Age of Ascension
Choosing a class is easy, but it’s important to understand how your class fits into the world. The purpose of this section is to briefly describe where your character might’ve come from or learned his skills. It’s being included because the world of Azuyra is significantly non-generic, and generic character concepts are not enough.
Only one in ten people in the world are even capable of gaining class levels, and by the standard rate of attrition given in the PF Core Rules, one in two million will reach 20th level. It also stands to reason that these special individuals don’t just pop up anywhere; the example character concepts here should at least give you an idea of the flavor each class has in this campaign, and the places capable of producing your extraordinary individual.
Wightlade Apothecary: There isnt a soul in the Empire who hasn’t heard tales of Wightlade. A deep, forested valley in the mist, it is common knowledge that here, the dead can walk, and men fall stone dead at the mere sight of apparitions in the woods. Such a unique place must certainly be seeped in old magic, and indeed, alchemists find the very air of the valley a catalyst for their craft.
Valcoran Researcher: Technology is the greatest advantage the Empire holds over its neighboring lands, and the sciences are held in reverence in Valcora. Apprenticeships and schools are readily available, if one is born into a wealthy family or able to find a patron. Successful alchemists in the city can expect steady business, funding for their research, and the a place in the fast-moving scientific community.
Stranded Bodyguard: Though they aren’t common in the bustling city of Valcora, barbarians from foreign lands are known to visit on business or in the employ of someone who is. Merchants and diplomats from the East often hire tattooed, greatsword-wielding mercenaries from Crux; a shattered land of stone, ash, and endless fighting.
Gotsmarch Highlander: County Cromwell, in the heartlands, boasts miles upon miles of the roughest mountainous terrain in the Empire. Said to be descended from giants, the rugged hill people are thickly muscled brutes, forged in battle with orcs. The empire has been known to field units of these raging beastmen, armed with heavy axes, in times of war.
Chosen of Sutul: The majority of lizardmen who wander the Lowlands are formidable warriors, and a few scattered accounts reveal that a ritual contest is held to choose the ones who will be sent out to learn about the outside world. The cold-blooded instinct and physical superiority of trained lizardman warriors allows them to survive their lone journey.
Heartlands Wanderer: Feeling stifled by city life, or the iron grip of the Empire, many free spirits find themselves drawn to the tales of heroism still alive in the heartlands. From here, it’s an easy matter to spot an adventure in the making, or a free meal.
Valcoran Entertainer: The Valcoran people are accustomed to ever-changing fashions and fancies, and they thirst to be entertained. Those with looks or talent can make their own opportunities in the city, whether they are lauded as a local or hailed as a taste of an exotic land. The business of entertainment in the big city can be fierce and full of surprises.
Innotch Minstrel: County Innotch is famed for its vineyards. It’s a kind of ‘wealthy man’s frontier’… far enough from the city to warrant packing your bags, close enough to be safe and free of pests, and wild enough to enjoy the view from the common room of a well-appointed inn. An appreciative and wealthy audience tips well, in coin and things overheard.
Aeonic Priest: Whether attached to the cathedral in Valcora or one of many chapels in surrounding towns, the priests concern themselves with the health and well-being of their community as much as their piety. Then word must be spread, and the evil must be purged in righteous flame.
Temple Cleric: The tenets and goals of Old Faith temples vary; from local concerns to the will of the gods themselves. Though the beliefs and methods that characterize them may be drastically different, they share the same plight. Not only must a cleric uphold the spiritual ideals of his god, he must also compete with the winds of change that threaten to wash the very gods away.
Iron Dwarf Warpriest: In iron dwarven culture, a cleric is like an embodiment of all the qualities that define a dwarf. Bold in action and unshakably resolute, the fearless warpriests of Krein charge headlong into the overworld world to remind the Empire: We are still here, and we are strong.
Valcoran Soldier: The Avencian Empire boasts the largest and best-trained military force on the continent. For young Valcoran men and some women, the life of a soldier is portrayed as a glorious occupation with a steady income, and after only three years in the field, they can return home to serve the second half of their service in the City Watch. For those youths and the ones drafted yearly from the Counties, the end of their enlistment brings a choice; with only one skillset, some re-enlist, while others seek employment fighting for someone else.
Osprian Bravado: Mustaches bristling, the men of Ospria are famed for their brutish chauvinism and ego. Redeemingly, they’re also confident, capable, and bold. However they are viewed by Avencians, they continue to cross the border into the Empire, in search of a new frontier and the spoils of victory.
Eastiron Explorer: The bronze dwarves have an incredible zest for life, and a cultural expectation to fulfill; to gather wealth, respect, and experience to enrich the clan throughout their lives. The way to reach those goals, for some, involves high risk and high reward: striking out as a prospector, explorer, or adventurer. Natural sprinters, they are very dangerous over short distances.
Enclave Agent: One of the most formidable organizations to be counted within the Empire, the Enclave’s primary mission is the search for and eradication of demonic taint, in any form. The Enclave is a demonstration of Imperial power, backed by the church. The strength of their conviction is nearly as encompassing as the authority vested in them. Enclave agents are ever vigilant and prepared to make difficult choices.
Mage Hunter: Most imperial citizens distrust magic, some fear it, and some outright condemn it… motivation enough to become a hunter of mages, concerned with flushing them out and eliminating them before they bring the hells down on us all. Besides, there is a tidy profit to be made in claiming bounties put out by the city.
