Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Lone Wolf (Kai Lord) for Basic Games


Joe Dever and Gary Chalk did this; Gary Chalk also did the illustrations/covers (initially).

Charisma 13, Constitution 14, Dexterity 16, Intelligence 13, Strength 16, Wisdom 16 

Ranger 4/ Monk 4 (5d8)

Last of the Kai Lords on a mission of vengeance against the Darklords of Helgedad.

He looks, sounds and acts a bit like YOU, now that I think about it (pronouns as appropriate, then).

This treatment is an approximation of the starter character for the first five books (the Kai Series).

Armour: Lone Wolf's monastic training gives a +3 AC bonus in lieu of Dexterity when Unarmoured.

Otherwise, Lone Wolf generally uses Low Armour Settings.

Weapons: Favours the hand axe and the sword, but proficient in all the usual martial tools.

Lone Wolf dual-wields without penalty, as per your system.

Monastic training gives Lone Wolf a +2 damage bonus with all weapons if this is better than the bonus for Strength.

Bows don't become a feature until Book 6, but that doesn't mean Lone Wolf can't use one.

Extra Attacks: as well as dual-wielding, Lone Wolf gets an additional (single) attack at the end of every fourth combat round. 

This is resolved after all other business.

Favoured Enemy: +4 attack bonus and -4 reaction penalty when faced with the forces of the Darklords.

Surprise: Lone Wolf surprises opponents 50% of the time (1-3 on d6) and is only surprised on a 1 on d6.

Thief Skills: standard probabilities and backstab adjustments for a 4th level character with the given ability scores (your edition may vary). 

Hide in Shadows and Move Silently are effective in dungeon, rural and urban environments. 

Does not normally carry tools for Open Locks and Remove Traps.

Alignment: Like a Paladin, if they were chosen rather than made, Lone Wolf is likely Lawful Good in the nine-alignments system; Lawful in the three-way. 

Or Neutral.

Kai Disciplines.

As an Initiate, Lone Wolf has learned five Kai Disciplines.

All these abilities use the local version of psionics/ki to complement mundane knowledge and experience.

Animal Kinship: This skill enables a Kai Lord to communicate with some animals and to be able to guess the intentions of others.

Use speak with animals and 2e AD&D Ranger animal empathy ability as a guideline.

Healing: This Discipline can be used to restore ENDURANCE points lost in combat.

A pool of 8 hp (per day) that can be used to heal self or others.

Lone Wolf can administer to others during combat but not to self.

Mindshield: The Darklords and many of the evil creatures in their command have the ability to attack you using their Mindforce. The Kai Discipline of Mindshield prevents you from losing any ENDURANCE points when subjected to this form of attack.

Either play this straight as the Monk's ability (ESP is only 30% effective), or have Lone Wolf be immune to psionics of 4th level/HD or less.

Or break out a psionics system.

Sixth Sense: This skill may warn a Kai Lord of imminent danger. It may also reveal the true purpose of a stranger or strange object encountered in your adventure.

This is why Lone Wolf is only surprised on a 1 on d6. Could also be used as a 1 on d6 chance of reveal(ing) the true purpose.

Tracking: This skill enables a Kai Lord to make the correct choice of a path in the wild, to discover the location of a person or object in a town or city and to read the secrets of footprints or tracks.

Use Bushcraft/Tracking mechanic/subsystem. Works in dungeons, but not as well - you might be able to retrace your steps in a maze (and realise the walls have been shifting when your back was turned), but it wouldn't automatically help you find your way out.

The Sommerswerd.

Lone Wolf's signature weapon. It can only be wielded by a Kai and Lone Wolf is the only one left.

Like a Paladin, it's not subtle in its righteousness.

Has the powers of both a sun blade and a sword +5, holy avenger (treat Lone Wolf as a Paladin of the same level).

Sometimes, for climactic purposes, it can launch a lightning bolt that explodes as fireball that dispels evil.

It definitely has some of these effects during dramatic battle-scenes.

