A dragonborn citizen of Arkhosia is born into one of six castes: noble, divine, martial, arcane, expert, or commoner. A seventh caste—the slave caste—was officially abolished in 345 DY. A dragonborn can petition to join another caste, but it’s expensive (5,000 gp) and requires the written approval of an imperial vizier or magistrate. Each caste is described below:
Noble Caste: Dragonborn of the noble caste enjoy great privilege and prestige, and they are allowed to stay with their families and retain their family names. Dragonborn nobles live in luxury, leaving the day-to-day chores and business to others. A few ambitious nobles become politicians, magistrates, or viziers.
Divine Caste: Dragonborn of the divine caste are taken from their homes at age 3, raised by priests in a temple chosen by their parents, and forbidden to keep their family names. The temples of Bahamut and Tiamat are strongly favored, although the churches of Bane, Erathis, Pelor, and Melora are growing in favor and popularity. Before becoming a cleric, a dragonborn must pass a test of devotion, as determined by the high priest of the temple. Ambitious embers of the divine caste gifted with a flair for politics and diplomacy often seek to become imperial viziers and grand viziers—the keepers of doctrine in the Dragovar empire.
Martial Caste: Initiates of the martial caste are taken from their homes at age 3, stripped of their family names, and subjected to twelve years of basic martial training followed by three years of gladiator training. Many dragonborn do not survive the training, let alone the gladiatorial trials-by-combat. Those who survive become soldiers of the empire. With the martial caste are elite sects that serve specific military functions, including the Vost Miraj (a sect of rogues that specializes in espionage) and Khygar’s Brood (a much-feared military police force within the capital, named after its leader, Colonel Khygar).
Arcane Caste: Dragonborn of the arcane caste are separated from their families at age 3, stripped of their family names, and assigned to Arkhosian mages as pupils. After several years of study and magical testing, they become apprentices. The exact number of years depends on the ability of the individual, but the average period of study is twelve years. Apprentices are pitted against one another in arcane duels; those who prevail become wizards, warlocks, and sorcerers in the service of the empire. Within the arcane caste are elite sects that specialize in particular fields of magical study (for example, the Shan Qabal and the Jhal Shard), but very few members of the caste actually belong to them.
Expert Caste: Members of the expert caste are taken from their homes at age 3 and assigned to master artisans as resident apprentices. During their apprenticeship, they are not denied access to their families or stripped of their family names. After twelve years of study and service, if they receive their master’s blessing, they are entitled to pursue their skill independently and take on apprentices of their own. A dragonborn of the expert caste who fails her master may pursue another profession, but the investment of time is the same.
Commoner Caste: Commoners are not entitled to special training and cannot become soldiers, spellcasters, or artisans. Their options are usually limited to family-run businesses and menial labor.