Where strange fact and stranger fiction collide
If you are a frequent visitor to DCotU, you know we love HP Lovecraft here, and to a lesser extent we like our roleplaying games. So, it is a natural that we talk about Call of Cthulhu RPG. I have a few posts about the game including a post about my player characters, from a Laundry campaign. Now I realize that the center part of Ven diagram between DCotU readers and CoC gamers may not be that big, so I am posting my COC project in several RPG gaming threads. But fear not I will still be posting my regular stuff about comic books, novels and pop culture too.
For those of you not familiar with Chaosium’s Call of Cthulhu RPG, one person is the Keeper and he or she basically tells the story, and each of the other people playing the game take the role of Investigators who basically react to what the Keeper says is going on in the story. One of the things I love about this game as a player is the occupation rules. This allows you to tailor you character to their jobs. The rules give you quite a few to choose from, but the more the bettter, so I am going to add some occupations for Keepers and Investigators.
Though not as universal a game system as say GURPS, one of the pluses for COC is that it can be set in many different time periods. I am going to post COC occupations for seven different time periods. The first is 1800’s which combines COC’s cowboy western setting Down Darker Trails and it’s Victorian setting Cthulhu by gaslight. Classic Cthulhu which covers the time Lovecraft was actively writing and can be found in COC’ main Lovecraft Country settings and their Pulp Cthulhu. World War Two, which covers the war years. Atomic Cthulhu, which is basically the 50’s. My favorite COC setting Cold War Cthulhu, Cubical 7’s espionage setting set in the 70’s. Modern Cthulhu which is basically anywhere from the 90’s to now. And cyberpunk/anime which covers the setting found in Cthulhu Through Out the Ages, Cthulhu Icarus and The Secrets of Japan.
I will post six occupations for each time period, and then fallow it up with characters based on these that a PC can use as a NPC or a Investigator’s PC. These are all done for Chaosium’s 7th edition rules.
The first will be 1800’s for Both the American and English settings.
Two occupations, Adventuress and Consulting Detective are 7th ed updates for occupations that were release in 6th ed Cthulhu by Gaslight.
Three are gender or racial specific. The Adventuress, the Buffalo Soldier and the Chinese Immigrant. There is little doubt that the 1800’s were a sexist and racist time. I have added these occupations to make it easier for investigators to play a female, African American or Chinese character in this timeline. Of course, a keeper can allow any character to be a female or a person of color.
Adventuress: The adventuress appeared in the 6th edition CoC’s Cthulhu by Gaslight but has not yet appeared in any of the 7th edition books. These are women who go out in the world and discover things that in the past have only been assessable to men. They are out to prove that they can do anything a man can. They are often romantically linked to a male adventure but this in not necessarily the fact. She finds that she sometimes must win a social battle to convince the ‘old boys club’ they should bring her along in the first place, then has to prover her worth in the field like anyone else.p
Skills: Art/Craft (Any one), Charm, One other interpersonal skills (Fast talk, Intimidate, or Persuade) Other Language (Any one European language) Psychology, Ride, One personal interest skill, and one of the following (Disguise, First aid, or Locksmith)
Credit rating: 10%-40%
Occupation skill points: Intelligence x2, Education x2
Special: Females characters only.
Example: The classic Victorian adventuress would be Irene Adler from the sherlock Holmes stories.
Other settings: Though the adventuress can be used in anytime or setting in most time periods after the 1800’s females can pretty much be in any of the other available occupations.
Blacksmith: The blacksmith was once one of the most important parts of a rural community. They not only do they provide a necessary service, they are import part of the community’s fabric, often taking a de facto leadership role. Due to the physical mature of their job they tend to be large and strong, which can be beneficial to a team of investigators.
Credit rating: 20%-60%
Skills: Appraise, Art/Craft (Blacksmithing), Fighting (brawl), Mechanical repair, One Interpersonal skill (Charm, Fast talk, Intimidate, or Persuade) Pilot (wagon) Ride, Rope use,
Occupation skill points: Education x2 and, Strengthx2.
Special: No special rules.
Example: Henry Wordsworth’s Longfellow’s poem the Village Smithy is probably the best example.
