On the Job Training

A look at new careers in The Winds of Magic, a supplement for WFRP


– Designer Diary by Jay Little, WFRP Senior Developer

With the upcoming Winds of Magic supplement for Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, we’re able to expand on the rules and setting material for magic and its role in the Old World. Its influence is clearly felt with the Empire’s Colleges of Magic, and the eight Orders that study and harness the winds to pursue their goals. But the impact of magic – particularly the Colleges of Magic – goes beyond simply providing spell lists to wizards from different orders.

The Colleges of Magic are a political and cultural institution. In this designer diary, I provide some insights and a look at some of the new careers included with Winds of Magic that showcase their significance.

Focusing on Careers

The Servant CareerWhen we were developing this project, I knew we’d want to include a number of new careers. Winds of Magic was a perfect opportunity to provide a number of new careers, including several advanced and higher tier careers. But aside from the new third tier career for Wizards, we had some tough decisions to make. What careers would make the cut?

I worked closely with Dave Allen, a veteran Warhammer Fantasy writer and a name a lot of WFRPers know. Dave has quickly become the career “guru” for Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay – his knowledge of the setting and ability to capture the core concepts and essence of the careers has been a great asset to the design team.

Dave and I started with a blank slate – we began brainstorming a variety of careers without rhyme or reason. Some were careers we weren’t able to include in the core set. Others were careers that had been discussed conceptually, but hadn’t been fully designed or fleshed out yet. As the list grew, Dave and I started to talk about developing a common theme or purpose behind the careers. Rather than randomly grabbing careers off the list, we wanted a reason. What made these careers special? Why were they appropriate for the The Winds of Magic?

Informing Our Decisions

As the manuscripts for the new magic book came in and I started to read through the great material the writers were submitting for the Colleges of Magic, the College’s role as an institution became more fleshed out and nuanced.

It’s easy to forget that the Colleges aren’t just made up of aspiring wizards and wizard lords. The Colleges of Magic are a business. They define part of the Empire’s cultural identity. Further, each individual College is its own microcosmic community. Servants work tirelessly to keep the buildings tidy. Scholars visit College libraries to plumb their references or research obscure topics. Merchants ply their wares and trade with the Colleges to keep College larders stocked and provide resources for study and research.

Click to see the Scholar CareerAnd a number of other professions and people are affected or influenced by the Colleges, even if they’re not directly involved in the day to day operations. Apothecaries benefit from the enlightened outlook the Colleges have brought to the Empire, refining what was once considered hedge remedies into a professional pursuit. Grave robbers plunder bodies from the cemeteries, which may ultimately provide fresh specimens for a less scrupulous wizard or dabbler of Dark Magic.

Making the Cut

Now that we had a list of careers to work from and a better idea of how the product was shaping up, we were ready to evaluate our options. First, we started to narrow down the list by removing what we weren’t looking for. We discarded all the martial or combat oriented careers – in fact, none of the careers in Winds of Magic feature Weapon Skill or Ballistic Skill as career skills.

Next, we started to focus in on the careers that fell into one of two general categories. First, careers where intelligence, wit, education, or special knowledge or training were important. Second, careers that represented people who would interact with the Colleges of Magic on a regular basis in some manner. With these two guidelines in mind, we were able to refine the list to 10 new careers that provide a lot of variety, expand the roles and realism of the setting, and introduce advanced options to pursue (five of the ten new careers are advanced careers).

Dave did a brilliant job in making these careers come to life. Not only did he help develop the mechanical “footprint’ of each career with his input on primary characteristics, career skills, and the other game data that helps define the careers, but he wrote some wonderful flavour and background material that helps players get a sense of how these new careers fit into the Warhammer Fantasy setting.

To take a look at what's in store, be sure to download the Scholar career (pdf, 596 KB) – featuring both sides of the new Scholar career sheet, as well as its new Career Ability Card.

I think players will be pleased with the assortment of new careers, and the new perspectives provided on magic in the Empire. In my next designer diary, I plan on expanding that with a sneak peek at some of the new content that will be appearing in The Winds of Magic.

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