Mental illness in the World of Conclave is not caused by an imbalance of neurotransmitters or degradation of brain cells, but by the influence of malignant spirits from the Netherworld. These creatures seem to exist solely to torment mortals, by possessing them and driving them to strange behaviour. Some take complete control of a host, whilst others allow the host to retain much of her personality. This latter type either exert a constant but subtle influence or respond to certain stimuli.
In its natural state, an insanity spirit is incorporeal and invisible. It can make its presence felt with a faint whispering, giggling, babbling sound or it can appear as a warped entity, usually composed of disparate and twisted body parts.
Small Undead (Incorporeal, Netherworld, Spirit)
Hit Dice: 3d12 (19 hp)
Speed: Fly 60ft. (perfect)
Armor Class: 15 (+1 size, +2 Dex, +2 deflection), touch 15, flat-footed 13
Base Attack/Grapple: +1/-
Attack: Incorporeal melee touch +3 (1d4 Wisdom damage)
Full Attack: Incorporeal melee touch +3 (1d4 Wisdom damage)
Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: Possession, touch of madness
Special Qualities: Damage resistance 5/magic, incorporeal traits, spell vulnerability, undead traits
Saves: Fort +1, Ref +3, Will +7
Abilities: Str 10, Dex 14, Con -, Int 6, Wis 16, Cha 16
Skills: Bluff +7, Hide +6
Feats: Ability Focus (possession), Iron Will
Environment: Spirit Plane, Netherworld
Organization: Single, or pack (1d4)
Challenge Rating: 4
Advancement: 4-9 HD (Small)
Level Adjustment: ó
Insanity spirits rarely engage in physical combat. They prefer to possess mortals, and if they are thwarted in this they flee if possible. As a last resort they use their touch of madness ability. Some more aggressive spirits (like a Seething Choler spirit) will use their touch of madness ability to soften targets up for possession, although insanity spirits prefer helpless targets.
Possession (Su): An insanity spirit can attempt to possess an opponent as a standard action. To do so, the spirit must move into the same space as the victim (which does not provoke an attack of opportunity). The victim must make a Will save DC 16. If the save fails, the spirit vanishes and the victim is possessed. If the save succeeds the victim is immune to possession attempts by that particular insanity spirit for 24 hours. The save DC is Charisma-based, and includes the feat bonus.
If an insanity spirit assumes dominant possession of a host it uses its own Wisdom, Intelligence and Charisma ability scores, its skills, feats, base saves and base attack bonus. It uses the Strength, Constitution and Dexterity of the host. It cannot use any special abilities of the host, nor cast any spells that the host may know.
Normally, however, an insanity spirit likes to take partial possession of a host. The host retains all of its own ability scores, skills etc. but these are modified by the effect of the spirit, as described below. Some insanity spirits do not have a constant effect but instead attempt to take dominant possession following certain triggers. This forces the host to make another Will save (DC 16). A failed save means that the spirit takes possession. A successful save means that the spirit remains in covert possession and may not attempt to take control for 24 hours.
A spirit in partial possession of a host may be spotted with a detect spirits spell, although a DC 15 Spellcraft or Knowledge (spirits) against the spirit's Hide check is required.
Spell Vulnerability (Ex): If a cure disease, heal or restoration spell is cast at a host possessed by an insanity spirit, the spirit must make a Will save or be expelled from the host. Insanity spirits finding themselves in such a situation usually try to flee.
Touch of Madness (Su): The incorporeal touch attack of an insanity spirit causes 1d4 Wisdom damage each time it hits.
Types of Insanity Spirit
The following types of insanity spirit are known in the World of Conclave. Others may exist.
- Dark Whisperer. The host hears voices just out of range, and feels that something is watching or following her. She behaves as if shaken at all times, and suffers an additional -2 penalty to Listen checks on top of the penalty from the shaken condition.
- Firestarter. These spirits lie dormant until the host encounters a chance to set fire to something, at which point it tries to take dominant posession. If the spirit takes control, it will try its best to start a fire. Whilst a firestarter spirit is in dominant possession the host enjoys fire resistance 5.
- Grey Misery. This spirit usually takes partial possession, dulling the hostís perceptions of the world and sapping hope and energy. The host suffers a -2 penalty to attack rolls, saving throws, ability checks, skill checks and weapon damage rolls.
- Laughing Sickness. These spirits usually take partial possession and attempt to take dominant posession when the host experiences a stressful situation. When the spirit is dominant, the host babbles and giggles incoherently, unable to act in any way (i.e. is considered helpless).
- Magpie Spirit. These spirits lie dormant until the host encounters a chance to steal a small item, at which point it attempts to take dominant possession. If the spirit takes control, it will attempt a theft. Magpie spirits have a +10 racial bonus to Sleight tests.
- Night Terror. This spirit lies dormant until the host is placed in a stressful situation, at which point it attempts to take dominant possession. If the spirit takes control, the host enters a semi-catatonic state, and is considered cowering. These spirits are more powerful at night and so the Save DC to prevent possession increases by +2.
- Seething Choler. This spirit usually takes partial possession and fills the host with anger and aggression. Because the host is always ready for a fight, she gains a +1 bonus to initiative checks and +2 bonus to damage, but due to a lack of focus and self-preservation she also suffers a -2 penalty to attacks, Armour Class and saving throws. She also suffers a -2 penalty to Diplomacy checks, but gains a +2 bonus to Intimidate checks.
- Single Thought. This spirit likes to take dominant possession of a host. It then performs a particular task to the exclusion of all else. Sometimes this task seems normal it first, such as building a tower, but it soon becomes obvious that the host is not interested in anything else. Other times, the task is bizarre and futile, such as ordering all the grains of sand on a beach according to colour. The spirit usually becomes angered if hindered in its task.
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