Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Revising the Lifechain

Guide to the Known Galaxy is one of my first Otherverse Games releases. I've held off on re-vamping it because it's an art heavy project that would strain my resources well past the breaking point, and despite the high-powered nature of the Lifechain, everything remains mostly mechanically consistent. Things are poweful and unbalanced, and Lifechain feats are plainly superior to ordinary combat feats, but that was intentional, and fit the theme of cosmic space gods.

However, the other night I did a Pathfinder style revision of the Lifespawn subtype and the Awakened Heritage Lifechain feat. I really needed to do this if I was going to include additional Lifespawn monsters in future releases, and it gives me a spinal cord to build a future Lifechained Feats sourcebook around.

Take a look.

Welcome to the Lifechain
            The Lifechain is a star-spanning (and multiversal) ecosystem that binds mortal life firmly to the primordial gods who created the multiverse. The Lifechain is a web of blood and divine heritage which has touched billions of living worlds and millions of timelines. Lifechained creatures have powers far in excess of their kind. They are planetary champions, conquerors, heroes and messiahs, and they owe their vast gifts to the infusion of a few molecules of ancient, divine DNA.

            All Lifechained creatures share a connection, however tenuous, to Phallus Space and its gods. Some Lifechained creatures are the direct descendants of one of the Third Pantheon’s dieties, and even if they do not know it, can trace their heritage back aeons to the dawn of the Multiverse.

            Others are hereditary royalty, a genetically superior planetary champion whose bloodline has been preserved through gene-treatments and selective incest, in the hopes of breeding a superior creature. Other Lifechains are the products of experimentation and reverse engineering- artificially grafting Lifechained DNA to a humanoid genome, or are products of strange magic that awakens the Lifechained DNA lurking in otherwise ordinary creatures. The most feared and spectacular Lifechains are the monstrous Nemesis Lifesapwn, super-predators which hunt the cosmos in search of Lifechained prey.

            Players might choose to enter the Lifechain by selecting a species with an innate Lifechained heritage (including several of the player species found in Species of the Otherverse, Otherverse Games, 2011). Even if a character comes from a species not normally known for its connection to the Lifechain, that character can choose the Awaken Heritage feat to unlock their divine heritage. Once a Lifechained heritage is unlocked, a character can choose additional Lifechained feats, offering new capabilities, anytime a new feat slot opens up.

            Lifechain feats grant amazing powers. Lifechained creatures can shapeshift into virtually any form, heal wounds that would kill entire platoons of mortals, manipulate energy, unleash primal sorcery, alter molecular structure and reality, and some wield even stranger abilities! However, power comes with a price. A Lifechained creature is easily detected by another Lifechain, and some Lifechained abilities allow a Lifechained hunter to more easily kill his demi-god brothers and sisters. 

The Lifespawn Subtype
            When a character selects the Awakened Heritage feat, described fully below, the character gains the Lifespawn subtype. In addition, the character gains other abilities specific to the Lifechained Bloodline chosen by the player.

Creatures with the Lifespawn subtype are genetically connected to a galaxy spanning eco-system. They are extremely powerful and have a connection to the enigmatic beings that forged the current universe. Creatures with this subtype are often referred to as Lifechained creatures or by the name of their particular genetic lineage, such as Nemesis Lifespawn or Gazelle Lifespawn.

This is an abbreviated treatment of Lifespawn, who are fully described in Guide to the Known Galaxy (Otherverse Games, 2008), and reflects the authors intended revisions to how Lifespawn powers work.

·        Lifespawn receive Darkvision 60 ft and gain the Scent special quality. Lifespawn can sense the distance to and general direction of all other creatures with this subtype within one mile. Some Lifespawn have even greater Lifesense radius.
Location: Senses Format: Darkvision 90 ft, scent, Lifesense 1 mile

·        Lifespawn are immune to non-magical disease and poison.
Location: Immunities Format: Lifechained Immunities

·        Lifespawn have a statistic called a Lifecount, which measures the relative strength of their bloodline. Lifespawn suffer a penalty equal to their Lifecount on saving throws against effects caused by other creatures with this subtype. Immunities to a particular effect, such as poison or disease, does not apply against effects caused by other Lifespawn.
      Location: Weaknesses Format: Lifecount 3

·        Some, but not all Lifespawn, are capable of spaceflight. These Lifespawn gain the No Breath and Greater Starflight special qualities. Lifespawn typically fly as fast as a top of the line military starship; in space, they gain a tactical Fly speed of at least 500 ft (one space scale square).
Location: Special Qualities Format: No Breath, Greater Starflight

Lifechain Feats
            A being who chooses Lifechain abilities becomes something far more than mortal, gaining unearthly powers. Creatures with the Lifespawn subtype also gain a specific Bloodline, a direct connection to one of the primal architects of the Multiverse, that manifests as additional bloodline-specific powers, weaknesses. While many Lifechain feats can be chosen by any Lifespawn, a few are specific to a particular bloodline, and become emblematic of that particular heritage.

