Replacing Profession Adaptability

Copyright Nicholas HM Caldwell © 2006

Edited by Nicholas HM Caldwell for The Guild Companion

"Profession Adaptability was the easy Talent to swap out in every case"

As part of my preparation for Dragonmeet, I ran a playtest of the Special Delivery scenario, which will involved updating a set of existing characters to the latest HARP SF rules and a new level. During the discussions, it became clear that the emergent consensus of the group was that the Profession Adaptability racial ability of humans was mostly pointless.

To recap: Profession Adaptability: Being extremely adaptable, all Humans receive a 5 point discount on the number of Development Points necessary for a change of Profession, requiring only 15 points instead of the normal 20.

In the fantasy playtests and indeed in the long-running campaign in Cambridge, all but one of the human characters opted to take a Blood Talent, swapping in one or more abilities from the demihumans. Profession Adaptability was the easy Talent to swap out in every case. In return for one Development Point, characters could get a useful 10-point Talent such as a lesser form of night vision. To get full value from Profession Adaptability, a player needs to change profession at least twice in a character's career. That never happened in our campaign.

The belief of the group was that human characters would again sell out Profession Adaptability for a Genetic Adaptation Talent, even though they cost five Development Points, and the worry was that players intent on optimising their characters would look at high-gravity adaptation and other similarly potent options.

The suggestion from Matt Fitzgerald was to replace Profession Adaptability with a new, more valuable alternative. Writing this up formally:
Skill Flexibility: The character can select any one skill from a non-favored category. Ranks in the chosen skill may be purchased at 2 Development Points rather than the normal 4 Development Points for skills within a non-favored category.

In fantasy games, this would give human mages the opportunity to become relatively skilled with a single weapon skill, human knights could take Riding (Outdoors is non-Favored for Fighters), and so forth. In HARP SF, Adepts, Entertainers, Merchants, and Researchers don't have Combat as a favored category, so they could benefit by selecting a favored weapon skill, for instance. Alternatively, the Cyber Control skill is in the Concentration category - which is non-favored for all HARP SF professions, except the Adept. Want to upgrade your character with the latest in cyberware without shelling out four Development Points per skill rank? Take Skill Flexibility in Cyber Control.

Now we have a racial ability that matters and is on a par with Skill Specialization and Bonus Skill Ranks.

As HARP SF is queued behind portions of RM Classic in ICE's work schedule, I have an opportunity to squeeze this rule variant into HARP SF. Is this a rule upgrade that you would like to see for HARP SF (and by implication HARP Fantasy)? Discuss either on our forums or on ICE's.