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Circle of Life
2012-01-15, 08:46 AM
Marack, the Fallen Guardian

http://fc05.deviantart.net/fs71/f/2012/012/9/1/knight_by_tahra-d4m3lpg.jpg

Legend: No true accounts remain of the great champion of the Sleeping Goddess, no document or tale that reflects the true events of his life on the material plane. Legends exist of course, as they do for everything, but they are fanciful misrepresentations of one celestial leader standing alone against an uncountable horde of demons. The truth is far less grand.

Cast down from Arcadia for being a voice of dissension on the plane of perfect harmony, Marack took his thousand angelic warriors with him and set out to right wrongs wherever they could be found, by force of celestial steel as often as with words. From Pandemonium to Acheron, Marack and his followers waged a hundred-year war against oppression and strife, no matter that their foes were as limitless as the drops of starlight in the Celestial Sea. Wherever a foe sought to flee, Marack was there with a thought and a word, followed by his loyal warriors who abandoned Arcadia for his cause, cutting down all those who stood in the way of his grand crusade. From plane to plane Marack fought, seeking his enemies with unrelenting furor, while all the while his forces dwindled in number until they were little more than a shadow of their former glory.

When at last Marack found a battle he could not win, he was forced to enact a desperate retreat, half of his remaining forces dead on the battle-scarred cliffs of Gehenna. His flight took him to the Material, to the heart of a great metropolis whose name, like so many other things, has been lost to the years. The sudden arrival of nearly fifty angelic creatures in their midst created quite the sensation amongst the local populace, and in short order Marack and his followers were restored to health by the local priesthood.

However, Marack had hounded too many foes in his campaign for them to willingly allow him to retreat and fight another day. Like the black waves of a midnight ocean, a numberless mass of demons and devils appeared around the great metropolis and crashed toward it, screaming for Marack's demise. Though they would never work together, the hellish hordes ignored their eternal feud for that one small moment, a greater goal clear in their minds. Marack could not retreat, not again. A fallen protector he might be, but a protector all the same. To abandon the metropolis then would have spelled certain doom for its inhabitants.

And so he fought.

Always before Marack's blade of pure will had blazed a pure white, a shining beacon of hope to all who looked toward it on the field of battle. But as the battle raged around him and his remaining followers fought and died to keep him alive against the countless being of evil made flesh that sought to end him, that blade darkened as Marack's soul itself darkened. With every death rattle the light dimmed, until Marack alone stood in the center of a great sea of foes, his every ally dead in a ragged ring around him, a blade of pure blackness in his hands. With Wrath itself in his grasp he fought against the tide, rending demonic flesh with every thought-quick slice, ending malevolent lives with every sweeping slash of the blade of darkness.

Yet no matter how great his weapon of Wrath might be, it remained only a singular weapon wielded by a lone warrior. He could not hope to stem the tide alone. Wounds grew in number across his body, injuries his mind could not heal. Vigor began to wane in his limbs, and with it his life. A great fury welled up within him, a howl of pure, distilled anger at all the wrongness and injustice in the worlds, all the things that he could not right alone, and would never have the chance to.

Something broke within him then, one final reserve that he thought never to lose. Justice, his guiding light and eternal compass, fled from within him. Into the gaping void rushed Revenge, red hot and icy cold, a roiling sea of rage and utter stillness made all the stronger for its dichotomy. Marack reached out with this new power, beyond the limits of any of his powers before, touching each and every hellish mind around the city.

For the span of one heartbeat, Marack's mind was one with the creatures of the abyss and the nine hells. In that heartbeat, he drew their psyches into his own, and there, began to destroy them one by one. In his mind his foes were clouds in the sky, and he a great tempest shredding them into a thousand-thousand wisps; they were new sprouts springing from the earth, and he an acid rain killing with every drop; they were the loose banks of a great river, and he the rushing currents of a floodwater eroding them at their very base, until the entire bank slipped free and fell into the churning depths.

When Marack released the minds of the hellish horde, they were nothing more than broken fragments. The bodies they returned to were equally broken, if with no outward sign of harm. Marack paused to survey the battlefield for one long moment, then fled. The exiled protector, so long assured of his own inherent goodness, now knew himself fallen for true. No Justice remained within him, and Revenge faded too. Only the void remained, and without a guiding cause to fill it, he could find no purpose.

