Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Scholars of Immortality

The WATCHERS
I am a Watcher, part of a secret society of men and women who observe and record, but never interfere. We know the truth about immortals. In the end, there can be only one.…
—Joe Dawson

Headquarters: Lyon, France (primary branch); Amsterdam, Netherlands (secondary branch).
Followers: Between 9,000 and 10,000.
Secret Knowledge: Immortal personalities and lore, FX abilities and occult knowledge, secret documents detailing shared history between ancient Immortals and humankind.
Common Missions: Observe and record Immortal activity, maintain their secrecy, preserve the nature of the Game by not interfering in it, watch for signs of change in the Game to determine if the One (the last Immortal) has achieved the Prize.
Requisition Limit: 30 (Restricted).

A lawful neutral, secret organization, whose main objective is to keep records and histories on all Immortals, and their extended relationships and activities, as they appear throughout human history. The Watchers organization is divided into three different operative levels: field agents, researchers, and special operations team members. Field agents are the rank and file, consisting of over 80% of the membership, whereas special operations accounts for about 15% of all Watcher activity, and researchers and coordinators both less than 1%. Coordinators are leaders in the field, answering only to the High Watcher Tribunal—a now democratically elected seat of three senior Watchers—that oversee gathering reports and networking with field agents in their respective regions: North America, Central America, South America, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Mediterranean, West Africa, Central Africa, South Africa, Middle East, Russia/Siberia, India/Subcontinent, China, East Asia, Southeast Asia, Indonesia/Philippines, Australia, and Oceania.

Legend states that the organization was created by Ammaletu the Akkadian after he saw Gilgamesh come back to life at or around the 27th century B.C. Competing beliefs claim that the earliest Watchers had some roots that go back to the Council of Atlantis (date unknown). After the mythical city’s fall, some of the refugees from Atlantis were scattered throughout the world. A few refugees, who had been members of the council, were chosen to watch over those who were later identified as “Immortal,” as judged by their appearance after the fall even though others had thought them killed by the city’s destruction.

All members keep their own records on the Game, a term understood and used by Immortals regarding the violent, competitive lives they lead in pursuit of the Prize. Long ago, these records were stored at the Great Library at Alexandria in Egypt. The library became the proto-Watchers’ original main headquarters. Unfortunately, forces of darkness destroyed the library at Alexandria, and all was lost leaving no intact remains of the old records and events. So the true nature of the Immortals—where they came from, and why they are here—was lost and forgotten.

The Watchers did not appear again until the time of the First Crusade near Leipzig, this time as a small group of knights. The knights found the charred remains of the library at Alexandria and began to reopen the lost knowledge of the past. This reawakening of knowledge brought to their attention the forces of darkness at work in the world. A deadly war was fought to end the knights and their findings. Many of the knights paid with their lives for the ancient knowledge. The knights that survived swore to avenge their lost brothers and sisters and reorganized into a secret organization that led to the modern day Watchers. Their goal was to monitor and safeguard the world against the forces of darkness and again record the events of the Game.

The knights did not understand what part the Immortals played in the world. It seemed that Immortals came in all forms of good, evil, and everything in-between. Thus, they decided not to interfere with the Game until it could be fully understood. They all took a vow to only watch and record the lives and events of the Immortals, and never to interfere.

Watchers understand that the Game must be watched very carefully; if, in the end, the minions of darkness win the final battle, humanity will suffer greatly at the heralding of a dark age that could last a hundred generations. To this end, Watchers try to keep accurate records on all the Immortals due to an old legend believed to have been passed down since the time of Ammaletu. The legend states that the “purest of evil” will take on a physical form once every 1,000 years. Only an Immortal, a “champion” in virtue and deeds, can defeat this supernatural evil and force it back into remission. Which Immortal is the champion remains to be seen until after the great evil takes shape. The legend further states that if the forces of darkness were to win and defeat the chosen Immortal, they would gain the use of the fallen Immortal’s body and soul, including all those souls kept within the fallen Immortal’s Quickening. The fallen Immortal would become an unstoppable force of evil.