Other settings: Though there may be blacksmiths in some rural areas as late as the 1920’s, it stops being a viable profession after the introduction of mass-produced nails in the early 20th century.
Buffalo Soldiers: These are the African American cavalrymen who helped America win the west, many of them were once slaves or the sons of slaves. They got their nickname from the fact that many Native Americans thought their hair looked like the hair of a buffalo. It is important to point out that this was not an insult but rather a compliment, and many Native American thought that of all the US troops, the Buffalo soldiers were the only ones capable of taking on a native warrior on one on one.
Credit rating: 01%-20
Skills: Arts/crafts (any one skill) Fighting (Brawl), Firearms (Rifle), First aid, One of the following interpersonal skills (charm, Fast talk, Intimidate, or Persuade) Ride, Survival (Desert), Track,
Occupation skill points: Education X2 + either Strength x2 or Dexterity x2.
Special: Must be or was an African American Calvary trooper.
Example: Yaphet Kotto played an awesome buffalo solider in the TV show High Chaparral, but a better example would be the 26 Buffalo soldiers that won the Medal of Honor.
Other settings: There will be African American segregated cavalry until around world War One, but the buffalo solider is mainly a uniquely western campaign occupation.
Chinese Immigrant: The Chinese were a major factor in the American west during the 1800’s, but there was also Chinese from Hong Kong in England during the 19th centery. In many places they established their own communities that would later be called Chinatowns. Many of the laborers worked in the mines or on the railroads, but Immigrants brought their own community and support network, so they could be employed doing almost anything.
Credit rating: 05%-25%
Skills: Any two Arts/Craft (Any) Fighting (Brawling), First aid, Lore (Chinese myths and legends). One of the fallowing interpersonal skills (Charm, Fast talk, Intimidate or Persuade) Other language (either one of, Cantonese, English, Korean or Mandarin), One personal specialty,
Starting skills: Education x2 and one of Dexterity x2 or Strength x2.
Special: Must be of Chinese descent livening in America or England. Starts with Mandarin, Cantonese or another Chinese dialect as own language.
Example: Hop Sing in Bonanza doesn’t really age very well, the version of the same character in the 2001 -2002 TV series Pondarosa is superior and more nuanced character.
Other settings: There will be China Towns surviving even into the 21st century but the Chinese Immigrant as an occupation will last only until World War Two, after that time Chinese immigrant characters will be expressed by their individual occupations.
Consulting Detective: Both the Consulting Agent and Inquiry Agent were in the 6th edition Cthulhu by Gaslight, only the Inquiry Agent made it in to the 7th edition supplement Hudson and Brand , this Is my attempt to rectify the oversight. The consulting detective is the savant detective, often the police or the inquiry agent will bring the evidence to them, he might not even leave his sitting room.
Credit rating: 30%-70%
Skills: Law, Library use, Psychology, one of the following interpersonal skills (Charm, fast talk, Intimidate or Persuade) Science (any one), Spot hidden, any two personal specialties.
Starting skills: Education x4.
Examples: Take a guess Sherlock.
Other settings: Though the Consulting detective is a codified trope of the Victorian age, he could also be a brilliant Pinkerton agent in a DDT’s campaign or a quirky detective in any age.
Steampunk: This is an out there character, it is meant to capture the explorer/adventure of the steampunk fiction genre. Part adventurer and part mad scientist. It may not be suitable for some (or most) 19th century games and players should get the Keeper’s approval before playing one.
Credit rating: 25%-80%
Skills: Arts/Craft (Any one) Fighting (any one), Fire arms (any one) Mechanical repair, One of the following interpersonal skills (Charm, fast talk, intimidate, or persuade) Pilot (Dirigible), Science (Any one), Any one personal skill.
Starting skills: Education X2 and one of the fallowing Dexterity x2, Intelligence x2 or Strength x2 .
Special: Must have the keeper’s permission to play. Best if played using Cthulhu Pulp rules.
Examples: Any main character form a Steampunk novel, but I was thinking about the 1890’s urban legend about Mr. Wilson who was supposed to have invented an airship, when I wrote this up..
Other setting: This is a uniquely 1800’s character.