Eclipse – The Magical Girl Template (+2 ECL)

   I just know I’m going to regret this – but I’ve had a request for a template for an anime-style “Magical Girl” (or, far more rarely, boy).

   The trouble with creating a Template for a “Magical Girl” is simply that “Magical Girls” are pretty ill-defined. Fortunately, there are a few near-universal elements. Pretty much all magical girls have:

  • A need to keep their powers a secret. There’s usually no actual reason for this, and the Magical Girls battle-costume “disguise” is usually hopelessly inadequate as far as disguising the Magical Girls identity goes – but no one ever suspects anyway.
    • We’ll call that Immunity to anyone independently making the connection between the Magical Girl and her Secret Identity (Common, Minor, Minor, 4 CP) without the use of a great deal of detective work, powerful magic, or some similar method.
  • An absurdly-elaborate and lengthy Transformation Sequence, usually with implied nudity, which they must undergo before they can use most of their other active powers. Fortunately, no one ever simply interrupts the transformation.
    • Innate Enchantment/Transformation Sequence, Transmutation, Level One, Components; V, Casting Time; One Swift Action, Range; Touch, Area; Creature Touched, Duration; Instant, Saving Throw; Will Negates (Harmless), Spell Resistance; Yes.
    • This peculiar spell changes the user’s clothing into some stereotypical battle-costume or back to normal. The change is actually instant, but the spell effect gives everyone watching the vague impression of a lengthy and dramatic transformation, with background music and appropriate imagery. Any adult viewer may make a will save to gain the impression that they saw something briefly titillating, despite the fact that they haven’t actually seen a thing, which at least usually relieves the mental boredom. Most Magical Girls have the personal-only version of this, for a 1400 GP value as an unlimited-use use-activated Innate Enchantment.
  • A magical catchphrase and/or gadget that catalyzes the Magical Girls powers. This is occasionally a disadvantage – but it’s not a big one. It’s effects aren’t too predictable either, and if the gadget is really critical, somehow it never goes missing for long. Ergo, it’s a Restriction (worth +1 CP per level): A Magical Girls powers and abilities may be weakened, or even temporarily negated at the convenience of the game master by preventing her from using her talisman, uttering her catchphrase, changing into her battle-costume, or by whatever other means the game master feels is appropriate.
  • A Magical Talking Animal Sidekick/Servant (rarely non-fuzzy, and always around somewhere), which usually doubles as a wise elder mentor or trainer – because Magical Girls are usually pretty incompetent and even squirrels make wise elder trainers by comparison. Of course, the things are usually quite independent, occasionally need rescuing, and otherwise act up. That’s Companion with a Template (Mystic Aide/Tutor), Specialized/the companion does, and doles out information, as he, she, or it pleases (6 CP).
    • A few Magical Girls have Leadership, and a magical sidekick or boyfriend instead – but that’s a pretty minor variation.
  • Uber-Cuteness – often sufficient to make villains fall in love with them – about which little more need be said.
    • That’s +2 Charisma (12 CP as a part of a template) and Innate Enchantment/unlimited-use use-activated Attribute Boost (Charisma +2) with the Personal-Only Modifier (1400 GP Value).
  • An Aura of Innocence, which apparently protects Magical Girls from mind control and such – and can even break other people free of such effects as long as they’re in close contact and the Magical Girl can make some dramatic appeal to friendship, love, and generic goodness.
    • That’s Innate Enchantment/unlimited-use use-activated Protection From Evil with the Personal-Only Modifier (1400 GP).
  • Fairly ineffectual combat skills (which neatly match the fairly ineffectual villains).
    • I could call this a Restriction – but this really won’t work out in most games, which tend to rely far more on actual combat than the original source material. Ergo, I’m going to skip this bit.
  • A Romantic Interest, most often with lesser powers but far more competence in using them, who can come to the rescue occasionally.
    • I’d say this is a Minor Privilege (3 CP): the Magical Girl always gets to have a relationship with someone who’s either a good catch or one of the major villains.
  • While Magical Girls have no actual abilities as planners or researchers, somehow any even remotely plausible plan which they do come up with invariably works out – somehow – at the critical moment.
    • That’s Luck, with +4 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted/It only works when both the game master and the player agree that it’s a critical situation and that it should, can only be used on rolls which are somehow a part of a “plan” – however inane that plan may be (4 CP).
  • Absurdly good morale. In fact, whether it’s through vast self-confidence or simply being too perky for words, it’s almost impossible to get them down.
    • That’s Innate Enchantment/unlimited-use use-activated Inspiring Word (2000 GP).
  • They’re fairly tough to hit. Given that – in a d20 game – there’s going to be some fairly heavy combat involved, I’ll give them Innate Enchantment/unlimited-use use-activated Mage Armor (personal only, 1400 GP) and Shield (2000 GP).
  • They tend to bounce around like superballs. Magical Girls are forever leaping out of the way of attacks, yanking people out of the way of onrushing doom, and pulling off similar stunts – just like most anime characters. For this we’re want:
    • Opportunist: May take a Move Action using Acrobatics, Jump, or Tumble once per round as a Free Action. This may be combined with Tumble to avoid Attacks of Opportunity (6 CP).
    • Innate Enchantment/unlimited-use use-activated personal-only Jump (1400 GP).

