Eclipse d20 – The Children’s Crusade, Part I

. Here we have some slightly-tweaked characters from Andrew Maitland, who’s running several Eclipse-d20 based games out on the west coast. One of those is a starter game designed for young players – seven to eleven years of age.

. He’s using Eclipse for them because it lets him avoid overwhelming them with choices, classes, and sourcebooks, while allowing them to advance their characters in any direction that they like.

. Hence he’s also using a fairly simple framework for all the characters, and innate “x times per day” magical abilities rather than true spellcasting. This gives his young players “neat characters to expand on without overloading them with too many choices from the get go, as a first level Wizard, Cleric, Druid, etc. would normally do.”

. For this campaign the characters are all young nobles, selected for their exceptional potential and fostered with the royal family – a gambit designed to promote loyalty to the realm in the next generation and (as a genteel hostage arrangement) to reduce the chances of rebellion in this one.

. Those children, and the young princes and princesses that they’re being raised with, are expected to undertake a certain amount of “adventuring” quite early on. The royal and noble families will lose some kids that way – but turning the realm over to low-level heirs in the next generation will inevitably lead to its destruction as soon as some high-level adventurers or threats move into the area. In a world full of monsters and dark magic, weak and inexperienced rulers are a disaster.

. With this particular group, a couple of the youngest royals are a bigger-than-usual hassle.

. Unfortunately – at least from the character’s points of view – their families WON’T provide them with piles of gear or swarms of bodyguards, just as they won’t bail them out of minor trouble. Over the centuries the nobility has learned that if they help too much, their kids won’t be facing real challenges – and won’t gain the experience they need. Shielding them from risks as children means dooming them as adults.

. That doesn’t mean that they’re entirely cut off from support; they’re each starting off with a free masterwork weapon, they’ll have easy access to curative spells when they get home, and they may be given occasional minor one-shot gifts (potions or talismans of Cure Light Wounds or Lesser Vitality [+12 temporary hit points for ten minutes] are popular gifts for young adventurers) – but for the most part they’ll have to obtain their own gear like any other group of adventurers.

. In other variants, of course, they could have less-exalted backgrounds and a mysterious patron, or have been gathered by some mighty lord to be groomed for positions as leaders and special agents, or some similar explanation – but establishing a reason for them to be together, and to have gotten some pretty intensive training very early on, is fairly important. It explains all the similarities in their builds, their existence as a party, and why they’re out adventuring so young.

. Why are they slightly tweaked? It’s mostly because I’m an incurable character tweaker, but also because Andrew is using a variant skill list – which would make using these characters elsewhere difficult without a little tweaking.

. Children’s Crusade World Laws

  • To keep things simple, all of these characters are level one, basically human (although cosmetic variations occur), and have an attribute array of 16, 14, 14, 12, 12, 10 (32 point buy).
  • Characters begin with two bonus feats at level one, rather than one and gain an additional bonus feat at every odd level thereafter.
  • Their character point totals are all the same. They have Duties to their Liege (+2/Level), +12 (for their two level one bonus feats) +6 (for their racial bonus feat) + 48 (the level one base allotment) + 10 (for the three allowable disadvantages) = 78 CP.
  • One disadvantage is unique to each character, but they all have Obligations (bodyguards to the young royals) and Valuable (they’re good for ransom or for political pull on their parents and royal friends).
  • Thanks to early intensive training, all of these characters are spending the points from their racial bonus feat on Fast Learner, Specialized in Skills – thus raising their effective racial skill point bonus from +1/Level (four at level one) to +3/Level, (twelve at level one). This is a cheap way to get more skill points, but it fits in well – and leaves them with a base of 72 CP to spend. Characters can normally only have fast learner once, but humans have it built into their race, and so can have it twice.
  • Many of the characters use some Innate Enchantments. Unless otherwise specified, all of those effects are spell level zero or one, caster level one, unlimited-use use-activated, and personal-only (where applicable) – for a net effective “cost” of 700 GP per L0 effect and 1400 GP per L1 effect.

. Fortunately, most of that is built into the character backgrounds – and PCGen will handle the math. The actual results are pretty easy to use, which is why we have the “player summary” segments with each character.

. Julia Winters

. Julia appears to be about fourteen years old. She’s a capable secondary fighter with knacks for a few combative spell-like effects. For some reason she has silver hair, azure eyes, and blue skin. If she knows why that is – beyond, perhaps, an odd fashion sense and a trivial bit of magic – she won’t say.

