Zhan Rayden, Master of the Earth, Levels 9-12

Zhan Rayden, Master of the Earth

“Earthbender” (Eclipse Kineticist-Style Build) Mystic Architect

Zhan Rayden is now approaching what used to be called “Name Level” – the point at which the characters were supposed to start collecting followers, founding domains, and otherwise having a larger-scale impact on the world rather than simply going out to fight monsters. The faster level gains and classes-for-all system introduced in third edition have pushed that to a much later point (if it ever happens) – but I happen to think that people who battle dragons, create mighty magical devices, teleport across the world, and explore other dimensions SHOULD be very important and noteworthy people. Given that Rayden was already an architect-builder, expanding his influence beyond his personal reach is a fairly obvious path to take anyway – so I’ll be including some such options in these levels.

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Level Nine:

Basics: +4 SP (+2 Int Mod, +2 Human Fast Learner, Committed to Adept Skills, +2 Doubled Pathfinder “Favored Class” Bonus)) +30 CP (Base plus L9 Bonus Feat), +1d4 (+Con Mod, +Wis Mod) HP. “Healthy One” (+2 CP to become more durable).

Basic Attributes: Str 15 +2 (Wrath) +6 (Shift) +1 (Level) +2 (Enh) = 26, Dex 16 +8 (Shift) +2 (Enh) = 26, Con 19 (17 +2 Pathfinder +2 (Wrath) +4 (Shift) +1 (Level) +2 (Enh) = 28, Int 14, Wis 16, Cha 13.

Adept Skills:

  • Avalanche Fist Martial Art +12 (Base) +6 Con +3 Path: Net +21, Toughness IV, Attack II, Combat Reflexes, Breaking (Specialized for double effect/only against earth, stone, and metal), Versatility, Vanishing and Inner Strength.
  • Craft/Stonemason: +12 (Base) +3 (Int) +3 (Path) = +18
  • Earth Rune Magic/Casting +12 (Base) +3 (Wis) +3 (Path) = +18
  • Earth Rune Magic/Mastery +12 (Base) +3 (Wis) +3 (Path) = +18
  • Perception: +12 (Base) +3 (Wis) +3 (Path) = +18
  • Profession/Architect +12 (Base) +3 (Wis) +3 (Path) = +18
  • Profession/Engineer: +12 (Base) +3 (Wis) +3 (Path) = +18
  • Use Magic Device +12 (Base) +1 (Cha) +3 (Path) = +16

