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    Jan 2007

    Default [3.5] Desolate Arbitrator Discipline

    Previous Entries In This Series:
    Infernal Monster
    Malfeasant Heart



    Among the ancient Baernoloths, their king, the Empyreal Chaos (see the Malfeasant Heart discipline) was unmatched in every respect. Infinitely powerful, infinitely wise – he knew no peer in any endeavour that he attempted. And yet, there was one being who drew his respect unquestioningly – his sister, Cecelyne. As he was their king, she was their popess, a hierophant and judge to creatures whose nature was absolute chaos and whose bodies were countless worlds and impossible thoughts. When she spoke, they listened, and although her laws were capricious and esoteric by the standards of the gods and mortals who would come to be, there was a power in them, and they were obeyed to the best the Baernoloths could manage.

    When the time of the Gods of Law came to pass, Cecelyne fought fiercely in defense of her people and her king. At that time, her body was that of a world of utmost purity; continental panes of glass so clear and pristine that even the gods could not see them until their ranks were hewn asunder and divine blood stained the surface. Truly, she was mighty, and none could fell her in battle. It was not until the war had all but ended, and the Empyreal Chaos lay slain and mutilated, that she lay down arms and surrendered peacefully to the Lawgivers.

    Unfortunately, far too paranoid to allow something so powerful to continue to exist, the Gods of Law gave no heed to her surrender and took that moment of weakness to bind Cecelyne with their power. While her world-body quaked with fury, the Gods' three greatest Archon champions infiltrated the sanctum that passed for a Baernoloth's mind, and did battle with Cecelyne's ideals. First, they struck down her Hope – that part of her that allowed her to believe in a better tomorrow, to conceive of redemption or remorse, to ever know safety or contentment. This, the Gods would later use to bind the plane of Carceri into the wheel. Next, they took from her, her Authority – her ability to lead through example and integrity, rather than fear or deception. Taking up Authority's severed heart, a blood-red ruby of immense size and perfection, Asmodeus forged the rod which would become synonymous with him for eons to come. Finally, they destroyed Cecelyne's Purity – her restraint, her empathy, her innocence and love. The blood collected here would be used in the enchantments inlaid within the Pact Primeval.

    And so it was that Cecelyne knew defeat – her glass now shattered into innumerable grains of silver sand. Broken and beaten, the gods bolted her weeping and insane form to the outer edges of the Great Wheel, forming a chasm of desolation and horror between themselves and the Far Realm. To this day, the Endless Desert still clings to life, knowing only torment and sorrow and loss. Some savants of that particular knowledge theorize that she is the betwixt-realm that Vestiges call home, where they wander the endless dunes knowing neither time, or hope, or sustenance until a Binder calls upon them. It is difficult to say with any certainty, for only a few mortals have ever ventured there. One claims to have happened upon it while lost amidst the Astral Sea. Another fell through the 627th layer of the Abyss and found themselves there. A third found that time itself was particularly malleable in that place, and managed to reappear in the Prime five days before the event that sent them there – their own suicide.

    Each hapless fool who glimpsed the utter physical and spiritual desolation of the Endless Desert was instilled with an intrinsic knowledge of her legacy in the form of a vicious and blasphemous style of martial art known as the Desolate Arbitrator Discipline. Although undoubtedly insane, some found students desperate enough to pass on their teachings to, and so the discipline has survived in the most secret and terrible shrines and dungeons of the world.

    The skill for Desolate Arbitrator is Knowledge (The Planes). Only by increasing one's knowledge of the multiverse soaked in the blood of the Baernoloths may one begin to know the vengeful hate and sorrow of Cecelyne. Its associated weapons are unarmed strikes, light maces, heavy maces, quarterstaves, warhammers, and mauls.

    This discipline has special interaction with the Infernal Monster Discipline. At any point, a character that knows at least one maneuver of the Infernal Monster and Desolate Arbitrator disciplines may choose to permanently forsake the ability to recover Tiger Claw maneuvers while under a Rage Effect, and instead replace it with the ability to recover Desolate Arbitrator maneuvers under the same circumstances.

    All Warblades, Swordsages, and Crusaders (and any homebrew initiating classes, at the DM's discretion) may learn the Desolate Arbitrator discipline, in one of two ways.

    The first way requires you to forsake one Martial Discipline you would normally be allowed. You lose all maneuvers and stances of that discipline, and must replace them with others of the same level (preferably Desolate Arbitrator ones). You may also, at your discretion, lose its associated skill as a class skill and gain Knowledge (The Planes) as a class skill, if you wish.

