Nightmares Worth Remembering

The Dementia Invokers from Otaria make their way to D&D 5e

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“Chainer, Dementia Master”, by Mark Zug

The RPG Blog Carnival theme for July 2016 has been entitled “The Ways of the Wise”. With some open-ended questions, Brandes Stoddard from Harbinger of Doom wants us to talk about wizards. I like to think of most wizards as prone to insanity in some way, so the title might not be precisely appropriate for my entry. Nonetheless, here we go: if you haven’t heard of them yet, let me introduce the Cabal, an arcane organization from Otaria (a M:tG setting). The Cabal makes your half-forgotten terrors real, solid, and eager to destroy you. These horrors are created by the Cabal’s legion of dementia invokers – the backbone of the Cabal’s martial and pit-fighting forces, and perhaps the most powerful mages on Otaria.

Dementia invokers are trained by the Cabal to reach into the deepest depths of their psyche and unleash horrific monsters based on their own innermost fears and darkest imagination. These magicians travel the world looking for animals and monsters to observe and later pull out of their memories as twisted mockeries of their original forms. Sometimes they can even absorb the life essence of creatures they kill, locking it in the deep of their minds and using it as the basis for future grotesque summonings. Inevitably, spending so much time harnessing the dark side of their minds takes a terrible toll on the dementia invokers’ sanity. They all tend to become mad in the end; in fact, many become so insane that they are no longer able to function. Just a few keep enough of their wits about them to continue serving the Cabal and fighting in the pits. These dementia invokers are the most dangerous of all, because they combine intelligence, unpredictability, and psychosis in one terrible package.

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“Ichorid”, by rk post

The Cabal thrives on the trade and gambling that comes out of their Cabal Pit, so it’s in their best interest to create bigger and better monsters, to make the next horror even uglier and crueler than the last. Vicious monsters draw crowds, which makes for more bets, which earn the Cabal more money. They are always on the lookout for the next pit fighting star, the next summoner who’ll take their profits to new heights.

When going through training as a Dementia Invoker, a wizard learns to conjure hideous and powerful horrors while hanging on to his sanity. The more horrible the summoned creature, the quicker the arcanist will be showcased in a pit fight and earn him a good deal of prestige. Unfortunately, dealing so frequently with so many terrible influences, makes the wizards susceptible to mind corruption. Accessing the Dementia Space has its toll, and most succumb to its corruption just mere months after starting using it.

The Dementia Invoker

Prerequisites

DementiaSummonerIn order to advance as a Dementia Invoker, you must meet the following prerequisites (in addition to the multiclassing prerequisites for your existing class):

Able to cast Phantasmal Killer: Dementia Invokers deal with their enemies’ worst fear frequently, and this spell teaches them the basics on how to learn them and manipulate them.

Proficiency in the Arcana skill: Understanding the aberrant nature and mechanics of the Dementia Space requires specific knowledge about the planes.

Complete a specific task: In order to capture the memory of a creature into its own mind, the Dementia Invoker must kill it using a spell that offers a Wisdom saving throw. To actually become a Dementia Invoker, you must have done this at least once.

Class Features

Hit Points

  • Hit Dice: 1d6 per Dementia Invoker level
  • Hit Points per Level: 1d6 (or 5) + your Constitution modifier per Dementia Invoker level.

Proficiencies

  • Weapons: Whip
  • Saving Throws: Charisma
  • Skills: Intimidation

Equipment

Smoking censer with incense, eye shields

Features

Level Features Spell slots
1 Dementia +1 to max. level slot
2 Arcane Manipulation +1 to max. level slot
3 Improved Summoning 2 +1 to max. level slot
4 Extended Control New max. level slot
5 Improved Summoning 3, Summon Nightmare Horror +1 to max. level slot

 

Dementia

Dementia Invokers twist their memories on creatures they have slayed in order to summon them as mockeries of the original versions. Dementia space is the term used for where a dementist keeps the monsters they create. Each person’s Dementia Space is different from everyone else’s, although they tend to have the same look or feel to it. In order to become a Dementia Invoker, one must have total control over the monsters of the first level of their Dementia Space. These monsters resemble all creatures a Dementist once killed. Dementia Casters are able to drain real creatures into their space. These creatures have minds of their former self and act so, but they’re nothing more than just memory.

The Dementia ability gives the Invoker access to the Summon Nightmare spell and subjects him to the Sanity rules as they appear in the DungeonMaster’s Guide.

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“Mesmeric Fiend”, by Dana Knutson

SUMMON NIGHTMARE

  • 3rd-level conjuration
  • Casting Time: 1 minute
  • Range: Sight
  • Components: V, S, M
  • Duration: Concentration, up to 1 hour

You summon horrific creatures from your own twisted memories of creatures you have slain before. They appear in unoccupied spaces that you can see within range. Choose one nightmarish aspect for the creature that appears.

The summoned creature is also considered a monstrosity, and it disappears when it drops to 0 hit points or when the spell ends. The summoned creature is friendly to you. Roll initiative for it, as it has its own turns. It will obey any verbal commands that you issue to them (no action required by you). If you don’t issue any commands, it defend itself from hostile creatures, but otherwise takes no actions.

