For today it’s a sort of a challenge: How to build a rather complex Hybrid Pathfinder-3.0-3.5 character in Eclipse. Given that the original level seven build has five classes (mixing Pathfinder, supplementary Pathfinder options, and 3.5 classes) from what looks to be five different books, with a modified pathfinder race, feats from a similar mixture of sources, and equipment from yet more sources, it’s also obviously going to be a high-efficiency build.
For a quick summary, the original character sheet provides the following information…
- Attributes: Str 8, Dex 18, Con 10, Int 17, Wis 10, Cha 16.
- Basic Items: 27 HP, BAB +4, Base Saves: Fort +3, Ref +5, Will +5. Proficiencies are not noted, but it looks like Light Armor and Rogue Weapons.
- Halfling Racial Traits: Fearless, Strong Heart, Weapon Familiarity, Keen Senses, Swift as Shadows, Magical Knack, Successful Shirker.
- Classes: Rogue (Sniper Archetype) 1 (almost certainly Pathfinder), Spellthief 1 (probably The Complete Adventurer), Wizard 2 (probably the Pathfinder variant), Unseen Seer 2 (probably one of the variants from The Complete Mage), Arcane Trickster 1 (could be Pathfinder or SRD). Noted abilities: Sneak Attack (3d6), Accuracy, Trapfinding, Arcane Bond (Familiar), Arcane School (Universalist), Hand of the Apprentice, Advanced Learning (Hunter’s Eye, Player’s Handbook II), Ranged Legerdemain, Steal Spell, and what seem to be five levels of Wizard Spellcasting with the Pathfinder limitless use of Cantrips.
- Seven Feats: Two-Weapon Fighting, Darkstalker (Lords of Madness), Hand Crossbow Focus (Drow of Underdark), Master Spellthief (Complete Scoundrel), Crossbow Sniper (Player’s Handbook II), Scribe Scroll (probably Pathfinder SRD version), and Still Spell (probably Pathfinder SRD).
- 62 Skill Points.
So how to build this?
Attributes: The sheet doesn’t note how the attributes were generated, and that really isn’t a part of Eclipse anyway. There’s nothing here to convert.
- Hit Dice (and their rolls) aren’t specified, and neither are the class sources – which means that there’s no easy way to look them up; I’ve seen five or six different writeups for “Spellthief” alone – although this version is very likely from the Complete Adventurer. Still, at level seven a classical build can be expected to have seven hit dice. As it happens, 27 HP with no Con Mod is exactly the average for 7d6 with the first one maximized. Ergo, that will work. So we’ll buy seven six-sided Hit Dice, at a cost of (14 CP). If those 27 HP represent some lucky rolls instead of a strict average this will be a bit of an improvement – but not all that big a one.
- BAB (Warcraft) +4, Corrupted/no iterative attacks (16 CP). Given that we just want to reproduce the character as-is – rather than throwing in a Martial Art or other specialized combat tricks, this works fine. It is a bit of a compromise, but so is actually buying the Pathfinder Skill Bonus instead of just accepting it as a free part of the setting – which comes up down below.
- Save Bonuses: +13 (39 CP). Of course, in Eclipse, you’re free to put these where you want them. For a true Eclipse build I’d probably reduce these bonuses – a side effect of stacking up so many classes – and go for Luck with Bonus Uses (Specialized in Saving Throws), but we are duplicating, not improving.
- Proficient with Light Armor (3 CP). The character appears to be an armored arcane caster using light armor, so I’ll throw in the Smooth modifier on the Light Armor (+3 CP) to allow that – although the original wording of “Master Spellthief” feat (from which the ability appears to be derived) could be read as saying that this should ONLY apply to “Spellthief Spells” (which wouldn’t appear until Spellthief level four). On the other hand, the build uses a +1 Mithril Shirt (with the Shadow property for extra stealth) to reduce the chance of spell failure, so maybe not… Given that the difference between leaving it open and specializing in Spellthief Spells only is only two character points, I’ll go with the most generous possible interpretation.
The original writeup also uses “Dastanas” – armor-enhancing bracers from the 3.0 Arms and Equipment Guide and Oriental Books that did not make it into 3.5 (along with a lot of other stuff that people considered “broken”). It also uses Gnomish Crossbow Sights – another poorly-judged 3.0 Arms and Equipment Guide item that essentially provided a +4 to hit – even if it was only to counter range penalties – for crossbows for a mere 150 GP. Still, Dastanas only call for Light Armor proficiency and what equipment the game master allows is – once again – not a part of an Eclipse build.
- Proficient with Simple and Rogue Weapons (6 CP).
