Eclipse – The Street Rat Level One Build

   Our next Eclipse Classless d20 (available in print HERE and in a shareware version HERE) sample build is the Street Rat – a character who is at his or her best operating out of a small group of cities and their environs. Like most Eclipse characters, the Street Rat tends to start off less skilled than a classical d20 character, but with a few more defining abilities. Street Rats should fit into most campaigns, at least as long as they have a stable urban base of operations to return to. They aren’t at their best in highly mobile campaigns – although they can certainly function in them for a time.

   Disadvantages: (Select three for 10 CP), and add

   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 Attributes: Str 14, Int 14, Wis 10, Con 14, Dex 14, Chr 10 (28 point buy).

   Basic Purchases (30 CP)

  • Proficient with Proficient with All Simple Weapons and any one Martial Weapon (6 CP) and Light Armor (3 CP).
  • +8 Skill Points (8 CP).
  • +2 on Reflex Saves (6 CP)
  • +1 on Will Saves (3 CP)
  • d8 Hit Die (4 CP).
  • Initial BAB +0 (0 CP)

   Special Abilities (36 CP):

  • Augmented Attack/+2d6 Sneak Attack (6 CP). Out on the streets, you soon learn how to hit things so as to hurt them as much as possible.
  • Adept (6 CP): May buy the Knowledge/Local, Search, Sleight of Hand, and Gather Information skills at half cost.
  • Favored Foe/Favored Cities variant (6 CP): At level one this provides a +2 bonus to Appraise, Gather Information, Hide, Move Silently, and Knowledge/Local while in the primary campaign city. Other bonuses will accrue with level.
  • Immunity/Divination (Common, Minor, Minor/effects of up to level three, 4 CP).
  • Contacts: usually a reliable fence and some notable (such as a local gang leader, killer for hire, weapons merchant, or smuggler) in the local criminal underworld (2 CP).
  • Just for variety, here are some Street Rat variants, each costing the remaining 12 CP available.
    • The Black Marketeer: This Street Rat is connected, and can sell your loot quickly – realizing a full 90% – err, 80% (gotta make a profit) of it’s value and get you the gear you want. He or she can also borrow magical trinkets – either two one-point relics or one two-point relic – from his or her patrons, although this depends on what they’ve got available. Equipage with Purchasing and 90% Returns. Specialized/may take several hours or even days (in less urban areas) to obtain items, Corrupted/no matter how much money may be available, the user cannot gain items which are unreasonable for his or her level or normally unavailable in the setting (8 CP), Enthusiast, Specialized in Relics for double effect, Corrupted/game master decides what is available at any given moment (2 CP), and +2 Contacts (2 CP).
    • Spellthief: This brat can swipe spells right out of your head if you’re not careful… Inherent Spell with +2 Bonus Uses/Spell Transference three times per day (steals a spell of up to third level from another spellcaster – in priority one he or she is casting, one at the forefront of his or her mind, one at random from among those he or she has memorized, or one random slot from a spontaneous caster, will save applies. Corrupted/user must make a DC 15 will check to activate this power and it may sometimes activate on its own, 6 CP), Power Words (Specialized: only works to store stolen spells, may store [2x Con /3] total spell levels, each with the caster level and modifiers of the original “owner”, 6 CP).
    • Street Survivor: This feral youngster has been on the streets for a long, long, time – and it shows. Augmented Bonus/Long Practice (6 CP); may add (Con Mod) to his or her effective (Dex Mod) when using Dex-based skills, Universal DR 2/- (also affects energy attacks and weather, 3 CP), Action Hero/Stunts, Specialized in defensive abilities only (3 CP).
    • Gang Leader: The gang leader may not be the toughest, the most skilled, the best armed, or even the most deadly – but when he or she loses his or her temper, they’re by far the most vicious, and hit better than some mid-level fighters. Leadership (a small gang of other first-level street types, 6 CP), and Berserker/ “Deadly Temper” (+8 BAB when active, 6 CP).
    • Wiz Kid: This young magician has potential, but may well – thanks to the unreliability of his or her magic – be hiding it. Mana (2d4 generic spell levels available per day. In this characters case, roll daily). Specialized/ only usable for Theurgy (3 CP), +1 Caster Level Specialized in Theurgy (3 CP), +1 to each of the eighteen Theurgy Skills, Specialized/ can only be used to attempt to reproduce effects the Street Rat has seen and has some notes on, Corrupted/ causes bothersome side effects instead of simply wasting time and power when a spell fails (6 CP).

