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Herathian Master Spy

by Bruce Heard

This Herathian wizard craft specialises in the art of concealment and investigation in their own special way. It is highly sought after by Herathian nobility. The Great Magus of Herath employs the High Master of this craft.

The Web of Intrigue

Much of the master spy's abilities rely on the gradual creation of an invisible and incorporeal web connecting the wizard to all people, objects, and events associated to a plot. This arcane web of intrigue helps the master spy affect his/her environment. One of the craft powers allow the master spy to sense the strands of this web and what they connect to, regardless of how far they may be located. Outside of the wizard's craft, true sight is needed to see these strands, but only as far as a normal sight range is involved. For example, a master spy could sense a web strand linking one of his pawns to another person located 100 miles past a range of mountains. Outside of the craft, a wizard with true sight could only discover a ghostly strand stretching from a party member, across intervening obstacles, toward the mountains.

A successful dispel magic will permanently sever a strand. Any other element connecting to the master spy's web exclusively through the disconnected element are also separated from the web -- all their strands are destroyed as well. An amulet of proof against detection and location obscures a strand as long as the magical object is worn. This obscuring seems to the master spy as if the strand had been severed. Severing or obscuring a strand after a master spy has already observed them does not remove them from the master spy's memory - it only prevents the master spy from affecting them through his/her web. The death or destruction of connected elements does not sever the master spy's web strands (only the death of the master spy will).

First Circle

Associate: The master spy may recognise elements (creatures, objects, or events) linked to other elements already connected to the master spy's web of intrigue (see connect, below). If successfully activated (which isn't necessarily obvious to the master spy), the power lasts 3 hours plus 10mn per experience level. While active, associate allows the master spy to sense whether an encountered element is linked with an element of his/her web. Creatures and objects must be seen so their outside appearance is clear to the master spy. Events only need to be heard of in a reasonably accurate fashion. If the original association attempt failed, the master spy does not notice anything during that time.

Connect: The master spy has the ability to connect creatures, objects, or events to his/her web of intrigue. The master spy must know the exact appearance of the creature or object to connect, or simply hear of the event. Events, objects, and creatures with fewer HD or experience levels than the master spy do not receive a saving throw. A more powerful creature gets a saving throw against spells, with a -5 penalty if the creature had already been associated with the master spy's web (see Associate above). If the save succeeds, the master spy fails to connect the element and cannot try again until he/she gains a new experience level. In all other cases, new strands then connect the element to any associated elements in the master spy's web (if any) or else, directly to the master spy. The new element's physical location at the time of the connection is irrelevant. The master spy can also use this power to reconnect to the web elements who had been disconnected, such as with a dispel magic, or reverse the power to deliberately disconnect an element.

Create Temporary Persona: Herathian aranea are natural shape-shifters with two permanent, specific identities - humanoid and arachnoid. These are physically and mentally distinct forms of the same character, fixed from its birth. The spy master can create an additional identity lasting ten minutes per experience level after which the spy master reverts to one of its two permanent personas. Catastrophic failure causes the spy master to be stuck with his/her present persona for an entire week.

Trace: The master spy can make up a piece of information ranging anywhere from a truthful account to a total fabrication, and tell it to a person already connected to the master spy's web. If the master spy was successful with the initial tracing attempt (which isn't necessarily obvious to the master spy), the information becomes magically tainted so that anyone else learning about it immediately becomes associated to the one who provided it. The master spy can always recognise someone associated with tainted information when seeing the person, regardless of whether the master spy had activated the associate power earlier. If the associated person is then successfully connected to the master spy's web of intrigue, the master spy can use web sensing (see the Second Circle power) to examine how multiple people connect within the web and determine who gave which tainted information to whom. Catastrophic failure causes the connection with the initial person to be severed.

Second Circle

Create Permanent Persona: The spy master can create an additional form. The new persona is permanent - it can be maintained as long as the master spy wishes and is treated in every way like one of his/her two natural personas. The new form however has a point of Intelligence less than the original creature. Each additional persona loses another point of Intelligence (-1 for the first, -2 for the second, etc). A catastrophic failure causes the Intelligence loss to apply to all personas including the two original ones. The master spy can use this power to remove one of the new personas - catastrophic failure in this case causes an additional persona to be randomly removed (the two original ones cannot be affected this way).