As for those 30 (+2 from “Healthy One”) CP…

  • +1 BAB (+11 Total) Specialized in Melee (3 CP)
  • Hit Die: d4 (0 CP). Rolls: L1d5 (5), L2d4 (2), L3d4 (3 +2 Path), L4d6 (6 +2 Path), L5d6 (6 +2 Path), L6d6 (3 +2 Path), L7d4 (2), L8d4 (4), L9d4 (2), Immortal Vigor +2d6 (12), +11 x (Con Mod + Wis Mod) = 185 HP.
  • Increase his Damage Reduction to 3/- (Specialized for Double Effect (6/-, 10/- with Toughness) / Only versus physical damage), (1 CP + 2 CP from Healthy One). That’s getting quite impressive; in combination with his massive number of hit points, he can wade through quite a lot of minor foes with no difficulty.
  • Body of Stone: Immunity / Sneak Attacks and Critical Hits (Common, Major, Major, 9 CP). This reduces the extra damage from Sneak Attacks and Critical Hits by 30 points. That won’t stop a serious crit-build, but it should suffice versus
  • Saves: +1 Will (3 CP) (Net Fort +6/Ref +6/Will +4)
  • Skill Points: 2 SP (Pathfinder Bonus, 0 CP). These are going to Linguistics and Stealth.
    • Linguistics +4 (SP) +2 (Int) +3 (Path): Common, Terran, five other languages.
    • Ride: +1 (SP) +3 (Dex) +3 (Path) = +7 (+11 when Armored).
    • Stealth: +12 (SP) +4 (Dex) +3 (Path) = +19 (+23 when Armored).
  • Hammer of the Underworld / Augmented Attack/+2d6 (taken as +5) Damage to overcome Damage Reduction and Hardness Only, Corrupted / only with melee combat (4 CP).
  • Upgrade his Metamagical Theorems: (Elemental Manipulation and Amplify with Streamline II, Specialized and Corrupted: Only to add +2 levels of Infliction and Empower to Fists of Stone and Stone Mountain Stance (8 CP)) to Specialized Only (Also adds two levels of Empower to his Force Shield and Force Armor – raising their effective bonuses to +6 and providing a now-needed +4 to his AC) (4 CP).
  • Strengths of the Earth IV: +4 Bonus uses for Rite of Chi, Specialized and Corrupted / only to restore Mana, requires at least one hour of sleep per die regained (2 CP).
  • Upgraded Strengths of the Earth: Rite Of C’hi, Specialized and Corrupted/only to restore Mana, requires at least one hour of sleep per die regained (2 CP). This gets his effective Mana Recovery Rate up to 2d6 per hour of sleep (Since he has two instances of Rite of Chi, even if each takes an hour to work), up to a maximum of 17d6 per day. Given that Rayden only has 5d6+6 (25) Mana at the moment, this is far more than enough unless he takes a nap later on in the day.
  • Upgrade Runic Ritual to cover Combat Spells – however rarely this is practical (2 CP).

Magic Items: With 46,000 (or +13,000) GP to spend, it’s time to consider these again:

  • Armor:
  • Belt: Healing Belt (MIC, 750 GP. 3 Uses/Day, spend 1/2/3 to heal 2d8/3d8/4d8, +2 to the Heal Skill). Includes Attribute Boosters: Str, Dex, and Con, each +2 (12,000 GP. Per the rules in the MIC these functions can be added at cost to any item which occupies an appropriate slot).
  • Body: Ghost Shroud (MIC, 5000 GP): +1 Deflection to AC, all Melee Attacks are treated as Ghost Touch.
  • Chest:
  • Eyes:
  • Feet: Combined Item; Boots of the Earth (Pathfinder, Inner Sea Gods, user may plant his or her feet as a move action, gaining Fast Healing I and a +4 bonus to CMD to resist bull rush, reposition, and trip combat maneuver attempts. These effects end if the wearer moves or is moved, knocked prone, or rendered unconscious, 5000 GP) and Vanguard Treads (MIC, 3100 GP, lets you ignore difficult terrain, slippery surfaces, +8 CMD versus bull rush and +4 CMD versus reposition attempts – but +10 to attempts to track the user). As combined, these have a net cost of 9650 GP). Given how many HP he has for his level… he needs these badly, just to get healed up each day.
  • Hands:
  • Head:
  • Headband: Third Eye Clarity (MIC, 3000 GP, 1/day immediately remove daze, stun, etc).
  • Neck:
  • Ring:
  • Ring:
  • Shield:
  • Shoulders: Cloak of Protection +1 (1000 GP)
  • Wrists: Wristbands of the Poseur III (8000 GP. Note that between his Use Magic Device check and attributes he can get full use out of these quite easily).
  • Slotless Items:
    • Everfull Mug (MIC, 200 GP)
    • Handy Haversack (2000 GP).
    • Ioun Torch (75 GP)
    • Cracked Dusty Rose Prism Ioun Stone (+1 Competence to Initiative, 500 GP). He may have implanted this, since that only calls for skill checks, not money.
    • Cracked Magenta Prism Ioun Stone (+2 Competence Bonus to any one skill, may be changed once per day, 800 GP). Mounted in a Wayfinder (500 GP) to provide a Resonant Power (a +1 nameless bonus on any one saving throw. He usually takes Will).

