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Mystara 3E - Chapter 1: Characters, Classesby Roger LV Girtman II
Nearly all the information in Chapter 3: Classes in the Player's Handbook applies to the character classes of the MYSTARA campaign settings. The entries that follow focus on what is peculiar to the Known World rather than summarising the Player's Handbook.
Preferred Class Regions: Following the class discussion is a listing of lands or cultures suitable as home regions for characters of that class. For example, the open steppe of Ethengar is a land of nomadic horse riders. Barbarians, fighters, rangers, and rogues are well suited to this kind of life, and are commonly found there. Wizards are not. Therefore, the barbarian, fighter, ranger, and rogue class descriptions list Steppes as a region.
You do not have to choose one of the regions listed for your character's class if you do not want to. However, whether your character comes from a region suited for his class affects your ability to choose regional feats.
Free of the comforts and constraints of civilisation, barbarians survive in lands that civilised folk only dwell in when they can hide behind high walls. The cosmopolitan nature of some parts of the Known World is confusing to barbarians, but city folk are used to odd sights and usually accept barbarians without batting an eye.
Most Mystaran barbarians are humans or humanoids. They come from places such as the Broken Lands, the windswept steppes of the Ethengar Khanates, the rugged northlands of the Heldann Freeholds and the Northern Reaches, and the tribal territories of the Atruaghin Clans.
Barbarians of other races are unusual but not unheard of. They are generally individuals who for some reason were raised among barbaric peoples.
Preferred Character Regions: Regions in which barbarians are commonly found include the Alasiya, Atruaghin, Dread Sea, Esterhold, Freeholds, Hinterlands, Northlands, Sind, and the Steppes. In addition, the Rakasta and most humanoid cultures worldwide give rise to barbarians.
Mystaran bards are as likely to create their own heroic sagas as they are to sing of others' exploits.
In both the Northern Reaches and the wilderness of the Heldann Freeholds, bards are epic storytellers called skalds, sought after by nobility across the continent. Halflings and desert nomads from the Emirates of Ylaruam both have a rich tradition of storytelling and often develop the greatest bards of the lands.
Preferred Character Regions: Bards are common in many lands, including Alasiya, Dread Sea, Freeholds, Hinterlands, Northlands, Thyatis, Trade Lands, and Traladara. Dwarves, elves, the hin, and rakasta all produce very talented bards.
Mystaran clerics function as described in the Player's Handbook. The Mystaran deities, called Immortals, are very real, and these divine beings pay a great deal of attention to their mortal followers. Most clerics devote themselves to a particular Immortal (or a pantheon of Immortals). These are called priests, and follow the normal rules for alignments, changing faiths, and atonement as provided in the Player's Handbook. Nearly all priests belong to a particular church or religious order, and, under normal circumstances, must maintain that association in order to receive the benefits of their class.
It is not necessary in the MYSTARA campaigns to venerate any particular Immortal (although most do) in order to wield divine magic. Alignment-oriented clerics, also known as philosophers, are clerics pledged to a particular ethos (law, neutrality, or chaos). Moral definitions of good and evil are secondary to the more important definition of order versus anarchy (described by the chaotic philosophers as stasis versus freedom and by the neutrals as stability versus choice).
Philosophers like to travel, as they are not locked into a hierarchy or organisation. Some join organised priesthoods throughout their careers, but they do not gain the advantages of being a priest of a particular Immortal. By the same token, such clerics can leave a particular faith without incident. Only a severe ethos alignment change affects the cleric's powers.
Preferred Character Regions: Clerics of different deities are favoured in different lands. Consult Table 1-2: Favoured Patrons by Nation.
