Friday, February 8, 2013

Changeless Peasants and Nothing to Do OR Rural D&D

Those little towns are always so boring. Peasants go about their unchanging, bucolic lifestyle. They till the earth, they eat some bread, they go to sleep. Ho hum. Right?

WRONG. Here's some things that are constantly going on in villages:

There are a huge number of reasons one party might be suing another. IN general, these suits are probably being considered by the local lord's curia. While they drag on (witnesses must be found and called, records dredged up from local monasteries and clerical institutions, etc.) the participants can find themselves either in friendly circumstances (Oh, tis just trifling matter of business) or not so friendly ones (murder mystery!).

* Suing over boundaries on adjacent properties

* Suing on property which must change hands due to: time stipulated rental, failure to pay rent, death of a renter/owner

* Suing over taxes because: the lord believes the villein/local customarily pays more than he has been, the villein/local believes he is customarily entitled to pay less (note that this "payment" may be in cash but is more likely that its in "kind" -- butter, salt fish, grains, labor, etc.)

* Suing over a lord's seizure of property for personal use

* Suing for damages due to public slander

* Suing for damages due to theft/harassment

* Suing for damages due to daughter-stealing (a patriarch who didn't give his permission before his daughter married? Scandal!)

These can be the result on ongoing or past lawsuits, but also may spring up due to conflicting personalities or interests. Even small towns can host rivalries of some sort or another, from the simple, simmering, "I hate you" that people who live nearby in small towns can get to full blown feuds. Hell, that could even be an adventure hook. And we don't have to be talking about major players here—a local virgater who despises the miller (or smith, or reeve, or hayward, or ale-connor) can be just as interesting, complex, and amusing as two noble families both alike in dignity.

Local Unrest
Outlaws! They aren't bandits (necessarily) but they certainly do tend to rob people and make things unpleasant. Bandits! They are bandits, so there's that. Invasions! Neighboring lordships (or kingdoms) might be doing battle nearby! Always exciting.

It's always possible that someone is being tried in something other than a lawsuit. Murder, breaking the king's peace, those kinds of things. This is a bit rarer and much less normative than the general low level of lawsuits going on in a village.

Marketing days don't necessarily come all the time. Weekly, monthly, bi-monthly, yearly markets are all possible. Preparing for market, going to market (if its not in the current town), returning from market, and mixing marketing days with any other manner of issue (theft, lawsuits, rivalries) can spice things up considerably.

No comments:

Post a Comment