Caste System of the Okubo Empire (Polesia)
Caste society of the Okubo
The highest social caste of the empire is the Samurai. Samurai are feudal nobles who wield nearly all available power in the empire. Such power do the samurai have in the empire, that the law clearly states that any commoner who does not make way for a samurai on the street can legally be killed by the offended samurai. Samurai are afforded rice stipends by the lands owned by their respective clans and/or families. These foodstuffs are grown by the inhabitants of their lands (their subjects), and are collected as a tax. These foodstuffs are typically sold to the merchant class for gold. As such, each samurai is paid a wage for being a samurai. Many, though not all, samurai live the life of the noble warrior. (Typically, this is the lifestyle we think of when we hear the word "samurai"). This is not, however, the only life for a samurai. Many samurai become courtiers, wielding blades of social influence as deftly as their warrior counterparts. Some with the talent to speak with the kami spirits become members of the shugenja priesthood. All samurai typically carry a wakizashi, a weapon that is considered the soul of a samurai. Nearly all samurai, however, are subject to the virtues of bushido laid down by the Great Kami. This code of conduct is strict and prohibitive, barring samurai from taking part in commerce, and maintaining a regimen of cleanliness and manners, all alongside the most notable restriction: the code of honorable combat. Bushido is explained in a separate section: Bushido.
Commoners are of the peasant stock. As such, commoners have few rights. But at least they aren't subject to all the tenets of Bushido. Commoners are, by their nature, placed in a position of honor and dignity, specifically for their labors in producing the food that sustains the empire.
Merchants have no honor. Often despised by the samurai, the merchants are a "necessary evil" in the empire. This is because, while a samurai is considered dishonorable who dabbles in commerce, these folks of all kinds will stoop to that position in order to gain that foulest of powers: excessive wealth. A wealthy lower class is what happens when the noble upper class has no economic powers. These "rats" of society are often humble proprietors, traders, and managers of loans. It is to these folks that a samurai's rice stipends are traded (for which samurai often claim is not enough for what they're worth).
Foreigners are generally unwelcome in the empire. Many do not trust that which is unfamiliar. This includes all who are not subjects of the Okubo, including peoples from other lands, and non-human characters, even within the lands of the empire. The kitsune, for instance, are not welcome among society, though their ability to shape shift into the likeness of a citizen often prevents this from becoming too fine a point. The kitsune, however, are still revered among those in the empire as spiritual paragons.
This non-playable caste is the lowest in the empire. These are the gravediggers, undertakers, and people of general impurity of body.