by John R. Troy (

Over 10 years ago, I started reading RPG magazines. At that time, the role-playing game hobby was young and somewhat unpolished, and most game systems were based on character classes and an experience level system. Because of the limitations placed on what a character class could do, and the narrow variety provided in the core systems, primary submissions to magazines like "The Dragon" (as it was called back then) were new character classes. While they were desperately welcome options at the time, because a class and level system contained different rules for each separate class, the GM would have to memorize these new rules, tables, class spells, and whatnot, which added to the game's baggage and complicated play for all involved.

Fortunately, the Mythus game, like many of the newer role-playing games today, has taken advantage of the paradigm shift from a design based on "class and level" to a newer form based on "skills and attributes". In the Mythus game, players are still required to pick vocations, which is similar to picking a character class or profession in older systems. Yet, because all the K/S areas in the game are the same for each class, no matter what the vocation, a persona skilled in Criminal Activities--Mental, for example, uses the same rules whether he or she is a Thief, Bandit, Assassin, or whatever. Since the vocations are based on bundles of skills with base STEEP points assigned, new vocations can be created without a need to write new rules or refer to rules for another vocation. This allows the GM to create new ones without having to test new rules and their effects on the rules system and the campaign.

In fact, perhaps you are beginning to see the need for expansions right now, and have started creating other vocations. Most likely, your players have also suggested, or even pleaded for the creation of a new vocation so they can create the persona they truly envision. In addition, because many of you have played other fantasy games on the market right now, you probably want to create vocations that match the character classes or professions used in those systems ("Okay, let's see, hmnn. I don't see anything similar to a paladin or ranger--guess I'd better create them"). While creating these vocations is much easier and better balanced than in older systems, without care, it can be unnecessarily overused . The GM must temper his or her need to create the scores of vocations he has boiling inside his already taxed brain.


There are 35 vocations in the core Mythus rules, not counting the optional racial vocations. Mr. Gygax and Mr. Newton have made these creations as "generic" as possible. By generic, they not tied down to any one specific culture, civilization or state. In the AErth setting, there are varied cultures besides the AEropean setting which many FRPGs bases themselves on, including such areas as wild untamed land of Magmur, tribal/colonial Vargaard and Amazonia, the jungle lands and varied civilizations of Afrik, the mythical Lemuria and Atlantis, all the way to the Oriental Chinsungese states. As a result, the Mythus game's vocations have been honed for use in all of these lands. In addition, since "Epic of AErth" is not required to play Mythus, the vocations have all been designed for unmodified use for alternate campaigns as well. The skills of a merchant persona would be the same in any country or virtually any alternate world (with of course, the exception of native language spoken.)

If you have any doubt's, lets take a look at a specific culture. You've started a campaign based in AErth's Nippon, as you and your players have been playing an oriental based RPG before. Yet, as you and your players look, you all think creating new vocations will be necessary, since there aren't any vocations for such oriental archtypes like the Samurai, Yakuza, or the all-popular Ninja. But the standard Mythus vocations do cover these areas. What is a member of a Yakuza syndicate anything else but an urban based Thief! A Samurai is just a noble warrior, a Cavalier. Even the Ninja is basically an Assassin, possible with additional K/S areas as Yoga, Acrobatics/Gymnastics, Juggling (Physical), and perhaps Endurance, Tolerance, and Mental Perception. With the ability to add K/S areas after the vocation is picked, most players will be able to mold the character into what they truly wish.

Some players may wish to create a persona based on character classes or professions in other system. Depending on the system of your previous campaign, they can probably be found under a new name in this system, or, in some cases, the character class is based on common fantasy archtypes. For example, some warrior type games have classes like "Barbarian", "Berserker", "Paladin", or "Ranger". Yet, with a little adjustment and with GM guidance, the player could have the true persona he wishes. Many of the talents of a particular class can be translated into K/S areas in this system, particularly Physical K/S areas. For example, the ranger class of the AD&D game is able to track opponents, has a bonus to fight and kill against a particular creature, can use two weapons with no penalty, has empathy with nature and wildlife, and might gain access to nature oriented spells. This can be easily translated into the Mythus system. A persona attempting to emulate a "ranger" could either choose a physical combat based vocation (especially mercenary/soldier or hunter), and add or enhance the vocation with the following areas: Weapons, Special Skills (The Florentine and Specific Target sub-areas), Hunting/Tracking, Survival, Nature Attunement, and Animal Handling, and choosing from Natural oriented Heka generating areas as Dweomercraeft (Green School), Priestcraeft (Moonlight), and/or Herbalism! With enough of these skills added to a vocation, the persona will fit the fantasy archtype of "ranger".

