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Starting careers help with "Grim"


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#1 Mordenthral

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 11:31 PM

Troll-slayer, Pit fighter and Waywatcher. It's the kind of starting group I am becoming accustomed to seeing in WFRP3 campaign write-ups. Don't you think the game would be a bit more grim and perilous with a starting group that was like this -> Bailiff, Forger and Agitator? Has anyone tried using the option of drawing a single career card for PCs and what you get is what you get? I think it would make for a great story to start as a Commoner, or Boatman.



#2 Yepesnopes

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 12:16 AM

 I am the GM and I decide which is the starting composition of the group for my campaign. The players only discuss between them which one they will like to play.


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#3 k7e9

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 01:06 AM

In the group I currently GM we randomly selected careers, drawing three per player and picking one of them. It resulted in the following careers:

  • Minstrel
  • Barber Surgeon
  • Zelot

The previous group choose their starting careers and were much more powerful, it initially included the following careers:

  • Troll slayer
  • Initiate (Shallya)
  • Envoy
  • Soldier
  • Amber order Apprentice Wizard (only joined us for two sessions or so)

Primarily I noticed that the lack of Shallyan blessings brought a new level of hell to all who suffered critical wounds, diseases etc. While my previous group rarely suffered for long from any ailments my current group struggles to rid themselves of criticals of quite low severity and one of them already (after 4 sessions) has a permanent wound.
Furthermore I believe that the lack of careers with Weapon Skill or Balistic Skill also added to my group's grim struggles.
Also, all characters in my current group has one (or more) physical attributes below 3, initially only the minstrel had 2 active defences avaliable, while the barber surgeon had none (due to the lack of a shield and Str 2, Ag 2).

I believe the Barber Surgeon and the Minstrel have suffered from one ailment or another since the first session we ran. The Zelot has had less problems, probably due to her resilience training and high Toughness value.

They've also been really close to death on several occations, and quite near a total party whipe out as well.

The story so far is far more grim, dangerous and the players in my current group "feel" the pain of their characters and are far more afraid of critical/severe wounds. In the previous group a couple of criticals/severe weren't that much of a problem, since the shallyan would heal them quite efficiently.

So to put more grim into the game, random careers can make a huge difference, allthough I would suggest letting the players draw 2 or 3 careers and then pick their career from those options, so they have some influence over the career choise. The random draw and the sub-optimation of the group has also led to several out of career advancements, to make up for "holes" in their skill sets, which was something I rarely saw in my previous gaming group.

It is a lot of fun playing with less heroic careers in the group. Sure we had great fun with the previous group as well, but when picking randomly the players seem to get other ideas and consider career advancements that are "less normal". Our Barber Surgeon is planning on advancing into Scribe and the Minstrel wants to go into the Rat Catcher career (probably with a small but vicious dog aquired through the 2ed adventure A Dog ate Dog World). The Zelot will probably end up a Witch Hunter (which is a bit more "normal" I guess). So it seems as we might keep the grim feeling at rank 2 and above as well.



#4 Emirikol

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 04:15 AM

Dude, you need to go back to random selection.

Roll in the player's guide or pull the sheets -2 for each player.  Let the players take a look through the stack and then select.  So if you pull a commoner, boatman, performer, peldlar, watchman, and trollslayer, the players can break them up how they want.   If you're a sneaky GM, you'll remove any that you don't want in yoru campaign..SURPRISE!  Look, nobody drew a trollslayer, swordmaster or ironbreaker!  ;)  You also should have a house rule that a player cannot play the same career again in the next campaign.

 

Another thing:  if you're still killing characters through WOUNDS, you need to re-think your approach.  WOUNDS is what drives players to play trollslayers and ironbreakers and swordmasters.  Insanity, traps and mutations are your friend!   Put character damage in there that involves skills other than the usual.

 

jh

p.s. Trollslayers..blech..half-way through the first one, they're boring to GM to..the only thing less interesting to be a GM for is the ironbreaker.



#5 ezradenney

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 05:21 AM

We just did character creation last week (spent a whole session making characters & establishing relationships.) We did the 2 per player random draw, and then let everyone choose from the pool. We have an Agent (who is going to be the nominal party leader since he hired them all..), a scribe, a soldier, a pit-fighter, a commoner, a gambler, and a wood elf hunter. (Yes, I have 7 players. I know, I know. Happily we can usually count on at least one no show..)

