Arabi is a study in contrasts. It encompasses both the most desolate wasteland and the most lush jungle seen in the Endless Isles, and its people are similarly varied. From the nomads and raiders of northern Arabi to the merchants and bards of the south, from the nobles luxuriating in their garden palaces to the serfs toiling away in the quarries, the lives of the Arabi vary greatly depending on location and social station. The nobles are obscenely wealthy and tend to be equally soft, while the serfs have nothing but form the backbone of the nation.
There are forty noble families in Arabi, consisting of a Lord or Lady of the House and his or her extended family. Nobles spend the majority of their time either indulging their tastes for various luxuries or scheming and obsessing over lines of succession. The actual running of their estates is left largely to their favored serfs, who are given special treatment in return for helping to keep the estate running and the other serfs in line. For the majority of serfs, their quality of life depends entirely upon the whims of their lord or lady. Some lead good lives, free to come and go with a roof over their heads, food for their families, and a day’s pay for a day’s work. Others are slaves in everything but name. Indeed, while all serfs are technically free men, some nobles have been known to send bounty hunters to bring back particularly useful servants who “wander off.”
While the majority of the population of Arabi lives within the confines of this strict caste system, fringe groups have carved out livings beyond the watchful eyes of the noble families. Errant serfs fleeing persecution and disfavored sons and daughters of noble families seeking greater fortune ply their trade as raiders in the waterways and deserts of Arabi, striking wealthy trading caravans with lightning speed and disappearing to hidden camps and villages before their wealthy protectors can respond. The noble families consider these bands an existential threat and have devoted their resources to destroying them, but the Golden Isles are vast and there are a thousand and one places for a crafty pirate to bide his time before the next attack.
Golden Tongue: Social currency is more valuable than gold at every level of Arabi society, and nobles and serfs alike have learned what to say and what not to say. Arabi characters begin with +2 Charisma.
Sand-Scoured: The scorching sun and whirling sands of Arabi toughen the men and women who dwell in its deserts. Arabi citizens receive an additional hit point per level.
Arabi adventurers come from three distinct backgrounds. The majority of them are serfs, who have fled mistreatment at the hands of their noble masters or simply chosen to seek out a better life beyond the borders of their home. Such adventurers prize their newfound freedom, but particularly skilled (or magically talented) servants spend their lives looking over their shoulders in case their former masters decide they want them back. A few Arabi adventurers are distant relatives of noble families or disgraced former heirs, who have chosen to seek their own fortunes rather than languish in luxury with no hope of advancement. A recent third class has spring up, the freeholders, men and women born to families in the few hidden enclaves founded outside the confines of Arabi society. Freeholders have generally been raised with a hatred of the nobility and of law and order in general, and are considered dangerous by those in power.