The material below is designated as Open Game Content
Enter Tricks of the Trade. This chapter greatly expands upon the base concept of the sorcerer. Within, you’ll find rules for substituting life blood for material components, new and surprising ways for sorcerers (and perhaps other spellcasters) to use their existing skills and guidelines for adding true names, the words which define and shape the cosmos, to your campaign.
A sorcerer’s blood is charged with magical power. By sacrificing a bit of this precious elixir, a sorcerer can forgo the need for material components and focuses, as well as boost the ability of his spells to penetrate an opponent’s defences.
In order to use this ability, the sorcerer must cut himself during the casting of his spell and allow his blood to flow freely; even a small slash will do, so long as it is deep enough to open the skin. When the incantation is completed, a gout of blood will erupt from the cut, transforming into sparks of light and fire as it falls. When this occurs, the sorcerer loses a number of hit points equal to the level of the spell being cast; these lost hit points cannot be healed by magical healing, or by any other supernatural effect and heal naturally at half the normal rate. In return, the sorcerer may forgo the need for both material components of less than 50 gold pieces in value and any required focuses. Spells enhanced by his blood also gain a +2 bonus to pierce spell resistance, which stacks with those bonuses granted by Spell Penetration or other, similar feats and special abilities.
In addition to the above use, a sorcerer’s blood can be used for many other purposes. See the Tools of the Trade chapter for more details.
New Uses for Old Skills
Normal: You can make even the most outrageous seem true, act, con and fast talk your way through social encounters.
Disguise Spell: By carefully adding gibberish phrases and redundant hand motions, a spellcaster can attempt to make it more difficult for others to identify his spells as they are being cast. Attempting to do so doubles the spell’s casting time and only spells with a casting time of one action or one round can be disguised in this fashion. Attempts to disguise spells are made at the end of the modified casting time and are against a DC of 20 + the spell level. A successful skill check doubles the spell’s level for the purposes of identifying it with Spellcraft checks. So, for example, an attempt to identify a successfully disguised 5th level spell would be made against a DC of 15 + 10, or 25, rather than 20.
Special: Characters with 5 or more ranks in Spellcraft gain a +2 synergy bonus to all Disguise Spell skill checks.
Normal: You can focus your mind to ignore pain and other distractions.
Charge Preservation: You can attempt to hold a touch spell’s charge while touching an object or casting another spell. In order to successfully hold a touch spell’s charge, you must succeed a Concentration skill check with a DC equal to 15 to touch an object, or 15 + level of the touch spell + level of the new spell you are attempting to cast. If the Concentration check is successful, you maintain the touch spell’s charge and, if applicable, cast the new spell without incident. If you fail the check while attempting to touch an object, the charge is lost. If the check is failed when attempting to cast a second spell, the new spell is lost and magical feedback causes the touch charge to detonate internally, inflicting 1d6 damage per spell level with no save.
Each new object you touch or spell you cast beyond the first makes it incrementally more difficult to safely hold the touch spell’s charge. Each new object touched or manipulated increases the check DC by 2. For casting additional spells, the DC of the check increases by the touch spell’s level and the level of the new spell to be cast, stacking each time with existing DC modifiers. So, for example, a sorcerer attempting to hold a shocking grasp charge while casting a magic missile would make a Concentration skill check against a DC of 15 +1 +1 = 17. Were he to attempt to cast a second magic missile while maintaining the charge, the DC would be 15 +1 +1 +1 +1, or 19. You cannot maintain a touch spell’s charge while attempting to cast another touch spell.
Spell Fugue: You may attempt to maintain a spell with the duration of concentration while casting another spell. The DC of the check is equal to 20 + the level of the spell to be maintained + the level of the new spell you are attempting to cast. Only spells with a casting time of one action can be cast in this way. If you fail the check, both spells are wasted. You may attempt to cast a new spell each round, but the DC of the check is increased by the new spell’s level each time, stacking with the previous DC. So, for example, a sorcerer attempting to maintain an emotion spell while casting a fireball would make a Concentration check against a DC of 20 + 3 + 3, or 26. If he later attempted to cast another fireball while still maintaining the emotion spell, the DC would be 20 + 3 + 3 +3, or 29.
Special: A character with 5 or more ranks in Spellcraft gains a +2 synergy bonus when attempting a charge preservation or spell fugue skill check.
