The Wolf Wood and the Pool of Shadows Part Two – The Keeper

   Well, this one was complicated – and I bet there are still some typos in it that I won’t see until after I put it up – but here’s our Keeper of the Gates, Guardian of the Stone, and all-around right bastard Aumakua Puka – both a boss-class opponent for lower-level characters and another sample character for Eclipse classless 20.

   Aumakua Puka, Level Five Druidic Keeper.

   +1 ECL Race – Lesser (Adopted) Fey: The full fey templates and special abilities are over HERE, but here’s a boiled-down version for quick reference:

  • Condensed Lesser Fey +1 ECL Race or +2 ECL Template.
  • Special Restrictions: Bound by tradition, custom, and promises and cannot directly lie. Suffers the Accursed (True Name), Obsession (Select), and Healing Resistant disadvantages.
  • Size and Type: Change to Fey.
  • Hit Dice: +2d6 Hit Dice (considered 6’s), otherwise unchanged.
  • Attacks: +1d6 damage (select energy type) in melee and always considered armed.
  • Special Qualities (all Ex):
  • Defenses: Add DR 5/Cold Iron, Immunity to Aging, +6 on saves versus fey powers, add (Cha Mod) to AC as a dodge bonus, reborn one month after death with partial amnesia unless slain entirely by cold iron.
  • Enhancements: Low-Light Vision, Detect Magic, Detect Life, Disguise Self, +2 Enhancement Bonus to each of two selected attributes.
  • Supernatural Powers: Use a maximum of seven per day once per hour each, specific external effects may be Dispelled with an opposed caster level check by positive-energy channeling attempt if the user is Unseelie, by a negative-energy channeling attempt if the user is Seelie. Chain of Obligation, Feygift, Mastery of the Named, and Weave of Glamour (Major Image).
  • Add +2 Character Points and +2 Skill Points per Level of the base character.

   Aumakua Puka, Personal Limitations:

  • Duties: Lesser Fey compulsions from Race (+10 CP). Normally you’d really have to work to justify taking Duties twice, but – since this comes with the racial package – it’s easy enough to do here.
  • Duties: Guardian of Nature, Keeper of the Gate, Druidic Responsibilities (+2 CP/Level).
  • Restrictions: Druidic Weapon and Armor Restrictions (+2 CP/Level).
  • Total available character points: 144 (Level Five Base) + 10 (Disadvantages) +10 (Duties) + 10 (Restrictions) +10 (Racial Bonus) + 12 (Bonus Feats for levels 1 and 3) = 196.

   Aumakua is neutral evil. He really doesn’t care if the local villagers get devoured by monsters, as long as they’re natural monsters of this reality. He’s making sure the gate stays shut because it, and the things that come from it, are an affront to nature and endanger the wilds as much as they do the civilized races. He’ll also act against undead, troublesome outsiders, and civilized folk who are intruding on the areas that he protects.

   Basic Attributes: Str 08, Int 14, Wis 14, Con 14 (16), Dex 10, Cha 16* (18) (28 Point Buy)

   *Includes +1 bonus from level four. Fortunately, his Str and Dex are normally replaced when he shapeshifts, so he fights that way whenever possible.

   Basic Purchases (94 CP):

