Thera: Channeling The Primal Powers

   On Thera, Channeling goes a bit beyond the ability to influence the Undead.

   Channeling focuses primal energies through the user’s life – or unlife – force. It’s the oldest of all mystical techniques, by far the most erratic – and is the province of those who have the faith and will to open themselves to the high powers of the cosmos and accept that randomness.

   There are, of course, eighteen “fields” of channeling, sixteen of which are available to mortals (The fields of Light/Word and Darkness/Void are only available to the Celestial Host and the Spawn Of Apophis respectively). Each can be used to simply generate a burst of raw power or – with a successful save to maintain control – to produce more “advanced” effects. Sadly, failing that save means losing control of the powers which you’re channeling through your life force. It’s not a good idea.

   Character’s with Channeling normally get a base of (3 + ChaMod) attempts daily, and access to one field. Those with “special affinities” or cross-training may gain access to a second field at the price of permanently dividing up their daily allotment of attempts between the two fields. Such fields may not, however, be polar opposites in the Eye Of Thoth.

The Primal Powers:

   Creation, A.K.A. “Positive Energy”, can be used to repel those attuned to Destruction or “Negative Energy”, to heal, and to create new things. It’s probably the most common of all fields. A burst of positive energy is used to “Turn Undead”. More advanced effects include:

  • “Turning” the Spawn Of Apophis (DC 15. Works just like turning undead).
  • Blessing items (DC 15. Allows one to create holy water and so on).
  • Healing (Cure Light Wounds DC 12, Cure Moderate Wounds DC 15, Cure Serious Wounds DC 18, Cure Critical Wounds DC 21, and Heal DC 27).
  • Lifegiving (Raise The Dead DC 28, Ressurrection DC 32, True Ressurrection DC 35) and
  • Creation (Of mundane items up to 25 GP DC 18, +3 DC per additional 25 GP).
  • “Exorcisms” usually fall under “Turning”.

   Destruction, A.K.A. “Negative Energy”, can be used to Awe or Command entities attuned to negative energy, to injure, and to destroy… While it’s not inherently evil it’s very easy to abuse – and is the aspect of Thera through which the power of Apophis enters in. It does not have a good reputation. A negative energy burst can be used to Awe/Command undead. More advanced effects include:

  • Aweing or Commanding the Spawn Of Apophis (DC 14).
  • Disintegrations (DC 25).
  • Disrupting other Energies (Generally incoming spells and such, DC 11 + Spell Level).
  • Death Spells (DC 18 + SL).
  • Granting temporary Spell or Power Resistance (DC = desired level +10).
  • and Inflicting Injuries (Inflict Light Wounds DC 12, Inflict Moderate Wounds DC 15, Inflict Serious Wounds DC 18, Inflict Critical Wounds DC 21, and Harm DC 27).
  • If perverted, it can be used to create undead of various types, at a DC of 20 + the Challenge Rating of the undead to be created.

   Transformation can be used to repel beings of order and to influence those attuned to it’s power – but it’s primary function is to alter the world… Attempting to use it on yourself is suicidal; the most subtle items – thoughts and memories, your control of the power flow, your biochemistry, and so on – are the first to go. Advanced effects include:

  • Reshaping Matter (Stone Shape et al, DC 15).
  • Alchemical Manipulation (restructuring substances, DC 18-24).
  • Polymorph (others only, DC 21).
  • Transmutation (DC 28).
  • and Polymorph Any Object (DC 32).
  • The power of transformation is extremely flexible – but it’s also very easy to go disasterously wrong using it. Undesired transformations can make life pretty miserable.

