Surrounding the city-state of Scaret are a vast number of small kingdoms. With the rich farming lands and rolling hills that seem perfect for flocks of sheep and goats, these tiny kingdoms can easily provide for themselves and even export their products to the nearby city-state. In many ways life seems idyllic.
But small lords have difficulties surviving natural disasters, droughts and other major issues. Oddly enough, the city-state has helped them here. Most of these kingdoms are monarchies and the rule goes to the eldest son (or sometimes eldest daughter if there are no sons). The second and third children often take some manner of wealth from their families and go to the city-state in hopes of becoming merchants, craftsmen or clergy. While not all of these younger children become successful, enough of them do.
This is where the concept of the “Pauper Lords” comes into play. The kings rule their lands and consider themselves and their bloodlines to be of incredible importance. But a couple of times a generation, these kings have to come to the city of Scaret, hat in hand, to beg their cousins and uncles for money or other aid because of the problem they are experiencing at home. Frequently the blood ties do win out, and the “city folk” help out the “country folk”. But both sides return to their lives assuming themselves to be better than the other. The kings quickly return to their focus on blood lines and noble titles, while the city dwellers return to their focus on monetary gain. Both believe themselves to be “right” and the others to be fools focusing on all the wrong things. But the cycle continues on.