Adventurers Of The Anomaly – Tarsus Korazan

This character request for the current Anomaly game was for a vaguely Shadowrun-style Wizard-Gunfighter – a military-trained “magitech” engineer – not a primary combatant, but a maintainer and sometimes-maker of specialty gear and weapons.


The old nation-states are fading as rapid transport, digital communications, Better-Than-Reality (TM) virtual experiences, and fusion power make the old boundaries and physical resources less and less relevant. Physical location is still important when it comes to basic services and security, but it has become less and less relevant to the masses interests, social circles, employment, and focus. As the population drops and the great cities turn ever more inward upon themselves, the barren lands between them are slowly returning to a wilderness populated by mutated (or magical) monstrosities and occasional groups of reactionaries, survivalists, or other holdouts.

Yet competition, ambition, and greed endure. Corporations, unions, neotribal groups, fan clubs, political movements, and a hundred other groups struggle in the shadows, spurred in part by the inability to agree on the reality underlying their virtual overlays and tailored “news”, in part by the lack of central control over the data files and the micro-manufacturing systems that place sophisticated hardware within the grasp of any anarchist with a few credits, and in part by the use of virtual reality systems to train mages – taking magic use from a painful and ill-understood thing of traditions, drugs, apprenticeships, and hundreds of self-crippled contradictory systems to a thing that anyone can study (even if relatively few prove to have any real talent for).

For those who seek change, or wealth, or glory, or a thousand other things and are unsatisfied with a private virtual world to experience it in… while poor choices are likely to lead to an early grave, a good choice of training simulations, equipment, and employers can lead to genuine wealth, power, and luxury as an independent operative or in the service of some greater group.

Inspiration for characters from Solopsis can be found in Cyberpunk, Shadowrun, SLA Industries, Cyberspace, Expendables, and any number of futuristic or “cyberpunk” stories and movies.

Solopsis World Laws:

  • Characters from Solopsis gain access to the Weaponry and Biotech Occult Skills at normal cost (12 CP). The people of Solopsis have deeply integrated biotechnology, cyberware, and personal weaponry with their basic lifestyles. They may purchase these two Occult Equipment Skills as basic skills.
  • Guns Are Best: Universal (applies to both physical and energy damage) Damage Reduction, Corrupted/not versus Guns, 3/Guns (4 CP). The overall superiority of Firearms is deeply ingrained in Solopsis’s world laws, to the point where other weapons have reduced effects against it’s peoples.
  • Simulation Learning. Kids from Solopsis pick up skills fast and early through high-pressure Better-Than-Life (TM) virtual reality education and games, gaining a +4 Training bonus on any one skill and a +2 Training bonus on any two other skills (8 CP).

Solopsis uses magic, but it uses it quite scientifically and methodically – treating it as just another branch of engineering. Arcanotech Personal foci are most common, what independent magical items there are tend to be at least partially technological.

Post-Industrial Human

(31 CP / +0 ECL Racial Template):

  • Highly Adaptable: Racial Bonus Feat (6 CP).
  • The Quick And The Dead: Fast Learner Specialized in Skills for +2 SP/Level (6 CP). Homids are the preeminent masters of acquiring knowledge – even if they often do acquire inaccurate ideas just as easily.
  • Tribalism: Humans bond with other people to form close personal friendships, and intensely – loyal groups quickly and easily. They perform at their best when defending those relationships. Presence/+1 Morale Bonus to attacks, damage, saves, and checks, Specialized for double effect (+2 bonuses)/only when defending or assisting members of their family, tribe, or extremely close personal friends (6 CP).
  • Enduring Traveler: Celerity, +20′ ground movement, Specialized/only for use in calculating long-distance travel ranges and whether or not they can catch up with something (4 CP). The heritage of ancient migrations and persistence hunting remains a fundamental part of humanities genetic arsenal.
  • Projectile Predator: +1 Racial Bonus BAB with ranged attacks (3 CP). Two million years of throwing weapons leaves it’s mark.
  • Omnivorous Scavenger: Humans are tougher than vultures. They can handle horrific pollution levels, noxious food additives, and many other environmental insults with little harm. They get a +4 bonus on relevant Saving Throws (Resist II, 6 CP).

