Hello! This is my first post to this website, and I must say I am quite glad to be here! I have lurked this site on occasion, and I felt it is time I share my idea I have been concocting in the bottom of my laboratory for a long time. Hell, I have had this idea for a class of this design long before I ever played the game. Now, let us begin. WARNING: There is no TL;DRing with this post, it’s for critical thinking and to be contemplated that something like this can only work out.
PS. I have attached an image for concept art as per what the class would possibly look like.
Feedback and suggestions is always welcome! I hope someone on the dev team takes notice of my thread, because I would really love to see this become a reality someday. I would gladly work with the devs around the designing and creation of such a project for future use, especially since it fills in a very particular niche I think some of you Diablo 2/Warhammer Fantasy tabletop Nurgle fans like myself have missed for a very long time, but with a neat twist!
Enter, the Plague Doctor!
Description: Armed with a massive surgical blade in one hand and either a disgusting formaldehyde soaked edifice, an ancient plague lantern or what any other soul-damning artifact they can get their hands on, these torn-robe-clad men and women, have borne witness to mind-breaking, gut-wrenching powers that an asylum-bound lunatic could only dream of. From being able to violently retch up a corrosive spew of acid and diseased insects, able to cause the flesh of their enemies to turn into rotting black mold with a simple cut causing an agonizingly painful and maddening death, many claim they are able to utilize aetherial mutations to “heal” themselves, improve their battle capabilities as well as their allies, and to even take upon a destructively wretched form of neither man, nor insect, nor plague-marred abomination, but something more. Something inherently wrong, and a mockery of life and nature itself. So wrong, so terrible enough it will drive sane men mad, even pushing some over the brink to suicide.
LORE: Utterly heretical, possibly (if not probably) insane and greatly devoid of ethical or moral concerns, the Plague Doctor is a lunatic’s nightmare made manifest. Once magick practitioners who meddled in Occult and Aetherial arts alike, they have turned to a more “formally polite image” in order to hide their pasts from the wandering eyes of inquisitors and to fit into society while retaining their degree as magi. Despite the considerable risk of being discovered, these madmen and women have struck an unhinged, soul-binding pact with the Witch God Dreeg, Lord of pestilence, plague, decay and forbidden secrets. He taught them how to heal via altering the flesh, to mold it as easily as one molds clay, of which the body count between treated and “fatally treatment” has soared alike.
The true origin of the Plague Doctor’s title is unknown, however many assume it is something of an ironic joke given to them by the Inquisitors, for although they pose as surgeons and healers of the medical arts whose focus is curing diseases, they are far from anything morally wholesome or natural, much less healing others of sickness. Despite being reviled by most of society when outed by discovery, to the point of exile and being hunted down, some rumor has it that those who caused the most trouble and evaded capture the longest, ever under the watchful eye of the Luminari Order, were captured and forced to aid the Order in matters of the occult in exchange to keep their lives, personal consent be damned. While dangerous, their understanding of witchcraft, poisons, toxins and more allowed them to be incredibly useful for investigations of rogue arcanists, occultists and more. While their forced service was a tightly kept secret, those outside the order and highest ranking commanders of the Black Legion who alas knew, too much, and have been forced to swear upon pain of death to keep their mouths shut, otherwise suffer painfully fatal consequences.
When the Erulan Empire began to implode and burned during the fires of the Grim Dawn, the Plague Doctors that remained vanished without hardly a trace, only some signs of those fleeing to the north to evade their captors, and others who possibly headed South East, in search of new diseases and dark lore to discover, study, and then finally utilize for what ever insane purposes they covet. None truly know what their personal goals are, not even their dark master, Dreeg. Not that he cares, for discovering what those goals are greatly entertains him. That, and watching their victims suffer in demented, gut-wrenching agony."
Class Design Possibilities: The Plague Doctor (PD for short) is a Mage Class, but one whose purpose is to kill and heal, though they can also “off-tank” when necessary, depending on how they are decked out. A sadistic, gruesome class, they are not for the feint of stomach or imagination. Anyone can be assured of is that Plague Doctors are blessed by Dreeg, and far closer to the Plague God than human in form and function. One such example is the PD can violently wretch out a corrosive spew of disease-laced acidic bile, and maddened infectious insects that symbiotically nest within the Plague Doctor’s stomach. One unique way of healing himself and friends alike is through unusual plague-mist’s he releases with certain attacks and skills, one that contains a unique hemophilia-inducing microbe that utilizes the life force of enemies to heal the Doctor and allies alike. Perhaps he is able to cause spines to erupt out of the ground, as they sprout from his body like roots, diseased with a mind-rotting bacteria. After all, who doesn’t love Mad Cow Disease?!?!? :rolleyes: But seriously. We love it.
