Skill Stunts And Epic Skill Stunts X – Survival

Survival is, arguably, the second oldest skill of all – predated only by Perception. After all, at the most basic level… Survival begins as little more than a tropism coupled with some ability to move around. An amoeba finds some digestible molecules and oozes towards the highest concentration of them – and presumably a source of food. A single-celled Euglena detects light and propels itself towards it, enhancing its photosynthesis (although it can also eat). In its way the Survival Skill predates multicellular life. Admittedly, it’s not a very sophisticated version of the skill (in game terms, it’s at a +0 bonus and probably an attribute penalty) – but it’s still a fair chance at doing the right thing before settling for random chance.

It’s also one of the broadest of all skills. It allows you to locate the resources you need to live in environments that would not normally support you, to understand, predict, and evade the dangers of such environments, and to build up resources from those environments. Secondarily, it covers navigation, tracking, raising children in a hostile world (“group survival”), building shelters, and exploiting the natural magic of the environment. For creatures of Intelligence Zero or One it also covers finding a mate, but more complex social behaviors take over in creatures of higher intelligence.

Finally, of course, it’s an archetype all by itself. A Knight, a Wizard, a Rogue, a Shaman, a Cleric… all have a complex array of skills and abilities – but what other skill pretty much defines an entire lifestyle and set of genres? Primitive tribes, Robinson Crusoe, Swiss Family Robinson, Burt Gummer, pretty much EVERY “survival horror” setting… all focused on THIS. It’s true that “I will live!” is a pretty basic drive – after all, it has to be or people would be extinct by now – but can you think of another skill that pretty much defines multiple genres?

  • Note that many benefits of this skill can be extended to companions, although each companion so aided increases the DC by +2.
  • In general, you can use Survival at a -10 penalty in place of Knowledge/Nature or Use Rope – but only for mundane purposes.
  • The format here is a bit different. Survival simply has too many applications to list them all separately. Ergo, they’re split into general categories.
  • Remember that these are mana-powered supernatural abilities, not simply feats of skill.

Sample Stunts for Survival:

  • DC 10 (normally no stunt required):
    • Harvesting: You may find and harvest common herbs and plants – taking appropriate precautions with those which are dangerous to handle. You may also identify toxic and dangerous plants and fungi.
    • Hazard Recognition: You may recognize animal dens, animal-created traps (ant lion pits, giant spider webs, trapdoor spider pits, etc), blatant natural hazards, wild magic zones, and cursed regions. In general, you get a free roll to spot such things before getting into them.
    • Pathfinding: You may select the more commonly used trails, leave readable trail signs to communicate basic information, and follow oddly marked trails (including the increasing traces of material that indicate routes to cave exits). You may avoid becoming lost on land.
    • Survival: You may obtain food, water, shelter, and basic personal supplies in cities without spending money. This is also the DC to find food and water in the wilderness, but finding shelter or clothing there is a bit trickier (+5 DC). You may also attempt to camouflage items and positions, inflicting a (Check Result / 2, rounded up) penalty on attempts to spot or otherwise locate them.
    • Talking The Talk: You may impress people with your skills. At DC 15 you may make a basic living as a survival lecturer or writer.
    • Tracking: You may follow unconcealed simple tracks under good conditions and can get a rough estimate of the age of the tracks and the number of individuals being tracked (See the system reference document for more details).
  • DC 15 (May or may not require a stunt):
    • Hazard Recognition: Basic weather prediction, flash flood risks, tidal bores, riptides, low oxygen levels, forest fires, explosive vapors or dusts, toxic fumes, quicksand, supernatural weather events, and similar items. Your check comes before the hazard takes effect and usually results in a chance to evade the hazard or a +2 on relevant checks and saves if that is not possible.
    • Improvise Gear: You can quickly devise protective clothing or gear up to an equivalent value of (5 + Check Result) GP, including swarm suits, basic armor, filter masks, vermin repellent, cold weather gear, and similar items.
    • Pathfinding: You may navigate in the wilderness or at sea without becoming lost. On land you may opt to conceal your trail and that of up to (Cha Mod +1, 1 Minimum) additional companions, penalizing attempts to track you. You may also leave more complicated trail markers to communicate facts about the trail.
    • Survival: You may remain warm or cool, or improvise a fairly secure camp, in the wilderness. You may also effectively remove or evade vermin such as leeches, army ants, and similar creatures and identify dangerous and/or toxic animals. You can also start fires under difficult conditions, build an effective cooking fire and keep it from spreading, construct basic shelters, and otherwise be a well-trained boy scout.
    • Tracking: You may recognize what planes or deities an item or place is linked to or determine your current location. If you happen to be a ghost or astral projection, you can determine both your spirits current location and that of your body.
    • Walking The Walk: As a man of the wilds, you need no longer worry about basic living expenses. Your casual activities as a trapper, gatherer, collector of herbs, and similar can be expected to provide for your needs wherever you may settle without placing further burdens on you.
  • DC 20:
    • Create Trap: You may spend half an hour to assemble a basic trap – swinging logs, spiked pits, punji sticks, snares, deadfalls, etc – from found materials. These only affect a single target or square however.
    • Harvesting: You may locate uncommon or highly dangerous plants and herbs (provided that they occur in the area) and correctly harvest them, as well as gather meat, hides, poisons, and other products from dead animals. You may also obtain honey or similar products without serious harm.
    • Hazard Recognition: You may roll to get a warning from the game master about upcoming natural disasters, such as earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, avalanches, and similar problems. Oddly, creatures of Int 2 or less can do this at DC 15 without a stunt.
    • Improvise Gear: You may pack efficiently, increasing your effective Strength score by 8 when calculating your carrying capacity. This does not stack with Muleback Cords.
    • Pathfinding: Swift Trails. Your overland travel rate increases by 50%. At DC 30 it doubles, at DC 40 it triples, at DC 50 it’s x4, at DC 60 it’s x5, at DC 75 it’s x10, and at DC 100 any given trip on the same land mass is completed after a brief travel montage. +2 DC per additional character taken along. You may also mark a trail so that it communicates some message or emotional impression to those who travel it.
    • Primitive Magic: You may exploit the natural magic of the world, employing either Enhance Herb or Spirit Call (Paths Of Power).
    • Survival: You may hold your breath for up to (Con Mod + 1, 1 Minimum) Minutes or cause a bleeding wound to clot. You may ignore the effects of natural weather (similar to Endure Elements) for up to an hour (twenty-four hours at DC 25, for up to a week at DC 30). You may also construct log cabins and other intermediate structures.
  • DC 25:
    • Create Trap: When defending an area you may spend an hour to arrange (Int Mod + 1, 1 Minimum) Basic Traps (as above). You need not, however, specify where they are until you want them to go off.
    • Improvise Gear: On The Woad Again. You may apply war paint, tattoos, or scars to yourself that grant a +3 Armor Bonus, increasing to +4 at DC 40, +5 at DC 60, and +6 at DC 100. Tattoos and scars can be enchanted further like any other armor. This will, however, cause most people to consider you a barbarian, savage, or primitive and gives away your ethnicity, culture of origin, and profession. If tattoos or scars are further enchanted opponents may make a Spellcraft check to determine the nature of those enchantments.
    • Pathfinding: You may find safe trails, reducing the chance of encountering a creature or natural hazard by 50%. At DC 40 this reduces the chance by 75% and at DC 75 by 90%. Cursed areas increase the DC by +10/+20/+30 for Minor/Notable/Major curses however.
    • Primitive Magic: You may exploit the natural magic of the world, employing either Summon Fetch or Channel Nexus (Paths Of Power).
    • Survival: You may hold your breath for up to (Con + 2, 5 Minimum) minutes, go into deep hibernation to survive being frozen solid, sleep for up to a month with no physical requirements, resist the need to sleep for a day, or go up to a week without food or water with no ill effects. If you die anyway, you may haunt your personal belongings and remains as a Spirit.
    • Tracking: You may identify creature types by logically insufficient traces, track without penalty while moving at full speed, and accurately determine the number of creatures being tracked and how fast they were traveling.
  • DC 30:
    • Hazard Recognition: You may determine what type of plants and creatures are likely to be present in an area and how large a population it might support. You may also predict what damage a natural disaster or storm will do, such as where lightning is going to strike or what areas will be swallowed up by crevasses or flooded.
    • Pathfinding: Swift Sailing. Your seafaring travel rate increases by 50%. At DC 40 it doubles, at DC 50 it triples, at DC 60 it’s x4, at DC 75 it’s x5, and at DC 100 any given trip on the same body of water is completed after a brief travel montage. This also applies to travel by vehicles designed for air or space travel.
    • Planar Adaption: You may draw on the natural energies of a plane to adapt yourself for comfortable survival under the planes base conditions for (Con Mod +1, 1 Minimum) days. Sadly, applying this to additional creatures increases the DC by +10 per additional creature instead of +2.
    • Primitive Magic: You may exploit the natural magic of the world, employing either Spirit Of Place or Tap Conjunction (Paths Of Power).
    • Survival: You may obtain food, water, and shelter from the elements while traveling at full speed, as well as gaining (Wis Mod + 1, 1 Minimum) chances to harvest herbs or other materials along the way. Your campsites are protected by the equivalent of the Hide Campsite spell.
    • Tracking: You may trace a magical link such as a scrying sensor, determining it’s place of origin and the magical signature of the creature that created it. You may also determine if an area is linked to a land-ruler, is someone or somethings magical domain, or is otherwise claimed by some supernatural force.
  • DC 35:
    • Harvesting: You may harvest rare resources of the land, such as dyes, exotic fruits, surface and placer deposits of gems and precious metals, fine furs, and similar items. While finding a buyer may be additional work, you may expect to make (Check Result) silver pieces with a few hours of work.
    • Hazard Recognition: You may immediately determine the threat level and general attack routine of any creature you can get a look at. If you are operating from an audiovisual recording the DC increases to 40, a picture or detailed description increases the DC to 50, and working from rumors and general information increases the DC to 75.
    • Improvise Gear: You may improvise a dose of any alchemical Balm, Medicine, Tonic. Herb, or Plant worth up to 50 GP or up to a total of (Check Result + 5) GP worth of such materials. These are, however, of no use to anyone else and will only remain potent for twenty-four hours. Given a day in the wilds you will be equipped with a spear, staff, and club, in two days you will also have some javelins and an atlatl if you want one, and in three you will also have a longbow and arrows – all crude, but functional.
    • Pathfinding: Traceless Passage. You leave no traces of your passage, making conventional tracking impossible without supernatural aid.
    • Primitive Magic: You may exploit the natural magic of the world, employing either Warlock Pact or Focus The Land (Paths Of Power).
    • Survival: You may ignore environmental penalties to movement, including those for being underwater, for steep slopes, for difficult terrain or overgrown, and similar. You may also attempt to panic the local wildlife in a radius of (Charisma x 10) feet, although a Will save applies. You may roll Survival instead of a Fortitude Save against poison or disease.
  • DC 40:
    • City Founder: You may select a good site to found a city – choosing a defensible location with access to water, better than average resources, on a likely trade route, or whatever. The spot you pick will prove to have two Foundations. At DC 60 it will prove to have three, at DC 75 it will have four, and at DC 100 it will prove to have five or more.
    • Hazard Recognition: You may subtly position up to (Cha Mod + 1, 1 Minimum) targets so that they will be exposed to the effects of some ongoing disturbance, such as being caught up in a riot or stampede or being struck by lightning.
    • Pathfinding: You may find a trail leading to another plane, although there are likely to be three encounters along the way. You may also determine the direction to a given destination, whether or not you have ever been there.
    • Primitive Magic: You may exploit the natural magic of the world, employing either Great Oathbinding or Celestial Rune (Paths Of Power).
    • Survival: You may construct a Sturdy Tree Fort or equivalent as a campsite. In an emergency you can add a +4 Alchemical Bonus to one or more of your Strength, Constitution, or Dexterity for 3d6 rounds, but this causes you 2d6 damage per attribute so enhanced after it wears off. You may remove or expel parasites through various unpleasant home remedies.
    • Tracking: You may Track creatures through teleportation, plane shifts, and gates. You may also track vehicles and those using extraordinary means to conceal their tracks.
  • DC 50:
    • Create Trap: Given an hour to prepare a location you may arrange (Int Mod + 1, 1 Minimum) Major Traps – piles of rolling logs or small avalanches, deep pits with spikes or wild animals, and similar items – each of them capable of affecting a modest area. You need not, however, specify where they are until you want them to do off.
    • Child Raising: You are considered to have the Leadership (Eclipse) ability, but only to raise the level of your and your friends children. This is independent of any other Leadership abilities that you may have.
    • Harvesting: You may spend a day to locate or create a personal Charm (as per The Practical Enchanter) and may use up to seven Charms even if the setting does not normally support them. At DC 75 you may similarly locate or create personal Talismans (also as per The Practical Enchanter) and use up to three of them even if the setting does not normally support them.
    • Pathfinding: Mass Guidance. For the next twenty-four hours you may extend the benefits of your Survival skills to up to (Charisma x 10) individuals without penalty.
    • Primitive Magic: You may exploit the natural magic of the world, employing either Forest Pact or Distillation (Paths Of Power).
    • Survival: You can render yourself immune to a specific toxin, to the heat and fumes of traveling through a volcanic landscape, or even to drowning. This does require a minute of preparation, but lasts a full day once invoked.
  • DC 60:
    • Hazard Recognition: You may evaluate an area to gain a detailed evaluation of the plants and creatures there, their general population, and the lands basic resources.
    • Pathfinding: You may find a trail leading between settings and worlds at intergalactic ranges that can be traversed in days to weeks. Such trails are often, however, difficult, dangerous, and present major environmental hazards.
    • Primitive Magic: You may exploit the natural magic of the world, employing either Spirit Of The Beast or Circle Of Power (Paths Of Power).
    • Survival: You may survive in areas without breathable atmospheres, including space, find food and water on barren asteroids, and construct necessary survival systems, such as airlocks and air-tight shelters. You may automatically succeed on all weather-related saves for twenty-four hours.
    • Weather Witching: You may predict weather and – as long as it isn’t completely absurd – have it come to pass over the next few days.
    • Tracking: You may extract unnerving amounts of information while tracking, determining things like a starship engines type and fuel efficiency, the weight and likely general contents of a wagon, exactly what happened during a fight, and similar items, verging on postcognition.
  • DC 75:
    • Colony Founder: You may show a settlement how to survive in a normally impossible area, such as on an asteroid, in the depths of the ocean, on the surface of Venus, floating in the atmosphere of Jupiter, or similar.
    • Harvesting: You may harvest small tokens in which magic has become temporarily trapped. You may hold tokens containing a maximum of 12 total levels of spells at any one time, may refresh your collection once per day, and may only stabilize tokens containing spells of level two or less enough to collect. One half of the spell levels harvested in any one day are determined by the one using this ability, the other half are determined by the game master. Such spells are released as if they were use-activated at an effective caster level equal to the user’s level. At DC 100 the limit on the effects increases to level three.
    • Hazard Recognition: You may take advantage of a natural disaster, such as an earthquake, tidal wave, tornado, forest fire, or major storm, that you “saw coming”. While the worst effects are relatively localized – covering a small town at the maximum – this can still bring down walls and ceilings, damage castles and towers, wash away squads of soldiers, cause avalanches, and otherwise do a great deal of damage. The disaster will arrive 1d3 rounds after you decide to “predict it”.
    • Pathfinding: You may find a trail leading between game systems. Anyone following it will be automatically “translated” into the new system upon arrival. The time required is unknown, since travelers on such journeys invariably travel at the speed of plot. You may also find trails across water, allowing you to Water Walk.
    • Primitive Magic: You may exploit the natural magic of the world, employing either Spirit Quest or Gates Of Myriddin (Paths Of Power).
    • Survival: Personal Evolution. You may spend a day to acquire (Con) character points worth of physical, survival-related, enhancements, maintaining them until you change them again. You might thus purchase Immunity to Aging, or Water-Breathing, or increased Strength, or any of many, MANY, other abilities.
  • DC 100:
    • Create Trap: Given an hour to prepare a location you may arrange (Int Mod + 1, 1 Minimum) Grandiose Traps – pits dropping victims into magma or dangerous underground labyrinths, gargantuan falling rocks, massive gas explosions, and similar events. Each can affect up to a 30′ radius. You need not specify where they are until you want them to do off.
    • Pathfinding: You may find a trail leading across both time and space. You may also find trails through the air, allowing you to Wind Walk or walk on clouds.
    • Primitive Magic: You may exploit the natural magic of the world, employing either Greater Pact or Planar Invocation (Paths Of Power).
    • Second Breath: Once per week you gain the benefits of a Revivify Spell immediately followed by the benefits of a Heal spell when the player feels that it is necessary. Both have an effective caster level equal to the user’s level.
    • Survival: You may survive and function in any consistent environment, including the hearts of stars, on the surface of neutron stars, and in similar impossible environments – although this may require some instant evolution. This takes a little time, so it can be treated as Returning with Rewrite (Eclipse). Your campsites cannot be located by anything incapable of dimensional travel.
    • Worldfounder: You may establish a colony in a normally impossible area, such as on an asteroid, in the depths of the ocean, on the surface of Venus, floating in the atmosphere of Jupiter, or similar and provide it with up to four Foundations.

