Eclipse – Sample Races, Templates, and Characters Update

Here, at last, is an updated index to all the Eclipse-Style Races, Templates, Power Packages, and Sample Characters on the blog.I’m going to sticky this and try to keep it reasonably current from now on.

If you’re building a character, the usual sequence will be Race – Template (if any) – Basic Build, so that’s how this is organized. If you’re looking for “how-to” information, next up is the level-by-level class breakdowns and the general power-package information and examples. After that, for inspiration, swiping power packages from, and use in other games, comes the sample higher-level characters.

Character Creation and System Primer

Sample Races:

Sample Templates:

Eclipse Pathfinder:

Eclipse handles Pathfinder just fine – so here are Eclipse breakdowns for Pathfinder –Basics and Races and the class breakdowns for the  Alchemist, Barbarian, Bard, Cleric, Druid, FighterMonk, Paladin, Ranger, Rogue, Sorcerer and Summoner. The sample characters are pretty much all compatible with Pathfinder; if they don’t already have the Pathfinder Package Deal from Basics and Races simply add +2 to an attribute and +3 to their skills.

Sample Level One Character Builds:

Level-by-Level Class Breakdowns:

General Build Information and Power Packages:

Sample High-Level Characters:

. . Note that these characters were generally built for particular campaigns, and so are sometimes built using campaign-specific variants – usually a price break on especially-relevant abilities. These are covered in the Campaign Sheets for the relevant campaigns – Federation-Apocalypse Campaign, Ironwinds Campaign, Atheria Campaign, Twilight Isles Campaign, and Darkweird Campaign.

Level Two Sample Characters:

Level Three Sample Characters:

Level Four Sample Characters:

Level Five Sample Characters:

Level Six Sample Characters:

Level Seven Sample Characters:

Level Eight Sample Characters:

Higher Level Sample Characters:

Level Ten and Twenty Breakdowns:

Alzrius has also put up quite a few Eclipse characters on his Intelligence Check blog – including quite a few interpretations of popular characters from a variety of sources. Pretty much all of them are written up for Pathfinder, and usually use the Pathfinder Package Deal.

  • Rinoa, from Final Fantasy via Dead Fantasy, a powerful 15’th level spellcaster – along with the Hyne Witch template and a discussion of many of the other characters.
  • Pyrrha Nikos, a 7th-level Huntress-in-training, along with statistics for Vytal Humans, three Martial Arts, and some world background and discussion.
  • Sharalia, a Level One Fire Dancer – a character who controls flame through dance.
  • A 20’th level breakdown for an Antimage –  a “class” that specializes in negating the powers of dangerous spellcasters.
  • The Maedar – a racial template breakdown for a male medusa.
  • Sailor Saturn – a fragile young woman from the Sailor Moon anime with some exceptionally over-the-top powers.
  • Scorpion from Mortal Kombat, written up at the peak of his powers – along with the Netherrealm Ghost template and three Martial Arts.
  • Sam Winchester, a level three paranormal investigator from the Supernatural television series.
  • Varek, a Level Six Cleric with some support abilities.
  • Abraham Lincoln, Level Twelve Civil Warrior of the United States of America – with a touch of Vampire Hunter and including his Martial Art.
  • Agent Spin – a Second Level Elite Beat Agent who gets sent… to encourage people in trouble.
  • Gargamel, a First Level Incompetent Ritualist and Bumbler – perhaps fortunately, without statistics for Smurfs.
  • Spinnerette, a Level Five Spider-Style Superheroine/
  • Malecite, a Level Ten Villainous Mage from Suburban Knights, along with Malecite’s Hand, a vastly powerful relic and various new spells.
  • Dirk Markson, a Level One Dark Witch – and possible hero.
  • Barney Stinson (Scroll Down), a Level One Sitcom Inhabitant – from How I Met Your Mother.

Alzrius’s Eclipse d20 Ponies:

Alzrius built his ponies so as to fit into “standard” d20 games – whereas I used the “Superheroic” world template because it would allow my builds to reproduce the things that the ponies did on the show. Of course, that means that my builds will only work well in games based on the assumptions of Equestria; they won’t do so well in basic games. For those, courtesy of Alzrius, we have…

  • The Pony Races:  Earth Ponies, Pegasi, and Unicorns.
  • The Elements of Harmony:  Built as Eclipse Relics.
  • Rarity:  Starting off the series at level one! Commentary: Using the Elements of Harmony to cover the characters occasional incredible stunts.
  • Princess Celestia: As she generally appears on the show – as a ninth-level mentor-type who explains why she can’t handle things.
  • Adagio of the Sirens: Unreformed, still at large, and needing only an enchanted gem to make a comeback.
  • Lex Legis (And his Picture): Alzrius’s original character – and a very “gray” potential opponent.
  • Notes on Zecora: A discussion of just how much power – or lack thereof – is needed to build Zecora. Comments: My take on Zebras.
  • The Journal of the Two Sisters – and lapses in logic therein. Comments: Unicorn populations and birthrates, basic demographics – and why the “Unicorns losing their magic” story makes no sense in any terms.
  • Iliana, the Ponyfinder Queen: An examination of how to use Eclipse to customize – and slightly upgrade – a Ponyfinder queen to fit her history.
  • Lashtada, Ponyfinder Goddess:  As set up using The Primal Order for second edition.
  • Sonata Dusk: As appearing in his Fanfiction.
  • A Magical Medieval Society: Equestria: Building equestrian society using “A Magical Medieval Society”.
  • Baby Got Backlash: Flurry Heart and Magical Surges
  • Tempest Shadow: The movie antagonist escapes into d20, rather than remaining to face the friendship
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Latest Material Index

Continue reading

Latest Material Index

Continue reading

Latest Material Index

. It’s once again time to get the latest material index updated and to transfer the material from the old one to the main index tabs at the top of the page. If you want the very latest material, it may be necessary to either scroll down or consult the “Recent Posts” listing-widget on the lower right. The previous Latest Materials Index can be found HERE and – for those who like to rummage at random – the full post-by-post index can be found occupying a great deal of space in the lower right column.

. Eclipse Classless d20 Character Construction Cribsheet / Sample Character ListCharacter Creation PrimerCompiled Martial Arts.

. Subindexes: RPG Design – Twilight Isles – BattletechChampionsd20Legend of the Five RingsShadowrunWhite WolfOther GamesBattling Business WorldStar Wars

. Cumulative General Index. Continue reading

Eclipse, Lesser Path Magics, Part II

Magical packages at the 18-24 CP level are fairly major investments for a low-level character, and invariably require a reasonable level of talent and/or working on developing their talents from fairly early childhood. As such, they’re quite uncommon; a village is unlikely to have more than a few people with powers on this scale – and it’s not uncommon for someone with the potential to never really put in the work to develop it effectively.

It’s worth noting that all of these packages – as well as the ones from last time around – are set up as fairly high-efficiency options. NPC’s typically aren’t all that optimized, but it’s also true that the point balance on minor villagers is pretty unimportant. PC’s are generally assumed to be a lot more talented than most NPC’s (although not as much so as in first edition, where actually having the potential to go past “level zero” was reserved for the one-in-a-thousand who had “adventurer potential”) though – and point balance matters a lot more to them. Ergo, these packages are all optimized to where they’d be a reasonable investment for a player character who wants some convenient low-level magical packages to pick from.

Witchcraft (18+ CP)

Many folk have small knacks. Before they know what is and isn’t possible… they can stir the mobile over the crib to delight their infant eyes, they can tell what the cat is saying, or call the butterflies. But such talents are very personal, and tend to fade as children begin to come in groups. What fun is a trick when it can’t be shared? 

But in a world of magic, some children refuse the abandon those tricks. Instead they develop their inner strengths, expand on those tiny psychic knacks, and – eventually – turn them into actual useful powers. Where things go from there tends to depend a lot on how the other children reacted to the kid who kept talking to themselves and doing weird things.

Witchcraft is probably the most common magical package of all. It’s fairly low-powered, but it is versatile, efficient, and extremely cheap. It also allows it’s users to take Pacts – each worth +6 CP to spend on advanced Witchcraft powers. Since a character can take two Pacts at level one, and another at levels three, seven, and twelve, a mere 18 CP can get you 48 CP worth of Witchcraft. Throw in a few extra Power and you can have quite a lot of tricks.

  • At the most basic, take Witchcraft II (12 CP) with Two Pacts – paying for +3d6 Power (6 CP) and Rite Of Chi with +4 Bonus Uses, Specialized / only to recover Power (6 CP). That gives you a choice of three of the twelve basic abilities and enough Power to make good use of them. For some sample selections…
    • Expert Healer: Healing, Hyloka, and Witchfire.
    • Illusionist: Glamour, Shadowweave, and Witchsight.
    • Crafter: Hand Of Shadows, Witchfire, and Witchsight.
    • Shaman: Dreamfaring, Glamour, and The Inner Eye.
    • Telepath: The Adamant Will, Glamour, and The Inner Eye.
    • Combat (or Vengeful) Witch: Elfshot, Infliction, and Witchfire.
    • Mystic: Healing, Shadowweave, and Witchsight.
  • For another 6 CP you can get some more power and another four basic abilities or an advanced ability. Go ahead, learn to contact beings on other planes, or to project your spirit as a formidable creature, or channel spirits, or become a shadow, or to take minor animal forms, or any of a lot of other things.

The basic Bokor (Binder) Package also falls under Witchcraft, and costs 24 CP. Similarly, the Sith and Jedi 24 CP packages can be found in this category.

I tend to recommend that – unless they’re primary casters or extreme specialists – most characters take some Witchcraft. It can provide a wide variety of tricks and boosts quite cheaply – and thus gives fighter- and rogue-types a nice boost.

Entreaty Magic (21 CP)

The art of calling on mystical entities to empower your spells directly is quite versatile – if still limited to the type of effects that any specific entity is able to supply – but demands a fair amount of service to such entities to pay for their power. While 21 CP worth of Entreaty Magic only covers spells of up to level two and requires that the user have a minimum level of three to fully control those second level effects – entreating minor entities of Childbirth and Healing, Villages and Households, Hunting and Farming, Nature, and similar fields is unlikely to lead to any especially burdensome demands on a low-level character – and (unlike the 12 CP Hedge Wizard package) can both include effective offensive and defensive spells and is easily expanded to greater powers (+12 CP and a minimum level of five for level three effects, although getting up to the maximum of level six effects gets expensive) if some villager should prove to have enough magical talent for that.

Shamanic Magic (24 CP)

While closely related to Entreaty Magic, Shamanic Magic includes long-term (if very minor) blessings, some minor animalistic shapeshifting, and the ability to intervene on behalf of the dying, as well as the ability to call on various spirits for magic. A shaman will never possess vast magical power, but he or she is extremely flexible and well-suited to providing the kind of magical services that a small village or wandering tribe needs.

