What are the major differences in setting, themes, approach and general mechanics between the two versions of Princess: the Hopeful fansplat?

Both Dream and Vocation books appear robust and well developed, but they also seem quite similar on a cursory glance. Also, there's very little specific information about the game to be found outside of the RPG.NET threads (not very accessible for latecomers), or the Wiki pages created for Vocation and Dream.

Basically, what would be the main factors to consider for a new ST when choosing one version over the other?


2 Answers 2


The difference between the 2 versions is based on "irreconcilable creative differences" by one of the original project developers in the charm system.

  • The original Vocation system uses charms in a Tree system (You must have spent X points in the Charm tree to learn further charms, without any direct prerequisites.)

  • The forked Dream system puts the charms in sequential Paths. (You need all preceding Charms to learn the next charm in the path)

You can look at the Vocation Charms and the Dream Charms to make a decision on which choice to pursue.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Are those wiki pages substantially different from the current pdf contents? \$\endgroup\$
    – frank
    Jul 18, 2015 at 11:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ They aren't substantially different in the actual content. The Wiki pages will have a bit more commentary from the developers then just what is included in the rules, and I find it an easier format to search through. \$\endgroup\$
    – Nyoze
    Jul 20, 2015 at 5:53
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ This answer is false. The version linked to as the "dream" version is not, in fact, the Dream version of the game. The sun tzu version (linked as the "dream version") is a 2013 fork well predating both Dreams and Vocations. \$\endgroup\$
    – mneme
    Mar 30, 2017 at 22:43

This seems to be based on a central misunderstanding of what looks like the three different versions of PtH.

The original Vocation system used charms in a tree system, and starts with characters having fairly broad sets of charms available, with 9 dots in charms, of which 3 must be spent on charms within ones Affinities. This is called the Vocation system because every character, in addition to the three Aspirations (I think a subsystem taken from God Machine?) has a fourth Aspiration: A Vocation, which acts as an aspiration version of your calling (more or less). It has been updated for God Machine (which was where the Dream/Aspiration fork happened).

The above linked version (incorrectly labeled "Dreams") is an unnamed fork (call it the sun tzu version) made 6 years ago -- in 2013 (slightly before God Machine), and hasn't been updated since then near as I can tell. It used a sequence of charms rather than a tree, has Inner Light only cost 3 XP/Merit points rather than 5, made heavy use of upgrades to charms rather than having more different charms (particularly re combat charms) and presumably had numerous other changes. I'm not sure why you'd use it unless you agree with the overall difference in philosophy or want to avoid the GMC mechanics (ie, beats, conditions, Aspirations rather than GM-awarded XP and flaws).

The Dreams fork is very similar to the Vocations fork (and doesn't seem to have a wiki of its own; instead, a lot of the content is identical between it and Vocations except at key difference points). There, you only have 5 points of charms (of which 2 must be spent on Affinity charms) rather than 9, but growth is intentionally much faster; characters can (and must) take Dreams as well as or even instead of Aspirations, which must be outwardly focused and grant two Beats (a Luminous Beat that must be spent on Princess-focused connection--friendship with those you've heleped, Belief, or Inner Light, and a regular Beat) when triggered, blessed places can grant Lux (which is basically a Beat but only for buying up Belief or other Integrity), and also places in the Dreamland where Belief can be bought for 2 xp rather than 3 (at a cost).

Fundamentally, the sun tzu version is obsolete, but interesting; the Vocations version is for characters that start pretty powerful and are expected to grow (relatively) slowly while staying focused on their core mission (their Vocation), while the Dreams version is for characters that are expected to spend a lot of time on interaction and shipboard life -- but can also be expected to eventually end up much more powerful and varied than Vocation characters will in the same amount of time.


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