View Full Version : [GIFT] The Gift of Gab

The Glyphstone
2006-12-31, 10:54 PM
All across the world – indeed, the multiverse, intelligent species can be found in nearly any imaginable shape or form. However, despite the outside (or inside) appearance they may have, there remains one common qualifier that binds them – the power of communication…specifically, of speech. Countless languages abound amongst sentient beings, some restricted to telepathic links alone, but they are languages all the same. A species unable to communicate effectively is isolated from any besides its own kind, and far less likely to be recognized as a sentient creature in its own right.

Naturally, any creature who loses their powers of communication is one to be pitied, to be mourned in a way. A humanoid can still pass messages via writing, but that is a far inferior method of delivering information. To speak, to vocalize one’s thoughts and desires in a verbal language of one’s choosing, is at its heart precious to all beings capable of it. But equally important, though few consciously recognize it, is the value of silence, at times when it is appropriate. Thus, it is even more worthy of pity when some poor creature is cursed not to silence, but to never enjoy silence again. A beneficiary of the sardonically named “Gift of Gab” will never again know total silence – for even in the depths of wilderness, alone in the world, his own voice will betray that tranquility and spout forth an endless stream of dialogue, with rhyme and reason inversely related to the length of time they have suffered from such. Individuals touched by the Gift become social lepers – at first the subject of sorrow and pity for their burden, then isolated as their incessant chatter drives away potential company. At long last, even they cannot tolerate themselves, and their mind succumbs to the last refuge of insanity.

The Glyphstone
2006-12-31, 10:54 PM
The old tales and stories differ in their descriptions of the “Gift’s” history, but they all agree at its point of origin – the sad tale of the wandering bard Gabriel and the day he crossed paths with the dark sorcerer Dra’gaz the Darkbinder. Gabriel, known as Gab to his many friends, was happy-go-lucky in every possible sense of the world. No genius, but with a keen sense of humor and a cheerful demeanor, he traveled the world spreading song and amusement to anyone and everyone he could reach. However, this would end the day he wandered into the clutches of Dra’gaz. A necromancer and demonologist of no small talent or infamy, the Darkbinder had ruled over his own small patch of territory with a brutal iron fist. The handful of battered, weary villages that surrounded his looming citadel lived in poverty and abject terror, constantly waiting for the next disappearance that signaled Dra’gaz’s need for another victim.

Into all of this, the bard Gabriel would innocently meander, totally unaware of what lay ahead. Dra’gaz was one for simple pleasures – the sole thing source of enjoyment for his shriveled heart was the infliction of suffering on others. And nothing invoked more of his dark hatred than the possibility that someone other than him would have any small portion of joy in their own lives. Within an hour of Gabriel’s arrival in the hamlet, Dra’gaz’s demon spies had reported the bard’s presence. Within another hour, they had delivered the hapless prisoner to their master.

For five long years, Gabriel suffered as the sorcerer’s prisoner. Dra’gaz considered himself an expert in every aspect of pain, mental and physical alike, and his connections to the Abyss allowed him to draw on literally unlimited levels of specialized expertise if needed. He had long since grown bored of torturing his villagers, their spirits already withered to the point where they lasted only a few hours. But Gabriel was a new toy, one that he planned to enjoy immensely. Not ignorant in the matters of bards and their magic, he found a particularly devious method of increasing Gabriel’s torment by keeping him constantly restrained within the area of carefully sculpted magical silence spells. Even during the active torture sessions they persisted, Dra’gaz working his murderous talents with glee as his victim coughed out scream after silent, unheard scream. Five years during which Gabriel heard not a sound, his voice or any others. Five years for his sanity to steadily erode. Five years during which he swore to pay any price imaginable to extract revenge on his captor.

At long last, his prayers and curses were answered…by none other than Demogorgon, the Prince of Demons himself. Only the demon lord knows exactly what brought Gabriel to his attention, just another of the nameless rabble who were tortured and tormented every day. It may have been his attunement to the Abyss, what with demons having presided over so many of his brutal “sessions”. Or perhaps it was the pure, unfiltered hatred that infused every pore of Gabriel’s wordless pleas for revenge. Of course, it may have been just random chance, the dark lottery that decided so many of Demogorgon’s choices as befitted a patron of insanity itself. Regardless of the reasoning, if there was any at all, Demogorgon decided to grant Gabriel his wish. With the demon lord’s vile energies coursing through him, the years of damage inflicted to his body were wiped away, along with the last vestiges of his sanity. Just as easily, he swept off the spells and chains that bound him, and left his cell to hunt down the mage who had driven him to the dark pact he had become trapped in. The battle itself hardly desired such a title; despite all of Dra’gaz’s magical power, he was no match at all for some infused with even a fraction of Demogorgon’s strength.

