Worcestershire closed a dramatic opening day at a cloudy Canterbury on 105-4 after bowling out Kent for 159.
Alan Richardson claimed 5-41 as the hosts - currently propping up the rest in Division Two of the LV= County Championship - collapsed from 35 without loss to be skittled in 51.2 overs.
Rob Key's decision to shoulder arms against Richardson to a ball that jagged back into his stumps was a costly mistake as the innings fell apart in a hurry.
The same bowler had Brendan Nash (0) caught at second slip, then saw Michael Powell (0) held at third slip after Gareth Andrew parried the initial chance in the gully.
Ben Harmison could only muster five on his first four-day appearance of the summer before being caught at mid-wicket and Darren Stevens (3) also worked across the line to fall lbw to Gareth Andrew.
Kent's capitulation gathered momentum after lunch as they lost their next three wickets for four runs in the space of six deliveries.
Opener Sam Northeast had watched the carnage unfold at the other end as he reached a brave half-century. However, his battling knock came to an end when Richardson had him caught behind.
Kent salvaged some pride with a ninth-wicket stand worth 43 between Mark Davies and Matt Coles (21), the former becoming the final wicket to fall for 40 to bring about the tea interval.
Worcestershire's reply got off to a rocky start when Matt Pardoe fell in the fourth over, while Davies accounted for Daryl Mitchell (8) and Thilan Samaraweera (2) to leave the visitors reeling at 34-3.
Moeen Ali, who was dismissed by Matt Coles just before bad light halted proceedings for 54, and Alexei Kervezee (29 not out) dug deep in a fourth-wicket stand worth 70 in 16.1 overs.