A World of Winds
The Caste System
The biggest factor determining how kinds interact in society is whether the caste system is in place. Most nations use it. The Lowlands, most of the Highland Holdings, Selisia, The Tasmin Empire, The Kingdom of Kalathos, Molgravia, and Corecia all practice the traditional caste system.
The Caste System ranks the Kinds as follows:
The key elements are:
- certain occupations are restricted to castes deemed most appropriate to the job
- positions in flexible occupations go to higher castes before lower castes are considered
- separate education and living areas for the different Kinds.
- if they are within a different caste zone, children may only live in their parents residence until adulthood.
- parents of a different caste adult child may live in the child’s residence if the child can accommodate them.
- lower castes are expected to use respectful mannerisms when dealing with higher castes, including honorifics, yielding the right of way when walking, not interrupting, and so on.
- Intermarriage (except with Moonchildren) is generally illegal or at least stigmatized.
- society is arranged to avoid having low-caste members in position of authority over high-caste members, in military, politics, and trade. This manifests in ways that might seem silly to outsiders, as low-caste members may style themselves advisors to higher caste members who actually give orders.
- This isn’t as horrible as Real Life caste systems, since there’s always familial movement among castes as astrological births occur, which creates ties between them. It is still discrimination and it should offend modern sensibilities.
Not all states use the caste system. The Kromus Clans, The Ormward, and Shakken do not. Neither do the Wyrmlings or the Brombrigalians.
Among the Kromus Clans, there are certain preconceptions regarding kinds, but their society is as close to a meritocracy as you can get in this world.
The Ormward turns the caste system on its head, with Riverborn holding most positions of power and authority. The rest of the world seems them either as weird, barbarians, or heretics. Not that it stops Corecia from trading with them. If it wasn’t for their highly defensible position, they would have been overrun a long time ago to keep dangerous ideas from spreading.
The main religion of Shakken holds that all people are equal. Since the official stance of the caste system is ‘equal but different’ this isn’t quite as strongly opposed as the Ormward’s position. The religion tends to have a few more onerous aspects regarding sacrifice and obedience that keep it from catching on in the mainland.
The non-Humyn lands don’t particularly care about the divisions between Humyns. The Wyrmlings generally treat any Humyn they allow to settle as a second-class citizens. Many inhabitants of Brombrigal have an unfortunate tendency to see Humyns as food.