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Some new kits for Mystaraby Andrés Piquer Otero
I will continue posting my house-made kits as an example and humble aportation to the debate about the use of kits and their adaptability to D&D. As with the prankster elf I sent some days ago, I aspire to bring advantages to a minimum and offer proportional limitations, so that players choose kits more on a role playing convenience basis than trying to get the "maximum firepower". This was my idea with the prankster elf. By curtailing his selection of offensive spells, we get a character who offers a role-playing challenge (are not you tired of those players who role-play an elf only to be able to wield magical swords, don plate armour and fry monsters with fireballs without caring at all about the concept of the elven race and nations?).
1) EMENDATION TO THE PRANKSTER ELF
As Galwyn suggested, I find now the kit too overpowered if we allow to continue the magical advance after level 10 for free. I propose that, as magical levels were traded for (partial) thief levels), from level 10 onwards attack ranks may be traded for magical levels, so that the elf may reach his/her maximums after a LONG time of adventuring.
2) THE RANGER
It is not a true kit, but an adaptation to the option of "travelling fighter", which may be chosen after reaching level 9: instead of becoming a Paladin, Knight or Avenger, the fighter may become a ranger IF:
a) He commits himself to a cause which implies the defence of nature and sentient beings against the ravages of evil (be it humanoids, too- expansive empires or Entropic masterminds).
b) He is of Lawful or Neutral alignment. Lawful rangers find that the life and well-being of sentient beings has priority. Neutral rangers tend a bit more towards wildlife and the equilibrium of nature (similar to the druidic strictures).
c) He accepts living the life of a wanderer, staying in a place only as long as his abilities are needed and always searching new challenges. He may never keep any treasure above what he may carry on his person or on horseback.
d) Although he gains no special benefits before reaching level 9, he must have got some experience of wilderness survival during his previous adventuring time, so that, at level 9, he must possess the following Weapon and General Skills:
Weapon Skills: Any missile weapon + any throwing weapon
General Skills: Tracking
Survival in at least one terrain type
e) He must have a Dexterity score of at least 13
The benefits obtained are:
a) For each 3 levels of experience, he gains the MS, HS and CW percentiles of a thief, so, a 9th lvl ranger starts with the skills of a 3rd lvl thief.
b) If Wisdom is 13 or above, the ranger may learn Druid spells (only) with a casting level equal to his level /5 (rounded down), so no spells at lvl 9 and his 1st lvl spell at lvl 10. To start using spells, the ranger must find a druid and get a month of training. The druid will typically ask a favour in exchange, such as cleansing a forest of vicious gnoll tribes or questing an item needed to cleanse a sacred lake.
c) If the ranger spends at least a week alone in a virgin territory (no civilised settlement in a range of 75 miles), he may search for a Neutral or Lawful creature native to the territory (a bear in forests, a griffon in mountains...) and, on a favourable reaction roll, the creature will become a "henchman" of the ranger as long as it is well-treated and cared of. The creature's HD may not exceed the ranger's level, or more than two such animal friends may be kept at the same time. If one companion is slain or lost, the ranger may quest for another.
3) THE CLERK/SCRIBE
This is a cleric kit which defines the scholar (and at times monastic) cleric who spends his apprenticeship copying books, illuminating scrolls and depicting carefully maps and diagrams in order to avoid the loss of precious knowledge (remember, no printing press in Mystara!). Most of them start as apprentices in monasteries or universities, as aides to the too- busy town curate. later on, they may get up on the hierarchy and be the directors of a scriptorium, librarians or even counsellors of important rulers. Some of them take to adventuring for various reasons:
a) they wish to search for rare tomes or acquire some fresh knowledge which has been lost to books ("the only record about the Zargonnic cult in Cydinicea before AC 1000 was lost in a fire. Let us get to the Lost City and have a look at those wall- paintings")
b) they are assigned as translator/interpreters/advisers to a party sent on a mission to a obscure area (like a HW expedition or a exploration party to Davania).
c) they read some forbidden books and are threatened/expelled, etc (Remember "The Name of the Rose"?)
