Grim Hollow is a 3rd party Dark Fantasy setting for Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition published by Ghostfire Gaming. Currently, only the Campaign Setting and Player's Guide exists, with the Monster Grimoire being crowdfunded for on Kickstarter.
The World of Etharis
Etharis, as the campaign setting's world is called, is a grimdark slant on the standard D&D 5e world. It takes place on a world where a brutal humanity rose up and almost annihilated the empires of dwarves, elves and dragonborn, then nearly annihilated itself in pointless internecine wars, allowing the oppressed remnants of those races to rise up and forcibly carve a place for themselves out of the ruins. Civilization exists in a Points of Light format; islands of light and hope surrounded by vast tracts of hostile, monster-infected wilderness. Some regions suffer supernatural or paranatural auras that shroud them in darkness, and plagues ravage the land - especially the dreaded Weeping Pox. The gods of Etharis annihilated each other in a brutal civil war, leaving behind only their lieutenants - the Arch Seraphs and Arch Daemons - to heed the prayers of mortal followers, and work to exploit the world as it exists for their own advantage. In many portions of the world, arcane magic is feared, and there is even a crusade, the Arcanist Inquisition, dedicated to destroying all who are even accused of dabbling with magic.
But despite all this... Etharis is not a relentlessly bleak world, and there is some hope for it to get better. To quote the book itself:
- Etharis as a campaign setting is not meant to be relentlessly bleak and depressing, or to wallow in cruelty for its own sake. Small victories become heroic when they take heroic effort to achieve. No one in Etharis is safe by default, so any safety the characters win or give to others is a true blessing. No one in Etharis is good by default, so moments of genuine grace are worth celebrating – and can come from unexpected places. Amid profound darkness, even the smallest lights have value.
There's even a chapter in the Campaign Guide that breaks down Dark Fantasy into its four major components: Grimdark, Horror, Dark Fairy Tales, and Sword & Sorcery, with advice to the DM on how to pick and mix these themes to make Etharis more their own.
Realms of Etharis
As you can see from the map, Etharis is a pretty big place. Luckily, we're here to give you an breakdown of the various places of note on the map.
The Bürach Empire is the former ruling power of Etharis. An alliance of four provinces united by a divinely chosen emperor, Bürach has begun falling into ruination ever since the last emperor, the insane Leopold I, spread his insanity into the four gods whose powers once united and supported the empire, causing them to ultimately butcher each other in the name of proving which of them was the supreme god before Leopold was assassinated. Their madness and subsequent deaths have left powerful cultural and mystical scars on the lands they once championed. The provinces of the Bürach Empire are:'
- Abendland: Literal and metaphorical center of the Bürach Empire, once devoted to Aurelia, Goddess of Healing, Hearth and Home. It was the Hearthkeepers, Aurelia's priesthood, who helped locate the god-touched individual - Indorius - who became the first Emperor of Bürach Empire, and they were the ones who decreed the Edict of Eternal Blood, which allowed only direct descendants of Emperor Indorius to rule. This included coaxing the marriage of cousins and siblings to preserve the purity of said blood, despite the misgivings of the rest of Bürachs, that ultimately led to the insanity of Emperor Leopold I. Even now, the Hearthkeepers stifle their people and try to keep them ignorant of the waning divine powers of their priests and the fading fecundity of the land itself, with hope of turning Abendland into an open theocracy.
- Nordenland: Always home to planar gates and crossings, especially to the Feywild, Nordenland is the traditional home of the mages of Bürach, which made it a natural homeland for Ulmyr, God of Magic and Chaos. The fall of the empire has broken Nordenland into two halves; those of the East, who have thrown off all allegiance to the empire and returned to the old ways, and those of the West, who still consider themselves part of Bürach and eagerly adopt new technologies from their former allies. Civil war is brewing, especially as the forests become filled with monsters and evils.
- Rauland: Kingdom of the dwarves and gnomes, Rauland was dedicated to Galt, God of Order and Construction. During the dark days of the godly civil war, Galt became a brutal tyrant, demanding toil for the sake of toil and treating all lives as tools for the sake of production. Ironically, with their patron dead, the Raulanders have found their crafts are declining in potency, stripped of the divine blessing they enjoyed in the empire's heyday.
- Unterland: A warrior society who were devoted to Maligant, the God of War and Strategy; with their patron gone, the cult of Tormach, Archdaemon of Wrath and Slaughter, is spreading like wildfire to take his place.
The Ostoyan Empire was Bürachs' major rival, founded by people who fled from Unterland during the chaos of Bürachs' early years due to refusing to accept Emperor Indorius as their new leader. They founded their own nation, Ostoya, but when the finally stabilized Bürach came and demanded the Ostoyans swear subservience to their long-lost and little-loved kinsfolk, it led to war. That war only grew more desperate with the Darkfall; a mighty earthquake that opened chasms leading to an ancient city buried beneath the ground, one infested by the undead. So desperate were the Ostoyans to remove this "homegrown" threat that they sent an entire army down into the deep to fight a holding action, then collapsed the chasms leading to the surface, burying their own men alive in the process. But this only made things worse; a survivor found a strange shrine and prayed for vengeance, before returning to the surface as a vampire and spreading his plague through Ostoya's nobility. With the new necrocracy in place, the Ostoyans expelled the Bürach invaders. Now, Ostoya resides under a permanent shadow; the sky is forever choked with thick clouds (often pregnant with snow or heavy rain) and mist, blotting the light from the sun. Ironically, Ostoya has schismed once again, and is now divided into two provinces; Soma, the vampire-ruled necrocracy, and the magocracy of Raevo, which refuses to bow to the undead. Even more ironically, their civil war is remarkably civil: both sides share a hatred of Bürach that outweighs their antipathy towards each other, and the two provinces will fight to aid each other in remaining independent of Bürach. Definite shades of Sylvania.
The Charneault Kingdom is a magical forest realm, the last stronghold of the elves and also home to a spiritual and honorable human culture who had found peace with their elven neighbors - thanks to the enforcing might of the nature spirits that reside here. But the Pact of the Sacred Land has been soured by the Dark Elves; an anti-human cult which attempted to use black magic to subvert the relationship the elves had long enjoyed with the nature spirits from that of equals to that of master and servant - whilst a human knight, the valiant Ser Guilherm le Preux, managed to prevent the rite from fully taking place, Charneault has been tainted by the Dark Elves' actions. The magical mists that have always inundated Charneault now sometimes take on a dark coloration, throwing the spirits in turmoil, whilst Dark Elf sorcerers leading monsters and bewitched dark knights have begun to launch attacks against the human population of the land from their new base in the dead city of Tol Kerdywel, the prison of an elven princess turned foul lich. In return, the humans of Charneault are falling into disarry; the farmers dare not enter their fields when the Mist approaches, leading to shortages, and the king's order to swell the ranks of the various knightly orders for which Charneault is famed has led to increased rivalry between those orders and their followers. And all the while, anti-elf sentiment is swelling in the minds of humanity...
