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 and Divinity: Building Gods Through The Editions

Gods have changed a lot over the various incarnations of AD&D – and not just in a mechanical fashion. The philosophy involved has changed a lot too.

For example, from Gods, Demigods, and Heroes (1976, the original Dungeons and Dragons) we have…

SHU GOD OF THE DESERT AND LIGHT

  • Armor Class — 2 (About equivalent to 18 now),
  • Magic Ability: (See Below)
  • Move: 12″ (30′ Now).
  • Fighter Ability: 12th Level
  • Hit Points: 225
  • Psionic Ability: Class 6 (Cannot use psionics or be targeted by psionic attacks – that’s Psionic Blast, Psychic Crush, Et Al, not actual powers).
  • Brother twin to Tefnut, this God appears as a man. His main power is the ability to wither to death anything he touches (magic saving throw applicable). He can also levitate, is not affected by any form of heat, can shapechange, create the light of day as Ra, and call forth 1-4 air elementals per day. He wears plus 5 armor made of phoenix feathers enabling him to immolate for 25 points of heat. He uses a double strength Staff of Wizardry in battle.
  • Finally, all his Attributes were considered to be “20’s” – likely equivalent to “30” now.

That was pretty impressive; Shu was as well armored as a man wearing full plate without being encumbered, had twice as many hit points as your high level fighter (even if he couldn’t fight as well), had a death touch (even if your high level fighters could save 90% or more of the time and anyone could have ways to neutralize it), and could shapehange (although that was a LOT less effective back then). A god could do some very impressive things, easily surpassing the efforts of any reasonable individual hero.

But, as was acknowledged in the front of the booklet… a really high level party could beat a god fairly readily. In fact, the authors made a point of belittling “Monty Haul” games where player characters reached such levels.

And this version of godhood was actually fairly true to many or most classical myths. A great many classical gods were basically really tough and powerful people with longevity and a handful of magical powers – often, but not always, including some ability to control an aspect of he environment and / or an awareness of what people were saying about them. Great heroes and specialists could, however, challenge them quite effectively and they generally had to go and interact – and risk heroic opposition – to actually do much.

Thus Thor could kill giants pretty readily, smack hills hard enough to make craters, and – exerting his full godly power in a single (late, and likely distorted) tale – lift a segment of the Midgard Serpent and temporarily lower the level of the local seas by several feet. Outside of the two magical flying goats, equivalents of his mythological equipment would wander into mortal hands as the Hammer of Thunderbolts, Gauntlets of Ogre Power, and Belt of Storm Giant Strength – but his personal powers outside of being really strong and tough (if not so bright), “stretching his legs to the bottom of the sea” (an immovability effect?) and (possibly) being able to influence the weather, aren’t that impressive in game terms. .

Thor also offered minor blessings of life and fertility, strength, and protection to those who invoked him. For that, use the Endowment ability and bestow something like the “Worlds of Faith” package (a good reason to be part of a pantheon; that way each member only has to contribute part of the cost) – presuming that that isn’t a natural part of such a setting to begin with.

Rather like Avalanche Press in “Ragnarok!” I wouldn’t find much of a problem in representing Thor as a Barbarian-type with a handful of magical abilities (they used a modest template), likely around level sixteen or so – by no coincidence, the point in d20 where you’ve gone past every real human being who’s ever lived (levels 1-5), past legendary heroes (6-10), through demigods (11-15), and gotten into the territory of traditional polytheistic gods (16-20).

Human beings have proven perfectly willing to worship funny looking rocks, perfectly normal animals, and similar things. In a world of normal (mostly level one or two with a maximum limit of five) people, a long-lived character of level 16+ will soon have a following unless they actively pursue a policy of “No Witnesses!”.

But what about the “Creating the Universe!” part? Well… “World Creation” is a bit of a special event. According to the myths, many gods participated in creating various versions of the world, but then never did anything even remotely comparable again. Of course, the tales of the Dreamtime and some other myths also tell tales of how fairly ordinary beasts, humans, and minor spirits helped create and shape the world without having any great power of their own. Personally, I’d say that it’s just that new worlds are both fairly easily started and very unstable and easily shaped at first – allowing anyone who’s there at the time to have an outsized level of influence on things. This is why Eclipse-style gods can easily create worlds, but changing them afterwards is not so easy.

Unfortunately, trying to basically mock the level 40+ characters into going away did not work – and so the first edition “gods book” – Deities and Demigods, or (later) Legends and Lore – upped the power level considerably. Shu, for example, now had 346 HP, another eight points of AC, a fly speed, the ability to cast spells as a 15’th level cleric and a 15’th level magic-user, and could only be harmed by a +2 or better weapon. The book also defined what his slightly-higher attributes actually did and granted all deities Teleportation, True Seeing, the ability to summon allies, and set their saves at “2” – a bit better than cross-referencing their class levels with the saving throw charts (but not too big an improvement given that first edition fighters had very VERY good saves).

Otherwise the description, and the special abilities presented, were almost identical – in fact, they were mostly a word-for-word reprint.

Writing up most of the first edition gods in Eclipse would require more levels than the gods in the original booklet – likely 25 to 35 – to get enough points to cover the special abilities they got “for free” in their descriptions. It wouldn’t be too hard though; most first edition characters didn’t get many special abilities in the first place and their magic was a lot more time-consuming and easily-disrupted – making it far cheaper to buy their class abilities. You’d have to buy the “Immortality” part and a few other boosts (or just give them one point of Godfire, specialized/they don’t get more and can’t spend it for 3 CP) – but that isn’t really a big expense.

The power boost wasn’t sufficient though. Quite a lot of games reached levels where the players started treating the gods as a collection of targets to take out – an early illustration of the idea that “If you stat it, the players will find a way to kill it”.

It kind of looks like the writers were really tired of that by the time that second edition came along – and so they threw the pendulum the other way, more towards what modern monotheists thought of as “God”. Now the gods had avatars – with statistics a lot like the ones they got in Gods, Demigods, and Heroes really – but the actual gods were immortal, untouchable by mortals, and (among several other mighty magical powers) could all use any spell of any level (without any components) at will. Greater Gods were nigh-omniscient, could take any form (including becoming astronomical objects), could create anything they wanted, could slay or raise any mortal anywhere with a thought, could speak with anyone anywhere, got an unlimited number of actions, could create many avatars, and could hand out pretty much any power they wanted to.

OK, Intermediate, Lesser, and Demi-gods got somewhat less potent divine powers, but they were still pretty ridiculous. “Any spell of any level” and “omniscience with a radius of at least one mile” covered quite a lot all by themselves.

In an awful lot of ways second edition represented the pinnacle of power for gods in Dungeons and Dragons; there was really nothing you could do about a god – and if one of them decided to target you… you were pretty well toast.

In Eclipse building Second Edition Gods is fairly simple: they have the Divine Attribute ability (6 CP – cheap because “I become a plot device until the GM sees fit to decree otherwise!” kind of goes against “I want to play!”) permanently active – and, as such, are pretty much beyond being attacked, have essentially limitless powers within their domain, and are automatically NPC’s. That’s because entities with unlimited use nigh-limitless powers are pretty unplayable, and so Eclipse automatically sidelines them.

3.0 and 3.5 tried to mix first and second edition. Gods were once more mortal, and killable (except for overdeities like Ao, for whom there were never any mechanics – or even real information – at all), but they got a LOT of levels and had “Divine Rank” – a special source of immunities and powers that characters who didn’t have Divine Rank could not counter because the descriptions of the powers said so.

Oddly enough, unlike virtually everything else in 3.0, 3.5, Pathfinder, and other d20 variants, that’s hard to duplicate in Eclipse unless you just give gods some special form of divine privilege as a world law. That’s because, in Eclipse, everyone, divine or not, draws their powers from the same basic list – which makes it impossible to build powers that can’t be countered. You can make powers that are really hard to counter, or which only allow very exotic defenses – but there’s always SOME way to block things. After all, avoiding the automatic “I Win!” buttons was among the design goals.

Still, building Divine Rank as presented in the Deities and Demigods book is simple enough. It’s a form of Mythic Power – an independent source of power that provides more character points to spend without an increase in the user’s actual level. You’d have to uncap it, but that’s not a big deal.

And you increase your Mythic Power Tier by completing mighty quests, collecting plot coupons, and qualifying for story awards – which works quite nicely as a route towards godhood.

More or less mortal heroes can usually get up to ten Mythic Tier Levels, If we take that as advancing towards godhood… well, six Mythic Tier Levels would cover buying the specialized version of the basic Divine Rank 0 Template – leaving 96 CP available to buy some other goodies and a Salient Divine Ability – putting a once-mortal among the lower-ranking divinities.

So how expensive is a Salient Divine Ability? Most of the Epic Feats that I tried building came out to around 12 CP (as expected, they varied a bit), and a lot of Salient Divine Abilities combine two epic feats – which gives us a baseline of sorts; a Salient Divine Ability should cost about 24 CP.

In particular, the original question was about the “Life and Death” Salient Divine Power.

  • Prerequisites: Divine rank 6, Gift of Life or Hand of Death salient divine ability.
  • Benefit: The deity designates any mortal and snuffs out its life. Or the deity can designate any dead mortal and restore it to life.
  • Notes: This ability works across planar boundaries and penetrates any barrier except a divine shield. However, the subject must be in a location the deity can sense, either within the deity’s sense range or in a location the deity can perceive through its remote sensing ability. If the deity cannot see the subject, the deity must unambiguously identify the subject in some fashion. If the deity chooses to kill a mortal, the ability works like the destruction spell, except that there is no material component or saving throw. The mortal cannot be raised or resurrected afterward, except by a deity of equal or higher rank using the Gift of Life or Life and Death salient divine ability.
  • If the deity restores life to a mortal, this ability works like the true resurrection spell, except that there is no material component and the amount of time the subject has been dead is irrelevant.
  • This ability cannot restore a creature to life against its will, but it can resurrect an elemental or outsider. It can resurrect a creature whose soul is trapped, provided the soul is not held by a deity of higher rank than the one using this ability.
  • This ability cannot restore life to a creature that has been slain by the Hand of Death, Life and Death, or Mass Life and Death ability of a deity with a higher rank.
  • After using either version of this ability, the deity must rest for 1 minute per level or Hit Die of the creature affected. Deities whose portfolio includes death do not have to rest after using this ability.
  • Suggested Portfolio Elements: Death, Supreme.

Now that’s an obvious gamewrecker when you can use it regularly.

My recommended Eclipse solution is to simply get the ability to toss out a bumped-up version of True Resurrection and Destruction. Use Specialized Channeling (double effect) and high-level Spell Conversion – allowing you to stack on things like “no saving throw” (Metamagical Theorem Amplify +4, equivalent to Double Effect – trading the ability to get double effect when the target fails to save for the ability to bypass the (much rarer) “Fortune” ability to take no effect on a save), “Easy” to eliminate the need for material components, and Lacing/Improved Brackish to prevent the effect from being absorbed by spells or items.

Back that with a point of Godfire to have it take effect where you want it to… and that will generally do it. It can still be stopped by the truly mighty (at least if they have the right effects), can’t be used often (due to the scarcity of Godfire), and will be expensive. It’s probably about 48 points – which is just about right since it will subsume the prerequisite Gift of Life or Hand of Death ability. That’s 30 points for conversion to ninth level effects (specialized to 18’th to cover that metamagic), 3 CP for a set of spells, and 15 CP for Channeling and some Bonus Uses. While a god won’t be using the Godfire boost often, having this available locally is handy too.

If you want to be cheesy about building the ability… you want some Metamagical Theorems, and a big stack of Streamline (both Specialized in the effects you want and Corrupted to only apply to a limited set of spells) and just stack on no-save, transdimensional range, unabsorbable, and so on until you can annihilate people on the other end of the universe with a wave of your hand. That will be a little more expensive at first, but cheaper to apply to more things – allowing supreme gods to have huge portfolios of virtually unstoppable powers.

Fourth Edition – in it’s focus on PC’s versus World-Building – quite intentionally set up it’s (evil) deities as end-game targets. Thus the Draconomican presented a detailed writeup of Tiamat the God as a L35 “Solo Brute” – and gave several options for killing her permanently.

While that ignores the question of “Why wasn’t she killed long ago by some earlier group of adventurers?” that kind of background development never really got into fourth edition.

In fourth edition gods can only be permanently killed in very specific ways (Returning), get extra actions that can only be used for a specific list of divine powers (Reflex Training) and can be weakened in various ways before a fight (invoking limitations on their powers – which is presumably where they save some points to pay for the extras). Otherwise… they are big monsters. They don’t even really provide spells for their priests any more; priests are granted the ability to tap into divine power via a ritual.

Fifth Edition seems to be following the same general philosophy (albeit apparently throwing in an Immunity to being attacked by characters of level twenty or less) with the Evil gods – who mostly seem to have cults instead of leading huge faiths – while the good gods are granted plot immunity by virtue of general vagueness and never showing up to be targets. Admittedly, I haven’t read all that much fifth edition stuff past the basics (I didn’t like fourth much and the early playtests for fifth seemed to be loaded with nods towards fourth edition and offered very little room for simulationists. That changed somewhat later – but no one around here wants to play it, leaving me with little interest beyond simply confirming that 5’th edition was Eclipse compatible, which it was) so they could have changed things radically somewhere – but that’s what I’ve got so far. Overall then, they can be written up just about as they could be for fourth edition.

Now pure Eclipse-style godhood is a lot cheaper. In Eclipse, Gods can be of quite low level – and we’ve had plenty of gods in play. What makes them playable is the cost of using their divine abilities.

  • A lot of things cost Godfire – and most player-character gods are lucky to get two points of that in a game year and will want to keep at least a FEW points in reserve to come back if they get killed or something. Godfire may be a renewable resource, but it will remain scarce.
  • Other things, like creating planes, or providing blessings for your followers, or forging mighty relics, cost character points or Feats – a permanent cost, and one that gods are rarely willing to pay for trivial reasons.

Thus divine conflicts are usually played out through mortal agents, and rarely involve direct conflict between deities. “Winning” such a battle is too often a pyrrhic victory which merely sets you up as an easy target for third parties.

This, of course, somewhat resembles the old D&D Immortals rules – although Eclipse doesn’t require that you advance to level thirty-six before you can start progressing through another thirty-six levels as an Immortal.

The Chronicles Of Heavenly Artifice CCVII – Meanwhile, On The Sidelines

It wasn’t a big order – and it was in the “submitted by random persons” pile – but an Everlasting Flask of Alcohol? Who wanted THAT? And WHY? A pub owner? It… appeared to be one of the wealthier people in Aden. One “Ubab Shamoun”, one of the refugees from the Middle East. He’d come to Aden to escape militants… a muslim, but possibly not that observant?

Charles called him. That didn’t take up much of any processing power…

(Charles) “Mr Shamoun? I have a request from you. While that is not, in itself, a problem – although I do not guarantee their fulfillment – this one is a bit… problematic. It’s also unspecified; did you want rubbing alcohol? Ethanol for fuel? There are a LOT of kinds of alcohol.”

(Ubab) “Hello, my friend! I wanted a flask to hold my wine!”

(Charles, with some puzzlement) “What, to transport it in? Or just to disguise it?”

(Ubab) “No, to drink! Don’t tell me someone of your power is a teetotaler! I left partially because of that!”

