Eclipse d20 – Binding Mysterious Spirits III, Ahazu / Ahazie, Andromalus, Focalor, Ile Zeremika, The Swashbuckler, Eligos, and The Presence.

It’s important to note that Mysteries build on the Bokor power package, so anyone calling one (or who wants to use one as a template) is assumed to have Witchcraft II, +6d6 Power, Dismissal, The Sight, and Divination already – although those are limited in the Bokor build to wind up with a total cost of 14 CP. Thus, if you like the power-package associated with a particular Mystery, all you need is 49 CP to buy it directly. It’s more efficient to just take the 24 CP Bokor package to start with but it is a way to add a particular Mystery to your arsenal permanently, and without taking up one of your channeling slots.

Level Three Mysteries:

Ahazu or Ahazie (probably singular, although this is uncertain due to references to Ahazu-demons, possibly originating in Babylon or Assyria) is a semetic night spirit that apparently caused a seizure-related illness (“Ahazie”; whatever this was it cannot be identified in modern terms due to lack of information) by touch. Or may have kidnaped people, although that seems likely to have been “briefly taken away” – another way of saying a seizure. Given that, I suppose that giving such an entity the ability to see at night, make people lose actions, and torment the righteous is reasonable enough.

Of course, the fact that the Wizards of the Coast version requires poking around in the depths of the Abyss would be limiting, if the standard Binder couldn’t bypass the whole “epic level quest” part with a single generic feat that negates the special requirements for calling Vestiges. (Doesn’t that seem a little cheap somehow)? In any case… Ahazu comes in the darkness, bringing seizures, diseases, and death to those he touches and bringing his summoner abhorrent secrets and the perilous shelter of the void.

Ahazu the Seizer (32 CP + 3 CP Disadvantage / Compulsive hoarder. Ahazu wishes to stash away captured foes, valuables, caches of weapons, and more).

  • Whispers of the Void: Enthusiast, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect; only for Skills, only for the Secrets skill, the secrets known are determined randomly by the GM each time Ahazu is called upon, many of the secrets are maddening and/or dangerous to know (3 CP). Each time Ahazu is called upon, he will bring along knowledge long lost in the depths of time – the maddening meaning of a terrible symbol, the incantation to open a gate long sealed, the location of some ancient city overthrown for defying the gods, or (just as likely) some useless bit of ancient trivia.

Secrets (Intelligence, No Unskilled Use, Restricted) originally appeared in the Ancient One Template. Each skill point invested in the “Secrets” skill brings extraordinary knowledge – the names of a dozen powerful fey, the routes through the crypts beneath the sacred mountains, how to open the seven gates of the netherworld, or the summoning chant of the three winds. The game master may let a character roll against his or her Secrets skill to see if they know some bit of lost information – or simply give the user additional secrets/plot hooks when it’s convenient.

  • Wrapped In Sheltering Darkness: Immunity to effects that target the Mind or Soul (Common, Severe, Epic, Specialized and Corrupted/if you die while using this ability you cannot be Raised or Resurrected, it requires a standard action to activate, it may attract the notice of entities from the void beyond the planes or even let them follow you back, and it blocks all related beneficial effects as well, 12 CP).
  • What Waits Between The Stars: Witchcraft III (6 CP).
    • Infliction (with the Mouth of the Earth (Abyss) upgrade (6 CP).
    • Hyloka, Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect / One Effect Only, the Grasp of Darkness. The user may spend 3 Power and a Standard Action to cause a Seizure (Will Save DC 18 + Cha Mod) in any creature within 60′. A creature which fails to save may take no actions for 1d3 rounds and is Fatigued afterwards if subject to Fatigue.
    • Hand of Shadows / Touch of the Ebon Gate. Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect / One Effect Only; Remote Theft. The user may spend 1 Power and an Standard Action to attempt to steal an item weighing up to eighty pounds from any target within 60′. If the target fails to save (Will DC 15 + Cha Mod) the item (armor, weapon, ring, pants, or whatever) appears in the user’s hands. The user must have a free hand to use this effect.
    • Witchsight / Eyes of the Uttermost Night, Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect / the user may only manifest Blindsight out to 5′ per level (100′ maximum) although this costs no Power.
  • +2d6 Mana as 6d6 (21) Power, Specialized and Corrupted/only to power What Waits Between The Stars, above (4 CP).
  • Rite of Chi with +4 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted/only usable between encounters to regain the What Waits Between The Stars Power Pool, above (4 CP).

Ahazu or Ahazie provides a powerful – if somewhat risky – mental defense, free game master plot hooks, a vicious set of attacks (including the option for pretty much permanent paralysis), handy Blindsight – and an incredibly bothersome “steal your equipment at range” effect. It’s hard to get much more annoying than – say – stealing someone’s plate armor while they’re wearing it.

Andromalus the Judge (32 CP + 3 CP Disadvantage / Compulsive. Andromalus hates being taken off a case. If ordered not to investigate, threatened, or blocked, his channeler will go undercover and continue to investigate).

Yes, it’s another visitor from the Ars Goetia, where – at least according to the Lesser Key of Solomon – “His Office is to bring back both a Thief, and the Goods which be stolen; and to discover all Wickedness, and Underhand Dealing; and to punish all Thieves and other Wicked People and also to discover Treasures that be Hid.”

OK. So we have a beat cop of sorts – or possibly a hard-boiled detective. Given that the Bokor is a magic-using class focused on divination, manipulation, and minor illusions, channeling Andromalus is clearly going to turn the user into a card-carrying member of the Trenchcoat Brigade.

  • Under Arrest: Presence, Specialized Increased Effect (Double Radius), Corrupted for Reduced Cost / only usable once every five rounds, allows a new save every round of effect. All enemies within 30′ must save or be affected as if by Hideous Laughter – albeit with slightly different special effects (4 CP).
  • Eyes of the Judge: Improved Occult Sense/Detect Trickery. Reveals the presence of intentional deception. In general this reveals invisible and actively hidden creatures and items, but not those which simply happen to be behind things or are unintentionally concealed, such as by darkness. It reveals attempts at sleight-of-hand, cons, and picking pockets, reveals secret doors that have been intentionally concealed (but not one that’s been accidentally wallpapered over), reveals the presence of (but does not let you see through) intentional disguises, shapeshifting used as an intentional disguise, and illusions, reveals intentional counterfeits and forgeries (but not that items that have been misidentified), and grants a +6 bonus on Sense Motive and Appraise checks (sadly, since few if any statements are untainted with falsehood, and attempts to make the speaker look better, this sense can only provide bonuses to detecting major prevarications). If this ability opposed by magical effects such as Glibness or Nondetection a Will roll-off will determine the result (12 CP).

Since the basic Bokor package provides access to The Sight (covering short-range clairvoyance and postcognition, reading auguries, pathfinding, and locating thieves) and Divination (covering various Detections, Locate Object, and True Seeing), they already have access to most of the basic divinatory magic an occult detective is likely to need. Still, there are a few higher level effects which would be very handy. Ergo, take…

  • Enthusiast, Specialized for Increased Effect (+2 CP) and Corrupted for Reduced Cost (2 CP). Only to expand the user’s Witchcraft Abilities, and only two choices, selected from when the Vestige is summoned: either +10 Power or to upgrade The Sight and Divination to Corrupted for Increased Effect (the two abilities also offer access to Blood Biography (Pathfinder), Discern Lies, Mind Probe (Pathfinder) and Contact Other Plane. All, where relevant, require a Standard Action, the expenditure of 2 Power, and have a Will Save DC of (16 + Cha Mod).
  • Enthusiast, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect: Only to buy Privilege/recognized as a magical detective entitled to cooperation and assistance from the local law enforcement (3 CP). As long as you host Andromalus, you are officially on the job.
  • Enthusiast, Specialized and Corrupted/only to buy a Contact, specified when Andromalus is summoned (1 CP).
  • Enthusiast, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect (3 floating CP): Points are set when Andromalus is summoned, points may only be used with “Create Relic”, relics may not augment each others effects, may only create 1 CP relics at levels 1-6, may create a 2 CP relic at levels 7-12, and may create a 3 CP relic at level 13+ (3 CP).
  • Create Relic, Specialized and Corrupted/only usable to make personal relics, only usable with points from Enthusiast, and all relics carry a disadvantage – although this does help reduce their cost (2 CP). This is typically used to create dramatic magical weapons (bonus sneak attack, double damage versus a group, etc), trenchcoats with protective functions (spell resistance, damage reduction, or storing things), and similar paraphernalia.
  • Witchcraft III, provides access to The Adamant Will, The Inner Eye, Witchsight, and Witchfire, subject to the same limitations as the basic Bokor witchcraft package (2 CP).
  • +2d6 Sneak Attack (6 CP).

This version of Andromalus makes his channeler into a formidable occult investigator – albeit one who’s best suited to mid-level settings and who has relatively limited use of his or her magical powers. That’s intentional, as full spellcasting tends to make solving most mysteries pretty trivial.

Focalor, Master of the Storms (32 CP + 3 CP Disadvantage / Accursed. A channeler hosting Focalor constantly drips sea water, leaving an easily followed trail, soaking all their gear, adding +50% to the weight of their armor and clothing, and causing various other minor difficulties).

According to the Ars Goetia Focalor appears in the form of a man with a griffin’s wings, drowns men, and overthrows warships; but if commanded by the conjurer he will not harm any man or thing. Focalor has power over wind, sea, and storm, but is much less effective on land. I tend to presume that – when channeled – Focalor also allows his summoner to operate underwater.

  • Speak Language: Aquatic (1 CP).
  • Aura of the Storm: Presence / Those channeling Focalor cause all enemies within 10′ to suffer a -2 penalty to attack rolls, saving throws, skill checks, and ability checks (6 CP).
  • Innate Enchantment (12 CP).
    • Ocean Spray (Salt Water, 2000 GP).
    • Crystal of Aquatic Action (3000 GP). Armor does not penalize swim checks, swim speed equal to one-half your ground movement, take no penalties for attacks or movement while underwater, can breathe water as easily as air.
      • Immunity/The need to attach this crystal to Armor to use it (Uncommon, Minor, Trivial, 1 CP).
    • Ball Lightning (As per Produce Flame, but Lightning Damage, 2000 GP).
    • Storm (Blood) Wind: User may take a swift action to give his or her melee attacks and combat maneuvers a 20′ range increment (Personal-only, 1400 GP).
    • Produce Water (1000 GP).
    • Resist Energy (Lightning Only, x .5, Personal-only, 700 GP).
  • Immunity to Dispelling effects (Common/Minor/Great, Specialized and Corrupted / only to protect Innate Enchantments, Only those that come with this Mystery, 4 CP).
  • Empowerment, Specialized for Increased Effect (the user’s level functions as the caster level) and Corrupted for Reduced Cost/only applies to Spray, Ball Lightning, and Resist Energy (4 CP).
  • Metamagical Theorem: Multiple, Amplify, Streamline II, Specialized and Corrupted, only to add a secondary Shocking Grasp effect to Produce Flame to increase it’s damage and change the type to Conjuration (Creation), thus bypassing Spell Resistance (8 CP).

This winds up as a ranged touch attack, inflicting (2 + User Level, 6 Maximum)d6 + (User Level, 5 Maximum) points of electrical damage as a touch attack at up to 120′ range or in melee and can be used to make iterative attacks. There is no save and spell resistance does not apply.

Spray: Conjuration (Creation), Level; 1 (Almost anyone), Casting Time; One Standard Action, Components; S, Range; Short, Effect; Spray of material, Duration; 1d4 rounds (blindness) plus Special, Saving Throw: Fortitude (affects objects), Spell Resistance; no.

Spray actually comes in hundreds of variants – one for each caster. Regardless of whether the spell throws dust, water, pie filling, paint, vinegar, whiskey, etc, the basic effect is to Blind a victim who fails to save for 1d4 rounds. A secondary L0 effect also applies, regardless of the success or failure of the save, until the victim gets a few rounds to clean up. Thus glowing dust makes the target glow (Light), Dust makes them dirty (Prestidigitation), Pie makes them covered in goo (Prestidigitation I suppose), Water makes them wet (Drench), and so on.

D20 spells are a mixed bag on Blinding effects. You find area effect spells that inflict permanent blindness at Druid 4 (Murderous Mist), Blinding Spittle at Druid 2, Flashburst at Wizard 3, Glitterdust at Wizard 2, and Dirty Tricks to cause it temporarily without using a spell at all. Personally, I think that “Pie in the Face” works just fine at level one.

