Many types of characters can be found in Kalyr. These archetypes make good player characters. Each one lists the appropriate skills, typically half a dozen.
Many great character concepts are a combination of more than one of these archetypes, and players are encouraged to think of creative ways of combining them. Don’t forget that you need all the skills marked as essential for all the archetypes.
Academy of Knowledge Technician
The Academy of Knowledge is a specialised guild that preserves what remains of the technology of the Kandar. They maintain workshops in every Kandar city, which are the sole source of any complex mechanical or electrical devices, from firearms to powered vehicles to electric lighting. The means of producing or repairing anything technological is a jealously guarded secret, and the organisation has no qualms about using violence to protect its monopoly power. Two other things of note about them; firstly, they make great effort to keep completely out of the constant political intrigues and disputes in Kandar cities. Secondly, they are one of the few organisations in Kalyr where Kandar and humans work together on more or less equal terms.
Skills: Technical Devices and Engineering are the key skills, and you’ll also want Rank. Many technicians know how to use the things they build and repair, so Vehicles and Missile Combat are common skills. Other skills will depend on the background; Streetwise is common for human guildsmen, and those educated within the guild will have been taught some Natural Science.
Assassin or Spy
There is much political intrigue in kandar cities, especially in Ravenah or parts of the Great Empire. Wherever you find intrigue you will find spies. And sometimes rivalries and feuds get out of hand and become murderous, providing employment for professional assassins. Many spies or assassins are agents working for their city or guild. Others might be are members of powerful crime syndicates, or fanatical members of obscure religious cults. There are also freelancers working solely for financial gain. Freelance assassins tend to come from either a military or criminal background.
Skills: One or both of Stealth and Charm is needed to get close to the target, and Melee or Missile Combat are needed once you get there. Breaking and Entering, Athletics and Deceit will always be useful, and if poisons are your thing, you need Medicine.
The rougher ends of kandar cities are full of criminal types, mostly but not exclusively human, ranging from petty thieves and pickpockets and muggers, through housebreakers and smugglers, to more serious organised crime. Some rougher parts of kandar cities, are effectively run by crime lords.
Skills: Streetwise, Breaking and Entering, Stealth, Deceit, Melee, Unarmed Combat, Athletics and Intimation are all useful skills. You’ll have Rank if you’re a member of a larger gang or major crime syndicate.
Aspects: You’ll want an aspect defining what sort of criminal you are.
Whether slaves forced to fight by bloodthirsty owners, or the desperate fighting for money, Kalyr has no shortage of people, mostly human, who fight purely for the entertainment of others. The venues range from the great arenas of Vorhleyn, Karmork and Filgeth to the illicit fighting pits in the human quarters of many cities. The life of a typical gladiator is nasty, brutish and short, since many fights are to the death. A few exceptionally talented fighters survive long enough to achieve some level of fame and fortune, and some slave gladiators eventually manage to buy their freedom. You’ll want at least one aspect relating to your career as a gladiator.
Skills: To survive in the arena needs high skill in Melee and Unarmed Combat, as well as Athletics, Endurance and Strength. Some gladiators will have Art specialising in performance and showmanship.
Guardianspeakers are the priests of Kalyr. The communicate with The Guardians with the aid of devices known as ‘oracles’, and relay the Guardians’ words to the common people. In a world where the gods are very real, who can and do intervene directly in the affairs of mortals, their priests are important and influential people. Each guardianspeaker devotes his or her life to service of a particular guardian.
Skills: Rank very is important, reflecting the high social status of one in direct communication with a Guardian. Dealing with a Guardian face-to-face can be unnerving even to the initiated, so high Willpower is very useful. Kandar Education and Art are also important, and social skills such as Charm or Insight are useful. Finally Administration is important for the day-to-day running of a temple, and for knowledge of religious law.
The size and power of the guilds mean they’ve developed extensive bureaucracies, and the senior masters of each guild in a city are very powerful political figures. They’re responsible for internal discipline, resolving internal disputes, and handling relations with other guilds. A good guild administrator has to be part bureaucrat, part lawyer, and part diplomat.
