Occupations for OSR PCs (WIP/Playtest)
THIS IS A WORK IN PROGRESS. FEEDBACK AND PLAYTESTING IS GREATLY APPRECIATED!
This is by no means anything terribly original, but I feel that there is room for a tiny additional segment of character creation that could add something interesting. I'm revising the Dungeon Crawl Classics occupation chart to fit my purposes for Old School Essentials (I will be referencing sections from the Old School Essentials Rules Tome). If you're familiar with DCC, one of the neat ways it interfaces with its 3e roots is that it has a very simplified skill system. This format CAN be translated directly into Old School Essentials (B/X) in several ways, but you run the risk of introducing an entire new d20 based skill system. Instead, my aim is to introduce slight benefits that work directly with the pre-existing format. When gaps are presented that can be filled in, I'll try to fill those in. I've removed some of the occupations and added several that I felt were missing.
Basically, after you roll your stats, you roll on this table to determine what occupation your new character held before becoming a 1st level PC. The resulting occupation will inform you on some alternate stat rolls you can do (roll the new one and take the higher) and very specific mechanical changes for your character to add flavor. The reasoning for this is I don't want a character to have a previous occupation that seems nonsensical when paired with their ability scores. If the referee wishes, in the spirit of rules-light gaming, you can simply have the player get the occupation name and improvise the benefits rather than using the suggested ones here, OR you can keep the mechanics GM-facing so that they stay focused on immersion, just giving them the information on a need-to-know basis.
Any equipment that they start with per the Occupation is usable in spite of class restrictions, barring the Cleric's inability to use edged weapons, the Magic-User's inability to wear armor, or the Dwarf/Halfling's size restrictions.
Demihumans are mostly unchanged. The focus here is on humans. The lower frequency that one will land on a demihuman occupation guarantees that getting to play as them is more of a rare luxury; it feeds into the idea that humans are the focus.
Process: Roll your stats as normal, roll a d100, record your occupation, roll your stat replacements if applicable (keep the old one if it's higher), record your Occupation feature, and record your additional starting equipment.
Note: Any bonuses/penalties to Reaction Rolls should to cap at a cumulative +3 or -3, CHA bonus included. The 2d6 reaction roll structure is not designed for modifiers going any larger than that.
1. Alchemist - INT 2d6+6. Begins with fundamental knowledge of alchemical formulae and processes as well as 1d4 randomly determined Basic level potions. Has a 3-in-6 chance of being able to identify Basic level potions and a 1-in-6 chance of being able to identify Expert level potions by smell and appearance.
2. Animal Trainer - DEX 2d6+6. +2 bonus to Reaction Rolls with animal encounters. Starts with a trained dog that can follow basic commands and has a Loyalty of 10.
3. Armourer - STR 2d6+6. Functions as Armourer (see Specialists) during downtime, offering a means to create equipment with rare metals or earn gold for hire. Starts with Chainmail.
4. Astrologer - INT 2d6+6. It takes one turn to provide a prediction. See bottom section for details on divination.
The Astrologer begins with a set of their preferred tools.
5. Baker - CON 2d6+6. The Baker is well fed, and as such, is particularly sturdy. They have a +1 on Saving Throws vs Poison / Death. They start with 7 days of normal rations.
6. Barber - DEX 2d6+6. The Barber can give fresh cuts with clean scissors and razors, giving a +1 bonus on Reaction Rolls with humans and demihumans. Starts with a pair of scissors and a straight razor.
7. Beadle - WIS 2d6+6. They are privy to insights that may help with dealings with Church authorities, granting a +1 to Reaction Rolls when encountering Church officials. They start with a Holy Symbol as appropriate to the campaign world.
8-10. Beggar - CON 2d6+6. The Beggar knows how to effectively ration food, consuming 2/3 as much as the average adventurer per day. The Beggar has a 4-in-6 chance of determining if the food they are about to eat is spoiled.
11. Blacksmith - STR 2d6+6. Functions as Blacksmith (see Specialists section of rulebook) during downtime, offering a means to work rare metals or earn gold for hire. They start with a sword.
12. Butcher - STR 2d6+6. The Butcher cuts meat more effectively, yielding more food. They can also spot rotten meat on a 4-in-6 chance. Starts with cleaver and cutting knife.
13. Caravan Guard - STR 2d6+6. Will be familiar with trade routes in starting region and is less likely to be surprised by banditry. Starts with Sword.
14-15. Chef - CON 2d6+6. Able to produce high quality meals with appropriate ingredients, giving hirelings a +1 to their loyalty rating for loyalty checks for up to 3 days. Starts with Chef's Knife and jar of preserved spices.
16-17. Cobbler - DEX 2d6+6. The cobbler can easily repair shoes and boots. Starts with pieces of leather, thread, needle, awl.
