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

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 – Building Spell Progressions

And for today it’s a question…

I just discovered your Eclipse d20 RPG the other day – clearly I am very late to the party – I was just wondering – how would one go about generating a new Spellcasting slot table – such as the one the Duskblade uses?


Interestingly, while I recall a lot of requests for specific conversions, I don’t remember a prior request for how to build spell progressions in general – although it’s been touched on a few times for specific builds. In fact, there is an article discussing how to build an Eclipse clone of the Duskblade up over here. It uses Specialization and Corruption to tweak an existing progression to fit. Of course, this being Eclipse there are a LOT of other ways to build spellcasters and fighters with magical boosts to their combat styles. There’s a sub-index of some of the ways to do that (and how to build various types of martial characters in Eclipse) over here, with the articles in the series indexed at the start and related materials indexed at the end. Still other builds – such as the Bokor, the Gleaner and the Nymic Mage – have used entirely different methods.

If you want to build a new spell progression from scratch, instead of simply using Specialization and Corruption to tweak an old one, the basic building block is generally Mana as 2d4 Generic Spell Levels (averaging 5 generic spell levels per purchase. If you’re buying a lot, simply take it as 5)

  • So the Duskblade gets a total of (6 x 1/2) + (10 x L1) + (10 x L2) + (10 x L3) + (8 x L4) :+ (6 x L5) = 125 Spell Levels. So that’s 25 purchases of Mana as Generic Spell Levels. Of course, that purchase should be considered Specialized, since it is divided up into a specified progression with a maximum spell level of five. So 75 CP.
  • They get Twenty Base Caster Levels specialized in Duskblade Magic. That’s 60 CP.
  • They get to know 21 Spells as Spontaneous Casters. That’s 42 CP. You could buy cantrips this way as well, but it’s cheaper to purchase Occult Talent, Specialized for Increased Effect (8 Cantrip Slots, but no first-level spell slots, runs off the Duskblade Magic Pool rather than providing it’s own slots, slots are acquired gradually based on level and intelligence, 6 CP).
  • They get to trade around a few spell slots as they level up, but that’s just a Specialized version of Rewrite (normally found under Returning), Specialized / only works to allow changing out 2 CP worth of spells when leveling (3 CP).
  • They get bonus spell slots for having a high attribute: that’s Magician (found under Rune Magic, 6 CP).

That gives us a Duskblade-style spell progression at a base total of 192 CP. Of course, we’re going to be working with a very limited spell list – a Corruption that cuts it down to 128 CP.

That is 8 CP more than simply adjusting an existing spell list as the original build did – but if you spread the cost evenly over twenty levels and round down as usual, you get the same thing. Existing spell lists normally get a slight price break simply for being standardized in any case.

And that is both how to build new spell progressions and an illustration of the major problem in actually doing so. Theme and focus are generally as important as how many spells of what levels you get. After all, a Sorcerer who was limited to Divination Spells will have some useful effects – but we could hardly say that they were as effective as one who was limited to Illusions and Divination or even just Illusion. And neither will be nearly as useful to the party as a full-access Sorcerer played with a reasonable level of competence (and yes, a “reasonable level of competence” includes not making really, REALLY, poor spell selections).

In Eclipse, such things are represented with the magic level limitations from page eleven and by Specialization and Corruption. That Diviner would almost certainly count as Specialized and Corrupted (6 CP / Level). Illusions and Divination… well, there are a fair number of useful spells in those groups, but it’s still going to be at least Specialized (9 CP/Level). If the list has a good variety of spells available to suit a particular purpose, but a fairly limited number overall… it’s Corrupted. For a fairly recent example we have the Piscin, and their extremely limited spell list.

Unfortunately, there’s no easy mechanical way to decide just how restrictive and limiting a given spell list is. Since the actual and perceived effectiveness of any given list will vary between settings and game masters that’s always a judgement call. Even worse… it will vary enormously depending on the secondary abilities any given user develops. That’s what makes the Classical Illusionist build work.

And for a few more references…

  • For general information on building spellcasters, there’s an article over here.
  • Making Skill-Based Partial Casters is addressed more extensively in a pair of articles over HERE and HERE.
  • Martial Disciplines like you find in the Book Of Nine Swords can be built this way:
    Stances (which are usually more versatile in Eclipse than in the Book of Nine Swords are covered over HERE.
  • Building all-out Martial Maneuvers is covered in this article. Watch out for this one; these maneuvers are designed to compete with Wizards and such.
  • Entreaty Magic is for (classical) Dr. Strange style spellcasters – calling on various entities and owing them favors.

And hopefully that helps!

Hero System Power Packages III: the Staff Master, Cartoon Powers, the Revenant, the Staff Of Wizardry, and Nanite Infusion.

The Staff Master

An archetype which predates Homo Sapiens, the Staff Master has a stick, and knows how to use it. And… that is enough.

40 Staff Master

15 Staff Martial Arts; Extra Time: full phase, -½; Extra Time Required (Must expand staff before use): Only At Startup, ½; OAF (Staff): -1

  • (4) +2 DC for Martial Attacks
  • (1) Legsweep (OCV +2, DCV -1)
  • (2) Killing Strike (OCV -2, DCV +0)
  • (2) Nerve Strike (OCV -1, DCV +1)
  • (2) Defensive Block (OCV +1, DCV +3)
  • (2) Martial Escape (OCV +0, DCV +0)
  • (1) Martial Grab (OCV -1, DCV -1)
  • (1) Martial Throw (OCV +0, DCV +1)

(19) Staff Multipower (68-pt reserve); Focus (Staff): Obvious Accessible, -1; Gestures: Instant Power, -¼; Generic Limitation (Staff Powers Only): -1; Extra Time: full phase, -½; Extra Time Required (Must expand staff before use): Only At Startup, ½

  • u-1 Missile Deflection (All Ranged Attacks, None, OCV 8); Deflect Attacks: Adjacent, +½; Deflection Bonus: 5, 10). 0 End.
  • u-1 Force Wall (10 PD/10 ED); May only protect area behind spinning staff: -½; Reduced END: Half, +¼; 2 End.
  • u-2 Superleap (+40″); Non-Combat Multiplier: ×2, +0; Reduced END: Zero, +½; 0 End
  • u-2 Basic Staff Combat (Combined Powers Slot):
    • (2) Stretching (2″, NC: 2); Non-Combat Multiplier: ×1, +-5; Reduced END: Zero, +½; 0 End
    • (8) +12 DEX; Doesn’t Affect Figured: -½; OCV and DCV Only: -½.
    • (7) +6 DC for Martial Attacks (Only for Staff Martial Art).

The Staff Master is actually extremely dangerous. +4 OCV, +4 DCV, 2′ Stretching, and +8 Damage Classes on a fair set of martial maneuvers actually puts them into serious martial arts hero territory. Not quite the sort who shows up in anime (those usually have superhuman durability too) – but definitely the sort who show up in the martial arts movies that don’t dip too far into C’hi Magic. In fantasy terms that is only to be expected; the older the roots of a style, the stronger it tends to be. And the roots of hitting things with a stick… well, few martial arts styles can claim roots that go back for millions of years before “humans” were a thing.

Cartoon Powers

No, this doesn’t really make any sense. It’s not supposed to. If you actually want to be Donald Duck or some such however, it’s a decent start.

40 Cartoon Powers

(4) Elemental Control: Cartoon Powers (10-pt reserve); General Cartoon Character Powers Only: -½; Visible (You’re a cartoon): -¼; Always On: -½

  • a-5 Armor (7 PD/7 ED);
  • b-8 Regeneration (1 BODY/min.); Regenerate: From Death, +20.
  • c-3 Images: Background music and sound effects (Hearing, 8″ radius); Range: 110; Observer PER Penalty: 0, +0; Reduced END: Zero, +½; No Conscious Control: -2.
  • d-9 Life Support (total)
  • e-4 Power Defense (20 pts)
  • f-7 Cartoon Immunities (Combined Powers Slot).
    • (1) Looking Good: Immunity to being messed up for more than a few seconds; Frequency: Fairly Common
    • (1) What Gravity? Immunity to Falling until lack of support is brought to the characters attention
    • (1) In My Pocket, Why? Immunity to having to have pockets to carry stuff in.; Frequency: Common
    • (1) Sure I’m Perfectly Normal (Immunity to Species Prejudice): Gets treated as just another human in most non-comedic ways; Frequency: Common
    • (1) Clothing? Immunity to being considered insufficiently dressed; Frequency: Fairly Common
    • (1) Rated G: Immunity to Indecent Exposure; Frequency: Fairly Common
    • (1) The Sounds of Harmony: Immunity to the need to compose or practice topical songs; Frequency: Fairly Common
    • (1) I Can Handle That: Immunity to not having normal hands; Frequency: Common
    • (0) All Devouring: Immunity to reasonable limits on how much they can swallow at one time.; Frequency: Rare
    • (0) There’s A Hole: Immunity to solid matter provided that it LOOKS like there is a hole in it and the user is not responsible for that.; Frequency: Rare
    • (1) Yes, It’s Suitable: Immunity to having to wear appropriate clothing to stay warm, dry, etc.; Frequency: Fairly Common
    • (0) It’s a permanent: Immunity to hair damage save by bladed weapons; Frequency: Rare
    • (1) Immunity to Over-Indulgence, Hangovers, and Similar Consequences; Frequency: Fairly Common
    • (1) Immunity to Communications Problems (Cartoons can be understood in any language provided they speak slowly, gesture, etc) ; Frequency: Common
  • g-5 2d6 Aid to Equipment Allowance (Fade/day, Max. 30); Range: 0; Extra Time: 1 hour, -2½; Only to pay for role-appropriate, provided, or generally available gear: -1; Activation: 11-, -1; Reduced Endurance Cost Zero +½; Affects Single Power of Special Effect, +¼; Only GM-Approved Equipment): -1.

OK, this one breaks a BUNCH of rules. Why would I allow this? Because – fundamentally – it’s mostly kind of useless. This package makes you a little tougher to hurt and almost impossible to kill – but most of it is things like background music, or compensating for being a cartoon. You could do the same basic thing – and at less than half the price – with a simple aid power: 2d6 Aid (To Cartoon Powers) (Fade/hour, Max. 30); Range: 0; Reduced END: Zero & Persistent, +1; Always On: -½; Generic Limitation (Personal Only): -½; No Conscious Control: -2; Affects: All Powers of Special Effect, +2; Visible (You’re a cartoon): -¼; Activation: 11-, -1 (17 CP). That’s cheaper, and it provides a bunch more powers – you can sprout cartoon wings, produce a harp, and use extradimensional movement to fly to heaven, or squeeze through tiny holes, or produce a big hammer to hit people with, or a thousand outer things. Cheaper. Double it up, and you have a pretty decent start on being The Mask. The trouble with that is that it’s even worse than a Variable Power Pool. It’s grossly overpowered, it will rapidly drive the game master nuts – and the other players may not be too far behind.

Revenant Powers

Vampires, ghouls, revenants, dhampirs, mummies, the stronger zombies, wraiths, and many other forms of undead all tend to drain vitality from living people, consuming their blood, flesh, or life force, they are strong, tough, and fast, they have power over minds (sometimes simply inducing sheer terror, but just as often paralysis or suggestions), they appear and disappear unexpectedly, and they are difficult to damage. Many can shapeshift to some degree – taking the forms of wolves, or leopards, or carnivorous apes, or whatever. This particular build is for Vampires, Half-Vampires, and Vampire Spawn (which probably covers a hundred different monsters right there), but it isn’t hard to tweak it a bit. Changing out the last “transformation” slot is almost mandatory.

40 Revenant Template

  • (3) END Reserve (30 END, 0 REC/turn)
  • (17) Multipower; Vamphyric Powers (30-pt reserve); Vamphyric Powers Only: -½; Visible (Pallid, chill hands, vampire signs): -¼
    • u-1 Blood Drain; Concentrate: 0 DCV, -½; Must hang onto victim: -½
      • (8) 1d6 Transfer; Body to End Reserve (Returns 5/turn, Maximum: 6); Range: 0; Affects: Single Power, +0; Reduced END: Zero, +½; Concentrate: 0 DCV, -½; Must hang onto victim: -½. 0 End. Note that this is not a particularly effective offensive power – but it can actually be strangely pleasurable or even addictive. The “Return Rate” is by normal healing.
      • (3) 1d6 Mind Control; Experience is pleasant for victim.; Communication: Verbal, +0; Reduced END: Zero, +½; Concentrate: 0 DCV, -½; Must hang onto victim: -½; 0 End.
    • u-2 2d6 Aid; All physical attributes (Fade/turn, Max. 12); Range: 0; Affects: All Powers of Special Effect, +2. 3 End.
    • u-1 6d6 Mind Control; Communication: Verbal, +0; Requires eye contact or mental link: -½. 3 End.
    • u-1 15″ Teleportation; Turn To Mist & Reform (Long Range 15″); Increased Range: ×1, +0; Long Range: 15″; Long Range (miles): 0.02; Mass Multiplier: ×1, +0; Fixed Locations: 0; Floating Locations: 0; Cannot pass thru solid objects; must have a crevice to move thru.: -½; 3 End.
    • u-1 Force Field (8 PD/5 ED); Reduced END: Half, +¼; Uncontrolled: +½; Hardened: ×1, ¼; Trigger: Set, +¼; Not vrs Fire or Light attacks.: -½; 1 End.
    • u-1 5″ Flight (NC: 10″); Non-Combat Multiplier: ×2, +0; 1 End.
    • u-1 4d6 Telepathy; Reduced END: Zero, +½; Only works on animals: -1. 0 End.
    • u-1 Wolf Form; Cannot use equipment in wolf or partial-wolf form.: -½;
      • (4) ½d6 Killing Attack (HTH) (Total 1d6+1); Range: 0. 1 End.
      • (4) Running (+3″); Non-Combat Multiplier: ×2, +0; Reduced END: Zero, +½. 0 End.
      • (4) Tracking Scent;
      • (6) Clinging (Clinging STR +0); Extra Time: full phase, -½; Extra Time Required: Only At Startup, ½; Costs END: -½. 1 End.
      • (5) Infrared Vision

This, of course, represents a rather minor entity – capable of a modest selection of superhuman tricks, but with a very limited pool or energy that is wholly reliant on draining others to refill and a long ways to go on developing further powers. Still, a few more points on the End battery (and even a very slow recovery rate), and a few more points in the Multipower (extend the time on the Aid, get the “Force Field” to 0 End so it can stay up, add some self-healing and another couple of tricks), and you’ll have a fairly creditable mystical being.

Staff Of Wizardry

This, of course, represents the “I found/created/repaired/was given a high-powered mystic/psychic/alien/supertech device and it does all kinds of neat things!” archetype. Knights with magic swords, warlocks with wands of darkness, helms of telepathy, cosmic control rods, and more all fall into this general group. Most such characters have some minor powers even if their item is taken away, usually because of their long exposure to it – but that sort of thing is usually pretty minor.

40 Staff Of Wizardry

(17) Staff of Wizardry Multipower (60-pt reserve); OAF (Staff): -1; Variable Limitations: -½, -¼; Generic Limitation (Occasionally requires recharging rituals, sometimes short of charges in one or more slots at the option of the GM.): -½; Gestures: Instant Power, -¼; Incantation: Instant Power, -¼; Visible (Blatantly obvious to magic detection and mages): -¼

  • u-2 Force Field: (Sphere of Protection) (12 PD/12 ED); Charges: 64, +1¼; Active Points: 60; Continuing Charges: 1 Minute, -3 lev; Hardened: ×1, ¼; 0 End.
  • u-2 Hand-to-Hand Attack (Arcane Smite) (10d6); Range: 0; Reduced END: Zero, +½; Armor Piercing: 1, +½; 0 End.
  • u-2 1d6 Killing Attack (RKA) (Disintegrate); Range: 300; No Normal Defense: +1; Champions Advantage (NND Does Body vrs Force Fields): +1; Autofire (Vrs Inanimate Objects Only): 5 shots, ½; Charges: 64, +½; .0 End.
  • u-2 6d6 Entangle (Web) (DEF 6); Range: 300; Charges: 16, +0; .0 End
  • u-2 Images (Phantasmal Force) (Hearing, Sight, 16″ radius); Range: 300; Observer PER Penalty: 0, +0; Charges: 32, +1; Continuing Charges: 1 Minute, -3 lev; Active Points: 60; 0 End.
  • u-2 Force Wall (12 PD/12 ED); Range: 300; Width: 12″, +0; Charges: +8, +0; Continuing Charges: 1 Turn, -2 lev. 0 End.
  • u-2 Missile Deflection (Warding Aura) (All Ranged Attacks, None, OCV 8); Uncontrolled: +½; Charges: 12, +½; Continuing Charges: 1 Minute, -3 lev; Deflect Attacks: Normal, +0; Deflection Bonus: 5, 10; OCV: 8; 0 End.
  • u-2 8d6 Energy Blast (Fireball); Range: 300; Versus: ED; Explosion (Extended Area +0″/DC): +½; Charges: 16, +0; 0 End.

(7) Change Environment: Minor amounts of ambient Mana make small magics easy. (2″ rad.); Effect: Fixed, +0; Reduced END: Zero & Persistent, +1; No Range: -½; Concentrate: 0 DCV, -½; Extra Time: 1 min., -1½; Extra Time Required: Only At Startup, ½ 0 End. This allows endless small tricks – changing the color of things, producing cigarettes, lighting fires, heating pots of tea, floating small objects, breaking falls, altering clothing, making small illusions,ominous special effects, and so on – but nothing exceeding 5-10 active points.

Relying on a single gadget makes a character pretty vulnerable; if it gets taken away, they are pretty much out of action, But the mechanics of the game tell us that an OAF should be a problem pretty regularly. Ergo, such things tend to get taken away a lot – but mostly by merely being knocked away from their user so that they have to spend a few phases getting their toy back again. Moreover, that’s pretty much arbitrary; enforcement of disadvantages is up to the game master. That’s important to note with all these packages; those disadvantages WILL come up.

Nanite Infusion

Nanite Infusion is basically the super-spy, transhumanist, or humanlike android package – relatively subtle enhancements meant to inconspiciously augment the user. Several limited-use weapons systems are included, mostly because that’s how people are – but that’s at least partially because nanites simply do not have the resource reserves that larger systems do. On the other hand, there’s something to be said for systems that require microscopic examination to find.

40 Microcybrenetic Equipment

9 Nanotech Reinforcement; Briefly negated by electrical attacks: -½

  • (3) +5 PD
  • (3) +5 ED
  • (3) Damage Resistance (5 PD/5 ED)

(20) Nanite Multipower (30-pt reserve). Loses one function at random each time the user takes Body damage from an electrical attack (-.25), visible to appropriate instrumentation (-.25).

  • u-1 Clinging (Clinging STR +0)
  • u-1 1d6 Drain: Body (Disassemblors) (Return/5 min.); Range: 0; Affects: Single Power, +0; Continuous: +1; Charges: 6, +0; Continuing Charges: 1 Minute, -3 lev. 0 End.
  • u-1 6d6 Energy Blast: Electrical; Range: 150; Versus: ED; 4 Charges:-1. 0 End.
  • u-1 2d6 Flash (Retinal Inversion) (Normal Sight); Range: 100; 4 Charges; -1. 0 End.
  • u-1 Hand-to-Hand Attack (Hardened Striking Surfaces, +5d6); Reduced END: Zero, +½. 0 End.
  • u-1 Invisibility (Cloaking Field) (Radar, Sight); Concentrate: ½ DCV, -¼; Produces “bubble effect” in translucent media: -½. 3 End.
  • u-1 Instant Change; Clothes: Any Set, (Nanite Fog) 10
  • u-1 Missile Deflection (All Ranged Attacks, None, OCV 3); Deflect Attacks: Normal, +0; Deflection Bonus: 0.
  • u-1 2d6 Energy Blast (Toxin Injection); Range: 0; Continuous: +1; No Normal Defense: +1 (Toxin resistance, inhuman metabolism, robot); No Range: -½; 4 Continuing Charges: 5 Minutes, +0. 0 End.
  • u-1 1d6 Transform (Nanite Fog): “Air” to small items of equipment. Restructuring Nanites (Major, Anything); Range: 150; 8 Charges:;-½. 0 End.
    u-1 4d6 Medical Implant Standard Healing (Self Only); Trigger (When below 0 Stun or Body in a phase): Set, +¼; Generic Limitation (Self-Only): -½; 32 Charges; +¼ (0 End)

It’s easy to add various slots to this, and a dozen or so cheap utility slots are entirely appropriate. A temporary boosting aid would be nice too. Boosting the reserve doesn’t really fit in though, at least not unless you set it up to simply run two low-end powers at once. After all, the key theme here is flexible, low-level power.

Hero System Power Packages II: the Trick Archer, the Technopath, the Cunning Man, the Mystic Telepath, and the Hexcrafter.

The Trick Archer

The Archer was a serious warrior for many centuries – but once bows went from tools of survival and weapons of war to things for hobbyists and trick shot exhibitions (and the chance of being killed by a bowman basically dropped to zero) the bow became a thing for flamboyant exhibitions of fancy shooting. And while gadget-bullets were obviously silly, arrows were large enough, subjected to much smaller forces (so they didn’t break or deform in impact), and were fired in much smaller numbers. So gadget (or magic) arrows made an excellent gimmick for comic book heroes – and made them very relatable. Becoming Superman was impractical. Becoming very good with a bow and getting some fancy arrows? That was pretty reasonable in comparison. The Arrow (1938) led the way into comic books, but by now there are hundreds or possibly even thousands of examples, even if some of them are just “thugs with bows”.

40 Trick Archer

  • (16) Bow and Trick/Magic Arrows (60-pt reserve). OAF (Bow, -1), Variable Limitations (-.5 Per Slot, 8 Charges unless otherwise noted) -.25, Gestures (-.25), All powers must work on charges (-.25), Real Archery: will not work underwater, hindered by strong winds, etc (-.25), Arrow and “Trick Arrow” effects only (-.5). Given that everything is on charges, nothing costs endurance.
  • u-1 4d6 Killing Attack (RKA); Range: 300
  • u-1 12d6 Stun Energy Blast: Blunt Arrow; Range: 300; Versus: ED
  • u-1 6d6 Entangle Paste Arrow (DEF 6); Range: 300
  • u-1 3d6 Flash Arrow (Normal Sight); Range: 300; Area Effect (Radius): 3″ radius, +1
  • u-1 Missile Deflection: Weighted Arrow (Arrows, None, OCV 13); Deflect Attacks: At Range,
  • +1; Deflection Bonus: 10, 20; OCV: 13
  • u-1 4d6 Aid to All Damaged Characteristics, Healing Arrow (Fade/turn, Max. 24); Range: 0; Affects: All Powers of Special Effect, +2
  • u-1 Darkness Arrow of the Night (Normal Sight, 1″ radius); Range: 225; Area Effect (Radius): 250″ radius, +1; Increased Area: ×125, +1¾; Active Points: 45; Charges: +8, +¾; Continuing Charges: 1 Hour, -5 lev; Activation: 14-, -½
  • u-1 Tunneling: Disintegrating Arrow (12″ through DEF 12); Tunnels: Left Behind, +0; Charges: 8, -½. Generally only usable at short range, although it won’t really hurt anything if the GM ignores that it.
  • u-1 8d6 Energy Blast Incendiary Arrow; Range: 300; Versus: ED; Explosion (Extended Area +0″/DC): +½; Charges: 8, -½
  • u-1 12d6 Suppress Flight/Gravity Arrow; Range: 300; Affect: Single Power, +0; Charges: 3, -½; Continuing Charges: 1 Minute, -3 lev
  • u-1 16d6 Dispel Magic Arrows; Range: 300; Affects: Any Single Power of Special Effect, +¼; Charges: 8, -½ (If technological, these are EMP arrows that dispel technological effects).
    u-1 Extra-Dimensional Movement: Astral Arrow; Dimensions: One, +0; Mass Multiplier: ×1, +0; Usable Against Others: ×1 mass, 1; Ranged: +½; Usable by Others Number: 4, +½; Charges: 16, +0
  • u-1 12d6 Energy Blast: Lighting Arrow; Range: 300; Versus: ED; Charges: 8, -½
  • u-1 6d6 NND Energy Blast: Magic Disrupting Arrow; Range: 300; Versus: ED; No Normal Defense (Not being a creature of magic): +1; Charges: 8, -½
  • u-1 2d6 Drain vrs All Characteristics, Enervation Arrow (Return/turn); Range: 0; Affects: All Powers of Special Effect, +2; Charges: 8, -½
  • u-1 Stretching: Grapple Arrow (12″, NC: 24); Non-Combat Multiplier: ×2, +0; Charges: +4, -¼; Continuing Charges: 1 Minute, -3 lev; Activation: 15-, -¼

(8) +4 level w/With Bow; Generic Limitation (Offensive Use Only): -½

The Trick Archer is a surprisingly straightforward hero – or perhaps it isn’t surprising given the age of the concept. He or she is most often a perfectly normal human who 1) happens to be good with a bow, 2) has some free time, and 3) has a source of trick arrows or some ability to empower them him- or her-self. Variants are basically just a matter of trading out a few multipower slots. Most of them dabble a bit in detective work, or martial arts, or just having money, but still on a perfectly normal human scale.


The Technopath can control, enhance, or destroy machinery -a power that’s invaluable in a research lab or aboard a ship, is useful in a city, and entirely useless in the wilderness. It is good for constructing bases and personal equipment though, which is something. As a rule, unless they’re a cyberpunk hacker, a Technopath is very much a team player.

40 Technopathy

  • (20) Technological Control Multipower (45-pt reserve); Generic Limitation (Technology-Control Powers Only: Quite useless in natural areas.): -½; Extra Time: full phase, -½; Only in Hero ID: -¼
    u-2 Technic Mastery I: Combat Driving, Combat Piloting, and Mechanics Operation, all Ranged, with No Range Penalty, and two levels of Increased Maximum Range, with +8 levels with those skills for net 19-.
  • u-2 Technic Mastery II; Bugging, Lockpicking, and Security Systems, all Ranged, with No Range Penalty, and two levels of Increased Maximum Range, with +8 levels with those skills for net 19-.
    u-2 Technic Mastery III; Electronics, Demolitions, and Systems Operation, all Ranged, with No Range Penalty, and two levels of Increased Maximum Range, with +8 levels with those skills for net 19-.
  • u-2 Technic Mastery IV; Computer Programming, Cryptography, and Invention, all Ranged, with No Range Penalty, and two levels of Increased Maximum Range, with +8 levels with those skills for net 19-.
  • u-2 Change Environment (8″ rad.); Effect: Variable, +1; Reduced END: Half, +¼; 2 End. Can manipulate technological devices – powering them, selectively turning them on or off, and so on – within range. Thus he could stop a car, turn off a security system, or jam an elevator.
  • u-2 ½d6 Killing Attack (RKA); Range: 225; No Normal Defense (Non-Technological Items Unaffected.): +1; Champions Advantage (NND that does Body.): +1; Uncontrolled: +½; Reduced END: Zero, +½; Invisible (Sight): One Sense Group, +½; 0 End. It’s slow, but the user can destroy technology readily enough.
  • u-2 1d6 Transform Technology (Major, Limited Class); Range: 225; Cumulative: +½; Reduced END: Half, +¼; Continuous: +1; 2 End.
  • u-2 2d6 Aid / Boost Machinery (Fade/5 min., Max. 20); Range: 0; Autofire: 5 shots, ½; Reduced END: Zero, +1; Affects: Single Power of Special Effect, +¼; 0 End.
  • u-2 3d6 Aid (to Equipment Allowance) (Fade/month, Max. 20); Range: 0; Active Points: 44; Affects: Single Power, +0; 4 End.
  • u-2 3d6 Aid (to Bases and Computers) (Fade/month, Max. 18); Range: 0; Active Points: 45; Affects: Single Power of Special Effect, +¼; 4 End.

    The Technopath is playing fast and loose with the rules there. Putting skills in multipowers is very much a “special permission” sort of thing – but it’s hardly unprecedented, ezpecially when those skills have power modifiers applied to them. And really… how often will it be useful to do remote lockpicking? Or to take over a plane from a distance? Sure, they’re great at getting through technological security systems, disarming doomsday devices, and so on – but when it comes to a fight scene with powers, a twenty-point equipment allowance, even with a boosting touch worth 20 active points, is not going to get them very far. Upgrading a team base is pretty handy though. That’s good, because there is only so far you can get by running your enemies over with passing cars.

The Cunning Man

Cunning Men are classical hedge wizards, capable of providing potions and charms, of taming beasts, of improving your social life, of having reasonably reliable visions, of calling up the spirits of nature, of taking on the forms and abilities of animals, and of protecting themselves and their allies from limited amonts of injury. They aren’t, however, particularly combative.

0 Cunning Man Powers

(7) Armor (5 PD/5 ED); Focus (Costume): Obvious Inaccessible, -½; Not cumulative with further physical armor.: -½
(17) Hedge Magic Multipower (75-pt reserve); Extra Time: full phase, -½; Focus (Medicine Bundle/Components Pouch): Obvious Accessible, -1; Concentrate: 0 DCV, -½; Gestures: Instant Power, -¼; Incantation: Instant Power, -¼; Activation: 11-, -1

  • u-1 5d6 Aid (Equipment Allowance – Magical Talismans) (Fade/season, Max. 30); Range: 0; Affects: Single Power, +0; Generic Limitation (Takes hours to make the stuff): -½; 7 End. A cunning man can “Aid” equipment allowances (With minor charmed objects, potions (Charged, Does not recover, fragile focus, etc, etc, etc), turn animals into loyal companions (Aid Followers), provide charms which enhance attributes, enhance weapons, and so on. Despite the “All abilities” modifier, no individual can be aided in more then five categories, and each use works on only a single one.
  • u-1 5d6 Aid (Base Enchantments) (Fade/season, Max. 30); Range: 0; Generic Limitation (Points must be distributed between bases.): -1; Affects: Single Power, +0; Generic Limitation (Takes hours to paint runes and such all over): -½. 7 End A hedge wizard can “Aid” bases, granting them a variety of benefits.
  • u-1 Clairsentience (Mystic Visions) (Hearing, Sight); See: Future and Past, +40; Dimensions: Current, +0; Range: 350″; No Conscious Control: -2; 7 End. This goes off when the GM feels that the character needs a vision of some sort.
  • u-1 Summon Nature Spirit (1 100-point creatures); Range: 0; Summon: Limited Group, +¼; Concentrate: 0 DCV, -½; Works only when Touching Ground: -½; 6 End. Note that these generally won’t go above the summoners total points, 100 is an upper limit, but not the minimum.
  • u-1 Shape Shift; Animal Forms (Limited Group); Reduced END: Zero, +½; Uncontrolled: +½; 0 End.
  • u-1 2d6 Aid; To all powers relevant to current form (Fade/hour, Max. 20); Range: 0; Affects: All Powers of Special Effect, +2; Reduced END: Zero, +1; Trigger; By Shapeshifting.: Set, +¼; Autofire: 5 shots, ½; All powers disappear instantly when returning to normal form: -½; No Conscious Control; Must take animal powers – including disadvantageous ones.: -2; Side Effects; Gets animal Instincts, may need ego rolls.: 30/Half, -½; Side effects cannot be avoided.: -½; 0 End.
  • u-1 Force Field (10 PD/10 ED); Usable By Others: Simultaneous Use, +½; Usable by Others Number: 8, +¾; Charges: 6, +1; Continuing Charges: 1 Day, -7 lev; Invisible (Sight): One Sense Group, +½; Focus (Protective Amulet): Inobvious Inaccessible, -¼; 0 End.
    u-2 15d6 Standard Healing; 7 End.

(3) Paramedic 11-
(2) Knowledge; Nature 11-
(1) Animal Handler 8-
(1) Perk; Respected as a Mystic & Spiritual Advisor.

The Cunning Man is a fantasy-oriented archetype, and usually serves more as an enabler, councilor, and supplier of heroes than as a hero himself or herself. Still. in pulp settings, the ability to turn yourself into a tiger is not bad. It’s fine for combating mooks, and smaller forms do allow for a lot of sneaking and hiding and such. They’re also using one of the better ways to use shapeshifting effectively– that “aid” power – rather than using Multiform to achieve similar results. Their animal forms will not be terribly powerful, but then, on the superheroic scale, real animals aren’t really all that powerful either. When it comes to serious superhero’s shapeshifting is not flying through the air blasting energy beams at things, or lifting trains, or controlling hundreds of tons of earth and stone. “Form of a Triceratops!” might be more impressive – but they’ll need a fair number of upgrades to pull that off.

The Mystic Telepath

The Mystic Telepath has developed a formidable set of mental powers through adherence to some extraordinary discipline – but that same discipline means that those powers are essentially fixed. Worse, unlike most comic book telepaths (who are generally built on a lot more points), the Mystic Telepath requires time, and mudra, and mantras. They can’t just quietly and secretly mindwipe inconvenient witnesses. Telepaths really ought to have some extra Ego, and probably more Mental Defense than is included in the package – but in most settings telepaths are rare, and defenses against telepathy are even rarer. After all, if they aren’t very rare an awful lot of social assumptions and institutions are going to need changing.

40 Mystic Telepath

(16) Mystic Telepathy (65-pt reserve); Concentrate: 0 DCV, -½; Extra Time: full phase, -½; Gestures: Instant Power, -¼; Incantation: Instant Power, -¼; Visible (Easily recognized by knowledgable mages and psychics): -¼; User must undertake occasional quests for the enlightened ones: -½; Will not work against creatures that tap into the same power source: -¼; May not be expanded upon or altered later: -½

  • u-1 13d6 Telepathy; Charges: 4, +0; Clips: 2; Continuing Charges: 1 Minute, -3 lev; 0 End.
  • u-1 1d6 Transform: Any Psychological modification (Word Of Revelation) (Major, Limited Class); Range: 320; Reduced END: Zero, +½; Penetrating: +½; Cumulative: +½; Continuous: +1; Uncontrolled: +½; 0 End.
  • u-1 10d6 Mind Control; Communication: Telepathic, +¼; Charges: +12, +0; Clips: 2; 0 End.
  • u-1 6d6 Ego Attack; Charges: +12, +0; Clips: 2; 0 End.
  • u-1 13d6 Mental Illusions; Charges: +12, +0; Clips: 2; 0 End.
  • u-1 11d6 Mind Scan; Attack Roll Bonus: 5, 10; Number of Minds: 10,000,000,000; Charges: 4, +0; Clips: 2; Continuing Charges: 1 Minute, -3 lev; 0 End.
  • u-1 Invisibility (Detect, Sight, Hearing, No Fringe); Only works on observers within 15″, does not work versus things without ego scores.: -½; Does not work against observers with ECV 9+ or Mental Defense 20+. : -½; Charges: 6, +¼; Clips: 2; Continuing Charges: 1 Minute, -3 lev; 0 End.
  • u-1 2d6 Energy Blast Telepathic Storm; Range: 325; Based on EGO Combat Value: vs. ECV, +1; Area Effect (Radius): 500″ radius, +1; C Increased Area: ×125, +1¾; Reduced Endurance Cost 0: =1 Selective Target: +¼; Autofire: 5 shots, ½; 0 End.
  • u-1 Extra-Dimensional Movement (Astral Plane); Dimensions: One, +0; Time Travel: None, +0; Mass Multiplier: ×2, +5; Carrying Mass: 100; Reduced END: Zero, +½; Leaves Physical Body Behind): -1; 0 End,
  • u-1 2d6 Drain Ego (Return/month); Range: 325; Ranged: +½; Affects: Single Power, +0; 6 End

(5) Mental Defense (Base +5 pts);
(9) Mind Link; Minds: One Specific Mind, +5; Number of Minds: 4, +10; Concentrate: ½ DCV, -¼; Extra Time: 1 turn, -1; Extra Time Required: Only At Startup, ½; Distance: Single Planet, +0; Dimension: Current, +0; Link with: Anyone, +0

Telepaths are very handy to have on your team, but they also tend to wreck a lot of plots. It is probably best to ask the GM if they will have problems with it before you opt to play one.

The Hexcrafter

A Hexcrafter gives his or her enemies bad luck. Passively this provides occasional strokes of good fortune and reduces the effects of attacks against them, throwing opponents just a little off. Actively however… at it’s simplest a hex can get it’s target tangled up in available rubbish – curtains and tablecloths landing on them, stepping on roller skates or into buckets which then get stuck, and so on. While this “entangle” is easy enough to break out of, it can waste time and is passive once triggered. Actively however… Opponents can be made to loose weapons, tripped up, get slammed by random objects, suffer cramps and pains, get held by loose wires and debris, or be knocked off their feet by an enormous variety of bizarre coincidences and accidents.

40 Hexcrafting

(14) Luck Control Multipower (36-pt reserve); Extra Time: full phase, -½; Restrainable: -½; Activation: 14-, -½

  • u-1 Telekinesis (STR 10); Range: 185; Manipulation: Coarse, +0; Area Effect (One-hex): 1 hex(es), +½; Reduced END: Zero, +½; Only for use with “Accident Style”: -1; No Range Penalty: +½;  0 End.
  • u-1 2d6 Entangle (DEF 2); Range: 175; Area Effect (One-hex): 1 hex(es), +½; Reduced END: Half, +¼;  1 End.
  • u-1 Force Field – Lucky Evasion (8 PD/8 ED); Reduced END: Zero, +½; Uncontrolled: +½; 0 End.

16 A Series Of Unfortunate Events – Accident Style; Only for use with telekinesis: -½; Extra Time: full phase, -½; Generic Limitation (Restrainable): -½

  • (2) Martial Disarm (OCV -1, DCV +1).
  • (1) Martial Throw (OCV +0, DCV +1).
  • (1) Basic Strike (OCV +1, DCV).
  • (2) Nerve Strike (OCV -1, DCV +1)
  • (1) Martial Grab (OCV -1, DCV -1)
  • (1) Legsweep (OCV +2, DCV -1)
  • (8) +5 DC for Martial Attacks

(7) Luck (4d6); OAF (Various Lucky Charms): -1; Extra Time: 1 min., -1½; Extra Time Required (Putting charms on): Only At Startup, ½

The Hexcrafter is primarily combat oriented, with much of the entertainment coming from the weird and wonderful number of ways they can describe their attacks – but they are actually quite effective, will (since they “attack” an area) connect most of the time – and can easily buy up the effects of their attacks. At 8 CP per +5 DC… a mere 8 CP further will make them a major powerhouse – and 18 CP will see them running around with twenty-die attacks. Upgrade to a larger area of effect – possibly with an option for Selective Targeting – and you have a character who can easily take down a small army. Telekinesis-base martial arts are potentially terrifying. Few of the other characters on this list are quite so readily turned into strategic weapons.

Hero System Power Packages – the Cowboy, the Werewolf, the Cartomancer, the Eldritch Horror, and the Giant Land Octopus – with system commentary.

