OSR Class: Sin Eater

I've been thinking up a new way of organising class idea posts - I've settled on a brief intro, the class itself and notes on the mechanics, features of the class to consider if you use it in your campaign, and lastly how I tie the class into my Egradus campaign. As my group have decided on using Lamentations of the Flame Princess for our campaign all class details will be relevant to that system, with house rules and hacks pointed out where appropriate. So without further ado...

Magic-Users and Mage-Engineers gain their powers from the chaotic abyss that underpins and infiltrates reality, utilising learned techniques of hypnotic meditation, pnemonic recall and knowledge of metaphysical formulae to channel the raw chaotic energies of the Abyss without frying anything too important in their brains.

Clerics gain theirs from the god they are chosen by - their souls are endowed with divine energy for them to shape into miracles in furtherance of the glory of their god.

Sin Eaters gain their powers from the terrible curse that afflicts their souls. The curse is terrible, far worse than anything a hedge wizard or witch may hex a person with, and the Sin Eater will probably not have been cursed directly. The strongest curses ingrain themselves in the soul so deeply that parents unwittingly pass them on to their children.

But even though the curse buries itself deep in their spiritual essence like some sort of astral tumour, it grants its own well of power to those with the knowledge and will to access it. It also helps if you can endure horrific pain inflicted directly upon your soul and bear a blight that sickens and withers your body and essence.

Credit, Tamer Poyraz Demiralp


SIN EATER

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SAVES
As Cleric.

HIT DICE
As Cleric.

ADVANCES
As Cleric.

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SKILLS
A Sin Eater starts with no additional skill points at 1st level. See my LotFP hacks for my Egradus setting for further information on how I manage skill points, or feel free to adapt or ignore them as appropriate.

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SPECIAL
A Sin Eater does not cast arcane or divine spells. Their power comes from the strength of the curse affecting them and their abilities reflect this. All Sin Eaters have the below abilities/features:

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Blight
A Sin Eater begins play with a Blight of 6.

Roll 2d6 once per week - if the result is lower than their current Blight level, reduce the Blight level by 1. This represents the waxing and waning strength of the curse within them:

2-4: Weak - The Sin Eater can barely feel the presence of the curse. Their powers are weakened, requiring a Save vs Magic when used. If failed then the power has no effect and is wasted.

5-7: Mild - The Sin Eater can feel the dark tendrils of the curse worming their way into their soul, but they suffer no ill effects from it. Their powers function as normal.

8-10: Heavy - The curse burns and lashes at the Sin Eater's soul. They take a -2 penalty to CON but their powers function as if they were one level higher than normal.

11-12: Extreme - The blackness closes in and the Sin Eater hear the keening of the damned. They take a -2 penalty to CON, DEX & STR but their powers function as if they were two levels higher than normal.

If a Sin Eater's Blight ever exceeds 12 then they must make an immediate Save vs Poison or die instantly, with no possibility of resurrection. A successful save keeps their Blight at 12.

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Cleansing of the Soul
The Sin Eater anoints the subject with sacred unguents and fetishes before communing with their soul and drawing out the curse. Both the Sin Eater and the subject lapse into catatonic states while the ritual is in progress, though they occasionally scream or grimace as they are plagued with horrific nightmares and visions.

The ritual takes 1d6 hours to complete and the curse will not relapse for 1d4 years after the ritual has completed. The Sin Eater's Blight rolls (see below) are increased by 3 for the next 1d4 weeks.

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Ritual of Purgation
The Sin Eater imbibes a cocktail of hallucinogens and meditates for 1d6 days, during which they confront the curse within them and battle to purge its influence on their soul. They require no sustenance during this period, but their veins stand out as stark black under their skin and the temperature near them drops to near freezing.

After the Sin Eater emerges from their meditation they immediately vomit 1d20+5 litres of foul smelling, black tar and are reduced to 1hp. Roll 1d4 and remove this many points of Blight. Any other character that touches this substance must Save vs Magic or contract a curse.

Credit, Eric Beylis


Powers
A Sin Eater can safely use their powers a number of times per day equal to their level (like Magic-Users in the Vaginas are Magic supplement for LotFP). They can attempt to use their powers past their normal limits but must Save vs Magic when doing so - failure inflicts 1 point of Blight. They do not have to prepare their powers and can use them at will unless otherwise specified.

A Sin Eater begins play with 2 of the below powers, roll 1d12 twice to determine them. Upon levelling up they must spend a number of weeks in meditation equal to their new level when they can then roll for a new power. Duplicate results may be rerolled.