Symbol
The symbol of the Watchers, as seen at right, is often worn as a blue tattoo today, though replicas of it cast in silver and worn as a necklace were common in the past and may still exist in certain parts of the world. The tattoo is generally located on the left forearm, and can be made to appear only under black light or other circumstances.

Membership
The original members of the Watchers were only knights and monks, but as time grew on, the need for people from all persuasions became apparent. Just as the Watchers protect the knowledge of Immortals, so too do they protect the proliferation of that knowledge, often pressing those individuals who discover Immortals on accident into the fold (not only for their knowledge but as a means of control). As such, the Watchers consist of people from all cultures and social strata. Watcher characters may be from any region, class, or background. A Watcher need not take levels in the Watcher prestige class to be a member, though most experienced Watchers and all regional coordinators naturally take at least a few levels in the class.

WATCHER (Prestige Class)
Watchers are part historian, part detective, and part spy. They learn to blend in with their surroundings naturally, often becoming pillars of the communities in which they live and work—a boon for those who must train their eyes and ears to what goes on in the world around them, especially in its darkest corners. They usually do not interfere with the events of an Immortal’s life or with the Game; but from time to time, they have also been known to enforce the rules of the Game, or even to stack the odds in the favor of those they watch.

Select this class if you prefer your character to use subterfuge, words before actions, and forbidden knowledge to uncover secrets and engage in shadowy deals while risking much to stay hidden but close to where the conflict happens. Observing and recording are your trade, but you will take action to protect the secrets you hold. You may even interfere with the Game if the need arises, where the "need" is open to interpretation and could be used for good as well as evil, as the past has dictated.

The fastest path into this prestige class is from the Smart hero base class, though other paths are possible. Many Watchers may also first (or concurrently) take levels in the Investigator, Occultist, Field Antiquarian, or Field Guide advanced classes.

Requirements
To qualify to become a Watcher, a character must fulfill the following criteria.
          Skills: 9 ranks in any two: Gather Information, Investigate, or Research; and 6 ranks in either Knowledge (Arcane Lore), Knowledge (History), or Knowledge (theology and philosophy).
          Feats: Studious or Trustworthy.

Class Information
The following information pertains to the Watcher prestige class.

Hit Die
The Watcher gains 1d6 hit points per level. The character’s Con modifier applies.

Action Points
The Watcher gains a number of action points equal to 6 + one half his character level, rounded down, every time he attains a new level in this class.

Table 1: The Watcher
Class
Level

BAB
Fort
Save
Ref
Save
Will
Save

Special
Def
Bonus
Rep
Bonus
1st
+0
+1
+0
+1
Realm of operations
+0
+0
2nd
+1
+2
+0
+2
Bonus feat, read emotions
+1
+0
3rd
+1
+2
+1
+2
Time-honored tradition
+1
+0
4th
+2
+2
+1
+2
Bonus feat
+2
+0
5th
+2
+3
+1
+3
Time-honored tradition
+2
+1

Class Skills
The Watcher’s class skills are as follows.
          Bluff (Cha), Computer Use (Int), Decipher Script (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Gather Information (Cha), Hide (Dex), Investigate (Int), Knowledge (arcane lore, art, behavioral sciences, current events, earth and life sciences, history, physical sciences, popular culture, streetwise, technology, theology and philosophy) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Profession (Wis), Read/Write Language, Research (Int), Search (Int), Sense Motive (Wis), Speak Language, Spot (Wis).
          Skill Points at Each Level: 7 + Int modifier.

Class Features
The following features pertain to the Watcher prestige class.

Realm of Operations
The Watcher is surreptitiously inserted into the general populace where his or her assigned Immortal currently resides (if he or she doesn’t live there already), and is generally left to lead a double-life in whatever profession or hobby suits the Watcher outside his or her duties. The character is provided a one-time +10 Wealth bonus to help purchase whatever computer and consumer electronics, surveillance gear, or professional equipment the Watcher sees fit to keep tabs on the assigned Immortal. All initial costs for relocation are further covered by the organization, and all travel costs related with following the Immortal during the assigned period are also subsidized by the organization, up to the organization’s requisition limit (30). Any costs beyond this limit must be absorbed by the Watcher.

