Money is a frequent challenge in Dawn, especially for the noble houses. There is no glory in making money; an obsession with money is seen as tawdry, something that is beneath those who have proven themselves, so most nobility express a very public disinterest for it. As a result merchants and those who handle money are almost always yeofolk.

This can lead to unfortunate circumstances - many nobles are so used to the idea of having enough money for whatever diversion they turn their thoughts to that they have little concept of what something is actually worth. Their unworldliness is one of the reasons that they have difficulty maintaining support in the Senate, which (as far as many nobles can tell) spends more time worrying about budgets than it does about glorious battle against the enemies of the Empire.

Common to Dawn is the establishment of a fayre. A fayre is a gathering of Dawnishfolk (and sometimes members of other nations) that comes together to trade, socialise, and enjoy a variety of entertainments. They are often held at regular intervals - monthly or annually - and they are marked out by the pageantry and diversions as much as the opportunity to trade. Nobles and yefolk alike attend fayres, and the largest and most prestigious draw visitors from across the territory or nation. A market-fayre by contrast lacks pageantry, and focuses much more on matters of trade. As such it is very rare for a noble to attend a market-fayre; these are gatherings for yeofolk and much more focused on matters of trade. Organisation of a fayre or market-fayre is often left to a noble house's seneschal, or when it is not connected to a noble house, by a reeve.


Still, the bills must still be paid, so most houses employ at least one seneschal. Seneschals are a broad class of yeofolk retainers who include chamberlains who organise and oversee the day-to-day household affairs of the nobility and castellans who see to the care and maintenance of castles. Regardless of their specific duties, seneschals are generally responsible for handling the finances of a noble house. A seneschal runs the house's affairs on behalf of the nobility and can be one of the most powerful individuals in the house.

There is also an element of "problem solving" about the duties of a seneschal. Many nobles do not want to be troubled with the mundane details of a task, and it is common for a noble to announce a tourney with only a few days notice, or expect their trusted retainer to make a problem go away without offering any suggestions or guidance as to how such a task might take place. Occasionally, this trust may be abused - a seneschal might go too far in the service of their noble house, and bring shame to their house.

Seneschals tend to work on behalf of a noble house, and usually have a close relationship with the earl of that house. The system works so well that a few nobles are attended by a yeofolk, called a retainer, who acts in a similar but much more personal capacity. Dawnish retainers combine various elements of valet, maid, personal assistant and servant in one person. They attend and assist a noble, seeing to the day-to-day support of their patron. By necessity, there is usually a deep bond of trust between a noble and their retainer and they are often close friends. It is common for a seneschal to begin their career as the retainer of a noble who later becomes Earl of their noble house.

A reeve is a common term for a more specialised role - a yeofolk who oversees a fayre or market. They often don't support a specific noble house; rather than have a degree of independence to organise trade and merchant affairs, working with other yeofolk and rarely coming into direct contact with nobles.

Merchants and Artisans

Dawnish merchants are almost invariably yeofolk, but skilled crafters are more likely to be members of the nobility. The ability to make beautiful - and often magical - objects for the use of their fellow nobles is seen as a noble calling it its own right, and few nobles want to see a yeoman with such power over other nobles.

Noble crafters prefer to dedicate their time to making glorious weapons that can be wielded by great heroes, rather than producing a dozen breastplates for a unit of yeofolk soldiers. Because of this most houses struggle to find ways to equip their soldiers, being forced to rely on seneschals to provide the weapons and armour their troops need. Seneschals, in turn, are forced to look to the more prosperous nations such as the Brass Coast or the League to equip their forces, a situation that their neighbours are never slow to point out whenever they want to irritate their Dawn neighbours.

Game Design: Opportunities

Some economic opportunities presented for Dawn deal with the creation of titles titles intended for yeofolk characters. Among the Dawnish, matters of money and commerce are commonly left to the yeofolk to oversee. Dealing with money is not a glorious pursuit and nobles who are overly concerned about it risk losing the respect of their peers. In each case, the benefits provided by these titles are reduced or removed if they are held by a noble character. If you are a noble appointed to one of these titles, or pass a Test of Mettle after being appointed, you must email plot@profounddecisions.co.uk so that we can adjust the options available via the title. Similarly, some titles that deal explicitly with the pursuit of glory may be presented as intended for noble characters, and the same rules would apply (if you are not a noble, you need to let us know, and it is likely to effect the kinds of benefits the title provides).

This isn't done to punish the players of noble characters. Rather, it reflects the stratified nature of life in Dawn, and supports the existence of important roles in the setting that are explicitly for people choosing to play the less prestigious, lower status role of yeofolk characters.

Further Reading

Core Brief

Additional Information