Spellbinder (24 CP)

A Spellbinder possesses a good deal of Mana, a vivid imagination, and a strong will with which to channel that Mana into the effects they imagine. That’s not a very efficient way to work magic, and it’s very prone to backfires and side effects since a lot of the Mana they shove in discharges at random – but it is quite versatile. A Spellbinder can produce virtually any arcane effect within their level limits, even if those same wild discharges keep them from storing their magic or using it to create magical objects.

  • 3d6 Mana with the Unskilled Magic option, Specialized for Increased Effect (only costs 1 Mana per Spell Level) and Corrupted for Reduced Cost / Only usable for unskilled magic, calls for Gestures (limiting the user to light or medium armor and at least one free hand), Incantations (incoherent screaming works though), and a spell component pouch (variants may use other foci) (12 CP).
    • The Casting Level equals the user’s Level or (Mana Spent + Int / 3), whichever is less.
    • The maximum level of effect is the users base Will Save Bonus or (Wis / 3), whichever is less.
    • Keeping the side effects (normally of the same level as the spell attempted or one level less) down to inconvenient effects rather than dangerous ones requires a Cha check at a DC of (6 + 2 x the Mana Used). The side effects are always up to the game master.
    • The user MIGHT (GMO) gain “free” mana to use if under great emotional stress.
    • The user may invest an additional (Spell Level) mana points in a spell with a duration to keep it running until he or she drops it, something dispels or negates it, or he or she chooses to recover that mana. This is, however, limited to a maximum of (Con/3) levels of spells.
  • Rite of Chi with +4 Bonus Uses, Specialized for Reduced Cost / only recovers at 1d6 per half-hour of rest or sleep (6 CP).
  • +2 to the user’s Base Will Save (6 CP).

Spellbinders are quite rare, and often become actual adventurers (usually taking some Reflex Training and more Mana so as to get off more spells), although even if they pump their Wisdom, Intelligence, and Will Saves they are unlikely to reach particularly high-level magics. On the other hand, they can cast a (sloppy) version of pretty much any low-level arcane spell that you might want – including Hedge Wizardry effects – which is pretty useful and can keep Shield and Mage Armor up all day at first level, which is pretty handy.

Animist (24 CP)

An animist depends on talking things into helping him or her out – usually by simple appeals, but sometimes by trickery. It’s a subtle art, but one that requires little or no personal power besides a persuasive tongue.

  • Immunity/the normal limits of Diplomacy and Spoken Language (Common, Minor, Major, 12 CP). This ability allows the user to effectively communicate with ANYTHING – and to attempt to persuade it to help them out. They can speak with plants and animals, attempt to persuade locks and doors to open, fires to leave open a path of escape, spirits to answer, air to remember when it was stone, or stone to remember when it was molten rock or simple sand or whatever it once was. It’s usually fairly easy to persuade things to act within their natures – for example, doors are made to let people through, so getting one to open itself is fairly easy. Getting a lock to open without the key is considerably harder; locks are MADE to keep unauthorized people out.
  • Minor Privilege/most things that are not naturally communicative are pleased to be spoken to, and will be reasonably friendly (3 CP).
  • Spirit Favors: Major from the spirits of the physical world, minor from the spiritual entities of the elemental and appropriate alignment planes (9 CP).

An animist can occasionally pull off some pretty major stunts – getting a massive avalanche or tornado to turn aside, getting a ship safely through a hurricane, triggering an eruption, or otherwise massively influencing the course of events – but for the most part they’re going to be doing things like asking a rope to tie itself securely when they toss one end to the top of a cliff, or getting a lockpick to twist itself around to help them open something – and they have few limits on such minor tricks.

Cultist (24 CP).

Cultists are a bit tricky in d20. After all whether you are calling upon strange gods, eccentric demons, gibbering lovecraftian horrors, fey, or long-forgotten entities… they’re very rarely offering you anything that you can’t get in much more socially acceptable ways. In Eclipse, the answer is simple: the abilities in the Cultist package are generally Corrupted for Reduced Cost or Increased Effect / they have some weird side effect and call for odd, exclusive, rituals and such, Maybe they attract strange creatures, or corrupt nature, or spawn strange weather and other problems, or they drive their users insane if they overuse their powers, or whatever. That makes a cultists powers relatively quick and easy to obtain and simultaneously provides a reason for their being social objections to the cult. Even if they’re not evil… cultists make difficult neighbors The Standard Cultist Powers are simply:

  • 3d6 Mana, Specialized and Corrupted / only for Rune Magic, whatever limitations the specific cult involves (6 CP).
  • Rite of Chi with +4 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted /only to restore the Mana Reserve for Rune Magic, requires a brief cult ceremony, specific cult limitations (4 CP).
  • Adept, Specialized and Corrupted for Reduced Cost / Two Skills Only (Rune Magic Casting and Mastery for a specific field), specific cult limitations (2 CP).
  • Augmented Bonus, adds (Second Attribute Bonus of Choice) to (Skills based on chosen attribute for Rune Magic), Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect / Only for Rune Magic, only for the Cult Rune Magic Skills, specific cult limitations (6 CP).
  • Rune Magic Casting and Mastery, Specialized for Increased (Double) Effect / doubling values only applies to the base skill points at level one, not to attribute or other bonuses, spellcasting is always seen as strange and unnatural, specific cult limitations. +4/+4 SP (+8/+8 to base total) (4 CP).
  • Knowledge / Religion +1 (1 CP). +3 Speciality in their own cult (1 CP).

Cultists do need an attribute bonus to really shine – but one attribute of 14 is quite sufficient. That will give them (+8 Base +6 (Augmented Bonus) = +14 in Rune Mastery and Casting at level one – an effective caster level of seven and access to third level spells in that specific field. That also, of course, helps to explain why Cults – despite all their negative effects – hang on. If the cultists of Shangarath The Fiery One all happen to be able to throw 7d Fireballs (among other fire effects), then attacking them might go really badly for a bunch of low-level types. Even without an attribute bonus… Burning Hands or Scorching Ray at caster level four can really ruin a normal persons day.

Cultists strike an interesting social dynamic: thanks to whatever weird side effects they produce, nobody really wants them around, or wants to get involved with them – until something is going badly wrong, at which point the relatively high-powered magic they can wield may suddenly be absolutely critical to the communities survival. Thus Cultists are usually tolerated, if isolated, parts of the community.

On a practical character-design level… Cultist magic tends to be extremely efficient at getting a narrow field up to mid-range power levels at low level – but thereafter slows down drastically, since another +19 skill points will only get them to +33 at level twenty. Admittedly, that’s eighth level spells and an effective caster level of sixteen – but it’s in one narrow field, you don’t get the price breaks for being a cultist on more Mana, and the rate of increase beyond level one is a lot less impressive than it is for a more conventional spellcaster with a proper, general, education.

There are quite a few other 24 CP Archetypes and Roles up that also fall into this category. As a sampling we have the  Aristocrat, Berserker, Commander, Laborer, Magus, Messenger, Shadow, Wanderer, and Wise Companion, Broken Spirit, Brute, Elder, Great Leader, Official, Scholar, and Shaman, Centurion, El Diablo, Performer, Romantic, and Thief, Fortunate Scion, Merchant, Seducer, and Stoic, (and the How-to-use-them guide), as well as the Star Trek Power Packages Ensign, infiltrator, and Engineer, Captain and Second In Command, Transporter Officer, Counselor, Mystic Counselor, and Doctor, Chief Security Officer, Cosmic Wedgie, Annoying Brat, the Mudd, and Holographic Characters.

Sacredos Pastor (24 CP)

The Sacredos Pastor is the intermediary between the greater realms and the circumscribed worlds of the peasants and farmers – and a dabbler in many different forms of magic. In practice, this is probably the most efficient package on this entire list, exploiting the inherent bonuses of first level Clerical Spellcasting, Ritual Magic, Witchcraft, a Shamanic Familiar, and Creating Relics to provide all the magical services a small village will normally need outside of serious emergency situations – although those will, as always, call for adventurers.

The Sacredos Paster – and the Oath Of The Postulant that leads to it – were actually part of an experiment; I rather wondered what might happen when a visitor introduced a very high-efficiency social optimizer package in the guise of a religious philosophy to a fairly classical d20 world. Sadly, the game folded up all too soon, and so I never got to find out. Oh well.

Eclipse: The Codex Persona is available in a Freeware PDF Version, in Print, and in a Paid PDF Version that includes Eclipse II (245 pages of Eclipse races, character and power builds, items, relics, martial arts, and other material) and the web expansion. Here’s a Featured Review of it and another Independent Review.

The Practical Enchanter can be found in a Print Edition (Lulu), an Electronic Edition (RPGNow), and a Shareware Edition (RPGNow).  There’s an RPGNow Staff Review too.

 

Eclipse – Lesser Path Magics, Part I

The Great Powers inhabit the capital cities and hidden fastnesses. There they practice the martial skills that challenge the gods themselves and the magics that reshape the world. They Resurrect The Dead, they bring Wishes into reality, and they forge devices of godlike power.

But there aren’t very many of them about – and so smaller villages often go many years between seeing one of them, and even THAT is usually just a glimpse as they pass through.

Most people don’t have the talent, the will, the resources, or the luck, to develop powers like that. They aren’t riding the outer edge of the bell curve and the forces of destiny. They aren’t drawing on the blazing, unfettered, energies of the planes beyond. They don’t weild ancient artifacts or embody cosmic forces. They aren’t Powers of the Realm, and they never will be.

They aren’t without magic though. The magic of the world is a resource as great or greater than its mines, forests, and waters, and no successful sapient race allows it to go unused. The common folk of the world have the practitioners of the Lesser Paths – village witches and hedge magi, minor healers, lay priests, and various small talents – to make their lives easier and more secure.

  • Lesser Paths are generally 2-24 CP “long” – and most of their effects come into play at fairly low levels given that most NPC’s will never get past level two or three. This doesn’t mean that they can’t be useful to adventurers though, they just won’t be very effective at higher levels.

Peasant Powers (6 CP).

The common folk in most d20 games don’t really resemble medieval peasants, serfs, and crafters very much. They’re a lot more like reasonably prosperous farmers and craftsmen from a mere century or two back. That isn’t very surprising, given that both the players and game masters are a LOT more familiar with relatively recent history and find it hard to discard all those preconceptions – and the rules don’t help much either, since most of what they cover involves high-powered, wealthy, player-characters. Ergo, here’s a small package that accounts for most of those differences – and may well just be assumed in the setting.

Focused Skill Magic (2+ CP).

In a world of magic, there is little difference between using a firedrill and calling on the spirits of fire or between case-hardening steel with careful quenching and case-hardening steel by chanting runes as you forge it. Even a task as mundane as cookery is filled with kitchen witchery – charms to clean pots and pans, to heat the stove, and to make sure that things don’t burn – among many, MANY, others.

