Eclipse – Elven Variants 112

   First up for today, it’s another request – in this case, a breakdown on the various elven subraces and some variants thereof for Eclipse classless d20. We’ll start with the basic elf, then hit aquatic elves, drow elves and various variants thereon – including the old-style drow. Then we’ll take a side glance at buying truly minor inherent magical abilities and continue with gray elves and their numerous noble elf +1 ECL variants. After that it’s wild elves, wood elves, and the wildwood elf variant. We’ll finish up with Xin elves – a variant from Legends of High Fantasy – and wind up with (thanks to the magic of combinations) with one hundred varieties of affinity elves.

   The Basic Elven Package forms the basis for most variants, so here it is again:

  • Attribute Shift (+2 Dexterity, -2 Constitution, 6 CP). In worlds which half the cost of Self-Development this should be converted to a simple +2 Dexterity.
  • Immunity/Sleep Effects (Uncommon / Minor / Major, 3 CP)
  • Resist/+2 on Saves versus Enchantment Spells and Effects (3 CP)
  • Occult Sense / Low-Light Vision (6 CP)
  • Proficiency with Elven Cultural Weapons (A narrow group, 3 CP)
  • +2 on Listen, Search, and Spot (6 CP)
  • Occult Sense/Detect Secret Doors (Specialized: requires a Search check and passing within 5 feet, 3 CP)
  • Speaks Elven as an extra language (1 CP)

   That’s a net cost of 31 CP, making the basic Elf a +0 ECL race.

   Aquatic Elves:

  • Attribute Shift: +2 Dexterity, –2 Intelligence (6 CP). In worlds which halve the cost of self-development, this should be treated as a simple +2 to Dexterity.
  • Immunity/needing to breathe, Common, Severe, Major, Specialized/only applies to being underwater, Corrupted/does not protect against agents and toxins distributed in the water (3 CP).
  • Celerity/Swim +30 (12 CP).
  • Occult Sense/Low-Light Vision (6 CP), with a Specialized version of Improved/can see four times as far as usual under low-light conditions, but not like normal sight (+3 CP).
  • Immunity/Sleep Effects (Uncommon, Minor, Major, 3 CP)
  • Resist/+2 on Saves versus Enchantment Spells and Effects (3 CP)
  • Proficiency with Aquatic Elven Cultural Weapons (A narrow group, 3 CP)
  • +2 on Listen, Search, and Spot (6 CP)
  • Occult Sense/Detect Secret Doors (Specialized: requires a Search check and passing within 5 feet, 3 CP)
  • Speaks Elven as an extra language (1 CP)

   With a net cost of 49 CP, this would normally be a +1 ECL race – but the entire package is Specialized/the user can only survive out of water for one hour per point of Constitution, after which he or she will begin to suffocate. That brings things down to 24 CP, well under the 31 CP limit for a +0 ECL race.

   This isn’t a race I’d normally recommend. All-or-nothing limitations aren’t usually a good idea; you wind up with characters like this one – no effective penalty at all until the situation comes up, and then useless or dead. For awhile it’s free points – then you get trapped in a room for a day or so or get transported to a desert or something, and you die. And yes, that’s perfectly fair and what SHOULD happen; you took the limitation, you’ve got to expect it to come up once in awhile.

   What to do about it? First, reduce this to “Corrupted”/after more than (Con Mod) hours out of water the character will begin to suffer a penalty of -1 per hour on attacks, damage, checks, and saves and will be utterly miserable and desperate to reach water. This penalty will reach a maximum at -10, but at that point the character will be unable to think of anything but water. Using a days water rations will reduce the penalties by one, and getting soaked – say by a water-blast spell – will reduce them by 1d6. The character also accumulates damage from thirst twice as quickly as a normal human.

   That will leave the cost a little high; We’ll need to drop three points worth of abilities to bring them back down to a +0 ECL race. Personally, I recommend dropping the ability to detect secret doors. That’s never made a lot of sense for them anyway; how often do people build underwater secret doors? Underwater doors – which have to push water out of the way whenever you want to open or close them – aren’t very practical or common anyway. Underwater secret doors are even rarer.