(Charles) “Er… but don’t you follow a religion which says that drinking is punishable by death and Allah’s condemnation?”

Some of the Kickaha who were quietly bodyguarding Charles snickered. So naive not to think that Muslim’s would sneak around the rules a bit!

To Charles it was the logical disconnect; you subscribed to the Islamic belief system to gain Paradise. If you drank, then according to those beliefs, you wouldn’t gain Paradise. So… if you want to drink, why be a Muslim? It wasn’t as if going with another faith would make it WORSE, and there was always the chance that the other faith would be the right one…

The Kickaha caught THAT quite easily – you didn’t need to read MINDS, just FACES (if so many of the would-be manipulators weren’t convinced that the boys reactions HAD to be a carefully contrived front he wouldn’t be able to keep any secrets at ALL. Charles could barely even manage to say “No Comment!” They HAD to get him out more! He seemed to have no concept of a “social front” at all; Lacking all reasonable fears meant he had no notion of conforming out of fear” either. He just did it to avoid upsetting people!

(Ubab) “I’m Orthodox, my friend. Much less meddlesome!”

Which had presumably been another reason for coming to Aden.

(Charles) “Oh, so it’s just naughty in that system? Well that makes more sense! It’s still really bad for you though! Alcohol is a selective neurotoxin, and causes damage to the central nervous system… Wait, is that another reason why you live here? So that that sort of thing will regenerate?”

(Ubab) “I haven’t had any of the pains in months. Truly, THIS is Paradise.”

Oh dear! That wasn’t exactly what he’d put healing into Aden for… OK, Ubab wasn’t hurting anyone else, and he was only wasting his own potential – not hurting himself otherwise – but this was just not right! No matter how contented Ubab was as an alcoholic, people should learn and grow, not just get happily drunk! But he didn’t want to make him sad, even if denying him his addiction would be better for him – and it wasn’t like he couldn’t get alcohol anyway; he just wanted it to be more convenient, so that he wouldn’t even have to leave the house!

Ah.

(Charles) “Very well! I shall bestow on you a Flask of Wisdom…”

Flask of Wisdom (Artifact **): A Flask of Wisdom produces an ever-varying selection of marvelous “wines”, fortified with vitamins, minerals, fully nourishing, and with minor healing properties – enough to hold arthritis and similar ailments at bay and to reduce the effect of mundane illnesses. While non-alcoholic, and with no deleterious physical effects (and certainly no hangovers), the “wine” is magically intoxicating – but works best when shared socially and freely, and only works at all when the user makes reasonably regular efforts at self-development or helping others – studying, teaching, learning to socialize, caring for children, whatever. The user will come to understand that within a few days of coming to own the flask – well before the “reasonably regular” requirement kicks in. A Flask of Wisdom has no attunement cost.

There! Endless bribery in a flask! After all, it wasn’t asking for anything MAJOR – just some slight regular effort. And well within what even the Orthodox faith required.

Ubab accepted the present… He was an ordinary man after all, and really didn’t devote any thought as to why it might be labeled a “Flask of Wisdom”. And, perhaps, he would grow. At least as long as he stayed in Aden, he had time.

On the way back there was a young man – of about his apparent age waiting for him.

(Charles, while checking for his name and such) “Oh hello!… Do you need something?

Hm. “Per Rosing”, a VERY recent arrival from a gate in Scandinavia.

(Charles) “Mr Rosing is it?”

(Per) “Hello, Charles! I went through that Yu-Shan place first. What a bunch of crazy sights! The lions directed me to one of your gates there, and I’ve been waiting for you. I wanted to talk to you about the colonization scheme!”

(Charles) “Well… the gates are already open (since the Song of Creation of course)… what did you want to talk about?”

(Per) “I wanted to see one of these worlds, and maybe get a tour?”

(Charles) “Well… most of the guides are busy leading colonists out at the moment, and a tour of a planet would take a long time – but there are several gates with rail lines to some of the new cities… If you just want a look around, perhaps one of those would do? Fifty or sixty miles of scenery, a look around a magical city, and a bit of exploration around it might be suitable.”

(Per, looking oddly disappointed) “I think I’ll do that. Will you be around after I’m through?”

That seemed a little odd really. After all, the papers on Earth had been FULL of planet descriptions and directions for going there for months now. Was there something more subtle going on here?

(Per) “If you don’t mind me asking before I go… why all this? It can’t be out of pure generosity.”

(Charles, with some surprise) “Why not? I don’t recall any rules about it… It was a certain amount of trouble, but while I had to invest some years in developing the resources and abilities it required I now I have them available for other projects… It was time well spent I think!”

(Per) “I don’t think most of Earth’s governments prepared for that.”

(Charles, indignantly) “Well I TOLD them!”

(Per) “But would they move fast enough even if they did take it seriously? The powers that be have hidden things for a long time.”

(Charles, sighing) “Well, all they needed to do was let people through…”

(Per) “It’s unstoppable now! So, I’ll take a look at one of these worlds, and then come back. Okay?”

(Charles) “OK!”

And he got… a wink and a hug???? That was weird! And very startling! And more than a bit uncomfortable… Normally only Grandpa and the girls spent a lot of time hugging him!

He couldn’t avoid stiffening up as he ran a magical check to see if this was a diversion from something sneaking up or something – or suppress the faint glow of defensive spells.

(Per) “Oh, right. You’re probably worried about other magical threats. Sorry! I’ll get going!”

Charles was mildly surprised and somewhat interested… most normal humans wouldn’t have spotted that at all.

(Charles) “Oh no worries! It was just startlement!”

Per went off, slowly, leaving Charles scratching his head a bit. Sure, people did pointless things – but that just seemed a little… off. Maybe he was testing for something? But there didn’t seem to be an y active magic on him.

It never occurred to Charles that Per could have just been testing his reactions to physical contact – and that his results had been pretty clear; he obviously wasn’t used to men hugging him. It wasn’t like he’d ever given that much thought!

Charles decided to consult a bit. He wasn’t really all THAT good at reading motivations and such! But he had some friends who WERE good at it.

And the handiest bunch were the Kickaha who’d been playing bodyguard.

(Berri) “Uh . . . that was pretty gay, Charles. I think he might be into you.”

(Charles) “Erm? But… that doesn’t really work… Elzeard said that sort of thing was mostly reproductive behavior… Wait; is it just the social bonding aspect by itself?”

(Berri, blushing) “Uhm… I don’t really know either. What, you mean you didn’t realize people had sex for fun? Or lust?”

(Charles) “Well, yes… I just thought that it was usually opposite-sex pairs, since that really has to be the dominant instinct. Anything else would tend to breed itself out without a secondary aspect which kept up it’s frequency in the gene pool.”

(A chorus of half a dozen of the snarkier Kickaha, albeit in an affectionate and friendly manner) “NNNEEEEERRRRRDDDDD!”

(Berri) “That’s a little beyond me, Charles. Oh, geez. I’m going to have watch you more around girls now. Ever hear the term ‘gold digger?'”

(Charles) “Uhm… just looking for wealth? It’s not like there’s a shortage after all; just living in Aden is pretty comfortable!”

(Berri) “Yeah, but it could still happen if some girl who doesn’t know that comes in here.”

(Charles) “Well, it would probably be good to make sure that people who seem to be making approaches become subtly aware that they can be very comfortable without, well… paying for it by spreading their legs! We don’t really need that sort of thing!”

(Berri) “I’ll leave that up to you, boss. Um… what ARE you going to do about that guy, though? I think he picked up on it, but he’s got to be disappointed.”

(Charles) “Well, I never tried to guarantee that no one would ever be disappointed… If that was really what he wanted, he should have checked on how to arrange it; it’s not like the servants aren’t there to tell him… Although I’m not sure about what I’d tell him; even if you clean things, the physical arrangements sound kind of uncomfortable, at least on the… er… well… receiving end.”

(Berri, who happened to be female, a bit sardonically. Boys!) “I really wouldn’t know about that!”

(Charles) “It doesn’t sound like much fun!”

Per was back by eventually, looking impressed and a little chastened.

(Per) “You’re something… sorry if I made you feel awkward.”

(Charles, somewhat flustered) “Erm, well… if you were making an approach, most of the others doing that have been much more direct about it!”

(Per) “Oh. So you figured it out too. I assume you don’t go that way?”

(Charles) “Well, it sounds sort of messy and not all that much fun…”

(Per) “That’s how sex with girls sounds to me.” (Shrugging) “I’ll be in touch, though… or someone from the family, anyway. We were going to start a colony.”

(Charles, much more cheerily) “There’s lots of places for them!”

(Per) “Well, shake hands on it anyway?”

(Charles) “Certainly!”

Shadowed Galaxy Character Setup

Characters in the Shadowed Galaxy are presumed to be the survivors of a dystopian world and an even rougher career path. They’re tough and competent. They’re also mostly the beneficiaries of futuristic health care, diet, education, and training programs at some point (those who aren’t are the few who survived not getting that stuff, and are at least as tough). While they’re almost always Dystopian Survivor Humans, quite a few have some degree of genemods and cybrenetics, and a few (generally survivors of encounters with Idiotic relics and technologies) have templates or bizarre talents of one kind or another.

While it is, in theory, possible to play an alien, aliens who are capable of functioning in human societies are vanishingly rare. This basically falls under “negotiate with the game master”.

Attributes: Roll 4D6K3 seven times (discarding one) or use 28 Point Buy (“tougher campaign”).

All characters get the Low-Level Adventurer Template. To summarize, those affected get:

  • A -3 penalty on unskilled skill checks.
  • Very slow level advancement, by direct session-based character point awards rather than experience points. Succeeding in goals helps, but killing things and taking their stuff does not.
  • The status of valuable trouble magnets – they’re rare and find trouble everywhere they go.
  • A +3 bonus on five skills which suit their backgrounds and training. Sadly, this cannot be applied to active psionic or magical skills.
  • Extra hit points equal to [12 + (2 x Con Mod)].
  • Two minor special talents – one Class-A (roughly equivalent to the effects of a first level spell or power as adapted for a sci-fi setting) and one Class-B (roughly equivalent to the effects of a cantrip, also as adapted for a sci-fi setting). Possibilities suited to the Shadowed Galaxy include:

Class-A Talents:

  1. Advanced Aptitude: You get a +2 Bonus to apply to something. Attributes, AC, DR, Attacks, Damage, Saves, Movement (+10′ per +1), and Checks are all eligible. You can even split it into two +1 bonuses if you wish – or Corrupt or Specialize it to get it to +3 or +4 (on a particular group of skills, in a specific situation, with a particular type of weapon, etc). This is effectively a permanent, innate, bonus.
  2. Animal Affinity: You instinctively understand what animals want and can usually get them to do what you want.
  3. Bat Ears: You can hear extremely high and low frequency sounds, and can target unseen creatures within thirty feet without penalty with a successful listen check.
  4. Combat Intuition: As a swift action you may activate True Strike 2/Day, True Dodge 2/Day, and True Save 1/Day.
  5. Fast Healer: Your natural healing is doubled and scarring is eliminated.
  6. Fortunate: Whenever something is decided by chance within the game, you get two chances and may select which outcome you keep. Thus, for example, you will never draw the short straw.
  7. Goldberg: You may improvise a repair or component replacement on a device, whether it’s a spacecraft air recycler, a power generator, or a vehicle engine. Such improvisations are bulky, clumsy, and unreliable, but will work to some extent if the user manages to make a successful skill roll. Such repairs normally last some 1D6 days, but rush jobs (such as getting the engine working before the plane crashes) reduces the duration to 2D6 minutes. Each time the duration on a “Goldberged” repair runs out, there is a 1 in 6 chance that further attempts will be ineffective. Eventually, you simply have to do it right.
  8. Gun Bunny: You threaten all squares within your normal melee reach when wielding a gun as if it was a melee weapon and do not provoke attacks of opportunity when firing.
  9. Gymnast: You gain a +10 competence bonus to Acrobatics and Athletics checks.
  10. Hot Tempered: You may fly into a rage, in which you get a a +2 Morale Bonus to Str and Con, a +1 Moral Bonus on Will Saves, and a -2 penalty to AC.
  11. Hound’s Nose: You gain the Scent ability.
  12. Lethal Strike: Gain +2d6 Sneak Attack. This stacks with any purchased sneak attack.
  13. Light Sleeper: Any notable unfamiliar or unwelcome physical entity who comes within 20′ will automatically wake you up.
  14. Living On Your Nerves: You gain a +5 bonus on Initiative Checks
  15. Low-Light Vision: You can see twice as far as usual in low-light conditions.
  16. Mental Map: You can instinctively retrace your steps and never become lost.
  17. Psionic Aptitude: Gain +6 Power. You may develop Witchcraft, or even some Powers, with no formal training.
  18. Skill Expertise: You may roll twice, keeping the best result, with a chosen skill.
  19. Sniper’s Eyes: Gain +5 to Spot, range increments are increased by 50%.
  20. Toughness: Three points of any damage you take is converted to nonlethal damage.
  21. True Dreaming: If you have any ranks in the Sensitive skill, you will have occasional revealing or prophetic dreams.
  22. Unarmed Expertise: You gain +1 attack at your full BAB when fighting unarmed and are considered armed. Such attacks inflict 1d8 lethal or stunning damage at your option.
  23. Water Adaption: You gain a swim speed of 30′, can see clearly underwater, and can hold your breath for twice as long as usual. As a trivial benefit, you also don’t get wrinkled skin from water immersion.
  24. Weaponsmaster: You are proficient with any weapon you pick up.

Class B Talents:

  1. Bean Counter: You can count how many there are of something with a single glance.
  2. Diagnostic: With a few simple checks, you can reasonably accurately diagnose various injuries, diseases, and poisons.
  3. Fast Loader: As long as you have ammunition available and are free to move, reloading is not an action for you.
  4. Fast Draw: You may get objects out of pockets, off of belt loops, and similar as a free action.
  5. Herbalist: You may achieve results comparable to antibiotics, antitoxins, and various other drugs and salves with herbs and oils.
  6. Holdout: You may hide up to three small objects about your person. Short of a full strip-search and body cavity check, no one will be able to find them.
  7. Internal Compass: You never lose your bearings.
  8. Jumpstart: There’s never any startup delay when you start a system; it boots immediately, starts on the first try, and comes up to full power with little or no delay. Sadly, this won’t work on anything larger than a car.
  9. Knack: As per Advanced Aptitude, but the base bonus is only +1. Knacks do not stack with Advanced Aptitudes.
  10. Master of Flavor: You can turn any set of edible ingredients into a delicious meal.
  11. Meaningful Glances: You may convey several sentences worth of information with a quick glance, meaningful nod, or couple of twitching fingers. Sadly, this will not transmit technical details or anything overly complicated.
  12. Method Actor: You may “give off” a desired impression, such as “I am an authority on this topic”, or “I am obviously trustworthy”, or “I am old and harmless”. While this is merely a first impression, and will soon be overridden by actual experience, it will influence others reactions for at least a few moments.
  13. Natural Techie: You have an intuitive sense for how microtronic devices are supposed to be put together and operated. Unfortunately, this doesn’t necessarily tell you anything about what they do.
  14. Organizational Knack: Your gear is always well-organized, you never lose your keys, glasses, or other sundries, and whenever you go to get something out it is always right on top.
  15. Photographic Memory (Mnemonic): You may precisely recall the things you witness for up to a week, and enjoy a +5 bonus on recall attempts thereafter.
  16. Quick Repair: You can get jammed or lightly damaged personal devices working again – at least briefly – by spending a few moments fiddling with or banging on them. This MAY work with larger devices, such as ship engines – but it would be most unwise to count on it.
  17. Second Skin: Whatever armor you wear, you may reduce it’s Armor Check Penalty by two and increase the maximum dexterity bonus it allows by one.
  18. Sensitive Nose: You can easily determine if someone has poisoned your food or drink – or it a suspicious substance is poisonous.
  19. Sun Eyes: You are immune to penalties for excessive illumination and gain a +4 bonus on saves against blinding lights.
  20. Survivalist: Your semi-improvised low-tech equipment (stone knives, crudely tanned leather, improvised bows, and similar items) performs as well as professionally crafted gear – allowing you to quickly build up two “Swiss Family Robinson” standards.
  21. Tolerance: You are virtually immune to the ill-effects of a specific drug, toxin, intoxicant, or similar substance. You are affected as if by one-fifth the dose you were actually exposed to.
  22. Vocal Chameleon: You may perfectly imitate a wide range of voices, going just a bit beyond the normal range for your species. This offers a +6 bonus on appropriate rolls.
  23. Wordpainting: Your descriptions are as clear to others as a picture would be.
  24. Zero-Gravity Expertise: You do not need to make rolls to maneuver easily in zero-gravity.

