It’s been a little while, but adventurous readers with proficiency in their Inside Survivor history may recall a couple bonus articles from the halcyon days of early 2020. The lore speaks of articles that assigned the Australian Survivor All-Stars and the Winners at War cast into their Dungeons & Dragons character class archetypes…
But that which once was… is not lost… For like a lich reformed in a second life, The Dice Have Spoken has returned!
If you need a refresher on what D&D is, and how it’s intersecting with Survivor in this whole exercise, check out the aforementioned articles – but the main gist is this: D&D characters are, in part, defined by their “class” archetype – from a skilled Fighter to a cunning Rogue to a cerebral Wizard. With 13 classes in the modern edition of D&D, it seems only fitting to see how the 13 remaining castaways battling on the Wild Coast in Survivor: South Africa would fit into these archetypes.
This season proved to be the toughest to categorise yet, with only six episodes to work with and an entirely new cast (as opposed to the benefit of returning players in the last iterations). A number of players felt like they could fit the same classes, while other players have been less visible, creating a much more nebulous classification. Nevertheless, the dice have to be rolled eventually, so without further preamble, let’s get right into it and roll for initiative!
The Artificer is a master of invention as they tinker and create all manner of curiosities, many of them infused with some sort of magical essence. Defined by their innovation in crafting everything from potions to clockwork servants to firearms, an artificer is as creative as they are diligent. Hard-working and intelligent, they are reliant on their tools of the trade, but even in the direst circumstance, they’ll have some kind of idea that just might work.
Despite a lot of Advantages circulating the Wild Coast, we haven’t seen many enter play, so while I would normally look to a player armed to the teeth with creative use of Idols and Advantages to be our Artificer, I’ve had to be a little more creative with my interpretation of this class for this season.
Amy has been a crux player throughout the game, but perhaps her most memorable moment in these first six episodes was her unfortunate trip to Immunity Island after the first swap. In an attempt to innovate and create something out of a dire circumstance where she was outnumbered on the new Zamba tribe, she tried to win a raid for her tribe, only for it to blow up in her face. And in trying to repair the damage with a lie to her tribemates, it only misfired further. This kind of determined experimentation—even at a high cost of failure—is representative of the Artificer’s ambitious and innovative spirit.
But while the Advantages have not been on Amy’s side, she has played a critical role in the social dynamics of her tribe. And for her, the Right Tool for the Job hasn’t been pieces of paper or the odd artefact, but rather the resource of the people around her. She forged an early allegiance with Marisha & Nicole and built a secret partnership with Renier that has come back around now that they’ve reunited on Vuna 3.0. But while she was separated from all her allies, she still managed to circumvent the suspicions of her failed raid lie to once again gather intelligence.
She used that info to inform the construction of a safety net as she became the go-between among the warring factions of the self-destruction of the OG Vuna majority, allowing her, Anela & Shaun to survive three straight Tribals against the odds. Rather than imbuing objects with dangerous power, Amy has focused her efforts on infusing her relationships with a tethered essence of reliable loyalty that has armored her against attack.
The Artificer has a 2-for-2 track record thus far, but with both previous Artificers being unicorn winners, they’re big shoes to fill. Unlike her predecessors, Amy’s innovative spirit is much more subtle. But that doesn’t mean she should be overlooked as a bevy of firm relationships can be the best artillery at your back as the merge nears.
Barbarians are brute warriors of a D&D party. Violently effective in battle, they can take hits without getting knocked down. One of their most quintessential abilities is the primal ferocity of their Rage, channelling unbridled emotion into inhuman strength and resilience. They have uncanny abilities to sense impending danger and avoid the worst of it, emerging relatively unscathed.
The Survivor Barbarian is a player governed, at least in part, by volatile emotion that often clouds judgment—a representation of the D&D Barbarian’s Rage. While there have been a few players who’ve had spikes of intense emotion, Tyson was specifically called out by his allies for wanting to serve revenge hot. At the double Tribal Council, his frustration with Thoriso’s betrayal further contributed to the convoluted nature of the vote, culminating in a bout of Tribal whispering. Then, after the second swap, Tyson again wanted to exact revenge at the earliest opportunity, requiring his ride-or-die Kiran to try to keep his impulses in check to ensure they retained security in their new tribe. This is a classic Barbarian: a bubbling anger and an instinct towards direct action.
