Spotlight: Sowm and the Creation

First there was an ocean, a vast concourse of water that grew and stretched the bounds of all existence. The jharethil call it Norahaltath, which by interpretation is the Sea in the Void. There was no air, no land, no life; just the endless churning of a drowned universe.

In time the whirlpool lurched and Norahaltath divided at its heart. The water steamed and became a roaring hurricane thrashing out from the center and encircling the sea. Where the pressure from the tempest was great enough, the sea froze solid and became earth. The air wrapped the sea, the sea wrapped the earth, and in the center of the earth was lit the first light.

The Four Worlds  by  Chris Cold

The Four Worlds by Chris Cold

The light burst through the earth and sea and storm, sending showers of flame and ash into the naked cosmos. All things bathed and were purified in the light of creation, which the jharethil call Mahat. The sacred flame seared the slag and detritus, sparking it into life and consciousness, burning and yet not consuming. In the heart of the wreckage loomed Salvendum, Source of our Joy and Sorrow, the First of Four Worlds.

About Her girdle swirled the other three worlds, orbs of reckless dross hurtling through the tenebrous abyss. The closest world is called Iltallach, or Nearest Fire, by the jharethil. The second they call Vinramar, Bones Beneath the Heavens. The third is Morvugol, Farthest Sight. Between and around these orbs is a void, the gap of nothingness that the jhareth elders name Nieshalar, which by interpretation is called the Darkplane.

As the ashes plunged into the seas of the four worlds and cooled, they awoke. Many remained below, but nine rose into the light and, marveling, were refined into living souls. They are called Irvallath, the Primordial Laborers. When Salvendum saw the Nine had awoken, she spoke through the Darkplane so that all could hear and feel her thought.

She said: I am Sowm; from the heart of the Fire I command the winds and the seas and the earth. Ye have your being through me; I command you to rise and build.

— From The Labors of the Irvallath by Bram Genning

Class Option: Aberration Domain

There are few known gods whose influence extends beyond the territory of the four worlds. That alien abyss is the dominion of mad, twisted beings whose powers defy the fundamental assumptions of nature. Of the handful of gods who have ventured into the Darkplane, only Daemoth, Maruma’e, and Senfaer have brought aberrant secrets back to their servants.

These acolytes of aberration understand only infinitessimal glimpses of the horror that lies beyond the natural worlds, but this is enough to tear the sanity of their enemies apart. To them nature is heretical and the faiths that fight aberrant influence are infidels.

 

ABERRATION DOMAIN SPELLS

Cleric Level      Spells
          1               arms of Hadar, dissonant whispers
          3               darkvision, detect thoughts
          5               fear, hunger of Hadar
          7               confusion, Evard’s black tentacles
          9               dream, geas

BONUS PROFICIENCY

When you choose this domain at 1st level, you become proficient in the Arcana skill. 

TELEPATHY

At 1st level, you can use your bonus action to open a telepathic connection with a creature within 60 feet. While the creature is in range, you can speak to each other telepathically. You must share a language to understand one another. You can end the connection whenever you choose. You can only have one telepathic connection open at once.

CHANNEL DIVINITY: FORTIFY SANITY

Starting at 2nd level, you can use your Channel Divinity to erect a psionic shield. When you or a creature within 60 feet of you gains a temporary madness or takes psychic damage, you can spend a reaction to grant it resistance to psychic damage and immunity to short-term madness for 1 minute.

Group Telepathy

Starting at 6th level, you can maintain multiple telepathic connections at once. A single bonus action can target up to six creatures. If you break this connection with one creature, you break it with every creature you targeted with the same action.

Dweller in Darkness  by  Hincho Or

Dweller in Darkness by Hincho Or

Terrifying STRIKE

At 8th level, you gain the ability to endow your weapon strikes with psionic energy. Once per turn, when you hit a creature with a weapon attack, you can deal an extra 1d8 psychic damage. When you reach 14th level, the extra damage increases to 2d8.

CHANNEL DIVINITY: DARKPLANE ASCENSION

At 17th level, you can use your Channel Divinity to open a portal into the Darkplane.

You may spend an action to create a 15-foot cone extending from your holy symbol. The base of the cone becomes a portal facing you, and creatures and objects within the cone are pulled through the portal into the Darkplane unless they weigh 500 pounds or more, or succeed on a Strength saving throw. Once created, the portal stays open for 1 minute, or until you use an action to close it.

Class Option: Darkness Domain

When the sun sets, the priests of darkness venture into the night like living shadows. Their presence is not always felt as they call the Void forth, nor are their hidden altars seen by mortal eyes. They worship gods like Imbakhao, Ulmhasa, and Daemoth, who use fear to inspire reverence, whose very presence is living emptiness.

The clerics of the darkness domain know how to harness the material of the Shadow Realm to pass unseen, to call shadow creatures to their side, and to twist the dreams and memory of other mortals. Their motives differ from god to god. Some fight shadow with shadow, while others look forward to a day when material life will be consumed by darkness.

DARKNESS DOMAIN SPELLS

Cleric Level      Spells
          1               inflict wounds, unseen servant
          3               darkness, misty step
          5               fear, spirit guardians
          7          dimension door, phantasmal killer
          9          dream, scrying

DARKVISION

When you choose this domain at 1st level, your eyes see through darkness into the shadow essence of all around you. You gain darkvision within 60 feet, and have advantage when making Wisdom (Perception) checks to spot hidden creatures within that distance.

CHANNEL DIVINITY: SHADOWBLADE

Starting at 2nd level, you can use your Channel Divinity to create a weapon out of shadow essence.

