Thursday, April 30, 2020

The Liminal - LotFP Custom Class


The Liminal


         Everyone dies. Whether through violence, old age, disease or stranger things besides, Atropos comes for all of us. But what of those the feel her touch, but do not fully succumb? Some simply find that they embrace life more readily before, the world around them is more vibrant and all the more wonderful with having briefly tasted mortality. Those few that become what are known as Liminals have a far more surreal experience in store for them. Having become untethered during their brief death, they find themselves with one foot in the grave from that day forward and the souls of the departed become visible to them. Most of these folk simply make peace with their new state, some dismiss the ghosts that they can now see as delusions, while some lose themselves to drink and drugs to numb the terror their new senses give them. Others are drawn to the new possibilities that their new state opens for them, they become death speakers, sin-eaters and exorcists, shepherding the dead to their proper ends. The worst are little more than hungry ghosts or specters who still happen to have a body.

         No matter what form they take, the abilities of Liminals make them objects of dread and suspicion to those who are aware of what they can do. It is whispered that their airy souls can take flight from their bodies, to bedevil good folk and work wicked ends upon the world. Worse still, it is known that they can extend these abilities to others, perhaps even damning them to a similar fate. Even as their powers grow, their corporeal forms begin to grow steadily weaker and more wane, marking them outwardly with the signs of the world that they already half-exist within. In spite of (or perhaps because of) their often grim backgrounds and macabre abilities, Liminals often find themselves eagerly welcomed in mercenary or adventuring bands.

Level
Experience
HP
SP
Paralyze
Poison
Breath
Device
Magic
Figments Known
1
0
1d8
1d4
14
13
16
12
15
2
2
2,300
1d6
1d6
14
13
16
12
15
2
3
4,600
1d6
1d6
14
13
16
12
15
3
4
9,200
1d6
1d8
12
11
14
10
12
3
5
18,400
1d4
1d8
12
11
14
10
12
4
6
36,800
1d4
1d10
12
11
14
10
12
4
7
73,600
1d2
1d10
10
9
12
8
9
5
8
147,200
1
1d10
10
9
12
8
9
5
9
294,400
1
1d10
10
9
12
8
9
6
10
441,600
+2*
+2*
8
7
8
6
6
6
11
588,800
+2*
+2*
8
7
8
6
6
7
12
736,000
+2*
+2*
8
7
8
6
6
7
13+
147,200+/lvl
+2*
+2*
6
5
6
4
5
8
*: Constitution/Charisma modifiers no longer apply. Liminal much choose whether to apply this bonus to HP or SP


B/X & OSE Rules
Requirements
Minimum CON 9, CHA 9
Prime Requisite
CON and CHA
Hit Dice
Special - see class description
Maximum Level
14
Armor
Any, including shields
Weapons
Any
Languages
Alignment, Common


          Liminals can perceive intangible undead such as Ghosts, Shadows, Specters and Wraiths without the aid of magic.

          Liminals are quasi-spellcasters who are able to work eerie effects known as Figments. The Liminals form their Figments by casting their spirit own out into the world around them, either whole or in part. This allows them to temporarily leave their bodies, or to interact with ghostly or otherwordly beings. Their capacity for this is represented by the second hit die on their class table, which are known as Spirit Points. Liminals gain Spirit Points just as they would hit points, though they add their Charisma modifier instead of their Constitution for the purposes of gaining bonus Spirit Points. Figments cost Spirit Points to cast and maintain. Liminals over 9th level can choose to add their bonus hit points to their SP instead of their HP. If a Liminal runs out of SP, they may choose to cast their Figments using their HP instead. Expended Spirit Points are regained at the end of a resting period in a place of relative safety for at least 10 hours.


        While Figments are similar to spells in many ways, they do not have the same restrictions that spells have when it comes to slots or spells per day. Liminals may cast as many Figments as they wish per day provided that they have the necessary remaning SP/HP to produce the Figment; if a Liminal would run out of SP while trying to cast a Figment, the excess is dealt to their HP. Unless otherwise stipulated only one Figment may be active at a time and only take one round to cast. Figments do not have level requirements, nor do they require any form of vocal or material components. A Liminal starts the game with two Figments of their choice and gain more of their choice as they level as detailed in their class table.