In other cases, the character class or profession from the other game system has unique powers or spellcasting abilities, which the players are sure to miss. Of course, some of these can't be translated due to the nature of the Mythus system. For example, turning or damning undead is not possible (and should not be introduced) in this system. Yet, with proper work and GM guidance, personas in the Mythus game can gain similar abilities. Unlike other games, Mythus vocations don't have innate powers or abilities, but certain K/S areas have powers, such as Apotropaism, Necromancy, and Yoga. In addition, Non-human vocations can choose a Heka-based power, and those with abilities in Mystical areas have a chance of gaining a similar power. And every persona can gain one or more quirks and/or counter quirks. The Mythus Magick book even mentions and option allowing Vows to provide powers for a character such as a Knight.

Let's suppose a player wishes to create a persona similar to the AD&D Paladin class, probably one of the most complex and well-liked classes in that system. In that system, the Paladin takes a vow involving upholding the principles of law, justice, virtue, holiness, and the like, thus gaining abilities like detecting evil via concentration, casting minor priestly dweomers, has an aura of protection vs. evil creatures, and gains a steed of special nature. For the Mythus game, a persona could develop a "paladin" in a few ways. By taking the cavalier vocation and adding Priestcraeft (of sunlight ethos, of course!) the persona becomes a partial practioner! The wide variety of castings available might replace some of the powers, so they might not be needed. It is simple for the GM to give the player's persona a quirk that allows the persona to "sense" a vague impression of evil in a certain area, as long as it was minor and did not disrupt game balance. Simulating the Aura could be done via the Apotropaism K/S area, which could protect from other things as well. Another way to simulate this aura would be to grant a protective power as a result of a Vow of service taken by the persona (which might also enhance the Priestcraeft area as well). The Vow would balance the power(s) granted with dutious service and limitations (acting as the "counter-quirk", for all intents). Other benefits, like the special steed, would be gained via adventuring.

And, unlike the AD&D Paladin, this persona, a "Holy" Cavalier, could still add variety. Via the spellsongs and music K/S areas, the persona could also become a "Holy Troubadour"! Choose the combination of Demonolgy and Exorcism, and you have a "Holy Crusader", fighting against the hordes of Pandemonium! Better yet, the system could be used as inspiration to create vow taking warriors of other ethos. The Moonlight ethos could have similar cavaliers with vows and powers, and imagine "Guardians" of Balance, "Avengers" or Twilight, "Anti-Paladins" of Gloom, created with similar skills as befit their moral codes!


Even with the vocations listed in the system, and the suggestions, there is room for moderate expansion. The GM is advised, before creating new vocations, to look into both the need and design of the new vocation carefully. First of all, the vocation K/S bundle significantly different from others. This is very important. Why bother creating a new vocation if only one or two K/S areas are going to be added. As a rule of thumb, a significant difference would be an addition of more than 4 extra K/S areas, the removal of the same amount, or the assignment of one or more areas at a higher level. Thus, the creation of a "gladiator" vocation (professional arena fighter) is probably not needed, as the Mercenary/Soldier vocation would cover it, or a "captured" "primitive" with the Warrior vocation.

Yet, there are cases for the creation of a new vocation. For example, Appendix L of the Mythus game has an entry defining the Forester, one skilled in hunting and tracking, herbalism, and other areas. While, I mentioned that a ranger could be created via the addition of these areas, the amount of STEEP in tracking, for example, would be lower for a Mercenary/Solder how chose this vocation, rather than if the player wishing to create a ranger chose Hunter, which is unfortunately not a civilized vocation. Thus, there is a significant need to create this vocation. And some areas definitely cry out for vocations. There are only a few Non-human vocations currently available, so many GMs will wish to expand on the races available. In addition, for widely used races, the non human vocations could probably be expanded with their own sub-vocations, such as Elvish Cavaliers, Dwarfish Priests, Elvish Poet/Musicians, Alfen Moutebanks, etc. (One of the reasons the AD&D game is more popular than the D&D game is because the former lets characters pick classes for their characters, while the latter is like the Mythus game in which there is only one standard race type a player can pick from.)

Much inspiration can be found in Appendix L. of the Mythus book. Some of the listings are only based on another vocations SEC level, such as a Vavasor, Lord, or Banneret. In other cases, some listings are levels of power. (Sorry players, there is no way to create a Hierophant or Demiurge vocation, and even Acolyte or Apprentice should be avoided). Yet other areas can be developed. For example, we currently have no true "Mystic" vocation in Mythus, and the same goes for a Friar, or a Mendicant Monk. While a Conjurer could be created by a "failed" dweomercraefter, depending upon player demand, the GM might wish a vocation that assumes automatic failure in return for high initial STEEP in Conjuration. "Dark" vocations, such as Witch/Warlock, Sorceror, Demonurgist, Necomancer, and Nethercraefter, are also absent and could be created, at least for use by the GM to round out EPs and MPGs, if nobody wishes to create such a vile persona.

