Garnian Social Classes
Garnian Character Background
Roll to determine the starting social class of a character.
The practice of being bound to service is falling by the wayside but still exists. There are 3 types of bondsmen. Hereditary bondsmen are born into servitude. Several orders of priesthood are opposed to the practice and it exists mainly in older more established lands. The frontiers of society being a great equalizer of humankind.
Bondmen are protected against abuse by law and custom and there are many ways to achieve free status.
The first type of bondmen are hereditary. They are born to a life of servitude to whomever owns the land they work.
The second type is criminal bound. The criminal bound have committed some minor crime and have been bound as a punishment to repay society. The criminal bound are fairly rare and it is usually for a set time.
The third type is debt bondage. Debt bondage is more common than crime bondage but still uncommon. Debt bondage occurs when a person is substantially in debt and is reduced to bondage to pay the debts. Ordinarily a persons family will pay the debts to avoid the dishonor of having bondmen as kin but occasionally a person has no family in a position to help. Children are sometimes sold to bondage for repayment of their parents debts.
Characters from a bondman background are assumed to have been freed before the beginning of play, technically being freedmen; however, if a player wishes they can roleplay a runaway bondman. All bondmen characters receive skills from the farmer skill set. All bondmen characters are penalized 50% of their starting money by character class.
Roll to determine the type of bond background.
Hereditary bondmen can roll to determine to whom they were bound.
1-6: Temple bound
7-9 Royal bound
10 Noble bound
It is a great irony that most folk are bound to temples despite many orders being opposed to the practice; clearly not all are. Older, more conservative temples are much more likely to keep bondmen, as they are opposed to the breaking of the orders of men laid down in ancient times. Those born to bondman status in a royal domain are also fairly common. Royal bondmen are usually quite well treated, but find it harder to become free simply because ultimately they are only freed by royal decree, and it can be difficult to attract the notice of royal officials. Those born bound to the nobility are quite rare and their treatment varies as much as the attitudes of their masters, though generally within the bounds of the law and accepted custom. Bondmen are known by several distinguishing features shorn hair being most common, followed by cropped ears and/or iron collars in more conservative regions.
The bulk of the population is freeborn, also known as commoners. They may be farmers that work land owned by the lord, but merely pay rents on it or they may own the land in freehold. They may be craftsmen, or merchants or any of a myriad of occupations. Most characters will come from the freeborn class of society.
First roll to determine Freeborn origin.
Freeholders own their land, generally it is enough land to support one family, but occasionally they may have tenants. Since freeholds are granted by the crown they are fairly rare, but they are hereditary. A freeborn character of freeholder origin will have the farmer skill set plus perhaps one or more others from the townsman-villager skills list, they tend to be jacks-of-all-trades.
Freeborn farmers are the most common commoners. They receive the farmer skill set, on a roll of 1 on 1d10 they may also receive the townsman-villager skill set.
Townsmen are where the middle class comes from. From among their numbers come respected craftsmen, rich traders and other specialists like millers, bakers and brewers. There are also a variety of unskilled laborers and fairly destitute types among them, as well as the less savory prostitutes, actors and thieves. Towns offer the freeborn a chance at success, not a guarantee. Towns can be a small as an outlying village or as large as a bustling metropolis, the larger the town of origin, the greater variety in skill set.
Roll for town of origin size.
Village- the village is the standard proto-town. Most village inhabitants are actually farmers that live in the village and work fields around the village. There are, however, in villages skilled craftsmen that supply the villagers and the outlying farms with both necessary and luxury goods. Villagers receive the townsman-villager skill set. A village will usually have a population of at least 100.
Town- Towns are, in many ways, like big villages. However fewer townsmen are farmers and more are specialists. Towns will have a population of 1000 or more. Towns will nearly always have a standing militia that doubles as a police force. Towns thrive on trade and are often based on a single trade that supports the bulk of their residents. Mining towns, market towns and fishing towns are quite common. Towns often have a charter that gives their citizens rights and exemptions that vex local nobles because the town falls officially outside of their domain. Townsmen receive the townsman-townsman skill set.
