Commoners

The vast bulk of the population of the Civilized West is made up of those of common birth. They are as diverse and varied a lot as any you'll find. Most often, they work in service (either directly or indirectly) to a Noble of some type, in exchange for a wage and the promise of general security and protection. Alternately, Craftsmen, Merchants, and other specialized professionals often belong to Guilds, which help give them a means of providing their own prosperity and security.

Apprenticeship

The vast, vast bulk of commoners are skilled in something. Whether a craft, skill at arms, an art form, or simply farming (either produce or livestock), they generally have some kind of profession that they have likely been trained in since birth. Generally Apprenticeships often start almost as soon as the child is old enough to walk and talk, though it tends to not really begin in earnest until roughly the age of 11 or 12 or so. It is most often an immediate family member that passes their trade on to another, though family of close friends (especially in tight-knit villages and if they have no children of their own) might well take in a child from outside his family as an apprentice. Apprenticeships generally last 8-10 years or so before they graduate to journeymen, which is where many commoners will stay for the remainder of their lives. Depending on their trade, becoming a master of their craft may open up many doors to greater wealth and opportunity, but the level of skill required to achieve such heights are rare.

Types of Commoners:

Below are the descriptions of the many different permutations of Commoner society. Bear in mind that it is quite possible for things to bleed over, and there are exceptions to every rule. For example, an Armorsmith who works as the personal armorer for a noble family would be both a "Craftsman" and a "Servant." These rough "tiers" are presented in ascending order of how much income they tend to make, though again, exceptions abound. Also, this is by no means a comprehensive list. Feel free to apply for concepts that don't fit neatly into these categories. The absolute worst case is simply that the staff might say "no" but it will at least be considered.

Beggars and Vagabonds: These poor souls are those that either never successfully learned a trade, or for some reason or another are unable to practice it without having either made their fortune first or without having family to help support them. They tend to be borne of disability, illness (mental or physical), or addiction. While some take pity on them, they are generally considered the lowest of the low, and suspected of being criminals even when they're not (though petty crime does of course run rather rampant among them). At best, some find work as unskilled labor.

Streetwalkers: There is a vast gulf of difference between prostitutes who work in a proper brothel, and those that do not. Generally the latter who ply their trade in seedy taverns or the darker parts of the city are a desperate and much-abused bunch. Without the protection that a brothel provides, all manner of misfortune can (and does) often occur to these poor souls. At best they find a pimp that likely keeps them in near-slavery but at least keeps them alive. At worst they fall prey to the attentions of the darkest elements of humanity…and sadly no one likely misses them.

Commoner Concepts:

Commoners are a far more varied and diverse lot than the nobility. Everything from a hapless beggar all the way up to a wealthy merchant or a simple farmer up to a sophisticated courtesan can fall within the ranks of the common. Probably the most important thing to determine when making a commoner character is what exactly their profession is. While family name and noble blood often play a large part in determining what a Noble might do or be…for commoners, their defining characteristic is based on "what can they do?" A commoner's skill selections should be heavily based around their chosen profession. It should be noted that it is not at all unusual for "non-combat" commoners to have a bit of fighting skill representing militia training and perhaps even experience from having been called up as part of the levies (note: Women are normally exempt from the levies), though it is far from mandatory. Commoner apps with higher levels of wealth, exceptional skill, responsibility, prestige, or positions as leaders of larger organizations may require either a strong background submission or potentially an Elite Character application.

Peasants of the World and How They are Viewed

Peasants may be the salt of the Earth, but the nobility doesn't care about them. It's just a sad fact. You, your character may want to believe they are up and coming, and treat their people as equals as a noble, but the truth is you were not raised that way. To show you, here is how the peasantry is viewed by nation in the Domains of the West. The only nation that doesn't have peasants per se is White Hall, and one can read their unique social strusture in the White Hall chapter.

Aequor: Treats their peasants the worst. It's a fact. Peasants are there only for the purpose of tilling the noble's field, and performing whatever menial task that needs to be done. Peasants are OWNED by their nobles. They are not slaves, they are serfs. A Peasant in Aequor needs to have permission to move from one land to the other. They have papers that bear their Lord's mark and if you don't have them when traveling to another serfdom? Killed. No questions asked. The only exception to this are Hedge Knights and their Squires. While not treated like nobility, they are afforded better treatment and a wage. Merchants with coin can purchase their Serfdom Status from their lord and be allowed free travel, but they too must hold on to papers to show this status. While both Hedge Knights and certain Merchants are treated better, they are STILL Peasants, part of the unwashed masses.

Galenthia: Treats their peasantry marginally better. The Galenthian nobility doesn't own the peasantry, no man owns another, but the Peasants who ar enot of Noble Birth or raised to such are expected to behave in certain ways. They are expected to follow the orders of their betters, and keep the wheels of the Kingdom greased and rolling. Hedge Knights and high class merchants are treated very well, but they are peasants and they are here to perform a task.

Rikton: Rikton follows pretty closely to Aequor. The only difference is mandatory church service (As in going every Sunday), and mandatory baptisms. Once Baptised in Rikton you are branded with teh sign of the one on your upper right arm if you are a peasant, and the upper left if you are noble.

Kentaire: Every peasant in Kentaire is seen as a simple piece of a wheel lock rife. They are there to serve the Prince and the Royal family and that is that. The only difference is when performing their mandatory service. Like the Empire, regardless of social standing once in the Kentaire Military, your social rank means zero and it is all about your Military Rank. This doesn't mean the nobles who are performing their mandatory service don't get fast-tracked into more respectable positions, but it does mean that a peasant can rise to the rank of Praetor (General). Most peasants who want to make something of themselves do it in the military of Kentaire.

Empire of Partharia: Treats their peasants much like Aequor. The only difference is they are not the bottom of the social ladder. That would be slaves who have found a way to be lower than dirt. Even Peasants cna own slaves, and while it's not illegal for a peasant to kill a slave, it is highly frowned upon. Especially if you kill a noble's slaves.

Vir Sidus Empire: The Empire is confusing. They treat everybody absolutely the same regardless of social class, claim to not have peasants, but also has a nobility. The Nobility of the Empire is chosen by the Emperor, and one can lose their noble status with a few words from the emperor/empress. Senators do not have to be nobility (But usually are) and are elected by provinces. However, only those who own land (Even a small ten-foot section, which can be awarded) are Citizens of the Empire and can vote. One may also be a Citizen if they sign on for a ten-year duty with the Legions after their Mandatory three-year service. They are awarded a small farm, and their family or hired friends/non-citizens are expected to work these farms for the Legions until their tour is over.

Important Note:

One key thing to keep in mind when applying for a commoner: You will find it much easier to get into RP if you are directly linked to an existing organization, be it as a soldier or servant of a noble House, a member of a Syndicate family, a clergy(wo)man (lay or ordained) of The Church, a part of a particular sailing ship's crew, or even something as simple as a merchant or craftsman's guild. While it is technically allowable to create a "completely independent" character, you may well find that your RP prospects become rather limited rather quickly given the nature of our theme and how it shakes out in play. Generally the most successful commoner concepts (at finding RP without it seeming forced) are direct retainers of active noble houses (bodyguards, body servants, handmaidens, Master-at-arms, etc…), recognized bastards that are part of a noble household, or Syndicate and Privateer concepts (who have their own pages).

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