. Julia Winters, Level One Player Summary

  • Str 12, Int 16 (18), Dex 14, Wis 14, Con 12, and Cha 10.
  • Stave: +6 to hit, 1d6+3 damage, Crit 20/x2.
  • Hit Points 14, Armor Class 18 (+4 Armor, +2 Dex, +2 Martial Art), Initiative +2, Move 30′.
  • Saves: Fortitude +2, Reflex +5, and Will +3.
  • Skills: Bluff +6, Concentration +7, Diplomacy +6, Knowledge/Arcana +10, Quarterstave Master Martial Art +10, Sense Motive +8, Spellcraft +10, Spot +8, Tumble +8. Other checks get a +2 luck bonus, which these already include.
  • Magical Abilities: Detect Magic at will, Magic Missile 4/Day (1d4+1 to a single target), Burning Hands 4/Day (2d4 in a small area), and Lightning Bolt (2d6 in a long, wide, line) 3/Day.

. Julia Winters, Full Build:

  • Basic Attributes: Str 12, Int 16 (18), Dex 14, Wis 14, Con 12, and Cha 10.
  • Her personal disadvantage is Unarmored; she’ll never be able to wear armor comfortably because it interferes with her abilities.
  • Warcraft (BAB): +1 (6 CP)
  • Weapon Focus/Quarterstave: +1 (+1 BAB, Specialized and Corrupted/Quarterstave Only, 2 CP)
  • Proficient with All Simple Weapons (3 CP).
  • Level One Hit Dice: d8 +d4 (4 CP + 8 CP). That gives her 14 HP.
    • It would be more efficient to buy a single larger hit die, but buying a second hit die boosts her caster level for inherent spells, since those are based on her hit dice. For her, that’s important – and if she later comes up with a constitution-boosting item
  • Save Bonuses: +1 to Will, Reflex and Fortitude saves (9 CP).
  • Adept: Halves the cost of buying four skills; In her case Knowledge/Arcana, Spellcraft, a Martial Art, and Spot (6 CP).
  • Racial Ability Upgrade (3 CP): These points go to upgrading the human racial bonus of “Fast Learner/Specialized in Skills” from half cost to double effect. This gets her an extra two skill points at level one and boosts her total bonus to four skill points per level thereafter.
  • Skill Points: 2 (Purchased, 2 CP) + 12 (Int Mod x 4) + 12 (Enhanced Human Bonus) +2 (Fast Learner) = 28
  • Inherent Spell/Lightning Bolt with +2 Bonus Uses for a total of three per day. (9 CP).
    • That’s currently only 2d6, but it’s still quite impressive. It also requires special GM permission for access to an effect beyond what her level will support, but the GM is writing up the starting characters – and doesn’t find 2d6 damage with a save for half too big a problem – even if it is to an area. It’s worth nothing that Inherent Spell users tend to be stronger than spellcasters to start, but are far more limited later on; they progress more like fighters than like standard clerics and wizards.
  • Inherent Spells/Magic Missile and Burning Hands with Multiple +2 for 4/Day Each (10 CP)
  • Innate Enchantment, Corrupted/the user cannot wear armor (4 CP, for an effective value of up to 5000 GP). Her effects include Mage Armor (1400), Detect Magic (700), +2 Int (1400), and Fortune’s Favor (+2 to Luck Bonus to Skills and Checks, 1400).
  • Immunity to XP cost for Innate Enchantments (Uncommon, Minor, Trivial, only covers L0 and L1 effects, 2 CP).
  • Companion/Familiar option, Corrupted/tends to do its own thing regardless of its owners wishes. [Whiskers] (Grants +2 Reflex Save to Master) (4 CP)
    • Julia currently has 4 SP (for a total of +8; sadly, being lucky on roles won’t help you learn martial art techniques) invested in a staff-based martial art which grants her a +2 bonus to hit and +2 bonus to her AC while she’s wielding a staff. With a masterwork staff, that’s a total of +6 to hit, 1d6+1 damage, and AC 18.
  • Attack Calculation: Quarterstave +6 (+2 Purchased BAB +1 Masterwork +1 Strength +2 Martial Arts), 1d6+3 (+1 Str +2 Martial Art), Crit x2.

. Georgina De’Flower

. Georgina showed early potential as a positive energy channeler and healer. Hence her training has focused on expanding that basic aptitude and on teaching her how to defend herself while she heals.