18. Con Artist - CHA 2d6+6. The Con Artist has a 2 in 6 chance of being known as a crook by someone when he or she enters a town, but starts with an additional 3d6 gold pieces and gets a +1 on Reaction Rolls with impressionable NPCs who don't know their crimes.
19-20. Carpenter - STR 2d6+6. The carpenter is skilled in making wooden structures with basic architecture. Starts with hammer, 20 nails, handsaw.
21-22. Costermonger - CHA 2d6+6. The Costermonger is a keen negotiator, and can routinely talk people into discounting an item or a service by 1d4 x 5 percent. Starts with 5 days of normal rations in the form of assorted fruits.
23. Cutpurse - DEX 2d6+6. The cutpurse begins with the ability to Pick Pockets as a level1 Thief (20% chance of success), or one level higher than their normal ability if they are a Thief. They begin with a small knife, 3d8 cp, 3d6 sp, and 2d4 gp.
24-25. Ditch-digger - STR 2d6+6. While normal people can expect to dig a 3'³ hole in 10 minutes with a shovel, the Ditch-digger can dig a 5'³ hole in that amount of time. Starts with a shovel.
26-29. Farmer - STR 2d6+6. Roll a d6. On 1-3, the farmer starts with a livestock animal, on a 4-6, the farmer starts with 5 days of rations from vegetables or grain. They have a 3-in-6 chance of detecting an oddity with soil or livestock behavior.
30. Fortune-teller - CHA 2d6+6. The Fortune teller can take a turn to use their preferred method of telling one's fortune. It takes one turn to provide a prediction. See bottom section for details on divination. The player has the choice of specializing in palm reading, tarot reading, and throwing the bones. They start with the Fortune telling tool of their choice.
31. Gambler - WIS 2d6+6. If the Gambler should have the appropriate information, the referee rolls an intelligence check on their behalf. If they succeed, the referee can give them the estimated odds of success for a given plan or action. An inaccurate assessment can be provided if they fail the check or are lacking information. The Gambler starts with either a deck of cards or a set of dice.
32-33. Gongfarmer - CON 2d6+6. The Gongfarmer's common exposure to germs and filth means that they have a higher resistance to disease, get a +1 on Poison saving throws, and are less likely to be grossed out by bad smells or filth. Starts with a spade and a sack of nightsoil (doodie).
34-35. Grave digger - STR 2d6+6. The gravedigger has the same benefits as the Ditch-digger. While normal people can expect to dig a 3'³ hole in 10 minutes with a shovel, the Grave-digger can dig a 5'³ hole in that amount of time. Starts with a shovel.
36. Herbalist - INT 2d6+6. The Herbalist has a 3-in-6 chance to find useful herbs during a day of wilderness travel in lush regions, 2-in-6 in average regions, and 1-in-6 in sparse regions. An Herbalist can use these herbs to prepare herbal drinks, teas, topical agents, etc that are more prolonged in treatment than an alchemist's potion, but require less equipment and expertise to prepare.
37-38. Herder - CON 2d6+6. The Herder is able to soothe spooked livestock animals and detect oddities in their behavior with a 4-in-6 chance. Starts with a herding dog and a staff.
39. Hunter - DEX 2d6+6. 2-in-6 chance to encounter an animal that can be hunted for food when party chooses to hunt. Starts with Shortbow, 20 arrows, and quiver.
40-42. Indentured Servant - STR or DEX 2d6+6. Roll a d6 to determine why you're no longer in service. 1: released from obligation, 2-3: ran away, 4: completed service, 5: killed employer, 6: employer died of other causes. The result can have campaign implications up to the referee. Starts with 3d8 cp, 3d6 sp, and 2d4 gp unless they were released from their obligation. In that case, they start with 3 days of normal rations instead.
43. Jester - CHA 2d6+6. When a Jester tries to lighten the mood in a situation, they can have a single d6 rerolled on a reaction roll when dealing with intelligent creatures. Starts with a flamboyant outfit and a book of jokes.
44-45. Jeweler - INT 2d6+6. A jeweler is able to accurately appraise gemstones and jewelry. Starts with 1 gem.
46. Locksmith - DEX 2d6+6. The locksmith can pick locks as a level 1 Thief, or a level higher if the character is of the Thief class. Starts with a set of lockpicks and a padlock with a key.
47. Mendicant Monk - WIS 2d6+6. The Mendicant's ascetic past gives them a clarity that provides them with additional resistance to magical charm effects (+1 on Charm type Saves). Starts with monk robes and an alms bowl.
48-50. Mercenary - STR 2d6+6. Mercenaries start with a spear, a shield, and leather armor.
51-53. Merchant - CHA 2d6+6. The merchant can sell items for 1d4 x 5% more than what they're worth through negotiation and salesman tactics. Starts with 3d6 extra gold pieces.
