|Steamgard Part IV: Heaven and Earth
The troubadour and the raconteur still have starring roles in the Bard class, but in Steamgard they share the spotlight with the writer and the orator. Their subjects may vary greatly, but their goals are generally straightforward: either to expose the truth or obscure it... Or profit from public's appetite for the sensational.
Public speakers have much in common with their singing counterparts. They might be an advocate offering their knowledge of customs and laws to others for a price, a confidence man who would never steal but could convince you to give him what he wants, a military adviser who could sway a general to send troops half way across the world or a revolutionary capable of rallying a small town to face those same troops.
Garb: Ever the performer, even if they wish to hide that fact, Bards should always dress to maximize the effect of their words. Sometimes that would require fine garb that inspires admiration, or simple clothing for inspiring trust.
Abilities & Traits: Bards have always been tale-spinners and wordsmiths, and in Steamgard they remain so. It is all a matter of the right words to the right audience or individual.
She is an individual of fine education and even finer taste, possessing the resources to enjoy both. From the recital hall to the opera house to the finest restaurants, she flaunts her wealth and the revels in the privileges of high society. She may be a patron of the arts, an artiste yourself, or simply a decadent aficionado of beauty. In any case, she strives to bring beauty to the world around her.
Garb: The Aesthete does not dress merely to be seen, but to be viewed and appreciated. Thus, she wears only her best at all times. High-class finery, waistcoats, top hats, decorative hairstyles, parasols, lace fans, pocket watches and monocles; these are the hallmarks of Steamgard high society and the garb of the Aesthete.
Weapons: Small weapons generally suit the Aesthete best (or perhaps a club that can be used as a walking stick), but like many of the educated she might also be trained in swordplay.
Abilities & Traits: The Aesthete's Bard magic is not magic at all but rather a charm, a grace, a certain... Je ne sais quoi.
He serves his faith as an inspirational orator and fiery motivator. No reclusive hermit, he a rampant proselytizer and a proud worshiper. He performs miracles, but not in the kind from old fables and morality tales. Rather, his words effect real change in the heart and mind.
Garb: The Clergyman is the voice of his faith and is obligated to look the part. Conservative or ecclesiastic garb, decorated with holy insignias or symbols, works well to exalt the message.
Weapons: While they would strive to be men of peace, Clergymen would understand the wisdom of "speak softly and carry a big stick," arming themselves as needed.
Abilities & Traits: The Clergyman stirs the soul and fires the faith with his words. You would lean toward spells that protect or enhance the abilities of yourself and others, as opposed to spells to smite your foes outright.
Steamgard often calls to mind an urban setting, but the pioneer spirit requires wilds to explore and eventually tame. The Druid typifies a devotee of the wild places, usually in the form of a mystic at one with the nature around them. The Steamgard Druid, however, takes a somewhat different approach to nature. No wild-eyed painted medicine men, howling to the spirits, but rather salt-of-the-earth folk capable of becoming nature's champions... or would-be masters. As the forests diminish these Druids may be the only ones willing to speak for the trees.
Garb: Sturdy garb would be the norm for any type of Druid, though the closer one gets to one's work, the more worn and wild such garb will become.
Armor, Shields & Weapons: While the more science-minded Druids would keep their weapons small and easily carried, most Druids would understand the value of being well-armed.
Abilities & Traits: The supernatural special effects might be down-played but spells are still as important as ever to the Steamgard Druid. Home remedies of startling efficacy or aggressive plant life from the farthest reaches are valid ways for a Druid to make use of his various abilities without calling them "spells."
No superstitious flower-worshiper, squatting in the dirt, the Herbologist a scientist specializing in flora both mundane and highly exotic. Her knowledge of plant life is astounding and some of her applications border on miraculous.
Garb: Durable, practical garb with many pockets or pouches for specimens would suit the Herbologist best, usually stained with soil, grass or pollen.
Weapons: The Herbologist doesn't carry weapons but rather garden tools that can be used for self-defense; from utility knives to machetes to spears needed to pin down giant flytraps that actually migrated from the planet Venus.
Abilities & Traits: This archetype assumes science as a stand-in for magic. The Herbologist would lean toward spells that enhance or strengthen her teammates. Spellballs could be seen as particularly aggressive specimens and instant kill verbal magic could be unstable experiments harnessed for their destructive potential.
He resists the machine: the machine that fouls the water with pollutants hacks the forest to feed the flames of industry and darkens the sky with choking steam and smoke. The machine steals honest work, shames the flesh and threatens the mind. The machine must be destroyed, and the Luddite will aid in its downfall.
Garb: The Luddite prefers sturdy hand-crafted garb in defiance of machine-made decadence. Simple designs and only the most basic of textiles are favored.
Weapons: The Luddite is a soldier in a war for human dignity and would not shy away from any weapon, but heavy clubs and smashing hammers work best against the machine.
Abilities & Traits: The archetype assumes magic as a stand in for homemade bombs, incendiaries and other tools to bring down the machine. The Luddite would lean toward spells that break and destroy. Also, a few poultices and herbal remedies to heal one's compatriots wouldn't be out of character.
