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anameforobsidian

Which class are animancers?

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The game lore mentions animancy quite frequently, but is there a class in the game that best corresponds with animancy?  Is it Wizards, Cyphers, or possibly even priests?  It's weird that it isn't a class in and of itself, given their importance in lore.

Edited by anameforobsidian
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The vibe I'm getting is that animancers are more like astrologers or alchemists—researches of forbidden lore who mostly hang around in their libraries and laboratories making discoveries and doing horrible things with the results. We've heard of skein steel (drawing a soul into copper and alloying that with iron to create an extra-powerful steel), or binding the soul of a person permanently to his body so instead of dying he'll become a fampyr, darghul, and so on. 

 

This doesn't feel a natural fit for an adventuring class. I would be surprised if there aren't important NPC animancers we get to interact with though.

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One assumes that there might be a natural symbiosis between Wizards and Animancers, in that both are trying to quantify and manipulate the Soul in a more scientific manner*, indeed the Wizards spells seem to be formulae of Soul manipulation. But like Mr Junta I assumed that they would be classless, though one supposes the protagonist might be able to dabble in these matters, and therefore any class would be viable.

 

*According to update #74.

Edited by Nonek

Quite an experience to live in misery isn't it? That's what it is to be married with children.

I've seen things you people can't even imagine. Pearly Kings glittering on the Elephant and Castle, Morris Men dancing 'til the last light of midsummer. I watched Druid fires burning in the ruins of Stonehenge, and Yorkshiremen gurning for prizes. All these things will be lost in time, like alopecia on a skinhead. Time for tiffin.

 

Tea for the teapot!

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I'd see it as a Wizard thing. Maybe it could be one of the backgrounds you can pick near the start of the game, although if animancy ends up being really important to the story, that might make things too complicated for the writers.

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The vibe I'm getting is that animancers are more like astrologers or alchemists—researches of forbidden lore who mostly hang around in their libraries and laboratories making discoveries and doing horrible things with the results. 

 

That screams an NPC party member to me; an alchemist driven out of her lab to hunt down her golem, etc.  

 

Alternatively, that's not that far off from the description of D&D Wizards.  Finding all that forbidden lore can't be easy in a world without a printing press, and animancers would want to study natural phenomena having to do with souls.  Seeing a group of vithrak or the like up close probably means you're no stranger to danger.

 

But, here's my issue.  Perhaps I'm reading the lore wrong, but it feels like Wizards manipulate souls to affect the outside world / physical forces.  Cyphers manipulate souls themselves.  Wouldn't that mean that they're more likely to be experts on souls, and hence animancers?  I'm curious how the two classes (and others, but especially those two classes) relate to each other in lore.

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Classes are designed around combat distinctions.

 

Animancy is like a field of study. So you could be a Monk, but study animancy (and thus be an animancer) etc. But yeah Wizards seem to be the most logical tie.

Edited by Sensuki
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There certainly seems to have been some research conducted between Animancer's and Cipher's if update #65 is anything to go by. However i'd generally agree that anybody with the interest could pursue the field of study, simply that Wizard's and Cipher's would have an advantage in practical experimentation and manipulation.

 

 

Update by Josh Sawyer, Project Director
 
Cipher Lore
 
Many classes have abilities that allow the user to channel the power of their own soul or ambient soul fragments to produce incredible effects. Paladins ignite their souls to produce auras, wizards draw soul fragments into grimoires to shape and cast spells, and monks use personal suffering to focus energy through their bodies. While these classes often develop abilities that allow them to affect the minds and souls of others, the power is always generated by the user.

