A note on classes in Xansai:
Within Xansai, there are all manner of classes represented. These pages are not intended to be an exhaustive list. Instead, what follows is a listing of the specialized classes on the continent of Xansai. These are the classes that occupy unique positions in the Badlands.
Warriors, for instance, are quite common. Not all warriors fall into the categories of gladiator or ranger. Instead, there are pages for those two classes owing to their Xansai-specific traits.
Magic in Xansai:
Magic exists in Xansai. However, outside of Xhaur defilers, magic is the sole province of reclusive mages, and their apprentices. There are no magic schools or societies, no great libraries which are not private collections. Some city-states, Halzak the most notable among them, have banned the use of magic entirely, and will consider its use a capital offense. As such, mages tend to live on their own, only occasionally taking an apprentice, so that their secrets might not die with them. Because magic training is so informal, there is a great variation within spells. No two mages use the same words for a fireball spell, and no two fireball spells have exactly the same effect. As such, mages tend to be unpredictable, and, as a consequence, dangerous both to others and to themselves.
Magic comes in two varieties in Xansai: defiler and preserver magic. This is because, in Xansai, magic is irrevocably linked to the environment. The casting of magical spells and the enchantment of magical items always draws energy directly from the living ecology in the vicinity, destroying the life there.
Defiler magic, by far the most common, are wizards who have decided to take a faster, darker approach to mastering the use of magical spells. In the give and take of spell casting, defilers are well versed in the tasking, but give nothing in return. With every spell cast, a deliver leaches the life energy out of the plants, soil, and (for very powerful defilers) living beings, around him, leaving a lifeless zone.
The preserver is a wizard who can draw magical energy from the environment in a safe, controlled fashion. A preserver’s spells are cast in harmony with nature, and their magic does no danger to the environment. However, because of the delicate, precise nature of preserver magic, the spells are harder to learn, and thus advancement is much slower.
Defiler magic, and its prolific use by the Xhaur is the reason that Xansai is now mostly a barren wasteland. The Xhaur do not care for the environment, and continue to despoil it.
It should be noted that, in the absence of life, a magic user cannot cast spells. All mages, defiler or preserver, must take care when casting, to ensure that they can draw the requisite power.
Gladiators are slave (and, rarely, free) warriors who are trained to fight for the arena crowd. Disciplined in many diverse forms of hand to hand combat, and skilled in the use of dozens of different weapons, gladiators could be considered the most dangerous warriors of Xansai.
Nearly all city-states have an arena of some sort, and so gladiators are common. Some are simply convicts sentenced to die on the sands, while others are revered grand champions.
At the highest level, gladiators live for the bloody spectacle of the arena, and revel in the glory given to them by an adoring crowd. As life is incredibly harsh in Xansai, the arena is a useful tool for offering the oppressed people a much necessary catharsis.
As such, crowds have a voracious appetite for blood, and it is a wise warlord who always provides the necessary entertainment to his people, no matter the cost in flesh and blood.
Merchants are an important part of Xansai. They are what connects the cities. They deal in steel, flesh, food, and all other goods. Merchants connect the often disparate city-states, and are responsible for ensuring that there is a constant exchange of goods and services.
Merchants, along with rangers, also supply another uncommon artifact in Xansai – maps. Because so much of Xansai is wasteland, merchant maps are highly prized items. They provide (relatively) safe routes, and allow a person to navigate.
In Xansai, the only thing more valuable than an accurate map is water. Merchants happen to have both. And will sell either, for a price.
The Merchants’ Code
All mercantile houses follow a strict code of behavior, known as the Merchants Code. Anyone wishing to join a merchant house must accept all aspects of this code and abide by them or face immediate expulsion. The code varies from house to house, but in most cases it conforms to the following principles:
1.Recognition that by joining a merchant house, an agent forsakes citizenship in any city or membership in any tribe.
2.An oath of allegiance to the merchant house.
3.A promise to perform in the best interests of the merchant house in return for a salary.
4.A promise to deal honestly with stranger, friend, and foe alike.
5.A promise not to flaunt any wealth gained through employment with the house.