TABLE 1—2: FAVORED PATRONS BY NATION
Nation Immortal Patrons & Philosophies Alfheim Ilsundal the Wise, Mealiden Starwatcher, Ordana, Faunus, Chiron, and Nature Philosophy Alphatia Alphaks (outlawed), Alphatia, Eiryndul (elves), Koryis, Rathanos (Thothia), Tarastia (Esterhold), Zirchev, and Alignment Philosophies Atruaghin Clans Atruaghin, Tahkati Stormtamer, Hattani Stoneclaw, Mahmatti Running Elk, Ahmanni Turtle Rider, Atzanteotl, and Danel Tigerstripes, and Nature Philosophy Darokin Church of Darokin (Asterius, Koryis, Protius, and the Twelve Watchers), Diulanna, Ixion, Khoronus, and Alignment Philosophies Ethengar Yamuga (Terra), Tubak (Ixion), Cretia, and Nature Philosophy Five Shires The High Heroes (Brindorhin, Nob Nar, Coberham) Glantri None (Clerics are never favoured in Glantri, but certain faiths are still practiced in different areas of the principalities, particularly: Alphaks, Asterius, Cretia, Halav, Palartarkan, Rad, Razud, Thanatos, Ixion, and the Philosophies.) Heldann Freeholds Frey, Freya, Odin, Thor, Loki, Hel, and Nature Philosophy (native Heldanners) or Vanya (Heldannic Knights) Hutaakans Pflarr Ierendi Mother Nature (Djaea), Old Man of the Sea (Protius), Nyx, Kythria, Nob Nar, Rathanos, the Twelve Watchers, Asterius, Ka, al-Kalim, and all Philosophies Karameikos Church of Traladara (Halav, Petra, Zirchev), Church of Karameikos (Asterius, Chardastes, Diulanna, Protius, Tarastia, Valerias, Vanya), Cult of Halav (special, see write-up in Ch. 5), Chiron, Leptar, and all Philosophies Lupins Pflarr, Saimpt Ralon, Saimpt Matin, Saimpt, Clébard, Saimpt Loup, Saimpt Malinois Minrothad Minroth, the Twelve Watchers, Calitha Starbrow (elves), Thendara (Ordana), Asterius, and all Philosophies Monstrous humanoids Ka (lizardmen), Karaash, Yagrai (orcs), Wogar (goblins), Kurtulmak (kobolds), Bartziluth (bugbears), Ranivorus (gnolls), Jammudaru (ogres), Atzanteotl, and Nature & Evil Philosophies Northern Reaches Odin, Thor, Frey, Freyja, Loki, Hel, and all Philosophies Rakasta Ka, Bastet Rockhome Kagyar (dwarves), Garal Glitterlode (gnomes) Shadow Elves Rafiel, Atzanteotl Sind Ixion (in the guises of Ayazi, Himayeti, and Aksyri), Kala (Hel), and Alignment Philosophies Thyatis Church of Thyatis (Asterius, Diulanna, Protius, Tarastia, Thanatos, Valerias, Vanya), Alphaks (outlawed), Korotiku (Pearl Islands), Koryis (Ochalea), Halav, Odin, Petra, Thor, and all Philosophies Wendar The Korrigans, Ordana (Mother Forest), Frey, Freyja, Idris, the Great One Ylaruam The Eternal Truth (al-Kalim), the Old Man of the Sea (Protius), Pflarr, and Ranivorus (illegal)
While many people think only of forests when they think of druids, druids care also for the mountains, deserts, lakes, and even the swamps of the Known World. The druids of MYSTARA have come to the Known World only recently, arriving from the west and south. Previously, there have been high-level priests of neutrality and various nature-based Immortals who have pursued a druidic course. These are known as Balancers and sometimes serve as druids within the druidic hierarchy. (In fact, the current Great Druid is a Balancer of Terra.)
Druids preach the faith of nature as opposed to any nature-based Immortal. They may also venerate a particular Immortal (such as Djaea or Ordana) but gain no special abilities from it.
Druids of MYSTARA may be true neutral, lawful neutral, or chaotic neutral (this is different from traditional D&D(r) fantasy worlds). The lawful neutrals believe in the freezing of the status quo of relationships between man and nature, while the chaotic natural druids believe in a more dynamic approach, with losses in one region being replaced with advances in the other. True neutral druids have equal parts of both philosophies and are the majority of this small community.
Preferred Character Regions: Lands where druids hold sway include Alasiya, Alphatia, Atruaghin, Dread Sea, Esterhold, Freeholds, Hinterlands, Northlands, Pearl Islands, Sind, Steppes, Trade Lands, Traladara, and Wendar. Additionally, elves, gnomes, lupins, and rakastas show a tendency for tending the earth. The Hin Masters, who operate outside of the druid hierarchy, assume the role of nominally held by druids within the areas controlled by the Five Shires and other major hin settlements, but it is not unknown for a non-hin druid visitor to assist the Masters within those lands.
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Druids in MYSTARA (as well as Balancer clerics) have a hierarchy which they follow. All druids are lead by the Great Druid. His is a passive leadership, but he has the authority to call upon any druid at any time for assistance. There is only one 30th level druid in all of MYSTARA—the Great Druid. Similarly, there are only two druids of 29th level, and three of 28th. Once a druid reaches epic level, he must seek out one of the ten 21st-level druids and challenge them to a duel. If he fails to defeat his competitor, he looses as many experience points required to make the next level, being left one point shy of his next target. One year must pass before he may challenge another druid. A druid must do this for every epic level attained. The current Great Druid is believed to be a sentient oak tree, called a treant, that resides in the Great Wildlands north of the Known World.
