View Full Version : [RIVALRY] [ROOKIE] Strength of Heart, Mind of Power

2007-02-14, 10:15 AM
So where shall we go today?

"We? There is no we. And I go as I always have. To fix what you broke."

We’ve been through this many, many times, child. If I tell you to jump…

Emerald staggered as his ears filled with noise, his cheeks flushed, and the worst pain he’d ever felt started up, again. He shuddered and slowed, hands grasping feebly at the fire that he couldn’t stop. His muscles tightened, heart raced, fingers dug shallow cuts from his forehead as he pried…
It relaxed. He sank to his knees in the snow, gasping. The teasing voice, disturbingly soft after the blast of sensation floated back into his thoughts.

…you ask how high. We are in this together, you and I. You depend on me. And I rely on you. Remember.

Emerald opened his eyes as the presence sharply cut off. He watched the fog from his breath puff into the air. He tasted blood—must have bitten down on his cheek. Damn. With the effort of a man twice his age, he rose, ignoring the sweat that dripped from his hair—he was still hot, but the sweat would evaporate or freeze quickly enough. Reaching out with his mind, he tried to sense his other, but it eluded him. Hefting his longswords, Emerald started off once more.

2007-02-14, 10:16 AM
Emerald and NAMELESS: The Heart and the Mind

So I must remain in my new adopted land,
I’m doing the best—hell, I’m doing all I can.
So next time you see me, don’t ask for my name,
For I am the king and so long may I reign.

“Emerald,” (CN Human) as he calls himself, really doesn’t know what his other is—when he could ask, the words escaped his understanding—“metapsionic parasite” this and “imperfect-replication personality xenoorganism” that. It doesn’t matter to him, anyway—all it means is that he’s never alone. And that terrifies him.

Originally a low-ranking warrior in the ranks of a mercenary band known as the Maverick Hunters (cookie for the reference), one day Emerald found himself goaded in a training spar with a superior in the organization. Whether the seed was always there, or if it was new, the result was the same—a second mind manifested explosively, seizing control of Emerald’s body and going on a brutal rampage. It only lasted a bit over a minute, but when he came to, Emerald found himself in the midst of a bloody swath, six other mercenaries cut down around him…only, he was holding the bloody weapons. The boy regained control of his body just in time to get clubbed across the back of the head.

The trial was short and to the point—six grisly counts of murder, and a sentence to return the favor. Emerald certainly wasn’t complaining—still catatonic from the experience, he was more than content to let himself die until a voice he would soon know very, very well flit into his ears from nowhere.

“If you die, I’m free…”

Convinced that the thing could cause greater havoc without him, he decided to make an escape—to his surprise, he managed it easily. The connection to his other strengthened him far beyond his normal limits—what he didn’t know is that when
he drew on its strength, he left his own to atrophy.

The mercenary band set an enormous bounty on the "traitor," one that reminds to this day, and escalates more and more with each failed attempt to bring him down.

Game hook: The man flourishes his longswords as you approach, snarling angrily. “Leave me alone, damn it!” Though there is resolve in his voice, you look into the eyes of a green recruit. Something seems amiss about this alleged murderer.

Notes: For combat, this rivalry is left up to the user. Level, class, and so on are all left to the user. The only constants are as follows:
Emerald wields two longswords and has a single hand crossbow.
When designing Emerald's stat block, make two entries: One "normal" level and one lower.

In addition, Emerald always has an Extraordinary ability:
Never Give Up, Never Give In (Ex): Emerald's lifetime of fighting with his other for control over his body has given him the same determination and ability to survive that people in "unlivable" conditions everywhere develop. Emerald immediately stabilizes when reduced to -1 to -9 hit points. In addition, he may remake a Fort or Reflex save on an initial failure. Emerald always gains the maximum hit points when gaining HD.

2007-02-14, 10:17 AM
I take you where you want to go
I give you all you need to know
I drag you down, I use you up
Mr. Self Destruct

Born of a psionic effect—a curse, an incomplete experiment. a botched manifestation, not even he knows—NAMELESS (Chaotic Evil Human) began as a traveling mote of dark psychic energy. Subsentient, it had an encoded desire to find a life-form—by chance or fate, it found a mercenary camp and entered the first host it could find. The mote, as designed, duplicated the mind of the host it had found, but it was an imperfect copy. The newly-manifested mind found itself broken, incomplete—and alone. In sensory deprivation within its new host, it spent years in the void without any sensory input, perceiving at slower speeds from the psionic power that infused it. Needless to say, it went insane. While the psionic power began to mend itself, it extended grasping links into the heart and mind of its host. Eventually, the second mind found itself possessed of senses it was never meant to be without—and it wanted to bring everything alive the same fear and madness it itself had endured.

During its time in isolation, it ran rampant—a mind without limits or sanity, trapped in a featureless dark it could not leave. While its mind raved in all directions, NAMELESS’ intellect expanded exponentially—becoming a match for generals in tactics and for the greatest soldier in ability. When it first found a connection with the outside world established, it quickly mastered the body it was tethered to—it can push the frame to limits unknown by its bearer.

Game hook: Emerald staggers back, falls, coughing blood. Clutching the wound in his side, he tries to rise. A rapid change of expressions comes over his features—from anger and pain, to surprise, to fear. The world seems to grow supernaturally silent as he looks straight at you with tears welling. “Run. Please.” He screams and falls again, clutching his head, letting his longswords fall. After a few disturbing seconds he goes quiet again, then begins to rise, head down. With painstaking slowness he raises his head—locks eyes--those aren’t the ones of the frightened boy they were. Unsteady words come from a still hoarse throat...
“I met a lovely monster, on my way to Thebes…and then the story’s this…I made the monster me.”

