Many, perhaps most fantasy lands are monarchies, which can be ruled well when the monarch is a clever and able man or woman devoted to his or her people. But what happens when the monarch is ill, or is tyrannically cruel, or a young child, or is otherwise blatantly unfit to rule? How can he or she be dealt with without risking civil war as powerful nobles fight for the crown?
One of the current political paradigms of the Cosmic Era.
The plague of the Petroleum Era, the true bane of organized government
Somehow, someway, a band of gnomes learns how to be ninjas. In fine gnomish style, they open an academy to teach this art to other gnomes. Wacky Hijinks ensue. Or the gnomes become some of the finest assassins in the land. Or both.