Culture & Professional Adventuring Kits; pt 2

I’m making an effort to post on this blog once a day. It doesn’t need to be big, long, or heavy on details, but I’m trying to write down and publish one musing, idea, theme, topic, or something each day as a daily warm-up for my writing and creative work.


The idea behind what I’m posting today is “pick-list” character creation. I find discrete decision points do a good job of melding streamlined character creation with lots of options. Why spend every gold piece? You can generally just “pick” a kit and move on. But why not do it twice?

The below system is kinda designed for OSR/5e/d20 gaming where classes define your profession, but it’d be pretty easy to adjust it to another system. Simply adjust what comes in each kit as needed by the game.

There are two types of kits: professional and cultural. At character creation, each character picks one of each. Professional kits are restricted by classes, where as cultural kits are based on your upbringing. I’ll more on my ideas for this system later.

I don’t generally deal with carrying load in my games (either you can carry it or you can’t), so you might have to assign those based on your needs.

Part 1 is yesterday’s post.

Cultural Kits

Cultures represent how you were raised. While a nation or city might have a dominant culture (and often does), your home or personal background can often have a culture that differs from the dominant culture locally.

Select the culture that fits your character idea and background the best and explain where it’s drawn from.

Innovative

Innovative cultures tend to be at the forefront of technological and scientific advancement (the domain of magical research is best left to the Arcane culture in terms of narrative focus, though obviously your setting might differ).

Kit contents: backpack, tool kit (blacksmithing, clockwork, etc), safety goggles, daily rations (5), torches (5), empty flask (5), pen & ink, blank book (2), chalk, scientific book (engineering, alchemy, etc), leather/craftsman apron and work clothes, common clothes, abacus, set of measuring tools (weights for both solids and liquids), bedroll, small tent.

1-in-6 (1 on a d6) chance of the following items (roll for each):

  • lantern (hooded or bullseye)
  • music box
  • one healing potion
  • clockwork toy
  • signet ring for Engineer’s Guild.
  • firestarter box (a mechanical/alchemical device that easily lights a fire in hard circumstances)

Martial

Martial cultures tend to be focused on warfare, tactics, combat, and conquest. Their kits tend to be utilitarian and focused on quick and efficient travel. This kit should not contain any major weapons, as that’s the province of professional kits, but it should be supporting the idea of a martial culture. Not everyone in a martial culture is a fighter, but they do support (professionally) a culture that produces a lot of soldiers/combatants.

Kit contents: backpack, sturdy marching boots, daily rations (10), torches (5), waterskin, traveling clothes, common clothes, utility knife, map of the region, bedroll, small tent, whetstone, flint and tinder.

1-in-6 (1 on a d6) chance of the following items (roll for each):

  • one-handed weapon
  • compass
  • one magic potion of healing
  • small shield
  • military paperwork (commission, supply requisition, etc.)
  • Sturdy leather cap

Mercantile

Mercantile cultures tend to be focused on trade, the movement of goods and supplies, as well as the production of said goods.

Kit contents: backpack, daily rations (5), torches (5), empty flask (2), pen & ink, blank book (2), measures and weights, purchasing logbook, client logbook, small amounts of currency in a variety of sources and forms (other nations, trading goods, etc), a pack animal with two saddlebags (or equivalent).

1-in-6 (1 on a d6) chance of the following items (roll for each):

  • artisan tools
  • papers containing purchasing orders
  • one magic potion of healing
  • 2d10 appropriate value in trade goods
  • signet ring of merchant guild membership
  • 2d10 pieces of currency

I plan to post more of these over this week (kinda a theme week), but this was fun; trying to think about how different cultures might assume what is default or necessary for equipment and travel.