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An Amy
2017-02-20, 01:58 PM
Alright, so I'd like to use this homebrew mechanic in a game. It's basically this, when you die you possess someone instead of being raised from the dead. There's no XP or level loss due to death. There are other potential penalties from death though. You can possess almost anyone but it's at random and you have no to little control over it. Could be a beggar. Could be a retired paladin. Could be a man on his death bed (though I think there was an unwritten rule about this that you don't venture more than 1 age category from your own).

I originally played this at the table and my DM had more complicated rules. Though, these do seem more complicated when I re-typed them up. I omitted a lot of the complexity with the possession but maintained a lot of the saving throws and checks. I do plan on adding some other balancing and clarifications. I do want to use this in a game here, so I want to make sure it makes sense and won't become the obstacle. It seems a little daunting though.


Art of Dying

This post(s) will detail out my multi-free-rez/possession mechanic. Itís somewhat complicated, and there are definitions sure. So letís go over the basics here. You die, and you die a lot if this mechanic is being used in the game. But you are reincarnated for free, but instead of your own newly and magically-grown body, you take over an NPC who had a life. They can resist your attempt if they are high enough level. And if you die too often, you start to go mad. So letís go over what happens at each stage of the process. There will be terms you donít fully know yet. Just understand that youíll learn their definitions soon after.

When you dieÖ

Hereís the process of what happens when you die.
1. You die. You took enough damage or failed a particular saving throw. Youíre dead. Immediately after, for 1 round per your Charisma Modifier, you can be raised via various spells except reincarnation or the like. If your host/body is turned into an undead creature, however, you cannot be raised and go into wandering.
2. Upon dying, increase your death toll by your character level. Even if you are immediately raised, you still increase your death toll.
3. If you are not immediately raised, you go into wandering. During this stage, you are incorporeal but cannot interact with anything around you. You donít know where you are and cannot see or hear or receive really any sensory information about whatís going on. Youíre blind, deaf and just waiting around.
4. If this is your first time dying, you start off at 0 Death Toll and this death does not increase it.

When you wander for a hostÖ

5. You wander for a period of 24 hours. During this time, your incorporeal and invisible form wanders around looking for a suitable body. For all intents and purposes, you cannot really be interacted with. Someone that goes around looking for incorporeal forms really wonít find you. But, if someone has protections against incorporeal creatures, you cannot possess them.
6. If you died within 24 hours of having just previously died, you must add the remainder of that 24 hour period to your next wandering period. So, say you possessed someone. Eight hours later you died. You must wander for an additional 16 hours on top of the 24 hour period acquired from your most recent death. Explained again below.
7. After your wandering period, you randomly attempt to possess someone at random within range of the effect. Under normal circumstances, you cannot stop this. There are feats which can let you change who and when, but for the most part youíre going to try.
8. Your target host receives a Will save if they are over level 1 in any class, heroic or otherwise, or if they are over any HD amount that would make their ECL greater than 2. They must also be sentient and playable as a character. The DC is equal to 10 + your Charisma modifier + your HD/Level. Any character who has more than ECL 1 (by whatever means) receives +8 to their Saving throw. If they have more HD/Levels than you, they receive +12.
9. If they succeed, you are resisted and return to wandering for a number of hours equal to the amount by which they succeeded the saving throw. Your death toll is reduced by 1.
10. If they fail, you possess them.

When youíve found that perfect someoneÖ

11. After successfully possessing a new host, you must make a Fortitude Save against a DC 10 + host HD/levels + host combined mental modifiers + your death toll. This represents your ability to resist the sudden and traumatic process of possessing a functioning and living person, forcing their personality into the back of your mind and suddenly becoming aware of their body.
12. If you succeed, you are in control of their body.
13. If you fail, depending on how badly you fail and how high your death toll is, you can suffer anywhere from just starting off with 0 HP and being exhausted to being unconscious and cripple for several days after.
14. Regardless of success or failure, you will come crashing into the otherís personality, memories and such. You will immediately know their most recent memories, what they were doing, how they felt, and some other things about them. Including their last thoughts as they felt their body being stolen from them.
15. You will also have a rapidly dwindling sense of where your last body was. Along with all the gear that does not come with you. This starts off as an absolute compass direction with distance. Then it fades by the minute until you cannot perceive anything. This is based on your Wisdom modifier. You get 1 minute per wisdom modifier.

What happens in your new duds

16. When you died the first time, your ability scores are turned into modifiers. Your modifiers are applied to the new formís stats and thatís your new body.
17. Your level, alignment, skill points, feats and class abilities pretty much stay the same.
18. Your hitpoints are reduced to your new threshold.
19. At the start of every new day you are alive in your new body, beyond the first, you get to make a character level check. DC equals your death toll. If you fail, nothing really happens. If you succeed, your death toll falls by 1. Your death toll can never reach 0. If you roll a natural 20 on the check, your death toll goes down by 2.
20. You are still not fully cemented to your body and are in your waking period. For at least 1 day after possessing someone, you can be ejected from their body if you are dropped to -1 or fewer Hit Points. The body may still be alive, but just without you in it. Also, any death effect also immediately ejects you. If you make the save against the effect, the body doesnít die immediately, but you are ejected.
21. If you die sometime within this 24-hour waking period, you must wander for the remainder of that 24-hour period on top of the normal 24-hour period of wandering after death, as explained above as well.

