Eclipse – The Werewolf Level One Build

   Our next sample level one Eclipse classless d20 character build is another special request; a young Werewolf. Fitting that into a level one character is going to require a bit of squeezing – probably a +1 ECL Race applied to a level-zero character – which would be equivalent to a +2 ECL Template applied to a character with an existing racial package. Even at that, there are probably going to be some bits we’ll have to leave until later or presume that the character will upgrade as he or she grows into his or her power.

   Unfortunately, the request didn’t say whether this was going to be a cursed werewolf, a classical contagious werewolf, a member of a race of shapeshifters, a member of a normal race with a rare talent, or what, so we’ll have to be a bit generic and presume that this is something controllable and at least potentially useful, rather than some sort of curse. To go with that, I’ll also assume a basic light-fantasy upbringing, providing a bit of skill with basic weapons and shields, such as a youngster might gather in the militia, from almost any source of training, or simply from a lot of street brawls.

   So: Our basic werewolf looks ambiguously human or near-human, and could probably pass for a human or half-elf without much trouble. They won’t, however, have the usual racial abilities of a human or of whatever race they were raised among – unless, of course, they were raised by a pack of other werewolves.

   Basic Werewolf Package (63 CP):

+1 ECL Race or +2 ECL Template.

  • Shapeshift, with +4 Bonus Uses, Attribute Modifiers and Hybrid Form, Specialized/wolf-forms only, Corrupted/the character gets some strong wolf-style instincts, and may occasionally have to make Will checks to avoid giving in to them (8 CP).
    • As Wolf or in Hybrid Form: Str +2, Dex +4, Con +4, Low-Light Vision, Scent, +20 Ground Movement, +2 natural armor, 1d6 natural weapons (1d8 with martial arts boost below), and +4 to track by scent.
  • +2d8 Hit Dice (24 CP). Unfortunately, since a level zero character only has a partial hit die, you’ll need these to allow shapechanging into a two hit die wolf – and they’re quite handy anyway.
  • Defender, Natural Armor +2 (12) CP (note that this will stack with the animal-form base in hybrid or animal form).
  • Occult Sense/Low-Light Vision, Corrupted/only in human form, since the hybrid and animal forms have it anyway (4 CP).
  • Occult Sense/Scent, Corrupted/only in human form, since the hybrid and animal forms have it anyway (4 CP).
  • Mindspeech and Beastspeech, Specialized and Corrupted/wolves and canines only (4 CP).
  • Damage Reduction, Specialized/physical attacks only, Corrupted/not versus Silver, 5/silver, (4 CP).
  • Martial Arts, 1d4 base damage or +1 die size with natural weapons, is always considered armed, Corrupted/involves extending claws, which makes people look at you very very oddly (2 CP).
  • +1 racial bonus on Survival.

   Note that this werewolf package isn’t tied to the moon and DOES NOT show give-away signs of being a werewolf, have any special vulnerabilities to wolfsbane or silver (although silver does bypass their damage reduction), cause automatic enmity with vampires, frighten animals excessively, come with a bad reputation, make the character take damage from holy relics, cause amnesia, suffer terrible pain during the transformation, or allow the “animal mind” to take over and force the character to run amuck. It also doesn’t tend alter the character’s alignment like the usual d20 werewolf – although it does make him or her a bit canine. You could add one or more of those disadvantages to the package, and thus acquire a few extra points to spend however.

