Apex Campaign, Star Fleet Timeline Cluster, Augment Victory Timeline. The Augment IV Racial Package

The human mind is built on ancient neural patterns – deep instincts, systems that process sensory information, logical and emotional feedback loops that keep it running, and even the patterns of motor neurons that operate the body. If you change any of those too much… the mind warps and changes, taking on a new form. The result is unpredictable, often no longer functional at all, and never much like a normal human being even when it still functions – and, so far, it has never been sapient. No one is quite sure why that’s true, but (at least in the Apex setting) there seems to be a component beyond mere physical reality.

So there are limits. You can transfer an existing mind into a mostly-artificial body – but if you want a NEW mind to develop properly… there has to be a childhood. You can make the senses sharper, or even very slightly expand their range – but not much past the limits of normal human potential or even an existing mind will soon go mad. There need to be bones, and muscles, and various internal organs. You can boost intelligence and reaction time somewhat, and you can enhance durability and strength considerably – but not too much or instabilities will soon develop.

And, at least so far… redesigned humans only develop more-or-less normally if they are born to existing redesigned humans. Trying to leave out a recognizably-human set of parents, infancy, and childhood, leads to failure at best and rampaging monsters at worst. At least the first generation (no second generation births have yet occurred) have to have transferred minds.

That need for growth, development, and maintenance along human lines is pretty limiting for the engineering too. You can’t just install bigger parts; they have to GROW in situ – for which you need something analogous to a circulatory system to transport materials, as well as something analogous to a metabolism and to both taste and smell (and eating thanks to those copied-over instincts). Sure, most of the bone structure can be magnetically-reinforced nanotubes and diamond with reinforcing magnetic fields instead of calcium – but it still has to grow and be filled with channels to integrate it into the circulatory system. The electro-contractile muscles and tendons may be stronger (and powered by the electrical energy delivered by the “nerves”), but the layout – and ways in which the arrangement doesn’t bend – is much the same. Joint locks work almost as well (given that they are generally stronger and tougher) on augmented humans as they do on regular ones. The skin may incorporate tougher polymers and resist chemicals a lot better, but it still has to grow, stretch, heal, and shed itself.

Fourth generation Augments were little more than speculations at the beginning of the Eugenics Wars (A.K.A. WWIII). While prototypes of limited parts of the technology where in testing, no complete design (let alone implementation) was available. Thanks, however, to an open-ended time loop engineered by one or more members of the so-called Q Continuum, development of the Type IV design continued – albeit with only a single sample and a small research team that spent most of their time catching up on what they did last time – through 281,223 iterations of the relevant several-year section of the loop before Armand, Blueblood, and Scotty intervened to prevent further looping. While progress – especially during the later loops – was infinitesimal each time, that many loops eventually resulted in a fully-developed design. Combining a through understanding of the physical side of the human brain, advanced genomic and proteomic systems, computers, cybernetics, and nanotechnology, researchers were eventually able to complete a full rebuild of the human body – including a virtualized and optimized brain replacing the old-style natural neural network, am optically-based peripheral nervous system, and superconducting energy storage system fed by a high efficiency fuel cell.

Unfortunately, attempting to generalize from the original single test case has left the basic design in the “open beta-testing” phase as bugs and issues are worked out.

Perhaps worst of all, Type IV Augmentation only seems to work on Star Fleet Timeline Terrans – the “reality-manipulating” homid subspecies – and cuts off all access to magic, psionics, temporal manipulation, and all the other natural-law-violating tricks of the “natural” races.

Name: Type IV Augment

Val Char Cost
8/30 STR -2
13/20 DEX 9
9/20 CON -2
7 BODY -6
8/30 INT -2
11 EGO 2
10 PRE 0
15 COM 2
7 PD 1
7 ED 3
3/4 SPD 0
10 REC 0
0 END -20
32 STUN 0

Characteristic Rolls: STR: 11/15-, DEX: 12/13-, CON: 11/13-, INT: 11/15-, EGO: 11-, PER: 19/23-. Run: 6″, Swim: 2″, Jump: 6″, Lift: 76kg/1600kg

Cost Powers END/Roll

6 Elemental Control: Artificial Body (15-pt reserve); Generic Limitation (User may not develop Psionic or Magical Abilities): -½; Generic Limitation (Cannot alter or improve these abilities): -1

  • a-10 3d6 Aid to Attributes (Fade/5 min., Max. 22); Range: 0; Affects: All Powers of Special Effect, +2; Generic Limitation (Str, Dex, Con, Body, Int, and Spd Only.): -1; Generic Limitation (Does not heal damaged attributes.): -½; Generic Limitation (Effect does not stack with buying up base attributes above “10” or with buying up speed at all, cannot take speed above 4 in any case.): -½. 5 End when activated.
  • b-5 Power System: END Reserve (180 END, 12 REC/turn); Side Effects (When an Augment takes BODY damage, a roll of 15+ will detonate their power reserves, causing a 3d6 physical killing explosion centered on them. ): 60/All,
  • c-4 Armor (8 PD/8 ED); Always On (User is immune to normal medical techniques and healing powers.): -1; Hardened: ×1, ¼; Linked (To Attribute Enhancement): -½.
  • d-6 Life Support (total); Generic Limitation (Technological Limitations: Provides high resistance and duratbility, not immunity.): -½; Costs END: -½; Reduced END: Half, +¼.
  • e-5 Enhanced Perception (all) (+8 to PER); Linked (To Augmented Attributes): -½; Champions Advantage (Can record sensory input. ): +¼.

Integrated Electronics; Linked (To augmented attributes): -½

  • (2) Absolute Time Sense
  • (2) Ambidexterity
  • (2) Bump of Direction
  • (7) Eidetic Memory
  • (2) Lightning Calculator
  • (2) Perfect Pitch
  • (2) Speed Reading

Package Disadvantages

  • 5 Distinctive Features: Android; Concealability: Easily, 5; Reaction: Noticed and Recognizable, +0
  • 20 Normal Characteristic Maxima
  • 10 Unable to interbreed with normal life forms, greatly reduced fertility even with other Augment IV’s, usually need “repair” effects rather than “healing” effects (Infrequently, Greatly)
  • 10 Cannot buy off restrictions on magical and psionic powers. (Infrequently, Greatly)
  • 5 Cannot buy up Body (Infrequently, Slightly)
  • 30 Susceptibility to Technology Nullifying Effects (1d6 STUN and BODY/Phase); Condition: Uncommon, +5. Note that this drastically restricts the range of universes that they can function in.

As normal for Apex racial packages, the “package” disadvantages are only counted at half value – leaving the Augment IV baseline “Race” with a grand total of zero points, just like the other races.

OCV: 7; DCV: 7; ECV: 4; Mental Def.: 0; Phases: 3, 6, 9, 12, PD/rPD: 15/8; ED/rED: 15/8

As perhaps befits a superhero campaign, the Apex game currently involves the primary timeline (consisting of several merged timelines, with – courtesy of Blueblood – the Astral Vortex that the Ethereal Cataclysm had left in place of the lost pacific continent of Mu replaced by Equestria and a scattering of other cartoon and anime locations), the Primary Mirrorverse, traces of an alternate Timeline and Mirrorverse that are proving difficult to remerge with their primaries, a timeline where the planet was collapsed into a Black Hole (the ongoing efforts to get rid of that thing are apparently giving rise to a likely future Shadow Universe), the High Astral (a source of mystical energy), an assortment of Afterlives in the Middle Astral, the Lower Astral domain of the Elder Ones, the Exile pocket realm (apparently located between the Middle and Lower astral), and Mars. Kicking around those areas (and wandering back and forth in time) the group has revived the Rolassin and the Ethereals, brought the Freshwater and Saltwater Lemurians, out of hiding, and restored the Hyberboreans to go with the existing Atlanteans, and the Africaans species, as well as several relic species of presapient Homids. Mars, of course, has it’s five sapient species as well, all now revived from extinction or near-extinction.

In the Star Trek universe next door there are several alternate timelines, including one where the Augments won the Eugenics Wars (courtesy of the player characters) and one where they lost – both with Elder Martians, possibly with something on Venus, and with the full selection of Star Trek aliens.

