Poverty In The Haven System


Thanks to Reena and Alistair, poverty in the Haven System has become a topic of conversation across the grid, and so we thought it important to describe the starting state of poverty across the Inner System. I say "starting state" because with people being displaced by the war (in particular ten thousand or so from Cape Amran very recently), infrastructure will get strained and more holes in the system will begin to show through.

At the start of the war, poverty was relatively well in check by the enlightened Feudalism Lite that is practiced in the Inner System. In a society where the citizenry is advanced, and a middle class established, any sort of feudalism only works if the bonds of fealty actually work both ways. The nobility has plenty of rights, but they also have a responsibility to protect and see to those living in their lands. That responsibility takes a mostly financial form, with the actual disbursal of funds being done by Senators' offices and the Chantry, but in some areas the nobles themselves take a direct interest in the well-being of their populace.

Of course, there will always be a few areas in every holding where people simply slip through the cracks. Even the best-intentioned system is not perfect, and there will always be places like Down Below in Khar-Mordune, the Black Sector in Volkan, and the Warrens in The Ring — areas where the discontent and dispossessed gather, and the help of the nobility, Senators, and Chantry simply does not reach. Every city has something of the sort, although the size and depths of poverty therein varies depending on the mindset and capabilities of the nobles and Senators of the holding.

Poverty in Each House

Social Safety Net Applicable Holdings
The Ideal No one
"The Best It Gets" Arboren, Cindravale, Iah
"Works Pretty Well" Sauveur, Saimhann, Dalton, Peake, Rovehn, Grantham, Ligonier
"A Few More Gaps" Khournas, Orelle, Ibrahm, Volen, Hollolas, Leonnida
"More Inequities" Larent, Lucian, Laskaris, Valta

Even at "The Best It Gets" there are small areas of poverty-stricken people, but it just means that they aren't quite as bad off and aren't as wide-spread. Working down the table, the division between rich and poor gets slowly wider, and the depths to which the most poor fall get deeper. Much of the difference comes down to either a sense of duty or compassion among the noble house versus a sense of competition among the noble house.

Even in the most compassionate or dutiful House, however, the poor of another House are that other House's business. No House can afford to put together massive financial outlays to help the poor of another House — they all have their own problems. Individual nobles, however, can certainly make individual contributions toward the well-being of people in whatever area they wish.

"The Best It Gets"

  • House Arboren takes a more egalitarian approach to their citizenry, so they provide for the poor not out of a sense of duty, but out of concern for their fellows.
  • House Cindravale upholds their feudal duty to the utmost level, providing for their citizenry as the citizenry provides for them.
  • House Iah's emphasis on family generally keeps individuals from slipping through the cracks, although family units as a whole sometimes do.

"Works Pretty Well"

  • House Sauveur has a similar dedication to feudalism as House Cindravale, but they also have much greater population density and larger worries, so there are a few more cracks in the support system for people to slip through.
  • House Saimhann's religious bent ties them closely in with the Chantry, allowing for greater protection in that way, but their emphasis on self-reliance leaves them a little blind to the inequities sometimes present in outlying settlements.
  • House Dalton's religious strength is the equal of House Saimhann, but tends a little more toward the philosophical, which sometimes causes them to overlook the few who slip through the cracks in their support structures.
  • House Peake has a similar tendency toward egalitarianism as its Paramount, but also has a similar emphasis on self-reliance to House Saimhann.
  • House Rovehn has a slightly looser view of feudal duty than its Paramount (then again, everyone in Haven does), and its belief in freedom of choice also leaves open a few gaps in the social safety net.
  • House Grantham has a fierce dedication toward efficiency and toward combat, but they are also willing to pull their own weight alongside their citizenry, which leads to more concern for their well-being.
  • House Ligonier pays nearly as much attention to the requirements of feudal duty as House Cindravale, but their overall lack of resources means that there is simply less to by given.

"A Few More Gaps"

  • House Khournas does its duty to its Citizens, but the needs of the many often outweigh the needs of the few, and may Khourni tend to view efficiency of manufacturing and prowess in battle as more important than keeping up every part of the social safety net.
  • House Orelle's emphasis on technocracy means that those we cannot keep up can sometimes be left behind.
  • House Ibrahm believes in tucking away the ugly parts of life, providing the best face on things. Those who cannot keep up with life tend to cluster around the factories around the shoulder of the mountain range from Obsidia itself.
  • House Volen believes that everyone has the ability to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps, so those who "choose" not to are sometimes left by the wayside.
  • House Hollolas tends to have more working poor than welfare poor, and the problem is often invisible because there are few outward differences in appearance between the very rich and very poor.
  • House Leonnida concerns itself with threats within the House, and showing a weakness like over-concern for the poor can put a target on one's back. In their defense, once a Lord or Lady Leonnida is named, they often do good deeds, but the struggle to get to the top can leave gaps.

"More Inequities"

  • House Larent has the same tendency toward hiding the problem of poverty that House Ibrahm has, but without the strength of feudal bonds of the Khournas vassal.
  • House Lucian is generally more interested in feeding off the poor than raising them up out of poverty.
  • House Laskaris was never the most concerned with the welfare of its citizenry, but since their fall following the divorce of Nikolas Laskaris and Young Lady Sir Anabethe Khournas, they have become even more desperate to rise up on the shoulders of their people.
  • House Valta believes that those with money get to make the decisions. Why would you give money to those who have not managed to get money in the first place?

Going Forward

Everything above is the status quo at the start of the Third System War. Even the best support networks will be strained by the influx of refugees from ravaged areas, and with the men-at-arms of the noble houses being called off to war, order in the cities will suffer. The Haven System was relatively shiny at the start of the war (unless you shone a light down into the few cracks), but it will not be able to remain so as the war rages on.

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