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Level Up (A5E) (+) Project Chronicle: Class Conceits and Narrative Role

Steampunkette

Shaper of Worlds
I have known Fighting Men of good character. I have fought Murderers. I have known Sorcerers who try to conquer nations, and I have loved a quiet Enchantress who used magic to make her home beautiful. I have been to the City of Thieves and seen ancient traps and locks to make their eyes grow teary for frustration. And I have known many Priests, of cloth and of hook, of sword and blood. But never in my time, wandering this world of ours, have I know one such as you, until now.

I tremble to learn what paths you will walk as you grow.

-The Chronicler-

So here comes some -trouble-! Classes. D&D has very specific class identities for most classes, and little room to wiggle thanks to their strict mechanical separation. But what happens when that mechanical separation doesn't have a particularly strong basis for a setting?

I'm currently looking at cutting out a bunch of classes. Or heavily -heavily- refluffing them... Wanna get some opinions on it, of course.

Artificer: Torn on this one pretty hard. They'd make an excellent Inventor archetype? Could also be a nice Stand-In for a full Psionic class. Non-Musical Jack of all Trades, too. Someone who picks up a little bit of lots of things.
Barbarians: In. They're great Non-Magical Corruption-Fodder with their rages.
Bards: In. Magical Music and Storytelling are important. Scheherazade didn't survive on her looks alone, after all.
Cleric: In as Priests. Strip away their armor proficiencies, give them Monk AC Buff. Strip away any Bladed Weapons from them except for the War domain Priest.
Druid: In as the Beast's Priests. Largely keep them as they are but acknowledge that most of them are evil or at least antithetical to Civilization.
Fighter: In.
Monk: Temple-Defenders, possibly? Otherwise cut 'em out.
Paladin: Temple-Defenders, possibly? MAYBE as unique "Divinely Inspired" heroes? Otherwise cut 'em out.
Ranger: Refluff to Psionic Warrior, maybe... or try to Beastmaster them? Otherwise cut 'em out.
Rogue: In.
Sorcerer: We're only going to need one Arcane Caster to be the "Big Boy" caster... It's either Sorc or Wizard.
Warlock: In. Though possibly refluffed into a "Mage" type character as noted in a recent thread? Could be nifty. Otherwise they could be an "Evil-Only" class making pacts with Dark Powers and flinging themselves into Corruption and Transformation without hesitation.
Wizard: Samesies with Sorcerer.

KibblesTastyPsion: Possibly in. Though in retrospect I might cut Psionics from the setting altogether. There's not really a significant -need- for Psychics, here, where it really is a core conceit of Athas...

Compilation of Project Chronicle Links: Project Chronicle: Master List - The Homebrewery
 
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King Babar

Adventurer
For Paladins, an idea I had for my own homebrew setting was to flavor them as initiated members of what is essentially a hero cult. So their oath is based upon them following the example of a venerated ancestor from the past, like Heracles or Perseus. So, like a paladin, they are able to incarnate a small portion of their ancestor's power through sheer willpower, so long as they live their lives in their ancestor's image; slaying monsters, accomplishing great deeds, helping the helpless, going on adventures, destroying and pillaging.
 

Sorcerer: We're only going to need one Arcane Caster to be the "Big Boy" caster... It's either Sorc or Wizard.
Wizard: Samesies with Sorcerer.
How do you see magic working in the setting? Ritualistic and Formulaic? Or something that sings in the blood and that someone can be born with an affinity for fire for example, and be able to twist and control it intuitively?
 

