11 August 2015

Social Status

For [5] per level you can change your Status from the default of 0 and become a noble.

Huzzah!

There's a down side in that you've got to spend more to live appropriately or lose the status.

But say you wanted to make a character who's a baron.

Seems simple enough, shell out the 20 points for being a lesser noble and you're in!

But is that all of it?

Barons held land, so some wealth should be associated with it.

Barons could mete out justice, so legal enforcement powers should be purchased.

Barons, being nobility, weren't subject to the same laws as commoners.  Some legal immunity might be appropriate (depending on how the immunity is exercised; for some crimes the sentence is the same for commoner and noble, it's just the method of execution that varies).

The higher up the social ladder you are in the peerage, the more wealth and power you wield.

Nobles have a duty to their liege.  That liege may also be a patron.

Nobles also have a duty to their fief.

There are historical societies where one can be a noble, but penniless and powerless; and common, but rich and powerful.

For a fantasy game there may even me restrictions on nobility and being a wizard or cleric.

In many cases the focus of being a noble is managing the fief and being an officer and soldier come time of war, bringing your fief's levy of troops with you when called.

As time passes, historically, the powers fade even if the wealth doesn't.

Should buying the title be enough to get everything else, or should it be a la carte?

2 comments:

  1. Laws and customs on what nobles could and could not do varied considerably from time to time and from place to place. I've read that in the old Austro-Hungarian Empire, it was hard to lose a title, even if you lost most or all of your money. So you might have a Baron von Suchundso who was basically your normal middle-class schlump. And in Poland, there were and are whole villages of people who're peasants---except that they have noble ancestry and can prove it.

    Actually, losing noble status was harder than losing status if you were middle-class. A duke who serves a prison sentence is still a duke, but a "man about town" who's convicted is a "man about town" nevermore.

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    Replies
    1. Germany had that going on too even though the commoners didn't completely shake off that twitch around the Junker class until after WW2.

      I've not looked into England, but with ancestral homes being for sale there because of taxes I think the titles stopped mattering a while ago.

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