Eclipse d20 – The Number Lords of the Manifold

   Here we have a template for some of the “minor” villains of the Manifold Campaign – the Number Lords of Battling Business World. Some information on their realm, and notes on some of the Greater and Lesser Number Lords can be found Here. Statistics for Terry Jenkins – the current Champion of the Numbers – can be found Here. Finally, the Occult Accounting skill they provide can be found Here.

   The terrible Number Lords like to see themselves as the incarnations of rationality, logic, and order in the universe.

   Unfortunately, the notion of mathematical concepts having avatars at all – much less incarnations with supernatural powers to manipulate reality – is pretty irrational.

   That fundamental contradiction is at the root of the madness of the Number Lords.

   This is another extraordinarily powerful race for +1 ECL – although it does benefit massively from the fact that, in the Manifold setting, attribute bonuses are purchased for half price. On the other hand, it isn’t really suitable for player characters: a race which is inherently mad, can’t use most items, has little use for treasure, and can’t really interact well with more conventional entities, has a hard time fitting into most groups. For that matter, the Number Lords have a hard time fitting into reality, and cannot even appear in more rational worlds.

  • Self-Development:
    • +8 Intelligence (24 CP).
    • +4 Wisdom (12 CP)
    • +4 to any one attribute (12 CP)
      • Note that, in the Manifold, attribute bonuses are purchased at half cost; in other settings these bonuses should be halved.
  • Nightsight: Occult Sense/Darkvision (Rather like Neo’s view in “The Matrix”) (6 CP).
  • Celerity, with Additional Movement Mode (Flight, 30′) (18 CP).
  • Enthusiast, Specialized in Skills for Double Effect (two floating skill points) (3 CP).
  • Intellectual Focus: Augmented Bonus/may add their Cha Mod to their scores in Intelligence-related skills (6 CP).
  • Magic Resistant: Resist/+2 bonus to Saves versus Spells (3 CP).
  • Mathematical Hexcrafting:
    • +6 Base Caster Levels, Specialized in Hexcrafting, Corrupted/displays unnaturally alien magic when used (12 CP).
    • 6 Hexcrafting Card Slots, Specialized and Corrupted/Destructive Side Effects, Must drain Charisma from others to regain powers, Narrowly “themed” deck (mathematics / physics, exchanges, etc). 6 points/card base, net 2 points/card (12 CP).
    • The mathematical powers of the Number Lords are normally based on Intelligence – which almost always qualifies them for two bonus card slots and makes their spells rather difficult to resist.
  • Witchcraft: All Number Lords have basic Witchcraft (18 CP) with three Pacts – Karmic Links (to fulfill their need for balance), Vampirism (their touch drains 1d4 Charisma, both restoring their psychic powers and fulfilling the prerequisites for them to regain their hexcrafting slots), and Duties (must respond when properly invoked), for (-18 CP) – and a net total of zero.
  • Inherent Magic: Innate Enchantment, all abilities unlimited use-activated, personal-only (x.7 cost) where applicable. 15,000 GP base value (16 CP).
    • +2 Intelligence (1400 GP).
    • +2 Charisma (1400 GP).
    • +2 Wisdom (1400 GP).
    • Immortal Vigor I (+2d6 – effectively 12 due to at-will use, +2x Con Mod HP, 1400 GP).
    • Warding Rune (1 + Caster Level/3, +4 max, resistance bonus on saves, 1400 GP).
    • Skill Mastery (+3 to Intelligence-based skills) (1400 GP).
    • Shield (a barrier of lesser numbers) (2000 GP).
    • Unseen Servant (2000 GP).
    • Obscuring Mist 1/Day (A cloud of lesser numbers) (400 GP)
    • Cause Fear 1/Day (400 GP).
    • Calculate (Instantly solves a mathematical problem) 1/Day (200 GP).
    • Call to Mind 1/Day (400 GP).
    • Mage Armor (a cloud of lesser numbers) 1/Day (400 GP).
    • Cause Fear 1/Day (They are eldritch abominations) (400 GP).
    • Hypnotism 1/Day (Talking Shop) (400 GP).
    • Sleep 1/Day (Talking Shop) (400 GP).
      • Immunity/Stacking limits when combining innate enchantment effects with external effects (Common, Minor, Trivial – only covers L1 effects, 2 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, Trivial [only covers first level effects at caster level one], Specialized/only to cover initial racial abilities, 1 CP).
  • Template Disadvantages: Inept (Charisma-Related Skills), Compulsive (Attempts to eliminate “unnatural” power sources), Poor Reputation (Insane godlings), for a net -10 CP.

