Role Play and Clan Castes
The Clans lead a very stratified life where every member is supposed to know their place and purpose. It is a life of uncomplicated certainty and direction… only it’s not. Clan society is divided into different castes. There are merchants, scientists, warriors, technicians and laborers. Ideally they all support each other with the warrior caste serving as leadership and spearpoint of the Clan. The other castes are then treated as equals. This is not the case, as each Clan has its own peculiarities and values the castes differently. In the Diamond Shark Clan merchants and warriors fraternize. Business is seen as a form of warfare and while pure merchants have lesser standing; many warriors “retire” to the merchant class where they can perfect negotiation and business tactics as a means of economic combat. Other clans see research as more important, or even mechanical and technical innovation. These castes are elevated above the others. The most commonly derided caste is that of the laborer. In many cases the laborer cast is treated like the Dalit of India. They aren’t quit untouchables but they are maligned and treated poorly. The only caste lower that laborer is the dark or bandit caste. Criminals, sociopaths and cultural exiles that live within, and at the edges of clan society. This should give you a spectrum from which to extrapolate how individuals are treated. A warrior will talk down to the other castes, and in some cases may even ignore their existence. In a Crusader Clan like the Jade Falcons Techs and Scientists are more lauded than laborers and merchants. The individual role player should approach the way they speak about these groups based on this baseline. Where a Hazen would be cognizant of laborers and even care for them as a member of the clan, she would still dismiss them in general conversation. Ayat, as a proud hothead would ignore them and even get angry at a laborer should one make their presence known to her through accident or incompetence. Limited violence would be all but ignored by most Jade Falcons in this context. Hazen’s response would be that of someone rebuking a child for breaking a toy. For our role player’s this may never come to light in a given session, and integrating these kinds of prejudices can run contrary to who we are as people, so it may not be advised. That said, caste system is an important aspect of clan life and faithful portrayal of it by anyone should include reference and some action based on their position within the system; and all its privilege.
Bondsman and Slavery
As the clans capture planets the residents are inducted into the Bondsman program. The bondsman program is designed to re-educate and assimilate people into clan culture. For most people this is going to mean very little to their daily lives except becoming a formal member of a caste. Their jobs and roles will not change. Those in positions of authority will have contact with senior Clan personnel who will bring with them their idiosyncratic attitudes. For warriors captured during battle the bondsman program resembles something closer to gladiatorial slaves in ancient Rome. The captured warriors are being evaluated to join the highest caste of clan society. They will be genetically tested, educated and forced to complete menial tasks of increasing complexity. Many will see work as techs and personal assistants to the warriors that captured them. Warrior bondsman also bear the mark of being ISORLA, spoils of war. The bondsman belongs to the Clan as a whole, but only by virtue of being the personal prize and possession of the capturing warrior. For warriors captured this way their life is generally one of physical and mental mistreatment. Most clan warriors are not teachers and will treat Inner sphere warriors as not only less capable, but less intelligent and less worthy. When a warrior bondman has satisfied the three trials the owner-warrior will arrange a ceremony to make them full members of the warrior caste. Warriors that fail or who do not complete their three trials are often abandoned to the clan as a whole, to serve in a lesser caste. The three tests are: combat talent, integrity, and loyalty. When a bondsman has exhibited these traits to the satisfaction of the owning warrior or oath-master the warrior is granted full status in the clan and may now attain rank and the right to bid and fight in combat. This practice should be noted in the education of our two captured warriors. Typically this would be a cutting of different cords, one for each virtue. Since the bonds were described as singular it might make sense to grant each warrior a small token to symbolize their indoctrination. Hazen might grant each a green memento or pin. When the 3rd bond is fulfilled the actual bonds would be removed and each allowed to take their trial of position. This transition is important and some time should be spent between the characters acknowledging the process, even if it is to deny and resist it. Mason in particular has trouble with it and may only embrace it when he sees the Clan through Hazen’s eyes.