Eclipse d20 – Vada Dibria Lartia of Atheria

The Lartia family has quite a few holdings along the Alaria-Chelm border, not a few Chelmian contacts and trade-partners, and relatively little of the empires standard-issue fear of the Chelmians Blood and Shadow birthrights. They certainly still regard them with caution though – and so, even with the unstable nature of the Order/Blood and Shadow Realm Boundary, they rarely produce children with Chelmian Birthrights. Most mothers-to-be are moved deeper into the Imperium well before it is time to give birth.

Some years back there was a major disturbance. Something of Blood and Shadow woke – and ventured across the border, bearing those powers with it. During the week of that rampage… the passing power of Blood brought not a few infants to unexpected birth, and Birthrights of Blood and Shadow blossomed in them.

On such child – Vada Dibria Lartia – was contracted as a child to marry into the De Tanga clan before her exotic birthright was known. Unfortunately, once it became apparent that Vada’s Birthright was of Shadow rather than of Order, the Imperium’s prejudices against Chelm kicked in. The De Tanga clan patriarch has refused to allow Vada to marry any of the heirs who reside in Alaria, given that he sees the Chelmian Birthrights as dark powers, corrupt and untrustworthy.

On the other hand, the cantankerous old man is also refusing to recognize Darius’s marriage to an “Lunar Isles Hag”. While his opinion means little outside the family (even presuming that he lives much longer. He may well not, at 223 even the best life-extension spells that he can get may not help much longer) that has left young Vada with only a few options. She can accept her (and some of the other children’s) exile into the wilderness of Dernmarik and try to make her own home there – or she can seek out Darius and see if she can arrive at some arrangement. After all, her own patronage may not last forever – and the extra power she draws from having a patron of the Imperium is just too convenient to give up without a fight.

Vada is a fairly formidable generalist; she’s an expert ritualist and can enhance the rest of a groups weapons and armor, her spellcasting is very limited but reasonably effective, she has some ability as a beastmaster, she’s a skill expert, and she’s quite decent in a fight. Like most generalists however she’s not nearly as good at any of those roles (save, perhaps, rituals) as a true specialist would be even though she is rather highly optimized and is taking full advantage of her Shadow Birthright and Chelmian Wealth option.

That was, of course, one of the design goals behind the Atheria setting. In most d20 games… races are a bit of role-playing color, and a minor bonus or two, but really don’t have a lot of impact. The racial differences between an Elven 15’th level wizard and a Halfling 15’th level wizard are pretty well swamped by the “15’th level wizard” part. On Atheria… Birthrights shape a characters society, attitudes, approaches to problems, and builds – and it shows. For comparison, Fuyuha is an extremely formidable combatant thanks to her monomanical focus on her Dexterity and using it for EVERYTHING – but she’s pretty much ignored her Elemental Birthright along the way. How much more dangerous would that same build be if it was based around a Weasel Totem Birthright with it’s extra +12 Dexterity?

Fuyuha is very, VERY, good. But if she’d selected a Birthright that complimented what she wanted to do… she could be much, MUCH, better. Vada here isn’t as good – but she is far, far, more flexible and helps out the rest of the party quite effectively.

Vada Dibria Lartia;

Birthright: Shadow / Darkness (Chelm).

  • Rite of Chi with +2 Bonus Uses. Corrupted: it requires at least an hour to call on the protective concealment of darkness and steal the power of The Dragon (6 CP).
  • Occult Sense/Darksight. (6 CP).
  • Cloaking/Mystical Aura and Powers (6 CP).
  • Privilege/May have a second, unique, form of “Wealth” (6 CP).
  • Occult Ritual (Corrupted: may only be used at night, 4 CP).
  • Fast Learner, Specialized in Knowledges (+2 SP/Level, 6 CP).
  • Privilege/May learn Knowledges and Specific Knowledges without having to explain where they’re learning such things. (3 CP).
  • Chelmians suffer from obligations (periodic exotic tribal rituals) and have a poor reputation (they are generally regarded as black magicians) for -6 CP.

Available Character Points: 96 (Level Three Base) +10 (Disadvantages) +12 (L1, L2 Bonus Feats) = 118 CP.