And for a few posts it’s forty-point Hero System power packages – either “pulp hero” powers or highly limited superpowers to be wielded by fairly normal people. That’s pretty atypical for the Hero System, where characters tend to be fairly well-rounded, with a mix of heightened attributes, defenses, and powers – but it’s perfectly typical for settings revolving around people who have some fairly specific ability and who are otherwise fairly normal. We’re using fourth edition, but it’s fairly easy to translate between editions – so for today we have…

The Cowboy

The Cowboy – at least as commonly portrayed – is borderline mythological. And, as usual with legends… the power of those myths can be tapped into. This particular version doesn’t have a gun. He (or she) doesn’t need one – he can use his rope (of which he carries extra coils) in pretty much every way imaginable. He’s got no need to shoot his target when he can just land a noose around said target’s neck and give it a haul. A gun is not nearly so versatile. Sadly, however, ropes aren’t that much use as armor, so that light armored clothing has a heavy load to carry.

So why are some things on charges? It’s because they use up rope – so eventually you’ll have to stop using those effects until you get some more rope. The character is set up to have lots of rope available though. So it shouldn’t be uch of a problem.

40 Cowboy Powers

(15) Rope Multipower (45-pt reserve); OAF (Rope): -1; Only things you can do with a rope: -½; Activation: 14-, -½

  • u-1 4d6 Entangle (All Tied Up) (DEF 4); Range: 200; Charges: +12, +0; Clips: 2; 0 End.
  • u-1 Missile Deflection (Rope Spin) (All Ranged Attacks, None, OCV 8); Deflect Attacks: Adjacent, +½; Deflection Bonus: 5, 10; OCV: 8; -½ 0 End.
  • u-1 Hand-to-Hand Attack (Rope Lash) (10d6); Range: 0; Reduced END: Zero, +½; 0 End.
  • u-1 Telekinesis (STR 20); Range: 225; Manipulation: Coarse, +0; Reduced END: Zero, +½; -½ 0 End.
  • u-1 Swinging / Zip-lining (+25″, NC: 100″); Non-Combat Multiplier: ×4, +5; Reduced END: Zero, +½; 0 End.
  • u-1 3d6 Killing Attack (RKA) (Noose); Range: 225; Charges: +12, +0; Clips: 2; 0 End.
  • u-1 2d6 Energy Blast (Strangulation); Range: 225; Versus: ED; Continuous: +1; No Normal Defense (Need not Breathe,,Hard Neck Coveringm Force Field): +1; Uncontrolled: +½; Reduced END: Zero, +½; No Range Penalty: +½; 0 End.
  • u-1 7d6 Energy Blast (Whip); Range: 220; Versus: PD; Reduced END: Half, +¼; 1 End.
  • u-1 3d6 Suppress (Movement) (Entanglement); Range: 225; Affect: Single Power of Special Effect, +¼; Continuous: +1; Charges: 12, +¾; Clips: 2; Continuing Charges: 1 Minute, -3 lev; 0 End.
  • u-1 3d6 Suppress (Dexterity) (Entanglement); Range: 225; Affect: Single Power of Special Effect, +¼; Continuous: +1; Charges: 12, +¾; Clips: 2; Continuing Charges: 1 Minute, -3 lev; 0 End.

(6) +2 Skill Levels with Rope
(3) Follower (Horse) (1, 42 pts, -25 Disad. = 17 Points, /5 = 3 Point net cost); Number: 1, +0
(6) Armor (4 PD/4 ED); Activation: 14-, -½; Focus (Leathers): Obvious Inaccessible, -½

17 Horse
(2) Attributes: Attributes: Str 10 (39), Dex 11, Con 13, 9 (12) Body, 3 Int, 3 Ego, 15 Pre, 15 Com, PD 5, ED 3, Spd 3, Rec 8, End 26, Stun 28 (31). Net Cost: 2 Points. Net Cost: 2 Points.
(2) Elemental Control: Horse Powers (10-pt reserve); Always On: -½; Side Effects (Is a horse. No hands, no human language, no civil rights, everyone knows what a horse is, trained property, etc.): 60/All, -1; Horse Powers Only: -1; Side effects cannot be avoided: -½
a-5 Growth-3 (×8 mass, ×2 height); Mass: 480 kg/1,056 lbs; Height: 344 cm/11’3″; Extra STR: 15; Knockback Reduction: -3; Extra BODY: 3; Extra STUN: 3; DCV Penalty: -2; PER Penalty: +2; Reduced END: Zero & Persistent, +1; 0 End.
b-6 Running (+10″, NC: 40″); Non-Combat Multiplier: ×4, +5; Reduced END: Zero, +½; Visible (Horses running are fairly noisy): -¼; Vastly reduced on unsuitable surfaces: -½; 0 End.
c-2 +14 STR; Reduced END: Zero, +½; No manipulative limbs -½, 0 End.
d-3 Hand-to-Hand Attack (Hooves, 5d6. 11d6 total); Range: 0; Reduced END: Zero, +½; 0 End.
e-3 Enhanced Perception (all) (+7 to PER)

(2) Immunity to Mild Weather Extremes; Frequency: Fairly Common
(8) Armor (4 PD/4 ED); Focus (Tack): Obvious Inaccessible, -½
(5) Mind Link (Rider); Minds: One Specific Mind, +5; Number of Minds: 1, +0; Distance: Single Planet, +0; Dimension: Current, +0; Link with: Anyone, +0
(2) Professional Skill: Horse Tricks 11-
(2) Professional Skill: Riding Animal 11-
(-25) Disadvantages: It’s a horse. Pick whatever limitations you don’t include in the elemental control side effects. There are PLENTY.

OK, it amused me to make a multipower full of the things you can do with rope. This, in fact, dates back to first edition where questions like “how much do I have to pay for rope?” came up surprisingly often (the multipower for “things you can do with a knife got very long indeed). Regardless, rope is surprisingly versatile. How many other inventions are still in regular use after thirty to fifty thousand years? (Fifty thousand is believed to be the earliest known trace, but thirty thousand is pretty definite. Still, who knows how far back into prehistory rope goes before that?).

The Werewolf

Werewolves are very classic. Almost passe. Everybody knows what a werewolf is. They usually have some animal instincts or behaviors, a bit of a reputation, tend to be agitated during the full moon, and do have some minor vulnerabilities to silver and/or fire which are already included below. They aren’t, however, necessarily monstrous. They’re basically big wolves crossed with humans – and wolves with human tendencies are better known as dogs. Dogs and wolves are generally pretty loyal to their friends and families. That’s one of the major reasons that werewolves make perfectly good pulp heroes. On the other hand… they aren’t all that dangerous to even a minor superhero or a serious SWAT team; they’re about as formidable as a bear in a fight, although their regeneration and resistance to body damage will let them last longer and recover more quickly. Their biggest asset as heroes isn’t their fighting ability; it’s their enhanced senses. “Animal Powers” are a popular idea, but who are you going to bet on? The guy with the “Power Of A Lion!” or Iron Man?

40 Werewolf Powers

(2) Elemental Control; Werewolf Powers (5-pt reserve); Mystically conspicuous, classical werewolf indicators in human form: -¼; Always On: -½; Werewolf powers only: -½; Powers reduced by roughly 50% in full human form.: -0.25

  • a-4 Armor (7 PD/4 ED), only 50% effective versus Fire; -0.25
  • b-6 Regeneration (1 BODY/5 min.); Regenerate: From Death unless slain by Silver, +20; Activation: 11-, -1;
  • c-4 Density Increase (Gets slightly bigger and much bulkier)-2 (×4 mass); Mass: 240 kg/528 lbs; Extra PD: +2; Extra ED: +2; Extra STR: +10; Knockback: -2″; Reduced END: Zero, +½; 0
  • d-2 Combined Powers Slot – Supernatural Senses;
    • (2) Enhanced Perception (all) (+2 to PER);
    • (2) Ultraviolet Vision;
    • e-4 Enhanced Scent;
    • (4) Tracking Scent;
    • (2) Discriminatory Sense (Smell); 0
  • g-3 Running (+4″, NC: +8″); Non-Combat Multiplier: ×2, +0; Reduced END: Zero, +½; 0
  • h-7 1d6 Killing Attack (HTH) (Total 2d6); Range: 0; Reduced END: Zero, +½; 0
  • i-2 Power Defense (10 pts); Automatically protects against any attempt to remove werewolf disadvantages or abilities only: -½;.
  • j-2 +5 CON;
  • k-2 +5 BODY;

Why are there limitations for the types of powers allowed in the Multipowers and Elemental Controls? It’s because those ARE pretty limiting. Compare what you can put in a multipower full of “spells” or “the power cosmic” (almost anything, like the Cartomancer below) and one that is restricted to “Rope” or “Werewolf Powers”. Is this fair to people who don’t buy a Multipower or an Elemental Control? No it isn’t. And that’s is a good thing. This way Multipowers and Elemental Controls reward character builds that have a coherent theme and which have enough limitations on their powers to leave the other player characters with something to do. Even characters who are just “big, tough, and strong” should have something to back up those high attributes.

The Cartomancer

The Cartomancer draws on the power of ancient archetypes. This version uses the Major Tarot, but versions using runes, or the heiroglyphic symbols of ancient egyptian gods, or dozens of other variants work just fine. While Cartomancy is prone to backlash, and difficult to use, it is also one of the most powerful and versatile abilities on this entire list – allowing it’s users to heal wounds, raise the dead, summon forth mythic vehicles, cast illusions, bind targets in the chains of hell, peer into the past, create mighty barriers, alter the environment in weird and wonderful ways, and much more – even being able to raise the dead. Unfortunately, however, Cartomancers require foci for their powers, cannot move around or evade attacks while bringing them into play, and can be seriously injured by the backlash of their own misbehaving powers if (when!) they fumble a spell. That makes them relatively poor solo heroes, but potentially decisive backup for a group.

40 Cartomancer

(18) Multipower (83-pt reserve); Focus (Tarot Cards): Obvious Accessible, -1; Focus Applicability: Personal; Focus Breakability: Breakable; Fragile Focus: -¼; Extra Time: full phase, -½; Concentrate: 0 DCV, -½; Incantation: Instant Power, -¼; Activation: 15-, -¼; Side Effects (6d6 Energy Blast): 30/Half, -½; Visible (Hold up magical card): -¼

  • u-1 The Fool, Infinite Potential: 13d6 Healing ; Charges: 3, +0; Clips: 32; 0 End.
  • u-1 The Magician, Potential Given Form; Charges: 3, +½; Clips: 32; Continuing Charges: 5 Minutes, -4 lev;
    • (9) 2d6 Aid Magic (Fade/min., Max. 20); Range: 0; Continuous: +1; Affects: Single Power of Special Effect, +¼; Charges: 3, +½; Clips: 32; Continuing Charges: 5 Minutes, -4 lev; This basically allows the user to tap into minor effects – temporarily gaining any one magical power of up to twenty active points or boosting some other mages abilities. 0 End.
    • (5) Force Field (8 PD/8 ED); Active Points: 24; Charges: 3, +½; Clips: 32; Continuing Charges: 5 Minutes, -4 lev; 0 End.
  • u-1 13d6 The Emperor Mind Control; Communication: Verbal, +0; Charges: 3, +0; Clips: 32; 0 End.
  • u-1 The Chariot – Summon Vehicle (1 120-point creatures); Range: 0; Summon: Limited Group, +¼; Vehicle vanishes after one hour unless resummoned.: -¼; Charges: 3, +0; Clips: 32; 0 End.
  • u-1 The High Priestess – 13d6 Mental Illusions; Charges: 3, +0; Clips: 32; 0 End.
  • u-1 The Empress – 1d6 Transform Environment (Major, Limited Class); Range: 0 End; Cumulative: +½; Area Effect (Radius): 128″ radius, +1; Autofire: 10 shots, ¾; Increased Area: ×64, +1½; Charges: 10, +½; Clips: 32; Only affects the environment. This can make walls, turn the area into a jungle, dump ten feet of snow, or turn the floot to lava, but it doesn’t directly affect characters.: -1; No Range: -½; 0 End.
  • u-1 The Hierophant – 10d6 Telepathy; Charges: 1, +¼; Clips: 16; Continuing Charges: 5 Minutes, -4 lev; 0 End.
  • u-1 The Hermit – 3d6 Aid to Bases, Computers, and Equipment (Fade/season, Max. 20); Range: 0; Active Points: 80; Affects: All Powers of Special Effect, +2; The supplied points are treated as a pool,. The spell will provide a total of 20 points worth of improvements to a base, 20 points worth of a computer, and 20 points worth of gear – but no more, no matter who you cast it on or how often.: -1; Charges: 3, +0; Clips: 32; 0 End.
  • u-1 The Lovers;
    • (8) 2d6 Aid to Social Perks (Fade/season, Max. 20); Range: 0; Affects: Single Power of Special Effect, +¼; Charges: 3, +0; Clips: 32; Adds only one perk per casting, perks are treated as a pool, and only go away with the changing seasons, so if you need police contacts or a drivers license, they go against the total of 20 until the season changes and they go away: -1; 0 End.
    • (5) +15 PRE; Charges: 3, +½; Clips: 32; Continuing Charges: 5 Minutes, -4 lev;
    • (3) +20 COM; Charges: 3, +½; Clips: 32; Continuing Charges: 5 Minutes, -4 lev; 0 End.
  • u-1 Strength (Combined Powers Slot):
    • (11) Density Increase-8 (×250 mass); Mass: 15,000 kg/33,000 lbs; Extra PD: +8; Extra ED: +8; Extra STR: +40; Knockback: -8″; Charges: 1, +¼; Clips: 16; Continuing Charges: 5 Minutes, -4 lev; 0 End.
    • (4) Force Field (8 PD/8 ED); Charges: 1, +¼; Clips: 16; Continuing Charges: 5 Minutes, -4 lev; 0 End.
    • (2) 5″ Flight (NC: 10″); Non-Combat Multiplier: ×2, +0; Non-Combat (MPH): 37; Charges: 1, +¼; Clips: 16; Continuing Charges: 5 Minutes, -4 lev; Only to reduce the user’s effective weight to normal: -½; 0 End.
  • u-1 Death 1d6 Transform (Creatures to other creatures) (Major, Anything); Range: 410; Active Points: 82; Cumulative: +½; Charges: 3, +½; Clips: 32; Continuing Charges: 5 Minutes, -4 lev; Continuous: +1; Penetrating: +½; Armor Piercing: +2, +1; Activation (Rolled each phase): 11-, -1; 0 End.
  • u-1 The Devil – 5d6 Entangle (Infernal Chains of Sin) (DEF 5); Range: 375; Area Effect (One-hex): 1 hex(es), +½; Charges: 3, +0; Clips: 32; Activation: 15-, -¼; Side Effects (Summon Minor Devil): 30/Half, -½; 0 End.
  • u-1 The Tower – 5d6 Killing Attack (RKA); Range: 375; Charges: 3, +0; Clips: 32; No Knockback: -¼; 0 End.
  • u-1 The Star – Telekinesis (STR 28); Range: 325; Manipulation: Fine, +10; Charges: 1, +¼; Clips: 32; Continuing Charges: 5 Minutes, -4 lev; 0 End.
  • u-1 Temperance – Force Wall (4 PD/4 ED); Range: 400; Width: 16″, +0; Variable Special Effects (ED, PD, Power, Ego, and Flash Defense): Certain Group, +¼; Autofire: 10 shots, ¾; Charges: 30, +2; Clips: 32; Continuing Charges: 5 Minutes, -4 lev; All force walls must be stacked on each other: -1; 0 End.
  • u-1 The Hanged Man 17d6 Dispel (Magic); Range: 320; Affects: Any Single Power of Special Effect, +¼; Charges: 3, +0; Clips: 32; 0 End.
  • u-1 Justice – 2d6 Flash (Hearing, Sight); Range: 375; Area Effect (Radius): 12″ radius, +1; Increased Area: ×4, +½; Side Effects (User must pursue Justice): 30/Half, -½; Side effects cannot be avoided.: -½; Charges: 3, +0; Clips: 32; 0 End.
  • u-1 The World – Clairsentience (Hearing, Sight); See: Past, +20; Dimensions: Current, +0; Active Points: 81; Range: 2,000″; Charges: 2, +¼; Clips: 16; Continuing Charges: 5 Minutes, -4 lev; Extra Time: 1 turn, -1; 0 End.
  • u-1 The Last Judgement – Regeneration (1 BODY/Turn); Regenerate: From Death, +20; Transdimensional (Across Time): Group of Dimensions, +¾; Usable By Others: Power Lost, +¼; Ranged: +½; Charges: +3, +0; Continuing Charges: 1 Hour, -5 lev; Changes do not manifest until the current time: -½, Extra Time: 1 turn, -1. 0 End. This basically reaches into the past to bestow the Regeneration ability on your target just before their death. This, in turn, means that they never actually died – but the spell avoids paradox by being limited so that the change in status does not actually manifest until the time the spell is cast.
  • u-1 The Moon – Images (Hearing, Sight, 16″ radius); Range: 360; Active Points: 72; Observer PER Penalty: 3, +9; Charges: 3, +½; Clips: 32; Continuing Charges: 5 Minutes, -4 lev; Variable Limitations: -½, -¼; 0 End.
  • u-1 The Sun – 5d6 Energy Blast; Range: 375; Versus: ED; No Normal Defense (Immunity to High Heat, Ice Powers, Darkness Powers): +1; Area Effect (Radius): 5″ radius, +1; Charges: 3, +0; Clips: 32; Works only in Daylight: -¼; 0
  • u-1 The Wheel Of Fortune – Invisibility (Smell, Sight, Hearing, No Fringe); Charges: 3, +½; Clips: 32; Continuing Charges: 5 Minutes, -4 lev; Variable Limitations: -½, -¼; 0 End.

A resurrection effect is actually fairly easy to build in the Hero System, at least if you get a little bit inventive about it – but a lot of game masters dislike the idea. If you want to complicated the whole “coming back to life” thing a bit go ahead and throw in some complications, such as the side effects including a trip to the underworld to bring back the desired soul, or Death demanding some sort of price, or some such.

Actual character death is pretty rare in a full-fledged superhero game anyway. The Hero System encourages it’s characters to do the comic book thing and fight at the drop of a hat by making the defenses cheaper than the attacks and by encouraging the purchase of spot defenses. Did some villain give them trouble through clever use of the “Drain” ability? The PC’s will soon find a reason to purchase some Power Defense, so that it does not happen again. After a while they start getting pretty hard to affect much in any reasonable way and the bricks – who are basically built for long slugging matches – tend to come into their own again.

The Eldritch Horror

The Eldritch Horror was either summoned by some eldritch tome or dread artifact (it doesn’t have to be the Necronomicon) or is the result of some foolish mortal meddling with such a thing. That focus may be hidden, but must always reside in a ritual space dedicated to the Outer Ones – and is thus an IIF. If someone finds it, and either destroys, contains, or simply removes it… the power of the Eldritch Horror will fade away. While it remains, however, the Eldritch Horror possesses considerable abilities. An Eldritch Horror doesnt have to be EVIL, but they are generally more than a bit incomprehensible, often cannot speak or otherwise interact normally, and rarely quite understand humans. Their power can have all kinds of side effects on them, and they’re rarely helpful socially. On the other hand, if the eldritch, unkillable, protoplasmic mass wants to devour the tainted souls of serial killers, I’m not going to get in it’s way. Even if it didn’t eat me for being in the way, it would just go around.

40 Eldritch Horror

(4) Elemental Control; Formless Body (15-pt reserve); Always On: -½; Side Effects (Attracts monsters, hunted by heroes, terrifying special effects, genderless, being made of goo, most medical treatments no working, vulnerable to holy magic, etc. ): 60/All, -1; Side effects cannot be avoided: -½; Visible (Eldritch Horror. Slenderman at BEST.): -¼; Focus (Necronomicon): Inobvious Inaccessible, -¼

  • a-4 Regeneration (1 BODY/Turn); Regenerate: From Death, +20;
  • b-4 Stretching (4″, NC: 8); Non-Combat Multiplier: ×2, +0; Reduced END: Zero, +½; 0 End.
  • c-4 Force Field (10 PD/10 ED); Reduced END: Zero, +½; 0 End. OK, being made of goo is an unusual special effect, but so be it!
  • d-4 Shape Shift (Imitate Humans) (Limited Group); Reduced END: Zero, +½; 0 End.
  • e-4 +20 STR; Doesn’t Affect Figured: -½; Reduced END: Zero, +½; 0 End.
  • f-5 Hand-to-Hand Attack (7d6); Range: 0; Reduced END: Zero, +½; 0 End.
  • g-3 +30 PRE; Only for Presence Attacks: -1.
  • h-4 Running (+10″, 75″, NC: 150″); Non-Combat Multiplier: ×2, +0; Non-Combat (MPH): 74; Reduced END: Zero, +½; 0 End.
  • i-4 Clinging (Clinging STR +30); Reduced END: Zero, +½; Costs END: -½; 0 End.

    The Eldritch Horror pulls a fast one there; normally you have to have the various powers Persistent to take the Always On limitation – but these are mostly active effects, and so are not persistent. What the Always On effect does is make it impossible to turn off all those antisocial disadvantages: the Eldritch horror is ALWAYS a semi-formless lovecraftian monstrosity of writhing tendrils, oozng black slime, and alien horror. That seemed sufficient to qualify of “-1/2”. If you want to be technical. do what I used to do and call the limitation “physical” – real and permanent changes to the body which can’t be taken away readily. Basically the same way that you can’t do an area-effect “drain breathe in unusual environment” and kill all the fish in an area. After all, if that worked – if you could drain a creatures ability to live in it’s natural environment – you could build cheap, near-instant, large-scale, “kill everyone” effects. It’s not a good idea to allow that.

The Giant Land Octopus

The rare (we think) Giant (for an octopus; lacking Growth, they’re about human sized) Land Octopus has an unusually wide environmental tolerance and a deceptive nature that transcends an Octopus’s usual limits to deceive those who see or hear them – making everyone who lacks the ability to pierce it’s illusion hear it “speaking” normally and see it as just another normal human- allowing them to mingle readily with human societies. As for what they do… they’re strong, they’re stretchy, and they stick to things with suction cups. They’re good at camouflaging themselves and can squeeze through very small places. They’re also surprisingly good with children, almost always being able to spot what they’re up to and invariably having a spare “hand” to stretch out and grab them with to keep them out of trouble.

40 Giant Land Octopus Powers

  • (2) Tentacles – Extra Limbs (4); Number: 4; Side Effects (You’re an octopus. Cannot speak normally (relies on illusions to communicate), no fingers, etc)): 60/All, -1; Side effects cannot be avoided: -½; Always On: -½
  • (5) Rubbery Flesh and No Bones – Damage Resistance (5 PD/5 ED)
  • (4) Elemental Control: Landgoing Octopus Powers (15-pt reserve); Side Effects (You’re an octopus. Cannot speak normally (relies on illusions to communicate), no fingers, etc)): 60/All, -1; Side effects cannot be avoided: -½; Always On: -½; Octopus Powers Only: -1
    • a-4 Stretching (4″, NC: 8); Non-Combat Multiplier: ×2, +0; Reduced END: Zero, +½; 0 End.
    • b-4 Swimming (+20″, 22″, NC: 44″); Non-Combat Multiplier: ×2, +0; Non-Combat (MPH): 30; Reduced END: Zero, +½; 0 End.
    • c-3 Clinging (Clinging STR +60); Actually limited to Str+30: -½;
    • d-3 Life Support (total); Only somewhat beyond what is reasonable for an octopus and doing OK on land: -1;
    • e-6 Images (Hearing, Sight, 1″ radius); Range: 0; Observer PER Penalty: 5, +15; Reduced END: Zero & Persistent, +1; Only to make people see the user as a normal person: -2; No Conscious Control: -2; No Range: -½; 0 End.
    • f-3 Invisibility (Normal Sight); Reduced END: Zero, +½; Camouflage Only, +10 to Stealth when moving slowly: -½; 0 End.
    • g-4 +20 STR; Reduced END: Zero, +½; 0 End.
    • h-2 Shrinking-2 (DCV +4, Reduced END: Zero, +½; Only for squeezing through small openings due to their lack of bones and rubbery flesh, no other effects: -2; 0 End.
    • i-2 Darkness (Normal Sight, 3″ radius); Range: 0; Charges: +3, -¾; Continuing Charges: 1 Turn, -2 lev; No Range: -½; Works only in Water: -1½; Active Points: 30; 0 End.
    • j-3 Enhanced Perception (Normal Sight, +15 to PER); Actually only +8: -½;
    • k-3 1d6 Killing Attack (HTH) (Mildly toxic bite) (Total 2d6); Range: 0; Reduced END: Zero, +½; Penetrating: +½; Only on targets that are currently grabbed.: -1. 0 End.
  • (0) Knowledge: The Sea 8-
  • (-8) Running (-4″, 2″, NC: 4″); Non-Combat Multiplier: ×2, +0; 0 End.

Now this sort of thing is why superhero worlds tend to have ever-changing histories. Lets say that some player decides that he wants to play a resident of Atlantis, or a Giant Land Octopus, or a Demigodling Son Of Uller, from Norse Mythology – but the setting has never made any provision for such things. Now what can you do?

  • You can tell the player (or comic book writer) that there is no room for their nifty new idea. They may not take it well. There will certainly be at least whining if some other players ideas get accepted later on. Things become less fun.
  • You can quietly assume that the player/writer (and possibly the character) are wrong about what they are and where they came from If you tell them, see #1. If you remain silent until later… now the player/writer is invested in their idea and it’s part of all their plans. This guarantees an angry explosion.
  • You can accommodate the player/writer and quietly re-arrange some chunks of the setting and its history to fit in with their new idea. This can be a headache when it comes to continuity, and can clash with other player/writers ideas later – but it purchases peace NOW at the low, low, cost of agreeing that Giant Land Octopuses have been hanging around for thousands of years, and that there is a long history of sailors surviving two-hundred-mile swims to shore after shipwrecks, and of mysterious bystanders fishing people out of rivers, and so on that no one has ever paid any attention to because “it’s always been that way”.

Usually people wind up going with #3. It’s so much easier in the short run, and who cares that – likely after your game or job is over – there will need to be yet another reset?

Eclipse d20 and Memento Mori

For today, it’s a requested conversion – a PL10 Mutants and Masterminds character – May Midori, A.K.A “Memento Mori” – a heavily cyborged super-agent inhabitant of a cyberpunk world.

Into fantasy / d20 modern /d20 future terms. This will get a bit weird.

For some basics… well, she’s apparently from a cyberpunk world, ala Shadowrun or Cyberpunk or a dozen other settings. I’m going to assume a vaguely “Shadowrun” style, so both magic and technology fits in and it’s possible to be a very violent businesswoman without setting off endless metal detectors. That makes her a…

Dystopian Survivor Human (30 CP / +0 ECL). These have the racial traits of:

  • Highly Adaptable: Gain one Bonus Feat / 6 Bonus CP (6 CP).
  • Birthright: Choice of +2 to an Attribute or another 12 CP ability package derived from your background.
  • Quick to Learn: Fast Learner, Specialized in Skills for +2 SP/Level (Level x 2 + 6 total, 6 CP).
  • Tested Immunity: After the global pandemics and pollution crises everyone who didn’t inherit this is dead. Immunity to toxins, pollutants, and disease (Common, Major, Trivial, for a +2 bonus on relevant rolls, 3 CP).
  • Projectile Predator: +1 BAB, Specialized in Ranged Attacks (3 CP).

Attributes first:

Mutants and Masterminds: Strength 4 [8p], Stamina 7 [14p], Agility 8 [16p], Dexterity 0, Fighting 5 [10p], Intellect 4 [8p], Awareness 4 [8p], and Presence 0.

Most of those translate to d20 attribute modifiers – so net Str 18, Constitution 24, Dexterity 18 (Agility + Dexterity / 2 since M&M subdivides the functions of Dexterity), Intelligence 18, Wisdom 18, Charisma 10, and BAB +5. Of course in M&M that is after enhancements are applied. Obviously this character is going to need a lot of bonuses.

Secondarily, the character is described as being incredibly beautiful – apparently due to having “attractive” as a fairly minor advantage – although even the original description could be read as putting the character squarely in the uncanny valley and that advantage simply provides a +2 circumstance bonus on Deception and Persuasion checks “to deceive, seduce, or change the attitude of anyone who finds the characters looks appealing”. Well, almost all semi- superhero characters look good. It’s only the actual game impact that matters. Given that a fantasy world involves a lot of nonhumans with very different ideas of what is attractive… I’ll translate this to some simple skill bonuses in the skills section.

So: d20 Attributes:

  • Strength 18 10 Base +4 Eq +4 Armor
  • Dexterity 18 14 Base +4 Eq
  • Constitution 24 14 Base +4 Eq +2 Race +1 Level +1 Purchased (12 CP), +2 Enh
  • Intelligence 18 14 Base +4 Eq
  • Wisdom 18 14 Base +4 Eq
  • Charisma 10 10 Base

That’s Pathfinder 20 point high fantasy point buy attributes. The 2×10 and 4×14 pattern is generally good for a generalist.

For Skills the M&M version had… Acrobatics 8 (Agi 8), Athletics 6 (4 Str + 2 ranks, 1p), Close Combat: unarmed 15 (5 Fgt + 10 ranks, 5p), Close Combat: everything else 5 (5 Fgt), Deception 12 (12 ranks, 6p), Expertise (Business) 8 (4 Int + 4 ranks, 2p), Expertise everything else 4 (4 Int), Expertise (not specified?) 6 (4 Int +2 ranks, 1 Sp), Insight 4 (4 Awe), Investigation 6 (4 Int + 2 ranks, 1p), Perception 8 (4 Awe + 4 ranks, 2p), Stealth 12 (8 Agi + 4 ranks, 2p), Technology 10 (4 Int + 6 ranks. 3p), and Treatment 4 (4 Int).

That’s… pretty poor. 46 skill ranks in total, and nothing higher than +12 in total? For a super-secret agent? Even given that M&M combines a few skills, that’s kind of weak. At least it gives us a level estimate… I’m going to call it six.

Converting to d20…

Available Skill Points: 8 (8 CP) + 36 (Int Mod x 9) +18 (Racial Fast Learner) + 18 (Bonus Feat Fast Learner) = 80 SP.

  • There are a lot of different d20 skill lists out there. So I’m going to throw in Immunity (The normal skill list; gets to use THIS condensed skill list regardless of the list in use in the current game. (Common, Minor, Great, 12 CP). I’ll also buy her two instances of Adept (Acrobatics, Athletics, Perception, and Stealth, are all half cost, 6 CP, Engineering, Persuasion, Stealth, and Thievery are all Half Cost, 6 CP) and a +2 Skill Emphasis on Deception and Persuasion (6 CP) to cover her bonuses from being “attractive”,

General Skills:

  • Acrobatics +15 (4* SP +4 Dex +2 Mor +2 MW). May take 3d4 damage to pull off a nigh-impossible stunt.
  • Athletics +15 (4* SP +4 Str +2 Mor +2 MW). May take 3d4 damage to pull off a nigh-impossible stunt.
  • Deception +13 (9 SP +0 Cha +2 SE +2 Mor)
  • Engineering +15 (4* SP +4 Int +2 Mor). +2 when Travelers Anytool applies. May specify three quasi-magical special gadgets to routinely carry.
  • Heal +12 (4 SP +4 Wis +2 Mor +2 Belt).
  • Linguistics +9 (3 SP +4 Int +2 Mor). Speaks seven languages plus the “common tongue”. That ought to do even for international business.
  • Perception +15 (4* SP +4 Wis +2 Mor). +1 Synergy Bonus on Reflex Saves.
  • Persuasion +13 (4* SP +0 Cha +2 SE +2 MW).
  • Profession (Business) +17 (9 SP +4 Wis +2 Mor +2 MW).
  • Profession (General) +6 (+4 Wis +2 Mor).
  • Socialize +17 (9 SP +4 Wis +2 Mor +2 MW). Provides four useful Contacts. In her case, likely corporate.
  • Stealth +17 (4* SP +4 Dex +2 Mor +2 MW). Grants the equivalent of a built-in Handy Haversack.
  • Thievery +17 (4* SP +4 Dex +2 Mor +2 MW). May be used as a free action up to four times per day.

*Half cost due to Adept. MW: Masterwork Tool. Mor: Morale. SE: Skill Emphasis.

Martial Arts Skills:

  • Iron Hand Style: +18 (9 SP +7 Con +2 Mor)
    • Attack 4, Power 2, Breaking, Combat Reflexes, and Expertise (Attack Bonus to Damage Bonus).
  • Gun Kata Style: +15 (9 SP +4 Dex +2 Mor)
    • Attack 3, Defenses 2, Expertise (Attack Bonus to Damage Bonus), Quick Draw, and Rapid Shot.

Now that is MUCH better. It also covers a bunch of things that the original character wanted to improve. It is a bit cheesy – although the level of cheese depends on the skill list in use in whatever game she wanders into. Condensing the skill list makes each skill – and thus skill enhancing abilities – substantially more powerful. That’s well worth those 12 CP.

In M&M this characters major powers included a variety of melee-attack based “poisons” and bunch of cyberware – presumably what gets her attributes so high. This, of course, is a fairly normal thing in d20 future, but not otherwise. It’s exotic even in most superhero settings. To get it, we will want an Immunity to the settings normal technology levels and – to pay for it – some Innate Enchantment. Due to the fact that d20 future prices are a lot lower than d20 fantasy prices, and thanks to a 20-to-1 Credits-to-GP conversion ratio this is a bit of an exploit, and might well qualify this character for a +1 ECL adjustment.

  • Advanced Tech Access: Innate Enchantment can normally be used to buy the equivalent of mundane equipment – but it’s rarely worth bothering with in fantasy based games. With that 1-to-20 GP-to-Credits conversion ratio and both d20 Modern and Future in play however… mundane equipment is suddenly a LOT more attractive. Still, even superheroes don’t automatically have access to super-technology, so I’m going to treat having access to the d20 Future lists to “buy” stuff from as a an Immunity / normal limits on equipment availability (Very Common, Major, Great (for +4 Tech Levels over the usual PL4 base), Specialized / only for Innate Enchantment purposes, 15 CP)
  • Immunity / the XP or other special costs of Innate Enchantment: Uncommon, Major, Major, 6 CP).
  • Immunity / the usual side effects of cybrenetics: Uncommon, Major Major, 6 CP).

Innate Enchantment (Cybrenetics) (Up to 11,500 GP Value, 12 CP).

  • Multi-Optics Goggles (Low-Light, 80′ Darksight, Microscopic, Tesescopic, HUD, Flash Protection, 200 GP)
  • SmartPhone (5 GP)
  • Neural Recorder (25 GP): Can record sensory information and thoughts so others can experience them.
  • Soundbox (175 GP): May mimic voices, play music, shout as loud as sixteen men, etc.
  • Gas Mask (10 GP):
  • Universal Communicator (2 GP): Send and receive audio, visual, and digital information.
  • Chemical Air Analyzer (250 GP). Gain Scent, may make a DC 15 Wisdom check to identify common chemicals and organic compounds. A DC 20 Wisdom check allows the user to distinguish the exact chemical makeup of anything he or she smells.
  • Artificial Muscle Fiber II: +4 Eq bonus to Str (600 GP)
  • Twitchwire II: +4 Eq bonus to Dex (600 GP)
  • Redundant Organs II: II: +4 Eq bonus to Con (325 GP)
  • Neuron Boosters II: II: +4 Eq bonus to Int (450 GP)
  • Proverb Chip II: +4 Eq bonus to Wis (1000 GP)
  • Boost Armor with Gravlight (Max Dex +1, Armor Check -2), Improved Defense III (+3 Armor), and Increased Range of Motion I (+1 Max Dex), Rigid (+1 Armor Check Penalty). Total +7 (+3 Improved Defense = 10) Armor, +4 Max Dex (+1 IRoM, +1 Nimbleness = +6), Armor Penalty 3 (+1 Rigid -2 Gravlight -2 Nimbleness = 0), Speed +10, +4 Str, +2 Reflex Saves. (1000 GP).
  • +2 Masterwork Karatends (Combat Guantlets, used as Unarmed, 1d8 Bludgeoning, Crit 19-20, DC 18 Fortitude Save or Stunned (electrical effect, so relevant resistences or immunities reduce the effect), (425 GP)
  • Poison Touch: Rattlesnake Venom (Unlimited Use Glands, 1d6/1d6 Con, Fort DC 17, 1000 GP). May combine with karatends, kisses, or other “unarmed” attacks.

That’s 6067 GP

Innate Enchantment (Magic for where there are no technical equivalents listed, still tech though)

  • Face Dancer (Transmutation): SL 1/2 x CL 1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use Activated x.7 Personal Only x.5 (Ambient Magic, one minute to use) = 350 GP. Allows you to change your features to look like someone else of your race or a slight variant thereof. While this does allow you to duplicate finger and retinal prints, you need to know the prints you want to copy to do so. Provides a +10 bonus to Disguises (under Stealth).
  • Traveler’s Any-Tool (250 GP) Acts as masterwork tools for Craft and most Profession skills.
  • Relieve Poison: SL 1 x CL 1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.7 Personal Only = 1400 GP. A spell from the Hedge Wizard list on this blog that greatly reduces the effects of poison.
  • Enhance Con +2: SL 1 x CL 1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.7 Personal Only = 1400 GP
  • Personal Heroism: SL 1 x CL 1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated = 2000 GP
  • Hot and Cold Weather Outfits (16 GP).

That’s 5416 GP

Total: 11,483 GP

The big benefit here lies in 1) getting a +4 on five different stats (normally costing some 80,000 GP) and a good AC (+10) which normally requires either pretty good armor or something like a force armor / force shield combo. Most of the rest is fairly readily available to anyone. That is pretty good – but is it worth the 21 CP it costs to gain access? Or the possible +1 ECL adjustment on top of that? And hitting the usual limit on Innate Enchantment? Honestly, it’s debatable. This character isn’t very reliant on most of those attributes, and could easily make up for them being lower with a few general bonuses to skills and such – But nice high attributes are just so shiny.

