View Full Version : Graysoul: (Transition to Undeath; 3 Templates)

2008-01-11, 11:31 PM
Dabhendasag “Graysoul”

Quasi-undead creatures—those that have not succumbed to the abominable grasp of undeath anyway—graysouls are creatures that exist on the fringes of an ancient civilization. Driven to a cold lack of sympathy for mortal lives by their ever-present hunger, they have forgotten what it was like to live. Most graysouls, and there are very few remaining, live within crumbling ruins, the echo of their former lives and loves, sadly despairing at their cursed existence.

Once a cabal of heroic psion-sorcerers, protectors and saviors of their long-lost society, they have lost their prestige and noble heart, and have taken to preying upon the scattered descendants of their former brethren. Though thoughts of benevolence may still linger in their darkened minds, the slow annihilation of their own life force drives them to feed off of the spark of sentient, living creatures. Most mortals are completely unaware of their existence or their history, and those few encounters between the living and the near-dead have either gone unnoticed, or have become the basis for rumors of ghouls and vampires.

Suspicious even of each other for their inevitable slip into madness and undeath, the graysouls avoid even each other, convening only rarely, when major threats to their existence surface, or when it becomes necessary to hunt down one of their own fallen kindred. There is only one other thing that could bring these recluses together: the knowledge that one of their former brothers or sisters had found the cure to their condition.

Most graysouls spend their time between hunts, practicing their potent psionic and magical talents, searching for the secret that will release them from the iron grip of impending undeath.

A graysoul appears much as it did in life, though the centuries bring a wizened, weathered manifestation of their once quickened form. They exude a presence of great wisdom, and great tragedy. Capable of great restraint and strategy, they are fearsome predators, and cunning foes.

Eventually though—perhaps unavoidably—a graysoul loses itself to the necromancy that gnaws at its spirit, and it becomes one of the voracious undead, lost for a time to insane bloodrage. These raving monsters are terrifying and immensely powerful, and have been known to lay waste to entire regions in their alien wrath. When this occurs, the residual traces of humanity within the breast of the remaining graysouls encourages them to band together provisionally to destroy the voracious undead that they remember as one of their close associates, and that they see as the eventual end of their own existence.

A graysoul who has succumbed to the bloodrage and become undead appears as a very feral version of what it once was. Talons gleam like obsidian, tendons and muscles bulge, and eyes burn with a crimson light. Initially unreasoning beasts, the bloodraged undead eventually regain their reasoning and hide away for a time to plan their savage destruction of the livings beings around them. Undead graysouls are formidable foes that combine raw destruction and the potent arts of magic and psionics, which most of them had mastered well before their original descent into the necromantic poisoning that cursed them.

A graysoul creature was one that was directly exposed to Muroakan, the elder gravewyrm, either taking ability damage from its breath weapon, or the energy drain of its natural weapons, and was then stabilized by the Graysoul ritual of Shurrdi the psion-sorcerer. Though cynically called the ‘graysouls’ in later years, in the ancient tongue of Kulaba, dabhendasag meant ‘ruined of the dragon’. The term became synonymous with those individuals who had undergone the psion-sorcerer’s inexpert ritual to survive the gravewyrm’s curse.

The ritual was created by Shurrdi as a result of many of the gravewyrm’s victims contracting a wasting disease that continued to drain them over the period of several months even after the dragon had been driven back from the Prime Material Plane. The majority of those who survived the dragon’s initial attack still perished months later unless they were able to find a means to stop the effect. Unfortunately, most healers were not skilled enough herbalists, or potent enough casters to undo the damage that Muroakan inflicted with its wasting touch. And up until the arrival of the dragon-god, necromancy had not existed on the Prime Material Plane in any form, and no one had any idea how to begin to control the black magic.

Shurrdi was the only known individual to attempt to utilize the necromancy, and his Graysoul ritual was the only documented successful stabilization. He had realized as he delved into the nature of the dragon’s necromancy that healing the victims would be impossible. He instead came up with a way to counter the destructive energy of the dragon’s curse by embracing the necromancy. He constructed this ritual in order to force the victim into the threshold between life and death, to force the victim to become one with the negative energy. Subjects of the ritual became deathlike, relying on the energy of the Negative Energy Plane in order to survive. In essence, Shurrdi forced the subjects of the ritual into the same symbiotic relationship with the negative energies that Muroakan had, though to a much lesser degree. Without the natural bond that the gravewyrm shared with the Negative Energy Plane, they became hollow shadows of their former vitality, still living, but only one step removed from the horrid undead.

