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A resident is someone who has a legal right to live and work in a particular city-state without being a full-fledged citizen. Residents usually live under more onerous restrictions than citizens - they frequently have to deal with curfews, restrictions on which districts they may travel to, less respect and assistance from the bureaucracies of the city, and so forth. Still, they may not be exiled from the city without good cause. They may be reduced to Lumpen status if they commit a crime or go into debt (especially if they have also lost their source of income).

Residents are not always poor or lack influence. Wealthy expatriates from other cities and regions are also counted as residents, even though they often have more wealth and political power than most citizens living in the same city. Nevertheless, most residents can only find work as menial, unskilled laborers, such as at construction sites, in factories, on plantations helping with the annual harvests, and so forth. They can't be choosy about their jobs, since they know that there are less jobs than poor people, they can be fired at any time, and there are often a dozen new in line for the same position. It is far easier to slide down to Lumpen status than crawl back up again.

The truth is that many of these working poor are worse off than many slaves in distant realms where slavery is still practiced. A slave can at least be assured of a place to sleep, something to eat, and clothes to wear, no matter how low their quality. A member of the working poor has no such certainties - he has to pay for everything, and if he can't pay, he will have to sleep on the streets with the other Lumpen, starve, and watch his clothes fall apart. A slave has at least some worth in the eyes of his owner. A poor man without a job is of no use to anyone. This is something that preys on the mind of every poor resident of a city, and keeps them tied to their jobs no matter how cruel the conditions are in it.

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Adventure Ideas

Designer's Notes & Resources


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Urbis - A World of Cities © Jürgen Hubert. All material on this site excepting forum posts is owned by him.