Use proper creature’s statistics as modified by any nightmarish aspect granted by Arcane Manipulation (see below).

 

Spell Slots

The Dementia Invoker gains spell slots as indicated in the table above, where “+1 to max. level slot” gives him one additional slot of the maximum level he’s able to cast, while “New max. level slot” gives him a slot of one level higher to the maximum he had. For example, a 10th-level wizard would have two 5th-level spell slots. With each level of Dementia Invoker he gains, he adds one extra 5th-level spell slot until his 4th-level in this prestige class, which would give him one 6th-level spell slot.

 

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“Faceless Butcher”, by Daren Bader

Arcane Manipulation

When reaching 2nd level, the Dementia Invoker learns how to modify its own memories stores in his Dementia Space. Adding incense as a material component for the spell Summon Nightmare and casting it using certain higher-Ievel spell slots, he can choose one of the nightmarish aspects listed below for every three levels above 3rd.

 

Improved Summoning #

At 3rd and 5th level, the Dementia Invoker grants additional abilities on summoned creatures. When using Arcane Manipulation, he chooses as many nightmarish aspects as indicated by this ability (for example, when reaching 3rd level and using a 6th-level slot, he chooses two nightmarish aspects instead of only one; once 5th level is reached, and using a 9th-level slot, he chooses six nightmarish aspects instead, which would be the maximum for this ability).

Extended Control

Starting at 4th level, when using Arcane Manipulation, summoned creatures remain under his control for up to 5 rounds after losing Concentration on the spell.

Summon Nightmare Horror

When reaching the pinnacle of his abilities, the creatures summoned by a Dementia Invoker reach into the worst fears of whoever sees them directly. When casting Summon Nightmare, you can use a bonus action to cast Phantasmal Killer. Doing so increases the DC of the spell in 2. In addition, while the “Summon Nightmare” spell is in effect, you can cast spells with range of “Self” targeting the summoned creature instead of you.

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“Soul Scourge”, by Carl Critchlow

Nightmarish aspects

When using Arcane Manipulation, a Dementia Invoker can choose from the following abilities. Abilities listed in Menu 2 count as two different abilities for the purpose of the Improved Summoning class feature, while the ones listed in Menu 3 count as three.

Menu 1
  • Brawn: The nightmare does an additional +1 point of bludgeoning damage on a successful melee attack. (Multiple selections stack)
  • Claws: The nightmare has razor sharp claws. Damage from these claw attacks is 1d8 + Strength modifier. The claw attacks are considered slashing or piercing weapons. The type is chosen when the nightmare is summoned. (If the nightmare has the extra arms ability, this ability must be chosen twice to affect both sets of arms.)
  • Spiked Armor: The nightmare’s body is covered in spikes. The spikes allow the nightmare to deal 1d6 points of piercing damage with a successful trample, squeeze, bull rush, or grapple attack.
Menu 2
  • Dementia Regeneration: The nightmare heals 2 hit points each round so long as it has at least 1 hit point.
  • Natural Armor: The nightmare’s surface forms hard, armor-like plates. The nightmare gains a +2 natural armor bonus to AC.
  • Energy Touch: The nightmare’s physical attacks do 1d4 points of energy damage (acid, cold, fire, lightning) in addition to their standard damage. The type of energy is chosen when the nightmare is summoned. (Multiple selections stack and may be of different energy types. You cannot select this ability more than 3 times)
  • Extra Arms: The nightmare has an additional set of arms and can make an additional attack with an attack bonus equal to its highest attack bonus -2. This ability cannot be chosen more than once.
  • Improved Fly: The nightmare has physical wings (12-foot wingspan) and a speed of 120 feet (average).
  • Improved Swim: nightmare becomes streamlined and shark-like with a large (8-foot-wide) tail. Its speed is 120 feet.
  • Poison Touch: The nightmare is covered in a shimmering purple liquid. If the nightmare hits with a melee attack, the target must make an initial Fortitude save (DC 15) or take 2d6 points of poison damage.
  • Reach: The nightmare’s arms elongate, which increases its reach by 5 feet. (If the nightmare has the extra arms ability, this ability must be chosen twice to affect both sets of arms.)
  • Tough: The nightmare receives 2 extra hit points per HD.
Menu 3
  • Hardened Carapace: The nightmare’s surface forms hard, armor-like plates. The nightmare gains bludgeoning, slashing or piercing resistance. The type of resistance is chosen when the nightmare is summoned.
  • Rend: A nightmare that hits with its claw attack does an additional 2d6 + its Strength modifier points of damage. (It must also have the claws ability; see entry above. A nightmare cannot use squeeze and rend in the same round.)
  • Tail Slap: The nightmare has a tail and gains one additional slam attack with an attack bonus equal to its highest attack bonus -2, and it deals damage of 2d8 + its Strength modifier (A nightmare cannot have a tail if it has extra arms.)
  • Tougher: The nightmare receives 4 extra hit points per HD.
  • Heavy Armor: The nightmare gains a +6 natural armor bonus to AC.

You can download the Dementia Invoker prestige class as a handy PDF here: Codex Anathema – The Magazine – Dementia Invoker.

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