Ulric Kyrie Dunholtson

   Ulric is one of the sample characters in the back of Eclipse – but in a severely condensed version. Since there’s been a request or two for an expanded writeup, here we are…

   Ulric was originally designed for a relatively low-magic world, wherein:

  • Gods might or might not exist.
    • There were powers that sent occasional omens, there were plenty of extradimensional horrors that could be summoned or which sometimes broke into reality on their own, rare individuals might be sent a vision or granted some minor special powers once in awhile – but there were no divine spellcasters or deities who intervened in events on a regular or predictable basis.
    • There were quite a few religions, and variants thereof – but they worked like religions do in the real world. They were matters of faith, rather than supernatural organizations headed by super-beings.
  • Magical items were rare at best, and were generally crafted for specific individuals.
    • Characters could start out with one-quarter the usual allowance for magic items, provided that they had someone in the group capable of making them.
    • Magical weapons did not need to have an enhancement bonus.
  • Certain abilities were disallowed:
    • The Action Hero/Stunts, Blessing, Blood Curse, Create Relic, Healing Touch, Innate Enchantment, Inherent Spell, Mystic Link, and Returning abilities were not available.
    • Characters could only have one path from among Channeling, Dominion, Martial Arts, Mystic Artist, Path of the Dragon, or Witchcraft and needed special permission for anything other than Martial Arts.
  • Mages came in three basic types:
    • Hedge Wizards, who used the Paladin/Ranger spell charts (usually with specialized arcane spell lists). Hedge wizards were reasonably common.
    • Adepts, who used the Bard spell chart, usually with limited access to the Wizard/Sorcerer spell lists. Adepts were scarce. A large city might have a few.
    • Full Sorcerers or Wizards were one in a million.
  • Spells were modified:
    • The effective levels of Illusion, Enchantment, and Divination spells were reduced by one.
    • The effective levels of Conjuration (Calling, Summoning, and Teleportation) and Evocation spells were increased by one.
    • Characters could expend their own hit points to enhance spell durations: 1d3 damage per spell level enhanced spell durations by one step (rounds to minutes to hours), 1d6 per spell level enhanced them by two.
    • True Names were quite dangerous. A mage who knew his or her target’s true name could automatically bypass said target’s spell resistance (if any) and purchased saving throw bonuses (these could thus be purchased as Corrupted). They could also control, bind, or enslave named entities with relatively simple spells. Even non-spellcasters normally went by nicknames or aliases. Powerful individuals might go to great lengths to conceal their true names.
  • Characters had loyalties instead of alignments.
    • A character could have a loyalty to a person, to an organization, belief system, nation, or an ethical or moral philosophy.
    • A character could discard a loyalty at any time, but could only add one on gaining a new level.
    • A character could have a maximum of three loyalties (rated from most to least important) at any one time.
    • Shared loyalties provided a +2 circumstance bonus each when dealing with NPC’s – provided that the characters interacted enough with the NPC’s for their mutual loyalties to be discovered.
  • Injuries, and death, were serious matters:
    • Arcane healing magic existed, but each such spell (Cure Light Wounds, Cure Serious Wounds, Etc) could only be applied to a given patient once per day.
    • There was no way to raise the long dead, although healing magic would work for 1d4 minutes past the usual point of death at -10 HP. You couldn’t even come back as a sapient undead unless you’d made arrangements to prevent the departure of your soul in advance.
    • Attribute losses and energy drains other than those due to aging were never permanent.
    • If you went below 50% of your hit points, there would be notable scars. If you went below 25% of your hit points you’d need a DC 15 Fortitude save to avoid a serious infection or similar problems. If you went into negative hit points, you needed a DC 25 Fortitude Save to avoid suffering some form of permanent disability.
    • A skilled healer could patch up 1 (DC 15), 1d4 (DC 20), or 2d4 (DC 30) points of damage with a healing check made within an hour of the injury or injuries being received – although the number healed could not exceed the number of points that were actually taken within the hour.
  • Equipment varied a bit:
    • Heavy armor had to be individually fitted and required months to make. It was thus generally reserved for the extremely wealthy or otherwise important individuals. Light and medium armor was, however, generally available.
    • All crossbows were considered simple weapons, including “spring-tubes” – spring-loaded launchers for poisoned darts (as per a hand crossbow, but readily concealable and requiring five rounds to reload).
    • “Alchemists Fire” was made with naphtha and other light hydrocarbons as well as alchemy. It inflicted 2d6 damage per round rather then 1d6.
    • Poisons were common, and included poisons that caused paralysis, blindness, and similar special conditions, but generally required minutes to hours to take effect.
    • A few alchemical poisons required only a few rounds, but required magic to prepare.
    • Infectious weapons – smeared with caustics or filth – have a cycle time of days, but were otherwise treated as poisons.
  • Characters were presumed to have the “Poison Use” and Block (Melee) abilities, but only got one-third of the usual starting money – and usually had a hard time accumulating too much more.

