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Tiresias appears to Odysseus during the nekyia of Odyssey xi, in this watercolor with tempera by the Anglo-Swiss Johann Heinrich Füssli, c. 1780-85
Horrors Chapter #1 By By Eli Atkinson, Jonathan Bloxsom, Will Church, David de Saeger, Serge W. Desir Jr., Marley Sage Gable, John Harris, Sam Peer, Adam Silva-Miramon, Sean Surface
Thanks: Dana McVey, Calder Rooney
Netbook can be found on the following website
Although The Abyss more than amply epitomizes all that is random and evil within Creation, hatred is one trait that is often central to the behavior of both demons and those mortals depraved enough to willingly emulate them. Whether hatred of others, hatred of existence, or hatred of self, each has been, and continues to be, the food upon which The Abyss feasts and grows, constantly threatening to overwhelm the rest of existence. Even within The Abyss, some demons represent hatred to a much greater degree than others, and standing above all of them is The Goat: Orcus. To one of the most powerful and repellent demon princes ever spawned within its depths, hatred is the primal force which allowed him to rise from the dead twice and to set the perverse example that not even death itself should stand in the way of loathing.
Such hatredand its poweris not devoid of enticement. To those deranged, desperate, or despicable enough to seek it, Orcus power over hate is a vitriolic lure with which The Goat snares many souls. While many of these doomed souls are quickly consumed by the demonic font of hatred, others have attained perverse empowerment through their servitude to the Lord of Spite. Among the wickedest of such thralls, Orcus occasionally bestows a shred of his own mastery of hatred, and in such a fashion, The Goat further spreads the vile curses of hate and undeath throughout all Creation. While these loathsome servants are known by many names, the most common title is the Talon of Spite.
Talons of Spite, in general, do not cooperate, and there have been cases in which Talons have actually fought against or pledged the destruction of each other. So long as such conflicts are at least as destructive to everyone around them, Orcus rarely objects to such hostilities. Nevertheless, Talons of Spite more commonly fixate their hatred upon foes and forces outside Orcus faith and often gather a cult of like-minded servants to war against the object of their loathing. Alternatively, other Talons of Spite willfully seek out the curse of undeath and surround themselves with unliving armies and minions.
Hit Die: d6
To qualify to become a Talon of Spite, a character must fulfill all of the following criteria.
Alignment: Chaotic Evil
Feats: Demoniac (pledged to Orcus)*, Hateful Strike* or Undeath's Touch*
Spells: Able to cast 5th level spells.
|Level||Base Attack Bonus||Fort Save||Ref Save||Will Save||Special||Spells per Day|
|2||+1||+1||+1||+1||Contempt, Defile Victim||+1 level of existing spellcasting class|
|3||+1||+2||+1||+2||+1 level of existing spellcasting class|
|4||+2||+2||+1||+2||Contempt||+1 level of existing spellcasting class|
|5||+2||+3||+2||+3||Greater Defiling||+1 level of existing spellcasting class|
|6||+3||+3||+2||+3||Contempt||+1 level of existing spellcasting class|
|7||+3||+4||+2||+4||+1 level of existing spellcasting class|
|8||+4||+4||+3||+4||Contempt||+1 level of existing spellcasting class|
|9||+4||+5||+3||+5||+1 level of existing spellcasting class|
|10||+5||+5||+3||+5||Contempt, Halo of Blood||+1 level of existing spellcasting class|
The Talon of Spites
class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Craft (Intelligence), Intimidate (Charisma), Knowledge (Arcana) (Intelligence), Knowledge (religion)
(Intelligence), Knowledge (the
planes) (Intelligence), Perform (Charisma), Spellcraft (Intelligence), Use Magic Device (Charisma).
Skill Points at Each Level: 4 + Intelligence modifier.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Talons of Spite gain no proficiency with any weapon or armor.
Spells per Day: From 2nd level on, when a new Talon of Spite level is gained, the character gains new spells per day (and spells known, if applicable) as if she had also gained a level in whatever spellcasting class she belonged to before she added the prestige class. She does not, however, gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained. This essentially means that she adds the level of Talon of Spite to the level of whatever other spellcasting class the character has, and then determines spells per day and caster level accordingly.
If a character had more than one spellcasting class before she became a Talon of Spite, she must decide to which class she adds each level of Talon of Spite for the purpose of determining spells per day.
Channel Energy (Su): Levels of the Talon of Spite stack with any other classes for determining the total level at which a Talon channels energy. If a Talon of Spite did not possess the ability to channel energy before, she gains it when she takes the prestige class.
Contempt: A Talon of Spite learns to augment her spellcasting or martial prowess with her hatred. At 2nd level and every two levels thereafter (3rd, 5th, 7th, and 9th), a Talon of Spite chooses one form of contempt from the list below. The DC, if applicable, for each form of contempt is 10 + 1/2 character level + Talons primary spellcasting ability modifier (Intelligence for wizards, Charisma for sorcerers and warlocks, Wisdom for clerics, and so forth).
Regardless of the number of curses known, a Talon of Spite may invoke contempt once per day per class level.