In the field of animancy, which focuses on the study of souls, researchers wondered for centuries if they could develop a discipline or technology that would allow people to connect with the soul of another living thing -- not just reach or strike out toward it. Wizards and priests had developed abilities to overwhelm or inspire the mind, but not to connect with it. Animancers theorized that it could be possible for one soul to reach out and connect to another, but they had no proof. Animancers studied folk legends about figures called Watchers who reportedly were able to see lost souls and perceive an individual's ancestral lives, but claimants to that title were typically charlatans at best or mentally unstable and violent at worst. A few intrepid animancers attempted to communicate with the reclusive spider-like race known as the vithrack. The creatures, obviously of advanced intelligence and extraordinary capabilities, seemed to possess the ability to connect to an individual's soul -- albeit with horrifying consequences. The dangerous nature and rarity of the vithrack combined with their inhuman physiology have still proven to be insurmountable obstacles in understanding how their powers work. Still, the animancers had a few other leads to follow.
 
Over a century ago, during the Broken Stone War, soldiers in the Dyrwood reported wild tales of having their minds invaded, of seeing comrades lose control of themselves, of orlan and elven Glanfathan warriors wielding knives engulfed in purple flames that "cut away" the souls of their victims. The war was a new experience for everyone involved, so many Dyrwoodans dismissed many of the more outlandish tales over time. But over the decades that followed, more settlers reported similar violent encounters with Glanfathan guerilla fighters. In the War of Black Trees, Dyrwoodan animancers confirmed many of these experiences across a wide number of soldiers and settlers. However, with Dyrwoodan settlers in a state of war with the population of Eir Glanfath, the researchers couldn't find many Glanfathans who were willing to talk about it.
 
After the Dyrwoodan revolution for independence, the Dyrwood officially stopped the Aedyr Empire's practice of exploring and plundering Eir Glanfath's sacred ruins -- the practice that had ignited the earlier wars between Dyrwoodan settlers and Glanfathans. In the years that followed, the tribal princes of Eir Glanfath allowed Dyrwoodan animancers to speak with some of their brîshalgwin ("mind hunters"), the elite warriors that had terrorized Aedyrans and Dyrwoodans in past wars. From the brîshalgwin, the animancers learned that Glanfathans had developed mental abilities that allowed them to perceive and contact what animancers categorized as "housed" souls, i.e., souls held within a physical vessel. They initially developed these talents in an attempt to communicate with souls held in the Engwithan ruins they were sworn to protect. When the tribal princes outlawed this practice as disrespectful and dangerous, their councilors advised the princes to turn the efforts of the brîshalgwin towards protecting the ruins and developing new methods of warfare.
 
Excited by these revelations, animancers in Defiance Bay began working with the brîshalgwin, whom the animancers had previously described as "ciphers" due to their mysterious nature. Given Dyrwoodans' general discomfort with the Glanfathan language, the cipher name stuck and continues to be used in everyday conversation. For decades now, the ciphers and animancers have worked together, each generating new ideas and expanding their collective understanding of soul manipulation. Today, Dyrwoodans and foreign visitors from Aedyr, the Vailian Republics -- even distant Rauatai -- have learned and expanded the ciphers' growing field of techniques. Recently, encouraged by the potential the ciphers have shown and dismissive of the superstitious concerns of locals, Lady Webb, a prominent noble and advisor to the duc, petitioned the Dyrwood's erls to create a spy service in Defiance Bay consisting primarily of ciphers. The erls approved, creating what would become known as Dunryd Row, a respected, if somewhat feared and mistrusted, organization that operates out of an old, vine-covered house in the city's Brackenbury District.
 
Though ciphers' powers are still being explored, unlocked, and debated across the civilized world, most people recognize that their abilities hold great potential -- for good or ill -- in the cultures that develop them.

 


Quite an experience to live in misery isn't it? That's what it is to be married with children.

I've seen things you people can't even imagine. Pearly Kings glittering on the Elephant and Castle, Morris Men dancing 'til the last light of midsummer. I watched Druid fires burning in the ruins of Stonehenge, and Yorkshiremen gurning for prizes. All these things will be lost in time, like alopecia on a skinhead. Time for tiffin.

 

Tea for the teapot!

