This section looks at the daily life of the typical person at various places on Wyrlde to give an idea of what it can be like to live here.
Wyrlde has had years of stability and relative security, which has been due in part to the efforts of the yearly Convocation, where the leaders of all the Realms gather once a year to ensure the peace. The absence of wars between the realms is welcome to most, but not all, people of the Empire, and peace with Hyboria and Kahokia is lasting and respectful.
This has also led to the rather easily identifiable establishment of somewhat competing forces linked around wealth and social power. The Economic and Social Professions of the Bright Lands are quite well established, and in some cases are generational.
There are three types of standing generally talked about. The first kind is Family. The second kind is Regional. The third kind is Social.
Social Class is derived in part from an individual’s social standing. This is more about the way that the person of that class sees the world, and what they were taught by those around them as normative and typical.
Family Class represents the social standing of one’s Family and how they are collectively seen by the world at large, with some aspect of their wealth involved, though there is no direct tie here.
There are many people who have a patrician family that are dirt poor.
This is a reflection of the combination of one’s personal, historic, and general position in society at large taken as a whole, and may reflect many different factors, including one’s reliability, honorability, trustworthiness, and reputation within their field of endeavor.
The following table lists the common ways that people refer to folks according to different social standing metrics as they measure them.
It is only within the Empire that one can be indentured, and while there are many laws to ensure that they are well treated, it is not often the case. Indentured folks are tied to the land, not to a person, and so should a parcel of land pass to a different owner, they will still be tied to it, though the needs to meet their quotas may change.
The typical indentured person is responsible for meeting the needs of the place they are sentenced (for indenture is always a sentence). They may be a maid, a butler, a cook, a housekeeper, or whatever, but most of them are farmers, assigned to work some fields and care for them. They receive a portion of those results, but it is meager. They will often live in a very small place, with limited privacy, often shared with others – a barracks that is assigned to an area in which they have a cot to sleep on, clothing to wear (rarely more than two sets, one of which is for festivals), and food served communally.
City and Townsfolk acting as servants will usually have a communal room but may have a bit more privacy and while still meager, typically a better class of food.
Wages are set by Fiat, varying from the 1 pence per week of the Sibolans to the five pence a week of the Aztlan realm. When someone is paid varies, but the expectation is that it will be at least once each month. It is not well enforced, and some only pay once a year, or only at the end of the indenture period.
Indenture periods can be no longer than 5 years, and this is absolute. The price of an indenture to buy their way out is also fixed – 1 pence for each day remaining. So, a five-year indenture on the first day can cost 182 quid (1,820 pence, or 14,560 bits).
Of the Empire, Dorado and Qivira do not have indenture, though Qivira recognizes it, and Dorado does not. Outside the Empire, Indenture is meaningless and risky – in Islandia, it is the person responsible who will be punished for “keeping slaves”.
Poverty has been a persistent problem on Wyrlde since the end of the God’s War and is one of the reasons that people continue to be mistrustful of the Powers That Be. Poverty is common and affects over a third of the population, though in some cases their lot might be less under a given Noble.
Within cities, the poorest are said to have it the worst, often set in large, barn like structures set all around a City or Town, often as a requirement of the Noble, where shelter, a bed, a single set of clothing in decent repair, and communal food can be had. The food is often a thin stew, because it allows for using little to feed many, and there is often not enough to go around, and so children are fed before adults.
The typical person living in poverty is able to scrounge perhaps six to eight bits a day, through begging, through minor tasks and errands, and for youth perhaps the most important moment is when they are eligible for apprenticeship. There is a great deal of thievery and other unsavory elements attached to folks in this state, however they very rarely go after each other, and much of it is visited upon them by those in current employ of some Guild or Syndicate or Circle.
It is difficult in practical terms to escape poverty, but not impossible. Apprenticing to a trade can ultimately be done at any age, and many will try that route, and there is a need for employees and an expectation that Nobles will find a way to reduce poverty and aid all people. However, most folks simply scrimp, save, and struggle – often for decades – in order to find and make a better life for themselves.
Not all poor dream of moving up within a city or a town, however. Many seek to find a place or establish a steading, perhaps move to a hamlet. One thing remains true – while there is much greater danger beyond the walls of a Town or City, opportunity is what you make of it beyond. Impoverished folks generally bring in less than 5,000 pence a year.
Serfs and Peasants.
Technically, all of the Impoverished are Freemen as well, but the description is more usually used for those who are not near or half-starved, destitute, and desperate. Freemen make up the bulk of the population – at least another 30% overall, or (counting the poor) around 60% of the peoples.
Freemen have a home of their own and on land of their own unless they are in a city and renting from one of the especially tall buildings for that purpose. They are also able to buy one of the homes in such a building and many do exactly that within a city. However, outside of those situations (most common in Sibola, Durango, and Aztlan, but rumored to be the case in Antilia) they live in small homes that include space for a garden capable of feeding their family. This last bit applies nearly everywhere, most often with a low wall surrounding the house, stable, and garden, sometimes with a play area for children. This is usually set up within a walled hamlet or village and is the expectation in most towns and cities in Lyonese, Qivira, Dorado, and Akadia.
