There are nine open professions within Avalon, with a few dozen guilds associated with one of the nine; and further specialist avenues to pursue once you have attained a certain mastery over your chosen profession (in most cases). Each profession is founded on certain precepts, with definitive aims/gamplay styles as ideal; each has its own distinct paradigm. The profession best suited for your character is one of its most important decisions and affects all aspects of your Avalon life. It should be chosen with care, to reflect how you desire to be, what effect you wish to have on the land - where your strengths lie.
To an extent, all non-pacifist professions can fight competently and an excellent Avalonian will push all professions to a level that would overmatch anyone mediocre. However, the paradigm for each profession becomes relevant when exploring the higher echelons and assuming a like-competent opponent some professions are better in combat than others; some better at self-sufficiency, some better in groups or against groups, some superior over a broad area, some edge towards defensive, some offensive, etc.
This, along with the mage, is Avalon's most ancient profession and remains its simplest to learn to a suitable level where your character will be able to fight competently and be an effective force in any larger canvas battle. The knight inflicts damage against all foes, if played properly, and its paradigms are those of strongarm, dogged pursuer of enemies, relentless strike frontline or city defender, etc. The profession lacks the subtlety of other combat-orientated skillsets but many find complexity a handicap to faster-achieved potency. and no profession will reach 'potent' earlier than the knight. The gameplay style, in combat, are: agility, damage inflicted, support par excellence, frontline soldier (rather than masterminding general) and resilience to restraint.
As one of Avalon's two oldest professions, the mage is the archetypcal magic user - employing the enchanted arts in both direct and subtle ways to achieve their ends, counterpoint to the ever-direct, simple but always effective strike-hard modus operandi of the knight. The mage paradigm is the cerebral combatante, working at weaving enchanted presence about a location or - more apposite - an area of locations; and through the enchanted rituals and music and magic spells and candescence they are able to tackle larger numbers of enemies than their counterparts. Planning often plays a role, when a mage is outnumbered, where other professions offer less scope for effective 'chessboarding' of one's magical influence.
It is oft-mistakenly concluded that the mage is a more stationary figure, and certainly when in defensive posture all prepared the mage is a more obviously formidable prospect in battle. But this mistake detracts from growing skilled at mobile offensive actions or celerity bringing whole regions under one's influence. In truth, the mage ought to be one of the most busy, ever-moving individuals on the battlefield. The gameplay styles are thoughtful but deadly combat, magic influence over larger areas, more obvious defence but more rewarding/effective mobile offence, fighting outnumbered and fighting clever rather than brutally direct.
This is one of Avalon's more complex professions insofar as the role ideals are mixed, attracting the peaceful supplier of citizens, shopkeeper/trader types through to violent, hardbitten defenders of the homeland aggressively flying about the land in chase of their goals. They deal in potions, runes, artifacts, enchanted items (like rings of invisibility), forged weapons and armour, locks and keys, runestaves and gem-empowered lorerobes. They specialise in mastery of the skies later in life, if deemed suitably constant to the profession. It is one of the most popular professions as it allows more freedom than most to develop a character, change its demeanour or gameplay approach; and remain an effective and integral individual.
The loremaster paradigm is long-lasting preparatory endeavour lays the foundation for dangerously effective defences and counterattacking. They have myriad defensive options; they can move through the skies with the greatest of ease; they can equip much of their own needs; they can easily make money and wield influence as a result. As a solely aggressive pursuer of a foe the loremaster is more an eroding influence than a deadly foe. The gameplay styles are good planning and preparation being key, invaluable contribution to city/alliances, to equipping self and others, to directing battleground over wider pre-prepared areas; to providing the decisive influence in otherwise irreconcilable group conflicts.
The most evil or self-centered of professions, the sorcerer, originated in Thakria but occasionally crops up elsewhere in the land. It is the profession of demon-summoning, of black spirits and black magic, of necromancy and vampyrism, shape-shifting and specialist thaumaturgy. The sorcerer paradigm is one of widespread, bloodthirsty violence inflicted on battlefield participants and the stay-at-home fight evaders alike. Sorcerers are incredibly mobile, possess of a hugely powerful first strike, have unfolding need for regular subtlety to colour and/or drive home the extreme violence and dastardly desire to slaughter. The gameplay styles are quick preparation, speedy collision with battlefield and immediate, devastating impact; slick pursuit, slippery in defence and oft-inviolate in death. They are iconic leaders in battle, lustful for glorious victory and tend to accept nothing less than a position of authority - directing soldiers, not obeying orders-from-above.
The most covert of professions, and generally the least demanding on its members to pursue a specific outlook or set of ideals; the thief is the master of subterfuge, the burglar, the cloaked assassin, jack-of-many-traders and scoffer at the intellectualism of the magic user. The thief paradigm is combat on one's own terms: the thief is able to slip about the land, difficult to detect, able to choose the moment of first strike - ambush being an extremely useful and oft-fatal approach. They are difficult to pin down, masters of traps and tricks, poisoners extraordinaire as well as fine archers and wielders of deft weapons. They move fast but rely on intimate knowledge of the land, uncovering secret ways and means where others fumble in the dark.
