Monday, June 2, 2014

ACKS: Deep One Hybrid Racial Template - REDUX

A re-design of the Deep One Hybrid I made half a year ago.

"I think their predominant colour was a greyish-green, though they had white bellies. They were mostly shiny and slippery, but the ridges of their backs were scaly. Their forms vaguely suggested the anthropoid, while their heads were the heads of fish, with prodigious bulging eyes that never closed. At the sides of their necks were palpitating gills, and their long paws were webbed. They hopped irregularly, sometimes on two legs and sometimes on four. I was somehow glad that they had no more than four limbs. Their croaking, baying voices, clearly used for articulate speech, held all the dark shades of expression which their staring faces lacked ... They were the blasphemous fish-frogs of the nameless design - living and horrible."

- H.P. Lovecraft, "The Shadow Over Insmouth"

The Deep Ones are a race of aquatic monstrosities, part fish, part frog and part man, who have inhabited the oceans around Kanahu for aeons. They battled the Serpentmen for dominance; vied for control with the mysterious Visitors; and were the targets of numerous holy wars by the Lizardmen followers of Lawful Ixchala. And yet, they remain; dwelling under the waves in their magnificent, if terrible, reef cities, where they pay tribute to their father-god, Dagon, as well as to their over-god, K'tulu.

The Deep Ones are not content with living underwater, however. In service of their Chaotic masters, they seek to infiltrate coastal communities, intermixing with the local Human population, and tainting the blood of Men with their terrible curse. Indeed, the old, deposed nobility of Harat, mostly chased from their mansions and seaside castles by Hardun's Army of the Free, were, and still are, hybrids of Men and Deep Ones. This racial template represents these hybrids, who continually devolve from humanity into aquatic monstrosities.

Deep One Hybrid character classes are created using the Deep One Hybrid racial category and experience points. Requirements, class category values, hit points per level after 9th, and experience point progressions are modified as noted below.

All Deep One Hybrid classes require a minimum Strength and Constitution of 12 or better. They must also be Chaotic, or, in rare instances (subject to the Judge's approval), Neutral, butnever Lawful.

Class category Values:
Divine: Any build points allocated to the Divine Value stack with build points allocated to the Deep One Hybrid value for purposes of determining the class’s spellcasting ability (see below).

Deep One Hybrid 0 (XP Cost 300): at Deep One Hybrid 0, the class will have the following four custom powers:
  • Swimming: The character gains a swimming movement rate of 120' per turn. The character may hold his breath for 1 Turn (10 minutes). Costs 3 custom powers.
  • Tainted Blood: The character is, since early adulthood, somewhat deformed, displaying some Deep One traits. Even to those who do not know what these tell-tale signs mean, the character will look ugly and unworldly, granting him or her a -2 penalty to Reaction.  However, most sentient Chaotic monsters will recognize the character's true nature and react favourably towards him or her, granting a +2 bonus to Reaction. This is a variant on the Inhumanity custom power and costs 0 powers.
  • After the Fish: If and when they complete their transformation into full Deep Ones, the Hybrids retain their class abilities and may continue to level and grow in HD and in power. This works similarly to the Sakkaran (Zaharan) Ruinguard's After the Flesh power. The character can be continued to play as a Deep One. This requires, however, an unholy ritual of self-sacrifice to the Chaotic gods Dagon and K'tulu, which costs money and effort. see Transformation into a Deep One, below. This costs 3 custom powers.
  • Longevity: The Deep One Hybrid ageless and enjoys a lifespan three times longer than normal, even if he does not transform into a 'full' Deep One; upon "death" from old age, if no ritual is used (see below), the character transforms into an immortal Deep One monster (NPC) of 2+1 HD with no class features. Deep One Hybrids are also immune to ghoul paralysis. This is effectively the Elven Bloodline proficiency, selected as a custom power.

Deep One Hybrid 1 (XP Cost 800): Deep One Hybrid 0 + Fighter 1

Deep One Hybrid 2 (XP Cost 1,300): Deep One Hybrid 0 + Fighter 2

Deep One Hybrid 3 (XP Cost 1,800): Deep One Hybrid 0 + Fighter 3

Deep One Hybrid 4 (XP Cost 2,300): Deep One Hybrid 0 + Fighter 4

Experience Point Progression After 8th Level
Deep One Hybrids increase the amount of experience required to gain each level after 8th by 45,000XP.

Transformation into a Deep One
Deep One Hybrids who reach 11th level or higher may transform themselves into fully-blown Deep Ones by a baleful ritual of self-sacrifice to the Deep One gods of Dagon and K'tulu. The 'full' Deep One has HD as the character had class levels, retains all class abilities and spellcasting (if any) the Hybrid had in semi-Human life, may breath both under and above the water indefinitely, is immune to disease and to further ageing, has Infravision and may attack with its claws for 1d4-1 damage each, in addition to all other powers. However, 'proper' Deep Ones suffer a -4 Reaction penalty from all Neutral or Lawful mortals, but enjoy a +4 Reaction bonus from all Chaotic beings.

It requires 5,000gp per character level to transform into a Deep One. The ritual takes one day per 1,000gp of cost. The transformation requires a magic research throw. The target value for this throw is increased by +1 for every level the character has. Using precious materials in the ritual can affect chances of success of the transformation, as above. Failure indicates that the character is dead and cannot be raised except through a Wish or a Miracle.

To perform the ritual, a Deep One Hybrid must have access to an altar to Dagon and/or K'tulu of at least equal in value to the cost of the ritual as given above. For every 10,000gp of value above the minimum required for the transformation, the Deep One Hybrid receives a +1 bonus on his magic research throw. By using precious materials, the character can gain a bonus on his magic research throw, as described on ACKS 118. Transforming into a Deep One also requires special components for the ritual. Components are usually organs or blood from one or more beings - typically Human sacrifices of high level - with a total XP value equal to the cost of the research. At least one creature must be of a level equal to that of the Deep One Hybrid attempting the transformation. The Judge will determine the specific components based on the ritual involved. If a character doesn’t know the components at the outset of the ritual, he learns them when the necromancy is 50% complete.

Note that it is possible for a Deep One hybrid to transform into a Deep One due to old age without a ritual, but this will create a 2+1 HD monster as described here, with no special abilities and without retaining any class features, except for proficiencies. In this case, the character will be an NPC. This is how many level 0 Deep One Hybrids transform naturally into 2+1 HD deep ones.

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