The Choppa! Those who’ve followed the development of this career will know it by any number of other names (Berserker, Iron Claw, etc.), but by whatever name, we’ve known what we wanted out of this guy for quite a while now. The visuals were there – dangerous, well armed, and insanely violent as are the Orc’s stock in trade. So was the play style. We wanted a career which really felt like it captured the Green Skin’s inner Waaagh!, and that’s what we got! This Orc is a down and dirty berserker who fights with little regard for his own safety, relying on choppa power to carry the day.
Dwarf runes gave us compelling visuals and a chance to add unique powers to the Dwarf ability set. They gave us magic, with a nice Dwarfish twist, and we wanted to capture that notion. The Runepriest would not be a mage in Dwarf’s clothing or a priest in the traditional sense, but rather an adept of the runes so steeped in their lore that his reverence for them approached religion. Through the power of the runes he would be able to create or destroy, repair and enhance, and convey their abilities to others by marking objects and creatures.
Careers – Orc Choppa
“Wuz betta den one choppa? Two choppas! Two choppas is one more… is one times da… is lots more fun! Waaagh!”
- Chopmo, Dung Heap Philosopher
Even the most stable Orc is only a hairs breadth from coming completely unglued in the heat of battle. It is to the great relief of their opponents and allies alike that most of them manage to keep it together. There are some Orcs, however, that just can’t be bothered with that sort of thing. These are simple creatures – simply violent, simply well armed, simply a bloody nightmare to keep from running blindly into the fray – and they are among the most deadly of opponents one will ever face in the heat of a melee. These are Choppas, named for their weapon, and their weapon named for them, and their frenzy is to be feared.
At the heart of the Choppa is a deadly warrior, but his true power begins to shine only as he lets himself be carried away by the frenzy of battle. As his morale rises, the Choppa quickly works himself into a frothing rage. The more he fights the more berserk he becomes, his attacks bombarding the enemy in a ceaseless onslaught. His frenzy makes the Choppa bold, opening up new possibilities for attack which would be far too dangerous or difficult to attempt otherwise. These moves further enhance his power and capabilities, opening even more potential attacks as the fight unfolds.
Playing a Choppa is straight forward. Get in the fight, and stay there as long as you can without getting yourself killed. The longer you’re in a fight, the more your morale builds and the more berserk you become. This makes your attacks more powerful and unlocks new devastating abilities. However, the use of these abilities depletes your morale and thus reduces your combat strength. You must decide whether it’s more important to maintain your berserker frenzy or unleash a powerful attack upon your foe. You must also remember that you are less well armored than your Black Orc cousins, and generally less durable. The fighting itself may be simple, but strategy is required to reach and maintain your peak effectiveness.
The Choppa takes time to ramp up to full effectiveness, so it is best to eliminate him early in the battle. If that is not immediately possible, you’ll need to reduce or impede the Choppa’s ability to gain morale and keep him from flying into a berserk frenzy. Using anti-morale attacks will slow his climb to power, giving you the opportunity to take him out before he sends you home hurting.
The Choppa Look
o Light to moderate armor allowing flexibility and mobility
o Wields choppas in various and deadly combinations
o Physically grows more menacing as his rage mounts
Careers – Dwarf Runepriest
“This is the las’ time I’m goin’ to say this – runes are NO’ magic! Magic is fer silly buggers in robes and poin’y ‘ats! Do you see a poin’y ‘at on me lad?”
– Grumhilde, Venerable Rune Sage
Dwarfs don’t go in for magic. Like so many things embraced by humans and their allies it’s just much too new-fangled and unreliable, at least from the Dwarfen point of view. Now runes on the other hand, that’s a whole different story. Runes have an old power. Their carving is a ritual so refined that the results are as expected as rocks rolling down hill. The keepers of this art are the Runepriests, adepts and sages who spend their lives learning the language of runes. With their craft they can create effects of stunning power, accosting their foes with the power of the earth itself. They can also harden their allies against the most damaging of attacks, and heal their wounds.
In a world where magic is common place, it may seem that the Runepriest’s powers are unremarkable. However, his runes offer something unique and powerful – the ability to bind a rune to an object or creature to await a trigger which will unleash its power. A rune-marked blade burns as it strikes, a rune-marked breastplate hardens against a killing blow, and rune-marked flesh awaits only a word of command before releasing its healing energies. By marking his allies prior to battle, the Runepriest is free to join the fight where and when he is needed, be it shaping further runes of power, or entering the thick of the fight with rune staff in hand. It is important to note that runes retain their power even after the Runepriest expires.
Preparation is critical to your success as a Runepriest, as is developing a keen sense of timing and coordination. You can use your runes to protect your friends and enhance their powers (even placing some of the runes’ effects under the subject’s control), but their strength wanes quickly upon use and you must be ready to reinforce them as needed. Advance preparation makes it easier for you to split your attention between supporting your friends, and assaulting your foes. This division of duty is absolutely necessary in battle. Focusing purely on offense will leave your group mates without support after a short time. Conversely, playing purely a support role will rob your group of a rune-enhanced warrior of significant power.
A Runepriest can be a difficult foe to defeat. The powerful runes he can lay on himself and his equipment can make him a mighty warrior who is exceptionally difficult to slay. However, his abilities are primarily defensive or supporting in nature. In a group environment, it is wiser to leave the Runepriest for later and go after the heavy damage dealers or tanks first. They pose a more direct threat and, if ignored, are likely to tear you apart before you are able to work through the Runepriest’s defenses and healing powers.
Rune Priest Look
o Well armored in medium, rune-inscribed armor
o Wields an ornately carved rune staff
o Marks all his equipment with runes of power and protection
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