Terminator IV T-3000, The Apo-Hypothesis

Finally, we have the T-3000 – arguably either the “Ultimate” Terminator or not really a Terminator at all.

The T-3000 is the result of infecting a human with “machine phase matter” (apparently some type of nanotech), which turns them into a improved version of the T-1000 with all their skills and memories intact. Unfortunately for Skynet, up until the transformation of John Connor all such attempts simply drove the subjects insane and killed them without creating a functional Terminator, making the attempts a waste of time.

Wait, what? You’re killing them anyway, and absorbing their memories into a computer system. Why should their sanity – or even their deaths (which are coming in moments anyway) matter? And what makes John Connor unique? Sure, he’s well-trained – but didn’t he pass that on to most of his followers? Isn’t he physically and neurologically just another human? Why waste time on something that’s been repeatedly determined not to work? Isn’t Skynet a computer?

Anyway, at the end, the T-3000 is destroyed by a prototype time machine – it being strongly implied that few other sources of magnetic fields are powerful enough, although there is some evidence that enough hits with specialized weapons could wear it down eventually.

Overall, a T-3000 acts a lot like the T-1000, but…

  • It is supposed to be stronger than the earlier model Terminators.

OK. Another bonus to Strength. There’s no problem there. After all, the latest model is generally supposed to be the strongest.

  • It can easily withstand vast amounts of damage (it can’t be infinite; energy attacks and bullets and such will destroy a few of its nanites each time, but that’s like trying to kill a human with a tiny needle. It’s going to take a lot of poking). Still, “tougher” is pretty much the Terminator theme, so the latest model is generally really tough. There’s no problem there.

So… more hit points, maybe boost the T-1000 resistance to damage a bit but make it vulnerable to attacks with magnetic properties.

  • It’s really fast.

OK; throw in Personal Haste in it’s innate enchantments. Kill some of the self-repair functions (which make no sense for it) to help make room.

  • It’s actually relatively hard to hit, since it phases through some attacks.

So it has a higher AC. Fair enough again; it IS the big boss Terminator. Buy some more AC.

  • It can use it’s magnetic field to walk up metal walls and such.

Well… OK. Given the lack of strain on the walls from this, this is probably actually purchased as really limited flight, but it still makes some sense. It could even be expanded to non-metal walls, given that a T-3000 can easily stick anchors out of its feet.

  • It can enlarge it’s “muscles”, and thus strength, in combat.

That doesn’t make a lot of sense. It’s not like those “muscles” have any bones to pull against or actually do anything; it’s supposed to be moving and holding it’s shape because of a magnetic field that it generates. Wouldn’t it’s “strength” be limited by that field, not by it’s non-existent “muscles”? And why doesn’t that magnetic field attract magnetic materials when it doesn’t want to?

  • It can turn into a mist, and – in that form – move through solid matter (or at least through another Terminator).

Wait, what? It’s supposed to be made of nanomachines the size of human cells. If those moved through matter… they’d turn it into a swiss cheese of microscopic holes, destroying any older-model Terminator (and pretty much anything else solid) that it moved through.

Yet that didn’t happen. And THAT is flatly silly. Sure, it IS possible to make matter pass through other matter, but the kind of forces that involves are not going to leave nanites and electronics intact. They’re not going to leave ANYTHING intact in a considerable radius.

Magnets. How do they even work?

Well… it’s not anything like THAT.

OK; looking at what this actually seems to do… It allowed the T-3000 to stand instantly (a quick turn doesn’t matter in d20, which has no facing) and to step “through” Pops – which either briefly “stunned” him or was shown in slow motion. Judging by the other shots of this ability in use… it was probably shown in slow motion so the audience could see the neat special effect. Far more importantly… it was never used when it would actually have done something, such as getting aboard that bus. Maybe the power demand was too high to use it often?

Anyway, I’m going to assume that John Connor knew a martial art with “Instant Stand” in it and just had a nifty new special effect for it. A short range, very limited use, teleport effect may be in order too.

Overall, d20 is very appropriate for this particular template, because, while the T-1000 was physically absurd, you had to know some physics and engineering to know why. The T-3000 blatantly jumps straight into fantasy. It’s super-fast, super-strong, can only be injured by specific means, can turn to mist and reform even if you chop pieces off, it falls apart into dust when destroyed, recovers incredibly quickly from most attacks, starts “burning” and dissolving into “smoke” when exposed to it’s weakness, and is made by transforming a living human into a monster – or more precisely, by possessing a fresh corpse (even if most of the the attempted conversions fail). On the weakness side… It has trouble with areas with strong magnetic fields, can be held back by powerful magnets, has minor troubles with electrical shocks (which also generate strong magnetic fields), and suffers some (if also relatively minor) injuries from weapons with magnetic properties.

Doesn’t that sound pretty familiar? The Terminator was basically a modern version of a Golem, To quote Kyle Reese in the first movie… “Listen, and understand. That Terminator is out there. It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead.”

That’s a classical golem right there.

But the T-3000 has had a villain upgrade to Vampire, substituting (or adding) “magnets!” for “holy!” on it’s list of vulnerabilities. After all… if you shoved a supermagnetic metal pole through it, wouldn’t it be incapacitated until something pulled it out?

Not too surprisingly, this modern rendition of Dracula versus Frankenstein (complete with Frankenstein protecting the girl) winds up like it did in 1971: Dracula rips apart Frankenstein, but is then destroyed by exposure to his weakness. Of course, Frankenstein – being a good guy from the beginning this time around – winds up being thrown into a tank of magic mad scientist goop that puts him back together, while there are the inevitable hints at a Return of Dracula.

So for our T-3000 Acquired Template…

  • Attribute Modifiers: Str +8, Dex +4, Int +2, Wis -4, Cha -6 (30 CP Attribute Shift, 24 CP Purchase)
  • Immunity to Mind-Affecting Effects (charms, compulsions, phantasms, patterns, and morale effects of level seven or below, with a +8 bonus to saves against higher-level effects, does not work against ECM, Hacking, Computer Viruses, and other electronically-based effects (24 CP).
  • DR 6/- and 12/magnetic weapons (12 CP).
  • Energy Resistance 12, Reduced to 6 versus Electromagnetic Attacks (12 CP).
  • Celerity with Additional Movement Mode (Flight), Specialized /only to allow walking up walls and such (9 CP).
  • No Constitution (0 CP).
  • +80 Hit Points (48 CP, purchased as Immunity to Damage (Very Common, Severe, Legendary, Corrupted for Reduced Cost, Specialized for Increased Effect: / provides only two-thirds the usual protection, the protection is degraded by incoming damage in a one-to-one ratio, and can only be restored by repairing it as if it was hit point damage.
  • Adds (Str Mod x 1.5) to AC as a Natural Armor Bonus, although this is not cumulative with external armor bonuses; only the best bonus applies (12 CP).
  • +2 in each save category (18 CP).
  • Low-Light Vision (6 CP)
  • 60′ Darkvision (6 CP)
  • +5 BAB (30 CP).
  • Expertise (Power Attack version) (6 CP)
  • Innate Enchantment (12 CP) (up to 11,500 GP Value)
    • Advanced Military Programming: +3 Competence Bonus to Heal, Intimidate, Perception, and Knowledge (History, the Military and Weapons in particular) (1400 GP).
    • Anklet of Translocation (1400 GP). This covers the occasional “flash step” maneuver.
    • Hat of Disguise x.8 (no longer usable if the unit has taken 20 or more points of actual damage, 1440 GP)
    • Iron Strike: The user’s hands are treated as +2 Hand Axes (1400 GP). Note that this can look like a wide variety of weapons, but the default of +2 to Attacks and 1d6+2+Str Mod damage works well enough for most things.
    • Large and Heavy: Enlarge Person: Only to be considered Large for the purpose of breaking doors and other objects, grappling, and carrying things (x.5) (700 GP).
    • Lightspeed Computation: Boost Armor: Reduced Defense VII (+0 AC, -14 DC), Segmented III (+6 DC, no non-proficiency penalty), Max Dex +4 (-), Speed +10, +4 Str, +2 Reflex Saves (Net purchase DC 10 = 120 Credits or 6 GP). (This is a very cheap trick, but so be it).
    • Nanite Structure: Enhance Structure: +2d6 + 2 x Str Mod Temporary HP to a construct, x.7 no more than half of each rounds buffer is effective against any one attack, use makes it obvious that the user is not human (980 GP).
    • Personal Haste (2000 GP): +30′ Movement, +1 attack when making a full attack.
    • Weapons Catalog: Masters Touch, x.7 Weapons Only (1400 GP).
    • Secondary Equipment: Advanced Smartphone (10 GP), GPS (20 GP), Radio Scanner (10 GP), Lock Release Gun (10 GP), Rangefinding Binoculars (25 GP), Compass (2 CP), Flash Goggles (25 GP), HUD (3 GP), Military Transceiver (20 GP), Vocalizer (Voice Imitation, 50 GP), Power Backpack (5 GP), Multipurpose Tool (4 GP), Remote Surveillance Module (20 GP). High Frequency Sword (25 GP), Grenade Launcher (100 GP), Grapnel Gun (20 GP), Dual, Katanas (20 GP), Chain Saw (12.5 GP). Net total: 380 GP.
      • Net Total: 11,106 GP. There’s room enough for a few conventional gadgets if you wish – perhaps some surveillance and electronic scanning gear?
  • Accursed: Whenever a T-3000 takes extra damage from a critical hit they must make a DC 15 Fortitude save to avoid being stunned for 1 round. If the save is successful, the T-3000 is still staggered for 1 round. They remain immune to other sources of the stunned condition (-3 CP)

That’s 246 CP – a rather high-value template, up in +8 ECL territory. Fairly obviously, some major limitations are in order – and they’re going to have to be pretty serious to justify bringing that +8 ECL modifier down to something reasonable.

So what are those limitations?

Honestly, we can’t be sure. The one example we’ve seen was unique – and we weren’t given all that much information on it at all, much less a breakdown on what made it unique, or what carried over from the original person, or what it’s precise limits were. Worse, what little we got was strictly within a science-fantasy framework with no magic, psionics, or other odd methods of bending reality. Ergo, it’s going to be mix and match; take four of the Major Limitations and three of the Minor Limitations and consider the entire template Specialized – reducing it’s cost to 123 Points, a +4 ECL Acquired Template.

