Eclipse – Sample Relics Part VI, Skills and Talents

   Here we have a few more Relics for Eclipse: The Codex Persona (available in print HERE and in a shareware .pdf version HERE) – in this case some practical – and relatively cheap – items for general adventurers.

   The Helm of Tolwyn:

   Tolwyn the Demonslayer was noted for her constant battles with the forces of the abyss, and the ease with which she penetrated their defenses. Over years of practice, she had learned to spot the inevitable weaknesses in the magical forces which protected demons, and to break through those weaknesses with her sacred powers.

   When Tolwyn grew too old to travel and fight, she attempted to teach the young warriors and paladins of the church her talent, with little success. Desiring to make sure that her ability was not lost, she called on the elders of the church to help her imbue her helmet with the knack, so that young students could experience it directly – a course which met with some success. After experiencing it, several of the students did learn to duplicate her skill – and the Helm became a treasure of the church.

   Inevitably, as such things do, this attracted the attention of the demonic forces that Tolwyn had dedicated her life to casting out. Before the massed attack, the temple was razed, the Helm was lost, and Tolwyn fell holding back the horde to allow her students time to escape.

   Today, the Helm remains lost, although her students have managed to pass on some part of her skill.

  • Immunity/to the special defenses of Demons. This includes their Damage Reduction, Spell and Power Resistance, and immunities to particular spells (Common, Minor, Great, 12 CP).
    • If specialized in either damage reduction or protection from various spells, this costs 6 CP, and is equivalent to the X-Slayer Feat from The Practical Enchanter. In general, builds that use Immunities to penetrate defenses should be regarded with caution. On the other hand, as long as it’s limited to particular groups of targets, this is no more unreasonable than using Favored Foe bonuses to overwhelm such defenses. After all, if the game master doesn’t feel like sending in the specified opponent, being able to penetrate it’s defenses won’t help anyone very much.
  • With a net cost of 12 character points, the Helm of Tolwyn is a 2 CP relic. Unlike many of the other relics on this list, it does not demand that the user invest his or her own character points in the Helm to use it. Of course, the church will want it back very badly if it ever surfaces – and the demon hordes will want to destroy it just as badly.

   Parrying Dagger:

   There are a lot of variants on this basic relic, since the desire behind it – not to get hit in combat – is pretty nearly universal. While there aren’t all that many people who have the ability to create relics, more than a few of them are willing to invest one character point in one of these.

  • The powers of the Parrying Dagger are Corrupted: the user must invest his own character points in the blade to activate it.
  • Imbuement, Specialized/”plusses” may only be used to buy the “Defending” power and in conjunction with it, double effect (4 CP), plus a Specialized version of the Focused modifier/only for buying “Defending” (3 CP).
  • This results in a dagger that – when wielded – provides an AC bonus of +(Level-2)/2, rounded down. Presumably it will be carried in the user’s off-hand, since it doesn’t have any offensive abilities.
  • With a total cost of 7 CP, this is a 1 CP Relic.

   The Parrying Dagger is a powerful defensive item – and well suited for games where the characters won’t be using very many magical items. A parrying dagger can, quite reasonably, replace the usual magical bonuses on a fighters shield and armor, or a mage’s protective bracers.

   The Rings of Mastery:

   These useful rings resemble the older Metamagic Rods – but are considerably more versatile, since they incorporate the generalized Metamagical Theorems of Eclipse, rather than the more limited classical Metamagic Feats. In essence, each is simple: The user may spontaneously add up to (Int Mod + Con Mod) levels of the relevant Metamagic to a spell up to (Int Mod + Con Mod) times per day, subject to a maximum of twelve spell levels worth of that particular Metamagic in any one day.

   Most Rings of Mastery bear an assortment of mystical symbols and are set with various stones, but there’s nothing that requires that – or even that they be in the form of rings.

  • The powers of the various Rings of Mastery are Corrupted: the user must invest his own character points in them to activate them. They all, however follow the same pattern:
  • They contain a Metamagical Theorem with the Glory modifier, Specialized/only for spontaneous use, may apply a maximum of twelve spell levels worth of the relevant metamagic per day even if the usual maximum (Con Mod levels worth Con Mod times per day) exceeds this limit (4 CP).
  • Augmented Bonus/the user may add his (Int Mod) to his (Con Mod) for magical purposes, Specialized/only to drive the Glory modifier, above. (2 CP).
  • With a net cost of 6 CP, the Rings are merely 1 CP relics – but very useful ones. There are plenty of times in a mages life when one or two pumped up spells may make all the difference – especially if

   There are presumably Rings of Mastery for each of the Metamagic Theorems where they’d be useful (they really aren’t applicable to the Battle Magic or Compact metamagics). There may well be more; they’re quite useful and – fundamentally – aren’t all that complicated to make.

