Friday, March 30, 2007

New Class: Voudin (draft)

Vaudin are a divine caster class, based loosely on voodou practitioners. A male vaudin is called a houngan, and a female one a mambo. Vaudin gain spells from the same list as druids, but not in the same manner. Instead of praying for spells, and casting them as they need them, vaudin must either prepare potions or bind a task spirits. Both of these things are focused on the loa.

A mambo's loa is a powerful spirit that stands as an intermediary between men and God. The mambo serves the loa by bringing it offerings it likes and allowing it to ride her. The loa, in return grants some measure of power to the mambo by imbuing power into her potions and granting her some authority over its children and underlings as task spirits.

In preparing a potion, the mambo prepares a mixture of things that she feels her loa will like. This rocess takes no less than caster level time spell level, in hours. This process can only be sped up with the help of another vaudin, so creation of high level potions necesitates vaudin work together. She then must add something that contains the essence of the person for whom the potion is made. This is easiest with blood, but can also be accomplished with hair, if it is freshly pulled. The potion must then be consumed by the person for whom it was intended before the next moonphase, or it will spoil. For the purposes of this rule, a given phase takes three days to complete. Because of the greater preparation involved, a mambo's potions always have maximum effect. Potions are used for spells that will affect things with souls, such as people, many extraplanar creatures, and the higher order undead. Not that certain mage spells can seperate a person's soul from their body. In these cases, it is much more difficult for the mambo to work magic upon them.

A mambo can also bind task spirits to her. These spirits are capable of perfoming the necesary intercession with the physical and spirit world to bring about spells much faster and with less preparation than the mambo can through potions. They also can be used to hold a spell for duration that is only bounded by the casters endurance and charm. Whenever a mambo gains access to a new spell level, she has the option to seek out a new task spirit. If she finds one and makes an accomodation with him, she can task him to cast any spell of that level or below in a given day. That is the only spell he will cast that day, but he will cast it as often as the caster makes a Diplomacy check DC Spell Level + task spirit HD + number of times he has cast the spell previously today, where the task spirit is considered to have the same number of hit dice as the caster did at the time she bound him. Unlike potions, variable effects listed for spells cast via task spirits are variable, not maximized. Task spirits are for spells that affect plants, animals, and nature. They can also be useful for their knowledge of the planes.

A mambo advances in hit dice, skill points, saves, and feats like a druid. She does not receive an animal companion. She may wear any armor and weild any weapon she chooses, though she does not receive proficiencies beyond those alloted to a druid.

A vaudin receives the following powers:

4th Aspect of Loa 1/day
8th Aspect of Loa 2/day
12th Aspect of Loa 3/day
16th Aspect of Loa 4/day
20th Aspect of Loa 5/day

Aspect of Loa -- When a mambo is being ridden, she takes on the aspect of her loa, while her spirit is being occupied. Since she is not present, she cannot command her tasked spirits, and since her loa is occupied with riding her, he cannot respond to her potions. However, the loa's aspect will grant the powers of its creatures, and some of these are great indeed.

While being ridden, a mambo has one of following:
1) Attack forms, Special attacks, BAB, and Strength of the creature
2) Movement modes and Dexterity of the creature
3) Size, hit dice, and Constitution of the creature
4) Any one category of special quality of the creature

If viewed from the astral plane, the mambo appears to be an axiomatic version of the creature. However, physically her form does not change. If the powers confered upon her would require a physical form change, the mambo behaves as though her form has changed, and the effects are the same as if it has, but without magical vision, the mambo simply appears to be behaving erratically at first blush.

The mambo does not have access to any creature that might be associated with her loa. She instead selects, at the levels she gains this ability or it improves, from the two creatures available to her at that level, or to advance a creature chosen in a previous level. The list of acceptable creatures is specific to the loa. Creatures chosen for a particular power level should have a CR less than or equal to the level at which it becomes available minus 2, although creatures should be advanced to match. Note that different creature types advance at different rates.

Should the mambo elect to a assume the Size, hit dice, and Constitution of the creatre, it is entirely possible that when the loa leaves her, she will have taken more damage than she can survive. In this case, scale the damage so that the mambo has a like proportion of hit points remaining.

Should the mambo elect to assume the attack forms of multiple creatures, she also gains the ability to make the cumulative number of attacks those creatures would get, as a full attack.

Sample Loa -- Brother Jallum

Brother Jallum is a swamp loa, associated in particular with insects, fungus, moss, and other things that grow in profusion. His people strive to make the most use out of any situation, and to have many simple plans so that the loss of any one is no great loss. He is pictured as Mannannan mac Lir, and also as a corpulent man with pale skin and many bulging pockets. Brother Jallum is called upon for healing and self-improvement, as both of these are seen as signs of adaptability, and also in trickery and crime, as he is known to turn any situation to his benifit.

Aspects of Brother Jallum
4th - 2 Stirges (1.5 CR), Giant Ant (2 CR) - fix this
8th - Shambling Mound (6 CR), 2 Phase Spiders (6 CR) - fix this
12th - Treant 15HD (10 CR), Hellwasp Swarm - fix this
16th - Colossal Monstrous Spider (32 HD) (11 CR)
20th - Formians (Special) (CR 18) - fix this

If the mambo assumes the aspect of Formians, she picks an uneven group of Formians that add up to CR 18. She assumes the aspect of the most powerful one, and and assigns the others to willing creatures within range of her Formian hive mind (no matter what benefits of the Formians she takes, the mambo always gains hive mind). These creatures can use their aspects just as if they were vaudin, and had taken that aspec themselves. They also gain the benefit of the hive mind, and at her discression, the mambo can elect to take her turn from the body of one of her vassals, casting spells, moving, or taking attack actions using her own modifiers, but with the body of her vassal. This happens on her initiative, and does not cost the vassal his turn.