Thursday, December 26, 2013

(Christmas Bonus) Pop Creature - Cathari

Lord President Rassilon, a Time Lord, from the Doctor
Who Christmas Special, the End of Time, Part 1.
This Christmas evening I sat down and watched the Doctor Who Christmas Special, as has been a yearly tradition for me for a long, long time. I'm a big fan of Doctor Who, dating back to my childhood when the mere opening theme would instill me with a perplexing mix of dread and excitement. For those unfamiliar with the property, it's a long-running British sci-fi television show on the BBC that started in 1963 and has been running (with a few notable hiatuses) for 50 years. In fact, the show just celebrated its 50th anniversary this November.

For a long time, a race inspired by the Time Lords of Doctor Who have graced my gaming tables in one form or another. In the spirit of Christmas, and since I'm still operating on a post-Christmas Doctor Who high, I thought I'd share how this race shakes out at my table in Pathfinder for all of you. The cathari are a powerful race (roughly 24 RP by the Advanced Race Guide's charts) and don't fit into all kinds of campaigns. But for GMs interested in emulating a character similar to the Doctor, these might just do the trick.

Cathari (24 RP)

Eons beyond time, before recorded history and the first steps of man on solid land, before the coming of the aboleth, when dragons were young, and the worlds still cooling from the fires of creation existed the cathari. Relegated to myth and legend among the oldest races and gods, they were the first witnesses to the universe, record-keepers and explorers created by a mythic figure now known by their own kind only as the Betrayer. History has forgotten the cathari, their greatest cities are dust in the wind and their legacy lost to the sands of time. A handful of these mythical figures have persisted from the ancient past through machinations unique to each cathari.

Most cathari of the modern age are new examples of their species impossibly born to human parents in spite of the artificial nature of their souls. These new cathari do not have fully formed memories of their empire or its fall, nor do they know how they came about. Instead, these cathari exist hidden among society -- even to themselves. Most newly born cathari do not understand where their dream-like fragments of memory that spand centuries comes from, they merely assume they are human. It is only when they should die and are returned to life by the power of regenesis that they realize they are more than mere humans.

Physical Description
Cathari resemble humans in nearly every way. Only telltale irises of gold set them apart from their human counterparts. Cathari run the same range of height, weight and skin tone of humans, though they are also prone to having stark white hair regardless of age.

The cathari society has been dead longer than most worlds have had intelligent life. What little is speculated about their culture suggests that they began as a benign species of observers and watchers of history led by a cathari emperor and senate. However at some point in their milennial history, their emperor betrayed them in an act that apparently doomed their society to crumbling and eventual collapse after prolonged war. It is speculated that this conflict may have somehow involved the aboleth, as they are legend to be an ancient enemy of the cathari race.

Newly born cathari adopt the societal relations and biases of their parentage and place of upbringing.

Cathari exist in such small numbers that their relations with other races are on an individual basis. Elder cathari that have survived since the fall of their empire are fascinated and threatened by the emergence of new members of their kind, seemingly from out of the ether and go to great lengths to find them. Some wish to remain the final example of their kind and kill other fledgling cathari they find, while others seek kinship and act as mentors to these strange, new cathari and seek to understand where they came from.

Alignment and Religion
Cathari often have trouble relating to religions and that their fates may be determined by higher powers. However those cathari that do find the calling of faith typically follow Irori or Pharasma. Cathari are not predisposed to any specific alignment.

Most cathari become adventurers in spite of what they are. Many believe they are human, and are in fact born to human parents, before they encounter their first regenesis and discover their true heritage. Cathari aware of their true nature become adventurers for fame, honor, fortune or perhaps a chance at discovering the truth behind their long-lost heritage and the strange memories burning behind their eyes.

Cathari typically adopt the naming conventions of the societies they are raised in. The surviving elder cathari have all but abandoned their old names, instead adopting titles as names; such as the Professor or the Knight Errant.

Standard Racial Traits

Ability Score Racial Traits: Cathari are highly adaptable and flexible. They receive a +2 bonus to any two ability scores.
Size: Cathari are Medium creatures and thus have no bonuses or penalties due to their size.
Type: Cathari are outsiders with the native subtype.
Base Speed: Cathari have a base speed of 30 feet.
Languages: Cathari begin play speaking Common and Aklo. Cathari with high Intelligence scores can choose from any language, except secret languages such as druidic, as a bonus language.

