Eclipse d20 – The Gravespeaker

   Eclipse really doesn’t use character classes except in the loose sense of the player declaring that “this is what my character is all about”. Of course, that makes a lot of players and game masters uncomfortable – or at least overwhelmed with options. Ergo, here we have a “Character Class” for Eclipse – a set of powers that are suitable for, and even typical of, a particular character conception.

   In this case, it’s a variant on the classical Necromancer – although this version focuses less on “swarms of undead minions” and more on “using the powers of the dead to enhance themselves”. It’s also a throwback to a very old system indeed – the “you get so many spells per day, and it really doesn’t matter which ones you use” system.

   So, some typical powers for a Gravespeaker – one who deals with the spirits of the dead – include:

   Lore of the Dead (12 CP):

  • Improved Occult Sense/The Dead (12 CP). A Gravespeaker user can sense the presence of the dead and the undead within sixty feet – allowing him or her to readily locate bodies, tombs, and graves and alerting him or her to the presence of spirits or the undead. If the user focuses on a specific body, he or she will be able to determine quite a few details about it – species, age, sex, cause of death (for example, “murdered by a knife to the heart”), whether or not they suffered much before dying, whether magic was involved (and what kind), how long ago the death occurred, and even the destination of the soul at the time it departed. If he or she focuses on a spirit, he or she will be able to tell what kind of spirit it is, approximately how powerful it is, and it’s general intentions. If focused on an undead creature, the user can determine it’s type, general powers and level of power, general motives, and how badly damaged it may be.

   Spiritual Infusion (24 CP):

   Whether attuned to positive or negative energy (or both), the power flowing within a Gravespeakers flesh eventually renders it far less perishable than that of a normal mortal.

  • Immunity to Diseases and Poisons (Common, Major, Minor; reduce attribute damage from such sources by six points) (6 CP).
  • Immunity to Undead Attacks (Very Common, Major, Minor, Specialized/the total resistance must be divided between damage, attribute damage, and level drain at the usual 1 to 1, 1 to 2, and 1 to 5 ratios. Provides DR 3/not being undead, 2 points of resistance to attribute damage, and resistance to one negative level. Other undead attack effects, such as paralysis, are saved against at +4) (7 CP).
  • Grant of Aid with +3 Bonus Uses (11 CP).

   As usual, lower-level Gravespeakers may want to take this ability in chunks.

   Touch of the World Beyond (12 CP):

   A Gravespeakers contact with the spiritual realms awakens his or her mind, he or she can expect to develop some basic psychic abilities.

  • Witchcraft III (18 CP) with Summoning, Specialized/astral and ethereal planes only (3 CP), 1d6+2 extra Power (3 CP) and two Pacts of the user’s choice (-12 CP).

   This doesn’t give the Gravespeaker a lot of raw power, but it does give him or her a fine selection of minor tricks.

   Ward of the Dead (6 CP):

   The Gravespeaker is not entirely of the mortal world, and so finds many of it’s perils curiously easy to resist or evade.

  • Luck with +4 Bonus Uses, Specialized/only for saving throws (6 CP).

   Strengths of the Dead (6 CP):

  • A Gravespeaker with this ability can draw on the knowledge and strength of the dead, simply by meditating on the mortal remains of a creature that possessed the ability in question. Double Enthusiast, Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect (6 CP or one Feat)/the user must obtain the remains of a creature with the desired ability to use as a component, and carry said relic around with him or her as long as he or she wishes to retain the ability in question (6 CP).

   Spectral Stride (6 CP):

  • The Gravespeaker may briefly abandon his or her hold on the material plane, to become a free spirit. Shapeshift with the Shape of Death and Incorporeal Forms enhancements, Specialized and Corrupted/only to take Incorporeal Form, and the 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).

   Once a Gravespeaker has a fair amount of the basic stuff out of the way, it’s time for…

   Opening the Great Gates (18 CP).

  • Channeling: 1(2 CP) +3x (Cha Mod) (10 CP) uses per day, Conversion, Specialized for double effect/requires the use of bones, bits of flesh, and other bits of old bodies which the user must constantly scrounge for and must wear or display openly. The user should expect occasional spiritual harassment and requests. This is generally seen as black magic (whether or not it is), and so attracts paladins, hostile clergy, and witch hunters. Only produces effects related to the talismans the user possesses. A set of four third (effectively sixth due to Specialization) level spells (6 CP). Select either the Negative or Positive Energy Options – although a character can get Dualism and buy the second set of abilities if they so desire. The entire package is Corrupted for reduced cost/the character has an unsettling aura of death, frightens normal animals (and so cannot normally use mounts and such), is a magnet for ghosts and haunts, and tends to cause strange events in the area when using his or her powers.

   Negative Energy Option: The negative energy Gravespeaker focuses on the universal presence of death in the world, and on using the power of death to raise and control the malicious specters of the fallen, who enviously wait for the living to join them in their wretched state.

