Overview: Seraphuul is currently at the end of an era. The human empire is falling to enemies from without and corruption from within. Seraphuul is Byzantine Fantasy, meaning life is not easy nor fair, and is certainly not modern in its sensibilities.
Professional Adventurers: with the empire collapsing, chaotic forces on the rise, and ancient ruins waiting to be plundered, adventuring is a common profession. Life is short anyway and the potential rewards are high enough that villains, heroes, and everything inbetween can be found working as sellswords, bandits, plunderers, or liberators. A leader’s rule only extends as far as their sword, and despots and warlords crop up with great frequency, claiming what land they can so long as no one rises up with the power to take it back.
Highly Concentrated Wealth: a dragon’s horde could feed an entire town for a year, but might only cover a prince’s monthly budget. Wealth is the measure of a man’s worth, and just as monsters and despots will amass wealth to further their plots, so too do the forces of good amass fortunes to fund their own campaigns. Members of any class or social order may become conquerors or kings if they amass the wealth to do so, and even Paladins agree that tracts of land, chests of gold, and comely consorts are simply the just rewards of a life of virtue.*
*This description is pulled almost word for word from ACKS, and is accurate enough that I won’t bother to personalize it.
Slavery: slavery is an accepted part of the economy of Seraphuul. Slavery is not racially-based; slavery is a punishment given to criminals and traitors, to prisoners of war, or to monster young as a more humane alternative to slaughter (some good-alignment people even use the opportunity to try and rehabilitate these captured monster young, with varying degrees of success.) in the borderlands, slavery is a vital part of the war effort, as Chaotic forces readily take slaves and many borderland leaders feel that putting criminals and prisoners to work is the only way to keep up. Some forts have entire regiments of monster trainers and feral orcs raised to fight their own kind on behalf of the human empire.
There have been a few gods throughout history who were former slaves, and while the rest of the council of gods would never allow the abolishment of the practice, there are strict rules regarding one’s conduct regarding slaves in civilized society. A slave possessed of a valuable skill such as education, combat, or trade skills can fetch very high prices and live much more comfortably than the poor and free, and pleasure slaves can literally live like kings or queens. There are strict laws allowing slaves to earn their own freedom, and slavery is not an inherited trait; while children work alongside their parents, they are not considered the property of their parent’s masters. Some slaves or poor freemen do sell their own children into slavery, but sometimes by doing so they can position their children to learn one of the above skills, ensuring the child’s security for life. This by no means is to imply a slave’s life is easy or even desirable, simply that it is common and carries its own list of laws, customs, and taboos.