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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    HalfOrcPirate

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    Default A real time saver for necromancers [spell]

    Finger of Undeath
    Necromancy
    Level: Sor/Wiz 8, Cleric 8
    Components: V, S, M
    Casting Time: 1 standard action
    Range: Close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
    Target: One living creature
    Duration: Instantaneous
    Saving Throw: Fortitude partial
    Spell Resistance: Yes

    As Finger of Death, but if the target is slain they instantly become any creature of your choice that Create Undead or Animate Dead could create.

    Material Component
    A black diamond worth at least 50gp for each HD of the creature killed.

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    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: A real time saver for necromancers [spell]

    I was expecting something more along the lines of...

    Exhume Corpse
    Necromancy
    Level: Sor/Wiz 1, Cleric 1
    Components: V, S, M
    Casting Time: 1 standard action
    Area: One corpse/caster level within 30 feet of the caster
    Duration: Instantaneous
    Focus: A miniature shovel

    The earth around the caster spits out any corpses lying under up to the surface. The corpses can't be buried deeper than caster level/2 * 5 feet. The corpses are left undamaged by the process, including any equipment, or any container they were encased in (such as coffins). Corpses of larger sized creatures (or within large containers) count more towards the spells limit *insert size table here*.

    and

    Bury Corpse
    Necromancy
    Level: Sor/Wiz 1, Cleric 1
    Components: V, S, M
    Casting Time: 1 standard action
    Area: One corpse/caster level within 30 feet of the caster
    Duration: Instantaneous
    Focus: A miniature tombstone

    A number of corpses around the caster are buried into the ground, to a total depth of caster level/2 * 5 feet (that is, you can bury one corpse at full depth, or multiple corpses at shallower depths). Corpses of larger sized creatures count (or within large containers) more towards the spells limit *insert size table here*. The spell fails if there are hard materials in the way up (although it brings the corpse up just under the layer of said material).

    and finally

    Detect Corpse
    Level: Sor/Wiz 1, Cleric 1

    As detect evil, but for corpses.

    Undead, of course, qualify for corpses. They are allowed a reflex saving throw on exhume/bury, though they automatically fail if bound in coffin, or by the pressure of earth around them.

    Although the usual purpose of the spells are to detect and get the corpses up fast, or bury them once they served their usefulness (as to not leave any clues), thereare a number of other applications. Combining the first two spells a necromancer could bury a number of undead for an ambush on unsuspecting heroes, or use it to bury any undead he can't control for the moment then un-bury them later. A lich could, in fact, bury himself as well as an escape mechanism, same for vampires when the sun comes up.

    Both spells fail if there is some kind of barrier (like, hard rock on the way down or marble on the way up) in the way, but bring the corpse up/down right until hitting that wall.

    Apologies if any of these had been in any published materials, as I haven't really got around reading and memorizing all of heroes of horror/libris mortis. Also excuse my formatting, I'm not really good at this...

    /thread hijack
    Last edited by Knave; 2009-08-28 at 11:56 AM.

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    Default Re: A real time saver for necromancers [spell]

    How did you arrive at 8th level?



    I ask because while it doesn't kill a target (you have to start with a corpse), I have a somewhat similar spell that instantly creates several undead from a single corpse, and it is almost certainly going to have to be lower level than this.
    [Public Service Announcement]P.E.A.C.H stands for Please Examine And Critique Honestly[/Public Service Announcement]
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    Default Re: A real time saver for necromancers [spell]

    Quote Originally Posted by DracoDei View Post
    How did you arrive at 8th level?



    I ask because while it doesn't kill a target (you have to start with a corpse), I have a somewhat similar spell that instantly creates several undead from a single corpse, and it is almost certainly going to have to be lower level than this.
    Because it gives you a level 7th spell and a level 6th spell rolled up into one. Plus, Create Undead normally takes an hour to cast. This instantaneously transforms your victim.

    It's a pretty powerful offensive spell. Imagine having your ally, who's standing right next to you, suddenly turn into an undead nightmare.

    So it really has two uses. To turn living captives into powerful undead right away, or to kill one enemy and turn them against their friends.

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    Default Re: A real time saver for necromancers [spell]

    I love the spells. I don't know if I want my (dread) necromancer PC to find out about Finger of Undeath, but it would be wonderful to have them fighting a necromancer and use it; I might actually have to try that sometime.
    Can't wait to see their faces as their ally turns on them.

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    Pixie in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: A real time saver for necromancers [spell]

    I like these. Very good job from both parties.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: A real time saver for necromancers [spell]

    Quote Originally Posted by Knave View Post
    Exhume Corpse
    Bury Corpse
    Detect Corpse
    Nice useful spells!

    My Necromancer convenience item was called the Flense Pack. It resembled a leather satchel that could be unfolded into a 10 ft. by 10 ft. leather 'carpet.' After is is unfolded, the owner can speak a command word and a summoned swarm of corpse-stripper beetles appears on top of the leather square and strips away any non-bone organic material over the next 10 minutes or so. Speaking the command word again causes the swarm to burrow back into the leather, which can then be rolled up and put back in your backpack.

    The game was set in the Scarred Lands, and the party was based out of Hollowfaust, a city of necromancers who paid top coin for interesting or useful skeletons. The party very much appreciated being able to skeletonize bodies so quickly. :)

    Another necromancer, an enemy of the party, had a convenience spell that allowed her to skin a corpse as a full-round action. (She would then animate the skins and send them out to strangle people...) The spell was a 1st level Transmutation spell that made the skin highly elastic and tough, and allowed her to stick her hands in a corpses mouth and stretch it's skin over it's entire head, and then down it's body, basically pulling the entire body out through the mouth, leaving the skin intact... Yummy!

    She was a 'use everything' sort of person. She would drain the blood and animate that (1/2 HD undead puddles of cold blood, doing no damage, but capable of crawling over people to blind them and attempt to drown them, I used red candle wax, melted into little blob-like waves and puddles as 'figures'), remove the skin and animate that (1/2 HD undead grapplers), remove the organs and muscle and animate that (undead 'ooze' made of viscera, veins and muscles that crushes, squirts acid and drains blood!), and then animate the skeleton. Four undead out of a single corpse!

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    Default Re: A real time saver for necromancers [spell]

    I am up to 5 undead so far out of a single corpse (with more planned when I get around to it), but I would LOVE to see her take on such things, either the full stat blocks, or just more in-depth descriptions.

    Here are the links, copy-pasted from my extended signature:
    Rolling Eyeball: Scouts, spies, and roving patrols. Zero offensive capabilities unless taken from something with a gaze attack or eye-rays.

    Floating Lungs: (based around the Shout spell). Feel free to suggest a better name...

    Hopping Stomach: Spits acid.

    Gut Snake: Undead intestines that fight with constriction, filth, and odor. Comment HERE.

    Empty Skin: Macabre, but not always aggressive. Freak your characters/players out without a single die rolled... Intelligent servants for the necromancer just starting to come into his true power.

