Eclipsing Magma

Magma – Amara Juliana Olivians Aquillav or possibly Allison Crestmere – was originally set up as a youthful citizen of a lost roman colony in South America who had been sent out into the jungle to keep her safe from Selene. That was weird, but between magic, alternate timelines, dimensional rifts, teleportation, mutants, Gods, Eternals, Celestials, and so on… hardly anything can be said to be implausible.

In any case, Selene eventually caught her, drained her life-force, and threw the corpse into a lava pit – whereupon she promptly rose from the dead as a volcanic avenger. Selene was forced to skip out and the New Mutants got a new member – taking the “Blaster” slot to provide some much-needed firepower. Shortly after that, however, she left to join the Hellions and hooked up with Empath – showing a taste for “bad boys” that would be a continuing theme.

Shortly thereafter the whole “roman colony” was revealed to be kidnapped-and-brainwashed British citizens (a reveal which is sometimes respected and sometimes ignored depending on the writer). Since then, Magma has appeared here and there, but never for very long. She’s also had (and apparently enjoyed) a date with Mephisto, including dinner in hell next to a lake of fire. She later dumped him. I don’t know whether that’s foolhardy or the most gutsy relationship ploy in history, but it’s certainly SOMETHING and will SURELY never come back to haunt her.

Magma is actually pretty simple to build in Eclipse because she’s a standard fantasy archetype; a youngster with a powerful talent for a particular type of magic (“mutant power”) and poor control of it. Given it’s limited applicability, she backs it up with some basic weapons and survival skills. If she was in a fantasy world where such things are usually limited use, she’d be part of a party of adventurers looking for treasure hordes. In a setting where the power flows freely she’s a superhero – or possibly a public menace (if it’s possible to tell the difference).

Amara:

Basic Attributes:

  • According to THIS BUILD… she’s pretty much a straight-fourteens kind of gal. I’ll be bumping her Constitution up by +2 though to get her more Mana to work with.
  • Net Attributes: Str 12 (+2 Enh, 14), Int 14, Wis 13 (+1 at L4, 14), Con 14 (+2 Enh, 16), Dex 14 (+2 Pathfinder Human, 16), and Cha 14 (Pathfinder 25 point buy). The +1 from her level… probably goes to her Constitution. It will be handy there later.
  • BAB +5, Corrupted/does not contribute to iterative attacks (20 CP). +1 BAB, also Specialized in Swords (2 CP).

Skills:

According to the build, these are Acrobatics 3, Athletics 2, Close Combat (Sword) 2, Deception 2 (+4, +6 Attractive), Expertise (Politics) 2, Expertise (History) 4, Expertise (Survival) 4, Insight 2, Intimidation 4, Perception 3, Persuasion 2 (+4, +6 Attractive), Ranged Combat (Magma) 3, and Unarmed Combat 3. As usual, I’m not sure what the point of many of those are. Like it or not… the basic variability of a d20 swamps small bonuses and you only need a +1 to use skills that cannot be used untrained.

Of course, this build will need more skills than THAT.

  • Upgrade Human Fast Learner to +2 SP/Level (Purchased at L(-2) with human bonus feat points, 3 CP). With her Intelligence, this will provide her with 16 SP at L1 and 4 SP/Additional Level. At level four that gives her at least 28 SP to spend.
  • Adept / Living in a a “lost colony in a jungle” (Initial half purchased at L(-2) with remaining points from Human Bonus Feat, then at L0; pays half cost for Expertise / History, Expertise / Survival, Martial Arts / Legionary Skirmisher Combat, and Intimidation, 6 CP). For simplicities sake, I’m going to assume that she’s keeping these skills maxed out. At level four, that costs 14 SP and gives them a base bonus of +7.