   Preservation can be used to bind creatures of chaos – shapechangers – into stable forms, at least temporarily, and to ward off various disruptive forces. More advanced applications include:

  • Fortification (Boosts the hardness of materials and grants DR to creatures. DC 12 + [+to Hardness/2] or [DR +2]).
  • Creating Stasis Fields (force constructs and Walls Of Force, DC 15-21 depending on size).
  • Induced Hibernation or Paralysis (DC 14).
  • Suspending or Resisting Poisons, Diseases, or Aging for a day (DC 18, or as the effect -4).
  • Armor Of Eternity (Mage Armor effect, +6 AC and +4 to saves).
  • Resisting Death (DC 10-Negative HP/5) and
  • Temporal Stasis (DC 35).

   The use of the four Primal Powers requires Fortitude saves.

The Elemental Forces:

   The Elemental Powers – Fire, Air, Earth, and Water – can be used to repel or disrupt those entities attuned to opposing forces or to awe or command entities attuned to them. Advanced effects relating to the elements are normally fairly straightforward; they involve:

  • Creating (Bolts DC 14, Sphere DC 16, Stable Wall/Shape DC 18).
  • Commanding (“Telekinetic” control of, DC 16-24 depending on scale).
  • Manifesting (infusing inanimate items, or yourself, with, elemental power; assume an Elemental Subtype DC 16, Elemental Form DC 20, Elmental Infusion 1/2/3 D6, DC 12/16/22), and
  • Counters (“Blocking” an oposing elemental effect – only DC 10-16 as a rule, but requires a readied action).

   The use of the Elemental Powers requires a Reflex save.

The Governing Forces:

   Space can be used to create a wavefront or “ripple” of expanding space, that sweeps away unrestrained matter and energy in it’s path. In essence, everything the user “targets” within 60′ will be moved (2x[2D6+User’s Level + Cha. Mod)] feet away. More advanced uses include:

  • Storing Items in an extradimensional “pocket” (DC 10+LB/20)
  • Teleportation (Dimension Door, DC 14, Teleportation, DC 18, Circle Of Teleportation, DC 24 and Gate/No summoning, DC 30) and even
  • Creating a Pocket Dimension (DC 35 – sometimes used as a prison or trap).
  • “Telekinetic” Effects also fall into this field – with a DC dependent on the scale of the desired effect. Micro-scale telekinetics aren’t possible.

   Chaos can be used to repel and disrupt those beings attuned to order, but can’t be used to influence chaotic entities; they tend to just do as they please. It can be used to disrupt spells and complex structures, but it’s primary use is allow the user to briefly “bend” basic laws of nature – allowing users to accomplish things otherwise impossible. Advanced uses include:

  • Dispelling (Dispel Magic DC 14, Break Enchantment DC 18, Greater Dispelling DC 21),
  • Disruption (Shattering DC 16, “Rusting” Grasp DC 18, 2D4/1D4 Attribute Damage DC 20), and
  • Breach Reality (Getting something to work which shouldn’t. Walking thru a wall DC 18, bypassing SR / DR for an attack DC 14, breaking a Wall Of Force DC 18, using a “cure light wounds” spell to reattach a limb / head within a few rounds of it being severed DC 16 /20, breaching an antimagic/antipsionic field DC 35 and releasing imprisioned spirits DC 30).

   Time can be used to generate haste or slow effects – and grants a natural sensitivity to disturbances the flow of time. More advanced applications include:

  • Readings (Object Reading DC 12, Determine Ages DC 14, Postcognition DC 18, Augury DC 16 and Possibility Scan DC 24),.
  • Ending or Extending Spells with durations (by Rounds DC 14, Minutes DC 16, Hours DC 20, and Days DC 24, can affect [Turning Damage] spell levels),.
  • Temporal Manipulations (Preservation DC 16, Timeslip [Forward jump, DC 18], Induce Hibernation DC 12, Reroll Once DC 18, Take an Extra Action [Off Initiative] DC 22, Enhanced Haste DC 24, Fugue [Mentally stretching a few seconds into minutes to observe and consider] DC 18, Time Stop 32, Age Victim/Entropic Bolt DC 18, Temporal Hold DC 18, Restore Youth [an effect which costs lots of EP] DC Varies) and
  • Timeshifting (The GM may – or may not – allow this. Alter Immediate Past DC 26, Restore To Past State DC 30, Call The Past DC 35, and Gate To The Past DC 40).