That’s a total of 81 CP in this section.
Halfling Racial Traits:
While I’m generally going to go with what the player has on the character sheet, rather than digging through sourcebooks, in the particular case of racial traits there are three that seem likely to apply that aren’t noted – the size, the attribute modifiers, and speaking halfling – so I’ll be throwing those in.
- Fearless: Resistance/Fear (+2 versus Mental Effects, Specialized/only versus Fear, 1 CP).
- Strong Heart: Bonus Feat (6 CP).
- Weapon Familiarity: Proficiency with Halfling Cultural Weapons (A narrow group, Specialized/only reduces halfling exotic weapons to martial weapons, 1 CP)
- Keen Senses: +2 Perception (Racial Skill Bonus, 2 CP).
- Swift as Shadows: Immunity to Skill Penalties for Movement (Common, Minor, Major, Specialized and Corrupted/only for Stealth, only to reduce the penalties for movement by -5 and the penalty for sniping by -10, 2 CP).
- Magical Knack: +2 Base Caster Levels, Specialized and Corrupted/only applicable to a specific magical progression chosen when the character is created, will not take the users base caster level above his or her hit dice (4 CP).
- Successful Shirker: +1 on Stealth, +3 Bluff, +3 Diplomacy, Specialized and Corrupted / only to avoid punishment by lawful authorities (2 CP).
- +2 Dexterity, -2 Strength (Attribute Shift, 6 CP).
- Shrinking I (Corrupted: Reduces base movement to 20′, 8 CP)
- Speaks Halfling (1 CP).
- Disadvantage: Racial Reputation as Sneaky Thieves (-3).
The Pathfinder Package Deal provides the other +2 to an attribute – but doesn’t have much effect on most of the other items on this particular character sheet. Package deals have no cost however.
That’s 30 CP in this section – within the 31 CP allowance for a +0 ECL race, so there’s no effective cost.
- Sneak Attack: Augment Attack, 3d6 (9 CP).
- Accuracy, Hand of the Apprentice, and Ranged Legerdemain: Shaping, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect/only useable to produce the following three level one effects, only on a personal basis (6 CP) plus Reflex Training/can invoke Shaping as a part of making a ranged attack check, Specialized and Corrupted/only Distant Shot, only with Bows and Crossbows (2 CP).
1) Distant Shot: Halves range increment penalties.
2) Lesser Ranged Strike: The user may make an attack with a melee weapon with an effective range of 30 feet, using his or her (Int Mod) instead of (Dex Mod) for the attack check. As a special effect, the caster throws his weapon and it then returns to him or her.
3) Tricksters Hand: The user may make a Disable Device or Sleight of Hand skill check at a range of 30 feet – although the DC is increased by five.
I’d say that these are supernatural abilities; if you want them to be extraordinary you’ll need Immunity to Dispelling and Antimagic (Common, Minor, Great), Specialized and Corrupted/only those three effects (4 CP) – and you’ll also want to explain why EVERY skilled archer doesn’t have Distant Shot and how the ranged effects work without magic. Ergo, those four points won’t be added in.
- Trapfinding: As a full ability in Eclipse these could be bought as Professional/Perception, Specialized/only for trapfinding (3 CP), Professional/Disable Device (6 CP). Of course, in the original setup, these ONLY work with the character’s Spellthief levels, although a minimum bonus of +1 applies – meaning that the character actually only has a +1 bonus. That’s pretty trivial; buy a +3 Perception Speciality in Finding Traps (1 CP) and Skill Focus/Disable Device (Specialized/half effect, for a mere +1, 1 CP). That gives us a net cost of 2 CP and is STILL an improvement.
- Arcane Bond: Familiar (Raven). Companion (6 CP).
- Advanced Learning: Acquire a New Spell (1 CP). Divinations are pretty much the same for everyone, so there’s no real worry about a special cost there.
- Steal Spell: Power Words, Specialized for increased effect (Can drain a chosen or random spell from an opponent with a successful sneak attack or from a willing target with a touch) and Corrupted for Reduced Cost. The limitations are: use reduces damage of the attack by 1d6, spells must be cast normally, spells vanish if not used within an hour, user may not hold a spell of more than (Level/2, Rounded Down), and the user must supply all spell components. (4 CP). The original build could store only one spell level, this build can store three – but it’s really not worth the trouble to add yet more limitations; the cost is already as low as it’s going to get. This is a bit cheesy – if you do this to PC’s a lot, they’re going to start wanting saves – but how many NPC spellcasters actually use any major percentage of their spells during a single fight anyway?