This comes to 43,475 GP – leaving 2525 GP available for minor supplies. He really ought to upgrade to at least a +2 Cloak of Resistance – but he can’t quite afford it at the moment. It is worth noting that he has rather a lot of unused item slots. As usual for an Eclipse character, the magic items are nice, but they aren’t really required for him to do his thing.

Ninth level brings Rayden the ability to penetrate Damage Reduction to a modest degree, as well as a bit more magic and a drastic boost to his ability to resist sneak attacks and critical hits. Those aren’t especially dramatic powers, but they’re very useful. One thing he still doesn’t have is any Energy Resistance. He’ll probably have to come up with some soon.

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Level Ten:

Basics: +4 SP (+2 Int Mod, +2 Human Fast Learner, Committed to Adept Skills, +2 Doubled Pathfinder “Favored Class” Bonus)) +24 CP (Base), +1d4 (+Con Mod, +Wis Mod) HP. “Healthy One” (+2 CP to become more durable).

Basic Attributes: Str 15 +2 (Wrath) +6 (Shift) +1 (Level) +2 (Enh) = 26, Dex 16 +8 (Shift) +2 (Enh) = 26, Con 19 (17 +2 Pathfinder) +2 (Wrath) +4 (Shift) +1 (Level) +2 (Enh) = 28, Int 14 +2 (Enh) = 16, Wis 16, Cha 13.

Adept Skills:

  • Avalanche Fist Martial Art +13 (Base) +6 Con +3 Path: Net +22, Toughness IV, Attack II, Combat Reflexes, Breaking (Specialized for double effect/only against earth, stone, and metal), Versatility, Vanishing, and Inner Strength.
  • Craft/Stonemason: +13 (Base) +3 (Int) +3 (Path) = +19
  • Earth Rune Magic/Casting +13 (Base) +3 (Wis) +3 (Path) = +19
  • Earth Rune Magic/Mastery +13 (Base) +3 (Wis) +3 (Path) = +19
  • Perception: +13 (Base) +3 (Wis) +3 (Path) = +19
  • Profession/Architect +13 (Base) +3 (Wis) +3 (Path) = +19
  • Profession/Engineer: +13 (Base) +3 (Wis) +3 (Path) = +19
  • Use Magic Device +13 (Base) +1 (Cha) +3 (Path) = +17

As for those 24 (+2 from “Healthy One”) CP…

  • +1 BAB (+12 Total) Specialized in Melee (3 CP)
  • Hit Die: d4 (0 CP). Rolls: L1d5 (5), L2d4 (2), L3d4 (3 +2 Path), L4d6 (6 +2 Path), L5d6 (6 +2 Path), L6d6 (3 +2 Path), L7d4 (2), L8d4 (4), L9d4 (2), L10d4 (3), Immortal Vigor +2d6 (12), +12 x (Con Mod + Wis Mod) = 200 HP.
  • 4 CP – two from “Healthy One” and (2 CP) – are being invested in buying an Extra Hit Die, but that costs 8 CP, and so will not be available until next level.
  • Saves: +1 Fortitude and Reflex (6 CP) (Net Fort +7/Ref +7/Will +4)
  • Skill Points: 2 SP (Pathfinder Bonus, 0 CP). These are going to Linguistics and Stealth.
    • Linguistics +5 (SP) +2 (Int) +3 (Path): Common, Terran, six other languages.
    • Ride: +1 (SP) +3 (Dex) +3 (Path) = +7 (+11 when Armored).
    • Stealth: +13 (SP) +4 (Dex) +3 (Path) = +20 (+24 when Armored).
    • (From Int Boost) Concentration +12 (Hit Dice) +9 (Con) +3 (Path) = +24
  • Gather Power II: Immunity/the Mana Cost of using Rune Magic, Specialized and Corrupted: Requires a move action, produces a spectacular display of elemental energy, usable for earth rune magic only, if the users spell is interrupted he or she must make a concentration check (DC 10 + Damage Taken) or lose the accumulated energy taking 3d6 Damage per point of Mana Gathered (Common, Major, increased from Major to the Epic (2 Mana Point maximum) level), +6 CP after limitations).
  • Initiate of the Earth V: +1d6+2 Mana, Specialized in Rune Magic, Corrupted/includes no Natural Magic (3 CP). This gives him a total of 6d6+8 (30) Mana. For most utility effects he’s going to be relying on Gather Power and Runic Ritual to conserve his Mana. That’s not such a good idea in combat, but in combat he will usually be relying on his blasts.
  • Mystic Artist/Modifiers/Seeking, Specialized for half cost / Only works with massive fortresses, soaring cathedrals, and similar mighty and enduring works (3 CP). This allows him to build targeted effects into his works. Given that he’s making fortresses and temples and such, bonuses that target their rightful occupants are likely.
  • Mystic Artist / Stonemason, Specialized for half cost / Only works with massive fortresses, soaring cathedrals, and similar mighty and enduring works (3 CP).