   General Skill Enhancers:

   General Skill-Enhancing relics usually come in a few basic types:

  • Items which boost a single skill usually just bestow ranks in it, or possibly specialize in a limited aspect of a skill for even larger bonuses or lesser costs. Such Relics are cheap, effective, and – when you come right down to it – rather dull. Most of them should have limitations, such as “will not more than double a characters effective skill level” or “provides a maximum bonus equal to the character’s level”, otherwise they may be a bit overpowering at lower levels.
  • Items which provide low-level boosts for several skills, or which provide specific special abilities with them, usually use Innate Enchantment – most often employing “group of skills” versions of the Skill Mastery spell template from The Practical Enchanter. Such items have the advantage of being able to readily provide other specialized functions, but have the disadvantage of (unlike most relics) being subject to Dispel Magic and similar effects.
  • Items intended to boost groups of skills by adding additional attribute modifiers are usually purchased as Augmented Bonus – adding a second attribute modifier to a character’s effective level in a particular group of skills.
  • Items which add to the number of skill points a character gets at each level for free are also purchased as Augmented Bonus, but are far more expensive. As relics, they’re well worth it though – probably too well worth it. The game master should only allow them with extreme caution.
  • Items intended for high-level characters, or to grow with lower-level ones, usually use “Professional” – often specialized for double effect in a particular area. This is quite cost-efficient at high levels, where the basic +(User’s Level/2) is quite effective, as is a version that’s been Specialized for double effect in a particular application.
  • Items intended to extend what their user’s can do with a skill usually either use Immunity to the restrictions being bypassed or take Skill Focus at the 2 CP level so as to qualify for the Speed (6 CP), Stunt (6 CP), or Epic Stunts (+6 CP) abilities.
  • A few items bestow Fast Learner (Specialized in Skills) and/or Adept, to half the cost of developing skills. These are cheap and extremely powerful for their cost – and so the game master should watch them with extreme caution. It might even be best to ban them entirely, otherwise they may wind up getting passed around when characters are about to level or are studying the relevant skills, thus providing a boost to the entire party.

Eclipse – Sample Relics Part V

   Here we have a few more Relics for Eclipse: The Codex Persona (available in print HERE and in a shareware .pdf version HERE) – in this case a couple of more subtle items, one that falls in the middle of the range – and then one of the most blatant superhero-styled items possible.

   The Cursed Quill of Antilleus:

   Antilleus was a subtle and manipulative man, who liked – if possible – to arrange for his enemies to take care of themselves. He created several tools to use to that end, and the black peacock quill that bears his name was one of his more creative efforts along those lines.

  • All the powers of the Cursed Quill are Corrupted: the user must invest his own character points in the Quill to activate it.
  • +6 to Forgery (4 CP)
  • Immunity/the restrictions on using Forgery in conjunction with creating Scrolls (Uncommon, Minor, Major, 2 CP). Anyone using the Quill to write a scroll may make a DC 15 Forgery check to warp the spell – creating a scroll that will affect the user instead of the designated target, causing a summoned monster to attack the spellcaster and his allies rather than obeying orders, or any similar twist. With a DC 20 check the user can conceal the nature of the spell entirely, or cause it to trigger when anyone who doesn’t know the trick to doing it safely merely attempts to check the contents of the scroll. With a DC 25 check the user can trick the universe – writing a scroll of a spell that he or she does not even know – if at double the usual experience point cost.
  • With a total cost of 6 CP, the Quill is a 1 CP Relic.

   The Quill is a very subtle tool indeed – but it’s always fun to deliver a disguised scroll of Disintegrate instead of that scroll of Heal that was ordered to help out that ailing prince or (for the not quite so unpleasantly-inclined), to drop a trapped scroll while fleeing your enemies – and the utility of being able to scribe scrolls of spells you do not even know should be quite obvious, especially if you need something extremely specialized. It’s best to wait until your base Forgery skill is quite high before trying that sort of thing though.

