In many d20 games, “Positive Energy” equates to healing, goodness, and rainbows filled with kittens. It’s a power that good-guy clerics get to use to keep the rest of the party alive and to blast those nasty undead. What could be better?
But positive energy also drives the hemorrhagic fever that splatters the room in grossly infectious blood as it agonizingly rots your vital organs while you’re still alive. It’s the force that drives the cancer that’s slowly destroying your brain and your mind with it. It’s the blind urge to spread and grow that annihilates competing species. It’s the force that births one doomed child after another when there is nothing to feed them.
Life is neither kind nor good. In d20-based games it’s a force as pure and terrible as the heart of a lightning bolt, and – in it’s pure form – just as terrible, merciless, and potent in destruction as it is in creation.
So here are a few Eclipse powers for creatures with too much positive energy.
Leperotic Cloning: Augmented by an unnaturally strong life force, the user’s cells are capable of infesting another creatures body – multiplying and spreading through it like a monstrous cancer or unholy fungus. If and when the user dies, if a victim of this horror is currently available, his or her soul will transfer itself into the victims body – driving out the existing soul and providing the final impetus to transform it into a near-duplicate of the user’s old body.
Fortunately, the user’s cells can only infest a very similar creature that is on the very brink of death – and they gravely weaken the bond between the victim’s body and soul; if the victim suffers a lethal injury before the user’s soul moves in, the body will promptly collapse into a mass of mangled tissue, that will rot away with utterly unnatural speed – normally collapsing into dust and slime within hours.
- Unique Returning, Specialized and Corrupted for one-third cost (2 CP): the user must set up his or her returning in advance by striking a “final blow” against a victim of the same basic type (a humanoid for a humanoid, a dragon type for a dragon, etc), renouncing the damage in favor of giving up 2d6 hit points so smear some of his own blood or tissue into the wound and allowing the (essentially dead) victim to “escape”. For the next two days the victim can be cured by the use of Remove Curse, Cure Disease, Heal, or similar effects, or by taking any form of negative level that requires a save to remove. After that, the victim is merely a potential host for the user’s spirit and can only be saved by some form of Raise Dead, Resurrection, or Wish. The user may prepare multiple possible hosts at the same time – but this sort of thing does tend to attract some extremely negative attention.
- Timeless Body with Age-Shifting, Specialized and Corrupted/only to take on the species-adjusted physical age of the characters new body (2 CP).
The Jackal’s Touch: The flame of life within causes creatures to grow, to adapt and change, to bear or father children, to resist wounds, and to recover from terrible injuries. When that fire flares out of control, normal creatures can become twisted, cancerous, monsters, driven solely by the urges to feed, breed, and exterminate rival groups. The touch of a creature with this power can infuse an innocent victim with far too much life force – causing them to transform into horrible monsters. Such transformations are infrequent and temporary at first, but will gradually dominate the victim’s life more and more, until – whatever and whoever they originally were – they will be forever lost within the monster they have become.
- That’s Inherent Spell with +2 Bonus Uses, Corrupted for Increase Effect (a level five effect and a total of four uses per day) / the effect is very gradual, useless in combat, and only takes over the victim’s life over a period of weeks or months, the effect can be partially negated – at least for a time – by applying negative energy effects to the victim (cause light wounds for a minute or two at best, energy drain for days), and the user cannot control the effect beyond “become a monster”. The effect
Positive Energy monsters typically regenerate, possess some resistance to negative energy (and can recover from it’s effects due to having Grant of Aid), possess enhanced strength and speed, often possess the Berserker powers, and are larger, more ferocious, and wilder than comparable ordinary beasts. The effects are very difficult to undo. If the user of this ability can control the monsters he or she creates, they may be exceptionally dangerous.
Cancerous Regeneration: Tissue infused with excessive amounts of life force knits together with terrifying speed – but such instantaneous healing can leave behind massive scarring, twisted deformities, and internal damage which only better-directed healing magic or time and rest can smooth away.
- Universal Damage Reduction 3/- Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect/does not work against fire, acid, or other tissue-destroying effects, only applies to the total damage taken each round rather than to each individual attack, the user must track the damage blocked by this ability, and will suffer a -1 penalty to an attribute of his or her choice for every twenty points of damage it prevents. Regaining those attribute points will require enough natural or magical healing to reduce the tracked damage appropriately.
Unquenchable Life: A sufficient infusion of life force will allow a creature, given time, to regenerate from as little as a smear of blood and tissue – as long as the spirit is hanging around to guide the process. Fortunately, spirits can easily anchor themselves to any reasonably large chunk of their old bodies.
The countermeasure, of course, is simply making sure that no substantial chunks of tissue survive. Fire, acid, and feeding them to animals all work fine.
- This one’s simply Returning (6 CP).
Moths to a Flame: Life calls to Life – and a sufficiently powerful life force can draw lesser lives to it – provided, at least, that they are reasonably compatible.
- Presence (6 CP), producing a Charm Person effect on anyone who approaches within 10′.
Eclipse and Eclipse II are available in a number of ways:
There’s the Freeware Edition at RPGnow or Box.Net. It’s complete, but – if you like it – it would be nice if you helped support the system by spending ten dollars to pick up the full package, which includes Eclipse, Eclipse II, the Web Expansion, and will be updated with Eclipse III when I get time to finish that up (a notification to download the package again will be sent out). There’s a review up which also briefly covers Eclipse II Here.
In print-on-demand we have the Softcover (30$), the Hardcover (35$), and the “Direct” softcover edition (24$) which uses a cheaper set of printing options to lower the price. Unfortunately, the cheap options are only available for printing in North America – so for anywhere else, the original versions are probably cheaper anyway.
Eclipse II normally comes with the Eclipse download package – but you can download the PDF on it’s own for five dollars here or buy it in Hardcover (32$) or – once again – in that cheaper North America only Softcover Edition.
By request there’s also the Combined Edition – Eclipse I and II – making sure that you have the complete system, and plenty of examples, in one volume. It’s available in Softcover (36$) and Hardcover (45$). Those are expensive but are, of course, notably cheaper than buying the books independently. Of course, only one person can use it at a time instead of two.
- A Feat full of Tricks, Part III – Fighters and Wizards from Emergence Campaign Weblog (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Fantastic Coinage III – Ervoli Feather Bands and Tenebrous Obals (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Coran Mordant, Level Three Thief of Scrolls (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Eclipse – the Darkling Template (+2 ECL) (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Orin Markala – Level Two Upgrades (ruscumag.wordpress.com)