Author Topic: RE: Tuluk Caste System  (Read 12072 times)

Larrath

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RE: Tuluk Caste System
« on: April 05, 2006, 11:34:13 PM »
Pretty sleepy so hopefully someone will contribute a more comprehensive post.  marko, I'm looking at you. :P

Basically, Bards and Artisans in Tuluk enjoy a very high social standing.  Apprentice Bards in the Poet's Circle are usually not very high on the food chain, being on par with newer aides and perhaps a non-blood Corporal in a Merchant House.
Seekers of the Poet's Circle get a bump in their standing, which would place them about on par with a Sergeant (noble or merchant) or possibly even lesser Merchant Family Members if they're very good.
Bards of the Poet's Circle get a smaller bump in status and are comparable to more influential Merchant Family Agents.
Master Bards are directly comparable to the lower-middling rank of Seniors in a Merchant House.

The highest seniors (and I'm not even talking Magnate) in a Great Merchant House are FAR above all but the most exceptional master bards.
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marko

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RE: Tuluk Caste System
« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2006, 11:58:12 PM »
Hi!  I am here as summoned.  ;)

Tuluk has a caste system that is built upon four basic castes:

slaves, commoners, nobles, and templars

With this in mind, to answer the question posted on the imm board, blooded merchants are commoners and bards are commoners therefore relative status is a matter of social rank.

What does this really mean?

Well, bards have four ranks:

Apprentice, Seeker, Bard, and Master Bard

Merchants have a bunch of ranks too.  I tend to simplify it down to four.  

Merchant, Ranked Merchant, Upper Merchant, and House of House

Now, a bard is a third level in the social standing and a merchant who is fresh faced to the world is at the first rung.  Being a blooded merchant provides a boost to that social standing.  After all, a blooded merchant who is starting out is typically higher in social status than a hired merchant employee - even though they occupy the same social slot (as dictated by their job within the merchant house).

Patronage also has an effect on relative social standing.

Personal influence, power, renown, achievements, deeds, friends, etc all have affects as well.

In other words, a bard bard will be probably higher in influence (ie, social standing) than a new blooded merchant.  Why probably?  Well, it may be that the bard in question has done a bunch of really stupid mistakes - everyone hates them, known to hang out with magickers, loses all competitions, etc while the new blooded merchant makes some very powerful friends... in that case, the merchant is of a higher standing.

Basically, the system in Tuluk is complex and can be difficult to figure out.  I keep track of base positions (like apprentice artisan, or master bard, or aide of so and so) and then apply modifiers from there to figure out where people are relative to one another.

Further examples in Tlaloc's post :)  (he said it better than I did)

Cuusardo

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RE: Tuluk Caste System
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2006, 12:05:18 PM »
What it all boils down to is that bards and merchants are all still commoners, and are only allowed as much power as they are given by the ruling class.
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marko

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RE: Tuluk Caste System
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2006, 03:17:40 PM »
The hardest thing about writing about relative power and influence of any entity or person is the sheer scope and breadth of the possibilities.  I could write pages upon pages about this stuff and, by doing so, lose the attention of anyone reading. :)

I wanted to address Cuusardo's comment about power being allowed by the ruling class.  I dislike such blanket statements because they imply so much.  One of the implications the comment is that all nobles are more influential than all commoners and this isn't true.

At the borders of the Castes the relative power of individuals might not be in accordance to which Caste they belong to.

For example, the Head of House Salarr carries far more clout than a fresh-faced junior Noble.

And yet, to complicate matters, the junior Noble is still a Noble.  So, if somehow there was a disagreement amongst the two people, the Head of Salarr would have to back down.  But, guess who just committed political suicide?  Yes, the Junior Noble.  After pissing off the Head of Salarr we may see the Junior Noble be sanctioned by his own House and suffer all kinds of consequences.  And yet, at the moment of the confrontation, the Junior Noble won out due to his Caste standing.

To think of it another way, let's say there was a city wide party.  At this party there was a serving order from "most important" to "least."  For this serving order Junior Nobles would be always be served before Heads of Houses and Master Bards.  And yet, when engaged in conversation in the party afterwards, the words of the Heads of Houses and Master Bards would hold more sway than the Junior Noble.

This becomes more difficult to figure out - in terms of who gets served first and who is listened to over someone else - as the social standings are closer in their overlap.  For example, an established bard may have greater influence than a fresh-faced noble lord just starting out.  Therefore, while the noble lord would be served first over a bard bard in the conversations the bard bard would be listened to more - but not significantly more.  This can then lead to all sorts of interesting situations.  

What we need to keep in mind is that the higher castes are not automatically more influential in terms of real power when they start.   All characters in Tuluk earn their influence by their actions, friends, and promotions.  The higher castes merely start out much higher than the lower ones and have the potential for passing well beyond the reach of those below them.

So while an upper merchant has, for all intents and purposes, reached the top of their game a fresh-faced junior noble is just starting out.  Thus, at the start, the upper merchant has more influence (and thus social standing) than a fresh-faced junior noble.  In a year, two, five, or however long it takes that junior noble will be well above the upper merchant and still accumulating social standing.

This all leads to a careful dance at these overlaps.  Sometimes one person will forget their relative position and mistakenly do something which insults the other...

Cuusardo

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RE: Tuluk Caste System
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2006, 11:24:28 PM »
I was trying to keep it simple with my "blanket statement", because when it comes down to it, it is true.  If a noble or a templar feels any commoner has too much of anything, they can take it away.
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Moofassa

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RE: Tuluk Caste System
« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2006, 11:48:42 PM »
Quote from: "Cuusardo"
I was trying to keep it simple with my "blanket statement", because when it comes down to it, it is true.  If a noble or a templar feels any commoner has too much of anything, they can take it away.


Templar, yes. Noble, absolutely no way.
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Yokunama

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RE: Tuluk Caste System
« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2006, 02:13:51 AM »
Marko, this is giving me a headache.:(

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 You do not have that item.

Cuusardo

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RE: Tuluk Caste System
« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2006, 11:36:26 AM »
Quote from: "Moofassa"
Quote from: "Cuusardo"
I was trying to keep it simple with my "blanket statement", because when it comes down to it, it is true.  If a noble or a templar feels any commoner has too much of anything, they can take it away.


Templar, yes. Noble, absolutely no way.


A noble can indeed do this.  I have seen it happen.
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You know what I love about the word panic?  In Czech, it's the word for "male virgin".

Marauder Moe

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RE: Tuluk Caste System
« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2006, 11:38:44 AM »
At the very least, a noble can usually just ask a templar to confiscate whatever it is.

Tamarin

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RE: Tuluk Caste System
« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2006, 11:43:21 AM »
Quote from: "Cuusardo"
Quote from: "Moofassa"
Quote from: "Cuusardo"
I was trying to keep it simple with my "blanket statement", because when it comes down to it, it is true.  If a noble or a templar feels any commoner has too much of anything, they can take it away.


Templar, yes. Noble, absolutely no way.


A noble can indeed do this.  I have seen it happen.


Just because a noble did it doesn't mean it should have happened.  I believe it says in the docs that Tuluki nobles can choose to bare (bear?) arms against a commoner if they choose to, but the ramifications would be quite severe if they didn't have a reaaaaaaaally good reason.

Nobles do NOT enforce laws in Tuluk.  They have jurisdiction over their own servants (ie house employees) because they can give them orders.  And if they wanted something from any other commoner, the commoner might be wise to give it over as a favor to the noble, but they do not have the authority to simply demand something and get it.  Unless perhaps it is their house's livery, but that's different because technically they actually would own that.