The Valikan Clans of Grarjord are the Viking-like inhabitants of the elemental-haunted frozen northlands of Etharis, a region said to have once been ruled by godlike elementals that warred with each other. Of these, the most fearsome was Gormadraug, the Great Prismatic Wyrm; a dragon-shaped elemental who was the master of "coldfire" - a white-blue flame that freezes instead of burns, consumes water, and can only be extinguished with fire and heat. Although reputedly slain by a band of seven heroes well over a thousand years ago, Gormadraug still shapes Grarjord's future. Over fifty years ago, a druidic cult arose, the Prismatic Circle, who decreed that the Valikan must feed Gormadraug's spirit with bloodshed to keep him docile. This has led to a schims in Valikan society, dividing Grarjord into two provinces; Thrull, a druidic theocracy where the Prismatic Circle rules and raiding, slavery and human sacrifice are the order of the day, and Kandar, which rejects the Prismatic Circle's rules and seeks strength through alliances and trade with the more fertile lands to the south. Making things worse is the rival Cult of the Wyrm, druids who seek to use the blood sacrifice of humans and elementals to awaken Gormadraug, and the mysterious appearance of outbreaks of coldfire, which sweep in deadly anti-blazes across the northland and leave behind only frozen wastes.
The Castinellan Provinces are a harsh, windswept peninsula, split down their center by an irregular mountain spine. These three provinces - Toletum, Faro and Therpena - have long warred with each other, and only recently been united by a theocracy dedicated to the worship of Empyreus. Traditional homeland of the dragonborn, the new priest-kings seek to tamper the warlike and vengeful nature of their people by first redirecting their attention outward in holy wars and crusades. It is also the birthplace of the Arcanist Inquisition, which seeks to control and limit the use of magic - ostensibly because Empyreus herself had told Montego Valieda, the first priest-king and Unifier of Castinellan, that magic was a curse that endangered its wielders and their associates alike.
Morencia is a powerful mercantile city-state occupies a series of small islands in a large lagoon, which is virtually impossible thanks to the magic-spawned mists that shroud the complex maze of reefs and sandbanks surrounding the city. Ruled over by the Augustine Trading Company, which has achieved this by absorbing the Banker's Guild and thus made mere puppets of the so-called Supreme Council, Morencia desires only to prosper, and is constantly targeted by the Castinellan Provinces as their first conquest.
Liesech is a city-state that lies to the north of the Charneault Kingdom and south of the Bürach Empire, the latter which now controls it, fighting an impossible battle to stave off the consumption of the city by the sea itself. Especially because of the mysterious god-thing, possibly a kraken, known as the Filth Grazer, and the dreaded Weeping Pox.
Etharis is home to the following races:
Humans: The most numerous race, who rose up from barbarism during the age of the dwarven and elven dominance over the world into a vast conquering horde that first almost annihilated the elves and dwarves, then nearly wiped themselves out. They technically are still the "dominant" race of Etharis, but their short lives have led to their old hatred fading... whilst the other races have not forgotten what humanity did to them...
Elves: Formerly the masters of Etharis' forests, their empires were burned to ashes during humanity's rise, and they spent decades as wandering nomads who were given magic by the forest spirits who survived as a way to avenge their loss.
Dwarves: During humanity's expansion, the dwarves retreated to their two greatest strongholds. Grevenstein was ultimately breached and its people annihilated, but Stehlenwald dug deeper and armed its people with adamantine; although their population was halved, their superior arms and armor allowed them to push humanity back. Still, they agreed to become a vassal race of humanity in the name of survival.
Half-Orcs: Pureblooded orcs are long gone in Etharis, but they remain figures of dark legends. Only half-orcs remain, and they are largely feared and distrusted, dwelling voluntarily amidst the harsh environment of the frozen north.
Half-Elves: Nomadic outcasts rejected by both sides of their parentage.
Dragonborn: The small kingdom of the dragonborn fell when caught between warring humans and elves, but its people survived. They have abandoned their original gods, and instead embraced the new religion of the Divine Seraphs with fanatical zeal, winning a place in the Castinellan theocracy.
Gnomes: Cousins of the dwarves, they retreated into Stehlenwald with their kin, and were instrumental in turning back the tides of humanity by inventing the first primitive gunpowder weapons.
Halflings: When humanity began its bloody Era of Expansion, the halflings surrendered rather than fight, voluntarily subsuming themselves into human culture as a race of servants.
The Player's Guide added several new races to the setting:
Wechselkind are essentially a cross between fey changelings and warforged; they're fey constructs in the shape of children which the fey leave behind to disguise when they've stolen human children. Whilst most of these unfortunate creatures are destroyed when their foster family finds the truth, the lucky ones are kept because, despite constructs, they are as aware and intelligent as any human child. Unfortunately, although their minds can age, wechselkind are stuck with a child-like body forever. Ironcially, the Weeping Pox has been a boon to these golem-kin; being immune to disease has allowed them to become very effective nurses and doctor's assistants in the plague-lands.
- +2 Constitution, +1 Charisma
- Base Speed 25 feet
- Artificial Form: Though you are considered a Humanoid for effects that key off of type, you are Immune to Disease, Resistant to Poison damage, have Advantage on saves against the Poisoned condition, and don't need to eat, drink, sleep or breathe.
- Faerie Glamour: 1/day, you can take on the form of the child you were created to replace, which other than this restriction in available forms functions as disguise self.
- Childish Agility: You can move through the space of any creature of a size larger than yours, and you have Proficiency in Acrobatics.
- Unaging: You are immune to magical aging effects.
Laneshi are a strange race with a natural affinity for necromancy who hail from a kingdom deep below the waves. Their society is caste-based; those born as twins become mystics, who have their twin sibling sacrificed and spiritually bound to them to grant them heightened necromantic powers, whilst those born as single children become the warrior caste. Mystics are responsible for all things associated with the dead - funeral rites, crafting, construction, record keeping and food preparation - and and warriors are associated with all things of the living; warfare, ruling, diplomacy, farming, raisingr and educating children, etc. They appear as pale bluish-white skinned, almost elf-like figures with manes of green kelp-like hair.
- +1 Strength, +1 Wisdom
- Base Speed 30 feet, Swim 30 feet
- Darkvision 60 feet
- Amphibious: You can breathe both air and water.
- Beast Whisperers: You can cast Speak with Animals 1/day.
- Subrace: Choose either the Warrior or Mystic subrace.
- Warrior: +1 Strength, Skirmish Tactics (when you hit a hostile with a weapon attack, you may Disengage as a bonus action until the end of your turn), and Laneshi Weapon Training (Proficiency in Spears, Tridents, Javelins, Light Armor, Animal Handling).
- Mystic: +1 Wisdom, Duality of Spirit (Resistance to Psychic damage, Advantage on Int, Wis and Cha saves vs. magic, first time this trait activates per day, pass a DC 12 Wis save or be Stunned until the end of your next turn), and Laneshi Magic (you know 1 Necromancy Cantrip, and gain a second Necromancy Cantrip at 5th level, both keying off of Wisdom).
Ogresh are a strange race of possibly giant-kin; whilst they appear as tall humans, they are characterized more by their massive girth than their height - they average 6 to 7 feet and average between 200 to 800 pounds, depending on if they are in their youthful "nomadic" state or their older "sedentary" state. Despite their bulk, they are creatures of great social skill and wisdom rather than brute strength, which they use to insinuate themselves into the societies of other races in pursuit of food, typically becoming master merchants, diplomats, advisors, entertainers, and other sagely figures.