Focalor could really use Witchcraft’s Weather Control discipline – and could get it for only 2 CP given the Bokor’s limitations – but the only real way to squeeze out a few more points is to limit or take a few items off the Innate Enchantment, and given d20’s usual focus on personal combat, and the limited combat uses of witchcraft-based weather control (it’s very expensive to use much of it), I couldn’t justify it. Still, Focalor is a fairly decent choice for a ranged combatant and a Bokor who wants the weather control abilities can pick them up on the cheap anyway.

Ile Zeremika (32 CP + 3 CP Disadvantage / Irreverent. While you channel Ile Zeremika you are unable to turn away from arcane magic long enough to renew any divine spells you may have).

A demigodling character named Karsus originally turned up in The Enchanted Wood module for Dragonquest (still among the top five modules I’ve ever seen), Dragonquest was bought out by TSR, and Karsus wound up as a very vaguely related character from Netheril – an archmage who tried to steal the power of the goddess of magic with an epic spell. In the Tome of Magic he got turned into a not-very-effective Vestige who basically lets you detect magic, use magical items a bit better, and use Dispelling Touch every so often.

That’s not actually very interesting, and is cheap to build to boot – so the Mystery Ile Zeremika basically lets you play Harry Potter. You can still use Wands and Staves, but your wizard spellcasting (if any) gets a big boost in caster level – and you can invoke a wide variety of minor spells pretty much at will as long as you have your staff/wand/rod.

  • Device Use: The channeler may use magical devices as if he or she was a wizard of equal level, Specialized/spell trigger items (Wands and Staves) only (3 CP).
  • Empowerment, Specialized and Corrupted / only for Zerkika’s Pranic Mantras (for unlimited use), Requires the use of the Rod of Power (2 CP).
  • +6 Caster Levels, Specialized in Wizard Spellcasting (18 CP). If the channeler has no other Wizard Spellcasting levels, this gives the Pranic Mantras (below) an effective caster level of six.
  • Zerekika’s Pranic Mantras are the Secret Words of Creation, Preservation, and Destruction, given form by Breath and Voice and focused via a Rod of Power. In game terms… Innate Enchantment: Specialized and Corrupted for Reduced Cost / the user must wield a ritually purified rod, staff, or wand carved with occult runes to use these powers, if the wand is lost or destroyed it will take at least twenty-four hours to attune another. A character channeling Ile Zeremika may use only one of the “level zero” and one of the “first level” effects available per character level they possess, although they may change their selection with each summoning. All effects Spell Level 0 (1/2) or 1, Caster Level One, Unlimited-Use Command Word Activated (36,000 GP total value, for a total of 12 CP after Specialization and Corruption).
    • Level Zero (All SRD): Arcane Mark, Dancing Lights, Detect Magic, Ghost Sound, Light, Mending, Message, Open/Close, Prestidigitation, and Produce Water (9000 GP Effective Value).
    • Level One (SRD): Charm Person, Grease, Hideous Laughter, Magic Missile, Obscuring Mist, Protection from Evil, Silent Image, True Strike, and Unseen Servant. (16,200 GP Effective Value)
    • Level One (Exotic) (10,800 GP Effective Value):
      • Augment Device: You may empower a magical device you touch as a swift action, increasing the DC to save against its effects by two for one minute per caster level.
      • Dispelling Touch (The Practical Enchanter). Basically Dispel Magic as a single-target touch spell.
      • Glitterblast: As per Glitterdust, but single target.
      • Impedimentia: Perform a Dirty Trick combat maneuver at medium range with a CMB equal to (Caster Level + Int Mod + 6). If you succeed the penalty lasts for 1d4 rounds, +1 round for every 5 which your attack exceeds the targets CMD. Removing the condition requires that the target expend a standard action. This does not provoke an Attack for the maneuver, although the spell casting may. There is no save, but spell resistance applies normally.
      • Kinetic Blast: Make a Bull Rush (you do not have to move), Disarm, or Trip attempt at medium range and without provoking attacks. CMB = (Caster Level + Int Mod + 6). There is no save, but spell resistance applies normally.
      • Minor Earthward (Paths of Power): Blocks 1d8 + Caster Level (5 Maximum) incoming damage. May be used once per round on or off initiative without requiring an action. A second use in a turn counts as an immediate action.

Ile Zeremika (OK, I confess… according to Google Translate that’s “Hair Pottery” in Basque) can make you a fairly formidable trickster mage, equipped with a wide variety of useful minor abilities that you can use all you want to no matter what your personal abilities are – and provides some major boosts if you happen to dabble in actual wizardry.

The Swashbuckler (32 CP + 3 CP Disadvantage / Showman. Those channeling the Swashbuckler are unable to resist posturing, explaining their plans, making dramatic entrances, and otherwise acting like they are in a movie. They take a -3 penalty on Initiative (although that is generally not enough to cancel out the Swashbuckler’s bonus) and others gain a +3 bonus to figure out what they’re up to).

In the Ars Goetia the Demon King Paimon was more or less a generic “good for anything” sort of summons. He taught everything, could reveal anything you wanted to know, granted magical servants, social positions, and political power, and bound others to the summoners will. That’s… pretty much enough right there isn’t it? It’s really no wonder that Wizards of the Coast cut him down a bit – turning him into a Casanova type who grants martial skills and a bonus to Perform (Dance). That really has nothing much to do with Paimon, but it’s easy enough to go with a fairly generic dexterity-based swordsman styled after Cyrano de Bergerac, Errol Flynn (in a variety of roles), John Carter, Zorro, and dozens of similar characters.

  • Proficient with Rapiers, Corrupted/only with Rapiers that have been professionally personalized for the user and have his or her name engraved upon them (2 CP).
  • Augmented Bonus: Add (Cha Mod) to (Int Mod) for Skill Points through L1, Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect/may only be spent on the three Adept skills, must be evenly split between them. This effectively provides a bonus of (Cha Mod) x 4 skill points in Blade Dance, Tumble, and Perform (Dance) (6 CP).

Blade Dance is a Dex Based Martial Art, so the user’s score will be (Cha Mod x 4 + Dex Mod). For totals of… 01: +1 to Attacks, 03: +1 to AC, 05: d8 Base Damage, 07: Combat Reflexes, 09: +5′ Reach, 11: Crippling, 13: Improved Disarm, 15: +2 to Attacks, 17: +2 to AC, 19: d10 Base Damage, 21: +3 to Attacks, 23: +3 to AC, 25: d12 Base Damage, 27: +4 to Attacks, 29: Inner Strength, 31: Touch Strike, 33: Focused Blow, 35: Vanishing, and 37+: +4 to AC. Bonuses to Attacks and AC are not cumulative; use only the best modifier the user qualifies for.

  • Presence/Dance of Blood, As a standard action the user may make a single normal melee attack at his or her full BAB against any enemies within ten feet. If the user is moving, he or she may strike at every enemy within 10′ of their path. (6 CP).

This is pretty powerful, but since WOTC introduced the Serpents Strike spell, evidently allowing a normal attack is within the power of a first level spell – and so is within the limits of Presence. Whirlwind Attack (at the same cost, but not mobile) can affect a larger area if you have a long reach though.

  • Augmented Bonus: Add (Dex Mod) to (Str Mod) when wielding one-handed blades, Specialized in Rapiers Only (3 CP).
  • Augmented Bonus: Add (Cha Mod) to (Dex Mod) for AC Purposes (6 CP)
  • Augmented Bonus Add (Cha Mod) to (Dex Mod) for Initiative Purposes (6 CP)
  • Awareness (6 CP). No defensive penalties for Surprise, retaining Dexterity Bonus when caught flat-footed or attacked by an invisible opponent, suffer no save penalties for surprise attacks.

The Swashbuckler is focused entirely on Rapiers, but is actually extremely competent with them – although it suffers from the obvious weakness that, without an personalized, prepared in advance, weapon to use, the Swashbuckler is fairly useless unless you want to dance or tumble. Even better, with Augmented Bonus, the Swashbuckler will scale somewhat with the channeler’s level.

Bonus Mystery:

Personally , for a master of the martial arts, I’d prefer something like…

Eligos the Warmage (32 CP + 3 CP Disadvantage / Compulsive. Those channeling Eligos will find it near-impossible to turn down a personal challenge to battle).

According to the Ars Goetia, Eligos discovers hidden things, knows the future of wars and how soldiers should meet, attracts the favor of important persons, and is a powerful warrior. I’m going to say that he knows the hidden arts of battle, the secrets of a thousand tricks that can meet even the most exotic of attacks on equal terms.

  • Enthusiast, Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect, only for Weapon Proficiencies or more Rite of Chi (+2 Uses) if the user is already proficient with his or her preferred martial or exotic weapon, must be selected when Eligos is summoned and cannot be changed thereafter (3 CP). This will either grant the channeler proficiency in any one Martial Weapon or the +2 uses on the Rite of Chi.
  • Mythic Martial Arts: Mana, 3d6 (10) points with Reality Editing, Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect / Mana can only be regained via Rite of Chi, may only be used for reality editing, only for wild “martial arts” stunts related to Swords, user may only expend one point of Mana per turn per four levels or part thereof (18 CP). The Mythic Martial Arts rules cover a variety of tricks that this can be used for.
  • Rite of Chi, with +5 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect (recovers 10 points per use), only usable between encounters, only restores Mana to the Mythic Martial Arts pool (14 CP).

Eligos can’t be your sole go-to solution since he can only invoke a few special tricks per fight – but he can supplement pretty much any combative build or Mystery very effectively indeed.

The Presence (32 CP + 3 CP Disadvantage / Inept. Anyone channeling the Presence suffers a -2 modifier to actions taken in violation of the local laws).

The Presence is a remnant of a primitive divine order, of a simple and inflexible belief that even the most trivial social assumptions were ordained by the gods. Unfortunately, that belief tended to fail the moment that a tribe with different customs was encountered – and so, today, the Presence is a mere Mystery, a haunted remnant of what it once was.

According to Wizards of the Coast, Primus used to be a Lord of Order – and still is, since a new Primus was promoted after the Modrons found out that the old one was dead, thus transforming a figure whom no one cared about and who was replaced by an effectively identical version into a Vestige that no one would want to bother with. According to Wizards of the Coast, Primus gets a small bonus when being boring by doing the same thing over and over again (and so rewarding boring play), makes your attacks lawful and +1d6 versus Chaos, and (once every five rounds) can use Command – albeit not language based and with the side effect that the victim cannot hear or see the user for 1d4 rounds or until they attack.

OK, that last bit is interesting, but overall this is a pretty poor bit of design – and is tied to a very specific bit of cosmology and a particular adventure within it at that. Ergo I think that I’ll create The Presence – an enforcer of a near-forgotten notion of divine order who’s mere existence on the mortal level can cause a variety of effects on those about it.

  • Skill Bonuses: +1 to Knowledge/The Planes, Knowledge/Arcana, Knowledge/Religion, Knowledge/Engineering, and Knowledge/Local.
  • Commanding Presence: Presence, Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect: Only usable once every five rounds, requires a standard action, limited to (Cha Mod) targets within 30 feet. Targets who fail a Will save are subject to a Command effect (as per the spell, but not language dependent), are forced to ignore the user’s presence for 1d4 rounds if he or she does not directly interact with them, and becomes Shaken for the next 1d4 minutes (6 CP).
  • Lawful Presence: Presence, Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect: Affects a maximum of (Cha Mod) targets at any one time, requires a standard action, 30′ foot initial range. Affected weapons (or sets of 50 projectiles) within range become +1 Chaos Bane Brutal Surge weapons for the next ten minutes per level of the user. This does not stack with other magical properties however (6 CP).
  • Leading Presence: Presence, Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect: Affects up to (Cha Mod) targets (which may include yourself) at any one time, requires a standard action, 30′ foot initial range. Affected targets gain a +3 morale bonus on saving throws, attack rolls, checks, and weapon damage (6 CP).
  • Fateful Presence: Presence, Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect: Only usable once every five rounds, requires a standard action, limited to (Cha Mod) targets within 30 feet, although you may include yourself. Those affected gain a +(Level/3, +5 Maximum) luck bonus to Saves, Hit, Damage, Checks, and AC for the next minute (6 CP).
  • Accursed Presence: Presence, Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect: Only usable once every five rounds, requires a standard action, limited to (Cha Mod) targets within 30 feet. Targets who fail a Will save are Cursed, as per Bestow Curse. The curse must be the same for all targets (6 CP).

There. That’s quite effective in the “bestow a stack of orderly fixed bonuses” fashion – and is still quite boring. Still, there are times – especially when you’re getting your more active effects from some other mystery – that a stack of bonuses can be handy.


