Class Breakdown: The Deep Apiarist

The Deep Apiarist is one of the classes from Heart, our upcoming RPG. Check out the Kickstarter here.

THE DEEP APIARIST

Felix came up with the idea that the Apiarist could carry a smoker and huff on it to clear out their bees for a while; we’ve put it in the game, now. Also worth mentioning is that the iconic class art is an unmasked aelfir, presumably exiled from the City Above.

The Heart is a parasitic dimension – one of chaos and disorder that manifests as blood, and bone, and ever-changing boundaries. The Deep Apiarist is the antithesis of the Heart; both a vessel for and part of an otherworldly megaconsciousness called the Hive, a primordial force of order that takes the form of thousands upon thousands of glyph-marked Deep Bees. They keep the bees – in hives, and within their wax-filled bodies – and do their best to keep the Heart at bay.

CORE ABILITIES

The Deep Apiarist is a magical weirdo. Are most of the classes in Heart magical weirdos? Yes. But they take it to a new level, we’d like to think. Their core ability represents the fact that they’ve plumbed their mind into something otherworldly and terrible; at the start of every situation, they clear all stress from Mind as the Hive dissipates it through itself. However, they can never receive Mind protection, or remove stress from Mind in any way aside from using their core ability. Which makes them an interesting blend of fragile and sturdy; they don’t need to worry about going mad so long as they can catch their breath for a minute, but they can’t stop stress from coming in.

Also, crucially – and there aren’t rules for this bit, it’s just a thing that happens – every Deep Apiarist is partially filled with bees. You can take advances to give the bees specific powers and abilities, but as standard, at least one of your organs is a wax copy made and operated by the swarm.

ABILITIES

There are two main strands of ability in the Deep Apiarist class. Firstly, there’s the way that they’re the opposite of the Heart – we wanted to double down on the fact that the Hive is as otherworldly as the Heart Itself, and opposed to it, whilst being completely distinct from drow, humans, aelfir etc. This manifests as powers which let them control probability (making Risky or Dangerous actions safer) or just outright stating what they want to happen and, through clever manipulation of sufficiently advanced bee technology, making it so. Or maybe you want to tear through heartblooded creatures; the ANNIHILATION ability turns your body into a living engine of unchaos that burns away the Heart with a touch.

Secondly, there’s the way that they’re full of bees. (Obviously.) We toyed with the idea of giving them a Mind heal power by making honey in their chest cavity for a while but that’s too gross even for Heart; so instead they can choose to create sacrificial bees whose narcotic sting brings sweet oblivion. Or spread their consciousness out through the swarm, seeing through a hundred compound eyes. Or just set their bees on people.

ZENITH

The ultimate expressions of the Deep Apiarists’ power is crystallisation; to encase something of the Heart in unbreakable hexagonal mineral and leave it there forever. So you can do that, and permanently stop anything you don’t like, but the strain of manifesting means your consciousness is lost entirely within the Hive. Alternatively, if you’re tired of a haven misbehaving – being full of unpredictable people, shifting in position around the Heart, riven with internecine conflict – you can take it over and become its Queen, and watch it fall into perfect order. 

Or maybe you just become a swarm of occult bees and can never die.

INSPIRATIONS

Hello. My name is Grant Howitt and my favourite kind of monster is where you have lots of little monsters inside a larger monster. 

There’s something horrific about it. I first came across it in World of Darkness – there’s a monster which is a load of rats inside someone, and they fight magical extradimensional spiders, so you can see some overlap with our Order versus Chaos trope too. I would also like to give credit to The Secret World, which has extradimensional bees who fight… extradimensional dirt? Flies? It’s not entirely clear. No new ideas under the sun, anyway. 

The Deep Apiarists themselves originated in Black Magic, a sourcebook for Spire, in which they were an extra advance that any character could take (if they wanted to fill themselves full of bees). We were toying with making it a full class for a while but, as far as revolutionary efforts go, there’s not a lot of room for a buzzing weirdo whose primary job is to counteract the energies of the Heart. 

There’s a lot of room for that in Heart. So; we took what they had in Spire and extrapolated on it, widened it, tried to offer a bit of variety. Also, we wanted to underline the fact that the Hive isn’t benevolent (or malevolent) towards people in general – it’s an outsider, something that can only exist in very specific terms, and it craves structure and order. It uses Deep Apiarists like armoured personnel carriers on the front lines of a war, and one of the fun things about playing one is to toy with the divide between yourself and megaconsciousness you’ve become a part of.

You can learn more about Heart or order a copy through our Kickstarter page.

What’s weird about these goblins?

credit: Hammermancer image by Iguanamouth

1 They worship seagulls, after being caught at sea on a particularly treacherous voyage, and view them as pecky angels. The worship is not at all mutual and many of the dropping-caked goblins are blind in one or more eyes.

2 They love explosions. They were raised in a mine, turfed out by expansionist dwarves, and now they roam the countryside with a cartload of stolen dynamite and a grudge to settle. (They can hurl mining explosives, dealing moderate area damage, and they defend their cart with terrifying, chew-through-your-ankles zeal.)

3 They killed a first-level adventuring party, and have therefore levelled up. One of them is convinced he’s a cleric, another a wizard, a third a rogue, and so on. They all wear armour that’s far too big for them, but they can fight better than the average goblin.

4 They feed off insults thanks to an old fey pact. They’ll try to get people to swear at them or toss garbage their way, at which point they gain a handful of temporary hitpoints and maybe a bonus to hit for a round or two. To encourage insults, they dress as offensively as possible and like throwing turds at people.

5 They live inside a giant beehive full of giant bees, and they serve the queen. They paint themselves yellow and black in an attempt to fit in; this may or not not just be part of a ruse to steal some giant honey.

6 They’re not a joke; they’re anti-dwarf tunnel-fighters, trained to make improvised traps and lay ambushes. Their kind can see in total darkness, and they all inflict sneak attack damage as though they were rogues. (They’ll run like hell away from a fight, too, if it looks like they can’t win. Tracking them down is half the battle.)

7 A necromancer wove spells of undeath over the wrong graveyard, so now they’re skeletal goblins. Not much else has changed about them; they retain their mischievous nature, and often enjoy swapping heads or playing each other like xylophones as a gag.

8 They’re not interested in fighting, and are on a sort of fund-raising mission to get enough copper pieces to repair their dungeon roof, which has been leaking something awful. They’re doing okay so far, but they need a solid donation to ensure they can stay homed through winter.

9 They made off with a sizeable portion of a dragon’s hoard and are living like kings – and they’re clad in stolen magic armour that makes them hard to kill. They’re not the real threat, though, because the dragon can smell stolen gold, and she’s coming to get it back.

10 Devoid of morals and finding it easy to sneak up on people, the goblins have set up a sort of protection racket in the village; the inhabitants leave out food and drink for them on their back steps at night, and in exchange, the goblins keep them safe from low-level threats and non-goblin burglary. They’re not doing too bad a job of it, either.

Remnants is a series where Chris and Grant, the creative leads behind Rowan, Rook & Decard, create a fantasy world through the use of Dx tables. Because who has time to read a full setting book?

[REMNANTS] Once upon a time, when the dragon-kings ruled the aetherealms and the Witch-Queens fought grand duels over generations with arcana of unimaginable power, the worlds split apart. There was too much magic, and reality couldn’t bear the weight any longer. The otherworlds splintered apart like ships crashing against a shoreline; but the pieces remained, shards of reality, and they pierced the material realm. A thousand dimensions, all attached to various degrees, to the prime material: some forgotten, some overrun with new inhabitants, some spawning monstrous creatures into the world, and some ripe for plundering.