I am a friend of campaign-specific character alterations; and a little extra mojo would do the PCs good. So, I devised the following "Ebon Blessing" that is triggered upon the destruction of the Overgod: All PCs that participated in the fight are overwhelmed by a powerful wave of divine energy. In order to capture the tripartite powers, they must save. Failure has no effect other than not beeing able to digest the dark powers.
Power of Hextor: Gain 6 HP (Fort DC 18)
Quickness of Erythnul: Gain a +2 bonus on Initiative (Ref DC 18)
Vecna's Secret: Gain the feat "Extra Spell" (Will DC 18)
All effects are permanent and not subject to dispelling.
For noncasters, Vecna's Secret allows to choose any 1st level spell usable once/day as a spell-like ability at CL 1st.
What do you think? Have any of you done similar things to the Overgod? I found it a bit disappointing to end the harsh installment without significant reward.
Well, if anyone out there is actually considering adding an ebon blessing; I'd like to share some tweaking I did to it.
First, I removed the saves, as it adds unwelcome randomness to a reward which should be split evenly. I don't want one PC to get all three blessings while another might get none.
Second, I played a bit with all of the blessings and have found more fitting powers (I think). And I wanted to separate them more from existing feats in order to make them special.
Third, I will give the players a hint at to what awaits them, and then let them choose which one to capture - and they can only capture one.
So, it now stands as the following:
"A dark wave of divine energy overwhelms you. Raw power has lost focus and blasts away. If you want, you can capture a tiny fraction of this energy for yourself - if you decide quickly. You feel three different powers, which one do you want to digest?
There are visions of long battles, where the hardest die last. You recognize that if you capture that power, you will be able to take more.
There are promises of secret knowledge; whispers that will guide you. You understand that if you capture that power, you will be able to reveal what is hidden.
And there is the sheer lust for destroying your enemies. You feel that if you capture that power, you will be able to kill faster."
Ebon Blessing (Hextor): You do not die at -10 Hitpoints. Instead, you continue dying. Only at -20 Hitpoints, death overcomes you.
Ebon Blessing (Vecna): You can choose to add a single divination spell of 1st or 2nd level to your spell list (and list of spells known, if appropriate). If you have no levels in a spellcasting class, you can cast this spell once per day as a spell-like ability at CL3.
Ebon Blessing (Erythnul): If you kill a creature in combat, you gain a +2 bonus on damage rolls for the rest of the encounter. This bonus does not stack with itself.
I will play with the thought of altering, extending or restricting the blessing in PoR; or maybe there will be a (terrible?) drawback then. But this is roughly one year of playing ahead...
I find the "+6 hp" to be far more rewarding than the "die at -20". Ditto on the Extra Spell vs. Spell Knowledge - that's a lot weaker. +2 Init. vs. +2 damage after the first kill - much stronger (not necessarily in a bad way).
I'd say your initial idea with the saves is pretty good. You just need to scale the rewards so that one success is almost as good as three. Perhaps the highest save gets full benefit, the rest only half. For instance, if Hextor's save is highest, you gain +6 hp, otherwise +3 hp if the save is made. If Erythnul's is highest, +2 damage, otherwise +1 damage if the save is made.
Vecna's is a bit trickier, but can make highest success "Extra spell" as normal, or -2 to max level otherwise. For non-spellcasters, choose a 2nd level spell, or a 1st level otherwise (or 4th/2nd?).
Cool idea overall by the way!
Majuba, thanks for you suggestions. You are right with the saves; this adds a little excitement. However, allowing all three benefits, even cut in half, would have been too much of a reward for my PCs (They get a little custom loot, too). And I wanted it to be - well, ebon. Thus I invented minor but tangible drawbacks to the granted power when the saves weren't made.
Ebon Blessing (Hextor): Gain permanently +6hp and save vs Fortitude DC 15. Failure: Cannot refuse a challenge.
Ebon Blessing (Vecna): Choose any 1st or 2nd level divination spell as a spell known. If not a caster, gain one daily use as sla. Additionally, save vs Will DC 15. Failure: Permanent -2 on diplomacy.
Ebon Blessing (Erythnul): After dropping an enemy in an encounter, gain +2 on damage rolls for rest of encounter; make a Reflex save DC 15. Failure: Take another -2 on attack rolls for making nonlethal damage (for a total of -6).