Steampunkette

Shaper of Worlds
For Paladins, an idea I had for my own homebrew setting was to flavor them as initiated members of what is essentially a hero cult. So their oath is based upon them following the example of a venerated ancestor from the past, like Heracles or Perseus. So, like a paladin, they are able to incarnate a small portion of their ancestor's power through sheer willpower, so long as they live their lives in their ancestor's image; slaying monsters, accomplishing great deeds, helping the helpless, going on adventures, destroying and pillaging.
That's basically my thoughts toward "Unique Paladins". No orders, no serious grouping. Just a Hero in the world. Like Hercules or Gilgamesh or whomever manifesting godly power.
How do you see magic working in the setting? Ritualistic and Formulaic? Or something that sings in the blood and that someone can be born with an affinity for fire for example, and be able to twist and control it intuitively?
Ritualistic more than anything. Lots of ritual trappings like Sorcery in Conan or other S&S type settings. But probably not formulaic, either. Magic isn't a bunch of carefully researched math of the universe, it's a quasi-intuitive and representational form of magic. It works because "if magic existed that would probably work". Like Voodoo Dolls and ritual sacrifices for power, or using magic to turn a Statue into a Living Monster. Imagery being more important than a series of specific gestures.
 

I think if this is an A5E setting, we should try to include all of the classes and make them work. This is a completely fresh world, and with some of your lore, we can easily fit in Monks and both Sorcerers and Wizards.

Wizards are THE Chronicler. They don't study in the open or in towers, but they travel, learning knowledge, studying the past, seeing what corruption does, and make their spells based off of their insights and their research. They chronicle everything that they see in their spellbooks and by coming to understand the patterns in creation through which magic and power flows they create powerful spells that risk corruption too. Make a Chronicler Wizard subclass and easy.

Monks are those who have seen corruption and who fight it within themselves. Monks believe that through an internal power called ki, or life, they are capable of rebuking Corruption and surviving the terrible world in which they live. Different orders of these monks study in the savanna, making cabals underneath the sun or in the shades of boa trees, becoming in tune with the world and by doing so understanding their own ki better. Then they use this ki to root corruption out of their flesh, and to fight back against their many foes.

Paladins survive because this is a world where people need hope. An oath is a powerful thing; it is said that an oath can keep back Corruption, and that by keeping a true oath in your mind that you are able to rebuke evil and remain whole. So, Paladins sometimes appear who make these oaths and believe in them with such conviction that they raise to a new class. Many become temple-defenders, but other unique Paladins appear too, where they serve as rolemodels in society that many a cruel tyrant wishes to expunge and humiliate.
 

Steampunkette

Shaper of Worlds
I think if this is an A5E setting, we should try to include all of the classes and make them work. This is a completely fresh world, and with some of your lore, we can easily fit in Monks and both Sorcerers and Wizards.

Wizards are THE Chronicler. They don't study in the open or in towers, but they travel, learning knowledge, studying the past, seeing what corruption does, and make their spells based off of their insights and their research. They chronicle everything that they see in their spellbooks and by coming to understand the patterns in creation through which magic and power flows they create powerful spells that risk corruption too. Make a Chronicler Wizard subclass and easy.

Monks are those who have seen corruption and who fight it within themselves. Monks believe that through an internal power called ki, or life, they are capable of rebuking Corruption and surviving the terrible world in which they live. Different orders of these monks study in the savanna, making cabals underneath the sun or in the shades of boa trees, becoming in tune with the world and by doing so understanding their own ki better. Then they use this ki to root corruption out of their flesh, and to fight back against their many foes.

Paladins survive because this is a world where people need hope. An oath is a powerful thing; it is said that an oath can keep back Corruption, and that by keeping a true oath in your mind that you are able to rebuke evil and remain whole. So, Paladins sometimes appear who make these oaths and believe in them with such conviction that they raise to a new class. Many become temple-defenders, but other unique Paladins appear too, where they serve as rolemodels in society that many a cruel tyrant wishes to expunge and humiliate.
I often find Monks to be too Orientalist. Using fragments of Eastern Philosophy and hokey names for various class features just feels prickly for me. That's the only reason I suggested either Temple Defenders or cut altogether. Giving them a focus on "Ki/Life Energy/Chi" just really slams into that frustrating aspect for me.

If Wizards are Chroniclers, then what are Sorcerers and Warlocks? Therein lies the trouble. You wind up with too many classes trying to jump into the same bandwagon of identity. And the only real differences between them are mechanics that you need to come up with an excuse to shoehorn into the setting.

