Social Issues

It was not, and is not, a perfect world. The world Elysia inhabits is no different, and in the 16th century there are a number of social issues standing in the way of peace, love and understanding. We have attempted to itemize these popular hangups for your roleplaying pleasure!

Racism

Fear and loathing of the different was an accepted norm in the human 16th century. Furres differ in this; to exclude other furre races from societies is among the most taboo practices known to all furrekind. This is true in almost every kingdom in the Eastern Hemisphere.

The largest reason for this social ethic is the Race Wars, a conflict in the mid-10th century. It began as a series of conflicts in Europe, typically between kingdoms of predator and prey species, but the disregard for common sentience spread quickly, spanning continents and engulfing kingdoms that had never even heard of each other in vicious genocidal war. It finally ended in what is modern China, when a charismatic Emperor took the opportunity to appeal for treaty across the many kingdoms. This would not be the last time a Chinese monarch would shape the history of the world.

This was aided by the first appearance of the bubonic plague, who many felt was a religious reprisal on the part of Gods, furious at the wanton slaughter. An agreement similar in scope to Magna Carta was signed, guaranteeing the (mostly unmolested) presence of any species within foreign borders (with several exceptions reflecting the most bitter hatreds of the time.) 500 years later, there are very few homogenous societies left; most comprised of a myriad of predator and prey species. The result is friends and neighbors of different species cohabitating, and racial persecution having a difficult time finding where to take root.

However…

There are still many marginalized groups in the world.

Nomads - Traveler-people existing on every continent. Their groups are often slightly diverse, comprising several species, but probably one majority group reflecting the area of origin of the tribe. Many of these are modeled after naturally nomadic animal species. It should be reiterated that characters can belong to any real-world ethnic group their players choose, and it is possible to be any species they like within that group.

Indigenous people in Colonial areas - These will generally be a species that has long inhabited an area. In colonial regions, these people will be looked upon as uncivilized savages and excluded by various conqueror assholes from Europe. The Yanaka indigenous peoples are fairly well-tolerated in Elysia, but there exist still some tension between they and the Colonials over land and property rights and the inequities of past Treaties.

Real-life endangered or extinct species - There is a great deal of potential in this category. A rare tribe of Thylacines, for instance?

Reptiles, amphibians, prehistoric species, and "scalies" - Of all the species these have cohabited with furre-kind the least. There are many families living in foreign kingdoms, though the vast majority remain in their ancestral lands. They are regarded with some suspicion, mostly stemming from recent wars with all-reptile kingdoms. Several ancient mythologies state that cold-blooded people were the first to inhabit the world. Many lizard-types now live in Elysia as a result of the Invasion.

Supernaturals - Popular opinion of faeries varies between sub-species and region, varying from religious reverence to absolute hatred. Shapeshifters and other supernaturals are treated with suspicion and defensiveness, much the way dangerous animals are treated. Returners are pretty much universally hated.

Magicke users - Reverence and fear is usually the standard order for the common people of the world. This came to a head in the 12th century, when the bubonic plague killed a large fraction of the population across numerous kingdoms. The threat of other races began to diminish at this time, but in its stead a new fear and trepidation toward sorcerors appeared, many of the world's leaders scapegoating Mages for the creation of the Black Death.

It wouldn't have to be this way, but, particularly in Elysia, sorcerers tend to intimidate and wield their power like a club. An obvious case is that of the monopolistic Magister's Guild. Magicke-healers tend to be well-liked, mostly because they often double as monks and clerics. Mediums and psychics are common forms of entertainment worldwide.

Novari - The ancient enemy of Elysian Colonials. Though not a distinct species (a group of many North Atlantic animals), this bitterness has been earned with 3 vicious invasions of the Elysian Kingdom. Politicians say peace is achieved, but the average person is too used to living in opposition to the Novari Imperium to accept it so easily.

Classism

Though we're in the renaissance, remember that behind us is millenia of brutal classism and caste hierarchy. In most kingdoms, people live their lives solely for the ambitions of their Royalty or military leaders. This descends down through the Dukes, Lords, Daimyos, etc to the lowly peasant, who still doesn't have it all that great.

Elysia is the world's first modern experiment in democracy, with Elysian citizens able to vote for their Senators, who in turn decide the law. This was set forth in the Elysian Constitution, a document truly ahead of its time.

There are still Serfs, and in many countries, slaves. Though Elysia strongly forbids furre slavery, elements of class struggle still appear in the exploitation of the poor and the callous despotism of powerful Nobles. Class mobility is possible - ambition and cleverness often making up for political clout or noble birth. We should however take this time to note that anyone caught uttering Ayn Rand in Elysian City will be promptly arrested and rogered to death by a specially-trained moose.

Sexism

The subjugation of women is something we've slightly glanced over historically, for no other reason than that it sucks so much. There does exist some male chauvinism in most kingdoms - for instance a preference for Kings as absolute rulers, rather than Queens.

There are many, many females in the military in both an infrastructure and soldiering role. Women can hold land, titles, and powerful business interests in almost any modernized nation. In these respects our continuity resembles the modern day far more than it does the sexist 17th century.

