Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Changing Gamers assumptions about Pathfinder (Part III, some Classes)

I. Berserkers (a.k.a. Barbarians), also known as the Possessed, the Forsaken or the Anathema. Berserkers are cursed fighters that appear on every race. They’re identified by birth marks, strange eyes, sharp teeth and a thousand other signs that mark them as possessed by banished spirits (from demons exiled from the Abyss to forgotten and destroyed deities). Some are ordinary looking, but become bestial and horrendous when “manifesting” their inner demon (i.e. Rage). The Forsaken are universally shunned by must organized churches (and a few cults) and burned still as babies. Those few that reach maturity are deadly and natural warriors, consumed by unholy hungers. Some, however, managed to keep their chaotic taint under control – you’re one of them.

II. Mundane Bards are wandering artists, rogues and scoundrels. Easily accepted and common to most cultures under a myriad of names. They’re just performers, nothing more. However, there’re rumors of strange musicians and minstrels capable of invoking spells and powers different from god- or book-magic. Masters of illusions, healers, diviners and mind-benders, the presence of such Mystics is usually followed by the sudden demise of wizards, priests and rulers. Bards are actually the last (and much diminished) descendents of the Holy Ones, the first spellcasting tradition among mortals, their magic a perfect blend of the divine/arcane dichotomy known today. Bards keep the ancient Balance and travel the world guided by their Hidden Master’s orders – usually to silently kill a spellcasting mortal, to banish otherworldly presences or to manipulate certain rulers (so that they destroy or promote a certain religions). The world once belonged to mortals; the Bardic Secret Orders will make sure this legacy becomes again a reality.

III. Druids are the memories of a Lost Age, of a better world. A long ago, the Humanoids Hordes warred against the Beast Kingdoms. It was a terrible war and the Humanoids won. The beasts were cursed, diminished and banished. Most today are simply animals, their higher spirits and gifts buried beneath millennia of humanoid magic. Inside the deeper forests and farthest wilds, there still a few of the old Beast Kings. When the lands of these old half-gods are taken by Humanoids and their final demise is at hand, a few decide to assume the guise of their enemies, to survive. They’re the Druids, the Shapeshifters, magical animals locked in humanoid form, possessing a forgotten type of spirit magic. Most Druids don’t remember who they’re as primordial gods, as the Ritual that creates them erases and buries their long memories, shapes and powers. Only after much training and soul searching can a Druid becomes but shade of the old god that it was in eons past.

IV. Fighters are just warriors and warmongers. And wizards are just old men that study maddening tomes. Both are lies. Any man can pick a sword and fight. A few can even train and become warriors. But true Fighters – the Ironborn – are above any mortal combatant. Fighters can take on ogre, face armies or even vanquish dragons. They’re the sons of the Orders of Steel, ancient religious sects of the dead gods of war. Each sect teaches secret techniques (feats) besides exercises that allow a Fighter to use weapons, armors and their bodies to limits undreamed off (weapon and armor training, lots of hit points). Each Order of Steel has its own symbols, colors, holy weapons and armors; besides an agenda. They’re also devoted to certain kingdoms. It’s no wonder that Fighters are banished from royalty by ancient traditions and taboos. Otherwise they’d rule the world.

V. Paladins are a living mystery. Feared Champions touched by the Otherworld, anointed simultaneously by the Higher and Lower Spheres. Inside each Paladin resides the potential of greatness and the fulcrum of destinies. Things simply happen around Paladins, ominous acts, terrible coincidences and greater events – legends. Some whisper that simply to sleep inside the same house of a Paladin can change a man’s life. Because Fate walks by their side, Paladins are constantly watched by supernal forces. It’s a gambit for their souls. The Higher Spheres have the initiative, but the Lower Spheres have the longer play. A Paladin is thus blessed by the cold and judgmental Celestials, but each such Champion is also accompanied by a fell spirit (an imp, shade or other unclassifiable demonic being). This demonic soul guide constantly attempts to guide, cajole and deceive the Paladin to dark paths. At the hands of Heaven, a Paladin can enlighten nations, but turned to the Abyss, an Antipaladin can bring about Apocalypses. Each Champion has this potential. It’s no wonder that none wants Paladins around (but, ironically, all are also extremely afraid of being the one responsible for killing one of the Fated).

VI. Sorcerers are those mortals that somehow meet powerful supernatural creatures and manage not only to survive, but to make a ritual pact with them – the dread Joining. This ritual is concluded when the mortal drinks the blood (or essence) of the supernatural creature, becoming bonded with it. The mortal share his master’s dreams, nightmares and traits, gaining supernatural and spellcasting abilities (some whisper that he also shares his master’s fate). Sorcerers are also known as the Others, Nightspawn or the Tainted. Servants of old beings and inhuman creatures, they work in secret and against their master’s rivals. A few claim that Sorcerers are to their supernatural patrons what familiars are to most humanoid arcane spellcasters.