Dark Sun: Seared to the bone
The aristocrats of Athasian society usually control farmland and water through hereditary titles that the sorcerer-king granted to their ancestors long ago. They are expected to maintain their holdings and to have private military forces ready to maintain order and repel invasion when necessary. Most noble houses keep large stables of slaves as laborers, soldiers, and gladiators. Competition among the nobles, as well as between nobles and templars, is fierce.
In some cities, the heads of the noble houses form a council that advises the sorcerer-king. At any time, the monarch can call upon the resources, living and otherwise, at a noble’s disposal.