There's also the fact that commoners are protected by their relationships with the upper 2 castes.  If a noble wants something from some commoner, and that commoner happens to have a patron who is also a noble...forget about it.  Noble the first ain't getting SHIT, sistah.
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Cuusardo

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RE: Tuluk Caste System
« Reply #10 on: April 07, 2006, 12:13:33 PM »
That doesn't mean a noble can't take anything they want from a commoner.
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You know what I love about the word panic?  In Czech, it's the word for "male virgin".

Agent_137

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RE: Tuluk Caste System
« Reply #11 on: April 07, 2006, 01:31:15 PM »
i think simple statements concerning tuluki caste systems are going to perpetually be inaccurate. Isn't that the point of tuluk? Really intricate socio-political system? Why boil it down? The fun of it is the intricacies.

ale six

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RE: Tuluk Caste System
« Reply #12 on: April 07, 2006, 02:53:27 PM »
Wow. This makes Tuluki nobles sound like powerless pansies. I guess they really do suck.

LauraMars

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RE: Tuluk Caste System
« Reply #13 on: April 07, 2006, 03:21:34 PM »
Quote from: "ale six"
Wow. This makes Tuluki nobles sound like powerless pansies. I guess they really do suck.


Like a hoover. *COUGH*

*dissapears*
Child, child, if you come to this doomed house, what is to save you?

A voice whispers, "Read the tales upon the walls."

SpyGuy

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RE: Tuluk Caste System
« Reply #14 on: April 07, 2006, 03:52:06 PM »
Quote from: "ale six"
Wow. This makes Tuluki nobles sound like powerless pansies. I guess they really do suck.


The exact same thing applies to nakki nobles by my understanding.  They don't own you, the templarate does.  A noble can't arrest you, nor can they attack commoners without some sort of reason (well, they can but they will likely get in trouble).  And as Tamarin said, if you have more powerful connections in the city then the noble could be doing a very bad thing by upseting you.

Nobles have power because they have a large House behind them, a large stipend for bribes and because of the noble PCs own actions to make them useful to the templarate.  No noble in the game is all powerful, they still need to convince a templar or an assassin to do their dirty work for them  :twisted:
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Intrepid

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RE: Tuluk Caste System
« Reply #15 on: April 07, 2006, 04:17:41 PM »
Actually, a noble in Allanak is immune to all but state and Highlord laws,
aren't they?  They could walk right up to someone and kill them but not
get punished for it by law at least.

In practice, killing the wrong person could make said noble suffer reprisal
depending on the deceased's standing and their owner's/clan's.
Proud Owner of her Very Own Delirium.

Tlaloc

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RE: Tuluk Caste System
« Reply #16 on: April 07, 2006, 04:50:48 PM »
Quote from: "LauraMars"
Quote from: "ale six"
Wow. This makes Tuluki nobles sound like powerless pansies. I guess they really do suck.


Like a hoover. *COUGH*

*dissapears*


If you really feel this way, you are more than welcome to:

1) Try to cross a Tuluki noble, and see what happens.
2) Apply for a noble PC, and find our for yourself.
Tlaloc
Legend


LauraMars

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RE: Tuluk Caste System
« Reply #17 on: April 07, 2006, 05:08:28 PM »
I dissapeared, Tlaloc!!  They dissapeared me!  Fate worse than death!

*cowers*
Child, child, if you come to this doomed house, what is to save you?

A voice whispers, "Read the tales upon the walls."

Jherlen

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RE: Tuluk Caste System
« Reply #18 on: April 07, 2006, 05:35:48 PM »
I'm pretty sure 'nakki nobles can do just about whatever they want to commoners who aren't merchant family or somebody else's servant and get away with it.
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ale six

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RE: Tuluk Caste System
« Reply #19 on: April 07, 2006, 06:12:01 PM »
I thought it was more obvious I was being sarcastic...

(My point was actually that I imagined crossing Tuluki nobility - or nakki nobility for that matter - probably wasn't as easy and healthy an affair as people were making it sound.)

Cale_Knight

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RE: Tuluk Caste System
« Reply #20 on: April 07, 2006, 06:17:33 PM »
Quote from: "Jherlen"
I'm pretty sure 'nakki nobles can do just about whatever they want to commoners who aren't merchant family or somebody else's servant and get away with it.


And god help you if you're that one PC in a hundred who isn't in some way affliliated with someone else, because they will get your ass.
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jcarter

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RE: Tuluk Caste System
« Reply #21 on: April 07, 2006, 07:18:05 PM »
Think of Allanak like New York City. Rough, crude, and gritty. Direct.

Think of Tuluk like Seattle. The passive-aggressive capital of the world, where people will get back at you behind your back.

That should put things into perspective.

Tlaloc

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RE: Tuluk Caste System
« Reply #22 on: April 07, 2006, 07:26:16 PM »
I see LauraMars and ale_six both have mastered the wonderful art of subtlety, such that even I missed it. Once you've passed the Free Art Test by drawing an erdlu and a raider and recieved your Tree Hugging License, you will be official Tuluki Citizens.

We'll tattoo you directly. Congrats!
Tlaloc
Legend


marko

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RE: Tuluk Caste System
« Reply #23 on: April 07, 2006, 09:00:19 PM »
I thought how to address the question of the Tuluki noble caste for while and what they can do.

The first thing to understand about Tuluk's nobles is that they have bite.  They have real power.  With the restoration of the triumvirate (Tuluk's law making body) it was discovered that the noble caste held popular support amongst the common caste and thus had a real voice.

In other words - the noble caste in Tuluk gathers its power from the support of the common caste.  This is a very different situation than what exists in Allanak.  In Tuluk the patronage system has given the noble caste true power that they can flex and draw upon to enact laws and policy that they want.  

Understanding this power is paramount to answering the original point of this part of the discussion.  Can a noble do anything they want with impunity - as exemplified by a noble taking anything they want from a commoner?

Well, the answer is yes but not really.  To quote the docs (which I encourage everyone to read as it talks about this stuff: http://www.armageddon.org/general/tuluki_rp.html)

Quote from: "Tuluki RP Documentation"
A House's reputation is vital in that it affects the number of other Houses that will side with them in the Triumverate. Such incidents could potentially be perilous. Additionally, with a damaged reputation they are less likely to attract patrons. Patrons will seek other Houses that don't have black marks and aren't considered a social risk. This will result in a loss of influence and prestige for the House, which will further deteriorate their status. It is genuinely possible for a House to drop in rank because of something like this.


In other words any noble who went around doing something as blatant as ordering possessions directly off a commoner would find themselves damaging their reputation.  By damaging their reputation they would be negatively influencing their House's reputation.  By damaging their House's reputation they lower their House's overall social ranking and thus if this is done enough this action by this single noble could effectively take a top tiered House (Tenneshi or Winrothol) and drop them down into the middle tiers.  And for this reason any Noble that tried to do this in such a base and blatant manner would probably be sanctioned by their own House pretty fast.

This is why I had such a hard some thinking about what to say to the claim that a noble _could_ do this.  I just couldn't fathom any time ever that a noble would be so stupid to do so.  The repercussions are huge.  The Noble Caste and the Common Caste in Tuluk are a symbiotic relationship.  The Noble Caste is, definitely, above the Common Caste.  This isn't a question.  The Noble Caste relies upon the Common Caste for its "real" power in making the laws of Tuluk.  

This is the essence of a patronage.  Each Caste provides benefits to the other.  This is how Tuluk works.  Interdependencies between the Castes that make things complex and thus more interesting (at least in my view).

