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  • Writer's pictureOwen

Under The Yoke Devlog 8: It's been a privilege

Evenin' m'lords. In this Under The Yoke Devlog we look at some of the history behind Feudal dues and how we've modelled that with the implementation of Feudal contracts in Under The Yoke.

The feudal system acted as a grand pyramid of dues and privileges which stretched all the way from the Monarch down to the lowly serf. Of course, for our purposes we are much more interested in the latter.

From the perspective of the serf, their dues were owed to their local Lord, whether that was an abbey or a noble, though most lords would likely have been absent for the majority of the time, so Reeves would usually be calling the shots on behalf of their lord.

There were a number of privileges afforded to the Lord which were born from the ownership of the land with the serfs being attached to that land. Serfs were therefore considered a sort of property but their ownership was associated with the land and could not be bought and sold like slaves but would be traded in the event that the land was sold.

Internally land was of key interest to medieval peasants of all kinds, increasing your share of the land was possible, with internal trading occurring, though trading land between villages was impossible, as one couldn't diminish the Lord's holdings.

So other than the obvious, land, what more can you negotiate for in your Feudal contract? Well there is meadow land (I guess that's cheating though). There's the right to upgrade your own home, as a serf you would technically rent your cottage so upgrading your house and garden (which plays a key role in UTY) would be need to be agreed to. There are also a variety of privileges.

As it stands these are the privileges in Under The Yoke but also privileges that really existed, though more are liable to be added:

Baking Ban

A ban existed on baking one's own bread, which had to be done in a communal oven in exchange for a tax to the Lord.

Grinding Ban

A ban against grinding one's own grain into flour, one had to use the Lord's mill, a much resented monopoly.

Animal Folding

In winter, peasants would be compelled to fold their animals into the Lord's flocks, depriving them of manure for the Winter.

Waif and Stray

Any animal that went stray would be subject to a fine and could even be considered the Lord's property unless adequately disputed.

Right of Warren

This was a privilege regarding hunting small game, sources tend to disagree on what sort of animals peasants were allowed to hunt and when so in UTY this Right of Warren represents a legal claim to hunting small animals such as squirrels and rabbits.

How do you go about negotiating your feudal contract? What's the difference between a serf and a freedman? What do taxes look like on a feudal contract? All these questions and more will be addressed in future Devlogs, so sign up below to make sure you get them as they happen.

Can you think of any privileges you'd like to see represented in Under The Yoke? Join the discord using this link and come have a chat!

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