Notes: For combat, this rivalry is left up to the user. Level, class, and so on are all left to the user. The only constants are as follows:
NAMELESS is a frontline melee combatant with a backup hand crossbow--however, he will use it to brutal effect at point blank range.
NAMELESS' stat block is based off of Emerald's--however, increase the level from the original, and add two points to each ability score.

In addition, NAMELESS has a variety of special abilities. Several are listed under the "Mindscape" entry below.
Brutal Finesse (Ex): NAMELESS adds his Int bonus to all attack and damage rolls.
Surge to the Fore (Ex): Whenever Emerald takes 1/4 of his HP in damage from a single blow, or reaches 0 HP, he must make a DC 25 Will save to retain control. If he fails, he does not get a retry, and instead NAMELESS immediately takes control of his body, and gains back all his HP, plus additional for his higher Con score. For game purposes, you may choose to make this save automatically fail. You may also need to increase DCs as needed to fit the game's level.
Beyond the Pale (Ex): NAMELESS is immune to fear effects.

2007-02-14, 10:17 AM
The Mindscape
NAMELESS’ psionic catalyst had to put him somewhere—when it couldn’t implant (due once again to its damage), it manifested a small demi-plane deep within the folds of Emerald’s mind.

Nature of the Mindscape
The Mindscape is a dark featureless void. No ground, no ceiling, and no walls.

However, the primeval “material” of the plane is malleable—with a DC 20 Int or Knowledge: The Planes check, you can learn how to shape the pseudo-surfaces of the void. With a result of 25 on the check, you learn that you yourself are not “there—“ you are a manifestation of yourself within the plane—and you can control your shape to some extent.

“Edges” and surfaces in the mindscape have white edges, flickering and inconstant. All changes made in the mindscape end after one round. Additional actions not specified here may be added by the DM, or used at his discretion.

Regeneration: Everyone within the mindscape gains Fast Healing 5.
Mind over Matter: By making a DC 20 Int or Concentration check as a swift action, You can shape the reality around you to increase your physical powers. You choose to increase your Strength, Dexterity, or Constitution. The stat increases by 2 points for one round, and for every three you exceed the DC by, you get an additional two points to the boost. It lasts for one round plus your Wisdom modifier.
Unstable Gravity: You can make a DC 20 Int or Concentration check as a swift action to force the gravity around you to change—causing the following effects:
Low gravity: Bull rushing an enemy causes him to move an additional ten feet per point you exceed your opponent’s roll.
High gravity: Move speeds are halved. You cannot charge.

Manifest Surface: Once you know the nature of the mindscape, you may make a DC 15 Int or Concentration check. If you succeed, you may modify the Mindscape in a chosen area as the spell Stone Shape, treating the material is stone.
Quickly: You may manifest the change as an immediate action with a DC 20 check instead of DC 15. For instance, you could throw up a wall behind someone while the “gravity” of the plane is low, send them flying, and then deal falling damage to them when they impact against it. You could attempt to break a charge by thrusting up a barrier in the line of the charge.
Stretch: You may manipulate your own mental form while in the Mindscape. A DC 15 Int, Wis, or Concentration check will allow you to extend your reach by five feet. For each five you exceed the DC by, you may gain another five feet of reach. You still threaten your area and all the squares your reach extends through.

Conflicting Manifestations: If two minds conflict—one tries to create a spike trap beneath the other, and the other attempts to prevent him, roll independent will saves. The winner has his effect manifest.

NAMELESS, being "native" to the plane, has several innate connections to it that allow him greater control. In addition to the previous abilities, NAMELESS also has the following:
Enter the Void (Su): NAMELESS can, if a battle is going poorly, choose to send any individuals who have engaged him into the mental "plane" he dwells within. In this plane, he once again has full HP.
Reality My Plaything (Ex): NAMELESS can manipulate the plane incredibly well, given his superior understanding of its nature. He may manifest a combination of any three changes to the plane's "reality" as an immediate action, rather than one. He does not have to manifest them all at once, but may work them throughout his round.
Distracted (Ex):
The longer NAMELESS holds his focus in the plane, the harder it is for him to maintain it. After 10 rounds or he is brought to 0 HP, whichever comes first, he must begin to make Will saves equal to DC 15 plus the number of rounds since he began making saves, every round. Failure means that on the next round, his focus is broken, and his enemies are released from the Mindscape.

Notes on Combat:
NAMELESS cannot actually be killed--he will continue to regenerate within the mindscape.
Once he's forced entities into his mindscape, he cannot use Enter the Void for the rest of the day.
Emerald may or may not be present within the Mindscape, at your disgression. If he is, he will fight against NAMELESS exclusively, even should the PC's attack him. Like NAMELESS, he cannot be killed in the Mindscape.
After being defeated, use Emerald's second, lower set of stats--the connection to his other has been weakened, at least temporarily. Also, treat him as Fatigued, or if Fatigued, Exhausted.

There are several applications for Psionics within this Rivalry. My lack of experience, however, prevented me from adding any.

Unlike most, the two main players in this "Rivalry" are sharing a body. If there is any extended discussion with either, the dormant personality can speak telepathically with the dominant personality, who may share with the outside world. Any telepathy spell cast on Emerald or NAMELESS will receive input from the both of them.
After the battle, Emerald will be brought to 0 HP, and, even if he can retain consciousness at negative HP, will not. Before he passes out, he will murmer "Thank you" to the PCs.