Eclipse D20 – The Noble Pioneer

For today, it’s another sample character – and an example of fitting a character to a specific setting, rather than ignoring it. Yolande‘s husband Darius is a character for a realm-building game in the Atheria setting. He’s a noble of the Alarian Imperium who is attempting to found a colony / domain in the northern wilderness, with his wife, their followers, and a motley assortment of random people / refugees who think that they’d be better off deep in the wilderness than in an ancient, prosperous, and well-established civilization.

It might be best not to ask them why.

Darius is thus designed to operate in a “party” of two, taking on the roles of commander (both strategic and frontline), colonial governor, monster hunter, court magician, diplomat, and more That’s somewhat eased by Atheria’s world laws which limit spellcasting to a maximum level of three, restrict various powers, reduce the cost of the less-useful skills, and don’t support normal magical items – although they do provide attribute boosts and feats every two levels. That makes it a LOT easier to handle what little magic will be available and what exotic skills will be needed. Thus Darius is a reasonably good warrior (with a focus on defense and evasion), a very flexible mage (albeit with very limited power reserves), and a pretty good politician and leader. It’s still not going to be easy, and he’ll have to do a lot of negotiating when something is simply far beyond his power – but if he’s cautious and clever, his odds of founding a realm and a dynasty are pretty good.

Darius De Tanga

L5 Pioneer-Noble of the Alarian Imperium, Atheria.

Order Birthright Racial Modifiers:

  • Assistant (“Aid Another” actions provide a +4 bonus, 6 CP).
  • Privilege/Imperial Patron (6 CP. Exiles may substitute a bonus feat).
  • Innate Enchantment. Specialized: only works with a high-ranking in-empire patron to channel the magic of Order to the user, double effect (6 CP/10,000 GP).
    • Enhance Charms and Talismans (L2 spell effect, increasing the effects of Charms to L1 and those of Talismans to L2. Caster Level Three, Unlimited-Use Use-Activated (x2000 GP), Personal charms only (x.7) = 8400 GP).
    • Inspiring Word (Spell Level One, Caster Level One, Unlimited-Use Use-Activated (x2000 GP), Personal only (x.7), +1 Morale bonus to Saves, Attacks, Checks, and Weapon Damage, 1400 GP).
  • Fast Learner (may be (is) specialized in Skills, 6 CP).
  • A bonus feat worth 6 CP.

Available Character Points: 144 (L5 Base) +10 (Disadvantages: Compulsive (prove that he is a worthy scion of his family), History, and Valuable) +10 Duties (to the Imperium) +24 (L1, L2, L4, and Birthright Bonus Feats) = 188 CP.

Wealth Level (3 CP): Affluent, Specialized for Reduced Cost / this is contingent upon maintaining support from the Imperium and his family and is only fully available within the Imperium; replacements and hard cash may not be easy to get in the north.

  • His armor, shields, and weapons are all considered “masterwork” where this is relevant.
  • He gets a good deal of leeway about things like the use of deadly force against an “attacker,” carrying armor, shields, and weapons, or riding in the city streets, and will virtually always get the benefit of the doubt unless the other side is even richer.
  • He may use five charms and two talismans.
  • He may have exotic pets, like fine hawks and rare imported animals. Trained warbeasts, chargers, and packtrains are at his disposal.
  • He may have a few competent and loyal guards and assistants, know various spellcasters and rare specialists, and have quite a few employees and general gofers.
  • He gains an extra skill point each time he levels while “Affluent”.

Basic Attributes: Str 14, Dex 10, Con 12, Int 14 (+2 L2 and L4 Boosts +4 Enh = 20), Wis 12, & Cha 14 (+2 Enh = 16). (3.5 28 Point Buy).

Basics (74 CP):

  • Base Attack Bonus: +1 (6 CP), additional +2 Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect (Melee Only, Swords Only) (+6, 12 CP).
  • Hit Points: 35 (L1-5d8, 20 CP) +5 (Con Mod x 5) = 40 (DR 1/- due to Martial Arts).
  • Saving Throws:
    • Fortitude +2 (6 CP) +1 (Con) +1 (Mor) +1 (Res) = +5
    • Reflex +2 (6 CP) +0 (Dex) +1 (Mor) +1 (Res) = +4
    • Will +2 (6 CP) +1 (Wis) +1 (Mor) +1 (Res) = +5
  • Skill Points: 40 (Int Mod x 8) +24 (Cha Mod x 8) +40 (Double Fast Learner since L(-2), both Specialized in Skills for Double Effect, 6 CP) +8 (Wealth) = 112 SP
  • Proficiencies: All Simple and Martial Weapons (9 CP), Light Armor (3 CP).
  • Armor Class: 10 (Base) +6 (Augmented Shimmermail) +4 (Shield) +5 (Int Mod) +4 (Martial Art) = 29
  • Move: 30′ (Base) +30 (Enh) = 60′.

Usual Attacks:

  • Baelrigor (Greatsword) +15/+15/+10/+5 (+7 BAB +4 Competence +2 Str +1 Mor +1 Mas), 2d6+2 (Str) +1 (Mor), Crit 19-20/x2.
  • Unarmed: +10/+10/5 (+7 BAB +2 Str +1 Mor), 1d4 +2 (Str) +1 (Mor), Crit 20/x2.

Theurgic Mastery: (39 CP).

  • +5 Base Caster Levels, Specialized in Theurgy (15 CP).
  • 3d6 Mana as 6d4 (18) Generic Spell Levels, Corrupted / only usable to power Thaumaturgy (12 CP).
  • Augmented Bonus (Uses Int Mod as a Base for Theurgy Skills, 6 CP).
  • Advanced Improved Augmented Bonus (Add Cha Mod to Int Mod for calculating skill points, Specialized and Corrupted / only through level six, 6 CP).

Darius is – for Atheria – a powerful and extremely versatile mage – but his supply of magical power is quite limited, even with some pretty good rolls for his daily supply. He’ll have to choose his spells wisely if he wants to be effective with his magic.

Political Advantages: (19 CP)

  • Major Privilege: Noble Of The Imperium, Specialized / is of limited utility outside of the Imperium (3 CP).
  • Leadership: Specialized and Corrupted / Characters other than generic guards/farmers/etc must be sought out and recruited – and are designed (and played) by the GM, rather than by the player (2 CP).
    • Currently 16 Levels Worth, individual max ECL of 3.
  • Major Favors (6 CP): Through his family and other political backers.
  • Contacts – an Imperial Scholar and a Merchant (2 CP).
  • Adept (Diplomacy, Starblade Style, Spot, and Nobility, 6 SP).

Combat Tricks: (24 CP)

  • Finesse / Adds (Int Mod) to AC instead of (Dex Mod) (6 CP).
  • Reflex Training (Three Actions Per Day Variant) (6 CP).
  • Luck with +4 Bonus Uses (12 CP).

Mystic Knacks: (20 CP)

  • Mindspeech (6 CP). May send and receive thoughts with willing (or at least not unwilling) targets within a 60′ radius
  • Mystic Link (Yolande) with Communications and Power Link (9 CP).
  • Double Enthusiast, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect (3 floating CP) / Points can only be used for 1 CP Relics (3 CP).
  • Create Relic, Specialized and Corrupted / only usable to create a limited selection of one-point relics (2 CP).

Innate Enchantment: (9 CP)
All effects SL 0 or 1, Caster Level One, Unlimited-Use Use-Activated, Personal-Only where applicable, up to 8500 GP Value.

  • Enhanced Attribute (+2 Charisma, 1400 GP).
  • Force Shield I (+4 Shield Bonus to AC, 1400 GP).
  • Martial Mastery (+4 Competence Bonus to BAB with Greatsword, 1400 GP).
  • Personal Haste (+1 attack at full BAB when making a Full Attack, +30′ Movement, 2000 GP).
  • Resistance (+1 Resistance Bonus to Saves, 700 GP).
  • Skill Mastery (+2 Competence Bonus to All Skills, 1400 GP).