Skill Modifications:

  • The game is using the Condensed Skill List, although Arcane and Religion are Occult (rather than normal) Skills. There are, however, several additional skills (see next post). Some of them are quite vital to the characters.
  • Skills are rolled on 3d6 instead of 1d20.
  • Characters automatically get a 5 on passive checks (such as when walking by something that they might or might not notice), may “take 10″ normally, and may “take 15″ instead of 20.
  • A natural 3 is a serious failure, a natural 4 is an automatic failure, a roll of 17 is an automatic success, and a roll of 18 is a superior success.
  • Exceeding the DC by 10 or more gets a superior success. By twenty or more gets an astounding success. Declaring that you are trying for a superior or astounding success in advance gets you a +5 on your roll – but increases the base DC accordingly, making a complete failure more likely.
  • There are no synergy bonuses.
  • Each attribute provides points equal to its (Value – 6) to spend on Skills related to that attribute. Once again, note that there are important new skills:

D20 – Multitasking and Time Management

I have a question about Discord, or rather about how the Multitasking Special Ability works. It says in the ability that you can multitask with penalties instead of buying it. Let’s say a Prismatic Elder Wyrm, what with 64 Int, wants to multitask, what could it do?

-Veebs

The d20 rules don’t actually tell us a lot about multitasking.

It obviously happens in real life. For example, in 1924 Alekhine played 26 simultaneous blindfold games against highly skilled opponents (including Isaac Kashdan and Hermann Steiner), and managed 16 wins, 5 losses, and 5 draws.

The “blindfold” part is important, because that means that he had to keep track of all the boards all the time instead of just looking at the one he was making a move on at the moment like most of us would do. (We’d lose a lot more too, but that is neither here nor there).

There have been higher records set since, but that one illustrates the point very nicely.

Of course, only a few players out of billions of people can manage that. We can reasonably assume that – in game terms – they’ve invested a lot of character options (or, in Eclipse, character points) in ways to boost their ability to play chess. In d20 that would probably be some specialty class, in Eclipse… probably an Immunity to losing track of the pieces to start with.

As far as the rules go…

  • The Arms and Equipment Guide tells us that a Bard using a Masterwork version of certain bardic instruments can play bardic music and spellcast at the same time – provided that the spells used do not call for a component that the music-playing would interfere with (generally that means Verbal components only). That seems a bit much for a simple masterwork tool to allow, but that is a 3.0 rule that was never updated and the writers probably thought that the Bard could use a backdoor boost.
  • The rules on Iterative Attacks tell us that – provided that you can focus on a specific overall task, that your actions are effectively identical, that there are no changes (of tools, weapons, whatever) being made between two rolls (other than a 5′ step) – you can take multiple rolls at a cumulative -5 penalty until your base bonus is +0. After all, the rules say that you can target multiple opponents – and if fighting two to four people at once isn’t multitasking, it’s hard to say what is.

That’s fair enough; I can do several simple math problems, type several unrelated sentences, or hammer someone with my fist, a fair number of times in six seconds, but I probably won’t be doing complex math problems (high DC in game terms), writing detailed analysis, or planning out my tactics or a fancy combo move at anywhere near that rate (although I COULD use a practiced Kata – the “flurry of blows” equivalent). In game terms that cumulative “-5″ will catch up with me, and my last few fast attempts in that time will be pretty poor. It’s not quite multitasking though; it’s doing a sequence of things that individually take very little time. In a system that breaks things down into six-second rounds, turns, and a system of action types, it’s close enough though.

  • There are a few skills which touch on the topic. For example, each +10 you get on a knowledge skill check entitles you to one additional piece of information – basically the answer to one more question. Most people don’t really think of that as “multitasking”, but it’s still “pull up some of the most obvious facts first and let them remind you of what comes next in the sequence” – not all that different from the “strike at the best opening you see and then follow up on the sequence by exploiting whatever options your first attack opens up” of an iterative attack. It’s rolled a little differently, but it’s the same basic idea.

As an option for faster combat that works: a combatant can opt to forget iterative attacks and simply do extra damage if they roll high enough. Need a a 16 and got a 26? Do double damage. Got a 36? That’s triple – and so on, probably up to around +30 over what you needed and quadruple (+1 to the multiplier per instance of Bonus Attack or Rapid Strike, with the usual bonus for a Critical Hit) damage. (Of course, if you can hit by 40+, it probably does not matter; your opponent is almost certainly just a speedbump anyway).

  • Casting Defensively calls for a Concentration check (DC 15 + Spell Level) – but success allows the character to both defend themselves and cast the spell without penalty. So… under rather limited circumstances a Concentration skill check allows you to do multiple things at once that do not normally call for a roll. That’s interesting, but the only example the skill gives is very specific indeed. I think that I’ll come back to that later.

Pathfinder doesn’t have a lot to say on the topic either. After all… it’s a fringe case which has the potential to wreck the action economy. Lets say that I (perhaps due to metamagic) have some spells with verbal components only and some with somatic components only; can I take a concentration check to cast one of each with the same action? Why not? What if they’ve been reduced to swift actions with no components at all? Can I throw two (or more?) as part of a standard action? Perhaps three with a full action?

In general, that’s a can of worms that the various versions of d20 have carefully avoided opening up. Thus the rules have pretty much avoided the issue, leaving it up to whatever individual game masters come up with (most often “No!”) for the occasional fringe case.

So: To combine two or more tasks…

  1. It must be physically possible to combine them all. A normal character cannot simultaneously take out a potion, yank off leeches, and swing a sword because normal characters do not have that many hands. You can, however, play the piano with one hand, balance the priceless ming vase with the other hand, dictate a letter, and (if you have the martial arts skills) use kicks to block an opponents attacks of opportunity. Whether or not you can also employ your laser eye beams (psychic, magical, or innate) at the same time is still up to the game master.
  2. You get a cumulative -5 penalty if all of the tasks involved are very short, very similar, and involve no real changes of focus or equipment. Thus, for example, if the Dark Powers (TM!) are Rising and only the proper mystic chant performed in the seconds before they fully manifest can stop them, your friends just brought you three ancient tomes each containing a (differing!) partial copy of the chant which you must decipher, compile into a complete version, and incant even as you decipher it… it may be time for some iterative “decipher script” checks.
    1. Yeah, that’s pretty contrived, but situations where there are multiple, critical, complex, tasks which must ALL be completed by the same person within six seconds are awfully had to come by. Even in emergencies calling for multiple, wildly different, actions some of them can usually wait for a few seconds. That’s why there are calls to keep your priorities straight.
  3. You get a “-10” penalty per extra unrelated task being performed at the same time. Tasks that do not normally require a roll acquire a base Concentration DC of 10. Thus, for a quick default, “defending yourself normally” and “casting a spell” are both normally automatic. Doing both at the same time is thus a DC 20 Concentration check (which simplifies the standard rules a bit, but generalizing rules often does that).

So… trying to pull that stunt with the piano, the vase, dictating a letter, and self-defense, at the same time puts you at a -40 penalty on all of them even without the facetious eyebeams. Now an epic skillmaster, or someone with enough skill boosters, or Luck Specialized in Skills, or with any of a wide variety of other boosts may be able to pull that off – but it isn’t for most characters. Of course, most characters have no reason to WANT to try a stunt like that. Most people are willing to let the piano, or the cooking, or the sculpting wait a bit if a fight breaks out.

Now what most people mean when they say that they’re “multitasking” is that they’re switching their attention between a group of tasks very quickly in the fond belief that they’re getting more done. In reality, this generally is not true. Real-world “multitasking” usually results in considerably less overall work getting done or – if you actually are good at it (which is rather rare) – completing slightly more work of drastically lessened quality. Those of us dealing with interruptions or trying to escape particularly boring tasks are especially prone to that – and we often get away with it because a lot of jobs include sizeable amounts of useless busywork that will pass even if you make a horrible botch of it.

If you want to provide some credit for this kind of multitasking (a superpower as attractive as magic to many) and/or time management skills, then here are some rules for it:

  1. Work Smarter, Not Harder. Multiply the amount of work your character gets done in a workday by (Int / 10). This does not, however, apply to simple, extremely repetitive, physical tasks like hauling rocks.
  2. Keep Your Nose To The Grindstone: Most people waste at least 20% of their time. Those with a Base Will + Morale Bonuses save of +10 or more don’t have to. For them, every five days that they work on something counts as six days. And yes, this gets multiplied by the intelligence rule as well.
  3. When I Was Your Age I Had To Walk…: Over the course of a workday people get tired, and lose effectiveness. Those with a Base Fortitude + Resistance Bonuses Save of +10 do not – and so they get twice as much done in a given time. Those with a total of +20 or more can work for up to twelve hours a day without penalty. Those with a total of +30 or more can sixteen hours per day without penalty.
  4. But The Craftsman Has The Advantage Of His Skill: Characters may add their (Total Base Reflex + Competence Bonus) Save, rounded down to the nearest +10, to their Craft and Profession checks when calculating how much they get done. They can always keep their work flowing smoothly – never dropping tools, mashing their thumbs, or getting anything out of place.

Now none of this will have much impact on the average character – but when it comes to that Prismatic Great Wyrm… That’s Int 64 (x6.4), Will +68 (x1.2), Fort +68 (x2, x4 if working 16 hours per day), and Reflex +41 (+40 on Craft/Profession checks for determining the amount of work done). So our Prismatic Great Wyrm can do fifteen to thirty times as much in a day as a human can – and even more if it’s using a Craft or Profession skill.

That’s impressive, but it’s still going to be a LOT easier to hire a workforce in most cases. Still, if you wish to ask one to solve some riddle for you or something it might be worthwhile. That +27 base from Intelligence, combined with those bonuses, would probably let it give you all the details you would ever need with a few hours of work – and the things have got to get their hordes somewhere. Just don’t try to shortchange it.

Uncle Chan’s Spell List (and a couple of the remaining items)

There are about a million versions of an optimized wizard-style spell list out there, and this one isn’t really going to be any more definitive than most of those – but it might be handy if you need a quick one sometime and Uncle Chan wouldn’t be complete without out.

  • Level One: Charm Person, Silent Image, Grease, Mirror Image (it was important early on), Wall of Smoke, and Benign Transposition.
    • Level One Honorable Mentions: Identify (use Artificers Monocle), Magic Missile (a reliable classic, but he just uses Gloves of the Starry Sky as a part of his Legendarium), Sleep (great early on, pretty useless later, and so skipped – especially since he’d have been past it’s point of usefulness before he could cast it at all), Color Spray (again, great early on and useless at high levels), Protection From Evil (get a wand, covered by an item, and in the late game use Mind Blank), Enlarge Person (get a wand or something. While this would actually add something to his build, Uncle Chan is so far over the top anyway that who cares?), and Resist Energy (a pretty common item function and one that can be handled by quite a variety of abilities).
  • Level Two: Alter Self, Glitterdust, Web, Rope Trick, Scorching Ray, and Fog Cloud.
    • Level Two Honorable Mentions: Create Magic Tattoo (versatile and useful, but simply too weak at higher levels), Ray of Stupidity (takes down stupid creatures very nicely, but so do the attacks of high-level characters), Shatter (there are a LOT of ways to break things), and Hideous Laughter (pretty close to save-or-die, but mind-affecting – and so very often just ignored).
  • Level Three: Shrink Item, Suggestion, Stinking Cloud, Phantom Steed, Dimension Step, and Melf’s Unicorn Arrow (an eccentric spell, but why not? It fits his theme well enough).
    • Level Three Honorable Mentions: Nondetection (unreliable with a below-average casting level and you want Mind Blank anyway), Fireball (a classic – but he just uses Goggles of the Starry Sky as a part of his Legendarium), Lightning Bolt (another classic, but he has lots of ways to do damage and it was a lot more fun when you could bounce it to hit twice or more), Fly (handy, but he has other ways – and Phantom Steed is better later on), Shivering Touch (I don’t like it – and it’s not like he needs another way to hit opponents), Haste and Slow (a handy buff/debuff set, but already covered in part and better left to casters who can’t already inflict massive damage instead), Protection From Energy (his stances and other defenses can handle that), Sleet Storm (locks targets down at least briefly – but then you can’t see them), and Manyjaws (outdone by a Greater Evocation of Force, below).
  • Level Four: Greater Invisibility, Dimension Door, Black Tentacles, Greater Mirror Image, Enervation, and Bestow Curse (he happens to be fond of cursing animals with domestication, and thieves with shaky hands, and that sort of thing – but that’s just him).
    • Level Four Honorable Mentions: Resilient Sphere (outdone by a Greater Evocation of Force, below), Perfect Summons (OK, it’s wonderful if you’re up against a summoner, or a demon which keeps on summoning more demons – but getting a highly specialized mid-level spell just when you need it is what Limited Wish is for), Polymorph (either incredibly powerful or fairly useless depending on what GM, version, and errata you have. In this case rather out of character anyway; you don’t train for decades to turn your body into a living weapon and then turn into something else), Rainbow Pattern (it has a nice effect, but it’s mind-affecting, sight-dependent, limited by hit dice, and affects the low hit dice types first. Nice sometimes, but not a staple spell), Stoneskin (this is Eclipse; if you want some DR just go ahead and buy some), and Minor Creation (best left to psychic sources, where it’s only a first level effect).
  • Level Five: Hold Monster, Feeblemind, Fabricate, Telekinesis, Cloudkill, and Wall of Stone,.
    • Level Five Honorable Mentions: Teleport (he just uses a Belt of the Wide Earth as a part of his Legendarium), Evacuation Rune (he has plenty of ways to escape if he must), Dominate Person (too many high-level defenses out there, out of character, and – in Eclipse – easily blocked by The Adamant Will since there are few things players hate more than their characters being taken over), Friend to Foe (again, defenses – and rather limited duration too. If it’s needed, use Limited Wish to whip up a sixth level version that lasts a little longer), and Prismatic Ray (some nice effects, but inherently unreliable).
  • Level Six: Disintegrate, Greater Dispel Magic, Antimagic Sphere, Greater Invocation of Force (from The Practical Enchanter, produces any arcane Force effect of up to L5), Freezing Fog, and Ruby Ray of Reversal.
    • Level Six Honorable Mentions: Chain Lightning (he has better ways to blast groups), True Seeing (he can use Witchcraft for this), Summon Monster VI (he just uses a Robe of Mysterious Conjuration as a part of his Legendarium, which lets him summon things if he wants), Globe of Invulnerability (anyone trying to stop him with low-level magic is out of luck anyway), and Planar Binding (very cosmology-dependent, you need to know Magic Circle against Evil, and not really in his style anyway; he’s a Martial Artist; he runs his own errands).
  • Level Seven: Limited Wish, Greater Teleport, Spell Turning, Prismatic Spray, Waves of Exhaustion, and Reverse Gravity.
    • Level Seven Honorable Mentions: Project Image (he is, after all, primarily a melee specialist), Mage’s Mansion (lots of style, but a Rope Trick generally works and at his current level he has an item for this), Mass Planar Adaption (Nice, but REALLY situational. If you must, get a Runestaff), and Force Cage (way too expensive to rely on).
  • Level Eight: Greater Prying Eyes, Polymorph Any Object, Greater Shadow Evocation, Greater Bestow Curse, and Maze.
    • Level Eight Honorable Mentions: Create Demiplane (this isn’t necessarily all that useful, but it is very cool. Get a scroll if you want one), Clone (honestly, you shouldn’t need this often enough to justify knowing it instead of just using a scroll or something), Irresistible Dance (good if it works, but it’s another easily-blocked mind-affecting compulsion), and Mind Blank (fairly vital really, but covered elsewhere. If it wasn’t, this would be a must-have).
  • Level Nine: Shapechange, Time Stop, Dominate Monster, Gate, Shades, and Iceberg.
    • Level Nine Honorable Mentions: Wish (he has a device that can access an equivalent effect), Summon Monster IX (He just uses a Robe of Mysterious Conjuration as a part of his Legendarium), Maw of Chaos (Very powerful, but not his style. That weakness – it doesn’t work versus creatures with the Chaotic subtype – is potentially annoying, but not a deal-breaker since it will work just fine on an awful lot of things), and Reality Maelstrom (very neat, but how often do you want to just banish things at random?). Now if your game master is unwilling to live with the consequences of one or more of Shapechange, Time Stop, and Gate, go ahead and trade them out. They are pretty gamebreaking if seriously exploited.