With this combination Rayden can design and build some very impressive structures indeed. Since he’ll presumably be using Harmonize on both sets of abilities, this will let him build in two double-effect abilities and two standard ones – which offers rather a LOT of options.

Magic Items: With another 16,000 GP to work with, it’s time to invest in an upgraded Cloak of Resistance (Increasing it to +3, at +8000 GP), a Pathfinder Style Amulet of Mighty Fists (gives his fists the Warning ability as per a +1 Modifier, 4000 GP), and adding Intelligence Enhancement (+2, provides (Hit Dice) ranks in the Concentration skill) to his Headband (4000 GP).

With this level Rayden basically picks up another attack, gets a bit better on his utility earth magic and becomes a better architect. That’s potentially VERY useful later on, but – at least at the moment – isn’t particularly dramatic. Still, despite his defenses Rayden still has several major vulnerabilities. Perhaps most notably, he has damage reduction and armor class for physical attacks and can automatically make a few saves to avoid save-or-die (or save-or-suck) effects – but he doesn’t really have any special defenses against energy attacks. He’ll have to pick up at least a little.

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Level Eleven:

Basics: +4 SP (+2 Int Mod, +2 Human Fast Learner, Committed to Adept Skills, +2 Doubled Pathfinder “Favored Class” Bonus)) +30 CP (Base plus Level Eleven Bonus Feat), +1d4 (+Con Mod, +Wis Mod) HP. “Healthy One” (+2 CP to become more durable).

Basic Attributes: Str 15 +2 (Wrath) +6 (Shift) +1 (Level) +2 (Enh) = 26, Dex 16 +8 (Shift) +2 (Enh) = 26, Con 19 (17 +2 Pathfinder +2 (Wrath) +4 (Shift) +1 (Level) +2 (Enh) = 28, Int 14 +2 (Enh) = 16, Wis 16 +2 (Enh) = 18, Cha 13 +2 (Enh) = 15.

Adept Skills:

  • Avalanche Fist Martial Art +14 (Base) +6 Con +3 Path: Net +23, Toughness IV, Attack III, Combat Reflexes, Breaking (Specialized for double effect/only against earth, stone, and metal), Versatility, Vanishing, and Inner Strength. Note that – when it comes to smashing rock and metal – his effective “strength check” now has a +46 Bonus. This will allow him to casually smash iron doors, reinforced masonry, and most walls.
  • Craft/Stonemason: +14 (Base) +3 (Int) +3 (Path) = +20
  • Earth Rune Magic/Casting +14 (Base) +4 (Wis) +3 (Path) = +21. Rayden can now throw his earth spells at an effective caster level of ten.
  • Earth Rune Magic/Mastery +14 (Base) +4 (Wis) +3 (Path) = +21. Rayden can now throw fifth level earth spells.
  • Perception: +14 (Base) +4 (Wis) +3 (Path) = +21
  • Profession/Architect +14 (Base) +4 (Wis) +3 (Path) = +21
  • Profession/Engineer: +14 (Base) +4 (Wis) +3 (Path) = +21
  • Use Magic Device +14 (Base) +2 (Cha) +3 (Path) = +19