Normal: Combine strange and unique ingredients to create exotic and powerful substances.
Create Blood Infusion: With a successful Craft (alchemy) skill check, you can create a blood infusion, a magical liquid distilled from your own blood. Blood infusions can be used to create a variety of effects, in a manner similar to potions. The skill check DCs to create blood infusions are listed below.
|Spell Store||15 + spell level||Cost 1 XP per spell level and 1 hp|
|Spell Boost||20||The total skill check determines the highest level of spell which may be boosted|
|Spell Shield||20||Costs 2 XP per spell level and 1 hp|
Complete rules for the creation and use of blood infusions are presented in Tools of the Trade.
Identify Spell Arsenal: With a successful Craft (alchemy) skill check, you can identify a bard or sorcerer’s known spells. In order to attempt this, you must have alchemical equipment, a quiet place to work undisturbed and access to at least an ounce of blood (no more than 3 days old) taken from the sorcerer in question. The base DC of the check is 20, with results over that determining what spell levels are identified on a one-for-one basis. So, for example, a skill check result of 25 would correctly identify all spells known up to 5th level. Identify Spell Arsenal can also be used to determine what, if any spell-like abilities a creature possesses, but cannot be used to identify the spell complements of wizards, clerics or other spellcasters, as their magic comes from external, rather than inborn sources. Blood used in the skill check is rendered useless by the test, whether or not the check was successful; in addition, each test requires 10 gold pieces worth of disposable chemicals and powders, which are consumed in the process.
Special: A character with 5 or more ranks in Spellcraft gains a +2 synergy bonus when using Craft (alchemy) to Identify Spell Arsenals.
Normal: You can use veiled threats, sharp words and sheer force of will to bully others.
Crush Resistance: With a successful Intimidation check against a DC equal to 15 + class level, or hit dice in the case of monsters, you can shatter the self confidence of other beings, making them more vulnerable to your spells. Those who you successfully cow suffer a -1 morale penalty to their Will saves to resist the first of your spells which targets them during the encounter. Targets, which are immune to fear, or mind-affecting effects are likewise immune to your attempts to crush their resistance. Likewise, targets with 5 or more ranks in the Sense Motive skill add +2 to the DC of the check.
Spell Display: A sorcerer and only a sorcerer, can discharge a cantrip to gain a bonus to his Intimidate skill checks. The spell flares to life in a harmless but impressive display of arcane power, causing light to burst from his fingertips, or lightning to crackle in his eyes or other, similar effects. The spell display grants a +2 circumstance bonus to his Intimidate skill check. At the Games Master’s discretion, the circumstance bonus may be increased up to a total of +5 when used against peasants or other folk not accustomed to magic.
Normal: You are well-versed in ancient mysteries and the ways of spellcasters.
Non-Magical Fortune Telling: Whether by consulting astrological star charts, tarot, reading palms, tea leaves, chicken scratches, entrails, seeds, peering into a crystal ball or reading flickering tongues of flame you know how to interpret mystical signs well enough to read the immediate future, at least to a limited degree.
There are far too many fortune-telling mediums for a comprehensive list to be provided here, but some of the more famous and interesting include:
Astrology - the study of the influence of celestial bodies on personality, the future and life in general.
† Cheiromancy - palm reading. Determining the course of a life by studying lines on the palm of the hand.
† Tarot - predicting present and future events through interpretation of the arrangement of symbolic cards.
† Tasseomancy - divination based off interpretation of the patterns of floating tealeaves.
Rune Casting - divination based around interpreting the arrangement and positioning of magical symbols carved into bits of bone, wood or rock.
† Alomancy - the interpretation of patterns of salt thrown on the floor.
† Floromancy - divination through interpretation of flowers.
† Pyromancy - divination through interpretation of patterns of flames.
In order to perform a non-magical reading, you need a place of relative quiet and the necessary tools for the particular style of reading you wish to perform. Should you wish to perform a reading on a particular person, they, or at least one of their important possessions, must be in attendance as well. There are no hard and fast rules regarding how long a legitimate reading takes, but you may wish to default to one hour minus the reader’s Wisdom or Intelligence bonus, whichever is higher.
