Tuesday, 17 November 2009

the pale house

From the ashes of a failed necromantic cabal, this group is a cell of Inferati spawned in the insurrection led by Simkin Lanternon. As Mnemesyx led Lanternon's army, the cabal quietly removed corpses from battlefields.  Mnemesyx sensed them and bade the pretender leave. Lanternon's failure led a trapped Mnemesyx to send nightmares with hints of Abyssal lore to the necromancers.  This dark inspiration led to indiscretion, vengeful heroes culled the grave diggers of necromancy.  Or had they?

Survivors allied in desperation, saving the books.  Using the mortician's trade for respectability, the Pale House formed.  Aspirants were brutally tested as wary necromancers worked in mausoleums.  Mnemesyx sent more nightmares, teasing them with Abyssal magics.  The Pale House bound demons into items, mocking it's imprisonment.  Finally Mnemesyx wrote words of summoning in the dreams of the Magisters Manifest 

Whisper (the grave attendant)
Requires: Unaligned, Evil or Chaotic Evil, Religion skill.
Benefits:  Gain a +1 bonus to Religion checks concerning demons, undead or funeral rites.
A potential whisper is subjected to ordeals with animated corpses and minor demons to deaden their hearts. They learn funerary rites and lore about undead and demons.  Whispers are tasked with being messengers and doing dark deeds for the Pale House for ritual lore.  Loyal and efficient service leads to initiation into the possessed.  Betrayal, assassination and committing atrocity guarantees it.

Possessed (the black-hearted artisan)
Requires: Whisper rank, Evil or Chaotic Evil, Ritual Caster, Arcana skill.
Benefits:  Gain a +2 bonus to Religion checks concerning demons, undead or funeral rites (supersedes bonus gained at previous rank).
Gain access to the following rituals: enchant magic item, magic circle, linked portal, speak with dead.  Other rituals involving necromancy, enchantment and portal magic of 10th level or lower may be available to the possessed rank at the DM's discretion.
The possessed learns how to make basic magic items and the following: amulet of false life, amulet of health, bag of holding, black iron armour, belt of vigour, berserker weapon, deathcut armour, delver's armour, flaming weapon, lifedrinker weapon, lightning weapon, ritual candle, staff of fiery might, terror weapon, vicious weapon.

A potential possessed delves into magical lore and undergo trials to remove any vestige of goodness in their soul.  Once initiated, they learn ritual magics and perform acts of necromancy, enchantment and enabling travel by teleportation circle.  A possessed only has their own power to control one or more whispers and often has to resort to intimidation and violence in handling the more problematic lower ranks.

Magister Manifest (the master of their trade)
Requires: Possessed rank, Chaotic Evil, Iron Will,
Benefits:  Gain a +4 bonus to Religion checks concerning demons, undead or funeral rites (supersedes bonus gained by previous ranks).
Gain access to the following rituals: consult mystic sages, planar portal (Abyss, Shadowfell), shadow walk.  Other rituals involving necromancy, enchantment, commanding immortal creatures and portal magic of 18th level or lower may be available to the magister manifest at the DM's discretion.
A potential magister manifest betrays civilisation, species and the living to command the Abyss and the dead through ritual magics.  The typical magister manifest focusses on experiments, directing both possessed and whisper alike to their goals while testing them by harrowing ordeals.  The magisters are careful to limit contact with society unless they are sure there are no threats.  Then evil truly becomes apparent.

Leaving the Pale House is usually the last act of a former member.   Paranoid sociopathic demonologists and necromancers never forgive or forget.  Supported by followers with access to magic items and undead, the chase is typically brief, behind closed doors and spectacularly violent.  Orcus says nothing but no Pale House member who petitions The Lord of Undeath or joins an Orcus cult has ever survived doing so.

(Inspired by the post Demonic Allegiances at Nevermet Press.)

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