As is to be expected, most of Uncle’s spells are straight out of the system reference document. After all, that list was the product of some pretty extensive playtesting over two decades. By the time that 3.5 rolled around, most of the obvious bases had been pretty well covered.

The selections is rather light on buffs and defenses though – mostly because this is Eclipse. Characters shouldn’t need to have a bunch of buffing and defensive spells stacked on them to do their jobs in the first place and defenses are often better purchased directly, without draining your caster’s magical reserves. Secondarily, it’s because this list is for a Martial character, with rather limited (if very handy) access to spellcasting. He just doesn’t have the magical resources to spare to do a lot of buffing; his spells are for direct utility and giving him new ways to defeat his opponents.

Next up we have some remaining items, starting with a couple of minor ones done in the Magic Item Compendium style.

Vest Of Coolness

  • Price: 650 GP
  • Body Slot: Torso
  • Caster Level: Third
  • Aura: Faint Transmutation
  • Activation: —
  • Weight: 1 lb.

This elegant vest is guaranteed to make you look good, draw in attractive members of the opposite sex (or the same sex if that’s the wearer’s preference), remind you of all the best jokes and pick-up lines, and provide an endless supply of smokes, recreational substances, hangover-free drinks, and tasty snacks – although these have no nutritional value, negligible potency (if a high placebo value), and no lasting effects. The wearer will soon draw an entourage of other party-goers, and will have a marvelous time at almost any social venue.

Prerequisites: Craft Wondrous Item, Prestidigitation and Charm Person, Diplomacy skill of +10 or more.

Cost to Create: 325 GP, 26 XP.

Performers Outfit, A.K.A. “Pants of Prance”.

  • Price: 5000 GP
  • Body Slot: Body
  • Caster Level: Fifth
  • Aura: Faint Illusion
  • Activation: —
  • Weight: 2 Lb.

This flashy – and variably ethnic – outfit provides it’s wearer with his or her own private light show, background music and/or accompaniment, minor props and effects, and costume changes, to suit the show – resulting in a +5 Circumstance Bonus to any Perform checks the user happens to make.

Prerequisites: Craft Wondrous Item, Dancing Lights, Ghost Sound, Prestidigitation, Disguise Self, +6 or more in at least three different Perform skills. Note that, if you make a Performer’s Outfit intelligent, it can make “Aid Another” checks with it’s own +5 to help your performances out even more.

Cost to Create: 2500 GP and 200 XP.

Why are these in the Magic Item Compendium style? For the Vest it’s because the rules don’t really cover items that don’t actually have mechanical effects. For the Performers Outfit it’s because it’s basically using Dancing Lights to provide lighting effects, Ghost Sound to provide sound effects, Prestidigitation to provide small props, strategic scents, make a performers hair blow in the non-existent wind, and so on, and Disguise Self to provide “makeup” and costumes. Each seems reasonably likely to provide a small circumstance bonus (arbitrarily set at +1 per level of the spell), but caster level one seemed a bit silly – and calculating out the modifiers for it being restricted to enhancing perform skills (however many any given game uses) only seemed likely to make it overly cheap. Ergo, a rather arbitrary cost for a trivial item.

High-Tier Martial Characters – “Uncle”, A Tier-1 (or possibly Zero) Monk

This character stacks up a LOT of high-efficiency options to obtain grotesque power. Like many (or most of the famous) character-optimization exercises, it goes well past the point of playability in the vast majority of games. Why bother then? Because Eclipse is a point-buy system. If you feel that your martial character is a victim of martial-caster disparity or otherwise needs a boost… you can simply cherry pick a few of the options used in this (or any other) character and throw them in to fix the problem.

Besides, serious character optimization is basically RPG solitaire. You wouldn’t want to do it all the time, but it’s fun once in a while. Be warned; this is going to get quite absurd. Not QUITE Pun-Pun level absurd, but close.

Xiao Hung Chan, usually known as “Uncle”, tends to be seen as some sort of relative – maybe a couple of times removed or something, but who cares? – by rather a LOT of people. At his age that’s probably only to be expected. When you have seven or eight generations of descendants, nieces, nephews, and hangers-on, you can find a family connection to half a continent.

Despite the confusion as to the exact relationship, Uncle looks after children, watches over the villages, trains youngsters – and quietly closes up his antique shop and steps out to oppose planetary threats.

At least in d20, and in this hideously overpowered incarnation, he doesn’t really need Jackie Chan and Section 13 to do so – although, to be honest, that was often true in the cartoon too.

Oddly enough, despite his rather remarkable power level, Uncle is a bit of a generalist. He’s an unarmed fighter of astounding skill, he is a master of the mystic martial arts, he dabbles in magic and spellcasting, he has minor psychic abilities, he channels the power of his own legend, and he is a Master Strategos. Does he fit in on Tier 1? Or beyond? Well… you’ll have to decide for yourself.

Race: Lesser Air Genasi (31 CP / +0 ECL Racial Template):

  • Attribute Modifiers: Attribute Shift x2 (12 CP), +2 Dex, +2 Int, -2 Wis, -2 Chr. Air genasi are quick of hand and sharp of wit, but are easily distracted, arrogant, and short of social graces.
  • Inherent Spell, Specialized; only gets a second level spell (Levitate) once per day (3 CP).
  • Occult Sense/60′ Darkvision (6 CP).
  • Resist II: +4 to saves against Air spells and effects. Corrupted/only comes into play at +1 per 5 levels or part thereof (4 CP).
  • Breathless: Immunity/Having to Breathe (Very Common, Major, Minor, 12 CP). Lesser air genasi do not breathe, so they are immune to drowning, suffocation, and attacks that require inhalation (such as some types of poison).
  • Accursed/Planetouched. They are valid targets for things that affect humanoids and for those that affect outsiders. For example, both Charm Persona and Banishment will work on them (-3 CP).
  • Blocked/If they take clerical spellcasting abilities they must take the Air Domain – or pay an extra 3 CP to buy off this limitation (-3 CP).
    • OK, this is a stupid limitation – but it’s part of the original writeup and is needed to make our Lesser Air Genasi come out to a +0 ECL race. Personally I’m going to make sure that any character with this race takes some clerical spellcasting, just so that they have to buy this off to get a better domain.
  • Lesser air genasi reach adulthood at 15 years of age and can reach a maximum age around 150 years. In d20 terms this is almost identical to normal humans, so there’s no cost there.

Now for the actual build…

Available Character Points: 504 Base + 42 (Seven Bonus Feats) + 40 (Duties to his order and as one of the guardians of the world) +20 (Restrictions; no armor, no weapons) +10 (Disads; Compulsive need to banish demons, guard evil artifacts, and otherwise defend the world, History, and Hunted by various evil groups) +44 (Fast Learner taken at L (-2)) = 660 CP available.

Basic Attributes: Str 14 (+2, Reality Revision x2) (22) (38 with Bear Spirit), Int 18 (20 Race) (+5 Level) (+5, Reality Revision x5) (36), Dex 12 (14 Race) (20), Con 14 (+2, Reality Revision x2) (Bear 24) (30), Wis 8 (6 Race) (12) (Bear 16), Chr 8 (6 Race) (12) (High Powered Campaign).

When channeling a Bear Spirit – which is usually twenty-four hours a day – Str +16, Con +8, Wis +2 (instead of -2), +10′ Move, Improved Grab, Low-Light Vision, Scent, Endurance, Run, Track. +26 HP, and +5 Natural Armor.

Package Deal: Uncle does not currently have a package deal. If you want him to fit Pathfinder standards, go ahead and apply the Pathfinder Package Deal.

Basic Abilities (Attacking, 114 CP):

  • +15 BAB, Specialized in Unarmed Combat for Double Effect (90 CP).
    • He could go to +40 – and a fighter specializing in a particular weapon or two could easily go to +60 or more (Specialized in Melee or Ranged Combat, Corrupted for a few particular weapons only), but again, Uncle Chan is a generalist.
  • Imbuement (Unarmed Combat, Specialized / only while unarmored and either lightly- or un- encumbered (3 CP). +1, Collision/+2 (+5 Impact Damage, multiplies on a crit), Warning/+1 for +5 Insight Bonus to Initiative).
    • Fighter types usually have some extra feats or character points available. Investing a few in “I don’t NEED a special weapon” negates a MAJOR equipment expense and makes them a lot less vulnerable to having their gear destroyed. You can take a variant to imbue your armor and shield too if you wish – or go for double effect instead of half cost.
  • Bonus Attack/Unarmed Combat, Specialized / only while unarmored and either lightly- or un- encumbered (3 CP). Adds a second attack at the user’s highest BAB, but all attacks take a -2.
    • This is really kind of redundant in this build – simply investing in more BAB would give him a +2 to attack and eliminate the -2 penalty for using bonus attack, thus getting him an extra attack (and all of them at a higher BAB) ANYWAY – but I am showcasing options here, and Bonus Attack can be very handy at lower levels – which is presumably when Uncle Chan picked it up.
  • Lunge, Specialized / only while unarmored and either lightly- or un- encumbered (3 CP). Adds +5′ of Reach. With his Martial Art he has a total effective reach of 25′.
    • Another 3 CP here would get him his reach up to 30′ – or get someone without his martial arts up to 15′ – but Uncle Chan is something of a generalist. Besides… if you want to boost something in particular, that’s why he has “Create Relic” later on.
  • Rapid Strike, Specialized / only while unarmored and either lightly- or un- encumbered (3 CP). Iterative attacks are made every four steps, not every five.
    • Another 6 CP here would get it down to every two steps, but Uncle Chan already has more attacks than is at all reasonable. Still, if you want to go for twenty or thirty attacks, that’s quite possible. Stacking that with a few critical-boosters, specialized luck to help confirm criticals, and weapon with some good critical-triggered effects might be a good strategy.
  • Split Movement /Attacking, Specialized / only while unarmored and either lightly- or un- encumbered (3 CP). The user may make a partial move, strike, and move again.
    • With a few movement boosts, and some way to avoid attacks of opportunity, this can let you pull off some very nice hit-and-run attacks with very little risk.
  • Advanced Improved Augmented Bonus: Add (Int Mod) to (Str Mod) for melee combat purposes, Specialized / only while unarmored and either lightly- or un- encumbered, Corrupted / only for Unarmed Combat purposes (6 CP).
    • No hyper-warrior will want to pass this up. Flat numerical bonuses aren’t exciting, but they do add up to a LOT more damage output over a combatants career.
  • C’hi Strike/Augmented Attack/+3d6 (+10) Damage to overcome Damage Reduction and Hardness Only, Specialized / only while unarmored and either lightly- or un- encumbered, Corrupted / only with unarmed combat (3 CP).
    • This was important early on in Uncle’s career. It isn’t particularly important any longer, but who knows? He might spend another 3 CP to get it up to +20 someday just for those epic monsters. .
  • Weapon Proficiencies: Uncle has no use at all for weapons, and is long since out of practice with them. Ergo, he has no weapon proficiencies. If he wants to use any, he’ll just have to live with the non-proficiency penalty and a near-complete lack of bonuses or pick up an Immunity to the distinction between his fists and a weapon or some such. Until such a time, if he wants someone to completely underestimate him… picking up a weapon is probably the way to go.
  • Total Attack: +30 (Purchased) +14 (Str) +13 (Int) +12 (M. Art) +1 (Enh) +12 (Luck from Battle Blessing) +4 (Morale) = Full Attack of +86/+84/+84/+80/+76/+72/+68/+64/+60/+56 (one bonus attack from Personal Haste at his full BAB, another at -2 to itself and all further attacks from Bonus Attack, eight from a +30 BAB before L20 and reducing his BAB by only 4 per attack).
    • While BAB only increases iterative attacks up to level twenty, if you bump yourself past +20 before then, or reduce the interval, there’s no reason why you can’t get a lot more iterative attacks. In Eclipse, if you really insist, you can have quite a few of them.
  • His Base Unarmed Damage is 3d12 (Dragon Style Sun Source Martial Arts, see below) +14 (Str) +13 (Int) +5 (Collision) +1 (Enhancement) +12 (Luck) +3 (Wristbands) = 3d12+48, Crit 20/x2, 26 Attacks of Opportunity with 25′ Reach (covering and striking into all coexistent planes). He can stack many other boosts and special weapons powers on to that, but – most of the time – why bother?

That is expensive – a total of 114 CP, not counting some later expenses – but “hitting things” is a big element of being a fighter type, and Uncle Chan hits things very well indeed.

Basic Abilities (Hit Dice, 26 CP):

  • Augmented Bonus: Add (Int Mod) to (Con Mod) for HP Purposes (18 CP).
  • Hit Dice: 12 (L1d12, 8 CP) +52 (19d4, 0 CP) +36 (Im. Vigor III) +260 (Con Mod x 26) + 338 (Int Mod x 26) +26 (Bear) = 724 HP (Only 718 after Grafts). Damage Reduction of 12/- thanks to his Sun Source Martial Art.