Harangue (Sp): Giving voice to the anger that endlessly simmers below the surface, a Talon can unleash an ear-splitting scream of insults at hated targets as a full-round action. To be affected, an enemy must be able to hear the Talon of Spite and be within 30 feet. Victims of a harangue must make a Will save to negate the effect. If a targets saving throw succeeds, the Talon cannot use harangue on that creature again for 24 hours. If its saving throw fails, a creature suffers wracking pains that impose a -4 penalty on attack rolls, skill checks, and ability checks. This penalty lasts for the next 1d10 rounds. Harangue functions as a 5th level spell and is a sonic, mind-affecting effect.
Infuriating Touch (Su): As a melee touch attack, a Talon may infect a living victim with a seed of her own hatred. A target of this attack must make make a Will save to negate this effect. If a targets saving throw succeeds, the Talon cannot use infuriating touch on that creature again for 24 hours. If the target fails its saving throw, it attacks the nearest creature against which the targets attitude is unfriendly or worse. A creature under the effect of an infuriating touch will continue to attack the victim of its induced rage to the best of its abilities until its opponent dies or evades detection from the cursed target. A Talon may delay the onset of this effect by a number of minutes equal to her Talon level. Once activated, the effects of infuriating touch persist for one round per class level. If there is nothing within range that an Infuriating Touch's victim hates, then it seeks out something to destroy for the same duration as before, attacking whatever they can find that is substantially different from them (whether such is a being of a different alignment, other living creatures, et cetera).
Life's Blood Leaking (Ex): As a swift action, a Talon of Spite may infuse the next damaging attack she makes with her own hatred. If the attack succeeds, victims of the attack take one half the damage taken from the original attack at the beginning of the Talons next turn.
Maim (Ex): A Talon with this ability can inflict hideous wounds which mar her opponents flesh. Upon learning this form of contempt, a Talon must choose one of the following attributes: Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, or Charisma. An opponent damaged by one of the Talons attacks also takes 2 points of ability damage to the Talons chosen attribute. This ability damage can be negated with a successful Fort save. Ability points lost to damage return on their own at the rate of 1 point per day for each damaged ability.
Necrotic Wound (Su): A Talon can use her hatred to overwhelm the power of Life itself, blocking her victims from receiving succor. As a a swift action, a Talon may treat all of her attacks during that round as necrotic wounds. Any target that takes damage from such an attack must make a Fortitude save to negate this effect. If a target fails its saving throw, the targets wounds become extremely difficult to heal. Regardless of being magical or mundane in origin, any attempt to heal a creature under the effects of this curse results in only half the normal amount of healing, to a minimum of 1 hp. Necrotic wounds can be removed by any effect that normally breaks curses, such as remove curse. Otherwise, necrotic wounds persist for 24 hours. If a necrotic wound is not removed before 24 hours have passed, the affected target must attempt another Fortitude save at the original DC. A successful save negates the curse. A failed save causes the effects of necrotic wounds to become permanent. Once permanent, necrotic wounds can only be undone by wish or miracle.
Vent Hatred (Su): By venting her own hatred, a Talon may inflict massive amounts of damage upon targets whenever she channels negative energy. When channeling energy, a Talon of Spite can invoke this form of contempt as part of the same action, increasing the amount of negative energy channeled by one half.
Wrath of the Vengeful Dead (Sp): Drawing upon her hatred of the living, a Talon of Spite can spurn life itself, causing the dead to rise. As a standard action, a Talon of Spite can transform a corpse within 30 feet into an unliving creature. At 2nd level or higher, a Talon can create a ghoul. At 4th level or higher, a Talon can create a Ghast. At 6th level or higher, a Talon can create a shadow. At 8th or higher, a Talon can create a morgh, while at 10th level or higher, she can use this ability to create a devourer. Unlike create undead and similar effects, undead created by wrath of the vengeful dead are automatically under the command of the Talon who animated them; however, such undead still count against the total HD of undead a Talon can control. Unless commanded otherwise, undead created by this contempt attack the nearest living creature. Wrath of the vengeful dead functions as a 6th level spell and is a necromantic effect.
Defile Victim (Su): A Talon of Spite of 2nd level gains the ability to defile her victims; death no longer provides an escape from the hatred of a Talon of Spite. Accordingly, any being slain by a Talon of Spites physical attacks or spells arises from the dead as a corpse creature under the control of its killer if the Talon of Spite wills it. A defiled victim counts towards the Talon of Spite's total HD of undead she can control. If a newly created defiled victim causes a Talon of Spite to exceed this limit, the recently created corpse creature remains under her control, and excess undead from other sources become uncontrolled (the Talon chooses which creatures are released). In the event that a defiled victims HD is above a Talon of Spites ability to command, the defiled victim arises as a free-willed undead..