A non-magical fortune telling can be performed for any one of the following purposes, one per reading:
Divining the Future:
† Personal - Through careful study of the questioner, or by turning his focus internally, the teller can gain limited insight into near future events that will be of some importance. With a successful skill check, the subject of the divination gains a one-off competence bonus of +1 to any attack roll, saving throw, skill check or ability check made during the next 24 hours.
† General - The teller can attempt to interpret the tangled web of possibility that is the future. With a successful skill check, he gains sudden insight into a near future event. The insight is equivalent to that gained by the augury spell, but can apply to any event which will occur within the coming 24 hours. Unfortunately, the teller has no control over which event he will gain insight to; the feeling or vision simply comes to him. Attempting this sort of foretelling is both physically and mentally exhausting; the teller is considered fatigued for two hours after the reading.
Identify Personality Traits: A thorough reading can deliver great insight into a subject’s true nature.
With a successful skill check, the teller learns some general facts about the subject. He does not, however, learn exact, concrete facts, such as the subject’s alignment, level, abilities for example. Instead, he is given hints and clues, as considered appropriate by the Games Master. For example, should a foretelling be performed on a 15th level fighter of Lawful Evil alignment who’s hell bent on establishing his own tyrannical kingdom, the fortune teller would not learn these dry facts. He might, however, he might receive visions of the fighter striking down powerful monsters with a single blow or images of him as an old man on a great iron throne; whip in hand and surrounded by hundreds of peasants in chains.
Only one foretelling of a particular subject may be performed each day, regardless of the success or failure of the initial foretelling. The DC of the skill check to successfully perform a non-magical fortune telling varies by both the type of foretelling being performed and the available tools. The chart below presents a general listing of fortune telling DCs:
|Personal Divination of the Future:|
|Another (in person)||20|
|Another (personal item)||30|
|Subject Present||20-25||DC depends on willingness of the subject|
|Personal Item||25-30||DC depends on willingness of the subject|
Typically, a failed skill check means only that the fortune-teller learned nothing in his reading.
Occasionally, however, the Games Master may wish to give the character a false reading, which may have dangerous results. Remember also that a foretelling even a successful one does not provide the character with interpretation and analysis of the events foretold. It is entirely possible that the fortune-teller will not understand what he sees, or worse, that he will completely misinterpret the reading - such is the danger of divining the future.
Normal: You are trained in a livelihood, which depends more upon a wide breadth of knowledge than aptitude in a specific field.
Charlatan Fortune-teller: Logically, the sheer number of divination spells available in most campaign worlds should make it difficult, if not impossible, for a charlatan to establish himself as a legitimate fortune-teller. And yet, the average metropolis teems with all manner of charlatans disguising themselves as soothsayers, astrologers, palm readers and spirit mediums. Even many legitimate spellcasters, especially those of questionable ethics, would rather mumble a few words, hum and haw over a handful of tarot cards and pretend to consult star charts than bother with casting real divination spells. Often those seeking answers would rather hear pretty lies than the, often painful, truth. A sorcerer with skill ranks in Profession (charlatan fortune teller) knows how to fake palm readings, astrological consultations and other classic methods of fortune telling to satisfy the ignorant and the foolish.
Special: A sorcerer with access to the traditional implements of fortune telling (crystal balls, tarot cards, star charts and the like) gains a +2 competence bonus to his skill check. A sorcerer with 5 or more ranks in Bluff, Knowledge (arcana) or Sense Motive gains a +2 synergy bonus to all Profession (fortune-teller) skill checks.
Normal: Use this skill to identify spells, either before or after they are cast.
Spell Signature: Though the uninitiated believe that a fireball spell is a fireball spell, regardless of who casts it, those better experienced in such matters know that, just as no two artists paint an apple the same way, no two spellcasters craft their magics in identical fashion. A sorcerer, with his intrinsic understanding of magical patterns, can, with a bit of study, identify a particular caster by the telltale clues his spells leave behind. The DC of the check is equal to 25 - the level of the spell; the more powerful the spell, the more clues left behind.
Optional Rule: Intimidation as a Class Skill
A sorcerer is a mortal of unearthly power, a living generator of arcane energy who can rightfully claim descent from and kinship to some of creation’s mightiest beings. Beyond that, a sorcerer’s magic is geared around his will and sense of self. A high level sorcerer is and should be, possessed of one of the most forceful personalities in the entire world. All in all, this should make for an intimidating combination.
