Predation and Ponyfinder in Equestria – Gryphons and Building Species Affinities

Gryphons need a lot of meat in their diet. Unfortunately, that means that a given area can support a LOT fewer gryphons than it can ponies, zebras, or other primary herbivores or even omnivores. For comparison, in Minnesota a wolf (with an average weight of about ninety pounds), eats an average of 15-20 adult-sized deer (with an average weight of about 125 pounds, so about twenty-five times their own weight) or the equivalent per year to meet their nutritional requirements. So to support a single wolf… you need a deer population large enough to produce fifteen to twenty offspring over and above the number needed to sustain their own population and make up for accidents and any unscavenged (at least by wolves) causes of death each and every year. So 20-30 females of breeding age, the upcoming offspring to replace them, enough bucks to fertilize them, and a few older ones (possibly past breeding age) who haven’t been eaten yet. While the exact numbers depend on a lot of factors… fifty or so is a fairly good average.

Hunting fast-growing and fast-reproducing smaller animals, such as mice, is far more efficient in terms of food produced in any given area, but also expends more time and energy per calorie – an exchange that results in diminishing returns as the prey becomes smaller in comparison with the hunter. While traps and filter-feeding are effective counters to the issue, they’re probably not good options for gryphons.

Of course, predators usually take weakened or smaller animals and eat carrion – the ones that die anyway. Why? Well, to look at the wolves again… it’s because, while a deer isn’t all that likely to kill a wolf with a kick or it’s antlers, they can and have done so. If a deer has a mere 1% chance at killing a predator during a hunt, and (according to the biologists) a lot of hunts – 80% or more – are unsuccessful, then a wolf who eats 18 dear a year participates in 90 hunts – and would only have a 40% chance of surviving for a year. That’s why predators try to take smaller prey whenever a chance comes up, grab free carrion meals whenever possible, and avoid risks as much as possible. That’s also why predators will fight over territory and mates, but will back away from any confrontation with prey that they are not more than 99% certain that they are going to win without serious injury. If they lose their territory they are very likely to die. If they don’t mate this year, they can help raise their relatives kids or maybe mate next year. But if they make a habit of fighting anything healthy and near their size, they WILL die.

And it’s not like prey lacks natural weapons. Giraffes can kill lions with kicks or by slamming their heads into them. Zebras and gazelles occasionally kick them to death. Elephants can stomp them or roll over on them – and have been known to throw logs. Even mouse bites can become infected and kill ferrets and foxes – even if the ferrets and foxes don’t die of all the parasites and diseases mice can carry.

That’s why, when it comes to live prey, solitary predators are generally trappers or ambush hunters. They cannot afford to give their prey a chance to fight back. Group hunters (pack, pride, whatever) tend to rely on distraction – letting a few group members try to run the prey into an ambush or bring it to bay and hold it’s attention while staying out of range – allowing other members of the group to attack by surprise (and preferably from behind) again. That’s why they can afford to try for larger prey; it will be greatly outnumbered and shouldn’t get a chance to put up a real fight.

Real predators are tremendously outnumbered by their prey, try to win struggles with near-equals by intimidation and posturing, fight as cowardly, efficiently, and dishonorably as possible when they have to fight, and go for free meals whenever they can. “Honor” has no place in a predators lifestyle. Humans tend to romanticize them – the old “noble savage” sort of idea – but that’s as much a fantasy as Monty Python’s Vorpal Rabbit.

Even supplementing their diet with the more readily digested baked goods and fruits, Gryphons are always going to be heavily outnumbered by the herbivorous races. If they accept substantial subpopulations of species that are less carnivorous, and so are more effective farmers, in their territories… then those tenants will need to feed themselves first, and only THEN livestock. This will be easier for the gryphons, but will result in an even lower gryphon population in any given territory.

