Ponies of the Eclipse – Tirek and Discord

And today it’s another My Little Pony question…

Are Tirek and Discord really that hard to make?

Tirek could just be a bottlenecker build that uses Finesse to add his Con-Mod to most things, starting with his Channeling of positive Energy, converting it to Distillation (specialized to require 1 Mana to use) to extract Constitution (thus most of his targets magic thanks to the superheroic world template). Since most ponies will have at least 9 Con, he can drain 8 Con, gaining 4 more uses to his Channeling, allowing him to drain even more. With Finesse, that can be a reason for his increased Strength: He just applied Finesse to his strikes, making them Con-dependant. He likely did the same to the “Unskilled Magic”-Mana option, which is the reason his Magic looks as incompetent as it did.

Advanced Finesse, making Attack rolls, damage rolls, all three unskilled magic abilities and his channeling Con-dependant (8 times Advanced Finesse = 96 CP).

Channeling would be 9 (for 4 Standard uses), let’s say 2 times Cha (now Con) for another 9, Dualism for positive Energy for 6 (it just seems far more fitting than negative Energy) and his specialized Conversion for 9 CP (= 33 CP).

Then we need Mana for “Unskilled Magic” (= 6 CP) to ensure he can use his new Magic abilities.

However, there is a problem: Distillation is very short term, only working for a few days before failing. But we can extend that: Temporal Reversal should suffice, it’s wording (the fact that it can’t affect things that aren’t there) works perfectly, because even if he increases his stolen Constitution afterwards, him turning back time to make it more “fresh” won’t make it disappear.

Finally… we need him to have the required Will Save to be able to produce level 22 Effects. Let’s give 11 Base Will-Save, specialized to only apply for this scenario (= 33 CP).

Now for a bit of Metamagic: His Distillation needs 2 Levels of Extension and probably 4 Levels of Multiple to be able to affect multiple targets, while his Temporal Reversal is, in fact, Compact and Sculpted, simply because it only affects wherever he stores his Distilled stuff. We Streamline them and specialize them to be only applicable to the relevant spells (Compact offsets one Level of Sculpting of the 3 required), costing us 12 CP for the actual Theorems and 24 CP for the Streamline (= 36 CP).

This would give us one Tirek for 210 CP, if I calculated correctly.

Discord is just a user of “Path of the Dragon” (he is called a “DRACONequus”, after all). He has a Chaos-metaspell, has Shaping for 6 CP, and then Pulse and Heart of the Dragon, both specialized and corrupted (Specialized: Can only be used to cast the Chaos-Metaspell; Corrupted: Cannot be used to inflict direct harm*) for 126 CP to allow effects up to level 9. Then a Reflex Training for 6 CP to be able to pull a few Standard actions when he’s caught Flat-Footed and maybe 2 times Bonus uses for 12 CP.

So Discord would be priced at 150 CP, if I calculated correctly.

*We just never see him do much in the way of actual harm. Nothing says he couldn’t otherwise have just burned down the Tree of Harmony (it wouldn’t make much sense for the tree to be so fragile, but we are talking about a weapon that has so messed up activation conditions that “sense”, at least the common one, was never really an option in the first place). He didn’t just shuffle the functions of the sense organs in the faces of the two sisters the moment they talked out of their place either, so it’s not that far fetched to just say he couldn’t have done that and needed convoluted plans to do things.

-Veebs

The answer to this has been long delayed (sorry about that), but…

As you so adroitly illustrate, it isn’t really that hard to build Tirek. I’d probably peg him at about level ten and throw in returning to make him harder to get rid of (just in case some pragmatic PC who isn’t being a rated-for-children pony goes for “lets just kill the bastard before he starts something”), give him some skills (a good bluff score at least), and some damage reduction, leaving hit points to his constitution. That – as you’ve already observed – neatly covers pretty much everything he did on the program (a feat admittedly made easier by the fact that he mostly did the same basic things over and over again).

Presumably he’s got a +1 ECL race just like every other character in Equestria. He’s obviously got some some extra limbs, probably a small movement boost, and perhaps (from the comics, even if they are secondary sources) not needing much food or water so that his species can live in a fairly barren-looking homeland. The comics also tell us that most centaurs don’t have magic, and that Unicorn magic – or perhaps pony magic in general – is the strongest magic in the world. And… that’s about it. We really aren’t ever given enough information on his species to do more than guess about what they might look like. Even Changelings offer more information than that, simply by virtue of the show letting us see a bunch of them.

Still, Tirek works pretty well on the show. Since the viewers are interested in the entire cast, the focus on Twilight and the NPC’s doesn’t really annoy anyone. But in a game… The Mane Six would pretty blatantly be the player characters, with Celestia and Zecora cast as wise mentors. But Celestia sends in Discord (as the lunatic archmage who keeps making messes for the player characters to clean up) directly – leaving the player characters with nothing much to do for a good bit.

Discord and Tirek then trap all the player characters but one, drain their powers, and hold them hostage – all without allowing any kind of on-screen resistance at all.

There’s nothing that a bunch of players is going to hate more than having their characters powers drained except not being allowed to have them do anything at all – and this combines them both. After all, having their characters doing things is why they came to play. If they wanted their characters to do nothing they could have just stayed home and watched TV. Equally importantly, if they didn’t want their characters to have special powers then they wouldn’t be playing any version of d20. They’d be playing “SOAP OPERA! The Game Of Dimwits And Plot Twists!” or something.

Worse, that’s Tirek’s only real tactic. If he hasn’t drained a lot of magic he’s a pushover. If he has, then no normal character will be able to do much of anything about him stomping around and blasting the landscape at random (why does he do that anyway? Did trees and dirt frighten him as a child or something?)

To top it all off, his only apparent weakness is a plot device, rather than the players coming up with something clever. About the only way to top THAT in terms of annoying the players would be to have some crazy NPC just hand their characters the key to activating the plot device rather than letting them figure it out… Oh wait. That’s exactly what happened. Quite literally.

Now sure, you don’t HAVE to follow the plot of the episode – but Tirek is pretty one note. If you give him a new plan, some new powers, and a new weakness so that he won’t be repeating himself, why bother using Tirek? Just make up a new villain without all his baggage, known vulnerabilities, history of defeat, and one track mind. After all, we never even gain a hint of what he wants all that power FOR. It’s like he could use it impress the girls, go out for a gourmet meal, retire to a comfy bed, or even have a cup of coffee. Being basically a Kaiju really limits your lifestyle choices.

Tirek just doesn’t seem to have much potential as an RPG villain. He’s fine for an audience – but RPG Players expect to be taking action rather than being quietly sidelined.

Discord is trickier, mostly because it’s hard to say what his abilities actually are – which makes it hard to pick a way to build them. We don’t know if he affects the entire world (although it seems likely), he seems to be aware of humanity and that he is in a cartoon (he has a pony walk around the edge of the screen, which doesn’t even exist in the show’s “reality”), he knows things with no apparent source for the information (he knows a great deal about the Mane Six, even when just released), he’s immune to various effects (such as Fluttershy’s stare), he shares the pony penchant for singing, he is highly resistant to most magic and can usually dodge injury, can separate himself into pieces, possess objects, might have enhanced strength, does not seem to age, and has his own private dimension (although they’re easy enough to make at his power level). He may have some skill at manipulation, acting, and lying as well – but not all that much given that the audience finds him pretty see-through. Ponies seem to be a bit naive – but then it IS a children’s show. In the comics he can create tailored pocket dimensions and travel through time. I speculate elsewhere that he may be behind young ponies magical surges (which seem to exist purely to mess with their caregivers), but that is unconfirmed.

And he seems to be capable of directly altering reality almost without limit, capable of holding off the combined efforts of Luna and Celestia with apparent ease and being capable of creating powerful magical life forms. Tirek managed to hold and drain him – but Discord was making no attempt to resist, perhaps due to psychological trauma.

His only real weaknesses seem to be the Elements of Harmony (and likely Rainbow Magic) and his own weird psychology. He’s very silly, does not kill, keeps playing weird games (and accepting a chance to lose) rather than dealing with opponents effectively, does not seem to be in full control of his own powers, underestimates his opponents, is quite gullible, and can be taken by surprise. It’s entirely possible that constantly channeling chaos through your mind and using it to transform your body is not a good idea. There really isn’t much evidence that Discord even has reliable memories or much of any capacity for thinking things through any more.

And it would certainly suit his role as a senile old wizard who enables foolishness and makes trouble while offering occasional good advice and adventure-enabling bits of magic. Who knows? Maybe the (reasonably popular) theory that Discord is Star Swirl the Bearded after some bit of research (likely into Alicorn Ascension) went horribly wrong is actually correct. Celestia does seem to be a bit attached to him at times. After all, if she wanted him gone… wouldn’t the dungeons, behind a set of spells to keep him from being recharged by quarrels, have been a lot more secure?

If we assume that he really is more or less Chaos incarnate, there’s a fairly simple way to build him.

Lord of Chaos Template:

  • Dominion (6 CP): Cultists, lunatics, and other creatures of chaos.
  • The Way of Omnipresence: Ears of the Wind (Discord does always seem to know when someone is talking about him, 6 CP) and Multitasking (He seems to be able to do several things at once with little difficulty, 6 CP).
  • The Path of the Pharaoh: Manipulation (Specialized, only as a prerequisite, 3 CP), Sphere of Influence/Chaos (He can sense chaotic and unbalancing events across Equestria, 6 CP), Godfire (given time and attention he can return from virtually anything, 6 CP), and Divine Attribute (Chaos, 6 CP), Gateway (6 CP), and Endowment and Greater Endowment x 3 (Grants all small children and insane adults, everywhere in Equestria, a minor privilege – the ability to occasionally pull on a bit of his chaotic power to drive their caretakers crazy with (Thus allowing the Cutie Mark Crusaders to suck the color from a rainbow with a vacuum cleaner – which SHOULD mean that any wind would pull the color from a rainbow – the Cake twins to drive Pinkie to tears, and Sweetie to somehow transform everyone in Ponyville into fruit during a magical surge, 36 CP) .
  • Immunity/The Fourth Wall (Common, Minor, Major, 6 CP). That’s enough to let him know that he’s in a cartoon and has an audience, make pop-culture references, be somewhat genre-savvy, and know about previous episodes – but not enough to let him read the script.
  • Immunity to Aging (Uncommon, Major, Major, 6 CP). The user will live for many millennia, and possibly forever.
  • Grant of Aid with +4 Bonus Uses (12 CP). This is a bit of an extrapolation – it’s not like we ever see Discord being hurt on the show – but this IS a d20 conversion, and there will certainly be a lot more violence to deal with.
  • Reflex Training (Combat Reflexes Variant, Specialized/only for Blocks, 3 CP).
  • Block, Missile, Melee, and Magic, each with Multiple II and Master, Specialized/Each Block in a round requires the expenditure of 2 Mana (36 CP).
  • Luck with +4 Bonus Uses, Specialized in Saving Throws (6 CP).
  • Adept: Perform/Sing, Chaos Rune Magic (Casting and Mastery), Knowledge/Arcana (6 CP).
  • Racial Bonuses: Perform/Sing +6, Chaos Rune Magic (Casting and Mastery) +6 Each, Knowledge/Arcana +50 (Specialized in manipulating Equestrian Reality) (21 CP).
  • Magic Resistance II (12 CP).
  • Blessing, Specialized/only to share or pass on some or all of this template (3 CP).