Figment Name
SP Cost
Effect
Thought Stab
1d4 per die dealt
Lashing out with the darkest aspects of their souls, the Liminal damages their own spirit in order to damage their foe. The Liminal can inflict their wrath on any one they wish within 50ft, simply rolling as many d4s in damage as they risked in SP to cast the Figment. A Liminal cannot spend more than that own level in dice for this attack.
Possession
1d4 per round for animals, 1d8 per round for humanoids
Locking eyes with their intended target, the Liminal attempts to overwhelm their control of their own body by possessing them with their spirit. The target of this Figment is entitled to a save, gaining advantage if they have more HD than the Liminal, with the Figment having no effect if they succeed. On a failure the Liminal is allowed control of the target's next turn, though attempts at self-harm entitles the target to another save. The Liminal perceives using the target's senses, and their own body is reduced to a comatose state while the Figment is active. The Liminal may renew this Figment as long as they wish after the initial attempt.
Spectral Jaunt
2/round for caster, 1d3 a round for others
The Liminal steps fully into the spirit world or pushes a willing target into it. This Figment renders the target intangible, but not invisible as long as the Liminal maintains it. In return for doubling the cost, the Liminal may also allow the target to become invisible. This effect immediately ends if the target takes any sort of hostile action.
Ghost Hand
1d2+1 for every 2lbs of item.
Casting their souls out from themselves, the Liminal can manipulate distant objects as if they were next to them. This grasp, while relatively weak, is fine enough in control to allow the Liminal to write or tie a string.
Strike the Beyond
2 per touch/attack for caster, 3 per touch/attack for ally
Reaching past the barrier separating our world from the ethereal, the Liminal (or one of their allies) can strike incorporeal or intangible enemies without penalty. The Liminal need not spend an action to cast this Figment for their own attacks, though they must pay the cost before they know the results of their attack roll.
Crypt Tales
1d6 for each question
As per the Speak With Dead spell.
Play Dead
1d4 per minute, with an additional +2 for each additional target
Channeling the moment of their narrowly evaded demise, the Liminal or their targets appear to outward observation to be a moldering corpse, too decayed to allow any form of identification.
Call the Ancestor
1d8 per minute
Calling upon their connection to the undead, the Liminal beckons a ghost to their side. This spirit can perform duties as per Unseen Servant, as well as bedevil their enemies with relatively weak attacks (+1, 1d4+1 damage). The Spirit has a number of HD equal to the Liminal's level divided by two (round up)
Haunting Visions
1d4 per minute
The ethereal plane is a place of nearly infinite possibility. Pulling some of the protean matter into reality, the Liminal can produce complex illusions which can encompass sight or sound. These illusions fade if touched or are otherwise interacted with directly.
Airy Step
1d4 per round
Forgetting the crass demands of gravity, the caster of this Figment can hover, float and fly as long as they maintain the effect. The Liminal simply gains a fly speed equal to their walking speed.
Phantom Arms
1d4 per minute
Dragging some of the raw ectoplasm of the ethereal plane into reality, the Liminal forms it into what they may need. These must be relatively simple objects, a weapon such as a sword or bow would be fine, but a firearm or clock would be too complex. Conjured objects must be small enough to be wielded in two hands, and they dissipate as soon as the Liminal stops maintaining them.
Consign to Below
1d3 per lb of object
Grasping an object firmly, the Liminal focuses on it intently and then shunts it into the realms beyond. Unattended items simply disappear, while those wielding or holding a targeted object are entitled to a save versus Magic to keep it. Magic items cannot be affected by this Figment. If the Liminal also possesses the Phantom Arms Figment, then they may retrieve objects banished in this way, provided that they're in the same place where they left them. Retrieving an object costs the same amount of SP as it did to banish it.