Greater Defiling (Su): When a Talon of Spite reaches 5th level, she becomes capable of greater defiling. Whenever an opponent of the Talon of Spite strikes a defiled victim with either a melee weapon or a natural attack, the opponent must make a Will save or suffer a -1 penalty for every two class levels the Talon possesses (up to a maximum of 5) on all saving throws against the Talon's necromancy spells or spell-like effects. This penalty lasts for one round per class level the Talon of Spite possesses. The save DC is 10 + 1/2 character level + Talons primary spellcasting ability modifier (Intelligence for wizards, Charisma for sorcerers and warlocks, Wisdom for clerics, and so forth).
Halo of Blood (Su): Starting at 10th level, a Talon of Spite can utter an oath of hatred so perverse and vitriolic that Orcus himself 'blesses' his thrall with power to slay her most hated foe. Once per day as a standard action, a Talon of Spite can target a visible opponent within 30 feet. Upon speaking the target's name and swearing before the Lord of Spite to kill the targeted creature, the Talon of Spite becomes bathed in a blood-red light that emanates from a ghostly crown of ram's horns that menacingly floats above her head.
Empowered by this halo of blood, a Talon gains several benefits which persist for as long as the Talon continues to attack the target of her oath to the exclusion of all other foes. Foregoing an attack or attacking another opponent causes the sinister halo to disappear and the effect to end. Otherwise, the halo of blood lasts for 1 round per class level. During this time, any successful melee attack made by the Talon, or by one of the Talon's controlled undead, against the victim of the oath automatically bypasses any damage reduction and regeneration that the creature possesses. In addition, all necromantic spells and spell-like effects used by the Talon are automatically empowered, extended, and widened.
If the Talon successfully slays the target of her oath, she is rewarded by her foul patron, gaining a +1 bonus to caster level when casting necromancy spells. This bonus lasts for 1 hour for each HD of the slain creature. Regardless of the number of times this ability is successfully invoked, a Talon can never accumulate more than a +6 bonus.
However, a Talon that fails to slay the object of her oath during the duration of the halo, or causes the halo of blood to prematurely end, draws the wrath of The Goat himself. A victim of this wrath is wracked with a terrible rotting disease which slowly threatens to consume both flesh and soul. So infected by Orcus' displeasure, the Talon is unable to be healed by any means, regardless if the source of healing is a spell, item, or innate quality such as fast healing. Moreover, each day, a victim of this curse suffers a cumulative -2 penalty to each of her ability scores. The only way to remove this curse is to slay the target of her original oath. While a Talon who successfully fulfills her oath is once again able to heal and is free of the penalty to her ability scores, she does not gain the +1 bonus to caster level.
The Epic Talon of Spite
The Epic Talon of Spite has typically risen to the apex of power within an Orcus-cult through a combination of cunning, sheer destructive power, and might in both creating and controlling the undead. More often than not, her undead victims are created from those that stood in the way of her own ascent to power. Although there is no single path that epic Talons of Spite generally follow, some of the most infamous among them have preferred to build vast undead armies in order to utterly destroy the objects of their loathing and the living, taking feats that augment their power such as Undead Mastery.
Other Talons of Spite,
particularly those that were more obsessed with necromancy for selfish ends,
take up undeath and extend their power in other directions entirely. This
can include devising epic spells to augment or build necropoli of their own
or strengthening their already formidable prowess in destructive spellcasting.
In some of these cases, they use epic spells in particular that are devised
to bring them back from their mortal death in the form of a particular type
of undead. Talons of this type also take feats that are useful for undead creatures in general, such as Unholy Grace or Unholy Toughness.
|The Epic Talon of Spite|
|11th||+1 level of existing spellcasting class|
|12th||+1 level of existing spellcasting class|
|13th||+1 level of existing spellcasting class|
|14th||Bonus feat||+1 level of existing spellcasting class|
|15th||+1 level of existing spellcasting class|
|16th||+1 level of existing spellcasting class|
|17th||+1 level of existing spellcasting class|
|18th||Bonus feat||+1 level of existing spellcasting class|
|19th||+1 level of existing spellcasting class|
|20th||+1 level of existing spellcasting class|
Spells Per Day: The epic Talon of Spites caster level increases by 1 per level gained above 10th. The epic Talon of Spite continues to gain new spells per day (and spells known, if applicable) at each new level, up to the maximum spells per day and spells known of the spellcasting class to which the Talon belonged before adding the prestige class.
If a character had more than one spellcasting class before he became a Talon of Spite, she must decide to which class she adds each level of Talon of Spite for the purpose of determining spells per day.
Bonus Feats: The epic Talon of Spite gains a bonus feat (selected from the list of epic Talon of Spite bonus feats) every four levels beyond 10th. An epic Talon of Spite may also choose a nonepic feat that augments or manipulates the undead or an additional form of contempt in the place of a bonus epic feat.
Epic Talon of Spite Bonus Feat List: Automatic Vile Spell, Epic Evil Brand, Epic Necromantic Might, Epic Spell Focus, Epic spell penetration, Epic Spellcasting, Greater Necrotic Wound, Improved Combat Casting, Lethal Invective, Negative Energy Burst, No Rest In Death, Planar Turning, Potent Invective, Profane Energy Burst, Undead Mastery, Vicious Maiming, Zone Of Animation, Vile Deathstrike.
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