The Warlock, therefore, has a background built into it that all Warlock characters will share. Below are the salient qualities.
- Warlocks are born, not made; their connection to the elements is an inborn quality, especially the connection to the specific element or elements from which a specific Warlock gains his spell-casting abilities.
- Because their powers are intuitive, as a Mystic's powers are, the powers that a Warlock manifest are a reflection of their life's events to date, barring any specific mentorship to foster the development of specific abilities; a Warlock that never needed to attack or defend won't develop powers that do so, so mentorship will artificially foster such things to achieve those ends, in the way that a martial arts master holistically trains students.
- A Warlock's ability to contact, communicate, and summon elemental spirits is an innate quality; this means that they manifested early in life, and grew in power and sophistication as the Warlock came of age. Warlocks are insiders; Shifters, etc. are outsiders. This totally colors how they see the summoning and control of elements- regardless of their morality, sanity, etc.
- Because Warlocks have had direct experience with spiritual entities since birth, as other shamanic sorts do, they are difficult--if not impossible--to turn into religionists as we in the real world comprehend that idea. These are people for whom talking to sentient walking things of raw elemental substance is as ordinary as airplanes or robots; it's a concrete, verifiable reality to them. You can't convince them that it's not real, or that it's all some sort of trickery by (insert boogeyman here).
- Warlocks, being marked by the spirits, and enjoying a relationship with them, tend to extend into generational lines of Warlocks because immortal spirits prefer to go with reliable mortal counterparts- so young Warlocks are often the children of Warlocks, and over time form blood-tied societies or clans in the way that Stalkers or other innately-powered Occupations routinely do.
- Education and training, as such, is not a priority for Warlocks. They learn everything that they need to know through their experiences with their spiritual brethren, and their own experiences as individuals, with some specific communities having elder Warlocks mentor emerging ones as they grow up. A Warlock's lived experience is that formal schooling, regimentation, etc. is a waste of time; what they need to know is what life and the elements put to them- and this is the seed for Warlock stoicism, even a sense of fatalism at times, that this Occupation's culture is infamous for.
A Sample Variation
Deep in what formerly was known as the Boundary Waters, a survivor group that formed immediately after the Coming of the Rifts started manifested as Warlocks when they started having children. As the Boundary Waters is an area dominated by lakes, these Warlocks are always attuned to Water, with some taking secondary attunements to Air or Earth. Over time, the powers of these Warlocks merged with the survivalist skills of the original survivors. The result is a magical society of elementally-attuned rangers, now known as "Forestwalkers", and they have a loose affiliation with nearby powers such as Tolkeen as well as a long-running conflict with Stalker tribes that roam those same areas.
Most of this community is magically-active (i.e. are Warlocks), but the basis of their community remains the skillset of woodsmen, rangers, hunters, and so on (i.e. Wilderness Scouts). Playing a Warlock from this community is an easy thing to do: take as many skills from the Scout skillset as can be had, and use magic to compensate for the gaps. Think like someone who's some form of tribal warrior that's also a practicing shaman. You're not required to conform to the withered wizard in robes steretotype, so don't; this variant is here to show that you can mix elemental magic with a mundane skillset and create a viable, effective hybrid that adds value to a group. (Running games with such communities makes having the Occupation in a campaign far more interesting, so do that.)