I also took out several basic careers to start (but will allow them as career changes - mainly wizards & initiates), and reduced creation points by 5 across the board. Low power is my favorite WFRP!

It was fun to have them pick things that interested them (I didn't let them see any of their career abilities until they chose) and then slowly build a web of connections.

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#6 Captain Fluffy

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 06:34 AM

I have used two alternative systems with some degree of success. 

The first was for a homebrew campaign called "The Last Stand of the Bogenhafen Irregulars".  All but one character had in the past been drafted into the Bogenhafen militia from the scum of the town.  The players got to chose which type of scum they chose to be (from Working Scum, Criminal Scum, VIolent Scum etc).  Each of these sub choices led them to a reduced selection of possible starting careers.  The remaining character had the honor of having once been in charge of the rest during their time in the militia.  They got to chose from an array of careers (all of which were entirely unsuitable for military command - like Burgher or Apprentice Wizard - and therefore entirely appropriate for junior officer material).  We ended up with:-

Burgher

Rat Catcher

Gambler

Barber Surgeon

Pit Fighter

Using a similar system they were later joined by:-

Thief

Watchman

Smuggler

All are human except for the rat catcher who is a dwarf.

For another campaign I laid out 15 random career cards (3 for each player in the group) on the table.  The players could then chose any of these careers but they had to come up with a reason why the party knew each other.  Whilst the 15 random cards included an apprentice wizard, an initiate, a waywatcher and a troll slayer the ones that the players (a different group from the previous one) chose were:

Soldier

Thug

Performer

Barber Surgeon

Rat Catcher

Again all of these were human.

I suspect if I had required to them to create a group background at the time they may have chosen different careers.


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#7 Mordenthral

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 10:40 AM

k7e9 said:

Furthermore I believe that the lack of careers with Weapon Skill or Balistic Skill also added to my group's grim struggles.

Also, all characters in my current group has one (or more) physical attributes below 3, initially only the minstrel had 2 active defences avaliable, while the barber surgeon had none (due to the lack of a shield and Str 2, Ag 2).

I believe the Barber Surgeon and the Minstrel have suffered from one ailment or another since the first session we ran. The Zelot has had less problems, probably due to her resilience training and high Toughness value.

The story so far is far more grim, dangerous and the players in my current group "feel" the pain of their characters and are far more afraid of critical/severe wounds. In the previous group a couple of criticals/severe weren't that much of a problem, since the shallyan would heal them quite efficiently.

So to put more grim into the game, random careers can make a huge difference.

That's great! Exactly the kind of thing I was hoping to hear. Thanks.



#8 k7e9

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 07:15 PM

Mordenthral said:

That's great! Exactly the kind of thing I was hoping to hear. Thanks.

You're welcome.

I thought a bit more about the subject of "Grim" when creating a backup character with one of my players (they are starting to expect death I believe). In this group I started rolling all my dice out in the open, I've allways rolled secretly as a GM in all my previous games. I think it adds to the grim experience as well, the players know in the back of their heads that I can't fudge rolls on their behalf (or against them for that matter), and they know that when a sigmar's comet shows up on an attack I will almost always turn it into a critical hit. It also creates more interest when I'm rolling dice, everyone around the table wants to see if the attack hits and how badly. I very seldom fudged rolls in the past (almost never ever), but rolling out in the open gives the player confirmation that the attack actually missed due to the dice roll, not because I protected them against it.

Granted, they are not allowed to see my creature cards or the creature action cards I'm using since I don't believe they should know stuff like "oh that monster has a strenght of 5 and only a toughness of 4" etc. I have started considering having the creature actions openly on the table though, so they have a jist of how bad a specific attack might be, which might add even more tention/excitement during creature turns.

Something like this:
GM: The flesh hound will tear into you with a vicious bite on you. [throws the card to the player while accumulating dice pool]
Player: Oh man this can make a ton of wounds/criticals. [throws in an active defence or two]
GM: [rolls]

I'll try that out in our next session and see how it works out. Ah well, this post didn't have much to do with starting careers adding to the grim feeling, but still it might help making your game more grim. :)






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