Friday, April 17, 2020

Magical Cat Breeds



Who doesn't love cats? Seriously, if you don't like cats you need to question some life decisions - though obviously not the decision to read this blog. Regardless, much like the question posed by my article on magical dog breeds, why would a fantasy setting not have it's own versions of cats? They're absolutely ubiquitous as pets in most cultures on our planet. Why would Athas, Faerun or Thedas be any different? So, in that vein I present twenty species of various felines for use in your home setting. Any names sourced from locations are from my own homebrew setting.


d20
Name
Description
1
Biamese
These graceful, sleek cats range from tan to dark brown and are always born in pairs. Biamese are mentally linked to their twins, and they can act together in perfect synchronous movements. Biamese gain advantage on any roll that their twin is also engaged in.
2
Altrian Rain Coon
Bred from captured cloud elementals and particularly robust felines, Rain Coons are used in small groups to call down precipitation on targeted areas. These fluffy, long-haired cats are temperamental, and will only call rain if properly appeased. Altrians can call rain for 1d4 hours over a 30ft radius 1/day.
3
Kaidan Hex Cat
Associated with witches and necromancers, kaidan are sinister creatures with an intelligence that outstrips other cats. Hex cats are almost always solid colors such as black or white. They sometimes have multiple tails and they can walk upright and speak the language of their owners.
4
Propheceline
Descended from felines that were used to keep rodents out of temples and shrines, Prophecelines are small and quiet creatures that come in a variety of coats. They have the uncanny ability to show up before events of great import. As a result priests now use them as a source of divination, and they gain advantage in the ceremony when assisted by one of these animals.
5
Liorian Whorlcat
Perhaps the angriest animal to live within the Rainwood, the Whorlcat is considered an ill omen by the tribes of the forest. Large and covered in tawny to orange fur, whorlcats have the bizarre ability to spin themselves on the tops of their tails quickly enough to turn into a blur of claws and teeth. Whorlcats can use this spinning ability 3/day. Whorlcats can move 20ft/turn while spinning, and automatically attack anything in their path while moving at a +1 bonus, with 1d4 for damage.
6
Cernunnokian Spire Cat
Theorized by sages to be the result of house cats interbreeding with underdark creatures. Spire cats are sleek, hairless creatures with eyes that glow brightly when hit with any sort of light. Spire Cats can climb on vertical surfaces as if they were on the ground.
7
Abyssinian Pard
Huge and aggressive, these cats are the size of a large dog possessing thick coats covered in spots. Pards are used as show pieces and guardians for members of the elite; the poor wretches who take care of these felines suffer from a high turn-over rate. Pards have an additional hit die than a typical cat, and they are an additional size category larger.
8
Kashan Dream Eater
Wane and slender in appearance, these odd animals were developed by oneiromancers to protect them while they were sleeping. Kashans survive on dreams instead of normal food, and their presence can blunt the effects of mental attacks. A presence of a Kashan while a character is sleeping can negate the effects of a single spell or attack meant to affect their dreams.
9
Dorician Yowler
A particularly strange breed, the Yowler is mostly average in appearance. It is however, extremely loud, enough so that its screeches can disrupt spellcasting. Trained Yowlers are often used by nobles or inquisitors to ensure that they cannot be beguiled. Yowlers force a concentration check for spellcasting to any who hear while they scream. Yowlers can scream 3/day.
10
Charantian Shorthair
A favorite of elves and other forest dwellers, the Charantian is a mild-mannered and friendly breed. While it's lineage is unclear, the Charantian has the ability to slowly shift the color of it's coat to be in line with that of its surroundings.
11
Serradian Phantom Cat
The bane of fishmongers and the darling of thieves the world over, the Serradian is a haughty and large breed prone to corpulence. Long of coat and tending towards darker colors, the Serradian has the ability stutter itself through non-metal objects, most notably walls.
12
Prismatic Tabby
Likely the result of some mad mage's experiments (but honestly, what isn't?) the Prismatic tabby is a small, stocky cat with an iridescent, rainbow-hued coat. When frightened or agitated, the tabby can surge arcane energy in the environment through it's fur to blind nearby on-lookers. This ability can be used 2/day and has the same effects as the Color Spray spell as cast by a 1st level magic-user.
13
Hoaridga's Liebling
Known to be quite rare, the Liebling hails from an isolated monastic community in the far north. Used as training aids for budding mystics, Lieblings have the ability to give off psychic chatter to those who have the ability to hear it. This chatter makes telepathic communication effectively impossible in the presence of one of these animals.
14
Chardonian Levkoy
A breed of working cats, Levkoys are small, quick felines with short, velvet like coats that come in a variety of earth tones. Levkoys not only love water, they are fully amphibious. Many find their use by seafarers to keep their ships clear of vermin.
15
Selkirk Beguiler
Beloved by crooked merchants and con-artists, the Selkirk Beguiler is reputedly the result of a wish to a genie. Whatever their origin, the breed is truly gorgeous, with long, silky fur and coats ranging from vivid blues to deep purples. Most striking are their eyes, which seem depthless and can entrance those who stare into them for too long. Stupified victims are easily robbed.
16
Nine-lived Drow Cat.
The product of centuries of magical research by the dwellers below, the Nine-lived Drow Cat is named for it's ability to come back to life from the dead. Fine-boned and always black of coat, these strange cats can knit themselves back from anything short of a Disintegrate spell.
17
Corantinian Dingmaul
Supposedly native to the Corantine heartland, the Dingmaul is a large, tree-dwelling cat with a bulbous, mace-like mass of bone at the end of their tails. Commonly mottled or calico, Dingmauls are known for their propensity to knock unaware travelers out and eat their rations.
18
Zelazian Spikefur
Native to the deserts surrounding Doru, the Spikefur is named for the hair-like thorns extending from their bodies instead of a normal coat. These spines allow the feline to attack and maul creatures far larger than it and they are fearless as a result. Zelazian spikes make for fine daggers.
19
Teacup Lion
Sourced from a single mating pair designed as a gift to their monarch by a courtly wizard, Teacup lions have found their place as lap warmers and diversions for the idle rich. Befitting their names, teacup lions are for all appearances nothing more than normal lions the size of housecats. They are also unfortunately the same as normal lions in temperament.
20
Soucian Flying Cat
Something of a marketing gimmick, the Soucian Flying Cat cannot truly fly, however it can hover up to several feet off of the ground. This has made the breed popular for use in carnivals or other cheap roadside diversions.


