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Equality in Romancing Jan

Updated: Feb 10, 2021

Hi all!

So I have received a few questions from players so far in regards to gender, racial and sexual equality in Romancing Jan and how equal is equal when creating characters and thinking about their options in our version of Society.

I think the easiest place to start this conversation from to fully comprehend the setting is to approach this from what my intention was in creating this game and my design philosophy.

So one of the reasons we play games as humans is Fantasy Fulfillment, the ability to experience life in another way than what we have experienced, oftentimes what we perceive as a better way (but not always). Romancing Jan came from my desire to experience the fantasy fulfillment of being the Mr. Darcy or Mr. Knightly of a Regency romance without having to sacrifice my womanhood to do so. I love the pomp and circumstance of this era, the tension of class and rank as technology is beginning to force change to the status quo and nobility doubles down on pageantry even as the commoners rise in rebellion against them. I love the formality to social interactions even though it is often just disguising our baser natures of gossip and backbiting. I love the dichotomy of the Romantic movement with the period idea that marriage was more often a business contract than a love affair. All in all it is an interesting and fascinating transition point in history and I want to play pretend in it, but in all the settings presented to me, I have to face the fact that a person like me, a queer polyamorous mostly-white woman, would never get to be Mr. Darcy. So I either have to abandon who I am to experience that fantasy, deal with the frustrations of discrimination I already face in day to day life or I have to change the setting. Thus Romancing Jan was created.

In Romancing Jan, women were given equality when Queen Elizabeth I was crowned, ~200 years before our game began, so even longer than women have been equal in our modern world. This means that anything a man could do in our real world Regency period, a person of any gender in Romancing Jan can. This includes education, inheriting titles and property, serving in the military, etc. as long as you have the monetary means and status to do so. Gender fluidity and homosexual freedoms are a little newer, ~50 years, so maybe not as commonplace, but established enough that it really isn't questioned. Thus there are no gender politics in our version of Regency England. Other regions of the world may be different and as we roll out those descriptions, each will give an idea of how gender is regarded in those nations, but for our home base nation, England, gender is not a factor in people’s place in society or potential.

For Racial equality in Romancing Jan, European colonization of the New World, Africa and Asia was never successful. There are a number of reasons why, each unique to the regions in question. Those will be revealed as our cultural consultants and designers of those regions, all folks with ancestry indigenous to those regions, send in their take on world history. Due to the lack of colonization, there is no chattel slavery in Romancing Jan. There is no United States or Canada or Brazil. What we know as the American continents are referred to as the New World or the Westlands and are controlled by Indigenous nations. Our first nation design in the New World will be released in the coming weeks, but we are still hiring Indigenous writers to develop more of this setting. West Africa is made up of four prominent kingdoms, each with their own governments and trade connections to Britain. The detail for this region should also be up shortly. Thus Romancing Jan’s Regency England power and wealth is based on having a major stake in trade routes with all of these nations around the globe and having a navy strong enough to protect the trade routes and hire themselves out as protection to those nations rather than on conquering and colonization. A person from the African Empire of Mali visiting England in Romancing Jan would be treated with the same respect and equality as a person from France or Denmark visiting England in our real world Regency era. They could be a potential rival or a potential strong marriage or trade partner. But in all cases they are seen as an equal human being.

So with all of this equality where will the conflict and drama come into place for players of Romancing Jan? My answer to that is via another question. What conflict and drama did cis-gendered heterosexual white men experience in our real world Regency era? The Regency era had many challenges besides prejudice based on the body you were born to. There is a lot of weight put into class and wealth and a lot of disparity between the haves and have nots. Education was not free and plentiful. Disease, famine, war all plagued the rich and poor alike. Inheritance could still be disputed between siblings and cousins. You could still disgrace your family by marrying below your station, losing everything in gambling or drug dens, or having a child out of wedlock. All of these things and more could lead to interesting stories to tell, not to mention exploration of new nations and sciences.

Our goal is to create a space for the marginalized players to experience being the protagonist of their own Romantic Drama without having to also take on the trauma of real world prejudices turning that story into a tragedy. We have evened the playing field. We hope that you will enjoy trying out this new world with us.


Athena Z Peters

Lead Designer

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