Class Primer- Fighters, Rogues, Barbarians
Tomorrow will come with a very high bill. One that can only be paid in blood. All that's left to see is who's buying, us or them.
These are the classes that will have the broadest possible origins and affiliations to choose from in the Tairos setting. Lacking any spellcasting ability means the player doesn't need to take into consideration Tairos' damaged Leylines and the impact of The Queen's Rebuke. If a player wishes to run one of the variants of these classes that is magically inclined such as Eldritch Knights and Arcane Archers they'll want to take a look at a primer that covers spellcasters indepth and try to consider some of that information as well.
In Tairos, it's perfectly acceptable to have a warrior type character who's led a life independent of any connections to influential organizations. You may have been the defender of a small, unmapped township in the Farmlands of Ghal Pelor or a street urchin from Ghal Pelor with no loyalties to anyone but himself or lone woodsmen from the mysterious region around Lake Bask who hides a terrible rage inside himself. Players need no help when it comes to making a character with few or no connections to the larger setting as a whole. That being said, let's examine each of these classes and see how a player might integrate them into Tairos' overarching plots and backstory should they choose to.
Players using the Tairos setting have a very broad number of options to look when developing the background lore for their character. If they prefer a character to have come from a more disciplined and military origin then the Grand Order of the Lion, the army of Ghal Pelor, Melanthris or Ghal Ankhar are all examples of functional and fully operational forces. In fact, almost every nation maintains some kind of fighting force so the possibilities are endless there.
Perhaps the player may be looking to create a more pious fighter. It might in that case be worthwhile to look at the primer for more faith-based classes to start. As the gods have mostly vanished from Tairos it is rare for anyone to still pray to them but that being said there are many small, unofficial sects that still hold temple today. A fighter could be as much a believer as anyone else and he might use his martial skills in service to higher powers. Alternatively, Tairos is home to countless cults such as those that worship The Gates and necromantic philosophers known as the Embracers These cults are equally in need of warriors willing to protect and spread their ideas.
Mercenary companies and criminal enterprises offer a great deal of opportunity to fighters as well. Famous or infamous companies like Seward's Sabers and the Sons of Caustos are but a few of potentially hundreds of scattered organizations who sell their swords in the service of just causes or coin. The vast criminal network known as the Black Thorn Society needs hired muscle to protect its interests while the pirates of Far Harbor need muscle aboard their swift raiders.
Fighters can come from more solitary beginnings as well. The soldiers of Frostmere live isolated lives in the cold northern wastes where they tend to stay close to their jarl and clan. A survivor of the pit fighting arenas in the Bitter Depths would be an equally lonely figure. In distant Tairuk the primitive tribes that roam there have bred proud and peerless warriors eager to strike out on their own and prove their worth to the spirits of nature.
In the context of Tairos a Fighter and a Rogue might be indistinguishable from each other. Both are skill combatants using training and physical prowess to accomplish the task at hand. They will often fill the same occupations within organizations and be equally sought after for their violent expertise. The difference can be seen in the methods and tactics chosen though. A fighter might take the role of a soldier in an army and excel at brutal front line combat but the rogue beside him may be a soldier that takes advantage of distractions and relies on quick, precise strikes rather than a hammerfall of powerful blows.
Players may like the idea of a character that has no connection to the greater world around them. For that player's Rogue, they may be a simple highway bandit, street urchin, trapper, tracker, bounty hunter or folk hero with a trickster streak. However, for the player looking to connect their character to the greater events in play, the Tairos setting offers a myriad of possibilities.
Crime. It is the often the obvious and most common background element for a Rogue and with good reason, their skill set and class abilities play perfectly into this trope. In the centuries that followed the Queen's war the rule of law has shrunk to a handful of stable cities leaving the rest lawless. In the absence of order; slavers, bandits, pirates and marauding mercenary companies have inherited the land. A rouge could be the scout, spy or enforcer for any number of wilderness criminal elements. Until their defeat at the hands of Seward's Sabers the Red Vest gang was a perfect example of a group of Rogues and Fighters operating together to harass highway travelers.