The Graysoul ritual had some unpleasant side effects, though it saved the lives of the few dozen who were able to undergo the procedure. The transformation was supposed to stop short of actually turning the subjects into the living dead, but Shurrdi was unsure exactly how much of the necromancy could be absorbed by a living being. Too little, and the dragon’s wasting would barely be slowed; too much, and the subjects would become ravenous ghouls, undead fiends.

It was a fine line, and no one could blame the psion-sorcerer for his desperate calculations—there was not time enough for him to create a perfect solution, and necromancy was a new, dangerous magic, in which Shurrdi was one of the first to explore. His ritual absorbed too much of the necromantic magic. The dabhendasag were able to subsist for a while as they once had, clinging to their humanity for a few years, some of them decades, before the transformation began to complete itself. Eventually though, the negative energy would thoroughly envelop its subjects, forcing them into a state of necromantic dependency. The life force of affected graysouls came under constant threat of being snuffed out. In order to stave off undeath and remain in a quickened state, they needed to consume the life force of other sentient, living beings. Those that could not or would not yield to the hunger could not fight off the final transformation, and became voracious undead.

It was a bitter irony for the victims of the dragon, that in order to survive its evils, they had to prey on the essence of others. Worse still, it was those graysouls who tried to fight the unholy hunger that fell to it first, losing completely their humanity.

A graysoul could feel it as its life force slipped further and further from its grasp. Pleasures and sensations became muted, the further from life it faded. Moral character faded as the graysoul lost whatever mortal emotion and drive used to direct its life. It became easier to justify actions that would have seemed atrocious to the creature beforehand.

There were other effects of the Graysoul ritual. Immortality was nearly guaranteed, barring a violent death. If the graysoul fed from humanity as needed, it would cease to age. In that way, a careful graysoul could exist in its twilight state as long as there were victims to prey upon. Going hungry would not age the graysoul per se, but would push it ever closer to undeath, ensuring a darker kind of immortality.

When a starving dabhendasag slipped irrevocably into undeath, it entered a state of madness called the bloodrage. Completely dependant upon the essence of sentient, living creatures, the graysoul could not protect its own life force when unable—or unwilling—to feed. Its life force was snuffed out by the impinging undeath, and a cold, empty hole replaced the once-vibrant flame of life in its spirit. The resulting need for sustenance would drive a fallen graysoul mad. Reason would fade, and the creature would be reduced to the feral instincts of a crazed predator. Any sentient, living being that it could sense would be fair game; the bloodraged graysoul would not distinguish between friend and foe, helpless and formidable, or gender, race, or any other detail, until its hunger was slackened.

It has been documented that a few of the graysouls throughout history were not victims of Muroakan himself, but the spawn of another dabhendasag, either created ritually, or spawned from the slain enemies of one of those graysouls that has lost its humanity. Graysouls who had not yet become dependant upon another’s life force for sustenance generally retained full function of their respective reproductive system, but once they began to feed on other sentient beings in order to keep the touch of undeath at bay, they would become completely sterile.

Those Graysouls who lost their own life force completely and became the living dead gained the ability to create spawn; those victims that they drained completely of the life spark were reanimated as fully undead dabhendasag, loyal minions of the one who spawned them. During the period when a dabhendasag was in the throes of the bloodrage—immediately following his descent into undeath—any of his victims who rose as minions would be in full bloodrage themselves. These childer would not assault their sires, though they had less control when it came to others, even those that the sire had ordered them not to destroy. For these reasons, dabhendasag born into the bloodrage rarely survived longer than the night of their creation.

Dabhendasag (Stage One), “Graysoul” Template
Dabhendasag (Stage One) is an acquired template that can be added to any living creature with an Intelligence score of 4 or higher. Though it is possible to apply the Graysoul ritual to fairly any living beings, so long as its Intelligence is sufficient to the undertaking, it has never in recorded history been given to any outside the Society of the Argent Radiance, the cabal of psion-sorcerers that created the ritual. Most of these beings were humans, though a minority of elves, dwarves, etc, were included, and all were psionically, and/or magically endowed, generally between 5th and 15th level individuals.

A graysoul uses all of the base creature’s statistics and abilities except as noted here.

