The Prophecy is an ancient and mighty force, which twists chance to it’s purpose.
It sees with the near-omniscient eyes of the divine.
It is eons-old, and powerful, and it is known in ten thousand forms.
At the End of Days a Child shall be born; a Son of Darkness born of Woman.
When the Destroyer is grown to Manhood, he shall open the Gates of the Abyss.
The Darkness will Come Forth, and For a Time It will Reign over all the Earth.
Great and Terrible shall be it’s Reign!
But it’s Time shall Pass.
The Eternal Light will overcome the Darkness; it’s Fall will be Terrible, and Without End.
Then shall the Earth pass into the Eternal Light, to Know the Darkness nevermore.
The Dark Lords are not fools.
The Light holds the advantage now, and will for the foreseeable future – for many ages to come.
If the End Times come while that holds true, their power over the mortal realms – and perhaps their very immortal existences – will be forfeit.
The Prophecy is indeed old, and well-informed, and powerful.
But anything can be subverted.
There have been many Sons of Darkness, for they SHALL be born.
The Rituals of Summoners, the lusts of the Dark Lords, and the Prophecy itself ensure THAT.
But never yet has one grown into the Destroyer.
If the Lords of Darkness can delay long enough, perhaps – just perhaps – the tide will turn, and the final, eternal, victory at the End of Days shall be theirs.
The Children of Darkness are difficult to slay, especially in the Mortal Worlds where the Powers of Darkness reach is limited – and to assault them directly would give the game away.
Still, those born of Woman must choose the Darkness of their own free wills.
It is easy enough to harass the Children of Darkness – who are also the Children of Rebellion and Defiance – enough to turn them to the Light.
And what is another minor – and gravely flawed – foe added to the tremendous strength of the Light when the ranks of the Darkness grow far more swiftly?
If that is self-deception – a lie that the Darkness tells itself – than so be it.
Zachary was a healthy, brilliant, and mischievous child – and was apprenticed to one of the local alchemists early on. Despite the efforts of his teachers and the relatives who’d taken him in after the tragic death of his mother, he just showed too much of a knack for concocting little hexes and things that blew up, melted, or otherwise disrupted life, to be left untrained.
Still, that wasn’t a bad career – and he certainly had a knack for it.
Things changed when he was thirteen. His powers came into full operation (adding the Firewight, Infernal Ward, Rending Talons, Speed of Night, and the full potency of his Demonic Endurance to the less-conspicuous enhancements that had operated since his birth) and brought his inherent spells under conscious control.
Of course, it also brought out his modest horns, fangs, and talons, serpentine tail, and crimson eyes. This was a shock. So was the immediate, blatant, and rather crude demonic attempt to “recruit” him – to which he did not react well at all.
He wasn’t meant to; the tempter-minions of the Lords of Darkness had mastered psychology long ages past. Manipulating a thirteen-year-old – even a very clever one, like most Darkchilde’ were – was no trouble at all.
Unfortunately, he did not believe that the neighbors, the master alchemist he was apprenticed to, or even his relatives, would react at all well to the revelation of what his errant mother had borne a child to – possibly with good reason. He wasn’t sure that he – or his mere presence – might not be a threat to them.
Fortunately, even twenty minutes of a purposeful magical disguise (as opposed to the times in his younger years when other people had seen him getting into mischief but somehow hadn’t seemed to recognize him) more than sufficed to get him out of the house, and past the city gates, without attracting a hue and cry.
There aren’t too many acceptable occupations for a demonic half-breed – so “adventurer” it is. One of these days, later on when he’s a lot stronger, he hopes to find his fiendish father and give him a good poke in the eye.
Darkchilde’, Runaway Apprentice, Alchemist, Possible harbinger of the Apocalypse
Race: Darkchilde’. Inherent Spells are Disguise Self and Hypnotism, 16 Personal Mana. Darkvision, DR 2/-, Energy Resistance 10, reduce falling damage by ten points.
Available Character Points: 24 (Level zero base) +10 (Disadvantages: Broke, Hunted/the forces of Darkness, Accursed/trouble magnet) +6 (Racial Bonus Feat) = 40 CP.
Basic Attributes: Str 10 (+0), Dex 18 (20) (+5), Con 14 (+2), Int 16 (20) (+5), Wis 12 (+1), and Cha 14 (16) (+3). Rolled: 18, 16, 14, 14, 12, 10. Racial Adjustments: +2 Cha, +2 Dex, +4 Int.
Basic Abilities (8 CP):
Hit Dice: 2 CP to upgrade his basic (3+Con Mod HP) for level zero to (1d4 +Con Mod). When he hits level one, this will convert to a base d6 (6) plus any additional die size increases he buys then.