Reviewing Eclipse with KrackoThunder

Krackothunder has set up a blog reviewing the various options in Eclipse: The Codex Persona (and how to optimize them) – and, as I have time, I’ve been commenting on them with clarifications, further options, and ways to do things. Since there are a number of posts up there, here’s a bonus post of a brief index.

Eclipse, Paths And Powers: The Basics Of Channeling

This entry covers Channeling and the basic upgrades that aren’t part of particular paths.

Eclipse, Paths and Powers: Channeling Subpaths Part I

This entry covers the Glorious Touch and Hatred’s Weal Paths.

Eclipse, Paths and Powers: Channeling Subpaths Part II

This entry covers the Hand of Darkness, Planar Bonds, and Infusions paths.

Eclipse, Paths and Powers: Channeling Subpaths Part III

This entry covers the Divine Wrath and Tides of Light and Darkness paths.

Today for something different: Optimized Character Concepts

This entry covers some of the “things to watch out for” character design possibilities – albeit more from a standpoint of “how to use limited versions of these designs to make interesting characters”.

Pseudo-Changelings: A few template ideas

This one looks like a fairly heavily optimized template for making opponents for ponies – although I’ll admit that I haven’t had time for a full evaluation yet.

The Ultimate Creator of Federation-Apocalypse: A Template

This is basically a +1 ECL writeup for being God proper – the omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent creator and master of all things – who basically never confirms his/her/it’s/their existence or interferes in any detectable way since it would take away people’s free will.

Honestly, I never worried about writing this up, since game attributes for a character who never did anything observable and who couldn’t be proven to exist were not a priority – but it is certainly an interesting exercise.

Eclipse, Paths and Powers: Hexcrafting (sorta?)

An evaluation of the Hexcrafting card-based magical system.

Eclipse, Paths and Powers: Martial Arts

Obviously enough, a review of the Martial Arts system.

Ponies (yes, again) and Martial Arts

Here we have a writeup for Tatslponies – a creature invented by My Little Pony fans as a sort of a cross between Tremor’s “Grabboids” and Ponies. I’m not especially familiar with the idea, so…

Package-Deal: Cyber-Journeyman

A look at why some characters might opt for the Journeyman ability – and at Cyberware in Eclipse.

Short stuff: Unity and the Theurgy special ability

How to get access to pretty much all the spells there are.

Eclipse, Paths and Powers: Path of the Dragon, Part I

A quick look at the Path of the Dragon – Eclipses most blatant and straightforward route to super-heroism.

Really short posts: Are infinite CP possible?

A speculative way to get infinite CP.

And I really need to do an index for Alzrius too; there’s a list of the character’s he’s written up around (even if it needs updating), but no list of his other posts…

Eclipse d20 – Binding Mysterious Spirits II, The Cheshire Cat, Haagenti the Infernal Alchemist, Malphas the Treacherous Duke, and Sabnock the Warbringer.

There really isn’t any difference between Level One and Level Two Mysteries in Eclipse outside of their style; as Mysteries increase in “level” they may provide more powerful individual tricks, but they’re going to provide less of them.

The Cheshire Cat (32 CP + 3 CP Disadvantage / Incompetent. The Cheshire Cat has a terrible time concentrating on things for long, thus anyone channeling it suffers a -5 penalty on Concentration checks.

The Cheshire Cat appears from nowhere and returns to nowhere, his origin is as uncertain as his motives, and his toothy smile often wanders about without him. It would be hard to find a creature more likely to become a Mystery. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, better known as Lewis Carroll, may have popularized the Cheshire Cat – but no one knows where the meme started.

  • Immunity to Mental Disruption (Common, Severe, Epic, 27 CP Base), Specialized and Corrupted for Reduced Cost (9 CP)/only covers Wisdom damage or drain, madness, insanity, and confusion effects. The Cheshire Cat is already quite mad; further madness has no effect on it or its hosts.
  • Advanced Augmented Bonus: Add (Con Mod) to (Armor Class), Specialized and Corrupted/you may only add one-half the modifier and it counts as Luck Bonus (6 CP). The Cheshire Cat’s tendency to fade out of existence, makes it and its hosts rather hard to hit.
  • Fangs of the Cat: Witchcraft III, Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect / each of the four basic witchcraft abilities granted is limited to a fairly specific, simple effect, often with additional limitations (6 CP).
    • Glamour/Maddening Squall: You may spend 2 Power and a standard action to radiate a wave of disrupting psychic power as a supernatural power; everyone within range (30′ base) must make a will save or be dazed for one round. This ability is mind-affecting, can be used once every five rounds, and cannot affect creatures who cannot hear.
    • Hyloka/Sinking in the Claws. You may spend 2 Power and pick a target within 60 feet as an immediate action. If it is willing, or unwilling but fails to save, when you suffer hit point damage half of it will be transferred to them. This supernatural power remains in effect for one hour, or until the creature dies, gets out of range, or (if originally willing) becomes unwilling (in which case it gets the save it would have been entitled to at the beginning if it had been unwilling then).
    • Hand of Shadows/Phantom Fangs: You may spend 2 Power and a standard action to invoke the supernatural power equivalent of a Manyjaws spell. This power may be only be used once every five rounds.
    • Infliction/Fanged Charge: You may spend 2 Power and a standard action to invoke the supernatural power equivalent of Melf’s Unicorn Arrow (albeit using big cats instead). This power may be only be used once every five rounds.
  • +4d6 Mana as 12d6 (42) Power, Specialized and Corrupted/only to power the Fangs of the Cat abilities listed above (8 CP).
  • Rite of Chi with +8 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted/only usable between encounters to regain the Fangs of the Cat Power Pool, above (6 CP).

The Cheshire Cat brings a fairly formidable array of offensive powers (far more than the Vestige it’s replacing had) to the table – but still does not offer all that much in the way of defense. A Bokor calling on The Cheshire Cat will want to have other defenses on tap. That being said… this is d20, and it’s very true that the best defense is a good offense.

Haagenti, the Infernal Alchemist (32 CP + 3 CP Disadvantage / Compulsive. Haagenti does not wish to associate with fools (constantly snubbing anyone with an Intelligence of less than eight) and will continually maneuver towards having any Animals the channeler employs Awakened.

According to the Ars Geotia Haagenti grants scientific skill and possesses great powers of Alchemy and Transmutation, which he/she will share with the summoner. According to Wizards of the Coast, Haagenti is the Mother of Minotaurs (maybe via transforming other creatures into monsters? At least “an alchemist did it” is a LITTLE different from “a wizard did it”), granting skill with shields and some weapons, protection from transformations, and the ability to cause Confusion by touch. I’m… not quite sure how Wizards of the Coast got that out of Alchemy, Science, and Transmutation, but OK. Alchemy is fairly minor and cheap, so I’ll want something to fill in with anyway.

  • Skill Bonuses: Craft/Alchemy +2 (2 CP), +4 Craft/Alchemy Specialized for Half Cost / Only for producing Alchemical Catalysts (2 CP), +3 Speciality in Alchemical Catalysts (1 CP).
  • Innate Enchantment (9 CP). As usual, Spell Level One, Caster Level One, Unlimited-Use Use-Activated
    • Master’s Touch: You are effectively proficient with all shields and axes (Only, x.7) (1400 GP).
    • Confusing Touch: As per Confusion, but affects only one target, requires a successful touch attack, and lasts only L/3 (rounded up) rounds – which is why it’s L1 instead of L3 (2000 GP). The save DC is kind of low to start of course – but any competent Bokor will be buying a few secondary abilities to bring those up for all his or her Mysteries anyway.
    • Alchemical Tinkering (Pathfinder, 2000 GP). You may turn any alchemical item into any other alchemical item of the same or lesser value and may change guns into other types of guns similarly. Usually used with some Alchemical Catalysts since they are compact, cheap, and easily subdivided so you can just use the value you need. Unused alchemical items produced in this way are destroyed after one round, while firearms revert to their original types after one minute.
    • Dexterous Fingers (Trickster Magi list). Reduces the time required to use a skill by three rounds. If this results in zero time or “less” it becomes a free action. If applied on a continuous basis throughout a skill-based crafting project, it reduces the required time by 75% or allows a project to proceed at normal speed while only taking up a couple of downtime hours per day, so that it, like studying spells, can proceed while adventuring (2000 GP).
    • Alchemists Lab (500 GP). +2 Circumstance Bonus to Craft (Alchemy) Checks.
  • Alchemical Mastery/Luck, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect (take 60) / Only for Skill Checks, only for Craft/Alchemy (6 CP). This is generally used to produce Catalysts in the user’s spare time – thus providing an effective “alchemical allowance” of 30 GP (or more) worth of stuff each day.

The Five Alchemical Catalysts are Philosophical Sulfur, “Red” Mercury, Alchemical Salts, True Jade, and Orichalcum Powder. In game terms they are generic alchemical materials, used as raw materials for other crafting projects. An Alchemist can make (Skill Check/2) GP worth in a week using no raw materials (roll as per income, Alchemical Catalysts are considered as Trade Goods) or use the normal Crafting rules (Base DC 20) once they have some to use for raw materials. In Haagenti’s case this will result in a minimum check of 71; (Base DC 20 + 5 x Increased DC) = DC 70 x 71 / 7 (for one days work) = 71 GP/Day. Subtracting the cost of your raw materials gets us 47.3 GP / Day. Catalysts are worth 100 GP per ounce.

  • Trick: Dimensional Throw. You may throw, trip, or bull rush (your choice) your target in a direction outside of the normal three, trapping them between worlds. The victim may make a DC 20 Int check to escape each round for the next (Level / 3, rounded up) rounds. If it hasn’t made the check by then, it escapes automatically. Once it escapes it will wind up back where it was originally. Dimensional travel will also work, and takes the user to wherever it normally would have taken him or her (6 CP). This trick may only be attempted once every five rounds, requires a touch attack, and allows the usual saving throw.
  • Immunity to Transmutation (Uncommon, Severe, Epic, Specialized and Corrupted/only works against Transformations – petrify, polymorph, and similar – and turns you back at the start of your next turn if you so desire, rather than simply preventing the effect (9 CP).

This version of Haagenti can be reasonably useful to anyone – but is especially useful to a low-level Bokor, who will find channeling Haagenti a comfortable source of funds and access to a ready supply of alchemical devices quite useful.

Malphas, The Treacherous Duke (32 CP + 3 CP Disadvantage / Compulsive. Malphas seeks political power, social influence, and sexual indulgences at all costs, and inflicts those appetites on his channelers.

In the Ars Geotia, Malphas is one of the greater and more subtle powers – an architect and siege engineer, a negotiator of services, a provider of familiars and information on enemies – and a treacherous liar, always seeking power and influence for himself. I suppose that’s how poison and treacherous attacks got into things in the Tome of Magic.

  • Double Damage against targets who are denied their Dexterity Bonus to AC or whom the user is betraying (6 CP).
  • Poison Use: You are not at risk of poisoning yourself when handling poison or applying it to a
    weapon (6 CP).
  • Companion (Raven or Dove Familiar) with a +2 ECL Template (Spirit Fetch) (12 CP): Granted Ability: +3d6 Mana as +9d6 (32) Power, Specialized and Corrupted/only for use with the four Secrets of Malphas and Venomed Touch, below.
  • Secrets of Malphas / Witchcraft III, Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect / each of the four basic witchcraft abilities granted is limited to a fairly specific, simple effect, often with additional limitations (6 CP).
    • Shadowweave/Swift Invisibility: The user may spend 2 Power as a Swift Action to become invisible for up to one round per level. This is subject to the usual limitations of Invisibility. The effect cannot be renewed until it’s over, and once the user returns to visibility he or she must remain visible for at least five rounds before he or she can return to invisibility.
    • The Inner Eye: The user may use sense-sharing with his or her Companion at no cost. Doing so is a free action.
    • Witchfire/The Serpent Mist: As a standard action the user may infuse a dose of any poison he or she has available. directly into any target within 40 feet as a standard action for 1 Power. While saves against the poison are made normally, there is no save against it being applied to you in this fashion.
    • Hyloka/Burning Blood: The user may spend 1 Power when called on to make a save against poison to automatically succeed. This does not count as an action.
  • Witchcraft/The Path of Water/Venomed Touch, Corrupted/the poison cannot be stored for more than a (Constitution) minutes (4 CP).
  • Skill Speciality / +3 when rolling to know things about poisons (1 CP).

This version of Malphas is a solid and (thanks to Spirit Favors and the ability to create poisons on demand) highly versatile choice. Even better, Spirit Fetch familiars make excellent spies and share their master’s skills and lack most of the problems inherent in normal familiars thanks to their Returning ability.