As a bonus action, you can form a dark, shadowy blade in your free hand. The blade is similar in size and shape to a scimitar, and you have proficiency with it. It lasts for 1 minute, or as long as you maintain concentration. If you let go of the blade, it disappears, but as long as your concentration isn’t broken you can form the blade again as a bonus action.

You can use your action to make a melee spell attack with the shadowblade. On a hit, the target takes 2d6 necrotic damage.

 

CHANNEL DIVINITY: SHADOWMANTLE

Starting at 6th level, you can use your Channel Divinity to disappear into the darkness. As an action, you become invisible until the end of your next turn. If you attack or cast a spell, you become visible again.

TWIN SHADOWS

Beginning at 8th level, when you use Shadowblade, you form one shadowblade in each hand. When you take an action to attack with one shadowblade, you can use a bonus action to attack with the second one.

When you reach 14th level, you add your Wisdom modifier to the first shadowblade attack you make on your turn. If you have the fighting style Two-Weapon Fighting, you gain the benefit of it when making a second shadowblade attack.

TRUTH IN Darkness

Starting at 17th level, you can slip through the bounds of the Material Realm to peer into the souls and minds of others. You can use an action to gain truesight within 30 feet for 1 minute. While this effect is in place, you can see into the Primordial Realm, the Shadow Realm, and Spirit Realm.

Dark Wizard  by  Antichristopher

Dark Wizard by Antichristopher

Background: Cultist

CULTIST

Sometime before adulthood, you got involved with an obscure religious sect that demands strict obedience. It may not be an evil group, but it is certainly secretive about its beliefs and practices. There are many unusual deities or ideals that you might embrace. Whatever they are, it’s unusual and offputting to others. Sometimes your leaders plan illegal or taboo acts for you to commit that further the cult’s agenda. These plans don’t necessarily harm others, but sometimes they make members of the cult uncomfortable. Not that they’d ever admit it.

Skill Proficiencies: Persuasion, Religion
Tool Proficiencies: Disguise kit
Languages: One of your choice.
Equipment: Common clothes, ritual robes, a small cult idol (holy symbol), a book of teachings, and a belt pouch containing 15 gp

UNORTHODOX BELIEF

The exact nature of your cult’s worship depends on its beliefs, and which god, entity, or philosophy you embrace. Your cult could be a radical sect of an existing religion, or it might worship a strange god.

d8    Belief

  1. Primordial Cult. The world was stolen from the primordial gods, and one day they’re going to get their due.
  2. Cult of Sowm. Sowm, the First Mother, isn’t dead, but lives in hiding from her murderous son Daemoth.
  3. Cult of Sarnoss. Civilization and industry are a blight on the natural world.
  4. The Hollow Crown. All the gods were killed centuries ago, and now the religions of the world only seek to maintain their false power.
  5. Order of the Emptied Chalice. The Black Arcane arts are gifts from the gods.
  6. The Black Lotus. Consciousness and the material world are illusions.
  7. Fundamentalist. If I am prepared, death will grant me godhood.
  8. Racial Cult. There is only one race the gods approve of. The rest are abominations.

FEATURE: INNER CIRCLE

When your cult’s leader teaches or pronounces an edict, you’re privy to the information. You know what rites or tasks your brethren and sisters of the inner circle have planned, and (subject to DM discretion) you have some sway with the cult’s leader. You can usually lodge with fellow cultists if need be, and they may keep you fed and supplied in return for performing tasks and following the cult’s strictures, which you and your DM should define.

SUGGESTED CHARACTERISTICS

Cults are often driven by the charisma and manipulation of a single leader. Trust in that leader is essential for the believers to continue faithfully within the group. Often the death of the leader jars the members of a cult to their senses. Consider who the leader of your cult is, what your relationship is, and determine how secure you are in the beliefs you’ve been taught.

d6    Personality Trait

  1. No one can shake my faith, even with proof.
  2. I don’t hold an attachment to worldly things, since I’m destined to inherit much better.
  3. My sanity is slipping after years of seeing things not meant for mortal eyes.
  4. My brothers and sisters of the order are dearer to me than life.
  5. My face is always an expressionless mask lacking empathy or feeling.
  6. I indulge in worldly pleasures to drive away the guilt of partcipating in disturbing rituals.

d6    Ideal

  1. Faith. I long for the day when all my beliefs will be vindicated. (Good)
  2. Ministry. Anyone and everyone is a possible convert, if I can get them to trust me first. (Neutral)
  3. Power. This cult is a lie, but I can use it to influence others and get what I want. (Evil)
  4. Obedience. I support my leaders. Even when they cause me pain I know it’s for my own good. (Lawful)
  5. Safety. I comply with this nightmare of a religion just to stay alive. (Neutral)
  6. Vengeance. The cult harmed me and now I stay involved to sabotage its goals. (Chaotic)

d6    Bond

  1. It started with seeking approval, but now I’ve fallen in love with my cult’s leader.
  2. My best friend was sacrificed or hurt by my brothers and sisters in the cult.
  3. My parents raised me to believe in this, and they still watch my devotion like hawks.
  4. I’ve come into possession of an artifact that disproves my cult’s beliefs.
  5. My leader has entrusted me with a secret quest that the other members can’t know about.
  6. I fell in with the cult’s enemies, and now I feed them information on our activities.

d6    Flaw

  1. I like to reference obscure scripture and teach others what they should believe.
  2. The most casual happenstance might be a sign from my god.
  3. I’ll sacrifice anything to further my cult’s agenda: friendships, possessions, even your life.
  4. I have a secret sin or practice that would brand me as a hypocrite.
  5. Sometimes the letter of the law causes me to violate the spirit of the law.
  6. I’m intolerant and disparaging to those who look or believe differently.