Eclipse – The Bloodmage Healer

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

Such is the path of the BloodMage Healer.

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

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

But sooner or later… there will be.

BloodMage Healer

Level One Master Of Life And Death

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

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

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

Basics (18 CP):

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

Special Abilities (48 CP):

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

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

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

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

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

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Eclipse – The Sagacious Advisor

This package gives you the classic sage, mentor, or royal advisor – someone who can tell you that the unseasonable winter blighting the land is almost certainly the work of the Winter King wielding the reforged Fimbulwinter Blade from his Otherworldly Castle Of Ice, and that some heroes must journey there to stop him by shattering the blade once more so that the seasons will turn properly for another age of the world.

He will even – after enough research (waiting to draw the right card since he only gets new ones for his Hexcrafting magic when important things happen) that the situation has become utterly dire and the party has had to hold off multiple attacks by Polar Bears, Winter Wolves, and other ice-monsters – be able to open a path into the mystic realms of the Seasonal Spirits, so that you can reach the Castle Of Ice to do battle with the Winter King.

He won’t know that the Winter King was recently overthrown by his treacherous son Prince Iceheart wielding the reforged Fimbulwinter blade, and that to restore the balance of the world the party will have to rescue the old king, defeat the Prince, shatter Fimbulwinter once more, and perform a ritual to reinstate the link between the Realm of Winter and it’s once and future King. After all, that information is far too recent to appear in the Sagacious Advisors ancient tomes – but he can still get the party started on their adventure.

Similarly, he can put the dying king afflicted by the nigh-unstoppable mystic venom into stasis, and greatly slow the decay of the land that ruler is linked to – but he will have to stick around to keep recasting that stasis (after all, it starting to wear off is probably an important enough event to justify refreshing his powers), leaving the quest for the cure up to the player characters.

Of course, if you wind up having to take a Sagacious Advisor along on your adventures – perhaps you need one of those vastly powerful spells performed at a particular place – then you will have to babysit them through the trip and then protect them from the inevitable massive attack while they perform their ritual casting because they probably won’t be any use at all along the way.

The Sagacious Advisor (Usually an NPC):

Basic Attributes: Str 8, Dex 8, Con 12, Int 14, Wis 12, Cha 16 (Pathfinder 15 Point Buy).

Available Character Points: L3 Base (96 CP) -18 (Untrained) +12 (L1 and L3 Feats) = 90 CP.

Basics (25 CP): Hit Dice: 3d6 (6 CP), Skill Points +8 (Fast Learner at L0, 6 CP) +6 (6 CP) = 14 (six knowledges at +1, 8 points for other skills), BAB +0 (0 CP), Saves +0 (Luck with +2 Bonus Uses, Specialized in Saves, 4 CP), Proficiencies: All Simple Weapons (3 CP).

Other Abilities (65 CP):

  • Luck with +4 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect: only for Skills, only for Knowledge, Skills, user must spend a lot of time rummaging through ancient tomes and lore, information often contains gaps (especially about recent changes) that will need to be filled by adventurers, user is afflicted with great curiosity and a certain lack of caution (12 CP).
  • +6 Base Caster Levels, Specialized in Hexcrafting. (18 CP).
  • Hexcrafting: 4 Free Invocations (8 CP), 3 Cards (8 CP), 2 Fixed Cards (6 CP). All Corrupted for Reduced Cost / the user must fumble around with assorted arcane ingredients, speak, and gesture to do anything at all. The Cards are also Specialized for Reduced Cost / Ritual Only, it requires at least one minute of ritual per card expended to create an effect.
  • Berserker with Odinpower (+15 to Base Caster Level, -2 to AC) and +2 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted for Reduced Cost / each use only allows the casting of a single spell, user forfeits his or her dexterity bonus while casting, only half effect when using a free invocation, (4 CP).
  • Choice of Houngan Conjurer (9 CP) or Where Does He Get Those Wonderful Toys (9 CP).

