Eclipse – Sample Races, Templates, and Characters Update

Here, at last, is an updated index to all the Eclipse-Style Races, Templates, Power Packages, and Sample Characters on the blog.I’m going to sticky this and try to keep it reasonably current from now on.

If you’re building a character, the usual sequence will be Race – Template (if any) – Basic Build, so that’s how this is organized. If you’re looking for “how-to” information, next up is the level-by-level class breakdowns and the general power-package information and examples. After that, for inspiration, swiping power packages from, and use in other games, comes the sample higher-level characters.

Character Creation and System Primer

Sample Races:

Sample Templates:

Eclipse Pathfinder:

Eclipse handles Pathfinder just fine – so here are Eclipse breakdowns for Pathfinder –Basics and Races and the class breakdowns for the  Alchemist, Barbarian, Bard, Cleric, Druid, FighterMonk, Paladin, Ranger, Rogue, Sorcerer and Summoner. The sample characters are pretty much all compatible with Pathfinder; if they don’t already have the Pathfinder Package Deal from Basics and Races simply add +2 to an attribute and +3 to their skills.

Sample Level One Character Builds:

Level-by-Level Class Breakdowns:

General Build Information and Power Packages:

Sample High-Level Characters:

. . Note that these characters were generally built for particular campaigns, and so are sometimes built using campaign-specific variants – usually a price break on especially-relevant abilities. These are covered in the Campaign Sheets for the relevant campaigns – Federation-Apocalypse Campaign, Ironwinds Campaign, Atheria Campaign, Twilight Isles Campaign, and Darkweird Campaign.

Level Two Sample Characters:

Level Three Sample Characters:

Level Four Sample Characters:

Level Five Sample Characters:

Level Six Sample Characters:

Level Seven Sample Characters:

Level Eight Sample Characters:

Higher Level Sample Characters:

Level Ten and Twenty Breakdowns:

Alzrius has also put up quite a few Eclipse characters on his Intelligence Check blog – including quite a few interpretations of popular characters from a variety of sources. Pretty much all of them are written up for Pathfinder, and usually use the Pathfinder Package Deal.

  • Rinoa, from Final Fantasy via Dead Fantasy, a powerful 15’th level spellcaster – along with the Hyne Witch template and a discussion of many of the other characters.
  • Pyrrha Nikos, a 7th-level Huntress-in-training, along with statistics for Vytal Humans, three Martial Arts, and some world background and discussion.
  • Sharalia, a Level One Fire Dancer – a character who controls flame through dance.
  • A 20’th level breakdown for an Antimage –  a “class” that specializes in negating the powers of dangerous spellcasters.
  • The Maedar – a racial template breakdown for a male medusa.
  • Sailor Saturn – a fragile young woman from the Sailor Moon anime with some exceptionally over-the-top powers.
  • Scorpion from Mortal Kombat, written up at the peak of his powers – along with the Netherrealm Ghost template and three Martial Arts.
  • Sam Winchester, a level three paranormal investigator from the Supernatural television series.
  • Varek, a Level Six Cleric with some support abilities.
  • Abraham Lincoln, Level Twelve Civil Warrior of the United States of America – with a touch of Vampire Hunter and including his Martial Art.
  • Agent Spin – a Second Level Elite Beat Agent who gets sent… to encourage people in trouble.
  • Gargamel, a First Level Incompetent Ritualist and Bumbler – perhaps fortunately, without statistics for Smurfs.
  • Spinnerette, a Level Five Spider-Style Superheroine/
  • Malecite, a Level Ten Villainous Mage from Suburban Knights, along with Malecite’s Hand, a vastly powerful relic and various new spells.
  • Dirk Markson, a Level One Dark Witch – and possible hero.
  • Barney Stinson (Scroll Down), a Level One Sitcom Inhabitant – from How I Met Your Mother.

Alzrius’s Eclipse d20 Ponies:

Alzrius built his ponies so as to fit into “standard” d20 games – whereas I used the “Superheroic” world template because it would allow my builds to reproduce the things that the ponies did on the show. Of course, that means that my builds will only work well in games based on the assumptions of Equestria; they won’t do so well in basic games. For those, courtesy of Alzrius, we have…

  • The Pony Races:  Earth Ponies, Pegasi, and Unicorns.
  • The Elements of Harmony:  Built as Eclipse Relics.
  • Rarity:  Starting off the series at level one! Commentary: Using the Elements of Harmony to cover the characters occasional incredible stunts.
  • Princess Celestia: As she generally appears on the show – as a ninth-level mentor-type who explains why she can’t handle things.
  • Adagio of the Sirens: Unreformed, still at large, and needing only an enchanted gem to make a comeback.
  • Lex Legis (And his Picture): Alzrius’s original character – and a very “gray” potential opponent.
  • Notes on Zecora: A discussion of just how much power – or lack thereof – is needed to build Zecora. Comments: My take on Zebras.
  • The Journal of the Two Sisters – and lapses in logic therein. Comments: Unicorn populations and birthrates, basic demographics – and why the “Unicorns losing their magic” story makes no sense in any terms.
  • Iliana, the Ponyfinder Queen: An examination of how to use Eclipse to customize – and slightly upgrade – a Ponyfinder queen to fit her history.
  • Lashtada, Ponyfinder Goddess:  As set up using The Primal Order for second edition.
  • Sonata Dusk: As appearing in his Fanfiction.
  • A Magical Medieval Society: Equestria: Building equestrian society using “A Magical Medieval Society”.
  • Baby Got Backlash: Flurry Heart and Magical Surges
  • Tempest Shadow: The movie antagonist escapes into d20, rather than remaining to face the friendship
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Eclipsing Raven Trigonsdottir – Part II

For Part One – Raven’s general background and powers – click HERE.

So how do we convert Raven’s assorted appearances (and retconned histories and powers) into d20 statistics?

Well, obviously enough she’s going to be using the Superheroic World Template from Eclipse (and thus will be getting free Mana equal to her Con Mod to use to power her abilities (or to convert to Generic Spell Levels or Psionic Power) every round.

As a superhero, we’ll want the Four Color Template (24 CP).

Since I did the last set of heroes that way… she’ll be using the Pathfinder Package Deal (Free) and will be a Pathfinder Human (Free). I could justify a Racial Template easily enough, but the vast majority of the time she acts pretty human.

Next up, it’s attributes – and Raven always seemed to be a bit of a glass cannon when it came to her personal abilities. She…

  • Isn’t especially strong. She’s well exercised and in good shape, but she’s still a fairly petite young woman – and her few examples of “stronger than average” are mostly either when being demonic or could easily be telekinesis. Str 10.
  • She’s reasonably bright and well-read, but she’s no amazing genius even if she does evidently have a knack for languages. She had the entire DC universe to choose from less the Justice League – and she picked an assortment of teenagers including Robin, Beast Boy, and Cyborg to throw at a planetary menace? Int 14.
  • She’s reasonably perceptive too, but she has a terrible time controlling her own mind and is often in fairly massive denial about her own emotions, which doesn’t say all that much for her personal discipline, willpower, self-awareness, or sanity. Wis 14.
  • She’s energetic and healthy, but in superhero terms she’s a bit of a glass cannon, often collapsing due to feedback from her Soul-Self or when she’s actually hit. Con 14.
  • She’s reasonably agile, and is decent at getting out of the way – but she’s no fabulous acrobat. Dex 14.
  • She’s fairly attractive, and – for a half-demon sorceress likely to be the catalyst for global destruction – manages to be vulnerable and in need of hugs a lot, but she has an off-putting personality and had to resort to emotional manipulation to manage people. Still, she is a hero and usually gets along with her teammates well enough. Ergo, Cha 14

In Pathfinder point buy that has a net cost of… 25 points. Exactly what’s available for a high-end campaign. A perfect match!

So…

Raven (A.KA. “Rachel Roth”)

Level Eight Superheroic Witch / Harbinger Of Apocalypse

Four Color Template (24 CP).

Pathfinder Package Deal (Free)

Pathfinder Human (Free)

Basic Attributes: Str 10 (+2 Enh = 12), Int 14 (+2 Enh = 16), Wis 14 (+2 Enh = 16), Con 14 (+2 Enh +2 Human = 18), Dex 14 (+2 Enh = 16), and Cha 14 (+2 Enh +2 Level = 18).

