Blood Reaper Ritual
The Reapers are unaware at how highly the Infernal Lords prize the mortal soul. To the Demon Lords it is the most valuable commodity of all. Who have reduced entire empires to rubble and given a king’s ransom just to attain a single soul. The Blood Druids use the mortal soul to barter with the fiends for power and knowledge.
To acquire a mortal soul isn’t as easy as decapitating a victim. In many instances it has to be given freely. Other methods that a Demon Lord may employ to obtain a soul are excruciatingly painful and hazardous to its own health, involving immeasurably lengthy arcane invocations that call upon incalculably powerful and primeval beings, whose mere awakening may lay waste to entire dimensions, let alone considering what the consequences would be if you earned their wrath!
To all intents and purposes the Blood Reapers are a unique asset to have. The Blood Druids must have paid an unfathomably great price in blood to acquire the archaic and powerful knowledge that allows them to create the Blood Reapers.
A great ritual is involved in the creation of the Blood Reaper. During which the warrior is bled dry while cognisant and standing amidst numerous sacred occult symbols, circles and wards drawn in blood in long forgotten antiquated languages. His blood is then burnt in a mystic fire. A myriad amount of enchantments are performed upon the tiny quantity of residue that is left. This is then set alight again in the mystic inferno. From these flames the Blood Reaper is created with a mighty halberd in his hands, whose handle is construed from demonic ivory and whose blade is hewed from infernal obsidian.
This new body that the warrior inhabits appears to be a perfect duplicate of his previous body, which is lying beside him.
The only thing the new Reaper will remember about the ritual, is being flung into an utterly dark void, feeling baleful eyes hungrily watching him, he is hurled around in a maelstrom until he manages to grab hold of something. At that moment he finds himself standing back in his own body, where the ritual is being performed, with a great halberd in his hands, and his original body lying next to him. The halberd is known as the “Reaper” and it is from that, that these warriors take their name.
To complete the rite the reaper fully skins and decapitates his old body with the Reaper halberd, so that the head and skin come away in one piece. The Blood Reaper then reverentially hands these over to the blood druids.
The Blood Druids will turn the warrior’s own skull into the first Blood Skull he receives from the Blood Druids. This Blood skull is known as the “Birth” skull, and is unique to the Reapers. The warrior’s own original pelt which was attached to his first skull has become a sinuous cowl.
This part of the ceremony appears to be mere tradition and little more than a way for the warrior to honour the Blood Druids. However it appears that for the Reaper’s creation to be completed he must have his own original body’s skull turned into his first Blood Skull. This first Blood Skull is actually worn by the Blood Reaper, much like a mask, when he goes hunting for souls. All a victim sees amongst the shadows of their flowing cowl is a terrible visage with blazing eyes of hellfire.
Medieval translations of antediluvian alchemist’s grimoires tantalisingly suggest the above ritual as a way to immortality, but do not go into the details, implying that it is forbidden knowledge that should stay in the mists of time. If the grimoires are anything to go by, it is a malevolent knowledge beyond mortal comprehension. There appears to be a systematic attempt throughout history to obliterate it from human consciousness. With only vague references occurring in the greatest and most cryptic of tomes.
What is clear from the enigmatic clues is that the Blood Druids are meddling in affairs beyond their understanding and control. The Blood Druids appear to only perform a fraction of the true ritual in their creation of the Blood Reapers. What the consequences of this might be, are still unknown, suffice to say that the implications of this ritual properly and fully performed must be unimaginably horrific indeed, for the greatest and most diabolic mages in their age to shy away from performing it. Not only that they go as far as warning others not to trifle with it, and try to erase it from history. The only thing certain from history is that the practice of this ritual led to madness and great catastrophe for the world.
Reapers Halberd: is usually 2ft longer than the height of its wielder. Ivory of unknown origins, presumably demonic, composes the handle of the weapon, which runs the full course of the weapon. On one side of the handle, running down a third of its total length is a large blade made out of obsidian of unknown origins, seemingly from some infernal dimension. On the other side of this blade is a skeletal hand with fingers like talons. This hand appears to be cut of from the wrist, and it is able to move about the top third of the weapon. This hand is capable of grasping and clawing opponents. An orb appears on the weapon when a soul has been collected by the Reaper on this side of the halberd, which this hand lovingly and passively caresses. The hand may be used to latch onto high overhangs with the halberd, and thus scale sheer vertical walls.
When an orb appears on the back of the reaper halberd, held tight by the skeletal hand, the bladed third of the reaper’s halberd starts to bend. On occasions it has been known the bladed part of the halberd to bend nearly ninety degrees to the handle of the halberd. It seems the weight of the soul it carries on its back is too much to bear even for this fiendish construct. Though the reaper halberd is still an effective weapon, reapers have been known to straighten it out in the middle of combat.
Damage: 1D6X10MDC in the hands of the Reaper only. It inflicts damage to vampires, were-wolves, magebane and others of similar ilk. Only Reapers are able to touch this weapon, others will suffer 1D6X10MDC for the first touch (melee action) they hold the reaper halberd, and then they suffer 1D6X10MDC per melee they are in contact with this weapon. Non reapers will feel a touch of searing cold of unimaginable proportions and description. Impervious to cold and magic and such things are no protection from touching the Reapers halberd. Wearing Full EBA and/or Power Armour are no protection; even cyborgs are affected by this deadly touch.
For each attack the reaper halberd is held, a magic saving throw must be made, each failed roll results in numbness. GM Note: use the “Orb of Cold” spell in Book of Magic for numbness penalties. In this case the effects of each failed throw are accumulative. Only the Indignant OCC does not take any damage from touching the Reapers halberd.