    The second is to purchase the discipline as a feat. You gain access to it in addition to all of your other known disciplines, as well as Knowledge (The Planes) as a class skill permanently, regardless of classes you choose in the future. As an extra bonus for using a feat slot, if you are already proficient with one or more martial weapons, then the critical threat range of light maces, heavy maces, and quarterstaves that you wield increases by 1. This increase stacks with any one other critical threat range increasing effect at a time.

    This discipline makes the distinction of a "Divine Being". When it references this term, it is referring to any Outsider, as well as any character that knows divine spells, or the Devoted Spirit discipline.

    All saving throws referenced in this discipline are calculated as DC 10 + 1/2 your character level + your highest mental ability modifier.

    Maneuver List
    Level 1
    Sandstrike Blast (Strike) – Scour the insufferable stench of divinity from your presence.
    Transcendent Desert Creature (Stance) – Acclimate yourself to desolation.
    Wayward Divinity Oversight (Boost) – Glimpse the taint of the gods.

    Level 2
    Knowing the Desolate Heart (Strike) – Call to another's broken hopes and dreams.
    Sands Through Fingers Defense (Counter) – Become as insubstantial as the Endless Desert.

    Level 3
    Dune-Burst Onslaught (Strike) – Shred all the foes that surround you.
    Withered Soul Wastes (Stance) – Bask in despair.

    Level 4
    False Idols Cast Down (Counter) – Lay low the lapdogs of the impudent gods.
    Stone-Flayer Touch (Boost) – Erode the immaterial and otherworldly.

    Level 5
    Holy Land Infliction (Stance) – Defile the land itself with your glory.
    Soul-Sieve Transmutation (Boost) – Change your form into sand and spirit.

    Level 6
    Counter-Pronouncement of Enthymemic Law – Armor yourself in lawful bondage.
    Swallowed in Eternity (Counter) – Stretch time and space to rebuke would-be attackers.

    Level 7
    Hell-Walker Technique – Travel the dark eddies of space at the edge of the multiverse.
    Verdant Emptiness Endowment – Give others what they want.

    Level 8
    Scorpion-Tailed Mirage Technique (Strike) – Bend space to exist in many places for a moment's time.
    Soul-Sand Devil Shintai (Stance) – Incarnate into the Endless Desert's spiritual desolation.

    Level 9
    World-Grinding Sandstorm Devastation (Strike) – Bring a miniscule fragment of Cecelyne into this world.

    Level 1
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    Sandstrike Blast
    Desolate Arbitrator (Strike)
    Action: Standard
    Range: Close (25ft. + 5ft/2 levels)
    Target: One creature

    With an effort of will, you blasphemously open your soul as a tiny portal through which the malice of Cecelyne may protrude into the Great Wheel. Tiny granules of silver sand collect along your body, snaking unnaturally together into a gleaming projectile which sprays forth in a scouring jet against your chosen foe.

    This maneuver requires a ranged attack roll, although you may use your highest mental ability modifier in place of Dexterity for determining the bonus to your attack roll. If the attack succeeds, the target takes a number of d6s of damage equal to your initiator level (minimum 2d6) plus an additional amount equal to your highest mental ability modifier. If the target is a Divine Being, this attack ignores all damage reduction they possess.

    Transcendent Desert Creature
    Desolate Arbitrator (Stance)
    Action: Swift
    Range: Personal
    Target: You
    Duration: Stance

    The exposure to the energies of your mistress has hardened your mind, body, and spirit to desolation to the point where you are more at home in the inhospitable than in areas built for habitation. In places of physical desolation, such as deserts, wastelands, badlands, tundras, dead seas, the elemental plane of fire, the burning battlefields of Avernus, and similar, you require no food or sleep, are not subject to natural hazards, extreme temperature, or severe weather, do not require a Survival check to keep from getting lost, and take no penalty to overland movement or to following tracks due to the terrain.

    Furthermore, you may extend the benefits of this stance to a number of other individuals equal to your initiator level, so long as they remain within about a mile of your position. Extending or retracting this benefit from any number of individuals is a free action.

    Wayward Divinity Oversight
    Desolate Arbitrator (Boost)
    Action: Swift
    Range: Personal
    Target: You
    Duration: 5 rounds

    You close your eyes for a moment and, upon opening them, the truth of the world is revealed to you. Everything you gaze upon is twisted and deformed as you see the flesh of Cecelyne's dead siblings worked into every atom of the multiverse. Beneath the mundanity lies still-weeping wounds and dissonant echoes of long-dead titans. But, more than that, the taint of the gods is cast into stark relief, as if the world itself were revealing its murderers that you might strike them down.