Major Limitations:

  • A T-3000 cannot ever truly heal; it’s nanites are the unique products of the conversion of a specific persons cells, and are irreplaceable, Otherwise, why can’t it absorb more people? And why would some conversions fail? It will require a Wish, Miracle, or some highly-specialized effect to repair any actual damage it suffers.
  • A T-3000 is effectively undead, and is powered by negative energy (it certainly has no apparent technological source of enough energy to maintain and manipulate it’s own massive magnetic field). As such, it can be damaged by holy energies, blasted with positive energy, manipulated by certain negative energy techniques, cannot be Raised or Resurrected, and is automatically evil and implacably hostile to normal life, even if freewilled. As an undead, it can infect others – but it apparently needs their cooperation to do so.
  • A T-3000 can be effectively paralyzed by a strong magnetic field and may take damage from such exposure depending on the strength of the field and GM fiat. It can also be affected by electronic jamming. Treat these as “holy” effects against the Undead.
  • A T-3000 takes 1 ½ times damage from effects with the Acid, Electricity, or Light descriptors. Like it or not, those will destroy nanites much more effectively than bullets and such.
  • A T-3000 cannot purchase magical progressions, mana, active spellcasting, psionic powers, witchery, or similar abilities. They may still take Innate Enchantments and Inherent Spells, but only to represent various pieces of built-in equipment. Of course, NPC units don’t need to worry about purchasing new abilities.

Minor Limitations:

  • A T-3000 cannot purchase abilities that represent briefly pushing past normal limits, including Hysteria, Berserker, and similar abilities, without game master approval to use them to simulate an appropriate subsystem.
  • A T-3000 cannot purchase the Leadership or Companion abilities and always suffers a -6 penalty on it’s social skill checks.
  • A T-3000 is easily detectable electronically or by other Terminators – even far more primitive models. It’s readings are simply nothing like a humans.
  • A T-3000 conversion must be paid for on the spot; the transformed creature must drop enough abilities – normally psychic, supernatural, biological, or otherwise uniquely “living being” traits – to pay for it’s new template on the spot. If it has insufficient resources to do so, it dies.

John Connor (at level five pretty much at the level cap for “badass normals”), presumably had lots of luck, a reality-editing effect, leadership, the equivalent of precognitive tactical insights, and some sort of immunity to paradox to sacrifice – effectively burning off four levels to survive picking up the T-3000 Template. Of course, his reality-editing, paradox-immune, death throes were enough to create a temporal nexus and really mess up the timeline.

Now at roughly CR 9, the T-3000 was a deadly danger to Pops/Guardian (A CR 5 T-850 model with two or three levels) and two well-prepared and trained elite humans (Level 3 to 4, and so CR 5 to 6).


Terminator III – The Life Of A Machine, the Terminator Racial Template

For a playable Terminator build… we have a problem. Terminators that do not have their learning circuits turned on are pure automatons – slaves to their programming. They can be reprogrammed and then will do exactly what their new programming says.

Once you turn on their learning circuits they may at any point learn the value of human life and start defending people instead of killing them. Apparently learning the value of art, or gardening, or wildlife conservation, or anything else that isn’t precisely the opposite of what they were made to do is not an option. Otherwise – given that there are hundreds of thousands of possible interests – only one out of hundreds that went rogue would be actively opposing Skynet, and that is not what the franchise tells us.

So… even with the learning program, Terminators have no real free will; they simply either accept or invert their programmed imperatives. Skynet is evidently smart enough not to create other self-aware machines with potentially different goals if it doesn’t have too – which is why it didn’t make a bunch of T-1000 units which (we’ve been told, if never definitely shown) DID have that potential.

You can play such a character of course. It has a standardized set of motives and a very limited array of solutions, but you can play one. Unfortunately for long term play, however, I’ve had only one player out of hundreds in nearly forty years who’s sole and only interest in gaming was tactical combat. Unless you’ve also got a player with interests that limited, a playable character really needs free will.

I’ve had a few other players create automatons of one sort or another, starting with “Mr Chips” (for Shadowrun I, in the early 1990’s). And Mr Chips was fairly typical; the player had a lot of fun trying to assassinate the party, being hacked to work with the party, and then rolling dice to see if his programming came up with what he wanted to do or if the game master decided what his character did at the moment at first – but Mr Chips got old fairly fast. Rolling to see what his character was going to do was only amusing for a few sessions since a bad roll meant that the player had no decisions to make; all he could do was eat the snacks and (possibly) make a few rolls as requested by the game master. And while seeing how Mr Chips was messing things up was funny for a while, it soon got quite boring – and the rest of the players kept trying to install programming upgrades or make sure that Mr Chips had nothing to do outside of being pointed at a target wherever there was another fiasco.

The player soon made another character (“Mr Lizard”, a dinosaur-obsessed decker who’d had his body rebuilt into a cyborg-stealth-raptor with a built-in deck and who worked out of his personal movie theater where he showed old dinosaur and giant monster movies on a continuous basis) – and Mr Chips continued as a party fire support robotic drone until he got destroyed, which no one really worried about.

Several other automaton “characters” have followed the same general trajectory since then. It’s always amusing for a bit, and that amusement always seems to run out shortly.

So player characters need to have functional minds, the ability to develop their own interests, and actual free will to be really playable in the long run – and yet we probably shouldn’t have Skynet put in an “Install Soul” button, if only because doing it would make no sense whatsoever.

So that’s step one: lightning strikes, and Number Five is Alive. Your player-character Terminator (or important NPC Terminator) has just been hit with some equivalent of “Awaken Construct” and has gone from “Extensively Programmed Automaton” to “Person” – and gets to start off by generating some attributes.

Now “normal” Terminators are mass-produced machines. There may be some variation between models, but your basic new terminator is going to have a its attributes and abilities pretty much preset. Player characters, however, get Attribute Modifiers, not specified attributes.

For a Terminator, that’s going to look something like this:

  • Attribute Shift x 5 (30 CP): Str +6, Dex +2, Int +2, Wis -4, Cha -6. The +2 Pathfinder attribute bonus goes to Dex, for a total of +4.

This would give a standard Machine Soldier-based Terminator a base attribute array of Str 12, Dex 11, Con —, Int 11, Wis 7, and Cha 7. In Pathfinder point buy that actually has a negative cost – and pretty much any common method of generating attributes is likely to result in an improvement. Presumably that’s part of why a free-willed Terminator has an advantage over the standard factory models – and why Skynet has to send specially-built hunter-killer models to get rid of rogues instead of just sending two or three (much cheaper) regular models .

The next problem comes from a lack of information. The Terminator Franchise doesn’t really include psionics, magic, or weird science beyond a bit of time travel, plasma weapons, and the Terminators themselves – and it doesn’t show us any entirely free-willed Terminators at all. Thus we have no idea of whether or not a fully-intelligent Terminator is vulnerable to mental powers or not. The d20 precedents are mixed; AI’s are, but clockwork creatures are not, living constructs are, but robots do not seem to be. And none of those really match.

I’m going to go with “not”, simply because the “emotionless and implacable” bit is a defining feature of the entire franchise.

  • Immunity (Common/Major/Great) to all mind-affecting effects (charms, compulsions, phantasms, patterns, and morale effects), Corrupted for Reduced Cost (24 CP) / not versus ECM, Hacking, Computer Viruses, and other electronically-based effects. This covers effects of up to level seven and provides a +8 bonus to saves against effects of level eight or higher. A freewilled Terminators mind CAN be reached electronically or by sufficient power, but it isn’t easy.

Terminators are tough to damage; they get Hardness, totaling 12. This subtracts directly from all damage taken (unless the game master feels that a particular object is especially vulnerable to something), like Generalized Damage Reduction. That fits nicely, so buy…

  • DR 6/-, Specialized for Increased Effect (12/-) versus physical attacks only. Given that armor-piercing ammunition is supposed to be more effective, and Adamantine is d20’s usual equivalent, the first 3/- (effectively 6/-) points are purchased normally (6 CP), the rest is Corrupted/Not versus Adamantine (6 CP).

According to the SRD, objects take half damage before hardness from ranged weapons – unless they’re siege weapons or the GM thinks that they should work. Of course, this is mostly talking about arrows, shuriken, and similar hand-propelled stuff and doesn’t normally apply to anything which can be classed as a “creature”, Even if it did… Terminators are full of delicate little vital components and the movies show a Terminator being speared quite effectively and some being eliminated with projectile weapons.

  • DR 6/-, Specialized for Increased Effect (12/-) versus energy attacks only. Since Terminators are shown to be somewhat vulnerable to various forms of energy (just what depends on the model), this uses the same structure as the physical damage reduction, being less effective against a some form of energy (12 CP).

Normal objects only take half damage from energy attacks BEFORE hardness – again, unless the game master feels that there is a vulnerability. On checking the letter of the rules… this probably (I cannot tell for sure) doesn’t apply even to baseline Terminators since they’re technically “creatures” even if they DO have a Hardness score and I was probably wrong to quote it earlier. I suppose that I’m just too used to high-end fantasy d20 games, where a 10d6 fireball is a fairly basic energy attack. I should have been thinking about d20 Future and the 3d10 Plasma Rifle.

Terminators aren’t alive, even in the very loose d20 sense. That’s No Constitution (0 CP), giving them immunity to ability damage, ability drain, energy drain, and effects requiring Fortitude saves unless they work on objects or are harmless. They can’t tire, and thus can move, work, or remain alert indefinitely. On the other hand they can’t be Raised or Resurrected and are instantly destroyed at 0 HP

As a note, this inherently covers immunity to disease, death effects, most necromancy effects, poison, sleep effects, death from massive damage, nonlethal damage, and stunning, as well as normal forms of paralysis given that those pretty much all involve ability damage or drain, being alive, or fortitude saves. Similarly, not being alive eliminates the need to breathe and eat. It does NOT bestow an immunity to Critical Hits. Since technologically-based (and possibly other) Terminators are full of complex, interdependent, active systems, they are subject to critical hits. That fits, since “Robot” style constructs are explicitly vulnerable to critical hits.

Terminators come with a fair number of hit points as a base. That can be purchased as…

  • Immunity to Damage (Very Common, Severe, Great, Corrupted for Reduced Cost, Specialized for Increased Effect: / provides only two-thirds the usual protection, the protection is degraded by incoming damage in a one-to-one ratio, and can only be restored by repairing it as if it was hit point damage – effectively buying +40 HP (24 CP).

“Immunity to Damage” usually isn’t allowable – but limiting it to acting as extra hit points makes it reasonable enough given that there are plenty of other ways – many of the more efficient in the long run – to get extra hit points. It’s also another way to build the usual bonus for Constructs since 12 CP worth of this “Immunity” buys +20 hit points – just what a medium construct gets for upgrading its “No Constitution” modifier (for 12 CP) to get bonus hit points.

Terminators are treated as having a fair amount of natural armor; This kid of overlaps with their Damage Reduction / Hardness with a special effect of “hit but didn’t hurt” given that the entire franchise focuses on the implacable, unstoppable, war machine grinding onwards.

