Serpent Masters II – Marhandur the Son of the Serpent

   In Eclipse, the same power package can be used as the core of radically different characters. Here we have another character based on the Serpent Mastery package: Marhandur the Son of the Serpent. As with Ifhitel the Assassin and Chandia the Snakewitch from yesterday, his race has not been specified; simply add in the modifiers for whatever race you select.

   Available Character Points: 144 (level five base) +10 (disadvantages) +12 (duties) +18 (L1, L3, and L6 Bonus Feats) = 208 CP.

   Of those 86 are already assigned to the Serpent Mastery package. I’ll also gratuitously assign 6 CP specialized in Hit Dice (for double effect) to Fast Learner. That gives our Serpent Masters a base d6 hit die and leaves 116 CP to assign.

   Marhandur the Son of the Serpent

   Most “mysterious” pregnancies are pretty straightforward. Other times there are dragons, spirits, or godlings involved, and there isn’t much a parent can do. It’s just another one of those lotteries of living in a magical world – and the kid is your daughter’s child and your grandchild, regardless of parentage.

   They’re usually raised as well as possible. You don’t need a supernatural parent taking offense, and you don’t need the kid – who may well grow into his or her supernatural heritage or become a mighty adventurer of some type – getting upset with you either. Sometimes a dark heritage is just too strong, but it’s always best to try to raise a guardian instead of a scourge upon the realm..

   Marhandur’s father was never definitely identified, but the early signs of his supernatural heritage were all too obvious. The… things that came from nowhere to protect him when bandits attacked the village when he was a small child were even more obvious.

   His mother and grandparents signed him up for militia training early – and at twelve he readily killed a rampaging bear that attacked him and some of his friends while they were gathering fruit in the woods.

   While no one knew whether the boy was going to be a force of light or darkness, it was pretty obvious that he was going to be a hero. They did not stand in his way when he decided to join a passing group of adventurers a few years later – and the adventurers had no objections to being joined by a blossoming warrior-mage.

   Marhandur is primarily a warrior, but the dark power of the Serpent Masters runs in blood (which might be a good reason for some pursuers; it might be a valuable component in some rituals) and – at times of great peril – sometimes blazes up as a dark inner fire. At least at the moment, he is a hero, and stands with his fellow adventurers against the forces of darkness – but he often finds it hard to resist the rage and dark pragmatism which seems to be a part of his birthright.

   Militia Training Package Deal (Free):

   Most villages will get a retired warrior, guardsman, or the local lord to provide some basic combat training for any of the local youngsters who show an interest – or who don’t show any others. That differs somewhat from classical medieval society, but d20 worlds have a lot more in the way of random menaces floating about than the classical medieval world did. Militia Training won’t make anyone an expert combatant, but it does provide a solid base to build on – and new guards and soldiers have to come from someplace. Of course, when the village is threatened, the troops are called up, or there’s trouble in the streets, the militia-trained are expected to deal with it.

   Militia Training provides Proficiency with Light Armor, Shields, and All Simple Weapons (totaling 9 CP) plus a Specialized version of Legionary (only usable with other people with the Militia Training package, 3 CP). Characters with Militia Training are expected to help deal with all kinds of menaces.

   That’s a very straightforward package, and valuable to almost any low-level warrior type, since they’d be buying most of those things anyway. While the Legionary ability won’t be a lot of use unless there are several other militia-trained characters in the party, for another 3 CP you can either eliminate the specialization or double the effect – which can make fighting as a team well worthwhile.

    -From the Village Heroes package deals series: Part I and Part II.

   Basic Attributes: Str 16 (18) (+4), Dex 14 (16) (+3), Con 14 (16) (+3), Int 10 (+0), Wis 12 (+1), and Cha 12 (14) (+2). (32 Point Buy).

