Saturday, September 17, 2022

Stormbringer Redux #15 (part two) - Coarse Demons

 

(See the previous post first before reading this)



4) Demon Magic


So, it is time to look at Demon Magic in classic Stormbringer (1E to 4E).


Rereading the Magic section, it is an incredibly mixed bag. On the one hand, the mechanics for elementals are almost rules lite, astonishingly simple, and are an exemplar of good, uncluttered game design. There are no stats, just rules on what they can or cannot do. Ditto the rules for Beast Lords and Lords of the Higher Worlds.


I really dig this. No wonder they were kept unchanged in later editions.


The demon rules are the opposite - clunky and contradictory, and decidedly incomplete. These rules are almost unfinished by modern standards. No wonder they made a whole point buy system for 4E, basically GURPS Demons. This solution came with its own problems.


This needs a rethink.


Basically, I want to do 4 things with Demon Magic:


1) Make the demon rules simpler, ie core mechanic instead of willy nilly differing numbers for every action or situation, or bloated point buy of later editions.

2) Make the demon rules faster by cutting out the math (ie no more adding up ALL attributes), allowing for summonings on the fly that don’t kill game momentum.

3) Add some flavour to demon summoning.

4) Organize and articulate what I cut and what I add so that it is usable at a glance.

Here are my suggestions.


4 The Three Demon Ranks


Basically, there are three demon ranks in the world of Stormbringer.


Rank 1 - Coarse Demons
Humans warped by Chaos. Pawns in the great struggle. Examples are Snake, Pig, and Thing that Elric and Rackhir meet in Ameeron.


Rank 2 - Lesser Demons
Demons of middling power. A good challenge for seasoned adventurers. An example is the demon guarding King Urish's treasure hoard in The Vanishing Tower.


Rank 3 - Greater Demons (also called arch demons or demon lords)
Entities of great power acting towards inscrutable ends. To be avoided at all costs. I speak, of course, of Stormbringer himself.


Note that all these entities are loyal first and foremost to Chaos, and will not serve anyone opposed to Chaos. They may only serve a sorcerer if Chaos allows it, but can change their allegiance at the whim of the Chaos Lords, or to fulfill their destiny.


I will introduce their characteristics in the following format:


1) How to Summon
2) Attributes & Skills
3) Abilities
4) Other Notes


4a) Type 1 - Coarse Demons (ie Chaos Beastmen)


The first rank of demon is Coarse Demons, also called Chaos Beastmen. These are humans corrupted by Chaos, who gradually turn to beast form to reflect their inner devolution.


I discussed this in a previous post, but it is worthwhile to repeat what Rackhir tells us about coarse demons as he and Elric travel to the demon city of Ameeron:


Elric: "Have you seen any of these demons?"
Rackhir: "Aye. The usual bestial sort. Coarse, stupid and powerful - many of them were once human before electing to bargain with Chaos. Now they are mentally and physically warped into foul, demon shapes."


1) How to Summon & Bind - Coarse Demons cannot be summoned or bound, they can only be bartered with, as Yrkoon did with the coarse demons that assailed Elric and Rackhir in Ameeron. They are most commonly found wandering the lesser planes of existence, such as the world beyond the Shade Gate, or other minor hells. They are often organized into Chaos armies by Agents of Chaos, such as when Prince Gaynor lead throngs of them against Law in the Corum Chronicles.
Being relatively weak, Coarse Demons usually travel in groups of a half dozen or more. Many are too warped mentally and physically to have much gear, but some might have simple weapons (broadsword or scimitar doing 1D8+1 or spear doing 1D6+1) and shields (round target giving 1D6 Armor as per my previous Shield armour rules) as the GM wills.

2) Attributes & Skills - Since Coarse Demons are just humans warped into demonic shapes, we can assume all their attributes are average (10) because they were neither smart nor strong enough to resist being contaminated by Chaos. These guys are the mooks, the cannon fodder of chaos.
These demons come from all walks of life, and many were not warriors, so weapon combat skills of 30% seem reasonable. They should have the advantage of numbers but not be too much of a challenge for the player characters.


3) Abilities - As I noted in my post on Moorcock's bestiary, GMs should try as much as possible to create adversaries that match the theme of their adventure, and determine powers based on that. However, we can't all be Moorcock all the time, and even Moorcock had moments that didn't entirely work. Optionally, use this random table to determine their bestial form, and adjust results as need be.