As for those 30 (+2 from “Healthy One”) CP…

  • +1 BAB (+13 Total) Specialized in Melee (3 CP).
  • Completing the purchase of an extra d4 Hit Die (4 CP – two from “Healthy One” – for a total of eight character points including those spent last level).
  • Hit Die: d4 (0 CP). Rolls: L1d5 (5), L2d4 (2), L3d4 (3 +2 Path), L4d6 (6 +2 Path), L5d6 (6 +2 Path), L6d6 (3 +2 Path), L7d4 (2), L8d4 (4), L9d4 (2), L10d4 (3), L11d4 (3), second L11d4(3), Immortal Vigor +2d6 (12), +14 x (Con Mod + Wis Mod) = 244 HP. Honestly, after a point hit points are no longer a very important part of your defense – but having a lot of them is nice and Rayden automatically gets a fair chunk of them every level now anyway.
  • Saves: +1 Will (3 CP) (Net Fort +7/Ref +7/Will +5)
  • Skill Points: 2 SP (Pathfinder Bonus, 0 CP). These are going to Linguistics and Stealth.
    • Linguistics +6 (SP) +3 (Int) +3 (Path): Common, Terran, seven other languages.
    • Ride: +1 (SP) +4 (Dex) +3 (Path) = +8 (+12 when Armored).
    • Stealth: +14 (SP) +4 (Dex) +3 (Path) = +21 (+25 when Armored).
    • (From Int Boost) Concentration: +14 (Hit Die) +9 (Con) +3 (Path) = +26
  • Feet Upon The Ground / Leadership with Strength in Numbers and Horde, Specialized in Stronghold Staff – servants, repairmen, guards, minor clergy, cooks, a couple of mages with repair spells, your friendly alchemist, and so on. This thus provides support personnel and a garrison for his holdings, but not direct adventuring assistance (6 CP).
  • Continental Drift / Immunity to Effects that Impede Movement (Common, Major, Major, 9 CP). This provides protection against effects that impede movement of up to level five – including grappling, being underwater, and effects such as paralysis, solid fog, slow, and web. Higher level effects are not cancelled, but the user gets a +6 bonus on saving throws and other rolls to resist their effects.
  • Master Builder / Action Hero; the Crafting Option. Specialized for Double Effect, Corrupted for Reduced Cost / provides 2x the base number of Action Points to work with and covers the GP cost rather than the (non-existent) experience point cost (4 CP). Basically, Rayden can now complete at least one really major project, whether the rest of the party has been helping or not. This is also why I haven’t gotten him a Lyre Of Building (or variant thereof); between his earth magic and Crafting he doesn’t really need it to get things up rapidly.
  • Endurance of the Mountain: Damage Resistance 2/- (3 CP), Specialized in Energy Resistance for Double Effect (4/-). That isn’t a LOT of general energy resistance, but he can build on it later.

Magic Items: With another 20,000 GP to spend… Add +2 Enhancement Bonuses to Wis and Chr to his Headband (8000 GP, no surcharge per the MIC) and get a Hat of Disguise (1800 GP), just for the fun of it. Yes, that does leave 10,200 GP unspent – but I’ll just be saving that for his next level. You never know when there will be unexpected expenses in a new domain.

With this level Rayden basically gets a bit better on his utility earth magic – and gets to use his powers to build himself a free castle, complete with Mystic Artist and Ward Major functions. I’m going to presume that he (sensibly) gets himself a dedicated crafter of some sort (and perhaps someone like Verdigrised Forge to help maintain things), so as to be able to get his items on the cheap. From this point on, his magical items are 50% off.