Geomantic Mastery:

  • Instinctive Volcanology: Fast Learner (Specialized in Skills for +2 SP/Level, Corrupted/may only be used to keep this set of Adept skills maxed out, 4 CP), Adept/(pays half cost for Rune Magic / Wisdom-Based Geomancy, Casting and Mastery, Martial Art/Vulcanism, and Expertise/Geology, 6 CP). This keeps these four “instinctive” skills at (Level +3) automatically.
  • Skill Emphasis (Geomancy Casting, 3 CP).
  • Her +10 Casting and +9 Mastery of Geomancy is Specialized for Increased Effect (Effective total bonus of +20/+18 (Caster Level 10, up to fourth level effects maximum) / use causes earth tremors and other unwanted geological disturbances, effective skill decreases by one each time it is used when the user is not in contact with the ground or a solid surface connected to the ground or by two per use in space, may lose control of her powers when emotionally stressed. It’s important to note that Amara doesn’t yet actually have the Mana for anything beyond third level effects – but that with the Four-Color Package she can affect considerable areas.

It’s worth noting that “dangerously uncontrollable power” is a lot more of a limitation in Eclipse than in Mutants & Masterminds (or even the original comics) because Eclipse acknowledges that people die. In fact, they OFTEN die. You caused an earthquake? In Mutants & Masterminds and in the comics… you will never hear about the infant who was sliced to ribbons by a descending rain of broken glass from a shattered window or the frail grandmother who was crushed beneath a falling bookcase. In Eclipse, as in most of the more “realistic” systems, that sort of thing will happen. Similarly… the “good guys” are NOT guaranteed to win in the end and uncontrollable powers can (and WILL) get companions killed. Fortunately, however, that aspect will not translate over.

  • That leaves Acrobatics 3, Athletics 2, Deception 2, Expertise (Politics) 2, Insight 2, Perception 3, and Persuasion 2. She also speaks English, Portuguese, Latin, and – I’d presume – at least one or two of the local tribal languages of Brazil, so I’m adding +2 SP in Speak Language to cover that along with a couple of +3 Specialities: Deception (tricking people who find her attractive, 1 SP) and Persuasion (persuading people who find her attractive, 1 SP). That requires that she buy 6 SP (6 CP).

Unusually for someone who’s a primary blaster, Amara has two martial arts – so here they are.

  • Legionary Skirmisher Combat (Dex based): Total Bonus +13
    • While the Roman Legions were famous for their tightly-organized formations, they weren’t blind to the value of variegated, loosely-organized skirmishers – and they efficiently trained them as well, teaching them to move in and out, to strike hard and fall back, and to take any cheap shot with a foot, offhand, elbow, or other body part that they could get in hopes of setting up for a finishing blow with their actual weapon.
  • Requires: Weapon Specialist (+1 BAB specifically with Swords).
  • Basics: Attack 4, Defenses 4, and Strike.
  • Advanced and Master Techniques: Unarmed Kata (also usable unarmed), Sunder, Improved Disarm, and Expertise (trade AC Bonuses for Attack Bonuses or Vice Versa)
  • Occult Techniques: Focused Blow, Inner Strength, Healing Hand, and Light Foot.
  • Known Techniques: Attack 3, Unarmed Kata, Sunder, Inner Strength, and Healing Hand.
    • The Roman Legions were eminently practical; if it offered an advantage, then so be it! In a universe where the martial arts really can can provide strange power… the upper levels of their combat training will surely include at least a few useful tricks.

  • Vulcanism (Magma Blast Attacks) Dex-Based Martial Art: Total Bonus: +13
    • This is the inherent art of volcano spirits. Most elemental spirits don’t have an instinctive martial arts style, but Volcano Spirits are just a bit more violent than most spirits.
  • Requires: Ability to regularly project blasts of magma.
  • Basics: Attack 4, Toughness 4, and Synergy/Expertise (Geology).
  • Advanced and Master Techniques: Lava Bomb (Improved Critical), Flowing Magma (Instant Stand), Pyroclastic Cloud (Whirlwind Attack), and Earth Awareness (Mind Like Moon).
  • Occult Techniques: Leaping Fire (Vanishing), Earthfire Heart (Inner Strength), Entomb (Paralyze), and Stoneskin (Iron Skin).
  • Known Techniques: Attack 3, Lava Bomb, Pyroclastic Cloud, Earthfire Heart, and Entomb.

