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GMs need the "boring" careers.


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#1 Jericho

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Posted 24 August 2009 - 03:40 PM

Hello everyone,

I am quite intrigued and excited by the new V3 of my favorite game.

The only thing that bugs me is this:

30 careers in the core, 10 extra careers for 30$.

That's 40 careers to start with. We have over 100 in v2... THat is a great problem !

Why ?

Because the career system is used first and foremost to make... NPCs !!!

Any game needs far more NPCs than PCs, and there is a need for a great variety of NPCs too !

The major strength of WFRP has always been the career system as an enabler for GMs first and foremost.

I am writing this down as a new thread because I want the FFG staff to read this.

And I would very much like to know your thoughts regarding this issue.

Are the cities of the Empire to be populated by thousands of generic "burghers" and "watchman/militiaman" with "academics" as their surgeons, apothecaries, scribes, clerks, lawyers, magistrates... ? That would be a direct dumbing down of the Old World and something very DnDish in the end... Remember the dreaded "normal human" ?


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#2 Reclusiarch

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Posted 24 August 2009 - 04:51 PM

The "boring" careers you mention is sometimes the most fun to play. Unlikely heroes thrust into a dangerous world. I too am concerned that most careers will be far more heroic then the careers we are used to. And only 30 is far less then we're used to.

There will be plenty of race specific careers as well it seems, so that narrows down the careers one can take as well.

Hopefully we can get some clarification on this once the video dairies come up.



#3 Hellebore

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Posted 24 August 2009 - 05:10 PM

That will most likely be because NPCs have their own standard statlines in the books ala Dark Heresy. They probably won't get the special attacks PCs get either.

 

Hellebore



#4 Redcrow

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Posted 24 August 2009 - 07:26 PM

My guess is that they may release some sort of GMs Toolkit boxed set at some point which might include a Beastiary with several monster/npc cards.

Or maybe keeping track of Monsters/NPCs will be even easier (I hope) than that for the GM.



#5 egalor

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Posted 24 August 2009 - 09:03 PM

Do you think it will be possible to introduce custom careers, or just convert those from v1-2?



#6 jackdays

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Posted 24 August 2009 - 09:14 PM

So now we have Heroic careers and NPC careers? Only Heroic are found in the books. If that is so, I have to say that is SO big step closer to D&D and away from the good-old-WFRP. I'm also very worried about these careers and that basic set has so few.

I like to bring my "Sailor-Problem" in to these cases. We soon realise that no high-sea adventures are possible, because there is now skills (or actions) OR any careers for high-seas. Well, not until one day there is some new package, which details these aspects. This problem could be with many other careers, which are no longer found from the core-boxes.


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#7 macd21

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Posted 24 August 2009 - 11:14 PM

I disagree that 'non-heroic' careers are something that only the GM would want, as there is no such thing as a non-heroic career IMO. However, I don't think that GMs will need stats for NPC careers either. It is my hope that they take the DH aproach to NPC generation - just assign whatever stats you feel appropriate. If you want to stat up an NPC Innkeeper, you don't need to look up the Burgher career, check what skills and ability upgrades the NPC would get from that, then 'advance' him to the Innkeper career, adding more skills from that. Instead you should just decide on what would be suitable stats for and Innkeeper and leave it at that.

Basically careers are there to provide a balanced system for PC generation and advancement and should have nothing to do with NPCs.



#8 Tiacapan

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Posted 25 August 2009 - 12:25 AM

In my opinion the most interesting games come from taking a group of nobodies and turning them into "heroes" over the course of a campaign.  I'm about to embark on a 2E game with the following party :

Human Rogue, Wood Elf Burglar, Human Servant (Barmaid), Human Bodyguard, Halfling Chimney Sweep, Human Thief (Window Fisher),  Human Tomb Robber and a Human Smuggler.

And yes I know it's a big group (one of my other issues with 3E is the apparent additional cost of increasing group size).  My view is that WFRP was built for underdogs not heroes and we wouldn't have it any other way.  Any system lets you be a knight or a wizard or barbarian, there's something unique abut WFRP's love for the ratcatcher and dungscraper that I worry is going to be lost.



#9 Varnias Tybalt

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Posted 25 August 2009 - 01:52 AM

Uhm, you guys actually use the rules when creating NPC's? Sounds like a lot of headache. I just make them the way I want and arbitrarily input the skills, talents and traits etc. that I think my NPC's would have with no regards what so ever to any career systems and such...



#10 Hellebore

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Posted 25 August 2009 - 02:11 AM

Hereoes aren't magical creatures unbound by the laws of reality though. They will experience and advance just as anyone else. There is no good reason a PC barkeeper shouldn't have the same abilities as an NPC barkeeper, excluding any previous careers the PC may have followed. But then, there is no reason the barkeeper wasn't a ratcatcher as a teenager either.

