modelling the mundane.

From: Bryan Thexton <bethexton_at_...>
Date: Mon, 12 Jun 2000 08:07:38 -0700 (PDT)

While I generally like the character creation rules in HW, there is one area in which I find them weak. If you try and design a character who had a "normal" occupation, but is now being driven towards heroism, the skill model doesn't work well and there is an incredible dearth of supporting material in the core rules.  

The everyday Joe who has been driven towards a hero's path by events beyond his (or her) control is a staple of fiction. The farmer who has been taxed off the land, the crafter who's family was murdered, the servant who's loyalty was either betrayed, or extends past death to complete the master's work....there are all sorts of possibilities.  

But....first of all, the assignment of skill levels is a bit of a problem. Assuming you aren't starting the character at the moment of the branching of the path, you may want to say that now the character is a warrior (or whatever), and then use your list or character description to fill in the other occupation.  For the sake of example, say farmer. What you end up with is a broad suite of warrior skills at 17, and selected farmer's skills at 13. Granted you could make use your 5W or one of your two 1W skills for farming, but this implies that you were a master farmer, maybe not the intent. This issue goes beyond the simple newly minted hero--in general you are good at your occupation, excellent in a couple of chosen areas, and just barely beyond a beginner at anything else.  

A couple of fixes for this would be to either let a 1W skill be traded for two or three skills at a somewhat lower level (say take two skills at a 17), or else to at least let each character have two or three skills at perhaps a 15, to reflect that outside of your occupation and religion you may have a couple of areas where you are good, but not brilliant. I don't think either suggestion is unbalancing, but are obviously up to each groups preferences.  

The second area is tougher. A lot of it a broader Gloranthan issue that will hopefully be addressed in some of the source books. Occupational key words can be invented, but having some guidelines for the major non-adventuring occupations would sure be handy. More critically, almost all of the magic key words presented so far are aimed at adventurer/hero types. I'd like to know what feats a typical farmer might imrprovise--He might be an Orlanth worshipper, but all the same I bet he worships an aspect that is focussed more on getting the right weather to his crops than in summoning tornadoes or smiting his enemies with lightning. Adapting this to a more heroic use could present really interesting roll playing challenges. (If you want a real challenge and have your newly minted hero worshipping Barntar, you have to create the entire cult, of course).  

There isn't a ton that can be done on the cult issues until the source books come out, but I do hope that they do address the occupations and magic of the bulk of the population.  

Finally, on a semi-related side note, does anyone have suggestions on how the Issaries-related Spare Grain sub-cult would be implemented in Hero Wars? Equivalent to a hero cult that is open to non-Issarians perhaps?  


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