The writeup for “Ghost”, and her Shadow Mastery ability, has produced a special request – some as-cheap-as-possible “signature” power packages for other types of low-level characters.
That’s actually pretty easy; the Witchcraft system was designed to flatten the d20 magical power curve – offering small-but-versatile abilities to start, hitting the most potent abilities in the system by level five or so, and expanding in versatility, but not raw power, after that. The initial costs are low, which encourages dabbling – and the existence of Pacts allows dabblers to expand their abilities a bit over time without additional investment. That way their characters can pick up useful talents by taking on responsibilities, quirks, and problems – which can add a good deal of depth and individuality to yet-another-fighter. A serious witch will find that the most powerful abilities in the system are augmentations – which means that you need to have other abilities to build on to make them useful.
Now, like almost everything else in the game, there are ways to stretch that basic structure into “cheese” territory. If the game master is willing to let the characters get away with taking entire groups of feats all at once, jumping straight to the “best” abilities, and slapping weird limitations on something that’s already cheap to make it even cheaper (or even doubling up on the limitations to make it both cheap and doubly effective), it’s possible to get Witchcraft at bargain-basement prices.
Some settings allow that, but most won’t – so I wouldn’t count on being able to get any of these abilities into a particular game unless you know that it’s wide-open.
- The basic package is pretty much the same for all of these; buy Witchcraft I and II (gaining a little bit of Power and three basic abilities to spend it on), 3d6 extra Power and Mana, and three Advanced Witchcraft Powers, all Specialized and Corrupted for reduced cost – taking a 36 character point package down to 12 points. Now throw in one Pact to reduce the cost by 6 points and behold! You have an effective little power package that only costs six character points or one bonus feat (and the commitment of that Pact of course).
You won’t have enough Power to use the advanced abilities very much or very often, but they make a great ace-in-the-hole to pull out in emergencies.
Blood… Death… and Vengeance!
Limitations: Barbarians draw on the wild and brutal power of their primordial gods. Their tricks will not work:
- In heavily civilized places where their gods have little power – unless, of course, a barbarian invasion is underway.
- If they become too civilized – such as by studying arcane magic, learning to farm, wearing heavy armor, not using their tribal weapons, or failing to start brawls in bars.
- Without loud battlecries and conspicuous war paint or other fetishes. These will reveal the barbarians tribal affiliation, religion, and many other details to any knowledgable observer and prevent him or her from using these abilities stealthily.
- Without regular offerings and small rituals in honor of those gods.
Basic Abilities: The Adamant Will (Barbarians shrug off pain and weak attempts to control their minds!), Healing (Specialized for Increased Effect (Reflexive Use)/Self-only. Barbarians are blessed with incredible natural health, and can easily resist diseases, poisons, and wounds that would turn a civilized man into a deliquescent heap!), and Witchsight (Barbarians share the sensory acuity of animals).
Advanced Abilities: Master The Elements (Barbarians are notorious for dream-questing), Bones of Iron (they’re also infamously tough), and Darksense (since when has being blind drunk – or simply blind – inhibited a Barbarians ability to wreak mayhem?).
Pact: Taboos. Barbarians are subject to various Geasa or Prohibitions. They might be forbidden to eat fish, or to harm a woman of their ethnicity, or to cut their hair. A barbarian with this package will have at least three such sometimes-troublesome Geasa. If they violate a geasa they must properly atone before their powers will work again.
“The Spirits of Nature cannot aid you here foolish wanderer!”
“That is why I come in the company of more material friends foolish monster!”
Limitations: Rangers, rather like the barbarians, draw on the wild powers of nature. Their special powers…
- Require the use of a medicine bag full of various animal totem-tokens blessed by appropriate shaman and spirits. This is a vulnerable focus and a considerable pain to replace.
- Will not work in large urban areas, aboard space stations, or in other unnatural places.
- Are slow to recover. Since they rely on spirit favors, they recover only 1d6+2 Power per day – unless they do minor favors for the spirits to build up credit.
Basic Abilities: Healing (usually calling on the bear totem), Hyloka, and Witchsight (both calling on various animals for their strengths and senses).
Advanced Abilities: Breath of Puruza (Rangers can keep going when they really ought to be dead and endure all kinds of things), Leaping Fire (Rangers may move very quickly – and their wounds are rarely serious), and Longevity (that healthy outdoors lifestyle really pays off).
Pact: Missions. The totem spirits the ranger calls on will occasionally request various nature-related services, such as saving endangered creatures, stopping charcoal-burners from destroying a forest, and so on. These are over and above any favors the Ranger decides to do for the powers of nature on a voluntary basis.
Next up, of course, will be tricks for other classes…
- “Ghost”, Level One Shadowwalker (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Eclipse Pathfinder – Basics and Races (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Orin Markala – Level Two Upgrades (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Orin Makala – Statistics (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Immunity to Aging and other Peasant Powers (ruscumag.wordpress.com)