City- Cities are what happens when a town hits it big. They may have been lucky enough to be on a major trade route or have an excellent natural harbor, perhaps they have a major temple or college; as often as not more than one of these things in combination with what would have made a successful town. They have hordes of specialists usually organized into guilds for quality control and price-setting. They have wealth and and a free population that makes your average noble look askance at them. Often they are ruled by a council of guilds, or an appointed lord-mayor. They nearly always have a royal charter. A city will have a population of 10,000 or more. A city will always have a militia, usually doubling as a police force. Characters from cities receive the townsman-urban skill set.
Metropolis- A metropolis is like a city with a glandular condition, huge, sprawling and densely populated. A metropolis is likely to be an old, wildly successful city; a massive trading port, a national capitol, or a very sacred site. They are likely to have a multitude of temples, centers of learning, and centers of culture. A metropolis will have a population not less than 50,000 people, and nearly always have foreign ghettos. Dwellers of a metropolis receive the townsman-metropolitan skill set. There are very few metropolises in the world. Oddly enough, though metropolises are really just huge cities, they are usually directly in fealty to either a king, a major temple, or a great noble; they do enjoy both great status and great privilege, usually the day to day governance of the metropolis is handled by appointed noble and commonborn officials in conjunction with elected magistrates and guild councils. A metropolis will often have a militia, always have a professional police force and quite regularly have actual full-time military units stationed there.
The Nobleborn are a hereditary warrior aristocracy. Most live on fortified estates in the country called duns. Many are land rich and cash poor, but the vast bulk of society is still rural and feudal so they get by. Most of the Nobleborn men are trained to be warriors from an early age. There is still enough chaos, especially in frontier regions, to warrant this. However, in the interior nobles that can’t find an external threat often engage in petty wars with each other. Border disputes, slights to their honor (real or imagined), water rights, grazing rights, cattle raids or a multitude of other reasons can be the cause of these small wars. Sometimes the wars can escalate, the death of a noble may start a blood feud, or a noble may call in allies and family members to help if they are likely to be overwhelmed; which, in turn, causes his enemy to do so as well. If both nobles are vassals of the same lord their lord may step in to dispute the grievance or may be called in by one or the other of the warring parties. In short, most nobles live for war. The flip-side of this are the Nobleborn courtiers. Courtiers live and serve in the courts of high nobles or royal courts. Courtiers are less inclined to warfare and more inclined to cultural and educational pursuits. Courtiers are more likely to be land poor and cash rich. Courtiers are more likely to be involved in trade (at least peripherally). Many never see their country estates, instead living in cities or the duns of high ranking nobles. Their country kin consider them to be weak, effeminate and backstabbing, they consider their country kin to be rough, uneducated barbarians. However, they are all kin, and there is no outright hostility (usually), it is usually just mild condescension from the courtiers towards the country nobles and bemused derision towards the courtiers from the country nobles. They still freely and happily intermarry and often exchange fosterlings.
Roll to determine noble status
1-7: Simple Lord
8-9: Low ranking Noble
10: High ranking Noble
Roll a second d10. On a 10 you are a Courtier.
A simple lord is known as an Arcloedd, Argwydd, Tiarna, Tighearna , Cingeto, Cingedd, Boneddig, Bonheddwr all of which mean roughly lord.
Low ranking noble titles include Toaiseach (chief), Tieryn, Righ-Tuatha, Brehyr (roughly baron) and sometimes Rix, Rig or Righ which mean king but often a very petty king.
High Ranking noble titles include Vergobrete, Gwerbret, Gwledig, Righ-Cuicidh (roughly Count or Duke), Flaith, Tywysog, Edling, Gwrthrychiad (Princes of various houses), Righ, Rig, Rix, Brenin (Kings of various lineages and territories), Ard-Righ (High King of Garnia, assumed titles of the ruling houses of Torakor and various other pretenders).
Simple lords may or may not be from landed families. Roll 1d10, on a 1 your family is landless, you receive 50% starting money by class, mostly paid out by concerned kin. Simple Lords receive the Noble Skill set and the farmer skill set.
Low ranking Nobles receive the Noble Skill set and 1d10 roll
1: Farmer Skill Set
2-9: No additional skill set
10: Courtier Skill set
Also 1d4 multiplier to their starting money by class.
High Ranking Nobles receive the Noble skill set and 1d10 roll
1-5: No additional skill set
6-10: Courtier skill set
Courtiers all receive the Courtier skill set and 1d10 roll
1-7: No additional skill set
8-10: Noble skill set