Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Sage (a new class for DCCRPG)



My online campaign of DCCRPG is still going. We’re at the beginning of the Doom of the Savage Kings and the entire party is having a blast playing a bunch of chaotic mercenary and cultists (they always make the villains look good).


Anyway, our new player just survived his Funnel and is starting to pick classes for his 0-level PCs. He created a Warrior and a Thief so far, but when his scribe became 1st level I noticed he wanted something different… not quite a Thief, and definitely not a Wizard. After a bit of chat, I came up with the suggestion of “updating” my OD&D Mastermind class to DCCRPG. Here’s the result: the Sage.


The main inspirations for this class were my Mastermind and – obviously – few pieces of the Sage, from OD&D, AD&D 1st and Dragons at Dawn. The mechanical role of this class is to be a supporter (the player told me however that he didn’t wanted a bard). 


This is my first (but I hope not last) homemade class for DCCRPG, and I wrote it in approximately 30 minutes, so it’s either grossly unbalanced or just simply unplayable. We still didn’t have time for a proper playtesting session. As usual, any feedback is really welcome.



The Sage

Alignment: Any

Weapon training: A sage is trained in these weapons: crossbow, dagger, short sword, sling, and staff. Sages rarely use armor, as it affects the use of their abilities.

Attack: as a Wizard.

Action Dice: see below. A sage can use his second and third Action Die only for the Sagely Advice ability.

1
1d16
1d12

2
1d16
1d12

3
1d16
1d14

4
1d20
1d14

5
1d20
1d16

6
1d20
1d16

7
1d20
1d16

8
1d20
1d20

9
1d20
1d20
1d12
10
1d20
1d20
1d14

Crit Die/Table: as a Wizard.

Saves: as a Wizard.

Hit points: as a Thief.

Scholar (only Lawful Sages): If a lawful sage fails a lore (see Loremaster) or social check, he always knows exactly where is (or who has) the information that he’s searching. Scholars are respected by Lawful authorities (i.e. civilization) and can always add their level to skill checks while introducing themselves to rulers, requesting rooms at inns and other similar situations.

Erudite (only Neutral Sages): If the neutral sage doesn’t carry a visible weapon or act in a threatening way, he shouldn’t be the target of any monster on the first rounds of combat (unless there a lot of creatures facing the party, as usual the Judge should adjudicate this). If a neutral sage threatens a death curse, he won’t be killed by most intelligent creatures (and if he’s killed he’ll indeed inflict a death curse on his executioner).

Mountebank (only Chaotic Sages): The first time the chaotic sage meets an intelligent creature he can try to quickly trick or lie to him in one round of quick conversation. If the deceit is nothing absurd, the victim must succeed at a Will save (DC 10 + d20 + sages’ Personality and Luck modifiers). A creature, once cheated this way, can’t again be so easily deceived by the character. If a mountebank acquires taint from his patrons (see Supernatural Patron) he can nullify this taint, once per day, during one short encounter (this ability is instantly negated if the sage uses any supernatural power or ability).

Polyglot: A sage always knows how to read and write. He also gains one bonus language per level. He can either choose these languages during the game or spend a few days with a native speaker to learn the new tongue (at the Judge’s discretion).

Loremaster: Sages know a lot of things. They are always treated as trained (i.e. roll a d20) for any skill check dealing with academic or ‘sagely’ lores (religions, folklore, occultism etc.). If the Judge believes that a particular skill check is also related to the sage’s previous professions (for example: a scribe checking for a lost manuscript), the character should roll a d24. All sages also know the following skills (like a Thief of the same alignment): Forge document, Read languages, Handle poison, Cast spell from scroll, wand or rod (yes, this last skill is expanded to include wands and rods).

Curse Die: Progression as a Thief’s Luck Die. First of all, sages recover Luck as thieves. Sages can use Luck to boost their own checks as any other characters. However, sages are experts on curses (especially Neutral sages) and can inflict minor hexes on their foes. A sage can expend his Luck to inflict penalties on adversaries on sight. Each point spent inflicts a Curse Dice on the target (now save). The sage must be able to speak to do so and he can use this knack even during other characters’ or enemies’ actions.

Sagely Advice: A sage can only use his second and third Action Die on other characters, instructing them about what they should do during a combat encounter or skill check. During combat, the sage must be able to speak to the chosen ally, who gains a new action which must use the sage’s Action Dice roll result. A character can only receive one Sagely Advice per round. Out of combat, a sage can also instruct a character about how he should do something. The Judge is the final arbiter about what type of actions can benefit from this ability and the sage must have around one minute of time to instruct his ally.

