Age of Annihilation
Before reading: These descriptions are of how each class functions inside the metaverse of Age of Annihilation. This document is far less about the mechanic variations and alternate builds but rather a guide for selecting a build and creating a character.
Alchemist – Several cultures in the Greenlands have developed apothecary traditions. The most common form is hybrid from the River people and tidbits of knowledge from the Empire’s schools. An older tradition from the Children of Stone, of which the Qudari are the only known descendants, exists as well and it famous for strange cures and stamina boosting elixirs. Other traditions are known, especially from the Zu Empire. Elven variants are less like apothecaries, preferring the title of Myddyg (Med – Deg) or Doctor. They work more as scholars and physicians perfecting skills of healing with knives and naturalistic medicine. During the height of the Ithican Empire, many humans trained this way as well, however their number has significantly decreased since the closing of the primary schools. A few keep their skills alive and teach others at the Great Academy.
Barbarian – Despite hundreds of years of empires rising and falling, kingdoms coming and going, and constant invasions by outside civilizations, several holdouts of more primitive cultures remain. The most notable is the Kingdom of Itchala, donning feathers and jaguar furs, as the rage into battle with obsidian weapons. All along the western mountains small holdouts of tribal groups remain, pillaging outlying regions and holdfasts. In Dumac, these western tribes have the freest reign. Elsewhere, in Kumel, these tribal peoples have managed to also hold off invasions from outside forces. One final distinctive group are the Burj tribes that roam the badlands and desert regions. These warriors range from the mounted warriors that raid all stretches of the region to the savage bronze wielding warriors that run across the hot sands and rocky badlands.
Bard – Bards come in a wide range of forms, ranging from singers, gleemen, and poets to scholars, playwrights, and writers. Along the western mountain regions and the more primitive cultures bard’s role is that of the wandering minstrel and gleeman. The Great Academy of Ith trains bards as scholars, students of history and philosophy. Within the more well developed regions such as The Vast Empire and Sofina have a developed a troubadour tradition where bards take a great part in matters of court and intrigues of the state.
Cavalier – Knights are a dying breed in the Greenlands, but far from unheard of. Alerac still tells the stories of the great knights ridding into battle to slay monsters and bring glory. It is here that the last of the original knight orders have the most power. Outside of Alerac, cavaliers make up the backbone of most professional armies. The Thane’s Ritter’s leadership is made nearly exclusively of cavaliers. Elsewhere in the Vast Empire and in Sofinia, cavaliers are trained to be battle commanders and warriors that make up the leadership of most of their armies. Few other regions train cavaliers or possess living traditions to support them. This does however not make them unknown to other races or regions. Often these warriors are recruited as mercenaries or commanders.
The Raven’s Guard – “There is no peace; only vigilance and vengeance”, an order of elite knights and warriors who have devoted themselves before the unknown divine powers. Mostly made up of clerics, paladins, inquisitors, and others who have been affected by arcane power, the order is dedicated to eliminating the threat that arcane power represents. More often than not these killers search the land for signs of young sorcerers and other casters who have not been fortunate enough to find a mentor or be discovered by the Society of the Arcane Eye. They have a tenuous relationship with the society, strained the further each individual member gets from cities or gathering locations. Most of those that join do so out of vengeance for some terrible crime that befell either them or their loved ones by rouge sorcerers or monsters brought by Summoners. The divine aspect is seeking clarity and strength to combat arcane power. Most members of the guard will say that they do not believe in any one individual god or deity, but rather the power that the Gods offer.
Their relationship with arcane casters is very difficult. There are some members in the order who possess arcane power, but there is some distance between them and the rest of the order. Meeting arcane casters outside of the bounds of a mission is left to the discretion of that member or group. If they show signs of being connected to a particular group such as The Society then the standing order is “restraint”, but mistakes and accidents have been known to happen.
The Knights of the Draco – “From the sky we shall rein”, an order of knights that has long since lost their precious dragons that rode them into victory and legend. They still tell stories and epics of the great riders from the past. But now the order has held on to its numbers through reliving the lost glory days versus striving on their new accomplishments. They live on ceremony and strict honor codes, but still have some of the cleverest warriors in the land. Their skills at riding are not myth, and even though many believe that their tales of dragons are boasting, the feats that they can perform on horseback are not. Despite being Ill-suited for traditional combat and siege warfare, the order remains the last enemy you wish to face on open ground where their charge of horse will trample all against them.
