The Path of Death

Alternate Names: Thanatos, the Self-Destructive Drive, The Reaper, The God of Death, the Angel of Mercy

Sigmund Frued argued that all humans possess "Thanatos" or "the Death Drive," an instinct that pushes against "eros," the life-drive, in an effort to self-destruct. The Path of Death in Broken Communion is a manifestation of that. It is the impulse for suicide, the desire to kill, to destroy, to burn everything down and then throw oneself onto the pyre. Those who follow it gain unparalleled power to destroy, but know that they themselves will be destroyed by it in time.

Corruption of Death

Following the Path of Death requires nothing more than Disciplines of Faith (Ritualism), but it inflicts Corruption points, like any form of Broken Communion. The disadvantages gained from Broken Communion's Corruption while following the Path of Death must be used to acquire a disadvantage associated with self-destruction or the themes of death. The following represents ideas:

Disadvantages: Appearance (Rotting appearance) [Varies], Bad Smell (Grave-smell) [-10], Bloodlust [-10*], Callous [-5], Chronic Depression [-15*], Easy to Kill [-2/level], Hemophilia [-30], Life Bane [-10], No Sense of Humor [-10], On the Edge [-15*], Skinny [-5], Slow Healing [-5/level], Supernatural Feature (No Body Heat, Pallor) [Varies*]
Benefits: At the GM's discretion, characters who follow the Path of Death may purchase Psychic Vampirism abilities or Necrokinesis abilities with the -25% Broken Communion Path modifier in addition to the -10% Psi modifier.

Symbols

  • Color: Black or a pale, wan white
  • Regalia: Black clothing; a hood that hides the face; Leather;
  • Tools: Force sword; mortuary instruments; bones; communication equipment tuned to static.
  • Locations: Black holes; dead worlds that hold the remains of life and civilization; dead ships; graveyards; sites of mass murder or mass suicide, on a super-weapon shi that he controls.

Invocations of Symbols

Characters with Symbolic Resonance (Death) may invoke the symbols at full value for any use of Psychic Vampirism or Necrokinesis abilities, or for use of psychic powers that interact with ghosts, or any powers that create darkness, kill, or stop something (such as freezing something in place). It can never be invoked to heal.

Milestones

  • Conspirators call upon Thanatos to join them in overthrowing the current "Moral Order," including a specific person, "the King," who represents that order who must be slain. Thanatos joins them and they succeed (Thanatos slays "the King,") but in so doing, Thanatos reveals his nature and terrifies the conspirators. The conspirators offer Thanatos power and authority elsewhere, in an effort to exile him from the new Order they have created. Thanatos accepts this new authority (completing the milestone), but laughs off their futile attempts to exile him.
  • Thanatos falls in love and chooses a bride and takes her with him into "his world;" she becomes "touched by death" in some way, tainted by her connection with Thanatos. The metaphorical or literal "mother of the bride" refuses the marriage and retrieves her (completing the milestone). The bride is torn between Thanatos and her Mother, and becomes a creature of two worlds. She remains as the bride of Thanatos, and serves as his bridge to the living world and a "boon companion," but some degree of separation must always remain between the two.
  • Someone calls upon Thanatos to retrieve someone lost, someone precious to them. He warns that this person is beyond being retrieved, but they insist. He successfully retrieves the lost person or item (completing the milestone), it or they is changed beyond recognition and brings a "dread curse" with it, some lingering and terrible consequence. The petitioners beg Thanatos to save them from the curse. Thanatos has the power to destroy the item or slay the person out of hand, but either cannot or will not "lift the curse" or undo the dread consequence.
  • Thanatos learns of someone (“the immortal”) who has managed to evade death (usually symbolically). This person is beloved by many, but Thanatos does not care, and sacrifices the love of the people (performing some action that makes them universally despised). This person is well-defended, but Thanatos does not care, and sacrifices the lives of the defenders (Thanatos is able to successfully defeat all defenders). This person has great wealth, which he offers to save his life, but Thanatos does not care, and sacrifices the wealth (Thanatos refuses any boon offered by the victim). Without this person, a great and important Order will unravel, but Thanatos does not care, and sacrifices order (some great change will occur as a result of the death of this person). Thanatos slays the immortal.
  • A champion rises up to face Thanatos, for the people have come to believe that the world is better without death. Thanatos allows the champion to steal his power from him and slay him. However, upon seeing a world without Death, the champion realizes the importance of Thanatos, and takes on the mantle himself.

Associated Talents

Thantologist: [5/level] (Lesser Primordial Expertise). Found in GURPS Power-Ups 3: Talents, on page 16.

Strangler: [5/level] (Lesser Primordial Expertise). Found in GURPS Power-Ups 3: Talents, on page 15 (And Dungeon Fantasy Monsters 1).

