Abydion, the Fifth City
Social status is fairly important and determined primarily by your guild membership(s). Guild determines basic stratum (Very Low, Low, Medium, High, Very High).
Each character has Status (stratum) score, starting at INT+CHA. Where status is relevant, the situation is resolved with an opposed Status roll, with the lower-stratum character taking a penalty of one difficulty grade per stratum difference.
Status score fluctuates somewhat like a Passion, being increased by events which improve the character’s status and reduced by those which harm it. Characters whose status exceeds 100 may be able to move up to the next stratum, resetting their Status to INT+CHA. Characters whose status drops to 0 are likely to be kicked out of their guilds and may then be taken as Status-free slaves.
(Guild here is used as a shorter version of “guild, cult, brotherhood, or other organization”. Maybe find a better term?)
Most families exist within a single guild-house, but this is not required and exceptions are fairly common. This does not necessarily mean within a single guild, as many service-oriented guilds have members resident in other guilds’ houses, such as weaponsmiths and armorers in residence with the Knights of the East and West.
Most people live with their guilds in the guild-house (which is often more of a walled complex rather than a single building). There is no charge for this, so long as dues are paid to the guild.
Individuals may pay either full or reduced dues to any guilds they are members of. Full dues amount to 50% of all income, while reduced dues are 10%. (Possibly make this an escalating scale based on rank?) Paying reduced dues gives access to guild trainers and other facilities at standard cost, in addition to free room and board at any of the guild’s houses. Full dues gives access at no cost. Although you may stay in the house of a guild to which you only pay reduced dues, it is generally expected that your primary residence will be with the guild to which you pay full dues.
The rule of law does not really apply in Abydion. Low-Status characters are generally expected to defer to those of higher Status and most disputes are resolved either by immediate payment of bribes/fines/weregild to the offended party or through negotiations at the guild level if the individuals cannot resolve it themselves. If this is not possible, the matter may be taken to the arena and tried by blood. In extreme cases, the Archons may be called in to intervene, but this is generally avoided if at all possible, as they’re likely to impose heavy costs on all involved.
Imprisonment is extremely rare, due to both tradition and the lack of resources to support non-productive individuals at the expense of others. Lesser crimes are resolved through fines or bribes, while more serious criminals are enslaved, sacrificed, or executed. Those awaiting execution will be imprisoned for a week or so while arrangements are made for their deaths. Long-term imprisonment is generally only seen in cases where a wealthy person has been captured and is being held until ransomed.