Size and Type: A graysoul remains the same size, and gains the Extraplanar (Negative Energy Plane) subtype.

Speed: Graysoul creatures gain +10 feet to all movement speeds.

Armor Class: The graysoul gains a +2 natural armor bonus to armor class.

Attacks: A graysoul retains all of the attacks of the base creature, and gains the following.

Slam: The graysoul can make two slam attacks per round that deal 1d6 damage if a medium creature.

Special Qualities: A graysoul retains all of the special qualities of the base creature, and gains the following special abilities.

Dark Crown (Ex): The graysoul has forged its fledgling connection with the realms of the dead. It ceases aging immediately; current aging penalties remain, though no further penalties will accrue. The graysoul becomes immune to fatigue and exhaustion effects. It gains a full rest in only four hours, though a full eight is still necessary for spell-casting and similar purposes. Further, it gains a +10 bonus to Fortitude saves to resist the effects of hunger and thirst, and a +20 bonus to Constitution checks in order to hold its breath past the initial time period.

Negative Energy Affinity (Ex): Negative energy damage heals a graysoul as if it were an undead creature. Likewise, Positive energy, such as cure and heal spells, damage the graysoul instead of healing it.

Darkvison (Ex): A graysoul has darkvision out to 120 feet.

Degeneration (Ex): The process by which the graysoul embraces the negative energy of Muroakan continues even after the ritual has been completed. Over many years the cold grasp of the Negative Energy Plane sets in and takes a hold on the life spark of the graysoul; the creature feels the full weight of the symbiosis with the wyrm’s necromancy in its soul. This process takes longer in some individuals than in others, and though a strong willpower has been shown to prolong one’s resistance, it depends just as much upon the fickle hands of fate, and the level of gravewyrm contamination.

After one year of existence as a stage one dabhendasag, the graysoul begins to make Will saves, once each month, at approximately the same period as his transformation, or degenerate into the second stage of the dabhendasag transformation, becoming a near-undead beast that subsists on the life force of others.

The DC of the Will saves begins at 10 and rises by +1 each month until the graysoul fails its save. At this point, the graysoul acquires the stage two dabhendasag template.

Low-Light Vision (Ex): A graysoul has low-light vision.

Vulnerabilities: A graysoul suffers a -4 penalty to Search and Spot checks when within the radius of a bright light (beacon lantern or greater). Overcast daylight is a nuisance to the creature, but does not penalize it any. Further, damaging spells with the Light descriptor deal 50% extra damage to a graysoul, and will blind it for 1d4 minutes unless it successfully makes a Fortitude save at the spell’s normal DC.

Abilities: A first stage graysoul gains the following adjustments to its ability scores: +2 Strength, -2 Constitution, and +2 Wisdom.

Skills: As racial skill bonuses, a graysoul gains +2 to Balance, Jump, Listen, Spot, and Search skills; and +4 to Hide and Move Silently checks.

Environment: Same as the base creature, and the Negative Energy Plane.

Organization: Solitary, pair, or council (3-9).

Challenge Rating: +? (my estimate: +1)

Level Adjustment: +? (my estimate: +2)

Treasure: Standard

Alignment: Any, though most graysouls began their existence as noble benefactors to humanity. Few remain that have not now slipped into their own frigidly apathetic version of true neutrality, focused completely on the daily struggle to survive.

Advancement: Character class.

Dabhendasag (Stage Two), “Graysoul” Template
Dabhendasag (Stage Two) is an acquired template that can be added to any living creature that has acquired the Dabhendasag (Stage One) template.

A graysoul uses all of the base creature’s statistics and abilities except as noted here.

Special Attacks: A graysoul retains all of the special attacks of the base creature, and gains the following special abilities.

Energy Drain (Su): Living creatures hit by a graysoul’s natural attack gain two negative levels. The graysoul can use its energy drain ability once per round.

For every negative level inflicted upon a foe, the graysoul heals one point of Constitution or Wisdom damage. A graysoul cannot heal any ability damage except for Constitution and Wisdom in this way. If the graysoul currently has full natural Constitution and Wisdom, then every two negative levels inflicted upon a foe give the graysoul a +1 bonus to Wisdom which lasts for 24 hours. A graysoul can only have a bonus to its Wisdom equal to its natural Wisdom modifier x3 (maximum of +1.5 normal modifier). A graysoul cannot temporarily boost its Constitution or any other ability above its natural maximum in this manner.

