At the center of the galaxy, a distortion of space-time – the galactic black hole – slowly grew.
Eventually it touched another Brane – a multi-layered place of wildly differing laws of nature, of exotic energies, and of peculiar creatures.
And a Rift opened, leaping first from the central black hole to the lesser black holes of the galaxy, then to suns, and then to planets – attenuating along the way. In an instant each quark in the galaxy was tied to an infinitesimal thread of the Rift. While no one would ever notice directly at those scales, with a new quality added to each quark… they could interact with the exotic forces flowing through the Rift.
Things that came too close to a major part of the Rift were hit with a LOT of exotic energy – and reacted strangely if they weren’t destroyed outright. Living creatures could be strangely warped and twisted, whether physically or mentally. They might or might not (far more likely) acquire strange quirks and special abilities, and might or might not (again more likely) be able to pass such things on to their descendants if they did. Matter might (but most probably would not) take on strange and unprecedented properties.
To would-be expansive civilizations – at least to those which didn’t pass too near a major portion of the Rift to survive intact – the Rift was a key of near-infinite value. It had linked the galaxy into a preferred reference frame, and if you tapped into it’s energies properly… the ancient dream of faster than light travel could become a reality.
The scattering of races which retained their stability and technologies began to expand into the galaxy.
Post Rift 184, 163’rd year of Stellar Exploration
Interstellar Prospecting was not that great a living. Few ordinary materials were worth hauling between the stars, and the ones that were – mostly materials from the Rift, or those imbued with the exotic energies thereof – were difficult to find from orbit. Still, a family with the knack could get along – and families with strange hereditary powers tended to be pushed to the fringes of civilization in any case. They made so many people more than a little uncomfortable.
Sadly enough, the best systems for prospecting were the ones that had recently passed near a major branch of the Rift – and so were the most unstable and dangerous.
The Roskam’s didn’t have any major gifts, curses, or transformations. The family merely carried a touch of extrasensory perception – an subtle awareness of Rift energies and a low-grade ability to channel them into minor tricks. It was enough to let them locate the most likely spots for their prospecting though, changing a marginal profession into one that offered reasonably reliable – if still fairly modest – profits.
A major strike was definitely worth some risks though. Even if the local star was flaring with both conventional and Rift-energies, the ship shields should hold up well enough.
Which was all very well until there was a small collapse in the mineshaft, trapping young Jaelyn Kei Roskam in the mine. She wasn’t hurt, and it wouldn’t take more than an hour or two to clear – but the flare alarms went off less than fifteen minutes into the process. The Roskam’s spent their time margin in frantic effort – but in the end there was little choice; the rest of the family fell back to the ship and hoped that the earth and stone above Jaelyn would provide sufficient shielding to avoid having anything too odd happen to her.
That didn’t work out.
Jaelyn had retreated to the bottom of the mine, deep within the vein of Rift-charged Benitoite, when the exotic particle-wave struck. Freakishly enough, the vein acted like a concentrating lens – filling the depths with a massive discharge of exotic energies.
When Jaelyn staggered back to the blockage, she barely even realized it when she cleared her path with a sweeping gesture.
It was some time before she became used to her new abilities, but there were certainly enough situations on the stellar frontier that called for them to keep her in practice.
Jaelyn Kei Roskam, Fifth Level Elemental Master (Manifold Setting)
Race: Genemodded Rift Human (+0 ECL / 30 CP).
Like most humans in the Galactic Reaches realm, Jaclyn benefits from 23’nd century genetic engineering, as well as from the potential to tap into the exotic energies of the Rift. Secondarily, as a resident of the Manifold – where battlesuits, mecha, and personal fusion weapons are readily available to first level characters and a lot of combat is ship-to-ship with missiles. Ergo, she’s allowed a major slice of cheese here – getting some high-end physical attribute boosters on the cheap. Unfortunately, attempts at mental boosts… did not turn out well. Hyper-intellects tended to be violently unstable.
- Leopard Genegrafts: Shapeshift with Hybrid Form, Clear Speech, and Variants (human appearance), Specialized in leopard form only and Corrupted by not actually being able to shapeshift (27 CP base, net cost 9 CP). That leaves her “stuck” in human form with a leopard’s physical attribute modifiers and innate physical bonuses (Str +6, Dex +8, Con +4, +10 Move, +1 Natural Armor, +8 to Acrobatics and Jump, +4 to Stealth, Low-Light Vision, and Scent) replacing her own physical attribute modifiers.
- Enhanced Health: +2 Bonus d0 Hit Dice (Essentially + [2 x Con Mod] HP, 8 CP, required to qualify for the Leopard Genegrafts).
- Immunity/Aging (uncommon/minor/minor, 2 CP). Can expect to live for several centuries without much of any signs of aging – or pretty much indefinitely in the Manifold.
- Grant of Aid/Specialized (requires several hours): May heal 1d8+5 damage OR 1d3 points of attribute damage OR one negative level once per three levels per day or part thereof, 3 CP), with the Regenerative option/Corrupted (requires lots of food and rest, 2 CP), allowing them to slowly regrow lost limbs and organs.
- Fast Learner, Specialized in Skills for Double Effect (6 CP).