The Order of Steel – “The Border is set, Steel is unyielding”, is a collection of some of the bravest knights in the entire world. Their chief role is to serves as defenders. Their philosophy is summarized in defending already established borders, and not serving to change new borders. Peace is the ultimate goal, but also a balance of power. It is perfectly reasonable in their view to defend a crossing from one attacker, only to defend that attacker when those that they wronged retaliate after justice was delivered. This paradoxical morality is difficult for some, but there are many in areas such as the Green Marches who join and offer hospitality to them, fully respecting their mission. They specialize in shield barriers and defensive tactics. Most smaller units and single members will often serve as body guards or personal protectors.
The Knights of the Sun – “Under this sign, you shall conquer”, a religious order of knights who claim decadence from saints and other holy leaders. Officially the order has no patron deity, however the order counts the followers of Talephacous, the most common among their numbers. Unlike the Raven’s guard the Knights of the Sun have no prejudice against arcane magic. Blood magic has even been given some provision in rare occurrences. Essentially the order is open to all members so long as they adhere to the moral and ethical guidelines. The knights are among one of the few knight orders to conduct private crusades, and even declare death sentences and bounties. This is rare however, and only occurs when individuals or small groups have caused the Knights terrible pain and injury.
Many rulers consider the order a double bladed sword. The Knights of the Sun fight for their own causes and do not leave until they have either been defeated or believe that their cause has been served. Because they serve moral codes and collective good, rather political goals, or individuals, many rulers are hesitant to invite their aid, or give them aid. Religious leaders are likewise hesitant to call upon them for aid, because despite their religious overtones, they do not serve any one individual religious order. With all that in mind they are very popular amongst common folk, and embody many common ideals of knighthood and bard songs. Many serve them and seek their aid when all other hope has failed.
The Dagger Guard – “Steel in hand, steel the heart”, an order of knights that believe in war for war’s sake. Most members in this order are considered to be murderers for hire. Their creed does not have provisions against killing innocents or other people normally considered off-limits by the rules of war. The Dagger guard knows that war is killing, and that war is fought on many fronts. The difference between murder and killing in war is the end of war, so the guard never sees an end to war. “All hands have knives” is a common saying among their ranks and they consider anyone that does not share this philosophy to be a fool. The only provision that they have against killing is against paying contract holders. Everyone else is considered a potential target. Several smaller noble houses have private cash flows going directly to them, to prevent them from taking contracts against their own interests. They even claim to have at least one king paying them off as well.
Cleric – Not all the devotees of various religions are blessed with revelation or divine powers. Clerics are those that have given themselves over to a divine force, be it a demon, god, or other entity. Every region, culture, and society has felt the power of some divine being. With the multitude of beings that are known, with opinions as various as the stars in the sky, there is few that unifies clerics as a group, save for the fact that a cleric chooses to pursue the power. The most unique forms of the cleric come from the Vast Empire and Itchala. Both regions produce clerics that follow a living being, the Divine Emperor and the God King.
Fighter – The most common, ubiquitous and universal of all the classes. What separates them from the rank and file soldiers or the cavaliers/paladins is their mastery of weapons. Dwarven fighters famous for their hammers and axes, Qudari fighters with curved blades and round shields, Ithican warriors and their polearms are among just a few of the unique styles and flavors of fighters.
Inquisitor – While clerics are a common enough phenomena, along with cults, or private revelations. Only a formal religion recruits men and women to perform more martial tasks. Hunters, seekers, investigators, and other types of roles that is less suited to the general clergy. While the occasional called devotee may exist from time to time. As a general rule, inquisitors only belong to well organized, well-funded religions. Most notable for the number of inquisitors is The Church of the Vast Empire.
Monk – Unlike the other religions that have come from beyond the borders of The Greenlands, the Tao or Way, has come from the far off lands of Zu. While only a few monasteries have opened, the occasional follower is not unheard of. A second group of monks are the followers of the Shadow Prince. These monks do not venture far from Kalahar, and even more rarely recruit from outside their own nationality. The key difference between these two groups is the philosophy and fighting styles. Most monks from a Zuish tradition tend to view energy as something that flows through their bodies. The goal then is to be in harmony with that energy, as to be its master. Examples would include Wing Chung, Hapkido, and Aikido. Kalaharian traditions tend to focus more on maximizing effect and effort. This does not mean that their philosophy makes them more aggressive, far from it. Often their practices will focus on stealth and surprise as much as physical conditioning. Examples would include Musti-yuddha, Muay Thai, and Bokator.
Oracle – While clerics are those that have chosen to follow the path of a divine entity, Oracles were chosen. Some think of these men and women are a sad lot, having their minds invaded by some foreign entity. The divine call sometimes leaves them with debilitating pain or other flaws. There are many others that look upon these cursed people as something to be envied. By and large there is a small measure of contention between those that elect to follow a deity and those that had that were not given a choice. Oracles have been known to be called from all walks of life, age, gender, or race. Only divine entities of sufficient power can make the call to a mortal. As a general rule, minor gods will not be able to, despite having shamans other other religious figures around them that may indeed claim to be oracles.