Coarse Demon Appearance and Abilities (Roll 1D20)

(Reminder: All weapon attack and defensive skills are 30% unless otherwise noted. All fight as humanoids with the same restrictions as PCs unless otherwise noted.)


1 Ape - Bite for 2D6, Fur Armor 2 points, Climb and all sense skills at 65%


2 Bear - Bite for 1D8, Fur Armor 3 points, Move Quietly & Hide at 65%, Track & Scent at 90%


3 Tiger - Bite for 2D6, Fur Armor for 2 points, Move Quietly & Hide at 80% (in grasslands, half elsewhere), Scent & Track at 90%


4 Hawk - Bite for 1D4, See 75%, Dodge 45%. Hawk Beastmen can fly unless wings are crippled, and do double damage with a spear if they perform a Strike attack. A Strike takes one turn to ready (ie maneuver and dive). They can also juke attacks while flying without losing an action or incurring cumulative 20% penalty on a successful defense roll.


5 Wolf - Bite for 1D8,  Fur Armor for 1 point, Track & Scent 80%, Move Quietly % Hide 70%, other senses 60%, Dodge 50%. Can Dodge AND Attack once before cumulative 20% penalty is incurred. Comes in packs of 1D6+1.


6 Dog - Bite 1D6, no fur armor, Track & Scent 70%, Hide & Dodge 35%. Can Dodge AND Attack once before cumulative 20% penalty is incurred. Comes in packs of 2D6.


7 Crocodile - Bite 2D10, Tail Lash 1D10+2 plus Knockdown (STR x 2% to avoid), Scale Armor for 5 points. Swim 100%, Move Quietly 50%, Ambush 25%. Amphibious. In water, Swim skill can be substituted for Dodge.


8 Pig - Tusks for 2D4+1, no fur armor. Track & Scent 70%, Hide & Dodge 35%. Can Dodge AND Attack once before cumulative 20% penalty is incurred. Comes in packs of 2D6. Do double damage with tusks or a spear if they perform a Charge attack. A Charge takes one turn to ready (ie while charging). However, they cannot Dodge attacks while charging. Can be cooked and eaten if adventurers are starving.

 

Demon Slayer: Inosuke Fan Art | Anime Amino


9 Shark - Bite 1D6+4, Scale Armor for 3. Swim 100%, Move Quietly 90% (half outside of water). Amphibious. In water, Swim skill can be substituted for Dodge.


10 Snake - Has 1D4+1 snake heads. Each Bite for 1D6 vs armor. If PC armor is breached, poison of Potency 1D10x1D6 is injected. No natural armor. Move Quietly, Hide & Ambush 40%.


11 Horse - Cannot hold weapons due to hooves. Bite 1D10, Kick or 1D8+1D6, Trample downed foe 2D6. Skin Armor 1 point. Swim & Scent 50%. Runs at double human speed.


12 Octopus - All limbs are tentacles, face is Cthulhuesque. Bite for 1D6+1, Spew Ink (see below), Rubbery Skin Armor 1 point. Can attack once per limb. Swim 100%, Move Quietly & Hide 70% due to skin camouflage. Usually holds 1D4+1 weapons and attacks with them, or can grapple an opponent, immobilizing one limb per successful attack. Victim is immobile, but can make a STR x2% roll per round to break out as their sole action. Can also Spew Ink as one of its attacks, once per round, a success blinds the victim for 1D4 rounds.


13 Leech - All limbs and head have multihinged, needle-toothed mouths and no eyes.  Bite 1D6 from ANY appendage, no armor, double hit points (20). Once they hit, they automatically suck out 1D6 CON per round per place hit. Take double damage from salt or fire. Move Quietly & Hide at 55%.


14 Fly - No natural attacks or armour. Compound eyes mean they cannot be surprised or snuck up on. Often used as scouts or watchmen. Can fly unless wings are crippled, and do double damage with a spear if they perform a Strike attack. A Strike takes one turn to ready. They can also juke attacks while flying without losing an action or incurring cumulative 20% penalty on successful roll.


15 Psychedelic Butterfly - Bite & Claws 1D6, Wing buffet (see below), Sticky skin armor 1 point. Wing Buffet stops all arrows fired at the demon, or can be used to knockdown the opponent (save at STR x 2%).


16 Fish - Bite 1D6+1, Scale Armor 1 point. Swim 100%, Move Quietly 50%, Ambush 25%. Amphibious. In water, Swim skill can be substituted for Dodge.


