There are many skilled practitioners of Swordplay in Eifel, and while a few of them are servants of the church, most of them make their way in the world as Bounty Hunters, slaying monsters and other beasts for whomever will pay them. There are also those for whom swordsmanship itself is a profession, and they travel around Eifel from competition to competition, fighting not only for money but for fame and accolades as well. For some though, like the Maruke, Swordsmanship is not just a means to earn a living or a way to become famous. It is a way of life, intertwined with the ideals of honor and loyalty to your beliefs as well as to your Pack.
Currently the most well known Swordsman in Eifel is Lucian, the undefeated champion and holder of the title of 'Best Swordsman in Eifel'. Many young tourney hopefuls have come up against him but none have managed to succeed. This could be because he is always traveling in search of strong opponents to sharpen his skills on.
Archers, like Gunners, have extremely good marksmanship. They often tell others that a well placed arrow is better than many clumsily shot bullets, and that it is 'Quality over Quantity'. This is demonstrative of the rivalry that exists between archers and gunners. Archers are snipers, they can be very stealthy, hiding themselves in trees or bushes and waiting for the right moment to let fly their weapons. Like Swordsmen, they are also excellent at mounted combat and can hit targets easily even when in motion.
Not all Warriors are Swordsmen, many of them, especially the Undine, are experts in the usage of spears, halberds, and tridents. These warriors are capably of amazing feats with these weapons, including propelling themselves to amazing heights only to come crashing back down upon their enemies, driving the points of their blades deep into the bodies of their opponents. They can sometimes even fling their opponents away from themselves with their spears. Like swordsmen, Dragoons use their abilities in many different ways, they can be Bounty Hunters or armed guards or soldiers. Some also find a place in the air with the Sky Pirates, because their aerobatics make them well suited to jumping from one airship to another.
Most Eiflans who are born with magical talent are enrolled in a Magical Academy and trained to become Mages. Mages have a wide variety of spells and incantations at their disposal. They can call up fireballs to incinerate their enemies or send down lighting from the clear blue sky. However this magical talent comes at a cost and they are quite a bit more frail than Swordsmen or other warrior-esque classes. They need freedom of movement for the hand gestures used in casting and so cannot protect themselves with armor. This is why they often travel with a Swordsman or other melee class to keep themselves protected.
While the Magical Academy is the most common form of Magical Training, there are other ways to learn the art. If one has the books, they can be self-taught, or, if they cannot afford to be schooled, a student might be sent off to be an apprentice to an accomplished Mage. There is also the occasional instance of Mages kidnapping children to be their apprentices, but these are usually done by those who practice the darker side of magic, the tabooed arts of manipulating both the living and the dead for their own gain. Mages use magical artifacts (Similar to a summoners artifacts), to cast their spells. Most spells require a physical component (a series of hand gestures) and a vocal component (the spells name suffices for advanced mages, novices need to recite the entire chant). For this reason, Mages cannot use swords or other melee weapons for, as with priests and priestesses, they have to have both their hands and sometimes even their entire body free. They have no weapons because for a Mage, their spells are their weapons.
There is usually only three reasons why a person becomes a Thief. The first is that this is the only course left to them. They have no home, no job, and no food, so they take to stealing to survive. Then there are the thrill burglars, thieves who steal because of the excitement, the rush of adrenaline and the idea that this time might be the last. Finally, there are thieves who, like Ninjas and Swordsmen, are born into the craft, the children of members of the many Thieves Guilds scattered throughout Eifel. Where Scientists are excellent at putting things together, Thieves are equally as adept at taking them apart, especially if it is standing between them and their goal. Locks, Traps, even Mechanical doors fall before their dexterous hands and myriad of different tools. Thieves don't like to carry anything too cumbersome, that would slow down their escape. For this reason, they utilize weapons like daggers, knives, and the occasional whip or throwing darts. A few of them may also use small crossbows or short bows. Most of them don't use guns, and a few of the larger guilds even have bi-laws against their usage, as they pride themselves on being of a higher class than the common alleyway mugger.
There are several ways that Eiflans can become Pugilists. They can be trained in the temple as warrior monks, they can be mentored by an accomplished fighter, or they can even be simple street brawlers who've gained skill over the years just by getting into fights over and over. Whatever the reason, these fighters have all come to the same conclusion; they do not need weapons to defend themselves. Some of them may even abhor the use of man made weapons and look down upon people who use this kind of 'technology' as a crutch which only keeps them from reaching their full potential. Pugilists generally do not wear armor, but many of them have honed their abilities and toned their muscles so well that they are extremely hard to injure just the same. And without the added weight of armor they are also extremely fast.