Overall, though... I think you might be right that we -have- to get all these classes into the setting to showcase A5e's design philosophies and how they can each interact with Sword and Sorcery. Loathe as I am to admit it...

So... Here's my thoughts on making them all fit. Thankfully there's some changes in A5e...

Adept: Thankfully they got rid of the "Ki" focus for A5e Monks and went with the generic Exertion mechanic that Fighters, Rangers, and Warlords all use. I'm still fairly against setting them up in Monasteries outside of the communities or under trees doing breathing exercises and trying to "Center Themselves". Temple Defenders works well for them, I think, to keep them in a religious sort of position. Though I could also see a whole Gladiatorial style built around unarmed combat for brutal ring fighters. So that could also be an option.

Rangers: A5e takes their Magic so they're pretty much just exploration-centric fighters. They don't really have much niche in any setting except as slightly less combat-competent fighters who travel and track "Real Good". Bounty Hunters, perhaps? Maybe a general-purpose Detective type role... call 'em Judges and set 'em loose with the Rules of Hammurabi and it'd be an interesting time?

Sorcerers: If Wizards are Chroniclers then Sorcerers are wicked spellcasters, by and large. Rather than go out and gather all kinds of information they're descended of Corrupt Bloodlines which have been tainted by the Witch's touch... Though they can always rebel against their family "Curse" essentially. Strive to be better than their forebears? Could also touch on characters like Elora Dannon from Willow. Characters destined from birth to have great power, and great tribulations...

Warlock: Either the Mage suggestion or absolutely -drenched- in corruption. Not sure there's any middle ground for them.

Heralds: Without the weight of Paladinly orders as a concept, the Herald could be anything from a servant of the gods to one of their wayward children. Still definitely leaning away from having any kind of organization for Heralds, and having them be lone and unique examples of heroics... Or villainy.

Warlord: Works just fine.
 

As a practicing Buddhist (which influenced a lot of Asian mysticism), I've found that the belief in "Ki" to be a pretty global belief. The Mesoamericans called it tonalli, the heat of the blood, and by keeping it in balance and cultivating it, they believed they could work sorceries and empower the teotl (gods) through blood sacrifice. A different direction of Ki, but ultimately the same concept — life force.

So, while you don't have to keep the East Asian aesthetics to it, the concept itself is ubiquitous. You see it in Haitian Voudoun as well (where they use passion instead of ki or tonalli), through many forms of African mysticism, and also in the Middle East (both pre- and post-Islam). So, I think the idea of the trees, the shade, the will of life, fighting against corruption, etc, and internal power isn't something that you should consider only an East Asian invention, and that you can pretty easily divest the monk of those stereotypes and move it into new territory.
 

Steampunkette

Shaper of Worlds
While I recognize that a lot of different cultural traditions do deal in the idea of there being a form of life energy, there's no tradition that does:

Ki-Empowered Strikes
Deflect Missiles
Stunning Strikes
Stillness of Mind
Purity of Body
Tongue of the Sun and Moon
Diamond Soul
Timeless Body
Empty Body
Perfect Self.

Ki is just one aspect of my overall problem with the monk class as a concept, which is largely in how the western world slathered some orientalism onto unarmed fighters.

Fortunately, A5e did some changes. The only core class trait they've got to take that holds that kind of ... weight (that we know of) is Empty Mind at 7th. (They've only shown the first 10 levels so far)

That said, they've still got Pressure Point Secrets, Hooked Sword Dance, and Water Walk as Foci and Knacks so it's not perfect... still better, overall.

To be 100% Clear: I'm not saying anyone is "bad" for liking Monks as they exist in 5e or any previous edition of D&D/Pathfinder/Whatever. Nor for liking A5e's Adepts or the various flavorings of their class abilities and optional class abilities. It's just something that makes me, personally, uncomfortable. And if I'm going to be putting it into a setting I'm writing I'm gonna change the narrative to be less uncomfortable for me as a writer.
 

