Eclipse – the Darkling Template (+2 ECL)

Magic can cause very strange deaths.

And spirits… spirits cling to life.

Every so often, when a creature is slain by shadow magic, the same power that destroys it’s physical body touches it’s spirit – allowing it to pass into it’s bodies shadow, rather than departing for the Outer Planes.

As the body decays, and it’s shadow fades, most such unfortunates lose their grips. Their minds decay, their poorly-contained life-force fades away, and the power of the true darkness – never far from the Shadow Plane – enters in it’s place.

They rise as Shadows, mindless and formless horrors that exist but to kill and feed.

A rare few, however, manage to retain their minds and their vital force. Over time they learn to draw the stuff of shadow about themselves – to re-emerge into the material world as Darklings – the spawn of shadows.

Here we have a minor special request – a template for a darkness-infused creature with a fair amount of shadow magic.

Darkling (Creature) (83 CP / +2 ECL):

  • Attribute Shift (8 CP): Str -2, Cha -2, Dex +4. Corrupted/When exposed to direct sunlight a Darkling takes a -2 penalty on attack rolls.
  • Amorphous (6 CP): Darklings have no real form. They cannot be flanked and can flow through cracks.
  • Extra Limbs (6 CP): Darklings have assorted tendrils of darkness, which serve as additional legs and crude manipulative tentacles. They gain a +10 bonus on their ground movement rate and can carry more stuff.
  • Returning (6 CP): As extradimensional creatures of shadow, Darklings will return within a few weeks after being “killed” – unless they’re destroyed by light-based effects or their access to the plane of shadow is cut off at the time they’re slain.
  • No Constitution Score (0 CP): A darkling’s body is a construct of shadow, and is not truly alive. It does not need to eat, drink, breathe, or sleep, never tires or sleeps, and is immune to ability damage and drain, energy drain, and effects requiring fortitude saves that do not work on objects. They – or at least their bodies – are, however, instantly destroyed at 0 HP.
  • Occult Sense/Dark Tendrils (6 CP). Darklings can sense anything within thirty feet which is in darkness or shadow, including the first six inches of the internal structure of objects. This makes them hard to sneak up on and provides a +4 bonus to appropriate checks – such as Pick Pockets and Open Locks.
  • Presence (6 CP), Specialized (for double effect)/does not work in daylight or brightly illuminated areas, requires the presence of shadows. This ability weaves misdirecting shadows around the user and any nearby companions, with the effect of a Blur spell.
  • Universal DR 8, Specialized/does not work in areas of bright illumination, against brilliant energy weapons, light-based attacks, Corrupted/When exposed to direct sunlight a Darkling takes a -2 penalty on saving throws (8 CP). Being made of shadows and illusions does have some advantages; a substantial portion of any attack tends to pass through.
  • Channeling, Specialized in Spell Conversion (to Shadow Magic Spells only, 1 CP).
  • Spell Conversion to a level six Greater Invocation/“Any Shadow Spell Effect of level four or less”, Specialized/Will not work in full daylight or brilliantly-illuminated areas, cannot produce effects more than one level above those appropriate to the user’s level, user frightens natural animals, giving the user a -6 penalty on Handle Animal, Ride, attempts to evade their notice, and to any similar checks (6 CP).
  • +15 Bonus Uses of Channeling, Specialized and Corrupted / only for Spell Conversion, only allows the use of a total of four first, four second (or below), four third (or below), and four fourth (or below) effects per day, the user is afflicted with light blindness (the user is automatically flashblinded on the first round of exposure to bright lights, and dazzled as long as he or she remains exposed to bright light thereafter) (8 CP).
  • Reflex Training/Extra actions per day variant (6 CP), Specialized for double effect/only for the use of channeling, only for the creation of personal effects (movement, defenses, etc).
  • Adept (6 CP): Darklings pay only half cost to buy Escape Artist, Hide, Intimidate, and Move Silently.
  • Darklings enjoy a +4 racial bonus on all four of their Adept skills (8 CP).

At 83 CP, Darklings are roughly in the middle of +2 ECL territory – but vary drastically in effectiveness. Outside, in the daytime? Virtually none of their special abilities will work. In the shadows or at night? They’re quite powerful.

9 Responses

  1. Spell Conversion and the Bonus Uses mention in their Corruption entries that the user suffers from restrictions. But I’m not sure if this is a permanent disadvantage or only during times of actual usage. Can you please clarify?

    • Sadly, it’s all the time. Otherwise those drawbacks are specialized enough – only relating to animals and only for a few seconds a day – that they might never come up. Ergo, the general rule of disadvantages, drawbacks, and limitations applies – if it doesn’t cause the user significant problems, then it’s not a disadvantage and is worth no points or price break.

      • That makes sense, especially as the usage time of the abilities might be difficult to determine (mimicking any possible spell) and is too easy to circumvent. And were I the GM, I’d rule that being a shadow does spook animals anyway. Hmm, would you say that training an animal would be able to overcome this limitation?

      • Well, considering some of the other things skills can do – especially on the Epic lists – I’d say it was possible, most likely as per training an animal for a general purpose at about DC 25-30.

        In most cases it will probably be easier – and more effective – to take the desired animal as a Companion and simply buy it a very small Immunity to being frightened by darkness powers if the game master still feels that it’s necessary.

  2. […] Eclipse – the Darkling Template (+2 ECL) ( […]

  3. […] ECL Darkling Template: for making creatures of living […]

  4. […] Darklings are probably channeling power from the plane or shadow, but their ability to create shadow magic effects would work with plain negative energy since Shadow Magic is just a subset of darkness and deception powers. […]

  5. […] ECL Darkling Template: for making creatures of living […]

  6. […] Darklings get “Returning (6 CP): As extradimensional creatures of shadow, Darklings will return within a few weeks after being “killed” unless they’re destroyed by light-based effects or their access to the plane of shadow is cut off at the time they’re slain.” Darklings do tend to flee from light-wielding opponents, but then that’s probably expected of shadow-creatures anyway. […]

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