25 October 2007

The Uruqua V - Miyaga and her Disciples

Seeing as how I've reached Miyaga in our review of the Uruqua; and seeing as how the party just, once again, bumped into Ally'esch'ya, the mysterious dark elven bard (or whatever); I thought it appropriate to not only put up the deity information for the power in question, but also the description of the prestige class of which Lady Ally is a member: the Disciples of Miyaga. To put it into simple terms, the Disciples are a quiet and insular sect of divine geishas, whose beliefs boil down to "celebratory physicality". While their divine mistress is nominally one of the Uruqua, and a Greater Servant of the brutally tyrannical Worldqueen at that, neither Miyaga nor her disciples are evil; far from it. The vast majority of them are neutral or good, albeit of the neutral or chaotic variety.

In any event, that's the nature of the NPCs the party rescued from the wreck of the Wavespear: Ally'esch'ya is the Praeceptrix of this particular cortina sacra, while Belleaylis is the Senis, and the newly-apprenticed Wendara, the Infima.

One final note of warning: the purpose of this prestige class is to add depth and flavour to the campaign world. PCs should avoid it, for two reasons: first, it's not suited to the adventuring, treasure-mongering, monster-killing lifestyle; and second, given the choice between adjudicating some of these skills and abilities, and hammering a six-inch galvanized spike into my own cranium, I'd probably go with the latter, and nobody wants to have to clean that up.

Anyway, here it is.

* * * * *

The Maiden of Blinding Beauty
(Greater Servant of Ekhalra)

One of only two of the Uruqua who are not universally despised by the followers of the Light (the other being Lyra Kyllona), Miyaga is nonetheless viewed with suspicion and distrust – not only because she embodies gentle trickery, but also because she stands for unbridled hedonism and the search for pleasure that are characteristic of all living creatures (with the possible exception of the Dwarves). In reality, however, Miyaga herself stands entirely neutral betwixt good and evil, favouring neither one nor the other, and demanding of her clerics, and her much more numerous Disciples, that they serve the desires and wishes of all creatures equally.

Miyaga embodies physical beauty. She is usually pictured as an amalgam of the Kindred races – tall and broad-hipped like a daughter of Esu, but with the pointed ears and delicate features of the Elves, the grace and agility of the Holbytlan, and the poise, certainty and thick, dark hair of the Dwarves. She radiates an aura of calm and serenity at all times, such that it is impossible for any creature, even one of the Powers, to attack her; and when she is forced into battle against her will, she uses only non-lethal weapons, and flees at the first opportunity.

While Miyaga’s actual clergy are few in number and secretive, her worship is possibly one of the most widely spread throughout Anuru, carried by her Disciples (described elsewhere). Clerics of Miyaga must have a charisma of at least 15 and cannot be celibate, as her worship requires acts of physical intimacy. They may only use blunt weapons, but gain the Subduing Strike feat at 1st level, and have Bluff and Perform as class skills (adding their level to checks). They can cast Eagle’s Splendor (self only) and Calm Emotions once per day per three levels, regardless of level; and Enthrall once per day per four levels.

Alignment: Neutral
Sphere(s): Pleasure, hedonists, brides, bards
Sigil: Female silhouette in a braided red and gold triangle
Preferred hues: Scarlet and gold
Preferred weapon: Whip
Worshippers’ alignment: Any non-lawful
Domains: Body, Dream, Healing, Pleasure, Trickery
Church: Minor

* * * * *

The Disciples of Miyaga
(NPC Prestige Class)

The Disciples of Miyaga are a secretive society dedicated to the study and practice of bending beings to their will through physical pleasure. The sect first came into being more than three thousand years ago, during the Age of Wisdom, created by the Priests of the Maiden, clerics dedicated to Miyaga, the Maiden of Blinding Beauty, herself one of the Servants of Ekhalra the Witherer. Ekhalra, who delights in ruling (and corrupting) all things within Anuru, has ever encouraged her Servant Miyaga in building and extending her especial following, knowing that mortals, particularly the Kindred Races, are easily destroyed through their lusts. But Miyaga’s motives are not evil; she is neutral, and so are her followers. Their interests are anything but worldly.

Because they are far, far more than mere professional prostitutes, Disciples – masters and mistresses of the arts of entertainment, music, conversation and feats of physical marvel – are generally recruited only from experienced individuals: sages, artisans, aristocrats, performers, and of course adventurers. The requirements are stiff; recruits must have 5 or more hit dice, and must have wisdom and dexterity scores of 12 or greater; and a charisma score of 13 or greater. Bards, sorcerers and clerics tend to make good Disciples. So would paladins, were they not required to be lawful.

New recruits are assigned to an experienced Disciple where they form part of a Cortina Sacra, the Sacred Triad of Miyaga, consisting of the Infima/Infimus (the new recruit or “junior” member of the triad); the Senis/Senus (the “senior” member, usually a 1st or 2nd level Disciple; and the Praeceptrix/Praeceptor (the “teacher”, who must be at least 5th level). The Infima performs all of the work of the group (except for that allotted to hired domestics), while the Praeceptrix does all of the teaching. The Senis is expected to both work and learn, and also to run the group’s collective household. The most important function of the Cortina, however, is to serve as the focus of worship for the group; and it is during worship that the Praeceptrix and Senis are expected to share the benefits of their vast experience with the Infima, and school the new apprentice in the arts and practices of the Disciples. Once an Infima has spent at least 3d4 months within a Cortina, he or she will have acquired the Seductive feat, along with two clerical domains, and will be considered a 1st-level Disciple.

