I am taking s more thematic stab at world-building with here. This time with a unique take on Law vs. Chaos.
Redeem Your Demons
The idea of them being wild and animalistic comes from images of some of them chewing Shields while they hype themselves up for battle.
But actual superhuman berserker rages are more the fare of Celtic myth with characters like Cu Culhainn, who transformed into a fire-haired one-eyed and fanged monster when he became enraged, and had to be calmed through confusing and embarrassing him usually by sending troops of naked girls to collect him and dunk them in cold barrels of water.
Robert E. Howard and some of his contemporaries were big fans of Celtic heroes and they wove them into their Sword & Sorcery characters. Conan has some of Cu Culhainn's rage, but without the monstrous transformation.
I wanted to play with the idea of a berserker turning into a superhuman monster as the core character trait of their class. So, I decided I wanted a race of warriors who were possessed by demon spirits and could unleash them to transform into monstrous creatires. Statistically it's not much different from drinking a Potion of Stone Giant Strength, (statistically the most common magic item in AD&D,) which is something my players do every chance they get in my Silver Gull campaign.
With a little inspiration from Wakfu, I decided to create a race of knights and mystics whom are born possessed, but have learned meditation and use knightly chivalry to contain the beast and until it is needed and then harness it for the cause of Law.
The product of generations of demonic possession, this tribe is born possessed by fiends from their first days. The religion of Ruhl and a culture of chivalry and altruism allows the modern fiend-touched to contain the demons. In dire circumstances they can release control, transforming into rampaging beasts.
- In this form they have +4 on STR checks and Attack rolls, and deal an additional 1d8 damage.
- Their armor vanishes until they return to human form, reducing their AC to 8.
- They are immune to Fire.
- They must save vs. Death to turn back, and may only attempt once per round to revert.
- While in Fiendish form they are affected by abilities like Turn Unholy, and spells like protection from evil.
Fun With Portals
I didn't want the Eliotropes in the Drowned World. They have too many varieties of unusual abilities. However, I really liked some of the cool things the characters can do with the portals, and imagined blending them with some of the cool tricks from the video games Portal and Portal 2. And so, I created my own magic portal slinging character that is far more limited than the Eliotrope. In fact, I gave them only the ability to open portals, only two, and only within a bowshot.
As I continue to think about what I wanted to do with these characters, I started to think I wanted another angelic being to balance out the Tricksters and Fiend-touched. That's when I got the idea that maybe I wanted to have something derived from the Ophanim, the angels that appear as wheels of fire and carry messages swiftly across the Earth in the Torah, Dead Sea Scrolls and Book of Enoch (a.k.a. "Thrones")
Seeing as how I had a dead lawgiver-God on my hands as part of the setting, it made sense that his angels would be fallen or diminished. Former Ophanim transformed into humanoid forms made a limited sense. Eventually, I settled on the idea that the Ophanim that served Iori, the god of Law. I eventually got the idea that the Ophanim that served as his messengers and warriors fell when he perished, and were left as mere shadows of themselves.
While these angels had no desire to live a Mortal life, someone else wanted to access to their powers of motion and divine wrath. A race of living Simulacra based upon these fallen Angels were created and eventually became their own free race as the drowned world recovered. These Englings have a shadow of the power of the Ophanim: the ability to open doorways, which they use with great cunning, and a fraction of the dead Lawgiver's wrath in the form of an shocking electrical touch and lightning bolts that are far weaker than actual most weapons in D&D.
I intended to give the player characters playing menu of special tricks they could learn using their portals, such as redirecting arrows, hurling themselves through the air, for pushing friends of danger even from a great distance.
Ultimately, however, after I had made a note of how I would mechanically handle a large number of clever situations, I opted not to make this a system of maneuvers that operate like spells or skills. Rather, just a selection of the myriad possible applications of the character's abilities, to be used as a guideline for the GM.
Ultimately, I wanted something in keeping with many of the other classes I designed: characters that not only encourage creative play, but almost make it a necessity for survival.
Iori’s Word and Light was carried to the mortal world by the Ophanim, living wheels of fire and electricity that could move at impossible speeds, and even be in two places at once. As Ior lay dying and Runa wept with rage, the Ophanim fell from the sky and broke upon the Earth. The few survivors took human form to survive. They spent the last of their powers trying to find a way to revive the god.
Somewhere along the way the great Trickster Imanna created simulacra of a few of the remaining Ophanim and tinkered with forbidden magic until they had life, breath and the power to bear children. Bound in humanoid form and having only an echo of their predecessors’ form, the Ophanim have become a strange, uncomfortable population on the margins of society.
The Englings can channel the last sparks of the lightning that once heralded the divine wrath of Ior. They can move at incredible speeds and open small magical portals between nearby points. They are mere shadows of the creatures they were created from.
Portals: An Engling can open two linked magical portals within 400' of themselves plus 5’ per level. They can appear on a surface or a point in mid-air, and can be small as a 1'diameter or as wide as 10' across. They remain for 1 round. The Engling and others can move through them or reach through to grab objects. These portals are faintly luminous.
Englings know a number of tricks that they can do with the rapid creation and dismissal of portals. Here are some examples.
- Aegis: by creating a moving portal in front of their hands that leads to a harmless portal high above, the Englign can create a shield for themselves that adds +2 to their AC.
- Backstab: Englings can attack a foe through a portal from a distance,, giving her +2 to her attack roll, but this trick only works on a foe once.
- Drop: By opening a portal under an enemy’s feet, and then another high up, they Engling can force a target to Save vs. Magic Wand or fall from a height that the Engling can see, taking appropriate fall damage.
- Gravity Sling: An Engling can throw a stone up in the air, then catch it with a portal to let its momentum throw the object at a target under another portal. This requires an Attack roll at -2, but does 1d6 of damage.
- Peep: An engling can place portals to let them look around corners, through keyholes, etc., by opening a portal.
- Perpetual Jump: By repeatedly catching themselves as they fall, and then opening another portal that launches her using the fall momentum, An Engling can effectively fly, but must Save vs. Death every turn to avoid becoming exhausted and falling.
- Redirect: If they have not acted this round, or are delaying, an Engling can Save vs. Death at +2 to direct a ranged missile attack, Ray, or Line Effect that targets them to another target.
- Rescue: If she has not acted or is delaying, An Engling can cause a being who is falling to land safely.
- Shunt: If they have not acted this round, or are delaying, an Engling can give another being a +4 on a Save vs. Wands or Save vs. Dragon breath by pulling them out of danger.
- Trap: By putting two portals facing each other to either side of a foe, the Engling can force them to collide with themselves in a time/space confusion that prevents them from moving until the portals vanish.
- Trip: By opening a portal beneath a foe’s feet and another on the ground next to them, the Engling can turn a foe on their head and cause them to fall unless they Save vs. Wands.
- Vanish: An Engling can leap into a portal and disappear, then reappear anywhere within 405' one round later.
Shock; At 1st level, Englings can deal 1d4 damage by touching a foe and dealing an electrical shock. She can also throw a tiny bolt of lightning at a single target within 30', dealing 1d3 damage.This damage increases as the character increases in level.