…A recent minor request was for an Eclipse conversion of the Soul Archer, from Green Ronin’s Bow and Blade, a Guidebook to Wood Elves.
…Fortunately, that particular chunk of the book is pretty much entirely open game content – which means that it’s easy to oblige. It’s also handy as yet another example of “how to do it” in Eclipse, since you can swipe elements of the basic build to stuff into your own characters.
…The Soul Archer, as a ten-level prestige class, gets 240 CP to play with – exclusive of any duties, restrictions, or other modifiers attached to the base character. Like most prestige classes, it has some sensible prerequisites (“being good with a bow”) and some that are pretty much arbitrary. Fortunately, in Eclipse, there usually aren’t any prerequisites; you buy the abilities you want when you want then – and if you’re silly enough to buy enhanced abilities with a particular weapon WITHOUT being good with that weapon to begin with, then the more fool you for wasting your points.
…The basics of the class are pretty simple: ten levels of…
- d8 Hit Dice (40 CP).
- +4 SP/Level (40 CP).
- +1 BAB/Level (60 CP).
- Two good saves and one bad save, for a total of +17 to Saves (51 CP).
…The interesting bits, of course, lie in the special abilities – which are divided into two major groups; upgrades to their bow and special arrow attacks. The bow upgrades fall into the Bonded Bow Sequence (Bonded Bow, Greater Bonded Bow, Superior Bonded Bow, and Sentient Bow), and are easily adapted to any weapon, while the special arrow attacks are a series of more-or-less spell-like abilities – Arcane Eye Arrow, Greater Magic Weapon, Seeker Arrow, Homing Arrow, Arrow Tag, and Hail of Arrows.
…The Bonded Bow sequence requires bonding to a specific bow, in a long and expensive ceremony. I’ll break it down according to the original steps, although – in Eclipse – you don’t have to buy it that way:
- Augmented Attack/+2 to Attacks and Damage with his or her Bonded Weapon (4 CP)
- Mystic Link with Weapon Specialized/the user cannot really communicate with, or more than crudely track, his or her weapon – but will be aware of it if someone else is messing with it (1 CP)
- Immunity/the distinction between weapons and the user (Common, Minor, Major, Specialized and Corrupted (limited to one particular weapon of a specific type at a time (2 CP). This bit lets the user take damage any damage that gets past his or her weapons hardness, rather than allowing his or her weapon to be damaged.
…Greater Bonded Weapon: This talent…
- Adds another (2 CP) to the Augmented Attack bonus, raising it to +3/+3.
- Provides general (I.E. – also affecting energy attacks) DR2/- (Specialized and Corrupted for triple effect/only versus attacks on the bonded weapon, raising it to 6/-, 3 CP).
…Superior Bonded Weapon: This sizable upgrade
- Adds (4 CP) to the Augmented Attack bonus, raising it to a total of +5/+5.
- Uses another (6 CP) to raise the basic DR on the weapon to 4/- (and the effective total to 12/-).
- Adds an unusual combo; half the damage from any melee attacks on the weapon that gets through it’s (hardness + DR) gets redirected to the attacker. Building that is a little tricky; it calls for Blessing, Specialized and Corrupted/only to share the effects of the weapon bond with someone who’s trying to sunder the weapon (2 CP) and Opportunist/gets to use the Blessing ability on someone automatically when they attempt to sunder his or her weapons, Specialized and Corrupted/only usable against attempts to sunder the user’s chosen weapon (2 CP). This is actually of rather limited usefulness; sunder attempts aren’t all THAT common – and then you’re only going to be splitting what little damage is getting past twelve points of universal DR and the weapons natural hardness. Of course, in Eclipse, you can always spend those 4 CP on something else instead.
- The user’s bonded weapon becomes intelligent, with an alignment matching it’s users, as per a roll of 98 on the intelligent weapon table. If the weapon is ever broken, this sentience will be transferred to the next bonded weapon the user takes up. According to the original material, if the bonded weapon is not already enchanted, it also gains a +1 bonus. The easiest way to do this in Eclipse is to buy Imbuement. That’s normally used to give a particular type of weapon magical bonuses in the user’s hands – and intelligence (and a cheesy +1 bonus on the remote chance that a high-level weapon specialist ISN’T using a magical weapon already) is definitely a magical power. Ergo, Imbuement, Corrupted/only works on the character’s bonded weapon, rather than weapons of a particular type (4 CP).
…All that has a total cost of 30 CP, precisely the cost of five feats.
…Finally, we have those inherent spells. They’re a bit more specific – but there are plenty of other spells available out there to substitute to suit any given weapon specialist.
- Arcane Eye Arrow provides a version of Clairaudience/Clairvoyance (Inherent Spell I) which is restricted to placing the center on an arrow that the user’s shot into a solid surface. I’d say that’s Specialized – but it doesn’t say how many times per day. On the other hand, everything else is once per day, so I’ll assume that as well, for a cost of (3 CP) after Specialization. I suppose this might be useful if you can shoot an arrow into a fortress or some such and take a look around.