Low-Level Adventurer Template:

Everyone on the Anomaly gets either the NPC (adjusted for people who just want to live quietly) or the Adventurer version of the Template for Characters in a Low-Level World. Not too surprisingly, this character is getting the “Adventurer” version. To summarize it’s effects:

  • A -3 penalty on unskilled skill checks.
  • Slow level advancement, by direct session-based character point awards rather than experience points. Succeeding in goals helps, but killing things and taking their stuff does not.
  • A +3 bonus on five skills which suit their backgrounds and training. Sadly, this cannot be applied to active psionic or magical skills. These are, however, considered to be natural skill ranks.
  • Extra hit points equal to [12 + (2 x Con Mod)].
  • Two minor special talents or “knacks” appropriate to their home universe – one Class-A (roughly equivalent to the effects of a first level spell or power) and one Class-B (roughly equivalent to the effects of a cantrip). His are +2 Dex and a +1 Bonus on Saves.

Characters will be using the Condensed Skill List, complete with the various skills special functions. These may, however, be adjusted for world or origin; Sci-fi characters rarely spellcast, but often have other special talents. Skill Checks are normally made on 3d6, and characters may “take 15″ instead of “20″. They are normally assumed to get a “5″ for passive checks, such as to notice something in passing.

Now that all of that is out of the way, it’s time for the actual character build:

Tarsus Korazan

Not Quite Third Level Arcane Gunslinger

Available Character Points: 92 (L2 +20 XP, may purchase things as L3) +10 (Disadvantages: Blocked (Witchcraft), Inept (Charisma-Based Skills. A virtual education will do that to you), and Accursed (stranded on the Anomaly with no apparent way back)) +18 (Human, L1, and L3 Bonus feats) = 120 CP.

Basic Attributes (Pathfinder 25 Point Buy): Str 8, Dex 16 (+2 Template = 18), Con 14, Int 16, Wis 12, Cha 10.

Basic Abilities (60 CP):

  • Hit Dice: 6 (L1d6, 2 CP) +12 L2-3d6, 4 CP) + 12 (Template) +10 (5 x Con Mod) = 40 HP.
  • Skill Points: 6 (Purchased, 6 CP) +12 (Human Fast Learner) +18 (+3 Int Mod) = 36 SP
    • Adept (Biotech, Perception, Spellslinger Style, Weaponry, 6 CP)
  • BAB: +6 BAB, Specialized /Ranged Attacks Only, Corrupted / Pistols only (12 CP).
  • Saves:
    • Fortitude: +0 (0 CP) +2 (Con) +1 (Tem) = +3
    • Reflex: +2 (6 CP) +4 (Dex) +1 (Tem) = +7
    • Will: +2 (6 CP) +1 (Wis) +1 (Tem) = +4
    • Luck with +4 Bonus Uses Specialized in Saves (6 CP).
  • Proficiencies: Simple Weapons and Pistols (6 CP), Light Armor with the Smooth Modifier (6 CP).
  • Initiative +4 (Dex) +4 (Improved Initiative, 6 CP) +2 (Reaction Booster) = +10
  • Move: 30′.
  • Armor Class: 10 (Base) +4 (Dex) +3 (Kevlar) +1 (Martial Art) = 18

Usual Attacks:

  • Black Cat Flechette Pistol :+17/+12 or +15/+15 Rapid Shot (+6 BAB +4 Dex +3 Smartgun Link +3 Martial Art +1 Enhancement), 2d6+1 Damage, Crit 18-20/x2, 40′ Range Increment, 50-round magazine, Silent, Smartgun Equipped. May be used to inflict stun damage at will, jumps into hand from up to 10′ away when wanted.
  • Lion’s Roar Mini-Grenade Launcher: +13/+8 (+6 BAB +4 Dex +3 Martial Art), 4d8 damage in a 10′ radius, 40′ range increment, scatters as a grenade-like weapon if square missed, 5 Shot Magazine.
  • Tigers Claw Combat Knife: +2 (+0 BAB, -1 Str, +3 Martial Art), 2d4 Damage, Crit 20/x2, 10′ Range Increment if Thrown, Impervious (never gets damaged), Vibro (+15 damage to overcome Damage Reduction only).
  • Unarmed: +2 (+0 BAB, -1 Str, +3 Martial Art), 1d4 Damage, Crit 20/x2, may inflict lethal or nonlethal damage without penalty. Is always considered Armed.

