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Cowford

Who are you?
Who do you want to be? 


Pep1


That is the question of the hour.  Whether you are about to address a well dressed group of Steampunk enthusiasts, or several curious children. It is good to have some answers for that very question. We at Cowford are here to help and assist you in creating your very own persona.  Lending ideas, thoughts and history to your creation of a working persona in the Steampunk realm. Now, as you begin please remember that all of the following information is to help, not hinder your imagination.  This will get you rolling into your persona creation.  The following sections can be jumbled, skipped and revisited. Whatever suits you. Just remember to have fun with it!

Foundations


At the start, there are two basic categories.  These concern your costuming directly.


Acquired Costume
Having found, or bought, items and put together a costume.  Inventing a character to fit this look.  Common for those new to Steampunk.


Created Costume
You have already thought of a type of character and are creating a kit.  Inspired by an item, or just an idea.  Already rolling in the right direction.

When
Generally, Steampunk does not concern itself with specific dates.  It is sort of fun and floating with a miss mash of time-lines. But it is good to have some historical knowledge. Usually Steampunk revolves around 1880-1900.  The classic Age of Steam runs from 1800 to1914 (though steam engines were used from the early 1700s).  The Victorian Era was 1837-1901 and the Edwardian Era from 1901-1910 (but commonly extended to 1918, WWI).  If you wish, choose a birth date, or other important date. IE: Graduation, commission, or beginning of your expedition. Here are few useful events.

  • The National Geographic Society was found in Washington D.C. In 1888 “
  • The Geographic Society of London, founded 1830, became The Royal Geographic Society in 1859
  • The Royal Historical Soc. was founded 1868, while the American Historical Soc. was in 1884         
  • The London Missionary Society, founded 1795, Patron by Dr. Livingstone in Africa, was worldwide


Where
Most characters will be in your current location IE. Cowford (Jacksonville) It is really where you want to be from. This can greatly shape your persona. Also, feel free to change it until you are satisfied. Travel will be more common with airships abound. London, New York, New Delhi, or Tokyo. So many choices. England, Russia, and Germany have that European heritage steeped in aristocracy, class and social status.  And there is the fun accent! You may want to start simple. American, Eastern or Western, from a California ruffian to a Southern “Blue-Blood”. Most steampunk enthusiast are American, or European. Remember, You have the world to chose from. From Africa, Russia, China, Chili or Australia. Don't forget the colonies!  British India, French Indo-China and German East Africa.  Find a country and a city too. Wherever you pick. Read a bit about,(wiki can help). Just remember to think of how you ended up here.  Are you traveling,“on assignment”, or maybe tracking down a family member?

What
Now to take a look at what you want your persona to do, or to have done. The following is split up into four sections. Each can give depth and some historical thoughts to your steampunk realm. This realm can be immensely diverse so consider the following and play.

Class, Social Status, Family, Profession

Class
Most societies in the eras you are playing in had a class system of some sort. This separated people from high to low, king to peasant. Being vary structured in Europe or other places with nobility, but luckily not so much in America. With steampunk having members with noble titles, IE sir, lord, baron, this is included. You can be playful with this depending on your encounters.  The American pilot teasing the German baroness for being snooty.

Upper- aristocracy / royalty   

  • Top    King, Queen,  Princess, etc.
  • Upper    Dukes, Earls, Marquis
  • Middle    Barons, Counts, Viscounts
  • Lower/ Gentry    Sir(knighted), Esquire

Middle   

  • Top    Executives, Owners of Business
  • Middle    Professionals, High military officers
  • Lower    Skilled workers, Military officers

Lower       

  • Unskilled Labor, Farmers, Soldier, Sailor

Underclass       

  • Impoverished, and many times the Criminal element


This is a simplified list but it gives you the idea. Your upbringing, mannerisms, and speech would usually reflect the class you fall in. But there are always exceptions.“We should always give respect to all of our fellow enthusiast”

Social Status
Your status in society differs from class for it can vary and change. This covers the “crossovers” in society and is much more important in the “States”. As example, the penniless duke turned airship pirate. His status as a duke is lost to his “new” profession unless hidden in “civilized” circles. Status can go hand in hand with notoriety, fame, and wealth. Your status can rise far above your class or far below it also. During our “steampunk” era a celebrated airship pilot might join royalty but will not be “one” of them. The same can be said of the rich aether tycoon, but money would go a lot farther. Interestingly, if you are far out of your element, your status may change too.  The pirate. may be a “hero” to his crew, romanced as a cavalier, but downright scowled at as a criminal by regular society.

Family
Family can be very vague or quite prominent. It is important in choosing an aristocratic title to know how you have received it. (knighthood is bestowed and not inherited). What are your family ties to your persona. You can be a distant or close relative. Great granddad won a battle and was bestowed a title with lands. Or, perhaps you are orphaned with a rich uncle. Have brothers and sisters, as much as you like. I can help sometimes to use actual first names as to remember them readily too.  Noble structure is a bit complex. So at the end of this there are some helpful sites.

Profession
Well now here is the very heart of you persona. What do you do? How are you financed. It may seem out of place but this can really help define your persona. Now your profession and your financing may be two different things or it may be straight forward.  IE,  a decorated airship captain. Or more complex as a British geologist on a martian expedition for the Norwegian University. A spoiled rich Spanish heiress traveling abroad, or Ex-Frontiersman playing Guide to a Russian czars hunting trip. Remember that governments, universities, “societies”, and “clubs” would sponsor all kinds of research and expeditions. Grants and sponsorship for your creation. You can have numerous careers, mixed, combined, related or, not. An Airship physician, an acrobat/spy or the socialite scientist. Be as different as you want.  Remember that your outfit should somewhat suit the profession you want to play. It will convey this to your fellow patrons and help that persona “chat” to start.  Additionally, to help you there, is a following appendix of professions to give you more ideas.