While the Sagacious Advisor is useful to have around, and makes a wonderful government official… he or she does not have the quick, or regularly-usable, power needed to be a real threat to the current rulers or to overshadow the player characters. Like it or not, he or she is effectively a plot device. Still, every so often, the Sagacious Advisor can perform a major ritual – opening the path to a realm of myths, transporting a city away from an attacking horde to an unknown alien realm (which will, of course, offer it’s own menaces and which will urgently need exploring), or stopping that volcanic eruption (while simultaneously upsetting some Elementals) – and then be quite unable to deal with the further consequences. Que the player characters having a new mission.

Given that the game is supposed to be focused on the player characters, that’s a good thing. I’ve played in entirely too many games where the megapowerful NPC’s could (and obviously SHOULD) easily fix the problem – but it gets shoved off onto the player charters for some unspecified reason. As an example from a game I once played in…

(My character) “So let me get this straight, The kings widely-loved daughter has been Kidnapped. So the King sent his most skilled (high-level) guards out to scoop up what must be the six weirdest, most incompatible (we had a Drow, a Minotaur, my chain-smoking modern Egyptian tomb robber who’d been drafted by Anubis to be a priest in a fantasy world, and several other weird types), people in the capital, whom he had no information on, who are not known as adventurers, and who he has no reason to trust, to send after her. He’s doing this on the advice of his supposedly good-guy Mind Flayer advisor. We’ve been told that she’s being held in a legendary tomb in the middle of the enchanted forest by bandits. The King refused to lend us a guide, or any guards to provide backup, or give us a map, or provide us with any gear. And we will be thrown in the dungeons if we don’t take on this mission. Well… Now that we’re approaching the forest… I vote that we make a break for it!”

The game master was extremely surprised when the party assumed that we were, at best, a sacrificial diversion for the real rescue mission – and that, at worst, the “lawful good king” was actually covering up the elimination of an uncooperative daughter. And why would we be asking for gear or a map or help? We had our first-level character creation funds!

With this build… that sort of thing is not a problem. The Sagacious Advisor can meet the magical needs of the kingdom, tell the party where to find the necessary plot coupons and mcguffins, and still remain low level and incapable of doing the actual adventuring himself. It also means that – in a setting where most of the world is low level – one can fairly readily find or train an effective royal advisor without having to assume that they just appear from nowhere when it’s convenient.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Karresh World Laws:

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

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

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

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

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

Low-Level Adventurer Template:

Everyone on the Anomaly gets either the NPC (adjusted for people who just want to live quietly) or the Adventurer version of the Template for Characters in a Low-Level World. Not too surprisingly, this character is getting the “Adventurer” version. To summarize it’s effects:

  • A -3 penalty on unskilled skill checks.
  • Slow level advancement, by direct session-based character point awards rather than experience points. Succeeding in goals helps, but killing things and taking their stuff does not.
  • A +3 bonus on five skills which suit their backgrounds and training. Sadly, this cannot be applied to active psionic or magical skills. These are, however, considered to be natural skill ranks.
  • Extra hit points equal to [12 + (2 x Con Mod)].
  • Two minor special talents or “knacks” appropriate to their home universe – one Class-A (roughly equivalent to the effects of a first level spell or power) and one Class-B (roughly equivalent to the effects of a cantrip). His are +2 Dexterity and a +1 Universal Damage Reduction.

Skill List:

  • Characters will be using the Condensed Skill List, complete with the various skills special functions. These may, however, be adjusted for world or origin; Sci-fi characters rarely spellcast, but often have other special talents. Skill Checks are normally made on 3d6, and characters may “take 15″ instead of “20″. They are normally assumed to get a “5″ for passive checks, such as to notice something in passing.

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

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

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

Basic Abilities (53 CP):

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

Usual Attacks:

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

Other Abilities (70 CP):

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

Defense Mastery (35 CP):

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

Modular Artificer (6 CP):

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

Current Relics:

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

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

Minor Dweomerist (20 CP).

