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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Gitp PrC Contest XXVIII: My Life in Runes

    Master of Marks

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    Our robbery will succeed. It is written. I wrote it on the bank vault, in the nearby alley, and in the guard post.-Nameless Master of Marks

    Any wizard could tell you that there is power in writing. They would point to scrolls, various Symbol spells, etc. What most wizards couldn’t tell you is that it is possible to approach the problem backwards: instead of using magic to create runes, one can use runes to create magic. This is the discipline used by Masters of Marks.

    Becoming a Master of Marks

    Everyone who is anyone in the world of forgery knows rumors and legends of people who create magic with their carefully drawn sigils. Strangely, though, the true masters of the craft do not spread such stories. Occasionally one will take an apprentice and teach them the true power of forgery. An alternate path to similar power is fraught with peril: haphazardly drawing runes of magical power can lead to insight, but it can also lead to death or worse.

    ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

    -8 ranks in Forgery
    -4 ranks in Knowledge(Arcana)
    -Trapfinding ability

    Class Skills

    The Master of Mark's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Appraise (Int), Balance (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Decipher Script (Int), Disable Device (Int), Disguise (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Forgery (Int), Hide (Dex), Knowledge(Arcana) (Int), Knowledge (local) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Open Lock (Dex), Profession (Wis), Search (Int), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Spot (Wis), Swim (Str), Tumble (Dex), Use Magic Device (Cha), and Use Rope (Dex).
    Skills Points at Each Level: 6 + int mod

    Hit Dice: d6

    Level BAB Fort Ref Will Special
    Sigil Choices
    1st +0 +0 +2 +2 Sigils, Skill Focus
    +1 Sigil
    2nd +1 +0 +3 +3 +1d6 Sneak Attack
    +1 Sigi
    3rd +2 +1 +3 +3 Master Forger
    +1 Sigil
    4th +3 +1 +4 +4 Rapid Scribe 1/encounter
    +1 Sigil
    5th +3 +1 +4 +4 +1d6 Sneak Attack, Widen Sigil
    +1 Sigil
    6th +4 +2 +5 +5 Rapid Scribe 2/encounter, Peerless Artist
    +1 Sigil
    7th +5 +2 +5 +5 +1d6 Sneak Attack
    +1 Sigil
    8th +6 +2 +6 +6 Twofold Trigger, Rapid Scribe 3/Encounter
    +1 Sigil
    9th +6 +3 +6 +6 Skill Mastery:Forgery
    +1 Sigil
    10th +7 +3 +7 +7 Sigil Supremacy
    +1 Sigil, Life or Death

    A Master of Marks gains no new proficiencies with weapons or armor.

    Sigil Use(Ex): At each level of Master of Marks, choose to learn one sigil for which you qualify. At level 10, learn either the Life or Death sigil and one additional sigil.

    Sigil Rules: a Sidebar
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    Sigils are Su when activated and can only be placed on objects (not even creatures which are like objects like undead or constructs). Writing a sigil provokes an attack of opportunity when it is done as a standard action (but see Rapid Scribe). A sigil normally effects a 5' square. If a sigil is moved it loses its magical potency. This makes it useless to write them on ships, carts, big pieces of paper which are carried, etc. A sigil is normally clearly visible but incomprehensible: they are not in a language exactly so Comprehend Languages and such are useless. Read Magic reveals the name and effect of the rune, but not who wrote it.
    Simple Sigils can be crafted as a standard action (but see Rapid Scribe) and are activated as swift actions. They lose potency in 2d4 minutes.
    Complex Sigils can be crafted in 10 minutes and are activated as full round actions. You may only have as many Complex Sigils active as you have levels in Master of Marks. If the sigil produces a spell which has a duration, when the sigil is replaced or renounced the spell also ends. Otherwise permanent until destroyed or renounced, which is a free action which can be done any time and deactivates any particular Complex Sigil you have crafted.