   Drow Elves:

  • Attribute Shift: +2 Dexterity, -2 Constitution (6 CP). In worlds which halve the cost of Self-Development this should be converted to a simple +2 Dex.
  • Self-Development: +2 Intelligence, +2 Charisma (24 CP).
  • Improved Occult Sense/extended Darkvision, Specialized/user is susceptible to light blindness. Abrupt exposure to bright light will blind him or her for one round and leave them dazzled as long as they remain exposed (6 CP).
  • Improved Spell Resistance (10 + Level) (12 CP).
  • Immunity/Sleep Effects (Uncommon / Minor / Major, 3 CP)
  • Resist/+2 on Will saves against spells and spell-like abilities (3 CP).
  • Resist/+2 on Saves vrs Enchantment Spells and Effects (3 CP)
  • Inherent Spells: Darkness (L2, Corrupted/only usable once per day, 4 CP), Dancing lights (L0) and Faerie Fire (L1), taken as a pair of L0-L1 effects normally usable twice per day each, Specialized/only usable once per day each (3 CP).
  • Proficient with hand crossbow, rapier, and short sword (a limited group of weapons, 3 CP).
  • Occult Sense/Detect Secret Doors (Specialized: requires a Search check and passing within 5 feet, 3 CP)
  • Skills: Extra Languages, Elven and Undercommon, +2 on Listen, Search, and Spot (8 CP)
  • Disadvantage: Outcast (-3 CP). Dark Elves are widely regarded with fear and suspicion.

   With a total cost of 75 CP, Drow are a +2 ECL race. Of course, if they’re playing in a world that halves the cost of self-development, they have a net cost of 63 CP – and are a mere +1 ECL race.

   Alternatively, older-edition Drow had some additional spell-like abilities, which there is plenty of room to add.

   At level four they got Detect Magic (L0), Know Alignment (a fast combination of Detect Good, Evil, Law, and Chaos limited to a single target, hence a level two spell), and Levitate (L2) once per day each. It’s easy to buy the level two effects – that’s Inherent Spell, Corrupted/a level two effect only usable once per day, 4 CP – for a total of 8 CP.

   Buying Detect Magic once per day is actually a bit awkward; it’s hard to properly price a power as trivial as a cantrip once per day. In this case we’ll use Occult Talent, Specialized/each effect can only be used once per day and Corrupted AND Specialized (again!)/only gets the level zero spell slots and only one of them – for a net cost of 1 CP. Double-specializing something is normally a red flag, but this hardly seems likely to cause a problem. In fact, given the calculations so far, we can even construct a little chart:

  • Cantrip or Orison usable Once Per Day (Caster Level = Hit Dice): 1 CP.
  • First-Level Spell usable Once Per Day (Caster Level = Hit Dice, 1 Minimum): 2 CP.
  • Second-Level Spell usable Once Per Day (Caster Level = Hit Dice, 3 Minimum): 4 CP.
  • Third-Level Spell usable Once Per Day (Caster Level = Hit Dice, 5 Minimum): 6 CP. (Standard Inherent Spell).

   That’s 84 CP – still well within the +2 ECL limit of 95 CP.

   Females also got Suggestion (L2), Zone of Truth (L2), Clairaudience/Clairvoyance (L3), Dispel Magic (L3), and Glibness (L3), once per day each. That’s a fairly powerful set of talents, but the fact that it was for females only – in a race which wasn’t otherwise particularly dimorphic – suggests that it was a gift from Lloth. Ergo, it would be best represented as Channeling with five uses per day (a base of three daily uses plus two bonus uses), Specialized/only for spell conversion (4 CP), with Spell Conversion/a level two spell effect and a set of four level three and under spell effects, both Corrupted/each spell can only be used once per day [(3 + 9) / 2] = 6 CP. That’s a total of 10 CP, raising the race to 94 CP – just under the 95 CP maximum for a +2 ECL race.