- +2 Charisma, +1 Constitution, +1 Wisdom
- Medium + Powerful Build
- Base speed 30 feet
- Takes One To Know One: Advantage on saves vs. Charmed.
- Gift of Gab: Free Proficiency in two of these skills: Persuasion, Insight, Deception, Performance.
- A Friendly Ear: Once per short rest, you can attempt to charm a non-hostile creature you are conversing with, which requires at least a minute's conversation. If the creature fails a Wisdom save (DC 8 + your Cha modifier + your Proficiency bonus), they are Charmed by you for 1 hour and you learn one piece of information related to the topic of your conversation. Regardless of if the charm fails or succeeds, your target never realizes you have charmed them.
The Downcast are all that remains of angels who found themselves depowered and cast down upon Etharis after the end of the God-War. Their numbers dwindle, as fallen angels and their lingering divine essence are of great interest in a world where divine magic is failing - even without active predation, many of the Downcast have turned bitter, or simply withered from despair and disease.
- +2 Wisdom
- Base speed 30 feet
- Divine Learning: You have Proficiency in Religion and know the Thaumaturgy cantrip.
- Divine Sangromancy: When an allied creature within 30 feet of you regains hit points, you may spend a hit die and add the result to the amount of hit points gained.
- Lingering Divinity: You have Resistance to Necrotic damage.
- Subrace: Choose the Aurelian (+1 Charisma, cast Cure Wounds (level 1) 1/day), Ulmyrite (+1 Intelligence, cast Detect Magic 1/day), Maliganti (+1 Strength, cast Branding Smite (level 1) 1/day) or Galtian (+1 Constitution, cast Shield of Faith 1/day).
Dreamers are a bizarre race unearthed by the Stehlnewald dwarves as they dug into the depths of their mountains during their beseigement by humanity during the "Era of Expansion". They are all that remains of a race that predates elves, dwarves and humans alike, who placed themselves into magical stasis in order to escape some great calamity that wiped out the rest of their civilization. The plan worked, but as a side effect, their memories of who they were as a people before their magical slumber have been stripped away.
- +2 Intelligence, +1 Constitution
- Base speed 30 feet
- Darkvision 60 feet
- Dreamwalking: After finishing a long rest in which you slept, choose one skill or tool proficiency; gain a bonus equal to your Proficiency bonus to any rolls with that skill or tool until your next long rest. Additionally, whilst sleeping, you can touch the dreams of others within 1 mile.
- Even in Sleep: Your non-sight Perception rolls suffer no penalties when you are asleep.
- Power Nap: You can choose to sleep for 1 hour as part of a short rest; doing so removes 1 level of Exhaustion and restores 1 hit die, in addition to the standard short rest bonuses.
The Disembodied are the tormented remnants of the lost city of Ulmyr's Gate, a wizardly academy-town that attempted to create a permanent portal to the Ethereal Plane, only for it to go disastrously wrong and swallow the entire city instead. As their name suggests, the Disembodied are now trapped permanently halfway beween the material and ethereal.
- +2 Intelligence, +1 Dexterity
- Medium or Small (your choice)
- Speed: 30 feet
- Fade Away: 1/day, you can spend an action on your turn to slip into the Ethereal Plane, which lasts for 1 minute or until you use a bonus action to return. Whilst you remain in the Ethereal, you cannot affect the Material Plane or be affected by it, but you can still see and hear into the Material, and move around. When the effect ends, you reappear in the closest unoccupied space you disappeared from.
- Planar Outcast: You can cast Feather Fall (self only) 1/day. At 3rd level, you can cast Blur 1/day. At 5h level, you can cast Blink 1/day. Intelligence is your spellcasting ability for these spells.
- Arcane Origins: You have Proficiency in Arcana.
The Arch Seraphs consist of:
- Miklas: Arch Seraph of Mercy, who wants to do the job of her former boss, the Goddess of Protection Aurelia, but just doesn't have the power.
- Empyreus: Arch Seraph of Valor, who seeks to take the place of the fallen war-god Maligant and champion good-aligned warriors to return Etharis to its Golden Age.
- Zabriel: Arch Seraph of Truth, who has abandoned the neutrality of her patron Typharia, God of Knowledge, to instead seek to weaponize knowledge and truth.
- Morael: Arch Seraph of Sacrifice, is a former aspect of the Vetara, Goddess of Love, and acts as the patron of heroes, martyrs and diplomats.
- Solyma: Arch Seraph of Justice and silent heir to the throne of the forgotten God of Justice, whose followers are straying from her ways due to her self-imposed vow of silence.
- Aphaeleon: Arch Seraph of Temperance, who has abandoned the way of the God of Joy, Myria, to instead champion those who seek freedom from worldly desires.
The malevolent Arch Daemons, on the other hand, consist of:
- Venin: Arch Daemon of Deceit
- Tormach: Arch Daemon of Wrath, Empyreus' bitter rival, who delights in killing and bloody violence.
- Gorodyn: Arch Daemon of Avarice, who has stolen the throne of the God of Commerce, Jezra, to spread his doctrine of naked greed and consumption.
- Sitri: Arch Daemon of Hedonism, who is basically Slaanesh.
- Beleth: Arch Daemon of Fear, who revels in his ability to torment mortals.
- Malikir: Arch Daemon of Pride
Other entities of cosmic significance in Etharis are the Primordials, which are basically Etharis' Archomentals, and the Aether Kindred, which are Elder Evils-like god-tier aberrations who slew the original gods of Etharis.
The Campaign Guide for Grim Hollow added no new subclasses. That was left for the Player's Guide, which debuted in September 21, featuring the following new subclasses:
- Path of the Primal Spirit: Want an animal companion, but think the 5e Ranger sucks? Well, congrats; this is the class for you! The Primal Spirit Path allows you to forge such a deep bond with a totemic animal spirit that it will physically manifest to adventure alongside you. Naturally, its features all revolve around your Primal Companion (3rd), which is abstracted to the choice of if it's a Primal Guardian (tanky) or Primal Striker (offense-focused), and if it's a Land, Sea or Air creature. Shared Rage (3rd) gives your Primal Companion a buff when you Rage, which combined with the solid but simple rules for controlling it is very nice. Kin to Beasts (6th) lets you cast Animal Friendship and Speak with Animals 1/short rest, both keying off of Constitution. Skinrider's Trance (10th) lets you possess your primal companion or a creature you've cast Animal Friendship on 1/day. Finally, Shape of the Wild (14th) les you use a bonus action to transform your Primal Companion into a different kind of Primal Companion 1/short rest.