Miscellaneous Stuff:

  • +6 BAB (36 CP) (One more than the base build, but we want iterative attacks).
    • Ranged Attack (Gun): +6 BAB +1 Projectile Predator +4 Dex +2 Mor +2 Masterwork +3 Martial Art, +1 Laser Sight, -2 Rapid Fire = +17/+17/+12, +2 Masterwork Silenced Beretta 92F Semiautomatic Pistol (2d6+1 (Enhancement)), Crit 20/x2, 40′ Range Increment, 15 Shot Magazine, 3 Lb, Small Size, with Laser Sight, 225 GP. 50 Bullets, 1 GP).
    • Melee Attack (“Unarmed”): +6 BAB +4 Str +2 Mor +4 Martial Art +2 Masterwork = +18/+13, Damage 1d12+6 (+4 Str + Masterwork), Crit 20/x2, plus Poison (Fort Save DC 17 or 1d6/1d6 Con Damage) plus Fort DC 18 or Stunned.
  • Saves: Originally Fortitude +10 (3 Ranks +7 Sta), Dodge (Reflex) +11 (3 Ranks +8 Agi), and Will +10 (6 Ranks +4 Awe). Now Fortitude +13 (+3 (9 CP) +7 (Con) +2 (Mor) +1 (Res)), Reflex +13 (+3 (9 CP) +4 (Dex) +2 (Mor) +2 (Armor) +1 (Res) +1 (Sy)), and Will +11 (+4 (12 CP) +4 (Wis) +2 (Mor) +1 (Res))
  • Hit Points: Toughness 9 translates into about 81 HP. So… Advanced Improved Augmented Bonus (Adds Dex Mod to Con Mod for HP Purposes, Specialized and Corrupted / only for the first six hit dice, 6 CP). Call it six six-sided hit dice for 26 (6d6, maximum on first die, 12 CP) +66 (6 Hit Dice x [Con Mod + Dex Mod) = 92 HP.
  • Armor Class: M&M uses Defense Class, which is terrible, meaning that most attacks hit and you need to resist their effects. In d20, Armor Class lets you avoid the attacks instead. So… Armor Class 10 (Base) +10 (Cyberarmor, see below) +4 (Dex) +1 (Deflection, see Equipment) = 25. 27 when in ranged combat. Much better.
  • Move: 30′ (Base) +10 (Armor) = 40′
  • Proficiencies: Small Arms (6 CP)
  • Initiative: +4 (Dex)
  • The original character had “Jack Of All Trades” in M&M, allowing the use of all skills unskilled. Given the greatly improved skills above, this is meaningless save for Profession; she HAS all the other skills that can’t be used unskilled. All right then: Immunity/not being able to use Profession skills unskilled (Common, Minor, Trivial, 2 CP). This makes her a reasonably competent lawyer, fisherman, blacksmith, and web page designer.
  • Tracking (M&M Sense Unspecified). Since this doesn’t really say how she tracks people, I shall call it Financial (allowing her to track people through banks, credit card use, and similar) and to find hidden financial details) and by Scent. (3 CP each. 6 CP in total).
  • Trick – Toxic Strike (Save DC Fort 20, Induces Fatigue, then Exhaustion, then Sleep – but this requires a kiss to use (it’s specialized circumstance). This is rarely practical in combat and the relatively simple circumstances corresponds nicely with the limited effect (6 CP).
  • Doubled Damage (Rattlesnake Venom, when delivered with a kiss, 6 CP).
  • Grant of Aid with +2 Bonus Uses (9 CP). This isn’t a part of the base build, but super-types – which she undoubtedly is – tend to recover fast.

To look back at the original sheet, it had…

Advantages [7p]: Attractive 2 (Now general skill bonuses), Equipment 1/Smartphone (Now cyberware), Improved Power Attack (In her martial arts), Improvised Tools (covered by Traveler’s Anytool), Jack-of-All-Trades (Covered by use of all Profession skills unskilled), and Tracking (covered by Tracking).

Designer Daughter (cybernetic) [19p]

  • Cosmetic Biosculpt. Continuous Standard-Action Morph 2: similarly-built humans. [8p] (Covered by Face Dancer).
  • Detox Gland. Immunity 1: poison. [1p] (Covered by Relieve Poison).
  • Expanded Optics. Senses 4: infra-, ultra-, low-light and microscopic visual. [4p+2a] (Covered by Multi-Optics Goggles)
  • Alt: Auditory Augmentation. Limited 1 Senses 5: accurate(close only) analytical danger-sense extended auditory. [4p] (Covered by enhanced Perception)
  • Alt: Chemical Analysis. Senses 4: acute analytical olfactory-type. [4p] (Covered by Scent and the analytical package).
    Miscellanea. Features 4: embedded radio, fingerprint falsifier, sensory recorder, voice reproducer. [4p]
  • Subcutaneous Armor. Protection 2. [2p] (Covered – and vastly improved – by Cyberware Boost Armor).
  • Poisonous Personality [20p]
    • Kiss Goodnight. Distracting Grab-Based Progressive Subtle Triggered(variable) Affliction 15: fatigued/exhausted/asleep. [18p+2a] (Covered by Trick)
    • Alt: Kiss of Death. Distracting Grab-Based Progressive Subtle Triggered(variable) Weaken 15: stamina. [18p] (Covered by Doubled Damage on Rattlesnake Poison)
    • Alt: Poison Spur. Improved-Critical Subtle Damage 1; Linked to Improved-Critical Progressive Subtle Weaken 5: stamina. [18p] (Covered by Rattlesnake Poison)

Defense [18p]

  • Dodge 11 (8 agi + 3 ranks). [3p] Reflex Save, now +13. Also improved, see “Armor Class”.
  • Parry 11 (5 fgt + 6 ranks). [6p]> Vastly improved; AC 25, 27 in Ranged Combat.
  • Toughness 9 (7 sta + 2 protection). Equates to roughly 81 HP, now 92 and far less likely to be hit.
  • Fortitude 10. (7 sta + 3 rank). [3p] Fortitude Save, now +13
  • Will 10 (4 awe + 6 ranks). [6p] Will Save, now +11. About the same, but nothing about the build says “resistant to mental effects” – and the discription doesn’t exactly say “independent and willful”. According to the Complications, she’s kind of impulse driven.

Well, that’s all covered.

So how is this all adding up?

  • Race: 0 CP.
  • Attributes: 12 CP.
  • Skills: 8 CP Direct Purchase, 6 CP Fast Learner, 12 CP Immunity to the Normal Skill List, 12 CP Double Adept, 6 CP double Skill Emphasis = 44 CP.
  • Cybrenetics: Advanced Tech Access (15 CP), Immunity XP Cost (6 CP), Immunity Side Effects (6 CP), Innate Enchantment (12 CP) = 39 CP.
  • Miscellany: 113 CP

That’s 208 Character Points.

So how many do we have available?

Available Character Points: 168 (L6 Base) + 10 (Disadvantages: Compulsive (Killer), Accursed (Hackable Systems), and Insane (Transhumanist, thinks everyone needs cyborging, it is a universal panacea)) +12 (Duties to Mother Her Corporation) +18 (L1, 3, 6 Bonus Feats) = 208 CP.

OK, I added the Grant Of Aid to make things come out right, but it was quite close anyway.

That leaves us with equipment: Level six grants a 16,000 GP (or roughly 320,000 Dollar or “Credit”) equipment allowance, which can reasonably be expended as follows:

Healing Belt/Advanced First Aid Kit (750 GP), Cloak/Light Protective Clothing Of Resistance +1 (1000 GP), Ring Of Protection/Microshield Generator +1 (2000 GP), Chronocharm of the Laughing Stranger (500 GP, 1/Day reroll a Deception or Persuasion check), Chronocharm of the Fateweaver (1/day reroll one Acrobatics or Athletics check, 500 GP), Chronocharm of the Celestial Wanderer (1/day reroll one Perception check, 500 GP), Chronocharm of the Horizon Walker (1/Day take a half move as a swift action, 500 GP), BMW M3 Sports Coupe (1750 GP), Masterwork Tools (Power Suit; +2 to Profession/Business and Persuasion, Fine Shoes; +2 to Acrobatics and Athletics, Chameleon Coat; +2 to Stealth, Jewelry;+2 to Socialize, Gripper Gloves; +2 to Thievery, total MW items 350 GP), Demolitions Kit with Charges (50 GP), Search and Rescue Kit (10 GP), 1000 Bullets (20 GP), Tactical Flashlight (10 GP), Camping Gear (50 GP), Trail Rations (120 meals, 30 GP), Concealed Carry Holster (2 GP), Gun (225 GP, +2000 GP to be +1), Permanent “Upscale Hotel” lifestyle (2750 GP), Grappler Gun (3 GP), Expense Account (30 GP / 600 Dollars/Day unquestioned, 3000 GP). Most of this stuff (well, except the car) can easily fit in her personal Handy Haversack effect.

She also gets those three Gadgets from Engineering, but I don’t know what she’d want. Maybe a “Cyberdeck” for hacking (perhaps +3 to Engineering for the purpose), an expanded magazine so she can keep shooting, and a set of Blackout/Teargas bombs for escape?

Cut Features & Advancement Plans

  • 1. Improve Skills. For a super spy a 10 is pathetic! Done. She is far more skilled now.
  • 2. Mobilize. A good way to get out of danger will take us far! I can’t find Mobilize or Mobility in second or third edition, or a reference online. Might be Mobility (the d20 feat), Uncanny Dodge (which is at least related), Reflex Training (in Eclipse) or just wanting faster movement. For the moment, she has a Chronocharm of the Horizon Walker (1/Day take a half move as a swift action) – which should help out. Perhaps a teleportation item later on?
  • 3. Sensible Senses. They’re not expensive and always useful! Another item I cannot find although I’d assume that it just means more special senses. Still, it is easy enough to get more senses in Eclipse. This character already has a fair array of senses anyway.
  • 4. Git Gud at Guns. If nothing else, it’ll save on dry-cleaning bills! Done. She has much better skill with guns now. And, for that matter, has a gun.


  • 1. Suppressed Light Pistol. Subtle Diminished-Ranged Damage 3. [6ep]. Done. You can just buy guns in d20 and this version has an appropriate martial art and a pistol with a sound suppressor (“Silencer”).

Designer Daughter (cybernetic)

  • 1. Cognitive Coprocessor. Limited (mental) Quickness 2 [1p] This gets mental tasks done more quickly. You could buy this – or just take advantage of the higher skills and raise the DC to get done faster.
  • 2. Healing Stimulator. Regeneration 1 [1p]. Done. That’s what the Grant Of Aid ability is all about.
  • 3. Omniglot Implant. Limited Comprehend 3: read/speak/understand common business languages. [3p]. Well, this character already speaks eight languages (counting “common”), so this is probably covered.

Overall… this character is a decent to good skill monkey and a reasonably effective fighter. She doesn’t do all that much damage, but forcing a save against poison and a save against being stunned at decent DC’s every time she hits a target is actually quite potent – at least until she’s fighting a construct, or an undead, or a swarm, or an ooze that is resistant to poison and electricity, or someone in a mecha, or quite a few other things – against which she is fairly useless. A warrior-type of similar level dedicated to damage is a lot more generally effective. A serious skill monkey will have more skill bonuses and – almost certainly – more skill boosters and things like “luck” so they can always succeed if they feel that they must. She won’t be able to match them either. So a competent generalist, best suited for semi-stealthy missions against other relatively normal beings. That… seems reasonable enough really.

The Phases Of The Moon Part III – Kahanev, Täiskuu and her Lunar Chariot, The House Of The Moon, and The Minivan Of Apparent Normality

Isilmë’s four secondary aspects take unmerciful advantage of a cheap Multiform power to take rather specialized power packages – although, since they only get fifty points in total, they are all pretty much normal people otherwise.

Kahanev, The Spring Moon (50 Points)

Kahanev, The aspect of the waning moon internalizes the subtle magic of the waning moon as C’hi, turning that power into mythic martial arts. Whether out of whimsy or because he IS a creature of myth – and what are movies but modern myths? – he appears as an elder oriental martial arts master, complete with long white beard and hair, brightly-colored robes, exaggerated sound effects and a tendency to announce attack names straight out of a bad martial arts movie. Sadly, while his power is sufficient to combine any two of his “forms” (powers) at a time, he can be fairly readily shut down by something like an area effect entangle, which will prevent him from using any of his mystical stances and kata. Still, if it comes to melee combat, he is generally the best choice Isilmë has available.

Val Char Cost
15 STR 5
11 DEX 3
10 CON 0
10 BODY 0
10 INT 0
10 EGO 0
10 PRE 0
8 COM -1
3 PD 0
2 ED 0
3 SPD 9
5 REC 0
20 END 0
20 STUN -3

Characteristic Rolls: STR: 12-, DEX: 11-, CON: 11-, INT: 11-, EGO: 11-, PER: 11-
Run: 6/16″, Swim: 2″, Jump: 3/23″, Lift: 200kg

(17) Mystic Martial Arts Multipower (60-pt reserve); Martial Arts Powers Only: -½; Restrainable: -½; Visible (Recognizable Styles): -¼; User must spend a lot of time practicing: -¼; Slots limited to 30 active points: -½, Gestures: -¼; Incantation: -¼ (announce attack names).

  • u-1 +20 STR (Master Of Leverage); Doesn’t Affect Figured: -½; Reduced END: Zero, +½; Only for combat purposes; cannot life massive weights, rip apart entangles, etc.: -½; 0 End.
  • u-1 +30 PRE (Conquerer’s Will); Only for Presence Attacks: -½; 0 End
  • u-1 +10 DEX (Whirlwind Kata) 0 End
  • u-1 Hand-to-Hand Attack Nerve Strike (4d6, total 5 1/2d6); Range: 0; No Normal Defense: +1 (as per standard nerve strike); Reduced END: Zero, +½; 0 End
    u-1 Hand-to-Hand Attack / Martial Strike (6d6, Total 9d6); Range: 0; Reduced END: Zero, +½; 0 End
  • u-1 1d6+1 Killing Attack (HTH) / Iron Hand Strike (Total 2d6+1); Range: 0; Reduced END: Zero, +½; 0 End.
  • u-1 Running / Light Foot (+10″, 16″, NC: 32″); Non-Combat Multiplier: ×2, +0; Non-Combat (MPH): 22; Reduced END: Zero, +½; 0 End.
  • u-1 Superleap / Light Foot (+20″, 23″, NC: 46″); Non-Combat Multiplier: ×2, +0; Non-Combat (MPH): 45; Reduced END: Zero, +½; 0 End.
  • u-1 Force Field (Martial Block) (15 PD/5 ED); Reduced END: Zero, +½; 0 End.
  • u-1 Density Increase (Mountain Stance)-4 (×16 mass); Extra PD: +4; Extra ED: +4; Extra STR: +20; Knockback: -4″; Reduced END: Zero, +½; 0 End.
  • u-1 10″ Flight (Acrobatics, Water-Walking, Etc), (NC: 20″); Non-Combat Multiplier: ×2, +0; Non-Combat (MPH): 22; Reduced END: Zero, +½; Only to pull off amazing maneuvers and break falls: -1; 0 End.
  • u-1 Invisibility to Normal Sight (Ninjitsu); Reduced END: Zero, +½; Enhanced Stealth Only (+10 bonus): -1; 0 End.
  • u-1 Spatial Awareness (Chi Sense); 0 End.

Other Powers:

  • 6 Armor (3 PD/3 ED); Focus (Costume): Obvious Inaccessible, -½

Cost Skills, Talents, Perks Roll

  • 1 Knowledge:Martial Arts 8-

OCV: 4; DCV: 4; ECV: 3; Mental Def.: 0; Phases: 4, 8, 12, PD/rPD: 21/18; ED/rED: 10/8

Costs: Char: 13 + Powers 37 = 50

Täiskuu, The Autumn Moon, 50 Points

Täiskuu, the aspect of the Full Moon, is the most purely divine – and in some ways the most potent – of Isilmë’s aspects, and can only be manifested when the moon is in the sky, focusing it’s powers over dreams and either visiting the realms of dream or bringing that power into the material world. Unfortunately, her powers are more than a little unstable, since she occasionally loses control and lets the forces of dream pour into the world uncontrolled – a consequence of this world having far more dreamers than she is used to. When manifested she tends to ride the sky in her lunar chariot, a dark-skinned and vaguely Egyptian figure with black hair and cat-slit green eyes, crowned with stars and -when her defenses are up – wearing shining silver armor, moonlight transmuted into metal.

Val Char Cost
8 STR -2
11 DEX 3
13 CON 6
10 BODY 0
10 INT 0
10 EGO 0
10 PRE 0
15 COM 2
2 PD 0
3 ED 0
3 SPD 9
5 REC 0
16 END -5
21 STUN 0

Characteristic Rolls: STR: 11-, DEX: 11-, CON: 12-, INT: 11-, EGO: 11-, PER: 11-
Run: 6″, Swim: 2″, Jump: 2″, Lift: 76kg

15 Lunar Magic Multipower (62-pt reserve); Gestures: Instant Power, -¼; Incantation: Instant Power, -¼; Side Effects (Twists the world towards dream – causing strange events, broadcasting dreams, teaching strange secrets in visions, unleashing nightmare beasts, and so on): 60/All, -1; Activation: 15-, -¼; Only while the moon is in the sky: -½; Variable Limitations: -1 (Commonly OAF Lunar Rod): -½; Concentrate: ½ DCV, -¼.

  • u-1 Shape Shift (Flesh Like Dust) (Any); Reduced END: Zero, +½; Includes up to 1/2 the active point total of appropriate secondary effects – for example a bird form can fly (if not all that well)): +½; 0 End.
  • u-1 4d6 Entangle (Chains Of Night) (DEF 4); Range: 300; Reduced END: Zero, +½; 0 End. Do you ever dream that you cannot move?
  • u-1 8d6 Energy Blast (Lunar Lance); Range: 300; Versus: ED; Reduced END: Zero, +½; 0 End.
  • u-1 Desolidification (Moon Wraith); Reduced END: Zero, +½; 0 End.
  • u-1 Images (Lunar Mirage) (Hearing, Sight, 16″ radius); Range: 250; Observer PER Penalty:
    0, +0; Reduced END: Zero, +½; 0 End.
  • u-1 8d6 Mental Illusions (Nightmare Realm); Reduced END: Zero, +½; 0 End.
  • u-1 1d6 Transform (Cycle Of The Moon) (Major, Anything); Range: 300; Cumulative: +½;
    Reduced END: Zero, +½; Area Effect (One-hex): 4 hex(es), +½; Increased Area: ×4, +½; 0 End.
  • u-1 Invisibility (Dark Of The Moon) (Hearing, Sight, No Fringe); Reduced END: Zero, +½; 0 End.
  • u-1 Extra-Dimensional Movement (Realms of Dream); Dimensions: One, +0; Time Travel:
    None, +0; Mass Multiplier: ×1, +0; Area Effect (One-hex): 1 hex(es), +½; Reduced END: Zero,
    +½; Carrying Mass: None; 0 End.
  • u-1 Force Field (Ward Of The Moon) (12 PD/12 ED); Uncontrolled: +½; Reduced END:
    Zero, +½; 0 End.
  • u-1 Summon Lunar Chariot (1 50-point creature); Range: 0; Summon: Single Type, +0;
    Reduced END: Half, +¼; Champions Advantage (Vehicle): +¼; 2 End.
  • u-1 2d6 Energy Blast (Mists Of Dream; Range: 300; Versus: ED; Attack vs. Limited Defense
    (Power Defense): +1½; Reduced END: Zero, +½; Uncontrolled: +½; Area Effect (Radius): 64″
    radius, +1; Increased Area: ×16, +1; Sticky: +½; 0 End.
  • u-1 20d6 Dispel Dreaming (Banish the Night); Range: 300; Affects: One Power (her own multipower and its side effects) +0; 6 End.
  • u-1 +60 PRE (The Celestial Voice); Only for Presence Attacks: -½; 0 End.

Other Powers:

  • 1 5″ Gliding (NC: 10″); Non-Combat Multiplier: ×2, +0; Non-Combat (MPH): 11; Only to break falls: -2; Only while the moon is up: -½. 0 End.

Cost Skills, Talents, Perks Roll

  • 1 Transport Familiarity (Other Air Vehicles)
  • 3 Bureaucratics 11-
  • 3 Persuasion 11-

OCV: 4; DCV: 4; ECV: 3; Mental Def.: 0; Phases: 4, 8, 12, PD/rPD: 14/12; ED/rED: 15/12

Costs: Char: 13 Powers: +37 = 50 Points.

Lunar Chariot (50 Points – 20 Points Disadvantages, 6 Point Purchase)

Cost Vehicle Characteristics

  • 0 STR 10/20
  • 3 DEX 11
  • -3 BODY 7/9
  • 9 SPD 3
  • 10 Size Increase-2: 1.2 hexes (52 sq ft), 0.6 inside, 1 passengers, 1″ long x 1.2″ wide, 400 kg, KB -2, DCV 3 (Mod -1)
  • 4 DEF 4; Coverage: Complete, -0; Protects: Top and Bottom, -0; Does Not Protect Passengers: -½
  • 19 Flight (7″, NC: 448″, 500mph); Non-Combat Multiplier: ×64, +25; Stall: None, -0; Focus (Drawn by flying wolves): Obvious Inaccessible, -½; Focus Type: Vehicular, -½
    -8 Ground Movement (2″, NC: 4″, 4mph); Non-Combat Multiplier: ×2, +0

9 Multipower (40-pt reserve); Focus (Lunar Emblem on the Chariot): Obvious Accessible, -1; Focus Type: Vehicular, -½; Extra Time: 1 turn, -1; Only while the moon is in the sky: -¼; Concentrate: 0 DCV, -½.

  • u-1 Desolidification; Charges: +3, +0; Continuing Charges: 1 Hour, -5 lev;
  • u-1 Invisibility (Hearing, Sight, No Fringe); Charges: +3, +0; Continuing Charges: 1 Hour, -5 lev;
  • u-1 10″ Teleportation (Long Range 80″); Increased Range: ×8, +15; Long Range: 80″; Long Range (miles): 0.10; Mass Multiplier: ×1, +0; Fixed Locations: 0; Floating Locations: 1, 5; Charges: +12, -¼; 0
  • u-1 Extra-Dimensional Movement; Dimensions: Any, +20; Charges: +12, -¼; Time Travel: None, +0; Mass Multiplier: ×1, +0; Carrying Mass: None; 0
  • u-1 4d6 Aid (Flight Noncombat Multiplier) (Fade/5 hours, Max. 24); Range: 0; Active Points: 40; Charges: +12, -¼; Affects: Single Power, +0; Fully boosted, the chariot can achieve approximately 14.000 MPH.
  • u-1 Force Field (10 PD/10 ED); Charges: 1, +0; Continuing Charges: 1 Day, -7 lev; Invisible: To All Senses, +1;
  • u-1 Life Support (total); Charges: 1, +0; Continuing Charges: 1 Day, -7 lev;
    50 Vehicle Cost

30+ Disadvantages (Cost: 30/5 = 6)

  • 20 Distinctive Features: Glowing Chariot Drawn By Wolves; Concealability: Not Concealable, 15; Reaction: Always noticed & major reaction, +5

Honestly, the Hero System vehicle rules are more than a little borked. They’re even more borked in 6’th edition (where disadvantages do not reduce costs) – but a ten-speed bicycle officially costs 11 (fifth edition Ultimate Vehicles, but that doesn’t seem to have changed much) CP – so kids can only have bicycles via handwaving. That’s about the same as a sports car. The Lunar Chariot has a base cost of 10 CP – and it can pass through walls, become invisible, teleport in and out of it’s hanger, circle the world in a couple of hours (as long as the course is chosen to keep the moon in the sky). carry people safely into orbit, travel between dimensions, and reach the moon in less than a day. It hasn’t got time travel – yet – and it can’t fight, but it doesn’t need to. It’s transportation.

The House Of The Moon (67 Points,-10 Disadvantages, 11 Points Purchase)

This was a third-floor efficience apartment for one – until Isilme bound a number of enhancing enchantments into the place, making it larger, more comfortable, and with a variety of facilities that cannot reasonably fit into the available space. Fortunately, none of that can be seen from the outside – or even when looking through the door. It even has a mystical power supply, so that, if the power goes out, all the appliances and lights keep working.

Far more importantly… it contains a fairly comprehensive library, an excellent computer /. entertainment center, has security cameras, and boasts a mirror capable of warning of major threats on a global basis. That’s not exactly vast cosmic power, but it’s certainly convenient.

Cost Base Characteristics

  • 18 DEF 8
  • 2 BODY 4
  • 8 Size 4, 36 hexes (1,549 sq ft), DCV -6
  • 0 Grounds 0 hexes
  • 0 Location (City)

Base Powers:

  • 6 Invisibility (Exterior, entry, and living room look like a normal apartment) (Normal Sight); IIF: -¼; Extra Time: 5 min., -2; Extra Time Required: Only At Startup, ½; Focus Mobility: Immobile, -1; Focus Type: Base, -1; Reduced END: Zero, +½; Only to make the place look “normal”: -½ 0
  • 1 Power Supply – END Reserve (25 END, 5 REC/turn); OAF: -1; Focus Mobility: Immobile, -1; Focus Type: Base, -1; Extra Time: 5 min., -2; Extra Time Required: Only At Startup, ½. This isn’t actually needed under normal circumstances since the place has no equipment which costs endurance, but if / when the power goes out (almost inevitable, especially in a superhero world) the appliances and such will keep working.
  • 1 Kitchen, Pantry, Fridge, Bathrooms – Doesn’t Eat, Excrete or Sleep; Focus: Obvious Accessible, -1; Focus Mobility: Immobile, -1; Focus Type: Base, -1; Bases don’t sleep anyway: -¼; Requires fairly regular resupply): -½
  • 1 Air Conditioning, Heating, Fire Suppression – Life Support: Intense Heat/Cold; Focus: Inobvious Inaccessible, -¼; Focus Mobility: Immobile, -1; Focus Type: Base, -1
  • 3 Sense (External Cameras) (+0 to PER); Time Required: Instant, +2; Range: Ranged, +5; Focus: Inobvious Inaccessible, -¼; Focus Mobility: Immobile, -1; Focus Type: Base, -1

    Computer / Entertainment Center / Internet 0

  • (-32) Computer, Int 8, Dex 0, Spd 1
  • (2) Elemental Control: Electronics (3-pt reserve); Usable By Others: Power Lost, +¼
    All abilities Conventional Technology (-1)

    • a-2 Radio Listen and Transmit; Champions Advantage (Datalink): +½; Cellular/WiFi/Bluetooth Service Only: -½
    • b-2 Eidetic Memory (Hard Drive); Always On (Memory is either perfect or utterly gone): -½; Extra Time: full phase, -½; Limited Storage Space: -¼.
    • c-2 Images (Screen) (Normal Sight, 1″ radius); Range: 0; Reduced END: Zero, +½; No Range: -½; Screen Only: -4; Observer PER Penalty: 0 End.
    • d-6 Pocket Secretary and Remote Apartment Control / Telekinesis (STR 10); Range: 220; 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; Focus: Obvious Accessible, -1; Focus Applicability: Universal. 0 End.
    • 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. 0 End. This allows the user to load maps (area knowledge), mission information, and so on. All of it is Usable By Others/Power Lost, so you can load a total of 10 points worth of information.
  • f-7 Basic Computer Functions; All Usable By Others: Power Lost, +¼
    • (2) Absolute Time Sense
    • (2) Location Services/Bump of Direction
    • (2) Lightning Calculator
    • (1) File Loading / Speed Reading; Computer Files Only: -½.
    • (0) Camera (Eyes)
    • (0) Microphone (Ears)
    • (0) Voice (Speakers)
    • (2) High Fidelity Playback / Mimicry 11- (Good fidelity, but nothing special).
    • (0) Touchscreen (Touch)
  • g-6 Standard Software; All Usable By Others: Power Lost, +¼
    • (2) Security Features / Immunity To Unauthorized Use; Frequency: Common
    • (1) Voice Mode: English (Or language of choice) (Fluent Conv.); Literacy: Standard
    • (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, use “Aid” to load a Language.

Other Powers:

  • 1 Money (Well Off); Only for nice furnishings, decent art, good lighting, and being generally really comfortable and well-supplied: -2; Only in the base: -1
  • 2 Enchanting Shop 11-
  • 2 Forge 11-
  • 7 +2 Overall Levels (Loom Of Fate); Usable By Others: Power Lost, +¼; Focus: Obvious Accessible, -1; Focus Mobility: Immobile, -1; Focus Type: Base, -1
  • 9 Mirror Of Warning – Danger Sense (Out of Combat, Anywhere); Works: Out of Combat, +5; Range: Anywhere, +15; OAF: -1; Focus Mobility: Immobile, -1; Focus Type: Base, -1. 14- roll.
    Library 6; Extra Time: 1 hour, -2½; Focus: Obvious Accessible, -1; Focus Mobility: Immobile, -1; Focus Type: Base, -1
  • (15) +3 level w/Knowledges And Sciences
  • (3) Scholar
  • (3) Scientist
  • Subjects Covered (Each 11-, 16- after levels, 1 Point each 17 total): Alchemy, Anthropology, Archaeology, Architecture, Astronomy, History, Law, Literature, Medicine, Mythology, Occultism, Paleontology, Parahumans, Parapsychology, Pharmacology, Science Fiction and Fantasy, and Theology.

Base Cost: 67 Points. -10 Points Disadvantages = 57, Net Cost (57/5 = 11)

  • 5 Distinctive Features (Home and Shop for an Enchantress, too big to fit into the apartment without magic)
  • 5 Third floor and sometimes the elevators don’t work (Infrequently, Slightly)
  • 10 Disadvantages Total

It’s no avengers mansion, but it’s a pretty decent sanctum for your basic sorcerer. It even comes with the convenient plot-device of advance warning about major threats for the heroes to go and try to stop.

Minivan (67 Points, No Disadvantages, 13 Point Purchase).

Cost Vehicle Characteristics

  • -1 STR 9/24
  • 3 DEX 11
  • -1 BODY 9/12
  • 9 SPD 3
  • 15 Size Increase-3: 2 hexes (86 sq ft), 1 inside, 2 passengers, 1½” long x 1.3″ wide, 800 kg, KB -3, DCV 3 (Mod -1)
  • 15 DEF 7; Coverage: Complete, -0; Protects: Top and Bottom, -0
  • 5 Ground Movement (9″, NC: 72″, 80mph); Non-Combat Multiplier: ×8, +10; Focus (Wheels): Obvious Accessible, -1; Focus Type: Vehicular, -½; Needs regular fueling and maintenance: -½


5 Basic Car Gear – Lights, Radio, GPS, Tinted Windows, Etc.

16 Arcane Enhancements

  • (5) Clinging (Clinging STR +10); Focus (Wheels): Obvious Accessible, -1; Focus Type: Vehicular, -½
  • (3) Regeneration (Self-Repairing) (1 BODY/5 hours); Activation: 11-, -1; Regenerate: Standard, +0
  • (4) 1d6 Transform (Air to Fuel, Lubricant, Oil, coolant, windshield washer fluid, Etc – all the consumables for running a car) (Major, Limited Class); Range: 95; Focus: Inobvious Inaccessible, -¼; Focus Type: Vehicular, -½; Extra Time: 1 min., -1½; Activation: 11-, -1; Charges: 16, +0 (0 End Cost).
  • (4) Images (Normal Sight, 1″ radius); Range: 100; Observer PER Penalty: 0, +0; Charges: +6, +1; Continuing Charges: 1 Day, -7 lev; Only makes the car look different – paint job, license plate, minor tweaks to apparent model: -2; Focus: Inobvious Inaccessible, -¼; Focus Type: Vehicular, -½; Extra Time: 1 turn, -1. 0 End.

    Yes, it’s a minivan, suitable for hauling kids, stacks of groceries, or similar. It also happens to be self-maintaining, self-fueling, self-driving, capable of altering it’s paint job, license plate, and model details, and of driving up walls or on the underside of bridges – but that’s just because it belongs to an enchantress.

1 Transport Familarity: Small Ground Vehicles. So it can drive itself competently. Presumably it has enough senses for that, since basic senses are free.

67 Vehicle Cost. Cost to Character (Cost: 67/5 = 13)

And this costs more than the Lunar Chariot. Did I mention that the vehicle rules are borked?

The Phases Of The Moon Part II – Kasvael, Usskuu, and Nature Spirits

Isilmë’s four secondary aspects take unmerciful advantage of a cheap Multiform power to take rather specialized power packages – although, since they only get fifty points in total, they are all pretty much normal people otherwise.

Kasvael, The Summer Moon (50 Points)

Kasvael. the aspect of the waxing moon, is a fairly powerful shaman, a master of runes, rituals, and spirits – but he is very much a support character. He can heal, he can remove disabilities, he can scout around in astral form, he can transport allies, he can scry on relatively nearby locations, he can call up nature spirits* to help out, and he can create low-grade barriers and bridges – but his only major offensive ability is Ritual Magic. And while he can prepare a few major “spells” in advance, it requires a very long time and his supply is strictly limited. Basically, his magic is slow and almost entirely utilitarian. He’s very helpful to have around, but field operations are not his forte. He appears as a wiry, middle-aged to old green-eyed amerindian man dressed as a shaman, with him comes a faint whisper of drums, and flutes, and chanting voices.

*These could, in theory, go up to 97 points – but his are built on 50 points since they can’t exceed his total. If his total later goes up, so will theirs – although, honestly, they are powerful enough already to do what they are supposed to, which is to scout, to answer questions, and to mildly boost his allies and/or hinder enemies.

Val Char Cost
10 STR 0
11 DEX 3
10 CON 0
10 BODY 0
13 INT 3
11 EGO 2
10 PRE 0
10 COM 0
2 PD 0
2 ED 0
2 SPD 0
4 REC 0
20 END 0
20 STUN 0

Characteristic Rolls: STR: 11-, DEX: 11-, CON: 11-, INT: 12-, EGO: 11-, PER: 12-
Run: 6″, Swim: 2″, Jump: 2″, Lift: 100kg

18 Shamanic Magic Multipower (74-pt reserve); Concentrate: Throughout & 0 DCV, -1; Extra Time: full phase, -½; Focus (Rune-Inscribed Wand): Obvious Accessible, -1; Focus Applicability: Personal; Focus Breakability: Breakable; Gestures: Instant Power, -¼; Incantation: Instant Power, -¼

  • u-1 10d6 Generic Healing; Reduced END: Half, +¼; 2
  • u-1 Extra-Dimensional Movement (Fictional Worlds); Dimensions: Any, +20; Time Travel: None, +0; Mass Multiplier: ×4, +10; Carrying Mass: 200; Reduced END: Half, +¼; 2 End. Yes, he can take a small group on a trip into a television program, or book, or movie, or other work of fiction. Don’t let the villain follow you home,
  • u-1 Extra-Dimensional Movement (Astral Projection); Dimensions: One, +0; Time Travel: None, +0; Mass Multiplier: ×1, +0; Carrying Mass: None; Generic Limitation (Leaves physical body behind): -1; Reduced END: Zero, +½; 0 End. This is a major scouting ability, but – if you do run into something that can target you – leaves you entirely on your own.
  • u-1 Summon Nature Spirits (1 97-point creatures); Range: 0; Summon: Limited Group, +¼; Usually Friendly (Usually will perform three services or one errand): +¼, Nature Spirits can only exist in their domain and only one can be manifested at a time: -1; 7 End.
  • u-1 2d6 Ritual Magic Aid (Fade/turn, Max. 90); Range: 0; Affects: Single Power of Special Effect, +¼; Trigger: Set, +¼; Points fade instantly after power used: -½; Maximum of three rituals per day and seven prepared effects.: -1; Active Points: 73; 1 End. This is POWER. It lets you pre-prepare up to seven ninety active point one-shot effects to be unleashed later. Go ahead. Summon a major demon, teleport hundreds of miles, speak a word of doom… but be very sure that it’s what you want, because you’re not going to get rid of it without another ritual or two.
  • u-1 Force Field (9 PD/9 ED); Reduced END: Zero & Persistent, +1; Uncontrolled: +½; Invisible: To All Senses, +1; Active Points: 63; 0 End. Basic protection, but any solid hit will still take Kasvael down – even if this makes him FAR more likely to live through it.
  • u-1 10″ Teleportation (Long Range 1,250″); Increased Range: ×125, +35; Long Range: 1,250″; Long Range (miles): 1.55; Mass Multiplier: ×4, +10; Fixed Locations: 0; Floating Locations: 0; 2 End. Not a lot of use in combat, but great when combined with Clairvoyance for a classic scry-and-die combo.
  • u-1 5″ Flight (NC: 625″); Non-Combat Multiplier: ×125, +30; Area Effect (One-hex): 1 hex(es), +½; Non-Combat (MPH): 488; 1 End. Very handy for carrying a group across the english channel on your flying carpet.
  • u-1 1d6 Transform (Major, Anything); Range: 225; Cumulative: +½; Reduced END: Zero, +½; Active Points: 45; 0 End. It’s slow, it will revert back if the magic is dispelled, and you can’t do much at a time – but if your gadgeteer needs a special tool, well you can provide.
  • u-1 2d6 Aid (Buy Off Disadvantages) (Fade/year, Max. 30); Range: 0; Affects: Single Power of Special Effect, +¼; Additional Extra Time – One Minute: -1; Active Points: 66; 3 End. Yes, this allows him to remove – or at least suppress for quite some time – up to thirty points worth of disadvantages for any one target. Want to get rid of that nasty Hunted? A proper ward will keep them away. Go berserk to often? Terrified of confined places? All easily fixed.
  • u-1 Clairsentience (Normal Sight, Hearing); See: Present, +0; Dimensions: Current, +0; Range: 1,600″; Reduced END: Zero, +½; 0 End.
  • u-1 Force Wall (8 PD/8 ED); Range: 300; Width: 12″, +0; Reduced END: Zero, +½; 0 End. Useful, but a rifle shot could bring it down. Best used for a bridge, a slide to let people escape from a fire, and as a short-term barricade.

Others Powers:

  • 2 5″ Gliding (NC: 10″); Non-Combat Multiplier: ×2, +0; Non-Combat (MPH): 8; Generic Limitation (Only breaks falls and allows sitting in the air while meditating or spellcasting): -1
  • 1 +10 Arcane Reserve – END; Concentrate: 0 DCV, -½; Generic Limitation (Only for spellcasting): -1; Extra Time: full phase, -½; Gestures: Instant Power, -¼; Incantation: Instant Power, -¼
  • 7 Detect Life (+0 to PER); Time Required: Instant, +2; Range: Ranged, +5; Focus (Eye Amulet): Obvious Accessible, -1; Addition (Discriminatory): +5

Cost Skills, Talents, Perks Roll
2 Knowledge: The Occult 11-

OCV: 4; DCV: 4; ECV: 4; Mental Def.: 0; Phases: 6, 12, PD/rPD: 11/9; ED/rED: 11/9

Costs: Char: 8 + Powers: 42 = 50 Points.

Nature Spirits (50 Point)

Nature Spirits are reasonably effective, but are generally only willing to provide a few short-term services or run one errand – although they usually don’t count basic conversation or talking about their domain a bit as a service. On the other hand, they are fairly limited; a city spirit will not and cannot leave the city, a forest spirit will not and cannot leave the forest, and so on. Just as importantly, they cannot stick around past dawn or sunset and only one can be on call at any given moment- although those on errands to not count as being on call. If you send a city spirit out for pizza, it won’t count if you actually need a sky spirit for something important.

While spirits can attack on their own – well enough to handle normal people fairly readily – their real utility lies in scouting, providing information, and boosting their summoner and his or her allies. Sure, -2 on your enemies OCV’s isn’t overwhelming – but it’s a very nice edge and will tilt a fight very nicely. Similarly, changing a few street signs during a car chase isn’t very dramatic – but it can easily lead a fleeing target into a dead end. Even better, asking for that kind of assistance is generally only one service for an entire fight.

