Eclipse – Heir of Darkness

Hades and Cerberus, in Meyers Konversationslex...

Yeah. I’m taking over now. You OK with that Dad?

Today it’s a seventh level character for an “Evil Game” – or for use as a villain.

The Lord of Murder, Sacrifice, and Assassins has fallen, and his offspring – each bearing a spark of his terrible gifts and power – contend to take his place. Within each lies the potential for direct command of certain magics (if on a far lesser scale than the powers of a god) – and, perhaps, the potential to become a greater power in their own right.

World Laws: Pathfinder Package Deal. Half Price Attributes (a base of 6 CP per +1).

Basic Race: Moon Elf (31 CP/+0 ECL)

  • +2 Dex, +2 Int, Half-Price Attribute Rule In Play (12 CP).
  • Immunity/Sleep Effects (Uncommon/Minor/Major, 3 CP)
  • Resist/+2 on Saves versus Enchantment Spells and Effects (3 CP)
  • Occult Sense / Low-Light Vision (6 CP)
  • Proficiency with Elven Cultural Weapons (bows, long and short swords, and rapiers) 3 CP)
  • Occult Sense/Detect Secret Doors (Specialized: requires passing within 5 feet, 3 CP)
  • Speaks Elven as an extra language (1 CP)

The Heritage of Darkness (+2 ECL Template/64 CP):

Unlike most powerful parents, the Dark Lord was intentionally granting his offspring a portion of his godhood – intending that it destroy them while serving as the seed of his resurrection. Perhaps fortunately, he utterly bungled it somehow despite all those divine goodies (such as automatic 20’s on rolls for planning and magic theory). His offspring have thus inherited a spark of divine power rather than a raging, all-consuming, flame – enough to allow them to produce some fairly formidable effects through the direct, instinctive, manipulation of raw magical energy. Still, their power IS limited, both by their talents and by their ability to perceive that flow of magic – at least for now. His spawn receive…

  • Divine Insights: +8 Wisdom for magical purposes (in general, for learning and casting spells and for bonuses to magical skills), Specialized/only affects bonus slots, save DC’s, and skill scores for Rune Magic, not for other spellcasting and magic-related skills, half price in template, half price due to reduced attribute cost world law (6 CP).
  • Spark of the Divine: Adept x2, halving the cost of the Casting and Mastery Rune Magic skills for four fields of (almost invariably wisdom-based) Rune Magic (12 CP). (In his case he has a fairly typical set; Conjuration, Destruction, Necromancy, and Transmutation).
  • Birthright of the Darkchilde: Has the Magician (6 CP) and Runic Ritual (6 CP) abilities for his Rune Magic – as well as +4 to all eight of his rune magic skills (16 CP). A typical Dark Heir can manifest effects of up to level two within their fields by sheer instinct.
  • Reflex Training/Extra Actions variant, with +12 Bonus Uses (15 Total), Specialized/only for using Rune Magic (12 CP).
  • Evasive/Spellcasting in Melee, Specialized/only applies to Rune Magic (6 CP).

That’s a very focused little template – “you have some fairly formidable instinctive spellcasting that you can build on”. That double-helping of Adept and skill bonuses would still make this a very good template for any aspiring Rune Mage even without the half-price attribute rule taking the wisdom bonus from +4 to +8. With that rule in play… an aspiring runemaster would be a fool to pass this one up. It’s also a nice, straightforward, template for empowered divine offspring (at least those who aren’t physical types) in general.

That leaves us with a fifth level character to build.

Available Character Points: 144 (Level Five Base) +10 (Disadvantages) +5 (Restrictions; +18 (L1, L3, L5 Bonus Feats) = 187 (+5 CP from the Pathfinder Package, left for player discretion).

Basic Attributes: Str 8, Int 16 (18), Wis 20 (22) (30), Con 12, Dex 14, Chr 10. (3.5 32 Point Buy, Str 8, Int 14, Wis 18, Con 12, Dex 12, Chr 10, +2 Wisdom from Pathfinder Package, +2 Int and Dex from Race)

Basic Abilities (87 CP):

  • Hit dice: 12 (1d12, 8 CP) + (4d8, 6, 8, 5, 6, 16 CP) +12 (Magic) + 7 (Con Mod x 7) = 56.
  • Skill Points: 12 (Purchased, 12 CP) +32 (Int Mod x 8) +12 (Fast Learner) = 56.
  • BAB: +2, +4 with Shortswords (18 CP).
  • Saves:
    • Fortitude: +2 (6 CP) +1 (Con) +1 (Res) = +4
    • Reflex: +2 (6 CP) +2 (Dex) +1 (Res) = +5
    • Will: +4 (12 CP) +6 (Wis) +1 (Res) = +11
  • Proficiencies: All Simple Weapons (3 CP), Light Armor with the Smooth Modifier (6 CP).
  • Initiative: +2 (Dex)
  • Move: 30′
  • Armor Class: 10 +2 (Dex) +5 (+1 Chain Shirt) = 17