New Terms and Processes

Death Toll: This is a value that represents how often you have died. It starts off as your character level. It cannot be less than 1. However, there is no limit to how high it can go. Every day you are alive, you have a chance to reduce your death toll by 1. You do this by making a character level check against your own death toll. If you succeed, the death toll goes down by 1. If you get a natural 20 on the check, it goes down by 2. If you do not succeed, your death toll remains where it is and you can suffer a penalty. Mostly, your death toll serves as a type of madness. Detrimental effects are applied to you when you possess a body and you fail the fortitude save to resist possession sickness.

Wandering: This is the period of time after death and before possession. You are incorporeal during this time; though really, nothing can actually interact with you. Except barriers that block incorporeal creatures such as various spell effects. You can also be turned while in this state, though you cannot be destroyed by turning. There are abilities you can gain that can make your corporeal during your wandering, but that comes with great risks of extending your wandering period and forcing you back into incorporeality.

Waking: This is the first day after you possess a body and represents your unfamiliarity with it. Under normal circumstances, this lasts for 24 hours. During this time you can be ejected from the body in a similar way to it dying. For your purposes, it would be considered a death. It increases your death toll, starts a new wandering period, etc. You can be ejected by being reduced to -1 HP or fewer regardless of stabilization or survivability. Any death effect also immediately ejects you even if you make the save. Making the save only means that your former host is still alive.

Ejection: This term is used to refer to being forced out of a host, usually during your waking period. Though your host may still live, this is treated as a death for you. You incur an increase to your death toll and enter a wandering period.

Ability Modifiers: Your ability scores become base modifiers that are applied to each new host you receive. These modifiers are equal to your base ability score minus 5 then divided by 2. A score of 18 is thus a 6. Apply 6 to whatever score the new host has. Yes, this might result in a lower score than what you had. It almost certainly unless you got ahold of a host that had at least a 12 in the example above. Sucks a bit. Good thing there are feats which let you unlock your fuller potential. Also, normally, you cannot have a combined score that is higher than your score or your hostsí nature core, whichever is higher. If your score is 14 and theirs is 18, you get their 18. Congrats! That wonít normally happen though. Thus, if your host has an Int of 8, but yours is 12, you combine to get an 11. Yes, you might lose some casting ability due to your limited body.

Gestalt: If you are playing as a gestalt, your first death becomes the moment when you are gestalt. Until then, youíre just one side of the gestalt. Donít worry about keeping things fully separated. Create your character as if they will be gestalt from the beginning. Just separate out the easy things like HP, BAB, class abilities and otherwise. But build the character with gestalt in mind.

Threshold: This is equal to your constitution score. You die when you reach negative threshold in HP. Explanation of your threshold are found elsewhere.

Art of Dying Character Progression



Level
Bonus Feats
Abilities


5th

Possession


6th
Bonus Feat



7th
Bonus Feat
Stabilize


8th
Bonus Feat



9th




10th
Bonus Feat
Deathwatch (sp)


11th
Bonus Feat



12th
Bonus Feat



13th

Death Knell (sp)


14th
Bonus Feat



15th
Bonus Feat



16th
Bonus Feat



17th

Death Knell, continuous


18th
Bonus Feat



19th
Bonus Feat



20th
Bonus Feat




Possession: The whole mechanic of dying and possessing someone above.

Stabilize (Su): You get two attempts to stabilize per round instead of just 1.

Deathwatch (Sp): You gain deathwatch as a spell-like ability usable at-will.

Death Knell (Sp): You gain death knell as a spell-like ability usable at-will. Every time you benefit from this spell, your death toll increases by the HD/level of the creature slain.

Death Knell, Continuous: As death knell above, but you cannot turn the effect off. It can only be dispelled for a number of rounds equal to the caster level of whoever targets you with an effect that would remove death knell.

Bonus Feats



Feat Name
Requisites
Description


Improved Numbers
--
Improve your ability scores after possession if they are still below your base scores.


Improved Numbers II
Character Level 12, Improved Numbers
Use your base scores if they are better.


Improved Numbers III
Character Level 16, Improved Numbers, Improved Numbers II
If your host has the same or better ability score, gain +2.


Lingering Control
Character Level 6, Diehard
Once dead, remain for a number of rounds equal to your Charisma Modifier


Palliation
Character Level 8
Donate your remaining HP to another creature


Palliation II
Character Level 10, Palliation
Donate your remaining HP to another creature


Picky Guest
--
Get a general idea of your target host before possession.


Rapid Possession
Character level 6
You can possess someone in 12 hours instead of 24.


Rapid Possession II
Character level 8, Rapid Possession
You can possess someone in 1 hour instead of 24.


Rapid Possession III
Character level 12, Rapid Possession, Rapid Possession II
You can possess someone immediately following death


Resist Death
--
Gain resistance against death effects


Resist Death, Immunity
Character Level 10, Resist Death
Gain immunity to death effects


Resist Death, Retribution
Character Level 16, Resist Death, Immunity Resist Death
Turn a death effect against its originator


Toll Strike
Character Level 6
Make an attack that kills you but deals extra damage


Toll Strike II
Character level 12, Toll Strike
Make an attack that could kill you and deal extra damage


Wandering Body
Character Level 14, Wandering Sight, Wandering Spirit
Your incorporeal form can interact with the living


Wandering Sight
Character Level 6
See what happens after your death.