- Path of the Fractured: Inspired by Jekyll and Hyde, with maybe a dash of the Hulk, the Fractured takes a more esoteric approach to rage, attaining the characteristic berserker furies by learning to divide their mind into two split personas; the Id and the Ego. This divide gives them a number of unique mental powers. Starting at 3rd level, they gain Face of Rage, which causes them to turn into an unrecognizable monstrous version of themselves with suped-up unarmed strikes when raging, and Mask of Civility, which gives them a bonus Int or Wis-based skill as well as either a free Artisan's Tool Kit tool proficiency or bonus language. Brains and Brawn (6th) gives the Fractured resistance to Psychic when not raging, and resistance to everything but Psychic when raging. Cunning and Brutal gives the Fractured increased interaction options when not raging, and boosted crits with unarmed strikes when raging. Finally, Better Half (14th) lets the Fractured cheat death (and fly into a rage, if it happened when they weren't raging) 1/day.
- College of Adventurers: Taking the Skill Monkey archetype to the extreme, bards of the College of Adventurers study the tales of heroes and adventurers to the point they essentially become capable of multiclassing without actually multiclassing. Their key feature is the Adventurer's Talent (3rd), which basically lets them select any other class apart from the Artificer and gain one of their tricks in a limited format - a Barbarian's Rage, a Warlock Invocation, 2 Sorcery Points and one of the simpler Metamagics, etc. They start with 1 Talent, and pick up another one at levels 6 and 14. Their other features are Party Planner (3rd, creatures under Bardic Inspiration can Help as a bonus action), Well Rounded (6th; gain a bonus skill, tool and language), and finally Improvisational Talent (14th, you can swap out one of your Adventurer's Talents whenever you complete a Long Rest).
- College of Requiems: ...It's the Necromancer-Bard. Were you really expecting anything else? At 3rd level, they gain Chilling Melody (two Necromancy cantrips of their choice as bonus cantrips) and Pluck the Heartstrings (allies under Bardic Inspiration can expend it to either deal bonus Necrotic damage with a weapon or avoid being dropped to 0 HP). 6th level grants Stir the Bones (gain Animated Dead as a bonus spell, can use Bardic Inspiration on their undead minions). Finally, 14th level gives them Dance of the Dead (can make a single-target Necromancy spell hit 2 targets 1/short rest).
- Eldritch Domain: This is the obligatory Cthulhu Mythos type "mad gods and dire cosmic forces" Cleric you'd expect in a Dark Fantasy. Most of its features revolve around an "Eldritch Effects" table of temporary insanities the cleric can inflict upon its enemies. At 1st level, it gains Unpredictable Inspiration (gain a bonus cantrip and skill of the player's choice each time they complete a long rest) and Eldritch Contagion (spend a bonus action when casting a level 1+ spell to force 1 target to Wisdom save or roll on Eldritch Effects). 2nd level lets them use Channel Divinity to invoke a Prophecy of Doom (all creatures in target area must Wisdom save or suffer an Eldritch Effect). 6th level gives them Otherworldly Calm (Resistance to Psychic damage, people who try to read the cleric's mind risk Psychic damage). 8th level gives them Potent Spellcasting, and 17th level grants them the ability to Sing the Song that Ends the World (creatures take 10d10 Psychic damage if they succumb to Prophecy of Doom; survivors can't be affected by this again for 10 minutes).
- Inquisition Domain: You want to be a Witch Hunter? Well, this is a step in the right direction. You're basically pissed that arcanists get to enjoy so much power on their own whilst divine magic is dying. These clerics gain bonus proficiencies in martial weapons and heavy armor, and a 1st level feature in Witch Hunter's Strike (add Force damage, which is more potent against targets that are casting a spell and can heal the cleric). 2nd level provides the Channel Divinity in Spell Shield (1 target gains Temporary HP and Resistance to magic). 6th level's Rebuke Invoker lets the cleric try to disrupt spellcasting attempts (causing Force damage in the bargain), 8th level gives them Divine Strike (Force), and 17th level grants them Supernal Safeguard, letting them target Wisdom mod (min 2) targets with Spell Shield.
- Circle of Blood: It's all about that Blood Magic, baby! Strength through sacrifice, that's the motto here. Aside from the bonus Sangromancy spells, these druids gain the features Blood Boon (2nd, gain temporary HP when a creature dies within 60 feet), Rite of the Blood Moon (6th, expend a use of Wild Shape to drive yourself or a nearby ally into a pseudo-Barbarian Rage), Blood Lust (10th, creatures under Rite of the Blood Moon can sacrifice hit dices for bonus damage), and Create Blood Elemental (14th, 1/day summon a water elemental as a reaction when a creature dies within 60 feet).
- Circle of Mutation: These druids study fleshcrafting, seeking to enhance nature and accelerate its development towards perfection. Their features are Mutate Shape (2nd, when Wild Shaping, spend spell slots to add beneficial mutations to your animal form), Circle Forms (2nd, you can turn into more powerful forms than other druids), Unnatural and Unnerving (6th, free Intimidation proficiency, or else in Athletics, Acrobatics, Perception, Stealth or Survival, Advantage on Intimidation checks made in mutated beast shape), Endless Evolution (10th, gain free mutations when Wild Shaping, can touch a beast and spend spell slots to mutate it), and Apex Predator Aura (14th, animals must Wisdom save or be too scared to approach you).
- The Bulwark Warrior Martial Archetype: Masters of the defensive fighting style, Bulwarks specialize in taking as many hits as they need in order to deliver the last blow. At 3rd level, they can issue a Protective Taunt to aggro enemies and can also use Weather the Storm to grant themselves temp HP 1/short rest. 7th level's Living Shield lets them penalize enemy attacks against their allies. 10th levels Aggressive Defense lets them spend temp HP and turn it into bonus melee damage. 15th level's Improved Second Wind causes Second Wind to grant temporary HP equal to the full health it restores. Finally, 18th level's Halt the Assault lets them burn their own temporary HP to reduce damage done to allies within 5 feet.
- The Crucible Martial Archetype: Warrior-alchemists who use experimental drugs, tinctures and concoctions to boost themselves to superhuman limits. Their core feature is Compound Creator (3rd); this lets them select 3 Compounds, which are basically 3e-style Potions of (Insert Buff Here) - Elfsight Oil for Darkvision, Advantage on (Insert Ability Scores here), temporary regeneration, etc. It takes ten minutes of work with some alchemical supplies to make a Compound, and it lasts for a day before going inert. The Crucible learns 2 more Compounds at levels 7, 10 and 15. However, they can only drink (1+Con modifier, min 1) Compounds at a time; drinking excessive Compounds imposes a level of Exhaustion per extra compound; it takes a long rest to flush the inert Compounds from their system. Only the Crucible can drink a Compound; anybod else dumb enough to try has to make a Con save or be Poisoned. 3rd level also gives them Student of Alchemy (Proficiency in Alchemist's Supplies, doubles proficiency bonus for any ability check made with them). 7th level unlocks Quick Creation (can make and consume a Compound as a bonus action). At 10th level, Living Cauldron lets the Crucible consume (3+Con mod) Compounds, which increases to (5+Con mod) at level 18. At 15th level, Toxin Transmutation lets the Crucible spend a bonus action to simultaneously end a Poisoned effect and gain temp HP. Finally, 18th level sees them become a Living Catalyst, letting them swap out one of their known Compounds wen they finish a long rest.
