Given that I’ve had the request, and that it is coming up on October, here’s the first installment on some haunting and deathly abilities for characters who have had too many near-death experiences, have died and returned, or who have otherwise grown intimate with death. The following sixteen Eclipse-style point-buy abilities have all been set up to cost six character points – exactly the same as any other feat.
The Adamant Heart: Flesh that has already endured the touch of death and returned is not so easily forced to give up the ghost again, and can endure shocks that would destroy a creature not so fortified. Luck with +8 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted/only to “Take 20” on saves against massive damage (6 CP).
Bond of Blood: When you wound a creature you may tear away a tiny portion of its very essence, giving you a magical link to him, her, or it. Immunity/the need to actually touch someone to deliver touch-based effects (Common, Major, Great, Specialized and Corrupted/can only be focused on one creature at a time, to change the target the user must wound a new target. The user need not change targets whenever he or she wounds a creature though; establishing the link is a voluntary act. The link may only be used three times per day (6 CP).
The Crawling Hand: Your time among the dead has taught you that the body is a mere vessel for the spirit – and the spirit is not entirely bound by space. You may detach body parts and still treat them as a part of you. Immunity/distance between body parts (Common, Severe, Minor [works within long range and offers protection from 12 points of slashing damage per attack] (6 CP).
Yes, this means that you can “cut off your head” as a party trick.
Deathcrafter: Any undead you create will be considerably more powerful than usual, gaining any of a wide selection of bonuses. The Amplify Metamagic Theorem plus the Glory and Finesse (to base the Glory effect on the user’s spellcasting attribute). Specialized and Corrupted/only applies to necromancy spells, only applies to spells that create undead. Typical results include +4 Str, +4 Dex, +2 AC, +2 HP/Die, +2 to Saves, +2 to the damage they inflict, and similar modifiers. The user can normally apply one such modifier per point of his spellcasting attribute modifier.
Disrupted Eidolon: The character is not really a part of reality any longer, and can make no lasting impression upon it’s substance. Lesser spells and powers, and even photographs and paint, cannot record the characters existence or actions. His or her words and deeds will fade from transcripts or be attributed to others, images will vanish or turn into other people, and he or she will persist only in living memory. Good if you want to evade scrying, security cameras, or taxes, bad if you want to be remembered or get into an old bank account. Fortunately, records which existed before the character acquired this ability are unaffected. Immunity / Recording and Remote Detection (Common / Minor / Major, 6 CP).
Echoes of Mortality: While few positive emotions linger in the undead, and often little of their past lives, the knack of playing upon what reminiscence exists is given to a few who have touched upon the worlds beyond themselves. Immunity/the normal restrictions on using social skills and interactions on the undead, although they usually start off hostile (Uncommon, Minor, Legendary, Specialized/only works if the user has either found out who the undead creature they’re dealing with was before becoming undead OR has the leisure to talk for several minutes about the wonders of life, Corrupted/the effects are usually temporary, most undead will shrug off the effects within a few hours (4 CP), plus Skill Emphasis/Diplomacy, similarly Specialized and Corrupted (1 CP), plus Speak Language/Grave Argot, the “common tongue” of undead and the negative plane (1 CP).
Flame of Life: Filled with the energies which have recalled him or her to life, a character with the Flame of Life burning within them can easily shrug off the attacks of the Undead. Grant of Aid with +8 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted/only usable to shrug off the effects of attacks by the undead, can only be used once per round. The user may recover 1d8+5 damage, 1d3 points of attribute damage, or one negative level 9+Level/3 times per day as a free action – provided that such damage was inflicted by an undead creature (6 CP).
Khaibit: The characters shadow becomes a Shadow in truth, a portion of his or her inner darkness given form and manifestation. Companion Creature, Corrupted to increase the CR of creature that may be used as a base/the user’s personal shadow can’t spawn additional shadows, cannot be trusted when operating unsupervised or at long ranges, and cannot separate itself from it’s master in brightly lit conditions (6 CP).