Hit Points: 4 (base d4 HD) +12 (Immortal Vigor) +6 (3x Con Mod) = 22
Fortitude: +0 (Purchased, 0 CP)
Reflex: +1 (Purchased, 3 CP)
Will: +0 (Purchased, 0 CP)
Proficient with: All Simple Weapons (3 CP).
Base Attack Bonus: +1, Specialized in Natural Weapons and Unarmed Combat (3 CP).
Initiative: +3 Dex
Move: 30 (Base) +30 (Circumstance) +30 (Enhancement) = 90
Armor Class: 10 (Base) +4 (Shield) +3 (Dex) +2 (Leather Armor) =19
Natural Weapons (Claws): +5/+5/+5 (+4 BAB/Weapons Master +1 BAB Purchased +0 Str, Personal Haste), Damage 1d8, Crit 20/x2.
Flame: +5 (+0 BAB +5 Dex), 1d6+1, Crit 20/x2, 120′ Ranged Touch Attack.
Purchased Abilities (24 CP):
Fast Learner, Specialized in Skills for +2 SP/Level (6 CP).
Adept, buys Craft/Alchemy, Knowledge/Arcana, Search, and Use Magic Device at half cost (6 CP).
Rune Magic/Magician (Intelligence), Specialized/only allows the use of first-level bonus spell slots (3 CP). This allows him to use his two first-level bonus spell slots for working Rune Magic. He’ll want to buy off that specialization later on though.
Mystic Alchemy (9 CP Total): A good Alchemist can make various minor items without spending XP or money. While that means that they’re inherently temporary, that doesn’t make them any less useful. This is purchased as…
Double Enthusiast: Specialized and Corrupted for triple effect (6 floating CP)/can only be changed with a trunk full of alchemical gear given a day or two or a satchel full given a week or so (and thus usually only between adventures), only usable to buy “Innate Spell”, “Occult Talent”, and similar magical gifts (6 CP).
Create Relic, Specialized/only to make limited-use items costing no more than 3 CP each (3 CP). Unfortunately, this doesn’t bypass the level requirements for using innate spells, so low-level alchemists may have to wait a bit before they can start blowing things up – unless the game master feels like letting them. With three hit dice, Zachary can currently produce second level effects this way at an effective caster level of three.
The items themselves are normally bought “Specialized/does not recover” for half cost.
A currently-typical selection might include:
Pouch of Fire Dust. Inherent Spell/Flaming Sphere, +4 Bonus Uses (six total), 1 CP.
Pouch of Flash Powder. Inherent Spells/Burning Hands and Fireworks/Color Spray with +4 Bonus Uses (six each), 1 CP.
Minor Scrolls: Improved Occult Talent, Corrupted: Slots must be preset, Effect x 1.5 (7x L0, 5x L1 spells in total). For a sample list, this would cover scrolls of Light, Message, Detect Magic (x2), Read Magic, Create Water, Mage Hand, Magic Missile, Silent Image, Obscuring Mist, Entangle, and Sleep. (1 CP).
Curative Ointment. Healing Touch with Bonus Uses (5 doses that Cure the user’s [Chr Mod x Level HP]) and Improved/Switch/Empower with Bonus Uses (4+Level/3 total uses of Remove Disease, Remove Blindness/Deafness, Cure Serious Wounds, Remove Curse, Neutralize Poison, and Restoration). 3 CP.
Fortunately, you don’t have to know spells to take them as inherent powers. And yes, this is part of the Alchemy package from Professor Arcane: there’s no reason not to reuse a pre-built element that fits.
Skill Points: 8 (CP Spent) +15 (Int) +6 (Fast Learner) =29
|Escape Artist*||Au||3||+3||+4R +3C||+13|
|Jump||—||—||+0||+10 Cir +24 Move||+34|
|Sleight of Hand*||Au||3||+3||+4R+3C||+13|
|Use Magic Device#||1||3||+3||+3C||+9|
*Thanks to his racial bonuses, these skills are always at their maximum for no cost.
#Half cost due to Adept.
Hexes manipulate perception and probability – and thus could, for example, cause a moment of blindness, grant an insight bonus, boost someone’s night vision, provide luck bonuses (or penalties) and cause minor, unlikely, events. All hexes are, however, relatively subtle in their effects and are usually fairly short term. At rank six, he can manage first level hexes at an effective caster level of three.
