Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Egypt, or the Versatility of the Second Edition Part One: Warrior Kits

Second Edition AD&D can do many things. As I explored earlier this week, I can't seem to get it to do ablative armor, but there are a variety of vastly different settings it can successfully represent. One of the most successful campaign sets was Al Qadim, well known for being a complete conversion of the system, transforming it from a standard medieval setting to a much more cosmopolitan world that would be at home in the stories of Scheherazade. This complete conversion was achieved by means of kits. Long before I came up with the idea of the mundane kit series (see, e.g., Playing Servants Parts One, Two, or Three) I created a kit-based overhaul of the system to model not a medieval Arabian/Islamic but rather classical Egyptian model a-la Al Qadim.

I never completed the work, but it was intended to include an overhaul to the class system much as Al Qadim had done in ages past.

Warrior Kits

Temple Guardian
These warriors are dedicated to the service of a single cult, and often a single temple-site. They may serve as the guardians of the site or as its influence abroad, doing the bidding of the high cleric of that particular temple. They thus often come into conflict with other Temple Warriors during the violence between cults.

Requirements: None; all races and both genders are eligible.

Role: The temple warriors are drafted from the lower classes at a young age to be trained by their respective cult. They are considered to belong to the priesthood (though its outermost branch) and are thus permitted access to certain holy sections of the temples. They can expect to be allowed to stay within the precincts of a temple or within the priests quarters and often an entire platoon of temple guardians will be stationed in one temple.

They are also the arm of their temple’s might, enforcing its will abroad in the world and can be sent out on missions whether on their own, in small units, or accompanying priests of their cult. They are trained in the secret arts of literacy for, unlike slave-soldiers, they are expected to have some participation in cultic acts.

Weapon Proficiencies: Temple guardians must take their first two weapon proficiency slots in the khopesh and the scourge. They learn how to fight with the khopesh from childhood, and they teach other young temple guardians under fear of the scourge.

Nonweapon Proficiencies: Bonus Profs: reading/writing (Desert Khemri), religion (by cult)

Equipment: Temple guardians receive their equipment from the cult, and are never found outfitted otherwise at level 1. They begin play with 15 silver pieces and the following gear: a khopesh, a scourge, a tunic (or calasiris), sandals, shield, bronze scale armor.

Special Benefits: Temple guardians can expect to be given food and shelter in any temple that matches their cultic devotion, they are given extra attention by clerics who share their cult, and can frequent the secret inner portions of a temple. They also share a special status of power amongst the faithful.

Special Hinderances: Members of other cults will be suspicious and feel put-upon by the authority of these warriors. Cults who are directly opposed to the guardian’s cult will not be openly hostile, but may impede them in other ways.

Slave soldiers are people captured from the outland tribes that live beyond the borders of the Kingdom of Black Earth. These make up the majority of levies used by local cults, princes, and sepati.

Requirements: None; all races and both genders are eligible.

Role: Slave soldiers make up the bulk of any fighting force and any slave may be outfitted with gear and turned into a soldier. However, this kit represents specialized slaves who have been dedicated to fighting for their patron. Whether they serve a temple, prince, or other potentate (such as a merchant) they must almost always defer to those of non-slave status who work for the same employer.

Weapon Proficiencies: Slave soldiers are always taught to use a spear. They may not specialize in any one weapon at level 1, though they may do so later.

Nonweapon Proficiencies: Bonus Profs: endurance, one general skill (which they can use to assist their patron when not fighting)

Equipment: Slave soldiers receive 2d6x10 gold pieces at character creation. Anything they don’t spend is returned to their patron. They do not generally keep their own money, but turn everything over to their patrons. They may request better equipment from their masters.

Special Benefits: Slave soldiers are extremely hardy from years of training. They may receive a +1 bonus to constitution (maximum 18) or strength (maximum 18/00).

Special Hinderances: They belong, heart and soul, to their masters. If they raise a hand against their patron or disobey them, all of Khewed society will seek to turn them in or profit from their flight.

Noble Warrior
Noble warriors are members of the Per-ah, or noble houses. They are themselves Khewed nobility, highly trained in the art of war. They fight at the behest of their lieges, the heads of their family, and sometimes their temple. Noble warriors can also be found serving the sepati, or regional leaders.

Requirements: While any race or sex can be a noble warrior, they must be from a noble Per-ah or house.

Role: Noble warriors spend their time furthering the goals of their family, their sepati, or their cult depending on their bent. They often have great resources, though if they chose to lead their lives outside the normal structure of society by adventuring they generally give up their ties to wealth.

Weapon Proficiencies: Noble warriors must take the khopesh, the bow, and charioteering as weapon proficiencies.

Nonweapon Proficiencies: Bonus Profs: reading/writing (Desert Khemri), heraldry

Equipment: Noble warriors begin play with 2d6 x 100 gold. They don’t have to give any of it back, even if they don’t spend it.

Special Benefits: The house of descent from which a noble warrior comes may assist them in times of need. Likewise, they may have many contacts amongst the middle or upper nobility. Noble warriors receive a +2 bonus to all reaction rolls with other nobility.

Special Hinderances: Nobles of opposing houses and many clerics will hinder the goals of noble warriors, as they represent the power base of their own house. Nobles directly opposed to the house of the warrior and all priests take a -2 penalty to reaction rolls (only one or the other of these bonuses can affect a single NPC).

Medjay Warrior
Medjay Warriors are the members of the nomadic tribes that roam the high desert beyond the bounds of Khewed. While many of these nomads may fit into other classes, most of them would be considered medjay warriors.

Requirements: None, other than being of nomadic background.