Wandering Spirit
Character Level 8, Wandering Sight
Your incorporeal form can see and move about.


Wandering Vengeance
Character Level 20, Wandering Sight, Wandering Spirit, Wandering Body
You can attack in your incorporeal form



Improved Numbers: Req: None. Benefit: If, after combining yours and your hostís ability scores, the result is still less than your base ability scores, then receive half the difference. For example, if your base ability score is 18 but your hostís score is 10, you would normally receive a score of 14. Instead, with this feat, you will receive a 16. You can chose this feat for one of your ability scores. You can take this feat multiple times, each time applying it to a different ability score.

Improved Numbers II: Req: Character Level 12, Improved Numbers. Benefit: If your base scores are higher than the combined score with your host, then use your base scores. Taking this feat automatically applies it to any of your ability scores for which you have taken Improved Numbers.

Improved Numbers III: Req: Character Level 16, Improved Numbers, Improved Numbers II. Benefit: If your host has the same score or better than you in a particular ability score, improve that score by +2. You can take this feat multiple times, each time applying it to an ability score that you have also taken Improved Numbers.

Lingering Control: Req: Character Level 6, Diehard. Benefit: If you die by any means except a death effect or being ejected, such as by reaching negative threshold or -10 HP, then you may continue to control your body for a number of rounds equal to your Charisma Bonus. During these rounds, damage essentially inconsequential. You can still be slain via a death effect or by being beheaded.

Palliation: Req: Character Level 8. Benefit: You can make a touch against a willing target and donate hit points to that target. Doing so drops you to 0 HP. The target receives a number of hit points equal to one-half your remaining, non-temporary hit points at the time of the touch. These temporary hit points cannot cause the target creature to exceed their maximum hit points. This requires a willing target, so it cannot be used to damage an undead creature.

Palliation II: Req: Character Level 10, Palliation. Benefit: As Palliation, except you donate the full remaining amount of your HP as temporary hit points. Doing so drops you to -1 HP rendering you unconscious but stable.

Picky Guest: Req: None. Benefit: Before attempting possession of a potential host, you can get a look at their body and get an idea of their ability scores though not exact figures. You can then chose not to possess that target creature and move on to another. Doing so raises your death toll by 2 and requires an additional 12 hours of wandering. You can do this a total number of times equal to your character level.

Rapid Possession: Req: Character Level 6. Benefit: You can choose to have your wandering period cut to 12 hours instead of 24. This does not reduce the extra wandering hours added on by dying within a day of possessing another body. Doing so increases your death toll by 2.

Rapid Possession II: Req: Character level 8, Rapid Possession. Benefit: As Rapid Possession, except that you can reduce your wandering to 1 hour. Doing so increases your death toll by 6.

Rapid Possession III: Req: Character level 12, Rapid Possession, Rapid Possession II. Benefit: As Rapid Possession, except your wandering period of eliminated entirely. Doing so increases your death toll by 12.

Resist Death: Req: None. Benefit: You gain a +8 resistance to any effect that would cause instant death. This includes effects such as death from massive damage, finger of death spell or similar effects. This does not protect you against ejection during your waking period as those can affect you without a save. You still get this bonus during the saving throw, however, to affect your host.

Resist Death, Immunity: Req: Character Level 10, Resist Death. Benefit: You gain an immunity to death effects. This does not protect you against ejection during your waking period. In such instances, your host remains alive while you are ejected.

Resist Death, Retribution: Req: Character Level 16, Resist Death, Immunity Resist Death. Benefit: Any death effect directed at you damages the source of the death effect, such as a caster or creature with a death attack, dealing 1d6 magical damage per your death toll. If the target creature is also immune to death effects, this has no effect on them.

Toll Strike: Req: Character Level 6. Benefit: You can deliver an attack that deals extra damage. Take your current death toll and apply it as extra magical damage to an attack. If successful, you deal the extra damage and immediately are ejected from your host. You go into a wandering period. If you slay a target creature with this attack, you do not incur any increase in your death toll due to being ejected.

Toll Strike II: Req: Character level 12, Toll Strike. Benefit: As Toll Strike, but making the attack does not automatically eject you. You must make a Fortitude Save each time to avoid ejection. DC is equal to your death toll. If you fail the save, you are ejected. If you slay a creature with this attack, you are also ejected.e

Wandering Body: Req: Character Level 14, Wandering Sight, Wandering Spirit. Benefit: As Wandering Spirit, except that you can move up to one mile from the point of your death. You can also reach out and touch living creatures. They cannot see you, but they can detect you through any means that would detect an incorporeal creature. Once touched, you may speak with them. If they are unwilling, they may make a Will Save to avoid your contact, DC 10 + your character level + your charisma modifier. If successful, you cannot communicate with them. In addition to communicating, you can impart an insight bonus to attack, AC and prevent flanking bonuses if you so desire. You can impart a +2 to attack and AC.

