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How to Get Invited to the Ball and Other Mysteries of Ever, Jane
All the characters in Jane Austen’s novels have specific traits that influence how the world reacts to them. Mr. Darcy, for example, comes across as one who lacks happiness compared to his more fun-loving companion Mr. Bingley. He has sacrificed his happiness in life to attend to his duties to his sister and his aunt. It is not until he has fallen in love with Elizabeth that he puts his happiness ahead of duty to his aunt.
Each character in Ever, Jane has its own set of character traits and it is up to the player to determine which traits must be sacrificed. The choices the player makes will determine the opportunities available throughout the game.
(Note: Scoring is currently in progress. Most activities that will cause a change in your traits, like Gossip & Sleuthing, are still in the progress of being connected to this system.)
Character traits are divided into two types: active and passive. An active character trait is one which the player can decide they wish to cultivate or sacrifice while progressing through the world and interacting with others. Passive character traits are modified through activities designed to improve them, such as learning a dance or mastering the pianoforte.
Active Character Traits
There are 5 active character traits:
Status consists of your rank in society. With different levels of status come different rights, obligations and duties. There are two types of status reflected in Ever, Jane. The first is ascribed status, the status of birth. The player’s ascribed status is determined by the subscription level. Free-to-play will not provide sufficient status to be a member of the gentry. Within the gentry, different subscription levels will determine the size of the estate owned, whether the player is titled, and affects the income of the character.
Achieved status occurs within the game. A player may choose to make status the primary trait they wish to advance. By associating with people of a higher status and improving the character’s reputation the character may improve status and begin circulating in the higher social circles. All passive character traits contribute to status.
Acts of charity are expected of the gentility and are one way that kindness can be expressed. Others include helping others of a lesser social status as Emma so ineptly attempted. Acts of kindness inspire others to act kindly as well and many opportunities will be open for the genuinely kind to be exposed to events that might require additional status.
In Northanger Abbey Jane Austen writes, “It is well to have as many holds upon happiness as possible.” Ms. Austen is aware of the sacrifice of happiness necessary when doing one’s duty by one’s family. In fact, she originally chose to marry Harris Bigg-Wither which would have allowed her to provide for her mother and her sister Cassandra, but on thinking over her happiness with a man she neither loved nor who loved her, she cancelled the engagement the next day.
While choosing happiness over duty may result in a loss of status and income, the resulting pleasantness in personality will increase one’s beauty, grace, and wit.
Mr. Knightley tells Emma, “There is one thing, Emma, which a man can always do if he chooses, and that is his duty; not by manoeuvring and finessing, but by vigour and resolution.” Duty is an important part of maintaining the social norms. It is the duty of the gentry to care for the poor. It is the duty of the first son to care for all dependents in his care. It is the duty of a woman to marry well for the sake of her siblings. Regency life was filled with duty. Abandoning one’s duty can result in the disapproval of one’s community.
A character’s reputation can be either one of notoriety or prestige. Characters may have their valid reasons for wishing their infamy to be well known just as many of the more prestigious may prefer to remain anonymous. Reputation is simply how well known the character is, for good or ill. The higher a character’s reputation, the more impact the notoriety or prestige will have in affecting the character’s interactions.
Passive Character Traits
These traits are improved by changes in the active traits and by activities taken in game. Learning a dance will improve one’s gracefulness which will impact Beauty and Happiness. Learning Italian demonstrates one’s breeding which, in turn, improves one’s Gentility which increases status.
Gentility is reflected in one’s breeding and manners. Gentility affects status and can be improved by education in languages, literature, music, and art. Improper behavior or ill manners will impair one’s gentility standing.
Wealth is a result of one’s income from one’s estate or one’s relatives. It is improper for the gentry to work to earn a living and work will lower one’s status significantly. Wealth affects one’s status, but only as far as within one’s class (wealthy merchants cannot become gentry in a single generation, though they may come close if they purchase an estate). However, within the gentry, wealth directly affects status.
Wealth can be improved by improving one’s condition either through investments in the estate, marrying well, gaining the favor of wealthy relatives, or by entering a profession if one is male and the profession is appropriate such as the clergy, law, or military.
While men of wealth generally prefer marrying women of wealth, a pretty face has been known to lure a gentleman into a less financially ideal arrangement. Beauty affects status. Kindness, Happiness, Gentility and Grace affect Beauty.
A lady is expected to move with grace and fluidity. Grace affects beauty. Grace can be improved through education in dance, music, and comportment.
Jane Austen was a fan of word puzzles, poetry and a master of wit. A witty partner at a dance can appear more attractive than a dull partner with equivalent features. Wit affects beauty and reputation. You can improve your wit with education in literature and through reading and writing.