The Forbidden Path of the Scinnlæca
The necromancy of the Scinnlæca is the most reviled, feared, and taboo sorcery in Wulfwald. Even the patronage of a powerful lord might not be enough to ensure the safety of a Scinnlæca. If NPC’s learn that a character is a Scinnlæca his player must roll under the character’s Charisma, on a D20, to avoid an overly negative reaction.
There are three distinct realms of power used in the necromancy of the Scinnlæca, or the Shining Ones as they are known. All three powers require a Scinnlæca to call a ghostly undead apparition known as a phantom, trap it in his body, then use the phantom’s powers. This is done with a Calling the Dead roll. To make a Calling the Dead roll the player must roll under his character’s Wisdom+level on a D20. If he succeeds he summons a malign phantom from the otherworld and may control it for a time. There is however, a cost paid in fatigue and the taint of necromancy. If a Scinnlæca fails his roll he loses the battle of wills with the phantom and it escapes back to the otherworld without serving him. Unfortunately a failure still incurs taint and fatigue.
Every time a Scinnlæca attempts to summon a phantom, successful or not, he accrues 1 Taint Point (TP). If his Calling the Dead roll was under his current TP score he has gained a permanent taint and must roll on the taint table. At this point his TP resets to 0. If his TP ever reaches 20 he takes two rolls on the table before it resets to 0.
Roll 1D12 . . .
1 Spectral Sinews -1 Str
2 Corpse Twitch -1 Dex
3 Wight’s Wound -1 Dex
4 Cold Black Heart -1 Chr
5 Grave Stench -1 Chr
6 Dead Man’s Eyes -1 Chr
7 The Dead do Howl - 1 Int
8 Ghostly Visions -1 Int
9 Think only of the Grave -1 Int
10 Death Kissed -1 Con
11 Spectral Chill -1 Con
12 Death’s Embrace -1 Con
All taints are cumulative. The path of the Scinnlæca is an unforgiving one.
The use of his powers causes deathly fatigue to the Scinnlæca based on either the duration of the summoning, or the power of the phantom. If his Fatigue Points ever exceed his total Hit Points, then he collapses in exhaustion and loses 1 Hit Point permanently. Fatigue is recovered 1 point per Turn as long as the Scinnlæca is doing nothing more strenuous than walking.
The Three Powers
1: The Call of Fear
When using the call of fear the Scinnlæca summons a hideous phantom, takes on its ghastly form, and appears to his enemies as a half-rotted spectre that shines with a dazzling eldritch light. If he succeeds in his Call the Dead roll each round everyone who witnesses this must make a ST (modified by the Scinnlæca’s level) or run screaming in fear. Those that make the save stand firm, but are shaken fighting at -2 to hit and damage. He can protect his allies from the fear by gifting them amulets made from the finger bones of a virgin.
This power can be used instantly as long as the Scinnlæca has his coin, stained with the blood of a traitor, in one hand and his Rowan wand in the other. It costs 1 taint and causes 1 fatigue to use this power, and an additional point of fatigue for each round it is maintained. It may be maintained for 1 round per level + Wisdom bonus.
2: Call of Kinship
The Scinnlæca appears as the shade of a dead friend or family member of his intended victim. The phantom is not actually the victim’s friend or relative, but a malign phantom that enjoys being party to such manipulation.
The victim, upon seeing the Scinnlæca in the form of his dead relative, makes a ST modified by adding the Scinnlæca’s level and Wisdom bonus to the roll. If they make the ST the victim is merely terrified and will flee in fear and the Scinnlæca will be unable to make another attempt for at least a week. If the victim fails their ST they accept the shade as ‘friendly’ and the Scinnlæca may manipulate the NPC by issuing advice, ideas, even commands. For each such manipulation the victim may make another ST (again modified by the Scinnlæca’s level and Wisdom bonus). If they make the ST they are not convinced and do not act on the advice, if they fail they act as directed. For every ST they fail, they gain +1 to additional rolls, for every success -1.