    You are instantly aware of whether or not anything you look upon is a Divine Being. When you see a Divine Being in this way, you glimpse a reflection of them that remains consistent even if they are mundanely or magical disguised, or even if they are possessing someone or something. It does not divulge their true form, per se, but you do see their Type, Subtypes, Alignment, and their challenge rating in relation to your ECL (lower, equal, or greater). This consistency would allow one to, for instance, tell that a devil you met while disguised as a merchant is the same devil that you met later disguised as a beggar, but it wouldn't show you what they actually look like in their true form.

    Level 2
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    Knowing the Desolate Heart
    Desolate Arbitrator (Strike)
    Action: Standard
    Range: Close (25ft. + 5ft/2 levels)
    Target: One creature

    Cecelyne is broken. Down to the very structure of her being, she has been shattered, wholly and irreparably. Failure and malice and spite is what she is now, and she cannot help but see these things in others.

    The target of this maneuver feels nothing but a wretched twist in their stomach as they are forced to make a Will save. Success foils your attempt. Failure allows you into their mind. You obtain three pieces of information from the following list (your choice). Regardless, the target cannot be effected by this maneuver for 24 hours afterward.
    -What do they hate most in the world?
    -What do they love most in the world?
    -What has been the greatest failure in their life?
    -What are they most proud of?
    -Who are they most jealous of and why?
    -What is their overall goal or motivation in life?

    By spending a swift action, you may 'expend' one piece of information you know about someone from use of the maneuver to goad them into giving you an opening (with one of two effects). One roll you make involving them during this round adds a +2 bonus, so long as the nature of the information is appropriate. (For example, a +2 on a diplomacy check by promising them what they love most in the world, a +2 bonus on an intimidate check for threatening to take away what they are most proud of, or a +2 bonus on an attack roll for making fun of their greatest failure.) Alternatively, instead of gaining a bonus from your swift action, you may force another Will save from the target to prevent them becoming Shaken – once again, only if you are able to use the information gleaned in a particularly cruel or terrifying way.

    Once you have utilized a given piece of information for an individual, it no longer gives you a bonus. However, if the target has changed the answer to one of their questions since the last time you used this maneuver on them, then the new information gained is perfectly viable.

    Sands Through Fingers Defense
    Desolate Arbitrator (Counter)
    Action: Immediate
    Range: Personal
    Target: You

    Cecelyne has been ground to dust. She is an infinite expansion of pain, sorrow, and malevolence. How can she be defeated further? What is left to inflict upon her? What life may be rent from desolate sands?

    This maneuver must be activated in response to a melee or ranged attack roll made against you. That attack has a 50% chance of simply not effecting you – as the arrow, scorching ray, or sword swing enters your form, the place where a wound would appear merely dissolves into silver sand. The attack passes through you as your body flickers and reforms back to normal.

    Level 3
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    Dune-Burst Onslaught
    Desolate Arbitrator (Strike)
    Prerequisite: One Desolate Arbitrator Maneuver
    Action: Standard
    Range: Close (25ft+5ft/2 levels)
    Area: 20ft radius

    Silver sand swirls around you as your soul swings wide for the coming of your mistress. At the point of your designation, a scouring explosion of sand erupts from seemingly empty space, rending and grasping in what one could almost mistake as a hateful intellect.

    Those caught in the area take a number of d6s of damage equal to 1/2 your initiator level (rounded up) plus additional points of damage equal to your highest mental ability modifier. If they succeed on a Reflex save, they only take half damage. The damage reduction of Divine Beings is rendered inapplicable towards this damage.

    Withered Soul Wastes
    Desolate Arbitrator (Stance)
    Prerequisite: One Desolate Arbitrator Maneuver
    Action: Swift
    Range: Personal
    Target: You
    Duration: Stance

    When you gain access to this stance, you may immediately forget "Transcendent Desert Creature" if you already knew it, and replace it with another first level stance available to you.

    This stance incorporates all of the benefits of the Transcendent Desert Creature stance, but broads its power and scope. Firstly, places of injustice, emotional suffering, corruption, or cruel apathy are incorporated into your understanding of "places of desolation". Fortunately, this tends to include most inhabited areas on the Prime Material Plane.

    Secondly, not only are you protected in areas of desolation as per Transcendent Desert Creature, but now you are actively nurtured by it. By drinking in despair and emptiness, you gain Fast Healing 1, and a +2 morale bonus on all saving throws against the actions of Divine Beings. (At initiator level 10, this Fast Healing increases to 5. At initiator level 15, this further increases to Fast Healing 10.)

    While the benefits of the Transcendent Desert Creature stance may still be extended to others, even utilizing your widened definition of 'desolation', you may not extend your Fast Healing or saving throw bonus.

    Level 4
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    False Idols Cast Down
    Desolate Arbitrator (Counter)
    Prerequisite: One Desolate Arbitrator Maneuver
    Action: Immediate
    Range: Any
    Target: One Creature

    It is a source of infinite distaste for the Endless Desert that those who butchered her people are also the subject of such devout worship by the races of mortalkind. That any could even suggest the possibility of something being greater than she is, in her mind, a cosmic injustice.