Visitor from the East: Far to East lay the land of Vycea, once the heart of an empire that would’ve dwarfed young Avencia. Though many hundreds of years have passed since the fall of Vycea, Eastern culture was forever shaped by it. Among the many treasures, mysteries, and legacies left behind are the Vycean arts of unarmed combat. Originally serving the Vycean lords as protectors or assassins, monks of the East occasionally wander so far as Avencia in their search for self-improvement.
Falling Sky Adept: The monastery built into the cliffs above County Broadwood is older than the empire, and only the monks within hold the memory of its original purpose. Taking their inspiration from constant rolling mountain storms, the Falling Sky Way is a system of circular softness and obscurement, mirroring the dark clouds, until a thundering strike echoes across the cliffs. Small in number, the Falling Sky monks serve as voluntary protectors of surrounding villages.
Godstruck Drifter: There are people in Valcora every day who claim to have been touched by the will of the gods… and sometimes, someone drops a few coins into their cup as they pass. The ones truly stricken with the divine will are chosen for a reason, however inscrutible… and the gods do not choose the idle. Unable to rest, they are constantly on the move, pursuing or searching for their destiny.
Naj’har Soothsayer: Theory suggests that the powers behind the mysterious art of the Naj’har fortune teller are divine in nature; the bones, cards, and omens being only a guide for their supernatural intuition. Among many imitators and con artists, there are a few who make even the most jaded imperial skeptics doubt their certainty.
Knight of the Griffon: Keeping order in the Statelands is a matter of border patrols and martial law; keeping it in the Heartlands is very different. Protecting those who can’t defend themselves falls to the Griffon Knights of Ironoak, drawn from the sons of nobility and trained rigorously to preserve both the safety of the Heartlands and the ideals of its brave people.
Tamoran Traveller: On the other side of the Worldshatter mountains, the halfling nation of Tamoran is a place of enlightenment; enlightened enough to avoid contact with the unpredictable Empire. It’s only the wanderlust of the halflings, which has never diminished, that brings them East into the the Heartlands and sometimes beyond. The Sentinels of Tamora live by a code of honor, but it is their strength of spirit that makes a memorable impression on those they meet.
Emerwald Sniper: The deep woods of Emerwald are infused with the magic of the elves, as well as their final resting place. The sanctity of these forests is of utmost concern to its elven-blooded inhabitants, and the their ancient hunting skills are just as keen in times of war. Unseen among the canopies of the great trees, these snipers have ended invasions before the first charge is sounded.
Underworld Survivor: The world below the surface is as complicated, or perhaps moreso, than any terrain of the Empire. The rare few surfacers and dwarves with enough experience to guide others safely through the darkness are highly valued. Such individuals are retained at high cost by governments and private parties alike for delves into the unknown.
Broadwood Hunter: Country Broadwood encompasses the majority of the Empire’s wood and meat trades. Though not as tall as the ancient woods of Emerwald, Broadwood is teeming with life, human and animal. Some settlements are fortunate enough to fall within the territory of a skill ranger, who can predict coming changes in the wilderness and guide the lost.
Valcoran Burglar: In the capital, as well as most any large town in the Empire, the life of an independent thief is a complicated one. The guilds control everything that goes on under cover of night, and a solo job might be considered a dangerous breech of territory. Once an agreement is reached, however, a good thief has run of the rooftops and connections to easy marks, for the price of a guild cut.
Privateer of the Coins: The islands that break the horizon around the Statelands peninsula are under constant scrutiny from either the imperial navy, or people in need of a quiet place to conduct business. Numerous sea caves make these islands, called the Coins by locals, a network of hiding places for pirates, fugitives and worse. Fast ships manned by fearless sailors (some of them “very recently reformed” pirates themselves) can find themselves in the employ of the Watch, combing the Coins for opportunity and profit.
Direwater Thug: The town of Bolthold is a notorious den of murderers and thieves, located at the edge of Direwater Swamp in County Freehurst. The empire allows this pool of human nature to eke out a meager existence despite it’s reputation, if only because undercover agents within it’s convoluted wooden pathways and alehouses can keep tabs on the worst offenders. Survival of the fittest makes dangerous men of those criminals who manage to slip the network and strike out on their own.
Court Magician: Eradicating arcane magic requires understanding it. Powerful governments and organizations are sometimes able to retain a practitioner of their own under Enclave sanction, for those rare cases when the knowledge is needed. Treated with the same combination of healthy respect and prudent distrust as a Valcoran lawyer, a court magician is nonetheless able to retain the life of a civilized person… so long as he doesn’t stray too far from watchful eye of his employers.
Valcoran Runaway: The life of a young noble is exciting enough without keeping secrets, but for the naive and the very talented, magic is too great a temptation. Using their considerable stipends to acquire a stash of illicit spellbooks and materials, many of them simply experiment and move on with their lives; some are seduced by the forbidden knowledge, and inevitably they must choose between their comfortable life and their magic.
Malcontent: Being born a tiefling is an injustice born by only two or three in a thousand Valcorans, and those who survive to adulthood are very unlikely to hold any place in their hearts for the Empire. With a natural affinity to the Art, it’s unsurprising that cults and secret brotherhoods of mages meet discretely across the empire, to nefarious ends.