That comes to 192 CP. That’s pretty expensive.

Fortunately, however, there are some serious limitations on this.

  • The user can be easily imprisoned (the special effects may vary), and all the effects of his or her chaotic powers can be easily undone, by the Elements of Harmony or Rainbow Magic.
  • The user is mentally unstable; even when NOT using Divine Attribute/Chaos (and they almost always will be) their behavior patterns are erratic, their memories are unreliable, and their logic extremely questionable. Even if the game master allows a player to make suggestions, the user always remains a rather irrational NPC.
  • The user’s body is physically unstable; he or she may manage to look a bit more “normal” than Discord usually does – or even entirely normal for a few moments – but the user cannot conceal his or her nature as a thing of chaos for more than a few minutes at best.
  • The user cannot kill, or even cause really serious harm. The dead can no longer experience chaos, and that is unacceptable.
  • The user’s plans and manipulations must always have highly uncertain outcomes, even offering any opponents a substantial chance of winning.
  • The user’s chaotic powers always have weird side effects and are only reasonably reliable when he or she is using it for pranks or silliness. Actually trying to fix something besides undoing his or her own alterations (for example, helping Scootaloo fly) is basically beyond the user’s power.
  • The user’s powers are dependent on his or her natural magical reserves. Hit points are irrelevant, but constitution drains, magical illnesses, and similar things can drastically reduce his or her powers.

Those seven restrictions are pretty serious – and turn an utterly overwhelming divine power into something that relatively minor heroes can oppose quite effectively. That’s enough to make the entire Template Specialized and Corrupted (even if this DOES double-specialize the Block ability. That’s normally a big warning sign for the GM, but this is an NPC chaos god template) – reducing it’s cost to 64 CP or a +2 ECL acquired template.

Other than that… we basically have a magic-user with a good constitution and Knowledge Arcana skill and some extra Mana for emergencies. Presumably he was very good at transformation rune magic and did a lot of magical research or he wouldn’t have wound up doing THIS to himself.

I’m going to make Unicorn his underlying racial template because 1) they’re the only race in My Little Pony that fits, 2) we haven’t got a clue otherwise, and 3) they’re already written up.

Huh. That DOES make the “Star Swirl The Bearded” theory sound reasonable enough doesn’t it? Especially when you throw in “had a personality like Pinkie Pie crossed with Twilight”, “never understood friendship”, “fiddled with time travel” (just like Discord in the comics), and the fact that successfully completing his last spell (which Starswirl never did manage to do properly) triggered Twilight’s ascension to Alicornhood. So maybe he did it wrong? Did his most famous creation – the “Amniomorphic Spell” – have something to do with rebirth? (Presuming, of course, that we disregard the “it’s just a pun” theory; Amnio = Pot, Morph = Shaping, ergo “pot shaper” – making Starswirl the Bearded a Hairy Potter).

That would give us a L6 Mage (one of the most powerful in history in a low-level game), with a +1 ECL Race (Unicorn Pony), good Int and Con, and a +2 ECL Chaos Lord template. The result? A creature equal in level to Celestia and a bit beyond Luna, but far more focused on raw (if very chaotic) power than either of their builds – and so quite capable of holding both of them off. His original Unicorn specialty would be Transmutation with a special privilege (he treats Transport spells as Transmutation Spells, just as they were in 3.0), and a good Knowledge/Arcana, letting him (as a dragonequus) routinely outroll Celestia and Luna to control Equestria’s sky (and likely a wide variety of other things). .

Our second possibility is that Discord is simply a powerful (and crazy) chaos mage with some way to massively expand the area of effect of his spells and (possibly) a really high Knowledge / Arcane or a powerful Reality Editing ability with which to exploit the malleability of Equestria’s Skies and other natural features.

This version is likely to actually be more expensive – mostly because it’s a potential player-character build and a lot more of the restrictions are simple personality traits rather than built-in features of a cosmic power,

Chaos Magic is obviously really good at pranks, doing weird (and generally pointless) things, and transforming stuff in silly ways – but there’s no real indication that it can actually accomplish much of anything beyond being incredibly annoying. It MIGHT be possible for it to be used to make new species, but off-screen things like creating the Plundervines might have been accomplished, or at least augmented, by other means.

  • For this take Chaos Rune Magic (Specialized and Corrupted for Double Effect / effects that are not actively being supported tend to revert to normal, the effects are easily dispelled and reversed by the use of Harmony (Friendship, Rainbow, Elements of Harmony – all the same) Magic. If your mage has a decent intelligence he or she should have enough skill points to cover this at no cost.

Discord seems to be able to affect very large areas (although exactly how large is unknown), to be able to affect targets at great range (although this could be an illusion… if he casts “Rainbow Dash to Flying Pineapple” and gives it really big area of effect, does the range matter?), he can create effects without even snapping his fingers (such as when he’s being a balloon, or an image in glass, or some such), and his changes may or may not last a long time. In game terms he gets a lot of free metamagic on his Chaos Magic – but exactly how much is hard to say.

  • Metamagical Theorems: Area, Extension, Easy, and Persistent (24 CP).
  • Twenty Levels of Streamline (Area +20, Extension +6, Easy +6, Persistent +8) (120 CP).

This is utterly absurd – but it does let him affect the entire world, affect things in different dimensions, ignore the normal requirements for generating effects, and do things that last for a year or more. I could Specialize or Corrupt this to make it cheaper, but that wouldn’t make it any saner.

  • Now give him everything that’s in the Template except the Path of the Pharaoh stuff (125 CP).
  • Give him Advanced Improved Augmented Bonus to add to his mana supply (18 CP).

That comes out to 287 CP so far, which you could get by level eleven – if you spent nothing at all on anything else and the game master is insane enough to let you totally disregard the requirements of the Adventurer Framework. Of course, most characters want some hit points, more skills, saving throws, and DO have to abide by those requirements – taking this style of build well up into the epic levels. Without the Superheroic template in play it will also require investing a LOT of points in Mana, Rite of Chi, and Bonus Uses to work.

That’s appropriate enough for a standard d20 game of course, but it doesn’t really fit into Equestria very well. “Level 40+” and “silly” rarely make a lot of sense in the same character.

I’d stick with the Lord of Chaos template. Discord wouldn’t make a very good player character in most games anyway.

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Shadowed Galaxy – Mummies

“That is not dead which can eternal lie,
And with strange aeons even death may die.”

H. P. Lovecraft, who understood a great deal more than most people thought.

While many species dabble in Informational Technology, few other than Informational Creatures are truly good at it. Such creatures exist primarily as patterns in the informational substructure, and only secondarily as physical organisms – their “bodies” mere puppets controlled by occult strings, their true selves invulnerable to most physical assaults. To the physical races they may appear as little more than masses of crudely-shaped earth, stone, or water, as shimmering veils of light – or, sometimes, as being very like themselves but with immortality and various powers.

A lot depends on whether or not they are natives of the informational level. Creatures who have transferred their consciousness to that level – usually in exchange for long “life” (even if it’s not all that much like their original physical life) – usually relate to physical creatures a great deal more easily and often use their original bodies as their primary host.

Here’s the package for someone who’s actually received the full effects of a Mummification Ritual – whether through one actually being performed or through some combination of other effects.

Humans are very bad at Informational – or perhaps Conceptual – manipulations. They simply are not capable of handling more than 24 CP worth of active informational powers (6-: Novice, 12-: Initiate, 18:-Master, 24-: Grandmaster) with three major exceptions

  • They may employ up to 4 CP worth of Relics if they should happen to acquire any.
  • Informational Powers built as Witchcraft may have their cost reduced by Pacts.
  • They may buy up to 3d6 Mana – whether as Mana, Generic Spell Levels, or Power – without it counting against the limit. Beyond that point, it does.

The core of this particular package is based on one simple effect:

  • Returning with Major Rewrite, Specialized/only to switch back and forth between two alternate versions – the relatively normal “living” version (as an informational creature anchored into a more or less “living” body) and the “dead” version (as a bodiless informational entity), Neither, of course, is all that human. Corrupted/achieving the “dead” version is quick and easy (the physical body gets killed, releasing the informational spirit), but returning to “life” requires that the body spend three to seven days in an especially-prepared sarcophagus. The user can be prevented from making a full return by completely disposing of the body or denying him or her access to an appropriately prepared sarcophagus and can be disposed of utterly by destroying him or her on the informational level (6 CP).

In the “Mummy” form at least 18 CP worth of other abilities are swapped out for:

  • 0 Constitution (0 CP).
  • Finesse/Uses Chr in place of Con for HP purposes (6 CP).
  • A set of Informational Powers, built as:
  • Witchcraft III (18 CP).

Basic Witchcraft Abilities:

  • Dreamfaring, Specialized for Increased Effect (The first 7 power spent on this ability per day do not reduce his reserves)/only allows the user to travel the Informational Plane, perception of the physical world is quite vague.
    • Note that, while “dead”, this is in many ways a Mummy’s default state. Squeezing back into that physical body is a drawn-out and boring process, while going other way is quick and easy. Worse, on the physical plane… you want to keep your body within easy reach of that sarcophagus and in a well-protected area – which really limits your mobility. Mummies rarely get out that much.
  • Elfshot. As an informational manipulator, a mummy can inflict, or counteract, all kinds of minor problems on his targets.
    • Unfortunately, it will take many applications of this ability to build up (or dismantle) any really major effects. Building up anything really good in the way of a “Mummies Curse” will probably take quite some time.
  • Shadowmaster with the Shadowmaster Shadow Magic Enhancement (6 CP), both Specialized for Increased Effect/only to manifest “real” versions of things there are images or diagrams of handy. The first seven points worth of Witchcraft Shadowmaster effects generated each day do not actually cost power and the image manifestations are 10% per level “real”.
    • While this is a simple trick on the informational level, where the presence of a concept matters more than it having an actual physical existence, it’s still one of the best tricks in an elder Mummies arsenal. Weapons, armor, troops, and even fanciful monsters, may all be plucked from simple images. And yes, Masterwork Images contribute 20% more “reality”.
  • The Adamant Will, Specialized / only works on the Informational Plane and does not block detections, but there it allows the user to generate powerful psychic and “physical” shields (equivalent to relevant first to third level protective spells for 0/1/2 Power for levels 1/2/3).
    • Mummies are generally seekers of immortality. Unsurprisingly, they tend to be well-equipped to resist attacks on their informational fastnesses.
  • The Hand of Shadows/Specialized in personal effects only for increased effect (The first seven points worth of effects generated each day do not actually cost Power). This allows the user to approximate the effects of first-level movement-enhancing spells such as Accelerated Movement, Expeditious Retreat, Jump, Updraft, and Wings of the Sea, for one power per hour of activity. Note that the nature of movement on the Informational Plane is a bit odd anyway since “space” is more of an abstraction there.
    • Despite their reputation for slowly shuffling around the pyramid, Mummies are notoriously hard to evade. It comes of having a body that’s basically being moved around on puppet strings. Making it go a little faster isn’t that difficult.
  • The Inner Eye, Specialized for Increased Effect / a Mummy may detect the general health, mood, and name of any creature he or she encounters without cost, as well as knowing if they are being affected by active informational effects automatically, without cost, Specialized / getting details requires touching the target from the Informational Plane to get internal details, which may result in entering the informational landscape of the target or which has been imprinted on an item.
  • Glamour/Specialized for Increased Effect (The first seven points worth of effects generated each day do not actually cost Power) / only to send visions, strange sensations, and various emotional influences to people in the physical world while in the informational realm.