Fighters are at home in nearly every society of MYSTARA. While they are often overlooked for praise because their skills are so common, great leaders such as Duke Stefan Karameikos, Emperor Thincol I, and Ragnar the Stout are very skilled warriors with reputations greater than the reach of their swords. Of course, many have risen to infamy on their fighting skills, such as Baron Ludwig von Hendriks, the Black Eagle.
Some countries have famous military or knightly orders. Thyatis is well known for its army, while Ierendi proclaims one of the greatest naval forces of the world, and Karameikos boasts a host of knights belonging to the fighting clerical Order of the Griffin.
Preferred Character Regions: Every part of the Known World produces capable warriors, and the fighter class is always considered a Preferred Region for those stout characters.
Monastic orders usually originate in civilised human lands. Among humans, the earliest monastic orders native to MYSTARA seem to have arisen in Ochalea and Thothia. Unlike clerics and druids, monks do not necessarily have to choose a patron deity or philosophy (although most do). Monks do have to associate themselves with a Monastic Order. If your monk character belongs to an order not outlined in Chapter 7: Organisations, you and your DM should at least name it and place it in relation to the groups mentioned below.
Preferred Character Regions: Monks are most common in Alasiya, Esterhold, Glantri, Hutaaka, Ochalea, Rakasta, Sind, Steppes, Thothia, and Thyatis. The hutaakan aesthetic lifestyle and the nomadic seclusion of the rakasta are strongly compatible with monks, but other non-humans are not culturally inclined toward becoming monks; however there are a few tribes of humanoids who are rumoured to raise some of the fiercest monks known to man.
Strongheart, a regular contender for the crown of Ierendi, might be the most renown paladin in the Known World today. Although his adventuring days are behind him, his adventures in the far northern realm of Ghyr act as a model for young and aspiring paladins across the region.
All paladins of the Known World are beholden to a particular church or clerical order and that church's Immortal patron or Philosophy. Unlike other D&D campaigns, paladins in the Known World may be either Lawful orGood (albeit, a non-LG paladin is extremely rare). The paladin's patron, if he has one, must be within one step of his alignment.
There are quite a few paladins who began their adventuring career in another class (typically a fighter), and heeded the call of the paladin much later in life. These paladins, called Protectors, are regarded as equals—and sometimes superior, due to their diverse experiences—amongst other, more traditional paladins.
Preferred Character Regions: Paladins most often come from the more civilised nations such as Alphatia, Dread Sea, Freeholds, Hattias, Northlands, Ochalea, Sind, Thyatis, Trade Lands, Traladara, and Wendar. All of the demihuman clans (except for the Modrigswerg) have fine traditions of paladins; however demihuman paladins must follow their clans' native patron to meet the requirement for preferred region. In most cases, these are Kagyar for dwarves, Ilsundal for Forest and Wood elves, Rafiel for Shadowelves, Garl Glittergold for gnomes, and the High Heroes for Hin.
Vast areas of the Known World are covered with ancient forests and populated by fantastic creatures. The rangers of the Known World, along with the druids, occasional barbarians, and clerics of nature patrons and philosophies, are the masters of the "empty" spaces.
Unlike clerics, druids, and paladins, the Known World's rangers do not have to choose a patron or philosophy. Many rangers choose a patron or philosophy anyway, but others simply posses a strong devotion to the ranger's way of life instead of one of the Immortals. Rangers and druids have similar preferences for patrons, although some rangers with odd interests (such as hunting undead) choose different Immortals.
Many, but far from the majority or rangers work within the confines of the druid hierarchy, although they are not bound by it. It is not an unusual sight to see a group of druids worshipping in the woods with elves and human rangers in their midst.
Rangers may select an organisation instead of a creature type as a favoured enemy. For example, a good ranger might choose to oppose the Iron Ring, and rangers associated with the Cult of Hel often hunt down the Skalds of Odin. These rangers receive their favoured enemy bonus against agents from that organisation, regardless of creature type. The bonus applies even if the creature is of the same race as the ranger and the ranger is not evil. The bonus works just like the normal favoured enemy bonus, except that it is considered a morale bonus and does not stack with other morale effects.
Preferred Character Regions: Rangers are found on the fringes of civilisation and in regions with large tracts of wilderness such as Alphatia, Aquarendi, Atruaghin, Dread Sea, Dwarf, Elf, Esterhold, Freeholds, Gnome, Hin, Hinterlands, Hutaaka, Lupin, Northlands, Pearl Islands, Rakasta, Shadowelf, Steppes, Traladara, and Wendar. Dwarves, elves, gnomes, hin, hutaakas, lupins, and shadowelves all make excellent rangers—particularly as monster-hunters.
In the Known World, rogues are as often diplomats as thieves, a distinction often lost on those who have come out on the losing end of a diplomatic negotiation. Rogues are everywhere in the Known World, but no one necessarily expects them to be thieves. Depending on their skills and inclinations, rogues may represent themselves as treasure-hunters, tomb-raiders, investigators, spies, bounty hunters, thief-catchers, scouts, or—most commonly—as "adventurers."