In Steamgard, the Healer tends more toward a skilled physician or a learned biologist than a holy man. As always, the Healer remains the master of body and spirit, restoring flesh, returning it to life or perhaps even communicating to the departed.
Among the Healer's secondary roles is the mending and enhancement of items and the bestowal of protection upon allies and teammates. In an equipment-heavy setting, these abilities take on new significance for Healers who might style themselves as repairmen or mechanics.
Garb: The red sash of a Healer would be appropriate tied about a white lab coat. As ever, the accessories would distinguish the Steamgard Healer from his more conventional counterparts: a doctor's bag or a toolbox, for instance.
Armor, Shields & Weapons: Surgeon's tools (think bone-saws rather than scalpels) would make fine and intimidating concepts for weaponry. The same can be said for machinist tools, where a giant spanner would make a serviceable club or a simple screwdriver becomes a wicked dagger.
Abilities & Traits: Like many of the other "caster classes", viewing magic as science lends itself well to the Healer. Advanced medical techniques, intimate knowledge of the animating spirit or clever skill with plate and gear would easily account for the spells at a Healer's disposal.
Inspired insanity thrives at the junction of man and machine, magic and technology, science and spirit. Whether they are concerned with "fixing" the human condition, "improving" mankind, or delving into the secrets of life beyond death, these wild-eyed men of learning won't let the boundaries between man and machine, science and magic or even the trivialities of "ethics" stand in their way.
Garb: While educated and often moneyed, the Mad Doctor is usually only concerned with their work and, thus, no garment would suit them better than a long (and mysteriously stained) lab coat.
Weapons: The Mad Doctor would have any number of specialized surgical tools that would be every bit as deadly as a sword.
Abilities & Traits: The archetype assumes magic as a stand in for medical science. The Mad Doctor would lean toward abilities that heal or harm the body directly.
They are fortune-tellers, psychics or mediums of genuine skill. Perhaps they are gifted with "the sight" or simply well-educated in the lore and etiquette of the spirit realm. In either case, they can sense the lingering presence of the dead and can even communicate with them, on occasion.
Garb: Spiritualists come from many walks of life from noble gentry to exotic gypsy card readers, but nearly all adorn themselves with the talismans and tokens needed to entice, or ensnare, the spirits that surround them.
Weapons: The Spiritualist has little interest in combat, but when fighting is necessary they would be just as likely to use a dagger (perhaps a re-purposed ritual dagger) as a sword.
Abilities & Traits: The Spiritualist would lean toward magics concerned with spirits and death or even protection.
Steampunk wizards have a more somber and subtle tone than their flashier fireball-throwing counterparts. Masters of arcane mysteries, practitioners of ancient arts and seekers of things man was not meant to know, these Steampunk wizards are a secretive lot.
Garb: Mystically inclined Wizards might find the sash the brightest color they wear with dark garb adorned with magical talismans from the lost places of the world, and beyond. Consider also, that the classic image of the stage magician - the fine suit and top hat - is a very Steampunk style. Wizards of all sorts might find such a theatrical subterfuge to their advantage.
Armor, Shields & Weapons: For many Wizards, melee combat is a secondary concern. They might make use of ritual weapons, such as long swords, or simply find sword use (with a fencer’s flair) appropriate.
Abilities & Traits: Rather than simple spellball machines, Steamgard Wizards might want to lend an air of ritual and long-planned implementation to their magic.
His wizardry is technical rather than mystical. He adorns himself with tools instead of trinkets and a spanner instead of a staff. In his satchel can be found the cleverest of cutting-edge contraptions, not silly superstitious nonsense.
Garb: The Difference Engineer is intended to exemplify the truly technical side of the genre. This archetype is a showcase for every wacky thing you could invent for your spells from a dagger that looks like a screwdriver to cog-adorned glider wings on your back for "Flight."
Weapons: Like any Wizard, this archetype’s main strength is not in weaponry, but when the situation calls for it, the Difference Engineer would likely arm himself creatively.
Abilities & Traits: This archetype assumes magic as a stand-in for science. No spell would be off-limits to a Difference Engineer, but in a general sense they might lean toward enchantments and protections.
An aviator of incomparable skill, she builds, pilots and maintains her own flying machine. While this may be a grand airship held aloft by giant balloons or Aether-Engines; it could be any contraption from an insect-winged ornithopter to a personal rocket pack. She could lend (or sell) her skills to any number of benefactors from imperial sky marshals to pirate lords, or she could simply be a private aethernaut out for some thrills.
Garb: Regardless for whom the Skyrigger works, sturdy garb festooned with tools would never be out of place. Riding boots, goggles, thick belts, harnesses and/or aviator caps all help complete the look.
Weapons: Gadgets capable of dealing damage in a pinch (weapons or spellballs decorated as or representing tools) would typically be the Skyrigger’s preferred means of attack and defense, but few would be unwilling to carry a sword in times of need.
Abilities & Traits: This archetype assumes magic as a stand-in for firearms and gadgetry. More than just "Flight", an experienced Skyrigger can create potent defenses or repurpose her engineering into devastating weaponry.
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