Wealth Level(s) and Effects (12 CP):

  • Conventional Wealth Level: Common (0 CP).
    • Starting at “Common” got her the option to take two NPC Class (Adept, Aristocrat, Expert, or Warrior) Levels as a +1 ECL Template. She took
      • Level One: Expert. +24 SP, 1d6HD, +2 Will
      • Level Two: Warrior. +2 SP, 1d8HD, Proficient with Simple and Martial Weapons, Armor, and Shields, +2 Fort.
        • This is useful early on, but less useful later since it puts her ahead on basic adventurer skills (even if she will never use some of them), but behind on developing her special powers.
  • Chelmian Wealth Level: Wealthy (12 CP):
  • Given that Chelm, and the Soul-Stelae Vada draws upon, is a long ways away, the support that she can draw from it is decidedly lopsided and it’s extremely difficult to increase it (requiring a trip to Chelm and making a lot of human sacrifices). Her Wealth Level is considered to be Specialized for Increased Effect (Her Armor / Shields, Charms & Talismans, and Weapon Bonuses function at +1 Wealth Level and she can share that full benefit with the people she is supporting instead of it being reduced by one level). However, this means that…
    • Her Legal Privileges, Recognition, and Skill Bonuses are negated entirely. They just don’t work this far from Chelm.
    • Her Mounts/Pets/Familiars and Retainers function at -1 Wealth Level. It’s harder to call on the services of spirits that are so far away.
    • Since she ritually links some of her spirit-servants to creatures, she can effectively afford exotic animals
      • Has two personal guards and twenty-four employees – all spirits either animating animal or constructed bodies or waiting to be called to do so. They could, in theory, animate dead bodies (such entities are the only type of “Undead” known to Atheria) – but that sort of stunt tends to cause at least as much trouble as it is worth and is limited to boot; dead bodies tend to fall apart after a while. Currently only a few of her servants have bodies at all; wandering around with an entourage of the dead inhabiting dangerous animal forms isn’t as bad as having animated corpses about, but still puts people off. Currently she has a pair of Chelmian Tigers (Blood and Shadow), a Dernmarkian Timedancer Warhorse, and a Pocket Bear, and one of Alaria’s Beekeeper Bears.
    • Her training is unaffected; her spirit-tutors only need to reach her dreams after all.
      • She gains +2 SP and +1 HP per level gained at this wealth level and a +2 wealth bonus to any one attribute.
    • Her Armor/Shields, Magical Items, and Weapons function at +1 Wealth Level. That power is easier to send over such a distance, so the spirit council sends more in lieu of the services that are harder to send.
      • Armor & Shields: One Category Lighter, Half Weight, +3 AC Wealth Bonus, -3 on Armor Check Penalty (If Any).
      • Magical Items: Seven Charms and Three Talismans.
      • Weapons: Gain a +4 Wealth Bonus and are considered Masterwork and Adamantine.

Order Birthright Patronage Deal (0 CP):

  • Innate Enchantment. Specialized: only works with a high-ranking in-empire patron to channel the magic of Order to the user, double effect (6 CP/10,000 GP).
    • Enhance Charms and Talismans (L2 spell effect, increasing the effects of Charms to L1 and those of Talismans to L2. Personal charms only, 8400 GP)
    • Inspiring Word (personal only, +1 Morale bonus to Saves, Attacks, Checks, and Weapon Damage).

Magical Devices (7 Chelmian Wealth + 3 Conventional Wealth = 10, with Order Enhancement above = Talismans or can maintain level one spell effects). :

Charms And Fetishes:

    • Chainmail Shirt with a Rune Of Defense (+2 Enh, +4 at L6+). Considered Adamant for DR 1/-.
    • Peacock-Plumed Hat. Provides a Disguise Self effect.
    • Ring Of Darkwarding: Creates any shield you wish out of solid darkness as a free action, although it can only maintain one shield at a time.
    • Rubydraught (Standard Talisman):
    • Rune of Defense for the Ring Of Darkwarding (+2 Enh, 3 at L6+).
    • Rune Weapon (Standard Talisman): A +1 Keen Scimitar.
    • (2x) Serpent Bracer: This talisman is actually an Asp taking the form of a serpentine bracer. The user may inflict it’s poison on anyone they wound up to three times daily and may, if they wish, release it to serve them. Sadly, it’s still just a fairly ordinary snake – although it effectively knows seven tricks of the owners choice.
    • Thousand Hands Of Night. The black stone of this pendant exudes dark tendrils that act as a Shieldbearer spell.
    • Tome Of Shadows: The black pages of this tome can be read only with Darksight or under the light of the full moon – but provide the user with a +3 Competence Bonus on their effective Knowledge Skills.