Advanced Witchcraft Abilities (12 CP):

  • Apparition, Specialized for Increased Effect (The first 7 power spent on this ability per day do not reduce his reserves)/Apparitions must center on pre-prepared foci, incorporating an image of the user and a physical link, such as a strand of hair (6 CP).
    • Powerful mummies may build constructs around images, statues, and relics of themselves with a good deal of freedom about the details, emerging from pictures, “possessing” statues, and even springing up from small relics. It costs them a bit of course, but doesn’t everything?
  • Wrath of the Sea (6 CP): Mummies are notorious for being far stronger than they have any right to be: +6 Strength for 10 minutes for 1 Power covers that quite nicely – and works on Apparition-generated bodies perfectly well.

Witchcraft Pacts: Corruption, Essence, and Epic Quest (-18 CP). Mummies inevitably find themselves becoming more and more distant from humanity – and being drawn into strange projects which somehow become a part of their concept.

Thanks Pacts and to the extreme efficiency of using Witchcraft as a mechanical base, this power set comes out to only 12 CP – leaving room for another 6 CP worth of informational abilities.

Mummies are fairly powerful, but it’s mostly in a “wear them down” style; they aren’t all that enormously effective when it comes to direct combat. They are very good at haunting a properly prepared crypt though. 

The Shadowed Galaxy – First Stage Vampires

Mere tales are born, grow – and die. Without a core of truth to build around, they gain but little hold on humanity. Even the most inventive and imaginative stories will eventually be spread too thin, be heard in too many variations, become widely known – and will fade into generic elements to be swept up into newer, still focused, tales.

A great Myth, on the other hand, is born from a great truth – a piece of information so terrible, wonderful, or simply disconcerting that the human mind wraps it in layers of analogy and legend to make it more acceptable. A great Myth… is the mental equivalent of an oysters pearl. Lovely to contemplate, but a defense mechanism nonetheless.

A Shadowed Galaxy Vampire is a (usually) sapient creature that’s hosting a “Type V” (in a rather arbitrary classification system) Subspace Spacefield Construct-Weapon. Subspace, of course, is a massive energy sink, has a very high time rate, is a bit inconsistent about distance, and allows the easy transference of energy from point to point.

First Stage Vampire (32 CP / +1 ECL Template):

  • Returning, Corrupted (EVERYBODY knows about vampire weaknesses, 4 CP). Vampires can recover from almost any physical injury given time. They can even build up a power reserve over time from the steady flow of thermal and other energies into subspace through them – provided that they have months or years of time and are totally inactive. About all they need is for most of their body parts to be in one place, for there to be at least a little air and water about, and for there to be nothing in the way of reforming any vital organ. Of course, if their parts are – say – burned and widely scattered, or have been hit by something capable of severely damaging them on the spacefield level, or something similar… it won’t work.
  • +3 CP in Martial Arts/Natural Weapons (3 CP). Sapient races are rarely big on natural weaponry, but being a vampire seems to exaggerate whatever they do have. Human vampires still aren’t all that effective unarmed (gaining 1d4 fangs and claws), but it’s much better than nothing.
  • Witchcraft III (18 CP).

Vampire Powers aren’t actually psychically based for the most part, although the pool of vitality that they drain from other creatures does amplify whatever natural potential they have (even as it channels it into a few specific abilities) – but most of the active power templates in the Shadowed Galaxy setting are built using Witchcraft, the Equipment skills, and a few modifiers. The various power sources are roughly equivalent, Witchcraft is very versatile, and it keeps everyone neatly on the same general power level.

Basic Witchcraft Abilities:

  • Base Power (“Vitality”) = (Sum of Physical Attributes/3), Save DC = (13 + Cha Mod). The normal range of a Vampires active abilities is quite short – usually no more than 30 to 40 feet before it starts calling for extra power. That’s rarely much of a hindrance however.
    • Glamour: Thanks to the attractive effect of their heightened vitality, and a bit of psychic-level communications, a Vampire can readily influence weak minds.
    • Healing/Specialized in personal-only effects for Increased Effect (The first seven points worth of effects generated each day do not actually cost Power). A Vampires reserve of life energy allows them to readily regenerate themselves – although the more they have to do so, the more it will cost.
    • Hyloka/Specialized in personal effects only for Increased Effect (The first seven points worth of effects generated each day do not actually cost Power). A vampire can readily transfer his or her personal energies around internally and turn them to various purposes – but eventually will start to lose energy to subspace, rapidly depleting their vitality reserve.
    • Shadowweave, Specialized/will not work in brightly-lit conditions and is unreliable against non-sapient creatures and in reflections, Increased Effect; the user may cover up his or her visual symptoms and gain the (+6) bonuses to Stealth and Disguise without cost.
    • The Hand of Shadows/Specialized in personal effects only for increased effect (The first seven points worth of effects generated each day do not actually cost Power). This allows the user to approximate the effects of first-level movement-enhancing spells such as Accelerated Movement, Expeditious Retreat, Jump, Updraft, and Wings of the Sea, for one power per hour of activity.
    • Witchfire/Specialized as a no-cost adjutant to Shadowweave; illusions include small sounds, limited tactile sensations, and can exert slight pressures and stir the air.
    • Witchsight/Specialized, provides Low-Light Vision and Scent at no cost but leaves the user with a -3 penalty against being blinded by bright lights or nauseated by odors and cannot produce other effects.

Witchcraft Advanced Abilities:

  • 2d6 Mana taken as 6d6 Power (Vitality), Corrupted/Only usable for Vampire Abilities, (8 CP).
  • Spirits of the Deep (Specialized and Corrupted for double effect and 2/3’rds cost/ requires extensive contact, sharing bodily energies, and a massive risk of death, madness, or other serious complications, but permanently infuses the victim with the seeds of the Vampire template, 4 CP).
  • Longevity (6 CP). Vampires can potentially live a very long time, but certainly not forever. Still, an extra three to four hundred active years is common – and thanks to the Sleep of Stone, below, a vampire can potentially spend indefinite amounts of time in ageless hibernation.
  • Sleep of Stone (6 CP). A Vampire in a death-trance is pretty much dead to all normal checks, and is immune to toxins and such. Even being chopped to bits won’t kill them as long as all the pieces get tossed into the same heap eventually.

Witchcraft Pacts:

  • Vampirism (Drains 1d4 Power/Hit Points by touch). While this is an “Of course!”, it is important to note that draining it from others is the only “natural” way outside of “napping” for months or years that a Vampire has to fill up their Power (“Vitality”) reserve. If they insist on trying to survive without draining other sapient beings they will inevitably degenerate slowly and will only be able to access a small portion (the “first seven points worth of effects generated per day do not cost power” part) of their potential powers (-6 CP).
  • Possession. Vampires are living, self-reproducing, and self-targeting weapons systems – and, as such, have built-in directives. While this is sometimes useful – they often get instinctive feelings about whether or not other weird entities are threats, targets, or irrelevant – the game master may simply give some directions (you must nuke the site from orbit! It’s the only way to be sure!) Or even simply take over a Vampire character when such directives come up – and they don’t always (or even usually) make a lot of sense by human standards (-6 CP).
  • Hunted. Vampires have enemies. There are creatures out there hunting them, and some humans are very much against them, and there are plenty of opposing weapons aimed at them (-6 CP).

Lesser Vampire Template Disadvantages:

  • Accursed (-3 CP): Vampires suffer from an enormous drain on their metabolic energies. They burn calories at a fantastic rate, yet still tend to be cold and clammy, eat enormously yet get skinny and pale, look a bit dead (and possibly seem like they’re decaying in spots), and need to drain energy from other creatures to avoid further deterioration.
  • Accursed (-3 CP): Vampires are Spacefield Template victims; they can be affected by Faith, high-energy radiation may affect the coupling between the Spacefield and their physical bodies, they respond poorly to some normally beneficial Informational or Psychic manipulations (external healing rarely helps them any), and they react very oddly to traveling through Hyperspace or Subspace.
  • Insane (-4 CP as the third Disadvantage): “Living Death” is a profoundly unnatural state, and has serious mental effects. Many vampires see bright lights “burning away” their illusions to reveal their true selves as actually burning their flesh, others are repelled by religious symbols even when Faith is not in play, they often have visions or nightmares (generally profoundly unpleasant and unsettling ones), and they often have taboos that they find it almost impossible to deal with – being unable to cross running water, or being unable to enter a dwelling without an invitation, or being repelled by garlic. Others feel compelled to stop and count things, or become obsessed easily, or decide that they are incubi or succubi. Most vampires will have several such problems.
  • Restricted (-[Level] CP): Vampires may develop a few additional Witchcraft abilities (and a few more pacts such as Susceptibility), but otherwise cannot normally develop psychic powers or acquire a second Spacefield Template.

Vampire Customization:

Presuming one point from their Restriction at level one, this gives Vampires another twelve character points to spend to hit their 32 CP total. Those points usually go into more witchcraft abilities selected from among The Dark Flame, Voice of the Dead, Venomed Touch, Breath of Puruza, Wrath of the Sea, Bones of Iron, Dance of Flames, and Darksense – although the game master may opt to allow other – usually highly specialized – abilities on a case-by-case basis (12 CP).

The vampires of the Shadowed Galaxy are fairly powerful. They’re fast and strong, and can heal a certain amount of damage, and so on – but it’s human-scaled power. They’re super-soldiers, not epic supernatural menaces. A vampire may conceal itself, launch a surprise attack, end escape – but a small tactical squad still has an excellent chance of dealing with one.