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I wonder how the technology that animancy uses will look like, or if it is even revealed in the game. As far as I understand it, there will be machines that can catch souls, change the properties of a soul, and other things. Perhaps these machines rely on soulmagic, like mages use it? If not, I'm curious after which principle they work. Only thing that seems sure is that at least the whole soulconnection thing requires Cypher abilities. Perhaps Cyphers can use certain devices to enhance or extend their abilities, which were developed by animancers.

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It's pure speculation, but I'm thinking the player will by default be an animancer prodigy on the virtue of being a Watcher. Souls have been noted to play a major part in the game, so the player discovering a talent for perceiving and perhaps later manipulating them would make for a natural thread around which to weave the story.

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It's pure speculation, but I'm thinking the player will by default be an animancer prodigy on the virtue of being a Watcher. Souls have been noted to play a major part in the game, so the player discovering a talent for perceiving and perhaps later manipulating them would make for a natural thread around which to weave the story.

I kind of got the impression that animancy was more of a scholarly pursuit, so while I could see being a watcher helping you, I'm not sure it would make you a prodigy. It's like if you had the ability to see the movement of particles with your eyes, it would probably help you be a good physicist but you would still need to study for years and learn how to use some of the equipment.

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I wouldn't be surprised to see Animancers as a playable class in the future, they have to leave some things for the expansion after all.

 

There are plenty of examples of games in which you meet NPCs with character classes you cannot choose, only for them to be added with an expansion. Creates some free hype.


"What if a mid-life crisis is just getting halfway through the game and realising you put all your points into the wrong skill tree?"

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One assumes that there might be a natural symbiosis between Wizards and Animancers, in that both are trying to quantify and manipulate the Soul in a more scientific manner*, indeed the Wizards spells seem to be formulae of Soul manipulation.

Indeed there would be a lot of overlap, I initially assumed that Animancers would be the masters of "arcane"(soul magic) and wizards\priest\etc would be 'schools of magic'. However, one of JS post give me the impression that Animancers are plain simply researcher, anyone can be an Animancer (study the soul scientifically), even people with weakest souls who can't tap any soul magic, but you have to be able to tap that power to become wizards\druids\etc..

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It's pure speculation, but I'm thinking the player will by default be an animancer prodigy on the virtue of being a Watcher.

Ick.

 

I'd rather they keep the über speshul protagonist stuff to a minimum. This isn't a Bioware game.

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It's pure speculation, but I'm thinking the player will by default be an animancer prodigy on the virtue of being a Watcher.

Ick.

 

I'd rather they keep the über speshul protagonist stuff to a minimum. This isn't a Bioware game.

This is how Baldur's Gate and Planescape: Torment worked, too, though. The case could be made for Fallout, as well: While the PC didn't exactly possess supernatural talents, both the Vault Dweller and the Chosen One were supposedly best of the best among their respective communities; that's why they were chosen for their tasks, after all.

 

I do think there needs to be something special about the protagonist in an RPG, as unlike in a more static narrative, you can't have their status as the lead result from their outlook or resourcefulness without limiting the choices of the player. This is particularly true for low-to-mid-level games which PoE is set to be, since the protagonist doesn't in the start possess even average talents -- it would for example certainly stretch believability that the megadungeon wouldn't have been looted several times over if just anyone could enter and clear it. You can mitigate this problem partially by placing the PC in unique circumstances, but eventually this always raises the question of why they continue to be the lead even after those circumstances have passed: In IWD, your party alone survived and was in the isolated environment the only ones who really could do anything about the calamity they encountered, but among the bustling realms of PoE, why wouldn't your character be returned to their status as a caravan hand or whatever as soon as you're past your first hurdle? If there's some great quest to be accomplished, certainly it'd be better handled by someone more experienced -- unless there's something special about the player character.