Awakened Heritage (Lifechain)
            You are one of the last children of the old gods. Your divine heritage may be limited to a few strands of DNA, passed down through the millennia. You possess incredible power and potential, and are intimately connected to the plots and schemes of The Pantheon.
            Prerequisite: Character level first or gamemaster approval  
            Special: Characters from a species with the Lifespawn subtype can choose Awakened Heritage at any point in their lives, not merely at first level.
            Benefit: You gain the Lifespawn subtype. In addition, you must choose a single Lifechained bloodline from which your powers are derived. Once chosen, this choice of heritage cannot be changed. You gain additional Lifespawn abilities as you increase in level.

            If you wish, you need not declare a bloodline when you first choose this feat. Until you do, you gain only the Lifespawn subtype, but at anytime you can declare a bloodline as a swift action, gaining the attendant powers of a Lifespawn of your level. However, you must declare your bloodline immediately under the following conditions:
  • When encountering any other creature with the Lifespawn subtype
  • Before choosing any other Lifechain feat

Caster Level
Many Lifechained bloodline abilities grant the character access to specific spells as spell-like abilities. Caster level is equal to the Lifespawn’s total character level. The ability score which modifies spell-like abilities of a particular Bloodline is listed. 

The Lifechained Bloodlines
The Choir (CHA)
The Fencers (CHA)
The Gazelles (CHA)
The Genesis (INT)
The Mother (WIS)
The Nemesis (WIS)
The Senate (INT)
The Singular (CHA)  

Bloodline: The Choir (CHA)
            The Choir were bodiless beings of song, light and intellect, who traversed the length and breadth of the Old Multiverse, bringing the voice of the ruled to the Senators. Some were spies, others messengers and representatives, and it was the words and speed of The Choir which allowed the Senate to function at all.
First Level The Lifespawn receives a +2 holy bonus on Fly, Knowledge (history), and Perform (sing) checks. If the Lifespawn possesses 10 or more ranks in any of these skills, the bonus provided is +3 instead.
            The Lifespawn becomes immune to the effects of magical silence. As a move equivalent action, the Lifespawn can sing on behalf of a single allied spellcaster. The allied spellcaster must be within 60 ft of the Lifespawn, and clearly able to hear him. While the Lifespawn sings, the allied spells are all treated as Silent spells, without increasing level or casting time. This ability functions even if the allied spellcaster is a bard, whose spells cannot normally be silenced.

Third Level The Lifespawn gains Sonic Resistance 5, which increases to Sonic Resistance 10 at 10th level, and Sonic Resistance 15 at 15th level, and Sonic Immunity at 18th level.

Ninth Level The Lifespawn gains a breath weapon, usable once per day, plus one additional time per day per four character levels beyond 9th, as a standard action. The breath weapon is a 60 ft line that inflicts 1d8 sonic damage per two character levels (maximum 10d8), with a REF Save for half damage. Damaged targets must succeed at FORT Save or become permanently deafened. The DC for both saves is 10 + ½ the Lifespawn’s level + his CHA modifier.

Bloodline: The Fencers (CHA)
            Warrior gods of living silver and azure light were the last line of defense who protected the ancient council of the gods. Like the Gazelle, they fell in vain battle against the traitorous Singular. Your connection to this bloodline gives you superhuman mastery of all weapons- particularly the elegant lethality of blades.

First Level The Lifespawn gains a +2 insight bonus on Craft (blacksmith), Intimidate and Sleight of Hand checks. If the Lifespawn possesses 10 or more ranks in any of these skills, the bonus provided is +3 instead.

            The Lifespawn is proficient with all Simple and Martial Weapons, and is considered proficient with any Exotic Weapon that inflicts slashing damage after one minute of use in combat.

Third Level When wielding any melee weapon that inflicts Slashing damage, you gain a +1 competence bonus to Armor Class. At 10th level, this increases to +2. Any situation that would cause you to lose your DEX bonus to defense also removes this bonus.