Skills:

Tier One Skills (Full Price) (38 SP):

  • Diplomacy (Cha): +8 (4* SP) +3 (Cha) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +14
  • Disable Device (Int): Unskilled.
  • Fly (Dex): +0 (0 SP) +0 (Dex) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +3
  • Hide (Dex): +0 (0 SP) +0 (Dex) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +3
  • Knowledge (Always Int):
    • Arcana: +8 (4* SP) +5 (Int) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +16
    • Architecture And Engineering: +3 (3 SP) +5 (Int) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +11
    • Geography: +3 (3 SP) +5 (Int) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +11
    • History: +3 (3 SP) +5 (Int) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +11
    • Nature: +3 (3 SP) +5 (Int) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +11
    • Nobility and Royalty: +8 (4* SP) +5 (Int) +1 (Mor) = +2 (Com) +16
    • Planes: +3 (3 SP) +5 (Int) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +11
    • Religion: +3 (3 SP) +5 (Int) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +11
  • Martial Art (Starlight Blade Style) +8 (4*SP) +5 (Int) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +16
  • Move Silently (Dex): +0 (0 SP) +0 (Dex) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +3
  • Profession/Occult (Wis): Unskilled.
  • Search (Int): +0 (0 SP) +1 (Wis) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +4
  • Sleight of Hand (Dex): Unskilled.
  • Spellcraft (Int): Unskilled.
  • Spot (Wis): +8 (4* SP) +1 (Wis) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +12
  • Survival (Wis): +0 (0 SP) +1 (Wis) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +4
  • Swim (Str): +0 (0 SP) +2 (Str) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +5
  • Tumble (Dex): Unskilled.

*Half Cost due to Adept.

Theurgy Nouns: (12 SP).

  • Air: + 1 (1 SP) +5 (Int) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +8
  • Body: +1 (1 SP) +5 (Int) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +8
  • Earth: + 1 (1 SP) +5 (Int) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +8
  • Fire: + 1 (1 SP) +5 (Int) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +8
  • Illusion: + 1 (1 SP) +5 (Int) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +8
  • Magic: +1 (1 SP) +5 (Int) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +8
  • Mind: +1 (1 SP) +5 (Int) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +8
  • Plant: + 1 (1 SP) +5 (Int) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +8
  • Space: + 1 (1 SP) +5 (Int) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +8
  • Spirit: + 1 (1 SP) +5 (Int) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +8
  • Time: +1 (1 SP) +5 (Int) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +8
  • Water: + 1 (1 SP) +5 (Int) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +8

Theurgy Verbs: (36 SP)

  • Control: +6 (6 SP) +5 (Int) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +14
  • Creation: +6 (6 SP) +5 (Int) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +14
  • Destruction: + 6 (6 SP) +5 (Int) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +14
  • Healing: +6 (6 SP) +5 (Int) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +14
  • Transformation: + 6 (6 SP) +5 (Int) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +14
  • Understanding: +6 (6 SP) +5 (Int) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +14

Tier Two Skills (Half Price) (20 SP).

  • Appraise (Int): +8 (4 SP) +5 (Int) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +16
  • Balance (Dex): +0 (0 SP) +0 (Dex) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +3
  • Bluff (Chr): +0 (0 SP) +3 (Cha) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +6
  • Climb (Str): +0 (0 SP) +2 (Str) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +5
  • Concentration (Con): +0 (0 SP) +2 (Con) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +5
  • Control Shape (Wis): +0 (0 SP) +1 (Wis) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +4
  • Craft/Exotic (Int)*: Unskilled
  • Escape Artist (Dex): +0 (0 SP) +0 (Dex) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +3
  • Gather Information (Cha): +8 (4 SP) +3 (Cha) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +14
  • Handle Animal (Cha)*: Unskilled.
  • Heal (Wis): +0 (0 SP) +1 (Wis) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +4
  • Intimidate (Cha): +0 (0 SP) +1 (Wis) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +4
  • Open Lock (Dex)*: Unskilled.
  • Perform (Specify) (Cha): +0 (0 SP) +3 (Cha) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +6
  • Profession/Complex (Wis)*: Unskilled.
  • Psicraft (Int)*: Unskilled.
  • Ride (Dex): +8 (4 SP) +0 (Dex) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +11 (+13 with Tethered steed).
  • Listen (Wis): +8 (4 SP) +1 (Wis) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) +4 (Torc) = +16
  • Sense Motive (Wis) +8 (4 SP) +1 (Wis) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +12
  • Speak Language (Int): +0 (0 SP) +5 (Int) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +8.
  • Speaks Havril, Illerian, Ikunn, Draconic, and Chordath.
  • Use Magic Device (Cha)*: Unskilled.

Tier Three Skills (One-Third Cost, can’t be Corrupted or Specialized) (6 SP).

  • Autohypnosis (Wis): +6 (2 SP) +1 (Wis) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +10
  • Burrow (Wis)*: Unskilled.
  • Craft/Mundane (Int): +0 (0 SP) +5 (Int) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +8
  • Decipher Script (Int): +6 (2 SP) +1 (Wis) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +10
  • Disguise (Cha): +0 (0 SP) +3 (Cha) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +6
  • Forgery (Int): +6 (2 SP) +5 (Int) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +14
  • Jump (Str): +0 (0 SP) +2 (Str) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +5
  • Profession (Simple): +0 (0 SP) +1 (Wis) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +4
  • Sense of Touch (Wis): +0 (0 SP) +1 (Wis) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +4
  • Use Psionic Device (Cha)*: Unskilled.
  • Use Rope (Dex): +0 (0 SP) +0 (Dex) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +3

Martial Art – The Starlight Blade Style (Int)

Starlight Blade focuses on predicting the patterns of an attack and exploiting any opening which appears, hopefully allowing the user to deal with an opponent without leaving any opening in his or her own defense. While it’s certainly preferable to have a weapon, Starlight Blade doesn’t neglect unarmed techniques either. Depending utterly on a weapon is itself a flaw.

  • Requires: Weapon Focus/Greatsword or point-buy equivalent.
  • Basic Techniques: Defenses 4, Strike 1, and Toughness 3.
  • Advanced and Master Techniques: Deflect Arrows, Mind Like Moon, Prone Combat, and Unarmed Kata.
  • Occult Techniques: Healing Hand, Inner Strength, Iron Skin, and Vanishing.
  • Known Techniques: Defenses IV, Strike 1, Toughness I, and Unarmed Kata.
  • Bonus Techniques from Baelrigor: Deflect Arrows, Mind Like Moon, Prone Combat, Healing Hand, Inner Strength, Iron Skin, and Vanishing.

Equipment:

Current Relics:

  • Baelrigor (Greatsword) (1 CP Relic). This blade grants +9 points worth of a sword-based martial art, corrupted for increased effect / only while using the blade (provides an effective +14 or seven extra martial abilities in total)
  • Ruby Tongue of the Sorcerer (1 CP Relic): A ruby amulet granting Improved Power Words, Corrupted/only for storing spells the user personally supplies. Since theurgy is slow, this allows him to have a few fast spells on hand.

Order Birthright Charms:

  • Captain’s Torc: +4 to Listen checks, can make the user’s voice very loud, -1 on saves versus sonic attacks, can cast your voice up to sixty feet.
  • Helm of War: Grants six as-needed uses of Heavy Fortification, regaining one use each week.
  • Hidden Pocket: Holds 15 Lb of stuff with no noticeable weight or bulk and a mere slit for access.
  • Mage Tether: Lets the user call for the animal whose hair was used to make it. If it’s within two miles it will come as quickly as it reasonably can. As a side effect the user gets a +2 bonus on ride and handle animal rolls involving the animal in question.
  • Sunstone: Stores 25 minutes worth of sunlight (recharging five minutes worth per day in the sun), and can illuminate a 10′ radius with full sunlight and dimly illuminate some distance beyond that. Can discharge ten minutes worth as a ray of Searing Light (at CL5). Since this is stored natural sunlight spell resistance does not apply.

Order Birthright Talismans:

  • Greater Scholars Eye: +4 Enhancement Bonus to Intelligence.
  • Shimmer Mail: +6 Armor Bonus with no penalties or effective encumbrance.

Personal Steed: Ajatantsija, Light Dernmarkian Warhorse.

Basic Information:

  • Attributes: Str 16, Dex 14, Con 18, Int 2, Wis 13, Cha 8
  • Initiative +2, HP 32, Speed 90′
  • Armor Class: 17 (-1 Size, +2 Dex +2 Leather Barding, +4 Natural).
  • Attack: +4/1d4+3 (Hoof), Full 3 Hooves, Bite (-1, 1d3+1).
  • Senses: Low-Light Vision, Scent.
  • Saves: Fort +7, Ref +5, Will +2
  • Skills: Listen +4, Spot +4
  • Feats: Endurance, Run.