The original ability states that a Spellthief of fourth level or higher can use the stolen energy to cast a “spellthief spell” (not defined on the sheet, but presumably derived from the Spellthief Class) of the same level or less, but the Master Spellthief feat only stacks Spellthief and Arcane Caster levels to see what level of spell can be stolen – and the classless build already incorporates an improved and automatic version of that ability in simply using the characters level. Similarly, a Spellthief of fourth level or higher can use the energy of an absorbed spell to power a personally-cast Spellthief spell – but Master Spellthief doesn’t help with that either, so there’s no need to buy that ability (you could buy it as Inherent Spell/Mana Transfer (The Practical Enchanter, L3) with +8 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted / only usable to use the energy of an absorbed spell to power another personally-cast spell (6 CP)).
Leaving out the speculations about stuff that doesn’t actually apply, that’s 30 CP for this section.
The character is listed as having seven Feats – presumably including one racial bonus feat, Scribe Scroll from the Wizard levels, and one from some other class. Fortunately, in Eclipse, what matters is the price, not the source – but when it comes to cost comparisons, we’ll want to know how many bonus feats this character has (it looks like four to me).
- Two-Weapon Fighting: Bonus Attack (6 CP).
- Darkstalker: Immunity/any need to have specialized abilities to use the Hide skill against creatures with special senses (Uncommon, Minor, Major, 3 CP), plus Immunity/all-around vision (Uncommon, Minor, Major), Corrupted/only to allow you to flank creatures with that ability (2 CP).
- Hand Crossbow Focus: Reflex Training/Can reload as a free action, Specialized and Corrupted/only applies to Hand Crossbows (2 CP), +1 Warcraft (BAB), Specialized and Corrupted/only applies to Hand Crossbows, does not add to iterative attacks (2 CP).
- Master Spellthief: The benefits of this ability are covered under Spellthief and Armor Proficiencies (above) and Wizard Spellcasting (below) – since it’s a lot easier to keep track of modifiers with what they affect.
- Crossbow Sniper: Augmented Bonus, Adds (Dex Mod) to damage with ranged weapons, Specialized and Corrupted/Half effect, only works with crossbows, (2 CP) plus Far Shot, Specialized for Increased Effect and Corrupted for reduced cost/only to increase the range for sneak and skirmish attacks with ranged weapons to 60′, only with crossbows (4 CP).
- Scribe Scroll: Spell Storing (6 CP).
- Still Spell: Metamagic/Easy, Specialized/only to remove somatic components (3 CP).
That’s 28 CP in this section.
Skill Points 62
This is mildly awkward: the character seems to be using Pathfinder Skills – including the “+3 to all trained class skills” modifier. That’s part of the skill system, not part of the character build – but I suspect that the player will want to keep the skill totals the same and it looks like the character has sixteen trained in-class skills. Ergo, I’ll include a tweak for that.
- The character will be getting 30 SP from Intelligence, at no cost.
- As a later-generation character build, Fast Learner Specialized in Skills is definitely in order – presumably taken as the Racial Bonus Feat to gain +20 SP at a cost of (6 CP).
- The character does have six ranks each in Disable Device, Perception, Sleight of Hand, and Stealth. That would normally cost 24 SP at L7, but taking Adept (6 CP) on those skills will reduce the cost to 12 SP – and the total number of skill points needed to 50. Fortunately, that’s exactly the total that we’ve already got – at a net cost of 12 CP so far.
- Now the Pathfinder Skill Bonus is a little trickier. To create it, take Shaping, Specialized and Corrupted (can only be used to enhance skills, will not enhance a skill beyond +3 or up to the (Level + 3) maximum on it’s base (whichever comes first), can only add bonuses not special effects, only works on skills that the user has invested at least one skill point in) for Increased Effects (can cast the Cantrip-Level Skill Mastery effects from The Practical Enchanter, the bonus is Pathfinder Conversion Bonus rather than Enhancement) (6 CP). Now throw in Immunity to Dispelling and Antimagic (Common, Minor, Great), Specialized and Corrupted/only protects these skill-boosting effects (4 CP) and Reflex Training/can use shaping as a part of a skill check, Specialized and Corrupted/only works with this specific effect (2 CP).
There; for an additional 12 CP, we can convert the Pathfinder Bonus. Of course, once you allow this… pretty much EVERY character who relies on skills will want to use it, but there’s nothing wrong with that if you’re allowing it in the first place.
That’s 24 CP in this section.
Finally, we have the spellcasting. That seems to include…
- Five levels of Wizard Spellcasting (70 CP)
- The Pathfinder ability to cast L0 spells as often as desired (Shaping, Specialized for Increased Effect (only works for the characters limited list of memorized level zero spells), Corrupted/must be free to gesture and speak (4 CP).