 

“Aldhere” (True Name: Ulric Kyrie Dunholtson)

   Also Known As: The Wanderer, Aldhere Firespawn, The Guardian of Midgard, Mandorak, and Zhaos.

   Level Eight Ur- (“Magically Modified”) Human Eldritch Guardian.

   Basic Attributes: Str 10 (+0), Int 20* (22) (+6), Wis 15 (+2), Con 14 (+2), Dex 17 (+3), Chr 14 (+2).

*Includes +2 for leveling.

   Available Character Points: 216 (Level Eight Base)+ 16 (Duties; Ulric receives missions and assignments from his magical patrons / Wyrd) + 16 (Fast Learner) + 10 (Disadvantages) +24 (Level-based Feats) = 282.

   Disadvantages: History (character history notes), Hunted (insane cultists, horrors from beyond, etc.), Overblown sense of responsibility, Partial Amnesia (does not remember his full history or have access to his full experience.), and Secret (immortal mage-guardian).

   Note that only the first three disadvantages actually provide any bonus character points, but nothing prevents a character from having extras if he or she wishes to offer the game master lots of plot hooks.

   Total CP Cost : Hit Dice (32) + Resistance (36) + Combat (30) + Magic Levels (16) + Skills (19) + Special Abilities (33) + Dragon Path (80) = 270

   Combat Abilities (32 CP for Hit Dice, 36 CP for Saves, 24 CP for BAB, 6 CP for Proficiencies = 98 CP).

  • Hit Points: 33 (L1/D20, Corrupted for Increased Effect/No natural healing, 16 CP) +5 (L2/D4, 0 CP), +55 (L3-8D8, Corrupted for Increased Effect/No natural healing, 16 CP) = 93 HP.
    • Corrupting the level one hit die that way is more than a bit odd, but the character did have Grant of Aid to start with, which would allow him to heal. Evidently he got infused with supernatural energies before reaching level one.
  • Initiative +3 (Dex).
  • Resistance: +4 (6) in each category (Corrupted for Increased Effect/Bonuses do not work if the opponent knows your true name, 36 CP).
    • Reflex: +3 (Dex) +6 (Purchased) = +9.
    • Will +2 (Wis) +6 (Purchased) = +8
    • Fortitude +2 (Con) +6 (Purchased) = +8
  • Armor Class: 10 (Base) +3 (Dex) +6 (with Staff) +4 (Mage Armor) +4 (Shield) = 27 (when all his defenses are up).
  • Warcraft IV (BAB +4) (24 CP).
  • Proficient with Simple Weapons and Bows (6 CP).

    Preferred Weapons:

  • Staff: +11 (+4 BAB +6 Int +1 Enh), 3d6+7 (2d6 Base +1d6 Flame +1 Enh +6 Int)
  • Longbow: +7 (+4 BAB +3 Dex), 1d6.

