Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Stations in Life #1

The Seven of Pentacles: Craft.
So it's been a while but you need to know that Chariot is nearly, so nearly done. It's on course for the playtest document to be out in December and the Kickstarter to launch in early January.

I thought I'd share some of the playtest draft this week, and since the most work I've done  on it has been in character creation, well.

So your character in Chariot has a culture, and I've written about cultures at length already, a social station (that is, the economic or social class into which your character was born) and a Fate (the good bit). This week, I'd highlight some of the social stations, which include Citizen, Mystic, Noble, Nomad, Outcast, Priest, Proletarian, Soldier and Slave.

Your social station is a function of your culture. If your culture defines the basic assumptions of the world into which you were born, your social station reflects your wealth, your education, your rights, and how members of your own culture judge you. Your social station reflects the way you carry yourself, the way you talk, and the way you dress. The Atlanteans might be the richest and most fortunate of all peoples, but an Atlantean born in poverty is unlikely to be able to pass for an Atlantean noble, even when wearing a noble's clothes. The same is true the other way round: a noble might be filthy and in rags, but the moment they stand up or speak, it becomes obvious.

All classes have expectations thrust upon them. As one of the Fated People, you will probably at some point deny those expectations. The consequences of failing to live up to the expectations of your people may well be an important part of your story.

Some social stations might appear to be more advantageous than others. Some of them, quite simply, are. But while your social class does not define you, and does not constrict your destiny, being a member of a class that has more challenges may well enrich your story.

Times are strange, and in the days leading to the Catastrophe, even an outcast might become a monarch.

Proletarian
Found among: Rmoahals, Atlanteans and Muvians.
Attributes: Add 3 points to Body and 3 to City.
You grew up among the urban poor who live in vast numbers in the tightly-packed cities that form the foundations of Atlantis and, to a lesser extent, Mu.

The Muvian proletarian classes and the Atlantean are pretty similar in some ways. They live in poverty; their lives are short. They are the foundation on which society rests.

Muvian proletarians do many of the jobs that Atlantean slaves do: they work on farms and in factories, sweep the streets, muck out the sewers, catch vermin, transport goods. They are the rank and file infantry whose lives the Nobles throw away; they are the ones who will never see the inside of the creche-barracks.

Atlantean proletarians are proud of their free status, but often find themselves as overseers of and co-workers with slaves. Their status is different, though. The work might be the same – menial labour, unhygienic and dangerous work, sex work, crime – but an Atlantean proletarian's status shouldn't be mistaken for that of a slave. The free commoner has rights that a slave does not. It's to the ranks of the proletarians that freed Rmoahals and their descendants gravitate, and the distinction is a subtle one, not least because free Rmoahals often end up still doing the same work, but for free Rmoahals, it's everything.

It's those born into the proletarian classes who are most often those who end up, for whatever reason, taking up lives of crime, often because it's the most sensible choice, regardless of the risks.

You:
• Can't read or write;
• Understand that poverty doesn't mean not having money but not keeping it;
• Rarely show displays of affection;
• Have experienced bereavement;
• Have a family member or a close friend involved in an illegal enterprise, even if you aren't yourself;
• Rarely have much money;
• Own poor clothes, often mended, and cheap, often-repaired tools and equipment;
• Tend to have worse hygiene and worse health than others of your people;
• Understand your culture's social hierarchy, inasmuch as you're almost on the bottom;
• Can expect to be almost completely ignored by your betters;
• Can expect your word to count less than a citizen's.

2 comments:

  1. That list of characteristics could actually be really helpful for me when trying to explain to people how poverty works in the UK today (something I have to do a depressing amount)! Good job.

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    Replies
    1. I'm not going to lie, my experiences of having grown up in periodic phases of poverty and near-poverty informed this.

      Thank you.

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