Ancient Ones

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DragoonWraith · talk · 22:34, 8 October 2010 (UTC)
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Contents

The Ancient Ones are each eldritch abominations from the Far Realms, from beyond our very reality, and it is utterly unclear whether they seek our world's domination or destruction - nothing in the devious plotting of the Ancients is within the grasp of the mortal mind. Even deities struggle to comprehend the schemes of the Ancients, as the Ancients, from without our reality, are older than the gods themselves - older than our entire multiverse.

Chattur'gha, Ulyaoth, and Xel'lotath have been locked in eternal combat for a time that would be best measured in multiples of our universe's life time. The ultimate goal of each is unknown and unknowable, but undoubtedly nothing that all but the most nihilistic of creatures could possibly desire. Whether our world would be dominated or simply destroyed, the Ancient Ones are anathema to all existence.

Their first priority has always to gain supremacy among themselves, at which point nothing can stand in their way. For aeons they were locked in stalemate, each unable to attack either of the others for fear of leaving themselves vulnerable to the third. It is unknown how long this went on, until they stumbled across our reality and used it as yet another battle ground. So it was, until a fourth Ancient - until this time apparently uninterested in their schemes, content to dwell upon the Material and bask in the worship of the primitive peoples that existed in those days - enacted a surprise attack on all three, sealing them away in nonexistence, leaving only Vestigial traces of them. And so it was that Mantorok, the Corpse God of Chaos, sealed away Chattur'gha, Ulyaoth, and Xel'lotath. So it was that another Ancient - another unknowable monstrosity of flesh and madness, another anathema to our very existence - became the Gatekeeper, the greatest protection reality has against the ravages of the Ancients.

The Three do not rest, however. Mantorok grows old and weak, and Chattur'gha, Ulyaoth, and Xel'lotath seek out pawns among the willing and unwilling, enacting excruciatingly long-term plans, chess moves that stretch across millennia, conniving for their release, the punishment of the Corpse God, and the ultimate destruction of all that stands in their way.

So it is that Binders, practitioners of the dangerous Pact Magic, can seek out the powers of the Ancient Ones. The Ancient Ones will enter into Pacts far more easily than beings of their power typically would - but they have no interest whatsoever in the survival of those they deal with. All are merely pawns for the Ancients. They can be an easy source of power but one cannot help but be manipulated by them. Not even Divine intelligence can match their scheming.

CHATTUR'GHA, STRENGTH BEYOND THE STARS

ChatturghaVestige.png

Chattur'gha is the strongest of the Ancient Ones, a great world-destroying beast of unfathomable might. This Ancient can grant Binders incredible martial skill, using the powers of the Far Realms themselves.

Legend

Of the three Ancients, Chattur'gha epitomizes brute strength. He is strong, vigorous, and above all, hungry. Ulyaoth's arcane magics could be his undoing, but Xel'lotath's tricks hold no ground over his relatively straightforward mind - he will have what he wishes.

Of the three, he is probably the weakest of the schemers - but that still makes him more cunning than even trickster gods, much less mortals.

Special Requirement

The Ancients care very little for anything other than each other - the remaining Ancients are the only things standing in their way. For this reason, Chattur'gha will never enter into a Pact with anyone bound to any of the other Ancients, nor to anyone who would seek to protect the Gatekeeper. Further, since Xel'lotath will enter into Pacts with one already bound to Chattur'gha or Ulyaoth, it must be mentioned that doing so will cause considerable animosity between Chattur'gha and the Binder - each time this is done, the DC required to resist Chattur'gha's influence increases by +5, and this increase stacks with itself.

Chattur'gha also demands his Binders have the necessary strength to do his will. A Binder must have at least 18 Strength at the time of the binding in order to succeed.

Manifestation

Chattur'gha's seal glows red, and it appears as if it has become a gate to hell itself - flames leap from the circle. Enormous armored claws, like a monstrous crab, reach out of the circle, and pull Chattur'gha's red-plated manifestation from the whole. He speaks in a deep, threatening voice, and is extremely direct in the Pact negotiation. He has no patience for mortals, and is short tempered. Nonetheless, anyone strong enough to be useful to him should have little trouble binding him, and his influence is not difficult to resist - he is quite capable of getting what he wants merely by ensuring his power is available in the world, and has no use for riding on the experiences of mortals.

Sign

Binding Chattur'gha causes your muscles to bulge, stretching the limits of what your race could possibly achieve in muscle mass. Your arms and shoulders also become covered in red chitinous plates, reminiscent of Chattur'gha's own crustacean-like armature.

Influence

Chattur'gha forces those bound to him to think as he does - straightforward, with violence always a ready option. Deception, diplomacy, and negotiation are to Chattur'gha wastes of time, and those under his influence cannot use the Bluff or Diplomacy skills, and cannot even attempt to Intimidate creatures more than once per hour - if someone will not give Chattur'gha what he wants, he will take it by force.

Further, Chattur'gha will not allow a Binder in a Pact with him to attempt to call upon any of the other Ancients. Even trying to do so is considered breaking his Influence, regardless of whether or not the Binder succeeds (thanks to the Ignore Special Requirements feat or to Xel'lotath's whims).