    Dark Hearts: Literally pulsing with negative energy these repair the undead near them, and damage the living.
    (Fat Globs probably coming next. But also have plans for crawling livers, Skulking Bladders (with attached kidneys), and slithering spinal cords.)
    Last edited by DracoDei; 2009-09-24 at 11:49 PM.
    [Public Service Announcement]P.E.A.C.H stands for Please Examine And Critique Honestly[/Public Service Announcement]
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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: A real time saver for necromancers [spell]

    Quote Originally Posted by DracoDei View Post
    I am up to 5 undead so far out of a single corpse (with more planned when I get around to it), but I would LOVE to see her take on such things, either the full stat blocks, or just more in-depth descriptions.
    You've gone way further than I did (I had the nervous systems, muscles, organs, digestive system and arteries / veins all part of the same Viscera)!

    I particularly like the ideas behind your Dark Heart (a 'pulse' or 'heartbeat' of negative energy is very cool!). Tweaking it to conduct the negative energy through grappling veins and arteries, hanging from it like the blue-red tentacles of a macabre flying jellyfish, could be neat. Adding a feature that spurts black life-draining 'blood' onto anyone nearby if they are damaged via a slashing or piercing weapon could also be cool.

    The lungs seem a bit wonky, but the idea of animating a man's dying breath as a 'breath-stealer' form of incorporeal undead could be evocative...

    You lose me at the gutsnake with it's poop-cannon. :) Although I have used animated intestines as a poor man's animate rope / rope of entanglement...


    My undead, all designed to be roughly Skeleton-equivalent (these were intended to be appropriate challenges for a 1st level party, and the Necromancer crafting them was only 3rd level, using custom spells) are under the spoilers.

    The critters;
    Spoiler
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    Bones - as Skeleton

    Skin-Wight - HD 1/2 d12 (3 hp) for a human-sized skin, +1 Initiative (+1 Dex), 30 ft move, AC 11 (+1 Dex), 1 Grapple +0 melee for 1 hp Constriction damage + Entanglement effect, 5 ft. by 5 ft./5 ft., Undead, Immunities, Fort +0, Ref +3, Will +2, Str 8, Dex 12, Con -, Int -, Wis 10, Cha 11. Takes half damage vs piercing or crushing weapons. Grapple entangles unless broken, unless broken inflicts 1 hp / round Constriction automatically. Blinds & Suffocates on a critical hit! (Roll each round to check for a critical while grappling) Improved Grapple (does not provoke an AoO from an armed opponent). Appears as a leathery humanoid skin, flayed seamlessly from the body and moving bonelessly along the ground like a freakish serpent.

    Viscera (Muscles/Veins/Digestive tract) - HD 1d12 (Medium), 20 ft move, AC 12 (+2 Natural Armor), 1 Grapple +0 melee for 1d2+1 Constriction damage + 1 hp Acid + Blood drain equal to 1 temporary pt of Con / round, 5 ft. by 5 ft./5 ft., Undead, Immunities, Fort +2, Ref +0, Will +2, Str 12, Dex 10, Con -, Int -, Wis 10, Cha 11. 1 / day can belch a gout of digestive acid to affect a single target within 10 ft (as a ranged touch attack, automatically hits if target is grappled) that inflicts 2d4+1 Acid damage. Regenerates 1 hp damage / Con point of blood drain inflicted. Acidic gout is recharged if the flesh of a man-sized target is consumed. Toughness (+3 hit points). Appears as a dripping mass of organs and muscles, pushing and pulling itself along the ground via muscular contractions like some boneless ooze. It rises to engulf another by shoving itself at them violently, with muscles and veins sprouting forth to drain blood from living prey.

    Blood Weird - HD 1/2 d12 (3 hp) for a man-sized volume (10 pints), +6 Initiative (+2 Dex, +4 Imp Initiative), 30 ft move, swim 30 ft, AC 14 (+2 Dexterity, +2 Natural), 1 Grapple for 1 hp damage + blinding (and drowning on a critical hit), 5 ft. by 5 ft./5 ft., Undead, Immunities, Fort +0, Ref +2, Will +2, Str 6, Dex 14, Con -, Int -, Wis 10, Cha 11. Damage Reduction 10/+1. Improved Grapple (does not provoke an AoO from an armed opponent). Improved Initiative, Evasion. +5 Hide. Appears as 10 pints worth of reddish-black liquid, moving like a serpentine rivulet of blood.

    Optional (replaces Blood Weird)
    Bloodshadow - HD 1/2 d12 (3 hp) for a man-sized shadow, +6 Initiative (+2 Dex, +4 Imp Initiative), 45 ft move, 20 ft jump, AC 14 (+2 Dexterity, +2 Natural), 1 Incorporeal Grapple for 0 damage + blindness, 5 ft. by 5 ft./5 ft., Undead, Immunities, Fort +0, Ref +2, Will +2, Str -, Dex 14, Con -, Int -, Wis 10, Cha 11. Incorporeal. +8 Hide. Evasion. Improved Initiative. Shadow Blend (Su): In any condition other than full daylight, a bloodshadow can disappear into the shadows, giving it nine-tenths concealment. Artificial illumination, even a light or continual flame spell, does not negate this ability. A daylight spell, however, will. Appears as a two-dimensional humanoid shadow, moving preternaturally swiftly along surfaces. If it is somehow kept free of a surface or creature for more than a full round it ceases to exist, limiting it to short range leaps.


    Flavor text;
    Spoiler
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    Appearance: While her husband dressed as a courtier or nobleman, in expensive fineries and with prominent jewelry, Ari always dressed in bland and undecorated robes of tan, grey or brown, of fine quality silk, but so plain of appearance that this would often go unnoticed. She was only 5 ft exactly, shorter even than her husband, and she bustled with an impatient energy, while he was more languid of movement and demeanor, she often was short-tempered and irritable by nature. Her single piece of obvious jewelry was a black iron collar that did not appear to have any hinge or latch for removal. Generally hidden by his extensive collars and headgear, Non also wore an identical collar, and when this was commented upon by an assistant, Ari claimed that this was tradition among married couples in their homeland, to symbolize that each was slave and master to the other, bound forever by these 'shackles of matrimony.'

    Ari's area of expertise was animation and the creation of various forms of undead from the corpus of the formerly living (as opposed to her husband, Non, who specialized in infusing malicious elemental spirits into the bodies of those slain by his evocations, to create minions who burned with the fires that slew them, or radiated the same chill that ended their life).

    She would procure a freshly-deceased humanoid corpse and begin her work with a spell known as Mend the Dead, an improved, yet specific version of the standard Mending Transmutation, causing wounds and tissue damage to knit on an unliving, inanimate corpse. Broken bones or even severed limbs would reset, although no significant amount of missing tissue (such as a limb) would be regenerated, only small bits of missing skin and hair and the like.

    Now with a corpse as unblemished as if it were but sleeping, she would begin her animations by first draining the subjects blood (restored to fluidity by the Mend the Dead process) into a special container for later use. She would then cast a spell known as Flense, that strips the body of its skin in one smooth gesture (generally begun at the lips, the skin becomes elastic during the full round action of casting, and the caster grabs the lips and stretches them up over the cadavars head and down the length of the body in one smooth gesture). This spell cannot be used on a living subject.