- Fast Learner, Specialized in Spells (3 CP). The character has eight extra spells, while this would only yield seven at level seven – but honestly, paying precious character points for first level spells that you can pick up for 25 GP apiece is a waste. Go ahead. Mark off 100 GP from your seventh-level allotment and buy FOUR first level spells. Save those 3 CP to buy three more second or third level spells that are more use (and that bonus spell from “Advanced Learning” that doesn’t seem to have been included). If you continue pushing Wizard as you go up in level, buy the Specialization here from “Half Cost” to “Double Effect” – and go to two free spells per level. There’s no reason to do it yet though; it would yield too many spells to match the build. (Of course, if the character doesn’t actually need the Smooth modifier in the Light Armor Proficiency, you can put those 3 CP into buying up to double effect – and get some extra spells).
The proposed spell list includes…
Level Zero: Resistance, Acid Splash, Drench, Detect Magic, Detect Poison, Read Magic, Daze, Breeze, Dancing Lights, Flare, Light, Penumbra, Ray of Frost, Scoop, Spark, Ghost Sound, Haunted Fey Aspect, Bleed, Disrupt Undead, Touch of Fatigue, Jolt, Mage Hand, Mending, Message, Open/Close, Root, Arcane Mark, Prestidigitation.
Level One: Charm Person, Magic Missile, Disguise Self, Illusion of Calm, Enlarge Person, Expeditious Retreat, Feather Fall, Vocal Alteration.
Level Two: Detect Thoughts, Arrow Eruption, Glitterdust, Invisibility.
Level Three: Clairaudience-Clairvoyance, Nondetection.
The character sheet states that the character is a Universalist – and thus not eligible for bonus spell slots – but then goes on to list the character with bonus spell slots. If you throw this in, that’s Specialist (3 CP) – but also calls for a disadvantage (Accursed, must use two slots for spells from “opposition” schools (-3 CP) or even a Restriction (worth more points, which can go to buying up the rest of the “Specialist” sequence later on).
That’s a total cost of 77 CP in this section.
So what’s our total cost?
- 81 (Basic Items) +0 (Race) +30 (Class-Based Special Abilities) +28 (Feats) +24 (Skills) +77 (Spellcasting) = 240 CP.
- What we’ve got is 192 (L7 Base) +10 (Disadvantages) + 14 (Duties) + 24 (Racial, L1, L3, L6 Bonus Feats) = 240 CP.
Now that DID involve pinching some of those points pretty hard – even beyond the usual player-character point-pinching – but this is a build that draws material from more than a dozen different sourcebooks spread over three separate (and not entirely compatible) editions. Whether it was the player proposing the character or some folks on a character-optimization board somewhere, SOMEONE has put a lot of work into combing through sourcebooks and editions to build this character.
Or, of course, they could have just used Eclipse. That does involve some math, and getting used to the system – but it also involves just the one book (and, I suspect, a lot less time).
Now is this a particularly good Eclipse build? It’s certainly versatile enough – but it’s not really an overwhelming powerhouse. When you come right down to it, “sniping” is not an especially good choice in d20; the entire combat system is designed to let people get into the fighting, fight for a while, and then pull out if they’re losing. “One shot, one kill”… just doesn’t fit into it very well.
Similarly, the build doesn’t possess particularly overwhelming magic. It has lots of skills, but doesn’t go to extremes with any of them. It’s a great loner, but the game is usually played in groups.
Some people like playing talented generalists. Some don’t. If you do, this is quite an adequate build. If you want to completely dominate some field, this probably isn’t the build for you.
If you want to compare with a few Eclipse builds…
- Howl-of-Death, a L6 Hyena-Anthro Gravespeaker.
- Some white “necromancy” with a Deathspeaker.
- Timoty and Verendior, a boy and his pet dream-monster.
- Anatolia, a L4 Modern Demonslayer.
- Kitsune in Eclipse – Part I, Part II, and Part III.
- Coran Mordant, the Thief of Scrolls.
- And many more on the Sample Character Index (even if it is sadly behind).
Eclipse: The Codex Persona is available in a Freeware PDF Version, in Print, and in a Paid PDF Version that includes Eclipse II (245 pages of Eclipse races, character and power builds, items, relics, martial arts, and other material) and the web expansion.
- [Emergence Campaign] Eclipse, Character Gear, and the “Big Six” Magic Items (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Triple Solutions for Quadratic Wizards from Intelligence Check (alzrius.wordpress.com)