Epic Skill Stunts:

  • Beastspeech (Spell Level 8, DC 42): This is a perpetual effect, but is otherwise equivalent to Speak With Animals.
  • Caravan (Spell Level 9. DC 46): You may extend the benefits of your survival skill to groups ten times as large as usual for the next twenty-four hours. The Level 15 Grand Caravan variant covers a group fifty times the usual size.
  • The Sensuous Lion (Spell Level 10, DC 50): For the next week you live a life of luxury, with many (if possibly primitive) comforts, plenty to eat and drink, expert services, and compliant sexual partners. You and up to a dozen others you opt to include will be completely refreshed and healed when the spell expires.
  • Life Leech (Spell Level 11, DC 54): You may target up to (Level) targets within medium range with a ranged touch attack. Each target “hit” suffers 12d6 damage. Such damage is applied to any wounds you currently suffer from as healing, once you have no wounds they provide temporary hit points up to a limit of 120 temporary hit points. The healing is permanent, but any remaining temporary hit points vanish after twenty-four hours.
  • Grand Hunt (Level 12, DC 58): You may lead a group of up to (Cha Mod x 100) people in a three-day hunter-gatherer outing to automatically acquire enough food and supplies to last them for 3d6 months.
  • Hardship Surviving Spirit (Level 13, DC 62): As per Universal Energy Protection (Mass) (The Practical Enchanter), but with a duration of one hour/level and Universal Energy Resistance (also from The Practical Enchanter) 30 – which applies before the limited protective function is depleted.
  • Invictus (Level 14, DC 66): When you or a companion dies, you may automatically cast this spell (if you have any slots left) to send them to an afterlife of your choice – including a new incarnation as a level-appropriate creature.
  • Evolutionary Adaption (Level 15, DC 70): A target group (up to the size of a small city) of a species will swiftly adapt to a radically altered or new environment. For example, a herd of horses being overwhelmed by the sea might spontaneously evolve into sea creatures.
  • Find The Lost World (Level 16, DC 74): You may locate (or call into existence) a hidden realm, ancient plateau, cavern complex, pocket dimension, or similar location. It’s general description, and where entry can be found, is up to you, but the details are up to the game master. Also known as “summon adventure”.
  • Set Hearthfire (Level 17, DC 78): You may ignite a blazing pillar of flame, suitable for providing heat, light, power, smelting services, hot water, cooking fires, and similar services for an entire city. It will burn for one hundred years. If you choose to sacrifice the slot for one year, it will burn for a thousand years. If you sacrifice the slot permanently, the flame will burn eternally. The residents can sacrifice spells and valuables to the flame occasionally to keep it going as well.
  • Dynastic Founder (Level 18, DC 82): All of your descendants for three generations will inherit a +2 ECL Template of your choice. The effect will start to fade thereafter unless they use magic to choose matches who will maintain the bloodline, but occasional throwbacks will occur for many centuries to come.
  • Gathering (Research Level 19, DC 86): You may gather natural resources from extreme range in refined and processed form. You may collect rare woods, extract metals from ore or veins, pull gems or crystals from the earth, pull perfume from flowers, quarry useful stone, or extract other resources. Sadly, this only works on unrefined and unclaimed or loosely claimed resources; a wild jungle that is loosely claimed by an absentee landlord is fair game; a cultivated or mined area is not. In general, this will get you up to 20,000 GP worth of raw materials. After all, if you are tossing around epic stunts like this and are still scrambling for gold pieces, something is very, very, wrong.
  • Eternal Freedom (Level 20, DC 90): You (only) enjoy perpetual Freedom Of Movement.
  • Planetary Adaption (Level 21, DC 94): The biosphere of a target world can adapt to a radical change in it’s environment. If a nearby supernova has turned the place radioactive, the creatures there can adapt to it. Or to a thinning atmosphere, or rising temperatures, or a sudden overlap with the negative energy plane, or a plague of wraiths, or whatever.

Survival is pretty fundamental – and in a world of magic involves quite a lot of magic in its own right. As such… it’s Stunts are quite powerful and flexible. If you drop a true master of survival in the wilds naked… you can expect him or her to soon live in a well-fortified redoubt, equipped with primitive but effective weapons, with stockpiles of food and water, and defended by an array of deadly traps and harvested magic – if he or she did not decide to simply go home. Given a little more time there will soon be a thriving colony.

So don’t upset the survivalists, OK? You don’t want Burt on your tail.

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Eclipse – The Bloodmage Healer

Life and Death. Positive and Negative Energy. Vitality and Unlife. They flow and they ebb, they can be gathered and they can be transferred. Where a draught of life is given, wounds and afflictions are washed away before the sparkling flow. But there is always a price. What is given… must first be taken from another.

Such is the path of the BloodMage Healer.

Everyone in the neighborhood had heard of the youngster. A child with the healing touch – and one who was generous in it’s use to boot – was rare enough that it was surprising that there had not yet been attempts to snatch the kid.

Actually, there had been. But there had been no survivors.

But sooner or later… there will be.

BloodMage Healer

Level One Master Of Life And Death

Race: Any. Preferred a Bonus (or at least not a penalty) to Cha.

Available Character Points: 48 (L1 Base) +10 (Disads: Dependent (finds draining life force quite addictive), Secret (has killed many times), and Valuable) +6 (First Level Bonus Feat) = 64 CP

Basic Attributes: Str 7, Dex 14, Con 14, Int 12, Wis 12, Cha 16 (Pathfinder 20 Point Buy).

Basics (18 CP):

  • Hit Points: 8 (L1d8, 4 CP) +12 (Immortal Vigor) +6 (3 x Con Mod) = 26
  • Skill Points: 2 (Purchased, 2 CP) +8 (Fast Learner Specialized in Skills, bought at L(-2) with disadvantage points, 6 CP) +4 (Int) = 14. At least four will be invested in her Death Touch martial art.
  • BAB +2 (Specialized in Touch Attacks, 6 CP).
  • Saves:
    • Fort +2 (Purchased, 6 CP) +2 (Con) = +4
    • Ref +0 (Purchased) +2 (Dex) = +2
    • Will +0 (Purchased) +1 (Wis) = +1
  • Proficiencies: None (0 CP).
  • Initiative: +2 (Dex)
  • Move: 30 (Base).
  • Armor Class: 10 (Base) +2 (Dex) +4 (Armor) +4 (Shield) +2 (Martial Art) = 22
  • Primary Attacks: Touch Attack +7 (+2 BAB +3 Competence +2 Martial Art), 1d8 Drain Effect (Power or HP if victim has no Power), Crit 20/x2, 20′ Natural Reach. May use a Witchcraft Healing effect whenever she gains power from this attack.

Special Abilities (48 CP):

  • Witchcraft III with The Inner Fire and Leaping Fire, Pacts of Vampirism (may touch others to drain 1d4 Power, or hit points if they have no Power, gaining the same amount of Power – but cannot naturally regain power) and Gateway (18 CP).
      • The Adamant Will. Very handy for covering up the user’s true nature.
      • Healing. A primary ability at the moment.
      • Hyloka. Another option for healing.
      • Dreamfaring, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect: May see/hear/smell and strike into coexistent planes without cost. This does not count as an action.
      • Witchsight, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect / The user is constantly aware of the physical and spiritual health of everyone within a 30′ radius. The user may tell if they are injured, diseased, cursed, blinded, near death, dying, undead, and so on.
      • Witchfire, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect / the user may either strengthen or disrupt structures by touch, spending one power to either use a Make Whole effect or to add 3d6
        “Acid” damage to a successful touch attack. This does not count as an action.
      • Elfshot, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect / User may spend power to add an Elemental Manipulation Metamagical Infliction effect to a successful witchcraft-based touch attack. The user may add a +1/+2/+3/+4/+5 total levels of effects for 1/3/5/7/9 Power at levels 4+/8+/12+/16+/20+. This does not count as an action, but saves apply against the Inflicted effect(s).
    • The Inner Fire: Specialized for Increased Effect (Bonus spell slots are converted to Power, spells run on Power) / paired sets of medical/anti-medical effects only, cannot exceed level four effects even with a successful will check). Note that the user’s level must at least equal the level of a bonus slot to activate it and will saves will be required until the user’s level is at least four times that of the spell being cast.
      • L1 (1 Power): Dentistry (Hedge Wizardry)/Inflict Pain, Cure/Inflict Light Wounds, Remove Sickness/Ray of Sickness.
      • L2 (3 Power): Lesser Restoration/Death Knell, Ease Pain/Disfiguring Touch, Remove Paralysis/Ghoul Touch
      • L3 (5 Power): Contagion/Remove Disease, (Remove) Blindness/Deafness, Bestow/Remove Curse.
      • L4 (7 Power): Restoration/Enervation, Poison/Neutralize Poison, Panacea/Mortis (Inflicts damage and – if the target fails to save – one of the effects Panacea removes per seven caster levels or part thereof up to a maximum of 3 at level 15+).
    • Leaping Fire: The user may heal [1d4 + (Con Mod)] hit points per round for 5 rounds for 1 Power. add a Move-Equivalent Action in any given round by spending 2 Power or gain a +4 bonus to Initiative for the same price. For 3 Power they may Haste themselves for 3d4 rounds. to Eliminating fatigue costs 1 Power and eliminating exhaustion costs 3.
  • Whirlwind. Specialized and Corrupted / only for use with her Power-Draining Touch, only (Cha Mod +1) Times Daily instead of 1/Minute (2 CP).
  • Lunge, Specialized for Increased Effect (10′) and Corrupted for Reduced Cost / only with touch effects, cannot be used with a physical weapon (4 CP). (Provides +10′ Natural Reach with Touch Attacks).
  • Luck with +4 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted / Only for Saves, only for Will Saves (4 CP).
  • Finesse (Uses Dex Mod instead of Str Mod for Melee Touch Attacks, Corrupted / only applies to her Draining Touch (4 CP).
  • Opportunist: May use a Witchcraft Healing Effect whenever she successfully drains power from someone (6 CP).
  • Innate Enchantment: 5476 GP Effective Value (6 CP):
    • Weapon (Hand) Mastery: +3 Competence Bonus to BAB with Hands (L0, Personal Only, 700 GP)
    • Immortal Vigor I (L1, Personal-Only, 1400 GP). +12 + 2 x Con Mod HP.
    • Force Shield I (L1, Personal-Only, 1400 GP). +4 Shield Bonus to AC.
    • Force Armor I (L1, Personal-Only, 1400 GP). +4 Armor Bonus to AC.
    • Summon Rat L0, 3/Day, x.6 / Rat does not actually appear, it simply has 1 HP and can be drained for up to 6 power (dying at -5) – however cheap that is (360 GP).
    • Perpetual Candle (25 GP): Has a little speck of flame which hovers by her to light things when she needs it to.
    • Ioun Torch (75 GP).
    • Comfortable Anywhere: Outfits: Explorers, Hot Weather, and Cold Weather Clothing (26 GP), Ice Skates (1 GP), Skis (5 GP), Snowshoes (5 GP), Holy Symbol (1 GP), Armchair (5 GP), Workbench (10 GP), Bed (10 GP), Cooking Kit (3 GP), Grooming Kit (1 GP), Umbrella (2 GP), Snowshoes (5 GP), Down Comforters (2 GP), Large Tent (30 GP), Compass (10 GP). The surging vital force within the BloodMage Healer makes them comfortable and mobile in many places where a normal mortal would be quite miserable.
  • Immunity to Personal Martial Arts not having a Key Ability Score (Common, Minor, Minor, Specialized / only for the Death Touch Martial Art, 2 CP).

