In order to explain the purpose of Historians I need to reveal some of the background to the world in Guardian.
My initial inspiration for the overall narrative came from the quote (of unknown origin):
History is written by the victors
I turned this idea around so that characters could control the flow of history in order to make themselves the victors. This idea went through several changes over the course of this year, and was eventually refined to: 'When only one story has an account of certain events, that story becomes the reality'.
Now the setting of the game is a world where characters would fight to ensure that their version of events became the only surviving story. The further their story diverged from (the current) reality, the more likely it was to be forgotten and lost. The further in the past certain events were, the easier they would be to change (due to less surviving records/stories).
This leads us to the Historians. Their purpose was to create and maintain records of the past, in order to stop others from changing it. To assist with these efforts in cases where records were missing or lost, they have the ability to take historic artifacts of significant importance, and relive the story behind them.
This then leads to interesting situations where a historian would find a new artifact within the story of the first. By making subtle adjustments to the story, they could ensure that the new artifacts would find their way into the hands of historians in the present reality, and so (almost) all of history could be rediscovered from a single artifact.
Historians are useless in combat, having no weapons of any kind, and very weak armour. However, they can completely turn the tide of the battle by making subtle changes to the past (For example, weakening a really tough enemy by changing their past to have them suffer a critical injury. The more 'famous' the enemy, the harder it would be to do).
The potential complexity means that Historians will be a player-only character. There's no point having AI-controlled historians running around, punching enemies, and dying (mostly dying). And regardless of all that, they will be a rare occurence on the battlefield anyway. Their main purpose instead lies in the narrative (more of which will be discussed in a later post).
Thanks for reading. I hope to begin some private alpha/beta testing soon.