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Vericrat
2010-09-12, 07:18 PM
The Incarcium Fragment
The Incarcium fragment is a piece of a man who got caught in a rupture inside the Temporal Energy Plane and got swept away into a divide between reality and a super-reality constructed by a powerful mage where an ancient entity is locked away. That entity, a paragon of neutrality, fed a piece of itself to Incarcium Ė and it destroyed him. Somehow, he wound back up on the Prime Material Plane, but he was shattered: no longer a mortal man, he had not transcended his mortality, but rather descended to a state below it.

The original Incarcium was a powerful Cerebromancer, whose curiosity led to his trip to the Temporal Energy Plane and subsequent destruction. He was not a particularly well-known man, as he had traveled with a group of adventurers who were killed (Inarcium escaped) before they could accomplish some long-forgotten goal. However, characters trying to find out more about the original may be able to locate a record of his name and where he studied magic in a library or archive that records such matters.

The original Incarcium fragment (there was only one after Incarcium was destroyed) met with a group of adventurers, and worked with them for a time before wandering off. His acute lack of perception or intuition often left him reacting in bizarre ways that drove his allies to be wary of him. He was subsequently slain on many occasions, but the shattered remains of his soul could not make the trip to the Outer Planes. Instead, they would reform, losing a single HD each time until he had only two levels left, one in wizard, and one in psion. Slain once more, the fragment split again, and two fragments came into being: one a first level psion, and the other a first level wizard, both unaware of the otherís existence.

Each Incarcium fragment is linked, no matter how far apart they may be, no matter how many planes of existence separate them, nor may the power of a deity or epic spell separate him without destroying him (considering the strength of the bond, the sheer power necessary to do this would likely annihilate the plane on which it was cast). The original two fragments maintain the strongest link Ė as long as one is alive, the other will resurrect within ten hours (10% cumulative chance per hour). Each fragment may be resurrected normally. They have no knowledge of each other or this power, and like most Incarcium fragments (see below) will likely try to kill each other on sight.

Whenever an Incarcium gains experience, he divides it by the number of Incarcium fragments in existence. All Incarcium fragments in existence gain this experience, regardless of their proximity to the combat. It will create a wizard/psion/cerebromancer build, but as his power grows this will be less visible because of his main ability: When an Incarcium fragment lands a killing blow (kills a creature outright through a spell, attack, special ability, etc.) it gains an ability possessed by that individual (see below). The first time the fragments level up, each will take a level in the class opposite of the one they have (the wizard will take a level in psion, the psion in wizard), and from then on all Incarcium fragment are exactly the same.

An Incarcium fragment is insane. It is not necessarily evil (see below), but he is impulsive, irrational, unperceptive, acts in a counterintuitive fashion, and easily distracted. It is incredibly intelligent to begin with, and its intelligence will likely dwarf that of almost any mortal being by the end of the campaign, but this intelligence only serves as contrast to his abysmally poor wisdom.

Absorption: When an Incarcium fragment lands the killing blow on a creature, it may obtain a trait possessed by that creature. For example, if he slays an orc, he might absorb the orcís racial strength bonus and consequently gain a racial bonus to his strength score. Whenever one fragment gains a trait, each fragment gains it, though they are not necessarily aware of the new ability (active use abilities will suddenly be used when it is, then the fragment will understand that it has that ability). The Incarcium fragments should gain a staggering number of abilities in this fashion throughout the campaign.

They may absorb the following attributes of a slain enemy so long as they are granted by race or class (that is, not by a magical item or random rolls): ability bonuses, skill bonuses, skill ranks, supernatural abilities, spell-like abilities, feats, base attack bonuses, saving throw bonuses, armor bonuses, spell resistance, damage reduction, resistances, immunities, extraordinary abilities, effective spellcasting levels, Hit Die size, regeneration, etc.

