Eclipse d20 Power Packages – The Skirmisher Ranger and the Nightmare Kingdom

The Skirmisher Ranger:

Pathfinder’s Skirmisher Ranger replaces Ranger Spellcasting with one of Pathfinder’s favorite gimmicks – a pool of points and a choice of “tricks” they can be used to power. In this case… about 14 “Points” at level 20 (presuming an 18 Wisdom) and eight Tricks at level 19.

Now, admittedly Ranger Spellcasting is not one of the great magical powerhouses – but there does seem to be general agreement that it does the intended job and that you have to get something really good to justify trading it out. There also seems to be general agreement that the Skirmisher abilities just aren’t good enough – although they are nicely thematic and they do role-play well.

Well, the easiest way to compare things like that in Eclipse is to go ahead and build them. Honestly, however, there are going to be some improvements here. Some of the Skirmisher abilities simply are not very useful and others are kind of weak – and limiting things down to those levels would be more trouble than it’s worth (as I’ve noted before, Eclipse wasn’t really designed to build ineffective abilities; so it is often more work to build useless powers than it is to just take effective ones). As usual Pathfinders “Point Pool and Tricks” abilities translate into a Mana Pool in Eclipse terms. So that’s…

  • 5d6 (18) Mana with Reality Editing, Specialized for Increased Effect (Minor Edits – generally equivalent to first or second level spell effects – cost 1 Mana and do not count as actions or provoke Attacks Of Opportunity), Corrupted for Reduced Cost / Only for Reality Editing, user may only spend 3 Mana per Turn, only to produce a limited (Level / 2) list of Minor Edits which cannot be changed once selected. Will Save DC is (18 + Dex Mod) where applicable, all edits are considered Extraordinary Abilities (20 CP).
  • Rite of Chi with +4 Bonus Uses (18 Points), Specialized and Corrupted for Reduced Cost / Only to restore the “Tricks” pool given above, takes at least half an hour per d6 (4 CP).
    • You can split this up if you want – perhaps the first feat getting you 6 Daily Mana and the next three getting you +4 Each. A new trick every even level in any case, since they don’t cost points. Why not? That could give you a fair handful of tricks quite early on.

Common Skirmisher Tricks:

  1. Alchemic Strike: Once per round the user may add the effect of a Tanglefoot Bag, Woundweal, Liquid Ice, or Flash Powder, or that of two flasks of Alkali, Alchemists Fire, Defoliant, or Holy Water, or that of three flasks of Acid, to a successful attack.
  2. Call To Heel: The user’s Animal Companion(s) is/are now in an adjacent square(s).
  3. Cats Fall: You land safely on your feet after a fall, taking no damage.
  4. Dirty Trick: You may attempt a Dirty Trick as if you had the Improved and Greater Dirty Trick feats.
  5. Evasive Stance: You do not suffer attacks of opportunity for 1d4 rounds.
  6. Hindering Strike: Slows target for 1d4 minutes, rounds on a successful save.
  7. Hunter’s Eye: Gain a +10 insight bonus on Perception checks for 1d4 rounds.
  8. Hunters Rush: Once per round you may stand up or move (run, swim, climb, jump, etc) twice your base movement without suffering a stealth penalty or attacks of opportunity. Note that, since this is not an action, you may then make a full attack if you wish.
  9. Mighty Effort: You may burst free of restraint. This negates being Dazed, Fascinated, Entangled, Grappled, Stunned, or Paralyzed when activated.
  10. Mighty Blow: As per Disfiguring Touch, but hours/level, Will DC 20 save for one round / level.
  11. Pack Leader: Up to seven animals you own will be well-behaved for you. When you activate this ability they are considered trained for a particular purpose for the next hour.
  12. Primal Reflexes: Gain a +5 bonus on your initiative and negate Surprise. If used in conjunction with a successful Reflex Save you suffer no effect from whatever triggered the check.
  13. Quick Maneuver: You may attempt any one Combat Maneuver as a free action that does not provoke AOO.
  14. Quick Expertise: You may reroll a skill or attribute check.
  15. Stalkers Wheel: Gain a +4 Morale Bonus to Str and Con and a +2 Morale Bonus to Will Saves, for one round per level.
  16. Subjective Gravity: You may treat walls and ceilings as level ground for 1d4 rounds.
  17. Surmount Wounds: You may use Close Wounds OR Cure Moderate Wounds without provoking an AOO.
  18. Swift Fortune: You may reroll a failed saving throw.
  19. Swift Strike: Once per round each either the user or his or her Animal Companion may make a single attack at their highest BAB.
  20. Trap Maker: If in an unprepared area set off a Trap of CR (Level / 6, rounded up) or less. If in an area that you have been in for at least one hour (Campsite, etc) the CR may be up to (Level / 3, rounded off). Traps may be up to 60′ away.
  21. Trick Shot: The user’s next attack gains a +20 Insight Bonus to Hit and ignores miss chances.
  22. Vanguard: You and your allies gain a +2 Circumstance Bonus to Attacks, AC, Saves, and Checks this round.
  23. Warning Cry: Your animal companion is unaffected by an attack.
  24. Wars Master: You may reroll an attack check OR critical confirmation check once.
  25. Whirling Blade: Once per round you may effectively use the Whirling Blade spell without provoking an AOO.
  26. Whirlwind Strike: Once per round you may make a Whirlwind Attack.
  27. Wild Empathy: Gain a language for twenty-four hours. Languages such as “Tiger” or “Mule” are available.
  28. Wild Forge: Given twenty-four hours in the Wilds the user may provide himself or herself with an “equipment package” with an effective value of up to 200 GP. Given a week, the effective total rises to 1000 GP. While the equipment in this package is too crude and temporary to be sold it is completely functional and may include simple vehicles or even animals (too feral to be sold).
  29. Wilderness Stride: The user’s movement is not hindered by terrain for 1d4 hours as long as it can be traversed with normal movement, even if slowly.
  30. Wrathful Blade: A weapon (or 50 projectiles) gains the Keen property for one minute/level.