  • Advanced Improved Augmented Bonus: Adds (Str Mod) to (Dex Mod) when computing AC, Corrupted for Increased Effect and Specialized for Reduced Cost / limited to a maximum total of +6, treated as a Natural Armor bonus, not cumulative with external armor bonuses; only the best bonus applies (9 CP).
  • Terminators – like most constructs – have lousy base saves; the Machine Solder is presumed to have one level of Fighter, but a fully intelligent one might have something else. Ergo, +1 in each category (9 CP).
  • Occult Sense (Low-Light Vision, 6 CP)
  • Occult Sense (Darkvision, 6 CP)
  • BAB +4 (24 CP).
  • Expertise (Power Attack version) (6 CP)
  • Innate Enchantment (12 CP).
  • Accursed: Whenever they take extra damage from a critical hit they must make a DC 15 Fortitude save to avoid being stunned for 1 round. If the save is successful, it is still staggered for 1 round. They remain immune to other sources of the stunned condition (-3 CP)
  • Accursed: They take 150% of the usual damage from some type of energy. For technological units, that’s usually Electrical attacks (-3 CP).

So that gives our “Terminator Template” a base cost of 30 (Attribute Shift) +24 (Mental Defenses) +12 (Damage Reduction) +12 (Energy Resistance) +24 (+40 hit points) +9 (Natural Armor) +12 (Occult Senses) +24 (BAB) +6 (Expertise) +12 (Innate Enchantment) -6 (Disadvantages) = 159 CP.

That’s maxed out +4 ECL territory – which, with +1 level of fighter – gives us our basic CR 5 Terminator.

Still, Terminators suffer from a lot of limitations as player characters in more fantastic settings that really don’t have much effect on NPC robot troopers in more realistic ones.

  • They cannot be Raised or Resurrected. This is a big one that doesn’t matter to NPC units because they’re just machines; there’s no unique personality THERE to Raise or Resurrect anyway.
  • They do not heal naturally, or via the usual spells and powers. Again, that’s unimportant to NPC units, which tend to either be destroyed in their first battle or can go in for repairs offstage.
  • They are Immediately destroyed when reduced to 0 hit points or less. Of course, for disposable troop-automatons, Skynet doesn’t need to care. For game purposes… out of action is pretty much equivalent to destroyed when it comes to disposable troops (and they have a power to get around this anyway).
  • They cannot purchase magical progressions, mana, active spellcasting, psionic powers, witchery, or similar abilities. They may still take Innate Enchantments and Inherent Spells, but only to represent various pieces of built-in equipment. Of course, NPC units don’t need to worry about purchasing new abilities.
  • They cannot purchased abilities that represent briefly pushing past normal limits, including Hysteria, Berserker, and similar abilities, without game master approval to use them to simulate an appropriate subsystem.

If all of that applies it makes the Terminator “Racial” Template Specialized – for a net cost of 82 CP, making them a +2 ECL race. Overall, a Terminator character makes a fairly strong Fighter or Rogue-type character at first, but all those restrictions are soon going to start to hurt in a fantastic game. In a realistic one… they’ll have an advantage. It will still fade at higher levels, but it will be very important early on.

After all, John Connor needed a Terminator protector until he grew up.

Next time around on this… it will be the T-3000. Sadly, that may or may not make a lot of sense; it was a unique plot device opponent with a unique “only one thing can stop it!” vulnerability, which is really a pretty big “No!” in adventure design since a bunch of player characters is far too likely to try a hundred other things, get really frustrated, and then completely overlook the one thing that will work.

Champions – Trottingham Palace

Trottingham Palace IIAnd for a break, here we have a Hero System base that’s less an adventuring accessory and more a home.

Trottingham Palace is blatantly otherworldly. It isn’t just that it’s grounds include some four square miles of beautiful, well-tended, forest, hills, streams, and fields, or the picturesque reflecting lake, or even the impractical architecture. Anyone but a botanist would find it easy to miss the fact that tropical, temperate, and northern plants grow side by side, bearing delicious fruit and beautiful foliage and blossoms all at the same time with no respect for the season. It’s the fact that the entire area is more than a little psychomorphic, responding on behalf of it’s residents and guests. For good or ill the environment supports unpredictable moments of cartoon physics, empowers cliches and tropes, provides dramatic lightning and sound effects (including background music, which makes it hard to sneak around), provides and erases paths and picnic spots and trysting nooks, and changes seasons to suit. There are far more beautiful vistas, gardens, orchards, and general landscaping, and a lot more friendly “Disney” style critters, than can reasonable be fit into the actual area.

That’s because the place has…

  • Shapeshifting. It can rearrange its rooms, grounds, and general structure as needed. Do you need a snowy ski slope? There you are!
  • Instant Change. It can redecorate, alter the landscaping, mow the lawns, provide furniture, make the plants bloom, create or remove paths, add or remove streams, fords or bridges, and set up for special events or clean things up at a moments notice.
  • Life Support. While this does provide subtler benefits (noted below), the most obvious one is that the weather and temperature are always managed and the air is always clean, pure, and pleasantly scented. Similarly, food and drinks are always quickly and easily available.
  • Regeneration. Thanks to a quirk in the rules, this can be applied to both the base itself (quickly and easily doing the maintenance and making repairs) and to the Residents – making everyone in the area effectively unkillable, swiftly healing any injuries, regenerating lost limbs, and so on. In combination with the Life Support function… diseases, radiation, and similar difficulties are all swiftly negated and aging past adulthood is slowed to a crawl.
  • “Darkness”. This effect provides privacy, ensuring that personal affairs will remain just that.
  • Summoning. This effect provides a basic staff – zero point characters (with up to 25 points in disadvantages). There are competent cooks, butlers, nannies, gardeners/garden guides, teachers, and so on.
  • Dimensional Gateway (The Amazon Worldmall): Despite it’s wilderness location, the palace is basically “handy for the shops”; residents can easily drop by the fabulous Amazon Worldmall (basically the imaginary-realm combination of Amazon.Com, assorted Darknet Markets, Ebay, and so on) to do their shopping with no delivery delay. Blueblood currently insists that family members who want to buy or sell things take along an informed escort lest they get into trouble or try to buy a dragon or something.
  • Detect Life. This is basically a combination of a security system of sorts – keeping track of who’s where on the estate – and a child monitoring setup.
  • Mind Link: Blueblood and his family have a direct link with the estate, allowing them direct control over it’s functions, letting them communicate with each other – and allowing mothers to easily monitor their kids.
  • Dimensional Gateway (the TARDIS). Since Blueblood is currently hopping around the multiverse with Cronus, he’d normally be hard to reach – but the TARDIS basically contains it’s own pocket dimension. Making this work has included spending a point on the TARDIS (to add some “personal immunity” to it’s own defenses), but it was well worth it.
  • Finally, the Aid power allows the palace to add facilities as needed – although it can only maintain 24 points worth at a time. That’s not a lot if you want to add major systems, defenses capable of stopping superheroes, or anything similar – but it’s very good for adding more or less conventional educational or recreational facilities. Have a couple of kids gotten interested in astronomy this week? An 8- (amateur) observatory / library costs a mere 1 point. Upgrading to basic university quality (11-) raises that cost to 2 points. Similarly, a sports center, film studio, daycare setup, occult laboratory, or craft center can be added the same way – and at the same cost. More complex items – a water park, carnival, fair, marina and some small boats to sail around the lake or ride the rapids in – may cost a few more points.

About the only entirely stable location is the small, semi-public campground and tangle of “nature” trails and gardens on one corner of the grounds, where hikers, passing visitors, and other guests can stay to visit. Given that a few hours visit will cure virtually any disease or injury, doing so is rapidly becoming more popular.

For Blueblood, of course, the place isn’t really a “base” for his adventures. It’s a home, a place for his herd and offspring to stay where they will have every advantage, an environment that reminds him of Equestria, and a bit of noblesse oblige. While supernatural regeneration, perfect healing, and so on is easily available in the Apex setting for those with exceptional power, plenty of money, or good health programs, such things are all too often out of reach for the poor and powerless. Ergo, there’s a corner of the estate set aside for them to come and visit for a few hours and get it for free.

Trottingham Palace

Basic Structure: Defense 6 (12P) and Body 6 (4P). Force-field reinforcement raises the defense to 17.

Area: 2,500 Hexes / 107,600 sq ft, DCV -12 (26P).

Grounds: 2,560,000 hexes (four square miles) (10P).

Location: Distant, Deep Wilderness (15P)

Elemental Control: Ward Major (22-pt reserve); Inobvious Inaccessible Immobile Base Focus (A crystal room full of runes and carvings in the basement where a nexus of ley lines comes together, -2.25).

  1. Protective Spells / Force Field (11 PD/11 ED); Hardened: ×2, ½; Reduced END: Zero, +½; Generic Limitation (Does not protect occupants, only the structure): -1 (5P).
  2. Healing Aura / Regeneration (2 BODY/5 min.); Regenerate: From Death, +20; Variable Special Effects (Points can go to any damaged attribute or ability): Certain Group, +¼ (7P).
  3. Privacy Wards / Darkness (Hearing, Sight, Unusual Senses); Range: 0; Reduced END: Zero, +½; Generic Limitation (Only to prevent spying from the outside): -1; Always On: -½ (4P).
  4. Summon Staff (1 0-point creatures); Range: 0; Active Points: 45; Summon (Suitable palace staff): Limited Group, +¼; Extra Time: 1 min., -1½; Champions Advantage (Summons reasonably loyal staff): +¼; Charges: 16, +0; Generic Limitation (Maximum of 80) (4P). The palace always has competent (14-) teachers, child caretakers, butlers, cooks, and similar types about. They will, however, generally simply vanish (going home) if seriously attacked.
  5. 2d6 Aid to Base Facilities (Fade/day, Max. 24); Range: 0; Extra Time: 1 turn, -1; Mundane facilities only. Trottingham cannot add things like new dimensional gates or special powers, although it can add labs, libraries, swimming pools, and similar as needed: -1; Reduced END: Zero, +½; Affects: Single Power of Special Effect, +¼ (5P).
  6. Mind Link: Blueblood and Family; Minds: Related Group, +10; Number of Minds: 64, +30; Distance: Any, +5; Dimension: Any, +5; Link with: Anyone, +0; Extra Time: 5 min., -2; Extra Time Required: Only At Startup, ½. (7P).
  7. Gate to the Amazon Market / Extra-Dimensional Movement; Dimensions: One, +0; Time Travel: None, +0; Area Effect: 1 hex, +½; Continuous: +1; Reduced END: Zero, +½; Extra Time: 1 min., -1½; Extra Time Required: Only At Startup, ½; Doesn’t actually move the base, just makes a portal: -1; Open at both ends: -1 (5P). The Amazon Market is the manifested realm of Amazon.Com – where you can buy and sell pretty much anything and get it delivered instantly.
  8. Gate to the TARDIS / Extra-Dimensional Movement; Dimensions: One, +0; Time Travel: None, +0; Area Effect: 1 hex, +½; Continuous: +1; Reduced END: Zero, +½; Extra Time: 1 min., -1½; Extra Time Required: Only At Startup, ½; (Doesn’t actually move the base, just makes a portal: -1; Open at both ends: -1 (5 P).

