Skill Stunts and Epic Skill Stunts II – Movement and Personal Control

Skill Stunts and Epic Skill Stunts allow you to attempt wild and wonderful things with your skills – provided that you can pay the price. Since there aren’t all that many examples provided in Eclipse, here are some for two additional sets of skills: Part One of this series (Basic Notes and stunts for Appraise / Finance / Etc) can be found HERE

Sample Stunts for Acrobatics/Balance/Burrow/Climb/Fly/Jump/Tumble (and sometimes Drive or Pilot) and similar skills:

All of these skills are about movement, and are already treated as being pretty flexible. I’ve yet to encounter a game master who would say “there’s no rule about trying to roll under the quickly-descending door! You can’t try to do that!”. Similarly, if you want to try to run on that tightrope, rather than walking slowly, or climb quickly and recklessly… it may be much more difficult, but that’s what DC modifiers are for. Ergo, this is a relatively short list as skill stunts go.

  • DC 10 (normally no stunt required):
    • Balance on one hand, or sit on a flagpole for days, or do a triple-inside-out loop, or perform some other impressive but basically useless trick demonstrating your expertise. The better your roll, the more impressive your trick.
    • Maintain movement discipline with a group – marching, piloting, or otherwise – so as to avoid accidents (including “friendly fire”) and interfering with other members of the group. Sadly, while you can march all day in combat the duration drops to 3d6 minutes.
    • Make slow progress under moderately difficult conditions – picking your way over rough terrain, across ice floes, or climbing a somewhat-rotten tree. The duration is however long it takes to do it .
  • DC 15 (May or may not require a stunt):
    • Accurate Measure: Accurately track how far you have traveled in various directions and at what angles, providing accurate measurements for mapping. Activating this stunt is good for twelve hours.
    • Instant Stand (or evade falling when tripped or otherwise knocked prone) with no AoO. (This is allowable, but much more difficult, under the basic rules. In Eclipse, however, it is a built-in part of many martial arts and available at first level).
    • Roll with the Punch: Subtract (Check Result – 10) from the damage inflicted by a fall or blunt force attack as an immediate action.
    • Sea Legs: Stand, fight, or act without penalty while on top of a relatively stable moving vehicle. Once active, this lasts until the situation changes or the user falls unconscious (including going to sleep).
  • DC 20:
    • Ascension. You may move up walls or along ceilings as a part of your ground movement.
    • Evasive Maneuvers: Retain your full dexterity bonus even when moving at full speed in a straight line. Once active, this lasts for 3d6 minutes.
    • Tree Striding: You may move normally through forested areas or forest canopies. This remains in effect until the trip is interrupted.
  • DC 25:
    • Communicate a clear message through interpretive movement. This requires however long it would take to give a similar speech and allows the use of other oratorical or communicative abilities.
    • Smashing Charge: Use a standard action and your (check – 15) as a strength check to smash a door, wall, or similar inanimate target.
    • Storm Legs: Stand, fight, or act normally while aboard a ship in a storm, atop a car during a chase, or while dealing with violently unstable or minimal footing (such as the classic “while standing on posts” martial arts duel). . This lasts 3d6 minutes after combat begins, but for hours otherwise.
  • DC 30:
    • Dervish Dance: You may sacrifice your move action to gain an extra attack at your full base attack bonus, adding another bonus attack for each +30 on your check result to a maximum of +4 attacks.
    • Light Foot: stand or move on narrow surfaces, thin ice or branches, and other surfaces that would not normally support you without difficulty. AT DC 75 this includes clouds, illusions, and beams of light. This normally lasts for 3d6 minutes, but can be extended with concentration.
    • Navigate through whirling blades, bouncing boulders, or similar erratic obstacles. (Or, for that matter, pilot a small starfighter through a parking garage). If this is an ongoing problem rather than a single check, this remains in effect for 3d6 minutes.
  • DC 35:
    • Coaching: Share your base movement skill with a group of up to (Charisma) others by focusing on giving them directions. This generally lasts as long as you continue to concentrate on giving directions.
    • Dream Stride: Somehow catch up with someone who is moving much faster than you are.
    • Implausible Maneuver: make a mid-air turns, perform a full attack while leaping or falling, execute a bootlegger reverse with an eighteen-wheel tractor-trailer.
  • DC 40:
    • Evasion. Take no damage from an area effect attack after a successful saving throw.
    • Move normally despite severe damage – run on broken legs, drive a car despite having lost both tires on one side, and so on. The effect lasts for 3d6 minutes or for the duration of a dramatic scene, such as piloting a badly damaged ship that ought to be sinking through a terrible storm.
    • Take a move as an Immediate Action – for example, running across a roof quickly enough to catch someone who is falling off.
  • DC 50:
    • Bowling for Minions: run into or sideswipe a creature, inflicting (Skill Check – 50) damage and a bull rush effect as a part of your move action.
    • Breach a dimensional barrier to move onto a coexistent plane as a standard action. You may take along whatever you can carry as usual.
    • Leap from chunk of debris to chunk of debris to run up an avalanche or collapsing roof.
  • DC 60:
    • Leap of Clouds; move up to a mile as appropriate to the skill in use as a standard action. .
    • Water Dividing Fu: Swim up or divide a waterfall, tunnel through molten rock (leaving the tunnel open behind you), or leave a “tunnel” of vacuum in the air behind you. Such pathways will remain open for 3d6 minutes.
  • DC 75:
    • Sonic Boom: Your movement generates a powerful shockwave in the ground/air/water/whatever is appropriate, inflicting up to (Check Result/10) d6 of damage to everyone and everything within 20 feet of your movement path. This will be modified by the base skill; if you are causing a shockwave in the ground, flyers will be unaffected.
    • (The) Toe Crusher: As a standard action move by up to (Dexterity) targets within long range, inflicting (Check – 60) damage to each. You may wind up anywhere within long range.
  • DC 100:
    • Chasm Crossing Stride: move up to ten miles as appropriate to the skill in use as a standard action
    • Optional Gravity: Treat your personal gravity as having whatever direction is most convenient for you at any given moment for 3d6 minutes.

