Sunday, August 9, 2020

GLOG Class: Raven Master


So an old man has been whispering things into my ears lately and I have come to the conclusion that he wants me to turn him into a GLoG class. This is the result.

The old man in question.

Class: Raven Master
One of your human arms has been replaced by a demonic talon of mysterious origin. Ravens follow you everywhere, filling your ears with whispers of conquest and terrible secrets.

Perk: ravens and black feathered birds are attracted to you and obey your commands (they can only do bird things though, like resting on your shoulder or cawing insidiously).
Drawback: people at death's door or that have lived through a near-death experience know what you are and despise you for it. Common animals such as pets and cattle are visibly distressed around you.

How did you lose your arm?
1. In the battlefield, severed by a rival general. Although the battle was won thanks to your sacrifice, you were removed from service shortly after. Gain a worn commendation badge and a 1 silver monthly stipend.
2. In a hunting accident. The trap should’ve been disarmed, but it wasn’t. Gain a lingering grudge and a bloodstained bear trap.
3. As punishment for a crime you didn’t commit. The culprit is still out there, their arms intact. Gain a tattered robe and a blind dog.
4. A rare degenerative disease that manifests itself every third generation. Your wealth and aristocratic background paid for the best surgeon available. Gain a fancy sword cane (1d6) and a plotting relative.
5. A failed experiment. You were promptly discarded with a perfunctory apology when your body rejected the magitech augmentation. Gain a robust biology (+4 vs mutations) and disdain for doctors (+2 to hostile actions vs medicine people).
6. A successful ritual. Your arm was the sacrifice. What emerged from the blood pool slaughtered everyone except you. Gain a black robe and recurring nightmares (1 in 6 of not benefiting from rest and gaining a Secret instead).

How did you get your demonic arm?
1. An experiment. They promised to make you whole again. When you woke up, a flock of six-eyed ravens was nibbling on their mutilated corpses. Starting Gift: Ravenous Flock.
2. A gamble. A stranger in the Vice Dens was only too eager to get rid of some ancient relic. Luck was on your side that night… or was it? Starting Gift: Forge Fate.
3. A deathbed pact. A six-eyed raven visited you in a feverish dream. Whispers of conquest filled your ears as it pecked at your exposed stump. When you opened your eyes, you were whole again. Starting Gift: The Raven Dreams. 
4. An inheritance. A nondescript envelope, a last will, a key to a lost crypt. When you emerged from the dark archway, you were restored… but changed. Starting Gift: Wings of Empire.
5. A gate to the Immortal Bastion. Deep in the Halls of Death, you fought a demon and conquered it… but did you? Starting Gift: Immortal Passage.
6. A prize. You bested its previous owner and brutally claimed the arm as your own. Starting Gift: Reaper of Sorrow.

What does your demonic arm look like?
1. An oversized monstrous claw, covered in crimson, blood-soaked feathers. You have +4 Strength with your demonic arm and your claw attack deals 1d10 damage. Fine manipulation, however, is out of the question (you can clumsily open doors and climb ladders, but you can’t shoot a bow or play the harpsichord).
2. A cadaverous talon. Patches of parched skin surface in a decrepit mantle of wispy plumage. Your bony claw is weak and arthritic (1d3 damage, -4 Strength with this arm) but is anathema to life (3d6 damage vs children or targets with full HP). Your feathers ruffle when there are undead nearby.
3. An atrophied mess of a curled claw. Your attacks deal 1d6 bludgeoning damage (stun on a 6) and you can use your atrophied claw to knock down doors. Your left hand is non-functional in any other aspect.
4. A ghostly talon of scarlet brilliance. Your demonic arm exists only partially. Your arm radiates a ruby glow that illuminates as a torch and outlines invisible entities. Your attacks deal 1d6 damage (ignores Defense from armor) and can affect intangible entities such as spirits and extradimensional beings normally, but you must save to interact with the physical world with your claw.
5. Your talon looks very much like a human hand and there’s a mesmerizing purple sheen to your feathers that most creatures find fascinating. You must spend a Secret to rake a creature with your claw (1d6), but your claw attacks always deal cryptic damage. Additionally, you can charm a creature once per day by displaying your wondrous feathers (save negates). While under your influence, they will treat you like a trusted ally until the next dusk or until you or your allies harm them. This may not work with creatures you have harmed before.
6. Your claw glows with a pulsating blood-red hue and it is covered in ghostly crimson feathers. Your claw attacks deal 1d6 slashing damage and cause bleeding on a 6 (creature loses 1 HP per turn until they save). 

