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The Manor is the basic economic unit of rural Cerilia. The typical manor contains a village and the inhabitants who farm the land. The fiefholding lord takes the surplus production and uses it to support his family, provide a court of law, and protect the manor with a military force that is also owed to the lord's liege during war.
A single manor is expected to support the minimum of a heavily armored knight and two archers or light infantry. A common manor supports one knight and six other soldiers in time of war. A few manors are especially rich or especially large and can support two or three knights plus a dozen or two soldiers.
Many manors are held by a knight who uses the produce of the manor to maintain his armor, warhorse, a squire, and several yeoman. Others are held by a noble who installs a bailiff to run the fief for him. Such nobles may be accountable for large numbers of soldiers during wartime from their many manors.


The Manor House can be a simple great house or a castle. It almost always is defensible against raiders, bandits, or brigands, if not capable of withstanding a proper siege. The lord may dwell here, or it may be the residence of the bailiff.
The manor house contains a great hall where the business of the manorial court is conducted, where feasts of the harvest and holidays are celebrated, where visitors are received, and where the luxury and quality of the food attest to the lord's wealth and status. It is a public room, doing the manor business by day, serving a community social function in the evening, and on small manors is the sleeping quarters of the lord's household servants.
The lord has a chapel for the use of the lord, his family, and guests. It is often in the manor house, or close to it. A lord who seeks the favor of more than one divine family may have more than one chapel. Lords almost always maintain a chapel to Haelyn as the god of nobility and rulership as well as one to the patron of his people or the whatever other faith the lord honors.
The village contains a "village church" for the peasants based on either the patron god of the region or one of the temple holdings of the province, which ever the DM finds more appropriate.
The inhabitants of the manor cluster together in a village close to the manor house hoping for its protection in case of danger.


Woodland is the portion of a manor which is wooded. A typical manor might be 20% wooded, but the dominant terrain type of the province and the population density might increase that significantly. Medieval technology (and all Cerilian cultures are medieval in type) is predominantly wood based, in contrast to ancient technology which used many more clay products to achieve the same ends for tools and construction. As such, it should be expected that the woodland is an abundance of fuel, tool-making and construction materials. In fact, it is so valuable, that it must be protected by manorial officials to insure its continued health. The woodward, some places called a woodreeve, is a manor official looking after Lord's woods. He sells surplus timber, allots timber to tenants for repairs when so ordered, and makes sure that no one cuts the Lord's woods without the Lord's command. It is a common right of peasants to collect windfall, the limbs and branches knocked down by high winds and storms, and the woodward makes sure they take only what has fallen and not what they can cut or pull down.
Preserving the long term health of the woods is preserving the manor's access to tools, construction material, and fuel. Haelyn's sacred writings are filled with references to preserving the woodlands of a manor as a metaphor for good stewardship. For Haelyn, the woods exist as a resource to managed for the good of the manor and its lord. Right selection of officers, careful husbandry of a resource, and judicious exploitation of a resource are examples of good rulership. While priests of Haelyn do not themselves look after forests, they are often careful to insure that provision for such stewardship is made.
On the other hand, druids of Erik regard the woods as a gift from Erik, and not something that is to be squandered by men. The forests are to be protected for their own sake, although men can make use of them as long as they do not endanger the forest.
While Erik's druids and Haelyn's priests tend to see the other as putting the cart before the horse, they generally approve of the other's good forest management. Left to their own devices, they might quarrel about which is the greater value, the intrinsic worth of the forest or of men's use of the products of the forest. However, when confronted with the rapacious exploitation of the forest, Sera seems to approve of, the icy death of Kriesha's endless winters, or the brutal domination of Belinik's followers, Haelyn's careful stewards and Erik's druids close ranks and put their differences aside.
Cropland is the portion of the manor worked intensively by peasant labor in order to produce food for the manor and a surplus for the lord, which is then sold ultimately to towns. Generally the bulk of a manor's wealth is in its crop production.
Pasture is the portion of the manor devoted to animal grazing. Some areas of pasture, especially in hills, are permanent pasture. A large portion of the pasture is the fallow cropland which benefits from the manure of the animals. Druids encourage the planting of clover on fallow lands for the livestock, though their purpose is not well understood.

