Beyond the power of mere breaches are powers capable of shaking the multiverse by its very core, uprooting basic laws of reality as we know it. To access this magic, a xenotheurgist must push themselves beyond the edge of sanity. In fact, just to use this power, a xenotheurgist pushes their mind through the far realms and across infinite gulfs until it arrives back in their skull.
WHAT ARE CATACLYSMS?
Ironically, cataclysms closely resemble the effects of epic spells. In truth, however, things are working the other way around. As spellcasters grow more powerful, they are able to break down magic into its most fundamental building blocks. The basis of all of existence, however, is the far realms. Unlike epic spellcasters, most cataclysms are highly focused, using only a single thread of reality and fighting against the inclusion of more.
When a cataclysm is used, all who witness it have the face of the xenotheurgist burnt into their mind, even if they did not witness the casting. Simultaneously, they feel momentary waves of panic, anger, and confusion.
Unlike epic spellcasters, who develop “seeds” of magic into epic spells, epic xenotheurgists work with “threads” of reality, each of which encompasses two epic seeds. Furthermore, rather than developing through rigorous study and ritual, the process of learning a cataclysm is far more intuitive. If the epic xenotheurgist knows what they desire their power to do, they need only to prepare their minds and bodies to contain the massive inflow of power, something done through intensive training.
A character with the Unleash Cataclysm feat may start acquiring cataclysms immediately. However, the Dungeon Master has the final say as to whether a particular cataclysm is allowed in the campaign for player characters, for non-player characters, or not at all (not all threads of reality can be contorted in every possible way and some require centuries of practice to master rather than weeks). The DM has the option of eliminating the Unleash Cataclysm feat completely from the game.
Utilizing cataclysms is a two-step procedure: training and unleashing.
Before it can be unleashed, an epic xenotheurgist must ready themselves to contain the massive flow of energy that a cataclysm will bring. Furthermore, they must be able to ensure that the energy will flow as they desire rather than just running wild. Unlike the more intellectual development of an epic spell, therefore, Cataclysms are more “trained for” than they are “learned”.
The most basic way to train for a cataclysm is to train on the material plane (or on whatever relatively sane plane the xenotheurgist finds themselves on), performing a long series of mental exercises and physical drills. This process takes a bit long, however, as it is nearly impossible to judge how much progress is being made. As a result, training in this way takes 1 week per 5 points of warp point requirement (see below).
There is another way, however. Though far more risky, it reduces the training time from weeks to days. With a specialized 8-hour ritual, any epic xenotheurgist with the Unleash Cataclysm feat can teleport to a space on the border of the multiverse and the far realms. While in this place, the xenotheurgist can take no actions other than training and cannot be healed (even through natural healing or regeneration). Furthermore, any effects that can contact creatures on other planes fail to contact the xenotheurgist. As they are able to regularly expose themselves to the far realms, the training goes faster, taking 1 day per 5 points of warp point requirement (see below). However, this close proximity reduces the epic xenotheurgist’s Wisdom by 1d4 each day. This is neither ability drain nor ability damage but it is restored at a rate of 1 point per day after returning to the multiverse. At the end of the xenotheurgist’s training, they return back to where they left (or to the nearest open space).
For information on creating a cataclysm completely from scratch, see Creating Unique Cataclysms, below.
Once a cataclysm has been primed for, the epic xenotheurgist is just about ready to use it. The pathways for the foul energies to use have been engraved into the xenotheurgist’s mind and body (at least until they pass their limit of known cataclysms).
Cataclysms can only be unleashed while the epic xenotheurgist possesses at least one 8th-level murmur (as per the Unleash Cataclysm feat). Much like lesser breaches, cataclysms can be used at will. Unlike breaches, each cataclysm has a warp point requirement, a number of warp points that a xenotheurgist must possess in order to use the cataclysm.
Like a normal breach, using a cataclysm requires that a xenotheurgist make a Will save against the DC and success results in another warp point. Unlike normal breaches, failing such a saving throw leaves the Xenotheurgist unable to act for 1d4 rounds afterwards as their mind is left swimming.
For all intensive purposes, a cataclysm is a 7th-level breach.
Meta-breaches, Items, Empowerment, and Cataclysms:
Meta-breach feats cannot affect cataclysms and cataclysms can't be distorted.
Xenotheurgists cannot craft a magic item that unleashes a cataclysm, regardless of how the item would be activated. Only major artifacts could possibly channel energy of such a magnitude.
The saving throw against your cataclysms is 25, plus any bonuses from the xenotheurgist's warp points, as applicable. Xenotheurgists can develop cataclysms with higher DCs by applying the appropriate factor.
Below are just a couple of examples showing what a cataclysm can do.
The cataclysms presented here are in alphabetical order. Each cataclysm description follows the same format used for 1st- to 6th-level breaches, except that they lack the empowerment section and possess one additional entry.
warp point requirement:
this is the number of warp points that the epic xenotheurgist must possess in order to use the cataclysm.
Death and Darkness [Death]
Warp Point Requirement:
Instantaneous and 40 minutes
Will negates and Fortitude partial
You unleash the powers of affliction upon your foes, filling them with misery and locking them within their own heads. Others are simply have their lives snuffed out.
All living creatures within range must make a Fortitude save or be slain. Even on a success, they take 3d6+20 damage. This ability affects up to 160 HD of living creatures per casting.
Living creatures who survive through this first effect must make an additional Will save. Those who fail take a –2 morale penalty to attack rolls, saving throws, and skill checks while they lose their senses of sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch.
Summon Uvuudaum [Evil]
Warp Point Requirement:
20 rounds (D)
You reach with your mind into the far realms and pick out a suitable minion. A huge spidery leg emerges from your mouth, followed by a second and a third. A large creature painfully slips into the world through your skull.