None know where Marack went after that final confrontation, save perhaps the gods themselves. Some years after the event, seven Arcadian angels blessed the statue that had been erected in the center of the metropolis, bestowing eternal perfection upon it no matter how the years or the elements might batter it, a final tribute to his great sacrifice. Yet save for the impassive stare of the statue of bronze and obsidian, none living ever saw Marack again. Perhaps, without Justice to guide him, he simply gave up the will to exist, or perhaps he found one final battle to throw himself into, seeking the final end. Whatever the case, his legend is one of inspiration for many aspiring warriors, but his true story one of regrets and emptiness.

http://img513.imageshack.us/img513/144/marack.jpg

Special Requirement: Marack refuses to answer the call of a binder who attempts to bind him while bound to Malphas, whom he despises on principle. In addition, he requires that a summoner not have betrayed an ally or knowingly broken the law of a legitimate authority within the last 24 hours, or he refuses to answer the summons.

Manifestation: Marack manifests in a flurry of black feathers that appear out of thin air above his seal. As they fall, the feathers transform into miniature forms of dead celestial creatures, all those who died while following his orders. As the last floating creature touches his seal, Marack himself appears hovering above the fallen creatures, a psychic scream of lamentation echoing through the mind of all creatures within a hundred feet of his seal. Marack never speaks directly, instead establishing a mental link with the binder and communicating directly with his thoughts, which are filled with overwhelming regret.

Sign: A pair of black skeletal wings sprout from your back, stripped of all flesh and feathers. If you already possess wings, they instead shrivel and wither to resemble those of Marack's sign, though this does not impair your ability to fly.

Influence: Marack requires that you never abandon an ally who yet lives. You may not leave a creature's threatened area by your own volition while an ally is threatened by that same creature. You must expend any available resource to save an ally from danger, regardless of the threat to yourself, so long as doing so would not be obviously suicidal.

Granted Abilities: In life, Marack was a leader of an entire division of celestial forces, whom he saw die one by one in his defense. He grants you the ability to prevent harm from befalling your allies, call a blade of pure thought, and destroy the psyche of your foes.

Bastion: You emanate an imperceptible aura out to 60 feet. Whenever an ally within this aura would take damage, you may redirect any amount of the damage to yourself. This damage is empathic in nature, and as such cannot be reduced by any form of damage reduction or resistance you might possess. Damage you redirect in this way is not taken immediately; rather, you total the amount of redirected damage taken before the start of your turn, then reduce it by an amount equal to your effective binder level, at which point you take the remainder of the damage.

Will Blade: You may conjure a weapon of pure will that shifts colors according to your emotions. This weapon may be formed in the shape of any melee weapon with which you are proficient; after forming it, you may change the shape of the weapon to any other melee weapon that you are proficient with as a move action as often as you wish. While attacking with this weapon, you may use your Charisma modifier in place of Strength for both attack and damage rolls. If the weapon leaves your grasp for any reason, it immediately dissipates into nothingness. You may also form a will blade around a physical melee weapon, in which case it gains all the properties of that weapon and cannot be reshaped, but still allows you to use your Charisma modifier when determining your attack statistics.

Protector's Challenge: As a swift action, you may issue a mental challenge to any foe within line of sight that is capable of detecting you. If the target fails a Will save (DC 10 + EBL + Cha mod), it must make every effort to attack you to the best of its ability on its next turn. If the target possesses spells, supernatural abilities, or other forms of offense, it may use these to engage you, so long as they would prove the most effective method of attack. This is a compulsion, mind-affecting ability.

Psychic Scream: You may release a scream of psychic turmoil that pierces the mind of all foes within 60 feet. Any creature that fails a Will save (DC 10 + EBL + Cha mod) is dazed for one round and takes 1d4 points of either Charisma, Intelligence, or Wisdom damage, chosen at the time of using this ability and applied to all creatures within the area of effect. This damage cannot reduce a given ability score below 1. Creatures naturally immune to Mind-affecting effects are immune to this ability, but not those who gain immunity through spells or other effects. You may use psychic scream a number of times per day equal to your effective binder level. Once you have used this ability, you cannot do so again for 5 rounds.

Steward
2012-01-15, 11:33 AM
This is so cool! The third ability reminds me of the Knight's Challenge, and it's a good call for a protector. One of the problems I had with 'tank'-type characters in 3.5 is that most of them have no real way to compel or encourage opponents to attack them rather than weaker characters. Binding Marack is definitely a more palatable alternative than the somewhat mediocre Knight class, and the bastion ability improves it even more by allowing you to suck away damage from other opponents.