   Magical Girls share a variety of other, standard, anime abilities – in this case, represented as another batch of Innate Enchantments – once again, all effects use-activated unlimited use at caster level one, personal only):

  • Mending (this fixes their hair, clothing, and other personal items, 700 GP). Now you know why a Magical Girl can be blasted with flame, have their entire body scorched and burned – and then appear in the next scene with clothing intact and her hair in place.
  • Disguise Self (+10 bonus only, 1400 GP). Oddly enough, the skimpiest disguises work quite well for Magical Girls – and all other anime characters.
  • Resist Energy (1400 GP). This will provide Resistance-10 to all forms of energy. Like most Anime characters, Magical Girls can stand up to bolts of lightning, flame, and corrosives – but knives and bullets still affect them normally.
  • Fast Healing I (up to a limit of 20/level/day, 1400). Magical Girls recover from Injuries with fabulous speed.
  • Prestidigitation (only provides glowing special effects, half cost, 350 GP).
  • Immortal Vigor I (provides (+12 + 2x Con Mod) bonus hit points, 1400 GP).

   Now, we’ll need a few mechanical elements here…

  • Immunity/Stacking limits when combining innate enchantment effects with external effects (Common, Minor, Minor; covers effects of up to level three, 4 CP).
  • Immunity/Dispelling and Antimagic (Common, Major, Epic, Specialized and Corrupted/only protects innate enchantments that provide personal augmentations, 9 CP).
  • Immunity/the normal XP cost of Innate Enchantments (Uncommon, Minor, Minor [only covers first through third level effects at caster levels of five or less], Specialized/only to cover initial racial abilities, 2 CP).

   Finally, we’ll need Presence. Magical Girls are always either inspiring, or intimidate enemies, or cheer everyone up, or provide morale bonuses, or shield people and creatures against mind-controlling enchantments by their mere presence – and Presence will cover that for a mere (6 CP).

   Now lets see… That comes to 56 CP (so far) and 17650 GP worth of Innate Enchantments – 19 CP worth. A total of 75 CP so far.

   What else do we need?

   A set of normal companions, most often a tomboy girl and a very feminine girl, who are so hopelessly incompetent that they can make the Magical Girl look good, is a common option – but are also free, since they’re totally useless in game terms.

   Oh wait; we need a few actual active magical powers.

   Since the Magical Girl is already heavily into Innate Enchantments, we might as well continue with the theme.

   Lets call it…

  • Three additional usable-at-will level one innate enchantments at caster level one – for 6000 GP / an additional 6 CP.
  • A usable-at-will level two innate enchantment at caster level three – for 12,000 GP / an additional 12 CP.
    • These will commonly include a basic ranged mystical attack or the ability to produce a magical melee weapon, often includes enhanced movement or acrobatic abilities, some sort of animal-themed enhancing transformation (a specific version of Aspect of the Beast [from The Practical Enchanter] with attribute modifiers), the ability to control some element, to walk up walls, or any of a hundred other specialized effects.

   That’s 93 CP, and I’d like to get to 96 CP – for mathematical reasons to be noted later.

   For 3 CP, each Magical Girl gets a unique Privilege. They may be regarded as the Princess of the Squirrels, be high-ranking nobles, have the ear of some powerful spirit, be automatically invited to all the best parties, or have someone who covers up their frequent absences for them.

   Whether for good or ill, the entire Magical Girl template is Corrupted – reducing it’s net cost to 64 CP, or a +2 ECL Template. Magical Girls:

  • Invariably have a nemesis, with loads of minions to send after them.
  • Must keep their true identities secret, on the pain of endless plot complications.
  • Invariably have a duty to whoever or whatever gave them their powers, and will get constant missions from them.
  • Swiftly become famous; their enemies will invariably be quite familiar with their abilities.
  • Are always emotional and easily distracted. Whenever a relationship problem comes up, they must make a will save to avoid penalties of the game master’s choice until they deal with it.

   Further Advancement: Well, the Innate Enchantment route will be useful for a bit – but it will soon become impossibly expensive to buy higher-level powers, no matter how useful a swarm of lesser abilities may be. Personally, I’d usually recommend saving throws, decent sized hit dice, Empowerment (to boost those offensive powers to more effective levels) and some levels of the Wilder progression – granting increasing mastery of higher-level powers which, sadly, unlike the basic stuff will NOT be unlimited-use.

8 Responses

  1. I wonder if the transformation sequence innate enchantment should be included in the suite of powers covered by Immunuty/Dispelling and Antimagic. The idea of an enemy gaining a momentary advantage by using dispel magic or a similar ability to de-transform a magical girl (only for a moment, since she can likely re-transform on her next turn) is a pretty cool idea.

    Similarly, her offensive powers (those three level one innate enchantments and the level two innate enchantment) seem like they shouldn’t get that particular immunity either. An obvious magical attack/effect seems like it should be subject to the typical limits of magic.