Now I’m not saying Tyson is a mindless brute by any stretch. His earliest confessionals spoke of utilising the resource of social currency and information when he learned of Chappies’ Diplomatic Immunity from Pinty. But even then, he was happy to ruthlessly vote her out once she’d provided him what he needed. Pragmatic and brutal.
On top of this, Tyson has sought to be an active lightning rod and take the blows. At the double Tribal, his intention to draw the votes onto himself in order to negate them with his Idol is a classic tanky Barbarian tactic to draw an adversary’s fire and then shrug off the damage with ease. With another Idol in his pocket now, Tyson is poised to once again combat any threat looming his way.
FRANCOIS “CHAPPIES” CHAPMAN
The bard is the iconic storyteller, intelligent and charismatic, a singer of songs and tales and a dashing charmer. Their abilities grant them a diverse set of skills, making them a well-rounded addition to any D&D party. Many of their magical melodies also serve to support their allies, granting them the inspiration to succeed in their own pursuits and revitalising them with assurance in defeat.
The man of many stage names, Francois Chapman aka Chappies aka Water Swim may feel like he should be designated a class based on his physical strength. But he has been such a vocal presence in narrating the season that he becomes our bard—the quintessential Jack of All Trades.
There’s a performative, larger than life quality to a lot about Chappies. From the beginning, his confessionals have highlighted his force of personality, and his natural charisma has been both a blessing and a curse. He’s drawn people in, such as Pinty, Paul and Santoni, while his ego has also bristled against the likes of Carla and Wardah. But in any case, he’s taken it in stride with a gleeful grin and an impulsive, bare(bottomed) abandon and a quip in confessional.
Traditionally, bards are a “support class,” armed with abilities that enhance and aid their companions’ more direct efforts. For a chiselled powerhouse like Chappies, who would be expected to be an alpha leader, his gameplay has been markedly supportive. Not always—his obliviousness in the cube staircase puzzle a notable exception—but on the whole, Chappies has been presented as a team player.
He represented Vuna at the fire-making challenge in episode 1 and he emerged armed with his Diplomatic Immunity; he’s poised to cast the ultimate counterspell should things get dire for himself or his allies. He’s been a confidante for Santoni as she navigated the early game through to the swap and bringing her into his narrative, which paid off with him learning about her clues at Immunity Island. He’s even bolstered the members of his tribe who he’s had conflict with, literally aiding and inspiring his tribemates in the gruelling swimming challenge to the point where they credit him with saving their life. That’s a legend fit for a Bard.
A D&D cleric is most likely a priest or other divine agent of a god. Their dedication to this deity grants them their ability to cast magical spells to heal their allies and guard against forces of evil, especially undead abominations. However, the nature of an individual cleric’s ideology varies widely, depending on the domain of their deity – a servant of a god of life or a sun goddess will manifest their faith very differently to an acolyte of a trickster god or a goddess of storms.
At face value, a cleric is all about their deity, but as we adapt the classes of D&D to Survivor, I’ve cast the Cleric as a player devoted to a tribe or an alliance unflinchingly. As original Vuna has self-destructed, Renier has risen as the bastion of the opposition, a figurehead for the emerging power of Zamba. He’s been focused on his tribe from the beginning, willing to vote out a potential ally in Jason to avoid disrupting Zamba’s unity. Even his secretive alliance with Amy highlights his intention to elevate the core of his original tribe to lofty heights, channelling the “divinity” of Zamba for victory.
He’s managed to avoid the combat of Tribal Council for the most part, but when he has, he’s been in the thick of it. He guided the votes to Jason with a point, and in the chaos of the Thoriso vote, he was seen as an approachable voice of reason, granting him power to once again determine the flow of the vote, including flushing Tyson’s Idol. He’s seen as trustworthy and reliable, and that stalwart spirit is critical to a Cleric’s success.
There have definitely been indications of Renier’s self-interested strategy, but so far, all of it has been through the lens of his tribe and core alliance. And he hopes that putting his faith in them—Amy, and by proxy Marisha & Nicole—will see Zamba provide him with the protection, the divine intervention, even, he needs to make it deep in the game.
A D&D druid is another spellcaster, drawing their magic straight from the source of nature itself. One with the land and its creatures, the druid’s defining ability is its ability to “wild shape,” literally shapeshifting into any beast ranging from a wolf to an eagle to a shark. Many of the druid’s spells seek to restore or adjust the natural balance, heal and protect allies and call upon nature itself to aid in battle.
