Considered the lowest of the castes, Naru perform for the amusement of others. The Naru provide all the city's entertainment; prostitution, gambling, dancing, musicians, gladiators, illusionists, and acrobats. This seemingly mundane and whimsical caste is actually the most corrupt and wicked. By nature of their craft, actors, prostitutes, and acrobats make great spies, assassins, and thieves. The Naru guild prides itself on having political dirt on everyone. They use this information to blackmail, garner favors and destroy reputations and are willing to sell it. While Naru can be found almost anywhere, most are found among the hustle and bustle of the larger cities; where audiences are larger and work more plentiful. Entertainment guilds act as both schools and employment agencies. They control all the venues in a city and its virtually impossible for a Naru to work outside of the guild's influence. The rich tolerate the criminal activity of the guild as long as it stays in its designated areas because the services it can provide are very valuable. Many a lord has had need of information on a rival, a discreet theft, or assassination. The Naru also run the legitimate theaters, games, and circuses that provide distraction to the slave masses and keep them too occupied to rebel. Despite being of low caste, Naru are a proud lot. There's a solidarity that comes from being at the bottom, a sort of honor among thieves and fellow Naru will always show one another respect. Despite their social ranking, many Naru can attain high levels of popularity and desirability. A champion prize fighter, famous musician, concubine to a king may all live in relative splendor. They do what they must to survive and live life to its fullest, one day at a time. Naru gain a +1 caste bonus to one of the following Aptitude scores: Influence or Agility.
The Lagaru are alchemists, herbalists, surgeons and general maintainers of the public health. A Lagaru can diagnose injuries, stabilize dying patients, cure diseases and neutralize poisons. They can also make salves, pills and potions that can be taken on journeys. Most cities have a Lagaru guild, which acts as a centralized hospital, as well as a school of medicine. Lagaru are taught to show a great reverence for life. Having taken an oath to never take a sentient life, and forbade the use of "lethal" weapons, Lagaru enjoy a rare trust and acceptance by just about everyone. The childhood of a Lagaru is spent tending the herb gardens, cleaning patient rooms or assisting a Lagaru-gal (Master healer). After a proper education has been attained, and a student can prove their knowledge of healing techniques before their peers, they are allowed to leave the guild campus. However, the guilds are very protective of their possessions and keep the new Lagaru on a short leash. They are required to log in a certain number of days per month treating patients in the guild hospital, though, they may forego this responsibility for a monthly fee. Lagaru may also open their own private medical clinic in the city, but must tithe 10% of their profits to the guild. Lagaru are forbidden from practicing medicine outside their patron city unless sanctioned by the guild. The guild may from time to time send Lagaru to help other cities; if it suites them politically or if they are being paid to do so. They may even coordinate with other castes on missions of mutual concern/benefit where a healer is needed. A specialized sect of the Lagaru; called the "shields of Ningishzidda" are specifically trained to tend to the wounded during combat. They are permitted to wear armor, carry shields and even use light weaponry in defense of the wounded. Their oath is to never harm or allow harm to come to a wounded patient. They may kill an enemy in defense of themselves or a patient, but may never initiate attack and must always give quarter when asked. Any breach of this etiquette is punishable by death. Lagaru characters receive a +1 caste bonus to one of the following Aptitude scores: Intellect or Agility.
Garradum, called Gardu for short, are professional soldiers. They can be of any species, though naturally they tend to be of the more rough and tumble stock. Taken from their mothers and baptized in blood, Gardu spend their entire childhoods exposed to harsh living conditions, and physical training. They are subjected to a very strict code of laws, and young Gardu receive beatings for the slightest infraction. Kept on the brink of starvation, young Gardu are forced to take from others to supplement their diet. This helps to establish a pecking order among the soldiers that may later coalesce into command opportunities. Upon coming of age, adult Gardu are given increased rations and more freedoms. They may leave the guild barracks and acquire their own house in the city, though they must attend monthly guild meetings and training days. A Gardu may never leave their patron city without permission from the guild. Should the city be attacked and they were not there to defend it, this would be a serious infraction.
