Monday, August 24, 2015

Oath of Reaping

Last time you got to read about my character concept - a man who's been possessed by a demon since childhood. Throughout his life Alistair experienced incidents when the demon was let out and caused great tragedy. This ultimately leads him to attempt the unthinkable, except the demon won't let him die. Alistair is convinced he is unable to die (and in 5e it can be pretty hard), so after receiving a life changing vision he dedicated himself to the god of death in the hopes of earning his eternal rest.

In many campaigns the god of death is evil. It's too cliche for me. Kintaro said he was completely open to his players adding to his homebrew setting. I'm thinking of using a solemn god of death, neutral in alignment, where death is to be respected and undeath is an abomination. He's very similar to Arawn from Fall from Heaven, however he is not crippled by inaction, taking a strong stance on fairness and just punishment. Also, I decided his real name is unknown by mortals (leaving a nice opening for Kintaro to fill with a secret!) and he is only referred to by epithets.

The Reaper
Domain: God of Death, Rest, Endings, and Eternal Peace
Alignment: Lawful Neutral
Symbols & Colors: A scythe, sleep, or a balance with a heart and feather. His color is grey.
Followers: Worship is not a word used for the god of death. The living do not worship the Reaper, but they do respect him. They send offerings with dearly departed loved ones as thanks for the duties born by the Keeper of Souls. It is said the dead find themselves in the court of the Reaper, where their souls are judged and sent to an endless dreamworld. If one's heart is lighter than a feather, the soul will justly rest in pleasant dreams for eternity. If not, they will find themselves in a land of horrific nightmares appropriate to their crimes, as judged by the Reaper. Eventually, when a soul has served its penance it will be allowed to reincarnate and earn a better afterlife. There is no organized religion for worship of the Reaper. He does not care much for what happens in the realm of the living, unless those with necromantic powers or the followers of Entropis grow too powerful. It is said that at times of great need the Reaper will select a champion to restore the natural order.
Known Associations: Enemy of Entropis

Here it is, the Oath of Reaping. 

3rd: feather fall, sleep
5th: gentle repose, protection from poison
9th: speak with dead, water breathing
13th: death ward, phantasmal killer
17th: hallow, reincarnate

3rd - Channel Divinity: Touch of Death, Turn the Unholy

7th - Aura of Grim Determination: You and friendly creatures within 10 feet of you can't be frightened while you are conscious. At 18th level, the range of this aura increases to 30 feet.

15th - Undying Sentinel

20th - Harvester of Souls: You can assume the form of death itself, taking on an appearance you choose. For example, your skin might turn ashen gray and be ice cold to the touch, your face might be veiled in shadow, or your eyes might turn a solid black. Using your action, you undergo a transformation. For 1 minute, you gain the following benefits:
  • At the start of each of your turns, the damage from one attack you make is exclusively changed to necrotic damage. You may decide to convert the damage of an attack after the die is rolled but before the result is revealed.
  • Necrotic damage you deal ignores resistance to necrotic damage, and any creatures with immunity to necrotic damage halve that damage instead of ignoring it.
  • Each time you reduce a creature to 0 hit points, you regain an expended use of Channel Divinity.
Once you use this feature, you can't use it again until you finish a long rest.

My thoughts when putting this together were to put together a spell list that would not only protect its caster from multiple forms of death, but channeling the gentle rest death is supposed to be. For the Paladin's Channel Divinity features, there was nothing better than the Touch of Death. In fact, wanting to play a paladin with this feature was the spark that started me down this road. Turn the Unholy was perfect fit for getting breaking the morale of undead and demonic fiends of the evil decay god in this setting. For the 7th level aura, I referenced the features of the other oaths. The Oath of the Ancients was the inspiration here, as it wasn't much of a stretch taking immunity to charm and going to a fright immunity.
Undying Sentinel was straight copy/paste. It just made too much sense not to put it in. 

Finally, there's Harvester of Souls. It need to be different from the all the other oaths, and to embody the Grim Reaper concept. So I went with an amped up version of Touch of Death. Having one attack each round that can bypass resistance, stack with Touch of Death, reduce immunity to resistance, and recharge your Touch of Death will creature a death dealing monster.

Too powerful? At 20th level, your probably gearing up for a showdown with the BBEG and I'll bet he's not solely banking on his resistance to damage for survival. He's probably smarter than that. A clever BBEG will only have to make it 10 rounds to survive this super damage dealer, even if he sends wave after wave of minions allowing the paladin to max out his necrotic damage with Touch of Death each round. This feature ought to help significantly in epic level battles without stealing the show. Til next time!


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