The paladin refused, two made their saves, and another two still have to decide and roll. My players welcomed it a lot :)
It's a very cool idea. I might do something like this. But let's also not forget possible negative repercussions for absorbing fragments of power that essentially come from three very dark and evil gods. I may have good-aligned characters who accept these dark blessings haunted by nightmares, the feeling of dark eyes upon them, and similar paranoia. Or it might be cool to have small physical changes overcome them, like animals becoming restless around them, or their shadows occasionally moving on their own. Something weird to keep the players guessing. These effects could last only as long as they remain interesting. Even neutral characters could experience this. Alternatively, for a more game-mechanics type of twist, accepting these dark blessings could give that character a future -2 on all saves when being targeted by a devout worshiper or cleric of whichever Ebon Triad god's blessing that character received. This could affect PCs regardless of alignment. After all, they sort of stole this divine power! Paladins and other followers of good gods should be discouraged from accepting these blessings, with even stricter penalties for doing so (loss of a spell slot or power until atonement, for example). Of course, these characters could be rewarded by their own deities with minor boons for denying these blessings, as well.
If the ultimate goal is to reward your players, though, you might shy away from actual game-effecting punishment. But I always like adding more drama and danger when dealing with dark gods. This idea is a very cool, one though. It reminds me of the "dark fruit" PCs could partake of in "Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil." As I recall, if they ate it they received a permanent +1 to any one stat as Tharizdun's dark blessing.....but terrible misfortune of some sort also befell them. Great stuff! :)
Thanks for the idea Armnaxis. I borrowed it--it went over well. My group has a core bunch of min-maxers, so I created character specific bonuses. I gave them control over how to make things happen and they loved it. They may not be loving it so much when the power comes back to bite them on the rear. It will make for some good leading and hints through nightmares. I haven’t got the negative mechanics worked out yet, but I’m thinking negatives when facing triad members, the next aspect, etc. (maybe saves, attacks, caster level checks, or some combination—perhaps even aligning with the deity focus of benefit they acquired.)
I used the concept that the blessings are a derivation of the powers of Vecna, Hextor or Erythnul. The character-specific blessings are for my group that consists of a rogue dagger-specialist, barbarian, wizard, bard, monk, and a paladin (really, I’m not sure how long they plan on avoiding the dreaded TPK). I also wrote three generic blessings (see option A).
Monster disintegrates in a burst of energy, PC’s can do one of three things:
- A. Hold onto and form the energy by strength of will (Will DC 18). Success earns the player a choice of 3 Blessings (the one I created for his character and 2 generic based from each of the other deities involved). Failure earns the player the blessing I created.
B. Deliberately mix the aspect’s blood with the character’s blood, trapping the power. The player earns the blessing I created.
C. Force the power out, and not be affected at all.
After the destruction of the EA, I gave each player a slip of paper detailing their character’s options and then handed them additional slips of description as needed. This added a nice bit of subterfuge that ended with the paladin casting detect evil on all party members.
The creature finally wavers and holds still. It begins to topple and suddenly disintegrates in a burst of divine energy. As the wave of dark magics roll over you, you see yourself mid-battle with the sects of the ebon triad—tiefling, human, grimlock, kenku; warriors and casters all fall before you. Each enemy that perishes builds your energy, your power. Indeed you actually feel strengthened and rejuvenated from your battle with the Aspect. Suddenly you know that you can keep this wild magic, if you act fast. Underneath this instant awareness, a portion of yourself struggles against the power pouring though you, seeking to cleanse you of its insidious presence.
Awareness of mind, body and soul brings you three options.
- A. You may attempt to hold on to it and form it by strength of will.
B. You may deliberately push the aspect’s blood into your veins—trapping the power within you.
C. You may focus yourself against the flow of magic, forcing the power to slide beyond you and be gone.
Character Specific Blessings:
Ebon Blessing (Death’s Blade): There are few greater sounds than the gurgle of a man with a punctured lung…well perhaps the gurgle of a man with two punctured lungs. Each time you drop an opponent with your dagger (yours was the killing blow), elation fills you with confidence. Add +4 damage to your next successful dagger attack during the same encounter.
Ebon Blessing (Bloody Rage): In the frenzy of battle, Death surrounds you—you are its chosen reaper. For each opponent that you drop (yours was the killing blow) while raging, add one round to the duration of your current rage.
Ebon Blessing (6th Sense): Knowledge is power, more knowledge is…magnificent. You find that as you continue to educate yourself, you make more connections. Add +1 for every five ranks in a knowledge skill. For each knowledge skill in which you have this bonus add +1 to your Bardic Knowledge Check.
Ebon Blessing (Divining Tendencies): Mystery perpetually shrouds all casters. You find that as you continue to gather information through magic means, you have the occasional burst of prescience. If you have cast a divination spell in the past day, you may add an insight bonus equal to the greater of your intelligence or charisma modifier to any attack roll, saving throw, skill check or level check. You must declare that you are using this bonus before you roll. This ability functions once a day. You may add a second use if you cast a divination spell during the existing encounter in which you take the second bonus.
Ebon Blessing (Focused Attack): When searching for an enemy, it is best to go where you know he is. If your first melee attack in a round is successful, add +1 to each subsequent attack on the same opponent during the same round.