Keris and Islandia tend to be scattered, with gardens still but lacking walls or frequently any kind of stabling. In Hyboria, the normal dwelling is typically ringed by others in concentric circles that represent the closeness to the leading family, with the three principal huts in the center. In Kahokia, they always layout their homes in a spiral pattern based on a mix of seniority and time of arrival at the site.
Most freemen eat a diet that is usually drawn from the principal crops of the realm they live in, with Islandia, Hyboria, Keris, Kahokia all adding foraged material from known areas that they care for collectively, and stored foods (sausages, cheeses, salted meats, and dried meats). Each major realm has a particular group of dishes is it famous for, but all also have some sort of stew that is the frequent staple and comfort food for those from that region. The food may not be the pick of the crop or the hunt, but it is still superior to that received by the impoverished, and generally they achieve a decent overall meal due in part to long standing traditions and heritage.
Freemen occupy pretty much every role in society other than Guilder, Merchantry, and nobility (who have responsibility of their own or are themselves suddenly freemen). This is mostly farmers and farming families, who will often fight stubbornly for their farms, even if they don’t feel safe living there. Farms will often have a bunkhouse, where farmers and farmworkers will stay, linked or nearby to a stable where draft animals are kept, sometimes transportation. These are no frills, communal housing situations, meant to help out and serve as shelter during critical periods such as harvest and planting.
By and large, Freemen are whom one encounters most often, and the typical freeman makes between 12 and 24 thousand pence a year. Some make less when they fall upon hard times, and some make more when fortune and a hard bargaining session turns in their favor, but for the most part, they fall within that range.
Artisans, Guilders, and Tradesfolk.
Guilders are the makers, the crafters, the artists, the tradesfolk who are the heart and soul of what makes a given place a given place when it goes out into the broader world, taking the raw stuff and making of it things of value, need, and desire. Guilders make up about fifteen percent of the population and occupy a critical place. The vast majority of apprentices are to someone in this class of person and the openings are often in demand even when someone can take on many.
They generally have good times and bad times, and the real goal of every Guilder is to gain a Patron – someone from the Nobility or the Patron class that will select them as their primary provider, thus ensuring a market for their work – though this can sometimes come with risks all by itself.
The typical Guilder will live in a comfortable, well-appointed home, not too ostentatious, and will attempt to feature a generosity of spirit when possible. This is achieved since they earn between 20 and 40 thousand pence in a given year. Guilders have a more structured life, however, and higher expectations to stick to what is acceptable to do and be in society and keep up appearances.
Failing to do so can result in loss of patronage…
Those who take the risks and the task of selling things to whoever might be around – and then take the lion’s share of the profit from such. Collecting, buying, dealing, packaging, shipping, delivering, and ensuring it all happens is the realm of the Merchantry, the folks who carry the burden of trade and ultimately the economy on their sloped, usually bejeweled shoulders.
Merchants, or at least the successful ones among them, tend to be closer to the nobility, and often are people who were unable to secure a position or stepped away, given funds enough to act as seed money from which they grow their grand tree. They, too, seek patronage, though not in the same exact way as Guilders – for Guilders need Merchants just as much as Merchants need them. On top of that, they must deal with the river folk and the Skyewards, the Trainwards, and the mercenary troops they use to guard their long caravans. It is a role that comes with stress when younger, but as success and time provide more people to do more things, it means more and more security for the merchant, and they do love to flaunt their wealth.
Merchants generally earn between 30 and 90 thousand pence a year, and are able to bend the ears of Nobility, for they control the fortunes of them through any small and seemingly innocent ways.
Highest social order for most people
Gentry are able to be many things, but often live very much like the Merchantry do, having somehow made enough money to occupy this tier Many successful adventurers are at this level.
By and large, although actual wealth tends to determine more than anything else, successful adventurers are considered roughly equal to a patron in overall standing and influence, even if the reality is often lacking due the absence of what the nobility and patrons consider good graces.
Stewards, Patricians, and Patrons\Matrons.
The highest a person of any other station can get in Wyrlde is that of patron, who are basically just eh most wealthy of people in the land. Some have even greater wealth than nobles, albeit without the full degree of power afforded them. Making up about 10 percent of the population, patrons see themselves as above the common rabble – even when they came from such rabble.
Patron is a position granted to someone, as well – it is not simply a station. It is inheritable, but that rarely happens. The appointment normally comes after a significant bribe or donative to a noble, who then declares them a patron. They also must have a worth of at least 100 thousand pence per year, though there is no real upper limit on that. This has led people to sometimes say that they are “hundred crown bullies”, an allusion to the amount of wealth it is known to take to reach that status.
Aristocrats, Lesser Nobility, and Nobles.
At the top of the heap are the Nobility – those whose task and torture it is to rule, to lead, to officiate, to do paperwork. Some folks reincarnated here say that our nobles are far and away the strangest nobles they have heard of, for they are usually too bogged down in the operations of a given assignment to do much more. Nobles, through taxes, make around one thousand crowns a year.