Tuesday, 26 April 2011

V is for Vagabond

The Vagabond is described in the WFRP core rule book as follows:
Vagabonds love life on the road. The traditional Peasant or Burgher existence seems like prison to them. Who wants to wake up in the same village or city every day, doing the same thing as yesterday? Vagabonds are footloose wanderers who look on each day as a new adventure. They may take on odd jobs here and there to earn some brass, but they never stay in one place for long. The road beckons, with the promise of something better always over the next hill. While they do love to travel, they are not ignorant of the dangers of the road. Vagabonds can thus often be found in traveling companies, formed for mutual protection. The law has little love for these groups and in many places Vagabonds are viewed as common criminals.

Vagabond is one of over 220 official careers spanning the 22+ source books (all compiled in the Career Compendium). First edition had 103 (if you count the wizard types). The character career in context of the career path, and the career system itself, are collectively one of the deepest wells of role playing and story development at the table.

Character advancement is driven by completing the career a character is currently working in. Completing a career means finding teachers to teach skills (in cities and in the wilderness), acquiring "trappings" of the career (by merchant or theft), improving mind, body and soul (by natural and unnatural means). All the while  seeking adventure in the odd job or visiting a watering hole to listen to tales of the undead plaguing the farmer whose fields are to close to the cemetery or chasing the laggards of a goblin raid.

The "career system" as it has come to be called since introduced in 1e is probably the single most recognizable character mechanic of WFRP. Mention the system to most experienced RPG players and WFRP is often at the top of the list of games that employ the system.

There are iconic careers of WFRP. The rat catcher (and his small, but vicious dog), the Troll Slayer, and the Witch Hunter. And like the Vagabond, all evoke the gritty, grim and perilous world of Warhammer.
Posted by caffeinated at 7:00 AM in d10