Graystep (Su): Usable once every 1d4 rounds as dimension door, except that the graysoul must transport itself from, and into, a patch of shadow large enough to conceal its entire physical form. The graysoul can create an umbral shroud in its current location, or at the location to it intends transport if needed, in order to supply the requisite darkness.

Spell-like Abilities: Always active—detect living, detect magic, detect undead; and 3/day—planeshift (but only between the Prime Material, the Astral, Ethereal, Negative Energy, and Shadow Planes).

Umbral Shroud (Su): 3/day the graysoul can command the darkness of its diminishing soul to expand, and when desired, detach from the creature, reaching out of the confines of its body. This creates a sphere of entropic darkness that swirls and shimmers in a 10’ radius sphere, much like contained smoke vapors. Any creature within the shroud other than undead, those immune to the emanations of Negative Energy, or those with the graysoul template, take 2 points of damage per round. The graysoul gains Fast Healing 2 when within an umbral shroud, as well as the effects of partial concealment, a +10 circumstantial bonus to Hide, and the ability to attempt a Hide check even while being observed. A shroud can be mentally willed, as a free action, to attach itself to the graysoul, following it wherever it moves. The graysoul can summon these spheres separate from its corporeal being if it wishes, with a range of 10 feet/HD. A shroud cannot be moved unless bound to the graysoul that created it. An umbral shroud can be used as the point of arrival for the graysoul’s graystep ability, though if the shroud is currently attached to the graysoul, the creature can only transport itself within the 10 feet radius sphere.

Special Qualities: A graysoul retains all of the special qualities of the base creature, and gains the following special abilities.

Damage Reduction: 5/adamantine

Dark Mantle (Ex): The graysoul is now so strongly tied to the Negative Energy Plane that it has nearly lost the tiny flame of its life force. It is considered undead for the purpose of feats, prestige classes, and templates. It can now be turned and rebuked, though it cannot be commanded or destroyed through turning attempts. It is still affected by mind effects, critical hits, sneak attacks, death from massive damage, and is still affected by energy drain and ability drain. However, the graysoul now becomes immune to cold damage, as well as hunger, thirst, and suffocation. It no longer needs to sleep, though a full eight is still necessary for spell-casting and similar purposes.

Soulslip (Ex): Every 24 hours the graysoul automatically takes 2 points of Constitution damage, and 2 points of Wisdom damage as his life force deteriorates. This damage is applied directly to the graysoul’s natural Constitution and Wisdom scores, bypassing all temporary enhancements from spells, current energy drain bonuses, etc. There is no way that the graysoul can avoid this damage, and there is only one method by which the graysoul can heal it. All attempts to heal this damage short of using its energy drain ability to refuel its life force automatically fail.

Once a graysoul reaches zero Wisdom, it loses all reason. Its only goal becomes sustenance. It cannot by any means short to destruction resist the call to feed when a suitable target presents itself. Only the graysoul’s sire, if any, is not subject to this ravenous hunger. If the mad graysoul feeds successfully before its Constitution reaches zero, restoring its natural Wisdom back to full, it shrugs off its state of insanity.

Once a graysoul reaches zero Constitution, it has completely lost its life force to the encroaching cold of undeath. The graysoul gains the Dabhendasag (Stage Three) Template, and becomes undead. There is no way to revivify an undead graysoul once it has reached zero Constitution short of divine intervention. Not even a wish or miracle will suffice.

Abilities: A second stage graysoul gains the following adjustments to its ability scores: +2 Dexterity, a further -2 Constitution, and +2 Charisma.

Skills: As racial skill bonuses, a graysoul gains a further +2 to Listen, Spot, and Search skills; and a further +4 to Hide and Move Silently checks.

Environment: Same as the base creature, and the Negative Energy Plane.

Organization: Solitary, pair, or council (3-9).

Challenge Rating: +? (my estimate: +3)

Level Adjustment: +? (my estimate: +5)

Treasure: Standard

Alignment: Any, though most graysouls began their existence as noble benefactors to humanity. Few remain that have not now slipped into their own frigidly apathetic version of true neutrality, focused completely on the daily struggle to survive.

Advancement: Character class.

Dabhendasag (Stage Three), “Graysoul” Template
Dabhendasag (Stage Three) is an acquired template that can be added to any living creature that has acquired the Dabhendasag (Stage Two) template.

A graysoul uses all of the base creature’s statistics and abilities except as noted here.