Associated Miracles

  • Minor Blessings (Neutral)
    • Shroud of Broken Communion
    • Primordial Expertise, Lesser (Thanatologist or Strangler)
    • Inured Mind
    • Horrifying Truth
    • Poltergeist
    • Commune with Dead
    • Summon Ghost
  • Major Blessings (Good)
    • Broken Window
    • Shroud of Broken Communion (Enhanced)
    • Corrupt Ground
    • Death Touch
    • Sense Death
    • Summon Ghost, Enhanced
  • Miraculous Power (Very Good)
    • Psycho Storm
    • Chaotic Interference
    • Corrupt Ground (Enhanced)
    • Channel Archetype (Death)
    • Psychic Extinction
    • Summon Eldritch God
  • World-Shaking Miracles (Excellent)
    • Psycho Storm (Enhanced)
    • Black Sun
    • Summon Eldritch God, Enhanced
  • History-Shaping Miracles (Excellent+4)
    • Primordial Avatar (Death)

Unique Miracles

Commune with Dead

Reaction Required: Neutral
Learned Prayer Prerequisite: Broken Communion 4, Archetypal Reputation (Death) 1
Learned Prayer Cost: 2 points
Corruption: 2

When faced with a region of Twisted Psionic Energy, the Avatar of Death can commune with the astral beings trapped therein, learning what is needed to put them to rest or, perhaps, what their secrets are.

Statistics: Medium (Divine Path -25%) [8]

Summon Ghost

Reaction Required: Neutral
Learned Prayer Prerequisite: Broken Communion 5, Archetypal Reputation (Death) 1
Learned Prayer Cost: 4 points
Corruption: 4

The mystic conjures a ghost out of nothing. While the mystic may summon a ghost outside of a place sacred to Broken Communion, ghosts depend on twisted psionic energy and it will quickly evaporate. The mystic may not specific the specifics of the ghost (though he may request particular traits and, if he knows the name of the ghost, may summon the same instance of a ghost again and again). The ghost is weak, worth no more than 50% of the point total of the character, and typically little more than the shade of a dead person, or a small, mischievous shadow-entity. The ghost will perform one task for the summoner or remain for 24 hours, whichever is longer. It will do precisely what the summoner asks of it and no more. If the summoner asks to do something the ghost dislikes, the ghost may return to exact vengeance against the summoner.

These ghosts might not be the literal spirits of the dead, but instead may be something created at that moment by either the will of the character or the mercurial nature of Broken Communion. Taken as a Learned Prayer, the character can summon a specific ghost at will; if the ghost is ever destroyed, he may summon a new ghost.

Statistics: Ally (Ghost; 50% character points or less; Always; Divine Path -25%; Minion +50%; Special Abilities +50%; Summonable +100%; Unwilling -50%) [18]

Sense Death

Reaction Required: Good
Learned Prayer Prerequisite: Broken Communion 7, Archetypal Reputation (Death) 2
Learned Prayer Cost: 7 points
Corruption: 7

Upon completion of this prayer, the Avatar of Death automatically knows the location of the nearest corpse or ghost or anything else that resonates strongly with the essence of Death (someone deeply suicidal, someone who is terminally ill, another Avatar of Death, a place sacred to Death, etc). This information is perfect, but if the Avatar wants to understand it more deeply (ie to analyze it), he must succeed at a Philosophy or Theology roll to better comprehend its imagery.

Statistics: Detect (Death; Common, No Roll Required +100%, Precise, Non Targetting +90%, Divine Path -15%) [33]

Death Touch

Reaction Required: Good
Learned Prayer Prerequisite: Broken Communion 8, Archetypal Reputation (Death) 2
Learned Prayer Cost: 9 points
Corruption: 9

“Your mere touch blackens skin and warps flesh.” This miracle imitates Corrupting Touch (Pyramid #3-36, page 11) but makes use of the new Psi-Wars rules to increase the damage to 9d and applies the Divine Path modifier.

Statistics: Toxic Attack 9d (Cosmic, Irresistible Attack +300%, Divine, Path -25%, Melee Attack C, cannot parry -35%) [41]

Summon Ghost, Enhanced

Reaction Required: Good
Learned Prayer Prerequisite: Broken Communion 8, Archetypal Reputation (Death) 2
Learned Prayer Cost: 9 points
Corruption: 9

This power works just as Summon Ghost except the ghost may be worth as much as the player character. Such ghosts tend to be either older ghosts or explicitly abstract and demonic-seeming entities. They tend to have considerable power and subtle influence and may have names written in ancient texts.

Statistics: Ally (Ghost; 100% character points or less; Always; Divine Path -25%; Minion +50%; Special Abilities +50%; Summonable +100%; Unwilling -50%) [45]

Summon Eldritch God

Reaction Required: Very Good
Learned Prayer Prerequisite: Broken Communion 11, Archetypal Reputation (Death) 3
Learned Prayer Cost: 15 points
Corruption: 15

The character conjures up a being of enormous power. The “ghost” exceeds the power of the character (having at most 200% of the character’s points). Such beings tend to have strange powers, but be narrow in scope. This being may be summoned anywhere, and will assist the mystic, however, it never has the summoner’s best interests in heart, and if the summoner uses the power to compel the psychic aberration, it will seek revenge..