 

   Magic Levels (16 CP):

   Eight Levels of Hedge Magician (using the Ranger Chart), plus 8 Base Caster Levels (Specialized in Hedge Magic only). Both are Corrupted/ Casting spells requires an Alchemy skill check at (DC 5 + 5xSL) and Specialized/he can only recover 2d6 levels of spells per day. For the Ranger Spellcasting Levels the Corruption is used to increase the effect (raising the effective level to 12), while the Specialization reduces the cost to 1 CP/Level (8 CP). For the Base Caster Levels everything is applied to reduce the cost – providing a base caster level of 8 for a mere 8 CP. Of course, this involves double-specializing; and that’s always a warning flag – but he is only saving 8 CP on the deal.

   Usual Spells:

  • L0 (4): Brew, Smoke Cloud, Spray, and Phosphorescence.
  • L1 (3): Distillation, Entangle, and Fastburn.
  • L2 (2): Alchemic Mist and Glitterdust
  • L3 (2): Antitoxin and Touch of Alkahest (Only with a mana point)
  • L4 (2): Protoplasmic Salve and Vital Elixir

    Special Abilities (57 CP):

  • Immunity To Aging: (Free in setting. 0 CP).
  • Self-Development: +2 Int with regard to Skills, Specialized/only applies to skill points per level (6 CP)
  • Adept (Healing): May buy the Craft/Physician, Craft/Herbalist,Craft/Alchemy and Diplomacy skills at one-half cost (6 CP).
  • Adept (Scholar): May buy Knowledges, Spellcraft, and Sense Motive at one-half cost (6 CP).
    • This is stretching another point; “Adept” normally applies to specific skills – on the other hand, the group skills – Craft, Profession, and Knowledge are indeed related, and seem unlikely to break the game. It’s stretching a point again, but it’s allowable.
  • Augmented Bonus: Int Mod to Dex Mod/AC. Specialized; only while wielding a staff (3 CP).
  • Augmented Bonus: Int Mod to Str Mod/Melee Bonus. Specialized; Only while wielding a staff (3 CP).
    • Both of these stretch things again; for most characters melee is pretty common. On the other hand, he is a primary spellcaster who stays out of melee when he can. Ergo, it’s acceptable.
  • Reflex Training: Bonus Spellcasting action. “Ride The Dragon” only, Specialized/only when channeled thru a staff (3 CP).
  • Grant of Aid: Regain 1d8+5 HP/1d3 Attribute Points/1 Negative Level once per day per three levels or part thereof, usable as needed (6 CP).
  • Fast Learner: Specialized in The Dragon Path for +2 CP/Level (6 CP).
  • Mana (6 points): May spend 1-3 points to reduce the effective level of a spell by 1-3, 1 to resist mental influences and controls, or 2 on Hysteria, below (6 CP).
  • Hysteria: Boosted Magic. +6 to base caster level or double the effect of a single spell for 2 mana (6 CP).
  • Cloaking: Disguises his mystical aura – most notably, his immortality and his Path of the Dragon powers – allowing him to appear as a mere physician and dabbler in hedge magic (6 CP).

   The Dragon Path (80 CP):

  • Shaping and Heart of the Dragon: Create minor magical effects, Trivial 6, L0 (+6), L1 (+12). Corrupted; Requires gestures and minor special effects (16 CP).
  • Charmsmith, Spellforging, and Dragonsmith (Arms and Armor). May make “trivial” magical devices (Prestidigitation-level effects), Enhanced and Spell-Storing items, and Magical Arms and Armor (18 CP).
  • Eye of the Dragon (x3): Absorb 3x (Int) spell levels/Day, and store up to 3x (2x Con) spell levels (18 CP).
  • Dragonfire: May release available spell levels as blasts, shields, and raw magical energy (6 CP).
  • Pulse of the Dragon: May draw mana from the environment. Corrupted; Maximum of 1/minute (4 CP).
  • Ride The Dragon: May channel absorbed power into the following spells (18 CP). Spells marked with an “*” can be channeled through his staff.
Level One Spells:  
Cure Light Wounds Heals 1D8+Level (5 Maximum)
Delay Poison Poison immunity that lasts for one hour/level
Expeditious Retreat Double speed and jump for one minute/level
Feather Fall Prevents falling damage
Lesser Restoration Heals 1D4 Temporary Attribute damage.
Mage Staff* +1D6 Force Staff Damage for 1Minute/Level
Missile Deflection* +20 AC Versus Missiles for 3 Rounds.
Resistance* +5 on next saving throw.
Second Strike* Target gets an extra attack.
Shield +4 shield bonus to AC for 1 Min/Level.
Shield Wall* Shield 5’R from (Int) Damage
Speak With Animals Communicate With Beasts
True Strike* +20 to hit on next attack.
Voorish Sign* +3 CL on next spell, Disrupts Illusions as per “Dispel Magic”.
Wieldskill +10 on next skill roll
   