I cannot understand how or why any noble would break with this and betray the trust and relationship they have with the commoners - and by doing so destroying their own power - it just doesn't make sense to me.  

So again, the answer would be, "I suppose, in theory, it could be argued that one could try and do this but ... the consequences may not be pretty and there are so many better ways to get what you want anyway than blatantly forcing one's will upon another."

Conversely, for all those commoners out there - remember:  Tuluki Nobles have real power.  They can get stuff done.  They can bite.  Not only at a micro level but also at a macro level.  Nobles can enact laws.

Cuusardo

  • Posts: 3724
RE: Tuluk Caste System
« Reply #24 on: April 08, 2006, 12:30:19 AM »
You were taking my statement far too literally.  By no means did I say that a Tuluki noble would walk up to some commoner and demand the shirt off of his back.  I meant on a far broader scheme.  But of course, people are quick to assume and bite other people's heads off and make fun of the bunnyhuggers.
Quote from: Anael
You know what I love about the word panic?  In Czech, it's the word for "male virgin".

spawnloser

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RE: Tuluk Caste System
« Reply #25 on: April 08, 2006, 09:10:22 AM »
Dear, calm down.  'Kay?

I do feel that people were being way too literal in their taking of what Cuusardo said.  Seriously, people.  If a noble wants something a commoner has a simple, "Well, that is such a nice ring.  I wish I had one," from Chosen to commoner should generally result in the noble getting it eventually.  I mean, that's what the patronage system is about...commoners give stuff to nobles that then speak for those commoners in the Triumvirate.  Not giving gifts to the Chosen is like saying, "I don't want you to protect me."
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Morfeus

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RE: Tuluk Caste System
« Reply #26 on: April 08, 2006, 09:28:33 AM »
I think people are often forgetting that nobles are different, higher caste. If my average, Tuluki born commoner-character hears from Chosen anything leading to impression Chosen wishes to get my character's shirt, my character would most probably give the shirt to Chosen immediatelly (and then go and brag about it). But well, that is just me.

Tamarin

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RE: Tuluk Caste System
« Reply #27 on: April 08, 2006, 01:59:05 PM »
Quote from: "Morfeus"
I think people are often forgetting that nobles are different, higher caste. If my average, Tuluki born commoner-character hears from Chosen anything leading to impression Chosen wishes to get my character's shirt, my character would most probably give the shirt to Chosen immediatelly (and then go and brag about it). But well, that is just me.


Morfeus has this aspect correct.  It's not that the Chosen can or really should demand anything, but that it's the citizen's choice to offer it of his or her own free will.  The difference between that, and the Chosen "getting what the want because they're Chosen and they should have it" is -huge-.  Huge difference.  Not at all the same thing.

This is NOT Allanak.
quote="mansa"]emote pees in your bum[/quote]

spawnloser

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RE: Tuluk Caste System
« Reply #28 on: April 08, 2006, 02:02:17 PM »
Quote from: "Morfeus"
If my average, Tuluki born commoner-character hears from Chosen anything leading to impression Chosen wishes to get my character's shirt, my character would most probably give the shirt to Chosen immediatelly (and then go and brag about it). But well, that is just me.
I'd offer to get one I hadn't worn already or to wash it for them first.  :wink:
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Naiona

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RE: Tuluk Caste System
« Reply #29 on: April 08, 2006, 05:44:14 PM »
Tuluk has legalized thievery and thieves available for a reasonable fee should anyone really want anything else that anyone has.  A smart noble may have a few of them on call under his/her own patronage. A great "professional" (aka thief) might have loose partisan relationships with multiple influential people.  I would love to see this played out more as intended and thieves treated as artisans rather then criminals by the majority of the populace in Tuluk.

A little bit of a derailment, but the Tuluki means of getting something you want from someone unwilling to hand it over is to have it stolen - or failing that purchasing a license and having the stubborn person asassinated.  The nobility of Tuluk is well aware of this and has the funds and connections to see it done.  They -will- get what they want most of the time.
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Bebop

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RE: Tuluk Caste System
« Reply #30 on: April 08, 2006, 05:50:58 PM »
I disagree that bards are the equivilent to a Merchant House family member, even if their job is as a merchant.  Merchant Houses are loaded.  They do business in two city states and they are raised in luxury not to different from the nobles of cities.  The Merchant Houses may not have the status as nobles since the nobles are Chosen by the Lords over each city but they still bare the last name of a very wealthy House.  They are raised their entire lives being not the top of the city, but pretty top tier in their own house with servants and slaves and for the Kurac their own Outpost.  The control who gets what and when, they can up the prices of the stuff you buy if you piss them off and they can work with you on all sorts of different issues more so an Agent yes, but a Junior Agent and a Junior Merchant we'll say, are really not that far apart in jobs, they just represent the same House in different ways.

I find it kind of non realistic that some bard would born in a little circle House would meet the equivilent of a House family member.  And just because someones character might be a "new" merchant that doesn't mean that really they are new.  You have to remember they have been raised their entire lives with training, power and luxuries that other commoners have not.  They are top tier commoners, living only slightly less better then a noble and they know how to write.  They are ensured that trust, the only commoners who are ensured it.

Now I can see how a top Seeker, who has been around awhile and proved his worth would be seen as perhaps trustworthy and influential through song and maybe their status would be equal to a House family member.  But there are lots of bards in Tuluk and someone is born into a House.  Status depends on what your character does as a person and there are alot of intricacies that you can't just spell out.  But I think it's wrong to automatically see a bard as the equivilant of a Merchant House family member.  They aren't just some crafter sitting on the side of the road shouting wares.  A merchants job requires alot of IC and OOC work and you have to remember realistically it requires finesse WRITING, training and alot if not constant hours for the person.

That is like saying that every up and coming on Conan O' Brian is equal to the Beatles or even more so Bill Gates.  There are alot of up and comings but there are not alot of Seekers that actually have the title keep it and do well by it.  And they are definitely not the power House of a billionaire like Bill Gates.

Tamarin

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RE: Tuluk Caste System
« Reply #31 on: April 08, 2006, 06:04:16 PM »
You have some valid points, Bebop.  A bard definitnely does have to earn his/her status.  It is by no means just given to them simply because they are a bard.  But a bard who works for it can garner a -huge- amount of political support from commoners, nobles, and templars alike.  This is part of the patronage system, which of course is integral to the Caste system.

Merchants have to work equally hard.  Like you said, it's a lot of work.  If the merchant doesn't put in that work, or pisses someone off, he (just like a bard or any other person for that matter) can see a downfall.

Now, the comparison between a single bard and an entire merchant house is not a fair one.  To be realistic, you would have to compare the entire merchant house with the entire Poets' Circle.  That way, you're comparing organization to organization, and individual to individual.  Not individual to organization.  As a group, the Bards and Master Bards of the Circle hold a HUMONGOUS amount of political clout.  This is most notably prominent when you look at the Driamuseks, who are charged with teaching young nobles how to act.  In real life terms...no.  You don't compare Bono to Microsoft.  You compare the RIAA to Microsoft.  You compare the record labels to Microsoft.

Also, not all bards reach the upper ranks.  If a bard actually reaches the rank of Bard, it's assumed that he/she has a certain amount of influence and aptitude.  So you might think "oh poo that guy shouldn't be so influential because he's a Bard."  You're thinking backwards.  The reality is much more like "that guy worked his tail off to get lots of influence while working on his craft.  That's why he's a bard."  And then Master Bard...is even moreso.  You don't fuck with a Master Bard.  Just like you don't fuck with the Head of House of any merchant house.