Role: The medjay is the average citizen of a nomadic tribe. They hunt, gather food, and track the desert wastes. For this reason, medjay are closest to the ranger class (but must be warriors). Most NPC medjay have no level, or are level 1. The medjay may become a tribal leader (though he will always defer to the Speaker-of-Spirits or a Hekau if there is one present).

Weapon Proficiencies: Most medjay are proficient with the khopesh and dagger. All medjay must spend a slot to be proficient in bows.

Nonweapon Proficiencies: Bonus Profs: riding (camel) or riding (horse), tracking, one food-gathering skill

Equipment: Medjay recieve 2d4 x 10 gp to spend on equipment and may keep the rest. They cannot purchase metal armor.

Special Benefits: Medjay may track in the desert exactly as rangers normally do. In addition, medjay may barter or trade for closer to the precise value of their goods within their home tribe, and as long as they do not desert their tribesmen or acculturate to the city they receive a +2 reaction bonus when interacting with their tribe.

Special Hinderances: Medjay (like most desert folk) are uncomfortable in the great cities of Khewed. They have a -2 reaction penalty when interacting with city folk, and find trouble bartering or haggling with them.

Slave Driver
There are certain men who have no qualms about using others to do their dirty work. The easiest way to do this is to purchase and train slaves. Slave drivers send their men into combat to their death for money; they are most frequently employed as mercenaries by nobles or temples.

Requirements: Slave drivers can never be good.

Role: Slave drivers hire out their stables of slaves to complete important work in society. In ancient Khewed all public works were built and repaired by volunteer peasants at the order of the priest-king or Nesut-Bi’it. In modern Khewed, some of this work is taken by the cheap labor of slaves. Additionally, the forces of the cults and the princes are often supplemented by teams of slaves. Slave drivers are private slave-owners who hire out their wares.

Weapon Proficiencies: Slave drivers focus on non-lethal weapons and daggers; their choices include the whip, the scourge, the club, the bronze axe, the dagger, and the net.

Nonweapon Proficiencies: Bonus Profs: heraldry, leadership

Equipment: Slave drivers begin play with regular warrior cash and also a single slave of average quality. 

Special Benefits: Slave drivers get several special benefits. The first is that they may command a number of slaves equal to one half their level in combat; if they do this, they need not share xp equally with the slaves. Instead, their own xp allotment is halved and one half is distributed amongst their slaves who participated in the battle. They may also encourage slaves not to run; if a slave must make a morale check, the slave driver may choose to whip or scourge him to convince him to stay (or merely menace him with the whip). If this occurs, the morale check is rerolled and the slave driver makes an attack against the slave. He may choose to miss, dealing no damage. If he strikes the slave, he deals normal damage and the slave’s morale roll is modified by the amount of damage done. However, if he does more than 2 points of damage, the modifier is negative!

Special Hinderances: The slave driver must feed and house his slaves from his own income. If he maltreats his slaves too badly, he may be executed and his slaves made free men.

In the Old Kingdom, all armies where composed of conscripts called up from the great sepati farmlands to fill army quotas. In the New Kingdom under the Akhemian rule armies are mostly made up of slaves captured from the outland and desert regions. But there are still farmers, herdsmen, and folk of the land living in Khewed, and some of them choose to put down their farmer’s tools and take up the sword.

Requirements: None

Role: Husbandmen and -women are the every-day inhabitants of Khewed. Commoners who generally own some land of their own or work on the great farm-plantations of the sepati or the nobles, they serve as conscript-soldiers when the Ahkemian priesthood determines Khewed needs defense above and beyond her slave armies. Generally, however, they can be found tending to the land. This kit represents the children of a husbandman who decided to evade their father’s fate, or the husbandman who has abandoned his place as a farmer.

Weapon Proficiencies: Husbandmen may only begin play with the following weapon proficiencies, though they may later acquire others: Sickle, flail, scourge/whip, dagger, adze.

Nonweapon Proficiencies: Bonus Profs: any two relating to farming, fishing, papyrus making, or herding.

Equipment: Husbandmen begin play with much less money than normal warriors. They begin with 3d4x10 gold.

Special Benefits: The lower classes believe firmly in the Khewedi society and the truth of the cults and the gods. They receive a +1 bonus to-hit and damage when fighting any enemy of Khewed or outsider. In addition, their generally unshakeable faith lends them a +1 bonus to all saves vs. mind affecting magic or fear when in the presence of a friendly priest of any cult. These benefits may be lost over time if the PC becomes disillusioned with Khewed or the cults.

Special Hinderances: There are fears no acculturation can shake. One of those is the sacrilege of striking a servant of the gods. Husbandmen take a -2 penalty to-hit when attempting to strike a cleric of any Khewedi cult.

Laborers break stone, chop the rare wood of Khewed, transport goods, or otherwise do backbreaking work.

Requirements: Strength 13, Constitution 14

Role: Laborers are the workforce of Khewed. While artisans do work requiring delicate hand-movements, laborers haul stone, work quarries, and pump furnaces. They may be smiths, masons, carpenters, or bricklayers. The one thing they have in common is the difficulty and exertion required for their job.

Weapon Proficiencies: Laborers may take proficiency in any weapon related to their job. These often include axes, picks, hammers, and clubs.

Nonweapon Proficiencies: Bonus Profs: endurance, any one other relating to their job
Equipment: As per a normal warrior.

Special Benefits: Laborers are much more difficult to exhaust in the desert heat than others. They spend most of the day beneath the beating sun, doing work that would cause a lesser man to faint.

Special Hinderances: Laborers may not begin play with a weapon specialization.

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