In this post we’ll have a look at how one determines what Socio-Economic Class—SEC—one’s HP belongs to.
There are three, with the first two either the player or the guide make the decision. Either a player selects a class he wants his HP to belong to, or the guide chooses for him. In the first case it’s a matter of what the player wants to try. Now you can expect that most players will want to play an important role, but that doesn’t mean that the guide can’t use the player’s choice to his advantage. After all, everything has a price, and often that price can be a steep one.
When it is the guide who decides on an HP’s SEC it may be because he wants his players to try a role in a particular segment of society. Very often he may have a lesson he wishes to impart, or he may just want to see how his players handle what could be a difficult role.
The third method of determination is to roll percentiles against the table just below. The player rolls the dice, finds the number range the roll falls in, and reads across to find his result.
Socio~Economic Class―SEC― Table
You’ll note that the chance for anybody having the chance to go on adventures does not fit the actual demographics. By and large the poor and the rich tend to not go adventuring. In the former case they just don’t have the resources, in the latter they simply don’t have the time.
In addition the distribution of adventurers among the classes pretty much follow the apparent distribution in adventure stories. Such that Yeomen, Shopkeeps, and Aristocrats come to be about one out of ten adventurers, while Guildsmen are about 1 out of 4. Pretty much matches what I remember from the stories I know.
Lower Lower Class: The lowest of the low. Such as slaves, serfs, vagabonds, and derelicts are found in this class. As are petty thieves and hobos. The mercenary soldier belongs here, as do the homeless for the most part. Very often the mentally disabled are found in these ranks.
The Lower Lower Class usually only have shelter when it is provided by another. Otherwise they sleep out under the stars, and quite often in encampments composed of other members of the class. Beggars sometimes sleep in what amounts to barracks, and charitable groups may provide beds, though their treatment of the least in society is sometimes harsh and hostile.
The Lower Lower Class don’t really have a steady source of income, most often relying on spot labor and/or the generosity of strangers. Diet is poor, as is health care, and hygiene is often what we would call lacking.
Middle Lower Class: Those in this SEC are usually a bit better off. They still don’t have what we would call a regular income, but they may have regular housing more often. Housing for which they are expected to pay rent, with that rent being in the form of labor or other service. A member of this class may often called upon to supervise those of the Lower Lower Class.
Upper Lower Class: Here is where we’re getting into what you could call important people. They’re still poor, but now they’ve often get a steady income. More often than not they’ll have the money to rent a home, and may even be able to save up for a later day. At the same time they very often will have greater responsibilities than those of the lower classes.
The Middle Class
These are people who own property, real estate. Along with the land they will often have homes built there, and along with home ownership certain rights and responsibilities.
Lower Middle Class: To some extent those of this SEC may actually be poorer than those in the Upper Lower Class, but unlike them those of this class do own land and as a result will have greater respect from those higher in society. By and large they sleep better, have better diets, and sometimes better medical care. It is not unusual for them to dress better.
Middle Middle Class: Who most of us think of when we think of the middle class. A fair number will have servants, or slaves is slaves are present in society. They are fairly well off, well dressed and well fed, and are often considered the spine of society. Lower ranked officers often come from this class. As do low ranking officials.
Upper Middle Class: For the most part this class overlaps with the Lower Upper Class to some degree. In some circles they are referred to as the lesser gentry, and the lesser orders of squires fall in this group. Most often well to do, they are also known for being responsible sorts and it is from them that we get the mid ranking officials and management. Corporate vice presidents come from here.
The people who run the show, the ones in charge.
Lower Upper Class: Here you find the gentry. Or the upper gentry if you prefer. While titled, their titles are not those handed down to their progeny. Rather their titles are ones assigned to a particular person for a particular reason, and most often buried with their names when they pass on. On rare occasion a title may become inherited, but most often this occurs when the one so honored is promoted to the aristocracy.
Middle Upper Class: The aristocrats insist that they are important. But not as important as the nobility. They are important and they like reminding you that they are important.
Upper Upper Class: The nobility are important, and they don’t have to tell you. They are rare, they run the show, and they get respect for the most part because they give respect.
Keep in mind that even beggars and barons can find themselves having adventures, whether they want to or not.
SEC gets determined first because the HP’s SEC will have an impact on other matters. The first is the matter of species
I’m not comfortable calling such as elves and dwarfs races, they’re just too different. So in Dangerous Journeys they get to be species instead.
In addition those of certain species do tend to be of certain social classes. Elves for instance of the upper class, dwarfs of the middle class, and goblins in the lower class assuming the guide you use has elves, dwarfs and goblins.
Note that not all DJ Guides will have more than one species.
But each species, even if there is just one, will have races. Depending on the guide most any HP can be a member of a particular race or ethnic group. And while the genetic differences may not amount to much, in terms of physical appearance the differences are bloody obvious. And to be honest with you, the Melanesians and Hmong are proud of their appearance.
Finally there is the matter of exactly which Vocation an HP may take depending on his SEC. This is handled in one of two ways.
In a guide such as Abyss and Unhallowed an HP may take any Vocation he wants regardless of his SEC. But in one such as Changeling or Mythus the SEC at birth—birth SEC if you like—limits which Vocation he may take at the beginning of his adventuring career.
In short a Persona will often have two SEC’s; the one he was born into—the Birth SEC, and the one he assumed when he took on the Vocation—the Vocational SEC. In addition where possible the Persona in question may likely get promoted as he gains in experience and wealth.
Outside the Cultural Bounds
The last matter to consider is just where the HP is to be found. Among his people he is most likely to be treated as a member of that culture’s society, but outside that area he will more likely be treated as someone of lower class, unless his culture’s version of a noble or guildsman is recognized in the foreign land. Among the Iroquois of Ærth French and Teclan nobles are recognized and honored, but the former are not recognized in Tecla and the latter not in France.
That’s it for this revision. Coming up general description and Quirks.