Level Two Spells:  
Elder Sign (Free)* Hold Back Cthulhoid Horrors (A GM bonus spell).
Fylgja (Falcon) Personal shapechange to falcon-form.
Protection from Energy* Absorbs 12/Level of a specified type.
Remove Paralysis Unparalyzes up to four creatures.
Rope Trick Dimensional Hiding Place
Suggestion Verbal manipulation.
Tarnkappen A.K.A.; “Invisibility”
Level Three Spells:  
Cure Serious Wounds Cures 3d8+CL points of damage.

    Skill Points: 11 (Human) + 56 (5 x 10 + 6 x 1, Int) + 19 (CP) = 96

Skills marked with an “*” are purchased at half price due to Adept.

Skills: (73 + 19 CP = 83) Rank Cost Att. Special Total
Alchemy 11 5* 6   +17
Concentration 06 6 2   +8
Craft: Herbalist 11 5* 6   +17
Craft: Labwright 03 3 6 +2 Sy +11
Craft: Physician 11 5* 6   +17
Craft: Smith 05 5 6   +11
Diplomacy 11 5* 2 +2 Sy +19
Intimidate 07 7 2   +9
Knowledge: Arcana 11 5* 6   +17
Knowledge: History 11 5* 6   +17
Knowledge: Geography 11 5* 6   +17
Knowledge: Religion 11 5* 6   +17
Listen 03 3 2   +5
Profession: Cook 03 3 2   +5
Ride 02 2 3   +5
Sense Motive 11 5* 2   +17
Spellcraft 11 5* 6 +2 Sy +19
Spot 08 8 2   +10
Survival 05 5 2   +7

    Languages Spoken (6): Common, Infernal, four according to campaign.

    That all comes to a mere 270 CP – leaving 12 CP unspent.

   To continue his theme – and for a high-powered game – these can be spent on Blood of the Dragon and The Dragon’s Bones – providing him with a couple of extra first level spells each minute to stretch his own power reserves and the ability to sustain several spells indefinitely. Admittedly, he can’t cast very powerful spells to maintain – but keeping up Shield, Mage Armor, Fast Healing I, Delay Poison, and Expeditious Retreat will boost his talents considerably.

   To make him a better fighter in a low magic setting, buy Reflex Training (the Combat Reflexes) version and either Block (or enhanced Block if the setting rules apply).

   To make him more of a legendary mystic, buy Ritual Magic and – perhaps – Augmented Bonus (Adds Wis Mod to the base for Int Based skills).

   Equipment (up to 3000 GP total):

   Horse and packhorse, shoulder bag (Medical kit and minor items), coil of light silk rope, packet of candles, tinderbox, whetstone and other “pocket junk”, fishing hooks and line, money belt, water flask (Metal), oriental writing kit, incense, glue pot (Metal), honey candy, soap, strigil, towel, assorted unreliable maps, runestone set and casting cloth, longbow, four each alchemists fire*, Antitoxin*, and holy water, “Drow” poison and Sassone Leaf poison (Base DC 16, 2d12 HP/1d6 Con).

   On packhorse: Alchemists kit, lots and lots of herbs, camping/cooking kit, supplies (about 2 weeks), change of clothing, medical gear (basic), light crossbow, handlamp with several oil flasks, and smith’s tools.

   Items marked with an “*” are enhanced via his Distillation spell. His remaining funds are carried.

    Magical Equipment (9005 GP. Technically over, but 5 GP is acceptable).