Granted Abilities

Chattur'gha grants you great martial prowess, including several unique techniques that channels the Ancient One's own unstable reality from the Far Realms.

  • Heavy Armor Proficiency:
    Being bound to Chattur'gha grants proficiency in Medium and Heavy Armor.
  • Initiator of the Far Realms:
    Those bound to Chattur'gha can initiate maneuvers from the Far Realms discipline, using their Binder Level in place of their Initiator Level for the purposes of which maneuvers they can choose and the strength of those maneuvers that rely on Initiator Level. The Binder chooses a number of maneuvers as his maneuvers known for the duration of the Pact upon its completion, and can ready a number of them as normal for any Martial Initiator. Like any other Initiator, the binder must meet the requirements for learning various of these Far Realms maneuvers, which means enough of the maneuvers must be low level in order to qualify for the higher level ones.
    Binder Level Maneuvers Known Maneuvers Readied Stances
    10th-11th 5 3 1
    12th-13th 6 3 1
    14th-15th 7 4 1
    16th-17th 8 4 2
    18th-19th 9 5 2
    20th+ 10 5 2

    Any of these maneuvers used by the Binder is recovered automatically as a free action 5 rounds after it has been used. They are all supernatural effects.

    These maneuvers and initiator level are associated with the binder's Pact-making class. If a multiclass binder has levels in any Maneuver-initiating class, those maneuvers and Initiator Level are separate from these, just as when a character multiclasses more than one Martial Adept class.
  • Strength Beyond the Stars:
    Chattur'gha makes those bound to him strong, very strong. Those showing his sign gain a +2 bonus to Strength, and DR 6/Lawful.
  • Weapon Proficiency:
    Being bound to Chattur'gha grants proficiency in all Martial Weapons.

ULYAOTH, THE KNOWLEDGE BEYOND THE VEIL

UlyaothVestige.png

Ulyaoth is the smartest of the Ancient Ones, the keeper of stores of knowledge that dwarf even those of gods of knowledge. Ulyaoth can very aptly demonstrate to those bound to him that knowledge is power.

Legend

Of the three Ancients, Ulyaoth epitomizes careful strategy and mystical mastery. His endless array of magic spells and mystical power means he always has an answer for Chattur'gha's brutality, but Xel'lotath's whispers could unravel even his mighty mind.

Of the three, Ulyaoth is most prone to long-term planning - which is a statement of incredible significance, when even the relatively simple-minded Chattur'gha enacts plans that last for millennia. However, he does have a tendency to assume his own plans are perfect - adapting on the short-term is not something he does well, by the standards of the other Ancients. No mortal, or even deity, would likely be able to catch him off-guard, though.

Special Requirement

The Ancients care very little for anything other than each other - the remaining Ancients are the only things standing in their way. For this reason, Ulyaoth will never enter into a Pact with anyone bound to any of the other Ancients, nor to anyone who would seek to protect the Gatekeeper. Further, since Xel'lotath will enter into Pacts with one already bound to Chattur'gha or Ulyaoth, it must be mentioned that doing so will cause considerable animosity between Ulyaoth and the Binder - each time this is done, the DC required to resist Ulyaoth's influence increases by +5, and this increase stacks with itself.

Ulyaoth also demands his Binders have the necessary intellect to do his will. A Binder must have at least 18 Intelligence at the time of the binding in order to succeed.

Manifestation

A swirling blue vortex appears above the seal, and a bizarre blue creature that looks like nothing so much as an enormous jellyfish passes through. Six spheres of energy circle about the creature's head, and it speaks with a voice of incredible sagacity - and condescension. Most negotiations with Ulyaoth are simple, in that he has already decided how it should be, and there is extremely little any mortal Binder could do to surprise him during negotiations. Knowing how it will go, he does not waste time arguing the point.

Sign

Six spheres of blue energy swirl about your shoulders. These do not do anything, and even pass through solid structures if necessary, but they are very obvious, and each sheds light like a torch.

Influence

Ulyaoth causes his binder to be cool and calculating, giving extremely little concern for anything beyond stark efficiency. Further, nothing is more valuable to Ulyaoth than knowledge - a binder must make every attempt to learn a secret, if he becomes aware of one, and when he encounters a library or other store of knowledge, he must at the least scan the catalogue to be aware of what knowledge is available there, even if he does not actually learn anything there.

Further, Ulyaoth will not allow a Binder in a Pact with him to attempt to call upon any of the other Ancients. Even trying to do so is considered breaking his Influence, regardless of whether or not the Binder succeeds (thanks to the Ignore Special Requirements feat or to Xel'lotath's whims).

Granted Abilities

Ulyaoth grants his binders limited access to his own knowledge, as well as several mystical techniques and powers that originate from the Far Realm.