Sabnock (also spelled Sab Nac, Sabnac, Sabnach, Sabnack, Sabnacke, Salmac and Savnock) is – at least according to the Ars Geotia – a Great Marquis of Hell. He builds high towers, castles and cities, furnishing them with weapons, ammunition, and supplies, he grants fine familiars, can make wounds and sores turn gangrenous or fill them with worms. He is depicted as a soldier with armor and weapons, the head of a lion, and riding a pale horse.

The Wizards of the Coast version basically limits this to granting armor – magical full plate and basic proficiency with it, a limited version of Benign Transposition, and a bit of damage reduction. This isn’t BAD, but the armor isn’t especially fantastic (and lacks a shield), the range on the Benign Transposition is kind of short and you have to be one of the people switched, and the DR simply isn’t enough and is overcome by piercing weapons in any case. Thus Sabnock is generally rated as being a reasonable, if not particularly impressive, choice.

Sabnock the Warbringer (32 CP + 3CP Disadvantage / Compulsive. Anyone channeling Sabnock feels compelled to remain armed, armored, and ready for battle at all times. If they cannot do so, they will suffer a -3 Morale penalty on everything they do.

  • Skill Speciality / Military Engineering (1 CP).
  • Imbuement (Full Plate Armor) (6 CP).
  • Damage Reduction 6/- Specialized versus physical attacks only, Corrupted/only while the Armor is active (4 CP).
  • Second Skin: Immunity to Armor Penalties (Common, Minor, Minor, 4 CP, reduces armor penalties by 4 / 20%.).
  • Use of Charms and Talismans: (Shaping Variant, 6 CP).
    • Charms:
      • Captains Torc: Grants +4 to Listen, the user may be clearly heard at great distances when speaking, -1 on saves versus sonic attacks.
      • Foothold Boots: The user may find purchase in the air three times a day, thus – for example – catching their balance after a failed check or doubling their jumping distance. This does not count as an action.
      • Lifestone: The user will not suffer continuing damage or constitution loss from “wounding” weapons or lose HP over time if below zero HP.
      • Resounding Horn: Can be heard and recognized at great distances. For 1d4 Con damage it can be heard by friends and relatives anywhere.
      • The Ocean’s Arms: The user is very buoyant, and will find it almost impossible to drown.
      • Vanishing Cloak: Turns the user invisible as a swift action up to (3 + Level/3) times daily. Sadly, this lasts no more than two rounds.
      • Wraith Guantlets: The user may reach inside of things (to put things in or pull them out), turn doorknobs from the other side, hit incorporeal creatures, and so on, although each such trick does 1d4 points of damage to the user.
    • Talismans:
      • Helm of War: Acts as Heavy Fortification five times per summoning, using this is not an action and is announced after what the results would have been is announced. .
      • Rune Weapon: Armor Spikes are +1 Warning (+5 bonus to Initiative checks) weapons.
      • Tulthara: Creates a Greatsword sized for the user as needed. 2d6,Crit 19-20/x2, Slashing, Counts as Magic. (Note that if you combine this with Anime Master and Strongarm Bracers (MIC) you get +2 sizes – and up to 4d6. Whether that’s worth a feat/6 CP and 6000 GP is up to you).
  • Innate Enchantment (8 CP):
    • Chitin Mail: L1 Transmutation. For one minute per level of the caster whatever armor the user is wearing is treated as being one armor category lighter. The maximum dexterity bonus increases by two, the armor check penalty is reduced by two, arcane spell failure goes down by 15% (to a minimum of 5%), and the speed penalty is eliminated (1400 GP).
    • Master’s Touch: the “Full Plate” below and the Tulthara above only (x.7, 1400 GP)
    • Masterwork Full Plate Armor with Armor Spikes (1700 GP): After Chitin Mail and Immunity +8 Armor, Max Dex +7, No Armor Check Penalty, Spell Failure, or Speed Penalty.
    • Benign Transposition (2000 GP). It’s only at caster level one, but it can still be very handy tactically.
    • Charms and Talismans (30 GP per Charm x 7 Charms, 75 GP per Talisman x 3 Talismans = 435 GP). Basically, Sabnock does not need to equip himself; his gear is simply there when he needs it.
  • Reflex Training, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect; only for Benign Transposition, only once every five rounds, only reduces using the effect to an immediate action (6 CP).

This version of Sabnock still can’t provide buildings – but he will allow you to instantly ready yourself for battle even if you happen to be locked in a cell, prevents you from being hindered by the armor and weapons he grants, grants a good level of damage reduction, provides a good many magical trinkets, negates five critical hits and/or sneak attacks per day, and allows the use of Benign Transposition an immediate action starting at level one.

Eclipse Character Sheets and Clerical Support

And for today it’s a bonus post, in the form of a quick response to a question…

Not a big fan of reinventing the wheel. Feel other new players & I would benefit from a sheet to fill out when creating characters, but can’t find one & don’t want to make one. Also might miss something I don’t understand about where the base abilities come from. Not just “abilities,” stuff like weapon proficiencies & spellcasting. Ordered Eclipse Compiled last Sunday & it hasn’t come yet so I downloaded the shareware. Becoming obvious why there isn’t a page with just a few blanks to fill out, but there’s got to be something easier than copying templates. One other thing bothering me. Not much about clerics on this blog, but I assume somebody’s going to want to play one so everybody else doesn’t die of their wounds.


The problem with making an Eclipse character sheet is that very little on an Eclipse character is standardized – if only because it covers many versions of the d20 rules and pretty much any setting.

It’s possible for characters to have extra attributes. The skill list varies with the setting – and there are ways for a character to alter their costs, gets skills that don’t normally exist in the setting, or change how they work – and  then there are skills like Martial Arts which call for a lot of subnotes. The setting may or may not offer Package Deals. While almost all characters will have hit points, they may get them from things other than hit dice. Of course, they can buy extra hit dice too.

Given that degree of freedom… there really isn’t any fixed fill-in-the-blanks character sheet that will work for Eclipse. On the automated side PCGen has an Eclipse dataset that makes character sheets depending on what you buy – but as last I looked it doesn’t let you copy-and-paste chunks of material that you happen to like from another build. Personally (and it’s mostly a matter of habit), I just use a word processor and paste in a generic list like this one, deleting items that don’t apply to a particular character.

Personal History
Personal Data: Height; . Weight; Lbs, Hair; . Eyes; . Skin; . Age . Occupation; . Marital Status; . Birthplace; . Religion; . Education; . Alignment; .
Racial Package:
Template Package:
Package Deal:
Available Character Points: (Level Base) + (Disadvantages) + (L1, Bonus Feats) +
Basic Attributes: Str, Int, Wis, Con, Dex, Chr.
Basic Abilities:
Hit Points:
Fortitude: + (Purchased, CP) + (Con) = +
Reflex: + (Purchased, CP) + (Dex) = +
Will: + (Purchased, CP) + (Wis) = +
Skill Points:
Combat Information:
Armor Class: 10 (Base)
Usual Weapons:
Special Abilities:
Martial Art:
Basic Techniques:
Advanced and Master Techniques:
Occult Techniques:
Known Techniques ():
Initial Wealth Level:
Current Wealth Level:
Usual Charms:
Usual Talismans:
Relics and Special Equipment:
Game Role:
Combat Tactics:
Further Advancement:

Weapon proficiencies, spellcasting, and similar items are simply more abilities, to be purchased with character points. The only difference between “basic abilities” and other abilities is that the vast majority of characters have the basic stuff and it gets referenced a lot, so I put it into it’s own section on the sample characters to make finding it easy.

As for Clerics… There’s a level-by-level breakdown of the standard 3.5 cleric build, a breakdown on converting the 3.5 Cleric to a Pathfinder Cleric build, and a selection of sample characters using clerical spellcasting (and several healers using other ways of healing). It’s just that hardly any of them call themselves “Clerics” since that’s the name of a standard build – and the sample characters are generally devoted to illustrating how to make more exotic builds. For some examples…

  • Dallyn Vortys, a would-be dark lord and priest of the dark gods.
  • Hisui Tsume, a mystic samurai-priest.
  • Orin Markala (and his level two upgrades), a priest of the High One. Incidentally a high-optimization character designed to provide magical support, enhancement, and coordination for a small military company.
  • Varek (a support cleric linked to on Alzrius’s site)
  • The Balancer of Scales – A Dragonstar “paladin”, although his clerical abilities are minor as of yet.
  • The Servant of a Fallen God – a cleric with a personal god, just for him.
  • The Sacerdos Pastor, a package deal for village priests that makes a good basis for an adventuring cleric.
  • Ptaysanwee – although, as an epic character, she may be a bit much for most games.
  • Volund Saril, budding thief lord, priest of the Masked One, and Dreamspawn Partner.
  • The Walker in Darkness, a servant of the lower planes.
  • Raymund, a starting priest in the Village Heroes series.
  • Amilko Moonshadow, Epic Level Squirrel and Herald of Chaos.
  • Antaeus Varin, a young noble, priest of The Hidden One, and Dreamspawn Partner.
  • The Paladin of Death. A psychopomp and spirit guide.
  • The Collector. A mystical dabbler with a powerful patron.
  • The Mystic Adept has the option to use clerical-style magic, albeit not actual clerical spellcasting. It does represent another approach though.
  • The Scholarly Priest, an expert in channeling positive energy.
  • Tarlin Malority, a Thunder Dwarf. As a resident of the Twilight Isles, Tarlin gets most of his initial powers from his race, but is a minor cleric.
  • Liam Ko, is an insanely intricate Eclipse conversion of a character from a Legends of High Sorcery campaign – but is a fairly high level build.
  • The Kabalistic Ritualist build has a priestly option, but is primarily focused on rituals. Still, there’s no reason why those can’t be religious rituals.
  • A’ikana is more focused on her martial arts and “Chi Powers” then on her clerical magic – but that’s simply because she’s more of an eastern style priest than a western one.
  • Terin Aderath, a priestly monk-assassin of the Nightwraith Order.
  • Julius Gaius Maximus is a pacifistic healer from the Atheria setting, with powerful – but highly limited – clerical spellcasting for his level.
  • The Cleric Tricks package gives your cleric a quick theme at a very low cost.

Of course, since Eclipse is back-compatible… you can simply use a “standard” build, or just take inspiration from any other source.

Industrial Wights and Magic VIII – Greater Cities, Sample Wards Major, Town and Country, Magic and Fertility.

Today it’s time to finish up with the average magical budgets for various city sizes, to deal with magical cities, and to take a look at how cities relate to the countryside and become the cores of nations.

So back where we left off, it’s the budget for Large Cities.

Large Cities have a budget of some 125,000 GP and come from Small Cities – and so list starts with the items that small cities get and a few upgrades thereof.

  • City Father (24,000 GP). A City Father continues to be the versatile, supportive, symbol of a major city.
  • Epic City Store (Supplies about 450 GP per day to run the city, 16,500 GP). Really, this is probably enough for most routine operations. There will still be taxes and fees for defense, and special projects – but they’re likely to be relatively modest, and fairly unobtrusive. After all, there is little point in gouging the populace when the rules of Wealth by Level apply.
  • Two City Gates (28,000 GP). Large Cities are simply too big a market to leave unexploited. They are invariably either linked to a major hub or part of a gateway ring.
  • Wind Tower (29,000 GP). A Wind Tower will moderate a bad climate, make a bearable one bountiful, and help hold off hurricanes and other weather disasters. Given that both the benefits of controlled weather and the damage caused by wild weather expands with the size of a city, no Large (or larger) city would risk going without a Wind Tower.
  • Dark Rampart or Bone Vault (6500 GP). The choice here still says something about the city; the Dark Rampart protects a city against self-replicating undead, but interferes in no other way. A Bone Vault can do many other things – but does so by imposing restrictions on the population at large.
  • Construction Wagon (10,000 GP). With this a city gets walls, maintenance, well-constructed streets, sewers and drains, and public works at little or no cost.
  • Minor Reliquary (11,400 GP). Having a Reliquary about means that a substantial chunk of the population will be able to have a low-level clerical spell or two each day if they have an hour or so to spare. That isn’t a lot of power, although Mending, Cure Light Wounds, or Wieldskill even once a day can be quite handy – and the occasional protective spell or Dispelling Touch can make things considerably more difficult for adventurers relying on Charm Person and similar manipulative spells.

Large Cities pretty much have all the basics covered. There may be poor areas, but there won’t be horrible slums, extensive stone and brick construction will help limit internal fires and casual damage, solid city walls (and building even a little inland) helps a lot with most tsunamis, weather control can prevent or mitigate most storms, and stone or brick city walls and weather control will handle most external fires. Solid construction and cheap repairs will mitigate the effects of lesser earthquakes and sinkholes. That still leaves major earthquakes, volcanoes, and meteors – but that sort of thing is generally rare. Similarly, a large city will still need resources from the outside, but they’re a lot less critical – and easy long-distance trade will mitigate any local shortfalls. There are enough resources that even orphans, madmen, and other strays get to eat, stay warm, and make a reasonable living (since “Profession/Beggar” is just as profitable as any other profession skill). Large (and larger) d20 cities are prosperous, bustling, and generally fairly happy places.

