Thursday, December 5, 2019

Sunset Realm Void Monks

The origins of Void Monkery are unknown (to characters, anyway. Players know the discipline originated at goblinpunch). The ineffable darkness at the edges of the world seems a likely source, gaps of nonexistence where the light has never given form to the inchoate darkness... but then again, true darkness cannot ever be known by we fire-souled beings who cast light and perception with our very presence. In any case, there is an established monastery in the city of Oroboro.
a rough stack of irregular, open stone cells, a courtyard with a single tree, a cross-legged statue with a silver sword suspected to be the founder. Brain wasps to aid in lobotomies, and blindfolded people. There are no rules or masters there.
Void Monkery is a form of metaphysical nihilism positing that the world is not true, and does not exist. Smartasses like to slap void monks on the head and say 'nurr hurr why are you mad that slap wasn't real' and so Void Monkery inevitably becomes a martial discipline. Void Monks don't particularly care about engaging in deep logical debates with philistines when the world doesn't exist anyway, and prefer to teach via object lessons, if at all. They are descriptive in their nihilistic worldview, but not particularly prescriptive. Occasionally people take an interest in their inexplicable abilities and develop a school not for the sake of the ideology, but simply for power. Others latch onto the ideology for personal reasons, a common one being a way to manage trauma and reject a world of meaningless suffering. Your reasons don't matter.

Level as cleric. Get a weird power every level and/or find more through play. Proficient in all arms and armor. Going unarmored gives +1AC per level thanks to weird tricks like forgetting your wounds exist, time-locking your clothing on hit, or simply impressive kung-fu dodging and parrying.

Elves do not trust void monks, as the corruption of Alves was caused by an artifact of true darkness and meddling.

Void monks have some physical features in common with the undead, but are not undead, and indeed have great difficulty becoming undead both spiritually and physically. The dead who cling to their physical forms have stubborn, determination-crazed souls and lust after organ-rich bodies, quite at odds with the detached, dying egos of a mutilated void monk.

Random Advancement Rolling 1d4-1+Level will keep the 'bigger' abilities for later. Abilities with an asterisk are relatively easy to obtain via play. Reveal the Void is very fun and if a player wants to start with that instead of rolling, let them.

  1.  Maim The Fire-Soul*
  2.  Void Navigation*
  3.  Void Cut*
  4. Reveal the Void
  5. Hrönir
  6. Breach the Elemental Covenant of Air*
  7. Breach the Elemental Covenant of Water*
  8. Breach the Elemental Covenant of  Earth*
  9. Forsake Light/Denucleation* 
  10. Expulsion of the Fire-Soul 
  11. Lock Time
  12. Snuffing of the Fire-Soul
  13. Disbelieve
 Bonus actions that should probably net you a nifty new power
  • End the belief system of a group of people. Killing a false god like a worshipped cult monster is the easiest most murderhoboey way to pull this off, probably.
  • Wastefully destroy something of immense value to demonstrate the worthlessness of all things. Nothingness can trigger this.
  • Disbelieve an Illusion. Then, while you're on a roll, disbelieve something real.
  • Enter outer space or some other appropriately barren false void.
  • Annihilate someone (and possibly all their friends) so thoroughly that none remember they ever existed. You count too.
  • Successfully convince someone to let you remove their brain. This turns them to a level 1 Void Monk and probably your first disciple.
  • Found a monastery and spread the truth of the lie of the false world. 
  • Hunt and slay an Elemental, Chaos Serpent, or other progenitor primordial being as appropriate to the setting
  • Inflict an existential crisis on a high priest/prophet, demon, angel, god, all knowing oracle, or similar.
  • Exploit the false laws of reality to create a paradox, confirming the world does not truly exist and has no set form.
  • Obtain the Sphere of Annihilation. All-annihilating rampage and conversion to antagonist optional, but encouraged

Maim The Fire-Soul
In this initiation ritual, you scoop out a chunk of your own brain, and a chunk of your soul with it.

