A race of humans in my original campaign world.
The quick and dirty:
- Essurans/Essurons come from the semi-theocratic nation of Jaguan, their native tongue is Essurat.
- Skin tones and hair colors range from black to light brown, eye colors range from black to gold, though, magic users always have blue eyes.
- Essurans are famed for their prowess at sea as sailors and explorers.
- Essurans are noted for their odd economy which uses favors owed as monetized debt.
- Beautiful men and women typically veil themselves.
Tedious meta-description by an in-game sage:
From the notes of the Thrailish sage Xerex IV
Aside from the obvious difference of their skin, the Essurons are notably different in their economic practices.
Rather than coin, value is placed directly on work, or service owed. The Myralonian Scholar Arontius famously called this system "The Whoring Commerce" in his review of the culture in 845, and while modern students must forgive his language they will no doubt find that 500 years have hardly rendered Arontius' conclusions false.
Essuronion custom dictates that payment for any good or service is made by a good or service traded in kind. A night in an inn can be paid for by sweeping its floors or providing food or drink for the establishment or anything else the innkeeper desires.
Deceptively crude at first, this system of barter becomes infinitely more complex with the addition of slavery. Many slaves are themselves sold into bondage voluntarily in exchange for some great favor. The possible labor of slaves is owned by their master who can then freely barter with his accumulated "wealth".
Less formal means of servitude also exist where a man might pay for a meal with a writ of promise pledging a certain service or amount of goods. This writ may in turn be sold to another individual, thus transferring the original debt.
It is this web of debt that ultimately supports and sustains the larger Essuron economy.
As if to further complicate matters, all debts are periodically erased. Typically, the forgiveness of debt occurs every seven years, but is by no means guaranteed. Periods between forgivenesses of debt have been as short as three years and as long as 15. The event is always arranged by the high priestesses of the Essuron tiger God, who themselves are part of the royal family. When the time is right, the highest ranking priestess, who is said to be the most beautiful woman of all, will call a gathering of noble families and appear before them nude for one quarter of an hour.
According to folklore, this is a reenactment of the first business transaction whereby the folk hero Astor begged a woman for a vision of her beauty and was required to marry her in payment.
Upon viewing the naked high priestess, all debts owed by the nobles to the church and the throne are forgiven and likewise the nobles are required to forgive all debts owed to them and so on and so forth until all debt is forgiven and likewise, all slaves and servants released.