    This maneuver must be activated in response to an attack made against you. If the attack succeeded, the effects of this maneuver are resolved after damage and similar effects have been applied to you. Your attacker is beset by the crushing weight of pure hatred emanated from you, requiring a Fortitude save to prevent them from taking your highest mental ability modifier in points of damage and being knocked prone.

    If the attacker is a Divine Being, then your hate is bolstered by the primordial malice of Cecelyne reaching beyond space and time to smote your foes. In addition to the above, if the attacker fails their save, they are flung (25ft+5ft/2 levels) in a direction of your choice.

    Stone-Flayer Touch
    Desolate Arbitrator (Boost)
    Prerequisite: One Desolate Arbitrator Maneuver
    Action: Swift
    Range: Personal
    Target: You
    Duration: 5 rounds

    The distinctions of material and immaterial are inconsequential in the wake of Cecelyne's disdain. Her sands dissolve spirit and flesh with equal contempt.

    For the duration of this maneuver, you may choose for yourself and your actions to effect incorporeal creatures, creatures on the ethereal plane, possessing creatures, and similarly spiritually insubstantial beings as if they were solid. Attacks take no penalty or miss chance, possessing spirits may be killed without harming the host, incorporeal attacks do not ignore your armor, and so on. Your choice of whether to treat spirits as corporeal or incorporeal may change from action to action - so one may walk through a ghost in order to bull-rush a shadow on the other side, for instance.

    Level 5
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    Holy Land Infliction
    Desolate Arbitrator (Stance)
    Prerequisite: Two Desolate Arbitrator Maneuvers
    Action: Swift
    Range: Personal
    Target: You
    Duration: Stance

    The energies of your soul align to open a semi-permanent spiritual gateway to the Endless Desert. All living things that stand near you sense an immense and ancient presence - at best, ignoring them as utterly insignificant. For the servants of gods, however, the experience is far less kind.

    All terrain in a 30ft radius around you is rendered barren. Grass and trees wither instantly, water becomes too salty to support any life native to the Prime, moisture is torn from the air until it becomes unpleasantly arid. This zone of desolation remains with you, defiling the land where you tread. Areas that you spend more than a few minutes in further degrade - the soil cracks and smolders into hot silver sand, vegetation rots and dissolves into dust, water does not so much evaporate so much as cease to be.

    Furthermore, divine spellcasting and the spell-like abilities of Divine Beings are smothered while within 30ft of you. To even perform such acts requires a DC (initiator level + highest mental ability score modifier + the level of the spell being cast) Concentration check, or they are simply expended with no effect - torn apart by the malice of the Endless Desert. Even if the attempt is successful, the spell or spell-like ability functions as if the caster's caster level were 2 lower.

    Finally, clerics and similar divine spellcasters cannot pray for new spells within 30ft of you. Instead of making contact with their deity, their mind only brushes against the howling and murderous hatred of the Endless Desert, incoherent even if her language had not been lost to time.

    Soul-Sieve Transmutation
    Desolate Arbitrator (Boost)
    Prerequisite: Two Desolate Arbitrator Maneuvers
    Action: Swift
    Range: Personal
    Target: You
    Duration: 1 round

    For a moment, your body dissolves completely into an exact replica of itself made of gleaming silver sand, held together by pure strength of spiritual will. All non-magical attacks made against you automatically fail, and magically backed attacks still fail 50% of the time - swiping impotently through empty sand.

    While in this state, you may move much more freely. You have a fly speed equal to your land speed with perfect maneuverability, and may slip through any opening large enough to allow grains of sand to pass.

    Level 6
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    Counter-Pronouncement of Enthymemic Law
    Desolate Arbitrator
    Prerequisite: Two Desolate Arbitrator Maneuvers
    Action: Standard
    Range: Personal
    Target: You
    Duration: 5 rounds

    The Endless Desert remembers when she was the beloved hierophant and just law-maker of the Baernoloths. But in this terrible age, she is broken and her laws are arbitrary and enforced with threats and suffering.

    When activating this maneuver, you must declare a particular kind of action. Here is a list of examples, although other similar options of likewise scope are certainly possible.
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    -Melee Attacks
    -Ranged Attacks
    -Spellcasting of [choose one] School
    -Maneuvers of [choose one] Discipline
    -Invoking
    -Vestige Abilities
    -Sneak Attacking
    -5ft steps
    -Full Attacks
    -Withdraw Actions
    -Charging
    -Use of the Power Attack Feat

    Once the action is chosen, you create a 100ft radius aura around yourself where the chosen action is strictly prohibited by the law of Cecelyne. All creatures in the aura, or that enter the aura, are alerted telepathically of your new law, which they understand so long as they have at least 1 Intelligence. Completely mindless entities are not subject to your law.

