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JackAce
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2008 8:42 am    Post subject: Social Status Reply with quote

I had this idea for a Status system in my Siderean Realms setting.

It is considerably different from the Rippers Status system, nad has more similarities to Ranks in a military setting.


Social Status is measured on a scale from 0-6 as follows:

0: Beggar, Bandit
1: Peasant, Worker, Servant, Soldier, Sailor
2: Wealthy Farmer, Merchant, Skilled Craftsman, Scholar, NCO
3: Town Mayor, Wealthy Merchant, Master Craftsman, Artist, Engineer, Mage, Priest, Officer
4: Local Nobility, Banker or Industrialist, Famous Artist, Master Engineer, Bishop, Ship's Captain, Colonel
5: Regional Nobility, Archmage, Hierophant, General, Admiral
6: Planetary Royalty, Alliance Council Member


These Status levels have the following effects:

- In roleplaying terms, characters of lower Status are generally expected to treat those of higher Status with respect and obey their wishes.

- High ranking characters are less likely to be impressed by those of lower Status. Any Skill rolls for social interaction (Persuasion, Streetwise, Intimidation and Taunt) are modified by the difference in Social Status between the two characters involved.

So, a minor Noble (Status 4) trying to Intimidate a Merchant (Status 2) will get a +2 Bonus to his roll, while the Merchant suffers a -2 penalty if he tries to do the same to the Noble.

- Your Social Status also determines your starting funds:

Status 1: 150 gp*
Status 2: 300 gp
Status 3: 600 gp
Status 4: 1200 gp

The Rich and Filthy Rich Edges are not available in this setting, but the option to double your funds by spending a Hindrance point still is.

*If the character is a Soldier, he will likely carry equipment with a much higher value than his starting funds suggest. These items are not his personal property though, and he will be expected to return them should he ever leave the army. Alternatively, he might be expected to pay for this equipment by forfeiting a share of his payment each month.


The standard Status for a starting character is 3.

Low Status is a Hindrance, which takes the character down to Status 2 (minor) or 1 (major).

High Status is a Background Edge that grants the character Status 4.
This replaces the Noble Edge from the SW rulebook.

Status 5 can be reached through a Legendary Edge.

A character's Status can also rise (and fall!) through various in-game achievements (most of which revolve around doing heroic or villainous deeds and/or amassing or losing great amounts of wealth). Statusees 0 and 6 can be reached only this way as there are no Edges or Hindrances reaching that far.



Now, my questions (which are the reason why I post this here, instead of in the Siderean Realms thread):

Are these Eges and Hindrances Balanced?

The Status 4 Edge is basically a little more than half of a Charisma Edge (+1 instead of +2 bonus, but affects more Skills) combined with half of the Rich Edge (double instead of triple funds).

Likewise, Status 2 is roughly equivalent to half of the Poverty Hindrance (half funds, but no ongoing effect) combined with just over half of a Charisma Hindrance (-2 Charisma typically counts as a minor Hindrance).

So, do these balance out well, or did I miss some critical side effect?
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Tuesday
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2008 9:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My only worry, here, is that it's extremely hard for, say, a rough and dirty bandit in a dark alley with four of his friends to intimidate a drunken teenage scion of a noble house on his own.

In fact, not only is it extremely hard to intimidate him, but his own attempts in return are almost certain to succeed.

Bandit: "Give me your boots and your wallet and I won't stick you with this knife"
<roll, roll, roll at *-5*>
Noble: "Uh, no. Go away or I'll, uh, run off, talk to my father, have his men show up and search for five nondescript thugs, and, in the unlikely event that they find the right guys, he'll have you hanged."
<roll, roll, roll at *+5*>
Bandit: "Right away guv. I'd give you my own boots as an apology if I hadn't just pissed myself into them."

Apart from that kind of situation - where social status wouldn't seem to provide protection, or when one side chooses not to respect it - it seems fairly well balanced to me.
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JackAce
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2008 7:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmm...

Good point...

There are several ways to avoid this, though:

1) The Bandits being armed and outnumbering the Noble would probably get a couple of bonusses to their Intimidation roll. But they'd still be fighting an uphill battle, so to speak...

2) The bonus/penalty should be restricted to situations where the target of the social roll actually acknowledges the respective social positions.

That way, the young noble might indeed tend to disregard the ruffians's threats as inconsequential, but in turn the bandits would not automatically tremble in fear of the nobles higher Status...