When she goes all demonic her physical attributes increase to Str 16, Con 22, and Dex 20, see below.

Witchcraft:

Witchcraft: I, II, and III with The Secret Order (Order of Azarath), Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect (see individual power listings): all abilities are subject to at least seven limitations – as follows unless otherwise indicated. 24 Power, Save DC Will 21 (24 CP).

  • Her powers flare up uncontrollably when she loses control of her emotions.
  • Her powers leave her vulnerable to possession by Trigon or – if she becomes angry – by her own demonic nature. The GM may call for a will save, assigning the DC as appropriate, if this comes up.
  • Her powers fail entirely if she simply suppresses her emotions.
  • Her powers require incantations, and will either fail (d6: 1-2) or flare up randomly (d6: 3) if used without one.
  • Her powers become increasingly uncontrollable as time passes if she does not spend at least four hours per day in meditation and mystic ritual.
  • Other magicians will easily detect that she is filled with corrupting demonic energies.
  • Exercising fine control with her powers requires dexterity checks, as if she was fumbling with waldos.

Basic Witchcraft Abilities

  • Witchsight (No incantation, but a very limited set of automatic effects): Raven can sense magic and souls and see through both normal darkness and her own (but not other people’s) magical darkness.
  • The Hand of Shadows (Azarath Metrion Zinthos!): Triple Effect (Str 36, 48 when Evil). The items affected are usually covered in darkness but she’s also manifested tentacles of darkness extending from her to grab things with. (1 Power per Minute, 2 power for Animate Object, 1 power for three hours light work).
  • The Adamant Will (Azarath Mortix Metrion! Using it without an incantation usually results in weird mental struggles): Reduced Cost. Note that this will NOT work against “attacks” which trigger or target preexisting forces within her own mind, such as Trigon’s corruption or her own fears and insecurities.
  • Infliction (Necronom Hezberek Mortix!): Triple Effect (up to 9/15/21d4 for 1/2/3 Power, +3 power for 5′ radius, save for half), she is incapable of fine control, but does not risk possession by Trigon in using this power. It generally manifests as either Psychic Bolts (nonlethal damage) or various forms of telekinetic destruction.
  • Healing (Azarath Syrium Anmortrix!): Triple effect and does not provoke possession by Trigon, but causes pain and backlash. Each time it’s used roll a Will save at DC (18 + Number of Uses Today). On a failure take 3d6 damage and this ability burns out until tomorrow.
  • Shadowweave (Akon Wenthin Obrium!): She does not risk possession by Trigon in using this power, but can only create light based effects when she is purified of demonic energy. She can usually create long-lasting areas of darkness, wrap herself in shadows, change her appearance to some degree, or disguise her soul-self as her. No matter how she dresses she can look edgy and goth and no matter how she decorates her room it can always be dark, gloomy, and filled with mystic special effects. .
  • Glamour (Carazon Rakashas Cortis!): +6 CP for increased effects, Triple effect, this power does not provoke possession by Trigon or her personal evil, but is purely focused on emotional manipulations. Within that field she can generate effects of up to level nine.
  • The Inner Eye (Vaserix Enderin Azarath!): This ability provides only a limited range of effects, but does not have to be actively invoked to detect powerful emotions, mental effects, and invisible creatures. Active casting is required for reading thoughts and psychic impressions.
  • Dreamfaring: (Reduced Cost): Does not require an incantation, but does not allow the use of Dimensional Projection (although she can achieve similar results using her soul-self). Raven can send messages into people’s dreams and contact them there, hear and speak with those in adjacent dimensions while remaining merged with her soul-self and either Astral or Ethereal (thus making an excellent messenger and herald since she can appear to, and talk with, many very physically powerful entities with very little risk of harm), and can affect various sorts of immaterial spirits.

“Dark” Basic Witchcraft Abilities:

  • Hyloka (Triple Effect): While this ability requires no incantation, it is only usable while Raven is possessed by evil and normally focuses on a single effect – providing a +4 bonus on her Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution.
  • Elfshot (Trigon Hezberek Synthos!): Triple Effect. Dark Raven can infuse people with demonic energies, causing them to slowly transform into demons, to “incubate” demons, or to otherwise transform into creatures of evil. Apparently normal humans can only become lesser monsters, only “supers” can become actual demons. .
  • Witchfire (Triple Effect). While this requires no incantation, it can only be used while Raven is possessed by evil – in which case she can generate fire, lightning, toxic miasmas, and similar effects.

Additional Witchcraft Abilities:

  • Soul-Self (Birth of Flames, Increased Effect): Summoning her soul-self does not require an incantation and has no risk of causing possession by Trigon, but it may only be maintained externally for ten minutes or so, damage done to it beyond the 50% mark does similar amounts of nonlethal damage to her (6 CP),

The Soul-Self:

Huge Construct, 120 HP, Speed 50, AC 33 (+25 Natural -2 Size), 2 Slams at +28 for 2d6+18, Reach 15, Fort +6, Ref +6, Will +6, Abilities:

  • Class-A: Damage Reduction 10/Magic or Sonic, Fly III (60 Feet), Bonded
  • Class-B: Fast Healing (II), Feat (Improved Grab), Improved Buff (+15 HP), Sensory Link, Spell Storing (12 levels), and Warding
  • Class-C: Enveloping, Mass Enveloping (up to seven medium-sized creatures or a dozen small ones), Mindful, Incorporeal II (May become Astral or Ethereal at will), and Spell Resistance 24.

Raven’s Soul-Self is arguably her most potent power by a considerable margin, and is a match for many heroes all by itself.

  • Ashen Rebirth with Teleportation, only with her Soul-Self (and any passengers), Increased Effect: allows Plane and “Time” (functionally – since she never makes convenient short jumps or seems to alter the present – visiting alternate timelines which happen to be decades or centuries ahead or behind her home timeline) Shifts. She usually arrives at “weak points” – gates, moments of crisis, and so on (12 CP).
  • Plus 4d6 Mana at Triple Effect (as 36d6 or 126 Power), only for Witchcraft basic limits as above (24 CP).
    • This is actually quite a lot of power given that Witchcraft tends to be quite power-efficient – and so will allow Raven to function quite effectively for some time even without the Superheroic World Template to provide free mana.
  • Witchcraft Pacts: Rituals (Meditation), Possession, Duties, and Missions (-24 CP).

Other Mystical Abilities:

  • Extraordinary Returning (12 CP). Raven must be slain and her soul forcibly taken into the higher afterlives for her to truly die.
  • Immunity (Space-Time Disturbances. Uncommon, Major, Great). Raven is immune, or at least highly resistant, to most temporal changes and paradoxes, to the warping and disorienting effects of dimensional shifts and changes, and to similar events. (Not that this normally comes up). Specialized/the effects are erratic when they do come into play (6 CP).
    • This also appears to be an ability that she acquired thanks to some dimensional shifting and revisionist history that led her to remember the original timeline where she supposedly didn’t have such a power but apparently used it to protect herself and the other Titans from Trigon’s reality-twisting. It probably won’t apply again the next time there’s a retcon that it ought to protect her from. Don’t think about that too hard; I’m certainly not going to.
  • Blessing with the “Group” modifier, Corrupted for Increased Effect (increased number of targets which may include the user) and Specialized for Reduced Cost (6 CP), only to share the benefits of her mental defenses and immunity to space-time disturbances with her friends and allies.
  • Occult Ritual (6 CP). Raven is capable of performing various magical rituals, provided that she can gather the components and make the necessary rolls. She rarely uses this ability, but she does have it.
  • Innate Enchantment (In general, Spell Level Zero or One, Caster Level One, Unlimited-Use Use-Activated (x2000 GP), Personal-Only where Relevant (x.7). 11,000 GP net value (12 CP).
    • Enhance Attribute: +2 Enhancement Bonus to each Attribute (8400 GP). There really isn’t any good justification for this, but it’s not like ability scores of “16″ are particularly over the top for a superhero. I’m putting it in in token of her considerable experience.
    • Updraft: This covers her limited ability to float around, 2000 GP.
    • Skill Mastery: +2 Competence Bonus to Int-Based Skills, 700 GP.