    Placing another sigil in a square already affected by a sigil requires a full round action for a Simple Sigil and an additional minute for a total of 11 minutes for a complex sigil. This overrides the Rapid Scribe class feature but does not affect Sigil Supremacy.
    Hiding a Sigil so it requires a Search check opposed by the Forgery check which made the Sigil is possible, but it takes an additional minute which makes it impractical in combat. This is not affected by Rapid Scribe or Sigil Supremacy: scribing two hidden sigils with Sigil Supremacy takes two additional minutes.
    1st circle sigils require 8 ranks of Forgery

    Bees Sigil
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    Simple Use: The square(s) affected by the rune are filled with bees for one round. Anyone in the affected squares must make a concentration check opposed by the Master of Mark's Forgery check to maintain focus. If the concentration check fails, spells cannot be cast and all attacks, saves, and ability checks take a -2 penalty. These effects last for one round.
    Complex Use: A swarm of bees is formed on the sigil. The bees can move and are under the control of the Master of Marks. These bees act as a Hellwasp Swarm(MM 1) except they do not have the Inhabit or Hive Mind abilities. Each sigil can only make one bee swarm at a time, when the swarm is destroyed the sigil can make a new rune being. If the sigil is renounced or deactivated the swarm dissolves, otherwise the swarm disappears after a number of minutes equal to the Master of Mark's class level.



    Focus Sigil
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    Simple Effect: Anyone affected by this rune can take 10 on a skill check even if it is normally forbidden by distractions such as combat. They cannot take 10 on skills which normally one cannot take 10 on, such as UMD. If the Master of Marks has at least 15 ranks in Forgery, anyone affected by this rune can once per round take 10 on any d20 roll.
    Complex Effect: Anyone affected by this rune can use the Master of Mark’s forgery check instead of a skill check which requires concentration and focus: these skills include Craft, Forgery, Appraise, Concentration, Decipher Script, Disable Device, Spot, Listen and Open Lock. This does not allow these skills to be used untrained. This effect lasts for a number of hours equal to the Master of Mark's class level.


    Fire Sigil
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    Simple Use: Anyone within the affected area takes 5d6 fire damage, plus an additional d6 of fire damage for every two class levels the Master of Marks has. The DC of the reflex save to half the damage is determined by the Master of Mark's forgery check, minus five. For example, a 1st level Master of Marks uses this sigil against a goblin. His forgery check is a 21, so the goblin must beat a DC 16 reflex save to take half damage.
    Complex Use: As Fireball, centered on the sigil. Caster level is equal to Master of Mark’s class level plus five, DC is 13+Int Mod.



    Ice Sigil
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    Simple Use: Creatures in the affected area take class level d6 cold damage. In addition, there is an effect identical to Grease which affects only the affected square(s). The caster level is equal to Master of Mark’s class level plus five, and the DC is 11+Int Mod.
    Complex Use: As Icestorm, centered on the sigil, caster level is equal to Master of Mark’s class level plus five, DC is 14+Int mod.


    2nd circle sigils require 10 ranks of Forgery
    Sky Sigil
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    Simple Use: Creatures in the area affected by this sigil when it is activated must make a Reflex save with a DC equal to your forgery check minus 5 or be thrown 10’ straight up in the air per Master of Marks level you have. This does falling damage and renders them prone as normal. If there is insufficient vertical clearance to throw the subject the full height, then when the subject hits the ceiling or other obstruction it deals 1d6 damage for each 10’ of height which was prevented.
    Complex Use: Anyone standing on this Sigil gains the effect of a Fly spell with a caster level equal to your Master of Marks level plus five. This spell lasts for the normal duration, it does not deactivate if the affected creature(s) leave the sigil.


    Earth Sigil
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    Simple Use: Creatures in the area affected by this sigil when it is activated are grabbed by the ground (or sky, if this rune is in mid-air via Peerless Artist). They must make a grapple check opposed by your forgery check or be grappled until the start of your next turn.
    Complex Use: Any creature affected by this glyph gains a burrow speed of 10’ for a number of minutes equal to your Master of Marks level. A 10th level Master of Marks instead gives a burrow speed of 20’.


    Teleportation Sigil
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    Simple use: When activated, this sigil teleports the Master of Marks to the area affected by the sigil as long as the distance is no greater than 10' per class level of the Master of Marks. All opponents who see this teleportation must make Spot checks opposed by the Master of Marks' Forgery check or be flatfooted for the rest of the Master of Marks' turn.
    Complex Use: When activated, this sigil allows the Master of Marks to cast Greater Teleport with a few limitations: the destination must be the sigil and there is a range limitation of 100 miles per class level of the Master of Marks.


    Sealing Sigil
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    Simple Use: When this sigil is activated, it fires a Dimensional Anchor spell at a target within 5' per class level of the sigil. The spell uses the Master of Marks' forgery check as an attack roll and has a caster level equal to the Master of Marks' class level plus five.
    Complex Use: This sigil casts a Dimensional Lock centered on the sigil. The caster level is equal to the Master of Marks' class level plus five.