- The Way of the Leaden Crown: Believing that humanoids need to be rid of the tyranny of supernatural beings, the Leaden Crown seek to hone their bodies and minds to unlock the powerful psionic abilities needed to do battle with otherworldly influencers like seraphs, daemons and primordials. At 3rd level, Subtle Hand lets them make telekinetic strikes, which are Monk Unarmed Strikes with 10ft reach that do Force damage, whilst Psionic Prowess lets them cast an invisible Mage Hand at will and use ki to cast detect evil/good (1 ki), protection from evil/good (1 ki), hold person (2 ki), levitate (2 ki), and shatter (2 ki). 6th level's Unsubtle Strike lets them push a foe 10 feet with an unarmed strike or monk weapon 1/turn. At 11th level, they gain the Psychic Crush feature, which lets them build up "psychic pressure points" on creatures that they hit with monk unarmed strikes; as a bonus action, they can burn a ki point to trigger these points, dealing Force damage and potentially restraining them. Finally, 17th level's Psionic Mastery lets them burn ki to cast dispel evil/good, hold monster, telekinesis and wall of force, all for 5 ki each.
- The Way of Self: Ever heard of the trope "Arrogant Kung Fu Guy"? That's these guys in a nutshell. At 3rd level, they gain Tall Tales (Proficiency in either Deception, Intimidation, Performance or Persuasion), Bruised Ego (gain temp HP whenever ki points are spent) and Assertive Attacker (Martial Arts die value goes up 1 step if the monk is at or below 50% maximum HP). 6th level gives them both Irrational Retaliation (spend 2 ki as a reaction to being damaged to gain advantage on attacks against the assailant) and Redoubled Efforts (when at or below 50% maximum HP, do +1 die of damage with Martial Arts attacks on a crit). Level 11 gives them the Ever Prideful state, which is the oh-so-anime ability to fight on out of pure stubbornness after being dropped 0 HP. Finally, at 17th level, Egotistical causes Bruised Ego and Redoubled Efforts to apply at over 50% max HP so long as the monk was damaged by an attacker within the past minute.
- The Oath of Pestilence: It's the Nurgle subclass. No, seriously; Paladins of the Oath of Pestilence embrace disease and decay as natural, even benevolent, parts of the natural circle of life, and freely share rot and plague to winnow the weak from the strong. These Paladins get a bunch of disease-flavored spells, like stinking cloud, ray of enfeeblement and contagion. Their 3rd level Channel Divinity Options are Debilitating Fever (infect a non-undead, non-construct foe in melee with a natural disease) and Entropic Infection (remove necrotic resistance and curse the target to take +2d6 damage from necrotic effects). 7th level gives them an Aura of Rampant Sickness, a 10ft aura (30ft from 18th level) that lets the paladin impose Disadvantage on an ability check, attack roll or saving throw 1/turn. 15th level's Disgusting Resilience lets the paladin spend hit dice to try and nullify an attack that would drop them to 0 HP - and if they are killed, then the paladin explodes in a shower of pus and gore for 8D6 Necrotic damage. Finally, 20th level's Plaguebringer grants the paladin immunity to poison and "reduce HP maximum value" effects, resistance to necrotic damage, and causes all enemies who get within 5 feet to take automatic necrotic damage.
- Tenets of Pestilence:
- Strength in Resilience. Surviving hardship and plague make you stronger. Spreading these things causes strength to flourish.
- All Things Must Pass. Death is the natural conclusion of life. There is nothing unnatural or amoral about the ending of life.
- Might Makes Right. The laws of mortals mean nothing to poxes and plagues, they go where they wish and take what they want. So should you.
- The Oath of Zeal: Embracing the power of hate, Zealots are fanatics whose mad determination to destroy their enemies turns them into living weapons. Bonus spells for these paladins are a mixture of divination and "scourge of god" spells like Fear and Insect Plague. Their 3rd level Channel Divinity options are Mark of the Heretic (designate a target for increased crit range and a free reaction-fueled attack at the start of its turns) and Inquisitor's Eye (Advantage on Investigation, Insight and Perception, plus immunity to surprise, for 10 minutes). 7th level's Aura of Clarity gives you a 10ft aura (30ft from 18th) in whcih you and allies cannot be blinded and invisibility fails if you want it to. At 15th level, they can Compel Confession, casting a Zone of Truth without burning a spell slot that also deals out psychic damage to any creature that succeeded on their save. Finally, 20th level's Apocalyptic Revelation lets the paladin gain a number of powerful buffs for 1 minute 1/day (Truesight 120ft, 5ft blinding aura, grant advantage to all attacks against a creature for 1 turn as a bonus action).
- Tenets of Zeal:
- Uncover Corruption. Darkness cannot abide the light of day. Wickedness must be revealed before it can be destroyed.
- Purge the Heretics. Heresy is a tumor that spread through the hearts of the innocent. Cut it out at the source.
- No Mercy. The righteous path requires unwavering conviction and unflinching resolve.
- By Any Means Necessary. There is no sacrifice too great when it comes to defeating the wicked.
- The Green Reaper: Assassins who specialize in the use of poisons. 3rd level gives them Envenomed Attack (add bonus poison damage to a weapon or 20 bits of ammo as a bonus damage, usable Proficiency bonus times per day; 11th level doubles the damage and makes it usable per short rest) and Toxic Tradecraft (Proficiency and Expertise with Poisoner's Kit, gain a free poisoner's kit you can replace with 8 hours, can burn spell slots to add extra effects to targets of Envenomed Attack; the more potent the spell slot, the nastier the effect options). 7th level's Poison Control grants Poison Resistance, Advantage on saves vs. Poisoned, and the ability to cast Protection From Poison for free Wisdom modifier times per day. 11th level's Variegated Vexations lets the ranger do Acid or Necrotic bonus damage with Envenomed Attacks instead of Poison damage. Finally, 15th level's Pain Tolerance lets the ranger spend a reaction to an attack to gain temp HP equal to the damage dealt.
- The Vermin Lord: Allies of the skittering legions of the natural world, who learn to take power from the creatures that are so small, but oh so very, very many. 3rd level's Verminkin grants the ability to speak with vermin and to summon vermin swarms by spending spell slots (2 swarms per slot level), whilst Septic Strikes lets them inflict Necrotic damage as a bonus action on any target of their own weapon attacks or their swarm's attacks. 7th level's Filth and Fortitude grants immunity to disease and proficiency in Constition saves. 11th level's Infectious Spread can be used Wisdom mod times per day to boost Septic Strikes to also poison the targets. Finally, 15th level's Strength of the Swarm lets the ranger transfer damage to adjacent swarms.
- The Highway Rider Martial Archetype: Mounted combat specialist with a side-order in being surprisingly tanky. For a rogue. 3rd level gives them Hair Trigger (on rolling for initiative, spend a reaction to either attack with advantage, move full speed (whether on foot or mounted) without opportunity attacks, Dodge, or interact with an item), Trusty Mount (cast Find Steed (summons a Beast, not an outsider) 1/day) and Ride Them Down (can Sneak Attack after moving 20+ feet whilst mounted). 9th level's Horse Lord lets the Highway Rider spend a minute caring to their steed to give it double their level in temp HP, and also lets them Dash, Disengage or Dodge as a bonus action whilst mounted. 13th level's True Grit gives proficiency in Constitution saves and "Con save for half damage" effects are now "half damage on fail, no damage on save". Finally, 17th level's Desperado lets them use a Hair Trigger option as a Reaction to falling to 0 HP.