Supernatural Patrons: Like wizards, sages can invoke supernatural patrons. A sage automatically receives the spells patron bond and invoke patron at 1st level. He can only learn these spells and others granted directly by their patrons. Unlike other spellcasters, a sage can accumulate 1 patron for every three levels (maximum 3 at 9th level). Each patron after the first automatically inflicts taint on the sage and increases his chance to suffer further corruption by one (i.e. a sage with 2 patrons rolls for corruption with a natural 1 or 2). To cast any patron-related spell a sage is treated as wizard of the same caster level.

The Right Tool for The Job: If a sage has enough gold with him, he can declare that he has spent that money before leaving town to buy any reasonably common item that could be carried by either him or a hireling. The sage must explain how the item is with him if he was searched before by enemies.

Planning Ahead: Sages add their level to their Initiative rolls. All characters that go after him must declare their intentions.




Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Worldbuilding - The Orc Apocalypse

Many people haved pointed that 'A Song of Ice and Fire' (and particularly the 'A Game of Thrones' TV series) is actually a zombie apocalypse disguised as a fantasy. And that's really a cool way of seeing Westeros. If you really think about it, the wights created by the Others/White Walkers are a good example of 'zombies', even thematically. The way they're used in the TV series represents, with perfection, the themes of death and inevitability usually associated with zombies. They also make you wonder about the futility off all the power struggle going on for the Iron Throne - in the end, when 'the Things in the North' come out, who’s sitting on the throne won't make any difference. In other words, Westeros use zombies in an original and cool way (which is a bless in itself in this zombie-overloaded age).

How about stealing that theme for your favorite campaign/setting? Of course, forget zombies. Also forget undeads. Use orcs.

Yes, orcs. "Real" orcs.

Forget World of Warcraft and other attempts of "sanitizing" orcs. As it happens with all great villains which a long presence in media, orcs were eventually "converted" to a player race (like drows, dragons, demons... even illithids!). Magnanimously ignore this thread. Make yourself a favor and watch again the first minutes of Lord of the Rings - The Fellowship of the Ring. That hungry, bloodthirsty and savage horde plunging directly in the abyss to reach their foes - those are our orcs!


Picture this... but without elves!

Orcs are the perfect element for a "zombie" campaign. Players believe they known them. After all, they're just a few Hit Dices with weapons. The classical "cannon fodder" for the Big Bad Boss. So, please, start with orcs that are mechanically identical to what your players are used to. But send them in hordes. Really big hordes. You can even let the players unite a few cities (realms?) to make a beautiful and epic final stand - then throw in all your "George R.R. Martin-powered" sadism on them, sit and watch (and make that last epic battle ends in a perfect "Martin-style" twist if you can… by killing any Aragorn-like NPC!).

After showing them that the “Realms of Man” are doomed, see the party's slow realization that the only way out is retreat. Show them that against the Horde, retreat is ever the only option. This isn't a game about defeating orcs. This is a game about what are you capable of doing to survive the orc apocalypse.
But, please, don't just slaughter your PCs. This is a horror campaign, not an exercise in GM sadism. Once you crush any resistance your players came up, start to probe them, to ask questions: "Now that the World of Man/Free Kingdoms/Waterdeep has fallen… what do you do?" That's the official beginning of your campaign. A good source of inspiration here can be Tolkien's works on Hurin and the Silmarillion legendarium, where we get to see entire lands conquered and controlled by orcs.
Now your players have plenty of – I hope – new and unique challenges. If they still decide to flee, they have to find a safe haven (maybe in the far mythical West, beyond the seas... maybe in the Underdark or inside a very far dwarven kingdom... maybe in oriental lands! etc). If they decide to stay they have to learn to live as the underdog (a good change of roles for a fantasy RPG), maybe going out only during the daylight (that if the orc massive volcanic forges or magic-induced volcanism doesn’t cover the skies in darkness)*.
*And talking about darkness, you have a perfect sword & sorcery setting with an orc apocalypse ready to use - Pathfinder's Golarion during the Age of Darkness.

Or maybe you really want to keep the horror element up in this scenario. Maybe now your PCs have to watch the full scale of extinction as the orcs will probably keeping devouring and bleeding entire races before turning against each other and reducing the entire world to bones and ashes. This second path may be more faithful to the "zombie" mythos (especially if you insinuate that things like eating human flesh can grant you unholy powers, eventually turning humans and demihumans into orcs).

