The Adventures of The Stonelanders
Cormyr has a reputation among other kingdoms as being rather snobbish. The perception is that citizens of Cormyr feel that their kingdom is better than other kingdoms because of their system of government.
This feeling that the kingdom is superior is pronounced in the class structure. The following is a brief explanation of how each class views the others.
Nobles generally feel that they are better than those “below” them. However, the origin of this feeling has less to do with birth and divine right than with the responsibility of the station of nobility and its importance in Cormyreans society.
A noble might say “I have been born into this situation. Although my flesh is no better than a farmer´s flesh, my responsibility to my subjects and to my fellow nobles makes me more important then the farmer.”
Nobles serve a variety of functions in Cormyte society, especially local lords. Their primary responsibility of power is to realize the king´s visions and goals. This extends to daily functions and therefore puts the nobles at the head of virtually every endeavor of the kingdom.
Nobles hold all leadership positions. However, should a commoner assume an important function in Cormyte society, then that person would be brought into the Royal Court as noble.
Therefore, nobles walk the halls of power exclusively, rarely seeing firsthand the people they govern. Senior War Wizards and young nobles who enjoy hunting in and exploring their realm are exceptions to this.
This has caused quite a rift in Cormyte society. Nobles generally look upon commoners as people who won´t amount to much. Because of this, commoners´ concerns don´t receive as much attention as nobles´.
Many of the nobles of Cormyr, especially the elderly and the women, spend almost all of their time in Suzail, where every noble family has a grand residence as close to the palace as possible. Most nobles spend their lives in Suzail or on their own country estates and do not see much of the countryside. This prevents them from seeing the true conditions of the kingdom firsthand. Instead, they rely on the information provided by the local lords. They are nobles who are “with the people” of Cormyr and who are most reliable when testifying the conditions of the kingdom. This widens the gap between nobles and the general populace and increases the importance of the local lords.
The Local Lords
There is a subclass that deviates from the normal rules of thumb for nobles. These are the local lords who govern towns and villages in the name of the king.
These individuals have daily contact with the people they govern and are intimately connected to them at every level. Even though the local lord may reside in a keep separated from the subjects by walls and social conventions, all of his or her decisions affect the townspeople, whose actions in turn affect the lord.
In addition, local lords are responsible for maintenance of roads, intelligence on hostile forces, and keeping the peace within towns and villages.
The most important duty for local lords is collecting taxes for the king. In this duty some lords are naturally more fervent than other, but all lords realize that they must govern their towns wisely for the citizens to be able to support the taxes the king expects. The general tax rate for each citizen is 1sp per year. As King Azoun´s tax collectors, each lord may keep up to 40 men-at-arms and up to six captains (typically rangers familiar with the countryside surrounding the town).
A minor duty that local lords must attend to is the maintenance of a fast horse for the use of the king´s messengers. This horse is never used by anyone but a king´s messenger or, in emergencies, by the king himself.
Local lords who want to keep their power need to be popular among the citizens. On more that a few occasions citizens of a town have forcibly removed a lord who was not looking after their interests.
At the same time, some nobles look down on local lords for their involvement in “petty affairs of the common folk.”
The Common Folk
Anyone who is neither a noble nor a local lord is considered common.
Nobles walk with the king in Suzail and advise him on what to do. Local lords implement the king´s decisions and at once support the king and protect the people.
The common folk, however, are the true strength of the kingdom. They form the Purple Dragons, the militia, and the farmers who feed the kingdom.
It is tradition in Cormyr, strongly endorsed by Azoun IV, that all commoners can speak freely to any noble, or the king himself, on any topic of concern and expect to be heard and answered as politely as if they sat in the Purple Dragon throne themselves.