OK, the characters massive AC and bonuses per die are doing all the heavy lifting here. Still, that should be enough to take a hit or two from most opponents – and a total of 26 CP is pretty cheap. Even better, his damage reduction should be enough to handle a lot of minor stuff.

This is really about edition change; once upon a time most battles were decided by slowly grinding through an opponents hit points before they ground through yours. Later edition fights tend to hinge on save-or-die, save-or-suck, specialized damage multipliers, and other conditional effects instead – mostly in an effort to make them more unpredictable and exciting. Then WOTC put out Feats like Faeries Secret of Mysteries and things just got weirder from there. Ovarall? Hit points are just not as important as they once were. You need enough to take a few hits – but wars of hit point attrition are pretty rare. Ergo it’s fair enough to get them on the cheap.

Basic Abilities (Saves, 81 CP):

  • Luck with +(2 x Int Mod = 26) Bonus Uses, Specialized in saves (9 CP).
  • Add Int Mod to All Saves (Improved Augmented Bonus III, Specialized and Corrupted / only while wearing light or no armor, only while lightly encumbered or unencumbered, only while he adheres to his monkish disciplines, 12 CP).
    • Saves are a pain. At high levels you usually either almost automatically make or fail them, barring a natural “1″ or “20″. Thus, even with massive save bonuses, some rerolls, or the ability to “take 20″ in advance, can be a lifesaver. Luck provides both. Since Luck is a limited resource you’ll still want good save bonuses though – and the cheapest way to get them is to throw in one or another version of the Paladin’s “add another attribute modifier” trick.
  • Fortune (the Evasion variant): The user takes no effect on a successful reflex save (6 CP). This is just too handy not to take.
  • Net Saves: All +6 (54 CP) +12 (luck from the Avatar of War Strategos ability) +13 (Int) +5 (Resistance) +4 (Morale) for +40, resulting in basic saves of Fort +50, Ref +45, Will +43. That’s good enough for most small stuff, and he has Luck for the big stuff. It should do.

Basic Abilities (Initiative, 52 CP):

  • Reflex Training/Three Action per Day Variant, with +4 Bonus Uses, Specialized for Double Effect (Two Standard Actions)/only usable while unarmored and lightly or unencumbered (12 CP).
    • “Comic Book Time” – which is pretty much any version of “I act on someone else’s turn” – is one of the best defenses there is. Sniped with a laser beam? No worries! You have the time to turn to face it, chant a spell, and raise a shield! Go ahead, make physics cry!
  • Advanced Augmented Bonus: Add (Int Mod) to (Dex Mod) for Initiative Purposes, Specialized / only usable while unarmored and lightly encumbered or unencumbered (6 CP).
  • Reflex Training/Combat Reflexes variant, Specialized/only usable while unarmored and lightly encumbered or unencumbered (3 CP).
  • Advanced Augmented Bonus: Add (Int Mod) to (Dex Mod) for number of Attacks of Opportunity, Specialized / only while Unencumbered and Carrying a Light Load or less, Corrupted / only for unarmed attacks (4 CP).
  • Lightning Fist Technique: Opportunist/gets a chance to make an Attack of Opportunity on any opponent within reach who attacks him and misses, Specialized/only usable while unarmored and lightly encumbered or unencumbered (3 CP).
  • Guardian Fist Technique: Opportunist/gets a chance to make an Attack of Opportunity on any opponent within reach who attacks someone else (6 CP).
    • Go ahead. Lock down the entire battlefield. You know you want to. After all, it’s not like it’s going to prevent you from doing anything else you like – and it can really annoy a Charger type to be hit with four or five attacks of opportunity on the way in (and then, thanks to some later bits, to run into a force wall).
  • Danse of Time/Opportunist (6 CP): Chan may “ride along” with any nearby character who enters a fast timestream, taking actions along with them. (In effect, Uncle Chan gets to take actions of his own for free whenever anyone in the vicinity who uses Time Stop or a similar effect.
    • Go ahead. Let that annoying sorcerer stop time, and then decapitate him while none of his allies can do a thing to help him. After all, he’s just locked himself in a little cage of time with you).
  • Net Initiative +5 (Dex) +13 (Int) +8 (Improved Initiative, 6 CP + Domain Power) +5 (Insight, Warning Weapon) +2 (Competence, Belt of Battle) +10 (Luck, Improvisation) +6 (Synergy, Martial Arts) +4 (Morale) = +53
    • There are builds out there that push initiative a great deal higher than this – but most of them are using assorted classes with very similar abilities that add various attribute modifiers to Initiative over and over again. That won’t work in Eclipse. Still, +53 should be quite high enough for most purposes. If it isn’t, there are some magical tricks later on or you could just buy some Luck (Specialized and Corrupted to let you take 60) only for initiative.

Basic Abilities (Armor Class, 15 CP):

  • Defender, Specialized for Double Effect/only while unarmored and free to move (6 CP).
    • Any mid- to high-level combatant would be well advised to look at Defender. It’s fairly cheap and it provides very nice boost to armor class.
  • Advanced Improved Augmented Bonus: Add (Int Mod) to (Dex Mod) for AC purposes, Specialized / only while Unarmored and Unencumbered and Carrying a Light Load or less (9 CP).
    • We obviously have a bottleneck design here – we’re adding (Int Mod) to EVERYTHING – but it’s hard to deny the utility. Of course, if something reduces your intelligence you’ll have to recalculate half your character sheet – which is why there are defenses against that later on.
  • Armor Class 10 (Base) +12 (Martial Arts) +13 (Int) +5 (Dex) +8 (Defender) +8 (Bracers of Armor) +8 (Natural, with Bear and Amulet of Natural Armor) +12 (Luck, from Avatar of War) +5 (Defender) +5 (Deflection) = 86
    • That’s probably enough to fend off everything but natural 20’s (including Luck drat it) and the high end “never miss” builds.

Basic Abilities (Movement, 10 CP):

  • Celerity/+20′ Ground Movement, Specialized / only while Unarmored and Unencumbered and Carrying a Light Load or less (6 CP).
  • Celerity/Additional Movement Mode (Flight), Specialized and Corrupted/only to keep the user from taking damage from falls and extend their ability to jump (double the distance, with no upper limit) (4 CP).
    • A bit specialized, but CERTAINLY well worth it early on.
  • Net Move: 30 (Base) +30 (Enhancement) +10 (Bear) +20 (Celerity) +30 (Circumstance) = 120′ (Thanks to Legendarium and Items Fly 120’/Perfect and Swim 60)

Basic Abilities (Skills, 96 CP):

  • Skill Points 21 (21 CP) +299 (Int mod x 23, see below) = 320 SP
  • Occult Skill Access/Legendarium (3 CP)
  • Occult Skill Access/Foresight (3 CP)
    • While it’s easy enough to pep up “ordinary” skills in one way or another, Occult Skills can be quite powerful right out of the box – which is why they have an up-front cost of 3 CP and 3 SP to start really buying (about what it costs to get special powers out of a standard skill). Given that Legendarium provides you with the equivalent of built-in magical items, a lot of Uncle’s special defenses are going to rely on it. Still, that’s for later on.
  • Augmented Bonus/Adds (Int Mod) to Cha based skills (6 CP)
  • Augmented Bonus/Adds (Int Mod) to Dex based skills (6 CP).
  • Adept x 2 (May purchase Dragon Style Kung Fu, Legendarium, Foresight, Concentration, Spot, Tumble, Balance, and Disable Device for half cost, 12 CP).
  • Professional/Legendarium (6 CP).
  • Immunity/Dispelling and Antimagic (Common, Major, Epic, Specialized and Corrupted/only protects his Legendarium abilities 9 CP). This turns his legendary powers into Extraordinary Abilities, preventing them from being readily dispelled or countered – and also saves the game master from having to recalculate everything if he gets hit with some form of dispelling that he can’t (or doesn’t) counter.
  • Immunity/Not getting skill points for Int boosts retroactively (Uncommon, Minor, Great, 6 CP).
    • This is a common house rule, and the default in Pathfinder and some other editions. But I’ll pay for it explicitly here.
  • Sun Source Martial Art/Dragon Style Kung Fu (Dex): Skill Focus (6 CP), Stunt (6 CP) Professional (6 CP): 23 SP +5 (Dex) +13 (Int) +3 (Skill Focus) +10 (Professional) = +54

The Sun Source. The martial arts as commonly practiced are mere reflections in cracked and tarnished mirrors of the true masteries. Buy any one unarmed martial art, Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect: It only works if the user is Unarmored and Unencumbered, the more skilled the user becomes the more often he or she will be targeted by other martial artists, and focuses enormous amounts of C’hi. Great practitioners of the Sun Source are easily sensed by other martial artists, are subject ot C’hi draining and blocking tricks and substances, and must practice many odd little self-disciplines to maintain their power.

  • Martial Arts Powers (27): Strike 1 (3d4 Base, deal lethal or nonlethal damage at will without penalty), Power 4 (Increase base damage to 3d12), Synergy 1 (+6 to Initiative), Synergy 1 (+6 to Concentration), Attack 4 (+12 To Hit), Defenses 4 (+12 to AC), DR 4 (12/-), Lunge 1 (15′), 3 Advanced Techniques 1 (Mind Like Moon/DC 15 Ref save to avoid being Flat-Footed, Prone Combat, and Instant Stand), Master Techniques 2 (Breaking, Mobility, Expertise (Can take up to -5 of Attack to add +5 to AC), Blind-Fight, Improved Trip, and Whirlwind Attack), Occult Techniques 3 (Inner Strength/ +18 Phantom Con points, Ki Block, Light Foot, and Vanishing (1), Wrath, Healing Hand, and Iron Skin (1)). .
  • Mystic Artist / Martial Art (6 CP). Thirteen Mystic Artist Powers: Inspiration: Emotion, Greatness, Excellence, Mass Greatness, Mass Excellence, Heroism, Mass Heroism, and Double. Synergy: Block, Amplify, Harmonize, Serenity, and Rule the Horde
    • Yes, that’s right; by flexing his muscles properly Uncle Chan can produce powerful bardic-style effects. In combination with the Master Of The Arts maneuver, he can do it while fighting if he so desires.

Skills:

  • Appraise +0 (0 SP) +13 (Int) +5 (Competence) +4 (Morale) +10 (Luck) = +32
  • Balance +23 (12 SP*) +6 (Dex) +13 (Int) +10 (Competence) +4 (Morale) +10 (Luck) +2 (Synergy with Jump) = +68
  • Bluff +1 (1 SP) +1 (Cha) +13 (Int) +5 (Competence) +4 (Morale) +10 (Luck) = +34
  • Climb +2 (2 SP) +13 (Str) +5 (Competence) +4 (Morale) +10 (Luck) = +34
  • Command (covers purchasing Army Enhancements, as per the Political Positions rules. I’m going to assume that this is not an “Occult” skill; it’s simply not something that Adventurers usually take). +6 (6 SP) +1 (Chr) +13 (Int) +5 (Competence) +4 (Morale) +10 (Luck) = +39
  • Concentration: +23 (12 SP*) +10 (Con) +5 (Competence) +4 (Morale) +10 (Luck) +6 (Synergy) = +58
  • Craft/Gardening +8 (8 SP) +13 (Int) +5 (Competence) +4 (Morale) +10 (Luck) = +40
  • Craft/Alchemy +8 (8 SP) +13 (Int) +5 (Competence) +4 (Morale) +10 (Luck) = +40
  • Craft/Calligraphy +8 (8 SP) +13 (Int) +5 (Competence) +4 (Morale) +10 (Luck) = +40
  • Craft/Charms and Talismans +2 (2 SP) +13 (Int) +5 (Competence) +4 (Morale) +10 (Luck) = +34
  • Decipher Script +3 (3 SP) +13 (Int) +5 (Competence) +4 (Morale) +10 (Luck) = +35
  • Diplomacy +23 (23 SP) +1 (Cha) +13 (Int) +5 (Competence) +4 (Morale) +10 (Luck) = +56
  • Disable Device +23 (12 SP*) +6 (Dex) +13 (Int) +5 (Competence) +4 (Morale) +10 (Luck) = +61
  • Disguise +1 (1 SP) +1 (Cha) +13 (Int) +5 (Competence) +4 (Morale) +10 (Luck) +10 (Hat of Disguise) = +44
  • Escape Artist +3 (3 SP) +5 (Dex) +13 (Int) +5 (Competence) +4 (Morale) +10 (Luck) = +40
  • Foresight: +13 (6 SP*) +30 (Specialized and Corrupted, Only for deciding prepared spells when needed, 5 CP*) +13 (Int) +5 (Competence) +4 (Morale) +10 (Luck) = +45, +75 for selecting spells.
    • This will pretty much let Uncle Chan choose his spells when he wants them – although, admittedly, he still doesn’t get all that many.
  • Forgery: +0 (0 SP) +13 (Int) +5 (Competence) +4 (Morale) +10 (Luck) = +32
  • Gather Information +2 (2 SP) +1 (Cha) +13 (Int) +5 (Competence) +4 (Morale) +10 (Luck) = +35
  • Handle Animal +2 (2 SP) +1 (Cha) +13 (Int) +5 (Competence) +4 (Morale) +10 (Luck) = +35
  • Heal +13 (13 SP) +3 (Wis) +5 (Competence) +4 (Morale) +10 (Luck) = +35
  • Hide +13 (13 SP) +6 (Dex) +13 (Int) +5 (Competence) +4 (Morale) +10 (Luck) = +51
  • Intimidate: +2 (2 SP) +1 (Cha) +13 (Int) +5 (Competence) +4 (Morale) +10 (Luck) = +35
  • Jump +1 (1 SP) +13 (Str) +36 (Move) +4 (Run) +10 (Competence) +4 (Morale) +10 (Luck) +2 (Synergy) +10 (Circumstance) = +90 (Double jump distances with no upper limit).
  • Knowledge/The Planes +4 (4 SP) +13 (Int) +5 (Competence) +4 (Morale) +10 (Luck) = +35
  • Knowledge/Architecture and Engineering +4 (4 SP) +13 (Int) +5 (Competence) +4 (Morale) +10 (Luck) = +35
  • Knowledge/Arcana +3 (3 SP) +13 (Int) +5 (Competence) +4 (Morale) +10 (Luck) = +35
  • Knowledge/Religion +3 (3 SP) +13 (Int) +5 (Competence) +4 (Morale) +10 (Luck) = +35
  • Knowledge/Nobility and Royalty +3 (3 SP) +13 (Int) +5 (Competence) +4 (Morale) +10 (Luck) = +35
  • Knowledge/Dungeoneering +3 (3 SP) +13 (Int) +5 (Competence) +4 (Morale) +10 (Luck) = +35
  • Knowledge/Geography +3 (3 SP) +13 (Int) +5 (Competence) +4 (Morale) +10 (Luck) = +35
  • Knowledge/History +3 (3 SP) +13 (Int) +5 (Competence) +4 (Morale) +10 (Luck) = +35
  • Knowledge/Local +3 (3 SP) +13 (Int) +5 (Competence) +4 (Morale) +10 (Luck) = +35
  • Knowledge/Nature +3 (3 SP) +13 (Int) +5 (Competence) +4 (Morale) +10 (Luck) = +35
  • Legendarium: +23 SP (12 SP*) +1 (Chr) +13 Int Mod +3 Skill Focus +10 (Professional) +6 (Inherent) = +56 (940,800 GP total value). With +5 Competence, +4 Morale, and +10 Luck, +75 when he’s using it to try and impress people – but temporary boosts don’t add to his legendary powers.
  • Listen +13 (13 SP) +3 (Wis) +5 (Competence) +4 (Morale) +10 (Luck) = +35
  • Move Silently: +12 (12 SP) +6 (Dex) +13 (Int) +5 (Competence) +4 (Morale) +10 (Luck) = +50
  • Open Lock +2 (2 SP) +6 (Dex) +13 (Int) +5 (Competence) +4 (Morale) +10 (Luck) = +40
  • Perform/Religious Music +7 (7 SP) +1 (Cha) +13 (Int) +5 (Competence) +4 (Morale) +10 (Luck) = +40
  • Perform/Chant +7 (7 SP) +1 (Cha) +13 (Int) +5 (Competence) +4 (Morale) +10 (Luck) = +40
  • Profession/Teacher +8 (8 SP) +3 (Wis) +5 (Competence) +4 (Morale) +10 (Luck) = +30
  • Ride +7 (7 SP) +6 (Dex) +13 (Int) +5 (Competence) +4 (Morale) +10 (Luck) = +45
  • Search +13 (13 SP) +3 (Wis) +5 (Competence) +4 (Morale) +10 (Luck) +2 (Typeless) = +37.
    • Note that skills work the same way for everyone in Eclipse, so he can find traps just fine.
  • Sense Motive +2 (2 SP) +3 (Wis) +5 (Competence) +4 (Morale) +10 (Luck) = +24
  • Sleight of Hand +2 (2 SP) +6 (Dex) +13 (Int) +5 (Competence) +4 (Morale) +10 (Luck) = +40
  • Speak Language +2 (2 SP) +13 (Int) = Common +15 Languages. That should cover almost anything.
  • Spellcraft +18 (18 SP) +13 (Int) +5 (Competence) +4 (Morale) +10 (Luck) = +50
  • Spot +23 (12 SP*) +3 (Wis) +5 (Competence) +4 (Morale) +10 (Luck) +5 (Raptor’s Mask) +2 (Typeless) +2 (Insight) = +54
  • Sun Source Dragon Style Kung Fu +23 (12 SP*) +6 (Dex) +13 (Int) +3 (Skill Focus) +10 (Professional) +5 (Comp) +4 (Morale) +10 (Luck) = +74.
    • Sadly, Magical bonuses don’t count for taking abilities (although they do for breaking things).
  • Survival +2 (2 SP) +3 (Wis) +5 (Competence) +4 (Morale) +10 (Luck) = +24. Has the “Track” ability.
  • Swim +0 (0 SP) +13 (Str) +5 (Competence) +4 (Morale) +10 (Luck) +4 (Bear) +8 (Swim Speed) = +44
  • Tumble +23 (12 SP*) +6 (Dex) +13 (Int) +10 (Competence) +4 (Morale) +10 (Luck) = +66
  • Use Magic Device +2 (2 SP) +1 (Cha) +13 (Int) +5 (Competence) +4 (Morale) +10 (Luck) = +35
  • Use Rope +2 (2 SP) +6 (Dex) +13 (Int) +5 (Competence) +4 (Morale) +10 (Luck) = +40
  • Just to insert a note… With 1 CP left over I’m going to put it into a Specific Knowledge of Oriental Antiques, providing a +15 bonus to knowledge rolls about that particular topic.
  • Special Bonuses: +2 on Bluff, Diplomacy, Gather Information, and Intimidate checks involving Dragonblooded creatures., assorted minor special purpose synergy bonuses (not worth bothering with), and a +4 bonus on the following checks and saves: Swim checks made to resist nonlethal damage, Constitution checks made to continue running, Constitution checks made to avoid nonlethal damage from a forced march, Constitution checks made to hold your breath, Constitution checks made to avoid nonlethal damage from starvation or thirst, Fortitude saves made to avoid nonlethal damage from hot or cold environments, and Fortitude saves made to resist damage from suffocation. Also, you may sleep in light or medium armor without becoming fatigued.