Why in the Nines Hells would any sane player want to play that crucible, you ask? Because it’s different and looks really hard (and your fancy players need a lesson). Because you players are curious (or really thought that Midnight and Dark Sun were “easy settings”). Maybe they want to know how the orcs won or from where they came from. Is it possible to vanquish them? These could be good threads for a slightly different “second season” of this horror campaign.



Wednesday, May 7, 2014

A small but vicious dog for DCCRPG

Hi folks,

I'm sorry for the decrepit condition of this Tower. No time to properly update it. That (and my lack of a good job) are the bad news. The good news are that I finally managed to end on January my 3-and-a-half Pathfinder campaign using the Curse of the Crimson Throne Adventure Path. It was an amazing experience, helped me to form my current group of players (and friends) and it ended completely unlike the official campaign (the system was kept as "official" as possible only because the table made a social contract in that regard... though the Hero Points rules were abused to such a point that the entire thing started to sound like FATE). Speaking of FATE, I'm trying to run a mini-campaign (5 sessions) of Pacific Rim, but without luck so far due to scheduling problems with the group. I'm also playing a Carrion Crown Adventure Path, powered by FATE Core. But that's not why I'm writing this short post.

My Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG campaign through G+ Hangout is still going. We managed 6 online sessions to finish 'The Portal Under the Stars' and 'Sailors on the Starless Sea' adventures. We're starting now 'Doom of the Savage Kings'. Each player will control 2 1st-level survivor of previous adventures (and 4 new 0-level PCs will be controlled by a new player).

One of the 1st level Warriors is a Herder and thus started the game with a herding dog that managed (somehow) to survive the Funnel. I don't want to track the dog's stats (I already have to control plenty of hirelings and followers), but I wanted the dog to color that Warrior's style. So I came with a - definitely - 'indie' mechanic for it.

Here's my "Small But Vicious Dog" Rule.

Every time the Warrior hits an enemy, he can choose to use his small but vicious dog to deal an additional 1d4 points of damage. If they die comes up with 2, 3 or 4... no problem! Just add to the damage total. However, if the d4 comes with a '1', the Warrior must reroll the d4 and suffer that amount of damage (the small but vicious dog is indeed a terrible beast... very difficult to control).

The idea is to use a simple (but hopefully) fun mechanic, with an element of risk.

What do you think about it?


Friday, December 20, 2013

Raised Dead and Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG



Hi folks,

Last Monday our 5th Hangout session of Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG took place. Because of Real Life©, I’m more than ever running against the clock, without time for games or this blog, so running a 1-hour online game session was a blast for me (I probably gained back +3d6 Sanity).

I’m trying to run DCCRPG with a very loose and – I hope – Old School approach. The second goal is easily achievable by the rules of game alone. They’re so few (and funny) that rarely intrude in the game, making most players really pay attention to the adventure. My loose approach to this campaign is basically that we play if we get 3 players, it doesn’t matter which ones. Couldn’t come this week? If you show up for the next game you play, no fuss. Want to try only one session? Easy, here are 4 0-level players, enjoy! [Evil laugh heard in the background]

I have 4 players so far – with 2 others thinking about joining. We already got a game session with 22 characters “on screen” (between PCs and hirelings). The dynamics of running more than 1 PC are amazingly fun and I’m considering using in other games (and systems).


My players are still exploring the Chaos ruins from the Sailors on the Starless Sea. After a first attempt to breach the fallen fortress, they retreated to their home base to recover (a.k.a. Level Up). They managed to save a few prisoners, two of which became new fanatical followers (a pair of crazy ladies called Helga and Brigitte, already converted to the teachings of Azi Dahaka, Our Serpent Lord).

I wanted for the dungeon (and the game in general) to feel alive and dynamic, so I plotted what would happen during the one week and a half that the party was away from the ruins. They managed to slew quite a few beastmen, including the minotaur champion. Because of that, the Master of the Citadel was aware of them, so I decided on two plans for the bad guys: first, they raided another village to get more beastman stock; second, the Master executed a eldritch ritual to summon a “Seed of the Great Old Ones” and threw it against the party. What was this seed? A Cthulhoid aberration that was awaken from the Depths and started to dig after the party. In other words, I used the short set piece Tales of the Scarecrow, from the awesome Lamentations of the Flame Princess.


