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Cabalists

New Class by: Jason Lehman

Ability Requirements:

INT: 14

WIS: 16

CON: 15

Prime Requisites: Wisdom, Constitution

Races Allowed: Ren-shal: Tanu {required}; modern: Human, Half-elf, Drow, Tiefling

History:

Cabalists are a special order of Arkaelan mages that venerate the Old Ones, Cthulu in particular. In the pre-Paring civilization of Arkaela, the greatest wizards of the Old Ones formed Ďcabalsí in order to operate together to best benefit their other-worldly patrons, and combat the servants of their rival gods. The most elite of these mages, the Ren-shal {Tanu for "Darkest One"}, served as the leaders of these groups and were great, feared lords of their day, commanding large armies of followers and servant creatures in the tumultuous god-wars of their Age. All this changed, however, once Cthulu realized the power wielded by the Cabalists had grown great enough to challenge the Old Ones themselves {nevermind that he, himself, had assisted them with the creation of the greatest collection of summoning and binding rituals ever penned, the Necronomicon}. Once his own Cabalists succeeded in binding Hastur at Hali, Cthulu realized their power had to be sundered; and so, he swept across the world, slaying all magic-wielding Tanu and ridding the world of the Ren-shal and their ilk forever.

Or, so it was thought. With the rise of the Doomgiver, the Old Ones were reduced to a position of great weakness. Urgent to rebuild his power base, the Great Old One sent out his devote followers, seeking ages-old remnants of the Ren-shal, moldering personal objects and other mysterious pieces of the lost lives of the Cabalists that had been buried and gone for nearly a hundred centuries. Using the foulest of rituals, the nine-millenia-dead Ren-shal were resurrected by the very god that destroyed them, and given once again the mission of placing Cthulu at the pinnacle of the deific heirarchy of the Arkaela gods.

Unforseen, though, at least one of the Ren-shal did not appreciate his ages-past destruction. In a fit of vengeance, one of the great Cabalists restored to life one of his ancient foes, a follower of Hastur. These rogue Cabalists joined forces, and set about restoring many of the ancient wizards. At the current time, it is rumored that a full 13 Ren-shal have been restored, in one form or another, and now almost all of the Cthulan deities have newly organized cabals to serve them, and to combat the rogues who turned away from them..

Player Character Cabalists are assumed to be one of the new breed of mages inducted into the service of these Ren-shal, to serve the Old Ones. Or, they have been recruited by a rogue Cabalist Ren-shal, to act as a thorn in the Old Onesí sides. They may be of any of the mentioned races, assumed to have come from other worlds to Arkaela in the current Age. Remember, the Tanu of ages past had the ability to use magic, but this changed after the apocalypse that ended that Age. Now, the Ren-shal must turn to outsiders to form their new armies.

It is highly recommended that PCís not be allowed to play one of the actual Ren-shal. These foulest of mages are assumed to be incredibly powerful, ancient, and wicked, with access to spells beyond the usual mortal ken. Their very names have a boogy-man-like power behind them even today, though it is unlikely an average Arkaelan would even believe these abominations could have been returned to life. {Use, as a possible example, the Forsaken of Robert Jordanís Wheel of Time novel series for an idea of the awe and fear these beings would inspire.} These non-psionic Tanu mages will be power-mad, closely linked to the vile spirits of the Old Ones, and likely driven insane by this constant contact {as they secretly know their hapless, expendable followers will one day be}. Assume them to be of the dual-classed Cabalist variety, with at least level 18 in each class, and actively searching for the scatterd fragments of the Necronomicon to return them to their former ability.

Cabalists as Characters:

Cabalists excel in the schools of Necromancy and Conjuration/Summoning. They are also in tune with the stars and are considered great astronomers. They are a recent addition to the Arkaelan setting, travelling there from other worlds or entering Tanu society from conquered lands.. Their goals are to restore the glory of the Old Ones and to overthrow the Valiants and their upstart god, Andraxas Doomgiver. Many are also actively seeking to reconstruct the fragmented Necronomicon. Due to the extreme nature of their cabalistic studies, they are of a non-good, non-lawful alignment, and there is the always present danger of going insane (adjudicated by the DM, during the casting of Power Rituals and at Level advancement). As with the above stated ability requirements, a high score in Wisdom helps to prevent insanity, but as the cabalist rises in level, and continue to commune with Cthulu or other Old Ones, the chance of insanity and a shift to a chaotic alignment is inevitable.