He hasn’t, however, really upgraded his offensive capabilities or armor class since level eight very much beyond simply getting another attack. They were high-end then, and are still decent, and his other capabilities are quite good – but he IS a dedicated “blaster” type after all. He’ll have to be getting a few upgrades here too. He still won’t even remotely be a match for an Ubercharger, the “Mailman” Optimized Blaster, or a battlefield control Wizard – but he should be doing just fine in competition with Swordsages and such.

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Level Twelve:

Basics: +1 Attribute Point (Cha), +6 SP (+2 Int Mod, +2 Human Fast Learner, Committed to Adept Skills, +2 Doubled Pathfinder “Favored Class” Bonus)) +24 CP (Base), +1d4 (+Con Mod, +Wis Mod) HP. “Healthy One” (+2 CP to become more durable).

Basic Attributes: Str 15 +4 (Wrath) +6 (Shift) +1 (Level) +2 (Enh) = 28, Dex 16 +8 (Shift) +2 (Enh) = 26, Con 19 (17 +2 Pathfinder +4 (Wrath) +4 (Shift) +1 (Level) +2 (Enh) = 30, Int 14 +2 (Enh) = 16, Wis 16 +2 (Enh) = 18, Cha 13 +2 (Enh) +1 (Level) = 16.

Adept Skills:

  • Avalanche Fist Martial Art +15 (Base) +6 Con +3 Path: Net +24, Toughness IV, Attack III, Combat Reflexes, Breaking (Specialized for double effect/only against earth, stone, and metal), Versatility, Vanishing, and Inner Strength.
  • Craft/Stonemason: +15 (Base) +3 (Int) +3 (Path) = +21
  • Earth Rune Magic/Casting +15 (Base) +4 (Wis) +3 (Path) = +22
  • Earth Rune Magic/Mastery +15 (Base) +4 (Wis) +3 (Path) = +22
  • Perception: +15 (Base) +4 (Wis) +3 (Path) = +22
  • Profession/Architect +15 (Base) +4 (Wis) +3 (Path) = +22
  • Profession/Engineer: +15 (Base) +4 (Wis) +3 (Path) = +22
  • Use Magic Device +15 (Base) +3 (Cha) +3 (Path) = +21

