|The Black Seers of Mount Yimsha
(Adapted for Third Edition D&D from the Robert E. Howard story, "The People of the Black Circle")
Prestige Class for the Hyborian Age of Conan the Cimmerian
"They were four tall men, with shaven, vulture like heads, and black robes that hid their feet. They stood in silence, their naked heads nodding slightly in unision." ~The People of the Black Circle, by Robert E. Howard.
Members of this prestige class call themselves The Black Circle, but the outside world know them as the Black Seers of Yimsha, a mountain in the Himelian Mountains. The wild tribes that inhabit those mountains fear them and build their abodes far from them.
The members of the Black Circle train wizards in their far-off lair, but Black Circle trained wizards may not cast spells unless commanded by one who is of this prestige class.
In general, the Black Circle do not interfere in the affairs of Hyboria. "They never interfere with people, unless the people interfere with them. I never saw one of them, though I've talked to men who swore they had. They say they've glimpsed people from the tower among the crags (of Yimsha) at sunset or sunrise - tall, silent men in black robes." ~ Conversation between Conan and Yasmina, The People of the Black Circle, by Robert E. Howard.
The Black Circle are masters of hypnotism and of polymorphing. Reaching 10th level in this class makes one a Master of the Black Circle, and they can command the Lords of the Black Circle, fiends that wield alien powers. There can only be one Master, so a 9th level Seer must battle and defeat the current 10th level Master to gain that level.
Spellcaster: Arcane spells
Knowledge: Arcana 10 ranks
Special: Acceptance by the Master of the Black Seers to be trained by him and the Lords of the Black Circle.
Special: Must have accomplished a mission for the Black Seers.
Alchemy (Int), Appraise (Int), Concentration (Con), Decipher Script (Int, exclusive skill), Gather Information (Cha), Intimidation (Cha), Knowledge (any) (Int), Scry (Int), Spellcraft (Int)
Skill points at each level are 4+Int modifier.
Weapon and Armor proficiency: Black Seers gain no proficiency in any weapon or armor.
Spells per day: A black seer continues training in magic. Thus a black seer acolyte gains new spells per day as if he had gained a level in a spell casting class that he belongs to.
|The Black Seer of Mount Yimsha
Class Level Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref. Save Will Save Special Spells per day
1 +0 +0 +0 +2 Stunning Touch +1 level of existing class
2 +1 +0 +0 +3 Inner Strength +1 level of existing class
3 +1 +1 +1 +3 Secrets of Reality I +1 level of existing class
4 +2 +1 +1 +4 Bonus Feat +1 level of existing class
5 +2 +1 +1 +4 Secrets of Reality II +1 level of existing class
6 +3 +2 +2 +5 Timeless Body +1 level of existing class
7 +3 +2 +2 +5 Magical Might +1 level of existing class
8 +4 +2 +2 +6 Silence +1 level of existing class
9 +4 +3 +3 +6 Longevity +1 level of existing class
10 +5 +3 +3 +7 Master +1 level of existing class
|Stunning Touch (Ex): The acolyte knows pressure points of the body and
can strike out, stunning a victim who fails a Fort save (DC=10+Seer's Cha
bonus+class level in Seer). This attack is taught so well that,
despite it being an unarmed attack, it does not provoke an Attack of
Opportunity. It takes concentration and is the only attack the Seer
can make that round.
Inner Strength: +1 Bonus to Will Saves
Secrets of Reality I: The seer understands illusions so well, that illusion school spells no longer need material or verbal components to function. Casting time remains unchanged. Illusion spells that operate with only a material or verbal component now require a somatic component.
Secrets of Reality II: The Seer understands the morphic nature of reality exceptionally well. Alteration spells no longer need a material component. Casting time remains unchanged.
Timeless Body: The seer no longer suffers ability penalties for aging and cannot be magically aged. (Any penalties already suffered remain in place). Bonuses still accrue, and the seer still dies when his time is up.
Magical Might: The difficulty class for all spells cast by the seer is increased by 2.
Silence: The Seer is well remarked for their silence. All spells no longer require verbal components. Any spell with only a verbal component requires either a somatic one or a mental one (DM's call). Casting time is unchanged.