The Tygre
2012-01-15, 01:29 PM
By Thor's hammer, this is awesome. Everything here is superb, and you presented it wonderfully. Well done; I hope we all get to see more Vestiges from you in the future. :smallcool:

RaggedAngel
2012-01-15, 02:18 PM
Circle, you've made a lot of great homebrew, but this takes the cake. And then it makes more cake to share with everyone else, because it isn't a selfish cake-hoarder.

...ahem. What I mean to say is that Marack is very well balanced, managing to be quite different from the published vestiges without being an obvious pick or distinctly better than any of them. He's strong, but the strength is balanced out by a particularly obvious sign, and a deceptively restrictive influence.

You may want to reduce the damage you can absorb via Bastion to half, simply because it makes it nearly impossible for a foe to kill your wizard/archivist/psion/etc as long as you have a healer or source of healing near you.

Will Blade really helps with the MADness of the Binder; again, it seems a little strong, but I can't think of a specific way to weaken it that wouldn't be overkill. Since it forces you into melee to use it and 3rd level vestiges are too high for a dip I think it's a safe ability.

Protector's Challenge is pure gold. A powerful, flavorful ability with a built-in downside that doesn't clog up your actions.

My only problem with Psychic Scream is the "but not those who gain immunity through spells or other effects" part. I understand that spells should not be the end-all and be-all of power, but it still seems unfair that a 20th level caster using an 8th level spell can't prevent a 5th level Binder from blasting their mind. My suggestion is to make this ability scale; at 10th EBL, say, it ignores supernatural and spell-like protection, at 15th EBL (the same level Mind Blank is obtained) it ignores spell protection, and at 20th EBL is damages anyone, including undead and constructs. How does that sound?

Zaydos
2012-01-15, 02:34 PM
I have to second limiting Bastion to half (same reasons stated by Ragged Angel), but I'd say with the psychic shout don't give it the power to ignore natural or Su mind-affecting immunity and make it so that you ignore spells with a CL of up to somewhere around 4 higher than EBL. This way it still solves the whole Lv 15 ability can't stop Lv 5 3 (got to love that feat) character's ability problem and if you're fighting mages more than 4 levels above yourself then you're in trouble regardless (this also makes it worse for dipping which as it requires 3 levels and a feat is hard to do but far from unworkable).

Knight13
2012-01-15, 05:54 PM
Excellent work! It's flavorful, effective and balanced. It just doesn't get much better than that.

Circle of Life
2012-01-15, 07:17 PM
By Thor's hammer, this is awesome. Everything here is superb, and you presented it wonderfully. Well done; I hope we all get to see more Vestiges from you in the future. :smallcool:
Circle, you've made a lot of great homebrew, but this takes the cake. And then it makes more cake to share with everyone else, because it isn't a selfish cake-hoarder.
Excellent work! It's flavorful, effective and balanced. It just doesn't get much better than that.

Thank you. *bows humbly*


You may want to reduce the damage you can absorb via Bastion to half, simply because it makes it nearly impossible for a foe to kill your wizard/archivist/psion/etc as long as you have a healer or source of healing near you.So the ability allows you to tank in D&D, and makes in-combat healing an attractive option. I fail to see how this is a problem.
My only problem with Psychic Scream is the "but not those who gain immunity through spells or other effects" part. I understand that spells should not be the end-all and be-all of power, but it still seems unfair that a 20th level caster using an 8th level spell can't prevent a 5th level Binder from blasting their mind. My suggestion is to make this ability scale; at 10th EBL, say, it ignores supernatural and spell-like protection, at 15th EBL (the same level Mind Blank is obtained) it ignores spell protection, and at 20th EBL is damages anyone, including undead and constructs. How does that sound?

That sounds like a good idea to me.

Wyntonian
2012-01-15, 07:35 PM
First, well deserved binder fanboygasm. OHMYASMODEUS IT'S BEAUTIFUL!!! SQUEE!!!!

Now.

Welp.

I've gone through a metic crapton of homebrewed vestiges, but this is one of the better ones. I might recommend that you bump it up toward 4th level, but it kinda works the way it is. I like the mechanics for the Knight's Challenge-esque ability, and the totally-not-mindblade thing as well. Lastly, I do agree with allowing some classic NO-buttons to apply to Psychic Scream, just because it's really too powerful for a level 3/4 vestige otherwise.