Size and Type: The graysoul remains the same size, and its type becomes Undead (Augmented XXX). Do not recalculate base attack bonus, saves, or skill points.

Hit Dice: Increase all current and future racial Hit Dice to d12.

Speed: An undead graysoul gains a +50% speed bonus to all movement types it possesses.

Armor Class: An undead graysoul gains a +4 natural armor bonus to armor class.

Special Attacks: A graysoul retains all of the special attacks of the base creature, and gains the following special abilities.

Command Undead: As a cleric of level equal to its hit dice.

Death Knell Aura (Su): Any living creature reduced to negative hit points within a 20-foot-radius of an undead graysoul must make a Fortitude save (DC equals 10+one half hit dice+Charisma modifier) or immediately suffer the effects of a death knell as if cast by the graysoul at caster level equal to its hit dice.

Energy Drain (Su): An undead graysoul’s energy drain attack now heals only Wisdom, and can still only give temporary bonuses to the creature’s Wisdom score.

Psi-like Abilities: At will—inertial armor, shadow body, and psionic scent

Spell-like Abilities: At will—crushing despair; 3/day—inflict moderate wounds; 1/day—circle of death (an undead graysoul that slays living creatures with this ability heals and gains temporary Wisdom points as if it had used its energy drain, with every 3 HD killed equaling 1 point of Wisdom.

Special Qualities: A graysoul retains all of the special qualities of the base creature, and gains the following special abilities.

Bloodrage (Ex): An undead graysoul is literally born into undeath in the throes of the bloodrage. It is a mad creature, focused on only one thing—to feed. It will do anything in its power to drain the life force of others. It makes no distinction between friend and foe. Only a graysoul’s sire, if any, is not subject to becoming a target of the creature’s ghastly hunger.

When in a bloodrage, a graysoul’s Intelligence is treated as 3, no matter what it naturally is. Generally, it can only make basic attack actions as an animal during this rage, using its energy drain on the first successful attack of the round versus a sentient, living creature. It is unable to use other tactics, spells, psionics, spell-like, supernatural, or extraordinary abilities.

Even with its mind shattered by madness though, there is a look of desperate intellect in its eyes. The raging graysoul is torn between ferocious hunger and its accompanying anger, and the need to regain control. Even while in the most terrible of rages, a graysoul struggles to reassert itself. There is a small chance that an undead graysoul of uncommon mettle can reestablish control of its faculties even while afflicted with this madness. Once every round while in a bloodrage, the graysoul can attempt a Will save (DC 25) as a move-equivalent act, in order to act normally the rest of the round.

This first bloodrage—its ‘birthing bloodrage’—lasts longer than others. The undead graysoul will typically remain mired in its insanity until it has drained the hit dice from sentient, living creatures, equal to at least four times its own hit dice. Normally this only takes a few weeks, though some graysouls, either imprisoned or otherwise incapacitated, or located so remotely from any sentient, living creatures, have been known to spend years rampaging in the bloodrage.

After the ‘birthing bloodrage’ has passed, the undead graysoul still runs the risk of falling prey to smaller rages again if it does not feed often enough. If an undead graysoul reaches zero Wisdom, it enters the bloodrage until its Wisdom has been restored to full.

Damage Reduction (Ex): Increases to 20/adamantine.

Dark Essence (Ex): The graysoul gains all undead traits and immunities, with the exception of the Wisdom damage caused by its hunger. Further, because of its reinforced tie with the Negative Energy Plane, the undead graysoul gains +3 hit points per hit dice.

Eyes of Midnight (Su): An undead graysoul can see through all darkness, including magical darkness, and is immune to any type of illusion. Note that this is a supernatural ability, and can be suppressed.

Fast Healing (Ex): An undead graysoul heals 5 hit points per round.

Soulslip (Ex): An undead graysoul still takes 2 points of Wisdom damage every 24 hours; its life force is gone, but its dependency upon the energy of other sentient, living beings remains. There is still only one way to heal this damage: through energy drain. All other attempts to heal this damage, and all attempts to prevent this damage automatically fail. When the graysoul is reduced to zero Wisdom, it goes insane with hunger and malevolence, entering the bloodrage again until its Wisdom score has been restored to full. The creature no longer takes Constitution damage though, as it has no Constitution score now.

Spell Resistance (Ex): An undead graysoul gains SR 15+HD.