Shadowed Galaxy – The Crystal Infusion Template and Jade Alwyn

The crystalline tendrils had extended themselves for centuries, slowly extracting minerals from the planetary crust and incorporating them into the crystalline masses own structure. Spacefields sang through strange crystals and silicon paths, crackling throughout the mass in cascades of exotic energy. Complex structures of forces unknown to humanity extended along and across the boundary with hyperspace. In that realm, the Nalthene called across the void. The consensus was broken and scattered – but the chorus would grow once more.

A human prospector detected the more mundane waste energies radiating from an outcropping of Aberrant Crystal – and attempted to collect some.

As the pick struck, the crystal sang – and an explosion of radiance drove a myriad slivers of crystal through the prospectors protective clothing and deep into her flesh. There the shards bonded with her body – and linked themselves together. For the next few centuries they would grant the prospector extended life and elemental power. But eventually any creature of flesh would fall – and where it fell, in due time, another vein of crystal might grow from their remains. For star travelers were rare, and valuable – and it was well worth imbuing one with a burst of slowly-harvested power in hopes of the seed bearing fruit on some distant world.

Crystal Infusion Template (32 CP / +1 ECL):

  • Adept (Armory, Biotech, Gadgetry, Weaponry), Specialized, only to reduce the costs of skill bonuses in this template (3 CP).
  • Immunity/Having her Equipment taken away (Common, Major, Major, Specialized/only applies to the “Equipment” in this template, 4 CP).
  • Immunity/Running out of Ammunition (Uncommon, Major, Major, Specialized / only applies to the “weapons” in this template, 3 CP).
  • Immunity / the distinction between her elemental “weapons” and unarmed combat (Common, Minor, Major, Specialized/only with respect to the Radiant Lotus style, 3 CP).
  • Template Skill Bonuses:
  • Armory (Crystal Infusion 12): Armor Bonus +6 (3), Athletics +8 (3), Temperature Control (1), Flight (3), +4 Str (2).
  • Biotech (Crystal Enhancement 12): +5 to Bullet Time Skill (3), Anime Hair (0), Low-Light and Flash Resistant Eyes (1), Extended Lifespan (1), 30 Minute Oxygen Reserve (2), Reinforced Skeleton +4d4 HP (3), Enhanced Senses +4 (1), Water Adaption (1).
  • Gadgetry (Crystal Energies 8): Flashlight/Torch II (2), Movement Detection +3 (2), Geological Awareness +3 (2), Chemical Analysis +3 (2).
  • Weaponry (Crystal Channeling 6): All have variable elemental special effects, using air, water/acid, fire, earth/stone, metal, or lightning.
    • Focused Bolts/Spears II: 2d10 Damage, 80′ Range Increment, Crit 20/x2, may either attempt to hit 1d4 targets with the same roll or inflict double damage (versus double DR, if any). Requires free movement to use (5).
    • Unfocused Blasts/Waves II: 4d8 Damage in a 10′ Radius, 80′ Range Increment, no criticals. Requires free movement to use.
    • Entrapment I: Double Entangle at +4 To Hit, 40′ Range Increment, may attempt to hit up to four targets in close proximity or to block an area up to 10 x 10. Never affects friendly targets. Requires only one hand free to use.
    • Lash/Aura I: 2D12+Str Mod, 10′ Reach. Can be used even if unable to move.
  • Innate “Enchantment” (+2 Str, +2 Con, +2 Dex, +1 Resistance Bonus to Saves) (6 CP).
  • Disadvantages: Outcast (Someone with this Template is infested with an aberrant alien life form of unknown motives and nature; there are many places where she is not welcome, -3 CP), Blocked (Someone with this Template cannot employ psychic powers, -3 CP).

Dystopian Survivor Humans (30 CP / +0 ECL). She gains the racial traits of:

  • Highly Adaptable: Gain one Bonus Feat / 6 Bonus CP (6 CP).
  • Birthright: Choice of +2 to an Attribute or another 12 CP ability package derived from your background. In her case, it’s a boost to her Strength.
  • Quick to Learn: Fast Learner, Specialized in Skills for +2 SP/Level (Level x 2 + 6 total, 6 CP).
  • Tested Immunity: After the global pandemics and pollution crises everyone who didn’t inherit this is dead. Immunity to toxins, pollutants, and disease (Common, Major, Trivial, for a +2 bonus on relevant rolls, 3 CP).
  • Projectile Predator: +1 BAB, Specialized in Ranged Attacks (3 CP).
  • Technological Aptitudes: Microtronic A, Biotech B, Psychic C, Informational D, Spacefield E. Humans are good with what we (of course) see as “conventional” technology, decent at biotech, average at best with psychic stuff, poor at “magic”, and basically unable to work with Spacefield Technologies.

To summarize the low-level adventurer template those affected get:

  • A -3 penalty on unskilled skill checks.
  • Very slow level advancement, by direct session-based character point awards rather than experience points. Succeeding in goals helps, but killing things and taking their stuff does not.
  • The status of valuable trouble magnets – they’re rare and find trouble everywhere they go.
  • A +3 bonus on five skills which suit their backgrounds and training. Sadly, this cannot be applied to active magical skills.
  • Extra hit points equal to [12 + (2 x Con Mod)].
  • Two minor special talents. In her case: she has +4 BAB in Unarmed Combat and Zero-Gravity Expertise.

Jade Alwyn, Level Two Prospector

Available Character Points: 72 (L2 Base) +12 (Racial and L1 Bonus Feats) + 10 (Disadvantages) = 94 CP.

Basic Attributes: Str 14 (18), Dex 18 (20), Int 14, Wis 10, Con 16 (18), Chr 8. Note that it the Shadowed Galaxy, you get your (Attribute – 6) skill points from each attribute to spend on skills related to each attribute. Thus a strong character will automatically know at least a few strength-based skills.

Hit Points: 24 (L1d20 + Con Mod, 16 CP) +20 (12 + 2 x Con Mod from Template) +28 (4d4 + 4 x Con Mod Crystal Infusion) +10 (L2d8 + Con Mod, 4 CP) = 82 HP.

BAB +4 (+4 Talent +2 Martial Art = +10), Specialized in Unarmed Combat (12 CP).

Saves: +2 (+8, 6 CP) Reflex, +1 (+6, 3 CP) Fortitude, +0 (+1) Will

Initiative: +5 (Dex)

Armor Class 10 (Base) +6 (Crystal Infusion) +5 (Dex) +2 (Martial Art) = 23.

Novice of Informational Manipulation:

  • Improved Occult Talent, Specialized and Corrupted for Reduced Cost/all effects are cast as minor rituals requiring various components (4 CP).
  • Minor Rituals: Dark Spark, Jumpstart, Power Cell, Detect “Magic”, Mending
  • Notable Rituals: Generator, Unseen Servant, Goldberg.
  • Power Words, Specialized and Corrupted/only to store the effects of personal minor rituals from Occult Talent(s) (2 CP). Stores up to (Con/3) Notable rituals, or twice that many minor ones, for immediate release later. (Normally Dark Spark x2, Jumpstart x2, Power Cell, Mending, Goldberg x 2, and Generator).

Other Abilities:
Adept (6 CP): May buy Bullet Time, Survival, Vehicles, and Martial Arts (Radiant Lotus Style) for half cost.

Luck with +2 Bonus Uses, Specialized in Saves (4 CP).

Luck with +2 Bonus Uses, Specialized in Skills (4 CP).

Access to the Vehicles Occult Skill (3 CP).

Access to the Arcana Occult Skill (3 CP).

Skill Focus/Vehicles (6 CP), Specialized for Increased Effect; the Vehicle requires all kinds of patches, sometimes malfunctions, is in poor repair, and has liens against it.

Skill Points: 10 (Fast Learner) +10 (Int) +27 (CP) +44 (Attributes) = 91 SP

  • Acrobatics (Dex): 5 (SP) +5 (Dex) +3 (LLA) = +13 (May take 3d4 damage to pull off a normally-impossible stunt).
  • Appraise (Int): +2 (Int)
  • Arcana (Occult) (Int): +3 (6 SP) +2 (Int) = +5 (Bonus Minor Ritual: Aberrant Materials Testing)
  • Armory (Str): +5 (2* SP)+ 4 (Str) = +9 (Extended Crystal Infusion: Energy Resistance III (10 points), Environmental/NBC Seal with Space Capability +II), Nightsight, Flash, and Hearing Protection I, Orbital Datalink III,
  • Athletics (Str): +5 (SP) +3 (Str) +8 (Template) +3 (LLA) = +19 (May take 2d4 damage to pull off an impossible stunt).
  • Biotech (Con): +4 (SP) +3 (Con) = +7 (Neural Interface III, Tablet II, +4 Piloting Booster II)
  • Bullet Time (Con): +5 (2 SP*) +4 (Con) +5 (Template) +3 (LLA) = +17 (May temporarily expend 1/2/3 ranks to buy off 6/10/12 damage, to take 1-3 five-step steps as an immediate action (1-3), and to boost reflex saves at 1 to 1 after rolling).
  • Concentration (Con): +4 (4 SP) +4 (Con) = +8
  • Craft (Int): +5 (SP) +2 (Int) = +7 (Applies to Metalworking, Glassworking, Plastics, Electrical Machinery, and Starship Parts).
  • Deception (Cha):
  • Engineering (Int): 5 (SP) +2 (Int) = +7 (Carries a sleeve-grapnel and spectral analyzer).
  • Erudite Focus (Int):
  • Faith (Wis):
  • Gadgetry (Int): 5 (SP) +2 (Int) = +7 (Augmented Crystal Powers/Kinetic Manipulator II (Str+2 at 20′ range on “elemental materials”), Lightning Redirector III), Memory-Metal Multitool II.
  • Heal (Wis): +2 (SP) +0 (Wis) = +2
  • Idiotic Technology (Occult) (Wis):
  • Linguistics (Int): +3 (SP) +2 (Int) = +5
  • Local Knowledge +2 (Int):
  • Logistics (Chr): +5 (5 SP) -1 (Cha) = +4 (Explosives Stockpile II, Spare Parts II).
  • Martial Art (Radiant Lotus Style, Dex): +5 (2 SP*) +5 (Dex) +3 (LLA) = +13
    • Martial Art Techniques (7): Attack +2, Defenses +2, Instant Stand, Combat Reflexes, and Mind Like Moon.
  • Minions (Occult) Cha):
  • Narrative (Occult) (Cha):
  • Networking (Cha): +2 (SP) -1 (Cha) = +1
  • Perception (Wis): 5 (SP) +0 (Wis) = +5
  • Perform (Cha):
  • Persuasion (Cha):
  • Profession/Prospector +5 (SP): +0 (Wis) = +5
  • Religion (Occult) (Int):
  • Scholar (Int):
  • Sensitive (Wis): +0 (Wis)
  • Socialize (Wis):
  • Stealing the Scene (Occult) (Con):
  • Stealth (Dex): 5 SP + 5 (Dex) = +10
  • Survival (Int): +5 (2 SP*) +2 (Int) = +7
  • Thievery (Dex*): +1 (SP) = +1
  • Tough It Out (Str): +5 (SP) +4 (Str) = +9 (May temporarily sacrifice points to ignore Conditions, to buy off attribute damage or drain, and to boost fortitude saves after rolling).
  • Vehicles (Occult) (Wis): +5 (4 SP*) +3 (LLA) +3 (Skill Focus). Skill Focus and Basic Points Specialized for Double Effect – needs all kinds of repairs, has a lien, and owes money. = +19
    • The Golden Rowan (Class II Interstellar Prospector): Superior (II) Speed, Average (I) Maneuver, Inferior (-) Weapons, Size/Cargo Average (I), Long Term Space Life Support (III), Communications II (Long-range multi-channel transmit and receive with some signal processing), Sensors (Radar, Navigation, Surface Scans) III, Subspace Backup Drive (I), Emergency Hibernation Systems (I), Minerals Processing System II, Comfortable Crew Quarters (I), Secure Storage Areas (I).
  • Weaponry (Dex): 2 (SP) +5 (Dex) = +7 (Augmented Crystal Infusion: Ultraflare (II), Spacefield Disruption Blast (III), Focused Flame (Usable as a welding torch, etc)) (II).