Talismans and Greater Fetishes (3 Chelmian Wealth +1 Conventional Wealth = 4, enhanced to L2 effects by Order Birthright).

    • Bag Of Tricks: Casts “Carry Companion” up to three times per day, storing them safely in the bag.
    • Bestial Mantle: Made from the skins of powerful beasts, these cloaks bestow animalistic strengths – and a dose of viciously feral instincts and an animalistic appearance- on their wearers. In this case, it grants the strengths of a Wolverine (+2 Natural Armor, Burrow 10, Climb 10, d4 Claws, and +8 on climb. Versions including attribute modifiers add Str +4, Dex +2, and Con +6).
    • Bracer Of The Devouring Night: Creates a Toothed Tentacle effect whenever the user concentrates on it.
    • Tiara Of Crystal Shadows: +4 Charisma

Basic Attributes: Str 8 (+4 Enh = 12), Dex 14 (+2 Enh = 16), Con 14 (+6 Enh = 20), Int 12, Wis 10, Cha 16 (+4 Enh +1 Level +1 Purchased +2 Wealth = 24). (3.5 28 Point Buy).

Basic Purchases (31 CP):

  • Base Attack Bonus: +1 (6 CP) +1 (Template) = +2.
  • Hit Points: 12 (1d6 +1d8 Template. 0 CP) +10 (L1-3d4, 0 CP) +30 (Con Mod x 5) +10 (Wealth) = 62 HP.
  • Saving Throws:
    • Fortitude +0 (Purchased) +2 (Template) +5 (Con) +1 (Mor) = +8.
    • Reflex +2 (Purchased, 6 CP) +3 (Dex) +1 (Mor) = +6.
    • Will +1 (Purchased, 3 CP) +0 (Wis) +2 (Template) +1 (Mor) = +4.
  • Proficiencies: Simple and Martial Weapons, Light, Medium, and Heavy Armor, and Shields (Template).
  • Skill Points: 6 SP (6 CP) +32 (Fast Learners, Birthright and Fast Learner, Specialized in Skills for Double Effect, Corrupted / only for buying Adept skills (4 CP)) +56 (Cha Mod x 8) +26 (Template) = 120 SP.
    • Adept (Knowledge: Arcana, Religion, Nature, and Architecture/Engineering, 6 CP).
  • Armor Class: 10 (Base) +9 Armor (+4 Chain Shirt +2 Enh +3 Wealth) +3 (Dex) +9 (+4 Tower Shield +3 Wealth +2 Enh) = 31.
  • Initiative: +3 (Dex).
  • Movement: 30 (Base) +10 (Talisman) = 40′.

Favored Weapons:

  • Toothed Tentacle: +13 or +13/+13/+13 (+5 Caster Level/HD +7 Cha +1 MA), 2d8, Crit 20/x2 + DC 18 Fort Save to avoid 2d4 rounds partial blindness, 30′ Reach. Whirlwind, Shadowed Hand.
  • Scimitar: +8 (+2 BAB +1 Str +1 Enh +4 Wealth), 1d10+6, Crit 15/20/x2 + Automatic Trip, 2d6 Sneak Attack.
  • Composite Bow (12 Str): +9 (+2 BAB +3 Dex +4 Wealth), 1d8+5, Crit 20/x3, 110′ Range Increment.

Special Abilities (75 CP):