The +10 dmg vs. chaotic evil applies to the Darklords and their servants in particular, and is inflicted by mere touch. You decide whether this stacks with double-damage vs. undead.

It's hard to pretend that you're not a champion of Good/Light, if not The Actual Lone Wolf, when you're carrying the Sommerswerd, and some beings will be alerted by its very presence, even if concealed. 

The Other Kai Disciplines.

Lone Wolf gets a new Discipline each time you complete a book in the series, so individual Lone Wolfs (Wolves?) could have different ones to those given above. My choices were suggested by the existing features of the source classes.

Also a starting point for running your own Kai characters.

Camouflage: This Discipline enables a Kai Lord to blend in with his surroundings. In the countryside, he can hide undetected among trees and rocks and pass close to an enemy without being seen. In a town or city, it enables him to look and sound like a native of that area, and can help him to find shelter or a safe hiding place.

+ 10% to Hide in Shadows and Move Silently; effective in dungeon, rural and urban environment. Porous border with performance and survival skills.

Hunting: This skill ensures that a Kai Lord will never starve in the wild. He will always be able to hunt for food for himself except in areas of wasteland and desert. The skill also enables a Kai Lord to be able to move stealthily when stalking his prey.

Covers the surprise bonus. Self-sufficiency in the wilderness; debatable whether it could help support others.

Mind Over Matter: Mastery of this Discipline enables a Kai Lord to move small objects with his powers of concentration.

Approximately mage hand, and can substitute for tools to Open Locks and Find/Remove Traps. 

A limit on uses per day seems fair (suggest as low as 1, soft cap 3, hard cap 4), as Lone Wolf rarely seems to use it more than once or twice an adventure (in my experience - and I stopped at book 12).

Or break out a psionics system.

Mindblast: This enables a Kai Lord to attack an enemy using the force of his mind. It can be used at the same time as normal combat weapons and adds two extra points to your COMBAT SKILL.

If the target is not immune (Mindshield), they attack at -2. Or this could be represented by the +2 dmg bonus with all weapons. 

Or break out a psionics system.

Undead are not universally immune to Mindblast, though this would seem logical.

Weaponskill: Upon entering the Kai Monastery, each initiate is taught to master one type of weapon. 

If taken at the start, it's with the Axe or Quarterstaff (50/50); taken later on, it'll be with the Sword.

Treat as weapon specialisation (+1 to hit, +2 dmg).


Sprang almost fully formed from this comment by Kelvin Green on a previous post.

Serendipity. Lone Wolf looks like a Ranger. The Kai are (Warrior) Monks. If you combine the abilities of the 1e/2e Ranger and the 1e Monk, you end up with something not very far off the Lone Wolf starter character from the first five books (the Kai Series). 

Ability scores follow the minimum requirements (boosted to XP bonus values) for the AD&D Monk and Ranger.

Some Monk abilities were dropped, but could be reintroduced once Lone Wolf becomes a Magnakai.

There is no Ba5ec Lone Wolf: it wasn't as neat as the older edition Ranger/Monk.

Lone Wolf feels more fragile than other fictional heroes, because you're in control of their fate, rather than the author - hence sticking with the 1e Ranger d8 HD, rather than boosting it to 5e's d10. This should be more than counterbalanced by the Sommerswerd and the panoply of abilities.

(There is a d20 and a 5e Kai Lord class out there if you want to compare and contrast, and I think the Kai Lord would work really well for Epic 6)


  1. :)

    I like this. Loney (Wolfey?) doesn't really fit into D&D -- although I'm certain you could build an exact copy in Pathfinder -- but you've done an excellent job here of making it work.

    (Although all that said, there was a Lone Wolf rpg during the d20 glut, so one wonders how Loney worked there.)

    1. Thanks.

      The d20 Lone Wolf would be a 5th level character by the Kai Lord class; in a 5e class on Tribality, our Silent Wolf would start out as a 9th level character!

      Magnamund started out as Joe Dever's AD&D campaign, so surely a definitive older edition class exists. I've not tried very hard to track it down, but I have tried.