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Shades of Earth: Classes
An 8-paged Shades of Earth: Classes preview can be downloaded at the end of this page. The following text and illustrations are only a small example.
All fighter types start out with six skills to be used exclusively for weapon proficiencies. Every 5th level the fighter’s chance to critical on a d20 to hit decreases by one; i.e. at 5th level a fighter has max damage and a chance to critical on a 19 or 20. Every level they receive a +5% on their chance to critical roll. For example, at first level a hunter must roll a natural 20 on the to hit dice, then roll under 5% on percentile. At second level, he would need to roll under 10%.
Hunters are personifications of outdoorsmen and will style themselves as such. Hunters take several forms in society from sport hunters to primitive food hunters. These people represent the strongest of the community when soldiers are not present. Even compared to soldiers, they are often better trained for situations which take them into the wilds. The big game hunter is more versed in the ways of hunting with a gun than the bushman. Bushmen make up for this with a stronger training in survival.
Hunters receive the following initial skills:
2 Wilderness Survival, 1 Tracking, 1 Hunting, 1 Camouflage, 1 Targeting
Pilots are able to drive any vehicle. They specialize in piloting non-traditional vehicles such as planes, tanks, trains, and ships.
The profession of pilot has been around for centuries in one form or another. In ancient times the profession was mostly for sailing ships, but it has branched out in modern times to deal with transportation of many types. The airplane pilot is probably best known and is often the center piece of 1930-40 period pieces. Their profession takes pilots to many places in the world and therefore into many adventurous locations. Pilots receive the following initial skills:
3 Piloting, 1 Vehicular Repair,1 Radio Operation
Police serve an important role in a country’s security and the safety of its citizens. Which of these is the most valued often defines whether a country is a police state or a free country. The role that police play in the operation of a country varies from border patrol to internal security. As a function of this, police are exposed to the temptations of corruption and vice. Some rise above this while others succumb to temptation.
In the first half of the 1900s, police run the gambit of roles. In China, military police of Japan have a brutal free hand in the suppression of any revolts. The Chinese state police are no kinder to the Chinese communists. America has a range of policemen from the patrolman to the detective. The Depression makes many look to shake-downs and bribery as an alternative income. In Germany, the Gestapo and the Schutzstaffel (SS) perform separate duties but vie with each other for power. The SS is Hitler’s personal guard but the Gestapo is the state internal police. They both have power but cannot use it against each other effectively. Any of these police organizations can be the basis for rich character histories.
Police get the following initial skills:
1 Dodge, 1 Law, 1 Interrogation, 1 Driving, 1 Unarmed Combat
Soldiers make their way in life by doing battle. They sometimes are paid for their services as with mercenaries, and other times they fight for a cause. In either situation, a soldier must know the ways of war. There are many different types of soldiers from different types of conflicts in the early part of the 1900s. The citizen soldiers of the Spanish Civil War come from all walks of life and the army is so poorly supplied that many go to the front purely as unarmed reserves. They pick up the weapons of the fallen and fight on. This Republic army does not discriminate against women and many fight right beside their male comrades. Alternatively, the standardized army of the United States and other industrialized countries forbid women from fighting, and relegate them to the roles of nurses if allowed to participate at all. In the end though, war comes to the people and must be fought by whoever is there.
Soldiers receive the following initial skills:
1 Dodge, 1 Targeting, 1 Wilderness Survival, 2 Unarmed Combat
A specialist is a fighter who is extremely proficient in a weapon type. Specialists spend many years, and indeed most of their lives, in learning and perfecting the mastery of a weapon. In fact, they train to such an extent with a specific weapon type that all weapon proficiencies for that type of weapon are reduced by one (with a minimum of one). This means an extra plus to hit costs two points instead of three, but a plus to damage still costs one point.
Specialists of the period train with the rifles of the time to become sharp shooters. Other specialists are experts in archaic weapons who train for combat. Japanese soldiers are often experts with a sword. Many German soldiers train extensively with the rapier and foil. American officers train with the saber. In fact, many WWI calvary veterans are still alive who have battle experience with the saber.
The following initial skills are available to the Specialist: 1 Unarmed Combat, 2 Targeting, All weapon proficiencies within their specialty cost one less with a minimum of one.
Teamsters are a rough group able to move cargo vast distances. They specialize in moving cargo via trucks and organizing the logistics of cargo transport. In addition they are well prepared to defend their cargo, whether it be cigarettes or a shipment of oranges. Teamsters of the 1930s face dangerous jobs. Not only do they have it rough amongst companies that continually try to break unions but they also have to protect their cargo from “falling off the back of the truck”. Their extensive travels give them the opportunity to encounter a variety of people and become involved in all manner of stories. Teamsters go by many names and are involved in shipping and newly created air freight services.