1) INT of 9 at least should be recommended (through many scribes from the RW could not read, they only copied letters as drawings, this kit depicts an enlightened scribe).
2) General Skills: Two languages (if they cannot be acquired by INT bonuses, they must be bought with General Skill slots), one Knowledge or Science of academic nature (History, Legends, Geography, Physics) OR one Art (must be Drawing) OR Cartography. Only one of them is required, more can be chosen if possible.
3) Alignment is normally Lawful (lots of discipline required), though many adventuring clerks/scribes have chosen their way of life due to their not-too-lawful character.
4) Due to the absorbing nature of their training and their tendency to always have some writing tools at hand, Clerks cannot use a shield. They also gain only one Weapon Skill at level 1, instead of the two normally assigned to clerics.
1) They gain the ability of reading any language they come upon. They start with a percentile equal to their INT score and each level it goes up 5%, with an important addition, which makes this skill better than the Thief ability at 4th level: every time they learn a new language, the can add a 10% to their score (this reflects their chances of applying ethnology to what they read).
2) They have a great understanding of scrolls: they still cannot use MU scrolls, but they may know which spell is written on a MU scroll. They can even, on a successful roll of their Read Languages ability, know some details of the scroll: whether it has a Glantrian factor, or is clearly Elvish or if it has some ramblings and sigils typical of a Chaotic wizards who has commerce with fiends. On reaching 9th Level, when they try to make their own scrolls, they may add a 10% bonus to their chance of success.
3) If in a library or archive, they may find useful information (as determined by the DM) in half the usual amount of time that other characters would require).
4) THE ALPHATIAN STAGE-MAGE
This kit is based on the Alphatian taste for theatre, which is madness in some realms (I am playing a 1000 AC campaign). Some magic-users there devote many of their skills and spellcasting abilities to the staging of tragedies, dramas and comedies. In the exotic empire, this job or hobby may become a way of life. Many stage wizards engage in adventuring to meet people or professions they want to portray (this may take a long time and risk if you are playing the role of a mad Azcan king), to run away from an enraged king who was heavily satirised upon in a witty comedy or to live experiences which must be acted later (Do you imagine a company who has written "The Sinking of Alphatia" and are planning to bring a whole island underwater only to know what people feel in that situation?")
1) General skills must include: Acting (this is similar to Deception), and either of Dancing, Tumbling or Singing.
2) Spell choice is restricted to what a wizard would normally find useful on stage (an ALPHATIAN stage, not any High-School performance). This may be determined by the DM, but is mostly common sense. Sleep would not be useful, nor any Power Word or Death Spell (do not be convinced by players who pretend to stage snuff plays with slaves), Clairvoyance, etc. On the other hand, Ventriloquism, Phantasmal Force, Invisibility, Polymorph are permitted, as well as any flashy missile spell (Fireball, Lightning Bolt... Many high level actors cast anti-magic shell and act their deaths when hit by a fireball which reduces the stage props to ashes); so are conjuration spells (Wall of..., Colour, Bleach), to produce quick (and even enchanted) props.
3) Stage mages cannot help being flashy and theatrical in their casting, so, when casting a spell, they must abide by the Individual Initiative rule and add 2 to the roll. Quick (or lucky) monsters will act before the mage finishes his wavering of hand a reciting of ominous verses (mostly quotes from famous Alphatian plays) which go along with the true spell.
1) Any Phantasmal Force the wizard cast is saved at -1
2) In their portraying of different roles, the mage gains lots of improvisation knowledge. Most important, they use (fake) weapons nearly everyday (where is a good drama without a couple of duels or battles?). So, the mage can use any one-handed hand-to-hand weapon with a -3 penalty on the to-hit roll. If he uses that weapon during adventuring frequently (DM determines), he can choose to become proficient the next time he gets a weapon advance. Later on, he may reach the Skilled level of Mastery (stage wizards, although surprisingly good at fencing, will never devote enough training to become Experts or Masters). If this seems unbalancing, think how difficult (or dangerous) is for a mage to use (frequently) a hand-to-hand weapon in combat.