Setting: Social Class

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Social Class

Social stratification is a fact of life in Echelon - and although it is a post-industrial society, there exists a significant divide between the poorest and the richest.

Roll Level Class Name Example Professions Usual Level of Education Wealth
99 A1 Upper Class Royalty The hereditary figureheads of a nation. Superb ★★★★★★
97-98 A2 Nobility Very wealthy estate owners with a hereditary title. Superb ★★★★★★
94-95 A3 Gentry Very wealthy business or estate owners. Very good ★★★★★
92-93 A4 Knights and Officers Those of the highest ranks in a nation's military and those afforded a nation's best military honours. Good ★★★★
90-91 AB Middle Class Priests The higher priests of most religions in Echelon. Superb Varies
70-89 B1 Landowners and Merchantiles Bankers, lawyers, teachers, lecturers, merchants, doctors and academics. Good ★★★
50-69 BC Lower Class Craftsmen More highly skilled, but low earning, professions. Small scale manufacturing businesses are run by 'craftsman'. Reasonable ★★
30-49 C1 Landsmen and Townsmen Skilled farmers and workers, sometimes owning some small amount of land or a tiny house in a town. Provendors of food (butchers, etc.) are often townsmen, as are local police. Reasonable
10- C2 Peasants Unskilled workers or labourers. Oftentimes enlisted volunteers and draftees came from the peasantry. Domestic servants of most sorts are peasants. Poor
06-09 C3 Slaves People owned by others. This can include those bought and sold, and those who are slaves because of significant debt Poor  
00-05 D Underclass Petty criminals and those with nothing, often coming from cities. Poor  

If you're rolling for your social class, use the numbers in the roll column. For slaves, unless you've escaped from your owner, it may well be an idea to see if you can find a way to legitimately be owned by another member of your group.

Upper Classes

KL4

Royalty is the highest social class of a nation. A member of royalty would have a very priviledged lifestyle, and would certainly be more adept at social situations than martial ones. A few nations do not have any royalty.

In more traditional nations the nobility actively run parts of the nation in the name of a ruling sovereign. In more transient nations, the traditional job of being a vassal as been removed from nobility and into the hands of commoners - although this means that nobles often turn to running their estates and making money through agriculture, mining and/or manufacturing from their land.

Gentry often have fortunes made only in the last 2 or 3 generations, as opposed to nobles whose wealth is significantly older. They are of good social standing and have enough wealth that they don't need to work for a living, although many still do as to expand their wealth or to avoid dying of boredom.

Knights and Officers are two distinct but closely related types of upper class gentleman (or lady).

Knights are almost exclusively either: tenants giving military service as a mounted armsman to a higher noble; or a gentleman-soldier, given the title of knight after excellent deeds on the field of battle. Mounted knights in Echelon aren't uncommon, but given modern warfare they are tasked with commanding other mounted units or skirmishing themselves in small groups, using their steeds for greater battlefield manoeuvrability.

Officers on the other hand are professional warriors that are trained to command others. Most often, officers come from the richer parts of society who can afford to send them away to train, and to purchase their equipment. Officers vary wildly in competence, even amongst those drawn from the same family.

It is the upper classes, due to their abundent wealth, who almost exclusively make up Echelon's magic users. Because of the level of study needed in magic to be any good at it, the student needs to be relatively wealthy to afford to live whilst they learn, and to pay for the tutition.

Middle Classes

KL3

Priests are a somewhat special case to the class system. In the table above, their position at AB is relative to being the equivalent of a Bishop in their religion. As priests are often outside "normal" society in this manner, they can infact range from BC for a simple rector or warden of a holy site up to A2 for the most powerful Arch-Bishops. The closest thing Echelon has to a 'Pope' is the Roícht na Elbheanna (Empress of the Elves), who is an A1 royal anyway. Regardless, almost all members of a church of any sort are generally very well educated, and often are the formost of educated people of any rural community.

