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The lancer is a master of polearms—weapons which have evolved from humble hunting tools. In former times, the longspear saw the most widespread use, due in great part to the influence of the proud lancer legions of Ala Mhigo. The lancer's weaponry has since expanded to include other lethal implements such as the halberd and trident. While it is no easy task to wield a polearm as if it were an extension of one's body, those who master the lancing arts come to be as a raging storm before their enemies, capable of delivering a barrage of devastating thrusts and slashes.
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With a bow in hand and a quiver on his back, the archer strikes at the enemy from afar. In Eorzea, two schools of archery have risen to prominence: that of the longbow sentries of the Elezen military, and that of the shortbow hunters among the Miqo'te. Archers constantly assess the battlefield in order to determine the most advantageous ground from which to loose their arrows, as well as the nature of the shaft, point, and fletching best suited to their foe. It is said that master archers are capable of showering their targets with a veritable deluge of death well before a counterattack can ever be mounted.
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Gladiators specialize in the handling of all manner of one-handed blades, from daggers to longswords, be they single- or double-edged, straight or curved. Tracing their roots to the Coliseum, where the roar of the crowd reigns supreme, these melee combatants have learned to seamlessly flow between attack and defense in a dance that delights the eye. Making use of their skill with the shield, gladiators can also draw the attention and attacks of an enemy upon themselves, thereby protecting their comrades from harm.
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The path of the pugilist is one of incessant training aimed at mastering the traditional techniques of hand-to-hand combat. Though pugilists command formidable power when unarmed, they are wont to use metal, leather, and bone weaponry to maximize their destructive potential. Their preference for fighting at close quarters makes negotiating distances an absolute necessity. Many among them accomplish this by avoiding burdensome armor, allowing for maximum mobility while they move in for the kill.
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Marauders are combat specialists whose weapon of choice is the greataxe—a fearsome arm long associated with Eorzea's pirates. Their approach to battle is one of brute force, as they rely on pure strength and good steel to crush enemies and sunder weapons. They are highly sought after for their ferocity and intimidating presence, and are often employed to hunt down monsters plaguing the land or to turn the tide of battle between warring nations. Skilled marauders have been known to take on entire packs of slavering beasts and emerge with little more than a few scrapes and bruises.
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The word "bard" ordinarily puts folk in mind of those itinerant minstrels, fair of voice and nimble of finger, who earn their coin performing in taverns and the halls of great lords. Few know, however, that bards in fact trace their origins back to the bowmen of eld, who sang in the heat of battle to fortify the spirits of their companions. In time, their impassioned songs came to hold sway over the hearts of men, inspiring their comrades to great feats and granting peace unto those who lay upon the precipice of death.
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For centuries, the elite of the Sultansworn have served as personal bodyguards to the royal family of Ul'dah. Known as paladins, these men and women marry exquisite swordplay with stalwart shieldwork to create a style of combat uncompromising in its defense. Clad in brilliant silver armor, they charge fearlessly into battle, ever ready to lay down their lives for their liege. To be a paladin is to protect, and those who choose to walk this path will become the iron foundation upon which the party's defense is built.
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Of all the things that are symbolic of the nation of Ishgard, few are more recognized than the dragoon. Born amidst the timeless conflict between men and dragons, these lance-wielding knights have developed an aerial style of combat, that they might better pierce the scaled hides of their mortal foes. Taking to the firmament as though it were an extension of the land, they descend upon the enemy with every onze of their bodies behind the blow. It is this penetrative power that characterizes the dragoon.
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On the northernmost edge of Abalathia's Spine exists a mountain tribe renowned for producing fearsome mercenaries. Wielding greataxes and known as warriors, these men and women learn to harness their inner-beasts and translate that power to unbridled savagery on the battlefield. In former times which saw war waged ceaselessly in Eorzea, the warriors featured prominently on the frontlines of battle. With the arrival of peacetime, however, their art has descended into the shadows of obscurity, where it remains to this day.
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Though now under Garlean rule, the city-state of Ala Mhigo once boasted the greatest military might of all Eorzea. Among its standing armies were the monks—ascetic warriors as dreaded by foes on the field of battle as the city-state's great pikemen. The monks comprised an order known as the Fist of Rhalgr, and it was to this god—the Destroyer—that they devoted their lives of worship. By mastering seats of power within the body known as chakra, they are capable of performing extraordinary physical feats.
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The pious Ishgardian clergy guide the flock, and the devout knights protect the weak. Yet even the holiest of men succumb to the darkest of temptations. None dare to administer justice to these sacrosanct elite residing outside the reach of the law. Who, then, defends the feeble from the transgressions of those meant to guide and protect them? A valiant few take up arms to defend the downtrodden, and not even the holy priests and knights can escape their judgment. Pariahs in their own land, they are known by many as “dark knights”. These sentinels bear no shields declaring their allegiance. Instead, their great swords act as beacons to guide the meek through darkness.
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The war with Dravania rages on, brutal and unrelenting. With no end in sight, the Holy See grows desperate. As her dragoons lay down their lives in defense of their home, Ishgard turns to technology to protect her sons and daughters. Great cannons and ballistae now line the city walls, plucking dragons from the sky. Following the example of Cid Garlond, who has demonstrated the potency of magitek, the Skysteel Manufactory works tirelessly on the development of advanced armaments. As new and devastating weapons are brought to the fray, a new class of champion arises to wield them - the machinist.
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