Victor Maury

Raven Master Templates
A. Demonic Arm, Secrets, Roll 1 Gift
B. Nevermove, Choose 1 Gift
C. Visions of Empire, Roll 1 Gift, Choose 1 Gift
D. Lingering Secrets, Choose 2 gifts

Demonic Arm
“The outcome was decided when they brought an army, and I brought a demon.”
Your left arm belonged to a demon once. You can imbue your demonic arm attacks with one of the following effects for every Secret you spend:
  • Gain +1 Attack and +1 damage and step up your damage die on your next attack.
  • Your attack deals cryptic damage (cryptic damage ignores DR and immunities, attempts to identify its wounds always yields inconclusive results).
  • You heal HP equal to the damage dealt.
Your arm is HIGHLY conspicuous and marks you as a cursed being in the eyes of most creatures, although some people may recognize it for what it is: the price of power.

“When their lives flash before their eyes so do their secrets.”
Six-eyed ravens follow you everywhere, watching your every move. When you kill a creature, you gain a Secret. You can spend Secrets to boost your demonic gifts and activate other abilities. Secrets work pretty much like Magic Dice: when you spend any amount of Secrets, you must roll that many d6 even if the gift you are powering doesn’t require a roll. Secrets are ALWAYS spent regardless of the result. If you roll any doubles, check the Terrible Insight table. You can know up to 6 Secrets at any given time.

You can force a creature within sight to stop all movement by stretching your demonic arm and curling your talons into a clutch. Target creature is rooted in place until you release your clutch, move or are otherwise disturbed (taking damage might require a Constitution test or something to keep your clutch from breaking). Huge or extraordinarily powerful creatures get a Strength check to break free from your clutch. While under your influence, you can rip a Secret from your victim, dealing 1d6 damage in the process (Wisdom negates). This breaks your clutch.

You can only do this ONCE per creature. Once they have broken free from your influence, you cannot subdue them with your clutch ever again.

Visions of Empire
“What have the ravens brought me?”
Every dawn, your ravens whisper 1d3 Secrets into your ears.

Lingering Secrets
Secrets are only spent on a result of 4, 5 or 6.

Gifts of the Raven Master 
The flock.

1. Ravenous Flock 
“After the battle, the ravens feast.” 
Your ravens can devour a human sized corpse in under a minute (bigger creatures may require more time), mutilating the body and making identification impossible. You regain HP equal to the HD of the creature devoured. Additionally, you can spend Secrets to command your flock to circle you like a black feathered storm, obscuring vision and protecting you. Attacks made through the swarm have disadvantage and anyone trying to cross the swarming flock takes 1d6 damage as the ravens lash at them with ravenous beaks and sharp talons. You can shelter [Secrets] additional creatures. The flock circles you for [Best] rounds, after which it disperses.

2. Reaper of sorrow
“Death is its own prophecy.”
You can now harvest Secrets from creatures that die in your presence, even if they weren’t slain by your hand. When a creature dies by your hand, you can ask a yes/no question about it.

3. Raven’s Foresight
“I have seen this place. A vision… a battle.”
The ravens told you of this place. You gain +[Template] to initiative. When a battle starts, you can spend a Secret to draw a map of the battlefield, marking the approximate position of every creature and up to 1d3 terrain features (a rock to use as cover, a patch of rotted wood planks, a rope hanging from the ceiling, etc…).