  • Brains Over Brawn:
    As the Factotum(Dungeonscape) class feature.
  • Lore:
    As the Bardic Knowledge ability, except that the binder uses his Binder Level instead of Bard Levels for determining his bonus on the check.
  • Knowledge Unveiled:
    One bound to Ulyaoth may make any Intelligence-based skill check, even untrained, and enjoys a +5 competence bonus on all such skills.
  • Xenotheurgy:
    One bound to Ulyaoth gains access to one Murmur, with its associated Breaches, as well as a single Disturbance and Incursion that are associated with this Murmur. This Murmur is always active for the duration of the Pact, even if the binder is also a Xenotheurge of some kind and this would put him over his usual limit for active Murmurs.

XEL'LOTATH, THE WHISPERING MADNESS

XellotathVestige.png

Xel'lotath is neither smart nor strong. She is, in point of fact, completely insane. Her hallmarks are unpredictability, cunning, and apparent amusement at all that attempts to stop her. Xel'lotath uses those bound to her in order to spread insanity.

Legend

Of the three Ancients, Xel'lotath epitomizes insanity. All of the Ancients are quite capable of driving mortal men mad, but none take such zeal in madness as Xel'lotath; she is, herself, quite mad. Her unpredictability makes Ulyaoth almost completely incapable of dealing with her, but Chattur'gha always has a ready answer - violence.

Of the three, Xel'lotath is the most unknowable. No one knows if she has long-term plans, or if she's just making it all up as she goes along. Nothing fazes her, nothing appears to disappoint her - she delights in upset plans, even those that seemed to be hers. She is endlessly adaptable.

Special Requirement

Xel'lotath, undoubtedly, hates the other Ancients - she seeks their destruction as much as the other two. But she does not share their unwillingness to enter into Pacts of those bound to the others - those bound to Chattur'gha or Ulyaoth can bind her, and she will delight in the opportunity to taunt them. Those bound to her cannot then call either of the others, however, and binding her while bound to the others causes the Binding DC to resist their influence to be increased permanently by +5, and this increase stacks with itself.

Other than that, Xel'lotath isn't picky. She will enter into Pacts with anyone capable of calling her, but she will work very hard to influence them.

Manifestation

Green sparks and shimmers appear above Xel'lotath's sign, catching the binder's attention, and then fade away - at which point her laughter can be heard behind the binder. Whirling around, he sees Xel'lotath - an enormous serpentine worm, ending in a single enormous eye surrounded by four arms. She speaks with two distinct voices, one pleasant and the other cruel, alternatively praising and insulting the binder. She talks in circles, she talks to herself and she talks in riddles. Negotiating with her is a maze with no apparent exit.

Furthermore, none witnessing the ritual sees or hears anything. The binder appears to stand over the seal, and then spin about and begin talking to himself.

Sign

Those bound to Xel'lotath gain a pair of ghostly arms just below their own. These arms are very faint, easily seen through, though they tint everything behind them green. They have absolutely no physical effect on anything, capable even of passing through solid matter - though the rest of the arm is not visiable on the other side of that matter. These arms generally mimic the arm above them, but not perfectly.

Influence

Xel'lotath seeks to spread madness. One under her influence cannot engage in extensive planning, instead favoring abrupt reaction. Also, should the binder be confronted with an opportunity to cause madness, they must take it - playing upon others' paranoia, spreading misinformation randomly, inciting panic if the opportunity presents itself.

If a Binder enters into a Pact with Chattur'gha or Ulyaoth, Xel'lotath will be delighted at the opportunity to torment them, and will grant the Binder a respite from her influence. Even if the Binder failed his Binding check to resist her Influence, once he creates such a Pact he is no longer under her influence.

Granted Abilities

Xel'lotath gives those bound to her the ability to cause insanity and to take advantage of the entropic energies of the Far Realms.

  • The Monster Within:
    As the Harrowed class feature, except that Will saves are provoked by Xel'lotath's granted abilities, and failure gives Xel'lotath direct control over the binder. One who succeeds on a Binding check to resist her influence gains a +5 bonus on this check.
  • Exultation of Chaos:
    When the binder takes damage from any Chaos-aligned attack or spell with the Chaos descriptor, he must make a save against The Monster Within with a DC of 10 + the damage to be taken. Regardless of his success, he is healed by that amount of damage rather than hurt.
  • Shadowmental Touch:
    As the Harrowed class feature, with the element of the touch chosen when the Pact is made. The touch deals 1d6 damage per three Binder levels, and provokes a Will save from The Monster Within of a DC equal to 10 + the number of d6's thrown for damage.
  • Glimpse the Soul:
    As the Harrowed class feature, except that it provokes a DC 15 Will save from The Monster Within, and the Binder does not gain a +2 bonus to the save.
  • Whispers of Madness:
    Once per 5 rounds, one bound to Xel'lotath may deal 2 Wisdom damage to any single target within line of sight. The target also must make a Will save against The Monster Within (DC set as usual for one of the binder's granted abilities), or Xel'lotath controls the target, causing him to attack randomly. When controlled by Xel'lotath, that target gains all of the benefits of being bound to her, with an effective Binder level equal to its HD. This ability provokes a DC 25 Will save against The Monster Within for the binder, as well.
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