I haven't read the Adept yet, so I guess I need to give it a reason :eek: I don't want to come up with ideas for Chronicle that don't use the exact class fluff or spin upon it.
 

Steampunkette

Shaper of Worlds
Part of the playtest describes the Archetypes of the Adept:
Archetypes
We’ll talk more about archetypes later, but the adept comes with archetypes which cover a range of character types, including the classic warrior-monk of O5E, the brawler, and an Olympian-style athlete.
So while the classic Warrior-Monk is an option, there's also a range of other options.

Frustratingly, however, there's an intense focus on "Your Master" in the class's initial description content. So even Olympic Athletes have Masters, I guess? And "Walk the path of Perfection" as well...

That said... we do have a unique opportunity on these boards to speak with the head of the team himself.

Hey, @Morrus! What are your thoughts on this S&S setting specifically using Adepts outside of the Fighting-Monk style, as well as Wizards who are Chroniclers of reality rather than tower-dwelling librarians who spend their time in laboratories after years of study under older and more experienced Wizards?
 

Steampunkette

Shaper of Worlds
So Rangers in A5e get Combat Maneuvers from the following traditions:
Biting Zephyr
Mist and Shade
Razor's Edge
Spirited Steed
Unending Wheel

I think we could reasonably create "Schools" or "Sources" for these fighting styles, and the rest of the Combat Traditions, in the world itself.

Adamant Mountain: A fighting style of Giant Warriors who ignore harm and batter enemies back, taught primarily in Musarra by Minotaur practitioners.
Biting Zephyr: An archery-centric fighting style, known pretty much everywhere but particularly common in Imba and Gresia.
Mirror's Glint: Reading your foe's movements before they're complete to fight them. Taught primarily in a Ludus or to Wealthy people.
Mist and Shade: Sneaky Fighting style which includes picking pockets mid-fight. Invented in Achelb, spread outward among Thieves.
Rapid Current: Hit and run tactics. Very popular among the Raiders of Annam and Il'sha-ah in general.
Razor's Edge: A fencing fighting style, created in Neasc but gaining in popularity, particularly in places with Gladiatorial arenas.
Sanguine Knot: Shield-Fighting with allies primarily comes from Ellenici and Imba, who use two different styles to achieve the same goal.
Spirited Steed: Invented by the Kyrani Horselords, jousting, archery, and swordsmanship on horseback is a war tactic and common exhibition.
Tempered Iron: Born in Il'sha-ah, the Tempered Iron fighting style focuses on taking down Arcanists with brutal efficiency to contain their corruption.
Tooth and Claw: With it's roots in Pre-History, Tooth and Claw is a fighting style that can never truly be formalized. It's suggested that Druids initially created the style to honor the Beast, but the truth is lost to history.
Unending Wheel: Focus and Control are the tenets of the Unending Wheel. A style born in Musarra in honor of Isra, controlling yourself allows you to control your opponent, as well.

And now you can kind of narrow down a Ranger's (Or any other Martial character's) origins by what sort of styles they use.
 


GuyBoy

Adventurer
Some thoughts:
I agree with your thinking of removing, or close to, paladins. They are a bit too Song of Roland for this setting.
Rangers; I’d suggest keeping them. Some as hunters for Kyrani or similar tribal groups, or maritime hunters for Myr islanders. I also quite like a “children of Jhebbal Sag” vibe for semi-awakened animals that oppose the Beast, with beastmaster rangers linked to them.
I like your use of warlocks with dark pacts, possibly closely linked to clerics or even hybridised with them?
Sorcerers work well.
Academic wizards could play a sage role in the campaign, or a truly mighty corrupt foe, beyond the power of any mere warlock. Thoth Amon type.

Hope it helps. What you are creating is amazing.
 

Steampunkette

Shaper of Worlds
Having interviewed Olympians, this is kinda what they are
Sure. Now. Same can be said for Figure Skaters and Lugers in winter.

But back then? Can't be an unarmed fighter without a Master, a School, Rival Schools, Etc. I mean you -can-. It just means ignoring the flavor text of the class as presented, currently.