Epic Stunts:

  • Ghosting Technique (Research Level 4, DC 26): You move so quickly that you generate afterimages equivalent to Greater Mirror Image. You may maintain this effect for 3d6 minutes, generating more images even if all of them were destroyed in a previous round.
    • This illustrates an important point. “Epic Stunts” don’t have to be particularly over-the-top in game terms. They’re just over the top in skill terms. Generating mirror images through illusion magic is easy. Generating them by moving so fast that you’re leaving afterimages? Definitely epic – and a good way to help keep a skillmonkey relevant at higher levels as well.
  • Racing Cheetah Strike (Research Level 5, DC 30): Move to any location within extreme (800 feet plus 80 feet per level) range, become hasted for 3d6 rounds, and make a full attack.
  • Spiders Dance (Research Level 7, DC 38): You may move across walls, ceilings, narrow ledges, twigs, individual strands of spider silk, water lily leaves, through horrible storms, over the most difficult terrain, the thinnest of ice, and through other environmental hazards, without hindrance or penalty.
  • Leap Between Worlds (Research Level 8, DC 42): You may move from one world to another – perhaps leaping from Earth to Barsoom, from Planescape to Faerun, or from the depths of the Abyss to Greyhawk. You can bring along anything you can carry.
  • Stance Of Clouds (Research Level 9, DC 46): You may appear at any location within one mile, stand and fight there without penalty (whether or not there is a surface or environment that can support you, and then reappear at your original location.
  • Shadow Step (Research Level 10, DC 50) The user may move via the equivalent of a Dimension Door, three times as an immediate action, picking up and dropping off passengers along the way.
  • Cometary Impact (Research Level 11, DC 54): The user may ascend several thousand feet, creating a takeoff shockwave which causes 8d6 damage in a 20′ radius and descend on any 40′ radius within long range, creating a str 40 pressure wave that will attempt to force anyone there prone and still, and impacting to cause (Check / 2)d6 damage within that area – although there is a choice of lethal or nonlethal damage.
  • Scarlet Ribbon Dance (Research Level 12, DC 58): The user gains a +25 Dodge Bonus versus Ranged Attacks. Whenever this bonus causes an attack on the user to miss he or she may expend and AoO to redirect it at any valid target within 20′.
  • Whirlwind Stance (Research Level 14, DC 66): The user’s movement is sufficient to generate tornado-force winds, for the next 4d6 rounds all desired targets within long range will be exposed to the effects of a Tornado.
  • Avalanche Charge (Research Level 16, DC 74): Move up to five times your normal movement, automatically smashing through any obstacles in your path, including Antimagic Fields, Walls of Force, small mountains, and similar “impenetrable” barriers. Everything within a 20′ radius of any point along your route can be dealt up to 20d6 damage at the user’s option. If the route leads “through” a creature, it will be carried along until you drop it off or your movement ends.