Superhero systems aren’t big on skills. Save for the Martial Arts, skills aren’t visually exciting – and they are often easily supplanted by fairly trivial powers (especially in a buy-what-you-wish RPG. Lets see. I can replace acrobatics, breakfall, climbing, jumping, parachuting, and swimming with just a bit of a highly-limited Flight power that I won’t have to roll to use and can use all I wish to. Is there any reason why I WOULDN’T do that? Or just hitch a ride with my flying teammate? Or teleport?). Mutants & Masterminds kind of painted itself into a corner here; the writers wanted combat skills to work like other skills. Sadly, in almost every superheroic setting, combat skills are much more important and useful than other skills – so combat skills set the price and non-combat skills became seriously overpriced. Eclipse, on the other hand, makes skills cheaper, and pretty much an automatic part of a character, so as to keep them more competitive with other powers since skill-users needed a boost anyway.

Geomantic Affinity:

  • Innate Enchantment, all Spell Level One x Caster Level One x 2000 GP Unlimited Use Use Activated x .7 Personal Only where applicable. 9000 GP net value, 10 CP.
    • Earth Power: +2 Str (1400 GP).
    • Bones of Stone: +2 Con (1400 GP).
    • Heart of Fire: Fire Resistance 20 (1400 GP).
    • Pulse of the World: Geology Sense (2000 GP). This allows the user to detect faultlines, tremors, caverns, veins of exotic minerals, ley lines, and similar features of the earth with basic perception checks as if looking for normally-visible geological features of similar scale.
    • Magma Manipulation: Weapon Mastery: Magma Bolts (+4 to BAB) (1400 GP).
    • Earthwarding: As per Mage Armor, +4 Armor Bonus to AC, (1400 GP).

Volcanic Transformation:

  • Mana-Powered Shapeshift with Elemental Forms, Specialized and Corrupted/Magma Elemental Form Only, no attribute shifts (3 CP). As Magma Elemental: Darkvision 60, +7 Natural Armor, vulnerable to cold, immune to Bleeding, Paralysis, Poison, Sleep, and Stunning, not vulnerable to Critical Hits or Flanking, Immune to Precision Damage, does not Breathe, Eat, or Sleep, Burrow 20′, Earth Glide, Burn, Tremorsense, Immunity to Fire, Lava Pool 1/Day.
  • Opportunist / may automatically shift to Elemental Form when she would be injured by fire, earth, or stone (thrown into a blast furnace, buried in an avalanche, breathed on by a dragon with fire breath, etc, Specialized/has no control over this, 3 CP).
  • Opportunist / may automatically switch to Elemental Form when invoking a Geomantic effect of level two or above, Specialized / has no control over this (3 CP).
  • Returning, Specialized and Corrupted/her body must be exposed to really extreme heat, such as a pool of magma, a blast furnace, or a rocket exhaust (2 CP).
  • Mana Powered Grant Of Aid, Specialized / only usable when directly exposed to sources of extreme heat other than her own powers (3 CP).