Cabalists are considered a sub-class of mages for gaming purposes. They have the same experience, level gain, THAC0, and spell table. They have the same armor and weapon restrictions. They have the same initial weapon and non-weapon proficiencies and acquisition of new proficiencies as the standard mage.

Required Weapon Proficiencies: Dagger, Knife, or any other small bladed weapon allowed by DM

Bonus Weapon Proficiencies: Staff

Required Proficiencies: Astrology, Spellcraft

Bonus Proficiencies: Anatomy (see below), Sage Knowledge (see below)

Special Benefits:

Special Hindrances:

Psionic Wild Talents:

If Cabalists have the desired ability scores for psionic wild talents, they may roll for it at each new level at the DM's discretion. The only psionics the Cabalists may know ones that effect the body of living or undead beings (necromantic types) or ones that effect planar beings or a summoning (conjuration/summoning types). If the prerequisites for the acquired wild talent is not of the former listed types, they may still know it, BUT only if it is a prerequisite. Note also that the Ren-shal will absolutely, positively envy the psionic cabalist, having none themselves {though, they may acquire it through magic or other sources}, and this can lead to all sorts of danger for the cabalist from his own master.

Multiclass:

Cabalistist may multiclass as a fighter/ cabalists or cabalist/ cleric. In the case of a cabalist/ cleric, they must worship one of the Old Ones. The Ren-shal are all multiclassed.

 

The Dreamlands:

The Dreamlands is a demi-plane located in the Astral which borders Arkaelaspace. It is reached by the cabalist entering a spell or drug induced deep sleep. The cabalist's real body stays on the Prime Material plane and his psyche does the traveling. In the Dreamlands, his psyche must follow all procedures for Astral travel where his silver cord is involved, for the plane is merely a twisting of the Astral and not a free-formed plane itself. Again, this demiplane's description is to be determined by the DM. The Nightmare Lands of the Ravenloft setting or the Mindspin from the Dragonlance setting can be used as a guide. Whatever it is, it should very surreal and full of strange and exotic creatures both of a malevolent and benevolent nature. Also, the sleeping body had best be well-guarded, else opposing Cthulan deities {or even the cabalistís own nasty patron} may attempt to send possessing spirits to take the cabalistís empty form.

Insanity and the Cabalist:

DM's should secretly roll percentage dice for the Cabalist whenever he/she performs actions which will draw the attentions of the Old Ones toward themselves. The Old Ones, and indeed all the Arkaela deities, are highly in tune with their worshippers and the Prime Material plane. In their god-wars, they learned that actions on the mortal planes can have great effects on their own schemes. Therefore, the performance of Power Rituals, invasion of sacred sites, and other events will draw the attentions, and often the wrath, of the Cthulan deities.

Dice should be rolled whenever at least one of the following occurs:

Cabalists may lower these rolls with any Wisdom bonuses they may possess or add to their arsenal through protective devices, on a point-for-point basis {For example, a Cabalist with a +1 bonus to certain saves due to high Wisdom will have a -1% bonus to these rolls}.

If the roll fails, this does not doom the Player's Character to removal from play or reduction to NPC status. Instead, the DM and Player must collaborate on a new, insideous quirk for the Character from the possible insanities for each Cabal. A good Player will be able to role-play the insanity as part of their Character's overall attitude. Few possible maladies will result in an unplayable Character; rather, the Cabalist, who exists in an environment of fellow mages who regularly consort with minions of Chaos, will come to be more like them: eccentric, living on the edge of his control, and more daffy as time goes on.

Lastly, any time one of these rolls fails, but particularly where enemy sacred sites or plane travel is involved, the DM is free in insert a Nasty Event instead; in other words, the deity whose attention is drawn decides to show up personally to see what all the fuss is. DM's should see individual deity descriptions for the likelyhood that this will happen, and what form the attention/retribution might take.

Rogue Cabalists:

On occasion, a cabalist will learn of the deceit of Cthulu and what he did to his Tanu wizards. On these rare occasions, the cabalist forsakes the Old Ones and works to destroy the minions of Cthulu, seeking out one of the the rogue Ren-shal. The different cabalistic brotherhoods will try to hunt down this rogue and destroy him before he makes contact with the Rogues and falls under their protection. A Rogue cabalist loses the innate abilities of Speak with Dead and Contact Other Plane, but they also lose the hatred of the Valiants and might work a relationship of mutual gain for their own protection against other cabalists. They also suffer from an occasional insanity roll as do other Cabalists, where applicable, since everyone is on the lookout for them.