Helaman's Play By Post Carrion Crown
Important note on social conventions
Walking around rural or urban Ustalav armoured and armed to the teeth sends a certain message to some people… the phrase ‘Brutal Homicidal Manic’ may come to mind. Understand that your outfit, your weaponry and your race will all influence those with whom you interact with. Its all about using the Right tool for the job when it comes to social engagements.
Whats the appropriate dress code? It changes with the situation but in most cases the people of Ustalav normally go about without armour and with perhaps a staff or dagger within their communities. Light and concealed arms and armour would be as far as you’d want to push it in most circumstances… that said, there are times when you want to send the message – ‘Brutal Homicidal Manic’, or that people would take comfort in having a friendly one on hand. Definitely the circumstance differs depending on issues such as professional obligations, travel on Ustalavs’ dangerous roads or impending combat.
Magic, particularly of the arcane sort (priestly magic is sometimes overlooked in the right circumstances), is feared and reviled – especially the art of necromancy. This is a natural reaction to hundreds of years of being subjected to the brutal reign of an undead wizard. Obvious spell casting or flouting of magical ability may have nasty consequences, ranging from social prejudice and ostracism all the way to the extremes of encounters with lynch mobs out to protect their community.
While spell casters are not unheard of and may even operate openly within their own communities, it takes some time to develop the necessary trust… sometimes, years. Magic in the big cities such as Lepidstadt or Caliphas is more accepted and with lessening degrees of prejudice… but the threat of mob justice and attacks on known casters is always in the undercurrents of any community.
Magic isn’t the only thing to inspire prejudice – race is often a factor. Humanity, the majority population in Ustalav, is suspicious and close minded enough when it comes to their own kind, let alone when it comes to the non human races. ‘Magical’ races such as Elves and Gnomes are distrusted, Dwarves are seen as tight-fisted, tricky and grasping, and halflings, while perhaps the most tolerated of the non human races are looked down on. Half Orcs and Orcs experience fear and hatred in varying degrees due to the constant raiding of the Orcish tribes from Belkzen. Kellid Barbarians, even though they are human, also experience similar responses because of their occasional raids of civilised lands.
Dhampir and Teiflings are treated in the same regard as orcs but with a different sort of fear – Orcs and barbarian raiders may kill you but the spawn of the dead and demons can even steal your soul!
Finally understand that lethal combat is looked on as harshly by local authorities in Ustalav as they would be in our own modern world. Fisticuffs and brawling are one thing, using a sword to cut down a foe in the street or blasting people with lethal magic in a bar is quite another. If weapons do come into it, clubs, staves and perhaps knives are seen as semi acceptable solutions in the right circumstances (and are easily disposed of). A good way to see the inside of a jail or wind up dodging groups of vengeful friends is to use deadly force at the wrong time. Adventurers, while having a reputation for easy violence, are well advised to use non lethal force in situations where the law may get involved, failing that, ensure that they either have a very good reason for its use. If that isn’t possible maybe the best course would be to avoid conversations with law enforcement types, such as city or town guards, altogether by a rapid departure from the scene.