 

The whole 'PCs are super special with superspecial unique attacks abilities' mindset is what gives us the D&D hero and the level 1 commoner.

WFRP reflected that reality well by differentiating PCs and NPCs using only Fate - you aren't fated to die in the gutter (yet) but are otherwise like anyone else.

 

If 3rd ed uses the D&D NPC mentality then I won't bother with it. DH's NPCs drift closer to this, but are fairly well designed and so don't really suffere from mookdom. I only hope 3rd ed doesn't cross that line because it's a line I loathe. You are the protagonist of the story, but it doesn't make you superior, it makes you different. If any other peasant was in your position they too could have gone through 4 different careers and become a far better swordsman. Assuming their lack of Fate didn't draw things to a premature end.

 

Hellebore



#11 jadrax

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Posted 25 August 2009 - 02:14 AM

Hellebore said:

 

If 3rd ed uses the D&D NPC mentality then I won't bother with it. DH's NPCs drift closer to this, but are fairly well designed and so don't really suffere from mookdom. I only hope 3rd ed doesn't cross that line because it's a line I loathe. You are the protagonist of the story, but it doesn't make you superior, it makes you different. If any other peasant was in your position they too could have gone through 4 different careers and become a far better swordsman. Assuming their lack of Fate didn't draw things to a premature end.

I think that sort of thing has its place, but that place is not the Warhammer Universe.

Also it would make the game very similar in tone to D&D, which I cannot help but think would mean it will lose its niche in the market.



#12 macd21

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Posted 25 August 2009 - 03:01 AM

Hellebore said:

If 3rd ed uses the D&D NPC mentality then I won't bother with it. DH's NPCs drift closer to this, but are fairly well designed and so don't really suffere from mookdom. I only hope 3rd ed doesn't cross that line because it's a line I loathe. You are the protagonist of the story, but it doesn't make you superior, it makes you different. If any other peasant was in your position they too could have gone through 4 different careers and become a far better swordsman.

Using different rules for NPC than PCs isn't a DnD thing. In fact DnD was a bit behind the times when it came to accepting that development. As you pointed out above, DH NPCs don't use the PC character gen rules. The fact is that using the same rules to create PCs and NPCs is unnecessarily time consuming. And it certainly doesn't necessitate the NPCs being mooks. You just assign them the abilities you think are appropriate. If the Innkeeper was a ratcatcher in the past, give him some ratcatcher skills. If he was a veteran of the Storm of Chaos, give him some swordfighting skills.



#13 Hellebore

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Posted 25 August 2009 - 03:11 AM

macd21 said:

Hellebore said:

 

If 3rd ed uses the D&D NPC mentality then I won't bother with it. DH's NPCs drift closer to this, but are fairly well designed and so don't really suffere from mookdom. I only hope 3rd ed doesn't cross that line because it's a line I loathe. You are the protagonist of the story, but it doesn't make you superior, it makes you different. If any other peasant was in your position they too could have gone through 4 different careers and become a far better swordsman.

 

 

Using different rules for NPC than PCs isn't a DnD thing. In fact DnD was a bit behind the times when it came to accepting that development. As you pointed out above, DH NPCs don't use the PC character gen rules. The fact is that using the same rules to create PCs and NPCs is unnecessarily time consuming. And it certainly doesn't necessitate the NPCs being mooks. You just assign them the abilities you think are appropriate. If the Innkeeper was a ratcatcher in the past, give him some ratcatcher skills. If he was a veteran of the Storm of Chaos, give him some swordfighting skills.

 

It wasn't seperate rules per se I was talking about, but the D&D NPC mentality in general. You cannot create mooks using PC creation rules, so any ruleset that doesn't use that to create NPCs opens itself up to this mentality. If NPC stats don't come from the same generational mechanics as PC stats, then they are capable of being mooked far easier.

I don't mean slavishly follow the career paths, I mean using PC careers as the basis for NPCs IN that career. Use the stat generation as a baseline don't ignore it completely.

 

As soon as NPC stats are treated seperately and are not tied to PC stats in any way, you run the risk of segregating them completely into cannon fodder rules.

Hellebore

 



#14 Necrozius

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Posted 25 August 2009 - 03:23 AM

Not all players WANT to be a "sword boy" or a "horse s#!t shoveller", though.

Whatever. My player's will be happy with a good mix of gritty realism for starting careers and heroic careers for later down the road.