Skills:

  • Skill Boosters: Upgrade Human Fast Learner to +2 SP/Level (3 CP), Fast Learner, Specialized in Skills for +2 SP/Level (6 CP), Adept (Expertise/Arcane Lore, Expertise/Theology & Philosophy, Expertise/The Planes, and Intimidation, 6 CP).
  • Available Skill Points: 33 (Int Mod x 11) + 44 (Fast Learners) = 77 SP
  • Purchased Skills:
    • Deception: +7 (7 SP) +3 (Cha) = +10
    • Expertise (Arcane Lore): +11 (5* SP) +2 (Comp) +3 (Int) = +16
    • Expertise (Theology & Philosophy): +11 (5* SP) +2 (Comp) +3 (Int) = +16
    • Expertise (The Planes): +11 (5* SP) +2 (Comp) +3 (Int) = +16
    • Insight +7 (7 SP) +3 (Wis) = +10
    • Intimidation: +11 (5* SP) +3 (Cha) = +14
    • Martial Art (Aikido) +11 (11 SP) +3 (Dex) = +14
    • Perception+7 (7 SP) +3 (Wis) = +10
    • Persuasion +7 (7 SP) +3 (Cha) = +10
  • Languages: 7 (7 SP) +3 (Int) +Azarathan (Native) +Common (English, Free) = 12 Languages. Abyssal, Azarathan (also known as Celestial), Draconic, English, German, Greek, Latin, Mandarin, Romanian, Sanskrit, Sumerian, and Sylvan.
  • Martial Arts (Aikido) Techniques Know: Defenses 4, Strike, Mind Like Moon, and Improved Trip. Not too surprisingly, Raven’s martial arts skills primarily focus on avoiding attacks, although she does know some basic locks and throws.

This leaves her with 11 skill points – enough for one more maxed-out skill. A magical martial art might be in order, but there’s not a lot of justification for one. I’ll leave those points to the reader to spend since I’m not really familiar with the more recent versions of the character.

Minor Abilities:

  • Telekinetic Deflection: Advanced Improved Augmented Bonus: Adds (Cha Mod) to (Dex Mod) when determining AC, Specialized/not cumulative with physical armor (9 CP).
  • Immunity / Equipment Loss (Uncommon, Major, Legendary, Corrupted / special plotlines or deliberate attempts to separate her from her equipment may succeed for brief periods, but she always gets her stuff back shortly, Specialized / only protects her appropriate wealth by level (12 CP).
  • Minor Privilege (3 CP): As a trained mystic from a magical dimension, Raven can get “normal” magical items for equipment.
  • Double Enthusiast, Specialized for Increased Effect (four “floating” CP) and Corrupted for Reduced Cost: only to be invested in Relics (4 CP).
  • Create Relic, Specialized and Corrupted / the GM decides what relics she gains and when they are active, all of them have potential downsides. Thus, for example, a mirror offering her great meditative benefits and easier emotional control can accidently pull others into her mind, a book with a spirit that teaches more magic may actually turn out to be an entrapped monster, and so on (2 CP).
  • Major Privilege: Sponsored superhero with some legal authority and the right to request official assistance in various matters (6 CP).
  • Major Favors: Teen Titans, Justice League, various other heroic groups (6 CP).
  • Major Privilege: Wealth. Raven never needs to worry about her personal funds and is treated as one level higher when calculating her wealth-by-level (6 CP)
  • Reflex Training (Extra Actions Variant) with +3 Bonus Uses (6/Day total), Specialized / only to either evade an attack or for her (or her soul-self) to get in the way of an attack (5 CP).

Basics:

  • BAB: +6, Corrupted/does not contribute to iterative attacks (24 CP). This is primarily used for telekinetic assaults.
  • Hit Dice: 8 (L1d8, 4 CP) +26 (L2-8d6, 14 CP) +12 (Immortal Vigor) +40 (Con Mod x 10) = 86 HP
  • Saving Throws:
    • Fortitude +3 (9 CP) +4 (Con) +3 (Res) = +10
    • Reflex +4 (12 CP) +3 (Dex) +3 (Res) = +10
    • Will +6 (18 CP) +3 (Wis) +3 (Res) = +12
      • Luck would be more efficient – but if there’s one thing that the comics have established, it’s that Raven has no luck.
  • Proficiencies: All Simple Weapons (3 CP).
  • Armor Class: 10 (Base) +3 (Dex Mod) +3 (Armor) +4 (Martial Art) +4 (Cha Mod) +2 Deflection = 26

Point Costs:

  • Four Color Template: 24 CP
  • Witchcraft: 48 CP (Plus Pacts)
  • Other Mystical Abilities: 42 CP
  • Skill Boosters: 15 CP
  • Purchased Skills: 0 CP
  • Minor Abilities: 53 CP
  • Base Attack Bonus: 24 CP
  • Hit Dice: 18 CP
  • Saving Throws: 39 CP
  • Proficiencies: 3 CP

That’s 266 CP

Available Character Points: 216 (Level Eight Base) +10 (Disadvantages: History, Pacifistic, and Hunted (demons and entities who want to use her for various things), + 16 (Duties to Azar and to Oppose Trigon) +30 (Human, L1, L3, L5, and L7 Bonus Feats) = 272 CP

That leaves 6 CP – enough for one bonus feat, another special Witchcraft ability, an extra +2 on a save, or some other minor benefit. I’m going to leave that open simply because – as I’ve already noted – I’m not really that familiar with recent versions of the character. Ergo, we have a bit of wiggle room to add whatever I’ve left out.

If nothing else comes to mind, put it in Power Words (Specialized in storing Ritual Effects only) and figure that she can prepare the occasional specialty magical effect (such as putting a dragon back into a cursed tome) in advance.

Remaining Details:

  • Minor Four-Color Ability: Immortal Vigor I. Everybody can always use a few more hit points.
  • Equipment: 46,000 GP: Cloak of Resistance +3 (9000 GP), Bracers of Armor +3 (9000 GP), Ring of Feather Falling (2200 GP), Ring of Protection +2 (8000 GP), Gauntlets of Ghost Fighting (4000 GP), Greater (Armor) Crystal Of Adaption (3000 GP), Amulet of Tears (2300 GP), Raptor’s Mask (3500 GP), Occult Library (As per a Mask Of A Thousand Tomes, but basically immobile (x.5) and at least 1d4 hours of intense study and concentration in a suitable study room to use (x.8) = 4000 GP), Hero Team Comlink (Satellite Smartphone with HUD and hands-free links, 250 GP), and an Advanced First Aid Kit / Healing Belt (750 GP). (No, Raven is never shown with a first aid kit that I know of. Yes, it would be INCREDIBLY stupid not to have one. I say that she does).

Raven is exceptionally versatile and – as a fast transdimensional teleporter with defensive Reflex Actions, a powerful summons she can send on missions, immunity to timeline manipulation, the ability to routinely return from death, intangibility, and whatever occult relic the game master feels like giving her – is virtually impossible to get rid of for long. On the offensive side she has powerful telekinesis, receptive and projective empathy, and formidable mystic bolts to play with when she needs speed and ritual magic when she doesn’t – even before delving into her minor powers. That’s a LOT of durability and options.

If she wasn’t generally a pacifist she could be doing an awful lot of damage – and would be potentially story-breaking in a wide variety of ways.

Oh, as for that Death Battle with Twilight Sparkle?

Well, discounting Twilights Meta-Powers (recovers from any effect that would be upsetting to a small girl if it happened to a favorite pet before said small girl would have time to get seriously upset, her presence (or that of any other major My Little Pony character) causes all situations to be quickly resolved in a cheerful happy ending for all the nice creatures and a comeuppance for all the naughty ones, friendship is the greatest power in the universe) to at least some extent, disregarding that they’re both “fight-only-if-necessary” types, that they’re actually mirror images in a lot of ways, and the fact that Raven is really fond of “Pretty, Pretty, Pegasus” (the in-universe version of My Little Pony) and that they BOTH started their careers by gathering a group of friends to defeat a great evil…

If they did fight – which would take a LOT of contriving – I’d probably have to give it to Raven. Sure, she’s died a lot – but Raven actually knows how to fight while Twilight is honestly really, really, REALLY bad at it. Secondarily, Raven has her soul-self ally to grab Twilight from behind while Raven keeps her busy from the front.

