Readings from the Vault

   The setting was straightforward enough:

   The broadcasts had spread, the wavefront expanding at the speed of light, rippling past the nearest – uninhabited – worlds to at last be hard by alien ears. Little attention was paid to yet another young civilization – until early television broadcasts were received and decoded.

   After that, the aliens came to Earth. Not for its water or air, not because it was rich in natural resources or beauty, not to devour its population, not because of its peoples art or intellectual accomplishments, and not for it’s women – at least in most cases. The galaxy was filled with such things. The mediocre attractions of an unremarkable primitive world were nothing special. Earth didn’t have space travel, weird alien powers, or exceptional attributes.

   But to each race, its own special advantage.

   Humans were Cool. Far cooler than any other species in the galaxy.

   That wasn’t too important to the dorky elders of the galaxy.

   To the younger aliens – the nascent adults, each attempting to build his, her, or its own identity and social network – Cool was VITAL.

   And so Earth – and especially its High Schools – were overrun with Teenagers from Outer Space.

   Teenagers from Outer Space – at least in the older edition I happen to have – didn’t have much of a rules system, It didn’t really need one of course. When most of the “conflicts” involve nothing more than persuading parents to let you spend a weekend out, or finding a way to buy beer from a store clerk despite being underage, you don’t need a lot of charts and modifiers. You could fight things, but it was impossible to actually be injured; at the very most, you could be knocked unconscious for a bit. No big need for details there either, even if it did mean that the hall monitors could use bazookas on troublesome kids.

   So aliens got some weird powers, humans got coolness and some social advantages, ane everyone got to play with random weird science gizmos. In general, a good time was had by all.

   So lets say you want to make such a character for your local d20 game. How would you go about it using Eclipse?

   Well let’s see what we’ll need to buy.

  • Immunity/Social Expectations. Our teenagers can get away with violating all kinds of social expectations and minor laws without penalty, simply by being so cool (whether you call that being calm, suave, or self-assured) that everyone assumes that those rules don’t apply to him or her (Very Common, Minor, Trivial, 4 CP).
  • Privilege/Popularity. Our teenagers get invited to all kinds of parties and social events (3 CP).
  • Privilege/Allowance. Our teenagers are supported by their relatives. They don’t have to worry about basic expenses, owning a mount or vehicle (even if it is a clunker), or similar items (3 CP).
  • Extraordinary Returning (12 CP). Our teenagers are nearly impossible to kill. They have a tendency to emerge from vehicle crashes slightly dazed, they dive behind a coffee table which – quite miraculously – shields them from the detonating tactical nuke, and the massed machine-gun fire inflicts nothing but flesh wounds. In really extreme cases, it turns out that the one that just fell into the black hole was actually a clone. As a rule, the first time that they ought to be killed in a given session, they’ll emerge relatively unharmed. The second time, it’s off to the hospital (or local equivalent) for some time and some minor trouble that will stick with them for the rest of the session. The third time… well, three strikes and you’re out. If they intentionally go for a heroic self-sacrifice it counts as two strikes, but they do get a free kiss from their love interest (if any).
  • Our teenagers get to meddle randomly with Weird Science. That requires:
    • Double Enthusiast, Specialized for Double Effect/Only to provide CP for the creation of Relics (6 CP). This lets our teenagers have up to four points of relics at any one time.
    • Create Relic, Specialized and Corrupted/only for use with points from Enthusiast, requires an Int check with a DC set by the game master to pull off, and all relics created must be Specialized and Corrupted in their turn – with the limitations of Undependable Results, Erratic Side Effects, and Prone to Unpredictable Breakdowns (2 CP).
  • Finally, we’ll give them +2 Contacts – their Parents. These bothersome people will always be on their offspring’s side, even if they will randomly embarrass them by talking about their infancy, feel entitled to give them chores and snoop into their personal affairs, and are impossibly straight-laced (2 CP).

   That’s a total of 32 CP – a nice, simple, +1 ECL Template that can be applied to a creature of pretty much any race.

   But wait! What about the weird powers that the alien kids had, or the wealth, toughness, or other more subtle abilities that were reserved for the kids from earth?

   Remember, this is d20 – and Eclipse d20 at that. All kinds of powers and advantages are available – but they weren’t universal in the setting, so they aren’t part of the template. You simply need to go ahead and buy them on an individual basis. Personally, to fit the theme, I’d recommend using things like Innate Enchantment, the Path of the Dragon, or simply buying plenty of Bonus Uses. Characters in this genre generally only have a few powers, but rarely exhaust their ability to use them.

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