    Setting the freshly removed skin aside, she would draw an enchanted scalpel and begin the methodical process of removing the muscles, tendons and other soft tissue from the bones, as well, leaving only the denuded skeleton on the table. She would then move that skeleton into a bath of heated oil to render away any clinging tissue (and the brain, which she could not easily scrape away without damaging the skull, and had no Necromantic use for). She had intended to create a spell to ease this process as well, and in fact one of her students after her death refined a version of Animate Dead that would allow a Skeleton to animate from a non-skeletal corpse, sloughing off all other tissue seamlessly and sliding up from the corpse, without unduly damaging the viscera and musculature.

    While the skeleton soaked (or was debrided by beetles), she would take the skin and soak it as well in a bath of special salts, while the viscera and musculature went into one sealed clay cauldron.

    She would set to work first on the viscera, as the natural acids of the stomach would begin softening and damaging the fragile tissues if she did not get to work immediately. (Like the blood, stomach juices would become fluid and vital again by the Mend the Dead process.) Using an animation technique of her own creation, she would infuse a Ghoulish hunger in the organs, causing them to hunger endlessly, and empowering the mass to slither and move along the ground in a trail of intestinal juices, able to leap upon and Entangle a foe in their serpentine mass, and to disgorge a gout of weak acids (1d4 damage) to anyone within 5 ft. During this process, the hungry Viscera could not be released from its glass-lidded ceramic tub, as it would mindlessly consume any organic matter in the area if not controlled.

    Her next bit of work was upon the skin, which would be animated by a similar enchantment into a Skin Phantom, a sheet-like slithering mass that was magically toughened to near-leathery durability, and yet remained elastic enough to constrict a target and restrain it's movements. On a normal attack, the Skin Phantom would simply Entangle a foe, perhaps causing minimal damage through constriction, but on a Critical Hit, it would manage to throw leathery folds over the victims breathing orifices and sight organs, both Suffocating and Blinding it as well!

    Near the end of her process, she would turn to the blood, kept warm over a fire in a spinning cauldron, not allowed to bubble or congeal. She would infuse the energies of death into the fluid, taking it from the fire and allowing it to cool as she cast her spells. The fluid would gain a Necromantic animation as a Blood Weird, and a mindless dread of cold, causing it to attempt to restore it's 'warmth' by flowing over and draining the warmth of the living, but in the process, suffocating them in a pool of cold dead blood, crawling over their bodies in a vain attempt to warm itself on their skin.

    She would end her enchantment process on the skeleton, animating it as a common Skeleton.

    She would sometimes aquire a living subject, and instead of creating a Blood Weird, she would begin the enchantment process by hoisting the subject into the air by chains, and placing a brazier to rest on top of the subject, extinguising every other source of light in the room. The only light would be flickering atop her subject, whose shadow would be under him, writhing on her worktable. She would slice him with her scalpel, using a single slash to the throat, and the victim would be suspended face down, staring at his blood pouring out onto his writhing shadow. Thanks to the enchantment process she would follow at this stage, the blood would literally dissappear into the shadow, consumed by the hungering darkness, and the shadow would seem to thicken and become crimson in color as the living subject become paler and closer to death. In a matter of moments, the subjects life would have poured forth into the now dark and monstrous shadow (which would resemble a man-sized mass of ruddy darkness, and forever smell of blood), and she would bind this new creation under her control, not as an undead Shadow (for her casting was not powerful enough to replicate this creature), but as a lesser creature she called a Blood-shadow, an incorporeal creature able only to 'grapple' another and Blind it in the wet darkness of its form.

    Her eventual goal (according to her surviving notes) was to find a way to seperate the various organs and systems of a living person, animating them each seperately, and she had extensive notes on a method to convert the circulatory system into a blood-draining vampiric entity, independent of the muscular systems and the digestive systems, refining the Viscera into three seperate forms of undead construction.

    Her purported overall goal was to develop techniques to animate into undeath each of the body's living systems, and then to refine the process so that she could begin the slow process of animating into undeath a living creature, one vital system at a time, rendering it immortal and deathless, and yet able to replicate all the functions of the living through Necromantic means. She was, in essence, well on the way to making herself into an undead being, one vital system at a time. While this was her stated goal, her notes were suprisingly bereft of any information on this research and it was believed that she was years from even beginning the process of infusing the energies of death into the tissues of a living subject.

    Her final experiment did not actually relate to her eventual goal, but was an attempt to refine the Blood Weird into a gaseous mist-like form, a sweeping cloud of reddish vapors that would obscure vision. Instead, the form she created hungered for more blood and rising in a fury of scalding wind-swept frenzy, the boiling cloud of blood drained the life from her (and two of her apprentice students) before roiling out of her laboratory and eventually being slain by a Fireball when it intruded upon a fellow researcher.


    Your own ideas make me want to take the brain and nervous system out of the Viscera and create yet another 1/2 HD undead, a levitating brain with whipping nerve 'tentacles' like a small Grell, with limited psychic ability (daze and spook (cause fear that can only inflict a Shaken condition) type abilities) and weak tentacle attacks with the nerve fibers.

    Extracting the brain would require breaking open the skull (barring a special spell for that purpose), which would then need to be mended before animation as a Skeleton (which is fine, it's just a cantrip...).


    In addition to this couple (her making many weak undead from a single corpse, him infusing elemental spirits into those he slew with evocation, creating zombies with the Flaming, Frost, Shock and Corrosive properties), I also had local necromancers in this Hollowfaust campaign use an assortment of Craft skills to enhance their undead. They would craft bone armor and weapons for their skeletons, select the finest and thickest bones to make 'masterwork' undead that were stronger, faster and / or tougher, coat them with alchemical shellac that would make the bones as tough as iron (natural armor, at a cost in dexterity), etc.

    Combined with using the same 'ironbone oil' on weapons and armor crafted from leftover bones, they could field a masterwork skeleton with +2 Str, +2 natural armor (cancelling out the +2 Dex it would have had), a longsword, heavy shield and scale armor (made of iron hard bone) and bonus hit points (I forget the exact number...). Purchasing all of the necessary skills would be a bother, but since this was a city run by six to eight different sub-schools of necromancers, it wouldn't be hard for one necromancer to specialize in crafting bone weapons, and trade to another necromancer who specialized in crafting bone armor, and a third who provided them both with alchemical 'ironbone oil' in exchange for gear to outfit his own skeletal retainers.

    Skills aren't really used enough in the game, IMO, and using craft skills to enhance these types of undead made for some neat encounters. (Zombies could similarly be 'smoked' to toughen them up to a leather-like consistency, and give them the sickly sweet smell of roast pork. Their body cavities would be filled with reinforced bits of internal bone armor, further enhancing their durability. Instead of arming them, the nasty folks to the east who used zombies, which were shunned in Hollowfaust, would instead sew the hands shut and shove jagged spikes and rusty nails through them, turning their fists into primitive morning stars, and then smearing the lot with dung and offal, so that the brutal strikes of their zombies nail-studded fists also inflicted Filth Fever...)
    Last edited by Set; 2009-09-28 at 01:40 PM.

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    Default Re: A real time saver for necromancers [spell]

    Your feedback is greatly appreciated. Many people say "I like your stuff" and stop there. That doesn't do me much good (although it is better than nothing) because it is difficult to know what I did RIGHT so I can do MORE of it in the future...

