The borders of Scardova are often unforgiving. Whether it be along the Northern Wastes, or the Troll Warrens to the west, or the snowy peaks of the southeast, these lands are harsh and difficult. Still, some small bands of settlers live in these regions—brave pioneers who seek the freedom from the bounds of civilization. It is here that Barbarians tend to thrive, protecting small settlements while living at the outskirts of the Realm. Few tend to find their way into any organization such as the Guardians, but it not unheard of, as the Guardians sometimes find themselves needed at the edges of Scardova.
Bards are those who weave magic through words to inspire their allies and demoralize their foes. These versatile entertainers are masters of song and speech, and often join the Guardians to sate their wanderlust and thirst for adventure.
The Chaplains are the spiritual leaders of Scardova, warrior-priests that minister to the spiritual well-being of their group, instilling in them the values and beliefs of the Church along with promoting the worship of Alm. In battle, the Chaplains will be at the forefront, rousing their comrades through their Battle-Hymns and inspirational speeches.
While many residents of Scardova from all races and walks of life join the priesthood, only a few will become Clerics of Alm. Such individuals are rewarded by their leadership and tremendous faith with the ability to use prayers to further the goals of the Church. Many Clerics lead a group of Guardians or serve as skilled healers in a Patrol.
Deep in the southern forests lies a sacred grove, which is home to a Druidic order of Elves. At first this order was few in number, but as they have continued to tend the forest lands and aid the people who dwell there, more have been drawn into their fold. Now, the southern lands produce Druids from nearly all races, some of whom leave the forests and join the Guardians as a means of protecting the realm.
While most residents of Scardova serve a few years in their town militia, and so have a basic grasp of battlefield tactics and weapons, fighters are the true masters of combat. Most fighters realize their potential while serving in the Guardians or as Inquisitorial guards.
Just off the northern coast by the village of Harlow is a small, craggy island, atop which sits the Temple of the Rising Storm. The precarious location of this temple ensures it is constantly battered by heavy winds and rains, which serves as the crucible in which the Monks of the temple perfect their martial techniques. Many who train here eventually set out into the realm to test themselves against the many perils throughout the land. Some of these Monks even join the Guardians as a means of finding adequate challenges.
Many warriors or martially inclined individuals pursue the holy path of the Paladin. Alm was the first, and many feel that becoming a Paladin is a way to walk in the footsteps of their deity. Scardova has a large number of Paladins serving in the Guardians. Most fight with a sword and heavy shield while wearing Plate armor, mirroring the image of Alm.
Most skilled woodsmen hail from the forests of southern Scardova. These Humans, Elves, and Half-Elves are the wardens of the forests and scouts for the Guardians, acting as lookouts for possible trouble.
Skilled men and women are always in demand throughout Scardova, and so many rogues find all sorts of roles to fill. Some work as spies, information gatherers, or bounty hunters for the Inquisition. Some serve as scouts for local militias. Others still join groups of Guardians or serve as dungeon delvers for the Keepers who are searching for relics or ancient lore.
Most of the citizens of Scardova fear those who would wield arcane power, for it is thought such individuals risk destruction of themselves and those around them. Citizens call such people arcanists, and few know the distinction between Sorcerers, Warlocks, or Wizards. Because magic is considered dangerous by the Church, it is heavily regulated and few are permitted to use it. All known arcanists must be registered with the Church and are closely monitored.
Every now and again, the old blood from the time of the Magi manifests in someone, usually in the mid- to late teenage years. Strange things begin to happen near this person, and before long s/he discovers they possess some innate arcane ability. Church law on such matters is clear: anyone thought to manifest such abilities are to be turned over to the Church immediately for investigation. Sometimes the church releases these individuals because they are deemed to not be a risk, but more often than not these folks are never seen again.
What many people do not know is that potential Sorcerers are turned over to the Inquisition for training. Many do not have the fortitude to survive this training, but those who do are allowed to serve the church in various capacities. Most serve secretly in the Inquisition, but some have found their way into the ranks of the Guardians or Keepers.
The Hollows is a place which offers power to the weak-willed and desperate. Sometimes residents of Scardova, for a variety of reasons ranging from personal gain to simple revenge, make pacts with demonic powers for arcane abilities. Such individuals are extraordinarily dangerous, for they often do not comprehend their bargains. Some use their powers and want more, making darker and more evil deals with malevolent creatures. Others end up possessed by the very demons or devils who gave them power. Possessed individuals either end of wreaking havoc upon the land, or take a more subtle approach and weave intricate plots designed to bring about the downfall of family members and individuals close to the possessed. Most of these kinds of Warlocks are hunted down and destroyed by the Inquisition.
Still other end up making deals with powerful Fey, and this is not unheard of amongst Elves and Half-Elves. While still considered suspicious by many, those who bargain with the Courts of the Fey are not deemed heretics outright by the church.
Books which contain arcane knowledge are very rare in Scardova, and are only in the possession of the Keepers at the Lyceum. Magic is taught in the Praetorium Venenatus, and only to a select few who are deemed skilled enough to bear the responsibility of the arcane. Those who are trained in the Praetorium are expected to serve the church once they complete their training, and are mandated to come back to the Praetorium annually for evaluation.