3) The most extreme solution would be to exclude Intimidation and Taunt from Status benefits altogether. That way, Status would basically just be another modifier to a character's Charisma.
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steelbrok
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2008 7:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In which case why not just give Charisma mods for Rich, Poor etc (and maybe some professions if you have something like the Officer edge from Pirates, say)
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DerFinsterling
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2008 9:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had Status as a trait in my Savage Westeros conversion. There, too, the higher the Status, the better the social standing. But it wasn't really put into any rules (well, except from the justice mass battle variant).
So in my conversion, I treated it as something that "just is". Yes, yo uhave to bow before the king, even if he is a spoiled brat.
But if you get 4 friends and you happen to find the same king in an alley, it's a different matter.
Still, due to his status he's worth more alive than dead.

My point is - you don't have to have rules for this sort of thing, a set of guidelines should be enough. Wink
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JackAce
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2008 9:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

DerFinsterling wrote:
I had Status as a trait in my Savage Westeros conversion. There, too, the higher the Status, the better the social standing. But it wasn't really put into any rules (well, except from the justice mass battle variant).
So in my conversion, I treated it as something that "just is". Yes, yo uhave to bow before the king, even if he is a spoiled brat.
But if you get 4 friends and you happen to find the same king in an alley, it's a different matter.
Still, due to his status he's worth more alive than dead.

My point is - you don't have to have rules for this sort of thing, a set of guidelines should be enough. Wink

So, how was the PC's Status determined in this system?

My primary aim was to make an increase (or decrease) in Status something that's actually worth taking an Edge (or a Hindrance) for.
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jamused
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2008 10:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think one thing to consider carefully is that you're really shaping the expectations of your setting with something like this. Either someone like Han Solo couldn't exist in the setting, or the Mayor of the town should defer to him. Ditto for a famous artist and a wealthy merchant. There's nothing wrong with a setting where Sam Walton or Warren Buffet are the same or lower status than, say, Christgau or Boy George, but it certainly bears thinking about some of the ways that'll play out.

I'd be more inclined to make Status a separate set of Edges and Hindrances, so that it would be possible to be a low-status Ship's Captain or Artist, while leaving it open that certain ones have a high amount of fame or clout. I'd definitely not allow it to affect combat uses of Intimidation and Taunt. If you want it to be different from Charisma, maybe you could introduce a new kind of Test of Will (spirit v. spirit, modified by Status but not Charisma), loser has to defer to the winner or suffer a hit to reputation for being boorish or uppity (treat as 1 lower status until...something to recover standing or people have forgotten?)
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DerFinsterling
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2008 11:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

JackAce wrote:
So, how was the PC's Status determined in this system?
My primary aim was to make an increase (or decrease) in Status something that's actually worth taking an Edge (or a Hindrance) for.


It was based on your "class" and your heritage. I assumed that everbody would be, by default, member of a minor house. That's status 3. If he wanted to be of a major house, that would mean he'd be status 4 (but he'd also need approval from the GM).
You'd rather play a sellsword? Take the Lowborn or Baseborn hindrance to suffer a loss in status.

Gaining status was something you'd have to achieve during game and couldn't be taken by just leveling up.
So the only way to get up the social ladder would be by adventuring.

Let's say you start out as a slave (effectively at Status 0) in a city. You escape and cross the seas, setting foot in Westeros. There, you count as a lowborn, Status 1 (nobody knows you were a slave, after all).
You find work as a squire for some hedgeknight. During a battle you manage to save a noble from certain death and he knights you at the spot - now you're a knight, but without land you still only got a status of 2.

So progress would be slow, of course, but that's just what it is in a feudal society. This example character may get some land from some liege lord - now he's status 3, but has more responsibilities. He befriends a mysterious black knight who turns out to be the heir to the throne and is suddenly called upon to serve in the King's Guard - status 5.

Should he, by some chance, manage to claim the title of King, he'll have the highest status.
But it's nothing he can just earn by taking an edge. Wink

At least that's how I envision status in a feudal society. You're born to your class and rare is the one who rises successfully and permanently above himself.
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JackAce
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2008 12:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

DerFinsterling wrote:
It was based on your "class" and your heritage. I assumed that everbody would be, by default, member of a minor house. That's status 3. If he wanted to be of a major house, that would mean he'd be status 4 (but he'd also need approval from the GM).
You'd rather play a sellsword? Take the Lowborn or Baseborn hindrance to suffer a loss in status.

