Monday, November 2, 2020

Folklore and characters classes

The Good Friends of Jackson Elias podcast discussed how folklore can be used to present varied and often contradictory interpretations of creatures. We often apply this to monsters and mythos entities but I thought that it could be interesting to apply this to the player characters' professions, like how The Witcher and The Mandalorian depict common folks as having all kinds of stories and rumors about their professions, some trues and some false, sometime these rumors profit the characters but sometime they also complicate their live.

You could ask each player to roll and answer up to three rumors about their character class. Their answer are not necessarily trues, but some parts could be. With a small group of players, going around the table and letting each player roll and answer a question to establish a rumor about the other players profession can also be fun. An other option is to roll and answer one question by level. 

If you don't want these rumors to apply to all fighters, cleric and magic-users, make them about a specific character guild.

When the characters explore a new location or region, modify one of their answers to create a local variant.

Folks tell stories about their... (d10)
  1. Origins (How their profession was funded? When? Where? By whom?)
  2. Purpose (What is the official or secret purpose of their profession?)
  3. Recruitment (Who do they recruit and how? What is their initiation?)
  4. Interdictions (What does their coda prevent them to do?)
  5. Obligations (What does their coda force them to do?)
  6. Abilities (What special abilities they are rumored to have)
  7. Gear (What special gear they are rumored to use?)
  8. Affiliation (What secret alliances or grudges they are rumored to have?)
  9. Payments (What they accept as payment? For which task?)
  10. Exploits (What kind of exploits they are rumored to have done? Or which historical events they participated in?) 

People tell stories about the Fighters Guild's...
  • Gear: they only use weapons of defeated foes.
  • Recruitment: they must recruit kids who survive raids or wars if they are holding a weapon when they find them.
  • Payment: you must include a copper piece that tasted blood with their payment
People tell stories about the Thieves Guild's...
  • Origins: the guild was funded by serpent men 600 years ago
  • Abilities: they drink so much poison that their blood is poisonous
  • Obligations: hang a snake skin on your belt or window and they will never rob you.
People tell stories about the Clerics Cult's...
  • Affiliation: the cult has a secret alliance with dwarfs and they will always help them if they give them a piece of hematite as it represents their alliance.
  • Origins: their prophet was petrified, each member of the cult bear a tiny piece of her petrified body.
  • Exploits: during the Iron War, the cult's prayers animated a statue that saved the city.
Now if a cleric of the cult visit a distant village, you can imagine the villagers asking the character to animate their village statue to save them from the ogre that harasses them. Or a soldier asking the character to show them the petrified fragment of their prophet to prove who they are. Or someone giving them an hematite and expecting a service in return.


Captain Crowbar said...

oh, this is lovely. would work even better with a system with lots of microclasses, though, instead of several main classes. like GLOG or Troika!...

Logan said...

That's cool! :D

Josh said...

These are very good specific examples. How evocative. Please make a lot of these.

Reason said...

Good. Yoinked.