Who are the Soul Raiders ?
The Soul Raiders is an ancestral order founded over a thousand years ago, when the various civilisations of Kyvros were just starting to blossom. It was created to stop a dire threat engulfing this world, as mighty warrior-mages from all kingdoms banded together and fought for its survival.
Nowadays, nobody outside this millennial order remembers the reasons for its creation, and the sacrifices that followed…
Eneko, Soul Raider. Art by Magali Villeneuve
They took upon their shoulders to become humanity’s neutral custodians, never mingling in politics and embracing a life of adventure. Their goal is to protect the world from the evil spirits lying beyond the Veil, who constantly try sneak in and wreak havoc on humanity’s kingdoms.
Over the centuries, the order slowly dwindled and the Soul Raider’s origins got lost in time. These powerful beings are still respected by kings and queens alike, but it is likely out of fear for their control of magical energies rather than the actual purpose of their derelict order.
Zia, Soul Raider. Art by Magali Villeneuve
Only exceptional beings are admitted into the ranks of the Soul Raiders, humans with high potential whose bodies and minds have been honed to perfection through a long and challenging training. Over their lifetimes, they will learn to master the instinctive magic bestowed to them through an ancient ritual.
Adonis, Soul Raider. Art by Magali Villeneuve
As spiritual as they are war-like, the Soul Raiders have attained a higher level of consciousness. A group of Soul raiders knows how to work in harmony towards a unique, focused, purpose; they do not even need to see or talk with each other to act as one powerful and deadly entity.
Maïder, Soul Raider. Art by Magali Villeneuve
Masters of the order roams the lands and seas both to defeat evil spirits and find the exceptional young souls that could be turned into new members. They take them as apprentices until they are ready for their intronisation, at which point they are already powerful enough to best the mightiest warriors of the kingdoms.
Born on a small island in the kingdom of Azkarrak, Eneko’s world was turned upside down when its main volcano erupted, razing half his birthplace and killing his mother. His father, a powerful member of the Navigator’s guild, was nowhere to be seen… A friend of the family took the young Eneko to a local lord settled in the lowlands of the kingdom, and placed him in his custody.
As he grew up between the tall walls of lord Morwilbor’s castle, Eneko became acquainted with a mysterious traveler that came and went as she pleased on the lord’s property. Wielding the Soul Raider’s sigil — a gauntlet holding two lightning bolts — this woman named Hedda quickly grasped Eneko’s potential, and asked Morwilbor to provide to the young man the best martial and scholar education that this kingdom could provide.
When he reached adulthood, Eneko decided to follow Hedda and learn the ways of the Soul Raiders. Strong-willed and dedicated, they roamed the kingdom to send spectres back beyond the Veil – where they belonged. As the years passed, these spirits grew in number and ferocity, tearing the veil between worlds more and more often, a fact that concerned Hedda greatly.
One day, the Grand Master Recruiter summoned the whole order to their ancient sanctuary in order to initiate the next generation of Soul Raiders. This would be the chance for Eneko and other apprentices from all over the five kingdoms to practice the rituel granting them a unique instinctive magic – bestowed on them by the elemental water spirit Nymphea.
Once this is done, they will renounce their past lives and aspirations for the mundane world to fully embrace their destinies as mighty Soul Raiders…
Eneko has a straightforward personality, going into challenges head-first and trusting his own skills against all odds. Even for a Soul Raider, he is exceptionally strong and has saved his master more than once thanks to his impressive might. An excellent swordsman, he is nonetheless an astute scholar and knows how to keep a cool head to analyze situations, making the most of the dire circumstances he often ends up in.
In terms of gameplay, this translates in a bonus towards the Strength and Precision actions that the Soul Raiders might have to perform in the different chapters of the story. Compared to the other Soul Raiders, he also has the most offensive set of spells at his disposal, like conjured arrows and fireballs, to quickly dispatch the threats that his group might face during their adventures.
Zia’s fingers danced deftly over the articulations of a lifeless puppet. The puppet might have been a shepherd once… Or perhaps a hunter, with a mustache like those worn by the local men. It had taken her some time to realize that the mass of tangled threads and broken wood that the little boy had brought her had once stood on two legs.
“He’s in pretty bad shape,” she remarked. The boy’s eyes welled with tears. With a wavering voice, he said,
“The other children… They took it from me, and they broke it. Please, ma’am, before you go… You helped everyone else…”
She didn’t need to hear any more. She unshouldered the enormous bundle she was carrying, letting it slip to the ground. She sat down cross-legged on the floor and went to work. The puppet was laid out akimbo on the floor, its shattered limbs splayed out expertly before her, as she patiently untangled the threads that connected it to the cross-bar. Zia had acquired a certain talent for repairing complex things; she had cut her teeth on the locks that filled her family’s workshop. Repairing a toy was child’s play for her. Though the mechanics of this puppet were simple, it had been carved with an astonishing attention to detail: the puppet’s tunic was teeming with accessories, and the mustache had been whittled from the wood.