In creating and developing the vocation, the GM should try to make it as culturally independent as possible. The GM should only bother to create such a vocation if it truly has a different bundle of K/S areas, and would be difficult to create just by adding the appropriate K/S areas after creation. In the oriental campaign mentioned above, Samurai's and Yakuza are just Cavaliers and Thieves with a fancy name and a different cultural outlook, as mentioned above. The standard K/S bundles in those vocations would suit the campaign fine. However, in the case of the Ninja mentioned in the previous section, it would not be a bad idea to create a Ninja vocation (or a vocation entitled "Assassin, Martial") based on the standard assassin, removing a few foreign languages, and perhaps Mental Criminal Activities, lowering Toxicology, and adding Yoga, Juggling, and Acrobatics/Gymnastics to create a more accurate ninja. Similarly, these is no such vocation to portray an oriental martial monk or priest created at all, and that would be needed for a campaign of this style.

Another point should be made. Vocations should only be created if they have some significant impact on adventuring, unless the GM needs them for other purposes. Creating a Spy vocation, for example, has a great deal of adventuring capabilities. Yet, creating a farmer would be relatively useless to a potential adventuring persona. Because of the nature of the Mythus game, OPs don't need to have vocations, just assigned primary K/S areas, and a farmer would not have a wide diversity of these. It would be better for a player creating a persona who was a farmer to be something like a thief, with STEEP in the Agricultural K/S area! The GM might wish to create some of these "non-adventuring" areas to have a base for all of his or her MPs and OPs, but some of these areas are too narrow to justify a new vocation. A cook or a butler would not be a very good choice to create, but an Innkeeper or a Nobleman might be varied enough in K/S areas to be justified. While a Scribe may not be the best adventuring character, there are a wide variety of skills, the profession is mutable, and the persona would probably have a high SEC level (especially if the persona is based in AEgypt!), warranting its creation. The GM should use good judgement in the creation of non-adventuring vocations.


Here is an example of how a vocation would be created in a particular campaign. A player looks at the skills available, such as Buffoonery (his personal favorite), and wishes to base his career around it. While the player could just choose Buffoonery as an extra K/S area for another persona, the player would rather create a persona that specialized in this area (his highest K/S area, in other words). He looks at the Poet/Musician vocation, but does not want to deal with music that much. The Mountebank vocation might suit him, yet he doesn't wish to be "seedy", playing a outlaw. He asks the GM if something could be created that would allow him to be a wandering comedian.

The GM doesn't see much point in creating a vocation specializing in Buffoonery alone. However, the player expands on this, thinking of old traveling shows and vaudeville acts, thinking of an Actor/Entertainer vocation. The GM, after looking at the Poet/Musician vocation, feels that this suggestion will fill a legitimate hole in the campaign. He thinks of the following roles that could be filled: Comedy, Drama, Plays, Performance, Illusion, Feats of Skill, Juggling, Acting, the Arts, the Urban Crowd, Circuses/Carnivals/Fairs, and Traveling troupes.

An entertainer would probably start around SEC 4, being a Freeman, although not of great status. The entertainer would either wander from town to town, job to job, on a tour, or whatever, or would be more or less permanently based in a large town or city, and would be entertaining primarily peasants and/or freemen, having in touch with them than with any of the aristocracy. Because of the nature of the campaign, while the GM is trying to create a universal vocation, when in doubt, he will base this K/S areas needed on the types of entertainment found in Western AEropa, particularly Francia or the Avallonia isles.

The GM determines that the Actor/Entertainer highest skills will be in Buffoonery (for comedians, as well as general entertainment), as well as Thespianism (for acting). Thus, this vocation becomes a Spiritual one. He adds a few other primary skills, Deception (for stage tricks as well as convincing acting), Influence (to add to dramatic skill), and Literature (for knowledge concerning the Arts). Thinking of what other skills an "All around" entertainer would have, he adds (at various levels of STEEP) Acrobatics/Gymnastics, Juggling, Legerdemain, Hypnotism, Escape, and Fortune Telling. Current Events are also added to enhance both Buffoonery and to add "daily news" to the show, History is added to help in the creation of plays and skits, and Creative Writing will enhance both Thespianism and Buffoonery (the entertainer is assumed to write his or her own material). Because this form of entertainer is multi-faceted, the vocation will has music, poetry/lyrics, and musical composition added, although as tetriary levels. To enhance the thespianism skill, skills in disguise, impersonation, and sports (for mock combat) are added as well. Travel is added to aid the wandering entertainer.

