The Inclusion of Socioeconomic Class in COG Stories

Hello all,

I wanted to try and create a thead regarding the inclusion and discussion of socioeconomic class in COG games. I do so because it’s 1) personally relevant to me, as someone from a low-income background and 2) I believe it is, generally speaking, a rarely touched upon topic in many COG stories.

I have rarely seen socioeconomic status addressed in a poor, or offensive manner. I believe every COG author has successfully attempted to write to a broad audience.

My only recommendation is that, even when a character comes for a low socioeconomic status, it is generally rarely an element of their identity, or addressed outside of a few sentences.

Further, in relationships, extremely wide chasms in socioeconomic status are often impliclty accepted without consequence. To be fair, this is often because either A) the protaganist is powerful to the point that, regardless of their origin, they are at the top of the totem pole; or B) the protaganist is upper class and has the latitude to romance whomever.

I don’t want to address specific games, as I can’t think of one that handles the subject particularly poorly. I can sum up my post with two questions:

  1. what is the best way to include themes surrounding socioeconomic status in way that is inclusive to a diverse audience; and
  2. how can an author best address socioeconomic differences between characters in a relationship, romance or no, that is not offensive, tone-deaf, or preachy?

Additionaly, if you believe socioeconomic status cannot or should not be potrayed in ames, both either as a personal preference and a general opinion on best habits, please feel free to share.

Thank you for your time and contribution.


Emphasis mine.

To me, this question is so subjective as to be almost meaningless. There are so many different interpretations such that a unique opinion is probably born with every new reader. Because of this, I don’t really foresee any particularly fruitful discussions coming out of question two.

You do not seem to have any specific grievance with how socioeconomic status dynamics in relationships are portrayed in CoG/HG stories, so I am a little curious why you are addressing the issue especially as it relates to CoG/HG.

In general, I think I would say that one should be mindful to view characterization as a whole and not many different parts. A character’s economic status may indeed be mentioned infrequently, but in my experience, so are a lot of other very important facets of one’s identity (sexuality, gender, religion, etc.). This does not mean that an author values any one trait more or less than another, but rather that they are not meaning to represent anyone as being entirely one-note which, if I may add, is how actual people are.


Sincerely, I don’t think no one should like demanding writers write about the determined theme. I personally find Social economics something boring that I don’t want to talk or write about. And I don’t think social economics makes everything better or more engaging. I don’t like when writers are adamant in pushing the socio-economic into games were don’t fit.
However, there is a lot of people that are really interested in politics, so I cheer you out to try your own game based on the topics you are passionate about.


The point of my post is not to try and force authors to include themes they do not want to write about. But, rather, what is the best way to tackle this theme, should an author include it?

I believe it is fair, just as it is for gender, sexuality, or race, to discuss a person’s general desire for more life perspectives of a certain background. That does not necessitate the exclusion of other backgrounds, nor does it necessitate that one background (socioeconomic) must predominate.


As a fellow working class writer it’s really something I would love to dig into. But, like with race or gender or sexual identity, I think it’s best handled in stories where you have room to focus on it a little bit more. I will be touching on this a little with some of the friendships/romances in future volumes of Fallen Hero (Herald comes from money), but it won’t really be delved into very much as that is not the focus of the story.

As for your questions:

  1. If it fits the story. Shoehorning things in just because, doesn’t really work. Also, I wouldn’t worry about being inclusive, if you’re writing a story where class is a major thing, then some people are going to feel uncomfortable since these are awkward things to think about for many. Just be true to yourself.
  2. Oh boy, that depends. Looking at real life, it tends to come down to lacking the money to do things the richer party views as just normal couple activities. There’s a lot of downers when it comes to things like this, and honestly, I’d avoid it if you weren’t prepared to have a few uncomfortable discussions and probably an argument or two. In general, people with money doesn’t seem to realize they have it, and what it means to do not.

In conclusion, it all depends on the story you want to tell, and how willing you are to make parts of your audience uncomfortable.


By including a diverse set of characters within a compelling story not dependent upon the socioeconomic status.

I think Cataphrak does this wonderfully in his Infiniti series which addresses many themes, including socioeconomic related issues. It works because the characters involved in his series (including the MC) are complex with the socioeconomic factoring in, but not dominating their character.

By staying true to their vision of the story they are telling and executing it well.