   Ordercan be used to repel / bind entities of chaos or to spontaneously organize things – ranging from disorderly meetings and crowds to messy workshops. Advanced applications include:

  • Controlling the vagaries of chance (“Prayer” DC 16, Forcing a “1” or a “20”, DC 18, manipulating “destiny”, DC 24).
  • “Channeling” the forces of nature (DC Varies, but can only be used to steer events, not to create them – although diverting a tornado can be quite effective).
  • Temporarily Reinforcing, or Imposing, Structure (Imposing rigidity, or solidity, on liquids or gases, DC varies with the volume affected, toughening materials, or creating exotic alloys, DC 16).
  • Reversing the ravages of time is quite straightforward – at least in nonliving objects (DC 14).

   The Governing Forces – Chaos, Space, Time, and Order – require Willpower saves to use.

The Mental and Spiritual Elements:

   Mind governs thoughts and memories – ranging from subtle suggestions thru insight and logic. A burst of mental power can be used to create a mental gestalt with selected targets within 60′ – allowing for “instantaneous” discussion and development of plans, rapid explanations, and conveying hours worth of information. Such plans grant a +2 Circumstance Bonus to Skill, Attack, Damage and Saves for one minute. More advanced applications include:

  • Mental Control (Suggestion DC 14, Erasing Minor/Major/Vital/ Fundamental parts of your target’s memory (or Implanting New Memories) DC 14/16/20/24.
  • Domination (of Ordinary/Weird/Alien Minds DC 18/ 24/30).
  • Insight (Boost Int or Wis based skill by +5/10/15/20/25 DC 12/14/18/24/32).
  • Flash Of Brilliance (Get a clue from the GM. DC 20).
  • Instantly “Swapping Out” a Spell Formula (Up to 1/3/7, DC 14/18/24).
  • Projection (Send a “burst of data” to someone far away, DC 22), and
  • Invention (The user may bypass several weeks of time – and the associated expenses – when doing research, DC 32 – once per project maximum).
  • While skills can be bestowed by granting relevant memories no single individual can gain more then (Int) skill points in this fashion.

   Note that emotions are in the realm of the Spirit, below.

   Spirit controls emotions and astral beings – those entities who still carry too great an emotional “charge” to peacefully reincarnate. A “burst” of raw emotional energy carries any desired emotion to those within a group (this may include mindful undead) within it’s area. More advanced applications include:

  • Laying The Unquiet Dead (DC Varies).
  • Laying Wards (Block astral intrusion, and emotionally deter others, DC 18).
  • Emotional Blasts (Panic, Infatuation, Etc, DC 18).
  • Astral Projection (DC 32).
  • Boost Charisma (+4/6/8, DC 16/20/24).
  • Oration (Sway or inspire large groups, QV; Bards), and
  • Astral Blast (Bolt DC 18, Sphere DC 21, 60′ Burst DC 28. Damages spirits – or EVERYONE).

   Mind and Spirit energies require a Willpower check to control.

The Corporeal and Transcendent Elements:

   Body governs the control and manipulation of living tissue – flesh, blood, bone, and wood. It can be used to shapechange, to resist most injuries, to control plants, and to enhance the physical attributes, but can not be projected sufficiently to affect the bodies of anything more complex then plants. An internal burst of such power can be used to shapechange (EG; “Wild Shape”) or to expel parasites and toxins. More advanced applications include:

  • Enhancement (Adds a +2/4/6 divine bonus to your Str, Con, or Dex for an hour DC 12/14/18).
  • Turn/Command Plants (DC 14, requires a “turn” check).
  • Self Healing (DC 10 + [number of D8 desired]), and
  • Sculpting (Subtly reshaping yourself to alter appearance, DC 12, to remove aging penalitiesDC 18, to add natural weapons/armor for a but DC 21, and to enhance attributes permanently DC 25 plus 1000 EP/point of inherent bonus).