+3 Specialties (4 SP): Vehicles/Piloting/Class-II Interstellar Prospectors, Local Knowledge / Bars and similar hangouts, Engineering/Starship, and Perception/Spot Valuable Minerals.

Uaithne, Harp of the Dagda

Ages past, in the forgotten dawn of the world, the Tuatha de Danaan, the children of the goddess Danu of the Waters, came from the darkness and the mists of the sea to the shores of the Emerald Isle in shining splendor. With them they carried the laws of hospitality, the traditions of kingship, the arts of civilization, and four great treasures.

But the Emerald Isle was the realm of the Fir Bolg, the powers of the untamed wilds and nature unrestrained. It was not in them to yield their lands to the Tuatha de Danaan uncontested – and so there was war.

The Tuatha de Danaan forged weapons of might, and dazzling shields, and – led by Nuada – were unsurpassed in the arts and strategies of war.

Yet the Fir Bolg, led by Balor of the Destroying Eye, the master of Pestilence, Drought, and Fire, seized upon the forces of nature for their weapons. They wielded the winter’s bitter cold and the summer’s burning heat, the floods of spring, the grasping clay and hungry beasts of autumn, fire and flood and earthquake, coming against the Children of Danu like the tides of the Sea marching against a coastal isle.

And Nuada fell. The arts of war failed the Tuatha de Danaan as the Emerald Isle fell into chaos and slipped back towards it’s beginning, towards a darkness that would never see another dawn.

But a new leader came forth among the Tuatha de Danaan, the Dagda – a master of the cycle of life and a Bard of Might. From the strings of Uaithne – the Oak of Two Meadows, Foursquare and True, the Four-Angled Music – he called forth harmonies that could ready men for battle, bring strength to their walls, soothe their wounds and heartache, set the seasons and forces of nature once more in order, and bring joy, mirth, sorrow, and slumber. With harmony he brought peace between the Tuatha de Danaan and the Fir Bolg – and a part of that power lingers within his harp even today.

Uaithne, Harp of the Dagda

As a basic magic item:

  • Masterwork Harp (CAdv, 100 GP +250 GP for the Adamantine Inlay): Uaithne is a wonderful work of art – chased with adamantine and gold over seasoned oak, inlaid with gems and inscribed with many magics in Ogham.
    • +2 Circumstance Bonus to Perform checks made using the Harp.
    • If used with Mystic Artist (Perform/Music), the user may target one more creature than normal with Fascinate and Inspire Greatness.
    • The user may cast spells or manifest powers while performing provided that they have no somatic, material, or focus components.

Adamantine Inlay does one thing besides look stylish; it gives your magic item a base hardness of 20. The expense is hard to make out; ammunition costs a mere 60 GP, there’s no size adjustment, and it’s hard to say if a Ring calls for much more Adamantine than (say) a broadhead arrow – or, for that matter, a ballista bolt). Ergo, for our purposes, adding Adamantine Inlay costs 250 GP. It should probably be assumed on any permanent item that costs 10,000 GP or more. Such things are traditionally hard to destroy anyway and the expense is small enough to make it downright stupid to leave it out. It’s like getting an impact-resistant case for your smartphone.

  • Two Wand Chambers (Dungeonscape, 200 GP). Uaithne can have two wands slipped inside it’s column, giving it or it’s user immediate access to some handy magic – and, according to those who have played it, subtle and fascinating changes in it’s tone and resonance.
  • Musical Bludgeon: If you smack someone with the Harp (not advised, but you have to buy the +1 enhancement to get Harmonizing), it is a +1 Harmonizing Weapon (8000 GP). The Harmonizing property extends the unattended duration of Bardic Music by ten rounds.
  • Legend Given Form: Uthaine is Self-Repairing: Repair Light Damage (CL1 x SL1 x 1200 GP for 3 Uses/Day x .7 Personal Only = 840 GP). Uaithne may repair 1d8+1 points of damage to itself as a standard action three times per day.

Adding the powers of another item to another item – sapient or not – is covered in the Magic Item Compendium. Generally it’s add the baseline cost for common utility functions, 100% of the cost to add the powers of a slot-free item to another slot-free item, 150% of the base cost to add a function to a slot-based item, and 200% of the base cost to add a slot-based items powers to a slot free item. The overall Caster Level of the intelligent item is always the highest caster level involved. Adding powers is likely to increase an items ego however.

  • Dove’s Harp (MIC, CL9, 12,000 GP):
    • Whenever Uthaine is used to produce bardic music all allies within sixty feet gain fast healing 3 for 1 minute.
  • Lyre of Building (SRD, CL6, 13,000 GP):
    • Reinforcement: 1/Day negates any attacks made against inanimate construction (walls, roof, floor, and so on) within 300 feet, including the effects of a horn of blasting, a disintegrate spell, or an attack from a ram or similar siege weapon. The protection lasts for 30 minutes.
    • Construction: 1/Week can magically construct buildings, mines, tunnels, ditches, or whatever. Each full action of playing does 10 man-hours of work (as if with any necessary tools, but using materials drawn from the area). Each hour after the first, the user must make a DC 18 Perform (string instruments) check. If it fails, he or she must stop and wait to start again until a week has passed.
    • +1000 GP Ad Hoc modifier: The “Construction” music may provide simple services as well as construction work – serving food, cleaning, setting up a nice camp, or even helping creatures don armor and weapons to ready themselves for battle (30 man-sized creatures readied per full round of playing).

Modified: A sapient item with the right skills can play itself twenty-four hours a day. This gets absurd – so Uaithne’s version is limited to three hours a week, uses the user’s skills, and requires a perform check at the start. On the plus side, those 180 minutes may be broken up as desired – although the time used is always rounded up to the nearest minute. Essentially this reduces the effects by a factor of fifty to provide more convenience. Secondarily, the range limit for construction is presumed to be the same as it is for reinforcement – a three hundred foot radius.

  • Drums of Thunder (OA, CL20, 36,750 GP), as a charged item, may be purchased cheaply if you don’t take very many charges. In this case we’re taking four charges for 7350 GP – but Uaithne will not allow the use of those charges; it powers those functions with Mana if they are needed. Save DC 14 + Spell Level (Corrected to use the minimum attribute modifier necessary to cast Cloud Chariot).
  • Flight (1 Charge)
  • Cloud Chariot (two charges)
  • Fear (2 charges)
  • Control Weather (1 charge)
  • Lightning Bolt (2 charges).

Uaithne thus has a base cost of 42,740 GP and a Caster Level of twenty.

As an Intelligent Magic Item:

  • Sapient: Int 18 (Speaks common and four languages of choice), Wis 10, Chr 18. Speech and Telepathy. 120′ Darkvision, Blindsense, and Hearing (12,000 GP). It is Neutral Good.

Intelligent Items have many, slightly different, implementations. The SRD has one (which seems to include some Ad Hoc modifiers to account for the “usefulness” of particular powers. Given that this is never explained, it greatly complicates life). The Practical Enchanter includes a generic system, and Pathfinder has tweaked things to make it semi-freeform but to eliminate a lot of the “unlimited use” stuff. For Uaithne I’m sticking fairly closely to the 3.5 SRD version, but am ignoring the ad-hoc modifiers since there’s not nearly enough information to turn into a general rule.

Still, creating new SRD-Style powers for intelligent items is easy enough;

  • Lesser Powers cost less than 7000 GP.
    • Ten ranks in a skill costs 5000 GP.
    • Having, or being able to grant the user, a single Feat with no more than one unfilled prerequisite, costs 6000 GP*.

*Granting the user (or presumably the item) a single feat appears on the list of Primary Powers in the Epic Item Listing without a specified price – although it is just below “Detect (opposing alignment) at will” (a 7200 GP ability in the non-epic lists) and above “ten ranks in a skill” (a 5000 GP ability in the non-epic lists). Given that the basic abilities were arranged by price, and that Primary Powers add 2000 to 10,000 GP – noted as “averaging 6000 GP” – to the market price, this seems to work out to 6000 GP per Feat. Items can apparently skip at least one Feat in a Feat Chain since they can grant Mobility without granting Dodge.

  • Greater Powers cost 7000 to 50,000 GP.
    • By extension, a 25,000 GP Greater Power (“Advanced Intelligence”) provides an item with 18 CP, (Int Mod x 2) Skill Points, and an extra (1d6 + Cha Mod) Hit Points. This can be taken twice, but no more. If a sapient item gains character levels (through leadership or by being given XP) the first instance of this power does not count, but a second counts as a +1 ECL modifier on the item. In either case, whatever was purchased is treated as a racial ability.

Special Purpose Powers cost 50,001 to 200,000 GP.

So Uthaine’s three Lesser and two Greater powers are:

  • Lesser Power: +10 Ranks in Perform/Stringed Instruments (5000 GP).
  • Lesser Power / Bonus Feat (6 CP / 6000 GP): 1d6 (5) Mana, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect (1 Point counts as an extra Charge or Use for any of Uaithne’s powers or functions, recovers at twice the usual daily rate (2 Points per day, 4 with rest and meditation).
  • Lesser Power: Extended Duration Skill Mastery/+7 Competence Bonus to all Int-Based Skills (L2 +1 Level to reach 1 Hour/Level* x CL 5 x 400 GP for 1 Use/Day x .7 Personal-Only = 4200 GP). In the interests of easy calculations, and not having to worry about a four-hour gap in the middle of the night, I am reducing the bonus to +6, restricting the bonus to Craft, Knowledge, and Spellcraft skills, and giving it a +20% bonus on duration – thus winding up with a total bonus of +10 in those skills.