    Quote Originally Posted by Set View Post
    You've gone way further than I did (I had the nervous systems, muscles, organs, digestive system and arteries / veins all part of the same Viscera)!
    Yet you also mention her desire to refine her arts with the vicera. Was that part of the original setup, or did you add that in as a lead-in to allow my stuff to be added at a later point in the campaign? If not, then I assume you had at least some inkling of things along the same sort of path as mine?
    Quote Originally Posted by Set View Post
    I particularly like the ideas behind your Dark Heart (a 'pulse' or 'heartbeat' of negative energy is very cool!).
    Yes... the Seat of Life (not sure if that is a pre-existing term, but it gets the idea across), reverse to the sustainer of undeath and destroyer of life.
    Quote Originally Posted by Set View Post
    Tweaking it to conduct the negative energy through grappling veins and arteries, hanging from it like the blue-red tentacles of a macabre flying jellyfish, could be neat.
    That would require a noticably higher heal check, but yes, that would be a varient worth considering. Probably make it melee range only, and based on the non-"Mass" versions of the spells of equal level to what the original version can do.
    Quote Originally Posted by Set View Post
    Adding a feature that spurts black life-draining 'blood' onto anyone nearby if they are damaged via a slashing or piercing weapon could also be cool.
    Single target, penalty to hit on a touch attack, shortish range... hmmm... it has possibilities, but I generally don't like giving mindless undead too many options. Simple options for simple behaviors, but I DID give the Gut Snakes the Flatuance option... I will work it in when and if I do the alternate version, and see what people think.
    Quote Originally Posted by Set View Post
    The lungs seem a bit wonky,
    The source of the voice (remember it includes the voice-box) being used for a Shout spell? That was the reasoning I was using... or were you talking about their glass cannon nature, or something completely different?
    Quote Originally Posted by Set View Post
    but the idea of animating a man's dying breath as a 'breath-stealer' form of incorporeal undead could be evocative...
    Yeah, that sounds like something that someone needs to stat... a bit more "mystical" rather than the "Take the function in life and derive the abilities of the undead from that" approach that my set is based around though.
    Quote Originally Posted by Set View Post
    You lose me at the gutsnake with it's poop-cannon. :) Although I have used animated intestines as a poor man's animate rope / rope of entanglement...
    Well, it WAS a contest entitled "Gratutious Gore" that motivated me to actually stat that one up... but one of the reviewers in the voting thread DID say that, at least for him, they evoked more "potty humor" than "horrified digust".

    Also, I can't resist saying that an attack that can only be used in a grapple (which is shorter range than melee) doesn't really fit with the word "cannon" to me. Thus I am curious how you meant that word. Enlighten me please?
    Quote Originally Posted by Set View Post
    My undead, all designed to be roughly Skeleton-equivalent (these were intended to be appropriate challenges for a 1st level party, and the Necromancer crafting them was only 3rd level, using custom spells) are under the spoilers.
    Some of mine cover that range at the lower end:
    • Empty Skin - half the CR of the base creature is what I listed for the low end, although in practice that could vary noticably, although I specifically have them set up so a low level necromancer WOULDN'T use them, but since a 3rd level Necromancer (or evil cleric) can't creat their own undead at all by Core that is probably something you have already decided how you are going to work around. Of course, if you have it set to non-agressive you can have an elephant or a unicorn talking to the party... but that is a completely different ball of wax.
    • Gut Snake - Ok, so the Tiny ones are only a threat to halflings, gnomes, and Familiars, and you have to say that the necromancer used cats and small dogs instead of humans (or cows... the necromantic applications of cattle with my creations are not to be overlooked. They mature faster than half-orc, and nobody thinks twice about someone slaughtering their own cattle, so it is very good for DESCRETELY creating minions.).
    • Hopping Stomachs - Granted the solution to the smaller ones is to RUN AWAY until you are out of range, then keep throwing stuff at them until you get a natural 20 (or spend a precious Magic Missile or Alchemists Fire on them(since even the splash damage will kill them) ), and many parties might not think of opening range, but they are, in theory, pretty easy to handle.
    • Rolling Eyeballs - These can lead the PCs a merry chase if they don't have a Magic Missile handy, but with limited mobility and no offensive powers (for the basic ones) they fit as a 1st level encounter (although not in the same role as a skeleton).


    Huh! That is actually fewer than I thought would be CR < 1. Oh well...

    As for your creatures, let me do the rest of the readers a favor by making them a bit more accessible... but... later than now (and I shall try to give a good critique at the same time of course). For now I shall simply copy them below so I don't loose the formating work I did.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Set View Post
    Skin-Wight - HD 1/2 d12 (3 hp) for a human-sized skin, +1 Initiative (+1 Dex), 30 ft move, AC 11 (+1 Dex), 1 Grapple +0 melee for 1 hp Constriction damage + Entanglement effect, 5 ft. by 5 ft./5 ft., Undead, Immunities, Fort +0, Ref +3, Will +2, Str 8, Dex 12, Con -, Int -, Wis 10, Cha 11. Takes half damage vs piercing or crushing weapons. Grapple entangles unless broken, unless broken inflicts 1 hp / round Constriction automatically. Blinds & Suffocates on a critical hit! (Roll each round to check for a critical while grappling) Improved Grapple (does not provoke an AoO from an armed opponent). Appears as a leathery humanoid skin, flayed seamlessly from the body and moving bonelessly along the ground like a freakish serpent.
    Quote Originally Posted by Set View Post
    Viscera (Muscles/Veins/Digestive tract) - HD 1d12 (Medium), 20 ft move, AC 12 (+2 Natural Armor), 1 Grapple +0 melee for 1d2+1 Constriction damage + 1 hp Acid + Blood drain equal to 1 temporary pt of Con / round, 5 ft. by 5 ft./5 ft., Undead, Immunities, Fort +2, Ref +0, Will +2, Str 12, Dex 10, Con -, Int -, Wis 10, Cha 11. 1 / day can belch a gout of digestive acid to affect a single target within 10 ft (as a ranged touch attack, automatically hits if target is grappled) that inflicts 2d4+1 Acid damage. Regenerates 1 hp damage / Con point of blood drain inflicted. Acidic gout is recharged if the flesh of a man-sized target is consumed. Toughness (+3 hit points). Appears as a dripping mass of organs and muscles, pushing and pulling itself along the ground via muscular contractions like some boneless ooze. It rises to engulf another by shoving itself at them violently, with muscles and veins sprouting forth to drain blood from living prey.
    Quote Originally Posted by Set View Post
    Blood Weird - HD 1/2 d12 (3 hp) for a man-sized volume (10 pints), +6 Initiative (+2 Dex, +4 Imp Initiative), 30 ft move, swim 30 ft, AC 14 (+2 Dexterity, +2 Natural), 1 Grapple for 1 hp damage + blinding (and drowning on a critical hit), 5 ft. by 5 ft./5 ft., Undead, Immunities, Fort +0, Ref +2, Will +2, Str 6, Dex 14, Con -, Int -, Wis 10, Cha 11. Damage Reduction 10/+1. Improved Grapple (does not provoke an AoO from an armed opponent). Improved Initiative, Evasion. +5 Hide. Appears as 10 pints worth of reddish-black liquid, moving like a serpentine rivulet of blood.
    Quote Originally Posted by Set View Post
    Optional (replaces Blood Weird)
    Bloodshadow - HD 1/2 d12 (3 hp) for a man-sized shadow, +6 Initiative (+2 Dex, +4 Imp Initiative), 45 ft move, 20 ft jump, AC 14 (+2 Dexterity, +2 Natural), 1 Incorporeal Grapple for 0 damage + blindness, 5 ft. by 5 ft./5 ft., Undead, Immunities, Fort +0, Ref +2, Will +2, Str -, Dex 14, Con -, Int -, Wis 10, Cha 11. Incorporeal. +8 Hide. Evasion. Improved Initiative. Shadow Blend (Su): In any condition other than full daylight, a bloodshadow can disappear into the shadows, giving it nine-tenths concealment. Artificial illumination, even a light or continual flame spell, does not negate this ability. A daylight spell, however, will. Appears as a two-dimensional humanoid shadow, moving preternaturally swiftly along surfaces. If it is somehow kept free of a surface or creature for more than a full round it ceases to exist, limiting it to short range leaps.