Ninth Level Beginning at 9th level, you can give any Slashing weapon you are wielding the Vorpal quality. You may activate the vorpal quality as a swift action. You may make your weapon Vorpal for a number of rounds equal to 3 + your CHA modifier per day. These rounds need not be consecutive, but must be taken in one round increments.

Bloodline: The Gazelles (CHA)
You are the distant offspring of the gazelle-cyborgs who protected the council of the gods and fell in a futile and heroic final stand against the Singular. Like those long ago cyber-beasts you are a lithe, graceful warrior that does not know the meaning of fear.

First Level The Lifespawn receives a +2 racial bonus on Acrobatics, Knowledge (tactics) and Perception checks. If the Lifespawn possesses 10 or more ranks in any of these skills, the bonus provided is +3 instead.

             The Lifespawn becomes immune to fear effects. If targeted with a fear effect, instead of being affected normally, the Lifespawn receives a +5 ft increase to his base landspeed for one round.

Third Level Once per day, the Lifespawn can declare that he or she automatically succeeds at any single WILL Save, regardless of the DC. The Lifespawn must declare the use of this ability prior to rolling the saving throw.

Ninth Level The Lifespawn can use haste as a spell-like ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + his CHA modifier. If the Lifespawn expends three daily uses of this ability, he can activate haste as a swift action rather than a standard action.

Bloodline: The Genesis (INT)
The offspring of the god of technology and advanced war fighting techniques possess an instinctive bond with and understanding of machines. They are technological savants and genius weapon smiths.

First Level The Lifespawn receive a +2 racial bonus on one Craft skill of Choice, Computer Use and either Drive or Pilot checks, as chosen by the character. If the Lifespawn possesses 10 or more ranks in any of these skills, the bonus provided is +3 instead.

            While touching any ranged weapon with a box magazine or energy cell, the Lifespawn can sacrifice his own Hit Points to partially or completely refill the device’s magazine or energy cell. The Lifespawn suffers 1 HP worth of damage per bullet/charge restored. Using this ability is a free action, and the Lifespawn cannot reduce his HP below 1 HP in this manner.

Third Level As a standard action, the Lifespawn can touch any machine or mechanical device, Construct, robot or cybernetic creature and instantly repair the device. The Lifespawn can restore any number of Hit Points to the touched machine. Each day, the Lifespawn can restore a number of HP to machines equal to her total character level plus her INT modifier. As with lay on hands, this healing can be spread across multiple instances or used to maximum effect in a single use.

            Alternatively, by expending 10 points of healing while touching any non-masterwork weapon or equipment, the Lifespawn can permanently transform the device into a masterwork quality equivalent.

Ninth Level The Lifespawn can temporarily change her type to Construct, gaining Damage Resistance 10/magic and all construct immunities as a swift action. The Lifespawn can remain in Construct form for a number of rounds per day equal to 3 + her INT modifier. These rounds need not be consecutive but must be taken in one round increments.

Bloodline: The Mother (WIS)
The offspring of the goddess of change, chance and sexual reproduction are gifted with a profound understanding of reproductive biology and the chemical underpinnings of emotion.

First Level The Lifespawn receives a +2 insight bonus on Heal, Knowledge (nature), and Sense Motive checks. If the Lifespawn possesses 10 or more ranks in any of these skills, the bonus provided is +3 instead.

            As a full-round action usable once per day, the Lifespawn can touch a willing or helpless humanoid or monstrous humanoid female capable of reproduction and induce a pregnancy. The pregnancy proceeds as normal for the touched creature, and the offspring receives Awakened Heritage as a racial bonus feat and is of The Mother’s bloodline.

Third Level The Lifespawn gains the telepathy 60 ft and truespeech qualities but these special qualities apply only to female creatures. They do not apply to males, nor to genderless creatures.

Ninth Level The Lifespawn may use Cure Disease as a supernatural ability to benefit a humanoid or monstrous humanoid a number of times per day equal to 3 + her WIS modifier. When using this ability to benefit a female humanoid or monstrous humanoid, the Lifespawn can expend three daily uses of this ability to cast Heal instead.

Bloodline: The Nemesis (WIS)
The children of the bastard god of painful evolution, torment and cruel nature are naturalists and dispassionate hunters, coldly precise scientists and feral warriors.
First Level The Lifespawn receives a +2 racial bonus on Intimidate, Handle Animals and Survival checks. If the Lifespawn possesses 10 or more ranks in any of these skills, the bonus provided is +3 instead.
With a successful melee touch attack, the Lifespawn can cause a creature who has successfully made an initial FORT Save against poison or disease within the last round to roll a new FORT Save, at the same bonuses or penalties as the initial save. If this second save fails, the creature is affected by the disease or poison. This ability is usable a number of times per day equal to 3 + the Lifespawn’s WIS modifier.