Val Char Cost
5 STR -5
14 DEX 12
8 CON -4
5 BODY -10
8 INT -2
8 EGO -4
8 PRE -2
0 COM -5
2 PD 1
2 ED 0
3 SPD 6
3 REC 0
8 END -4
12 STUN 0

Characteristic Rolls: STR: 10-, DEX: 12-, CON: 11-, INT: 11-, EGO: 11-, PER: 11-
Run: 6/0″, Swim: 2″, Jump: 1″, Lift: 50kg

5 Elemental Control: Nature Spirit Powers (23-pt reserve); Generic Limitation (Only functions in the spirits domain): -½; Generic Limitation (Only effects appropriate to the domain): -½; Side Effects (Cannot Leave Domain, Cannot Remain In Physical Plane Past Dawn Or Sunset, powers only function in its domain.): 60/All, -1; Generic Limitation (Side Effects Cannot Be Avoided): -½; Visible (Blatantly obvious to any mage): -¼; Always On: -½

  • a-5 Change Domain Environment; Effect: Fixed, +0; Reduced END: Zero & Persistent, +1; Personal Immunity: +¼; Notable Effects (Cause Minor Modifiers up to +/-2): +¼; Variable Special Effects: Certain Group (Domain-Related Effects), +¼; Area Effect (Radius): 24″ radius, +1; Increased Area: ×8, +¾; Selective Target: +¼; No Range: -½. For example, a Sky Spirit might hinder enemies by blowing dust and minor debris around them (-2 to their OCV), or help someone hide by creating distractions, or make clouds to hinder vision, or use light rain to help fight a fire, A City Spirit might control traffic lights and street lights instead, drop pots on people, and so on.
  • b-17 6d6 Mental Illusions; Area Effect (Radius): 24″ radius, +1; Increased Area: ×4, +½; Reduced END: Zero & Persistent, +1; No Range: -½. Everyone within the influence of the spirit is affected by it’s “mental illusions” – generally sufficient to change details – altering signs, twisting paths and directions, and making the position of objects seem a little different. It won’t affect anyone with a strong will though. At the automatic level this tends to show the domain as the spirit thinks it OUGHT to be, but it can be consciously changed.
  • c-13 Shrinking-4 (DCV +8, Height 10 cm/4″); Mass: 0.012207 kg/0.03 lbs; Knockback Increase: 12; PER Bonus: -8; Reduced END: Zero & Persistent, +1. Spirits are tiny floaty things.
  • d-6 Force Field (11 PD/11 ED); Reduced END: Zero & Persistent, +1; Hardened: ×1, ¼. Being mostly immaterial, spirits are difficult to damage – but are fairly easily disrupted if you manage to get past that.
  • e-8 7″ Flight (NC: 112″); Non-Combat Multiplier: ×16, +15; Non-Combat (MPH): 125; Reduced END: Zero & Persistent, +1.

    11 Domain Control Multipower (46-pt reserve); Only functions in the spirits domain: -½; Only effects appropriate to the domain: -½; Extra Time: full phase, -½; Side Effects (Cannot Leave Domain, Cannot Remain In Physical Plane Past Dawn Or Sunset): 60/All, -1; Generic Limitation (Side Effects Cannot Be Avoided): -½

  • u-1 Telekinesis (STR 15); Range: 240; Manipulation: Fine, +10; Reduced END: Zero, +½; Only domain-relevant targets: -½.
  • u-1 6d6 Energy Blast; Range: 225; Versus: ED; Reduced END: Zero, +½; Generic Limitation (Only functions in the spirits domain): -½. The form is appropriate to the spirit. A storm spirit might use lightning, a water spirit great waves, a city spirit might drop bricks on your head.
  • u-1 3d6 Entangle (DEF 3); Range: 225; Reduced END: Zero, +½; Only using available domain appropriate materials: -½.
  • u-1 6d6 Mind Control (Cause Fear or Confusion); Communication: Verbal, +0; Reduced END: Zero, +½; Generic Limitation (Only to cause fear or confusion.): -½.
  • u-1 4d6 Aid (Movement Powers) (Fade/5 min., Max. 24); Range: 0; Affects: Single Power of Special Effect, +¼; Reduced END: Zero, +½. A city spirit can accelerate ground vehicles, a land spirit running, a sky spirit air vehicles, and so on.
  • u-1 2d6 Drain (Movement Powers) (Return/5 min.); Range: 0; Affects: Single Power of Special Effect, +¼; Reduced END: Zero, +½. A city spirit can slow ground vehicles, a land spirit running, a sky spirit air vehicles, and so on.
  • u-1 Clairsentience (Answer questions about domain) (Normal Sight); See: Present, +0; Dimensions: Current, +0; Range: 400″; Reduced END: Zero, +½.
  • u-1 3d6 Aid (Knowledge/The Domain) (Fade/day, Max. 18); Range: 0; Reduced END: Zero, +½; Trigger (When summoned): Set, +¼; Affects: Single Power, +0. This is a bit of an oddity – but a city spirit can tell you all about it’s cities history, where to find the best pizza, who the important people are, what gangs are around, and so on. A water spirit might tell you about sources of pollution, where sunken ships are, where the fishing is best, about naval battles that took place nearby, and where the smugglers hang out.

    6 Regeneration (1 BODY/Turn); Extra Time: 1 week, -4; Regenerate: From Death, +20 Basically, even if “killed” a nature spirit comes back in a week.
    -12 Running (-6″, 0″, NC: 0″); Non-Combat Multiplier: ×2= 0. Spirits don’t run. They’re tiny.

OCV: 5; DCV: 5 / 13; ECV: 3; Mental Def.: 0; Phases: 4, 8, 12, PD/rPD: 13/11; ED/rED: 13/11

Costs: Char.: -17 + Powers 67 = 50.

Usskuu, the Winter Moon  (50 Points)

Usskuu, the aspect of the New Moon holds the aspect of Winter, of the cold radiance of starlight over snow. Her pale skin and long pallid hair are the white of frostbite, her lips are blue, and her hair and white fur coat flow gently in the perpetual winters wind which chills the area about her. When her armor of ice is active, she appears frozen and crystalline, with a chill – and somehow rather offputting and severe – elfin beauty. The radiance of the moon shines upon her and her mere presence is a bane to creatures susceptible to holy areas.

Usskuu is, of course another specialist – in this case in ice powers. Against vulnerable targets she can be something of a terror, leaving large groups almost instantly hypothermic and unconscious. Against opponents who are not so vulnerable, or if conditions are not conducive to the use of ice powers, she is moderately effective at best and entirely worthless at worst.

Val Char Cost
8 STR -2
11 DEX 3
10 CON 0
10 BODY 0
10 INT 0
10 EGO 0
10 PRE 0
10 COM 0
2 PD 0
2 ED 0
3 SPD 9
4 REC 0
20 END 0
18 STUN -1

Characteristic Rolls: STR: 11-, DEX: 11-, CON: 11-, INT: 11-, EGO: 11-, PER: 11-
Run: 6/16″, Swim: 2″, Jump: 2″, Lift: 76kg

Cost Powers END/Roll

22 Winter Multipower (50-pt reserve); Gestures: Instant Power, -¼; Incantation: Instant Power, -¼; Not in extremely hot conditions: -¼; Not in extremely dry conditions: -¼; Variable Limitations (Usually an OIF (Crystal Necklace)): -½, -¼

  • u-2 8d6 Energy Blast (Frost Bolt); Range: 250; Versus: ED; Reduced END: Half, +¼; 2 End.
  • u-2 2d6 NND Energy Blast (Winter’s Breath); Range: 0; Versus: ED; Reduced END: Zero, +1; Area Effect (Cone): 28″ long, +1; Increased Area: ×4, +½; Autofire: 5 shots, ½; No Normal Defense (Force Field, Life Support (Vrs Cold), Need Not Breathe): +1; No Range: -½; 0 End. This is an exploit: having no range area effect eliminates the “hard to hit with” part of Autofire and making in NND eliminates the “weak attack” aspect – making this a powerful 10d6 all-or-nothing attack against many targets.
  • u-1 2d6 Transform (Air to Ice) (Minor, Limited Class); Range: 150; Active Points: 30; Reduced END: Half, +¼; 1 End. This, of course, allows her to make 2d6 Body worth of Ice Constructs at range – creating minor barriers, blocking line of sight, holding up collapsing roofs, tripping people up, making areas slippery, and so on. Not a lot of power, but decent utility.
  • u-1 Running (Ice Slide) (+10″, 16″, NC: 32″); Non-Combat Multiplier: ×2, +0; Non-Combat (MPH): 22; Reduced END: Zero, +½; Visible (Leaves a very obvious trail): -¼; 0 End. The classic ice-powers movement trick.
  • u-2 Force Field (Ice Armor) (10 PD/10 ED); Reduced END: Zero & Persistent, +1; Uncontrolled: +½; Active Points: 50; 0 End. She’ll normally activate this as soon as she takes this form, although flame attacks will bring it down.
  • u-1 Telekinesis (STR 20); Range: 185; Manipulation: Coarse, +0; Reduced END: Half, +¼; Only works on water and ice): -1; 1 End.
  • u-2 Change Environment: Cold, Holy Moonlight (16″ rad.); Reduced END: Zero, +½; Uncontrolled: +½; Effect: Fixed, +0; No Range: -½; Always activates in this form: -¼; 0 End. Basically, the area around her is always cold and holy.

3 Life Support: Intense Heat/Cold

Cost Skills, Talents, Perks Roll
5 +1 level w/Multipower

OCV: 4; DCV: 4; ECV: 3; Mental Def.: 0; Phases: 4, 8, 12, PD/rPD: 12/10; ED/rED: 12/10

Costs: Char: 9 + Powers 41 = 50 Points.

Kasvael and Usskuu are definitely in the “needs a team” category. They both have some quite effective powers – but will need support to make them at all effective. Without support, going up against similar characters is likely to come down to “who gets in a hit first” and going up against full-powered super-types is probably going to wind up with them unconscious before they get to do anything at all.

The Phases Of The Moon; Hero System Competent Normal Heroes (Part I)

Isilmë – and several other characters – are the result of a challenge-question; “what kind of hero system superheroes can you build on 50 CP and up to 25 CP worth of disadvantages?”

That’s the allowance for “competent normals” – and if you go light on attributes (a HUGE point sucker) and skills (a much smaller one) while going heavy on the power limitations… you can build some fairly impressive powers. They will, however, be being wielded by fairly ordinary, and often fairly vulnerable, people. Do you have the power to generate light? You are likely to have dazzling radiance, simple illusions, and an energy-blasting attack. If it fits into your idea you might have a low-powered uncontrolled zero endurance force field crammed into your multipower, but it’s not going to provide a lot of protection. If you don’t… well, if someone is likely to be shooting at you you’ll want a kevlar costume. Even if the protection is fairly minimal, it’s priceless when you don’t have any other defenses.

Well, I haven’t done any hero system characters for some time, and there’s been some interest in such a game – so here we go:

Maa’ringid – the circles of the world – had fallen, the pillars of heaven broken. Already the final void gnawed upon the edges of the world and the seas and atmosphere streamed into nothingness. It’s surviving folk had fled into distant realms, and closed the gates behind them. The last life of the world would soon pass. The Council Of Jade met a final time, while a little magic remained. The Sunlord, the Lady Of The Moon, the Twilight Maiden, the Queen Of Life and the Iron Hag of Death. The five Elemental Dragons. the Lord Of Beasts and the Lady Of The Lands.

They gathered the last threads of Maa’ringid’s magic about them. Much of theit power had been spent wearing away the strength of the Enemy, and more would be lost between the worlds – but power could be gained anew, their strength would return to them long before the Enemy struck at the gates of the next realm in the Chain Of Creation – and it was the nature of the destroyer that it could only weaken, never grow. Still, the ritual would make some slight effort to fit them into their new world; they would not be completely adrift. With them would come magic, either to enrich a world already magical or to plant it’s seed in a world that did not yet know it.

And in a realm which had dreamed of a new light… a name awaited. Isilmë Ilmarinen, a simple mage-smith – but other aspects of the moon would stir. Isilmë is of indeterminate ethnicity (perhaps closest to Indian or Mexican) – dark haired, olive complexion, green eyes, a slender build, demure features… showing little sign of the power that flows into the world through her. While Isilmë has few “direct” powers, hers is the ability to bind magic to the mundane, allowing her to cast her influence upon her environment – turning a simple apartment into a gateway to a pocket world, boost a junker into a high-performance vehicle, or allow her to carry a certain amount of equipment. Still, when trouble stirs… one of the more specific aspects of the moon must be called upon, for going out to deal with problems in her base form would be quite foolish.

Isilmë’s greatest weakness is simple – she is indeed being built as a Competent “Normal”, on a mere 50 base CP and twenty points worth of disadvantages. Even using a high-efficiency build with many limitations… she and her aspects have few secondary abilities, their primary abilities are highly restricted, and their attributes are barely above average. They have a reasonable amount of raw power, but little to back it up with.

Täiskuu, the aspect of the Full Moon, is the most purely divine – and in some ways the most potent – of the four aspects. She can only manifest while the moon is in the sky, usually riding high in her Lunar Chariot. Hers are the powers of sleep and dreams, either visiting that realm or bringing those qualities into the waking world. Unfortunately, her powers will – if fairly rarely – fail to remain stable, as is the way of dreams, releasing small aspects of dream into reality – perhaps bringing forth an entity, perhaps causing dreamlike events, perhaps causing strange dreams, and perhaps twisting the reality of the city towards dream. Who can say? Chaos is the nature of dream. While Täiskuu can usually banish such things quickly enough, that may sometimes call for time she does not have. Täiskuu is a dark-skinned figure with black hair and cat-slit green eyes, crowned with stars and -when her defenses are up – wearing shining silver armor moonlight transmuted into metal.

Kahanev, the Waning Aspect, internalizes the fading lunar magic, mastering the martial arts of the Withered Moon Heart and Lunar Orbit Kung Fu. In him is the strength of the moon holding back the night. He is old and weathered, dressed in orange and yellow robes over black pants, his beard is long and white – a Chinese elder martial arts master straight out of any number of bad martial arts movies. He has a somewhat silly tendency towards exaggerated sound effects and announcing the names of his attacks. Kahanev can be called forth at any time, regardless of the state of the moon. Kahanev wields no weapons and needs none, his power is sufficient to combine any two of his martial disciplines at a time – allowing him to move with speed, evade all but the most skillful attacks, launch and withstand mighty blows, and to accomplish any of a wide variety of other feats.

Kasvael. the Waxing Aspect channels the growing magics of the moon, he is a magician or shaman of the west, a master of runes, rituals, and the spirits of the land. His magic is relatively slow and can be applies in only one way at a time, but is potent and versatile if mostly utilitarian. Secondarily, he calls upon the lesser spirits of the land, sea, air, and man, to manipulate the forces of nature in small ways (similar to the Nature Spirits of Shadowrun). With him is the whisper of drums and flutes, the chanting of voices. His wiry aspect has the aquiline features of the Amerindian bloodlines, the browned skin of a tribesman long exposed to the sun, black hair, and the unchanged green eyes of Isilmë. Sadly, his wisdom does not yet match his power; his rituals can have great effects upon the world, but he does not yet have the wisdom or lore to foresee what secondary effects they may have. Still, like the other secondary aspects, he can be called forth at any time.

Usskuu, the New Moon holds the aspect of Winter, of the cold radiance of the moon over snow. Her pale skin and long pallid hair are the white of frostbite, her lips are blue, and her hair and white fur coat flow gently in the perpetual winters wind which chills the area about her. When her armor of ice is active, she appears frozen and crystaline, with a chill – and somehow rather offputting – elfin beauty. The radiance of the moon shines upon her and her mere presence is a bane to creatures susceptible to holy areas. Usskuu can project that cold, create and manipulate ice, move about on ice, and – perhaps most potently – drain the heat from considerable areas, extinguishing ordinary flames and plunging many unprotected folk into hypothermic unconsciousness. She is severe and sometimes carries a blade of ice, although – at the moment – it is purely decorative.

Isilmë’s power is not yet complete. While it will grow with time… at the moment her powers are specific, limited, and difficult to call upon, she is short of secondary powers – such as Kasvael’s spirit-sight and -speech, and his contacts with various spirits, Khaanev’s skills, c’hi projections, and dragon-steed, Usskuu’s wider range of winter powers, and Täiskuu’s body of dreams – and her personal attributes are at fairly ordinary mortal levels. Still, if she survives, she will slowly regain her full power, and perhaps more – until she is ready to do battle with the great enemy once more, perhaps this time to reduce it to insignificance.

Or, if she and her allies cannot defeat their foe this time… to fall back to the next world in the chain of creation and stand ready to defend it. Against a foe that cannot heal it’s wounds or regain it’s strength, if they can but endure long enough, they will eventually prevail.

As noted, Isilmë is an atrocity of power for a competent normal; building her around a cheap, fairly limited, multiform lets her have access to several different power sets in forms that need nothing in the way of social skills. But even so… a standard full-powered superhero build could probably resist almost all of her abilities (if she could hit them at all) and take her down with one shot. Standard Hero System heroes will have much higher speed and dexterity, better defenses, and will be able to take multiple hits. They will go first, hit harder, and be far, FAR, more accurate.

Name: Isilmë Ilmarinen (Runesmith)

Val Char Cost
10 STR 0
11 DEX 3
10 CON 0
10 BODY 0
13 INT 3
13 EGO 6
13 PRE 3
17 COM 3
2 PD 0
2 ED 0
2 SPD 0
4 REC 0
20 END 0
20 STUN 0

Characteristic Rolls: STR: 11-, DEX: 11-, CON: 11-, INT: 12-, EGO: 12-, PER: 12-
Run: 6″, Swim: 2″, Jump: 2″, Lift: 100kg

Cost Powers END/Roll

  • 6 Multiform (50 Point Forms); Form: Second, ×2; Extra Time: full phase, -½; Extra Time Required: Only At Startup, ½; Concentrate: 0 DCV, -½
  • 6 Four Additional Forms; Extra Time: full phase, -½; Extra Time Required: Only At Startup, ½; Concentrate: 0 DCV, -½
  • 5 Doesn’t Eat, Excrete or Sleep
  • 3 Immune to Disease
  • 3 Immune to Aging

    6 Mystic Artificer Multipower (30-pt reserve); Extra Time: 5 min., -2; Focus (Magical Supplies): Obvious Accessible, -1; Focus Type: Base, -1

  • u-1 2d6 Aid (Base) (Fade/season, Max. 12); Range: 0; Affects: Single Power, +0. 3 End.
  • u-1 2d6 Aid (Vehicles) (Fade/season, Max. 12); Range: 0; Affects: Single Power, +0. 3 End
  • u-1 2d6 Aid (Equipment Allowance) (Fade/season, Max. 12); Range: 0; Affects: Single Power, +0. 3 End.
  • u-1 2d6 Aid (Repair Things) (Fade/season, Max. 12); Range: 0; Affects: Single Power (Object Body), +0. 3 End
  • u-1 Detect (Artifacts and Devices) (+7 to PER); Costs END: -½; Time Required (To use after activating): Half Phase, +0; Range: Touch, +0; Addition (Discriminatory): +5; Addition (Analytic): +5 (3 End)
  • u-1 6d6 Standard Healing (Potions). (3 End).

    12 Equipment Allowance (From Aid, no actual cost):

    • (7) Armor (Discreet Kevlar Armor) (4 PD/2 ED); Focus: Inobvious Inaccessible, -¼

    • (1) High End SmartPhone (Computer)

    • (1) High-Power Flashlight

    • (1) Quality Pocket Multitool

    • (1) Commercial Pepper Spray

    • (1) Credit Cards (Wealth 1)

      0 Smartphone

  • (-32) Computer: Int 8, Dex 0, Spd 1 (-32 Points)

  • (2) Elemental Control: Electronics (3-pt reserve); Usable By Others: Power Lost, +¼, All abilities Conventional Technology (-1)

    • a-2 Radio Listen and Transmit; Champions Advantage (Datalink): +½; Generic Limitation (Cellular/WiFi/Bluetooth Service Only): -1.
    • b-2 Eidetic Memory; Always On (Memory is either perfect or utterly gone): -½; Extra Time: full phase, -½; Generic Limitation (Limited Storage Space): -½.
    • c-2 Images (Normal Sight, 1″ radius); Range: 0; Reduced END: Zero, +½; No Range: -½; Generic Limitation (Screen Only): -4; Observer PER Penalty: 0, +0.
    • d-6 Pocket Secretary and Remote Control / Telekinesis (STR 10); Range: 220; Manipulation: Fine, +10; Reduced END: Zero, +½; Generic Limitation (Strength 0 Only): -2; Generic Limitation (Maximum range of 6 Hexes. ): -¼; Generic Limitation (Only functions as a remote control): -3.
    • 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), mission information, 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.

  • f-7 Basic Computer Functions. All Usable By Others: Power Lost, +¼.

    • (2) Absolute Time Sense.
    • (2) GPS/Bump of Direction.
    • (2) Lightning Calculator.
    • (1) File Loading / Speed Reading; Generic Limitation (Computer Files Only): -1.
    • (0) Camera (Eyes).
    • (0) Microphone (Ears).
    • (0) Voice (Speakers).
    • (2) High Fidelity Playback / Mimicry (11-)
    • (0) Touchscreen (Touch).
  • g-6 Standard Software.

    • (2) Security Features / Immunity To Unauthorized Use; Frequency: Common.
    • (1) Voice Mode: English (Or language of choice) (Fluent Conv.); 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, use “Aid” to load a Language.

OK, there really is no point to working out the cost of a Smartphone, but it did amuse me for a few minutes.

Isilme’s base form isn’t much of a superhero. She’s an artificer who supports other heroes – even if they happen to be her alternate forms.

Cost Skills, Talents, Perks Roll
3 Linguist
3 Jack of All Trades
3 Immunity (Out Of Context Problem, Unpredictable and Alien Power Source, difficult or impossibe to use precognition or power analysis on); Frequency: Common
2 Convincing Identity
2 Professional Skill: Mystic Artificier (12-)
1 Contact (Cover Employer); Usefulness: Normal, +0 (8-)
1 Base (Apartment): 7 Point Base
1 Follower (PC with Internet) (1, 7 pts, 0 Disad.); Number: 1, +0
1 Vehicle (Minivan): 7 Point Base
0 Money (Middle-Class)
0 Knowledge (Campaign Setting) (8-)
0 English (Imitate Dialects); Literacy: Standard, 0
0 Climbing (8-)
0 Concealment (8-)
0 Conversation (8-)
0 Deduction (8-)
0 Paramedic (8-)
0 Shadowing (8-)
0 Stealth (8-)
0 Small Ground Vehicles Familiarity (8-)

50+ Disadvantages
10 Extradimensional, No Records Or Real ID (Infrequently, Greatly)
10 Vulnerability (Dimensional Attacks( (2× STUN); Attack: Uncommon, +5

OCV: 4; DCV: 4; ECV: 4; Mental Def.: 0; Phases: 6, 12
PD/rPD: 6/4; ED/rED: 4/2

Costs: Char: 18, Disad: 20, Powers: + 52, Base: + 50, Total: = 70.

Runesmith can turn a small apartment into a reasonable base for a hero – even if it is more “a few hidden rooms and some facilities” rather than the Batcave or the Avengers Mansion. Similarly, she can turn a basic car into a good one with a few special perks, but it isn’t going to be the Batmobile or a Quinjet either. Finally, she can equip herself with a little equipment – but her allowance for that sort of thing is small enough that it’s going to be the kind of stuff that most game masters just assume. None of that is BAD – in fact, any number of groups would find it INCREDIBLY useful – but it certainly doesn’t qualify her base form for superheroic activities. It’s her other forms that are going to be doing the heavy lifting. 

Visitors Beaming In; Star Trek Is Invading!

Over the years, quite a few Star Trek characters have come wandering through various games. Not so long ago one of our Hero System / Champions games had Scotty, a Star Trek Spirit of Technobabble, the Anomaly d20 game currently has Jacob, a wandering Star Trek engineer, and there have been plenty of others. The usual pattern is that they are original PC’s (albeit often loosely modeled on characters from the original series and it’s animated continuation, which seems to be the most popular source material) and are most often dropped into the campaign due to dimensional shenanigans.

I think that that works just fine. After all, when you’re putting together a party of heroic adventurers, the Star Trek credo…

To explore strange new worlds. To seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where no man has gone before!

As in…

To go out and seek out exotic places, cultures, and histories. To find strange new life forms and rare knowledge. To discover unexpected effects and approaches to things. To venture into the unknown in hopes of bringing back wonders – and to hopefully help out and be the good guys along the way.

That’s pretty much the adventuring party credo. Sure, there are occasional “evil” games out there – but they are much rarer and almost always much shorter. After all… if you have no scruples, all of the reasonable selfish goals are fairly easy. Wealth? Mates? Fame? Any reasonably competent supervillain should be able to get THOSE in short order. That’s why it’s always near-impossible and invariably impractical goals like “take over the world” instead.

It came up less often – but Star Trek had a secondary credo. “Infinite Diversity In Infinite Combinations

The notion that there was an inherent value in gathering in oddities. In having a wide variety of species, skills, and approaches to solving problems available – and the notion that everyone could both get along and contribute something meaningful.

Now what there WASN’T was consistency outside of the ship. After all, while Roddenberry had written a briefing on how the ship worked, and given some information about the setting… there were a lot of different writers, working independently, and producing scripts that would be accepted – and might even begin filming – well before the episodes proceeding them were filmed, edited, and broadcast.

What episode-to-episode continuity there was was the product of editors, actors trying to develop consistent personas for their characters, and actors occasionally doing things their own way, such as when Leonard Nimoy created the “vulcan neck pinch” because he felt that what the script called for – hitting Kirk over the head with the butt of a phaser – just wasn’t right. So a lot of stuff appeared in one episode, and wasn’t ever mentioned again – or at least not until much later.

But that has fairly often brought up the question… how far does the Star Trek Canon stretch? When does a character from the Star Trek setting become implausible?

And even just going by the original series… the answer is “pretty far”. To look over that I’m going to revisit some fond childhood memories by taking a look at some of the things brought up in various episodes.

  • (Charlie X) Human children can be granted psionic abilities great enough to destroy starships at long range, selectively destroy weapons throughout a starship, to make people appear, disappear, or change, to pass through force fields, and many other things. Once a child learns to do such things, the ability cannot be taken away. This… is actually entirely in theme. Future Humans (and likely humans today) apparently have nigh-unlimited potential.
  • (Where No Man Has Gone Before) Similar, godlike, psionic abilities can be obtained by simply passing through the edge of the galaxy, although this risks death and requires some pre-existing talent. Also, this establishes that perfectly normal humans may have psychic/psionic powers, although they’re usually not too impressive. Having several aboard one ship would suggest that such things are not uncommon.
  • (The Enemy Within) Transporters can ignore conservation of energy and have metaphysical effects, since they are capable of creating good and evil copies of someone – although both will soon die if they are not recombined. Presumably lots of other personality traits could show up – arrogant and humble, enlightened and barbaric, etc, etc, etc.
  • (Mudds Women) The “Venus Drug” can make people incredibly beautiful, with no apparent side effects. It is hinted that one can, with confidence, learn to produce this effect on your own. Likely another case of “unlimited potential” since it seems a bit much for a placebo to manage.
  • (What Are Little Girls Made Of) The technology for mechanical mind transfers and android bodies so realistic that the are hard to tell from natural ones is discovered. Also, one of the first major points where amazing things are discovered and then are never mentioned again. Well, even if it was practical to tell all the writers what the show was going to establish in advance, it would make it much harder to write future episodes.
  • (Balance Of Terror) This, notably, establishes that basic nuclear weapons are a considerable danger to Starships – but there’s apparently no fast delivery system for them and so they aren’t a normal weapon. Perhaps it is difficult to make solid objects enough faster than starships to make them effective weapons during a warp-speed battle?
  • (Shore Leave) It is possible for computers to read minds, analyze their fantasies, and provide them near-instantly – possibly indicating holodeck like effects on a planetary scale. Apparently, however, no one ever thought to put in any safety systems to prevent injuries, although there are systems for dealing with them after the fact. This establishes a common Star Trek flaw. For example, people keep being thrown from chairs on the bridge; evidently the concept of “Seat Belts” has been forgotten, just like all those exploding control panels could do with some circuit breakers. Why is a CONTROL SYSTEM channeling enough energy to explode anyway? I’ve never heard of a computer keyboard or mouse exploding – and if one did, I would suspect that it had been booby trapped or something very odd was going on.
  • (The Squire Of Gothos) The galaxy apparently has superpowered energy being children running about and treating the material races as toys until their parents intervene. At least this establishes why so many things make no sense. The Original Series was VERY heavy on aliens with rather dubious motives and reality-twisting powers setting up weird scenarios as “tests”. Honestly I quite prefer that to the later series preference for technobabble. Weird alien powers just say that you don’t know ENOUGH. That’s a lot better than technobabble that is blatantly stupid if the audience took physics in high school.
  • (Arena) The galaxy has lots of races with arbitrary powers, who use them in capricious ways. In this case trying to settle an argument between interstellar civilizations with a personal duel of captains. This also establishes that Star Trek races can be very different – Gorns, for example, possessing enormous strength and resistance to injury. It also introduces a common theme – super advanced races feel that humans may become their equals in a few thousand years. That’s not enough time for serious evolution and they don’t seem to expect genetic engineering – not that that would help anyone surpass biology since biology is all it changes – so presumably humans already have the potential, they just haven’t developed it.
  • (Tomorrow Is Yesterday) This episode establishes fairly simple procedures for time travel, and that one can backtrack on ones own timeline, effectively erasing consequences for your actions while the time travelers remember the erased actions. Naturally, this version of altering the past does not agree with later versions.
  • (The Return Of The Archons) What prime directive? Also, telepathic computers again.
  • (Space Seed) Eugenics and genetic engineering works wonders! But Earth did it badly and created super psychopaths. Since Earth did their gene-tinkering badly everyone else in the universe must be doing it badly and the science is banned. Evidently every other culture that joins the Federation made exactly the same mistakes, since none of them allow such enhancements. This, no matter how implausible, lets the writers out of trying to portray enhanced people so that they can continue with audience-identification.
  • (A Taste Of Armageddon) Vulcans can implant telepathic suggestions in people as well as do mind-melds. Vulcan telepathic abilities will continue to expand in later episodes. This is, of course, only to be expected; when you have less than an hour to tell your story you really need to take a shortcut on a lot of backstory with a few plot coupons. Who do you give them to? To the alien! After all, any kind of alien ability is plausible right? It’s nothing in comparison to all those super-aliens!
  • (This Side Of Paradise) Magic flower spores can cure all diseases, regenerate lost organs, prevent aging, and protect you against high radiation while making you mellow and content. However, the spores are destroyed (but all benefits remain) if you experience violent emotions. This miraculous medical discovery is never referenced again and no research is done.
  • (The Devil In The Dark) Silicon creatures are incredibly resistant to phaser fire. Oddly, phasers work perfectly well on rocks in other episodes. Aliens! Can do whatever is handy for the plot!
  • (Errand Of Mercy) The Organians – another population of incredibly powerful energy beings – are discovered. It becomes obvious that energy beings dominate the galaxy and do what they please, which material beings just have to put up with. Apparently it is entirely natural for material species to “evolve” (grow?) into immortal energy beings.
  • (The Alternative Factor) Individual lunatics with advanced technology – a ship about the size of a car – can destroy the entire universe if they get lucky. Given the scale of the universe, this must have happened many times. I guess that the energy beings put it back. Still, maybe this is where all the antimatter comes from? If there was any natural source in the galaxy for it, the place would be flooded with gamma radiation – and if you make it antimatter normally it will cost at least as much energy as you can get back out of it.
  • (The City On The Edge Of Forever) More ways to time travel. Also demonstrates that altering the past is indeed possible – and that restoring even a rough approximation of the “correct” course of events will fix that problem. Something in the universe – perhaps the energy beings? – cancels out the butterfly effect.
  • (Amok Time) Vulcans have a mating season, and periodically go crazy during it. This isn’t really important except to show that alien advantages often come with alien disadvantages – Spock can be the cause of problems as well as the solution! It also establishes that Star Trek medicine can make someone temporarily dead, fooling even a race of telepaths.
  • (Who Mourns For Adonis) The Ancient Greek Gods existed, but were really just aliens with vast energy-manipulating powers. One of the crew winds up pregnant with Apollo’s demigod child. Presumably the kid is born a federation citizen. So yeah; demigods with various powers are a thing, at least according to Dr McCoy.
  • (The Changeling) Two interstellar probes can fuse into a unit that is massively more powerful than a full-scale starship. It can also raise the dead. This… would be incredibly unlikely. The sequence of events required is completely absurd. Still, energy being kids at play will cover it.
  • (Mirror Mirror) Transporters can move people between universes. Evidently their operation does not really on physical processes. Also, despite wildly different histories… most of the crew is the same in both universes. At least this mostly explains why changes to the past can be “fixed”. A lot of stuff is just destined, however history twists and turns to get there.
  • (The Apple) The prime directive is introduced! Too bad that it’s already been broken without comment several times. Honestly, the editor should have rejected that bit. So many later stories then required wasting time on coming up with an excuse for violating it – and it was later established that humanity had had many alien interventions throughout it’s history, and it was doing just fine. Most importantly… it was really against theme. How could Starfleet by a bunch of do-gooders if they weren’t really supposed to do anything except watch?
  • (The Doomsday Machine) Starships can blow up! Evidently (as confirmed later on, such as in the movies) you can be close enough to see the ship clearly and there isn’t enough antimatter aboard to even reach nuclear levels. Do they just produce the stuff aboard ship as needed? That would explain a lot of things, but wouldn’t explain why the occasionally run short of antimatter.
  • (Catspaw) Our first visit from apparently magical aliens from another galaxy or from outside this dimension. Being from beyond the galaxy could mean either. After all, being so alien that you cannot survive in the Star Trek galaxy without help (if it was only the planet, why didn’t they pick one where they were comfortable to set up on?) is kind of a stretch considering some of the races in the galaxy.
  • (The Deadly Years) Radiation causes aging. Adrenalin cures it. So movies with jump-scares can apparently keep you young? To be fair, there isn’t time to explain what radiation poisoning does in less than an hour.
  • (The Gamesters Of Triskelion) Naked super-brains with vast powers can be tricked by rather simple ploys. Once again… power does not imply competence. That’s really fair enough, but leads back towards the “vastly powerful alien children” line of thought.
  • (The Immunity Syndrome) Vulcans can pick up a few hundred other vulcans dying at interstellar ranges! Why doesn’t this drive them mad when they’re on an inhabited planet? In 2020 some 56,000,000 people died on earth. The rate on Vulcan might be lower, but it’s still going to be pretty substantial. Also, there are diseases for galaxies that the inhabitants have to stop and some sort of antilife radiation becomes another thing that just goes right through starship defenses.
  • (Multiple Episodes) Planets inhabited by humans that are just like various historical periods of earth! Oddly enough, almost all based on American and European cultures. Given the number of possible social variations… I’d take this as positive proof that energy-being kids are playing games with humans, even if they’ve got something against everywhere but Northern America and Europe. Maybe other starships ran into those cultures and the bias is just coincidence?
  • (By Any Other Name) Extra galactic aliens can dehydrate and then rehydrate people like Megamind! (OK, they were first) Also, they become friends. The civilization of an entire super-advanced galaxy will soon be moving to our galaxy to be welcomed as friends! Evidently they get super-advanced lost along the way, because this intergalactic migration is never heard from again.
  • (The Omega Glory) Star fleet captains are allowed to graduate with no understanding of basic biology (completely unaware that some subspecies live longer than others!), believe that the best way to do research is to eliminate your scientific staff, and are inclined to go crazy (thus letting Kirk be the sane one who solves things). Well we knew that already. Plus, civilizations that developed independently not only all speak contemporary English, but they also wrote apparently identical American constitutions! Of course, we already knew that the Star Trek history made no sense.
  • (The Ultimate Computer) Star Fleet – for a test run of a new ships computer system – thought that it would be good to give it complete control of a starship and it’s weapons, not include a way to disconnect it from onboard systems, and have a wargame with real ships that asked it to defend itself. Which it did, quite lethally. You run tests like this in a VIRTUAL ENVIRONMENT. You include EMERGENCY CUTOFFS. Sadly, it’s hard to get around the idea that star fleet is run by idiots.
  • (Bread And Circuses) It’s roman empire planet! With parallel Christianity! A magic rule of parallel historical development is mentioned, but why are the names in Latin while everyone speaks English? The casual theological implications are kind of staggering too. Does every human world get its own Christ? Is Christianity the one true faith? Do alien races all get their own versions? Why or why not?
  • (Assignment Earth) You can pump up a transporter to beam people across the galaxy and through time! You can also, as previously shown, use it to cross dimensions! Are starships obsolete? Why yes, yes they are! This also means that, since they’ve been shown to beam very deep into planets even without major boosts, and have plentiful antimatter, hostile aliens can blow up planets from across the galaxy with no real way to stop or trace them. Why don’t they? I suppose it is the energy beings again. It’s so nice when the giant plot coupon eliminates all need for coherence in your scripts. Also, highly trained secret agents tend to explain themselves to random people who walk into their apartments. I guess it is nice to know that everyone is incompetent. Also, Gary Seven has a magic wand… no sorry, a sonic screwdriver… no, sorry, a pen. Also, Gary’s cat is a magical alien woman disguising herself as a cat with telepathy or something.
  • (Spocks Brain) I can’t even… watch it yourself. There’s no major revelations here, but the line about gerbils is worth it.
  • (The Enterprise Incident) Scotty can analyze a piece of advanced alien technology, install it, adjust it to work with the Enterprise, and get it powered up inside of fifteen minutes. This isn’t the first piece of magic technobabble, but it’s a good one. Dr McCoy may not be a miracle worker, but evidently Scotty IS.
  • (The Paradise Syndrome) Ancient super-aliens spread Homo Sapiens Sapiens all over the place. Why didn’t they do this for anyone else? Who knows? Also, the Enterprise is defeated by a large rock, which somehow breaks their ship when it is too big to blow up with phasers. Why didn’t they transport some antimatter just under the surface and blow it off course? Who knows?
  • (And The Children Shall Lead) More empowered kids, this time they’re apparently mostly telepathic and can project illusions. Evidently this sort of thing is fairly natural for humans, vulcans, et al, but Star Fleet never started a training or research program (they may soon, there are some indications further down the list). Well, new ensigns with psychic powers would interfere with them being disposable redshirts, and we can’t have that.
  • (Is There in Truth No Beauty) More energy being aliens, this time friendly and helpful with vast sensory powers but so ugly that they drive observers mad (or into just dropping dead) if they see them. So Basilisk Images are a thing, and work on different species the same, but we never hear of this again. That’s too bad; Cognitohazards can be pretty interesting.
  • (Spectre of the Gun) Magic aliens again. Why is the galaxy full of super-races who have never bothered to go colonizing? Humans make colonies, why wasn’t the earth colonized a billion years ago?
  • (Day Of The Dove) An energy-being alien feeds on conflict. It gets it from beings who it provides complete support for. Second law of Thermodynamics? What’s that? I’d say “energy being children” again. Don’t a lot of these sound like kids playing a RPG or board game with the humans as playing pieces? “Set up the board again, I bet I win this time!”.
  • (For the World Is Hollow and I Have Touched The Sky) Intelligent computers can have all kinds of powers and run a society for millennia, but cannot steer well enough to avoid a relatively slow-motion collision with a planet that can be seen coming months or years ahead. One little burst of sideways thrust would FIX this problem you know.
  • (The Tholian Web) You can be caught halfway between dimensions and seem to be a ghost – until your air runs out. This episode shows bulky space-suits which are never seen again and are apparently replaced by life-support force field belts a few months later.
  • (Plato’s Stepchildren) McCoy develops a simple injection which can give ordinary people vast psychic powers, such as the ability to hurl starships days or weeks travel time away with a thought. It works wonderfully well! Kirk notes that these vast powers can be recreated whenever Star Fleet wants them. Of course, this is never mentioned again. (Those powers may also make you ageless too, but I’m not entirely sure. It’s been a long time).
  • (Wink Of An Eye) Scalosian Water is introduced. When you drink it, you are hyper-accelerated in time – to the point where you can easily see and sidestep phaser beams, which (since they are used in starship combat at warp speeds) must be far faster than light. Happily, this does not affect your environment! That still works normally for you (except when you fire phasers?)! It’s dangerous at first – light injuries will cause swift and fatal aging – but Spock produces an antidote so that you can play Flash for a bit and then go back to normal. Spock thus performs massive repairs across the entire ship by himself in seconds. Once again, of course, this incredibly powerful and useful discovery is never used again. It did lead to my personal theory on the Q though. Some slightly-psionic records tech back on Earth looked at the reports from the Enterprise, gave himself vast psionic powers and super-speed, zipped to the edge of the galaxy for another huge upgrade, and them wiped the records to keep everyone else from doing it. Later events spoiled that theory, but it was amusing while it lasted.
  • (Elaan of Troyius) Here we have women who produce a magic love potion in their tears that affects other species, is permanent, somehow identifies who the victim is supposed to fall in love with, and works with a single drop on skin contact. Also another planet where the precious dilithium crystals are quite common. Oh yes. Captain Kirk can overcome this legendary and irresistible love effect because he is so dedicated to the Enterprise and, I suppose, so resistant to the charms of women.
  • (Let That Be Your Last Battlefield) Another set of human variant aliens with vast psychic powers. Why does everyone have these except the primary races who seem most common? I suppose it’s “power is bad for you”. In this case… it somehow led the two trivial variants on the species to destroy each other utterly. Their world apparently contained no noncombatants, crossbreeds, people who simply hit, or an imbalance in numbers that would lead to one side leaving survivors, whatsoever. Or the energy being children picked up their leftover toys.
  • (The Mark of Gideon) Apparently if you want to die and come from a very long-lived society, you must import an alien disease to do so. Got it. Aliens are stupid too. Why not buy some suicide booths from Futurama? Cultural objections will give way under enough stress.
  • (That Which Survives) The Enterprise hits Warp 14.1 due to engine overload.This is, of course, stated to be impossible elsewhere, but the warp scales are inconsistent anyway.
  • (The Lights of Zetar) Ghosts want to possess people so that they’ll have bodies once more. Add “again”, since this came up before. Oddly, while android bodies are mentioned as an option before, and they ran across good android body technology before, no one ever tries it. I suppose “ghost” is just an intermediate step on the way to becoming an energy being or something since they are very real.
  • (Requiem for Methuselah) Many of the important people in history were all one immortal guy. He has a shrink ray that can trap the Enterprise and put it on a table. Shrink rays (except that they are totally different) will reappear later! Luckily, the guy became not-immortal when he left earth. Also, Kirk can cause robots to fall in love with him, burning out their circuits.
  • (All Our Yesterdays) Yet another time-travel system. This one with a new special requirement of adjusting you to some sort of cosmic condition of being in the past. This also means that – without that treatment – you start reverting to being a primitive for… reasons.
  • (Turnabout Intruder) A device that moves people’s spirits between bodies! Well, we already had multiple episodes involving body-possessing ghosts, so I suppose that it is nice to know that it can be done mechanically. It seems to be only temporary unless you kill off one of the two involved though. Also, Star Fleet is sexist and will not let women command starships! Who knew?