Plato must've had one heck of a master. Dude was -JACKED-. Dunno about Rival Schools who may or may not have assassinated his master necessitating a revenge killing spree.

Fist-of-Fury-2.jpg

(This is meant to be a playful thing >.>)
Where did you meet your master? Why did they choose to train you? How was your relationship while you were training? Is your master still alive? Do they have enemies that might know about you? How ingrained are you with the adept community? Are you familiar with other adepts? Have you visited other masters, maybe even trained under them? Do you have any friends or rivals in other schools? Do you have any scars, whether physical or emotional, from engaging in battle with your peers? Why have you chosen to walk the path to perfection? Have you suffered a crushing defeat due to your lack of martial prowess, or lost a loved one because you were not able to defend them? Did you witness a true master in action and hoped you could be like them? Are you the reincarnation of a legendary martial arts prodigy?
It's kinda weighted to a -specific- fantasy.
 

Faolyn

Hero
I'm currently looking at cutting out a bunch of classes. Or heavily -heavily- refluffing them... Wanna get some opinions on it, of course.

Artificer: Torn on this one pretty hard. They'd make an excellent Inventor archetype? Could also be a nice Stand-In for a full Psionic class. Non-Musical Jack of all Trades, too. Someone who picks up a little bit of lots of things.
Barbarians: In. They're great Non-Magical Corruption-Fodder with their rages.
Bards: In. Magical Music and Storytelling are important. Scheherazade didn't survive on her looks alone, after all.
Cleric: In as Priests. Strip away their armor proficiencies, give them Monk AC Buff. Strip away any Bladed Weapons from them except for the War domain Priest.
Druid: In as the Beast's Priests. Largely keep them as they are but acknowledge that most of them are evil or at least antithetical to Civilization.
Fighter: In.
Monk: Temple-Defenders, possibly? Otherwise cut 'em out.
Paladin: Temple-Defenders, possibly? MAYBE as unique "Divinely Inspired" heroes? Otherwise cut 'em out.
Ranger: Refluff to Psionic Warrior, maybe... or try to Beastmaster them? Otherwise cut 'em out.
Rogue: In.
Sorcerer: We're only going to need one Arcane Caster to be the "Big Boy" caster... It's either Sorc or Wizard.
Warlock: In. Though possibly refluffed into a "Mage" type character as noted in a recent thread? Could be nifty. Otherwise they could be an "Evil-Only" class making pacts with Dark Powers and flinging themselves into Corruption and Transformation without hesitation.
Wizard: Samesies with Sorcerer.

KibblesTastyPsion: Possibly in. Though in retrospect I might cut Psionics from the setting altogether. There's not really a significant -need- for Psychics, here, where it really is a core conceit of Athas...
Artificers: Is there a huge call for this in your S&S setting? If you're going for a weird tech approach, where you can find the remnants of the past civilizations and possibly improve upon them, maybe. Otherwise, maybe not. Also, if you're actually doing this for LU, there's no artificer class. Yes, you can use the o5e artificer, but that's slightly less fun than if there was an LU version.

Assuming you're working with LU:

Clerics don't get armor proficiency. They have to pick it as part of their Defensive Blessing. You may want to alter or add to the Vows a bit, based around the setting's gods.

Paladins/Heralds are still more oath-based than god-based. Yes, they can work with the temples as holy warriors or temple defenders, but they could also work for the various secular leaders or any factions you include. Heralds have magic, but you can say that a person has to pick if it's divine magic (in which case they need to be as beholden to a religious order as clerics would have to be) or if it's non-divine (in which case it's corruptive, but there's no gods breathing down their necks).

Monks/Adepts aren't necessary monks in LU, don't forget. They included rules where they can be made more like gladiators, dervishes, or pugilists. All you really need is a reason for people to go into fights while mostly unarmed, and your adepts work just fine.

Sorcerers and Wizards: Sorcerers gain their power through accident of birth or through exposure to weird energies; wizards gain it through deliberate study. Since you want the power to be corruptive, you have to decide if you want people turning evil and/or monstrous simply because of the way they were born or because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. This makes for good stories, but may not be what you want for the setting as a whole.