    3rd circle sigils require 12 ranks of Forgery
    Destruction Sigil
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    Simple Use does 1d6 points of damage per class level to an object (or undead or construct) in the affected area which does not ignore hardness. If there is more than one object (say a person carrying stuff) the Master of Marks chooses one object. If the object is attended, a fort save with a DC equal to the Master of Mark’s forgery check-5 negates the effect.
    Complex Use: The sigil does Class level 1d6 points of damage per class level to one object which is up to 5 cubic feet per class level in volume. The sigil can only affect the object it was drawn upon. This could be a wall, a wagon, a boulder, but not part of a mountain or a field because that's not a discrete object. Also remember that if the sigil is moved its power dissipates, so destroying a wagon or a ship is tricky.


    Wall Sigil
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    Simple Use: Activation of this sigil creates a 5' stone wall which is 10' high. It has an additional 5' of length for every two class levels, so at 10th level it is a 25' wall. Must start from space which has sigil placed on it or adjacent to that space.
    Complex Use: As Wall of Stone, caster level is equal to Master of Mark’s class level plus five. The wall must be near the sigil: it must be no further than 10' per class level of the Master of Marks from the sigil.


    Ward Sigil
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    Simple Use: Anyone standing in the sigil gains your Int mod as a deflection bonus to AC. This sigil is unusual in that it does not require a swift action to activate, but it can be deactivated or reactivated as a swift action.
    Complex Use: You create a dome which has a circular shape with the center on the sigil and a radius of 5’ per class level. Weapon attacks through this dome have their damage reduced by three times your class level. This applies both to attacks entering and leaving the dome, so protecting a group of peasant archers with this ability will reduce their damage output significantly.


    Vulnerability Sigil
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    Simple Use: Anyone standing in the sigil gains your Int mod as a penalty to AC. This sigil is unusual in that it does not require a swift action to activate, but it can be deactivated or reactivated as a swift action.
    Complex Use: When this sigil is activated, everyone within five feet per class level must make a Will save with a DC equal to your forgery check minus five or take a penalty to saving throws and AC equal to your intelligence modifier for a number of minutes equal to your class level.


    4th circle sigils require 14 ranks of Forgery

    Sight Sigil
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    Simple Use: Anyone affected by this sigil is under the effect of a See Invisible Spell for a number of rounds equal to the Master of Marks' Intelligence Modifier. The caster level of the spell is equal to the Master of Mark’s ranks in forgery. If the Master of Marks has at least 18 ranks in Forgery, those affected by the sigil is instead under the effect of a True Seeing spell.
    Complex Use: The Master of Marks may see as though standing in any of the squares affected by the sigil. He gains the benefit of a See Invisible Spell while looking from this glyph, if he has at least 18 ranks in Forgery he gains the benefit of a True Seeing spell instead. The ability to view from the mark lasts for a number of minutes equal to the Master of Mark’s class level, or it can be ended early as a free action.


    Cloud Sigil
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    Simple Use: The area affected by the sigil is filled with a cloud which grants 20% concealment against attacks on people inside or on the other side of the cloud. This cloud lasts for a number of rounds equal to the Master of Mark’s intelligence modifier.
    Complex Use:Activation of this sigil can cause fog, rain, or hail. In all cases the effect has a radius of up to one mile per class level and lasts for up to one hour, a lesser radius and/or duration can be specified at the time of activation. Fog obscures vision which gives every creature and object in the affected region partial concealment. Rain drops up to an inch of water per class level on the affected region and gives everything out in the rain partial concealment. The Master of Marks responsible for the sigil can specify anywhere between one inch and the maximum amount of rain when activating the sigil. Hail does 1d4 crushing damage to anyone or anything out in it every minute. You can only have one weather effect over a given area at a time, the newest effect replaces the old one.


    Affliction Sigil
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    Simple Use: Anyone in the area affected by the sigil must make a fort save with a DC of the Master of Mark’s forgery check minus five or be affected by malignant runes. The effect does 2d4 points of ability damage to an ability score chosen by the Master of Marks at the time of activation. It does 2d4 more damage to the same score a minute later unless a second fort save at the same DC is successful. This is not a poison but immunity to poison grants a +5 on the fort saves against the effect.
    Complex Use: Anyone in the area affected by the sigil is affected by a Contagion spell with a DC equal to the Master of Marks’ forgery check minus 5 and a caster level equal to the number of ranks the Master of Marks has in forgery. If the Master of Marks has sufficient ranks in forgery he can instead cause a different effect in affected creatures: with 15 ranks he can cast Bestow Curse, with 17 ranks he can cast Feeblemind, and with 20 ranks he can cast Imprisonment.