17 Spider - Bite for 1D6 vs armor, Shoot Web 80%.  No armor. Move quietly, Hide & Ambush 80%. If PC armor is breached by Bite, poison of Potency 1D10x1D6 is injected. Web attack must be dodged, otherwise the victim is immobile, but can make a STR x2% roll per round to break out as their sole action.


18 Rat - Bite 1D6, claws 1D4, Fur Armor 1 point. Move Quietly & Hide at 70%. The major danger is the disease they carry. If PCs are in combat, they must make a CON x 5% roll or get sick. If they are wounded by the Ratman's bite or claws, this is reduced to CON x 1%. Failure to save means the character loses 1D4 CON and HP temporarily, and is bedridden that number of days.


19 Undead - Bite or claw 1D6. When they are reduced to 0 HP, they start regenerating at a rate of 1D6 HP per round. Can only be totally destroyed by fire or demon weapons. The major danger is the disease they carry. If PCs are in combat, they must make a CON x 5% roll or get sick. If they are wounded by the Undead's bite or claws, this is reduced to CON x 1%. Failure to save means the character loses 1D4 CON and HP temporarily, and is bedridden that number of days.


20 Thing - An amorphous blob continually shooting out and sucking in appendages with various appearances, from tentacles to swordhands to claws. Has 3D8 HP, 3D8 natural armour from mutating flesh (roll once and keep that for the rest of the encounter), and does 1D8 attacks per round, each doing 1D8 damage. Doesn't really dodge but can parry equal to the number of appendages with penalty.

4) Other Notes

Optional Rule

 

For every group of Coarse Demons, one could have a special demon ability. Once again, match the theme of the adventure if you can, otherwise roll on the Demon Special Abilities table (coming in next post) and adjust as needed.

Next Time:

Summoning Lesser Demons

 

 

 

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

To Tanelorn

 Should we go to Tanelorn?


(Looks at the 3 who are 1)




On second thought, let's not. It is a bit of a silly place.

Saturday, September 10, 2022

Stormbringer Redux # 15 (part one) - Refinding the Magic

So, this post has been a long time coming. Indeed, whether you're a player, GM, or rules tinkerer, the magic system of Stormbringer is arguably the most daunting element of the game.

Elric 5 | Read Elric 5 comic online in high quality. Read Full Comic online  for free - Read comics online in high quality .


I've rewritten the post a few times, and upon reviewing my previous posts, I see that I have been going about it all wrong.


I had started statting things out, listing attribute rolls, etc. This temptation is strong in older games. I fell into this trap in my previous Encumbrance and Social Status posts.


But it doesn't work for Stormbringer. What does work is the quirky narrative rules that subvert the mechanics, just as Chaos subverts the mundane reality of mortals. The rules for Elementals and Lords of Law and Chaos are exactly this - neat narrative conceits that laugh at skill rolls and attribute levels.


Let's try and work this out with Demon Magic.


First, here is what was salvageable from my initial attempts:



1) Adding The Sorcery Skill

(NB: I just looked at 4E and realized that they did eventually come to the same conclusion as myself. Still, I think this description is much more useful.)

In 1st edition, there is surprisingly no Sorcery skill. Considering that BRP’s fallback response to any new situation is “Make a skill,” this is a weird oversight.


In this case, I propose using a Sorcery skill, starting at INT x 3%. Since a sorcerer must have a minimum INT of 16, the minimum starting skill would be 48%, which is close to the starting percentage of 50% for summoning most demons and elementals.


Here is a description in the form of other skills from Stormbringer 1E, but with details taken from the Requisites of Magic [5.2.1] section:


Sorcery (INT) - This is the skill of knowing the requisites of magic, as well as performing them to get a desired result, usually summoning of a demon or casting of a spell. It includes knowledge of certain words of power, chants, runes, circles or symbols, herbs, or minor sacrifices needed when employing the principles of magic. It also gives basic knowledge of decorum when dealing with supernatural entities, as well as the chance of successfully dealing with them, and the consequences of failure.


That about covers all the basics, I think. It is only rolled when summoning entities such as elementals, demons, beast or planar lords, and otherwise just provides sorcerous knowledge from GM to player without necessitating a roll.


This one summoning roll replaces all the myriad percentages given in 5.3.1 [Sorcerous Abilities]. Note that sorcerors can only attempt to summon an entity allowed by their rank, ie elementals at First Rank, demons at Second, Elemental Rulers at Third, Beast Lords at Fourth, and Lords of the Higher Worlds (ie Law and Chaos) at Fifth. Summonings are also limited by their social status as I have outlined, ie only Melnibonean imperials can summon Lords of Chaos or Law, etc. More is given on this later.



