The Prime Material plane is the core of the Great Wheel; its heart, the source and filter of its lifeblood. From it comes the lives and beliefs that fuel all the ostentatious gods and angels and demons that lurk at its fringes, who vie for every inch and mote they can scrape from it to fuel their eternal ideological struggle. And why do they need it? What makes the Prime so important? So powerful?
Simply, it is the Center. The Omphalos. It is what is Real. It is substance, and form, and constancy. Beyond the Prime lay the Inner Planes, worlds of tempestuous elemental fury, quite real, but simple, each part of the mechanism that operates the Omphalos, feeding it the earth of its foundations, the air of its breath, and water of its fertility, and the fires of its blood, as well as the light and dark of its life and death, churning it, shaping it, molding it, populating it, and harvesting it. Out from there, things become less certain. The Astral Plane is a place of thought; its substance determined by will and perspective. The Outer Planes are more fictional still, mere reflections of the philosophies and understandings of beings both lesser and greater. The intangible is tangible, and the solid mutable. Past the outer gates lay Vestiges of existence, things which are Not, yet they see, and they touch, and they hunger. But, beyond even where Is and Is Not fray and bend and skew, is the Far Realm, of which nothing can be spoken.
Each layer, as it reaches further from the Omphalos, is less real. That is the greatest masterwork of the ancient gods, who saw chaos and infinite potential, and among all possible glories, chose Meaning and Significance and Consequence; reality.
All beings of the Prime carry with them a portion of that weight, and the potential to change all the multiverse with the gravity of their will and actions, though only rarely is it ever realized to any degree. Most of those movers and shakers will manipulate and flavor that core of meaning with experience, and magic, and emotions, and the threads of fate - but some touch upon it more purely. They come to understand, even if only in the abstract, the unity and purpose and power of the Omphalos, and with that understanding, nothing is beyond them.
Hit Die: d10
Skill Points: 6 + Intelligence Modifier
Class Skills: Balance, Climb, Concentration, Craft, Decipher Script, Diplomacy, Escape Artist, Handle Animal, Heal, Intimidate, Jump, Knowledge (Any), Listen, Perform, Ride, Search, Sense Motive, Speak Language, Spot, Survival, Swim, Tumble
Proficiencies: Kathodos are proficient with all simple and martial weapons, but not with any armor or shields.
|1st||+1||+2||+2||+2||The Omphalos' Mythos, Mythos Known, Exceptional Mythos, Elemental Excellence, The Flow of Energy I, Precision Philosophy||+2||+1|
|3rd||+3||+3||+3||+3||The Flow of Energy II||+1||+0|
|5th||+5||+4||+4||+4||The Flow of Energy III||+1||+0|
|7th||+7/+2||+5||+5||+5||The Flow of Energy IV, Fantastic Mythos||+1||+1|
The Omphalos' Mythos: A Kathodos' power is expressed in terms of one or more "Mythos", the building blocks of the legend that they are, and the stories that they have told and will tell. While any given Mythos varies from the rest, they share some similar traits. They are always Extraordinary abilities, and when they reference a difficulty class for an imposed saving throw, that saving throw is always calculated as (10 + 1/2 class level + Intelligence modifier, unless otherwise stated). When a Mythos references a "level" that is not clearly defined in some other way, such as "character level", it refers to "class level" as in the number of levels one has in the Kathodos class. When a Mythos references "allies", it specifically does not refer to the Kathodos using it. When a Mythos grants a feat as a bonus feat, it is regardless of whether the character meets the prerequisites for that feat (unless otherwise stated), and if the character already possesses that feat (in some permanent fashion - via the normal allotment gained by leveling up, or through another Mythos, and so on, but not those gained temporarily, such as via a "Heroics" spell), they must replace the prior instance of that feat with another feat that they qualify for.