Mechanically, however, there is nothing to represent this. Though a Games Master can certainly take it upon himself to insure any Non-Player Characters that a sorcerer interacts with will be suitably impressed by his personal magnetism and supernatural aura, for some groups, however, this can lead to misunderstandings and awkward moments.
To circumvent this issue, a Games Master can simply add the Intimidate skill to the sorcerer’s class skill list. The benefits of this are numerous, but, most importantly gives players of sorcerer characters access to a skill that takes advantage of what is undoubtedly their character’s highest ability score. This also gives Games Masters a concrete justification for the stereotypical unease and fear sorcerers receive from the populace of most fantasy worlds.
If you do decide to add Intimidate to the sorcerer’s class skill list, it is highly recommended that you also adjust the bonuses gained by the Totem Avatar and Arcane Orphan sorcerer character concepts. Instead of receiving Intimidate as a class skill, these concepts now confer a +2 bonus to all Intimidate skill checks.
A true name is much more than a label mortals use to classify and identify each other and the world that encompasses them. In the same way, it is beyond the secret tongues the gods use when speaking amongst themselves. True names are the defining language of the universe, the whispered tones that shape the forms and guide the destinies of all things that are and ever will be. A true name is given just before the moment of creation; it comes unbidden to the mind which imagines, the hands that build or the seed which consummates and births itself into the world.
What a True Name is not
A true name is not a magical word, though it can be used in conjunction with magic to perform feats of truly staggering magnitude. Nor is a true name sacred or profane, though both the holiest and most blasphemous of beings are defined by true names of incomprehensible power; true names give shape to the concepts of good and evil, so they must, by necessity, stand aloof of them.
Finally, a true name is not something to be introduced into your campaign lightly. While the concept of true names will not fundamentally alter your game, avoid the temptation to allow characters and their players, to become collectors. True names, much like exotic magical items, work best when used sparingly, their value is inversely proportional to their rarity.
Miracle, Wish, Divination and Magic in General
Magic cannot reveal a true name, not even if it draws directly on a deity’s power, as miracle does. Why? Simply put, because it’s not as fun. If, in five minutes, a commune spell and a hop, skip and a teleport could gain you access to a true name, they would they be about as special as a cure light wounds potion.
What magic can do, however, is provide vital clues as to the location and nature of the true name’s anchor. These clues should not, however, be straightforward answers. Instead, offer cryptic hints and veiled clues that must be deciphered. Play to the character’s skills, offer references to ancient events, so the bard can use his Bardic Lore ability, or give them symbols which can be translated by a successful Knowledge (arcana) skill check. Here are some suggestions for specific spells:
Commune & contact other plane: While deities and other planar beings can and sometimes do, know true names, they must seek out and discover them just as any other sentient being must. Which means that a given extra-planar being is only likely to know a handful of true names and, even then, only those which relate to his own interests. Even if the deity or planar being does know the true name sought, he cannot simply convey it to the character, both because he is bound by oaths older than creation itself and because mortal magic shatters in the face of a spoken true name. He can, however, give general information as to the nature and location of true names that he knows and is at least able to direct name seekers towards likely sources of information about those names that he does not know.
Discern location: The requirement that the caster have touched or seen the object or person to be sought greatly reduces this spell’s usefulness in tracking down true names. Beyond that, true names are not objects and so cannot be sought by means of this spell. Finally, since the true names of most mortal beings reside in their souls, discern location isn’t likely to tell the name seekers anything they don’t already know.
Detect magic: A true name does not register as magic.
Divination: This powerful spell is a great tool for dispensing clues to name seekers. Simply remember the stated limitations and flavour of the spell and use it unchanged.
Identify: While some magic items are true name anchors (aside from its own), not all anchors are magic items. In any case, a true name will not register as a basic function of a magic item.
Legend lore: This powerful spell can reveal important clues about both those who previously possessed a true name and the nature of the true name’s anchor. Remember the guidelines of the spell and let it work as normal.
Miracle & wish: The power of a miracle or wish nearly limitless, but even they are stymied by the lowest of true names. A wish cannot be used to directly learn a true name, but it can be used to take the name seeker to the location of the true name’s anchor and a cleverly worded wish can also be used to reveal the exact nature of a true name’s anchor.