Wandering Sight: Req: Character Level 6. Benefit: Your incorporeal form can see what happens around your corpse following death or ejection. You can remain for a number of minutes equal to your character level plus your charisma modifier. You can also only remain within 10 ft per character level of the point of death and can only see an area 10 ft across centered on you. You can move only 5 ft per round. You remain invisible and cannot be interacted with except by effects that target incorporeal creatures. If you are attacked and dealt any damage, you cease to be able to use Wandering Sight and resume normal wandering: blindly.

Wandering Spirit: Req: Character Level 8, Wandering Sight. Benefit: As Wandering Sight, except that you can see an area that is 20 ft across and can move as far as 100 ft per character level from the point of your death. Your move at a speed of 30 ft per round. In addition to sight, you can also hear, though hearing is limited to only those sources you can see.

Wandering Vengeance: Req: Character Level 20, Wandering Sight, Wandering Spirit, Wandering Body. Benefit: As Wandering Body, except you can deal an attack to living creatures. Your attack uses your Dexterity modifier to deliver a touch attack. You deal 1d6 + Charisma modifier in damage for every 2 HD/levels you possess.

Death Toll and Waking Sickness

The true impact of your death toll is when you finally do awaken into a new host and have to deal with the effects of continual death. Here are the following effects of waking, including having only a death toll of 1. These include effects of failing or passing the Fortitude save made upon possessing a host. If your death toll is at one level, you always gain the failing penalties of previous levels. If you pass at one level, you suffer the affects of passing at previous levels. In other words, these effects are cumulative with each other.



Death Toll
Pass
Fail


1
No effects. Begin play with full threshold in HP.
During your waking period, you cannot gain more than your threshold in HP.


2-8
You are staggered and sickened for 1 minute
You are staggered and sickened for 1 hour.


9-16
You fall unconscious for 1 round per character level. Upon gaining consciousness you are staggerd and sickened for 1 hour.
You fall unconscious for 1 hour per character level. Upon gaining consciousness you are staggered and sickened for the remainder of your waking period.


17-32
You begin with 0 HP. Upon gaining consciousness you are fatigued for the remainder of the day.
For the rest of your waking period, you cannot gain more than 0 HP. Any you gain is temporary and reduces at a rate of 1d6 per round.


33-48
You fall unconscious for the rest of your waking period.
You fall unconscious for the rest of your waking period. After that, you are sickened and cannot gain any HP above your threshold for another 2 days. Any additional gain is temporary and reduces at a rate of 1d6 per round.


49-64
Your sickened and temporary HP statuses remain for 4 days after your waking period.
Instead of -2 while sickened, you suffer -6.


65+
Your sickened and temporary HP statuses remain for 7 days.
Your sickened and temporary HP statuses remain for 14 days.

aimlessPolymath
2017-02-20, 03:37 PM
There's a lot of stuff going on there!

What I'm seeing is, once you die, you wait for 24 hours, then possess someone at random (but wait at least 48 hours since you last possessed someone!). Better get to civilization in time, or you might end up as a dog. You might end up as a baby regardless- just wait until the parents see their child shooting fire from their hands! If they are an NPC, they get no save. Otherwise, they get a Will save of approximately DC 2 + your level + your Cha (after some stuff talking about ECL which is confusing)- if they have more HD than you, the DC is -2 + your level + your Cha. Then, if you get in, you make a Fortitude save. If it isn't your first death, the DC is at least 10 + your level(Death toll) + their level + all their mental modifiers, combined. Note that you can't choose who it is, but even if you could, you would probably fail by a bunch unless you were a high-saves based character, or picked a moron.

You then learn where your body is right now, and whether it's moving or not. If you can teleport to it, great. Otherwise, it vanishes too fast to be useful.

Then, lose approximately half your stats, more or less (a score of 10 gives you +2) but gain the stats of your new body.

Then, you have to wait for approximately your level in days before dying again- otherwise, you will fail by hilariously more the next time you die. If you go below 0 hp, you lose control of the body.

Anyone can do this if they are above level 5. Also, everyone gets a massive number of bonus feats (up to 12. I'm actually OK with this). Wording of continuous death knell is confusing- what do you mean you can't turn it off? Do you use the ability reflexively, automatically increasing your death toll over and over involuntarily?

...

How many people are above level 5 in your world? Since each of them can reincarnate a figuratively infinite number of times, as far as I can see... well. The only thing I can see pruning them out is that they can be overwritten when somebody else takes the body, and that's improbable unless most people are already being possessed.

I'll go over the feats later.

An Amy
2017-02-20, 04:52 PM
There's a lot of stuff going on there!

What I'm seeing is, once you die, you wait for 24 hours, then possess someone at random (but wait at least 48 hours since you last possessed someone!). Better get to civilization in time, or you might end up as a dog. You might end up as a baby regardless- just wait until the parents see their child shooting fire from their hands! If they are an NPC, they get no save. Otherwise, they get a Will save of approximately DC 2 + your level + your Cha (after some stuff talking about ECL which is confusing)- if they have more HD than you, the DC is -2 + your level + your Cha. Then, if you get in, you make a Fortitude save. If it isn't your first death, the DC is at least 10 + your level(Death toll) + their level + all their mental modifiers, combined. Note that you can't choose who it is, but even if you could, you would probably fail by a bunch unless you were a high-saves based character, or picked a moron.