- Greater Magic Weapon can be used once per day – but is once again specialized/it only works on the user’s bonded weapon. It will thus often be useless, given that most weapon Specialists will – of course – get themselves a magic weapon of their chosen type as soon as they possibly can. That’s a Specialized Inherent Spell I again (3 CP). I’d recommend skipping this one entirely; it’s almost guaranteed to be useless. Fortunately, in Eclipse, you can do that. Spend the points on something else.
- The Seeker Arrow ability lets the user fire a shot at a target that’s known, and within range, but not necessarily seen, once per day. The arrow will take any available open path to it’s target. This negates cover and concealment, but otherwise the attack is rolled normally. Using this effect is a standard action, and shooting the arrow is part of the action. This is really another basic inherent spell effect, since it’s certainly no higher than level three – and is thus just Inherent Spell I, Corrupted/only works with the user’s bonded weapon (4 CP).
- Homing Arrow lets the user fire an arrow and then mentally see through it and guide it. It travels at (4 x Range Increment) feet per round, and can be directed for up to one round per three levels of the user or part thereof – or until the user decides to stick the arrow into a target. In that case, the attack is rolled normally, although it, of course, ignores modifiers for cover, range, and concealment. Unfortunately, the user must concentrate to control the homing arrow and, while doing so, is unaware of his or her surroundings and cannot take any other actions. If the user stops concentrating before the arrow hits anything, the effect ends. That’s a level four effect, and so calls for Advanced Inherent Spell I – on the other hand, it’s still Corrupted/only works with the user’s bonded weapon and we already have Inherent Spell, so we can start the advanced sequence (4 CP).
- Arrow Tag allows an arrow to “tag” whoever it hits. Such an attack adds the user’s (Cha Mod) to the attack roll and his or her (Level) to the damage. Moreover, if the attack hits, all further archery attacks that the user makes against the target gain a +(Level/3, +6 maximum) insight bonus to hit for the next hour. That’s a level five effect, and so calls for Advanced Inherent Spell II, Corrupted/only works with the user’s bonded weapon (4 CP).
- Hail of Arrows lets the user invoke a hail of arrows once per day. Using this ability is a standard action. That’s Advanced Inherent Spell III – the limit of the basic sequence, normally calling for a minimum user level of eleven. It’s still, however, Corrupted/only works with the user’s bonded weapon (4 CP).
…That one’s too long to restate quickly and simply, but it’s also OGL material, so I can simply add it in here:
…Hail of Arrows:
- Conjuration (Creation), Level: Drd/Sha 6, Elf 6, Sor/Wiz 6, Components: V, S, M, Casting Time: 1 standard action, Range: Close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels), Area: Cylinder (20-ft.-radius, 40 ft. high), Duration: Instantaneous, Saving Throw: Reflex half, and Spell Resistance: No
- A shower of magical arrows rains down on the area, dealing 1d6 points of piercing damage per 2 caster levels (maximum 10d6) to every creature within the area. Elf and fey spellcasters may modify the damage dealt by hail of arrows to penetrate certain kinds of damage reduction. When casting, such a spellcaster can add one of the following qualities: cold iron, evil, good, or silver. (Aligning the damage to good or evil requires the spellcaster to have that alignment component and makes the spell good or evil, respectively.) This modifi cation affects only how the damage
- from the spell interacts with damage reduction—the spell does not gain any of the other special effects of the material or type chosen.
- Material Component: A flint arrowhead.
…This is actually pretty closely related to Ice Storm, but does have enough differences to make it interesting.
…Now, this gives us a grand total cost of… 243 CP, or 240 if you drop the Greater Magic Weapon inherent spell as recommended – out of the 240 CP available to a level ten prestige class. That’s a better match than I’d usually expect with a third-party product from 2003 – but Green Ronin usually turns out reasonably-well balanced supplements.
…A character build using these guidelines will not quite match a modern character, since they’re usually built using later supplements which were subject to power creep – but that’s what Eclipse abilities like Fast Learner and Duties are for; they can get a basic character design a few more character points per level so that they can match the later, and slightly more powerful, core classes and prestige classes.
…The Basic OGL
…Section 15, AMENDED COPYRIGHT NOTICE:
- Open Game License v 1.0, Copyright 2000, Wizards of the Coast, Inc.
- System Reference Document, Copyright 2000, Wizards of the Coast, Inc.; Authors Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, Skip Williams, based on original material by E. Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson.
- Bow & Blade: A Guidebook to Wood Elves, Copyright 2003, Green Ronin Publishing; Authors Jesse Decker and Chris Thomasson
- Eclipse: The Codex Persona copyright 2005 by Paul Melroy and Patrick Bryant. Distributed by Distant Horizons Games, WWW.DistantHorizonsGames.Com.
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