Qiean was a difficult player to class simply because we haven’t seen much of her. Despite being on the chopping block in her first Tribal, she managed to escape the target, even when she later spilled the beans about the plan for the double Tribal. Yet she didn’t cop the same consequence that hit Thoriso when she got caught revealing more than she should have to the enemy, suggesting that she’s at least found some purchase in the game.
She may not have fully transformed her game, but she’s managing to shift out of the way. And a Druid is defined by their ability to change shape, transforming into beasts in D&D, but shaping themselves to blend in in Survivor. But while we’re talking about appearances, Qiean has been serving looks—and her quirky style has certainly made her an ever-changing chameleon of Survivor fashion.
Although she doesn’t necessarily embody the nature-loving side of a Druid, and seems a little out of her element surviving off the land, Druids are part of old tradition in D&D, and Qiean has certainly tapped into the “old magics” of Survivor tradition. Getting caught hunting for Idol clues on Day 1—an approach that is so much a part of the weave of Survivor that it seems to be an error made at least once a season. It’s not a perfect fit for her, but volunteer firefighter Qiean—master of the elements, or at least one of them—is the Druid of Immunity Island.
Whereas the barbarian is a warrior driven by impulse, a fighter is master of practiced martial prowess. While their chosen tactical manoeuvres and honed fighting styles vary dramatically, they are an athlete through and through. Some fighters are archetypical soldiers and some may be commanders of the battlefield, but all are resilient in the face of adversity. Able to call upon a second wind when the going gets tough or surging into action at just the right moment, they may seem straightforward, but that doesn’t make them ineffective.
With this season being so chaotic, swinging from blindside to blindside, it’s easy to look to many of the players as having fought their way through to this point. But few have had a journey of such extreme highs and lows as Wardah. On top of the vote at one Tribal, and excised from the next, she has had to battle through with grit and determination—qualities essential to a Fighter who surges with force and strength to keep going against the odds. After last week’s secondary swap, Wardah essentially gained a Second Wind, emerging into a new majority that completely reframes her position in the game.
And boy, is she ready to fight. For a moment, I considered whether Wardah would fall into a class known for ducking and weaving the blows coming her way, but it’s evident that she is not one to dodge when she can strike back. Her blunt, direct confrontation with Anela at the past Tribal and with Paul & Chappies after they’d bungled the staircase puzzle after not listening to the women demonstrate that Wardah is not hesitant to go toe-to-toe with her adversary. She has a hit list, and her tactics are to methodically cross the names off the list. She is indomitable, no matter the odds. Wardah is our Fighter without a doubt.
The monk is a master of martial arts, dextrous and physically agile. But their physical prowess is equalled by their mental fortitude, for a monk can catch an arrow in mid-flight as easily as they can stare down fear without blinking. They are dangerous in combat, able to land blows with unexpected speed or even stun their opponents still, but know when to bide their time. Lastly, they are intrinsically conscious of the energies of the world around them, drawing on this ki to enact their devastating abilities.
In many ways, Shaun occupies a similar space as Wardah. He’s been confrontational at Tribal on multiple occasions, and he’s had his fair share of ups and downs to battle through. Shaun’s intensity at Tribal is a little atypical for a monk, who are generally centred through their connection to their inner ki. But when it comes to combat, monks are melee warriors who get up close in the fray, which Shaun is certainly willing to do. However, what distinguishes Shaun as our Monk is that he’s been a wilier and slipperier presence.
Whereas Wardah staunchly stands her ground strategically, Shaun has been more willing to deflect the missiles heading his way by any means necessary, including letting them hit an ally (such as with Qiean in the first vote). While he hasn’t quite had the opportunity to then counter the attacks, he’s largely settled into the background in patient defence. Especially after the first swap left him incredibly vulnerable in a 3-to-6 minority, he managed to bide his time and completely avoid the wild targets at Zamba 2.0, evading notice as the best monks can.
That said, Shaun’s clearly not reached the level where monks become immune to poisons, or else the whole pumpkin skin incident may have played out differently. But his combative slipperiness places him as our monk nonetheless.
MARISHA DU PLESSIS
The paladin is the nexus between a cleric and a fighter: they are a trained warrior, but they fight for something greater than themselves, be it a deity or simply an ideology. A paladin is defined by a sacred oath to uphold moral tenets, be they honour and courage, standing as a beacon of hope or enacting holy vengeance. Whether in the heat of battle or protecting their allies, commitment to these divine principles is the paladin’s first priority.