2) Controlling Demons [5.6.1]


Forget all the arbitrary CHA or INT x 5% nonsense rolls, use Persuade instead. Why make a skill if you aren't going to use it? Sorcerors SHOULD become silver-tongued devils from their experience with demons.



3) Streamlining POW Increase (and Decrease)


The chance of increasing POW when binding demons has always been an incentive for sorcerers, but the wonky D4-1 roll to determine this makes no sense. Instead, when you bind a demon of equal or greater POW to the sorcerer, this is how POW gain (or loss) is resolved.


POW vs POW Roll Result Effect

Critical success (ie 1/10 of chance)     Gain 1 POW

Normal success or failure     No change in POW

Fumble (ie roll of 99-00)     Lose 1 POW


This rule is simpler and a greater incentive to summon and bind demons of greater POW than oneself. One may argue that this allows too much accumulation of POW, but since even mortals will soon outstrip the 3D8 POW of most demons, increasing POW is limited and thus not overpowered in the least.


Next time:
Demon Magic & the Three Demon Types


Thursday, September 8, 2022

Downloads to the Right

I've just put a ink to the G doc of the collected Stormbringer redux posts on the right. I will add my Weird Japan posts at some other time.

Hard to believe I've written 100 pages! I hope the gentle reader finds it useful.


- Tedankhamen

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Podcast Appearance(s)

I've been on lots of podcasts the past few years. It is extremely fun to talk about your passions with equally passionate people. Highly recommended!

My recent has probably been the funnest - an appearance on the Breakfast in the Ruins podcast jazzing about the writings of Michael Moorcock and how (not) to translate them into RPGs. The host Andy does a bang up job, and I felt very welcome and inspired.

Cheers Andy! Take a listen and give him some love HERE.

If you're interested in non-rpg podcasts, here are some of the topics I've discoursed on:

Ikigai, ie Japanese ways to lead a fulfilling life HERE

Power harassment at the Japanese workplace HERE

Special education in Japan + drinking under bridges HERE

The Japanese yurukyara Gudetama's social significance HERE

Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Seeing the Forest and the Trees in RPG Design

I've been dipping my toes in Twitter, as this seems to be where RPG discourse is most alive. Blog posts only seem to get offers for penile enhancement or surefire investments these days.


Anyway, there was a call for inspiration in making a scenario, and the answers laid bare what I think is the problem in RPG design. Here is the question:


Q: What are the essentials for a great Star Wars adventure? (I need to get writing)


OK, nothing new here. Just a fellow gamer looking for some inspiration. Here are the first two responses:


A1: Displays of mysterious but cool violence, an amazing array of animatronic creatures with nightclub lighting, shonky 70s tech, absurd disguises working, stop frame, and lasers with recoil.


A2: Stolen plans. There are always stolen plans. Stored on super futuristic enormous cassette tapes. Transmission best done physically. Couriers to be trusted


OK, again, nothing new here. These are all what we'd call tropes, or easily identifiable, genre specific cues. Could be a character, an event, a locale. These are great suggestions, and just what the doctor ordered.


But there is a problem with just relying on tropes, and it is threefold.


First, if we just set up a string of set pieces, we run the risk of a railroad, or rail shooter experience. The GM will set up when the plans are to be handed over, what type of shady bar they'll do the handover in, and just when the violence should start. One character decision is enough to derail the adventure, frustrating the GM and destroying the illusion of player agency.


Second, when using Intellectual Property (IP) especially, there is a danger of what I call "IP Tourism." As you know I am a big Stormbringer fan, and there is always the tendency for GMs to stick with known locales like Imrryr and Tanelorn, while players always want to get the selfie with Elric (usually while being eviscerated by Stormbringer). As the Breakfast in the Ruins podcasters note, a true Moorcock gaming experience would be on some random, unknown world of the multiverse, not just traipsing through locales from the novels. Considering that the Star Wars universe has literally an unlimited number of planets, the fact that no less than 5 movies have visited Tatooine implies that filmmakers themselves have trouble with this aspect of IPs.


Last, if we just recycle tropes all the time, we are doing nothing new or exciting, and interest will eventually wane. Look at the films - the original trilogy was chock-a-block with new or innovative storytelling and visuals (much expertly recrafted from other genres - such as the Death Star canyon run being lifted from 1954's The Dam Busters). But by The Force Awakens, the storytelling was so laden with tropes that not much new was being done.