4. Superior Tactics
“A new vantage is all the advantage I need.”
Whenever you enjoy a favorable position against a creature in the battlefield (surprise, elevation, flanking, etc…), your attacks deal 1d6 additional damage to that creature. In addition, you can spend 1 Secret to predict a creature’s next move, which gives you advantage in all your rolls against that creature until your next turn.

5. Death’s Hand
“Try to die with dignity.”
You can release [Secrets] bolts of eldritch power from your demonic hand. Each bolt deals 1d6+1 damage to target creature (no save). You can target more than one creature with multiple bolts.

6. Fear the Raven
“Who is it we’re fighting? I only see their backs.”
You get +2 vs Fear effects. You can spend any number of Secrets to instill fear into the hearts of your enemies, forcing up [sum] HD creatures to make a Morale check or flee from you.

7. The Raven Whispers
“A voice whispers in the shadows, though few can hear it.”
You can whisper into someone’s ears as though you were standing next to them as long as they remain within sight. In addition, you can consume 1 Secret to have a raven deliver a message to anyone you have ever talked to or seen. The raven will then bring the answer to you, if there is any.

8. By my will
“The right to rule, held in my hand.”
You gain +2 to your persuasion and intimidation rolls when you interact with individuals of a lesser rank or social standing. Additionally, you can issue irresistible commands to avian creatures or individuals that share a language with you. Your command can consist of up to [Secrets] words and can affect up to [Secrets] targets (Save negates).

9. Forge Fate
“They expect me to play fairly. We aren’t even playing the same game.”
Once per day, you can reroll any of your rolls. You can spend a Secret to force a creature to reroll any of their rolls. You choose what dice to keep.

10. Wings of Empire
“The shadows of our empire are cast by a raven’s wings.”
Your shadow elongates and expands, the edges of its ravenlike wings sharpened by myriad feathers. You can choose to spread or fold your shadow wings at any time. When spread, they can reach up to [Template]*10 feet in any direction (peasants and laypeople find this terrifying). Enemies that fight under your shadow have disadvantage to their Morale rolls. You can spend Secrets to affect a creature within your shadow in the following ways:
  • Obscuring Shadows. Reduce incoming damage by [sum].
  • Whispering Doubt. Impose a [sum] penalty on a creature’s next roll.
  • Ravenous Wings. Snuff out any number of light sources within your shadow, magical or otherwise.
11. Spying Flock
“You would do well to die before my ravens find you.”
You can see and hear through your ravens and black-feathered creatures but you are defenseless while you do this. You can spend a Secret to command one of your ravens to scout an area or find a creature. You must have seen that creature at least once or feed your ravens a piece of memorabilia belonging to said creature.

12. Raven Politics
“Diplomacy is a subtle art.”
You gain +2 to your persuasion rolls when interacting with the nobility or high standing individuals. If you spend at least one minute talking to someone, you can learn one of the following for every Secret you spend: their worst fear, their greatest regret, their major vanity or their most shameful secret.

13. Six-Eyed Flock
“I will not tolerate interference.”
Your ravens remain constantly alert for unwanted intrusions. You cannot be surprised, even while asleep. Additionally, you can spend Secrets to command one of your ravens to guard a place and alert you when a specific condition is met, at which point they will start cawing madly (you hear their call, regardless of distance). The more Secrets you spend, the longer your ravens will guard the place (1 Secret -> 1 day, 2 Secrets -> 6 days, 3 secrets -> 66 days, 4 Secrets -> 666 days).

14. Helping Beak
“A one-armed man needs all the help he can get.”
You can ask one of your ravens to keep one object for you. You can store anything in this slot as long as it could be feasibly carried in a raven’s beak, such as a small dagger, a flask, a key or a ring (you essentially have an additional inventory slot for small items). This is considered a fast inventory slot. Additionally, you can ask your ravens to keep additional items for you regardless of size by spending a Secret for every one of the item’s inventory slots. You can later access these items by spending an additional Secret. Items kept by your ravens cannot be traced by magical or physical means.

15. Battlemancy
“To redraw the map, the blood of soldiers must be the ink.”
When a creature fails a save or dies, you or one of your allies can move towards an enemy. In addition, you can spend Secrets to command one of your allies to perform a basic attack with [Secrets] bonus to their Attack and damage roll against a creature of your choice.