   Soul governs both higher and lower instincts as well as the link between the world and the eternal realms. A burst of Soul energy grants serenity, damping the excesses of the spirit, calming emotions, and awing/commanding animals. Advanced applications include:

  • Communing with or Summoning the Celestial Powers (DC 24/28).
  • Offering Guidance and Comfort (DC 12).
  • Speaking with Departed Spirits (DC 18).
  • Reincarnations (DC 22).
  • Making a Concentration Check (or any similar roll).
  • Dispelling External Influences (DC 16).
  • “Manifesting” your Inner Darkness or Light (As an Aura of Purity or Fear DC 14, as raw energy DC 18, as an entity embodying your essence or a part thereof, DC 22).
  • Shattering Soul-Bindings and Demonic Magic (DC 30), and even
  • Redeeming Demons and The Fallen (DC 35).

   The energies of the Body and/or Soul require a Fortitude check to control.

   As noted earlier, the remaining two fields – Light And Word / Darkness And Void – aren’t normally available to ordinary characters.

   The Light and Word is the exclusive province of the Celestial Hosts, themselves extensions of Dhaos. It’s command infused with the first light of creation, as much of the true divine as the world can bear.

   The light dispels darkness, illusions, the power of the darkness and void – and madness. Focused into commands it allows Celestials to issue simple, preemptory, commands to objects and creatures. The most powerful Celestials can make a command – including those which change creatures, such as “be strong” – permanent by repeating it successfully three times, and thus making it a part of reality.

   The Darkness and Void is the exclusive power of the Spawn Of Apophis. It can be used to counter virtually any force, to transform any willing mortalinto a demon, to entrap souls, to curse, enervate, and weaken living things, and to disintegrate matter. While Darkness is no match for the Celestial Light, there are a lot more wielders of it, and they’re far more likely to do so uninvited.

   The High Powers of Light and Darkness can be controlled, or at least directed, with reflex checks. Given that both effects are generally the province of NPC’s, mechanical details are intentionally vague.

Channeling Failures :

   These occur whenever a channeler’s save is not made, their effect depends on how much it is missed by.

  • Natural 1, but bonus equals or exceeds the difficulty level : May not retry for at least 24 hours. This cannot be mitigated.
  • 1-2 : The attempt is wasted. An immediate retry is possible, but costs two attempts. As a GMO alternative, it may succeed with “minor problems”, such as misteleportation.
  • 3-5 : The attempt is wasted. The channeler may not attempt this particular “stunt” again for 24 hours and takes 2D4 damage.
  • 6-9 : The attempt is wasted. The user may not attempt to channel again for 24 hours and takes 1D4 Temp. damage to a random attribute.
  • 10+ : The attempt goes disasterously wrong somehow. The user may not attempt to channel again for 24 hours and suffers some side effect appropriate to the channeling field – such as HP or attribute damage, effect backlash, or a mistargeted/incorrect effect.
  • 16+ : 1D4 level drain. 18 DC to regain.

   Failures can be mitigated by expending EP. 50 EP buys a retroactive “+1” on the relevant save, up to a maximum of +5.

Other Notes:

   The DC of unspecified effects is up to the game master. As a rough guide, use DC (12+2xSL) and add +5 if the target is distant or the effect seems to stretch the nature of the field.

   In general, when a random number is needed for a channeling effect it’s equal to; (2D6 + Charisma Modifier + BCL).

   Channeling – drawing on the energies which make up the fundamental structures of Thera – is an “Extraordinary Ability”. It’s effects can be countered by some opposing effect, but cannot be surpressed, blocked out, dispelled, or otherwise nullified without tearing a hole in the structure of the universe.