Sample Stunts for Autohypnosis/Biocontrol/Biofeedback/Concentration/Control Shape/Meditation and similar skills:

As a “Psionic Skill”, Autohypnosis was rather awkwardly tacked on to the d20 system, has never had any real expansion or development beyond a few “epic level” uses, and primarily focuses on a suite of limited-use biocontrol abilities – not exactly a normal approach to a skill. You usually get to use skills all you please. It thus occupies it’s own little niche, somewhere between a skill and a suite of psionic powers. The Control Shape skill was a minor note under Lycanthropy (used to control their transformations), was given no other uses there, and got no real further mention or expansion anywhere at all – although I usually let it be used in place of Disguise if you wanted to use a transformation to conceal your identity. Since it’s functions were little more than a badly crippled subset of what you could do with Autohypnosis, I’m including it here. In any case, this is a straightforward pattern to expand on.

  • DC 10 (normally no stunt required):
    • Deep Slumbers: You may fall deeply asleep at a moments notice, moving immediately to the most restful stages of slumber. You need two hours less sleep than normal each day.
    • Moderate Addiction: You may eliminate the cravings and penalties of a personal addiction for a day with a few minutes of meditation.
    • Tweak Form: When using any kind of shapeshifting you may control its fine details, granting a +5 bonus to Disguise checks to impersonate particular creatures or simply make yourself harder to recognize. This effect is automatically included when using a higher-DC shapeshifting effect to provide unique details in your default transformations.
    • Wipe Memory: You may forget inconvenient facts to avoid interrogation, mental probes, and similar. They are, however, gone for good barring the use of much higher-level effects.
  • DC 15 (May or may not require a stunt):
    • Control Bleeding: As a swift action you may make a check to stop any bleeding you may be experiencing or act while at zero hit points without suffering further ill effects.
    • Endure Elements: You may protect yourself with an Endure Elements effect for a full day.
    • Firewalking: You may expend a standard action to gain Energy Resistance 5 versus any one energy type for 2d4+2 minutes. A check result of of 30+ increases this to Resistance 12, and a result of 60+ increases it to Resistance 30.
    • Purge Overindulgence: You may negate the effects, side effects, and after-effects of intoxication, the use of various drugs,
  • DC 20:
    • Beastspeech: You may communicate with animals – although this does not ensure that they will have anything worthwhile to say.
    • Ignore Pain: You may resist torture, the effects of caltrop injuries, and spells and penalties based on pain.
    • Least Warp Spasm: Duplicate the effects of Pathfinders Beast Shape I (for Control Shape or Meditation) or Monstrous Physique I (for Autohypnosis or Bio- skills) .
    • Resist Domination: You may substitute the results of an Autohypnosis check for a failed will save against an Intelligent Item in a dominance battle against an intelligent item or items.
  • DC 25:
    • Focused Mind: You may reroll a knowledge check with a +5 circumstance bonus. Unfortunately, this may only be used once per check.
    • Hibernate: You may enter a deep sleep, during which your need for food, water, and air is reduced to one-fifteenth normal. You will awaken if seriously disturbed, at a chosen signal (“Spring!” is very classic), or after an (approximate) chosen duration.
    • Remove Paralysis: You may negate a Hold, Paralysis, or related effect, whether or not you could normally act.
    • Soothe The Beast: You may retain control through an episode of Lycanthropy or a similar curse.
  • DC 30:
    • Adrenal Boost: You may apply a +2 Alchemical Bonus to your Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution or a +4 Alchemical Bonus to any one of the three.
    • Tap Reserves: Once per day you may tap into your reserves, regaining 1d8 Power or Hit Points, 1d6 Damaged Attribute Points or Negative Levels, 1d4 Spell Levels or Drained Attribute Points, two Drained Levels or two uses of a daily-use special ability. The user may add another choice from that list (the same one may be taken more than once) for each additional 10 points in the check result.
    • Trance: You may substitute entering a waking trance for sleep without losing sleeps benefits. While in such a trance you remain as alert as if you were fully awake and can tolerate interruptions totaling up to ten minutes without losing the benefits of a full nights rest.
    • Walk of Memory: You may “revisit” a segment of your personal past, reviewing every sensory impression and thought that was going through your mind in exhaustive detail in only a few minutes
  • DC 35:
    • Death Trance: You may die, releasing your spirit freely and cleanly into the outer planes, despite any attempt to entrap your spirit, force you to remain alive, or restrict you to a particular realm.