1. Eye of Terror - A black eye appears on the Sin Eater's outstretched palm and its baleful gaze strikes terror into the souls of those that it sees, for they see the stains their own sins have left and will leave upon their souls. All visible targets with souls within 50' of the direction that the eye is pointing must Save vs Magic or flee in fear for 2d4 rounds.

2. Darkness Within - The Sin Eater teases and warps the curse that afflicts their soul, extruding it invisibly outward. They don't become invisible, but beings around them simply don't notice them through the veil of spiritual darkness that they project. Creatures lacking souls can see the Sin Eater normally. This effects lasts for a number of minutes equal to the Sin Eater's level and increases Blight by 1.

3. Darkness Without - The Sin Eater exhales a 50'+10' per level cloud of unnatural black smoke that carries whispers and faint screams. The smoke extinguishes flames, blocks all vision and all caught within it must Save vs Poison or vomit a tarry black substance for 1d6 rounds. The cloud lingers for 1 minute per level and does not react to wind. Creatures without souls are not affected by the ill effects and can see normally.

4. Violent Delights - Arcane and divine energy are not as fulfilling as souls, but the curse won't turn them down. It isn't picky. A Sin Eater may use this power as a free action when targeted by a spell or spell-like ability. Compare the level of the Sin Eater and the level/HD of the opposing caster - if the Sin Eater's level is equal to or greater than the opposing caster they may nullify the effect of the spell or spell-like ability cast upon them and absorb its energy, gaining an additional use of their powers but increasing their Blight by 1. If the opposing caster's level/HD is higher then the Sin Eater is only able to nullify the effects and their Blight increases by 2.

5. Violent Ends - When a creature with a soul meets a violent death within 100' of the Sin Eater, they may choose to drain parts of the creature's departing soul in order to assuage the roiling tempest of the curse. The Sin Eater must make a Save vs Magic - on a success they succeed in their attempt and reduce their Blight by 1 and heal 1d6hp, on a failure the soul slips through their grasp and the power is wasted.

6. A Mirror, Darkly - The Sin Eater meditates for 1d4 hours while focusing on the subject, who must be present for the duration (willing or not). Sin knows sin and the Sin Eater will be able to determine the subject's most evil acts. They are able to force a portion of their own on to the target using this sin as an anchor. Reduce the Sin Eater's Blight by 1 and determine a curse to be placed on the target. There is no save against this.

7. Soul Anchor - The Sin Eater channels the hold of the curse on their spirit and reaches forth to seizes a departing soul, forcing it back into the body from which it flees. A creature that has been dead for less than 5 minutes can be restored to life at 0hp. This power the Sin Eater's soul to the Blight, which increases by 2 when it is used. This ability will not restore to life those who have died of old age or died of poison or disease.

8. Insidious Whispers - The Sin Eater whispers to the soul of a creature within 100'. They must be able to see the creature but it doesn't need to be capable of hearing them. The Sin Eater exerts pressure on the creature's soul, tempting them towards harmful and malicious actions, giving way to the darkness that exists within all things. The target must Save vs Magic or fall under the Sin Eater's control for a number of rounds equal to the Sin Eater's level. Once the effect wears off the target will indulge in base impulses for a number of days equal to the Sin Eater's level.

9. Spirit Ward - The Sin Eater pulls on their connection to the dead gods and creates an invisible barrier reaching 10' per caster level that prevents spirits and ethereal beings from touching them. The barrier lasts for a number of minutes and blocks ethereal beings with HD equal to the Sin Eater's level. Ethereal beings with HD greater than the Sin Eater's level can cross the barrier but take 1d6 damage per the difference in HD. The effect of this ability are doubled if the Sin Eater maintains contact with the barrier and concentrates.

10. Soul Lance - The Sin Eater harnesses the power of the curse and hurls a lance of bubbling black energy at a target within 60' + 10' per level. The Soul Lance does 1d6 damage per caster level.

11. Sickness Eater - The Sin Eater lays their hands on a target and gazes upon their soul. The soul, being a reflection of the body and mind, carries traces of any physical diseases and parasites which have their own astral essence. The Sin Eater can absorb the essence of, and therefore cure, one disease from the target per use of this power, drawing it into their own being and feeding it into the curse that afflicts them, increasing their Blight by 1. The Sin Eater does not require sustenance for a week after using this power.

