The Shadow of Kael
The Caste System is a supplemental role-playing component I came up with to help illustrate the differences between the various social levels. we’re calling it a Caste System because calling it a Class System would be dreadfully confusing. There are 6 Castes in Valmaria’s social hierarchy: Slave, Peasant, Tradesman, Merchant, Servile, and Noble.
You’re social caste is determined by a D6 roll made by the DM. The numbers on the die correspond with the caste ladder (1 for slave, 2 for peasant, etc). Once the roll has been made, the player is must choose to either take the caste level that he rolled, or one below it.
The Caste Ladder
- Slave – Slaves are property. They have no rights within most society. They have little to no starting equipment and no starting gold. They own no property and have no formally recognized family. In short, being a slave sucks. In a role-playing sense, you can eventually escape slavery, but you must start the game at the bottom of the pile. Most slaves were sold to their masters from the slave plantations of Dutchwick. Certain countries do not allow slavery, so if you are slave caste, you cannot initially be from there. Slaves get a +4 skill modifier to bluff.
- Peasant – Peasants are the cornerstones to most agrarian, mining, military and feudal societies. Their life is one of hard work and servitude to a patron, employer, or to the land itself. Peasants usually live in ramshackle huts or small cottages. Those employed by a mining company or army may live in a barracks or dormitory. Most of a peasant’s belongings are given to them by a patron or home-made. Peasants may start with 3D6 gold starting money and very rudimentary armor/ weaponry and get a +2 modifier to survival and any one other skill.
- Tradesman – Tradesman are makers and doers. They often occupy the more specialized professions like blacksmith, apothecary, cook, carpenter, or the lower levels of clergy. Tradesmen usually have a single specialization, but some are known to diversify. A Tradesman usually learns his or her skills from a parental figure. Some began lives as peasants and managed to secure an apprenticeship under a local master. Tradesmen often live in more comfortable lodgings and own their businesses. Tradesmen start with 1D6 x 100 gold to spend on equipment and get a +2 modifier to any 2 Craft or Profession skills (i.e. 1 craft and 1 profession, 2 craft, or 2 profession).
- Merchant – Merchants are the lowest tier of the upper class. They have amassed or inherited a decent amount of wealth and business connections and often own some sort of business or company. Some merchants specialize in black market dealings or, conversely, deal only with the agents of a specific government. They are usually experienced travelers and gifted diplomats. A merchant can sniff out profit in the most mundane of circumstances. Merchants begin play with 1D6 x 1000 gold to spend on equipment, a Company, and a +2 modifier to appraise.
- Servile – Serviles are second only to the Nobility of Valmaria. Their ranks are composed of governmental agents such as Knights, Clergy, Viziers, Court Magicians, Military Commanders and the like. They command respect and authority wherever they go, but must defer to the will of their patron(s). Serviles being play with 1D6 x 1000 gold to spend on equipment, a Patron, and a +2 modifier to any knowledge.
- Noble – Nobles are the ruler and the administrators of Valmaria. They own large plots of land and command their own legions. Nobles command respect from all. They have strong connections with other houses and a say in most government decisions (particularly within the Pellorish Empire). A nobleman adventurer has many advantages, to be sure, but does run the risk of being kidnapped and ransomed for political leverage. Nobles begin play with 1D8 x 1000 gold for equipment, a Noble Family, and a +2 modifier to diplomacy.