Powers of the Darkwood Heart
The Darkwood heart olds great power over nature, and is particularly dangerous to aberrations. It resonates with the grief and pain of Kashyra, however, and all life eventually suffers at its touch.
Using the Darkwood Heart
The Darkwood Heart is a magic weapon, and has a few constant abilities that can be used by any character who takes possession of it. To gain access to the full powers of the Staff, however, a character must form a spiritual bond with it. Only a character capable of taking an animal companion can form such a link, and to maintain the link he must release any animal companions that he possesses. The process is described in more detail below, but with the exception of the base powers, these abilities must be unlocked through the bond.
In addition to the need to bond with the Staff, the powers of the Darkwood Staff vary with its mood. Every day, the character must engage in a personality conflict with the staff, making a Will save against the Staff's ego of 30. The wielder gains a +1 circumstance bonus to this check for every living creature with at least 1HD that the Staff killed the previous day. If the check is successful, the staff is calm for the next day; it is less mournful and aggressive. If the check I failed, the Staff is upset; it swings between rage and despair, often crying aloud or sobbing telepathically in the wielder's mind. During these times, it is only interested in lashing out and harming other things. The owner of the Staff may always choose to fail the check if he wants Kashyra to be upset.
|Class Level||Enhancement Bonus||Spell Modifier||Insight Bonus||Special|
|1st-2nd||+2/+2||+0||+0||Dryad's Tears, Skill Use, Telepathic Bond|
|3rd-5th||+2/+2||+1||+3||Bearer of Blight 1/day, Darkwood Defence, Inner Turmoil -1, Soul Bond|
|6th-8th||+2/+2||+1||+3||Kashyra's Anger, Stromcalling I|
|9th-11th||+3/+2||+2||+4||Bearer of Blight 3/day, Inner Turmoil -3|
|12th-14th||+3/+3||+2||+4||Bloodwood, Dryard's Charms, Stormcalling II|
|15th-17th||+4/+3||+3||+5||bearer of Blight 5/day, Fury of the Forest, Inner Turmoil -5|
|18th-20th||+4/+4||+3||+5||Dark Bond, Stromcalling III|
Base Powers: Regardless of whether a character has bonded to the Staff, it is a +2 aberration bane/+2 aberration bane quarterstaff. Kashyra is an intelligent item (Int 14, Wis 18, Cha 20, Ego 30; AL NE) capable of telepathic communication and speech; she speaks Common, Druidic, Elven and Sylvan. She possesses the following skills: Knowledge (nature) +16, Listen +12, Perform (song) +16, Sense Motive +12, Spot +12, Survival +12. However, she never uses these skills on behalf of an unbonded wielder.
Enhancement Bonus: The enhancement bonus of the Staff increases as the bearer's connection to it grows stronger, as shown on the table. The first number is the sculpted head of the Staff, while the second is the plain head.
Skill Use: When Kashyra is calm she may use her skills on behalf of her bonded wielder. She can use her Perform skill to aid any performer within vocal distance; because of her inhuman skill, she provides her partner with a +4 bonus to his Perform check.
Telepathic Bond: The telepathic connection between the Darkwood Heart and its bonded owner allows communication at any distance, provided the two are on the same plane.
Darkwood Defence: The Darkwood Heart was designed to battle aberrations, and it provides an insight bonus to a bonded user. The bonus is applied to defence in various ways, based on the user's level. (Note that several of the following powers refer to “natural” magic or spells. This indicates any divine magic based on a connection to nature, and includes spells cast by druids, rangers, or clerics accessing the air, animal, earth, fire, plant or water domains.)
- At 3rd level, a bonded user adds the insight bonus to saving throws against attacks made by aberrations (including spells, spell-like abilities, extraordinary abilities, and any other offensive action that allows a saving throw.)
At 6th level, a bonded user adds the insight bonus to his armour class when attacked by an aberration.
- At 9th level, a bonded user adds the insight bonus to his armour class when attacked by an animal or plant. This only applies when Kashyra is upset.
- At 12th level, a bonded user adds the insight bonus to saving throws against natural magic and any attack made by an animal, fey, elemental, or plant. This only applies when Kashyra is upset.
- At 15th level, a bonded user adds the insight bonus to his armour class when defending against attacks made by a fey, or elemental. This only applies when Kashyra is upset.
The character only receives the bonuses if he is holding the Darkwood Staff.
Soul Bond: At 3rd level, the wielder begins to feel a stronger connection to Kashrya's despair and anger at the natural world. This affects the wielders ability to use certain types of natural magic.
When the caster uses a natural spell designed to harm, physically bind, or repel (such as flame blade, entangle, contagion, or anti-life shell), he may add the spell modifier value to the caster level and saving throw DC of the spell.
If Kashyra is upset, the user must subtract the spell modifier value from caster level and saving throw DC any time he uses a natural spell designed to calm, charm, heal or encourage growth.
The DM must make the final call as to whether a spell is benevolence or aggressive; many spells (such as bull's strength or detect snares and pits) are neutral and unaffected.
