Sunday, January 23, 2011

Bloodwood Kit Design

Now that I've finished working on races and classes available in my campaign, I've started to work on kits. For those who don't know what a kit is, think of it as the precursor to the prestige class. Unlike the prestige classes however, you take the kit at 1st level. In an attempt to "balance" the power gain of each kit, there's also an associated penalty with each kit.
It seems to me that kits come in two varieties:
  • Backgrounds: These are kits that help you define a past, helping the player to flesh out the character. They don't significantly modify the abilities of the class, but instead offer abilities that have been gained because of where/how the character was raised. Examples: Militia Veteran (Karameikos: Kingdom of Adventure) and Peasant Hero(Complete Fighter's Handbook).
  • Specializations/Modifications: These kits are those that change the class in some way, or allow the character to specialize in one aspect of the class. Examples include: Many of the Thief and Bard kits from their respective Complete Handbooks, as well as the Samurai kit from the Fighter's Handbook.
Anyone who has read through the various books with kits in them(and for the purpose of this discussion, we're going to completely disregard the Skills and Powers Kits), will notice that they were very rarely handled the same way twice. As such, I'm posting the descriptions of how I handle the kits I'm building:

Kit Name: Fairly self explanatory
Description: This is the "fluff" text, describing what someone with this kit represents. For instance, for my Lycanthrope kit, I used the following: You survived an encounter with another Lycanthrope sometime in your past. In doing so, you contracted the dread disease. Now, you look with fear upon the moon, knowing when it hangs full in the sky, your human self will give way to the bloodthirsty beast that now dwells within.
Requirements: This is where you put the requirements for Race, Class, and anything special a character has to have to in order to qualify for the kit.
Modifications: If the kit changes an existing Race or Class, this is where those modifications will be discussed. This would include things like the Thieving skill modifications from the Complete Thief's Handbook.
Weapons and Armor: This is where any limitations or bonuses will be shown for the kit as they regard to weapon and armor access/proficiencies.
Equipment: If a kit receives bonus gear, or is required to own certain types of gear, this is where it will be listed. For example, a rider would be required to own a saddle and other riding gear.
Nonweapon Proficiencies: This part is divided into three parts; Bonus, Required, and Recommended. Bonus proficiencies are those proficiencies the character gets by virtue of having the kit. He does not spend proficiency slots to take them. Required proficiencies on the other hand are those proficiencies that the character must buy with his initial allotment of class and intelligence given NWP slots. This represents the investment that the player put into the kit prior to becoming an adventurer. Recommended Proficiencies are a list of additional proficiencies that the character may wish to take based on the description of the kit. As an added bonus, at first level, prior to the start of play, you may buy any recommended proficiency for list price if it's not normally available to your class instead of having to spend an additional proficiency slot. 
Special Benefits:  Any changes or abilities that don't fit into any of the above categories that represent an actual benefit for the person with this kit are listed here. For example, in my Winterborn kit, there's the following benefits: +1 bonus on saves to resist any sort of non-magical cold effect as well as to fear effects. Your character suffers no movement penalties when moving through/over snow/ice.
Special Penalties: While their may be downsides listed in other areas, this is for all the other downsides that aren't listed elsewhere. For example, those characters using the Chosen Crusader kit have the following penalties: The Crusader must abide by all the dictates and tenets of the Church of the Chosen, these include but are not limited to:  Must maintain a lawful alignment, must tithe 10% of all wealth to the church, must obey church superiors. Failure to live up to the dictates results in a loss of abilities.
Starting Funds/Social Class: In my campaign, instead of starting funds being dependent on character class, it's instead based on the social class of the character. This is where any modifications to those starting funds are listed.

Over the next few posts I will likely offer a few of the kits for everyone to use in their own campaigns.

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