Defense Racial Traits

Woven Soul (Ex) Cathari were not born like ordinary creatures, their souls were woven in a great magical “loom”, incorporating essence from the dimension of time with stolen mortal souls plucked from the edges of the Maelstrom. As artificial beings, cathari may not be brought back from the dead by ordinary means.
A cathari's artificial soul grants them immunity to all spells and effects that return a dead character to life, such as raise dead, reincarnate, resurrection, and true resurrection. Even powerful magic such as miracle and wish cannot restore a dead cathari to life. Furthermore, when a cathari dies they may not be turned into an undead creature. Any create spawn ability possessed by an undead creature does not function on them, not can they be reanimated by spells such as animate dead.

Additionally, a cathari’s artificial soul is extraordinarily difficult to damage, granting them a +4 racial bonus on all Fortitude saves to resist energy drain effects.

Regenesis (Su) (10 RP) Cathari possess an ability that allows them to transcend the boundaries of life and death. When a cathari reaches negative hit points, they begin to enter a “regenesis” process as their bodies prepare to revive from imminent death. A cathari in regenesis begins to shed golden light from their body, first a soft glow that create shadowy illumination within 10 feet on the first round of regenesis. On the second round the light grows to 20 feet of shadowy illumination. On the third round and after the glow becomes 30 feet of bright illumination and another 30 feet of shadowy illumination as flares of golden energy leap from their physical form.

Should a cathari receive enough healing to bring them back above 0 hit points, the regenesis state ends and the cathari suffers no additional effect. However should a cathari die from hit points loss (either by normal loss of hit points while in the negatives, or through physical damage) or from ability damage, such as having their Constitution score reduced to 0 the regenesis process concludes, resulting in immediate resurrection following death.

During the regenesis process (between -1 hp and death) a cathari remains conscious and able to act as though they possessed the Diehard feat. While in negative hit points, a cathari is vulnerable to being slain outright, preventing the regenesis from taking place. A coup-de-grace on a cathari in regenesis that is successful kills them outright, preventing them from returning from death. Furthermore, cathari regenesis does not function in an antimagic field and a cathari slain in one dies outright, even if their corpse is brought outside of the antimagic field after death.

A cathari that dies is instantly brought back from the dead on the same round in which they die, during which time they immediately unleash a sixty foot burst of bright light equivalent to a daylight spell and are also affected by heal with caster levels equal to the cathari’s hit dice. This effect removes most (but not all) potential maladies that could continue to afflict them after their return to life. The regenesis process also fully changes a cathari's physical appearance (although they always retain a human appearance, the nature of their human appearance can vary greatly including changes in height and weight and in extremely rare instances gender as well).

When a cathari changes in a regenesis it is mentally traumatizing, reorganizing their thought processes and memories. This effectively creates a splinter personality, causing the cathari to act differently and behave as though they were a different person entirely, despite having the same collective experiences. This change can be as drastic or minimal as the player desires on each successive regenesis including possible changes in alignment. Furthermore, a cathari may redistribute their racial ability score adjustments to different ability scores.

The regenesis process is taxing on a cathari, and they are considered staggered and suffer a -6 pentalty to all attack rolls, saving throws, and skill checks for 24 hours as their bodies adjust following a regenesis.

A cathari may only successfully utilize regenesis eight times, after which they die permanently and their manufactured souls dissolve. Cathari do not move on to any known afterlife.

Feat and Skill Racial Traits

Gestalt Memory (Ex) (8 RP) A cathari possesses an innate connection to myriad of other souls, lifetimes and experiences made up of their composite being. They are uncanny in their ability to “know” a fact about something, or recall a useful bit of information from a past life or from a fragment of soul they are made from. This ability functions like a bard’s Bardic Knowledge ability using the cathari’s hit dice to determine the bonus to knowledge checks.

Senses Racial Traits

Darkvision: Cathari can see perfectly in the dark up to 60 feet.

