Sunday, April 14, 2013

Careers in Daredevils

In creating a Daredevils character, the player determines the character's age (4d10 + 12 = years).  Each year equals a Development Point.  Each Development Point can be used in one of three ways:
(a) obtain an initial score in a Skill.
(b) increase a Skill's score by 2d6. (“The values for a score in a Skill range from 0 to 100.”)
(c) increase Attribute scores by 1d3.
This is a viable process, but bland when compared to the “advanced” character generation rules.

“Advanced character set-up” in Daredevils incorporates careers.  Of course, Traveller did it first, but at the time (1982) career options in Traveller were (in my opinion) limited and disappointing.  A character could serve in the military, the scouts, or the merchants.  Everything else – the 'Other' career – was considered “unproductive” and consisted of “some trades, ne'er-do-wells, and the shady realm of the underworld.”  Also tiresome was that fact that Traveller characters – in the course of being generated – could die or suffer a career ending injury.

The possible careers in Daredevils are:  Academia, Athlete/Sportsman, Big Game Hunter, Bon Vivant/Dilitante (sic), Business, College, Crime, Explorer, Law Enforcement, Military, Politician, Soldier of Fortune, Working Life, and Writer/Journalist.  (If the optional 'gimmick' rules are in play, Inventor is a possible career.)  In Daredevils, a player character can have multiple careers.  A player rolls 4d10 to determine the number of 'career years' for his or her character.  Once a career is chosen (and assuming the character meets the career requirements), 2d6 are rolled to determine the number of years spent in said career.  Once the 'term' ends, the character can enter a different career or take another term in the same career.  In the first year of a new career, the character acquires any Automatic Skills that the career provides.  For each subsequent year:  the character may learn one of the career's Available Skills, improve a previously learned Skill (provided it is listed among the career's Automatic or Available Skills), or increase Attribute scores by 1d3.

Daredevils characters created with the “advanced” rules are deprived of the twelve Development Points that “basic” characters receive.  Also, the Skill choices of “advanced” characters are constrained by what a given career allows.  However, some careers provide more than one Automatic Skill.  Also, much like 'mustering out' benefits in Traveller, careers offer the potential of cash, income, and material benefits.  For instance, the material benefits for the 'Crime' career are:  “Pistol (15%); Lockpicks (15%); Thompson sub-machine gun (5%); Car (5%).”  So, if a character engages in two 'terms' of the Crime career, that character has two 15% chances to obtain a pistol.  (I would have had it so that chance increases based upon the number of years spent in the career, but I would have limited eligibility for particular items to those characters with an appropriate Skill.)  By the way, a character who participates in the Crime career is not necessarily a criminal.  According to page 15, such a character...
...moves in circles outside the law but, assuming he is a hero, does not actually break it (without cause).  He operates on the fringes of the criminal world, in espionage, etc.
However, characters in the Crime career run the risk of “acquiring a criminal record whether it is deserved or not.”

Perhaps the most interesting feature of the “advanced” method is that actual history can have an effect upon characters' pre-adventure careers.  When the Great War begins, characters can interrupt their current careers and enlist (or possibly be drafted).  Crime career characters get more cash during Prohibition.  The crash of '29 can cause Politicians to be kicked out of office and characters in the Business career can incur a huge debt.  This requires careful tracking of a character's history.  The 4d10 result is subtracted from the year of the campaign to determine when a character begins his or her first career.  (The character is 14 + 1d6 years old at this point.)

It would require a great deal of work to implement, but imagine a fantasy role-playing game with a Daredevils style career system integrated into a campaign history.  “What side was your warrior on during the War of the Night Kings?”  “Since you were a spellcaster during the Conclave of the Blue Warlocks, there might be ramifications for your spell book...” “You were caught during your time as a thief; if you fumble a Luck roll, you lose a hand as part of your punishment.”  “Wyvern Riding is a Skill only available to the Amazon and Ranger careers.”

1 comment:

  1. I think the advanced character generation sounds awesome. I used to sit around and roll up Traveller characters just for the fun of it. When generation characters this way it just seems like you get a ton of background for the character to work with and it's fun. Seems like you could make a game out of creating characters.