   Skill Points: 8 (Intelligence) + 8 (Purchased) = 16

   Skills: Knowledge/Local +6 (2 SP x Adept, +2 Int), Search +6 (2 SP x Adept, +2 Int), Sleight of Hand +6 (2 SP x Adept, +2 Dex), and Gather Information +4 (2 SP x Adept, +0 Cha). The remaining eight skill points should be spend to suit the campaign. Don’t forget the “Favored Cities” modifier.

   The Street Rat is moderately dangerous in a fight, fairly tough, tolerably skilled, and throughly at home in an urban center as part of the criminal underworld. They’re pretty fair generalists, instead of being hyper-specialized for particular styles of combat, particular magics, or other situations. Further development is probably going to be roguelike, although a lot depends on what sub-package they have: a wiz kid is probably going to develop his or her magic as well as street abilities – but a gang leader is probably going to work on combat enhancements.

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Eclipse – The Kabalistic Ritualist Level One Build

Kircher_Tree_of_Life_PD   Our next Eclipse Classless d20 (available in print HERE and in a shareware version HERE) character is the Kabalistic Ritualist – a character who leans more towards the investigative “Call of Cthulhu” style of play than most d20 character types – although, in this case, the build offers a number of variants to suit particular ideas. In any case, the Kabalistic Ritualist is a classical mage – a scholar who works magic through complex rituals and releases their power when appropriate and who may gain minor granted powers from various summoned entities provided that he can conclude some form of bargain with them. Interestingly, since such magic is so limited, it’s also rather cheap.

   The Kabalistic Ritualist can actually be quite powerful – but only with preparation and research. If it would normally take an eighteenth-level spellcaster with a particular ninth-level spell to readily banish some intruding eldritch horror from beyond, than the ritual for doing so will have a DC of around 46 – which is actually within the reach of a first-level Kabalistic Ritualist PROVIDED that said Kabalist knows what he or she is going up against, comes up with a good description of the ritual he or she is going to use (worth up to a +5 bonus), and can come up with good ritual components* – of which he or she can get bonuses for up to seven. Holy Water blessed by the local high priest of an opposing faith might be worth +2, a relic from a martyr who died casting the creature out once before might be worth +3, a sacred flame lit from the Holy Fire-Fountain of Rasil and carried back to the ritual location might be a +4, the True Name of the eldritch horror might be a +5 (the maximum) – if you can find it.

   Work hard enough, scrape up – say – a +25, throw in your own +10 base, and your Kabbalist has a 50-50 shot. Too bad he or she won’t be entirely sure as to whether or not the ritual will work until he or she actually confronts that overwhelmingly powerful eldritch horror.

   On second thought, perhaps the Kabbalist should hold off on confronting massively powerful eldritch horrors for a few levels. Of course, by the time he or she comes up with all those special ingredients, he or she may have put on a few levels anyway.

   *A key point here is that components are proposed and selected by the players, but rated by the game master – which allows the players to do quite a bit of the adventure-setup and to propose appropriate setting elements. If a player says “I once ran across an old manuscript in the temple library that said that Arkidi’s Mirror of Banishment was buried in a tomb in the mountains, behind a small waterfall in the Valley of Twilight” and looks hopefully at the game master – well, said game master now has a proposal for an adventure (a bit of exploration followed by a fight with some semi-aquatic guardian and a tomb exploration) and a proposed treasure – and one that need not have any other uses outside this particular ritual, and therefore will not be unbalancing or troublesome later on. Why not let the players do the work?

