maybe under the guise of like ~anonymizing petitioners~ so that everyone's case is ~considered fairly~ (this may be how the whole thing gets spun by advisors/senseschal/whomever is in charge of PR.
    • Like x 3
    • Agree x 1
  5. Codeless

    Codeless Cheshire Cat

    I imagine a lot less court chatter around them.
  6. keltka

    keltka the green and brown one

    one cheat code I've found is "productive fidget"/"productive stimming" which is that most of my professors were 100% down to let me knit in class as long as I could prove I knew the material and that I took notes when necessary
    so if the ruler is meeting petitioners while weaving or knitting or crocheting or whittling or something stimful with their hands, that could help!
    it'd also play off of @IvyLB's I think? sssssssometimes some people care less about eye contact if you're doing the Clear Working Signaling thing
    (other times it just makes them More Mad but if you're a ruler I'd imagine that they usually fall on the front end of the scale)
    • Like x 1
  7. Chiomi

    Chiomi Master of Disaster

    Thank you all! I shove my computer at her and she made considering noises. I think the pattern recognition is going to be a major thing.
    • Winner x 2
  8. anthers

    anthers sleepy

    I know when I have to do formal situations it helps to have a general outline / plan of what to do in specific situations that might happen that night.
    • Like x 1
  9. Chiomi

    Chiomi Master of Disaster

  10. jacktrash

    jacktrash spherical sockbox

    idk if you still want input on this, but i'm autistic and have written an autistic character who's been in positions of authority. his biggest weakness, and occasionally his biggest strength, was that he just Did Not Get things like popularity, prejudgements, biases, and the like, and the way they impacted politics.

    when he was a teenaged prince, basically the queen's child bride (we don't have the phrase child groom really, do we?), this was a major drawback. he blundered through delicate situations like a drunk buffalo and offended everyone, and he ended up getting scapegoated and exiled.

    when he was a mercenary soldier, in his late teens through mid twenties, this helped him make allies and eventually get promoted, because he focused on who was good at their job, who was trustworthy, who was reliable, and ignored the national grudges and class conflicts that held others back. he was a good captain, but couldn't have been promoted any higher, because brass needs to be aware of those political currents.

    later in the series, he's going to find himself having to be a military leader on a much larger scale, but by his thirties or so he'll be aware enough of his shortcomings to delegate the things he sucks at. so he's got PR people, basically, who write his speeches and remind him that you can't just hire three of X ethnicity in a row without looking like you're deliberately ignoring Y ethnicity, and so on. having offloaded that burden, he's free to focus on his areas of strength, like looking at a battle map and seeing all the patterns, and going "hey, so obviously he's going to bring his right flank up here and try to blindside us, but if we strengthen there we're weak over on the south, but there'll be a gap in the communication chain at about four in the afternoon so that's the right time to withdraw and leave half his force hanging in the breeze with nothing to fight. then we arrow through here, and he won't have backup --" and the military advisors are going "you can't know that, how can you know that?" and he's like "uhh it's right there on the map."
    • Winner x 5
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