  • Proficient with Light Armor and Shields (6 CP) and with Druidic Weapons (a limited group, 6 CP).
  • +24 Skill Points (24 CP).
    • Total Skill Points: 24 (Purchased) + 16 (Racial) +16 (Intelligence) = 56.
      • Concentration +11 (4 SP x Adept +3 Con).
      • Spellcraft +12 (4 SP x Adept +2 Int +2 Relic) (+21 when performing Rituals).
      • Knowledge/Nature +10 (4 SP x Adept +2 Int).
      • Survival +10 (4 SP x Adept +2 Wis).
      • Knowledge/Arcana +10 (8 SP +2 Int).
      • Diplomacy +12 (8 SP +4 Cha) (+15 when dealing with Children).
      • Knowledge/Local +7 (5 SP +2 Int) (+10 when dealing with the Forest of Wolves).
      • Knowledge/Religion +4 (2 SP +2 Int).
      • Move Silently +5 (3 SP +2 Dex).
      • Ride +3 (1 SP +2 Dex).
      • Hide +5 (3 SP +2 Dex).
      • Listen +4 (2 SP +2 Wis).
      • Spot +6 (4 SP +2 Wis).
      • Swim +0 (1 SP -1 Str).
      • +3 Specialities (1 SP Each):
        • Spellcraft/Ritual Magic
        • Diplomacy/Children
        • Knowledge/Local/The Forest of Wolves.
  • Saves: +2 Fortitude, +2 Reflex, +2 Will (18 CP).
    • Total Saves: +2 (Base) +4 (Companions) +1 (Resistance) = Fort +10, Ref +7, Will +9.
  • d20 Hit Die (16 CP) + 4d8 HD (16 CP).
    • Hit Points: 20 + 7 + 5 + 8 + 6 + 12 (2d6 maximized from Template) + 7x(Con Mod) = 79 HP.
  • BAB +3, Specialized in Natural Weapons for Double Effect (+6 BAB) (18 CP). Note that he’ll do +1d6 force damage in melee and always counts as being armed.

   Special Abilities (102 CP):

  • +5 Druid Magic Levels (40) CP. Save DC 14+Spell Level, 5xL0, 4x L1, 3x L2, and 2x L3 spells available per day.
  • Finesse, uses Chr for druidic magic instead of Wisdom. (6 CP).
  • Changeling Companions: Companion, +5 Additional, Might, Great Form, Template (Warbeast), and Transference (+12 CP each). All Specialized and Corrupted/the user must get a sapient child to come with him or her voluntarily, without the use of special powers on said child, and then convince the child to trust him or her and agree to be transformed or imbued with power – again without the use of magic or special persuasive powers. You may then kill off said child and perform the ritual to reincarnate them as your desired Companion Creature or Mystic Mount. Companions acquired in this fashion can be distracted or confused by reminders of their former incarnations and can be more easily manipulated in this state (+10 to any required rolls or -5 on any required saves). All such companions remain somewhat childish and the entire process tends to attract evil spirits and unwanted attention from good adventurers. When and if such a companion truly dies, it will revert to it’s original form. (20 CP Total). The Companions each provide him with +2 on a save, for a grand total of +4 on each save.
    • This is pretty awkward. Kids are far more perceptive than most people think, and it takes a great deal of careful dancing around the truth to get away with this. Worse, it can take quite a lot of his time to locate a suitable kid, swipe them, and make the attempt. Oh well; if one doesn’t work out, he or she can always be used as a component in a ritual. If they’re foolish enough to turn down the chance of becoming a part of the wilderness, they’re too foolish to live anyway – and it’s time to start setting up another “rescue” scenario.
  • Double Enthusiast, Specialized in Relics for double effect (may create and use 4 CP worth of Relics without expending his personal character points) (6 CP).
  • Leadership/Awakened Creatures and Plants, Specialized/must personally conduct an awakening ritual; said ritual provides intelligence and speech, but no bonus hit dice (3 CP). He can have 20 levels of followers of up to a maximum of level three. Currently 48 small birds (count as four levels of followers) who serve as scouts and spies in the forest, four trees in his grove (statistics as per CR3 Large Animated Objects), and a couple of CR2 Large Vipers.
  • Traceless/Travel, Specialized/in natural surroundings only (3 CP).
  • Aumakua is working on acquiring the Greater Fey template, and so far has purchased:
    • +4 Bonus Uses of Channeling, Specialized/only for Conversion (3 CP).
    • Shapeshift with +2 Bonus Uses (9 CP).
    • Conversion (6 CP): Greater Dispel Magic, Elfshot, Glamour, and Steed of the Moon.
  • Sanctum (6 CP). Within the grove he guards, Aumakua gains 24 CP worth of abilties:
    • +4 Bonus Uses of Channeling, Specialized/only for Conversion (3 CP).
    • Skill Focus/Spellcraft, Specialized and Corrupted for triple effect (+6 bonus)/only for rituals, requires consulting assorted bulky tomes (3 CP).
    • Occult Ritual (6 CP).
    • Create Relic (6 CP).
    • Adept: may buy Spellcraft, Concentration, Knowledge/Nature, and Survival at half cost as long as he studies them within the grove (6 CP). (Yes, this is cheesy. On the other hand, he’s a boss bad guy and most characters have some cheese…).
  • Personal Relic/The Torc of Annwyn (4 CP):
    • Power Words (6 CP): He normally stores 5 levels worth of quick enhancement – and convenience magic, mostly for when he’s fighting in one of his alternate forms.
    • Enhanced Shapeshifting: Dire Forms (3 CP), Growth (3 CP), Exemption (may leave items unshifted and functional if this is practical for his new form, 3 CP), and Natural Magic (may use his powers freely regardless of his current form, 6 CP). The Torc also negates the time delay and amnesia problems with Fey Returning as long as one of this Companions is available to host his spirit (reducing the Specialization to Corruption, 1 CP) and grants him a +2 bonus on his Spellcraft skill (2 CP).