    Panacaea Sigil
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    Simple Use: Remove any one of Blinded, Confused, Cowering, Dazed, Dazzled, Deafened, Exhausted, Fatigued, Frightened, Nauseated, Panicked, Paralyzed, Shaken, Sickened, or Stunned from any creature affected by the sigil.
    Complex Use: Remove all conditions the Simple use of this rune could cure from any affected creatures. In addition, based on the Master of Mark’s ranks in Forgery he may also cast one spell on affected creatures (with a caster level equal to his ranks in Forgery): with 8 ranks he may cast Remove Disease, with 13 ranks he may cast Remove Curse,with 14 ranks in Forgery he may cast Break Enchantment, and with 20 ranks he may cast Freedom.


    Summoning Sigil
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    Simple Use: A being made out of runes fills the spaces affected by this sigil. If there is anyone in the spaces they are harmlessly pushed out to any adjacent square of their choice. The being has the same base attack as the Master of Marks who created it, and uses the Master of Mark’s forgery check instead of attack rolls (so base attack only determines how many attacks it gets a round.) The rune being does damage equal to the master of mark’s ranks in forgery and has 5’ of reach(this is an unarmed strike with special damage). Its AC is equal to the Master of Marks ranks in forgery plus ten. Its starting and max hit points are the same as the Master of Mark’s current hit points when he creates the rune being. It cannot move. Its bonuses to saves are the same as the Master of Marks. It has the same amount of hit dice as the Master of Marks, and the same creature type as him as well.
    Complex Use: As the Simple Use, but the rune being can move and follow the party. The rune being lasts for a number of minutes equal to the class level of the Master of Marks. Each sigil can only make one rune being at a time, when the rune being is destroyed the sigil can make a new rune being. If the sigil is renounced or deactivated the rune being dissolves.


    Fate Sigil
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    Simple Use: As an immediate action, cause any person in the area affected by the sigil to reroll one roll. For example, you could make your fighter buddy reroll to-hit or miss chance, or your wizard friend reroll one to-hit from a scorching ray or all of the damage dice for a fireball.
    Complex Use: Everyone affected by the sigil gains either an Insight bonus to AC equal to your intelligence modifier or a penalty to AC equal to your intelligence modifier. Either way, the effect lasts for a minute per class level.

    Capstone sigils are only available at 10th level of Master of Marks.
    Life Sigil
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    Simple Effect: This sigil requires no activation. Anyone standing on it is protected as though by a Deathward, with a caster level equal to the Master of Mark’s character level. If the Deathward is dispelled it returns on the Master of Mark’s next turn.
    Complex Effect: One creature on the sigil is raised, as though affected by a Resurrection spell with a caster level equal to the Master of Mark’s character level. The Master of Marks who uses this ability takes one negative level, which goes away in 24 hours.


    Death Sigil
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    Simple Effect: Upon activation, a Death Sigil gives a negative level to any creature standing on it. If no creatures are standing on it, the closest visible creature gains a negative level. These negative levels last for ten minutes.
    Complex Effect: Every creature within 40’ of the sigil is targeted with an Enervation spell which uses the Master of Mark’s forgery check as an attack roll. The caster level is equal to the Master of Mark’s character level.



    Skill Focus: Forgery(Ex): You gain the feat Skill Focus(Forgery). If you already have this feat, gain any other feat for which you qualify.

    Sneak Attack(Ex): Careful study of precise location is useful for more than proper penmanship. Possibly as a relic of the common rogue training most Master of Marks bear, they advance their sneak attack ability at a reduced rate. Gain an additional d6 of sneak attack at levels 2, 5, and 7.

    Master Forger(Ex):Forgery is a very personal act. With the right training and insight, one can read the clues left behind by a forger. You gain Master Forger(detailed below) as a bonus feat. If you already possess this feat, you may gain another feat which you qualify for.

    Rapid Scribe(Ex):Continued study in to the nature of sigils reveals that sometimes you can prepare parts of them ahead of time and take shortcuts. You may, once an encounter, draw a Simple Sigil as a swift action instead of as a standard action. You gain an additional use of this ability per encounter at levels 6 and 8.

    Widen Sigil(Ex): Extra insight in the nature of the runes gives you the ability to place runes which affect a 5’x5’, 5’x10’, or 10’x10’ area.