Death Touch Martial Art (Cha). Specialized for Increased Effect (Techniques are doubled in effect if possible, otherwise you get two per choice) / Only usable while wearing light or no armor and no more than lightly encumbered, user is easily detected as a powerful psychic nexus, and so will tend to draw both interested creatures and opponents. Requires: Vamparism Pact.

Since this is a design-your-own style, and will currently have a score of at least +7, she can have at least four techniques. Personally, I’d recommend Power 1 (Doubled, getting her Draining Touch up to 1d8), Attack 1 (Doubled, for a +2 to her Touch Attack), Defenses 1 (Doubled for a +2 to her AC), and Reach (Doubled, for a +10 Natural Reach – giving her a current Natural Reach of 25 feet with her draining touch).

Like most Witchcraft-based characters, the BloodMage Healer comes into their power fairly early on – but they will, like most other fighters, tend to start falling behind at high levels. On the other hand, in the early levels they are devastating – able to use the energies they drain from opponents to heal themselves and their allies as a part of their attacks. Admittedly, it’s only 1d8 damage and 3d4 Healing per strike – but that can be quite effective in conjunction with a whirlwind attack on every enemy within 25 feet even without throwing in “acid” damage or an Infliction effect. If they are up against a swarm of mooks, they may be almost unstoppable.

Further Advancement? Well, a couple of more points in Lunge to get the draining effects out to the thirty foot base range of Witchcraft would be nice. More Martial Arts of course. Imbuement on the hands to add more damage and effects. More Power and Charisma. Reflex Training (the Combat Reflexes variant). Increasing the DC of the saves against his or her Witchcraft is definitely in order. More Witchcraft – Breath Of Life, Venomed Touch, and similar effects seem entirely appropriate – and the usual fighter-style stacking of bonuses. Sneak attack and Presence (to provide flanking) is a possible route as well, but it’s a bit specialized

Hero System – Artifact Smartphones

And as a whimsical bonus for today… it’s Blueblood‘s Artifact Smartphone, for those times when you just HAVE to stay in touch.

Not surprisingly, a Smartphone is purchased as exactly what it is – a Computer. In fact, it’s a not particularly powerful computer. Still, even the basic zero-point model is has all the usual Smartphone functions and – as a magical artifact – is capable of getting onto pretty much any network from pretty much anywhere in the multiverse, can control your household gadgets, can straighten your desk, can fetch you coffee, and can feed local languages (and some other stuff) directly into your head.

Advanced models are quite another thing altogether. At a cost of four, five, or six points they can have all kinds of functions, even if they DO tend to drain the supplemental battery at great speed. Blueblood has never bothered to upgrade though; he generally prefers to use his own powers.

Smartphone Computer

Value Characteristic Points
8 INT -2
1 SPD 0
Total -32

 

Points Powers END
32 Artifact Smartphone (0 Points)
(2) Elemental Control: Electronics (4-pt reserve); Usable By Others: Power Lost, +¼; OAF (Phone): -1
a-4 Radio Listen and Transmit; Datalink: +½; Cellular / WiFi / Bluetooth Service Only: -1; No Range Penalty: +½; Transdimensional: Any Dimension, +1,

This will let you connect to any network from pretty much anywhere.

b-2 Eidetic Memory; Always On (Memory is either perfect or utterly gone): -½, Limited Storage Space: -½.
c-2 Images (Normal Sight); Reduced END: Zero, +½; No Range: -½; Generic Limitation (Screen Only): -4; Observer PER Penalty: 0, +0. 0
d-6 Pocket Secretary and Remote Control / Telekinesis (STR 10); Manipulation: Fine, +10; Reduced END: Zero, +½; Strength 0 Only: -2; Maximum range of 6 Hexes: -¼; Only functions as a secretary – operating devices, fetching coffee, sketching, etc: -2. 0
e-5 2d6 Aid: Programs/Databases (Fade/week, Max. 12); Range: 0; Affects: Single Power of Special Effect, +¼; Extra Time: 1 min., -1½; Activation: 11-, -1; Must have program available to load: -2; Reduced END: Zero, +½.

This allows the user to load maps (area knowledge), languages, databases, and so on. All of it should be Usable By Others/Power Lost, so you can load a total of 10 points worth of information.

0
f-6 Basic Computer Functions
(2) Internal Clock / Absolute Time Sense.
(2) GPS/Bump of Direction.
(2) Calculator / Lightning Calculator.
(1) File Loading / Speed Reading; Computer Files Only: -1.
(0) Camera (Eyes)
(0) Microphone (Ears)
(0) Speakers (Voice)
(2) High Fidelity Playback / Mimicry 11-
(0) Touchscreen (Touch)
g-5 Standard Software:
(2) Security Features / Immunity To Unauthorized Use; Frequency: Common.
(1) Voice Mode / English (Or language of choice) (Fluent Conversation); Literacy: Standard, 0.
(1) Office Software / Professional Skill: Secretary. 11-
(1) Media Library / Knowledge Skill Digital Media. 11-
(1) Games Library: Professional Skill / Entertainer. 11-
(1) Map Database / Knowledge Geography. 11-
(1) Virtual Object/Image/Map Generator / Professional Skill Artist. 11-
(0) For Translation, local maps, and databases, use the “Aid” to load an appropriate skill.
32 Advanced Artifact Smartphone (2/7/All Multipower functions for 4/5/6 points).
(4) Superior Battery / END Reserve (64 END, 4 REC/turn); Focus (Phone): Obvious Accessible, -1; Generic Limitation (Only for use by user; The phone cannot use this power): -¾; Usable By Others: Power Lost, +¼.
(16) Special Functions / Multipower (48-pt reserve); Focus (Phone): Obvious Accessible, -1; Generic Limitation (Only for use by user; The phone cannot use these powers): -¾; Usable By Others: Power Lost, +¼; Concentrate: 0 DCV, -½; Extra Time: full phase, -½
u-1 Security Override / Security Systems; Ranged: +½; Costs END (4 per use): -½ 21-
u-1 Systems Override / Systems Operation; Ranged: +½; Costs END (4 per use): -½. 21-
u-1 Air / Water Vehicle Controller / Combat Piloting; Ranged: +½; Costs END (4 per use): -½. 21-
u-1 Ground Vehicle Controller / Combat Driving; Ranged: +½; Costs END (4 per use): -½. 21-
u-1 Holoimager / Images versus Sight (Hearing, Sight, 2″ radius); Range: 215; Observer PER Penalty: 3, +9; Increased END: ×2, -½. 8
u-1 6d6 Regeneration Ray / Standard Healing; Ranged: +½. 5
u-1 Environmental Field / Life Support (total); Area Effect (One-hex): 1 hex(es), +½; Costs END (4 per phase): -½.
u-1 Shields / Force Field (10 PD/10 ED); Area Effect (Radius): 3″ radius, +1. 4
u-1 1d6 Reality Reprogramming / Transform (Major, Anything); Range: 205; Increased END: ×2, -½; Cumulative: +½. 8
u-1 Summon Pokemon (1 50-point creatures); Range: 0; Summon: Limited Group, +¼; Increased END: ×2, -½.

Training your Pokemon effectively is up to you.

 

12

u-1 Beam Me Up: Extra-Dimensional Movement to the Enterprise (or another specific locale); Dimensions: One, +0; Time Travel: None, +0; Mass Multiplier: ×4, +10; Carrying Mass: 200; Increased END: ×2, -½. 8
u-1 3d6 Disintegrator Beam/Killing Attack (RKA); Range: 280; Increased END: ×2. 12
32 Total Powers  

 

Adventurers Of The Anomaly – “Zin”, Seeker Of Refuge

The invaders – formless, writhing, corruptive, tumors in the fabric of reality which inverted life into something even more malignant than mere undeath with simple contact – had driven many mad by their mere presence. Their arrival distorted space and time, surrounding Karresh with a dimensional maze of twisted reality. Nevertheless, with great courage, sacrifice, and heroism over a time distorted and thus inconsistent and unknown… the people of Karresh had driven them back.

It had not sufficed. Behind them they left the Withering – sometimes known as the Cinghalum. Whether it was a weapon of the invaders, or if their touch alone was enough to infect the world is unknown – but the Withering slowly spreads into any solid unliving matter – poisoning, draining, and eventually consuming any living beings within its domain.

Massive barriers of life energy were set up to contain the corruption – but while those barriers are holding for now, the Withering/Cinghalum constantly strains against them, growing stronger by feeding on its cage. All too soon the containment barriers will inevitably fail and the Withering will be set free to fulfill its mindless purpose.

A solution – or a refuge – was needed, but the remaining heroes, mages, and artificers of Karresh were fully occupied in containing the Cinghalum – and all their lore, theories, and experiments failed in the face of the Withering. Yet, in facilities across the world there were large numbers of now-redundant but nearly-finished war golems.

They were re-purposed. Tough and durable, they could pass the dimensional distortions that still roiled about Karresh without the mighty efforts that sustaining larger, safer, gates would require – to seek among the myriad alien worlds of the Dragon’s Scales a solution or refuge. Their purpose of destruction rewritten to seek out an alien solution to the Withering – or a suitable refuge for Karresh’s remaining inhabitants to retreat too. Each golem was sent to a different possible world with two objectives: gather information about the local environment to determine suitability for colonizing and search for something that could cure or stop the withering

And so Seeker 21N / “Zin”passed into the Anomaly.

Karresh World Laws:

  • Mystic Mechanisms: you may build and take the equivalent many items of of d20 Modern and Future (Tech Level 6+) Gear as equipment, at the usual 1 GP = 20 Credits equivalence (Immunity to Tech Level Restrictions, Common, Minor, Epic, 18 CP).
  • Power Storage: May store (Con) generic spell levels, using them to either power equipment or to power quick spells (Power Words, Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect / only to store generic spell levels, may only be channeled into other abilities, 6 CP).

K’areshian Seeker Probe Golem (31 CP / +0 ECL Race):