You then learn where your body is right now, and whether it's moving or not. If you can teleport to it, great. Otherwise, it vanishes too fast to be useful.

Then, lose approximately half your stats, more or less (a score of 10 gives you +2) but gain the stats of your new body.

Then, you have to wait for approximately your level in days before dying again- otherwise, you will fail by hilariously more the next time you die. If you go below 0 hp, you lose control of the body.

Anyone can do this if they are above level 5. Also, everyone gets a massive number of bonus feats (up to 12. I'm actually OK with this). Wording of continuous death knell is confusing- what do you mean you can't turn it off? Do you use the ability reflexively, automatically increasing your death toll over and over involuntarily?

...

How many people are above level 5 in your world? Since each of them can reincarnate a figuratively infinite number of times, as far as I can see... well. The only thing I can see pruning them out is that they can be overwritten when somebody else takes the body, and that's improbable unless most people are already being possessed.

I'll go over the feats later.

This only affects the PCs in a campaign that would start off at level 5 and the PCs are more or less bound to a very large city full of a diverse population. Venturing too far also causes them to become ejected, though that is more of a campaign specific detail rather than one built into the mechanic. I guess it needs to be mentioned though.

The whole ECL thing was confusing and I tried to write it less so. I seem to have failed. Basically, if they're level 1 NPCs, they don't get a bonus to resisting the possession. If they're over level 1, they do. This takes into account ECLs for NPCs that have LA. Average NPCs won't have more than 1 HD. And the bonuses you mention aren't right... unless I've totally failed at typing them out earlier, but it demonstrates the point well enough.

The other thing that would restrict someone from doing this a lot is the moral implication that someone does die each time. The host body dies and that person and their life goes with it, effectively. So yes, it's a mechanic that applies to the PC's after a certain point in a storyline (hence the first death comments).

The Death Knell effect is continuous. Like an aura you cannot turn off that, yes, could involuntarily increase your death toll. Causing you to be a problem. I should note that PCs affected by this whole multi-death mechanic are immune to being knelled by other PCs own death knell auras.

I'm not entirely a fan of the bonus feats... At least their sheer volume. It was 1 bonus feat per level, but I removed a number of them and knocked it down to 12.

Oh and once you cannot feel your body anymore, you still have an idea of where it was. That is mostly there to give you an idea of where you are as well in relation to where you just were in case you don't recognize the street signs.

aimlessPolymath
2017-02-20, 10:17 PM
If it's a PC-only mechanic intended for a particular setting, that makes me much more comfortable- the effects on a world scale would be crazy (but cool!). I think the mechanic has a lot of merit in the right game.

You can simplify the wording by saying that people with ECL of 2 or higher, or anyone with at least one PC class level, gets the save. Then, everyone gets the +8 bonus to the saving throw if they are ECL 2 or higher. If their ECL is higher than your level, increase it to +12.
I think that's easier? It would be even simpler if a human Fighter 1 (or w/e) didn't get to save- then you can cut the DC to 2 + your Cha + your level, and give those with a higher ECL +4 to the save.

DCs on the saving throws feel way, way too high overall. If you die more than once without waiting for your death toll to drop, or if you make use of the feats which reduce the timer or use the Death Knell ability, your death toll will quickly pass 20+your level, meaning it only drops on a 20. This eventuality is aggravated by the fact that you gain (your level) in death toll per death, but it only drops at a rate of 1 per day. Higher level characters take longer to reduce their death toll, and take higher penalties from it! At level 5, you will automatically be sickened + staggered on returning to life. Starting at level 17? You begin at 0 hp and are fatigued for the rest of the day. If you can't heal (although you really should be able to), you're pretty much screwed for the rest of the day. That's if you succeed on the save. If you fail (against a DC of at least 28), you literally can't gain HP for the day, even if you can heal.

Continuous death knell as an aura? It's normally touch-range. And... this means that death tolls are going to skyrocket.

When reading Improved Numbers, I had to go back and look at the way ability scores work. It's confusing, especially when you bring in the Improved Numbers feats.
First, you add 1/2 (your ability score-5) to their ability score for each of your ability scores. Not (1/2 ability score) -5, which would just be your ability modifier- you effectively add 2-3 to your ability modifier, depending on whether or not you originally had an odd score. Then you add the result to their score. Then, cap it at the higher of your score and their score. What this means (I think) is that:

1. If they have a higher score (and your relevant score is above 4), you get it.
2. If you have a much higher score, you get only around half (half of (it-5)) of it, added to their score.
3. If your scores are about equal but mostly positive, you get the better of the two.

Is this about right?

Feats review spoilered.

Improved Numbers I: This made me go back and look at the way ability scores work. In addition to adding your old score's adjusted modifier, you now also add half the difference if the result is lower than your ability scores, so you're roughly keeping 3/4 your ability score. Also, reword so you choose an ability score at the start of the feat text.

Improved Numbers II: I think this supercedes Improved Numbers 1. Your ability scores only increase with death now, correct?

Improved Numbers III: Your stats can only go up, but even harder. Less useful than the other two, since you're likely to have pretty high stats by now. Unlikely to come up repeatedly. Note that Imp. Num I-II are feats you take for your important high stats, while this is one you take for low ones, but this one requires you to take the other two for already high stats.

