Dark Futures

   First up for today, here’s a Dark Future 2053 setting. It was originally for Marvel Super Heroes but, like most setting background material, is actually fairly system-free.

   Now, the Major Characters for that setting are not so system-free, but they do include quite a lot more background information.

An Early Happy New Years

   Well, thanks to holiday complications, and to working on other material, I probably won’t get to put up anything new until well after midnight: so Merry Christmas to anyone who got missed and Happy New Year in case I miss anyone when it actually rolls around.

And on with the Centaurs

   To continue todays centaur theme, here’s Agrios, a Champions-style Brick-Archer. He’s also an example of the kinds of things that you might find running around the Federation-Apocolypse setting under a Champions-style rules system.

Explosive Benchmarks

   There have been a few questions about just how much destructive power the Champions characters have available. Well, here are a few calculations to illustrate the point:

   A one-pound stick of dynamite releases 2E5 Joules, creating a 5d6 explosive energy blast – 37 active points.
   TNT is ten times as powerful, releasing some 2E6 Joules per pound.
   A one-megaton bomb is as powerful as 2E9 pounds of TNT, or 2E10 sticks of dynamite. 
   In Champions, +5 points represents a doubling of the power level.

   34.22 doublings gives us 2E10 – so a one megaton explosion represents 37 + 171 = 208 active points. A lot of that probably should go into buying the explosive modifier and extending the radius (about eight levels of that to give a matching nuclear blast radius), for a net +2.5 advantage. On that basis, a nuclear weapon would represent about a 12d6 energy blast or 4d6 killing attack – about the same as a direct hit from an anti-tank weapon. That’s not entirely unreasonable given a small target (although its less so when distributed across a surface), but it also means that a substantial chunk of the normal population will survive a direct hit from a strategic nuclear weapon.

   That won’t do. Lets not count the explosive and extended-radius modifiers.

   That gives us 195 active points. Since we’re handing out free advantages (and I like round numbers), we’ll call it 180 active points for our one-megaton bomb – 36d6 of energy blast, or 12 dice of killing attack. That’s impressive, and will handily blow away normal people, armored vehicles, and major buildings – but quite a lot of superheroes will survive handily. With Body 20 you’d have a better than 50-50 shot even without any defenses.

   A factor of 1000 is about 50 active points – so a 1-kiloton device does about 27 dice of energy blast or about 9 dice of killing attack. A 10-kiloton device does 30 dice of normal damage or 10 dice of killing damage (that’s how hard those warrior-demons hit). Quite a lot of superheroes can hit things that hard, even if they rarely actually go in for the amplified-haymaker-boosted-pushed-all-out-power-attack.

   Is this reasonable?

   Well, in Champions, a “Competent Normal” – a skilled professional, like your local cop – has a PD of 5. This means that they can sit on a detonating stick of dynamite and – better than 50% of the time – take no physical damage, although they may be briefly stunned. A forty-foot fall onto concrete also does 5d6 normal physical damage. A called shot to the heart does 1.5x normal damage – for a .22 that inflicts (1d6-1) killing damage, that means a maximum of 7 points. It takes three .22 bullets through the heart (presuming that that’s the most damaging spot you can possibly hit in the chest) to kill a normal person. A direct hit to the chest from an anti-tank weapon (4d6 AP RKA, x1.5 for a hit to the vitals) may kill, but there’s almost a 50% chance that someone with a decent first aid skill will be able to save the victim.
  If they want too, a normal person can buy up to 10 additional body.

   No, that’s not reasonable – but this is a superhero game. If you want a game that represents normal people well, Champions probably isn’t the system to pick.


   Well, first up for today are Kriegspeil and Kalrith – a Centaur and his Dragon, along with their world and species histories.

A Base of Operations

   For today we have another bit for the Marvel Super Heroes game – a collection of additional packages for designing bases.

   There may or may not be anything else up today: it depends on how late the game runs.

The Naturalist Strikes

   The first item for today is a list of useful exotic plants and animals, as well as a bonus suit of organic powered battle armor. While the list was originally created for a Rifts game, it should work for most: combat statistics are distinctly secondary considerations for most useful plants…

   Secondarily, the Legend of the Five Rings game will be tomorrow (friday) as usual.

   There may be a few more items up early this morning. Recovering the old useful exotics file took a lot longer than I thought it would.