  • Golem Body: Immunity To Metabolic Effects: Seekers do not suffer further damage for being at zero or negative hit point totals regardless of activity, need not sleep, eat, or breathe, do not age, and are immune to poison, sleep effects, paralysis, disease, nausea, fatigue, exhaustion, sickening effects, and energy drain. That’s (Very Common, Major, Great), Specialized and Corrupted/Seekers do not heal naturally, can be affected by spells that target constructs, metal, or wood, gain only half effect from magical and psionic healing effects, cannot use beneficial drugs (alchemical bonuses), and – even if they do not need to sleep – must rest at least four hours a night and for eight hours to regain spells and such as usual (10 CP). They are, however, “alive”, do have constitution scores, and are entirely vulnerable to unlisted effects as any other character would be.
  • Sensor Suite: Shaping, Specialized for Increased Effect and Corrupted for Reduced Cost / only to generate level zero divination effects (4 CP). Such effects include Detect (Magic, Psionics, Poison, Disease, Time, Location, Dimensional Disturbances, Ores, Nutritional Value), Find (Fish, Game, Forage, Campsite, Water, Oil, Gold, Personal Items), Know (Diagnosis, Direction, Numbers, Age, Origin, Creature Classification, Plant Classification, Immediate Past, Weather), Assay (Purity, Creature, Plant, Literature), Link (set a short-term “bug”, “camera”, or “tracer” on something touched), and speeding up a search (Sift). A Seeker is equipped to analyze new worlds and their creatures so as to seek out a realm suitable for colonization.
  • Technomagical Body: Innate Enchantment. A Seeker comes with up to 11,500 GP worth of built-in gear and enhancements (12 CP).
    • Core Enchantments (5730 GP):
      • Durable Construction: Immortal Vigor I, Personal-Only (x,7) (1400 GP).
      • Librarian’s Zeal (1400 GP): Personal Haste (x.7, +30′ to movement, but instead of an additional attack the user halves the time required for searching, studying, gathering, writing or sorting).
      • Micro Thopter Foundry: Summon Bird (L0, produces a reasonably obedient small bird (in his case hummingbird ornithopters) which will remain for 2d4 minutes. These have no significant abilities but can fly and swim at 30′. The user may not summon more than five at a time (x.9) = 900 GP. (These are usually combined with a couple of links from his sensor suite to do remote scouting).
      • Compact Design: Reduce Person (Personal only x,7, cannot be deactivated x.7, 980 GP) All Seekers were reduced in size to make them less conspicuous/threatening.
      • Reconstruction: Repair Construct (Light) (50/week recharges 15% per day, 800 GP) Allows for self repair and maintaining equipment.
      • Reconfigurable Hands: Traveler’s Any-Tool: Universal masterwork tools (250 GP)
    • Built-In Technomagical Devices (1800 GP):
      • Adamant Framework/Main Body: Boost Armor with Gravlight (Max Dex +1, Armor Check -2), Improved Defense II (+2 Armor), and Increased Range of Motion II (+2 Max Dex), Rigid (+1 Armor Check Penalty). Total +7 (+3 Improved Defense = 10) Armor, +4 Max Dex (+2 IRoM, +1 Nimbleness = +7), Armor Penalty 3 (+1 Rigid -2 Gravlight -2 Nimbleness = 0), Speed +10, +4 Str, +2 Reflex Saves. (1000 GP). Net: +9 Armor, Max Dex +7, Speed +10, Str +4, Reflex Saves +2
      • Aegis/Force Shield (225 GP): DR 5/- and General Energy Resistance 5 (a set of Energy Shields and a Personal Force Field). In theory this has duration restraints, but in practice those won’t matter much.
      • Lens of Lingering Twilight (200 GP): Multioptics Band: Low-Light, IR, Ultraviolet, Telescopic/Microscopic Vision x60, +2 to Perception, Computer Link.
      • Memory Crystal Familiar (200 GP): Computer, HUD, Audiovisual Recording, Printer, Software (Various, more is added as Equipment).
      • Skyshaper (33 GP): Jetpack.
      • Storage Compartments x 3 (40 lb capacity each, 15 GP). Normally one for hardcopy reports, one for sample storage, and one for miscellaneous storage). The original design called for extradimensional spaces – but the only real advantage of those versus internal compartments is reducing encumbrance. Given that this design includes +8 Str, a little extra encumbrance should not matter.
      • Thief’s Bane Orb (20 GP): Motion Detector, effective through modest thickness of normal construction materials.
    • Minor Items (107 GP Total): Advanced MedKit (+2 Bonus, 3 GP), Bolt Cutters (2 GP), Basic Electrical and Mechanical Toolkit (35 GP), Fire Extinguisher (4 GP), Flash Goggles (25 GP), Grappling Tether (5 GP), Microtorch (Arcwelder/Cutter, 2d10 Fire Touch Attack, 10 GP), Portable Environment Generator (Only works in relatively livable environments, 14 GP), Power Backpack (Micro-Fusion Generator , 4 GP), Tactical Flashlight (3 GP), Universal Communicator with Satellite Datalink (3 GP).
    • Occult Weaponry (610 GP):
      • Concussion Rod: 2d8, Crit 20/x3 (45 GP)
      • Laser Sight (+1 with Ranged Attacks, 25 GP),
      • Solar Lance: Laser Rifle with Heavy Stun option (3d8 Fire, Crit 20/x2 OR DC 18 Fort save or 1d4 rounds Stun, 80′ Range Increment, Semi-Automatic/Full Automatic, 450 GP)
      • Tidal Bolt: Concussion Rifle with Heavy Stun (Fort DC 18) Module: 2d10, every 5 throws back 5 (90 GP)
    • Runic Skeleton (Cybrenetics, 3290 GP):
      • Artificial Twitch Fiber II (Cyberscape) / +4 Dex (600 GP).
      • Artificial Muscle Fiber II (Cyberscape) / +4 Str (600 GP)
      • Data Archive: All skills are class skills, +4 to Knowledges (Arcana, Engineering, Religion, and Scholar) (375 GP).
      • Feat Plexus with Four Feats (2250 GP)
        • Hypercognition I/Augmented Bonus, Adds Dex Mod to Wis-Based Skills,
        • Hypercognition II/Augmented Bonus, Adds Dex Mod to Int-Based Skills,
        • Fiberoptic Nerves I/Augmented Bonus, Adds Dex Mod to Con Mod for Cybertolerance Purposes.
        • Fiberoptic Nerves II/Reflex Training (Combat Reflexes Variant).
      • Miniaturized Antishock Implant (75 GP). Removes special vulnerability to electrical attacks.
      • Neuron Boosters II (Cyberscape)/ +4 Int (450 GP)
      • Proverb Chip (Cyberscape) (100 GP): +2 Wisdom
      • Redundant “Organs” (Systems) (Cyberscape) (325 GP): +4 Con
  • Basic Programming: Immunity (any need to purchase proficiency with their racial built-in gear). This does not provide proficiency with external gear of the same type (Common, Minor, Minor, 4 CP).
  • Resilient Enchantment: Immunity/Dispelling and Antimagic effects on personal enhancement spells. Specialized/ Only for racial innate enchantments. Seekers are well built and are reinforced against having their core enchantments disrupted (Common, Minor, Major, 6 CP)
  • Still A Golem: Incompetent (Social Skills): War golems are overly stoic and generally have a hard time understanding social situations resulting in -3 to social skills (-3 CP).

The Seeker Racial Template is quite literally exploitative. It’s using the Warlock Exploit – the fact that high-tech gear is extremely cheap for what it does when mixed with a fantastic monetary system based on dragon-horde sized heaps of gold, combined with the rarely-used “innate mundane items” application of Innate Enchantment, and an (18 CP) immunity to the normal technological limits of the setting – to basically be Iron Man or a video-game super-soldier.

On the other hand, the Anomaly IS pretty much a “RIFTS” style setting – and this really has noplace else to go; these bonuses are already about as good as technological equipment gets, can’t be readily modified, and generally won’t stack with external gear. Given the nature of the Anomaly, a Seeker will fit in well enough there – although I wouldn’t try to use it in a normal setting. For that… try an Ironclad or a Clockwork Ranger.

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 Dexterity and a +1 Universal Damage Reduction.

Skill List:

  • 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.

“Zin” – Repurposed War Golem / “Seeker 21N ” Advance Scout Golem

Available Character Points: 72 (Level Two Base) +28 (Experience, just starting level Four) +8 (Duties: Search for an answer to the withering and gather information about the local environment to determine suitability for colonizing. Make contact periodically to report, get new orders, and send important samples back) +3 (Disadvantage / Outcast (blatantly obvious construct)), +12 (L1 and L3 Bonus Feats) = 123 CP.

Basic Attributes: Strength 11 (-2 Size +4 Enh +4 Cyber +1 Level = 18), Dexterity 16 (+2 Size, +2 Knack, +4 Cyber = 24), Constitution – 14 (+4 Cyber = 18), Intelligence – 14 (+4 Cyber = 18), Wisdom – 12 (+2 Cyber = 14), Charisma – 12 (Pathfinder 25-Point Buy).

Basic Abilities (53 CP):

  • Hit Dice: 6 (L1d6, 2 CP) +12 (L2-4d6, 6 CP) + 12 (Template) +12 (Immortal Vigor) +32 (8 x Con Mod) = 74 HP.
  • Skill Points: 6 (Purchased, 6 CP) +8 (Fast Learner from Level One, 6 CP) +28 (7x Int Mod) = 48 SP.
    • Adept x2 (12 CP): Buys Perception, Solar Flare Martial Art, Stealth, Survival, Arcana, Engineering, Religion, and Scholar for half price.
  • BAB: +1 BAB (6 CP), +2 BAB Specialized /Ranged Attacks Only (6 CP).
  • Saves:
    • Fortitude: +1 (3 CP) +4 (Con) +1 (Mor) +1 (Comp) +1 (Res) +1 (Luck) = +9
    • Reflex: +1 (3 CP) +6 (Dex) +2 (Eq) +1 (Mor) +1 (Comp) +1 (Res) +1 (Luck) = +13, +19 for Block.
    • Will: +1 (3 CP) +2 (Wis) +1 (Mor) +1 (Comp) +1 (Res) +1 (Luck) = +7
  • Proficiencies: As derived from his internal systems (0 CP).
  • Initiative +7 (Dex) = +7
  • Move: 30 +30 (Enhancement) +10 (Armor) = 70,
  • Armor Class: 10 (Base) +7 (Dex) +9 (Boost Armor) = 26

Usual Attacks:

  • Solar Lance: +17 (+3 BAB +7 Dex +3 Comp +1 Morale +1 Sight +2 Martial Art), 3d8+1 Fire Damage, Crit 20/x2 OR DC 18 Fort save or 1d4 rounds Stun, 80′ Range Increment, may fire on full automatic for any one of 1) +4 to the Attack, 2) Hit 1d4 members of a group, or 3) Do double damage/require two saves against double any applicable DR.
  • Tidal Lance: +12 (+3 BAB +7 Dex +1 Morale +1 Sight), 2d10+1 Force Damage and Knockback OR Knockback and DC 18 Fort save or 1d4 rounds Stun, 80′ Range Increment
  • Concussion Touch: +6 (+1 BAB +4 Str +1 Morale), 2d8+1, Crit 20/x3,

Other Abilities (70 CP):

  • Universal Damage Reduction 2/- (Totaling 10/- with Force Fields, Knack, and Martial Arts) (3 CP).
  • Innate Enchantment (up to 5500 GP effective value, 6 CP): All effects Personal-Only (.7)
    • Inspiring Word: +1 Morale Bonus to Attacks, Damage, Saves, and Checks (1400 GP)
    • Ward of Heaven: +1 Luck Bonus to AC and Saves (Personal Only, Saves Only x.7 = 980 GP)
    • Sidestep: +1 Competence Bonus to Saves) (1400)
    • Resistance: +1 Resistance Bonus to Saves (700 GP)
      Weapon Mastery (Solar Lance): +3 Competence Bonus to BAB with Solar Lance (700 GP)

Defense Mastery (35 CP):

  • Block (Melee), Block (Ranged), and Block (Arcane), with one level of Multiple for each, all Specialized / Maximum of two Blocks per round (18 CP).
  • Bonus Uses: +6 Attacks of Opportunity per round (Total: 14 after Combat Reflexes) (9 CP).
  • Blessing with Multiple, Specialized for Increased Effect (Up to Charisma nearby targets, which normally includes himself) and Corrupted for Reduced Cost / only for defensive abilities, those in the immediate vicinity, no lingering blessings, uses up his own AoO, only as described below (8 CP).
    • Zin can protect those nearby – essentially loaning them his ability to Block incoming attacks, up to three of his Attacks Of Opportunity, and his Reflex Save Bonus to each of those nearby. In practice, he simply gets to roll up to three blocks per turn on behalf of each nearby friend or ally – at least until he runs out of Attacks Of Opportunity. Secondarily, if someone under his protection is subjected to a combat maneuver such as Trick, Grapple, Trip, Disarm, etc, he may roll to resist it if they are unsuccessful and everyone he is protecting shares his (Universal) Damage Reduction / Energy Resistance of 10 points.

Modular Artificer (6 CP):

  • Double Enthusiast, Specialized for Increased Effect (4 points) and Corrupted for Reduced Cost / only for creating Relics (4 CP).
  • Create Relic, Specialized and Corrupted / only for personal use, only for use with points from Double Enthusiast, above, requires a workshop change, 2 CP relics maximum (2 CP).

Current Relics:

  • Warding Bracers: +6 to Reflex Saves, Specialized / only for Block (1 CP as a Relic).
  • Inertial Damper: Anime Master, Specialized and Corrupted for triple effect / Does not allow for the use of larger weapons; only provides bonuses for resisting grapple and overbear, against which the user is treated as being three sizes larger (1 CP as a Relic).
  • Gem Of Fortune: Luck with +6 Bonus Uses, Specialized in Saving Throws (1 CP as a Relic).
  • Rune Of Gaian Harmony: Advanced Improved Augmented Bonus: Adds (Int Mod) to Dweomer Skills, Specialized / only gains half the total benefit (effectively +6) (1 CP as a Relic).

Where relevant, these bonuses are already included in his statistics.

Minor Dweomerist (20 CP).

  • Thaumaturgy/Dweomer (Healing) (6 CP). Skill Mana Option (Currently +4 Mana, totaling 12)
  • +2 Base Caster Levels, Specialized in Dweomer for Reduced Cost (6 CP).
  • +2d6 (8) Mana, Specialized and Corrupted for Reduced Cost / only for Dweomer, only for non-harmful effects (4 CP).
  • Rite Of Chi with +4 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted for Reduced Cost / requires at least fifteen minutes per die, only to recharge the mana pool purchased above (4 CP).