Hemophilia is a unique biological disorder in reality, but in Cairn it is a unique plague created by Ch’thon originally, one that he sent forth into the world of Caine to cause as much havoc, chaos as possible. As one may guess, to also absorb the life essence of thousands as quickly and effectively as possible, think of it like a get-rich-quick scheme. However, Dreeg studied and found means to use it for his own nefarious purposes. Replication is truly beautiful. Throughout the years the Plague Doctor has learned to weaponize and inflict the disease to drain the life force of enemies to heal himself and others, turning them into sunken, withered husk’ that will violently scream as they die slowly, and painfully. I am sure you will make the right choice, when deciding how to utilize his skills. As one may guess, many of his skills would consist of a life-drain, similar to a necro, but slightly more disease/poison based AOE focus, as he is designed to group heal and do extreme DoT damage in a wide radius as well. But make no mistake, there will be stream-lined sources of damage, such as was mentioned above.
Another unique skill set the Plague Doctor would use is Mutations, as any good Arcanist knows, the Aether can mutate a lifeform with incredible ease, and as the Plague Doctor knows, this is something they can utilize to disturbing efficiency. I am sure many of you have heard of different mad scientists who have patchworked different parts of bodies and such together, even to their own forms, or so one could imagine. Especially if they wanted to give themselves a new, stronger, more dangerous body. Well, in the Plague Doctor’s case, this theme shall run true! Except with a unique twist: it will be a combination of aetherial mutations fused with the bodily designs of the insects in service to Dreeg. A different form for a different purpose, perhaps a giant Rhino Beetle like creature to heal and tank more effectively, or a fat, obese Leech like form, that does effective healing and damage. The possibilities are incredible.
Anyone here remember the old as fug Macintosh computers from the 90’s? Well, there was a game that was made for it, called “Insectamorph.” Long story short, the main character could become a mutant hybrind of different insects, which would alter the plot line and gameplay experience. In short, from fusing the teachings of Dreeg with that of the Aetherial magicks, they could mutate back and forth from human to Inhuman form, utilizing empowered skills, possibly different ones only available in said form and looking to be truly terrifying, causing aura’s of confusion, terror and more! It would fantastic to witness such a thing and experience it in action.
Inspiration and Purpose: To go slightly offtopic for a second, I have always wanted to see this character class design come to fruition in a video game. Unfortunately there never has been a game with a more open development team who has actually given more than 2 shits (pardon my language) of what their fanbase thinks and has asked for. Companies like Blizzard, EA, Activision, Codemasters, Shiny Entertainment/Interplay, Games Workshop and more, to provide just a few examples. And yet, for all their irrelevance in the industry, Crate Entertainment has showed more care and respect than any OTHER gaming company, to which on behalf of the community, I would like to thank them for all they have done
Now, to be on topic, one thing I have noticed, is that in many fantasy games and universes of said games, there are great and terrible powers and secrets to be had, whether it is in a Dungeons and Dragons game, or World of Warcraft (there are many instances of good idea’s being ignored for terrible ones) and more. And none these are ever explored or used by the characters we play and support. If anything, it’s greatly infuriating and shows a clear sign of a lack of creativity in the nerd community.
I guess in short, a piece of my inspiration comes from a deranged mad scientist based on Cthulu-lian design, one who is mad with power and uses it for what purpose suits him with little regard and care for the consequence to his own humanity and the outcome. Those who are willing to handle great and terribly dangerous power, are ready to accept the consequences as long as it isn’t a terrible hindrance to themselves, after all.
I find the Abomination constellation form is also a great inspiration, as the Plague Doctor is basically designed around a “humanized” format of it. Another inspiration would be Nurgle, of the Warhammer fantasy universe. He is a very interesting deity, I suggest google search for his fantasy format, you won’t get all the accurate details from the 40k universe version. In either case, a human form of him, or his servant “Festus the Leech Lord” would also be a grand inspiration for all.
Regarding the constellation, the Plague Doctor class, while giving us poison and disease damage fans loads more to play with and enjoy, would be perfect for Grim Dawn besides what I have already mentioned for a very particular reason. Each character archtype we can access I feel represents a “morality grade”, much akin to the Morality sheet that D&D has set down. The Necromancer would be Chaotic Neutral. They have no interest in the business of others other than protecting the world of otherworldly excursions, as well as that they are not seeking to conquer lands or do anything war-related unless provoked. In this case, the Plague Doctor would be a chaotic evil class, for the design and characteristics not only fit in perfectly, the Occultist fits the neutral-evil class path, leaving it to be desired.
Regarding another purpose for the Plague Doctor, would be to revolutionize the poison/disease/affliction DOT based gameplay. The occultist, while fulfilling it’s role as a jack of all trades, is a master of none, and frankly that makes it a very dull class to deal with. Especially with the lore of different god’s abilities conflicting with each other. An example is Possession. Solael’s Darkflame form makes your poison attacks more efficient…why? He never had anything to do with poison. He is more akin to a generic demon, one focused on chaotic, shadowy energies. Which is fun and all, but greatly out of place for poison. The Occultist class should focus more on the Occult, and have the Plague Doctor take over Dreeg’s domain. It would be alot more…appropriate. Especially as Dreeg and Solael, while may be allies now, still compete with one another and do not entirely trust each other, either.
SO WHAT’S NEXT?
Honestly, I am curious to see and hear what others have to say about my ideas. I would greatly appreciate it if a developer reviewed my suggestion as well. I welcome discussion and debate, lets hear what you guys have to say!