Lingering Control: The first in a couple of feats which are all about dying repeatedly. I like this one the best of all of them, since it lets you continue to contribute to a fight even after your own death, instead of ending your participation.

Palliation: A bad feat except for a mook or a dedicated build, in which it's incredibly powerful. Unless you can cast heal with your remaining standard action, you're ending your participation in the fight. If you can, it looks like "Poke self as free action + standard action to cast heal: Gain half your health in temporary hit points, also heal yourself up.
Palliation II: Still bad. It's like the last one, except that you need an even more dedicated build to take the diehard feat as well as this one.

Picky Guest: I.. guess I would take this if I didn't already grab Improved Numbers for my important stats. Could get a little good with Improved Numbers III, except that it's a bad feat. Wait 12 more hours and increase your death toll further? Nah. Note that +2 death toll is also +2 to the DC of removing them, meaning that if you choose to do this, you'll take even longer to get rid of them (or resign yourself to the fact that they're never going away).

Rapid Possession: Cut the duration? Sure. +2 death toll? Eh.

Rapid Possession II: 1 hour? Sure. +6? It's never going away!

Rapid Posession III: Instant? Yeah! +12? Who cares at this point?
Note- You still add on whatever of the waking period you had left, I assume.

Resist Death: Bonuses are OK. The "saving throw to affect your host" is presumably the Fort save you make on entry? It could give you a shot at making the save, I suppose.

Immunity Resist Death: Naming is poor. Immunity is good.

Retribution Resist Death: Naming is poor. It's extremely specific, but the possibility of 20-30d6 damage is too hilarious to pass up- more with dedicated builds.

Toll Strike: Looks nice, except that it's a suicide attack. If you don't kill them with it, you're ejected and take your level in death toll. Requires you to know their hit points to a reasonable degree. Still, deals effectively uncapped damage.

Toll Strike II: More damage! Internal conflict between "higher death toll increases the save to avoid ejection", and "higher death toll deals more damage". The base Toll Strike is intended for high-death toll people, I think, which conflicts with this.

In order of the level you get them at:
Wandering Sight: I didn't realize that you couldn't see until I saw this feat. "Wandering" rules imply that your incorporeal form can move around normally and see normally. Also, your incorporeal form can be attacked- AC? Do you have your armor? Feat is near-dead (heh) due to how weak it is.

Wandering Spirit: Feat is now barely usable. Would take this + Sight if they were one feat, maybe (ignoring that it can be used for prereqs).

Wandering Body: This is useful, if odd. Do you automatically impart bonuses? Nice- could be used for scouting. Showcases a flaw in the rules- people can be flanked by creatures they are unaware of.

Wandering Vengeance: Damage is nice- maybe too good. You take this at level 20, so you deal 10d6 + 10x Cha in damage. I don't... think that's intentional? Combines with Toll Strike very well. Sadly, you still "die" if you take any damage. Dodgetank flurry monk anyone? I'm imagining a character who intentionally dies every 24 hours, then stalks the night using the wandering chain + Toll Strike to 1HKO everyone in sight.


Death toll effects mention "waking period"- assume this refers to the period when you are dead.

An Amy
2017-02-21, 12:49 AM
You can simplify the wording by saying that people with ECL of 2 or higher, or anyone with at least one PC class level, gets the save. Then, everyone gets the +8 bonus to the saving throw if they are ECL 2 or higher. If their ECL is higher than your level, increase it to +12.
I think that's easier? It would be even simpler if a human Fighter 1 (or w/e) didn't get to save- then you can cut the DC to 2 + your Cha + your level, and give those with a higher ECL +4 to the save.

I still think you're getting the DC's wrong, but yes that can be a good way of simplifying it. I think simplifying it further would be to eliminate any ECL 2 minimum requirement and just say everyone gets a save wit ha bonus equal to their HD. I envisioned this not really coming into affect against many pixies, dopplegangers or solars. There's a random chance it could, but the chances are little that they'd fail the save given the bonuses. Explanation needs work still for this. I thought about just making the whole thing contested rolls to satisfy the possession and doing away with the Fortitude save the PCs make to avoid sickness.


DCs on the saving throws feel way, way too high overall. If you die more than once without waiting for your death toll to drop, or if you make use of the feats which reduce the timer or use the Death Knell ability, your death toll will quickly pass 20+your level, meaning it only drops on a 20. This eventuality is aggravated by the fact that you gain (your level) in death toll per death, but it only drops at a rate of 1 per day. Higher level characters take longer to reduce their death toll, and take higher penalties from it! At level 5, you will automatically be sickened + staggered on returning to life. Starting at level 17? You begin at 0 hp and are fatigued for the rest of the day. If you can't heal (although you really should be able to), you're pretty much screwed for the rest of the day. That's if you succeed on the save. If you fail (against a DC of at least 28), you literally can't gain HP for the day, even if you can heal.

Nice points made. The balance is way off. In an attempt to gut some of the complexity, the balance is all messed up. But, one of the points is that yes, after a point no matter what you do you basically have a minimum death toll. The problem I see with this is that there's little incentive to lower your death toll except for avoiding these once per death effects. Once that effect is over with, you're good. Sure, it might take a day or two weeks, but you can bedrest yourself through that. I've seen PCs take longer waiting for someone to make a run to the nearest city that'll buy their magic loot. Considering scrapping the whole waking penalties but it's one of the only things keeping you from abusing the free deaths. Previously, there was a system of madness. Your death toll represented random effects that could affect you on a daily basis. Things such as you character just not doing that action and forfeiting a turn to an induced blind rage. Made people with high death tolls unpredictable. I thought it was too complex, but it might be a better system for deterring high death tolls.