From the animated continuation of the five year mission… (Gene Roddennberry said it is canon. So do the IP owners. Who am I to argue?)

  • (Beyond the Farthest Star) Warp drive is insufficient to escape some orbits near dead stars. I’m not sure how that works, since FTL should escape any actually possible orbit. Still, as weird physics goes in Star Trek this is pretty mild. We also see a very limited energy being that can mostly just possess machinery.
  • (Yesteryear) Spock is revealed to have always existed in a closed time loop, where he must visit himself in the past as an adult to keep himself from dying as a child. What’s more, once this loop is accidentally broken, it is fairly easily restored. Yet another contradictory way to do time travel. Also, Vulcan doesn’t bother with any kind of record-keeping or bureaucracy. Evidently everything there just runs itself.
  • (One of Our Planets Is Missing) The vulcan mind meld can reach out across interplanetary distances and affect gaseous creatures big enough to eat planets! Professor Xavier is getting jealous!
  • (The Lorelei Signal) Immortal vampire women can drain life force to sustain themselves (making the victims old and feeble), but fortunately the Transporter can reverse aging. So… there is a “life force” and the Transporter can manipulate or supply it. Is Dr Frankenstein canon? If machines can supply “life force” that’s suddenly plausible.
  • (More Tribbles, More Troubles) Klingon planets are being destroyed by tribbles. Apparently their only hope for survival is a single bio-engineered tribble predator that (for some reason) cannot be reproduced but copies itself like the tribbles if it eats enough. Sadly, the Klingons wind up stranded and with their engine room full of a multi-ton tribble. I guess a bunch of their planets die? Perhaps fortunately, this is never mentioned again.
  • (The Survivor) Some shapeshifting aliens can turn themselves into complex equipment and channel enough energy through their own bodies to create starship-level shields. Why are humans important to anyone again?
  • (The Infinite Vulcan) Cloning and Mind-Melds can create extra Spocks! How handy! OK, that’s not terribly important really, but copying people does have interesting implications.
  • (The Magicks of Megas-tu) The Enterprise is sucked into a pocket dimension linked to the center of the galaxy where magic works and technology does not. They learn some magic and are helped out by one of the local mages – Lucien. It is revealed that Earth is magically right next door, and has been visited by helpful mages throughout history. Sadly, their power on earth is limited, because they can only pull so much magic from their home dimension while in the Star Trek galaxy. That’s why their last visit to Salem wound up with some of them being burned as witches. Captian Kirk fights a magical duel with Asmodeus in defense of Lucien (Lucifer) which (since Kirk is only a beginner) is pretty hopeless – but his bravery and determination on Lucifer’s behalf despite Lucifer’s bad reputation impresses Asmodeus and gets Lucifer out of being banished to an eternal limbo. The wizards may start visiting earth again, and say that star fleet is welcome to visit them. Wizards, Witches, and drawing on other dimensions for magical power are all canon in Star Trek. Well… that might explain what the engineers can do.
  • (Mudd’s Passion) Magic love potions work similarly on humans, vulcans, and creatures made of rock. Truly, love conquers all!
  • (The Terratin Incident) Shrink rays are back! They only affect organics (and destroy dilithium for handwavy reasons), but go straight through starship shields. The transporter fixes it though! Also, the Federation now has human members who (having been slowly shrinking for generations) are about one-sixteenth inch in height and who’s giant-but-tiny city can simply be beamed aboard to be placed on a more stable world. Oh yes, another planet with vast amounts of dilithium. An upswing in the production of high-precision equipment is predicted.
  • (The Time Trap) The Bermuda (Delta) Triangle is in space! And catches starships! No one has ever escaped until Kirk pulls it off… There is a certain scaling problem here; if the area affected is big enough for starships to pass through it regularly it must be pretty huge.
  • (The Ambergris Element) There are simple injections that transform humans into sea-adapted water breathers. And the process is fairly readily reversed. Another handy medical miracle that will never be heard from again.
  • (The Slaver Weapon) So… Larry Niven’s Kzinti, stasis fields, total conversion beam hand weapons, and the Slavers (who telepathically enslaved – and then wiped out – all the species of the galaxy eons ago) are all canon. None of this makes the slighest bit of sense given the near-omnipotent energy beings who infest the universe, but it was Niven. Of course, none of these elements are ever really heard from again although the Kzinti do get mentioned in Star Trek: Picard and the Caitians are supposed to be related to them.
  • (The Eye of the Beholder) Another alien super-child! Also, starfleet officers are capable of projecting mental barriers to help Kirk endure telepathic probing. I guess that they get at least some defensive mental training after all? It would be pretty reasonable given the number of telepaths that they encounter.
  • (BEM) An immortal energy being ruling over a planet full of physical beings, which she refers to as her “children”. Kid playing with dolls I guess.
  • (The Practical Joker) A magic nebula turns the ships computer into a practical joker. Another pass through the nebula returns it to normal. The nebula has the same effect on romulan ship computers. Evidently bad jokes are a universal force or something, and the “another pass reverses it” makes even less sense. Why? What is it actually doing to the computer?
  • (How Sharper Than a Serpent’s Tooth) Quetzalcoatl was an alien who taught the mesoamerican civilizations stuff. I guess most mythological figures were aliens. My, earth was a busy place for visitors!
  • (The Counter-Clock Incident) The Enterprise gets dragged into a negative universe where time flows backwards – but only for people, not for machines and such, and without any complications such as uneating food, or not allowing forward-in-time conversations and interactions, and everyone except a couple of older people who were along for some reason turns into kids within a relatively short period. Fortunately, the older couple get them home and the transporter once again proves it can fix anything. The older couple doesn’t want to stay young though for some reason. Apparently no one ever does and finding the fountain of youth is a bad thing. Why? Don’t ask ME, I’d be fine with it.

The biggest piece of flexible canon of all is simply that Starfleet has a lot of ships. This list only covers some of the odd stuff that happened to the Enterprise over a five year period. Presumably there are many other ships, over more years than five, to whom weird stuff also happens – even if the Enterprise is on the far end of the distribution curve for it.

Now I’ve only mentioned items that seemed especially problematic to me, but there are plenty of other bits and pieces of problematic or self-contradictory stuff scattered through the episodes.

So yes, “Canon” when it comes to Star Trek is a pipe dream – if only because, given the ease of time travel and of altering the past, civilizations all over the place must be doing it constantly and the galaxy is a playpen for weakly godlike energy being children who treat material beings like toys. That doesn’t mean that it can’t be a lot of fun, or that the show wasn’t worth watching – but even as a kid watching the reruns of the recently-concluded original series… I saw that much of it made no sense. But it was fun, and optimistic about the future, and showed a giant organization full of people who were trying to be idealistic, decent, and as peaceful as they could manage. Sure, the details around the edge were a mess – but that was, and is, a wonderful vision.

And as far as I’m concerned, it was also what made most of the successor series – and prequels – a lot less interesting. The core of Star Trek was that vision of people out there sincerely trying to make things better, being willing to make sacrifices to live up to those ideals, and generally having some level of success. The scriptwriters didn’t always manage to make it exciting or coherent, and once in a while it wasn’t even much fun – but it was never grimdark with people screaming at each other and making “tough choices” that simply showcased their inability to think of something better to do. The original show was almost religious – have faith, never give up your ideals, and things would be BETTER in the future. The world IMPROVED.

If I had to give an example that just about summed it up… I would pick Star Trek IV – the old woman who had been waiting for Dialysis before Dr McCoy came by.

The doctor gave me a pill and I grew a new kidney!

Humanity would solve the problems. Things would be better.

I kind of miss that vision.

Dreambinding And Minions II – The Nitty Gritty

The recent article on acquiring minions through Dreambinding produced some fairly long responses, which called for a fairly long answer – far too long for a comment. So here it is!

I actually had this same thought a while back, and spent way more time on it than I should have. There are some pretty cheap constructs out there, (effigies in particular), although I don’t know whether they’d be allowed under Eclipse rules, but once you start getting reasonably expensive a summoning item becomes much cheaper.

In terms of non-construct creatures, in theory you could summon a creature with Gate and order it to not resist when you cast Mindrape on it, and give a specific description of where it was when you summoned it. Then when the creature returns to its home plane you Plane Shift to that plane, Greater Teleport to the creature, and then Plane Shift back with it. In theory, that would let you price any creature based on its HD (the CL of Gate would need to be at least the creature’s HD in order to control it).

Of course, purchasing a casting of Gate would cost a minimum of 6,530 gp, and that’s above the 3,000 gp threshold for what’s generally available. To get around that you’d need to make do with Planar Binding and just keep on casting Mindrape until the creature fails its save, and it was at this point I decided not to work out the cost based on the creature’s SR and Will save and whatnot, particularly if you factor in spells like Assay Spell Resistance. But in theory that’s how much it would cost to hire someone to enslave any given creature.


If I was in the party with someone who did the gate->mindrape trick and seemingly got it to work, I would be getting the hell out of there. Most anything you can call through a gate is going to be reporting to someone else in the planes that is even more powerful and isn’t likely to take very kindly to this sort of thing happening to one of their subordinates. At a minimum anyone else who gates something in from the same “region” and makes a bargain for a service is going to be tasked with either finding out more about you, be asked to make your life a living hell, or be tasked to bring in something even bigger through to make a point in exchange for a big boon.

This doesn’t even need to be large scale stuff. Think of Needful Things level of interfering with your life where someone is asked to impersonate you while murdering someone in front of the guards, make it seem like other party members are stealing your things, having a shop owner sabotage scrolls and potions sold to you, and a variety of other things that are going to be rather difficult to track back to a single source. And this sort of thing is likely to continue and spread as word spreads amongst the mage community that demons/devils/celestials/elementals are offering substantial boons in exchange for small favors against someone who is clearly asking for it. And it will keep happening until the one who did it was dead or brought to the appropriate plane to be “punished”.

And that isn’t even getting into the mess if you catch the attention of whatever deity happens to be relevant.

Regardless of alignment, I imagine most characters wouldn’t want to be anywhere near someone who was willing to poke that hornets nest.


Slavery is (almost) always a bit of a risky proposition. I certainly wasn’t thinking of this as something a player might want to do. I was just proposing this as a method of determining the market value of any particular slave, or at least the highest possible price such a slave would have.

That being said, there are certainly safer ways to go about it if you did want to do it yourself. Mind Blank does a lot if you’re trying to hide what you’re doing, but you could also get creative with faking the creature’s death (with its help), seeking refuge with the enemies of whatever creatures you’re enslaving, or generally doing anything you would do if you had to kill such a creature for whatever reason.

Alternately, you could just summoning things which won’t be missed. If you’re just focusing on combat, you could summon some extraplanar animals or whatnot. Low-level elementals in particular are usually a pretty safe bet, as the elemental lords don’t care about them.

That being said, there are much easier ways to get loyal minions. You would only need to be Gating things in if you wanted something specific, rather than just anything to perform some task.


Well, there are several topics there!

The basic problem with Effigies is that it is specifically noted to be an Acquired Template. From the SRD…

Acquired Templates:

This kind of template is added to a creature well after its birth or creation.

Some templates, like the lich, are the results of a creature’s choice and desire to transform. Others, like the ghost template, are the result of an external force acting upon a creature (for example, when a tormented person dies and becomes a ghost). Yet in both cases, the template changed a creature well after its birth or creation—these types are called “acquired templates,” and can be added to a creature at any time during its existence.

So you take a living creature – a corporeal aberration, animal, dragon, giant, humanoid, magical beast, monstrous humanoid, or vermin – and rebuild it into a construct, rather than it gaining the Augmented subtype. As written, you have to start with the creature you want to rebuild.

That, of course, is “rules as written”, and might not be as intended – but there was no correction in the errata after publication that I can find (there’s only one page of it) and we’re not likely to get any further answers now. So, having to start with the creature you’re building an effigy of, rebuilding it into an automaton powered by an elemental spirit, and animating it with an elemental spirit, is more than a bit dark. Hopefully the original creature gets to die along the way, since being trapped in a body being run by something else at the command of your killer sounds sort of hellish.

Still, reading it as written WOULD explain why powerful effigies have low construction prices (they really can’t be truly sold, since the creator can always take them over again if he or she comes near them). Sure, building the Dragon Effigy is fairly cheap. The hard part is catching and restraining the dragon you need to start with.

As for the call-and-bind magical route, there are a number of problems.

Planar Binding allows a will save not to come at all and is limited to twelve hit dice. It allows escape via Spell Resistance, by Dimensional Travel, or with a successful Charisma check, each once per day. Dimensional Anchor and a Magic Circle are STRONGLY advised. Even then… the spell only binds a particular individual, if the creature thinks your demands are unreasonable it can bever be forced to agree, and since it breaks free if you roll a “1″ you never know when your chances at obtaining an agreement will run out. The spell doesn’t say what happens if you attack the creature; but I’d say that resorting to violence – such a casting that Mindrape spell on it – counts as rolling a “1″ on your charisma check, allowing it to automatically break free.

  • The Gate spell is, of course, more powerful. Still, it cannot compel any deity or other unique being to answer and it offers no control if they do. You can, however, call and control up to (caster level) hit dice worth of entities or call a single creature with any number of hit dice but have no control if that total is above (Caster Level x 2). In any case, this costs 1000 XP,
  • A controlled being can be commanded to perform an immediate task taking no longer than one round per caster level. You may bargain with the creature for longer services, but this requires a “fair trade” as defined by the GM, which will be enforced by greater powers.

So far, so good – although most beings that grant free Wishes and such note that they cannot be compelled to grant them and/or this may (will) result in them twisting the Wish in various ways. This isn’t a good way around the costs of Wishes.

It’s also worth nothing that both Planar Binding and Gate are calling effects. Per the SRD…


A calling spell transports a creature from another plane to the plane you are on. The spell grants the creature the one-time ability to return to its plane of origin, although the spell may limit the circumstances under which this is possible. Creatures who are called actually die when they are killed; they do not disappear and reform, as do those brought by a summoning spell (see below). The duration of a calling spell is instantaneous, which means that the called creature can’t be dispelled.

Gate says nothing about restraining creatures other than asking for an immediate service. So anything you call in with Gate or Planar Binding has the option to leave at any time unless you ask for an immediate service before it gets to take an action or use Dimensional Anchor.

An inward-facing magic circle is quite helpful – although the creature can immediately test it upon arrival with it’s Spell Resistance (if any) and can throw ranged effects out of it. Note that Assay Spell Resistance will not help here – it must be cast before you cast the spells it applies to, and the targeted opponent must be present when it is case. It won’t work in advance. Still, one can use a Diagram to prevent the use of Spell Resistance and to ensure that none of the creatures abilities or attacks can cross the diagram. Of course, this version only affects a single, specified, creature.

But all this assumes that these ancient and highly experienced creatures, when called in their real bodies and with access to their equipment and (in the case of Gate) with an open gate that any minions of theirs can come through with them, have taken no precautions. Perhaps, the creature brings a big gust of wind with it when it comes through the gate (automatically destroying the circle/trap), or has an item that provides Spell Immunity to relevant Magic Circles, or wears a Ring of Freedom Of Movement (or can cast or otherwise access that spell) since it protects against magic meant to restrain it’s movement, or has a Spellblade weapon (6000 GP for immunity to any one spell), or bought the ability to make saves against effects that normally do not offer one, or has an item that triggers a dispelling, antimagic, or destructive effect when the user is entrapped in such a circle (the creature is not taking the action to disrupt the circle, the item is). or has an Anklet Of Translocation (Magic Item Compendium, 1400 GP and – as with any item – bypasses restrictions on the user’s personal abilities) and so on and so on. The circle blocks the creatures abilities – not those of any items that it may be carrying or of any creatures that IT summons since the circle affects a specific CALLED creature – not summoned ones. The creature cannot order such minions to break the circle, but it can call them and let them do whatever they do or send them to attack the pests who did the summoning. For that matter… an intelligent item. construct, or servant creature will not be trapped, and can take actions to destroy the circle. An item with basic intelligence and the ability to cast Unseen Servant (and perhaps Magic Missle just to be a pest) is pretty cheap (Use a Pearl Of Power or cheap Relic for that handy caster level 19-20!). So are Imps. So you bound that pit fiend. The three Imps it has in it’s pouch are NOT bound, and may act to wreck your diagram.

A preset Dimensional Anchor can be applied to keep creatures capable of things like Plane Shift or Teleport (most of the more useful ones have at least some such ability if only the default one that comes with being Called – and may have a limited use item on them, as noted above). But most of the countermeasures noted above apply here too.

Now Mindrape is only useful if the GM is allowing 3.0 spells from the Book Of Vile Darkness – but unless you’re playing Pathfinder, you can probably get away with it. There’s no need to travel to the plane the creature lives on though since the creature is really present. I’d probably want to be cautious about “learning everything the creature knows” in the case of ancient demons and such – but it is a high level spell, so it probably filters things somehow. It probably also pisses off the creatures divine patron, but that’s a GM’s decision thing.

Of course, in Eclipse… NPC’s and Monsters usually get Quick Conversions, as listed on page 194. That gets them 6 CP per Hit Die to spend. So a Pit Field gets (18 HD x 6 CP) = 108 CP to spend. Being called and ambushed or commanded to do things is a fairly major problem for such creatures – as are save-or-die/suck effects and several other things. So…

  • Luck with +8 (Or, with GM permission, twice an attribute modifier that seems relevant) Bonus Uses, Specialized in Saving Throws (9 CP)
  • Witchcraft II, with The Adamant Will (and a few other powers) (12 CP).
  • Immunity/Mystic Circles or Dimensional Anchor (Uncommon, Major, Major = 3 CP).

Sure, that’s 24 CP – almost a quarter of their supply – but both Luck for Saves and Witchcraft can be consistently useful in an enormous number of situations. The Adamant Will ability will easily block a Mindrape spell or any other form of mind control at a cost of 2 Power. And most creatures will have enough power even if they only have the base that comes with Witchcraft to resist being Mindraped a dozen times in a row. Trading one of your ninth level spell slots, and an action, for 2 power (and no actions) from an enemy is a losing proposition.

Classical demonology that summoned demons into the world focused on 1) researching the demon you wanted to summon, including it’s name, sigil, what it could do, and the bargains it was willing to accept to do those things, 2) preparing your ritual, invoking the authority of God, whom such creatures were already bound to obey by his divine edict, to hold them and make them listen. 3) performing the summoning via God’s authority, 4) making an immediate offering, and 5) offering a contract the demon was known to accept or asking for some simple and immediate service.

Pretty much all demons were willing to consider contracts and minor services, and many could not be otherwise compelled. But that’s why the d20 version of such protective bindings only affects specific creatures.

But why do demons and such answer? They COULD use various ways of getting out of it.

It was because any long term service paid well. Sure, the summoner could want something quick that didn’t really pay – but it was worth putting up with dozens of two-minute jobs – basically advertising your services – to get paid for a single long-term one. In Eclipse, of course, the NPC’s learn, and can buy special powers of their own – so Demonology is mostly classical. You do some research, you pick out a demon that does what you want, you summon it, and you either ask it for a quick service or bargain for a long-term one.

But the demons are going along with it more or less willingly because it PAYS. If you want to Call and attack them, or try to Mindrape them… they are very likely to call in allies, or use some method to escape, or simply rely on their equipment, immunities, the Adamant Will, and luck for saves to tell you to shove it – before either making a good effort to kill you or leaving to tell the rest of their kind to put you and anyone who helped you on the “screw over if at all possible” list.

In Eclipse, intelligent NPC’s and monsters get options of their own and get to plan intelligently. And many of them will be older and more experienced than any given mortal or once-mortal character. Any of them who were easy to take advantage of will long ago HAVE been taken advantage of – and reprogrammed into unique creatures who can no longer be summoned or gated in. Is that fair? Yes, it is entirely fair. It’s simply treating the setting and it’s creatures as if they were real, rather than treating them as pinatas for players to whack until loot falls out.

So yes. There are MUCH easier ways to get loyal minions. Trying to use Magic Circle, Dimensional Anchor, Planar Binding or Gate. and Mindrape calls for enormous amounts of magic and has a fabulous number of ways that it can go wrong as compared to simply taking Leadership, or the Minions skill, or even the Dreambinding Summoning stuff, and doing it the normal way.

Now, for trying to calculate costs for Dreambinding… that’s kind of hard. Sure, you can price the spellcasting, but how much would it cost to pay some poor archmage to put up with all the dangers and side effects of trying such a thing? And to keep trying until it works? I see no way to calculate it.

Finally, as far as Slaves are concerned… I will admit that several of my characters (Most notably “Dark Lord Kevin” who was “very, VERY, evil! Watch me be evil!” – Causing most Archons and such to facepalm as he made evil excuses for being nice) like to try and shock people by keeping “youthful slaves” (indentured servants) who are actually minions acquired by various methods (Leadership, et al) – who are kept safe, prevented from aging or dying, granted various powers, and given training and equipment, all in service of maintaining a decadent lifestyle and having an occasionally useful entourage that really annoys straitlaced and self-righteous people. This also allows them to recruit people for “slavery” and proclaim – truthfully – that they only keep voluntary slaves.

OK, that’s more of a quirk than anything else, but it certainly sounded evil.

And I hope that helps!

Dreambinding And Creatures

And here we have a question that’s too complicated for a comment…

It occurs to me that, presuming the GM allows it, there’s little reason why dream-binding can’t bring forth creatures as well as items. Costs for mounts such as horses and riding dogs are in the Core Rules, other sourcebooks have prices for slaves (even if removed them; they’re still on Archives of Nethys, though), and Pathfinder’s Ultimate Campaign has prices for “teams” of low-level characters. And of course, various sourcebooks have prices for certain monsters, such as the burrowing creatures in the equipment section of Races of Stone.

For that matter, you can use the “spellcasting services” price in the Core Rules to price out a single casting of animate dead/create undead/create greater undead and bring forth such creatures that way. The same goes for outsiders brought forth via the “cost” of a casting of one of the planar binding spells (and appropriate cost of cutting a deal with that outsider), though I suspect most GMs would disallow the much cheaper planar ally spells. And constructs have their prices listed in their monster entries.

All of which is to say that, if the GM signs off on the above, there’s a bit of a gap when it comes to creatures for which no easy pricing can be determined, such as dragons, magical beasts, fey, etc. Not withstanding making an item that uses a summoning spell (since summoning spells last only for a few rounds), what metric(s) would you suggest for determining the “price” of bringing forth some other creature type via dream-binding?


For reference…

Dream-Binding (Occult Skill, Charisma) allows the user to draw objects from dreams into reality. To do so, the user must get a full nights rest and forfeit the natural healing and attribute recovery that would normally result, whereupon he or she will awaken with his or her allotment of items. The total value of such items may not exceed (Bonus x Bonus x 100 GP) and no more than one third of that total may be allotted to any single item. Dream-binding cannot create items with charges (although uses-per-day limitations are fine), or skill-boosting items. Consumable goods will vanish once the skill points are re-allotted, so the creation of food and water is ill-advised. Finally, of course, the game master must approve of the list of items to be created.

The original version got you a lot less gear because you had to divide up the skill points rather than portion out the total value – so at Skill 9 you could have three items worth (3 x 3 x 100 = 900 GP) each. This could be useful – but it was very limited and turned out to be far too much trouble to work with, particularly when reaching – say – +30 got you a maximum of 30,000 GP worth of gear, and likely less. Fortunately, Occult Skill allows for multiple versions of a skill if the GM finds it acceptable, so this version would wind up at 8100 GP at skill 9 and 90,000 GP at Skill 30. That makes Dream-Binding a powerful and very useful skill at lower levels, but of less and less use at higher ones where wealth by level starts greatly exceeding what it gets you and the primary utility moves towards equipping yourself with special-purpose gear suited for particular missions. That still handy of course, but it relies heavily on foresight, scouting, and planning to be really useful.

As far as the actual question goes… personally I’d be pretty reluctant to make anything made of dreams sapient; I’d expect rather erratic behavior at the least. Even disregarding the eccentricities of dreams, temporary, thrown-together, minds are not likely to be stable.

On the other hand, of course, most of what you’d want an unintelligent creature – like a horse, dog, a construct, or most dinosaurs – to do is pretty straightforward. even in terms of dreams – and you could reasonably argue that such creatures aren’t too likely to spend a lot of time on introspection and start cracking up.So Constructs and things with animal intelligence could be a “go” even with the basic version of the skill.

Still, if you or the GM is worried about the instability of minds woven from dreams, all you need to do is to take a variant (“Spirit Minions” or “Dimensional Wraiths” or something) and say that it summons aspects of existing creatures from elsewhere in the multiverse to your aid.

Which gives us some justification, but still no good way of pricing things – and there really isn’t one since all we’ve really got to go on with monsters is their challenge rating, which is a really poor measure of how helpful something will be to an adventurer. That’s why Pathfinder took Unicorns off the Summon Nature’s Ally IV list; they easily beat out Cure Critical Wounds (heal 4d8+Caster Level, Max 20) – being able to heal 5d8+20 damage and offering access to Neutralize Poison and a Circle Of Protection From Evil (as well as direct combat utility) on top. If you used the level five version of Summon Nature’s Ally – where Cure Critical Wounds resided for Druids – you got 1d3 Unicorns. That single summons could make a druid into a fairly powerful healer.

Challenge Rating 3 didn’t really cover it properly.

For Undead, I’d be reluctant to use the Creation price, since that doesn’t include the expense of controlling the thing, which is the hard part given that they sometimes spontaneously pop up on their own.

Teams would be kind of cheap, if of relatively little use at higher levels – but the team prices are predicated on being settled, sleeping at home, and having time off rather than going on adventures. And while there are rules for Hirelings, there really aren’t rules for purchasing them – just for paying them on a day-to-day basis. I know that I used team prices for Innate Enchantment (Portable Settlement) – but that’s more or less a persistent thing, not something that can be traded out daily. Its also something that appears and disappears as needed – while having forty or fifty people trailing along on your adventures will probably be more trouble than it’s worth.

There are, as you note, fairly extensive price lists for animals in Pathfinder – – but that has it’s problems too; rats are a mere 1 CP – if you invest, say, 20,000 GP of your “virtual gold” in rats, you get two million of them. Enough for something like 5000 Rat Swarms. Certainly enough to devastate a sizeable settlement. Walled town besieged by Orcs? for a mere 7200 GP you could send out a dozen Deinonychus each day. Or perhaps 10550 GP for ten Dire Tigers? Or the same for 105 Leopards? Having them disappear in the morning while you get new ones is an even bigger benefit. At (Bonus x Bonus x 100 GP, no more than one-third on any single creature) you could achieve most of those totals fairly readily. The problem is that not having to transport, care for, and control such beasts is an enormous advantage. No low-level party is likely to be able to afford and manage a trio of combat-trained woolly mammoths (13,500 GP in total) – but that amount is readily achievable with a +12 skill total. Take +4 at L1, +4 Attribute, +2 Skill Emphasis, and +3 Skill Focus for a +13. This makes it easily possible to simply “rent some for the day”. A trio of CR 10 Battle-Trained Woolly Mammoth mounts can be a pretty big help when you’re attacking a goblin camp or something.

That certainly doesn’t work very well.

Using the costs of hiring a spellcaster to cast “planar binding” is inappropriate too. Those are the prices for a spell cast in town at the spellcasters leisure after you journey to a large city and find someone to do it. For adventurous casting… you’d need to pay to bring them along. And your “payment” would mean nothing either since it would shortly vanish – not a good thing if you are accessing creatures that actually exist rather than just making dreams solid.

That still doesn’t get us very far in search of a general rule. The vast majority of the ways for “pricing” monsters include a variety of assumptions that don’t fit in with the “daily summoning” model.

So “Daily Summoning” it is. At least that takes care of being able to command them and food and care and such.

That’s (Generalized Summoning +5 Levels of Persistent (Lasts all day)) -2 Levels (Price break for built-in Metamagic) -1 Level (specific creature type) -2 Levels (lengthy casting procedure – a full night sleeping, giving up nightly healing, using ambient magic). So the spell level used is equivalent to the base Summoning effect for the creature of the CR you want. That gives us a set of spells for undead, psychic constructs, or whatever. It also puts unicorns back on the table, because why not? There are lots of other options for healing people.

Ergo, it’s (Spell Level x Caster Level x 1800 GP (Command Word) x.2 (Once Per Day). So that comes out to…

  • CR 1/3: 180 GP (Skill 3, CL 1). Well, if your bard wants an entourage of songbirds, or you want some squirrels to fuss over the baby or a small dog or something, here you go. To be somewhat more practical, your aspiring necromancer can have a few human skeletons, your starting-out warlord could command a few basic goblins, and anyone could have a small monkey that can bring them the key to their cell or ferrets to gnaw on the ropes they are tied with.
  • CR 1/2: 360 GP (Skill 4, CL 1). Here we get basic servants, pageboys, baboons, eagles, common ponies, and untrained orcs. For the most part, basic utility creatures.
  • CR 1: 2160 GP (Skill 8, CL 3). Ghouls, heavy horses, lemures, riding dogs, pseudodragons, small elementals or animated objects, wolves… There is significant utility at this point, as well as enough combat power to terrorize normal people.
  • CR 2: 5400 GP (Skill 13, CL 5). At this point Tarzan can have his apes, bears, boars, and cheetahs are available, you can ride a dire bat, or be accompanied by a lantern archon, quasit, or imp, or snuggle with your pet wolverine.
  • CR 3: 10,800 GP (Skill 18, CL 7). Infant dragons, small dinosaurs, dire wolves, mephits, hell hounds, giant eagles, pegasi, unicorns, medium elementals… Sure, unless you’ve made skills your characters focus you are probably not particularly impressed by such creatures, but the spread of options available is probably more important than your creatures relatively minor combat utility.
  • CR 4-5: 16,200 GP (Skill 22, CL 9). A barghest to make sure your enemies stay dead, a gargoyle to guard your camp, a hound archon to provide advice, a tiger to look impressive, a basilisk to threaten your captives with, a djinni or bearded devil to show your power, trolls, winter wolves, wraiths… Certainly Skill 22 is getting up there – but an impressive supernatural entourage is still useful and definitely makes an impression.
  • CR 6: 23,760 GP (Skill 27, CL 11). At this point it’s generally not combat power. It’s intelligent minions who can do things while you’re busy or elsewhere, impressive flying mounts, advanced megaraptor skeletons for intimidation, and so on. If you just want a wall of meat, go with giant vermin
  • CR 7-8: 32,760 GP (Skill 32, CL 13). Huge elementals, giant construction crews, the ever-popular succubus “aide”, ogre magi, dire tigers, shield guardians, and tyrannosaurs all come into play here – but by the time most characters have +32 in a skill these sorts of creatures will be handy to have around, but fairly unimportant except for where they let you break the action economy.
  • CR 9: 43,200 GP (Skill 36, CL 15). The Androsphinx, bone devil, greater elemental, triceratops, and vrock all come into play here – but while that’s cool, a +36 skill bonus is getting well up there. If your interest is in combat, any decent summoner has had creatures of this level on tap for some time. Your advantage lies in having the creatures around all day, and being able to send them off on long-term independent errands, rather than using them up for the day getting in an extra round or two worth of semi-effectual attacks.
  • CR 10-11: 55,080 GP (Skill 41, CL 17). Barbed devils, elder elementals, some kinds of young adult dragons, stone golems, and twelve-headed hydras can all be at your command – but against most opponents suitable for characters with skill bonuses of 41+ they probably aren’t going to be all that effective. At this point you’re probably much better off bringing in supporting staff rather than monsters to go adventuring with.

—Epic (Level 10+) Spell Threshold—

At this point we’re looking for exotic special abilities that would be useful to have access to, some major support powers, or sheer coolness (riding a dragon makes ANYONE look good!). By the time a character can summon creatures like this, they just won’t mean much in direct combat – and that isn’t going to change much, so there’s no need for further descriptions.

  • CR 12-13: 68,400 GP (Skill 46, CL 19)
  • CR 14-15: 83,160 GP (Skill 50, CL 21)
  • CR 16: 99,360 GP (Skill 55, CL 23)
  • CR 17-18: 117,000 GP (Skill 60, CL 25)
  • CR 19: 136,000 GP (Skill 64, CL 27)
  • CR 20-21: 156,000 GP (Skill 65, CL 29)
  • CR 22: 178,000 GP (Skill 73, CL 31)

CR 23+ is – under the standard rules – not possible; the base cost of the “item” required exceeds the 200,000 GP limit. Even going by the standard Epic Magic Item Rules that puts the cost at a little over two million GP – and the skill requirement at +247. Even as it is… the table above likely far exceeds the limits of most games.

Now, since the effective value of Dream-Binding is (Bonus x Bonus x 100 GP), but no more than one third of the total may be spent on any given item, those skill totals suffice for three monsters of that level – or, as usual, you can go down a level to get 2 monsters, or down two levels to get four. So at Skill 27 you could have a daily entourage of four CR 3 Unicorns, four CR 3 Deinonychus, and ride a CR 6 Ankylosaurus. Or you could specialize in something – perhaps Demonology – and have some imps and things even at fairly low levels.

You’d probably get more powerful creatures, and more raw power, with Leadership – especially after the investment needed to boost a skill to 27 at relatively low levels – but this method has the advantage that your creatures simply appear on the days you need them, don’t require transport or attention, always obey orders, and are completely disposable, since – if “killed” – they are just dispelled and can be summoned back in the morning. That can be pretty useful.

Now the really powerful creatures – with challenge ratings of 12+ – are summoned with spells of level 10+, and their availability will depend on how your game master feels about such spells. On the other hand… by the time you can reasonably have a skill of 60+, having a few high-level creatures about won’t make a lot of difference.

As usual in Eclipse, there’s a tradeoff here; lower level characters will find this a substantial boost, a mid-level one will find it useful, but just another tool in their toolbox, and high-level characters will find it mildly useful. Of course, that is more or less the expected pattern for skills; they never really lose all utility, but they are certainly far more useful at relatively low levels.

And I hope that helps!

Skills Of The Eclipse – Namegiving, Sealing, and Superlatives (Variants: Backstory and Flashbacks).

And for today it’s a few more Occult Skills – skills from odd corners of the multiverse that are not normally available in most settings, but which can be accessed (presuming the game master is agreeable) by taking the Occult Skill ability and paying a few extra skill points.

In most cases, of course, Occult Skills could be built in other ways – but doing that can get quite complicated, and is often far more trouble than it’s worth. Secondarily, a number of recent Party Templates have included granting access to an Occult Skill – so here are a few more to play with.

Occult Skill (Namegiving, Cha)

To give a True Name is to set something apart, to give it an identity and a destiny all it’s own. No longer is that mountain the “Tall one over there”, it is Mount Myrlun, Gateway between the Worlds, perhaps home of a secretive order of mystics, and one of the places that will withstand the armies of the abyss at the passing of the age.

Or maybe not. That’s a big name, and it will take a very powerful namegiver indeed to bestow it. On the other hand, naming a sword “Bloodthirst” is considerably simpler, and will probably result in a moderate enhancement of some sort. Naming a newly forged sword Caliburn, the Sword of Rulership is harder, but still within the capacity of mortals.