Warlocks: I wouldn't necessarily have their magic always as corruptive--but much like with Dark Sun, I'd say that the corruptive versions are more powerful. Assuming you're actually having rules for corruption (and it's not just RPing or DM fiat), then one option would be that warlocks who choose a corrupt patron get an additional spell slot (or, this is LU, so extra spell points) or extra cantrip.

Rangers: Don't forget that in LU, rangers have no spells.

Warlords: Or whatever LU decides to call them. They should be as much of a shoe-in as fighters are.
 

Steampunkette

Shaper of Worlds
Artificers: Is there a huge call for this in your S&S setting? If you're going for a weird tech approach, where you can find the remnants of the past civilizations and possibly improve upon them, maybe. Otherwise, maybe not. Also, if you're actually doing this for LU, there's no artificer class. Yes, you can use the o5e artificer, but that's slightly less fun than if there was an LU version.

Assuming you're working with LU:

Clerics don't get armor proficiency. They have to pick it as part of their Defensive Blessing. You may want to alter or add to the Vows a bit, based around the setting's gods.

Paladins/Heralds are still more oath-based than god-based. Yes, they can work with the temples as holy warriors or temple defenders, but they could also work for the various secular leaders or any factions you include. Heralds have magic, but you can say that a person has to pick if it's divine magic (in which case they need to be as beholden to a religious order as clerics would have to be) or if it's non-divine (in which case it's corruptive, but there's no gods breathing down their necks).

Monks/Adepts aren't necessary monks in LU, don't forget. They included rules where they can be made more like gladiators, dervishes, or pugilists. All you really need is a reason for people to go into fights while mostly unarmed, and your adepts work just fine.

Sorcerers and Wizards: Sorcerers gain their power through accident of birth or through exposure to weird energies; wizards gain it through deliberate study. Since you want the power to be corruptive, you have to decide if you want people turning evil and/or monstrous simply because of the way they were born or because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. This makes for good stories, but may not be what you want for the setting as a whole.

Warlocks: I wouldn't necessarily have their magic always as corruptive--but much like with Dark Sun, I'd say that the corruptive versions are more powerful. Assuming you're actually having rules for corruption (and it's not just RPing or DM fiat), then one option would be that warlocks who choose a corrupt patron get an additional spell slot (or, this is LU, so extra spell points) or extra cantrip.

Rangers: Don't forget that in LU, rangers have no spells.

Warlords: Or whatever LU decides to call them. They should be as much of a shoe-in as fighters are.
I hadn't considered the concept of allowing Heralds to play a middle path of Sorcerer-Warriors -or- Divine Agents... That's actually super powerful, letting them gain corruption as arcane-warriors or avoid it by being tethered to a divine source in some manner. Thus choosing whether to be Free or Bound with all the danger or support that comes with it...

What if... Wizards are the Chroniclers... the ones who go out and learn of the world and devise a wide variety of magics based on what they learn along the way... while Warlocks advance in one of two ways, like Paladins: Either make a Pact with an evil or corrupt entity, or learn like some other setting's Wizard in a school as a Mage..?

That would have Wizards as these esoteric explorers learning in the world, Sorcerers as the children of important or terrible bloodlines with all the weight of that on their shoulders, and Warlocks as the more studious (And more limited) version of a Wizard... -or- someone who makes a quick bargain for power as a shortcut.

... yeah... I'm really starting to like these angles a lot. Duality could come up a -lot-, here...
 

GuyBoy

Adventurer
Wizards could be few and far between, and mighty. Perhaps only one or two are living and have great knowledge as well as immense power.
I also like REH’s wizards who reached out beyond their times, centuries before, to influence the world. Directly and with evil intent in the forms of Thugra Khotan and, of course, Xaltotun. And indirectly, with good intent, in the form of Epimetreus.
 

