The Let's Play Archive

King of Dragon Pass

by Haifisch

Part 15: Outsiders

The Orlanthi recognize roughly four versions of "outsider," which is the term they use to describe anyone outside of their society.

"Guests" are recognized as those outsiders who are temporarilly under the protection of someone within the society. This generally involves performing an elaborite ritual designed to bind the guest's sponsor and his family to the guest, so that if the guest does anything wrong, the sponsor can be held responsible.

"Strangers" are those outside the immediate social group who nevertheless give the proper Orlanthi greetings when they show up at your tula. They are generally considered still members of Orlanthi society and can be called upon to follow all the rules and beliefs. Being members of Orlanthi society, they are under the protection of law. Most traveling merchants and visitors from other clans count as Strangers.

"Outlaw" is the term given to those who have been cut out of society. While generally this is the result of severe legal action, there are some who choose to depart the clan willingly. When Grim Humakt severed all his ties, he became an outlaw. Despite what the name might imply, not all outlaws are hunted, generally only those that are have done something that has led another to seek vengeance against them have to fear being chased down by their former kinsmen. While outlaws recieve the blessing of Orlanth in that they are the most free of any Heortlings, they lack the protection of law and the support of a clan, and so most tend to meet unfortunate ends unless they can find a way to get invited into another clan.

"Foreigners" are the worst form of outsider in Orlanthi culture. If someone doesn't know the proper greetings, or if their language, traditions, religions, dress or physical appearance varies wildly from the Orlanthi, then a person is considered a foreigner. Foreigners are considered outside of Orlanthi society and, as such, lack any and all rights, which tends to ensure they get treated quite badly. You'll occasionally get foreign merchants touting strange wares and sometimes its best to realize that the foreigner likely has friends who will be angry if they never return, but even then you should probvbly never trust a Foreigner.

The reason outsiders are treated like scum is fairly simple and based on historical precedent set down by King Heort himself. Orlanthi society is give and take. It provides an individual with, in Heort's own words, "Recognition, Participation, Protection, Direction, Justice, and Revenge," but also requirs them to follow the six social virtues of "Honor, Provision, Defense, Obedience, Justice and Hospitality".

What this tends to boil down to is that only those who actively serve the clan (for example fulfilling the virtue of Provision by farming, or Defense by fighting, though all clan members are assumed to fulfill all the virtues by at least the token amount required by law) can be expected to reap the societies benefits, which include Recognition, Protection and Justice. Those who do not work to bring in the harvest or defend the clan from attack do not receive the benefit of Recognition, and so are not recognized as people at all, but rather as something akin to an object. They do not receive the benefit of protection and so are not to be shielded from nature or disease or their enemies, and they do not receive Justice, and so cannot take action against those that have wronged them.

Your uncle Joe, who has been farming rye his whole life, is a productive member of orlanthi society and so, has rights. That weird guy who no one has ever seen before has not, is not, and so, does not.

Thralls fit into a funny place here. They aren't recognized or extended legal rights, but they still help do all the work. I think it's understood that they aren't required to fight, nor have they a household from which to extend hospitality, so they're still stuck being unable to fulfill the virtues. When you free a thrall you are recognizing him as a person.

Remember that these are Heort's laws, which are what got our people through the great darkness. They are laws designed to protect the society from terrible terrible chaos in a cold and dark, Godless world. They are pretty much based around the idea of resolving disputes amungst the clan, preventing kinstrife, while giving absolutely no quarter to those people who might want to take advantage of the Heortling people.