The Nations, States, and Tribes
The Nations of the world believe they are the real rulers of the people, and while they are they are the cause of much suffering and violence, they are not the true powers. The people themselves are the source of any real power in this or any other world. Their formal and informal associations are the true power in every land, but those who wield the staggering force of the various militaries exert their own manner of control over the populous.
While not all nations are riddled with corruption and ineptitude, it is a general rule to understanding the states you journey through.
Political power is a corrosive acid to even the purest of intents, because it is an illusion maintained by the edge of blade and a social contract so often left unfulfilled.