Your Persona
Now as to your name, it can be whatever you choose. You can make it fitting to your persona, or totally irreverent. As long as you enjoy it. Just as your persona. You may have several. One large part of your persona creation is to give you more confidence while in your outfit. Confidence amongst strangers, or marching up to the judges at a costume contest. Knowing your character helps immensely. In the end.  It's all about being creative and having fun.


Hopefully this has been helpful to you. But I'd like to add just a little persona etiquette. With all this cool stuff in your head. You just want to tell someone, right. WAIT.  You may never be asked more than your name. Please do not just spew it all out on some unsuspecting, or worse, uninterested party. You don't want to be a bore.


So, choose your moments to throw in your “history”. Include your title or profession in your greeting. This will spark more conversation. Ask about someone else and in turn tell them of yourself. Use it to entertain those around you, and so be entertain by them.  Enjoy, and hope to “chat” with you soon.

Dutifully
created by,
Rocky C. Sawyer, Esq

Ideas of Professions

                  Here are groups randomly arranged for you viewing. Mix, match, combine

Explorer

Aeronaut

Scientist

Professor

Writer

Adventurer

Pilot

Inventor

Scholar

Reporter

Guide

Aviator

Engineer

Teacher

Promoter

Naturalist

Shipmate

Aetherist

Librarian

Novelist

Archeologist

Navigator

Electrologist

Collegiate

Photographer

Entertainer

Physician

Officer

Judge

Politician

Musician

Doctor

Sargent

Lawyer

Public servant</p>

<p class="MsoNormal">Vocalist</p>

<p class="MsoNormal">Nurse</p>

<p class="MsoNormal">Enlisted</p>

<p class="MsoNormal">Lawman</p>

<p class="MsoNormal">Mayor</p>

<p class="MsoNormal">Performer</p>

<p class="MsoNormal">Surgeon</p>

<p class="MsoNormal">Courier</p>

<p class="MsoNormal">Detective</p>

<p class="MsoNormal">Surveyor</p>

<p class="MsoNormal">Actor</p>

<p class="MsoNormal">Mortician</p>

<p class="MsoNormal">Scout</p>

<p class="MsoNormal">Bounty-man</p>

<p class="MsoNormal">Ambassador </p>

<p class="MsoNormal"> </p>

<p class="MsoNormal">Industrialist</p>

<p class="MsoNormal">Mercenary</p>

<p class="MsoNormal">Pirate</p>

<p class="MsoNormal">Madame</p>

<p class="MsoNormal">Gentleman</p>

<p class="MsoNormal">Merchant</p>

<p class="MsoNormal">Hired Gun</p>

<p class="MsoNormal">Mastermind</p>

<p class="MsoNormal">Consort</p>

<p class="MsoNormal">Socialite</p>

<p class="MsoNormal">Salesman</p>

<p class="MsoNormal">Body guard</p>

<p class="MsoNormal">Con-man</p>

<p class="MsoNormal">Companion</p>

<p class="MsoNormal">Aristocrat</p>

<p class="MsoNormal">Trader</p>

<p class="MsoNormal">Enforcer</p>

<p class="MsoNormal">Thug</p>

<p class="MsoNormal">Secretary</p>

<p class="MsoNormal">Heiress</p>

<p class="MsoNormal">Transporter</p>

<p class="MsoNormal">Security</p>

<p class="MsoNormal">Smuggler</p>

<p class="MsoNormal">Governess</p>

<p class="MsoNormal">Widow</p>

<p class="MsoNormal">    </p>

Titles <p class="MsoNormal">Some notes on titles, Titles vary per country, there are numerous variation of titles also. This is but a portion of noble titles. Below is just a sampling of noble ranks, mainly British & German. The sites below will help. For other cultures see the Wiki site </p>

<p class="MsoNormal"> </p>

<p class="MsoNormal">Duke, Duchess, Herzog</p>

<p class="MsoNormal">His/her Grace</p>

<p class="MsoNormal">Viscount</p>

<p class="MsoNormal">Lord/Lady</p>

<p class="MsoNormal">Prince, Princess</p>

<p class="MsoNormal">His/her Grace</p>

<p class="MsoNormal">Baron, Baroness</p>

<p class="MsoNormal">Lord/Lady</p>

<p class="MsoNormal">Viceroy</p>

<p class="MsoNormal">His/her Grace</p>

<p class="MsoNormal">Baronet</p>

<p class="MsoNormal">Sir Hereditary Knighthood</p>

<p class="MsoNormal">Marquis </p>

<p class="MsoNormal">Lord/Lady</p>

<p class="MsoNormal">Knight /Dame</p>

<p class="MsoNormal">Sir/ Madame Bestowed title</p>

<p class="MsoNormal">Earl, Count, Graf</p>

<p class="MsoNormal">Lord/Lady</p>

<p class="MsoNormal">Esquire/Gentry                       </p>

<p class="MsoNormal">Gentry = Well born</p>

<p class="MsoNormal"> </p>

Appendix A – Helpful Links <p class="MsoNormal">Here are a few helpful pages too.</p>

<p class="MsoNormal">Victorian Web</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Titles and Orders of Precedence/</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Nobility</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Titles faq</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Royal and Noble Ranks</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Old Names</p> <p class="MsoNormal"> </p>