The Velothi Class in Dunmer Society
In the context of TR, the Velothi class encompasses all non-House Dunmer who form the basis of Great House society. Depending on where they are located, the Velothi class will have different functions and different lifestyles.
In Hlaalu lands, the Hlaalu Council Company has a long history of recruiting from the Velothi class and from minor clans, and the local Velothi have become almost fully integrated into Hlaalu society.
In Redoran lands, Velothi coexist with the Redoran in the same settlements, but generally lead separate lives. Velothi can and often do join the ranks of House Redoran, however, and are under Redoran protection.
In Indoril lands, Velothi form the underclass of Indoril society. Most live in towns or hamlets spread throughout the countryside, and toil away as serfs for the local Indoril lord, who in turn looks after their needs.
In Telvanni lands, the Velothi are left mostly to themselves, and either choose to live at the base of wizards' towers whose inhabitants pay them little heed, or in scattered settlements in grazelands or near caves or in fishing villages. These Velothi are even more insular and superstitious than the norm, many being out of reach of the Indoril and even the Temple. Their chief outside interactions are with hardy caravaners and the odd itinerant preacher.
The Velothi have little presence in Dres lands, aside from the odd caravaner and some scattered individuals in the House's trade posts. The Cantermeric Velothi who once tried to eke out a living in the South survive only by way of ruins.
Most Dunmer in Imperial and Temple settlements are Velothi, and Velothi are strongly represented within the Temple's lower priesthood and in the isolated Velothi towers that retain a function as places of learning and scholarship.
The Velothi Class in Indoril Society
Velothi play a distinct and vital role in Indoril lands, (and beyond as far as the Indoril can effectively project their power), which bears more detailed explanation. The following is adapted from this document from this thread:
Most Velothi in Indoril lands are commoners who rarely interact with the lords of Indoril.
They live in various small townships and mostly are farmers, with some slightly craftsmen and artisans who are better provided for among them. Their lives are simple and local: they rarely travel far from where they are born. They keep only a portion of what they produce, the remainder being given over to the house of the lord on whose lands they are tenants. Each township elects a hetman from among their elders to represent it to lord which rules it. Some of the Velothi do not live in the township proper, but on the backwoods or near the fields that they till. Some townships are poorer than others, being made of wooden shacks, while others have built adobe buildings.
Common Dunmer east of the Thirr are just as unfriendly as their lords. There are only a handful of outlanders in their part of the country and they are untrustworthy of travellers in general. The Dunmer are not hospitable and have no concept of guest-right. They are very religious, not in the sense that they are zealous or evangelistic, but in the sense that the Tribunal Temple is all they have ever known. They will generally dislike the player.
They trade with one another on a personal level, but they do not have merchants servicing even a regional trade network: the only major trade infrastructure is in the service of the House to move its portion. Recently, in some of the larger and more wealthy townships, shopkeepers peddling imported items and magics have set up (mostly outlanders). The influx of outlanders of the past century has reached even as far as these towns, but to a much lesser degree than in western Morrowind, and these townships represent a more “traditional” way of life.
Some Velothi also live as servants in the Indoril chapels, and many live in Almalexia.
Those in Almalexia may work in the service of the House, or in trades which serve the other commoners, or they may live off of charity. Some are associated with one or another Tong which provides a service to nobles and provides for them. They tend to be more cosmopolitan than their rural compatriots, but that is not saying much.
Velothi townships are generally not self-sufficient, rather being focused around a particular industry or industries and relying on the Indoril networks to provide what they are not equipped to produce themselves. As Vivec suspended the moon over Morrowind, the Indoril have effectively suspended their system of centralized (around individual Chapels) planning over the Velothi, so that if the one collapses the other is sure to follow.
Depending on their main industry or industries, the Velothi townships are dedicated to the relevant patron saint, commonly:
Saint Meris the Peacemaker, Patron of Farmers and Laborers. - the most common, especially for the extensive fields of Alt Orethan and the eastern coastline -- where a large number of slaves carry out the manual labour while the Velothi mainly oversee and direct their activity -- and to a decreasing extent Aanthirin, where slaves are in shorter supply.
Saint Seryn the Merciful, Patron of Brewers, Bakers, Distillers. - aside from the ubiquitous bread made with saltrice flour, brewers of a sort of non-alcoholic brew widely consumed by the Velothi in Indoril lands are fairly common, and brewers who transform Velk nectar into a high-class beverage reserved for the Indoril are prized by the Indoril lords whose lands they inhabit, and are accordingly well cared for.
Saint Felms the Bold, Patron of Butchers and Fishmongers. - fishing villages, mostly along the eastern seaboard, tend to be dedicated to St. Felms.
Saint Aralor the Penitent, Patron of Tanners and Miners. - outside of the Vales of Mephala, townships dedicated to St. Aralor are uncommon.
Saint Delyn the Wise, Patron of Potters and Glassmakers. - larger settlements, often in or near Lan Orethan, may focus more on the production of goods rather than produce. Ornate pottery and elaborate glasswork are a mainstay of Indoril economy and furnishing.
Saint Llothis the Pious, Patron of Tailors and Dyers. - likewise, textiles are prized by the Indoril and make for popular export goods.
In general, townships that are valued by the lord will be supplied with slaves and (Dunmer would say other) beasts of burden to take care of menial tasks, and the Velothi will accordingly have a somewhat higher standard of living. Neglected townships are left to their own devices. Indoril make use almost exlusively of Argonian slaves for hard labour, supplied by House Dres.
Townships will tend to have some sort of shrine and priest, though only larger settlements would have proper temples.
Larger townships will have a trade house, through which goods enter and exit the Indoril network, which generally offer a wide range of goods, though suited more to commoners than adventurers. Villages will also tend to have some form of craftmer's hall dedicated to the local industry, which might sell associated goods and produce. Merchant stalls are less common, and less common still are outlander shops.
Some larger towns will also have inns or hostels. They might also have corner clubs, sometimes associated with a particular Tong. Guildhouses are almost unheard of.
Velothi merchants generally have little barter gold to offer, and directly exchanging goods is still the norm. Players will generally have to look far and wide for a proper merchant, and should be encouraged to stock up in centers like Old Ebonheart and Almalexia if they intend to spend a longer time in eastern Morrowind.
Larger settlements might be connected to one or several travel networks, but the majority of Velothi settlements are too small.
The most important figures in a Velothi township are the hetman and local priesthood. Velothi townships are patrolled by the retainers of the Indoril lord, and if they can townships set aside a space for the retainers to sleep and eat while passing through on their long patrols. The chief trader of the trade house and the chief craftsmer can also be noteworthy figures in some cases, and any elders. Many Velothi townships keep to themselves, and scouts are fairly uncommon, savants much more so. Velothi will generally start with a low disposition with the player, but will be fairly docile.
While many Velothi have a personal and a clan name, many like Jiub only have a personal name and no associated clan. Ex-Ashlanders also count as Velothi, but are generally treated separately.