The Toller of the Darkness

   Here’s a quick special request: a fifth-level “Warlock” style build for Eclipse, to be used in a mixed game with other standard characters.

   Now, I hope the requestor meant a 3.5-style Warlock, and not a Bewitched-style Warlock with powers restrained only by general incompetence and the whims of scriptwriters: that would be considerably harder to manage.

   Warlock-style magic provides the ability to employ a very limited number of abilities with a limited theme, but allows them to be used as often as desired. In Eclipse, “unlimited use” usually means Innate Enchantment or some version of the Path of the Dragon – and is something to be watched fairly carefully. After all, there are plenty of effects available which – with unlimited use – can easily unbalance a game or disrupt the setting. That’s why there are cautionary notes about those abilities.

   Now, for a build like this, we need a theme: lets call it… “Powers of Darkness”, covering a variety of damaging, life-draining, and deception-related effects. The characters higher-level powers may stretch that theme a bit, but that’s nothing unusual.

   Available Character Points: 144 (Level Five Base) +5 (+1/Level Restriction/Characters with inherent dark powers are widely feared and considered suspect) = 149 CP. The character’s also entitled to a couple of Feats – worth another 12 CP – but I have no idea what the character might need, so I’ll leave those open for now. Similarly, no Disadvantages have been used: those could provide another 10 CP (similar to several other systems of providing modest bonuses in exchange for some drawbacks) – but I don’t know if the game will be using that sort of thing, and it wouldn’t be fair to let one character have them while the rest can’t take them.

   So lets spend a few points:

   Basics (71 CP).

  • Five six-sided Hit Dice (10 CP).
  • 16 Skill Points (16 CP).
  • +3 BAB (18 CP).
  • +6 on Saves (18 CP). Put that where you like; in Eclipse there’s no need to adhere to a specified progression.
  • Proficiency with Simple Weapons and Light Armor with the Smooth Modifier (9 CP).

   Special Abilities (10 CP).

  • Occult Sense/Detect Magic (6 CP).
  • Damage Reduction 2/Cold Iron (Specialized and Corrupted/, physical only, not versus Cold Iron, 1 CP). That’s actually one point higher than the build we’re emulating would normally have at fifth level – but we can’t get any cheaper than one point, so there’s no point in applying any additional limitations. Would it be closer to the theme to make the vulnerability “Silver” instead of Cold Iron? It doesn’t change the cost any, so that would be up to the player – although it should be one or the other. Everyone knows that creatures of dark magic are vulnerable to one of the two – and if a weakness is too obscure for anyone to target, it doesn’t count.
  • Mastery (may “take 10” under pressure), Specialized/Only for Use Magic Device (3 CP).

   Natural Magic (49 CP).

  • Five Specialized Caster Levels (for the Path of the Dragon only, 15 CP).
  • Path of the Dragon: Shaping (6 CP), with Pulse of the Dragon I (6 CP), and Heart of the Dragon II (6+12 CP for up to L1 spells) all Specialized and Corrupted for triple effect (allowing spell-like effects of up to level three)/must get the game masters permission and buy individual effects separately as per buying spontaneously-cast spells, must have a caster level, can be physically restrained from casting them, and all effects must adhere to a specialized theme, and they are subject to arcane spell failure chances for armor. Saves are (10 + Cha Mod + Effective Spell Level).
    • Those are a lot of limitations – but we are looking for triple effect here, which is quite a power boost. Ergo, a lot of limitations are quite appropriate.
  • Currently-Known Spell-Like Effects (10 CP): Dread Blast (2 CP), The Tongue of the Deceiver (4 CP), Eyes of the Darkness (2 CP), and Visions From The Darkness (2 CP).