As for those 24 (+2 from “Healthy One”) CP…

  • +1 BAB (+14 Total) Specialized in Melee (3 CP)
  • Hit Die: d4 (0 CP). Rolls: L1d5 (5), L2d4 (2), L3d4 (3 +2 Path), L4d6 (6 +2 Path), L5d6 (6 +2 Path), L6d6 (3 +2 Path), L7d4 (2), L8d4 (4), L9d4 (2), L10d4 (3), L11d4 (3), second L11d4(3), L12d4 (4), Immortal Vigor +2d6 (12), +15 x (Con Mod + Wis Mod) = 278 HP.
  • Saves: +1 Fort and Ref (6 CP) (Net Fort +8/Ref +8/Will +5)
  • Skill Points: 2 SP (Pathfinder Bonus, 0 CP). These are going to Linguistics and Stealth.
    • Linguistics +7 (SP) +3 (Int) +3 (Path): Common, Terran, eight other languages.
    • Ride: +1 (SP) +4 (Dex) +3 (Path) = +8 (+12 when Armored).
    • Stealth: +15 (SP) +4 (Dex) +3 (Path) = +22 (+26 when Armored).
    • (From Int Boost) Concentration: +15 (Hit Die) +9 (Con) +3 (Path) = +27
  • Mastery of the Elements: Elemental Manipulation and Amplify with Streamline IV, Specialized in specific boosts for his innate enchantments (6 CP after the twelve CP already spent).
    • Stone Strike and Mountain Stance: Double Effect (total of 2d6 Base with +4 Enhancement for Stone Strike, +4d6+2 for Mountain Stance), Two levels of Infliction Effects (Save DC 10 + Spell Level 1 + 10 Con Mod due to Empowerment), and two levels of Twining (adds a secondary elemental effect, for +50% (3d6+3) damage). That still isn’t as strong a blast as a Kineticist will have, and he has no area-effect options and fewer boosting tricks for it, but he gets more of them.
    • Force Shield and Force Armor: Double Effect (+8 AC Each – although this is reduced again by his Wrath ability).
    • Storm Of Stone: Range Increment becomes 200′
    • Ride the Earth: +60 Speed, +1 attack whenever attacking (not just with full attack).
    • Volcanic Wrath: +4 to Str and Con, +2 to Will, -4 to AC.
    • Immortal Vigor: +24 + 4 x (Con Mod) HP.
    • Geokinesis: The “Unseen Servants” can now perform multiple tasks without implicit direction.
    • Dust Weaving: Can now include minor sounds – although they always have a whispery, “dusty”, quality.
      • Unfortunately, the item-class enchantments do not use spells directly, and so cannot be affected by adding metamagic. This is, of course, some fairly heavy optimization – but it’s definitely time for it.
  • Endurance of the Mountain II: Increase Energy Resistance to 6 (1 CP + 2 CP from Healthy One).
  • Upgrade Mystic Artist/Stonemason from Specialized for Half Cost to Specialized for Double Effect (3 CP).
  • Contact (1 CP): The local overlord, governing council, or similar. If you’re going to be erecting at least one major public work (likely a mighty castle) of great magical power you had BETTER get acquainted with the local power structure.
  • Contact (1 CP): The local religious authorities or similar. They are almost certainly going to want to get in on the “mighty cathedral action” too – and ignoring them is NOT a good idea.

Creating a mighty castle offering various benefits and massive defensive bonuses for the secular authorities, or a cathedral with numerous boosts for the faithful, and then throwing in a Ward Major that bestows permanent benefits on any of the kings loyal knights / faithful followers who visit the place might be worth a great deal – quite enough to “buy in” as a major noble. If you prefer to build in the wilderness, and start founding your own nation… this sort of thing is a big, BIG, step towards doing so. A player character is likely to want his or her own base first – but there will be plenty of Crafting points available for construction later on.

Castles are an awkward thing in d20 and many similar games. Trying to sort out their “real cost” is an exercise in futility (Edward I spent about 80,000 English pounds building ten castles in the late 1200’s – one of few sources for their actual cost. Sadly, converting that to modern currencies beyond saying “a whole lot” calls for an endless maze of assumptions. D20 currencies are even worse, since they’re rarely even remotely consistent and pay no attention to actual economics. Common conversions run from $10 = 1 GP to $100 = 1 GP, but those are based on little more than handwaving). Still, the 3.5 DMG said 150,000 (a “Keep”) to 1,000,000 (a “Huge Castle”) – pretty pricey.

But in d20 a castle is pretty worthless. It remains an administrative center and a place to put your stuff, but a simple adamantine blade can easily take down your walls even before we start talking about magic and monsters. It may provide quarters and working room for a lot of folk, but there’s a funny thing about that; when you hire people they usually handle most of the details of getting themselves set up on their own. The “build a smithy to put a smith to work producing tools” sort of procedure is an artifact of games like “Civilization” and “Colonization”.

Thus I usually allow would-be landlords to just spend a few character points on a castle if they wish, as covered in the Castle Hieronymus article. If you want to go with cash… just remember that that 20,000 GP Holy Sword costs enough to feed and clothe 5000 Orphans, or to hire 137 laborers (normally with families), for a year – and it is still virtually nothing next to the actual cost of a useless castle.

  • Upgrade One With The Land: Immunity/Dispelling and Antimagic from (Common, Major, Great) to (Epic), Specialized and Corrupted/only protects his Earthbending abilities, 3 CP). This covers Dispel Magic, Greater Dispel Magic, Antimagic Sphere, Disjunction, and similar abilities of up to, and including, level nine.