These bonuses and penalties are based on the character’s bond and apply even when the character is not holding the Darkwood Staff.
Kashyra's Anger: The Staff was designed to fight aberrations, but Kashyra's hatred extends to the natural world. Beginning at 6th level, the sculpted end of the Staff is treated as a bane weapon against aberrations, animals, elementals, fey, plants, and any creature with the ability to use natural magic (such as a ranger or druid). These do not stack, so a druid in animal form does not suffer double damage. When Kashrya is upset, the sculpted end gains the vicious quality; the Staff strikes with tremendous force but leeches energy from the wielder.
Bloodwood: As of 12th level, the Staff begins to draw blood from its victims, absorbing it into itself. The sculpted end gains the wounding quality, in addition to the abilities granted by Kashyra's Anger.
Fury of the Forest: beginning at 15th level, when Kashyra is upset, both ends of the Staff gain the vicious quality.
Dark Bond: At 18th level, the caster may spontaneously cast the following spells by dropping a prepared ranger or druid spell of equal or higher level: contagion (3rd), diminish plants (3rd), poison (3rd), blight (4th). However, when he casts spells of the healing subschool he suffers a -5 penalty to caster level (this supersedes the soul bond penalty). These bonuses and penalties apply even when the character is not holding the Darkwood Heart.
Access to the activated powers of the Darkwood Heart must be earned through the bonding process. All activated powers have a caster level of 25.
Dryad's Tears: As a standard action, the wielder of the Darkwood Heart can wilt all plant life that comes near it. When Kashyra is upset, she can extend this effect at will. This is identical to the prune growth effect of diminish plants, except that instead of appearing neat and well-trimmed, the affected plants are wilted and dying.
Bearer of Blight: While upset, the Darkwood Heart possesses the ability to use the following abilities: blight (15d6, DC 20), contagion (DC 21), poison (DC 19), sleet storm. With the exception of sleet storm, these require the wilder of the Staff to either make a successful melee attack or a melee touch attack with he Staff (in which case, the spell effect is the only effect that occurs). However, use of these abilities is entirely under Kashyra's control; she decides when to trigger an effect and which to use. This cannot be controlled, prevented or compelled by the wielder.
While Kashyra is in control of these powers, her ability to manifest them is based on the strength of her bonded companion. If her companion is at last 3rd level, she can use one of these abilities once per day. Once her companion reaches 9th level, she can use any combination of these powers a total of 3 times per day. At 15th level, she can use these powers 5 times per day.
Stormcalling I: While holding the Darkwood Heart, the bonded companioncan use the Staff to cast the following spells: 1/week – control wind (DC 19), call lighting storm (5d6, DC 19, 25 minute duration or 15 bolts); 3/day – call lighting (3d6, DC 17, 25 minute duration or 15 bolts). Using one of these spells is a spell trigger action on the part of the wielder. If Kashyra wants to prevent the effect, the staffbearer must engage in a personality conflict.
Dryad's Charms: At her core, Kashyra is still a dryad, and possesses the dryads ability to charm others. However, her disdain for life is so strong that she can rarely be convinced to use these powers. Before she will use these abilities, she must have been calm for at least two concecutive days, and even then she must be forced with a successful personality conflict. Provided these conditions are met, she may use the following powers: 3/day – charm person (DC 15), deep slumber (DC 17).
Stormcalling II: The character can us the Staff to cast the following spells: 1/week – control weather; 1/day – control wind (DC 21), call lighting storm (5d6, DC 21, 25 minute duration or 15 bolt); 5/day – call lighting (3d6, DC 19, 25 minute duration or 15 bolts). This supersedes the casting ability provided by Stormcalling I.
Stormcalling III: The character can us the Staff to cast the following spells: 1/day – control weather; 2/day – control wind (DC 23), call lighting storm (5d6, DC 23, 25 minute duration or 15 bolt); 7/day – call lighting (3d6, DC 19, 25 minute duration or 15 bolts). This supersedes the casting ability provided by Stormcalling I and Stormcalling II.
The Darkwood Heart is filled with despair. In her calmer moods, Kashyra is filled with pessimism, believing she is doomed to eternal torment. When she is upset she seeks solace by lashing out at others, death and destruction being the only things that soothe her wounded soul. Just touching the Darkwood Heart is sufficient to fill a character with a sense of sorrow. Bonding with Kashyra is a difficult act that places a tremendous strain on the bearer. The penalties for Soul Bond and Dark Bond are described above; an additional penalty occurs as the character grows closer to the Staff.
Inner Turmoil: As Kashyra's despair and hatred of life sink into the bearer's soul, it become increasingly difficult for him to relate to others. At 3rd level he suffers a -1 circumstance penalty to Diplomacy, Handle Animal, Heal, Sense Motive or Wild Empathy checks. This penalty increases to -3 at 9th level and to -5 at 15th level. The effect occurs regardless of whether the bearer is holding the Staff. However, when Kashyra is calm the penalty is reduced by two (minimum 1).
While Inner turmoil affects the bearer of the Staff, other forms of misfortune can target those around him, the nature of which will remain hidden for the moment.