   Call of Darkness:

  • Conjuration, L2, Components: V, S, Casting Time: One standard action, Range: 60′, Target: One Creature, Duration: Instantaneous, Save: None, Spell Resistance: Yes
  • Call of Darkness is a ranged touch attack which causes 1d6 typeless damage plus 1d6 additional damage at levels 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 14, 17, 20, and 24, to creatures. Objects suffer only half damage, but Call of Darkness increases in effective spell level as far as absorption effects and penetrating effects such as a Globe of Invulnerability go, becoming equivalent to a spell of (Caster Level/2, Nine Maximum) for such purposes.

   The Tongue of the Deceiver:

  • Divination, L2, Components: V, S, Casting Time: One standard action, Range: Personal, Target: You, Duration: One Hour Per Caster Level (D). (Using the Skill Mastery spell template from The Practical Enchanter)
  • The Tongue of the Deceiver provides the caster with a +7 Competence Bonus on Charisma-Based Skills.
    • To liven things up a little, The Tongue of the Deceiver includes a secondary effect (OK, so that’s really just spending another two character points to buy another formula and putting them both under the same name); it’s user can also cast Suggestion.

   Visions From The Darkness:

  • OK, this is only Major Image (Level Three and 2 CP) – but it has a nifty thematic name and definitely falls under powers of darkness and deception.

   Eyes of the Darkness:

  • Divination, Level: 3, Components: V, S, Range: Personal, Target: You, Duration: One Hour per Caster Level (D).
  • Eyes of the Darkness combines Darkvision and See Invisibility. Since one of those is personal, the combination is also personal. Presumably “seeing by darkness” is different enough – thanks to its extra-dimensional components – so that invisibility effects don’t entirely work against it. That could be seen as a thin justification, but that’s really all we need. It is magic after all.

   Now, that requires a total of 130 character points, leaving nineteen left over. That’s because – unlike the spell progression of a Sorcerer or Druid – the cost of each step along the Path of the Dragon increases as you want access to higher level effects. A Warlock-style character will have extra points early on, but will be a bit short of them later.

   To stick with the original warlock build, we’ll want to put those points somewhere which will make sense at lower levels and which we’d be buying at higher levels anyway – which will let us effectively recover those points at higher levels to buy the advanced powers.

   The obvious place to do that is in the “Basics” section. Ergo, those nineteen points can go into an extra +1 BAB (6 CP), +3 on a save (if we’re using the standard distribution – +1/+1/+4 for two poor saves and one good one – that can effectively give us two good saves for the moment for a cost of 9 CP), and +4 Skill Points (4 CP). All of those are things the character would probably be buying later anyway – either to stick with the original build or because they’re being required to use the adventurer template – so when the time comes around, the character will simply skip spending points on those things and spend them on upgrading his or her powers.

   Now, if we have to match higher-powered builds from later sourcebooks, we may want to get those disadvantages, and take the points from the two Feats, and stuff those twenty-two points into things like a larger first-level hit die, Adept (to reduce the cost of a few chosen skills), some additional formula, and perhaps some special defenses. Twenty-two points won’t go all that far on things like that – but it’s enough to pick up a few special edges.

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2 Responses

  1. I’m attempting to make a level by level breakdown of the Warlock and I came up with a question.
    What does triple effect for Shaping actually do?

    Heart of the Dragon is what allows for higher level spell effects, so could I save 4 cp by having shaping be corrupted and specialized for cost instead of effect?

    I plan on spread the cost of the higher level Path of the Dragon effects over several levels by first purchasing them specialized and corrupted for cost at first and then upgrading them to effect.

    I’m doing this as a bit of a training exercise to figure out how to use Eclipse as I hope to be running a campaign with it soon.

    • You could indeed get away with saving 4 CP that way (if the game master is willing to let you). Shaping does have to be in there, since it is a prerequisite – but it doesn’t necessarily have to do much.

      As I recall, the “triple effect” on the shaping here was used by the player to make it a source of free, no-action-required, semi-automatic “special effects” – mostly for style. Does your firemage want to leave behind scorch marks when he or she touches wooden objects, light his or her pipe with a snap of his fingers, and have his eyes emit smoke and flames when he or she is annoyed? For just a few CP you can have all of that sort of thing that you want.

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