Given that this is derived from a competence bonus, whether or not to treat this as being skilled is up to the game master. I would, since the easy way otherwise is to take Improvisation and – given Ulthaine’s Caster Level of 20 – wind up with an effective +10 bonus to all skills and quite a few other things for 2000 GP. Improvisation is a VERY powerful spell, but I suppose that the writers felt that Bards needed a boost – and probably didn’t consider it’s possible use by an intelligent item. They are, after all, something of an afterthought.

*It is important to note that SRD and Pathfinder Intelligent Items always use their caster level when using Lesser, Greater, and Awesome powers regardless of the caster level those abilities were purchased at. That’s why they have fixed prices – generally bought at the minimum caster level needed – but have no caster level noted.

  • Greater Power: Can employ The Eightfold Harmonies Upon The Winds* 3/Day (16,000 GP).
  • Greater Power: Advanced Intelligence (25,000 GP). Provides +18 CP, (Int Mod x 2) Skill Points, and an extra (1d6 + Cha Mod) Hit Points. (Mystic Artist / Stringed Instruments (6 CP) with +4 Bonus Uses (6 CP), Inherent Spell (Broken down to Dancing Lights 2/Day, Ghost Sound 2/day, and Minor Image 2/Day) 6 CP). Perform +4 (For +18 total, 4 SP), Use Magic Device +1 (for +5 Total, 1 SP), +3 Specialities in Perform/Strings/Harps (1 SP), Knowledge/History/The Emerald Isle (1 SP), and Use Magic Device / Wands (1 SP).

*The Eightfold Harmonies Upon The Winds

  • Level: Bard 3, Cleric 3, Druid 3, Sorcerer 3, Wizard 3.
  • Components: V, Perform +12 or more.
  • Casting time: Not an action (Cast as part of a Mystic Artist performance)
  • Range: Personal
  • Targets: You
  • Duration: Standard Mystic Artist (Performance +5 Rounds)
  • Saving Throw: Will negates. See Mystic Artist (usually DC 16 + Artists Att Mod).
  • Spell Resistance: No

This spell expands the range of effects the user can produce with the Mystic Artist ability. It may now induce powerful emotions on (Cha Mod + Level) living creatures within range (usually at least 40′ for music). Possible emotional effects include:

  • Boredom, Disinterest, and Similar: Targets of up to four hit dice go to sleep as per a Sleep spell.
  • Despair, Incapacitating Laughter, and Similar: Affected targets suffer a –2 morale penalty to saving throws, attack rolls, ability checks, skill checks, and weapon damage rolls.
  • Fear, Revulsion, and Similar: Affected targets flee from you whenever they are in sight of you.
  • Friendship, Affection, and Similar: Targets react more positively toward others. Their attitude shifts to the next more favorable reaction (hostile to unfriendly, unfriendly to indifferent, indifferent to friendly, or friendly to helpful). Creatures involved in combat, however, continue to fight back normally.
  • Hatred, Disgust, and Similar: Targets react more negatively toward others. Their attitude shifts to the next less favorable reaction (helpful to friendly, friendly to indifferent, indifferent to unfriendly, or unfriendly to hostile)
  • Hope, Elation, Enthusiasm, and Similar: Targets gain a +2 morale bonus to saving throws, attack rolls, ability checks, skill checks, and weapon damage rolls.
  • Malaise, Ennui, Grief, and Similar: Targets become Exhausted.
  • Rage, Jealousy, Resentment, and Similar: Targets gain a +2 morale bonus to Strength and Constitution scores, a +1 morale bonus on Will saves, and a –1 penalty to AC. They will fight heedless of danger. This does not stack with barbarian rage or with itself.

With Intelligence Costs: of 68,200 GP, this gives Uthaine a total cost of 110,940 GP. It is, however, subject to a limitation; it’s user must have the Mystic Artist ability – a x.8 multiplier. That reduces the cost to 88,750 GP. Still a VERY pricey gadget, but also a device of considerable power.

As A Sixth Level Eclipse Follower:

Available Character Points: 168 CP (Base) + 18 (Bonus Feats) = 186 CP. 36 SP for Int, +1 level bonus to Charisma Siddhisyoga Equipment Allowance of 2800 GP (+2 to Chr, personal-only, 1400 GP, Minor Image x .7 (Provides Special Effects Only), 1400 GP).

Sapient Item Survival Package (24 CP):

  • Reflex Training/3 Extra Action per Day variant (6 CP).
  • Luck with +4 Bonus Uses, Specialized / only for Saving Throws (6 CP)
  • Finesse: Bases HP on (Cha Mod) (6 CP).
  • Returning: Uthaine is a thing of both myth and history; if destroyed it can be retrieved by simply finding a way to travel into the realms of myth to retrieve it (6 CP).

Pretty much any item follower is going to have these powers somewhere. Item followers are very expensive, are independent threats to an enemy, and (being loyal and aligned) are rarely of much potential use to those enemies. Thus, while most magic items are loot, intelligent items are often on the target list. Since they’re generally a lot lower level, and hence more fragile, than the player character they’re following, some defenses are definitely in order.

Skills:

  • Adept (Perform/Strings, Use Magic Device, Listen, and Spot, 6 CP).
    • Finesse: Uses Cha Mod instead of Dex Mod for Dex-based Skills, Specialized in Perform (3 CP).
    • In the SRD all Perform skills are based on Charisma. If you go to full-out Eclipse, instrumental performance skills are based on Dex. Ergo this isn’t needed for the basic item or for its SRD-derived Intelligence – but as a Follower it’s needed.
  • Perform/Strings (Itself) +31 (+10 (built in ranks) +4 (“Racial” bonus) +9 (4 SP, Adept) +5 (Cha) +3 Racial (Speciality)).
    • Eleven Mystic Artist Abilities:
      • Inspiration: Emotion, Greatness, Excellence, Mass Greatness, and Mass Excellence. .
      • Manipulation: Fascinate, Hold Audience.
      • Synergy: Block, Amplify, Harmonize, and Serenity.
  • Use Magic Device +16 (Wands +19) (+9 (4) SP +1 (Racial) +6 Cha +3 (Racial Speciality / Wands)). As a follower, Uthaine can automatically use whatever wands are placed in its Wand Chambers. Since there are no automatic failures on skills, it doesn’t even have to roll.
  • Listen +9 (+9 (4) SP +0 Wis)
  • Spot +9 (+9 (4) SP +0 Wis)
  • Decipher Script +13 (+9 (9 SP)+4 (Int) )
  • Diplomacy +14 (+9 (9 SP) +5 (Cha))
  • +1 SP in all eight Knowledge Skills/Specialized (lets the user make rolls as if skilled, but provides no bonus, 4 SP).
  • All Crafts and Knowledges: Effectively +10. +3 Racial Speciality in Knowledge/History/The Emerald Isle).

Mystic Artist Upgrades:

  • +16 Bonus Uses of Mystic Artist (total 26) (24 CP),
  • Luck with +8 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect/Only for Skills, only for “Taking 60″ in advance, only for Int and Cha based skills (18 CP). Yes, when Uthaine really tries it gets a total of 90 on Perform and 70 on Craft and Knowledge Skills.
  • Amplification (6 CP). Uthaine can affect twice as many targets as usual with it’s bardic powers.
  • Echoes (6 CP): Gain +3 minutes of duration with your Mystic Artist effects. If you wish, the minutes can be saved for later and invoked independently on those who remember them.
  • Rapid (6 CP). Mystic artist abilities take effect as soon as you start performing.
  • Seeking (6 CP). Mystic Artist effects can be limited to particular groups of targets.
  • Projection (6 CP): Double the radius affected by the user’s Mystic Artist powers.
  • The Path of Dissonance (48 CP): Selective Targeting (up to seven targets, fourteen after Amplification, 6 CP), Distracting (Concentration opposes skill checks, 6 CP), Disrupting II (Greater Dispel Magic and Greater Dispel Psionics, or inflict (Check) damage to all living and/or undead targets within range, 12 CP), Stunning (2d4 Rounds, Will Save DC 30, 6 CP), Maddening (Cause Confusion, possibly Feeblemind, Will Save DC 30, 6 CP), Banishing (Antipathy or Dismissal Effect, Will Save DC 30, 6 CP), Shattering (Circle of Death, Undeath to Death, or Disjunction, or (Check) damage to all inanimate objects within range, 6 CP).

This neatly illustrates the real power of Intelligent Items with Eclipse levels. They don’t have that many relevant things to spend their character points on – and restricting them with the Adventurer Framework obviously makes no sense. That leaves them free to purchase entire ability chains, right up through their capstone abilities, along with things like that specialized Luck to augment them. Shattering, for example, is the ninth feat in a chain which starts with Mystic Artist – and, as such, is rarely available to sixth level characters. Just as importantly, this design spends 132 CP on Mystic Artist – as much as it would cost to buy twenty levels of Adept, Psychic Warrior, or Wilder magic progressions. While such specialization has weaknesses as well, those aren’t as serious for an item as they are for an actual independent character. Items aren’t expected to function on their own or to be useful in almost any situation.

Minor Abilities:

  • +1d6 (3, total of 8) Mana, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect (1 Point counts as an extra Charge or Use for any of Uaithne’s powers or functions, recovers at twice the usual daily rate (2 Points per day, 4 with rest and meditation, 6 CP).
  • Rite of Chi with +2 Bonus Uses, Specialized/only works overnight to refill Uaithne’s mana pool (4 CP).
  • Inherent Spell (6 CP): Ventriloquism (2/Day) and Joyful Noise (2/Day) with +1 Bonus Use (Each, 3 CP) making them both 3/day.
  • Inherent Spell II (6 CP). Greater Invisibility Sphere (lasts 10 minutes/level) with +1 Bonus Use (2 CP).
  • Inherent Spell III (6 CP): Greater Astral Caravan (L5, Takes along willing individuals within 20′ feet)

Uaithne is another very powerful item – and one far better adapted to most adventuring than Nagakanya; Nagakanya may help reduce major disasters to adventures, and set up “defend the pass” situations, and heal all and sundry, but it’s basically a “support the civilians” item. Uaithne, on the other hand, may have healing and utility functions, but it can also buff people and help them kill things in a variety of ways, including some pretty major attacks of it’s own.

Nagakanya, the Handmaid of Kwan Yin, Child Instruction, and the Devotions Of Celestial Mercy

The cherrywood staff is inlaid with adamant quotations from the Lotus Sutra, bears blossoming flowers, and is topped by a golden dragon’s claw clutching a massive, luminous, lunar pearl. It’s soft radiance drives back the night. AC 7, Hardness 20, HP 20 + Spirit HP (see below).

Nagakanya takes the form of a Pathfinder-style (and thus permanent magic item) Staff (can only hold ten charges, but can be recharged at one charge per day through the expenditure of an appropriate spell slot), with a few additional functions.