I would also expect Raven to then punch Death in the jaw (he IS one of her relatives after all), for Twilight to pop up again after a few seconds (after just long enough of a “death” for the match to end), and for the happy tea party with Fluttershy and many small furry things to be in full swing within five minutes. This isn’t QUITE like asking a couple of Bodhisattvas to meditate each other to death, but it’s not that far from it either.

Eclipsing Raven Trigonsdottir – Part I

There are quite a few requests that I’d like to make; the hard part is figuring out which of them I’d like to see the most. That said, there’s one that does spring to mind: in honor of her fighting Twilight Sparkle in the next Death Battle, I’m curious to see what DC Comics’ Raven would look like with Eclipse stats.

-Alzrius

Well, why not?

OK. It’s Raven, Daughter of Trigon, mystically trained by the pacifistic (also intolerant, self-righteous, arrogant, and quite often downright stupid) mystical followers of Azar in their private pocket dimension, That gave her a whole raft of abilities, made her extremely powerful, and turned her into a psychological basket case. She mostly hangs out with the Teen Titans when she isn’t being a demonic emissary of her father, or being a ghost, or being controlled by someone .

That kind of thing actually happens to her a LOT – probably for the same reason that Wolverine gets wounded a lot; you can’t show off Wolverine’s regenerative powers if he actually fights well enough to avoid being wounded and you can’t show off Raven’s ability to overcome her dark heritage and/or negative emotions unless she gets influenced by them. Ergo, the one with years of training in overcoming dark powers and controlling her emotions is the one who constantly falls to such things. That’s comic books for you!

Anyway, she’s pretty notorious for being a “roll a d6 at the start of the story” character:

  1. She’s a fabulously powerful asset to the team today, even if she IS a sarcastic snarker! You will wonder why anyone else is needed!
  2. She must greatly restrain her powers today, lest horrors be unleashed! Everyone else gets to do stuff!
  3. She brings dark tidings and will be crippled with struggles against her own inner demons today!
  4. She needs psychological support, and has likely created some mystical problem that will provide today’s narrative conflict, but will probably eventually do something useful if she gets enough hugs!
  5. She’s being pursued by Horrors From Beyond (TM!) today, and you must defend her even if magical horrors are in no way your field!
  6. She’s on Time Share with the Dark Forces today! You will have to find a way to stop her eldritch rampage or free her from their malevolent influence!

OK, that’s a bit of an exaggeration – it should probably be a d8 with the first couple of entries getting two numbers each – but it’s not that much of one. Raven really does fairly often go into NPC friendly enemy mode. Still, she’s one of the Titan’s, and is presumably worth putting up with (if only because peers with superpowers are scarce). It’s not like superpowered teenagers aren’t usually incredible pains in the ass anyway. NORMAL teenagers are bad enough about that.

Of course, a solid chunk of Raven’s plotlines and personal struggles revolve around her father Trigon – so you can’t really talk about Raven without talking about her father.

Trigon the Terrible. A dark god filled with the cast-of evil energies of the people of Azarath. At birth he killed everyone nearby, including his mother. At the age of six, he destroyed an entire planet. And by the age of thirty, he held dominion over millions of worlds in his dimension.

Hm… “Held Dominion”. “Millions”, and “Age Thirty”. So… in twenty-four years he conquered millions of worlds. Call it the minimum of two million. That gives him… six minutes and eighteen seconds per world in which to defeat all their heroes, conquer them, rule over them, and gloat, before departing, never to return – and that’s presuming that he never eats or rests or does anything else and takes no time to travel. He could be multitasking, but if he could do that… why didn’t he ever do it when he was fighting heroes? And didn’t he spend a fair amount of time on things like fathering children, gloating over his dominions, and scheming to conquer other planets? He certainly wasted rather a lot of time on Earth.

OK, he could be a more conventional warlord, and have “conquered” a lot of places by sending out minions and taking over political centers without ever getting near them, and be inflicting demonic misery across the galaxy by establishing a repressive bureaucracy enforcing obnoxious policies – but Trigon was never presented that way. The image was always of Trigon standing in the semi-ruins of a conquered city. gloating over it’s fallen defenders, not Emperor Palpatine contemplating Endor and considering whether to impose complicated income tax forms on the Ewoks to make them help pay for an extra Death Star.

Why Earth anyway? Wouldn’t his own dimension still contain an infinite number of worlds to conquer, some of them basically identical to Earth? Or is jumping dimensions easier than getting to other galaxies?

It’s a common writers failing, whether you call it “cannot do math” or “no sense of scale”. Entire planets and dimensions are written as if they consist of a couple of locations and a single environment and large numbers get thrown around with no thought for the consequences. In an Earth-style universe… to the best of our current understanding it’s infinite. As in an infinite number of identical copies of every possible variation. If there are two or more independent (as in “not connected to or seeking each other”) unique beings, effects, or sets of being in the multiverse the odds of two of them ever appearing in the same galaxy – even not at the same time – are literally zero. Is a devourer of universes so mighty and irresistible that it can attack everywhere in an infinite universe at the same time and only one galaxy in a hundred billion can hold out against utter annihilation for a single second? That means that there are an infinite number of holdouts. And there will be the same infinite number holding out against the next assault. and the next, and all the assaults after that. For equally infinite time. Infinity hasn’t got an end to reach.

If there are an infinite number of dimensions out there, then there are an infinite number of cosmically powerful entities out to conquer or destroy the multiverse and there always have been. It’s still here. Therefore attempts to destroy it either cannot work or it just comes back.

It doesn’t really help that the DC Hierarchy is pretty well defined. The Presence, Lucifer, the Archangels, and various others are all well above Trigon. And several of them hang around Earth a lot. Why did Trigon make such a point of invading one of the few places in the entire multiverse where he was guaranteed to get tossed out on his ear if the local great powers took him seriously? Could it be that he knew that those entities didn’t really care? Why not?

If a creature is a threat to even a single galaxy, wouldn’t every major hero who could detect it and reach the site show up to stop it? Even if that’s only a few per world… that would be billions or trillions of major heroes – plus similar or greater numbers of villains who didn’t want to be squashed with their worlds.

Yet that didn’t happen. Ergo… Trigon may be a personal threat to the solar system, or even a few solar systems, and to little one-city pocket dimensions like Azarath – but not to more than that.

Raven’s spirit – filled with the sacred inner light of a city full of pacifistic holy mystics – drove Trigon back or destroyed him (depending on continuity). Of course, to be fair… as a demonic figure made up of those same mystics cast-off darknesses, he was probably especially vulnerable to them even over and above the usual demonic weakness to sacred energies. Still, while Trigon had been “draining the souls” of conquered planets (whatever that was supposed to mean) even millions of them apparently didn’t give him enough power to stand up to one city worth of pacifistic mystics.

Personally, I’d build Trigon with Mystic Artist (Performance Art) with the ability to make himself seen and heard across immense areas and giving him the personal pocket dimension and environmental transformation effects – thus allowing him to twist a planet into a demonic hellscape and to be immune to almost all the heroes who didn’t wind up in his personal pocket realm. Then, if and when he is defeated… the changes he has made will quietly go away.

That also explains why he’s big on announcements, foreshadowing, overdramatics, hamming it up, making speeches, failing to kill his opponents, and going to new planets all the time. What’s performance art without new audiences? And dead audiences are of no use at ALL.

So Raven’s occasional reports of “Vast Power” can go into the same bin as Trigon’s; they’re basically illusory plot devices. I’d have doubts anyway given that most of the creatures crediting her OR Trigon with such powers had pretty clear agendas.