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

Skills:

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

Solar Flare Style Martial Art (Dex)

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

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

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

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

Adventurers Of The Anomaly – Felix Solar, Mechwarrior

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Battletech Universe World Laws

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

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

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

Post-Industrial Human (31 CP / +0 ECL Racial Template):

  • Highly Adaptable: Racial Bonus Feat (6 CP).
  • The Quick And The Dead: Fast Learner Specialized in Skills for +2 SP/Level (6 CP). Homids are the preeminent masters of acquiring knowledge – even if they often do acquire inaccurate ideas just as easily.
  • Tribalism: Humans bond with other people to form close personal friendships, and intensely – loyal groups quickly and easily. They perform at their best when defending those relationships. Presence/+1 Morale Bonus to attacks, damage, saves, and checks, Specialized for double effect (+2 bonuses)/only when defending or assisting members of their family, tribe, or extremely close personal friends (6 CP).
  • Enduring Traveler: Celerity, +20′ ground movement, Specialized/only for use in calculating long-distance travel ranges and whether or not they can catch up with something (4 CP). The heritage of ancient migrations and persistence hunting remains a fundamental part of humanities genetic arsenal.
  • Projectile Predator: +1 Racial Bonus BAB with ranged attacks (3 CP). Two million years of throwing weapons leaves it’s mark.
  • Omnivorous Scavenger: Humans are tougher than vultures. They can handle horrific pollution levels, noxious food additives, and many other environmental insults with little harm. They get a +4 bonus on relevant Saving Throws (Resist II, 6 CP).

Low-Level Adventurer Template:

Everyone on the Anomaly gets either the NPC (adjusted for people who just want to live quietly) or the Adventurer version of the Template for Characters in a Low-Level World. Not too surprisingly, this character is getting the “Adventurer” version. To summarize it’s effects:

  • A -3 penalty on unskilled skill checks.
  • Slow level advancement, by direct session-based character point awards rather than experience points. Succeeding in goals helps, but killing things and taking their stuff does not.
  • A +3 bonus on five skills which suit their backgrounds and training. Sadly, this cannot be applied to active psionic or magical skills. These are, however, considered to be natural skill ranks.
  • Extra hit points equal to [12 + (2 x Con Mod)].
  • Two minor special talents or “knacks” appropriate to their home universe – one Class-A (roughly equivalent to the effects of a first level spell or power) and one Class-B (roughly equivalent to the effects of a cantrip). His are:
    • Gun Bunny (A-Tier): You threaten all squares within your normal melee reach when wielding a gun as if it was a melee weapon and do not provoke attacks of opportunity when firing.
    • Fast Draw (B-Tier): You may get objects out of pockets, off of belt loops, and similar as a free action.

Skill List:

  • Characters will be using the Condensed Skill List, complete with the various skills special functions. These may, however, be adjusted for world or origin; Sci-fi characters rarely spellcast, but often have other special talents. Skill Checks are normally made on 3d6, and characters may “take 15″ instead of “20″. They are normally assumed to get a “5″ for passive checks, such as to notice something in passing.

Felix Solar

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

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

Basic Abilities (60 CP):

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

Usual Attacks:

  • Melee: +7 (+1 (BAB) +6 (Str).

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

Mechwarrior Skills:

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

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

Other Skills:

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

Natural Leadership (17 CP):

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

Hotshot Pilot (18 CP):

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

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

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

Ponies Of The Eclipse – Stygian and The Pony Of Shadows

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

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

For his primary attributes…

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stygian Shadow, potential Prince Of Friendship Betrayed.

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

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

Basic Abilities (36 CP):

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

Sage (35 CP):

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

Skills:

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

Stygian Magic (53 CP).

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

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

Basic Witchcraft Abilities:

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

Advanced Witchcraft Abilities:

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

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

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

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

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

Equipment:

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

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

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

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

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

  • A -3 penalty on unskilled skill checks.
  • Very slow level advancement, by direct session-based character point awards rather than experience points. Succeeding in goals helps, but killing things and taking their stuff does not.
  • The status of valuable trouble magnets – they’re rare and find trouble everywhere they go.
  • A +3 bonus on five skills which suit their backgrounds and training. Sadly, this cannot be applied to active magical skills.
  • Extra hit points equal to [12 + (2 x Con Mod)].
  • Two minor special talents. For the full list see the Template. For Stygian we’ll take a +2 bonus to his Intelligence and Enduring (providing him with a +1 bonus on his Saves).