Staff Functions (Base CL 13, Base Save DC 20):

  • Greater Invocation of Kwan Yin: L7, creates any Conjuration (Healing) effect of up to L6. [L7 x L13 x 800 GP + 5000 GP (50 x 100 GP worth of material components to cover possible costs) x.8 (only works for good characters with a total Heal bonus of at least +10) = 62,240 GP. Note that you will have to either rebuild spells that require material components in excess of 100 GP so that they don’t or supply them.
    • Greater Invocations are basically similar to Limited Wish – but instead of using an expensive component to reduce the level of the basic “can do almost anything within it’s power limits” effect (which is usually about +3 levels over the top level that can be duplicated, -2 for a midrange expensive component) they use drastic restrictions on the type of effect that can be produced.

Nagakanya also has several Wondrous Item functions

  • Self-Charging / Pearl of Power (L7 Spell, only works to make the staff automatically regain one charge per day (x.6) = 29,400 GP.
  • Rod of Bodily Restoration, only works for good characters with a total Heal bonus of at least +10 (2480 GP).
  • Orb of Mental Renewal, only works for good characters with a total Heal bonus of at least +10 (2480 GP).
    • Since these three items do not take up item slots in the first place, there is no special cost for adding these functions to another non-slot item.
  • Healing Belt; Since this IS a slot-based item, adding it’s effects to a non-slot-based item doubles it’s base cost to 1500 GP – but to make things come out even, I’m going to be adding it twice, for 3000 GP and 6 charges (spend one 1/2/3 to heal 2d8/3d8/4d8) per day. (Yes, anyone can use the basic healing function, skilled or not, evil or not).
  • Crystal of Illumination, Lesser (The Pearl); Can shed bright light to 20′, shadowy illumination to 40′ (400 GP).

That gives us a net cost of an even 100,000 GP.

Intelligence:

  • Nagakanya has Int 16, Wis 16, Chr 16 (6000 GP), Neutral, Speech and Telepathy (1500 GP), 120′ Senses (1000 GP), +5 Ranks in Heal (2500 GP, net +5 +3 (Wis) +2 (Healing Belt Function) = +10), Amulet of Hands (Practical Enchanter, 4000 GP), Casts Shatter 2/Day (4800 GP) = 19,800 GP, call it 20,000 GP. Ego 21.

Net Cost: 120,000 GP. Note that the creator needs to be able to create all of the “individual items” involved, not just Staves.

As a Follower:

Level Six Follower: 168 CP (Base) + 18 (Bonus Feats) = 186 CP. 27 SP for Int, +1 level bonus to Wisdom. Siddhisyoga Equipment Allowance of 2800 GP (+2 to Wis, 2000 GP).

  • Adept (Heal, Knowledge/Religion, Spellcraft, and Survival, 6 CP). Skills: Heal +19, Knowledge / Religion +12, Spellcraft +12, Survival +13, Speak Language (12 languages), and +3 Specialities in Child Care and Knowledge/Religion/Kwan Yin.
  • The Guiding Star: Major Privilege: Nagakanya may send a dying spirit in his or her vicinity painlessly on to any appropriate afterlife (6 CP). As a special effect, this seems – at least to them and the spirit – like a moment caught out of time for conversation.
  • Looking Within The Shadows: Occult Sense/The Energies of the Spirit World. Nagakanya can detect spirits, undead, the approach of death – and the places where an unnatural disturbance of those cycles requires correction (6 CP).
  • Warden Of The Innocent: Occult Sense/Children: Nagakanya is automatically aware of the current activities, location, and condition of all small children who need watching within a 120′ radius (6 CP).
  • Pedagogue: Leadership, Specialized and Corrupted for Reduced Cost / she may only recruit youngsters of level one or below, it requires at least two months per level to promote them, any promoted to level two or above will automatically graduate and leave class, these are students, not minions (2 CP).

D20 has a generational problem; in real life a youngster taking over as king, or guildmaster, or whatever, is likely to be a bit less competent than whoever previously held the job – but not too much so. In d20, where the old boss probably had quite a few levels on said replacement, they’re utterly incompetent. Worse, there are no stated rules for teaching*. Ergo… Leadership.

*I considered using Craft/Teaching (Child DC 10, Young Adult DC 15, Adult DC 20), at 1 XP = 1 SP, with the “raw materials” cost being primarily the students time (6 coppers/day for unskilled child labor, with a few coppers her and there for slates and chalk and such) – allowing each student to gain up to 2 XP/Day if focused on learning (apprentices and such, who spend a lot of time on actual work, get less than half that per day – although they generally get more days). Presuming that surviving childhood diseases and accidents is sufficient experience to get from level (-2) to (-1), that 250 XP gets you from (-1) to (0) and 500 XP from (0) to (1), a kid needs about 750 XP to hit level one.

An ordinary first level teacher with a +5 bonus (+4 at L1, +1 attribute bonus) can “Take 10″ and generate 150 XP per week, for a total of 5400 per 36-week school year. A class of thirty kids would need 22,500 XP in total to all reach level one – requiring four to five years of elementary-school education to do so. Intensive tutoring from a master could get a wealthy or noble child there much faster. Of course, the ever-escalating structure of the experience point tables means that – even with a really good teacher – a youngster will soon need to get out and gain experience normally if they want to get to the higher levels.

That was actually pretty reasonable, but it really doesn’t cover where you get an effective successor to a high-level ruler or official. It’s also very slow and rather dull. Thus the use of Leadership; if you take it as a way to train your young relatives, they can start off at a high enough level to be effective in their jobs when they grow up. Of course, since you’ll be splitting up your adventurer-style wealth between them, and they won’t be adventuring nearly as much to gain more funds, they’ll wind up with NPC wealth-by-level instead of PC wealth-by-level. Given the limitations of leadership (“up to the user’s level minus three”) level and inherited wealth will tend to drop as the generations go by – so most dynasties will last for three or four generations at most before someone takes over – unless someone goes out adventuring, earns more levels, and reinvigorates the line of succession.

Of course, you can combine both methods: the commoners get teachers (using Craft/Teaching, and mostly being taught by priests and such), the wealthy and the nobility get to use Leadership – and you wind up with a reasonably stable social structure. Upward mobility comes with being an Adventurer, while the more passive nobility tends to slowly sink back into the lower classes across the generations.

  • Celestial Emissary: Returning (6 CP): Simply breaking the Staff will not keep Nagakanya down for long. To truly destroy “her” you must seek her spirit out on the celestial planes and slay her there before she can reform and return to the material plane.
  • Touch of the Light: Innate Enchantment (8 CP).
    • Arcane Tendril (SL 1 x CL 1 x 2000 GP (Unlimited-Use Use-Activated) = 2000 GP. The user may touch things at Close (25 foot) range. If used to manipulate things, it’s Strength equals the user’s (Int -8) and it’s Dexterity equals the (User’s Wisdom -8) and fine manipulation is impossible in any case.
    • Healing Lorecall (Sl 1 x CL 1 x 2000 GP (Unlimited-Use Use-Activated) = 2000 GP.
    • Cure Minor Wounds (SL 1/2 x CL 1 x x 2000 GP (Unlimited-Use Use-Activated, as a cumulative effect actually limited to (2 x Level – currently twelve) daily uses = 1000 GP.
    • Child Ward (Hedge Wizardry Spell) (SL 1 x CL 1 x 2000 GP (Unlimited-Use Use-Activated) = 2000 GP.
  • Reflexive Guardian: Reflex Training/3 Extra Action per Day variant(6 CP).
  • Hand Of The Goddess: Luck with +4 Bonus Uses, Specialized / only for Saving Throws (6 CP)
  • Strength of Will: Finesse: Bases HP on her (Wis Mod) (6 CP). (6d4, 42 HP plus base HP = 62)

The Generous Hands:

  • Create Item, Specialized & Corrupted/only as a prerequisite (2 CP)
  • Harvest of Artifice, Specialized & Corrupted for triple effect/only for use with Transmutation, only to produce cash (6 CP): Provides 300 XP/Month to use with Transmutation..
  • Transmutation, Specialized for Double Effect/only to produce money (6 CP). 300 XP per month will produce 1200 GP per month.
  • Equipage with Purchasing and 80% Returns (18 CP)

This particular power set lets Nagakanya accept offerings and – in return – provide supplies as needed.

  • Blossoming Celestial Radiance: Metamagical Theorems: Area, Extension, and Sculpting, with Streamline V (+4 Area, +3 Extension, +3 Sculpting) and Empowerment (Staves), all Specialized and Corrupted/only works with her basic Greater Invocation function (16 CP). This normally gives her healing effects a 20′ radius of effect, long range, and lets her either reshape the area on the fly as long as she keeps the same volume or select who she wishes to affect within the radius.
  • Heritage of the Dragon: Shaping, Specialized and Corrupted/only as a prerequisite (2 CP), Dragonfire (6 CP), Eye of the Dragon x 3 (Absorb up to 48 spell levels per day, store up to 108, 18 CP), Finesse/Path of the Dragon Abilities are based on Wis, not Con (6 CP), Blessing, Specialized for increased effect/only to share her absorption ability and the use of her Eye of the Dragon spell level pool with her bearer (6 CP). Note that she CAN power the Greater Invocation of Kwan Yin with levels from her Eye of the Dragon pool.

The Devotions Of Celestial Mercy:

  • The Devotions: 6d6 (21) Mana with Reality Editing, Specialized and Corrupted/can only be used for a set of specific reality edits, below (12 CP). The greater the level of the edit used, the larger the area and/or the more dramatically supernatural the effect:
    • Blessing: A blessed child is effectively under the care of a skill 15 Healer at all times until adulthood. If less than one year of age, the child may reroll it’s lowest attribute, although this will never result in lowering it. More powerful blessings may either apply to greater groups or result in low-grade magical assistance (User’s Cha Mod) times before adulthood – a but of direct healing, or protection from a house fire, or some such.
    • Escape: Threatened women, children, and other noncombatants can be offered a chance to take refuge in ways ranging from a passing driver being willing to give them a ride on through room being found on an evacuation train – and up to a giant turtle-island coming by to offer a them a lift.
    • Guardian: Nagakanya can allow a willing individual to place himself or herself between an area – whether that is a humble temple where the villagers are hiding on the low end or a city-state on the high end – and an attacking force. While he or she bars the way and withstands the onslaught, no member of the attacking force may reach the guarded area or harm it’s people.
    • Nativity: The celestial powers can grant children to those who wish for them – in ways ranging from simply granting easy conception and pregnancy to a couple who have been having trouble through opportunities for adoptions and on to outright supernatural events, such as a child (and likely future hero) emerging from a peach.
    • Panacea: A Healing spell gains the capacity to remove one or more additional conditions, such as Crippled (lost limbs, damaged organs, birth defects, and similar), Negative Levels, Attribute Drain and Damage, Petrification, Mind Control, and similar problems (see: Break Enchantment). In general, expanding a Heal spell to do a couple of those is a minor edit, expanding a Cure Light Wounds spell to remove a bunch of conditions is more Grandiose.
      • Yes, Regeneration is in the SRD as an independent level seven spell. – making it harder to restore a limb than to raise someone who’s been dead for a week. It’s a legacy spell anyway of course, given that d20 normally hasn’t GOT any rules for long-term crippling injuries. Worse, you can just take Monstrous Regeneration from Magic of Faerun – a spell which turns everything but fire and acid damage to subdual damage, heals subdual damage at 4/round, and allows the user to regrow limbs (even if the short base duration hinders this) – at level five. Evidently Regeneration is not so big a trick after all – which is why it’s relatively easy to add.
    • Serenity: The Celestial Hand can calm the turbulent powers of nature in ways ranging from calming a flooding stream on up through ending droughts, stopping avalanches, calming a mighty storm, or stilling an erupting volcano. Secondary problems – fires, collapsed buildings, injuries, and so on – will remain, and must be dealt with normally.
    • Sustenance: For the next seven days the common folk and creatures of an area will be able to find – with effort – enough to eat and drink, and sufficient shelter and warmth to survive, despite any famine or food shortage, water shortage, sweltering heat, or arctic cold.
  • Rite of Chi with +8 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted/only usable to restore Mana for The Devotions Of Celestial Mercy, above. (6 CP).

