Crisis

The greater demons began to appear a decade ago, massive beasts that would emerge from Astral folds seemingly at random. They always appeared at the fringes of our empire: from the seas, the mountains, the desert, or wherever else our mighty realm could not tame. Perhaps the order of civilization keeps them at bay, or perhaps they are just trying to show us how weak we truly are. Whatever the reason, they appear, destroy our frontier villages, and slowly push desolation and terror toward the heart of culture and society.

Each of them possesses gifts beyond those of the smaller demons summoned by spells. In addition to their great size, each travels with a wide and chaotic aura. Poison and disease, fire and lightning, madness and pain: whole armies fall before them and even the greatest heroes are vulnerable to the shifting death for there are few of the mighty that are not weak to some bane. The greatest warriors succumb to terrors of the mind, the greatest magi succumb to torrents of energy, and the greatest scouts succumb to torments of the flesh. Many died just getting within range to fight.

But there was hope: our greatest spellworkers began to research magics that could resist these creatures. These spells would allow two heroes to become one for the battle: their minds in synch, their bodies a gestalt. They’d gain greater size to fight the beasts, combine their strengths to resist the deadly auras, and blend their fighting talents to have more options in battle. Where many would fall, a few such combined beings might have a chance to save us all.

Magic

Gestalt Merge I

School Transmutation; Level Sorcerer/Wizard 1

CASTING

Casting Time 1 action
Components V, S

EFFECT

Range touch
Target two willing adjacent creatures of the same size and type
Duration 1 round per level
Saving Throw Fortitude negates (harmless); Spell Resistance yes (harmless)

DESCRIPTION

This spell combines two individuals into a gestalt entity that shares the strengths and skills of both. It can only affect two creatures of the same size and type, and cannot affect creatures that are already merged. When the spell is cast, the two individuals are replaced by a combined individual with the following effects:

  • The combined entity becomes one size category larger. This is similar to Enlarge Person (and cannot combine with Enlarge Person): The entity gains +2 Strength, -2 Dexterity, the size penalty of the new size (for attack, defense, and skills), and increases damage and reach by size.
  • The entity’s ability scores are equal to whichever score is lower for each score, plus the modifier for whichever is higher (e.g., a character with Strength 16 merges with a character with Strength 12; the combined Strength becomes 15).
  • The entity’s effective hit dice become the higher of the two individuals. The entity’s maximum hit points become the sum of the two characters’ unmerged HP (don’t adjust based on Constitution changed by the merge), and its current hit points become the sum of the two characters’ current HP (i.e., damage carries over into the merge).
  • All gear resizes to fit the new form. When items are duplicated within a slot, choose one item to be subsumed into the form and become inactive (e.g., if both characters wear a magical belt, keep the effects of one and ignore the effects of the other for the duration of the merge).
  • The entity takes the higher of either character’s base saves and base attack bonus, modified by the new ability scores.
  • The entity gains access to all feats, special abilities, spells, and skills possessed by either character (using the modified ability scores when necessary).
  • Any positive or negative temporary effects on the individual characters before the merge are ignored until after the merge unless both characters have them; the duration for each counts down during the merge.
  • A proper merge requires synchronization of minds: for every alignment step between the two individuals, apply one negative level for the duration of the merge (e.g., a LN and CG character takes 3 Negative Levels).

When the spell ends, the entity splits back into the two characters in adjacent spaces, wearing their original gear (less any that was lost during the merge). Any damage taken and effects gained during the merge are allocated as desired by the characters between them (e.g., if the merged entity had 30 points of damage and was poisoned, one character might take 20 points of the damage while the other takes 10 points and the remaining effects of the poison).

Gestalt Merge II

School Transmutation; Level Sorcerer/Wizard 2

EFFECT

Duration 1 minute per level

This spell functions as Gestalt Merge I except for the increased duration.

Gestalt Merge III

School Transmutation; Level Sorcerer/Wizard 3

This spell functions as Gestalt Merge II except:

  • The entity gains an additional Swift action each round.
  • The entity gains the full modifications for increasing a size category instead of +2 Strength and -2 Dexterity (e.g., Medium to Large gains +8 Strength, -2 Dexterity, +4 Constitution, and +2 Natural Armor). The effect still cannot be combined with Enlarge Person. Since the entity’s HP are not affected by adjusted Constitution, instead give the entity temporary HP equal to the bonus Constitution modifier from increased size times hit dice (e.g., a level 10 entity would gain 20 temporary HP).

Gestalt Merge IV

School Transmutation; Level Sorcerer/Wizard 4

EFFECT

Duration 10 minutes per level

This spell functions as Gestalt Merge III except for the increased duration and the entity gains the benefit of two minds; when making a Will save, the entity rolls twice and keeps the higher result.

Gestalt Merge V

School Transmutation; Level Sorcerer/Wizard 5

This spell functions as Gestalt Merge IV except that instead of using the lower of the combined characters’ ability scores as the base plus the mod from the higher, instead use the higher of the combined characters’ ability scores plus the mod from the lower (e.g., a character with Strength 16 merges with a character with Strength 12; the combined Strength becomes 17).

Gestalt Merge VI

School Transmutation; Level Sorcerer/Wizard 6

This spell functions as Gestalt Merge V except that the combined entity gains an additional Standard action each round.

Gestalt Merge VII

School Transmutation; Level Sorcerer/Wizard 7

EFFECT

Duration 1 hour per level

This spell functions as Gestalt Merge VI except for the increased duration.

Gestalt Merge VIII

School Transmutation; Level Sorcerer/Wizard 8

This spell functions as Gestalt Merge VII except that any single-target non-damaging negative conditions applied to the entity do not take effect during the merge. Instead, they are delayed until the merge ends, and apply to only one of the characters (for their full durations). Essentially, one of the characters is absorbing the condition but not distributing it to the entity as a whole. This can include poisons, diseases, paralyzation, negative mental conditions, and even a death effect. Any such effect applied by an area of effect cannot be so ignored (as it can hit both characters equally).

Gestalt Merge IX

School Transmutation; Level Sorcerer/Wizard 9

This spell functions as Gestalt Merge VIII except that the combined entity increases two size categories, with all appropriate modifiers and penalties for the size change (e.g., two medium creatures become Huge, and gain +16 Strength, -4 Dexterity, +8 Constitution, +5 natural armor, and all reach, increased damage, and size modifiers for a Huge character).

Notes

The most common type of merge is a caster and a physical combatant to gain the most synergy between mystical and martial capabilities, but there are probably many other interesting class synergies. Characters that merge frequently likely develop feats and fighting styles to mesh (e.g., casters taking Arcane Armor Training and Still Spell, warriors choosing gear that is less of an impediment to casting, etc.). The caster of the spell can be one of the characters in the merge, so a duo with a caster that can use the spell is common.

If both of the characters in the merge are player characters, they should tend to alternate who gets to choose what to do in a round, and rolls are made by the “owner” of the effect being used (e.g., the warrior’s player rolls for attacks, the caster’s player rolls for spells). These spells are meant to be slowly rolled out through the course of a campaign, rather than having the previous versions become instantly obsolete every time the PCs gain a spell level. I have no idea whether these are remotely balanced for normal play; they’re only meant to be included if you’re going to tailor your own demonic kaiju to challenge the gestalt characters created by the spell.

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