This document covers only social structures within the city of Tuluk, and those areas under its direct control. Social structures in other regions, such as Allanak, Red Storm, or Luirs, will all differ. It incorporates the original "So You Want to Be a Noble" document produced by Azroen and Sanvean in 1994.
The original social structures in Tuluk suffered a major upheaval after
the city's destruction and the subsequent occupation by Allanak. The
nobility and templarate, which had governed without question for
centuries, were now forced to flee into hiding. Nevertheless, with a
tenacity that would rival even that of the stubbornest of dwarves, the
inhabitants of Gol Krathu clung to the majority of their customs
and social hierarchies. However, the vast and broad-reaching changes that
had occured over the course of forty or fifty years left an indelible mark
on Tuluki society and certain new perspectives evolved from the previous,
Citizens of Tuluk all belong to one of four castes. Tuluki caste hierarchy is rigid in some ways while relaxed in others. Generally, friendship can exist across all caste lines, but sexual relationship cannot (the use of pleasure slaves does not constitute a relationship). And, although one might have a friend of another caste, neither one would ever forget the difference in their respective status.Slaves - Generally born into slavery, the slaves of Tuluk are the lowest of the four main castes.
Commoners - Perhaps the most eclectic of all the castes, those in this section of the social ranking vary widely in terms of position and skill and can be found in almost all walks of life.
Nobles (The Chosen) - Chosen by Muk Utep himself, the nobility is the ruling class of Tuluki society.
Templars (The Faithful) - Undeniably the most powerful caste within Tuluki society, His Faithful are symbols of the tenacity and strength of the Northlands.
Within the city of Tuluk, social standing is an important part of day-to-day life. The things done and said by your character can influence your character's social status. As with many things, it is much easier to negatively impact one's status than it is to positively affect it. While there is no single indicator to determine one's own social status, there are telltale signs that can give some idea. If you are well-liked and respected within your caste, it is much easier to get things accomplished. Conversely, making a bad name for yourself can easily result in avoidance and hostility (in more extreme cases).
Depending on caste, social status can be influenced in different ways. The
most important thing to keep in mind is subtlety. Overt, obvious actions
are looked down upon as a general rule. Associating with the 'wrong crowd'
(which, in Tuluk, includes magickers and southerners) can also cause a
negative impact. Alternatively, working willingly with one of His Chosen
or His Faithful as a partisan can cause a positive impact, assuming they
are in good standing themselves. These are only a few ways that social
standing can be affected, but these examples should be helpful.
Nobles and Commoners:
One of the important keys to noble/commoner roleplay is to remember not to carry attitudes over from real life. On Armageddon, the vast majority of Tuluki commoners, who live and die by the mercy of the Sun King, firmly believe that nobles are nobles because they're better. The same holds true for the nobles, who assume their privileged position is correct because they are of better blood and finer material than a commoner. This attitude is reinforced by their benefits: literacy, which acquires near-mystical dimensions in an illiterate society; vast wealth; social status; and freedom from most of the laws of the city.
With the somewhat recent struggles of the Tuluki people, the prevalent custom of bowing to nobles and templars has declined. During the occupation, many citizens of Gol Krathu were forced to bow to their oppressors. Most of these people only did so out of fear, rather than respect. Now that Tuluk is ruled by the servants of the Sun King, most Tuluki nobles and templars, while knowing full well that they are better than commoners, wouldn't usually feel the need to make people bow to them. They would consider it more respectful for a commoner to show their respect in a more productive manner, such as service to them or their respective house. While bowing isn't expected, it isn't necessarily considered a disrespectful act, either. But if a noble or templar feels that a person is insincere while bowing to them, trying only to curry favor with them, they may take offense (but may or not show it). The people that are usually bowing are servants or someone that is already serving that noble or templar in some capacity, these people are usually not total strangers.
Nobles do not have romantic or sexual relationships with commoners. It is unthinkable, and a monstrous violation of social protocols. Children of such alliances often become outcasts and vagabonds and their noble parent is severely reprimanded.
Such relationships are considered a social fax paus. The caste system in Tuluk has been in place for years and is a fundamental part of Tuluki society and culture. Such relationships are liabilities for the House. If word were to get out, it would damage not only the noble's reputation, which is bad in itself, but it would also damage the House's reputation.
However, due to the long period of Southern occupation in which the nobles faced obscurity or death, the relationship between the nobility and the common citizen has developed a much more amicable bond. It is not unheard of, nor is it frowned upon, for a noble to be seen in a tavern (though the selection of taverns are usually chosen to avoid the seedier elements) enjoying the company of the many commoners that inhabit such pubs.
The political landscape has shifted in other ways since the liberation. The noble houses, once pawns of the competing orders of the templarate - their vote insignificant against those of the King and templars - have become a force to bargain with. During the 66 years that passed between Tuluk's destruction and its rebirth, several of the venerable families labored to build foundations of new wealth from what they could salvage of the old. Eager to avoid attention from the occupying Naki forces, the cream of Old Tuluk's nobility dressed and lived as - and in fact were aided by - commoners. Over the years, a few families attracted small but loyal followings in secret sympathy. Others forged promises and alliances with the working class families who assisted them. When the time came for revolution, some former nobles rallied these partisans, as they had come to be called, and fought alongside (or behind, as some templars sneer) the Tuluki templarate and military in the war against the Allanaki oppressors.