54-55. Miller - DEX 2d6+6. The Miller starts with a bag of flour and 2d6 extra gold pieces.
56. Minstrel - CHA 2d6+6. The Minstrel can get free room and board at a tavern in exchange for performing, and can boost the loyalty of hirelings +1 for the purposes of loyalty checks with regular performances. Starts with a musical instrument of player's choice.
57. Noble - CON 2d6+6, INT 2d6+6, CHA 2d6+6. The Noble should have a litany of societal benefits among the aristocracy and guards, but should be treated with suspicion by the peasantry. Starts with a horse, documentation, and 4d10 gold pieces.
58-61. Orphan - DEX 2d6+6. The Orphan has a 1-in-6 chance of knowing who to talk to in a strange community to get useful gossip, and a 5-in-6 chance in a community they're familiar with. Starts with a dagger.
62-63. Ostler - STR 2d6+6. The Ostler has a 2-in-6 chance of calming spooked horses, and knows the kind of appropriate care horses need to flourish. Starts with a sack of oats.
64-66. Outlaw - DEX 2d6+6. The Outlaw has a shady look about them, resulting in a +1 bonus on reaction rolls with criminals in their region and a -1 penalty with law enforcement. Starts with a short sword and leather armor.
67-68. Ropemaker - DEX 2d6+6. The ropemaker can affirm whether or not rope looks sturdy and about how much tension it can withstand. Starts with 50' of rope.
69. Scribe - INT 2d6+6. The Scribe can forge documentation with relative ease. Starts with high quality ink and quill.
70-73. Ex-Slave - STR or DEX 2d6+6. Roll a d6 to determine why you're free. 1-4: ran away, 5: killed master, 6: master died of other causes. The result can have campaign implications up to the referee. Starts with 3d8 cp, 3d6 sp, and 2d4 gp.
74. Smuggler - CHA 2d6+6. Knows just where to put things to keep them undetected. +1 on Reaction Rolls vs Guards. Starts with a chest with a hidden compartment.
75-77. Soldier - STR 2d6+6. +1 Reaction Rolls vs other Soldiers. Starts with a spear, a shield, and leather armor.
78. Squire - STR CON CHA 2d6+6. Something came between this person and their path to knighthood, but their training and history confers a -1 to their THAC0 (+1 to hit) and a +1 to Reaction Rolls with Knights and Nobility. Starts with Sword, shield, chainmail, and heraldry.
79. Trapper - CON 2d6+6. The Trapper can locate and disable traps as a level1 Thief, or a level higher if they are a Thief. Starts with a bear trap and a hunting knife.
80-82. Urchin - DEX 2d6+6. The Urchin knows the seedy underbelly of the community they are from, and have a 2-in-6 chance to find these things in an unfamiliar community as long as they can speak the language. Starts with a dagger.
83. Wainwright - CON 2d6+6. The Wainwright can make repairs to damaged carts and wagons without difficulty. Starts with a cart.
84/85. Weaver/Tailor - DEX 2d6+6. The Weaver can assess the quality of fabrics, and by chance is an amateur Tailor as well. They can repair ripped clothes and make adjustments to fine clothing. They start with a sewing kit and a spool of thread.
85-89. Wizard's apprentice - INT d8+10. Starts play with a single randomly determined spell additional to any spells they may have accrued as a Magic-User. Additionally, they start with a 40% chance to cast spells with a spell scroll, increasing 5% with every level increase to a maximum of 90%. Failure results in a potentially disastrous effect.
90. Woodsman - STR 2d6+6. Getting lost in the woods is a 1-in-6 chance instead of 2-in-6. Starts with a Battleaxe.
91-94. Elf - DEX INT WIS 2d6+6.
95-97. Halfling - DEX CON 2d6+6.
98-00. Dwarf - STR CON 2d6+6.
Divination (Astrology/Fortune Telling)
D6 determines whether the prediction is positive or negative on a spectrum (1 positive/auspicious, 6 negative/inauspicious).
D12 can determine what the prediction is related to if the recipient did not specify, but it is a reflection of what the person in question will deal with, for good or for ill.
The d12 can be further broken up into three groups that can be checked by d4 for more specificity as needed.
Group 1: Relational
1-Friendship, 2-Kinship, 3-Authority, 4-Romance
Group 2: External
5-Loyalty, 6-Occupation, 7-Physical Health, 8-Finances
Group 3: Internal
9-Spiritual, 10-Intellectual, 11-Emotional, 12-Technical
The referee should see to it that there's a 5-in-6 chance (secretly rolled) that the prediction comes to pass unless someone seeks to actively disrupt it.
For a more detailed process, I recommend the Old School Companion.
MORE TO COME!