GURPS Dungeon Fantasy has a nifty notation for it’s non-human races: “Marginal Professions” and “Favored Professions.” Basically, “this is going to be hard due to your race” or “this is going to be easier due to your race.” Now, if we go old skool races had an impact on your character class – why? Because reasons. Because a given race could become unbalanced with a given class. Additionally, some races (as well as high attributes) allowed you to gain a bonus to XP. Both ideas have merit, but how to do something like that in a point-based system like GURPS?
As it turns out, it’s pretty easy. For GMs looking for such a feel simply use the following:
- Favored Professions: As long as you are mostly performing the duties of your template (if you have more than one) during a game session and it’s one of your listed favored professions you get a bonus +1 character point at the end of any game sessions above and beyond whatever you’d normally get. For example, if your character is a knight and you do most of the fighting when combat comes up, you get a bonus character point at the end of the session.
- Marginal Profession: As above, but you lose 1 bonus character point awarded during the game (minimum of 1 character point per session). This loss affects your character no matter what, though if you’ve got another profession and use it almost entirely the GM may waive this penalty.
- What About Humans? Humans don’t have either a Favored or Marginal Profession so the GM can either ignore these rules for them or allow them to purchase a 10-point Unusual Background that allows them to pick one Favored Profession.and gain the benefits listed above.
Picking Over the Bones
I’m a fan of these little “micro” rules add ons since they are easy to institute and fun to use. A bit of under-the-hood action: this is just an application of using Impulse Buys with “Cosmic, Allows for permanent gains in specific circumstances.” (+100%). Note that I’d never allow the modifier on most Impulse Buys without lots of GM oversight.
Overall, this micro-rule enforces stereotypes and compels certain races to certain niches, which the GM may or may not want. Be careful before using it!
I always found the favored class rules needless and annoying. Different strokes for different folks I suppose.
I always thought they were pretty cool, myself, but yeah. Some like it. Some don't.
I have to agree with Kyle on this one. You're already getting a synergy effect with favoured profession or have to make a suboptimal combination work with marginal profession.
And while TBone's treatment of earn-points-as-you-go disadvantages finally convinced me that point generators are not always a bad idea, there should be a /dramatic/ cost to pay. For example, the barbarian wading into deadly combat naked or the knight refusing to parlay with a dangerous, but diplomatic monster, because it is a sworn enemy of the realm. That would be worty to earn a point. Heavy fighting as a knight, disarming traps as a thief and weaving spells as a wizard. That's just business as usual.
Nitpick: "moat of the fighting" should be "most of the fighting".
That's fair. As you know I like to throw spaghetti against the wall and see what sticks. Not everything I do will be perfect, amazing, or somehow eye-opening. The failure is as important as the success to me. 🙂