Death By Hobgoblin
Society and Feudalism in Herodia
The society of Herodia is ROUGHLY based on feudal European society of the 10th-12th centuries. So, there is a very small percentage of the population who are “noble” or “aristocrats.” They are not just merely rich, but they also have titles. They (or somebody in their ancestry) has made a public vow to provide military service (in the form of knights, horses, etc.) to a “liege-lord” in exchange for becoming the lord of a region in their own right. So, Benedick Gerard’s great-grandfather swore fealty to the great-grandfather of Count Varnjas, and was given the region of Helmsdale—or to put the matter more correctly, was “created” baron of Helmsdale. Because of this, Gerard’s official title at court is not “Gerard” but “Helmsdale”: he is the estate he rules in that he is the final word on the law and economy in Helmsdale. Of course, he can always be overruled by his liege-lord, count Varnjas, but if a count meddles in the affairs of his vassals too much, they might decide that he needs to be deposed . . .
Sitting beneath the landed aristocracy in Herodian society is the group that makes up the majority of the (human) population: rural peasant serfs. These people are not slaves, but are legally bound to work the land (and serve the same “land lord”-that their ancestors did. It is a miserable existence by our standards, but it’s also all these people have known, so most of them accept it) some even cheerfully. Of course, those that don’t have a real tendency to become adventurers.
In fact, though, the biggest population to provide adventurers to the world is the small but significant “bourgeoisie”: the urban middle class. Cities in Herodia are few and far between (the “points of light” of the PHB) and the urban population is really just a small percentage of the overall population. Legally, a city can only be “chartered” (legally recognized as a sovereign entity) by a count or even higher-ranked noblmen. Despite their rarity, the possibility for advancement through merit is what makes cities so attractive to so many people. That said, there are significant legal obstacles to living in a major city (like Nicopolis) the first of which is simply becoming a citizen and having the papers of enfranchisement that identify you as such. Most cities in Herodia even have resident, minor spellcasters who ensure that such documents cannot be easily forged or destroyed.
More later . . .