Questing for Immortality

The ultimate goal of many characters is to reach the lofty heights of immortality.

Immortality doesn’t just mean not dying— although Immortals are incredibly resilient—it actually means transcending flesh and transforming into a purely spiritual being of great power.

Since Immortals are so different from mortal characters, and so much more powerful, an Immortal level campaign will be very different in tone from a mortal level one. Most Immortals don’t simply go out and kill monsters; and they certainly don’t hoard and spend treasure like mortal adventurers do. Instead, Immortal level campaigns tend to centre around political rivalries, machinations, and plotting.

The Game Master and players should take this difference into account when deciding whether or not to continue a campaign into the Immortal levels. Many players may simply prefer to have their characters retire and die peacefully as mortals—or maybe use the gaining of Immortality as the campaign finale rather than continue to play their characters once Immortality is reached.

Whether you decide to include the Immortal levels in your campaign or not, it should be the result of a conscious decision; not the result of a “lucky” (or unlucky) die roll. Suddenly finding yourself in an Immortal level campaign that you weren’t prepared for can be bewildering to both the players and the Game Master and is likely to kill the campaign if not prepared for. Similarly, being all geared up for an Immortal level campaign and then discovering that one or more of the PCs doesn’t make the transition because their players rolled badly is equally unsatisfying.

What is an Immortal?

On the one hand, Immortals are powerful spiritual beings that can create entire planes and species and move planets around.

On the other hand, Immortals are simply people.

For all their great power, Immortals still have the desires, goals and personalities that they had when they were mortal. Dark Dungeons assumes that all Immortals are in fact former mortals, although since it is normally only possible to become an Immortal by being sponsored by an existing Immortal, this raises the question of where the first Immortal(s) came from.

It is up to the Game Master to decide what the answer to that question is in their campaign. Maybe the first Immortals were created by true Gods (if they exist in the setting). Maybe the first Immortals simply spontaneously appeared. Maybe the first mortals were able to become Immortals even without sponsors. Or maybe it was something completely different.

Given that Immortals are former mortals who have been given great power, what they do with that power (and what they do with their endless time— since Immortals no longer age) is as varied as mortality itself. Some explore the universe. Some look after the mortals and protect them. Others play with mortals to amuse themselves, or play decadent political games with one another. Others are easily corrupted by the power and enjoy spoiling the plans of their peers and making life hard for mortals.

The personalities of Immortals are as varied as those of mortals; and even though they have great power, they do not necessarily have the wisdom that comes with great age. Some may well be as dumb as a bag of rocks, despite their power.

The Three Forms

Immortals are beings of pure life force, not tied to any single physical form. The life force can exist in a Spirit Form indefinitely without needing a body. However, the Immortal must take on physical form in order to interact with the world around them.

The most common physical form taken by an Immortal is the Embodied Form. An Immortal must always actually have an Embodied Form, even if they are content to remain in Spirit Form indefinitely and never use it.

This form is physically the most powerful and allows the Immortal to use its powers more capably than other forms, but it has two big disadvantages.

Firstly it is easily detectable and rather unsubtle; and secondly it leaves the Immortal vulnerable to being killed. This latter disadvantage is not as dangerous as it sounds, since even a fledgling Immortal in their Embodied Form can easily defend themselves against all but the mightiest of mortal foes.

Immortals can also take a third form, or rather a third set of forms. Most Immortals maintain one or more Mortal Forms. These mortal forms are, as the name suggests, mortal. They have the great advantage that they are completely indistinguishable from normal mortals, so an Immortal can go incognito in a mortal form and manipulate things on the Prime Plane without being noticed. The main disadvantage, of course, is the forms weakness. While the mortal form may be as powerful as other powerful mortals, it is still very vulnerable compared to an Embodied Form. Luckily, being “killed” while in a Mortal Form is not fatal to the Immortal, and the Immortal can simply create a new—and possibly identical—Mortal Form to use.

See Chapter 17: Immortals for more details on the exact abilities of the three Immortal forms.

Becoming an Immortal

Becoming an Immortal is deceptively straightforward. All a character needs to do is to find an Immortal who is willing to sponsor them and to create them their first Embodied Form. Their sponsor creates the form for them and Zap! they’re now an Immortal.

