|Steamgard Part III: Silence and Thunder
A Note Regarding Firearms: In our attempt to keep new or alternate rules out of this writing, we will not be present rules for guns. Instead we invite you to use your imagination and see Amtgard's standard projectile weapons in your mind's eye as firearms. In the short term, this prevents confusion and controversy and keeps the game streamlined.
Despite advances in the technology of ranged combat, the role of the Archer remains unchanged: spot the enemy from across the battlefield and kill them. While the bowman, especially the crossbowman, retains his place in Steamgard, that place is shared with the rifleman, the gunner and the sniper. In many ways, the Archer (reinvented as a gunman) is the symbol of the changing times. Even when keeping to more traditional ranged weapons, the Archer would not be stuck in the past and their innovations could open the door to truly modern designs in both bow and arrow construction.
Garb: Where the Archer would stand out most is in their choice of accessories. Practical items, such as quivers, could be given a simple wood and brass makeover. More whimsically, a vision-enhancing prop, such as a telescopic targeting mono-goggle, would be a fine touch.
Armor, Shields & Weapons: As always, the Archer is defined by his bow. In cases where a short or longbow is re-imagined as a rifle, little needs to be done as the mind's eye is already making the switch. However, a more image-conscious Archer might find crossbows to be ideally suited to the Steamgard aesthetic.
Abilities & Traits: Increased range and fire-power set the Archer apart from other ranged attackers. They should enjoy their access to "incendiary ammunition", "tranquilizer darts" and the highest-power projectiles.
Big Game Hunter: A marksman and a sportsman, he is the master of the high-powered, long-distance shot. When called upon, he employs increased firepower and is fully capable of taking down a charging rhino, rampaging stegosaurus or clingy kraken. Utilitarian khakis with a pith helmet would present the classic look of the Big Game Hunter. A longbow works well in place of a rifle or blunderbuss. It would also be appropriate for a Hunter to carry a large knife or a saber.
Shootist: She is the gunslinger, the pistoleer and the mistress of the quick-draw. She could be a steady-handed heroine staring down bloodthirsty bandits, or an outlaw looking to spread her reputation as a killer. A long coat fits the Shootist image, as would a wide-brimmed hat and poncho (or tabard) that could be thrown over the shoulder dramatically. A hand-held crossbow would be ideal; a short bow would work, as well. However, she would be very unlikely to use shields.
Wars fought on the battlefields still rage with the clash of steel and the thunder of magic... and so do the wars fought in the shadows with the silent knife and the deadly poison. Every Assassin knows that the subtle actions behind the scenes can have resounding impact on the world at large. The greatest change for the Assassins of Steamgard is where they find their skills required. Politics and finance still draw the services of professional killers, but a new resource has entered play and the rich and powerful are growing increasingly dependent on it: information. The information could be as simple as the details of a private life, as threatening as the plans for a weapon capable of massive destruction, or as mysterious as a stack of punch cards that would only make sense in an analytical engine.
Garb: The black sash should have no problem fitting in with the garb of the Steamgard Assassin. Whether an independent contractor, a military specialist or in the employ of a tycoon, the Assassin dresses in dark colors and avoids markings that would lead back to his benefactor. Assassins who prefer to obscure their features might find high-collared coats, tinted goggles and wide-brimmed hats to their liking.
Armor, Shields & Weapons: The unseen blade is still a popular choice for hired killers. The gun is also finding its place in the repertoire, and a throwing dagger, holstered in place of a pistol, serves that purpose well.
Operative: Many a great nation offers the right hand in friendship while concealing a dagger in the left. The Operative is that left hand... as well as eyes and ears in places where her superiors do not want it known they are paying attention. She goes to disreputable places and does disagreeable things so that respectable folk can sleep safe at night. Dark, conservative garb (possibly with tinted goggles) suits the authoritative and often intimidating image required by Operatives and a throwing weapon, perhaps holstered, would make an effective pistol.
Ripper: The Ripper prowls the foggy streets for his prey, perusing whatever goals his dark mind has set before him. Some see his handiwork and call him a monster, but he knows better. He has an agenda, a code, and he imposes civility on his gruesome work. To his own eyes, he is an artist, perhaps even a champion of social purity, culling the weak or wicked from the herd of humanity. Rippers are often well-dressed but never flashy. Many would prefer smaller melee weapons for their intimacy, precision and ease of concealment and might find ranged weapons too impersonal.