Available Character Points: 144 (L5 Base) + 10 (Duties, to her friends and family) +10 (Disadvantages) +12 (L1 and L3 Bonus Feats) = 176
Basic Attributes: Str (15) (21), Int (14), Wis (13), Con (16) (20), Dex 16 (24), Chr (13)
Characters in the Manifold Setting get (2x Cha Mod) free Contacts, physical Damage Reduction of (Str Mod/-), gain a base defense score equal to their (Wis Mod) when unarmored or lightly armored and both aware of attacks and free to move, add their (Int Mod) to all skill scores on which they’ve spent at least 1 SP (yes, that means that intelligence-based skills add it twice), get (2x Dex Mod) free points worth of weapon proficiencies, and – once they’ve learned some magic – get (Con Mod) “spell points” each day (allowing them to draw on the energies of the manifold to get minor magics to work in the inner circles).
This provides Jaelyn with 2 free contacts, DR 5/-, Defense 1, 5 Spell Points, 14 CP worth of free Weapon Proficiencies, and a base skill bonus of +2.
Basic Abilities (84 CP):
- Hit Points: 20 (L1d20, 16 CP) +23 (L2-5 d8, 16 CP) +35 (7 x Con Mod) = 78
- BAB: +6 (36 CP).
- Fortitude +3 (Purchased, 9 CP) + 5 (Con) = +8
- Reflex +1 (Purchased, 3 CP) +7 (Dex) = +8
- Will +1 (Purchased, 3 CP) +1 (Wis) = +2
- Proficient with all Simple, Martial, and Exotic Weapons (1 CP after 14 CP Credit from Dex).
- Initiative +7 (Dex)
- Armor Class: 10 (Base) +3 (Defense) +7 (Dex) +2 (Shipsuit) = 22
- Movement: 30
Special Abilities (92 CP):
- Fast Learner, Specialized in Skills for +2 SP/Level (6 CP). This and her racial Fast Learner keep her Adept skills up to maximum without cost.
- Adept (Computer, Perception, Profession/Merchant, Survival) (6 CP).
- Adept (Rune Magic Fire, Casting and Mastery, Rune Magic Earth, Casting and Mastery) (6 CP).
- 6d6 (27) Mana, Specialized and Corrupted/No Natural Magic option, only for use with Elemental Rune Magic (12 CP)
- Rite of Chi with +8 Bonus Uses, Corrupted/requires at least ten minutes of rest per use (12 CP).
- Martial Arts (1d4 damage in HTH, considered armed when unarmed, 3 CP).
- Luck with +4 Bonus Uses, Specialized in Skills (6 CP).
- Luck with +4 Bonus Uses, Specialized in Saves (6 CP).
- Defender with an additional +1 to AC, Corrupted/Not usable with medium, heavy, or superheavy armor, or shields (8 CP)
Skill Points: 12 (Purchased, 12 CP) + 32 (Fast Learner) + 16 (Int) = 60 SP.
- Computer +8 (Purchased) +2 (Int Base) +2 (Int) = +12
- Perception +8 (Purchased) +2 (Int Base) +1 (Wis) = +11
- Profession/Merchant +8 (Purchased) +2 (Int Base) +1 (Wis) = +11
- Survival +8 (Purchased) +2 (Int Base) +1 (Wis) = +11
- Rune Magic Fire Mastery +8 (Purchased) +2 (Int Base) +7 (Dex) = +17 (4’th level effects).
- Rune Magic Fire Casting +8 (Purchased) +2 (Int Base) +7 (Dex) = +17 (Caster level 8).
- Rune Magic Earth Mastery +8 (Purchased) +2 (Int Base) +7 (Dex) = +17 (4’th level effects).
- Rune Magic Earth Casting +8 (Purchased) +2 (Int Base) +7 (Dex) = +17 (Caster level 8).
- Rune Magic Water Mastery +3 (Purchased) +2 (Int Base) +7 (Dex) = +12 (3’rd level effects).
- Rune Magic Water Casting +3 (Purchased) +2 (Int Base) +7 (Dex) = +12 (Caster level 6). .
- Rune Magic Air Mastery +1 (Purchased) +2 (Int Base) +7 (Dex) = +10 (2’nd level effects).
- Rune Magic Air Casting +1 (Purchased) +2 (Int Base) +7 (Dex) = +10 (Caster level 5).
- Knowledge/Geology +6 (Purchased) +2 (Int Base) +2 (Int) = +10
- Knowledge/Nature +4 (Purchased) +2 (Int Base) +2 (Int) = +8
- Piloting +1 (Purchased) +2 (Int Base) +7 (Dex) = +10
- Stealth +1 (Purchased) +2 (Int Base) +7 (Dex) = +10
- Tiger Style Kung Fu +8 (Purchased) +2 (Int Base) +5 (Str) = +15
+3 Specialties in Survival/Astronavigation, Knowledge/Geology/Prospecting, and Rune Magic Mastery/Earth/Wall Creation (gets her up to fifth level effects) (3 CP).
Known Tiger Style Techniques (8): Toughness III, Power II, Mighty Blow, Mind Like Moon, and Instant Stand.
This leaves Jaelyn with 12 unspent character points – enough for two feats, a nice quantity of additional skills, or for some minor special abilities. This is because the request for this build didn’t really include enough information – but it’s also an easy way to allow some customization.
As she stands, Jaelyn is a fairly formidable elemental mage (even if her abilities are a bit more psychically-themed to fit the setting), although she will run out of mana fairly rapidly. Her talents may be an unexpected ace in the hole in many situations, but she’ll have to rely on her combative ability and skills at least as much.