A Metropolis has 50,001-100,000 inhabitants (commonly 10,000 to 20,000 Households), an average budget of 150,000 GP, four Foundations – and a +12 settlement modifier with four rolls per character type. That means that we’re quite likely to see some epic-level professionals, eighteenth level commoners, and many other high-level types (and their associated magical businesses) – as well as a 90%+ chance of having (potentially very powerful) “monstrous” citizens. That’s a problem. Dwarves, elves, humans, and most of the usual city population are really very, VERY, similar. They have the same kinds of social structures, eat the same kinds of food, have compatible mindsets, and subscribe to the same kinds of moral codes. Monsters are not so similar – and having a fair number of them around can complicate managing a city in a wide variety of ways.

And no matter how chaotic the base species and culture, a functioning city needs a good deal of organization and a reliable, reasonably “standardized”, group who can present themselves to the citizens as impartial arbiters and social enforcers.

  • That’s why a Metropolis will be upgrading it’s Reliquary into a Lesser Planar Spire (35,000 GP) – most often bringing in a force of Hound Archons, who are generally glad to serve as examples of the advantages of order and good in even the most chaotic evil city. After all… for them it’s a cheap chance to do some outreach and recruiting.

A Megapolis has 100,001-500,000 inhabitants (20,000 to 100,000 Households), a magic budget of 2d8 x 60,000 GP averaging 540,000 GP, and five Foundations. It still only has a Settlement Modifier of +12 – but now gets eight rolls. Quite a lot of settings won’t have any magapoli at all.

The threshold this time is one of sheer scale. A Megapolis will have an entire community of high to epic level residents, it will have many magical businesses (likely including trading companies with their own inter-city and inter-planar gate networks), it will have plenty of magic, and it will almost certainly have a Ward Major – transforming it from a city filled with magical citizens and businesses to a magical entity in its own right.

  • City Father (24,000 GP).
  • Two Epic City Stores (33,000 GP).
  • Five City Gates (70,000 GP). Since these (and any commercial gates) will mostly go to cities with their own gates, dozens of other cities are likely to be effectively only a few minutes away.
  • Wind Tower (29,000 GP).
  • Dark Rampart (6500 GP).
  • Bone Vault (6500 GP). A city of this size will need all the help it can get remaining organized, no matter how chaotic it’s inhabitants or philosophical basis may be.
  • Construction Wagon (10,000 GP).
  • Four Lesser Planar Spires (140,000 GP). These usually tend towards Law (to help keep the city organized) and Good (since their notions of what is best for a city are usually easier to manage than evil creatures) – but this is not required. The creatures summoned by a Planar Spire will always act in the best interests of the sponsoring city regardless.
  • Ward Major VI (220,000 GP. 4 Minor and 2 Major Powers). Since the powers of a Ward Major include at least some random elements I’ll just roll up some examples. Normally the Ward’s creator(s) would pick the majority of the ward powers – but that would call for knowing something about the city.

Sample Wards Major VI

Sample Ward I:

  • Minor Powers:
    • The city is either Hallowed or Unhallowed and any suitable Priest can attach one of the permissible secondary spells.
    • The residents are all permanently protected by Protection from Evil / Good as appropriate to the city.
    • The residents need not eat, sleep or breathe.
    • The residents may stay in touch with each other through minor Sendings.
  • Major Powers:
    • Eldritch Ban. Some type of creature or item does not function properly within the city. Creatures suffer five negative levels (or the equivalent penalties), items will not function.
    • Teaching: residents may gain up to (Int Mod + 4) x 2 Skill Points through study, expending them on any skill as if it was in-class.

Obviously enough, this city is a major sacred center of some sort, dedicated to a particular faith. That’s actually sort of limiting – and may indicate a somewhat lower population than would normally be expected – but at least it tells us what some of the Foundations probably are.

Sample Ward II:

  • Minor Powers:
    • Counterspells. Two spells of each level 1-9 can be automatically counterspelled within the city when cast or if they target it. Want to ban major necromancy? Or protect your city from unauthorized teleporters, plane shifters, and wish-makers? So be it!
    • Beauty: the area is lovely, and the populace gains a +2 morale bonus to saves, BAB, and AC when defending the city.
    • Fortune: Residents may reroll any one die roll per day after the result of the original check is determined.
    • Immunity: Residents are all immune to Poison.
  • Major Powers:
    • Gift of Tongues. Visitors and residents may speak and read all languages.
    • Might: residents gain +2 to their AC and Saves and Spell Resistance 15.

This city looks like it was – at least at one time – a perilous diplomatic outpost, and is now likely to be a major trading center. Many of the usual ways of magically unbalancing negotiations will not function here.

Sample Ward III

  • Minor Powers:
    • Whirlwind. The perimeter is protected by a continuous Wind Wall that does not affect the residents or their attacks.
    • Residents gain the use of three level zero arcane spells usable at will.
    • The city can support it’s population without requiring outside resources.
    • Residents gain +6 skill ranks in two skills (from the theme so far, likely magical skills).
  • Major Powers:
    • Absorption. Residents may absorb up to (Con) spell levels per day, gain a list of 3-7 innate spells to channel that power into, and skilled casters gain other tricks (see the Practical Enchanter for details).
    • Residents gain two bonus levels of Wizard or Sorcerer Spellcasting.

This is a major magical citadel. Every inhabitant possesses fairly significant magical defenses and abilities – and adventuring casters may be most upset to find that any street kid will be able to counteract several rounds worth of their spellcasting and that a group of city guards may well be able to absorb their entire arcane arsenal to little effect.

Sample Ward IV:

  • Minor Powers:
    • Cat’s Eyes. Neither high nor low illumination levels hinder the inhabitants.
    • Curses, charms, and malevolent enchantments are suppressed within the city.
    • Mundane productivity is multiplied by a factor of seven (allowing crafters, builders, and scribes to complete a weeks worth of work each day).
    • The city is non-Euclidian, with many local dimensional pockets and local gates. It is much bigger inside than out, offers residents many shortcuts, and prevents most scrying that will not cross dimensions.
  • Major Powers:
    • Tithe. As its residents gain experience, the ward gradually does too – picking up class levels, usually as a caster or a manifestor.
    • Residents and visitors may undergo a ceremony to gain a variety of innate magical powers.

This sounds like some sort of hidden citadel or production center. Depending on it’s age, the Ward itself may be an epic level caster or manifestor, fully capable of defending itself and/or moving the entire city if that should be required.

Sample Ward V:

  • Minor Powers:
    • Residents are each protected by a Force Shield effect.
    • Oracle: There is a method for the Ward to communicate effectively with Mortals.
    • Health: Diseases are not contagious within the ward, all residents recover temporary
      attribute damage at one point per hour, and regain permanent attribute damage and lost levels at a rate of one per day
    • Longevity: Natural aging within the ward occurs at only one-tenth the normal rate.
  • Major Powers:
    • A Distant Gift: Warcraft. Residents and ex-residents in good standing gain +2 BAB, +1D10 HP, and proficiency with shields, medium armor, simple, and martial weapons
    • Unbinding: Residents are protected by a Freedom of Movement effect while within the city.

This ward seems likely to be of a military bent, and probably shares tactical insights and information about possible menaces via some sort of war room. Given the longevity and combat skills it bestows, it may have an abnormally high incidence of competent mid-level combatants.

This leaves 7000 GP in the budget. Of course the budget I’m using is an average, so a lot of cities will have more or less, the city Foundations will have a major effect, and they may have more or less powerful Wards Major (or none at all in favor of more Planar Spires or some such). If you can’t think of anything for that 7000 GP, just round up and add another Construction Wagon and put the city at the center of a network of excellent roads.

Finally, an Imperial City has 500,001 or more inhabitants (100,000+ Households) and a budget of 4d5 x 120,000 GP – averaging 1,440,000 GP. It has a +15 settlement modifier and 12 rolls for each type of character – pretty much guaranteeing a fine selection of level 20+ characters. It gets six Foundations too – and it has passed a final threshold. It can easily afford an epic-level Type IX Ward Major at 800,000 GP – with five minor, four major, and one awesome powers. With a good roll or the right Foundations… It could afford anything up to a Type XII, with four awesome powers.

Awesome powers include things like bestowing the Half-Celestial or Half-Infernal template on it’s residents, or imprisoning a god, or creating full-powered Simulacra of past epic-level caster residents to help out, or isolating itself from divine powers and influences in a pocket universe, and offering gates to dozens of dimensions.

At the upper end, this can turn an Imperial City into a Dimensional Metropolis – a place like Sigil, or Tanelorn, or Cynosure (for a writeup here, see Montsalvat and the Stone of Destiny). Even if it offers less dramatic powers than that, such a city can also afford another 327,000 GP worth of other items – perhaps a Light of Revelation (32,760 GP), four Greater Planar Spires (232,000 GP all together), a Great Reliquary (31,000 GP), and a Skeptical Thinker (29,000 GP) or a Healing Spring (30,600 GP).

If a campaign includes an Imperial City at all… it will be a center where virtually anything can be found, filled with wealth, and privilege, and some of the most powerful individuals to be found in the world. Perhaps most importantly… it is a place where the player characters are very likely to be severely overmatched, and where excessive shenanigans will bring the authorities down on the parties heads like the wrath of several gods. That isn’t a position that most parties are used to operating from. They’re usually used to being able to overwhelm, or at least escape, the local authorities at whim after the first few levels – and if they’re used to operating out of small settlements, may have good reason for those expectations.

They’d better change those expectations fast if they’re going to be operating out of an Imperial City. Of course, an Imperial City offers a lot of opportunities for patronage – and with magical businesses in play, the benefits of having a patron may be very direct and measurable.

Town and Country.

So we’ve pretty well established that most cities do need to import some resources – but that it isn’t nearly as vital to them as it is in reality. Moreover, the countryside cannot possibly dominate the cities; the cities have the really high-level characters, which is where the real power resides in a d20 setting. So… why are there countries? Where’s the benefit to a city in being a capital and taking responsibility for large areas of the rural countryside? Simple political power isn’t that big a motivation when you can bend the universe to your whims with a few words and a wave of your hand.

That’s actually pretty simple.

  • It takes a LOT of experience points to create a new generation of high-level characters.
  • Yet the steady progression of level-appropriate encounters, “adventure paths”, and ever-escalating threats – leading to ever-escalating levels – that player characters experience cannot be “normal” or the world would be in constant upheaval, whether from the occasional failure to stop the plot or from the immense powers that the characters themselves develop.
  • There must be a reason why the Epic and Near-Epic level types in major cities don’t just come out and deal with lower-level menaces. Otherwise there wouldn’t be many opportunities for low-level player characters to gain experience.
  • It’s fairly obvious that genuine risk, dealing with the unexpected, and unknown magical forces are all a necessary part of getting experience points, since otherwise high-level types could just arrange for their kids to become high level in safety and there would be no real need for adventurers in general or player characters in particular.
  • You don’t get experience for dealing with problems too far below your own challenge rating, or if you manage to “adventure” in complete control and safety.
  • Functioning cities are poor places for characters who are past the lower levels to get experience points. They’re usually reasonably well organized and not all that dangerous. If they were very dangerous.. given the mostly low-level populace, they’d be digging mass graves every day until you didn’t HAVE a city any longer.
  • Even outside cities, creatures and situations that will yield substantial chunks of experience for higher-level types are very rare. Otherwise the low-level types in the villages and hamlets would not be able to survive for long. When a high-level challenge does show up… they will need to send to a city for a group capable of handling that challenge if they want to survive.
  • Normal wild animals and minor challenges are reasonably common in the near-wild areas near Thorps, Hamlets, and Villages, even if they rarely appear in those settlements. That means that “Wilderness” types who live outside of town and deal with such problems will gain experience. Sadly, since such things have relatively low challenge ratings, and don’t show up on a daily basis, “wilderness” characters rarely reach particularly high levels – and it takes them a very long time to reach even the mid-levels. Thus the modest chance of mid-level “Wilderness Oriented” characters near Thorps, Hamlets, and Villages.

So there are our critical factors. High-level “Encounters” and “Adventures”, and the Experience Points that can be gathered from them are both limited resources and absolutely vital. Magic, and Power, and Levels, and the prosperity they bring, are all ultimately derived from Experience Points.