Third Level At will, as a move-equivalent action, the Lifespawn can deploy a stinger from the center of one of his palms. This stinger functions as a masterwork quality dagger, save that it cannot be disarmed. If sundered, the stinger regenerates completely when the Lifespawn next sleeps or rests.

            The stinger is naturally coated with Nemesis Toxin, a virulent, blackish-green gel that stinks like ammonia and stagnant sea water.

Nemesis Toxin
Type: injury poison
Save: FORT DC 10 + ½ character level + CON modifier
Frequency: 1/round for 6 rounds
Initial Effect: nausea for 1d4 minutes
Secondary Effect: 1d2 CON
Cure: 2 saves

Ninth Level Starting at ninth level, any creature who takes damage from the Lifespawn’s Nemesis Toxin becomes bio-toxic in the extreme. Any creature that makes skin-to-skin contact with the initial victim must succeed at a FORT Save or also contract Nemesis Toxin, as the poison is carried in the victim’s sweat for one hour after the injury.
            Alternatively, rather than rendering the victim bio-toxic, a number of times per day equal to 3 + his WIS modifier, the Lifespawn can instead use the either of the following spell-like abilities on the victim as an immediate action: Bestow Curse or Baleful Polymorph.

Bloodline: The Senators (INT)
Your ancestor was a member of the pan-galactic council ruled wisely and unchallenged during the last eons of the previous Multiverse. Like your murdered and betrayed ancestors, you are a creature of great wisdom and startling diplomatic insight.

First Level The Lifespawn receives a +2 insight bonus on Diplomacy, Knowledge (history) and Knowledge (religion) checkes. If the Lifespawn possesses 10 or more ranks in any of these skills, the bonus provided is +3 instead.

            Once per day, you can shroud yourself in a glowing aura, its hue representing one of the multiple and obscure factions within the ancient Galactic Senate. Your aura is  a single shade of some glittering color: red, white, blue, green, and yellow are the most common, though other shades exist. Activating and maintaining this aura is a full round action. All allies who can see your glowing aura receive a +2 holy bonus on melee attack and damage rolls while within the aura’s radius. This aura has an initial radius of 60 ft, but increases by 5 ft radius per round the aura is maintained. The Lifespawn can maintain this ability indefinitely.

Third Level At will, the Lifespawn can project a bolt of glowing force as a standard action. This forcebolt inflicts 1d6 Force damage (crit 20/x2) and has a 30 ft range increment. The forcebolt’s damage increases to 1d8 at 10th level and 2d6 at 15th level.

Ninth Level While the Lifespawn maintains his glowing aura, all allies within the aura’s area of effect gain Spell Resistance 15. At 15th level, this increases to Spell Resistance 20, and increases to Spell Resistance 25 at 20th level.

Bloodline: The Singular (CHA)
Your divine ancestor is the universe’s first betrayer, a monstrous warrior-king who ascended to absolute power through guile, military force and audacity. Like the Singular, you are a creature of unbridled ambition tempered by intelligence, precision and deliberation.

First Level The Lifespawn receives a +2 profane bonus on Bluff, Intimidate, Knowledge (arcana) checks. If the Lifespawn possesses 10 or more ranks in any of these skills, the bonus provided is +3 instead.

With a successful melee touch attack, the Lifespawn can give the touched creature the flatfooted condition. This condition persists until the touched creature next acts. This ability is usable a number of times per day equal to 3 + the Lifespawn’s INT modifier.

Third Level When you witness a beneficial spell or spell-like ability cast within 30 ft, you can attempt to redirect the spell’s energy to yourself, gaining the benefit and denying it to its intended recipient. If you make a successful opposed caster-level check (your caster level is considered equal to ½ your level even if you are not a caster, or have fewer caster levels), you gain the benefit of the spell and it is negated with regards to its original recipient. You can use this ability as a swift action once per day at 3rd level, and an additional timpe per day per every four levels, to a maximum of 5 uses at 19th level.

Ninth Level If you are damaged by a confirmed critical hit from a creature from the Lifespawn subtype, and survive, you can use lesser geas against your attacker as a spell like ability as an immediate action. At 15th level, you use geas/quest instead.

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