Eclipse: The “Iron Dragon” Level One Build

   Next up we have a moderately-optimized level one Eclipse classless d20 character, designed as a light infiltrator and unarmored tank. Like most optimized characters designed for a particular role, he or she – no particular sex, race, origin, or power-mechanism has been selected – is going to be pretty good at it.

   Whether due to some draconic ancestor, mutant powers of molecular control, weird c’hi-based disciplines, partial spirit possession, or sheer internal cussedness, Iron Dragon is a formidable melee combatant with the ability to manipulate the structure of his or her body and of his or her personal equipment to a fair degree. He or she can alter his or her features, heal his or her wounds – at least within limits – and enhance and toughen his or her body to a considerable degree. Whatever the origin of these abilities, there seems to be no easy method of canceling them out.

   Basic Attributes: Str 18, Int 14, Wis 8, Con 10, Dex 12, Cha 8 (28-point point buy).

   Disadvantages: (Select three for 10 CP), and

   Duties (to a feudal overlord, school, deity, faith, or whatever, +2 CP/Level).

   Total available character points: 48 (Level One Base) + 10 (Disadvantages) +2 (Duties) + 6 (Level One Bonus Feat) = 66, 18 of which (from disadvantages, duties, and the bonus Feat) may be spent outside of the Adventurer framework restrictions

   Basic Purchases (35 CP)

  • Proficient with All Simple Weapons (3 CP)
  • +4 Skill Points (4)
  • +2 on Reflex Saves (6)
  • d20 Hit Die (16) (20 Hit Points base + 12 HP from Immortal Vigor = 32).
  • Initial BAB +0 base, +2 Specialized/for Unarmed Combat only (6).

   Special Abilities: (31 CP)

  • Innate Enchantment (8000 GP Value, Corrupted/not usable while wearing armor, 6 CP): All spells level one, at caster level one, and unlimited-use activated, for a base value of 2000 GP each. Where applicable, these have the personal-only modifier, for a base value of 1400 GP.
    • Scalywrath (1400 GP): Allows the user to take on the basic abilities of a lizard-folk warrior (+5 Natural Armor, 1d4 natural weapons, +4 racial bonus to Balance, Jump, and Swim checks) at the price of giving up any natural armor, weapons, or skill bonuses of their base race and assuming a rather monstrous-looking form.
    • Shield (2000 GP): Provides a +4 Shield bonus to AC and immunity to Magic Missiles.
    • Disguise Self (2000 GP): Alters the user’s appearance. Usually used to disguise the effects of the Scalywrath spell, but can be used for other disguises as well.
    • (Personal) Fast Healing I (840 GP): Gains Fast Healing 1 for 2d8+2 rounds three times per day.
    • Immortal Vigor I (1400 GP): Gains (12+2x Con Mod) hit points.
  • Immunity to Antimagic and Dispelling (Common, Minor, Great, Specialized: only protects personal magical buffs, Corrupted, only protects Innate Enchantments, 4 CP).
  • Bonus Attack with Unarmed Attacks, Corrupted/not usable while wearing armor (4 CP).
  • Augmented Bonus/Crushing Block, Corrupted/not usable while wearing armor (4 CP): May add Str Mod to Dex Mod for AC purposes.
  • Martial Arts: Considered “Armed” when Unarmed, base unarmed damage (lethal or stunning) of 1d6, 1d8 when using Scalywrath, Corrupted/Not usable while wearing armor (4 CP).
  • Action Hero/Crafting Option, Specialized: only to pay for Innate Enchantments (3 CP) (This might, or might not, have been enough to cover the XP costs of this builds innate enchantments at level one: if the game master rules it’s not, some of those abilities will have to wait until the character gets a few more experience points to pay for them – which is an easy way to scale this builds power level to start off with).
  • Adept : Buys the skills of Hide, Move Silently, Jump, and Crane Style Kung Fu at half cost (6).

   Skill Points: 8 SP (Int) + 4 SP (Purchased) = 12 SP.

   Skills: Hide +6 (2 SP x Adept +2 Dex), Move Silently +6 (2 SP x Adept +2 Dex), Jump +8 (2 SP x Adept +4 Str), and Crane Style Kung Fu +8 (2 SP x Adept +4 Str). That leaves four skill points to spend on campaign-appropriate skills. Note that, when using the Scalywrath ability, Iron Dragon gets a +4 racial bonus to Balance, Jump, and Swim checks but loses any natural racial skill bonuses to which he or she may be entitled.

   Crane Style Techniques Known: Power II (Increases unarmed attack die size), Toughness I (Provides DR 1/-), and Improved Trip.

   Iron Dragon is a pretty good Tank, with an AC of 10 (Base) + 4 (Shield) + 5 (Effective Dex Mod for AC) + 5 (Natural when using Scalywrath) = 24 and DR 1/- when using the Crane Style. His or her attacks will normally be made at either +6 (+2 BAB for unarmed combat, +4 Strength) or +4/+4 (+2 BAB for unarmed combat -2 for bonus attack, +4 Strength) for either 1d10+4 or 1d12+4 damage, again depending on whether he or she is using Scalywrath at the time. In a fight, you can probably pretty well count on it.

   Further development will – of course – involve an improved BAB (specialized or not), more hit dice, and good saving throws. More specific abilities will probably revolve around adding more Innate Enchantments such as the ability to strike at range and a variety of other first-level enhancements. Unfortunately, Innate Enchantment rapidly becomes very very expensive, even with Action Hero/Crafting to help pay the experience point cost for them – but Damage Reduction and other combat enhancements, additional rogue-style skills to help with infiltration, and monk-style innate powers should stand him or her in good stead.

   Unlike our previous over-optimized example, most game masters should be able to live with the Iron Dragon build. It’s tough and dangerous – especially for first level – but not absurdly so.

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