Classes in Tolrea

All of the core classes introduced in the Player’s Handbook v. 3.5 and the NPC classes from the Dungeon Master’s Guide v. 3.5 are found in the Tolrea setting.

Barbarians: Most barbarians in Tolrea inhabit rural or frontier areas, where they act as the champions of tribal or clan-based societies. In their native lands barbarians are respected, sometimes feared and always valued. A few members of the barbarian class make their way to the cities of more populous, centralized and “civilized” nations like the Aureshan Empire, where they often find employment as mercenaries, hired guards, prizefighters and criminals.

Bards: Although the class’s name implies a role as a simple entertainer, bards are anything but. Most members of the class are charismatic, they often are highly trained not only in the performing arts but in stealth and diplomacy, and they are proficient with both blades and spells. The bards of Tolrea are found anyplace where negotiation and subterfuge might yield an enterprising adventurer the chance to gain fame or fortune.

Clerics: The majority of priests and acolytes of Tolrea are members of the adept NPC class, or are even members of the expert NPC class. Clerics in Tolrea are something greater than and more powerful than a priest, although many also wear the mantle of the clergy: they are the champions of an ideology, and although organized religions certainly are the most common ideologies to attract the allegiance of a cleric, they are not the only objects of devotion that can grant mortals the powers of a cleric; clerics in Tolrea may also be devoted to a philosophical outlook or a nation-state. Clerics even can be heretics. Their power is drawn from their faith.

Because of this key distinction between the Tolrea setting and most other campaign settings, clerics in Tolrea who are devoted to a deity, pantheon or religion are not subject to the standard “one step” alignment rule. Instead, a cleric of any alignment may be devoted to a deity of any alignment. The only requirement is that the cleric must believe implicitly in the tenets of her faith. In theory, this departure from the core rules means that a Chaotic Good cleric could serve a deity who is the focus of a Lawful Evil religion. But in practice, it would be hard for such a character to act in a way that demonstrates earnest belief in the teachings of her deity. See Philosopher-Priests and Other Anomalies for further details.

Druids: Members of the druid class occupy an important and respected place in most societies in Tolrea, because they intercede between regular folk and the elementals, fey, incorporeal undead and outsiders that inhabit the Spirit World. Friendly druids are a boon to any agricultural community, since their spells and knowledge are enormously helpful to farmers. Contrariwise, an hostile druid is a terrifying foe to those who offend the natural world, and can strike at his enemies before disappearing back into the wilderness.

Although many druids are loners, it’s just as common to find groups who have organized themselves into druidic sects, usually in furtherance of some spiritual or political goal. Often, membership in a druidic sect offers a druid character the chance not only to socialize, but to gain initiation into mystical secrets known only within the ranks of the sect. Lawful Neutral druidic sects often are simultaneously monastic orders that train fighting monks in any of a variety of martial arts that blur the boundaries between the druidic wild shape ability and the monk class’s mystical combat powers. Further details are available in Druids and Druidic Sects and Martial Arts, Monks and Monasticism.

Fighters: Members of the fighter class are ubiquitous across the face of Tolrea. Anyplace where mortals take up arms to slay one another, chances are you’ll find members of this class working as soldiers, military officers, marines, bodyguards or mercenaries. They also are commonplace among the ranks of criminals; many bandits are members of the fighter class, and criminal gangs are all too happy to employ them as leg-breakers and thugs.

Monks: As discussed in more detail in Martial Arts, Monks and Monasticism, it’s really more accurate to call members of the monk class “martial artists,” because there is nothing about this core class that has much to do with living an aescetic, unworldly life in a cloister. Some members of the class in Tolrea are members of monastic orders, however, because a variety of religious organizations and druidic sects evolved as monastic institutions, the monks of which later becoming warriors by necessity. Traditional orders of fighting monks still exist in Tolrea, many of them practicing martial arts styles that blend hand-to-hand combat with druidic mysteries or the powers conferred by a cleric’s faith. But the original martial arts of these orders have escaped the cloister, and now are practiced by laypeople who may have learned from an itinerant teacher or passed down the techniques elaborated by a family member.

Because Tolrea has historically included an association between martial arts and cloistered orders of druids, clerics and paladins, a character may multiclass freely as a monk and any of these three classes. This is a departure from the Core Rules, which stipulate that a character with levels in monk who takes a level in any other class may never again advance in level as a monk.

Paladins: Members of the paladin class in Tolrea are materially the same as depicted by the core rules. Paladins are champions of right and justice, and must maintain an alignment of Lawful Good. Although many, if not most, members of the class venerate a deity and operate in service to a religious organization, they do not derive their powers from a commitment to their deity. Rather, their loyalty to the paladin code of conduct grants them the purity and strength to triumph against evil.

Because many paladins are associated with the militant arms of Tolrea’s many churches, paladins may multiclass freely as clerics or monks. This is a departure from the Core Rules, which stipulate that a character with levels in paladin who takes a level in any other class may never again advance in level as a paladin.

