A couple of posts ago I wrote about a setting more in keeping with actual human nature . Some other thoughts popped up about it. How would this set-up affect fantasy “classes”?
Without access to higher education and formal training there would less magic users and those few would be less powerful, in general, than their human equivalents. Priests would be priests as their powers are given by gods (or what have you) and as these entities are reflective of the people I see them as vengeful entities, perhaps akin to a city version of Voodoun. There would be a prolific amount of rogues among the oppressed races and street fighters, armor would be too expensive and, among the twisting sprawl of shanty towns, actually a hindrance as it would make you slower and would mark you as a target.
Also, while under the oppression of humans would the other demi-humans still stick to racial enmities, or would those be blurred? Based on what I have seen, racism still exists even among those minorities. So in the formation of gangs there would still be race divides among dwarves, elves,and halflings. There may also be an even smaller minority of “monstrous” races in the sprawl for the others to look down on. Orcs, trolls, and goblins for example. I am not sure whether they would stay in a situation like that being as they are more savage and would thrive outside the city.
Humans would likely round up the denizens of the sprawl in case of the need to defend the city. Expendable arrow fodder, plus it gets rid of the cities “undesirables” . I can hear an irritated defense captains voice in my head now. “Halflings? Really? I ask for conscripts and the best they can send me are halfllings?”
I think I will start to make this setting and post it here as a mental exercise. Starting with a city divided by four rivers, Because I like the idea of a city separated by natural boundaries.