I hold that the world building in a novel or movie or show should stand on its own well enough for people to be content if that’s all they have, but I also have it on good authority (well, the internet, anyway) that people like more in-depth looks from time to time.
With the world of the Doomwalker and the rest of the Paladin trilogy, I’ve got you covered. I know the world of the Holdings very well. I know it in ways that have nothing to do with the story of the trilogy. But those ways are interesting, I think.
While the Holdings worship all the fifty-four gods of the Tribunal (before…stuff), many have special dedications and relationships to specific ones. What that means varies from super-fancy shrines to major effects on the way of life.
The Holdings proper are akin to confederacy. A very very very loose one. They’re culturally very diverse, having arisen from the ashes of the elven empire and a bitter ice age under the close guidance of the Tribunal. They are the whole of human civilization. There isn’t anything outside of them besides open sea and vast ice shelves. The world is hardly habitable and the Tribunal expends a lot of power keeping the Holdings warm. That last ice age left a scar.
Most Holding lordships are inherited titles to such an extent that this is the assumption most people have and it’s a reasonable one. In some cases, however, other methods are used for deciding who holds the Holding lordship, from election by and within a council to contest by combat.
Holdings are independent. There is no king, emperor, or anything resembling a federal government. They are a part of a Council. Theoretically they could opt not to, but it’s the easiest way to contact other Holdings- plus, the whole system was founded by the gods, gods who very much can and do interfere with human life.
Why are they not kingdoms or some other nation-state term? For the sake of peace. King, you see, would imply the right to rule over the others. No matter what a lord may believe, it’s best to play such things close to the vest.
There is one human settlement outside of the authority of any Holding: Crownshold and its limited, but valuable, lands. Politically, Crownshold functions as neutral ground. it is governed in its own way, and while it does not have a Council seat, hosting the Council provides it with a lot of influence.
The Holdings’ numbers change. Sometimes they are conquered, sometimes absorbed through marriage or the end of a lord’s line. They sometimes split apart in war or by agreement. Unsurprisingly, this is more common at the harsher edges of the world to the north and south.
War happens between the Holdings. Often open war is only between two Holdings and is over in a few months. The Tribunal seeks to have peace within humanity- usually. The lid is kept on pretty well with application of their own power directly, the intrigues of their temples, and mortal intrigues.
There are a lot of mortal intrigues. The Tribunal has little issue with those and plays as well. Yes, sometimes they end in blood. The humans of the Holding are as human as any.
It’s when the gods decide not to seek peace that wars sweep through the Holdings like wildfire. I’m not sure how much detail going to go into with the trilogy, but 20-odd years before Doomwalker, Orishal orchestrated something of a world war.
Yes, Orishal, the white-clad god of healing and charity (in the sense we moderns use the term). He orchestrated a world war. Why? Because he decided that he knew better than the rest of the Tribunal how to run the world.
When the Orishalite and rich Holding of Zuse came to this conclusion alongside their god- a conclusion that had been building for many years and was a part of a worldwide academic movement, as such things often are- they marched to war on their three weakest neighbors, which was unprecedented and led to a violent chain reaction. The most likely to be conquered next went to war with Zuse and excuses for intrigues and other conflicts, both mortal and divine, began to boil up and there you go. War.
Worthy of note is that a few Holdings near elven Aeldamarc attempted to make very ineffective trouble for the elves and the elves retaliated by having their Scouts conduct violent raids. As ever between humans and elves in this world, who deserved what and how bad is in question.
It ended when the Tribunal made peace with each other and began to rally towards peace. The result was an unsettled set of Holdings, a larger but deifically pacified Zuse, resentment hither and yon, and an even angrier tiny nation of elves that is in turn even more hated.
So now you have too much information on the Holdings, the human system of governance in Doomwalker.