  • Staff: Casts Shillelagh on itself as needed (1400), Flaming (2000).
  • Arrows: 3x +1 Spell Storing (480).
  • Amulet of Intellect +2 (4000)
  • Flask of Curative Draughts (“Wand” of Cure Light Wounds, 750)
  • Scroll of Dispel Magic (375).

    With a normal equipment allowance of 36,000 GP, the campaign rules allowed our hero up to 9000 GP worth of magical items – provided that someone in the party could make them – and a total of 12,000 GP worth of equipment. Fortunately, the groups other mage could make wondrous items and they could cooperate on the Dispel Magic scroll,

   General Background:

   Ulric was chosen centuries ago. There are others: the Wolf-Binder, The Shamanistic “Lady Of Many Spirits”, The Trickster, The Thunderer, The Mistress Of Life And Fire, and the Lightbringer. Each has their own task, and endures across the ages.

   Ulric is the Wanderer. It is his duty to maintain the ancient wards and to fulfill the mysterious dictates of Wyrd.

   He does not know his age. He knows that he was born in the far north, where he was called to battle a spirit of winter that sought to engulf the world. Since then he has traveled widely, visiting strange lands, and battling eldritch foes. His travels have lasted for a thousand years or more.

   Some years ago there was a major, coordinated, effort. A cult attempted to open the shadow gates and let the outer darkness in. Aldhere spent centuries of accumulated magical power to defeat the cultists, drive back the outer ones, and seal the gates again. It has taken years for him to regain this modest portion of his power – and much has been forgotten. For now it will be best for him to travel with companions.

    General Description:

   Ulric normally travels disguised as a prosperous healer/herbalist. He’s tall, of medium-to-slender build, and nordic, although his age is a bit hard to place; While youthfully strong and supple, his hair and beard are wolf- gray (when he doesn’t dye them) and there are faint wrinkles around his eyes and mouth. Most get the impression that he’s in his late thirties or early forties. His eyes are blue and he gives the impression of being a bit grouchy.

   Special Notes:

   The Chosen (unlike those unfortunates who have been taken by the dark powers as undead minions) are vibrantly alive, generally benign, and reasonably cooperative with each other. Unfortunately, their supernatural life energies tend to pre-empt most natural healing. Luckily for them, they do not age, and always have Grant of Aid and Fast Learner in their speciality. They can be weakened for lengthy periods by massive expenditure of their powers and usually prefer not to attract too much attention in any case, so most of them tend to go easy on the raw power they employ.

   The Chosen are considered Ur-Humans (Or Ur-whatever their original race was). “Ur-” simply means “magically altered”.

    In his original appearances, Ulric was notable for his troublemaking – announcing that he was going to a small cave on the beach to recarve an ancient inscription that was weathering away and conduct a long-forgotten ceremony there to “renew the seal”, stopping in an alleyway to remove a mysterious packet from the hand of a fresh corpse and leaving it pinned to the door of a thieves guild safehouse with a dagger, or visiting an old altar in the woods to clean it and lay out a burning lamp, a pile of meat, and the skin of a werewolf the group had killed a week ago before reciting a prayer to the moon goddess and departing.

   He also cheerily went on many missions simply because “the fates demanded it” – while turning down others for similar reasons.

   Aren’t free plot hooks fun?

    Overall, Ulric is a high-powered build, with a several warning flags, and extensive use of the Path of the Dragon (a major warning flag in itself). On the other hand, he’s lumbered himself with enough plot hooks to hang three entire campaigns on – as well as a desire to keep his major powers quiet, a gratuitous selection of enemies, erratic allies, and a willingness to undertake weird missions simply “because’. Having the players doing most of the work of keeping the campaign moving is a big enough plus to put up with a build worse than this one – at least in my opinion.

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6 Responses

  1. Hey, I just discovered Eclipse via Alzrius over at Intelligence Check, and I’m loving it. I do have a couple of things that I’ve been puzzling over, however.

    1) When using Path of the Dragon abilities such as Ride the Dragon and Heart of the Dragon, what is your effective caster level? The errata says that it should be equal to your HD, which is supported by the descriptions of Ulric’s spells here, but your write-up for the Warlock class includes 20 specialized caster levels. Why the difference?

