For ages, the barbarians dwelling in the shadow of Mount Arreat were shaped to be as strong and unyielding as stone. Immense in size and unmatched in ferocity, they were charged from birth with a duty passed through generations: to protect the sacred mountain.
When their homeland was shattered, many barbarians lost faith. They became aimless, haunted by their past, traveling from place to place without honor or direction.
But not all barbarians have given up their vigil. Some still honor the harsh snows of Arreat's summit and prowl the outskirts of its crater. They recall being handed axes and spears at an age when city children were clinging to their toys… and they burn with shame at the failure of their people.
These barbarians strive to find a new purpose for themselves in a changed world, and they will crush any who stand in their way.
DEMON HUNTER BACKGROUND
Those who call themselves demon hunters are not a people or a nation. They owe allegiance to no king. They are but a remnant – an echo – of those who’ve lost their lives to hellspawn. When their homes are burnt and their families butchered by demons, most newly scarred refugees give up on living – but a few bury their dead, band together, and swear vengeance.
Though they are small in number, hunters track and corner demons in the hopes that, if they can save even one life, their world will be better for it. At the end of a day’s hunt, most still close their eyes and have nightmares in which they see the horrors that brought them together: gore-caked claws, and men and women drowning in their own blood.
Awake, demon hunters see much the same. But, now, in the present, they finally have the power to retaliate.
They dare not dream of victory, or, even less likely, peace. And yet, they hunt. They can do nothing else.
Monks of the Sahptev faith train their bodies and minds so that they may become the foremost holy warriors of the land of Ivgorod. Within the cloisters of the Patriarchs, the monks endure harsh trials both physical and spiritual, proving their devotion and attaining unmatched focus.
Daily ritualistic cleansings help monks purify their spirits and overcome the corruption that gnaws at the hearts of all men. In the pursuit of martial perfection, they also hone their legendary balance and clarity, skills that allow them to master both unarmed combat and a diverse array of weapons.
After a lifetime of preparation, anointed monks are permitted to leave their monasteries' halls to serve the decrees of the Patriarchs. The emblem on their foreheads marks them as survivors, achievers, and pillars of their society.
Monks embody the will of Ivgorod’s one thousand and one gods in every step and every strike.
WITCH DOCTOR BACKGROUND
Only a select few men and women among the umbaru tribes can ascend to the hallowed role of witch doctor, for they must possess both a history of battle and a talent for communing with spirits. The latter ability belongs solely to those born with the touch of the Unformed Land – the invisible realm where the umbaru believe the spirits of the dead dwell once they have left Sanctuary behind.
When a man dies, witch doctors feel what they suspect is the breath of life leaving his cooling body. And, when calamity or genocide sends hundreds to their graves at once, witch doctors can sense their trembling and shrieking from beyond.
Witch doctors cannot cover their ears to the voices of the spirits. As the sounds of disquiet grow louder, their choice is made. They must restore the balance between their world and the Unformed Land, or watch the torment of generations past for the rest of their lives… and forever after.
Magic-users hail from academies throughout Sanctuary – from Xiansai to Caldeum – bearing monikers like "sorcerer" and "mage," but those who would refer to themselves with the derogatory epithet "wizard" are as similar to their fellow spellcasters as a lion is to a kitten. Wizards and sorcerers both wield the hidden mysteries of the arcane; there, the commonalities end.
Wizards are known for a number of qualities: not only rebelliousness and flair, but also disdain for the endless lessons and prattling about caution and safety that echo from academic schools of magic. Wizards’ superior attitudes seem to stem from their natural talent – their ability to wrestle the ambient force of magic into submission and direct it to their ends by will and instinct. Any accidents that might occur due to their lack of finesse are unfortunate…but that rarely stops wizards from indulging in their unstable power.
If they can only master their double-edged gift and avoid destroying themselves, these upstart arcane prodigies may be able to finally reach the destiny that they see on the horizon.
Edited by Eroldren on 9/12/2011 6:56 PM PDT