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Debt is an obligation in material ownership that one party owes another, which needn't require the transaction of money in a bartering economy. In less developed spaces, it usually results due to a dependency on natural forces that fail to achieve expectations, or simply bad luck. With increased civilisation, debt occurs more often due to a willingness to risk in pursuit of ambition or greed, in which a venture fails to produce the profit desired. In either case, whatever circumstances bring about debt, the service of debt in a Renaissance world is a fearful aspect, since the prospect of bankruptcy is likely to end in cause a loss of social status, the restraint of freedom or risk to the debtor's life.

Player characters have little reason to fear debt. They're often here and gone, and should they meet a tax collector, at most times they have the wherewithal to pay off whatever's demanded. That said, debt comes into use when the players are the debtor, to whom money is owed.

Farm Debt

Crop production relies upon the season's weather to produce enough food that a given farmer, even one living on his or her own land, can afford to pay the socage on that harvest and yet survive the whole year. Once socage is paid, even if a farmer has sufficient food to feed self and kin, there's still a possibility of food lost through due to spoilage, theft or pests. A farmer's sibling passes away and the obligation is to take in their young and thus more mouths challenges the food supply.

Such circumstances might encourage a farmer to withhold socage in favour of paying "alms." If an especially poor harvest occurs, it may be necessary to sell a son or daughter into indentured servitude in order to achieve the family's obligations. Too many poor harvests, or too little vigilance against the enemies of one's food supply, can bring about the loss of the farm itself and the family being sold into slavery.

Loan Debt

This is a placeholder for further content.

See also,