Even worse, almost every sizeable animal in Equestria shows significant intelligence (and often magic), making hunting them both harder and more dangerous. They can anticipate ambushes, set up traps and safe zones, supplement their natural weapons, and organize group defenses. For a carnivore… this is very, VERY, bad news. Think of it this way; if one deer in twenty was toxic, then wolves would very shortly be extinct outside of zoos. Equestrian predators need to be either magically powerful or resistant to magic or both (Hydra, Chimaera, Cockatrice, Dragon, Sphinx), near-indestructible (Timber Wolves, Cragdile, Dragon, Slingtails), huge (Ursas, Rocs, Dragons, and Quarray Eels), equipped with powerful natural weapons (Chimaera, Manticore, Windigo and Tatzulwurms), supernaturally sneaky (Changelings pre-Thorax), aquatic (since most fish seem to be “normal”, Bite-Acuda), or willing to forgo ethics and do almost anything to get along. Sneaky, opportunistic, treacherous, and backstabbing is pretty much the order of the day. Otherwise, they will soon go extinct.

Gryphons are not shown to be magically powerful, resistant to magic, near-indestructible, or huge. A beak and talons are an improvement on hooves, but aren’t really on a level with flame breath, deadly poison, supernatural cold, or inflicting magical diseases and swallowing whole. They’re neither supernaturally sneaky or aquatic. That leaves the “willing to do anything” option. In d20 terms… they’re inclined towards neutral or chaotic evil.

Ponyfinder gives Gryphons +2 Str and -2 Cha (with the +2 Pathfinder bonus going to Wis), 40′ Flight with Poor Maneuverability, Low-Light Vision (like every other Fey), a 1d6 bite, and Cloud Walking. They are quadrupeds but are capable of moving at 20′ on their hind legs.

Honestly, that’s terrible compared to what Equestrian (if not Everglow) Ponies get – but it’s also true that about all we see Gryphons do in the series is fly (about as well as normal pegasi) and stand on clouds. Presumably they could bite or claw at people too, but that’s just based on their conformation. That’s… not a lot to go on.

Oh well. Lets build the basic Gryphon Racial Package anyway.

Equestrian Gryphon (31 CP / +0 ECL).

  • Pathfinder Package Deal: +2 Wis (No Cost)
  • Basics: Gryphons are medium-sized. For rules purposes, they’re considered to be humanoids. They have a base move of 30′ and they eat a lot of meat. They can eat sweet fruits and baked goods that don’t contain too much cellulose, but can’t live on a vegetarian diet for very long. No cost.
  • Predatory / “Poor Reputation” (-3 CP): Gryphons are territorial, prideful, do not cooperate well in large groups, tend to frighten other, need a lot of meat, and have a rather nasty reputation for backstabbing. Indeed, many would say that combining a bird of preys general psychotic hostility towards the universe with the aloofness of a cat makes them quite insufferable. It will be best to let someone else be the party “face”.
  • Quadruped / “Accursed” (-3 CP): Gryphons only move at 20′ when they can’t use all four legs, are short, have problems with getting tangled up in clothing, and have problems with small tools and such since their “hands” aren’t very good. This does provide the usual quadruped bonuses (+10 ground movement and increased carrying capacity, along with a +4 against Bull Rush). Fortunately, rings, boots, and so on adapt to fit anyone – so there are no changes in their behavior or the rules for them for gryphons.
  • Winged Flight: Two levels of Celerity with the Additional modifier (Flight, 40′ base, perfect maneuverability), Specialized and Corrupted for reduced cost: will not function properly if the user’s wings are entangled, damaged, or otherwise restrained (although, weirdly enough, as long as the user’s wings are free to move, it doesn’t matter if they are actually moving), is subject to dispelling, antimagic, and similar effects, makes the user magically conspicuous, and only starts with poor maneuverability (8 CP).
  • Innate Enchantment: (9500 GP effective value, 10 CP).
    • Raptor’s Mask: +5 to Perception, Immunity to effects that would leave you Blinded or Dazzled (Magic Item Compendium, 3500 GP).
    • +2 Enhancement Bonus to Strength (L1, Personal-Only x.7 = 1400 GP).
    • Wind Blades (Blood Wind) (L1, Personal-Only – 1400 GP): A Gryphon may spend a swift action to shape the winds, using it’s unarmed strikes for the round as if they were thrown weapons with a 20′ range increment.
    • Embrace The Wild: (L1, Personal-Only x.7 = 1400 GP). Gain low-light vision, scent, and 30′ blindsense. +2 to Perception.
    • Endure Elements (L1, 2/Day, Personal-Only, 560 GP). Gryphons generally don’t need clothing, regardless of the weather, although things like booties and scarves do make them more comfortable when it’s cold or wet out
    • Lesser Vigor (L1, 3/Day, Personal-Only, 840 GP). While there are limits, gryphons recover quickly from normal wounds. They have to; they cannot afford to be wounded during their next hunt and can’t afford to take a lot of time off to heal.
    • Personal Trick: Gryphons gain their choice of a first level spell used at caster level one once per day or two cantrips used at caster level one once per day each (400 GP).
  • Immunity/stacking limitations when combining innate enchantment effects with external effects (common/minor/trivial; only covers level 0 or 1 effects) (2 CP).
  • Cloud-Walking: Immunity/Falling (Common, Major, Minor, 6 CP base), Specialized/only while there’s a cloud of some sort to “support” them. Oddly enough, “clouds” of insects, smoke, and similar things work just fine (3 CP).
  • Damage Reduction (versus both Physical and Energy attacks) 2/- (3 CP). This isn’t a lot, but every little bit helps.
  • Adept (A Dex-Based Raptor Style Martial Art, Fly, Stealth, and Perception Skills may all be purchased at half cost, 6 CP).
  • Racial Skill Bonuses: +4 to the Raptor Style (they all start with Strike, with the damage raised to 1d6, 2 CP), +2 to Fly, Stealth, and Perception (3 CP).

