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Warhammer Wednesday #4: A Case for Careers

Written by MythicParty - Published on March 20, 2013

ICareersn this installment examining Games Workshop’s low fantasy RPG, Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay (WFRP) we’ll be looking at the system’s Career concept. Essentially WFRP uses these Careers or professions as a way to show growing experience.  Characters advance through Career after Career, climbing their skill ladders as they gain experience.  So someone who was a Pedlar could become a Trader who in turn could become a Fence & from there a Thief.  A natural progression.  These Career Exits are logical- a Rustler who steals cattle & sheep to then re-sell at markets has exits for either Outlaw or Slaver.  And the usual entrance requirement is straightforward- before you can become an Outlaw Chief (an Advanced Career not open to beginning characters), you’d first have to be an Outlaw.

The initial Career is rolled randomly to demonstrate the character’s past.  It represents what the PC was before they became an ‘adventurer.’  Now the player does have a choice as to the overall Career Class: Warrior, Ranger, Rogue, or Academic.  (these should sound familiar).  But again, what the character WAS before they decided to become an ‘adventurer’ is not something simply picked- its rolled for on the appropriate Career Chart table.

From here the character has 3 ways out: the official Career Exit for 100EP, any of the basic Careers on the Career Chart for their Career Class, or a basic career from another class for 200EP.  Obviously there are some restrictions- you can’t become a Level 2 Wizard without first having been a Level 1 Wizard, &  you can’t get into that without having been a Wizard’s Apprentice.  Additionally, each Career has a set of equipment or Trappings, that are required for the role to function properly.  The general Career Class has a set list for Warriors, Rangers, etc. with each specific Career listing additional items.  To just enter this Career doesn’t immediately require this gear but to gain any skills from it does.  For example, to gain the pistol skill from the Duelist or Highywayman Advanced Careers, “a character will have to obtain a pistol, powder, and shot.” With me so far?

Moreover WFRP clearly states that the GM has the final say about any new Career choices.  From the corebook: “The GM can always refuse to sanction a new career.  If you think the player has not had the opportunity to learn the new skills the character could acquire, then you must refuse the request.”  Moreover the rules insist “that characters have both the time and the money to undertake training for new careers and that they are able to locate the correct teachers for their new path.”  This in & of itself means players will have to interact properly with NPCs if they hope to one day receive lessons they need.

How do we tie all of this back to D&D?  Well to start with, sometimes DMs need to put there foot down about a player’s choice of changing classes.  If the switch isn’t realistic or even logical, then its ok to appropriately use DM Fiat to over rule the player’s proposed class move.  Obviously this should be handled with tact, however the DM as the ‘keeper of the game’ if you will, should keep the good of the campaign in mind.  The other aspect that can be borrowed from WFRP is how necessary teachers & equipment should be taken into account.  If a player who has been playing a Fighter wants to have him take a level in Rogue, then in addition to this needing to be reflected sensibly in the story, the player should somehow have received a form of training to explain their new skills.   Then of course they’ll still need the proper gear to become a Rogue.  Bottom line, WFRP shows us that there is more to simply changing a class then a player simply deciding that they want to.

Written by MythicParty

Dog-loving, movie-watching, pizza aficionado. Content Editor for DMing.com, Project Manager for AvatarArt.com, & player of the coolest characters in a weekly D&D game. Halflings are the real heroes.

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