   That has a net cost of 126 CP – pretty pricey. Fortunately, the entire package is Specialized. The Number Lords are pretty obviously inhuman (they’re floating numerals), apparently lack limbs (they can’t wear things, although they can manipulate objects as if they had hands), and speak in a sourceless voice which seems to echo horrifying inside the listener’s heads. Perhaps most importantly, they’re incapable of using magical or psionicly-powered items of any kind – and are fundamentally crazy. They can use technology, but rarely find any that’s suitable. They often cannot even MANIFEST in rational worlds… That selection of difficulties reduces the net cost to 63 CP – a +1 ECL template.

   Technically, the Number Lords should probably have a selection of Immunities to represent the “fact” that they have no normal metabolism, need not breathe, and so on. On the other hand – following the conventions of the comics – that’s only partially true; things like gas will affect them whenever the game master feels that it’s amusing and – in the Manifold setting – they can usually be assumed to be using their equivalent of Smartclothes (which provide a great deal of protection from that sort of thing), just like everyone else.


12 Responses

  1. I have two questions:
    First off, wouldn’t the 12 Hexcraft-Slots in the template cost 24 CP instead of 12?

    Secondly, I wanted to build a character that uses a nowmal card deck and utilizes the effects of Pathfinders “Deck of Many Things, Harrow” in his cards (with “Epic” being the exact effect of the card that’s called on and the lower versions being lesser effects). Do I need to pay 6, 8 or 10 CP per card?

    • Well, first another Typo to fix (that should be six hexcraft slots, and now it is).

      The Harrow Deck is a bit awkward to get in controllable form (and made a lot more sense in first or second edition to boot). Would you be limiting the number of times any given target could be affected? If not, could you just bestow a limitless number of noble titles and “inheritances” over time? Do you really want to admit the existence of “omniscient spirits” who can be summoned by your opponents to tell them all about you and your party? Can you regularly change your past choices? Because if YOU can cast such a spell… the opposition can too.

      Of course, since your targets for hostile effects are not voluntarily drawing cards (and thus renouncing their saves), saves will apply.

      Some of the cards are simply silly. For example, the Carnival – which simply turns your random draw of a card into… a random draw of a card. Would the Cricket let the person targeted compel you to cast more spells on them? How many Genies can you marry? (And what if the GM is more fond of malevolent Djinn than “I dream of Jeannie”?). Isn’t being afflicted with a bunch of useless, accident-prone, first level followers just an excuse for a three stooges comedy routine?

      Perhaps most importantly, a few of the cards are game-wrecking if they can be used repeatedly. Could you just use repeated castings of “the Midwife” to advance multiple levels every session? Can you cast The Survivor a dozen times to eliminate all risk of death? Can you use the effect of the Tyrant to solve all problems with mortal foes? Creating 1d6 exact duplicates of yourself (presumably with equipment) can get pretty weird… A wish which is free of some of the usual restraints? Which ones? This will call for extensive rulings if it’s usable repeatedly. Can you get endless permanent (and untyped) bonuses to your attributes? If not, what are the limits?

      Even once you stack on enough restrictions to avoid those problems, I suspect that this is going to be very expensive for the fun it provides. Still… 8 CP / Card if the Wish function is restricted. 10 CP / Card if it’s not since a Wish is about as broad-themed as a spell can get.