Next up, we ignore plot device Raven. That includes…

  • Possessed-By-Evil Raven and her ability to time stop the Justice League and contain her friends.
  • Channeling-The-Souls-Of-Azarath Raven and her ability to destroy Trigon.
  • Backed-By-Xavier Raven and her ability to blast a partial copy of Dark Pheonix created by Darkseid from negative emotions that HAD no positive emotions with love. (Said copy then got upset with Darkseid for doing such a half-assed job on the resurrection. Upshot; Darkseid permanently destroyed. If it wasn’t obvious enough, non-canon. And hardly the most absurd thing that happened in that particular crossover).
  • Golden Spirit Raven and her ability to transverse space, survive without a body, and apparently fade away into the afterlife.
  • Brother-Blood-Boosted Raven and her ability to break everyone free of his control machine.
  • New-52 Touched-By-Trigon Raven and her semi-omniscient ability to show up and mess with everyone the plot requires her to (Must… resist… “Bad Touch” jokes…).
  • And all the other variations on Turbocharged-By-External-Power-Sources Raven – as well as Informed-That-She-Could-Snuff-Out-Universes Raven (since it was by a demon with an ulterior motive – and those are notoriously untrustworthy anyway).

That leaves us with the stuff that she actually normally does. To compile a list…

  • Raven is a powerful empath, able to sense, project, and drain emotions. In at least some sources this also lets her project stunning mental blasts.
  • She can heal people, but it’s a strain and she’s pretty limited in how much she can heal. That’s pretty standard for heroes: being able to heal everyone messes up a LOT of dramatic scenes and plotlines amd opens up the question of why you aren’t spending your time on a hospital assembly line healing a steady stream of dying children and leaving the adventuring to characters with less miraculous powers.
  • She can call forth a formidable psychic construct she calls her soul-self, although the duration is somewhat limited. It can hold things, fly, wrap itself around people to protect them, and withstand a lot of damage, but if it’s disrupted there’s a substantial backlash against her and it takes some time to get it out again (I seem to recall that getting it out too soon leaves it weakened, but it’s been a long time). She is usually aware of what her soul-self could see and hear. I can’t recall it ever being shown to taste, smell, or feel much though. It is often portrayed passing through things (and possibly acting as an astral form), so it may be selectively insubstantial.
  • She can envelop people or groups in her soul-self and teleport them across space (it’s unclear as to how far, but it’s apparently not interplanetary), dimensions (at least to a limited set of mystic ones, sometimes using minor rituals, and with only partial control of her point of arrival), and time (well, during a special time of crisis anyway, and only to appear in quasi-historical and possible future settings. She never – say – drops back an hour to see who committed a crime. Her actions in the past never seem to change the present either, so this might be best represented as another subset of alternate dimensions). As a side effect she might or might not be resistant to disruptions in the timeline.
    • Overall, Raven’s soul-self is one of her most potent abilities – capable of restraining even truly major enemies at least briefly.
  • She has good mental defenses, but they’re not a lot of use against her own inner nature. Against general mental control they are, however, almost impregnable.
  • In the 2003-2006 television series she was a powerful telekinetic with a “dark force” power signature, presumably because it was a lot more visually dramatic than empathy – and so telekinesis has leaked into later depictions. She can throw things around, animate objects, and project a variety of telekinetic blasts.
  • She dies a lot and keeps coming back. Comics are notorious for the revolving door of life and death, but Raven sometimes seems to spin it fast enough to run a generator.
  • She often appears wrapped in shadows, her room is sometimes filled with darkness, and so on. This mostly seems to be special effects, but it’s ambiguous enough to count “turning off the lights” amongst her talents. She might be able to generate simple illusions – or at least make her soul-self look like her.
  • She might be able to sense souls or mystical energies and is apparently good at sensing minds. That’s pretty basic for semi-demonic psychic / magical types, but is pretty ambiguous in the source material.
  • She can imbue other people with some of her power. That’s usually a plot device power, but it’s worth mentioning since it’s a classic demonic ability.
  • She has undefined access to various magical spells, although most of them appear to be demonic (and only used when she’s evil) and she doesn’t often use anything but preset rituals.
  • She can variously levitate while meditating, fly using her soul-self, fly using dark telekinetic disks (or perhaps by just standing on her malleable soul-self), or just hover dramatically without explanation. On the other hand, she’s also known for being knocked out of the air.
  • She speaks English, German, Latin, Romanian, Ancient Sumerian, and Sanskrit (along, presumably, with Azarathan). That may not be a superhuman power, but it’s not easy either.
  • She had prophetic dreams about Trigon, but that might just be because she was going to become his gateway into Earth’s dimension and was deeply linked to him and the subject of prophecies that she knew about. She’s never really shown any general precognition. This probably isn’t really a power.

On the other hand… her powers run wild when she loses control of her emotions, will not work if she is afraid and unwilling to admit it, leave her vulnerable to possession by Trigon or her own demonic nature if she gets too angry, are erratic at best (at least in some depictions) if she can’t incant (usually, but not always, “Azarath… Metrion… Zinthos!”), call for spending a LOT of her time in meditation, cause many good magicians to consider her inherently corrupt, and isn’t especially good at fine control.

To be blunt… Raven is a good character, a great plot catalyst, and brings a lot of deep background and heroic struggle into a comic. She’s a LOUSY player character though. She’s often out of play while being evil and places the game master in the position of having to decide when she’s going to be suddenly crippled, leaving the player bored, or when she’s going to be able to use her vast array of powers freely – usually overshadowing the rest of her team. That really does not make for a good gaming experience. Still, she makes a fine NPC.

So next time on Raven… it will be converting her into d20 statistics.

Shadowed Galaxy Vampire Bloodlines – Olfun Guardians and Harvesters

And for the next couple of vampire “bloodlines” I have the Olfun Guardians and the Harvesters. For those looking for more background, here are some links – First Stage Vampire Template, Vampire Lifecycle, Second Stage Vampire Template, the Yytsuri Pilots Bloodline and the  Irtach Warlords and Okar Archivists.

Olfun Guardians

If you successfully drive out an enemy, or even merely want to keep them out… you set up a garrison and keep an eye on potential bridgeheads. When your primary enemy is informational… that’s harder. You never know when some buried diagram in the ancient stronghold will get washed clean in a storm, or someone will decide that the ground is too wet for a conventional cemetery and try to build a giant aluminum pyramid-mausoleum, or some group of teenagers in an isolated cabin will find some old ritual (despite all attempts to eliminate copies) and – with the unfathomable stupidity of teenagers everywhere – decide to try it out.

And then the gateway opens, and some informational entity or force comes through from wherever it is they normally hang out, and… well, most of the time nothing of any importance happens and no one even really notices because all that got loose is some annoying meme or something like that, but once every great while the entire neighborhood goes to hell – sometimes literally. And that’s the part that attracts people’s notice and worries vampires..

And so you need guardians to take out too-curious hikers and archeologists, influence with the zoning boards to veto dangerous architecture, and weird, creepy, types running dilapidated service stations who can steer everyone (except, of course, for the occasional group of stupid teenagers who do not know what is good for them and would not TAKE A HINT if your DROVE IT INTO THEIR SKULLS WITH A HAMMER) away from the site where things keep trying to break through…

And that is what vampires of the Olfun Guardian bloodline do.

Naturally enough, the Olfun are fairly good at blending in, exerting influence from the shadows, and taking care of things quietly – but better a ruckus than a full-blown incursion. Still, it quickly becomes harder for the Olfun to remain hidden as civilizations develop the technology to reach for space; the time when mysterious hermits, packs of mutated animals, and old ruins can remain local mysteries that no one talks about passes fairly rapidly. Of course, those same things tend to let a species develop some idea of what they’re dealing with and start handling a part of the defense on their own.

  • Disciplines: Element Mastery (Darkness), Entropic Will, Informational Perception, Sense Life, and The Dark Hand.
  • Traits: Ghula (usually dangerous animals) and Subspace Shroud.

Harvesters:

Harvester Bloodlines appear in several different variants – all united in working to push their host civilizations in ways that will be useful to them. Most commonly, that involves either pushing a species with strong (but not too strong) access to informational techniques to produce substantial quantities of informational weapons while remaining restricted enough to be easily managed or pushing a species with strong access to microtronic effects to produce usable starships – in either case usually cooperating with Cores with other priorities to put their “harvest” to the best use. Regardless of exactly what is being harvested, the Harvesters will do their best to build up the host civilization to a suitable level and maintain it there.