    • Feat of Endurance: You become immune to exhaustion and fatigue, and may continue even the most strenuous activity without food, water, or rest, for a full day.
    • Lesser Warp Spasm: Duplicate the effects of Pathfinders Beast Shape II (for Control Shape or Meditation) or Monstrous Physique II (for Autohypnosis or Bio- skills) .
    • Pattern Weaver: You may analyze your opponents movements and contacts, gaining a +1 Insight Bonus to your attacks and damage against them. A check result of 50+ grants a +2, and 75+ a +3.
  • DC 40:
    • Clarity Of Focus: You may temporarily give yourself (Check Result / 5) extra skill points, although they may not exceed normal limits.
    • Purge Disease: Given a few minutes of meditation you may purge a disease from your body.
    • Sight From Beyond: Your senses, communications, and your ability to attack with unarmed strikes or natural weapons, extends into coexistent planes.
    • Stasis Trance: You may sink into metabolic stasis. In this state you are immobile, and only very distantly and slowly aware of your surroundings, but you are impervious to the passage of time, immune to poisons, radiation, and similar hazards, require no food, water, or air – essentially becoming a statue. You will awaken after a preset time, if you are forcibly damaged, ifany of up to (Int) preset triggers occur, or if someone applies an appropriate special ability.
  • DC 50:
    • Memorize Scroll: You may transfer the contents of a scroll into a series of symbols embedded in your own consciousness, storing a maximum of (Wisdom / 3) such effects.
    • Perfect Resistance: If the user makes a saving throw for a partial effect, he or she can then use this check to negate the effect entirely.
    • Purge Poison: You may expel a poison from your system. If you start on your first action after it takes effect, this will negate the initial damage and any further required saves.
    • Warp Spasm: Duplicate the effects of Pathfinders Beast Shape III (for Control Shape or Meditation) or Monstrous Physique III (for Autohypnosis or Bio- skills).
  • DC 60:
    • Iron Fist: Your natural weapons or unarmed strikes gain a total enhancement bonus of +3 (+4 at DC 75, +5 at DC 100). You may reduce the total as usual to add +1 or +2 weapon properties.
    • Memory Vault: You may conceal your true personality, skills, pieces of information, alignment, or other mental qualities in a sealed pocket of your subconscious. Until you opt to once more unveil your true self, all probes, divinations, or similar effects will reveal only your cover persona. This includes the ability to use appropriately-aligned sentient items without penalty.
    • Personal Panacea: Three times per day, whether or not you would normally be capable of taking an action for any reason short of death, you may generate a personal Panacea effect.
    • Psychic Reformation: As per the psionic ability.
  • DC 75:
    • Greater Warp Spasm: Duplicate the effects of Pathfinders Beast Shape IV (for Control Shape or Meditation) or Monstrous Physique IV (for Autohypnosis or Bio- skills) .
    • Pierce The Veil: You may meditate for an hour and cast your inner vision across the world, duplicating the effects of a Scry, Legend Lore, or Commune spell.
    • Purity Of The Self: You may eliminate any forced alignment change, cast off enchantment/charm effects, restore any lost or erased memories, eliminate any transformation effects, and otherwise return to your true self.
    • Unconscious Concentration: You may place the responsibility for maintaining concentration on an effect on your unconscious mind, allowing said effect to continue until you decide to drop it. Sadly, no more than three effects may be sustained in this fashion – one for the Id, one for the Ego, and one for the Superego.
  • DC 100:
    • Akhasic Shadows: You may open yourself to the astral echoes of the past, consulting the long dead. While you can have dreadful experiences this way, it isn’t dangerous – but there is nothing that forces any given echo to be cooperative, and no way whatsoever to force them to be since they are mere reconstructions within your own mind; if they will not cooperate, it’s all too likely that you’ve either hit a spot you couldn’t reconstruct or your mind is suppressing something that could damage it. Whether or not getting some clues to that ancient vault is worth listening to Dark Lord #372189 monologue for a day and a half is up to you.
    • Gate of Worlds: You may duplicate the effects of an Astral Projection spell.
    • Nirvanic Ascension: You may achieve Nirvana. From now on your image can appear anywhere and can speak with anyone or anything, dispensing whatever brand of “wisdom” you favor. You are indestructible, undispellable, unrestrainable, can use out-of-character information, and are as eternal as you wish to be. You can, however, do nothing else whatsoever – and the GM is entitled to veto your activities if they are too mundane (such as acting as a scout, messenger, or convenient information source). Note that you can make a check for Nirvanic Ascension up to once per year, including up to three times after death.

