September 18, 2013 at 2:21 pm #5212
1 in 7 Orlanthi are Thanes. 3 in 7 are Carls. 3 in 7 are Cottars. Carls receive 1 hide of land, thanes 5 hides. Does this mean their household? Are the adult, yet unmarried sons of thanes considered to be carls? Likewise the sons of carls (are they also carls, even if they live at their father’s stead)? For example; a thane is head of the household, his brother, cousin, and 2 sons also reside at the stead. Does the family therefore receive 9 hides? OR, is this considered the household of a thane, therefore just receiving 5 hides? What about the wives and daughters? Do they generally not have land assigned to them, being subsumed under their fathers’/husbands’ land rights? How does the clan decide what families/individuals are cottars? Seems pretty nasty to say, “Well, Hendrick, your father was a cottar, and his father before him, so you are too. Tough luck, go work someone else’s land and live in a crappy cottage”. What’s the ‘Upward/Downward” social mobility like? If a Carl is promoted to thane status, does some other poor saps lose land so that it can be allocated to him? Lots of questions, I know, but my players are members of a thane’s household (2 are his sons, others are more distant relatives), and the campaign is moving towards the more nitty-gritty of clan life.September 18, 2013 at 4:05 pm #5833
See the glossary on page 12 of S:KOH.
Carl: A free and independent adult member of a clan.
Cottar: A free dependent member of a clan.
Thane: A leader and military specialist forming the elite of the clan or tribe. (However, for Thanes, I substitute ‘or’ for ‘and’.)
By these definitions, a son that lives with his father is considered a cottar.September 19, 2013 at 6:38 pm #5837
Ohhhhh….. OK, it seems kinda weird, the son of a thane being considered a cottar, so far as social rights, etc are concerned. I always pictured a tula having several large steads; the “households of the prominent bloodlines, led by a thane, with one or more “families” residing there. There would then be scattered smaller steads, ‘owned’ by various carls, throughout the tula, likely more densely around these ‘bloodline household steads’. I always assumed the cottar population were just a relative under-class of Orlanthi society, some itinerant, some ‘bonded’ to the more powerful families. It seems the Orlanthi are more egalitarian than I had imagined. Boy, I’m going to have some upset players when I tell them that they’re a bunch of cottars! 🙂September 20, 2013 at 12:27 pm #5846
Being the son of a thane confers a lot of advantages over being the son of a cottar, but the son of a thane is under strong social pressure to prove himself, to gain wealth and status through his deeds. There may be magic that he can do better or even only because of his ancestors. There may be family alliances and clients that are available to him because of the deeds of his father or grandfather, but he is entitled to no deference merely because he is the son of a thane. He must prove himself worthy to his community if he wishes the same status as his father.September 20, 2013 at 1:11 pm #5848
I think that being from a thane or carl household might be sufficient as your entry requirement into certain specialist subcults (with others still requiring that a candidate holds the actual position). In terms of weregeld, I suppose only the household leaders (usually a married couple) will rate the full amount.
The literal carl requirement includes e.g. ownership (by lease from the clan, if not personal property) of a team of eight oxen for the plow, and the plow itself. For the specialist crafters or magicians, there might be traditional equivalents.
A successful raider or mercenary might be able to fulfill these requirements upon return to his clan from personal gains (after buying himself back into the good graces of the clan he left for quite a while with generous gifts.)
I suppose the traditional way to get there would be to gift the plow team (and some extras) to the chieftain, and receive it (without the extras) back in lease, but a potential rival of the chieftain might risk to be somewhat short changed personally (e.g. with the team going to someone else of his blood line).
A clan member returning from a prolonged term of questing (or association with a different leader like say an Argrath candidate) with an unusual retinue in tow might go down a similar fate as Gringle (and possibly Alebard), occupying a distant stead filled with strangeness. At least, that’s how I fit Apple Lane into rural Sartar.September 20, 2013 at 2:21 pm #5850
Thanks for the insights everyone, I think I was getting a little too “feudal Europe” in my mindset! Also, I did completely overlook the “must own a full ox team and plow” thing, so far as Carl status is concerned. Obviously the large stead of a thane will not have a plow and ox team for every “Carl status” member of the household, thereby relegating those family members, no matter their personal wealth or perceived importance, to Cottar status.
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