  • Dark Wisdom: Advanced Finesse, Substitutes (Cha Mod) for (Int Mod) for skill purposes (12 CP).
  • Immunity/the normal limits of Diplomacy and Spoken Language (Common, Minor, Major, 12 CP). This ability allows the user to effectively communicate with ANYTHING – and to attempt to persuade it to help them out. They can speak with plants and animals, attempt to persuade locks and doors to open, fires to leave open a path of escape, spirits to answer, air to remember when it was stone, or stone to remember when it was molten rock or simple sand or whatever it once was. It’s usually fairly easy to persuade things to act within their natures – for example, doors are made to let people through, so getting one to open itself is fairly easy. Getting a lock to open without the key is considerably harder; locks are MADE to keep unauthorized people out.
  • Professional/Diplomacy (6 CP). (While only worth +2 at the moment, this has to be bought early and will improve later on).
  • Privilege/most things that are not naturally communicative are pleased to be spoken to, and will be reasonably friendly (3 CP).
  • Spirit Favors: Major from the spirits of Nature world, minor from the spirits of Blood and Darkness (9 CP).
  • +1 Cha (6 CP since Atheria uses the half-price attribute rule).
  • 3d6 (12) Mana with Spell Enhancement, Specialized and Corrupted for Reduced Cost / only for Spell Enhancement, only to enhance Shaping Effects (Below) (6 CP).
  • Shaping, Specialized for Increased Effect (level zero effects) and Corrupted for Reduced Cost / only to produce Darkness/Shadow and Alchemical Effects (4 CP).
    • She is fond of Alchemic Mist, Whip Of Spiders, and Shields. When necessary she uses alchemical healing salves and such, since she has few other major sources of healing at the moment.
  • +4 Bonus Uses for Rite Of Chi, Specialized and Corrupted / only to restore the Mana pool for Darkness/Shadow and Alchemical Magic noted above (2 CP).
  • Harnessed Intellect / Corrupted for Increased Effect (based on Charisma instead of Intelligence) Specialized for Reduced Cost / only to use her Bracer Of The Devouring Night without having to continually concentrate (3 CP).
  • Luck with +4 Bonus Uses, Specialized in Skills (6 CP).
  • Create Relic, Specialized/only points from Enthusiast may be used (3 CP).
  • Enthusiast, Specialized for double effect/points may only be used in the creation of Relics (3 CP). This allows the Animist to have a two-point relic to start off with.

Current Relics:

  • The Aegis Of The Dark Mother (1 CP Relic): Unspecialize Luck (3 CP), +4 Bonus Uses of Luck Specialized in Saves, +4 Bonus Uses of Luck Specialized in Attacks and Damage. Net Cost 9 CP/6 = 1.5 CP, rounds to 1 CP.
  • Blood Like Thunder Gem: Reflex Training (+3 Actions Variant), Specialized / only for Defensive Actions (3 CP), Opportunist (may use a shaping effect as a free action while attacking with a Toothed Tentacle effect, 6 CP).

Skills:

  • Tier-One Skills (77 SP)
    • Knowledges (33 SP):
      • Arcana: +8 (4*SP) +7 (Cha) +3 (Enh) = +18
      • Architecture and Engineering: +8 (4*SP) +7 (Cha) +3 (Enh) = +18
      • Dungeoneering: +2 (2 SP) +7 (Cha) +3 (Enh) = +12
      • Geography: +5 (5 SP) +7 (Cha) +3 (Enh) = +15
      • History: +2 (2 SP) +7 (Cha) +3 (Enh) = +12
      • Local: +2 (2 SP) +7 (Cha) +3 (Enh) = +12
      • Nature: +8 (4*SP) +7 (Cha) +3 (Enh) = +18
      • Nobility: +5 (5 SP) +7 (Cha) +3 (Enh) = +15
      • Religion: +8 (4*SP) +7 (Cha) +3 (Enh) = +18
      • Planes: +5 (5 SP) +7 (Cha) +3 (Enh) = +15
    • Other Tier One Skills (44 SP):
      • Diplomacy: +8 (8 SP) +7 (Cha) +2 (Professional) = +17
      • Martial Art – Shadow Weaving: +8 (8 SP) +7 (Cha) = +15
      • Martial Art – Lunar Fang Style: +8 (8 SP) +3 (Dex) = +11
      • Swim: +2 (2 SP) +1 (Str) = +3
      • Fly: +1 (1 SP) +3 (Dex) = +4
      • Spot: +8 (8 SP) +2 (Wis) = +10
      • Sleight of Hand: +2 (2 SP) +3 (Dex) = +5
      • Survival. +8 (8 SP) +2 (Wis) = +10
  • Tier Two Skills (23 SP).
    • Bluff: +8 (4 SP) +7 (Chr) +2 (Sy) = +17
    • Climb: +3 (1 SP) +1 (Str) +8 (Talisman) = +12
    • Concentration: +5 (2 SP) +5 (Con) = +10
    • Craft Alchemy +8 (4 SP) +1 (Int) = +9
    • Craft Charms and Talismans +8 (4 SP) +1 (Int) = +9
    • Gather Information (Cha) +3 (1 SP) +7 (Cha) = +10
    • Handle Animal: +3 (1 SP) +7 (Cha) = +10
    • Ride: +5 (2 SP) +3 (Dex) = +8
    • Sense/Listen:: +5 (2 SP) +2 (Wis) = +7
    • Sense Motive: +5 (2 SP) +2 (Wis) = +7
  • Tier Three Skills (4 SP)
    • Burrow +4 (1 SP) +2 (Wis) +8 (Talisman) = +14
    • Decipher Script: +4 (1 SP) +1 (Int) = +5
    • Disguise: +7 (2 SP) +7 (Cha) +10 (Disguise Self) = +24