Does that make sense?
quote="mansa"]emote pees in your bum[/quote]

Bebop

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RE: Tuluk Caste System
« Reply #32 on: April 08, 2006, 06:22:47 PM »
I understand, but I think it's narrow sighted to look at a bard and think bard = merchant.  They are nothing alike career wise and I think a House family member should be used to being treated a certain way, though to a lesser degree then a Noble.

A bard can't understand that, they weren't born to a life of luxury persay though they have the potential to earn it.  Even without a job in within a Merchant House as a family member, you are above the workers there.  You are family, and you have been raised in silks, or your own outpost.  In many ways you hold alot of power that a Bard does not.  And if a Merchant House family member has been raised their whole life in silks, training and luxury I think they are going to think they are not better then the nobles or Faithful not even equal but certainly that they are better then the average commoner.

I don't see any reason why a Bard would come to believe this about him/herself unless they had worked hard to achieve the status of say a Seeker or something.  Status can change for each person individually despite any career.

I just don't think that people should look at Merchant Family members as some hawker on the side of the road or like any other commoner. They are commoners but they are better then the average commoner and used to a life of power over their servants, slaves and workers and have no idea what the average life in the warrens would be like.  They are rich, they are powerful in two city states.  They just aren't "chosen" so to say.

I don't think people give merchant family members enough respect if they look at them like a bard.  If you grow up carrying around a little silk parasol in your fluffy pink dress while the other kids are playing with dried dung, the kid who grew up in the warrens is going to look up at the one who grew up in House Kadius or Salarr and think wow I wish I could be like that.  They're not going to treat them like your everday run of the mill pal unless they develop that friendship.

Larrath

  • Posts: 2987
RE: Tuluk Caste System
« Reply #33 on: April 08, 2006, 06:39:10 PM »
First of all, on merchant family members and their upbringing - they have a relatively easy life with some luxury; they never had to worry about food or water, always had their own bed if they didn't live in a very large shared room, have education that many others lack, and so on and so forth.  

But their upbringing is nothing like a noble's upbringing.  Whereas the vast majority of the noble are purely politickers and managers, merchant family members do real work - it may be crafting, it may be doing menial work in the crafter's hall or mess hall, copying ledgers into books, helping out in shops, taking inventories [and Merchant Houses generally deal with humongous amounts], and sometimes even hunting if they're the kind to do that.  A merchant family member who is truly just lazy and a mediocre socialite would probably never get any public position.  This isn't really the case with most Noble Houses.
Merchant family members aren't 'raised in silks'.  At best their official uniform will be made of silk, but they won't be giving silk clothes to eight-year old kids.  Even the wealthy Kuracs tend to wear sandcloth or even leather, and Salarrs and Nenyuks are usually more likely to wear either fine leathers or high-quality cotton and linen.  Kadians like silk so maybe in Kadius it's possible.  It's still not anywhere near a noble.

The best way to summarize, I find, is this: while a Merchant Family member might be able to turn to the slaves for whatever they need, a Noble will have his or her own slave to address their needs.


Now about the Poet's Circle and the Houses:
On the comparison between a Master Bard/head of a Circle against the Magnate/regional subhead of a Merchant House, I firmly believe that the Master Bard simply cannot compete.  In the end of the day, not only are the Merchant Houses draconian monopolies, but the Merchant Houses aren't dependant on a single city-state for their survival.
If Muk Utep went to Kadius and told them to get out of his city-state, Kadius could stay in business in Allanak.  They'd have to make a lot of cut-backs and lose profits and raise prices, but they wouldn't collapse.  If the Konviwedu Circle was told to get out of Tuluk, it would either turn into a minor tribe or be mostly destroyed after three generations.

While all of the Poet's Circle, combined, carries a staggering amount of influence, valuable knowledge (and let's face it, assassins), I think that if Tuluk had to choose between the bards and Salarr's weapons and armor, they'd go with Salarr.  Otherwise they'd start taking ten times as much casualties in each skirmish against Allanak and the criminal elements in the city-state would become much more dangerous to the common Legionnaire.

Now, there is definitely place to pit a medium-high (but not the single highest) ranked Family Merchant against a member of the Poet's Circle.  All but the most influential Seniors in a Merchant House would be committing career (and possibly literal) suicide if they went directly against a Master Bard.  A Bard bard of a Circle is more comparable to a regular Agent-type family member with a very good standing in the House, and a Seeker bard is sitting right across an average regular Agent/Merchant in a House.
Apprentice bards come a dime a dozen, but with the right patron they can also wield a bit of influence.

In conclusion, the Merchant House rules and Poet's Circle drools.
Quote from: Vesperas
...You have to ask yourself... do you love your PC more than you love its contribution to the game?

Bebop

  • Posts: 3489
RE: Tuluk Caste System
« Reply #34 on: April 08, 2006, 06:54:53 PM »
I'm fully aknowledging that they work and they are definitely raised different then a noble but they still have many many luxuries and I think their signfigance and the amount of respect they deserve is underplayed.

Tuluk needs the Merchant Houses for supply and economy.  And a family member within their own merchant house is law within their own Estate.  They could be well liked an insult towards them could lead to an insult towards the entire House.

Likewise if you're dealing with a Merchant family member who is used to those luxuries and feels they are above the average commoner which they are and definitely more so in wealth, then you are going to need to be kind to them if you want to maintain good business and not get overcharged and remain in good relationship with that House.  Because if you don't they are going to report to the House your attitude and the whole House is going to know.  If you or the people you represent don't deal kindly with a Merchant or any House family member even if they had no job within their House however unlikely that might be, there are going to be consequences to that.  These people have a whole House of wealth behind you and though those consequences maybe small or end up large.

Just because someone is a merchant the House and wealth, and lifestyle they have behind them should not be downplayed or overlooked.  (Not to mention there is a big difference between House family rank of merchant and a common merchant).

Seeker

  • Posts: 1377
RE: Tuluk Caste System
« Reply #35 on: April 08, 2006, 06:58:32 PM »
Quote from: "Larrath"

I think that if Tuluk had to choose between the bards and Salarr's weapons and armor, they'd go with Salarr.  


I usually completely agree with Larrath on most of his posts, and most of the above was right on the money.... but I really think you missed the boat on this statement.

In a very real sense the Bardic Circles ARE Tuluki culture.  Tuluk could support a new merchant family to make their arms.  It would take awhile for the new House to rise to the level of expertise of House Salarr, but they would do that long before they turned against their own.   Tuluk would NEVER turn their back on their culture.  Ever.


Seeker
Sitting in your comfort,
You don't believe I'm real,
But you cannot buy protection
from the way that I feel.

Tamarin

  • Posts: 3337
RE: Tuluk Caste System
« Reply #36 on: April 08, 2006, 07:13:39 PM »
Quote from: "Bebop"
I understand, but I think it's narrow sighted to look at a bard and think bard = merchant.


You're right, it is narrow sighted, because it's not that simple.  Tuluk is not a simple place.  Tuluk is a subtle place.  I continue.

Quote from: "Bebop"
They are nothing alike career wise and I think a House family member should be used to being treated a certain way, though to a lesser degree then a Noble.


This is a fundamental flaw in your reasoning.  If you look at the roles of a Merchant and a Bard, they are astronomically similar.  A merchant deals with people to sell them goods.  A bard deals with people for entertainment and ideological spin.  At a fundamental level, merchants and bards both deal in public relations.  The actual pragmatic value of what they do is really of little consequence in determining their worth and influence.  They both provide services that all four castes in Tuluk need and want.  I could provide a lengthy list for both merchants and bards of things that they are asked to provide on a regular basis, and you'd see that the scope of what they do really extends beyond the face value of their positions.  But again, at the root, it is public relations and they both partake in it.