Net Total: 31 CP.

The Gryphon Racial Package, like the basic Pony Racial Package is a mere +0 ECL. Unlike ponies, however, gryphons don’t have full-fledged secondary racial packages and they don’t rely on Mana. They may not have as much raw innate power as Ponies do – but they will always be a bit ahead of them in their development and they will have an easier time learning to do unique tricks with any Mana they do have available. Ponies are a more powerful race, but gryphons make better specialists for anything outside the built-in pony competencies.

The basic gryphon survival strategy “in the wild” is simple enough. They use their wings to reach a high place with some concealment. They perch there, and use their enhanced vision to spot potential meals. They kill said meals with ranged attacks and take them back to their den – another place that’s high out of reach of non-flying species – and share them with their kids. If any serious danger pops up, they fly away. If they can, they make sure that a few secondary dens are available, both so as to have a place to take the kids if a dragon or something moves in on their primary den and to avoid leading such menaces back to their primary den and offspring. If something on their own general power level – a pony or another gryphon – moves into their territory (or they move into theirs), it’s time to growl, posture, snarl, and try to settle who is strongest and most dominant without actually fighting and risking an injury that might leave them unable to hunt for long enough to starve to death. Gryphons can make friends – but it’s rare unless they’re in a nice, safe, area and have plenty of food available. Oddly enough, it’s usually with ponies when it does happen; ponies aren’t usually competing with gryphons, usually have plenty of surpluses and an incredible willingness to share them, and often respond with a great deal of sympathy (an emotion rather alien to an equestrian predator, who must kill and eat fairly intelligent creatures all the time) to a gryphons underlying hint of hungry desperation.

That’s not fabulously brave or noble, and it doesn’t offer many options beyond “retreat!” when a gryphon runs into something that outranges them – but it will generally keep them fed and safe in a world full of unpredictable magical hazards. Thus gryphon settlements tend to be little more than clusters of huts atop mountains or mesas unless – for a brief, shining, time – they are united under some charismatic and powerful leader.

That generally doesn’t last, but it’s fun when it happens.

Many gryphons have secondary species affinities, most often powered by Mana – but that’s about the limit of their instinctive channeling. Beyond that point, they generally need to learn to use it consciously, from scratch.