  • Occult Talent, Specialized and Corrupted for Reduced Cost / all spells must be related to a particular skill, user must gesture and speak, requires a spell component pouch or equivalent focus to use, user must make a DC 15 skill check with the skill to invoke a Cantrip and a DC 20 check to invoke a first level effect. (2 CP for 4 Fixed Cantrips and a First Level Spell, 4 CP for 5 Floating Cantrips and 3 Floating First Level Spells).
  • You can double the cost to convert to first and second level spells or triple the cost to convert to second and third level Spells, at a casting DC of 25 for second level effects and 30 for third – but this will require a slightly higher level. Still, it is perfectly possible for that veteran blacksmith to have 20 CP in Forge Magic, getting 10xL0, 6xL1, 5xL2 (minimum of level three to use safely), and 3xL3 (minimum of level five to use safely) spells and an equal number of slots to cast them with. He or she will also want Luck with +8 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted / only for spellcasting (6 CP) – but that will make him a fairly effective, if highly specialized, mage.

General Skill Magic (6 CP)

  • Shaping, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect (up to L1 Effects), only for producing effects related to the user’s skills, only works with skills at skill rank four or above, requires a DC 10 check to produce a Prestidigitation Level Effect (up to three times per day per skill), a DC 15 check to produce a Level Zero Effect (up to two times per day per skill), and a DC 25 check to produce a First Level Effect (up to once per day per skill).

Or

  • Shaping, Specialized and Corrupted/requires a DC 15 skill check to produce a level zero effect, each skill is associated with a specific effect, each effect can only be attempted once every five minutes, the user must have at least four skill points in a particular skill before it’s effect can be employed, such effects are swift actions where they assist another action, standard actions if they have independent effects.

The first version is better for skill monkeys who want access to those first level spells and have plenty of skill points anyway, the second is better for the kind of low-level charms you want to use all the time.

Religious Acolyte or Lay Priest (6 CP):

This package requires early indoctrination, but virtually no actual talent – and so most villages will boast an Acolyte or two who tends to their religious needs, lessens the impact of illnesses, performs rituals of marriage, blesses the livestock, orchards, and fields, and puts up wards against minor trouble. It’s also one of the few packages that includes disadvantages – mostly because an early religious vocation cuts off a LOT of other options.

  • Disadvantages: Obligations and Vows. Acolytes generally start off quite young, and make a substantial commitment to their faith. This (-6 CP) pays for…
  • Religious Training: Fast Learner, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect / only for Skills, only for religious lore, taken at level (-1) (6 CP): That’s +6 SP at L1 and +3 per level thereafter. At level one they will have:
    • Knowledge/Religion +2 (2 SP). Most Acolytes spend a few more points on this to max it out, but this is not required.
    • A +3 Specialty in Knowledge/Religion (Their Religion) (1 SP)
    • Specific Knowledge / has memorized, or at least intensively studied, the primary holy book, collection of doctrines, myth cycle, or similar basis of their religion (1 SP).
    • Specific Knowledge: has memorized (Int Mod +3) minor rituals and one major ritual of their faith (2 SP). This gets them a +5 bonus on performing those specific rituals.
  • Religious Rites: Occult Ritual (Knowledge/Religion based), Specialized and Corrupted / only for the practical religious rituals of their particular faith (2 CP).
  • One Base Caster level, Specialized in Clerical Spellcasting, Corrupted/does not allow for anything beyond first level spells (2 CP).
  • 1d6 Mana as 2d4 (5) Generic Spell Levels, Specialized and Corrupted / only for binding into prepared clerical spells, save for Cure Minor Wounds spells may only be prepared as needed, not in advance (so basically you must take 15 minutes to get a spell ready), at least one spell level is always devoted to two instances of Cure Minor Wounds daily, user must live up to the precepts of his or her religion to be granted any spells (2 CP).

Master Healer (6 CP)

A Master Healer is always welcome in a village; and isn’t bad to have along on an adventure – although, since I usually limit characters to 12 CP worth of Innate Enchantment (not counting any in Templates), adventurers often have better things to spend their innate enchantments on. The problem here is that using monthly charges allows a Master Healer to have a reserve with which to meet local emergencies, but active adventuring tends to blow through those reserves in short order – and simply upgrading to unlimited use generally isn’t allowed for healing magic. An adventurer is usually better off with a healing belt, or uses/day, or just (as usual) writing off the occasional Wand of Lesser Vigor as an adventuring expense.

  • Innate Enchantment (5320 GP Value, all effects Spell Level One, Caster Level One, Use-Activated).
    • Skill Mastery. +5 Competence Bonus To Healing Ranks, Personal Only (1400)
    • Healing Lorecall (Unlimited-Use Use-Activated, 2000 GP). Note that, in Pathfinder, an additional function becomes available at Skill 10: when you are treating a patient for poison or disease they may use your skill check as their save if they so desire.
    • Cure Light Wounds (50 Uses/Month x.6, Maximum Twice/Day on any one target x.8 = 960 GP)
    • Lesser Restoration (50 Uses/Month, Maximum of 1/Day on any one target x.6 = 720 GP)
    • Moment Of Insight (Skills) 4/Day: Gain a +20 Insight Bonus on a skill check, Only for the Heal skill (x.3) only for Treat Poison/Illness (x.5) = 240 GP.

Minimal Werebeast (6 CP)

Being a Minimal Werebeast is actually extremely useful to a commoner or a low-level character; he or she will be considerably tougher, can run around much faster, survive better if caught out in the cold, and recover from most injuries much more quickly than usual. Higher level characters may not find it an efficient use of half their 12 CP innate enchantment allowance, or may want the (much better) bonuses of being the real thing – but if you want to be a survivalist, this is a pretty good base for it. Besides, werewolf kids can be heart-meltingly cute.

  • Damage Reduction, Specialized and Corrupted for Reduced Cost/only versus physical attacks, not versus Silver, 4/- (3 CP).
  • Innate Enchantment. All enchantments Spell Level One, Caster Level One, Unlimited-Use Use-Activated, and Personal-Only. Specialized for Reduced Cost / comes with wolfish instincts (and the need to make occasional will checks to resist such impulses), pack loyalty, and the traditional signs of being a werewolf. It may or may not come with a compulsive urge to party all night during the full moon. 6480 GP inherent value (3 CP).
    • Aspect Of The Wolf (2000 GP). The user may continue to walk on two legs and keep his or her pants on if desired (or may describe this as “Aspect Of The Cat” or “Aspect Of The Bear” or some such) but this has no game effect.
    • Speak with Animals (1400 GP).
    • Wrath. Morale bonuses of +2 Str, +2 Con, +1 Will, and -2 AC when in use (1400 GP).
    • Endure Elements 1/Day (280 GP).
    • Fast Healing I for 18 Rounds 2/Day (560 GP).
    • Relieve Illness (Hedge Wizardry List) 1/Day (280 GP).
    • Relieve Poison (Hedge Wizardry List) 1/Day (280 GP).
    • Lesser Restoration 1/Day (280 GP).

The Woods Witch (6 CP).

The Woods Witch has a knack for the magic of nature, and can – with practice – sense the innate properties of plants and herbs and call then forth in effects equivalent to powerful cantrips or weak first level spells. Does Aloe soothe burns? Then a Woods Witch can provide minor healing for burn victims until he or she runs out of Aloe.

  • Innate Enchantment: Handy Haversack (2000 GP), Enhance Herb (2000 GP), and Classify Plant (1000 GP) (6 CP).

For a few quick examples of herbal magic…

  • A pinch of Allspice provides +2 caster levels to the effect of another herb. A precious resource for a Woods Witch, but usually an expensive import.
  • Amaranth Smoke carries prayers, and will allow an effective séance.
  • Angelica reduces the impact of illnesses, preventing any loss of attributes from them during the next roll.
  • Barberry provides the same mental protection as Protection From Evil for several minutes – although it does not provide bonuses otherwise.
  • Basil Suggests thoughts of love when a pinch of the dust is scattered.
  • Birch Powder damages the undead, causing 1d2/Caster Level (5d2 max) damage to them when cast over a small area.
  • Blessed Thistle will protect the user against one witches hex or other minor malevolent effect of level two or less cast at them within the next one hour. Sadly, you can’t carry more than three sprigs without the extras losing effectiveness.

And so on. More examples of herbal magic can be found with the Enhance Herb spell in Paths Of Power II, but they’re all over online anyway.

A Woods Witch can be quite effective – but it may take a lot of time to stock up their supplies of herbs and they don’t keep forever. If they use a lot of their stuff up for some reason it may take weeks to restock even if nothing is currently out of season. If something is out of season… well, maybe they can find some growing in a greenhouse somewhere.

Other common packages at this level include:

Novice Of Mysteries (6 CP):

The Novice and Initiate Of Mysteries have developed an affinity for a particular type of magic – most often effects that augment a particular activity – thievery, shadow manipulation, illusion, weird martial art powers, force effects, or whatever. While they lack the raw power of high-level spells if they combine specialized enhancements with other abilities they can be fairly formidable – and it’s still a fairly cheap path to take.

  • Improved Occult Talent, Specialized for Half Cost / all spells must fit a specific theme, all require invocations (the user must use anime-style “called effects”), requires the use of a special focus (rune-inscribed bracers, gloves, or whatever). Gain 5 Cantrips and 3 First Level Spell effects, with a similar number of spell slots to cast them with. The effective caster level equals your level (6 CP).

For an example let’s look at Wind Blade Style Swordsmanship

  • Level Zero Effects:
    • Call Weapon: an unattended weapon leaps into your hand from up to thirty feet away as a swift action.
    • Fast Draw: a weapon on your person appears in your hand as a swift action.
    • Mend Weapon: A swift-action Mend that only works on weapons.
    • Void Sheath (The Practical Enchanter):
    • Wind Weapon: You conjure a normal weapon for one minute as a swift action.
  • Level One Effects:
    • Fancy Footwork: Gain +5′ Natural Reach for one minute as a swift action.
    • Master’s Parry: Block 15 points of incoming damage as an immediate action.
    • Sudden Strike: Make a single attack at your full BAB as a swift action.

That’s a fair selection of tricks for a low-level swordsman, even if they are limited use.

Initiate Of Mysteries (12 CP):

  • Improved Occult Talent, Specialized for Double Effect / all spells must fit a specific theme, all require invocations (the user must use anime-style “called effects”), requires the use of a special focus (rune-inscribed bracers, gloves, or whatever). Gain 5 first level and 3 second level spell effects with a similar number of spell slots to cast them with – although the use of the level two effects requires a minimum level of three. The effective caster level equals your level (12 CP).

Advanced Wind Blade Style Swordsmanship:

  • Remove: The L0 Effects.
  • L1) Add: Wind Blade Mastery (use any L0 blade magic effect).
  • L2) Add: Bloodfire (as per Scorching Ray), Storm Of Blades, and Whirlwind Kata (as per Protection From Arrows).

Common Level One Alternatives: Adamant Strike (weapon acts as Adamant for one minute), Bless Weapon, Deafening Clang, Lead Blades, Magic Weapon, Peasant Armaments, Personal Haste, Ranged Strike, Strategic Charge, Sweep (as per Burning Hands, but Force Damage), True Strike, Warding Blade (as per Shield), and Whirlwind Strike (standard action, as per Whirlwind Attack).