Quote from: "Bebop"
A bard can't understand that, they weren't born to a life of luxury persay though they have the potential to earn it.


Says who?  Have you SEEN some of the NPCs in Poets' Circle?  For crying out loud...the bards have an entire SECTOR of the city devoted entirely to them.  They have properties that they oversee, both from the residential and commercial side of things.  Many bards are born into a luxurious lifestyle -- most notably the Driamuseks and Irofels -- so saying that "bards can't understand" this aspect of blood merchants is just false.

Quote from: "Bebop"
Even without a job in within a Merchant House as a family member, you are above the workers there.


Absolutely.  Just like the bards are above the common laborers they hire collectively to do maintenance and grunt work around the Circle.

Quote from: "Bebop"
You are family, and you have been raised in silks, or your own outpost.


And bards are raised with an instrument in their hands from the day they are born.  Learning how to play an instrument well, how to sing well, how to tell stories well, is tantamount to walking around in silks.  You cannot insist that silks are what make merchants better than bards, because bards have their own array of "upper class" things that they are groomed with from a young age as well.

Quote from: "Bebop"
In many ways you hold a lot of power that a Bard does not.


This is another flaw in your reasoning.  Of course there are plenty of ways that bards don't hold the power that merchants do.  Bards, however, hold a tremendous amount of power that Merchants do not.  I'll give one example here, and that is the spread of political ideas.  If the whole of the Circle decided that they were going to wage a war against...let's say kalan bread...then they would probably have the abilities to completely marginalize kalan bread, and yes, even make a lot of citizens hate it.  Merchants do not have this ability, because that's not what they are trained to do.

The point isn't that merchants have power that bards don't.  The point is that they are different.  They occupy different roles within the same social class.  Merchants have a lot of power in one arena; bards have it in another.  There is a lot of mutual respect here between the Merchant organizations and the Circle, because they all realize that merchants are good at some things, and bards are good at another.  Neither really has abilities that are "better" than the others.  You are free to argue that the abilities, influence, and power of the Merchants are in fact better than the abilities, influence, and power of the bards, but in my humble opinion you would be wrong.

Quote from: "Bebop"
And if a Merchant House family member has been raised their whole life in silks, training and luxury I think they are going to think they are not better then the nobles or Faithful not even equal but certainly that they are better then the average commoner.


Here is perhaps where the Bards' power truly shines.  Most of them realize that they too are commoners, and thus they have a certain empathy with the common people (this isn't universally true, of course, but they are all at least aware of the fact that it is a possibility for them).  This gives them a huge amount of power among the common caste, which is by far the largest caste (slaves may be larger but I don't think so).  It's the basic 'love thine enemy' principle.  If you think you're above someone, you can't understand them as well as if you consider yourself to be on equal status with them.

There is also the matter of education, and here you are basically neglecting the amount of education that bards receive.  Bards are -highly- educated people, especially the ones born into the Circle.  The learn history -- Arc of Lore.  The learn the songs that people love, and how to compose new ones that people love -- Arc of Song.  They learn how to debate, influence, slander, and propagate -- Arc of Words.  They learn about satire and subterfuge -- Arc of Acting.  They learn how to kill -- Arc of Blades.  This collective knowledge among the bards has created a wide syllabus and educational system based on the master-apprentice relationship.  To simply marginalize this by saying that it is not equal to the upbringing that merchants get is unfair, completely unfounded, and illogical.

Quote from: "Bebop"
I don't see any reason why a Bard would come to believe this about him/herself unless they had worked hard to achieve the status of say a Seeker or something.  Status can change for each person individually despite any career.


I also see no reason for a merchant to think of themselves so highly unless they too manage to actually garner some bona fide influence for themselves.  Like I said above, merchants and bards both have a cultured, educational upbringing.  They are more similar than you think.

Quote from: "Bebop"
I just don't think that people should look at Merchant Family members as some hawker on the side of the road or like any other commoner.


I fully agree with you, and I sympathize.  Too often, I see merchants being treated like little more than walking vending machines.  This saddens me.  

Quote from: "Bebop"
They are commoners but they are better then the average commoner and used to a life of power over their servants, slaves and workers and have no idea what the average life in the warrens would be like.


Again, this is a double edged sword.  Merchants have power over their servants, but so do bards.  And since Merchants neglect the downtrodden who live in the Warrens, they are missing out on influencing a huge section of the population.  Even the lowliest of the low can pick up a blade in a violent peasant uprising and start killing people via mob mentality.  Don't forget that.

Quote from: "Bebop"
They are rich, they are powerful in two city states.  They just aren't "chosen" so to say.


Just like bards.  Bards have an extreme amount of wealth, that I would argue is easily comparable to that of the Merchant Houses.  Of course, you have to compare the entire Circle to the House, as organization to organization.  The difference here, expounding on your point, is that a bard would -never- think that he is even close to being of the same worth as a Chosen.  People have been disappeared for thinking this way in Tuluk.  That is sedition, plain and simple.

Quote from: "Bebop"
I don't think people give merchant family members enough respect if they look at them like a bard.


This is of course your projected feelings onto other people, because you don't seem to give bards the respect that they are due.  

Quote from: "Bebop"
If you grow up carrying around a little silk parasol in your fluffy pink dress while the other kids are playing with dried dung, the kid who grew up in the warrens is going to look up at the one who grew up in House Kadius or Salarr and think wow I wish I could be like that.  They're not going to treat them like your everday run of the mill pal unless they develop that friendship.


If you grow up learning the Known World's history, and learning how to manipulte your dung-throwing friends' emotions through your words and songs, then the kid who grew up in the warrens is going to look up at the one who grew up in the Circle and think "wow I wish I could be like that".  They are going to probable revere them like rock-stars until they learn that bards are common, every day people.
quote="mansa"]emote pees in your bum[/quote]

Yang

  • Posts: 434
RE: Tuluk Caste System
« Reply #37 on: April 08, 2006, 07:41:10 PM »
A merchant family, say Kadius, has a lot more power (probably I'm sure there can be exceptions) than one bard. A single junior merchant from kadius has as much power as they can garner for themselves, as Tamarin said, and that puts them on the same level as bards.


Both a bard, and a merchant from a merchant family are, in the end: COMMONERS.

So to hell with them both.

proxie

  • Posts: 196
    • Moose and Squirrel
RE: Tuluk Caste System
« Reply #38 on: April 08, 2006, 07:54:58 PM »
Entirely too often, I have seen Merchant Family members trying to play their PC's like mini nobles. Unfortunately, it usually ends badly for the Merchant Family member.


When it comes down to it, the beloved pet tregil of a high ranking noble has more rank in some situations than a low ranked or new blooded Merchant Family member.

Kadians, Kuracs, Salarri, Nenyuk, and the smaller ones that I can't think of their names, are still commoners. Rich, well connected commoners, especially once they've had the time to build up connections and favors and gather dirt on people to use to get them to their side. But commoners.

Bad things happen on Zalanthas when people try and act outside their station.

Proxie
For those who knew him, my husband Jay, known as Becklee from time to time on Arm, died August 17th, 2008, from complications of muscular dystrophy.

Bebop

  • Posts: 3489
RE: Tuluk Caste System
« Reply #39 on: April 08, 2006, 07:57:59 PM »
o.O A bard's wealth is -nothing- similiar to a merchant family members.  And the Poet's Circle is divided into different families.  It's a place of culture but not so much a company that works as one unit.