Exactly how powerful are The Devotions Of Celestial Mercy? Well… this is Reality Editing, and so it depends on how well any particular edit fits into the setting and the storyline. Secondarily, of course, d20 is generally a game of heroic fantasy; the characters are usually expected to fix whatever problem they’re presented with. In those terms… why did the oncoming horde choose a route full of chokepoints where a small group could hold them back for lengthy periods anyway? Especially knowing that bands of high-level adventurers are notorious for stunts like that?

The Devotions Of Celestial Mercy allows the game master to present the characters with some overwhelming problem – whereupon the player characters can use a Devotion to cut it down to something they can deal with. So you have stilled the volcanic eruption? There are still injuries, fires, people lost down the crevices that opened up, avalanche victims to be rescued, and the bunch of bad guys who will move in to loot the place. But those are problems that a small group can deal with. They generally can’t deal with thirty square miles of territory being blasted by a pyroclastic cloud short of trying for a major miracle.

Nagakanya is a high-end example of an artifact-follower – and a good illustration of why a character design that doesn’t have to spend points on anything outside it’s focus can be so powerful within those limits. Nagakanya is an immensely powerful device within it’s specialties – but is pretty thoroughly focused on healing and protecting lots of people and is virtually useless outside those specialties.

As written, Nagakanya has 24 unspent CP (thanks to an uncorrected copy-and-paste error. my thanks to Alzrius for pointing that out). I’ll try to get back to this with a suggestion or two for using them, but leaving them available for customization works fine too.

Practical Magic – The Supply Pouch, Rod Of Residence, and Bottled Hedge Wizard

For today it’s a few items that are going to turn up with some upcoming characters – in this case some rather high-end utility magic.

 

Rod Of Residence: This elegantly-inscribed silver rod is studded with runes picked out in tiny emeralds. When it is used to sketch the outline of a door, whether in the air or against a surface, it opens a door to the pocket dimension associated with the rod. The door may be given any desired appearance, ranging from a simple crack in the surface on up to an elaborate storefront. Either way, it may be opened or sealed as needed.

Palatial Residence: Spacewarp Spell Template (The Practical Enchanter), with Barriers, Increased Size, Furnished, Supplied, Supportive, Stable, and a Mobile Entrance (with an “Optional Appearance” flourish) linked to the Rod. Base level 9, takes a full minute to cast (-1), requires a jewel-encrusted golden key (worth 4000 GP) as a focus (-1), for a net level of seven. (Spell Level 7 x Caster Level 13 x 400 GP One Use/Day (lasting up to twenty-six hours – more than enough to make it continuous) = 36,400 GP. Secondarily includes a Master’s Badge (The Practical Enchanter again; an item that provides swarms of helpful Unseen Servants) effect that only works within the residence (+2400 GP) Note that “dispelling” the place from the outside will simply close the doorway for a bit. Net total; 39,000 GP.

The Rod of Residence provides a comfortable mobile home and meals, as well as plenty of storage space, for a high level character on the go.If you want, you can also stash a small horde of endangered villagers there while you deal with the attacking monster horde (or whatever). It doesn’t, however, actually change the dynamics of high-level play very much; once you can get yourself a Portable Hole out of petty cash… storage space really isn’t a very big problem any more.

It does, however, provide an easy explanation for those disappearing magic shops that tellers of tales are so fond of throwing in to explain where some eccentric item came from though.

Basic D20 presents us with the Robe of Useful Items – which, at a cost of 7000 GP can produce anywhere from about 50 GP worth of items up to over 10,000 GP worth of handy mundane items (although, thanks to the randomization of what comes in a particular robe, the average is about 500 GP – as determined by a tedious, if very straightforward, calculation). Shrink Item allows you to carry along vast quantities of stuff if you want – but you still have to buy it. Of course, an adventurer who is short of mundane gear is not doing well at ALL.

For those who want even more utility, we have the…

Supply Pouch: A Supply Pouch offers access to the goods and services typical of a small town without actually having to have the town handy or to take the time to go shopping. It allows the user to simply produce some 750 GP worth of such goods and services over a period of time – although how often depends on the type of pouch.

Limited Wish L7 x L13 x 2000 GP + (50 x 1500 GP) = 257,000 GP x .4 (One subdividable charge per day) x .2 (only usable to produce items and services with a maximum total value of 750 GP – 50% of the cost of the spells 1500 GP material component) x.8 (only items and services which could be obtained in a small town – for example, no spellcasting services of above level three. Actual magic items cost double their base price, withdrawing cash is triple price – and generally comes in the form of gems rather than coins) = 16,450 GP.

Ad Hoc Adjustment: If limit is actually weekly, x.5 (8225 GP). If Monthly, x.25 (4100 GP), and if Yearly .125 (2050 GP). That gives us…

  • Dragonscale Adventurer’s Pouch/Dilithium Express Card (Daily) 16,450 GP.
  • Bejeweled Noble’s Pouch/Executive Credit Card (Weekly) 8225 GP.
  • Leather Merchant’s Pouch/Business Credit Card (Monthly) 4100 GP.
  • Cloth Yeoman’s Pouch/Pre-Paid Store Gift Card (Yearly) 2050 GP.

If someone just HAS to have one suited to an epic-level type, upgrading to three subdivideable charges per day – 2250 GP worth of stuff per day – raises the cost to 33,000 GP.

For those who wish to be constructive in dungeons…

  • Door and suitable framing, with bar, installed to fit 10 x 10 area: Wooden (Hardness 5, 10 HP) 10 GP, Reinforced Wooden (Hardness 5, 20 HP) 40 GP, Iron (Hardness 10, 60 HP) 500 GP.
  • 10 x 10 Wall: Masonry (2′ thick, hardness 8, 180 HP, Break DC 25) 250 GP, Packed Earth (3′ Thick, Hardness 2, 30 HP, Break DC 19) 10 GP, Wood (1′ Thick, Hardness 5, 120 HP, Break DC 26) 100 GP.
  • Dig out 10 x 10 x 10 cube of: Earth 5 GP, Clay/Rocky Soil 15 GP, Stone 50 GP. Yes, you can put holes under creatures, but it’s only a DC 16 Reflex save to avoid falling in. Just as bad, going more than fifty or sixty feet down in earth tends to lead to the walls collapsing before anything can fall that far, leaving any possible victims landing on a pile of soft earth about sixty feet down for 3d6 damage.
  • Build a Well (5 x 5, 100 feet deep) 200 GP. It comes with rope, winch, and bucket. While fitted stones hold the well open, trying to open one under someone allows them a DC 11 reflex save to jump away in time – which is unlikely to catch anything of the least importance.
  • Build a Trail 1 GP/100 Feet. This means clearing out the trees and brush, and enough leveling to let a small wagon get dragged through.
  • Build a Road: 1 GP/30 feet, x5 for difficult terrain. x2 for Gravel, x3 for Cobblestones, x5 for a solid base and mortared stones.
  • Build a Bridge: 5′ x 5′ section: Rope-and-Board 2 GP, Wood 10 GP, Stone 25 GP, Iron 150 GP.
  • You can also buy “Spellcasting Services” – pulling a variety of minor spells out of the pouch to help out. Unfortunately, they are cast at the caster level you pay for up to a maximum of the pouches caster level, not just at the caster level of the pouch. It’s much more effective than trying to dig pits under people though.

Yes, this is considerably better than the “Everfull Purse” minor artifact. Of course, if the players actually want to break the system instead of having fun with it, d20 offers a LOT of ways to do that – and fiddling around with a once-per-day Limited Wish item is hardly the most effective way to do that.

Now, for those who want to have even more utility magic, we can add a function:

Bottled Hedge Wizard

  • Sentient Item: Rank 3 Imbued Spirit, 5000 GP, Int 12, Wis 16, Chr 14, Speak and Read (Common and Celestial), Telepathy with Owner, Heal Skill +12, Feats of Material Link and Hedge Wizardry. Ego 11, Lawful Good.
  • Three Extraordinary Powers:
    • Bestowed Hedge Wizardry: As long as the user carries the item, he or she gains access to the Hedge Wizardry feat. (Surprising Mastery/Hedge Wizardry (Complex Mental Feat, No Prerequisite Feats, Requires that the “caster” already possess the feat (-1 spell level), Spell Level 2 x Caster Level Three x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x .6 (only while someone is carrying the pouch) = 7200 GP. (Note that the Hedge Wizardry feat includes both access to the Hedge Wizardry spell list and the ability to make “conjures” – minor items of practical magic).
    • Lesser Hedge Magic: Bestows (or uses itself at Caster Level Nine) Sorcerer-Style Spell Slots 12 x L0 (Level Squared x 1500 GP x.5 (Hedge Magic Only) = 4500 GP) + 7 x L1 (same formula for 5250 GP) = 9750 GP.
    • Greater Hedge Magic: Bestows (or uses itself at caster level nine) Sorcerer- Style Spell Slots 3 x L2 (same formula, for 9000 GP) = 9000 GP.

Net Cost: 30,450 GP.

If you REALLY want to get elaborate, add a Bottled Hedge Wizard to an Epic Supply Pouch, for a net cost of 64,000 GP – and the ability to casually meet the mundane needs of a fair-sized town.

The Hedge Magic spell list is most unlikely to break the game – although a clever player will certainly find all kinds of uses for it – but between it and the basic functions of the supply pouch a character who’s so inclined will have an immense array of ways to be comfortable, accomplish minor tasks, and help out when Fireballs are utterly useless.