Timedancer Horse Birthright (18 CP):

  • Reflex Action, 3/Three Actions Per Day Variant, with +4 Bonus Uses (for a total of seven), Specialized/only usable for movement, whether natural or magically-assisted (6 CP).
  • Innate Enchantment (Personal Haste, from The Practical Enchanter), CL1, SL1, At-Will Use-Activated, 2000 GP effective value) (3 CP).
  • Inherent Spell (Lightning Step (from The Practical Enchanter), with +2 Bonus Uses, 9 CP).

Darius is – as usual for an Eclipse character (and one with an exceptionally powerful base “race” at that) roughly equivalent to a baseline d20 character of several levels higher –  but as a generalist he certainly can’t match a focused Eclipse build even if he is a quite effective warrior-mage by baseline d20 standards. His biggest problem in a conventional game

The Trapspider Template (Eclipse d20)

Trapspider (+32 CP / +1 Level/Challenge Rating Spider Template).

What lunatic would install a scything blade and a spiked pit trap in the kitchen pantry? No one in their right mind would live in or build this place!

-Pretty much every adventurer at one time or another.

Trapspiders – according to some legends created or modified by someone called “Grimtooth” to make his traps for him – are a communal variant on the various common monstrous spiders that colonize old ruins, dungeons, and similar environments. A colony normally consists of 2d4 adult individuals (the young tend to wander off once hatched and do not develop their special powers until approaching adulthood). They feed on flesh, bone, and modest amounts of various metals, but are relatively passive as adults. Adult trapspiders normally wait for potential prey to come into their lair – usually a corridor or room. They gain their name from their ability to “spit” traps. As individuals they can cause an opponents location to abruptly be full of bear traps, or to have a spiked pit there, or to be attacked by various other traps, or they can attempt to shove targets into existing (and usually more dangerous) traps.

Their lairs tend to have elaborate, extremely dangerous, corridor or room traps (or even multiples thereof) – a result of the spiders communal efforts. Oddly enough, such traps are often reasonably aesthetically pleasing. While they are rarely great works of art, they often feature fountains, basic statuary, silk curtains, pivoting walls concealed by abstract murals, and other decorative features, as well as being kept relatively clean and neat. The spiders themselves use their ability to conceal themselves as part of the decor, pretending to be boxes, jars, torch-sconces, or similar items.

Lending further credence to the stories of their deliberate creation, Trapspiders always leave a way to deactivate their major traps – albeit rarely a conveniently positioned one. If unsupervised, the most common strain tends to create mathematical puzzles that must be solved to turn off the traps for a day (how they do this when most are unintelligent remains confusing). Unfortunately, while there’s usually a convenient keypad or some equivalent showing a spider with no legs for “0″ and 1-7 legs for the digits to enter the solution, the spiders tend to use base eight – so, for example, a diagram showing a trap in the center, overlaid by a circle with a line extending to the center, with five button-images underneath, would be asking for the first five digits of Pi in base eight. Other strains may produce chess (or other game) puzzles, block puzzles, riddles, or any other form of puzzle. Of course, if they are under someone’s control, pretty much anything goes.

Once the primary trap of a Trapspider nest has been deactivated, they tend to be a bit passive – apparently assuming that, with their primary trap deactivated, anyone left in the area is friendly – or at least authorized to be there. That makes it fairly easy for adventurers to “milk” them for a bit of their trap-creating Venom. While that normally loses potency in 1d4 days, it’s fairly easy for a competent alchemist (Craft/Alchemy DC 15, Craft/Poison DC 21, Knowledge/Nature DC 25) to stabilize the stuff, allowing it to be kept for months.

The Template:

  • Add 3d6 Mana With Reality Editing, Corrupted for Increased Effect and Specialized for Reduced Cost / maximum range of 5′ per size category above “Tiny”, only to shove targets into traps (1 Mana to move a Large or smaller target up to ten feet, save as per their basic venom) and create Traps.
    • Creating traps costs 1 Mana/CR of the resulting trap (things like “roach motels”, mousetraps, and ant-baits don’t cost anything) and is limited to a maximum CR of (Hit Dice + number of assisting trapspiders (9 CP). Spitting a bunch of bear traps is an early favorite.
  • Rite of Chi with +2 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted / Takes one hour per die, only to recharge the mana reserve above (3 CP).
    • Trapspiders do take a few hours to rebuild their venom reserves, but this is rarely especially limiting. Traps, after all, keep.
  • Immunity / Traps (Very Common, Severe, Major), Specialized / only versus their colonies individual or collective traps (7 CP).
    • Trapspiders can easily ignore or evade the effects of the traps they produce, forcing enemies who engage them to deal with ongoing trap effects in addition to whatever the spiders do.
  • Blessing, Specialized and Corrupted / only to allow them to be “milked” for 1d4 vials of their trap-creating “venom” (2 CP). One Vial = 1 Mana.
    • This does the spiders no good at all, unless it just encourages adventurers to leave them alive – and so is another argument for them being engineered somehow.
  • Innate Enchantment (5000 GP Effective Value, 6 CP): This grants them:
    • Disguise Self (Personal-Only, 1400 GP): Trapspiders can readily disguise themselves as balls, boxes, small casks, vases, or similar items, and usually do so while resting in their lair.
    • Barkskin (Personal-Only, 1400 GP): Trapspiders incorporate some of the metal that they eat into their chitin, gaining a +2 bonus to their Natural Armor. This also means that Trapspider Chitin makes good knives, pots, armor, and similar goods.
    • Immortal Vigor I (Personal-Only, 1400 GP): Trapspiders gain (+12 + 2 x Con Mod) Hit Points thanks to their partially-metallic composition.
  • Occult Sense / Detect Traps (6 CP). Trapspiders are almost unerring about spotting traps.
  • +3 Skill Specialty in Aesthetics (Traps) (1 CP). Trapspider trap-lairs tend to feature colonnades of statues, polished floors, and intricate designs. They’re the nicest-looking rooms and corridors that will ever kill you!
  • +3 Skill Specialty in Architecture (Interior Decorating). Trapspiders can actually make their lairs look quite pleasant and inviting, helping them lure victims in.
  • Template Disadvantage: Compulsive (Leaves deactivation mechanisms on major traps, as above) (-3 CP).
  • If it matters, Trapspiders are considered to be Magical Beasts, although this does not change them otherwise.

Trapspiders are, of course, one of the major reasons why old ruins and such are so often full of elaborate traps with no discernible sensible function, reason for being there, or apparent builders. They’re also why such traps often have insane deactivation methods – if only so that their original creator could turn off any traps that they built in inconvenient locations.

In play, trapspiders can be extremely annoying in their lairs; they tend to prefer ongoing traps – such as arcs of energy that hit anyone who steps on the wrong floor tiles – and will run about the area quite unaffected, spitting minor traps at people and trying to get them hit by more energy arcs. Unsurprisingly, their treasure – when they have any – is entirely incidental to their feeding, and usually consists of items that they will not eat (gems and other minerals, wood, cloth, more durable metals, and so on).

Trapspiders play a prominent role in the current events of the Anomaly game, where they explain WHY to ancient castle is full of insane traps – so here they are to cause headaches for other adventurers.

