Unto the enquiring minds of Lochac, greetings!
I have never actually been asked who would win if a canton and a shire went to war, but I have had several people ask me variations on the question "which is better, a shire or a canton?" With the diplomacy for which I pride myself, I always answer "it depends"
Cantons and shires have the same requirements for officers, membership numbers, and all of the administrivia which makes a kingdom great. And for a group which is keen to grow, they are both stepping stones on the way to being a barony. For a group which is working well at its current size, they are both noble states to stay in.
When someone is thinking about founding a new group far from our existing centres, they usually assume that they have no choice but to begin as a shire – so I point out to them that there might be a nearby barony willing to sponsor them as a canton, which could give them a leg up through the first years. But if you want to form a new group at Uluru or Stewart Island, it’s going to be a shire.
The more interesting conversations are with people who are looking to spin a small group off from an existing barony. There are many reasons why this might be an attractive prospect, some wonderful – some not. There isn’t room here to talk about all of them, but the important point is this: you need to be thinking in terms of what you will build next. Form a new canton because of what you are moving towards, not what you are moving away from. And I say "canton" with intent – a barony should spawn a canton when it is growing, whereas the conditions for the crown to reclaim land from a barony to form a shire are very, very few.
We know that any group of people hits a natural limit around 150 members, after which something needs to happen. I think of the birth of cantons and shires as a sort of cell division for the society, essential if we are to thrive. But it’s also essential to keep thinking in terms of what we are trying to grow.
Yours in service,
Lord Nicodemus Novello