Classes of Hawkstone Vale
True artificers are possibly the rarest of adventurers in Hawkstone Vale. They are a gifted few that possess a keen mind and a natural ability to see and feel the lines of magic that weave both through the world and through magical items. Much different from bards, sorcerers, or wizards, true artificers can inherently twist and alter the magic within items to meet their current needs. While some study at the Magistus Arcantheum in Hawkstone or the Thaless Eluraenen in Merithalar to learn and refine this power, just as many are self-taught.
Hired killers are not uncommon in Hawkstone Vale, although very few are of the assassin class. True assassins, able to move and manipulate shadow, are very rare. They are stealthy and skilled enough to keep their presence hidden from the common folk and most would not know a difference between them and normal rogues. While many might fear the rise of an assassin’s guild in Hawkstone, most assassins found in the river valley are only passing through, usually on the trail of their chosen targets.
About one day’s travel from the city of Hawkstone, secretly hidden from all but the initiated, lies a hidden temple dedicated to three deities. This temple unites three different faiths, sharing a desire to do good, but unfettered by the laws and mores of society. Believing in the ends justifying the means, these devout few have no qualm in using fear and darkness, the very tools of evil, against those they hunt. The avengers of Hawkstone Vale almost always hail from this hidden temple, although a few are from distant lands, in pursuit of their quarry.
The lands of Hawkstone Vale have a few native barbarian tribes. Some wander along the southern and western periphery of the valley, or the Lake of Wyrms. A few barbarians living in the vale originate from tribes in the Beast Plains or the Howling Plains. Many barbarians who come to the valley find work as caravan guards, soldiers, guides, or as bandits who prey on merchants.
The art of song is valued, but true bards are rare in the valley. A few travel with merchant caravans, in search of story and song, but those few bards tend to gravitate to larger communities, like Hawkstone or Merithalar. Some may be entertainers, some may be scholars, but they are nearly always appreciated.
The people of Hawkstone Vale are generally open-minded enough to tolerate the worship of any non-evil deity. Hawkstone has temples to Pelor and Avandra, with smaller chapels to Bahamut, Kord, and the Raven Queen. Smaller shrines to various gods are scattered throughout various villages, with Melora and Moradin being the most common. Temples to Corellon, Melora, and Sehanine are frequently found throughout the elven and eladrin settlements, with Moradin, Kord, and Bahamut being favored by the dwarves.
Druids watch over the wild places of Hawkstone Vale. Some are loners, safeguarding the wilderness the best they can, while others are members of a druidic order. The Oaken Circle shepherd the trees of the Gleaming Forest, while the Red Rock Druids tend the hills that line the river valley. Some seek only to find a peace and balance with nature, while others are more militant, wanting to protect the wilderness from the taint of evil, or the corruption of civilization.
Hawkstone Vale may currently be at peace, but it is far from peaceful. A skilled sword arm is a valued asset and always prized. Some fighters may be soldiers in the Hawkstone guard, the Stone Hawks, or in the militia of one of the smaller villages. They may be caravan guards, or even just drifters and wanderers looking for a challenge.
Invokers are rarely seen in Hawkstone Vale. They are servants of the gods in the truest sense, wielding divine power without any intermediary. Invokers usually operate alongside church hierarchies while remaining separate from there. There occasionally a few that ally with the churches of Pelor or Avandra in Hawkstone. Invokers tend to be more commonly encountered among dwarven or elven communities.
Monks are all but unheard of within the reaches of Hawkstone Vale. There are no known monk monastaries within the area. The few monks that are present in the vale are either singular persons, isolated hermits, or wanderers passing through.
Evil lurks at the edge of every frontier, so paladins are highly suited to ensuring the safety of the settlements of Hawkstone Vale. The temples of Hawkstone and Merithalar have paladin orders affiliated with them. Many dwarves of the vale follow the ways of the paladin. Even the smaller shrines may see a particularly talented or blessed person become a paladin in the service of a chosen deity. A few paladins in Hawkstone Vale come from distant lands, looking for glory and adventure.
A ranger is at home on the frontier and Hawkstone Vale offers plenty of opportunities at the edge of civilization. Rangers are most common in the smaller villages, although even the city of Hawkstone has the rangers of the Greenfeather Company as their elite guard. Rangers from the smaller communities tend to be hunters, guides or scouts. Greenfeather Company rangers have been trained with a military focus, used more as an elite strike force, using stealth and camouflage to quietly discover and eliminate enemy threats and fade unseen into the wilderness.
While most rogues typically favor large cities, rogues can flourish and thrive in Hawkstone Vale, even without the urban areas they prefer. The many communities and varied ways of life make it easy for a rogue to blend in or make their mark and with the numerous merchant caravans passing through, it is simple thing to disappear. Many of those with the rogue’s skills become bandits or scouts.
True practitioners of rune smithing are extremely rare in the valley. A few of the dwarves of Bronzehammer Halls and Baldorak maintain the tradition, but is perhaps most common among the goliath tribes of the Lakesrim Mountains. Other runepriests are not native to the area, foreigners new to the vale. They tend to be explorers, searching ruins for signs of ancient rune lore.
Like all primal classes, seekers are most often found among the barbarian tribes of the vale. Native seekers are almost exclusively found among the elves or the rare shifter clans. They tend to be even more nomadic than most primal classes, protecting stretches of the wilderness rather than specific sites. Some seekers maintain good relationships with small villages, protecting them and safeguarding the roads.
More numerous among the barbarian tribes, but still uncommon there, shamans call upon the spirits of the natural world to aid and assist them. Often allied with druids or wardens, shamans may guide their tribes, or watch over particularly important sites in the valley. Rarely found in even outlying villages, shamans are almost never found in larger cities. A rare few have developed their powers on their own, gifted with a connection to the spirit world that most cannot understand.
The raw arcane power of the sorcerer can manifest itself without warning, so members of this class can be found throughout the vale. A sorcerer or two is not all that uncommon among the valley communities, using their talents to keep the peace, protect others, or cause trouble. They vary from being meditative types who strive to unlock and master their arcane power, to those who see their abilities as proof of their superiority over the common folk.
Among the rarest of classes, swordmages in Hawkstone Vale are nearly always trained by the eladrin in Merithalar. Using fighting styles originally created by the eladrin, swordmages are deadly with both sword and spell. A few non-fey have been deemed competent and trustworthy and taught the intricacies of the class, but these are exceedingly few and far between. More rarely, a swordmage may be apprenticed to a master and has not studied amongst the fey folk. Swordmages are both warriors and scholars, and ideally suited for the adventuring lifestyle.
Much like the shaman, wardens are usually found among the barbarian tribes on the periphery of the river valley. A few are mortals who have been chosen or taken by the fey creatures of the wild and granted powers to aid in the protection and defense of the wilderness. Warriors and champions of nature, wardens often ally with any of the other primal classes.
Hawkstone has a fledgling arcane college, the Magistus Arcantheum, while Merithalar has a more established school of wizardry. Despite this, wizards are uncommon in Hawkstone Vale. Those few who live in the smaller communities are usually hermit wizards or their apprentices, secluding themselves to perform experimentation or research in comfortable isolation.
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