   Personally, I don’t see a need to limit that final set of abilities to females only – although males might prefer to say they’re drawing their power from some other god, and thus substitute some other spells. If the game master does want to limit things to females only, there’s no price break for it; males simply don’t get those abilities and thus can buy down their ECL more easily.

   Gray Elves:

   Gray Elves get the usual elven package plus:

  • Attribute Shift : +2 Intelligence, –2 Strength (6 CP). In worlds which half the cost of Self-Development this should be converted to a simple +2 Intelligence.

   That is a bit awkward: the basic elven package is already worth 31 CP – so adding another 6 CP worth of abilities would take the gray elves to a +1 ECL race.

   Personally I’d recommend using one of three solutions:

  1. Simply require anyone who wants to be a gray elf to invest their level one bonus feat in being one, thus providing the extra 6 CP.
  2. Drop the usual elven skill bonuses of +2 on Listen, Search, and Spot on the grounds that gray elves are more abstracted than most elves, thus saving the necessary 6 CP.
  3. Make the Gray Elves – or perhaps Noble Elves – a counterpart to the Drow. Give them a simple +2 Intelligence with no Strength penalty (+6 CP), throw in Spell Resistance (5 + Level) (6 CP), and give them Channeling with eight uses per day (a base of three daily uses plus three bonus uses), Specialized/only for spell conversion (7 CP), with Spell Conversion/a set of four spells of levels one or two and a set of four spells of levels 1-3, both Corrupted/each spell can only be used once per day [(6 + 9) / 2] = (7 CP) – for a grand total of 63 CP, and a good +1 ECL race. Healing, self-enhancement, enchantments, and illusions would probably work best – or you could simply allow characters to select their own spells within a particular theme, thus allowing elves with healing gifts, talents for illusion, and many more.

   Lets see now, for some possible Noble Elf talents:

  • Healing: Cure Light Wounds, Cure Moderate Wounds, Remove Paralysis, Restoration (Lesser), Cure Serious Wounds, Remove Blindness/Deafness, Remove Disease, and Neutralize Poison, each once per day.
  • Illusionist: Color Spray, Disguise Self, Hypnotic Pattern, Invisibility, Mirror Image, Invisibility Sphere, Major Image, Displacement.
  • Summoner: Mount, Summon Swarm, Summon Monster I, II, and III, Phantom Steed, Dispel Summoning (L2 variant on Dispel Magic), and Summon Nature’s Ally III.

   I could go on with this, but that should be enough to make the point. There are lots of possible themes, especially since Conversion effects aren’t limited to any particular spell list. They are, however, generally limited by the minimum level requirements for the spell if the game master feels like enforcing them, so you probably won’t have much luck trying for that first-level Fireball.

   Wild Elves:

   Wild Elves get the usual elven package but replace the usual -2 Constitution with -2 Intelligence. This change has no net cost. In worlds which half the cost of Self-Development this should be converted to a simple +2 Dexterity.

   Wood Elves:

   Wood Elves get the usual elven package plus:

  • Attribute Shift : +2 Strength, -2 Intelligence (6 CP). In worlds which half the cost of Self-Development this should be converted to a simple +2 Strength.

   This has the same difficulty as the basic gray elves do: they’re 6 CP over the limit for a +0 ECL race. I’d recommend the same general set of solution options:

  1. Simply require anyone who wants to be a wood elf to invest their level one bonus feat in being one, thus providing the extra 6 CP.
  2. Drop the ability to detect secret doors (since there aren’t many in the woods) and the +2 on Saves versus Enchantment Spells and Effects. That saves 6 CP, and brings them down to a +0 ECL race.
  3. Upgrade them to a worthwhile +1 ECL race. Give these Wildwood Elves the basic elven package plus something like:
  •  
    • Self-Development/+2 Strength rather than Attribute Shift (12 CP). Alternatively, stick with Attribute Shift and give them Mindspeech and Beastspeech, Specialized/only usable to communicate with animals (6 CP).
    • One Druid Spellcaster Level (8 CP). As divine casters – yet unhindered by the druidical restrictions on weapons and armor – they can use their spells in any kind of armor.
    • An Animal Companion (6 CP).
    • Traceless/Travel, Specialized in Wilderness Areas (3 CP).
    • Track/Wilderness variant (3 CP).