“It’s almost done,” breathed the boy from behind her, almost as if in prayer.
Dusk fell. Zia rose, gripping the cross-bar in one hand. The strings pulled taut, snapping the puppet to its feet.
A grin crept across the shepherd-hunter’s painted face. A wild grin. Menacing. Ravenous. What had once been a mustache now wrapped grotesquely around both sides of its head like a pair of tentacles. Instead of arms, two sharp blades wriggled at the puppet’s sides.
“Yes!” crowed a ghastly voice that had been the child’s, which now emanated from the puppet.
The little boy behind her had vanished.
Zia unleashed the spell she had been crafting all along. Flashes of lightning spurted from the young woman’s outstretched hand and crackled down the puppet’s strings. The wood burst into flames, which curled up around the sinister doll’s face.
“Now, show yourself!” ordered Zia, in an almost weary voice.
She sent another intense burst of lightning down the strings, splintering the toy into a million pieces. The wraith fled the puppet, swirling with rage and frustration before the Soul Raider.
“How did you know?”
Without taking her eyes off the malevolent cloud, Zia leaned down toward her bundle and calmly unwrapped a magnificent sword.
“Don’t worry,” she replied. “It’ll be over in the blink of an eye.”
Zia is quick to think and act, combining a sharp and logical mind to uncanny reflexes. It makes her a perfect puzzle-solver, both on an intellectual and manual level, capable of executing very precise tasks. Her sharpness of mind also gives her an edge in most social interactions. While her natural kindness inclines her to help others at every opportunity she gets, if trouble arises she can turn into a deadly whirlwind of steel in a heartbeat.
These traits are reflected in the game by her bonuses to any Precision and Persuasion actions. She has a set of spells that tends to facilitate her party’s progression in the chapter: her Lightning bolts allows her to remove several enemies slowing down the heroes with a single burst of energy, Foresight provides a a sneak peek into any location of the chapter for the whole group, and Velocity helps her to get there quickly. Fast as lightning!
From beneath his vile mask, the exhausted cult master spat out an order.
“Kill that rat!”
He pointed back towards the long hallway he had just emerged from to take refuge with his followers.
His disciples immediately drew their twisted daggers. They would obey him, of course; that was all they were capable of. But that didn’t keep them from casting nervous glances whenever a flickering candle cast a shadow against a wall.
A small phalanx lined up as best it could in front of the one and only door to the ritual room, ready to plunge headlong into the dark corridor, from which echoes of plaintive moans and clashes of battle could be heard.
Their master may have known what threatened them, but he kept it to himself. He just shouted out orders.
“Out! Everybody out! I want his head!”
As if to obey, the lock on the door began to rattle. The bolt let out a creak. The handle started to turn.
The worshippers looked around at each other, confused. Behind them, their master’s expression suddenly transformed from anger to terror.
“No! Close the door! Quickly!”
One of the faithful obeyed and threw himself at the heavy metal door that was already half-open to the shadowy darkness of the hallway.
There was nobody there.
Then, with a cacophonous clap of thunder, the door burst open.
For a split second, lightning itself seemed to have joined in the ceremony. When the eyes of the cult master and his goons finally recovered, they found the charred skeleton of the believer still clinging to the door handle. The entrance now gaped open like a wound.
“It’s too late for the door,” proclaimed a young, laughing, disembodied voice. “As for my head, go on… You’ve still got a chance, if you can find it.”
“Soul raider!” bellowed the master, in the direction the sarcasm appeared to be coming from. “You survived for naught! I will offer your entrails as a sacrifice!”
Instead of a reply, two heads suddenly became detached from their necks… Those of two worshippers who were standing behind their master, several meters from the source of the voice.
The unseen enemy had just crossed half of the room in the blink of an eye.
“Adonis!” replied the voice, firmly. “That’s my name. And yes, there are still a few of us Soul Raiders standing our ground.”
The cult master whirled around, let out a cry, raised the sword he was grasping tightly and carved at the air in fury and desperation.
This time, he saw the blade. A span of steel, still glistening from the effect of the electric spell, materialized and parried his attack. Above him, a second blade sprang from the shadows–straight, glittering, and ready to fall. The space between the two swords became blurred, and then the blur coalesced into a figure. The coppery sheen of armor took form. Long blond hair rippled in the darkness. The wide smile that could now clearly be seen before the master appeared to be almost friendly.