16. Still Shadow
“Fear the power you do not see.”
You are undetectable as long as you stand completely still in any amount of shadow (you can do this for Constitution rounds, after that you must make a Con check every turn to remain still). You can take an action without giving away your position if you spend a Secret as part of that action.

17. Undying Flock
“Am I reborn? The truth is rarely so simple.”
When you take enough damage to kill you, your body collapses into a flock of 1d6+1 cawing ravens that quickly scatters away. Each raven has 1HP and can be attacked normally. The flock gathers 6 days later in the same spot around your naked, emaciated body. For every Secret you spend, choose one from the following list:
  • Add 1d6+1 additional ravens to the fleeing flock.
  • Roll a d6. If the result is less than 6, the flock reforms in that many days.
  • The flock reforms in place of your choosing that you or your ravens have previously visited.
You lose 1 Constitution permanently every time you undergo this process.

18. Immortal Passage
“I have already walked the halls of death, in the Immortal Bastion.”
You can enter the Immortal Bastion and navigate its dark halls to travel vast distances in a matter of hours. To do so you must first find a sufficiently obscured threshold, such as a closed door, a shadowy archway or a dark cave entrance, then spend any amount of Secrets to turn that threshold into a pathway to the Immortal Bastion. The number of Secrets spent determines the distance travelled: 1 Secret-> 1 day worth of overland travel, 2 Secrets-> 6 days, 3 Secrets-> 33 days, 4 Secrets-> 66 days, 5 or more-> Anywhere. At the end of the journey you emerge into the overworld through a sufficiently obscured threshold such as the ones mentioned above. Walking the halls of the Immortal Bastion entails its own risks (see Traversing the Immortal Bastion below).

19. The Raven dreams
“I often kill in my visions. When I close my eyes, do not come near.”
Once a day, you can choose to enter a meditative trance to receive visions of things to come. If you do, roll on the following table 1+[Secrets] times and pick one of the results:
1. Endless flock. A raven perched atop every branch. A raven behind every window. They are watching you. And they will keep doing so, always. Gain 1 Secret.
2. Carnage. A battle. Weapons clash, splashes of red. Whose blood is it? The GM tosses a coin in secret and records the result. Heads: your next Attack is a critical hit. Tails: your next Defense roll is a fumble.
3. Present. Serrated beaks prod deadened flesh. A curious brightness surfaces. When you open your left palm after the trance, you find 1) a polished silver coin 2) an eye made of glass (reveals spirits and invisible creatures, breaks after one use) 3) a burnished, nondescript key (it opens the next locked door you encounter), 4) a raven’s skull made of fogged glass (if you break it, a flock of ghostly ravens swarm the area, obscuring vision and cawing madly) 5) a feather made of polished onyx (a pair of decrepit raven wings form on your back when you swallow it, allowing you to cross short chasms or reach high places) 6) A handful of whispers (gain 1d3 Secrets).
4. Portent. Echoes of discarded futures roam the halls of the Immortal Bastion. They are yours, if you take them. Roll 2d20 and note the results. Until the next dawn, you can replace any d20 roll with one of your portents.
5. The Raven King’s Servants. Talons grind the floor; ancient wood supports knobby hands. On the edge of the scythe lays a question. Beneath the many folded robes, a twisted spine wonders. 1d3 corvid servants shuffle about in this empty hall. They will offer you a new gift if you give them a Secret. They will claim it back the next dusk. If you kill them, the gift is permanent.
6. Audience. An endless line of penitents coils and serpents within the halls. At the end, the Raven King awaits. You are number 333 in the queue. Every time you get this result, your position in the queue moves up by 1d6. You can feed secrets to the corvid servants that tend the line to have them sneak you up [sum] positions in the queue. When you get to the head of the queue, the Raven King will grant you an audience.