   That gives them a total of 63 CP, right at the limit for a +1 ECL race.

   Xin Elves:

   The Xin Elves  are from Legends of High Fantasy, where there are a variety of variant elves running about… In the case of the Xin, they’ve been affected by a series of totemistic pacts that their ancestors made during the Great Demon Invasion.

  • Attribute Shift/+2 Dex, -2 Con (6 CP).
  • +2 Wisdom (12 CP).
  • Immunity to Sleep and Charm effects (Common / Minor / Minor, for effects of L3 and below, 4 CP).
  • Occult Sense/Low-Light Vision (6 CP).
  • One Bonus Feat from the Xin Ethnic Feat List (6 CP). In Liam’s case it’s Ancestral Guidance, which translates as Luck with +2 Bonus Uses (Corrupted: only usable for Rerolls).
  • Augmented Bonus/Heightened Senses: Xin may add their Int Mod to Listen, Spot, Diplomacy, and Profession/Cook skill checks (6 CP).
  • Xin Language (1 CP)
  • Disadvantages: Highly Distinctive (The Xin have light fur, tails, slight muzzles, and other traces of the totemistic pacts which helped their ancestors survive the first Demon Invasion), Compulsive (all Xin spellcasters must accept druidical duties – to protect and preserve nature, to expel troublesome outsiders, and to oppose undead, although they do get the points for these duties in addition to any others they undertake), and obligations (the Xin see a wide variety of minor rituals and customs as a part of their religious obligations) (-10). In standard d20 their favored class is, of course, Druid.

   The Xin have a net cost of 31 CP – just at the limit for a +0 ECL race.

   Affinity Elves:

   Affinity Elves are based on the idea that elves are natural channels of magic – and draw upon the natural magic of the land where they grow up. Secondarily, they draw a portion of their strength from the great magical cycles of the cosmos, the magic of the seasons, stars, and elements. What determines that – time of birth, personality, location, or force of destiny – is up to the game master. Any given Affinity Elf will have one Affinity Terrain and one Arcane Affinity – although whether the game master will choose to limit those to particular combinations (elves from the Satari Mountains are Mountain/Spirit elves, elves from the Great Wastes are Desert/Fire elves…) or in some other fashion is up to him or her. All the variants of the Affinity Elves are built on 63 Character Points, making them a +1 ECL Race or set of races.

   Basic Abilities (25 CP):

  • Adept: Move Silently, Hide, Survival, and Use Magic Device (6 CP).
  • Warcraft +1 BAB, Specialized for Double Effect/only for whatever specific weapon they have last spent a week bonding with, Corrupted/does not add to iterative attacks (4 CP).
  • Occult Sense/Infravision (6 CP).
  • Resist/+2 on saves versus diseases (3 CP).
  • Speak Language +1/gets Elven as a bonus language (1 CP).
  • Proficient with their affinity weapons (a very small group, 3 CP).
  • Immunity/Aging (Uncommon, Severe, Trivial, 2 CP): Affinity Elves can expect to live for four to six centuries.

   Terrain Affinity Abilities (20 CP):

  • Skill Bonuses: Move Silently, +4, +8 in their affinity terrain (2CP + 1 CP Specialized in the relevant terrain type), Hide +4, +8 in their affinity terrain (3 CP), Survival +4, +8 in their affinity terrain (3 CP), Use Magic Device +6 (3 CP).
  • Resist/+1 to all saves, Specialized/only in their affinity terrain (4 CP)
  • Warcraft +1 BAB, Specialized for Double Effect/only for their affinity weapons, Corrupted/does not add to iterative attacks (4 CP).
    • Common terrain types and their associated weapons include: Desert (Scimitars and Crossbows), Forest (Staves and Bows), Glacial (Axes and Spears), Hills (Staves and Hammers), Jungle (Blowgun and Spear), Mountains (Axes and Slings), Oceanic (Harpoon and Cutlass), Plains (Bows and Javelins), Swamp (Knives and Whips), and Tundra (Axe and Knife).