  • Naming an infant (a small ceremony, skill fatigue 1) allows it to reroll it’s lowest attribute (this cannot result in lowering it further) and grants it an appropriate bonus feat. Most parents would LOVE to have a Namegiver naming their children.
  • Naming an item (a dramatic moment, skill fatigue 2) effectively transforms it into a type of Relic. Sadly, these variants are powered by their users charisma modifier plus any disadvantages they carry; if your (Cha Mod) is +3 and the item in question carries one disadvantage worth (3 CP), it will grant a total of (6 CP) worth of powers. Worse, that’s an upper limit on the use of such items; those points from your Charisma may only empower one such relic at a time (although if you happen to have a fabulously high Charisma modifier you may split the points up between multiple relics of this type).
  • Naming a Tale (by naming and reciting it, skill fatigue 1) will preserve it – often as an epic poem – across the centuries. This has a minimum level of four to pull off AND the GM must feel that the tale is of interest. Even with a Name, the tale of “how little Timmy pulled his sisters hair” is unlikely to be recalled outside of family reunions or Dr Seuss style books for children.
  • Granting a creature a Title – basically an extra name – grants it the equivalent of an Office (See: Dominion, Skill Fatigue 2). This has a minimum level of eight to pull off – but at level fourteen it becomes possible to add a Title to a Relic, as above (skill fatigue 3) – which is where things like “Caliburn” (the basic name) “The Sword Of Rulership” (it’s title) come from. At epic levels it becomes possible to give titles to places (skill fatigue 4), although – if it currently has one – that title must be destroyed first.
  • Naming a place (skill fatigue 1-4 depending on the scale of the place plus 1-4 depending on it’s level of significance) will cause it to function as a generic Sanctum, granting 6, 12, 18, or even 24 CP – but the GM tends to set up the details and determine the total. Sadly, this has a minimum level equal to the number of CP that the sanctum grants to pull off. It becomes even more difficult if the place already has a popular name (Constantinople did not become Istanbul easily) and is impossible – short of destroying the place entirely and remaking it into something different – if a Namegiver has already named it.

Namegiving is limited by a form of Skill Fatigue; the skill total is restored each week (divided up between the days of the week), but is depleted by the stress of granting names. Namegiving (minus any skill fatigue penalties) may be actively rolled to identify the meaning of a name or to determine the name of an inanimate object that happens to have one.

Namegiving tends to add lore to a setting, because if it’s a common skill, or even uncommon but available… anyplace important is likely to grant modifiers to the people there. Powerful items will tend to have unique names and powers. Particular personal names (which usually mean something in their original language) may be associated with one or another kind of bonus feat – and the game master should keep a notepad handy, since, while it is easy to make up such details on the spot, keeping track of them is likely to involve some note-taking.

Occult Skill (Sealing, Dex):

This is the art of entrapping things in dimensional pockets, anchoring said pockets in some focus – which varies from user to user, with known examples including pots, paintings, poke balls, cell phone aps, knots, tattoos, and gems. Unfortunately, keeping something bound requires that the user devote points from the skill to it – and the more powerful or important the thing sealed, the more points (as determined by the game master) it will require. Worse, entrapping something requires an opposed will check. You want to seal up a tub complete with hot water, sponges, soap, and a rubber duck? It’s probably only a few points (although the larger and heavier the item(s), the harder it becomes). Hiding a hold-out weapon in a tattoo? Easy. You want to trap a major demon, a tornado, a pyroclastic flow, or one of Naruto’s Tailed Beasts? That’s going to be EXPENSIVE.

  • Sealing away really powerful things tends to “leak”. Seal an archdemon into something? You probably have a powerful cursed item that keeps trying to take over it’s user’s minds.
  • An unsuccessful attempt at sealing something depletes the points that would have been invested in that seal for twenty-four hours. Success, of course, depletes those points until the seal is released.
  • Anything in a seal experiences only the beneficial aspects of time; it will heal normally, but not get hungry, can sleep and recover from being tired, but will not again become tired while so confined, and so on. Inanimate targets do not experience time at all.
  • Users may spend extra points to tweak the nature of the dimensional pocket (see the Spacewarp spell template in The Practical Enchanter for some possible modifications), to set various release conditions, and (for +3 points) to be able to demand a short-term service from a released creature (but not an inanimate object).
  • User’s may spend 1/2 extra points to use a slightly/notably different anchor. If you normally use clay pots, but wish to use a rice cooker, canteen, or plastic jug instead, that will cost an extra point. Using a clay statuette or a galvanized garbage can will cost two extra points.
  • If the user dies, his or her seals will remain until opened.
  • Creatures that have been defeated, are unconscious, are paralyzed, of suffer from similar disadvantages are easier to seal away. Willing creatures rarely cost more than one point to seal.
    Optionally, making sacrifices to create a seal will make it cost fewer points to create and maintain.
  • If you seal things in expensive gems which shatter when the seal is broken, your seals will be cheaper. Human sacrifices – whether as the container or as a component – can make things a lot cheaper, but dying to create a seal is rarely worthwhile.
  • It is possible to pass seals on to others. They will still count against the user’s total sealing ability unless the recipient has Sealing as well, and takes over maintaining the effect.

Variations are, of course, possible. After all, the multiverse contains many versions of this, and every other, occult skill. Specializations and Corruptions are also possible: if you really MUST be a pokemon trainer, Specialize it for increased effect (only works on loyal monsters, but monsters are automatically recalled into the seal when a killing blow is struck against them rather than actually taking the lethal damage) and there you are. Presuming you can befriend some pocket monsters, you can carry a batch of them around to help you out on the cheap.

Sealing quietly turns a lot of assumptions upside down if it’s commonly available. After all, even a first level novice could easily seal away – say – their money, their valuable tools, and a quantity of expensive raw materials. Sailors can carry along a private stash of trade goods and supplies, banditry and burglary becomes much less practical, a trusted friend can smuggle someone out of danger with relative ease, perishable foods can be easily stored for later use. Gravely wounded comrades will heal, but never get worse. If Sealing is common in a society, it will be changed in innumerable ways – so unless the GM feels like dealing with that challenge, it’s probably better left as an occult skill.

Occult Skill (Superlatives, Cha) (Variant, Backstory or Flashbacks, Wis):

Each permanent level of this skill allows a character to adopt a descriptive trait – “Fast”, “Clever”, “Noble”, “Sneaky”, “Valiant”, “Determined”, or whatever. Observant NPC’s can easily pick up on those traits, even if they get sarcastic about them because the character is well-known for the opposite trat. Thus “Brave Sir Robin” is still known as “Brave Sir Robin”, even if accuracy would suggest quite another appellation and the sarcasm gets pretty heavy…

Traits can also be tapped once each per day, with characters of levels 1-5/6-12/13+ able to expend 1/2/3 Traits on any given relevant action, gaining…

  • 1 Trait) +4 on a roll or an effect equivalent to a first level spell or a minor reality edit.
  • 2 Traits) +8 on a roll or an effect equivalent to a second level spell or a notable reality edit
  • 3 Traits) +12 on a roll or an effect equivalent to a third level spell or a major reality edit

Traits may also be noted without being tapped. For example, “I am wise enough to know that this is a terrible idea!” The character may be noted for his or her wisdom – but there’s no roll here and nothing is actually being done. Ergo, the Descriptive Trait (“Wise”) is not tapped. Now, if the character is trying to use Diplomacy to persuade an NPC that what they’re doing is terminally stupid, then the Wise trait could be tapped for that extra +4 (or to get what they’re saying across a language barrier, or to invoke the equivalent of some persuasive effect or ventriloquism or some such).

  • “I am gentle enough to catch the falling child without harm!” – likely equating to a Feather Fall effect.
  • “I am clever and knowledgeable enough to crack this code!”. This could be a simple skill boost, but it could also indicate that the user is getting the effect of some sort of translation effect.
  • “I am strong, determined, and mighty enough to break these pillars and pull down the temple!” is not really likely to produce a magical effect unless there’s a demolitions spell in play – but a simple boost to the strength check or some reality editing would likely suffice for this stunt.

Any use of a trait must, of course, be in line with the nature of that trait. You may be able to outargue a lawyer with your cleverness, but you will find it of little use in lifting a huge block of stone.

The most common variant form of this ability is “Backstory” or “Flashbacks” (Wis) – allowing characters to get some benefit out of all those incredible incidents and skills that were mentioned in their backstory, but were never actually implemented in their character. With this variant, each permanent level of the skill allows the user to note one element of their backstory – making it a part of their personal tale, having it mentioned by minstrels and storytellers, and being allowed to tap it for extra power. Have you empowered the backstory elements that you were Apprenticed to a Master Alchemist, are a Demolitions Expert, and are Wanted For Pyromania in Twelve Cities? Then you can – if you are level 13+ – combine those to generate an impressive Fireball, or some similar stunt.

Common availability of this one has surprisingly little effect, simply because most non-adventurers have better uses for their skill points than picking up a particularly high level of Superlatives. They may dabble – it’s worth a skill point or two to get “Master (Profession)” or “Master Craftsman (Craft Skill) since that +4 translates directly into a higher weekly income – but it’s not like most games pay much attention to how prosperous the common NPC’s are and PC’s have many ways to get dice bonuses.

Alewelian Orcs

Orcs are the last of the major races, and are widely (if not entirely justly) considered the least of them. Tribal, primitive, and uninterested in civilization, Orcs tend to exist on the fringes of the Empire, usually acting as “barbarian auxiliaries” for more organized imperial forces. They didn’t group up with anyone else during the last cataclysm either, instead isolating themselves in hidden tribal encampments – rather like hornets. Harmless enough if left alone, but if you find and disturb an orc colony, the swarm will come boiling out to attack – but unlike most primitives, they come pouring out driving a wide variety of heavily armed vehicles.

Orcish vehicles are death traps. They offer little to no protection to the driver, they have to be steered, they tend to flip over and/or explode, and their range is relatively short even if they are pretty fast. They tend to be covered in spikes, and skulls, and bolted-on weapons. Oh so many spikes and weapons. They aren’t really for serious TRAVEL. They’re for riding into battle and pursuing fleeing enemies, for launching attacks from, for making quick escapes, and for fighting duels on top of (no matter HOW insane that is).

Orcs tend to treat their vehicles as creatures rather than as mechanisms – and that’s because that is exactly what they ARE. They’re usually elemental spirits taking temporary forms to go roaring around the landscape having a bit of excitement. That’s why Orcs don’t need complicated maintenance, or to spend a lot of time on repairs and finding fuel, or even a large garage to keep them in. Instead they just come boiling out of their camps and caves riding a variety of absurd-looking contraptions that certainly should not work – but which nevertheless roar around firing huge rocks and spears and alchemical flame and such. Think Mad Max: Fury Road. That’s what fighting Alewelian Orcs is like.

So some orcs survived. They rapidly rebuilt their population by simply breeding faster than everyone else – a consequence of being fully adult at 12, and considered venerable at 40. Their conception of the world seems to be almost entirely animistic, which (in their view) basically allows them to arm-wrestle the spirits of the world to make them do what they want.

Annoyingly to most scholars, this seems to work to some extent, which allows orcs to obtain a variety of services and favors from various spirits – whereby even orcish children can usually claim the occasional favor from minor elemental spirits. While some of them try to extend this notion to things like City Wards (in hopes that defeating the city spirit will make them king of the city) this has never been known to work. The fact that some of them keep on trying tends to make their reputations even worse.

Orc Racial Template:

  • Witchcraft III: Provides (Str + Dex + Con)/3 Power, Save DC’s (13 + Cha Mod) where relevant (18 CP). Seven basic abilities as follows:
    • Glamour, Specialized and Corrupted for Reduced Cost: Orcs gain a +6 bonus to Intimidate, a +3 bonus on the Save DC’s against their Warcries, and – when shouting orders – can always be clearly understood if they’re using an appropriate language; battle-noise does not interfere. While these effects have no cost, orcs cannot use Glamour in other ways.
    • Hand Of Shadows: Specialized and Corrupted / only for crafting and labor, Orcs are a stone age people. That does not stop them; d20 does not call for any specific tools or materials for Craft and Profession skills – and for an Orc, that loophole is wide open. Do you want ceramic-composite lamellar armor, an adamntine vibro katana, and a lasgun? As long as those are allowed in the setting, an orc can turn them out, starting with a pile of rocks for tools, raw materials, and workspace and accomplishing a weeks worth of work without penalty each day at no cost.
    • Healing: Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect (Double Effect, auto-triggered when the user suffers incapacitating injuries or sleeps, only works on the user, only usable when auto-triggered. Orcs are nigh-impossible to put down save by truly major attacks, fighting on despite massive injuries and swiftly recovering from poisons and such.
    • Hyloka: Specialized and Corrupted / only to use a personal version of Awesome Wrath (The Practical Enchanter, Morale Bonuses of +4 Str, +4 Con, and +2 to Will Saves, but the same basic limitations as a Barbarian’s Rage), lasting up to one minute per level for 1 Power.
    • Infliction Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect / requires specialized weapons to use, each with specific infliction effects, user’s can only carry (Str Mod +1, 2 minimum) types of infliction-based weapons at a time, weapons are prone to “running our ammo” on a “1″ or jamming (becoming unusable until a full-round action is spent fixing the weapon) on a “2″. Thus an individual Orc capable of carrying three types of infliction weapons might thus be carrying a “firegun” that projects single-target bolts of flame, a quiver full of exploding (small radius effect) sonic javelins, and a set of lightning gauntlets (touch, only with a metal weapon attack or touch) to boost melee attacks. These may either allow saves or require attack checks.
      • Since Infliction allows a free choice of damage types, Orcs can select weapons (usually nets) that inflict “subjugation” damage; if a creature would be reduced to (-HP) via subjugation, it will become docile for a few days, and then start responding according to how it was treated while subjugated.
      • They are quite free to carry normal weapons as well.
    • The Inner Eye, Specialized and Corrupted / only to read the spirits of armor, weapons, and vehicles. The user may learn the provenance and history of such items automatically and reduces the level of proficiency needed to use such items by one level, two levels if they were crafted by an orc. This effect has no cost.
    • Witchsight: Specialized and Corrupted / only to provide Darkvision, either at 60′ at no cost or 120′ for one power for ten minutes.
  • Witchcraft Pacts:
    • Gateway: Orcs are living anchors for Spirits, and their mere presence will allow spirits to occasionally manifest themselves into the physical world (-6 CP).
    • Spirit: The spirits of deceased orcs tend to wander off and join one spiritual faction or another, making them quite hard to Raise, Reincarnate, or Resurrect (-6 CP).
  • Advanced Witchcraft:
    • Summoning, Specialized for Reduced Cost and Corrupted for Increased Effect / only to quickly and easily invoke spirit favors, but there is no cost for “placing the call” (3 CP).
    • Spirits Of The Deep: Specialized for Increased Effect (half power cost) and Corrupted for Reduced Cost / only works on spirits who are doing the user a favor, only to apply a “vehicle template” (at a cost of 3 Power), this always results in “orcish vehicles” (4 CP). Note that “destroyed” vehicles simply return to spirit form, rather than actually being “injured”.
    • Mana (2d6) as +6d6 Power, Specialized and Corrupted / only to power Infliction and Hyloka effects (4 CP).
    • Mana (1d6) as +3d6 Power, Specialized and Corrupted / Only to power Healing and Witchsight Effects (2 CP).
    • Mana (1d6) as +3d6 Power, Specialized and Corrupted / only to power Spirits Of The Deep and Infliction Effects (2 CP).
  • Fast Learner, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect (+3 CP/ Level)/ only for Favors and Connections, only from/with Spirits, user must always have more favors of each lower level than of any higher level (6 CP). Orcs often dream of the spirit realm, and there encounter various spirits, drink with them, wrestle with them, and attempt to defeat them in contests. While this suffices to gain minor favors, gaining major or great favors tends to require ritual spirit questing, performing some deed to gain the favor of the spirits, making offerings, or going out and confronting spirits – which is why many Orc tribes “trade” with others to gain the favor of spirits that are less common wherever they live. After all, spirit favors and
  • Immunity, needing to pay Spirit Favors back at full value. (Common, Minor, Major, 6 CP). Orcs can get minor favors in exchange for nothing much – and while they must repay larger favors, they do so at one rank less. Thus Minor Favors need not be repaid, Major Favors are repaid as Minor Favors, and Enormous Favors are repaid as Major Favors.

Orcs are actually surprisingly versatile and powerful shamans; even their children – however feral they may be – have fairly formidable weapons and minor spirit favors to call upon. Unfortunately, their short lifespans tend to leave them with little time to learn, extremely immature attitudes, and rather crude social skills. They are noisy, impatient, and all too inclined to summon spirits and get violent whenever frustrated. Unsurprisingly, this makes them unwelcome in most settlements – further limiting their social relationships.

Innate Enchantment (Up to 6500 GP / 7 CP).

    • Psychic Focus (Infliction): Reduces the cost of using a specific psychic ability by 1 power (to a minimum of 1 power) once per round up to three times within the next minute. Characters may only employ one Psychic Focus effect at a time and can never learn to boost more than (Wis Mod +1, 1 Minimum) specific abilities in this fashion. SL1 x CL1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.8 Abundant Magic x.7 Personal Only = 1120 GP.
    • Immortal Vigor (+12 + 2 x Con Mod HP): SL1 x CL1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.8 Abundant Magic x.7 Personal Only = 1120 GP.
    • Enhance Attribute (+2 Enhancement Bonus to Strength): SL1 x CL1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.8 Abundant Magic x.7 Personal Only = 1120 GP.
    • Enhance Attribute (+2 Enhancement Bonus to Constitution): SL1 x CL1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.8 Abundant Magic x.7 Personal Only = 1120 GP.
    • Resistance (+1 on each save, SL1/2 x CL1 x2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.8 Abundant Magic x.7 Personal Only = 560 GP.
    • Inspiring Word (+1 Morale Bonus to Attacks, Saves, Checks, and Weapon Damage). : SL1 x CL1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.8 Abundant Magic x.7 Personal Only x.8 requires war-cries and loud announcements of their intentions to inspire friendly spirits to help them out. Such spirits sometimes throw in dramatic heavy metal background music as well to boost the drama, no matter how hard this is on stealth = 896 GP.
    • Bony Hide: Masterwork Studded Leather Armor (150 GP): +3 Armor (treat as Natural Armor due to immunity to stacking limits), Max Dex Bonus +5, Spell Failure 15% (An Orc may spend 1 CP to apply the “Smooth” modifier / Specialized in Bony Hide only) to negate both of these problems).
    • Armor Augment Crystal – Least Restful Crystal (x.8 Abundant Magic = 400 GP). Orcs do not suffer penalties for sleeping in their “armor”.
  • The Inward Fire: Immunity / Stacking limits when combining racial innate enchantment effects with external effects (Common, Minor, Trivial (only covers L0 and L1 effects), 2 CP).
  • Immunity/Dispelling and Antimagic (Common, Minor, Great, Specialized and Corrupted/only protects innate enchantments that provide personal augmentations, only protects the basic racial abilities, 4 CP).
  • Immunity/the normal XP cost of Innate Enchantments (Uncommon, Minor, Trivial [only covers first level effects at caster level one], Specialized/only to cover initial racial abilities, 1 CP).
  • -2 Intelligence (-6 CP). Sadly, thanks to their early maturation, orcs tend to miss out on a good deal of the childhood learning, and development of advanced reasoning, that most other intelligent races get.
  • Disadvantages (-10 CP):
  • Accursed: Rapid Aging. Orcs are fully mature at ten, and elderly at forty.
  • Incompetent (Diplomacy). Like it or not, Orcs never really get past the “playground taunts” level.
  • Uncivilized: Orcs tend to act like impulsive kids, glorify battle, and solve their problems with physical force. They don’t fit into cities well.

Orcs are not the best when it comes to magic, or organized armies – but when it comes to individual beat downs, they are really very good at it. Sure, an elf may be better with a blade, a dwarf will have more items, and so on – but when it comes to smacking things, bring an orc.

As usual with Alewelian races, Orcs are really quite powerful. They may be on the low end of the social scale when it comes to the major races, but it’s really only the lack or organization that holds them back. Sadly, they don’t to as well in the Imperial Military as might be expected; they don’t do adapt easily to such a structured environment.

Orcish Cultural Package Deals include:

Stoneheart Orc (Earth Spirit Affinity):

  • War Paint: Double Enthusiast, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect / only to buy additions to their Racial Innate Enchantment, only to buy enhancements to their Bony Hide (Armor Enhancements, Armor Templates, Armor Crystals, and Armor Upgrades) (6 CP). While this is only 6000 GP worth of extra benefits, item slots are not a worry – so they can use as many “armor crystals” as they like.
  • Immunity / The distinction between improvements made on their Bony Hide and racial abilities: Uncommon, Minor, Minor (Covers up to 12,000 GP worth of boosts, 2 CP).
  • Proficiency with all Simple Weapons, Corrupted / only those primarily made of metal or stone (2 CP). Note that, in conjunction with their Inner Eye effect, this allows them to use all Martial Weapons made of Metal or Stone proficiently, as well as allowing them to use all Exotic Weapons made of metal or stone that were crafted by orcs proficiently.
  • Proficiency with Light Armor, Corrupted / only armors primarily made of metal or stone (2 CP). As with Weapons, this allows them to use all Medium Armors made of metal or stone proficiently and allows them to use all Heavy Armors made of metal or stone by orcs proficiently.

Blood Tide Orc (Sea Spirit Affinity)

  • Presence, Specialized for Increased Effect (level two effect: Death Knell) and Corrupted for Reduced Cost / only affects targets whom the user has just reduced to 0 HP or less via melee combat (4 CP).
  • Witchcraft / Wrath Of The Sea (6 CP).
  • Access to Occult Skill / Vehicles, Corrupted for Reduced Cost (2 CP) / only to grant upgrades to seagoing vessels they command.

Fireheart Orc (Fire Spirit Affinity)

  • Witchcraft / Leaping Fire (6 CP).
  • +3d6 Mana as 9d6 Power, Specialized and Corrupted for Reduced Cost / only for use with the Leaping Fire ability (6 CP).

Warcrier Orc (Sky Spirit Affinity):

  • Mystic Artist (Voice) (6 CP): Orcs shout warcries, and the names of their attacks, and such things all the time – and some few have learned to add some magic to that.
  • Witchcraft / Windforge (as per Witchcraft / Nightforge, but solidified air instead of darkness) (6 CP).

Finally, we have the possibly-mythical Wyldborn Orc package deal. Note that this option makes Orcs insanely dangerous.

Wyldborn Orc (Chaos Spirit Affinity)

  • Witchcraft / Ridden By The Loa, Specialized for Increased Effect (the user generally remains in control) and Corrupted for Reduced Cost (4 CP) / only to take on a specific “super soldier” or “power armor” template, the user becomes fanatical on some topics.
  • Witchcraft / Mouth Of The Earth (6 CP). Boosting their “Infliction” weapons to use d8’s or to cause other horrible effects makes a Wyldborn Orc extremely dangerous.
  • 1d6 Mana as +3d6 Power, Specialized and Corrupted for Reduced Cost / only to be used with the two disciplines given above (2 CP).

Unusually, it is not uncommon for Orcs to learn additional package deals if and when they have the extra character points available; all of them are pretty good.

Unlike most of the other races, Orcs apparently handled cataclysms the same way that they handle things like dragon attacks: some go roaring out to fight, some fill their lair with traps and obstacles, and some go zooming off at high speed in their ridiculous vehicles (either to start a new tribe in another location or to hook up with another force) – and while those are most often ground vehicles, air vehicles construction equipment, and tunneling machines do turn up. This makes it almost impossible to catch them all, even if their lair is almost entirely surrounded by a far superior force – and the rate at which they breed makes it certain that for every colony you smash, there will be a dozen more in just a few years time (although once they start feeling crowded they do tend to fight each other). It’s not the most dignified of strategies, and it doesn’t do much to preserve civilization – but almost any other fighting force on the disc can use a bunch of no maintenance required high speed self-propelled armored personnel carriers full of formidable fighters. If there’s a war on, and a bunch of Orcs turn up and want to join your forces… any sensible commander says “ORCS! BE WELCOME! THERE WILL BE GOOD FIGHTING!” loudly and joyfully!

Eclipse / League Of Legends: Jinx

The request here is for an Eclipse version of Jinx from League Of Legends and/or “Arcane”.

The first problem here is that I don”t happen to play League Of Legends and I haven’t seen “Arcane” – so I’m going to have to go by the Wikis. So going by those…

Powder / Jinx

  • Was a criminal, and presumably has a variety of rogue-style skills. I don’t know if these ever actually come up in LOL (it doesn’t look like it), but they do come up in RPG’s fairly often. so I’m going to include them. Fortunately, that’s not a big problem since a mere “+4” in a skill is a solid professional level in d20.
  • Was enhanced by “Shimmer” while being treated for injuries, (possibly) increasing her Strength and “Durability” (Constitution in d20), maybe with a bit of Damage Reduction or Self-Healing to represent a bit of carryover from the genre conventions (as noted below).
  • Is good at inventing and building weapons, and is presumably fairly bright. Of course, she probably isn’t allowed to invent new weapons in the actual game, so this is more of a background detail there. In an RPG it will actually mean something.
  • Wields a variety of powerful ranged weapons with limited battlefield control options (I’d guess that they are considered “hextech” in-game). These include:
    • A powerful, area-effect, missile launcher.
    • What seems like a small minigun or machine pistol (her basic attack).
    • An electrical beam weapon which stuns and reveals it’s targets.
    • Grenades with cover a wide area with flame and what seems like some sort of short-term “entangle” effect – her area control option.
    • In a RPG she’ll probably have a melee option, even if she’s not very good at it.
      • She also has an even bigger missile which builds up damage as it travels, but the descriptions across the wikis are a bit contradictory; I’d guess that it’s either very expensive to use, has changed somewhat with patches, or is only available under certain conditions. In an RPG, where an awful lot of combat takes place in close quarters, this will probably simply wind up as extra damage.
      • Our primary problem is where she gets all those high-powered weapons at relatively low level. D20 just isn’t much for that kind of thing. She is also listed as having an armor value, although her depiction does not seem to be wearing such a thing. That may be normal for League Of Legends (I haven’t looked at enough pictures to be sure), but I will presume some discrete armor, because – for a relatively mundane combatant in a no-holds barred deathmatch – going entirely without is rather foolish.
  • Her history mentions demolitions, but that also apparently isn’t mentioned in actual play. Probably a background skill and perhaps an item (a demolition kit and/or charges).
  • Gets a short-term speed boost (movement and attack rate) whenever she takes down a major target. In d20 that’s probably a basic Haste effect.
  • Her racial template is a bit of a mystery. The obvious assumption is “Human” – but there are lots of local variants on humans, as well magical girl, elf, cat-girl, and other versions. Of course, they’re mostly just skins, and don’t seem to make all that much difference (there might be small modifiers, I don’t know), so one or another version of “human” is probably the way to go. But then there’s the chemical or alchemical augmentations – which are probably a minor acquired template in addition to the racial template. As usual in Eclipse, any ECL adjustment will be based on the total value of the Racial Package plus Templates.
  • Her basic social background is “criminal underworld” – but the various variants given for her imply that any given version might come from a magical society, from a technological interstellar civilization, and from pretty much everything in between. Her background details are pretty much up for grabs, so there’s not much point in addressing them in any detail.

Now there are a few League conventions – such as having a healing rate measured in seconds, using Mana (which also comes back fast) to fuel certain weapons rather than (say) ammunition, and getting to “come back” for the next battle even if killed (or possibly in the same battle? The Wiki’s seemed to assume that you knew most of the basics already) – but those are pretty much world laws, since they generally apply to every League Of Legends Champion. I will include something along those lines, but it’s not going to be so quick and unlimited.

As a “Champion”, she generally takes multiple hits to kill – but that is a standard feature of both combat video games and RPG’s, since otherwise you’d have to keep changing characters all the time. Still, she’s likely past first level in her appearances and has a decent number of hit points – but she’s still described outright as being the epitome of a glass cannon. LOL items and levels do not carry over from session to session however, and RPG character developments definitely do. So unless you’re using a “Summon Jinx” spell, this version will be using d20 advancement. Summoned versions are, of course, the same each time. Thus, while LOL does seem to have some sort of skill advancement, it only seems to apply to attacks and goes away between games. In Eclipse that’s going to be learning a Martial Art – but she apparently doesn’t start with any, so that’s going to be a design-your-own situation for later advancement.

Considering her attributes…

  • Strength: She is strong enough to carry multiple weapons, but (judging from the pictures) doesn’t apparently use armor and doesn’t seem to have much in the way of melee options. There was that mention of improved strength though, so let us be generous and call it Str 14
  • Dexterity: It’s important with ranged weapons, and for people who don’t wear armor, but – again – there’s no mention of it being really unusual or of her having acrobatic skills or anything. So it is probably good, but not particularly overwhelming. Dex 14
  • Constitution: Well, you want this for hit points, and to keep running around in combat, but the Wiki’s don’t imply her being exceptionally durable. So this is probably (once again) good but not particularly amazing. Con 14.
  • Intelligence: Important for skills and somewhat related to weapons-making. There isn’t much ground for it otherwise since the characters in combat games rarely solve puzzles (although there are some for the players sometimes) or show off their knowledge much – so Int 14.
  • Wisdom: She’s a bit of a loony and has no listed hyper-alertness, boosted perception, or mental defenses (presuming that’s a thing in LOL, which it probably isn’t other than, perhaps, as a bit of description) and her Will save is likely low. Wis 10
  • Charisma: She’s apparently supposed to have standard female video game character good looks – but she’s no great leader or socialite (the insanity and tendency to blow things up is hard on your social skills), which is Charisma’s real function. Cha 10.

That’s 28 Points in 3.5 (slightly over the standard 25 point allotment) or 20 points in Pathfinder – the standard “High Fantasy” allotment. Fair enough. It would be quite reasonable to assume that this already includes the effects of her chemical boosts since those numbers are way above “ordinary person” stats already – but I may include another small boost because why not?

Basic Attributes: Str 14 (+4 Eq = 18), Dex 14 (+2 Template +2 Eq = 18), Con 14, Int 14, Wis 10, Cha 10.

Racial Template: Runeterra Human (12 CP):

  • Homo Sapiens: Fast Learner, Specialized in Skills for Double Effect (+2 SP/Level, 6 CP)
  • Highly Adaptable: +1 Bonus Feat (6 CP).
    • That’s a tiny bit better than a baseline 3.5 d20 human – the natives of Runeterra are supposed to be a little special apparently – but only by 3 CP. That’s worthwhile, but not terribly important.

Acquired Template – Alchemically Augmented (18 CP).

  • Innate Enchantment, up to 9500 GP net value (10 CP).
    • Adrenalin Rush: Personal Haste, Specialized for half cost (+30′ Move, +1 Attacks at full BAB with a full attack/only lasts three rounds, only triggers after taking down a major target (1000 GP).
    • Immortal Vigor I (+12 + 2 x Con Mod HP), Personal-Only (x.7) = 1400 GP.
    • Attribute Boost (Enhance Dexterity +2, x.7 Personal-Only = 1400 GP): +2 Dex
    • Resistance (+1 Resistance Bonus to Saving Throws, x.7 Personal-Only = 700 GP).
    • Force Shield I (+4 Shield Bonus to AC) (Personal-Only, x.7 = 1400 GP).
    • Weapon Mastery (Machine Pistol, +4 BAB with Machine Pistol, does add to iterative attacks) I (Personal-Only x.7 = 1400 GP).
    • Skill Mastery (+3 Competence Bonus to Disable Device, Hide, Move Silently, and Spot) (Personal Only x.7 = 1400 GP).
    • Restorative Touch – Cure Light Wounds, Lesser Restoration, Polypurpose Panacea, and Relieve Poison (Hedge Wizardry) 1/Day each (800 GP).
  • Immunity/Stacking limits when combining innate enchantment effects with external effects (Common, Minor, Trivial – only covers L0 and L1 effects, Corrupted / only covers effects in this template, 1 CP).
  • Immunity/Dispelling and Antimagic (Common, Major, Great, Specialized and Corrupted/only protects innate enchantments that provide personal augmentations, 6 CP).
  • Immunity/the normal XP cost of Innate Enchantments (Uncommon, Minor, Trivial [only covers first level effects at caster level one], Specialized/only to cover initial racial abilities, 1 CP).
    • That’s three natural-law immunities, which would be a major “caution!” flag, but in this case they’re not particularly wide-ranging and shouldn’t be too big a problem.

At a total of 30 CP, this is a +0 ECL combination.

Package Deal: League Of Legends Champion (0 CP)

  • Grant Of Aid with +4 Bonus Uses, Specialized in Hit Points (6 CP).
  • Returning, Specialized / must be mystically summoned to join a battle, is obligated to fight in that battle for the summoner (3 CP).
  • DR 2/-, Specialized in Physical Damage for Double Effect (4/-) (3 CP).
  • Disadvantages: Accursed / Summonable (A Champion of the League can expect to be summoned into combat regularly, no matter how inconvenient this may be for them), Inept (Diplomacy), and Insane / Combative (A Champion tends to see violence as the first resort, rather than the last).

Available Character Points: 120 (L4 Base) + 10 (Disadvantages: Insane/Reckless, Hunted, Obligations to gang) +18 (Racial, L1, L3 Bonus Feats) = 148 CP.

Basic Abilities (68 CP):

  • Hit Points: 12 (L1d12, 8 CP) +9 (L2-4d4, 0 CP) +12 (Im. Vigor) +36 ([Con Mod + Dex Mod]x 6) = 69 HP.
    • Evasive Combat: Advanced Improved Augmented Bonus, Adds (Dex Mod) to (Con Mod) when calculating hit points, Specialized and Corrupted / only applies to hit dice gained through L6 (6 CP).
    • Jinx starts with 630 Health in LOL, and it looks like Hit Points should roughly equate to Health/10. So a slight upgrade here.
  • Skill Points: 6 (Purchased, 6 CP) +14 (Int Mod x 7) +28 (Fast Learnera) = 48 SP
    • Fast Learner, Specialized in Skills for Double Effect (Racial Bonus Feat, 6 CP).
    • Adept (Buys Disable Device, Hide, Move Silently, and Spot at half price, 6 CP).
    • This, of course, is pure guesswork. As a fighting game LOL generally doesn’t do much with non-combat skills although it does have a system for leveling up the characters special abilities during a fight (that resets afterwards) – but in an RPG setting they give Jinx something to do when no one is fighting.
  • BAB: +3 (18 CP)
    • This is hard to sort out; in LOL the player generally controls the targeting and hits if they connect with a figure, with armor providing DR rather than reducing the chance of being hit effectively. Still, Jinx’s history involves crimes and laying traps rather than massive combat, and she is a rogue-type. So 3/4 BAB seems reasonable enough. Most of her accuracy as a starting Champion comes from her Dexterity and Augmentations. She can always buy more as she gains levels.
  • Saves:
    • Fortitude: +1 (Purchased, 3 CP) +2 (Con) +1 (Race) +1 (Res) = +5
    • Reflex: +4 (Purchased, 12 CP) +4 (Dex) +1 (Race) +1 (Res) = +10
    • Will: +1 (Purchased, 3 CP) +0 (Wis) +1 (Race) +1 (Res) = +3
    • Jinx’s LOL Magic Resistance (which, as far as I can tell, reduces magic damage) isn’t all that high. D20, of course, has saves for that job. LOL also doesn’t have long-term mind control (and most of what it does have a fairly simple) because you can’t mind-control the player who’s providing the control inputs even if you can override or block them for a bit. I doubt that there’s a way to actually seize full control of someone else’s units since that comes far too close to an “I Win!” button for a competitive game. So the Will save bonus is more than a bit arbitrary. Given Jinx’s insanity… there’s no reason to make it high.

Combat Information (21 CP):

  • Proficiencies: Proficient with all Simple Weapons and her Personal Gadgets (9 CP).
  • Initiative: 1d20+4 (Dex) +8 (Improved Initiative II) = 1d20+12
    • Improved Initiative II (12 CP).
  • Move: 40′ (70′ when Adrenalin Rush applies).
  • Armor Class: 10 (Base) +4 (Dex Mod) +4 (Armor) +4 (Shield) = 22
  • Usual Weapons: See Gadgets, Below. In general:
    • Ranged Attack: +3 (BAB)+4 (Dex) +4 (Smartlink) = +11 (+15/+10 with Machine Pistol)
    • Melee Attack: +3 (BAB) +4 (Str) +3 (Quality) = +10
      • All of these get another attack at her full BAB when Adrenalin Rush is active and she is making a full attack.

Special Abilities (59 CP):

  • Buy off Specialization and add +4 Bonus Uses to her Package Deal Grant of Aid (12 CP).
  • 6d6 (21) Mana with Reality Editing, Specialized and Corrupted for Reduced Cost / only for reality editing, only for “I reloaded!” (2 Mana, reloads a weapon), “This gadget isn’t really damaged” (4 Mana), and “Here comes my SPECIAL missile!” (8 Mana, boosts a missile to a 30′ radius, adds +2 worth of weapon enhancements (does not require a base enhancement bonus) or any one of Blown Away, Dazed (1 round), Dazzled, Deafened, Fatigued, Knocked Down, or Sickened (Save DC = 14+Cha Mod), and doubles the base damage) (12 CP).
  • Rite of Chi with +12 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted / only to restore the Reality Editing pool above, requires at least one minute and a break in combat to use (8 CP).
  • Occult Skill Access (Federation-Apocalypse Gadgetry, Tinker Version, 3 CP).
    • Skill Emphasis (+2, 3 CP)
    • Skill Focus (+3, 6 CP).
      • In most d20 games this is heavy-duty cheese; giving a fantasy character reliable access to gadgetry from an advanced interstellar civilization is kind of absurd. On Runeterra, where the standard is “Hextech”, this is far more reasonable – if still a bit much.
  • Reflex Training, Specialized / only to allow her to change weapons as a free action (6 CP).
  • Favors, Minor (The Criminal Underworld, 3 CP).
  • Action Hero (Stunts) (6 CP). Probably why she is still alive.


  • Climb +2 (2 SP) +4 (Str) +4 (SC) = +10
  • Disable Device +7 (3* SP) +2 (Int) +3 (Tem) +2 (Tools) = +14
  • Disguise +6 (6 SP) +0 (Cha) +4 (SC) = +10
  • Gadgetry (FA version, Tinker variant); +7 (7 SP +3 SP Surcharge) +4 (Dex) +2 (Skill Emphasis) +3 (Skill Focus) +2 (Synergy/A&E) = +18
  • Heal +0 (0 SP) +0 (Wis) +2 (Belt) = +2
  • Hide +7 (3* SP) +4 (Dex) +3 (Tem) +4 (SC) = +18
  • Knowledge/Architecture and Engineering: +7 (7 SP) +2 (Int) = +9 (+14 for Demolitions checks)
  • Listen +6 (6 SP) +0 (Wis) +4 (SC) = +10
  • Move Silently +7 (3* SP) +4 (Dex) +3 (Tem) +4 (SC) = +18
  • Open Locks +1 (1 SP) +4 (Dex) +2 (Tools) = +7
  • Perform/Dance +2 (2 SP) +0 (Cha) = +2
    • I’d probably let her get away with using Dex instead, but it doesn’t really matter.
  • Spot +7 (3* SP) +0 (Wis) +3 (Tem) +4 (SC) = +14
  • Swim +0 (0 SP) +4 (Str) +4 (SC) = +8
  • Use Magic Device +1 (1 SP) +0 (Cha) = +1
    • She’s not good at this, but she IS crazy enough to try anyway sometimes.

Skill Specialties: Architecture and Engineering/Demolitions (+3, 1 SP).