 

Another advantage of giving the PC special powers is that this allows one to partially explain away why they go from getting beat up by rats to battling dragons in what is often only a space of some weeks or months -- though this does still usually leave the problem of why your companions are getting strong super fast, too. The Nameless One could be understood to be regaining skills they had learned in the past -- your Wisdom which was the main factor in recalling memories also afforded you with an XP bonus in line with this thinking -- but that didn't explain why Annah or Dak'kon were suddenly getting a lot tougher, too, even though they weren't really doing anything different from before. >_>

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Sure PCs should be special, but why does it have to be an inborn characteristic and not something achieved? Think about a lot of the really accomplished people from history, were they really imbued with something supernatural, or were they just a lot more ambitious, maniacally focused and luckier than their fellows?

 

Chosen one story lines are so played out. Maybe it worked for the Nameless One in PS:T, but I'm hoping for something different.

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Sure PCs should be special, but why does it have to be an inborn characteristic and not something achieved? Think about a lot of the really accomplished people from history, were they really imbued with something supernatural, or were they just a lot more ambitious, maniacally focused and luckier than their fellows?

 

Chosen one story lines are so played out. Maybe it worked for the Nameless One in PS:T, but I'm hoping for something different.

I wouldn't really call the Nameless One a 'chosen one' since to me, that implies a prophecy or a least a destiny to be the only one who can fight some great evil. In PS:T, the Nameless One is special not because of anything inborn or the hand or fate upon him but because he made a massive mistake in the past that he spends the whole game trying to fix.

 

In PE, 'The player witnesses an extraordinary and horrific supernatural event that thrusts them into a unique and difficult circumstance', which makes it sound like the player does get to have something special about them but it's just because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. I think that's a good compromise between being the chosen one, which is played out, while still having something special about the PC that explains why they are pursuing the main story and generally remain in charge.

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Sure PCs should be special, but why does it have to be an inborn characteristic and not something achieved? Think about a lot of the really accomplished people from history, were they really imbued with something supernatural, or were they just a lot more ambitious, maniacally focused and luckier than their fellows?

I did touch on this issue, and the answer is: Because that would make it the writers' character, not the player's. My one big gripe with JPRGs is that unlike WRPGs, they usually have a set protagonist the character of which the player doesn't get to choose. The grants the writers a lot more freedom, as they can imbue the PC with any personality they desire and thus sidestep the whole issue of character motivation: If the PC has a personal stake in the story, of course they'll follow through with it. However, this also means that the player is no longer an active (or as active) participant in telling the story; they simply prod it along in the path the writers have chosen.

Edited by Sad Panda
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Perhaps it will be a class down the line, after all. I get a Neverwinter 2-Ammon Jerro-vibe form it all - evil warlock researcher that's into souls and elements. Animancer could be something of the warlock of the PE universe.


*** "The words of someone who feels ever more the ent among saplings when playing CRPGs" ***

 

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It doesn't really sound like a class, it sounds like a field of study or research.  Something you do in a lab and could become a grand master of without ever even leaving the house.  Maybe it could be like an "NPC class" if you wanted to take it that road since it is all about study and experimentation but I don't really like that concept all that much. 

 

There might be Wizard parallels in that a Wizard could become a master Wizard purely through study too, but you could say the same thing about a Fighter who just never leaves the militia and spends every day in extreme training.  The telling difference is this... Animancy is performed and mastered in a Lab.  The stuff "classes" do can be performed and mastered anywhere.  That is the key difference.  I equate animancy far more to alchemy or painting than I do wizarding.

 

As far as uber special protagonist goes I don't get it.  Of course there is something special about the protagonist, if there was nothing special about you then you wouldn't be the protagonist you would just be some guy/girl in the game.  Napoleon wasn't born under some holy sign or whatever, but to say Napoleon wasn't a special person would be ludicrous.  Average Joe can't to the things that the truly stand out famous people of history did, and the famous people of history may not have been "destined" or whatever but they certainly had something about them that did make them special.  Else they would not have achieved the lasting fame they had.

