Malmortus Pariah (The Accursed Dead)

I’ve been wanting to make a semi-undead race for RPGs for a long time. Torchbearer is as good a game as any (better than most), so now is as good a time as any.

Despite their name (Malmortus is old-tongue for “accursed dead”) are not undead. Legend has it that the old gods, in an attempt to punish an ancient clan of necromancers for abusing their power over the undead, cursed them and their descendants to be viewed as that which they strove to enslave. By all appearance, Malmorti are clean, white skeletons, with no flesh, organs or hair. However, scholars believe that they do not consist merely of bone and magic, but that their fleshly parts exist on another plain. But, this has never been proven. As such, the common misconception that they are members of the undead forces Malmorti to conceal their appearance in billowy robes or cloaks.

Raw Ablities: Will 5, Health 3

Starting Skills: Fighter 3, Arcanist 3, Lore Master 3, Ritualist 2, Scholar 2, Scout 2

Starting Trait: Skeletal Countenance: Malmorti’s countenance of the skeletal undead makes them an intimidating race and even allows them to pass for undead. However, it makes it difficult for them to gain the trust of the uneducated.

Starting Wises: Choose one of the following: Undead-wise or Curse-wise; take a second wise of your choice following the guidelines in the main book

Starting Weapon: Dagger

Alignment: Any

Malmortus Physiology
Besides the obvious difference of appearance, Malmorti differ little from humans. Unless they take class abilities that allow them to take advantage of their physiology, Malmorti eat, sleep and age just like a human and are just as vulnerable to injury and illness. However, many of these functions are invisible to the naked eye. Because they have no visible skin or organs, visual indications of injuries, illnesses and aging are not obvious. They have no wrinkled skin or graying hair to betray their age, but elder Malmorti have frailer and yellowing bones. While just as vulnerable to blades as humans, such injuries appear as scratches and gashes in the bone instead of in flesh. Broken bones reveal a cartilage like substance within that keeps the bones from separating, but take just as long to heal. Though they have no lungs, a sick Malmorti might cough, scratch or have trouble “breathing”, just as a human does. However, as shown below, more powerful Malmorti can learn to embrace their nature or seek forgiveness from the gods.

Also, Malmorti are sensitive to sunlight, so they often cover their faces with hoods and cowls to block the light of the sun, further accentuating their mysterious nature.

Lastly, Malmorti do not breed as humans do. “Back to the earth from whence they came” is a common expression to describe the mysterious race. And the saying is more accurate than many understand. To procreate, a male and female Malmorti each break off a rib bone and bury them together beneath the earth in a secret ritual. After three turns of the full moon, a Mallmortus infant crawls from the ground, ready to grow much as a human baby grows.

Malmortus Culture
The Malmorti people are, by necessity, a secretive culture. While they are no less alive and mortal than a human, the less educated understandably mistake them for undead. For this reason, most Malmorti characters hide themselves in robes or cloaks to hide their nature. However, even the most inexperienced knows how to use his skeletal countenance to his advantage.

While some Malmorti retain their ties to arcane magic, its use is strictly governed by Malmorti leadership to prevent a reoccurrence of the necromancy that earned them their curse in the first place. Thus only Lawful Malmorti are legally allowed to practice magic. Although a Malmortus character who takes the arcane path can be of any alignment, if he is not lawful, such practice is considered a crime punishable by death. However, all Accursed Dead, of every alignment, pay tribute to the divine powers in hopes that one day, they will relieve them of the curse that has tormented them for all these centuries.

Malmortus Nature
Write Nature: Malmortus on your character sheet. Your descriptors are Rectifying, Praying and Hiding. All Malmortus characters have base Nature of 3. Answer the following questions to determine your final starting Nature score, and possibly some traits.

Malmortus Nature Questions
Do you feel guilt for the actions of your people and seek the means to make things right? Or do take responsibility for your own actions and let everyone else worry about themselves?
[li]If you seek to rectify the crimes of your ancestors, increase your Nature by one.
[/li][li]If you feel all creatures should be responsible for their own actions, your Nature remains unchanged.
Do you seek to make amends for your ancestors dark deeds and earn the forgiveness of the gods? Or do you test your self control by practicing the arcane arts?
[li]If you seek the forgiveness of the gods, increase your Nature by one.
[/li][li]If you trust your self control and study the arcane arts, your Nature remains unchanged. If you are of Lawful alignment, you may replace or increase your home Trait with Honorable. If you are of Chaos or Unaffiliated alignment, you may replace or increase your home Trait with Dishonorable.
Do you hide your skeletal countenance in order to better blend in with man? Or do you take pride in your culture and show your true self to any who look upon you?
[li]If you seek to blend in. Increase your Nature by one, reduce your Fighter by one and a cloak can be considered part of your raiment or a robe grants the benefits of a cloak.
[/li][li]If you keep your true self unveiled to the world, your Nature and Fighter remain unchanged and you can wear chain armor. If you take the arcane path below, you may wear leather armor only.

New Hometown: Malmortus Sanctuary
The Malmortus Sanctuary is probably the only town where The Accursed Dead can live their lives in the open. Due to their sensitivity to sunlight, the Sanctuary is almost always built underground but is otherwise brightly lit and garishly cheerful in appearance, a vain attempt to counter their morbid appearance. The rare visitor that is welcomed to these towns finds the decor and architecture bright at best, but often gets the feeling of a beautiful veil covering the rotting face of a leper.