Certain type of magicke are stronger in female children than they are in males, such as restorative and elemental magickes. This creates a superstition that overrides some sexist feelings - women are seen as possessing of supernatural power almost by nature. This is true of -all- species.

The Old Temple religion plays a part in sex equality. Its founding document, the Book of Epoch, makes several mentions of the dangers of raising one gender over another. Since most of the advanced societies in the world abide by some variant of this primeval religion, EC's world history is vastly different from the real-world.

There are some societies in the world bent strongly against one gender or the other. Some subjugate women as second-class citizens, and some subjugate men in the same way.

Homosexuality

Due in large part to the fact that furre societies are comprised of many species that cannot produce offspring together, the acceptance of homosexuality has been quicker by magnitudes. Homosexuality is widely accepted in Elysia, and many other Kingdoms as well.

Royals and high-class people are expected to produce children, and thus marry members of the opposite sex and same species, however the homosexuality of some Kings, Queens and other royals is often an open secret. Several Elysian Royals have been known homosexuals despite their marriages and children.

Same-sex marriage is not sanctioned by most kingdoms in the world, though people make take pets of the same gender in Elysian City. There is no legal recourse to prevent same-sex couples from adopting children, and it is indeed widespread.

The only thing more absurd than disallowing the marriages of loving couples 16th century? Disallowing them in the 21st.

Polygamy

The vast majority of modern kingdoms allow marriage only between one man and one woman. Some societies still practice both polygyny (dude and a buncha chicks) and polyandry (chick with a buncha dudes), but these practices are often very traditional and looked down upon by developed nations who believe plural marriage to be antiquated.

In Elysia, pets may be "collared" or "taken" in addition to a single spouse, are afforded some protection similar to marriage under the law (divorce proceedings/"releasing" conditions, etc) but are not considered spouses and as such do not represent polygamy.

Religion

Religion plays an important role in the world of EC. The Old Temple religion informs many of the world's kingdoms in some form. It is both a permissive religion and a dogmatic and controlling one, calling for more equality among the races than one might expect, but at the same time harshly enforcing social and dietary prescriptions.

The four sects of the Old Temple religion frequently battle each other for decide who is holiest. Their differing interpretations of this Light religion engage their host kingdoms in proxy wars, ostensibly for rights or territory.

Pets

In Elysia, pets have all legal rights of free persons, though are in effect "owned" by their masters/mistresses. Owners may petition for licenses to own pets, and must take legal actions to divorce pets from their service. Pets are often entitled to some share in the former owner's estate in order to allow them to survive un-owned. Owned pets must be given permission to work by their owners, but once uncollared may do as any other citizen with respect to relations and work.

Pets are generally regarded with a sort of government-enforced tolerance. Even the highest officers in the land keep pets, though the common people sometimes consider the whole thing kind of nuts.

Clothing

Since furres are, as the name might imply, very often literally furry, the emphasis on warm protective clothing is naturally somewhat diminished. Yet, furres still, by and large, wear clothing; both as a social norm and as basic practice. Clothing has become, much like in RL history, a sign of one's basic status, the result of both religious prescription and an evolving predilection for decorating the body older than history itself.

As a result, people who need protective covering even less than humans are still attached to the covering of their bodies. Some species have thinner fur, some lack fur on extremities, and some have none at all. The presence of these groups, particularly in colder climes, has reinforced mandatory raiment as a good idea. A similar attitude has developed toward bare hindpaws, though not quite so severe.

Most modern nations do not criminalize the practice of nudity in public places, and as a rule furres are far more tolerant toward clotheless bodies than humans even of today. It is still, however, considered the mark of an either uncivilized or statusless person to be naked, underdressed, or bare-pawed.

Sectarianism

Though sexism, racism and homophobia are at astonishingly low levels for the 16th century, EC is instead plagued by constant territorial war. Furre dynasties in many places do not experience the unity of one central kingdom; EC's world has many more competing city-states and fiefdoms, for instance, all of which hate each other more than any reasonable doubt.

Political proponents of progressive and traditional views often have it out with each other, whether through public discourse or outright bloodshed. A fine example is the Elysia of the Factions period, where numerous and myriad political and social groups battle each other; thus far verbally, but who knows for the future.

Further Words…

…on Elysia-specific social issues

Elysia Island is about as progressive as places get. Pets are accepted, the sexes equal and most species living in relative equality.

Yanaka are often marginalized for their refusal to adopt colonial ways, and in turn are suspicious of Colonial values, particularly that of care of natural resources.

Wolves, nomads, and other insular societies tend to bear the brunt of Elysian suspicion as well, but it is considered impolite in Elysia to profess such beliefs publicly. The Nobles are into being liberal right now, (although with about as much conviction as they have for new styles of window drapes), and so too goes for the rest of upwardly-mobile professionals.

Elysia is a prosperous and rich nation and experiences a large volume of immigrants every year. This forces political discussion on the topic, but also aggravates certain racist and nationalist movements.

Elysians generally hate Novari, and the exceptions tend to prove the rule. After centuries of being invaded and generally fucked with, their patience has worn to a thread. Generally, peace is preferred, so another costly war of Novari eviction is something everyone wants to avoid. There are some groups however bent on getting the invaders out by any means at their disposal.

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