    When any creature in the area breaks your law (including you), they incur a -2 penalty to all saving throws, skill checks, and armor class as their heresy draws doom and misfortune to them. This penalty will stack through multiple infractions to a maximum of your highest mental ability modifier, although all penalties are removed when the duration of this maneuver expires.

    Swallowed in Eternity
    Desolate Arbitrator (Counter)
    Prerequisite: Two Desolate Arbitrator Maneuvers
    Action: Immediate
    Range: Any
    Target: One Creature or Object

    Cecelyne is infinite. She is not merely the Endless Desert by virtue of something so mundane as 'size'. Rather, she transcends the traditional conceptions of space and time that the Great Wheel imposed on the multiverse after her defeat.

    You may warp space between yourself and one selected creature or object, making the distance between the two of you functionally infinite. For 1 round, the target cannot come closer to you. A victim running at a full sprint will perceive their own motion and appear to all onlookers as moving towards you, but upon stopping, all would realize that they have not moved from the point they began. This functions upon anything the creature attempts to move towards you under its own power as well - an arrow they shoot will appear to continuously fly towards you, as if always a moment from striking your body, never ceasing, but it will never actually get to you while this maneuver is in effect.

    A successful Will save from a prospective victim will negate all effects of this maneuver on them (inanimate, unattended objects do not receive a save). Additionally, once a single round has passed, all projectiles speeding at you continue to do so. If you haven't moved from the space you were in, they may still very well hit you.

    Level 7
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    Hell-Walker Technique
    Desolate Arbitrator
    Prerequisite: Three Desolate Arbitrator Maneuvers
    Action: 1 hour
    Range: Touch
    Target: You (and other willing creatures)

    The Endless Desert borders all the planes of the Great Wheel, unwillingly protecting them from most of the horrors of the Far Realm. Though she is inexorably banished from entering these planes, save for some poor souls who make of themselves her portal into this world, a savvy practitioner may use this connection to great advantage.

    Through a lengthy ritual prayer, you artificially distend your soul into a chasm between realities. From anywhere in the multiverse, this will allow you and up to (1/2 initiator level) other willing participants in your immediate midst to travel to the god-forsaken dunes of Cecelyne herself.

    As a general guideline, existing there is extremely unpleasant for those who are not Transcendent Desert Creatures. The heat is immense (Unearthly Heat, for those of you with the Sandstorm supplement), neither night nor natural darkness ever descends on the wastes - instead, it is lit eternally by some brilliant green light with no apparent source that passes through all things, leaving no shadows; perhaps a memory or echo of a past time. Space is difficult to judge, as Cecelyne is both infinite and has a horizon that does not function quite as consistently as it does on the Prime. The only landmarks to use for reference in the nearly featureless expanse being, of course, the occasional raging sandstorm.

    Cecelyne herself may be communed with here, although her conception of time, her language, and her madness are all severe obstacles that would require special attention to overcome, to say nothing if one were accompanied by a Divine Being.

    As a secondary use, this maneuver may be used from Cecelyne to travel back into the Wheel. Upon completion of the ritual, the gathered targets are transported to your choice of one of the Lower Planes (Cecelyne is no friend to demons or devils, but these planes are certainly spiritually desolate enough to strengthen her connection there).

    Once you have attained at least initiator level 15, this maneuver gains another function. You may reduce the time required to activate it from 1 hour to 1 standard action. Doing so is an enormous strain on your mind and soul, reducing your highest mental ability score at the time of activation by a number of points equal to your initiator level. This becomes part of the cost of the maneuver; finding a loophole to reduce the damage to one's psyche only causes the maneuver to fail. This is not ability damage, ability drain, or ability burn - instead, you simply regenerate one reduced point per hour you spend in a place of desolation. You may not use this maneuver again until all such points are regenerated.

    Verdant Emptiness Endowment
    Desolate Arbitrator
    Prerequisite: Three Desolate Arbitrator Maneuvers
    Action: Standard
    Range: Touch
    Target: One Willing Creature

    Everyone wants something. Even the highest paragons of virtue have a little empty place in their heart where they yearn for something more - even if it is something so naive as the relent of others' suffering. And where emptiness and regret reigns, Cecelyne has power.

    As part of activating this maneuver, you must lay hands upon a willing recipient as they speak a desire to you. It must be a specific desire or course of action (i.e. "I wish to be stronger." is not specific enough, but "I wish to have the strength to defend the oppressed and downtrodden" or "I wish to be wealthy enough to marry a nobleman" are perfectly fine). As they do so, they must also accept that they now owe you a favor (see below).

