Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Occupations in Eldritch Tales

Hello and sorry for my hiatus last week. I came down with a head cold and am only now feeling better. In the last post, I mentioned that I wanted to discuss the optional Occupations rules for Eldritch Tales: Lovecraftian White Box Role-Playing.

What are Occupations? Its pretty simple. If the referee so chooses, he or she can allow players to select (or randomly determine) an Occupation for their character. The Occupation tacks directly onto the character class and may or may not overlap with it somewhat. For instance, a player may create an Antiquarian character, then choose the "Professor" occupation for a very focused skill set. Another player may also make an Antiquarian, but choose the "Criminal" occupation, creating a character who specializes in stealing or fencing antiquities. This "mixing and matching" allows players a great amount of character customization in a very simple format  and provides a little "background flavor" for the character.

Occupations may grant small benefits, such as additional starting money, additional contacts, or free equipment, but primarily Occupations grant "Occupational Specialties." Specialties are a set of skills connected to the Occupation and these may overlap with the Class Skills granted by character classes. When a character performs a task related to an Occupational Specialty (and the referee feels a rolls is needed) the player rolls two six-sided diced and takes the better result.

Lets consider our Antiquarian Professor, Reginald Palsgrave. He has the Class Skills: history, literature, general sciences and world mythologies; he gains a +1 bonus to tasks involving these topics. As a Professor of the Social Sciences, Palsgrave gains the Specialties: History, Geography, Anthropology, and Archeology. If he attempts a task related to History, he would roll two dice, take the better result and add 1 to it. If he were trying to determine the type of anthropoid skull found in a tomb, an Anthropology task, he would roll two dice and take the better result. The referee MAY allow him to add his Class Skill bonus from "general sciences" if he felt it was sufficiently linked. The referee determines when a die roll is needed and what bonuses/penalties might apply.

That's it for this week!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Eldritch Tales: Contacts and Characters

Last week, we talked about the four base character classes in Eldritch Tales: Lovecraftian White Box Role-Playing, and I mentioned that every class begins the game with Contacts.

Not even beginning characters live in a vacuum and all have some experience with the world and people. University students are exposed to any number of professors, soldiers meet people from all walks of life, lawyers know experts within the justice system, and so on. Each character begins with at least one close friend who is willing to help out when the character is in need - these are the character's Contacts. Characters may call upon their Contacts to assist in any way they can, dependent on the referee's discretion. However, most Contacts will not break the law or put their lives and livelihoods in jeopardy, and players are advised to remember that just as they may call upon Contacts, Contacts may call upon them. Friendship is a two-way street.

Characters are not restricted to only those Contacts that they start with and may acquire additional Contacts  during the course of the game. There is no set mechanic for gaining Contacts, only that it can be accomplished through role-playing and cultivating connections. Again, the referee is free to control this as he or she wishes.

The make things manageable, Contacts are divided into broad categories - Academic, Criminal, Influential, Legal, Martial, Medical and a final catch-all, General. This division is mostly used during character creation to direct what type of Contacts a beginning character starts with. For instance, an Antiquarian begins with two Academic Contacts - perhaps a curator and a librarian; while a Socialite begins with one Influential contact and any two other contacts - maybe a governor, a detective, and a fence. The choices that a player makes here will help to define the character's background and add some color to the campaign.

Finally, Contacts help the referee craft a story with depth. They can be used as plot devices - anchoring a character to a specific area or interest, connecting characters to the game world, providing motives and goals for characters, they might even present plot hooks to the group and "call in favors."

Next week, I'll discuss Occupations, an entirely optional rule that further defines a character's background and offers greater character customization.

Making friends?

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Character Classes in Eldritch Tales

In Eldritch Tales: Lovecraftian White Box Role-Playing, players take on the roles of average people thrust into maddening and horrifying situations. They investigate Mythos mysteries, learn cosmic secrets and face ancient monstrosities that have plagued the Earth since before mankind.

There are four base classes in Eldritch Tales and these represent a broad spectrum of character types. The Antiquarian is a scholar who gains additional languages as he rises in level and the unique ability to find clues when all other channels fail. Antiquarians might be professors, curators, occultists, antique dealers, amateur scholars, or any other individual interested in seeking knowledge. Antiquarian's skills involve educational studies, such as history, science, and literature. They are largely untrained with weapons but are the only class that gains a bonus against Insanity Saves.

The Combatant is a translation of the Swords & Wizardry fighter class. They have the traditional "combat machine" ability, which might be limited by ammunition at the referee's discretion, and gain an ability to inspire their allies, providing a bonus to saving throws against fear. Their skills include knowledge of tactics and weaponry, fighting styles, and endurance.

Opportunists replace the thief, but fill a similar role - they are adventurers, scoundrels, gentleman rogues, and others who seek fortune and glory. They gain the usual backstab attack and are unusually lucky (may re-roll one failed die roll per session). They skills include perception and stealth, driving and appraisal, and may choose a geographic area in which to specialize. This allows the player to tailor her opportunist however she sees fit - a criminal or detective Opportunist might choose a city, while a globe-trotting archeologist might specialize in Egypt.

Finally, the Socialite rounds out the core classes and allows players the option of a class eminently suited for verbal information gathering and investigation. Socialites are charismatic personas such as actors, politicians, preachers, or con artists, and may hail from any social stratum. They have a special knack for influencing listeners and are skilled at interrogation, impersonation, deception and seduction.

In addition to these attributes, all classes receive a certain number of Contacts to help in their endeavors and may be further customized by inclusion of the optional Occupation rules. Next week, we'll describe Contacts in greater detail.

Which one of this multitude might you be?
Crowd Outside NYSE, Public Domain