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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Using WhiteHack Vocations with DCC RPG

One of the best things about the OSR is the easiness to steal things from different games and insert them in your current one without much fuss. Whitehack, for example, has a great simple mechanic that lets you put more color into your character, at the same time it let's you contribute to the world creation and his abilities. Vocations can also be easily inserted in other games, like my favorite one, the Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG.

In Whitehack, every character gets to chose some words (called groups) that associates it with some element of the game, be it a career (like barbarian, pirate, desert raider, astrologer), an organization (Order of the Chroniclers, The Seven Stars Society, The Purple Hats), a race or culture (Shadow Elves, Atlantean, Cimmerean, Diamond Dwarf) and other things. This lets the players link their characters to some aspect of the game world and gives them some identifiable characteristics (not to mention the possibility of creating campaign elements by themselves doing that). The other thing that it does is allow the player to roll and ability check relevant to this element twice and keep the better result.

DCC RPG has something slightly similar with the zero level occupations. It determines stuff you character is considered trained at, and allows you to make a trained check (using a d20 instead of a d10). However, I think it would not be out of place to give the characters a Vocation once they achieve 1st level and a character class. This would allow you to customize your character without many mechanical changes and give him some more color. A warrior could have a vocations like "barbarian", "mercenary", "soldier", "knight" or something else like "disciple of the Scarlet Swordsmen" or something. A wizard could be an "astrologer", "necromancer", "elementalist", "druid". The possibilities are practically endless. One way it could work is like this.

Vocations in DCC RPG 

Once a character achieves first level and choses a character class, the player may also chose a Vocation or other word aspect that personalize his character. This can be an specific branch of his adventuring career, an organization he is a member, a culture or race he is part of, or other element that is important to define who he is and what he knows or is capable of doing. The player can note his Vocation between parenthesis after his class, like Warrior (Mercenary)

Effects in play:  Every time a character is about to make an ability or skill check in which his Vocation is relevant in a positive way, he can step up his dice in the dice chain one time. On the other hand, whenever he would make a similar check and the Vocation would get in his way, he would roll with –1d on the dice chain.

Effects in the Game World: Another non mechanical effect of these Vocations is the establishment of fiction elements by the players in conjunction with the judge. When a player says his warrior is a member of the "Justicars of the Black Cape", they can discuss what that means in the game world, who those people are, and what kind of situations this vocation might interfere with (both in a positive and negative ways). It's a good rule of thumb to restrict these kind of creations to things that have some connection with previous elements on past adventures. Maybe the character who became a warrior were a black cape in his previous adventure and now formed a small band of link minded people to act as justicars and them all wear black capes.

Example Vocations per Core Rulebook Classes 

Cleric: Paladin, Shaman, Spirit Talker, Order of the Blind Guardians, Church of the Red Priests, Punisher of Lost Faith.
Thief: Assassin, Acrobat, Bard, Master of Disguises, Company of the Shadowmen, Guild of the Grey Thieves.
Warrior: Barbarian, Soldier, Mercenary, Knight, Justicars of the Black Cape, Order of the Silver Shield.
Wizard: Astrologer, Necromancer, Elementalist, Druid, Circle The Seven Stars, Fellowship of Lost Souls.
Dwarf: Guardian, Shield Maiden, Defender of the Clan, Order of the Diamond Shield.
Elf: Demonologist, Dreamspeaker, Son of the Ancients, Keeper of the Scrolls.
Halfling: Ranger, Explorer, Brotherhood of the Silver Spoon, Albino Halflings.