Dead Mark Pariah
"To think, I once had the silly notion that negative energy was a bad thing..." - Alissa Vol, a Dead Mark Pariah
It is generally known to most Dragonmarked Houses about the extinction of House Vol and the Mark of Death, and how the birth of a Half-Dragon enraged the Dragons of Argonnessen and the Elves of Aerenal to the point where the two sworn enemies joined together to eradicate the sacrilegious blasphemy. In recordings either lost or heavily guarded, the Dragonmarked houses keep record of what the Mark of Death could do, but no-one really payed much attention to it because of the fact said text was valuable, but had no relevance to the current times.
Although impossibly rare, a growing number of elves with magical aptitude seem to be taking advantage of the common relation between all types of elves, and have seemingly defied Argonnessen and Aerenal by reverse-engineering the Mark of Death, and accelerating it to even Siberys-sized proportions and power, regardless of the dangers.
Becoming a Dead Mark Pariah
In order to become a Dead Mark Pariah, the prospective entrant must have at least a faint connection to the elven bloodline of Vol from chance or experimentation, good knowledge and aptitude with both Transmutation and Necromancy to coax the creation of the mark, and knowledge of the shattered House of Vol.
Knowledge (Arcana) 13 Ranks, Knowledge (History) 7 Ranks
Death's Blood (PGtE p149)
Must be able to cast at least one spell of the Necromancy school and one spell of the Transmutation school.
Cannot already have a Dragonmark
The Dead-Mark Pariah's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Bluff (Cha), Diplomacy (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (Arcana) (Int), Knowledge (History) (Int), Knowledge (Religion) (Int), Ride (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis), and Spellcraft (Int).
Skills Points at Each Level:
2 + Int modifier.
Least, Lesser, Greater and Siberys Marks of Death
|Heir to the Dead, Least Mark of Death||+1 level of existing spellcasting class|
|Biological Modification I, Lesser Mark of Death|
|Greater Mark of Death||+1 level of existing spellcasting class|
|Biological Modification II, Siberys Mark of Death|
|Death Adept||+1 level of existing spellcasting class|
: A Dead Mark Pariah gains no new proficiencies.
When a new odd Dead Mark Pariah level is gained, the character gains new spells per day (and spells known, if applicable) as if they had also gained a level in a spellcasting class they belonged to before adding the prestige class. They do not, however, gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained, except for an increased effective level of spellcasting. If a character had more than one spellcasting class before becoming a Dead-Mark Pariah, they must decide to which class they add the new level for purposes of determining spells per day (and spell known, if applicable).
Heir to the Dead:
At 1st level, the manifestation of a Dead Mark Pariah's dragonmark immediately sets them out as someone special and someone to be feared - especially by other Dragonmarked houses. A Dead Mark Pariah gains a +2 Circumstance Bonus on Intimidate checks while their Dragonmark is visible, increased to +4 if the Dead Mark Pariah is trying to demoralize someone belonging to a different Dragonmark house. However, this comes with a trade off. NPC's attitudes are automatically a step lower if they know the nature of of a Dead Mark Pariah's Dragonmark, and NPC's belonging to a different Dragonmarked house are two steps lower instead.
Least Mark of Death (Sp):
At 1st level, after a lengthy process, the Dead Mark Pariah unlocks their Mark of Death. As small as the resulting Dragonmark may be, it is the key to greater powers on the dead and the necrotic. The Dead Mark Pariah now qualifies for anything that requires a Least Dragonmark as a prerequisite, and the associated skill of the Mark of Death is Knowledge (Religion). The Dead Mark Pariah also gains the use of one spell-like ability, chosen from following;
Cause Fear 3/day, Inflict Light Wounds 3/day, Ray of Enfeeblement 3/day.
The caster level for these spell-like abilities are equal to the Dead Mark Pariah's character level, and the save for their spell-like ability has a DC of 10 + the level of the spell + their Cha modifier. Unlike most spellcasters, a Dead Mark Pariah's alignment is not impacted in any way by simply using any of the spell-like abilities granted by this class that have the Evil descriptor, as there is little choice in the matter of choice when one takes this path. However, an evil acts committed with these spell-like abilities get no such pass - the Pariah can still choose what actions they take with their new-found power.
Biological Modification (Ex):
As the Dead Mark Pariah progresses and experiments on themselves, it is not only their mark that gets stronger. At 2nd level, the Dead Mark Pariah becomes immune to the effects of being exposed to cold weather, and gains a profane bonus to saving throws equal to 1/2 their levels in this class. At 4th level, the Dead Mark Pariah's Cha score increases by 2.
Lesser Mark of Death (Sp):
At 2nd level, the Dead Mark Pariah's mark grows larger and stronger, and becomes slightly colder to the touch. This ability functions as Lesser Mark of Death, only the Dead Mark Pariah counts as having a Lesser Dragonmark now, and may choose their spell-like ability from the following;
Animate Dead 2/day, Enervation 2/day, Inflict Critical Wounds 2/day.