Magic Items: Rayden picks up 26,000 GP worth of stuff at this level (and 10,000 GP left over from last level), and is now getting his stuff at half cost. This time around he’s going to be upgrading things. Cloak of Resistance to +4 (3500 GP), Upgrade Wristbands of the Poseur to Type V (Jumping right past Type IV, 24,250 GP), Upgrade his Amulet of Mighty Fists to +2 (Provides Warning (+5 to Insight to Initiative) and Whirling (3/Day you may spend a full round action to make one attack at full BAB against each opponent within reach. Given that Rayden effectively has Reach 35, this can be quite effective), (6000 GP), and double up the charges on his Belt of Healing (+750 GP, discounting the cost break from not needing another +2 on the Heal skill). That leaves 1500 GP left over for minor equipment.

  • Armor:
  • Belt: Doubled Healing Belt (MIC. 6 Uses/Day, spend 1/2/3 to heal 2d8/3d8/4d8, +2 to the Heal Skill). Includes Attribute Boosters: Str, Dex, and Con, each +2 (Per the rules in the MIC these functions can be added at cost to any item which occupies an appropriate slot).
  • Body: Ghost Shroud (MIC): +1 Deflection to AC, all Melee Attacks are treated as Ghost Touch.
  • Chest:
  • Eyes:
  • Feet All-Conquering Brogans (10,000 GP): The wearer ignores the effects of non-magical difficult terrain (such as rubble, undergrowth, steep slopes, stairs, and snow) and slippery surfaces (such as ice, wet stones, etc) and gains a +4 to his or her CMD versus attempts to move him or her (Bull Rush, Drag, Trip, Reposition, Grapple (being thrown or moved), etc) attempts – but anyone attempting to track him or her gets a +10 bonus. In addition, the user may plant his or her feet as a move action, gaining Fast Healing I and increasing the CMD bonus to +8 – although these effects end if the wearer moves or is moved, knocked prone, or rendered unconscious. (This is a combination of Boots of the Earth (Pathfinder, Inner Sea Gods, 5000 GP) and Vanguard Treads (MIC, 3100 GP). Given how many HP he has for his level… he needs these badly, just to get healed up each day). (Yes, I’m giving these their own name and a slight price increase, just because).
  • Hands:
  • Head: Hat of Disguise (SRD). This lets him look normal while still “wearing” his “armor”.
  • Headband: Third Eye Clarity (MIC, 1/day immediately remove daze, stun, etc). +2 Enhancement to Int, Wis, and Chr (Per Pathfinder, the boost to Intelligence provides the Concentration skill).
  • Neck: Amulet of Mighty Fists II (Pathfinder, provides the Warning and Whirling abilities).
  • Ring:
  • Ring:
  • Shield:
  • Shoulders: Cloak of Resistance +4 (SRD)
  • Wrists: Wristbands of the Poseur V. Now with Caster Level Seven and spells of up to the fourth level.

Slotless Items:

  • Everfull Mug (MIC)
  • Handy Haversack (SRD)
  • Ioun Torch (Pathfinder).
  • Cracked Dusty Rose Prism Ioun Stone (+1 Competence to Initiative). He may have implanted this, since that only calls for skill checks, not money.
  • Cracked Magenta Prism Ioun Stone (+2 Competence Bonus to any one skill, may be changed once per day). Mounted in a Wayfinder to provide a Resonant Power (a +1 nameless bonus on any one saving throw. He usually takes Will).

Given that I’m well past the requested levels, it’s time to get back to heavy optimization, and this level has a pretty big dose of it; upgrading all those innate enchantments boosts his armor class and damage output substantially. Becoming a major factor in local politics is, in optimization terms, simply a bonus associated with arranging to buy his magic items at half cost. Personally, I’d say that getting into politics is a fairly major step for a character, but I do have to admit that it doesn’t add much to your combat abilities in a dungeon.

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