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  

 

Prince Blueblood’s Aggravating Pony Overlord List Part VI – The Mendaciously Meandering Miasmic Morus Maze of Meticulously Mangled Mutinous Management Maxims

Previously on the Aggravating Pony Overlord Channel…

  1. If someone says “This isn’t a cartoon!” I will glance at myself and say “Really?” in a questioning tone. If they have been amusing enough so far I will add a horrified “OH NOOOOOOO!!!!” and teleport away, leaving only a slowly dissolving after-image of myself with an expression of horror on it’s face!
  2. If any of my kids fall in love, I will make sure that their crush is a reasonably decent sort and is not just using them! If that checks out, the pair (or group, it’s not like I don’t keep a harem!) will be supplied with plentiful travel funds, reservations wherever, contraceptives (if desired) and toys of choice (if any) and told to go for it! Sex is fun, grandchildren are great, and it’s not like I’M a model of decorum!
  3. If I am confronting an Eldritch Abomination I shall remember that I qualify as a Cute Eldritch Abomination myself, and there shall be tea and cookies! And possibly dancing! I haven’t done the Lord Of The Shoggoths Line Dance Show since the last Eldritch Elder Invasion!
  4. If dealing with Vampires, Werewolves, Mummies, or some similar potentially sensible horror-movie creature I will talk first! If forced, I will point out that – while they are good at terrorizing normal humans – I am at LEAST a cartoon superhero wizard and can put them in the core of the sun, toss them into a black hole, or banish them to some eldritch elder dimension if I have to!
  5. I shall train my own ninja, pirates, and ninja-pirates, starting with adorably fluffy kittens and puppies! That way when my ninja puppy trips an opponent out a window, cuddles will be entirely appropriate!
  6. I will disguise myself (perhaps with a mustache, hat, or glasses!) and join any team of heroes gathered to oppose me, proclaiming myself to be my heroic dimensional alternate, a counterbalancing mystic force, arcane rival, or some such! That will let me know what’s going on, help keep the heroes gainfully employed, and – if and when I successfully help overthrow myself – I will be starting off in the upper tier of the successor government and will doubtless be the only one with administrative skills, and so I shall continue my rule with a fresh start, new public support, friendly heroes, and without interruption!
  7. I will encourage my kids to be rebellious scamps who sneak out to go adventuring – but only after I have arranged for some reasonable form of immortality for them and a nigh-unbreakable magical link so that I can pull them out of messes! But I will mostly get the heroes to do it! They will never be able to resist rescuing a bunch of youngsters running away from an Evil Overlord if no one tells them that they’re trying to escape school and bedtime! Of course, if any of the kids turn out to be incompetent dimwits, I shall shunt them to suitable pointless positions! I am an Aggravating Overlord, I can be as nepotistic as I wish, and they’re still my kids!
  8. I shall not be a corrupt CEO or any other style of corrupt leader! I am a Wealthy, Immortal, Decadent, Pleasure-Seeking, Superheroic Unicorn Wizard! What will being corrupt get me that I can’t have already anyway? Smoother ice cream?
  9. Trampling my foes beneath my hooves will ruin my hooficure! Blood splatters look terrible on my coat! Screams of agony spoil the music! There will be none of that barbaric nonsense in my realm! If something along those lines is absolutely required for some reason there is always Vogon Poetry!
  10. If I am told that I am an alien, descendant of an eldritch power, heir to something, the prophesied one, part of some deal with the underworld, or anything similar, I will start laughing! I escaped from a cartoon into reality and created both myself and fifty generations of my family history from pure fanfiction and egotism, and I didn’t include any of THAT nonsense! (Except when I did! I am a Cartoon! Consistency is not one of my major attributes!)
  11. I will hit on female opponents with combat propositions! They’re already attacking me, so what have I got to lose? And it’s not like anyone can seriously attack someone who is currently reeling from a smack with a hammerspace mallet! It would be unsporting and would break the running gag!
  12. I will knock loudly – and repeatedly – and announce my presence before entering a sauna, bath, hot pool, or similar establishment . This will save me from getting unavoidably whacked with hammers and things until I’ve had time to actually make at least one indecent proposition!
  13. I will not go for the domineering, master of sex slaves routine, or any similar perverse cliche, unless some of the mares in the harem request them for a role-playing night! It’s not like I have any shortage of willing partners who want to try out quirks!
  14. Listen very carefully, I shall say ‘zis only once! Watching the heroes try to figure out just what you might be suggesting with an innuendo involving wet celery, egg whisks, and flying helmets is amusing enough that I shall use the mysterious perverse quirk routine! After all, it worked for Allo Allo!
  15. My allies do not all have to be ponies! Griffins and other monsters work fine too! There is much to be said for diversity and a combined lack-of-arms strategy!
  16. If I am having a flashback, I shall drag everyone else into it with me! I am immune to paradox, but I bet that most of the heroes are not!
  17. If the heroes attempt to send a comic relief character who always bumbles their way to victory against me, I shall allow the kids to join the ensuing pie fight and clown-off, with the victor being whoever can raise the most money for charity! Given that my funds are nigh limitless and that the power of heart will be on my side, my “victory” is inevitable – and the comic relief can return to the heroes and announce that he or she was defeated, but the battle nevertheless raised a great deal of money for orphaned children!
  18. Fanboys and Fangirls will be offered harem jobs if they’re qualified and cute enough! If they are not they will be sent to places so distant that no one there has ever heard of me to spread the word (whatever they think THAT to be). Hero-worshiping playthings can be a lot of fun and it’s not like they’re ever going to be anything but a hindrance in any other role!
  19. If I am (somehow!) actually being overthrown and cannot escape, I will act like a petulant five year old and embarrass the heroes as much as possible! If I can manage to convince them that I have been a disposable figurehead all along, so much the better. To this end, there will be some sinister figure lurking nearby, to attack (machine gun, grenades, whatever) and injure (but certainly not kill) both some heroes AND myself, shout something unintelligible about “DOOM!”, and then make a cackling escape of its own. Given that this will be a well-shielded summoning protected from divination, and will vanish as soon as it’s out of sight, they will never catch it!
  20. If I ever feel the need to wear a mask, it will be a classic domino affair, suitable for parties or Zorro! It will be conceal my identity just as well as some elaborate demonic mask of power (Unicorn, remember?), is far less likely to attract swords of bullets, and is far, FAR, more stylish! And, as a bonus, you can nuzzle other ponies just fine while wearing it!
  21. The only acceptable reason for approaching the Moral Event Horizon is to cast “Reverse Gravity” on the ethical singularity, and ascend past wherever the heroes stand on the good-guy scale on the resulting cosmic eruption of virtue, thus leaving them with no reason to object to my sudden transcendence!
  22. If someone actually manages to badly hurt me, I shall do a dramatic death scene and dissolve into little sparkling lights. I regenerate quickly – even if killed – ANYWAY and I do need to use SOME special effect for my teleportation and dimension hopping! Who says that it CAN’T it be “leaving everyone with the impression of a dramatic death scene”?
  23. I am not limited by logistics, rationality, or sanity, and I shall not assume that the heroes are either! Numbers mean nothing! Of course, if I am up against a reasonable hero, there is something to be said for targeting his ammunition dumps, food stores, fuel reserves, and other supplies. Reasonable heroes seem to think that they need that kind of stuff!