The larger the area a city controls, and protects, and from which the small settlements send for its young adventurers to come and help them instead of some rival cities… the more experience points a city can harvest.

Sadly, most opportunities to harvest experience will occur at the borders of civilization while the expenditures will relate to the total area controlled. Ergo there are practical limits to the size of such realms – although they can be expanded somewhat by wise city leaders who cultivate wilderness areas, build (and abandon) dungeons, castles, and suitable monster lairs in hopes that creatures will move in and create opportunities for adventure, tolerate entrances to deadly pocket dimensions and to the “Underdark”, and cultivate guilds of thieves, crazed cults, and villainous secret societies in hidden lairs.

As a city harvests more experience points it can grow larger, become more powerful, increase its magical resources, and expand its zone of influence – until the borders of its experience harvesting zone collide with the harvesting zones of other cities. At that point the competition becomes a matter of responsiveness and efficiency. The faster a city responds, the more smaller settlements will be inclined to turn to it instead of to some other city. The more efficiently a city harvests experience from its limited supply of opportunities, the greater it can grow – and the more distant the areas that can be expected to turn to it to solve their problems.

Since a given encounter will yield the most experience when dealt with by a group that can just barely handle it, but yields nothing if the group sent in gets killed, a wise city council will carefully – and subtly – manipulate promising groups of adventurers, steering them into sequences of encounters and adventures that they can almost certainly handle, but which will challenge them as much as possible. They often put a great deal of work into arranging such things; given how unpredictable young adventurers can be arranging a series of balanced encounters for them can be quite difficult.

Naturally enough, this means that – as a party of adventurers increases in power – their sponsoring city (even if they don’t know that they have sponsors) will be setting up smooth transitions into the local power structure for them. “Openings” on the mages council, temples that need high priests, young nobles who need powerful adventurer spouses, nearby strongholds that need to be “reclaimed” from the monsters or cults who currently occupy then, street gangs who need new leaders… cities want those adventurers to become a part of their power structure, not to have them going out and founding new settlements.

After all, once they’re powerful enough that encounters and adventures suited to them are vanishingly rare… it’s time for them to settle into power and to start arranging for the next generation to start gaining levels.

Now a group of PC’s who wander around at random, without operating out of a particular city… will find themselves at a disadvantage to start with (they won’t have ready access to magical businesses and won’t have local contacts or high-level patrons with an interest in seeing them well-supplied and with people available to buy their loot) and may well find themselves quite unwelcome since they’re “poaching” the local governments carefully-cultivated encounters and adventures. Even worse, with no one to steer them towards “balanced encounters”, they are all too likely to run into things that they cannot possibly handle unless they are extremely cautious.

Personally, I still don’t think too much of “Balanced Encounters”. I prefer serious challenges that the players will have to think about and make plans to meet if they want to win and which call for being willing to retreat if things go badly. Still, if you do want “Balanced Encounters”, adventure paths which graduate encounters so that the characters are just ready for them, and higher level NPC’s only intervening when the characters would all die otherwise… then here’s your in-game reason. The settings major powers and organizations are intentionally setting things up so that the player characters gain as much experience as possible.

I think that kind of cheapens things a bit, but it doesn’t cheapen things nearly as much as having the game master simply giving the PC’s special treatment with no real in-game rationale.

So now we know why small settlements attach themselves to larger ones, what the larger ones get out of the relationship, why settlements put up with thieves guilds, haunted houses, and nearby chunks of wilderness full of ruins and monsters, where all those weird cults keep coming from, and why the local high-level types don’t take care of all those problems instead of leaving them to barely-qualified youngsters who often get killed while trying to do something about it all. A prosperous d20 realm is set up to maximize its yield of experience points – and thus it’s supply of high-level characters. Large-scale safety, military power, supplies of magic, and prosperity, all flow from its experience-point harvest through the high-level characters that harvest makes possible.

As one commentator pointed out… if you want to look at a system rather like this in action, all you need to do is look at Naruto – where the nations pour their resources into producing a few high-level types, ruthlessly sacrifice rather a lot of kids in deadly competitions to sort out who to keep investing in, and carefully match missions to groups that should be just barely capable of handling them instead of deploying their leveled-up human superweapons. Elsewhere, of course, it is the job of the Evil Grand Vizier, or Doddering Alchemist, or Mad Scientist to create the occasional horrible monstrosity only to “lose” control of them for some idiotic reason.

Town and Country – Population

Finally, of course, there is something fairly basic about cities that’s popped up throughout history; cities need to draw a steady stream of people from the countryside because the population of a city does not normally replace itself effectively. While there are several reasons for this, the most basic is simply that humans – like most species – reproduce less in a crowded environment. That’s because crowding “in the wild” makes for scarce resources, which means that producing kids in the first place has a very high opportunity cost and that any children are far less likely to make it to adulthood – wasting the parental resources invested in them. Ergo, both instinct and biology say “Not now! Wait for a better chance!” when there are too many other creatures of your own type around – and cities are VERY crowded indeed.

In d20 we can add something else, which may not be an “official rule”, but certainly seems likely enough; high levels of magical or psionic energy reduce fertility while sex drains magical talents. After all…

The more powerfully magical a creature, the more slowly it breeds and the scarcer it is. Thus gods are very rare in the first place and almost never have kids with each other. Dragons are rare. Magi tend to be solitary ascetics who avoid social contact and lock themselves in towers and libraries. Clerics are often celibate, monastic, or overly-devoted to their god. In either case… Mages and Clerics are notorious for having few or now kids. Eunuch Sorcerers and Chaste Nuns get power boosts but a Martial Artists “inner strength” can be drained by sexual techniques. Bards have many dalliances – but few offspring.

Rogues, however, are notorious for having bastard offspring everywhere, and Fighters are equally notorious for their big, bumptious, families. The least magical races tend to dominate the world. Magic versus Fertility may not be a RULE – but it’s certainly a common background assumption. It even tells us why people take off all their magic items to have sex…

OK, that’s not necessarily a serious point, but it’s certainly arguable.

So that’s why magical cities need the far less magical countryside; they need the experience points and they need replacement population. And the best way to make sure that your city – rather than some interloping settlement – gets those things is to rule the area.

I may put up some more magical businesses or sample Wards Major if enough of them occur to me – but unless there are questions this series should have covered most of the major items now.

Eclipse d20 – Binding Mysterious Spirits, the Bokor, Amon, Aym, Otzi, and Naberius

The offline question for today is about Binders…

You’ve shown that Eclipse can readily duplicate the Binder – but Binder’s are a pre-Pathfinder Tier-3 (barring the GM allowing some really broken Vestige) class. Given that, shouldn’t Eclipse be able to build cheaper equivalents of their various abilities so that there are points available for a few improvements? And couldn’t there be a point buy method of building Vestiges?

The answer to that, is “Yes, of course”. Given the fact that each Vestige-equivalent will also be a compact power-package, and those are always useful to people building characters, it’s also “Yes I will”. While there will likely be somewhat less “unlimited use” stuff, save for some out-of-combat shenanigans (which are pretty commonly abusive) “unlimited use” at the usual “once every five rounds” is very rarely going to actually amount to more than twice per encounter, making a dozen or more uses per day pretty much equivalent to “infinite” as far as most games go.

Now Binding is supposed to be easy magic, often used by people with very little formal training. That’s a defining characteristic of the Witchcraft system in Eclipse, so I’ll be using that for a lot of the basic package. So let us build ourselves a Bokor.

Basic Bokor Package (24 CP).

Witchcraft, Specialized and Corrupted: All effects require gestures, incantations, and a spell component pouch to work, involve invoking strange beings, have ominous and disturbing “special effects”, cause the user to display obvious physical stigmata related to the entities that he or she invokes (these also reveal some of their current powers to the knowledgeable), and provoke rather strong reactions in people. Bokor are generally regarded with great suspicion by Clerics and similar characters given that they call on strange and unreliable beings – some of them beyond the influence of the gods themselves.

  • Witchcraft II. Provides the use of fairly minor Glamour (telepathic projection, Producing L0 effects for 1 Power and L1 effects for 2 Power), Hand of Shadows (telekinetic and animation effects, 1 power for L0 effects, 2 Power for L1 effects), and Shadowweave (light and illusion, 1 Power for 10 minutes of activity) effects with a base range of 30 feet, a base Power score equal to (Sum of Physical Attributes/3), and a base Will save DC of (13 + Cha Mod) (4 CP):
  • +2d6 Mana, taken as 6d6 Power. Only usable for Witchcraft (4 CP).
  • Dismissal (2 CP). The user may attempt to banish residual or active magic and either damage or attempt to dismiss outsiders.
  • The Sight (2 CP). The user may obtain vague omens of the future, locate paths, employ clairsentience, and locate thieves of his or her personal goods.
  • Divination (2 CP). The user may produce various Detection and True Seeing effects.
  • Host of Mysteries: Ridden by the Loa with Firm Control (6 CP). This normally allows the user to host a spirit which can influence him or her in various ways while granting a temporary template of up to +4 ECL – but this build restricts that quite a bit:
    • The total template value may be no more than +1 ECL (32 CP) per six levels or part thereof that the Bokor possesses.
    • Each +1 ECL represents a separate Mystery – an individual entity.
    • Users only know how to invoke one Mystery per applicable (innate and permanent – skill points and feats that provide bonuses only) rank of Knowledge/Arcana.
    • The user may only take on (Cha Mod) Mystery templates per day.
    • Channeling a Mystery requires a summoning ritual requiring 1d4 minutes.
    • Mysteries remain bound to the summoner for twenty-four hours unless they are ritually expelled – a process that also requires a full minute.
    • Each Mystery brings along a set of behavioral tendencies, a physical sign, and at least one disadvantage – although that does increase their net “value” to 35 CP.
    • Mysteries may be assigned “levels” by the game master; if the game master opts to do so the Bokor can only call upon Mysteries with a level less than (Bokor Level / 2, Rounded Up). In general, Mysteries come in levels one through eight.
  • Immunity/the one-point-per-hour cost of keeping Ridden by the Loa Running (Common, Minor, Major (up to 30 Power/Day equivalent, Corrupted/cannot normally be turned off to get rid of a batch of inconvenient Mysteries, 4 CP).

As a note, you could also just purchase +2d6 Mana, taken as 6d6 Power, only usable to keep Mysteries bound, automatically spends itself whether the user likes it or not (4 CP) – but the immunity approach is more elegant.

That package provides some versatile minor “spellcasting”, the ability to cast out spirits, some fairly potent divinatory abilities, and the ability to channel Mysteries – taking on a variety of specialized power packages. This extra magical power does come at a cost though; there won’t be quite enough points left to duplicate the rest of the first level Binder build; 1d8 HP (4 CP), 8 + (4 x Int Mod) SP (8 CP), Proficient with Simple Weapons and Light Armor (6 CP), Saves +4 (+2 Fort, +2 Will, 12 CP). That costs a total of 30 CP, and the Bokor only has twenty-four left. Our Bokor will either have to chop out 6 CP worth of abilities (I’d drop one of the saves and buy it up later), take a few disadvantages for extra points, or spend their first level feat on it (although I’d recommend Fast Learner, Specialized in Skills for Double Effect instead. It’s much more useful later on).

Later levels have a base cost of only (4 CP for BAB, 4 CP for a d8 HD, 2 CP for 2 SP, and 5 CP for Saves (somewhat more than is really needed actually) – leaving 9 CP / Level for Extra Power, Witchcraft improvements, special defenses, and whatever else comes to mind. Most commonly that will include a secondary power package:

Secondary Power Package: Initiate of the Mysteries

(21 CP at full cost, may be purchased in segments with a minimum starting cost of 5 CP).

Some Bokor learn to draw extra power from the Mysteries linked to their spirits. Innate Enchantment: Specialized and Corrupted: Only one effect per Mystery currently hosted can be activated, with the choice made when the Mystery is summoned, all effects Spell Level One, Caster Level One, Personal-Only where relevant (x.7). 10,400 GP net value, for a base cost of eleven CP and a final cost of (4 CP).

  • Aura of Light/Darkness (Practical Enchanter); +1 Sacred/Profane bonus to Saves (1400 GP).
  • Flesh Ward (Practical Enchanter); Provides DR 2/- (1400 GP).
  • Immortal Vigor I: Provides +(12 + 2 x Con Mod) Extra Hit Points (1400 GP).
  • Resist Energy (SRD): Provides Energy Resistance 10 versus any one of acid, cold, electricity, fire, or sonic damage (1400 GP).
  • Sign (SC): +4 Insight Bonus to Initiative (Already personal-only, so 2000 GP)
  • Ward of Light/Darkness (Practical Enchanter); +1 Sacred/Profane bonus to AC (1400 GP).
  • Wrath of Heaven/The Infernal (Practical Enchanter); +1 Sacred/Profane bonus to Attacks and Damage (1400 GP).