Within the space of a minute, the mighty Darkbinder was defeated and broken, literally under the boot of the captive he had toyed with for so long. Everyone – sorcerer, demon prince, and bard alike – expected Gabriel to just kill him – but the vengeance that had consumed Gab beyond all measure could not be sated so easily. From the depths of his warped and shattered mind, he summoned up every drop of his demon-gifted power to smite Dra’gaz not with death, but with a terrible curse that echoed the punishment he had endured. When he awoke, it was to the sound of his own voice, unconsciously reciting the names of every unfortunate soul he had given attention to in his lair, then moving on to recitations of every arcane text he had ever memorized, then endless repetitions of powerless summoning invocations. Within days, Dra’gaz was a gibbering lunatic, and his maddened inability to stop babbling even to eat or drink killed him within the week. Thus avenged, Gabriel disappeared, both in space and in legend, as it is here the tales break in their unanimity. Some claim he died, unable to contain the power he had called to him, while others proposed that he ended up an avatar of Demogorgon to be slain by some group of enterprising heroes, or even that he took up Dra’gaz’s mantle as the evil ruler of the land. The only lasting record of his existence past the myths is the curse that bears his name in homage, much refined since its crude and brutal origins, but still with every drop of his malicious and insidious intent.

The Glyphstone
2006-12-31, 10:55 PM
Endless Litany
Enchantment [Sonic, Evil, Mind-Affecting, Language-Dependent]
Level: Bard 4
Components: V, S
Casting Time: 1 round
Range: Close (25ft. +5ft./2 levels)
Target: One intelligent creature
Duration: 1 round/2 levels or permanent, see text
Saving Throw: Will partial or Fortitude partial, see text
Spell Resistance: Yes, see text

The deliverance of this dire and accursed spell is invoked only by the darkest of bards, those who take a positive glee in hurting other people. Ironically, that brings them closer to the dark sorcerer who provoked the curse’s creation than the bard who spawned it, but few care to make that distinction.

When the spell is completed, the target must succeed on a Will save. If successful, they are confused as per the spell for 1 round per 2 caster levels, and are rendered immune to any further castings of Endless Litany for 24 hours.

If they fail the Will save, they are trapped in the full power of the curse, with dire consequences for their social standing and their sanity. A subject of the "Gift of Gab" is touched in the same way Dra’gaz was so long ago – they quite literally cannot stop talking, or voluntarily silence themselves in any other manner. Unlike the Darkbinder, they can suppress their endless speech long enough to eat or drink, or control it to speak the words for a spell or speak intelligibly to someone nearby. But otherwise, they are doomed to speak constantly and unendingly, even in their sleep –at which point the subconscious takes over, and they can voice thoughts or secrets they would never have voluntarily disclosed.

A victim of Endless Litany must succeed on a Fortitude save each morning or be Fatigued for 24 hours, from the subtle but constant strain that their restless vocal cords (or equivalent apparatus) subject them to. Furthermore, each time they fail the Fortitude save, they must pass a second Fortitude save or suffer 1d3 points of Intelligence burn (a form of ability damage that cannot be recovered magically, only through natural healing). If they are reduced to 0 Intelligence, they are rendered permanently insane, as per the spell. They suffer a -10 penalty to any Move Silently checks unless within the area of a magical silence spell, as their runaway motor mouth gives their position away. If gagged or otherwise muffled, the penalty is reduced to -5. Any interactions with NPCs start off one attitude level lower, to a minimum of Unfriendly, and attempts to raise their attitude can be commensurately more difficult at the DM’s discretion.

The Glyphstone
2006-12-31, 10:57 PM
Knife in the Silence
Hit Die: d6

These stealthy semi-assassins are dedicated to the preservation of free speech, ruthless in their extermination of anyone who would seek to supress it, physically or through oppressive laws and regulations.

Alignment: Neutral, Chaotic Neutral, Neutral Evil, or Chaotic Evil
BAB: +5
Skills: Perform (any) 8 ranks
Feats: Extra Music
Special: Must be able to cast Silence as a bardic spell.
Special: Must be tutored by another Knife in the Silence of at least 5th level.

