Bog's World

Altogether elsewhere

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The Place of Wizards in Cygnaran Society

Ceryl is the home of the Fraternal Order of Wizardry and includes very strong contingents of every other major wizard order. (A strong branch of the Order of Illumination, a strong branch of the Free Order of the Golden Crucible, even some spies from the Greylords Covenant, and a number of smaller unaffiliated organisations. Not to mention the secret Infernal Archive hidden somewhere in the city.) Clearly being an arcanist is one of the most prestigious things you can be in Ceryl. This doesn't prevent those same wizards from being resented and disliked, but clearly they are a force to be counted in the city and are generally treated with more than usual deference.

Being a wizard in Caspia is certainly prestigious, but in that city the clergy holds a much more prominent position in local society. I'd also hazard that in Caspia itself the mechanikal trades are more valued and appreciated by and large than the arcanists, who would be considered somewhat aloof and mysterious elitists whose day-to-day contributions to the city are enigmatic at best. No one knows what a wizard is doing to help the city, while they can see the steamjacks laboring every day on the docks and see the warjacks manning the garrison that is protecting them from the Menite threat across the river.

Move up to Five Fingers or Corvis and things change yet again.

Overall, practical professions that have an immediately discernible impact on the people are more likely to be widely respected and appreciated. Some of this varies based on local resources and economy. Similarly, those professions that require more skill and are expected to be difficult will have some automatic prestige associated with them. Arcanists always earn a bit of respect (but also suspicion and fear) just from their rarity and the awareness of the strange powers they boast. Along with the awareness that very few people have the aptitude, wealth, and unique mental acumen required for the pursuit this field over an extended period. Yet wizards are also viewed similarly to landed gentry - often it's hard to tell what "good" they are, or what they are actually doing to help anyone else. You can admire the rich noble and envy him or his station and comfort in life, but at the same time resent him for the same reasons.

Farming is more widely respected than is generally easily conveyed in the setting since it's not one of the things we dwell upon. But as is noted elsewhere, Asc. Gordenn is perhaps the most widely worshiped ascendant, and on some level most people know the importance of maintaining food supplies. This is doubly true in times of war and conflict. That said, people tend to also look down on "dirty" people, or those who toil in the field, seeing this as a relatively unskilled job. They are more likely to look up to the wealthy family in charge of multiple productive farms who brings in money to the local economy, keeping food flowing through the region. Even if those specific people aren't actually getting their hands dirty and are managing those who do the real work.

In the local area the people to be respected and admired are often:

  1. Those who keep the people safe.
  2. Those who add to local prosperity.
  3. Those who have mastered an apparently difficult but useful trade.
  4. Those boasting obvious skill, wealth, and/or power.
  5. Those who are approachable and even friendly to others regardless of their class.
  6. Those who are physically attractive, which may include those who are well attired. (Inevitable, even subconsciously.)
  7. Anyone in a position of authority, including those wearing a uniform.

Several of these categories can also of course add to resentment, jealousy, envy, or scorn, depending on the situation. Yet for all a local farmer may gripe about being unappreciated and how he'd "show the Earl a thing or two about real work", and how "he just sits up there high and mighty on his horse", you can expect if the Earl came marching by on the main street during a visit to the city, that farmer would be as awe-struck as everyone else around him. Overcome by the pomp and circumstance of bustling crowds, sharp-looking soldiers at attention on horseback providing escort, and all the finery, he'd probably take off his hat and start yelling his appreciation alongside the rest of the crowd.


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