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Main / Savage

Chapter 1 - Class - Character Kits - Warrior Kits


The Savage is a tribesman, technologically and culturally far more primitive than even the Barbarian and Berserker, who is very much in tune with the natural world.

A Savage can be an honorable jungle vine-swinger raised by animals, a very dirty and primitive warrior who lives in mud-wattle huts and fights with bone weapons, a breathtakingly beautiful native princess from a culture which the characters consider impossibly primitive and yet uncorrupted and very noble . . . and so on. In short, the tribal culture from which the Savage character comes can be as crude or civil, coarse or noble, nasty or admirable as the players and DM want it to be.

To be a Savage, a character must have a minimum Strength score of 11 and a minimum Constitution score of 15.

Role: - In a campaign, the savage character has a couple of roles. His particular skills and benefits are of use to the average adventuring party. If he comes from a particularlynoble tribe, he may choose to act as the "voice of conscience" for the adventuring party, asking why, if the other characters are supposed to be so much more civilized than his own people, their honor and ethics seem to drag so far behind? But for the most part, he's a role-playing challenge, and should be chosen only by players willing to devote the extra effort to portraying someone from such a different culture . . . and how that character reacts with the other PCs' culture. This is an opportunity for a lot of humor and not a little tragedy in a campaign . . . but only if the player is willing to go to that effort.

Secondary Skills: - The Savage character should have Fisher, Forester, Hunter, or Trapper/Furrier as his Secondary Skill (player choice).

Weapon Proficiencies: - The DM should define a set of weapons which the PC can choose his beginning weapon proficiencies from. A typical set, for classic "noble savages": blowgun, long bow, short bow, club, dagger, javelin, knife, sling, spear. The character must make his first-level weapon proficiencies selections from these choices. Once he begins play and begins adventuring in the outer world, he may learn any other weapon, of course . . . but it's better role-playing if he prefers to stick to the weapons of his tribe.

Nonweapon Proficiencies: - Bonus Proficiencies: (General) Direction Sense, Weather Sense, (Warrior) Endurance, Survival. Recommended: (General) Animal Handling, Animal Training, Fire-Building, Fishing, Riding (Land-based), Rope Use, Swimming, (Warrior) Animal Lore, Bowyer/Fletcher, Hunting, Mountaineering, Running, Set Snares, Tracking, (Priest, double slots unless Paladin) Healing, Herbalism, Local History, Religion, (Rogue, double slots) Jumping, Tightrope Walking, Tumbling, (Wizard, double slots unless Ranger) Herbalism, Religion.

Equipment: - The Savage gets no gold (0 gp) with which to purchase his weapons and equipment. Instead, he may take up to four of the weapons listed under "New Savage Weapons" in the Equipment chapter. He may assemble an equipment list of up to ten additional items, subject to the DM's approval, which he will have accumulated during his years with the tribe; they must be items which members of a savage tribe could have made (things such as pouches, clothing, food, rope, fishing gear, sheathes for weapons, and so forth—no mirrors, lanterns, iron cooking pots, and the like.) With the DM's permission, if the tribe is a river-tribe or a riding tribe, he may have either a riding horse (with saddle-blanket, halter, bit and bridle) or a small canoe.

Special Benefits: - One of the Savage's special benefits is that he receives more bonus nonweapon proficiencies than any other type of warrior—testimony to the fact that the Savage must know more skills just to stay alive than other characters. Another, substantial, benefit the Savage receives is this: He has a special ability, resembling a spell, which he may use once per day per experience level he has (i.e., a 5th-level savage could use his ability five times per day).

The special ability must be chosen from the list below, must be chosen when the character is first created, and may never be changed. The special ability is not truly magic, and Detect magic will not detect it; it is an ability natural to the Savage. It does not require verbal, somatic, or material components, even if such are required from the normal spell.