Greater Mark of Death (Sp):
At 3rd level, the Dead Mark Pariah's mark grows even more complex and larger, and starts becoming a trouble to conceal. However, the Dead Mark Pariah never seems to want
to hide their mark, feeling they should bear it with pride. This ability functions as Lesser Mark of Death, only the Dead Mark Pariah counts as having a Greater Dragonmark now, and may choose their spell-like ability from the following;
Create Undead 1/day, Slay Living 1/day, Waves of Fatigue 1/day.
Siberys Mark of Death (Sp):
At 4th level, the Dead Mark Pariah's dragonmark grows to become an illustrious Siberys mark, sidestepping the natural order of Dragonmark acquisition. It snakes its way across the Pariah's body like the cold embrace of a dracolich, offering its dark secrets to those who would only listen. This ability functions as Lesser Mark of Death, only the Dead Mark Pariah counts as having a Siberys Dragonmark now, and may choose their spell-like ability from the following;
Create Greater Undead 1/day, Finger of Death 1/day, Mass Inflict Critical Wounds 1/day.
Death Adept (Su):
At 5th level, a Dead Mark Pariah fully understands their mark, and the powers it offers to the Pariah. Firstly, the Dead Mark Pariah casts all Necromancy spells at +1 caster level, and secondly the Dead Mark Pariah may Rebuke and Command Undead as if they were a cleric with an effective cleric level equal to their highest arcane caster level.
Playing a Dead Mark Pariah
Generally, a Dead Mark Pariah is a secretive creature, trying to achieve more power while eluding the wrath of the Aerenal elves, the Dragons of Agronnessen, and the various Dragonmarked houses.
A Dead Mark Pariah tends to augment their normal profession with the old profession of House Vol. Unsurprisingly, it seems House Vol probably specialized in the control of undead and negative energy, while having an assassination business on the side.
The path of Sorcerer is perfect for a Dead Mark Pariah, as their natural charisma and willingness to try to unlock their inborn powers meshes well with the class. Duskblades would also be a common path, as they originate from elven teachings. Wizardry and more marshal paths would be rarer, but not out of the question.
The idea of a Dead Mark Pariah getting any help with their studies is a laughable one (hence the word Pariah), but it is possible the Blood of Vol would be willing to help these marked misfits.
Dead Mark Pariah in the World
Mark of Dea........WHAT!? GUARDS! APPREHEND THAT ELF! - Most Dragonmarked house members.
As one can imagine by the name, a Dead Mark Pariah that is not paranoid and secretive to ludicrous levels is not possible, because the various organizations that want these seemingly aberrant creatures dead are spread out throughout all of Eberron.
Life would probably continue as normal for the Dead Mark Pariah, with the slight change of devoting time to studying to better understand their mark, and taking time out every now and again to check if their Dragonmark is hidden well enough.
The only Dead Mark Pariah notable enough to be mentioned is Alissa Vol (Duskblade 13/Dead Mark Pariah 5/Abjurant Champion 5), a mighty warrior who dwells in a hidden location in the Frostfell, where life is neither plagued by dragons, dragonmarked houses or jungle horrors, although surely an impossibly lonely life.
She supposedly discovered her powers while attempting to channel positive energy in her magic and finding negative energy naturally flowing in its place, although some point to experiments on her ancestors by the Queen of Death's hand. After years of hiding, she reappeared during the Last War with Vol as her new surname and working as a mercenary for hire. It was said that during the Last War, 100 of House Cannith's best guards were sent to apprehend her only to fail miserably and to add insult to injury, were sent back to their paymasters as shambling zombies. After the Last War it seemed that Alissa has retreated back to the Frostfell, much to the fury of Lady Vol, who could never quite get a hold of her fellow elf for information during the chaos of the Last War.
Dead Mark Pariahs do not congregate, and the only organization that might take in these misfits would be the Blood of Vol, as Lady Vol herself would jump at the chance to learn how the Dead Mark Pariahs managed to make their Mark of Death manifest. The only problem is that Lady Vol is quite desperate to reinstate her lost house, and would probably not be the most civil or merciful when asking for information and co-operation.
The sheer improbability of owning such a mark terrifies most people in the know, and spreading such knowledge about is something the Dead Mark Pariah would to well to avoid. If knowledge were to spread, they might need to use their new-found abilities to end the trail of whispers before they lose their head!
Dead Mark Pariahs in the Game
In a gaming situation, the Dead Mark Pariah would probably play as before they took levels in the class, only with a more of a focus on necromancy.
This could be adapted to other campaign settings such as Forgotten Realms, by putting it down to the experiments of the Cult of the Dragon, thus requiring a draconic heritage instead. This class could even be for characters that have strong racial connections to the undead, or those who became deeply touched by Negative Energy reflected by taking the Tomb-Tained Soul feat.
Encounters with a Dead Mark Pariah would be a special event, but slightly more common in remote places like Xendrik and the Frostfell, where a Dead-Blood Pariah could exist with less chance of death by Elf, Dragon, or various Dragonmarked houses.