Common Level Two Alternatives: Burning Sword, Death Blossom (standard action, as per Whirlwind Attack with +10 reach), Flame Of Faith, Grandmaster’s Parry (block 25 points of incoming damage as an immediate action), Litany Of Warding, Righteous Vigor, Versatile Weapon, Whirling Blade, and Winged Step (Swift Action, for the next one minute per level you may take a move action as part of a full attack action).

A higher-level character will usually get more out of a sequence of greater powers – but a low to mid-level blademaster may find this quite useful – and may even invest another couple of feats in a mobility sequence or in doubling up on the Wind Blade Style with a mostly different list of effects to use.

Hedge Mage (12 CP):

  • Four levels of the Wilder Progression (Charisma Based), Specialized and Corrupted / provides no actual psionic powers, Power can only be spent to use Hedge Magic Disciplines, not for other purposes (8 CP), This gives them an effective Caster Level of Four and (17 + 2 x Cha Mod) Power.
  • Hedge “Magic”, Corrupted for Reduced Cost / does not include the ability to make Conjures (4 CP). As psionic disciplines it costs 1/2 a point of Power to use a “level zero” effect, one for a “level one effect”, and three for a “level two” effect.

This package does require a reasonable amount of talent, so full-out hedge mages are relatively rare – but they can be extremely helpful when it comes to daily life.

Magecrafter (12 CP).

Making tools and weapons was one of the original great fields of magic. A maker of spears harnessed the power of earth and wood and death, placing them in the hands of men to strike down their enemies – whether cast like thunderbolts or braced to withstand some monstrous onslaught. Today, the wonder of those early tools is long forgotten and that ancient magic sleeps – but the sleeper can awaken.

  • Immunity/the distinction between (Rune) Mastery and a related Craft Skill (Uncommon, Minor, Minor, 2 CP). Thus someone who knows (Archery) Mastery (allowing him or her to cast spells involving bows and arrows) can also use that magical skill to make bows and arrows. Someone who knows (Fire) or (Forge) or (Metal) mastery might work as a Smith – or perhaps a Jeweler.
  • 1d6+2 (6) Mana, Specialized / only for use with Rune Magic (4 CP).
  • Rite Of Chi with +2 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted / only to restore the Rune Magic Mana Pool, above (3 CP).
  • Augmented Bonus: Adds a second attribute modifier to the Modifier used for their Rune Magic Skills, Specialized for Reduced Cost / only applies to Rune Magic Skills (3 CP).

A magecrafter integrates magic and craftsmanship to imbue tools with temporary magic, call up items when they need them, and enhance their ability to craft things in a variety of ways – a very practical choice.

Dreamspawn Bond (10 CP)

  • A Dreamspawn Bond offers an insane amount of power for 10 CP. Unfortunately, it also means sharing your dreams with a unique Lovecraftian horror from beyond space and time that loves you, and wants you to be happy, and does not comprehend creatures of this plane of reality in the slightest. They also usually bond with small children, whom they render antisocial and more than a bit insane. This is not Pokemon. This is Monsters And Other Childish Things – or perhaps Pokethulhu. It’s usually not a good idea to have someone with such a bond in the party unless EVERYONE has one (which is generally not a good idea for the rest of the world). For examples we have The Basic Template, Timothy and Verendior, Dunangylaz and Antaeus Varin, Lerona and Queen Yintor, Oridon and Yinsloth, and Sevarangin.

The Enlightened One (12 CP).

The rare Enlightened One has found some relic of the divine – a bone of a saint, a part of the regalia of some god, or some such – and contemplated it until he or she opened a channel to the infinite, allowing that radiant force to shine through him or her and into reality. To make this work… they must settle down at a shrine/on a mountain/beneath a tree (or some such) and meditate on the cosmic all. After a few days of this… they will begun to function as a minor Reliquary (The Practical Enchanter) while they are in their place of meditation – allowing those who follow the same faith to come to them, listen to their wisdom, and be infused with the magic of the divine, gaining a handful of clerical (or druidic) spells that must be used with twenty-four hours or they will fade away.

  • Innate Enchantment / a Minor Reliquary (The Practical Enchanter, 11,385 GP Value, 12 CP). The Enlightened One gains a +4 Enhancement Bonus to Wisdom, 2L0, 2L1, and 2L2 clerical spells, plus a L3 spell if their enhanced Wisdom is 16+ and a L4 spell if their enhanced wisdom is 18+. Listeners gain access to 1L0 spell at Wis 10+, to a L1 spell at Wis 12+, to a L2 Spell at Wis 14+, to a L3 spell at Wis 16+, and to a L4 spell at Wis 18+. All such spells have an effective caster level of nine.

So how hard is to get a hold of a “True Relic”? And are they good for anything else?

Who knows? Generally, a “True Relic” is a part of the body of a very powerful Cleric or has been touched by a major power of the outer planes – so it depends on just how often such beings show up, what they usually do, and exactly what counts. Or you could only allow Eclipse-style Relics imbued with one or more character points by such a being, or you could go with the Magic Item Compendium and make them fairly powerful magical items (in which case they’re moderately expensive; the cheapest one I recall seeing in that book was Ehlonna’s seed pouch at 1400 GP), or you could go with the Book Of Exalted Deeds, where a Rack Of The Tortured Saint relic is given a value of only 180 GP – although that book also says that relics “cannot be manufactured, bought, or sold” (it doesn’t say what happens to stop the sale it if, say, one player character tries to sell one to another player character who wants it). For simplicity?

  • Owning a True Relic is a Minor (3 CP) or Major (6 CP) Privilege.
  • True Relics count as 1 CP (Minor) or 2 CP (Major) Eclipse-Style Relics.
  • True Relics are holy / unholy / anarchic / axiomatic items that do 2d6 (Minor) or 3d6 (Major) divine damage to creatures with opposing alignment subtypes by touch.
  • True Relics provide their bearers with a +2 (Minor) or +4 (Major) Sacred Bonus to any social skill roll targeting an audience that will respect the Relic in question.

That makes True Relics reasonably effective for their cost – but not something that Adventurers will usually want to invest in given that they provide less raw power than a design-your-own relic package.

Other popular power packages in this range include:

  • Basic Shamanism (Companion (Familiar) with the Spirit Fetch template (Eclipse II), granting Occult Sense / Spirit Sense (it’s “master” can see and hear spirits, 12 CP).
  • Houngan Conjurer (12 CP)
  • Obol Maker (12 CP)

Eclipse – The Sagacious Advisor

This package gives you the classic sage, mentor, or royal advisor – someone who can tell you that the unseasonable winter blighting the land is almost certainly the work of the Winter King wielding the reforged Fimbulwinter Blade from his Otherworldly Castle Of Ice, and that some heroes must journey there to stop him by shattering the blade once more so that the seasons will turn properly for another age of the world.

He will even – after enough research (waiting to draw the right card since he only gets new ones for his Hexcrafting magic when important things happen) that the situation has become utterly dire and the party has had to hold off multiple attacks by Polar Bears, Winter Wolves, and other ice-monsters – be able to open a path into the mystic realms of the Seasonal Spirits, so that you can reach the Castle Of Ice to do battle with the Winter King.

He won’t know that the Winter King was recently overthrown by his treacherous son Prince Iceheart wielding the reforged Fimbulwinter blade, and that to restore the balance of the world the party will have to rescue the old king, defeat the Prince, shatter Fimbulwinter once more, and perform a ritual to reinstate the link between the Realm of Winter and it’s once and future King. After all, that information is far too recent to appear in the Sagacious Advisors ancient tomes – but he can still get the party started on their adventure.

Similarly, he can put the dying king afflicted by the nigh-unstoppable mystic venom into stasis, and greatly slow the decay of the land that ruler is linked to – but he will have to stick around to keep recasting that stasis (after all, it starting to wear off is probably an important enough event to justify refreshing his powers), leaving the quest for the cure up to the player characters.

Of course, if you wind up having to take a Sagacious Advisor along on your adventures – perhaps you need one of those vastly powerful spells performed at a particular place – then you will have to babysit them through the trip and then protect them from the inevitable massive attack while they perform their ritual casting because they probably won’t be any use at all along the way.

The Sagacious Advisor (Usually an NPC):

Basic Attributes: Str 8, Dex 8, Con 12, Int 14, Wis 12, Cha 16 (Pathfinder 15 Point Buy).

Available Character Points: L3 Base (96 CP) -18 (Untrained) +12 (L1 and L3 Feats) = 90 CP.

Basics (25 CP): Hit Dice: 3d6 (6 CP), Skill Points +8 (Fast Learner at L0, 6 CP) +6 (6 CP) = 14 (six knowledges at +1, 8 points for other skills), BAB +0 (0 CP), Saves +0 (Luck with +2 Bonus Uses, Specialized in Saves, 4 CP), Proficiencies: All Simple Weapons (3 CP).

Other Abilities (65 CP):

  • Luck with +4 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect: only for Skills, only for Knowledge, Skills, user must spend a lot of time rummaging through ancient tomes and lore, information often contains gaps (especially about recent changes) that will need to be filled by adventurers, user is afflicted with great curiosity and a certain lack of caution (12 CP).
  • +6 Base Caster Levels, Specialized in Hexcrafting. (18 CP).
  • Hexcrafting: 4 Free Invocations (8 CP), 3 Cards (8 CP), 2 Fixed Cards (6 CP). All Corrupted for Reduced Cost / the user must fumble around with assorted arcane ingredients, speak, and gesture to do anything at all. The Cards are also Specialized for Reduced Cost / Ritual Only, it requires at least one minute of ritual per card expended to create an effect.
  • Berserker with Odinpower (+15 to Base Caster Level, -2 to AC) and +2 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted for Reduced Cost / each use only allows the casting of a single spell, user forfeits his or her dexterity bonus while casting, only half effect when using a free invocation, (4 CP).
  • Choice of Houngan Conjurer (9 CP) or Where Does He Get Those Wonderful Toys (9 CP).

While the Sagacious Advisor is useful to have around, and makes a wonderful government official… he or she does not have the quick, or regularly-usable, power needed to be a real threat to the current rulers or to overshadow the player characters. Like it or not, he or she is effectively a plot device. Still, every so often, the Sagacious Advisor can perform a major ritual – opening the path to a realm of myths, transporting a city away from an attacking horde to an unknown alien realm (which will, of course, offer it’s own menaces and which will urgently need exploring), or stopping that volcanic eruption (while simultaneously upsetting some Elementals) – and then be quite unable to deal with the further consequences. Que the player characters having a new mission.