    Peerless Artist(Su): Writing and drawing are most easily done on a surface, but true artists can hold the meaning of sigils on the very air You no longer require a surface to place the sigil upon, you can put a sigil in the air. Some sigils target the object they are placed on (for example Destruction’s complex form) so these runes are useless in the air. Sigils still occupy a 5x5 square unless altered by Widen Sigil.

    Twofold Trigger(Su): The true acme of skill is the achievement of goals with minimal effort. You have reduced the effort needed to call the magic out of your sigils so that you can activate more of them at once. You may activate two simple sigils as part of the same swift action.

    Skill Mastery:Forgery(Ex): A ninth level Master of Marks may always take 10 on a Forgery check even if stress or distractions would prevent him from doing so.

    Sigil Supremacy(Ex and Su): You may scribe two sigils in the time it used to take you to scribe one. This is an Extraordinary ability. In addition, at the beginning of each day you may choose a Simple Sigil and be under its effects for the entire day. (This is less useful for the Teleportation Sigil as the effect will teleport you to where you already are. But hey, Forgery check to try to make foes flatfooted.) The sigil’s effect is Supernatural, as usual.

    Playing a Master of Marks

    Combat: You are somewhat capable of unusual buffs and debuffs during combat, but where you really shine is if you have the opportunity to prepare the battlefield. Surprise bees, constructs, and fire can certainly give your opponents a bad day.

    Advancement: Well, make sure you keep full ranks in Forgery as that is how most of your abilities scale. Many Master Masters of Marks return to the path of the rogue, but some dabble in Shadowdancing or more esoteric skill-based disciplines.
    Resources: Masters of Marks might have a mentor or a school which might help them with some problems. They can also be self-taught or be estranged from their masters. As often is true, their best resource is their companions (i.e. the rest of the party).

    Masters of Marks in the world

    Most irregular. Everyone knows symbols can only explode, terrify, put to sleep, drive mad, persuade, stun, weaken, cause pain, and put to sleep. Symbol of Bees is completely preposterous. - Manfred the Magnificent, Archmage

    If Masters of Marks are common people can develop paranoia around strange writing. More likely, they are half-believed in rumors like the boogieman.

    Daily Life: A Master of Marks is also a master forger... some get by forging wills and bank notes and only use their supernatural powers when necessary to avoid capture. This is a slow and quiet path to power. Others adventure, and we all know that “typical” is a word that cannot be used to describe adventurers.

    Notables: King Roland VI is rumored to have employed a Master of Marks as head of the Royal Mint. This nameless expert was overlooked by the invading forces of King Yorrick until walls started falling, fireballs struck with no apparent source, and bees afflicted a crucial portion of a battle.

    Organizations: The Free City-State of Baratravia has the only publicly recognized school focused on magical symbols of all types: The Reginald Bartram School of Magical Glyphs. Some say the thieves guild of that city recruits dropouts and teaches them the seedier side of their skills, but the city guard denies such rumors.

    NPC Reaction

    At first, most magic users are skeptical and most physically oriented persons are disparaging. After a Master of Mark’s unique skills destroy a bridge or turn the tide of a battle, most people change their tune. The necessary forgery skill makes Masters of Marks unpopular with authority figures, lawyers, and banks.

    Masters of Marks in the game

    As mentioned earlier, fights will get easier if the PC’s have time to prepare the battlefield. In addition, smart use of the Complex runes can cause havoc well after the party has left an area. The free raises from the dead and free summons are somewhat more powerful than other effects, but they should be able to contribute without overshadowing people in other specialties.

    Adaptation: A guild or school for sigils can be rather easily inserted into a city or military group. This will have some effects on the campaign world, but most of their abilities already existed in wizards or clerics or such.

    Encounters: A Master of Marks can make for an interesting opponent, but they do best with minions to steer the party and slow them down as well as ample opportunity to prepare the battlefield.

    New Feats

    Extra Sigils:
    Pre-requisites: must know at least two Sigils from the Master of Marks class.
    Benefit: Thorough study of sigil craft gain you the ability to use two additional sigils which you qualify for.

    Master Forger:
    Pre-requisite: 11 ranks in Forgery.
    Benefit: If you detect a forgery and beat the check by 5, you know how many ranks in forgery the forger has. Beat by 10 and you get their race. Beat by 20 and you get their name.
    Last edited by Glimbur; 2014-04-13 at 04:38 PM. Reason: Fixing Table