To summarize the Basic Pony Modifiers:

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

To Summarize The Unicorn Subrace Modifiers:

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

Eclipse: The Codex Persona is available in a Freeware PDF Version, in Print, and in a Paid PDF Version that includes Eclipse II (245 pages of Eclipse races, character and power builds, items, relics, martial arts, and other material) and the web expansion. Here’s a Featured Review of it and another Independent Review.

The Practical Enchanter can be found in a Print Edition (Lulu), an Electronic Edition (RPGNow), and a Shareware Edition (RPGNow).  There’s an RPGNow Staff Review too.

Adventurers Of The Anomaly – Tarsus Korazan

This character request for the current Anomaly game was for a vaguely Shadowrun-style Wizard-Gunfighter – a military-trained “magitech” engineer – not a primary combatant, but a maintainer and sometimes-maker of specialty gear and weapons.

Solopsis:

The old nation-states are fading as rapid transport, digital communications, Better-Than-Reality (TM) virtual experiences, and fusion power make the old boundaries and physical resources less and less relevant. Physical location is still important when it comes to basic services and security, but it has become less and less relevant to the masses interests, social circles, employment, and focus. As the population drops and the great cities turn ever more inward upon themselves, the barren lands between them are slowly returning to a wilderness populated by mutated (or magical) monstrosities and occasional groups of reactionaries, survivalists, or other holdouts.

Yet competition, ambition, and greed endure. Corporations, unions, neotribal groups, fan clubs, political movements, and a hundred other groups struggle in the shadows, spurred in part by the inability to agree on the reality underlying their virtual overlays and tailored “news”, in part by the lack of central control over the data files and the micro-manufacturing systems that place sophisticated hardware within the grasp of any anarchist with a few credits, and in part by the use of virtual reality systems to train mages – taking magic use from a painful and ill-understood thing of traditions, drugs, apprenticeships, and hundreds of self-crippled contradictory systems to a thing that anyone can study (even if relatively few prove to have any real talent for).

For those who seek change, or wealth, or glory, or a thousand other things and are unsatisfied with a private virtual world to experience it in… while poor choices are likely to lead to an early grave, a good choice of training simulations, equipment, and employers can lead to genuine wealth, power, and luxury as an independent operative or in the service of some greater group.

Inspiration for characters from Solopsis can be found in Cyberpunk, Shadowrun, SLA Industries, Cyberspace, Expendables, and any number of futuristic or “cyberpunk” stories and movies.

Solopsis World Laws:

  • Characters from Solopsis gain access to the Weaponry and Biotech Occult Skills at normal cost (12 CP). The people of Solopsis have deeply integrated biotechnology, cyberware, and personal weaponry with their basic lifestyles. They may purchase these two Occult Equipment Skills as basic skills.
  • Guns Are Best: Universal (applies to both physical and energy damage) Damage Reduction, Corrupted/not versus Guns, 3/Guns (4 CP). The overall superiority of Firearms is deeply ingrained in Solopsis’s world laws, to the point where other weapons have reduced effects against it’s peoples.
  • Simulation Learning. Kids from Solopsis pick up skills fast and early through high-pressure Better-Than-Life (TM) virtual reality education and games, gaining a +4 Training bonus on any one skill and a +2 Training bonus on any two other skills (8 CP).

Solopsis uses magic, but it uses it quite scientifically and methodically – treating it as just another branch of engineering. Arcanotech Personal foci are most common, what independent magical items there are tend to be at least partially technological.