The GM defines the traits of the ghost, though if the player knows the name of the specific ghost, he may attempt to summon that specific ghost. Such names can often be found in ancient texts!

Statistics: Patron (Ghost; 200% character points; Always; Divine Path -25%; Highly Accessible +50%; Special Abilities +50%; Unwilling -50%) [75]

Psychic Extinction

Reaction Required: Very Good
Learned Prayer Prerequisite: Broken Communion 12, Archetypal Reputation (Death) 3
Learned Prayer Cost: 21
Corruption: 21

After completion of this prayer, the Avatar of Death may reach out and touch his target, skin to skin. If he does so, he chooses a psionic power and roll a contest of Wills, with the Avatar of Death at +8, and the target with a bonus equal to their talent associated with that power. If the Avatar of Death wins, the victim's power is Crippled for 1d months (but it can recover with assistance from Esoteric Medicine and/or Psychic Healing); if the Avatar of Death fails, the target cannot be affected by this miracle for another day.

Statistics: Neutralize (Psi, Extended Duration, Permanent +150%; Increased Immunity 3, -30%, Reliable +8 +40%, Contact Agent -30%, Broken Communion, Path -25%) [103]

Summon Eldritch God, Enhanced

Minimum Reaction: Excellent
Learned Prayer Prerequisite: Broken Communion 14, Archetypal Reputation (Death) 4
Learned Prayer Cost: 30 points
Corruption: 30

As with Summon Eldritch God, except there is no upper bound to the power of the ghost. Such beings tend to be primeval, ghosts that have existed for longer than humanity has roamed the stars and have dark appetites and darker agendas. If they were once human, they left that humanity behind long ago! These beings will assist the summoner, but in their own way, and may well extract a price from the character.

Statistics: Patron (Ghost; unlimited character points; Always; Divine Path -25%; Highly Accessible +50%; Special Abilities +50%; Unwilling -50%) [150]

Avatar Templates

Lesser Avatar of Death

Learned Prayer Cost: 20 points

The psion retains his own personality, but gains channels the skills associated with Death. He gains a deep understanding of the processes of death, and becomes exceptionally adept at taking the lives of others with his bare hands. Furthermore, he becomes deeply sensitive to the energies of death, able to locate those energies and commune with them to learn the cause of death, etc. This is similar to Detect Death miracle above, but it lack Precise (it will not tell the exact location) and requires a Meditation roll to successfully detect the source of Death. He also gains a +1 to all rolls that have the intention of killing another. Finally, the Lesser Avatar of Death, while channeling Death, becomes very difficult to kill, as difficult to kill as a Greater Avatar of another path.

Statistics: Lesser Avatar of Death template as Alternate form

Lesser Avatar of Death

112 points

Advantages: Lesser Avatar Template [25]; Thantologist 3 [15] and Optional Rule: Talent may exceed +4 [1]; Strangler 3 [15] and Optional Rule: Talent may exceed +4 [1]; Detect (Death, Common, Divine -0%) [20]; Hard to Kill +5 [10]; Hard to Subdue +5 [10]; Medium [10]; Higher Purpose (Kill) [5]

Greater Avatar of Death

Learned Prayer Cost: 34 points

The psion becomes the incarnation of Death. In addition to the typical, overwhelming power of any Communal Avatar, his aura and features blur into a horrific visage of death, the icon of what which we all carry within us that drives us to suicide. He becomes monstrous (-6 to reactions)utterly terrifying (Fright Check -5), and his very touch inflicts 6d toxic damage to whomever he comes in contact with, regardless of their DR. Finally, this Avatar is even more durable than most, and instead of gaining +5 to survival checks, the Avatar is immune to any death checks unless he is at -10xHP, at which point he is destroyed. This effect, of course, ends when the Avatar State ends. If the character dies after the state ends, they have the option to purchase an Extra Life afterwords, even going into point debt to do so. While in the Avatar State, the character kills plants and small animals around him, obviously does not care about the feelings of others, and chooses to kill rather than take prisoners.

Statistics: Greater Avatar of Madness template as Alternate form, plus Option (May purchase Extra Life afterwords if they die) [1]

Greater Avatar of Death

298 points

Advantages: Primordial Template [175]; Terror -5 (Divine -0%) [80]; Toxic Attack 6d (Cosmic, Irresistible Attack +300%, Divine, Path -0%, Melee Attack C, cannot parry -35%, Aura +80%, Always On -20%) [34]; Replace Hard to Kill [10] with Unkillable 1 [50] for 40 points

Disadvantages: Appearance (Horrific, Divine -0%, Glamour Will-5 -5%) [-23]; Callous [-5], Bloodlust (12 or less) [-10], Lifebane [-10].

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