Note that, at higher levels, a Bokor may pay an additional 3 CP to allow selecting the same effect twice to make it double effect. A further 4 CP will allow the same selection to be made three times for triple effect.

  • Immunity/Dispelling and Antimagic (Common, Major, Epic, Specialized and Corrupted/only protects innate enchantments that provide personal augmentations, 9 CP).
  • Immunity/the normal XP cost of Innate Enchantments (Uncommon, Minor, Trivial [only covers first level effects at caster level one], Specialized/only to cover initial racial abilities, 1 CP).

The original Binder also got the ability to conceal the signs of channeling a Mystery (just use a small Illusion, possibly with an upgrade to make it less costly to keep it going), Immunity to Mind-Affecting Abilities (the Adamant Will would work best here), three bonus feats, and immunity to Energy Drain and Negative Levels (a decent Immunity). Not too surprisingly, even if you want all of that as-is… in Eclipse that leaves quite a lot of character points left over to buy other improvements.

So lets build some Mysteries.

Amon, The Burning Darkness (32 CP +3 CP Disadvantage/Accursed. Amon’s mere presence leads to political turmoil, the enabling of bad decisions, and ill-judged lust. The game master should refrain from pointing out obvious problems with player plans and proposals when Amon is being channeled and have NPC’s behave (in-)appropriately) (-3 CP).

Amon hails from the Ars Geotia, wherein he knows the past and future, enables pacts, aids in finding love, and reconciles friends and foes. He may or may not be an Egyptian sun-god sneaking into a new pantheon in disguise. According to Wizards of the Coast he grants darkvision, fire breath, and horns you can ram people with.

That’s… not especially impressive. Sure, the flame breath is useful enough, but a lot of characters will already have Darkvision – and being able to ram things with your head isn’t very impressive. Thus I think that I can improve on this particular one-trick pony.

Touch of the Corona / Innate Enchantment: (11 CP). All at Spell Level One, Caster Level One.

  • Blades Of Fire: +1d8 Fire Damage to your melee attacks (2000 GP).
  • Claws of the Bear (Variant: Ram’s Horns, when charging may use both “claws” as a single attack if you’re willing to ram your head into your target) (2000 GP).
  • Embrace The Wild: +2 to Listen and Spot, Gain Low-Light Vision and either Blindsense out to 30′ or Scent (chosen when the Mystery is summoned) (2000 GP).
  • Mending: You may repair objects with a touch, but only those which were created with the use of flame (metal, glass, fire-tempered wood, etc) (1000 GP).
  • Resist Energy, Fire Only (x.5), Personal Only (x.7) (700 GP). You gain Resistance to Fire 10.
  • Lesser Orb of Fire (2000 GP).

Immunity to Dispelling effects (Common/Minor/Great, Specialized and Corrupted / only to protect Innate Enchantments, Only those that come with this Mystery, 4 CP).

The Fires of Amon:

  • Witchcraft III, Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect/each basic ability is limited to a fairly specific, simple effect (rather than allowing dozens), often with additional limitations (6 CP).
    • Witchfire/The Burning Breath: Fire Generation Only, only usable once every five rounds, Limited to (Level +1) dice up to the maximum (3d8 or 9d6), if targeting a “Small Area” it may be up to a 10′ radius or a 50′ line (6 CP).
    • Hyloka/Burning Blood: Those hosting Amon may spend 1 Power when called on to make a save against poison to automatically succeed, burning it away in a burst of flame.
    • Witchsight/Burning Eyes: Darksight. For one power/hour anyone hosting Amon can see as it if everything was illuminated by full daylight, regardless of natural or magical darkness.
    • Elfshot/The Burning Word: You can spend one power to cause a target to burst into flames. They will take 1d6 fire damage regardless of the initial save, and may extinguish the fire normally – but if the initial save failed the victim must save again each round for one round per level of the user or re-ignite for another 1d6 damage.
  • +4d6 Mana as 12d6 (42) Power, Specialized and Corrupted/only to power the Fires of Amon, above (8 CP).
  • Rite of Chi with +8 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted/only usable between encounters to regain the Fires of Amon Power Pool, above (6 CP).

Amon from the Tome of Magic is generally regarded as a bit below average. Here, of course, he’s had a notable upgrade; while the maximum damage on his Fire Breath has been reduced from ten dice to nine dice, this version offers many more abilities. They may not all be “Unlimited Use”, but they should be unlimited enough for most games.

Aym, Master of War (32 CP + 3 CP Disadvantage/Aym utterly lacks social graces, and shares much of that problem with those who invoke her. Those channeling Aym suffer a -2 penalty on all Charisma-linked skill checks).

Aym is another resident of the Ars Geotia, wherein he “sets cities, castles and great places on fire, makes men witty in all ways, and gives true answers concerning private matters.“ So he’s an arsonist, a repartee coach, and a spy. Ergo, in this case, Aym is a master of the elemental arts of war – granting access to sixteen Elemental Stances, and allowing her Channeler to use up to four of them at a time. (A Stance is simply a combat boost – in these cases 6 CP worth – Specialized and Corrupted since the user may use only one-quarter of them at a time).

Skill Specialties: Tactics, Logistics, and Military Organization (3 CP).

Elemental Stances:

  • Avalanche Strike: Augmented Attack/+2d6 (taken as +5) Damage to overcome Damage Reduction and Hardness Only
  • Cutting Wind: Evasive (Sunder) and Specialist (Sunder) (2 CP).
  • Earthwalk: Immunity/Speed Reductions due to wearing Armor (Common, Minor, Trivial, 2 CP).
  • Flowing Water: Opportunist/Each time the user makes an attack, he or she may also take a 5′ step (2 CP).
  • Heart of Fire: Immunity/attribute drain or damage (Common, Severe, Minor). Ignore the first two points of attribute damage from any attack, disease, or toxin.
  • Heart of Water: Innate Enchantment/all Spell Level One, Caster Level One, Personal Only (x.7), Three times per day each (x.6): Lesser Restoration, Relieve Illness, Relieve Poison, Remove Paralysis, and Remove Fear (4200 GP) plus the effects of a Healing Belt (3 Uses/Day, spend 1/2/3 to heal 2d8/3d8/4d8, 750 GP). It’s kind of cheesy to shove this in under Stances, but 4 CP worth of cheese is barely enough to put on a cracker. And yes, you can use remove paralysis on yourself while you’re paralyzed (2 CP).
  • Ice Mirror Kata: Gain the Favored Enemy Ability. The bonuses must be allotted when Aym is summoned however.
  • Lashing Branch: Opportunist/5′ steps and withdrawals provoke AOO before they’re taken (2 CP).
  • Leaping Fire: Presence/those who strike the user with melee weapons from within a ten foot radius are struck by a fire-based version of Shocking Grasp cast at the user’s level (2 CP).
  • Read the Winds: Gain Blind Fighting (2 CP).
  • Stony Pillar: DR 3/-, Specialized for double effect (6/-)/only against physical attacks (2 CP).
  • Ten Ton Strike: Gain Enhanced Strike / Crushing Blow
  • The Fires Within: Immunity to Fire (Common, Major, Minor (12 Points), 2 CP).
  • Thunderbolt Strike: Augmented Attack/+2d6 (taken as +5) Damage to overcome Damage Reduction and Hardness Only (this stacks with Avalanche Strike).
  • Venom of the Earth: Double Damage versus Objects (2 CP).
  • Wind Blowing: Shaping/Specialized and Corrupted for Increase Effect (Only to generate force-disk “stepping stones” under the user’s feet, allowing him or her to run around up to five feet above a surface, ignore difficult terrain and minor obstacles, and find firm footing “on” ropes, ledges, and similar. Unfortunately, maintaining the effect is distracting enough to inflict a -2 penalty on the user’s attacks (2 CP).

The Tome Of Magic version of Aym is generally regarded as rather sucky. After all, the big plan with that version of Aym is “destroy the stuff we want to steal!” and a 1d6 fire aura which does not scale at all. This version can do everything that that version does as well or better, and offers an enormous array of alternative combat stances for the summoner to use.

Otzi, the Elder Archer (32 CP +3 CP Disadvantage/Compulsive; the Master Archer is chivalrous, and will push channelers to rescuing the women and children, champion the innocent, and so on): This one is not, so far as I can see, from the Ars Geotia – but after you pull out the names (and the origin story implying that the Elven gods are humorless, snobbish, bastards on the level of the worst of the Greek pantheon) all you really have is a generically good archer – an Archetype that goes back a very long ways indeed. Ergo I’ve named this one for one of the earliest specifically known archers.

  • Immunity to Trivial Expenses, Specialized and Corrupted/ammunition only (Common, Minor, Trivial, may ignore the need for ammunition costing up to 5 GP/Shot, 2 CP). This suffices to cover most of the non-magical variant arrows.
  • Imbuement (Bows) (6 CP). This isn’t enough on it’s own, but if you’re channeling the Master Archer a lot you’ll probably get a decent bow to start with.
  • Immunity to the Penalties for Firing into Melee: Common/Minor effect/Minor resistance (4 CP).
  • Innate Enchantment: (8500 GP Value, rounded to 9 CP).
    • Composite Longbow (100 GP). If you don’t actually have a better bow, you automatically get to act like you have a basic one. You don’t really (although you will look like it), but it’s close enough for “Adjust Bow” (below) and the other bow-related abilities to work just fine.
    • Master’s Touch, Only applies to Bows (x.5, 1000 GP). Anyone channeling the Archer is automatically proficient with Bows.
    • Arrow Mind: You threaten squares within your normal reach with your bow and may fire arrows without provoking AOO (2000 GP).
    • Guided Shot: Your ranged attacks do not take range penalties and ignore the AC bonus granted by anything less than total cover. This does, however, require a Swift Action on each turn that you use it (2000 GP).
    • Gravity Bow: Your arrows do damage as if they were one size larger (2000 GP). That will usually be 2d6 for a medium-sized archer.
    • Weapon Mastery/Composite Longbow: +4 Competence Bonus to BAB with Composite Longbow (Personal-Only, 1400 GP). Yes, this will add to iterative attacks.
  • Immunity to Dispelling effects (Common/Minor/Great, Specialized and Corrupted / only to protect Innate Enchantments, Only those that come with this Mystery, 4 CP).
  • Witchcraft III, Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect / each of the four basic witchcraft abilities granted is limited to a fairly specific, simple effect, often with additional limitations (6 CP).
    • Hand of Shadows / Animate Arrows. Spend 1 Power as a swift action, for one minute per level your arrows can perform a combat maneuver (choice of Bull Rush, Disarm, Dirty Trick, Grapple, Steal, Sunder, or Trip) instead of inflicting damage when they hit. Use your rolls, but replace (Str Mod) with (Dex Mod).
    • Hyloka/Zen Archery: You may spend 1 Power as a swift action to swap some (up to Level + 3) of your skill points into a bow-based martial art for an hour. This is a bit of a stretch for Hyloka – but then Specialized and Corrupted covers quite a bit of stretching.
    • Witchfire/Adjust Bow: You may spend 1 Power as a standard action to “customize” a bow for the next 24 hours – adjusting it to suit your strength and grip. You may apply your (Str Mod) to the bows damage.
    • Shadowweave/Sniper’s Step: The user gains a +10 bonus to Stealth (Hide, Move Silently) skills at no cost. The user’s position is not automatically revealed when firing arrows, and the +10 also applies against checks to spot where arrows are being fired from.
  • +2d6 Mana as 6d6 (21) Power, Specialized and Corrupted/only to power the four effects above (4 CP).

As might be expected with an initial design popularly described as “Terrible”, our Archer has had a considerable upgrade. With the ability to perform long-range combat maneuvers, take on a bow-based martial art for the duration, and several continuous archery-boosting spell effects, the user is actually going to be quite competent.

Naberius, the Whispering Sage (32 CP + 3 CP Disadvantage / Compulsive; must explain everything in great detail and depth to anyone who asks, thus cannot keep a secret when directly questioned).

Last up for our “level one” Mysteries we have Naberius (or Cerberus) – an emigrant from Greek mythology via the Ars Geotia. In that book he restored lost dignities and honors (or, in other sources, took them away) (presumably where the restoration of lost attributes came from), made men wise in the arts and sciences, and taught oratory and grace. Not bad for a three-headed guardian hound even if at least half the “demons” in the Ars Geotia also made men wise in various arts (evidently the desire to “get really good without talent, time expenditure, or hard work!” was pretty common then too). He’s also described as one of the best choices on the WOTC official 3.5 list – and not just among the level one choices. He’s the only top-rated choice in the first three levels of choices. To quote The Binder Handbook on him… “Naberius gives a host of good abilities, the only thing keeping him from destroying the mind of everyone who reads him with his amazingness is the fact that he’s incredibly niche and not generally useful day to day for most Binders.”