Post-Industrial Human

(31 CP / +0 ECL Racial Template):

  • Highly Adaptable: Racial Bonus Feat (6 CP).
  • The Quick And The Dead: Fast Learner Specialized in Skills for +2 SP/Level (6 CP). Homids are the preeminent masters of acquiring knowledge – even if they often do acquire inaccurate ideas just as easily.
  • Tribalism: Humans bond with other people to form close personal friendships, and intensely – loyal groups quickly and easily. They perform at their best when defending those relationships. Presence/+1 Morale Bonus to attacks, damage, saves, and checks, Specialized for double effect (+2 bonuses)/only when defending or assisting members of their family, tribe, or extremely close personal friends (6 CP).
  • Enduring Traveler: Celerity, +20′ ground movement, Specialized/only for use in calculating long-distance travel ranges and whether or not they can catch up with something (4 CP). The heritage of ancient migrations and persistence hunting remains a fundamental part of humanities genetic arsenal.
  • Projectile Predator: +1 Racial Bonus BAB with ranged attacks (3 CP). Two million years of throwing weapons leaves it’s mark.
  • Omnivorous Scavenger: Humans are tougher than vultures. They can handle horrific pollution levels, noxious food additives, and many other environmental insults with little harm. They get a +4 bonus on relevant Saving Throws (Resist II, 6 CP).

Low-Level Adventurer Template:

Everyone on the Anomaly gets either the NPC (adjusted for people who just want to live quietly) or the Adventurer version of the Template for Characters in a Low-Level World. Not too surprisingly, this character is getting the “Adventurer” version. To summarize it’s effects:

  • A -3 penalty on unskilled skill checks.
  • Slow level advancement, by direct session-based character point awards rather than experience points. Succeeding in goals helps, but killing things and taking their stuff does not.
  • A +3 bonus on five skills which suit their backgrounds and training. Sadly, this cannot be applied to active psionic or magical skills. These are, however, considered to be natural skill ranks.
  • Extra hit points equal to [12 + (2 x Con Mod)].
  • Two minor special talents or “knacks” appropriate to their home universe – one Class-A (roughly equivalent to the effects of a first level spell or power) and one Class-B (roughly equivalent to the effects of a cantrip). His are +2 Dex and a +1 Bonus on Saves.

Characters will be using the Condensed Skill List, complete with the various skills special functions. These may, however, be adjusted for world or origin; Sci-fi characters rarely spellcast, but often have other special talents. Skill Checks are normally made on 3d6, and characters may “take 15″ instead of “20″. They are normally assumed to get a “5″ for passive checks, such as to notice something in passing.

Now that all of that is out of the way, it’s time for the actual character build:

Tarsus Korazan

Not Quite Third Level Arcane Gunslinger

Available Character Points: 92 (L2 +20 XP, may purchase things as L3) +10 (Disadvantages: Blocked (Witchcraft), Inept (Charisma-Based Skills. A virtual education will do that to you), and Accursed (stranded on the Anomaly with no apparent way back)) +18 (Human, L1, and L3 Bonus feats) = 120 CP.

Basic Attributes (Pathfinder 25 Point Buy): Str 8, Dex 16 (+2 Template = 18), Con 14, Int 16, Wis 12, Cha 10.

Basic Abilities (60 CP):

  • Hit Dice: 6 (L1d6, 2 CP) +12 L2-3d6, 4 CP) + 12 (Template) +10 (5 x Con Mod) = 40 HP.
  • Skill Points: 6 (Purchased, 6 CP) +12 (Human Fast Learner) +18 (+3 Int Mod) = 36 SP
    • Adept (Biotech, Perception, Spellslinger Style, Weaponry, 6 CP)
  • BAB: +6 BAB, Specialized /Ranged Attacks Only, Corrupted / Pistols only (12 CP).
  • Saves:
    • Fortitude: +0 (0 CP) +2 (Con) +1 (Tem) = +3
    • Reflex: +2 (6 CP) +4 (Dex) +1 (Tem) = +7
    • Will: +2 (6 CP) +1 (Wis) +1 (Tem) = +4
    • Luck with +4 Bonus Uses Specialized in Saves (6 CP).
  • Proficiencies: Simple Weapons and Pistols (6 CP), Light Armor with the Smooth Modifier (6 CP).
  • Initiative +4 (Dex) +4 (Improved Initiative, 6 CP) +2 (Reaction Booster) = +10
  • Move: 30′.
  • Armor Class: 10 (Base) +4 (Dex) +3 (Kevlar) +1 (Martial Art) = 18