Skills:

  • Dweomer Healing Skills
    • Environmental +7 (7 SP) +6 (Rune) +1 (Mor) = +14
    • Mental +1 (1 SP) +6 (Rune) +1 (Mor) = +8
    • Physical +1 (1 SP) +6 (Rune) +1 (Mor) = +8
    • Spiritual +1 (1 SP) +6 (Rune) +1 (Mor) = +8
  • Other Skills:
  • Arcana +7 (3* SP) +4 (Int) +7 (Dex) +4 (Data Archive) +1 (Mor) = +23. Provides seven minor rituals:
    • Diplomatic Pouch: transfers information and small objects to and from his creators.
    • Hearthwarding: brings a household good fortune and improved health for year and a day.
    • Marriage Ceremony: ensures compatibility and fertility (if that is at all possible).
    • Prosperity Blessing: Increases the wealth level a farm, business, or similar provides by one for a year and a day.
    • Radiant Seal: creates a minor, or reinforces a major, positive energy seal.
    • Tame Beast: trains an animal.
    • Ward Settlement: warns those within a settlement of attacks, disasters, and other dangers as they occur for a year and a day.
  • Engineering +7 (3* SP) +4 (Int) +7 (Dex) +4 (Data Archive) +1 (Mor) = +23. Provides 7 Gadgets. For conveniences sake, this is currently being treated as 5 Charms and 2 Talismans:
    • Charms: Alchemist’s Flask, Astrolabe, Automatic Writer, Blessed Symbol, Wraith Gauntlets.
    • Talismans: Helm Of War (4 Charges), Rubydraught
  • Heal: +3 (3 SP) +2 (Wis) +7 (Dex) +1 (Mor) +2 (Kit) = +15. DC 15/25/35 check to reproduce the effects of a L1/L2/L3 curative spell up to four times daily.
  • Linguistics +3 (3 SP) +4 (Int) +7 (Dex) +1 (Mor) = +15. Speaks 15 Languages.
  • Martial Art/Solar Flare Style: +7 (3* SP) +7 (Dex) +3 (Tem) +1 (Mor) = +18
    • Abilities (9): Toughness II (Total 10), Attack II, Assistant (Combat), Block Upgrade II (Deflections), Assistant (Combat), Inner Strength.
  • Perception +7 (3* SP) +2 (Wis) +7 (Dex) +3 (Tem) +1 (Mor) +2 (Optics) = +22
  • Persuasion +3 (3 SP) +1 (Cha) -3 (Race) = +1
  • Profession/Administrator: +7 (3* SP) +2 (Wis) +7 (Dex) +3 (Tem) +1 (Mor) = +20 (+23 with Colony Administration), Provides (Bonus/2, rounded up) Political Position Points when the user runs an organization.
  • Religion +7 (3* SP) +4 (Int) +7 (Dex) +4 (Data Archive) +1 (Mor) = +23. Grants access to one level of Clerical Spellcasting (3 Cantrips, 2 L1 Spells) and the Community Domain (Calming Touch heals 1d6+1 and removes the Fatigued, Shaken, or Sickened conditions 5/Day), Domain Spell: Bless.
  • Scholar +7 (3* SP) +4 (Int) +7 (Dex) +4 (Data Archive) +1 (Mor) = +23 Provides +4 levels in the Favored Foe ability: He currently gains a +2 Bonus to Attacks, Damage, Perception, Survival, and Knowledge Checks versus Lovecraftian Horrors / Creatures Of The Cinghalum .
  • Stealth +7 (3* SP) +6 (Dex) +3 (Tem) +1 (Mor) = +17. Has a built-in Handy Haversack Effect, May become Invisible (as per Improved Invisibility) for 7 rounds per day, activating it from round to round as a free action.
  • Survival +7 (3* SP) +4 (Int) +7 (Dex) +3 (Tem) +1 (Mor) = +22. Gains Endure Elements, may learn Animal Languages, leaves no trail, movement is not hindered by overgrowth or terrain.
  • +3 Skill Specialties: Profession/Administrator (Colony), Diplomacy (First Contact) (2 SP Total).

Solar Flare Style Martial Art (Dex)

Whether it is you or your allies who land the final strike is not important; it only matters that it is done with as little loss to your side as possible. To distract, stun, or momentarily blind a foe or to defend your allies is as or more useful than any indecisive strike. The Solar Flare style focuses on the defense of your allies, on deflecting incoming attacks, on using the radiance of your attacks to bedazzle and blind the enemy, and providing covering fire so as to allow someone to get in a decisive strike.

  • Requires: The inherent ability to use energy based attacks that produces light.
  • Basic Techniques: Attack 4, Defense 3, Toughness 3, Strike
  • Advanced/Master Techniques: Blinding Strike, 2x Block (Ranged, or any one Block Upgrade), Assistant (Combat)
  • Occult Techniques: Inner Strength, Ki Block, Overburden, Wrath (Positive Energy).

Zin is basically a proactive priest – focused on preventing damage rather than on healing it after the fact. In the usual tradeoff for taking on a dull job that no one else wants… he’s frighteningly good at it – capable of preventing an average of nearly eight hundred points of damage per round – at least provided that it comes in fourteen sixty-point chunks from a reasonably well-distributed mixture of powerful but individually-directed ranged, melee, and magical attacks against him and his companions. He’s far less effective against lots of minor attacks (especially if they’re of only one type), area effects, or really overwhelming individual attacks – but no one is perfect.

Like the other Adventurers of the Anomaly, Zin is extremely powerful for his level – a consequence of using high technology, a highly optimized custom race, gaining the benefits of a set of free world laws, and the low-level adventurer template on top of character optimization.

Adventurers Of The Anomaly – Felix Solar, Mechwarrior

A lot of untested, desperate, things are done in time of war – but what was skipped was actually very minor. In the rush to send relief forces to assist with the defense of Skepptana a technician aboard the Jumpship Cormorant missed a potential short in the jump drive during the pre-flight maintenance checks. When the Cormorant attempted to jump, energy poured into the system and flashed over certain coils and circuits, creating an imbalance that twisted the jump field in ways that no one understood.

The Cormorant – its jump drive badly damaged, its reserves depleted, and its location unknown – appeared somewhere far outside known space. The local star would have been reachable – but there was something much closer. The local manifestation of the Anomaly – a light-years long strip of livable land hanging in space – had intercepted the Cormorant’s uncontrolled journey, and pulled it into a stable orbit.

The sensor systems of the Successor States (or even the Star League) are none too sophisticated, but there were fields and cities. Radio traffic. Trains and vehicles. Even what might be mecha. Supplies and refuge to be found. Just as importantly… no aliens had ever been discovered and the mysteries of what had been achieved by the Star League were just as unknown. The assumption that the place would be inhabited by humans was natural enough.

And explorers were dropped. The hottest, most independent, pilots available. The Cormorant was never meant to land, but if a port could be established supplies could be brought up to repair it. Even if repairing the drive (and figuring out a way to get home) proved impossible, the troops being transported and the crew would survive.

Felix is one of those explorers. A hotshot young pilot with a light scout mech, a persuasive multilingual tongue, an ability to inspire others, and a burning ambition to build his own legend… he was just about perfect for it. With luck, he will find help and the necessary materials. Even with less luck… he should at least be able to find a safe place for the dropships and crew to land.

Felix sees a marvelous opportunity for fame, lands, and founding his own noble household. This place has more usable land and resources than the entire inner sphere! Much of it apparently untouched!

And while he doesn’t really believe in Aliens or Gods – such things are obviously just more of Comstar’s Mysticism wrapped around Star League biomanipulations and the technologies that must have been used to create this place – he is certainly willing to poke around a bit.

Battletech Universe World Laws

  • Scrounging: Battletech characters may purchase the Armory, Gadgetry, Logistics, and Weaponry skills – although high-end Armory purchases tend to become large, clunky, war machines and Weaponry installed in such machines is upgraded in size. No matter how through the destruction, Battletechers will soon manage to put their equipment packages back together again (12 CP).
  • Resourceful: Battletech characters may add another attribute modifier to their Intelligence Modifier when computing their skill points for levels up to level four. In general, Pilots add Dex, Techs add Con, and Politicians add Cha – but the effect is pretty much the same regardless. (Augmented Bonus, 6 CP).
  • Hyped: Battletech characters are considered to have Witchcraft I for free, giving them (Str + Dex + Con)/3 Power. While most never put this ability to use, hot pilots, brilliant politicians, and such often have access to a personal boosting ability or two – making them impossibly clever, lucky, fast, or whatever their own little edge is. (6 CP).
  • Battletech is entirely non-magical; there are no magic items, no charms or talismans, no spells, and fairly little psionics save for flashes of insight and minor witchcraft knacks. Similarly, it has little Biotech. Magical and psionic items and powers beyond the minor stuff that the Anomaly itself enables generally won’t work for Battletechers.

Battletech is basically “Junkyard Wars” writ large. Very small forces of giant robots piloted by scions of noble houses fight the wars, while the vast majority of the populace and the industrial base remains totally uninvolved. Why? Because they live on thinly-terraformed alien worlds. allowing the infrastructure to get involved leads to mass death – leaving nothing to fight over and a population with nothing left but revenge.

So the noble houses frantically scavenge for the parts needed to keep their war machines running and claim to rule – while having little impact otherwise.

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:
    • Gun Bunny (A-Tier): You threaten all squares within your normal melee reach when wielding a gun as if it was a melee weapon and do not provoke attacks of opportunity when firing.
    • Fast Draw (B-Tier): You may get objects out of pockets, off of belt loops, and similar as a free action.

Skill List:

  • 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.

Felix Solar

Available Character Points: 72 (Level Two Base) +18 (Experience, level three working on level four) +6 (Disadvantages: Insane/refuses to accept the existence of aliens and Irreverent/doesn’t believe in Gods either) +18 (Human, L1, and L3 Bonus Feats) = 114 CP.

Basic Attributes: Str 10 (22 with Armor), Dex 16, Con 12, Int 16, Wis 8, Cha 14 (Pathfinder 25 point buy)

Basic Abilities (60 CP):

  • Hit Dice: 6 (L1d6, 2 CP) +8 L2-3d6, 4 CP) + 12 (Template) +5 (5 x Con Mod) = 31 HP (+40 with Armor)
  • Skill Points: 12 (Human Fast Learner) +18 (6x Int Mod) +12 (Human Bonus Feat Fast Learner) +18 (6 x Dex Mod, From World Laws) = 60 SP
    • Fast Learner (Human bonus feat from birth, 6 CP).
    • Adept: Thievery, Deception, Perform, Persuasion (6 CP).
    • Adept: Armory, Gadgetry, Logistics, and Weaponry (6 CP).
    • Augmented Bonus: Adds (Int Mod) to Armory, Logistics, and Weaponry (6 CP)
  • BAB: +1 BAB (6 CP), +2 BAB Specialized /Ranged Attacks Only (6 CP) (+4 to ranged attacks with racial bonus).
  • Saves:
    • Fortitude: +0 (0 CP) +1 (Con) = +1
    • Reflex: +2 (6 CP) +3 (Dex) = +5
    • Will: +2 (6 CP) -1 (Wis) = +1
      • Luck with +4 Bonus Uses Specialized in Saves (6 CP).
  • Proficiencies: As derived from his Armory and Weaponry Skills (0 CP).
  • Initiative +3 (Dex) = +3
  • Move: 30′.
  • Armor Class: 10 (Base) +3 (Dex) +3 (Kevlar Uniform) OR +6 (Power Armor) = 16 / 19.

Usual Attacks:

  • Melee: +7 (+1 (BAB) +6 (Str).

    • Power Armor Greataxe Hands: +10 (+1 BAB +6 Str +3 Personalized), 2d12+6 Damage, Crit 20/x3, +15 Damage to overcome DR only.
    • Personal Scimitar: +4 (+1 BAB +3 Personalized) 2d6 damage, Crit 18-20/x2, +2d6 Nonlethal (Electrical + Fortitude DC 16 to avoid being stunned for 1d3 rounds).
  • Ranged: +7 (+4 (BAB) +3 (Dex))
    • Power Armor Machine Guns: Range Increment 80′, 2d8 damage, Crit 20/x2, 250 Shot Magazines. May expend five shots in an attack for any one of 1) +4 to the Attack, 2) Hit 1d4 members of a group, or 3) Do double damage against double any applicable DR
    • Power Armor Laser Cannon: 120′ Range Increment, 4d10 Damage to a 10′ Radius (Can Crit at 20/x2, but only if targeting an individual, the increase does not affect the area effect), 50 Shots.
    • Power Armor Assault Cannon: 120 Range Increment, 3d10 Damage, Crit 20/x2, 100 Shot Magazine. May expend five shots in an attack for any one of 1) +4 to the Attack, 2) Hit 1d4 members of a group, or 3) Do double damage against double any applicable DR.
    • Personal Gyrojet Pistol, 40′ range increment, 50 shot magazine, 3d6 Damage, Crit 20/x2, Silent.
    • Personal Mini-Grenade Launcher: 5 Shots, 4d8 damage in a 10′ radius, 40′ range increment.

