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Gholaad’s Translation

There is wonder to be found amidst the darkened chasms of the Underworld, yes, but there is also plenty to fear; the reputation of the occult for unhealthy pursuits, strange rites and worse does have its foundation in reality. Few dare to whisper the old greeting “Gholaad put his teeth to me,” lest the Wind of Wasting, the strange and alien thing that lurks in the dark, take heed. Yet, there are those, particularly among the draaki, that have sought the blessing of Gholaad, the translation through death that the dreaded entity grants. Few find what they were looking for. Fewer still return.

Yet those that do return are changed forever, marked by skin and scales like old, dust-clung air.

These are Gholaad’s Translations, and they are nigh-unstoppable engines of destruction.

Like Dust-Clung Air

All of Gholaad’s translations bear the obvious sign of having been scoured by the Wind of Wasting’s howl. When taking this archetype at 3rd level, you undergo translation, a horrid process whispered only in the most obscure and forbidden epic poems of the draaki. If you are reduced to 0 hit points, you do not gain a death saving throw—you immediately die. Additionally, the Wind of Wasting’s howl has frayed your body at the seams, making it feel and look less tangible, less solid and real. You do not add your Constitution modifier to your Hit Dice when regaining hit points during a short or long rest.

Death Translates Us Into What It Will

At 3rd level, the first time per day you die, you are resurrected as though affected by true resurrection at the start of your next turn—this is known as the “Translation” by followers of Gholaad. You may not choose to not be translated. You are lifted to an upright position by an echo of the howling Wind of Wasting. During the turn you are resurrected, you may act as normal. Gholaad is fickle, though— those it marks are translated and changed by the experience. In the case of draaki, this means that you roll 1d10 and consult the Table: Gholaad’s Translation whenever you are translated.

You change your draaki subrace accordingly. You are instantly recognizable as the same being, in spite of the subrace change.

Growing wings or a tail may cause damage to armor and clothes worn. Racial features with limited uses are replenished upon being translated. The change of your subrace is permanent until the next translation. Once you have used this feature, you may not use it again until after the stroke of midnight, and only if you have finished a long rest between using the feature and the stroke of midnight—Gholaad does not care for rests and the power it bestows is intimately tied to this sacred time, but your body requires rest to recover.

Table: Gholaad’s Translation
d10 New Draaki Subrace
1–2 Abbsins
3–4 Graldin
5–6 Kastrik
7–8 Prulan
9–10 Yuralith

Hardened Translation

Starting at 7th level, you may use your Death Translates Us Into What It Will feature an additional time, for a total of two uses, before requiring Gholaad’s renewed blessing and a long rest. Additionally, constant exposure to death and dying grants you resistance to necrotic damage.

Controlled Translation

Beginning at 10th level, you may use your Death Translates Us Into What It Will feature an additional time, for a total of 3 uses before requiring Gholaad’s renewed blessing and a long rest. Additionally, when you’re translated, you may roll twice on the Gholaad’s Tranlation Table and choose which result to take.

Howling Blast

At 15th level, when you are translated, you may expend one Hit Die to have the Wind of Wasting scour through your body as it is reconstituted, rippling outward from you in a 30 foot burst. All creatures you choose to affect within this burst must succeed a Dexterity saving throw, with a DC equal to 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Strength modifier. On a failure, all creatures you choose to affect take 8d8 necrotic damage and are knocked prone. Creatures that succeed the save take half damage and are not knocked prone.

Unstoppable Monster

Beginning at 18th level, you may use your Death Translates Us Into What It Will feature an additional time, for a total of 4 uses before requiring Gholaad’s renewed blessing and a long rest. Additionally, you gain advantage on attack and damage rolls and all saving throws in the round following your translation.

Sidebar: Playing and GMing Gholaad’s Translation

Gholaad’s translation looks horribly powerful on paper. However, de facto, the archetype still has to contend with social stigma, relative fragility and allaround creepiness. That being said, “being translated,” as Gholaad’s Translations call it, should never be a joke; it’s not pleasant for the draaki (Dying still hurts. A lot.) and the eerie visuals and potential association with dreaded Gholaad should make the archetype feel like a damned warrior.

Gholaad’s translations still can be killed pretty easily if the player does not act smart and e.g. falling into a stream of magma, being crushed by pressure, being eaten by a dragon, petrification, etc. Can still be very much lethal tools. Gholaad’s translation requires mature handling by the player as well as the GM, but can make for amazing stories.

It should be noted that playtesting did show that having one spare version of the char-sheet for each of the subraces yields the best result at the table, as it allows for quick changes.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

Occult Secrets of the Underworld Copyright 2018, AAW Games, LLC; Thilo Graf and Jonathan G. Nelson.