Lose half of your Charisma.  Nothing can lower your Charisma further.  Your mind cannot be read, nor can you perceive mental projections like dream-sendings and spirit-beings lurking on other planes.  You get +4 to save vs mind-influencing effects and all emotions (good and bad), including pain, fear, anger, and sadness.  When you are scryed upon, you appear fuzzy and indistinct. You can do this to other willing people, draining them of a level/ability but giving them Level 1 Void Monk/a void monk ability.

Hrönir- It often occurs that players and GMs forget what happened to an item. Did you sell that ring, or keep it? Why do both Lars and Lizzy have the Fire Sword written on their sheet?
What happened to the pony that everyone forgot existed as the party navigated a distinctly equine-inaccessible dungeon?

Now you can always answer- you have it. At the GM's discretion, your item might be a Hrönir- a darkspawned duplicate.

Void Navigation- a void monk who closes their eyes/is otherwise blind learns to navigate and fight without sight, though reading, colors, etc will be lost to them. Some go further still and can fight with no penalties regardless of how nonexistant or disoriented their senses might be, guided by nothing.

Autoannihilation- If no one can see you, you can cease to exist, sorta, for 1-3 rounds. Any light source counts as seeing because deepest lore(may not apply in your campaign setting), so this only works in areas of deep shadow and darkness spells, typically. Whenever you show up to a session late or leave early, it's fair to assume this occurs. This technique can be learned by suffering a teleport mishap.

The only things that affect you are things that affect an area.  Spells that see invisibility don't see you (since you are incoherent, not invisible) but AoE effects that reveal you (such as faerie fire) work on you (since they instantly collapse your wave-partical duality) and additionally dispel this effect. You can re-appear anywhere you could have probably reached nearby at the end of the duration, provided none see you "arrive." Locked doors, walls, cliffs, none will bar your way.

This ability is usable 1/day safely. Without the sun(or other celestial body) taking stock of your existence while rising, it may forget you exist, and you'll be lost until GM fiat brings you back.

On the other hand, once you come ex nihilo once, it's easy to do so again. If you are (unwillingly) annihilated or otherwise de-existed, you can just show up later anyway, having recreated yourself.

Void Cut- A purely martial technique, where a strike leaves a vacuum behind that will cause damage via implosions, wind pressure, and suggestion. You can strike for the damage of whatever weapon you wield, with a range equivalent to about a thrown dagger. Most Fighters can learn this skill by practicing in downtime and then getting a critical hit in-session.

Reveal the Void
A creature you touch must save or lose one of its senses (your choice) for 1d6 rounds.  This includes extraordinary senses, and can also target specific emotions, memories, etc.  You can channel this ability through a melee weapon but doing so incurs a -2 penalty to the attack roll.

Void monks can also use this ability on themselves, and use it to meditate in perfect sensory deprivation.

Breach the Elemental Covenant of Air
You no longer need to breathe.  In zero gravity, you can accelerate yourself telekinetically.  You are immune to radiation.  In theory, you would have no trouble existing in outer space.
These places, though good to meditate in, are somewhat contemptuously referred to as 'false voids.' They are absences of somethings, not actual nothings. Your lungs are now unnecessary and their destruction can bring you this ability sooner, if you survive.

Breach the Elemental Covenant of Water
You no longer need to drink, and can propel yourself through water telekinetically. You are immune to high pressure, and would have no trouble existing in the depths of the ocean. Your bladder and/or kidneys are no longer required and their destruction can bring you this ability sooner, if you live.

Breach the Elemental Covenant of Earth
You no longer need to eat, and can 'swim' through loose earth laboriously and can deform solid rock with your bare hands at about the same rate as someone with a pickaxe. Your bowels and stomach are no longer required, and their destruction can bring you this ability sooner, if you can endure the traumatic removal.

Unlike the undead who become more vulnerable to the elements as their bodies decay, a void monk ceases to be mastered by the elements as they become more cognizant or what the elements truly are- ie, shadows cast upon the unknowable face of darkness.