Every Mythos has a Tier. The Tier of a Mythos ranges from 1 to 4, typically referred to as Exceptional, Fantastic, Legendary, and Exalted. Exceptional Mythos tell the story of powerful and cunning heroes that have learned to see the world as an extension of themselves, and may shape it as they desire through focus and will, both literally and figuratively. A Kathodos with Fantastic Mythos is more learned, and has gained deeper understanding of their connection to the world and its elements. The world is not merely an extension of their self, but their self is also an extension of the world. They shape the world, and the world shapes them, raising them above the ambitions of mortal men. A Legendary Kathodos has not begun to lose their humanity, so much as they have realized its lack of existence all along. All life, all energy, and all will, is merely the ebb and flow of the cosmos; to some, mere random sparks and happenstance guttering in the infinite magnitude of reality - to others, a beautiful clockwork concert drifting playfully through the space-time calliope; and still, to others, a headache best left unexamined. An Exalted Kathodos is a force of nature, not a person. Though some may still wear a face, the wise see this masquerade for what it is; as meaningful as the whispers in a hurricane, the dancing foam on a tsunami, the flickering patterns of embers on a ruined city, or the rhythm of an earthquake.
Some Mythos, in addition to their initial stated effect, have Basic and Advanced manifestations. When a Kathodos gains access to a Mythos with a list of Basic manifestations, they may choose one such manifestation, and they gain that benefit immediately as well. This choice may not be changed later. When an Kathodos gains access to a Mythos with a list of Advanced manifestations, they may choose one such manifestation, and they gain that benefit upon achieving their next level of Kathodos. This choice may be changed at any point before receiving the chosen manifestation itself, but not after (choosing beforehand is just an easy way to mark it down on your character sheet so you don't forget that you'll be getting something later).
Mythos Known: A 1st level Kathodos begins play with two Exceptional Mythos that he qualifies for if this is his first level in a PC character class. At higher levels, he gains additional Mythos as noted on the Kathodos class table.
For characters that multiclass into Kathodos after having taken levels in another PC character class, the 1st level of Kathodos grants only a single Exceptional Mythos, rather than two.
A Kathodos also has the ability to learn more Mythos, above the ones automatically allotted to him by leveling up, by pursuing inner strength at the expense of external strength. The exact method varies for each Kathodos; some give their belongings to the poor and downtrodden, others sacrifice strange idols to the gods or ideals they believe in, others take esoteric pilgrimages, while still others meditate by carousing in drunken stupors or partaking of truly staggering quantities of hallucinogens in monastic shrines or wandering through the wilds. In all cases, the Kathodos must somehow lose gold or items, in such a way that does not otherwise mechanically benefit him or his allies, with the understanding that he will never attempt to reclaim what was lost (otherwise, the sacrifice would mean nothing, and therefore yield no enlightenment). He then gains Mythos Points equal to the gold piece value of the currency or items removed.
By spending 1,000 Mythos Points, and 250xp, a Kathodos may learn an Exceptional Mythos. A Fantastic Mythos requires 5,000 Mythos Points and 500xp. A Legendary Mythos takes 10,000 Mythos Points, and 1,000xp. And an Exalted Mythos takes 20,000 Mythos Points and 2,000xp.
For half the listed price for a given Tier, a Kathodos may learn a Basic or Advanced manifestation of a Mythos they already know of that Tier.
Learning Mythos above the standard amount requires astounding, nearly single-minded devotion to the story of the Kathodos. One may only utilize this ability while more than half of his effective character level (ECL) is devoted to levels in the Kathodos class.
Elemental Excellence: As denoted on their class table, a Kathodos gains a certain number of abilities known as "Excellencies". These tend to be more general, generic, and passive than a Mythos, but are useful nonetheless, and are drawn from their own separate list, unsegregated by Tiers. Like a Mythos, a Kathodos may learn more Excellencies above their allotted amount. Each one costs 1,000 Mythos Points and 100xp, plus an additional 1,000 Mythos Points and 100xp for each time a new Excellency is innovated beyond the first. (So, 2,000mp and 200xp for the second, 3,000mp and 300xp for the third, etc.)