Usual Attacks:

  • Black Cat Flechette Pistol :+17/+12 or +15/+15 Rapid Shot (+6 BAB +4 Dex +3 Smartgun Link +3 Martial Art +1 Enhancement), 2d6+1 Damage, Crit 18-20/x2, 40′ Range Increment, 50-round magazine, Silent, Smartgun Equipped. May be used to inflict stun damage at will, jumps into hand from up to 10′ away when wanted.
  • Lion’s Roar Mini-Grenade Launcher: +13/+8 (+6 BAB +4 Dex +3 Martial Art), 4d8 damage in a 10′ radius, 40′ range increment, scatters as a grenade-like weapon if square missed, 5 Shot Magazine.
  • Tigers Claw Combat Knife: +2 (+0 BAB, -1 Str, +3 Martial Art), 2d4 Damage, Crit 20/x2, 10′ Range Increment if Thrown, Impervious (never gets damaged), Vibro (+15 damage to overcome Damage Reduction only).
  • Unarmed: +2 (+0 BAB, -1 Str, +3 Martial Art), 1d4 Damage, Crit 20/x2, may inflict lethal or nonlethal damage without penalty. Is always considered Armed.

Other Abilities:

Solipsis Arcanist (35 CP):

  • Graduate Arcanist: Five Base Caster Levels, Specialized in Wizard Casting using Generic Spell Levels (15 CP).
  • Craft Of Wizardry: 4d6 Mana as 8d4 (20) Generic Spell Levels, Specialized / only to be bound into prepared wizard spells using available formula (12 CP) (note that, if he wants to use metamagic and such he’ll need to unspecialize this later – but this works very well for a lot-level character).
  • Scientific Magic: Action Hero/Invention, Specialized (for increased effect) and Corrupted (for reduced cost) / only for Researching Spells (at 2 AP per level of the spell), only during downtime – a total of 2(Level+2) AP per level (4 CP). At an effective level of three, Tarsus has had a total of 24 AP to spend on buying additional spells at a cost of 1/2/4/6 AP for a spell of level 0/1/2/3.
  • Gunslinger Training Spells:
    • L0) Arcane Mark, Dancing Lights, Detect Magic, Drench, Flare, Mending, Message, and Read Magic.
    • L1) Burning Hands, Color Spray, Ray Of Enfeeblement, Sloth Ray (Single-Target Slow).
    • L2) Acid Arrow, Gust Of Wind, Ray Of Stupidity, Scorching Ray.
    • L3) Lightning Bolt, Ray Of Exhaustion
    • L4) (Not yet usable) Shout
  • Hedge Magic Spells, Corrupted/does not include making Conjures (4 CP). The Hedge Magic spell list includes a wide variety of relatively minor, practical, spells. Taking this feat automatically adds them to all your spell lists.
  • Personal Spells:
    • L0) None selected.
    • L1) Comprehend Languages, Shield, Sleep
    • L2) Arcane Disruption, Blindness/Deafness, Warp Strike
    • L3) Stinking Cloud

Warp Strike. Conjuration (Teleportation), Ass 2, Sor/Wiz 2, probably various other classes 2, Components V, S, Range Touch, Target Touched Creature (may be self), Duration one minute or until discharged, whichever is shorter, Saving Throw none, Spell Resistance Yes (harmless). When this spell is cast on a creature it may discharge it to cause the origin of an attack, power, spell, or other ability it uses to be at any location within long range thanks to a momentary portal. Line of effect is not required, but if the destination point is occupied by a solid object the spell fails.

This will let you backstab someone from long range, dump dust of sneezing and choking on someone from across a battlefield, throw a fireball around a corner, and various other tricks.

Arcane Gunslinger (19 CP):

All of these abilities are Corrupted / they require the use of an “attuned” pistol as a focus (and, for Spell Conversion, as the target of enhancing spells). Attuning a pistol is a process that requires several hours and inscribing the weapon with his personal sigil while it remains attuned. Only (Int Mod) weapons can be so attuned at a time.

