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Feudal Future

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"Governments, if they endure, always tend increasingly toward aristocratic forms. No government in history has been known to evade this pattern. And as the aristocracy develops, government tends more and more to act exclusively in the interests of the ruling class — whether that class be hereditary royalty, oligarchs of financial empires, or entrenched bureaucracy."

Kings, queens, knights, serfs, fiefdoms... and rocket ships. This trope is Feudalism IN SPACE!!!

While these Science Fiction stories are set in distant planets in a world where space travel and futuristic technology is available, the people are still ruled under a medieval-style feudal system. Kings and queens, princes and princesses, nobles, courts, Knights (in Powered Armor or Humongous Mecha)....

A form of Days of Future Past which can incorporate elements from the The High Middle Ages right up to the Victorian Age. The chief characteristic will be that noble social status is legally enforced and hereditary. Occasionally we will be told that the king/emperor is elected, but it makes no difference as to their authority, and issues regarding who the electors are or who is eligible to run never seem to come up.

Among the commonest societies in Space Opera, Planetary Romance, and other forms of Science Fiction.

Falls into two categories:

  1. A planet has such a social structure. Often justified by having technological regression (but never further than medieval — not even to Roman times).
  2. A multi-planet, even interstellar society. Always has futuristic technology, of course, though it may involve Schizo Tech or Low Culture, High Tech.

Prone to Medieval Stasis, even though technology is far above medieval level. May also involve anachronistic items from real medieval Technology Levels. Evil nobles may restrict commoners' use of high technology; medical technology is particularly common, but commoners often live lives of drudgery and toil. The extent of which any of it can be considered "feudal" is up for grabs.

Often an excuse to use Medieval European Fantasy tropes in SF.

Frequently rather benevolent, but may range all the way to Aristocrats Are Evil and Decadent Court. However, it is seldom explicitly Dystopia; Dystopian authorities tend to be more blatantly kept in place by naked force. This trope covers only societies where social status is legally inherited; 1984, where the children of Party members are theoretically admitted because of an exam, and the children of proles who might qualify tend to vanish before it, does not qualify. Also, under this trope, the royals and nobles draw their authority from the law, where the ruling party of a Dystopia does not acknowledge anything as giving them their power.

Often leaning towards the Romantic end of Romanticism Versus Enlightenment.

In some works, heroes have great ease in converting them to democracies. Partly because writers seem to be unaware of any arguments against democracy, and of the complexity of developing a stable democracy.

Discussions of in-universe reasons for feudalism should go on the analysis page.


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Planetary monarchies and empires

    Anime & Manga 
  • Terra II in Saber Marionette J. The six city-states are modeled after various cultures of Earth That Was, including feudal Japan, medieval Italy, Tsarist Russia, and Imperial China. The two non-feudal states are based on Nazi Germany and modern-day America.
  • The Kingdom of Sphere in Yoake Mae Yori Ruri Iro Na rules the moon. Tensions between them and the Earth Federation are a significant plot point.
  • In Code Geass The Britannian Empire is ruled directly by the Emperor and the royal family. While being an oppressive regime it is certainly not a dystopian future, as the countryside in the homeland is full of Ghibli Hills. It doesn't technically take place in the future—calculating the calender of the Alternate History reveals that it takes place in the 1960s—but they're still more technologically advanced than the present.
  • A favourite of the wider Gundam franchise.
    • In the original Mobile Suit Gundam, the Principality of Zeon are a hereditary monarchy despite being a space-borne society that occupies orbital colonies. Subverted as they were previously (and later become once again) The Republic of Zeon.
      • A Downplayed example exists with Axis Zeon in Zeta and ZZ, who despite justifying their legitimacy through the young remnant of the Zabi family Mineva, in fact has the power lie with Haman Karn.
    • Cosmo Babylonia from Mobile Suit Gundam F91 take this to the extreme. Created on the specific ideological principles of hereditary aristocracy and noblesse oblige, and backed up by the Crossbone Vanguard, they seek to create a new nation free from the corruption of the democratic Earth Federation and return to the more "enlightened" ways of the past.
    • The Zanscare Empire of Victory Gundam continue the trend, with a hereditary matrilinial monarchy, use of guillotines for crimes like in the French Revolution and a general aristocratic flair to their military leadership.
    • New Mobile Report Gundam Wing has the nations that make up the Earth-Sphere Alliance, which are seemingly early-20th century aristocracies transplanted into the future, with all the backstabbing, intrigue and alliances implied from such a comparison.
    • ∀ Gundam,: The majority of countries in what used to be North America are either monarchies (albeit constitutional) or tribal factions like Adeska. Given that the state of affairs is ultimately tied to the Moonlight Butterfly induced apocalypse, it's to be expected.
    • In Mobile Suit Gundam SEED the 'United Emirates of ORB' have this sort of structure, with the Chief Representative and Prime Minister supposedly being elected from one of the five noble houses, but in reality seems to be a simple hereditary handover until the positions are left vacant due to death or the Chief Representative getting kidnapped.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans: Despite the Earth itself being under the control of four democratic nations, they are in turn ruled over by the aristocratic Gjallarhorn, an organisation that styles itself like medieval knights and whose leadership: the "Seven Stars" are descendants of pilots who saved the world from a rogue AI. In the three centuries since the Calamity War however, they have grown corrupt and arrogant, requirng Tekkadan to knock them down a few pegs.
    • Downplayed in Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury, as the solar system is de facto ruled over by the Benerit Group that act as if they were a medieval court, complete with duels for the hand of the CEO's daughter in marriage.
  • Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE-: Clow Country turns out to be a kingdom that sprang up thousands of years After the End.
  • Aldnoah.Zero: The colonists of Mars, who set out to discover and use the planet's phenomenal Lost Technology, declared independence from Earth and formed the Vers Empire, with lead researcher Rayregalia as their new emperor. Below him are the Counts of the 37 Clans, who have knights as vassals of their own. The feudal system actually has some degree of Justification: activating an Aldnoah drive, which powers the Empire's Humongous Mecha and Landing Castles, requires the activation factor, which Rayregalia somehow bound to his own bloodline and can grant at will to his vassals. Unfortunately for everyone involved, the class system intertwined with feudalism has left most of the population of Mars starving, while nobles in mechs with nigh-magical superpowers vie for status by devastating Earth in war. Both sides are not happy about any of this.
  • In Heavy Object, after the collapse of the UN, four supernations control most of the planet. One is Legitimacy Kingdom whose core ideology is that nobility and royalty have the duty to rule commoners and the right to claim land as their domain. The various nobles all claim to be descended from noble families that existed in the past and are now re-establishing their claims. Commoners tend to be at the mercy of nobles and at one point many were actually part of a slave class.

    Comic Books 
  • In Nikolai Dante, in the 27th century, Earth has basically become Tsarist Russia. Dmitri even thinks the fact that the Romanovs ruled the first Russian Empire gives him a greater claim to the throne than Vladimir.
  • Lazarus takes place sometime in the future after the collapse of modern society and has the world being controlled by various different factions that treat the areas they control like fiefdoms. The Carlyle family, (which is noted as being somewhat more enlightened and benevolent than most) even divides up the population into three castes, one of which is "serf". (The other two categories being family and "waste", although at least the Carlyles are willing to allow for a fair amount of social mobility should people show talent, and don't engage in Kill the Poor behaviors, as some of their rivals do.)
  • Superman:
    • Princess Projecta, a member of the Legion of Super-Heroes, is part of the royal family of the planet Orando, one of the participating planets in the United Planets alliance which had until recently resisted outside influence and refused to allow the building of a spaceport in an attempt to protect their ancient culture.
    • "The Super-Steed of Steel": Supergirl and Comet travel to planet Zerox, a world settled by wizards and sorcerers who used their magic to leave Earth and migrate to another world in the Middle Ages. Zeroxians are ruled by a wizard-prince who lives in a castle, and they have preserved their medieval ancestors' building styles, arts and even fashions, opting for developing magic instead of techonology.
  • The Wastelands: The Bad Future, of a sorts. Red Skull managed to organize all the supervillains to kill off most of the heroes and afterwards they divvied up America into four "kingdoms". "President" Red Skull loosely ruling the whole country and directly controlling the Eastern Seaboard, Doctor Doom took the Bible Belt, Magneto wanted Nevada, and Abomination had California. Though by the time of the series start Magneto's territory had been seized by a new Kingpin who, in turn, is usurped by Peter Parker's granddaughter "Spider-Bitch", and Abomination was killed by the Hulk and his inbred clan of cannibalistic hillbilly gangsters (the "landlords" of Logan's family farm.)