Longevity: The Seer is beyond the realm of materiality. He cannot die of old age. But if he is killed, the ravages of time catch up to him and his corpse will show his correct age.
Master: The Master of the Black Circle can command the Lords of the Black Circle. The seer has so attuned his body with magic that he becomes a magical creature. He is forever more treated as an outsider (extraplanar creature) rather than a humanoid. Additionally the Master gains damage reduction of 10/+1.
|New Spells for Black Seers of
"They all saw it - a white puffball of smoke that tumbled over the tower-rim and came drifting and rolling down the slope towards them. Others followed it. They seemed harmless, mere wooly globes of cloudy foam, but Conan stepped aside to avoid contact with the first. Behind him one of the Irakzai reached out and thrust his sword into the unstable mass. Instantly a sharp report shook the mountainside. There was a burst of blinding flame, and then the puffball had vanished, and of the too-curious warrior remained only a heap of charred and blackened bones. The crisped hand still gripped the ivory sword hilt, but the blade was gone - melted and destroyed by that awful heat. Yet men standing almost within reach of the victim had not suffered except to be dazzled and half blinded by the sudden flare." ~The People of the Black Circle, by Robert E. Howard.
Puffball of Death
Components: V, S
Casting Time: 1 Action
Range: Medium (100 ft + 10 ft/level)
Duration: Until discharged, or maximum range met.
Saving Throw: Reflex Save (neg) (see text)
Spell Resistance: Yes
This spell creates one puffball of death per every 2 levels of spell casting ability. The puffballs are set off by steel or iron and are often used against armored opponents. A reflex save allows a character to step aside and not be touched by the puff. If the puff hits steel the puff explodes in a burst of immense heat that does 24d10 damage to one person. It is hot enough to melt steel, and it will burn the flesh off the victim in an instant.
|"Where is Yasmina?"
demanded Kerim Shah.
The Master laughed down at him.
"What is that to you, dead man? Have you so quickly forgotten my strength, once lent to you, that you come armed against me, you poor fool? I think I shall take your heart, Kerim Shah!"
He held out his hand as if to receive something, and the Turanian cried out sharply like a man in mortal agony. He reeled drunkenly, and then, with a splintering of bones, a rending of flesh and muscle and a snapping of mail-links, his breast burst outward with a shower of blood, and through the ghastly aperature something red and dripping shot through the air into the Master's outstretched hand, as a bit of steel leaps to the magnet. [Kerim Shah] slumped to the floor and lay motionless, and the Master laughed and hurled the object to fall before Conan's feet - a still-quivering human heart."
~The People of the Black Circle, by Robert E. Howard.
Snatch the Heart
Level: Clr 7, Sor/Wiz 6
Casting Time: 1 Action
Range: Close (25 ft + 5 ft/2 levels)
Saving Throw: Fortitude (neg)
Spell Resistance: Yes
This spell rips out the victim's heart, through all intervening barriers, and brings it to the hand of the caster, killing the victim instantly. Obviously, this spell has no effect on Undead or critters without hearts. You must make a successful ranged touch attack to hit.
|The Black Seers of Yimsha are adapted from Robert
E. Howard's story, "The People of the Black Circle." This story was
first published in Weird Tales as a three part seriel in the September,
October, and November issues of 1934. The story can also be found in
the Ace/Lancer paperback "Conan the Adventurer"; the Berkley/Putnam
hardbound collection, "The People of the Black Circle," the Donald M.
Grant Limited Edition "The People of the Black Circle", and the Gnome
Press collection "The Sword of Conan". Marvel Comics adapted
the story into comic form in "The Savage Sword of Conan" issues
16-19. All of these are out of print, but are usually available on
This story is the first Conan story I ever read, and is one of the best. It is certainly my favorite. Fritz Lieber characterized the story as the best story of the entire Conan saga.
|Back to the Main Conan Menu|
|Trademarks and copyrights are cited on this page without permission. This usage is not meant in any way to challenge the rightful ownership of said trademarks/copyrights. AD&D is a trademark of TSR; reach TSR's parent company at Wizards of the Coast, Inc.©. All copyrights are acknowledged and remain the property of the owners. "Inzeladun" and related characters © 1984, 2000 Vincent N. Darlage. All rights reserved by their respective owners. This page is for entertainment only.|