Persona: Social Class, Species, Race, and Nationality
We are a social animal. Matter of fact, the species and races in the typical RPG are social animals, even the broo of Runequest. As social animals we have hierarchies, even when we officially don’t.
In Dangerous Journeys that hierarchy is divided into 11 levels, ranging from Class Level 0 — Derelicts — to Class Level 10 — Royalty. The Class Levels available to a starting Persona range from 1 — Lower Lower Class, or Serf, to 9 — Upper Upper Class, or Nobility.
The guides of Dangerous Journeys handle the matter of Socio-Economic Class in one of three ways. Now in all three the parents SEC is decided first. Depending on the age of the Persona in question this is usually his SEC.
Next is the Persona’s Vocational SEC, which may be the same as his parents’ SEC, higher or lower depending on the Vocation and the Persona’s age.
First Method: Here a Persona’s birth SEC has no effect on the Vocation his player may choose for him. For instance a Serf — SEC 1 — could take the Scholar Vocation — and I forget which SEC that is. Depending on his age the Persona would then be treated as the Vocation SEC.
Guides such as Abyss and Unhallowed use this method.
Second Method: In this case the Player determines his Persona’s birth SEC. However, the birth SEC limits which Vocations are available. Thus here a Serf could not start with the Scholar Vocation, but rather would have to become a Scholar over the course of play.
The Mythus guide uses this method.
Third Method: Here a Persona of any birth SEC is able to take most Vocations, but his SEC remains the same regardless of which Vocation the player chose. In addition, there are certain Vocations that are closed to certain SECs and they cannot be attained by any method, regardless of what player or Persona wish.
At present there are no DJ guides which use this, though one based on the society of Asiatic India would.
As noted above in Dangerous Journeys there are 11 Socio-Economic Classes, ranging from Derelicts — SEC 0 — to Royalty — SEC 10. Of the 11 a Persona may not start as either a Derelict or as Royalty, those two must either be achieved or in the case of Royalty awarded.
The other 9, Lower Lower Class to Upper Upper Class, are decided by rolling percentile dice against a chart found in the engine itself, and in each of the guides.
When a Persona’s social class is known the player can no decide which species his Persona is. Human is usually the default choice, unless the guide in question doesn’t have humans. Other species are limited by the Persona’s SEC.
In the typical fantasy world elves are most often of the upper class, dwarfs of the middle class, and goblins of the lower class; at least at first. A goblin for instance could attain a higher SEC depending on what the Persona does.
With species known the player then goes on to determine which race his Persona belongs to.
Now I know that there are some who say that humans for example don’t have races. The reasoning being that the differences between the purported races isn’t all that great. The thing is, it’s not a matter of how much each race differs, but in how they differ, and they do differ.
So the player gets to roll percentiles against a table depending on the Persona’s species. As an example elves may have 5 races, dwarfs 2, and goblins something like 12 or more.
Now with species and race determined we get to learn just what Nationality the Persona is, and thus where he originally came from. A Gallic Elf most likely came from a country Such as France or Aquitaine, while a Lower Rhine goblin mostly likely came from the area of the Lower Rhine.
So now we know his SEC, species, race, and nationality or place of origin, but what about his location at the start of the campaign?
That is up to player and JM, and it is recommended that the two — plus the other players — work together to determine how he got there, if it isn’t where he came from originally.
Also keep in mind that some countries or lands cover a fair amount of territory, and so a Persona may be from a specific location in a nation or region.
That ends this post, in the next in this series we’ll be going on to the matter of the Persona’s age and birth rank
Originally published at Dangerous Journeys.