Rangers: Tolrea’s rangers play many roles. Heroic rangers in the setting make their livings as woodland guides and guardians against monsters. Villainous rangers are terrifying bandits and assassins who rob and murder, often pursuing apocalypic vendettas against a preferred victim. Many rangers of all outlooks serve more neutrally as outdoorsmen, hunters, scouts, trackers and explorers. Regardless of their outlook, rangers in Tolrea are both well known and respected by ordinary folk, who appreciate their mastery of the wilds for many of the same reasons that pertain to druids.

Rogues: Rogues make great thieves, scouts, diplomats, assassins and spies, so they are found anywhere in Tolrea where there are valuables to be stolen, secrets to be unearthed, or backs to be stabbed. Although most rogues operate in the shadows, their motivations range from altruistic Robin Hood figures who kick back against oppressive rulers, to adrenaline soaked second-story artists who steal for the sheer thrill of it, to cold-eyed murderers who slit throats for anyone who’ll pay.

Sorcerers: When magical power wakes unbidden from someone’s blood, he’s a sorcerer. Since most all races in the Tolrea setting are capable of manifesting the sorcerer’s gifts, they are found almost everywhere. Unlike wizards, whose magic is the fruit of relentless study and preparation, sorcerers gain their power simply by existing, and as a result their motivations are wildly different from individual to individual. A sorcerer in Tolrea might be an unlikely hero whose gifts awaken and force him out of the quiet life of a commoner, or an ambitious but unscrupulous noble who suddenly finds himself with one more tool to support his quest for ever more power, or anything in between.

Wizards: Subtle, quick to anger and versed in knowledge arcane and obscure, the wizards of Tolrea are nevertheless a motley collection of scholars in the arcane. Many gravitate towards cities, where they can be assured of a ready supply of books, magical supplies, and if they are so inclined, customers for their spells. But just as many prefer to dive into their studies without interruption, and seek out remote, desolate areas to discourage interruptions into their studies (or, in the case of particularly evil-tinged branches of magic, to keep their activities secret). Arcane societies, similar to the druidic sects discussed above, serve as both social network and a place to share the results of their studies with an audience capable of being suitably impressed. But despite the scholarly origin of their power, the regular folk of Tolrea recognize power when they see it.

Rather than belonging to the core classes listed above, most NPCs in Tolrea belong to one of the following classes. Membership in a core class is possible for NPCs, but it is the exception rather than the rule.

Adepts: Members of the adept NPC class are nearly always members of an organized religious ideology, and make up the bulk of clergy in most churches. A few adepts instead become disciples to philosopher-clerics or heretical clerics. In smaller communities especially, adepts are the primary source of magical knowledge of any sort, and as a result they are generally very well respected. They are widespread in Tolrea.

Aristocrats: The movers and shakers in most of Tolrea are members of the aristocrat class. Despite its name, in practice the class is applicable to anyone whose position in his society is associated with membership in a landowning gentry, an hereditary ruling caste, or some other non-meritocratic, non-theocratic form of government. Anyone from a king to a wealthy burgher might fit into this NPC class.

Commoners: If aristocrats are the movers and shakers, members of the commoner NPC class are those who are moved and shaken. Almost anyone who doesn’t fit into one of the other four NPC classes probably ought to be lumped into the commoner class instead. The commoner class’s members are ubiquitous throughout Tolrea.

Experts: As the name of this NPC class suggests, experts in Tolrea are specialists who know too much about too many things to be commoners, but who lack the hereditary wealth and influence to be aristocrats. They are, as the late Sir Terry Pratchett may have put it, the “grinders and sanders” of society (although in reality, most craftsmen are commoners). Skilled merchants, diplomats, bureaucrats, lawyers, scholars and other such figures are examples of typical members of the expert class. They, like commoners, are extremely commonplace all over Tolrea.

Warriors: Most soldiers, city guardsmen, street thugs, mercenaries and bandits in Tolrea are members of the warrior NPC class. Like the more sophisticated fighter core class, warriors are found anyplace on Tolrea where people are likely to hit other people with pointy bits of metal.

Across the face of Tolrea, its inhabitants follow hundreds, even thousands of different paths of life. A few of them are encapsulated in the prestige classes presented here.

New Prestige Classes

Cartel Magus: Training as a cartel magus is not for the faint of heart, or the magically inept. Candidates must prove their loyalty to the bleak banyan cartel to which they belong, as well as demonstrate uncommon cunning and an extensive knowledge base regarding topics related to alchemy and necromancy.

Hell Fiddle: Hell fiddles strike bargains with evil outsiders to trade their souls for augmented musical talents. Their dark pact ultimately grants the power to subvert the power of death; they can raise corpses to fight for them and slow the encroachment of age against their own bodies.

Imperial Spy: In the intelligence service of the Empire of Auresh, the imperial spy operates under cover, relying on connections and raw cunning to identify threats before they strike.

Legate of Agon: Appointed by the Emperor to detect and punish high-ranking traitors and corrupt officials, the Legate of Agon is investigator, judge, and executioner rolled into one.