Science (and the scientific method) is actively practiced, but usually as part of alchemy, astrology, or magik. This is a time of vibrant technological advancement. Now optics, eye-glasses, chimneys, clockworks, cranes, automation, water power, the three-field agricultural systems, advanced metallurgy, printing, the rediscovery of dyeing, and international trade all are in their formative stages. The public is aware that Aarthus is a globe.
To modern eyes, this period’s medicine may seem ignorant, crude, and more deadly than the ailments it treats. Yet, herbalism brings a wide range of powerful medicinal drugs to the stage, including effective pain management. Skilled surgeons actually are practicing limited plastic surgery, sterilizing wounds and tools (often with wine), providing effective dental work, performing trepanning and even practicing successful c-section deliveries. Child mortality still brings down the average life-span, but it is not uncommon for people to live into their fifties, sixties, seventies, or even eighties.
Aorlis has a rigid class system, composed of the nobility, the Church, the peasants, and the emerging urban community. Guilds regulate the trades, and wealthy merchants often buy their way into the nobility or royal service. Social class is far more fluid than people imagine, and economics is the actual power behind the social hierarchy.
These folk don’t conform to the stereotypical trope of short-lived, brutish, and ignorant clods. Rather, they often can read, conduct lucrative business, and sometimes they even have their own heraldry. They are very conscious of their rights and property and are quite litigious. They arrange their children’s marriages and property as carefully as do nobles, marshalling their property and wealth through strategic dowries and inheritance. Society is neither fair nor equal, but it is more structured, and the native legal institutions are set in firm foundations. This is a time of rich lawyers, thriving universities, and sophisticated banking.