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Basic Information

A crofter is a person who rents and works a small farm, referred to as a croft, especially in Scotland, Isle of Man, or Northern England. Crofting is a form of land ownership, and involves private land use (for arable farming) and shared land use for grazing animals. Croft is synonymous with any kind of small farm.

According to the etymology of the word on, crofting dates back to 1250-1300 CE.


Game and Story Use

  • Using the crofting system can add a unique flavour to a campaign setting, or a particular region within a campaign setting, breaking up the monotony of regular farming or feudalism.
    • This should work well where agricultural land is distributed in small parcels, often of poor quality, militating against the large field systems more common to conventional farming (as is the case in most real life locations where crofting occurs). The same model could be applied in semi-arid land with small isolates around water sources supplemented by herding in surrounding scrub.
  • As crofters typically own and share land within the crofting system, it might be a good setting for some small crime investigation of one crofter to another.
  • Historically, the majority of crofting farmers were displaced by the capture of common land for industrial scale grazing - much in the same way that many small scale lowland farmers had previously been displaced. With their ability to graze and forage the commons removed, often alongside traditional rights to cut fuel and similar things, they were forced back on their frankly inadequate arable holdings - faced with impoverishment and starvation they were then typically forced to sell up what remained and move on … to the New World colonies in the case of most crofters.
    • So that also gives us narrative material - resistance to the enclosure programme (which in Scotland was tied up in some of the highland revolts, alongside sectarian, nationalist and tribal issues) or displacement to urban or overseas life.
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