Play By The Rules: Caste System Background Benefits

Game Ready Content Background Dark Sun DnD 4E House Rule

Guided by a firm belief that the books are just the beginning, we here at Intwischa are pleased to present “Play By The Rules”, an ongoing series that will provide custom mechanics for your favorite RPGs! These posts will strive to give players and storytellers alike original, creative, game-ready ways to add spice and texture to all kinds of role-playing experiences. Here’s hoping you’ll try one out, leave a comment, or suggest your own!

As a companion to my previous post on non-mechanical character creation, this inaugural edition of Play By The Rules! deals with some mechanical benefits that might be gained in a Caste-based society. These are meant to be a part of the character from the ground up, reflecting the social order they have been born into. Such a mechanical benefit would most likely be filed under “Background” as it relates to 4E D&D character generation. The intention was for these to apply to Dark Sun characters, but there’s nothing that says they couldn’t crop up in any campaign setting.

Practice of Purity (Background Benefit, Warrior Caste)

In your quest for martial perfection, you practice a rigidly defined set of physical exercises every day to cleanse yourself of impurities and gain focus.
PREREQ: This benefit may only be taken at 1st Level by a member of the Warrior caste.
BENEFIT: Your daily rituals grant you special bonuses in combat. Choose which bonus you prefer before conducting these exercises, modifying them as needed to achieve the desired effect. Granted effects last until you perform your next practice of purity. This exercise requires 8 hours of rest to clear the mind. You need not sleep for this entire time, but you must refrain from movement, combat, spellcasting, skill use, or any demanding physical or mental task during the rest period.
• Rite of Battle: You receive a +1 Morale bonus on melee attack rolls with a specific weapon. This weapon must be incorporated into your practice of purity.
• Rite of Calm: You receive a +1 Resistance bonus on all defenses.
• Rite of Fitness: You gain temporary Hit Points equal to your Healing Surge value.

Local Color (Background Benefit, Citizen Caste)

Members of this Caste fill a variety of roles throughout society, and possess untold skills and hidden talents. As the individuals in this caste are difficult to define or label, they are frequently underestimated by members of the other classes.
PREREQ: This benefit may only be taken at 1st Level by a member of the Citizen caste.
BENEFIT: You gain training in one additional skill for free, or may add a +5 background bonus to a skill in which you are already trained. Additionally, anyone not of the Citizen caste suffers a -2 penalty on any Diplomacy or Perception checks when dealing with your character.

Pureblooded Lineage (Background Benefit, Noble Caste)

Your bloodline hearkens back to the first, most renowned families in your society. That famous lineage adds an aura of awe to your appearance and your words.
PREREQ: This benefit may only be taken at 1st Level by a member of the Noble caste.
BENEFIT: Your austere appearance grants you a +2 background bonus to all Charisma-based skills. In addition, your ancestral purity yields a +1 background bonus to defenses against spells and spell-like effects.

Journeyed (Background Benefit, Merchant Caste)

Your adventurous travels throughout the land have given you a strong depth of local knowledge- and a broad repertoire of tall tales.
PREREQ: This benefit may only be taken at 1st Level by a member of the Merchant caste.
BENEFIT: You gain a +3 background bonus to all Intelligence-based skills. Additionally, when dealing with any non-hostile entity that you can communicate with, you may use an Intelligence-based skill check in place of any Charisma-based skill.

Sun Eater (Background Benefit, Slave Caste)

As slaves perform almost all manual labor in their society, skilled or otherwise, they develop an almost limitless tolerance to hot environments and their ill effects. They learn to conserve energy and moisture, and to use it when others have burnt out.
PREREQ: This benefit may only be taken at 1st Level by a member of the Slave caste.
BENEFIT: You gain Resistance +5 to damage that has the subtype “Heat” or “Fire”. In addition, while in any hot exterior climate, you may take an immediate free action in the same round you become Bloodied.

Purified (Background Benefit, Holy/Religious Caste)

You have passed through the desert, been cleansed by fire, and have emerged with great insight. You see the world as it is meant to be seen, you know the things that are meant to be known, and your destiny is forever intertwined with the burning dunes. While this knowledge provides you with great inner peace, many find your wizened focus disconcerting. You, like others who have survived such a trial, share a desire to keep the sacred sands free from pollution- both physical and spiritual.
PREREQ: This benefit may only be taken at 1st Level by a member of a holy/religious caste.
BENEFIT: Your trials in the desert have granted you one of the following powers; this power must be decided at the start of each day during your morning prayer.
• Gift of Prophecy: During your ordeal you gained special enlightenment regarding the future. Once per encounter, whenever you make a a d20 roll, you may roll twice and use whichever result you desire.
• Gift of Sight: The light always shines before you, allowing you to pierce magical illusions and see the world in terms of absolute truth. Once per day, you may add 10 + your Wisdom modifier to any roll used to oppose an opponent’s attempt to hide, sneak. or otherwise conceal their presence or actions from you. This includes invisible or insubstantial opponents, or opponents granted any type of cover or concealment.
• Touch of Light: Your body cleansed of every toxin, you are especially gifted at removing pain from others. Once per day, you may add a +10 bonus to a roll made for the purposes of Healing effects, including curing disease or removing curses.

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