Summoners have magical talent, but cannot access the same forces that Mages can. Instead, they are able to call upon mighty and powerful creatures which will do their bidding until dismissed. Summoning is a learned craft, and there are several Summoning Academies where students go to learn how to call and control magical creatures with the aid of incantations and special accessories called 'Artifacts', which help the Summoner to both channel the energies to call the beasts and keep control of them. Rarely, an Eiflan will be born with the natural ability to summon and control, instead of just the raw potential, however, the number of times that this has happened can be counted on one hand. It's believed that the natural talent for Summoning is a sign that the person may actually not be an Eiflan at all, but one of the Eiflans ancient predecessors, the Alfs.
The elite assassins who are skilled at stealth and silence, much about the Ninja's culture is unknown. Where they live and the things they are taught there is a complete mystery to the average Eiflan. Many of them are Nyn and their superior reflexes only add to their heir of mystery. To hire a Ninja assassin is an extremely difficult task to accomplish, because you must find someone who knows how to contact them, therefore Ninja are hired almost exclusively by the very wealthy or very powerful. They are skilled in a wide array of weapons including throwing stars, poisoned needles, and a type of short sword which is unique to them, the Ninja-to. The most skilled Ninja aren't even known to the public, such is the level of their skill.
(Knowledge not known to the general public of Eifel: Nyn Ninjas (or Nyn-Ja's, as they call themselves) Do not wear masks and rarely wear hoods to hide their faces. The reasons for this are many. A Nyn needs all of it's senses to be unobstructed. It needs it's wiskers to help it navigate in the dark, it's eyes to see, and it's nose and mouth to make use of it's increadible sense of smell and taste. It needs it's ears to pick up all the noises coming from different direction. And aside from the physical reasons, the Nyn-ja hold the belief that if your target has lived long enough to tell others what you look like, then you have failed as a Nyn-ja and deserve to be put to the sword, if not by the law, then by your clanmates themselves.
Ninja begin training from an early age, they have a strict code of secrecy, so once inducted into the Ninja Clan, the only way out is death, either by failing a mission, or by being hunted down by the other members of the Ninja Clan. An Eiflan who attempts to leave their Clan will either die, or spend the rest of their lives looking over their shoulder and sleeping with one eye open.)
A relatively new skill, Gunners are amazingly keen eyed shooters. Though there aren't every many models of guns because they were only invented relatively recently, Gunners have come to the forefront of fighting on both sides of the law, with their deadly accuracy and Guns that can fire up to six shots without having to be reloaded as compared to the archers who have to draw every time they need to attack. Because of this there tends to be some animosity between Gunners and Archers, with Gunners believing that their newer more advanced weapons have made archery obsolete. They often claim that archers are just clinging to a dead art.
Some Eiflans devote their entire lives to the Goddess, and become a Priest or Priestess. As a member of the clergy, they may travel abroad and spread the word of the Goddess, helping those in need wherever they go. If they have magical talent, they can tap into that power to become powerful healers and casters of protective spells. Most Priests and Priestesses believe that the Tree and the Goddess are one and the same, and that she became the tree after she created the world and the Dragons which protect her. There are a few who believe that the Goddess and the tree are separate entities, and that she resides at the very top of the tree rather than being one with it, but these are so few that they are usually simply dismissed as radicals or simply fools. Priests and Priestesses who do not have the magical ability to become healers serve the Goddess in other ways, by performing sermons at the Cathedrals or by running Orphanages and soup kitchens for the poor and abandoned. Priests and Priestess' do not use weapons, as they would hinder the physical gestures used in their spell casting. Instead they rely almost exclusively on traveling companions and the Holy Knights they take on oftentimes as partners in their journeys to keep them safe and relatively unharmed.
Holy Knights are Swordsmen who have pledged themselves as protectors of the Goddess temples and often travel along with the Priest or Priestess in their travels to help others across Eifel. They are the pinnacles of good and must always do what is right, or die trying. Holy Knights usually wear extremely heavy armor, so they are not the fastest fighters, but they often have magically enhanced weapons and know just how to make each strike count, and they are not to be taken lightly. Many of them are extremely skilled at mounted combat as well, which makes up for their slower ground speed. A Holy Knight's weapons and armor are almost always imbued with Holy Power via the 'Bless' holy spell. This enchantment fortifies their equipment to be better effective against evil beings such as Boreal and most monsters.