    Henceforth, the empowered individual gains a +2 bonus on all rolls that qualify as directly aiding them to fulfill their spoken desire. Wishing for wealth might add a bonus to Profession checks, attempts at appraising and haggling, Survival checks to find one's way through a forest to a dragon's lair whose treasure you intend to steal, or attack rolls to defeat said dragon. Intent is important, as if one had wished for wealth to court a nobleman, but intended to give the dragon's treasure away to charity, then they would not receive the bonus.

    One person may only be effected by a single use of this maneuver at a time, and may only receive the bonus on a number of applicable actions per day equal to your highest mental ability modifier at the time that you blessed them. They may forgo the bonus on an applicable action if they so choose if they wish to 'save' a use for later. If the recipient ever completes their desire, the effects of this maneuver end for them. You may not bless yourself (Cecelyne is powerless to give herself what she wants most in the world).

    At any time, you may call in your 'favor' owed, so long as the person that owes you is on the same plane of existence. This functions identically to the "Lesser Geas" spell, except that the victim has already waved their right to a saving throw by accepting your bargain (this is not a spell, so spell resistance is inapplicable, and it cannot be broken by other spells, such as Break Enchantment), and you substitute your initiator level for your effective caster level. When the victim becomes geased they are also instantly aware of what you wish for them to do. If the duration of the geas expires before the victim has completed it, the victim's blessing ends as well. However, a victim may choose to prolong the duration of their own geas in order to fulfill it and keep their blessing.

    Level 8
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    Scorpion-Tailed Mirage Technique
    Desolate Arbitrator (Strike)
    Prerequisite: Three Desolate Arbitrator Maneuvers
    Action: Standard
    Range: Personal
    Area: 20ft radius
    Target: Multiple Creatures

    For a brief second, your contemplations on the infinity of the Endless Desert allow you to fracture yourself, much as her own body is countless billions of sundered granules.

    As part of activating this maneuver, you act once upon each enemy within 20ft of you, to a maximum of (your highest mental ability score modifier) enemies. Each action may be different, and you may be wielding a different weapon for each action (so long as it is on your person). Possible actions are:
    Spoiler
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    -Basic melee or ranged attack
    -Bull Rush
    -Disarm
    -Sunder
    -Trip
    -Feint

    You do not provoke an attack of opportunity for attempting to Bull Rush, Disarm, Sunder, Trip, or Feint an enemy, even if you do not have the Improved [Thing] feat that typically removes this penalty.

    Once the fractured copies of yourself have performed their single action, they disappear, leaving only the real you behind.

    Soul-Sand Devil Shintai
    Desolate Arbitrator (Stance)
    Prerequisite: Three Desolate Arbitrator Maneuvers
    Action: Swift
    Range: Personal
    Target: You
    Duration: Stance

    Although Cecelyne is infinitely massive, her physicality is only a relatively small part of the whole. The wretched burning wastes of her body are insignificant in comparison to the spiteful desolation that is her spiritual self.

    By switching into this stance, you collapse a portion of your flesh and blood into the blasphemous void that has become your soul. Aside from being fantastically painful and leaving you with an otherworldly silver shimmer, you also reduce your maximum hit point total by half (hit points you have over this maximum are lost).

    In exchange, you gain a pool of potential temporary hit points that is calculated separately from all other temporary hit points (and thus stacks with them). This pool has a maximum capacity of (your normal maximum hit points before using this stance + your initiator level), but is empty when you enter this stance.

    Every time you cause purposeful physical or emotional suffering (typically the hit point damage from an attack, or various fear effects - but things such as torture, enslavement, or something more creative are all welcome) to another individual of approximately human intelligence or greater and don't feel bad about doing so, you add your initiator level in temporary hit points to your Soul-Sand Devil Shintai pool.

    When you leave this stance, you lose all temporary hit points from this special pool.

    Level 9
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    World-Grinding Sandstorm Devastation
    Desolate Arbitrator (Strike)
    Prerequisite: Four Desolate Arbitrator Maneuvers
    Action: 1 minute
    Range: Personal
    Area: 1 mile

    For several long moments, you pray to your dark matron. The skies overhead lighten, and a voluminous nimbus of silver and green radiance wreathes the area around you. The wind picks up, the ground shakes, and the very essence of the world trembles in anticipation.

    Upon completion of this maneuver, you conjure a silver sandstorm one mile in diameter, centered upon your location. You are safe, taking neither damage nor penalty nor hindrance of any kind. So is everyone protected by a Transcendent Desert Creature stance and, at your case-by-case discretion, anyone effected by your Verdant Emptiness Endowment maneuver. Woe be unto the rest.