Secondary Species Affinity: Double Enthusiast, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect: only to buy abilities related to the users feline OR avian species morphology (not both), can only be changed to a total of [(Con Mod x 2) + 2], 2 minimum) specific abilities or combinations of abilities. (6 CP). While this does not inherently bypass the minimum level requirements for full control of spellcasting (inherent or not), reducing those spells to level three by spending mana on them means that even the most powerful effects require a maximum level of five to fully control – so it isn’t much of an issue. Given that a gryphon will normally only have one or two such effects it can usually be excused. If it matters, however, buy a small Immunity (+4 on your effective level for controlling inherent spells (Common, Minor, Minor, Specialized and Corrupted / only to cover the minimum level requirements for the two possible secondary species affinity spells) for 1 CP and drop it later. A Gryphon may purchase a Secondary Species Affinity twice: once for each of the user’s contributing species.

Thus, for example, a Lion-Eagle Gryphon might purchase either the Lion’s or the Eagle’s Gift or both, using one ability from among the current possibilities for each such purchase.

Possible Lion’s Gifts include

  • Con Mod 0-: 2x Skill Emphasis, Specialized for Increased Effect / will not work in areas of antimagic, can be dispelled, counts as an enhancement bonus (6 CP): Either +4 to Diplomacy and Intimidation or +4 to Acrobatics and Stealth.
  • Con Mod +1: Mana-Powered Inherent Spell, Specialized for Decreased (Mana) Cost / only allows a single first level spell. Either Rally The Pride (Remove Fear) or Inspire Fury (Swallow Your Fear).
  • Con Mod +2: Mana-Powered Inherent Spell, either The Lion’s Rage (Fear) or Coordinate The Pride (Haste).
  • Con Mod +3: Mana-Powered Inherent Spell, Level Four Effect reduced to Level Three by costing 3 Mana to activate. Either The Lion’s Roar (Shout) or The Hunter’s Gift (Locate Creature).
  • Con Mod +4: Mana-Powered Inherent Spell, Level Five Effect reduced to Level Three by costing 4 Mana to activate. Either Master Of The Pride (Greater Heroism) or The Lion’s Glory (Enhance Attribute (Charisma) +8 for one minute per caster level). .
  • Con Mod +5: Mana-Powered Inherent Spell, Level Six Effect reduced to Level Three by costing 5 Mana to activate. Either Feline Heritage (Mass Cat’s Grace) or The Lion’s Rage (Dance Of A Thousand Cuts).

“Con Mod +5″ is the highest level of Gifts normally available. Higher Constitution Modifiers do add more options to the lower tiers though.

Possible Eagle’s Gifts include:

  • Con Mod 0-: Either Flight Feathers (+20 Flight Movement (12 CP), plus Immunity/Maneuvering Limits (Common, Minor, Major, 6 CP) with the same limitations as their base flight ability, to get Flight 60 at Average Maneuverability or Eagle’s Strike (Double Damage while striking in a Power Dive / Aerial Charge, 6 CP).
  • Con Mod +1: Mana-Powered Inherent Spell, Specialized for Decreased (Mana) Cost / only allows a single first level spell. Either Eagles Glare (Lock Gaze) or Eagle’s Cry (Ear-Piercing Scream) (In a few cases Cry Of Freedom (Liberating Command).replaces one of these).
  • Con Mod +2: Mana-Powered Inherent Spell, either The Eagle’s Eyes (The Practical Enchanter, Skill Mastery, +10 to Heal, Perception, and Survival) or Wind Dance (Burst Of Speed).
  • Con Mod +3: Mana-Powered Inherent Spell, Level Four Effect reduced to Level Three by costing 3 Mana to activate. Either The Eagle’s Prayer (Freedom Of Movement) or Windreading (Echolocation).
  • Con Mod +4: Mana-Powered Inherent Spell, Level Five Effect reduced to Level Three by costing 4 Mana to activate. Either Feral Form (Aspect Of The Wolf) or Control Winds.
  • Con Mod +5: Mana-Powered Inherent Spell, Level Six Effect reduced to Level Three by costing 5 Mana to activate. Either Desert Wings (Sirocco) or Wings Of Flame (Personal-only version of Fires Of Purity, does +3 Damage).

