Azure Warrior Archetype
Azure Assassins, or Azure Warriors, are warrior-sorcerers in Asteanic culture who have weaponized the use of Astral Projection magic. With the help of powerful substances like Skyblue, these warriors leave their bodies behind and fight as souls – wielding Soulbleed weapons and utilising abilities only available to ghosts, such as flying and becoming invisible.
As the cost of studying magic and acquiring the specialised equipment needed to become an Azure Warrior is high, most of them belong to wealthy noble castes. However, they are seldom rulers themselves, as using the most potent narcotic substances required for their powerful abilities can make them susceptible to addiction and madness. Many Azure Assassins serve powerful rulers or offer their skills as assassins, albeit on the other side of the law.
An archetypal sample character can already exit their body and use the Manipulation of Physical Objects spell to strangle enemies. However, they still need to learn how to take powerful Soulbleed weapons with them and acquire other spells. Additionally, it’s worth focusing on developing their combat skills. You have the potential to be one of the most dangerous warriors in Asteanic culture. Understandably, an astral warrior like you has certain advantages. It’s very difficult for conventional weapons to harm you; your DR against them is 20 when astral projecting. However, Soulbleed weapons and silver weapons inflict damage normally. Successful attacks deduct Soul HP from you.
If you ever acquire a Soulbleed weapon, using it in your astral form allows you to fight with it, and when you hit someone with your weapon, you also deduct Soul HP from them. Regular armour does not protect against those attacks, and most people have fewer Soul HP than regular HP.
When you use your Soulbleed weapon while in your physical body, regular armour provides protection because it can’t simply phase through armour like it can in spirit form. However, in this case, the spirit weapon deducts both types of HP simultaneously. Steel inflicts regular wounds, and the spirit within it inflicts soul wounds.
Samurai Bureaucrat Archetype
Samurai are semi-feudal bureaucrat-warriors in the Asteanic world. The roots of samurai culture and caste lie in North Thefna, from where it spread across the Asteanic world. Historically, samurai were heavily armed horse archers who swore loyalty to their lord.
Although the samurai army is no longer the most effective type of military force today, it is still the main component of most Asteanic rulers’ armies, due to the structure of Asteanic society. In every Asteanic village, there is at least one samurai who fulfils the roles of the village head, tax collector, police officer, judge, writer, and sometimes teacher and priest. Therefore, samurai have very broad knowledge and education. The art of war is often secondary; mainly they manage their lords’ lands as the lowest-level bureaucrats, and the villages feed and arm the samurai. It is precisely because of their bureaucratic skills that lords depend on samurai. Village samurai are trained in classical martial arts together with serf ashigaru, but on the battlefield, they are often inferior to professional ronin or musket and pike units. The advantage of samurai units is their strong loyalty (morale) to their lord and non-existent maintenance costs – the land on which they serve as bureaucrats feeds them.
Although most samurai families live in the countryside, some have found themselves in the numerous and large Asteanic cities. These city samurai are called street samurai because they usually have responsibility for one city street. Although life in the city is more prestigious and refined than among illiterate tenants in the countryside, many street samurai feel inferior. Village samurai are the great leaders, teachers, and judges of their village. City samurai, whose rights over the free city dwellers are significantly smaller, are often the poorest residents of their street, who must constantly argue and share land with wealthy and organized syndicate masters.
The top of the samurai caste is represented by daimyos, feudal vice-regents, and military leaders in the service of their lord. Through the daimyos and the general militarization of the Asteanic world, samurai culture has also spread to the aristocratic castes. There are many nobles who dress and behave like samurai but belong to a significantly higher caste. Many of these nobles use their connections to create pacts with the gods and thereby become more powerful warriors than any village samurai.
Shinobis are a class of covert agents, spies, and assassins operating in the Asteanic world. Despite most rulers having shinobis in their service, they tend to avoid openly revealing their identities. Due to their nature, shinobis strive to blend in and not draw attention to themselves. Nonetheless, certain characteristics are typical of the archetype. They possess a wide-ranging education, including non-classical areas of study. Shinobis are skilled in disguising themselves, moving silently, picking locks, have knowledge of medicine, and can handle various weapons. They excel in using both ranged weapons and swords. Additionally, they carry a vast array of equipment to aid them in any situation, making them one of the most well-equipped archetypes. In close combat, they employ dual-wielding techniques, allowing for two attacks in a single round.
Beastmastery is not typical magical skill, as it falls under the Instinct attribute rather than being part of the usual magical talents governed by the Soul attribute. The foundational skill of Beastmastery is the language of animals, which a sorcerer learns just like ordinary people learn languages of different cultures. At the start of the game, a character of this archetype knows only the language of jaguars, but as the game progresses, they can learn other animal languages if someone teaches them. Any animal whose language the beastmaster knows can be brought under their control.
However, conversing with animals is not quite the same as speaking with humans. Many concepts familiar to the human world are alien or completely different to animals. For example, wolves lack the concept of nations or races, but the idea of home or den, as well as territorial boundaries, is not foreign to them, since wolves are territorial creatures who know that each pack has its own defined territory – and thus, humans too. Challenges may arise with enumeration. Most animals can manage with numbers like 1, 2, 3, but beyond that come various terms for higher numbers, which even a person fluent in animal language might find rather challenging to understand.
Beastmastery is quite common in the Asteanic world, as it offers practical utility in everyday life. This skill has enabled several cultures to integrate unusual and dangerous animals into their daily activities. For instance, some Tauric knights ride wyverns, Gurge tribes coexist with massive and aggressive Single-humped Steppe Unihorns, and Kali sea tribes employ Colossal Sea Turtles in naval battles.