Well, Uncle might as well hit up the “Skill Monkey” niche along the way – and Legnedarium gives him a way to get all kinds of minor and not-so-minor bonuses on the cheap.

Legendary Martial Mastery (174 CP):

  • Fast Learner specialized in the Legendary Martial Arts for +2 CP/Level (6 CP), taken at level (-2) with Disadvantage points.
    • Uncle Chan is such a talented martial artist that his skills started to develop in early childhood. A mysterious old man bringing him a copy of the Buddha’s Palm manuscript was not required, although one may well have turned up anyway.
  • Martial Stances / Master Strategos (30 CP).
    • By default, Uncle is presumed to be using Avatar of War (+12 Luck Bonus to AC and Saves for himself and his allies), Battle Blessing (+12 luck bonus to Attacks and Damage for himself and his allies), and Call of Valor (+4 Morale Bonus to Ability Checks, Attacks, Saves, and Skill Checks for himself and his allies). He may switch to some of the other options in special situations, but – for the most part – why bother? Those bonuses are already absurdly good.
  • Legendary Martial Arts (Standard Maneuver Set Only, only (9 x Int Mod)d6 of Mana Recovery daily, 138 CP)
    • This gives him martial arts abilities roughly on a par with a Sorcerer’s spells or the various Tome of Battle classes – or would if he wasn’t so heavily optimized anyway. Given that this style of Martial Maneuvers builds on your existing abilities, Uncle will be an atrocity of power.

For a quick example… Uncle Chan doesn’t bother with adding enhancements or anything. He just holds out his palm in your general direction. He uses Distant Strike (1 Mana), The Thunderbolt Prana (2 Mana, for a Crushing Attack that combines all his iterative attacks as a single attack at his highest BAB), and Shockwave Strike (2 Mana) – choosing to take an attack roll at +86 against each target his wishes to strike in a 40′ radius. Each hit will inflict 10 x (3d12+48) damage – and twice that on a critical hit. That’s 675 points on the average.

If he chose to go single-target instead, he could use the Thunderbolt Prana again to add “Hammer” instead of Shockwave Strike – getting his attack up to +91 and his damage to 840 points.

Oh yes, in either case, +10 damage to overcome Damage Reduction only. As if it matters any. In either case, that affects all co-existent planes and is essentially non-magical.

There are a few epic monsters – mostly with challenge ratings in the 50+ range – that can take that initial strike. There aren’t many – and most of them will not be able to handle a second or a third.

Monk Tricks and Witchcraft (38 CP)

  • Pacts x5 (-30 CP): Missions (Uncle, in the service of the Higher Powers, undertakes periodic missions for them), Epic Quest (Uncle has been pursuing some mighty quest for years now, and it may require many more years), Duties (Uncle must teach, look after innocent bystanders, and accept and aid those who seek redemption for their past misdeeds), Advertising (Uncle must make a point of attempting to recruit followers for his beliefs and displaying the benefits of those beliefs), and Hunted (As a grand master of “Good C’hi Magic” Uncle is a magnet for demons, evil plots, and similar troubles).
  • Basic Witchcraft: Witchcraft III (18 CP) with +9d6 Power (18 CP), Specialized and Corrupted / as an ascetic warrior-philosopher, Uncle must spend at least one skill point per level on practical working-class skills with religious elements (such as gardening or farming, calligraphy, making baskets or pots, carpentry, perform (religious music), or child care) and one skill point per level on Knowledge Religion, Arcana, or Architecture (monasteries, temples, etc). Moreover, he tends to accumulate students, would-be students, bumbling servants, hangers-on, offspring, nieces and nephews, and various other dependents who keep needing rescue or falling in love with an enemy or some such. (12 CP).
  • Basic Witchcraft Abilities:
    • The Adamant Will. Uncle’s inner discipline and regular regime of mind and body training allows him to easily reject external influences and conceal his thoughts from attempts to probe them. He must spend 2 power to resist a mental effect or 3 to override pain or present a false result to a divinatory effect.
      • At his current power levels Uncle Chan will usually have a Mind Blank spell running to handle this stuff – but it was important earlier in his career and is still a useful fallback.
    • Hand of Shadows, Specialized for reduced cost/only to allow enhanced movement at no cost. Uncle may run over water, fight without penalty while balancing on a slack, swinging, rope or on burning bamboo posts, dash along walls to avoid opponents, turn in midair while leaping, and gets a +10 Competence bonus on Balance, Jump and Tumble.
      • Flight kind of preempts this, but – once again – it was important earlier.
    • Hyloka, Specialized for Double Effect/personal only. Uncle can resist extremes of heat and cold, delay the effects of poisons, place himself in a deep trance, and more. Most effects cost one power per hour.
      • This is still useful at times, but – again – a lot of it’s uses are obsolete now.
    • Dreamfaring/Wraith Fist, Specialized/only to allow Uncle to detect, communicate with, and hit (rather like a Ghost Touch weapon) creatures in adjacent dimensions. This has no cost.
      • This is still pretty handy. Go ahead, trust in Swift Etherealness to save you. It won’t help a bit.
    • Elfshot/Pressure Point Mastery, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect as per “Bestow Curse”, requires a successful melee attack check, does not work on creatures that lack a normal life force to disrupt or who’s anatomy is utterly strange (most aberrations, slimes and oozes, etc). It costs 1 power for a few days, 2 for weeks, and 3 for permanency (well, until fixed anyway).
      • With a save DC of only 14, this would be fairly pointless at high levels. On the other hand, it would have been quite handy at low levels and it’s part of a cheap package with several more useful powers. That’s reason enough all by itself even if Uncle Chan hadn’t taken Finesse to base the saves on Int instead of Chr. At a DC of 26 (see Finesse, below), this is often worthwhile.
    • Witchsight. Uncle can boost his senses to superhuman acuity, fight blindfolded, detect poison by the slightest of scents, and so on. This costs 1 power per hour and usually provides a bonus of about +6 or some special function – but the effects can be tripled for 1 power per round.
    • Witchfire/C’hi Strike, Specialized and Corrupted/only to imbue his unarmed attacks with magical energy; with a standard action and the expenditure of 2 Power he may add the equivalent of +2 worth of enhancements to his unarmed attacks for the next one minute. This does not have to include a basic enhancement bonus, but if it doesn’t the strikes will not count as “magic”.
      • Yes, “Bane (Whatever you are currently fighting)” is an excellent choice.
  • Metapsionics/Elemental Manipulation with two levels of Streamline, Specialized and Corrupted/only to add two levels worth of Infliction effects to his C’hi Strikes (6 CP)
    • This would have been worthwhile even leaving the Save DC at 14; Go ahead. Spend two Power and make each person you hit during the next ten turns save against being Fatigued and Dazed, or Blinded, or Energy Drained, or Exhausted each time you hit them. Now boost the save DC to 26. Go ahead. Go for Touch Attacks. At a save DC of 26 (again, see Finesse, below) you can be quite effective without even bothering with damage. Bump this up a little more, and start forcing save or die with every punch.
  • Opportunist/May activate a Witchcraft Power as a part of an Attack Action, Specialized and Corrupted/only to activate his C’hi Strike or Pressure Point Mastery powers (2 CP).
    • While Pressure Point Mastery (“Bestow Curse”) is still a bit situational, at only two Power and no action cost to add Bane (Whatever) and a couple of nasty conditions to all your attacks for ten rounds there’s rarely any reason NOT to do it.

Advanced Witchcraft Abilities (48 CP):

  • Finesse (6 CP): The save DC for his Witchcraft effects is based on his Int, rather than his Chr (resulting in a DC of 26 in general, or 23 + Spell Level for The Inner Fire).
  • Divination (6 CP): This gives Uncle access to various divinatory effects, including True Seeing. He wouldn’t want to have trouble with illusions would he?
  • The Inner Fire (Int) (6 CP). At Int 36 Uncle gets 4/3/3/3/3/2/2/2/2 spell slots covering levels 1-9 – although he can only use spells of up to level five safely, has a caster level of only ten, and gets a limited selection (six of each level) to work with. Still, that gives him a fair selection of utility and “surprise!” powers to work with, I’ve gone ahead and picked out some of the more useful spells and included some alternates just in case someone needs some suggestions for spell selection sometime. That will be the next post; Uncle Chan is pretty long already.
  • The Umbral Form (6 CP): Uncle can take the form of a Shadow for 3 power per hour or part thereof. This is very good for Stealth and WONDERFUL for escaping.
  • Warding (6 CP): For 3 Power per Ten Minutes, Uncle may share many of his defenses with those within a 10′ radius – saving first so they don’t have to, blocking attacks on them, and so on.
  • Spirit of the Sage (+6 Int for 10 minutes for 1 Power): Because nothing says “Overkill!” like tacking another +3 bonus on to almost everything this already grossly overpowered character does. After all, this adds +3 to his Saves, +3 to hit and damage on all ten of his attacks, +78 HP, +3 to his Initiative, +3 to his AC, +3 Attacks of Opportunity (making 29), and lots more Mana recovery.
  • Ridden by the Loa with Firm Control, Specialized and Corrupted / only allows Uncle to Channel (see The Practical Enchanter) animal spirits of up to CR 4 (6 CP). Immunity/The normal one-hour duration limit (Common, Minor, Major – lasts one day per use. 6 CP).
    • Because who doesn’t want a big boost to Strength and Constitution all day?

Other Abilities:

  • Double Enthusiast, Specialized for Increased Effect (4 “Floating” CP) and Corrupted for Reduced Cost / points can ONLY be used with “Create Relic” (4 CP).
  • Create Relic, Specialized and Corrupted / only for working with points from Enthusiast, only to create personalized relics (2 CP).
    • This package basically lets Uncle Chan add 24 to 36 CP worth of abilities to suit particular missions. A set of sample relics are presented below, but he could always swap to something else.

Usual Relics:

  • Bracelet of Earthfasting (1 Point Relic): Trick/every other round the user may replace a normal unarmed melee attack with an Anchoring Strike. A character struck by such an attack must make a Reflex save at a DC of (10 + Users Level/2 + Users Int Mod) or be mystically bound to the area for 3d6 minutes. During that time, he, she, or it may not travel more than 100 feet from where the save was failed and may not travel to another dimension. Effects that would transport them out of the 100′ radius will simply fail (6 CP), Ability Focus/Anchoring Strike (increases the save DC by an additional +2 (3 CP).

    • Trying to teleport or plane shift away? I don’t think so!
  • Talismans of the Zodiac (1 Point Relic): Luck with +3x(Int Mod) Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted / it costs 2 power (the expenditure does not count as an action) per use of Luck and requires a d10 roll: 1-4: it works normally, 5: the spirits demand that you soon sponsor a festival or major ceremony in their honor, 6; a dangerous monster is drawn to the area, 7: an opponent off scene receives a great stroke of good fortune, 8: the Kami become annoyed, and will not aid you again until the next day, 9: the celestial bureaucracy assigns you an annoying duty or mission, and 10: you get your “20″ or reroll – but a few hours later your failure restores itself (the bad guy you critted is not dead after all, the poison is affecting you, etc). Fortunately, this gives you some time to prepare.

