One Dark Day
Classes of Torn
The world of Torn is a radical world of extremes. The classes of heroes in legends are colored by a swatch of violence and ignorance. To better understand what it means to be a hero of each type in Torn, the entries below are provided.
To the technologically bare and primitive races of Torn, the clever, inventive, and innovative Artificer represents the rare spark of progress and advancement. They appear in any race that dabbles with magic but find prominence in the lands in and near the Empire of the Sun, which enjoys greater access to the materials most Artificers require to practice their art. Because they are rare and influential when they appear, Artificers are usually leaders or advisers to the city-states and settlements they live in.
The savage world of Torn boasts more barbarians than any other class among its legends. Because most of the world’s religions focus on worship of spirits and reverence of natural forces, and also because only a handful of city-states have innovated a structured form of militaristic training in combat, barbarians are by far the most common. Every culture has a legend of a barbarian among its tales, be they savage leaders in battle or front line shock troops. In a settlement, a connection to patron spirits and the ability to harness rage is seen as a great asset, and such warriors are coveted and feared, and often become warrior-kings or chieftains.
In a world that largely values savagery and fosters racial hatred and lacks many of the technologies and innovations that make things such as leisure possible, the performance-based Bard is unique among the lands they grow up in and seen as bizarre. That’s not to say that the legends of bards speak ill of them, but more that they are renowned for lateral, cunning ways to solve problems and stories are told of their boldness in the face of the harsh world. Despite that there are few cultures that have developed many sophisticated musical instruments, music as a matter of a function of religion and traditional means of story telling of course exists. Bards are the lore keepers and legend tellers, and as such more stories are told about Bards than other legendary heroes, despite their relative rarity.
Nearly all of the animist, spirit-worshipping races and cultures of Torn have druids among their tales. Keepers of the religions that dominate the lives of nearly every people in Torn, druids are the quiet, ubiquitous masters of tradition and guardians of the old ways. Able to mount the shapes of primal beast forms and commanders of the forces of nature, druids are both respected and feared. Some druids are the hermit wisemen of the village, and others are the sagacious advisers of the chieftain, but all are given due reverence as befitting such a prominent figure in the lives of whatever place they hail from.
A system for militaristic, standardized training is a relatively young innovation, and even then only in a handful of predominantly human settlements. Other races, such as the dragonborn, goliaths, and half-orcs, find the regimented, disciplined fighting styles of the fighter easy to come to. Often, a wandering teacher will come to a settlement, and teach a promising young native the secrets of martial prowess and the duty of protecting the meek, and so the village will earn itself a warrior in heavy armor wielding shield and sword to protect its citizens. Though fighters are uncommon, they are the most common type of defender.
The Psionic gift is an ultra rarity in Torn. So much so that there exist no current monastic traditions or monasteries that could support the training of these warriors of mind and fist. That so, it does happen every once in a great while that a child is born with an uncanny ability to control his body and movements, and seems to be able to strike with fist and foot with unparalleled skill and potency. There is no name in any language for this aberration yet, though there have been Deva heroes that could be called monks. Other races that tend to manifest the ability are humans, elves, and half-elves, and extremely rarely, dwarves.
As with monks, the psionic gift is extremely rare, even more so with the psionic giant that is the psion. Less of a blend of mind and matter, the psion is a ultra-rare aberration in very select bloodlines, and the gift does not seem to stray from those familial lines. There is no word for this class yet, and though, again, the Deva have legends of their kind mentalist masters that manipulated space and time with just their minds, the now nearly extinct race has not spread these tales. When a child manifests the psionic gift – particularly the gifts of the mental giant, the psion – the child typically suffers under a hard life of persecution and exile, though this is not always true. Most, if not all psions are human, though the gift has manifested in other races in the past, before recorded history.
The roughnecking, outdoors-centric lifestyle finds itself adapting easily to the harsh, often inconsistent landscape of Torn, and as a result many races and many cultures have heroes that called themselves Rangers. From the drake-taming beast masters of the Dragonborn, to the unruly marksmen of the planes-wandering Elves, rangers fit well into a world where civilized life is rare and ones everyday comforts are more often than not found among nature’s bounty. Rangers are seen as part of the wild but not of it, and as knowers of paths in the wilderness but not stewards of that place. It is rare, but occasionally, an urban ranger will grow in the stone walled wilds of the city-states in the Empire of the Sun, and such city hunters are dangerous foes indeed among the maze-like sprawl of Torn’s city states.
Knaves, rogues, scallywags, and rakes go by many names in Torn, but to be a career thief, liar, and thug is always useful – no matter the culture. Thus, rogues are common in the stories told by many races, particularly the ones that favor individualism, cunning, and personal glory – which is most of them. The most legendary, infamous, and beloved rogues in history have been the ones that could live among a race other than the ones they were born into, and so many rogues find themselves migrating to another culture to find their way. Because of the abundance of fallen ruins and forgotten tombs of city-states and civilizations forgot, rogues are rarely glued to one spot for long, and tend to be the most widely traveled of the classes of Torn.