Other Abilities:

Solipsis Arcanist (35 CP):

  • Graduate Arcanist: Five Base Caster Levels, Specialized in Wizard Casting using Generic Spell Levels (15 CP).
  • Craft Of Wizardry: 4d6 Mana as 8d4 (20) Generic Spell Levels, Specialized / only to be bound into prepared wizard spells using available formula (12 CP) (note that, if he wants to use metamagic and such he’ll need to unspecialize this later – but this works very well for a lot-level character).
  • Scientific Magic: Action Hero/Invention, Specialized (for increased effect) and Corrupted (for reduced cost) / only for Researching Spells (at 2 AP per level of the spell), only during downtime – a total of 2(Level+2) AP per level (4 CP). At an effective level of three, Tarsus has had a total of 24 AP to spend on buying additional spells at a cost of 1/2/4/6 AP for a spell of level 0/1/2/3.
  • Gunslinger Training Spells:
    • L0) Arcane Mark, Dancing Lights, Detect Magic, Drench, Flare, Mending, Message, and Read Magic.
    • L1) Burning Hands, Color Spray, Ray Of Enfeeblement, Sloth Ray (Single-Target Slow).
    • L2) Acid Arrow, Gust Of Wind, Ray Of Stupidity, Scorching Ray.
    • L3) Lightning Bolt, Ray Of Exhaustion
    • L4) (Not yet usable) Shout
  • Hedge Magic Spells, Corrupted/does not include making Conjures (4 CP). The Hedge Magic spell list includes a wide variety of relatively minor, practical, spells. Taking this feat automatically adds them to all your spell lists.
  • Personal Spells:
    • L0) None selected.
    • L1) Comprehend Languages, Shield, Sleep
    • L2) Arcane Disruption, Blindness/Deafness, Warp Strike
    • L3) Stinking Cloud

Warp Strike. Conjuration (Teleportation), Ass 2, Sor/Wiz 2, probably various other classes 2, Components V, S, Range Touch, Target Touched Creature (may be self), Duration one minute or until discharged, whichever is shorter, Saving Throw none, Spell Resistance Yes (harmless). When this spell is cast on a creature it may discharge it to cause the origin of an attack, power, spell, or other ability it uses to be at any location within long range thanks to a momentary portal. Line of effect is not required, but if the destination point is occupied by a solid object the spell fails.

This will let you backstab someone from long range, dump dust of sneezing and choking on someone from across a battlefield, throw a fireball around a corner, and various other tricks.

Arcane Gunslinger (19 CP):

All of these abilities are Corrupted / they require the use of an “attuned” pistol as a focus (and, for Spell Conversion, as the target of enhancing spells). Attuning a pistol is a process that requires several hours and inscribing the weapon with his personal sigil while it remains attuned. Only (Int Mod) weapons can be so attuned at a time.

  • Ray Mastery: +1 to Critical Multiplier with Ray Spells that have them. Improved Critical (Rays) (4 CP).
  • Arcane Focus: Improved Augmented Bonus: Add (Dex Mod) to (Int Mod) when determining Spell Save DC’s, Specialized / only for ranged touch attack, cone, line, or ray spells, DC increase cannot exceed the enhancement bonus of the gun in use (4 CP).
  • Guided Bolt: Augmented Bonus / Add (Int Mod) to (Dex Mod) when rolling attack checks with Rays, Specialized / cannot exceed the enhancement bonus of the gun used for the focus (3 CP).
  • Innate Affinity: Spell Conversion / Wizard Pistol Magic Spells (4 CP).
    • L0) Weapon Mastery: +3 to BAB with Pistols for one minute per level.
    • L1) Trick Shot: Make a ranged combat maneuver with a shot.
    • L2) Swift Reload: Reloads a firearm with available ammunition as a swift action.
    • L3) Eldritch Pistol: Gives a gun a +4 Enhancement Bonus, up to +2 of which may be invested in special weapon properties, for one minute per caster level.
    • L4) Dispelling Shot: Expend an AoO to shoot an incoming spell as per Dispel Magic.
    • L5) Bullet Storm: Shoot at up to (Level) targets at your full BAB and with a +10 Insight Bonus on the attacks. No more than two shots may be directed at any one target however.
    • L6) Hydrostatic Shock: Fire one shot with a +10 Insight Bonus on the attack. If it hits it does +10 damage and creature hit must save versus massive damage or die.
    • L7) Greater Eldritch Pistol: Gun gains a +8 Enhancement Bonus, up to +4 of which may be invested in special weapon properties for one hour per caster level.
    • L8) Distant Shot: Ignore range penalties with pistols for the rest of the day.
    • L9) Missile Mastery: You may make ranged combat maneuvers with up to four shots per round as if you had Improved Dirty Trick Greater Dirty Trick, and Dirty Trick Master for the rest of the day.
  • Gunslingers Instincts: Reflex Training / once per round can convert a spell as a part of an attack action (4 CP).