20. The Raven knows
“Prepare, and victory is inevitable.”
Learn two of the following skills: History, Tactics, Philosophy, Cartography, Heraldry, Weather Forecast. Once a day, you can ask your ravens a question related to a topic you are familiar with. There is a [template]-in-6 chance that they will whisper a truthful answer into your ear, as long as it could've been feasibly found through extensive research and thorough investigation (basically, this is like having a hotline to the nearest library). You can roll an additional d6 for every Secret you spend. If you get doubles, your question is answered regardless of the result.

Wings of Empire

Terrible Insights
Roll on this table when you get any doubles when rolling Secrets. After suffering from one of the insights, treat that result as a reroll. Once you have experienced all six terrible insights, unleash a Fate of the Raven Master and reset this table’s results.

1. Ravens without end fill your sight. They sit still, their six-eyed gaze fixed on a darkened sky. Something stirs just above ominous clouds. Blind for 1d6 rounds as the vision overwhelms your senses.
2. A thousand thousand ravens take flight. The greying earth trembles in anticipation. Silence seeps through widening cracks. Lose all your Secrets. You can’t learn new Secrets until the next dusk.
3. A slumbering sky awakes. Leaden clouds shed millennia old memories. A deafening bang. A random creature within sight (this includes you) is struck by a black lightning bolt crashing from the sky and suffers [Secrets]d6 damage. If you are the one struck, you gain Secrets equal to the damage suffered.
4. The earth shatters. Darkness pours through the cracks. A storm of black feathers. Creatures in a [Secrets]*10’ radius must save or fall prone. Vision becomes obscured by the whirling feathers for 1d6 rounds.
5. Six times six hundred and sixty-six ravens intone a furious dirge. Whispers of conquests pierce through the madness. Silence follows. Every creature within shouting distance must save or become confused for 1d6 rounds (treat enemies as allies and allies as enemies). Whenever a confused creature harms an ally, they get a new save.
6. Obsidian towers like raven claws rake the sky with spite. The Immortal Bastion towers above all... and its gates are open. The ground beneath your feet curls into ravenous talons, claiming back what is theirs. You wander the Halls of Death for 1d6 hours. When the earth spits you back, you have only a faint recollection of what you saw. Roll a new gift. The gift vanishes after 6 days.

Fates of the Raven Master
1. Your back arches forward and you grow a pair of decrepit black-feathered wings. They are too weak to allow flight, but you could, for example glide safely to the ground or cross a chasm. Whenever you use your wings, you leave behind a trail of ruffled feathers. You can hold 1 additional Secret.
2. Your transformation worsens. Your human arm turns into its demonic counterpart (roll on the How does your demonic arm look like? table). If for some reason you were missing that arm, you simply grow a new one. Roll a gift.
3. You turn into a corvid servant, forever doomed to wander the Halls of Death in the Immortal Bastion. You flee into the night as soon as you have the chance, cawing madly, thrashing your decrepit wings, never to be seen again in the surface world.

You can avoid the last fate by pleading your case in an audience with the Raven King or usurping his throne.
The Raven King

Notes on the Raven Master
This is my first attempt ever at anything GLoG. My initial intention was to create a wizard, but as usual things spiraled out of control very quickly and this came up instead. As a result, this shit is probably extremely unbalanced and its capabilities very likely lack a clear focus. Mostly every gift of the Raven Master has been inspired by a quote of the original character, which has been immensely helpful in weaving a coherent class theme. I have tried to focus on the tactician aspect of the source material while developing its scheming side through the use of ravens as exploration tools and such.

I find it very hard to make every single choice as meaningful and flavorful as possible without overloading the class’s kit. I believe it can feel too crammed and detail focused, but perhaps this is me contemplating the more than 38 unique options this class provides as a whole rather than looking at the actual experience of play. After all, the player will only have to deal with a few of these options at a time. 

In any case, I am finally done with this. The upcoming post will most likely deal with the Immortal Bastion and its denizens and how to traverse the Halls of Death. I will try not to write a fucking dissertation again, but I can’t promise anything.

Whatever your opinion, please let me know about it in the comments! Suggestions are also welcome!

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