I don’t have much to add on the subject of implementation or non-preachiness/non-offensiveness; the commenters above me did a fine job anyways. However, I will provide some lived examples of the contrast between classes. In my experiences, having money tends to mean having the privilege of never truly thinking/worrying about money in the first place.

I have a relative who is far wealthier than my immediate family. While my mother, sister and I were visiting her, she was casually talking about the over twenty grand she set aside solely for her daughter’s wedding venue last year. She wasn’t bragging or flexing, it’s just not something she considers expensive or extravagant. In fact, she considered it cheaping out, but we nearly had a heart attack simply hearing about spending so much money on a single day let alone a single venue.

She is not consumed with budgeting like we are. She doesn’t have to give space in her thought processes to things like “do I have the money for X, how can I save up for Y, did the rent already come out or is that next week, what do I have left from my living costs for possible pocket change this month, Z’s birthday is next week so how can I get a nice gift without struggling until payday?” If she wants something that would make her life more convenient, she can have it without delay. If she wants to bless someone, she can be incredibly generous monetarily–and she frequently is–without that affecting her daily life even remotely.

So, the privilege of casual and stress-free spending in the knowledge of always having, or at least always feeling like you will have, a safety net vs. the anxiety, mental juggling and constant planning that comes with lower socioeconomic status is at the center of class to me. There’s other factors and there’s many ways these all may color a person’s outlook, values and behavior. Furthermore, how you depict these characteristics/mindsets will shift (tonally, scope-wise, etc.) depending on which specific rung of the socioeconomic ladder a character is on, if the character is antagonistic or not, so on and so forth. For the vast majority, there will be those who see them as disadvantaged, those who see them as average and those who see them as unfathomably privileged/well-off. The same way I view my relative is how I’m sure many view me and vice versa. However, I think it’s fair to say the main premise mostly remains true from situation to situation.


I think @Havenstone choice of Rebel did it marvelously as MC could came from a noble family or lower class , the interaction between characters from different social class were also written in a admirable fashion


This is a pretty tricky question to answer. I’ve been poor (there was a neighborhood I lived in growing up where people would have their gutters stolen for scrap metal), and I’ve been upper-middle class. Ultimately, I think part of the deal comes down to the fact that in real life, and, by extension, games reflecting it, more money really tends to equal more choices. As such, it’s harder to create a choice-based game with a lower-socioeconomic main character and still maintain a believable story. With that being said, though, that all depends on the scope of the story you’re telling. If the story is Psy High, where the action takes place at a public high school, then there’s not much difference in the base narrative of what the player’s status is. Alternatively, in a story like Creme de la Creme, where the player’s entire experience is based off of being in a unique socioeconomic position, they don’t interact with a very diverse group as far as status goes.

If you want my answer to your questions, though:

1- The best way for a game to cover socioeconomic status in an inclusive way is for the player character to be in a position that allows them to interact with a socioeconomically diverse group of NPCs while still allowing the player a realistic way to maintain their mobility.

2- This completely varies story to story based on the author’s talent. Crime and Punishment, arguably the greatest novel ever written, features a massive blend of characters from all over the socioeconomic spectrum without ever stumbling, as does a more contemporary example like the Dragon Age games. Alternatively, you have something like a Michael Bay movie, which struggles to actually make a point about what it thinks about different statuses.


That is true but in the Rebellion the mc is at the top of the totem pole, no matter their background.

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Literally all the socioeconomic references in our game are pretty much pulled from our own real life struggles, or those close to us. References to worrying about rent, driving a crappy or unreliable car, having few material possessions that would be considered by others to be of much value, dropping out of college due to cost and having to work terrible restaurant/customer service jobs just to get by are all aspects of the main character’s life that are mentioned. Granted, it’s all woven into a larger, humorous story about angels and demons, but we wanted to acknowledge a lived experience with an MC that still felt grounded in a relatable truth.

I don’t necessarily think each aspect needs a deep dive unless your game hinges on a feudal or caste system, or the main theme is about class or economic oppression. The recession of '08 here in the US hit particularly hard. It destroyed what little savings I had and made it very difficult to find a job that didn’t downsize or go out of business in a year. A certain level of poverty can shape a person’s day to day thoughts in ways both subtle and obvious or prevent you from even considering certain choices. That can influence a story without getting into the weeds and being preachy or boring. It’s just the reality for a vast number of people. But, I think there is also something also to be said for escapism. Sometimes people want to play a game where they/their character don’t have to worry about that stuff. I don’t think that makes it inherently disrespectful.