Disciples of Miyaga believe that the spiritual is physical and vice-versa; accordingly, their daily period of communion with Miyaga must involve some form of appropriate activity, else they cannot gain access to their special abilities or spells for that day. Disciples whose charisma and wisdom scores total 30 or more are able to practice Ecstatic Communion, a supernatural ability that enables the Disciple to spend one hour upon waking in deep meditation, and then make a Perform check against DC 20; and if successful, he/she will have reached an ecstatic stage of enlightenment, and will gain +1 on all skill checks and saving throws for the remainder of the day.

Life is not always easy for the Disciples. Strongly lawful, ethically organized societies occasionally persecute them for their casual attitudes towards intimacy; and for this reason, Houses and Temples of the Maiden are almost always hidden, and guarded by both magic and steel. Because of their strong familial orientation and religious beliefs (and because of the Disciples’ association, however distant, with a Servant of Ekhalra), Dwarves tend to frown on them. During the religious fervour in Ekhan, the Temples of the Maiden were closed and their inhabitants exiled. In Mirabilis, Disciples - like sorcerers - are tortured and branded before being exiled, or even executed.

The Disciples tend to be welcome in chaotic, disorganized, newly-settled areas and open-minded, multi-cultural or poly-species societies. They are particularly prized among the worldly Elves (especially the cosmopolitan – some would say, hedonistic - society of the High Elves). Some of the most highly-skilled Disciples are found among the Grey and Wandering Elves, who have long lifetimes to master their art, and whose physical beauty is without peer. That said, only among the Shadelven are the Disciples not only welcome, but are also honoured and revered for their knowledge, spiritual calm, and extraordinary abilities. Some Disciples have reached awesome heights of political and social influence among the Dark Elves.


Alignment: Any non-lawful
Hit Dice: Minimum 5 HD to be recruited; progression by d8
Skills: Diplomacy 5 ranks, Perform 5 ranks
Feats: one or more of Animal Magnetism, Disarming Looks, Endurance, Negotiator, Persuasive;
Patron deity: Miyaga, the Maiden of Blinding Beauty
- Seductive feat is gained during apprenticeship
- Disciples cannot turn Undead
- Disciples are not able to use Spontaneous Casting to channel spell energy into healing
Class skills: Bluff, Concentration, Diplomacy, Disguise, Escape Artist, Gather Information, Heal, Intimidate, Knowledge(Any), Listen, Perform, Read Lips, Sense Motive, Sleight of Hand, Spellcraft, Spot, Tumble, Use Rope
Skills/level: 4+Intelligence modifier; at least 1 skill point per level must be spent in obtaining a Knowledge skill
Symbol: the symbol of the Disciples is the silhouette of a nude woman, entangled in a woven triangle of black, scarlet and gold. Disciples may carry the symbol as a brooch or sigil on a necklace; have it woven into an article of clothing; or wear it as a tattoo. The symbol, whatever its nature, serves as the Divine Focus for clerical spells.

Class Features

Weapon and Armour Proficiency: no change to existing proficiencies.
Ecstatic communion(Su): Disciples whose charisma and wisdom scores total 30 or more are able to practice a skill known as ecstatic communion, a meditation technique designed to focus their psyche and energy. When performing their daily communion, the Disciple rolls a Perform check against DC 20; if successful, he/she has reached a special plane of enlightenment during communion, and obtains +1 on skill checks and saving throws until he/she sleeps again.
Cleric spells/domains: Disciples advance in spell-casting ability as Clerics, and may select the Pleasure domain, and one other from the following: Body, Dream, Healing, Trickery
Disguise Self(Sp): at 1st level, a Disciple can Alter Self once per day per Disciple level, as a spellcaster of his/her total level. Charisma modifiers apply to any Disguise checks.
Aura of Goodwill(Su): at 3rd level, a Disciple projects an Aura of Goodwill, identical to a Sanctuary spell. This can be used once per day per Disciple level.
Enticing Gaze(Su): at 5th level, a Disciple can use Enticing Gaze once per day per Disciple level. This is a gaze attack with a range of 5’/Disciple level. The target must make a Will save (DC 10+Disciple Level+Charisma Mod) or walk towards Disciple at half movement rate, stopping 5 feet away, and remaining motionless for a period of time equal to (5+Disciple Level) rounds; the effect lasts a further 1d4+Charisma Modifier rounds after the Disciple ceases concentration on that creature. Any offensive action by the Disciple, or action taken against the victim by one of the Disciple’s allies, allows another saving throw. This power can be used on 1 creature at a time, and is mind-affecting. If used on a creature of a different Kindred race, the target is +2 on saves; if used on a creature of a different species, the target is +4 on saves.
Fascinate (Su): at 7th level, a Disciple can use Fascinate once per day per Disciple Level. This has a range of 60’ and is a full-round action; the target must make a Will Save (DC 10+Disciple Level+Charisma Mod) or remain rooted to the spot until the Disciple releases him or her. The target loses all Dex bonuses and cannot take any actions. The effect is broken if the Disciple (or any obvious associate) takes obvious hostile action against the target. If the Disciple leaves the target’s sight, the target is allowed one saving throw per minute, with +1 every minute. This is a mind-effecting compulsion.
Mass Fascinate (Su): at 9th level, a Disciple can use Mass Fascinate once per day per three Disciple Levels. This is identical to Fascinate, but affects all sentient creatures within 60’.
Base attack bonus/saving throws: BAB and saving throws progress as Cleric. Disciples may only use bludgeoning weapons.

(P.S. Yes, this is pretty much the same as the Disciple of Aaluran prestige class from the BOEF, with some heavy edits to make it (a) fit into my campaign world, and (b) remotely palatable. It's just about all that's salvageable. Nothing else - NOTHING - will be showing up from that book. I'm sure we're all more comfortable sticking with the warm and fuzzy stuff in Libris Mortis, Vile Darkness, and Hordes of the Abyss.)