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The Dark Mark

Few gods take such loving care of their devotees as The Unnamed God.  Power is given to those who willingly give all of themselves into his dark embrace.  The Dark One accepts only those who are truly devout into his inner circle of powerful retainers.  The Dark Mark is given to those who are truly devoted to the cause of the Unnamed God.  Most who undergo the embrace of his power do not survive the transformations.  Those who do survive are forever changed.

To receive the Dark Mark the character must fulfill the following: 

The Dark One also will take characters who are Lawful Good but are experiencing extreme emotional trauma.  The Unnamed God will often entice these characters into embracing his path with loving words and a promise of great power and retribution against the powers that have wronged them.

The following text was written by a Paladin who fell from grace and attracted the attention of the Unnamed One:

... and my wife lay dead before me, a broken husk of a once beautiful child of the divine.  I heard the priest arrive behind me and I fell to my knees before him.  I implored him to make haste and give the divine benediction to my beloved before her soul fell into the void between worlds.  I poured my soul upon the stone before me and offered the church the wholeness of my wealth if they would but promise my beloved a place beside of the divine.

Dry words fell upon my ears as the lord's messenger, the priest who had been of my house since I was just a boy, spoke his divine condemnation of my wife's soul.  She had committed an "unforgivable" sin, she had removed her own life from the world.  He spoke harsh words condemning my wife's soul to the void, forever to be a lost spirit unable to attain the peace of the afterlife.  This was too much for my grieving soul.

I struck at the priest before me.  My already bloody hands causing a fresh geyser of blood to spew from the priest's mouth.  His acolytes rushed to his side and shielded him from my wrath.  My rage was not spent however, I drew my sword and plunged it into the effigy of my ancestral idol.  I cursed the divine and his agents for their neglect of my beloved.  Rage consumed me as I seethed and destroyed all that I once held dear and holy.

In my black rage, I could hear the priest shouting his condemnation of my words and actions.  Despair and misery descended upon me as I fled my family temple.  I dove headlong into the night, heedless of direction or safety.  I fell through the night, feeling branches and thorns tear my face and body.  The world slipped from beneath me and I felt myself falling into oblivion.

Darkness was around me but I felt a strange warmth.  A presence was near me.  This presence assured me that I was not lost to death and separated from my beloved forever.  Two eyes stared at me with compassion and I knew those eyes shared he pain of my loss.  A silent voice whispered consolations to me.  The voice raved with me about the injustice of my beloved's situation.  Dark promises were spoken to me, promises of power and the ability to be with my beloved forever.  Those loving eyes stared at me and I felt the sincerity of their words.  I knew that if I accepted the embrace I would be able to be with my beloved again.  

Hesitating only long enough to draw breath, I swore my fealty to the presence in the darkness.  My life, my soul, I pledged for the ability to be with my beloved once again.  The darkness surrounded me and I felt myself embraced by warmth and shadows.  I heard a voice speaking in an ancient tongue "blessing" me and imbuing me with power.  

I awoke in the forest outside of my familial estate.  The moon was setting and I lay halfway in the shallow stream that wound lazily across the grounds.  I brought my hand to my head to quell the dizzy feeling and was aghast at what I saw.  Gray, dried flesh was stretched taunt over my skeletal fingers.  I looked into the stream and saw a reflection of horror staring back at me.  I had joined the ranks of the undead.  I was no longer one of the living.  My heart still struggled within my chest but the visage before me was one of the unliving.  My armor had blackened as if from long exposure and glowing orbs of light stared back at me from where my eyes once were.  

As I despaired, I felt a presence behind me.  I turned to see the ghostly image of my beloved standing at the edge of the trees.  Her form was translucent as she was garbed in the flowing dress that she had been wearing when she drove the dagger into her breast.  Pain was in her eyes as she looked upon what I had become.  I had bargained my very soul for the ability to be with her.  That wish had been granted, but I was far removed from the champion of life I had been the day before.  My Dark Lord spoke to me then.  He commanded me to go forth and build an army.  He called me his Death Knight and ordered me to drive the living from the place that I once called home.  I felt his command.  I was his, for all eternity.

The above example of the Dark Mark is an extreme case.  The Dark One seldom grants such power to those who have yet to prove themselves.  Those who the Unnamed One feel are sufficiently devout are often "blessed" by his embrace.  When the character is gifted the Dark Mark, roll 1d10 and consult the following table.

D10 Affliction
1 Skin becomes dry and desiccated as that of a corpse.  To all those who view the character, they appear to be a zombie or ghoul.  The character gains +4 poison resistance and damage reduction 2/- against bludgeoning damage.
2 Eyes reflect the fires of undeath, they glow red and even in bright lights have a reddish tint.  The character gains darkvision.  
3 Flesh withers and withdraws turning the hands into bonelike talons.  The character can now make a melee attack that deals 1d4 slashing damage.
4 An unholy compulsion builds within the character making them crave raw meat.  The character no longer gains sustenance from cooked foods or vegetable matter.  The character must consume 1 pound of fresh meat a day to satisfy their hunger.  The character is now immune to all poisons and disease.
5 Negative energy suffuses the character.  They regenerate 5 hp per round while not in bright light.  If the character is in direct sunlight, he suffers 2 damage per round of exposure.  Heavy coverings can negate this loss but do not allow for regeneration.
6 The character's physical form loses touch with reality.  Treat the character as constantly under the effects of the Blur spell.  Ethereal attacks do full damage to the character.
7 The character's flesh starts to constantly decay.  A stench is associated with the character similar to that of a ghast's stench.  The character's constitution score drops 6 points. 
8 The character becomes incorporeal (with all the gear they are currently wearing).  Solid objects pass through the character.  See the DMG for specifics.
9 Roll a 1d8 twice more, ignoring duplicate rolls.
10 The character takes on all the physical characteristics and abilities of a random undead creature (DM's choice).  The character is still humanoid and does not gain undead immunities.

When the character is first gifted the Dark Mark, they must roll a Will save (DC = 10 + Character Level).  Failure means the character's devotion wavered.  The character seems unchanged except for the Dark Mark upon their body.  They are in fact instantly slain and become undead.  The DM should decide what type of undead they have become based upon the Dark Mark.  (NOTE: Some very powerful undead have been created as a result of failed checks.  Unique undead are not unheard of.)

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