Society & Culture

Education & Literacy

The majority of the people of Calliden are illiterate. Lessons in reading, science, and advanced mathematics are considered to be the pastime of the wealthy and the priesthood. Most people are content to simply learn a trade and get news, learn history, and explore the intricacies of religion by word of mouth.

Merchants typically use a rudimentary tally and pictograph system to communicate inventory and bookkeeping tasks. Really, there are few alternatives. Education is expensive.

Priests of the Celestial Temple often offer up their services as scriveners when one is required. There is also a dependence in large cities, such as the capital, upon professional scriveners to write contracts, read letters, etc.

In Malik, one finds the Luminarium: the pinnacle of learning in Calliden. It houses the single largest repository of scrolls and tomes, an observatory for watching the movement of the celestial bodies, and a hall intended for debates.

Gender, Family & Coming of Age

In Calliden, the family is considered to be the basic unit upon which society is built. In the noble ranks, daughters typically remain under their family's protection until they are married and sons will serve their family's interests even after marriage. In the common citizenry, there is a greater range for deviation. After all, not all families can afford to keep their children so close to home and under their care, and not all couples even feel a need for marriage. Both men and women are expected to participate in the social world around them after they reach the age of 16.

In cities, many women find their place in society after wedding, but there are many common-born women who find independence as merchants or in other employment. In the countryside, there tends to be even greater equality among the genders.

Debtor Contracts & Slavery

While outright slavery is illegal in Calliden, there is a system whereby debtors have lifetime employment contracts that are sold to pay off their debts and it might as well be slavery. There are certainly those who speak against it as such, especially among the lesser classes as many of of the Great Houses of Calliden have servants who are held by these ironclad lifetime contracts. They are considered a sign of wealth and social prominence as the contracts are both costly and hard to come by due to the strict laws governing their possession. While the Celestial Temple will often go out of its way to avoid it, they will rule in favor of a debtor contract under the right circumstances and the prevailing wisdom from the Eidai is that they are compassionate by writing laws to keep more than two debtor contracts being written for members from the same family, regardless of the size of the debt.

Debtor servants have few rights, save that they must be adequately cared for and not abused. Flagrant abuse of slaves is considered an affront to the Twin Sisters. Furthermore, children born to debtor servants are kept by the House that holds their parent's contract. Instead, they are sent to be raised by their family.

Lesser known are the black markets where the illegal slave trade thrives, where laws no longer apply. This trade thrives upon a steady supply of those who fall into illegal traders hands by unfortunate circumstances, but the industry is an incredibly dangerous one. If discovered to knowingly own and or trade illegal slaves, one could end up in their own debtor contract or worse: prison or a grave.

OOC Note: Debtor servants may not be a player's first character. Due to the small size of the game we wish for all players to have maximum rp autonomy. Additionally, keeping illegal slaves must be cleared by staff and carries significant IC risk.

Marriage & Sexuality

Marriage for the citizens of Calliden is most restrictive for those who belong to the Great Houses. Highly concerned with bloodlines and inheritance of wealth, they are expected to wed in pairings of man and woman and produce biological offspring. Despite this, there are certainly those among the noble houses who have discreet relationships which fall outside the marriage bed. Men are eligible for marriage after reaching the age of twenty — the assumption being he is mature enough to comprehend his responsibilities, as well as able to guard and provide for a wife at this age — and women at the age of eighteen, assuming she is physically ready for children. Marriage is not supposed to occur before these two requirements are met, regardless of any contract in place.

Priests and priestesses do not marry at all.

The ceremony asks one or more gods for their blessing to stave off any curse that might befall the happy couple. For the Great Houses, a priest of the Sisters is typically asked to conduct the ceremony as the Twins were the first created of the Walking Gods, and the Celestial Temple holds jurisdiction over the exercise of any legal contract. Any priest or priestess, however, can perform a marriage ceremony and record a contract. Vivia’s priests—concerned with fertility—are known to only bless heterosexual unions, but Amora’s priests will enthusiastically bless anyone’s union so long as they are happy. The rest of the temples don’t hold a strong opinion either way.

In remote areas, village elders or magistrates may perform a variant of the ceremony.

Really, the only things that truly matter are that at least one of the gods is asked for their blessing over the union and that—where a contract is needed—a record is submitted to the Temple of the Sisters. There is always a small fee involved.

Due to cost and trouble, many couples among the general population — especially the poor — simply declare themselves married and avoid a formal marriage and ceremony altogether. While not legally binding, most of society will recognize the union.

Prostitution is considered an entirely legal profession. Men and women may visit prostitutes however they see fit, so long as they are discreet and not excessive in their visits. Despite this, prostitutes are still often seen as second-rate citizens. Not servants or slaves under Calliden law, prostitutes (including courtesans) are legally required to register their profession and are often bound to pleasure houses or brothels by ironclad contracts. These contracts, while oppressive, have their benefits. Employment in a pleasure house or brothel is typically safer than working independently, and certainly some have entered arrangements with them to settle larger debts to avoid a debtor contract.


City Fashion

Fashion in Calliden — at least in the major cities — is an important part of day-to-day living for the middle and upper classes. While the clothing itself is fairly standard, save the choice of trims or dyes, the savvy fashionista is not content to allow such things to stop them. Men and women alike find an artistic outlet in jewelry. Rings in particular are popular, but also pins, collars, earrings, and bracelets. Fabrics for most tunics are linens and cottons, the natural fibers making for greater comfort in the heat. As the days and nights cool, some wear over-garments of varying weights of wool.

Wealthy men are known for appearing in fine robes — tunics and togas mostly that communicate that they do not participate in physical labor. Men of the working class are known to prefer loose-fitting pants, shirts, and vests that allow greater range of movement without compromising modesty.

Women oft find additional creative expression in elaborate hairstyles and wigs. A modest woman of means will wear long light tunics that are gathered or pleated with belts and pins with heavier over-tunics and veils layered over top. Less wealthy women abandon thoughts of delicate fabrics and opt for simpler, heavier long tunics. Both, however, often feel that modesty is a precious commodity in public and choose to wear veils over their shoulders and hair to shield their skin from both the sun and prying eyes.

Sandals are the shoe of choice by all classes of men and most women, although they look decidedly different depending on the wealth of the wearer. Ornate slippers are occasionally worn by the wealthiest women as a sign that their feet never touch the ground outside.

Those of more martial occupation often find themselves altering fashion to suit their needs, but the overall aesthetic is very similar so as to not stand out from the rest of society.

The poor are not afforded such luxuries as dyes and jewelry but… since when do the poor put fashion above being fed?

Provincial Fashion

Fashion in the countryside varies greatly depending on climate and terrain. Wool fabric is universally utilized and one of the most commonly traded commodities. Leather is used for most shoes, boots, and sandals. Garments are commonly decorated with small pieces of silver or small coins. In addition to being attractive and weighing garments against the wind, it eliminates the need for a purse—simply cut it off and spend it. But, since money is less used in the countryside, they rarely have much silver or gold to begin with.

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