Divine Power Source
While very rare, some people have the talent to learn Artificing at the University. This practical application of known Runes through craft skills (alchemy, metallurgy, etc) is dangerous and difficult, but has advanced the scientific learning in Scardova a great deal. Most artificers stay at the University working in the Artificery (call the “Fishery” by those in the know) producing goods and learning through apprenticeships. Occasionally, some Artificers leave the University to ply their trade across the land. Such traveling is risky though, as most common folk see Artificing as magic, or at the very least something to be regarded with suspicion, and being burned at the stake for “witchcraft” is not an end most Artificers would care to meet. Since Artificing is based on Runes, which are the True Names of things, it is technically a Divine power, but most unlearned people unfamiliar with Sygaldry do not know this.
In Scardova, Avengers are called Oathsworn. These holy warriors train in one of two remote monasteries, cloistered away from civilization to learn how to wreak vengeance upon the enemies of Alm. No one knows how one is chosen to become an Oathsworn, and the group itself doesn’t discuss it. Most find their way into the Inquisition, and it is rumored the Inquisition runs the monasteries. Others simply wander the land, striking down the foes of Alm wherever they find them. Some Oathsworn find their way into a group of Shields, since many see the martial potential that an Oathsworn can lend to a group.
- Game note: all Oathsworn have experienced some terrible personal trauma, so anyone wishing to play an Oathsworn must have this in their character’s background.
The Chaplains are the spiritual leaders of Scardova, warrior-priests that minister to the spiritual well-being of their group, instilling in them the values and beliefs of the Church along with promoting the worship of Alm. In battle, the Chaplains will be at the forefront, rousing their comrades through their Battle-Hymns and inspirational speeches.
While many residents of Scardova from all races and walks of life join the priesthood, only a few will become Clerics of Alm. Such individuals are rewarded by their leadership and tremendous faith with the ability to use prayers to further the goals of the Church. Many Clerics lead a group of Shields or serve as skilled healers in the Swords.
Invokers are relatively rare in Scardova, and are born, not made. While many other divine classes gain power through prayer or pledging to serve Alm, Invokers have a direct relationship with their deity. All Invokers share a similar experience: each receive a vision directly from Alm, after which they manifest their divine power. Each Invoker therefore is driven towards a particular purpose or cause.
Many warriors or martially inclined individuals pursue the holy path of the Paladin. Alm was the first, and many feel that becoming a Paladin is a way to walk in the footsteps of their deity. Scardova has a large number of Paladins serving in the Swords, Shields, and Inquisition. Most fight with a sword and heavy shield while wearing Plate armor, mirroring the image of Alm.
When the Dwarves sided with Alm in the war against the Magi, they revealed to their comrades a secret—the power of runes. Since then, the Keepers have kept records of known runes, and train followers of Alm to use them for his cause. While Runepriests are relatively rare, many join groups of Shields as a means of exploring the world in search of new runes to further their power.
Martial Power Source
While most residents of Scardova serve a few years in the military, and so have a basic grasp of battlefield tactics and weapons, fighters are the true masters of combat. Most fighters realize their potential while serving in the Swords, and become professional soldiers. Others are recruited by a group of Shields or as Inquisitorial guards.
Most skilled woodsmen hail from the forests of southern Scardova. These Humans, Elves, and Half-Elves are the wardens of the forests and scouts for the Swords, acting as lookouts for possible trouble.
Skilled men and women are always in demand throughout Scardova, and so many rogues find all sorts of roles to fill. Some work as spies, information gatherers, or bounty hunters for the Inquisition. Some serve as scouts for the Swords. Others still join groups of Shields or serve as dungeon delvers for the Keepers who are searching for relics or ancient lore.
Warlord’s in Scardova are called Knight-Captains. While most who serve in the military are volunteers serving their country or professional foot soldiers, there are a rare few who have the ability to effectively lead their allies into combat. Knight-Captains have an intuitive grasp of battlefield tactics and strategies, and have often been the difference in prolonged conflicts with large tribes of orcs and goblins from the Troll Warrens. Some are drawn from the noble families of Scardova, and a few Dragonborn families have developed a reputation in this area. Just as frequent however is that a commoner or merchant will join the Swords and discover that he or she has the “right stuff” and earns a reputation as an effective tactician.
Most of the citizens of Scardova fear those who would wield arcane power, for such individuals risk destruction of themselves and those around them. Citizens call such people witches or arcanists, and few outside the Inquisition know the distinction between Sorcerers, Warlocks, or Wizards. Fortunately, not enough arcane lore exists in Scardova for someone to become a Wizard easily, but Sorcerers and Warlocks do exist, who the Inquisition works tirelessly to hunt down and destroy.
Every now and again, the old blood from the time of the Magi manifests in someone, usually in the mid- to late teenage years. Strange things begin to happen near this person, and before long s/he discovers they possess some innate arcane ability. Church law on such matters is clear: anyone thought to manifest such abilities are to be turned over to the Inquisition immediately for investigation. Sometimes the Inquisition releases these individuals because they are deemed to not be a risk, but more often than not these folks are never seen again. Most believe these individuals are sacrificed for the good of all, since allowing people to use their abilities would be a great danger to Scardova. Such business doesn’t sit well with most folks, but many understand the alternative is far worse.
The Hollows is a place which offers power to the weak-willed and desperate. Sometimes residents of Scardova, for a variety of reasons ranging from personal gain to simple revenge, make pacts with demonic powers for arcane abilities. Such individuals are extraordinarily dangerous, for they often do not comprehend their bargains. Some use their powers and want more, making darker and more evil deals with malevolent creatures. Others end up possessed by the very demons or devils who gave them power. Possessed individuals either end of wreaking havoc upon the land, or take a more subtle approach and weave intricate plots designed to bring about the downfall of family members and individuals close to the possessed.
Books which contain arcane knowledge or even mention of them are heretical material. Legend says that such books were left in the lands of the Magi, and so no such books exist in Scardova. While generally true, heretical books periodically show up across the land. Why is the source of much speculation amongst the Inquisition. Whether they were part of the long lost civilization upon which Scardova rests, or whether creatures from the Hallows leave them for the unsuspecting to find is unknown. Nevertheless, every so often someone obtains enough arcane knowledge to gain some measure of power and threaten their community.