Part of what makes Warhammer an interesting RPG to play is the Career system of character advancement. Instead of gaining “levels” characters instead go through “careers”. Each career has a number of places where the player can spend experience to increase their character’s stats or gain skills and talents. What makes this even more interesting for a GM is the question of how to manage the direction your players decide to take their characters in.
Through the course of a normal campaign the player can decide to some target career as a goal to achieve. This could be something like the Witch Hunter or Wizard Lord or one of the various knighted orders. And in the normal course of the campaign the GM can write the story to fit those circumstances to allow for that progression. In a living campaign, this gets much harder as your target audience is going to be far more general than specific. My solution for this is to create “Opportunities” as part of many of the adventure modules to serve as entries points for these and other careers.
This makes more work for me as I have to make sure I write mods that create these opportunities for all of the characters and not just some of them. At some point I will have to write a module where the characters can be recognized in the peerage of some noble or have the chance to gather a number of grimoires so that they can advance to that career goal. But to be precise in this matter, I would rather have this extra work than to run a campaign where a few people are ruining the fun of everyone else.
For the Opportunities that are presented to the players at the end of The Faire, I have been crafting several careers to start the campaign off with a bonus instead of picking all of the careers from the standard book. I hope to use a couple of my custom careers in story lines in the future. I also want give my players a look into different aspects of the Empire (as I imagine it) through these careers.
Here are two the basic careers I have been working on.
Apprentice Brewmeister — Basic – This is someone who has begun their training in the arts of how to brew beers, ales, and other fermented alcoholic beverages. The knowledge of this individual has been trained in include the basics of brewing and much of the daily chores. They have yet to earn the right to know the Brewmeister’s secret recipes and are forever the subject for the Brewmeister’s many test batches that get made on a daily basis. Though still very much in the peasant, even Apprentices of Brewmeisters are held in some honor for if they are able to complete their training and achieve recognition by the Brew Guild then their talent for turning water into something drinkable are very much be in demand across the Empire and beyond.
Skills: Haggle, Evaluate, Read/Write, Perception, Trade (Brewer (Int)), Consume Alcohol, Gossip or Charm
Talents: Dealmaker or Savvy, Super Numerate or Streetwise, Etiquette or Schemer
Trappings: Notebook, Good quality writing set, Bung Hammer
Career Entries: None, the character must be invited to join.
Career Exits: Brewmiester, Tradesman (other than brewer), Student, Smuggler, Burgher
Apprentice Chef — Basic – Someone who has had basic training in culinary arts. This is someone who is a lackey in the kitchen doing whatever tasks the head chef has decided they don’t want to dirty themselves doing. In exchange for this constant, demeaning work the apprentice gets exposure to the workings of a kitchen and some cooking. Thanks to the chance to observe the character has gained some experience in how to judge the quality of butchered meats, select and identify eatable herbs and vegetables, and prepare some simple meals.
Talents: Dealmaker or Savvy, Resistance to Poison, Streetwise, Luck or Flee!
Skills: Trade (Cook (Int)), Haggle or Evaluate, Perception, Charm or Gossip, Read/Write,
Trappings: Good quality set of pots and pans
Career Entries: None, the character must be invited to join this.
Career Exits: Chef, Student, Valet, Tradesman (other than Chef), Servant
A few things to note. I did some research, going over the career section of the main WFRP book in the hopes of finding a pattern to how the careers were constructed. And at least with the Basic careers there are some. For instance, every basic career has a +2 Wounds advance. Most Basic careers have an average of 20 advances total, 7 of which are primary attribute advances, the previously mentioned 2 wounds, leaving the rest to be split the skills and talents. As for the skills and talents portion, the number of skills varies between 6 and 9, depending on what sort of career it is. Talents usually have a lot of either/or choices presented so in theory a character could get all six talents before exiting the career instead of the proscribed three.
Advanced careers do not seem to have much of a pattern to them. There is a few constants however, and I have one quick observation. Except for two careers, there is always a +4 wound advance in these careers. I could not tell you why the Artisan and Journeyman Wizard got the shaft on this, except to say that they could. Everything else is up for grabs in those careers. As far as I can tell there is no rhyme or reason to their construction. Some careers have over twenty primary stat advancements, while one of them has a mere 14. Skills and talents likewise have no real relation in number between the various careers. It seems that whatever rule system was used to create the Basic careers was abandoned when it came to the Advanced ones. Perhaps it became too burdensome and restricted their creative vision for the game. I really don’t know.
In any case, this analysis I did made it look like at some point there were going to a set of Middle careers to bridge the gap between the current two. There is a certain set that only get 4 wounds and no Action advancements while another set get 5 to 8 wounds and 2 actions. Maybe there is something in the entries/exits that can be shown to form a pattern. Something to look at later, I guess.