Mechwarrior Skills:

  • Armory +6 (4* SP) +0 (Str) +3 (Tem) +3 (Int) +3 (Power Armor Speciality) = +15
    • Powered Battle Armor: Growth I (Large : +8 Str, -2 AC, -4 Stealth, 10′ Reach, built-in weapons are considered large) (3), +40 HP (3), +8 AC (4), Sensors (Nightsight, Flash, and Hearing Protection, 1), Environmental temperature control and breathing apparatus (1), +4 Str (2), Extended Magazines (any built-in weapons get double their normal magazines, 1) = 15 Points.
    • Felix’s original Scout Mech was Huge instead of Large (+16 Str, -4 AC, -8 Stealth, 15′ Reach, built in weapons are considered huge) (+3 Points), but was considered Medium Armor (Armor Check Penalty -2, Max Dex Bonus Four, -2 Points) and had problems with heat buildup (-1 Point). The redesigned version – using Star Wars and Star Trek technologies, and local tinkering – is a great deal more manageable.
  • Gadgetry +6 (4* SP) +3 (Int) = +9
    • Electronic Binoculars: up to 60x, light-amplification, flash limiter, rangefinder, recorder, infrared, and directional microphone functions (2), Flashlight, adjustable, dim to blinding, narrow to broad area, can focus to cut or weld (2), Medical Kit II (+3 to Heal) (2), Thieves Kit (+4) (3).
  • Logistics +6 (4* SP) +2 (Cha) +3 (Int) = +11
    • Explosives Supply, including Breaching Charges (3), Condenser/Filter/Heater Canteen (1), 12-Day Energy Bar pack (1), Spare Parts (Combat Armor, Five Crisis, 3), Ammunition (Three Crisis, 2), and Lifestyle (always lives well in civilized areas, 1).
  • Weaponry +6 (4* SP) +3 (Dex) +3 (Int) +3 (Tem) +3 (Laser Cannon Specialty) = +18
  • Power Armor Weapons (12 Points):
    • Slugthrower Machine Gun (Normally two-handed, but built into his power armor and so considered one-handed). Selective Fire, Increased Magazine II (III with Armor Bonus). Net: Range Increment 80′, 2d8 damage, Crit 20/x2, 250 Shot Magazines. May expend five shots in an attack for any one of 1) +4 to the Attack, 2) Hit 1d4 members of a group, or 3) Do double damage against double any applicable DR (2 Points).
    • Second Armor-Mounted Slugthrower Machine Gun (2 Points).
    • Medium Laser Cannon: Heavy Energy Weapon, “Explosive” III (Double damage in a 10′ radius), Built into his power armor and so considered two-handed, Increased Magazine I (50 shots) due to Armor Bonus. Net: 120′ Range Increment, 4d10 Damage to a 10′ Radius (Can Crit at 20/x2, but only if targeting an individual, the increase does not affect the area effect), 50 Shots. (3 Points).
    • 2x Greataxe Hands (“Primitive” Melee Weapons) (Vibro and Personalized): Net 2d12+Str Mod Damage, Crit 20/x3, +15 Damage only to overcome Damage Reduction, +3 bonus to hit (2 Points Total).
    • Assault Cannon: Slugthrower Heavy Weapon, Explosive I, Selective Fire, Enlarged Magazine I (II with armor bonus). Net 120 Range Increment, 3d10 Damage, 100 Shot Magazine. May expend five shots in an attack for any one of 1) +4 to the Attack, 2) Hit 1d4 members of a group, or 3) Do double damage against double any applicable DR (3 Points).
  • Personal Weapons (3 Points):
    • Gyrojet Pistol: One-Handed Slugthrower Small Arm, Enlarged Magazine I, Explosive I, Silent. Net: 40′ range increment, 50 shot magazine, 3d6 Damage, Crit 20/x2,
    • Mini-Grenade Launcher: One-Handed Slugthrower Small Arm, Cannot Critical, Improved Damage I, Explosive III: 2.5 lb, 5 Shots, 4d8 damage in a 10′ radius, 40′ range increment (1 Point).
    • Scimitar (Personalized, Electrified): One-Handed Blade, 2d6+ Str Mod,,Crit 18-20/x2, +2d6 Nonlethal (Electrical + Fortitude DC 16 to avoid being stunned for 1d3 rounds), +3 to Attacks (1 Point).
  • Unknown Weapons: Felix has 3 points worth of weapons left.

Note that these Occult Skills cost an extra 3 SP each – giving them a current cost of 4 SP each.

Other Skills:

  • Acrobatics +6 (6 SP) +3 (Dex) = +9. May take 3d4 damage to pull off a nigh-impossible stunt.
  • Deception +6 (3* SP) +2 (Cha) = +8
  • Heal +3 (3 SP) -1 (Wis) +3 (Kit) = +5.
  • Local Knowledge +6 (6 SP) +3 (Int) +3 (Tem) = +12
  • Perception +6 (6 SP) -1 (Wis) = +5
  • Perform +6 (3* SP) +2 (Cha) +3 (Tem) = +11, +5 (Skill Speciality and Emphasis in Oratory) for +16 (May employ the Emotion, Fascinate, or Block basic Mystic Artist abilities up to (Cha Mod) times per day, may make an excellent living). Covers Acting, Comedy, Dance, Oratory, Wind Instruments, and Singing.
  • Persuasion +6 (3* SP) +2 (Cha) = +8
  • Socialize +5 (6 SP) -1 (Wis) = +4. Provides two free Contacts.
  • Survival +3 (3 SP) +3 (Int) = +6. Is protected as if by “Endure Elements”.
  • Thievery +6 (3* SP) +3 (Dex) +3 (Tem) +4 (Kit) = +16 (May perform such tricks as a free action up to (Dex Mod) times daily and make use the skill at up to 30′ range up to (Dex Mod) times daily.
  • +3 Specialties: Armory (Power Armor), Weaponry (Laser Cannon), Perform (Oratory) (3 SP).
  • Languages Known: English, Japanese, German, and Spanish.

Natural Leadership (17 CP):

  • Mystic Artist (Oratory): with Rapid and Echoes, Corrupted / only for Inspiration and Synergy Abilities (12 CP). Plus Skill Emphasis (Perform), Corrupted for Oratory Only (2 CP). Known Mystic Artist Abilities: Emotion, Block, Competence, Greatness, Excellence, and Mass Greatness.
  • Reflex Training (Three Actions per Day variant) with +2 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted / only to use Oratory (3 CP).

Hotshot Pilot (18 CP):

  • Fortune (Evasion Variant, 6 CP). Takes no damage on a successful Reflex Save.
  • Witchcraft II (13 Power) (6 CP), Basic Abilities: Hyloka, Hand Of Shadows, and Witchfire, all Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect / each only allows the use of three specific abilities costing 1/2/3 power, all abilities must be combat focused, none may be blatantly supernatural.
    • Hyloka, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect / only provides (Int Mod, 1 Minimum) specific abilities:
      • 1) Adrenal Surge: Spend 1 Power when rolling Initiative to gain a +5 Enhancement Bonus on it.
      • 2) Combat Fugue: Spend 2 Power as Swift Action to gain +1 Attack at your full BAB each round for 3d4 rounds.
      • 3) Fight Or Flight: Spend 3 Power as a Swift Action to gain a +4 Alchemical Bonus to Dexterity for 3d4 rounds.
    • Hand Of Shadows: Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect / only provides (Int Mod, 1 Minimum) specific abilities:
      • 1) Expert Shot: Spend 1 Power as a Swift Action ignore the penalties for range, less than total cover, and less than total concealment for 3d4 rounds.
      • 2) Precision Shot: Spend 2 Power as a Swift Action to gain a +10 insight bonus to your next Attack check.
      • 3) Firestorm Surge: Spend 3 Power as a Standard Action to make one attack at your full BAB against every desired target within one range increment. Such attacks may only be made with a Semi- or Full-Automatic Slugthrower Small Arm.
    • Witchfire:
      • 1) Reserve Power: Spend 1 Power as an Immediate Action to keep a vehicle, weapon, or other device that you are operating functioning for 3d4 rounds after it would normally shut down for overheating or for lack of fuel/power or ammunition.
      • 2) Jury Rig. Spend 2 Power as a Standard Action to use the equivalent of Make Whole (Greater) on a technological device – although the effect only lasts for 3d4 rounds unless you then spend that time tinkering to make it permanent.
      • 3) Deflecting Attack: Spend 3 Power as an Immediate Action to use a weapon to shoot or strike down an incoming attack or effect with a target within one range increment or within reach. The attack or effect is considered to have struck an opaque ten foot by ten foot ectoplasmic wall with hit points equal to twice the damage output of the weapon used.
  • +3d6 Power, Specialized for Increased Effect (21 Power), only to power Witchcraft Abilities (6 CP).

Felix actually has 19 CP left over – but the player hasn’t really decided what he wants to buy with them yet, although he was considering starting down the “Blue Mage” path.

Felix is a splendid demonstration of why I allow those who play more dedicated mages to get away with various sorts of cheese in high-technology settings. The ability to throw a Fireball just means a lot less when the fighter can easily pick up a bandolier of phosphorous grenades and an assault cannon. When they can get powered battle armor… throwing a low-level party up against a giant or minor dragon looks a lot more like an even match-up.

Ponies Of The Eclipse – Stygian and The Pony Of Shadows

After the write-ups for the six Pillars of Old Equestria Alzrius requested a writeup for Stygian, the Pony Of Shadows – and so here we go. As always, the first thing to do is to look at what Stygian and The Pony Of Shadows are actually shown doing – admittedly, mostly in campfire tales and in the My Little Pony: Legends Of Magic comic book series.

  • To start with the obvious, pony names are often pretty good indicators of their talents. Stygian is “of or relating to the river/deity Styx”- a part of the Greek underworld, associated with darkness, witchcraft, and hidden lore, and with dark waters that granted near-invulnerability,. That’s really rather suggestive. Moreover, Equestria includes Tartarus (another part of the Greek Underworld), Minotaurs, Centaurs, Hydra, Manticores, and more – all elements of Greek Mythology made real and tangible in the setting. It may be worth taking Greek Mythology references fairly seriously.
  • Stygians Cutie Mark has never been revealed. He covers it all the time, just like Sombra. That’s also rather suggestive, and more than a bit ominous.
  • Stygian is supposed to be fairly young. Of course, given that it’s a kids show, most of the characters are fairly young – so this isn’t exactly a power unless he’s immortal as the Pony Of Shadows. (The Pony Of Shadows was no longer in charge when his world was revisited more than a thousand years later – it had apparently been taken over by an alternate version of Discord – but we aren’t exactly shown that much of the alternate world in either case and we’re not told why there was a change).
  • Stygian is an expert on the sea, biology, and folktales, is at least competent at strategy and tactics (that’s probably pretty rare among generally-peaceful ponies) and astronomy, and is apparently quite knowledgeable about the various creatures of Equestria. That’s more than a bit weird for a villager. Serious scholarship kind of calls for either access to libraries, mentors, and support for your studies or a great deal of natural talent in a field to develop everything from scratch (and is likely to go badly wrong even then; Aristotle was very clever, but most of his “scholarship” was very badly flawed, to say the least). Secondarily, that’s a LOT of fields of study for a youngster with no resources to master. A way to support himself and a teacher or teachers of some sort would make this a lot more reasonable.
  • On the practical level he’s a competent sailor, a skilled maker of baskets, a horticulturist, a good housekeeper, and can apparently handle an immense list of other chores (presumably involving other practical skills) in one evening. He’s good enough at survival to wander the wilderness in relative safety, became a successful commercial author (after being freed from the darkness) and may have various other practical “village” skills or spells.
  • He was a skillful telekinetic, with excellent fine control and – as shown in My Little Pony: Legends Of Magic #8 – enough telekinetic strength to hold back water across a canal with force barrier. Even if it was only ten by ten… that puts the total force in the ten to twenty ton range. Admittedly the writers probably had no idea of what they were showing, and unicorn telekinesis tends to be as strong as the story calls for (since he then found lifting Rockhoof mildly awkward), but even lifting Rockhoof seems likely to be fairly impressive for your basic unicorn. Perhaps it was a force barrier or “wall” effect though? Those might be a lot easier.
  • As a unicorn scholar, who has specifically noted that “he wanted to go back to studying spells (Legends Of Magic #9), his magic is probably fairly versatile, even if mostly focused on practical spells and effects that could be found and practically employed in a seaside village.
  • When the Sirens attacked his village, he was the only one to escape their influence. He stated that it was because he was “out of range” – but he got more than close enough, and then resisted for long enough to go and consult his books before running away. Even if the sirens gave a concert, surely the place had farmers, woodcutters, and others who worked much further away and who didn’t come? Why didn’t any of THEM get away? Some special resistance seems likely.
  • He then evaded, escaped, or fought giant sea serpents, crab monsters, timberwolves, and gryphons, and possibly more obstacles than would fit in the single page devoted to his solitary travels to reach Rockhoof’s distant, apparently “northern”, viking-styled village.
  • He gathered a group of heroes to stop the sirens, even getting crochety old Starswirl to come along. Sure, ponies are generally helpful and willing to go a long ways to help others (as established in the first couple of episodes!) but surely legendary heroes had other urgent requests to deal with. Ergo, he’s probably fairly – and perhaps unnaturally – persuasive.
  • He could command the minions of an alternate-universe version of himself. This might be a power, or it might just be that they were too obedient/cursed/stupid/whatever to tell the difference.
  • That alternate-universe version of himself had, however, apparently killed off most of the pillars, eliminated or chased away all other ponies (at least there were none shown), commanded many minions, had corrupted large areas of the world, and wanted to become a cross-universal corruptor (strongly implying that he’d either finished with his current world or was being forced to run – and he didn’t seem to be running). Evidently, given time, the Pony Of Shadows became fairly dangerous directly and extremely corruptive.
  • When he confronted the alternate-universe Pony Of Shadows, their magic proved ineffective against each other – canceling out, despite the Pony Of Shadows supposedly being much more powerful than plain Stygian.
  • He borrowed the Pillars signature artifacts and went to Ponehenge to make copies of them so that he “could be a Pillar too”. Given that several of those artifacts are purely symbolic, that may have been purely irrational thinking – which would help explain why the Pillars misinterpreted what he was up to. It’s hard to understand something that makes no sense.
  • When he was prevented from making copies of the Pillar’s artifacts he wandered off, only to return later hosting a powerful force of darkness. Again, that seems likely to be an uncommon (if dubious) talent, simply because – while it seems likely that a lot of ponies get really upset – most of them don’t wind up hosting mighty evil forces.
  • Starswirl The Bearded, scholar of magic, didn’t know how to deal with him as The Pony Of Shadows. That rather implies that there was something pretty unusual about the magic that was in use in that form – and perhaps normally.
  • Stygian actually seemed to be fairly strong and versatile for a Unicorn in practice. Why wouldn’t that power be apparent to others?
    • Stygian can Teleport at least three ponies at a time for fairly long distances – possibly hundreds of miles – in Nightmare Knights #2 – but that series is only halfway completed, and didn’t even start until October 2018, so I think that it probably represents a somewhat later version of the character who has picked up at least one more level; otherwise his journey to find the Pillars would be just a bit less impressive. So no teleportation for this version.