  24. Family time takes priority over nefarious plotting! When I am busy attending a wedding, birthday, anniversary, or any other events important to wives, concubines, or children, the heroes can just come back tomorrow! After all, if they try anything at that point, they will be on the wrong side of so many tropes that I probably will not have to lift a hoof! Which is good, because one is occupied with a mare and the other with my drink!
  25. If a popular and known-to-be-fictional hero appears to stop me, I shall play along with their cliches rather than getting into an existential debate! After all, I’M fictional and I managed to sneak into reality, so there’s no reason why they shouldn’t have managed it too!
  26. Non one ever defeats an Overlord until he or she has used every weapon in his or her arsenal! So I will have a wide variety of powers (and every possible flavor of pie) and will keep adding more – including some that I can swap out! That way any heroes will have to work their way through an infinite list before they can defeat me!
  27. I will not attempt to “steal” Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, Hannukkah, Memorial Day, Boxing Day, Independence Day, or any other popular holiday! Instead I shall invite their avatars over for tea and become well-known for my generous support of such festivities! For no attack launched on someone celebrating a holiday is ever successful and that will both give me a day off and provide a reasonable chance of watching the heroes battle Santa or the Easter Bunny! The home movies will keep me laughing for YEARS!
  28. Super-Soldiers, Proud-Warrior-Race-Guys, and Villainous Henchmen only become effective AFTER they turn on their Creators, Manipulators, or Masters! Therefore I shall only recruit them on the rebound from whoever was trying to use them! Then they can teach the kids!
  29. I shall study the Greats! Overlords like Aku, Bavmorda, Ahab, Hook, Jareth, Megamind, Zod, Kurgan, Kahn, and Ming! They REALLY knew how to ham it up and chew the scenery – and I am quite possibly MADE OF HAM and I EAT scenery!
  30. If a serious villain turns up to spread evil and misery, or kidnaps one of my kids, or otherwise interrupts my aggravating overlordship, I shall join forces with the heroes right away! After all, I am protected from heroism by the power of the farce – and can give the heroes a nice fruit basket! But when it comes to defeating serious villains, that’s what heroes do!
  31. I will keep the air conditioner running, levels of alcohol in my system that would be lethal for any normal creature, and enjoy my ability to always stay nice and clean and my cartoon immunity to disease! Whatever it is that causes Villain Decay, I’m not catching it!
  32. If the heroes are the offspring of my lieutenants, I shall ensure that they get safe visitation days and college funds and give their younger siblings part-time jobs as pages in my household so that they can throw water balloons at their older siblings whenever they get too serious. Nothing spoils a heroic narrative like a six-year-old sibling with a water balloon!
  33. If someone leaves a giant statue of me or any other creature outside my gates I will call up some builders and landscapers and turn it into the centerpiece of a carnival honoring myself! If someone is hiding inside, I will ensure that the exit is stuck until the evening rush and that all nearby restrooms are coin operated!
  34. If a God or Goddess is intervening to assist my opponents I will adjourn to the realms of the gods to find out what their problem is! I don’t stick my nose into THEIR portfolios, and even if I’m not a member of THEIR pantheon, I expect a similar level of respect when I’m being aggravating! Which is in itself aggravating! RECURSION FOR THE WIN!
  35. All the enhancement potions, super-soldier serums, and similar boosting effects that I give to my minions will be short-term only. Anyone who wants something permanent will have to buy it in the gift shop or volunteer to get experimented on! After all, such things ALWAYS exact a price proportionate to the power that they provide, and better it be “powered up for a few hours before taking a day off to sleep” than “go permanently insane with permanent super powers” unless that’s really what they want!
  36. Traveling performers and such can book the music hall down the block! If they want to perform for ME they can get accredited, build up a reputation and a repertoire, submit an application and a proposal, and go through a security check just like everyone else! Or they can get a recommendation from Leisure Suit Larry! Whichever!.
  37. If some mystic balance must be maintained, I will have a mechanic check it over and then set it spinning! Gyroscopes are a lot more stable! And it can’t be me upsetting it anyway! There are PLENTY of things out there that AREN’T aggravating to balance out me!
  38. If I am having a tantrum, my minions will be fully authorized to hit ME with a pie, and will have orders to do so! Tantrums aren’t really much fun anyway and pie fights make an excellent countermeasure!
  39. I will abuse time travel to train with the great masters! Not only are the arts a nice hobby but it will let me buy a lot of otherwise unknown original works at discount prices to decorate my residence with! Go ahead, blow the place up, destroy priceless pieces of history! At least until I abuse time travel some more to get them back!
  40. If confronted with a sealed cosmic power in a can, an omnipotent artifact of doom, or any similar macguffin I will add a minor fascination charm and a cigarette-lighter charm to it and use it to get free drinks and break the ice with women! The accumulated sleaze will soon drain all narrative importance from it and give me plenty of time to find out if the obvious booby trap is actually somehow useful!
  41. My citizens shall be well-educated, so that any would-be rebels will be able to realize that the odds are against them and that they have hundreds of other options! That way they can bog down endlessly in debates, discussions, and petitions!
  42. If I am engaged in a war, SOMEONE is losing their job! All conflicts come down to a tiny band of heroic adventurers against me anyway, so wars are pointless, messy, and wasteful! Why not just skip to the main event and let the taxpayers (and those cute new girls in my harem) get on with their jobs!
  43. If some terrible entity demands a sacrificial victim that has some special quality, I shall find a more reasonable entity that is willing to take a retainer and work for cash or just for the LOL’s! It’s a big multiverse and there is no need to work with obnoxious, demanding, occult entities when there are plenty of more reasonable ones out there!
  44. There is nothing like existential confusion to aggravate people! I shall leave both my subjects and the heroes opposing me hopelessly confused at every opportunity; and preferably unsure as to whether I am good or evil or just crazy! Consistency is for Overlords who aren’t cartoons!
  45. I will ensure that all heroes have evil (and grandstanding, if not especially effective) twins and vice versa! It will help keep things interesting if no one knows who is who!
  46. I will have an Evil Grand Vizier, of the sort who will advise everyone that he or she is a treacherous master of exotic poisons, twirl his villainous mustache or peer through her villainous spectacles at them, and then offer everyone tea and cookies that he or she had especially made!
  47. When some terrible quest needs to be accomplished, I shall send off the youngest kid who’s successfully completed an immortality ritual and a linking effect! Those things are most fun when you’re young and it’s always the youngest one who goes who succeeds anyway! I shall also give them a cat! Those always help!
  48. I will invite a selection of witches, fairy godmothers, mysterious gypsies, and similar occult types to my kids parties! Some suitably modified curses and blessings make a fine basis for pretty much any fantastic fantasy career!
  49. If any gods or goddesses want me to judge something, or decide who is best at something, or otherwise settle something, I shall remain utterly flippant! If they wanted a serious opinion on something they wouldn’t have come to ME!
  50. There shall be monster preserves with a limited number of no-kill monster fighting permits available for heroes to practice their skills! You never know when you’re going to need either a hero or a monster or a pair of them who have had a recent bonding experience!