The mystic Shaman of Torn is a position of weighty importance. The ritual witch-doctors and magic men of most cultures, their direct, tangible connection to the spirits of the world make them the priests and holy men of most of the world. Leaders in communities, keepers of forgotten lore and tradition, it is a village’s Shaman that feels the weight of responsibility towards his fellows. Elves, Dwarves, Eladrin, and many Humans feel the gravity of the station of the Shaman, and much respect is given to these heroes. Deference in most matters of religion and consultation with the spirits are the privelages of this station, but its duties are weighty and serious. As a result, most Shaman are rigid in adherence to tradition and primarily stationary, though many legendary Shaman have gone on long spirit quests across the continent.
In a world where Arcane magic is so rare and useful, Sorcerers represent that power source’s attempts to break into the world with raw force. The few who manifest the abilities of the sorcerer in Torn are typically wild and known for destructive unpredictability. All races manifest the gift – more commonly these days than before – but dragonborn, drow, halflings, and humans are the most common. These heroes are viewed as slightly unhinged weapons that might turn against the world at any moment, and while they are valued for the raw power they wield, they are also given a wide berth by most people. In Dragonborn and Drow society, however, sorcerers are valuable members of society and tend towards the leadership role, rather than the living artillery role normally ascribed to them.
The mercenary swordmage is something of an enigma to most on Torn. The arcane gift is one of the more rare of the power sources on Torn, and because military, martial training is restricted to a few powerful city-states that have invented it, the mixed art of these two abilities is rare indeed. Capable of strange magic and consummate warriors, the swordmage is sought out by ambitious leaders of city-states for bodyguard and shock troop positions. There are those that adopt such lifestyles, but a great many swordmages – once they have begunto understand their gift for magic and blade – tend to move out into the world to seek more insights into their singular craft. Indeed, the image of the wandering swordmage, his boots well worn with many thousands of miles of trekking, sword in hand and spellbook in the other is a ubiquitous one throughout most cultures.
The tribal, animist races of Torn look to the barbarian for strength, the druid for insight and wisdom, and the shaman for sagacious leadership. For protection, they look to the Warden. These defenders of the wild places of the world represent a very real connection to many homelands of many races. To a dwarf, a warden is a cold, silent sentinal of his homeland, able to take on the aspects of the landscape around him to hamper his foes and shield his allies. To an elf, a warden is the swift aspect of their hunting panthers, wild and cunning. To any settlement out in the edge of civilization, on either hemisphere, a warden at your side is one of the best possible omens. Because most wardens come from a culture that is primarily animist and reveres spirits and nature, they are seen as the paladins of the wild, and keepers of its ideals and manifestation of its will.
Even though the arcane power source is the second most rare on Torn – the most being Psionic – Warlock is one of the most proliferate among all the races. This is because it is quite easy to form a pact with an entity that may be all to eager to gain a foothold in the material plane by means of a mortal servant beholden to their power. Among all races there exist witches and warlocks, and they, like shamans, are the witch-doctors and hexers, but unlike the shaman, warlocks are seldom seen as the steady pillar of a community. More often, they are the strange neighbor in the village that if you bring the right offering, can make unspeakable things happen – if you desire them. At once point, their kind was wretched and seen as pariah, but now they enjoy the prestige of access to a power readily available if one has the stomach to sign on the dotted line.
For a world without much of a standardized, trained and standing military – only the Empire of the Sun has begun to understand the concept – Warlords would be expected to be rare. But this is not the case. As it turns out, it is not necessary to undergo rigorous martial training to be a warlord. Sometimes, all it takes is magnetism and a strong arm. Therefore, tactical warlords and resourceful warlords are the rarity, with inspiring and especially bravura warlords quite abundant among all races. They are rarely community leaders, and more commonly the friendly, burly head of the local militia, or leader of a local gang. Rarely, some cultures boast mighty generals, and dragonborn warlords – usually with a dabbling in sorcery – are seen as great figures of import. Tieflings, it seems, seem to have the greatest number of tactical and resourceful warlords.
In a world with few written languages, wizards are exceedingly rare. Only psions are more rare. There is simply not enough resources to go around in most communities to justify the cost versus investment ratio involved in a mostly sedentary training devoted to rigorous study. Typically, if a village has a wizard, he is not from that village or at least did not learn his craft there. Having a wizard within your city-state or village is a monstrous boon, and often a terrifying one. These men know things and study things others cannot even fathom. While they’re by no means the most powerful class, for many have access to the same rituals and similar abilities, wizards are the most studious and therefore the most likely to learn things they likely shouldn’t. The Empire of the Sun has more wizards than any other gathering of communities combined, a fact that worries the rest of the world a great deal.