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The Darkmask was a special divine caster of Vhaeraun. They were considered the elite among the clerics.[1]

Becoming a DarkmaskEdit

Formerly open only to male drow,[2] the gender barrier was dropped and entry opened to half-drow at latest in 1372 DR, the darkmask was a special kind of divine caster of Vhaeraun with skills in stealth, generally a ranger or a cleric with the skills of a rogue or a ranger.[1]

A would be darkmask had to fulfil a number of requirements. Rudimentary skills in, namely in stealing, basic survival skills in the wilderness, hiding and sneaking, out of which hiding and sneaking needed special training. One also needed to be trained to be inured by the effects of sunlight, naturally a requirement a half-drow fulfilled by virtue of being a half-drow.

They also needed experience at fighting a clerical follower of Lolth, though they only needed to survive the encounter and not necessarily win.[3]

General InformationEdit

All members of Vhaeraun’s clergy had some degree of skill in trickery and often learned the additional skills of a rogue.[4] What differentiated the darkmask was that they followed a way that allowed them to learn more stealthy skills than they already had without neglecting their spellcasting abilities.

As mentioned above, they were considered the elite of Vhaeraun’s clergy and conducted special assignments to further the church’s goal. They generally wore black masks and black or grey clothes,[1] the favoured colour of Vhaeraun’s clergy.[5]

AbilitiesEdit

Darmasks had strong wills and unusually fast reflexes for a cleric but tended to be less sturdy than normal ones. The abilities, they gained over their career were generally of either mundane, stealthy or protective nature.

On the mundane level, at some point in their career, darkmasks specifically trained one skill to be more developed and learned to strike harder on foes who had problems defending themselves.

Every darkmask was able to cast the spells darkfire, the only purely offensive ability, and pass without trace without somatic, verbal or material components. With increasing skill, they also gained the ability to cast change self on themselves the same way as the aforementioned spells.

When they progressed far enough in their studies, they gained some truly special abilities. Dark Embrace was an ability that allowed the caster to create a mask for about 10 minutes and store one spell into it. This mask could be then made to fly on its own for about 100 ft. (about 30m) on the face of someone and the spell was cast on that person. They also gained special defences against illusions and another protective magical ability called. Cloak of Shadow. Cloak of Shadow gave additional abilities at hiding but also protected the user from harm by making the body sturdier, the reflexes sharper and the will stronger.[6]

The pinnacle ability of a darkmask was called Bladebend.[6] Bladebend was originally one of Vhaeraun’s ability to cause the edged weapons of his enemies to strike their wielders instead of their target.[7] It was an ability his clerics tried to emulate but never truly managed to do so,[8] a truly accomplished darkmask on the other hand was able to emulate the deity’s ability.[6]

WhereaboutsEdit

Darkmasks were wherever their work brought them. Despite their reputation of not working together with other darkmasks, there was at least one group of drow rumoured to be in Cormanthor that was led by four equally strong darkmasks who wandered the forest to kill lolthite raiders.[1]

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Sean K. Reynolds, Jason Carl (November 2001). Lords of Darkness. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 33. ISBN 0-7869-1989-2.
  2. Eric L. Boyd (1998). Demihuman Deities. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 39. ISBN 0-7869-1239-1.
  3. Sean K. Reynolds, Jason Carl (November 2001). Lords of Darkness. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 33–34. ISBN 0-7869-1989-2.
  4. Eric L. Boyd, Erik Mona (May 2002). Faiths and Pantheons. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 113–114. ISBN 0-7869-2759-3.
  5. Sean K. Reynolds (2002-05-04). Deity Do's and Don'ts (Zipped PDF) p. 15. Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved on 2009-10-07.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Sean K. Reynolds, Jason Carl (November 2001). Lords of Darkness. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 34. ISBN 0-7869-1989-2.
  7. Eric L. Boyd (1998). Demihuman Deities. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 37. ISBN 0-7869-1239-1.
  8. Ari Marmell, Anthony Pryor, Robert J. Schwalb, Greg A. Vaughan (May 2007). Drow of the Underdark. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 44. ISBN 978-0-7869-4151-3.

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