Excerpts Archive | 3/21/2011
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Shadows of Destiny
Heroes of Shadow Excerpts

After twenty levels of adventure, it’s time for you to assume your epic destiny and shape your legend in the universe forevermore. Like a paragon path, an epic destiny grants special powers and features in addition to your class features. Unlike a paragon path, an epic destiny is not a mere specialization of your talents. Instead, your choice of destiny offers extraordinary abilities that represent your journey toward your ultimate fate as you define it.

Everyone’s destiny is different. Although your fate is probably tied closely to the fortunes of your companions, you and your path are unique. To embrace shadow magic is to cleave closely to the bonds of fate and death. The Shadowfell is home to those aspects of the cosmos, as well as to the god who embodies them, the Raven Queen. Your future is shaped by your choices, as well as the choices others make about you. You have chosen your course until now, and perhaps you still might, but greater forces could call you into eternal service in ways you could not have imagined as a lesser mortal.

Heroes of Shadow provides epic destinies that are alternatives to epic destinies appearing in other Dungeons & Dragons supplements. Each one is a thematic way to cap your career as an adventurer, whether you’ve used shadow magic or an entity of shadow has chosen you as its champion. If you choose one of the epic destinies here, you gain that destiny’s features and powers in place of any other possibilities. Choose well.

Guardian of the Void

You walk a path carefully balanced between life and death. You draw on the power of the Shadowfell to preserve death, as well as to prevent the annihilation of countless living things.

The Shadowfell is a realm of death, the one thing in the universe that unifies all mortal folk, from the lowliest beggar to the mightiest emperor. Even the gods are vulnerable to death’s sting. During the Dawn War between the gods and the primordials, many deities fell in battle. Since that time, gods have died at the hands of demons and even mortals.

Some creatures seek to escape death’s grasp. A wizard walks the dark path of lichdom to attain immortality. An alchemist brews a secret elixir that will extend his life by centuries. Such creatures only delay the inevitable. Others, however, take a more direct approach to avoiding their fate.

Scattered pieces of lore, some dating back to the time before the Dawn War, suggest that death is not an intrinsic part of the cosmic order. By performing a dark ritual known as the Echoing Void, creatures intent on immortality at any cost can overcome death—but only by sacrificing millions of sentient lives.

The signs of preparation for this ritual are unmistakable. For a creature that seeks to create devastation on such a massive scale, the options are few—perhaps smashing an astral dominion or annihilating an entire region of the world. Secrecy rather than overwhelming power is such a villain’s primary tool, since the pursuit of the Echoing Void is bound to draw the wrath of heroes, gods, fiends, and primordials alike.

When the ritual of the Echoing Void is begun, the magic it gathers spawns an equal and opposite reaction. The cosmos anoints champions to oppose the ritual’s master. These powerful heroes become the Guardians of the Void, dedicated to preventing the wholesale destruction of the established order of death and life.

Living the Destiny

As a Guardian of the Void, your destiny is tied to those who hope to unlock the power of the Echoing Void. Perhaps you crossed paths early, fighting a minor skirmish that later proved to be one of the first steps in beginning the ritual. A guardian has little knowledge of this destiny, assuming its mantle only when the ritual nears its final stages. You might find that a few disparate events come together to paint a terrifying pattern—one that you must disrupt.

A Guardian of the Void fights to prevent the Echoing Void’s completion, to destroy all knowledge of the ritual, and to defeat those who would pursue the power it offers. By the time a guardian arises, the threat posed to the cosmos is both dire and imminent. You will face down the servants of the powerful creature that seeks to complete the Echoing Void, preparing for your final battle.

Level 21: Raven Guardian’s Endurance

As the final guardian of the mystery of death, you can call on the power of life to sustain you on your quest. Your epic form is honed more sharply, even as you gain a measure of power against death.

Benefit: You increase one ability score of your choice by 2.

In addition, while you are bloodied, you have resist 15 necrotic and regeneration 5.

Level 24: Guardian’s Recovery

Your fight to preserve the place of death in the cosmos allows you to resist death’s cold hand when it reaches for you.

Benefit: You gain a +2 bonus to death saving throws. You increase this bonus by 1 for each other Guardian of the Void within 20 squares of you.

Level 26: Soul of Destiny

Those who fight alongside you share in your all-important task, gaining a measure of power against your fated foes.

Benefit: You gain the soul of destiny power.

