The social class is a central aspect of your character’s life that will define much of who he or she is. It is very difficult to change your birth class; freemen who wish to become gentry must establish that they’re sufficiently upstanding (while inside thte game, type help gentry for the details) and gentry who wish to become noble must perform a sufficiently outstanding service to the Crown that the reigning Monarch chooses to grant them a title (see help ennoble).
There are drawbacks and benefits at every level of the social structure. Freemen, true to their name, have a greater freedom in terms of life choices and social strictures; however, they are expected to show respect to their betters in every situation and are unlikely to ever amass considerable power or wealth. Gentry have both wealth and power, but must constantly struggle for respect, without a noble’s legal rights and powers – under the law they are hardly any different than freeman, except in terms of sumptuary (help sumptuary). Nobles have multiple powers granted to them under the law, and can compel respect at the end of a whip if they desire. However, they are expected to abide by strict social rules and marry for duty, rather than love.
The following classes are available for purchase in character generation: freeman and gentry. Serfs/peasants are assumed to exist, though they are not playable. Noble characters exist, but the class is currently closed for purchase.