A merchant house lives in a House, an estate with servants at their call and the matters of an entire House under them, that is powerful in two city states.  Bards are not near as wealthy as a merchant House.  The merchant estates really are very nice involving metal and silk ornamentations, I've been in a Circle House just as well, and needless to the say the rooms where tiny.  It is very different merchant houses are wealthier much much wealthier then bard Houses, this isn't opinion it's a fact.  The wealth of a merchant House... a bard circle House couldn't even touch it.

All merchant Houses deal in is money and goods, all over the world.

See that is where I think part of the misconception lies.  People do not realize the raising of merchant family members.  They are loaded they are not like every other commoner.  Bards may recieve education but merchant family does too, but they also live in a huge estate with a famous name to back up their prestige.  One prominent in both city-states.

A bard may have a last name from a little House in the circle one of a few.  That shouldn't touch a merchant family member in my mind, especially since there are so many bards.

Yang

  • Posts: 434
RE: Tuluk Caste System
« Reply #40 on: April 08, 2006, 08:14:37 PM »
Quote
o.O A bard's wealth is -nothing- similiar to a merchant family members. And the Poet's Circle is divided into different families. It's a place of culture but not so much a company that works as one unit.


I think this is an assumption fueled by a stereotype. Some NPC bards are -very- wealthy. Some PC bards are very wealthy. Beware of this type of assumption. This is all like saying:

What costs more, a license on a merchant family member or a license on a bard.... well. It really DOES depend, now, doesn't it? Ask your local Tuluki templar for more details.

jcarter

  • Posts: 725
RE: Tuluk Caste System
« Reply #41 on: April 08, 2006, 08:19:03 PM »
Bards do not provide services that "all four castes in Tuluk need". They may provide services that are wanted, but they are certainly not needed like the four castes need weapons, clothing, banks, or gear.

Furthermore, bards are not as cohesive and united as compared to a merchant house. Their power is not as great as a merchant house. Whoopee, a bard can sing a song about how Agent Amos is a jackass. That doesn't mean that all of a sudden the entire citystate of Tuluk hates Agent Amos. If Metallica sang a song called Mexico is Lame, people aren't going to suddenly wake up and say, 'Hey, Mexico is really lame!'

Music and entertainment isn't the end all power that can be. It can give suggestions and perhaps extend a sort of feeling, but it's not going to capture hearts and minds and suddenly change opinions on a subject.

Along with that, not all bards are really that great. Not all of them are good enough to craft such thin veils and threats. Not all of them have such great and illustrious patrons, or good enough social graces to become well-known. If  a bard fucks up and someone gets wind that Seeker Joe made a song saying they're a dick, it isn't unreasonable that one day Seeker Joe gets assassinated. It's that simple.

On the other hand, family members of merchant houses hold family bonds with other family members. Merchant houses strive towards one goal in cohesion. They're exceedingly rich. The employee all types, from hunters to aides to spies. A merchant house family member can generally buy a slave. Let's see how many bards are able to do that. Pissing off an entire merchant house can have enormous events that can forever change a clan. All of the top merchant houses, if I recall correctly, extend from Tuluk down to Red Storm.

In the end, there's really no contest between bard vs. family merchant. The only time I would consider the two on an equal field is should a master bard come into play. However, as we all know, master bards aren't too common and generally would be smart enough to avoid getting into the conflict in the first place.

Bebop

  • Posts: 3489
RE: Tuluk Caste System
« Reply #42 on: April 08, 2006, 08:20:23 PM »
I'm not saying what a PC can do for themselves.  A bard can become rich just like anyone else IG.  As reputations are developed and wealth in game that's one thing.  But initially a merchant house family member will always have that wealth and name valid in two city states behind them and they do live like mini-nobles.  That should be taken into consideration.  It's not a sterotype Merchant Houses are a ton a TON more wealthy then any bard family.  And initially I think a merchant family member should be respected more then a bard.

To many merchants are seen as OOC vending machines and I think some people need to take into a count IC reasoning and haggling and other things like that when they RP with a merchant.  I have had someone get pissed because METAL was too expensive.  You aren't always going to get a timely fair deal, so you need to check yourself when you're dealing with one especially one of great power like a merchant House established in two states.

Larrath

  • Posts: 2987
RE: Tuluk Caste System
« Reply #43 on: April 08, 2006, 08:21:02 PM »
Bebop and Tamarin, I think it's best for this thread if you both agree to disagree.  I mean, you both raise very good points, but honestly you're just both fanboys. ;)

Seeker pointed out an important point that I completely missed, and I'll show it here - while the Great Merchant Houses are more important for the survival of Tuluk, the Poet's Circle is more important for Tuluk's culture.  And Tuluk loves its culture.
The roles that a Merchant House Family member and that a Poet's Circle member play are distinctly different and are related to very different aspects of Tuluk.

Merchant family members enjoy a great wealth that, especially in the higher ranks, can put nobles to shame.  I think the Kuraci Magnate has more money than the Borsail House Head, and regardless of that, you can bet your ass that a Merchant family member of the Merchant rank would, within three years of establishing their position in the city-state, have more money than the comparable Poet's Circle bard might see in his lifetime.  On the other hand, the bard will enjoy a lot of non-monetary power - social influence, acquaintences and generally having allies through and through all layers of Tuluk's society.

A single average bard is not more powerful than a single average family merchant.  Education is difficult to say - bards know a wealth of stories and songs, but family merchants are literate and can read books.

Bards don't have the same caliber of upbringing the Merchant Family members have because they're simply not that wealthy.  People born in Bardic Circles have a good upbringing, far better than a regular citizen of Tuluk, but still inferior to that of a Merchant Family Member.
And the Chosens' upbringing is far superior to either, being easier and much more accomondating.
The Faithful's upbringing is mysterious but probably worse than that of a Chosen's upbringing because they too have to work.  Plus there's all the emotional trauma a child-templar must have after they have to dissect their first elf for Killology.

I hope this settles the thread.
Quote from: Vesperas
...You have to ask yourself... do you love your PC more than you love its contribution to the game?

Tamarin

  • Posts: 3337
RE: Tuluk Caste System
« Reply #44 on: April 08, 2006, 08:21:16 PM »
The arguments here against bards are so completely contrived that I'm not going to even bother any more.

Fortunately, the docs are in favor of bards being on equal footing with merchants.  And that's that.
quote="mansa"]emote pees in your bum[/quote]

proxie

  • Posts: 196
    • Moose and Squirrel
RE: Tuluk Caste System
« Reply #45 on: April 08, 2006, 08:22:39 PM »
Quote from: "Bebop"

A merchant house lives in a House, an estate with servants at their call and the matters of an entire House under them, that is powerful in two city states.  Bards are not near as wealthy as a merchant House.  The merchant estates really are very nice involving metal and silk ornamentations, I've been in a Circle House just as well, and needless to the say the rooms where tiny.  It is very different merchant houses are wealthier much much wealthier then bard Houses, this isn't opinion it's a fact.  The wealth of a merchant House... a bard circle House couldn't even touch it.
<snip>
See that is where I think part of the misconception lies.  People do not realize the raising of merchant family members.  They are loaded they are not like every other commoner.  Bards may recieve education but merchant family does too, but they also live in a huge estate with a famous name to back up their prestige.  One prominent in both city-states.

A bard may have a last name from a little House in the circle one of a few.  That shouldn't touch a merchant family member in my mind, especially since there are so many bards.




Not entirely true. Merchant family have grown up with wealth, but when they need to access their own wealth, they have allowances, stipends, etc. Family members in a merchant house don't have unlimited access to money until they earn it. Everything they grew up with was gifted to them by their (successful) relatives.