6.A promise to uphold the laws of the city in which the agent is stationed, and to do nothing to bring down the wrath of the warlord or his agents upon the house.
7.A promise to cooperate with other merchants to make life very expensive for any person who unjustly imprisons, blackmails, or otherwise harasses any merchant.
Each of the houses has a deal with the city-states and its warlord. The houses are citizens of their own “nation” and as such, can come and go from any city-state with few problems. They are forbidden from taking part in any politics in a city-state but are known to help out a favored warlord here and there. This is overlooked with no real concern. However, spying or helping any spies from another city-state is not tolerated by any warlord and the merchants won’t break that.
The houses, as nations unto themselves, maintain their own armies, of various sizes, owing to the relative prosperity of the house. It takes a lot of manpower to keep the trade routes open with hostile creatures and attacks by Xansai’s predatory people and races. Further, when two of the major houses have issues, they will often go to war over it with their armies, well away from the city-states. These wars are usually quick, decisive and bloody, with the winner taking the loser’s people, either as workers or slaves. Again, the warlords don’t care as long as the trade doesn’t stop during this time.
There is no clergy in Xansai.
The Spirits have left the continent. They are mostly forgotten, and they are never worshipped. Religion simply does not exist in Xansai.
Those who come to Xansai through a portal or by ship will find only confused looks, should they try to speak of the Spirits. The Spirits are an outmoded, forgotten concept in Xansai. Not only is religion and worship unwelcome, it simply is not recognized as viable.
While magic is seldom used in Xansai, psionics is a common discipline. All races have psionic abilities, and there are numerous psions traversing Xansai’s barren environs.
The psionicist uses the force of his own mind to affect the environment. Psionic powers are not magical in nature, but rather, they are derived from within when the psionicist has his entire essence in coordination. This requires a psionicist to undergo training that brings his mind, body and soul into perfect harmony.
Psionicists are found in every culture native to Xansai. Nearly every being has some limited psionic ability, though the manifestations are mild (an ability to partially influence people, puzzling but prophetic dreams, etc.) unless the person has actually undergone strict training to develop these abilities.
Psionic powers fall roughly into six categories. The categories are as follows:
Clairsentience – extrasensory powers
Psychokinesis – mind over matter manipulation
Psychometabolic – mind over body manipulation
Psychoportive – teleportation
Telepathic – mind reading
Metapsionic – amplification of other psionic abilities.
Rangers exist at one with the Xansai environment. They are skilled in the ways of survival. They know what plants are poisonous and which can be a useful supplier of fluid. They know which animals to hunt, and which animals hunt them.
Rangers have developed an array of tools that help them survive. They do not enter city-states, and avoid most large settlements. As such, these rugged individualists know how to survive extended periods without contact.
Only humans can become rangers, for only humans have the ability to tolerate such lonely existences.
Like merchants, rangers are skilled mapmakers. Unlike merchants, however, a ranger’s map is not for sale. Rangers only share their maps with other rangers. And given the mostly isolated lives led by rangers, these exchanges are few and far between.
On occasion, a ranger will take an apprentice, passing on their survival skills. In this way, rangers perpetuate their class. However, once an apprenticeship has ended, the two rangers go their separate ways.
Rangers occasionally arrange a moot a gathering of multiple rangers. Here, rangers share lore and maps, as well as various survival techniques. Moots are rare occurrences, and the gatherings are held in remote places, far from prying eyes.
Warlords are the leaders of the city-states. They have incredible powers, but also lead incredibly precarious lives.
A Warlord guides his or her city-state, shaping it in their own image. Some city-states call their warlord something else, but every city-state has a leader who controls the land.
However, as with every other resources in Xansai, power is both scarce and coveted. This means that a warlord must constantly work to maintain his grip on power. A reign can last decades, or it can be over in a matter of minutes.
There is no single path to being a warlord, though the most common means of succession is by killing one’s predecessor. Some city-states, such as Halzak, have a strict mechanism for determining who leads. In most city-states, however, it is simply a matter of being strong enough to hold power.