   The Sigil of Yamanu:

   Three hundred years ago, a very successful bandit leader took the name “Yamanu” – “The Hidden One” – and rounded up a band of bandits, renegades, and thieves sworn to his service. He swore his men to him with mighty blood oaths, requiring each of them to kill some unfortunate traveler or defiant villager as a part of his initiation – thus ensuring that, if captured, they had little to gain by informing; they would hang for the murder regardless.

   His signet ring, used to stamp each new initiate with the blood of his or her dying victim, grew to possess certain powers.

   Yamanu was trapped at last during a raid and slain. Such of his men as survived were slain or scattered as well – but found themselves bound by their oaths, cursed to haunt the various sites of their (eventual) deaths and to guard their ill-gotten goods until Yamanu – or his rightful heir – should call them to service once again.

  • All powers of the Sigil are corrupted, the user must invest his or her own character points into the ring to activate it.
  • Innate Enchantment, all powers unlimited use activated, caster level one, personal-only (x.7 cost) where relevant (4 CP / 5000 GP net value): +2 Competence Bonus to a group of skills (Disguise, Escape Artist, Gather Information, Hide, Listen, Move Silently, Slight of Hand, and Survival, 1400 GP value), Expeditious Retreat (2000 GP value), and +2 Dex (1400 GP value).
  • Leadership (2 CP) of a group of Undead (+1 CP), Specialized for reduced cost/the user must actually seek out the various undead and defeat them – demonstrating that he or she is indeed a worthy heir to Yamanu and re-invoking their blood oaths with their own dust; such defeated undead will return in the wearer’s service in the usual 2d6 months each – and will continue to do so if destroyed as long as the wearer survives.
  • Specific Knowledge: The Yamanu Bandit Gang/+15 to know about things like the whereabouts of their undead remnants, their general powers, the general location of their base (which has never been found, and is now haunted by many of the bandits who died on his last raid), and so on (1 CP).
  • With a total cost of 8 CP, the Sigil of Yamanu is a 1 CP Relic.

   This little toy is, of course, the key to an entire sub-campaign – clearing up the scattered undead, then the main base – and then finding some target to point them at or a way to lay them permanently to rest at last.

   The Philosopher’s Stone:

   Actually, there are a lot of versions of this thing out there. Most of the usual descriptions involve creating gold. Others see the Stone as an ultimate alchemical catalyst, as a device that grants longevity and has healing abilities, as an item that grants near-godlike understanding of the cosmos and the various mystical abilities, as a metaphor for spiritual development or transformation, as a project that simply forces the would-be creator into learning the deep secrets of the cosmos and undergoing spiritual development and transformation, or as a device that allows the easy creation of minor alchemical and mystical devices. That last option – and maybe a bit of the option before that – is the version we have here.

   The Philosopher’s Stone is more of a test than anything else. Creating one requires an expensive alchemical laboratory, the reliable aid of apprentices or constructs, an extensive knowledge of both Arcane and Divine magic (required to produce the Greater Invocation effect), months of labor, and a certain amount of the creators life force – something which the benefits of the Stone itself will not pay back for many years, if ever. After all, there are many more useful Relics to be attuned.

   But demonstrating to your peers that you have the skill, the patience, the subtle lore, and the raw power needed to produce such a Stone – ah, now that is something of REAL value. The creation of a true Philosopher’s Stone is a passport to the councils of the master mages, a tangible testimonial that certifies your skill and power.

   Of course, even master mages die – and then such stones go to some apprentice, relative, looting adventurer, or wandering monster. Many of them will simply see the stone – whatever the color and clarity (which varies wildly) – as a minor gem, nicely polished and often set, but unsuited for cutting or for any further work. Other’s will be aware of it’s value – which is substantial for a beginning adventurer or those without great power of their own. Many a healthy, comfortable, family lifestyle and lifelong career have been built upon the stone bequeathed to a master mage’s most untalented child.