I do think, from what you've pointed out, that death tolls need to be able to drop more easily. Perhaps the check each day should drop the death toll regardless. If you make the check, you avoid the madness for that day. Eliminate the waking sickness, unconsciousness table.


Continuous death knell as an aura? It's normally touch-range. And... this means that death tolls are going to skyrocket.

Oh, yeah, aura was a bad interpretation of my own writing. Continuous meaning that your touch is always a death knell touch. Just gotta avoid touching anyone. Basically means you cannot stabilize anyone or heal them if they're at negative HP unless you can do so with a range healing effect. That was more the message for it. Not an aura... bad, bad choice of words. Bad... But wow, a death knell aura... yeah, that would get disgusting quick.


When reading Improved Numbers, I had to go back and look at the way ability scores work. It's confusing, especially when you bring in the Improved Numbers feats.
First, you add 1/2 (your ability score-5) to their ability score for each of your ability scores. Not (1/2 ability score) -5, which would just be your ability modifier- you effectively add 2-3 to your ability modifier, depending on whether or not you originally had an odd score. Then you add the result to their score. Then, cap it at the higher of your score and their score. What this means (I think) is that:

1. If they have a higher score (and your relevant score is above 4), you get it.
2. If you have a much higher score, you get only around half (half of (it-5)) of it, added to their score.
3. If your scores are about equal but mostly positive, you get the better of the two.

Is this about right?

Pretty much. Originally it wasn't a different calculation. Your ability modifiers get applied to the base creature. And a bit more complex, such as removing all racial modifiers first for both you and the host. Apply your ability mods to their scores. Reapply their racial modifiers. It sort of sucked a lot if their score was an 8 but yours was a 10. You'd end up with an 8. So with the different way of calculating it, you'd at least end up with a 10 again. It's slightly better. Still, more customized math.


Death toll effects mention "waking period"- assume this refers to the period when you are dead.

Waking period is the second 24-hour period after possessing someone. You 'wake up' from being 'asleep'. You're all groggy. Wiping the death from your eyes.

I'm not going to reply to your feat comments entirely, but they were really good. I was never a fan of feats, so I don't know why I kept them that way instead of making them selectable abilities. The names are poor, I know. The polish is not even being approached just yet. Want to eliminate the needless, get rid of the abhorrent imbalance and nonsense and then fine tune the concept toward something someone might actually want to put up with in a campaign. But to clarify a few things regarding the feats. Also, by the time you have death knell, you also have death watch as a spell-like ability. So you can get an idea of who would be a good target for Toll Strike.

Improved Numbers: this applies whenever you take the feat. You don't have to die to reapply your ability scores. And III is... yeah, totally miswritten or whatever. It replaces II or just buffs it a little. The only feat you take multiple times is I, essentially.

Resist Death: well your host is alive, so your Fort save against death also means that your host still lives. Role playing wise, your host's personality is still in there and you can hear it every now and then. This was part of the madness mechanic that I took out but and rapidly considering adding back in place of the sickness stuff. The retribution was supposed to have a cap of 30d6, I think. what do you think? It's a lot of damage but, as you said, very specific and probably only going to be done once. I wouldn't imagine a mage casting a spell a second time or a cleric using death domain after taking that type of feedback.

Wandering Chain: As retribution above, should have a cap or an adjustment to power. Or both. What about one-quarter Character Level? Starting 5d6 + 5xChaMod? Toll Strike requires you to be alive, so you can't do this while wandering. Another complexity I removed probably needs to be added back in was the "wandering" creature you become. Further with ability stat adjustments, it's own progression. You become an undead for a while though you're useless unless you start taking wandering feats. And Body does not give flanking bonuses. It negates them. It's mean to help your buddy by touching them and letting them know "Yo, watch out for that dagger." And such. Better wording: "Your touch to a friendly target gives them a +2 insight bonus to attack and armor class and cannot be flanked as if with the improved uncanny dodge ability."

Thanks for the feedback!

aimlessPolymath
2017-02-21, 01:32 AM
still think you're getting the DC's wrong, but yes that can be a good way of simplifying it. I think simplifying it further would be to eliminate any ECL 2 minimum requirement and just say everyone gets a save wit ha bonus equal to their HD. I envisioned this not really coming into affect against many pixies, dopplegangers or solars. There's a random chance it could, but the chances are little that they'd fail the save given the bonuses. Explanation needs work still for this. I thought about just making the whole thing contested rolls to satisfy the possession and doing away with the Fortitude save the PCs make to avoid sickness.
A +8 bonus to make a DC 10+numbers saving throw is equivalent to a +0 bonus to make a DC 2+numbers saving throw.