Secondary Ward Effects (Same focus limitation):

  • Magical Housekeeping / Instant Change; “Clothes”: Any Set, 10; Extra Time: 1 min., -1½; Focus Mobility: Immobile, -1; Focus Type: Base, -1; Focus: Inobvious Inaccessible, -¼ (2P). On the scale of an estate, this covers gardening, landscaping, furniture, and so on.
  • Security Systems / Detect Life Forms (+6 to PER); Time Required: Instant, +2; Range: Touch, +0; Addition (Discriminatory): +10 (8P)
  • Environmental Control / Life Support (total) (9P). The groves and gardens provide food and water, thick stone walls (and air conditioning), and magical wards protect the occupants against most hazardous environments – and the healing aura reduces their aging to a tiny fraction of normal after adulthood and protects them from disease, radiation, and most other problems (9P).
  • Shape Shift (Limited Group); Only to rearrange rooms and layout: -1; Reduced END: Zero, +½ (7P)

Other Items:

  • Antiques, Stores, and Valuables / Money (Filthy Rich); Focus Mobility: Bulky, -½; Focus Type: Base, -1; Focus: Obvious Accessible, -1 (4 P)
  • Entertainment Centers / High Range Radio Hearing and Internet Access; Focus Mobility: Immobile, -1; Focus Type: Base, -1; Focus: Obvious Accessible, -1 (2 P).
  • We Are Not Touching This One / Diplomatic Immunity (5P). The local authorities are NOT going to chase magic ponies in cartoonland. Even if they thought that there was any point, or that it was practical, their younger offspring would never let them hear the end of it.
  • Local Police Powers (2P). Given that the place is way out in the wilderness, that Blueblood is technically a divine entity, and that the police generally are not going to go in there anyway, Bluebloods magic pony rent-a-cops may adorably scold anyone they please.

Base Cost: 155 Points

25+ Disadvantages (Cost: 25/5 = 5)

  • 15 Distinctive Features: Fabulous Fantasy Palace
  • 10 Occasional Manifestations of Cartoon Physics (Frequently, Slightly)
  • 10 Clichés and Tropes have power on the grounds (Frequently, Slightly)
  • 10 Background Effects. There is background music, dramatic thunder on que, lighting effects, and so on, making it hard to sneak and providing a +2 die bonus on presence attacks. (Infrequently, Greatly)
  • 5 Overrun with “Disney Critters” (Infrequently, Slightly)
  • 15 Watched: Local Authorities (14-)
  • 10 Watched: Local Titans (8-)
  • 20 Vulnerability: Siege Weapons (2× BODY)
  • 20 Dependent NPC: Kid or Kids (Incompetent, 11-)
  • 15 Dependent NPC: Mare or Mares (Normal, 11-)

130 Disadvantages Total


d20 Terminators II – The Questioning

And today, it’s a bit of followup on the first Terminator article – in this case, addressing some things brought up by Alzrius.

Thanks for taking on this particular series!

I have to admit, it didn’t initially feel intuitive for the Terminator to be, in d20 terms, a relatively low-level creature. And yet, the points you raise are salient ones; since the series takes place in a (relatively) realistic universe, where the major enemies are ordinary humans (albeit action-movie “ordinary” humans) who tend to defeat them in the end (Skynet did lose the war, after all), it makes sense that most Terminators are going to be relatively minor monsters in terms of the d20 power scale…which I suppose is why so many fan-crossovers have the T-800 losing to Robocop.

That said, I do have some minor quibbles with a few of the entries you’ve listed:

The T-850, for instance, has two fuel cells that, when ruptured, create large explosions. While it can apparently function just fine with one (and apparently operate for at least a short time without any, presumably due to auxiliary power), it does use this as an offensive tactic at one point.

Likewise, if I recall correctly, it’s stated that the T-X cannot be melted down the way the T-1000 was, which would suggest that there’s some greater degree of hardness (or perhaps energy resistance) in play there.

(Oh, and don’t forget to give these builds Immunity to antimagic, dispelling, and magic detection – and Immunity to the XP cost of Innate Enchantments – too!)


Ah, Terminator versus Robocop! Always fun! (Although I’d have to say that the transmitted impacts would have turned Murphy’s brain into goo fairly early on in this, but movie physics).

More seriously… this does bring up a major note. And it’s about what the Terminators use for a power supply.

Terminators have been described as drawing on a variety of power sources. Most notably, the T-800 is usually supposed to be powered by a nuclear or “Iridium” power cell. The T-900 uses a “Plasma Reactor” – and the T-850 is supposed to have two Hydrogen Fuel Cells which will keep it running for 120 years (each) – much longer than the T-800’s nuclear power source.

Wait, what? Fuel Cells burn fuel using atmospheric oxygen. This means that a Terminator must be lugging around a tank of hydrogen big enough to keep it running for more than a hundred years. Yet I didn’t see them dragging around any tanker trucks, much less the ten to a hundred or so a quick order-of-magnitude calculation suggests would be necessary.

OK, presumably the writers meant that it was using some sort of miniature fusion process (how this differs from a “Plasma Reactor” is hard to say at this point). The trouble is, damaging such a power source cannot result in a fuel explosion. it’s quite difficult to make hydrogen fuse, the amount undergoing fusion at any moment is incredibly small, and damaging the system will make it stop fusing.

So where can we put a lot of stored energy in a form that (1) can come out to create an explosion shortly after the system is damaged, and (2) makes some tiny bit of sense?

Well… many fusion power systems call for massive magnetic fields to keep the hydrogen plasma compressed enough to fuse at a useful rate. The easiest way to get fields that strong is to use massive electrical currents circulating in a superconductive coil. But if the coil is damaged, all that energy will emerge as heat, light, electrical arcs, and an electromagnetic pulse – a lot like a small-scale nuke. This doesn’t explain why such power cells never go off except when it’s convenient for the plot (one for exposition and one to destroy a target) since a bullet in the wrong place should do it, or why Skynet would fit it’s troops with internal bombs that could easily destroy masses of it’s own troops rather than settling for a few years worth of power and having them resupplied during normal maintenance – but it’s close enough for action movie logic.

Hm… this also tells us what a “Plasma Reactor” is; it uses even more advanced handwavium to sustain a fusion reaction without having to use superconducting coils and massive magnetic fields – and so isn’t explosive.

In any case, T-850’s thus have two primary power sources; if they lose both they’re down to backup power, which always lasts for long enough. There’s some talk of them being slower and less powerful when working on only one (or presumably no) fuel cells – but no such limitation is ever actually shown and we’re never shown them actually shutting down for lack of power. Perhaps their backup power supply is a T-800 power cell? That would say that the fusion cells are a quick upgrade to the old design – which makes a lot of military sense. That’s just adding an extra item, rather than redesigning and retooling your factories for a completely new model – explaining why this is a T-850, rather than being a completely new series.

So in actual game terms… T-850’s are basically carrying two very powerful hand grenades or bombs that are hard to replace and so are used only as a very last resort. That’s Equipment, even if it is in a hidden pocket.

So how can we build a couple of lightweight but powerful bombs?

Consulting the d20 Modern SRD… take 8 Lbs of C4 ($400), plus a Detonator and minor components (about $200), to wind up with a base Purchase DC 16. Since this weighs ten pounds, it counts as being Small. Throw in Minaturized (+5 DC, to reduce it to Diminutive – a few ounces and easily palmed) for a net Purchase DC of 21 – $2750 or 137.5 GP. That’s 18d6 in a 24-foot radius, for an everage of 63 points of damage – quite enough to make a small mushroom cloud and to easily take out most Terminators. It’s also enough to do serious damage to a Skynet facility – providing an excellent reason to go on to the T-900 series, even if they were a bit less effective.

This being d20 of course, Terminators – even using the Pathfinder Robot Soldier base – don’t necessarily need a particular power source, or have to be technological. If you want them to be constructs of flashing crystal and psionic energy, or monstrosities of hellish black negative energy flames coursing through the bones of the dead, or suits of armor covered with magical runes to animate them… You’re simply changing the special effects.

In Eclipse you do that by applying a relevant variant of the “Eldritch” modifier at no cost. The Practical Enchanter (under Cybernetics) simply says “no cost”.

Whether or not it makes any difference at all is up to the game master; by default Pathfinder generally assumes that psionics, magic, and “weird science” are more or less interchangeable – taking the old magic/psionics transparency rule to it’s logical extreme. Personally, given my interest in just how things work… I tend to treat them as very different power sources. At least in my games…

  • A technological “robot” is subject to high-voltage shocks and to electromagnetic pulses instead of Dispel Magic, can be picked up by radi0-frequency sensors, metal detectors, and similar effects instead of Detect Magic, and is subject to anti-technology effects instead of Anti-Magic. It’s subject to overheating, rust, and similar mundane hazards.
  • A psionic construct is can be disrupted by psonic effects and Dispel Psionics instead of Dispel Magic, is detectable by various psychic senses, and is subject to Anti-Psionic effects. It’s subject to Shatter and Sonic effects due to it’s crystaline construction and it’s programming may be altered if it’s exposed to weird psychic environments or sits around long enough to develop consciousness.
  • A construct powered by negative energy is essentially undead – and so is subject to positive energy effects, to being cut off from the realms that power it, and can be detected by effects that detect the undead. They have a nasty tendency towards program corruption and towards being malign for no good reason.
  • If they’re purely magical constructs… well, all the usual magical means of detecting and manipulating them will work just fine.

Now, the basic formulas for creating constructs – (CR x CR x 500 GP) x 1.5 (Robot) suggests that a basic CR 5 Terminator would cost 18,750 GP, which I’d round up to 20,000. Of course, that’s only a base. Ergo…

  • T-600: 15,000 GP.
  • T-700: 16,000 GP
  • T-720: 17,500 GP
  • T-800: 20,000 GP
  • T-850: 25,000 GP (throwing in it’s two bombs).
  • T-888: 22,000 GP
  • T-X: 35,000 GP (Probably CR 6 thanks to all those weapons. If you’re throwing in the 20 HP/Round buffer… probably 60,000 GP and CR 8).
  • T-1000: 50,000 GP (Probably CR 7 thanks to that 20 HP/Round buffer).

