Class Primer- Clerics, Paladins and Monks
"I envy the mortals, I really do. Honestly. They have access to the one pleasure I'll never get the chance to know. The privilege of worshiping me. "
"Are you serious! I'm disgusted because I know you are!"
Classes that rely on a connection to the divine and the living energy that fuels it require a bit of planning to run effectively in the Tairos Setting. The reason for this is because a very fundamental aspect to the setting known as Silence of the Gods. The Queen's Rebuke nearly severed Tairos' connection to magic entirely by poisoning the Leylines that bridge the living world to the planes. For magicians of all sorts this cut them off from Mana, the source of energy that fueled their spells but for those with a connection to the gods or the very Well of Life itself, the impact was nothing less than apocalyptic. The gods were shrouded entirely from their servants and those that tapped into the source of life energy to fuel their physical forms found themselves cut off. Monastic orders and temples to the gods all withered and died very quickly after The Autumn Queen terrible revenge laid bare upon the world.
For Humans and other shorter lived races the time when gods answered prayers and spoke with the faithful is but myth and legend, nothing more. Even for the Elves and Dwarves such things belong to the lore of the older generation. Young Elves and Dwarves are growing up in a world that's never felt the hand of the divine.
Yet, a rare few in these modern times are starting to hear the voices of the gods again and feel the flow of life's energy. For a player wishing to run one of these classes they should try to keep in mind that their character is connected to something that has been dead for centuries. Ever cleric, paladin and monk in this setting is going to have a truly unique experience for how they started their career since there are no formal institutions left that teach these paths any longer. The player truly has the opportunity to play someone who has been marked (or cursed) by a higher calling and who are devoted to seeing a return to the old ways.
The most important factor for a player to focus on when playing a Cleric in the Tairos setting is that they for some reason hear their god and can channel their power when to the rest of the world the gods are dead. Different gods may have different reasons for wanting to connect with a specific mortal and why they'd invest so much of their waning power in doing so. For a god like Wynte that reason is likely to be born out of shallow vanity or boredom. While for gods like Sandor, Tatayne and Ssambrae it may be a more noble trait such as a deeply pious follower who heeded their word even with evidence or because of a truly noble purpose such as rebuilding a church or shepherding a new flock of parishioners. The choice in deity and the method by which you became a conduit for them likely to be the fundamental cornerstone of your character.
Clerics in Tairos pursue careers and paths based on the purpose their deity has chosen them for. This is why almost all clerics are adventurers of some sort. A sedentary life if some small hamlet or neighborhood of a larger city is not going to undo the damage the Fae have cause nor will it bring their faith back. The more combat capable of them may join the ranks of a local army or sign up with a traveling mercenary company. They may even become the charismatic leader of a group of pilgrims or the dread demagogue of cult.
No matter where they go or what path they follow their belief is always going to be met with skepticism and even distrust. The common citizens of most settlements will assume the player's character is delusional at best or even a dangerous victim of insanity at worst. The claim of hearing voices and being connected to long forgotten gods is just difficult for the layperson to accept. Demonstrations of their connection to a god can be a considerable risk as well. Superstition, fear and hopelessness run rampant in Tairos and someone channeling divine power might be seen as an ill omen, the mark of infernalism or even worse... a beacon of hope that they'd do anything to keep to themselves.
All of what can be said about clerics applies to the paladin as well but with a few subtle distinctions. First and foremost, the paladin is the living weapon of the gods and as such his purpose is much more narrow... to bear the wrath of his deity upon those that would stand in the way of the faith.
A paladin in Tairos may be some kind of mercenary, soldier or sell sword that suddenly heard the word of one of the gods; turning his talents in combat over to a greater cause. He might be a simple folk hero, town constable or even someone who's never picked up a weapon in their life but one day their patron spoke to them, granting them the skills of a true warrior and access to their divine magic. Perhaps a player is a holdover from a more ancient time who suddenly awakens in modern Tairos to find everything is wrong and they vow to use every last ember of their connection to their god to undo the damage.
Whatever your origin the commonality is that there is something you are fighting for and some threat your patron deity has chosen you to smite. Duty is paramount to who you are and following the code of your god means everything. Unlike the cleric who is there to spread the faith and act as your patron's word and hand in this world you are but their weapon and your god will only unleash that weapon under the most careful of circumstances.
Where clerics and paladins devoted themselves to the paths their gods laid out for them; monks dedicated themselves to the pursuits of physical and mental perfection through agnostic traditions meant to tap into the raw energy of creation itself. Some call this the Well of Life, the source from which all souls flow. The monastic orders of old were reclusive and reluctant to engage in the conflicts that eventually led to the downfall of magic and the end of The Grand Concordance of Tairos but they were equally impacted by the consequences.
The Monastic traditions of old came in all manner of iterations. In the south amid the sand blasted plateaus of the desert there were temples dedicated to marrying the necromantic magics of Skyrir with Baradrad's philosophies regarding the sanctity of life. The mountains near Balmoral were said to be home to a sect of Vale followers who saw a deeper truth about the god and the path toward true enlightenment. Azuras' is said to have scoured away many ancient monastic traditions to further force his empire's reliance on him as their god. The Clockwork Kingdom of the Gnomes was said to have many fighting academies and schools dedicated to perfecting the body and the power locked away within the mind. Even Ghal Pelor houses several spas and gyms that are said to practice the lost arts of many forgotten traditions though most citizes of the city see them as nothing more than boutiue fitness regiments for priveledged eccentrics.
A player wishing to create a Monk character is going to want to give special consideration to what philosophy he believes in and just as important... how they found it. None of the old traditions are known to still practice today. Their temples, if they even still stand, are long abandoned, picked over by treasure hunters or swallowed up by nature's inevitable advance. The other factor they'll want to give some thought to is how exactly they are able to access the Well of Life and fuel their Monk abilities. The easy answer to that is a Manacite cache they found along with the teachings they now follow. A conversation with the Game Master may lead to more unusual means of tapping into that power too such as special items, aesoteric origins, and deeper mysteries.
A monk's motivation and place in this world is likely to be similar to that of the cleric. They've discovered a way of life worth dedicating their existence to and they probably believe the message is worth spreading. Other motives are possible as well of course. The last survivor of hidden temple is certainly a popular trope but popular for a reason, it's compelling and provides history, a villain and a purpose. Maybe your monk found an item that connects his mind to a long dead monk with unfinished business in the realm of the living and you now share your body and mind with that spirit. While the choice is a vital one the possibilities are endless
Nice job, especially about how personality develops these connections. I would wonder: does the personality determine the gods you are connected to, or do the gods choose you and determine your personality. Just something to chew on.