And yes, there are a bajillion yahoos who pick up mandolins and call themselves bards, but those with the official names have been adopted into or born into and worked their way to wield those names. And those who have have political contacts, in the templarate, commoners, and nobles castes of the city.

Proxie
For those who knew him, my husband Jay, known as Becklee from time to time on Arm, died August 17th, 2008, from complications of muscular dystrophy.

Bebop

  • Posts: 3489
RE: Tuluk Caste System
« Reply #46 on: April 08, 2006, 08:24:33 PM »
Quote from: "Larrath"
Bebop and Tamarin, I think it's best for this thread if you both agree to disagree.  I mean, you both raise very good points, but honestly you're just both fanboys. ;)


That works.

Bebop

  • Posts: 3489
RE: Tuluk Caste System
« Reply #47 on: April 08, 2006, 08:25:05 PM »
*AHEM* Fan GIRL actually, though.

Bebop

  • Posts: 3489
RE: Tuluk Caste System
« Reply #48 on: April 08, 2006, 08:27:10 PM »
Quote from: "proxie"

Not entirely true. Merchant family have grown up with wealth, but when they need to access their own wealth, they have allowances, stipends, etc. Family members in a merchant house don't have unlimited access to money until they earn it. Everything they grew up with was gifted to them by their (successful) relatives.

And yes, there are a bajillion yahoos who pick up mandolins and call themselves bards, but those with the official names have been adopted into or born into and worked their way to wield those names. And those who have have political contacts, in the templarate, commoners, and nobles castes of the city.

Proxie


That is true of course, but my point is that you should treat a merchant with the respect you would treat their entire House if it is a family member you are dealing with.

Okay okay, that is the last thing I'm posting I hope.

Angela Christine

  • Posts: 6595
RE: Tuluk Caste System
« Reply #49 on: April 08, 2006, 09:26:18 PM »
Money isn't everything.  No, really, it isn't.  

You can dress a gemmed rinthi half-elf in silks and diamonds, but he's still going to be seen as scum to most people.  Worse in fact, because now he's trumped up, poser scum that thinks he's better than decent people.  (Obviously that is an Allanak example, fill in your own Tuluk example).  In most of the known world, money != social status.  They just aren't capitalists, money alone doesn't prove how good or bad your blood is.


Who is more powerful: Bill Gates or Dan Rather?  It depends on the situation.  Sure, Bill Gates could by himself a TV station or an hour a night on a major network to run his own TV news show, but he still wouldn't have the credibility of a long-time anchorman/journalist.  Big business and the media both have a lot of influence.

The Merchant Houses are Big Business.  The Bards of poet's circle are The Media.  In Tuluk the Bards take the place that is filled by TV, Movies, newspapers, the music industry, pop stars, the internet, etc. in our world.  The media have significant influence.



It is important to remember that the merchant houses and the Bards are not at odds with each other, nor are they at odds with the noble houses.  Individuals within these groups may have problems with other individuals, but you get that everywhere.  The bards aren't looking to dominate the Merchant Houses, and the merchant houses aren't trying to dominate the bards.  They are complimentary.  


In a dispute between individuals, often how much you are willing to risk and how much political capital you are willing to spend will determine who "wins".  If you call in all your markers and favors on a single dispute, you may get your way on that one issue but find that your overall standing has actually decreased.  Making the other guy spend a lot to beat you (while you spend little or nothing resisting him) can mean that you win in the long run.  Now instead of many people owing that other guy favors, he owes favors to a lot of people, so he has less leverage to use in the future.


Suppose that a noble sees a commoner (could be a Merchant, a Bard, a dung shoveller, whatever, it's a commoner) with a ruby ring, and really wants it because he loves rubies.  For some reason or another the commoner doesn't immediately want to give or sell the ring to the noble, she wants to keep it.  The noble really, really wants that ring so he tries to apply pressure through his government contacts, hires thieves and assassins, offers increasing amounts of cash for it, threatens the commoner's loved ones and so on until he finally gets the ring.  Yay, he won!  On the other hand, he has made a complete ass of himself and many people know about it, so he lost.  He lost a shit load of "cool points" to get that ring.  He is still a noble and the commoner is still a commoner, but his behavior shows poor judgement and may cost him status within his own House.  (It is just barely possible that, knowing about his obsession with rubies, one of his rivals planted that ruby-toting commoner in his path in the first place).


The system works better when the various elements of society co-operate rather than compete.  The Nobles, Templars and Bards don't want to destroy the Merchant Houses, that would ruin the economy.  The Merchants, Templars, and Bards don't want to destroy the Noble Houses, that would destabilize the government.  The Nobles, Merchants and Bards don't want to destroy the Templarate, that would lead to a religious crisis and leave the city-state vulnerable to outside forces leading to widespread panic.  The Nobles, Templars, and Merchants don't want to destroy the Bards, that would destabilize the culture and lead to widespread boredom. The various groups do try to influence each other for their own benefit, but they are not trying to utterly crush each other.  




In conclusion, money isn't everything.


Angela Christine
Treat the other man's faith gently; it is all he has to believe with."     Henry S. Haskins

Tamarin

  • Posts: 3337
RE: Tuluk Caste System
« Reply #50 on: April 08, 2006, 09:36:24 PM »
*applauds Angela Christine*
quote="mansa"]emote pees in your bum[/quote]

marko

  • Posts: 1307
RE: Tuluk Caste System
« Reply #51 on: April 09, 2006, 12:02:26 PM »
I'm going to chime in here briefly with reiterating that all bards are not created equal nor are all merchants.

Bards are split into four ranks:

Apprentice
Seeker
Bard
Master

Merchants are split into four ranks:

Junior Merchant
Ranked Merchant
Upper Merchant
Head of House

At an individual level one needs to compare rank as based on a title (eg, job).  In other words, an apprentice bard needs to be compared to a junior merchant.

If we look at a junior merchant and an apprentice bard to try and figure out who gets served first at a party we start with the basics.

To begin with they are level.  Junior Merchant and Apprentice Bard hold the same social rank.  But, this Junior Merchant is a blooded member of one of the Great Houses - therefore the receive a social status boost.

What does this mean?  This means the Junior Merchant is served first.

The apprentice bard is still an apprentice bard.

Alright, I noticed a lot of talk about bard bards (I can only assume that is what people are talking about when they compare a "bard" to a blooded merchant family member) so let's take a look.

A bard bard has spent years cultivating social status and renown.  They've passed from Apprentice through Seeker and have reached Bard bard.  For most bards this is the pinnacle of their career and they simply won't go any higher.

What this means is that an individual bard bard can vary greatly in their personal power and scope.  What it also means is that because of the years of being in the public eye, typically performing for a great number of nobles, templars and everyone else, and otherwise developing their social network they tend to have a significant amount of political clout.

That clout is comparable to an upper merchant.  A merchant who has spent years establishing themselves in their House and have worked up through the ranks.  These merchants are quite powerful and hold a lot of clout.  

Again, we're leaving blood out of this base understanding because blood is a modifier _after_ figuring out the base rankings.

Blood gives a boost to social standing.  So, let's compare a bard bard with a ranked blooded merchant.  This is a blood family member from a merchant house who has been promoted above their junior rank.

Because the blood gives the ranked merchant a boost to their social standing they are roughly comparable to a bard bard.  Let us further suggest that this ranked merchant has managed to become fast friends with a few templars - clearly friends and is favored.  So that gives them a little more boost.  This places the ranked blooded merchant slightly above a bard bard with no modifiers.