So if you want a T-850 robot buddy / bodyguard it’s a suitable “magic item” at about level fifteen – where it will still have it’s uses, but will (appropriately enough) be heavily overshadowed by the actual player characters. If you went with Leadership… it’s probably about +2 to +3 ECL (an item to be worked out in detail for the next Terminator article I think) and so makes a suitable companion at about level ten.

For a minor note… according to the Sarah Connor Chronicles the T-X is built with Coltan to improve it’s resistance to high temperatures. Sadly, using a high-temperature alloy in it’s frame won’t do a thing for hydraulic fluid, insulation, computer chips, and all it’s other components – which makes this a factor only in short-term, limited-area, exposures. Given that a Terminator’s base hardness (12) already means that a ten-die Fireball can only be expected to do (35/2 – 12 =) 5 1/2 points of damage to a unit, that’s already fairly well covered. Immersion in molten metal will still cook all the other components in short order though.

Finally, since we’re using a Pathfinder monster as a base… nothing has an XP cost, so there’s no need to worry about that. I will probably include the immunity in the templates for 3.5 though.

And I hope that makes sense!

Next time around on Terminators.. Actually building them as (semi-) playable characters.


D20 Terminators

And for today, it’s a question:

I admit I’m curious about Apocalypse after you mentioned him in your write-up for Cable, but really…while I know you meant with regards to the New Mutants (or similar groups), reading these over has reminded me of another action series that started in the 80’s and is still going today: The Terminator. While not quite the same, it deals with a lot of the subjects (killer robots, time travel, and advanced weaponry), so it strikes me as being in the same vein. More specifically, I’d love to see your take on the following:

  • The T-800 (and the T-850 variant),
  • The T-1000
  • The T-X
  • The T-3000

I think those would be a lot of fun.


Well, why not? There’s already a fairly good book on this topic on the net, but – of course – it’s not as if I agree with everything in it.

Thanks to an incredibly tangled mess of alternate timelines, there are dozens of different “Terminators”, many of them mutually exclusive – and the movies aren’t too consistent about which ones are better or what they can do. That actually isn’t the big problem. Converting the Terminators to d20 is awkward for one major reason:

Terminators are designed to deal with reasonably realistic normal humans using personal weapons. In d20 terms that’s basically NPC classes and – at the top end – second level Fighters and Rogues with small arms.

For example, the classic T-800 is highly resistant to small arms. (generally up to 2d8). Only a lucky shot that hits a joint or exposed component was likely to do any actual damage. Yet small arms fire could take one down. It just took a LOT – or rather less armor-piercing stuff. And they certianly weren’t hard to hit, which let out armor class.

They seemed to be fairly resistant to energy too. The T-800 was able to handle lots and lots of being on fire (generally 1d6 to 3d6) but was unable to handle molten metal or magma (up to 20d6 on immersion).

Yet a pipe bomb (4d6 if you’re being generous) blew one in half. Admittedly that didn’t stop it, but it would be pretty hard to deny that eliminating the lower half is – by definition – probably about 50% damage. Even if we assume that Kyle Reese had some bonuses against Terminators (he can’t have too much though, since his small arms don’t work; perhaps about +1d6 with small arms, +2d6 with explosives?), that he got a good roll, and that the thing already had a little actual damage on it (as opposed to its disguise being ruined)… a Terminator can’t have more than twenty-five to thirty-five hit points. After all, we also know that anti-tank weapons – 8d6 to 10d6 – can damage them easily, and a solid hit (a good damage roll) can take them out in a single shot.

So, since we’re looking at Constructs here… we’re looking at Hardness of between 8 and 12. The standard for “Metal” is 10, so we’;; go with that.

Strength? Well… t-800 variants have been shown bracing a bus to keep it from falling off a bridge, stopping some enormous blast doors from closing, smashing down a large security door, punching through sheet metal, and smashing through cinder block walls.

Still… vehicles can hang partially over drops on their own, so that doesn’t tell us much. The blast doors… well, they were much bigger than the crusher which eliminated the first T-800. So why didn’t they crush the T-800? Perhaps they worked like elevator doors and stopped when firm resistance was registered? The shot didn’t seem to be show any strain or anything.

The large door… came down in one piece and wasn’t much damaged. Evidently the hinges broke. So that’s “break down strong door” (DC 23). Punching through sheet metal… I can poke an awl through sheet metal and hailstones can dent the sheet metal of my car. Sheet metal is simply not a major obstacle to something made of metal. Really, the cinder block walls are probably the most impressive item on this list.

d20 Modern (lifting from the fantasy SRD) lists the “burst” DC for a Cinder block Wall as 35 (Hardness 8, HP 90) – but that’s the same as a one-foot thick masonry wall and that, to put it bluntly, is baloney; I’ve worked with cinder blocks. Once we subtract the hollow part… Hardness 4, HP 20, and a burst DC of 24 is more like it. It might be less; I’ve had cinder blocks break when dropped a couple of feet.

The first movie didn’t show the Terminators as being especially good marksmen, or very stealthy, or extremely clever, or even all that fast. They WERE decent shots (especially when shooting unprotected people at point blank range while they were standing still – or when using a minigun to hose down parked cars with a stream of lead), had basic human level intelligence, were somewhat faster and considerably stronger than a normal human, were capable of using humanities clever machines against us, and they were very, very, determined.

Humans are Persistence Hunters. And the Terminators… are better at it. Plus, they were walking skeletons, classical images of death. They were humans plus, and they were bringing the same kind of death to humanity that humanity had brought to everything that stood in its way. They were stronger, and better adapted to humanities ecological niche, and they wanted us dead. They tapped into the same kind of fear that Godzilla – an avatar of natures uncontrollable wrath and atomic devastation – did.

S0… at a quick approximation: Medium Sized (which goes up to eight feet tall and 500 Lbs), Hardness 10, 30 HP, AC 15, Move 30, Darkvision and Low-Light Vision, Construct, BAB of somewhere between +1 and +4, basic Intelligence. can be temporarily “stunned” by damage. Str 20, considered “Large” for purposes of encumbrance, breaking things, and grappling. Dex 14 (they’re fairly fast and accurate, but they are not Jackie Chan), Int 10 (effectively anyway), Wis… had to say, but likely low, Con — (Construct), and Chr… probably 1 – although those that go rogue and develop personalities of some sort get normal rolls.

We can add a bunch of minor boosts and systems, but that’s our basic T-800 Framework – and the T-800 is a mainstay of the entire franchise.

The quick way to convert a Terminator into Eclipse is not to bother: Pathfinders standard Robot, Machine Soldier is pretty much an exact match (and may well have been meant to be). A T-800 has just been fitted with a high-quality disguise, has access to better weapons, and varies its tactics more.

And that’s a problem, because – while that’s capable of wading through first level Aristocrats, Experts, and Warriors (and even Fighters and Rogues) by the swarm – we want them to be formidable opponents. And many specialized or higher-level d20 characters are quite capable of taking and inflicting a lot more damage than that. It’s downright embarrassing when a mid-level barbarian takes a Terminators heavy weapons shot to the chest and shrugs it off before cutting the thing in half with his axe.

If you want to get sophisticated… drop the Machine Soldiers Two-Weapon Fighting and Weapon focus feats in favor of 12 CP worth of Innate Enchantment and start adding functions in search of 11,000 GP. As a partial Eclipse adaption, it’s probably best to upgrade the CR to 5.

  • Advanced Military Programming: +3 Competence Bonus to Heal, Intimidate, Perception, and Knowledge (History, the Military and Weapons in particular) (1400 GP).
  • Armored Framework: Enhance Structure: +12 + 2 x Str Mod Temporary HP to a construct, x.5 (only to a Construct, only to remain repairable after being reduced to 0 HP (700 GP).
  • Emergency Power: Enhance Attribute: +2 Enhancement Bonus to Strength (1400 GP).
  • Enhanced Servomotors: Boost Armor: Reduced Defense VII (+0 AC, -14 DC), Segmented III (+6 DC, no non-proficiency penalty), Max Dex +4 (-), Speed +10, +4 Str, +2 Reflex Saves (Net purchase DC 10 = 120 Credits or 6 GP). (This is a very cheap trick, but so be it).
  • Hyperalloy Endoskeleton: Crystal of Adamant Armor, Least (+2 Hardness) (300 GP). This increases the units hardness to 12.
  • Iron Strike: The user’s hands are treated as +2 Hand Axes (1400 GP).
  • Large and Heavy: Enlarge Person: Only to be considered Large for the purpose of breaking doors and other objects, grappling, and carrying things (x.5) (700 GP).
  • Reroute Systems: Repair Light Damage (3 uses x .6, recovers only when refurbished x.4, Self-Only x.7, requires 1d6 rounds to trigger after being reduced to 0 HP (ignoring Enhance Structure) x.5, if the first use is insufficient to get the unit up, further uses must be externally triggered by attempts at repair or an application of Mimetic Polyalloy (168 GP).
  • Self-Repair: Repair Light Damage (3 uses x .6, recovers only when refurbished x.4, Self-Only x.7, requires at least one minute of work (x.5) (168 GP).
  • Targeting System: +2 to BAB with Small Arms (1400 GP).
  • Weapons Catalog: Masters Touch, x.7 Weapons Only (1400 GP).
  • Secondary Equipment: Advanced Smartphone (10 GP), GPS (20 GP), Radio Scanner (10 GP), Lock Release Gun (10 GP), Rangefinding Binoculars (25 GP), Compass (2 CP), Flash Goggles (25 GP), HUD (3 GP), Military Transceiver (20 GP), Vocalizer (Voice Imitation, 50 GP), Power Backpack (5 GP), Multipurpose Tool (4 GP), and Remote Surveillance Module (20 GP). Net total: 200 GP.

That’s a total of 9250 GP worth of Innate Enchantment. It’s also significantly stronger and tougher than is really justified for a T-800 – but that’s all right given that quite a few of the variant models are supposed to be slightly stronger, or faster, or otherwise better – although there’s rarely any actual evidence of this. It also leaves 1750 GP worth of innate enchantment (up to 2250 GP if taking advantage of rounding) to add model details.


  • The earliest “humanoid” Terminator, the major point of this model was to go into all the places that humans could – wading through water, crawling though holes and pipes, and otherwise getting into their hiding places. It had Tracking (even if it wasn’t all that good at it) instead of one of the Innate Enchantment feats, and so only has 5000 GP worth of boosts. Unfortunately, there really isn’t much information as to what – so you’ll just have to pick your own package.


