The people of Nova mostly live in colossal floating cities. The cities vary between 10 and 20 kilometers in size. The people live and work in massive halls, stacked on top of each other. Those Citizens who don’t live in the main cities live in relatively small Satellite Towns. These Towns are identical, save whatever damage and patchwork repairs have accumulated over the centuries. The towns are bulb shaped with a tiered structure on top. Citizens have covered the top of these structures with soil and use them as terraced farms. Occasionally, farmers raise livestock; grow trees, or some combination of the three. The farmers in these towns live under the surface allowing them to use the whole surface for farming. The inhabitants of the cities follow a caste system. Mobility between castes varies from city to city. Typically, the more prosperous a city is, the less social mobility citizens have.
The cities have some kind of intelligence. The Priests interpret and communicate with the cities. They also maintain the esoteric processes that keep the cities functioning, including whatever keeps the cities afloat. They are also able to read the symbols found in the ruins and on relics recovered from below. The skills of the Priests are a well-kept secret; those who teach these secrets to outsiders, as well as those who learn these skills are guilty of heresy and executed if found. The Priests allow knowledge of how relics function and most Protectors and Scavengers have some knowledge of how their tools work.
Protectors are the police and armies of the cities. They are equipped with the best equipment the city can muster including many relics. Their primary duties are keeping the peace, finding and executing heretics, and repelling attackers and dangerous wildlife. Scavengers and Protectors have a strong rivalry in most cities. Scavengers are the biggest candidate for heresy as they may learn more than is allowed in their frequent trips into the ruins. They are also a large caste of armed and dangerous individuals and many Protectors consider them the largest threat to peace.
Scavengers are a valued facet of life in the cities. Poor cities value their Scavengers, as they are often the only thing keeping them afloat, literally and figuratively. Rich cities treat their Scavengers callously. While the relics and materials they bring from below are valuable, expeditions are frequently an excuse to cull the population in order to keep it sustainable. In most cities, people of other castes (with the exception of Priests) may choose to become Scavengers. The more desperate cities pressgang Citizens into scavenging. Rich and/or stable cities train their Scavengers in large schools. As mentioned in the primer, the job of the Scavengers is to climb down into the lethal fog that covers the world’s surface and raid the ruins of the ancient world for relics and supplies.
Priests maintain and distribute the relics of the world below. Craftspeople are their mundane counterparts. They produce clothing, tools, and weapons for everyone. Traders are a subset of this caste. This group is small in all cities and act as the intermediary between the Citizens and the Nomads.
Labourers are the largest of the castes. Most of them are farmers but they also clean and care for the everyday needs of the cities and their citizens. In the cities, Farmers tend to the massive hydroponic farms towards the bottom of the superstructures. In the Satellite Towns, farmers take care of everything, except maintenance. Priests periodically visit the outlying communities to keep the Satellite towns afloat.
Nomads are the only humans that do not live in cities or towns. They travel between communities trading Scavenged supplies for food and services. I will cover their society in more detail in another post.
The castes are all equal, at least in theory. In practice, the Priests control the city with the help of the Protectors. However, all castes are equally valued. Priests decide what the city needs, Scavengers collect it from the ruins, and Craftspeople make the supplies the Scavengers need. Protectors keep the city stable and Labourers supply what everyone needs. Society would collapse with the loss of any one caste.