Other Means of Discovery
There are many other ways for characters to go about tracking down a true name’s anchor. Though a book cannot contain a true name, it can hold an account of a long dead scholar’s search for one. A powerful wizard might reward a service well done with a cryptic hint to a ‘word of truth’, or a fiend might secretly steer powerful heroes towards the anchor of its greatest rival’s true name. Likewise, your player characters, or any other name seeker, might use their Knowledge (arcana, religion) skills or Bardic Knowledge to seek out clues, or they might simply hire a sage to do the research for them. In general, the DC of the skill check needed to uncover clues should be commensurate to the usefulness/power of the true name, as outlined below:
|Non-unique Object||20||True name of farm implements|
|Non-unique Animal||20-25||True name of birds|
|Mortal, unique object or animal||25-30||An elf’s true name|
|Outsider||30-40||A demon lords true name|
|Deity, artefact level item||40+||The god of dwarves’ true name|
|Concept||50+||The true name of the concept of love|
Remember that the DCs presented above are merely guidelines and that careful research and accumulation of facts prior to the skill check should provide hefty circumstance bonuses to searches for even the most powerful or obscure true names.
The Mechanics of a True Name
Typically, a character can know a total of no more than 1 + his Charisma modifier true names, not counting his own true name. Should he learn a new true name, knowledge of one of the previous true names is lost - the character does not get to choose which name is lost and once forgotten, the knowledge of that true name may never be regained. Thanks to their innate facility with magic, elves and gnomes have an easier time retaining the memory of true names and may know a total number of them equal 3 + their Charisma modifier.
All true names have an anchor, as described in the sidebar. An anchor which holds the true name of a group of objects or animals, or which is host to the true name of an element, emotion or other, similar concept cannot be permanently destroyed. Instead, if such an anchor is disrupted or consumed, it reforms one to three days later. In the meantime, the true name attached to that anchor loses its potency, though there is no adverse effect to the objects, animals or concepts it defines. Conversely, since the true name anchors of living beings of above animal intelligence, as well as those belonging to powerful or unique mundane or magical items, are located within the being they define, they are destroyed when it is. Should that unique being or object be later resurrected or reconstructed, their true name returns as well.
True names resist confinement. While a true name may choose to anchor itself to an object such as a scroll or tapestry, it cannot normally be forcibly bonded to an object (though members of the namesmith prestige class and certain artefacts may overcome this limitation.)
Specific effects relating to each type of true name are fully detailed in the appropriate location below.
True Names and Individuals
Every sentient living being is blessed with its own unique true name at the moment of conception. Because of this, there are no true names which apply to the elf race, or any other intelligent mortal race, as a whole, meaning each being is beholden only to its own true name.
While a living being’s true name resides within its soul, or, in the case of certain intelligent monsters, in the closest approximation thereof, it is not affected by magics that directly affect the soul, such as trap the soul or magic jar.
Most living beings never learn their true names, spending their lives in blissful ignorance of the wondrous gift they carry within them. Only those who possess the Awakened True Name feat, or those whose souls are by some other means awakened, ever touch its perfection.
If a character gains possession of an intelligent being’s true name, he can use it to effect the being in question as follows:
† Spells - The character gains a +4 bonus to pierce spell resistance against those whose true names he knows and they suffer a -2 penalty all saving throws to resist his spells. The penalty is increased to -4 against all mind-affecting spells and polymorph spells.
† Skills - The holder of the name gains a +2 bonus to all Bluff, Diplomacy, Intimidate and Sense Motive skill checks which relate to a being who’s name he holds.
Once a week, he can:
† Stun - He can briefly stun a being who’s true name he knows, simply by speaking the true name aloud while in that being’s presence. There is no save for the effect and the victim is stunned for one round. The power of the true name is such that it pierces effects that muffle sound, such as a silence spell and even overcomes a target’s natural deafness. Only the victim and the speaker may hear the true name; to all others, it is simply a terrible, echoing silent rumble. Stunning a victim is a standard action.
† Observe - He can, by simply closing his eyes and whispering the true name aloud, see and hear what his target does. The effect lasts for one minute.