Alternate Racial Traits

The following alternate racial traits may be selected in place of one or more of the standard racial traits above. Consult your GM before selecting any of these new options.

Ancient Foe Cathari recall the hatred they feel for their ancient enemies, the aboleth, and their ilk. A cathari with this ability receive a +1 bonus on attack rolls against aberrations because of their special training against these hated foes. This ability replaces focused.

Mystic Past Life You can add spells from another spellcasting class to the spell list of your current spellcasting class. You add a number of spells equal to 1 + your spellcasting class's key ability score bonus (Wisdom for clerics, and so on). The spells must be the same type (arcane or divine) as the spellcasting class you're adding them to. For example, you could add divine power to your druid class spell list, but not to your wizard class spell list because divine power is a divine spell. These spells do not have to be spells you can cast as a 1st-level character. The number of spells granted by this ability is set at 1st level. Changes to your ability score do not change the number of spells gained. This racial trait replaces gestalt memory.

Favored Class Options
The following favored class options are available to all characters of this race who have the listed favored class, and unless otherwise stated, the bonus applies each time you select the favored class reward.

Bard: Add one spell known from the bard spell list. This spell must be at least one level below the highest spell level the bard can cast.
Magus: Add +1/4 point to the magus' arcane pool.
Monk: Add a +1/2 bonus on the monk's saving throws to resist death attacks.
Wizard: Add one spell from the wizard spell list to the wizard's spellbook. This spell must be at least one level below the highest spell level the wizard can cast.

Racial Archetypes

The following racial archetypes are available to this race:
Cathari qualify for the samsaran Reincarnated Oracle archetype.

Racial Feats

The following feats are available to a character who meets the prerequisites.

Efficient Regenesis
You can channel the energy of your regenesis to stave off death.
Requirement: Cathari, 3rd level
Benefit: Once per day, between -1 hit points and death, you may attempt to stave off regenesis by channeling the energy being released into a healing light. You may use cure light wounds as a spell-like ability at a caster level equal to your character level. Use of this spell-like ability while dying does not cause additional loss of hit points unless it fails to bring you to 1 hit point or higher. This ability DC is Charisma-based.

Bountiful regenesis
Your use of regenerative energy repairs significant damage to body and mind.
Requirement: Cathari, 10th level, efficient regenesis
Benefit: Your efficient regenesis now acts as a restoration spell in addition to cure light wounds.

Miraculous regenesis
Your regenesis can heal life and limb.
Requirement: Cathari, 15th level, bountiful regenesis
Benefit: Your efficient regenesis now acts a regenerate spell instead of cure light wounds.

Regenerative Burst
The light shed by your regenesis can heal others.
Requirement: Cathari, efficient regenesis
Benefit: When you return from the dead, all adjacent creatures are affected by cure light wounds with a caster level equal to your character level.

Regenerative Burst, Improved
The light of your regenerative burst becomes more powerful.
Requirement: Cathari, 3rd level, regenerative burst
Benefit: Your regenerative burst now functions as cure moderate wounds.
Normal: A regenerative burst acts as cure light wounds.

Discordant Regenerative Burst
The erratic energy of your regenerative burst scrambles life energy.
Requirement: Cathari, 3rd level, regenerative burst, chaotic alignment
Benefit: When you return to life you inflict 1d8 points of damage, +1 point per character level, to all living creatures adjacent to you. Creatures may make a Will save (DC 10 + ½ your character level + your Charisma modifier) to take half damage.
Special: You must choose on coming back to life whether to heal damage as normal with regenerative burst or inflict damage.

Regenerative Burst (Mythic)
Your mythic power fuels your regenesis to astounding levels.
Requirements: Cathari, regenerative burst, mythic tier 1
Benefit: When you use regenerative burst, you may spend one use of mythic power to increase the radius of your regenerative burst to an additional 10 feet per mythic tier. Additionally, if you expend 2 uses of mythic power all unattended, non-magical objects in the area are affected as if by a shatter spell with a caster-level equal to your character level. The same DC for the shatter effect is 10 + 1/2 your character level + your Charisma modifier.

Open Content: The game mechanics of this game product are Open Game Content, as defined in the Open Gaming License version 1.0a Section 1(d).


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