    The conjured sandstorm may be moved 250 feet in a direction of your choice as a standard action. If you are in the center of the sandstorm, you may spend a full-round action to 'mount' it - its winds will safely carry you along with it, maintaining your position at its center. Its interior is considered to be Hurricane-force winds (see the DMG, the SRD, or Sandstorm), but instead of a flat DC 20, its Fortitude save DC is calculated as if it were one of your maneuvers. All listening checks inside automatically fail, and any skill check that requires visibility to be used properly takes a -6 penalty. Every living thing caught in the sandstorm takes 1d6 damage per round, which automatically bypasses the damage reduction and Regeneration of Divine Beings.

    All terrain that the sandstorm moves over is not only rendered barren, its vegetation and wildlife stripped and flensed into nothing, but the soil and rock for hundreds of feet down is transmuted into silver sand. Veins of precious metal corrode into worthlessness. Ground water turns to dust.

    Once a section of land about a hundred miles in diameter has been scoured into desert by this maneuver, it begins to radiate the unearthly heat of the Endless Desert. Inside its borders, the cycle of day and night ceases to be; replaced by that unstoppable green light (see Hell-Walker Technique). Perhaps if an entire world were so effaced, its abject spiritual desolation would be enough to free Cecelyne into the Wheel. Or perhaps not.

    You may only have one sandstorm active at a time. Dismissing an existing sandstorm requires a full-round action, although it takes a full minute for the winds to fully disperse.
    Last edited by Xefas; 2012-02-13 at 12:25 PM.

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    Default Re: [3.5] Desolate Arbitrator Discipline

    Alright, the Discipline is finally done. Tell me what you think .

    Also, so this post isn't entirely useless, some feats:

    Ephemeral Abrasion Curse
    Let it never be said that Cecelyne is not generous with her propagation of suffering.
    Prerequisite: Must know the Stone-Flayer Touch maneuver.
    Benefit: When you strike an insubstantial being while under the effects of the Stone-Flayer Touch maneuver, a dust-devil of silver sand binds and rakes at them, outlining them to the world. Anyone taking action against the afflicted victim is treated as if they were also under the effects of Stone-Flayer Touch until the duration of the boost ends.

    If you ever switch out Stone-Flayer Touch for a different maneuver, then you may immediately forget this feat and replace it with another feat that you qualify for.

    Penitents Like Scattered Grains
    Any master of the Desolate Arbitrator can tell you that space is more of a guideline than a rule. By opening your mind and spirit, you may feel and hear the reflections of yourself that you have scattered amongst the planes like so many grains of sand swept by the desert wind.
    Prerequisite: Must know the Soul-Sand Devil Shintai stance.
    Benefit: While you are in the prerequisite stance, you are automatically aware of any instance in the multiverse in which someone speaks your name. Titles and pseudonyms do not count. You do not get context, or the identity of the speaker, unless you have already met them, in which case their identity is plain to you. You also know the plane and very general location they were in if you've been in the area yourself in the past.

    Furthermore, if someone speaks your name with a bowed head and a prayer to you, you may choose to hear their words regardless of distances or realities. You may choose to respond with a few sentences and, if you possess the maneuver, an offered bargain via Verdant Emptiness Endowment.

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    Default Re: [3.5] Desolate Arbitrator Discipline

    I quite like it. My only issue whatsoever is the paucity of maneuvers at early levels, where ToB disciplines may have 3 or even 4 maneuvers available at a single level. In particular, strikes should be available at every level, IMO.

    I just want to say, I love how much effort you appear to have put into this. Truly a job well done.
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    Default Re: [3.5] Desolate Arbitrator Discipline

    Absolutely lovely; it captures Cecelyne's essence quite well.

    I don't have any comments on the maneuvers at this point in time, though.
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    Default Re: [3.5] Desolate Arbitrator Discipline

    Glad you guys like it. Regarding this-
    Quote Originally Posted by TravelLog View Post
    My only issue whatsoever is the paucity of maneuvers at early levels, where ToB disciplines may have 3 or even 4 maneuvers available at a single level. In particular, strikes should be available at every level, IMO.
    I disagree with some of the design choices for the Tome of Battle disciplines. For this one particular phenomenon, I'll point out Desert Wind and Stone Dragon, as they're the most obvious - they have a lot of redundant maneuvers. A large chunk of their options are just older options but slightly better, or slightly better and crooked slightly so. So, you end up swapping them out for the new maneuver at your first opportunity (or doubling or tripling up on them and having a kinda boring pool of maneuvers to draw upon).

    If you, say, just made the earlier versions scale (and/or if you wanted to be really radical, offer choices within a single maneuver), then the disciplines would be much slimmer and you'd see much fewer Strikes.