For some other possible twists…

Possible Lynx Gifts include:

  • Con Mod 0-: Either the “Seapony” Package (6 CP) or Immunity to Cold (Common, Major, Minor, 12 points of resistance, 6 CP).
  • Con Mod +1: Mana-Powered Inherent Spell, Specialized for Decreased (Mana) Cost / only allows a single first level spell. Adroit Melding (+10 Enhancement Bonus to Stealth)) or Hunter’s Howl.
  • Con Mod +2: Mana-Powered Inherent Spell, either Life Bubble or Greater Magic Fang.
  • Con Mod +3: Mana-Powered Inherent Spell, Level Four Effect reduced to Level Three by costing 3 Mana to activate. Either Commune With Nature or Shadowform.
  • Con Mod +4: Mana-Powered Inherent Spell, Level Five Effect reduced to Level Three by costing 4 Mana to activate. Either Dream or Waves Of Fatigue.
  • Con Mod +5: Mana-Powered Inherent Spell, Level Six Effect reduced to Level Three by costing 5 Mana to activate. Either Mass Suggestion or Shadow Walk.

Possible Raven Gifts Include:

  • Con Mod 0-: Either Spell/Power Resistance (6 CP) or Attribute Shift (-2 Str, +2 Int, 5 CP).
  • Con Mod +1: Mana-Powered Inherent Spell, Specialized for Decreased (Mana) Cost / only allows a single first level spell. Comprehend Languages or Shadow Trap.
  • Con Mod +2: Mana-Powered Inherent Spell, either Voluminous Vocabulary or Shrink Item (a few substitute Blood Biography or Call The Void, but that’s fairly rare).
  • Con Mod +3: Mana-Powered Inherent Spell, Level Four Effect reduced to Level Three by costing 3 Mana to activate. Either Arcane Eye or Black Tentacles. (A few substitute Bestow Curse or Blood Crow Strike for one of those, but that is extremely rare in Equestria).
  • Con Mod +4: Mana-Powered Inherent Spell, Level Five Effect reduced to Level Three by costing 4 Mana to activate. Either Prying Eyes or Ravenscrown (Enhance Attribute from The Practical Enchanter, +6 Enhancement Bonus to Int and Dex for ten minutes per level).
  • Con Mod +5: Mana-Powered Inherent Spell, Level Six Effect reduced to Level Three by costing 5 Mana to activate. Either Eyebite or Greater Dispel Magic

Possible Cheetah Gifts include:

  • Con Mod 0-: Either Opportunist / Can make a Full Attack after a charge (6 CP) or Reflex Training (Combat Reflexes Variant) (6 CP).
  • Con Mod +1: Mana-Powered Inherent Spell, Specialized for Decreased (Mana) Cost / only allows a single first level spell. Either Personal Haste (The Practical Enchanter) or Light Foot (Speedster Spell List).
  • Con Mod +2: Mana-Powered Inherent Spell, either Haste or Storm Step.
  • Con Mod +3: Mana-Powered Inherent Spell, Level Four Effect reduced to Level Three by costing 3 Mana to activate. Either Flash Forward or Greater Mirror Image.
  • Con Mod +4: Mana-Powered Inherent Spell, Level Five Effect reduced to Level Three by costing 4 Mana to activate. Either Shadow Walk or Plane Shift.
  • Con Mod +5: Mana-Powered Inherent Spell, Level Six Effect reduced to Level Three by costing 5 Mana to activate. Either Dance Of A Thousand Cuts or Dust Form.