Saturday, April 11, 2020

Greater Lycanthropy - a protean threat for OSR & 5th Edition


         Disease is a constant fear for the rich and the poor alike. In fantastical settings where it is possible for healing magic to treat nearly any malady, certain afflictions may still be so dire that they cannot be addressed by even the Gods. They may simply be so deadly or terrible in their effects that the victim isn't able or willing to seek out help in time. Lycanthropy falls into the latter category, an aggressive disease which changes the victim into a monster over the course of a number of weeks. While it's unlikely that the disease can spread unnoticed for long given the madness it inflicts on victims, each infected has the potential to spread it unchecked until they're killed or cured. Even if healing magic can be used to arrest or blunt the worst of the disease, it may be that like in our world where contagions eventually begin to develop resistances or even immunity to common treatments.


          Greater Lycanthropy is such an occurrence. Unlike it's lesser cousin, Greater Lycanthropy does not stop at mere changes to the subject's behavior and body; it is in many ways a creature unto itself. The disease begins similarly to normal Lycanthropy, subjects find themselves transforming under certain conditions and as they descend mentally, eventually at their own wills. As the disease progresses the subject's mind begins to suffer an internal assault, with the disease beginning to manifest in this way first as compulsive behaviors, then eventually graduating to voices and the overriding of the subject's will with that of the contagion. Unlike mere Lycanthropy, the greater version isn't spread merely through bites, any fluidic transfer - whether saliva, blood or otherwise - is enough to potentially transfer it to another. Greater Lycanthropy is significantly harder to detect due to the malevolent intelligence direct it's victims and the subtle nature of it's early effects. Sages have classified the disease into a number of strains, but all of them share the same five stages of severity.