This power requires a certain amount of preparation. The skull of a murderer must be hidden somewhere where it can ‘see’ the victim for a day before the power is used. This is so the malign phantoms of the underworld can see who it is in order to take the form of their dead relatives.
Each use of this power costs 1 taint and an initial 1 point of fatigue, plus 1 point of fatigue for each round the Scinnlæca holds the form of the shade.
Exactly how the NPC victim reacts, and how the player has his character manipulate them, is up to the player and Referee to decide during play. If the victim fails his ST the Referee should have him do what the player wants him to, but players should bear in mind there are certain things people won’t, or can’t do, even for a dead relative!
3: Call of the Underworld
This is the most potent of the three powers. The Scinnlæca calls an evil and destructive phantom from the underworld and takes on its form enabling him to use its powers to smite his enemies. Using his knife, that has pierced the heart of an adulterer, the Scinnlæca cuts himself and drips blood onto his Rowan wand. This action takes one combat round. On the next round the Scinnlæca makes his Call the Dead roll if he succeeds he takes the form of the phantom. If he fails nothing happens, but he suffers 1 fatigue and 1 taint.
Each phantom summoned to fight will have a number of HD, and powers determined by the Scinnlæca’s level and Wisdom bonus and a base Armour Class of 7 . Whilst in the form of the phantom the Scinnlæca fights with its powers, HD, and HPs, and AC, rather than his own. This lasts until he either banishes the phantom voluntarily, its HPs are reduced to 0 in combat, or the duration of the possession is exceeded.
The taint incurred by such possessions is equal to the number of powers the phantom possesses. The fatigue is equal to its HD.
Each phantom’s powers are randomly determined by rolling 1D8 per power . . .
1 Boneshard Shredder
2 Eldritch Lightning
3 Ghostly Glide
4 Funeral Pyre
5 Skeletal Skin
6 Grave Bound
7 Shining Shade
8 Death’s Touch
The phantom bestows the gift of deadly bone claws that do 2d6 (keep highest) +1 to hit and damage. For each additional time this power is rolled increase the bonus to hit and damage by +1.
The phantom can cast green bolts of eldritch lightning for 1d6+2 damage(no to hit roll needed) at a range of up to 25 feet. For each additional time this power is rolled you may either increase the damage by an additional +2, increase the number of targets affected by 1, or the range by another 25 feet.
This phantom can fly, allowing the Scinnlæca to glide through the air at walking speed, and at heights of up to 10 feet above the ground. For each additional time this power is rolled you may increase the height by another 10 foot. In combat the Scinnlæca gains a +1 to hit and Damage and an additional -1[+1] to his AC representing the advantage gained by flight in Combat.
Anything the Scinnlæca touches has a 4 in 6 chance of bursting into flames, even usually non-flammable things. To ignite a living thing the Scinnlæca must first roll to hit. The ethereal flame burns for 1d6 damage per round and can’t be put out, but stops when the Scinnlæca’s possession of the phantom ends. For each additional time this power is rolled you may increase either the chance of ignition by +1 or the damage by 1d6.
The phantom encases the Scinnlæca in bone giving him an Armour Class of 14. For each additional time this power is rolled you may increase the AC by +1.
The Scinnlæca commands a phantom from the underworld that drags the victim into the ground up to the waist and holds them firm. They may defend themselves (at -2 to hit and -2 to their AC), but may not move until released or the phantom has gone. For each additional time this power is rolled you may hold one more enemy.
The Scinnlæca becomes a shade so bright that his enemies, and anyone not wearing an amulet made from a virgin’s finger bone, are dazzled by the light and attack at -1 to hit. For each additional time this power is rolled increase the penalty by another -1.
The phantom allows the Scinnlæca to drain his victim’s life force with a touch (roll to hit+1). Each touch drains 1 point from the victim’s Constitution or HD and restores, or adds 1 HP to the Phantom’s total. The loss of Con/HD is permanent and if it is reduced by more than 6 points in one combat the victim must make a ST or slump into unconsciousness. If reduced to zero they die. For each additional time this power is rolled either the number of Con/HD points drained, or HPs gained, may be increased by 1 point.