While it's true that not every rogue is a thief, it's also true that many rogues are. Thieves' guilds are common in the Known World. Some, such as the Veiled Society of Karameikos, or the Shadow Hand of Thyatis and Darokin, are powerful enough to dictate orders to kings and lords, and ruthless enough to enforce their edicts through intimidation, terror, and outright murder. Most guilds are short-lived, local organisations that rise in a particular city or along a busy trade route, the creation of a charismatic or powerful individual capable of holding such a guild together.
Preferred Character Regions: Rogues are of two general stripes—thieves and brigands. Thieves are common near any large city, and brigands (sometimes charitably referred to as scouts) live in the wild. No community is safe from the deft hands of a skilful rogue, as they can be found nearly everywhere from the metropolis of Thyatis City to the desolate windswept plains of Ethengar. The Pearl Islands, however, do not possess a cultural propensity for rogues, and are not preferred there.
Sorcerers are (along with wizards) the foremost practitioners of the study and application of arcane magic. The common folk of the Known World see little difference between the rigorous studies of the wizard and the mysterious ways of the sorcerer, but in some lands a fierce rivalry exists between the two traditions. Many wizards regard sorcerers as inexpert practitioners of magic and servants of sinister powers better left alone. Some sorcerers see wizards as arrogant and pompous, deliberately cloaking magic in mummery and obtuse lore.
Some areas of the Known World are more tolerant than others of the pretence of sorcerers. Alphatia, an island empire ruled my magic-wielders of all degrees, is perhaps the best example of such a place. Despite differing regional attitudes toward sorcerers, sorcerous talent seems to be spread nearly evenly through the world and the carious races, with the exception of the sturdy, down-to-earth dwarves and earth gnomes.
True to their tendency toward chaos over law, sorcerers worship all types of patrons. Alphatia, Palartarkan, Pflarr, and Razud are popular with sorcerers as deities who have something to do with magic. Ixion, Odin, and Zirchev are popular with adventuring sorcerers.
In addition to the familiars available in the Player's Handbook, the following creatures are also available as familiars in the MYSTARA campaign settings:
TABLE 1—3: MYSTARAN FAMILIARS
Familiar Master’s Benefit Black Dragonfly 5 DR against acid Blue Dragonfly 5 DR against electricity Green Dragonfly 10 DR against chlorine gas Red Dragonfly 5 DR against fire White Dragonfly 5 DR against cold Air Fundamental +3 Move Silently bonus Earth Fundamental +2 bonus on Fort saves Fire Fundamental +2 bonus on Will saves Water Fundamental +3 bonus on Hide checks Manikin* 1 extra swift action per round
These creatures are described in Monsters of the Known World.
* Manikins are only available as familiars for Wizards
The Improved Familiar Feat (later in this chapter) allows a selection of more powerful familiars.
Preferred Character Regions: Sorcerers are found in Alphatia, Atruaghin, Dread Sea, Esterhold, Freeholds, Glantri, Hinterlands, Northlands, Ochalea, Pearl Islands, Sind, Steppes, Thothia, Traladara, and Wendar. Elves of all sorts as well as gnomes (including skygnomes), and rakastas, and some humanoid monsters such as orcs, ogres and kobolds tend to display a knack for the sorcerous arts as well.
Wizards, like other people who can turn a person into a toadstool with a glance, tend to be well respected or simply feared by common folk. The mightiest mortals in the Known World are powerful wizards such as the princes of Glantri, many nobles in Alphatia, and notorious shadowy figures like Bargle the Infamous. Extending their lives for centuries, these dangerous magic-users grow ever wiser and stronger in the ways of magic as the years pass by.
Most practicing wizards learned the basics of arcane magic as apprentices to more experienced wizards. This slow form of education is reliable, and the work an apprentice performs as the advantage of paying for her studies. Other would-be wizards graduated from one of the universities of magic, common in the lands of Alphatia, or the Great School of Magic in Glantri.
Wizards also have access to the additional familiars listed in the sorcerer entry.
Preferred Character Regions: Lands where wizards are relatively common include Alphatia, Dread Sea, Esterhold, Glantri, Hinterlands, Northlands, Thothia, Trade Lands, Traladara, and Wendar. Elven societies probably have the largest concentration of wizards per capita than any other lands. Hutaakans make fairly capable wizards. The Hin, although not usually considered a magical race will on occasion breed a few very talented wizards. Both earth and sky- gnomes also have a strange affinity towards magic, but earth gnomes usually specialise as illusionists. Modrigswerg, despite being dwarves, along with skygnomes often train as Wizard specialists.