The profession's gameplay styles include fast-paced burglar evading direct combat alongside covert assassin striking with speed to achieve deadly ends; shadow dwellers poised for the right moment or, if discovered and pursued, as difficult to restrain (in order to hit back) as the wind.
This is Avalon's most enigmatic profession and the only one to present its most renowned exponents with a fork-in-the-road choice relatively late in their Avalon careers, a choice that defines their specialist area of influence at the expense of other aspects of their seer skillset. The seer is the wielder of curses and blessins, the voodoo practitioner, the user of the seeing stone with a stealthy undertone and charmed existence. Later specialisation diverges the professionals between those who retain broad competence in all areas, those who pursue the mystic truths, building-blocks of life and living things; and those who abandon the solely human world in favour of the ethereal winds wherein they become a force of awesome influence and power capable of affecting entire swathes of the continent for good or ill.
The paradigm seer is the secretive, elusive, gradual gatherer of information and powerbase - spreading a web of deep sight about the land and patiently moulding the mystic and fatalist ways to gradual but inevitable victory. The gameplay styles for the pre-specialist seer is the patient fighter (calmly instilling fear), the fortune teller or the solitary watcher through their seeing stones; combat being a matter of building affinities, moulding voodoo dolls, retaining proximity to enemies and weathering damage inflicted as mysticism slowly builds towards its fatal rubicon; beyond which the seer turns tables from defender to slayer in a single thought.
Gameplay styles become differ widely for the specialist mystic: creation of life, gathering of affinities and observations, subtle manipulation of events and individuals to achieve incredible goals. For the oracle - dweller in the ethereal winds - it is a weird-and-wonderful existence blending the need for preparation (spreading ether to empower, working seeing stone to expand sphere of influence) with the ability to gather the proto-elemental ether in supercharged strikes affecting entire regions. No profession sees more than the aptly named Seer character class.
Dwellers in the forest or the wildlands of Avalon, the ranger is often disassociated with the cut-and-thrust of city politics; not obliged to join the land's politics directly but preferring to defend the homeland (Greenwood or Grey Forest as gathering points) solitary or in small packs. They are masters of the forests, of falconry and the bearform, archers-extraordinare and - though they shun traditional magic - practice their own brand of paranormal empathy using the natural world as their canvas. The ranger specialist develops such close affinity with the forests that some can coalesce with the forests themselves, blending souls and summoning superhuman effects as an entire woodland is roused to do the ranger's bidding.
The paradigm ranger is the lone or very small group combatante, defending substance rather than bullying bloodthirsty, wielding bow and claw and an arsenal of natural and supernatural aids to achieve those ends. The gameplay styles are twofold: outside of the forest as strong fighters - shape changers - self-reliant and stealthy; then within the forests (especially those with whom a close affinity is developed) is Ranger becomes a defender of the faith, one-person commanding legions of dryads, trees, birds, ents - fast moving, difficult to restrain. The forest soulmate is the summit of sylvan empathy and within their domains, this Ranger is a one-man army. The Ranger nurtures and tends the woodland from whence comes his/her strength, encouraging a deep-rooted love of the paths seldom trodden and an outlook anchored to the earth and potentially every bit as resilient.
Renowned as Avalon's most complex profession to master, since the diversity of options during combat - the choices and actions that will determine the outcome of a conflict - are unparalleled and ever-necessary. The bard is a master of song enchantments, of dramatic effect, of disguise and manipulation, of voice of command, of powerful musicianship. They rely on sight and sound to be effective. The bard paradigm is the defensive posture, to prolong the battlefield action; or if circumstances are moulded correctly flipping instantly defence to attack, to overwhelm an enemy. They are strong against all other professions, though the more complex the opposing profession the more relatively effective the bard.
The gameplay styles are fastidious fighters, probing and jabbing (metaphorically) until a weakness is exposed, sliding unpredictable post-hypnotic suggestions to turn an opponents own actions against himself; and then once the opening is made, a floodgate effect as the Bard unloads the full arsenal at his/her disposal. Results tend to be fatal. Bards fight well alone or in groups, solitary cunning or supporting roles fit equally well. No non-pacifist profession, for instance, has a single round healing potential to match the Bard. Advanced professionals are able to resonate accords and dischords that interact with the very building blocks of shape and form in a difficult but potentially formidable way able to impose on whole regions and a multitude of enemies at the same time.
This is Avalon's only pacifist profession, though there are periodically rogues whose actions defy the design of Gods and try to turn the skills to violent use. They seldom last long. The druid profession, centered around the Guild of Animists, are usually forest-dwellers and develop both a spiritual and a naturalist eminence. Their paradigm is the protector of the weak, the altruist, the defender of the defenceless - the arbitrator, the supplier and saviour of those in need. It is a profession tends to attract questors, diplomats, solitary naturalists and social-first types. It has access to some of the most powerful abilities in Avalon but also some of the most restrictive guidelines to guide their use. As a non-combat profession its role in battle has no gameplay style because there is no precedent. Those who occasionally become involved in the maelstrom tend to take on a healing and separating-antagonists role. This is not always welcomed by the bloodthirsty belligerents.