Saturday, December 8, 2018

Classes of the Artifice Saga

While certain classes are a better fit for the Artifice Saga--in part because of story, and in part because of the races--all D&D classes will have a place.  The intent is to preserve the campaign as a fantasy, despite its sci-fi inspirational origin.

While particular sub-classes will be associated with particular cultures, all options will be available to all characters because of the melting-pot atmosphere of Tiresia. As all characters will begin at 1st level, and most sub-classes are chosen after that, there is plenty of time to be exposed to cultural archetypes other than one's own.

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Artificers (Eberron) are the linchpin of the Artifice Saga.  The first artificers were the ancient faeries.  The Faerie Queen (ie. Invid Regess) was tricked into teaching these arts to the high elf Zor--who would spread the skills to his people.  Zor's students became the Artifice Masters, and they spread the art to the other races of Fantoma--and ultimately to Micronia.  Artillerists and battle smith are the most common artificers, and most often associated with the Artifice Masters.  Alchemists have also played a major role in the elfish cult, being responsible for the creation of the Zentraedi (orcs and ogres).

Barbarians are common among nearly every race. Ancestral guardians are common among Praxians (amazons).  Berserkers are common among Tiroleans, typically orcs, ogres, and orogs ("Zentraedi").  Storm heralds are another Tirolean tradition (sea elves), though these can also be found among Micronians (gnomes, humans).  Totem warriors have arisen  among Micronians (halflings).  Zealots are typically a product of the opposing Cults of the Flower or the Shadow (see Clerics, below).

Bards have almost as an important role in the Artifice Saga as artificers.  The College of Valor has a place of prestige among the Artifice Masters, as the Mistresses of the Cosmic Harp who use music to manipulate their people.  The human College of Glamour clashed with that of the Masters--ultimately turning the tide of war in Micronia's favor.  The College of Swords is a Praxian tradition.  The College of Whispers is a tradition of the Cult of the Shadows (see Cleric, below).  The College of Lore is relatively uncommon, older tradition of Micronia.

Clerics follow one of several "Cults," folk-like beliefs with little formal organization; that is, a cleric of a cult is not necessarily allied with another cleric of the same cult.  While there may be priesthoods set up by governments, these are not central leaderships for the cult.  Domains are available by a cleric's chosen cult:
  • Cult of the Lord of the Mist:  Life, Order
    • Micronians ("God"), Sentinels ("Haydon")
  • Cult of the Flower:  Light, Nature, Tempest
    • Invid, Micronians, Tirolians, Sentinels
  • Cult of the Machine:  Knowledge, Arcana, Forge
    • Invid, Micronians, Tirolians
  • Cult of Recurring Tragedy:  Grave, War
    • Micronians, Tirolians
  • Cult of the Shadow:  Trickery, Death
    • Invid, Micronians, Tirolians, Sentinels

Druids represent various races' earlier connections to the land before the influence of the Artifice Masters.  The Circle of Dreams is the Garudan connection to the mysterious hin.  The Circle of the Land is the Invid's original connection to the Flower of Life.  The Circle of the Moon is the humans' connection to the wildlife of Micronia; while the Circle of the Shepherd is the halfling connection to the same.  The Circle of Spores is the Perytonian connection to the fungal forests of their homeland.

Fighters are universally present in all cultures.  Several martial archetypes can be used to mimic common military roles:  Champion soldiers, Battle Master non-commissioned officers, Banneret (Purple Dragon Knight) officers.  A couple of martial archetypes fill the role of Robotech's ground-based mecha, or destroid, pilots:  Arcane Archer and Eldritch Knight.  The Cavalier is a stand-in for standard airborne cavalry (while "aces" are paladins, see below); while the Samurai is an honor-bound Praxian tradition.

Monks originate primarily from the gnomish Micronian and Praxian cultures.  Each has shared its forms with its neighbors.  The Miccronian arts are typically more cinematic and showy; while the Fantoman arts are more reserved and sophisticated.
  • Micronian arts:  Drunken Master, Four Elements, Long Death, Sun Soul
  • Fantoman (Praxian) arts:  Kensei, Open Hand, Shadow

Mystics are a natural part of several "Sentinel" cultures; however, the spread of the Flower of Life across both continents has awakened psionic ability in all races.  Avatars and Awakened represent the traditional "female" and "male" psionic arts, respectively, among Garudans; these are merely cultural associations, however, as Haydonites have their own Avatar tradition.  Immortals are typically mystics who have developed a direct connection to the Flower of Life.  Nomads and Soul Knives are born of Spherisian culture.  Wu Jen are a sect of Perytonians commonly known as "Energy Wizards."

Paladins are the elite cavalry of fantasy warfare, combining martial skill with divine magic.  They are the fantasy expression of Robotech's veritech pilots and aerial mecha aces; as such, it is the three groups of "Artifice" races that dominate the paladin's oaths; members of other races who follow this cavalry tradition learn it from one of these other cultures.  Oathbreakers are not particular to any one culture.
  • Invid Oaths:  Ancients, Conquest, Vengeance
  • Micronian Oaths:  Crown, Devotion, Vengeance
  • Tirolean Oaths:  Conquest, Devotion, Redemption

Rangers are the quintessential "special forces" of fantasy warfare.  These include: the Micronian beast master, the Perytonian gloom stalker, the Spherisian horizon walker, the Garudan hunter, and the Praxian monster slayer.

Rogues are the covert operatives of fantasy adventure--particularly the Assassin, the Inquisitive, and the Scout.  The "criminal" archetypes, Mastermind and Thief, remain common in all cultures in both their criminal incarnation, and also as freedom fighters.   Other freedom fighters include the Arcane Trickster of Peryton, and the Swashbuckler of Micronia.

Sorcerers have innate magical abilities, which could come from a variety of sources.  Though rare nowadays, dragons once dominated Micronia; to this day, the Draconic Bloodlines they founded among the Micronian races continue to produce powerful sorcerers.  The magical wars of Peryton have created an environment of arcane Wild Magic that many sorcerers of Fantoma have begun to tap into.  Micronian and Fantoman cultures have longstanding sea-faring traditions, including traditions of Storm SorceryDivine Souls are among the disciples of Spheris' Great Geode.

Warlocks make pacts with transcendent beings that walk the face of the known world, interacting directly with mortals.  A warlock does not need to meet one's patron in person, but may come to associate with them through supernatural means.  Archfey are the Faerie Queen (Regess) and the Goblin King (Regent) of the Invid.  Fiends are the infernal Supreme Theurge and the abyssal Macassar, ancient and powerful Perytonians.  The Great Old One is the Awareness of the Haydonites.  The Undying are the triumvirate of Artifice Elders.  The Celestial is the Great Geode of Spheris.

Wizards study magic as one might study a science or an art.  This is most clearly seen in the Tirolean Schools of Magic, which dominated their magical culture before Zor's discovery of Artifice; the schools of Necromancy and Transmutation remain important to the Artifice Masters.  Bladesinging is an ancient Praxian tradition refined in parallel to their graceful martial arts traditions.  War Magic developed over centuries of conflict in Peryton.

Edited Jun 30, 2019; Nov 26, 2019.

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