#15 Jericho

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Posted 25 August 2009 - 04:50 AM

macd21 said:

Using different rules for NPC than PCs isn't a DnD thing. In fact DnD was a bit behind the times when it came to accepting that development. As you pointed out above, DH NPCs don't use the PC character gen rules. The fact is that using the same rules to create PCs and NPCs is unnecessarily time consuming. And it certainly doesn't necessitate the NPCs being mooks. You just assign them the abilities you think are appropriate. If the Innkeeper was a ratcatcher in the past, give him some ratcatcher skills. If he was a veteran of the Storm of Chaos, give him some swordfighting skills.

Exactly.

But how will you give him "ratcatching skills" if the ratcatcher career doesn't exist to give you ideas on what these skills should be ? And not to mention that you will never think of giving your innkeeper a past as a ratcatcher, since ratcatchers no longer exist...

Of course, you could accuse me of having no imagination, but it is a fact that the careers help GMs convey a fully fleshed out Old World society without needing any degree in Renaissance social history. That is a fantastic asset for the game.

Newbies, especially younger ones, will never think of baillifs and stewards and scribes without the help from the ruleset.

The career system, if fully fleshed out, answers all these needs in one fell swoop, and as a bonus gives players more diversity to choose from when creating their characters.

I think it would be an error if V3 didn't take this into account. Of course, if the future of WFRP is only about troll slayers and neer do wells fighting pitched battles against greenskins, beastmen and cultists, then no need for all of those "boring" socially realistic careers. Watchman and innkeeper will be all you need to flesh out this cardboard cuttout version of the Old World.


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#16 Varnias Tybalt

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Posted 25 August 2009 - 05:15 AM

Jericho said:

But how will you give him "ratcatching skills" if the ratcatcher career doesn't exist to give you ideas on what these skills should be ? And not to mention that you will never think of giving your innkeeper a past as a ratcatcher, since ratcatchers no longer exist...

Of course, you could accuse me of having no imagination, but it is a fact that the careers help GMs convey a fully fleshed out Old World society without needing any degree in Renaissance social history. That is a fantastic asset for the game.

We'll help you out. Don't worry.

So you need to know what skills a ratcatcher would have? No prob, just try to BE the ratcatcher. What skills would be useful to you when catching rats? Being able to make and set traps is a no-brainer, but perhaps some of the rats out there are smart and demands that you hunt them? Being able to sneak would be useful for this. Some ratcathers probably use poison to kill off vermin, so some knowledge of poisons, their making and how to get the proper ingredients would be apt for a ratcatcher to know. etc. etc.

Im sure you'll have a perfectly plausible ratcatcher in no time by thinking like this, despite the fact that their careers aren't listed in a book.



#17 macd21

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Posted 25 August 2009 - 06:39 AM

Ok, we now know there are going to be "agitators, apprentice wizards, commoners, dilettantes, soldiers, thugs, zealots, and many more."



#18 Mikael Hasselstein

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Posted 25 August 2009 - 06:49 AM

 

 

 

Varnias Tybalt said:

 

Uhm, you guys actually use the rules when creating NPC's? Sounds like a lot of headache. I just make them the way I want and arbitrarily input the skills, talents and traits etc. that I think my NPC's would have with no regards what so ever to any career systems and such...

 

 

 

I like having all the different described careers to help me flesh out the NPCs who are more than extras in my stories.  I like putting some curbs on my own arbitrariness as a GM by having fleshed-out plausible NPCs. I find all those careers helpful in this.

 

I also like having my PC come from origins rooted in everyday Warhammer society, and not necessarily professional adventurers from the start.

 

Lastly, I think that the publishing history of WFRP has demonstrated that there has been a demand for more careers. Note all the different supplements from v1 and v2 that had extra careers available in them. FFG even published the Career Compendium which bundled all (or most) of these (from v2), so it's not as if this has escaped them.

This may mean that they're simply trying to slim this game down to a ready-out-of-the-box-heroes game concept (which is VERY D&Dish). However, I suspect that they're going to introduce and try to sell the other careers in later supplements. Given the rather steep price for the core box, and all the physical gamings aids they want to produce, I imagine that these other supplements are going to be expensive too.

I still need a good reason to move from v2 to v3. I'm simply not going to play v3 if they're going to try to milk me as their cash cow, without which they give me something that I cannot get in v2. I have absolutely no assurances that they're ever going to produce as much material as was produced for v2, so the argument that v3 is being actively published while v2 is not is not one that holds any water for me. This is made even more poignant by the idea that they're going to be producing extra career supplements, the effort for which could be put into producing sourcebooks.



#19 Cynical Cat

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Posted 25 August 2009 - 08:14 AM

GM's don't need the "boring" careers, but they are quite useful and should be retained. 



#20 jadrax

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Posted 25 August 2009 - 08:20 AM

Cynical Cat said:

GM's don't need the "boring" careers, but they are quite useful and should be retained. 

Yes, "need" is always a problematic word, as you do not "need" anything to run an RPG.






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