   Other Equipment (5600 GP Value for ECL 6 NPC):

  • Magic: Amulet of Resistance +1 (1000 GP), Wand of Cure Light Wounds (750 GP), Potions: 2x Mage Armor (100 GP), 2x Magic Fang (100 GP), Protection From Evil (50 GP), Bulls Strength (300 GP), 2x Shield of Faith +2 (100 GP), Minor Potions of Choice (200 GP). Aumakua is fond of using healing and enhancement spells on himself, since he can share the effects with all six of his companions.
  • That leaves 3000 GP for leathers and assorted nonmagical gear, books, ritual supplies, and other bits and pieces – or for any other bit of magical gear that the game master thinks he ought to have.

   Changeling “Leopard” Companions:

   Medium Magical Beasts

Hit Dice:

3d8 (Base) +1d8 (Warbeast) +2d8 (Companion Creature) +30 = 62 HP. When within one mile of master add an additional 2d6 HD, HP = 84.

Initiative:

+4

Speed:

Run 50, Climb 20

Armor Class:

20 (+4 Dexterity +4 Natural +2 Positive Levels)

Base Attack/Grapple:

+5/+8

Attack:

Bite +10 melee (1d6+5 + 1d6 Force)

Full Attack:

Bite +10 melee (1d6+5+1d6 Force) and 2 claws +5 melee (1d3+1+1d6 Force)

Space/Reach:

5 ft./5 ft.

Special Attacks:

Improved grab, Pounce, Rake 1d3+2+1d6 Force

Special Qualities:

Low-light vision, Scent, Improved Fortune/Evasion (takes no damage on a successful reflex save), proficient with Light, Medium, and Heavy Armor. If they’re currently wearing any, their AC should be increased.

Saves:

+6 (Master’s Effective Base) + 2 (Positive Levels), Fort +13, Ref +12, Will +10

Abilities:

Str 21, Dex 19, Con 18 (20), Int 8, Wis 14, Cha 6 (8).

Skills:

Balance +12, Climb +13 (may always opt to take 10), Hide +8 (+12 in areas of tall grass or heavy vegetation), Jump +13, Listen +8, Move Silently +8, Ride +7, Spot +8.

   Feline Powers:

  • Improved Grab (Ex): To use this ability, a leopard must hit with its bite attack. It can then attempt to start a grapple as a free action without provoking an attack of opportunity. If it wins the grapple check, it establishes a hold and can rake.
  • Pounce (Ex): If they charge a foe, they can make a full attack, including two rake attacks.
  • Rake (Ex): Attack bonus +10 melee, damage 1d3+2+1d6 Force.
  • Alertness (Ex): +2 on Spot and Listen checks.
  • They do have the ability to use their Dex Mod in place of their Str Mod with their natural weapons, but only do so if their strength is reduced for some reason.