And hopefully the various time-sinks that have kept me from writing for the past month have been dealt with…

Prince Bluebloods Aggravating Pony Overlord List Part V – The Palatial Personal Parlor Of Perilously Prepared Pretentious Proverbs

Previously on the Aggravating Overlord Channel…

And today it’s more Pony Overlord rules, for those times that you just want to be irritating…

  1. All of my guest quarters shall actually be miles away and linked to my fortress by an authorized-use-only teleportation doorway with guard-operators standing by all night! Servants, kitchens, air conditioning vents, and so on will be purely local, so anyone who wants to get out and sneak around can stealthily explore the wrong place entirely!
  2. Members of my legions will get free training and tuition as well as substantial pay raises for increasing their qualifications! Adding things like “Lay Therapist”, “Hostage Negotiator”, or “Plumber” will be strongly encouraged! I want the general public to assume that my guards are omni-competent and can be turned to to resolve any problem and I want heroes to have to deal with guards who will be attempting psychotherapy and non-violent conflict resolution between pies!
  3. Everybody thinks that plans calling for intervention from magic unicorns are impractical, but I shall show them that they are wrong!
  4. Occasionally I will dig out and erect a massive crypt-dungeon, filled with formidable defenses, clever traps, and terrible monsters, then ceremoniously hide a locked and warded chest in the central crypt, offering no public explanation! The chest will hold a supply of glasses and good liquor, a high-quality first aid kit, a random bonus prize, and personally signed certificates of graduation from the Blueblood Academy for Adventurers. I will then offer to hire graduates if I ever need an artifact or something retrieved from an ancient temple of doom, liche’s crypt, or similar location.
  5. My employees will have decent tailoring, good grooming, elocution lessons, regular visits to the spa, and decent hygiene! If they want to act like uncouth barbarians, I shall open a gate to Valhalla and see if Odin would like to run an exchange program for some bored Einherjar who would like to try a modern deathstyle for a bit and train with modern weapons and pies!
  6. I will instruct my fashion designer that – when designing for a pony – it is accessories, not outfits! After all, it’s not like any conceivable outfit could possibly be much of an improvement on ME!
  7. My guards will be perfectly capable of functioning in the dark! Between night-sight gear, spells, training, and blindfolded combat practice it shouldn’t be any problem at all and it will give the visually handicapped a chance to shine!
  8. My stronghold shall be overstaffed, for many hands makes for light work! Outsiders who show up claiming to be there to do maintenance, make repairs, or install special equipment will be directed to appropriate properties around the city that are in need of work! I have lots! Their activities will then be reviewed and rated online! They had best hope that they are actually good at repairs!
  9. When my employees park their vehicles to do something on foot, they will do it in full confidence that attempting to bypass said vehicles biometric security locks will lead to being dosed with knockout gas, entangled with mystic chains, or whatever other random security feature the weekly security competition has put in this week.
  10. I will not add unsuitable females to my harem! One night stands are one thing, but who needs troublemakers in the family?
  11. If my chief engineer upsets me (or gets too frustrated with me using magic to do things) I shall reassign him to the Kerbal Space Program! It’s not like I have a lot of real engineering to be done anyway; I am a magic unicorn pony!
  12. I shall not fill the corridors with traps! I have kids, servants, and hundreds of minions, many of whom will doubtless be injured for every hero who is mildly inconvenienced! Instead there will be occasional clearly labeled dead-end side-corridors leading to nonlethal containment traps that the heroes can assume are protecting something important and meddle with to their hearts content!
  13. If the Girl Scouts are delivering my Thin Mints, a servant will meet them at the door with the required forklift and take them around to the kitchen. They will then be offered tickets to an amusement park, but NOT a tour of my stronghold unless it’s “bring your child to work” day and they happen to be some employees offspring.
  14. When I install “Spiked Deadfalls”, “Scorpion Pits”, “Shark Tanks”, “Piranha Pools”, or any similar “death trap” or “execution” device, they shall actually be illusions over teleportation portals that will drop those who pass through randomly into the homes of energetic old ladies armed with broomsticks, cantankerous old men with shotguns loaded with salt, highly skilled female martial artists who happen to be in the shower, or in front of a monstrous family watching TV who can be counted on to scream “A HUMAN! RUN FOR YOUR LIVES KIDS, I’LL HOLD IT OFF! CALL THE POLICE!”.
  15. When the heroes inevitably toss ME into one of those “death traps” I shall let my natural background music swell and announce that I have come to grant whoever is there a wish – and presuming that it is at all reasonable, I shall not be a Jackass or even a Literal Genie about it. As a side benefit, when I’m teleporting or dimension hopping, I’m more likely to get a friendly reaction to my abrupt appearance!
  16. While I shall invariably taunt my enemies as I escape, the fact that I usually do so by teleporting or dimension-hopping (at least when no water slide is available) means that such taunts must be prerecorded! They will be delivered by automated Taunt-O-Matic (TM!) systems. Being an Aggravating Overlord calls for the occasional sacrifice!
  17. I will not send out droid, undead, or golem armies against heroes who are reluctant to kill living beings but have no qualms about destroying constructs. Instead I shall place kittens and puppies in need of difficult and lengthy rescue efforts in their way and save the army of constructs for things like dam-building, mining, and other tedious large-scale projects where they might actually accomplish something useful.
  18. I shall not be typecast! My every outfit and hairstyle will be a bold fashion statement and always different! It’s not like they won’t be able to identify me anyway! How many other Aggravating Unicorn Pony Overlords have YOU seen?
  19. My doomsday devices shall have digital timers that reset to various random numbers every few seconds after they are tampered with! When they happen to hit zero there will be a blinding moment of flash photography and the resulting picture will be published with the headline “Blundering “Heroes” Accidentally Trigger “Doomsday Device”. Child’s Birthday Cake Ruined” since any such “Doomsday Device” is actually going to be an elaborate baking oven.
  20. If my guards are defeated in battle, I will route my attackers through several video-game worlds instead! Perhaps they can show me how to get past “Waterfall”, “Animal Antics”, “Ninja Gaiden”, “Dr Wiley’s Castle”, “Aztec”, “The Perfect Run”, “Through the Fire and Flames”, “The Water Temple”, “The Dam”, and :”Turbo Tunnel”!
  21. If I have something the heroes vitally need, and one of them or their hangers-on suddenly offers to warm my bed (and I find them sufficiently appealing), I shall take full advantage of the situation while ensuring that the actual item is in a safety-deposit box in a random bank while I am only carrying a copy! If they’re going to be underhanded, I shall be underhanded too – and I will still get something for my trouble!
  22. I will not triumphantly grab and try to use some ancient mystic/psionic/alien/lost science artifact! Those things never work right until they’ve been analyzed, properly attuned by being “paid for” in some fashion, and put into your inventory! Besides, I wouldn’t be an Overlord if I didn’t have plenty of power and artifacts already!
  23. I will be very selective in my hiring of character assassins! Entirely too many columnists, comedy hosts, and writers will happily turn on you at a moments notice or do hackwork that is all too easily revealed as a hired hit piece!
  24. I shall not conceal my weaknesses! Fine wines, pretty mares, good food, great personal accessories, and more do attract me, while dirt, damage to my hair, incompetent minions, poor hygiene, and noxious odors all repel me! I am, however, neither stupid nor incapable of self-control! I can and will ignore such things when something important is going on!
  25. Any important facilities, storage areas, escape pods, and similar necessities will be found INSIDE my defenses! Leaving important stuff unprotected is asking for it and I do that enough anyway!
  26. I reserve the right to fire minons who are excessively irritating know-it-alls who say “I told you so!” too much! It’s not like ANY plan is likely to hold up when a bunch of crazy heroes comes through anyway, so they’re not exactly making a useful contribution there!
  27. When my mechanisms, spells, rituals, and mad science devices fail, they will do so in great bursts of colored light and loud bangs with symphonic accompaniment! Everypony loves a good fireworks display!
  28. I will employ stone, metal, modern safety techniques, and warding spells to make sure that my stronghold is proof against fire, flood, storms, natural disasters, and various other hazards while requiring minimal maintenance! Cheap construction always costs you more in the long run!
  29. I shall hire some competent people to run my intelligence, census, and similar services! There is no use trying to give orders to make things sillier if you do not know what is going on!
  30. If a hero feels a need to speak to me in person, there is always videoconferencing! Otherwise he or she can await one of my general audience days, just like everybody else! And bring a fruit basket!
  31. I will have many projects going on at once! This is what Delegation and Subdivisions are for! If some heroes disrupt one project, well, there shall be a dozen more that actually get finished!
  32. Drugs, rituals, artifacts, and pacts offering immortality will be carefully examined for difficulty and drawbacks and filed accordingly! While I have Immortality ANYWAY, the kids don’t always inherit it and I can only bestow it up until they move out! If any of them want to put up with whatever drawbacks a given method has (there are always SOME) I will gladly help them get it set up!
  33. Any classical monsters working for me will be provided with new riddles, weaknesses, or vulnerable points! There is no point in having a guardian or enforcer that can be defeated by any kid with access to Google!
  34. Just in case there is a background music failure, I will have a backup background music system installed, complete with an AI to pick something appropriate. What is a good scene without background music?
  35. I will keep my priorities in order! Dramatic Escapes (Family first, and with less drama), Cool Scenes, Being Annoying, Bad Puns, Expanding My Harem, Teaching Moments, Coming Up With Evil Explanations for Nice Deeds, Chocolate Desserts, Ruling Effectively, and Finding More Heroes to Amuse Me, in that order!
  36. If a Hero or (especially!) Heroine starts a transformation sequence, I will wait until it is halfway through to interrupt and point out that they are now naked. If necessary, I will use my powers of transmutation on their clothing to ensure that this is so – and to make sure that it remains true. There’s nothing like a bunch of naked heroes doing a Benny Hill chase scene!
  37. My word is my bond! My Safeword, on the other hand, is Power Word Escape!
  38. Collecting Dread Artifacts of Great Power is always fun until you try to use them for something important, at which point they invariably backfire! I will use them only for trivia, and when a hero steals one because “He does not know what he has his hooves on!” I shall laugh uproariously when it blows up in his or her face! Besides… Aggravating Overlord Vastly Wealthy Influential Magic Cartoon Unicorn Wizard here, remember? It’s not like dread artifacts are going to do much that I can’t find a way to do anyway!
  39. I will make sure that any invisibility devices that I either use or leave around to be stolen will stop working at dramatic moments! What good is a dramatic moment with no audience?
  40. Any robots will have concealed power systems, well inside. The vulnerable external power pack will be a popcorn grenade trap (because a hero who tries this obviously needs more grains!) Set to go off when somebody grabs it!
  41. Zombie, Ghoul, Vampire, Wraith and other undead armies are GROSS. Also useless and prone to going out of control. The necromancer down the block can HAVE them. A squad of scantily dressed lovely cat girls and/or handsome and virile horse boys looking for someone to protect and rescue them from me is FAR more effective at delaying heroes – and lets me get rid of them. Where do the blasted things keep coming from anyway?
  42. I shall not be cheap. What use is being incredibly wealthy if you do not spend your money? Hordes are for dragons, and look how much good they do THEM.
  43. Any idea that crosses my mind will get serious consideration! After all, how can I be stopped if even I do not know what I am up to at any given moment?
  44. If cornered I will break out the emergency eyepatch, pirate shirt, and ninja-to. Then I shall be invincible! Or in a mental hospital. If it works for the Joker, it will work for me!
  45. I shall have small, cute, furry things with big eyes handle my personal security! Even if the heroes should somehow work up a desire to attack, the law of cartoon cute will stop them.
  46. If I must resort to generic villainy, I shall go to a discount club and invest in an entire pallet of the large economy size. Do you have any idea how embarrassing it is to run out of villainy?
  47. Any offerings of cringing slaves, frightened children, or beautiful young virgin women will be accepted, sorted out by the staff, given meals and appropriate treatment, and either sent home or – if they actually want a job – given the usual security checks and evaluation. (See Legions Of Cuddly, Harem, and Staff). Adults who show up four or more times will be referred to social services! Children who prove to have been around this four or more times will be given a swat on the rear, a good scolding, and a note sent to their parents or social workers! If they have neither they will be assigned some social workers! I am not a babysitting service most of the time!
  48. If I feel a need to demonstrate my utter decadence, ruthless domination, or extreme edginess I will hire in some people to play the necessary roles! The look on the heroes faces when some of the heads “mounted on the wall” ask them how they’re doing is priceless!
  49. Whenever a policeman comes to arrest me, or solo hero tries to capture me, or I am somehow trapped in the company of someone utterly unlike me, I shall consider how amusing they seem likely to be and then either 1) Teleport, or 2) Use my “change genre” power to make it a “Buddy Picture” just in case it wasn’t already.
  50. If the heroes attempt to break or reform me by listing off all my flaws, errors, failures, and bad habits I shall listen closely! They will almost certainly remind me of several fun things that I need to do again!