   Basic Abilities (84 CP):

  • Hit Points: 20 (L1 d12, 14 CP) +32 (L2-6 d8, 10 CP) +12 (Magic) +18 (6 x Con Mod) = 82 (usually effectively 76, with six invested in his Relic).
  • BAB +6 (36 CP)
  • Saves:
    • Fortitude: +2 (Purchased, 6 CP) +3 (Con) +5 (Resistance*) = +10
    • Reflex: +4 (Purchased, 12 CP) +3 (Dex) +5 (Resistance*) = +12
    • Will: +0 (Purchased, 0 CP) +1 (Wis) +5 (Resistance*) = +6
  • Proficient with Light Armor and Shields (from package deal, 0 CP) and All Simple and Martial Weapons (6 CP after package deal).

   *Marhandur usually uses his Blood-Serpent Sigil to maintain Greater Warding Rune (from The Practical Enchanter), providing that resistance bonus.

   Combat Basics:

  • Initiative: +3
  • Armor Class: 10 (Base) +3 (Dex) +6 (+1 Breastplate) = 19
  • Melee Attack Base: +10/+5 (+6 BAB +3 Str +1 Morale), +4 Damage (+3 Str +1 Morale)
  • Ranged Attack Base: +10/+5 (+6 BAB +3 Dex +1 Morale), +1 Damage (Morale).

   If Martial Arts skills are in use, he’ll have at least one.

   Other Abilities (110 CP):

  • Fast Learner, Specialized in Hit Dice, for a base 1d6/level (6 CP).
  • Serpent Mastery Package (86 CP). For him, I’ll make this is Charisma-based.
  • Available spell levels/day: 37, Non-Path Spells: Magic Weapon (L1), Darkvision (L2), Fireball (of nifty-looking black fire, L3), and Greater Warding Rune (L3).

   It’s pretty obvious that some sort of outsider-heritage template would normally be in order. Unfortunately, Marhandur doesn’t have any spare levels to use to pay for that, so I’ll just have to spend a few points on special abilities derived from his supernatural parentage. Those abilities will also need to be generic enough to work well with pretty much any race – and should probably be fairly potent; a character who’s splitting his efforts between melee and spellcasting will have trouble enough already. I’ll call this little package the…

   Dark Fire of the Blood (18 CP Total):

  • Berserker with Odinpower and Odinmight: +6 to Base Caster Level, +6 to Base Attack Bonus, +4 Charisma, and +2 Constitution. Specialized and Corrupted/can only be activated when Marhandur is facing a serious menace and the game master approves (4 CP).
    • That gives the game master a quick power-up button for Marhandur; when things really look grim, and the game master thinks it’s appropriate, Marhandur’s supernatural heritage will flare up – and he’ll suddenly gain better attacks, access to higher-level spells, and even a few extra spell levels to power them with thanks to that boosted charisma. That may not always be enough, but it can still be pretty handy.
  • Innate Enchantment: All powers Spell Level Zero (½) or One x Caster Level One x 2000 GP for Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x .7 Personal Use Only. Unless otherwise specified, that gives the powers in this package an effective cost of 700 GP for cantrips and 1400 GP for first-level spells.
    • The Turtle’s Shell: L1, the target is considered proficient with whatever armor or shield he or she happens to be wearing.
    • Immortal Vigor I: Provides two bonus d6 hit dice. As an unlimited-use effect, the rolls are both treated as sixes.
    • Inspiring Word: Provides a +1 Morale Bonus to Attacks, Checks, Damage, and Saves.
    • +2 each Enhancement Bonus to Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, and Charisma. (5600 GP value total). Sadly, this will not stack with external enhancement bonuses.
    • Insights of Darkness: True Strike, True Save, True Skill, and True Dodge once per day each (cost x.2 for once per day, but these are already personal-only, so the x.7 for that does not apply. 1600 GP effective cost).
      • 11,400 GP worth of Innate Enchantments would normally cost 12 CP, but these are Specialized. They make his supernatural heritage blatantly obvious, will cause a good deal of suspicion, draw enemies of his supernatural parent, and may get him sent on various quests. Being the offspring of a supernatural being isn’t all (or even mostly) gravy. That reduces the cost to (6 CP).
  • Immunity/Dispelling and Antimagic (Common, Minor, Major, Specialized and Corrupted/only protects innate enchantments that provide personal augmentations, 2 CP). At this value, this protects against dispelling effects through level five – but a full antimagic sphere or higher-level effects can disrupt his abilities. Fortunately for him, he shouldn’t be encountering many of those at level five, and can simply buy this ability up a bit later on.
  • Immunity/the normal XP cost of Innate Enchantments (Uncommon, Minor, Trivial [only covers first level effects at caster level one], Specialized/only to cover these initial abilities, 1 CP).
  • Enthusiast, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect (provides three CP)/only for creating relics, requires an elaborate ritual and the investment of two hit points worth of his blood which cannot be recovered until the relic is unmade per CP invested in the relic (3 CP).
  • Create Relic, Specialized and Corrupted/only for creating personal relics with his Enthusiast points, requires a good deal of his blood, always draws various troublesome creatures (2 CP).