Denucleation/Forsake LightYou remove your eyes with leaden ritual-spoons crafted specifically for this purpose.  They boil off into the void.  You are blind, but have such excellent hearing that it doesn't matter for most things within 30', since you can hear creature's heartbeats and the echoes of your footsteps off the floor. You can detect ledges and walls by little clicks of your tongue, and listening to the echoes, dwarf-style. The only things that give you trouble are things that are truly silent, like a zombie standing still.  Obviously, you cannot read books.  This ability is constant.

You can become locally omniscient for 10 minutes.  This is not true omniscience--you only understand physical things.  Anything that you could learn from taking things apart and looking at them, you know know.  You know all of the contents of books (despite not being able to read while blind) and the contents of people's pockets.  You cannot read minds or learn people's histories.  Invisibility is no barrier to this ability.  You can use this ability 1/day, or rather, it requires meditation to purge oneself of the gathered information to make room for more.

Expulsion of the Fire-Soul
You no longer have a Charisma score.  You must burn a hole in your character sheet so that no mention of Charisma remains (the self-concept is a lie).  You have a Charisma modifier of +0.  You automatically fail social-based Charisma checks and succeed on willpower-based Charisma checks. Your soul still exists, but it may wander in, out, and around the body, with no apparent change.

Your mind cannot be read (because you have no mind-concept comprehensible to anything that exists) and anyone that attempts to read your mind must make a save or either fall catatonic for 1d6 days or have their mind read by you (as ESP), your choice.  Neither your image nor your sounds appear when scryed upon.

Lock Time
You designate a length of time (of any duration, including infinite).  For that length of time, your body becomes frozen in time, rigid and utterly unmoving.  While in this state, you cannot be altered--you are effectively harder than adamantine.  The only things that can affect you are spells that affect all matter (like disintegrate) or time spells.  If a time spell is cast on you, your stasis lock is dispelled and you are stunned for 1d6 rounds.  This ability is usable 1/day, or the flow of time will drag you under and you will only un-lock at the start of the next session you're present for.

It takes an action to go into stasis lock; you cannot activate it fast enough when falling, unless the fall is more than 200'.

In your hands, an immovable rod turns into an immovable quarterstaff.  If you have an immovable quarterstaff in your hands when you use this ability, you can have the option to also lock Space as well as Time.  If you choose this, the effects of the immovable rod apply to your entire body while you are in stasis.  If other people are holding the immovable rod, you have the option to bring them (willingly) into stasis with you.

Once you gain this ability, you must resist the temptation to immediately use it on yourself with a duration of 'infinite'.  Make a Wis check with a +1 bonus for every reason you can name for staying on this mortal plane a while longer.  (Why postpone annihilation?  It is what you truly seek.  On the other hand, what's a few years in the face of infinity?)

Unless you've achieved Snuffing, however, you will immediately learn of the futility of your action- your body is frozen, but your soul wanders. You may unlock for metagame reasons (such as 'I wanna play my cool void monk character) that the party agrees with, but not for in-character reasons.

Snuffing of the Fire-Soul
Your most valuable possession immediately boils off into the void.

If you don't possess anything especially valuable (DM's discretion) this ability will be postponed until you own something nice (DM's discretion).  DM's should strive to avoid egregious metagaming with regards to this ability--the character wants to see their most precious item vanish, since it symbolizes non-attachment. People can absolutely succumb to nothingness, so void monk romances tend to lean towards 'doomed.'

Once this has happened, it signifies that you have finally shed your soul.   From now on, you are soulless, and are immune to level drain and do not sleep or dream.  Dark-taint will not affect you.  When you die, you vanish utterly from all existence.  Your corpse and equipment vanish, and you fade from the memories of everyone. Your character sheet is immediately destroyed or deleted. It is 100% unclear to anyone, especially big mojo spiritual beings, how your will remains intact with no soul. It will likely disturb them greatly.

With both hands grasping at it, force a single discrete 'thing' to make a save, or become an illusion for 1d6 rounds. Then it makes another save, and if that fails, it pops like a soap bubble and vanishes from existence. If you try this more than once a day, and the target makes their save, you become illusory instead and may vanish. As you chose to use the ability, this does not count as 'involuntary' nonexistence for Autoannihilation.

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