Landowners and Merchantiles are those who own land and rent some (or all of it), or have successful businesses of some sort - factories, mining, farming, and what-have-you. Generally this is the highest level a commoner of any sort can expect to reach within their own lifetime, provided they're lucky and they work hard. Members of this group are often from a craftsman background, but have acrued enough resources to step above the manufacture of their goods themselves and concentrate solely on running the enterprise.

Lower Classes

KL2

Craftsmen are 'middle merchants', skilled in a very narrow field of expertise, often in manufacturing. Even though they don't have much social standing, anyone not a fool would rightly at least offer respect to a craftsman's wares.

The things that craftsmen produce are oftentimes difficult to replicate en masse. They may own their own little workshops, or be employed in larger groups by a merchant of some sort.

KL3

Following is a pretty comprehensive (but by no means exhaustive) list of the sorts of things craftsmen concern themselves with:

Title Description
Bowyer Makes bows, crossbows and/or firearms
Baliff Repairs buildings, and oversees repairs that they cannot enact themselves directly.
Barber Cuts others' hair. Oftentimes they also act as dentists.
Blacksmith Forges and sharpens tools and weaponry, repairs armour, and produces everyday items from metal of some sort. Smiths often specialise in a few very narrow areas, such as making parts for clockmakers for instance
Carpenter As smiths are to metal, carpenters are to wood. And like smiths, carpenters often specialise - for example, one could be an expert in flooring and floor repairs, whilst another could spend their time producing cabinets.
Clerk Keeps accounts, often employed in a bank.
Clockmaker Builds clocks of any kind. Again - can specialise - from small pocket watches to the large timekeeping devices on ships.
Chef Cooks food. A chef is differenciated from a cook by both scale and extravegance.
Falconer Skilled
Glazier Works with glass. Again, very often specialises - from bottles to the finely honed lenses in white guns to lighthouse lenses.
Apothecary Despenser of healing remedies, and oftentimes capable of looking after mild to medium ailments themselves.
Marshall Works by transporting goods, either over land, sea or in rare cases by air.
Farrier Looks after and cares for horses. Farriers are an absolute must for anyone with their own horse.
Mason Masons work with stone, and are found often designing and overseeing the building of a structure.
Shoemaker Makes shoes
Jeweller Makes jewellery and cuts gemstones.
Clothier Weaves clothing, often in the current times more expensive clothing, as cheaper clothes are usually mass produced.

KL1

Landsmen and Townsmen can be 'lower merchants' or 'higher peasants' - they produce goods, or work for someone who does, and are generally able to live a little above subsistance. They are not by any means wealthy. Most of the time they are tennants, but some may own a small parcel of land to farm or a tiny town house free from any higher person.

The difference in their names is purely by their location and consequently their likely jobs. Landsmen are employed in agriculture or forestry, and townsmen employed in manufacturing, or own small localised shops in which others' wares are sold.

A few likely trades would be butchers, grocers, bakers and ironmongers - all are outlets for others' materials and crafts. Local tavern owners were often of this type as well.

Peasants are unskilled workers who contribute labour to those higher up the social ladder. They very seldom own their own dwellings or the land they work, and often are paid only enough to subsist upon. Peasants are the social group most vulnerable to adverse winters and failed harvests, without stockpiles of provisions they can starve, and without enough fuel they can freeze.

Slaves and Underclasses

KL2

Slaves are relatively rare in Echelon, although the trading of people still endures. Most nations have at least a basic bill of rights at which a slave owner is held accountable to. In some rare cases, this can mean that a slave might be in a better position than a peasant. However, aside from the clothes that they wear, slaves often have nothing to their name, and are rarely paid with money, given enough food and water only to survive and stay healthy of their owner.

Underclasses are a relatively new, urban phenomenon - they are most often petty criminals and thugs who must pray upon others to subsist. Very, very few people willingly strive to attain such a status. Peasants and slaves who have been evicted and forced to fend for themselves fall in this group also.