Removing Professions from HARP Fantasy

Copyright Nicholas HM Caldwell © 2004

Edited by Mario Butter for The Guild Companion

"It's a matter of training (or lack of it)"

In the process of rewriting the Professions chapter from High Adventure Role Playing for the as-yet unnamed science-fiction version of HARP, I realized that one of the new sf professions could provide the basis for a profession-less version of modern and futuristic HARP. With somewhat more effort, the same approach can be used for fantasy HARP.

Instead of the existing professions from HARP and College of Magics, all characters begin their careers as members of either the Adventurer Archetype or the Layman Archetype. Normally heroic characters such as the PCs should use the Adventurer Archetype while ordinary folk should belong to the Layman Archetype. Laymen have fewer starting ranks and a reduced choice of Archetype Abilities -- it's a matter of training (or lack of it).

Adventurer Archetype

Adventurers have the following Favored Categories and associated free ranks:

General: 4

Physical: 4

Select any 3 other categories from Artistic, Athletic, Combat, Concentration, Influence, Mystical Arts, Outdoor, and Subterfuge: 4 ranks each

All Adventurers have the ability to learn spells from the Universal Sphere.

At 1st level, an Adventurer may choose one or more Archetype Abilities from the sets of options given below. Only one option set may be chosen.

  1. Access to one Sphere or Circle of Magic and
    • either one Archetype Talent
    • or Greater Category Bonus
    • or Lesser Combat Bonus
  2. Greater Category Bonus and one Archetype Talent
  3. Greater Combat Bonus and one Archetype Talent
  4. Favored Bonus
  5. Two Archetype Talents

Layman Archetype

Laymen have the following Favored Categories and associated free ranks:

General: 3

Physical: 3

Select any 3 other categories from Artistic, Athletic, Combat, Concentration, Influence, Mystical Arts, Outdoor, and Subterfuge: 3 ranks each

All Laymen have the ability to learn spells from the Universal Sphere.

At 1st level, a Layman may choose one or more Archetype Abilities from the sets of options given below. Only one option set may be chosen.

  1. Access to Hedge Wizardry
  2. Greater Category Bonus
  3. Favored Bonus
  4. Lesser Category Bonus and one Archetype Talent

Archetype Abilities

Archetype Talents may be chosen from the following list:
Affinity of Air, Affinity of Earth, Affinity of Fire, Affinity of Water, Aggressive Magic, Artistic, Enhanced Senses, Lightning Reflexes, Martial Arts Attacks, Martial Arts Bonus, Master Craftsman, Outdoorsman, Physick, Scholar, Sense Magic, Shield Training, Subtle.

Aggressive Magic gives a +10 bonus to all Attack spells (and is equivalent to the Necromancer professional ability from College of Magics).

Martial Arts Attacks allows its possessor to make Martial Arts attacks as Medium rather than Small attacks. Characters with this Talent also receive the benefits for making multiple martial arts attacks against single or multiple foes as described on page 12 of HARP.

Martial Arts Bonus: At 1st level, and at every 5th level (5th, 10th, etc.), the possessor gains a +10 bonus to any one Martial Arts style (with a maximum of +30 to any one style). Also at 1st, and at every 3rd level (3rd, 6th, etc.), the penalty for using Chi Defense is reduced by 5 points (to a minimum of 0).

Favored Bonus: At 1st level, and at every 5th level (5th, 10th, etc.), the possessor gains a +10 bonus to any one skill from their favored categories. No skill may gain a bonus of more than +30 using this ability.

Greater Category Bonus: At 1st level, and at every 5th level (5th, 10th, etc.), the possessor gains a +10 bonus to any one skill from one chosen favored category. No skill may gain a bonus of more than +30 using this ability. The category must be chosen when this Ability is taken -- the Combat and Mystical Arts categories may not be selected.

Lesser Category Bonus: At 1st level, and at every 7th level (7th, 14th, etc.), the possessor gains a +10 bonus to any one skill from one chosen favored category. No skill may gain a bonus of more than +30 using this ability. The category must be chosen when this Ability is taken -- the Combat and Mystical Arts categories may not be selected.

Greater Combat Bonus: At 1st level, and at every 5th level (5th, 10th, etc.), the possessor gains a +10 bonus to any one Weapon skill. No Weapon skill may gain a bonus of more than +30 using this ability.

Lesser Combat Bonus: At 1st level, and at every 7th level (7th, 14th, etc.), the possessor gains a +10 bonus to any one Weapon skill. No Weapon skill may gain a bonus of more than +30 using this ability.

Access to Hedge Wizardry -- this ability functions exactly as described in the HARP Revised rulebook for members of the Hedge Wizard profession.

Other Changes

Using these rules requires a few other modifications to HARP rules.

The only way a character can gain access to another Sphere or Circle of Magic is to purchase either the Arcane Power or the Arcane Circle Talents.

The Additional Profession Talent is replaced with the Category Change Talent, which allows a character to replace one existing favored category with a different category. The Category Change Talent may only be chosen at 2nd level or higher and must be the first thing purchased in any level in which it is gained. The cost is 20 DPs.

The Human Racial Talent, Professional Adaptability, is replaced with Category Adaptability, which reduces the cost of the Category Change Talent from 20 DPs to 15 DPs.