    I shall have further comment on the below at a later time as well, but for now, let me simply say that your attention to detail is quite excellent.
    Quote Originally Posted by Set View Post

    Flavor text;
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    Appearance: While her husband dressed as a courtier or nobleman, in expensive fineries and with prominent jewelry, Ari always dressed in bland and undecorated robes of tan, grey or brown, of fine quality silk, but so plain of appearance that this would often go unnoticed. She was only 5 ft exactly, shorter even than her husband, and she bustled with an impatient energy, while he was more languid of movement and demeanor, she often was short-tempered and irritable by nature. Her single piece of obvious jewelry was a black iron collar that did not appear to have any hinge or latch for removal. Generally hidden by his extensive collars and headgear, Non also wore an identical collar, and when this was commented upon by an assistant, Ari claimed that this was tradition among married couples in their homeland, to symbolize that each was slave and master to the other, bound forever by these 'shackles of matrimony.'

    Ari's area of expertise was animation and the creation of various forms of undead from the corpus of the formerly living (as opposed to her husband, Non, who specialized in infusing malicious elemental spirits into the bodies of those slain by his evocations, to create minions who burned with the fires that slew them, or radiated the same chill that ended their life).

    She would procure a freshly-deceased humanoid corpse and begin her work with a spell known as Mend the Dead, an improved, yet specific version of the standard Mending Transmutation, causing wounds and tissue damage to knit on an unliving, inanimate corpse. Broken bones or even severed limbs would reset, although no significant amount of missing tissue (such as a limb) would be regenerated, only small bits of missing skin and hair and the like.

    Now with a corpse as unblemished as if it were but sleeping, she would begin her animations by first draining the subjects blood (restored to fluidity by the Mend the Dead process) into a special container for later use. She would then cast a spell known as Flense, that strips the body of its skin in one smooth gesture (generally begun at the lips, the skin becomes elastic during the full round action of casting, and the caster grabs the lips and stretches them up over the cadavars head and down the length of the body in one smooth gesture). This spell cannot be used on a living subject.

    Setting the freshly removed skin aside, she would draw an enchanted scalpel and begin the methodical process of removing the muscles, tendons and other soft tissue from the bones, as well, leaving only the denuded skeleton on the table. She would then move that skeleton into a bath of heated oil to render away any clinging tissue (and the brain, which she could not easily scrape away without damaging the skull, and had no Necromantic use for). She had intended to create a spell to ease this process as well, and in fact one of her students after her death refined a version of Animate Dead that would allow a Skeleton to animate from a non-skeletal corpse, sloughing off all other tissue seamlessly and sliding up from the corpse, without unduly damaging the viscera and musculature.

    While the skeleton soaked (or was debrided by beetles), she would take the skin and soak it as well in a bath of special salts, while the viscera and musculature went into one sealed clay cauldron.

    She would set to work first on the viscera, as the natural acids of the stomach would begin softening and damaging the fragile tissues if she did not get to work immediately. (Like the blood, stomach juices would become fluid and vital again by the Mend the Dead process.) Using an animation technique of her own creation, she would infuse a Ghoulish hunger in the organs, causing them to hunger endlessly, and empowering the mass to slither and move along the ground in a trail of intestinal juices, able to leap upon and Entangle a foe in their serpentine mass, and to disgorge a gout of weak acids (1d4 damage) to anyone within 5 ft. During this process, the hungry Viscera could not be released from its glass-lidded ceramic tub, as it would mindlessly consume any organic matter in the area if not controlled.

    Her next bit of work was upon the skin, which would be animated by a similar enchantment into a Skin Phantom, a sheet-like slithering mass that was magically toughened to near-leathery durability, and yet remained elastic enough to constrict a target and restrain it's movements. On a normal attack, the Skin Phantom would simply Entangle a foe, perhaps causing minimal damage through constriction, but on a Critical Hit, it would manage to throw leathery folds over the victims breathing orifices and sight organs, both Suffocating and Blinding it as well!

    Near the end of her process, she would turn to the blood, kept warm over a fire in a spinning cauldron, not allowed to bubble or congeal. She would infuse the energies of death into the fluid, taking it from the fire and allowing it to cool as she cast her spells. The fluid would gain a Necromantic animation as a Blood Weird, and a mindless dread of cold, causing it to attempt to restore it's 'warmth' by flowing over and draining the warmth of the living, but in the process, suffocating them in a pool of cold dead blood, crawling over their bodies in a vain attempt to warm itself on their skin.

    She would end her enchantment process on the skeleton, animating it as a common Skeleton.

    She would sometimes aquire a living subject, and instead of creating a Blood Weird, she would begin the enchantment process by hoisting the subject into the air by chains, and placing a brazier to rest on top of the subject, extinguising every other source of light in the room. The only light would be flickering atop her subject, whose shadow would be under him, writhing on her worktable. She would slice him with her scalpel, using a single slash to the throat, and the victim would be suspended face down, staring at his blood pouring out onto his writhing shadow. Thanks to the enchantment process she would follow at this stage, the blood would literally dissappear into the shadow, consumed by the hungering darkness, and the shadow would seem to thicken and become crimson in color as the living subject become paler and closer to death. In a matter of moments, the subjects life would have poured forth into the now dark and monstrous shadow (which would resemble a man-sized mass of ruddy darkness, and forever smell of blood), and she would bind this new creation under her control, not as an undead Shadow (for her casting was not powerful enough to replicate this creature), but as a lesser creature she called a Blood-shadow, an incorporeal creature able only to 'grapple' another and Blind it in the wet darkness of its form.

    Her eventual goal (according to her surviving notes) was to find a way to seperate the various organs and systems of a living person, animating them each seperately, and she had extensive notes on a method to convert the circulatory system into a blood-draining vampiric entity, independent of the muscular systems and the digestive systems, refining the Viscera into three seperate forms of undead construction.

    Her purported overall goal was to develop techniques to animate into undeath each of the body's living systems, and then to refine the process so that she could begin the slow process of animating into undeath a living creature, one vital system at a time, rendering it immortal and deathless, and yet able to replicate all the functions of the living through Necromantic means. She was, in essence, well on the way to making herself into an undead being, one vital system at a time. While this was her stated goal, her notes were suprisingly bereft of any information on this research and it was believed that she was years from even beginning the process of infusing the energies of death into the tissues of a living subject.