    Fan Works 
  • Earth's Alien History:
    • When the Lylat system is colonized by Uplifted Animals from elsewhere in TeTO, constitutional monarchy is chosen by them as the system of government most likely to be stable in the long term. As such, the founding colonial families are granted noble status, with a monarch being selected from among them.
    • After the Race's fascist Fourth Republic Puppet State is overthrown by the French, it is replaced by a constitutional monarchy headed by a Bourbon cadet branch from Sicily, the other Bourbon and Orleanist branches that had greater claims having been wiped out over the years. This system is maintained even centuries later, with Picard's family for instance being minor nobility in the restored aristocracy.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Princess Vespa's home world, the planet Druidia, in Spaceballs. They take the medieval imagery even further with Vespa's father the king dressed like an Old World monarch with crown, ermine cape and scepter.
  • In Star Wars, we have Princess Leia Organa, and her mother, Queen Padme Amidala, "recently elected ruler of Naboo". Naboo also has a Prime Minister, so Naboo is probably a constitutional elected monarchy with the Queen acting in a similar role to Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom (i.e., lawmaking and ambassadorial duties).
    • It's eventually expanded by, naturally, the Star Wars Expanded Universe. Naboo elects a new monarch every four years, the monarch is meant to represent the innocence of humanity and as such is often very young, which explains why Amidala was queen at age 14. Also, the monarch is usually given a new post when their time to reign is over, monarchs are allowed only two terms, with Padme Amidala becoming the galactic senator for her planet after her reign as Queen. Apparently, they tried to change this rule to permit Padmé more time in office, but she declined.
    • Sheev Palpatine is a member of House Palpatine, one of Naboo's noble houses, though their title is never given. He actually got into politics partly because he was too far down in the line of succession line to have any real hope of becoming the heir, which actually was pretty common for younger sons of nobility in nations like Great Britain.
    • Leia is actually a princess through her adopted parents, Queen Brea and Prince Bail Organa of Alderaan. Expanded Universe material shows that, despite being a core world of the Republic (and thus subject to the laws of a democracy), local affairs are very much controlled by the local noble houses, complete with assassinations, Altar Diplomacy, and all the other things you'd expect from a social structure of A Game of Thrones given sci-fi tech. Deconstructed in Star Wars: The Old Republic where the planet withdrew from the Republic, and is in a state of all-out civil war among the nobility, with the Republic and the Empire supporting different noble houses in a proxy war to take down a usurper who believes the planet should remain independent (which is not in the interest of either faction).
    • The planet Serenno is a giant county and during the Prequel Trilogy is ruled by Count Dooku. Dooku was originally a Jedi Master but resigned in order to inherit the throne, which was a convenient cover for his disillusionment with the Order. It's never explained whether the Counts of Serenno have any nobles above or below them (interestingly, Count is an intermediate rank), though it's possible "Count" was chosen because Dooku was played by Christopher Lee as a shout out to that more famous Count he played.
  • The Postman: The Holnists have set up this arrangement with the towns they extort into giving them goods and conscripts, as Bethlehem explains when invoking his "right" to sleep with Abby.
  • Last Knights takes place in an unknown future dominated by an empire modeled after a typical European monarchy with an absolute monarch governing through his vassals with aristocrats and knights abound, whereas technology appears to be on the same level instead of being super-advanced. In spite of its European influence, the setting is very ethnically diverse with the nobility composed of Asians and black people alongside whites.
  • Land of the Dead uses a dystopian post-apocalyptic version, with plenty of allegory for contemporary American economics and society (as per Romero tradition). After the Zombie Apocalypse, Pittsburgh's pre-collapse elites set themselves up as the feudal lords of what's left of the city, with a skyscraper called Fiddler's Green (formerly PPG Place) as their opulent castle while everybody else lives on scraps, competes for the favor of the elites, and only puts up with it because of the zombie-filled wasteland outside Pittsburgh's walls.