Marisha’s character has largely been defined by her physical strength—most notably in the twisting-the-log challenge where she nearly singlehandedly defeated Chappies & Wardah for reward. But she’s also been shown to be an integral part of the OG Zamba alliance. The matron of the women’s trio with Nicole & Amy, and situated as a decision-maker loyal to the tribe and the alliance in much the same way Renier has been. So it makes sense that Marisha becomes our holy warrior, sworn to be the shield to protect her alliance, steadfast and committed to her faith in Zamba.
Paladins also can sense the presence of evil and good in their vicinity, which also tracks with Marisha’s decisive BS-detector. She was one of the most vocal in questioning the validity of Thoriso’s ruse with the Idol parchment, and her determination to root out this lie is a perfect representation of a paladin’s commitment to a tenet of honesty and loyalty. Staunch, strong and determined, Marisha is well-positioned to uphold the Zamba alliance as the merge approaches. If she can lay her hands around it to keep it safe, this Paladin could quickly become a daunting opponent in the long run.
The ranger is the expert hunter and tracker with a keen knowledge of survival in the wilds. Often a leader or a loner, they know exactly what to do in the right circumstances. However, this is the ranger’s biggest limitation – they are at their best when tracking a favoured enemy or traversing a favoured terrain. But outside of these fields of expertise, their utility is diminished.
Nicole is another player we haven’t seen a lot from, but she has been hiding in plain sight. Firmly entrenched in her favoured terrain, she’s been privy to a comfortable majority alliance with OG Zamba, and especially Marisha, that has allowed her the free reign to be a part of controlling the Tribal dynamics. Even throughout the chaotic swaps, she’s lucked out with maintaining this majority and has largely been able to keep herself safely in the middle.
In that respect, she’s an untested Ranger, and we will only see how well she can adapt if the game takes a sour turn for her. But based on the interactions she’s had with those outside her alliance, such as Thoriso, she’s had a rougher edge to her interactions that could limit her options.
Her most notable moment of the season thus far was winning the reward challenge for her tribe, positioning her as a provider of sorts—a classic Ranger trait. However, her bargaining for a piña colada and perceived gloating as her tribe sat in on their opponents’ Tribal landed her in hot water. She may not know she has favoured enemies like Santoni, but in a season where vengeance has been a constant theme, she’ll surely know soon enough. And for her sake, hopefully she can mark her hunter before the hunter marks her.
The rogue is the stealthy scoundrel, using diversion, misdirection and every other trick in the book to stay out of sight. From the shadows, they may be the one disarming the traps, stealing the diamond or sliding the dagger into someone’s back. Quick, effective and effortlessly elusive, the rogue can be hard to pin down at the best of times. At the worst of times, you won’t even see them coming.
Anela has been a surprisingly sneaky player, constantly involved in sly moves on the side. Sure, he was a classic thief, stealing an extra helping of FutureLife bars, but that’s almost too easy! Once the first swap put him in a position where he needed to evade the danger coming his way, and alongside Amy & Shaun, he managed to dodge the vote in three consecutive Tribals.
However, he hasn’t just been content to avoid the danger and worked to build relationships with the majority, even going so far as to avoid voting out Paul so as to appear that he was blindsided alongside Chappies. This kind of social manoeuvring through deception is a quintessential Rogue tactic, though we’ve yet to really see whether it pays off for Anela in the long run.
Unfortunately, Rogues operate best in the shadows, and after the second swap, Anela is back in the firing line on his new tribe, with the numbers stacked against him and Wardah actively calling him out. But if Zamba 3.0 continues to look out for him by sending him to Immunity Island, then that may allow him to uncannily dodge this precarious situation and maybe locate an Idol or Advantage that could position him for the perfect sneak attack down the line. But while I have no doubt Anela has the aptitude for such a play, such a cunning action is yet to be seen.
The sorcerer is defined by the source of their magical capabilities. It is not learned through study or gifted by some powerful being – it is innate, in their blood through arcane or otherworldly ancestry or even linked to the very springs of raw, primal magic itself so wild it can take on a life of its own. Magic breaks the laws of nature, but sorcerers can break the law of magic, often utilising spells in a flurry of creative metamagic.
While a number of pre-game connections have been identified in conversations around this season, the show itself focused on Anesu’s links to Kiran & Wardah in the premiere. And if Sorcerors are the “maybe she’s born with it” of magic-users, then surely pre-game bonds are the perfect representation of that. But more than that, Anesu’s magnetic charisma is so palpable that she fell immediately into being the nexus of her original tribe.