- The Misfortune Bringer Martial Archetype: Thieves of luck who have the ability to deliver all manner of terrible curses to those they choose to target. 3rd level gives them Evil Eye, which is used to mark a target for their Misfortunist feature. They gain two "Misfortunes" (lesser curses powered by Jinx Points) and 3 Jinx points; they gain +1 Misfortune at 9th, 13th and 17th level (and can swap one out whenever they complete a long rest), and +2 jinx points at 13th level. 9th level's Steal Luck lets the rogue remove a creature's Advantage on an ability check, attack or save 1/short rest to regain an expend Jinx Point - from 17th, this can be done 3/short rest. Finally, 13th level's Curse Caster lets the rogue cast Bestow Curse for 3 Jinx Points.
- The Haunted: Sorcerers who survived a brush with death and now have a ghostly companion guiding them through the spirit world. At 1st level, the Haunted gains the traits Haunted Spells (learn Unseen Servant, See Invisibility, Speak with Dead, Death Ward and Little Death as extra spells, they can be cast by substituting sorcery points for spell slots), Phantom Companion (gain a Familiar in the form of an Undead Specter, which can turn invisible and, from 3rd level, use Life Drain as one of your attacks), and Sixth Sense (add Charisma mod to Dex checks to determine initiative). 6th level's Strength of Spirit powers up the Phantom Companion so it can now channel spells like a familiar, whilst Deathly Pallor gives the Haunted Resistance to Necrotic and the ability to swap sorcerer spell damage types to Necrotic. 14th level's Phantom Possession lets the Haunted control creatures by having their Phantom Companion possess them. Finally, 18th level's Become Death lets the Haunted turn into a spectre themselves 1/day.
- The Wretched Bloodline: Inheriting an ancestral curse, this sorcerer has learned to take it apart and make it into a source of power.
- The First Vampire Patron: Needless to say, this gives you vampire-lite abilities
- The Cosmic Parasite Patron: Agreeing to host the nascent offspring of an entity that feeds on the vitality of whole peoples and planets, these warlocks are surprisingly physically adept due to the monster lurking beneath their skin.
- Plague Doctor: Practicing a blend of magic, alchemy and herbalism, plague doctors learn how to heal the sick... and to blight the healthy, should they desire.
- The School of Sangromancy: This is the Blood Magic tradition. Who're you trying to kid?
In addition, two Artificer subclasses were unlocked as part of the stretchgoals for the Kickstarter... unfortunately, because the Artificer was not in the SRD, Ghostfire Gaming is not legally allowed to put them in the GHPG; instead, they had to be released as "Pay What You Want" on the DM's Guild website.
- Machine Cultist: An eldritch machine from far future whispers to the minds of suitable individuals paving way to its inevitable creation. (It's based on actual thought experiment know as Roko's basilisk.) Class is fusion of Artificer and Warlock with the ability to turn vehicles into Infernal Engines. So basically mad cart mechanic from taking instructions from unborn A.I.
- Reanimator: To those that think that Victor Frankenstein had the right idea but just did not go far enough a.k.a. Make your own Flesh Golem.
One of Grim Hollow's unique mechanics is that it takes the Backgrounds from basic 5th edition and simultaneously applies level-based features that represent increased status/proficiency in that particular field, as well as specializations to more specifically refine the basic concept. For example, instead of a generic Academic, you could be an Archivist, who keeps a personal library, or a Archaeologist.
Grim Hollow's most iconic element, the Transformations mechanic is a kind of 4 level Prestige Class that allows a player to slowly become some kind of specific monster, gaining unique powers and flaws at each of the four levels. Transformations in the Campaign Guide consist of the Aberrant Horror, the Fiend, the Lich, the Lycanthrope, the Seraph and the Vampire. Yes, becoming an angel is treated as being as horrifying and dehumanizing as becoming a fiend.
The Player's Guide added the Primordial, the Fey and the Spectre.
Here's how it works: each Transformation requires certain mechanical and story requirements to acquire, with at the very least each Transformation needing a certain value of Ability Scores. To progress in level, the player needs to undertake an in-game story-based progression milestone - it typically recommends keeping each Transformation Level to a certain range of class levels, so it doesn't become too weak or too powerful compared to non-Transforming characters.
When they get their first level in a Transformation, they gain two special Transformation Boons and a mandatory Transformation Flaw. On levels 2-4, they gain their choice of 1 of several Transformation Boons, which could be taken from an earlier Transformation level, and a mandatory Transformation Flaw.
Examples of Universal Transformation Milestones are:
- Undertaking an exceptional act of evil or good.
- Completing an ancient ritual.
- Performing a powerful artifact.
- Being cursed by a dark agent.
- Being exalted by a patron or god.
Can you undo a Transformation? Yes, if the DM agrees; it basically works like curing a curse, but requires a Regenerate spell rather than Remove Curse. However, a character who has reached the 4th level, or being Transformed for over a year, can only be cured with a Wish. It's up to the DM to decide if killing and resurrecting a character frees them from their transformation or not.
If a Transformation ability allows a save, the DC is always 8 + the character's Proficiency bonus + an ability score modifier, the precise modifier being determined by the precise Transformation.
Aberrant Horrors are humanoids who have begun transforming into an aberration, granting them grotesquely fluid anatomies and the ability to reshape their bodies in the most nightmarish, sanity-breaking ways.
Becoming an Aberrant Horror requires 13 Constitution and some kind of encounter with an aberration, magical anomaly, or other phenomena to trigger the complete reshaping of your body. The following are possible level milestones for the Aberrant Horror:
- Defeating a powerful Aberration and absorbing its power.
- Undergoing a dangerous and costly experiment.
- Surviving a magical mishap.
- Acquiring the strength to give birth to a more powerful version of yourself, which then consumes your old self.
- Fulfilling an eldritch prophecy written in the stars.
An Aberrant Horror's save DC keys off of Constitution.
At 1st level, you gain the Boons Aberrant Adaptions (use bonus actions to activate biological heavy armor and weapons) and Aberrant Form (+2 Con, +1 Str, Type changes to Aberration), and you receive the Flaw Unstable Mutations. Each time you complete a Long Rest, you have to roll on a d100 to see how your fluctuating anatomy screws you over for a time.
At 2nd level, you can take the Boons Efficient Killer (powers up your bio-weapons from Aberrant Adaptions), Other-Worldly Tendrils (spend a bonus action to activate several different tentacle attack options) or Situational Evolution (spend a bonus action to gain a climb speed, swim speed + amphibious, or regeneration), and you receive the Flaw Hideous Appearance. Acquiring this flaw means that you become a shapeshifter, with a hideously warped base form and the ability to resume your original form. You revert to your true form if you Concentrate on a spell, are knocked unconscious, enter hallowed ground, or consciously choose to do so. At the DM's discretion, events of extreme emotional or physical stress may require a Constitution save to avoid reverting. Non-evil creatures that see your true form will instantly become hostile to you, unless the DM decides otherwise.