   Companion Creature Powers:

  • May take a free “aid another” action each round as long as they’re working with their master, but such actions are restricted to Ride, Spot, Listen, or Attack checks.
  • Their master may communicate with them, and opt to share the effects of spells and powers used on him or her with them, at ranges of up to one mile. This provides them with Detect Magic, Detect Life, Disguise Self (often used to pretend to be taking full damage from attacks, to appear dead, or to appear undead), and a +2 Enhancement Bonus to Constitution and Charisma. These effects are considered Extraordinary.
  • May use Righteous Might on themselves as a free action three times per day. This provides +8 Str, +4 Con, +4 Natural Armor, DR5/Good, base bite/claw damage increases to 1d8, and new size modifiers apply. It currently lasts for six rounds.
  • May “Take 10” on Ride, Spot, and Listen as long as they’re working with their boss or a rider.
  • Between the Might bonus and the Companion Creature modifiers, they have 27 CP to spend. These pay for:
    • Shapeshift, Specialized/adds enhanced movement modes, but otherwise purely cosmetic (3 CP).
    • Grant of Aid with +4 Bonus Uses, Specialized/requires two full rounds of remaining quiet to activate (6 CP). This ability is often used in conjunction with their Disguise Self ability to appear dead or unconscious, heal up, and escape.
    • Berserker: +8 Strength, for 8 rounds three times per day (6 CP).
    • Power Words, Corrupted for increased effect (2*Con/3 total spell levels)/can only store spells provided by their master. Normally that’s an Elfshot or Glamour spell (L6) and four levels worth of Druidic Magic – often Call Lightning and Entangle (6 CP).
    • Damage Reduction, Specialized for Double Effect/reduces damage to nonlethal damage only 6/- (also effective against energy attacks) (6 CP).

      Aumakua isn’t afraid of a little melee, but he isn’t stupid either; he has companions and troops for that sort of thing, he’s a spellcaster and a ritualist. Of course, there’s no use in wasting his troops either. He usually sends in his companions disguised as less-formidable animals such as wolves and has them pretend to be more hurt than they are – and then “go down” and wait for a good moment to escape – before they’re at any serious risk.

   Considering his collection or flying spies, there’s very little hope of moving around in his forest, or of doing anything else there, without him finding out about it – and they look exactly like normal birds, just like the thousands of others in the trees.

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

Eclipse – Common Races

   First up for today it’s a series of quick Eclipse classless d20 breakdowns of seven of the existing playable monster races and one that isn’t normally considered playable. Most of these – other than the Janni – are fairly straightforward, but it’s always nice to have a look at the structure so you can see how to modify it to suit your particular needs.

   Besides, in Eclipse, races can also be applied to characters as Templates – if at a +1 ECL modifier over and above the cost of the race – so it’s often convenient to have some of the racial packages laid out.

   Blink Dog:

  • Celerity, +10 ground movement, Specialized/only while operating on all fours (3 CP).
  • Defender/+3 Natural Armor (18 CP).
  • Martial Arts/1d6 “Natural Weapons” (6 CP).
  • Occult Sense/Darkvision (6 CP).
  • Occult Sense/Scent (6 CP).
  • Occult Sense/Low-Light Vision (6 CP)
  • Self-Development: +6 Dexterity and +2 Wisdom (48 CP).
  • Track (3 CP).
  • Inherent Spell/Blink, with +4 Bonus Uses (5/Day, 12 CP).
  • Inherent Spell II/Dimension Door, with +4 Bonus Uses (5/Day, 12 CP).
  • Reflex Training/Extra Actions Variant, Specialized and Corrupted/magical actions only, only to trigger inherent powers, only for Blink and Dimension Door for nine extra actions per day (6 CP).

   At 136 CP, being a Blink Dog is expensive. Of course, there are some major factors that bring that down a bit: the entire cost can be considered Corrupted. Blink Dogs have no manipulative limbs, and thus cannot use most equipment. Even if shapeshifted, they are not natural tool users – their minds simply don’t work that way – and gain no bonuses for a high strength or dexterity when using tools or weapons. They’ll find clothing and armor distracting and uncomfortable even if someone else helps them get it on. They can’t speak most languages in their natural form thanks to the limitations of their voices. Finally, they’re pretty obviously animals, or at least animalistic, and thus have severe social limitations.