    If you take a look at Sandstrike Blast, for instance, it scales indefinitely. Whether you're level 1 or level 30, that maneuver is going to get better when you level up. If I designed it like the Tome of Battle disciplines, I would just offer an identical strike at every level with slightly better damage and little or no scaling - and that would give the appearance that you're looking for.

    But, this way, I feel like the discipline feels a bit cleaner. Every maneuver choice adds something, and the lower level maneuvers don't necessarily become useless as you level up. This is also one of the reasons I do DC 10 + 1/2 character level + modifier, rather than DC 10 + maneuver level + modifier. For scalability; which is something I think will add significantly to the experience of playing a martial adept.

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    Default Re: [3.5] Desolate Arbitrator Discipline

    I ran a quick playtest of this today; I needed a semi-deific creature, so I created an avatar of an eldritch evil that used around 8 different maneuvers from both this and Malfeasant Heart; I actually killed a player by critting with a Sandstorm Blast (since the damage isn't bonus damage, it gets doubled; 20d6+10 damage was hard on the PC with ~35 HP.)

    Most things worked well, with Counter-Pronouncement of Enthymemic Law serving as a great deterrent that stacked with the avatar's auto-Shaken at the same range; I had the TWF Monk scared as hell to actually attack anything, since he didn't want to take the penalties (he's the most optimized character in the party, and his character challenged the avatar in the first place, so it was more of duel than anything.) Since the avatar had a pet zombie, I just had the zombie zero in on the Monk, forcing him to stay out of melee for fear of taking damage from the zombie (look, when you can't effectively fight back, and you can only deal bludgeoning damage...)

    False Idols Cast Down led to an amusing prevention of a full-attack; the attacker (the monk) had taken such a penalty to saves from CPEL, combined with being Sickened and Shaken, that he failed his normally high Fort saves; I allowed him to spend the rest of his action standing up, though, which mitigated the issue for him somewhat.

    Other than that, I only really hit him with a Crowned with Fury (Which failed to affect him), and the High Noon one that he promptly dubbed "the Nuclear LASER!"

    In short, it was a blast; though, I do fear that Sandstorm Blast is another reason why Warlocks feel small in the pants...
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    Default Re: [3.5] Desolate Arbitrator Discipline

    Quote Originally Posted by Amechra View Post
    I ran a quick playtest of this today
    Awesome! I don't think anyone's given me an actual playtest report of something I made before. Glad to hear things were interesting.

    Any thoughts on which discipline I should do next? Essential Principle, Aphonic Wind, or Ebon All-Shadow?

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    Default Re: [3.5] Desolate Arbitrator Discipline

    Would Essential Principle be the one for She Who Lives Within Her Name?

    If so, then yes.

    If not, then Ebon All-Shadow sounds cool too.

    One thing I would like to mention about Void Messiah; I found when looking through maneuvers for the avatar that it really isn't that helpful for people who don't have some sort of extra damage against flat-footed enemies; just thought I'd let you know.
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    Default Re: [3.5] Desolate Arbitrator Discipline

    Sweet! Another of the Exalted disciplines.

    My vote is for Essential Principle as well for the TK goodness. The Ebon All-Shadow has me intrigued on how you'll pull off stuff like Nemesis Reborn Anew.

    P.S.

    I don't think you ever did finish your previous discipline, the Catechism Something...

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    Default Re: [3.5] Desolate Arbitrator Discipline

    He never finished the Adamantine Chef one, either...
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    Default Re: [3.5] Desolate Arbitrator Discipline

    Well, at least I'm known for something? Even if it's failure. That's good, I guess.

    That phenomenon is a result of inadequate planning. I start the discipline, partway through I get caught up in doing something else in my life that takes a higher priority, and then I get off track and have trouble finishing it. Doing an Exalted discipline is much easier in that regard, because the fluff and concept are already done. If I get off track, the track is still there when I get back.

    I do still want to finish those disciplines some day, though. Maybe if I get all the Infernal disciplines done, and resist the urge to rewrite all the Tome of Battle disciplines, and dodge the impulse to create an Infernal-esque martial adept class, and refuse to make an Unconquered Sun Style, I can get to it then.

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    Default Re: [3.5] Desolate Arbitrator Discipline

    Re: Infernal Martial Adept Class

    Please allow them to make their own Joutens.

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    Default Re: [3.5] Desolate Arbitrator Discipline

    Well, I'd suggest Aphonic Wind, if only because someone did the Martial Adept class that would automatically be associated with it, at least from a design standpoint....lol

    Edit: Oh, and just in case I haven't mentioned it, I love your disciplines, Xefas. I'd love to see the Witchhunter one finished, but until then, I'm perfectly happy with Yozi disciplines...lol
    Last edited by Zarthrax; 2012-03-05 at 11:19 AM.
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