I love the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2nd edition career system. But I don't know anyone else who is interested in the system, and the books are all out of print and very expensive.

From what I understand, 3rd ed pretty much completely does away with the system in favor of something more traditional. If I'm mistaken, please say so.

What I like about it:

  1. It's a class based system.
  2. There are a lot of different careers, particularly with the career compendium.
  3. The careers are unique, evocative and interesting. They have roleplaying implications are basically your characters "day job." Careers aren't just a collection of game mechanics.
  4. The system encourages a real career path. The entrance and exit paths guide you along instead of just hoping between unrelated careers.
  5. The system encourages class changes. Even if you stick with maxing out one career, you'll max it our relatively quickly and then need to move on.
  6. Your starting class is random, appropriately limited and weighted by race.

Additionally desired traits not possessed by WFRP 2nd ed:

  1. In print or available used at reasonable prices.
  2. Actively supported by either publisher or community.
  3. Popular enough I'll actually be able to find or convince some to GM it.

So what game out there shares the most of these characteristics?

Related: Are there any RPGs/settings where a character's class is not chosen but "earned" through their actions?

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Could be I misunderstand. Still, this is way too broad. "Is there any other game that works like game X" is always going to be too broad, for the reasons in the meta I linked to. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 19 '15 at 20:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie Isn't that a function of how much criteria is provided? If the question is really too broad, then there should be many possible answers. Yes, are there any games where you can turn undead is too too broad, but I have very specific requirements. There are not many possible answers to this question. There may not even be one. I honestly can't fathom why you think it's too broad. \$\endgroup\$
    – Barret
    Feb 19 '15 at 20:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ Well, I'm only one voter, and I have been wrong before. Other voters will decide it one way or the other. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 19 '15 at 20:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie I've voted to reopen this question as it stands. There just can't be, as the closers fear, that many in-print, well supported, and readily available Warhammer FRP, 2nd Edition-like systems that possess the features the asker wants. This question was open for 2 hours with no answers. This is sufficiently narrow. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 20 '15 at 8:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SerpentineCougar Any setting as fine. WFRP is simply the only system I can find with such a class system. \$\endgroup\$
    – Barret
    Feb 20 '15 at 20:37

The Burning Wheel has all of the core characteristics, other than random starting class. There are a fairly limited number of starting careers ("born lifepaths", in the jargon) for each race, though, so I'm sure you could make a table out of it if you like. For example, a dwarf can be:

  • Born Clansman
  • Born Guilder
  • Born Artificer
  • Born Noble

Each of these has eight to ten following lifepaths, plus there are two more "settings:" Dwarven Host and Dwarven Outcast, to which you cannot be born, only "promoted." As you can imagine, dwarven guilders do things like woodworking and masonry, not just pure adventuring skills like a D&D "Fighter." Staying in a career leads to diminishing returns. RAW, there are tight limits on exits and entrances.

One thing that puzzles me about your question: "class-based." It seems to me that any career-based game will be a little class-based, in that each career is a kind of tiny class, but not class-based in that there are hundreds of combinations of first two or three careers, so rarely will two characters be the same. Are you looking for a game with a handful of defined classes, while your choice of career supplements that core class-and-level progression?

One important difference: IIRC, WFRP had a fairly slight race influence on careers. For example, only dwarves could be troll hunters or tunnel runners, but the majority of careers were open to everyone once they met the prereqs. TBW is solidly divided by race, as discussed above.

I got my copy of TBW in a game store, so I presume it's in print; see the company's web site for more. As far as popularity, I mostly see this as an "I've heard good things about that game, but never played it" type of game. Still, it's a familiar setting and not hugely complicated, so you can probably convince an open-minded D&D or WFRPG group to give it a try. It's Tokien-like. Not Tolkien-esque, like D&D, but genuinely Tolkien-like, with elves that gradually go mad from age and sorrow, and relatively little magic.

All that said, I haven't played the game, I can't recommend it up or down - but is this really a game recommendation question? You're asking for a specific type of game, not "what would work best for this group," so this seems like a pretty cut-and-dry question. Game recommendations are usually very subjective, thus the sensible "have you played the game?" requirement for answers.


WFRP 3 has a similar career system to WFRP 1/2 - random to start then pick your way thru the possible paths (or pay more to jump to something unrelated)

What changed in WFRP 3 was everything else (and careers a bit as a side effect) - custom dice, cards for abilities & spells, plus tokens and trackers for everything else.

The custom dice were the big problem for me - they slowed everything down hugely. And the mix in the packs and naff/costly availability didn't help.

The cards etc were fine - tho could be an issue without a gaming table or a decent amount of (stable) space to layout. Its not a slobbing on the sofa game. It felt half board/card game (not that thats necessarily bad).

I'd do a fair amount of googley research before picking it up if you are considering it.

Dark Heresy (Warhammer 40k RPG) also has a career system and feels much more like WFRP2 mechanically.


Space:1889 is a system set in Victorian-era space-faring setting, that has somewhat similar approach to characters careers:

The careers are enjoyable appropriate for the setting, including a variety of government jobs (army, navy, foreign office, colonial office), exotics (game hunters, explorers, dilenttantes, adventuress, reporters), services (actors, servants, tutors, groundskeepers etc), mercantile careers (inventors, merchants, mechanics, engineers, etc), professionals (detective, doctors, scientists), and criminals (master career, poacher, smuggler, thief, anarchist).

Here is the source of the above.

The problem is that it's a system from ca. 1990, rather unknown at the moment. However the reprint from 2001 can still be bought online. There is also Savage Worlds version of game mechanics available.

  • \$\begingroup\$ You can also take a look on this review and here is the link to the Savage Worlds mechanics. I couldn't add these links to my answer due to lack of reputation. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 10 '15 at 15:04

You might find something useful in the Through the Breach RPG. It has a class system that encourages characters to move between them rather freely, and much like WFRP, they're relatively shallow, so characters will eventually have to move on one way or another.

It's card based instead of dice, but it might be worth checking out.


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