Continuing with teaser information for the next campaign, this week I want to talk about one of the new Professions that we’ve written up. Before I get too far into this one specifically, I do want to make a quick mention on the Professions as a whole. The development for this book has been in the works for quite a while, started before I took over as Line Developer. There were some teasers put out before about a couple of new Professions for the Saurid culture, and we even had a demo scenario written using them. These were not completed at the time, only having the basic ideas down and just enough mechanics written to play with them. However, as they had been put out previously, I wanted to make sure they were completed and put into a usable state for anyone who might have seen them before and might want to make use of them. For the most part, anything with existing mechanics was kept in tact (though this was fairly minimal), and we’ve expanded them out all the way through Master tier. So, if you’ve done anything with your campaign discussing information available on Saurids up to this point and touched on this info, those Professions will still be there, so you don’t have to worry about house ruling them.

That said, we didn’t stick only to those Professions, and wrote up several others that both help to fill in the culture of the Saurids that we were writing for the book, while also adding some cool combinations of abilities that should be fun to play. This one in particular is a personal favorite, which I hope many of you will enjoy as well: the Forge Priest.

Every swing of those hammers is an act of faith.

In many ways, this Profession has some contradictions tied into it. Despite having a masculine form name, this comes from the Mountain Matriarch culture. We do specifically address the gender references in the text, and it’s primarily due to the limitations of English in the translation; the Saurid language covers it better, particularly since they also have a natural third gender that they take into consideration. Of particular note, this is the only acceptable method in the Mountain Matriarch culture that men may take up a magical vocation.

It’s also contradictory given the aversion many Saurids have to metal. While there have been some interpretations of things that describe them as all seeing it as abhorrent, we’ve addressed that at several points in the book that they’re not so singular minded about it, and there’s a lot more depth and complexity to it. In particular with the Mountain Matriarchs, they almost have to make some use of metal considering the harshness of the terrain they’re in and the resources they have available. They do still need to be careful in how they make use of it – as the issues with the Machine People showed, they can’t afford to industrialize and poison their environment without risking their eggs. Primarily, they’ll make use of plants that are capable of extracting the iron from the ground, saving them from having to mine smelt from ores. Small, controlled fires, heat from lava vents, and channeling from fire spirits all help in the process of melting the extracted metal and getting it into a usable format without creating a lot of waste. There are a few other processes they will use for other, rarer metals, which are closely guarded secrets. There is a YouTube account called Primitive Technology for which we drew a lot of inspiration in writing this up, and this video in particular may be one you’d be interested in checking out if this Profession intrigues you:

Mechanically speaking, the Forge Priests pull a little bit from a lot of different areas. Creating, repairing, and upgrading equipment remains their primary focus, with access to Spellcasting to enchant things similar to how a Weird Scientist might, and later access to Summoning to get spirits to help with this further. They learn how to use weapons and armor through the course of making and repairing them, and have basic Skills to reflect that. They don’t entirely restrict themselves to equipment, with a world view that is essentially ‘fix all the things’.

I’m sure a lot of you were thinking it anyway.

They get a few optional Skills that can provide some minor assistance with healing, dealing with bad magic and traps, and a bit of assistance with social situations. They’re not strong enough in all of those areas to be a total replacement, but you have a party with a vacuum in those specializations, they can help a bit to fill some of that gap. In their higher tiers, in addition to furthering their abilities to enhance equipment, they get several Skills to help them tank more. They may not be on the same level of healing as a character dedicated to that aspect, but the combination of abilities gives them a good shot at surviving a fight and just enough to get people back on their feet. For special abilities, at Journeyman they get Mending Flames, which allows them to perform a ritual that allows them to spend their Recovery tests to repair an object or heal someone else. At Warden, they get Guardian Blaze, which takes a combat round to deploy and puts an aura of fire around someone, giving them an armor bonus (with a further bonus against fire) and adds further fire damage to their attacks while it’s in effect. At Master, they get Soul Forge, which allows them to push beyond the normal limits of forging bonuses for a select few items.

Just don’t put the fire at the Sea Parks.

From a role playing perspective, their drive to repair things is one of their primary motivations, and it’s common for them to feel a calling from the spirits to travel away from their village to repair something, whether that’s a physical object, a magical disturbance, or something insubstantial like broken relations between people. They could also be sent out to learn new techniques in crafting and repairing. While they certainly wouldn’t approve of the inefficient and environmentally dirty methods the British use to forge, it’s impossible to deny they have a wealth of knowledge with metal, and some of that could be brought back to their order for responsible use. For that matter, a Forge Priest could see the entire process by which the British perform their metallurgy as something broken to be repaired, to show them cleaner and more responsible techniques.

Some of you looking at things from the Earthdawn side of the house will likely notice some similarities to the Weaponsmith, and that is by design. Earth cultures haven’t had access to magic quite long enough to really develop this kind of nuance to their techniques with metal and crafting, but the Saurids certainly have, and over time this influence can and will spread to Earthers. Whether this may be a furtherance of that Discipline carried on from the last time Earth and the Gruv were in contact, I leave to you to decide for your own game, but the potential for those cross connections are there.

So, has any of this gotten you inspired to make a Forge Priest player character or NPC for your game? What plot lines can you think of with such a character available? What other types of Professions are you hoping to see? Let us know in the comments below and on Discord, and we’ll see you next week.