Today I’ll go over a bit of the Classes chapter of the Aethera setting; it’s got an unusual take on things, as you’ll see. Meanwhile, if you happen to appreciate my reviews, game material, or rambling, please consider dropping a buck or two to my Patreon – you’ll be enabling me affording new game materials and helping to make sure my bills get paid on time.
So a key detail in Aethera is that there are no gods, as the system is anathema to deities for a reason that I have yet to discover. As such, while clerics can worship concepts and could certainly fit the notion of the Score, there are neither clerics nor warpriests in the system. In their stead we get a divine bard class called the cantor, who channels the prophetic planar music of the Score into powerful effects.
The cantor is an interesting class, primarily focused on a single elemental portion of the score – and there are plenty of those, including aether, wood, and positive/negative energy. Each of the elemental verses come in four tiers of power, and they all have some impressive effects, in addition to the usual class-wide set of effects. Depending on the specific elemental force and the tier of power, a cantor can potentially grant the effects of the air bubble spell to everything in the area, grant haste to their entire party, set enemies on fire, consecrate or desecrate an area, and even casually revive an ally who hits 0 hp once per day.
The archetypes are rather interesting as well; they cover a wide range of core, base, hybrid, and occult classes with potential options for use at the table. Alchemists can be combat medics, essentially getting healing stimulants that can be modified in the same way as a paladin’s lay on hands; arcanists get an archetype called Rift Breaker, which I will admit I really want to try out – they get the ability to exploit the planes themselves, using their arcane pool to cause destructive surges of elemental energy and to tear open short-lived planar rifts that saturate an area with elemental energies.
Bards have an archetype that makes them short-term summoners, weaving aether into an eidolon with their music and getting a sweet piece of Mad Max: Fury Road art to go with it. Bloodragers get a telekinetically enhanced version of their class in the form of the Blue-Shifted archetype, the result of aetherite contamination in their blood, while brawlers can become the ultimate tank as a colossus, creating shields of force for use in combat and kinetic energy barriers that boost the AC of everyone and everything inside – including portions of an aethership they’re aboard.
Cantors, of course, get archetypes; one that draws on the erahthi can lull people to sleep by singing the soft song of the heartwood trees, or empower a champion of the erahthi people with a song that gets stronger as more people sing it. Cavaliers get one focus on being an aethership pilot, replacing their steed with a ship, druids tap into the occult power of the fey and the plane of Evermorn, and fighters gain an aetheric enhancement that gives them arcane strike and spell resistance.
Gunslingers have an option to become jetpack gunfighters via the Jump Trooper archetype, which is exactly what it sounds like. Hunters, on the other hand, can build a companion from technological parts with the Tech Bonded archetype, sprinkling a little roboticist and programmer into their hunting skills. Investigators can pick up the Correspondent archetype, mixing a bit of bard into their abilities as they literally become battlefield news reporters; kineticists get the aetheric scion, which is a powerful telekinetic archetype ready to pick a fight.
Mediums who pick up a link to the Evermorn become deathless guides, braving the shattered timestream of that plane and facing occult threats with the power it offers; at 19th level it lets the medium act inside the time stop effect someone else has cast, which is a nice trick. Mesmerists, at least erahthi ones, can become aromachologists, cultivating flowers on their own bodies that grant them their powers, while monks can harness the power of gravity as a gravitic master, and oracles gain a new Mystery (song), archetype (Listener, who can gain a augury effect by listening to the Score’s voices), and a couple of new curses.
Paladins, like many of the classes, gain a telekinetically empowered archetype that eschews heavy armor in favor of agility and grace. Psychics can become thoughtdrinkers, dabbling lightly in occultism to augment their formidable powers, but rangers get a nice one – Exostentialists are the ranger for all the people who really wanted a nightmare animal companion, gaining an aberration as their companion as they rove among the planets. Rogues can become salvagers, harvesting wreckage and Progenitor ruins alike for all the cool trinkets left behind, and cobbling together useful things from the rubbish.
Shamans can get an Aether spirit, which is of a telekinetic nature; flight and force armor are among the things it can bestow. On the other hand, if you want to be a space pirate, make a skald, because they literally have a space pirate archetype; it sets the character up to be captain or first mate of an aethership handily. Slayers gets an archetype that revolves around firearms, called bullet dancer, giving them some gunslinger traits to go with the rest of their deadly abilities.
Sorcerers get an aetheric bloodline, and summoners get to be an aetheric caller which is, surprisingly, not linked to telekinetic effects; it essentially inverts the usual eidolon/summoner setup, with the summoner as a combat beast and the eidolon as a Charisma-based spellcaster. Swashbucklers get an archetype tied to aetherships and low-gravity environments, perfect for a campaign that never intends to go planetside, complete with new deeds for the situation.
The other classes such as wizards and witches aren’t touched on, but I’d imagine they get new spells and ample opportunity to be powerhouses in their own respect. Perhaps they can get aberrant familiars like the ranger’s new companion?
That’s it for this chapter; I’d like to go play a Rift Breaker Arcanist sometime!