    2) Heart of the Dragon, as written, seems completely unlimited–by which I mean it seems as though you can cast any spells (divine, arcane, psionic, or whatever). Is that accurate? For example, Ulric has Heart of the Dragon II, allowing him to shape 0- and 1st-level spells; can he thus cast Bless, Charm Person, and Entangle at will if he wants? If so, that seems kind of ridiculously overpowered; I recognize that this could be corrupted or specialized to restrict it to a certain theme or certain spells, but I just wanted to make sure I had it right.

    • Well, it’s always nice to see people enjoying the system – and questions are always welcome; quite often they turn into new articles.

      For Path of the Dragon, your effective caster level does default to your hit dice, just like Inherent Spell and most similar “natural” abilities.

      The limitations on Heart of the Dragon are twofold:

      Firstly, it rapidly becomes more expensive to buy it in it’s pure form; reaching (say) level six spells would require (6 (L0) +12 (L1) +24 (L2) +48 (L3) +96 (L4) +192 (L5) +384 (L6) = 762 CP in Heart of the Dragon alone (discounting the other abilities you’d need to buy to support it). For that you could buy 20 unrestricted base caster levels (120 CP), 20 levels of Wizard (220 CP), 20 Levels of Cleric (140 CP), 20 levels of Druid (100 CP), and 20 levels of Psion (180 CP) – gaining far more spells than you could reasonably use of many types and getting level nine spells into the bargain. You’d be far better off if you bought Theurgy and ways to power it instead – or one path at L20 and lots of epic spellcasting. Heart of the Dragon is great at low spell levels, but less useful at higher ones unless you dump the pure form and Corrupt and Specialize it.

      The second restriction is that you have to get the power and have it fully under control. The usual method is using Pulse of the Dragon to summon the power and Eye of the Dragon to absorb it and bring it under control. That’s what Ulric is doing – and he uses that same pool of absorbed power for staff-fighting. (Unless he was pretty cautious with it it generally didn’t last long). Ulric can indeed cast any first level spell he wants; he just can’t cast too many of them per day in total.

      The Warlock is built assuming that a high base caster level lets you keep magical power fully under control – so rather than investing those 60 CP in Dragonfire and Eye of the Dragon (specialized to only provide a power pool for their other abilities to use) and thus gaining effectively unlimited use of their shaping powers they’re invested in caster levels to avoid the accounting. That’s a minor variation on the theme that soaks up a similar number of points (and keeps them consistent with the original class-based description) – and so is quite acceptable under the general rule of variations (under “How do I use this product”, page 2).

      Some of the examples for high-powered games just assume that limiting the kind of effects you can produce is enough to keep things under control. That works for those games because – when your fighter type is using powered battle armor, a machine gun for soft targets, and a hand-held micro-fusion missile launcher that does 5d20 damage to a radius for as many times as he or she can attack in a round – letting the spellcasters throw all the spells they want to doesn’t make much difference.

      Heart of the Dragon – if purchased unrestricted – does indeed cover any kind of spells (although I usually use the “psionics are different” option, and so it doesn’t cover psionics in my games). Of course, to use it unrestrictedly for first level spells, you need Shaping, Dragonfire, Eye of the Dragon, Pulse of the Dragon, and Heart of the Dragon II for a total of 42 CP – which will let you cast up to (Int) first-level spells of your choice per day at a minimum level of five (if you’re sticking with the Adventurer Framework anyway).

      The Path of the Dragon really is only at it’s best in “high-powered, comic-book, or “kick-in-the-door” style campaigns”. It’s in Eclipse for several reasons – to allow people to build Dragons, and Gods, and Spellfire Wielders, and similar creatures, and to allow for comic-book heroes. More subtly, it’s there because Eclipse is meant to “do everything d20” – and that includes some awfully broken stuff. Given that no two game masters can ever agree on exactly what is and isn’t “broken”, the only way out was to try to cover everything – and leave what to let the players get away with up to the game masters and page 163.