Equipment: Leathers (10 GP), Masterwork Thieves Tools (2 Lb, 100 GP), Alchemists Satchel (the assumed “enough tools to use the skill”, no cost), Rucksack (12.5 Lb, 60 GP), Magician’s Pouch (3 Lb, 60 GP), Three Oil Flasks (3 Lb), 10 Parchments, Pen, and Ink with case (12 GP), Acid Flask (1 Lb, 10 GP), Smokestick (½ Lb, 20 GP), Wooden Holy Symbol (1 GP), Dagger (1 Lb, 2 GP), and about 20 GP in cash (1/2 Lb). Net encumbrance: about 25 Lbs.
At ECL 2, Zachary could normally be expected to have 900 GP worth of gear. Due to starting off with the “broke” disadvantage, he only has a third of that – although, honestly, that’s still enough to have to presume that he’s had some success in his initial outings.
Rucksack (1 Lb/1 GP), with Bandage Roll (0 Lb/0 GP), Light Bedroll (4 Lb/0 GP), Small Crowbar (1.5 foot. Also usable as a makeshift hammer, 2 Lb/1 GP), Water Flask (0 Lb/0 GP), Small Glue Pot (Must be heated to melt, 0 Lb/0 GP), Light Tarp (waterproofed cotton, 8×8 Ft, 1 Lb/0 GP), Messkit (.5 Lb/8 GP), Explorer’s Outfit. 8 Lb/10 GP), Rope Set (5 Lb/40 GP), Towel and Washcloth (0 Lb/0 GP), two days worth of Trail Rations (2 Lb/0 GP). Totals 60 GP, Effective encumbrance of Rucksack: 12.5 Lb.
Magician’s Pouch: This modest bag contains various spell and ritual components, including packets of salt, beeswax, assorted colored chalks and small candles, origami paper, incense sticks and various common herbs, string, pen and ink, several pencil-sized “wands” (bone with lead bands, hawthorn, ebony with gold tips, elder, oak, magnetized steel, and mistletoe), a “scribing” tip (for the wands), two small knives (meteoric iron with oak handle, silver with rowan handle), silk cloths, two small bowls/bells/cups/incense burners/etc (silver and gold), a silver disc/mirror, tongs, wire, matches, a set of rune or “tarot” cards, a small key, some rings (simple blank bands; four copper, two silver, two gold, and two iron), a small flute, embroidery thread, brass chime, holy symbol (per user’s beliefs), some crystals, needles and thread, pins, and assorted vials (holy and unholy water, homing, citronella, and garlic oil, alcohol, mercury, “fingerpaints”, glue and healing herbs) in a padded roll. 60 GP, 3 Lbs. This is basically an upgraded spell component pouch that’s water-tight and somewhat resistant to fire. It allows various applications of Spellcraft and Rune Magic with +2 bonus, including the performance of various bits of folk magic – charming warts, determining which of the village boys a village girl is most likely to marry, helping someone lose weight, making cattle less likely to stray, and so on.
Traveler’s Pouch: This light leather carrying bag contains a selection of items any traveler should have along – brush, comb, and razor, a little packet each of soap, sticking plaster or salve, linament, wax, tacks and thread, needles, buttons, fishhooks and sinkers, string/fishline, a match or “tindertwig” safe, small whetstone and file, a couple of small knives, a vial of insect “repellent”/ medication, a thin bag (Suitable for use as a pillow if stuffed with something yielding), and – where available – a compass. Usually found as a shoulderbag or mounted on a belt. 1 pound or less. About 2 GP if purchased – but most characters should be presumed to have this stuff. As a note, the contents list, and weight, for the “Traveler’s Pouch” is taken from “Woodcraft” by George W. Sears (circa 1880). Flint, steel, and tinder, should be substituted for matches if such items are not available in a setting. If “matches” are available – but rare and unusual – add their price separately
Individual Item Notes:
Messkit (Aurora’s Whole Realms Catalogue. 8 GP, 1/2 Lb. Nesting tinware, including a small pot, a plate, three vials of seasoning (salt, pepper, and a common herb of choice), silverware, and a small collapsing cup, Pg 137).
Rope Set (Aurora’s Whole Realms Catalogue. 40 GP, 5 Lb. 200 yards silk rope, two folding grapples, pack, and assorted spikes and pulleys. +10 bonus to Climb. Pg 17).
Rucksack: Basically a small, light, backpack with a support belt. Reduce the total encumbrance of items in a rucksack by 50%, up to a maximum of -10 pounds. 1 GP, 1 pound or less.
Further Advancement: Obviously enough, Zachary is headed firmly down the “Skill Monkey”/Rogue route; he’ll want to keep up his skills, buy saves, and focus on fast, in-and-out, combat. A bit of sneak attack, or tricks to enhance his claws are in order. Magically, he’ll want some more personal Mana and Rune Magic skills, Rite of Chi to let him get Mana back at a reasonable rate, and perhaps some more Enthusiast points to dump into his alchemical items.