Usual Weapons:

  • Short Sword +7 (+4 BAB +3 MA +1 Enh -1 Str), 1d6 (+1 Enh -1 Str). Crit 19-20/x2, 4d6 Sneak Attack, quadruple damage when striking from behind with surprise.
  • Longbow +4 (+2 BAB +2 Dex), 1d8, Crit 20/x3, 100′ range increment.

Special Abilities (94 CP):

  • Fast Learner, Specialized in Skills for Double Effect (+2 SP/Level, 6 CP).
  • Access to an Occult Skill (Secrets, 3 CP).
    • Each skill point invested in the “Secrets” skill brings extraordinary knowledge – the names of a dozen powerful fey, the routes through the crypts beneath the sacred mountains, or the summoning chant of the three winds. The game master may let a character roll against his or her Secrets skill to see if they know some bit of lost information – or simply give the user additional secrets/plot hooks when it’s convenient.
  • Adept (Knowledge/Arcana, Occult Skill/Secrets, Spider’s Fang, Stealth, 6 CP).
  • 5d6 Mana with the Resilience Natural Magic Option, Corrupted/only usable for Resilience and Rune Magic (20 CP).
  • Rite of Chi with +4 Bonus Uses, Specialized/only works when sleeping to “recover spells” (6 CP).
  • Rite of Chi with +4 Bonus Uses, Specialized for Increased Effect/activates instantly – but only at a rate of 1d6 mana per intelligent creature he kills (6 CP).
  • Traceless (Murder; his victims exact cause of death cannot be determined and he neither leaves nor acquires bloodstains, fingerprints, or similar clues, 6 CP).
  • Cloaking (Divination; he appears to be an honest and blameless man to all divinations).
  • Dominion and Ears of the Wind (12 CP).
  • Innate Enchantment: +2 Wis, +2 Int, Immortal Vigor I, Critical Strike (SC), Master’s Touch (SC) (8 CP).
  • Augment Attack/+2d6 Sneak Attack (6 CP).
  • Action Hero/Stunts Option (6 CP). Used properly, this will make him very VERY difficult to get rid of permanently.
  • Double damage when striking from surprise, Specialized for double effect (x4 damage)/only when striking from behind (6 CP).
  • Grant of Aid, Specialized/Hit Points Only (3 CP).


In-Class Skills: Craft and Profession (Automatic), Bluff, Climb, Knowledge/Arcana, Knowledge/The Planes, Knowledge/Religion, Perception, Rune Magic/Necromancy, Secrets, Sleight of Hand, Spellcraft, Spiders Fang Martial Art, and Stealth.

Skill Point Expenditures; Knowledge/Arcana (4*), Rune Magics (Necromancy; Mastery 4*, Casting 4*, Other Three each: Mastery 3*, Casting 3*), Secrets (4*), Spider’s Fang (4*), Stealth (4*), Knowledge/The Planes 2, Knowledge/Religion 2, Perception 2, Sleight of Hand 2, Spellcraft 2, Bluff 1, and Climb 1.

Net Skill Scores:

  • Rune Magic Necromancy +25 (8 SP +10 Wis +4 Race +3 Path, allows effects of up to level six at caster level twelve).
  • Rune Magic; Conjuration, Destruction, and Transmutation +20 (6 SP +10 Wis +4 Race, allows effects of up to level five at caster level 10).
  • Bluff +4 (1 SP +0 Cha +3 Path), and Climb +3 (1 SP -1 Str +3 Path).
  • Knowledge/Religion +9 (2 SP +4 Int +3 Path).
  • Knowledge/The Planes +9 (2 SP +4 Int +3 Path).
  • Knowledge/Arcana +15 (8 SP +4 Int +3 Path).
  • Perception +11 (2 SP +6 Wis +3 Path).
  • Secrets +15 (8 SP +4 Int +3 Path).
  • Sleight of Hand +7 (2 SP +2 Dex +3 Path).
  • Spellcraft +9 (2 SP +4 Int +3 Path).
  • Spider’s Fang +13 (8 SP +2 Dex +3 Path).
  • Stealth +15 (8 SP +2 Dex +3 Path +2 Synergy).