Skills: Rank and Administration are the key skills. Kandar Social Graces are important to mix with high society, Merchant is important to deal with buying and selling guild services, and social skills such as Charm or Insight are always useful.
Most of Kalyr doesn’t have anything resembling a police force, so the guilds are responsible for their own law enforcement, and each guild has it’s own security arm. Guild security are mostly concerned with protecting guild property and personnel, guarding buildings and acting as bodyguards. But occasionally they can find themselves involved in detective work where a crime against the guild has been committed. In extreme circumstances, guild security can even embark on what amount to small-scale military operations against some group that threatens the guild’s interests.
Skills: All guild security know some combat skills, either Melee, Unarmed Combat or both. Intimidation and Insight are useful for dealing with threats before they turn violent, and since their work can take them from the top end of society to the rough end of town both Kandar Social Graces and Streetwise are also useful. And don’t forget Rank; that’s your authority to use force in the name of your guild.
While there are healers that rely on psionic healing powers, there are many more that rely on more mundane medical arts. Chief amongst them are the healers of the Temples of Valarna, most of which are also Guardianspeakers. In rougher areas one can find quite a few ‘street doctors’. While quite a few might be quacks and charlatans, there are still plenty of people with real skill and knowledge.
Skills: Medicine is the important skill here. Other common skills will be Natural Science, reflecting a wider understanding of how the natural world works, Insight, reflecting the level of empathy healers are likely to have, and Perception, reflecting the ability to notice things.
You’re part of a cell dedicated to the overthrow of Kandar rule. Whether you’re raiding from a base out in the wilds, or rabble-rousing from the streets, you are an enemy of the status quo. You’re forced to be secretive, especially if you’re based within a kandar city, because you’re leading a double life.
You should combine this with another archetype, which either defines what role you play within the rebellion, or defines your cover identity.
Skills: Human Lore and Streetwise are pretty essential, and you probably know Survival if you’re based out in the wilds. You might be skilled in a Profession as a cover identity, and need Deceit to maintain that cover.
You are or were a human slave, maybe slaving in the fields that feed the cities, or maybe living in the city rather than the countryside. You might be a personal servant to a wealthy noble, privy to their innermost secrets. But you might be a lowly labourer, maybe slaving(literally) in the kitchens of a noble household or guild, or performing dirty or dangerous work for one of the guilds. Whether you’re still a slave or not, an aspect relating to your slavery is a must.
Skills: Depends on the nature of your work, but Strength, Endurance, Willpower, Streetwise and Deceit are good skills for a typical slave. A personal servant to a kandar noble ought to have Kandar Social Graces, and if you’re a skilled slave rather than a labourer, Profession will represent what you’re skilled at.
You were born into one of the fourteen kandar noble clans at the very top of the social pyramid. You will have received the best classical education in assorted dead languages, classical literature and ancient history, as well as the martial Abilities needed to survive the inevitable duels. While you might be an idle dilettante, you might equally well be destined for rulership and power. You must have at least one aspect naming your clan, and your relationship to it.
Skills: Rank is a must; you need a rank of Good or better to qualify even as a minor noble far away from power. Likewise Kandar Social Graces and Kandar Education are pretty much essential, as is Melee, with the duelling blade as the preferred weapon. Other skills depend on what you do with your time; a ruler would have Administration, many nobles have Riding, a dilettante might have something like Art, most nobles will have at least one social skill, and Languages is common with contacts across Kalyr.
Knights are the spiritual heirs of the ancient warrior orders dating from the times of darkness, and claim to be descended from similar orders from the time of the Golden Empire, trained in single combat. They split into two types, clan knights and temple knights. The former are the military wing of the kandar nobility, charged with protecting their clan against threats external and internal, and membership is naturally restricted to the noble clan in question. Temple knights are attached to temples, protect the temple and the priests, and sometimes go out to smite the guardian’s enemies. There’s a great rivalry between temple and clan knights, with templars considering clan knights to be effete poseurs, and clan knights regarding their temple counterparts as either dangerous fanatics or meddling do-gooders depending on the Guardian they serve. Both kinds of knight look down upon the soldiers of the legions.