While traveling to the Chaos ruins the party found a mysterious farm, where the Seed awaited for them. After a harrowing encounter, and few deaths, the players managed to escape, taking with them two dangerous magic items (The Sword Which Is Uncertain and the creepy grimoire Malleus Deus) and a lone survivor (and unknown to the players, also a recently transformed ghoul-like creature). The group eventually learned about the survivor’s weird behavior and left him on the road (with, of course, will ensure lots of encounters in the future, as our ghoul NPC will hunt the party to get his magic sword back).

Arriving at the Chaos citadel during the sunset, the party found a new beastmen mob leaving the place to raid the region. Evading the creatures they were attacked by the ruins’ new guardian – a harpy-like monster. They put it down with lots of quarrels, but not before the hag cleaved open the party’s dwarf head. [And I wrote this entire blog entry just because of what happened next…]

Righter after combat, the party’s zealot (Chaotic cleric) of Azi Dahaka told me that he would try to raise the dwarf from the dead using a Divine Aid check. I warned him about the dangers, but he rolled anyway. The player rolled a 12 and burned all his Luck to get a 17. Then the party’s halfling burned a ton of Luck raising the check to amazing 25!

DCCRPG treats coming back from the dead as something unique – usually the plot of an entire adventure. What should I do? The idea was crazy and opened a dangerous precedent, but it was also something thrilling and fun. Besides, the players really put their resources on it. So I decided to do a raise dead they would love but eventually regret. After a gruesome ritual (the zealot PC described how he used harpy blood to channel the Powers of Chaos etc., it was awesome!), a pallid and corpse-like dwarf stood up, with a horrid scar across his jaw (the harpy took it out when she killed him). I aged the zealot prematurely (taking a few points of Strength and Stamina) and also drained a few points from the dwarf (which resulted in a funny situation… he now has Intelligence 3 and is role-played, basically, like Solomon Grundy). Finally – and without the party knowing it – I linked the life force of the zealot to the poor dwarf, just to let things more evil amusing.


Of course, in addition to all that, now our lord Azi Dahaka demands a special quest from his ambitious zealot… maybe face the dreaded People of the Pit?

P.S.: A side commentary… the zealot PC now has an accumulated disapproval range of 11 on his divine powers and the party is still at the dungeon’s door. Checking the Divine Disapproval Table I was expecting apocalyptical consequences if such player attempted any spellcasting (after all he can roll 11d4 of divine wrath). I was disappointed with the results. Most are just ‘meh’ and won’t trouble the player at all I guess. So I’m thinking to creatre a personalized Disapproval Table for my Azi Dahaka cleric (or just to create a few 20+ effects). If I can accomplish this I’ll post the table here.

Monday, October 7, 2013

On DCCRPG and Dwarves




The dwarven ability of smelling gold and gems is one of the most simple but flavor ideas for a d20 fantasy race in a long time and one of the many reasons why I think DCCRPG rocks. It’s not only original (with a mythic feeling) but totally unworried with game balance issues (like the excellent poison immunity of D&D Next dwarves; this trait does provided various interesting consequences in regard to dwarven society, from cuisine to social relations with other races… a pity it didn’t survived the “playtest”).

At my DCCRPG Hangout games, one of my players just got 2 0-level dwarves characters (a blacksmith and a stonemason). Both characters are now 1st-level Dwarves and while the notion of playing 2 dwarven brothers is cool I wish to give my player a little variety. So, here’s idea: I want to give the “smelling gold and gems” stuff for just one of the brothers; the other will get his own unique dwarven trick. I’m looking from something equally flavorful and “system neutral”. Here’s what I cooked so far:


