Vanthropological Occupational Norms
Though my intent is not to convert the Encounter Critical rules to Risus, some aspects of the original rules lend much of the charm to the game itself. In this case, I attempted to find a way to incorporate the EC Character Classes — the classic Warrior, Warlock, Criminal, Pioneer, Doxy, Psi-Witch, as well as such popular alternates as the Biker, Encountress, and Pugilist — without losing the renowned versatility of Risus. What kind of a Warlock do you want to be (illusionist, shaman, witch doctor, alchemist etc.)? Is your Pugilist a Professional Wrestler, a Kung Fu Monk, a Vulkin Neck-Pincher, or a Luchador? These categories are meant to suggest the overall pattern of Vanthian culture without restricting the various ways it can manifest itself.
Despite the many diverse divisions that divide Vanth, either culturally or racially or otherwise, inhabitants of this world fall into a variety or archetypical culture roles. Virtually every native, and many offworlders who have spent time interacting with them, identify with these roles either consciously or unconsciously. This transcends such mundane factors as job description. According to the Neo-Campbellian School of Vanthropology, these basic archetypes, with some common variations, are:
Warrior (Mercenary, Knight, Headhunter, Soldier, Barbarian): Conflict is universal, on Vanth and in Space. Impervium-clad Clone-Troopers once mingled in the streets of God City with the likes of barbarian headhunters, mail-clad knights, Amazon warrior-queens, and others who lived by force of arms.
Warlock (Wizard, Shaman, Demonologist): The supernatural is the province of these magical brethren (and sistren). Whether casting spells from hoary old books, conjuring forth demons in pentacles drawn in virgin’s blood, or calling spirits from the vasty deep with talismans and charms and binding objects, all dare meddle in the domain of the gods for secrets that were not meant to be known.
Criminal (Enslaver, Hit Man, Robber, Con Man, Gambler, Merchant): They make their living with stealth and cunning, guile and intimidation. Whether they earn their gold upon the slaver’s block, the back-alley, the vending stalls, the tavern’s back room, or the madame’s parlor, they traffic in misery and broken dreams.
Pioneer (Cave-Explorer, Astronaut, Mountaineer, Sailor, etc.): They dared to go where no one had gone before, these rovers. Whether they sailed the seas, climbed the highest peaks, probed the depths of the earth, or rode the solar winds, these intrepid explorers could not rest until they knew the answer to the eternal question: “What’s over there?”
Doxy (Harlot, Concubine, Pleasure Droid, Go-Go Girl, Rake, Gigolo): Wherever there is power, there are Doxies of one form or another. Even when the Doxy’s goals are not so lofty (simply bringing pleasure to others, satisfying an urge to control the powerful ones, making a living the only way she knows how, entertaining crowds of admirers, or winning undying fame), the Doxy has her own special enchantments – and, for those unequal to the burdens, her own curses, as well.
Psi-Witch (Psychic, Force Warrior, Oracle, Medium, Scanner): The mind, a terrible thing to waste, is even more terrible when used as a weapon! Both talent and training in the Psionic Arts make these beings a formidable friend (or foe). Mighty kingdoms have fallen on the strength of a prophecy; battles have been won by those who see without seeing; brains have exploded under direct mental assault!
Biker (Hell’s Angel, Skateboarder, Stunt Rider, BMX Bandit, Roller-Derby Daredevil, Ten-Speeder)
Encountress (unverified or anecdotal only)
Scientist (Inventors, Engineers, Technologists, Doctors, Astrophysicists, Rocket Scientists)
Pugilists (boxers, barroom brawlers, karate killers, luchadores, professional wrestlers and others who rely on weaponless combat as their primary means of overcoming obstacles)
Although every de-facto persona corresponds to one major archetype, many trained observers often identify a secondary archetype complementing or contrasting the first (a controversial topic in Vanthropological circles).