      I hope that helps!

  2. Okay, wow, I misunderstood entirely, then. I assumed the entire goal was to allow unlimited use of abilities such as Dragonfire via Pulse of the Dragon, and that the Eye of the Dragon was just there for when you wanted to power an ability beyond the scope of your incoming spell levels (1, 2, or 3 per round depending on how much you’ve invested in Pulse of the Dragon.)

    I think the fact that Eye of the Dragon/Ride the Dragon were in one tree and Pulse of the Dragon/Heart of the Dragon were in another tree is what confused me (despite the fact that Heart of the Dragon specifically references Eye of the Dragon… smh) Also, I thought that in your Warlock build you were using Pulse of the Dragon (corrupted/specialized to absorb 9 spell levels/round) to power your individually-purchased Heart of the Dragon abilities, which is why they were unlimited.

    So, questions, just to make sure I understand things:
    1) You gave your warlock build unlimited casting mostly through GM fiat, right?

    2) The Way of the Wings of Fire and The Way of the Dragon’s Speech ARE unlimited/not dependent on spell levels, right? (Also, clearly superhero-like.)

    3) Pulse of the Dragon is effectively useless without Eye of the Dragon, right? (Barring unusual cases such as your Warlock build.)

    4) How does Rite of Chi interact with this path? I assume you’d require a storage pool of points via Eye of the Dragon, and that after you’ve absorbed (Int) spell levels and then expended some of them, you could use Rite of Chi to replenish your spell levels up to (2xCon).

    5) Given that Pulse of the Dragon doesn’t allow unlimited use of Dragonfire or Heart of the Dragon, I don’t understand your assertion that the path is “only at its best in ‘high-powered, comic book, or kick-in-the-door style campaigns.” Given the forbidding costs involved in buying Heart of the Dragon to higher spell levels (how do you even GET 96 character points at one time to spend at level up???), it seems you’d actually wind up with a more powerful character if you just stuck with normal spellcasting or even rune magic, metamagic feats, and maybe the Rite of Chi with a lot of bonus uses. Even at mid levels, you’d certainly have higher-level spells and get more total spell levels if you had normal spellcasting, particularly given how MAD the Path of the Dragon is (Eye of the Dragon alone depends on Con, Int, and Wis) and the fact that you don’t get bonus spells as per normal spellcasting. For that matter, none of your superhero builds use Path of the Dragon (that I’ve found so far, anyway.)

    Hopefully I don’t sound too frustrated with this, but it’s negated some of the character builds I’ve been working on to get an understanding of the system lol. Even if this Path doesn’t work out like I’d thought, the book is still fantastic, though! Thanks for the answers!

    • I’m afraid that’s my fault; I should have provided more examples – but I could readily have tripled the page count with examples, which would have made things impossibly unwieldy. Thus examples mostly went into Eclipse II and the blog here.

      By itself, the main use of Pulse of the Dragon is to power external magic such as spelljammer helms, spell engines, rituals, the “Applied spellcraft” applications in The Practical Enchanter, and so on – although you could also use it to overload magic-absorption effects and empower other abilities that call for a high-magic environment.

      That is pretty much what the Warlock is doing; The requirement is that “have a level one spell available to substitute or another method of gathering the energy” – with Eye of the Dragon as an example.

      Now, a “method of gathering the energy” could be built in several ways:

      Immunity/The need to have a specified way to gather the energy. That’s Very Common (you’re going to be doing this all the time after all), Major (having loads and loads of spells available is pretty Major I’d say) and Legendary (this has no real upper limit) for a total cost of 60 CP.

      You could also buy

        Dragonfire, Specialized, Only as a Prerequisite (3 CP).
        Augmented Bonus/Adds (whatever) modifier to (Wis Mod) for power-development purposes, Specialized in the Path of the Dragon (3 CP).
        Eye of the Dragon, Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect, can only be used to absorb power generated by Pulse of the Dragon, absorbed power can only be used with Heart of the Dragon (9x, for 54 CP – and a daily absorption of (27 x Int) and a reserve of (54 x Con). That should allow you to spend more than a thousand spell levels on a busy day, which is close enough to “unlimited use” that it’s unlikely to ever matter. This too costs 60 CP.

