The Cult

of the Ghost

November 24th, 2015

Joshua Zaback

Best in Class Archive

                It’s Cultist Week, and what better way to forge ahead than with a brand new cult. For those of you not familiar with the cultist, this base class is presented in its entirety here on our website. Like the sorcerer’s bloodline class feature or the oracle’s mystery class feature, the cultist’s choice of cult heavily defines his special abilities. In addition to providing potent abilities, the chosen cult also provides a flavorful context for the character.

                This week I am presenting you the Cult of the Ghost, a group of mysterious assassins and death philosophers. For a whole host of truly fantastic new cults be sure to check out Esoteric Orders: The Cultist which will be available next Monday, November 30th.


Cult of the Ghost

                The  Cult of the Ghost is a secret society of spiritualists and assassins devoted to the creation and stewardship of what they call the “great society.” This great society will, according to cult members, be a single culture of high art and free thinking which does not end with death, but continues into the afterlife, and which will take place wholly on the Material Plane. To accomplish their ends, members of the Cult of the Ghost commit assassinations coupled with secret rituals, meant to condemn the souls of the unworthy to the afterlife, and to preserve as spectral undead the souls of the worthy. In addition to carefully debated assassinations, the cult quietly meddles in social and political affairs to advance their cultural agenda and particular brand of spiritualism. The cult holds regular meetings at each new moon and each full moon, wherein members of local chapters gather in secret, usually at the estate of a wealthy member, to attend lavish parties attended by cultists and the ghostly forms of those spirits which have joined in the vision of the grand society. Following these affairs, which end 1 hour before dawn, the cult members meet in secret to perform necessary rituals and discuss their upcoming affairs. While the Cult of the Ghost lacks a single central leader, several high ranking members, both living and undead, form a sort of high governing body called the Spirit Parliament, which determines the overall direction of the cult, as well as seeking out and removing threats to their existence.

            The symbol of the Cult of the Ghost is a plume of black smoke shaped into an ankh on a white, or sometimes red, background. Their ceremonial garb is largely informal, though colors are expected to be dark grey or black and masks are required. Those who have received a familiar as a gift of the great society are required to wear their spirit oni as a mask during rituals.

                Alignment: Members of the Cult of the Ghost cannot be good and must be lawful.

                Restricted Spells: Members of the Cult of the Ghost cannot cast spells with the good or chaotic descriptors.

                Channeled Energy: Negative.

                Familiar: Spirit onib3.

                Sacrifice: Blood.

                Hexes: Members of the Cult of the Ghost can select from the following hexes.

Create Ghost (Su): The cultist learns how to allow the spirit of a worthy subject to return to the Material Plane as a ghost. Once per week, as a special ritual which requires 1 minute to perform, the cultist can cause a recently dead humanoid to rise as a ghost 1 hour after the ritual is completed. The subject’s body must be present for this ritual. The subject can have been dead for no more than 1 hour when this ritual is to be performed, and the subject is entitled to a Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 the cultist’s level + the cultist’s Charisma modifier) to resist the effect as though she were still alive.  If the subject succeeds on this Will save, she is immune to all future attempts to use this hex on her, by any cultist. If the ritual is successful, the subject rises as a ghost, though it is under no compulsion to obey the cultist (but may be coerced or controlled by other means). A ghost raised in this way may choose to depart to the afterlife at dawn on any day beginning after a new moon or a full moon; however, the cultist can prevent the ghost from departing on a particular day by performing a special 1-minute ritual during the night before.

Condemn Spirit (Su): The cultist learns how to force the spirit of an unworthy subject into the afterlife, as a full-round action. The effect of this ability depends on how it is used. If used to target an incorporeal undead, the subject must succeed on a Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 the cultist’s level + the cultist’s Charisma modifier) or suffer 1d6 points of damage per 2 cultist levels. If this damage is sufficient to destroy the undead, it is sped on to the afterlife and cannot return by means of the rejuvenation ability or similar effects, though the creature can be brought back as normal. This hex can also be used to counter any spell which returns a target to life; this works in the same way as casting a spell as a counterspell. 

Smoke Form (Su): Once per day, as a standard action, the cultist can assume a form of a black cloud of smoke for 1 round. This functions identically to the spell gaseous form, except that the cultist’s fly speed is 100 feet (perfect maneuverability). At 5th level, and every 5 levels thereafter, the cultist can use this ability an additional time each day.

Spirit Strike (Su): As a move action, the cultist can imbue the next melee attack he makes that round with the energy of dark spirits. If it hits, it deals an additional 1d6 points of damage and the target is staggered for 1 round unless she succeeds on a Fortitude save (DC 10 + 1/2 the cultist’s level + the cultist’s Charisma modifier). This extra damage is not multiplied in the case of a critical hit and does not function against creatures which do not have a soul, such as constructs and some undead. At 4th level, and every 4 levels thereafter, the damage dealt by this ability increases by 1d6.

Summon Spirit: As a full-round action, the cultist can attempt to summon a ghost he created with his create ghost hex, causing it to appear in a designated square within close range. The ghost may attempt a Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 the cultist’s level + the cultist’s Charisma modifier) to resist the summons. A ghost who resists the summons cannot be summoned in this way for 24 hours. A cultist must have the create ghosts hex before he can gain this hex.

                Lesser Ghost Form (Secret of the First Circle) (Su): At 1st level, the cultist becomes partially incorporeal, gaining the ability to easily interact with incorporeal creatures and even pass through some barriers. The cultist treats any weapon he wields or armor he wears as though it had the ghost touch special ability. Additionally, the cultist can pass through solid objects of less than 5 inches of thickness as though they were not there.

                Ghost Form (Secret of the Second Circle) (Su): Beginning at 9th level, the cultist can become like a ghost himself. As a free action, the cultist can become incorporeal, gaining the incorporeal subtype and a fly speed equal to his land speed (perfect maneuverability). He may use this ability for a number of rounds each day equal to his cultist level; these rounds need not be contiguous.

                Walk Unseen (Secret of the Third Circle) (Ex): Beginning at 17th level, the cultist can transport himself and up to one willing creature per point of Charisma bonus to the Ethereal Plane, as though by the spell etherealness. For the purpose of this ability, the cultist’s caster level is equal to his cultist level. He may use this ability once per day at 17th level, and an additional time per day at 20th level. 

                Ascension: At 20th level, the cultist can become incorporeal whenever he wishes, able to suppress or resume his ghost form ability as a swift action at will.