For his primary attributes…

  • Strength: He’s a really scrawny little guy, so his Strength is going to be pretty underwhelming.
  • Constitution: He seems to be reasonably tough and enduring though, pointing towards a decent Constitution. Sure, he needed more rests than Rockhoof while they were traveling together, but a stream locomotive probably needs more rests than Rockhoof.
  • Dexterity: When it comes to Dexterity Stygian is probably fairly average for a pony. He did move pretty quickly, and with no obvious fumbles, when he needed to – but it was nothing all that impressive.
  • Intelligence: Genius plus. He definitely seemed to have a better appreciation for what might go wrong with a plan than Starswirl did despite being much younger and presumably less experienced, he’s apparently a self-trained scholar in many fields, and he has a LOT of skills.
  • Wisdom: Wisdom is always a bit harder to pin down, but being a field naturalist, and surviving solo journeys across the wilds of early Equestria, implies that (at the least) there’s no major deficiency here – and he certainly shows a reasonably strong will, both in resisting the Sirens (whether he used a power or not) and in setting out on a solo quest to bring help.
  • Charisma. Rockhoof finds Stygian pretty affable, and he’s apparently pretty persuasive – but he’s certainly not that good at being the center of attention, dominating a group, or showing that much force of personality. Of course, some Charisma is pretty much built into ponies.
  • Finally, while Stygian is fairly adamant about “not being a hero”, he certainly is one from an observers standpoint – so I’m going to use the same 25-point attribute buy as I did for the rest of the Pillars.

When it comes to level, Stygian did a lot of wandering around as a scholar, then went on a quest to find the Pillars, and then participated in some degree in the various adventures after he started finding them. Since the low-level adventurer template would keep him from advancing at the breakneck speed of a normal d20 character, I’m going to put him at level three. That would actually be a bit high for his known “number of encounters” – but presumably he did some things that didn’t make it into the comics. After all, he was a pretty busy guy even before he started collecting the pillars.

The world of My Little Pony is a world of friendship, harmony, and rainbows. So… why ARE their true villains? Sure, Trixie, the Flim-Flam Brothers, Spoiled Rich, pre-reformation Diamond Tiara, and even Discord were really annoying, but they mostly just misinterpreted or failed to “get” all that happiness.

So what is powering a (possessing) Nightmare? Or Tirek? Or Sombra? What powers dark magic?

For Nightmare… it was Jealousy. For Tirek, Greed. For Sombra, Fear.

For the Pony of Shadows? He seemed to be powered by the greatest of all dark magics in the world of Friendship Is Magic – Friendship Betrayed. For the Pony Of Shadows may have been somewhat separate from Equestria-primes version of Stygian – but as the MLP: Legends Of Magic annual showed… over the years they would have become one, for that alternate version of Stygian bore tattered batlike wings. He had ascended to become a Dark Alicorn. So it is time to create…

Stygian Shadow, potential Prince Of Friendship Betrayed.

Basic Attributes: Str 8 (-2 Unicorn = 6), Dex 12 (-2 Pony = 10), Con 12 (+2 Pony +2 Enh = 16), Int 18 (+2 Knack, +2 Unicorn = 22), Wis 13, Cha 13 (+2 Enh = 15) (Pathfinder 25 Point Buy).

Available Character Points: 96 (Level Three Base) + 10 (Disadvantages: History (a bit of a freebie for most converted characters), Obligations (takes responsibility for all kinds of things), and Accursed (tends to be misunderstood, ignored, and uncredited) +18 (Unicorn, L1 and L3 Bonus Feats) = 124 CP.

Basic Abilities (36 CP):

  • Hit Dice: 6 (L1d6, 2 CP) +9 (L2-L3d6, 4 CP) +12 (Template) +15 (5 x Con Mod) = 42 HP. With pony damage reduction this makes him reasonably durable.
  • Skill Points: 6 (Purchased, 6 CP) + 36 (Int) + 18 (Fast Learner) = 60 SP
  • BAB +1 (6 CP). Stygian isn’t stupid, but he just isn’t a physical fighter.
  • Saves:
    • Fortitude +0 (0 CP) +3 (Con) +1 (Tem) = +4
    • Reflex +3 (9 CP) +0 (Dex) +1 (Tem) = +4
    • Will +2 (6 CP) +1 (Wis) +1 (Tem) = +4
  • Proficiencies: Simple Weapons (3 CP).
  • Initiative: +0 (Dex)
  • Move: 40 (four legs, 20 on three or less).
  • Armor Class: 10 (Base) +7 (Force Armor III) = 17. May rise to 24 when he adds a Force Shield III.
  • Stygian really doesn’t do physical combat, so he has no “usual attacks”.

Sage (35 CP):

  • Adept x 2 (12 CP). Pays half cost for Knowledge: Arcana, Geography, History, Local, Nature, and Planes, Linguistics, and Spellcraft.
  • Fast Learner (6 CP), Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect / only for Knowledge Skills.
  • Universal Jack Of All Trades, Specialized and Corrupted / Only for Craft and Profession skills (4 CP).
  • Augmented Bonus / Adds (Int Mod) to (Wis Mod) for Skill Check Purposes, Specialized and Corrupted / only for Profession Skills (2 CP).
  • Augmented Bonus / Adds (Con Mod) to (Int Mod) for Skill Check Purposes, Specialized in Knowledge Skills Only (3 CP).
  • Tactician (8 CP): Mystic Artist (Knowledge / History) with Echoes, Specialized for Double Effect, Corrupted for Reduced Cost / only to use the inspiration abilities, only to provide bonuses in combat against specified enemies, requires that the player provide a plausible plan.
    • This is actually pretty potent; sure, it only lasts for ten rounds once a fight starts – but a good plan / +2 Positive Levels from Mass Greatness can go a long ways in ten rounds.

Skills:

  • Craft (Universal): +1 (JOAT) +6 (Int) = +7
  • Diplomacy: +6 (6 SP) +1 (Cha) +3 (Tem) = +10
  • Fly: +3 (3 SP) +0 (Dex) +8 (Fly Speed as the Pony Of Shadows) = +11
  • Heal: +6 (6 SP) +1 (Wis) = +7
  • Knowledge: Arcana, Geography, History, Local, Nature, and Planes: +6 (3* SP x 6 = 18 SP) +6 (Int Mod) +3 (Con Mod) = +15.
  • Linguistics: +6 (3* SP) +6 (Int) +3 (Tem) = +15
  • Perception: +6 (6 SP) +1 (Wis) +3 (Tem) = +10
  • Perform (Sing): +3 (3 SP) +1 (Cha) +2 (Race) = +6
  • Profession (Universal): +1 (JOAT) +1 (Wis) +6 (Int) = +8
  • Spellcraft: +6 (3* SP) +6 (Int) +3 (Tem) +2 (Race) = +17
  • Survival: +6 (6 SP) +1 (Wis) +3 (Tem) +3 (Unicorn Skill Mastery) = +13
  • Swim: +6 (6 SP) -3 (Str) = +3

Stygian Magic (53 CP).

Like Trixie Lulumoon centuries later, Stygian wields a strange, and often frightening magic. He is so used to thinking of it as “wrong” that he conceals his cutie mark and has denigrated his own skills to the point where he believes himself weak, ineffective, and incapable of fighting. Stygian doesn’t lack power though, even if it doesn’t show up very well on Equestria’s usual scales. What he lacks is self-confidence.

Mana-Powered Witchcraft III (18 CP) with Finesse (Uses Int Mod in place of Cha Mod for Witchcraft, 6 CP). Will Save DC 19, Base Power 11. (The Superheroic World Template provides him with 3 Mana – equivalent to 12 Power – per round).

Basic Witchcraft Abilities:

  • The Adamant Will. This allowed him to resist the Sirens,
  • Elfshot: He can inflict minor hindrances on opponents. This is rarely worthwhile unless he’s trying to do something subtle or create an opening for someone else.
  • Hand of Shadows: He can perform a wide variety of telekinetic tricks (and do lots and lots of chores).
  • Infliction. The basic “I do magical damage” effect. In his base form Stygian isn’t very good at this, although he can vary his attacks to whatever he thinks is most likely to scare off his targets. It’s not generally his first option though.
  • Glamour, He can enhance his persuasive abilities and project mental orders to creatures that have been bound to his will – even if they were so bound by an alternate version of himself.
  • The Inner Eye, Specialized for Increased Effect / Only to “hear” whispers of the Akhasic Record (+10 Insight Bonus to a skill check for 1 Power) or the outer ones beyond reality (this provides an excuse for taking any desired knowledge skill, for prophetic or weird dreams and nightmares, and so on).
  • Witchfire. Stygian uses this – in conjunction with boosting metapsionics – to generate basic force effects, such as Mage Armor, Shield, basic barriers – such as the one he used to hold back all that water.

Advanced Witchcraft Abilities:

  • 2d6 Mana as +6d6 (21) Power (12 CP). Even if somehow cut off from the flow of Mana, Stygian has some reserves.
  • Metapsionics / Amplify, Specialized and Corrupted / only for Hand of Shadows and Witchfire (force effects) (2 CP). With this ability Stygian can spend more Mana to boost his Hand of Shadows to handle much heavier weights and his Witchfire force-effects to create reasonably durable force barriers and Force Armor/Shield effects of up to level three.
  • Tenebrium’s Coin, Specialized and Corrupted / Stygian always has access to basic supplies for a scholar – food and drink, camping gear, ordinary clothing (such as it is for ponies anyway), reference books, a lamp or candles, blank journals, pens and ink, and a comfortable lifestyle, but cannot accumulate or spend funds from this ability (2 CP).
  • Ridden By The Loa, Specialized and Corrupted / Stygian only knows of one entity to channel per +2 or part thereof of his total Knowledge: The Planes bonus, must intentionally seek out a “weak point” between the dimensions and conduct a ritual to for the first “summoning” of such an entity (and must do so again if the link so created is later broken), cannot upgrade his level of control or use The Adamant Will to resist or expel such an entity, and (unfortunately) is focused on nigh-incomprehensible Lovecraftian Entities (2 CP).
  • Metapsionic Theorem / Elemental Manipulation with two levels of Streamline, Specialized and Corrupted / only to automatically add a Dispel Magic or Dispel Psionics effect to his Witchcraft-based single-target attacks (6 CP).
  • Reflex Training (Three extra actions per day variant) with +3 Bonus Uses, Specialized for Reduced Cost / only to use Witchcraft (5 CP).

The Pony Of Shadows: Stygian plus a (157 CP / +4 ECL Acquired “Black Pharaoh” Template):

The Pony Of Shadows is Stygian channeling Nyarlathotep, the Crawling Chaos, Corrupter Of Worlds. Unfortunately, even with a +4 ECL Lovecraftian Template stacked onto him… Stygian is still only an ECL 4 character at base. Without time to grow he is severely limited.

  • Journeyman, Master, and Grand Master (Hit Dice, 24 CP)
  • +6d4 Hit Dice (48 CP). While an extra thirty-five hit points never hurt, the real bonus here is that Witchcraft’s “casting level” is based on hit dice – so this gets his “casting level” up to nine. In Equestria that’s a fabulous level of raw power.
  • Apparition, Specialized for Increased Effect (Construct VIII) / must take the “Enveloping” ability (see The Practical Enchanter / Psychic Constructs), can only be manifested around himself, can only take one specific construct-form with the choices of A) Fly 40′, Armored (+1 Deflection Bonus to AC), B) Fast Healing II, Trample, Versatile (Increased Flight to 80′), and C) Energy Bolt (Adds +5d to Infliction effects) and Enveloping (6 CP). This forms the dark body of the Pony Of Shadows.
  • Immunity to Casting Level Requirements (Very Common, Major, Major, for six levels off the requirement, Specialized and Corrupted / only for the Construct-VIII effect, as given above (5 CP). This gets his casting level for the Apparition effect up to level fifteen.
  • Additional Advanced Witchcraft Disciplines:
    • Master Of The Sabbat, Specialized and Corrupted / only for use with Elfshot, only to lay curses of slow corruption, only usable once per day to a game master decided maximum effective level of curse (2 CP). The Pony Of Shadows can corrupt lands, creatures up through Alicorns, and entire worlds – but it will take considerable time and effort.
    • Seize The Wandering Soul (6 CP): Entrap unanchored souls. A dark and terrible power.
    • Spirit Binding (6 CP): Bind souls into creatures or objects. Another dark and terrible power.
    • Nightforge (6 CP): Create solid objects of shadow.
    • Mouth Of The Earth (6 CP): Upgrade Infliction to d8’s and add other effects.
    • Ashen Rebirth (Shadow) with Teleportation (12 CP). Become a creature of shadow.
    • Leaping Fire (6 CP): Accelerate it’s own movement, healing, and attacks,
  • Other Abilities:
    • Cloaking. Detection and Scanning Magic will simply show a normal unicorn pony of little power (6 CP).
    • Celerity: +10′ Ground Movement (6 CP).
    • Reflex Training (three extra action per day variant) (6 CP).
    • Amorphous (6 CP). The Pony Of Shadows can move through cracks and spaces that are logically too small for it.
    • Immunity to Aging (Uncommon, Severe, Major, 6 CP).

The Pony Of Shadows does not wish for simple destruction, It seeks madness, corruption, and to lead intelligent beings into destroying themselves. Thus it’s attempt to corrupt Celestia and Luna, so as to send them against still more worlds, rather than simply passing through the mirror-portal, lurking, and slowly corrupting the world with it’s own power. Unfortunately for it, it’s not really all that good at interacting with normal creatures, so it’s attempts at corruption are both direct and more than a little crude.

Equipment:

  • Charms: Astrolabe, Foulflesh Amulet, Loaded Brush, The Ocean’s Arms, Sands Of Time, Traveler’s Bedroll, and Vanishing Coat (Cloak),
  • Talismans: Preserving Chest (for specimens), Rubydraught, and Stone Of Sustenance.
  • Stygian presumably keeps a pocket-knife, current journal, bit of rope, snacks, and other minor items wherever it is that ponies keep things, but ponies don’t rely on equipment very much.

