01 June, 2015

What do you do when you aren't adventuring?

I posed this question to the characters of my LARP group a few weeks back, generally I got blank stares back from the players.

"I don't understand"
"What does your character do when they aren't imvolved in these grand adventures?"
"I'm always on adventure"
"Do you mean to say that your character just fades out of existence once the quest is over, and mystically materialises once something else is happening to the realm?"
"When you put it like that..."
"So, what does the character do for the four weeks a month that they aren't killing people and taking their loot?"
"I hadn't really thought about it."

In my experience, most people get into roleplaying for the escapism, they don't want to simulate the drudgery of 9 to 5 jobs (or more commonly these days, they don't want to simulate the rentpunk existence of balancing multiple jons to hopefully pay the bills and the rent with enough left over for food). 

But no character exists in a vacuum, everyone interacts with the outside world in some way. This might be through a job, a network of friends, regular theft, or even hunting in the wilderness...these are the things that allow someone to survive. The reason why they survive (in an RPG anyway) is to go on the fantastic quests and missions when they do occur. Some games circumvent this by stating outright that all of the characters are members of a military troop, they do typical military things until the general/government/leader/king needs them to do something extraordinary. Some games simply have everything running back to back, a week may pass in the real world between sessions, but only moments pass in the narrative.

I didn't expect to see it in Pathfinder, but hidden in the skills is the one marked "profession". It allows a player to roll a die, add their profession modifier and the final result indicates the amount of coinage they earn during a week of work (or divide it by 5 to get a daily work rate). It's an interesting idea, and can generally account for the day to day activities of characters in the world while providing them with enough money to cover food and lodgings. 

I've been toying with similar concepts in "Other Strangeness", especially with regard to the Backgrounds/Relations of each character, but never as blatantly as this. 

It's just given me more to think about.
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