   Disadvantages: (Select three for 10 CP), and add

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

   Basic Purchases (30 CP)

  • Proficient with Proficient with All Simple Weapons and any one Martial Weapon (6) and Light Armor (3 CP) with the Smooth Modifier (no armor penalties or spell failure percentages, 3)
  • +8 Skill Points (8 CP). These are normally invested in the character’s Adept skills.
  • +2 on Willpower Saves (6 CP)
  • d8 Hit Die (4 CP).
  • Initial BAB +0 (0 CP)

   Special Abilities (36 CP):

  • Adept (6 CP): May purchase the Decipher Script, Knowledge/Arcana, Sleight of Hand, and Spellcraft skills for half cost.
  • Skill Emphasis/+2 Spellcraft (3 CP).
  • Augment Attack/+1d6 Sneak Attack (3 CP).
  • Occult Ritual (6 CP).
  • Power Words: Specialized and Corrupted/only stores the power of Occult Rituals, rituals require a full-round action, complex gestures, and eerie invocations rather than a move-equivalent action to release, all for triple effect: may store up to (Con) effective “spell levels” worth of rituals (6 CP).
    • Rituals don’t usually have levels assigned to them. Since they’re always unique, and usually take effect when enacted, there’s normally no need to bother. Still, they’re acts of magic, just like spells, and thus can be stored like spells. The game master should simply assign an appropriate level when necessary. The ritual opens a path through water? Well, Control Water is level four, so the ritual is probably level four or five, depending on the details.
  • Power Words: Specialized and Corrupted/only for storing spells provided by summoned entities, can only store voluntarily-granted powers, can currently store up to (Con/3) spell levels and release such spells as move-equivalent actions (2 CP).
    • It’s usually pretty easy to get a summoned entity to provide some sort of spell; they generally have enough innate powers within their speciality that a simple spell costs them virtually nothing – hence minor offerings and respectful requests will usually suffice. Getting them to grant reusable powers (buying Innate Enchantments or Siddhisyoga abilities) is considerably more difficult – which is usually represented in the game by the high costs of obtaining such things.
  • That leaves us with 10 CP to go. In this case, we’ll look at a couple of possible variations:
    • Priestly Scholar: One level of Cleric Package Spellcasting with an added Components Limitation (8 CP), +2 more Skill Points to buy Knowledge/Religion with (2 CP). This is usually the nice-guy ritualist option and – thanks to the benefits of the cleric package – probably provides the most in the way of immediate power.
    • Demonologist: Innate Enchantment 7 CP/6000 GP effective value (and 480 XP to get them all working). All Level One Spells at Caster Level One, Unlimited Use Activated, for 2000 GP value x noted modifiers each. Produce Flame (2000 GP value), Shield (2000 GP value), Personal Haste (+1 Attack when making a Full Attack, +30′ move, 2000 GP value), +1 Skill Point to buy Knowledge/The Planes with (1 CP), and two Contacts – a seller of strange occult ingredients and tomes and an alchemist who makes poisons on the side (2 CP). Optionally, his variant on the Shield effect may provide some protection against fire instead of immunity to Magic Missiles.
    • The Expert Ritualist: Professional/Spellcraft (an investment in the future, 6 CP), Fast Learner/specialized in Skills (+1 SP/Level, 3 CP), and a Contact – a Sage/Historian (1 CP). This version is less powerful to start with, but can work considerably more powerful rituals later on in his career.
    • The Canny Spellblade: Finesse/uses Int Mod in place of Str Mod for melee combat purposes with light weapons and armor (6 CP), upgrade Proficiencies to All Simple and Martial Weapons (+3 CP), and add one Contact – an expert ritualist and more experienced mage, who can act as a patron and employer (1 CP). This is a good package for someone who wants to be a rogue or light fighter type who dabbles in magic.

   Skill Points: 16 (Intelligence) + 6 (Purchased) = 24 (or a few more if taking an option that includes some).

