Twilight of the Kai
Backgrounds are Traits that can be used as part of character creation and Players should have access to them if the Narrator approves of their use. To benefit from a Background you must pick the Background trait during character creation.
Backgrounds are tied to a country or culture of origin. Presented here are Backgrounds suitable for characters of Sommlending heritage.
- Noble Born (Sommerlund): You are the child of a noble house in the nation of Sommerlund. Born into wealth and privilege, you have both the advantage of high birth and the aspirations that come along with your station.
- Benefit: You possess a fine home in one of the four major cities of Sommerland—Holmgard, Tyso, Anskavern or Toran—or an estate elsewhere in the nation. This is a family home and likely to be in use by others in your family, but you and your guests are always welcome here and may stay free of charge. You always have 100 Gold Crowns you can draw upon in this house, an amount that replenishes once every year upon the anniversary of your birthday.
- Special: Your family is important and well-situated in high society. You are held to a very high standard when dealing with them and your behaviour in public reflects directly upon them. If you act poorly or disgracefully, you can lose the benefits of this Trait until you redeem your actions.
- Merchant Born (Sommerlund): Though the law in Sommerlund states that all citizens must have a lord, there is a thriving and numerous middle class that exists quite well without anything more than basic fealty to the noble class. You were born into this social class and its freedoms and entrepreneurial spirit mark you well.
- Benefit: You have a connection to the citizenry of Sommerlund, one that your years in the Kai Monastery have not completely severed. Whenever you take an Influence test to interact with merchants, craftsmen, and other middle class citizens of your homeland, the Target Value of the test is always -1 to its original difficulty. In addition, your ease and empathy in handling merchants and traders means you always pay 2 Gold Crowns less (to a minimum of 1 Gold Crown) for services and goods in Sommerlund.
- Serf Born (Sommerlund): While the plight of the peasant class of Sommerlund is considerably better than it is in most other nations, a serf’s life is still a hard one. The shadow of those struggles still hangs over you even though you escaped that life and become a Kai Lord.
- Benefit: You work harder and longer than anyone else you know, resulting in a permanent +1 bonus to your ENDURANCE score. You still have the bearing and demeanour of your serf parentage, something that may attract ridicule from your better-placed peers. Even so, when dealing with the peasantry or slaves of any nation, your common bond lets you re-test any failed Influence test with them. You must abide by the result of the re-test.
Kai lords rarely carry the burdens or advantages of their background with them into the Kai Monastery when they begin their training. They are generally too young to have been shaped by their culture of their parents and while they may one day return to their families as duty demands, they typically have no innate connections to the life they leave behind. As such, Background traits normally are not available to Kai characters.
Some Kai begin their training later in life, however. Characters may begin with one of the three above-listed Background traits, but at the expense of taking the following supplementary Background:
- Late Emergence: Your special gifts were not detected when you were young and you grew up among your family and social class normally. In adolescence, your gifts manifested and were recognised. You are one of the few who joined the Order after childhood has passed.
- Benefit: Though it comes at a cost, you are more versatile and worldly than other Kai Lords. You may choose Crafting or Vocation as a bonus skill. You may also pick one of the other Background traits for Sommerlund for free, as you still have strong connections to your past life.
- Special: Your missed years of training have left their mark on your abilities. When you try to use your Kai Disciplines in a serious situation (Narrator’s discretion), you must make a Luck Test. If you fail, that use fails as well. This failure can only happen twice per game. At Rank 7, it can only happen once per game. At Rank 10, this drawback disappears forever. Experience has made up for what you initially lacked in early training.