Skill Specialities (3 SP):

  • Tier 1: Diplomacy (Nature Spirits) (1 SP). Knowledge; The Planes (Dimensional Rifts, 1 SP).
  • Tier 2: Ride (Spirit-Bonded Animals) and Craft Charms and Talismans (Chelmian Fetishes) (1 SP).
  • Tier 3: Currently None (0 SP).

Specific Knowledges (12 SP):

  • Alarian Academy Compiled Handbook Of Charms And Talismans In Three Volumes (6 SP): A substantial set of reference works on the making of Charms and Talismans.
  • Knowledge; Nature (Beasts Of Chelm, 1 SP).
  • Memorized Major Rituals (5 SP):
  • Planes: Seal Dimensional Rift (DC 40, 1 SP) and Open Dimensional Rift (DC 50, 1 SP).
  • Religion; Binding Spirits to Animals (DC 40, 1 SP), Bestial Might (DC 35, 1 SP), and Creating Atherian “Undead” (DC 40, 1 SP),

Martial Art – Shadow Weaving (Cha)

Darkness… can be solid. Witches, Wizards, Shadow Adepts, and many others can form darkness into chains, walls, weapons, and more. While only quasi-real, such things can be as durable as adamant – and, being will-wrought, can change ever so slightly once one knows the technique. Dark blades may bite with cruel fangs, jaws of blackness gnaw with spinning teeth, and dark shields grasp attacking weapons with tendrils of the night. A master of Shadow Weaving knows how to make those changes, and make his or her strikes bite deep.

  • Requires: Must have unlimited access to a darkness-magic effect that inflicts physical damage. The art will focus on manipulating that specific effect.
  • Basic Techniques: Power 4, Defenses 3, and Attack 2.
  • Advanced And Master Techniques: Blinding Strike, Shadowed Hand, Whirlwind Attack, and Blind Fight.
  • Occult Techniques: Inner Strength x 2, Call The Void (Ki Block) and Shadow Step (Vanishing).

Shadowed Hand: Reflex Training (Three Actions/Day variant) with +4 Bonus Uses, Specialized for Half Cost / only to make an extra attack or cast a spell/use a psychic power while attacking with the darkness effect.

  • Selected Weapon: Toothed Tentacle.
  • Known Techniques (8): Power 2 (Bites do 2d8), Attack 1, Blinding Strike, Shadowed Hand, Whirlwind Attack, and Shadow Step (Vanishing).

Lunar Fang Style (Dex)

The Crescent Moon cuts through the seas of the infinite night like a blade. Seen and unseen it appears from the clouds and vanishes once more, The Lunar Fang Style focuses upon the art of concealing the blade, hiding it’s exact location through careful use of darkness, concealing accessories (billowing sleeves, cloaks, swirling ribbons, and magical effects are all popular), and Sleight Of Hand. For what opponent, no matter how cunning, can parry a blow when taken unaware? And what wound can be so grievous as one that twists past an opponents guard to sheathe the blade in yielding flesh? For true masters, that evasive concealment extends not only to the physical realm but to that of the mind as well, for much of the art of combat lies in intent and stratagem, which must be concealed as well to have any hope of victory.

  • Requires: Use of Scimitar, Kukri, or Scythe (Select One), Darksight, and at least +5 in Sleight Of Hand.
  • Basic Techniques: Power 2, Defenses 2, Attack 2, Defenses II (Bonus to Will Saves), Synergy/Bluff, and Synergy (Sleight Of Hand).
  • Advanced And Master Techniques: Mighty Blow, and Sneak Attack III
  • Occult Techniques: Inner Strength II, Ki Focus (+4 to Will Saves), and Ki Focus (+4 to Damage).
  • Selected Weapon: Scimitar.
  • Known Techniques (6): Power 2, Synergy (Bluff), Mighty Blow, and Sneak Attack 2.