Shadow and Gold
Life and Culture
Isger’s social structure is pyramid of bodies, distantly controlled by Cheliax, and more directly managed by the Steward. At the bottom of the pyramid labor the serfs, who
compose the vast majority of Isger’s population. They act as woodsmen, farmers, hunters, trappers, miners, smiths, millers, carpenters, and more. Serfs are the property of the lord who controls the land on which they work, and most Isgeri never see the world 20 miles past their birthplace. They are expected to serve their lord faithfully and without question; his word is their law, and in return, he protects them, administers justice, feeds them in times of famine, and serves as the mouth of the Steward.
Above the serfs are the freemen, who pay rent on land overseen by the local lord. Their
service to the lord begins and ends with the moneys due him, but many choose a more active role as free mercenaries, smiths, innkeepers, and more. Because the lord of the land to whom they pay rent has no obligation to them in lean times, freemen must create
their own fortunes, save their money, and rely on themselves. Unless otherwise stated, this is the assumed social rank of adventurers.
Both freemen and serfs might be called to serve in the levies and militias of their kingdom.
To manage their land, the landowners deputize vassals of their own: lesser judges, sheriffs, guardsmen, and more. These men might be serfs as well, or they might be freemen who have sold their services to the lord, but they wield power in the name of the lord, and their word is law unless someone higher up the social ladder says otherwise.
Above these vassals are the nobility, both greater and lesser. In Isger, the nobility are knights (typically fighters or cavaliers), their status dependent on their skill with the blade or the spell. For the most part, they are also landowners, sworn to their liege lord’s defense and sworn to the defense of the citizens who depend upon them. These knights are warriors or wizards, and in certain cases, the religious hierarchy of the land. Those with castles or keeps have more of a duty to their kingdom than simply waiting at the Steward’s call. They must also adjudicate matters in their fiefs, raise and support a
troop of knights to contribute to their lord’s defense, and keep current with the politics of the court and their neighbors. Additionally, they must also tax their peasants, maintain
the fief ’s infrastructure (since technically this land belongs to their liege), and stamp out uprisings, rebellions, and monstrous incursions. They can pass their titles to their children, if their liege allows it; many titles begin as granted titles but later turn into hereditary titles, with the holder being responsible for the fief ’s tithe. At the top of this pyramid sits the Steward.
City and Rural Life
The vast majority of Isgeri live in the cities of Elidir and Logas and many of the larger towns. Here they eke out a crowded existence as craftsmen and soldiers. Outside of the cities and towns, a number of smaller villages and hamlets dot the countryside, along with miles of farmland. Local lords play an important role in keeping these places protected from the growing numbers of violent bandits.
The average Isgeri is mostly uneducated and is illiterate, though adventurers do know how to read and write. Isger has few formal schools; most people are simply taught the basics of what they need at home.
The people of generally have little reason to celebrate, but several holidays have remained a part of their heritage.
2nd. Merrymead: Commemorates coming Spring with the distribution of the last of the previous season’s alcohol.
19th. Loyalty Day: Marks the signing of the Treaty of Egorian and House Thrune’s rule.
15th. Taxfest: Clerics accompany tax collectors on their rounds, then host a public feast for all citizens.
3rd. Archerfeast: This holiday dedicated to Erastil is filled with archery competitions, livestock trading, and courtship of eligible women.
Second Oathday. Signing Day: Marks the day the nations of Andoran, Cheliax, Galt, and Isger broke from Taldor.
Second Moonday. Harvest Feast: Celebrates the harvest and the end of field work for the year.
14th. Even-Tongued Day: Commemorates Andoran, Cheliax, Galt, and Isger’s freedom from Taldor.