"So, Tedankhamen," you ask, "How would you do it?"


My answer was this: Fascism, inequality, tech, exotic locales, and hope.


I don't think my answer was better than the other two, it just completed their list of the tropes with a reminder of the over-arching themes behind them. The violence in Star Wars is born from the struggle against fascism; the hegemony of the fascists creates inequality throughout the system, which even colours the use of tech (ie droids are nothing more than created slaves), and shows that, sadly, technology won't save us from man's inhumanity to man. The exotic locales are born from this struggle as well  - rebel bases hidden in jungles, pod racers in desert planets that could be turned lush and green if the empire wasn't so busy making Death Stars.






NB: My two favorite 'new' SW films are Rogue One and The Last Jedi. The former leans heavily into tropes (fleet battles, stolen plans) while keeping the theme (the Resistance cares about the mission, not the many Bothians who die for it) front and center. The Last Jedi also has tropes galore, but the revelation that the universe, despite being a place of high technology and radical inter-species diversity, is held back by its endless conflicts, is summed up in the words of Benicio Del Toro's character, DJ: "They blow you up today, you can blow them up tomorrow" Whatever faults these films have, at least they succeed in balancing the forest and the trees of their imagined universe.


When you design an adventure, you have to see not only the trees (ie the nitty gritty tropes that help you imagine the world), you also have to keep in mind the forest (ie the themes that drive the characters in the gameworld, and that make players care about it) . Focusing on only one level of the game - tropes or themes - is ultimately unsatisfying for players and GMs alike.


Saturday, August 27, 2022

Social Class & Stormbringer Style Characters for Call of Cthulhu



So, character generation in Call of Cthulhu is boring and largely meaningless. Roll 2d6+6 for inflated stats, none of which will matter hereafter. Here is a list of occupations, a couple of skills, take an arbitrary lump sum of skill points and distribute them. Don't forget to look up the arbitrary skill defaults while you're at it.


Ho hum.


I know I’m a broken record on this, but I've always disliked the disconnect in Chaosium games between attributes and skills. It doesn’t matter how high or low your DEX is, everyone shoots a gun at the same starting percentage. This is not very realistic, and the lump sum distribution of skill points is equally uninspiring.


Although classic Stormbringer tried to connect these more, the calculations were a bit fiddly and not worth the trouble.


In the Stormbringer houserules I devised, skill percentages are determined by multiplying attributes, providing a much stronger link between skills and ability. If all soldiers have Weapon skill at DEX x 5%, one with a DEX of 10 will not be as good as another with a DEX of 15. A 50% chance to hit pales in comparison with 75%.


What if we port this over to Call of Cthulhu? Here is how I would implement it:



1) Introduction: Skill and Social Class


In this system, all the starting skills in the Occupation descriptions (see rulebook) are determined by multiplying the Skill Modifier by the requisite attribute. The average Skill Modifier is 5 x the appropriate attribute, but this may be reduced due to social class. Here is a list of all skills and their relevant attributes:


INT SKILLS

Accounting, Anthropology, Archaeology, Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, Electronics, Geology, History, Law, Library Use, Mechanics, Medicine, Natural History, Navigate, Occult, Other Languages, Own Language, Pharmacy, Physics, Psychology 


CHA SKILLS

Bargain, Credit Rating, Disguise, Fast Talk, Persuade, Psychoanalysis 


DEX SKILLS

Conceal, Dodge, Drive, Ride, Handguns, Hide, Locksmith, Operate Heavy Machinery, Pilot, Rifles, Shotguns, Sneak, Submachine Guns

 

STR SKILLS

Climb, Fist, Punch, Grapple, Headbutt, Jump, Swim, Throw

 

POW SKILLS

First Aid, Listen, Photography, Spot Hidden, Track


OTHER SKILLS

Craft (varies STR, DEX or POW)

Cthulhu Mythos (as normal rules)

Martial Arts (Decide whether you have learned a hard style based on STR or soft style based on DEX. 


For hard styles, when you roll an attack such as Punch or Kick, if a success is under both Punch / Kick & Martial Arts, you do double damage. Also, if a successful attack you roll is Parried, the parrying character takes half damage.


For soft styles, when you roll a Parry or Dodge as normal, if a success is under both the Parry / Dodge & Martial Arts, you can roll a Grapple attack to throw the attacker.


NEW SKILLS

You could also make up new skills based on this principle. CON skills are noticeably absent, so things like Resist Poison, Resist Pain, Resist Hunger etc could all be CON based.