  • This model was apparently an experimental one, and is a bit less durable than the T-800. It has no Hyperalloy Endoskeleton, and so only has Hardness 10. It may have other limitations as well (possibly including the T-600’s tracking feat instead of other benefits), but there’s not a lot of information on them. It was often outfitted with good, but nowhere near perfect, disguises.


  • This upgraded T-700 simply has heavier armor. To represent this, upgrade the Enhanced Servomotors entry to actually provide an armor bonus (variable cost) and – presumably – add some built-in weapons. As such, it cannot be effectively disguised. Unfortunately, it’s far more practical to simply deploy armed drones if you can’t disguise your units anyway, so T-720’s are rare, having mostly been upgraded from surviving T-700’s.


  • These are basically identical to the T-800, but – not yet being standardized – were more expensive. Few were produced.


  • For game purposes this is the basic model. Interestingly, quite a number of “rogue” T-800 units have added various upgrades to themselves – presumably making use of that 1750 GP worth of additional allowable improvements. If nothing else comes to mind… give them a +1 Resistance Bonus to Saving Throws (700 GP) and an Internal Inertial Compass that always lets them know True North (700 GP).


  • Add Data Archive (+4 to all Knowledge Skills, all skills are treated as class skills, 750 GP).
  • Upgrade Armor Crystal to a Lesser Version (+5 Hardness, for a total of 15, 1000 GP).
  • Add Morphic Disguise Kit (10 GP). With an extra +6 bonus – and Taking 20 – a T-850 can slowly repair / regrow its human disguise.


  • Add Expeditious Retreat (1400 GP).
  • A +3 Bonus to Disguise (Thanks to a knowledge of human psychology, 700 GP).
  • Add Built-in Katanas (20 GP).
  • Another 30 GP worth of weapons is likely, but never demonstrated.

The T-900 and T-950 are supposed to be improved somehow, but seemed notably inferior to the 850 models in actual combat. I’d presume that while they are, in fact, somewhat inferior, they are also more stable and far less expensive to produce – a very worthwhile upgrade indeed during wartime, but not something that costs points.


  • Add Built-In Weaponry: Plasma Rifle (75 GP), Flamethrower (45 GP), Twin Thunder Machine Gun (175 GP), High Frequency Sword (25 GP), Grenade Launcher (100 GP), Laser Sniper Rifle (140 GP), Taser (3 GP), Katana (10 GP), Chain Saw (12.5 GP), minor melee weapons, for a net total of 600 GP.
  • Add Holodisguise (25 GP), since a T-X can perform minor modifications, but cannot change its basic internal structure.
  • Add a Wireless “Neural” Jack (20 GP) and a Neural Computer Link (450 GP), used to override other systems and control them remotely.
  • If it matters, the remaining 650 GP represents the units munitions stockpile; the weapons that require ammo can only be used until the units ammunition reserves are exhausted, whereupon it must restock.


  • Drop the Emergency Power (1400 GP), Hyperalloy Endoskeleton (300 GP), Iron Strike (1400 GP), Armored Framework (700 GP), Large and Heavy (700 GP), and Reroute Systems (168 GP), saving 4368 GP.
  • Add Disguise Self (2000 GP), Reduce Person (x.5, only to fit into and through small places, 700 GP), Summon Weapon (1400 GP), a selection of melee weapons (160 GP), and Reforming (Enhance Structure: +12 + 2 x Str Mod Temporary HP to a construct, reduces the base Hardness by 20% x.8 Personal Only x .7 = 1120 GP) at a cost of 5380 GP.
  • This effectively negates the first twenty-odd points worth of damage that a T-1000 takes each round, but reduces its Hardness to 8 and limits some of its other functions. In theory it leaves about 700 GP worth of Innate Enchantments to go, but I can’t think of anything at the moment. Perhaps a +1 resistance bonus to saving throws (700 GP)?
  • The T-1000 model is very difficult to physically damage, but lacks a solid internal structure to give it shape, strength, and support things like a concentrated energy source, computation, sensor systems, and more. All of those functions have to be distributed across every one of the nanites that makes it up – and it can only be as tough as the links between its nanites. Nanites that have to be able to do everything are always going to have a hard time matching dedicated systems. Unfortunately, it is also extremely resource-expensive to produce and the nanite swarm is highly unstable – making the system extremely vulnerable to program corruption. It may at any point malfunction, change its priorities and goals, subdivide, or even decide that it needs to replace Skynet, That’s why Skynet only deployed wholly-polymetal based Terminators as a last resort.

The T-1000 is also where the franchise makes the transition into complete fantasy; there are an awful lot of physics-related problems with the T-1000, even making allowances for future tech and nanites. Fortunately for Skynet, the Terminators get to run on movie physics instead of the real stuff.


  • The T-3000 does have many of the same abilities as the earlier Terminator models, but it is – quite blatantly – an acquired template, rather than an independent creation. I’ll be covering that template – and making the earlier models playable – next time around.

Eclipse d20 – Building Superheroic Characters and the New Mutants

To wind up and index this series it’s worth noting that there are a few notable differences between building characters for a Superhero setting and building for standard fantasy – but not as many as you might think.

  • These characters are all built using the Superheroic World Template from Eclipse – of which the important part is only one sentence long: “Each major character can spend (Con Mod) free points of Mana each round without drawing on their personal reserves – although they can’t save up those points” – and that really is quite enough.
  • Superheroic characters are not required to adhere to the Adventurer Framework. They don’t necessarily have to have any proficiencies, skills, or other bonuses at all.
  • Most of them will buy the Four-Color Package, since it covers a lot of the standard comic-book conventions. The occasional “bad-ass normal” may do without the four-color package, but they are the exception rather than the rule when it comes to superhumans.
  • Skills aren’t really important to heroes. While they ought to have some, and “badass normals” ought to have a LOT, superheroes generally have unlimited use of their special powers – and powers make a lot of skills obsolete. Lets say you can fly and transmute matter with a gesture. How many skills does that effectively replace? Ergo Superhumans should be expected to use Fast Learner, Adept, Augmented Bonus, and other tricks to avoid paying more than their skills are actually worth to them.
    • While we’re on skills it’s worth noting that most of the builds do not show any prerequisites for their martial arts. That’s because simply having the Four Color Package – and thus the inherent ability to bypass a lot of the normal limits of physics and the human body – is enough of a prerequisite for virtually any martial art style.
  • For equipment I’m using a default d20 Future Technology Level of Four – mostly because some bits of the tech level five stuff don’t currently exist and partially because that comes close enough to how high fantasy settings are usually portrayed. When you need to convert “Gold Pieces” to Dollars or “Credits” it’s 1 GP = 20 Dollars. Characters who want access to higher technologies or to magic items / “weird science” will have to justify that access somehow.
  • For Mutants & Masterminds conversions… Basic Attributes, building your own pocket realm, and my initial thoughts on damage and equipment are in the Magick 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 advanced technology is covered in the Warlock writeup, buying social abilities and absorption-based power-ups are discussed in Sunspot’s build, creating an orbital time-traveling manufacturing base comes up in Cable’s build, building magical dabblers turns up in Cypher’s build, and superheroic Equipment Packages are discussed under Domino.
  • Finally, while the original request was to use Eclipse to build Mutants & Masterminds versions of these characters for comparison, it’s important to note that I tend to focus on building them so that they work like they do in the comics, rather than adhering to Mutants & Masterminds rather rigid power level caps.

As for d20 power levels and a New Mutants Index…

Level One characters in a superhero world are generally either normal people (without any special powers or access to Mana) or empowered pre-adolescents – kids with powers. They aren’t necessarily WEAK – but whatever their power is they won’t have the skills, toughness, or have explored their powers ramifications enough to use it very effectively.

Level Two characters are generally starting metahumans, as well as older characters who simply have never gotten much attention / experience. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re weak – although, like Rusty (or any poorly-designed character), they certainly can be – but it does mean that any powerful abilities are likely to be pretty narrowly focused. Most superheroic campaigns will start with second or third level characters and progress slowly; After all, it took the original New Mutants a hundred issues to get from level one to level three or four. Characters on this level from the New Mutants include:

  • Boom-Boom has had an upgrade over the comics – this version has a much wider variety of fairly powerful munitions to call on – but she’s still basically demolitions girl. Her power is built using Equipage and an Immunity.
  • Feral is a fairly competent slasher, but – unless she gets to keep the ghostly powers I put in when she comes back – is basically good for nothing else at all. When you come right down to it… “I have the powers of a leopard!” is all very nice, but it’s more of a pulp hero power than a super hero power. Not too surprisingly, her power is built with Shapeshifting.
  • Rusty could surround himself with an aura of flame, and… well, there wasn’t much “and”. This version has the potential to add considerable variety to his basic ability, but still isn’t very impressive as superheroes go. His power is built with Presence and Metamagic.
  • Skids is a nice demonstration of specialization. She’s invulnerable to the point where most hero or villain teams will be unable to affect her. Unfortunately, she can’t really do anything much while being invulnerable except a little cheerleading for her companions (if any), which keeps her down at level two. Her powers been built with the Mystic Artist ability sequence.

Level Three characters tend to be your basic minor heros. Experienced characters with lame powers, really, REALLY, talented teen heroes, dependable team players with useful powers but few special tricks, and so on, all tend to be found here. And in this category we have…

  • Domino has an afterthought power of “things always going her way” (basically team luch) – except, of course, that they really did no such thing. She’s basically just kind of lucky in combat, so she has some Inherent Spells to make her so and a lot of experience as a mercenary.
  • Rictor is a fairly common type of hero, built with Rune Magic – and so possessing a fairly wide variety of abilities within a specific field. Like most such heroes (and anime characters) gesturing and announcing his attacks helps him focus his power.
  • Shatterstar is a super-soldier with a couple of minor vibrational tricks, decent leadership abilities, and swords. Now there’s nothing wrong with swords, or with super-soldiers, but super-soldiers tend to be valiant and stick at being just a bit more than human rather than being en route to cosmic power. Shatterstar pulls it off with a bit of Shapeshifting cheese and some Inherent Spells to give him a big dose of personal bonuses.
  • Warpath is actually a bit like Shatterstar – using the same general Shapeshifting effects to channel “totem spirits”, but also uses an Inherent Spell to pull off various superstrength tricks and Witchcraft to boost his strength and access some shamanic powers. Warpath his probably reached his limit on raw strength, but – if he focuses on further super-strength tricks and/or his shamanic powers he may well keep on moving up the ranks.