   Arcane Affinities (18 CP):

  • Occult Sense/elemental energies, Specialized/only works within affinities (3 CP). In general, the Affinity Elves can sense magical and natural forces within their affinities, and even get a fair amount of detail about them with Wisdom checks – although the DC of such attempts is set by the game master.

   Specific Arcane Affinities:

  • Air: Minor Immunity to electrical and air-based effects (reduce damage by 12 points or +4 on relevant rolls, 6 CP), Mindspeech (6 CP), +3 Speciality in Weather Prediction (1 CP), +2 additional Languages (2 CP). The powers of the air grant skill in communication, as well as resistance to the effects of wind and storm.
  • Darkness: Minor Immunity to negative energy and necromantic effects (reduce damage by 12 points or +4 on relevant rolls, 6 CP), Trivial Immunity to Poisons (reduce damage by 5 points or +2 on relevant rolls, 3 CP), Inherent Spell/Darkness, usable twice per day (6 CP). The powers of darkness are widely regarded as tainted, but they serve well in doing battle with many evils.
  • Earth/Metal: Physical DR 3/- (stacks with other DR, 3 CP), Immunity/Metal Armor (Common, Severe, Trivial; ignores the first two points of an opponents armor bonus that comes from metal armor, 3 CP), +1 on all Saving Throws (9 CP).
  • Fire: Minor Immunity to fire effects (reduce damage by 12 points or +4 on relevant rolls, 6 CP), may cast Scorching Ray 2/Day (Inherent Spell, 6 CP), Faerie Fire 1/Day (2 CP), and Dancing Lights 1/Day (1 CP). Oddly enough, variants on the Fire Affinity are very common; many of the elves so gifted get differing sets of minor spells to use.
  • Flesh: Physical DR 3/- (stacks with other DR, 3 CP), Shapeshift (6 CP), and Cure Light Wounds usable four times per day (Inherent Spell, 6 CP).
  • Light: Reflex Training/Three Extra Actions per day variant (6 CP), Shaping, Specialized in minor tricks with light and shadow (3 CP), choice of Glitterdust or Hypnotic Patters usable twice per day (Inherent Spell, 6 CP).
  • Mind: Minor Immunity to mental manipulation (immune to effects of up to level three, +4 on relevant rolls, 6 CP), Presence (aura of choice, 6 CP), Enthusiast (3 CP).
  • Spirit: Gain +1 level of Clerical Spellcasting with the Package Deal (10 CP), +2 on Knowledge / Theology (2 CP), and +2 on saving throws against spells cast by servants of opposing deities and powers (3 CP).

   Obviously enough, it would be easy to throw in quite a few more Arcane Affinities. How about the eight schools of magic? (I’d use the conversion package under Noble Elves, above). The four seasons? The signs of the zodiac? Various totem animals? It’s up to you. Picking out a quick fifteen points of themed abilities isn’t very difficult – although holding it down to fifteen points may be.

   Most game masters will probably want to limit the variety of races, subraces, and variants running around in their worlds – but it really isn’t much trouble to pick the ones you want. In Eclipse there’s no reason to stick with the old reliable standards if you don’t want to.

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

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One Response

  1. […] Elven Variants: High Eves (+0 ECL), Aquatic Elves (+0 ECL), Drow Elves (+2 ECL), Classical Drow Elves (+2 ECL), Gray Elves (+0 ECL), Noble Elves (+1 ECL), Wood Elves (+0 ECL), Wildwood Elves (+1 ECL), Xin Elves (+0 ECL), and 100 types of Affinity Elves (+1 ECL,  10 choices each of Terrain and Arcane affinities). Also, the Primal Elves. […]

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