   That brings the cost down to 91 CP, 4 CP under the 95 CP limit for a +2 ECL race.

   The blink dog also illustrates one of the general Eclipse rules; quite a lot of the powers and abilities that are listed for creatures as being “at will” or “unlimited use” should actually be read as “with enough uses that the game master doesn’t usually need to worry about it during an encounter”. Player characters using such races will be more restricted.

   Bugbear:

  • Attribute Shift: +2 Constitution, -2 Charisma (6 CP).
  • Self-Development: +4 Strength and +2 Dexterity (36 CP)
  • Occult Sense/Darkvision (6 CP)
  • Occult Sense/Scent (6 CP).
  • Skills: +4 to Move Silently (4 CP).
  • Defender: +3 Natural Armor (18 CP).

   That’s a bit awkward: Bugbears are supposed to be a +1 ECL race, but the limit for that is 63 CP – and that all adds up to 76 CP. There are several different ways to bring that down of course, but the simplest is to Corrupt the package by requiring a “Favored Class/Rogue” – bringing the total cost down to 51 CP. Of course, you probably won’t be able to use that modifier in straight point-buy, which means that you’d probably have to drop something – or spend a few points from other sources – to match.

   On the other hand, in most settings, you can throw in Incompetent (Diplomacy), Outcast (racial prejudice against goblinoids is pretty common), and Uncivilized, as racial difficulties – saving 10 CP. That leaves them only 3 CP over, and that should be easy enough to either make up or spare.

   Gnoll:

  • Attribute Shift: Intelligence -2, Charisma -2, Strength +4 (12 CP).
  • Self-Development: Con +2 (12 CP).
  • Occult Sense/Darkvision (6 CP).
  • Defender/+1 Natural Armor (6 CP).

   That’s a total cost of 36 CP – just a bit over the 31 CP maximum for a +0 ECL race. Another one that probably isn’t worth it, although the “Favored Class” modifier would bring it down to 24 CP and +0 ECL. In pure point-buy, you’d probably want to either add some things – Scent, Tracking, and similar bonuses – to bring them up to a good +1 ECL race or simply add in a couple of racial disadvantages (say, Outcast/known cannibals and Insane/see nothing wrong with stabbing allies in the back and eating them when hungry) to take off 6 CP and bring them down to a 30 CP +0 ECL species.

   Goblin:

  • Attribute Penalty: -2 Charisma (-6 CP).
  • Shrinking I (12 CP). Among other things, this provides small size, -2 Strength, and +2 Dexterity.
  • Occult Sense/Darkvision (6 CP).
  • Skills: +4 to Move Silently and Ride (8 CP).
  • Automatic Language: Goblin (1 CP).

   At 21 CP, Goblins are well within the limits of a +0 ECL character. In fact, since attribute penalties – like most disadvantages – are a bigger pain than they’re worth, they fall neatly into the middle of the +0 ECL range even without a favored class modifier.

   Hobgoblin:

  • Self-Development: +2 Strength and +2 Dexterity (24 CP).
  • Occult Sense/Darkvision (6 CP).
  • Skills: +4 Move Silently (4 CP).

   With a total cost of 34 CP, the Hobgoblin is just three character points over the limit for a +0 ECL race. That’s rather sad. I’d probably just throw in something like the “Outcast” disadvantage (to represent prejudice) or “Compulsive” (militarism) for -3 CP – and a +0 ECL race.