Of course, it isn’t really that easy.

Firstly, only the strongest of life- forces can support an Embodied Form. A character needs to have at least 3,000,000 experience points to do this.

If the character doesn’t have at least 3,000,000 experience points, then they simply can’t be made into an Immortal. Their life force is just not robust enough.

Secondly, the Embodied Form takes energy—and life force—to produce, and the sponsoring Immortal must pay this. It costs the sponsoring Immortal 1,000,000 experience points to create the Embodied Form for the prospective new Immortal. Of course, no Immortal is going to spend such a large amount of their own experience points on a whim.

So although becoming an Immortal is a very straightforward process, getting strong enough to be able to go through the process and finding an Immortal willing to significantly weaken themselves in order to take you through the process are not so straightforward.

The reasons why an Immortal may be willing to sacrifice some of their own life force to create another like themselves can be varied. Some may do it for companionship or even love. Others may help their own descendants become Immortal out of a sense of familial duty.

Others have more prosaic reasons. They do it to gain Immortal allies, or as a significant reward for mortals who have served their interests well.

In the case of adventuring parties, this last reason is probably the most common. Although there is nothing to physically prevent Immortals from acting in a blatant manner on the Prime Plane (e.g. appearing in Embodied Form and blasting the armies of their worshippers’ enemies), in most campaign settings there will be large groups of Immortals who “police” the Prime Plane (or at least a particular Celestial Sphere) to prevent this. Experience shows time and again that unrestricted shows of Immortal power on the Prime Plane all too quickly lead to tit-for- tat wars and wholesale destruction of entire planets.

For this reason, most Immortals restrict their work on the Prime Plane to a series of churches, mortal forms and agents. Immortals therefore often show a large interest in high level adventuring parties, since they make useful agents— willing to risk great danger if the prize of potential Immortality is dangled in front of them, and able to do things on the Prime Plane that the Immortal cannot do themselves because it would be too blatant.

Of course, while some Immortals may be very open and business-like about a “work for me and I’ll make you an Immortal too” deal, others couch it in terms of sending the mortals on “quests” or “tests” in order to determine their “worthiness” to join the ranks of the Immortals. Whether these Immortals actually think of what they are doing in those terms or whether they are merely being euphemistic about the true nature of the deal may vary from individual to individual, of course.

Example: Having reached 3,0000,000 experience, Elfstar is now powerful enough to become an Immortal. Diana, the Immortal who Elfstar serves, visits her in a dream. She tells Elfstar that she has been a loyal servant and that now she is ready to be rewarded with the real power of being an Immortal. However, because Elfstar is such a prominent member of her church, she can’t afford to lose her talents straight away.

Diana tells Elfstar that in order to be given her reward, she must first train up a successor to carry on her good work.

Worshippers

There is another wrinkle in becoming an Immortal—and it is one that existing Immortals don’t like to talk about. Immortals cannot exist without the worship of free-willed mortals. No-one knows exactly why this is, but an

Immortal that goes for over a year without worshippers dies. This is why even in campaigns that have pantheons of gods, Immortals still act as their intercessors. They need the worship of their god’s followers.

The actual number of worshippers doesn’t matter; even having a single one is good enough (although most Immortals naturally try to have as many worshippers as possible for safety’s sake). It also doesn’t matter if the worship is done out of love or fear, as long as it is done. This is a one-way dependency, in that although Immortals need worshippers to survive, the worshippers get nothing out of it—at least by default.

Smart Immortals know that looking after their worshippers and helping them with the occasional omen or answered prayer is a great way to keep them interested. Likewise, investing clerics who can go around healing and helping (or terrorising if that’s what you prefer) the populace can gain and keep large numbers of worshippers.

An Immortal without worshippers is fully aware of that state at all times, so there is no danger of an Immortal—not even a new one—accidentally losing their last worshipper and not noticing until a year is up and it is too late.

Home Plane

The plane on which an Immortal is first created is forever afterwards considered to be their Home Plane.

An Immortal’s home plane is their seat of power. When on their home plane an Immortal is treated as if six levels higher than their actual level for all purposes except spending experience.