To what extent the old families have upheld their promises to partisans since the war stands as a mystery to most templars; but it is clear that most of the houses have not only kept their partisans in service, but have begun to add to their number. In a new and distinctly Tuluki practice coming to be known as patronage, the enterprising noble attracts commoners with promises to relay their needs and political concerns to the noble faction for appeal to the Triumvirate. In a typical arrangement, the commoner will perform small services for the noble from time to time in exchange, but will not be pressed to join the ranks of the noble's servants (and will receive no wages). Patron-partisan relationships are, however, as varied as those who craft them. Although their basis is always political, they commonly cross into business, with a patron investing in partisan projects and receiving profit shares, discounts, or extended personal services. Other nobles build household staff around a slow stream of partisan recruits, assuming the latter is willing to sacrifice some of their wages for political representation. Some arrangements are fleeting, others life-binding. One patron can attract many partisans; however, a partisan that takes more than one patron suggests to each that their individual representation skills are less than ideal - a sentiment more wisely kept to oneself. Bards, however, may have more than one patron without such stigma and often do.
Although top templars have estimated that the nobility only act on half the concerns they receive from partisans, no one denies that the growing support of the working class for the noble houses is changing the political climate. In response, a few low-ranking templars have begun attracting (or coercing) commoners into partisan service as well. More importantly, however, various high-ranking templars have assumed similar relationships with representatives from the last factor in the power equation: the ancient Gol Krathu tribes that returned to fight for the rebellion.
The Hlum titles that were common in the Old City were dissolved during the initial rebuilding of Tuluk, but have been reinstated. Hlum titles are granted to the winners of the Grey Hunt, an event organized by the Lirathan Order.
Patronage and Partisans
Patronage is a formal agreement between two parties for the benefit of both. Patronage may be either long-term or short-term. This can take many different forms. The following examples are not meant to limit what can be done but highlight the possibilities.Noble patron/bard partisan
-Noble provides living expenses (obsidian to cover rent and food)
-Bard does all performances with a positive leaning towards the noble, informs the noble of other commissions, and allows the noble to influence the end result of such commissions.
Noble patron/bard partisan (example 2)
-Noble provides a stipend of some value to the bard as well as political protection, a workshop, and access to information.
-Bard composes one piece per month for the noble, not taking any commission from Houses X, Y, and Z (per Noble's preference). Beyond these three Houses, the bard does not need to inform of other commissions.
Noble patron/hunter partisan
-Noble provides equipment (arrows, armor, weapons) and mount
-Hunter grants noble first look and purchase option (at a discount) to all skins, hides, and herbs the hunter brings into the city. The hunter also provides a detailed report of the hunt with every hunt.
Noble patron/hunter partisan (example 2)
-Noble provides quarters (an apartment) for the hunter
-Hunter travels the lands and provides detailed information to the noble for producing a map.
Noble patron/artisan partisan
-Noble provides stipend, tools, materials.
-Artisan provides their best work to noble on a monthly basis.
Noble patron/artisan partisan (example 2)
-Noble provides a place to stay and work.
-Artisan completes a single master-quality item for the noble.
Noble patron/merchant partisan
-Noble provides funding for a trade run.
-Merchant shares profits and information with noble.
These are only a few
examples. The possibilities are virtually endless. Every patronage
relationship needs to be agreed to by both parties and stated explicitly
in the game during discussions.
Tuluki Law & Order
Recently a law has won the Triumvirate majority for the reinstatement of an old Tuluki custom: licensed thievery and assassination.
Thieves and assassins (by trade, not coded guild) are required to register with a member of the Lirathan Order prior to conducting theft or an assassination. The Lirathan templar records this information in the License Registry: the individual's name, description, organization (if any), legal occupation (if any), thief or assassin, the recording templar's name and the record date. (For example: "Jonah, a tall human male with blue eyes and brown hair, knife-maker of House Salarr, registers as assassin, recorded by Lady Janis, 168th day of the Descending Sun, year 59 of the 20th Age.")
A thief is charged a one-time registration fee of 300 obsidian. Registered thieves are still expected to operate with enough wisdom and skill not to get caught; after all, this law is a rebirth of the appreciation of high expertise in Old Tuluk. If a registered thief is caught, however, she may be let off with a warning, or receive a lessened penalty, at the templar's discretion (conscientious PC templars may wish to make this clear to the thief). Needless to say, registered thieves may also receive paying jobs from the templarate.
An assassin registers for free, but must purchase a separate "license" for each assassination. A license is not a tangible object, but rather a pledge from the templarate not to act on the findings of an investigation - provided the crime has been committed as recorded, and executed with skill and discretion.
Most Tuluki templars view public executions for personal crimes as a vulgar Southern practice. Both Orders - but especially the Lirathans - find it preferable to simply cause the perpetrators of serious personal offenses (such as sorcery, elemental magick, psionicism, or the unlicensed murder of a noble) to disappear. Almost invariably, rumors following the disappearance generate more fear and wonder over the incident than a public execution would. (Feel free to start the rumor if there is an IC basis for it, such as a witness, or a victim's family noting the absence.)
Serious political crimes (high treason) are punishable by public execution. This proceeding - well-advertised to the general populace - begins with a recitation of the offenses for which the criminal is charged. The Inquisitor will ask the criminal for a confession, then for last words. Tuluki templars prefer bloodless executions. After the speech of the condemned, he or she is usually forced to suffer poison.
Contributions by Laeris, Aernis, Nyr, and Vanth / Last updated January 2008 by Vanth
© 2002 Armageddon MUD. All rights reserved.