   And for an additional item, here’s a collection of New Skills and Talents for the old Marvel Super Heroes game and its modern variants.

Session Thirteen: Try, Try, Again

   In the depths of the Time Vortex, the Chauffeur was attempting his first experiment in time travel. The Brick wasn’t a lot of help with experimental technomancy – but he was handy in an emergency, so he’d brought him along, as well as taking the precaution of going to low orbit before starting. Still unused to Continue reading

Champions Session

   Just for anyone who missed it, since the library is closed, several of the regular players have family committments, and there haven’t been any requests for me to host yet, it looks like we will not be having a Champions session tonight. If anyone wants to do something last-minute, give me a call and we’ll try to work something out.

Incarnum Builds

   The next request was a way to build an Incarnum wielder in Eclipse d20 point buy – so here’s a method:

   “Incarnum Magic” revolves around the ability to create a relatively limited selection of weak personal magic items (“melds”) which may be “charged up” with “points” of “Essentia” (a rather-ill defined primordial spiritual essence) and/or take up magic item slots to enhance their effects. Naturally enough, you can buy this using Eclipse: The Codex Persona. You simply need to take:

   Create Relic. Specialized: can only be used to create a limited (Int) set of predetermined personal relics, no more than (Con-10) may be created at a time, all of them must be related to a specific theme, and such relics can have a maximum cost of 6 CP (8 if they occupy a magic item slot). Fortunately, you only need to buy this once – unless you want to increase the number of relics available. 3 CP.

   Immunity: Melds/Relics cannot be damaged or removed. (Common/Minor/Great, 12 CP).

   Double Enthusiast, Advanced Adaption (one hour to redirect). Specialized: Only to invest points in relics. Corrupted: Relics must be “activated” on a point-by-point basis by investing personal mana in them unless they’re occupying item slots, in which case the first two points are free. Net 4 CP per 2 points of Relics available. This ability may be purchased as often as desired.

   Personal Mana. Corrupted: only for investment in Relics. 4 CP per 1d6. This ability may also be purchased as often as desired, although you’ll probably only need it half as often as the previous ability.

   Once you’ve purchased your Relic and Mana/”Essentia” pools, you can start creating your relics – using either the lists in the book for inspiration or developing some theme of your own.

   Thanks to the high efficiency of Relics, an incarnum wielder can be quite formidable – but they’re vulnerable to having their mana drained and often lack variety in their abilities. There are plenty of better power builds.

Building the Warlock

   For today, it’s a special request from Jeffery, who wants to know how to build a Warlock (as well as a few other character types I’ll do later) using Eclipse d20 Point-Buy. (Shareware version available here).

   Warlock Magic provides the ability to employ a very limited number of abilities with a limited theme, but allows them to be used as often as desired. In Eclipse, “unlimited use” usually means some version of the Path of the Dragon – and is something to be watched fairly carefully: unlimited use of almost anything can easily unbalance a game or disrupt the setting.

   Regardless of that, with the game masters permission you can buy it this way:

   Path of the Dragon: Shaping (6 CP), with Pulse of the Dragon III (6+12+24 CP), and Heart of the Dragon IV (6+12+24+48 CP for up to L3 spells) all Specialized (must buy individual effects separately as per buying spells and can be physically restrained from casting them, double effect) and Corrupted (all effects must adhere to a specialized theme, 1.5 times effect for a net triple effect and spells of up to L9). Warlocks normally buy 13 spells – a basic blast and 12 additional effects (+26 CP), for a net total of 164 CP.

   The ability to “Imbue Items” can be purchased as Equipage (6 CP) with Purchasing (6 CP), both Specialized (User must spend the time, XP, and cash as appropriate to create the item in question and must be otherwise qualified to create it save for not knowing the appropriate spells, half cost) = 6 CP.

   The rest of the Warlock build – 20 Specialized Caster Levels (60 CP), d6 Hit Dice (40 CP), 2 SP/Level (46 CP), +15 BAB (90 CP), +24 Saves (72 CP), proficiency with Simple Weapons and Light Armor (6 CP), Detect Magic (Occult Sense. 6 CP), Damage Reduction 5 (Specialized: not vrs Energy, Corrupted: not vrs cold iron, 4 CP), Mastery: Specialized in Use Magic Device Only, 3 CP), Innate Spell/Cure Critical Wounds, Fast Healing Variant (6 CP), Reflex Action (Specialized: only to trigger Fast Healing, 3 CP), and Minor (12-point) Immunity to two forms of Energy (6 CP Each, for 12 CP) – is fairly standard.