Possible Phoenix Gifts include:

  • Con Mod 0-: Either Grant of Aid (6 CP) or Immunity to Fire (Common, Major, Minor, 12 points of resistance, 6 CP).
  • Con Mod +1: Mana-Powered Inherent Spell, Specialized for Decreased (Mana) Cost / only allows a single first level spell. Either Snapdragon Fireworks, Flareburst, or (rarely) Burning Disarm.
  • Con Mod +2: Mana-Powered Inherent Spell, either Ablative Barrier or Elemental Aura.
  • Con Mod +3: Mana-Powered Inherent Spell, Level Four Effect reduced to Level Three by costing 3 Mana to activate. Either Pyrotechnic Eruption or Rainbow Pattern or (rarely) Phoenix Spawn (as per Ball Lightning, but little Phoenix images)
  • Con Mod +4: Mana-Powered Inherent Spell, Level Five Effect reduced to Level Three by costing 4 Mana to activate. Either Damnation Stride or Burst Of Glory.
  • Con Mod +5: Mana-Powered Inherent Spell, Level Six Effect reduced to Level Three by costing 5 Mana to activate. Either Telepathy or True Seeing.

Possible Leopard Gifts include:

  • Con Mod 0-: Either Enhanced Strike/Hammer or Enhanced Strike/Whirlwind
  • Con Mod +1: Mana-Powered Inherent Spell, Specialized for Decreased (Mana) Cost / only allows a single first level spell. Either Critical Strike (Spell Compendium) or Catsfeet (Complete Mage).
  • Con Mod +2: Mana-Powered Inherent Spell, either Nondetection or Wraithstrike (Spell Compendium).
  • Con Mod +3: Mana-Powered Inherent Spell, Level Four Effect reduced to Level Three by costing 3 Mana to activate. Either Greater Invisibility or Shadow Form (Spell Compendium).
  • Con Mod +4: Mana-Powered Inherent Spell, Level Five Effect reduced to Level Three by costing 4 Mana to activate. Either Wind Tunnel (Spell Compendium) or Aspect Of The Wolf.
  • Con Mod +5: Mana-Powered Inherent Spell, Level Six Effect reduced to Level Three by costing 5 Mana to activate. Either Superior Resistance (Spell Compendium) or Planar Exchange (Spell Compendium).

Possible Songbird Gifts Include:

  • Con Mod 0-: Either Attribute Shift (-2 Str, +2 Cha) or Countermagic.
  • Con Mod +1: Mana-Powered Inherent Spell, Specialized for Decreased (Mana) Cost / only allows a single first level spell. Either Ventriloquism or Sanctuary.
  • Con Mod +2: Mana-Powered Inherent Spell, either Good Hope or Magic Circle Against (alignment of choice).
  • Con Mod +3: Mana-Powered Inherent Spell, Level Four Effect reduced to Level Three by costing 3 Mana to activate. Either Dismissal or Ruin Delver’s Fortune (Spell Compendium).
  • Con Mod +4: Mana-Powered Inherent Spell, Level Five Effect reduced to Level Three by costing 4 Mana to activate. Either Break Enchantment or Greater Forbid Action.
  • Con Mod +5: Mana-Powered Inherent Spell, Level Six Effect reduced to Level Three by costing 5 Mana to activate. Either Song Of Life (Animate Objects) or Heroes Feast.

Sadly, Songbird Gryphons with +5 Constitution Modifiers and the Songbirds Gift are vanishingly rare, or the gryphons would have a lot less trouble with their food supplies. When one does show up… it usually means that another glorious gryphon ruler has appeared, and there will be another brief flowering of population, civility, and culture, in some gryphon settlement. Then, after the Songbird priest/ruler dies, the need for food will take priority again, most of the gryphons living there will be forced to scatter to claim hunting territories, and the golden age will be over until the next time such an individual appears.

Possible Jaguar Gifts include

  • Con Mod 0-: Gift Of War (Augmented Bonus/Add Str Mod to Dex Mod for skill purposes, Specialized for Double Effect/only for the racial martial art) or Imbuement (Unarmed Variant).
  • Con Mod +1: Mana-Powered Inherent Spell, Specialized for Decreased (Mana) Cost / only allows a single first level spell. Either Doom or Strategic Charge (Spell Compendium)
  • Con Mod +2: Mana-Powered Inherent Spell, either Vampiric Touch or Deadly Juggernaut.
  • Con Mod +3: Mana-Powered Inherent Spell, Level Four Effect reduced to Level Three by costing 3 Mana to activate. Either Poison or Eyes Of The Void.
  • Con Mod +4: Mana-Powered Inherent Spell, Level Five Effect reduced to Level Three by costing 4 Mana to activate. Either Personal Revenance (As per Revenance, but you may effectively cast it on yourself the round after you die. This may not be used again until you are actually brought back) or a (larger gryphon themed) version of Bite Of The Weretiger (Spell Compendium).
  • Con Mod +5: Mana-Powered Inherent Spell, Level Six Effect reduced to Level Three by costing 5 Mana to activate. Either Swarm Skin or Shadow Transmutation.