Hmm...

That is indeed very similar to my idea, except that you did not assign any game mechanics to the various ranks...

If someone really did want to start with a higher Status, did you count that as an Edge, or was it just rolled up in his character's background?

And the Lowborn and Baseborn Hindrances, did they actually cause enough drawbacks for the characters to justify the Hindrance Points gained from them?
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JamesDiGris
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2008 4:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You could also go more for a famous/infamous rating, depending on if your character was noble or craven.

Your levels could be based on the amount of power actually held by the person. A crime lord could hold as much sway as a noble... just in different ways.

In the above example you have a dandy noble being threatened by a gang of cut throats... Neither the anemic son of the local count nor random mook should have an advantage. Now if one of them was the famous fencer/knife fighter/guy who once killed a man with a spoon just to prove it could be done... That seems to be more of where the influence comes from. You could also hand out bonuses in different directions... if you are infamous you get a bonus to intimidate, famous people could get a bonus to persuasion or the like.
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DerFinsterling
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2008 1:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

JackAce wrote:
If someone really did want to start with a higher Status, did you count that as an Edge, or was it just rolled up in his character's background?


Well, the characters were by default members of a minor house. To be a member of a major house would need GM approval (since this would have an even bigger impact on the campaign).
But yes, this would just be rolled into the character's background.

Quote:
And the Lowborn and Baseborn Hindrances, did they actually cause enough drawbacks for the characters to justify the Hindrance Points gained from them?


Lowborn's a minor hindrance, Baseborn can be minor or major. They suffer a -2 Charisma penalty, but may be regognized member of their houses or not. The Charisma penalty comes form their perceived treacherous nature, not the fact that they're of lower status, however.

Maybe to reiterate: I wanted status to have some sort of impact, but didn't want to be constricted by any rules in regard to this. So I'd enforce difference in status in roleplaying.
You could still have a king with low charisma squaring off against a merchant with his charisma maxed out through the roof; in direct confrontation, the merchant will always succeed against the king, but the king can always fall back on his status to tell his lowly subject to just shut up. I did not want to get in the situation where the merchant rolls 37 on his Persuasion, saying: "Oh no, your majesty - YOU shut up!" and stage a coup d'etat right there in the throne room.

But afterwards, in a quiet chamber, a maester and a knight might share a drink of wine and one might concede that the merchant did, in fact, have a point. Too bad that he's not of noble birth...
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Adam Baulderstone
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2008 8:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Since you are using ranks to determine starting money, you might also want to have minimum upkeep costs attached to the higher ranks. If you can't meet it you suffer a penalty amongst your peers as people begin to gossip. You could still get the benefits against those of lower rank, though.

This could lead to fun plot situations, too. Struggling nobles could use their influence to forward the agendas of the wealthy of lesser rank who can discretely keep them living in the style they are accustomed to.
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JackAce
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2008 7:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To be honest, I was originally planning to do something very similar to Markus' solution. But I was afraid that an Edge without any tangible game effect might seem to be "wasted."

I think I'm jut gonna trash this entire system and replace it with a single Egde for high Status characters:

Status [Background Edge]
Requirements: Novice
Whether it stems from a noble, military or academic title, or just from owning a lot of money, you are considered a member of the genteel society.
This position does not confer any specific rules on your character, but commoners are generally expected to treat you with respect and obey your commands. You can also make your oppinion be heard where most others would be ignored or dismissed.
In times of strife, commoners will automatically look to you for leadership (which might turn out to be as much of a Hindrance as an Edge)

The Noble Edge from the SW rulebook is also still available, but it now requires a character to take Status first. This way, Status is the appropriate Edge for a ship's captain or a junior member of a noble family, while Noble is reserved for actual Lords and Monarchs ruling over a static territory.
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Adam Baulderstone
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2008 5:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Seems like the most FFF approach. Looks good to me.
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DaRealJudas
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2008 6:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree it looks good... even if it will come back to bite me in the a**. Wink
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JackAce
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2008 6:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yup, you guessed right...

This is the Edge you'll be required to take, Captain...
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DaRealJudas
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2008 7:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well what can I say... that's the beauty with Savage Worlds: You instantly get what good things are going to cost you. And often they cost you greatly...
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