Monday, June 2, 2008

Kaldane

Kaldanes are small crablike creatures (a little larger than your head), who, though of great intellectual capacity (and even psychic powers), pose little physical threat to a warrior. However, they have developed a race of creatures – the rykors – which have full-sized human bodies, and serve them as mounts to do fighting and labor. Rykors have no head, and only the simplest of sensory and central nervous systems: they are all but blind and deaf, and possess no true will of their own. A kaldane can place itself on the neck of a rykor and use its peculiar appendages to take control of the rykor, serving as its head. The resulting combined creature is then able to do anything a normal human can do, and the two creatures become one for all practical purposes.

Kaldane/Rykor Symbiosis: When mounted, the kaldane uses the higher of the stats between itself and its mount for all game purposes, and is able to use all skills, edges, and powers in perfect coordination. The kaldane can dismount at any time (consider it part of movement) with no harm to either. In combat, the kaldane uses the higher Toughness and Vigor traits, unless the attacker makes a called shot to the “head” with the usual -4 penalty. An attacker also has the option of trying to forcibly separate the kaldane rather than doing damage, which takes a successful called shot and a raise on a Strength contest against the kaldane (not the rykor!).

Rykors are freely interchangeable, though not all have the same attributes. It is assumed that a kaldane character has a small number of rykors available which have been specially bred and trained to have the traits selected by the player. Note that, unless the result of a called shot, all damage is assumed to affect the rykor rather than the kaldane. The combined kaldane/rykor still suffers all Shaken and wound penalties as normal, but if the kaldane separates from the rykor, wounds generally stay with the rykor, not the kaldane.

For the purposes of character advancement, a Kaldane character can raise its attributes once per Rank for each of its two parts – that is, once per Rank for the Kaldane itself, and once per Rank for the rykor. If the kaldane loses access to its personal herd of rykors, it can still advance the rykor’s attributes, but if that rykor is killed, it must obtain a new one with starting attributes. Wealthy and powerful kaldanes will have a selection of impressive mounts to choose from.

When learning Skills, a kaldane may use the attributes of its rykor to determine the cost of a new skill level.

Kaldane starting attributes
Agility d4
Smarts d6
Spirit d6
Strength d4
Vigor d4
Small: Kaldanes are small crablike creatures; reduce calculated Toughness by one. In addition, they can never raise their Strength through character advancement.

Detached: Kaldanes are largely (though not entirely) without human emotion, and have little understanding of it. Thus, their Charisma is reduced by 1 when dealing with any other race.

Mental Discipline: Kaldanes can take the Arcane Background: Psionics. They will generally take the powers Puppet or Remote Rykor Control (see below) at first.

Rykor starting attributes:
Agility d4
Smarts d4-1
Spirit d4
Strength d6
Vigor d6
Mindless: Rykors cannot raise their Smarts or Spirit, learn skills, or gain most Edges, and when not under the control of a kaldane, do not get to roll Wild Dice.

From Savages of Mars By Tim W. Brown, 2004

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