True Love… it drives lovers to heroic feats on each other’s behalf, it both empowers and shatters curses, it breaks limits, it can draw it’s target back from death itself. In many tales, it is one of the ultimate powers of the cosmos – and it is a power that is available to anyone. Parents may feel it for their children, siblings or mates for each other, and the occasional saintly individual may feel it for all creation.
On the other hand, sometimes… love fails. Sometimes, even true love is not enough – and sometimes it simply drives a melodramatic death or quest for revenge. Before you go relying on True Love, remember how that worked out for Romeo and Juliet.
In gaming terms, that’s a good thing. Sure, it can be fun to trot out that ultimate “I Win!” card during some mighty confrontation or to recover from some terrible disaster – but True Love isn’t generally a one-shot thing that goes away. If you can just pull it out whenever you need it… it’s like playing in “god mode”. It’s amusing for a little bit, but it rapidly gets boring.
So… how can build “True Love” in Eclipse?
First up are the limitations. Obviously enough, “True Love” is ONLY going to help when the task at hand is vital to the love interest; True Love may give you the strength to swim on through the storm-tossed waves, but it won’t help you navigate well enough to have avoided striking the reef in the first place. It won’t help you escape the city watch either – unless, perhaps, you’ve got the stolen medicine that will save your true love in your possession. Occasionally it just won’t work anyway; True Love is a narrative force, and tragedy is ALSO good narrative. Would the Titanic have done so well at the box office if Jack had survived, run off with Rose, and they’d sold the gem to pay for the honeymoon and a house?
I certainly can’t prove it – but I doubt it.
In Eclipse “only works for actions involving a particular individual”, “only works when the GM thinks it should”, “only has the effects that the GM thinks it should”, and (especially!) “Sometimes blows up in your face” are some pretty big limitations – more than enough to make it specialized and corrupted.
So what do we need to buy?
- The go-to power for unique, spectacular, once-in-a-great-while feats is Action Hero / Stunts. That lets you – every so often – pull off some unique trick that you’ll probably never use again, or push way beyond your normal limits, or make a roll which should have been impossible. Even better, with those limitations… you can have it for a mere two character points – one third the cost of a normal feat!
Now, True Love is notorious for being inspiring people to greater efforts when in the presence of the loved one – or occasionally elsewhere through some sort of flashback, memento, or other token of love. Unlike the wild stunts, this is often somewhat reliable – if far less spectacular. So to buy this take…
- Mystic Artist: Specialized (again!) for Double Effect (does not really require a skill or roll) / only to provide basic Inspiration abilities, only covers the abilities through Skill 12 (Excellence), and – of course – only works on the user and the other limitations of “True Love”, as above. In essence, the user can handle a token, have a brief flashback, or otherwise be reminded of, and inspired by, the power of his or her love every so often – and as long as what they’re doing relates to that love, they’ll be getting some morale bonuses. Once again, thanks to the basic limitations on True Love, this will only cost two character points. Double-specializing something is normally a pretty serious red flag in Eclipse – but in this case… it seems pretty unlikely to break the game.
Don’t you just truly love it when the game master lets you stretch a point?
- Now, being inspired by your love often seems to happen in an instant – especially when you decide that it’s been inspired by a flashback. Normally using Mystic Artist abilities takes up a round or so… So to make it instant we’ll need Reflex Training (the Extra Actions variant), once again Specialized for Double Effect / the extra actions are full-round actions that can only be used to inspire yourself with the power of love.
By no coincidence, that’s double-specialized again – and is also two character points.
Thus your character too can have True Love, and be inspired by it’s power, for a mere six character points.
Not coincidentally, that’s the cost of a normal feat. True Love is an especially powerful feat of course – but in the usual Eclipse trade-off, that also means that it’s especially limited. There really shouldn’t be that big a problem porting it into a more standard d20 game as a more-or-less “normal” (if exotic) feat.
- [Emergence Campaign] Eclipse d20 — Items of Mystery (ruscumag.wordpress.com)