Adventurers are people who leave their homes in search of battle, treasure, and general adventure. They are characterized by:
- Ambitious, risky behavior
- Substantial independence from nations, armies, schools, and other organizations
- Eclectic combat training (often including battle magic)
- Experience with stealth and skulduggery
Some adventurers work as free agents in the service of some organization, but they generally do what they want, when they want, how they want, and are seen by others as "loose cannons." Accordingly, life expectancy for most adventurers is very short.
Goals and Ideology
Some adventurers are motivated in part to help others. All, however, are motivated to greater and lesser degrees by lust for power. Adventurers covet magical items and other treasures that increase their power in combat. This is understandable, since it increases both their capability as adventurers and their life expectancy.
"What doesn't kill me, makes me stronger." Despite being well-suited for sneaky, covert raids, adventurers tend to attack every hostile creature in sight, and search out every nook and cranny of a cave or fortress, to hone their skills and better their equipment. This is one of the reasons so many adventurers die, but it is also why the strongest are able to become so powerful.
Place in Society
Although some are thrown into the adventuring life (for example, the Heroes of Brattaskar), most adventurers have made a conscious decision to step out of their communities and lead a dangerous and deviant life. Most people consider them foolish for risking their lives so boldly. Some find fault in their lack of organization and refusal to work with others. As a result, adventuring tends to be restricted to those who are independent and nonconformist.
Adventurers are viewed rather differently in Avernum. There are several reasons for this. First, the sort of people who become adventurers are generally the sort of people who get into trouble in the Empire; many were exiled. In addition, the dangerous, largely unorganized life in the early days of the Kingdom was especially conducive to adventuring, since living in the cities wasn't particularly safe, and the Avernites had already been uprooted from their homes and families. So adventurers have been overrepresented in Avernum from the beginning.
Because Avernum was so reliant on its mages, even in battle, many of its leaders came to favor small, powerful units: particularly King Micah and Erika the incantatrix. Both of them repeatedly trusted adventurers with the most pressing tasks facing Avernum. There was some contention over this from 817 - 823 IE, after Hawthorne's Assassins defeated Sss-Thsss and Grah-Hoth on the one hand, and precipitated the Empire-Avernum War on the other.
However, after the epic efforts of the Empire War Heroes turned the tides of the war, adventurers gained widespread popular acclaim. Avernum even took the unprecedented step of officially incorporating adventurers into their army, creating the division of Unspecified Services. Since then, this popularity has been further reinforced by the successes of the Surface Explorers and the Shade-Killers.