Anomalous Experiences (6 CP):

  • In his time on the Anomaly, Tarsus has learned to use the local Charms and Talismans (See The Practical Enchanter, 6 CP).
    • Charms:
      • Ammunition Pouch: Turns up to 3 GP/Day into Ammunition. (Pistol Ammunition costs 1 GP per 50 rounds. Specialized Ammunition costs twice as much and takes a -2 to Hit, but has one special quality from among: +1 to Critical Range, +4 to Damage, Silver, Quiet (+10 to Hearing DC to hear), and Tracer (can start a fire if it hits something flammable, reduces penalties for iterative attacks to -4 per shot)).
      • Dust Of Illusion. A pinch produces minor visual illusions. Needs restocking every 4d6 uses.
      • Foothold Boots. Can create a momentary disc of force under themselves three times an hour, even in midair.
      • Luncheon Pot. Provides enough cheese, jam, or butter for several decent sandwiches every day.
      • Vanishing Coat (Cloak). Renders the user invisible for up to 12 seconds (3 + Level/3) times daily.
      • Wellstone. Provides a steady trickle of pure water whenever activated.
      • Wizard’s Hand. Provides a Mage Hand effect when concentrated on.
    • Talismans:
      • Rubydraught Flask: Produces 2d4 Goodberry Draughts per day, accumulating up to three days worth.
      • Rune Weapon (On Black Cat Pistol, Below. Making it a +1 Eager weapon)
      • Tulthara (Wristband that creates a temporary Black Cat Pistol, as below, for a backup weapon).

He has also collected 34 Obols (14 Black Gold, 8 Sunlight-Silver, 5 Opaline Crystal, 3 Red-Iron, 1 Starry Crystal, and 1 Green Diamond). 164 GP, and 40 silver.


Biotech: +6 (3* CP) +2 (Con) +2 (Training) +3 (Template) = +13

  • Augmented Eyes II (Smartgun Link, Data Display, Low-Light, Flash Resistance).
  • Subdermal Impact Weave III (+2/- Universal Damage Reduction).
  • Communicator III (Transceiver and Network Datalink).
  • Computer II (equivalent to a Tablet).
  • Oxygen Reserve I (10 Minutes).
  • Reaction Booster II (+2 Initiative).

Weaponry: +6 (3* CP) +3 (Dex) +2 (Training) +3 (Template) = +14

  • Black Cat Flechette Pistol: One-Handed Small Arm, Improved Critical I, Enlarged Magazine I, Silent, 3.5 lb. 2d6 Damage, Crit 18-20/x2, 40′ Range Increment, 50-round magazine, Silent. Cost: Weaponry 4 +1 (Smartgun Link accessory, +3 to hit). “The handgun of choice of special ops, swat, and daemon-response forces. You don’t want to cross their path.’ Manufactured by Core-Tech Arms exclusively for the military and special police needs.”
  • Lion’s Roar Mini-Grenade Launcher: One-Handed Small Arm, Cannot Critical, Improved Damage I, Explosive III: 2.5 lb, 5 Shots, 4d8 damage in a 10′ radius, 40′ range increment. Cost: Weaponry 4. “Crowd Control, Doorbreaker, or Assault System, the Lions Roar can fill dozens of different tactical needs on the battlefield. You don’t want to hear the Lion’s Roar!”
  • Tigers Claw Combat Knife: 2d4 Damage, Crit 20/x2, 10′ Range Increment if Thrown, Impervious (never gets damaged), Vibro (+15 damage to overcome Damage Reduction only). Cost: Weaponry 3. “Forged of Core-Tech Arms exclusive Duralloy Blend, the Tigers Claw Combat Knife is slim and diamond-honed to a permanent razors edge, a tool suitable for all your needs! Comes with a lifetime guarantee, if you manage to break it we will replace it for free!”
  • Thunderbolt Flash-Bang Grenades: 15′ burst radius, DC 18 Fortitude Save or Blinded and Deafened for 1d4 rounds. Cost 2.