   While the reason and mechanisms behind the phenomenon are unknown, occasional “deposits” of materials linked to the primal energies are found scattered across Thera. They have quite extraordinary properties – and are extremely valuable, since they are useful in an amazing variety of ways. Such substances are used in the best enchantments and the most impressive alchemical feats.

   This version of Channeling was not directly covered in Eclipse: The Codex Persona – although it could easily be created using Channeling, Spell Conversion to an appropriate “Anyspell” effect, and some “Corrupted” and “Specialized” modifiers for requiring a save to control the power and for the possible side effects of failure. A specialized Immunity to convert it into an Extraordinary Ability. If you want to purchase it directly, it would probably be about 12 CP, plus the initial expense of purchasing the Channeling ability to start with. In normal d20, which is considerably less flexible, it’s probably worth two Feats for the basic abilities plus a one-Feat surcharge for the flexibility.

Thera: The Epic Hero

   Theran characters may take a maximum of 20 “normal” class levels. Any levels beyond that must be taken in one of Thera’s two, mutually exclusive, high-level Classes – Epic Hero and Rune Lord. While it is possible – at least in exceptional cases – to start taking levels in these classes at level fifteen, it’s unusual.

   On Thera, characters who don’t qualify for Epic Hero or Rune Lord can’t advance beyond level 20.

The Epic Hero:

   Epic Heroes are channels for the power of chaos – and so able to defy the laws of nature which restrain the actions of lesser characters, Epic Heroes are often capable of stunts which even Rune Lords cannot match locally.

  • Requirements: Level 15+, completion of an Epic Quest and total attribute modifiers of +10 or more.
  • Attack Bonus: +(Level/2). Doesn’t raise the number of iterative attacks available.
  • Base Caster Level: +(Level/2)
  • Save Bonuses: +(Level/2)
  • Skill Points: 2 + (Int Mod) per level.
  • Hit Dice: d6
  • Special: Gain one Epic Feat per level

Sample Epic Feats:

   There are no detailed rules for the sample Epic Feats. As manifestations of Chaos, they tend work a little differently for each user, and in each situation.