   Skills:

  • Decipher Script +8 (2 SP x Adept +4 Int)
  • Knowledge/Arcana +8 (2 SP x Adept +4 Int)
  • Sleight of Hand +5 (2 SP x Adept +1 Dex)
  • Spellcraft +10 (2 SP x Adept +4 Int +2 Feat)
  • Knowledge/History +8 (4 SP +4 Int)
  • Concentration +6 (4 SP +2 Int)
  • +4 skill points spent to suit the campaign.

   Given time, components, a good idea of what he or she will be going up against, and a clever or insightful player, a ritualist can be extremely formidable. Of course, if he or she is deprived of those things, ritual magic is pretty useless. This provides an easy method of game-master control over the situation; if you don’t want the ritualist working up any surprises, keep things moving and make components and time hard to come by. If the players are stuck, or it’s the ritualists turn to shine, give him or her time to work something up.

World of Darkness – Rites

   Here we have an assortment of Rites for Werewolf the Forsaken – or at least for some version of the World of Darkness. In this case they’re from the collection of Maximilian Sendak, a Garou who’d been raised by non-garou – and used some very eccentric rites and gifts indeed, most of them with an Egyptian theme.

    Alchemy of Seshat (Level Three): You may infuse essence into metals to bring out their magical properties. You may infuse either a solid item, giving it the magical properties indicated below, or a modest number (successes) of “doses” of powder – magical catalysts worth a +4 bonus on relevant operations. In either case, the enchantment is temporary. It lasts only as long as the alchemist keeps one of his “maximum spells” slots devoted to it. It normally takes about an hour.

  • Copper: Transformation. Infused copper can take on any form its wielder desires and holds it with enormous strength. This equates to a precision toolkit or a fine weapon (generally +4).
  • Silver: Purification. An infused silver weapon will inflict aggravated damage on any creature that’s linked with a foreign spirit. That’s vampires, spirit-possessed, and spirit-linked creatures such as werewolves. Silver weapons always cause aggravated damage to weres because, when a were is wounded, mana automatically flows into the wound to begin the healing process – momentarily infusing the surface of a silver weapon.
  • Gold: Energy Storage. An item of infused gold can store up to three magical effects – whether generated by paths or influences- for later use as a simple action.
  • Iron: Energy Grounding. Infused iron can withstand or absorb massive amounts of magical energy, countering 1-3 such assaults depending on the amount of infused iron involved. Oddly, powdered iron – perhaps due to its links with blood – is associated with Healing magic. This may be the origin of the belief that the weapon that inflicted a wound can be used to heal it. This is why iron commonly causes aggravated damage to enchanted creatures: it short-circuits and drains their mystical energies.
  • Lead: Spirit Binding. Infused lead is a spiritual anchor that allows a spirit to remain in Twilight or the physical world without having to expend essence. Used offensively, it can anchor a spirit in place for (User’s Occult + 2) rounds.
  • Mercury: Linking Magic. Infused Mercury exists in both the Material and the Shadow worlds simultaneously. A sufficiently large pool – such as the back of an old-fashioned mercury mirror – can act as a gate between the realms. More simply, you can use a tube of it to smack unruly spirits from the material realm.
  • Antimony: Dispelling. Imbued antimony disrupts negatively resonant essence on contact. If used against an abyssal spirit, or an undead, it drains 1-5 essence points on contact, up to a maximum of 12 points before it loses its imbuement. Powdered antimony can also help purify any negative resonances in an area.
  • Nickel: Warding. Imbued nickel can absorb tremendous amounts of punishment without passing on such damage. Imbued nickel or nickel-plated shields and armor gain a +3 to their armor rating. Similar weapons provide a +3 defense bonus, since they make it so much easier to block and parry effectively.

   The Alchemy of Seshat is essentially simply a version of the Rite of Fetish Creation. Unlike the Rite, it’s creations are strictly temporary and are of limited variety. On the other hand, you don’t have to get a spirit to participate.

   Metals such as Zinc, Cadmium, Platinum, and even Aluminum presumably do something when imbued – but no one has yet determined what they do or the proper procedure to imbue them yet.