Bards are performers, but they are also warriors. Their musical instruments are enchanted with a special kind of magic that empowers their musical notes with physical force, the type of which varies from group to group. Strings pierce, Winds Slash, Drums bludgeon. There are various exotic weapons as well, and their type varies individually. Bards are world travelers, and their trade isn't always related tot heir weapon proficiency. Many are poets, writers, and painters. Dancers and singers as well. Skilled Bards can lead an exceedingly convenient life, because their weapons keep them safe from monsters, and their performing skills keep ingots in their pockets and food in their mouths. They are not always good however, and some of the most dangerous Boreal Harpies are themselves Bards by trade, singing songs that praise the death and destruction caused by war and strife and their own wretched caste.
Aside from the weapons depicted here, there are several that do not have a large following or a school devoted to learning their usage. Among these are Hammers, Nunchaku, Staffs, and even stranger weapons such as 'bottled spells' and whips. Most Eiflans who are skilled in these weapons became so either by apprenticing under a mentor or simple trial and error, though the most common wielders of Hammers at least are Blacksmiths, and usually an Eiflan with such a weapon will be discovered to have Blacksmithing in their background.
Bounty Hunter Edit
Bounty Hunters come in all shapes and sizes, they are usually skilled in another class, such as Mages or Warriors. They can be loners or they can band together to form Bounty Hunting troupes. While many of them are nomadic and travel all over Eifel in search of new marks to hunt, there are a few who take up permanent residencies in larger cities and simply send their members abroad from a fixed central location. While they are generally considered to be on the side of good, they will take any bounty, whether the client is an advocate of justice or not.
The Scourge of the seas, Pirates sail the waters between the different continents of Eifel, raiding merchant vessels and taking whatever pleases them. Most become Pirates because they love the sea but hate the restrictions of honest sailing careers and the laws and rules that they have to abide by. Because it's such a solitary life there are very few people who are actually born into the Pirating trade, the youngest pirates being orphans as young as 7 years old who get hired on as cabin urchins because they have no where else to go. Many of the more famous Pirate Captains have a rather flamboyant heir about them and have titles intended to strike fear into the minds of those whom they are attacking.
With the advent of Airships, some miscreants and rebels have taken to the air, forming groups known as Sky Pirates. They are just as dangerous as their sea faring cousins, and far more reckless, since their acts of Piracy are performed hundreds of feet in the air. For the time being, Sky Pirates rule the skies, because there are very few air-born Bounty Hunting groups in the world thus far. One of the major differences between Sea Pirates and Sky Pirates is that Sky Pirates are almost exclusively ranged weapons experts. Guns, Crossbows, and Longbows are their forte and often if they have any melee weapons on them it will usually be a dagger or a short curved sword.
People who don't show any magical talent, and who aren't physically strong enough to use swords or other weapons, may turn to Science and technology to make their way in the world. Scientists can learn how do do many things such as making potions or inventing machines that make life more convenient for all of Eifel. They can even create scientific substitutes for some of the more basic elemental spells. Scientists are the creators of Prosthetic limbs, healing potions, and even Airships and Mechanical Land Vehicles. On the down side, Scientists can also be some of the most cruelly logical people in Eifel, justifying horrific experiments and despicable acts in the name of progress or knowledge. Some of them even aspire to use their Scientific knowledge and powerful technology to take down the Goddess herself, placing the fate of the world in their own mortal hands.
In the case of Necromancers, their power is gained in an extreme way; the fledgling mage must suffer a near-death experience to gain access to experience and knowledge that can only come from the desperation and despair of death.
While this can happen naturally (though it is extremely rare) such “awakenings” are usually induced on an apprentice necromancer by his/her Master.
It is said that this has been the way of Necromancy ever since the first necromancer (referred to in Legend as the Old Master) traveled beyond the veil and came back as the first Lich.
The Old Master then taught the first Elders of Necromancy. Ones that, like him, had come close to death.
As time went on though Necromancers who’d been apprenticed by the Elders began including near death experiences because it was so rare to find those who had naturally awakened. In time these came to be called “Awakening Ceremonies” and are now standard practice.
They are steeped in ritual and history, usually as the awakening is being performed the Master Necromancer will recite the history of the art. Beginning with the Old Master and continuing until the line is narrowed to the Master’s Master.
These ceremonies are also very secret and sudden. Commonly before the awakening the apprentice believes they are being instructed as an ordinary mage. This is done because it is believed that the feelings of terror and betrayal (as your trusted mentor suddenly tries to kill you) are beneficial in awakening the required abilities.
Once the awakening is over and provided the apprentice survives, the real education can begin.