Drawing inspiration from the Middenland army list and its various idiosyncrasies from Tabletop's "Storm of Chaos", the Ulric Cultist could be implemented in a few different ways. He could be more of a heavy melee focused front-liner to something of a mid-liner support character with a number of party supporting buffs and perhaps even enemy debuffs. Personally I think the latter would allow for more creativity and would better distinguish him from the Zealot, which I think the former would struggle to distance itself from. Either way, in terms of role I think he should be a bit of a contrast to Saltz's other careers. Specifically whereas WHC and BH are more focused on killing elites and even bosses, I think the Ulric Cultist should be more about crowd control. Particularly supporting other classes by controlling space and giving them room to work through various attributes, perhaps by slowing enemies down, causing fear to horde mobs, and debuffing enemy damage.
Now to address a looming issue; should he be melee only or should he have access to ranged weapons? I can see the pros and cons of both. For melee only, there does seem to be a specific emphasis on melee combat for Middenland characters though it would be the 3rd such class in VT2 and could result in teams having just a single ranged character. Also, none of Saltz's current ranged weapons seem all that appropriate for an Ulrican-themed character but on the other hand the same holds true for the Zealot and he still has access to them.
It may seem counter intuitive since Saltzpyre is a devoted Sigmarite, but implementing him as a follower of Ulric doesn't seem any more farfetched to me than making Kruber, originally an Imperial soldier, a Bretonnian Grail Knight devoted to the Lady.
Him leaving the Church of Sigmar in favor of the Cult of Ulric could be justified in much the same way as the explanation for why he becomes a Bounty Hunter, having become fed up with the Order and deciding to work outside its bounds. It's just in this instance he would take it a step further, abandoning Sigmar altogether and turning instead to the god of his birthplace, since we also know from Saltz's backstory that he originally hails from "an insignificant hovel outside Senden," a Middenland town.
Since Middenland is famous for its conflicts with both the Warriors of Chaos and the Beastmen, this seems like a natural role for one of our heroes to gravitate towards. And with another Chaos-focused expansion coming soon, I think a Middenland-themed career looks more and more attractive every day. I know a lot of people want to see a more traditional Warrior Priest of Sigmar, but I think that niche is already more or less filled by the Zealot. I'd wager an Ulrican-themed character would be more unique and novel (would probably sell better too).
Why the name "Ulric Cultist"?
I'm not married to that name and personally I think a character based on the Priest of Ulric from TT's Storm of Chaos campaign makes the most sense given Saltzpyre's penchant for religion. I chose an intentionally vague name that could draw inspiration from a number of Middenland themed units and characters like the Teutogen Guard, Wolf-Kin, Seneschal of the White Wolf, etc. as opposed to limiting him to one specific character-type and the restrictions inherent to them therein. Might also not make sense for him to near-instantly rise to the rank of a Priest of Ulric in the space of however long it was between VT1 and VT2.
Ults, Passives, Perks, and Talents
Without getting ahead of myself and detailing every single aspect of a hypothetical career, I'll just post some musings on a few of the unique special rules or abilities from Storm of Chaos that could be used for inspiration along with how they might work for Vermintide. Though in no means am I suggesting that the potential for this career is limited just to that source.
- Crush the Weak– this was one of the defining traits of the Middenland characters and made them hate low leadership units. It think it could be loosely interpreted as a bonus vs infantry perk. Alternatively it could be a passive ability that has a chance to inflict cowardice on mob/chaff units (basically Marauders and smaller), giving your team more space and time to work.
- Blessing of Ulric- basically just did what the Warrior Priest did, making him counter magic. Again, I think this could be loosely interpreted as some kind of defense aura against certain attacks like the Blightstormer, Lifeleech, Warpfire thrower, Rasknitt, Halescourge, etc.
- Winter's Chill- made units take a leadership test and inflicted a to-hit penalty if they failed. This could make either a good passive ability or even an Ult. As a passive, it could debuff enemy damage if they're below a certain HP threshold for example or as an active ability it might freeze or slow enemies in an AoE.
- Battle Howl- On TT this dealt with the charge mechanic, but in VT2 it could be a talent that improves party movement speed triggered by killing a certain kind of enemy or hitting a certain number of enemies at once, etc.
(I could go on, but there really is a lot of material and this post is getting quite long itself)
- White Wolf Hammer- I think this is the most obvious inclusion, being the iconic weapon of elite Middenlander warriors. For it's implementation, I'd like to see it as perhaps a bit of a hybrid between 1h and 2h hammers. For instance it should have 4 stamina shields since none of Saltzpyre's other weapons have more than 3 and since on TT it functioned as a Halberd when wielded on foot, I could maybe also see its attacks as a mix between Kruber's Halberd and the new Cog-Hammer
- Great Axe or Axe and Shield- While not really breaking new ground, both weapons would fill gaps in Saltz's arsenal, the latter especially. They also wouldn't necessarily need to be exact copies of Bardin's weapons either
As far as exclusivity, I wouldn't really mind it if one or both new weapons were only for the Ulric Cultist. Saltzpyre already has access to all of his weapons across all careers so 1 or 2 class-specific weapons wouldn't hurt that much. I might also suggest that the Rapier be inaccessible for this class since it doesn't really mesh well with the Ulrican aesthetic. Perhaps the same could be said of the Billhook.
I wouldn't change much from the image above. Let Saltz grow out a great grizzly beard and carry a huge Wolf Pelt on his back. There's also a number of items from the Storm of Chaos list that could be used as inspiration for cosmetics. The "Wolf Helm of the Teutogens" would make an awesome hat. The "Pelt of Horros" could make a cool hero skin. The "Cloak of Anraheir" which is a cloak made from a Minotaur hide could be cool as well.
So what do you think? Any other cool ideas for an Ulrican-themed class? Or is there anything you think might be an obstacle in making a class along that theme?
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