The Dragon Between
Galifar was a hereditary, feudal monarchy, and most of the nations that came from it follow its example. Kings and queens are supported by an array of nobles—barons, earls, counts, and other landholders— who oversee local affairs. Peasants are taxed and exploited to varying degrees, depending upon the nation in which they live.
Although nobles ostensibly rule the nations, other organizations wield comparable power in Khorvaire. The most important of these groups are the twelve dragonmarked houses. Each of these extended families dominates a particular aspect of trade, be it transportation, weaponry, or healing. With potent, hereditary magic at their command and scores of cousins and vassals, central members of the dragonmarked houses wield power akin to that of high nobility. The houses’ barons possess political and mercantile clout akin to that of queens and kings. The houses’ influence stretches across Khorvaire. Breland might be able to survive without a king, but the face of Khorvaire would change dramatically if House Lyrandar were leaderless.
Two organized religions also maintain great power in Khorvaire: the Sovereign Host and the Silver Flame. In these uncertain, postwar times, the power of religion is growing. Scared people turn to spiritual authority for comfort. Although the doctrines of both the Sovereign Host and the Silver Flame promote virtue and order, high-ranking members of these faiths sometimes abuse their status. Although respected, religious officials usually don’t wield as much power as their noble or mercantile counterparts. The Sovereign Host has no distinct hierarchy through which to wield authority, and the Church of the Silver Flame has limited influence outside Thrane.