Paladin – While your average warrior may or may not follow a divine path, those that would have been cavaliers who devote themselves to a deity, become paladins. Not all are good. In fact some are downright evil. What matters more is the choice to follow the entity in question, and the commands there in. Despite there being hundreds of divine beings known throughout the world, very few attract paladins in large numbers. The occasional cult or local deity may have a paladin or two, larger more organized churches attract hundreds of warriors to their call. The Knights of the Sun is nearly made exclusively of paladins.
Ranger – Woodsman and hunters are common to all the regions that possess a sizable forest or wilderness. Most of the regions with large numbers of rangers are usually those that have fewer numbers of cities. The Frontiersmen of Sofinia are a notable exception, using their talents on the borders of the civilized lands. Another famous group well known for their rangers are the Guardians of Everstand or the Burned Men of Qudar, without whom the guardians of the northern wastes would have died out long ago.
Rogue – Thieves, brigands, scoundrels and pirates are among just a few of the rogues that are known. The elves are well known for their crafty traders and privateers among the Green Sea and the Broken Islands. Most of the banks and counting houses of the wealthier nations have as many types of rogue in their employ as trying to get inside their vaults. Rogues are as diverse as fighters; they are inside every region and every culture.
Sorcerer – Arcane power is a dangerous force. Wizards spend years learning how to channel its power safely. Sorcerers are those that had the unfortunate luck of being born with the talent for arcane power. Without training or a mentor, most meet a very unfortunate end, be it either death or insanity. In addition, they tend to cause considerable damage to the surrounding area and a few deaths are almost always expected. That having been said, with training, few are more dangerous, or less capable with arcane power than a fully trained sorcerer. Most when they are identified as forced to leave their communities and either dies alone in the wilderness, or tries and make for an arcane mentor. Because of their volatility, sorcerers are disliked at best, and there is a heavy stigma against those that have the talent in their family. Recent history has made some improvements, but in some cases this has been 2 steps forward and one back. An example was the Ithican Empire which established the Seeker’s Order whose sole function was to search for and identify families with the talent and invite them to The Great Academy. Without the Empire’s backing the Seekers have lost much of their popular support and have suffered considerable setbacks as resources and membership declines further and further. A similar effort has been undertaken in Sofinia. However, since the Unwise Wars they have become more like press gangs taking children from registered families for testing, as opposed to seeking consent.
Summoner – Like the sorcerer, Summoners are people that have been born with the talent wither they like it or not. Also, like the sorcerer, terrible things have happened to those that have the poor luck of not being able to find a mentor or manage to control the power somehow. The key difference is how that power manifests. Unlike the sorcerer, where their power manifests as energy that is directed and channeled into spells, Summoners, manifest their power into physical matter. Some fear Summoners more than Sorcerer because of the slight increased penchant for madness. Often Summoners hear voices, which may or may not be real. There are theories abound that many of the greater horrors that wander the fringes of the world are the result of Summoners losing their grasp on reality and bringing forth creatures from the deepest depths of their imaginations. Religious scholars have considered the question as to wither of not a summoner can bring a god or other divine entity into reality. Most have considered the question better left unanswered.
Witch - Wizards and other formal organizations are a relatively new phenomenon in the world. Primitive cultures and older civilizations have had to deal with the problem of arcane power. Witches are given culture’s tradition for spontaneous casters such as Summoners and Sorcerers. Unlike the schools founded on the contemporary methods of explaining and developing mechanisms for coping with the power, witches employ more naturalistic and holistic methods of coping with the power. They vary greatly in flavor, shape, and form from culture to culture and thus the shape that their magic takes when it is used.
Wizard – Many consider them the highest form of magical study. These men and women are the scholars and philosophers that have deconstructed and decoded the arcane power. With the founding of the first schools and small cabals of arcane scholars, they discovered that arcane power can be learned. After a time, larger and larger schools were founded and more elaborate magical societies began to attract members of wealthy societies. Three such examples are well known. The Great Academy of Ith was for the longest time the greatest authority for magical knowledge. Like so many other things this has been in decline since the fall of the empire, however remains one of the best, and more certainly the oldest Arcane schools in the Greenlands. In Sophina, several Universities have opened with the expressed intention of training more wizards and arcane magics. Finally, while the elves are far from their original homeland, they have never lost the arcane traditions that has made their culture so renown. Indeed, some of the most progressive educational systems and best teachers known have come from Elven schools. Unlike their human counter parts, partially due to the geography of the region, there are no massive academies on El’Enatha. Instead wizards and other potential students will be apprenticed in small groups of 4-8 with a single master in small schools around and often times inside a community.