  • 12 Miles Below: Knights are the highest caste, organized into great Houses, with scientists and engineers far below them. In the second book, in a flashback to when he first came to the surface, Atius declares his desire to upend this system. If nothing else, why are the scientists so low? Another Deathless explains the purpose of the caste system: Making the most dangerous roles the highest caste makes people more willing to perform those roles, and making scientists one of the lowest castes means they're always kept safe in the colony. Yes, higher castes exploiting lower castes is inevitable, but the alternatives are largely worse.
    Atius: You're trading one monster for another, Yvain.
    Yvain: And what do you think I am? You call us petty warlords and despots leading fanatic zealots. You think I laugh because I find it funny? I laugh because I know it's true, and the best humor is one that touches reality. There are no simple solutions up here, Atius. No clean wins. The surface demands everything of you. So, you pick the easiest monster to tame, and you make friends with that darkness.
  • David Weber: Played with in the Safehold series. Set a thousand years in the future on a colony planet whose founders were virulently anti-technology and deliberately set up a regressed society that is at around the 16th-18th centuries in terms of tech. Granted, they had a good reason...
  • In Poul Anderson and Gordon R. Dickson's Hoka stories, the imaginative to the point of autohypnosis Hokas have emulated human societies, and since some have kings and nobles, they emulate them. They have a Victorian Britain with a Hoka Queen Victoria.
  • John Christopher:
    • The Prince In Waiting trilogy is set mostly in England, centuries after a nuclear-war-like natural disaster. England is a bunch of warring city states ruled by princes, but with a dominant anti-technology religion in which people worship Spirits. Christians are an oppressed minority, and mutants are a lower caste.
    • In The Tripods trilogy, Earth has been conquered by technologically advanced aliens, who deliberately maintain the native population at a medieval level.
  • Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern. In the backstory Pern was colonized by space travelers and the dragons were genetically engineered, but for most intents and purposes Pern is medieval (to the point where biological pest control is considered revolutionary). This was intentionally engineered by the colonists, who deliberately chose a world that was too resource-poor to support anything more advanced. (Although in some areas, the society regressed too far; having a mindless omnivorous fungus fall from the sky every so often kind of threw a wrench in a few plans....)
  • Andre Norton features a good number in her SF:
  • David Brin's:
    • One of his short stories, The Fourth Vocation of George Gustaf explores the possibility that even in a highly technological society, humans are hard-wired to need royalty; the sentient computer(s) running much of Earth's near-utopian future manipulate George, a highly successful but bored intellectual, into becoming King of Earth by "allowing" him to run a sociological experiment in which he claims to be heir of most of the defunct thrones of Europe and Asia. Then they rewrite the human database with the intention of keeping him on the throne - with no way of proving his original hoax.
    • His recent novel Existence has an aristocracy arising in the next forty years due to class warfare. The ultra-rich came up with a "New Deal" that stratified society into ten estates. While it's not quite feudalism many of the tenth estate consider the Enlightenment a failed experiment and reason that since so many past societies were feudal it must work. Their plans are somewhat waylaid by the discovery of the Artifact though.
    • The Postman also features one, due to the US collapsing after a nuclear war, with violent survivalists taking over part of the country as its new feudal overlords, explicitly setting up baronies and romanticising Might Makes Right as an excuse why they are in charge.
  • Justified in Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga with the planet Barrayar, in that the erratic nature of wormhole travel isolated their colony before it was properly established, leading to loss of technology and reversion to a semi-medieval culture. Just when the warlords had been united and pacified, the planet was reconnected to the galaxy and promptly invaded by an Evil Empire, forcing them to get modern in a generation. Hence a high-tech, star-traveling culture run by a hereditary aristocracy, complete with oath-bound retainers, servile serfs, and an Emperor constantly watching his back for pretenders and plots. There is a strong suggestion that the system is transitioning to a more democratic system as the old feudal order changes, but so far most of the characters are aristocrats so the focus is on their interactions among themselves. With the addition of the planets Komarr and Sergyar to their territorial possessions the Barrayaran Empire officially evolves into the multi-planet version of this trope. It is noted that Sergyar, a formerly uninhabited planet now undergoing colonization, is legally the property of Emperor Gregor.
  • Justified and played with in The Peshawar Lancers. In the future of 2025, the developed world is still trapped in the Victorian Age, embroiled in a power struggle an Indianized British Empire, Damascus-based Caliphate, Africa-based France, China-Japan and a Satanic Russian Empire.
  • A number of Russian sci-fi novels portray future Russia as a restored monarchy with a prosperous economy. Despite being a monarchy, civil rights are still enforced. This likely stems from the idea that Russian people need a single strong ruler who gets things done and doesn't get bogged down with politics and bureaucracy. The same novels will often portray the US as an empire and/or a Wretched Hive, which may or may not be caused by another civil war.
  • In the Carrera's Legions series, the UN, after becoming a true world government for Earth, has over the centuries become this, with hereditary positions and a rather explicit caste system.
  • Theodore Judson's novel The Martian General's Daughter takes place in the late 23rd century on an Earth with a massively changed socio-political landscape. The main superpower is the Pan-polarian Empire, which spans most of the northern hemisphere. The empire's society and political philosophy is modelled after many previous eras of history, including the Roman and Greek empires of Antiquity and 18th and 19th century monarchies; the story is based on the life of the Ancient Roman emperor Commodus. Similarly to the writer's previous but unrelated novel, Fitzpatrick's War, the novel mixes high sci-fi technology with a deliberately steampunkish aesthetic.
  • The atevi in the Foreigner (1994) series have a social structure whose closest Earth analogue is feudalism. This is due the the alien psychology of the atevi, which makes it pretty much impossible for them to have a social structure which isn't feudal-like. The Lost Colony of humans living on their planet still have a democracy.
  • In Fritz Leiber's Gather, Darkness! a super-scientific elite run the world in the guise of a Corrupt Church sustained by high-tech miracles, and keep everyone else as uneducated peasants. They are opposed by an underground of witches using equally super-tech magic.
  • In Poul Anderson's "Time Lag", both Elva and her husband belong to a hereditary elite, with the authority and responsibility to make judgments. It opens with Elva having made the circuit that is the Freeholder's duty.
  • The Foxen Protectorate in The Red Vixen Adventures, the highest level of authority on the homeworld is a Council of Countesses.
  • In Poul Anderson's Sargasso Of Lost Spaceships, the locals still honor their erstwhile noble families, even after being conquered by the Empire.
  • In the Paradox Trilogy, Paradox is structured on a feudal system. The highest authority is the Sacred King, followed by the nobility, and there are limits to the social standing that a peasant can attain.
  • In the "The History of the Runestaff" the unnamed future year has degenerated to this.
  • In Sasya Fox's Theta Brynton is ruled by a number of noble houses that have a tendency to treat their subjects, and many off-worlders too, like slaves, even if they aren't actually slaves (and many are). The novel starts on board a passenger ship carrying refugees away from their latest civil war.
  • Of the thousands of planets settled by humans in Mikhail Akhmanov and Christopher Nicholas Gilmore's Captain French, or the Quest for Paradise, a good number of them have monarchies, although none of them are actually visited by French during the novel. He does mention to his wife that, in his experience, planets with a monarchy tend to be more stable in the long run. Since all of humanity is The Ageless, a monarch can rule for quite a long time, barring a violent death, adding to the stability (i.e. less Succession Crises). Democratic planets tend to go into a never-ending cycle that involves democracies becoming dictatorships, dictatorships breaking down into anarchies, anarchies becoming theocracies, and theocracies eventually going back to democracy. This cycle can take decades, or centuries, or even millennia.
  • In Kevin J. Anderson's Blindfold, the Atlas colony is divided into several landholdings ruled by hereditary lords, all of whom are descended from the colony ship's top officers. The colony itself has no monarch, and all major decisions are made by a council of the landholders. Most people don't live in very nice conditions, while the landholders live in palaces. The territories are connected to the original landing site (called First Landing), which is the de facto capital, via maglev tubes. The hub is also where the Truthsayer temple is located, as well as the Space Elevator. Just like in Real Life, there are good and bad landholders. Koman and Sardili are examples of the former kind, who try to treat their people well and frequently engage personally into local affairs. In fact, Victoria Koman is unique in that she doesn't care as much about blood as the other landholders. After the death of her oldest son in a mining accident and her daughter running off to live with some villager, her only choices for successor are one of her two remaining sons (who aren't very bright) or her adopted son (the only remaining member of the Van Petersen family, whose holding was taken over by the ambitious landholder Franz Dokken). She ends up going with the latter option.
  • In the Jacob's Ladder Trilogy, the AI Jacob Dust is fond of storybooks, and chose to model the post-Breaking social structure of the Generation Ship Jacob's Ladder after Arthurian feudalism.
  • Scott Meyer's Master of Formalities is set in a universe where the many human-colonized worlds are ruled by noble Houses. In order to maintain civility and understand between the disparate worlds and Houses, the Arbiters have created the position of a Master of Formalities, who act as advisers to the nobles as to the proper forms of behavior. Wollard is the Master of Formalities for the elegant House Jakabitus, which has been engaged in a centuries-long war with the brutish Hahn Empire. In order to avoid widespread devastation, the war has been limited to a single unimportant planet and mostly consists of the soldiers doing little in terms of actual fighting. Medieval Stasis is averted, as it's mentioned numerous times how certain technological advancements have altered how things are done in the galaxy. At the same time, Wollard looks down on the New Palace of House Jakabitus, since it's merely 1000 years old, unlike the more grandiose (in his mind) Old Palace.
  • Queen of the Tearling: The Tearling is a monarchy founded by escapees from a dystopian America.
  • In John Scalzi's The Interdependency series, the titular empire has a peculiar mix of this trope and a system of guilds monopolizing certain industries. The Interdependency's ruler is called Emperox (apparently, the "x" is silent) of the House of Wu. Other noble Houses rule other star systems or minor holdings inside the systems. Larger Houses also act as Guilds. The Parliament is made up of representatives of the noble Houses, although the Emperox can always veto a bill.
  • The Archduchy of Crius in Lucifer's Star has a similar original to the Honorverse in that it's original colonists established themselves as nobles when a large number of refugees arrived on their planet. They since established a hereditary warrior class and building castles as well as divine justifications (having begun as a Cult Colony). It's notable that while it seemed perfectly normal to them, other human colonies viewed them as Card Carrying Villains for it.
  • Many planets visited by Hammer's Slammers are ruled by oligarchies with noble titles, including Colonel Hammer's homeworld of Niuew Friesland. Though the planet in "The Tank Lords" appears to be run as traditional feudalism, with barons as landlords of illiterate peasants, including one servant boy who assumes the Slammers are some kind of nobility because they have combat vehicles.
  • Bearheart: People wall themselves up, similar to medieval towns.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who:
  • There are a few Feudal Lords (barons, dukes, etc.) on different planets in Firefly. In one episode, Mal goes to a party full of aristocrats and winds up fighting one of them in an old-fashioned sword duel.
  • In Star Trek: The Next Generation, Lwaxana Troi is a daughter of the Fifth House of Betazed, the Holder of the Sacred Chalice of Rixx, and Heir to the Holy Rings of Betazed. Betazed is the name of her planet, and may therefore imply quite high ranking nobility. However, the series did never elaborate on the extent of the actual political power of Lwaxana's family, so for all we know, all this titles might not even impress other Betazoids that much anymore. This is a good bet, considering Deanna's description of the Sacred Chalice of Rixx is "an old clay pot with mould growing in it.". After all, she is called "Mrs. Troi", not "Lady Lwaxana" or "Your Excellency".
  • Many of the Planet of Hats encountered in Stargate SG-1 appear to be feudal empires, although with those stuck in Medieval Stasis it's often not clear if (and if so, how) that applies to the planet as a whole or just the area around the Stargate that can be explored in a reasonable time.
  • In Killjoys shares in the Company are tied to land ownership on the planet Qresh. And land ownership is hereditary, a lot of the protagonists' jobs are caused by the dynastic politics of the nine major families.

  • The art for Black Knight 2000 is reminiscent of this, with a medieval Black Knight against a techno-futuristic landscape.
  • Big Guns has Royals and Knights in full metal armor welding futuristic weapons.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In the CAMELOT Trigger setting for FATE, which is King Arthur AS A MECHA SETTING, John Arthur is High King of Earth (mostly by virtue of blowing up the Skynet-esque MerGN-A's main processor and sending her fleeing). Other planets have similarly feudal arrangements: the Guinevere-equivalent, Valerie le Guin, is officially Valerie IV, Regent of Venus, and the Jovian moons are covered in squabbling minor houses known as Petty Titans. Even the Saturnian Senate seems to be more of an oligarchy of wealthy families than an actual democracy.
  • The Warhammer 40,000 Gaiden Game Necromunda is set on a world with such a massive population, it is impossible to establish any kind of central authority so, as with most other Imperial hive worlds, an urban feudal society has evolved to maintain order. At the lower end of the hierarchy, individual loyalties are owed to immediate family with closely related families supporting each other under the control of the head of the most powerful family. These family groups then cooperate with other family groups to form Houses, each of whom owe allegiance to a more powerful House. All the Houses owe allegiance to one of the Great Housesnote  who in turn swear loyalty to House Helmawr, the Imperial House whose leader, Lord Gerontius Helmawr, is Necromunda’s absolute ruler.

