The Underboughs Hold Campaigns
Social and Caste Structure
Though the exact nature varies from realm to realm and race to race, every civilization on Annydwyr has developed a social order of some sort that defines an individual’s place, rank and position within the society.
In general terms, the nobility is the ruling class of each realm. Be it the Elven Queen, the Human Emperor, or the eastern Sorcerer-King of a city state. Typically a hereditary right, such a rank typically expects complete deference to their will from everyone else beneath them.
The wealthiest freemen can sometimes be made a member of this class, but typically it is a hereditary title as well. The aristocracy attends the Nobility, holds powerful offices and roles within the society, and can expect deference from those beneath them.
The spiritual guides of the society, the clergy are typically set apart slightly from the rest of the culture, and may even exist outside its normal bounds and laws. In some realms, they may hold more power and authority than the ruling nobility and be utterly exempt from mortal law. It is a common practice throughout the human nobles (and thus most of the aristocracy do the same) to dedicate their third born son to the church.
A relatively new class, particularly within the human realms, the freemen are typically wealthy landowners, merchants, and the like who hold enough physical wealth to have earned some manner of political power, and thus freedom. Particularly dominant in Agladarn, this rising “middle class” has begun to challenge the very fabric of manorial society.
The serfs are the largest class beyond doubt. They are the working folk, the labourers, the craftsmen, and the peasantry. They fundamentally support the society and realize the least benefit from their efforts. Serfs may be free, toiling on their own farms or working their own smithies, but typically, they have been forced to swear oath to a landowner in order to survive. They live, toil, labour and die in the service of their lord in return for protection, food, and shelter.
Slaves rival the serfs for sheer number in many realms, especially in the east where it is common practice to hold, sell and maintain slaves. Many are born into slavery, and it is rare in the extreme to break free from such a fate. In many realms, both Nobles and Clergy have the power to condemn debtors and criminals into slavery. Slaves hold no rights in any land, and a common serf may freely strike a lords own foot slave without fear of reprisal (most of course, choose not to take the risk.)