Skills: Alchemist, Lore Master, Weaver

Traits: Cunning, Loner

Note: Only Malmorti can be from a Malmortus Sanctuary.

Malmortus Pariah Level Benefits
Level 1
Pariah: Malmortus Pariahs wield daggers or swords (including rapiers and two-handed swords). They may wear leather armor, helmets and use shields. Pariahs have access to one Circle One prayer slot, with the prayer choices limited by their alignment like a cleric, but do not have access to bonus prayers (such as Fury of the Lords of Life and Death). Lawful-aligned Pariahs may choose access to a Circle One arcane spell slot instead. If they choose to do so, they cannot wear armor or helmets or use shields, but may use daggers and swords. Each level, choose a level benefit, a new prayer slot (if available) or a new spell slot (if available.) Note that Chaos and Unaffiliated aligned Pariahs can cast arcane spells as well, but doing so is a dishonor to their people.

Level 2
Veil of Night: +1D to any action made to hide the Malmorti’s skeletal countenance in dim light. (This is in addition to the penalty for dim light.)

Prayer Slot: The Pariah gains another Circle One prayer slot.

Spell Slot: The Pariah gains another Circle One spell slot.

Level 3
Cryptic Rest: The Pariah may treat a town crypt as Stables for accommodations. If only Malmorti, Assassins and Thieves are staying in the crypt and are hiding out, they may roll twice to determine the result, taking the most beneficial result.

Divine Sympathy: If the Pariah prays at a shrine while in town, they may roll twice to determine the result, taking the most beneficial result.

Level 4
Billowy Cloak: A cloak grants the benefits of a shield (+2D to Defend actions). The cloak must be equipped during a conflict just like any other weapon.

Prayer Slot: The Pariah gains a Circle Two prayer slot.

Spell Slot: The Pariah gains a Circle Two spell slot.

Level 5
Otherworldly Connections: The Pariah’s assistance in Banish/Abjure conflicts grants +2D instead of the normal +1D.

Prayer Slot: The Pariah gains another Circle One prayer slot.

Spell Slot: The Pariah gains another Circle One spell slot.

Level 6
Feign Death: If the Pariah’s hit points are depleted to zero. he may rejoin the fight with 1 disposition if anyone on his side announces a Feint action. He may not do this more than once per conflict. (This is identical to the Strider’s L6 ability.) (Prerequisite: Cryptic Rest)

Divine Intervention: Once per session, a Pariah may add his Ritualist skill to any Defend action in a fight conflict. (Prerequisite: Divine Sympathy)

Level 7
Cryptic Vision: Some Pariahs are naturally able to operated underground. While underground, they no longer suffer the dim light penalty and treat total darkness as just a factor. However, they also treat bright sunlight as a factor. (Prerequisite: Feign Death)

Holy Light: The Pariah gains a bonus prayer slot exclusively to invoke the Blessing of the Lords of Light. (They cannot invoke the Darkness version of this prayer unless they prepare it normally.) (Prerequisite: Divine Intervention)

Level 8
Eater of Flesh: Some Pariah believe the stories told about their kind and give in to the urge to eat the flesh of the fallen. When they eat of the corpse of their enemy, he can remove the Hungry and Thirsty condition and make a free recover test to rid themselves of Exhausted or Afraid. (This is identical to the Minotaur Pitfighter’s L8 Brutal Carnivore ability.) (Prerequisite: Cryptic Vision)

Ritualistic Fasting: The Pariah can spend a turn (or a check during camp or town phases), to make an Ob 3 Ritualist test to relieve the Hungry and Thirsty condition without consuming food or drink. (This option cannot be taken twice in a row. After taking advantage of this ability to relieve they Hungry and Thirsty condition once, he must partake of food or drink the next time he gains that condition again.) (Prerequisite: Holy Light)

Level 9
Heroic Ability: Choose one of the following skills: Arcanist, Ritualist or Scout. This skill becomes heroic and succeeds on a roll of 3-6 instead of 4-6.

Prayer Slot: The Pariah gains another Circle Two prayer slot.

Spell Slot: The Pariah gains another Circle Two spell slot.

Level 10
True Undeath: At Nature 7, the Pariah is not retired. Instead, he is treated as an undead creature with all effects while his Nature is at 7 but he loses access to his skills. This effect ends once his Nature is taxed back down to 6 or lower. (Prerequisite: Eater of Flesh)

True Forgiveness: At Nature 7, the Pariah is not retired. Instead, he is treated as a divine creature and gains +1 to his Might while his Nature is at 7 but he loses access to his skills. This effect ends once his Nature is taxed back down to 6 or lower. (Prerequisite: Ritualistic Fasting)

This is great! The “on pain of death” clause to their Nature question and level 1 benefit is kinda weak. I’d just give them a trait like Dishonorable or Pariah or something like that.

The cryptic rest benefit is great!

Glad you like, Mr. Sorensen. Any tweaks or changes you think need to be done?

Hadn’t seen that post yet. Thanks for the advice.

Ok, finally got what you were saying. I replaced the “punishable by death” aspect with the Dishonorable Trait instead.

Here’s a link to a Dropbox file that has the edited version of the class (including the suggestions from Sorensen,) and an illustration.