    Video Games 
  • After the End: A Post-Apocalyptic America takes place in a post-apocalyptic America where society has rebuilt itself on feudal lines and with access only to medieval-level technology.
  • Crystalis takes place after an apocalyptic nuclear war in 1997 nearly wiped out humanity, with many people creating a flying tower in the sky to hide from the aftermath within. The remnants of humanity on the surface shunned technology, leading to a return to swords and feudalism, along with the discovery of magic. The game takes place 100 years after said war and tower construction, meaning it has to be set in at least the year 2097, and likely somewhere in the early 2100s.
  • Sierra Ops takes place in the 25th Century, and has many aspects of society governed by a collection of noble families descended from the Twelve Noble Vanguards, heroes who saved humanity from the brink of extinction centuries before.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity combine this with Medieval Stasis. In the ancient past ancient, advanced technology bordering on magic was created by the Shiekah to help defeat Calamity Ganon 10,000 years ago. However, after the beast was destroyed, all of the ancient technology, including the army of Guardians and the four Divine Beasts were sealed away for fear of misusing its power. Over time, the people reverted to the basic classic medieval style the series is known for, with steel swords and bows instead of the energy weapons of millennia long past. Under the rule of King Rhoam, much of this technology was unearthed due to an ill prophecy of the darkness returning. However, when Calamity Ganon returns and corrupts the sealed technology, the medieval society collapses, leaving nothing but a few scattered settlements.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • In Star Trek: Lower Decks, Hysperia is a planet which was colonised by a group of Renaissance Fair enthusiasts who modelled their society on a Theme Park Version of medieval Europe, complete with nobility and knights. They have the same level of technology as everyone else but they renamed everything to seem like magic, i.e. they call plasma "dragon's blood". The chief engineer of the Cerritos turns out to be their crown prince, who's pretty embarassed by it all.

Bigger entities (monarchies of several planetary systems, galactic empires, etc.)

    Anime & Manga 
  • Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki, the Jurai Empire, the largest stellar empire in the show, is ruled over by four Imperial Houses, from which the Emperor is 'elected' - it's never explained how they're elected, but the candidate pool doesn't seem to be that big, and generally goes to the most powerful candidate. It presumably comes down to whoever Tsunami wants, as it was their agreement with her that gives Juraian royalty their powers.
  • Pretty much all the major powers in The Five Star Stories, though Democracies like the Trun Union are not unheard of. The United Hathuha Republic is a bit of an odd case, as its leader is elected (though not by the general public), but many of its member states have monarchies.
    • Though Trun's president spends more time selling his lance around than he does actually ruling his country, and Amaterasu Kingdom Demesnes is in fact a federated constitutional monarchy with elected parliaments both on the local and federal levels, which just happens to have monarchies for most of its member nations, and a Physical God for its emperor.
  • Barrage is set in the Kingdom of Industria, an interplanetary version of Medieval European Fantasy combined with Steampunk, with the different races coming from other planets and incredibly advanced science and engineering in place of magic.
  • The Galactic Empire of Legend of the Galactic Heroes.

    Comic Books 
  • In The Metabarons, far future humanity has a universe-spanning empire that was ruled by the long-lived brother and sister Emperor and Empress, with their deaths - their only child, the hermaphrodite Emperoress came to power. Backing the Imperial family is the elite Endoguard and the noble houses. Technology is controlled by the Technopontificate, while knowledge of psychic power is dominated by the Shabda-Oud priestesses. Economics is run by the Ekonomat. Throwing things into disarray are beings such as the cosmically-empowered aristocrat/mercenary One-Man Army, the Metabaron.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • There are a few multi-planet monarchies in the Star Wars Expanded Universe:
    • The Hapes Consortium is (despite its rather Cyberpunk like name) a hereditary absolute monarchy and major galactic power.
    • An even bigger example is the Legacy-era (set 137 years after the films) Galactic Empire which has evolved into a semi-benign hereditary monarchy.
    • The Yuuzhan Vong from the New Jedi Order are a theocratic absolute monarchy, with the Supreme Overlord in charge and the upper ranks of the four high castes (warrior, priest, shaper, and intendant) filling out the Decadent Court. Though Vong titles aren't strictly hereditary, Domains (powerful extended families) essentially function as feuding noble houses.
    • Emperor Palpatine replaced the elected senate with regional governors known as "Moffs" but they were appointed rather than hereditary. The Empire itself wasn't hereditary, because he seriously intended to live forever.
  • In Jupiter Ascending, the space-faring human civilization is stated to be a "confederation" but families such as the House of Abrasax, which has titles and seals and succession crisises and all that, seem to dominate the economy.