Less Complicated Skills:

  • Spellslinger Style: +6 (3* CP) +4 (Dex) +4 (Training) +3 (Template) = +17
    • Known Techniques: Attack 3, Strike, Defenses 1, Weapon Kata (Rays), Weapon Kata (Unarmed), Rapid Shot
  • Acrobatics: +1 (1 SP) +4 (Dex) = +5
  • Athletics +1 (1 SP) -1 (Str) = +0
  • Arcana: +6 (6 SP) +3 (Int) +3 (Tem) = +12
  • Concentration +3 (3 SP) +2 (Con) = +5
  • Craft +3 (3 SP) +3 (Int) = +6
    • Covers Weaponsmithing, Carpentry, Charmsmithing, Fieldworks, Mechanics, and Armorsmithing
  • Engineering (Arcane): +6 (6 SP) +3 (Int) +3 (Tem) = +12
    • Gadgets (4): Wrist Grapnel, Smoke Pellets, Spell MiniGrenades (5), One-Shot MiniParachute.
  • Linguistics +2 (2 SP) +3 (Int) = +5
    • Languages (5): Three Solaran languages (irrelevant, so not counted), Gathran, four of choice.
  • Perception +6 (3* SP) +1 (Wis) +3 (Tem) = +10
  • Stealth: +1 (1 SP) +1 (Wis) = +2
  • Survival: +1 (1 SP) +1 (Wis) = +2

Other Equipment:

  • Armor: Light Kevlar (+3 Armor, Max Dex +5, Armor Check Penalty -1, Spell Failure 15%, 10 lb. Fortunately, purchasing “Smooth” takes care of the spell failure and armor check penalty.
  • Waterproof Survival Pack: Bandages, Bedroll, Brush/Comb, Canteen, Compass (not working), Firestarters, Flares, Flashlight, Glue, Grapnel, Hatchet/Hammer, Insect Repellent, Matches and Match Safe, Messkit, Needles & Thread, Razor, Scissors, Silk Rope, Soap, Spare Clothing, String, Tarp, Towel, Washcloth,
  • Rations: The local food is a LOT better, allowing him to reserve his box of 24 Ration Bars for emergencies. For actual meals he usually just picks up some pre-packed meals with preservation charms and uses his Luncheon Pot.

As might be expected for a fairly well optimized high-tech cyborg character with three minor templates (world, low-level adventurer, and upgraded species) stacked onto him, Tarsus is quite formidable for his current level. On the other hand, he cannot be expected to increase in relative power as quickly as a character without all of that stuff will – which is, in large part, the goal of the low-level adventurer template.


5 Responses

  1. The advertising blurbs for the weapons were a nice touch, though I suspect that trying to get that replacement knife if his current one breaks might be a bit of a challenge.

    I wanted to ask, though: the “gunslinger training spells” that he knows were presumably learned for free as part of his background, right? That makes me wonder if characters who cast using generic spell levels don’t really have a “spell list” per se for their potential spells learned to be drawn from. If that’s the case, is their ability to learn new spell formulae essentially defined (possibly ad hoc) by the GM, or is it presumed that a custom spell list is created ahead of time? If it’s the latter, that seems like it could be somewhat awkward, since the cost of a magic progression is related to the breadth of a spell list, but buying generic spell levels is necessarily variable based on how much the player buys for their character.

    Also, what’s the casting time for the warp strike spell?

    • Fortunately for him, the Equipment Skills do cover (eventual) replacement… I’m glad you liked the blurbs, although I can’t claim full credit for that; the player made up the first two when I asked what weapons he used.