Serene and mysterious, the Monks of Steamgard differ only superficially from their standard Amtgard brethren. Holy men of martial skill from Occidental traditions are just as likely to fall under this class as the more traditional Oriental-themed practitioners. Certain noted "East meets West" elements lend themselves well here (Qui-Chang Cain of "Kung Fu" fame, comes to mind). At first glance, the various technological elements may seem out of place. Stories abound, however, of drifter-preachers setting aside their passive ways in times of great need and taking up the gun, even if only briefly, to better protect themselves or their loved ones.
Garb: The simple gray sash of the Monk goes well with most any garb. Steamgard monks of nearly any culture would strike a dignified figure in a flowing coat and wide-brimmed hat.
Armor, Shields & Weapons: Steamgard Monks would use any weapon that suits them and those with a taste for it might holster a throwing weapon, such as a dagger, in place of a pistol.
Abilities & Traits: The standard image of the Monk portrays his abilities as high skill or strict discipline and the Steamgard Monk does not stray from this notion. However, one might enjoy including "advanced scientific" methods of fitness training to the explanation of Monk abilities.
Horror Hunter: She is a hunter of vampires, the undead and other supernatural menaces. Her knowledge is vast, her wits sharp, her reflexes keen and her discipline impeccable. She has acquired numerous skills during her adventures and, perhaps, a few supernatural abilities of her own. Horror Hunters dress in sturdy garb, suited to travel through darkened woods, forbidding crags or ancient keeps. They carry holy icons, mystical charms and talismans with the power to ward off unnatural evils. Thoughtful and learned, they are also incredibly well-armed. Swords and spears would be preferred, as well as throwing daggers standing in for fire arms. Field medicine is a valuable skill for any monster hunter and many Horror Hunters are often physicians by education (such as Doctor VanHelsing).
Man of Action: He has seen much of this world in service of Crown or Company and acquired many unusual combat and survival skills. He is the steady champion of whatever cause he has pledged himself to, alternately acting as agent, bodyguard, courier and diplomat. A Man of Action dresses for adventure, preferring durable clothes with a utility belt and is likely to use any ability available to the Monk class. In the absence of a weapon, he may snap an opponent's neck. When acting as a bodyguard, he can often keep your charge alive through sheer luck, determination and will.
Steamgard is a setting in constant motion, always far ahead of where one might expect. The same can be said of the Scout. The Steamgard Scout is quite at home in rural, urban or wilderness settings. To tame new frontiers, you need a skilled and knowledgeable guide to take the first step, and Scouts are well-suited to that task.
Keep in mind, also, that strange and mysterious places need not be dark jungles or uncharted mountains, but also cities either ancient and lost or modern and bustling. The manmade jungle is often the most dangerous place of all, and many a Scout has made a fine living helping to track down killers and criminals.
Garb: The Scout is apt to bow to the dictates of the environment, but is unlikely to live civilized dress too far behind. Garb with an abundance of pockets or an impressive satchel would be a common choice. Consider also that a new frontier could also include "the final frontier" and technological adornments would be a must for a Scout who wishes to see the vast Lunar deserts, loot Martian ruins or penetrate the lush Venusian jungles.
Armor, Shields & Weapons: Some like to travel lightly; others prefer to be prepared for anything. In either case, a bow standing in for a firearm would be a natural choice.
Explorer: Whether trekking through mysterious jungles on foot, visiting the ocean floor in a submersible or rising above and beyond in an airship, she is the one who leads the way. She sees even the finest cities of the world as little more than ports or base camps as her thoughts are always beyond the next horizon.
Pith helmets and khakis are classics for the jungle Explorer, while an aviator's cap and goggles are a must above the clouds. A holstered throwing dagger makes a decent pistol and a hacking machete or large knife would suit her, as would a harpoon for encounters with especially large fauna.
Detective: Whether officially employed or a private consulting detective, he is a pioneer in systematic investigation. He relies on lab work as well as legwork, sees vast amounts of information in the smallest details and knows how to use those clues to bring his quarry to justice. As an educated individuals and his garb reflects a better than working class station. A satchel or physician's bag to carry the tools of his work would be a nice touch (a deerstalker cap, pipe and magnifying glass is the traditional, if clichι, image). It is not uncommon for Detectives to have a basic medical training and many abilities can be seen as deductive reasoning or even outwitting her opponent.
Next installment: "Heaven and Earth" wherein we will explore the magical classes of Steamgard.
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