   Janni:

  • Self-Development: +6 Strength, +4 Dexterity, +2 Constitution, +4 Intelligence, +4 Wisdom, +2 Charisma (132 CP).
  • Celerity/Additional Movement Mode/20′ Flight (12 CP).
  • Occult Sense/Darkvision (6 CP).
  • Defender/+1 Natural Armor (6 CP).
  • Improved Initiative +4 (6 CP).
  • Inherent Spells: Speak with Animals (L1, 4/Day – OK, this was originally three, but that really wouldn’t save anything – 6 CP), Change Size (L2, 2/Day, 6 CP), Invisibility (L3, 3/Day, 9 CP), Create Food and Water (L3, 1/Day, 6 CP), and Plane Shift (L5, 3/Day, 12 CP).
    • Originally they had Ethereal Jaunt for one hour once per day – but this works better, and is cheaper, as Plane Shift.
  • Immunity/Fire (Common/Severe/Minor, 6 CP): May ignore the first 12 points of damage from any fire-based attack.
  • Mindspeech (6 CP).
  • Immunity/the effects of the Elemental Planes (Uncommon, Major, Major, 6 CP).
    • This originally had a forty-eight time limit after which you started taking one point of damage per hour. Given that this is trivial, it’s not worth the time to reproduce.

   Well, that comes out to a whopping 219 CP – a +6 ECL race, since the limit on +5 ECL is 191 CP. Of course, the Favored Class/Rogue restriction would bring things down to 146 CP, or a +4 ECL race. Neither matches the +5 ECL from the Monster Manual, although they do bracket it.

   On the other hand, that mess of Inherent Spells is pretty unappealing, and there are better ways:

   Buy Channeling (of “elemental energy”) at twelve uses/day, Specialized/only for Conversion (10 CP), and some Conversion, all Corrupted/no individual spell may be used more than three times per day. One set of four spells of levels 4-5 (12 CP): Plane Shift, Greater Invisibility, Create Feast, and Mirage Arcana. One set of four spells of levels 1-2 (6 CP): Speak with Animals, Change Size, Pyrotechnics, and Flame Blade. That saves 11 CP -but we’d still need to save another 17 CP to bring them down to a +5 ECL race in a pure point-buy game.

   Personally, I’d probably drop the Fire Immunity – after all, if Janni are a mix of all the elements, why aren’t they similarly resistant to other elemental energies? – and probably either a couple of points off the Intelligence or Wisdom bonuses (judging by the old stories, the Janni aren’t all that wise or clever) or the Mindspeech and Natural Armor. Both of those are easy enough to pick up later, but certainly aren’t very important to the concept.

   That would bring things down to an even 190 CP, just within the +5 ECL bracket.

   Lizardfolk:

  • Attribute Shift: -2 Intelligence, +2 Strength (6 CP).
  • Self-Development: +2 Constitution (12 CP).
  • Adept: May buy Balance, Jump, Climb, and Survival at half cost, Specialized/only affects racial skill purchases (3 CP).
  • Skill s: +4 to Balance, Jump, and Climb (6 CP).
  • Defender: +5 Natural Armor (30 CP)
  • Martial Arts: 1d4 Natural Weapons (3 CP)
  • Immunity/the need to breathe: Common, Severe, Trivial/they can hold their breath for up to eight minutes or so (3 CP).

   A grand total of 63 CP makes this a +1 ECL race or +2 ECL template to be applied to an existing race.

   Lizardfolk come out pretty much exactly right without any need to throw in any disadvantages – although “Favored Class” would be in order in classical games even if it wouldn’t make any difference. You could make a case for “Uncivilized” – but the description doesn’t really indicate that they CAN’T be civilized, it just notes that they generally AREN’T – and, since it isn’t needed anyway, I’m not going to put it in.

   Ogre:

  • Attribute Shift: +2 Strength and -2 Intelligence (6 CP).
  • Attribute Loss: -2 Intelligence and -2 Charisma (-12 CP).
  • Large Size (48 CP). Note that this includes +8 Str, +4 Con, -2 Dex, 10′ reach, and the other size modifiers.
  • Celerity, +10′ ground movement (6 CP).
  • Occult Sense/Darkvision (6 CP)
  • Defender/+5 Natural Armor (30 CP)

   With a grand total of 84 CP, the Ogre falls neatly into the 64 to 95 CP range for a +2 ECL Race.