      The “Gunslinger Training Spells” are simply the ones his training happened to include; he took the “Arcane Gunslinger” military training courses, he got more-or-less issued a set of spell formula that went with it – a process made much easier by the local internet and databases. Characters who cast from generic spell levels don’t have a spell list unless they restrict themselves that way. They generally default to having to find and study individual spells. Since he’s using wizard-style prepared spells he does need to keep a “book” of spell formula – but fortunately he has an implant computer. It does have limits, but he shouldn’t run into storage problems for a long time yet.

      On Warp Strike it should be a swift action.

      • Reading that made me realize that there are several aspects of using “generic spell levels” as a magic progression where I’m a bit fuzzy on the details. I’m aware that such a progression doesn’t receive bonus spell levels from having a high ability score (notwithstanding buying that somehow), but doesn’t it also mean that they don’t inherently operate under any of the limitations (Eclipse p. 11) that most magic progressions have? Obviously, if you choose something like “wizard style spellcasting,” you’ll presumably have the components and studies limitations, but why would you do that to begin with (outside of thematic style) when there doesn’t seem to be any benefit in terms of CP savings?

        Likewise, being able to learn the formula for any spells seems like a major benefit (you can gain spells like fireball and cure serious wounds, for example, which normally aren’t on the same spell list), even if you couldn’t use spell completion or spell trigger magic items that use spells that you haven’t learned since you have no spell list otherwise (notwithstanding Use Magic Device). Admittedly, not having a spell list at all means that you have to locate all of your new spells in-game (which is essentially half of the studies limitation already), but that’s not necessarily that large of a hindrance (especially if you dedicate some CPs to an ability to learn or create new spells, as was done here). Certainly, not having to adhere to a list of spell slots that use fixed numbers by spell level seems like a worthwhile trade-off.

        Do I have all of that right? Or are there some other salient points which I’m overlooking?

      • Well, you’ve got three stages:

        1) Buying Generic Spell Levels through Mana provides you with a daily supply of raw magical power – but no inherent way to use it.

        2) Channeling it into a spell is where it starts getting tricky.

        Using Formula Spells is relatively easy – although each formula has precise requirements.

      • If you have an existing spell progression, you can simply use your generic spell levels to augment it.
      • If you want to use your spells spontaneously, then you need to memorize those formula, at a cost of 2 CP each. Those things are tricky!
      • If you don’t want (or can’t afford) to use your spells spontaneously, then you need to have access to the formula and prepare your spells the hard way – binding the energy step by step into laboriously prepared spells.
      • To work without spell formula you need to be using a system that can use generic spell levels to generate spontaneous spells (or something similar).

      • The Path Of The Dragon lets you use them with The Way Of Inner Fire and/or Heart Of The Dragon.
      • Ritual Magic can use them (like any other component).
      • Thaumaturgy and Dweomer can use them (although the caster will also need Power to work with unless they have the Unity feat).
      • Theurgy can use them.
      • On a more limited basis, you can power some devices with them (or most devices with Empowerment) or you can use them to power Enhanced Strike or Occult Combat.
      • Now, letting Tarsus specialize them as “only to be bound into prepared wizard spells using available formula” is a bit cheap – but it does cut out a lot of options, including metamagic (since it’s not a part of his available formula), and some very useful spells, even if they are mostly options that he never had any intention of using. On the other hand, he’s a magical gunfighter, not really a general wizard – and the physical combatants are using power armor, light sabres, grenade launchers, firearms, and mecha and the Anomaly does make magic a bit easier. Allowing him to capitalize on that to save a few points with a slightly-cheesy limitation seemed reasonable enough.

        3) Finally, of course, you need an adequate caster level for the type of spell you want to use. If you want that to be “any kind of spell”, you’ll want them to be as generic as possible – so 6 CP per caster level. Corrupted or Specialized versions will only offer you access to limited subsets of spells.

        You could even Corrupt your generic spell levels for Increased Effect (must be divided into fixed spell slots, but gets bonus spells based on your attribute of choice), but if you’re going to do that it’s usually just as efficient to simply take an existing spell progression.

        And I hope that helps!

  • […] Tarsus Korazan – A cybermage gunslinger from a magical cyberpunk realm. […]

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