Abilities bonuses and skills: Ability bonuses, skill bonuses, and skill ranks are absorbed one at a time from creatures who have higher bonuses or ranks than the fragment does. It has (like everyone else) a single racial strength bonus, racial dexterity bonus, etc; a single racial hide bonus, survival bonus, and so on; a single class move silent bonus, disable device bonus, and so on. As the Incarcium fragment is human, most of these numbers will obviously start at zero. Each of these traits may be absorbed by something with a greater bonus than that which he possesses, but he only absorbs a point at a time. Ranks in skills may not exceed 3+his Hit Dice. Note that he may not absorb a racial Wisdom bonus (see below).

Supernatural abilities: Supernatural abilities the Incarcium fragment gains at their lowest levels first, if possible. For example, if it slays a great wyrm red dragon without ever having slain a red dragon before, it gains the breath weapon of a wyrmling. If it slays another one, it gains the breath weapon of a very young, etc. However, to gain a great wyrmís breath weapon after it has obtained the breath weapon of a wyrm, it must slay a great wyrm Ė it does not gain an increasing breath weapon just from having slain another wyrm red dragon. Many supernatural abilities have only one form, in which case, the fragment gains all aspects of that ability the first time a fragment absorbs it.

SLAís: Spell-like abilities are gained in a similar manner with regard to numbers of time/day: Should a fragment slay a creature with the ability to use Fireball at will, it gains that ability 1/day. Should it slay another one he gains it 3/day. Should it slay a third, it gains the ability at will (the progression is 1/day, 3/day, at will). However, if it killed three beings that could only use the ability only 3/day, it would have gained 1/day, then 3/day, then would have been unable to absorb anything further. Spell-like abilities an Incarcium fragment has gained are used at the highest caster level he has absorbed it at.

Feats: An Incarcium fragment may absorb the feat of an opponent so long as the opponent possesses it as a racial bonus feat or a feat gained from PC class levels and that the Incarcium fragment possesses all the prerequisites for that feat.

Base Attack Bonus and Saving Throws: An Incarcium fragment may absorb a half point of base attack from an enemy so long as its base attack is higher than the fragmentís and that the fragmentís BAB does not exceed his its dice. It gains saving throw bonuses in a similar manner, but absorbs them 1/3 a point at a time, and its class saving throw bonus may not exceed Ĺ his HD +2. It has a single racial saving throw bonus for each save, and as long as it absorbs from a creature with a higher racial save bonus than its own, that bonus may reach an arbitrarily high number.

Class abilities: Class abilities can be absorbed so long as Incarcium has a high enough HD. For example, he may not absorb more than a single die of sneak attack until he possess 3 HD. He absorbs abilities based on level; for example, if at level three a fragment absorbs, for the first time, a good clericís ability to Turn Undead, he now possesses Turn Undead as a 1st level cleric. He must absorb from a second level cleric or higher to gain the ability to Turn as a 2nd level cleric. He can separately absorb Rebuke Undead, etc. He likewise may absorb effective spellcasting levels (if he kills a 1st level wu jen, he may absorb a wu jenís casting ability; should he wish to cast as a fifth level wu jen, he must slay four more wu jen, with minimum levels of 2, 3, 4, and 5, or take four levels in wu jen).

Armor class, resistances, immunities, and damage reduction: SR, energy resistances, and DR for a specific reduction (such as /silver) can be absorbed by slaying a being with a higher SR or /X than the fragment already possesses (he begins with 0/-, 0/silver, 0/cold iron, Ö; 0 SR). It gains a single point in whichever resistance or reduction he chooses to absorb. Spell resistance can also be increased by a point by absorbing a golemís magic immunity (as stated, golems essentially have an SR rating of infinity). It can also gain a single point of fast healing or regeneration in this manner. Once its energy resistance for a specific type reaches 30, it may absorb immunity from a creature that possesses that elemental immunity. Armor class bonuses are absorbed a point at a time from creatures or individuals who possess them on a permanent basis (it could absorb a point of natural armor bonus from an ankheg so long as the fragmentís natural armor bonus was less than the ankehgís, but it could not absorb the natural armor of a human wearing an amulet of natural armor). Immunities to diseases, poisons or effects are built by absorbing resistances (or trying to absorb the immunities). It may absorb a single point of saving throw bonus to that effect; once it reaches +10 the fragment may absorb immunity from a creature that possesses it.