  • The Humankind Empire of Abh in Crest of the Stars is a galaxy-spanning polity uniting half of the whole Humanity, but is still has a complicated feudal structure with a three-tiered citizenshipnote , but it is subverted in that this feudal structure is in fact just a rank ladder of civil/military service, and is open to any imperial citizen on the basis of individual merit and promotion.
  • Bunches of star nations in David Weber's Honor Harrington, including but not limited to the Star Empire of Manticore (constitutional monarchy), Grayson (constitutional monarchy with strong theocratic undertones) and the Andermani Empire (absolute monarchy with rather nutty, but competent monarchs). Then again, the whole series is Horatio Hornblower IN SPACE!!! Many other forms of government are also seen, ranging from various forms of republics to corporate-run colonies to so-called Peoples' Republics.
    • Manticore had an interesting Justification for its nobility: The oldest noble families are descended from the original colonists who footed the initial investment for the trip out to the Manticore system, with the Queen's family being descended from the biggest investor.
      • Manticore was initially established as a corporativist society not unlike Beowulf or Mesa, but it had to fall back on feudal structure after The Plague that wiped out more than half of its entire population shortly after the colony foundation. Faced with a need to quickly import a huge number of fresh immigrants, and fearing the erosion of their original investment, the original settlers developed the current feudal system as a way to ensure their political and economic domination, though some of the subsequent immigrants were wealthy enough to acquire noble titles themselves, as noble titles in Manticore are more intellectual property than anything else. It's also stated that the original political structure was significantly more feudal in nature than it eventually became, with the nobles pretty much running everything. One of the monarchs managed to build a strong executive and gain the support of the commons.
    • Unlike Manticore with its different peer ranks, all Grayson Steadholders have the same official rank. They also have significantely more authority over their Steadings than even the highest Manticoran nobles, being effectively Kings complete with the right of High, Middle, and Low Justice. This is slowly changing thanks to the Mayhew Restoration, which reinforces the authority of the Protector (basically, The High King). Historically, there has been a constant power struggle between the Sword (the Protector) and the Keys (the Steadholders). Additionally, according to the Grayson constitution, each Steadholder is allowed no more than 50 armsmen (personal guards), thus preventing them from building a large military force loyal to them alone.
  • The Empire of Man from the Prince Roger series, by John Ringo and David Weber, is ruled by an Emperor/Empress operating under a feudal model.
  • Also Weber's The Excalibur Alternative in passing, but there it's justified by the Emperor being an English noble born in the 14th century(yes, it's sci-fi - it's a rather odd story).
  • For that matter, the Empire from the Ashes trilogy. The Emperor is absolute in military matters but a kind of limited monarch in civil. The ships of Battle Fleet are hard-wired to obey not the Emperor, however, but rather a massive supercomputer orbiting the capital, leaving him largely impotent if he is voted out of office until a new Emperor can be put into power. This was arranged by the first emperor (elected by the Senate to stop the civil wars) as a check against absolute power, and nothing short of complete reassembly of the supercomputer's core can change its mind.
  • Yet another Weber example is found in In Fury Born with the massive Terran Empire, the dominant human polity, governed by a hereditary Emperor (or Empress) and a Parliament of popularly elected Senators. There are also a few planetary monarchies strewn around in the various Rogue Worlds that serves as a buffer between the Empire and its Rishathian Sphere rivals.
  • Jerry Pournelle and Larry Niven's The Mote in God's Eye
    • Interestingly, in notes published elsewhere the authors say that their use of titles like Count, Emperor, etc. were intended as translations of the far-future titles, which would probably be more like Commissar-General, or President. But since the system worked like a feudal aristocracy, they went with traditional names to preserve the feel.
  • Frank Herbert's Dune (and its various live-action adaptations) is basically nobles feuding IN SPACE. True to the trope, they do have some advanced technology, such as starships with FTL-capabilities, nuclear weapons (for defensive deterrence purposes only, by convention), Fast-moving buFrickin' Laser Beams and Deflector Shields, but they tend towards knife fighting (because a relatively slow moving blade can pierce the Deflector Shields, where as Frickin Laser Beams hitting the shields blows up both attacker and defender, and a fast-moving bullet would just bounce off) and don't have any computers. All perfectly justified in the backstory - to wit, the Butlerian Jihad (an immense crusade against 'thinking machines' that had enslaved humanity), among other things, placed House Corrino (Padishah Emperors for the next several thousand years) in power. The prequel novels also show that feudalism has been around even before the Corrino Imperium, with the League of Nobles, and the Old Imperium before that. No one ever brings up the idea of an elected government until the Bene Gesserit (who have always been a democratic organization internally, at least among fully initiated members) begin to acquire an overt empire tens of thousands of years later. Frank Herbert stated his plan was for the Bene Gesserit to establish a proper democracy, but he died before he could write those books.
  • Isaac Asimov's Foundation Series: The feudal structure of governments in this series comes from Dr Asimov's desire to write a Recycled In Space version of Edward Gibbon's The Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire. The provinces in the Periphery (the outer edges of The Milky Way Galaxy) declare themselves independent kingdoms. The ones nearest Terminus are known as the Four Kingdoms, because they are the first nations to be absorbed by the Foundation and they spend decades as independent nations (while the scientists of Terminus teach them a Scam Religion that included the Divine Right of Kings). The same changes that occurred after the collapse of The Roman Empire are explored here, although it doesn't play out in the exact same way (Foundation begins as the Byzantine capital of Byzantine Empire, while Foundation and Empire has the Galactic Empire retake the role of Byzantium while the Foundation represents the Medieval Catholic Church).
  • Katherine Kurtz's The Legacy of Lehr
  • Elizabeth Moon's Hunting Party — although the author was apparently unable to suspend her own disbelief, as the sequel reveals that the feudalism is mostly societal set-dressing over democratic underpinnings, and deconstructs, sometimes unpleasantly, several of the tropes that were used straight in book one.
  • Poul Anderson:
    • The Technic History series included a Terran Empire. (Deliberately established on feudal-service lines by the "Founder" Manuel Argos the Great, before it went decadent.)
    • Played for laughs in The High Crusade, in which a party of Englishmen heading for the Crusades is hijacked by aliens and winds up establishing an empire because the aliens have forgotten how to do combat on land.
  • M. K. Wren's Phoenix Trilogy is this a thousand years after the Pandemic. World civilization was nearly wiped out, and only the more remote areas of the world really recovered. The world (and it's off-planet colonies) are ruled by a series of noble houses, and the government is based in what is today Australia.
  • Simon R Green's Deathstalker series is a fairly dystopian version of this trope, and unlike many actually does deal with the difficulty of setting up a working system of democracy, although not in any great detail. Given that it was almost a gleeful self-parody of the whole space-opera genre, this is not particularly surprising...
  • In Poul Anderson's Corridors Of Time, the hero realizes that the futuristic society that recruited him to fight a Dystopia is rather Dystopian itself when he is dropped in it and learns that the queen has high tech medical treatment while the poor woman he meets looks ancient at forty because of her lack of it.
  • M.K. Wren's The Phoenix Legacy, which is a more literal version of a Feudal Future than most: most of humanity are Bonds, kept illiterate and oppressed to a greater or lesser degree depending on who has control of them. The Fesh are educated professionals (e.g. university scholars, technicians), while the Elite are the aristocrats who control the government. For the past few hundred years, it has been effectively impossible to change from one of the three castes to a higher caste. The civilization, which arose After the End of World War III, is teetering on the edge of another Dark Age as the story opens.
    • In the Mankeen Revolt, a relatively recent historical memory, Lionar Mankeen attempted to liberate the Bonds by force. The attempt failed miserably and set back social progress a long way because the implementation was not well thought out; the Bonds were not only illiterate, but were unused to handling money and working for wages, and preparations had not been made to alleviate those problems.
  • The Praxis (Dread Empire's Fall) has The Peers, Lords and Ladies born to a higher station.
  • Lampshaded in an unidentified Space Opera story. Yes, the Earth of the 35th century (or whatever time it was) has a royal family, but it is purely ceremonial and came into being as the dual result of deregulation of royal succession laws and the members of the few remaining royal families going to the same types of parties, until eventually all the royal families had basically become indistinguishable from one another. Since by this time Earth had ceased to have countries or anything, the idea of their being a British/Japanese/Belgian/Monacoian/Dutch/whatever royal family anymore was dumb anyway so it was just decided that there would be a ceremonial "King/Queen of Earth" instead.
  • The Empire in Legend of the Galactic Heroes is basically Prussia in space.
  • Both averted and played straight by H. Beam Piper.
    • Piper's Terro-Human Future History ended with a series of galactic Empires. This was justified: the universe was too big to hold a vote for general leader. Not only counting a vote of trillions, but also transporting the vote took far too long. The aversion is in the planetary governments: Piper's Empire allowed each planet to be self-governing, under a general Imperial constitution that controlled how the planets interacted with each other. This meant that any number of types of governments existed from planet to planet, from enlightened democracies to totalitarian nightmares. The capital planet of the Empire itself, Odin, was actually run as a constitutional monarchy, with a strong parliament to balance out the Emperor.
    • Other stages in the TFH play it straight in entirely different ways.
      • Space Viking is set at a time when the Terran Federation has gone belly-up, leaving mostly local nobilities to rule, although some have a degree of democracy; Marduk basically resembles Britain, with a mostly vestigial monarchy ruling only in name over a democratic government. (Because Piper believed that democracy is, at minimum, flawed, Marduk actually becomes less democratic during the story, due to the rise of a Hitler figure forcing the monarchy to start flexing its muscles once more.)
      • The Sword Worlds, from where the titular Space Vikings came from, are straight-up feudal with each planet either ruled by a king or split between several independent continent-sized duchies, which are divided up into a range of smaller estates down to baronies of farms or factories.
  • Isaac Asimov's The Stars, Like Dust: In the far future the human race has colonized many worlds, which without exception are ruled by various Khans, Autarchs, hereditary Directors, or "Ranchers" (the title of a sub-planetary hereditary ruler on the planet Nephelos, one of the worlds of the Nebular Kingdoms that is now ruled by the fifty-planet empire of the Tyranni).
  • In Michael Flynn's Spiral Arm novels, the Ardry and his agents, his Hounds, are a court, with some resemblence to The Low Middle Ages. The government of the Confederacy is less feudal, but the structure of the Shadows is, very much, a culture of honor, formal combat, and personal loyalties in the manner of The Late Middle Ages.
  • The time-displaced hero of Edmond Hamilton's The Star Kings, John Gordon, is somewhat disappointed to discover the far future is monarchical until reassured that they are constitutional monarchies.
  • Harry Harrison's Bill the Galactic Hero is set in a galactic empire ruled by an Emperor and a caste of nobility, supported by a gargantuan bureaucracy. This system is shown to be hopelessly inefficient and corrupt, and the actual number of nobles so small compared to the positions only available to those of high birth that for example starship captains tend to be idiot children, if not unborn fetuses, whose actual duties are handled by lower class supporting officers.
  • The Kevin J. Anderson/Brian Herbert Hellhole co-operation has the Constellation, ruled by the Diadem (an elected-for-life monarch with a provision against electing the son or daughter of the previous monarch) and the Council of Lords (the Constellation's parliamentary assembly, the people who elect the Diadem from amongst their own ranks and composed of the lords ruling the planets of the Constellation). The backstory even features a rebellion fuelled to a large degree by one of the historic issues with feudalism — what do you do with the surplus sons?
  • In The Empress Game, both major societies featured have monarchies. That said, the one we see most of seems to be not so much classic feudalism as a melting pot of various systems with a monarchic-styled leadership perched on top.
  • In The Princes of the Air, Queen Rachel is the feudal overlord of multiple star systems. There's a movement to have the monarchy replaced by a republic, which it eventually turns out the queen herself is secretly one of the leaders of, having come to the conclusion that it's what's best for her people.
  • In the Drake Maijstral series by Walter Jon Williams, the Earth was conquered many centuries ago by the relatively benevolent Khosali Empire (loosely based on the Victorians). The Khosali, who wanted to integrate conquered races as quickly as possible, soon began ennobling humans who were willing to work with them peacefully. By the time Earth managed to win its independence back, they were so used to feudalism (which, after all, was a human tradition even before the Khosali came) that they kept it, although many want to get rid of it.
  • The eponymous Republic of Cinnabar in David Drake's RCN series is a Merchant Prince variation on the trope, with landholding aristocracy established by financial wealth and to a lesser extent political connections. This allows for some upward mobility with hard work and lucknote , but there's still fundamentally a feudal landholder-tenant relationship, and only the upper class has the right to vote. This was based on a combination of Regency- to Victorian Britain and the Roman Republic.
  • Angel in the Whirlwind's Commonwealth of Tyre began life as a Mega-Corp-dominated plutocracy and had the Fiction 500 heads of the corporations declare themselves dukes and a king. It's still possible to get rich and buy yourself a peerage.
  • Two of the three main human societies in The Indranan War are set up like this. The titular Indranan Empire has an elected parliament and prime minister, but all the real power is held by the Empress and the Matriarch Council (composed of the female heads of the major noble families). Their rivals the Saxon Alliance are also a monarchy led by a king, though the internal workings of the Saxons are explored in far less detail. The Solarian League is the third major power and averts this; it's a democracy led by a president.
  • Ernst Jüngers Books Heliopolis, at the marble cliffs and eumeswil are set in a future which reverted to feudalism.
  • In Diane Duane's Rihannsu, the titular Rihannsu, also known as the Romulan Star Empire, have such a society: upon settling Ch'Rihan and Ch'Havran, they intentionally organized themselves in a conservative system with hereditary nobility ruling over their fiefs and representing them in the Senate from which they'd choose the twelve Praetors, plus an occasional emperor, because, knowing how warlike they were, they saw this system as a way to reduce their wars, with the only change (going from bicameral Senate to a reformed bicameral Senate with Praetors and the occasional emperor) after the rise of the Ruling Queen Vriha t'Rehu proved the original system wasn't stable enough. It worked well enough as they were isolated from the wider galaxy, especially as the Senators knew well their constituents could and would mail them swords in a not-too-veiled veiled demand of suicide on pain of killing them and electing someone else in their place if they failed their duty, but a horrible first contact (where the Rihannsu mistook the Federation's attempt at peaceful contact for a ruse to launch an invasion as it had already happened on Vulcan before they left, so fired everything they had), the long war that followed, and the rapid expansion that followed the war and the loopside alliance with the Klingon showed the limits of the system.
