Ruins of Adventure
- Races: Human
- Sub-Classes: Necromancer
- Ability Requirements: None
- Alignments: Chaotic
- Starting Cash: 1d10+10 gp
- Weapon Slots: By class
- Bonus Weapon Proficiencies: none
- Required Weapon Proficiencies: none
- Allowed Weapons: By class, plus any One-handed Sword
- Allowed Armors: By class
- Non-weapon Slots: By class
- Available Categories: By class
- Bonus Non-weapon Proficiencies: Bone Armor, Netherworld Knowledge, Undead Lore
- Required Proficiencies: Manipulations (any two, see below)
- Recommended Proficiencies: Ancient History, Ancient Languages, Artistic Ability, Burial Customs, Debate, Etiquette, Genie Lore, Necrology, Organic Preservation, Philosophy, Planar Survival (negative material plane), Religion, Set Snares, Spellcraft, Spirit Lore, Survival.
- Forbidden Proficiencies: none
Overview: Many are the tales of mysterious magicians in the Realms, magicians who do not bow to the same laws of magic by which other wizards are bound. Ghul lords are enigmas who are dedicated to the forces of the Negative Material Plane. Their spells come from a source opposed to the spells of other wizards, and the nature of the magic is as mysterious as the ghul lords themselves.
Description: As the corruption of their body occurs, the ghul lord takes on a progressively more cadaverous appearance, making them instantly recognizable. Their skin, while not rotted, is drawn tight over their bones and muscles, revealing clearly the veins and tendons beneath the surface. The ghul lord is cool to the touch and may be taken for dead if not closely examined.
Role-Playing: Ghul lords are often misunderstood and viewed as evil men and women who tamper with the dead. This is not at all true. They have chosen a different magical path, which often leads down roads that “normal,” wizards prefer not to tread. Ghul lords who convince people of their good intentions may find a place within the community as a “speaker for the dead.” While they don’t have the power to actually commune with the dead, many necromancers understand the nature of most undead and the most effective methods of combating them.
Those ghul lords who choose to live up to their reputation as fearsome wielders of deadly energy often find work hunting down other types of wizards. The ghul lords’ naturally disruptive abilities aid them greatly in this, and their unpredictable spell-like powers give them a handy edge in many situations.
- Ghul lords draw their spells from the Negative Material Plane, and thus have the ability to call up and utilize raw magic energy from the Negative Material Plane. This gives their magic an eerie look and feel and changes its effects slightly. When a ghul lord casts a spell there is always an accompanying special effect that indicates this is not a normal spell. Every ghul lord has his own unique special effect that is never duplicated by another ghul lord. There are a wide number of special effects that can be used, but all have two things in common. First, they have no positive or negative effect on the caster or those around him. They are simply for show and cannot cause damage or otherwise affect the real world in a tangible manner. Second, the special effects of a ghul lords’ spell casting are strange and unnerving to those that witness them. Special effects are always creepy. Players are encouraged to come up with strange special effects for their ghul lord characters. The following is a list of various special effects that may occur when a ghul lord casts one of his spells:
- Whispering: Anyone within 20 feet of the caster hears a low whispering that seems to emanate from the air around the caster. While the whispers are not discernible as actual speech, there is something menacing to their tone.
- Moaning: Similar to whispering, but the sound is of several people in great pain, moaning out their last breaths.
- Dark light: A halo of purplish-blue light can be seen to emanate from the ghul lord. The light seems to come from his bones, making his flesh transparent and lending him a cadaverous appearance.
- Tears of blood: The strain of casting spells from negative energy causes tiny tears of blood to appear in the caster’s eyes. This causes no damage nor does it obscure the caster’s vision, but it can be very disconcerting to witness.
- Transformation: The caster’s visage undergoes a slight change. The transformation can be one of beauty or of monstrous repugnance, depending upon the caster’s choice.
- Flickering: Lights around the caster dim and brighten unpredictably as he casts the spell. This has no real effect on visibility in the area.
- Ghul lords are also able to manipulate raw magical energies. While much cruder than spells, the abilities this grants are very versatile and quite powerful. The manipulations are not overly difficult to use, but they do require the expenditure of the ghul lord’s life force. This is represented by the temporary loss of a number of hit points equal to the level of the manipulation currently being used. This may be offset by certain magical items, using a process known as leaching (see below).
