This is an idea I got a while ago. It’s based on the concept of rigid character classes from old RPGs. Sometimes you can come up with rather interesting setting information by working backwards from these often illogical and limiting rules.
This is based in part on the cultural ideas of castes or places in society being decided by gods or rules of the cosmos. Essentially, it explains you being locked into one class and only progressing in that class with it being Divine Law that you are just that.
You are, from birth, destinied to fit into your place in the world, whatever it may be. The ones who are warriors fight not just because they have to, but because it’s ingrained into their very soul. They are born as fighters, live as fighters, progress as fighters, and die as fighters. It’s the same with the other classes are around. The choices of the gods are absolute (or at least that is what people think). Those that would go against their assigned position are bringers of bad luck, and will lose out in their advancement.
The thing is, when it comes to thieves (or whatever you call them) this could get weird. Thievery is generally not considered a viable profession. So either you have a world with some people destinied to be theives and criminals, or a world where there are outcasts who rejected the caste system and live however they want. This is the oppurtunity for the jack-of-all-trades character that’s free to learn any skill they want. I much prefer the second option.
All in all, this seems to be a more interesting concept compared to the bad old “classes are just a job” thing. You need to twist it some way to make it interesting.
Potential classes for vaguely middle east/asian world
This whole idea was from the conception of my “backup campaign”, a RPG about nobles in an iron age court set in a kind of post-imperial warring states place. Expect things from Persia, Japan, India, Egypt, and even more places. So, here are the kind of classes I was thinking about. These could work both for nobles and vassals.
- Minister (diplomat)
- Specialist (spy/hunter)
- Mystic (sorcerer/priest)