  • In Christopher Ruocchio's The Sun Eater series, in the far-future most of humanity is ruled by the Sollan empire where the Emperor is at the top. Next highest is between corporations like the Wong-Hopper Consortium who control interstellar trade and the Holy Terran Chantry, who control the usage and allocation of technology and are backed by the Inquisition. After that it's the nobility and below them, their retainers. Finally there's the serfs. Nobility can live for centuries because of genetic engineering, one of them (who's father owns the empire's largest source of uranium) is disturbed to see a mining representative who looks old at 40. The rep is complaining because their radiation suits are old and leaky, and their machines are mostly broken so they're reduced to using pickaxes.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Stargate SG-1 is set in the present, but the Goa'uld System Lords definitely operated under a feudal system. The main difference being that, due to their nigh-immortality, it was less about lines than about individuals, and holdings would usually pass from father to son by conquest.
  • Star Trek's Klingon Empire has a very feudal feel to it, being organized into noble houses and the like. The Empire has technically always had an imperial throne, but for almost all of its history this was vacant, following the departure of the first emperor, Kahless the Unforgettable. Real power resided with the Chancellor of the High Council. Towards the end of Star Trek: The Next Generation a clone of Kahless was installed as emperor in a ceremonial role.
  • Babylon 5 has a few examples, mostly from the Expanded Universe:
    • The Centauri "Republic" (the only one to actually appear in the main series) is actually an Empire with several Houses scheming for power.
    • Invoked with the Sh'lassan Triumvirate, founded by humans who left Earth because they believed a feudal system was better than Earth Alliance' democracy. Their homeworld of Sh'lassa and their colony of Akdor eventually join Earth Alliance as the price the Triumvirate had to pay for military assistance in retaking their colony.
    • The Dilgar Imperium, defeated during the Dilgar War a few years before the series, was a strange case, in that they had an emperor and a nobility but the actual power resided in the very meritocratic military led by the Council of Warmasters, whose members are the nine best soldiers of the Imperium. At the end of the Dilgar War the Imperium was dismantled by Earth Alliance and the League of Non-Aligned Worlds, but a new regime failed to emerge due to their sun going nova.
    • The Orieni Empire, the Centauri main rival during their golden age, had an emperor, whose power basically amounted to naming warships, with the actual power belonging not to the nobles but the Council of Hierophants, chosen among the Blessed (how they call their telepaths, as they realize they're Touched by Vorlons and actually worship them as gods). Their status after they lost the war against the Centauri is unknown.
    • Minbari society is divided into three castes: Religious, Warrior and Worker. This is the social divide used by feudalism—the Church, the aristocracy who do the fighting, and the peasants and artisans who support these two groups with their labour. In this case however all castes are supposed to be on the same social level, so it's a downplayed trope.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Tharils' past in Warriors' Gate.
    • in Frontier in Space, the Draconian Empire.
    • The 2005 series mentions the New Roman Empire sometime around the year 12,000 (in the 51st century humanity has already spread across half the galaxy) and what should be The Fourth Great and Bountiful Human Empire around the year 200,000 which is supposed to span "a million planets, a million species". It's not specified how these are governed, but the word "empire" does imply hereditary rulers.
      • Not necessarily. Pretty much all European colonial powers are historically referred to as 'empires' even when they weren't monarchies, France being the most obvious example.
  • The Systems Commonwealth of Andromeda was originally the Vedran Empire, but they transitioned to a constitutional monarchy thousands of years before contact with humanity. During the Long Night several feudal and semi-feudal governments arose, most notably some of the larger Nietzschean Prides such as the Drago-Kazov and Sabra-Jaguar, who lord over enslaved populations of "kludges" and sometimes even use titles (i.e. Archduke Charlemagne Bolivar).
    • In one episode Captain Dylan Hunt and Tyr are made advisers to a young planetary king, and have to protect him from the rebellious nobles who had just offed his father. Dylan convinces him to reform his world as a democracy by the end of the episode. It also helps that Tyr uses the opportunity to kill all the nobles, thus freeing their lands to be distributed among the members of the military who lay down their arms.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40,000 has the Imperium of Man. The central authorities of the Imperium, the Lords of Terra and the Administratum, serves as the feudal lord and appoints one governor for each planet. That governor has three duties: Pay your tithes to the upkeep of the Imperium, turn over any psykers to the black ships, and keep your world from rebelling. As long as those three tenets are upheld, the central authority cares little for how the world is run on a day-to-day basis. Thus, one can find practically any sort of government on imperial planets, from medieval feudalism or military dictatorships to modern-day democracies. The only thing they all have in common is a de jure governor, to be held responsible by the Administratum should the planet lapse in any of its three duties.
    • Along with these three basic duties there were also upholding the Cultus Imperialis, submitting to the authority and supervision of Adeptus Arbites in the matter of the (admittedly few) Imperial Laws and, as a duty to any Imperial citizen, following every whim of the Inquisition.
    • Space Marine Chapters double in as Feudal masters and Knightly Orders. They are semi-independent yet owe their loyalty to the Imperium, and maintain their own upkeep using (usually) a Star System. The Ultramarines are particularly notable in that their dominion encompasses multiple star systems.
    • Society on Knight Worlds of the Questor Imperialisnote  is divided between the serf-like Drovers, who tend to herds and crops and are equipped with simple unarmed walkers; the Sacristans, a subset of the Mechanicus who look after the mecha and keep the peace between noble houses; and the Knightly Houses proper, who have exclusive access to the Humongous Mecha and use these to rule their worlds, and who are sworn to a number of high lords. In turn, all the lords of a planet answer to a single Princeps or High King, who is sworn to either Mars or Terra, respectively.
    • There's also the Martian Technocracy (also known as the Mechanicum, or Adeptus Mechanicus). They hold a weird position in the Imperium, as the Emperor guaranteed their autonomy, and virtual monopoly on high technology by treaty just before the start of the Great Crusade. The result is a sovereign technotheocratic nation, separate and legally distinct from, yet physically co-mingled with the Imperium as a whole (and their Adeptus status makes them de jure Imperial Citizens, as opposed to merely planetary subjects). In a lot of ways, it's pretty similar to the medieval Church...
    • On the Xenos side of things, society on Craftworld Saim-hann is built around Wild Rider clans, each one ruled by a single head figure, the "Chief" and the rule is passed down through hereditary tradition, while the Chief's closest relatives, the Kinsmen, form the elite. This is also true for Eldar Exodite worlds. In another case, some Ork tribes are successful enough to form small empires, such as the Ork Empires of Octarius and Charadon. These lorded over by a Warlord or Warboss, with the Nobs (larger and more combat-capable Orks) forming a sort of noble class.
  • In BattleTech, feudal-like systems were initially adopted due to simple practicality: there was FTL travel on the scale of weeks, but no FTL communication faster than a courier. So a ruler of an interstellar empire needed someone on-hand he could trust to take care of the day-to-day management. Even after the advent of FTL communcations, they maintain a feudal society. When the Inner Sphere joined together in the Star League, the head of the Terran Hegemony became First Lord, but his power was semi-limited by the heads of the other member states in the Star League. Once the Terran Hegemony was destroyed and the Star League dissolved, it basically became 5 separate feudal nations at war with each other. Each of the 5 nations of the Inner Sphere has its own take on their feudal system:
    • The Federated Suns is a pretty straight-up Medieval European feudal system, with nobles having almost total power over what happens within their fiefdoms, overriden only by higher nobles in the hierarchy. It's a fairly free society however, with citizens have freedom of speech and the right to protest the actions of nobles. The nobles who try to suppress these rights are usually stripped of power or executed.
    • The Draconis Combine is basically feudal Japan, though with less direct conflict among nobles; high-ranking military leaders can often have greater power than planetary lords.
    • The Free Worlds League is something of a democracy (it is also the nation with the most civil strife), but each of the member states and worlds in the League is a feudal society. Their ruler has the title "Captain-General", and his family has the right of first refusal of that tile. The Captain-General was initially just the highest military rank, until the League Parliament voted to give the Captain-General special powers "for the duration of the conflict." Naturally, the conflict has not been deemed to be ended, even after 300 years.
    • The Capellan Confederation is a fairly traditional feudal system, though it has quasi-Chinese and Russian trappings. It also has the notion of having to earn one's citizenship.
    • The Lyran Commonwealth is an odd form of feudalism. Feudal lords are more like chief executors in the overall governmental power structure, rather than absolute rulers. And one can gain nobility by becoming the head of a large corporation. This doesn't confer any de-facto powers on them, but it does give them access that might otherwise not have been granted. The nobility and the military even merged to a degree during peacetime. These "Social Generals" seriously screwed up the Commonwealth military once peace was over, infusing it with a lot of politicking that has lead to the richest nation having the least effective military. Due to a top-level political marriage with the the far more more militarily apt Federated Suns, the Lyran armed forces eventually got a good shakedown from their new countrymen and became a much more effective force.
    • The Clans have something of a merit-based feudal system, at least among the ruling warrior caste. You have to actually earn your last name, called a "bloodname", in a Trial of Bloodright. These battles often are to the death. Once you have a bloodname, you get to have a vote on clan-wide business.
    • The small Rim Collection, a backwater Periphery state, is one of a very few de facto exceptions to feudalism's ubiquity, being operated more as a small, semi-republican confederation. However it only barely rates a mention, and it only retains its independence on the basis that the Lyrans don't think it's worth the bother to mount an invasion.
    • Another Periphery state to avoid this trope is the Taurian Concordat, a loose confederation of planets (most of whom are representative democracies) allied together. The Concordat's common interests (defence and foreign policy) are controlled by a constitutional monarch whose decisions are subject to judicial review, and freedom of speech, press and association is guaranteed every citizen by their constitution. Being (unfriendly) neighbours of the Federated Suns (and just a bit too big to be easily conquered), the Taurians take it as a point of national pride not to take on any of the trappings of feudalism.
    • The Free Rasalhague Republic, during its short existence (it was internally stable and competently run, but between its location and by necessity of its founding weak military was almost completely overrun by the aforementioned Clans when they invaded the Inner Sphere), was a downplayed example — it was as feudal as it had to be to appease the aristocratic inclinations of its much stronger neighbours, and no more (it could get away with calling itself a "Republic" because that sort of thing stands out less in an environment with a "Free Worlds League" and a "Federated Commonwealth").
  • Fading Suns role-playing game is set in a Dune-esque interstellar feudal empire, millennia after the fall of the Republic. The peasants are forcefully (nobles) and brainwashingly (the Church) restricted to medieval-level technology, while the upper echelons of the society are allowed to enjoy high-tech to the fullest.
  • The Third Imperium of Traveller is one of the earliest RPG examples. Individual planets are more or less autonomous and can have practically any form of government, but the space between them is the domain of the local nobility. This is all due to the mechanics of the setting's phlebotinum: Jump drive takes one week to travel between star systems regardless of distance and most drives can only travel about two parsecs per jump, so with no form of superluminal communication available a hierarchy of nobles is one of the few political arrangements that can function across such a vast territory of space.
    • The system of nobility is complex. For instance a noble's estate is not the same as his office. For instance the duke of a given subsector does not hold that subsector as part of a family possession. He holds it as a sort of satrapy. At the same time he will likely have several different estates that he is a direct Feudal Overlord over. How the Third Imperium assures loyalty in it's nobles is not made clear (though it's implied the Imperial Navy and Marines have something to do with it).
  • Mutant Chronicles:
    • Mishima is based on Tokugawa-era bushido, and a particularly brutal brand at that. Land and industrial rights are given as fiefdoms, with the High Lords doing as they please. Social mobility is pretty much non-existent, though that is changing.
    • Bauhaus are also purely feudal, but less oppressive. Bauhaus nobles, unlike their Mishiman counterparts, have a strong sense of noblesse obligé, and commoners who distinguish themselves can be raised to the nobility. That said, commoners are second-class citizens in Bauhaus, and no bones are made about that.
    • Imperial flip-flops a bit. While less extreme than Bauhaus or Mishima, power lies firmly with the clan chiefs and their families. Commoners have little power, but they do have a fair bit of influence. It is very possible for commoners to rise to power by working their way up in the civil service, distinguishing themselves in battle or taking advisory positions with powerful people.
    • Capitol is a subversion. The corporation is governed by shareholders voting their stock like a modern day corporation, with the CEO holding a position analogous to that of the president of the United States.
    • Cybertronic gets things done. Somehow.
    • The Brotherhood are an electory theocracy led by the Cardinal, who is elected by the leading figures in the Brotherhood and holds his position until death. The truth is the Cardinal position is always held by one of three immortal brothers (latest edition retcons the brothers into being from the species before humans).
  • The Dragonstar (third-party) campaign setting for Dungeons & Dragons's third edition is utterly dominated by the massive Dragon Empire, split into two Dragon Kingdoms of of five duchies each (the Dragon Empire was formed as a compromise to stop a devastating war between the metallic dragon-ruled kingdom of Qesemet and the chromatic dragon-ruled kingdom of Asamet, each having one duchy each for the constituent colours). The position of Emperor is rotated between the rules of the duchies on a 1000-year basis, but other than that it is a pretty standard life-long feudal space regime — with the exception of the top nobility being true dragons and hence having natural lives well in excess of a thousand years, of course.
  • In Myriad Song the Remanence is ruled by noble houses genetically modified by the Syndics for Xenharmonic abilities, so they could act as slave overseers.
  • In Lancer, numerous examples of feudal colonies and states are mentioned in the background lore, with the Karrakin Trade Baronies standing notably above the rest as one of the largest factions in the setting. They draw as much from classical Greek aesthetics and mythology as they do Arthurian legend and the Medieval era, with mech pilots called Kavalieres, Kuirassers, and Pankrati.