    Her final experiment did not actually relate to her eventual goal, but was an attempt to refine the Blood Weird into a gaseous mist-like form, a sweeping cloud of reddish vapors that would obscure vision. Instead, the form she created hungered for more blood and rising in a fury of scalding wind-swept frenzy, the boiling cloud of blood drained the life from her (and two of her apprentice students) before roiling out of her laboratory and eventually being slain by a Fireball when it intruded upon a fellow researcher.


    Your own ideas make me want to take the brain and nervous system out of the Viscera and create yet another 1/2 HD undead, a levitating brain with whipping nerve 'tentacles' like a small Grell, with limited psychic ability (daze and spook (cause fear that can only inflict a Shaken condition) type abilities) and weak tentacle attacks with the nerve fibers.

    Extracting the brain would require breaking open the skull (barring a special spell for that purpose), which would then need to be mended before animation as a Skeleton (which is fine, it's just a cantrip...).


    In addition to this couple (her making many weak undead from a single corpse, him infusing elemental spirits into those he slew with evocation, creating zombies with the Flaming, Frost, Shock and Corrosive properties), I also had local necromancers in this Hollowfaust campaign use an assortment of Craft skills to enhance their undead. They would craft bone armor and weapons for their skeletons, select the finest and thickest bones to make 'masterwork' undead that were stronger, faster and / or tougher, coat them with alchemical shellac that would make the bones as tough as iron (natural armor, at a cost in dexterity), etc.

    Combined with using the same 'ironbone oil' on weapons and armor crafted from leftover bones, they could field a masterwork skeleton with +2 Str, +2 natural armor (cancelling out the +2 Dex it would have had), a longsword, heavy shield and scale armor (made of iron hard bone) and bonus hit points (I forget the exact number...). Purchasing all of the necessary skills would be a bother, but since this was a city run by six to eight different sub-schools of necromancers, it wouldn't be hard for one necromancer to specialize in crafting bone weapons, and trade to another necromancer who specialized in crafting bone armor, and a third who provided them both with alchemical 'ironbone oil' in exchange for gear to outfit his own skeletal retainers.

    Skills aren't really used enough in the game, IMO, and using craft skills to enhance these types of undead made for some neat encounters. (Zombies could similarly be 'smoked' to toughen them up to a leather-like consistency, and give them the sickly sweet smell of roast pork. Their body cavities would be filled with reinforced bits of internal bone armor, further enhancing their durability. Instead of arming them, the nasty folks to the east who used zombies, which were shunned in Hollowfaust, would instead sew the hands shut and shove jagged spikes and rusty nails through them, turning their fists into primitive morning stars, and then smearing the lot with dung and offal, so that the brutal strikes of their zombies nail-studded fists also inflicted Filth Fever...)
    Last edited by DracoDei; 2009-09-28 at 08:25 PM.
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  11. - Top - End - #11
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: A real time saver for necromancers [spell]

    Quote Originally Posted by DracoDei View Post
    Yet you also mention her desire to refine her arts with the vicera. Was that part of the original setup, or did you add that in as a lead-in to allow my stuff to be added at a later point in the campaign? If not, then I assume you had at least some inkling of things along the same sort of path as mine?
    Your unfinished spinal cord idea led me to think that part up. Her goal was to find a way to necromantically imbue every single body part / system with necromantic unlife as part of a goal to make herself immortal, piece by undead piece, and the viscera was primarily circulatory, digestive and muscular systems, leaving the brain and nervous system totally untouched (and, in the case of the brain, discarded! Such waste!). A brain / spinal cord / nervous system would seem perfect to have some sort of paralyzing attacks (as the nerves conduct confusing signals into those hit) or even a physical variation of 'possession' where the nerves wrap around the victim, while the brain rests on a shoulder or hides in a cowl, the undead using it's own nervous system to override and control the body of the victim, while they are trapped and 'going along for the ride,' unable to even scream...

    At some point, the logical progression of her research would have led her to create an undead that appeared to be a person, but seperated into skin-wight, blood-weird, viscera and skeleton as it entered combat, probably causing some sort of fear effect as it what appeared to be a healthy living man flew apart into a grotesque group of animated bodily systems.

    But she died before she got that far. :)

    The source of the voice (remember it includes the voice-box) being used for a Shout spell? That was the reasoning I was using... or were you talking about their glass cannon nature, or something completely different?
    The visual, actually. A slurping mass of muscle, veins and internal organs has kind of a chaos beast / gibbering mouther feel to it, but a pair of necromantically animated lungs just feels a little surreal, from a visual perspective.

    Mixing it up with the Viking Blood-Eagle (where a person's ribcage was shattered and their lungs ripped out and placed to the side of the, like the wings of an eagle), and having the wings flayed open and hanging ragged, like grotesque wings, could be creeptacular, though...

    While Shout works here, it doesn't feel very ‘necromantic’ to me, perhaps the lungs could emit a wheezing moan that causes fear and uneasiness in the listeners? My first idea, with the flapping blood-eagle visual, would be for the lungs to flap over someone’s face, like a baby alien from the movie Aliens, smothering them (and being hard to remove without damaging the victim), but I think I’ve already gone a little too suffocation happy with the Skin-Wight smothering attack and the Blood Weirds drowning attack…

    And it’s worth noting that whether or not Shout ‘feels necromantic’ to me, a necromancer has no shortage of ways to cause fear, and might find an undead with an Evocation effect (especially one so rarely resisted as Sonic) *far* more useful!

    Also, I can't resist saying that an attack that can only be used in a grapple (which is shorter range than melee) doesn't really fit with the word "cannon" to me. Thus I am curious how you meant that word. Enlighten me please?
    It was just me poking fun at the gruesome nature of a diarrhoetic discharge power (even if it was far shorter range than a cannon).

    Great ideas. The heart, in particular, has me all inspired.

    It would be only a minor upscale to use necromancy to create a flying eyeballs, or even incorporeal ‘dead man’s eyes’ for scouting purposes. A necromancer might even create a *swarm* of floating eyeballs that flew around his underground catacombs, looking for trouble. The eyeballs might even be a sentient undead, used as a sub-commander and having the ability to command lesser mindless undead (skeletons and zombies), summoning them to attack intruders in the master’s territory, but that’s getting far from low-level stuff and closer to Create Undead level critters. (Having such a swarm of eyes have minor spell-like or psi-like abilities, based on cantrips like daze, as gaze attacks, could be one way of making a swarm of eyes in combination with skeletons and zombies actually be a problem for a low-level party.)

    So much cool stuff!
    Last edited by Set; 2009-09-28 at 10:23 PM.

  12. - Top - End - #12
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    Default Re: A real time saver for necromancers [spell]

    Meh... brain no worky. Posting this so I don't loose my progress.