Given that the game is supposed to be focused on the player characters, that’s a good thing. I’ve played in entirely too many games where the megapowerful NPC’s could (and obviously SHOULD) easily fix the problem – but it gets shoved off onto the player charters for some unspecified reason. As an example from a game I once played in…

(My character) “So let me get this straight, The kings widely-loved daughter has been Kidnapped. So the King sent his most skilled (high-level) guards out to scoop up what must be the six weirdest, most incompatible (we had a Drow, a Minotaur, my chain-smoking modern Egyptian tomb robber who’d been drafted by Anubis to be a priest in a fantasy world, and several other weird types), people in the capital, whom he had no information on, who are not known as adventurers, and who he has no reason to trust, to send after her. He’s doing this on the advice of his supposedly good-guy Mind Flayer advisor. We’ve been told that she’s being held in a legendary tomb in the middle of the enchanted forest by bandits. The King refused to lend us a guide, or any guards to provide backup, or give us a map, or provide us with any gear. And we will be thrown in the dungeons if we don’t take on this mission. Well… Now that we’re approaching the forest… I vote that we make a break for it!”

The game master was extremely surprised when the party assumed that we were, at best, a sacrificial diversion for the real rescue mission – and that, at worst, the “lawful good king” was actually covering up the elimination of an uncooperative daughter. And why would we be asking for gear or a map or help? We had our first-level character creation funds!

With this build… that sort of thing is not a problem. The Sagacious Advisor can meet the magical needs of the kingdom, tell the party where to find the necessary plot coupons and mcguffins, and still remain low level and incapable of doing the actual adventuring himself. It also means that – in a setting where most of the world is low level – one can fairly readily find or train an effective royal advisor without having to assume that they just appear from nowhere when it’s convenient.

Equipment Skills in Fantasy

And for today it’s another question…

How would you use the equipment skills in a standard high fantasy D&D setting? Where would you price a wand, or holy avenger, stuff like that? Examples for all of the equipment skills like these would be really nice, because I’m blanking on 3.P style magic item prices using this.

-MaesterofMadness

The problem there is that Fantasy settings employ a much wider range of gear than historical and scifi settings usually do. Gus the Level One Space Marine may have a Durium Space Axe, a Heavy Automatic Blaster, Mark-V Battle Armor, and a Bandolier of Pyrogrenades. At level ten… he might have added Custom Gun Grips, a Backup Sidearm, more Grenades, a Squad Command Computer, and a few Breaching Charges – but his basic equipment is probably going to be pretty much the same because Space Marines get issued some of the best available military hardware in the first place. If Mark-V Battle Armor is top of the line when the characters are at level one it will probably still be top of the line when they hit level ten.

In Equipment Skill terms, presuming that Gus doesn’t decide that those points are better spent elsewhere. the total value of Gus’s gear may go from “+8” at level one to “+17” at level ten – slightly more than doubling in value. Most of the change in Gus’s effectiveness is going to come from boosting his personal abilities with more BAB, Extra Attacks, Martial Arts, Evasiveness, Imbuement, and other combat tricks.

At level twenty? Sure, Gus’s gear skill might be at +32 if he’s bothered to buy it up a bit – but that’s still only four times what it was back at first level. He may add more supplies and some special-purpose gadgets (perhaps medical supplies, some sensors, stealth tech, and engineering gear now that he has the skills to use it effectively) – but it isn’t really all that likely, especially if such gear is bulky or heavy. After all, “leaving it to the specialists” is a perfectly valid option and he might well be better off picking up another martial art or something.

Even in games like Rifts… that “greatest ever” (“Glitter Boy”) power armor is only about fifteen times as tough as a Northern Gun Trenchcoat that costs less than a thousandth of the price – and a gear-focused character can start with the Glitter Boy armor anyway.

That’s due to a fundamental difference between technological gear and magic. Technology is full of trade-offs – and every child more than a few months old is at least somewhat aware of that. Heavier blocks pound better, but are harder to lift and hold. Longer sticks pry better, but snap more easily and are harder to manage. Tantrums (an early social technology) get you quicker attention than begging, but more often misfire and get you punished.

So no one argues with the idea that equipment has practical limits and that more expensive items aren’t exponentially better. They understand that tripling the price of a cheap sound system may get it from 98% fidelity to 98.5%, that it will take thirty or fifty times the price to get it to 99%, and that no system on earth is ever going to make it to 100% no matter how much you spend. The cost increases MUCH faster than the improvements in performance. That’s why there’s no one “best gun” any more than there’s a “best hammer”. Every design is full of tradeoffs and will be better or worse for specific purposes – and once you’re paying for a good quality product in the first place, getting a more expensive one won’t really improve matters very much.

You see that in a lot of literary magic systems too. Stormbringer may give Elric a lot of power – but it has some pretty massive downsides too. A Monkey’s Paw may grant wishes, but do you really want what it will give you? Is the sorcerous might that a demonic pact will grant worth the price? Even if you want magic really, REALLY, badly, you might want to settle for the lesser powers that you can gain through mere hard work, study, and self-discipline instead.

That’s one reason why I personally tend to treat legendary artifacts as freebies. If you really want to have one… just ask, and I will shortly give one to your character. Those things have their own purposes and drawbacks – and they draw you into their legends rather than letting you forge your own. There is a reason why you hear stories about the Hand and Eye of Vecna rather than about their users and why most of the beings that treat mighty magical artifacts as mere tools are ALREADY gods.

But in many games – d20 being a major example – magic items are “loot” rather than “plot elements” and, as such, have no downsides. All they cost is money.

Worse, the d20 default is that fantasy Gear covers a much greater range. After all, you can start off a near-penniless beggar (Monk, 5d4 GP, potentially a mere 5 GP) and will, around L20, be expected to have acquired nearly a million GP worth of personal gear even if you have used some of it up – a factor of 50,000 to 200,000 times. You can start out armed with an old knife and a crudely-cut tree branch for a club and wind up wearing gear that costs more than a major city and is capable of destroying armies and fending off gods all by itself. After all, barring game master fiat or some weird edge-case situation (also a form of game master fiat), a +1 sword is pretty much always an improvement on a standard sword, a +2 Frost sword is better yet, and a (cooperative) sapient +5 Keen Collision Holy Blade with an Augment Crystal, a wand chamber, and a few auxiliary enchantments may be able to take down a modest army of attackers without even bothering to wake you up.

There’s no simple-and-direct way to condense a range of 1-100,000 down into a skill range of 1-32 or so, especially when characters can easily start at “10”. Worse, even if I give the big items – say some nigh-invulnerable armor, an incredible shield, or a god-slaying sword – a cost of 12 CP each (so that a twentieth level paladin can afford the full set if they push it) that means that a first level character who decided to push it could wind up with one of the three. And at level one, the power of an item that’s balanced for a level 18+ character is all too likely to overshadow the personal abilities of everyone else in the party put together. Perhaps the items will want to take their hapless bearers out for a little exercise?

Just as troublingly, that open-ended power growth will make it vital to maximize your equipment skill or skills – and so they’ll wind up as a set of must-have skill (and possibly feat) taxes.

You could use a sliding scale – perhaps comparing it to the table in the Magic Item Compendium, with one-point items being suitable for a character six or more levels lower than yourself, two point items being suitable for characters three or more levels lower than yourself, three point items being suitable for characters one level lower than yourself, and six point items being suitable for a character of one level higher than yourself – but now we’ve got to check your level, check the chart, and rebalance everything, each time you go up a level. Sticking with wealth-by-level is actually simpler.

If you don’t want a sliding scale – and I think that it’s more trouble than it’s worth – you’ll have de facto limited yourself to a particular range of magical items. So your first step is to select that range. Once you do… lets say that one point gets you a minor item (or – say – 7-12 trivial ones), two gets you a notable but still utilitarian item, three gets you something quite useful, and five gets you something downright impressive. Beyond that…seven points gets you top-of-the-line stuff, but it always has some sort of downside to it. Optionally, players can get even better stuff by adding drawbacks.

So if you feel that the games magic item economy works best around level eight and you only want to have one equipment skill, I’d recommend basing it on Constitution to represent how much power you can handle channeling into your items – and because it will give Dwarves a slight edge. In this case…

  • One point may get you a weapon or suit of armor of some special material, a minor wand, a +1 armor or shield, a least Truedeath Crystal, a masterwork weapon with a minor charm or two on it, or something else worth a thousand gold pieces or less. Alternatively, it could get you a stockpile of alchemical items, a bandolier of Cure Light Wounds potions, or a pouch full of oils that provide various short-term boosts.
  • Two points could get you a +1 Weapon, Cloak Of Elvenkind, Javelin Of Lightning, Caduceus Bracers, Robe Of Bones, or other item worth up to about two thousand and five hundred gold pieces or less.
  • Three points could get you a +1 Weapon with a Minor Intelligence or some modest priced functions, +2 Armor, a Mithrilmist Shirt, a Bowstaff, Boots of Striding and Springing, some of the most minor staves, or some other item worth up to about six thousand gold pieces.
  • Five points might be up to 8500 GP or so – a +2 Weapon, a Robe Of Useful Items, and so on.
  • Seven point items are things of legend – +3 weapons, Boots Of Speed, Fireball Wands, and so on. Any of them over about 10,000 GP will have some drawback or other. Anything over 20,000 GP will have at least one major drawback. You want to wake that seven-point sword to it’s full +4 or even +5 potential? Perhaps it must be regularly dipped into dragons blood or something, and will draw them to you if you fail to seek them out to keep it sated.

This isn’t a bad mechanic – but it does notably change the power curve.

  • First level characters can easily have a skill of +12 or more (+4 Skill Points, +3 Con Mod, +2 Skill Emphasis, +3 Skill Focus) if they want it – and a first level mage with a Wand of Magic Missiles (7’th Level / Four Missiles, 3 points), an Amulet Of Tears (2 points), Wristbands of the Poseur III (3 Points), a Healing Belt (1 point), an Amber Amulet Of Vermin (Giant Wasp, 1 point), and a couple more items is a LOT more powerful than a standard build.
  • Characters around your balance point – around 7’th to 10’th level in this case – will have to take an extra skill, but will see little change in their overall power levels.
  • Higher level characters will have a lot less – and less potent – stuff, enough so to limit them substantially.
  • Stealing magical items will become mostly irrelevant, since it’s your skill that empowers them – and so other people’s items will not be especially useful to you.
  • “Treasure”is no longer a measure of personal power – and so building castles, donating to orphanages, buying lands and titles, and other social expenditures will become practical again.
  • Item Creation feats become pretty much irrelevant.

If that sort of change sounds good to you, then go for it. There is no one true way to play after all.

Now, Eclipse characters can function without conventional magical items at all: the rule for a game like that is in the back of the book – but is simply to award bonus Feats and a free level of Self-Development every two levels rather than every three and four respectively. In general, items other than Relics – including Great Enchantments – in such games should be built using the Action Hero (Crafting option) ability rather than with time, XP, and money. Characters who want to wield magical weapons and items can simply buy abilities such as Imbuement, which scale with their level automatically.

There are some related articles up that might help as well.

And I hope that helps!

What’s a “Ruscumag” anyway?

A question that’s long overdue: what exactly is the “ruscumag” that’s part of your blog’s URL?

-Alzrius

Well, that will take a little digging, so bear with me…

Once they stretched across continents. Not Forests, but THE Forest. Trackless. Primeval, Unknown.