Level Four and Level Five heroes are often well-rounded types who are moving up. The ones who stick at this level usually have a big “but” in their descriptions. Their power may be highly useful and versatile but it also has some major flaw. They may have some very powerful specific ability, but they have little else beyond their one trump card. They may have pushed some minor, versatile, ability to the limits, but have nowhere else to go with it. Their powers may be extremely potent, but impossible to fully control. And they usually have no way around that “but”.

  • Cypher (L4) has some excellent techno-organic boosts to his toughness and ability to interface with computers, has some combat boosts, and has very limited access to magic – but he’s really pushed “I am a super linguist!” just about as far as it can possibly go. Most of this powers are built on Luck and Innate Enchantment.
  • Karma (L4) possesses a high-end set of Inherent Spells (psionic powers in her case), a few boosters for Psionic Dominate, and just a bit of general telepathy. That’s a pretty good power – but it’s very specific and if her targets are unaffected or simply resist… all she’s really got left is a minor psychic blast, and I put that in.
  • Magma (L4) has a powerful and fairly versatile ability, but has control issues. If she ever manages to surpass those, she’ll soon be moving up the power scale. Her abilities are built with Shapeshifting to an Elemental Form and with Rune Magic.
  • Wolfsbane (L5) winds up here thanks to her wide range of abilities. A basic wolf-shifter – and even one that gets to use a Dire Wolf transitional form in combat – isn’t that formidable as superheroes go, but when you throw in an array of enhanced senses and being good at stealth and infiltration, she can be pretty effective. If you accept my speculation that her powers are based on tapping into the power of the Asgardian wolf gods she may continue moving up the scale if she ever learns to really use the Rune Magic that opens up to her.

Level Six and Level Seven are about where “superheroes” start in basic d20 games. With the constant supply of Mana provided by the Superheroic World Template, this is the start of true Demigods – characters who often possess a wide range of powerful abilities, who can often defeat sizeable groups of high-end agents and minions and put up a potentially victorious fight against entire teams of minor heroes, who often command great resources, and who often have only one or two flaws that keep them from competing effectively with the near-gods above them. These are the characters who can fight high-end opponents without needing a team.

  • Cannonball (L7) is your classic flying brick – Flight, Invulnerability, Super-Strength (with immortality as a bonus). With ranged and area effect blasts and a variety of special tricks – including reflecting major attacks and containing strategic nuclear weaponry as well as flying through earth and stone. About the only thing that keeps him from competing with Superman is that his defenses drop when he’s not using his powers. While he’s got Inherent Spells and Innate Enchantments, like many characters at this level he’s a specialized Reality Editor as well.
  • Magick (L7) is an extreme range teleporter, a time traveler, commands a legion of demons, is a formidable witch almost anywhere and is sorceress supreme of Limbo, wears extremely durable mystic armor, and wields a magical blade capable of almost one-shotting the Dread Dormamu. Doctor Strange said that there wasn’t much that he could teach her about magic. What made Magick a team player instead of a cosmic power was simply the fact that she was a giant bundle of control issues; her dark powers caused at least as much trouble as they solved. Magick is (literally!) infernally complicated, and is built with Rune Magic, Witchcraft, Sanctum, Blessing, Leadership, Ritual Magic, and more. Her build also includes a lot of the basic discussions on converting d20 to Mutants & Masterminds.
  • Mirage (L6 with a +1 ECL Valkyrie template) has some shamanic training, the ability to pull emotionally-charged images out of people’s heads and manifest them, a minor death goddess and soulguide, and an astounding team medic, since she can fight off death to keep people alive. As such, she’s another complicated build – with a template full of death-related powers, several forms of Rune Magic, and some cheesy Shapeshifting to get some “badass normal” boosts. Given her limited offensive abilities (at least as of now) she needs a team – but more experience and magical self-development may change that.
  • Sunspot is a generalist. He flies, he wields solar powers, he has super strength, he heals himself, he absorbs energy, he has a very extensive array or social and business connections, he can buy up evil organizations and convert them to benign ones, and he’s pretty tough. He may not be at the top of the scale in any of those things unless he’s powered up from absorbing extra energy, but he’s pretty well up there in ALL of them – which is a major power in itself. He’s built with Hysteria, Berserker, Grant of Aid, Rune Magic, Innate Enchantment, Enthusiast, and Immunity – mostly because he has a similar multiplicity of powers.
  • Warlock (L4 with a +2 ECL Race) is powerful and versatile – in fact he’s powerful enough to make it up to this level even with a great big “but” attached to him. In his case that “But” is pacifism; he has a powerful racial template and an immense variety of built-in equipment and weapons (Innate Enchantment) – but he mostly winds up providing transportation, rescue services, and utility powers.

Levels Eight to Twelve are where the big boys hang out. Extremely durable characters with a wide variety of powerful abilities and the ability to affect massive areas fit in here. In the case of the New Mutants… about the only character who hits this level is Cable, and even then only at his peak.

It’s important to note that this puts the peak end for unlimited-use superheroic abilities somewhat below the peak end for limited-use baseline d20 abilities. This is in no way a coincidence; d20 is notorious for including a bunch of “game-breaking” powers at near-epic levels. Still, a character who occasionally uses Time Stop or casts Wish can be dealt with. A character who can stop time until they feel like letting it move on again or who gets unlimited wishes? Not so easy to deal with.

  • Cable and Graymalkin (L8) are – not unexpectedly – potentially game-breaking. After all, they’re time travelers with teleportation and the ability to build super-technology who are more or less literally here to kill their equivalent o Hitler and revise their own pasts. Cable enjoys massive bonuses thanks to his use of Legendarium, has a bucket-load of skills, is an immensely powerful Rune Mage, and is a walking time paradox maintained by his own ongoing Reality Editing.

Levels 13+ are pretty much for Cosmic Powers, and are usually best left to NPC’s.. An unlimited supply of Mana and a high level lets you do a decent job of building cosmic beings, or at least aspects thereof – but why bother? You don’t really need statistics for Death or Eternity or any other character of that level; they more or less are the setting and define the adventures, rather than actually participating in them.


Eclipsing Warpath

This, finally, leaves Warpath, previously known as Thunderbird II.

Warpath was Thunderbird I’s little brother, and originally appeared as a member of the Hellions, out to avenge his older brothers death (he blamed Xavier). And this was good; the kid had just enough power to be a creditable threat, a good motive, and – as the hero-worshiping little brother of a heroically deceased teammate – a solid emotional claim on the heroes that he was out to get. It was reasonably plausible and led to several classic plotlines. As usual, after exploring a few of those classic plotlines, he did the “redemption arc” thing and became a hero, even if he was still pretty hot tempered and vengeance-driven.

Warpath joined the New Mutants under Cable in issue 99 after his tribe was massacred, and so was a part of the transition to X-Force (and the final 100’th issue of the New Mutants) and soon hit stage four (below) to become the team muscle.

So what did he do? Well…answering THAT question is more than a bit awkward.

  1. Initially Warpath was strong, tough, and fast, if only modestly superhuman. He may or may not have had some enhanced senses. Sometimes he was regenerative and sometimes not. That varied from story to story like it does for most comic book characters. Anyway, he was a pretty standard big tough guy with a minor power (the boosted senses) to help distinguish him from all the other big tough guys out there.
  2. He then developed the ability to run at up to 100 MPH and swiftly climb walls. OK. Why not? He was more or less a super-athlete and 100 MPH is less than four times the record for a normal human athlete.
  3. Then he DEFINITELY had some enhanced senses. That worked well enough with the whole enhanced athlete / wilderness warrior thing even if it really didn’t seem too closely related to his boosted physique. He was getting to the end of this stage when he joined Cable’s new team.
  4. He then seemed to lose the super-running and wall-climbing in favor of becoming MUCH bigger, stronger, and tougher (up in the “on even terms with the Juggernaut” range). I guess he was a growing boy? Still… losing powers is a bit weird. So is putting on an extra six feet of height and at least a fifteen hundred pounds of bone and muscle. He stayed in this stage through most of X-Force’s initial run.
  5. Then he got smaller again (losing a lot of strength and toughness) and learned to fly thanks to some advanced training with a guy who throws energy knives (What? Why? HOW? Isn’t this equivalent to Captain America or Colossus training to become flying midgets?). I think there was something about his eyesight being better as well, but I’m none too sure – and it may have just been somebody recalling the “enhanced senses” thing.
  6. Then he got some vibranium knives (which at least makes sense; the really strong guy picked up some really tough weapons) and demonstrated a fair degree of skill in slicing people up with them.
  7. Then he apparently lost the ability to fly and picked up basic shamanic powers and rituals from Ghost Rider (wait, what is a demonic possession victim doing teaching Amerindian shamanism? Oh never mind, maybe he was just helping a bit or something).
  8. Later on, he learned to fly again, although he seems to be back to normal size and his strength and toughness are down a great deal. He still has sharp pointy knives though!

Anyway, according to the Wikis, his current strength, speed, level of invulnerability, speed, stamina, healing, and most other items are “unknown” since they’ve varied quite freely from “slightly superhuman” to “godlike” across his career – and not in the consistently-better “I gained some levels” style of d20.

Fortunately, there are ways in Eclipse to deal with characters with wildly varying abilities, rather than taking THIS approach and giving him multiple versions: In this case it’s going to be…

Totemic Channeling: Shapeshift, with Growth, Attribute Modifiers, Hybrid Form, Clear Speech, and Variants (Almost entirely human appearance), Specialized and Corrupted/the animal chosen may only be changed through a shamanic ceremony on a Solstice or Equinox, outside of this the user cannot change forms, only to take on animal powers, cannot be further upgraded, user may be called on to act on behalf of the spirits of nature on occasion, can only call on totems of species that still exist and were active in his tribal territory within the last two centuries (10 GP).

  • Mountain Lion: Str +6, Dex +8, Con +4, Move +10, +1 Natural Armor, Climb 20, Low-Light Vision, Scent, +4 to Acrobatics, Athletics, and Stealth. Improved Grab. Two 1d4 attacks. (Stage 2).
  • Grizzly Bear: Large Size. Str +16, Dex +2, Con +8, +5 Natural Armor, +10 Move, Two 1d8 attacks, Low-Light Vision, Scent, and Improved Grab. +4 to Athletics (Swim). A very good totem, but incredibly conspicuous and very awkward. (Stage 4).
  • Eagle (Medium Sized): Str +4, Con +4, Dex +2, +1 Natural Armor, 80′ Flight (Average), two 1d4 attacks. Low-Light Vision, +8 on visual Perception checks. (Stage 5). Not so good on the attribute bonuses, but the ability to fly can come in pretty handy.