Soul of Destiny
Guardian of the Void Utility 26
The energy of the Shadowfell threads through you and your allies, letting you share the power of your destiny.
EncounterAura, Shadow
Minor Action Personal
Effect: You activate an aura 5 that lasts until the end of your next turn. While in the aura, you and each of your allies can use a minor action to lose a healing surge and gain temporary hit points equal to his or her healing surge value and a +4 power bonus to his or her next attack roll, skill check, or saving throw.

Level 30: Guardian of Death

Death is no longer a threat to you. As its champion, you gain the resilience to fight on against even the most overwhelming odds.

Benefit: Once per day when you would drop to 0 hit points or fewer, you instead regain all your hit points, can stand up as a free action, end all effects of your choice that are affecting you, and can teleport adjacent to any other Guardian of the Void as a free action.

Keeper of the Everflow

You draw on the power of the Spirit Wheel, fundamentally changing your physical and spiritual nature to adapt to any challenge you face.

A constant stream of spirits passes through the Shadowfell—part of a grand procession of life, death, and rebirth known to a few ascetics as the everflow. Those who believe in the everflow also believe that it was once intended to return souls back to the world for a new lease on life. According to legend, the dread god Nerull usurped the everflow by hoarding the spirits of the dead. His successor, the Raven Queen, only partly undid the damage done by the fallen god, cutting the everflow short and passing judgment on mortal souls as she sees fit.

The select few who have glimpsed this truth have chosen to correct the course of the everflow. To do this, the Keepers of the Everflow must find a mighty construct hidden deep in the darklands of the Shadowfell—the great Spirit Wheel, set in motion by the actions of the first Keepers. If they complete their work, the everflow will trickle away from the Raven Queen’s domain as the procession of souls is redirected from the road to Letherna back into the world.

The existence of the Keepers of the Everflow is an affront to the god of death, and she will stop at nothing until the faithful of this upstart order are all held in her wintry grasp.

Marshal of Letherna

You are a principal commander in the armies of death, preserving the citadel’s sanctity and supporting the Raven Queen’s rule. Her servants and power are yours to command, and just as your foes fear death, they will learn to fear you.

Letherna lies deep in the Shadowfell, far beyond the reach of most mortals. This bastion of the Raven Queen is seen only by the spirits of the dead and by the privileged retainers and bodyguards of the god of death. Those loyal to the Raven Queen stand ready to defend her citadel’s frost-covered walls from any threat.

Ages ago, when the Raven Queen struck down the dread god Nerull, the other deities crafted a pact that changed the nature of the gods’ relationship with death. To prevent the recently ascended queen from hoarding the spirits of the dead as her own personal army, the pact stipulated that the Raven Queen would be the god of death but not god of the dead, serving as a custodian of the natural cycle of life and death. In return, the gods would allow the Raven Queen to enlist their own followers to aid her worshipers in the defense of her realm. This arrangement suited the Raven Queen, herself an ascended mortal, who preferred to deal with mortals more than with the uncaring powers of the Astral Sea.

That call of duty has sounded again. The armies of Letherna have need of commanders, and only the greatest heroes can be entrusted with the sanctity of the afterlife. With grim determination, the Marshals of Letherna pick up the Raven Queen’s banner and stand fast in the defense of her bastion.

Twilight Tribune

You take on a ghostly aspect to more expertly do battle with the wayward spirits that haunt the cosmos.

All mortals have a dark road ahead of them in the afterlife. When their spirits are released from the flesh they were born into, they venture into the Shadowfell to make their way to the cold slopes of Letherna—and to whatever final destination awaits beyond the halls of the Raven Queen. However, some souls linger in the mortal realm, unable or unwilling to take this fateful journey. Entities such as ghosts, specters, wraiths, and devourers are the most dangerous of these hesitant spirits, committing atrocities through malicious intent or mindless despair.

In response to this scourge, the greatest and wisest heroes of the world are called by fate and the Raven Queen to serve as the Twilight Tribunes. These selfless champions dedicate their lives to seeking out and destroying wayward incorporeal souls. By invoking their dread judgment, the Twilight Tribunes allow even the most tormented undead to leave their lives and pain behind. As they follow the path of their destiny, the Twilight Tribunes are drawn to ever more powerful creatures and challenges, working their way through the most fearsome creatures of shadow and undeath. Having dispensed with liches, dracoliches, and vampires, a tribune might be called on in the end to face off against beings of godlike power and the greatest lords of the undead.

Excerpt Schedule

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March 7


March 11

A Look at Classes

March 14

A Look at Races

March 18

Paragon Paths

March 21

Epic Destinies

March 25


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