Stygian is more or less right. He’s not a hero. Under normal circumstances he can provide a nice boost to a group of heroes, repair or build pretty anything, is a bottomless well of exposition, and can throw some decent protective spells. He’s an invaluable sidekick to a hero or heroes, but just doesn’t have much offensive punch – leaving him safely in the rear echelon providing support services. Of course, he has a lot more offensive capability and options when channeling a spirit – but when he resorts to that he pretty much loses control to the spirit he’s channeling. .

Now, if only he could figure out what this odd little golden thing – like a bit with most of the center drilled out – that he found in Rockhoof’s volcano was. He keeps getting this odd urge to put it on, but it’s not like there’s any portion of his anatomy where the silly thing would fit.

Since these have appeared over and over again, they’re here at the bottom for easy skipping:

To summarize the low-level adventurer template, those affected get:

  • A -3 penalty on unskilled skill checks.
  • Very 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.
  • The status of valuable trouble magnets – they’re rare and find trouble everywhere they go.
  • A +3 bonus on five skills which suit their backgrounds and training. Sadly, this cannot be applied to active magical skills.
  • Extra hit points equal to [12 + (2 x Con Mod)].
  • Two minor special talents. For the full list see the Template. For Stygian we’ll take a +2 bonus to his Intelligence and Enduring (providing him with a +1 bonus on his Saves).

To summarize the Basic Pony Modifiers:

  • Quadruped. In general ponies are slow and have trouble moving while using tools or weapons.
  • Attribute Modifiers: -2 Dex, +2 Con. An additional +2 Con and +2 Chr are dispellable magical bonuses.
  • Damage Reduction 9/- versus both Physical and Energy Attacks, only DR 2/- versus melee attacks by living creatures.
  • Endure Elements. Ponies pretty much ignore the weather.
  • Ponies heal 1d8+1 damage per round three times per day.
  • Ponies are always treated as having lots of pockets, even in the nude.
  • Ponies get minor cartoon effects, such as hair that responds to moods, blushing through fur, and so on.
  • Ponies may begin or participate in spontaneously choreographed musical numbers that provide bonuses for group tasks.
  • Have a base pool of 1d6+3 Mana, regaining 1d6 with an hours rest up to three times a day and 1-2 points per day regardless.
  • Get a +2 Racial Bonus to Perform/Sing

To Summarize The Unicorn Subrace Modifiers:

  • Occult Talent provides their usual minor spellcasting while the use of Mana powers it.
    • L0: Dancing Lights (in many trivial variants), Daze (with various special effects), Detect Magic, and (Skill) Mastery (provides a +3 competence bonus on a particular skill for ten minutes per level, +6 if it only covers a limited aspect of a skill).
    • L1) Greater Mage Hand.
  • Immunity/Being unable to Concentrate on more than one thing at a time (covering up to three tasks and/or spells of up to level three at any one time).
  • Upgrade their basic Mana supply with the Spell Enhancement Natural Magic option.
  • Metamagic: Amplify / Only applies to Occult Talent abilities.
  • A +2 Racial Bonus to Knowledge/Arcana (2 CP).
  • +2 Intelligence/-2 Strength.
  • One Bonus Feat.
  • Executive, Corrupted for Increased Effect (add the user’s Int Mod to his or her effective level of use)/requires 2 Mana/hour to power. Unicorns are good at coordinating groups, and can provide substantial bonuses.

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.

D20, Ninja, and Eclipse, Part I – the Rokugan and Mystic Eye Ninjas

For today, it’s part one of “how to build a ninja, with particular reference to some of the past “ninja” classes” – another offline query.

The first official Ninja for d20 was the classical Oriental Adventures Rokugan Ninja (3.0, from 2001). D20 Rokugan got quite a lot of stuff published for it, but it never really took off. After all, most of the people who wanted to adventure in Rokugan, and deal with it’s deadly political and social mazes, were already playing Legend of the Five Rings and didn’t really need a d20 version.

It looked like this:

  • D6 HD (40 CP).
  • +20 BAB (120 CP).
  • Saves +24 (72 CP).
  • 4 SP/Level (92 CP originally, current builds take Fast Learner Specialized in Skills and Adept, 12 CP).
  • Proficient with All Simple and Ninja Weapons (9 CP).
  • Augment Attack – 10d6 Sneak Attack (30 CP).
  • Defender with +1 AC Bonus/Specialized/the bonus must be divided between attackers each turn (6 CP). (Honestly, a little armor is better).
  • Poison Use (6 CP).
  • Awareness with Flankless (12 CP).
  • Augmented Bonus (Adds Int Mod to Dex Mod for Initiative Checks, 6 CP)
  • +30 Movement/Corrupted for Increased Effect (also applies to any other movement modes you happen to pick up, but limited to +5 x Con Mod, 12 CP).
  • Blind-Fight (6 CP).
  • Block (Missiles, 6 CP)

That’s 423 CP for a purely classical build, but only 343 CP as a modern (using Adept and Fast Learner to deal with the devaluation of Skill Points) build – out of the 504 CP a twentieth level character normally gets.

Honestly, that is a spectacularly poor build, placing even below the basic 3.0 fighter in terms of spending it’s points. All it’s really got going for it is full BAB and Sneak Attack, which is why it’s down on Tier 5. Still, it wouldn’t make a bad basis for a partial, or even (throwing in a few limitations and a modern build) a full caster build. An extra 81 to 161 character points leaves plenty of room for that even before throwing in feats and other boosts. For example, figuring on a “modern” build…

You could make a Hexcrafter, and appear from the shadows to shift the tide of battle with a well-chosen invocation of your dark and mysterious powers. Throw in:

  • Twenty-one (to get access to epic effects) Specialized Caster Levels (63 CP).
  • Nine Spell Cards (72 CP)
  • And seven Free Invocations (21 CP).

A decent casting attribute – most likely Intelligence as you’re going to need skill points – can get you a couple more Spell Cards, so this revised build winds up as a fair rogue-style fighter with per-session access to seven freeform spells of up to level six (from Free Invocations) and ten or eleven spells of up to level nine – with an option to sacrifice three of those level nine effects to jump up to epic magic. You won’t get nearly as many spells as a classical Wizard or Sorcerer, but with freeform magic you can tailor your spells as precisely as you need to – so what you’re aiming for is to never need more than one in any given situation.

Or you could buy…

  • Twenty levels of Bard or Druid spellcasting (160 CP). A simple and powerful option, Twenty levels of Psychic Warrior is only 120 CP, but is probably worth considering here – and would leave you with 40 CP to spend elsewhere anyway.
  • Full access to both Assassin and Ranger spellcasting (20 Corrupted Caster Levels for 80 CP and two sets of Paladin / Ranger Spellcasting, 40 CP each). They won’t be that powerful, but you will have quite a lot of spells to cast.
  • The Bokor Package. Since this is only about 60 CP it’s suitable for even a classical build. In a modern build… it leaves room for another entire package.
  • The Classical Illusionist package. That’s about 160 CP depending on the options you take – and it’s very thematic. An excellent option. Not the most powerful casting package, but incredibly versatile.
  • The Entreaty Magic Package (87 CP), allowing you to mix some comic-book style sorcery into your stealth. A powerful option if you’ve got the Charisma to pull it off. /
  • The Nymic Magic Package (54 CP for the Casting, 69 CP for Specialized Caster Levels, and 36 CP on another 6 feats to boost it). This is fast and versatile, but calls for some extensive investment in knowledge skills. Still, if you want to be a magical know-it-all…
  • Skill-Based Partial Casting. This is a rather limited spellcasting package, and calls for some investment of skill points, but allows an enormous number of variations at assorted costs.

Of you could buy plenty of other stuff. Eighty one or (especially!) a hundred and sixty points is enough to pay for quite a lot of goodies.

The Rokugan Ninja failed because it was – ultimately – an inferior rogue with a mild case of multiple attribute dependency thrown in just to make things worse. To add to the problem they got very little prestige class, feat, or equipment support. And even where they outshone the rogue (BAB), a rogue with a dip or two – Monk, or Ranger, or perhaps (later on) Beguiler – made a better “Ninja” then a Rokugan Ninja anyway.

The primary reason for that was simply that Rokugan was a much more “realistic” setting than d20 was really designed for, with a heavy emphasis on social interaction and politics instead of dungeon crawls and loot. So it’s ninja were based on real-world ninja – in d20 terms reasonably clever and well-trained rogue-style characters of levels 1-3 with no magic. They were characters who might play message-runner between two warlords for months in hopes of getting some information on their plans, or try to stealthily slip poison into someone’s food. They definitely were not one-man armies empowered by TV Tropes.

Not too surprisingly, the result would fit in with a “Wizard” based on Oz, the Great And Powerful (and his sleight of hand and minor stage tricks), a “Cleric” who performed ceremonies, offered wise advice, and had various social benefits, and a “Fighter” based on any generic special-forces type you would care to pick – but high-level d20 fighters can readily tank one-megaton city-killer bombs (16d8 damage per d20 Future), With the right options (a way to get a save and Evasion) they may even be able to shrug off a direct hit with no damage. Similarly, d20 has (quite manageable) Fortitude Saves and Neutralize Poison spells. It has magical guard-beasts and enhanced senses that can easily penetrate Stealth. It has telepathy and magical messaging. It has Scrying and Commune.

It was like having James Bond team up with Iron Man, the Mighty Thor, Doctor Strange, and The Black Widow to battle some power-armor cultist goons and a couple of shoggoths while the dread Elder Ones attempt to force their way into the world to destroy humanity. Sure, Bond can try to set up a trap or crash a vehicle into the monsters – but that doesn’t have much to do with HIS abilities and it will be a lot of time and effort spent on the equivalent of one shot from most of the others involved.

It’s much more likely that he’s going to take Nick Fury’s role and provide the mission briefing and exposition – and even THAT is only by author fiat, since any of the other characters could get the information. There’s Iron Man’s many contacts and computer expertise. Thor could get the word from Odin, or Heimdall, or just get called in. Strange could look into the Orb of Agamotto -and the Black Widow has at least as many contacts and sources as Bond does.

You could drop Bond from this story without any real effect – and the same went for the Rokugan Ninja in most d20 games.

Next up (well, after a thousand homebrews and with a pack of less notable versions), we have the Player’s Advantage: Rogue Ninja (Mystic Eye Games, 2004). This one was a partial caster, and it looked like this:

  • d6 HD (40 CP).
  • 8 SP/Level (184 CP, for a modern build presume Fast Learner and Adept for 92+12 CP).
  • +15 BAB (90 CP).
  • +24 Saves (72 CP).
  • Fast Movement (+10, 6 CP).
  • Martial Arts (1d6 lethal or nonlethal “unarmed” damage, always considered armed, 9 CP).
  • Poison Use (6 CP)
  • Awareness with Flankless (12 CP).
  • Evasion (6 CP)
  • 10d6 Sneak Attack (30 CP)
  • 17 Levels of Spontaneous Style Ranger/Paladin Spellcasting (34 CP) with 10 Specialized Caster Levels (30 CP). The available spells include:
  • 1st Level: Disguise Self, Detect Poison, Feather Fall, Ghost Sound, Jump, Obscuring Mist, Sleep, True Strike.
  • 2nd Level: Alter Self, Backstab, Cat’s Grace, Darkness, Fox’s Cunning, Illusory Script, Invisibility, Pass Without Trace, Spider Climb, Undetectable Alignment.
  • 3rd Level: Deep Slumber, Deeper Darkness, False Life, Magic Circle Against Good, Misdirection, Nondetection.
  • 4th Level: Clairaudience/Clairvoyance, Dimension Door, Freedom of Movement, Glibness, Greater Invisibility, Locate Creature, Modify Memory, Poison.
  • Personally, I’d at least open this up to anything on the Assassin spell list as well. It might well have been if there had been much further support for the class.
  • Proficient with All Simple and Ninja Weapons (9 CP).
  • Proficient with Light Armor with the Smooth modifier (6 CP)

That’s a total of 534 CP – or only 500 with either Adept OR Fast Learner, or 454 CP as a modern build with both.

The build suffers from “monk syndrome” – having a bunch of not-particularly well organized individual powers thrown together with little focus or synergy between them – but it’s not too bad. If you need a stealthy type, this Ninja will do – but they don’t have a lot to offer elsewhere. I’d peg them around Tier 4, with the basic Rogue.

What to do with the other 50+ points in a modern-style build? Well, you could upgrade with a second set of minor spells (+10 CP to get the Caster Levels to “Corrupted” so they can cover multiple forms of minor magic, +34 CP for another seventeen levels of a minor progression – perhaps Alchemical Magic – and throw in a bonus feat), or upgrade their basic spellcasting package to a full Psychic Warrior or Wilder casting package.

Personally I’d probably go with the Psychic Warrior package. A couple of tweaks here and there and that would give you the full “mystic ninja” routine, make you more effective in a fight, and give you some additional options out of combat.

This version of the Ninja provided a (much needed) step into the fantastical – but it was a rather half-hearted step, never got much further support, and still left the Ninja as “the sneaky guy” in a game system where they’d almost always be in the middle of a group that was focused on combat and throwing lightning bolts at things. There is a reason why Godzilla versus The Ninja is not really a thing (despite this bit with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles I found on Youtube). Still, if you had a game master and party that was willing to incorporate some stealth into the game, this Ninja was reasonably functional though the mid-levels – at least until high-end magic made stealth (and most other skills) utterly irrelevant.

Next time around on this it will be the Complete Adventurer Ninja (from 2005) and the (current) Pathfinder Ninja.