    Spoiler
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    Skin-Wight, Medium
    Size/Type: Medium Undead
    Hit Dice: 1/2d12 (3 hp)
    Initiative: +1
    Speed: 30 ft
    Armor Class: 11, touch 11, flat-footed 10 (+1 dex)
    Base Attack/Grapple: 0/-1
    Attack: +1 grapple initiation melee touch
    Full Attack: +1 grapple initiation melee touch
    Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
    Special Attacks: constrict 1 + Entanglement effect
    Special Qualities: half damage from piercing and crushing,
    Saves: Fort 0, Ref +3, Will +2
    Abilities: Str 8, Dex 12, Con —, Int -, Wis 10, Cha 11
    Skills: None
    Feats: Lightning Reflexes(Bonus), Improved Grapple(Bonus), Weapon Finesse(Bonus)
    Enviroment: Any, usually same as base creature.
    Organization: Any
    Challange Rating: 1/6?
    Treasure: None
    Alignment: Always Neutral Evil
    This thing looks like a leathery humanoid skin, flayed seamlessly from the body and moving bonelessly along the ground like a freakish serpent.

    Quote Originally Posted by Set View Post
    Grapple entangles unless broken, unless broken inflicts 1 hp / round Constriction automatically. Blinds & Suffocates on a critical hit! (Roll each round to check for a critical while grappling)
    Viscera (Muscles/Veins/Digestive tract)
    Size/Type: Medium Undead
    Hit Dice: 1d12 (6 hp)
    Initiative: 0
    Speed: ??
    Armor Class: 12, touch 10, flat-footed 12 (+2 natural)
    Base Attack/Grapple: 0/+1
    Attack: ?? +1 str-based / ?? 0 dex-based (1d2+1)
    Full Attack: +1
    Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
    Special Attacks: ??
    Special Qualities: ??
    Saves: Fort 0, Ref 0, Will +2
    Abilities: Str 12, Dex 10, Con —, Int 1, Wis 10, Cha 11
    Skills: None
    Feats: 1 feats or none if mindless
    Enviroment: Any, usually as creature taken from
    Organization: Any
    Challange Rating: ??
    Treasure: None
    Alignment: Always Neutral Evil
    A dripping mass of organs and muscles, pushes and pulls itself along the ground via muscular contractions like some boneless ooze.
    Quote Originally Posted by Set View Post
    - HD 1d12 (Medium), 20 ft move, AC 12 (+2 Natural Armor), 1 Grapple +0 melee for 1d2+1 Constriction damage + 1 hp Acid + Blood drain equal to 1 temporary pt of Con / round, 5 ft. by 5 ft./5 ft., Undead, Immunities, Fort +2, Ref +0, Will +2, Str 12, Dex 10, Con -, Int -, Wis 10, Cha 11. 1 / day can belch a gout of digestive acid to affect a single target within 10 ft (as a ranged touch attack, automatically hits if target is grappled) that inflicts 2d4+1 Acid damage. Regenerates 1 hp damage / Con point of blood drain inflicted. Acidic gout is recharged if the flesh of a man-sized target is consumed. Toughness (+3 hit points). Appears as It rises to engulf another by shoving itself at them violently, with muscles and veins sprouting forth to drain blood from living prey.
    Saves: Fort 0, Ref 0, Will +2
    Abilities: Str 12, Dex 10, Con —, Int 1, Wis 10, Cha 11
    Skills: None
    Feats: 1 feats or none if mindless
    Enviroment: Any, usually as creature taken from
    Organization: Any
    Challange Rating: ??
    Treasure: None
    Alignment: Always Neutral Evil
    Quote Originally Posted by Set View Post
    Blood Weird - HD 1/2 d12 (3 hp) for a man-sized volume (10 pints), +6 Initiative (+2 Dex, +4 Imp Initiative), 30 ft move, swim 30 ft, AC 14 (+2 Dexterity, +2 Natural), 1 Grapple for 1 hp damage + blinding (and drowning on a critical hit), 5 ft. by 5 ft./5 ft., Undead, Immunities, Fort +0, Ref +2, Will +2, Str 6, Dex 14, Con -, Int -, Wis 10, Cha 11. Damage Reduction 10/+1. Improved Grapple (does not provoke an AoO from an armed opponent). Improved Initiative, Evasion. +5 Hide. Appears as 10 pints worth of reddish-black liquid, moving like a serpentine rivulet of blood.
    Saves: Fort 0, Ref 0, Will +2
    Abilities: Str 12, Dex 10, Con —, Int 1, Wis 10, Cha 11
    Skills: None
    Feats: 1 feats or none if mindless
    Enviroment: Any, usually as creature taken from
    Organization: Any
    Challange Rating: ??
    Treasure: None
    Alignment: Always Neutral Evil
    Quote Originally Posted by Set View Post
    Optional (replaces Blood Weird)
    Bloodshadow - HD 1/2 d12 (3 hp) for a man-sized shadow, +6 Initiative (+2 Dex, +4 Imp Initiative), 45 ft move, 20 ft jump, AC 14 (+2 Dexterity, +2 Natural), 1 Incorporeal Grapple for 0 damage + blindness, 5 ft. by 5 ft./5 ft., Undead, Immunities, Fort +0, Ref +2, Will +2, Str -, Dex 14, Con -, Int -, Wis 10, Cha 11. Incorporeal. +8 Hide. Evasion. Improved Initiative. Shadow Blend (Su): In any condition other than full daylight, a bloodshadow can disappear into the shadows, giving it nine-tenths concealment. Artificial illumination, even a light or continual flame spell, does not negate this ability. A daylight spell, however, will. Appears as a two-dimensional humanoid shadow, moving preternaturally swiftly along surfaces. If it is somehow kept free of a surface or creature for more than a full round it ceases to exist, limiting it to short range leaps.

    I shall have further comment on the below at a later time as well, but for now, let me simply say that your attention to detail is quite excellent.
    Quote Originally Posted by Set View Post

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    Appearance: While her husband dressed as a courtier or nobleman, in expensive fineries and with prominent jewelry, Ari always dressed in bland and undecorated robes of tan, grey or brown, of fine quality silk, but so plain of appearance that this would often go unnoticed. She was only 5 ft exactly, shorter even than her husband, and she bustled with an impatient energy, while he was more languid of movement and demeanor, she often was short-tempered and irritable by nature. Her single piece of obvious jewelry was a black iron collar that did not appear to have any hinge or latch for removal. Generally hidden by his extensive collars and headgear, Non also wore an identical collar, and when this was commented upon by an assistant, Ari claimed that this was tradition among married couples in their homeland, to symbolize that each was slave and master to the other, bound forever by these 'shackles of matrimony.'

    Ari's area of expertise was animation and the creation of various forms of undead from the corpus of the formerly living (as opposed to her husband, Non, who specialized in infusing malicious elemental spirits into the bodies of those slain by his evocations, to create minions who burned with the fires that slew them, or radiated the same chill that ended their life).

    She would procure a freshly-deceased humanoid corpse and begin her work with a spell known as Mend the Dead, an improved, yet specific version of the standard Mending Transmutation, causing wounds and tissue damage to knit on an unliving, inanimate corpse. Broken bones or even severed limbs would reset, although no significant amount of missing tissue (such as a limb) would be regenerated, only small bits of missing skin and hair and the like.

    Now with a corpse as unblemished as if it were but sleeping, she would begin her animations by first draining the subjects blood (restored to fluidity by the Mend the Dead process) into a special container for later use. She would then cast a spell known as Flense, that strips the body of its skin in one smooth gesture (generally begun at the lips, the skin becomes elastic during the full round action of casting, and the caster grabs the lips and stretches them up over the cadavars head and down the length of the body in one smooth gesture). This spell cannot be used on a living subject.