And in hidden places, where subtle vortexes of primordial energies and vagaries of geography have kept patches of forest relatively undisturbed across the ages, THE Forest remains.

Preserved within those vortexes, fed and given form by the burgeoning ancient life of the trees, are realms of history and imagination merged, mythic time and space, archetypal places governed by tales and magic. Within those realms you may find ancient peoples, beasts long extinct, and tales in a thousand forms to draw you into their narratives whether you like it or not. Within a few weeks outside, in a patch of woods a half a mile across, you may spend decades exploring thousands of square miles of hidden realms, lakes, and mighty rivers – sometimes even traveling through time and space or perhaps emerging from another patch of ancient forest entirely. Perhaps you will reclaim those lost years when you emerge, perhaps not.

All Forests One Forest.

Before Will, and Word, and Spirit, before the Gods walked… Sympathy, Contagion, and Similarity WERE,

Old, OLD, Magic.

Occasional myths and tales given form – Mythagos, whether manlike or monstrous – may emerge from the hidden realms as well, called forth by the dreams of men living beyond it’s borders – but beyond their realm, things such as the Wild Hunt, the Great Predators, and the Dark Cults will fade away into nothingness in a few weeks unless they return to the sheltering trees. Still, the borders of the Primordial Forest are an uneasy and perilous place, no matter how modern science seeks to explain what it is that walks in the darkness and then vanishes without a trace.

At the deepest? Past Witches and Warlocks, Past Arthur and his Knights, beyond the Fomori and the Nature Spirits, you will find the youth of the race. Delve deeply enough, and encounter the shamanic masters of fire, who first tamed it to the will of men, the lightning-hurling reflections of the homids who created bows, and spears, and throwing stones. Beyond them? A place that men find almost impossible to reach. The realms of innocence before the rise of mind, the ancient ice, the ages of beasts, the deep realms of the dragon lords, the green world before more than insects had emerged from the seas, and – at the last – the most ancient seas of a young earth. Perhaps fortunately… few indeed are the undisturbed patches of woods large enough to contain such depths. Even in this fantastic realm… there are limits.

Ryhope Wood – the centerpiece of the setting for Robert Holdstock’s Mythago and it’s sequels and prequels – only covers about three square miles, so it doesn’t go back much past the last ice age, but that’s still a rather long ways.

Within that novel the Urscumag Mythago – or on a couple of occasions (at least in the edition I happen to own) the Ruscumag – was both a guardian of the forest and a subtle and dangerous guide to the magical realms within.

Personally, I found the original book, and later the series, to be quite good. While the basic premise of an ancient place that served as a gateway to a mythic realm. of tales that play out again and again within that realm, and of masks – both literal and figurative – which give form to the formless forces of magic at play there, are not especially new, they’re well handled here, the books have interesting depths, and the tale offered up more than a few elements that suggested stuff for games, When I was setting up this blog, and found that the first few names I tried were already taken, I decided to go with something more obscure – and that the Urscumag / Ruscumag made a reasonable good game master metaphor. So I tried it with the Ruscumag spelling which I happened to like better. And thus Ruscumag.Wordpress.Com. The fact that the “Ruscumag” spelling turned out to be an obscure typographical error within a 1986 paperback printing left the origin of the word next to impossible for anyone else to find, but was at least unique.

That may not be terribly important, but I suppose that “why is this blog called something so odd” is worth clearing up – and since you have asked, I hope that help clarify things!

Hero System – Artifact Smartphones

And as a whimsical bonus for today… it’s Blueblood‘s Artifact Smartphone, for those times when you just HAVE to stay in touch.

Not surprisingly, a Smartphone is purchased as exactly what it is – a Computer. In fact, it’s a not particularly powerful computer. Still, even the basic zero-point model is has all the usual Smartphone functions and – as a magical artifact – is capable of getting onto pretty much any network from pretty much anywhere in the multiverse, can control your household gadgets, can straighten your desk, can fetch you coffee, and can feed local languages (and some other stuff) directly into your head.

Advanced models are quite another thing altogether. At a cost of four, five, or six points they can have all kinds of functions, even if they DO tend to drain the supplemental battery at great speed. Blueblood has never bothered to upgrade though; he generally prefers to use his own powers.

Smartphone Computer

Value Characteristic Points
8 INT -2
1 SPD 0
Total -32

 

Points Powers END
32 Artifact Smartphone (0 Points)
(2) Elemental Control: Electronics (4-pt reserve); Usable By Others: Power Lost, +¼; OAF (Phone): -1
a-4 Radio Listen and Transmit; Datalink: +½; Cellular / WiFi / Bluetooth Service Only: -1; No Range Penalty: +½; Transdimensional: Any Dimension, +1,

This will let you connect to any network from pretty much anywhere.

b-2 Eidetic Memory; Always On (Memory is either perfect or utterly gone): -½, Limited Storage Space: -½.
c-2 Images (Normal Sight); Reduced END: Zero, +½; No Range: -½; Generic Limitation (Screen Only): -4; Observer PER Penalty: 0, +0. 0
d-6 Pocket Secretary and Remote Control / Telekinesis (STR 10); Manipulation: Fine, +10; Reduced END: Zero, +½; Strength 0 Only: -2; Maximum range of 6 Hexes: -¼; Only functions as a secretary – operating devices, fetching coffee, sketching, etc: -2. 0
e-5 2d6 Aid: Programs/Databases (Fade/week, Max. 12); Range: 0; Affects: Single Power of Special Effect, +¼; Extra Time: 1 min., -1½; Activation: 11-, -1; Must have program available to load: -2; Reduced END: Zero, +½.

This allows the user to load maps (area knowledge), languages, databases, and so on. All of it should be Usable By Others/Power Lost, so you can load a total of 10 points worth of information.

0
f-6 Basic Computer Functions
(2) Internal Clock / Absolute Time Sense.
(2) GPS/Bump of Direction.
(2) Calculator / Lightning Calculator.
(1) File Loading / Speed Reading; Computer Files Only: -1.
(0) Camera (Eyes)
(0) Microphone (Ears)
(0) Speakers (Voice)
(2) High Fidelity Playback / Mimicry 11-
(0) Touchscreen (Touch)
g-5 Standard Software:
(2) Security Features / Immunity To Unauthorized Use; Frequency: Common.
(1) Voice Mode / English (Or language of choice) (Fluent Conversation); Literacy: Standard, 0.
(1) Office Software / Professional Skill: Secretary. 11-
(1) Media Library / Knowledge Skill Digital Media. 11-
(1) Games Library: Professional Skill / Entertainer. 11-
(1) Map Database / Knowledge Geography. 11-
(1) Virtual Object/Image/Map Generator / Professional Skill Artist. 11-
(0) For Translation, local maps, and databases, use the “Aid” to load an appropriate skill.
32 Advanced Artifact Smartphone (2/7/All Multipower functions for 4/5/6 points).
(4) Superior Battery / END Reserve (64 END, 4 REC/turn); Focus (Phone): Obvious Accessible, -1; Generic Limitation (Only for use by user; The phone cannot use this power): -¾; Usable By Others: Power Lost, +¼.
(16) Special Functions / Multipower (48-pt reserve); Focus (Phone): Obvious Accessible, -1; Generic Limitation (Only for use by user; The phone cannot use these powers): -¾; Usable By Others: Power Lost, +¼; Concentrate: 0 DCV, -½; Extra Time: full phase, -½
u-1 Security Override / Security Systems; Ranged: +½; Costs END (4 per use): -½ 21-
u-1 Systems Override / Systems Operation; Ranged: +½; Costs END (4 per use): -½. 21-
u-1 Air / Water Vehicle Controller / Combat Piloting; Ranged: +½; Costs END (4 per use): -½. 21-
u-1 Ground Vehicle Controller / Combat Driving; Ranged: +½; Costs END (4 per use): -½. 21-
u-1 Holoimager / Images versus Sight (Hearing, Sight, 2″ radius); Range: 215; Observer PER Penalty: 3, +9; Increased END: ×2, -½. 8
u-1 6d6 Regeneration Ray / Standard Healing; Ranged: +½. 5
u-1 Environmental Field / Life Support (total); Area Effect (One-hex): 1 hex(es), +½; Costs END (4 per phase): -½.
u-1 Shields / Force Field (10 PD/10 ED); Area Effect (Radius): 3″ radius, +1. 4
u-1 1d6 Reality Reprogramming / Transform (Major, Anything); Range: 205; Increased END: ×2, -½; Cumulative: +½. 8
u-1 Summon Pokemon (1 50-point creatures); Range: 0; Summon: Limited Group, +¼; Increased END: ×2, -½.

Training your Pokemon effectively is up to you.

 

12

u-1 Beam Me Up: Extra-Dimensional Movement to the Enterprise (or another specific locale); Dimensions: One, +0; Time Travel: None, +0; Mass Multiplier: ×4, +10; Carrying Mass: 200; Increased END: ×2, -½. 8
u-1 3d6 Disintegrator Beam/Killing Attack (RKA); Range: 280; Increased END: ×2. 12
32 Total Powers  

 

Adventurers Of The Anomaly – “Zin”, Seeker Of Refuge

The invaders – formless, writhing, corruptive, tumors in the fabric of reality which inverted life into something even more malignant than mere undeath with simple contact – had driven many mad by their mere presence. Their arrival distorted space and time, surrounding Karresh with a dimensional maze of twisted reality. Nevertheless, with great courage, sacrifice, and heroism over a time distorted and thus inconsistent and unknown… the people of Karresh had driven them back.

It had not sufficed. Behind them they left the Withering – sometimes known as the Cinghalum. Whether it was a weapon of the invaders, or if their touch alone was enough to infect the world is unknown – but the Withering slowly spreads into any solid unliving matter – poisoning, draining, and eventually consuming any living beings within its domain.

Massive barriers of life energy were set up to contain the corruption – but while those barriers are holding for now, the Withering/Cinghalum constantly strains against them, growing stronger by feeding on its cage. All too soon the containment barriers will inevitably fail and the Withering will be set free to fulfill its mindless purpose.

A solution – or a refuge – was needed, but the remaining heroes, mages, and artificers of Karresh were fully occupied in containing the Cinghalum – and all their lore, theories, and experiments failed in the face of the Withering. Yet, in facilities across the world there were large numbers of now-redundant but nearly-finished war golems.

They were re-purposed. Tough and durable, they could pass the dimensional distortions that still roiled about Karresh without the mighty efforts that sustaining larger, safer, gates would require – to seek among the myriad alien worlds of the Dragon’s Scales a solution or refuge. Their purpose of destruction rewritten to seek out an alien solution to the Withering – or a suitable refuge for Karresh’s remaining inhabitants to retreat too. Each golem was sent to a different possible world with two objectives: gather information about the local environment to determine suitability for colonizing and search for something that could cure or stop the withering

And so Seeker 21N / “Zin”passed into the Anomaly.

