Today, I would like to examine the social and historical factors that make life in Fallcrest, and the Nentir Vale at large, the way it is today.  When I originally red the first 4th edition preview books, and then the core rules, I imagined a feudal society, but as I researched feudalism, I realized that this system would not make sense within the context of our campaign world.  I have found that feudalism is more of an idea, rather than an actual system of government, and as such, it can be argued that true feudalism never actually existed in the real world.

Let me further clarify what I mean by “true feudalism”.  Within the context of this essay, and our campaign setting, I define the purest form of feudalism to be what is called the universal monarchy, which certainly never existed in any real sense.  The idea stems from certain so called universal powers in medieval Europe such as the papacy and the holy roman emperor.  In this system, kings were lords over aristocrats, who were his vassals, and in turn, where lords over there own vassals, knights, who were lords of the manor to peasants who worked the land. Ultimately, the emperor was a lord who loaned fiefs to kings, who were his vassals.

It is my theory that a system much like this once existed in our game world, prior to the fall of the old empire, but since the empire no longer exists, it is no longer possible for a true feudal society to function.  The type of society that would emerge after the fall of the old empire must depend heavily on the nature of that empires collapse.  A society emerging after a sudden catastrophic end to the empire, through means such as war, natural disaster, plague, famine, or wrath of god, demon, and/or dragons, would be very different from a society that has survived a slow decline and decay of the old empire.  This is something I would like to explore further with other members of the group before I make any decisions on my own as to the nature of the old empire’s fall, and what types of societies are emerging in it’s aftermath.