That leaves 2 SP left – enough for Mastery/Casting 1/1 in another field of Rune Magic, for a net +11 (Allowing second level spells at an effective caster level of 5). Alternatively, he could pick up a couple of Specialties – perhaps including +3 on Rune Casting/Necromancy when using a particular set of favored spells (three of the most powerful ones he can cast). For the moment, those might be…

Armor of the Dead: This terrible power summons up a hungry spirit from the shadow worlds of the afterlife, granting it a taste of the material world again – and brief surcease from it’s endless hunger – in exchange for it manifesting around the caster as a sort of (quite horrific) “armor”. Summon Undead IV (in general, this covers undead creatures with challenge ratings of up to five) with an extended duration (one minute per caster level, +1 level) and the Possession modifier (+1 level).

Chain the Dead: Unused magic echoes in the minds of the slain, and it’s traces remain in their relics, to be called forth by those versed in the dark lore. Greater Invocation/Produces any arcane magical effect of level three or less for which the user possesses an appropriate talisman – the skull or brain of a spellcaster or creature which was capable of using that spell (had it memorized or otherwise available) at it’s time of death.

Optionally, if the game master is willing to put up with the bookkeeping and wishes to restrict the user even more stringently, each effect that remained unused at the time of death can only be called forth once. Otherwise, it’s assumed that the user is calling forth the spirit of the creature involved (which is entitled to put in the occasional appearance as a haunt) and drawing on its powers. At the moment, she likely has the skull of a low-level sorcerer or mage or two – so she might well have access to a Fireball or two if she really needs to use them.

Dust of Ages. The world of the living is built upon the bones of the dead. For every creature that lives, a billion have died. Few realize it, but the world is a vast graveyard – and it’s dust can be summoned to take form once again by those who are intimate with death. As per Animate Dead – but no gems or bodies are required. Unfortunately, their lack of solid structure means that they will return to the dust from which they were summoned after 1d4+1 hours.

Martial Art – the Spider’s Fang Technique:

  • Requires: Weapon Focus/Short Blade (Dagger or Shortsword) or equivalent point buy.
  • Basic Techniques: Attack 3, Defenses 2, Power 3, Strike, Synergy: Stealth
  • Advanced and Master Techniques: Sneak Attack 3, Combat Reflexes.
  • Occult Techniques: Inner Strength, Ki Block, Light Foot, and Serpent Strike.
  • Known Techniques (7): Attack 3, Synergy/Stealth, Strike, and Sneak Attack 2.

Equipment: 23,500 GP.

Magical Gear: Healing Belt (750), Hat of Disguise (1800), Amulet of Tears (2300 GP), Wand of Cure Light Wounds (750), Cloak of Resistance +1 (1000), +1 Chain Shirt (1200), +1 Short Sword (2100), Handy Haversack (2000), Survival Pouch (3300). Leaves 8300 GP for gear of choice.

The Heir of Darkness is pretty formidable there – commanding some surprisingly powerful magic for his (or her) level and enough combat skill and endurance to take a few casual hits. Their power will start to lag eventually, since rune magic doesn’t improve nearly as quickly as most other branches of magic – but they’ve got enough of a head start to remain competitive for quite awhile. If one uses his or her reflex actions to defend as needed, he’ll make an excellent “boss” encounter for a low-mid level group. If they can build up a decent power base, and start exploiting Dominion effectively, they may indeed be on the path to godhood – if no one else comes to stop the rise of a new Dark Lord. 

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. Here’s a Featured Review of it and another Independent Review.

The Practical Enchanter can be found in a Print Edition (Lulu), an Electronic Edition(RPGNow), and a Shareware Edition (RPGNow).  There’s an RPGNow Staff Review too.

4 Responses

  1. The Lord of Murder shall perish
    But in his doom he shall spawn a score of mortal progeny
    Chaos will be sown from their passage.

    Well, everybody who played Baldur’s Gate loves Baldur’s Gate.

    On a more specific note, Rune Magic isn’t a bad tool at all and a great way to customize a character with some flair. Although it does need a bit more to support it at higher levels, but it’s not usually favored by primary magicians. With his wide array of competencies, this is a good character and would definitely be a dangerous foe (or given that this is an evil campaign, a powerful ally, if properly advanced. More specialization in one way or another would be better over time, however.

    • Well, I haven’t actually… but something based on that was requested. I don’t actually know much about what they’re going to be doing other than being evil though.

  2. […] ECL Heritage of Darkness Template, for partial heirs of divine power. (Also usable for non-dark […]

  3. […] ECL Heritage of Darkness Template, for partial heirs of divine power. (Also usable for non-dark […]

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