Incarcium may also choose to absorb HD size, building up to a 12 sided die for each HD he possesses; should it decide to absorb the HD size of something with a greater HD than he has for a given level, that HD grows one size larger (d4 to d6, d6 to d8, etc.)

If Incarcium manages to slay a deity, it absorbs a divine rank and a salient divine ability for which it now meets the prerequisites.


The Incarcium fragmentís Wisdom score is permanently and irrevocably 1. It may not be raised above this number by magical or extraordinary means; the fragment may not use an ability point to increase it, epic feats to increase it are wasted, etc. Its Wisdom score can be attacked, and this could be his Achilles heel; however, should even a single fragment locate a creature with immunity to wisdom drainÖ

Propagation: After the fragments obtain 2nd level, whenever an Incarcium fragment absorbs something from a creature it personally slays, that creature becomes an Incarcium fragment within the next 10 hours (10% cumulative chance each hour). The new fragment has no memories, but begins with all the abilities of every other fragment in existence. A new Incarcium fragment begins as Chaotic Neutral, but can change its alignment as it adventures. If a fragment realizes it gains power as it slays new things (DC 10 Wisdom check each time the specific fragment successfully absorbs), it is likely to start seeking out new abilities (and become evil in the process), though this may not occur if it is working with good adventurers.

Incarcium fragments tend to attack one another on sight, not realizing their nature. Good Incarcium fragments will not kill other good Incarcium fragments, but only if they realize the nature of the other fragment.

Fragments aside from the originals can be destroyed (and resurrected) as normal. Should both the originals be slain, this does not destroy the other fragments in existence, and they will continue to propagate as normal (and the original fragments can be resurrected as normal).



Commentary
The Incarcium fragment came from an NPC I once ran (the original Incarcium fragment traveled with my PCís for a short time) who was delightfully fun to play. I had decided that if the players chose to explore Inarcium further in the original campaign, that he would be the fragment of a man who was killed in a terrible occurrence, but as the PCís became busy with the main campaign this was forgotten and Incarcium was relegated to occasional cameos.Itís now been four years since that campaignís been run and I was thumbing through some old character sheets and decided I wanted to do something with him. So now, heís going to become the main threat of a campaign that Iíll be starting the next time I get a group together.

Iím still personally trying to decide whether thereís an overarching intelligence that is guiding the fragments; even if not, their inherently chaotic natures will likely wreak havoc on the campaign world. There are plenty of adaptations Iím considering; maybe the intelligence is the being that originally destroyed Inarcium, and maybe he can take control of one fragment at a time, or can exert limited influence over the growing group.

There are plenty of variations Incarcium can take; maybe he only has to absorb an ability once and his HD acts like the level in the appropriate class (he could absorb Turn Undead once and then have his HD act as his effective cleric level). He could absorb golem magic immunity instead of just increasing his SR. Many ideas have occurred to me, and since I havenít started this campaign yet, Iíll probably end up tweaking the character a little, but the concept I really like.

Iíve also left open how it is decided what is absorbed. If a fragment slays a great wyrm dragon, does it absorb the breath weapon? Effective sorcerer level? Natural armor? SR? Intelligence bonus? If thereís a guiding intelligence, then that would determine it; it could also simply be random. One thing Iím certain of is that the fragmentís themselves donít decide what to absorb, though fragments that realize their nature might, for example, go on an undead killing spree to absorb the myriad of immunities undead have Ė the fragment will be unable to determine which ability it absorbs, however.

I realize that this is a ridiculously overpowered creature; thatís actually part of the point. My players and I enjoy high-powered campaigns; otherwise the propagation would be another order of magnitude of overkill. I suspect by the end of the campaign, some evil fragments will band together, dominating other fragments into a band of destructive, nigh-unstoppable beings. Iím not certain yet how I intend for my players to be able to destroy the fragments, but they tend to be so awesome that Iím doubting that Iíll have to build in a destruct mechanism, even with the literally insane power the fragments are likely to obtain. Weíll see.