2) Step One: Roll Attributes & Social Class


First, roll ALL attributes on 3D6. That's right, suck it up, buttercup! You'll be getting some historically accurate, wildly uneven people.


Your EDU score determines your Social Class as follows. This affects your starting money and occupational skill base of x 5% as follows:


3 Destitute. Starting money is 1/10. Skill modifier is  x 2% because you were always too busy making ends meet to concentrate on education.


4-5 Poor. Starting money is 1/4. Skill modifier (explained below) is at x 3% because you were stressed by your lack of means.


6-8 Lower middle class. Starting money is 1/2. Skill modifier (explained below) is x 4% because you had to work twice as hard as anyone above you.


9-12 Middle class. Starting money is as normal. Skill modifier (explained below) is normal (x 5%) because you were supported enough to reached your full potential.


13-15 Upper middle class. Starting money is x 2. Skill modifier (explained below) is x 4% because you were profligate.


16-17 Rich. Starting money is x 4. Skill modifier (explained below) is x 3% because you had it easier than most and coasted to success.


18 Millionaire class. Starting money is x 10. Skill modifier (explained below) is at x 2% because you never had to work a day in your life.





3) Step Two: Choose Occupation & Determine Skills


Occupations are classed into three levels, Lower, Middle, and Upper Class Occupations, and Occupational Skill Modifier is as above. Also, if you choose an Occupation from outside your class, you get a - 1 to your skills modifier for every level of difference . For example, an upper class character (base skill modifier x 2) would have no penalty being a doctor, but would get - 1 (so base skill x 1%) for 'slumming it' as a middle class police detective. This reflects both how rigid class distinctions are, as well as the reduced efficiency individuals have for doing a profession outside their habitus or social origin.


Level 1 - Lower Class Occupations (For Destitute, Poor, or Lower middle class Social Classes). Consists of disenfranchised, workers, outsiders.


Ex. Artist (unsuccessful), Author (unsuccessful), Entertainer (unsuccessful),Criminal, Hobo, Revolutionary, Tribal Fisherman, Tribal Warrior


NB: A player with an arts occupation PC rolls versus Luck or CHA x1% at creation to see if they are successful or not.


Level 2 - Middle class Occupations (For Middle class or Upper middle class Social Classes). Consists of professionals, public servants.


Ex. Athlete, Clergyman, Engineer, Farmer/Woodsman, Foot Soldier, Journalist, Missionary, Police Detective, Police Patrolman, Private Investigator


Level 3 - Upper Class Occupations (For Rich or Millionaire class Social Classes)
All Academics (until the 1970's when Neoliberalism kicks in and they become middle class). Politicians or leaders.


Ex. Antiquarian, Artist (successful), Author (successful), Dilettante, Doctor of Medicine, 

Entertainer (successful), Lawyer, Military Commander, Musician (successful), Parapsychologist, Professor.


For example, a middle class character (base skill modifier x 5) who wants to be a professor (one class above so will have skills at, while a 



4) Step Three: Determine Other Skills

Roll 1D6+2, then distribute these as attribute x 1% per point among any skills you want. You can beef up occupational skills or else take non occupational skills.


Emergency Defaults

In an emergency, a character is considered to have attribute x 1% in any skill they need that they could logically have. If you (surprisingly) haven't taken any skill in Pistol, if you pick one up in a firefight you are considered to have DEX x 1%, not 0%. However, a North American policeman character dropped into ancient Egypt would not be able to speak the language at INT x 1%.



5) Standard of Living


Along with the importance of social class for occupation and skill selection, it also strongly affects characters' lifestyles. 


ALL player characters lose 1% of their wealth between sessions to reflect the cost of living. This means lower class characters will also have to think of making ends meet while fighting cosmic horrors. In case rich characters hire poorer ones, or they get hired by NPCs, daily salary for the 1920's and 30's is INT in dollars per day, multiplied by social class level. So a character  would get INT x1 if lower class, x 2 if middle, and 3 x if upper class.






6) Roleplaying Effects

Social class also affects player and non-player character interaction as follows.


Same social level - Friendly, helpful.

One level apart - Guarded, does the minimum required.

Two levels apart - Arrogant or resentful, refuses help if not in their interest.



Conclusion


If you don't see the use or the fun in this proposal, don't use it. As for me, I think like my previous post on subtext in Lovecraft, this would really add depth to roleplaying, and is thus worth the effort.