Karresh World Laws:

  • Mystic Mechanisms: you may build and take the equivalent many items of of d20 Modern and Future (Tech Level 6+) Gear as equipment, at the usual 1 GP = 20 Credits equivalence (Immunity to Tech Level Restrictions, Common, Minor, Epic, 18 CP).
  • Power Storage: May store (Con) generic spell levels, using them to either power equipment or to power quick spells (Power Words, Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect / only to store generic spell levels, may only be channeled into other abilities, 6 CP).

K’areshian Seeker Probe Golem (31 CP / +0 ECL Race):

  • Golem Body: Immunity To Metabolic Effects: Seekers do not suffer further damage for being at zero or negative hit point totals regardless of activity, need not sleep, eat, or breathe, do not age, and are immune to poison, sleep effects, paralysis, disease, nausea, fatigue, exhaustion, sickening effects, and energy drain. That’s (Very Common, Major, Great), Specialized and Corrupted/Seekers do not heal naturally, can be affected by spells that target constructs, metal, or wood, gain only half effect from magical and psionic healing effects, cannot use beneficial drugs (alchemical bonuses), and – even if they do not need to sleep – must rest at least four hours a night and for eight hours to regain spells and such as usual (10 CP). They are, however, “alive”, do have constitution scores, and are entirely vulnerable to unlisted effects as any other character would be.
  • Sensor Suite: Shaping, Specialized for Increased Effect and Corrupted for Reduced Cost / only to generate level zero divination effects (4 CP). Such effects include Detect (Magic, Psionics, Poison, Disease, Time, Location, Dimensional Disturbances, Ores, Nutritional Value), Find (Fish, Game, Forage, Campsite, Water, Oil, Gold, Personal Items), Know (Diagnosis, Direction, Numbers, Age, Origin, Creature Classification, Plant Classification, Immediate Past, Weather), Assay (Purity, Creature, Plant, Literature), Link (set a short-term “bug”, “camera”, or “tracer” on something touched), and speeding up a search (Sift). A Seeker is equipped to analyze new worlds and their creatures so as to seek out a realm suitable for colonization.
  • Technomagical Body: Innate Enchantment. A Seeker comes with up to 11,500 GP worth of built-in gear and enhancements (12 CP).
    • Core Enchantments (5730 GP):
      • Durable Construction: Immortal Vigor I, Personal-Only (x,7) (1400 GP).
      • Librarian’s Zeal (1400 GP): Personal Haste (x.7, +30′ to movement, but instead of an additional attack the user halves the time required for searching, studying, gathering, writing or sorting).
      • Micro Thopter Foundry: Summon Bird (L0, produces a reasonably obedient small bird (in his case hummingbird ornithopters) which will remain for 2d4 minutes. These have no significant abilities but can fly and swim at 30′. The user may not summon more than five at a time (x.9) = 900 GP. (These are usually combined with a couple of links from his sensor suite to do remote scouting).
      • Compact Design: Reduce Person (Personal only x,7, cannot be deactivated x.7, 980 GP) All Seekers were reduced in size to make them less conspicuous/threatening.
      • Reconstruction: Repair Construct (Light) (50/week recharges 15% per day, 800 GP) Allows for self repair and maintaining equipment.
      • Reconfigurable Hands: Traveler’s Any-Tool: Universal masterwork tools (250 GP)
    • Built-In Technomagical Devices (1800 GP):
      • Adamant Framework/Main Body: Boost Armor with Gravlight (Max Dex +1, Armor Check -2), Improved Defense II (+2 Armor), and Increased Range of Motion II (+2 Max Dex), Rigid (+1 Armor Check Penalty). Total +7 (+3 Improved Defense = 10) Armor, +4 Max Dex (+2 IRoM, +1 Nimbleness = +7), Armor Penalty 3 (+1 Rigid -2 Gravlight -2 Nimbleness = 0), Speed +10, +4 Str, +2 Reflex Saves. (1000 GP). Net: +9 Armor, Max Dex +7, Speed +10, Str +4, Reflex Saves +2
      • Aegis/Force Shield (225 GP): DR 5/- and General Energy Resistance 5 (a set of Energy Shields and a Personal Force Field). In theory this has duration restraints, but in practice those won’t matter much.
      • Lens of Lingering Twilight (200 GP): Multioptics Band: Low-Light, IR, Ultraviolet, Telescopic/Microscopic Vision x60, +2 to Perception, Computer Link.
      • Memory Crystal Familiar (200 GP): Computer, HUD, Audiovisual Recording, Printer, Software (Various, more is added as Equipment).
      • Skyshaper (33 GP): Jetpack.
      • Storage Compartments x 3 (40 lb capacity each, 15 GP). Normally one for hardcopy reports, one for sample storage, and one for miscellaneous storage). The original design called for extradimensional spaces – but the only real advantage of those versus internal compartments is reducing encumbrance. Given that this design includes +8 Str, a little extra encumbrance should not matter.
      • Thief’s Bane Orb (20 GP): Motion Detector, effective through modest thickness of normal construction materials.
    • Minor Items (107 GP Total): Advanced MedKit (+2 Bonus, 3 GP), Bolt Cutters (2 GP), Basic Electrical and Mechanical Toolkit (35 GP), Fire Extinguisher (4 GP), Flash Goggles (25 GP), Grappling Tether (5 GP), Microtorch (Arcwelder/Cutter, 2d10 Fire Touch Attack, 10 GP), Portable Environment Generator (Only works in relatively livable environments, 14 GP), Power Backpack (Micro-Fusion Generator , 4 GP), Tactical Flashlight (3 GP), Universal Communicator with Satellite Datalink (3 GP).
    • Occult Weaponry (610 GP):
      • Concussion Rod: 2d8, Crit 20/x3 (45 GP)
      • Laser Sight (+1 with Ranged Attacks, 25 GP),
      • Solar Lance: Laser Rifle with Heavy Stun option (3d8 Fire, Crit 20/x2 OR DC 18 Fort save or 1d4 rounds Stun, 80′ Range Increment, Semi-Automatic/Full Automatic, 450 GP)
      • Tidal Bolt: Concussion Rifle with Heavy Stun (Fort DC 18) Module: 2d10, every 5 throws back 5 (90 GP)
    • Runic Skeleton (Cybrenetics, 3290 GP):
      • Artificial Twitch Fiber II (Cyberscape) / +4 Dex (600 GP).
      • Artificial Muscle Fiber II (Cyberscape) / +4 Str (600 GP)
      • Data Archive: All skills are class skills, +4 to Knowledges (Arcana, Engineering, Religion, and Scholar) (375 GP).
      • Feat Plexus with Four Feats (2250 GP)
        • Hypercognition I/Augmented Bonus, Adds Dex Mod to Wis-Based Skills,
        • Hypercognition II/Augmented Bonus, Adds Dex Mod to Int-Based Skills,
        • Fiberoptic Nerves I/Augmented Bonus, Adds Dex Mod to Con Mod for Cybertolerance Purposes.
        • Fiberoptic Nerves II/Reflex Training (Combat Reflexes Variant).
      • Miniaturized Antishock Implant (75 GP). Removes special vulnerability to electrical attacks.
      • Neuron Boosters II (Cyberscape)/ +4 Int (450 GP)
      • Proverb Chip (Cyberscape) (100 GP): +2 Wisdom
      • Redundant “Organs” (Systems) (Cyberscape) (325 GP): +4 Con
  • Basic Programming: Immunity (any need to purchase proficiency with their racial built-in gear). This does not provide proficiency with external gear of the same type (Common, Minor, Minor, 4 CP).
  • Resilient Enchantment: Immunity/Dispelling and Antimagic effects on personal enhancement spells. Specialized/ Only for racial innate enchantments. Seekers are well built and are reinforced against having their core enchantments disrupted (Common, Minor, Major, 6 CP)
  • Still A Golem: Incompetent (Social Skills): War golems are overly stoic and generally have a hard time understanding social situations resulting in -3 to social skills (-3 CP).

The Seeker Racial Template is quite literally exploitative. It’s using the Warlock Exploit – the fact that high-tech gear is extremely cheap for what it does when mixed with a fantastic monetary system based on dragon-horde sized heaps of gold, combined with the rarely-used “innate mundane items” application of Innate Enchantment, and an (18 CP) immunity to the normal technological limits of the setting – to basically be Iron Man or a video-game super-soldier.

On the other hand, the Anomaly IS pretty much a “RIFTS” style setting – and this really has noplace else to go; these bonuses are already about as good as technological equipment gets, can’t be readily modified, and generally won’t stack with external gear. Given the nature of the Anomaly, a Seeker will fit in well enough there – although I wouldn’t try to use it in a normal setting. For that… try an Ironclad or a Clockwork Ranger.

Low-Level Adventurer Template:

Everyone on the Anomaly gets either the NPC (adjusted for people who just want to live quietly) or the Adventurer version of the Template for Characters in a Low-Level World. Not too surprisingly, this character is getting the “Adventurer” version. To summarize it’s effects:

  • A -3 penalty on unskilled skill checks.
  • Slow level advancement, by direct session-based character point awards rather than experience points. Succeeding in goals helps, but killing things and taking their stuff does not.
  • A +3 bonus on five skills which suit their backgrounds and training. Sadly, this cannot be applied to active psionic or magical skills. These are, however, considered to be natural skill ranks.
  • Extra hit points equal to [12 + (2 x Con Mod)].
  • Two minor special talents or “knacks” appropriate to their home universe – one Class-A (roughly equivalent to the effects of a first level spell or power) and one Class-B (roughly equivalent to the effects of a cantrip). His are +2 Dexterity and a +1 Universal Damage Reduction.

Skill List:

  • Characters will be using the Condensed Skill List, complete with the various skills special functions. These may, however, be adjusted for world or origin; Sci-fi characters rarely spellcast, but often have other special talents. Skill Checks are normally made on 3d6, and characters may “take 15″ instead of “20″. They are normally assumed to get a “5″ for passive checks, such as to notice something in passing.

“Zin” – Repurposed War Golem / “Seeker 21N ” Advance Scout Golem

Available Character Points: 72 (Level Two Base) +28 (Experience, just starting level Four) +8 (Duties: Search for an answer to the withering and gather information about the local environment to determine suitability for colonizing. Make contact periodically to report, get new orders, and send important samples back) +3 (Disadvantage / Outcast (blatantly obvious construct)), +12 (L1 and L3 Bonus Feats) = 123 CP.

Basic Attributes: Strength 11 (-2 Size +4 Enh +4 Cyber +1 Level = 18), Dexterity 16 (+2 Size, +2 Knack, +4 Cyber = 24), Constitution – 14 (+4 Cyber = 18), Intelligence – 14 (+4 Cyber = 18), Wisdom – 12 (+2 Cyber = 14), Charisma – 12 (Pathfinder 25-Point Buy).