  • All the powers of the Philosopher’s Stone are Corrupted: the user must invest his own character points in the Stone to activate it.
  • Spell Storing/Scrolls option. All Spell Storing functions Specialized/capped at spell level two and caster level three (2 CP)
    • Spell Storing/Improved Activation Methods: Magical Lore, Minor ritual, and Simple Action (Drink Potion), (3 CP)
    • Spell Storing/Additional Media/Compounds (1 CP)
    • Spell Storing/Artificer: 50% off the XP cost of making items or using Transmutation (4 CP)
    • Harvest of Artifice IV/provides 250 XP per Month with which to create items or power Transmutations (5 CP)
    • Transmutation (2 CP): May expend 1 XP to produce 2 (4 with Artificer) GP worth of materials.
    • With this – at least presuming you stick to caster level one – it costs 2 XP to make a L0 spell scroll, 4 XP to make a L1 Spell Scroll or a L0 Potion, and 8 XP to make a L1 Potion.
  • Inherent Spell with +2 Bonus Uses, Specialized/only usable in conjunction with Spell Storing, Corrupted for Increased Effect (level four Greater Invocation, creates any level one spell effect) (4 CP).
  • Immunity/the usual time requirements to create magical items (Common, Minor, Trivial/reduces the time required by one day, to a minimum of a few minutes, 1 CP).
  • Immunity/aging (Uncommon, Major, Minor/roughly triples the user’s expected lifespan – a result derived from making small, specialized, potions and charms designed to maintain health and deal with whatever happens to be bothering you, 2 CP).
  • That’s a total cost of 24 CP, making this a 4 CP Relic.

   In almost every classic d20 game, there is someone in town who sells cheap, first level, potions and scrolls. Did you ever wonder where he or she gets all this stuff? And how he or she guards his or her presumably-massive inventory? Well, now you know: they’ve got one of these things, and can maintain a quite comfortable lifestyle. They sell potions and scrolls when they can – because the profit margin is better – and simply transmute supplies for themselves and their families when nobody is buying cheap magical trinkets.

   If they’re wise, they’ll maintain good relationships with the local villagers – probably by making sure that there are a few Cure Light Wounds, “Soothe Illness”, and similar potions tucked away in convenient locations for emergencies – and have someone else fronting for them. A guy with a long beard or minor acolyte is best. That’s a pretty good job in itself.

   In theory, you could dump the ability to make Potions (Spell Storing/Improved Activation Methods and /Additional Media) in favor of halving the XP cost again, and thus doubling your base income, but that isn’t the “perfect” design of the Stone and it actually makes it a lot less useful overall. Money is good, but when a cleric powerful enough to use advanced curative spells is not available, a potion designed to mend your kids fractured leg or bring down his or her life-threatening fever is worth a lot more than money.

   The Dragon Crown:

   “The” Dragon Crown has been used by heroes, by villains, by archmagi, and by non-entities – at least apparently, sometimes at the same time. There’s either more than one of the things floating around the multiverse (a few mystics say there are nine), or the powers of the Crown extend to traveling through time – and most sages don’t think that even a – or the – Dragon Crown can amplify someone’s power that much.

   Whether the creation of some elder cosmic being, a natural expression of cosmic energy, or merely the will to power given form, the Dragon Crown(s) amplify their user’s ability to generate and channel raw magical energy – the so-called Path of the Dragon. Exactly what use they make of that gift of raw power is up to them.

  • Enthusiast: Specialized in Path of the Dragon abilities, Corrupted (cannot be changed until the user actually buys the relevant powers). With this setup, each point spend on Enthusiast allows the user to buy one point worth of Path of the Dragon abilities, up to a maximum of six points per ability. Such flexibility has it’s price: it would be severely stretching things to allow a character to Corrupt or Specialize the abilities they purchase with those points. I, personally, wouldn’t let a player get away with it, but it’s your game.
  • With a total cost of 24 CP, “the” Dragon Crown is a 4 CP Relic.

   Most wielders will have at least the Shaping ability – and the most common sequence that they acquire is Path of the Dragon/The Way of the Wings of Fire (Kinetic Master, Will of the Dragon, Scales of the Dragon, and Flight of the Dragon) – allowing them to shove small objects things around by sheer force of will, to resist modest amounts of damage, and to fly around. A glowing aura of primal cosmic power is an optional extra.

   As written, the Dragon Crown(s) don’t require any investment of the user’s personal character points – and so can be freely stacked if you can somehow manage to obtain more than one of the things. While even nine crowns (presuming that that is the right number and that all nine take the same form) would not suffice to exhaust the possibilities of the Path of the Dragon, it is a big enough power boost – especially considering the raw power of the Path – to promote a minor villain to major status and a major villain to a monstrous threat.