      Caster Levels normally give you better control over external magical energy – and, of course, twenty specialized caster levels also cost 60 CP. Ergo, allowable as a rather minor variant.

      There are still other ways – you could try to talk your game master into allowing a speciality skill to do it (Occult Skill), or build a device that channeled the raw power you were calling up into you (likely using the Mana Transfer spell from The Practical Enchanter) – but most of them are trickier. On the other hand, in the Federation-Apocalypse setting the requirement is waived anyway – mostly because, as noted earlier, the spellcasters can be hard-put to keep up with the technology.

      The Way of the Wings of Fire, the Way of the Dragon’s Speech, and – for that matter – the Way of the Dragon’s Craft are indeed all unlimited – and you can use Rite of Chi to rebuild your pool of spell levels.

      To bypass a lot of the usage limitations on Dragonfire and Heart of the Dragon, you just need to go up the list a bit; Blood of the Dragon gives you free spell levels to use every minute for use with Dragonfire, Breath of the Dragon, and Shaping effects – and Heart of the Dragon is a shaping effect. At, say, a +3 Cha Mod (go ahead, get that charisma-booster, you know you want too!) that’s 180 levels of spells per hour.

      Next up we have an ability that quite a few players have rated as being more potent than Godfire – The Dragon’s Bones. The ability to sustain up to (Int Mod) spells can be abused in horrible ways – most simply by casting a really powerful intelligence-boosting spell, then by casting various other boosters. I normally only let gods in their personal dimensions get away with THAT. Go ahead; sustain – say – seven or eight ninth level enhancement spells on yourself at all times. Corrupt and Specialize the Heart of the Dragon in an appropriate fashion, and you can fairly readily cast those ninth level effects to maintain.

      We’ve had several player-character gods, but The Dragon’s Bones is the only ability that I’ve considered editing out of the system – or at least putting an extra warning tag on. You may need it to build gods and things, but giving it to PC’s is just asking for it.

      You’re right though; there aren’t too many superheroes on the site outside of the Mutants of the Eclipse series – and they were mostly package-demonstrations.

      There’s https://ruscumag.wordpress.com/2008/01/13/arnold-jeremyn-sample-d20-federation-apocalypse-character/ and a few others. I shall have to look around.

      I’m sorry about the frustration there, but I’m glad you’re having fun with it anyway!

  3. Thanks for the response! I completely understand not having space enough for a bajillion examples, and I’m sure as heck not going to complain about a free product, especially one this good. Anyway, I may be the only person who didn’t get it–I was just surprised there wasn’t something about it in the errata.

    I think I was looking at it the wrong way–it looks like it’s really intended as a way to use Eye of the Dragon without the hassle of needing to have your friends cast spells at you, rather than a way to get unlimited magic. And my frustration wasn’t with you, exactly, so much as that I couldn’t see the pattern. Also, I was looking for a way to bring some Mutants and Masterminds-style unlimited-use abilities into the standard D&D level-based system; I really, really hate per-day limitations on powers.

    I’ve done a lot of nosing around your site here and I love seeing how creative you (and your group, I guess) get with some of the builds–it’s one of my favorite parts about a build-your-own-hero system. I’ve gotten a lot of inspiration from what you’ve got here. I see now what you’re talking about here in some of those builds–the Airbenders, for example (very cool), who use their Martial Arts skill to sub in for the caster level requirement, and Kevin Sanwell and Conley MacGregor, who get a pass because they’re from your F-A universe. It’s definitely stuff I’ll keep in mind when I’m working on things.

    Thanks again!

    • Oh you’re quite welcome. Now, if you had anything in particular in mind from Mutants and Masterminds a few conversions should be manageable. I think that the version on my shelf is an older edition, but I don’t think that it’s changed all that much.

      I should probably put up an article like that anyway really.

      And if you have any trouble making something work, go right ahead and ask. It will result in more how-to-build-it examples and that’s always a good thing!

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