With a microtronic civilization this is generally harmless enough or even helpful to start with. After all, it’s pretty much impossible to keep a culture focused on building starships unless it has a use for them. Unfortunately, this enthusiasm often leads to uncontrolled and excessive contact with other ancient traps and weapons systems. This doesn’t always happen, and most harvester strains will do their best to help with the problem – but it still occasionally leads to extinction or a relapse to primitivism, refugee fleets, and plenty of damage. At best, the continuing rapid expansion tends to result in instability.

Ironically enough, Informational harvesting tends to be more stable, if far more restrictive. After all, to maintain a focus on informational weaponry you want plenty of not-too-destructive local conflict, groups too small to coordinate or maintain a high microtronic technology level, and just enough resources being made available to force a reliance on high-end informational devices rather than – say – massed armies. Moreover, there needs to be enough uncharted wilderness to accommodate several Vampire Cores. The result is usually a scattering of relatively small city-states and a series of endless low-level sieges – severe enough to maintain the focus on weapons while still allowing the local populace to retain faith in their eventual victory and to maintain both their raw numbers and a reasonably prosperous lifestyle. They just won’t be allowed to actually move on beyond that point if the Harvester Cores can help it.

The most subtle weapon-harvesting vampires may present themselves as “renegades” that have broken free of the Core’s influence and sided with the host species – helping them produce the “most effective” weaponry, organizing highly successful raids (even if they do tend to lose a lot of equipment), and helping organize the defenses – usually leading to drastically reduced casualties on both sides and sometimes to notable victories against uncooperative strains of vampires. They may even fully believe that they are renegades – and it can be almost impossible to tell the difference between a “genuine” renegade and a vampire who is an undercover agent who simply consciously believes that he, she, or it, is a renegade.

Given that “phony” renegades are often being fed useful information and get indirect aid from the Harvester Cores…having a “phony” renegade on your side can easily be more beneficial than having a real one. Most besieged city-states don’t even bother trying to sort it out even if they get enough clues to consider the possibility in the first place. Getting started on the “but did YOU know that I know that YOU know that…” loop is virtually never an effective use of anyone’s time. .

There are actually quite a few Harvester Bloodlines. Their Disciplines usually include Element Master and Entropic Blast and their Traits often include Blood Draught or The Dark Flame – but a lot of other abilities do appear in this group.

Both of these groups can be good candidates for “heroic” vampires, whether as “traitors” or when they’re attempting to build up – or defend – civilization behind the scenes.

Shadowed Galaxy Vampire Bloodlines – The Irtach Warlords and the Okar Archivists

And for the next couple of vampire “bloodlines” I have the Irtach Warlords and the Okar Archivists. For those looking for more background, here are some links – First Stage Vampire Template, Vampire Lifecycle, Second Stage Vampire Template and the Yytsuri Pilots Bloodline.

Irtach Warlords

The signs of an informational outpost in a civilization – a combination of primitive technologies, massive pyramids and ceremonies, large-scale irrigation and organization beyond what the local communications technology could readily support, a variety of social and architectural patterns, and hundreds more – are difficult to read from space. False positives are all too common.

The Irtach do not care. Any potential trace of the enemy must be investigated, and any actual enemy presence expunged. False positive or true detection, an Irtach Core will land, recruit agents, build up defenses (sometimes including one or more mighty fortification), and march to war.

As many as possible of those agents will be powerful warriors, with cunning skill in tactics, military engineering, and weapon smithing as desirable secondary qualities. Dark, unnaturally fast, powerful, and skilled warriors will strike at the hearts of empire, at the hidden rulers who gnaw within their hearts like a corrupting worm.

If and when such a presence is found… waves of barbarians, dominated by inhuman warlords, will match, while others will infiltrate the empires while much of their resources is drawn to their frontiers. The struggle will continue until either the warlords of the secret rulers stand victorious.

Of subtlety, or the nourishment of civilization, the Irtach know little – but competing kingdoms will sharpen the arts of war, and weapons, and of producing food and supplies for armies, and that is often enough. Few Irtach will survive long enough to advance in their life cycle, and any civilization dominated by the Irtach is unlikely to produce starships – but the galaxy is vast and slow. Drifting Irtach “subspace mines” will occasionally encounter a starship – and the cycle will turn anew. It is a slow cycle, even when compared to other vampire strains – but the Irtach criteria for a host species or civilization are very broad and unselective.

The Irtach bloodline has – like almost every known bloodline – lost quite a few functions over the generations. Many scholars suspect, however, that they are behaviorally very close to the original design – with a poor understanding of the species and cultures they use as hosts, a rather unsubtle approach to dealing with their targets, and unrefined selection criteria. It is suspected that the Irtach rarely actually win, but they can certainly both harass their targets endlessly and provide cover for more subtle bloodlines.

Disciplines: Entropic Will, Informational Perception, Predatory Gaze, Sense Life, and The Dark Hand.

Traits: Bones of Iron and Night Terrors – usually taking the form of a “demonic” mount or battle companion.

The Irtach are fairly efficient super-soldiers, but aren’t really very good commanders. They often take command in primitive settings on the basis of their raw personal combat ability – but they usually try to get some good advisors to handle strategy for them.

Okar Archivists

Mental imbalances are all too common in vampires – some due to mental stress, some due to damaged programming, and some due to old directives that are being misapplied. It seems virtually certain that the original vampire programming included some directive(s) along the lines of “collect and organize information on the enemy and their devices and relay it back”. After all… the Cores automatically serve as local communications hubs, collecting intelligence on your opponents is an incredibly basic bit of military strategy, and relaying it to some central collection point is only sensible.

Of course, it also seems pretty likely that that central collection nexus failed millions of years ago. Many Cores (with the Irtach being a likely exception), however, are still quite capable of collecting information, revising their tactics, examining the enemies weapons, and devising new strategies and counters to use.

Some, strains, however, seem to have retained a part of that hypothetical “gather and organize information on the enemy and their devices” directive but have lost the bit about “on the enemy” – leaving them with a great desire to collect and catalog knowledge and artifacts, either in general or within a more specific field. The lesser spawn generally focus on a particular field whether or not the Core does however; even a first or second stage Vampire does not have the time required to study EVERYTHING.

And thus you wind up with obsessive antiquarian vampires in robes and bedroom slippers shuffling through their collection of 15’th century armor, or sharply-dressed art dealers who have been in the “family business” for centuries with huge private collections, or librarians who dabble in things that man was not meant to know (but which they feel that vampires probably WERE meant to know).

This doesn’t mean that they aren’t dangerous. An archivist is all too likely to know a targets exact vulnerabilities and to have some elegantly lethal solution handy that everyone else forgot about three centuries ago, will almost certainly have some equally obsessive servants (or grad students) about, and invariably has plenty of equipment handy. Still, an Archivist can usually be bargained with; all you need is to have something that isn’t already in the collection to trade with them.

Disciplines: Element Master (Chemical Catalysis), Element Master (Earth and Stone), Plague Carrier, Stalking Death, and Transfusion.

Traits: Ghula and Venomed Touch.

Archivists are remarkably dangerous when they want to be. They can easily turn all kinds of raw materials into explosives or deadly substances, turn a handful of pebbles into bullets, kill with a touch, and corrupt or addict people.

Shadowed Galaxy Vampire Bloodlines – The Yytsuri Pilots Guild

While the vampire “bloodlines” (First Stage, Lifecycle, and Second Stage) of the galaxy are now diversifying, with a generation time of several thousand years the process is relatively slow. Still, while the various vampires strains are easily recognizable as variations on a theme, the vast size of the galaxy has ensured that numerous variations have arisen. 

The Warp Drive is the standard for most physical races; it avoids spacefield complications, the horrible risks of hyperspace or subspace, and quite a lot of other problems. Unfortunately, even the fastest (and exponentially more dangerous and power-hungry) Warp Drives require days per light year – while a Subspace Drive with a skilled pilot may require only an hour or so and is considerably simpler to build and maintain.

Sadly, Subspace Drives lead to the ships experiencing decades or centuries of time during the trip – and ships vanish entirely all too often.

Except, of course, for the ships of the Yytsuri.