But above it gleamed two implacable eyes.
The second blade came crashing down before the congregation could react. The master had one final insult on the tip of his tongue, but he didn’t have time to share it with the Soul Raider before the blade split open his skull and the golden mask that covered his face. The lifeless body sank to the floor. With a deft movement, the blond warrior grabbed the key that hung around his victim’s blood-spattered neck.
Adonis, now almost overly conspicuous in his brown and gold garb, gestured with his blade still in his hand.
“In the end,” he shouted to the dazed worshippers as a magic portal opened up behind him, “you’re nothing more than puppets.”
Adonis is a young and brazen Soul Raider, able to get himself out of any inextricable situation… In which he loves to get himself into. Very intuitive, he is able to assess the circumstances in the blink of an eye, and play his cards accordingly. He favors agility over strength, even if he doesn’t lack firepower if need be. He certainly knows his worth, and will demonstrate it fiercely to his enemies!
In terms of gameplay, he benefits from bonuses on Perception and Strength actions. He uses his magic arsenal to strike from unexpected angles: Teleport, Transfer, and a second Teleportation Portal in his base deck allows him to disappear and appear in faraway locations, either as a lone wolf or by coordinating with the other heroes. Nowhere and everywhere at the same time!
The wizened scholar clung to the solid railing of the marble staircase, leaving a trail of blood behind him as he limped heavily along. A bit of courage and a lot of adrenaline helped dull the pain that radiated through his body from the wounds on his thigh and his side, which had been badly burned. His scrawny erudite’s body had suffered badly, and his muscles refused to obey him.
At the bottom of the steps, the courtyard he had spent so many hours pacing in meditation was now overrun by a swarm of terrifying creatures that had overpowered his brothers in arms, just in front of the chambers belonging to the master Soul Raiders.
Maybe he would get there in time.
The Sanctuary’s guardian hadn’t activated the defenses, and he needed to know why.
The old man mustered all his strength and dragged himself halfway to the entrance without stumbling again, narrowly avoiding the rain arrows fired by riders on monstrous flying mounts, stepping over the disemboweled corpses that littered the ground. His companions fought fiercely and hardly noticed him go by. When he was just a few steps from his goal, he turned his head and blanched, suddenly realizing that he was done for.
A hooded figure stood at the top of the stairs, flashing a malicious smile. Fresh blood dripped from his dagger. He was surrounded by skulking shadows… Fanged shadows…
The scholar stumbled. The charred books he clutched to his chest were scattered across the polished stone floor that reflected the pale morning light.
As he lifted his head, he saw the assassin’s gaze focus on something behind him. Or rather, someone.
A tall, slender woman had emerged from the fracas of the battle. Her confident stance betrayed not a hint of fear or dread. She made her way to the old man in a single leap. He held out one of the slightly singed books to her.
“Find the scepter,” he whispered. With a final burst of energy, he conjured up a potion that floated in the palm of his other hand.
“My name is Maïder,” she said, seizing the two objects. “You can count on me.”
Across the courtyard, at the top of the stairs, the assassin suddenly seethed with rage. The two shadows that flanked him raced forward with astonishing speed. Maïder turned to face them. The scholar’s nearly-closed eyes could now make out the golden shield slung across her back.
The wraiths struck.
Maïder spurted blood.
Suddenly, the potion transformed into a glowing stream of pure energy. It rippled along the warrior’s spine, forming a web that outlined her every muscle, flowing towards the wounds that the creatures had just inflicted. Sinews of light knitted her skin closed and healed her wounds. When the spell broke, there was nary a sign of her injuries.
“Come on,” Maïder taunted the wraiths in a low voice, as she slipped her left arm into her shield. “I’ll send you back to a world without shadows.”
The wraiths clashed against her shield in a conflagration, as if they had collided with the sun.
After the light had faded, all that remained of the ectoplasm was a wisp of gray vapor that floated away on the wind.
“Well played. But the game ends now!” the assassin cried in a loud voice. “Let’s see what other tricks your masters have taught you!”
As he moved down the steps in her direction, Maïder threw herself into the fray.
With his dying breath, the old scholar thought to himself that perhaps all was not lost…
Maïder is a very strong and combative Soul Raider, who makes it her duty to protect those in need.
These traits are reflected in the game by her bonuses to any Persuasion and Perception actions. She has a set of spells that will allow her to heal, charm, lower the threat level, and make sure her party can move unharmed.