However, when on their home plane an Immortal can only take on Spirit or Embodied form, not Mortal form; and if their Embodied form is actually killed on their home plane then an Immortal is irrevocably dead.

Because of the importance of an Immortal’s home plane, a sponsoring Immortal will never bestow Immortality onto someone on the Prime Plane, since this would prevent them from ever taking Mortal form there.

In some cases where there is an established pantheon of Immortals who share a single home plane, new Immortals may also be created on that plane. In most cases, however, the sponsor will create a tiny (house sized) outer plane anchored on their own home plane for the new Immortal and give them their Immortality there. Creating such a tiny plane with the Alter Reality spell (see Chapter 17: Immortals for details) costs only 200,000xp.

That way, the new Immortal can, once they are more experienced, expand and/or alter their home plane or move it to a new location of their choosing.

Appearance

When creating a new Embodied form for the new Immortal, the sponsor must specify exactly what that form will look like, and what powers it will have.

Most sponsors will ask the new Immortal what they want their form to look like and powers they want, and even if the choice is not given in character to the new Immortal, the choice should still be given out of character to the character’s player; for the same reason that players get to choose the character class of a new mortal character they create even though the character themselves may have been apprenticed out and not had a choice in their career (and certainly not in their race).

Most new Immortals already have a strong self-image, and wish to look like idealised versions of their mortal bodies. Since Immortals don’t age, and any apparent age has no effect on their abilities, some Immortals prefer to look young and virile as they did (or at least as they imagine they did) in their youth, while others prefer to look older and more worldly wise. Many simply wish to continue to appear as they did at the point when they became an Immortal.

Some new Immortals choose to make a complete break from their old mortal lives, and choose to look different— occasionally very different—from how they looked while mortal. Often this will involve taking on a new name to go with the new form. Unless powers say otherwise, an Immortal’s form must be between three and seven feet in size.

Example: Elfstar has trained up her replacement and is in the process of investing her with her new role when Diana, not wanting to miss the chance to impress her followers, appears in her Embodied form as the investiture rite is finishing.

Normally an Immortal simply showing up on the prime plane in Embodied form would alarm the other Immortals who are watching the prime plane for direct interference, but Diana has informed them in advance that she is going to appear to her worshippers in this way so while they keep watch, they don’t interfere.

Diana blesses Elfstar’s replacement and then wanders through the assembled crowd of worshippers dispensing healing and advice.

Finally, she takes Elfstar by the hand and returns with her to her home plane leaving no doubt in the minds of her worshippers that Elfstar has been invited to join her pantheon.

Once on the home plane that Diana shares with the rest of her pantheon, Elfstar stays as a guest in Diana’s palace for three days while Diana explains all about Immortality to her.

At the end of that time, Elfstar is ready and has decided that in order to attract worshippers of her own—and not to compete for them too much with the rest of Diana’s pantheon —she is going to appear as an emissary of youth and innocence (which won’t surprise people who knew her during her life, since she was always chaste).

She decides that her Embodied Form should look like she did when she was still a young teenager, and decides to give it the powers of Call Other, Detection Suite, Improved Saving Throws (vs Mental Attacks), and Turn Undead.

Embodied Form Powers

Regardless of its look, the new Embodied form will have four powers from the following list:

Call Other

The Immortal can spend 10 power points in order to make a mental call for help back to their home plane.

If any other Immortals share the same home plane and are on that plane at the time of the call, there is a chance based on the level of the calling Immortal that one of them (chosen randomly) will hear the call:

Level 1-6: 15%

Level 7-12: 30%

Level 13-18: 45%

Level 19-24: 60%

Level 25-30: 75%

Level 31-36: 90%

The Immortal hearing the call will know the identity of the calling Immortal, but not the circumstances in which the call is being made. They may chose to either ignore the call or to immediately spend 50 power points to open and step through a temporary Gate to the calling Immortal’s location.

Control Undead

The Immortal may speak with all intelligent undead, and may control undead as if they were a 33+ hit dice Undead Liege. See Chapter 18: Monsters for details about undead lieges.

Detection Suite

The Immortal gains all the special detection powers of the Elf and Dwarf classes.

Dragon Breath

The Immortal can spend 50 power points to use the breath weapon of any of the normal types of dragon or dragon queen, doing damage equal to their current hit points. The Immortal can only use the breath weapon of each type of dragon once per day.

