You’ll spend a lot of your Voidheart Symphony fighting. Facing down the Vassal’s guards in the mundane world, assaulting their minions in the castle, clashing in pitched battle with their avatar. But revolutions are built on more than violence and conflict – they’re also built on love and understanding and taking care of the weakest among us. Enter the Provider.

The Provider

Photo by Thiago Barletta

We have to care for each other. That’s the only way this becomes something that lasts.

Basics

The Provider is all about caring for others. They’re the worker at the soup kitchen, the teaching assistant trying to direct limited resources to those who most need them, the kid working two jobs and trying to keep up with school work to provide for a sick parent.

The Provider draws strength from helping others. They’re incredible in a support role, giving their friends the things they need to succeed and rescuing them from danger. Their weakness, of course, is that they’re self-sacrificing – working themselves to the bone to help others, and jumping in front of the blows that would strike their friends. To survive as part of this revolution, they’ll need friends to help share the load and take care of them too.

Inspirations: Shiki in The World Ends With You, Steven from Steven Universe, Cassie from Animorphs, Pluto from Heaven Will be Mine.

The Provider and the Crew

There are many ways to be there for others – here’s the three ones the Provider has available by default.

The Empress

The Empress is the most maternal of the Provider’s options. Your care comes from a place of authority – you make others feel like you know best, and can make them feel safe. Indeed, at least one crew member will start the game knowing they can always come to you to feel supported. The Empress covenant gives you a few useful tools to help with this. First up, your hangout move lets you give the others a project to work on – something that’ll improve their life as they understand it better. Your city move is more intensive care, salving many of your patient’s worries at cost to yourself. And in the castle, you have a spirit of care and protection haunting you, ready to offer you advice and let you know what the best solution is.

Pick the Empress if: You want to create a supportive environment for others, with many tools to ease their pain.

Temperance

Where the Empress is a top-down approach to care, Temperance is more mutualistic approach. You bring moderation, stopping your friends from going too far and bringing them up when they’re feeling low. In the city, you’re particularly good at moderating your own impulses, having a better time when you party with your friends and causing less collateral damage when you vent out the void’s power. In the castle, you can balance out Shrouds or Shadow between yourself and others, pairing nicely with the city move – you can safely vent out your own Shadow points, then bring other’s ratings down when they get too high.

Pick Temperance if: You want to mediate between your friends, and want to be protected against unintended consequences.

The Wheel of Fortune

A Provider following the Wheel of Fortune is frugal and wary, fortified against the shocks and surprises of fate and chance. In good times they stockpile, in bad times they share. They’re always aware of how luck can shift, and their hangout move lets them guide their friends away from danger or towards success depending on the whims of fate. Their city move gives them personal form of karma, building up good fortune by helping others; their castle move lets them reduce their roll results when they’re better than needed to bump failures and partial hits up to victories.

Pick the Wheel of Fortune if: You want to be buffeted against random chance or misfortune, and you’re fine with sacrificing a little now to achieve great things later.

Moves and Powers

The Castle’s power brings self-actualisation and increased strength – it’s fitting that the Provider fights back by using that power to help others.

Castle Moves

When they hit Shadow 1, the Provider has to choose how their drive to protect and nurture manifests. If you’re tempted to go heavy into Cups, you can use your talent for empathy and sorcery by tapping into the Vassal’s desires with Heart to Heart and jumping in the way of attacks with Self-Sacrificing. Alternatively, you can be less direct and lend support to the others, bolstering your Help and Stand With Me attempts with Soothing Presence so that your beneficiary is kept healthy and sane. Or with Mother Knows Best, you can verge on being an Authority, handing out advice that’ll help your fellows so long as they do exactly what you say.

You’ll have a weapon, too. If you’re looking to defend your friends, something with Stun or Hefty will let you push away your enemies and give your allies breathing room – think of a big hammer with Hefty and Brace, or a electric prod with Stun and Grazing. Or if you’re looking to keep your distance and be ready to help others, maybe something with Ranged is what you’re looking for? And then there’s the gear options you can pick from; do you want more protection with hard-wearing clothes, a bow you can use as a backup weapon, or home cooking to better help everyone else when you make camp?

Shadow Moves

And as you accept more of the castle’s powers, you become more active – not just offering advice and helping, but taking direct action against those that’d hurt your friends. Mama Bear‘s the clearest example of this – when your wards are in danger, you can lift and carry any weight for as long as it takes to keep them safe.

Tutor lines up with Heart to Heart, further augmenting Drink Deep by giving the entire party the ability to warp the castle; meanwhile Help to Heal is a great counterpart to Self-Sacrificing and Soothing Presence, letting you get rid of your own injuries when you help others. Finally, Mother of Monsters lets you bring life into the world – crafting a custom-made creature out of voidstuff. They’re more independent and wilful than the minions the Authority can sway over – you’re their parent, not their boss, even if they do love and support you.

The way you view providing and protection will manifest in your appearance, too. Think about the difference between a serene dryad in holy robes surrounded by floral wreaths and a terrifying medusa in bodyguard armour, carrying belts of potions to heal their friends.

The Mundane World

When you’re picking your Role, the question becomes: who do you provide for? Are you a Big Sibling, a Carer or a Parent, looking after someone close to you? Are you a Cleric, a Teaching Assistant or a Tender, shepherding your personal flock? Or are you a Bartender, a Medic, an EMT, helping whoever needs it in the moment?

And how does that manifest in your regular appearance? Are you practical, prepared, worn out? Are you kind, weary, intense? Think about what sort of mood you put out – would someone ask you for help, or even feel like they’re owed your assistance? Or does your look put people off, and it’s a surprise when you volunteer your aid?

Wrapping Up

The Provider is here to help, and they’re crucial to keeping your rebels in the fight. It’s definitely a support playbook, but support is invaluable in this game. It’ll give you more opportunities to nurture your covenants, and let your fellows focus on striking down the enemies. They’re earnest, practical, resilient.

So what about someone facile, impractical and flighty? How could such a creature ever help the revolution? Find out next time, when we look at the Harlequin.