Possible Falcons Gifts include:

  • Con Mod 0-: Either Opportunist / Can make a Full Attack after an aerial or air-to-ground charge (6 CP) or Reflex Training (Three extra actions variant, Specialized in Attacking for Increased Effect. Three times per day you may decide to insert a full attack into the normal sequence of events).
  • Con Mod +1: Mana-Powered Inherent Spell, Specialized for Decreased (Mana) Cost / only allows a single first level spell. Either Keep Watch or Guided Shot.
  • Con Mod +2: Mana-Powered Inherent Spell, either Cloak Of Winds or Akhasic Communion.
  • Con Mod +3: Mana-Powered Inherent Spell, Level Four Effect reduced to Level Three by costing 3 Mana to activate. Either Implacable Pursuer (Spell Compendium) or Superior Magic Fang (Spell Compendium).
  • Con Mod +4: Mana-Powered Inherent Spell, Level Five Effect reduced to Level Three by costing 4 Mana to activate. Either Mislead or Control Winds.
  • Con Mod +5: Mana-Powered Inherent Spell, Level Six Effect reduced to Level Three by costing 5 Mana to activate. Either Big Sky (Masters Of The Wild) or Binding Winds (Magic of Faerun).

Obviously enough, a lot of other “Gifts” could be constructed – but the pattern is pretty simple. If you want something different, this is Eclipse. Just run it by your game master.

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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5 Responses

  1. Kudos on the excellent method of making the various “species” of griffons (as the show spells their name) have mechanical relevance. Most of the sourcebooks that I’ve seen attempt this have either made such differences purely cosmetic (which was unsatisfying) or have slightly-tweaked stat-blocks of their own (which was somewhat cumbersome, particularly if you wanted different combinations of cat and bird). Thematic packages of abilities comes across much better, particularly when you factor in the idea that mystical types of creatures can be represented too (i.e. the phoenix).

    Also, as a minor note: the limitation on how many abilities they can buy with Double Enthusiast should probably be [(Con mod +1) x2, minimum 2] for the packages of abilities, since there are six abilities listed that go from +0 to +5. Otherwise, someone with, say, a Con modifier of +2 could only pick two of the three bullet points they’d otherwise have access to.

    More generally, I wanted to ask: the higher-level abilities here presume that the Spell Enhancement option can be used in conjunction with the Superheroic world template. Is that normal? I hadn’t realized that any “natural magic” was available when that world template was in use.

    • First up, thank you once again for catching my typos! It’s very helpful, I do appreciate it, and the partial equation is fixed now.

      And I’m glad you liked the “species” packages. I have to agree that a lot of sourcebooks seem to sort of lose track of what they’re trying to accomplish along the way. I like world building, but it’s best focused on the bits that someone else might actually see and want to use.

      Of course, while Eclipse has a fairly steep learning curve to get past, after that it makes it a lot easier to build what you want.

      As for the spell enhancement option, you’re right on the rule; the Superheroic World Template provides mana, it doesn’t give you a branch of natural magic to use – although you can certainly go ahead and buy one. In this specific case, however, the gryphons are simply using variants on the spell formula with the mana requirements built into them, rather like a spell calling for 5000 GP worth of Diamonds – reducing the effective spell level with the unfortunate side effect of making the spell impossible to cast without that extra mana/diamond. A small advantage of using Inherent Spell (and thus freeform spell formula) to do your casting.

      And I hope that helps!

  2. Also, I wanted to request a few more gift packages: what would Owl and Snow Lion Gifts look like? (I figured we needed one mythological cat in there, to balance out the phoenix.)

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