Long centuries past, during the Yytsuri’s first attempts to reach the stars, a wealthy research sponsor proved to be remarkably gifted. Zhir could not only coax incredible performance out of even a basic subspace drive, but could reliably pilot a ship through subspace, apparently tapping into the energies of that realm to enter partial stasis and so easily survive the trip. Zhir piloted between the stars for the years of a greatly extended lifespan, and even managed to train a few others to do the same – although whatever mysterious process Zhir used to do so had a high casualty rate. Still, there were always more starry-eyed youngsters eager to gamble death against a long, long, life of wealth, luxury, and a service to their people that no others could provide amidst the freedom of the stars.

Eventually the Founder, grown old at last, took Zhirs private ship into space and vanished between the stars – a tradition that those of zhirs successors who beat the odds of space to grow old in the service of commerce, exploration, and defense, still observe.

Adrift between the stars, shielded from the “subspace mines” and other “haunted ships” by Zhir’s own projected aura, the Founder let Zhir’s crumbling physical form slip away to at last begin the long process of melding with Zhir’s ship – a task greatly eased by having a private ship, designed and built to Zhir’s own specifications, and saturated with several centuries worth of personalized attunements.

And some three thousand years later, a new Yytsuri Vampire Core found a world inhabited by a species that might – given a little protection and subtle nudging across the next few millennia – begin to reach for the stars.

And so protection and subtle nudging was given – and when the flowering came at last, there would once again be research sponsors and potential pilots waiting.

And eventually, after many more centuries of expansion and piloting… some of those pilots would take their personal ships on one last voyage, to vanish between the stars they’d opened the path to – and to eventually become new Yytsuri Cores to repeat the cycle once again.

The Yytsuri “Bloodline” has – fairly obviously – reached near-full symbiotic status with it’s host civilizations and has begun to spread fairly rapidly – at least by vampire core standards. It is, however, limited by slow recruitment (the desire that most “recruits” be willing and survive requires very careful selection of candidates and a lot of extra work), slow development (the desire for personalized ships calls for some very specific circumstances), and the need to locate and civilize suitable candidate-species.

Worse, of course, the Yytsuri may be helpful – but they push new species out into the galaxy and are not sufficient protection in themselves from the remains of other self-reproducing weapons. The galactic ecosystem is very dangerous, and pushing new species out into it is not always doing them a favor.

The Yytsuri Bloodline:

Disciplines: Cyberwarp (used to gradually attune ships systems to themselves), Electricity Master (fairly obvious), Entropic Blast (allowing fast drive startups), N-Space Adaption (to allow the use of subspace drives), and Subspace Piloting.

Traits: Breath of Puruza (used, among other things, for spacewalking, drastically slowing their subjective time while piloting through subspace, and detaching from their physical forms in a controlled fashion) and Cloaking (used to present the appearance that their ships are already hosting a Vampire Core or Haunt).

And I should now be able to get back to posting and answering questions here. Hopefully I can get caught up before something else comes up to interrupt.

Shadowed Galaxy – Second Stage Vampire Template

Second Stage Vampire (Acquired Template, +32 CP / +1 ECL, requires First Stage Vampire):

The trouble with the Second Stage Vampire template is that – at least for any individual Vampire Core – either a good deal of it isn’t working any longer or there were different designs in the first place. While it is possible for a Vampire to upgrade – either being granted or absorbing a missing subfunction of -functions from another Vampire or Vampire Core – this can cause serious programming conflicts, strange power malfunctions, and even temporary (or permanent) madness.

In any case, a when one Vampire creates a new one, the new one gets its sire’s version. Of course, mutations can occur, and be passed on – meaning that various competing evolutionary lines of the basic template exist across the galaxy. Fortunately for other life forms, however, Vampire evolution tends to be a bit slow.

Temporal Selection: The flow of time charts the course of entropy cascading towards timelike infinity. But where energy vanishes, entropy flows briefly backwards, where it appears, it may spin into a whirlpool of closed loops, the future echoing into the past. And anchored as they are in the steady flow of time in the middle realms, a Vampire may extend it’s reach into subspace and find a handful of moments and echoes out of time to turn to it’s own purposes.

  • Adept (Bullet Time, Logistics, Networking, and Tough It Out), Specialized for Double Effect / only applies to Racial Bonuses (6 CP). Skill Boosts: Bullet Time +10 (2 CP), Logistics +10 (2 CP), Networking +10 (2 CP), and Tough It Out +10 (2 CP).
    • So far, this seems to be a foundational ability; appearing in every second stage vampire as yet observed.

Entropic Scrutiny (Witchcraft, The Secret Order, 6 CP). The second-stage Vampire Template builds on whatever affinity the user / victim has for informational effects. This seems to be a basic requirement (minimum of class D); creatures with no ability to access Informational effects at all (class E) cannot become second stage Vampires. Each line possesses five of the following possible abilities:

All of these abilities are, of course, Specialized and/or Corrupted versions of basic Witchcraft abilities.