  • Talk to Burrowing Animals and Beasts: simple and can provide ample roleplay opportunities. Maybe I should include earth elementals (although I’m afraid this could be really unbalanced… if you doubt, go read DCCRPG’s The People of the Pit).
  • Smell Dweomers and Spellslingers: the dwarf can “smell” the presence of the various types of spells, incantations and cantraps. He can also “smell” the chaotic miasma usually surrounding spellslingers (the more corrupt the caster, the strongest the odor). Icon magic (i.e. clerics) doesn’t smell.
  • Language of Doors and Portals: the dwarf can “talk” with doors, gates, portcullis and similar structures. This thing can either work like Tolkenian dwarves and their “secret door spells”, like a knock spell (ignoring corruption) or in a weirder fashion, where the dwarves really must talk, cajole or threaten doors and portals (a Personality or Luck check maybe).
  • Lore of Weapons, Armors and Tools: this dwarf not only knows a lot about any manufactured items, identifying their basic traits, origins and crafters, but can also “talk” to them when nobody is watching. This works almost like psychometry. [Yes, if anybody is watching this ability it doesn’t work. A cruel GM can even “suppress” the racial power for a full day if the dwarf is caught on the act, “talking” with his warhammer. I don’t want dwarven PCs to craft magic items so this is as close as I’m gonna let them get to that famous archetype.]
  • Water Cursed: there’s an old lineages of dwarves that is instantly turned to stone if completely submersed in water. They can only revert to normal if three drops of molten silver are poured upon them. These dwarves however are immune to thirst (but they love ale) or poisons, and can’t drown (they’re petrified!).  [OK, this one is a very radical option. I stole part of it from a dwarven subraces of an old and awesome free brazilian RPG called Vikings!, written by Tiago Quintana]


Friday, October 4, 2013

DCCRPG and The Thing From The Pit



I’m running my first Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG via Google Hangout. I became a fan of DCCRPG during their Beta open tests due to the amazing art and tone; the fact that the rules are fun and engaging is just a bonus.

DCCRPG is the perfect game for me right now, because it isn’t so “dry” as OD&D or other retroclones (my players are all “D&D 3rd generation”) and not as complex as Pathfinder (or Fantasy Craft). The rules for 0-level PCs and the Funnel are also sadistically fun to run. It’s the kind of game that I can easily play via Hangout (Savage Worlds and FATE, for example, are better run while using physical components, like cards and chips). I supplement our online games with Roll20 and the Purple Sorcerer. Finally, the major selling point of DCCRPG are the adventures – they’re short, fun, direct to the point and very easy to adapt. For a 2-hour session I believe they represent the perfect sweet spot.

The first adventure we played through was “The Portal Under the Stars”, from the DCCRPG Rulebook. I had 3 players running 12 0-level characters. It was a blood bath, with plenty of hilarious moments and lots of tension. The PCs managed to reach the room of the demon snake, finish here, before deciding to get the hell out of there. Ah, on the way out they also managed to break the magic statue’s arm (plunder!). The high point of the adventure – for D&D 3rd players like them – was using their dead comrades’ corpses to activate potential traps (ah… Old School gameplay, how can you not love it?). 2-hours of delving resulted in 9 deaths.

A few weeks ago, we started “Sailors of the Starless Sea”. Its events are happening one year after the Portal under the Stars. Our 3 surviving PCs (a warrior, a wizard and a halfling) recruited 12 fools from their home village and went to sack the forbidden ruins described in that module (but not before being exiled from town by the local ruling council on numerous charges, like “consorting with Chaotic forces”, “disturbance of the peace”, “illegal abandon of Guild duties”, “illegitimate conscription of lawful citizens” etc.).

And so we started “Sailors”. After surviving the vine horrors at the road, the party decided to avoid the ruined keep’s gate and went to investigate the walls. While engaged in such recon, they met with a few beastmen and their new prisoners (0-level PCs of our new player). After a fight and a few casualties, the now 19-strong company delved in the chaos fortress through a recent breach in the wall (caused in part by the group’s unsafe meddlings). Built below the wall, they found the mausoleum of one of the chaos champions, but were driven off by supernatural cold. Inside the courtyard they found the awful well of souls. At this point I took advantage of DCCRPG’s fresh approach to monsters and used Raggi’s famous Random Esoteric Creature Generator. This book is a wonderful resource for creating really weird and unexpected creatures. By following its tables I created “The Thing from the Pit”, a giant extraplanar levitating reptilian horror that inhabited the well of souls. The monster, as rolled, was pretty strong (6 HD) for a 0- and 1st-level group, so I was expecting a general retreat after a few deaths. To my surprise, the party’s 0-level shaman managed to roll a natural 20 on his “supplication skill” check. The Thing from the Pit was so happy with this proper homage that let the party go, but not before “blessing” the fool human supplicant (I rolled the major corruption table). I’m now excited to see this 0-level PC turning into the group’s preeminent chaotic Cleric. DCCRPG Funnel rocks! We finished our third session just after the party defeated the keep’s minotaur champion and found some prisoners. After that, they decided to retreat and fight another day.