Epic Stunts:

  • Reincarnation (Research Level 0, DC 10): You may carry your memories and abilities into a new incarnation. They will gradually emerge as your new self grows into them.
    • This has no cost; anyone capable of epic stunts in this field can do it. Of course… getting a nice, simple, “Raise Dead” is generally preferable to coming back decades later, potentially worlds away, with a new personality, and having to grow up again – complete with the risk of dying again before you unlock this ability again.
  • Hypercognition (Research Level 9, DC 46): This functions exactly like the eighth level psionic power of the same name.
  • Total Awareness Meditation (Research Level 10, DC 50): You gain a +10 Insight Bonus to your perception skills, may make checks against anything within (Check Result x 5) feet, and your senses extend through solid matter – although concealment effects allow a save against you. You could sketch a map of a network of underground tunnels, survey it for the current location of any monsters, determine what is in a tomb without unsealing it, and so on. Unfortunately you must choose what to focus on amidst the overwhelming flood of information. The game master may volunteer some obvious bits, but if you – for example – don’t ask what the tapestries look like, you will miss the terrible, sanity-blasting, eldritch horrors they portray and the symbols which can call them into being.
  • Shapechange (Research Level 12, DC 58): While this requires no material component, it is otherwise identical to the (Pathfinder) ninth level Shapechange spell.
  • Contemplation Of The Bodhisattva Nature (Research Level 14, DC 66): You may tap into the energies of the outer planes directly up to (Wis Mod) times daily, invoking the equivalent of any standard clerical spell of level seven or less without components.
  • The Allegory Of The Cave (Research Level 15, DC 70): What is reality and what is shadow? This effect makes a projection – a clone, remote body, projected image, simulacrum, or what-have-you one and the same with whatever it is linked to. Thus stealing an item from a projected image is the same as stealing it from the caster, wherever he or she may be – as is stabbing a simulacrum, or giving a remotely operated body a cold. The effect normally lasts for 2d6 hours.
  • Expressing The Soul (Research Level 16, DC 74): You may express the outer-planar attunements of your own soul, in effect Channeling (as per The Practical Enchanter) a summonable Outsider of your alignment of up to CR 15 for 3d6 minutes (add 1d6 minutes per -1 CR). The type of outsider is fixed once selected (you must work with the game master on this to select something compatible that exists in the setting), barring a change of alignment on your part.
  • Shadows of the Past (Research Level 18, DC 82): Tapping into the akhasic shadows you may weave a pocket realm in the spaces between worlds to temporarily embody the past and place yourself and your companions within it – allowing you to, say, fight in an ancient war, visit a long-lost library, or discover what really happened to the princes in the tower. While physical items cannot be removed from the pocket realm, being killed in it simply results in needing to rest for 1d3 days after returning to reality. While the pocket realm lasts for a mere 2d6 hours by outside clocks, within it it’s duration may be up to a year and a day.

Eclipse: The Codex Persona is available in a Freeware PDF Version, in Print, and in a Paid PDF Version that includes Eclipse II (245 pages of Eclipse races, character and power builds, items, relics, martial arts, and other material) and the web expansion. Here’s a Featured Review of it and another Independent Review.

The Practical Enchanter can be found in a Print Edition (Lulu), an Electronic Edition(RPGNow), and a Shareware Edition (RPGNow).  There’s an RPGNow Staff Review too.

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3 Responses

  1. What kind of stunts and epic stunts would you give to one of the magical skills, like rune magic or thaumaturgy? I can imagine pulling off effects otherwise beyond your reach but other than that I’m completely lacking ideas.

    • I’m intending to cover a few of those – but the major themes there seem likely to be Inversion (such as using “Destruction” Rune Magic to repair something without a massive boost in the level of the spell), semi-mundane applications (using Fire magic for making metal alloys, selective distillation, or designing a furnace), and altering the nature of what you manipulate, rather like the old notions of some Alchemists (for example, making solid air that remains solid even without magic because that is now it’s “natural” state).

      OF course, you never know what will actually occur to me once I start writing, so that’s speculative until I actually do it.

  2. […] Skill Stunts and Epic Skill Stunts allow you to attempt wild and wonderful things with your skills – provided that you can pay the price. Since there aren’t all that many examples provided in Eclipse, here are some for two additional sets of skills: Part One of this series (Basic Notes and stunts for Appraise / Finance / Etc) can be found HERE, Part II – covering Movement and Personal Control skills – can be found HERE. […]

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