  • Cyberwarp (Elfshot): You may briefly disrupt (2d6 Rounds or one minor long term malfunction for 1 Power), damage or slightly modify (2d6 damage per Power), or even usurp control of or perform minor repairs (3d6 rounds, 3 Power) microtronic systems. Individual systems may be targeted at a range of 60 feet or the user may spend +1 power to affect everything within thirty feet. The first seven Power points worth of effects generated in a day do not count against the user’s power reserves.
    • It is believed that this effect is a precursor to the effects that a “Spacefield Mine” uses to bring spaceships under it’s control – unless it’s sufficiently “stackable” to simply be applied over and over again across many years, in which case nothing else may be needed.
  • Element (Specify) Master (Witchfire, specialized in manipulating a particular elemental force for double effect). Known variants include Ice, Fire, Electricity, Radiation, Water, Blood, Earth and Stone, Chemical Catalysis, and even “Darkness”. The affinity is apparently informationally based, as conventional physics seems to have little bearing.
    • A fairly powerful, but rapidly draining effect, often serving as a sort of hold-out weapon or as a tool. Each branch of Element Mastery is a separate ability, making it possible for occasional vampires to have more than one elemental affinity.
  • Entropic Will (Elfshot): The ability to cause minor disruptions and malfunctions in informational effects, damaging creatures that exist primarily on that level and warping effects. This is Specialized for Increased Effect and Corrupted for Reduced Cost (The first seven power worth of effects used each day do not count against the user’s power reserves) points. Unfortunately, this can only be used against Informational Beings and simply damages such beings, rather than causing specific effects.
    • This is a very common ability. While not as useful as a proper informational weapon, it is one of the few other ways to readily inflict long-term harm on many informational entities given that – for most such beings – any “physical form” they may take is merely being puppeted.
  • Entropic Blast (Infliction, Corrupted for increased effect (may be employed once per round as a defensive reflex)/ negative energy effects only): This ability drains energy into subspace – aging larger targets, disintegrating smaller ones, and negating energy.
    • An expensive, but useful, way to open sealed doors, get rid of evidence, and counter incoming energy attacks. Interestingly, it can also provide the negative energy “spark” needed to activate a warp drive or subspace portal swiftly.
  • Eyes Of The Night (The Inner Eye): You may see through the eyes of animals in a 120′ radius – and even understand and influence them very slightly, gaining a +6 bonus on relevant rolls to understand or manage them. In general, no roll is required to get them to glance at something they normally would not care about, or peek at something before hiding – but asking them to go much beyond that point will require appropriate skill checks.
    • While classic tales of Vampires commanding swarms of beasts exist, Vampires with such talents are probably supplementing this ability in other ways. At its base, this is most useful for short-range spying and may explain why so many tales mention heavy infestations of rats, spiders, bats, and similar creatures in Vampire strongholds.
  • Informational Perception (Dreamfaring): Specialized in detecting informational creatures and effects and allowing the user to intuitively grasp some basic information about their nature. This is a continuous ability with no cost.
    • Another very common ability, this is a considerable aid in combating informational entities and the various weapons they littered the galaxy with.
  • Masque of Life (The Adamant Will): lower-grade Informational effects will not reveal that the user is a Vampire. This has no cost and is a constant effect.
    • A rare, and fairly highly specialized, ability, but very useful when it does happen to come up. . Many vampire lines with this ability are hardly even aware of it.
  • N-Space Adaption (Hyloka): You may make the necessary adjustments to survive hyperspace and subspace travel. This is a constant effect with no cost.
    • Normally Hyperspace and Subspace travel are dangerous, damaging, and potentially fatal for creatures with hyperspace and/or subspace templates. Simple objects and even most devices with such extensions can handle the shifting energy levels, but living creatures have much more delicate metabolisms and systems. This is most often seen linked with the Subspace Piloting ability (below).
  • Plague Carrier (Hyloka): The Vampire may virtually wipe out a victims immune system with a touch and the expenditure of 3 Power. While their bodies will recover given time, few survive long enough to do so. An inverse form – helping the target throw off diseases and bestowing a copy of the user’s own immunities – exists, but is even rarer.
    • A subtle but powerful weapon of assassination and terror, the fabled “Death Touch” can leave a victim apparently unharmed, only to see them sicken and die days or even weeks later.
  • Predatory Gaze: You may spend 2 Power to generate Fear in a 30′ cone, a 60′ line, or a 20′ radius. While a standard Witchcraft save (Will, DC 13 + Cha Mod) applies, success only reduces the effect to Shaken and the Duration from 2d6 rounds to one round.
    • While blatantly overt, and easily resisted by those with strong wills, the ability to terrorize a nearby group with a mere glance can be very useful in more primitive settings. Modern weapons, however, greatly outrange this ability – and even at close range, frightening people equipped with modern weapons is not always a good idea.
  • Sense Life (The Inner Eye): You may detect the presence, and general health level, of unshielded living creatures within 60 feet. In general, “signal strength” is determined by the size and metabolic rate of the organism in question. Slimes are barely detectable with concentration, grass can be “seen” as a vague carpet, trees are translucent phantoms at best (wrapped around black cores), and animals “glow” more or less brightly. Individuals can be identified, but it usually takes some practice.
    • While modern sensors can do much the same thing, this is a marvelous ability to have in close combat, in the dark, underwater, or in a primitive setting, where it can usually compensate for lack og sight in a fight. Sadly, while this will negate the effects of soft cover, hard cover works better than ever since it usually has no life of its own to let it be “seen”.
  • Stalking Death (The Adamant Will): If a Vampire with this ability is placed under a compulsion or similar effect from something other than a higher-stage Vampire it will simply make whatever is attempting to use such an effect the Vampires top-priority target.
    • While this is a specialized defense mechanism, so far nine out of ten groups of adventurers agree that – when some mind-manipulating menace has frozen everyone in place or something – seeing the look on it’s face as one of its “hypnotized” victims goes berserk, shoves a hand grenade into its mouth, and starts unloading every weapon in the party into it, is well worth putting up with the group vampire.
  • Subspace Piloting (Witchsight): You may spend 2 Power to gain a +18 bonus on a Subspace Piloting check. You may also automatically sense the presence of major subspace creatures, if a vehicle is currently “haunted”, and serious subspace disturbances.
    • While this is usually a marginal ability, it becomes far more useful in combination with N-Space Adaption and a starfaring civilization.
  • The Dark Hand (The Inner Eye): You may share the senses of your subordinate vampires as needed and are automatically aware of their status and locations as long as they remain within a radius of (Cha/3) miles. If they are destroyed, you may sense that from hundreds of miles away.
    • While awareness of your troops locations and activities is useful, this does not automatically provide a communications link – unless it is selected twice, to add a Glamour component.
  • Transfusion (Healing, Specialized for Double Effect / only usable on others, produces various addictive effects, long term applications cause psychological disturbances).
    • While infusing others with a portion of a Vampires pool of stored life-energies is a useful talent in emergencies or on the battlefield, long-term applications tend to cause slowly cumulative distortions in the recipients mind and body.

Finally, second stage vampires may select any two abilities from among those available to first stage vampires (The Dark Flame, Voice of the Dead, Venomed Touch, Breath of Puruza, Wrath of the Sea, Bones of Iron, Dance of Flames, and Darksense) or from the following list:

  • Blood Draught: Some second stage vampires can imitate the abilities of those they drain energy from. That’s Double Enthusiast, Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect: / can only mimic the abilities of creatures they’ve drained energy from, can only mimic supernatural or extraordinary abilities as selected by the game master, may only mimic one ability per creature (6 CP for 6 CP worth of mimicking). The changeover can be near-instant when they have just drained someone, otherwise it will require the usual amount of time to get an imprint out of their ‘library”. Imprints do fade eventually, but it usually requires several years.
  • Cloaking: May vary how old and powerful a vampire they seem to be (6 CP). This is a pretty specialized talent, but is occasionally useful for impressing other vampires and various creatures. It can also be ueed to simulate the presence of a Haunt or Vampire Core in an area or aboard a ship, warding off Subspace Mines and other vampires.
  • Deathly Armor: DR 3/-, versus both physical and energy damage. A simple application of negative energy to negate kinetic and other energies, this is a powerful advantage in more primitive settings, but modern weapons and armor often surpass it handily.
  • Ghula: Second stage vampires can control a limited number of the first stage vampires they create and a selection of servants infused with a small portion of their own energies. That’s Witchcraft, Lure of Darkness, Specialized for Increased Effect / Subspace-tainted servants and Lesser Vampires only (6 CP).
  • Night Terrors (Witchcraft / Birth of Flames): The user can project a portion of his or her own mind into a minor subspace entity, creating a deadly entity at his or her beck and call. Such entities most often manifest as a quasi-“demonic” companion or familiar, but fearsome steeds and such are also fairly common.
  • Subspace Shroud / Costly: Complex effects directed at the user often fail as their energies are shunted away into subspace.
  • Umbral Draught (Witchcraft / Grounding). The user may shunt nearby energies into subspace.
  • Vigor of the Night: Add +4d6+2 Vitality / Power, Corrupted/only to power Vampire abilities (6 CP). This is straightforward, simple, and virtually always useful.
  • Wraith Step: The ability to briefly draw their material forms partway into subspace can render a second-stage vampire shadowy and immaterial and allow them to use that realms distorted space-time to shift from place to place or to provide brief bursts of incredible speed – but that realms energy drain, distortions of entropy and probability, and apparently-malevolent nature render such tricks somewhat dangerous. Ashen Rebirth (Shadow/Negative Energy variant) with Dimension Door (9 CP) and Leaping Fire (Corrupted; cannot heal damage, remove fatigue, or remove exhaustion, 4 CP), both Specialized / moving partially into subspace can have all kinds of negative consequences besides the basic vitality drain of powering the ability (6 CP in total).

In general, it’s safe to use Wraith Step up to (Con Mod +1, 1 minimum, use Cha Mod +1 if no Constitution score) times per session. After that… roll a DC 20 Fortitude save. On a failure, roll 1d4 plus the number of such saves failed so far in the session.

2) Drained. The user is drained of 2d6 power. If the user lacks sufficient power, take damage instead.
3) Touch of Decay: Some of your items carried suffer the ravages of time and decay; Lose 1d6 points worth of game-master selected equipment (usually the most sensitive high-energy stuff) from whatever you carry.
4) Energy Cascade. Lights dim or go out, energy cells are drained, and systems fail in a wide radius. Sadly, this includes the user’s own weapons and equipment.
5) Entropic Cascade: Equipment, vehicles, and materials are destroyed in a wide radius. Sadly, this focuses on those the user has a personal connection to.
6) Dark Mutation: One or more creatures nearby becomes a twisted and malevolent monster.This may also result in a creeping mutation to a character.
7) Entity: Something gets loose from subspace. Depending on their level of materiality, these may be known as haunts, demons, possessing spirits, or even result in the creation of quasi-vampires (although such creatures are unstable and rarely survive for long).
8) Twisted Realm: Inanimate objects in a wide radius become hostile, computers develop malevolent programming, and robots start trying to kill people.
9) Time Shift. The user vanishes, to reappear weeks (or occasionally much longer) later.
10) The user ages 1d4 x 10 years.
11+) Spontaneous Existence Failure: The user falls fully into subspace, and probably ceases to exist.

While this is obviously less a “template” and more of a grab bag of thematically-related abilities, Vampires can fill a wide variety of roles in society beyond “monster” or even “super-soldier” – if they happen to belong to a “bloodline” with the appropriate abilities.