They tend to see right through us

22 Aug
Cults and new religious movements

Image via Wikipedia

Its been a while since I’ve participated in a Blog Azeroth Shared Topic.  Anea of Obeying the Muse brings us this week’s topic.  She’s asked:

How do you think your class is viewed/treated by NPCs?

This stemmed from a pondering about how my rogue might be viewed/treated by NPCs – after all, if someone calls you “roguish” it really usually isn’t a comment. Would a warlock be treated with a sneer? A priest/paladin with extra respect?

Might this depend on the NPC (a guard, a vendor, flight master, quest giver) and the circumstances?

Now I’m going to take this opportunity to dig up some shadow priest lore for you folks.  Wouldn’t you know, I’m a closet lore junkie.  Anyone know what Dranosh means?

The classes page on the official Blizzard website has this to say:

Priests are the masters of healing and preservation, restoring their wounded allies, shielding them in battle, and even resurrecting their fallen comrades. While they have a variety of protective and enhancement spells to bolster their allies, priests can also wreak terrible vengeance on their enemies, using the powers of shadow or holy light to destroy them. They are a diverse and powerful class, highly desirable in any group, capable of fulfilling multiple roles.

This really doesn’t go far enough into the nature of the class.  Beyond this, priests are the lorekeepers and arbiters of Warcraft.  In the traditions of the trolls, Witch Doctors are often priests–cultural icons worthy of fear and respect.  Sen’jin, friend of Thrall and leader of the Darkspear tribe, was a priest of much power.  All priests worship an aspect or deity relevant to their particular race.  As such, folks seek priests for guidance through tough times, and for rulings on matters of morality and higher power.

Where then does the tradition of the shadow fall into this paradigm?  While troll shadow hunters like Vol’jin seem to have many shadow priest-like powers, the true progenitors of the shadow are the Forsaken and their Cult of the Forgotten Shadow.  The faith recognizes the power of faith and discipline, and seeks power by swaying such beliefs.  

Discipline priests renew hope while shadow priests blast the mind with the grim reality and darkness of life.

In life a human priest might have warded an ally against fear, but in death a Forsaken priest focuses on the Existential scream that forces enemies to run in terror.

The nature of a priest’s shadow magic is psychological.  Understanding faith implies knowledge of the danger of having no belief at all.  Without strong belief, or by playing on doubt, a priest can even control the mind of a weak enemy.

As the Forsaken teach a need to constantly understand the light–to thwart it–it seems natural that the other races would discover and seek to understand this atheistic power of un-belief.  Shadow priests exist now across all priest races, and will even spread their numbers to a few new races in the Cataclysm.

So how do you react to such a being?  I’d posit that a shadow priest is something like a very well-respected lawyer or judge who, with their extreme understanding of the law, has turned to using its nuances and intricacies to gain power.

In a culture like that of the Forsaken, I expect such a turn would garner extreme respect.  The Forsaken believe life has played a cruel trick on them, and any cruel trickery they can return is completely justified.  Using the light cases extreme pain for undead priests, so a shadow priest’s understanding of it evidences much personal devotion.

Humans and dwarves, both people of strong beliefs and history, must have mixed feeling toward a priest of the shadow specialization.  While an obviously powerful ally, the priest’s flirtation with disloyalty to the light might call into question all their beliefs.  The more opportunistic humans may only see a source of power, but the stubborn Bronzebeard clan would expect such a cleric to earn trust.

Blood elves and Trolls, despite their history of bloody conflict, are both opportunistic, dualistic, and cutthroat–when the situation warrants it.  Here shadow priests would command significant respect as lorekeepers and leaders.  When your history is deceit, trickery, and re-interpretation of past misdeeds, who better to keep it than a priest of darkness?  Trolls fear and respect the Voodoo, and Blood elves are wise enough to show deference to their shadowy icons.

Nights elves draw priestly powers from Elune, the moon deity.  As a night goddess, exploiting fears and doubts might seem natural.  Nevertheless, I posit that priests of Darnassus are as out-of-place as warlocks in the orcish horde.  For the nocturnal elves, day is night and night is day.  Belief is strongest under the light of the moon.  Here, in relative darkness, the powers of doubt and shadow hold little cultural sway.  Nevertheless, despite Tyrande’s leaning toward the light, her power as a priest implies a significant understand of the shadows.  Such priests are certainly given at least mild deference to their mastery of a strange craft.

As for the gnome priests, shadow tauren, and goblins–we still have much to see about how they’ll play out.  There are examples of all three in-game already, but I leave them for you players to explore.


4 Responses to “They tend to see right through us”

  1. Typhron August 22, 2010 at 12:05 pm #

    Speaking of Shadow[Mage] Tauren, the ones from the Twilight Hammer. They have no characterization, though.

    And I still await the explanation of Gnome Priests. We have subtle hints of how every other race can, but in-so far there’s not much to go on for the gnomes. One would think that if they studied the Light, and the shadow of it, like any other form of magic they’d be able to hone their skills into something more.

    Or that goes to show that intense discipline is needed to become a Paladin. A silent way of fleshing out the lore a bit more. :v

    • calsong August 22, 2010 at 1:47 pm #

      In addition to the twilight hammer Tauren mentioned, I believe there are of the outcast Grimtotem clan. Perhaps they’ll play a larger role in the Cataclysm.

      On the other hand, there are already gnome priests in the game. I expect we’ll see this expounded upon in the Opp. Gnomeragon.

  2. Rickshaw September 27, 2010 at 10:00 am #

    sry for the super-lateness of the comment, i’m pretty sure Dranosh means screw you batman


  1. Shared Topic: How Your Class Is Viewed « Twisted Nether Blogcast - August 25, 2010

    […] Calsong of Mind Spike […]

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