Monday, November 2, 2020

King of Kings City Folk

Something I quite like is simple character backgrounds or failed careers to help inform roleplay and provide a little bit of simple distinction between characters. It is also generally where I put in skill systems; a player can simply say that their character would reasonably know how to do something because of their former career from before they became an adventurer. These also bring with them a simple item or two that may become useful or may inform the character further. Failed careers in King of Kings are bundled together as parts of cultures, in a sense different communities of humans which can help inform a character's place in the setting.

Urban Shahanistanis

(As an aside, the term Shahanistani is used to refer to people or things originating in the Enlightened Empire. The term Shahanistan means "Land of Kings", the name of the ancient land that the Enlightened Empire currently occupies, so termed for the teeming innumerable petty overlords that seized power after the Heroic Age which followed the deluge)

Cities, with their tall walls and temples and houses clumping huddling together in clumps, dot the wilderness like flickering candles. The table below provides 30 failed careers for urbanites, which a player may roll on or choose from at character creation. In parentheses next to the failed career is whatever item(s) it provides a character.

(Note: There is no gender assumed for any of these failed careers, no matter the commonly gendered associations to many of them. The sole exception to this are the eunuch careers, who are eunuchs.)

1. Alchemist's Apprentice (a set of glass vials, metal tongs, a secret you never tell)
2. Bazaari (what remains of your wares, a dog on a leash, connections to suppliers)
3. Bird Catcher (a net, a knife, a frying pan)
4. Brick Layer (a loincloth, measuring tools, a good sense for architecture)
5. Corner Beggar (loose rags, a beggar's bowl, a few coins)
6. Cowguide (a whip, a loincloth, an aura of respect)
7. Cup Bearer (an ornate cup, soft shoes that step gently, youthful features)
8. Cynic Philosopher (a bowl, a walking stick, a reputation that precedes you)
9. Deserter (a stolen weapon, a bedroll and backpack, a heavy guilt weighing on you)
10. Disgraced Aristocrat (an ornamental weapon, a set of silken clothes, an immediately visible injurious scar)
11. Dye Worker (feet stained purple or red, a walking stick, bottles of many colored dyes)
12. Escaped Slave (hand made sandals, a knife, paranoid eyes glancing this way and that)
13. Executioner (a spike or garrote, a pair of leather gloves, an uneasiness which surrounds you)
14. False Eunuch (a knife, a key, a powerful person who hates you)
15. Fraudulent Merchant (false products, a silver tongue, a general hatred by everyone who shops in town)
16. Gang Member (a club, heavy leather boots, a boss that orders you around whenever they see you)
17. Guardsman (a pike, a cloth tunic emblazoned with bright colors, warm boots)
18. Haruspex (a knife, a hammer, a careful pair of eyes)
19. Herbad Priest (a pure white uniform, a veil, a book of holy poetry)
20. Inaccurate Astrologer (a telescope, a guide to the stars, intense stubbornness)
21. Lizard Breeder (a small lizard, a cage, thick protective gloves)
22. Masterless Eunuch (a distinctive uniform, a promise of restitution, lacking in certain departments)
23. Mystic Initiate (a rough and itchy mantle, memorized poetry, friends that nobody else knows)
24. Poet Lyrical (a musical instrument, a sweet sounding voice, a mind that incessantly thinks up poems)
25. Prostitute (a sensual outfit, a sweet smelling perfume, many friends in town)
26. Scholarly Scribe (a reed pen, an ink vial, a number of books you transcribed yourself)
27. Street Sweeper (a broom, a basket, intimate knowledge of a city's streets)
28. Student of History (well-worn sandals, a strong memory, uncanny ability to get people to open up)
29. Temple Bureaucrat (a large coinpurse, a goat, a dove)
30. Wall Painter (a set of paint brushes, 40' of rope, a wide brim hat)
(Oh and an additional note on historical inspiration to help provide context for one of these that might not be super clear: the false eunuch is a eunuch that was not actually castrated, which was a not uncommon phenomenon given one of processes common to perform such an act in the middle east (won't go into too much detail for the sake of those who don't wish to hear such things!). The Ottoman imperial harem which was guarded by eunuch African slaves had a not uncommon phenomenon of eunuchs that were not actual eunuchs having sex with some of the sultan's wives, in fact. This little bit of middle eastern history is what is being referenced by the false eunuch background; a eunuch employed by a powerful master who has had to flee for their life for the fact of their not being a full eunuch being revealed very suddenly.)

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