Basic Abilities (53 CP):

  • Hit Dice: 6 (L1d6, 2 CP) +12 (L2-4d6, 6 CP) + 12 (Template) +12 (Immortal Vigor) +32 (8 x Con Mod) = 74 HP.
  • Skill Points: 6 (Purchased, 6 CP) +8 (Fast Learner from Level One, 6 CP) +28 (7x Int Mod) = 48 SP.
    • Adept x2 (12 CP): Buys Perception, Solar Flare Martial Art, Stealth, Survival, Arcana, Engineering, Religion, and Scholar for half price.
  • BAB: +1 BAB (6 CP), +2 BAB Specialized /Ranged Attacks Only (6 CP).
  • Saves:
    • Fortitude: +1 (3 CP) +4 (Con) +1 (Mor) +1 (Comp) +1 (Res) +1 (Luck) = +9
    • Reflex: +1 (3 CP) +6 (Dex) +2 (Eq) +1 (Mor) +1 (Comp) +1 (Res) +1 (Luck) = +13, +19 for Block.
    • Will: +1 (3 CP) +2 (Wis) +1 (Mor) +1 (Comp) +1 (Res) +1 (Luck) = +7
  • Proficiencies: As derived from his internal systems (0 CP).
  • Initiative +7 (Dex) = +7
  • Move: 30 +30 (Enhancement) +10 (Armor) = 70,
  • Armor Class: 10 (Base) +7 (Dex) +9 (Boost Armor) = 26

Usual Attacks:

  • Solar Lance: +17 (+3 BAB +7 Dex +3 Comp +1 Morale +1 Sight +2 Martial Art), 3d8+1 Fire Damage, Crit 20/x2 OR DC 18 Fort save or 1d4 rounds Stun, 80′ Range Increment, may fire on full automatic for any one of 1) +4 to the Attack, 2) Hit 1d4 members of a group, or 3) Do double damage/require two saves against double any applicable DR.
  • Tidal Lance: +12 (+3 BAB +7 Dex +1 Morale +1 Sight), 2d10+1 Force Damage and Knockback OR Knockback and DC 18 Fort save or 1d4 rounds Stun, 80′ Range Increment
  • Concussion Touch: +6 (+1 BAB +4 Str +1 Morale), 2d8+1, Crit 20/x3,

Other Abilities (70 CP):

  • Universal Damage Reduction 2/- (Totaling 10/- with Force Fields, Knack, and Martial Arts) (3 CP).
  • Innate Enchantment (up to 5500 GP effective value, 6 CP): All effects Personal-Only (.7)
    • Inspiring Word: +1 Morale Bonus to Attacks, Damage, Saves, and Checks (1400 GP)
    • Ward of Heaven: +1 Luck Bonus to AC and Saves (Personal Only, Saves Only x.7 = 980 GP)
    • Sidestep: +1 Competence Bonus to Saves) (1400)
    • Resistance: +1 Resistance Bonus to Saves (700 GP)
      Weapon Mastery (Solar Lance): +3 Competence Bonus to BAB with Solar Lance (700 GP)

Defense Mastery (35 CP):

  • Block (Melee), Block (Ranged), and Block (Arcane), with one level of Multiple for each, all Specialized / Maximum of two Blocks per round (18 CP).
  • Bonus Uses: +6 Attacks of Opportunity per round (Total: 14 after Combat Reflexes) (9 CP).
  • Blessing with Multiple, Specialized for Increased Effect (Up to Charisma nearby targets, which normally includes himself) and Corrupted for Reduced Cost / only for defensive abilities, those in the immediate vicinity, no lingering blessings, uses up his own AoO, only as described below (8 CP).
    • Zin can protect those nearby – essentially loaning them his ability to Block incoming attacks, up to three of his Attacks Of Opportunity, and his Reflex Save Bonus to each of those nearby. In practice, he simply gets to roll up to three blocks per turn on behalf of each nearby friend or ally – at least until he runs out of Attacks Of Opportunity. Secondarily, if someone under his protection is subjected to a combat maneuver such as Trick, Grapple, Trip, Disarm, etc, he may roll to resist it if they are unsuccessful and everyone he is protecting shares his (Universal) Damage Reduction / Energy Resistance of 10 points.

Modular Artificer (6 CP):

  • Double Enthusiast, Specialized for Increased Effect (4 points) and Corrupted for Reduced Cost / only for creating Relics (4 CP).
  • Create Relic, Specialized and Corrupted / only for personal use, only for use with points from Double Enthusiast, above, requires a workshop change, 2 CP relics maximum (2 CP).

Current Relics:

  • Warding Bracers: +6 to Reflex Saves, Specialized / only for Block (1 CP as a Relic).
  • Inertial Damper: Anime Master, Specialized and Corrupted for triple effect / Does not allow for the use of larger weapons; only provides bonuses for resisting grapple and overbear, against which the user is treated as being three sizes larger (1 CP as a Relic).
  • Gem Of Fortune: Luck with +6 Bonus Uses, Specialized in Saving Throws (1 CP as a Relic).
  • Rune Of Gaian Harmony: Advanced Improved Augmented Bonus: Adds (Int Mod) to Dweomer Skills, Specialized / only gains half the total benefit (effectively +6) (1 CP as a Relic).

Where relevant, these bonuses are already included in his statistics.

Minor Dweomerist (20 CP).

  • Thaumaturgy/Dweomer (Healing) (6 CP). Skill Mana Option (Currently +4 Mana, totaling 12)
  • +2 Base Caster Levels, Specialized in Dweomer for Reduced Cost (6 CP).
  • +2d6 (8) Mana, Specialized and Corrupted for Reduced Cost / only for Dweomer, only for non-harmful effects (4 CP).
  • Rite Of Chi with +4 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted for Reduced Cost / requires at least fifteen minutes per die, only to recharge the mana pool purchased above (4 CP).

Skills:

  • Dweomer Healing Skills
    • Environmental +7 (7 SP) +6 (Rune) +1 (Mor) = +14
    • Mental +1 (1 SP) +6 (Rune) +1 (Mor) = +8
    • Physical +1 (1 SP) +6 (Rune) +1 (Mor) = +8
    • Spiritual +1 (1 SP) +6 (Rune) +1 (Mor) = +8
  • Other Skills:
  • Arcana +7 (3* SP) +4 (Int) +7 (Dex) +4 (Data Archive) +1 (Mor) = +23. Provides seven minor rituals:
    • Diplomatic Pouch: transfers information and small objects to and from his creators.
    • Hearthwarding: brings a household good fortune and improved health for year and a day.
    • Marriage Ceremony: ensures compatibility and fertility (if that is at all possible).
    • Prosperity Blessing: Increases the wealth level a farm, business, or similar provides by one for a year and a day.
    • Radiant Seal: creates a minor, or reinforces a major, positive energy seal.
    • Tame Beast: trains an animal.
    • Ward Settlement: warns those within a settlement of attacks, disasters, and other dangers as they occur for a year and a day.
  • Engineering +7 (3* SP) +4 (Int) +7 (Dex) +4 (Data Archive) +1 (Mor) = +23. Provides 7 Gadgets. For conveniences sake, this is currently being treated as 5 Charms and 2 Talismans:
    • Charms: Alchemist’s Flask, Astrolabe, Automatic Writer, Blessed Symbol, Wraith Gauntlets.
    • Talismans: Helm Of War (4 Charges), Rubydraught
  • Heal: +3 (3 SP) +2 (Wis) +7 (Dex) +1 (Mor) +2 (Kit) = +15. DC 15/25/35 check to reproduce the effects of a L1/L2/L3 curative spell up to four times daily.
  • Linguistics +3 (3 SP) +4 (Int) +7 (Dex) +1 (Mor) = +15. Speaks 15 Languages.
  • Martial Art/Solar Flare Style: +7 (3* SP) +7 (Dex) +3 (Tem) +1 (Mor) = +18
    • Abilities (9): Toughness II (Total 10), Attack II, Assistant (Combat), Block Upgrade II (Deflections), Assistant (Combat), Inner Strength.
  • Perception +7 (3* SP) +2 (Wis) +7 (Dex) +3 (Tem) +1 (Mor) +2 (Optics) = +22
  • Persuasion +3 (3 SP) +1 (Cha) -3 (Race) = +1
  • Profession/Administrator: +7 (3* SP) +2 (Wis) +7 (Dex) +3 (Tem) +1 (Mor) = +20 (+23 with Colony Administration), Provides (Bonus/2, rounded up) Political Position Points when the user runs an organization.
  • Religion +7 (3* SP) +4 (Int) +7 (Dex) +4 (Data Archive) +1 (Mor) = +23. Grants access to one level of Clerical Spellcasting (3 Cantrips, 2 L1 Spells) and the Community Domain (Calming Touch heals 1d6+1 and removes the Fatigued, Shaken, or Sickened conditions 5/Day), Domain Spell: Bless.
  • Scholar +7 (3* SP) +4 (Int) +7 (Dex) +4 (Data Archive) +1 (Mor) = +23 Provides +4 levels in the Favored Foe ability: He currently gains a +2 Bonus to Attacks, Damage, Perception, Survival, and Knowledge Checks versus Lovecraftian Horrors / Creatures Of The Cinghalum .
  • Stealth +7 (3* SP) +6 (Dex) +3 (Tem) +1 (Mor) = +17. Has a built-in Handy Haversack Effect, May become Invisible (as per Improved Invisibility) for 7 rounds per day, activating it from round to round as a free action.
  • Survival +7 (3* SP) +4 (Int) +7 (Dex) +3 (Tem) +1 (Mor) = +22. Gains Endure Elements, may learn Animal Languages, leaves no trail, movement is not hindered by overgrowth or terrain.
  • +3 Skill Specialties: Profession/Administrator (Colony), Diplomacy (First Contact) (2 SP Total).

Solar Flare Style Martial Art (Dex)

Whether it is you or your allies who land the final strike is not important; it only matters that it is done with as little loss to your side as possible. To distract, stun, or momentarily blind a foe or to defend your allies is as or more useful than any indecisive strike. The Solar Flare style focuses on the defense of your allies, on deflecting incoming attacks, on using the radiance of your attacks to bedazzle and blind the enemy, and providing covering fire so as to allow someone to get in a decisive strike.

  • Requires: The inherent ability to use energy based attacks that produces light.
  • Basic Techniques: Attack 4, Defense 3, Toughness 3, Strike
  • Advanced/Master Techniques: Blinding Strike, 2x Block (Ranged, or any one Block Upgrade), Assistant (Combat)
  • Occult Techniques: Inner Strength, Ki Block, Overburden, Wrath (Positive Energy).

Zin is basically a proactive priest – focused on preventing damage rather than on healing it after the fact. In the usual tradeoff for taking on a dull job that no one else wants… he’s frighteningly good at it – capable of preventing an average of nearly eight hundred points of damage per round – at least provided that it comes in fourteen sixty-point chunks from a reasonably well-distributed mixture of powerful but individually-directed ranged, melee, and magical attacks against him and his companions. He’s far less effective against lots of minor attacks (especially if they’re of only one type), area effects, or really overwhelming individual attacks – but no one is perfect.

Like the other Adventurers of the Anomaly, Zin is extremely powerful for his level – a consequence of using high technology, a highly optimized custom race, gaining the benefits of a set of free world laws, and the low-level adventurer template on top of character optimization.