Each city-state has its own standing army, which is supplied by a Garradum guild, which in turn is funded and commanded by its patron deity. Garradum are trained to value loyalty and duty to their guild and its patron, above their own life. The primary function of a Garradum is to enforce their patron's will among the people, guard cities and mining facilities and to settle godly disputes. The Garradum guilds are very political and patrons often use them as leverage in negotiations. If it serves the interests of the guild; a Gardu may be called upon to perform assassinations, guard covert interests or obtain coveted items by force. There's always sword work to be done! Garradum receive a +1 bonus to their choice of either Brawn or Perception Aptitudes.
Students of the metaphysical arts, Irhandi spend years under a guild master learning to meditate, heighten senses, and control their mind and body. Irhandi are picked from those children that exhibit the presence of supernatural ability. They learn about spirits and other-worldly dimensions. Irhandi spend their entire lives learning how to open a doorway between this plane and the spirit world. They become desensitized to the unearthly horrors that populate the cosmic ether. They learn the responsibility one must accept when being trusted with sacred knowledge of the cosmos. Officially, the Irhandi exist to provide spiritual services to the common people such as funeral rites, exorcisms, and communion with the dead. However, the wise have long known that the true reason for training Lu-ki Irhandi is to keep their powers under the influence of the Dingir. The greatest opposition to the Irhandi guilds are racist Nibru-ene, who believe it blasphemous to allow such "Lulu" to possess psionic powers at all. Even Nibru-ene who support equality tend to hold Irhandi to a high standard, lest they risk criticism. Hoping to prove themselves, many Irhandi are eager to enforce the will of the Dingir, even at the expense of their fellow Lu-ki. As a result of this balancing act of loyalty, Irhandi have earned an untrustworthy reputation. Though the guilds obediently comply with government mandates, there are a few Irhandi who belong to a secret school of thought that believes in the freedom and equality of all Lu-ki. They secretly strive to gain knowledge and equipment in preparation for a revolution against the Nibru-ene. The rumored existence of these secret groups is a leading reason why some Nibru-ene want to outlaw the Irhandi altogether. Though they must be born with innate psionic ability, Irhandi spend their whole lives honing their abilities through meditation and repetition. Therefore, their powers are "skills" in the strictest sense, and are treated as such during game play. Since all Irhandi skills are based on their Spirit Aptitude, at character creation, the Irhandi player will receive a +1 bonus to their Spirit Aptitude.
Mechanics, smithies, tinkers, and engineers; the Shidim are trained to build and service the machines that keep civilization running. In the beginning, they were little more than slaves, who were forced to take up the slack of the striking alien workforce, by servicing the very machines and robots that helped to enslave their people. But with Anu's decree that the entire workforce of Ki should be made up of Lu-ki, these "helpers" soon took on a much larger role. Their skills allow them to build and repair weapons, armor, batteries, light bulbs, radios, pumps and motors. At higher circles of ability Shidim can even create ray guns, robots, vimana, and manna! Many Nibru-ene, ofcourse, feel that technology should stay in the hands of the elite. So, the Guilds of Nibiru censor the curriculum of Shidim guilds on Ki, omitting any knowledge that would allow them to become too independent. This keeps the Shidim on par with an early industrial, mechanical level of technology. There is a small but growing pro-Lu-ki agenda attempting to put more high tech knowledge in the hands of the Lu-ki, but there is an equally fervent opposition interested in re-affirming the Lu-ki's "place" at the feet of the Nibru-ene. The Shidim guilds are rife with political intrigue. As a result, the guilds have imposed strict codes, making it a crime punishable by death; to divulge guild secrets to outsiders. Some Shidim guilds even refuse to trade with one another. At any rate, Shidim guilds usually impose a city-wide monopoly on the sale and trade of all technical goods, as this is very lucrative for the guild's patrons. Shidim player characters receive a +1 bonus to either their Intellect or Brawn Aptitude score at character creation (player's choice).