    • For those times when you just need a “20″ or two. For everything else we have absurd bonuses.
  • The Dragon’s Carbuncle (2 Point Relic): 7d6 (24) Mana with Reality Editing, Specialized and Corrupted / only usable for one, specific, minor not-an-action edit; “This uses-per-day magic item (or virtual equivalent) has two more daily uses/charges left” (a minor edit costing 2 Mana) (14 CP). Yes, it’s normally 2 Mana = 1 Charge – but in this case we’re limiting things to items that will recharge themselves given a little time anyway, which is a lot more reasonable than using tricks like this to recharge (say) a staff, or just to use a staff without depleting it’s charges.

    • Unfortunately the Carbuncle only regains 2 Mana (or one of it’s 12 uses) per day on it’s own – but when you really need a couple more uses of that once-a-day item, it’s just the ticket. Still, Uncle Chan has a way to boost that a little further down.

Other Powers:

  • Taoist Training / One Level of Clerical Package Deal Spellcasting (10 CP) with the Fate (SpC, grants Uncanny Dodge) and Time (SpC, grants Improved Initiative) Domains and Spell Conversion to Summon Nature’s Ally (note that he just has to have a spell of the appropriate level available to convert; it does NOT have to be a clerical spell). While this costs another (+3 CP) to buy off the Lesser Air Genasi limitation to the Air Domain it’s well worth it.
  • Inducing the Flame of Life: Uncle’s C’hi is so potent that he can induce life and consciousness in the inanimate. Leadership with the Exotic and Constructs modifiers, Specialized for Reduced Cost / Constructs only, Corrupted for Increased Effect (Only 50% of the cost of item followers counts against his Wealth By Level) / only one Cohort may exceed one-third the users level (6 CP). Since they are Followers, his various intelligent items all get along reasonably well.
    • In Eclipse followers normally get NPC wealth by level, and will continue to do so without their boss having to worry about it. If their boss or the party in general wants to give them something extra, that’s up to them. Construct Followers get their choice of actual equipment (which works for golems and things) or built-in slotless equipment (equivalent to Siddhisyoga), which is less trouble but effectively halves their allotment since everything costs twice as much as usual.
  • Uncle Chan gets 42 levels worth of Intelligent Item followers; They include:
    • Amit-Mursiel, the Voice of Winds (L17, 28,650 GP).
    • Nagakanya, The Handmaid of Kwan Yin (L6, 60,000 GP).
    • Uaithne, Harp of the Dagda. (L6, 44,375 GP)
    • Malachai, the Messenger Star (L6, 10,375 GP).
    • Beowulf, the Dragon-Slayers Girding (L1, 90,000 GP, below and next post).
    • Sampo, Bringer of Prosperity (L1, 32,000 GP, below and next post).
      • That leaves 5 levels worth of followers “free” – which means that most of the rest of his items will probably develop their own minds shortly.
  • 3d6 (13) Mana with the Spell Enhancement Option, Specialized and Corrupted/only for use with the spell slots from The Inner Fire, only to reduce the effective level of spells occupying existing higher-level spell slots so that he can safely cast them (6 CP).
  • Rite of Chi with +(Int Mod) Bonus Uses (12 CP).
  • Cloaking/Uncle “Detects” as a fairly ordinary elderly monk – the classic Sensei (6 CP).
  • Spell/Power Resistance, Specialized for Increased Effect (10 + 2 x Power Level) / Uncle must be awake, aware of the incoming effect, and must spend 2 Power (this does not count as an action) to resist any particular effect, Corrupted for Reduced Cost / he must be free to move – unarmored, lightly- or un-encumbered, and less than fully restrained – to use this ability (4 CP).

Legendary Powers:

Legendarium / C’hi Wizard: (23 SP +13 Int Mod +1 Cha Mod +3 Skill Focus +10 (Professional)) +6 (Inherent Bonus) = +56) = 940,800 GP Value

Basic C’hi Powers (33,700 GP):

  • A sextet of Healing Belts (MIC 4500 GP) Heal 2d8/3d8/4d8 damage for 1/2/3 charges, and each incidence has 3 Charges/Day (18 total).
  • Lesser Restoration (Spell Level One x Caster Level One x 2000 GP for Unlimited-Use, Use-Activated x.9 only usable once per level per day) = 1800 GP
  • Light Foot (Speedster List, +30 circumstance bonus ground movement speed a +10 circumstance bonus on jump checks, and DR 10 versus Falling Damage [only] for 1d6+2 rounds, Spell Level One x Caster Level One x 2000 GP for Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x .7 Personal Only = 1400 GP).
  • Personal Haste (+30′ Move, +1 Attack at full BAB when making a Full Attack. Spell Level One times Caster Level One x 2000 GP for Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x .8 (bonus attack is only usable with unarmed combat = 1600 GP)
  • Speak with Animals (Spell Level One times Caster Level One x 2000 GP for Unlimited-Use Use-Activated = 2000 GP)
  • Thousand Pound Stance (Target gains a +8 versus Bull Rush, Grapple, Trip, Overrun, being lifted or thrown, or similar situations, for one minute. Spell Level One x Caster Level One x 2000 GP for Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x .7 Personal Only = 1400 GP). Note that this changes the -4 Penalty for Light Foot to a +4 Bonus.
  • Immortal Vigor III (L3 x L5 x 2000 GP x .7 Personal-Only = 21,000 GP). Provides +6d6 Maximized Hit Dice, for +(36 + 6 x [Con Mod + Int Mod]) extra hit points.

Immunities (300,800 GP Value):

  • Gemstone of Heavy Fortification (Draconomicon, Page 83, 35,000 GP). Immunity to Critical Hits and Sneak Attacks.
    • This item provides us with a formula for purchasing “freestanding” armor effects – [(Effect Bonus + 1) x (Effect Bonus + 1) – 1] x 1000 GP and tells us that such items do not take up a body slot. Ergo, we can have a few more!
  • Gemstone of Soulfire (24,000 GP). The user is immune to all death spells, magical death effects, and energy drain, and any negative energy effects (such as from chill touch or inflict spells.
  • Gemstone of Proof Against Transmutation (35,000 GP): Grants immunity to any transmutation effect that would alter the user’s form, including polymorph, petrification, and disintegrate (it can still do damage, but cannot reduce the user to dust).
  • Gemstone of Freedom (35,000 GP): Immunity to effects that impede movement, automatically succeeds on grapple checks to resist grappling or escape artist checks made to escape a grapple or pin. User may move and attack normally underwater.
  • Periapt of Proof Against Poison (27,000 GP).
  • Raptor’s Mask (MIC 210, 3500 GP): Immunity to Blinded and Dazzled, +5 to Spot
  • Banner of the Storms Eye (MIC, 15,000 GP): Those within 20′ are immune to fear, confusion, and stunning.
  • “Spellblade” (Magic of Faerun, 6000 GP Each; Whenever the user is subjected to a specific targeted spell, he or she may absorb it, and either let it dissipate harmlessly or direct it at a new target as a free action on his or her next turn. Disintegrate, Dispel Magic, Enervation, Greater Dispel Magic, and Love’s Pain. (30,000 GP).
  • Ring of Sustenance (SRD, 2500 GP) Sustains a creature without Food or Water and on only two hours of sleep per night.
  • Tasting The Celestial Peach (Sheltered Vitality – Spell Compendium, L4 x L7 x 2000 GP x .7 Personal-Only = 39,200 GP). Provides immunity to fatigue, exhaustion, ability damage, and ability drain, regardless of the source.
  • Elixir of Immortality: (Favor of the Martyr – Spell Compendium, L4 x L7 x 2000 GP x .7 Personal-Only = 39,200 GP). Provides immunity to nonlethal damage, charm and compulsion effects, pain effects, dazed, exhausted, fatigued, nauseated, sickened, staggered, and stunned. The subject remains conscious at -1 to -9 hit points and can take a single action each round while in that state, and does not lose hit points for acting. He or she also gains the Endurance feat.
  • Periapt of Health (SRD, 7400 GP). Grants Immunity to Disease.
  • Gemstone of Energy Immunity (8000 GP): As an immediate mental action become immune to a particular type of elemental damage for one minute once per day.

Net Immunities: Ability Damage, Ability Drain, Blinded, Charm, Compulsion, Confusion, Critical Hits, Dazed, Dazzled, Death Effects, Death Spells, Disease, Disintegrate, Dispel Magic, Effects that Impede Movement, Energy Drain, Enervation, Exhausted, Fatigued, Fear, Frightful Presence, Greater Dispel Magic, Love’s Pain, Nauseated, Negative Energy Effects, Nonlethal Damage, Pain, Paralysis, Petrification, Poison, Polymorph, Sickened, Sleep, Sneak Attacks, Staggered, Starvation, Stunned, Suffocation and Gases, and Thirst and Water Restrictions.

C’hi Wizardry (458,400 GP):

  • Ring of Mana Focusing VI (109,200 GP): Provides +2/2/2/2/2/2 spell slots (or the equivalent amounts of power (2+6+10+14 +18 + 26 = 76), or spell points, or whatever) for two casting progressions. In his case that’s for his Inner Fire spellcasting and his Witchcraft.
  • Trigram Sigil Gloves of Spell-Wreaking: Allows the user to add +3/+2/+1 levels of any desired Metamagic to a spell of level 1-3/4-6/7-9 as free action. The gloves can be used (Level) times per day (Greater Invocation, cast any “Add Metamagic” spell of up to Level Four. Spell Level Five x Caster Level Nine x 2000 GP (Unlimited-Use Use-Activated) x .8 (only works [level] times per day, only on spells the user casts personally) = 72,000.
  • Blowfish Talisman: Provides a +5 effective level bonus on the use of the Inner Fire Witchcraft ability (Amplification/The Inner Fire, Spell Level 1 x Caster Level 8 x 2000 GP for Unlimited-Use, Use-Activated x .7 (Personal Only) = 11,200 GP. (This gets his effective caster level for The Inner Fire up to 15).
  • Circlet of Mages x3 (MIC, 5000 GP each, 15,000 Total): Retain three levels of spells you cast per day, +2 Competence Bonus to Concentration.
  • Circlet of Rapid Casting x2 (MIC, 30,000 GP Total): 3 Charges/Day, 1/2/3 to swift-action cast a spell of up to L2/3/4.
  • Raiment Of The Four:
    • Belt of the Wide Earth (8000 GP): Doubles carrying capacity, 3/day sacrifice a spell of L5+ to cast Teleport at CL9 or yours, whichever is better.
    • Gloves of the Starry Sky (1100 GP): Emit Light as needed. 3/Day you may sacrifice a spell of L1+ to cast Magic Missile at your caster level.
    • Goggles of the Golden Sun (4000 GP): Immune to Blindness and Dazzling Effects. 3/Day sacrifice a spell of L3+ to cast Fireball at your CL.
    • Periapt of the Sullen Sea (6000 GP): Hold your breath for up to 12 hours, 2/Day sacrifice a perpared spell of L4+ to use Freedom of Movement at CL7 or your CL, whichever is better.
    • Collection Benefits: Resistance to Cold, Fire, and Electricity 5, 1/Day four-question Commune.
  • Robe of Mysterious Conjuration x 2 (20,000 GP, allows the use of any Monster Summoning spell by sacrificing a memorized spell of equal or higher level six times per day).
  • Artificer’s Monocle (1500 GP): Can Identify items through study with Detect Magic.
  • Cantrip Powers (All SL 1/2 x CL 1 x Unlimited-Use Use-Activated, 1000 GP Each): Detect Magic, Prestidigitation, Read Magic, Dancing Lights, Launch Item, and Message (6000 GP).
  • Vest of the Archmage (MIC, 200,000 GP): As +8 Bracers of Armor, +5 Cloak of Resistance , +2 on Caster Level Checks versus Spell Resistance, Recall a spell of up to L9 or restore 17 Power as a swift action 3/Day, expend a spell slot to heal 5x Level of spell slot expended as a swift action.
    • Uncle cannot use his high-level spell slots to cast spells safely – unless he fills them with lower-level spells or uses Mana to reduce their effective levels – but he can sacrifice them for healing or to power items and abilities just fine.

Other Powers:

  • Boots of Temporal Acceleration (MIC, 43,000 GP).
  • Belt of Battle (MIC, 12,000 GP): +2 Competence Bonus to Initiative, 3 Charges/Day, spend 1/2/3 as an immediate action to take a Move/Standard/Full Round action.
  • Necklace of Theme Music/Improvisation (CL 20 x SL 1 x Unlimited-Use Use-Activated (2000 GP) x .7 Personal Only = 28,000 GP). Provides a pool of 40 Luck Points per round which you can spend as you like to improve attack rolls, skill checks, and ability checks, although no single check can receive more than a +10 bonus. You must declare any bonus point usage before the appropriate roll is made. Used points disappear from the pool.
  • Armband of Elusive Action x10 (8000 GP, negates attack of opportunity ten times per day).
  • Amulet of Fortune Prevailing x3 (15,000 GP, allows a failed save to be rerolled as an immediate action).
  • Surprising Master/L3 (+5 Competence Bonus to All Skill Checks – not to base values), SL 3 x CL 5 x 2000 GP (Unlimited-Use Use-Activated) x .7 (Personal Only) = 21,000 GP.
  • Handy Haversack (2000 GP).
  • Finned Guantlets (3500 GP) Provides 30′ swim speed, +8 on swim checks, can take 10 to swim and “run” while swimming.
  • Hat of Disguise (1800 GP). Disguise Self at will. +10
  • Vampire Torc (5000 GP) 2/Day as a swift action regain hit points equal to half the hit points you just inflicted with a melee attack.
  • Crystal of Bent Sight (500 GP) Uncle may avert his eyes from a creature with a gaze attack without suffering a miss chance against that creature.

That’s 939,300 GP. Not quite perfect, but only 1500 GP short. I’ve just run out of things to buy at the moment. 

Standard Magic Items, Equipment, and Supplies (760,000 GP):

  • Head: Malachai, the Messenger Star (10,375 GP).
  • Face: Goggles of Draconic Vision (16,000 GP): +5 to Spot, Low-Light Vision, 60′ Darkvision, cannot be blinded by the cloud a hovering dragn creates, 1/day standard action to get Blindsense out to 30′ for one minute.
  • Torso: Vest of Coolness (650 GP)
  • Back: Phoenix Cloak (50,000 GP): Grants flight at the user’s ground speed with perfect maneuverability.
  • Throat: Amulet of Natural Armor +3 (18,000 GP).
  • Arms: Bracers of Opportunity (2300 GP): +2 Competence Bonus on AoO, 2/Day make an extra AoO as an immediate action.
  • Hands: Wristbands of Kung Fu: These simple wrist-wraps are embroidered with symbols of the martial arts, and are equivalent to Gauntlets of War (4000 GP. These grant a +1 bonus on melee weapon damage, or a +3 with the gods favored weapon if you worship a deity with access to the war domain. Followers of the Eight Immortals like Uncle get the +3 with One-Handed Straight Swords, Unarmed Attacks, and Staves/Bo Sticks/Etc).
  • Ring: Ring of Protection +5 (50,000 GP).
  • Ring: Amit-Mursiel, the Voice of Winds (L17, 28,650 GP).
  • Body: Performer’s Outfit, A.K.A. “Pants of Prance” (5000 GP).(+5 Circumstance Bonus to Perform).
  • Waist: Beowulf, the Dragon Challenger’s Girding: +6 Enhancement Bonus to All Attributes, +30 Resistance to Acid, Cold, Electricity, Fire, and Sonic attacks for the wearer and all allies within 15′. Intelligent: Int 10, Wis 12, Chr 12, Empathy, 1 Lesser Power, 30′ Vision and Hearing, one Lesser Power (Acts as a Rod of Bodily Restoration) (90,000 GP). Beowulf is only beginning to awaken; He is, as yet, only level one – so his powers are limited to the Sapient Item Survival Package (24 CP) and a few extra hit points.
  • Feet: Geta of the Samurai (Vanguard Treads: 3100 GP). Wearer may move through difficult terrain at normal speed and without suffering any other impairment, is unaffected by slippery ice, wet stones, or surfaces with limited traction, and gains a +8 versus Bull Rushes and a +4 versus Grapple attempts that would move him into another square.

