I am designing a medieval fantasy world, specifically one mirroring an RPG realistically (don't laugh, I'm actually doing a good job at that) and I need to make sure I have my population proportions right.
You see, this world (Alendyias) is the result of the Fracture in Reality spreading and consuming worlds, specifically worlds that were already too chaotic to really withstand its power. These worlds would have magic (since that obviously makes a world more chaotic and therefore more vulnerable) and have been relatively unstable; think primitive tribes or early medieval (because things got crazy after the fall of Rome). Therefore, Alendyias is a medieval fantasy world.
Why does this matter? Chaotic energy is like radiation; if you're submerged in it, medical aid is necessary. Angelic beings called the Kanyeri supplied such aid to humans by organizing the chaotic energies infusing them into a manifestation of their true calling, their purpose in life: Classes.
Now, not everyone has Classes; 2/3 of society has no specialization and can develop whatever skills they like, but has no real gift in any one area. They have raw potential and nothing else; they choose exactly what they are to be. (They really exist because specialized careers were rare in the Dark Ages and because most people just won't fit one or even two Classes.)
Clarification #1: Potential for a Classless (they have the title of John or Jane) is just general potential to learn and grow (not physical growth, I mean growth in terms of one's capacity to do something and do it well). Potential for a Class-holder is measured in terms of one's potential for growth career; their maximum level of competence/capacity to perform in their Class.
However, in order to prevent everyone from becoming "super", I've made Tiers with corresponding Level Caps, based off population percentages.
Tier Three: 75% of the population, comprises the peasantry and middle-class. People in Tier 3 have a max Cap of 125, with barely competent slackers only capable of Level 30 and the most capable Tier Threes capable of reaching 125. If a noble has a child with a peasant, that child's Level Cap will be anywhere between 125 and 489. The resulting child's Level Cap will be proportional to that of their noble parent; higher status parent means higher Level Cap in the child. If a royal has a child with a peasant, they have the capacity to reach Level 500, if only they work hard and live long enough.
Tier Two: 20% of the population, comprises the nobility. People in Tier Two have a Cap ranging from 250 to 499 (depending on their status) and in certain circumstances can reach Level 500. Clarification #2: If something happens to the king so that a new king must be installed, a noble must be accepted by the people as their king in order to ascend to Tier One and gain the corresponding Level Cap. If a royal has a child with a noble, the child will have a Level Cap of 325 to 499.
Tier One: 5% of the population, comprises all royalty and the occasional peasant who beats the odds. Those in Tier One can reach Level 500 and hold the maximum potential of any member of their Class. A royal can also grant Champion status to a Tier One or Two individual, giving them the capacity to reach Level 499. (Please Note: There can only be twelve Champions per kingdom. Due to the general usefulness of adventurers as willing-and expendable-"heroes" willing to step in when danger threatens, generally kings promote adventurers to Champion status.)
Now, my question is, Is This Tier System Balanced?
Specifically, will this Tier system destabilize society, or will it help make society more stable?
1. Explaining the Caps: Level Caps are based on one's potential; it's not that peasants have low potential, just that they're suppressed by lack of education and resources (as well as those in power). There's also a psychological aspect in that peasants think of kings and nobles as superior, or at least above the rest of them, and that belief is a direct factor in how Tiers work.
The belief aspect is why a noble can reach Level 500 upon becoming a king, and if a democratic system was established (like America's three-part government or a king's council, perhaps) this same belief aspect would allow the branch leaders or council members to reach Level 500, as that would give those people power equal to the king or president.
EDIT: As for the children of a noble and a peasant, they have a higher max Level Cap because someone who knows how to work hard (anyone raised as a peasant) is capable of doing more than a noble who doesn't have to do everything for themselves. Nobles do work hard, in their own way, but they also have servants and various other conveniences.
2nd EDIT: SirTain asked for some information on how levels work. Each Tier comes with hard caps, determined by one's individual capacity to learn and grow. One gains levels as they gain experience, progress along their chosen career path, and personal growth. Now, someone who reaches their respective Cap does not stop learning; think of it instead as a person who reaches their prime. They may change and learn new things, their mind and spirit can still grow, but their body has reached its limits.