Their name means: "Barbarian", an indication of their uncivilized nature. Barbaru usually come from nomadic peoples, who have chosen to live their lives far away from the dependent, sedentary lifestyles of the cities. They have become well adapted to living in the wild, and are experts at hunting, tracking and survival. They make excellent scouts, and are second only to Garradum in their combat ability. After the great flood, those who wanted to survive had to learn quickly how to adapt to an un-tamed world full of dangers. Those who didn't, fell prey to natural selection. There is safety in numbers, so the survivors formed small bands, which later became nomadic tribes. Fearful of losing their new found independence, most tribes stay away from the cities, and are generally hostile towards any Nibru-ene encountered in the wild. Barbaru value freedom above all else, and are distrusting of anyone who would seek to control the will of another. Since the gods have returned to Ki, there have been several attempts to re-appropriate their "property" from the wild. Many Nibru-ene still see the nomadic tribes as delinquent workers. In a time of rebuilding, with gold quotas soaring ever higher, some mining companies have funded search, and capture missions. Though they live together in the wild, not all the tribes get along with each other. They are fiercely territorial, and there is much warring and competition over resources. Because of their lack of cooperation, the Dingir don't consider these wild tribes to be of any real threat. In fact, one might wonder if the gods themselves took a role in undermining tribal solidarity to serve their own means. Recently, new laws granting more autonomy to the Lu-ki species have convinced some nomadic tribesmen to venture into cities; looking to hire themselves out as scouts or huntsmen. The insatiable need of the Nibru-ene to rediscover pre-flood assets as well as new resources, has created a need for this new profession.
The Dubsar was the first profession privileged enough to be allowed in the court of the Dingir. They serve as liaisons between the Lu-ki and their creators. As such, Dubsar are given privileged information. Dubsar are the only caste allowed to read and write the languages of the Nibru-ene; Eme-gir or "common tongue", and Eme-sal "fine tongue". They are also taught complex mathematics for keeping track of time, shipments and expenditures. Dubsar are given authority to help govern the actions of the Lu-ki population; passing down laws, speaking on behalf of the Dingir, recording important events or preserving knowledge meant to guide man's evolution. Though Dubsar may hold positions of relative power, they are not considered equals by their masters. Their familiarity can cause a precarious relationship, and one must be careful not to overstep their boundaries. Though Dubsar serve an important role and are widely appreciated, there are some who distrust their special relationship. Knowledge is power and the gods would rather limit that knowledge to a controlled few. Thus, it is a crime punishable by death; for a Dubsar to teach any non-Dubsar how to read or write. While the general public makes due using pictograms and sign language, the unique knowledge of the Dubsar has made them indispensable in virtually all formal transactions. Dubsar keep records, recite law, make maps, draw blue prints, keep time, and observe planetary movements. Dubsar receive a +1 bonus to one of the following Aptitudes: Intelligence or Influence.
ANKUR is a "class-based" role-playing game that uses a caste system to divide the player characters by profession. Realistically, most societies of antiquity used a caste system, so it made sense to us it in the ANKUR game world. A character's caste is more than just their profession, its their social standing within the game world, a fraternity of peers and the foundation of their morals and beliefs. All characters are taken from their parents at age 7 or 8 by a scribal official or village elder known as a "Sheshgal" or "Selector", and handed over to the selected caste guild house for life path training. This is known as "Zusik", the "plucking time". Before departure, the child undergoes a ritual of aptitude tests and symbolism called "Ngir-kur-dab"; meaning: "to take the unfamiliar path".
Once at their destined guild, they spend the next ten years apprenticing in their trade. More than just a profession, the character's caste becomes a way of life, forming lasting impressions both physically and mentally. Caste guilds focus on comradeship and loyalty to the guild, the city-state and patron deity. In many cases generations of family members serve in the same caste, carrying on family traditions and honor. "The caste makes the man". Rather than having minimum aptitude requirements for character classes, each caste gives aptitude modifiers based on the caste's primary functions. Characters train their entire lives to perform a specific skills set and are molded by their activities. They become suited to their tasks. Soldiers tend to be stronger, Scribes tend to become more intelligent etc.
ANKUR doesn't use class-based "Levels", rather, a character's skills are measured in levels called skill circles. There are nine circles of ability one can attain in a skill. Each circle increases the probability of success. There are no "multi-class" options in ANKUR, but any character may learn any simple skill (inter or outer caste related) by a specific set of trial & error rules. Changing castes altogether is almost unimaginable due to the high emphasis placed on loyalty, but can be done if a player desires a change. In this case, all previous caste skills will be reduced in ability by half. "If you don't use it, you lose it". The first circle of ability in all new caste skills will cost double experience points to purchase, but thereafter, costs return to normal. This simulates a period of unfamiliarity while trying to grasp new concepts.
Each caste receives a +1 bonus to a caste appropriate Aptitude. Players are given two choices of Aptitudes to pick from. Each Aptitude option exemplifies a different aspect of the same caste. This is a one-time bonus chosen at character creation and is not available to characters who change castes.