    Of course, introducing these restrictions creates a situation of bottleneck design, but sometimes that’s appropriate for the character.

    On a tangential note, what sort of alteration to dispel magic would be necessary to suppress a dispelled ability for more than one round? Now, to be fair, that’s a fairly narrow ability to add, since most magical effects that are dispelled simply end (and magical items are already suppressed for 1d4+1 rounds anyway). But for “at will” or “constant” powers, which can be brought back the next round as a free action, how would you stop those powers from being brought back in less than one round?

    • Well, as it is, the immunity only covers personal augmentations – things like the boosted charisma, jumping, and so on. Since the Transformation Sequence effect has an external target, it isn’t covered.

      On the other hand, the “Transformation Sequence” is an instant effect, so it can’t be dispelled after the fact – but you could just cast a similar spell and change the victims clothes back (although a save would probably apply) or interrupt it with the usual saved-action dispel – which would (like any other item subjected to Dispel Magic) take out all their unprotected caster level one powers and enhancements for a bit.

      Since Innate Enchantments function just like an item or items (which are – per The Practical Enchanter – generally assumed to be using “user only at will” effects and thus simply look “constant”), Dispel Magic does indeed take out Innate Enchantments for 1d4+1 rounds anyway. If you want to take things out for longer (without bothering with a unique spell to do so), a bit of the Amplify metamagic could be used to boost that particular aspect of Dispel Magic. I think I’d go with +1 level for 2d4+2 rounds; that is a fairly well restricted function.

      And that may well lead to “Oh No! I’ve lost my powers! Now I will be captured and my sidekicks and plucky animal companion will have to come up with some absurd scheme to rescue me!”.

      I haven’t really watched much of any “magical girl” anime, but I suspect that fits in well enough.

      • I confess that I hadn’t noticed that the transformation sequence spell was of instantaneous duration. Personally, I’d have made it permanent but dismissable, since (insofar as I know) there’s no reason in most magical girl anime why their transformations can’t last as long as they want them to.

        Also, the transformation sequence isn’t just a chance of wardrobe; if they don’t transform, they can’t use any of their powers otherwise granted by this template (notwithstanding the fuzzy mentor, allies, and immunity to being recognized; though this last one fails if someone sees them transform or de-transform). Hence, bringing down their transformation pretty well cripples them until it can be reactivated.

        As an aside, given all of the above, if the template were being used in a world where this weakness was generally known (they are “magical” girls, after all) and easily applied (since dispel magic is a pretty common spell) would that bring down the cost any further (perhaps a restriction)? Or would it be part of the suite of drawbacks that make the template corrupted in terms of its cost? I’m guessing the latter, since you do seem to note the possibility of being unable to transform when you talk about the transformation sequence spell in the body of the article – still, having your powers so easily removed seems like a not inconsiderable weakness.

        You’re right about such a weakness being used for dramatic purposes, by the way. That I’ve seen, a momentary de-transformation in the middle of the fight is used to build tension in a given scene, since changing back can usually be done fairly quickly. If you want to keep a magical girl from transforming for a longer period, you need to take away the magical mcguffin that she needs to wave around to transform at all.

        Likewise, I hadn’t realized that innate enchantments functioned like magic items in regards to dispelling. I thought they were like spell-like abilities in that they could be instantly re-upped if dispelled. That’s good to know.

      • The trick there is that all the “transformation sequence” effect actually does is change the appearance of your clothing and produce the impression in observers that something interesting just happened. Ergo, instantaneous; the clothing will retain it’s new look until changed back. The (possibly) costume-related limitations appear elsewhere in the template.

        Now, judging by the “magical girl” descriptions I looked at while writing this up, while many magical girls are costume dependent, others rely on talismans and only use the costumes to conceal their identities (as witnessed by their ability to use their powers even after large portions of their costumes have been removed), some rely on magical incantations, and others have even stranger limitations. Thus a (game masters) choice of such limitations was put in as a restriction – “A Magical Girls powers and abilities may be weakened, or even temporarily negated at the convenience of the game master by preventing her from using her talisman, uttering her catchphrase, changing into her battle-costume, or by whatever other means the game master feels is appropriate.”.

        Given that I lack both magical powers and an aptitude for melodramatic but incompetent villainy, far be it from me to try to dictate the individual weaknesses of magical girls. That could get painful.

        Sadly, the possibility of having their powers removed by a simple Dispel Magic is inherent in the way this template is built; Magical Girls are getting a lot of goodies out of that +2 ECL modifier – but they’re doing it by accepting the massive Achilles heel of relying on caster level one enchantments. There are other ways to save points of course, but they’ve all got drawbacks of one kind or another.

  2. […] rather than class levels. In fact, one of the co-authors of Eclipse already posted a generic magical girl template on his blog, so we’re going to crib that and modify it as needed for our […]

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  4. […] and trade around 20% of your skill points. Immunities will work too of course – thus the magical girls with an immunity to anyone associating their real and costumed identities – but game masters […]

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