Now that we have some archetypes, what can we do with them?
Well, first off, we can simply use them as a basis for characters: Since a first level Eclipse d20 point-buy character has at least 48 Character Points to spend, and the Archetype Packages only cost 24, you can simply drop one in. You’ll probably want to save the rest of your points to buy saving throw bonuses, skills, hit dice, and similar items, but most of the Archetypes should work fine – although the Game Master may opt to restrict any powerful innate spells to higher levels, which will limit a few of them.
As a game master tool, Eclipse recognizes that customized player characters – with all their abilities tweaked to represent exactly what the players had in mind – are almost invariably more effective than more generic NPC’s. To compensate without a lot of work, it includes a quick-conversion rule: converted NPC”s get a 6 CP per level bonus: if you want to customize a mid-level character, you can just slap an appropriate archetype onto them and you’re good to go.
They’re also suitable for use as +1 ECL Templates – or they can be built as four character point Relics, in which case they can be taken away (and – as powerful as a four character point relic is, there will almost certainly be numerous attempts to do so). Still the Gauntlets of the Brute, the Helm of the Great Leader, and the Blade of the Broken Spirit all sound like some rather interesting plot devices.
Lingering Smoke wants to be able to adopt an archetype – and create an associated identity – temporarily. Now that is a bit tricky: archetypes represent a fair chunk of character points – and that many floating character points are not easy to arrange. Secondarily, creating an identity usually takes a bit longer than the player wants. Since that’s the easy part, we’ll deal with it first.
To create identities, take Guises (3 CP), and Immunity to the Time Requirement (Uncommon / Major / Major, 6 CP). Now, normally this wouldn’t include editing NPC memories so that they vaguely recall the identities existence before the character started creating it unless the character was borrowing an existing identity, but we can add that: 1 and 1/2 d6 Mana with the Reality Editing option (Specialized and Corrupted: Only to create vague memories of your identities prior existence, 9 CP base cost, 3 CP after the modifiers). Now, Lingering Smoke wants his identities to be gossamer creations of magic – they will fade away quickly if he steps out of character too much, will eventually lapse in any case, and – once they’re gone – can never be regained. New identities can be created, but the old one will be forgotten, any accomplishments or crimes will be remembered as the work of others, and the mana-created memories will fade. Overall this specializes the entire package – reducing the cost to a mere 6 CP.
If you want to have multiple identities available at the same time, so that you can switch between them, you’ll want the “Many” Modifier on your Guises. Since it’s subject to the same specialization, for a mere +1 point you can have up to three extra Identities at a time and for +3 points you can have four extra identities – which probably ought to be enough. There are other modifiers and benefits you can apply to Guises, but there are enough for our purposes.
Now, adding 24 CP to your character – a full levels worth – is pretty difficult, even if you’re restricted to using an Archetype.
Like most things, you can do it with magic. Rite of Isis (from The Practical Enchanter) will let you add a fair chunk – but not all – of the features you’d get from taking a level – or, at higher casting levels, two levels – in a class for a few hours, and it’s fourth level. Now lets see… It doesn’t add to skills and saves. Neither do the Archetypes in general, but that does mean they add about a level and a half worth of points. That’s comparable, so our base effect is fourth level. Making it last an entire day makes it fifth, and making it a subtle, difficult-to-spot effect makes it sixth. To get that with an Inherent Spell we’ll want to specialize it: it can only be used to assume a specific archetype associated with a particular guise you already have – although not necessarily one you’re using at the moment (once per day for 6 CP). Since we may want to do this several times a day, we’ll also need some Bonus Uses. Fortunately, they’re subject to the same limitation, and so +4 uses per day will costs only another 3 CP.
Since we also want it to be unaffected by dispelling and conventional antimagic effects, we’ll either need a much higher level spell or an Immunity to Dispelling and Countermagic (Common / Minor / Major, 6 CP base for immunity of effects of up to L5. Specialized in Inherent Spells (double effect, protecting against countereffects of up to level 10) and Corrupted: only works to protect the Archetype-adding effect (reduces cost to 4 CP).
That particular package costs 13 CP – 19 CP with the basic guises effect or 20-22 with multiple guises to take full advantage of the archetype-assuming ability. It doesn’t provide a big boost in power, but it does provide some very interesting options.
Characters in the Federation-Apocalypse setting have another option; they have access to the Identities skill, and can develop “local” identities that take effect in particular dimensions. A 24-CP Archetype translates into a 3 SP Identity. 3 SP are pretty easy to come by: given a little time, you can use the Enthusiast ability to switch identities (Specialized in Skills, Corrupted to Identities only,3 variable SP for 3 CP). If you’re in a hurry, and can’t afford to take the time to switch identities the usual way, you can simply use Mana and Reality Editing to speed it up. (3d6 Mana with Reality Editing, Specialized and Corrupted: only to use in switching Identities, use causes minor reality-disturbances at the game masters whim about 10% of the time as the local reality attempts to compensate for the sudden shift, 6 CP).