When a ghul lord prepares to use a manipulation, he must concentrate for a full combat round. At the end of that round, the player of the ghul lord must state what manipulation will be used, the level of that manipulation, and the effect desired from the use of that manipulation. The level is best determined by taking a look at the effect that is desired and comparing it to a spell that has a similar effect.
It is important to remember that ghul lords utilize the magic of the Negative Material Plane to power their spells. This energy has great destructive potential but has little in the way of healing or restorative power. The negative energy can be used to good effect to attack or defend, but it cannot heal or create anything as its very nature prohibits this. This must be remembered when using manipulations lest the characters use the negative energy in a way that is not in keeping with its true power.
In order to manipulate the powerful energies of the Negative Material Plane, the ghul lord must first learn the various types of manipulations that can be performed. These are similar to the various schools that are used by other wizards. Each of these manipulations must be learned as a separate non-weapon proficiency, requiring one slot for each manipulation. They are:
- Attack manipulations. These are used to damage items or creatures. This type of manipulation can form an actual physical attack or can be the unleashing of a purely magical attack. Either option can be chosen at the discretion of the ghul lord, who must state which form the attack will take at the moment of its release. This may be similar to any damage-dealing spell (with level based on the desired area, range, and damage compared to existing spells).
- Defense manipulations. These form magical barriers that stop physical or magical attacks, decided upon by the ghul lord when the manipulation occurs. They can duplicate the effects of any defensive spell of a level equal to the manipulation (save those that might be considered curative in nature or those that create physical objects).
- Informative manipulations. These allow the ghul lord to seek out knowledge that is otherwise unattainable. Through the use of this manipulation, the ghul lord can discover secret doors, reveal the secrets of the ages, foresee the future, or divine the location of lost or hidden objects. Other uses are also possible at the discretion of the DM. Level is determined based on Divination spells of similar level.
- Movement manipulations. These allow the ghul lord to move through the use of magical energies. Using this, characters may fly, teleport or even pass through to other dimensions. Level should be equal to spells that create the desired effect.
- At 10th level, the ghul lord gains an innate understanding of the forces that animate the undead. The ghul lord may attempt to gain control of these undead, using the force of his will to subjugate them. The ghul lord may roll to control a group of undead as if he were a Cleric of three levels lower than his actual level. Thus, at 10th level, the ghul lord may command undead as if he were a 7th-level priest.
- Ghul lords are limited in the spells that they can cast without expending their own life force to call upon the energy of the Negative Material Plane. They may only cast spells that are derived entirely from the school of Necromancy. They may not cast any other spells, including those that belong to Necromancy and another school.
- In addition to their relatively limited spell casting abilities, ghul lords also suffer interpersonal problems. As they spend a good deal of time alone with the dead, ghul lords do not have the best personal hygiene or “people skills.” Reduce the starting Appearance score of a ghul lord by three (to a minimum of 3).
- Ghul lords also suffer from the constant exposure of the negative energies that power their spells and spell-like abilities. This energy slowly corrodes the ghul lord’s health. Every level past 1st, the ghul lord loses one point of Health, Fitness, Stamina, or Muscle (determine randomly). When any of these abilities is reduced to less than 5, the ghul lord takes on the appearance of one of the undead (as described above). When a ghul lord reaches this stage, his Appearance is reduced by 2 and the loss of other attributes ceases.
- Ghul lords may not use any magical items save those that duplicate Necromantic effects or those that are created specifically for them. The presence of the negative energy within their body makes the use of other magical items impossible.
- Negative energy can also have quite unexpected effects if it interacts with standard magic. Any time the area of effect of a ghul lord’s manipulations or necromantic spells (see below) overlaps that of a standard spell, the results can be explosive. The same is true if a single target is affected by a ghul lord’s magic and that of a standard wizard in the same round. If this ever occurs, the two energies react in a violent manner, attempting to eradicate one another. The total levels of spells and manipulations should be added together. The total is the number of four-sided dice that are rolled to determine damage. Damage is caused to anyone in the area where the two spells overlap. If the area of effect is a single target, the damage done is determined by rolling six-sided dice, as the magic energies are more tightly compressed and have fewer outlets than they would have if spread over an area. After dealing this damage, the spells and manipulations in question cease to exist (as if dispelled).
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