A few weeks ago, the new Zendikar Rising set was released and I joined the fun with some new set boosters and a bundle among others few things. I had a lot of booster packs to open, but what really caught my attention was an insert in the bundle with an illustration by Wayne Reynolds detailing pieces of kor equipment. I was so impressed at looking all the labels I decided I had to write an article about it and giving 5e stats when possible.
Zendikar, setting for the original Zendikar block and both its sequels, is a plane with powerful sources of mana, which flows differently there. Its landscape is constantly shifting and changing in a process called The Roil by its inhabitants. This makes settlements very scarce and only few outposts of civilization are present. The most notorious geographical feature to be noted are the large, floating polyhedron-shaped stones called hedrons that litter the landscape. For a long while, nobody was sure what they were but their gravity-defying existence hinted at the strange properties of gravity and mana on the plane. These ancient, rune-carved monoliths are strewn across all continents in Zendikar. Up to ten miles long, some of these stones drift in the sky; others are buried in the ground, some whole, some broken.
The plane is inhabited among others by goblins, elves, merfolk, humans and vampires, but today we’ll focus on the kor, which are originary from this plane. The kor live a spare and nomadic existence. They travel mercilessly light, carrying with them only the essentials, valuing the portability of individual skill and strength of character over more “static” virtues. “We were not meant to put down roots,” they say. “The heart is a moving organ.” Despite their constant motion, the kor revere locations in a deep sense. They travel in small bands along one of several pilgrimage routes, visiting dozens of sacred sites across Zendikar. Each pilgrimage circuit takes decades, and many are lost to Zendikar’s dangers along the way. The kor are masters of ropes and hooks, using them to travel and to hunt, and incorporating them into their spirituality. They rarely use unreliable devices such as crossbows to propel their grappling hooks onto cliff faces or into flying game, relying instead on simple, sturdy rope and the skill of the arm. A hooked line is also a social and sacred symbol for the kor, representing their connection to each other and to the world around them.
And this is what their equipment looks like:
Given their vertical lifestyle, a wide range of equipment is used by kor climbers to prevent falls and to protect themselves against the consequences of a fall. Most tools and mechanical devices are usually made of stone, but there are also steel versions. Handles are covered with leather, which usually comes from skinned drakes.
- Climbing axe: this is like a handaxe, but lighter (weighting only 1lb.) and with a thrown range of 30/60.
- Drakeweave rope: unlike a regular hempen or silk rope, this one has 4 hit points and needs a DC 19 Strength check to be burst.
- Support winch: usual climbing equipment.
- Skyforged bracer: you can secure some straps and ropes into the rings of these bracers, converting them effectively into a secondary harness. If you are proficient with Sleight of Hand, securing it is a bonus action.
- Marlingspike: a tool shaped in the form of a polished metal cone tapered to a rounded or flattened point, used for unlaying rope for splicing. When using it to untie knots, you have advantage on the required check.
- Assorted skyhooks: just as with regular climber’s kit, you can use an action to anchor yourself; if you have the Athlete feat, this requires only a bonus action instead.
- Crampons: regular part of climber’s kits, these can be attached to footwear to improve mobility on snow and ice; if you are proficient with Acrobatics or Athletics, your speed is not reduced in difficult terrain due to rocky surfaces.
- Double-headed skyhook: just as with regular skyhooks, you can use an action to anchor yourself; if you are proficient with any martial weapon with the thrown property, this requires a ranged attack you can make as a reaction. You must be at 10 feet or closer from a surface to anchor. The AC of the attack is equal to the skill check DC required to climb such surface.
- Multi-purpose utensil: usual survival equipment.
- Knee guards with climbing spikes: besides their usefulness as part of any climbing equipment, these knee guards can be used as melee weapons if you have the Martial Arts class feature. As weapons, they deal 1d6 + Strength modifier piercing and slashing damage.
- Assorted potions and tinctures: For obvious reasons, Potions of Climbing are very common in kor arsenals. The tinctures, which come from different flowers and seeds of plants found in the heights, dry very quickly on contact with air: this makes them ideal to absorb problematic moisture, often sweat.
- Tinderbox: the usual combination of flint, fire steel and tinder that can be used to kindle a fire (see Player’s Handbook, p.153).
- Drakeskin water flask: more than just a fancy waterskin, the scales that cover this flask keep the water inside fresh and cool. Its capacity is 5 pints of liquid.
- Kor hookblade: this is like a scimitar, but if can be linked to a second hookblade to fight with two weapons. By doing so, you can still add your ability modifier to the damage dealt by the second weapon, unlike regular two-weapon fighting attacks.
- Leather-cutting tool: regular leatherworker’s tools.
- Skinning knife: by including this as part of your leatherworker’s tools, you can always use Dexterity for checks using it. As a weapon, it works like a dagger, but deals slashing damage.
- Excavation brush: tools such as this are required in order to properly notice details in ancient relics. By cleaning objects with it, you get advantage on History checks related to the object.
- Flammable potion: regular alchemist’s fire (see Player’s Handbook, p.148)
- Utility belt: several rings and clasps keep many items secured, but at the same time handy and easily reachable. You can select two items to be held in such a way that retrieving them counts as part of your object interaction in tandem with your movement and action (see Player’s Handbook, p.190).
- Soup bowl: usual survival equipment. Its shape makes its contents to cool slower, lasting warm for up to an hour. Some kor have them enchanted with Prestidigitation spells to help flavor the food inside to their liking.
- Climbing spikes: regular part of climber’s kits.
- Kor talisman: originally dedicated to Kamsa, goddess of the sky (Emeria for the merfolk), it is now more of an abstract symbol dedicated to the seven Skyclaves. It can be used as a holy symbol.
This is it, the kor arsenal described for all your D&D needs. If you want to play as a kor, just ask your DM to check the Plane Shift: Zendikar web supplement, available for free.