  • Artificer; You may forge devices of some specific type with bonuses of up to twice the normal limit and at 1’4’th the base cost. Alternatively, you may develop the ability to upgrade existing items of the chosen type as if this ability had been applied to them originally.
  • Army Of Beasts; You gain “Leadership” for beasts and animals.
  • Augmented Ability; The bonuses granted by a specific, limited-use, ability are doubled. Likely candidates include Rage, the Defensive Stance, and various Bardic Musics. The GM may permit similar enhancements for Auras, Favored Enemies (Pick one), and so on.
  • Aura Of Power; Everybody who comes within 15 Ft is affected by your aura, normally a L1 spell or a weak channeling effect. The effect can be extended by restricting it to specific situations.
  • Black Dominion; You may control undead as per Leadership and Imperator – rather then by number of hit dice.
  • Enhanced Ability. +1 to an ability score.
  • Epic Might; You gain a +30 chaos bonus to a chosen ability score for 1 round or for any one skill check at a cost of 4 Mana.
  • Epic Resistance; You gain 12 points worth of resistances (energy forms, damage types, poisons, attribute drain or damage, environmental problems such as lack of air or food, and types of physical damage are all eligible).
  • Flame Of Life; You gain Fast Healing 3, remain alive down to -60 hit points, and are no longer subject to death by massive damage.
  • Forge Artifact; You may make unique items using weird ingredients, rituals, quests, and so on. There is no logical system to this.
  • Fortified Magic; You may spend 20% of the mana which it took to cast a spell to keep it from being dispelled, drained, or countered.
  • Ghosting Techniques; Attackers have a 15% miss chance. If focused on a single attacker, this rises to 30%.
  • Great Awareness; You take no penalty in a situation which normally imposes one, such as when operating without senses, when attacking someone with partial cover, or when using ranged weapons at high range multiples.
  • Great Deflection; As per Deflect Arrows – but applies to all ranged attacks. Spells and Powers add their level to the DC. Each such block counts as an attack of opportunity.
  • Great Opportunist; Your Attacks Of Opportunity count as sneak attacks.
  • Imperator; Enhanced Leadership. You gain a cohort with an ECL of [2*Leadership/3], and large numbers of minor followers.
  • Impervious; Gain a “+4” bonus to a save.
  • Iron Flesh; Adds any one of; +2 “Natural” Armor, +3/- Damage Reduction, or +1D8+Con Mod Hit Points.
  • Irritant; You may subtract your level from the result of a particular skill used in your vicinity. Typical choices include SpellCraft, Stealth, and Spot.
  • Mastery Of Magic; You may cast a 1-action “spell of opportunity” if you save against an incoming spell up to once per round. If this is taken again, you may do so up to 3/round.
  • MasterWight; You may create minor magical items of a particular “type” – swords, armor, clothing, etc – as if you were making “normal” items.
  • Metamorphosis: You may absorb a portion of the essence of a defeated opponent, taking on a portion of its racial abilities. (Trying to do this more than once is asking to become a chaotic monstrosity).
  • Missile Reflection; Allows you to reflect a deflected attack (Deflect Arrows and/or Great Deflection) at your base ranged attack bonus.
  • Mysticism; Reduces a “+1 Level” metamagic to +0. Note that metamagics may be reduced to +1 modifiers through standard feats.
  • Opportunistic Casting; You may cast – and attack – with a touch spell as an opportunity attack.
  • Overlord; Requires L20 spellcasting/power use. Grants one levels worth of mana and access to spells one level above your current limit. The usual maximum spell level of (Att-10) and (L+1)/2 both continue to apply.
  • Phantom Stance; You may take some type of action that usually allows attacks of opprot- unity, such as using a missile weapon or spell in melee, without allowing such an attack.
  • Polymath; Gain any two standard feats.
  • Progenitor; Your offspring start off at level 1+(Your Level/3). These levels may be distributed in between appropriate templates and class levels, but never result in a multiclassing penalty.
  • Runic Attunement; Gain an additional rune attunement. Priests may use this feat to gain an additional domain.
  • Spellmaster; Gain +1/2/3 levels of Class A/B/C spellcasting ability.
  • Spell Sharing; Pick three spells that you can cast. Whenever one of them is cast within 120 Ft, you share in it’s benefits.
  • Spellstorm; You may use 1 extra quickened spell or power each round. This may be taken multiple times.
  • Stone And Sea; You may take an “attack of opportunity” against any opponent who makes a melee attack against you, up to once a round, and up to the number of such attacks available.
  • Storm of Strikes; You may take a full attack action to strike at anyone and everyone you desire within a 30 foot radius.
  • Subsumption; You may “absorb” a magical or psionic item, making it part of yourself. Any bonuses it grants become “Chaotic”. Weaponry bonuses and such apply to any item wielded.
  • Supernal Companion; Your Familiar, Mount, or Animal Companion gains 12 levels of spells (L8 maximum) as spell-like abilities.
  • Supernal Skill; Grants a +5 bonus on your skill of choice. You may gain further bonuses up to +40 by spending 1 point of mana per +10 on roll.
  • The Focal Point; Add +3/6 to the DC class of resisting some reasonably general/specific ability of yours. This is cumulative with the effects of Spell Focus and Greater Spell Focus.
  • True Ambidexterity; You take no penalties for fighting with multiple weapons.
  • Warcraft; Reduces penalties on secondary, and later, iterative attacks by -5. This may be taken up to three times.
  • Widgetry; Gain access to a generic skill, such as “Towel Use”. You may use this in any way you can persuade the GM to put up with.

   An unlimited selection of other Epic Feats are possible – many unique to a particular Epic Hero. In practice, it’s often simplest to design them as 12-point abilities from Eclipse: The Codex Persona (available in print HERE, as a PDF HERE, and in a shareware PDF version HERE).