Covenant MUD: Player Classes
In most Diku MUDs, your "class" is your character's basic profession. Typically, your choice of class determines what skills you are able to learn, and you are locked into a particular set of skills for the life of your character.
We're moving away from thinking of classes as rigid skill categories and more as the root of separate skill trees. Your character will start as a tabula rasa and you can guide their development however you see fit. Some class skills will complement each other, and some class skills will be mutually exclusive. There will also be some skills that will be available to all players no matter what specific class skills they have chosen.
Broadly, the classes sort into a few broad categories: fighting classes (Warrior, Naturalist, Rogue, Crusader), buff/debuff classes (Alchemist, Bard), magic classes (Mystic, Shaman, Philosopher), and one anti-magic class (Inventor). There are no healing classses as such but a number of skill trees inlcude healing skills.
The warriors are the fighters of the world: good with a sword and shield but horribly incompetent when it comes to sophisticated things such as using magic to their advantage. They tend to be able to survive hardships that others could not—not because of any special skill but because of sheer bloody-mindedness.
The naturalist is an excellent survivalist in the outdoors and has a natural affinity for animals. They can often summon animals to their aid. Their survival skills include an extensive knowledge of first aid. They have some warrior abilities, although their fighting skills may not be as developed as those of the warrior.
A stealthy, shifty, sneaky class. There are those who would say that "rogue" is just a polite word for "thief." Rogues do little to improve their public image, often hanging around in seedy bars, loan sharking, and running illegal gambling operations.
A warrior-like class with strong religious convictions. They're not necessarily as potent as warriors, but they have increased healing abilities and "religious spells", or rituals, to compensate.
In a world with an emerging science, you just KNOW there are going to be a bunch of people who mix things together just to see if they go "bang!" The alchemist should be able to make potions and powders of both a magical and a chemical nature. They also have limited healing powers.
The alchemy of this world is a fairly broad discipline, encompassing biology, anatomy, and a rudimentary chemistry. The alchemists have succeeded in turning gold into lead, and hope one day to be able to reverse the process.
Charismatic and charming, the bards can be anything from poets to wandering minstrels to out-and-out confidence-artists. They have some magic ability, especially at high levels, although their skills are predominantly roguish. Surprisingly enough, bards are often university trained.
Their charm often prevents them from being attacked in dangerous situations and allows them to attract followers.
Magic in the Covenant can be difficult to define because it often works exactly the way you think it does, but not every magic user shares your opinion. Mystics believe that magic works because we are all one with the universe; Shamans believe that magic derives its power from nature; Philosophers believe that magic can be explained through empirical observation. Each group thinks the others have it completely wrong, but all three groups are right.
Once you pick a specific understanding of magic, the other two will become unavailable.
These people are probably pretty close to what you think of as a "magic user". They use their mana to cast spells much as you would expect. They also look at magic in a sort of new-agey kind of way&mash;they're interested in crystals and magic artifacts (like amulets) and auras and lei lines and all of that guff. The fact that they insist on believing in that stuff is a major source of headaches for the more rationally-minded.
They annoy the shamans because they tend to misappropriate and distort the shamans' deeply held beliefs. They annoy the philosophers by borrowing some of the more scientific ideas (in order to appear more rational) and end up completely misapplying important tenets of modern philosophy.
Deeply spiritual and attuned to their environment, the shamans make use of their extensive knowledge of plant lore and earth magic. Their spells tend to be more effective outdoors. Their study of plant lore allows them to understand the medicinal properties of herbs. Many people therefore mistake shamanism for "primitive" magic, but the craft is remarkably sophisticated.
They tend to be resentful of the Mystics who make them appear silly in the eyes of the public. They also think that the Philosophers are somehow missing the point. Shamans are unlikely to make use of alchemical preparations.
People don't speak of science per se, but rather natural philosophy. The philosopher believes that the world is explainable, even deterministic, at some fundamental level. The fact that they are essentially trying to develop a mechanistic view of a natural world that includes magic makes them a little confused.
They want nothing to do with their mystical colleagues, and seek rational ways to explain magic. This new rationalistic understanding is therefore the means of "casting spells." The inherent unpredictability of magic bothers them somewhat; they're convinced that the world shouldn't be like that. They've heard of Heimspiel's Uncertainty Principle, and want no truck with it.
The fact that crystals and auras and such actually WORK is a source of great perturbation for them.
The inventors have such faith in the utility of technology that they simply refuse to use anything "tainted" by magic. More senior inventors don't believe that magic works at all, and so for them, it has little effect. They like to build neat devices and create new objects. Many of the more advanced objects have effects that are similar in many ways to their magically based counterparts. Some of the VERY advanced objects can only be used by those who build them, i.e. other inventors.