A delver is someone who heads off into the wilds between the civilized region with the purpose of bringing back ancient artifacts or treasure. Most player characters in Aversill are delvers.
How Delvers See Themselves
Delvers are inclined to think of themselves as a varied lot of individuals who head off into the great unknown for many different purposes. Perhaps they go for riches. Perhaps they go to right a wrong, or even to become part of the mysterious world that they believe to be out there. It is clear to all that things are different off the beaten path. A delver decides, for one reason or another to go out there and become part of that different world.
Delvers often see themselves as involved in grand dramas, and even in plots that threaten all of Western Allusia. Delvers occasionally believe themselves to be part of larger stories told by the Gods about the race of men (or elves or dwarves). Some delvers see themselves as grand villains, able to bring about the destruction of their enemies. The presence of larger narratives is not uncommon among the crew so that most delvers are fairly pathological in their view of themselves or their code of behavior.
Why? Because that’s the way the world beyond civilization is. It’s full of creatures that are plotting horrible schemes and magical places that are able to raise mere mortals up in potency until they are able to rival even the gods. That’s what’s out there, and delvers go out into it.
How Others See Delvers
Try to understand this from the point of view of a town merchant. A delver comes back from out beyond the fence. He has a bag of weird items. Some of them work. Some of them don’t. He tells you crazy stories about how he got the items. He references places you have never heard of and monsters you don’t believe in. His proof of these ‘adventures’ is always a bit shady. Supposedly, there’s this huge plot going on, and it doesn’t make much sense and the only person who really has seen any of it is the delver himself. The stories of his physical, martial, or magical prowess are simply beyond anything you, yourself, have ever seen, or can even believe (“so, you killed a giant, is what you’re saying”). The tales are bombastic, and he’s a braggart, or worse, deluded. And what’s even worse than that is that he’s sick or half crazy with something he’s calling a curse. What do you really believe about this guy?
Surely, he’s seen something. He’s got lots of gold and things like that. He’s also got a bag of trinkets to sell and, while half of them don’t work, the other half clearly are magical. He may not have the skills he claims to have, but he clearly has some skills. What you likely believe is that the road out there is hard, and those who go out on it, don’t come back without having been affected by it.
As for motives, since you don’t really believe that there are little people out in the forest, trees that talk, or half-dragon necromancers praying on the children of gnomes two miles from your home, you probably don’t believe the stories in which the Delver saves the world or makes sure that the veil between demons and mortals remains intact. That’s just some crazy talk the Delver feeds you so that you’ll give him a good price on the strange object that the delver fished out of some poor bastard’s tomb.
How Delver’s View the World
Whatever their motive, Delvers are forced to concede to a world that has two different sets of rules. In one world, magic is long and involved. Nature is exotic but it has few surprises. There are very few creatures that defy logic and while the world is far from safe, it rarely twists into the magically inexplicable. In the other world, very little makes that kind of sense. There are cities where no cities ought to be. Monsters from other worlds have plots against humanity, even though their very existence is contested by the Sages in the cities these monsters hope to destroy. In one world, the characters are messiahs. In the other world, the characters make ends meet by stealing crap from ancient tombs and peddling in the town’s flea market. In one world, the characters are superheroes. In the other world, the character is an iconoclast who has trouble fitting in. Which world is real? Which world would the delver prefer? One world is, of course, safer, but it doesn’t take long before a delver loses their instinct for safety.
The most common Delver Downfalls are curses, specifically, curses levied by the gods. Within the civilized world, curses by gods are far less common, but as one gets further and further into the fade, curses become more common as the gods gain in sway.
Delvers face other kinds of curses as well. Or more to the point, bad things happen to people who spend too long ‘out there,’ and they call these problems ‘curses.’
Common Delver Behavior
- In-town reticence: Most Delvers keep a low profile in town. The farther along they are in the process of their delving, the less likely they are to want to hang out with people who don’t understand the life.
- Hording: Given that delvers can’t really trust their precious items while in the city limits. It’s only a matter of time before they decide to become creatures of the fade themselves by building some kind of safe house out in it.
- Strangers in the Fade: Groups of Delvers may have some association with each other while in civilization, but there’s far less reason to believe that everyone’s friendly on the byways and in the wilderness between the cities. Basically, if you’re the one saving the world from an incursion by Demogorgon, what the hell is that other group doing deep within the undercarriage of this forgotten temple?
- Loyal Customers: An excursion into the wilderness requires certain support from people who are unlikely to exist anywhere than in a city. Merchants, sure, but also sages, armorers, enchanters, cartographers, healers, and let’s not forget the-women-and-men-of-curses. Delvers visit these places almost exclusively when they are within a city.
- Wasteland Haunts: The most popular places for Delvers eventually become far away monasteries, spell-merchants out in the woods, and alchemical labs well beyond the wall of civilization. Such places have the benefit of being more magical while still having the services that delvers tend to need. Why, with the proper network, a delver can fade away from society completely.