In other words, does blood count when dealing with merchants in Tuluk - absolutely.  But does that make them into mini-nobles?  No way.  They are still common Caste.  Any blooded merchant who thinks of themselves as a mini-noble will probably find themselves coming to a 'bad end.'

What I've left out here is how patronage would affect the bard bard in question.  Since that will complicate matters even more.

Tuluk is a complex and diverse culture.  The social system allows for people to have comparitive social standings even when their power is derived from different sources.

In terms of blooded Family Merchants - yes they get a good boost because of their family blood but that does not make them mini-nobles.  A junior merchant is still a junior merchant - family or not.  That means they are fresh-faced and unproven.  The blood still gives them some social boost but it is up to the merchant to make their own power.  

Wealth is fine and dandy but if it isn't used to expand one's influence (via gifts for example) then it means absolutely nothing in social circles.  A blooded ranked merchant can obtain a social standing above a bard bard by making use of their wealth and positioning their House's backing but only if they work at it.  

In Tuluk social standing doesn't come by default other than at the base levels provided by social position within society (as based upon title, ie, junior merchant, seeker bard, master artisan) and Caste.  

A ranked merchant from one House can be far higher than a ranked merchant from another House based entirely upon personal merit.  If a merchant starts out as a junior merchant type position then expect to be treated as a junior merchant.  If they were meant to be higher with greater authority then they should have started out as a ranked merchant.  But, typically, most merchants start out at the bottom rung of their House and work their way upwards - which is how it should be in my view.  

The same holds true for bards of the Circle.  They start out at the bottom and work their way up based on personal performance.

Bebop

  • Posts: 3489
RE: Tuluk Caste System
« Reply #52 on: April 09, 2006, 03:53:24 PM »
Quote from: "marko"
I'm going to chime in here briefly with reiterating that all bards are not created equal nor are all merchants.

Bards are split into four ranks:

Apprentice
Seeker
Bard
Master

Merchants are split into four ranks:

Junior Merchant
Ranked Merchant
Upper Merchant
Head of House


Actually that isn't true, from my experience Merchants are divided into Common Merchant, which a non-family crafter might be able to achieve or hired on as.  A Junior Merchant which is a well to do family member in some Houses and then a Senior Merchant which takes years and years to ever become one. In your ranking a Junior Merchant is first tier, which simply isn't true in some cases.  I know this for sure for at least one House. You are most likely to get transferred into being an Junior Agent first.  Then there is common Agent which is basically a non family member House representative and of course Senior Agent who would be in charge of important affairs which is often times played by an IMM if you need to report IC.  A very high level, I'm sure there are more levels one could achieve IC but that's the basic game mechanics of it OOC.

Larrath

  • Posts: 2987
RE: Tuluk Caste System
« Reply #53 on: April 09, 2006, 04:08:47 PM »
The specific structure varies between Merchant Houses, but the basic build is this:
Please note that a Family Member can be any of these.

- Apprentice Merchant OR a House Aide
- A Full Merchant, sometimes called Junior Merchant, or an Agent.*
- A higher-ranked Agent or a Master Merchant.
- A Senior Agent
- House Head

* - this is where family member PCs start.

It is often more confusing because while a Junior Merchant in Kadius can be ranked above a Common Merchant, in a House like Kurac or Salarr it is exactly the reverse.

Now, a Family Member in the House that begins at the normal level isn't really well-to-do, though that rank does include those.  But if we said that a Merchant House Family consisted of around 500 people total, the breakdown would be like this:

Super-high management: 12
Regular Seniors, the NPCs Family Members report to: 60
Upper level non-Seniors: 120
Full-Merchant/Agent-level: 200
Lower levels (aides, crafters, work managers): 108

This is counting 3 major House locations, mind you.  In other words, a family member PC at that level isn't really special in his own House, and is really one of many.  They live a good life, but they're not very powerful in their House and, considered to how their superiors live (and earn) aren't really well-to-do at all.

A Regular Senior in a Merchant House can probably spend 20,000 'sids and forget what he did with them after a week.  Or at least in theory, since they're all good with numbers.
Quote from: Vesperas
...You have to ask yourself... do you love your PC more than you love its contribution to the game?

UnderSeven

  • Posts: 1440
RE: Tuluk Caste System
« Reply #54 on: April 09, 2006, 04:09:03 PM »
I think what Marko was doing was leaving 'common' non family merchants out entirly, which makes sense to me.  They are so far as I can tell equiviliant to normal common citizens and all of their power and standing would come purely from what politics and friends they can make.

Bebop

  • Posts: 3489
RE: Tuluk Caste System
« Reply #55 on: April 09, 2006, 04:15:53 PM »
It's all very intricate but my main point in response to Marko was that Junior Merchants are not usually bottom tier, especially family merchants.  They are in fact ranked already and usually above other workers.

UnderSeven

  • Posts: 1440
RE: Tuluk Caste System
« Reply #56 on: April 09, 2006, 04:18:13 PM »
I gathered, but the other workers you pointed out where all non family common and below whom would likely not even fall on the list, since Marko only really mentioned family rank, I beg to differ, in the way he put it (which I think works fine if you consider common workers regular commoners) then juniors ARE in fact bottom tier.

Larrath

  • Posts: 2987
RE: Tuluk Caste System
« Reply #57 on: April 09, 2006, 04:22:25 PM »
Quote from: "UnderSeven"
I gathered, but the other workers you pointed out where all non family common and below whom would likely not even fall on the list, since Marko only really mentioned family rank, I beg to differ, in the way he put it (which I think works fine if you consider common workers regular commoners) then juniors ARE in fact bottom tier.

Juniors are also the top rank if you look at it in an OOC sense, because most often a promotion would involve storing the character.

In the IC reality of things, Junior Merchant isn't the bottom tier for family members at all.  It's just boring to play a full-time inventory-taker and wagon loader/unloader.
Quote from: Vesperas
...You have to ask yourself... do you love your PC more than you love its contribution to the game?

marko

  • Posts: 1307
RE: Tuluk Caste System
« Reply #58 on: April 09, 2006, 04:24:10 PM »
Four generic ranges of merchants - exact titles will vary between the merchant houses.  The actual level within each broad spectrum is a matter of specifics and will, of course, factor into determine social heirarchy of the individual.

Basically, for the sake of some simplicity - I tossed merchants into the same ranks I toss nobles into, artisans into, templars into, and bards into:

low range
middle range
upper range
and really high up

So, nobles:

baby
middling
upper
way up there

templar:

baby
middling
upper
way up there

bard:

low
middle
high
really high

artisan:

low
middle
high
really high

Actual internal references are left out since they change over time and are specific to each house.  I suppose, one could take each internal clan structure and then make a full reference table but I don't see a real need for that.  Some simplicity allows for this to be useful to people at at glance.

What I've seen of every organization is that there tends to be four broad levels of power within the structure.  Within each of those broad levels are specifics that most poeple outside the structure really don't care about.  Sometimes it makes a difference in pecking order outside the clan and somtimes it doesn't.  Again, it all gets factored into the final tally of one's personal social level.

Angela Christine

  • Posts: 6595
RE: Tuluk Caste System
« Reply #59 on: April 09, 2006, 06:35:11 PM »
Just to confuse things further, theoretically a bard can also have a blood modifier.  A bard can be from a prestigious family.  She can have relatives that are famous bards.  Or from a family that was important in the Liberation of Tuluk.  It is even possible that a person born into a merchant family will want to be a bard, not a boring old merchant or crafter.


Angela Christine
Treat the other man's faith gently; it is all he has to believe with."     Henry S. Haskins