I know it’s heretical to consider Warhammer without the career system, but if one were to go about adapting the WFRP3 system for other styles of play this could be a very easy way to change it. Systems without character classes can be made, and I think in some settings character class is less important than in others. In my Compromise and Conceit campaign world I deliberately eschewed classes, preferring my players to have ideas about what kind of character they wanted to be and what special powers they had. Rolemaster was designed with very fine gradations of character class and extreme diversity of development, so characters of the same class might not resemble each other at all. Also, modern settings don’t necessarily suit character classes very well.
Dropping character classes from WFRP3 would be easy, because all the careers are designed the same way. They are composed of 4 elements:
- Two career attributes (usually one physical and one mental)
- Five career skills
- One career talent
- An advance scheme
In the case of the magic-using classes, the career talent is magic. So we can change this to make the system free of character classes as follows:
- The player chooses two career attributes for their character
- The player chooses five career skills. If the PC is going to be a magic-user, this five skills has to include at least one of the two magic-using advanced skills (channel power and spellcraft for arcane magic, or curry favour and invocation for divine magic)
- Choose one starting talent in negotiation with the GM, that suits your character vision; for a magic-using PC, you get no career talent (because you have magic)
- Choose a starting stance (2 spaces in either direction, or 1 space/3 spaces)
Then, instead of having an advance scheme that matches the career system of WFRP, we have an advance scheme that matches the rank system. So in one rank you can spend 6 career advances and the 4 universal advances. The advance scheme is the same for all PCs (e.g. 2 action cards, 1 talent, 1 fortune, 1 wound, 1 stance, 2 skills). Or maybe players can choose a style for their PC, either attribute-heavy (e.g. 2 action cards, 2 talents, 2 fortune, 2 wound, 1 stance, 1 skill) or action-heavy (e.g. 3 action cards, 1 talent, 1 fortune, 1 wound, 1 stance, 2 skills). They then have to stick with this forever more; maybe also every rank they gain some bonus special ability related to their PC vision, e.g. a unique action or a unique talent. This enables PCs to play, for example, Indiana Jones exactly as they envisage him.
You could even use this system for completely random character generation – randomly assign every player first to a magic or a non-magic type, then randomly assign them attributes, skills and talents and get them to imagine their character from there. That could be fun for a one shot, maybe in the star wars universe or a slightly cthulhu-tinged Indiana Jones-style world.