   That’s a fairly effective little package, if a relatively subtle one. Marhandur will be just a little bit more than human from very early on. Unfortunately, most of those abilities will not stack with later enhancements – but they will be very convenient at lower levels.

   The Blood-Serpent Sigil (3 CP Relic):

   As a youngster, Marhandur was seriously clawed across one arm in the fight with the bear. His supernaturally-charged blood flowed down his arm – bathing a trinket – prize from a traveling entertainer’s wagon, a copper ring inscribed with “mystic symbols”.

   Within that crimson flow, shaped by instinct, and perhaps by some parental influence, that simple band changed into a thing of ebony and ruby, a sigil of a twisting serpent.

   Marhandur has – more consciously – poured his blood into a few other temporary devices since, but he still usually comes back to calling forth the Blood-Serpent Sigil in the end. He’s used to it.

  • Master Block/Melee, Corrupted/only while holding a sword (8 CP). Allows him to make a DC 15 Reflex save, and expend his Attack of Opportunity for the round, to block a successful melee attack – reducing it’s effect by up to sixty points to a minimum of zero.
  • Path of the Dragon: Shaping, Pulse of the Dragon, Heart of the Dragon, Blood of the Dragon, and the Dragon’s Bones, plus Finesse/uses Con Mod in place of Int Mod for The Dragon’s Bones, all Specialized and Corrupted/only for sustaining one spell at a time (12 CP).

   The Blood-Serpent Sigil is a useful little toy – and one well-calculated to make its user more likely to survive.


  • Skill Points: 14 (CP Spent) +0 (Int) = 14.

   Well, Marhandur can max out a single skill – probably a martial art if those are in use in the game – and scatter the remaining five skill points around elsewhere so as to avoid being TOTALLY incompetent. If it fits in the campaign, a race with skill bonuses, or extra skill points, might be a good idea. He does get that +1 Morale Bonus bonus on his checks, but that really isn’t enough to pretend to be skilled at much.

   Marhandur isn’t the most powerful of melee fighters, or the best of spellcasters, or even the most resilient character in the universe (although he is pretty durable). He is, however, pretty decent at all of those things – and is, by the standards of most classical mythology, a creditable up-and-coming little godling.

   Of course, it’s pretty much inevitable that his father has plans for him – and his companions are likely to be dragged into things as well.

   For future development, he’ll probably want to get rid of a few limitations, get some Luck and Reflex actions, and continue as he has been. It’s a bit late for him to focus on developing combat tricks, or spells outside of his natural Serpent Mastery – but softening up opponents with a few summoned serpents before moving into melee should keep him reasonably effective.


One Response

  1. […] Marhandur the Son of the Serpent. A would-be hero with a dark heritage and some inherent supernatural gifts. […]

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