Ergo, if any of the first level Mysteries are going to have to be trimmed… it’s going to be The Whispering Sage here. He’ll probably fit in well enough though.

  • Innate Enchantment (6 CP).
    • Masterwork Tools: Thieves (Disable Device and Open Locks, 100 GP), Balance Pole (Balance, Jump, and Tumble, 150 GP), Power Suit and Mirror Sunglasses (Bluff, Diplomacy, Gather Information, 150 GP), Dark Silk Clothing (Stealth or Hide/Move Silently, 100 GP), Spectacles and Hearing Horn (Perception or Hide/Move Silently, 100 GP), Magnifying Glass (Search, 50 GP), Grip Gloves (Climb, Slight of Hand, and Use Rope, 150 GP). Surgeon’s Tools (Heal, 50 GP), Flippers (Swim, 50 GP).
    • Mental Library: Effectively Masterwork Tools for all eight Knowledges, Read Languages, Use Magic Device, Sense Motive, Spellcraft, Survival, and Diplomacy (700 GP)
      Traveler’s Anytool (250 GP): Counts as masterwork tools for most Craft and Profession skills.
    • Alchemists Lab (500 GP): +2 on Craft/Alchemy checks.
    • Skill Mastery (SL1/2 x CL1 x 2000 GP x.7 Personal Only = 700 GP): +1 Competence Bonus on all Skill Checks.
    • Disguise Self: (2000 GP): +10 bonus on Disguise checks.

Naberius gets a boost here simply because he needed Innate Enchantment for Disguise Self – but then had 3000 GP more to spend. Ergo, this version winds up with a +2 Circumstance (Tools) bonus and a +1 Competence bonus on almost every skill. That’s hardly going to break a game – especially since most characters get tools for their skills anyway – but it can be convenient.

Immunity to Attribute Drain and Damage (Common, Major, Major), Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect (Immunities to attribute damage and drain normally divide the resistance by five; so this is a base of six points, then increased to 18) / does not actually prevent the attribute loss; it merely allows the user to recover it at a greatly accelerated rate – “healing” one point of each damaged attribute per round, and one point in each drained attribute per hour (9 CP).

There’s a bit of a trim there – some attribute injuries may be so great that even Naberius will be unable to fully heal them – but how often are you confronted with something that drains more than eighteen points from an attribute in one shot?

  • Double Enthusiast, Specialized and Corrupted/Skills Only, must be selected during the initial summoning and may not be changed thereafter. As part of a template, these six bonus skill points may be used to purchase any skill ranks desired (6 CP).

That covers actually taking six skills or becoming familiar with up to eighteen – which should be plenty. It also lets you invest all six in one skill if you really want to be good at something.

  • Witchcraft/Advanced Glamour: Specialized and Corrupted/only two effects. The channeler may spend 1 power to either use Suggestion as a Supernatural Power for 1 Power or to gain a +12 Enhancement bonus on a Diplomacy or Bluff check as a Supernatural Power (3 CP). Unfortunately, neither may be used more than once every five rounds.
  • +2d6 Mana as 6d6 (21) Power, Specialized and Corrupted/only to power the two Advanced Glamour abilities given above. (4 CP).
  • Presence: Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect: may only be used once every five rounds, requires a standard action, increased effect only extends the radius. This produces the effect of a Command spell against all enemies within 30 feet (6 CP).
  • +1 to Speak Languages (Elder Runes, 1 CP).

Naberius actually fit in quite nicely; he got trimmed in a couple of spots – reducing two items from “unlimited use” to ten to twenty times a day, making his disguises dispellable, and limiting the maximum resistance to attribute damage and drain – but he picked up some cheap-and-minor skill bonuses in place of “unlimited use”. Overall, if you want to be a skillmaster or the party Face, there are much worse options – although you’ll have to attack people in some other way. He’s got no real direct combat powers to offer you at all.

Next time around on this it will be more Mysteries.

d20 and Post-Apocalyptic Mecha-Style Games

Having now got the Eclipse Compiled book and the Practical Enchanter book, and Legends of High Fantasy is on the way to me, I need some guidance.

It’s easy to see how this works with a D20 type campaign. But what I want to use these on is Palladium – most notably Rifts. Any ideas on how the conversion might work?

-Bruce Gray

This varies somewhat depending on if you want to run a Rifts-style game using the Eclipse d20 rules or if you want to translate d20 characters into Rifts or vice-versa – so this initial look is going to be awfully generic.

When you come down to actual play most of the differences between Rifts and the d20 rules set are actually pretty straightforward. That’s really not too surprising given that the Palladium system is ultimately quite derivative of early-edition AD&D and Runequest and has never really been revised or upgraded.

Rifts characters and monsters are essentially invulnerable to minor attacks – to non-magical weapons in d20 terms. d20 characters are, however, far more resistant to major attacks since the d20 damage scale is exponential instead of linear.

  • When you’re considering Rifts and d20 it’s important to remember that the d20 scale starts off with fairly ordinary people (like the Rifts City Rat) and ends up with the power to create and destroy universes – far beyond he upper limits for Rifts characters (or gods).

d20 damage is not linear. For example, as explored HERE, a medium size Mace in d20 hits for 1d8 damage plus strength modifiers – often enough (with either a critical hit or a good strength modifier) to instantly kill a normal (1d4 hit points) person. A Colossal Mace is 12 times as large in any dimension (and so masses almost seven tons) and hits at the same rate – meaning it’s swung 12 times as fast. This comes out to 248,832 times as much kinetic energy to inflict damage. That’s 248,832d8 damage in Rifts linear damage system or 248d8 Megadamage.

Yet a Colossal Mace only does 6d6+Str Mod damage in d20 (the same base damage as a sixth level wizard throwing a Fireball). If we simply consider d20 attacks to be megadamage… we are actually cheating the high-end d20 types out of most of their damage. For example, according to Rifts official FAQ’s, the Tsar Bomba would have a total destruction radius of 10 KM, causes 3d6 x 1000 MD out to 16 KM, and causes 2d6 x 100 MD out to 22.5 KM. In d20… a direct hit with it causes 25d6 damage and some saving throws. A d20 future “Singularity Grenade” sucks all matter and energy within it’s radius into a black hole – tearing matter apart at the subatomic level with infinite forces. It does 15d6 damage.

Similarly, d20 characters are not soft, squishy, mortals to begin with. As covered over HERE, one d20 hit point is roughly equal to a Battlemech (or Megadamage) Hit Point – and the same logic applies given that a City Rat starts off with an average of about forty (27 + PE) SDC and HP while an equivalent d20 character will start with an average of 2-3 HP.

  • Rifts armor protection is ablative rather than constant – which means that repairing and replacing armor is a constant preoccupation for combat-based characters.
  • Rifts has more technical skills, and starts with higher skill bases, but skills develop more slowly and never achieve the kind of inhuman levels that d20 characters can develop – partially because d20 has sliding difficulty levels, while most Rifts skill rolls have fixed targets and few modifiers. What level of the Rifts Acrobatics skill will let you walk on clouds? d20 skills can do things like that.
  • Rifts power-items are usually technologically styled (and lean very heavily towards “bang” as opposed to more subtle abilities). Of course d20 covers this too; both in d20 future and in publications like Dragonstar.
  • Starting Rifts characters are more powerful compared to basic NPC’s than most d20 characters are mostly thanks to that invulnerability to minor attacks – but high-end Rifts characters are far less powerful than high-end d20 characters.
  • Rifts skills can boost attributes and provide special abilities. In d20 you get similar boosts from Feats and Martial Arts Skills. The overall effect is pretty similar.
  • Rifts usually defaults to limiting magic by a characters magical reserves rather than by spell slots, but it’s not like d20 mages can’t be built that way.
  • All d20 characters are automatically trained in combat, often with a very wide variety of weapons. Rifts characters need hand-to-hand combat skills and specific weapon proficiencies.
  • d20 combat is more abstracted than Rifts (parries and such are presumed as a part of AC), but the end result is similar enough; you trade attacks and maneuvers until someone goes down.
  • d20 Saves are considerably better organized, but function in much the same way. The primary difference is, once again, the scaling target numbers.

And that’s about it. There are some game-mechanical differences, such as the difference in characteristic scales – but as long as those remain consistent within the game, the actual numbers only matter when converting characters.

So to run a Post-Apocalypse or “Rifts”-Styled d20 Game:

  • Characters with Adventurer Classes and Monsters with CR 4+ all get DR 8/Magic for free.
  • Player Characters start at Level Four.
  • Magical Weapons, Armor, and Physical Attribute Boosters are all generally technological and are available for one-fifth the normal price. Alternatively, if you wish to go for the “big guns and mecha” feel, use the Federation-Apocalypse gear (Common Gadgets, Small Arms, Effectors and Remotes, Medical Care, Mecha and Power Armor, Core PsitechWeapon Benchmarks, Battlemech Conversions (and a few more d20 Battlemech Conversions), Flit, Orb, and Starship Shields) or the Shadowed Galaxy equipment skills (General Gear and Weapons).
  • When a Character takes damage, their armor or shield is also hit for one-half that damage. It’s hardness, however, applies. Mostly from the SRD…
    • Effective Armor Hardness: 5 (Leather, etc), 10 (Steel), 15 (Special Metals), 20 (Adamant), +2 per +1 bonus
    • Armor Hit Points: 5 x AC Bonus + 10 per +1 bonus or equivalent.
  • There are no magic marts. You’ve got to find stuff – whether by seeking out someone who makes it or by theft or salvage. Low-end stuff is fairly common, high end stuff is rare. Most items are technologically styled; instead of a “wand of healing” you have a healers kit. (Most characters should take the ability to use such things as “technological aptitude” (Item Use).
  • Experience point gains are halved after reaching level six, reduced to one-fourth after reaching level nine, and reduced to one-eighth at levels twelve to fifteen, and so on.

And now your d20 game will play a lot like Rifts (or Deadlands, or a dozen similar settings). Only adventurers with special gear will be able to handle monsters, their armor will need constant maintenance, and it will be extremely slow and difficult to achieve the heights of cosmic power normally available in d20.

Do you want to bring d20 characters into your Rifts game?

  • Double the d20 characters hit points to get their MDC. D20 Armor boosts it’s wearer’s ability to withstand damage rather than having it’s own hits (after all, there is always the classic chainmail bikini, which works just fine in d20). Add standard d20 Armor HP to the user’s MDC. As a magical booster, d20 armor is only destroyed if specifically targeted after the wearer is dead. Alternatively, simply translate things into technologically-styled armor.
  • All d20 magical weapons, magically enhanced attacks, spells, psionic powers, and other special abilities inflict their usual damage as megadamage.
  • Use the d20 characters Fortitude Bonus against Diseases, Poisons, and Drugs, their Will Bonus against Curses, Insanity, Magic, and Psionics, and their Reflex Bonus to Parry, Dodge, and Roll with the Punch. In all cases, normal Rifts target numbers apply.
  • 4) All d20 characters get (BAB/5, rounded up, +2) Attacks at their full BAB since Rifts rounds are fifteen seconds long instead of six.
  • Rifts Speed = (2 x d20 Movement / 3).
  • Take the d20 skills, multiply the bonuses by 10%, and put it into something roughly equivalent Rifts skills. If anything goes over 120%, put the extra into related skills.
  • 7) Forget physical skills. Forget weapon proficiencies. d20 buys that stuff directly, and folds it into generic proficiency sets and BAB. Use BAB as the bonus to attacks.
  • 8) If, for some reason, you want to compare attributes, multiply the d20 attributes by 1.6

Really, everything else is quite compatible enough; sure, there will be some strange mechanics by Rifts standards – but Rifts is full of strange mechanics particular to specific items, creatures, and OCCs.

Do you want to convert Rifts characters to d20? That’s more awkward simply because Rifts has little consistency. There aren’t any simple rules that will cover all the odd cases given that a whale wizard, a cosmo-knight, a demigodling, a cloud-tentacle monster, a doctor, and a dryad will have compatibility problems even in Rifts, much less in translation. The simplest way is to just give the mundane characters big guns and advanced armor (probably using d20 Future or the Federation-Apocalypse gear) and turn the magic-users and psychics into appropriate types – but when the weird stuff comes up it will probably just be easier to use Eclipse to build something equivalent – or just reverse the “convert to d20” quick rules above.