Severity
Effects
Stage 1
Various symptoms which can include, fevers, chills, terrifying nightmares, fatigue, delirium and mental confusion. (Save vs Magic* on waking. On a failure the subject does not derive any benefit from sleep, such as regaining HP, though they still regain expended spells. The fatigue and other symptoms impose a -1 penalty on attack rolls. Upon three failures the disease progresses to the next stage.)
Stage 2
Temporary voluntary transformations begin, the subject is now stronger and healthier even without the benefits of transformation. (The victim is invigorated by their infection and gains +1 to all physical stats permanently. The subject can now transform into a horrific form based upon the strain they have been infected with. Subject gains an additional +2 to all physical stats and regains 2/HP a turn while in this form. This transformation takes 1 round to enact and lasts up to 6d10 rounds. Save vs Magic* upon transformation, on three failures the disease progresses to the next stage.)
Stage 3
Involuntary defensive transformations in response to attacks or stress, the disease begins to communicate directly with the victim via auditory and visual hallucinations. (There is now no limit to the length of the subject's transformation. The victim gains immunity to critical hits. The subject must save vs Magic* when they would normally suffer a critical hit, or when they would take 1/4 of their total HP in a single instance. After three such failures the disease progresses to the next stage.)
Stage 4
Victims can now sense and communicate telepathically with others who have been afflicted with the same strain. Sufferers begin to lose long spans of time as the disease begins to take over their mind and enact its own will. (Upon waking or taking damage, the victim must save vs Magic*. Upon failure the subject loses control of themselves for 1d8 hours as the disease takes over. On three such failures in a row, the victim moves up to the next and final stage.)
Stage 5
The victim has been completely overtaken by the affliction's alien intelligence. While their memories are still present and able to be used by the disease to imitate them, they are gone.
*: Please make a Wisdom or Charisma save at DC (11 + Stage Level) instead if using 5th edition.


         A number of strains have become apparent to sages observing victims, and while this list is by no means exhaustive, it does provide an idea as to the type of transformations which may be encountered, as well as the means by which the disease progresses and behaviors that sufferers may exhibit. There is speculation among those studying disease that the designation of Lycanthropy for the affliction is incorrect, and that while there may be similarities to the other disease in the Therian strain, the existence of the other types proves that it is a unique infection.


Name
Effects
Theria
The most familiar in nature of the commonly encountered varieties, victims of this subset of the contagion turn into variations of beasts, most commonly wolves. The guiding intelligence of this strain desires little more than to engage in wild and unrestrained debauchery and bouts of violence.
Scylla
Victims of this strain begin to dream of the ocean, of cities down in the dark depths. Their transformations allow them to survive and thrive underwater and generally resemble creatures such as fish, crustaceans and mollusks. The guiding intelligence attempts to organize its victims to build structures underneath the waves and actively seeks to infect more victims.
Windigoag
By far the most outwardly horrific of the commonly encountered strains, the poor subject of this strain begins to desperately hunger for the flesh of their own species. The physical changes from this subset of the contagion are the most subtle; sunken and reddened eyes, growth of teeth and nails into fangs and claws, and facial gangrene which causes the lips to rot away. The intelligence lurking in the disease simply wishes to consume any other sentient creature it encounters, though it is capable of great craftiness & stealth.
Hyron
The Hyron strain causes transformations which resemble eusocial insects such as bees, ants, termites and wasps. The malevolent intellect behind the disease uses its victims to establish settlements and communities in isolated and hard to reach locations. After doing so it begins to gather strange and esoteric materials in an attempt to summon an entity termed 'The True Queen.'
Daemonic
A particularly disturbing manifestation of fiendish intrusion, certain outsiders exist not as corporeal beings but instead as something akin to an infection. Transformations tend towards fiendish norms such as cloven hooves, tails, unnaturally hued skin and horns. The intelligence of the demon is typically distributed among its victims, and its goals are completely dependent upon their personality.
Eldritch
Contact with realms beyond the ken of mortal souls can bring with it the notice of the loathsome creatures which dwell in those far off spaces. Some of these creatures can use the bodies of those fools who encounter them as a vector to enter our reality. These pitiful souls find their bodies warping into unwholesome and bewildering shapes; tentacles, extra limbs, mouths and eyes or the addition of baffling and disturbing organs have all been observed. As the mind of the victim begins to degrade, the alien consciousness directs its form to bring more of its kind into the world.

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