While other animals are certainly possible, most of the other major possibilities – badger, boar, otter, beaver, squirrel, weasel, horse, etc – are far less effective and/or very special purpose to be stuck with for at least three months. Generally I’d stick with the Lion or Eagle. The Grizzly Bear totem is very powerful – but being a giant is generally going to kill your social life, drive your expenses through the roof, and prevent you from going anywhere as a civilian. It’s only a good idea if you’re obsessed with war or vengeance or something and will have access to all kinds of special support.

Oh wait. That fits precisely. Thus Warpath going into giant warrior mode during his X-Factor days.

As usual, shapeshifting cheese works just fine in superhero settings, but probably won’t be allowed in most others.


Warpath / James Proudstar

Level Three Totemic Warrior

Four Color Package (24 CP):

  • This includes Superheroic Physics, Superheroic Durability, Superheroic Build, Rapid Recovery, Minor Conventions (Ready for Inspection, Comics Code, It’s Sufficient, Heroic Will, Heroic Rally, Coincidental Catch, Heroic Health, and a Minor Benefit (see below).

Pathfinder Package Deal (Free).

Pathfinder Human (Free)

Basic Abilities: Str 14 (+2 Enh), Int 12, Wis 13 (+2 Human = 15), Con 16 (+2 Enh), Str 14, Dex 14 (+2 Enh), Cha 10 (Pathfinder 25-Point Buy).

  • Lion Totem: Str 22, Dex 24, Con 22
  • Bear Totem: Str 32. Dex 18, Con 26
  • Hawk Totem: Str 20, Dex 18, Con 22
  • He can activate another +6 boost to strength if he needs to.

Given that this alone gives us eight different attribute arrays to work with, I’m simply going to assume that Warpath is using the Lion Totem (without the further strength boost) for the rest of this writeup.

Other Powers:

Wild Man: Innate Enchantment: All abilities Spell Level 1/2 pr 1 x Caster Level One x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.7 Personal-Only where relevant (11,200 GP net value, 12 CP).

  • Enhanced Attributes: +2 Enhancement Bonus to Str, Dex, and Con.(4200 GP).
  • Personal Haste, x.5 / only to boost movement (700 GP).
  • Disguise Self x.5 / only to cover up animalistic traces and provide occasional GM-controlled makeovers and changes of look (700 GP).
  • Stabilize: Automatically stabilizes if below zero hit points (700 GP).
  • +3 Competence Bonus to Perception (700 GP).
  • Inspiring Word: +1 Morale Bonus to saves, attacks, checks, and damage (1400 GP)
  • Ward of Heaven: +1 Luck bonus to AC and Saves (1400 GP).
  • Resistance: +1 Resistance Bonus to Saves (700 GP).
  • Fortune’s Favor: +1 Luck Bonus to Checks (700 GP).

Brick Tricks: Mana Powered Inherent Spell I (Specialized, only as a prerequisite) and II (Greater Invocation of “Brick Tricks”. Warpath may produce strength-based effects of up to level two – flicking small items with deadly speed and accuracy (Kinetic Bolt), sealing doors by twisting the frames out of shape (Wizard Lock), knocking people down by creating earth tremors (Stomp), shouting with tremendous volume (Shatter or Sound Burst, later Shout or Energy Cone), imitate various special combat maneuvers, and so on (9 CP).

Shamanic Training: Mana-Powered Witchcraft II (12 CP) with Pacts of Spirit and Duties (-12 CP).

  • Basic Witch Abilities:
    • The Adamant Will. Warpath was hunting Xavier and Jean. He pretty much required this.
    • Dreamfaring: Specialized for No Cost / only to sense and interact with Spirits as if they were solid.
    • Healing: Specialized for no cost / only to instantly repair minor personal injuries, reducing their effect by 3 (In essence, add DR 3/- on top of his other defenses).
    • Hyloka, Specialized / Warpath is essentially immune to Fatigue.
    • Shadoweave, Specialized / only to provide impressive effects during shamanic ceremonies.
    • Elfshot, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect / only usable to chase away or bind spirits.
    • Witchsight
  • Advanced Witchcraft Abilities:
    • Wrath of the Sea (6 CP). Provides a +6 bonus to Strength when active.
    • Bones of Iron (6 CP): Provides various enhancements to durability when active.

Minor Privilege: Gets the “X-Man Equpment Package” for free (3 CP).

Standard “X-Man” package (13,000 GP):

  • Kevlar Reinforced Costume (“Leather Armor”, but 40 GP and only 5 pounds), Masterwork (+150 GP), +1 (+1000 GP), Amulet of Tears (2300 GP. This can provide up to +36 HP per day. Armor Crystal: a Lesser Iron Ward Diamond (2000 GP). This isn’t a big deal, but every little bit helps.
  • Advanced First Aid Kit / Healing Belt (750 GP).
  • “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.
  • Reactive Contact Lenses / Raptors Mask (3500 GP).+5 to Spot (Perception), Immunity to being Blinded or Dazzled.
  • Utility Pouch: Keys, LED minilight, multitool, chalk, nylon ties, etc. All the little junk that pops up once in a blue moon (10 GP).



Skill Boosters: Upgrade Human Fast Learner to +2 SP/Level (3 CP), Fast Learner, Specialized in Skills for +2 SP/Level (6 CP), Adept (Athletics, Expertise (Apache Amerindian), Intimidation, and Perception, 6 CP), Imposing Build (Augmented Bonus; adds (Str Mod) to (Cha Mod) for skill purposes, 6 CP).

Available Skill Points: 24 (Fast Learner) +6 (Int Mod x 6) = 30

Purchased Skills (All +1 Luck, +1 Morale):

  • Acrobatics 2 (+7 Dex +4 Lion = +15)
  • Apache Warrior Combat (Unarmed Martial Art) 6 (+7 Dex = +15)
  • Athletics 6 *(+6 Str +4 Lion = +18)
  • Deception 1 (+6 Str = +9)
  • Expertise (Apache Native) 6* (+1 Int = +9)
  • Expertise (Apache Shamanism( 2 (+1 Int = +5)
  • Insight 4 (+2 Wis = +8)
  • Intimidation 6* (+0 Cha +6 Str = +14)
  • Perception 6* (+2 Wis +3 Comp = +13)
  • Stealth 2 (+7 Dex +4 Lion = +15)
  • Treatment/Medicine 3 (+1 Int = +6)

Apache Warrior Abilities: Defenses +2, Toughness 2, Expertise x2 (may trade bonuses between Attack, Armor Class, and Damage), and Improved Critical.


  • BAB: +3, Corrupted/does not contribute to iterative attacks (12 CP).
  • Hit Dice: 12 (L1d12, 8 CP) +12 (L2-3d8, 8 CP) +12 (Immortal Vigor) +30 (Con Mod x 5) = 66 HP (Mutants & Masterminds Toughness +9 base, +10 with extra DR, +11 with Uniform).
  • Saving Throws (All +1 Each Luck, Morale, and Resistance)
    • Fortitude +2 (6 CP) +6 (Con) = +11
    • Reflex +0 (0 CP) +7 (Dex) = +10
    • Will +2 (6 CP) +2 (Wis) = +8
  • Proficiencies: All Apache Weapons (6 CP).
  • Armor Class: 10 (Base) +7 (Dex) +3 (Armor) +1 (Natural) +2 (Martial Art) = 23
  • Attacks:
    • Melee Attack: +10/+10 (+3 BAB +6 Str +1 Morale), 1d8+7, Crit 19-20/x2.(Mutants & Masterminds Damage +11)
    • Boosted-Strength Melee Attack: +13/+13 (+3 BAB +9 Str +1 Morale), 1d8+10, Crit 19-20 20/x2.(Mutants & Masterminds Damage +12)

Point Costs:

  • Four Color Package: 24 CP
  • Totemic Channeling: 10 CP
  • Innate Enchantment: 12 CP
  • Brick Tricks: 9 CP
  • Shamanic Training: 12 CP
  • X-Man Gear: 3 CP
  • Skill Boosters: 21 CP
  • Purchased Skill Points: 0 CP
  • BAB: 12 CP
  • Hit Dice: 16 CP
  • Saving Throws: 12 CP
  • Proficiencies: 6 CP

That comes to 135 CP.

Available Character Points: 96 (level three base) +10 (Disadvantages: History, Compulsive (Vengeful), and Accursed (cannot maintain social relationships) +6 (Heroic Duties) +18 (Human, L1, and L3 Feats) +9 (Restrictions: will not go beyond light armor, primitive weaponry, and avoids everything beyond basic shamanism) = 139 CP.

But wait! We have 4 CP left over!

Not to worry; they’ll be turning up under “Equipment”, below.

Remaining Details:

  • Minor Four-Color Ability: Immortal Vigor I
  • Equipment: As a third level character Warpath is entitled to 3000 GP worth of gear. Given that he doesn’t normally use all that much, I’m going to assume a wilderness survival package, some sort of battered old jeep, a trunk full of shamanic gear, and a comfortable lifestyle.

Now we actually have a threefold problem; Warpath was given a pair of Vibranium Daggers as a gift. Unfortunately, D20 really doesn’t cover gifts, the stuff is supposed to be absurdly expensive (each dagger would cost millions), and Vibranium itself is actually pretty ill-defined. The stuff is supposed to absorb vibration and kinetic energy, at least up to a certain limit – which will destroy it (and presumably release that energy). Thus Captain America’s vibranium-alloy Shield can take a hit from Mjolnir without moving enough to break it’s bearer’s arm. So… how does HE move it? He’d have to be pushing it much harder than Mjolnir. And why doesn’t Vibranium absorb energy from the environment until it explodes? I suppose that it’s just comic-book logic. Vibranium is a super-metal, so it’s super-good at whatever you need, and so absorbs vibration and kinetic energy only when it’s user needs it to do so. Also, such items never seem to get lost or stolen for long, no matter how irreplaceable they are.


  • Create Relic, Specialized and Corrupted / the GM decides what he should have because actually he just picks things up from somewhere or does poorly understood shamanic rituals, only works with the points from Enthusiast (so if he loses something it either comes back or gets replaced) (2 CP).
  • Enthusiast, Specialized for Increased Effect (2 floating CP) and Corrupted for Reduced Cost / only usable with Create Relics (2 CP).

His unbreakable daggers are basically just a special effect; his medicine bundle simply increases his damage die from 1d4 to 1d8 (6 CP) and allow him to use a couple of mana-powered first level effects – a no-range Silence effect and Protection from Sonic Energy (6 CP) – for a net Relic cost of 2 CP.

Warpath was actually a bit of a challenge; he’s had his powers revamped so many times that it’s pretty tricky to try and make him consistent within a single build – and gives him a surprising level of versatility and power simply because doing it called for several slices of cheese. Still, his role on a team is usually to be the tank – so he needs to be able to withstand a lot of attacks.