The list:

(1) Alarm (Wizard 1st Level). Special effects: This is only usable by the Savage when he is resting or sleeping in a quiet place. The ability does not sound an alarm like thespell; it merely alerts the Savage to intrusion (if he is already awake) or awakens him (if he is asleep). It is not cast upon a particular place; it alerts him to activity within 10 feet of the place where he lies (as if he were at the center of the 20-foot cube of effect of the actual spell).
(2) Detect Magic (Wizard 1st Level). Special effects: This reflects the fact that the Savage is in tune with nature and can feel when there is something unnatural (i.e., magical) in the air. Unless the Savage is also a Ranger, he cannot determine the type of magic present (i.e., alteration, conjuration, etc.).
(3) Animal Friendship (Priest 1st Level). Special effects: This ability can only make friends of an animal which is not angry or threatened. It can be used to make an angry or threatened animal calm. To make friends with an angry or threatened animal, therefore, the Savage must be able to use the ability twice that day (i.e., he must be of 2nd level or higher) and must have two uses left. To use the ability, the Savage must confront the animal, face to face, at no further away than the limits of the animal's attack range. As with the spell, the Savage must actually have no ulterior motives, for such will be detected by the animal, and the ability will fail.
(4) Detect Evil (Priest 1st Level). Special effects: this is like the Detect Magic ability, above. Like the Priest spell, this Detect Evil cannot detect evil in a PC—only in a monster, place, or magical item.

The DM can disallow any of the four abilities given above, or introduce new ones— though he can't add anything that resembles a magical spell above 1st level.

Special Hindrances: - The Savage has some drawbacks, too. He is uncomfortable in civilized clothes and armor — When wearing any sort of clothing more cumbersome and concealing than his normal tribal dress, he suffers a –1 to all attack, damage and nonweapon proficiency rolls; he's uncomfortable, and it's affecting his actions and reactions.

Likewise, he can wear any type of armor, but is so uncomfortable in it that he will suffer a –3 to all attack, damage, and nonweapon proficiency rolls while wearing any sort of armor at all. If a player blatantly decides not to role-play his character's dislike of armor and simply wears armor continually, accepting that negative modifier, the DM should gradually increase the modifier: –3 in one play–session, –4 in the next, –5 in the next, and so on . . . with no limit. If the player asks why this is happening, the DM need merely reply that the character is growing more and more uncomfortable in his unnatural trappings and finding it harder and harder to concentrate on the job at hand.

Wealth Options: - The Savage starts out with no gold. He gets his starting weapons as described above, under Equipment. After the campaign starts, the character will inevitably come across the concepts of money; it's up to the player how he reacts to them (he could either like the idea and try to accumulate the stuff as his allies do, or put it down to civilized corruption and stay away from it).

Races: - Most role-playing campaigns tend to think of the demihumans as being more civilized and cultured than humans, but it's perfectly all right to have Savage dwarves, elves, gnomes, half-elves, and even halflings in your campaign if the DM wishes them to be there.

Note: "But," you say, "what if my character grew up in a Savage tribe and was later enslaved and trained as a Gladiator and then escaped? What is he, a Savage or a Gladiator?"

That's up to you to answer. If he still considers himself a member of his tribe and has not been distanced from it by his capture and training, take the Savage Warrior Kit; perhaps your DM will allow you to use some of your proficiencies to learn weapons and skills appropriate to Gladiators. Likewise, if the character is now more urban than savage, build him with the Gladiator Warrior Kit . . . but have him use some of his proficiencies on Savage skills and weapons.

The same sort of theory applies if you're creating any character with a complicated background: A Barbarian youth brought up in the traditions of a Samurai, an Amazon lass who has grown up to be a Knight (Noble Warrior), a Pirate boy who gave up the seas and took to being a big-city Swashbuckler. Decide which Warrior Kit the character considers himself to belong to, create him with that Kit, and use some of your proficiencies to buy weapons-knowledge and skills pertaining to the other Kit.