Detect Strand: This power enables a master spy to detect any web strands belonging to another spy. The detection lasts 1 round per experience level and affects a 15' radius centred around the master spy. The detection is similar to a true sight spell and reveals what elements are connected to the strands within the area of effect. Catastrophic failure causes the chances of success to be halved for the next three detect strand attempts.

Sense Web: The master spy can scan his/her web of intrigue. This allows the master spy to sense which elements connect between them (see Connect, First Circle). The power also reveals who provided which tainted information to whom (see Trace First Circle). It also reveals whether an element was destroyed (an object) or killed (a creature). Web sensing also detects if physical movement has occurred for each element since the last web sensing along the following guidelines - within the Prime Material Plane, if movement has covered more than a mile, or to and from another plane. Catastrophic failure will cause the master spy to sense inaccurate connections between web elements, and wrong movement information. Web sensing last as long as the master spy concentrates.

Third Circle

Cocoon: While sensing his/her web, the master spy can cause one element of his/her web (a creature) to become paralysed, regardless of its location. The victim must be alive and subject to poison attacks. If the attempt succeeds and the victim fails any applicable saving throws, the victim will appear to be in a catatonic state comparable to death. The paralysis lasts three hours plus 10mn per experience level of the master spy. Catastrophic failure will sever all strands connecting the victim to the master spy's web. A successful dispel magic can negate the paralysis.

Infiltrate: The master spy can infiltrate another spy's web. At least one element must have been detected (see Detect Strand, Second Circle) and later connected to the master spy's own web. If successful with the infiltration attempt, the master spy can then reveal up to d4 additional elements. All these revealed elements also become part of the master spy's own web of intrigue. Catastrophic failure will alert the opposing spy of an infiltration attempt and exactly which element was compromised.

Unmask: The master spy can attempt to identify one element of his/her web of intrigue. Unmask indicates the identity of a person, including any aliases, and his/her function in regards to the other elements of the web. If used on an object, it unveils any common or legendary name (if any) and its function in regards to the other elements of the web. On an event, it reveals what was the intention behind the event (no more than ten words). Catastrophic failure prevents the master spy to ever attempt to unmask these elements until reaching the next experience level.

Unmask is reversible, allowing the master spy to mask various elements of his/her web (including him/herself). Masking prevents elements from being revealed through an infiltration (see above), making them look like areas of darkness. Catastrophic failure wipes out all successful masking within his/her web.

Fourth Circle

Create Temporary Exomorph: The master spy can create a clone-like being that is permanently connected to his/her web. This connection cannot be dispelled or otherwise affected without either killing the master spy or the exomorph. A temporary exomorph lasts a day per experience level, after which it disintegrates.

The exomorph's persona is created exactly in the same manner as a permanent persona (see Second-Circle), with the difference that an exomorph is a separate creature with an experience level one third that of the parent creature (round down). The exomorph is largely autonomous, except that the parent creature can see and hear through it, and control it while web sensing. The exomorph remains unaware of its connection with the parent creature.

If the exomorph is killed before the power reaches the end of its duration, the master spy permanently loses as many hit point as the exomorph originally had when it was created. If the master spy is killed, all exomorphs disintegrate. Catastrophic failure will cause a new exomorph to seek its creator and destroy it, in addition to losing points of Intelligence.

Detect Infiltration: The master spy can detect which elements have been compromised by another spy's infiltration (see Third Circle). If multiple spies have infiltrated the web, the power will only reveal the most extensive. Additional attempts are needed to spot additional infiltrators. If successful, any and all connections to the other spy's web are immediately visible along with the identity of the other spy. If the other spy's identity is Masked (see Third Circle), then the detection is limited as a dispel magic. Catastrophic failure causes all infiltrators to become aware of the master spy's identity and his/her attempt to detect an infiltration.

Manipulate: The master spy may cast a spell at one of the elements in his/her web. The master spy must be sensing his/her web at the time and allowable spells only include detection or mind control magic. Catastrophic failure causes the spell to be centred on the master spy instead.

Fifth Circle

Create Permanent Exomorph: The master spy can create a clone-like being that is permanently connected to his/her web (see create temporary exomorph, Fourth Circle). A permanent exomorph is identical in every way as the temporary version, except it lasts as long as the master spy wishes, or until he/she dismisses it. If trained in the craft of spying like the parent creature, these exomorphs can create alternate personas but not additional exomorphs on their own.