LG Small Town
Corruption +1; Crime -1; Economy +2; Law +1; Lore -2; Society -1
Dara Whitewood – Seneschal, Kryss’s betrothed
Grendar Kuln – Reeve
Jacques – Foreman of the Timbermen
Æthalward – Captain of the Dragonfire Fyrd
Farstrider – Warden, ranger commander
Mudrott – Marshwiggle scout commander
Dodinas – Cook & Fisherman
6 Elite Guards
3 Experts (Fletcher, Architect/Surveyor, Smith)
Housing – (1) The rustic tenements that the lumbermen used for housing before the Lords arrival were quickly replaced by solid homes. Though many of them are still empty, a new one goes up almost every week.
Manor – Currently the largest structure in the colony, Dragonfire Manor houses the Lords as well as Dara, Grendar, and Dodinas and their staff.
Mill – The first of the waterfront improvements, the mill in Dragonfire was built ready to be linked into the future dock.
Shrine – Though led by aspirants of Tal and Serra, this sacred grove is a shrine to nature and it’s priority indicates the Lords’ dedication to be good stewards of this land.
The roads of Dragonfire are well-maintained and regularly patrolled, as the lords hope to encourage trade with neighboring regions. Dragonfire also lies on the Brindin River, linking it with Brindinford upstream and with Alsoor downstream – much of the lumber produced locally is floated downstream to Alsoor markets.The town has a cordial relationship with halfling riverfolk and as such has become a frequent stopping-point for both them and their passengers traveling up or downriver.
The Social Order at Dragonfire
Although the basic framework of the feudal order, along with feudal rights and obligations, endures in the lands held by the Lords of Dragonfire, there are a number of practical differences in treatment between a typical feudal regime and Dragonfire lands, often in consequence either of the lords’ ample wealth (allowing them to be generous with their tenants) or of their shared interest in attracting new settlers and multiplying their people in order to populate the still thinly settled domain.
Lords and Officers
The positions of officials and leaders are ad-hoc rather than formalized. Although growing, the lords’ personal households are still relatively small, and there is not a tier of minor knights or gentry (those to be found in town generally being visitors rather than natives) – though Julian has been thinking of offering military holdings to knights errant who might wish to stop erring, realizing such thoughts likely depends on growing the fief’s population and prosperity.
Freeholders: Dragonfire lands form part of the three lords’ joint estate, and freeholders or other unaffiliated, independent landowners are not present.
Men-at-arms: The fyrd represents most of the Dragonfire military, while on the other hand the domain is small enough that few more permanent soldiers are needed other than retainers of the lords’ own household. For this reason, military land is rare. Æthalward, Julian’s favored military deputy, and his wife Lady Midday hold military land, as does Grendar Kuln; in each case, rent is commuted in favor of military availability on a longer term than that of the fyrd.
Copyholders/crofters: The large majority of the farms of Dragonfire land are copyheld, with rents in a mix of coin, kind, and labor-obligations according to the particular land and details of the agreement. In addition to typical rents, each copyholder is liable to furnish one fyrdsman when called.
Cottars/cottiers: Most Dragonfire households not engaged in full-time farming are cottars – this group, for example, includes the original lumber-camp men. Lord Julian has required that even cottars with a trade be given a modest plot of land so that the household can maintain a garden and sow modest crops if wanted, so the phenomenon of cottar tenancies with only a cottage, but no land, is absent at Dragonfire. Conversely, as in this frontier domain land is more plentiful than people, there has been no impetus to establish cottar tenants as a sort of second-class copyholder forced to maintain himself on less farmland and hire out to his neighbors to make up the difference.
Like copyholders, cottar households are required to furnish one fyrdsman.
Slaves: The peculiar institution is not peculiar to Dragonfire, as the lords have not encouraged it. Slaveowners who wish to settle on Dragonfire lands may free their slaves on agreed terms or else have them obligatorily freed with fixed compensation.
Townsmen/burghers: The town of Dragonfire is more a central place for meeting and exchange among the farmers and workers rather than a productive burgh with a class of culturally and socially distinct inhabitants. Workers for hire or small-time artisans such as Kryss’s assistants are typically from cottar households.
Rents, Fees, and Fines
Many of the petty fees characteristic of a crofter or a cottager’s lot are lighter or absent at Dragonfire. Most dramatically, Lord Julian has not only abolished the marriage-fine but even reversed it – instead of extracting a payment from peasants seeking to marry, he makes a gift to each partner in the amount of the customary fee upon the occasion of their (first) marriage. Many others among the thicket of traditional fees extracted from peasant by manor (such as the tax on household brewing) are also absent, while yet others (such as the fee for milling grain) are present but fixed low.
One fee that Lord Julian has left in full force, though, is the fee for bringing a suit before the lords. Rumor has it that this is more due to dislike of court than to liking for money.
Law, Corvee, and Fyrd
Manor law on the Dragonfire lands is simple and uncomplicated: compensation is the rule in cases between one household and another, while when the lords’ laws, common property, or public welfare or concern are concerned, the penalties handed out for offenses are generally both compensation and additional corvee (obligatory labor). Capital matters, should they arise, are judged by the lords, and in law the baron has rights of oversight over such cases. They are rare in practice.
Jurisdiction for religious matters has not had to be established due to the lack of ordained clergy.
Copyholder and cottar households owe a certain set number of labor days (the corvee) to the lords each year as part of their tenancy. Unlike many feudal estates, the Dragonfire manor does not presently include much direct demesne land under cultivation, so another burden the peasants are freed from is the obligation to send workers for the lords’ harvest just when their own harvests are also being brought in. Instead, corvee days at Dragonfire are frequently spent on infrastructure tasks that can be done at other times of year, such as upkeep of the roads, digging irrigation and drainage ditches to improve the land, or contributing to building work in the settlement proper, which continues apace as the lords work to establish their young town.
Lastly, copyholder and cottar households are responsible for providing men for the Dragonfire Fyrd.
New People and New Land
Despite the growth of recent years, Dragonfire is still largely a frontier holding, and the lords
offer various subsidies to new settlers and to those who put in the labor to establish and work new farms. A copyholder who undertakes to create a new farm on the lords’ land rather than work an established farm is typically forgiven all rent obligations except corvee days and the fyrd for the first two years of his tenancy, and money rents for the first five.
The lords have also often been known to forgive rents to new households or individuals who come to Dragonfire with little to their name. Typically, individuals are encouraged to join established households as long-term help, farmhands, or apprentices, while families with scarce resources (such as some of those Lord Julian freed from slavery among the ogres) are given a helping hand out of the lords’ treasuries and a similar initial forgiveness of rent.