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Freemen and Serfs

      Life in the Known Worlds is hard for most people. If a person is lucky, he or she is born a noble. The rest are either freemen or serfs. Freemen families may be destitute or they could be rich. Freemen have no real political power, but enjoy certain protections under the law and are able to work and travel without the restrictions that are imposed on serfs, who are bound to the land of their liege. Many freemen join the Church or the League for a better life. Others pledge their loyalty to noble houses and work as householders or soldiers serving in noble armies, who are well rewarded for the risks they face. Still other freemen find themselves in the employ of the new and growing Imperial forces, serving Emperor Alexius.      

Players in the Fading Suns MUSH can choose to begin play as one of two classes of freemen, Vargens or Freelancers. Vargens are natives of Vargo, many of them born before the world was rediscovered. Thus, the ways of Known Worlders are still alien to them, and some Vargens chafe under the rule of the arrogant 'offworlders' who have laid claim to their planet's capital. These lot place their sympathies with the Vargens who live beyond the boundaries of the Triumvirate, and long for the day that Vargo is free of offworlders once again. Other Vargens have clearly benefitted from the presence of Known Worlders to varying degrees, and some even hold positions of power and prestige in offworlder service. These sort know which side their bread is buttered on, and are quite content with offworlder governance. On the other hand, most Vargens in the areas controlled by the Known Worlders could care less about politics and religion, one way or another: the offworld bosses and priests seem little different from their old Mercedes lords and Vargen clergy.

Freelancers are freemen from the Known Worlds who have come to Vargo in search of opportunities to enrich themselves. Freelancers tend to have skills that are most often monopolized by the guilds (ranging from tech redemption to starship piloting), and thus live a haphazard existence, at the edges of society. On the one hand, the guilds do not tolerate competition, and are likely to quietly dispose of a Freelancer who treads too far into their turf (or recruit him into their ranks). On the other hand, there are some jobs that are too dirty even for guilders to touch, and the guilds sometimes need to hire outsiders to settle disputes among themselves. From day to day, Freelancers never know whether they will turn a profit or find themselves running from someone intent on tossing them out an airlock, but if they did not enjoy living on the edge they would not be Freelancers in the first place.

Unlike freemen, serfs are beholden to their noble masters, and bound to the land upon which they were born by contracts signed by their ancestors generations ago (or by committing a crime for which the punishment is serfdom). Theoretically their masters are required to protect them and look after their welfare in exchange for their labor, but the exact treatment that serfs receive varies from house to house. Serfs are not free to move or to seek other employment, unless they scrape and scrounge enough money to buy their way out of serfdom. Being a serf is not a good thing. Players in the Fading Suns MUSH cannot begin play as serfs, and they probably ought to avoid becoming a serf!