Faolyn

Hero
What if... Wizards are the Chroniclers... the ones who go out and learn of the world and devise a wide variety of magics based on what they learn along the way... while Warlocks advance in one of two ways, like Paladins: Either make a Pact with an evil or corrupt entity, or learn like some other setting's Wizard in a school as a Mage..?
Although then there's the question of why warlocks remain warlocks instead of becoming wizards. However, you could get around that by saying that not everyone has the ability to become a Wizard (whether this is an innate limitation, like some people have the spark of magic but most don't, or one created by the Chroniclers to limit magic to people they approve of is up to you, and likely isn't important except as an in-game conspiracy), but anyone can learn to be a mage, or have magedom imposed upon them.
 

Steampunkette

Shaper of Worlds
Duality by Class:

Adept Duality:
Entirely based on training. Whether they learned to battle in fighting pits, scrabbling tooth and nail against their foes, with only the barest instruction of a Doctore in the Ludus, or within the sacred halls of a Temple that they would defend once they were ready... And entirely based on where they wind up. Because that Gladiator could wind up in the Temple, and that Temple Guardian find themselves sold into slavery... Both would be well suited in the other's role in combat, but all other aspects of their existence would be opposed.

Berserker Duality:
The Beast and the Brute. While some Barbarians are all about Tooth and Claw fighting style and align themselves with the Beast and his Druidic Sects as animals bound in the flesh of men, others are focused brutes whose rage is as cold as ice and melts just as swiftly. Both see the other as degeneracy. The Beast knows the Brute feigns civility and slowly descends into indulgence and decrepitude. The Brute sees the Beast as a base version of themself, the monster they could become if they just. let. go.

Druid Duality:
All Druids are priests of the Beast. They take his forms, they whisper his prayers... But they are bound in mortal flesh and it's needs and desires. They see the wild and must choose between it and the people they descend of. Their homes. Their families. Some forsake the shifting of forms, for a time, to live within the communities of their brethren, and use their master's power to improve the land... but his call is deafening.

Herald Duality:
Powerful warriors who combine Magic and Mettle, they much choose between the Arcane and Divine. To serve the Gods or to serve Themselves. Being an Arcane Herald doesn't mean you are automatically Corrupt. But using the Witch's power you will gain corruption over time, and need to cleanse yourself of it... or embrace it. Heraldric Sermon might need some minor refluffing... But the Arcane Smite could just be Necrotic rather than Radiant damage.

Sorcerer Duality:
Born to a position of great power, a legacy for good or ill, the Sorcerer must choose to embrace destiny or reject it. To fulfill the legacy they were chosen for or by opposing, end it... Fun!

Warlock Duality:
The slow road to Eldritch Power, or the fast road through Dark Powers. Could even have the Mage version of Warlocks clear corruption more efficiently than Self-Taught or Innate practitioners of the Witch's Art... Like full on Subclass ability where they get more cleansing per Ritualistic Cleansing than anyone else.

Oh... oh, yes... I'm really starting to like the narrative angles these roles create. Though obviously I won't demand every Herald player play it as written, here. Nor every Wizard be a Wanderer. But the narrative anchor exists in the world for the player to cleave to or reject.
Although then there's the question of why warlocks remain warlocks instead of becoming wizards. However, you could get around that by saying that not everyone has the ability to become a Wizard (whether this is an innate limitation, like some people have the spark of magic but most don't, or one created by the Chroniclers to limit magic to people they approve of is up to you, and likely isn't important except as an in-game conspiracy), but anyone can learn to be a mage, or have magedom imposed upon them.
Oh, it was meant to be a thing where Wizards are self-taught and explore WAY MORE INFORMATION for their magical purposes. While Warlocks use magics they were explicitly -taught-.

But a Warlock-Mage could multiclass into a Wizard, of course. Or go out into the world and retrain their Warlock Levels into Wizard Levels if they like.
 

Maybe the different patrons could be ancient Sorcerers who fell to corruption and became something like an Archfey or Fiend etc? Then the warlock travels and finds these unique masters, who teach them very specific occult lore, making them different than wizards who instead rely on their own studies and the grimoires in which they are contained.
 

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