Slotless Items:

  • Nagakanya, The Handmaid of Kwan Yin (A staff, L6, 60,000 GP).
  • Uaithne, Harp of the Dagda. (L6, 44,375 GP)
  • Sampo (Epic Supply Pouch with Bottled Hedge Wizard, 32,000 GP). Still only L1, so basically just the Sapient Item Survival Package (24 CP).
  • Rod of Residence (39,000 GP).
  • Reality Revisions (25,000 GP Each):
    • +6 Inherent Bonus to his Legendarium Skill Score (25,000 GP).
    • +5 Inherent Bonus to his Intelligence Score (125,000 GP).
    • +2 Inherent Bonus to his Strength Score (50,000 GP).
    • +2 Inherent Bonus to his Constitution Score (50,000 GP).
  • Graft – Dragonheart Presence (Races of the Dragon, 12,000 GP, -4 HP): Immunity to Paralysis and draconic Frightful Presence, +2 on Bluff, Diplomacy, Gather Information, and Intimidate checks involving Dragonblooded creatures.
  • Graft – Glaring Eye (Races of the Dragon, 10,000 GP, 2 HP): Gain 30′ Blindsense, +2 to Search and Spot, and immunity to magical Sleep effects. This does make your eyes look funny, but his Hat of Disguise takes care of that.
    • Having two draconic grafts provides DR 2/Magic, and makes your natural weapons count as magic for overcoming damage reduction.

That comes to some 725,000 GP, leaving 35,000 for a stock of antiques, a couple of wands of Lesser Vigor, a Rod of Frost (which is amusing, and keeps your lunch cold when you tuck it into the sack with it), and similar trivia. With the Sampo he has no need to track basic supplies.

OK then… Uncle Chan is completely and utterly absurd, and any game master should start saying “No!” long before this many high-efficiency options start getting crammed into one character – but he does demonstrate a very important point about Eclipse. Full Casters generally have a LOT of their points tied up in spellcasting. Combatants can scrape up a lot more spare points, and thus can buy a great deal more in the way of unique powers. In Eclipse, the “Caster-Martial Disparity” is only as real as you want it to be.

Malachai, the Messenger Star

And for today, it’s another horribly over-optimized intelligent item…

Malachai, the Messenger Star, brings the Light into the Darkness. He is a Voice crying out in the Wilderness to guide the lost to the way and the truth once more – and to sear and burn the wicked who refuse the call. For at the heart of the light is a flame, more pure and terrible than any sword. When Malachai’s tiny, stylized, gates are open, celestial radiance shines forth to aid the heroes of the Light.

Basic Magic Item Functions:

Adamant Phylactery of Faithfulness (1000 GP + 250 GP for the Adamant).

  • The user becomes aware of any action or item that could adversely affect his alignment and/or standing with his or her deity – including magical effects – if he or she considers the action or item for a moment in advance.

Shard of the Sun (MIC, 3500 GP, no slot, so no extra cost to add it, CL20, command activation).

  • Functions as a Holy Symbol.
  • Continuously (unless mantled) sheds Daylight, heightened to 5’th level, provided that the user is neutral good, lawful good, chaotic good, or neutral.
  • Fires two Searing Light spells at different targets when activated up to four times a day provided that the user worships a good solar deity and sacrifices eighth level divine spell slot to empower it for a day. (Note that Malachai, of course, fulfills these requirements very nicely).

Intelligent Item Functions:

  • Intelligent (Int 14, Wis 10, Cha 14, 120′ vision and hearing, 2 lesser powers, (4000 GP).
    • Lesser Power: Feat/Radiant Mastery (6000 GP): 1 1/2 d6 Mana as 3d4 (8) Generic Spell Levels, Specialized and Corupted; only usable as one eighth level Divine Spell Slot to be sacrificed to power the Searing Light function (3 CP), +1d6 Mana as 2d4 (5) Generic Spell Levels, Specialized/only to be bound into pre-prepared (charisma-based) clerical spells (3 CP).
    • Lesser Power: Feat/Ray Expertise (6000 GP): Luck with +8 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted/only to “take 20″ with ray attack rolls (6 CP).

That’s enough to always “take 20″ on attacks with it’s Searing Rays and to automatically critical with one of them – or to automatically critical with four of them and hit with one – when self-activating. I’d recommend some caution here though; having a self-activating item with a major offensive power and somewhat… rigid… moral views is potentially hazardous, rather like Animal Companions used to be.

At 20,750 GP Malachai is an expensive gadget, but – given that caster level 20 is built into relics and in no way a part of the requirements for making a relic – one that could turn up around level ten or so if you have a good crafter in the group. It would still be quite an investment, but it would almost certainly be worth it. Even if you don’t encounter many undead quite a lot of CR 10 encounters will be drastically shortened by 10d8 damage.

Malachai normally manifests an image of a “shoulder angel” to communicate (no actual effect, so no cost) – although once in a while, when his bearer has a REALLY bad idea, he will turn up as “shoulder demon” to explain – with EXTREME sarcasm – why something is utterly idiotic.

Abilities as a Level Six Follower:

Available Character Points: 168 CP (Base) + 18 (Bonus Feats) +12 (Duties; to spread enlightenment) = 198 CP. 36 SP for Int, +1 level bonus to Charisma, Siddhisyoga Equipment Allowance of 2800 GP (+2 to Chr, personal-only, 1400 GP, Protection From Evil, personal-only, 1400 GP).

Self-Enhancement: As an Intelligent Item, Malachai can be upgraded. That can be done with it’s own Character Points as well as with money.

  • Innate Enchantment (82,000 GP value, 83 CP). This is a LOT of innate enchantment, but then this is a magic item – so it’s entirely appropriate.
    • +9000 GP Intelligence Upgrade (Int 19, Wis 10, Chr 19 (20 with L4 bonus, 22 with gear bonus), Speech, Telepathy, reads languages and magic, 120 ft Darkvision, Blindsense, and Hearing, four lesser powers, and three greater powers. Much more importantly, those lesser and greater powers gain the benefits of caster/user level 20 without having to pay for it. That’s pretty important, and well worth the extra cost of going through Innate Enchantment to buy the those abilities.
    • Lesser Power (Bonus Feat, 6000 GP): Radiance of Heaven: Positive Energy Channeling (1 + Cha Mod) Uses/Day. Defaults to the Damaging Turning option – providing (Magnitude)d6 of divine damage to distribute between eligible targets within 60′ up to a maximum of (Intensity) per target (6 CP).
    • Lesser Power (Bonus Feat, 6000 GP): Radiance of Heaven II: +2d6 Magnitude on his Positive Energy Channeling (6 CP), for a total of 4d6+26 (fixed at 40).
    • Greater Power: Advanced Intelligence I (25,000 GP): Radiance of Heaven III: +(Cha Mod x 2) uses of Positive Energy Channeling (12 CP), Intensity +2 (3 CP, fixed at 20). Also, Innate Enchantment / Detect Evil and a Reliquary Holy Symbol (3 CP). Also, +(Int Mod x 2) Skill Points and +(1d6 + Cha Mod) HP.
      • That’s 40d6 of Divine Damage, inflicting up to 20d6 on any one undead target – with no roll to hit required and no save. That’s less useful than normal turning against swarms of minor undead, but better against big ones.
    • Greater Power: Advanced Intelligence II (25,000 GP): Calling upon the Light: 3d6 Mana as 6d4 (15) Generic Spell Levels, Specialized for Double Effect (thirty generic spell levels) / only to be bound into pre-prepared (charisma-based) clerical spells (18 CP). Also, +(Int Mod x 2) Skill Points and +(1d6 + Cha Mod) HP.
      • While 30 (35 with Radiant Master) spell levels is not a lot, having a caster level of twenty allows Malachai to use spells of up to level nine. Unfortunately, he’ll need to buy some way to avoid material and somatic components to really get much use out of this.
    • Greater Power: Magic Circle Against Evil at will (11,000 GP). It’s hard to get more appropriate than THAT.
    • Malachai is dedicated to defeating evil, but that isn’t technically a “special purpose”.

That’s all we can buy that will have that free user level – but we still have 115 CP to spend… First up, some modifiers that do not rely on the user level:

  • Ray Mastery. +12 Bonus Uses for Luck, , Specialized and Corrupted/only to “take 20″ with ray attack rolls (6 CP). That’s enough to make all it’s Searing Rays automatic critical hits. That’s not overwhelming for a device at this level, but it’s enough to be relevant.
  • Divine Fury: Immunity/Having to buy Censure to target different types of creature with Positive Energy Channeling (Common, Minor, Grand, 12 CP). This allows Malachai to blast pretty much anything that he pleases.
  • Selective Wrath: Immunity/having to convert to spells to Heal with positive energy (Common, Minor, Grand, 12 CP). This allows Malachai to choose whether to heal or damage each creature he targets with his Positive Energy Channeling – allowing him to provide emergency healing / stabilization for allies while continuing to blast the foe.
  • Fist of God: Circle of Power (May affect a 20′ radius with Channeling Effects, 6 CP). This turns Malachai into an engine of destruction capable of smiting small armies.
  • Divine Benison: Spell Conversion to a set of four level six spells (15 CP), Blade Barrier, Channel Coure (L2 Specific Summon, +1 level for Channeling, +3 levels for twenty-four hour duration), Globe of Invulnerability and Heal.
    • Where these abilities are superior to those of the host channeling a Coure provides: 60′ Flight, +4 Natural Armor, immunity to electricity and petrification, magic circle against evil, resistance to acid 10 and cold 10, tongues, ability modifiers of Dex +14, Con +2, Int +2, and Cha +4 where these are superior to the host, Concentration +6, Diplomacy +9, Escape Artist +12, Hide +24, Knowledge (the planes) +6, Listen +5, Move Silently +16, Sense Motive +5, Spot +5, Survival (2 on other planes) +0, Use Rope (9 on bindings) +7.
    • Any weapons a coure wields are treated as having the chaotic and good alignments for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction.
    • Spell-Like Abilities: At will—dancing lights, detect evil, detect magic, faerie fire; 3/day—magic missile, sleep (DC 13). Caster level 4th. The save DCs are Charisma based.
    • Alternate Form (Su): A coure can assume the form of an incorporeal ball of light at will. This transformation counts as a standard action. In this form, the coure can be harmed only by other incorporeal creatures, +1 or better magic weapons, spells, spell-like abilities, and supernatural abilities. In this form, the coure has a 50% chance to ignore any damage from a corporeal source, except for force effects or attacks made with ghost touch weapons. A coure in this form can pass through solid objects, but not force effects, at will. While incorporeal, its attacks ignore natural armor, armor, and shields, but deflection bonuses and force effects work normally against them. In this form, a coure always moves silently and cannot be heard with Listen checks if it doesn’t wish to be. While incorporeal, the coure sheds light if it wishes, providing illumination with any radius it wishes up to 30 feet. Changing the amount of light it sheds is a free action that the coure can perform once per round.
    • Magic Circle against Evil (Su): A magic circle against evil effect always surrounds the coure, as the magic circle against evil spell cast by an 8th-level sorcerer. (The defensive benefits of the circle are not included in the statistics above.)
    • Skills: Coures have a +4 racial bonus on Hide and Move Silently checks (included in the statistics above).
  • Divine Wordsmith: Easy Metamagical Theorem (Specialized and Corrupted for Reduced Cost/Only usable to buy off the need for Somatic and Material Components, only applies to spells drawn from it’s powers as an Intelligent Item (2 CP), and Streamline (Specialized for Double Effect; Only to remove the need for somatic and material components, Corrupted for Reduced Cost, only applies to spells drawn from it’s powers as an Intelligent Item (4 CP).

Intelligent Item Survival Package (24 CP).

  • Returning (6 CP): Simply breaking the Phylactery will not keep Malachai down for long. To truly banish him to the outer planes you must eliminate his current “owner” within three days – otherwise Malachai will just reform his phylactery- body and return to his owner’s service from the Celestial Realms.
  • Reflex Training/3 Extra Action per Day variant (6 CP).
  • Luck with +4 Bonus Uses, Specialized / only for Saving Throws (6 CP)
  • Finesse: Bases HP on his (Cha Mod) (6 CP). (2d6 + 6d4 + 42 (8 x Cha Mod) plus Hardness 20 and 5 HP for being a little box made of adamantine = 75 HP).

Minor Abilities:

  • Witchcraft II, with +6d6 (24) Power, the Advanced Sanctify ability, and the Duties Pact (24 CP).
    • The Inner Eye/Specialized in no-cost Lie Detection.
    • Shadoweave/Specialized in generating light, for illumination up to the blinding level at 1/hour.
    • The Adamant Will.
  • Adept (Knowledge/Religion, Knowledge/The Planes, Spellcraft, and Spot, 6 CP).

Available Skill Points: 52 (Int Mod x 13) +4 (4 CP). = 56

Skills:

  • Decipher Script: 9 (9 SP) +4 (Int) = +13
  • Diplomacy: 9 (9 SP) +6 (Cha) = +15
  • Knowledge/Architecture and Engineering: 2 (2 SP) +4 (Int) = +6 (Mostly Temples)
  • Knowledge/History: 2 (2 SP) +4 (Int) = +6
  • Knowledge/The Planes: 9 (4 SP) +4 (Int) = +13
  • Knowledge/Religion: 9 (4 SP) +4 (Int) = +13
  • Knowledge Arcana: 9 (9 SP) +4 (Int) = +13
  • Perform/Oratory: 9 (9 SP) +6 (Cha) = +15
  • Spellcraft: 9 (4 SP) +4 (Int) = +13
  • Spot: 9 (4 SP) +0 (Wis) = +9
    • Speaks: Common, Celestial, Infernal, Sylvan, and Draconic.
    • +3 Specialities in Knowledge/The Planes/The Celestial Realms, Knowledge/Religion/Sun Gods, Perform/Oratory/Preaching, and Spellcraft/Light Magic (4 SP).

Malachai is not even remotely reasonable. Like many other high-end optimized designs he’d pretty much wreck a standard game. Also, of course, like many other high-end optimized grounds he is more or less built around a single trick – using the base caster level of 20 that comes with a relic to massively boost his own powers. Without that, he’d be a lot more reasonable – and possibly even reasonably well suited to a standard game.

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