Everybody works for somebody. If they don't, there is something WRONG with them, because nobody will speak for their value to society. The system of oaths and fealty is one of the first things discussed on the website. It’s on the main World page. It’s further discussed on the Allegiance page, explaining some of the difficulties the Unsworn face. This is no secret-- it is a foundational underpinning of the culture and world of Brittanis. It’s a universal truth of the world in Brittanis. Society as a whole must have a way of determining who is friend and enemy, who can be trusted and who cannot, and how people can transfer from one of those groups to another. The world of Brittanis is deadly-- far moreso than our world today. Armies march back and forth across the land, evil is a presence growing in the shadows everywhere-- and that’s before you consider that monsters are very real. Knowing who you can and cannot trust is of vital importance, and knowing what Lord a person is sworn to can potentially tell you a great deal about them. For example, the simple fact of knowing that someone is sworn to a lord known for generosity and kindness is far different than knowing a person is sworn to a lord known for cruelty and murder. Oaths of loyalty and fealty provide a social structure to determine whether your life is in danger or not, and to what degree. If their lord is your lord’s enemy, that tells you something, because by taking your oath you have made your lord’s enemies your own. If their lord is a staunch ally of your lord, you can be reasonably certain you’re in safe company. To use a real world example, one of the reasons the Sheriff of Nottingham is such a nasty character is because everybody knows who the Sheriff's Lord is--Prince John-- and the fact that the Prince knows about the Sheriff’s perfidy and does nothing to stop it means that the Prince actually approves of what the Sheriff is doing. The whole chain is broken. The Unsworn are outside that social structure, and not in a good way. Why won’t a lord accept your oath? What reason could there be for nobody to take you in? What have you done that makes you so very stigmatized that nobody will vouch for you? BEING UNSWORN IS NOT A GOOD THING IN BRITTANIS. Being Unsworn literally means, “Nobody wants me,” or some other set of circumstances where your Lord has died and nobody took his place, or something else equally as bad. Unsworn-- both PCs and NPCs-- are distrusted and stigmatized. PCs and NPCs alike will treat you poorly, because they have no way to categorize you and literally don’t know if you have a dagger up your sleeve with their name on it. Being Unsworn will likely be a far less fun experience than you might imagine it to be when creating a character.
Y Seeth Perry
The holiday of Midwinter’s Peace is a day where some of the social norms of the year are abated. Y Seeth Perry is the holiday of welcoming and hospitality, and as such it is the one time of the year where the Unsworn more freely mingle with those who have taken oaths of loyalty. It is the one holiday of the year where the Unsworn are less stigmatized-- the only days of the year where you can be certain that the Unsworn standing in front of you doesn’t have a dagger ready to strike. Many stories tell of the Unsworn presenting themselves at the Midwinter Feast specifically to be considered for membership in a House or Clan-- the Deep Magic of the world enforces nonviolence, and that gives the Unsworn a chance to be welcomed and allowed to make their case. Many legends tell of the Lord giving the Unsworn candidate a task or challenge in order to earn their place in the House, or being allowed a provisional status of membership until the next Y Seeth Perry where they can swear fully. But in all cases, the stigma of being Unsworn is lessened somewhat during Midwinter’s Peace because the fear of betrayal and violence that usually follows the Unsworn is abated. The holiday does not enforce trust or magically produce positive regard, but it does remove the fear of violence and the unknown that follows the Unsworn everywhere. In many cases, this can lead to
Out of Game Concerns
Midwinter’s Peace is the holiday that accompanies our Winter Feast, which has thus far been a great opportunity for new players to join the game in a combat-free, low(er) stress kind of way. As such, it is in the game’s best interest to set up the event to be welcoming to new players, regardless of whether or not they have chosen to swear to a House. Under normal circumstances, heroes coming in as Unsworn would be subject to a great deal of stigma, but they also have the option of going elsewhere on the game site in order to get a change of scenery. At the Feast, that’s not possible because the physical location is a couple of large rooms; everywhere they go there would be someone potentially shunning their character. Not a way to make a positive impression to a player on their first event when they can’t go elsewhere to get away from it if they choose. At a full event the stigma attached to being Unsworn can be avoided or at least walked away from; not so when everyone is in the same room. As a result, the in-game negative cultural structure surrounding the Unsworn is lessened at the Feast, and in many cases Unsworn actively seek out Houses to see if that is where they want to end up permanently. This allows new, Unsworn characters to have a chance to interact with the Houses and see what characters are a part, and get an idea if that’s where they want to play. The next time they meet those characters they might be standoffish and distrustful, but at least during the Feast, they have a chance to interact in a more positive manner.