Where strange fact and stranger fiction collide
Today we present six new occupations for 7th ed call of Cthulhu. These are all occupations that can be used in the prime CoC time period of the 1920’s and 1930’s. The time that Lovecraft was actively writing. I tried to pick occupations that I thought caught the zeitgeist of the time period.
The flapper originally appeared in the 4th ed 1920 Investigator’s Guide. This is a updated version for 7th ed.
Antarctic explorer: It would be easy enough to take the explore occupation in the basic CoC 7th addition, just select Antarctic for the survival skill specialty and go at it. I am sure that many players have done just that and created excellent characters, but this option gives investigators a more tailored version of the occupation. I find this fititng fitting since At the Mountains of Madness, is such a contributing factor the over all Cthulhu Mythos.
Credit rating: 20-60%
Skills: Any one Science, Any one Art/Craft, Climb, Chose one of Drive (Dogsled) or Pilot (Ship) or Pilot Aircraft), First aid, Natural world, Navigation, Survival (Artic)
Starting skills: Education x2 + Dexterity x2, Intelligence x2 or Strength x2
Special: Must have been on or at least trained for an expedition to the Artic or Antarctic.
Examples: Real life explorer like Perry, in the Mythos it would be the Miskatonic University Antarctic expedition team.
Other settings: An artic explore might be playable in the 1800’s but would have to get rid of the pilot (Plane) skill choice, but a Keeper may allow it to be swapped out with Pilot (Dirigible). This occupation would be suitable for any time period after the 1920’s as is.
Flapper: Being a flapper is more a state of mind than a fashion trend or fad. It isn’t an occupation since it provides no income. Most flappers have a middle-class day job to support their nightlife. They have their official look of a bob haircut, Cloche hats, a long string of beads and dresses with a slit up the side, but they are connected more by attitude than anything else. There are still some academic questions about where the word Flapper comes from, but it is probably from the girl’s habit of wearing unbuckled galoshes that flapped when they walked.
Credit rating: 05%-60%.
Skills: Art/Craft (Dance), Art/craft (any other), Drive (Automobile), Fast talk, Any other personal skill (Charm, intimidate, Persuade), Jazz Culture. Any two other personal skills (might be related to their job or a hobby)
Starting skills: Education x2, and Appearance X2 Dexterity x2 or Intelligence x2.
Special: This investigator must be female.
Examples: Daisy in The Great Gatsby, or Bernice in Bernice Bobs her Hair.
Other settings: The Flapper is a character unique to the 1920’s
Lifeguard: In modern times we think of lifeguards as college students making money during summer break at a pool, or possibly the cast of Bay Watch, but in the 20’s and 30’s these are strong and stout youth who not only saved the life of swimmers in the ocean they also assisted boats in distress near the coast. Female lifeguards tend to be in areas with more calm waters like Coney Island or on the Pacific coast, Unfortunately they are often harassed because of their gender. These are fit individuals who are willing to risk their lives for others.
Credit ratings: 10%-30%.
Starting skills: Any one Craft/Art, Any one Interpersonal skill (Charm, Fast talk, Intimidate, or Persuade.) First aid, Pilot (Rowed boat), Natural world, Spot hidden, Survival (Ocean/beach), Swim,
Starting skills: Education x2, and Dexterity x2, or Strength x2
Special: No special rules.
Examples: In the Mythos there is the example of the lifeguards in The Horror at Martin Beach AKA The Invisible Monster.
Masked vigilante: This is a character whose origin is steeped in the legend and lore of the American pulps. With the rise of criminal activity fueled by probation, criminal empires rose across the country in the 1920s, the masked vigilante symbolizes the common man rising above the criminal anarchy and making the world safe again. Of course, with the survival of the fittest kicking in, only the smartest and most ruthless of criminals remain. These men and women don disguises to hide their identity as they stalk evil doers in the night. It’s not to surprising that after all the sneaking around dark allies, that the masked vigilante eventually comes up against a threat that is nonhuman.
Credit rating: 05%-90%
Starting skills: Disguise. Dodge, Fighting (Brawl), Firearms (handguns) Intimidate, one other personal skill (Charm, Fast talk, or persuasion) Stealth, One other personal interest skill.
Starting skills: Education x2 and Dexterity x2 or Strength x2
Special: This is a fully cinematic occupation, Keepers may want to restrict it to pulp games only.
Examples: Bat Man, The Lobster (AKA Lobster Johnson). The Spirit, and pretty much any 20’s or 30’s super hero that doesn’t have a great big “S” on his chest.
Other settings: This character could be in any campaign where there are super heroes but the spirt of this occupation is found deeply rooted in the heroes of the pulp era.
Stage magician: This is a specialization of the entertainer occupation, but since it is such a natural fit in to a CoC campaign, I think it deserves a more in-depth exploration here. Not everything investigators will encounter will be supernatural and part of the Mythos. Somethings may look paranormal at first but turn out to a natural occurrence or a hoax, and a stage magician is a great person to tell what is a fraud and what is not. Like wise he may save a party of investigator’s bacon by a slight of hand trick to convince some one or thing that he has real power.
Credit rating: 10%-80%.
Starting skills: Any two interpersonal skills (Charm, fast talk, Intimidate, or Persuade), Craft (magical props), Psychology, Listen, Locksmith, Sleight of hand, Spot hidden,
Starting skills: Education: X2 and either Intelligence x2 or Dexterity x2.
Special: No special rules.
Examples: Harry Houdini.
Other setting: The stage magician can be used in any other setting.
Wing walker: The first wing walker act was a publicity stunt to show how stable a particular type of plane was. Later on it might become a necessity for a pilot or a co-pilot to climb out on the fuselage to make necessary repairs in flight. Then it became an important skill in early in-flight refueling. After World War One, these daredevils became a mainstay of the barnstormer circuit. Basically, a person would climb out on a plane and literally walk on the wings as it flew. After the great depression these death-defying shows became even more popular. By 1938 Congress passed a law requiring wingwalkers to wear parachutes.
Credit rating: 05%-25%
Starting skills: Climbing, Art/Craft (any one) Mechanical repair, Navigation, Parachute, Pilot (Airplane), One of the fallowing interpersonal skills (Charm, fast talk, Intimidate, Persuade) Science (Aeronautical engineering),
Starting skills: Education x2, and Dexterity x2 or Strength x2.
Special: Since the fatal nature of failing a climb skill on an airplane when it is flight, keepers might want to consider not making wing walker investigators make a climb role during ‘normal’ shows. But only require it during plot appropriate points, such as aerial combat or encountering a mythos monster. Also placing appropriate handguards and rails on a plane in advance should allow a wing walker to make a climb role on the outside of it with advantage.
Examples: Susan Sarandon played a wing walker in the movie The Great Waldo Pepper (who fell to her death)
Other settings: Though there are wing walkers now in airshows, the safety harness and precautions that are now taken make this a much safer activity. It really is only a viable occupation between the First and Second World War.