2. Explaining Tier Proportions: I want my Tier proportions somewhat realistic, and I was thinking that the peasants would drastically outnumber the nobles and royals of their world. I understand 25% is still a rather large proportion of the population, however, I want to reflect the ridiculous amount of royalty in fantasy (without getting out of hand, of course).
3. Preventing Inbreeding: This and the belief aspect is the only reason why I made it advantageous for a peasant to have a kid with a noble or royal (and vice versa). Logically, since in order to preserve one's pedigree (legitimacy was key in medieval times) one had to marry only one of the proper station (which caused inbreeding), the solution is to encourage people to not restrict themselves to their own tier.
However, this may have the side effect of encouraging all sorts of naughty behavior, including but not limited to polygamy, and I don't want that; I understand there will be naughtiness no matter what, but I don't want things getting out of control. Clarification 3: Considering this is a realistic medieval fantasy, there are things like children born of wedlock and brothels, and I believe my tier system will encourage that. Given that spiritual corruption and naughty behavior go hand in hand, and that one's level of spiritual corruption is directly proportional to the risk of demonic possession, I want to avoid that.
Clarification (thanks Bukwyrm):
What are the rules of leveling up? Leveling up is determined by XP, which is the magical manifestation of experience. Levels are an expression of one’s accumulated personal and career growth. One thus Levels Up when one reaches a new stage or level of achievement in one’s career or life (either one).
How long does it take to level up different abilities? It depends on the person; we all learn at different speeds and have different aptitudes besides. In other words, it depends on how quickly someone can master barley or wheat farming after mastering the other.
Are levels general? Yes and no. Think of levels like going through the school system. If you’re a good student, you increase in general ability and intelligence over time. However, you get particularly good at the things you work on the most. Levels are the same way.
Are Tiers and Levels visible? I didn’t envision them that way, but now? Definitely. One’s Tier is Manifested by a symbol emblazoned on one’s wrists. For Tier Three, it is a diamond (a Shard). For Tier Two, it is a rectangle that comes to a point on the bottom and has a triangular notch for the top (a Notch). For Tier One, the symbol is a Crown; a box with an upside-down triangle on the bottom and three points on the top. One’s Level is expressed by a number “printed” on one’s Tier symbol.
Could a Lvl. 500 Farming king feed his kingdom? Oh my goodness, yes! This would solve so many things; underfed peasantry, low workforce, the peasantry’s near inability to take career paths other than farming, and it would most definitely strengthen the king’s hold on his subjects. So yes, I’d say a Lvl. 500 king could feed his kingdom, if he was a farmer. If he’s a soldier, well, he’d be capable of defending his kingdom almost singlehandedly. Think Arnold Schwarzenegger a la Braveheart.
Specifications For Best Answer:
- As stated above, the best answer will account for the percentage of the population in each Tier. Those in Tier Three are good or mediocre in their Class, Tier Two are slightly better than a Tier Three or an expert in their Class, and a Tier One blows all the others out of the water. For perspective, a Lvl. 125 Warrior is as good as ten regular (Lvl.1 or below) troops, a Lvl. 325 Warrior is as good as a small army (enough troops to hold a fort), and a Lvl. 500 Warrior can wipe out an entire medieval army by themselves. For this reason, it is critical I have my proportions right, especially for the royalty!
I understand that one needs to know population numbers in order to determine the impact of these percentages, so for the purposes of this question, please assume 81 million. Yes, I know it's a lot, but because Druids and Healers exist, there is an unusually high medieval population.
The best answer will also account for the effect of Level Caps, namely pairings between Tiers, on society: peasant-noble, noble-royal, and royal-peasant. It should also account for the fact that a noble's Level Cap is directly proportional to their status, with a noble only second to the king being capable of reaching Level 499. This will likely encourage ruthless politics among the nobles.
Finally, the best answer will tell me if my Level Caps are just plain crazy and need to be reset and have suggestions on which numbers to put instead.
I appreciate your input and feedback, so if you decide to VTC or downvote, please tell me why so I can improve this question. Thank you.