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    erradin's Avatar

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    Sep 2015

    Default Re: The Harrowing Halloween Harvest of Horror

    In a world where magic is, in many ways, normal and spirits of varying power are known to exist, this creature is among the more curious of things. Little more than a passing flicker of psychic resonance, the Affable Shadow might be the first swirlings of consciousness that have accumulated on the Ethereal or Astral Plane. Perhaps they are the seeds of ghosts or the final thoughts of a dead god. The theory goes that they flicker into existence from some unknown phenomenon, often passing from the planes as their meager energy is expended and they dissipate. But every once in a while, one will find its way to a sentient creature and establish a symbiotic relationship of sorts.

    Scholars suspect that many cases of seeming madness can be attributed to Affable Shadows, which have apparently developed an instinct to help and protect their host while they drain them of vital psychic energy. Whatever the case, and Affable or not, it is quite clear that the 'symbiotic relationship' is much more useful to the Shadow than its host, which often comes out of the deal broken and hallucinating.

    Affable Shadow
    Tiny Outsider
    HP: 1d4-1
    AC: 14
    Attacks: Psychosymbiosis(Su) DC 13 Cha save. Psychic Osmosis
    Special Qualities: Ethereal, Evanescent
    Saves: STR: - CON: - DEX: +2 INT: - WIS: +3 CHA: +3
    Skills: Perception +5, Investigate +5, Insight +5
    Organization: Almost always alone

    Ethereal: This creature is almost entirely non-physical and suffers no damage from non magic weapons. This creature is also very difficult to see, requiring DC 25 Wisdom(perception) check to notice.

    Evanescent: The Affable Shadow cannot long survive on its own, especially not on the material plane. It suffers 1 damage every 1d6 rounds while it lacks a host on the Material Plane. This damage is unrecoverable unless it successfully performs Psychosymbiosis on a living, sentient being.

    Psychosymbiosis: Once per round, while in physical contact with a living, sentient being, the Affable Shadow may force the subject to make a DC 13 Charisma save. On a failed save, the Affable Shadow secretes itself within the touched creature and claims it as its host. The host remains unaware that anything odd has happened. If the saving throw is successful, the creature becomes immune to this particular Affable Shadow's Psychosymbiosis ability and the Affable Shadow takes 1 damage.

    Psychic Osmosis: As long as the Affable Shadow resides within a creature, it absorbs psychic energy from it. This process is mostly unnoticeable by the host, at least a first. However, the longer the process continues, the more effects the psychic drain produces on the host.

    Every week, the host is entitled to a DC 13 Charisma saving throw. See the chart below to determine the effects of successive failures. The host creature remains unaware of the cause of these effects, attributing them to disease, lack of sleep, or other mundane or magical causes, unless it succeeds on a DC 18 wisdom check, which it may make whenever it has cause to suspect the effects are not entirely mundane. If it succeeds, the subject becomes aware of the presence of another mind within its own and may seek magical assistance for removing or communicating with it. For each previous failure, add a circumstantial +1 to the next check.

    Number of Failed saves Negative Effect Positive Effect
    1 Host receives an 'invisible' -1 penalty to all checks involving Wisdom, Charisma and Intelligence. The DM adds this penalty without informing the player. This stage is often mistaken for mild distraction or 'having an off day.' The Affable Shadow begins to manifest a small degree of personality and strives to defend its host. The host feels an improved sense of alertness in dangerous situations and receives a secret +2 bonus to Initiative checks, as well as all checks made to avoid being surprised or caught off guard.
    2 The host begins to feel occasionally lightheaded or tired, even after a long rest. Non-magical examination suggests he or she may have a cold, or perhaps isn't sleeping enough. The host may also experience odd dreams. The secret -1 penalties now extend to all ability checks. The Affable Shadow gains a distinct shard of personality and intelligence, and can now experience the host's senses. It actively alerts the host of any threats, providing a secret +3 bonus to initiative and checks made to avoid being surprised or caught off guard. The host also gains a secret +1 dodge bonus to AC.
    3 Remove all previous penalties. The Host now finds themselves feeling tired all the time and continually suffers from one stage of Exhaustion. He or she just can't seem to get enough sleep. The host continues to have strange dreams and may also begin seeing or hearing things just at the edge of perception which are not actually there. These experiences last only a second or so. (consider having the PC roll perception checks and describing a noise or glimpse of something which no amount of investigation reveals the source of.) The Affable Shadow is now strong enough to influence the host's emotions and perceptions. It also has an intelligence of its own, equal to either 8, or the host's intelligence score, whichever is lower. The Affable Shadow continues to provide its previous benefits, but now also actively seeks the happiness and success of its host. It can now make its own Perception, Investigation and Insight checks independent of the host, using it's own bonuses. The Affable Shadow is capable of conveying basic feelings to the host, such as: "you're missing something", "DANGER!" or "keep going!" The host experiences these as if they were its own emotions and feelings.
    4 The host now finds it difficult to focus on tasks, easily losing his or her train of thought. Sometimes, the character will also suffer from momentary amnesia, even forgetting intimately known details for the space of a breathe or two. The odd dreams continue, expanding into vivid landscapes of utterly bizarre design. The character also continues to suffer minor hallucination, though more frequently. The penalties from the level of Exhaustion now apply to all checks and saves. In addition, the host cannot maintain Concentration for more than one round. The Affable Shadow now has an intelligence equal to 14, or the Host's Intelligence +2, whichever is less, and can now freely influence the host's perceptions, as if using the Phantasmal Force spell (no save) in order to direct the host's attention to important details, improve the taste of food and drink, ease pain, avoid being lost, etc. For these purposes, the Affable Shadow should be treated as if it is continually reading the host's thoughts using Detect Thoughts. The Affable Shadow has no knowledge or experiences it has not gained from its time with the host.
    5 In an explosive rush of psychic energy, the host's mind is overwhelmed. Remove all effects from the Affable Shadow up until this point. The host makes a DC 15 wisdom saving throw and, on a failure, is rendered insane, gaining some form of psychosis or other instability, such as occasional hallucinations, paranoia, sociopahy, a major phobia or the like. This effect grants permanent disadvantage to all checks and saves involving one of the following states: Intelligence, Charisma or Wisdom. Either roll for it or determine it by circumstance. (You can encourage this to become an RP related effect or keep it as a status effect depending on the comfort level of the player.) Heal, Wish, or the intervention of a deity can remove this effect. As the psychic energy the Affable Shadow has gathered reaches critical mass, it departs its host and leaves behind a single, often useful, scar upon the creature's mind. It may find itself aware of ethereal creatures through some sixth sense. It may gain a stunningly accurate portent of the future. Perhaps it gains the ability to read or influence minds. Whatever the result, the Affable Shadow departs, having gained the ability to sustain itself outside of a host creature. It ventures to the Ethereal or astral plane where it slowly mutates into an intelligent, ethereal creature native to that plane. It retains a personality similar to that of its previous host.
    Last edited by erradin; 2016-11-09 at 12:28 AM.