Archetypes of the Dominions


  • Adventurer. The typical jack-of-all-trades, an adventurer comes from all walks of life and has abilities in various fields. He can be a treasure hunter, a traveler with great wanderlust or a clever scoundrel. Whatever his past, adventures are his daily business.


  • Amazon. The Dread Sea Dominions are a very chauvinistic world and women are usually seen as objects for pleasure or, even worse, as breeding machines. An Amazon is a woman who has emancipated herself; she fights and lives exactly like a man. The Ascaian Amazons are the only Amazon culture of the Dread Sea Dominions, but also outside Ascaia a courageous woman can leave her place in society, take up the sword and prove her worth.
  • Assassin. An Assassin can find employment in any place and among any culture. He might be a shady lone wolf, a member of the powerful assassin guild of Jalizar, or an executioner following one of the dark cults in the decadent cities of the Iron Empire. Whatever his background, this individual is very skilled in one task: killing.
  • Bandit. The Empire, the law, and civilization itself are crumbling, and the world is full of wolves ready to take advantage of the situation. This character is one of them. He usually earns his living sacking, pillaging and stealing. Most Bandits are ruthless bastards, but the more sympathetic
    ones steal from the rich to give to the poor. These individuals are usually liked by the commoners and become the subjects of stories and ballads.


  • Barbarian. Barbarian literally means “one who stutters” and the word identifies all the people who don’t speak the Imperial language fluently. Today the term refers to all the uncivilized populations beyond the boundaries of the Iron Empire. Traditionally, barbarians have been represented in two ways: as hulking brutes with none of the traits of civilized people, living only by the law of the sword, or as good savages, living peacefully in communion with nature— an ability that the civilized men have lost. Most barbarians don’t perfectly fit either archetype, but are a mix of both.
  • Courtesan. A courtesan can be an exotic dancer at the court of a prince, or a simple tavern wench. Whatever her origin, she is usually beautiful and, besides her erotic skills, she is quite capable of manipulating the stupid males with her beauty.


  • Entertainer. Poets, bards, acrobats, mimes and every type of showmen are common in the Dominions. They tell stories, report news and entertain people with their performances. Some of them, as court poets, can be firmly rooted in a single place, but many are wanderers, taking their songs and show wherever they can find an audience.
  • Gladiator. Gladiators are fighters who combat in the arena for the delight of the crowds. They can be rich celebrities, at whose sight women sigh and faint, but there are also desperate toughs who wrestle with rabid dogs in back alleys for a few copper coins. In many places gladiators are slaves, though they usually lead a better life than a free man, constantly pampered and well nourished by their master. At least until they meet their end in the arena.
  • Lotus master. Skilled alchemists, poisoners and healers, these feared individuals know how to use the Lotus to heal a wound, kill a man in a horrible way, or summon strange visions from the air. They
    are a reclusive sect and very jealous of their secrets.


  • Mercenary. Some fight for an ideal and some for self defense, but a mercenary fights only for loot and money. Usually, but not always, he is a skilled warrior. A big mouth and impressive appearance might be the only weapons a mercenary possesses and it is difficult to understand before the battle if the man you hired is a real fighter or just a windbag. But remember, regardless of his skill, a mercenary is first and foremost loyal to his purse.
  • Monk. Monks are people in search of enlightenment and self perfection. Through meditation and contemplation they learn how to perform amazing feats impossible for the common man. Some of them can endure thirst and hunger for months, while others can kill a man with a single bare-handed blow. The most famous monks come from faraway Lhoban, but several other monastic groups exist, like the Stylites of the Land of Idols. Some of them are pacifists, philosophers, sages, and men of knowledge, while others, usually martial artists of great prowess, actively fight the evil of the world.
  • Noble. Decadent princes of Tricarnia, merchant lords of Syranthia, Northlander tribe chiefs, all these people are nobles, born to rule the people, and responsible for their subjects’ safety. They mostly lead a stable and pampered life, but some of them decide, or are forced, to choose the path of adventure.
  • Nomad. Nomads are constantly on the move. Some of them, like the Valk, are herders, so they are forced to move to let their beasts graze, while others are hunters that follow the migrations of their quarries, like the Ivory Savannah Tribes hunting gnus in the Ivory Savannah. Some nomads move on foot but a great part of them have horses and are excellent riders.


  • Pirate. The scourge of the seas, these men and women don’t know any lord beside the captain of their ship, and hunt and prey on any vessel they find. Some of them still possess a glint of honor and humanity, but for the greatest part they are only a bunch of criminals.
  • Priest. There are many gods in the Dread Sea Dominions, hence a great number of priests. Despite sharing the same name, there are many differences among them. A depraved priest of Hordan, for example, is very different from a pious Sheppard of the Divine Couple or from a midwife priestess of Etu. Remember that, in the Dread Sea Dominions, priests have no supernatural powers. If they want them, they must devote themselves to sorcery, a very dangerous path.


  • Sage. Although the world is in the hands of warriors, barbarians and other men of the sword, there are some who actively seek, protect, and preserve knowledge, in all its forms. These individuals are Sages. They might be archivists at the Library of Syranthia or enlightened aristocrats with a passion for books. Whatever their origin, knowledge is what they seek and protect.
  • Sailor. A wanderer of the seas, a sailor feels more at his ease on the deck of a ship than on solid ground. He has seen a lot of places and kissed women of very different complexions, and he wants more of both. He isn’t against a little piracy if it keeps his purse fat, but mainly he is a traveler and an adventurer.
  • Slave. Sadly, slavery is very common, so it is no surprise if a hero is born in chains or made a slave. Slaves come from all social classes, and a slave, or an ex-slave, can be a very motivated character and have a very wide array of skills. He can be a lowly servant, but also a warrior slave of the Tricarnian
    army, or a sage or a scribe kept alive for his unusual abilities. Remember, anyone can fall into slavery.


  • Sorcerer. Magic is a dangerous business that requires constant application and a strong mind. The very soul of the practitioner is involved in the dark rituals necessary to bind the arcane forces to the
    caster’s will. So mages of all types must be aware of the risks they run when they whisper their forgotten spells. A sorcerer is a generic term for all those wizards, warlocks and petty practitioners involved in magic. Although many of them are only charlatans, the few individuals truly gifted with magical powers are among the most powerful, and most dangerous, individuals of all the Dominions.


  • Thief. Wherever there is wealth, there is someone ready to snatch it. A thief is an expert in stealing property, and no safe, wall, or guard can stop him. She can be a member of a powerful thieves’ guild, like those of Jalizar, or a freelance, but her skills are not in question when it comes to stealth and break ins.


  • Warrior. The sword rules the world in this troubled age. This individual can be a clan warrior from the savage north, a slave fighter of Tricarnia, an elegant cataphracts knight of Syranthia, a member of the Iron Phalanxes, a simple caravan guard or whatever you want, but his main feature is his ability in the art of war.

Umberto Pignatelli. (2011). Beasts & Barbarians, pp. 59-62. Studio 2 Publishing.ISBN 978-8393179657

Archetypes of the Dominions

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