Smartclothes (Gadget-5 In Total):

  • Military-Grade Protective Functions (Gadget-2): +4 Armor, DR 4/-, Energy Resistance 4,+4 to Climb, Disguise, Listen, Spot, Hide, Move Silently, and Swim, +2 to Unarmed Damage, +4 on stabilizing while dying, +4 on saves versus chemical exposure, twelve-hour life support (air, comfortable from arctic to tropical desert temperatures, allows space survival until the air runs out).
  • Computer Functions (Gadget-1): Encrypted radio communications, personal-computer and HUD functions, +4 to hit with Smartlinked weapons.
  • Sensory Enhancements (Gadget-1): IR, UV, Low-Light, Magnification, and Flash Suppression for Vision, personal and environmental monitoring, +4 on Saves vrs sensory overloads.
  • Exoskeletal Functions (Gadget-1): +4 Strength, +2 Dexterity, and +10′ Movement
    • There is little or no justification for this, but if you’re going to be using Federation-Apocalypse gadgets, Smartclothes are THE obvious gadget to take.

Miscellaneous (Gadget-4):

  • Smartlink Adapter: Allows all her gadget-based weapons to be considered Smartlinked (+4 bonus to Attack rolls) (Gadget-2).
  • Demolitions Kit (Gadget-2). Contains assorted supplies and tools for blowing things up or disarming bombs. Provides a +2 to any required checks.

Weapons (Gadget 9):

  • Machine Pistol (Gadget-1): One-Handed Small Arm, Enlarged Magazine II, Selective Fire. 3.2 lb, 100 shots, 2d6 piercing damage, Crit 20/x2, 40′ range increment, selective fire (1).
    • +4 Magazines (1).
    • Selective Fire, by the way, can do double damage or affect a small group or grant a +4 bonus to the attack. Simple abundance of ammunition makes this Jinx’s most commonly used attack.
  • Heavy Missile Launcher (Gadget-1): Heavy Gyroc Small Arm, Reduced Magazine, No Criticals, Increased Damage I, Explosive III, Special I (Sparks illuminate the area as per Daylight for 2d4 rounds and may start small fires). 24 lb, 5 Shots, 5d12 force damage in a 10′ Radius, 120′ Range Increment (1).
    • +4 Missile Packs (Gadget-1).
    • 325 LOL damage is more than this is supposed to do, plus you can get more than one attack per round with it. Of course – with Mana – it also stands in for the Super Mega Death Rocket, which works fine.
  • Bolter (Lightning Rifle) (Gadget-1): Two-Handed Small Arm, Explosive I, Special II (Stunning 1 Round, Faerie Fire 1 Minute, DC 20 Fort to resist being stunned), 8 Lb, 25 Shots, 3d8 electrical damage, Range Increment 80′,
    • +4 Battery Packs (Gadget-1).
  • Phosphorous Web Grenades (Gadget-1): Mini-Grenade Launcher: One-Handed Slugthrower Small Arm, Decreased Magazine (5 Shots), Cannot Critical, Explosive III, Special I (Victims are caught in the net and on fire until they escape or it burns away in 3 rounds): 2.5 lb, 5 Shots, 4d6 fire damage in a 10′ radius, 40′ range increment (1).
    • +4 Grenade Packs (Gadget-1).
    • This doesn’t throw out five grenades at once. On the other hand, it entangles everyone in an area rather than a single person who steps on them, affects what looks like a wider radius (judging from a quick look at the animation, so I could be wrong), you can get multiple shots per turn, and they do twice as much damage.
  • Forceblade (Longsword) (Gadget-1), 2d8+7 (+3 Quality, +4 Strength) (Force, Slashing), Crit 19-20/x2, +3 Quality Bonus to Attacks.
    • There’s no canon justification whatsoever for her having a melee weapon, but an RPG character needs to be ready for a much wider variety of fights than LOL offers.

d20 Equipment and Magic Items:

  • Cloak of Resistance +1 (1000 GP). An obvious choice.
  • Handy Haversack (2000 GP). For someone carrying this many weapons, a near-necessity.
  • First Aid Kid (Healing Belt, 750 GP). Not including this would be stupid, particularly when you’re expecting near-constant combat.
  • Boots Of The Cat (1000 GP). Jump off a cliff – or from a plane – and take little damage? Priceless.
  • I’m going to assume Masterwork Thieves Tools (100 GP), Rope, a Grapnel, and a wide variety of other basic gear – probably about 250 GP in total.
  • That leaves 1000 GP to customize or prepare for missions with.
    • LOL characters can be equipped with various special items. D20 characters are fully expected to be equipped with a wide variety of magical items. There’s no need for anything special here.

As is more or less expected for an advanced technology user, Jinx has a substantial edge at lower levels – but has far fewer options for upgrades and occult tricks as she goes up in level as her weapons are already as advanced as they’re going to get. Enchanting them is possible, but will cost her quite a lot since she uses so many different ones. Dedicated combatants will outdo her later on, spellcasters will become far more versatile, and social manipulators will do their own thing – but there is something to be said for simply blasting the area.

For further advancement, something along the lines of the Pulp Hero template would be an effective advancement path for her, but the basics she will want – BAB, HP, AC, Saves, some Martial Arts, and bigger skill bonuses all around – should be quite familiar.

Alewelian Gollins:

Nobody trusts the gollins. In fact, no one is quite sure that the gollins are entirely REAL. After all… they were wiped out at least once – but then re-emerged, apparently from the Wyld. Sure, they can get through anti-wyld wards, but there is still some grounds for doubt. Even powerful divinations and Commune effects have failed to resolve the matter – and if the gollins know themselves, they are not telling.

On the other hand, they tend to come back as undead if killed – and can create quasi-real partial copies of themselves, which can act a lot like normal people (and possess people, although they rarely admit that). Some of the more paranoid scholars wonder whether undead gollins (or undead halflings with suitable abilities*) simply generated partial – quasi-living – copies of themselves and bred a new race of gollins with themselves as the forefathers. It would explain a great deal.

*Note that mentioning this theory to a halfling OR a gollin is usually taken as a mortal insult.

Gollin Racial Template (31 CP / +0 ECL):

  • Create Item, Specialized and Corrupted for Reduced Cost / only as a prerequisite (2 CP)
    • Harvest of Artifice, Specialized for Reduced Cost / XP can only be used in conjunction with Shadow Casting (3 CP).
  • Negative Energy Channeling, Specialized / Only as a Prerequisite (1 CP).
    • Dark Awakening, Specialized for Reduced Cost / only to come back as an undead if killed (3 CP).
    • Shadow Casting, Specialized for Increased Effect (x15 EXP Multiplier, no HP cost) / no more than (Con / 3) shadows may exist at any one time (6 CP)
  • +2d0 Hit Dice, Specialized for Reduced Cost / Only to increase the user’s hit dice for Shapeshifting purposes (4 CP).
  • Cloaking, Specialized /. Gollins are ominous mysteries as far as any form of divination goes, but are obviously Gollins, evil, and attuned to negative energy. Undead often ignore them (3 CP).
  • Occult Sense (Darkvision, 6 CP).
  • Innate Enchantment (Up to 7500 GP Value, 8 CP). :
    • Sustenance: SL1 x CL1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.8 Abundant Magic x.7 Personal Only x.5 Only to get along on minimal food = 560 GP.
    • Immortal Vigor I (+12 + 2 x Con Mod HP): SL1 x CL1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.8 Abundant Magic x.7 Personal Only = 1120 GP.
    • Reduce Person; Size Small. +2 size bonus to Dex, a -2 size penalty to Str, +4 to Hide, +1 to attack and AC. SL1 x CL1 x2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.8 Abundant Magic x.7 Personal Only = 1120 GP.
    • Mindlink (Psionic), Variant – only between Shadows and their Creator, but continuous while they are on the same plane. SL1 x CL1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.8 Abundant Magic x.7 Personal Only (weird, but in this case… it applies) = 1120 GP.
    • Skill Mastery x2: +3 each to two (permanent) groups of three skills. SL1 x CL1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.8 Abundant Magic x.7 Personal Only x.5 GM selects skill groups x2 taken twice = 1120 GP. Note that each Shadow-Self gets random groups.
    • Negative Energy Mastery (Produces cantrip-level negative energy effects, such as Bleed, Brand, Daze, Disrupting Touch (1d4 damage), Grave Words, Intimidate (+3 Bonus), Lullaby, Pain (causes a sharp pain), Penumbra, Putrefy Food And Drink, Ray Of Frost, Snuff (puts out small fires, cools objects a bit, makes a target feel chilly), Sotto Voice, Touch Of Fatigue, Vice (Undead gains 1 temporary HP). SL1 x CL1 x 1800 GP Unlimited-Use Command Word Activated (must whisper disturbing chants) x.8 Abundant Magic = 1440 GP.
    • Resistance (+1 to Saves): SL1/2 x CL1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.8 Abundant Magic x.7 Personal Only = 560 GP
    • Masterwork Gear: +2 to Move Silently (55 GP), +2 to Hide (55 GP), +2 to Ride (55 GP), Haramaki (+1 Armor, 3 GP), Unholy Symbol (1 GP), Hot and Cold Weather Gear (15 GP), 10x Air Bladders (1 GP), Compass (10 GP), Light Mace (5 CP). Total:= 200 GP.
  • Flame Of Udun: Immunity / Stacking limits when combining racial innate enchantment effects with external effects (Common, Minor, Trivial (only covers L0 and L1 effects, 2 CP). As with the other Alewelian races, this is a natural-law immunity – and, like most such, has an impact on the game far beyond it’s point cost. As usual, this should stay a “GM only” sort of thing, even if it is kind of required to make them competitive with those “build your own tailored race” humans.
  • The Dark Is Rising: Immunity/Dispelling and Antimagic (Common, Minor, Great, Specialized and Corrupted/only protects racial innate enchantments that provide personal augmentations, 4 CP).
  • Black Blood: Immunity/the normal XP cost of Innate Enchantments (Uncommon, Minor, Trivial [only covers cantrips and first level effects at caster level one], Specialized/only to cover initial racial abilities, 1 CP).
  • Shapeshift, Specialized in Canine Forms (3 CP).
  • Speak Language +1 (Grave Argot) (1 CP).
  • Attribute Penalty: -2 Charisma (-6 CP).
  • Racial Disadvantages (-10 CP):
    • Untrustworthy. People don’t trust gollins. Usually for good reason.
    • Blocked: Gollins cannot be good, or even neutral. They must be evil.
    • Broke: Gollins always start off poor. After all… they’re shopping for a group.
    • Accursed: Gollin “shadows” always get the Wolfrunner package deal, regardless of their creators intentions.

Wolfrunner Gollin Cultural Package Deal:

  • Upgrade Shapeshift with Growth to allow Medium and Large Forms, still Specialized in canine forms only (1 CP).
  • Upgrade Shapeshift with Hybrid Form, Specialized in canine forms only (3 CP).
  • Upgrade 2d0 Hit Dice for shapechanging only to 3d0 Hit Dice for all purposes (8 CP). This allows even a first level Wolfrunner to take Worg form.

Black Shaman Gollin Cultural Package Deal:

  • 1d6 (3) Mana with Spell Enhancement, Specialized and Corrupted for Reduced Cost / Only for Spell Enhancement, only for Innate Enchantments, only for Immortal Vigor (Spend 1/2/3 Mana to gain +12/24/36 temporary hit points for ten minutes), Resistance (Spend 1/2/3 Mana to raise save bonuses to +2+/3/+4 for one minute), Skill Mastery (Spend 1/2/3 Mana to raise the bonuses to +7/+8/+10 for a single skill group for ten minutes), and Negative Energy Mastery (Spend 1/2/3 Mana to produce an effect of spell level 1/2/3).
  • Rite of Chi with +2 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted / only to refill the spell enhancement mana pool above, requires at least ten minutes to use (3 CP).
    Uncorrupt Dark Awakening, so that it can be used to create undead (3 CP).
  • May purchase the Occult Skill (Minions) at Normal Cost, Specialized for Half Cost / only for undead minions (3 CP).

Gollins cast shadows – a group of secondary gollins who are basically aspects of the first one. They can supply their creations with an effective total of 1500 XP per month, although the levels of their creations cannot exceed their own level. Destroyed shadows can be slowly recreated, or old ones upgraded, as time passes. Still, while a gollin and his or her shadows can be very effective at low levels, at higher levels the shadows are usually most useful as spies and agents, rather than direct combatants. The ill-informed often think that there are lesser and greater gollins simply because there is an entirely reasonable tendency for gollin Shadows to be far weaker than the original and because they tend to be rather cheaply equipped. After all, why waste money equipping disposable copies with fancy gear?

Gollins are generally pretty unwelcome in the Empire. Sure, they’re a major race, and quite numerous – but it’s a bit like dealing with the Ferengi or the Romulans in Star Trek. They’re greedy, obnoxious, inclined towards backstabbing (and gossip), and have few if any scruples. If you want some thugs, or someone to lay a few curses, or some such… any passing Gollin can probably hook you up. If you’d rather not have your new puppy snatched up and eaten, you don’t want any Gollins moving into YOUR neighborhood.

While they don’t like to talk about it very much, Gollins are actually fairly prominent in the imperial military. There they serve as communications specialists (sending a gollin shadow along with a patrol, or detachment, or assigning one to an outpost, provides an instant communications link or a small network thereof), scouts, spies, and assassins (being able to possess small animals, and become noncorporeal, and sneak well, is very useful), as torturers, interrogators, and executioners (having no scruples at all is handy when you want your minions to follow reprehensible orders), and in a variety of other roles.

Gollin Shadows also serve as deniable operatives – especially since, once one dissipates, their cloaking ability makes it virtually impossible to trace down the original. Of course, that means that a few gollins on the take can create a criminal cabal that – if captured or killed – will simply fade away, to be replaced in a few months. In fact, a perfectly respectable military gollin who can create one or two more shadows than his or her superiors know about can work for the military while at the same time being part of a gang of criminals that the military is trying to catch – and usually get away with it.

Scholars are not entirely sure that having gollins in the Empire is a net benefit, but they are pretty sure that pushing them out of it would be a great deal worse to have to deal with.

Finally, unlike many of the other major races, the Gollins do not have tales of how they, and they alone, were responsible for preserving civilization through the cataclysms. They do have lots of tales of how their Shadows led various enemies in circles, of individual heroes, of bringing back vital intelligence, of assassinating enemy commanders and mages, and of bizarre escapes – but every group of gollins tends to have their own tales, none of which seem to present any solid statements about their origins, how they ultimately survived (or returned), or much of anything else. This has led some scholars to speculate that there are several different species with their own histories being lumped together as “gollins” – but the fact that they all possess a very similar package of racial abilities has led most scholars to believe that they are simply inveterate liars who like to tell tall tales.

Eclipse d20 – The Paths Of Blood

Blood Magic tends to get treated as a fast, immediate, thing in most games. After all, they usually rely on combat for excitement – and so blood is used to draw runes on things and empower them, to control, enhance, or heal others, turned into weaponry, or even used as something akin to venom or to white phosphorous or napalm – things that are useful in combat time.

Classical blood magic, however, tended to be a lot more subtle – mostly, of course, because real-world magic doesn’t actually work, and so the reputed “effects” had to be things that couldn’t really be tested. Did Elizabeth Bathory actually become younger or more beautiful by bathing in the blood of young women or was it just that she ate well, wasn’t overloaded by constant labor, and had a maid who was good with cosmetics? Did eating a lion’s heart actually grant you courage? Did burying a child in a bridges foundations help it stay up? Would the gods help your army if you sacrificed a few victims to them before a battle?

It wasn’t like there was any easy way to tell whether or not that sort of thing worked beyond the placebo effect. Who could prove that the bridge would have stayed up just as long if you hadn’t sacrificed a kid in building it? After all, you’d given up something of value – a human life and soul! – to make it last longer. It would only be FAIR for the universe to give something back!

Of course, these days most people no longer really think that the universe is particularly fair. In fact, thermodynamics outright tells us that it is inherently unfair and that there’s no way around that.

Obviously, of course, this kind of magic also calls for being seriously despicable. Sure, luring in a starving street kid to sacrifice with a promise of bread and butter is easy and practical (after all, the kid isn’t one of YOURS, and so this is a bit less of a betrayal, and is likely going to die soon anyway since street kids die a lot anyway) – but it is pretty noxious behavior by current standards.

So here we have some classical ritual spells of blood magic – stuff that isn’t generally useful in combat simply because it takes far too long and demands that you be in control of your victims so that you can use them as spell components. As such… a lot of the usual entries in a spell description (School; Ritual, Casting Time: Ritual. Components: Ritual Chest (basically a greatly upgraded spell component pouch) and one or more restrained victims, Target: Victim or Victims, see description, Duration: Special, Saving Throw: Special, and Spell Resistance: No) are pretty much irrelevant. When someone sees you chaining down a few sobbing sacrifices in the center of a ritual space, polishing the knife or implements of torture, setting up the candles, and laying out sanity-blasting symbols in freshly drawn blood… combat may shortly break out, but you generally won’t be performing your ritual as a full-round action or less. Should someone happen to want them… all ten spells on this list are available as a single Domain or Path. In fact, given their general restrictions, it usually counts as being Specialized for Half Cost (3 CP). For classical games, that opens up the Blood Mage feat.

Blood Mage Feat:

  • Path Of Blood Magic: Gain the ten ritual spells described below (3 CP).
  • Metamagical Theorem / Compact, Specialized and Corrupted / only for partially powering your spells with blood sacrifices. A decent-sized animal sacrifice is generally worth -1 spell level. An intelligent creature is usually worth -2 spell levels. This is not, however, cumulative with the effects of other expensive material or XP components – although it can be used to replace up to 2000 GP / 400 XP worth or them (multiple sacrifices stack up to 10,000 GP / 2000 XP) and you can always include extra sacrifices to reduce the effective spell level of the spells on this path).
  • Specific Knowledge / Blood Magic. The user has a detailed knowledge of blood magic rituals and principles, gaining a +15 bonus on any relevant knowledge skill checks and a +5 bonus on actually performing blood magic rituals (1 CP).
  • General Knowledge / Black Magic Charms and Talismans. Anyone using this path will also be familiar with Black Magic Charms and Talismans (from The Practical Enchanter) in worlds which permit such items (not always relevant, and no great secret either, so no cost).

As for the actual spells…

Sacrificial Revival (L0): You can use the life energy from a young and healthy sacrificial victim to heal someone else. It takes one victim to power the equivalent of Cure Moderate Wounds or Lesser Restoration, two to get the effects of Cure Critical Wounds or Greater Restoration, and three to revive the dying (generally a plot device in d20, where death tends to be immediate or not at all) or very recently dead (within 2d6 hours). In the case of raising the dead it may require the resurrected individual up to three days to complete their recovery and they may remember strange or terrifying glimpses of the realms of the dead and/or hear the whispers of the dead for the rest of their days.

Blood Tempering (L1): You imbue an item or structure with the life-energy of your sacrifice. Weapons are classically tempered by impaling the victim with them as they come out of the forge and cooling them in the body, bridges and structures by entombing the victim in the foundations, bells and cannons by tossing the victim into the molten metal before you it is poured, or – for jewelry and other items – putting the item into a vat and filling it with their blood and still (briefly) living internal organs. The exact details really don’t matter that much of course. The targeted item or structure…

  • Gains +10 HP and will slowly heal over time – enough to negate all normal wear and tear and to recover one point of damage per day if it is damaged.
  • May more easily be made into an intelligent item, but tends to gain undesirable quirks – although these will only affect the “intelligent” functions. Apply the modifier for making a cursed item to the intelligence cost.
  • Is easier to use Animate Object on, making it effectively two size categories smaller for the purpose (if, once again, somewhat prone to undesirable behaviors).

Using Blood Tempering on living beings requires the ability to enchant living creatures.

  • Living beings are strengthened, gaining a +4 unholy bonus to Str and Con (Cha for creatures with no Con score) for seven full days.
  • Supernatural beings, such as demons and the undead, will find their unnatural hungers sated for seven full days.

Messenger To The Gods (L2): Gods want offerings – and the most sincere offering for a tribal species is always the same. a loved and valued member of their group. Whether that is the wise grandmother or leader, a warrior-protector, a beautiful maiden, or even a child full of potential… The gift is a life, either taken into the service of a god or gods – given over to them become a priest, shrine maiden, or monk – or offered directly, to be taken up into the halls of the gods. Despite the Book Of Vile Darkness, sacrifices to the gods rarely result in personal gifts. As the gift is offered from the people as a while, so is the blessing returned. The drought passes. The fields and beasts are fertile. The floods recede. The plague passes. A path of escape is found. The winds blow fair, that the fleet may set sail. From the gods comes life, and to them is life returned.

If you happen to have the proper version of Leadership, or wish to learn the Path Of Spirits as well, you can also sacrifice people to yourself and enslave their spirits. This is usually unwise – they tend to be uncooperative and to creatively “misinterpret” orders and such – but you can. It’s usually best to just take an Uncorrupted version that lets you recruit existing spirits who won’t be upset about you murdering them.

Scapegoat (L3): Bury someone or seal them up in tomb while they are still alive. Determine the remaining natural lifespan of your sacrifice in years. That is the number of people affected by some specific affliction – a terrible disease/infected by some type of horrible parasites/slowly being dissolved by all-devouring slime/afflicted by some horrible curse/whatever (no matter how virulent or resistant to normal cures their affliction is) who will recover and become immune if they come near the sepulcher containing your sacrifice. Unfortunately, the effect is transferred to the sacrifice, if the sepulcher is ever breached, that is also the number of people in the area who will promptly become infected with whatever it was. Technically the victim remains partially alive, their spirit trapped in their rotting (or preserved) flesh, until they are released. Such victims often rise as powerful undead if their sepulcher is ever opened – and the longer they are so entrapped, the more powerful they become if and when they are set free.

As a free bonus, this offers a vicious dilemma for “good” parties. Open the crypt and release the unjustly tormented soul within? Likely that of a child to boot? But then you have to deal with both the curse/plague/whatever it was containing and some viciously powerful undead – and the longer that soul has already been suffering, the worse the monstrosity that releasing it will unleash upon the world.

Nightmare Steed (L4): Temporarily freezing your sacrifices body between life and death lets you fill their spirit with the powers of darkness and command the resulting monstrosity – although the effect will end when the victim dies and their soul is dragged down to the lower places. Such monstrosities are equivalent to Evil Outsiders of up to CR 5 (most often a Nightmare, allowing the caster to use them as steeds to visit the darker realms of the dead and the near-dead, but this is sometimes used to call forth an unholy creature as an assassin or thief or to serve some other purpose) and will serve reliably for up to three days. If someone can find the victim and heal the wounds inflicted (always by torturous means, such as slow impalement, pouring molten lead down their throats, being dipped repeatedly into boiling water, flensing, or similar) the spell will be broken and the monstrosity will attack the caster for one round per day or part thereof remaining before dissipating. The victim will finish dying anyway regardless of curatives short of Raise Dead since their spirit has already departed – but at least they will not automatically be dragged into the lower planes.

Those with skills in enchanting objects (any form of Create Item will do) may choose to instead bind their choice of up to (their Knowledge / Arcana total) of the victims remaining spells, spell-like, or supernatural abilities into a talisman (usually a portion of the victims corpse) for later use – although this, of course, expends that ability. Personal, constant, abilities, such as auras last for one minute once invoked. Such items normally turn to dust in three days, although using Blood Tempering on the item will extend this interval indefinitely.

Forfending Offering (L5). Sacrifice can temporarily forestall disaster – turning aside a tornado, warding off the might of a hurricane or a volcanic eruption or terrible earthquake. Unfortunately, the number of sacrifices required increases with the scale of the catastrophe being warded off; offering a maiden to a modest island volcano once a year may suffice to forestall any major eruption (although minor ones are likely to continue), but warding off a tidal wave will require more. Turning aside hurricanes or placating some god of destruction for a year might require a hundred lives, while forestalling the sinking of Atlantis (or California) might require a yearly offering of thousands. Extending the life of a star or forestalling the onrushing death of a mortally injured god might well require a thousand sacrifices a month. It is possible to use this effect to forestall injuries to yourself, transferring physical and attribute damage, energy drain, and mental effects to the victim. Unfortunately, being dead, the victim cannot be healed – and once it’s limits are reached, it is released. Equally unfortunately – or perhaps fortunately – the caster may be linked with only one such spirit at a time

Read The Entrails (L6). If the body is a microcosm of the world… then close examination of the body should let you perceive parts of the world far beyond your reach or shielded against conventional divination. Yet for some reason people keep saying it’s unethical to pull someone’s internal organs out and vivisect them before they can finish dying (after they die, the sympathetic connection will no longer apply, so you need to work fast) to take advantage of that. For those who are willing to take such measures, Read The Entrails provides the equivalent of 1000 GP worth of research and up to two relevant checks – each made with a +20 bonus and capable of revealing information that should not normally be available. If you need to come up with a spell formula, or the secret name of a demon, or uncover a forgotten prophecy, or find a secret location, or to discover the location of some lost treasure, or to learn the stories of an ancient cycle of legends, this will do it for you.

Enchanted Spirit Binding (L7). You can bind the spirit of your sacrifice into the land itself, channeling otherworldly energies into the area and binding then to your will. The caster may set up to five Challenges or Boons of CR 8 or less within a radius of seven miles for visitors to encounter. If you want to add a ghoul-haunted old graveyard, a collapsing bridge, a prosperous farm, or a unicorns grove, so be it! While permanent until removed, such things can, however, be dealt with – or fail – normally. When the last one does… the spirit will be free to depart. Characters who know how to enchant living creatures can instead open a path for otherworldly energies to imbue a group of people – a particular family, or the inhabitants of a village, or some such – with some sort of curse or blessing. In game terms, they gain three Disadvantages as set by the caster and a compensatory 10 CP worth of abilities as set by the caster. Want to curse them with a basic form of Lycanthropy? Improve their crop yields and results as long as they make secret offerings to some secretive godling? This will do it for you.

Blood Enchantment (L8): You tortuously kill up to three people as a part of crafting an enchantment. This provides it with 3000 GP worth of powers per level of the victim(s) but invariably results in some sort of curse upon it – or possibly more than one if they are fairly minor. It may carry compulsions, cause those around it to become infected with hideous plagues, spread blights and wither plants nearby, only work if you cannibalize children, cause you to be accused of various crimes, hamper your attempts at gathering information, or any of a thousand other bits of nastiness – none of them easily countered, easy to live with, or pleasant.

Vital Transfusion (L9). You torture your victim to death over several days to slowly transfer a portion of some attribute of theirs to a willing target with a relative lack of that attribute. You may, for example, slaughter a youngster to reduce an older recipients effective age by up to three years (never, however, dropping below young adult), a strong, clever, wise (etc) person to grant a +1 inherent bonus to that attribute (recipients attribute plus existing inherent bonuses must be below that of the donor – although using four suitable victims in succession at least one week apart may grant an inherent bonus of up to +4 to any one attribute with a maximum total of +12 for any one recipient), a member of some group with a Package Deal may be sacrificed to grant their Package Deal to someone who does not have one already, and skillful individuals may be slain to grant +2 points in a skill to someone of lesser skill up to a maximum of +6 in any one skill and three enhanced skills in total). The price, however, is an accursed life. Perhaps everything the recipient tries to drink turns to blood and all food tastes like dust and ashes. Perhaps minor misfortunes follow them everywhere. Their secrets mysteriously leak. You are haunted by terrible nightmares and will often find it impossible to rest – and such problems (with the sole exception of those caused by stealing years of life, which will fade after those years pass) will accumulate or multiply as a target acquires additional stolen abilities.

It is also possible to use this ritual to absorb the residual persona of a recently-slain victim of the same type as the user – gaining the ability to take on their appearance, mannerisms, and many of their personal memories. This grants a +20 bonus to attempts to disguise the recipient as the deceased individual. The user may also accept up to three disadvantages related to the deceased individual to take on some of their abilities. Unfortunately, it is extremely unwise to try to do this more than once, since this allows the stolen memories to occasionally usurp control of the user’s body.

Now, presuming that you actually want to make use of these rituals… you will be wanting a way to keep your raw materials handy. For that, we have a somewhat more conventional spell and item.

Ironclad Ark

  • School: Transmutation, Level 3
  • Casting Time: One Standard Action
  • Components: V, S, M (A pinch of iron dust)
  • Target: Conscious but unresisting creature touched.
  • Duration: Permanent (see text)
  • Saving Throw: Automatic if attempted.
  • Spell Resistance: Yes (Irrelevant).

Touching an intelligent creature who is willing to submit to this spell, you transform them into a bead of indeterminate metal, small enough to be easily strung on a necklace or used as an ornament. Any items that the creature wears or carries less than a light load are transformed along with the creature. A careful examination of the bead will allow a skilled appraiser (DC 20) to determine the general nature of the being.

While so transformed, the creature is effectively petrified – almost completely inert and only showing the faintest traces of life and (deeply dreaming) thought even under magical examination. Creatures may be returned to normal by touching the bead and commanding their release. Otherwise the creature remains a bead unless the spell is broken, such as by dispel magic. If the bead is broken or damaged, the creature (if returned to its original state) has similar damage or deformities.(Q.V. Carry Companion, Shrink Item).

While this is a convenient way to carry individuals in need of rescue or later treatment, it sees much more use by slave-traders and such, since acceptance due to despair or to avoid punishment is just as valid as acceptance for any other reason. If you are particularly evil, beads can be fed to monsters, sacrificed, maimed, used as components for horrible spells that require draining others, and so on, without bothering to return them to their normal forms.

Soul (or Slaver’s) Wampum:

This elaborate loop of patterned beads may be worn as a belt, sash, headband, or similar adornment, but offers wielders the ability to efficiently carry along, and possibly slave-train, large numbers of people.

To do so, the user must draw a sigil of mastery upon an accepting target, a process requiring one minute, at which point the target transforms into a bead, which appears upon the Wampum, to remain there in safety until the user opts to release the target. If the user seeks merely to transport people, targets will simply dream slow and pleasant dreams as they sleep in stasis. If, however, the user is transporting slaves, they will be slave-trained in their dreams and occasionally (at least if there are enough of them) be called on to provide minor assistance for their owner – being rewarded for obedience and good service and punished for disobedience and bad service in their dreams as the Wampum’s guiding intelligence feels they need.

  • Ironclad Ark at will: SL2 (Reduced via an Ambient Magic limitation resulting in a one-minute casting time,) x CL3 x 1800 GP (Unlimited Use Command Word Activated) x .8 (Targets must be restrained and marked) x1.2 (large numbers of bead-slaves may offer very minor assistance to the user) = . 10.368 GP
  • Wizards Pocket: SL 1 x CL3 x 2000 GP (Unlimited-Use Use-Activated) x.5 (Only one “pocket” at a time, for a maximum storage of 100 Lb. Releasing or withdrawing a “bead” is a move-equivalent action) x.4 (Only stores beads from the Ironclad Arc spell) = 1200 GP. This effect manifests as a decorative belt of small beads forming intricate patterns. The belt never exceeds five pounds in weight, and the storage is still considered extradimensional (and thus is protected from Dispel Magic and similar effects), but can store a total of 5000 beads.
  • Distilled Joy (SL2 (Reduced via requiring a week instead of a day) x CL3 x 1800 GP (Unlimited-Use Use-Activated) x .1 (one use per week) x .4 (user must have at least two hundred slaves to draw from) = 432 GP.
  • Intelligent: (500 GP), Int, Wis, and Chr 10 (0 GP), Understands Common, Empathic (0 GP), Senses (Internal, 0 GP), Cantrip – Dreamweaving at Will (1000 GP), +5 Ranks in Profession (Slave Trainer) (2500 GP). Net Ego: 6. It’s purpose is to train slaves of course, but it doesn’t really have much of an alignment; if it’s user just wants to transport people without making them slaves, that’s fine. A bit of a waste perhaps, but fine. It also has no real interest in anything going on outside itself that isn’t a clear and direct threat. User’s may never even notice that it is intelligent.
  • Overall Cost Multiplier x2 (Does not take up an item slot). This does not, however, affect the price of it’s intelligence.

Total Cost: 28,000 GP.

Slave Services:

The slaves in a belt of Soul Wampum do provide some benefits for the owner

    • 25 Slaves: The user gains lucid dreams of a life of pleasure and luxury, served and pampered by his slaves. This has no game effect, but is quite enjoyable.
    • 50 Slaves: The user will find minor real-world tasks – cleaning clothing, setting up camp, making breakfast, setting and clearing tables, washing dishes, and so on – handled for him or her without effort.
    • 100 Slaves: The user gains a +2 Assistance Bonus on his or her skill checks.
    • 200 Slaves: The user gains one dose of Ambrosia / Distilled Joy per week. (Personally I tend to value this at a good deal less than the 200 GP listed. After all, it’s worth 2 XP for item creation (which is pretty paltry, with a value of only 10 GP), can be used as a component to boost the caster level of “good” spells (there aren’t really a lot of those) by +2 (not cumulative with other boosts), and as a “happy pill” that cures 1 point of damage – and so is worth a couple of cantrips. I’d call it about 20-25 GP per dose).
    • 400 Slaves: The user gains the use of Charms (7) and Talismans (3).
    • 800 Slaves: The user gains a +4 Assistance Bonus on his or her skill checks.
    • 1600 Slaves: The user gains a Wealthy lifestyle.
    • 3200 (or more) Slaves. The user gains an Extravagant lifestyle.

Getting stuffed in Soul Wampum is a fairly common form of punishment for those minor offenses that are unworthy of death; petty criminals can be safely stored away at no particular expense and – in a few decades, when they are thoroughly slave-trained and no one cares about them any longer – can then simply be auctioned off.

Evil spellcasters, of course, can also use them to make it easy to use people as material spell components using the Compact Metamagic. As noted earlier, a decent-sized animal sacrifice is generally worth -1 spell level. An intelligent creature is usually worth -2 spell levels. This is not, however, cumulative with the effects of other expensive material or XP components – although it can be used to replace up to 2000 GP / 400 XP worth or them (multiple sacrifices stack up to 10,000 GP / 2000 XP).

The Divine Lawful Republic Of Laurelin Part VI – First Impressions and Fireball Apprenticeships

Ailwellian Cities – Visitors First Impressions

The Cities tend to be a study in contrasts – the teeming and densely packed block-apartments of the Underclass sprawling around the edges (constructed and maintained by Construction Wagons) and pressed against the limits of the Wards, the fortifications of the military / administration (including the Skyship Docks and major facilities), the professional districts of the minor nobility, and the well-spread estates and parklands of the (relatively few) villas and mansions of the greater nobility at the center. The great Insula tend to almost be domains of their own, masses of spell-reinforced stone and timber towering a dozen or more stories, housing thousands, and – what with magical supplies and waste disposal – almost independent of the outside world. What need for transport when there is almost nowhere to go?

That is one of the things that leads to the low – and not entirely formalized – “age of majority”: a kid is old enough to live on their own whenever they can persuade some Insula manager that they should have a (free) apartment – whereupon they can simply live off the dole. Competent orphans have been known to get along just fine on their own very young indeed, even if they are very vulnerable to social predators.

By current standards, the Empire is fairly decadent. Why not? Work requirements are minimal to nonexistent, all the basics are essentially free, disease and basic medical care are not issues, and minor magic includes reliable contraception and easy abortion or childbirth. Drugs are common, there’s no such thing as a “drinking age”, and there are no really puritanical faiths (Well, OK – a few demon cults are against all pleasure simply because they want everyone miserable, but who pays attention to THEM?). Given magic, slaves, and huge personal power and wealth differentials. it’s not too surprising that the Greater Nobles do as they please and the rest of the world tends to follow along as best they may.

There are urban legends of Monstrous Insula – structures where creatures of the Wyld have gotten in and established hidden colonies, preying on the folk moving in and maintaining a facade of normality even while sealed-off foundation levels are devoted to colonies of horrors – but if such a thing was ever found… surely the military would let everyone know about it promptly!

Cities do tend to be very large; the teeming, and generally uncounted, Underclasses may number in the hundreds of thousands or even millions – but the functional near-independence of the great Insula (lower floor business / upper floors apartment buildings) means that most of them pass unremarked and that there is little need for in-city transportation of either people or raw materials. Still, there is a reason why most new Sparks rise from the Underclasses; they simply outnumber everyone else fabulously.

Sadly, truly long-range transportation is almost entirely by Skyship. While an active caster can compensate for it, the shifting energies of the Wyld and the inherent instability of the disc itself render long-range teleportation gates and magical transport artifacts unreliable at best – sharply limiting their range and scale. That’s why Ring Gates are about the most powerful available teleportation systems, and even they are quite limited. Roadway networks exist, but rarely go anywhere near the frontier, usually being strictly limited to the interior of the disc.

Developing Sparks, “Fireball Syndrome”, and “Fireball Apprenticeships”.

Why do Adventurers – or “Sparks” on Ailwellia – find it so easy to locate followers, henchmen, and similar hangers-on? Sure, there’s their incredible wealth, and tendency to pay high – but still, working for an adventurer is pretty much just asking for it. So why are people apparently so eager to do it? Well, here we have one possible reason.

Lawful Sparks like Order, Stability, and Security. They tend to join the Imperial military, which is well aware of how to husband it’s resources. While that means that most of them live, their power-growth tends to be rather slow, and commonly peaks out at relatively low level – although there are always a few top talents who go on to be high-level war wizards or imperial generals or spymasters or some such.

Neutral (at least with respect to order and chaos) Sparks tend to do a little light adventuring (especially when young), but usually stick to the semi-civilized areas, leaving the deep wilds for for the crazy folk who want to take insane risks. They die young more often than military Sparks, but usually retire to more dependable (and conventionally profitable) jobs fairly early on. They average slightly higher level – if less efficiently trained – than the military types and are often found as local magical specialists, merchants, caravan guards, and leaders of various civilian groups.

Chaotic Sparks tend to gravitate to the wyld zones on the fringes of the imperial border, and to be far more willing to gamble in pursuit of fast wealth and power. An awful lot of them die young – but the survivors tend to expand their power explosively. There aren’t ever that many of them, but they tend to make up the empires “Major Nobility” – the people with huge amounts of personal power.

Thus the Empire remains tolerably well balanced – it’s far more numerous defenders, and their much more organized and cooperative attitudes, tend to be quite sufficient to channel much of the energy of the chaotically-inclined sparks (who are almost always working at cross-purposes anyway) into more acceptable directions, such as dealing with disturbances on the fringe of the Empire – in many ways a chaotic sparks natural home anyway.

Which brings us to what the Military calls “Fireball Syndrome”. While few in the Empire know the name… quite a lot of them have heard enough stories to get the general idea.

  • Lawful sparks tend to hoard their hard-earned power. They expend it on carefully-optimized growth, on abilities known, reliable, and broadly useful.
  • Neutral Sparks may indulge in a few whimsies as youngsters, but are usually fairly sober by the time they’re adults and are using their powers in society. They tend to specialize more, but still tend towards the more profitable abilities.
  • Chaotic Sparks however… particularly the ones who undertake insane adventures in the wilderness and grow explosively – are often profligate with their power. After all… it didn’t take long to acquire, and they tend to feel like it won’t take long to get more! They’re the ones who are willing to spend their power buying weird abilities, to invest it in pets and companions, and to use it in insane ways. After all, just drawing on all that wild power tends to make them a bit crazy.

