Today it’s another special-request build for Eclipse: The Codex Persona. In this case, it’s a low-level character with a short-range teleportation power. From the description, the player had something like Nightcrawler, from the X-Men comics, in mind.
Well, like most character designs, something like that is quite doable. The initial range will be short – in fact, it will be normal movement range – but that sort of thing can be built up later. It’s sad, but true: most superheroes – particularly those which have been appearing in the comics for years – are well above first level. In fact, that’s part of the point.
We’ll take the basic level one framework, simply because it’s pretty typical, and allow the character to use some light armor. He may dump it when he levels up – after all, most superhero types don’t wear armor – but until then it really is a really good idea.
We’ll call this particular character design The Wraith.
Basic Attributes: Str 14, Int 14, Wis 10, Con 14, Dex 14, Chr 10 (28 point buy).
Disadvantages: (Select three for 10 CP), and add
Duties (probably standard superhero rescue-and-protect – or standard henchman to a more powerful villain, +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 (30 CP)
Proficient with Proficient with All Simple Weapons and any one Martial Weapon (6) and Light Armor (3 CP).
+4 Skill Points (4 CP).
+1 on All Saves (9 CP)
d12 Hit Die (8 CP).
Initial BAB +0 (0 CP)
Special Abilities (36 CP):
Ok, what – in game terms – is the difference between teleporting from place to place and walking or running? Teleporting bypasses obstacles to normal movement, such as walls, doors, and pits, it avoids any chance of being injured along the way, whether from dangerous environmental effects, traps, or attacks of opportunity, it avoids setting off alarms and traps while the user is moving, and it may or may not reduce the time it actually takes to travel.
In this case, our teleporter is very short range – so overall travel time is unchanged. Ergo, to convert this characters normal movement into short-range teleportation, we need three Immunities:
Immunity to Barriers to and Restraints on Conventional Movement (Very Common / Minor / Major, 12 CP)
OK, this allows the user to freely pass over pits, or through barriers such as walls of stone, through doors, and through similar obstacles. Tougher metal barriers (since Wall of Iron is level six, and Major Immunity only covers through level five), or barriers made of exotic materials, may stop the user. He or she can upgrade to get around that, but will need to level up first to get the character points to spend.
Immunity to damage incurred through movement – including traps, flaming barriers, attacks of opportunity, and similar things (Very Common, Major, Major, 15 CP).
Immunity to triggering events and effects which such movement normally would (Common, Major, Major, 9 CP).
That’s a total of 36 CP – an expensive ability. Fortunately, they’re all both Specialized and Corrupted: The user will not be able to spot things that such movement normally would and cannot affect the environment along the way: enemies will not use up Attacks of Opportunity that they normally would, traps will not be revealed, spells that would stop the user will not go off, the user may not leave marks, trail a rope or string behind him or her, open doors along the way, or spot enemies that would have been revealed by a conventional trip. In addition, wards against teleportation or other spells and effects that would normally stop teleporting and extra-dimensional movement will stop the character from using these immunities and the effect is quite obvious; anyone nearby will get a roll to see if they notice the user popping in and out, limiting the stealth applications. That brings things down to 12 CP.
Later on the character will probably want to upgrade some of those immunities, but they’re quite strong enough to start out with. Of course, these do fall under the “Immunity to Aspects of Reality” caution flag; the would-be player may need to work hard to convince the game-master to go along with this. It certainly won’t fit into all worlds, although – in this case – it shouldn’t be too unbalancing.
What else will we need? How about:
Reflex Training/Extra Actions variant, Specialized in Movement; may take an extra move out of the normal initiative sequence six times per day (6 CP). That will let our teleporter do things like evade unexpected or area-effect attacks by popping out of the way.
Split Movement, around attacks (6 CP). This lets our teleporter appear and either attack someone or grab them and move with them. Handy both in fights and – in conjunction with Reflex Training – for snatching other people out of the way of nasty things or for dragging opponents into unpleasant or awkward areas and then departing.
Double Damage (6 CP): This works by either appearing with your weapon stuck in your target or by disappearing and taking a chunk of them along. In either case, this is difficult and fatiguing thing to do; each time it’s done it requires a Fortitude save to avoid fatigue, at a DC of 8 plus (twice the number of times this maneuver has been used since the character has slept).
That covers quite a lot of the basic teleportation tricks. Finally, we don’t want to be trying to appear inside solid objects – or at least not unintentionally: for this, we’ll want;
Occult Sense/intuitively senses the location of solid objects within range, Specialized/only to allow the user to pick an open spot to teleport into as close as possible to his or her desired destination (3 CP).
Last, but not least, every superhero should have:
Damage Reduction 3/- (affects both physical and energy damage), Specialized/only fully effective on non-lethal damage, lethal damage is only reduced to nonlethal damage (3 CP).
Now, later on we’ll want more large hit dice, more saves, BAB, and the other fighter-type basics, and we’ll probably want some Martial Arts and things like Action Hero/Stunts (so the character can pull off once-in-a-while special tricks), Celerity (to let him or her teleport a bit further), Defender or Block (to represent him or her teleporting away from various attacks), and some more special combat options. At very high levels we may want to make some provision for occasional long range teleportation – perhaps an Immunity to Travel Time, a speed-multiplying Innate Enchantment, or something similar. We’ll also want to upgrade that Damage Reduction and add some Luck – but most superhero types are fairly high-level characters. There will be time to add that sort of thing later on.
Now, this is a pretty good character if there are a lot of barriers and obstacles around: pop up by an opponent, strike, and vanish before he or she can do anything about it. Of course, in a less-encumbered battlefield, opponents will simply charge, or use missile weapons – and our teleporter doesn’t have the armor class to stand up to a common fighter in a toe-to-toe fight and will run out of reflex actions to use to get away quickly enough.