If the Immortal also has the Dragon Form power, these breath attacks may be used in addition to the breath attacks granted by that power.

Dragon Form

This power costs two power choices.

The Immortal’s Embodied form is that of a huge dragon. The Immortal has a movement rate of 60’ on foot or 140’ flying.

The Immortal gets nine attacks per round regardless of experience level. These are two bites for 6d8 damage each; and two claws, two wing strikes, two kicks and a tail swing, for 2d8 damage each. Strength bonuses apply to each of these.

Additionally, the Immortal must choose either a single colour or a mix of two colours for their scales. They can spend 50 power points to use the breath weapon of a dragon or dragon queen of either of their colours, doing damage equal to their current hit points. The Immortal can only use the breath weapon twice per day, but each time may be from the same or a different type of dragon.

If the Immortal also has the Dragon Breath power, these breath attacks may be used in addition to the breath attacks granted by that power.

Enhanced Reflexes

This power may be taken more than once.

The Immortal gets a +2 bonus on their Surprise and Initiative rolls.

Extra Attacks

This power may be taken more than once.

The Immortal gets one extra attack per round, over and above the normal number of attacks granted by their level or other powers.

Fighter Options

The Immortal can perform the Smash and Parry actions in combat.

Groan

Once per ten minutes, the Immortal can spend 20 power points to make a horrible noise (although the power is called “Groan” the noise does not actually have to be a groan—it could be a different type of noise).

All creatures (including other Immortals) within 180’ must make a saving throw. In the case of mortal creatures, this is a saving throw vs Spells with a –2 penalty. In the case of undead creatures, this is a saving throw vs Spells with no penalty. In the case of Immortals, this is a saving throw vs Mental Attacks with a +4 bonus.

Any creature that fails the saving throw is paralysed for ten minutes.

Any creature that makes the saving throw can only move at half their normal speed for ten minutes.

Multiple groans from different Immortals have no additional effect on a creature already affected by this power.

Height Decrease

The Immortal’s Embodied Form can grow and shrink anywhere from normal human-sized to as small as three inches tall.

It takes 10 minutes for the Immortal to change size, although they can remain at any given size indefinitely.

Changing size does not affect the Immortal’s other abilities or powers.

An Immortal may have both the Height Decrease and Height Increase powers.

Height Increase

The Immortal’s Embodied Form can grow and shrink anywhere from normal human-sized to as large as twenty two feet tall.

It takes 10 minutes for the Immortal to change size, although they can remain at any given size indefinitely. Changing size does not affect the Immortal’s other abilities or powers.

An Immortal may have both the Height Decrease and Height Increase powers.

Howl

The Immortal may make a terrifying sound (although this power is called “Howl”, the sound does not actually have to be a howl—it could be a different type of sound).

All creatures (including other Immortals) within 180’ must make a saving throw. In the case of mortal creatures, this is a saving throw vs Spells with a –2 penalty. In the case of undead creatures, this is a saving throw vs Spells with no penalty.

In the case of Immortals, this is a saving throw vs Mental Attacks with a +4 bonus. Any creature that fails the saving throw must flee in terror for 3d6 rounds.

Improved Saving Throws

This power may be taken more than once.

The Immortal is particularly good at resisting a certain type of effect. When this power is taken, the player must choose one of the types of Immortal saving throws.

Whenever the Immortal must make a saving throw of that type to avoid taking damage, success means that the Immortal only takes a quarter of the normal damage from the attack, and failure means that the Immortal takes a half of the normal damage from the attack.

If the attack is an all-or-nothing effect rather than an effect that does damage, then success means that the Immortal is completely unaffected by the attack and failure means that the Immortal takes the full effect.

If this power is taken more than once, it must apply to a different saving throw each time.

Increased Damage

This power may be taken more than once.

The Immortal increases the damage done by each physical attack by one die of the type done by the attack. This power does not increase the damage done by spells cast by the Immortal.

Increased Movement Rate

This power may be taken more than once.

The Immortal moves at double normal speed in all modes of travel except when flying in at voidspeed in Spirit Form.