    Setting the freshly removed skin aside, she would draw an enchanted scalpel and begin the methodical process of removing the muscles, tendons and other soft tissue from the bones, as well, leaving only the denuded skeleton on the table. She would then move that skeleton into a bath of heated oil to render away any clinging tissue (and the brain, which she could not easily scrape away without damaging the skull, and had no Necromantic use for). She had intended to create a spell to ease this process as well, and in fact one of her students after her death refined a version of Animate Dead that would allow a Skeleton to animate from a non-skeletal corpse, sloughing off all other tissue seamlessly and sliding up from the corpse, without unduly damaging the viscera and musculature.

    While the skeleton soaked (or was debrided by beetles), she would take the skin and soak it as well in a bath of special salts, while the viscera and musculature went into one sealed clay cauldron.

    She would set to work first on the viscera, as the natural acids of the stomach would begin softening and damaging the fragile tissues if she did not get to work immediately. (Like the blood, stomach juices would become fluid and vital again by the Mend the Dead process.) Using an animation technique of her own creation, she would infuse a Ghoulish hunger in the organs, causing them to hunger endlessly, and empowering the mass to slither and move along the ground in a trail of intestinal juices, able to leap upon and Entangle a foe in their serpentine mass, and to disgorge a gout of weak acids (1d4 damage) to anyone within 5 ft. During this process, the hungry Viscera could not be released from its glass-lidded ceramic tub, as it would mindlessly consume any organic matter in the area if not controlled.

    Her next bit of work was upon the skin, which would be animated by a similar enchantment into a Skin Phantom, a sheet-like slithering mass that was magically toughened to near-leathery durability, and yet remained elastic enough to constrict a target and restrain it's movements. On a normal attack, the Skin Phantom would simply Entangle a foe, perhaps causing minimal damage through constriction, but on a Critical Hit, it would manage to throw leathery folds over the victims breathing orifices and sight organs, both Suffocating and Blinding it as well!

    Near the end of her process, she would turn to the blood, kept warm over a fire in a spinning cauldron, not allowed to bubble or congeal. She would infuse the energies of death into the fluid, taking it from the fire and allowing it to cool as she cast her spells. The fluid would gain a Necromantic animation as a Blood Weird, and a mindless dread of cold, causing it to attempt to restore it's 'warmth' by flowing over and draining the warmth of the living, but in the process, suffocating them in a pool of cold dead blood, crawling over their bodies in a vain attempt to warm itself on their skin.

    She would end her enchantment process on the skeleton, animating it as a common Skeleton.

    She would sometimes aquire a living subject, and instead of creating a Blood Weird, she would begin the enchantment process by hoisting the subject into the air by chains, and placing a brazier to rest on top of the subject, extinguising every other source of light in the room. The only light would be flickering atop her subject, whose shadow would be under him, writhing on her worktable. She would slice him with her scalpel, using a single slash to the throat, and the victim would be suspended face down, staring at his blood pouring out onto his writhing shadow. Thanks to the enchantment process she would follow at this stage, the blood would literally dissappear into the shadow, consumed by the hungering darkness, and the shadow would seem to thicken and become crimson in color as the living subject become paler and closer to death. In a matter of moments, the subjects life would have poured forth into the now dark and monstrous shadow (which would resemble a man-sized mass of ruddy darkness, and forever smell of blood), and she would bind this new creation under her control, not as an undead Shadow (for her casting was not powerful enough to replicate this creature), but as a lesser creature she called a Blood-shadow, an incorporeal creature able only to 'grapple' another and Blind it in the wet darkness of its form.

    Her eventual goal (according to her surviving notes) was to find a way to seperate the various organs and systems of a living person, animating them each seperately, and she had extensive notes on a method to convert the circulatory system into a blood-draining vampiric entity, independent of the muscular systems and the digestive systems, refining the Viscera into three seperate forms of undead construction.

    Her purported overall goal was to develop techniques to animate into undeath each of the body's living systems, and then to refine the process so that she could begin the slow process of animating into undeath a living creature, one vital system at a time, rendering it immortal and deathless, and yet able to replicate all the functions of the living through Necromantic means. She was, in essence, well on the way to making herself into an undead being, one vital system at a time. While this was her stated goal, her notes were suprisingly bereft of any information on this research and it was believed that she was years from even beginning the process of infusing the energies of death into the tissues of a living subject.

    Her final experiment did not actually relate to her eventual goal, but was an attempt to refine the Blood Weird into a gaseous mist-like form, a sweeping cloud of reddish vapors that would obscure vision. Instead, the form she created hungered for more blood and rising in a fury of scalding wind-swept frenzy, the boiling cloud of blood drained the life from her (and two of her apprentice students) before roiling out of her laboratory and eventually being slain by a Fireball when it intruded upon a fellow researcher.


    Your own ideas make me want to take the brain and nervous system out of the Viscera and create yet another 1/2 HD undead, a levitating brain with whipping nerve 'tentacles' like a small Grell, with limited psychic ability (daze and spook (cause fear that can only inflict a Shaken condition) type abilities) and weak tentacle attacks with the nerve fibers.

    Extracting the brain would require breaking open the skull (barring a special spell for that purpose), which would then need to be mended before animation as a Skeleton (which is fine, it's just a cantrip...).


    In addition to this couple (her making many weak undead from a single corpse, him infusing elemental spirits into those he slew with evocation, creating zombies with the Flaming, Frost, Shock and Corrosive properties), I also had local necromancers in this Hollowfaust campaign use an assortment of Craft skills to enhance their undead. They would craft bone armor and weapons for their skeletons, select the finest and thickest bones to make 'masterwork' undead that were stronger, faster and / or tougher, coat them with alchemical shellac that would make the bones as tough as iron (natural armor, at a cost in dexterity), etc.

    Combined with using the same 'ironbone oil' on weapons and armor crafted from leftover bones, they could field a masterwork skeleton with +2 Str, +2 natural armor (cancelling out the +2 Dex it would have had), a longsword, heavy shield and scale armor (made of iron hard bone) and bonus hit points (I forget the exact number...). Purchasing all of the necessary skills would be a bother, but since this was a city run by six to eight different sub-schools of necromancers, it wouldn't be hard for one necromancer to specialize in crafting bone weapons, and trade to another necromancer who specialized in crafting bone armor, and a third who provided them both with alchemical 'ironbone oil' in exchange for gear to outfit his own skeletal retainers.

    Skills aren't really used enough in the game, IMO, and using craft skills to enhance these types of undead made for some neat encounters. (Zombies could similarly be 'smoked' to toughen them up to a leather-like consistency, and give them the sickly sweet smell of roast pork. Their body cavities would be filled with reinforced bits of internal bone armor, further enhancing their durability. Instead of arming them, the nasty folks to the east who used zombies, which were shunned in Hollowfaust, would instead sew the hands shut and shove jagged spikes and rusty nails through them, turning their fists into primitive morning stars, and then smearing the lot with dung and offal, so that the brutal strikes of their zombies nail-studded fists also inflicted Filth Fever...)
    Last edited by DracoDei; 2009-09-30 at 07:00 PM.
    [Public Service Announcement]P.E.A.C.H stands for Please Examine And Critique Honestly[/Public Service Announcement]
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