12. Eye of Eternity - The Sin Eater rolls back the veil that covers our reality and perceives the world as it truly is. This power allows them to see through natural and artificial darkness, see invisible and ethereal entities and spot hidden passages and magical items. The power lasts for as many rounds as the Sin Eater has levels.

Credit, Chris Dickson

IN YOUR GAME
The origin of the curse afflicting the Sin Eater has been left purposefully vague so as to make this class easier to tailor to your campaign world. The one constant about it is that this isn't something that can be removed with a simple casting of Remove Curse - this curse is the legacy of an act so terrible that it persists through generations, latching on to the souls of children as they are born like some kind of spiritual infection. It could affect a single family, several bloodlines or even an entire nation of people, depending on who or what was wronged.

Sin Eaters are tainted but to those aware of them they are highly valued - curses and hexes are no joke and hard to get rid of. A travelling Sin Eater can collect hefty fees for their services.

In mechanical terms, this class has some powerful utility abilities that can allow for battlefield control (Darkness Without), last ditch healing (Soul Anchor) and a limited form of invisibility (Darkness Within), as well as decent damage output (Soul Lance) and enemy manipulation (Insidious Whispers). All in all, not a bad mix for a party to take. The social standing (depending on your game world, of course) of a Sin Eater can also be a plus.

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IN EGRADUS
The cold, harsh land of Ithorun breeds hardy, fierce people. Though the sweeping vistas of snow-capped mountains and vast evergreen forest may look beautifully picturesque they hold many dangers - twisted beasts, capricious elves and lost spirits, to name but a few. The people of Ithorun are steadfast in the face of such dangers and stories of their ferocious warriors are known across Izoa and Oloris, as are the sails of their raiding ships. But even mighty warriors can be laid low by sickness, and while apothecaries often cite success in treating maladies of the body, few claim to be able to treat sickness of the soul. The Sin Eaters claim otherwise.

To understand the Sin Eaters one must understand the shame of Ithorun, and the death of their gods. Centuries ago, the land of Ithorun was lush and vibrant. The horrors of the Long Night had been overcome and the land was at peace, its gods appeased. No one remembers what caused the ancient Ithorunians to turn against their deities, or what terrible acts they committed in their destruction, but when the War of Sin, as it is now referred to by the Ithorunians, was over their gods lay broken and destroyed and with his last dying breath, Yrion, God Of Judgement, cursed his betrayers to bear the stains of their sins on their souls. The Ithorunians scorned his words and revelled in their victory, but in the years that followed scores of them withered and died and the apothecaries and chirurgeons were powerless to help them. People claimed to be haunted by evil presences and the spirits of the dead. So too did the land begin to shrivel and wither away, becoming colder and fiercer, with dark beasts and foreboding forests advancing on Ithorunian cities. Attempts to placate the dead gods failed and no other deities would hear the plaintive cries of Ithorun.

After decades of torment Ithorunian civilisation was pushed to a handful of rude, coastal cities. The shining cities of their past were gone, swallowed by dark forests and mists, and it seemed that the end was at hand. As the last of the Ithorunians awaited their fate, word spread of a group who had emerged from the forests bringing word of a cure for the blight that afflicted their people. Yrion's curse had marked the souls of the Ithorunians, condemning them to a slow death as their souls gradually burned away. These Sin Eaters, as they called themselves, had found a way to stave off the blight for a time, allowing their countrymen to live free from their affliction for years before requiring the assistance of a Sin Eater again.

Sin Eaters are tragic, courageous figures in Ithorunian culture. They are beloved for their skills and pitied for their cursed existence, for the Sin Eaters do not purge the curse that Yrion inflicted upon Ithorun - they draw it into themselves and condemn their own souls to damnation. Today the Sin Eaters form one of the cores of Ithorunian society and no holdfast will go without one. As well as attending to the spirits of their countrymen, Spirit Eaters also provide war chiefs and nobles with sage advice, treat with the elves and utilise their unique powers in pacifying and driving out ethereal beings and Outsiders. The Spirit Eaters also explore the Old Forests and ward the ancient cities of Ithorun, for within them lies terrible danger.

Comments

  1. I was inspired by this so much that I made a whole new Warlock pact built around it. Would you mind if I posted it, fully crediting you of course?

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    1. Oh man I've only just seen this! I was checking through my dashboard and it looks like Blogger has been fucking around with notification emails for ages! I like what you've done with the Warlock class, I hope to see more soon :)

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