Have I mentioned the Rumors of War Relaunch Project FUNDED?
See for yourself!

So, where have my game design updates been lately?

And why have I taken so long to roll up the last dozen characters for the character pool? (What are you talking about? The Kickstarter Campaign of course!)

Two big things happened — I completely changed how skills are assigned, and I finally started in on the “occupations” aspect of the Trades system. If you’ve sampled 5th Edition, you’ll have an idea of how occupations work — every character gets one, and each offers a bit of lore and a non-combat feature.

What I hope to do with occupations is really flesh out the parts of the world the adventurers tend to miss. Occupations aren’t just a list of real-world jobs — they are effectively 0th-level character classes. While they offer players a connection to the world, they provide DMs with an invaluable resource.

Need an NPC? Pick an occupation. Done. You immediately know the character does (show not tell?) and their place in society. Many people are defined by what they do, and really once you have their job it’s easy to see the different directions they can go in terms of physical appearance — to type, or against type?

Is the blacksmith a grizzled man with a beard and a funny accent? Is the blacksmith a woman? Is the blacksmith covered in burn scars and layers of calloused skin?

I don’t know about WotC, but I plan to use this system to model all aspects of society — not just the nice ones. I’m working on a “Renegade” occupation that includes bandits, slavers, and pirates. The trick I think is creating an occupation without that “universal allure” that all players want. *frowns*

Actually, let me tell you about three others — in addition to the “Renegade” occupation for all the baddies to belong to, there are separate bounty hunter, fugitive, and smuggler occupations. I’m rounding out bounty hunters to include monsters and beasts at well — you know, like they do.

Fugitives are perpetually on the run — whether they’re guilty or not — and know how to hide. Not sure how groups will play with this one. It isn’t exactly the same as the “lone wolf” Rogue Problem — the party might decide to protect the fugitive, and just because they can run doesn’t mean they will.

Smugglers move and store illicit goods. Or people, on occasion. They aren’t obvious villain material like pirates or slavers, and even Han Solo was a smuggler. They’re rogues. Scoundrels. Lawbreakers. But they might be taking medicine to people in a quarantine zone. Or rescuing people from the secret police.