Through a combination of past research, the assigned Immortal’s file, and the Watcher’s now embedded position, the Watcher gains a competence bonus on any Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma-based skill checks that pertain to the Immortal (with GM approval). The bonus is +1 at 1st level, and increases to +2 at 3rd level, and then +3 at 5th level.

Should the Watcher’s assigned Immortal die, the Watcher will be relocated and given a new assignment within one month after the incident is reported. At 3rd level, and again at 5th, the Watcher may assume an additional Immortal assignment; thus, upon reaching 3rd level in this class, the Watcher may become responsible for up to two Immortals, and up to three Immortals at 5th level.

Watchers of 1st level or higher also cultivate contacts, usually (but not exclusively) within the organization or the world of Immortals. Each time the Watcher gains a new contact, the GM should develop a new supporting NPC to represent the contact. In rare cases, when the level of the contact is appropriate, the Watcher’s own assignments may become valuable contacts for them if the Watcher is befriended by the Immortal after discovery. You may suggest the kind of contact you want to gain, but the contact must be an ordinary character, not a heroic character (except as previously mentioned).

Contacts appropriate to a Watcher include professors, librarians, museum curators, archaeologists, law enforcement, reporters, truth-seekers, and others who focus on unsolved mysteries and knowledge who can provide limited aid and information pertaining to the Watcher’s assignment(s) or other Immortals at-large and their activities. The contacts in question may not even fully understand the information they are giving the Watcher, especially if it has to do with the truth about Immortals and the acts they perpetrate. Contacts usually will not accompany Watchers on missions or risk their life. Contacts can, however, provide information or render a service valuable to a mission’s completion (such as making a skill or wealth check on your behalf).

At 1st level, the Watcher gains a low-level contact, at 3rd level a mid-level contact, and at 5th level a high-level contact.

Should the Watcher have contacts from another class, each class’s contacts must be managed separately. In some instances, the GM may allow you to simplify your contacts by leveling one up from “low level” to “mid level” each time a contact is acquired as a class feature, instead of introducing an entirely new character. The Watcher can’t call on the same contact more than once in a week, and some compensation or favor may be required in return for the aid provided. The NPC will call on the Watcher in return when the opportunity arises. See the d20 Modern Roleplaying Game (pages 270-283) for sample contacts.

Bonus Feat
At 2nd and 4th level, the Watcher receives one bonus feat from the following list: Alertness, Attentive, Defensive Martial Arts, Jack of All Trades, Low Profile, Open Minded, Stealthy, Studious, Trustworthy, or Urban Tracking. Any and all prerequisites for these feats must still be met.

Read Emotions
At 2nd level, the Watcher develops the ability to study another person for 4 full rounds and discern their general emotions and forthcoming intentions. The number of rounds needed to study the target is reduced by one at each level (to a minimum of 1 round at 5th level). There is no range limit to this ability so long as the Watcher can read facial features and specific body language. Once the read is established, the Watcher can no longer be surprised by the target and receives a +2 bonus on Initiative against the target. At 4th level, when using his ability, the Watcher has the chance to predict good or evil intent in the target’s next action as the divine spell augury (caster level equal to class level).

Time-Honored Tradition
At 3rd and 5th level, the Watcher takes up a time-honored tradition through study of the past and those who have lived through it, namely Immortals. Time-honored traditions are observances of ancient or pre-modern activities such as North American dog mushing, chess, Greek debate, Japanese bansai, Turkish Sunni practices (e.g. the whirling dervish), Chinese Tai Chi, Cossack dance, Scandinavian harpooning, Italian opera, Mesoamerican vision quests, Himalayan asceticism, or African rock art. This list is anything but exhaustive, and you should consult the GM along with an encyclopedia to investigate other possibilities.

The regular observance of such an activity by a Watcher grants him or her a +2 competence bonus to one ability score of your choice. This ability score bonus should be based off the activity itself and what its “ability-like” focus would seem to be. Using the examples above, Cossack dance and Scandinavian harpooning might be tied to Strength, the whirling dervish and Tai Chi tied to Dexterity, dog mushing and asceticism to Constitution, chess and debate to Intelligence, bansai and vision quests to Wisdom, and opera and rock art to Charisma. Each tradition may be selected only once.