Abilities: An undead graysoul gains +4 to Strength, +2 Dexterity, +4 Intelligence, and +4 Charisma. As an undead creature, the graysoul loses its Constitution score.

Environment: Same as the base creature, and the Negative Energy Plane.

Organization: Solitary, pair, or council (3-9).

Challenge Rating: +? (my estimate: +3)

Level Adjustment: +? (my estimate: +5)

Treasure: Standard

Alignment: Any, though most graysouls began their existence as noble benefactors to humanity. Few remain that have not now slipped into their own frigidly apathetic version of true neutrality, focused completely on the daily struggle to survive.

Advancement: Character class.

Creation of a dabhendasag
The creature to undergo the Graysoul ritual must first be subjected to an energy drain or ability drain attack with a caster level of at least 25 (if the effect does not have a caster level, as in the case of the extraordinary ability of a monster, it must have at least 35 hit dice), and the subject must contract from this exposure the supernatural wasting disease known as muroakan’s curse. Only under these circumstances can the ritual focus enough necromantic power to be successful.

The primary ritualist must be an arcane caster of at least 25th level, with a power point reserve of at least one. This ritual can be completed with only one caster, but it is assumed that the primary caster will have both arcane and divine caster support, and psionic manifester support, as there are a good number of various checks, spells, and psionic powers required for completion. The caster must first locate a planar touchstone that touches the Negative Energy Plane, and there prepare the ritual. As an alternative, the caster can prepare the ritual from within the Negative Energy Plane itself if the means to travel there are available; in this case, the caster gains a +5 circumstantial bonus to all required skill checks to finish this ritual.

The preparation of the ritual requires rare unguents and herbal concoctions worth at least 50,000 gp. Included in these ingredients are a mixture of the blood and saliva, as well as a few scales from a shadow dragon, shadow drake, or gravewyrm; one pound of spore from the dangerous corpsebreath fungus; and a handful of blossoms from the umbral lily, a hallucinogenic plant found within the entropic aura of a portal or touchstone site tied to the Negative Energy Plane.

From these ingredients, the caster must carefully concoct the incense that will be burned at the site, then prepare the braziers, placing two of them on opposite ends of a perfectly divided circle, in which will lay the subject of the ritual. The circle can be drawn or etched, but must be perfect in proportion. This preparation period takes four hours. Any attempt to hasten the preparation halves the time, but adds a +20 circumstantial modifier to the first skill check.

Upon completion of the last spell and skill check, the ritual siphons 2,000 XP from either the primary caster, or the subject, dependant on how the ritual is set up.

Step One: The subject must be completely disrobed and unconscious, under the narcotic effect of the umbral lily, and laid spread-eagle within the circle. The two braziers will be to his sides, the one on the right burning with an oily black smoke, the one on the left with a wispy gray. A DC 26 Knowledge (Religion) check is necessary, otherwise the circle has been created wrong, the braziers placed or burning incorrectly, or the subject not precisely prepared.

Step Two: Death knell is the first spell required by the ritual, cast upon the circle itself, at which time the primary caster, or a supporting caster, must make a DC 26 Heal check. Failure results in an incomplete necromantic field bound to the circle.

Step Three: Slay living must then be cast upon the subject, which automatically fails its save. The subject’s blighted soul is separated from the body at this point, and will be successfully trapped within the necromantic circle with a successful DC 26 Knowledge (Arcane) check.

Step Four: Shadow body must then be manifested upon the subject, followed by a DC 26 Knowledge (Planes) check. If successful, this opens the bound soul of the subject to receive, and acclimatize itself to the power of the Negative Energy Plane.

Step Five: Then suspend life must be manifested. Normally, the energy of the power would be wasted, since it only affects the manifester, but the necromantic field will capture this energy properly and bind it to the subject in order to preserve its fragile life, with a DC 26 Knowledge (Psionics) check.

Step Six: Then create greater undead must be cast upon the subject; this spell creates the potential for a permanent bond with the strength of the Negative Energy Plane, offsetting the wasting affliction. A DC 26 Knowledge (Heal) check is necessary in order to properly balance the necromancy with the suspend life, otherwise the life spark will be lost, and the subject may spontaneously rise as some twisted form of mindless undead.

Step Seven: At this point, an inward magic circle against evil must be cast on the necromantic field. This requires a DC 26 Knowledge (Arcane) check in order to set the bonds properly for the end of the ritual.

