Mutants of the Eclipse Part XVIII – Guardians and Monotalents

   To continue with Mutants in Eclipse, here we have The Guardian at Class-I, II, and III, for a +1, +2, and +3 ECL modifier and Monotalents in a broad selection of classes. As usual, “mutant powers” are built using Unlimited-Use Use-Activated Innate Enchantments – at an effective base “Cost” of (Spell Level x Casting Level x 2000 GP x Modifiers).

   The Guardian can generate powerful defenses – whether in the form of walls, bubbles, armor, or shields. Sometimes those defenses are personal only, just as often they can be used to protect others.

   This is a popular notion, but it really doesn’t work all that well even in the source material. After all, unless you’re giving up on conflict as a source of excitement and tension, the opponents have to be able to get past the Guardian’s abilities. How can they do that?

  • They can prevent the Guardian from getting to the fight. Now that’s spectacularly unexciting. Do they sabotage the Guardian’s car, drug his or her breakfast cereal, or simply send some minions to intercept him or her? How do they know to do this? In a game setting, how do you keep the player from blowing up when he or she doesn’t actually get to play?
  • They can use attacks which bypass the Guardians abilities. That’s fine once in awhile, but if you keep using the gag, the Guardian might as well not be there. Also none too exciting.
  • They can overwhelm the Guardians abilities, either by blasting straight through their defenses or by wearing them away. The trouble with this is that – if they can just overwhelm the Guardian – he or she is just another damage sponge, and it gets to be hard to figure out why the opposition can’t simply blast everyone once the Guardian goes down.
  • They can get past the Guardians abilities by coming in from an angle that’s not currently covered. The net effect of this approach? Opponents have harder time hitting the Guardian and any others that he or she can defend. More advanced Guardians can also erect barriers, which can provide cover in ranged combat. This is one of the more common approaches, and works pretty well – but it does lose some flavor in d20 melee, where there are no rules for facing and so it simply equates to “a higher armor class”.
  • They can attack while the defenses are down – usually because, while the Guardian can provide a near-perfect defense, it prevents anyone using it from attacking. For this approach, you basically want the ability to generate a Wall of Force that requires concentration to maintain.

   Ergo, the Class-I Guardian gets:

  • Force Armor II, providing a +6 Armor bonus to AC (Level Two Spell x Caster Level Three x 2000 GP for Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x .7 Personal Only = 8400 GP).
  • Force Shield II, providing a +6 Armor bonus to AC (Level Two Spell x Caster Level Three x 2000 GP for Unlimited-Use Use-Activated = 12,000 GP). Note that this is a personal-only effect which CANNOT be used to protect others.
  • That leaves them with 11,600 GP left to spend – enough to purchase any one Minor Mutant package, or for their choice of eight minor abilities from one of the other lists – although I’d suggest using the one for the Stealth Expert.
  • Since they can’t afford any major offensive powers, the Class-I Guardian usually relies on weapons or enhanced martial arts skills for their attacks.

   The Class-II Guardian adds:

  • Wall of Force (a level-three variant that requires concentration, can be overloaded with sufficient force, and which – if overloaded – requires that the user make a fortitude save, rolling an 25+ to avoid being stunned for a round, 20+ to avoid fatigue and 15+ to avoid being knocked out. (Spell Level Three x Caster Level Five x 2000 GP for Unlimited-Use Use-Activated = 30,000 GP).
  • Any one additional minor enhancement (1400 GP).

   A Class-III Guardian:

  • Upgrades the Force Armor ability to allow it to be used on other people (+3600 GP).
  • Upgrades the Force Shield ability to a level three effect, which can be used on others in the immediate vicinity (+18,000 GP).
  • Gains Immortal Vigor II, from The Practical Enchanter, for +(24 + 4 x Con Mod) Hit Points (Spell Level Two x Caster Level Three x 2000 GP for Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x .7 Personal Only = 8400 GP).
  • Gains a +5 Competence Bonus on Fortitude Saves related to their Wall of Force ability (Sidestep, from The Practical Enchanter, Spell Level One x Caster Level One x 2000 GP for Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x .7 Personal Only = 1400 GP).

   A Class-III Guardian is generally a welcome addition to a group – but STILL usually isn’t especially exciting to play. On the other hand, a combination package like Guardian-I and Stealth Expert-I makes an excellent striker.

   Monotalents are pretty simple; they have a single major ability and – perhaps – a few minor personal enhancements to fill out their Innate Enchantment allowance. It’s usually best to look at the Paragon lists for that; those are relatively subtle and keep the focus on the Monotalents single power – right where it belongs.

   Monotalent abilities pretty much always conform to the basic (Spell Level x Caster Level x 2000 GP for Unlimited-Use Use Activated) formula. Some of them have restrictions though – such as a transmutor who can only affect non-living matter – which reduces their cost. Still, that’s usually a pretty straightforward calculation.

  • Class-I: Use of a level three effect, such as Fireball, Protection from Energy, Stinking Cloud, and Summon Psychic Construct, at caster level five (30,000 GP), plus any one minor enhancement.
  • Class-II: Use of a single level four effect, such as Contagion, Enervation, Greater Invisibility, Phantasmal Killer, Polymorph, Summon Psychic Construct, or Stone Shape, at caster level seven (56,000 GP) and any six minor enhancements.
  • Class-III: Use of a single level five effect, such as Baleful Polymorph, Cloudkill, Fabricate, Magic Jar, Plane Shift, Teleport, True Seeing, Summon Psychic Construct, or Wall of Force at caster level nine (90,000 GP), plus any four minor enhancements.
  • Class-V: Use of a single level six effect, such as Animate Objects, Antimagic Field, Disintegrate, Summon Psychic Construct, or Flesh to Stone, at caster level eleven (132,000 GP) plus any 28,000 GP worth of lesser abilities.
  • Class-VI: Use of a single level seven effect, such as Greater Teleport, Plane shift, Summon Psychic Construct, or Spell Turning, at caster level thirteen (182,000 GP), plus 10,000 GP worth of other abilities.
  • Class-VIII: Use of a single level eight effect, such as Greater Prying Eyes, Iron Body, Maze, Summon Psychic Construct, or Polymorph Any Object, at caster level fifteen (240,000 GP), plus 16,000 GP worth of other abilities.
  • Class-X: Use of a single ninth level effect, such as Power Word Kill, Shapechange, Teleportation Circle, Summon Psychic Construct, or Time Stop at caster level seventeen (306,000 GP), plus 14,000 GP worth of other enhancements.

   A high-order, reasonably versatile, monotalent can be quite interesting. Something like Summon Psychic Construct or Polymorph Any Object has a lot of applications. Fireball, however, is pretty specific – and unlimited use of something like Stinking Cloud tends to turn the character into a bad joke. That’s one reason why lower-grade Monotalents are most commonly seen as henchmen and one-shot villains; they’re easy to run, usually fairly easy to defeat, and easy to come up with.

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