Social Standing/Status

Story Hook ++

This presents a good opportunity for adding Character Story elements to the Character.

Social Standing/Status and mechanics behind it represent Prestige and are an easy way to build a quick view of where a character comes from or the amenities of the community they find themselves in. This is not a new concept, existing in many games with many options and many derivations. The system portrayed here is a simple system that provides players and GM’s with a basic idea. What happens with, or beyond this can be detailed by the GM to suit the setting. Players should always check first to see of their GM even allows the use of a social standing for their background/stories – it is up to the GM ultimately how much weight this will carry and why. Characters neither lose nor gain starting CP based on the adjustments granted by their social standing. Social standing is divided up into stratified levels referred to as “classes”:

Pariah: (Extreme) These live at the fringes of society. Every social indicator is negative. This is usually the result of a caste based system, or an extreme situation (refugee, outcast, leper, etc.) that puts them outside the community completely. They have no home and often no manners or ability to fit within a normal social structures. Their fortunes have landed them at them absolute bottom of society, using resources no one else would use in subsistence living conditions.

Poor: (Extreme) Those of the least social standing are at least part of some community, albeit the poorest. Their living is a level of subsistence and have nothing left over for anything beyond bare survival. Crime is typically rampant within these living conditions, and actions focus more on survival at its basest than anything else.

Lower: The lower classes are usually made up of uneducated workers. In many cultures, this is the largest stratification of the society. This level has less access to any given resources of society, though such resources are “officially” available to them. Even if economically possible, they are locked within their stratus by biases and pressures within the society to keep them down.

Middle: (Average) Middle class usually implies that they have access to all the normal resources of society. They may never have used them, but the opportunities existed. This is usually basic education, career path, inheritance of some goods, and constant access to food, shelter and clothing which befits/reflects standing. The cultural values and law reflect those at this level.

Upper: The upper classes have access to resources beyond average. They can pursue life far beyond subsistence and always dress appropriate to their station. They are still subject to same pressures of the average classes, but have means to transcend them.

Privileged: (Extreme) These few who exist in these classes have never experienced what it means to struggle. Careers, objects, and all manner of leisure pursuits are available to them. TO them, the classes beneath them exist to work and bring about their needs.

Elite: (Extreme) The true elite are completely separate from anything below the upper classes. Beyond that is a world they have no understanding of or sympathy with. Work is an unknown concept to them. Education is a plaything.

Assessing Social Standing

The best method is to simply accept that the character will be average (Middle Class) social standing, regardless of family or fortune. The alternate method is a random check to assess their family standing, which they will inherit.

[Example] Social Standing Results
Result Standing
Fumble Pariah
Fail Poor
Simple Lower
Average Middle
Major Upper
Full Privileged
Critical Elite

Pedigree: Characters can also have a pedigree from whence they came that helps to determine their background. In essence, it represents how their culture perceives their lineage. A higher value pedigree indicates a longer, and usually more important, family. You can either assume the pedigree is the same as social standing, or add additional flavor to their background by determining it randomly. Assuming that this will be generated randomly for a character, a player will make a check to generate a level when is then checked against to determine pedigree. Characters with a high standing and low pedigree are assumed to have families which have fallen from favor or are in ruin economically – the story for this can be worked out between player and GM.

Impact of Social Standing

Character Archetype/Development Paths

Some types of characters require that a character have come from a background that is wealthy enough to have sponsored or provided for the education of the character which may be in conflict with the pedigree of the character. In such cases, the GM may rule that some family relation or friend hade a success and chose to take the character with them as a favorite, or that the character was sponsored by a relation and must pay the equivalent of a tithe to pay them back for the opportunity. This is one way of explaining how the character was able to acquire powers normally outside their economic means of a family pedigree. This then could replace uneducated penalties.

This can vary from one setting to another. GM’s can use their own values or simply use this as a baseline. Some campaigns may have more of a wide variety of classes, and/or different names or labels for those of the class.

Fortune package points can also be used instead of assets to represent the enhanced chance the better
social tanding typically grants a character.


Sings are signature possessions, abilities and behaviors which custom dictates members of a particular standing in society should possess. The type and style of clothes reflect the typical levels of Social Standing in a culture, along with the ability to speak a language, literacy, knowledge, dance, riding, etc. – it varies by setting and locale. A formal education may also be both advantage and sign of the more privileged classes. Without these, a character will not be seen by the members of the society as of a particular standing; even peers may count them less. This could have great impact on their starting or even continued benefits for their standing.

Additionally, one of the signs of pedigree and standing is obligations to those higher in standing as well as the mitigation and handling of affairs of those lower in standing.
Characters may have certain ones they must uphold that they inherit to gain anything from their pedigree.


Upbringing chosen or dictated by cultural sign must fit within that possible by the standing of the character.


Backgrounds chosen or dictated by cultural sign must fit within that possible by the standing of the character.

Continued Assistance & Pedigree

Pedigree and its notoriety can be used to assess ancillary benefits and continuing aid the character may receive in the face of adversity during their career. It can be used as a value to check in what resources the character’s family has towards spending on the character. It is ultimately up to the GM, this mechanism is provided as an easy mechanic and in no way official.

Example Pedigree Assistance for Characters
Need Description Check
Re-arm/re-supply The equivalent of the Equipment trait. Simple
Room and Board Shelter for the character Simple
Rest Return to half Health; +1 healing factor. Average
Refuge Protection against hostile foe Major
Ransom Pay a price to get the character back Full
Loans Borrow on credit Full