[top]Manorial Staff

The manorial staff, unlike the household staff, stays with the manor whether the lord is present or not.
  • Bailiff: A bailiff supervises a manor for a lord who is not in residence. This is nearly always a close relative, but any noble, knight, or trusted guildsmen might be found in such service. The bailiff lives as lord of the manor, yielding his place and his rooms for the lord when he visits. A bailiff and a lord agree upon the amount of profit the manor will produce. This is what the bailiff pays the lord after harvest, regardless of what is produced. If less, they bailiff makes up the difference, if more, the bailiff pockets the difference. A bailiff may receive a discount by paying 90% of the sum at the beginning of the year, rather than waiting for the harvest. Normally a bailiff is expected to enjoy 3% or 4% of the fief's income and the agreement generally reflects this.
  • Cook: A cook prepares food for the household. Even when the lord is away, because the manor produces food, it is cheaper and less burdensome to pay the manorial staff in room and board than it is to pay them in coin. So a cook is always needed. Typically a single good aided by domestics is sufficient to run a kitchen for a single manor managed by a bailiff. When the lord is present, he brings his own cook and domestics, and the manorial cook becomes the chief assistant of the household cook.
  • Alewife: Specialist brewer of ales. Sometimes a part of the kitchen, sometimes reporting directly to the bailiff. The household drinks ale as its main beverage and can consume as much as a half-pint per member of the household.
  • Cellarer: Maker of wines. On the Southern Coast, a cellarer replaces an alewife, while in other places a cellarer is a prestige position.
  • Gardener: Supervises the herb garden and any flower gardens the lord has. Manors with beehives are often overseen by the gardener. Some manors maintain vegetable gardens and orchards, and these are generally managed by gardener. Gardeners must work closely with the kitchen, but rarely report directly to the cook. The gardener generally reports to the bailiff.
  • Housekeeper: This person maintains the house in the absence of the lord, keeping it well maintained and ready to receive the lord. The house remains functional while the lord is away, and the housekeeper manages the domestics who tend to the bailiff's family (at the bailiff's expense, not the lord's unless he is in residence). When the lord visits, the housekeeper becomes assistant to the keeper of the wardrobe.
  • Domestics: This varied group cares for the clothes, spaces, and objects of the household. They make clothing, mend it, wash it, and so on. Domestics are responsible for these functions. They also clean, maintain, and repair the spaces, furniture, and items which are used by the household.
  • Nursemaid: This specialist domestic cares for the young children in the bailiff's family. Some nursemaids specialize in young children and care for them when the house has any, others stay with their charges as they grow and become devoted domestics.
  • Woodward: The woodward manages the fief's woodlands, ensures that no one poaches in the woods, decide which trees to cut sold unwanted timber, divides timber to tenants for repairs as ordered, and makes sure that peasants collecting windfall, do not pull down or cut down trees. The woodward plants new trees and looks after the health of the forest for the benefit of the lord and the manor. When the lord is residence, the woodward is the right hand of the huntsman, or if the lord has none, serves as his huntsman.
  • Herder: The herder manages the manor's pasture, the harvesting of the medow, and the pasturing of the livestock. He carries out the manorial strategy for breeding and slaughtering, and maintains the facilities used to manage the herds, such as barns, fences, and gates. Shearing sheep is also conducted under his purview. Cowherds, swineherds, shepherds, and dairymaids answer to the herder. The herder in turn answers to the bailiff.
  • Beadle: This is the manor's police officer. He is commonly a yeoman fulfilling his feudal service. Sometimes it is a trusted villein who has long service with the lord, or a paid soldier. The beadle is responsible for collecting fines levied by the manorial court, and enforcing the manorial rules. These duties normally revolve around ensuring villeins perform their labor duty, looking after the seedcorn and the granary, and impounding the animals that stray onto cropland. The beadle also coordinates the military practice of the yeoman, generally carried out twice monthly. The beadle is generally assisted by yeomen who each serve two months of service for defense, watching, and policing the manor. When the lord is in residence, the beadle is assistant to the sergeant-at-arms.

For lords who own many fiefs, there are many manors where the lord rarely visits. Each manor has its own manorial staff, but the lord's household has a staff as well. The relationship between household staff and manorial staff involves people doing the same type of work. The household staff serves the lord, the manorial staff serves the manor for the lord. So each member of the manorial staff has an opposite number on the household staff. When the lord arrives each member of the manorial staff becomes the right hand of their opposite on the household staff.

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