Finally, once a year, he may:
† Suggest - He can force the target to perform a specified action, as though by a suggestion spell cast by a sorcerer of 1 + his Charisma modifier in levels. The target is allowed no save. In order to use this ability, the name keeper must be within vocal range of his target.
A name keeper can also enter into a binding oath with a being that’s true name he knows, but only if that being is willing. Entering a binding oath is a simple matter; the two participants agree on the terms of the oath and then the name keeper speaks aloud the being’s true name. When that occurs, the essence of the name keeper’s own true name mingles with the other being’s and the two are bound as though by a geas which cannot be broken by any magic, no matter it’s power.
True Names and Outsiders
Whereas an intelligent being’s true name rests within its soul, an outsider’s true name is its soul. Outsiders, particularly demons, devils and celestials, are bonded to their true names in a way which mortals can never grasp. The first sound an outsider hears at the moment of its conception is the echo of its true name, an echo that follows them for the duration of their near immortal lives.
Long ago, to protect themselves, outsiders learned to separate their true names from their bodies. An outsider can fuse its true name to any object, being or situation it desires and most choose to do so within moments of their birth. Less intelligent outsiders generally implant their true names in relatively mundane locations; a stalactite at the heart of an abyssal cave, a golden sword impaled on a shimmering cloud, or in a box sunk at the bottom of the plane of endless water. Cannier outsiders, particularly demon and devil lords and celestial generals, prefer to hide their true names in more abstract places, like in the laughter of sullen children, or in the rain which falls once a century on a world of endless dust, or in the dying echoes of a cello.
A character that does manage to gain control of an outsider’s true name can use it in the following ways:
† Spells - He gains a +4 bonus to pierce spell resistance and the victim receives a -2 penalty to all saving throws to resist his spells. The penalty increases to -4 against all mindaffecting spells and the victim loses all racial immunities to energy types, spells or spell categories, but only in the context of resisting the name keeper’s spells.
† Pain - He can, once a day by speaking the target’s name aloud, cause pain, as though by a symbol of pain spell. There is no save for the effect. Inflicting pain is a free action.
† Protection - The name keeper benefits from a permanent protection from good or evil effect, but only against the outsider who’s true name he possesses.
Gate - He can, once and only once, call the outsider who’s true name he knows as though by a gate spell. The called outsider is absolutely compelled to perform a service for the name keeper, with no need for compensation. When the service is performed, the outsider vanishes and the name keeper instantly and permanently loses all knowledge of the outsider’s true name. Fortunately, the outsider is not permitted to seek vengeance for a period of a year and a day.
True Names and Animals
Common animals and beasts, those with an Intelligence score of 1-2, do not have their own true names.
Instead, all animals of the same basic type share a true name. So, for example, all non-magical birds share a single true name, as do all non-magical cats. A character with knowledge of such a true name gains the following benefits:
† Friendship - The keeper of a true name gains a +4 bonus to all reaction checks with animals to which that name applies. He also gains a +4 competence bonus to all Animal Empathy and Animal Handling skills checks involving that animal.
† Speech - He may speak at will with all animals who are bound by the true name he knows.
† Spells - All animals bound by the true name he knows suffer a -4 penalty to saving throws against spells he casts.
† Command - Once a day, he may command an animal who’s true name he knows as though by a suggestion spell. The animal is not permitted a save.
† Summon - Once a week, as a standard action, he may summon a total of 1 + his Charisma modifier in hit dice (or one creature, whichever total is greater) of any animal type who’s true name he knows. So long as there are animals of the correct type within 1 mile per point of Charisma modifier the name keeper possesses, they will come, moving at their fastest possible speed. Once they arrive, they will serve his whims for a full day.
Magical versions of mundane animals have, as a species, their own true names which must be discovered and will not be affected by the power of their mundane cousin’s true names. Likewise, familiars and awakened animals gain their own true names and follow the rules for individual intelligent beings presented above, rather than the rules which bind their lesser brethren.
True Names and Objects
All objects, from the meanest peasant rags to the most ancient and mighty of castles, has a true name.