Knell of the Reaper: When you achieve a critical hit, or slay, an opponent in combat, you do so in such a dramatic fashion – whether due to good old-fashioned gore or some supernatural effect – that nearby opponents will become Shaken. Presence/Aura of Fear (Doom effect), Specialized and Corrupted for increased radius (30 feet)/only works when you achieve a critical hit or kill someone, opponents may make a Will save versus (11 + User’s Cha Mod) to resist the effect.
Planar Channel: While you have returned from death, you remain strongly linked to the outer plane which received your spirit. When you summon creatures which are not already linked to an opposing plane, you infuse them with a portion of the energies of that outer plane, granting them various enhancements. Leadership with Emperor’s Star x2 (+2 positive levels, with effects specified when this ability is purchased), Specialized and Corrupted/grants no actual followers, but only applies to summoned creatures, only on creatures of unopposed alignment types (6 CP).
Puppet from Beyond: Some who return from death find themselves trapped between the worlds, able to manifest a body – pulling together stray bits of matter, possessing and transforming a corpse, or some such – and strongly linked to that form, but unable to fully pass into the living world, Still, this has it’s advantages; mere physical damage may destroy the body that they are currently operating, but they will find or create another soon enough. Extraordinary Returning (user must be slain by effects that drain or snuff out his or her life force, hunted down between the planes, or spiritually imprisoned to prevent him or her from simply creating another body later on), Specialized/the user’s body is instantly destroyed at zero hit points and it will require some weeks to create a new one, in the meantime, effects which rely on having some portion of the user’s true body to work with will not be able to bring him or her back or be otherwise effective (6 CP).
Seeing the Wings of Death: All things are ultimately subject to death and destruction, entropy is not to be denied. Having experienced true death, characters with this knack can see the transient possibilities of it that constantly spread out before any creature in battle – and, while his or her strength of will and focus endures, can choose some of those possibilities to make real, “taking 20”) on an attack or critical-confirmation roll up to five times per day. Luck with +4 Bonus Uses, Specialized/only for attacks (6 CP).
Spectral Stride: You may briefly abandon your hold on the material plane, to once more become a free spirit. Shapeshift with the Shape of Death and Incorporeal Forms enhancements, Specialized and Corrupted/Incorporeal Form can only be safely maintained for (Wisdom) rounds, after that, resisting the siren call of the afterworlds to return to the material realm requires a Will check at a DC equal to the number of rounds you are already past your limit. If the user fails three such checks in a row, he or she will depart for the afterworlds (6 CP).
Spirit not Flesh: For some of those who return from death, it is the strength of their spirits and the flow of positive energy from beyond that grants them warmth and animation. For them, the flesh is not so vital as the strength of their will. Immunity/Critical Hits and Sneak Attacks (Common, Major, Major, Corrupted/only applies to the extra damage from the critical hit or sneak attack, reducing it by 30 points. The base damage applies normally (6 CP).
Undying Devotion: Your dedication to your cause, lord, or other focus is incorruptible. No occult force or honeyed words can sway you from it. Immunity/mind-controlling effects, including social manipulations (Common, Major, Major, Specialized for double effect [protects against effects of up to level ten] and Corrupted. This immunity only works against attempts to use persuasion or emotional manipulation to override loyalties, not against morale bonuses and penalties, hold effects, attempts to persuade the user that something is indeed a good idea, or any other form of manipulation (6 CP).
The Wandering Soul: You soul has been drawn back into the world, but the connection between it and your body is not at all firm; it has manifested independently, and has a tendency to wander off on it’s own in the guise of some minor creature. Fortunately, that means that if your body is destroyed, it’s a shock, but hardly lethal. Companion (Familiar), with Transform. Specialized/the Transformation cannot be turned off; most people will take the Companion for you and vice-versa (6 CP).
Next time it will be some additional feats, a few higher-priced abilities, and some information on what happens when a character comes back from the dead and something else comes along for the ride.