      In actual practice… I’d recommend Major Privilege: May offer any character of eighth level or above a chance to draw from the Harrow Deck of Many Things, subject to the usual once-per-character restriction and to a maximum of three cards (a rather arbitrary number, but it IS a classical magical number and seven seems a bit much) (6 CP). If the goal is to be a mysterious figure offering a chance for life-changing magic, that should cover it.

      Sure, that can be abused to if the players just keep making new disposable characters – but most eighth level types should be well enough established to have some serious doubts about drawing from a random magical deck.

      • I totally forgot that you can call on a card and not discard it… ok, yes, that would result into some serious trouble.

        While you can say that The Survivor combines Penultimate Shield and Shadow Vitae, The Tyrant or The Winged Snake have no equivalents and are very powerful cards (and even with equivalents The Survivor is powerful).

        Hmm… it could still be done, but I think it would cripple the party in the long run and I really don’t want to thik about what Leadership can do to that Privilege on higher levels…

        On that note, are there any other decks I can reasonably use? What do the Number Lords use as physical representation of the cards?
        The fact that I can use an actual card deck for the deck of may things was the main point I wanted to use it.

      • Hm… If you’re looking for physical decks (Rather than just making a list and checking off “cards” as you use them) one of our players simply used some of his old Magic: The Gathering cards and a couple have used old Tarot decks (those come with a wide enough variety of themes to represent almost anything) or our own Runecards (although you’d have to print those out: I shall see about sending a free download link since you’ve been so helpful in finding typos). I rather liked Spirit Animal Cards for nature-themed types, and a couple of oriental-themed characters have used I Ching decks.

        The Number Lords, as insane NPC’s, usually just use the check-off-the-list system, but I suppose that – since all of their manipulations are mathematically based – they could use math flash cards.

        If you want to make your own decks, there are programs for that. There’s a good list HERE.

        Leadership might have a problem though; most followers aren’t going to be too enthused about drawing from a random magic deck. I’d expect rather a lot of followers to either refuse or leave due to mistreatment.

      • On another note, what’s the difference between:
        Cause Fear 1/Day (400 GP) and Cause Fear 1/Day (They are eldritch abominations) (400 GP)?

      • Merely that the second has an explanatory note attached. There’s no effect on the mechanics.

      • In that case I think you might have accidently given the Number Lords 2/day Cause Fear, because it’s once there with the explanatory note and once without it, and the Innate Enchantment seems to be 400 gp off as well.

        And I think I’ll be using one of those card makers then. I feel kinda silly for not having thought about that in the first place.
        I also think I adopt the Number Lords decks, because I like the idea and I think I can easily fill the required 60 cards with mathematical symbols. :)

      • Botheration. That’s the trouble with a blog; you generally have no editor and you keep winding up rushing – and so the typos and copy-paste errors abound.

        And it’s not particularly silly; who thinks about making cards when you can just rummage in a drawer for some?

      • You know, looking at the Number Lords restrictions… Wouldn’t the immense amount of complications qualify them for Specialized AND Corrupted?

        I know that that’s normally a bad idea, especially since the Numbers already have specialized and corrupted abilities in some instances… but these restrictions are really rough.

      • It might in a conventional setting, but their limitations mostly come down to “no magical or psionic items” (which are not particularly important in the Manifold anyway since they so often do not work) and “Can’t go places where their powers do not work”. “Horrifying” and “Insane”… doesn’t really limit them all that much in the setting.

        Secondarily, of course, they’re unplayably crazy, are only suitable for being NPC’s, and adding Corrupted wouldn’t actually reduce their level adjustment; they’d just be a low +1 instead of a high +1. In game terms it wasn’t worth the trouble unless I needed to squeeze a little more into the template – and it already seemed to work.

  2. […] it’s channeling abilities by actually buying abilities it enjoyed or go the way of the Number Lords (which it was somewhat inspired by) and obtain massive amounts of […]

  3. […] Other than that, there doesn’t seem to be too much to talk about that isn’t already mentioned in the book. So instead, I’ll talk about what you can do with it. And so I come to the prime example of Hexcrafting: The Number Lords. […]

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