    Video Games 
  • The Elites/Sangheili from Halo have a society set up in this manner, with each of their planets divided into a number of independent states ruled by their most prominent keep and led by a kaidon elected by a council of elders. However, Elites also believe in meritocracy, and serfs who prove themselves can become part of the main keep, while even Elites of noble birth are not allowed to know the identity of their parents, in order to minimize nepotism.
    • The accepted way to express disapproval of a kaidon is to assassinate him. However, if it fails, then the leader has a right to kill the elder. If the elder sent assassins, instead of doing the job himself like a proper Sangheili, then the kaidon may also have the elder's entire family slaughtered for his cowardice, instead of merely exiled.
    • The Elites themselves are part of the Covenant, a theocratic multi-species Empire whose government is the only thing capable of maintaining political unity between the Elites; after the Covenant collapses post-Halo 3, the Elites have split into a number of opposing factions.
  • Borderlands's galaxy expanding corporatocracies are basically a more modern Anarcho Capitalist version. Mega corporations CEOs rule as kings on their own privately owned planets, with workers colonizing planets acting as serfs. The Megacorps wage war against each other, with a thin veneer of respectable office paperwork.
  • Dyztopia: Post-Human RPG: The Arcdras formed the Tundrus Kingdom and the Smogs formed the Smog Empire in the post-human world, both of which utilize a traditional aristocracy. In contrast, Zeta is a completely corporate run state while Vulcanite is a puppet democracy in service of Zeta. Before Zeta took over Vulcanite, the latter was a collectivist society with no form of currency.
  • The Amarr Empire in EVE Online, complete with a theocratic government and widespread use of slavery.
  • Celestus : To quote the in-game crawl, « A feudal system in the space age ? The Duchies did it. »
  • Imperium Nova's whole schtick. Each player controls a feudal house with operations spanning several planets in a galactic empire theoretically under the rule of an imperial house. Though planetary governorships are elected.
    • The emperor of the Capricorn server has recently allowed houses to claim their homeworlds as Satrapies.
  • In Mass Effect, the salarian society is this, according to the Codex. Though they are matrilineal rather than patrilineal like most other examples due to their haploid-diploid sex determination (males hatch from unfertilized eggs).
  • One of the government options in the Master of Orion series (after the first installment), which imposes a penalty to research and makes your planets easier for other players to use after conquering them, but also offers a bonus to military production.
  • It appears that three of the four Houses in Freelancer have (at least, partly) a feudal system. Bretonia resurrects the British constitutional monarchy. Kusari has an Emperor and local lords. Even Rheinland goes back to the old days of unified Prussia and has its own aristocracy. Liberty appears to be the only one with a purely democratic government.
    • It is unclear if the nobility of Rheinland has any actual power by virtue of their titles anymore, but Rheinland at the very least was this trope, before a disastrous conflict led to a revolution that toppled the Emperor (and established a republic that may or may not have been about as democratic as Liberty, if more unstable, before the Nomad infestation).
  • In Frontier's Elite series, the Empire is an interstellar power that bases itself upon the Roman Empire, with patrician-like Senators that have almost unlimited legal freedom, a regulated slave trade, and a heredity ruler. The decadent Empire is the rival of the corporate Federation and the free Alliance. Solar systems can be aligned to one of the three powers or Independent, and can have any government type regardless of affiliation, such as a Federation-aligned Feudal system or an Empire-aligned Communist system.
  • Vega Strike human faction Highborn. They seem to think of themselves as Knight in Shining Armor better than anyone including superhumans. Highborn are noticeably decadent, but there's enough of high-end jousting forces to back up their claims.
  • In Escape Velocity Nova, the Auroran Empire, the territorially largest government in the setting, is composed of five Houses of Proud Warrior Race Guys who fight each other about as often as they fight the Federation and the Polaris.
  • In the Crisis of the Confederation mod for Crusader Kings II, this is the goal of the Neo-Feudalist political ideologynote . At the start of the game, they are in control of the interstellar Kingdom of Avalon, which they in the backstory hijacked from a Bio-Directionist statebuilding project. Some of the other ideologies can also favour shifts in this direction — the Terran Confederation can be transformed into the Terran Empire in the hands of the Terran Imperialist ideology (who are more authoritarian than actually feudal, but in actual effect shift towards this trope due to the demands of dictatorship on the interstellar scale), and the right circumstances can lead to the Confederation being transformed into the Holy Terran Empire, complete with a state church with power and influence.
  • Quite possible in Stellaris with the "Feudal Society" civic unique to Imperial star nations. Crucially the civic allows your vassals to build their own starbases in unclaimed systems and expand outward on their own, lending a unique playstyle. Though any monarchy or dictatorship that practices Aristocracy, Caste System slavery and/or Domestic Servitude will be a quasi-example.
    • "Imperial Fiefdom" origin added in the Overlord expansion is largely based around this. An empire with this origin begins the game as one of a number of vassals of another, more powerful empire. After a couple of decades, the Overlord empire falls apart due to a Succession Crisis, which allows some of yesterday's vassals to try to become a suzerain themselves.
  • In Rising Angels, this appears to be the case for the Raltin Empire, but is averted for the other named countries. Even though democracies are said to have become relatively rare, it seems that it still isn't normal for non-democracies to go full feudal.
  • Implied in Xenonauts. The High Praetor is just some two-bit warlord in a vast interstellar empire, and whether his invasion succeeds or fails doesn't really bother the rest of the empire much.
  • In Crying Suns, the galaxy-spanning Empire is ruled by a collection of noble houses. The three Great Houses are House Telos (the royal family), House Akibara-Sung, and House Kosh-Buendia, each of which controls its own star cluster.