Now Ranger Spellcasting is quite a bit more flexible, and somewhat more powerful, than the ten tricks you get with this ability even with this expanded and upgraded list – but, on the other hand, this comes to 24 CP while Ranger Casting comes to 52 CP, so if you’re substituting this package for Pathfinder Ranger Spellcasting you have 28 CP left over.

Now you can step it up a bit by throwing in….

  • Rite of Chi with +9 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted / Three uses (10 Mana) “Per Encounter”, only to restore mana to the Tricks pool, only between “encounters” (7 CP). This lets the Skirmisher use ten tricks per battle without depleting his or her reserves. Given a reasonable number of encounters twelve is probably fine since the base pool remains at 18/Day.
  • Additional Form Of Natural Magic / Reality Editing, Specialized and Corrupted / adds + (Current Level / 4) tricks to the user’s selection (2 C). If taken twice, for (4 CP), the user simply gets his or her choice of (Level) tricks. After that? Well, +2 CP per additional trick works well enough.

That would come to 35 CP (basically six feats) for a choice of 20 tricks and 12-14 Mana per encounter to use them with – and will still leave room for three more feats. That should make the Skirmisher Ranger (or Skirmisher whatever) much more competitive with the normal Ranger.

The Nightmare Kingdom:

With this exotic talent the user can invite others to visit a Kingdom Of Nightmares – undertaking a nocturnal visit to a realm of dark adventures! If they succeed in their adventure they will each awake with some prize, a treasure gleaned from the realms of dream. If they fail…

…Well, they will wake up anyway, albeit with symptoms of having slept badly – a bit of a headache, a feeling of tiredness, and a forfeiture of the usual nights healing. The “treasures” are a bit random and run towards the carnival-prize end of things sometimes as well, but they are always of some use and value. As the “guests” go in level, the “treasures” tend to improve as well.

Secondarily, the dream-adventures tend to act as a group training exercise.

This 12 CP (two feats) power is built using…

  • Group Blessing, Double Specialized / only to share the effects of the Equipage and Mentor powers below, only works on sleeping groups (3 CP). Double-Specialization is normally a red flag, but “only while asleep” is a pretty big limitation – and it only saves 1 CP.
  • Equipage, Specialized and Corrupted for Reduced Cost / only works while the user sleeps, user is not in control of the items gained, although they do tend to meet basic needs, user experiences dreams of small adventures wherein such goods are acquired (2 CP).
  • Plus Returns, Specialized for Increased Effect (the user may sell nonphysical items, such as unused spells and their nightly natural healing, albeit for only a fraction of the normal valuation) / only works while the user sleeps, only things that are renewed daily may be sold, user experiences a dark adventure in the realm of dreams with the nature of the transaction depending on success or failure (a failure sells your nightly natural healing as well as any leftover spells / powers / etc and leaves you a bit tired and possibly head-achy, although aspirin works. A success simply sells leftover spells of your choice and has no side effects save for not having any daily effects that you sold ready if you’re woken up in the night). In general, the odds of “success” are about 50-50, although well-organized groups can get it up to about two out of three (3 CP).
  • Plus Purchasing, Specialized and Corrupted for Reduced Cost / only works overnight, only if the user “wins” the dream-adventure, the “prizes” gained are always of some use but run towards a “carnival” feel; a low-level user may get some supplies and a stuffed animal, or perhaps a minor Charm, a map to some place of interest, a few spare blaster power cells, or some such. Higher level users – having more leftover spells and powers to “sell” – may get bigger and more useful prizes (2 CP).
    • Technically such “prizes” come out of the general fund built up by all of the users over time, so tracking individual “accounts” for each user is not necessary.
  • Mentor, Specialized and Corrupted / only works to add a bonus feat to a Party Template developed by spending time training together in dream-adventures, requires some months to develop, party must agree on their party template (as usual) (2 CP).

The Nightmare Kingdom package can be a fairly effective party-booster, providing minor supplies and an enhanced Party Template. It is not, however, a particularly effective combat package; the user may have a steady supply of snacks and trinkets, and will probably charge a bit for their services – but enabling people to win prizes in dreams won’t help much when a monster is attacking. Most adventurers will be quite willing to hire a dream-guide if they can find one though; the utility is fairly obvious.

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