My players so far are loving the body-count aspect of DCCRPG and the radically different feel of their characters. They aren’t heroes trying to save the world or vanilla adventurers, but scoundrels looking for gold, glory and dark secrets. Most of the PCs look like brigands or mercenaries, with the remaining are heretics and dark arcanists. After all, that the party’s only wizard learned his craft from Azi Dahaka, Demon Prince of Storms and Wastelands (thanks to a certain demon snake’s magic horn from the Portal Under the Stars) and the aforementioned 0-level shaman is now “officially” blessed by the Chaotic Powers and has cloven hoofs.

Bonus stuff for you appreciation: “The Thing from the Pit”



(DCCRPG Stats)
Init -2; Atk bite +4 melee (2d6); AC 19; HD 6d6+6; MV 50’ (levitating); Act 1d20; SP infravision 60’, spikes (1d6 + 3 Agility drain); SV Fort +6, Ref -2, Will +4; AL C.

This humanoid creature is approximately 9 ft. tall, with a demonic avian horned head and striped scales (of sable and ivory-like coloration) covering its body. Its eyes are beautiful night-like pits, where strange stars and constellations can be seen.

The Thing from the Pit has retractable spines covering his entire rock-hard epidermis, which seems to be constantly drenched in ooze-like pulsating blood. Creatures attacking the Thing at close range suffer 1d6 of damage per attack from its spikes and lose 3 points of Agility from its poisonous ooze-like blood (character using spears and polearms don’t suffer damage).

The Thing from the Pit attacks preferably Lawful spirits and untainted humans. It will spare chaos spawn and servants of the Chaotic Powers, if properly placated.


(And now, just “for fun”… Pathfinder Stats)
CR 8 (4.800 XP)
Chaotic Evil Large Outsider (Demon)
Init +7; Senses darkvision 60 ft., true seeing.; Perception +12

DEFENSE
AC 20, touch 11, flat-footed 18 (+9 natural, +2 Dex, -1 size)
HD 70 (7d10+35); regeneration 5 (holy or [Law] effects)
Fort +10, Ref +7, Will +5
Immune DR 5/adamantine

OFFENSE
Speed 40 ft., fly 60 ft. (perfect)
Melee bite +12 (2d6+7), 2 claws +7 (1d6+2)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 10 ft.
Special Attack Poisonous ooze

STATISTICS
Str 21, Dex 14, Con 20, Int 9, Wis 16, Cha 7
Base Atk +7; CMB +13; CMD 25
Feats Awareness, Improved Initiative, Improved Natural Attack (bite)
Skills Intimidate +8, Fly +16, Knowledge (planes) +9, Perception +12, Sense Motive +10, Stealth +8
Languages Abyssal
Special Qualities Spikes, true seeing, susceptible to turn

SPECIAL ABILITIES
Spikes (Ex): The Thing from the Pit has numerous iron-like spikes protuberating from its body (like porcupine). Attacks using melee weapons without reach (or natural weapons) that hit the Thing also deal 1d8 points of piercing damage to the attacker (besides poisoning them, see below).
Poisonous ooze (Ex) spikes and oozing skin — contact; save Fort DC 18, frequency 1/round for 6 rounds, effect 1d4 Con, cure 2 consecutive saves.
True Seeing (Su) The Thing from the Pit constantly sees the supernal and nether realms of reality, including the petty dweomers employed by mortals.  Treat this as a constant true seeing with a caster level of 20.
Chaotic benediction (Su) The Thing from the Pit can “bless” with chaotic essence one willing Humanoid (just once per creature). The “anointed” gains a sign of the Abyss (check here, here or here) and also a random power: either a bonus feat accessible at 1-5th levels, a universal monster ability or attack (from a CR 5 or less creature), a 1-5rd arcane spell (1d3 times per day) or a 1-3rd divine spells (once per day) are my suggestions.

ECOLOGY
Environment unique
Organization unique
Treasure none

DESCRIPTION
The Thing from the Pit is an emissary of the Abyss or probably the result of a botched summon or binding spell. It’s not a fully living thing or independent spirit, but just the extension of something much bigger, vaster and older – either a demon lord or the Abyss itself. Everything that it sees or experiences is also registered by its master. The Thing from the Pit can be seen as merely a more powerful version of arcane eye.
One of the proofs of the Thing’s uncanny origins is its chaotic benediction, which allows the creature to “bless” and empowers a willing Chaotic humanoid. Although the process doesn’t affect the creature’s will, many sage believe this “blessed” individuals are now new “sensory channels” for the Thing’s mysterious abyssal lord.