Ebon Blessing (Know Your Place): On the battlefield, the righteous warrior knows his role is judge, jury and executioner. Your force of belief increases your effectiveness. Add +1 to attack and damage when smiting.
Ebon Blessing (Grave Refusal): You have sent many towards a long dirt nap, as a result you occasionally find that Death would rather keep you on this side of the door. If you fall below 0 hp during an encounter in which you have dropped your enemies (yours was the killing blow), you have the benefit of the die-hard feat for a number of consecutive rounds equal to your constitution modifier. This benefit functions once per day.
Ebon Blessing (Find the Weak Spot): There are many ways to disable an opponent to kill him or cause him to yield the field. With quick consideration, you aim for a foe’s already dented or destroyed armor. If you are successful on a strike against an opponent you have already hit, add +2 to the damage. Melee weapon or ranged weapon within 30’—non-lethal attacks, splash weapons and damaging spells do not earn this extra damage. This ability functions once per opponent.
Ebon Blessing (Caster’s Boon): Sometimes the truth of magic that looks easy, is that it is easy. Choose a 0 level or 1st level wizard spell from the PHB that has no costly components or XP cost. You may use this once per day as a spell-like ability with Caster level 1.
Culmination of Option C
You concentrate on the pillars that have supported you in times of need…you call on all your strength and skill—those things that you know are solely you, and not this false promise ringing in your head. You see family and friends surround you, their love and pride evident in their expressions. The unbending strength of righteousness infuses each of your thoughts and the wild magic wilts and backs away from your heart-sure identity.
I did something similar, but different, for my Eberron AoW game.
The black box found in Zosiel's tomb contained a powerful Siberys dragonshard, which would imbue all those nearby with least aberrant dragonmarks, that would be specific to the character and grow in power at key points in the campaign. Unfortunately, my party became so terrified of opening "the box" - which I described as having writing on it that resembled a bizarre hybrid of ancient Draconic and Infernal, which they were unable to read. Later, the party would find the Faceless One's copy of the Nethertome of Trask (called the Nethertome of the Qabal in my game, and was expanded to be like a nonmagical Book of Vile Darkness) which bore similar styled writing. During their investigations in Sharn, they also learned that the Apostolic Scrolls were of similar writing too. It wasn't until Eligos explained to them that most of these items are tools, nothing more - tools that tend more often than not to be used for evil. So, a few days before the Champion's Games, they took the box far outside of Sharn, and opened it - fearing the worst. The power of the dragonshard inside rendered them unconsious, and they awoke with strange, golden lesser dragonmarks.
The crusader gained the ability to cast shield 2/ day and haste 1/ day, on himself only.
The ranger gained the ability to cast expedious retreat 2/ day and invisibility 2/day, again, only on himself.
The warlock/enlightened spirit gained the power to cast ray of enfeeblement 2/day, or cast displacement on himself 1/ day.
The party will find another "box" in Icosiol's tomb, which will awaken their greater powers and allow them to use the other powers an extra time. I haven't decided on what the other powers will be yet.
Once they complete the Library of Last Resort, they'll gain the Siberys level powers - which will have effects similar to the 4e epic destiny "you don't die" powers. Again, I'm not sure how this plays out, but in my mind I see their physical bodies completely broken and drained by the power of Kyuss, with this power being the only thing that actually allows them to continue fighting.
|The Snorting Tip-sniffer|
I didn't give a specific blessing, but I did have a player interested in playing a shadow-tainted creature (the 2-level version, from Dragon 322). I agreed, but didn't want a PC with LA at the start, so we agreed he'd have the bloodline, and the effects would kick in after some future trauma, allowing him to buy racial levels after that point. Getting dunked in the Ebon Aspect's freezing amniotic pool seemed a good opportunity.
I thought the EA was a bit soft, as written (PCs would be mostly out of spells, but on full hp), so gave it a couple more HD, proper rage, instead of the one-round uber-rage, and put long chains on its three stumps, to give it more attacks, some range, negate some incoming attacks, and drag people to its pool.
I'm not completely evil, in my defence, I give the PCs some allies (Kullen's gang, who'd been watching the elevator for Smenk, a miner, who'd been forced to write Grallak Kur's dreams, and a blinded Melinde, who gave some healing, and blessed a PC's axe), and they did kill it, with no deaths.
thanks for sharing your ideas.
My campaign has, slowly but steadily, progressed and we are now starting SoLS; meaning that there will be an even greater aspect soon in the Prince of Redhand. I plan on doing something similar with this aspect, but haven't hammered out the details yet. Has anybody of you gotten that far?
I'm thinking on giving even greater benefits to every PC that wants to take that power, but this time the evil energy is too condensed so as to avoid drawbacks. Those that refuse both instances of the dark blessing (IMC, this would only be the paladin), will receive a major boost in defense against all affiliated with the ebon traid (up to and including Lashonna).