  • Armor of the Dead: This terrible power summons up a hungry spirit from the shadow worlds of the afterlife, granting it a taste of the material world again – and brief surcease from it’s endless hunger – in exchange for it manifesting around the caster as a sort of (quite horrific) “armor”. Summon Undead IV (in general, this covers undead creatures with challenge ratings of up to five) with an extended duration (one minute per caster level, +1 level) and the Possession modifier (+1 level).
  • Chain the Dead: Unused magic echoes in the minds of the slain, and it’s traces remain in their relics, to be called forth by those versed in the dark lore. Greater Invocation/Produces any arcane magical effect of level three or less for which the user possesses an appropriate talisman – the skull or brain of a spellcaster or creature which was capable of using that spell (had it memorized or otherwise available) at it’s time of death.
    • Optionally, if the game master is willing to put up with the bookkeeping and wishes to restrict the user even more stringently, each effect that remained unused at the time of death can only be called forth once. Otherwise, it’s assumed that the user is calling forth the spirit of the creature involved (which is entitled to put in the occasional appearance as a haunt) and drawing on its powers.
  • Dust of Ages: The world of the living is built upon the bones of the dead. For every creature that lives, a billion have died. Few realize it, but the world is a vast graveyard – and it’s dust can be summoned to take form once again by those who are intimate with death. As per Animate Dead – but no gems or bodies are required. Unfortunately, their lack of solid structure means that they will return to the dust from which they were summoned after 1d4+1 hours.
  • Grim Servant of Death: The forces of death linger in graveyards, in dark corners of the world, and in the bodies of the slain. A relic of a sapient being violently slain is a potent link, allowing the user to call forth dreadful powers if he or she knows how to tap into that connection. Greater Invocation/produces any death-related effect of level four or less. In general, this includes most negative energy effects – darkness, curses, negation of other forces, and destructive necromancy.

   Positive Energy Option: Life is not a transient thing of crude matter, but a thing of spiritual light – and the honored dead return to the eternal source of that light. When properly invoked, using a relic of their lives to provide a link, such enlightened spirits are willing to lend those still bound to the flesh some of the near-limitless strength which proximity to the great source lends them.

  • Channels of the Light: A relic from a sophont that accepted the call of the worlds beyond, and passed on in peace and happiness, is a powerful link to the light of creation. Those who know how to tap into that link can call forth a variety of related effects. Greater Invocation/produces any harmless light, purification, or healing-related effect of level four or less. (And yes, light-related magic includes Speak with Dead).
  • Imbue with Radiance: The light is the ultimate destination or all life, and creatures called to a semblance of light unnaturally cannot withstand it. As per Disrupting Weapon (L5), but with a duration of one minute per level of the user (+1 Level).
  • Intercession of the Totems: The spirits of beasts are always willing to lend a bit of their surging power to a respectful summoner, although they will leave obvious signs upon the user’s flesh while they are in residence. Summon Nature’s Ally III with an extended duration (one hour per caster level, +2 levels) and the Possession modifier (+1 level).
  • Speaker for the Dead: The spirits of dead sophonts are usually willing to lend others a portion of the powers they employed in life, although they usually want some small favor (regular offerings of incense or small libations, messages carried to those they left behind, and so on) in exchange for such use of their power. Greater Invocation/Produces any arcane magical effect of level three or less for which the user possesses an appropriate talisman – a relic of a spellcaster or creature that was capable of using that effect at the time of it’s death. While there is no firm limit on the use of such a relic, spirits always request small favors in exchange for the use of their power – and usually move on, ceasing to respond, eventually (usually when the GM runs out of things to have them ask for).

   This particular package can be downgraded for starting characters – or upgraded, for higher level ones. This particular package should be suitable around levels five to eight. In many ways, it represents the core of a Gravespeakers abilities.

   The Limbs of Bone and Spirit (12 CP):

   The spirits bound to a Gravespeaker can sometimes act on their own to aid him or her. As long as they have Armor of the Dead or Intercession of the Totems active (Corrupted), they can employ:

  • Reflex Action/Combat Reflexes Variant (4 CP).
  • Reflex Action/Three extra actions per day variant with +4 Bonus Uses (8 CP).

   Further Advancement:

   After this? Well, most of the “Spooky Powers” from the Down Among The Dead Men series are suitable. Here are some links for Part I and Part II.

   For the basics, this is a medium-level combatant; A good base attack bonus, decent hit dice, and some weapon and armor proficiencies are in order. Saving throws and skills aren’t so important. More Channeling, more Power and – perhaps – Rite of Chi to get it back more quickly, may all be in order later on.

   Eclipse: The Codex Persona can be found in a Print Edition (Lulu.Com), an Electronic Edition (RPGNow.Com), and a Shareware Edition (at RPGNow.Com) or in a Box.Net download Here.

2 Responses

  1. […] The Gravespeaker: Assorted necromantic power packages. […]

  2. […] Gravespeaking – or at least the major powers – are built using Channeling. Why not go into battle encased in necromantic armor and with some undead allies by your side? Join up with Howl-Of-Death and start rampaging. […]

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