Nice points made. The balance is way off. In an attempt to gut some of the complexity, the balance is all messed up. But, one of the points is that yes, after a point no matter what you do you basically have a minimum death toll. The problem I see with this is that there's little incentive to lower your death toll except for avoiding these once per death effects. Once that effect is over with, you're good. Sure, it might take a day or two weeks, but you can bedrest yourself through that. I've seen PCs take longer waiting for someone to make a run to the nearest city that'll buy their magic loot. Considering scrapping the whole waking penalties but it's one of the only things keeping you from abusing the free deaths. Previously, there was a system of madness. Your death toll represented random effects that could affect you on a daily basis. Things such as you character just not doing that action and forfeiting a turn to an induced blind rage. Made people with high death tolls unpredictable. I thought it was too complex, but it might be a better system for deterring high death tolls.

I do think, from what you've pointed out, that death tolls need to be able to drop more easily. Perhaps the check each day should drop the death toll regardless. If you make the check, you avoid the madness for that day. Eliminate the waking sickness, unconsciousness table.

My understanding of the death toll system was that it pretty much snowballed hard. Either the DC was too low to be lost (i.e. one death, no modifiers gives Char level, which you autobeat with your Character level in bonuses), and you pretty much dropped 1 per day, or it would reach a tipping point and become virtually irremovable. The irritating bit about it is that it takes longer and longer to remove one death's effect the higher level you are, since you get more and more death toll per death, but the same rate of removing it. Also, since you took more and more death toll with level, the penalties would get more and more annoying. It's entirely possible that you die again due to being unconscious for 3 hours after possessing a random person, by having your unconscious body mugged or eaten, and then you take a ride on the No Fun Death Toll Snowball rollercoaster.


Deathwatch tells you if they have 4 or more hit points, or 3 or less, or dead. Practically useless in targetting Toll Strike.

Improved Numbers: The feat tells you to pick an ability score when you take it, but it tells you this at the end of the feat. The first part of the feat refers to it applying to all your ability scores; this is misleading wording. Good to know you don't have to take II or III for multiple stats- still too situational to take III, since you would need to also grab I for the appropriate stats.

Retribution: Average of 90 points of damage is enough to make me back off, I admit. Still too situational to choose as a feat.

Wandering chain: Big problem I see with it is dealing some multiple of a stat in damage is either insane or useless, inviting optimization and abuse. It's the difference between 3 points of damage and 13 points (or, scaled up, 30 points or 130 points). Shift it to 5d6 + Cha, but allow full attacks.
Misread Body- my bad.



Pretty much. Originally it wasn't a different calculation. Your ability modifiers get applied to the base creature. And a bit more complex, such as removing all racial modifiers first for both you and the host. Apply your ability mods to their scores. Reapply their racial modifiers. It sort of sucked a lot if their score was an 8 but yours was a 10. You'd end up with an 8. So with the different way of calculating it, you'd at least end up with a 10 again. It's slightly better. Still, more customized math.
I would be somewhat more comfortable with the math if you shifted the stat by one point, so it lines up nicely with stat bonus advancement, and is some function of your ability score modifier.

An Amy
2017-02-21, 02:13 AM
A +8 bonus to make a DC 10+numbers saving throw is equivalent to a +0 bonus to make a DC 2+numbers saving throw.

Yep, that's right. Yay math. Definitely need to make that easier to understand...



My understanding of the death toll system was that it pretty much snowballed hard. Either the DC was too low to be lost (i.e. one death, no modifiers gives Char level, which you autobeat with your Character level in bonuses), and you pretty much dropped 1 per day, or it would reach a tipping point and become virtually irremovable. The irritating bit about it is that it takes longer and longer to remove one death's effect the higher level you are, since you get more and more death toll per death, but the same rate of removing it. Also, since you took more and more death toll with level, the penalties would get more and more annoying. It's entirely possible that you die again due to being unconscious for 3 hours after possessing a random person, by having your unconscious body mugged or eaten, and then you take a ride on the No Fun Death Toll Snowball rollercoaster.

Yes. It sort of does reach a tipping point. Need to be able to remove it faster. Perhaps add abilities/feats for removing it. Right now, there's too much of it and after a point the incentive for removing it is useless. Might as well take the abilities that let you use your death toll as damage. Perhaps even need to add abilities/feats to further incentivize a low death toll.

Another problem I see now is that if you want a high death toll, there's an easy way to get it there and basically keep it there. If you want a low one, you gotta be super careful. But after a certain level, even careful is't going to cut it. It'll also take luck.



Retribution: Average of 90 points of damage is enough to make me back off, I admit. Still too situational to choose as a feat.

Wandering chain: Big problem I see with it is dealing some multiple of a stat in damage is either insane or useless, inviting optimization and abuse. It's the difference between 3 points of damage and 13 points (or, scaled up, 30 points or 130 points). Shift it to 5d6 + Cha, but allow full attacks.
Misread Body- my bad.

Improved numbers: reword, definitly.
Retribution is too situational unless you just don't have another feat you really want. Nix it or turn it into a natural evolution of the Death Resistance level 2 feat.


I would be somewhat more comfortable with the math if you shifted the stat by one point, so it lines up nicely with stat bonus advancement, and is some function of your ability score modifier.

I do see where the increases follow the odd numbers instead of the even ones. What about your modifier +2? It's close to that. A 14 score is a +2 modifier but a +4 with the math. A 13 is a +1 modifier but a +4 with my math... though would be a +3 with just the simpler form of it. Easier to deal with.