Inherent Spells, Spell Conversion and the Pointlessly Awesome!

And here we have some answers for Bill, who has asked several different Eclipse questions…

How does purchasing inherent spells work? I read the rules in Eclipse, but when I look for examples it is confusing… The Mastercrafter can use a lv 6 spell with Inherent Spell; is that because you are cheesing the double effect to double the maximum lv from 3 to 6? Can you specialize and corrupt a spell for triple effect and cast a 9th lv spell for 6cp?

Abooksigun (scroll down) seems to have a lot of Inherent Spells that don’t seem to follow the rules in Eclipse. I thought level 1 to 3 spells cost 6cp for Inherent Spell, Inherent Spell (grade 1) would allow level 4 spells and cost 6cp more (12 total), Inherent Spell (grade 2) would allow level 5 spells and cost 6cp more (18 total), Inherent spell (grade 3) would allow level 6 spells and cost 6cp more (24 total). At least that is how it reads to me in the book.

-Bill

Yes, you can indeed Specialize and Corrupt Innate Spell (and several other similar powers) to reach high-level spells quickly and easily. The catch, however, is threefold: you have to persuade the game master to let you, he or she has to waive the minimum level/caster level requirement or allow you to keep your high-powered effect under control regardless (the general rule is on page 10, on the lower right – but it’s noted under the inherent spell description again for emphasis), and you have to live with whatever that Corruption and Specialization is – which can be pretty awkward.

The most common reason for being allowed to get away with it on the first two counts is because the effect is in-theme for the character but doesn’t actually make a lot of difference. Thus the Mastercrafter gets away with a sixth level effect quite early on because it’s not especially important; there are plenty of other ways to trade in magic items you don’t want at a modest discount to pay for the stuff that you do want. One way or another, that tends to happen anyway as long as magic items are fairly easy to make and thus widely available.

For a more extreme example, Dark Lord Kevin operates in the dimension-hopping Federation – Apocalypse setting. Now that setting pretty much allows ANYTHING – although most of it will not work in quite a lot of places (Such as the Core Worlds, where very little works beyond basic witchcraft). Thus Kevin started with Dominion and purchased Godfire and ascended to godhood at level two. He also started off with Negative Energy Channeling/Spell Conversion Specialized to allow him to use a quartet of tenth-level effects. Now even in the Federation-Apocalypse setting those are some pretty extreme abilities to be starting off with – so why was it allowed?

Well his effects required notable rituals, and were blatantly black magic. That’s annoying, but not really enough to justify letting a first level character have access to tenth level spells. The effects he took however…

  • Grant Desire” let him produce – given a little time and provided that he was in a dimension that allowed it – pretty much any effect of up to sixth level at the request of someone else who was willing to bargain with a quasi-demonic entity to get it. Of course, in the dimension-hopping Manifold setting, where characters hopped through dimensional gates into new identities (that provide some of the appropriate abilities) in various worlds at the drop of a hat… there are a LOT of ways to get mid-level spell effects or the equivalent if you really want them and have time. In the last two hundred and fifty sessions this has come in really useful… twice. Of course, by now he has plenty of other powers.
  • Demonic Infusion” gives willing youngsters the Demon Thrall Template – thus explaining where he was getting the enhanced followers that he was purchasing with Leadership and helping give him a reason to actively seek out and recruit more followers. Thus this mighty power… helped explain another ability, provided personal motivations, and gave an endless succession of parents, authorities, and religious figures a reason to shout “Demon! Child-Stealer! Monster!”. Otherwise… it didn’t really have any effect on actual play.
  • Transfer Thrall” lets him transfer his Demonic Thralls to other masters (which was what happened to them whenever he exceeded his leadership allotment). Of course, Kevin’s Demonic Thralls mostly stand guard, act as servants, run errands, handle logistics, and work “offscreen”. Occasionally they serve as temporary PC’s, or the group takes a group of Thrall-characters off on a side-adventure – but mostly this effect allows him to exercise poor judgement by giving Thralls away to people who will later use them to make trouble that he will have to fix. That makes him a profit of course – but there are far easier routes to mere wealth in the setting.
  • Finally, “True Polymorph” lets him transform things! That’s very cool! However, transformations and reality-shaping are an innate part of the Federation-Apocalypse setting; characters can already take various forms in various worlds, shapechanging is a common power, and wealth produced by transformations… is world specific, when the characters switch worlds every few sessions.

Those four effects are indeed spells of terrible potency – and are of no real importance in the setting. Letting Kevin take those powers pretty much amounted to spending some of his points on flavor text. It’s impressive flavor text, and offers enough plot hooks to have justified a lot of chaos and wild adventures – but it’s still basically flavor text.

Similarly, his Godhood is focused almost entirely on Divine Infusion, which is focused entirely on Endowment – which is a tremendous benefit for his Thralls and followers scattered across the dimensions, but is of little or no use to him. In fact, Kevin has so little control of this ability that he’s wound up empowering a number of people who have actively opposed him.

Personally, I tend to find that sort of thing a better indicator of “Optimization” than being able to destroy all opposition with no trouble. Kevin IS pretty powerful – but he’s set up to make a lot of trouble for himself and to provide the game master with any number of plot hooks. That’s optimization for role-playing fun, rather than optimization for combat, or diplomacy, or anything else mechanical.

Now as for Abooksigun…

Abooksigun (scroll down) is actually fairly standard example of a character with a sequence of Inherent Spells – although, as a companion creature to Ptaysanwee, a powerful NPC and a quick character conversion, he’s playing a bit fast and loose with the usual “related” requirement. He’s basically taken “supporting cast” as HIS theme, although I suppose we could call it “the flickering dance of the inner flame” or some such. He’s thus taken…

  • Inherent Spell/Fireball (L3, 6 CP). He’s taken +2 Bonus Uses (+3 CP) since that’s slightly cheaper than taking +2 uses with the Multiple modifier (that would be 4 CP – but really, the “Multiple” modifier is only there to specifically call out that it applies to BOTH first level spells if a character takes the “two level one inherent spells” option).
  • Advanced Inherent Spell I (+6 CP) lets him add another inherent spell of up to level four to his Fireball ability. In this case he’s taken Freedom of Movement and +2 Bonus Uses (+3 CP) again.
  • Advanced Inherent Spell II (+6 CP) lets him add a third inherent spell of up to fifth level to his powers. In this case it’s once again with +2 Bonus Uses (+3 CP) and he’s picked Teleport.
  • Advanced Inherent Spell III (+6 CP) (and again with +2 Bonus Uses, +3 CP) adds Heal to his list – giving him a grand total of Fireball 3/Day, Freedom of Movement 3/Day, Teleport 3/Day, and Heal 3/Day.

That’s less than clear on the actual writeup, simply because the actual page is condensing things for quick reference (and because I was, as always, in too much of a hurry…). Still, adding an Advanced option doesn’t take the basic inherent spell away.

In any case, I hope that helps despite the delay, even if Alzrius has pretty well covered it already.

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