   Bast’s Blessing (Level One): This popular rite calls on the powers of Bast, goddess of sex and pleasure. The actual “rite” varies; going out on a date, seducing a partner, and foreplay will all suffice. The effects are fairly simple; 1) Everyone involved will enjoy the proceedings much more then usual, 2) Pregnancy will not result unless both of the potential parents are willing, and 3) The proceedings are far less fatiguing then usual. As a side effect, each time this ritual is enacted, there’s about a .1% chance that Bast herself will “bless” the participants, giving them the Striking Looks merit at L4. If and when this occurs, the participants will also suffer from a compulsion to play “matchmaker”, protect young lovers, intervene in family disputes, find new sexual partners, and otherwise promote pleasure, for 2-8 months thereafter.

Rite of Boundless Rage (Level One): This swift and simple rite sends a willing werewolf recipient straight into a massive fit of Death Rage. It will last for about half an hour, so it’s best to make sure that the subject is properly contained first before enacting the rite. The rite temporarily exhausts the recipients rage: he or she cannot take Wolf-Man form – or go into Death Rage – for the next 24 hours. While this can leave you vulnerable, it can also mean that your children survive your visit despite your insulting ex-wife or ex-husband.

   Rite of Cleansing (Level Two): This ritual purifies an individual or a modest area, restoring harmony. The essence in the area takes on positive resonances, negatively-oriented (or possessing) spirits in the area must make opposed willpower rolls against the ritualist or flee, and physical contaminants (such as drugs, toxins, and various pollutants) are cleansed away. The number of successes required is set by the game master in accordance with the area to be affected and the extent of the contamination. Note that – in extreme cases -cleansing something can destroy it: a playground built over a great pool of toxic waste may collapse when it’s removed, and a person who’s had most of their spirit devoured may collapse and die without his or her possessor present.

   Rite of the Diplomat (Level One): This minor rite involves sharing a good ethnic meal with someone familiar with the culture and languages of a particular area. Each success provides one”dot” in a relevant language or cultural lore skill. Unfortunately, the effects fade in a week or so, but any sensible user can find plenty of chances to re-enact it before it runs out.

   Nine Suns Kung Fu, The Focal Point (Level Three): An eastern technique, used for focusing personal energies. It seems to work a bit differently for weres then it does for humans – for whom it does work (in fact, they seem to have originated it). The rite has five stages; each takes about ten minutes to perform. It’s purchased as a level three rite, but the level of results you can actually achieve with it depends on your Ritual level.

  1. The Eye Of The Storm. Induces serenity. Weres get +2 dice for rage rolls for the next week (or are treated as humans if they don’t have rage problems). Humans gain a +1 to composure (and willpower) for a similar period. As a side effect, user’s tend to need a lot less sleep.
  2. The Focal Point. Allows the user to focus all of his or her energies on a specific non-combat task – gaining a +2 die bonus. This can be applied to an extended task if you don’t mind being pretty exhausted afterwards.
  3. Gnostic Awakening. The user may tap into the power of the umbra to recharge his or her essence pool once per day, regaining (successes + 2) points. Humans may use this to build up an essence pool of up to (Stamina) points.
  4. The Centered Will. Lets the user shrug off unwanted mental contacts, such as telepathic probing, psychic attack, possession, and so on, reducing the power user’s number of successes by (Int/2, rounded up). While this is effectively constant once developed, it takes months of regular practice of this rite to do so.
  5. The Inner Fire / Channel The Beast. The final level of nine suns kung fu allows humans to store up to (Sta x 3) essence. Weres learn to tap into the strength and stamina of their bestial forms without shapeshifting, although they must expend a point of essence to invoke this talent for a scene.

   Seal The Horizon (Level Four): This powerful rite does what it says; it permanently seals off an anchorhead or portal at the cost of (1d10+2) XP. Sadly, while the rite itself is straightforward, whoever or whatever is on the other side of such a gateway often objects to having their doorway slammed in their face and nailed shut.