This weapon is a soul stealer. It will automatically try to steal the opponent’s soul on each attack by the Reaper. The victim’s resistance will subsequently become weaker and weaker as the battle continues. The soul steal will automatically be successful if the Reaper decapitates the victim with the Halberd. If the halberd is successful in capturing the soul, a small orb of incomprehensible construction will be under the grasp of the Demonic hand on the back of the halberd.
A victim of this weapon’s soul stealing can be restored to life, even after beheading, as long as his body is healthy, by placing the head back on the victim’s shoulders, and placing the orb in his mouth. The orb is not easy to remove from the talons of the hand on the back of the halberd (supernatural PS of 40!), but if it is pried free, the victim can be fully restored to health. The victim will awaken having experienced little more than a coma (although it is a harrowing event – roll to save versus insanity). As long as the victim’s body is kept in a healthy state and the orb is still on the halberd and not been exchanged with some Demon Lord or other; the decapitated head appears to be automatically put into stasis so long as it remains within 20 ft of the halberd and is perfectly preserved, that is until the Blood Druids get hold of it, or the victim is restored.
For game purposes: the halberd attempts to soul steal at every successful attack (which draws blood), and the victim will be -1 to save versus soul stealing for every melee the Reaper successfully engages him.
The reaper halberd is only able to steal one soul at a time. There are instances where particularly powerful reapers have carried several soul orbs on the back of their halberd.
GM Note: (optional) The Reaper halberd is able to steal 1 (ONE) soul at a time, at level 1, + 1 (ONE) at level 5, + 1 at level 9, + 1 at level 15. (GM Note: up to individual GM for how many souls they allow a reaper halberd to steal at any one time).
There have been instances where Blood Reapers have wiped out an entire community, and not managed to steal a single soul. The Blood Druids are totally oblivious to the carnage their desires have wrought, and don’t see it as a total waste of mortal lives; in fact they will slay a 1000 more just to obtain a single mortal soul. The rewards are just too high for the Blood Druids for them to let sentimentality stand in their way.
It must be reiterated that the individual Reaper is totally unaware they are stealing souls for the Blood Druids. However as time progresses a Reaper will become suspicious of what he is actually doing for the Blood Druids. It is hard not to for the character to notice the single minded avarice the Blood Druids display only towards the orb on the back of his halberd, when he lays twenty decapitated heads at their feet.
A reaper will see the great lengths and the debilitating agony the Blood Druids go through to securing the Orb on the back of the halberd. Blood Druids have been known to have been permanently disfigured, disabled and have even died trying to remove a single orb from the back of the reaper halberd. For the Blood Druids too are unable to touch the reaper halberd, and thus securing the soul is an extremely arduous and hazardous task for them, even after it has been obtained for them by their reapers.
If a Reaper realizes his role in this nefarious scheme, he will immediately cease to be a Reaper. It is too abhorrent for most decent, normal mortals to contemplate, many are unable to bear their role in these diabolical affairs, and commit suicide. Others try another role, and try to make good. Only the most diabolic and corrupt mortals will willingly participate in this trade. Some anarchists may be coerced by the Blood Druids to continue on in their roles.
Once the reaper learns of what the halberd truly does, he will try to distance himself from his halberd, but irrespective of what he does to get rid of it; the halberd always appears in his hands once more. The reaper halberd, Birth Skull and Cowl vanish only when the reaper dies.
GM note: At level 4, a GM should roll a 1D6, and this is how many more levels a reaper character will have on the mortal plane, before he ceases to exist there. In Game terms the character will die. It is quite clear the Blood Druids need to perform the Blood Reaper Creation Ritual again, but not even the Blood Druids are foolish or arrogant enough to perform that ritual more than once on the same individual. Of course the more powerful a Reaper becomes, the more afraid the Blood Druids become of him, maybe a powerful and quick witted character may be able to get the Blood Druids to perform the ritual on him again.
He must make them an offer they can’t refuse, threatening a Blood Druid on its own won’t work, as their fear of the consequences of the ritual, are greater than anything a character may instil in them, but a character may be able to overcome their reluctance by working on their greed for power. Offering to obtain something for them that will almost certainly result in the character’s own death, maybe a gamble a blood druid will be willing to chance on performing the ritual again on the reaper.
If the ritual is successfully performed the reaper would extend his life by D4+1 (2 to 5) years, but in time will need the ritual to be repeated again to extend his tenure on this plane of existence. Each time the ritual is performed again the duration of time the Reaper is able to spend in this existence lessens, and the Reaper becomes more powerful and more terrifying, and the consequences for existence inexorably slide towards disaster.
The Reaper only wears his Birth Skull when he absolutely needs to. Reapers loathe putting the Birth Skull on, they say when the Birth Skull is on, they are hurled into a void of horrors, to experience a storm of agony, where undreamt of and abhorrent monstrosities feast on their very being. As such a Reaper character is not too keen to wear his Birth skull, and only do so when their Blood Druid masters command them to do so. In the current climate of the minion war, this is rather too often for the liking of most Reapers.
GM note: if a player wears his Birth Skull too much (more than 6 hours in a day) or repeatedly puts the Birth Skull on for short periods of time in a day, his lifespan on this plane of existence starts to rapidly decrease. For Game purposes – the reaper will also experience in these instances effects similar to “Agony” and “Life Drain” spells. This will leave them shattered and debilitated, a state of being which isn’t desirable for most characters, let alone those who are under the control of the Blood Druids.
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