   Neither does this package include the ability to pass on this “curse” (probably a specialized Inherent Spell), regeneration (Grant of Aid), or the ability to heal from death or mortal wounds (Returning) like a cinematic werewolf. It doesn’t provide leadership of a pack of real wolves like some literary werewolves seem to come with (a specialized version of Leadership). It certainly doesn’t include the ability to become ethereal (Inherent Spell), to communicate with nature spirits (upgraded Mindspeech), or random magical powers granted by spirits (more Inherent Spells) like White Wolf’s Garou. Unlike the shapeshifters of Andre Norton’s Witch World novels, it doesn’t grant any natural psychic magic (Witchcraft). It doesn’t provide the ability to speak or cast spells while in animal form like medieval cursed werewolves (a minor Shapeshift upgrade). It definitely doesn’t grant poisonous claws and a paralyzing gaze (Inherent Spells again) like some Scandinavian werewolves supposedly had (although that kind of upgrade would make a good surprise for the players). It CERTAINLY doesn’t grant the ability to enter the underworld and do battle with the forces of darkness on behalf of god as one supposed werewolf claimed (probably more Inherent Spells – or perhaps just Duties or the Accursed disadvantage; it doesn’t seem like this actually helps the character out any). Elsewhere, Armenian werewolves could cause locks and doors to spring open as they approached (Inherent Spell/Knock), Russian werewolves often possessed superhuman speed (Celerity), and Mexican werewolves could possess people (not a power well suited to a physical creature, but you could buy Dominate). If you want your werewolf to be able to “tame them (monsters) with the magic trick of staring into all their yellow eyes without blinking once” like Max in Where The Wild Things Are, you could buy that too (Test of Wills).

   If you really feel that one or more of those abilities is absolutely necessary to create a REAL werewolf, simply add some appropriate disadvantages to the package and go ahead and buy it.

   Eclipse: The Codex Persona is available in print HERE and in a shareware .pdf version HERE.

   Now that we’ve got the race set up, we can get on with that there is of the character build – which isn’t going to be too elaborate at level zero.

  • Disadvantages: (Select three disadvantages for 10 CP).
  • Duties (To a pack, feudal lord, religion, set of nature spirits or totems, or whatever, +2 CP/Level).
  • Total available character points: 24 (Level Zero Base) + 10 (Disadvantages) +0 (the Duties won’t be bringing in any points until level one) = 34, 10 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 12, Con 14, Dex 12, Chr 10 (28 point buy).

   Basic Purchases (25 CP):

  • Proficient with All Simple Weapons (3 CP) and Shields (3 CP).
  • +4 Skill Points (4 CP). At level zero, the character will be starting off with 3x (Int Mod) Skill Points and an initial skill cap of 3.
  • +1 on all Saves (9 CP)
  • 3+ Con Mod HP (Level zero base, 0 CP) (This will probably be upgraded at level one – but, since the character also gets 20 HP from his two racial hit dice and constitution, this shouldn’t be a problem yet).
  • Initial BAB +1 (6 CP).

   Special Abilities (9 CP):

  • Adept (Survival, a Martial Art suited to a shapeshifter, and a choice of two other skills, 6 CP).
  • Actually, nothing much comes to mind to spend the other 3 CP on; the character could buy some Favors, a bit of Augmented (Sneak) Attack, a minor specialized bonus of some kind, or simply save them for later. Given that the request didn’t actually say what the character was going to be beyond a werewolf, it’s difficult to say what would be appropriate.

   When our young werewolf hits level one, he or she will be getting 24 CP (Base) + 2 CP (Duties) + 6 CP (First Level Bonus Feat) = 32 CP (another eight of which may be spent outside the limitations of the Adventurer framework) and (Int Mod) additional Skill Points. At that point he or she will probably want to pick up a decent-sized first level hit die, some additional weapons and armor proficiencies, and a decent start on whatever sort of profession he or she is going to pursue – or some additional werewolf or shapeshifting powers.

   Further Advancement: Well, that’s actually a bit like saying “I’m an elf; what would you recommend for a development plan?” – but it’s fair enough to say that no one goes in for being a werewolf if they want a noncombatant – unless you’ve simply got someone who REALLY wants to play against type. Ergo, more reasonably-sized hit dice, base attack bonus, more saves, and some combat tricks. In Eclipse, of course, you can simply spend points from level advancement on upgrading your racial abilities, which may well be in order here.

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One Response

  1. […] ECL Werewolf. As a species of their own, rather than as an infection, with assorted […]

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