   The total cost of a Warlock-style build is thus 524 points. Of course, Warlocks are normally seriously mistrusted and seen as black magicians – a Restriction that brings their cost down to 504 points; exactly what’s available for a 20’th level character.

    Of course, this version of the Warlock isn’t quite identical – the resistances are two points higher and the fast healing is one point less (this could easily be tweaked, but its not worth the complications for an example) – but this version is also free to expand on the various “class” powers and is free to select a theme other than “Dark Magic” – making it useful for superheroes, specialist magi and healers, or for representing a variety of other fictional wizards.

    Interesting that: I would have expected at least a few points cost difference, considering that Eclipse came out well before the Warlock. Personally, I’ll take it as evidence that the Warlock authors got it right.

d20 Future Items

   First up for today – and possibly last, depending on other activities – we have the d20 Mecha Design System from the IronWinds campaign. Unfortunately, this is a pdf download only: I just couldn’t get the formatting to work reasonably on the blog.

   Secondarily, since the library will be closed on Wednesday, and I expect that most of the players will have family commitments anyway, the Champions campaign will probably have to take a miss this week. If anyone does want to do something leave a comment: I could always play host.

   Since there are a few minutes after all, here’s the Federation-Apocalypse Factions, from one of the old player’s take on a rewrite of the d20 Federation Campaign.

Where are we this time?

   Our first item up for today doesn’t involve much work from me (Yay!) except for the crosslinking and such (Boo!). It’s the Multiversal Personalities sheet – a part of the material that one of the old players is working on loosely based on the old Federation Campaign.

Into Federation Space

   Per request, I’ll be putting up some more of the Federation Campaign material this evening, starting with the seven circles and the realms of the quantum spiral.

   Plus the hard-technology advancements for the setting. I’ll try to get the “softer” sciences section – medicine, psychology, and education – up relatively soon.

Multiverse: Major Personalities

I’ll be adding a list of major personalities soon and then later followed by a list of the major Factions over the next day or two


IronWinds Campaign: Arith Lewauken

   First up for today is Arith Lewauken, a tribal warrior and mecha pilot from the IronWinds campaign. With any luck I’ll be able to get up a few more things – probably the Mecha Design sheet (at least for download if I can’t get the formatting to stick on a page) before the Legend of the Five Rings game tonight.

Christmas Games

   First up, the Legend of the Five Rings game will be friday night (tomorrow) at my house. We’ll be doing a bit of backfilling on things that should have happened last week, but had to be skipped due to illness and to several players not being able to make it. Do try not to be killed: it will make continuity a bit awkward.

The Christmas Campaign

   First off, the Champions game will be meeting at the University of Tennessee library about 7:00 as usual. Expected characters include Ranko, the White Necromancer, Darius, the Hauntsman, and the Chauffeur. If the library is closing early, we may have to shift locations however.

   Brian, if you’re in the area this week, we’d be delighted if you dropped by to say hello.

    On the new material front, we have Julius Gaius Maximus, another d20 point-buy sample design. I’ll check him for typos and finish up the cross-linking tomorrow afternoon, it’s very late at the moment.

    Iuri’s Colonization Progress sheet is up, although that’s admittedly of limited interest unless you want a checklist for things to set up in a new colony or domain. Iuri’s Tale has also updated to his current projects list, although that’s probably of even more limited interest except for the players who were considering joining that game.

Session Twelve: Into The Depths

   Cleanup at Cheyenne mountain was mostly a matter of explanation. The military wasn’t happy at finding the White Necromancer and Ranko standing in a devastated command center surrounded by bodies – including Continue reading

Atheria Updates

   The first item for today is the Atherian Glossary – containing some common terms used in the Atherian campaign and the rules for using the Blood of the Dragon to reduce spell levels.

   To follow up, here’s the Naming Ritual of Atheria. Without it, any child born on Atheria is likely to grow up to be a terrible, demonic, monster dedicated to the destruction of the world.

   Here’s the Character Design Sheet for Atheria – covering which of the various options from Eclipse: The Codex Persona can be used in this particular game world.