This suggestion is going to come in two forms, a simple, and a complex. Both of which solve the same basic concern.
I love the little perks that Hearthlings get when they level up, but it strikes me as weird that they don’t seem to keep them when changing classes. I realize that some of the perks don’t make much sense outside of their own class (Expanded craft recipes), but others could be extremely useful (Farmers +10 move speed, or Herbalist Regen Rate).
Simply keep perks active when changing jobs. Sure, some of them (“I can make level 2 tailored outfits!”) won’t be useful in a different job, but others will be. This lets a long lived Hearthling gain a large body of experience, and lets you effectively customize your classes a little bit. Guards dying too quickly in battle? Give them a few levels of Herbalist so they get the Regen Rate, and drop a couple of levels of Farmer on your cleric so he can keep up better. Tired of your laborer’s long journey to the mines across the map? Get a few trappers, level them all the way, then demote them back down for that sweet sweet carrying capacity.
Keep the perks as above, but also do a little bit of revision to the “Non useful” ones. Rework the prerequisites for jobs to be based off of perks, not class levels. Conversely, rework item crafting levels requirements to work of f of class levels, not perks. Finally, give the worker a leveling path and perks as well.
Lv 1: Hearty - Hard work is improving your health and body. (+5 Max HP, + 5 muscle)
Lv 2: The Good Haul - Learn to squeeze a little more in that old pack. (Backpack Capacity +1)
Lv 3: Brisk Pace - Look Lively Now. (+5 Speed).
Lv 4: Hardy - The rewards of a lot of honest sweat (+10 Max HP, +5 Stamina)
Lv 5: Strong Will - Forged in the labor of love for the Land (+5 Max HP, +5 Willpower)
Lv 6: The Big Haul - The more you carry in one trip, the less trips you need to make (Backpack Capacity +1)
Producers (Farmer, Trapper, Shepherd)
All of these perks are fine, no changes here.
All professionals now have a perk that only applies when they are actively set to their current profession:
Apprentice: Tools, for example “Blacksmith’s Tools”. This perk sets the appropriate craft menu & queue, and allows them to craft items for that profession. Unlike other perks, this perk is lost when changing jobs (as it really goes with the tool, not with the class.)
Lv 1: Basic Skill - Still has a lot to learn, but getting there - (Diligence + 2, Inventiveness +1)
Lv 2 (Blacksmith/Carpenter/Mason/Engineer): Hard Labor - Working hard all day has its own rewards - (+5 Max HP, Curiosity +1)
Lv 2 (Weaver/Herbalist/Cook/Potter): Meditative Labor - Work soothes the soul and teaches one about themselves - (+2 Curiosity, +2 Courage, +2 Compassion)
Lv 3: Burst of Inspiration - Sometimes, it just strikes - Has a small chance of empowering equippable items or potions with special effects, or generating a Fine version of the item if placeable.
Lv 4: Efficient Crafting - Saving scraps and careful cuts can yield huge rewards - Has a very small chance (Based on Diligence) of not consuming ingredients when crafting.
Lv 5: (class specific power ups, such as the Herbalist’s abiltiy to treat multipel patients)
Lv 6: Master - Known throughout the land. - increases the effectiveness of Efficient Crafting or Burst of Inspiration when working in this profession. If the craftsman change jobs away form this craft, they can still work the work queue for this craft at a much lower priority then their current profession if they would otherwise be idle.
Pretty much stay the same.
I realize the complex vision wasn’t likely, but I still wanted to share it. I do believe that the simple version would give us some interesting new methods of gameplay, and possibly interesting scenarios - such as trying to survive with only a few really highly skilled individuals, or taking on the Hard campaign with limited workers.
I also really want to see Workers get a leveling path, even if it is a slow one.