The criminal element is not relegated to just the fringes of society though. Within all of the functional cities of Tairos there are those that prefer... creative interpretations to the law instead of gainful employment. In Ghal Pelor there's the owner of the Silver Towers gambling house, Rowen and the sizable operation he runs. He's always in need of more street smart ruffians willing to get their hands dirty. Alfredia Puddifoot and her halfling gang are notorious operators of short-lived black markets and pickpocket operations on the busy streets near Ghal Pelor's markets. The Ebon blades of Baradrad aren't shy about robbing from the dead as well as the living. Small outposts like High Point Township are openly run by criminals while in pious places like Frial criminals are forced into legitimate lines of work or to operate in the deepest shadows.
Of course, no conversation about crime would be complete with a mention of the Black Thorn Society and their shadowy rulers The Three Crowns. No organization in Tairos is as secretive, expansive and as successful yet despite all that few have even heard of their name.
Not every Rogue must be a criminal though. A player might select the Rogue class to represent a more militarily trained character known for their love of stealth, finesse, and deception. The soldiers of the Stormlands would more likely be of the Rogue class that pure Fighters or some combination of both. Scouts, bounty hunters and assassins from all nations would fall under this class as well. The skills and class abilities of a Rogue work equally well for those that oppose crime and disorder. Detectives, investigators, inquisitors and strategists could all easily be Rogues. Malcolm Lambert is an example of a Rogue working for the law instead of against it.
There's even opportunity for pious Rogues should a player desire. Tairos' old pantheon included deities such as Thatur The Ledger Lord, Malyse The Libertine and Nisaba The Lady Midnight to whom many criminals prayed to before Fae brought about the Silence of the Gods. Yet, even today some of those ancient traditions are still practiced by superstitious elements of the criminal underworld.
While a Barbarian is likely to hold the same position or occupations as a Rogue or Fighter it is always easy to tell who they are. They're the ones that relish the fight on a primal level, that indulge in the carnage and choose oppressive, brute strength over martial training or skillful finesse. In a group of soldiers, the Barbarian is the one can't stop attacking even when the last foe is down. In a cadre of criminals, this is muscle, the one that always goes too far.
The Tairos setting has a number of inspirations a player might draw from to create a Barbarian that is divorced from the larger story. Barbarians are often outcasts, their methods deemed to savage for whatever piece of civilization they hailed from. Any hermit might hide a terrible anger inside them that boils to surface during a moment of tension. The magics of the Fae still linger strongly in Tairos as well. The curse of the Redcap and the Rite of Rage turned otherwise calm souls into barbaric, bestial forces of nature. Even today some of those dreadful effects still linger in the bloodlines of the original victims or lurk in abandoned places waiting to infect a new generation. Wherever restraint runs low and violence is present a lone Barbarian can emerge. If a player prefers to have a deeper connection to the lore and the setting there are a number of satisfying hooks to anchor their background on.
Barbarians with a background in an organized military would have been kept around because of their effectiveness but rarely seen as anything more than a blunt tool. Any number of armies might have their bruisers but certain forces are known for them. Frostmerite Berzerkers excel at channeling the honor of their ancestors and respect for the forest spirits into a righteous battle frenzy. Many who serve in the army of the xenophobic and tyrannical kingdom of Lockland are true butchers on the battlefield and worthy of the Barbarian class. Many Dwarves can use their indignation and passion for their forefathers as kindling to ignite a powerful rage. The tribes of Tairuk give rise to numerous Barbarian warriors who use the forces of nature to decend into a rabid and reckless fury.
Criminal organizations like the Black Thorn Society make extensive use of Barbarians in the form of enforcers, guards and hit men. Among the ranks of the Black Thorn's slavers Barbarians are especially desired for their ability to put down revolts and bring in prized specimens for sale.
Many of the old faiths attracted Barbarians to their worship and put their powerful outpusts to more focused works. Gods like Atel The Beast and Galidir The Hunter favored the unchained passions of these souls.
Barbarians from high society are not unheard of either. Certain elf nobles are prone to violent, bloodthirsty outbursts when angered resulting a bodytrail and bloodbath in their palatial estates in Melanthris. The same is true of other races as well. Wealthy, learned individuals can crave blood and pain just as much as battlefield warrior.