Class, Monarchy & Education for Fantasy Fiction

Many factors can create cultural rifts causing inequality. This results in class systems. You can make races into slaves. Slaves sink to a lower class, while their owners become a higher class, though not morally.

The thought of slavery makes me sad just thinking about it. It’s an issue we still feel the effects of decades later. Consequences of class systems are the lower classes having poorer education, food, health, care and prospects.

There are many types of class system. They don’t have to be enforced, but they can be, through political measures.

This is the class system for my Cana world. Yours doesn’t have to be anywhere near as rigid, or in depth as mine, but it should show you how classes might develop over time.

1.   Top - The political, royal, military, scientific, religious or magical leaders of the state are likely to give themselves preferential status. 
2.   Upper Middle - This group will be near the top, but not THE top. They include ministers, nobles, and clergy, or anyone employed by THE top.
3.   Upper Bottom - Those poor, poor upper class, those poor, poor, unfortunate, new rich folk, how will they cope? Despised by those above, and loved by those below, which is how they got to their place. They are not of noble birth, and can include people like dotcom millionaires and sports stars. They are the nouveau riche.
4.   Middle Upper - The rich middle class are valuable to society reflected by their well-paid jobs. It depends on culture, but the western world holds law and medicine careers highly.
5.   Middle - Society considers the bourgeoisie to be the ideal goal, and is what the norm should be aiming to achieve. Citizens can achieve it through hard work, but without specialist skills. They include the upper scales of management.
6.   Middle Lower - The petit bourgeoisie, otherwise known as the poor middle class. These people are in the lower fringes of management, hoping to climb the ladder.
7.   Lower Upper - This class are skilled workers, but don’t own businesses or manage staff.
8.   Lower Middle - The proletariat are on minimum wage. Many work in unskilled, menial labour.
9.   Low - The underclass are the homeless, unemployed or diseased, receiving minimum living allowances.
10.               Slaves - Some cultures may endorse slavery or...
11.               Untouchables - A certain race, species, sex or anything is of lower or higher class. I hope there is an uprising.

Not all countries have monarchies. They are frequent in fantasy novels set within medieval worlds, and many hold the view that they should have stayed in the Dark Ages.

Countries like England have a monarchy, and government, though the monarchy is largely a redundant figurehead for show, leaving political decision making to parliament. A suggestion of royal ranks is the following, but systems and names differ by country.

1.   Leaders
·         Emperor / Empress
·         King / Queen
2.   Royal
·         Archduke /Archduchess
·         Grand Duke / Grand Duchess
·         Grand Prince / Grand Princess
·         Prince / Princess
3.   Peers
·         Duke / Duchess
·         Marquis /Marquise / Margrave / Landgrave
·         Earl / Countess
·         Viscount / Vidame
·         Baron / Baroness
4.   Gentry
·         Baronet / Baronetess
·         Knight / Dame
·         Esquire
·         Gentleman / Gentlewoman
5.   Other
·         Yeoman / Yeowoman
·         Knave

Who will run your cultures education system? What is the system? To achieve good standards of education, pupils require adequate buildings, staff and equipment. The system in place decides what is necessary to teach children. They may withhold information, to protect, or hurt pupils.

·         Government - Paid for via taxes.
·         Religion - Paid for via donations.
·         Industry - Paid for via businesses.

How affordable education is will be a class issue. If nations want to be strong, they need to invest in the education of all their citizens.

·         Free - Free education for all. This is a lofty ideal. It seems to be a step too far for most countries. 
·         Fees - You can receive free education up to certain ages.
·         Scholarships - If you are talented, then you are gifted free education.

You could make schools have restrictions on who can attend. This can cause conflicts in your world.

·         Gender - Ban one sex from learning.
·         Class - Don’t allow lower classes to become educated.
·         Race - Certain races cannot have free education.
·         Wealth - Only the rich can afford education.

You can create different curriculums for cultures. Some may rate technology highly, and others may praise the arts. Choose the subjects, your ‘subjects’ are taught. See the title headings of this guide for more ideas.

Sciences - Biology, Chemistry, Geology, Astronomy, Physics, Mathematics, Geography
Humanities - Religion, Politics, History, Law, Philosophy, Economics, Psychology, Health, Sociology, Anthropology
Technology - Food, Textiles, Computing, Electronics
Recreation - Art, Drama, Literature, Film, Music, Sport, Dance, Poetry
Linguistics - English, French, German, Spanish, Latin, Chinese, Klingon etc

You can impose any sort of qualifications you like in your world. Countries offer different grading systems to give you inspiration.

In France, they grade out of twenty. It is impossible to get 20/20. They say perfection is impossible. 19/20 is the best you can be. My own fictional system grades out of 25.

This is an example of qualifications from my Cana world. Every year one season is devoted to tests. How educated you are effects you are which class you are considered to be. This is just an example of how you can make differences.

·         Class One - Thirty-two Basic Subjects/Qualifications taken at eight years old. 1.5 hour lessons each week under surveillance for talent.
·         Class Two - Sixteen Qualifications, taken at twelve - School Choice
·         Class Three - Eight Qualifications, taken at sixteen - Teacher Choice
·         Class Four - Four Qualifications, taken at twenty - Parental Choice
·         Class Five - Two Qualifications, taken at twenty-four - Pupils Choice
·         Class Six - One Qualification, taken at twenty-eight - Employer Choice

Happy Creations!