The Flow of Energy: Many of the Omphalos' Mythos are marked either [Internal] or [External], and may have one or more of [Air], [Water], [Earth], [Fire], [Any], or [Variable] as descriptors.
[Internal] Mythos are drawn exclusively from the energies inside of a Kathodos, and require certain qualities to be usable. To use or learn an [Internal][Air] Mythos, you must be capable of breathing (the ability to speak does not necessarily denote the ability to breathe in a fantasy setting; looking at you, intelligent undead). An [Internal][Water] Mythos requires that a significant portion of your body be composed of water (like a human). An [Internal][Fire] Mythos requires that your body produces its own body-heat. An [Internal][Earth] Mythos requires that some portion of your body be a hard, inanimate mineral (bones count). [Internal][Any] Mythos only require that you meet one of the above prerequisites.
In the case of passive effects of [Internal] Mythos, you lose these benefits (including bonus feats) if you no longer meet the above elemental requirement, but regain them upon meeting the requirement again.
[External] Mythos move and manipulate pre-existing physical manifestations of their element from the world around the Kathodos, such as an [External][Water] Mythos pulling and shaping the water from a lake, river, falling rain, or even a waterskin. The Kathodos must have line of sight to the element they wish to manipulate, or it must be contained within an object equipped to their person (such as a flame in a lantern, or a jar of dirt), and it must be within [(Kathodos level + intelligence modifier) x 5] feet. In addition, there must be roughly enough of the required element to produce the desired effect; a Kathodos cannot create a suit of armor out of earth using a hand-full of dirt, for instance (the one exception is fire; if there is enough air around the fire to feed the fire to the required size, you may grow the flame to the necessary size to produce your desired effect as part of using the Mythos). When an [External] Mythos produces an effect, the effect originates from the elemental source being used unless otherwise stated (for example, a Mythos that hurls a rock thirty feet would hurl the rock thirty feet from the rock's original location, not thirty feet from you).
[Variable] Mythos will state how they can be used as different elements. When utilizing a Mythos as a particular element, that Mythos is considered to be of that type. Unless otherwise stated, if a [Variable] Mythos deals damage, it deals piercing damage if used as an [Air] Mythos, bludgeoning damage if used as a [Water] or [Earth] Mythos, and fire damage if used as a [Fire] Mythos.
Finally, due to a Kathodos' ability to read, recognize, process, and implement the patterns of energy as it flows around them, through them, and through others, they receive a bonus to their Armor Class equal to their Intelligence modifier while they are not wearing armor (including armor made light enough to no longer be considered armor for some purposes).
At 3rd level, a Kathodos has become comfortable enough manipulating elemental energy, that they can produce small effects with only trivial effort. They can telekinetically "pick up", levitate, and move around a roughly 1ft cube of unattended fire, air, water, or earth within [(Kathodos level + intelligence modifier) x 5ft), moving it up to 15ft as a move action (the earth cannot be connected to a larger structure, such as a section of stone wall). You can also produce minor, non-damaging, displays of elemental force, such as a puff of air strong enough to snuff a candle, a spark of fire strong enough to ignite a campfire or give someone a minor burn, a tremor to knock a cup over, or something to similar effect.
At 5th level, a Kathodos' training has allowed them to deeply and more perfectly understand the concept of willpower in a less intuitive and more calculated, exacting manner. They may add their intelligence modifier in place of their wisdom modifier for the purposes of Will saving throws.
At 7th level, a Kathodos can more easily subborn and break the impure elemental manipulations of magic. They add their intelligence modifier to saving throws against spells and spell-like abilities with the [Fire], [Air], [Water], or [Earth] descriptors, and when they successfully save for a partial effect from such magics, they instead negate the effect entirely.
Precision Philosophy: The Kathodos' study and understanding of the elements lends itself to a certain kind of finesse and calculated precision. These ideals tend to spread into all facets of their life and training. As such, they may lean towards speed and agility over brute strength in combat. They may use their Dexterity modifier in place of their Strength modifier for the purposes of bonuses to attack and damage with melee attacks using weapons they are proficient with.