   Rite Of Initiation (Level Five): This exotic rite bonds a willing spirit of the umbra to a human host, turning them into a living fetish – a creature of flesh and magic. The exact results vary.

  • Bonds with relatively peaceful animal spirits, plant spirits, and land spirits result in Shamans. Shamans get no shapeshifting or regeneration, but may acquire any gifts that they can talk anyone into teaching them. In practice, up to L3 is easy, beyond that gets tricky. They get three level one and one level two gifts to start, but are otherwise treated as per weres.
  • Predatory animal spirits generally transform their hosts into weres.
  • Upper umbral spirits create Avatars (unique beings), Wizards (as per weres but no shapeshifting or regeneration, astral projection instead of stepping sideways, and a choice of four upper umbral spells to start), and even”Chosen” (a.k.a. “Hunters”) or “Changelings”.
  • Spirits from the lower umbra – invariably specters – create beings equivalent to eastern Kuei-Jin.

   It should be noted that, while this ritual requires at least one day to perform, and calls for numerous odd ingredients, the real labor lies in the months of training, vision-quests, and study, which the prospective initiate must undergo to locate the spirit they’re going to bond with and attune themselves to it. Variant forms of this rite are more specific; there’s a badly corrupted version which involves bonding with the residual mystic energies of a bunch of dead werewolves (the so-called “Rite Of Sacred Rebirth”), a version which a bunch of living werewolves (Or changelings, or whatever) can use to adopt mortals by imbuing them with a portion of their energies- and a version for binding corrupted spirits into unwilling victims to create fomori.

   Rite of Renunciation (Level Four): The target may renounce an old power – any skill, attribute, or ability except their first level of Arcana or their first dot in any attribute – and reclaim the XP he or she spent on it. The target may spend most of those point again next session, but two of them are lost for good – the price of such a transformation. This is an extended rite: the ritualist must obtain at least one success per XP worth of abilities to be removed up to a maximum of fifty XP. Note that the GM must approve of the changes to be made.

   Song of the Sea (Level Three): This variant on the Rite of Summoning calls up an emanation of the local elemental lords – the spirits of nature which govern an area. While most such entities are reasonably friendly and obliging, and can be quite informative, it is best to ensure that there are no blighted, poisoned, or otherwise corrupted, areas in the immediate vicinity.

   Summon the Barque of Ra (Level Three): This rite calls forth Manjet-Mesektet, the ship of Ra. Unfortunately, while the ship of Ra can reach almost any destination – and those who complete such a voyage are restored to youth and health even if dead – boarding it means embarking on a voyage through the depths of myth. You may have to battle your way through the Egyptian underworld – the legendary Twelve Hours of the Night – and escape Apep, the devouring serpent. You may have to solve some complex historical intrigue, re-enact an ancient creation myth – or simply refuse paradise. Regardless, those who are left behind during such a voyage will be stranded deep within the spirit worlds, and may well never return even if they survive.

   Warding Hand of Isis (Level One): This ancient rite imbues the recipient with a “pool” of warding and healing power attuned to emotion and need. Sadly, it only works on those who are very adaptable – such as small children. It also works on pregnant, women as the unborn child absorbs the power instead. In general, the more successes you get, the greater the protections available in an emergency.

   In practice, this serves as an excellent excuse to make the NPC’s last longer, so that they can continue to harass the characters.

   Whalesark (Level Two): One performs this ritual, one dives into the sea, and one transforms into a dolphin or whale until one comes ashore again. Thankfully, the transformation includes the ability to “speak” with other denizens of the sea- as well as some extra strength, stamina, and health levels, as appropriate to the form.

   Wheel of Life (Level Three): This deceptively simple rite offers release – a swift and easy shift into their next incarnations – to the restless dead, to the bound or corrupted, and to anyone suffering beyond their endurance. Those touched by this ritual MAY opt to let go, but are in no way forced to do so. They’re merely offered “awareness” of where they are now, and that a new beginning awaits them if they choose to accept it. The area affected can be quite large.