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(note that not all the details of each nation are finished X0)
Life Across KhorviareThe Last War has ended, but much of the anger and pain remains. The new nations of Khorvaire, while technically at peace, continue to vie for political and economic supremacy. In the wake of war, new treaties and alliances are forming, new weapons and armies are being built, and another great war is inevitable. Still, that war is years away. In the meantime, a new age of exploration and growth creates an exciting era in which to adventure.
During the Last War, not everyone saw action and not every location was a battle zone. Great portions of every nation never suffered invasion or attack. On the other hand, locations in every nation did suffer through the war, and some sites switched hands a dozen times or more as the century-long conflict unfolded. Particularly along the borders of the nations, bloodshed and violence came and went as the war progressed.
The Treaty of Thronehold was signed on the 11th day of Aryth in 996 YK, thus ending the Last War. After more than a century of war, soldiers and kings alike must learn to live in a peaceful world. The long struggle and the shocking destruction of Cyre, which occurred in 994 YK, have left deep scars on the psyche of the continent. There is an undercurrent of despair and doubt, a fear that the fate of the Mournland may herald the doom of Khorvaire itself.
This sense of trepidation has provoked many different reactions. Crime is on the increase in the major cities of the nations; many question moral standards, as people no longer believe in the security of their old way of life.
Murder and theft are far more common than they used to be. Sinister conspiracies such as the Aurum and the Order of the Emerald Claw are using the overall sense of confusion and uncertainty to increase their own power and influence. The elves of Valenar have been ignoring the Treaty of Thronehold, and elf forces continue to clash with the Karrns, the Talenta halflings, and the Q’barrans. Rumors tell of graft and corruption even within the Church of the Silver Flame, the traditional bastion of law and order.
Not everyone gives in to despair, however. Academic institutions such as The Library of Korranberg and [[Morgrave University]] have redoubled their efforts to explore the mysterious continent of Xen’drik, seeking knowledge and wonders. There are those who fight to make Khorvaire a safer place, battling in the shadows, the streets, and the courts of the land.
This is a time of opportunity and adventure. The lost treasures of forgotten civilizations are only beginning to be recovered. Untold wealth and powerful artifacts can be gained—assuming one can get past the deadly guardians and cunning traps that protect them. Crime lords and corrupt priests clash in the cities. Spies, courtiers, and assassins battle with words and swords in the courts of Khorvaire. Mad wizards, ancient demons, and sinister cults pursue deadly schemes that could threaten Eberron itself. This is a time when new heroes must arise to replace those slain in the Last War, to find a way to restore light and hope to the people of Khorvaire.
Galifar was a feudal monarchy, as are most of the nations that formed after the Last War shattered that legendary kingdom. In addition to the rural farmers, a middle class of laborers and shop owners has developed in the larger towns and cities. The mercantile barons that control the dragonmarked houses align themselves with no nation, which allows them to operate independently and in all nations, though most can’t help but associate more strongly with one nation.
Dragonmarked Houses The thirteen dragonmarked houses constitute an aristocracy of commerce and industry across Khorvaire. The blood members of each family have wealth and social status that puts them firmly in the middle to upper classes of Khorvairian society. The house nobles and their immediate relatives share the highest status in the land, equivalent to the royal houses and the highest-ranking clergy. Scions further removed from the main bloodline share and take advantage of this status as the nobles allow, but on their own they rank in the middle class.
Farmers dominate the countryside of most of the nations, raising crops and providing food. In some nations, farmers are serfs indentured to the lords that control their lands. In others, farmers are free workers who own or lease their land and pay taxes for protection and other services they require of the ruling class. Farmers toil through the daylight hours and rest when darkness covers the land. They live within a mile or so of a trading village, which is guarded in turn by a local lord and his keep or castle. When legal disputes arise, it is the manor lord (or his appointed officer) who settles disagreements and issues rulings.
Some farmers have magic to help them with their chores. This magic might be provided by their lord or purchased from a dragonmarked house.
While some farmers in every nation saw firsthand the degradations of the Last War, most have to worry more about bandits and marauding monsters than the armies of the neighboring nations. The average farmer doesn’t wander far from his or her home, but every family has a member that went off to fight the war or seek employment in a city, and everyone knows someone whose brother or sister decided to become an adventurer and leave home in search of fame or fortune.
Some townsfolk and city-dwellers engage in a craft or trade of some kind, though for every professional there are three or more common laborers working in the city. Merchants and shop owners, smiths, leatherworkers, and artisans of a ll descriptions live and work in the cities. Many use some magic to ply their craft; magewrights cast magecraft themselves; others hire magewrights to assist them when the funds are available.
People live in close proximity in the cities, shopping in the markets, working, relaxing as the opportunity presents itself. City-dwellers have a bit more access to the conveniences of magic than their rural counterparts do. The dragonmarked houses maintain pavilions and emporiums in many good-sized towns and cities, where their services can be purchased on a regular basis. Magewrights are more abundant in the towns and cities, and even the least well-to-do city has everbright lanterns to light at least the major thoroughfares and exchanges.
In a city, law and order prevails—or at least it tries to. A city watch patrols the streets, a local garrison protects the trade roads and caravan routes passing nearby. Courts and councilors hold sway over matters of law, deciding disputes and determining guilt or innocence through something akin to due process.
From the rural communities that dot the countryside to the villages, towns, and cities that rise wherever need and circumstance come together, the people of Khorvaire fall into three economic categories: poor, middle class, and wealthy. There are ranges and degrees of wealth in each category. Six out of ten people in the Five Nations are common farmers, unskilled laborers, and tradesfolk who are in the poor economic class, having no more than 40 or 50 silver pieces on hand at any given time, and most having considerably less.
Three out of ten people are in the middle class, including skilled laborers, prosperous traders and shop owners, skilled artisans, most nobility, low-level adventurers, and some members of the dragonmarked families who normally have a few hundred gold pieces or more on hand.
One out of ten people fall into the wealthy category, those with access to a few thousand gold pieces at any given time. This class includes merchant lords, barons of commerce, the patriarchs and matriarchs of the dragonmarked families, the most popular and successful artisans, mid- to high-level adventurers, and the ruling royalty.
Throughout the Five Nations (or at least what’s left of them), formal schooling is considered a right and a necessary part of every child’s training. Rural manors maintain schools for the sons and daughters of the peasants and laborers. Private tutors provide an education for the children of royal and economic nobility. In towns and cities, schools cater to all who wish to attend. In no case is education mandatory; however, most people understand the advantages offered to them by the remnants of the Galifar education system. Higher education and study is available at a number of colleges and universities, as well as among the religious institutions. For those who don’t want to become scholars, apprenticeships and on-the-job training replace higher education. The exception to this system involves magewrights and wizards, who must attend one of the magical colleges for at least some of their training.