Like common animals items such as mundane farm equipment, swords and the like, all share one true name. Mundane object true names are grouped together under broad categories, so all farm tools share one true name, as do all blades used in war, as do all axes, as do all bows, as do all wagons, as do all homes (save castles, see below). A character who knows the true name of a category of mundane objects gains the following benefits:
† Perfect - By touching his hands to an object who’s true name he knows, concentrating for a full round and then speaking the true name aloud, a name keeper can temporarily eliminate any of its imperfections, creating, in essence, an idealised version of the object. A weapon becomes masterwork, a wagon or sailing vessel gains a 10 percent increase in base speed, farm implements and other, similar items grant a +2 circumstance bonus to skill checks and homes become more restful, allowing a full night’s rest after only four hours. The name keeper can use a true name in this way a maximum of 1 + his Charisma modifier times per day, with each use lasting a full day.
† Repair - Once a day, after a full hour of concentrating on an object’s true name, he can mend any damage it has received, leaving it as whole and unblemished as the day it was created. So long as more than half of the object in question remains, it can be repaired. Repairing an object in this fashion is very taxing; the name keeper is considered fatigued for one to eight hours after repairing an object, with the amount of exhaustion commensurate with the size of the object being repaired.
† Create - Given a sufficient quantity of material, a name keeper can create objects who’s true name he knows, simply by speaking that true name aloud. The amount of time required to create an object depends upon its size and complexity. A dagger requires only a minute’s concentration and a sword perhaps three times that amount of time, but a sailing vessel would require at least a week of dedicated meditation, with breaks only for eating and sleeping. The created object is of exceptional quality (but is not considered masterwork) and lasts for a number of months equal to the name keeper’s Charisma modifier. The frequency with which a name keeper can use a true name to create an object depends on the object’s complexity and size. An object of about the size and complexity of a sword can be created each day, an object about the size of a wagon or the complexity of plate armour can be created each week. Creating a large and complex item such as a small townhouse would take a month, while items as large and complex as a galleon could take anything up to six months of continuous effort. Creation is very strenuous, leaving the name keeper exhausted for amount of time commensurate to the effort required to create the object. Creation of a sword would, therefore, leave him exhausted for an hour and fatigued for another two, while creating a galleon leaves the name keeper exhausted for a full week and fatigued for two full weeks beyond that.
While mundane objects share true names, more exceptional items have their own unique true names.
Magic items all have there own true names, but nonmagical items of great historical or social significance do as well; castles, great monasteries, important pieces of art, all have their own true names. As such, they follow their own rules. A character that possesses the true name of an exceptional object gains the following benefits:
Locations, Artwork and other static objects – While within site of a location or important static object who’s true name he knows, the name keeper gains a +2 bonus to all attack and damage rolls, all skill and ability checks and to all saving throws. In addition, while within the boundaries of a location who’s true name he knows, he need only sleep four hours a night and heals an additional hit point of damage each day he rests.
Magic Items - Most temporary magic items (such as scrolls, wands, potions and the like) do not have their own true name, as the magic which empowers them is simply too transitory. Instead, like objects, all scrolls share a single true name, as do all wands and a character who knows such a true name can use it for the following effects:
† Boost - Once a day, by speaking the magic item’s true name aloud, he can increase its power. For one round, the item’s powers and effects are considered to be +1 caster level.
† Quiet - Once a day, by speaking the true name aloud, a name keeper can render all magic items of that type temporarily useless. For one round, all magic items of that type within vocal range of the name keeper will not work - no save is permitted to resist this effect. Existing magical effects generated by magic items of that type are not cancelled, however.
Permanent magic items, by contrast, have their own unique true names, which are separate from any activation words they might possess. By saying a magic item’s true name aloud, a character can do the following:
† Summon - By speaking a magic item’s true name aloud and as a standard action, the name keeper can call it to his hand. The item in question must be within 25-ft. + 5-ft. per point of Charisma bonus of the name keeper for the summoning to work; if it is, it immediately flies to his hand, moving around, but not through, intervening barriers. If the summoned item is in another being’s hand, the name keeper and the owner engage in a quick battle of wills, testing the strength of each other’s personalities with opposed Charisma checks. If the name keeper wins the contest, the weapons pulls itself free of its previous owner.
† Preserve - Once a day, by speaking the magic item’s true name aloud, the name keeper can protect it from, or reverse the effects of, any spell or spelllike effect which has suppressed its powers, such as dispel magic or disjunction. Using the true name in this fashion is a free action, which can be performed either immediately before or immediately after the spell to be warded against takes effect. The item is instantly returned to functionality and is also protected against other, similar, magics for one full round.