Step Eight: Then control undead must be cast upon the field, modified by the ritual in order to control the aspect of the Negative Energy Plane that is to be bound to the subject. This requires a DC 26 Knowledge (Arcane) check.

Step Nine: Finally, the necromantic field prepared, the soul of the subject suspended and open, and the bindings set in the field to incorporate the power of the Negative Energy Plane, the ritual calls for a gate to the Negative Energy Plane to be cast on the circle, opening the field to the entropic power of the realm of the dead. This energy is successfully absorbed with a DC 26 Knowledge (Planes) check.

Preparation is the longest part of the ritual, requiring 4 hours. After that, each step takes only 10 minutes, Each one ending with a respective skill check. Skill checks can be rechecked if failed the first time, though each one requires a recasting of whatever spell of power was used, and another 10 minutes. On the third failure of a skill check, though, the ritual has been botched, and the entire area surrounding the circle, within a 50-foot radius takes 24d6 negative energy backlash damage at the opening of the gate. The subject will be slain and immediately reanimated as a mindlessly bloodraging dabhendasag, and any other creatures in the area that are killed by the backlash immediately rise as ghasts.

If the ritual is started, and proceeds past the slay living step, but not finished, the subject is slain and has a 10% chance per skill check attempted to rise again as a vengeful ghost within 2d4 days.

If executed correctly, the subject will awake within the hour as a stage one dabhendasag. There is generally a temporary feeling of nausea upon arising as the quasi-undead graysoul, sometimes lasting a few hours, sometimes a few days. This side effect is easily cured by any who can succeed at a DC 10 Heal check, or apply any healing magic.

Editing purposes:
• These templates were created specifically for use in Dark Sun, so damage reduction would be changed from adamantine to obsidian, and all negative energy plane references would be replaced by the gray, etc.
• Balanced?
• Overall clear?
• Fluffy-goodness?
• Transformation clear?
• Need a better way to explain the heal/inflict inverse for undead (and in the case of the first two templates, undead kin).
• Was using the vampire template as a judge of balance for CR and LA.
• Wanted first template to be moderately useful, so that some PC’s would want to take it.
• Wanted second template to more or less equal vampire in power, so that they would be tempted, but feel it a large sacrifice.
• Wanted third template to be awesome power, but at a suicidal cost. They should fear this. Fluff-wise, they should also fear this, as they were supposedly honorable heroes to begin with. Most of those with third stage template will be NPCs that they are forced to hunt down. Probably former friends and allies.
• Cool thing is, if any of them actually go for level one, they will—eventually—fall to level two anyway. Though three can be held off by proper planning and sacrifice.

2008-01-12, 12:19 AM
all right. let's see some critique. i had to post this thing three times, doing all the little codes for bold and italic, etc, before it would post right. my clumsy fingers+old computer+murphy's law=aaron has a hard time with this stuff.

thanks, aaron out.

2008-01-12, 12:30 AM
for starters, the third stage feels like it is lacking something, especially for a template that should be +5 LA more or less. it feels too light-weight. any thoughts on what to give it?

also, i want more appearance changes for the first two templates in particular, but nothing gay. they should be able to pass for living humanoids when they have to, but still have some part of them that is just creepy or needs to be hidden.

2008-01-12, 05:22 AM

Did that because I find the template fairly interesting. I'm not a good judge of templates though so I'm not sure I can help much if any. You estimate the CR of the second and third templates as being the same. Was this intentional? Even with the bloodrage I would expect this to be higher. I'll see if I can come up with any other critiques or suggestions later.

2008-01-12, 05:22 AM
This has happened to me twice today... I think my touchpad may be messed up. Sorry about the double post. Feel free to delete.

2008-01-12, 01:56 PM
the *estimated* LA and CR calculations are cumulative, so a character with stage one and stage two templates would be +7, then if it finally succumbed to undeath, would be +12. but again, that feels at the moment too high for the stage three. i am thinking of lowering it unless someone comes up with a cool reason not to.

2008-01-12, 04:02 PM
almost 100 views, and only one of you is gallant enough to throw me a dime. i know it's long--that's why i put it in spoilers, so you can manage it in pieces--but i would sincerely appreciate anything constructive. aaron out.

2008-01-14, 11:53 PM
the biggest thing i need is for someone to go over and check the CR/LA for the three templates. remember that each template has its own CR/LA. they are cumulative.