Return of the Dark Ones
Because Ferelden’s social system developed directly from the Alamarri tribes, it carries their barbarian values within it. A hunter is certainly a valued member of his tribe, but there are many other hunters. A man who can craft a fine weapon, on the other hand, has a rare skill and is thus more respected. The craftsmen of the Alamarri tribes, the woodworkers, the smiths, the builders, and so forth, organized themselves over the years into semi-formal groups known as “crafthouses” that shared knowledge and trade secrets with one another. They truly became a power unto themselves, though, when they made their members swear to put crafthouse before tribe. While the crafthouses have no formal political power, only a fool ignores them as they have total power over their particular craft in Ferelden.
Beneath the crafters are the freemen, who make up the bulk of the common classes. Scholars split the freemen into “High Freemen” — freeholders, soldiers, innkeepers, and other employed persons; and “Low Freemen” — criminals, prostitutes, elves, and other riffraff. Freemen are exactly that in Ferelden — they have the right to go where they will, live where they choose, and earn such a living as they may. There are no serfs in Ferelden; all are paid in coin or barter for their work.