† Boost - Once a day, by speaking the item’s true name, the name keeper can boost its power. For one round, any spell or spell-like effect generated by the item is cast at +2 caster levels.
True Names and the Elements
Each of the four elements has a true name. An element’s true name encompasses all expressions of that element, so the true name of fire is also the true name of heat and flame and bonfires and even lava.
Likewise, the true name of water encompasses both the largest oceans, the finest mists and everything in between.
Gaining an element’s true name is a quest worthy of legend, as it grants the name keeper exceptional power over that element. For purposes of counting towards a character’s total number of true names known, an element’s true name counts as two true names. Once a character becomes name keeper of an element’s true name, he gains the following abilities:
† Spell Use - All spells of, or directly relating to, the element who’s true name the character knows are cast at +1 caster level and impose a -1 penalty to all saving throws. The bonus applies both to spells with the elemental descriptor and spells which directly affect the element; so, for example, the true name of air boosts the power of both whirlwind, which has the descriptor [air] and wind wall, which does not.
† Resistance - The name keeper gains a bonus to all saving throws against spells, spell-like effects or natural effects involving the element who’s true name he knows equal to his Charisma modifier.
Should he, for some reason, already gain a bonus to saves from his Charisma, the bonus is added again.
† Speak - The name keeper gains the ability to speak and read the appropriate elemental language.
† Create - The name keeper can, once a day, produce one of the following magical effects, as appropriate to the element who’s true name he knows and as a sorcerer of a level equal to 1 + his Charisma bonus: gust of wind, produce flame, soften earth or stone, or water walk.
† Summon - A name keeper can, once a month, summon an elemental of the appropriate type with hit dice equal to 1 + his Charisma modifier. Regardless of hit dice, the elemental fights as and has abilities equal to a Large elemental. Summoning the elemental is a full round action. It serves the name keeper to the best of its ability for 1 round + 1 round per point of Charisma modifier.
True Names of Concepts and Deities.
While they bear mention here, it should be a rare character indeed who comes to possess the true name of something as unimaginably powerful as the emotion of love, or of the head of a pantheon. The quest for the true name of an concept or deity should be the culmination of a campaign, requiring the characters to overcome obstacles which would challenge even legendary heroes. In the course of such an adventure, the characters are likely to become such legends.
The exact abilities the discovery of such a name would grant are left to your Games Masters to create, but they should be impressive indeed. At a minimum, the name keeper of a deity’s true name should be able to summon and force the obedience of avatars and servants of the deity, as well as gain a portion of that deity’s immortal essence. Likewise, the name keeper of a concept like an emotion should be able to engender that emotion in others at will, or pull it completely from them, leaving them unable to experience it at all. A character who gains a concept or deity’s true name can know no other true names, as the name is simply too vast for a mortal mind to bear easily.
New True Name Feats
The following feats should only be included in your campaign if you have decided to use true names.
Awakened True Name
You are blessed with the knowledge of your own true name and have gained great power from that knowledge
Requirements: Charisma 15+
Benefits: You gain a +2 bonus to all saves against mind-affecting spells and spell-like effects, as well as a +2 save against polymorph and petrification spells and spell-like effects. In addition, you may swear an oath upon your own true name. True name oath functions exactly as a lesser geas, save that it cannot be broken by any spell and has no limit to its duration of effect.
While under the effects of the true name oath, you gain a +1 bonus to all attack rolls, damage rolls (including direct damage spells), ability checks, skill checks and saving throws made in direct service to the stated goal of your oath. Any rolls not made in direct service to the stated goal suffer a -1 penalty. A true name oath is not to be taken lightly and no more than 1 true name oath may be sworn in any month.
Silenced True Name
You have taken the steps necessary to do the unthinkable; you have obliterated your own true name, the key to your identity.
Requirements: Cha 15+
Benefits: You gain a +2 bonus to all saves against mind-affecting spells and spell-like effects, as well as a +2 save against polymorph and petrification spells and spell-like effects. In addition, you may speak a name breaking once a month. A name breaking functions exactly as a bestow curse cast by a sorcerer of your character level, save that the name breaking has a range of 25 ft. + 5 ft. per point of Charisma bonus, requires no gestures and has a duration of 1 week per point of Charisma bonus.