Basics:

  • Hit Dice: 12 (L1d12, 8 CP) +17 (L2-4d8, 12 CP) +12 (Con Mod x 4) = 41. In Mutants & Masterminds that gives her a base Toughness of 7.4, rounding to 7.
  • Saving Throws: Fortitude +2 (6 CP), Reflex +1 (3 CP), Will +2 (6 CP) all +1 Resistance = Fort +6, Reflex +5, Will +5,
  • Proficiencies: Light Armor, all Simple and Martial Weapons (12 CP).
  • Armor Class 10 (Base) +4 (Armor) +3 (Dex) +7 (Natural, Magma Form Only) = 17 (Human), 24 (Magma Elemental). (Mutants & Masterminds Dodge/Parry DC 24.
  • Attacks: Geomancy (Lava Attacks +5 BAB +3 Dex +3 Martal Art +4 Competence for +15 to attacks where relevant (area effects and such do not require attack checks, usually about 10d6). (In Mutants and Masterminds… +15, Effect Rating 10). Sword or Unarmed +11 (+6 BAB +2 Str +3 Martial Art), Damage 1d8+2 (Str) for Sword, 1d4+2 for Unarmed, Mutants & Masterminds +11, effect rating 5 for Sword, 3 for Unarmed). As a magma elemental, anyone she attacks in HTH or who attacks her unarmed or with a natural weapon suffers 1d4 fire damage and may catch fire (In Mutants & Masterminds Flame Aura 2, may be boosted with her Geomancy).

Minor Items:

  • Favors from Mephisto (3 CP). Note that a GREAT deal of caution is advised here.
  • Expertise: Trade attack bonus for damage (6 CP).

Overall Point Costs:

  • Four-Color Package: 24 CP
  • BAB: 22 CP.
  • Skills: 28 CP.
  • Geomantic Affinity: 10 CP
  • Volcanic Transformation: 12 CP
  • Hit Dice: 20 CP
  • Saving Throws: 15 CP
  • Proficiencies: 12 CP
  • Minor Items: 9 CP.

Total: 152 CP.

  • Available Character Points: 120 (Level Four Base) +10 (Disadvantages: History, Hunted, Compulsive/drawn to “Bad Boys”) +18 (Human Bonus, L1 and L3 feats) +4 (Restrictions on Metal Armor / she can’t manage to shapeshift it, and so it tends to burn up when she takes her magma elemental form) = 152 CP.

For remaining details… we have a minor effect or two to add from the Four Color Package and her Wealth-By-Level equipment.

  • For her minor effect, her geomantic knacks allow her to ignore movement penalties for difficult terrain (Feather Stop, L1). She usually uses this when traversing the rubble she throws up, but used to use in in the jungle a lot
  • At level four she’s entitled to 6000 GP worth of personal gear. For that she has…
    • Solar Talisman of Resistance +1 (1000 GP). (A from her father gift in token of her resistence to Selene).
    • Advanced First Aid Kit / Healing Belt (750 GP). OK; they don’t actually show all the characters carrying these, but they SHOULD. I shall presume an asbestos pouch to help it survive touching her in magma elemental form.
    • “Pocket Secretary”/Hero Team Comlink: Satellite Smartphone with HUD and hands-free links (250 GP), Smartsearch (As per a Tome of Worldly Memory, 1500 GP), Intelligent (500 GP), Int, Wis, Chr all 10 (0 GP), 30′ senses, uses Message at will (1000 GP). Note that, since smartphones can talk anyway, there is no need to buy speech for it.
    • Unfortunately, the usual armored costume is of little use to her and the usual reactive contact lenses tend to burn up given that wrapping them up in asbestos is quite impractical. Ergo… she doesn’t use as much equipment as most of the others do.

Amara is powerful, but suffers from poor control, relative fragility when she gets hit effectively, and being incredibly conspicuous – as well as a nasty tendency to set everything around her on fire when she uses her powers. Worse, with the four-color package in play… losing control of her powers can easily result in major earthquakes or worse. Finally, of course, she’s made relatively few major appearances, has never stuck with a team for very long, and even got her history gratuitously written out of existence. Given all that, it shouldn’t be at all surprising that she’s the lowest level New Mutant so far.

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One Response

  1. […] writeup, Uncontrolled Powers and Mutants & Masterminds combat skills are discussed in the Magma writeup, the Valkyrie Template is in the Mirage writeup, the Technorganic Template and buying […]

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