If this power is taken more than once, the multiplier increases by one for each additional time the power is taken; so an Immortal who has taken this power three times moves at four times their normal movement speeds.

Leech

The Immortal may suck the life force out of creatures they touch, including other Immortals. This power must be consciously used—the Immortal won’t accidentally kill people when shaking their hands—and requires a successful attack roll against an unwilling target.

When used on a mortal creature, the touch will drain three levels of experience from the victim. There is no saving throw against this drain, and the victim will not even notice that the drain has happened unless they can make a saving throw vs Death Ray at a –2 penalty. The Immortal using the attack gains 3d4 hit points from the drained life force. When used on an Immortal, the victim must make a saving throw vs Power Attacks. If the victim fails the saving throw then they lose 100,000 experience points.

This loss can cause the victim to lose a level, but cannot reduce them below 3,000,000 experience (i.e. it cannot reduce them below 1st level). If the victim makes the saving throw then they lose 10 power points. The Immortal using the attack gains 10 power points from the drained life force.

If the attacking Immortal gains more hit points or power points than their normal maximum, the excess disappear after ten minutes.

Mystic Abilities

This power costs three power choices.

The Immortal has the number of attacks, damage, and special abilities of a 36th level mystic.

Poison

This power can be taken twice.

The Immortal has a poisonous bite or a poisonous stinger. If this power is taken twice, then the Immortal has both.

If the Immortal makes a successful attack with either a bite or a sting, the victim must make a saving throw.

Mortal victims must make a saving throw vs Poison with a –4 penalty. If they fail the saving throw then they die instantly. If they make the saving throw then they take 6d6 damage and can do nothing but writhe in agony for a full day, being unable to even think clearly.

Immortal victims must make a saving throw vs Physical Attacks. If they fail the saving throw then they take 6d6 damage and are in such pain that they cannot speak, fight, cast spells or use powers for a full day. Turning to Spirit form will ease the pain, but turning back to an Embodied form will make it return and turning to a Mortal form will cause that form to instantly die.

If they make the saving throw, they are unaffected. If a mortal is slain by the poison (either from failing their saving throw or from the 6d6 damage), their blood remains poisonous enough that it can be used as twelve doses of normal save-or-die poison; although the poisonous blood will not poison the blood of its victims in turn.

Snap

The Immortal can stretch out a body part (hair, tongue, arms, tentacles or some other part chosen when the power is chosen) to a distance of 20’ and make an attack with it.

If the attack hits its target, the target is grabbed and pulled to the Immortal who can then make a normal melee attack against the victim. If the snap attack was made by surprise, the resulting melee attack does double damage.

Once the melee attack has been made, the victim is no longer grappled by the snapping body part.

Spit Poison

The Immortal may spit poison into the eyes of any target within 30’. No attack roll is needed, but the target gets a saving throw.

Mortal victims must make a saving throw vs Poison at a –2 penalty. If they fail then they die instantly.

If they succeed they take 3d6 damage and are blinded until cured by a Neutralise Poison spell cast by an Immortal.

Immortal victims must make a saving throw vs Physical Attacks. If they fail they take 3d6 damage and are blinded for 2d10 rounds or until they receive a Neutralise Poison spell. If they succeed then the attack has no effect.

Summon Weapons

This power may be taken more than once.

The Immortal must designate one or two weapons as their chosen weapons when they take this power. Those weapons must be hidden in a secure place on the Immortal’s home plane.

At any time, the Immortal can summon one or both weapons to their hand instantly (this happens during the Statement of Intent phase in combat and does not affect initiative or actions).

If either of the weapons is dropped by the Immortal, either deliberately or accidentally, then they immediately return to their hiding place.

If either of the weapons is ever stolen from its hiding place, it may not be summoned until it is found and returned to that place.

Swoop

The Immortal can make a swoop attack while flying. This attack is treated as a Charge action, even though the Immortal is not mounted.

This power can only be used once every three rounds.

Thief Abilities

The Immortal gains the special abilities of a 36th level thief, with the exception of the Backstab ability.

Turn Undead

The Immortal is able to turn undead as if a 36th level cleric.

Weapon Expertise

This power may be chosen more than once.

The Immortal has the Grand Master level of expertise with three types of weapon chosen at the time the power is chosen.