Teamsters get the following initial skills:
3 Driving, 2 Maps, 1 Vehicular Repair, 1 Unarmed Combat
All performer types start with three skills to be used only for weapon proficiencies. Their critical roll increases by 2% each level.
Actors perform stories for the public. Sometimes these stories are performed with song and other times on film or stage. Actors of this age must be flexible in order to get work.
There are many actors who use magic to enhance performances. This is kept from the public but casters in the profession can be spotted by slow aging process, incredible stunt work, and realistic make up. Some spell casters are in front of the camera while others are behind. All this is kept from the public of course, since sexy and wholesome sell but the witch or warlock do not. Actors of the period work grueling hours on many manner of projects often on location. They are traded from studio to studio like animals and many resent it. This leads to politics and intrigue of the highest order.
Actors get the following initial skills:
2 Acting, 1 Oratory, 1 Disguise, 1 Singing
Artist vary in their media as well as in their success. Artists express themselves via sculpture, painting or other crafts. This is considered the expression of a person’s soul and spirit.
Artists come from all over the world but one thing defines them; they are all trying desperately to live their dream. They often live in poverty, only glimpsing the dream from a distance. To make ends meet until their ship comes in, artists need a variety of marketable skills. Makeup artist, set designer, backup singer, and ditch digger are typical skills used to pay the bills.
Artists get the following initial skills:
2 Craft Skills of the type of the Artist (i.e. sculpting, painting), 1 Disguise, 1 Singing, 1 Acting
Athletes are trained to perform in modern sports, but many of these skills can be applied in other areas of life. The professionals are dedicated to performing their sport above all. Athletes of the time travel all over the country and sometimes the world to perform their sport. They need to be able to defend themselves during stays in tough areas, especially if they are not in the big leagues. Showmanship and deception are their common tools and they use them to great effect.
Athletes get the following initial skills:
4 Movement Skills in their sport (e.g. football, baseball), 1 Deception, 2 Unarmed Combat
Craftsmen is a general term encompassing several skilled workers (e.g.: blacksmiths, carpenters, weapon smiths).
Craftsmen are still very important in the age of industrialization and play their part in the daily life of many on the planet. All over the world, different levels of technology are being employed. In China there is a desperate attempt to modernize the infra-structure but the interior stubbornly clings to the ancient ways. In South America the lack of needed machined parts combined with difficult terrain and climate make upkeep of complex machinery difficult. In India, the British Empire brings many advances but the craftsman still endures. Despite the modernizations, glassblowers, blacksmiths and jewelers still continue to make their goods.
Craftsmen receive the following initial skills.
5 in their specific class, 2 in the lore of their specific class
A musician plays musical instruments or sings. The professional musician has it rough in the 1930s and often treads close to the criminal world. Musicians sing the world to sleep and wake them in the morning. This is the age of jazz and swing. It’s a time of music when new paths for old tunes are explored. The musician, much like the artist, does not always have opportunities to break through to the big time but can almost always find work either through a talent agency or a regular gig. Music is needed for commercials, on the radio and in clubs. It does not always pay a lot but the musician can always move on to the next performance. Alternatively, there is also a high class musician who plays concert halls and rubs elbows with the elite. Musicians have access to all class levels of society.
Musicians receive the following initial skills:
3 skills in Play Instrument, 1 Etiquette (Night Club Business), 1 Disguise
Priests are the holy men who administer to the souls of their charges and do the will of their gods. Note that although priests may have different names for different religions, for Shades of Earth they are all considered types of priests.
Priests come in a wide range of faiths from all over the world. They are the frontline against supernatural threats to their charges. Catholic priests fight demons and have their own organization to aid in the research of magic and the protection against it. The Hindi often aid the Guards of Babur in their fight to protect India against the ever present threat of evil. Different cultures have different roles for their priests, but it is most often the role of teacher and spiritual guide and protector.
Priests receive the following initial skills:
3 Initiate, 1 Oratory, 1 History (Religion of choice)
Reporters look for stories and news in the pursuit of journalism. In reality, there are varying shades of professionalism ranging from sleazy scandal sheets to leading newspapers.
Reporters of the period go where the news is. This usually leads to a lot of investigative journalism involving some dangerous locations and people. When someone pokes his nose into enough dives, he finds things out that might better have been left secret. Nonetheless, journalists hunt the truth. This does not mean they always report it. Their editor may close them down and most likely will if the story is about magic. These stories often end up dropped.
Reporters, just like everyone else, come in different degrees of moral strength. Those without the talent or will to resist temptation write for hack newspapers or freelance and turn in what their editors want to hear. Whatever the level of the professional, reporters often need to take care of themselves. War correspondents bleed the same as soldiers and a slow reporter can die quickly.
Reporters receive the following initial skills:
3 Journalism, 1 Investigation, 1 Photography