Edited by Karkarov

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This discussion makes me want a non-magical animancer scholar class T-T a Loremaster~ a 100% out of combat class

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It doesn't really sound like a class, it sounds like a field of study or research.  Something you do in a lab and could become a grand master of without ever even leaving the house.  Maybe it could be like an "NPC class" if you wanted to take it that road since it is all about study and experimentation but I don't really like that concept all that much. 

I think Animancer sounds about as much as a field of study as Cipher, a class name I didn't like very much because it's a specific field of study, rather than a general class description. Both names are a bit more specific than the other classes, but cover scholarly areas. I think it would make more sense to have a Scholar class, with Animancer and Cipher sub-classes, or branches in the skill tree.

 

I get the feeling that Animancy is a specific field of "magic"/scientific research, similarly to how a Wizard's or Priest's magic are separate areas of research, and practical skill sets.

Edited by mstark
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"What if a mid-life crisis is just getting halfway through the game and realising you put all your points into the wrong skill tree?"

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The creatures advance upon you, their fanged jaws dripping blood and flesh, their wicked eyes glinting with feral hunger and rage. Their leader a massive black furred beast snaps the femur he was chewing on in half, and proceeds to swallow noisily while his forked tongues licks unspeakable slobber from his jaws. He spares you a glance full of evil intelligence and contempt, "FRESH MEAT!" He roars and his pack charges.

 

Animancer you won the initiative roll, what do you do?

 

Hmmm tricky, very well I infiltrate my way into the company of Lord Drennan through a few public showings of my work on revivification. The simple demonstration of how Souls react to copper wiring, a pair of magnets and a steady flow of steam powered electricity. A weeks showings at the colleges should be enough, along with a small investment of perhaps a hundred coins. As a prominent member of the Undying Society Drennan will grant me access to their work on subduing and stealing the Souls of these creatures, which will take perhaps a month of detailed study and preparation as I craft some manner of device that can affect them.

 

Thirty seven days later you rendevouz at the beasts cave to find them gone, a sign hangs on the wall saying: Gone Hunting.

Edited by Nonek
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Quite an experience to live in misery isn't it? That's what it is to be married with children.

I've seen things you people can't even imagine. Pearly Kings glittering on the Elephant and Castle, Morris Men dancing 'til the last light of midsummer. I watched Druid fires burning in the ruins of Stonehenge, and Yorkshiremen gurning for prizes. All these things will be lost in time, like alopecia on a skinhead. Time for tiffin.

 

Tea for the teapot!

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I think Animancer sounds about as much as a field of study as Cipher, a class name I didn't like very much because it's a specific field of study, rather than a general class description. Both names are a bit more specific than the other classes, but cover scholarly areas. I think it would make more sense to have a Scholar class, with Animancer and Cipher sub-classes, or branches in the skill tree.

 

I get the feeling that Animancy is a specific field of "magic"/scientific research, similarly to how a Wizard's or Priest's magic are separate areas of research, and practical skill sets.

I am basing my thoughts purely on Obsidian's in game lore explanations.  A "Cipher" in the real world is definitely someone who sits in some kind of computer lab all day doing stuff.  A Cipher in Eternity is some person who reads souls, can study soul essence on items, and can also use soul energy to light their weapon on fire and stab a guy to death.  Not something you necessarily need to be in a lab to do or practice.

 

By the strictest definition of the words everything is a field of study, including being a Fighter like I said.  But some fields of study can only be applied in a lab or a work environment, others can be applied pretty much anywhere.  Classes are fields of study that can be applied anywhere.

 

Thirty seven days later you rendevouz at the beasts cave to find them gone, a sign hangs on the wall saying: Gone Hunting.

Well played Mr. Nonek.  My point in a nutshell there.

Edited by Karkarov
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Scenario 2: A flustered animancer enters with am eye-catching canister on his back (like that for ectoplasm in Ghost Busters), howling "soul suck", only to unleash mayhem onto the unfortunate creatures. :w00t:

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*** "The words of someone who feels ever more the ent among saplings when playing CRPGs" ***

 

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