If the Uvuudaum fails its Will save, it is summoned into any square within range. You can control it however you desire, communicating with it through its telepathy (if it is within range) but communicating simple orders to it even when it is out of range. If ordered to perform a task inimical to its nature (such as saving orphans, rescuing a being from psychological torture, or committing suicide), the Cataclysm ends.
Regardless of whether the Uvuudaum fails its saving throw or not, you take 40d6 damage.
Warp Point Requirement:
1,200 feet (see text)
You unravel the targets form, reducing them into a pile of ash. If they are close enough, even magic is unraveled in the assault.
The target takes 20d6 damage, or half that with a successful save. If the target is reduced to –10 hit points or less (or to 0 hit points if a construct or undead), it is utterly destroyed as if disintegrated, leaving behind only a trace of fine dust.
If the target is within 300 feet, make a dispel check against each ongoing spell currently active on them (1d20+20). If the target is the effect of an ongoing spell (such as a summon monster spell), make a dispel check to end the spell that conjured the object or creature.
True Animation [Evil]
Warp Point Requirement:
20 rounds and instantaneous
As you reach into the area, everything springs forth with life. Objects start walking about and even the dead rise up once again.
One object (or part of a large object) taking up to 20 cubic feet is animated as an animated object for 20 rounds. Furthermore, you may reanimate dead bodies in the area as wights under your control (up to 20 HD in total).
Fiery Words Unspoken [Fire]
Warp Point Requirement:
200 minutes or until expended
You form a mental link with multiple other creatures. However, should they displease you, you have the means to punish them.
You form a telepathic bond with up to thirteen other creatures with who you care familiar (or who you can currently see through direct or magical means) and converse back and forth. You can communicate in this way even if you do not possess a common language.
At any time, you may terminate your communication with one or more targeted creatures as a standard action. If you do so, fire springs up from under them, dealing 10d6 fire damage, or half that with a successful Reflex save.
CREATING YOUR OWN CATACLYSMS
A cataclysm is built from threads (each of which contains two epic magic seeds) and factors. Depending on which of the component seeds is used from a thread, each one has one of two base warp point requirements and the addition of factors raise this requirement higher. As with breaches, a cataclysm is a supernatural ability.
The threads of reality (and the seeds kept within) are listed below:
Thread of Life’s End:
All lives must sooner or later ebb and end completely. This thread contains the afflict and slay seeds.
Thread of New Matter:
Anything can be brought to anywhere with the proper cataclysm. This thread contains the conjure and summon seeds.
Thread of a Million Minds:
The minds of the masses can be warped or tricked at a passing whim. This thread contains the compel and delude seeds.
Thread of Endless Travel:
There is no place that cannot be traveled to, whether voluntarily or by force. This thread contains the banish and transport seeds.
Thread of Life’s Start:
Life will always exist in some manner as it always has within the far realms. This thread contains the heal and life seeds.
Thread of Might:
Strength is something to be taken by force from whatever source is most handy. This thread contains the armor and fortify seeds.
Thread of Invincibility:
What need is there for strength when no amount of it can bring one down. This thread contains the reflect and ward seeds.
Thread of Veils Peered Through:
Knowledge is intended to be learned, whatever the price attached may be. This thread contains the foresee and reveal seeds.
Thread of Inevitable Ending:
As with the multiverse all things must eventually come to a conclusion. This thread contains the destroy and dispel seeds.
Thread of Form Concealed:
When something must be hidden, there is no point in leaving the job half-done. This thread contains the conceal and transform seeds.
Thread of Life Unnatural:
Life is an amazing thing, capable of passing into just about anything imaginable. This thread contains the animate and animate dead seeds.
Thread of Universal Connection:
All forms of energy are linked to the inner planes, including the positive energy that all living creatures bear. This thread contains the contact and energy seeds.
To create the a cataclysm, start by creating an epic spell, ignoring the development time, xp costs, schools, and resource costs involved (these are determined differently, as outlined above). When you have derived the proper Spellcraft DC for the epic spell, divide that number by 4 to get the warp point requirement (round up). There are a few exceptions to this formula
Inclusion of Multiple Seeds/Threads:
When including both seeds from a thread into a cataclysm, only use the higher of the two base Spellcraft DCs. If either of these DCs would be increased based on the way that the seed is used, add this increase to the Spellcraft DC as normal
Also, for each thread you utilize beyond the first, double the DC just before calculating the warp point requirement (two doublings equal a tripling as normal).
For example, if using both seeds from the thread of might to grant myself +4 armor and +1 natural armor, I use the higher of the two base DCs, 17. If I increase the armor bonus by +1 and the natural armor bonus by +1, I add +4 to the DC as each seed had its DC increased by +2 above the base.
As another example, If I use the armor seed from the thread of might and the animate dead seed from the thread of life unnatural, I add the base DCs to get DC 37. Right before determining the warp point requirement, however, I double this to 74, meaning that the warp point requirement is 18.5, rounded up to +19.
Whenever a seed mentions your caster level, instead use your xenotheurgy level.
A couple factors work slightly differently or don’t work at all, as detailed below:
- All cataclysms use the one-action casting time if they wouldn’t already possess such a casting time, adding to the Spellcraft DC as normal.
- Cataclysms cannot be quickened or be made contingent.
- As supernatural abilities, cataclysms already possess no verbal or somatic components, making these two factors obsolete.
- Cataclysms cannot be made permanent.
- As supernatural abilities, cataclysms are not subject to spell resistance and cannot be dispelled, making these two factors obsolete.
- Cataclysms can’t be written upon stone tablets.
- The burn XP mitigating factor can’t be used for cataclysms.
- The casting time of cataclysms cannot be increased by mitigating factors.
- Cataclysms can’t incorporate additional participants as a mitigating factor.