There is still room for additional K/S areas, so the GM thinks what would be needed to round out the vocation. Since this is a Heka-Active Milleu, the GM decides that, an entertainer would need a little skill in the Grey School of Dweomercraeft, since many urban areas have Heka for lighting and practical purposes. (Think of going to a modern-day movie which calls for special effects, only to see effects produced like it was a 50's B-Movie!) A few "survival" skills are added, like Jack-Of-All-Trades (for the "off-season"), Street-Wise (assuming that the entertainer needs contacts in an urban area and is closer to people of these ilk), Printing (for writing programs), Survival (to supplement travel), and Combat, HTH, Non-lethal (for those times when brawls end up breaking out, particularly when buffoonery is used!).

After juggling a few numbers, the following vocation is created:


    Buffoonery                            20     SPSpd  s
    Thespianism                           20     SPCap
    Deception                             16     MRCap
    Influence                             16     MRCap  s
    Literature                            16     SMCap
    Acrobatics/Gymnastics                 12     (PMCap + PNCap) x 0.5 s
    Combat, Hand-to-Hand, Non-Lethal      12     (PMCap + PNCap) x 0.5
    Current Events                        12     (MRPow + MMPow) x 0.5 s
    History                               12     MMCap*
    Juggling                              12     (PMSpd + PNSpd) x 0.5*s
    Writing, Creative                     12     MMCap
    Disguise                               8     PNCap
    Dweomercraeft, Gray School*            8     MMCap*s
    Escape                                 8     (PMCap + PNCap) x 0.5
    Hypnotism                              8     MRPow*
    Impersonation                          8     SMPow
    Jack-Of-All-Trades                     8     PMCap*s
    Legerdemain                            8     PNCap
    Sports                                 8     (PMCap + PNCap) x 0.5*s
    Travel                                 8     (PMCap + PNCap) x 0.5
    Fortune Telling*                       4     SPCap*s
    Music                                  4     PNCap*s
    Musical Composition*                   4     SMCap*
    Poetry/Lyrics*                         4     SMCap*
    Printing                               4     PNCap
    Street-Wise                            4     SPCap*s
    Survival                               4     PMCap
    Total                                260

The total is at 260 points, a little higher than the standard 248-252 that many classes have, but it matches the Mountebank, the Heka K/S areas have relatively low STEEP levels, and Combat is limited to Non-lethal hand to hand, thus, it is balanced. Now, let's take a look at the final product.

First of all, the GM has created an interesting balance of skills that are not held by any other vocation. While the Mountebank has a few skills in several of these areas, the Mountebank is not a highly skilled or true thespian or comedian. And, while poet/musician is another form of entertainer, the vocation does not specialize in acting, illusion, or comedy. The vocation's K/S bundle has been selected with the AEropean setting in mind, as entertainment is highly variable from culture to culture, state to state, (an Nipponese Geisha would not use the same vocation, for example) but there are actors in many other states. The vocation assumes a wide variety of entertainment. The performer is suited to be part of an acting troupe, a vaudeville show, a traveling circus (as an acrobat or a clown), a prestigious theater company, you name it. Thus, one player might be a star performer in a circus, another, a wondering comedian, the third a serious thespian in a primary city!

And, the vocation is well-suited for adventuring. The persona already has several useful K/S areas, such as Deception, Influence, Acrobatics/Gymnastics, Juggling, and Hypnotism. The Gray school of Dweomercraeft will be also very useful in combat situations. Add a few Weapon based K/S areas, a Criminal Activities or Espionage K/S area, and a perfect adventuring type will be built. This vocation is more suited to urban adventuring than other types, but it is also very mutable. Add Journalism and Political Science, and the entertainer could influence politics and become a social commentator! Add STEEP to the Dweomercraeft, Grey School K/S area, as well as a few other Heka K/S areas, and the persona becomes a potent partial practioner over time! And of course, after major adventures have been undertaken, the persona has an instant play to write and perform, perhaps becoming a smash hit ("Yon dumalduns conjured before us, thou shalt not defeat us, for we serve justice and have purpose most noble"!). Buffoonery can also be used to make things lighter for the party, even in the face of death, and of course, comedy routines based on near deadly encounters could be a welcome change, for players as well as personas. ("So here we are, before a conjured horde of dumalduns from the netherspheres, facing death, and Hank, that stupid barbarian yutz from Mongolia, laughs! Laughs! We're going to die, and he laughs like you are right now! Is this guy a lunatic or what!"). And, the GM can create adventures based on a comedian's or playwrights actions. (On AErth, a comedy routine aimed at the deities of the Babylonian pantheon could enrage a group of Shammash soldiers in a tavern. Have fun, GMs!).

With proper guidelines and prudent implementations, other vocations similar to this can be created. These are only guidelines, however, and creating vocations is each GMs prerogative. The Mythus game allows virtually any type of fantasy persona to be created. Through extra vocations, and the players customization's of them, all personas in the campaign will be unique and well-rounded. Have fun, and may your campaign have the richness and diversity you and your players wish.

This article was converted from ASCII to HTML by Mike Phillips (, so corrections/errors to the formatting should be directed to him instead.