At 3rd level, you can take the Boons Wings (bonus action gives you wings for 10 minutes), Additional Tendrils (requires Other-Worldly Tendrils, you can use 2 tentacles simultaneously, upgrades to 3 at 4th stage) or Enhanced Hypertrophy (Unarmed Strikes do d8 damage, offensive adaptations increase their damage by +1 die type), and you receive the Flaw Unstable Existence. Your Hideous Appearance is revealed whenever you roll a natural 1-3 on a save against a spell or magical ability.
At 4th level, you can take the Boons Savage Predator (on a nat-20, do +6d6 damage and force enemies to save vs. fear), Master of the Deep (requires Additional Tendrils, 1/short rest you can make a debuffing attack against all enemies within 15 feet) or Extremophiliac Conditioning (spend a bonus action to gain Resistance to either all Physical damage, Fire+Lightning+Acid damage, or Cold+Thunder+Poison damage), and you receive the Flaw Entropic Abomination. When you fail a save vs. spell or magical ability, roll on the Unstable Mutations table and switch to the new result if it's lower than your current result.
Becoming a Fiend requires Charisma 13 and somehow damning one's soul for power, such as by pacting with a Fiend or by undergoing an infernal ritual. The following are possible level milestones for the Fiend:
- Defeating a greater rival Fiend and taking their place in the hierarchy.
- Ensnaring a particularly powerful or influential soul with a contract.
- Establishing a cult of worshipers who offer their strength to you.
- Establishing a portal between the material plane and the Netherworld.
- Killing or corrupting a Seraph.
A Fiend's Transformation Save DC keys off of Charisma.
At 1st level, you gain the Boons Gifts of Damnation (you can sign soul contracts with mortals to gain special powers) and Fiendish Form (+2 Charisma, +1 Intelligence, Type changes to Fiend), and you receive the Flaw Planar Binding. This flaw causes you to suffer Disadvantage on death saving throws, and if you die, you cannot be raised.
At 2nd level, you can take the Boons Brand of the Chainer's Gaze (inflict a curse that penalizes saves), Brand of the Tyrant's Hellfire (inflict a curse that adds bonus Fire damage to your attacks) or Brand of the Deceiver's Guile (inflict a curse that penalizes attack rolls), and you receive the Flaw Hideous Appearance. Acquiring this flaw means that you become a shapeshifter, with a hideously warped base form and the ability to resume your original form. You revert to your true form if you Concentrate on a spell, are knocked unconscious, enter hallowed ground, or consciously choose to do so. At the DM's discretion, events of extreme emotional or physical stress may require a Constitution save to avoid reverting. Non-evil creatures that see your true form will instantly become hostile to you, unless the DM decides otherwise. All of the Boons at this level can be used Charisma modifier times per day, and the curses they create last for 1 minute, or until the target is knocked unconscious, enters hallowed ground, or is targeted by Remove Curse.
At 3rd level, you can take the Boons Alluring Deceit (free Proficiency/Expertise in Deception and Persuasion, immunity to magic that detects lies and compels truthful speech), Infernal Resistance (burn a reaction to halve damage from non-silvered weapon attacks) or Nether Blade (spend a bonus action to summon an infernal burning blade to fight with), and you receive the Flaw True Name. This flaw causes you to manifest a talisman inscribed with your true name, which other creatures can use to control you.
At 4th level, you can take the Boons Commanding Obedience (your spells can force your opponents to fall prone), Brimstone Pyrolysis (your fire attacks can turn slain enemies into miniature bombs) or Infernal Summoning (you can summon a squad of up to 4 imps 1/day), and you receive the Flaw Pull of the Netherworld. This causes you to take 1d6 Force damage per two character levels whenever you roll a natural 1 on a save against a magical spell or ability.
Self explanatory, the Lich transformation allows powerful spellcasters to assume a form that will allow them to continue to study magic for all eternity.
As such, this is the hardest Transformation to qualify for: Intelligence 16, ability to cast 7th level spells, and you must track down and successfully perform the Ritual of Dread. The following are possible level milestones for the Lich:
- Discover ancient and dark arcane knowledge.
- Consume the soul of an exceptionally powerful spellcaster.
- Build a monument to your power to serve as a giant arcane focus.
- Create an army of undead.
- Kill a god.
At 1st level, you gain the Boons Harvester of Souls (creatures you kill become phylactery charges you can burn to recover spell slots) and Undead Form (+4 Int, +2 Wis, type changes to Undead, lowered benefit from external healing effects, immunity to aging, air, food, drink and sleep), and you receive the Flaw Phylactery. This causes you to create a talisman to bind your soul into; if it gets destroyed, you die, instantly. If you die, you will revive 1 week later so long as there is a soul charge in your phylacterty - otherwise, at the end of the week, you become a Demilich NPC.
At 2nd level, you can take the Boons Puppet Master (undead mooks you create are permanent and cannot be stolen from you), Lichdom of the Arcane (killing a creature with a spell that does fire, necrotic, or poison damage triggers a bonus effect) or Rift to the Dreadscapes (As an action, create a zone of super-killy necrotic energy), and you receive the Flaw Hideous Appearance. Acquiring this flaw means that you become a shapeshifter, with a hideously warped base form and the ability to resume your original form. You revert to your true form if you Concentrate on a spell, are knocked unconscious, enter hallowed ground, or consciously choose to do so. At the DM's discretion, events of extreme emotional or physical stress may require a Constitution save to avoid reverting. Non-evil creatures that see your true form will instantly become hostile to you, unless the DM decides otherwise.
At 3rd level, you can take the Boons Relentless Undead (undead you control can make a full move + attack before dying), Arcane Supremacy (you can suffer Exhaustion to Concentrate on two spells simultaneously) or Staff of the Dreadscapes (as an action, summon an enchanted quarterstaff), and you receive the Flaw Necromantic Dystrophy. If you go more than 24 hours without converting 4 CR worth of souls into spell slots, you suffer severe penalties.
At 4th level, you can take the Boons Lord of Undeath (humanoids you kill auto-rise as zombies under your command), Arcane Omniscience (you know all Wizard spells and can cast Int modifier bonus Wizard spells per day) or Deathly Being (gain lich immunities and resistances), and you receive the Flaw Weight of Ages. This is the more severe form of Necromantic Dystrophy, forcing you to burn up 8 CR worth of souls per day.
Obviously, becoming a Lycanthrope turns you into a werebeast. Whilst the easiest way is to be bitten by a werebeast and survive, there's also a druidic ritual called the Lunar Sacrament that can curse a victim with this transformation, which is obviously viewed in a holy perspective by druids.
Mechanically, taking this Transformation requires 13 Strength, and its Save DC keys off of Strength. The following are possible level milestones for the Lycanthrope:
- Establishing a pack of lycanthropes.
- Killing an alpha lycanthrope.
- Gaining control of your animalistic urges.
- Unleashing the beast within and losing your humanity.
At 1st level, you gain the Boons Hybrid Transformation (you can change into a half-humanoid, half-beast shape) and Shapechanger's Form (+2 Strength, +1 Constitution, gain the Shapechanger type), and you receive the Flaw Lust for the Hunt. This flaw forces you to make a DC 10 Wisdom save at the start of each turn, or move towards the nearest NPC, prioritizing the helpless, so you can try to kill it; when exposed to a full moon's light, you automatically fail this save. The first time you see a full moon, you need to pass a DC 20 Wisdom save or be forcibly transformed into hybrid shape until dawn.