. Georgina De’Flower, Level One Player Summary:

  • Str 14, Int 12, Dex 10, Wis,16 (18), Con 12, Cha 14
  • Shillelagh: +6, 2d6+4, Crit 20/x2. Automatically trips an opponent on a critical hit.
  • Hit Points 11, Armor Class 16 (+4 Armor +2 Martial Art), Initiative +0, Move 30′
  • Saves: Fortitude +3, Reflex +2, and Will +6.
  • Skills: Diplomacy +6, Heal +10, Knowledge/Religion +5, Quarterstaff Master Martial Art +10, Sense Motive +10, Spot +10, and Survival +10. +2 to all other Wisdom-linked checks.
  • Magical Abilities:
    • May touch an unarmored target to give them a +4 armor bonus for the next hour.
  • Positive Energy Powers; Using these is a free action once per round and does not provoke attacks of opportunity.
    • 3x/Day: Turn Undead.
      • Roll 1d20 to see how powerful a creature you can affect. That’s 1d20: 1-7/Fails, 8-10/1 HD, 11-13/2 HD, 14-16/3 HD, 17-19/4 HD, and 20/5 HD. Then roll 2d6+3 to see the total number of hit dice affected, biggest ones first.
    • 4x/Day: Cure 2d8+3 points of damage by touch.
    • 4x/Day: Cure 1d4 points of attribute damage
    • 4x/Day: Attempt to remove paralysis or slow effects on up to four targets.
    • 4x/Day: Give yourself and your allies a +1 luck bonus to all their rolls for three rounds.
  • Her personal disadvantage is that she hates suffering, and will heal friends and neutrals whenever she reasonably can.

. Georgina De’Flower, Actual Build:

  • Str 14, Int 12, Dex 10, Wis,16 (18), Con 12, Cha 14
  • Disadvantage: Compulsive Healer.
  • Warcraft (BAB): +0 (0 CP)
  • Weapon Focus/Quarterstave: +1 (+1 BAB, Specialized and Corrupted/Quarterstave Only, 2 CP)
  • Proficient with All Simple Weapons (3 CP).
  • Level One Hit Dice: d10 (6 CP). That gives her 11 HP.
  • Save Bonuses: +1 to Will, Reflex and Fortitude saves (9 CP).
  • Skill Points: 4 (Purchased, 4 CP) + 4 (Int Mod x 4) + 12 (Enhanced Human Bonus) = 20
  • Adept: Halves the cost of buying four skills; In her case those are Knowledge/Religion, Heal, Spot, and Sense Motive (6 CP).
  • Innate Enchantment, Corrupted/the user cannot wear armor (5 CP, for an effective value of up to 7000 GP). Her effects include Resistance (+1 Resistance Bonus to Saves, 700), Skill Mastery (+2 competence bonus to all Wisdom-Based Skills, 700), Shillelagh (2000), Mage Armor (her version will protect anyone she touches, allowing her to give innocents some protection, 2000), and +2 Wis (1400).
  • Immunity to XP cost for Innate Enchantments (Uncommon, Minor, Trivial, only covers L0 and L1 effects, 2 CP).
  • Reflex Training/may take a standard action after using Channeling to invoke a beneficial effect on one or more friends. Essentially, she can heal a friend, or bless the group, once per round as a free action (6 CP).
  • Channeling: Three uses per day (6 CP) at +4 Intensity (6 CP), with a minor Privilege/adds one-half her bonus Intensity to her effective caster level for Spell Conversion (3 CP).
  • +16 Bonus Uses of Channeling, Specialized/only for spell conversion, Corrupted/uses must be evenly divided amongst the four available effects (8 CP).
  • Spell Conversion, to a set of four second level effects – Cure Moderate Wounds, Lesser Restoration, Remove Paralysis, and Sutra (All allies within 40 feet gain a +1 luck bonus to attacks, checks, damage, and saves, for one round per level of the caster) (6 CP).
  • Her Quarterstaff Master Martial Art is a Wisdom-based variant, and currently provides her with +2 to Attacks, +2 to her AC, and lets her automatically trip an opponent on a critical hit.

. Now, normally a character wouldn’t be able to sink that many points into Channeling powers until well after first level – and would need to be at least level three to handle conversions to second level effects. On the other hand, being the party healer isn’t one of the more exciting roles – especially for a youngster. Ergo, a bit of rules-stretching to allow the character to provide support while still getting to run around and do things and to allow the party to not have to worry about stocking up on potions, wands of cure light wounds, and scrolls of those occasionally-vital (but often never used) healing spells.

. Georgina has also been fairly heavily tweaked from Andrew’s initial writeup; he was using Inherent Spells with Multiple Uses for her curative and support powers, Evasive to allow her to use them without provoking attacks of opportunity, Blessing, and a few other powers. A bit of a power-up seemed appropriate – and it was more efficient to put all of her healing powers into her Channeling ability, rather that build them piecemeal.

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2 Responses

  1. […] building starting child-characters for children and making a suitable setting and adventures.  Part I with Julia Winters (a mystic warrior) and Georgina De’Flower (a positive-energy channeler and […]

  2. […] for child-heroes who would normally be considered too young for level one or for a variation on the Children’s Crusade setting. It also quite neatly explains why the focus is always on a small groups of students […]

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