Anomaly – Things Of Interest Around Vitromasse

And for today’s bonus post, since the players voted for Avrinthos, here are some of the things going on in the area.

  • The Star Treaders. Vitromasse isn’t a major stop for the Star Treaders – unusually for them, most of their usual stock-in-trade is actually less variegated and exotic than what is available locally and nobody really wants their “technology” – but supplies of air and water are basically free, the Gathri may not be all that friendly but they’re willing to sell plenty of food cheaply, and the local Suugken holdings will sell them the occasional outright quasi-miracle. Even along their routes, that’s a rarity. Few of the accessible worlds in their realm have developed the local psychic and material technologies to such a degree. They still stop by every month or two, and are often looking for something they have heard is available on the anomaly – somewhere.
  • The Formless Horrors. Thanks to the Tindalos birthright, it’s all too common in Avrinthos for someone to call up something that he, she, ze, or it, cannot put down. Despite the efforts of the Gaunthounds, it’s not uncommon for something to be missed – and so there will have to be hunts to put down the latest formless-tentacled-horror that’s melting people’s flesh / sucking the blood from people so they rise as some sort of mummy / whispering horrific occult secrets into people’s minds and driving them mad. There are probably two or three aroud the place at the moment.
  • Elkdunar. This village was relatively nearby, (about fifteen miles, along the twisting routes in the mountains about three days travel), but has apparently been destroyed by giant monsters. The current popular rumor is that the Jagurhund Ramperdr forged himself a Masque Of Wrath and wiped the place out. The more sober people are hoping that it’s something else; someone who’d forge a Masque Of Wrath is unlikely to stop at wiping out one village, The locals are currently debating whether or not to send a group to investigate.
  • Sturmkanal (so named due to the regular lightning strikes on it): Perched atop a nearby mountain, this massive (metal?) citadel apparently dates back to a previous cycle. Why it’s still working is an open question, but the usual answer was that it was somehow brought to life millennia past, and so has it’s own Birthright – so it and everything in it’s interior will continue to operate under that Birthrights rules as long as the castle survives. The castle itself is noted for it’s many traps and monsters, it’s digital clocktower, and it’s incredible garishness – but adventurers who go poking about it in all too often come to a bad end. As a rule, however, Sturmkanal keeps to itself; if you don’t go and bang on the walls or go into the place, it’s not a problem.
  • Rilantha. The passes to the south, of course, lead into Rilantha – a realm noted for it’s colossal beasts and savage tribes. Occasional hunting expeditions (Usually Ri’on Huntsmen brought in by the Star Treaders) use Vitromasse as a jumping-off point, and there is always a market for multi-ton logs of ivory, incredibly tough behemoth hide, and similar products of giant beasts. Just as importantly, the local tribes may be a bit barbaric, but they’re generally up for some trading if someone brings along enough firepower to survive the trip.
  • The Olistor River: The riverboat that moves up and down the navigable section of the Olistor (The Tenshi) connects at least fifteen communities (argument continues on how to count logging camps and similar outposts) and is basically a small community in its own right. Rumors, of course, note the presence of water monsters, a mysterious cavern that leads elsewhere, some sort of tree-guardians attacking a logging camp, and the appearance of a Skinwalker that gunned down a gambling group and made off with the pot.
  • Vitromasse General Area: There’s been a good deal of trouble recently with things that come out of the ground – strange, partially-metallic beings riding huge spiders -but they rarely leave a lot of survivors (another reason why the locals been investing in more Guanthounds recently).
  • Vitromasse: A couple of young-adult Suugken are about ready to move out – and their mother (Intimoda, Time/Space Affinity, Exotic Technological Birthright) would rather like someone to keep an eye on them to improve their odds of survival. Unfortunately, while she one of the more formidable defenders of Vitromasse, and can build technical gear beyond most of the other locals skills, it simply wouldn’t be RIGHT to interfere with the kids Hegira directly.
  • Vitromasse: For those with ethics, the fact that most of the Guanthounds are the enslaved results of burning out much of a victim’s mind and involuntarily transforming them may be troubling. Whether or not much can be done about it is an awkward question.
  • Avrinthos: A number of youngsters are showing unfamiliar Birthrights; It is obvious that a Time Of Change began some years ago, and will not be causing increasing disruptions.
  • Far North: There are some tales that the Uruk, piloting a force of massive war machines that work like creatures, are making conquests up that way – but even with the various ways of speeding up travel available in Avrinthos, that area is some thousands of miles away. By the time such news makes it to Vitromasse any details in the stories are at least as likely to have been added along the way as to have been transmitted accurately.

Observations from Space (These are available to several characters):

  • Avrinthos: Most of the other villages that have been spotted on the surveys have at least one (and often more than one) odd phenomena near them – weird pyramids radiating strange energies, odd patches of forest, pools or “roads” of light, paths that go nowhere, and so on. Most such seem to either be considered local resources or are exploiting some other local resource themselves.
  • The surrounding realms:
    • There is crude AM traffic to the (quite arbitrary) north and more distant north east – mostly unencrypted AM. Fortunately, most of the major sources are broadcasting with far more power than a modern station requires, making much of the traffic relatively easy to intercept. For good or ill, however… much of it appears to be military. There seem to be various more-or-less local conflicts going on across Malador, Haldon, Orrort, Ustcheon, and Nichtfel along with a few large constructs moving about. Still, given the size of the realms… there are probably a fair number of peaceful areas as well. Much of the area seems to have a basic Railway Network that extends across several realms.
    • There’s also a lot of much more modern, throughly encrypted, traffic from the Crystalreaches, where something seems obsessed with constructing pylons. There is similar traffic – and some pretty odd energy readings – around Stardock. Given that the peak there seems to extend above the Anomalies atmosphere, and possibly actually extends into the Star Wars universe proper, there is some discussion of putting down a small ship simply to see if it can take off again.
    • Directly to the east, in Nilandar, there seem to be forests and islands cloaked in perpetual darkness. No one is quite sure how that works, but they aren’t quite sure how other places get sunlight anyway. Perhaps they are drawing it from other universes?
    • To the Northeast (in Leros) there appears to be large-scale irrigation, agriculture with at least some mechanized harvesting, and a fairly prosperous semi-industrial civilization – although, oddly enough, there is no radio traffic.

Things of Specific Interest:

  • The locals feel that if you want something REALLY large moved (such as Vanatica’s shuttle), the best thing to do is to call in some heavy haulers from Rilantha. It’s mildly expensive, but they can drag a LOT of stuff about. For faster travel, you’ll want someone with the right Birthright unless there are only a few of you and you can talk Intimoda into teleporting you.