  • In The Comeback Path Of Princess From Mars, the planet Earth is run by an emperor with an aristocratic feudal culture below him.
  • The setting of Cosmoknights has various patriarchal monarchies spread across the galaxy. Non-royals aren't nearly as feudal as other settings, however. The effect of a monarch on a planet seems to be mostly economic.
  • The interstellar Nemesite Empire in The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob! has been shown to have an emperor, a princess, and solar system viceroys. As well as trials by combat.
  • Lancer: The Knights of Fenris is a Furry Webcomic set in this kind of world. It's about a group of mammalian species who unite in self-defense against the reptilian invaders who seek to conquer them all. The mammals seem governed by noble houses while the reptiles have a more centralized empire. The heroes, called "knights", are mammalian space pilots; both they and the reptiles wear uniforms that resemble futuristic suits of armor.
  • Phoebus Krumm is essentially the Age of Sail in space. However the monarchs have corporate-derived titles such as "CEO" and "Drector".
  • Earth's solar system in Sunset Grill has become this, largely because of The Emperor's immortality and force of personality.

    Web Original 
  • In the history of Orion's Arm a number of Great Houses emerged as the First Federation declined. But by the 106th century A.T. most have been supplanted by the Sephirotic Empires of the Archailects.
  • Monarchy and feudalism made a comeback in parts of the world in 1983: Doomsday, particularly among some of the new countries emerging from the wastelands. On the other hand, the aftermath of Doomsday also saw some of the remaining prewar nations seeing either the restoration or strengthening of more established royal houses.
  • The Templin Institute: Discussed in several episodes. Marc is not a fan of "Space Monarchies" because, in his view, hereditary monarchies are ineffectual and obsolete compared to modern western-style democracies that reward merit instead of birthright. He argues that any given democracy would be more competently managed as well as more advanced culturally and technologically, and monarchies are doomed to power struggles every time the a monarch dies without a clear heir with a strong claim, weakening the nation further. He also dislikes "Empires" as a formal name for a nation, as he notes that the term once evoked awe and respect but is today used to refer to oppressive colonial regimes; the idea of a nation that is governed by and serves the people as a good thing is so engrained into the modern human psyche that nations will use friendlier names even when they are empires in practice.

    Western Animation 
  • In Xyber 9: New Dawn, there are kingdoms, empires and lots of peasants, and yet there's also hoverbikes, Airborne Aircraft Carriers, and various forms of energy weapons.
  • In Steven Universe, Gem society has shades of this. Since Gems are functionally immortal, succession does not play a role (though you could view each Gem type as a "lineage" of sorts), but the Diamonds, who rule the interstellar Gem empire, are very much treated as royalty, and each have their own court composed of various ranks of servant Gems and an "aristocracy" of Sapphires and other higher-ranked Gem types. The various Quartz sub-types serve as something like knights. There definitely seems to be a legal system underpinning Gem society and keeping the Diamonds in power, since the Diamonds explicitly want to put Rose Quartz on trial.