At 2nd level, you can take the Boons Iron Pelt (gain resistance to physical damage from non-silver and non-magical sources in hybrid form), Hunter's Howl (you can use a howl to mark a creature as prey, gaining bonuses to tracking and killing it) or Kindred Form (you can now assume animal form as well as hybrid form), and you receive the Flaw Silver Sensitivity. This makes you Vulnerable to damage done by silvered weapons when you're in hybrid or kindred form, and you cannot apply any Resistance to an attack made by a silvered weapon.
At 3rd level, you can take the Boons Titanic Vigor (+2 max HP per level, gain 5 temp HP each turn in hybrid form), Predatory Leap (double jumping distance, can make pounce attacks in hybrid form) or Bestial Savagery (hybrid form gains: attacks are damage-buffed and count as magic, +1 AC, immunity to charm & fear), and you receive the Flaw Fraying Memories. This flaw gives you Disadvantage on Intelligence ability and skill checks based on recalling information or knowledge.
At 4th level, you can take the Boons Savage Instincts (hybrid form attacks are suped up vs. hurt targets), Kindred Affinity (requires Kindred Form, lets you speak and cast spells in kindred form) or Unstoppable Rage (you can keep fighting at 0 HP), and you receive the Flaw Predatory Nature. This flaw makes it harder to resist your urge to kill the weak and helpless, as well as making it harder to return to your original form.
Seraphs are the Angels of Etharis, and consist of mortals uplifted for their devotion to a virtue or ideal; as such, they are commonly selected from noble martyrs, tireless crusaders, and other exemplary individuals.
Becoming a Seraph requires Wisdom 13 and either exaltation by an Arch-Seraph or exposure to powerful divine energies. The following are possible level milestones for the Seraph:
- Defeating a powerful force of darkness.
- Create a hallowed landmark for pilgrims.
- Establish a parish of worshipers who uphold your virtue.
- Establish a portal between the Material Plane and the Empyrium.
- Redeem a soul that was considered beyond redemption.
At 1st level, you gain the Boons Celestial Form (+2 Wisdom, +1 Constitution, type changes to Celestial) and Angelic Wings (you've a Fly speed equal to your Normal speed, but can't wear clothes or armor that aren't tailored to fit), and you receive the Flaw Planar Binding. This is identical to the Fiend flaw of the same name, but is based on your connection to a divine plane rather than an unholy one.
At 2nd level, you can take the Boons Divine Retribution (grant a Radiance-charged bonus attack to yourself or an ally), Divine Clemency (when you or an ally is hurt, you can cast a healing spell as a reaction) or Divine Expedition (burn a reaction to move yourself or a nearby ally), and you receive the Flaw Divine Appearance. This is the same as Hideous Appearance, but obviously revolves around you looking like an obvious angel, which has its problems in a world crawling with monsters and the wicked.
At 3rd level, you can take the Boons Radiant Strike (your melee attacks do bonus Radiant damage, especially against fiends, fey and undead), Cleanse Affliction (your healing spells also remove negative conditions) or Bow of Celestial Judgement (you can summon a magic bow that shoots holy lasers), and you receive the Flaw Beacon to Darkness. This flaw means that if you or allies within close proximity commit evil acts, you pick up "corruption points" that temporarily impede your ability to fight the naturally evil.
At 4th level, you can take the Boons Aura of Holy Purge (grant a free critical hit 1/day), Aura of Merciful Blessing (you or an ally can survive a killing attack with 1 HP 1/day) or Aura of Empyreal Valor (grant yourself or an ally increased speed and dexterity 1/day), all of which have a radius of 20 feet and are only active whilst you're conscious, and you receive the Flaw Pull of the Empyrean. This is just a name-tweaked version of the Fiend's "Pull of the Netherrealm".
Simple, obvious, self-explanatory. You were bitten by another vampire, you drank a vampire's blood, you handled the wrong (or right!) cursed magical artifact, or you performed a dark rite to willingly infect yourself with the Sanguine Curse.
This Transformation requires Dexterity 13, and its save DC keys off of Dexterity. The following are possible level milestones for the Vampire:
- Establish a coven of vampire spawn.
- Drink the blood of a legendary monster.
- Learn the great secrets of vampirism from a Vampire Lord.
- Learn to embrace your Hideous Form and lose the ability to conceal it.
- Discover the lost crypts of an ancient vampire and consume its essence.
At 1st level, you gain the Boons Blood Fury (doing damage to living creatures lets you rack up points you can use to power special attacks) and Undead Form (+2 Dex, +1 Cha, type changes to Undead, lowered benefit from external healing effects, immunity to aging, air, food, drink and sleep), and you receive the Flaw The Sanguine Curse. This gives you Darkvision 60 feet if you don't already have it, but prevents you from entering a residence unless invited, causes you to suffer Disadvantage on attack rolls and ability checks when in sunlight, and requires you to feed on blood at least once per 7 days.
At 2nd level, you can take the Boons Dread Knight Combat Training (you can enter a special stance to boost offense, defense or accuracy), Sanguine Magic (you can convert non-typed spell damage into necrotic damage, gain Fury Points with spell attacks, and gain some spellcasting-related options for Blood Fury) or Shapechanger (you can turn into a bat and a cloud of mist), and you receive the Flaw Hideous Appearance. Acquiring this flaw means that you become a shapeshifter, with a hideously warped base form and the ability to resume your original form. You revert to your true form if you Concentrate on a spell, are knocked unconscious, enter hallowed ground, or consciously choose to do so. At the DM's discretion, events of extreme emotional or physical stress may require a Constitution save to avoid reverting. Non-evil creatures that see your true form will instantly become hostile to you, unless the DM decides otherwise.
At 3rd level, you can take the Boons Cruel Riposte (you gain a bonus melee attack against assailants), Creatures of the Night (you can summon swarms of bats, rats and wolves to aid you) or Captivating Glance (free proficiency in Deception + Persuasion, immunity to having your thoughts read), and you receive the Flaw Greater Sanguine Curse. This increases your Darkvision to 120 feet, causes you to take 1d10 acid damage per turn from running water, makes you suffer 1d10 radiant damage per turn when exposed to sunlight, and requires you to feed every 3 days.
At 4th level, you can take the Boons Grim Executioner (requires Dread Knight Combat Training; a critical hit will insta-kill a foe with 50 or fewer HP), Beguiler's Entrancement (requires Captivating Glance, lets you Charm a creature 1/day) or Regenerate (lets you regenerate damage unless exposed to sunlight, radiant damage or running water), and you receive the Flaw Stake to the Heart. With this flaw, a natural 20 to hit you with a wooden or silvered weapon, if you have 50 or fewer HP left, causes you to be paralyzed for 1 hour or until the weapon is removed, whichever is greater.
This upcoming Transformation turns you into an elemental.
As its name suggests, this Transformation turns you into a fey.
An unlocked stretch goal for the Player's Guide, this Transformation turns you into a ghost.