Class Skills
The Knife in the Silence's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Appraise (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/skills/appraise.htm) (Int), Balance (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/skills/balance.htm) (Dex), Bluff (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/skills/bluff.htm) (Cha), Climb (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/skills/climb.htm) (Str), Concentration (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/skills/concentration.htm) (Con), Craft (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/skills/craft.htm) (Int), Decipher Script (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/skills/decipherScript.htm) (Int), Diplomacy (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/skills/diplomacy.htm) (Cha), Disguise (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/skills/disguise.htm) (Cha), Escape Artist (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/skills/escapeArtist.htm) (Dex), Forgery (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/skills/forgery.htm) (Int), Gather Information (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/skills/gatherInformation.htm) (Cha), Hide (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/skills/hide.htm) (Dex), Intimidate (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/skills/intimidate.htm) (Cha), Jump (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/skills/jump.htm) (Str), Knowledge (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/skills/knowledge.htm) (all skills, taken individually) (Int), Listen (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/skills/listen.htm) (Wis), Move Silently (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/skills/moveSilently.htm) (Dex), Open Lock (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/skills/openLock.htm) (Dex), Perform (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/skills/perform.htm) (Cha), Profession (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/skills/profession.htm) (Wis), Sense Motive (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/skills/senseMotive.htm) (Wis), Sleight of Hand (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/skills/sleightOfHand.htm) (Dex), Speak Language (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/skills/speakLanguage.htm) (None), Spellcraft (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/skills/spellcraft.htm) (Int), Swim (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/skills/swim.htm) (Str), Tumble (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/skills/tumble.htm) (Dex), and Use Magic Device (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/skills/useMagicDevice.htm) (Cha).

Skill Points at each level: 6+Int modifier.

--1-------+1-------+0-----+0-----+2-----------N/A-----------Bardic Music, Gabble
--2-------+2-------+0-----+0-----+3---+1 bard spellcasting, Voice Unbound
--3-------+3-------+1-----+1-----+3-----------N/A-----------Pierce the Silence
--4-------+4-------+1-----+1-----+4---+1 bard spellcasting--Voice of the Void 1/day
--6-------+6-------+2-----+2-----+5---+1 bard spellcasting--Pierce the Stone
--7-------+7-------+2-----+2-----+5-----------N/A-----------Voice of the Void 2/day
--8-------+8-------+2-----+2-----+6---+1 bard spellcasting--
--9-------+9-------+3-----+3-----+6-----------N/A-----------Pierce the Soul
-10------+10-------+3-----+3-----+7---+1 bard spellcasting---Blather, Voice of the Void 3/day

Class Features
All of the following are class features of the Knife in the Silence prestige class.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency
Knives in the Silence gain no proficiency with any weapons or armor.

Spellcasting: At each indicated level, a Knife in the Silence gains new spells per day or spells known as if they had gained a level of bard, and increases their caster level by the same amount. They do not gain any other benefits of the class (but see Bardic Music below).

Bardic Music: Levels in Knife in the Silence stack with bard levels to determine total uses of bardic music per day, and for the bonus value of their Inspire Courage ability. However, they do not gain the use of Inspire Greatness, Song of Freedom, Inspire Heroics, etc. unless they possess the requisite number of actual bard class levels.

Voice Unbound: A Knife in the Silence of 2nd level or higher is unaffected by Silence spells. They may speak normally, or cast bardic spells within the confines of such as spell without hindrance. This does not extend to any allies or other creatures inside the spell's area of effect, but creatures outside the zone will hear the resultant noise as normal.

Gabble: A Knife in the Silence gains the ability to befuddle and bewilder those exposed to his music, by subtly warping the strands of sound they generate. By expending a use of bardic music, the Knife can force any opponents within 30ft. to make a Will save or be confused as per the spell for as long as the bard concentrates on the music.

Pierce the Silence: By expending an additional use of bardic music, a Knife in the Silence can allow a bardic music effect, or any bard spell with the [Sonic] or [Language-Dependent] descriptor to function inside the areas of a Silence effect, or to affect those who would otherwise not hear due to magic (such as having been rendered magically deaf).

Voice of the Void: A Knife in the Silence of at least 4th level can inflict magical muteness on a target, or remove such magical muteness or magical deafness, once per day. A successful Will save (DC10+class level+Cha modifier) negates the effect if desired. The duration is permanent or until dispelled, as per Blindness/Deafness. At 7th level, this ability can be used 2/day, and at 10th level it can be used 3/day.

Babble: At 5th level, the effects of the Knife in the Silence's Gabble ability persist for an additional 1d6 rounds after the bard stops concentrating. Roll randomly for each participant effected.

Pierce the Stone: By expending an additional use of bardic music, a Knife in the Silence can allow a bardic music effect or any bardic spell with the [Sonic] or [Language-Dependent] descriptors to penetrate solid material. Each use of music expended while activating this ability allows the magic or spell to penetrate one inch of stone or dirt, or 1/2 inch of metal, per class level of Knife in the Silence. This does not extend the range of the spell, merely removes obstacles for their effect.

Pierce the Soul: By expending two additional uses of bardic music, a Knife in the Silence can allow a bardic music effect or any bardic spell with the [Sonic] or [Language-Dependent] descriptors to bore directly to a subject's essence, bypassing any barriers in the way. When this ability is activated, the spell or effect in question can affect any non-mindless target, even one magically or non-magically deafened, or rendered immune to mind-affecting effects.

Blather: Any creature that fails their save against a 10th level Knife in the Silence's Gabble ability must pass a second Will save or be permanently cursed as per Endless Litany.

The Glyphstone
2006-12-31, 11:02 PM
Creator's analysis.