Even through swaps, she’s continued to be seen as a beating heart at the core of her tribes and a voice of reason and encouragement to her allies. This effortless power and force of personality is the hallmark of a Sorceror, and Anesu has maximised this gift to its full potential, even transcending the barriers of tribes when she exchanged information with Paul while on the camp raid.
Anesu’s position in the game has been undercut by her original tribe’s implosion after the swap. But her ability to ride her meaningful connections to others gives her a lifeline, and she’s demonstrated that she has the strategic mind to take advantage of it. She was willing to vote out her friend and ally Pinty at the first vote to preserve tribe unity (and more interpersonal relationships!).
As the game heats up, Anesu is primed to dictate at least part of the outcome—not least because of what she obtained through her trip to Immunity Island. Sorcerors’ magic is inherently creative and unpredictable through the use of “metamagic”, and the Tribal Pass that she earned is the kind of explosive magic a Sorceror craves.
The warlock is granted their magical abilities through a pact with a powerful entity – anything from an eldritch elder horror to a cruel devil to an archangel. Their magic is a boon often granted in exchange for the warlock’s service – perhaps to uncover an ancient secret or to learn the means of releasing or protecting a great power. Their abilities are often strange, peculiar or even dark, but their charismatic personality helps them to make a good impression as they pursue their given quest.
There is no more powerful entity in Survivor than the Survivor Gods themselves, and the Warlock is a player whose power has been fuelled by some twist of fate in the game. No-one’s game has been more influenced by the game itself than Santoni and her fateful trip to Immunity Island. Not only did she find two Idol clues leading to three Idols, but having Immunity at her first Tribal allowed her to avoid the vote and find her footing in the game at the swap. Without that boon, the entire pre-merge looks different, and we likely would have been deprived of the magic Santoni has brought to the screen.
But even beyond her pact with Immunity Island, Santoni embodies the dark chaos of a Warlock. As she settled into the swap, she parlayed her way into controlling one of the most back-and-forth tribes in recent memory. Her powers of persuasion allowed her to openly act as a double agent while still maintaining an otherworldly degree of trust with people she actively conspired against. The knowledge she shared stretched its tendrils towards others, enabling Tyson to find two Idols and for Chappies to see through Carla’s Immunity Island lie.
Warlocks thrive in the realm of the impossible, and Santoni going from likely first boot on Vuna to the Queen of the pre-merge is a spectacular blessing. Though it looks dire for her after wasting her Idol and an unfavourable second tribe swap, a Warlock should never be counted out, for the Survivor Gods have already granted their blessing on them once… Maybe there’s another boon to come.
The wizard is the learned magician who has gained their arcane powers through diligent study. Learning spellcraft is an addiction as much as a vocation, and they are constantly searching for new spells to copy into their ever-growing spellbooks. Wizards tend to gravitate towards one particular school of magic – perhaps divination to read the future, evocation to channel the destructive power of the elements or even necromancy – but are capable and generally eager to try just about anything. It’s also worth noting that wizards are traditionally one of the physically weakest classes, and as such, generally prefer to fight from the back rather than the fray.
The Wizard is a superfan through and through, but even in a season where the superfan cup runneth over, there is no doubt that Kiran is this season’s Wizard. His cerebral approach to the game, which he knows deeply, is evidenced best by his mathematical breakdown of the complex Thoriso vote split. The plan to split votes on himself to engender trust was risky at face value, but Kiran presented it with all the confidence of a student of their craft. After a swap had landed him in the minority, separated him from his allies Mike & Carla (who were promptly voted out), this kind of big-brain thinking was exactly the sort of wizardry he needed to recover his place in the game.
And it’s paid off, even with a second swap coming into play. Kiran’s attunement to the ephemeral nature of the game through his analytical and insightful mind has been precise. And his articulation of “suggesting how the flow should go” is a pinnacle of a Wizard of enchantments, suggestions and divinations.
Kiran’s close alignment with our Barbarian Tyson creates a powerful duo of impulsive action and considered reason. And Tyson is definitely the shield Kiran needs to keep himself safe as he manipulates the battlefield from a distance. Wizards are students of the game, but not every student can become a master. While Kiran still has a long way to go, he’s keenly poised to make the magic happen at the merge.
ROLL FOR SURVIVAL
So there you have it: a full-fledged party of Survivor South Africa players ready to take on whatever random encounters come their way in their gruelling campaign through Immunity Island.
So until next time, adventurers, keep on rolling.