Just as importantly, that same explosive growth tends to have effects on them. They don’t have time to adjust their perspective as slower growing sparks do, and thus still tend to measure all things against themselves. Fireball Sparks unconsciously compare normal people and creatures to their current abilities… and so they adopt tigers, and grizzly bears, and giant kraken as cuddly pets, empower them even further, and let them roam around their houses. They treat alien entities of vast power as benign relatives – and they fairly often tend to treat normal folk and normal youngsters like they were dogs and puppies. After all… the gap between a kid and his pet dog is far, FAR, smaller than the gap between a Spark who’s undergone (or is still undergoing) explosive growth and a normal person. It’s rarely really a conscious thing, but – given that the Empire includes plenty of indentured servants / slaves – a Fireball Spark is fairly likely to acquire a bunch of them (whether legally or just de facto) and treat them as domestic animals; useful for small chores and errands, company around the place, and general housekeeping. Young males often tend to treat them as harems as well, but that’s always been a fairly common thing for any powerful young male to do and usually isn’t terribly unpleasant. Any Fireball Spark that wants a harem usually applies enough enhancement magic to the project to ensure that everyone involved is willing and eager.

Regardless of the details, Fireball Sparks rarely lack for volunteers for their service. After all… Fireball Sparks often imbue their servants with rather a LOT of their power. As they pour power into their servants to make them more useful, the gap in power tends to narrow and their servants acquire various useful abilities. Even more importantly, as they speak and interact with – and play with – those servants… they almost inevitably start to see them as people again, gaining some prospective. Eventually… the servants terms of service will be up, or the Spark will grow bored with them (often a fairly quick process for a Chaotic Spark), and they will get turned loose in favor of picking up (and empowering) new playthings.

But power bestowal is generally permanent. When a Fireball Spark turns his or her servants loose they will quite commonly come out if it with more personal power than a normal human being could ever expect to gain – quite enough to attain a decent social rank (usually placing among the “Minor Nobility”) pretty much immediately, Sure, it’s a bit of a gamble – serving a Fireball Spark is rarely entirely safe – but the odds are actually quite good. Far better than the odds of a normal person attaining a decent social position in any other way.

And that is why “Fireball Apprenticeships”, no matter what the details, (unless they’re utterly grotesque of course) are generally highly valued, are often competed for, and are subject to a certain amount of military supervision. They’re just too tempting for most normal youngsters to turn down.

Eclipse D20, Institutions And The March Wardens

In reality, power flows from institutions. No writ, or constitution, or declaration means anything without people who are, as a group, willing to pay attention to it. The genius of a general and tactician, or the wisest of monarchs, or the most brilliant inventor, means nothing without organizations willing to fight at their command, or carry out their instructions, or to build, deploy, and maintain their creations. Even religious leaders who claim to be backed by the will of supernatural forces seem pretty dependent on having followers to act on their beliefs and decrees.

One person, by themselves, can sometimes accomplish something great – whether building a road, or turning barren land into a lush forest, or some such – but such things are the labors of many years or even a lifetime devoted to creating such a legacy.

In d20, and in most science fiction and fantasy featuring individual mighty heroes… the opposite is true. Organizations mean little. The strengths of common men – even en mass – pale before the power of individual entities. The power of a Church means little if the God Emperor Of Mankind should descend from his Golden Throne or the Titans of Greek Mythology war once more for control of the universe. When Dr Strange puts forth his hand, and changes the memories of the entire world and even those of near-cosmic beings, creates videotapes of his own funeral, and ensures that no one in the world will recognize him unless he removes his spell from them – what can the IRS or CIA do about it?

Message threads with the general theme “First level army versus eighteenth level wizard, who wins?” became noted for their tendency to devolve into a long list of “The wizard does this. Problem solved” “Well, what if that spell/item/creature/tactic is not available?” “Then the wizard does this. Problem solved”, and so on until everyone got bored.

In d20 real power comes from mighty individuals. A kingdom may endure beyond the lifespans of it’s founders – but it will do so by virtue of being ignored, by being handed over to a new set of mighty individuals, or by being ruled by some mighty entity that endures across the years. Power in d20 simply isn’t something that you can pass on effectively. Even if you use something like Leadership to pass on a portion of your power… the effects will fade away a few generations on – and even before then some adventurers might blow in and casually take over.

While most worlds tend to gloss over this kind of thing in favor of simply assuming a vaguely fantasy novel and movie-style “middle ages” milieu of kings, queens, and castles, Ailewellia explores this dynamic a bit.

Still, organizations do have some value even in d20 universes – so here is a one that the player characters have decided to create, more or less by waving their mighty powers at the universe and announcing that it should exist.

They’re high level. They can pretty much DO that.

On the disc, the Wyld Regions constantly shift and change, throwing up a wide variety of domains, creatures, and themes. For the most part, the Empire tracks these changes with mapping magic – responding to threats, cultivating useful aspects, and looking to expand itself.

Unfortunately, the Wyld invariably throws up occasional regions that confuse things – blocking or distorting divination, or simply showing something else entirely to such probes. Given the nature of the Wyld… eventually a serious threat WILL arise AND will pass unnoticed long enough to become a existential menace to civilization.

After the cataclysm people will rebuild of course – but always with the risk of another race being lost or that – this time – the fall will be complete and permanent.

Such a catastrophe is inevitably eventually of course – chance and entropy always win in the end – but the intervals can be greatly extended by better monitoring of the Wyld areas.

Ergo, here is an institution designed to provide additional warning, thus hopefully extending the time between major threats sneaking up on everyone. To make it readily available the basic package is set up for first level characters.

March Warden (24 CP Package)

  • Mystic Link with Communications and Power Link, Specialized and Corrupted for Reduced Cost / links you to a specific, relatively small, location, does not interact with any further mystic links you may buy rather than stacking as Mystic Link upgrades usually do, communications only occurs in GM-specified visions and vague feelings, user must train extensively in and regularly visit the linked location, user is obligated to defend the location (3 CP).
  • Privilege: March Wardens are supported by the Empire, and have a comfortable lifestyle, free access to basic equipment, and easy access to the place they’re linked to (3 CP).
  • 1d6+2 (6) Mana with Spell Enhancement, Specialized and Corrupted/only to enhance ranger spells, must be tied into prepared spells from the ranger spell list (3 CP). In effect, this lets them squeeze a spell of up to level three into a “cantrip” slot and a spell of up to level four into a first level spell slot as long as they have enough mana.
  • Rite of Chi with +2 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted / only to refill the pool above (3 CP).
  • Three Levels of the Ranger Spellcasting Progression (normally Wisdom based) (6 CP).
  • One Caster Level, Specialized in Ranger Spellcasting (3 CP).
  • Travel (The Wyld) (3 CP).

With that package… you get continuous access to the powers provided by some magical location, you get to use a few fairly impressive ranger-style spells each day, and you get to travel the Wyld fairly readily. You even get basic gear, supplies, and healing for your injuries. Yes, it costs between a half and a third of your first level character points and a lot of the benefits depend on the point you’re linked to – but there are much worse combinations.

Advanced March Warden (+12 CP on basic 24 CP Package).

This may, if the Game Master is feeling especially generous in a given setting, be available as a Package Deal at no cost. Sadly, this won’t apply on Ailewellia, where package deals are generally only available as racial features.

  • Luck with +4 Bonus Uses, Specialized in Saving Throws for Half Cost (6 CP). This is something that most characters should have anyway. Automatically making a saving throw when you really need to will usually save a characters life several times over during the course of their careers.
  • Shapeshift (6 CP). Stealth, ways to explore exotic environments, emergency escape… there are few more useful abilities to have when exploring a constantly-changing environment even if you never develop any of the advanced forms. In combination with Luck… being able to say “I made the save, and am turning into an eagle/otter/badger to fly/swim/burrow away!” may not let you fight that greater demon, but it increases your odds of surviving some overpowering encounter many times over.

Now the real kicker is going to be that Nexus, Entity, or Point of Power that the March Warden is linked to. That’s what is is going to provide the extra power needed to make this function. In this case…

The Citadel of the March Wardens was founded to keep an eye on the borders of the Empire and the Wyld Reaches beyond. It stands atop a crag, founded on a minor nexus too small and far too isolated to support a city – but sufficient to the purpose.

Rank V Ward Major (Small Castle Sized, 28,800 GP – a pretty trivial investment for a party of sixteenth level characters even if they weren’t well above their expected wealth by level. See The Practical Enchanter). This offers its residents – and those linked to it – four Minor benefits and one Major benefit:

  • Minor Benefits:
    • Messaging: Everyone can keep in touch via tiny sendings.
    • Warcraft: Everyone gains +2 BAB, +1d10 (and Con Mod) HP, and proficiency with Shields, Light and Medium Armor, and Simple and Martial Weapons. These are typeless bonuses.
    • Grant Of Aid: Everyone gains the Grant of Aid ability. If they already have it, they gain +4 Bonus Uses. (Grant of Aid: User is healed 1/Day per three levels or part thereof of 1d8+5 Damage, or 1d3 attribute damage, or one negative level. This does not require an action, the player simply decides when his character receives aid).
    • +6 Ranks in Knowledge/Geography and Knowledge/Nature (The Wyld).
  • Major Benefit:
    • Unbinding: Residents are continuously protected by Freedom Of Movement.

That’s communications, essential martial skills, and much more, all wrapped up together. It’s not the incredible power of a high-level adventurer – but it’s competence for an entire group, all more or less free from their point of view as a gift from a Ward Major. This could be upgraded fairly readily (albeit with a lot more money), but Wards Major in the Ailewelia setting have to be set on a powerful magical nexus – and most of the ones suitable for anything beyond this point already have something on them.

Of course, here it is again. The March Wardens are (like most d20 characters) inhumanely effective on their own for normal human beings – but it is a powerful patron that actually makes them mean something in a d20 universe. Do you want the March Wardens to become a serious power? You won’t get there by instituting a training program or by spending any reasonable amount on new equipment. But you could get there quite quickly indeed by having high level individual take “Leadership” (in Eclipse, likely specialized in being Patron of the March Wardens and Corrupted in that their loyalty is mostly to the Empire and Civilization rather than specifically to their patron, for a net cost of 2 CP) so as to bestow some levels on the March Wardens.

And since a Ward Major is fairly immortal… the March Wardens can continue to be a reasonably effective, if not an especially major, d20 power for many centuries to come.

Of course, the entire organization is basically founded on a high level characters spare pocket change and 2 CP (the equivalent of 2 SP or a third of a feat out of the (likely) nearly 500 CP available to a sixteenth level character) invested on a whim.

That sort of thing is why national armies can be represented as a few high-level characters and why Dark Lord Kevin versus a Star Wars Battle Fleet was more or less a curb-stomp of better than half of the battle fleet. The real battle – and the fate of several worlds – was decided in a personal confrontation between the high-level characters on each side.

Exotic Martial Arts – Lightning Strike, Feathered Serpent, Pacifist Fist, Shadowed Gaze, Care Bear Stare, Pipes Of Doom, Hajimari Mo Shori, Torchfighter, and Robber Baron

And for today it’s a nine exotic martial arts. As is to be expected, none of them are particularly reasonable. Some of them aren’t even particularly sane. Nevertheless, here they are.

  • Lightning Strike: The Eclipse version of Iajitsu.
  • Feathered Serpent: For when you want to use your bow in close combat.
  • Pacifist Fist: The art of last-minute negotiation.
  • Shadowed Gaze: Attacking with Photon Manipulation.
  • Care Bear Stare: Yes. Go ahead. Combine it with Pacifist Fist.
  • Pipes Of Doom: For inflicing mayhem with your music.
  • Hajimari Mo Shori: When the staredown decides the battle.
  • Torchfighter: Who needs a real weapon? Beat them up with a torch.
  • Robber Baron: An economic warfare style.
  • As a bonus, there’s a discussion on using Witchcraft was a weapon, an example of a player being awkward, and the War Torch, an unusual simple weapon.

Lightning Strike Style (Dexterity):

While great beasts, armored juggernauts, and men of valor may withstand many blows, many a lesser foe may be dispatched with a single swift strike – all the more thoroughly if they are yet unready. Ignore an opponents arms. What use are they if they do not get to wield them? Be prepared to strike instantly and with true killing intent. Victory may not be yours, but your foes shall feel your wrath.

  • Requires: BAB +4 or more, Dex 16+, having fought at least one duel. Employs a chosen one-handed weapon.
  • Basic Techniques: Attack 2, Power 4 (+4 Damage), Defenses 2, Synergy (Initiative/Specialized in Formal Duels for Double Effect (+4)).
  • Advanced and Master Techniques: Double Damage versus Flat-Footed Opponents, +3d6 Sneak Attack.
  • Occult Techniques: Inner Strength x2, Vanishing Technique, Ki Focus (+4 Initiative).

This, of course, is the Eclipse version of Iajitsu Focus or Pathfinder Iajitsu Strike. Unlike those, it maxes out at +(6d6+8) instead of (9d6) – but it also doubles the user’s base damage. Also unlike those styles, it simply requires a flat-footed opponent – not that the weapon have just been drawn, so if you really want to build a character around it you don’t have to sheathing and unsheathing your weapon. You just need to keep your opponent flat-footed or at least fulfill the conditions for sneak attacks.

Feathered Serpent Style (Dexterity):

The bow is a power that lets an ordinary men reach out and strike down beasts that move at speeds no man can match, that plucks birds from the air, that brings death to the predators that would devour their families, that makes any high place into a defended fortress. It struck without the risk of closing to charging ranges that bedeviled spears and stones. It pierced deep – and, unlike the magic that few could master, it made tribes, rather than individual heroes, strong. Mastery of the Bow is bred into blood and bone and calls forth the valor of men – although few now walk that ancient path.

  • Requires: BAB +4, Dex 16+, use of a particular type of bow.
  • Basic Techniques: Attack 2, Defenses 2, Power 2, and Strike.
  • Advanced And Master Techniques: Mighty Blow, Point Blank Shot, Rapid Shot, and Ki Arrow*
  • Occult Techniques: Inner Strength II, Touch Strike, and Focused Blow.

*) Ki Arrow: Presence, Specialized for Double Effect/Only affects the user, two first level spell effects, Gravity Bow and Arrow Mind.

Yes, it’s yet another bow style. This time around, it’s set up to allow the use of the bow as a primary weapon in close combat. That’s not especially reasonable (which is why it’s in a collection of exotic martial arts), but this is d20.”Reasonable” went out the window when the word “Magic” came up.

Pacifist Fist Style (Charisma):

The Art Of War is often said to be Diplomacy continued by other means. Practitioners of the Pacifist Fist Style see war as a failure; the only righteous use of force is in defense – and so they have developed the art of giving peace another chance, even when most folk would say that battle has already begun.

  • Requires: Diplomacy total of +8 or more.
  • Basic Abilities: Defenses 3 (Adds to Will Saves), Strike (Voice, causes self-realization damage versus Charisma), Synergy (Diplomacy, Sense Motive, Intimidation, and Gather Information)
  • Advanced and Master Techniques:
    • Katsujinken: This ability allows it’s user’s to negotiate even at the very last moment, giving them a last-ditch opportunity to avert death and disaster. Even as swords and bows are being drawn, or guns are brought to bear, the user may draw forth the time for a brief conversation from the tides of war. Reflex Training with +1 Bonus Uses (four/day total), Corrupted for Increased Effect (allows lots of free actions) and Specialized for Reduced Cost (4 CP) / Only to allow conversations and negotiations with opponents or potential opponents, plus Blessing, Specialized and Corrupted / only to share the Reflex Training ability to have conversations with an opponent (2 CP).
    • Opportunist: The user may switch to another martial arts style if negotiations fall through.
    • Immunity to Those Who Completely Refuse to Negotiate (Very Common, Major, Trivial, grants the user DR 5/- against all attacks (including energy and attribute damage) by such opponents, +2 to all Saves against them, and a +2 to their AC against them.
    • Mindspeech, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect (ignores language barriers and works on anything down to animals that can communicate normally, even if not in words) / only to attempt negotiations during Katsujinken.
  • Occult Techniques: Inner Strength x2, Healing Hand, and Ki Focus (+4 Sacred Bonus to Charisma)

All right. The odds of talking your way out of most fights in d20 is about zero, Nevertheless, if it is in character to try here’s a way to do so without just conceding the initiative to your opponent.

Shadowed Gaze Style (Dexterity):

Whether surrounded by glittering motes, afterimages, or a simple blur, the rare individual who masters the use of Shadowweave in combat gains a wide variety of useful options, even if the raw power available is less than overwhelming.

  • Requires: Witchcraft (Shadowweave)
  • Basic Abilities: Defenses 4 (Corrupted for Increased Effect / not effective against True Sight or non-visual targeting senses), Power 4, and Strike.
  • Advanced And Master Techniques: Whirlwind Attack, 3d6 Sneak Attack.
  • Occult Techniques: Inner Strength x2, Light Foot, and Vanishing

A few – mostly online – players have tried desperately to turn various abilities into instant-win buttons – usually by trying to claim that (generally misapplied) real-world scientific rules somehow make those abilities incredibly lethal or powerful. (The ones who are really focused on this approach rarely play for long; they tend to get frustrated). One of the most recent was trying to use Witchcraft.

The first attempt was made assuming that – since the “hard science” default for the Shadowweave power manipulates photons – Shadowweave can instantly generate lethal beams of radiation and / or cook things with microwaves throughout its ten minute default duration.

The answer there, of course, is that Witchcraft uses personal energy. While it is entirely possible for a skilled Witch (presumably with a technical background of some sort) to upgrade ambient photons into gamma rays or microwave radiation, the power output is still only the usable fraction of that of the physical body and it’s applied indirectly. Thus such attempts are about as effective in doing damage as a decently skilled punch or kick – about 1d4 to 1d6 damage (almost always “Fire” damage in d20 although Electrical is possible).

Now that is highly efficient in terms of power to damage – it only costs 1 Power for ten minutes of activity, in which time you could do a hundred dice of damage – but 1d6 a round? That really isn’t much more effective than using a club or torch – and might be far less effective if you have a good strength bonus or get more than one physical attack. Time matters too. Still, this is going to be a ranged touch attack, so there’s that.

The second attempt was using ambient energy sources – wanting to create a Solar Lens and hurl beams of superheated radiant death around.

Now that IS somewhat more promising; after all, solar furnaces exist, and using Shadowweave to redirect light is still nice and cheap. Moreover, the first reported use of a solar furnace in combat was ascribed to Archimedes during the Second Punic War (218-202 BC) so the concept is almost certainly available in most fantasy settings – even though testing has shown that the mechanisms described were probably unworkable, and the report was likely referencing a theoretical idea rather than a working system. In this case, however, we’re dealing with a set of psychic abilities – so it really is the thought that counts.

The actual temperature achievable is necessarily limited to the apparent temperature of the local sun measured from the planetary surface (which automatically accounts for absorption, and so is a more reliable guide than the Solar Constant would be)

Since that information is not available in most settings, but the worlds are often quite earthlike, the simplest approach is to look at the temperatures achievable by existing solar furnaces. The Odeillo solar furnace is the world’s largest, at 177 ft high and 157 ft wide. While that is not a continuous reflective area, it is still more than twenty times the area a witchcraft-based lens can be expected to cover. Odeillo can reach temperatures of up to 6330 F.

House fires vary, but the average temperature is reported to be a bit over a thousand degrees F. Looking at the rules on environmental hazards… that’s 1d6/Round. Being hit by a blob of Lava at about 2000 F is 2d6, likely in part because it will stick and continue to cause damage, which is simply rolled into the 2d6,

The d20 damage rules are not linear however, which is why a direct hit with a one megaton fusion weapon only does 16d8 damage and why a hit with a colossal mace (12 x 12 x 12 times the mass, traveling 12x the distance in the same time, and thus able to transfer 12 to the fifth power (248,832 to be precise) times as much damaging kinetic energy to the target) does not inflict thousands of times the damage of a hit with a normal mace.

So… the “solar beam” will affect a relatively small area and (unlike lava) will not stick, will create an ionization layer where it hits which will dissipate part of the available energy, and is only three times as hot. Being generous and ignoring the ionization problems while applying d20’s logarithmic damage multipliers (the math can be found on the site), that gives us 1.6 times the damage of lava an average of 11.1 points. So to get that average… 3d6+1. Presuming, of course, that you have a nice clear day, the sun is high in the sky, and you can concentrate on maintaining the effect. Since it will start to spread out at range, you’ll probably lose a d6 or so over some increment – probably over 40 to 80 feet since the collimation will be affected by the radius of your initial lens effect. For simplicity the GM might just give it medium range. Its going to be a ranged touch attack again though, which is something.

So this approach works, but it isn’t really a beam of ultimate burning death in d20 terms. It is comparable to other modern-style energy weapons from d20 future however, which is probably quite appropriate. Still a very useful tool though!

At this point the player blew up, announced that no one else understood anything at all, that he was being malignantly cheated of his powers, and that everyone should concede to his brilliance. When this did not work, he rage-quit.

That’s too bad since he didn’t get to the idea of using fine control – which must be there to make images – to inflict damage directly to vital organs or (possibly!) to interfere with the electrical impulses of the nervous system. That doesn’t really work in d20 because d20 doesn’t actually pay any attention to biology at all (there are some articles on that around), but you certainly CAN buy precision damage to use with Witchcraft, and actually accomplish something useful with your incredibly cheap, if very small, fire or electrical attack. Even better, since you can effectively flank people with Witchcraft with great ease, your sneak attack will work much of the time. And it will still be a ranged touch attack.

Witchcraft really isn’t very good at inflicting massive damage, but versatility has a power of it’s own – and, like anything else, if you invest in enough upgrades, you can build a reasonably effective character around it.

Care Bear Stare Style (Charisma):

Love and compassion have a power of their own. While few indeed are those with the spirit to make such things a focus of their abilities, there are always those few.

  • Requires: Witchcraft (Glamour and Healing)
  • Basics: Power 4 (Increases the DC of saves versus Glamour-induced Charming, Calming, and similar effects, increases amount healed by direct healing), Toughness 4, and Synergy (Diplomacy and Heal).
  • Advanced and Master Techniques; Improved Disarm, Sneak Attack II (Boosts Healing rather than damage), Advanced Witchcraft (Dismissal).
  • Occult Techniques: Inner Strength II, Iron Skin, and Ki Block.

OK, this is silly. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with being silly. This also seriously stretches the whole idea of a “martial art”, and some of the rules for them – but Eclipse explicitly allows weird variations and it this variation is hardly likely to break the game.

Pipes Of Doom (Charisma):

A skilled instrumentalist can play beautifully- or can produce a cacophony that seems capable of driving a sonic spike straight through their victims bleeding ears into their brains. A very few can do both at the same time, turning music into a deadly weapon of it’s own. Despite the name, any kind of instrument can be used with this style, although user’s are limited to a particular category of instruments unless they learn another type.

  • Requires: Perform (Instrument Type) 8+
  • Basic Abilities: Strike (Sonic, 1d4 base, range 30′ touch attack, no save), Power III, Synergy (Perform Subskill), Synergy (Perform Vocal), Defenses II (Sonic Deflection Shield).
  • Advanced And Master Techniques: Whirlwind (allows an attack on a 20′ radius), Opportunist (can maintain a musical Mystic Artist effect while making musical attacks), Weapon Kata (Voice), Change Of Key (Metamagic/Elemental Manipulation (Specialized and Corrupted/only to alter the elemental effect of the musical attack from Sonic to Force, Fire, Electrical, Cold, or Acid, 2 CP), plus Metamagic/Amplify (Specialized and Corrupted / Only to add (Cha Mod) to the base damage, 2 CP), plus Streamline (Specialized and Corrupted / only to let the Amplify effect be added for free, 2 CP)).
  • Occult Techniques: Inner Strength x2, Paralysis, and Wall Of Sound (Ki Block).

Pipes Of Doom won’t make a performer into a particularly powerful combatant, at least not without some major enhancements – although, since this style makes a musical instrument into an effective weapon, it can be enchanted or enhanced as such – but it can give them something to do while they (presumably) enhance the rest of the group.

Hajimari Mo Shori (Wisdom)

Two warriors stand, motionless, yet already joined in battle. By the time that blades are drawn, the victor has already been decided. Such is that art of Hajimari Mo Shori – Victory at the Onset. This is a weapon form, but the user may opt to learn the art for use with any single type of weapon.

This art is Specialized for Double Effect: may only be focused on a single opponent at a time, user must spend an action making an opposed Will check against said opponent, with the art only becoming effective if he or she wins.

  • Requires: Will Save Bonus of +4 or more, commitment to some form of warriors code, Weapon Focus on the chosen weapon or point-buy equivalent.
  • Basic Techniques: Attack 4, Defenses 4, Toughness 2
  • Advanced and Master Techniques: Mighty Blow (Double Effect provides a +4 bonus on the roll to confirm a critical), Dodge, Improved Disarm (Double Effect prevents the return disarm attempt if you fail to disarm an opponent), and Expertise (AC and Damage, Corrupted for Triple Effect, one way only; -1 to -5 AC for triple that amount of bonus damage).
  • Occult Techniques: Inner Strength x2, Light Foot and Resist Pain.

A powerful style for duelists, Hajimari Mo Shori can – if you win the contest of wills – grant an enormous edge on your opponent. Even if they are using a martial art of their own, doubling the effect of your own is a powerful advantage. Of course, if you lose, you’ve wasted time and will have to wait until the next round to switch to a more useful style. A skilled opponent will doubtless make good use of that time.

Torchfighter Style (Strength):

The Torchfighter has one basic strategy; you are holding what is basically a burning club; hit things with it and set them on fire. If they are just out of reach, lunge with fire. If they are further away than that, threaten to set them on fire.

It isn’t pretty and it isn’t fancy, but people have been waving burning sticks at dangerous things to hit them, set them on fire, and hold them back, for quite some time. The reflexes needed are pretty well instinctive by now.

  • Requires: Str and Dex 14+
  • Basic Abilities: Attack 2, Defenses 2, Power 4, and Synergy (Intimidation).
  • Advanced And Master Techniques: Blinding Strike, Improved Bull Rush, Mighty Blow, and Reach.
  • Occult Techniques: Inner Strength x2, Serpent Strike (force opponent to breathe flame, Con only but only costs 1 Con Point to use), and Wrath (All damage becomes fire damage, fire resistance 12 for 3d6 rounds, 2 Con Points to use).

Building A Better Torch:

The base rules are that a medium-sized Torch, when used as a weapon, does 1d3 damage +1 Fire Damage and normally counts as an improvised weapon (-4 to Attack Checks, throwing range of 10′). Of course, torches are normally relatively short, light, lengths of wood with an end wrapped in oiled, pitch-soaked, or waxed rags and set alight. Anyone actually intending to use a torch as a weapon will want a heavier piece of wood and more fuel (thus eliminating the “improvised” part). If they want to get really elaborate, a metal end (so that you can reuse your torch), with short stud/spikes on it to help hold the rags and fuel (a “War Torch”) is in order.

  • Torch: 1 CP, 1 Lb, 1d3 (+1 Fire) damage if used as a weapon, Critical 20/x2, burns for one hour. -4 to hit. May set a creature on fire on a critical hit.
  • Heavy Torch / Flaming Club: 3 CP, 1 Lb, 1d4 (+2 Fire) damage if used as a weapon, Critical 20/x2, burns for two hours, may set a creature on fire on a critical hit.
  • War Torch: Really, this is basically a light mace with studs that serve as anchorage for wrapping it in strips of cloth that happen to be on fire. Using Pathfinders weapon design rules this is a One-Handed Simple Weapon (6 DP), Hammer Weapon Group, Improved Damage (1d4 Bashing, 1 DP), Secondary Damage (1d4 Fire, 2 DP), Improved Critical Range (19-20, 3 DP), Tool (It’s a torch. Thanks to being heavier it will normally burn for two hours before more pitch must be applied, although it will need a fresh dip after each combat in which it is used as a weapon). 5 Lb, 6 GP.
    • Net: War Torch: 1d4 Bludgeoning + 1d4 Fire, Crit 19-20/x2, 5 Lb, each successful hit requires a DC 15 Reflex save from the victim to avoid catching on fire.

That’s actually pretty effective in the early game, where catching on fire for 1d6/round is something to worry about, but will lose it’s menace later on. Of course, the Torchfighters occult techniques may be relatively easy to resist, but 2d4 Constitution Damage is a fairly deadly threat even late in the game.

Robber Baron Style (Intelligence):

Business can be just as cutthroat and vicious as any battle with blades or spells, as the Robber Baron well knows. With ruthless tactics a practitioner of the Robber Baron style can often drive those with less business acumen into quick bankruptcy.

  • Requires: Economic Warfare Proficiency, Control of a business.
  • Basic Abilities: Strike (Yes, literally inducing an opposing businesses employees to leave), Power 3 (increasing the number of lost employees), Toughness 4 (the “Company Town” effect; keeping your employees in debt to you makes it very hard for them to leave), and Synergy (the user’s primary business skill).
  • Advanced and Master Techniques: Mighty Blow (On a critical Strike the opposing business must spend a turn reorganizing and reopening stores rather than acting), Whirlwind Attack (You may strike at up to seven opposing businesses or storefronts at once), Improved Bull Rush (you may attempt to place opponents in an unfavorable business position, driving their operations out of the most profitable areas), and Deflect Arrows (you may attempt to avoid a legal entanglement, summons, order, or similar difficulty).
  • Occult Techniques: Inner Strength II (Only adventurers normally become skilled enough to use Occult Business Techniques, and they normally have resources from adventuring beyond the reach of normal businessmen), Healing Hand (bringing those hidden resources into play), and Paralysis (Through legal action you may render an opponent temporarily unable to do anything to stop you).

All right, economic warfare rarely comes up in my games, and I’d be willing to bet that it almost never comes up in most games – but if somebody wants to invest some skill points in it, why not? A clever player can always find somewhere to put it to use.

Eclipse D20 – The Piscin

Piscin (63 CP / +1 ECL racial template)

Piscin, also known as Hexcats, Witch-Cats, or (in adventurous cases) “Pawdawans” are bobcat sized humanoid felines, typically found hanging around human civilizations – usually taking basic positions in pest control, personal service, babysitting, cooking, and similar jobs where they can live comfortably on irregular, and poorly-paid, work since their personal expenses and living requirements tend to be pretty minimal. They are slightly larger and heavier than a typical house cat, usually have tufted ears, are comfortable moving on both all fours and standing up, and have frontal paw-hands. With a fairly impressive racial knack for a modest selection of useful spells they also make excellent adventuring companions or squires, although they are not the best in direct combat.

Personally, they tend to act a lot like any other cat; rubbing against friends (and thus scent-marking them), regarding most attempts to get them to go away as invitations to play, climbing things to peer down at people, sleeping wherever they please (and in positions that would snap a humans spine), pouncing on small prey, and alternating between collapsing in an apparently boneless puddle and bounding around wildly.

On Ailewelia Piscin are a new species – the creations of epic-level alchemy and an assortment of other magics. Why did the characters invest time, money, and magic in this project? Because one of the players likes tales about helpful cats – Puss In Boots, Magnifi-Cat, The Game Of Rat And Dragon, and many more – and decided that his character wanted some cute little cat-people aides of his own. And so the party – who are all willing to throw immense amounts of magic and not a little money into basically random projects – made it happen. This is, of course, why they’re rather highly magical; they were designed by some powerful mystics instead of being sculpted by gods or evolving naturally.

Ability Modifiers: +2 Dex (12 CP in Template). Unsurprisingly for a feline, Piscin are fast and agile.

Shrinking I, Corrupted / Reduces base movement to 20′ (8 CP). Piscin are on the lower end of the “Small” size range, and generally stand about two and a half feet to three feet tall (76-91 CM) (plus tail if measuring length) and weigh in at about fifteen to twenty pounds (7-9 KG). -2 Str, +2 Dex, +1 to AC and Attacks, +4 to stealth related skills and any knockback suffered, -4 to grappling, smashing doors, and similar checks.

Natural Magic: Piscin start off with three levels of Charisma Based Spontaneous Bardic Spellcasting, Corrupted for Reduced Cost (Extremely limited spell list, 16 CP), choosing their spells from the following list.

  • L0: Dancing Lights, Know Direction, Mage Hand, Mending, Prestidigitation, and Spark.
  • L1: Color Spray, Escaping Ward, Inspiring Word, Lesser Vigor*, Snapdragon Fireworks, and Shadow Trap.
  • L2: Cure Moderate Wounds, Full Pouch, Lesser Thunderclap (As per Great Thunderclap, but 5′ Radius), Resist Energy, Summon Swarm, and Vortex Of Blades (Melee Attack all desired foes within [Reach + 5]).
  • L3: Campfire Wall, Greater Pyrotechnics (no fire source required), Summon Unicorn, Prayer, Stinking Cloud, and The Laborer’s Word (Hedge Magic, this site).
  • L4: Cure Critical Wounds, Fireball, Greater Mirror Image, Hold Monster, Ruin Delver’s Fortune, and Secure Shelter.
  • L5: Cursed Gaze (as Bestow Curse but Medium Range), Greater Blink, Greater Heroism, Mislead, Panacea, and Restoration
  • L6: Cloudkill, Dirge Of The Victorious Knights, Greater Shout, Heal (5 Points/Level, 100 maximum), Hero’s Feast, and Raise Dead.

Why is this only corrupted? A total of 42 spells to pick from – six of them being Cantrips – is downright pathetic! And yes, yes it is. Still, most of those are fairly good spells – and they include a fair variety of damaging, condition-inflicting, buffing, healing, utility, and defensive options. While it isn’t power overwhelming its not at all a bad support package.

Innate Enchantment (Up to 7500 GP Value, 8 CP):

  • Boots Of The Cat (1000 GP): Piscin take the minimum possible damage from falls and always land on their feet.
  • Speak With Animals (x.5, felines only, 1000 GP).
  • Mule Cords (1000 GP). Piscin can carry surprising amounts of gear around despite their small size.
  • Personal Haste (2000 GP). Piscin are actually quite fast (+30′ Movement, 50′ Total) and gain one extra attack at full BAB when making a melee attack. What do you expect? They’re CATS.
  • Embrace The Wild (x.8, always Low-Light Vision and Scent, +2 to Listen and Spot, 1600 GP). Unsurprisingly, Piscin have catlike senses. This is a cheap way to get it,
  • Endure Elements (1/Day, Personal-Only, 280 GP). They’ve got fur – but do not shed.
  • Lesser Restoration (1/Day, Personal-Only, d280 GP). Piscin tend to recover quickly.
  • Lesser Vigor (1/Day, Personal-Only, 280 GP). Piscin tend to heal quickly.
  • Explorer’s Outfit (10 GP). Piscin don’t actually need clothing or shoes. They do kind of like hats.
  • Bedroll (.1 GP). Piscin tend to sleep comfortably almost anywhere.

On Ailewelia, where the Abundant Magic (x.8) modifier applies, that leaves 1568 GP left over. So Piscin there get Personal-Only Skill Mastery (+2 on each of their Adept Skills, 560 GP), a +1 Competence Bonus to BAB with Questionably Practical Weapons (as described below, Personal-Only Weapon Mastery, 560 GP), and a Pin Of Perfume (user is always nice and clean and smells nice too, 200 GP).

Immunity to the XP cost of their Racial Innate Enchantments (Uncommon, Minor, Trivial, 1 CP).

Immunity to Antimagical, “Dead Magic”, and Dispelling effects (Common/Minor/Epic, Specialized and Corrupted / only to protect Innate Enchantments, Only those that come with being a Piscin, 6 CP).

Adept: Cat Style Martial Art, Hide, Move Silently, and Tumble (6 CP).

  • Cat Style +5 (2 CP): Defenses 2, Strike. Fighting as cats, Piscin can do 1d4 + (Str Mod) damage (lethal or nonlethal, always considered armed) with their claws and gain a +2 bonus to their AC. While this isn’t particularly incredible by adventurer standards, it’s a reasonably effective defense for a small cat. Given that most Piscin have a decent dexterity bonus, they usually have another boost or two in here.
  • Hide +3 (1 CP). Note that this stacks with the +4 bonus for being Small.
  • Move Silently +5 (2 CP). Also stacks with the +4 bonus for being Small. Piscin can be quite sneaky when they want to be.
  • Tumble +3 (1 CP).

Cat Style (Dex):

Honestly, this shouldn’t really need any description.

  • Requires: Being in the form of a cat.
  • Basic Abilities: Defenses 4 (Treat as Natural Armor), Power 1, Strike, Synergy (Climb) and Toughness 4.
  • Advanced and Master Techniques: Instant Stand, Mighty Blow, Weapon Kata (Any one questionably practical weapon), and Blind-Fight.
  • Occult Techniques: Inner Strength II, Light Foot, Vanishing Technique.

* “Questionably Practical Weapons” include things like weaponized dueling cloaks with bladed edges and/or weights sewn into them, gunblades, double-ended spears, lantern shields, coup sticks, entrenching tools, pendjepit, whips, aclys, full moons, mongwanga, hinged scythes, wind fire wheels, lajatang, urumi, and various other tools, implements, and personal items which someone has decided make great weapons when that position is – when looked at objectively – really, REALLY, doubtful. The only good things about most of them is that no one in their right mind will consider them to be serious weapons and that many of them can also be used as effective tools of some type, which is sometimes useful.

Piscin Gadgets: Piscin (save for Pawdawans) rarely have the money for any notable magic. They can, however, cause various minor tokens and curiosities to manifest a little bit of magic, at least in their paws. This is their version of Shaping (Use of Charms and Talismans version, 6 CP). (See The Practical Enchanter for details on Charms and Talismans)

Racial Disadvantages:

  • Incompetent (Intimidate). Piscin are just too cute. Who could be scared of them?
  • Accursed (Cute and Cuddly). Piscin are cuddly and find it near-impossible to resist being glomped. They all too often find themselves taken out of action by random people who decide to hug them, pet them, scoop them up and cuddle them, or scratch their ears.

With a net cost of 63 CP, Piscin are a +1 ECL species – although it is not uncommon for them to spend 32 CP from their first level point allotment to buy off their ECL adjustment.

I believe that helper cats are an important part of a video game called “monster hunter”, which may be the root of some of the items that the requesting player wanted them to have – but since I’ve never played any monster hunter it is hard to be entirely sure.

As a synthetic race (and one meant to be usable in other settings) the Piscin lack the biggest special advantage of most Ailewelian nonhumans – getting to stack their Innate Enchantments with external magics. On the other hand, few of their innate enchantments actually need to be able to stack with anything to remain effective – and their built-in spellcasting progression can be completed by ECL 15 (level fourteen if they buy off their ECL) for a mere 91 additional CP. Sure, that’s a chunk – a good quarter of their base CP at that level – but it’s probably well worth it.

Sadly, the Piscin have no package deals on Ailewelia yet. There aren’t even any full ADULTS there yet – but something roguish seems most likely. As might be expected for a player design, the Piscin are a fairly high-efficiency build – but, unlike many such, are not particularly game-breaking, Just really, really, helpful.