Skills: A knight is naturally expected to be skilled in both Melee and Unarmed Combat, as well as having high Rank with their clan or temple. A knight is expected to have a decent level of Kandar Education and Kandar Social Graces; they’re not just dumb thugs. Intimidation, Endurance and Athletics are always useful too.
The kandar cities maintain significant standing armies; wars are rather more common than many people would like. The elite soldiers are the eight legions, which date from the second empire, a thousand years ago. The Eight Legion, based in Ravenah, and the half of the Fifth Legion based in Calbeyn now accept humans into their ranks, but all other legions will only accept kandar. The legions take people from any background, and promotion tends to be on merit rather than social rank, at least most of the time. During times of war, the armies are swelled by auxiliaries, many of them press-ganged, most with poorer training and equipment, and to many of them used as cannon fodder.
Skills: Melee and Military are the defining skills of a soldier, and Rank is pretty important too, as are Strength and Endurance. Missile Combat, Unarmed Combat, Vehicles, Engineering, Survival, Medicine and Administration are all useful depending on your specialisation and experience.
There are a great many wandering singers, musicians, jugglers and travelling players who provide entertainment in the cities, usually working in inns and taverns. Few if any manage to make much money, and the kandar elite tend to look down upon them and their ‘art’, but one or two manage to establish some sort of reputation. While there are many solo performers, there are also many troupes of up to a dozen people. Unlike the abstract textural music of the kandar elites, human performers sing bawdy or treasonously political ballads accompanied by stringed instruments and percussion.
Skills: Art is a must, of course, and Streetwise is likewise pretty much essential. Deceit, Charm, Insight, Human Lore and Merchant can all be useful.
The merchants guild controls trade between kandar cities, and it’s tentacles reach further than the rule of kandar lords into human and zughru lands. Unlike other guilds with their rigid hierarchies in each city, the merchants are divided into many companies, who compete quite ruthlessly with each other.
Skills: Merchant is the key skill, of course, but Rank is quite important, representing a merchant’s wealth and influence. Depending on the nature of a merchant’s business, he or she will need one or both of Streetwise and Kandar Social Graces, and Merchants travel widely, so Languages, Riding and Vehicles are useful skills.
Not from Kalyr
Your are not a native of Kalyr, but comes from some other world. You might be from our own earth in the past, present or future, or from some other world entirely. You somehow came to Kalyr either voluntarily, accidentally or against your will. You might have randomly stumbled through a long-lost interdimensional gateway, participated in a blasphemous occult ritual, be a far-future space traveller whose ship got irrevocably lost, or anything else your GM will permit. Some sort of “not from these parts” aspect is a must, and you should expect it to be compelled without mercy.
Skills: Depending on where you came from, you can have just about any skill you like. If you start play as a new arrival, certain skills such as Kandar Social Graces or Kandar Education will be off-limits. Likewise Rank is only applicable if you’ve been sent to Kalyr by some agency which is able to offer continuing support and backup.
Psionic powers occur naturally in a minority of the population, both kandar and human. In all but a few cases, the powers of the mind cannot be controlled properly without training from an early age The main organisation for training wizards is the long-established Academy of the Mind, an guild of psis that has a chapter in almost every city. There are a few smaller local associations of psis that remain outside the Academy, and there are a few independent lone wizards, who occasionally take apprentices. Both of the latter are regarded with considerable suspicion by members of the Academy. You need at least one aspect to define the nature of your powers, plus one defining your relationship with the Academy of the Mind or other organisation.
Skills: Psionic skills are a must, of course. Willpower is tremendously important, and many characters will also have Natural Science or Psionic Theory.
You live, or lived, in one of the ‘free human’ tribes originally founded by runaway slaves, living on the edges of kandar-controlled territory. Most such people live a primitive existence as hunter/gatherers, although some are settled farmers. This is a very unlikely background for a kandar character, but quite common for humans. In a game set in a kandar city, your back story must explain why your character left their tribe. Did he or she leave seeking adventure? Or maybe exiled in disgrace? Or even captured by slavers? You will want one or more aspects relating to the answers to these questions.
Skills: Depends on the nature of the human tribe, but Human Lore, Survival, Endurance, Stealth, Profession and Melee are typical.