  • Ray Mastery: +1 to Critical Multiplier with Ray Spells that have them. Improved Critical (Rays) (4 CP).
  • Arcane Focus: Improved Augmented Bonus: Add (Dex Mod) to (Int Mod) when determining Spell Save DC’s, Specialized / only for ranged touch attack, cone, line, or ray spells, DC increase cannot exceed the enhancement bonus of the gun in use (4 CP).
  • Guided Bolt: Augmented Bonus / Add (Int Mod) to (Dex Mod) when rolling attack checks with Rays, Specialized / cannot exceed the enhancement bonus of the gun used for the focus (3 CP).
  • Innate Affinity: Spell Conversion / Wizard Pistol Magic Spells (4 CP).
    • L0) Weapon Mastery: +3 to BAB with Pistols for one minute per level.
    • L1) Trick Shot: Make a ranged combat maneuver with a shot.
    • L2) Swift Reload: Reloads a firearm with available ammunition as a swift action.
    • L3) Eldritch Pistol: Gives a gun a +4 Enhancement Bonus, up to +2 of which may be invested in special weapon properties, for one minute per caster level.
    • L4) Dispelling Shot: Expend an AoO to shoot an incoming spell as per Dispel Magic.
    • L5) Bullet Storm: Shoot at up to (Level) targets at your full BAB and with a +10 Insight Bonus on the attacks. No more than two shots may be directed at any one target however.
    • L6) Hydrostatic Shock: Fire one shot with a +10 Insight Bonus on the attack. If it hits it does +10 damage and creature hit must save versus massive damage or die.
    • L7) Greater Eldritch Pistol: Gun gains a +8 Enhancement Bonus, up to +4 of which may be invested in special weapon properties for one hour per caster level.
    • L8) Distant Shot: Ignore range penalties with pistols for the rest of the day.
    • L9) Missile Mastery: You may make ranged combat maneuvers with up to four shots per round as if you had Improved Dirty Trick Greater Dirty Trick, and Dirty Trick Master for the rest of the day.
  • Gunslingers Instincts: Reflex Training / once per round can convert a spell as a part of an attack action (4 CP).

Anomalous Experiences (6 CP):

  • In his time on the Anomaly, Tarsus has learned to use the local Charms and Talismans (See The Practical Enchanter, 6 CP).
    • Charms:
      • Ammunition Pouch: Turns up to 3 GP/Day into Ammunition. (Pistol Ammunition costs 1 GP per 50 rounds. Specialized Ammunition costs twice as much and takes a -2 to Hit, but has one special quality from among: +1 to Critical Range, +4 to Damage, Silver, Quiet (+10 to Hearing DC to hear), and Tracer (can start a fire if it hits something flammable, reduces penalties for iterative attacks to -4 per shot)).
      • Dust Of Illusion. A pinch produces minor visual illusions. Needs restocking every 4d6 uses.
      • Foothold Boots. Can create a momentary disc of force under themselves three times an hour, even in midair.
      • Luncheon Pot. Provides enough cheese, jam, or butter for several decent sandwiches every day.
      • Vanishing Coat (Cloak). Renders the user invisible for up to 12 seconds (3 + Level/3) times daily.
      • Wellstone. Provides a steady trickle of pure water whenever activated.
      • Wizard’s Hand. Provides a Mage Hand effect when concentrated on.
    • Talismans:
      • Rubydraught Flask: Produces 2d4 Goodberry Draughts per day, accumulating up to three days worth.
      • Rune Weapon (On Black Cat Pistol, Below. Making it a +1 Eager weapon)
      • Tulthara (Wristband that creates a temporary Black Cat Pistol, as below, for a backup weapon).

He has also collected 34 Obols (14 Black Gold, 8 Sunlight-Silver, 5 Opaline Crystal, 3 Red-Iron, 1 Starry Crystal, and 1 Green Diamond). 164 GP, and 40 silver.

Skills:

Biotech: +6 (3* CP) +2 (Con) +2 (Training) +3 (Template) = +13

  • Augmented Eyes II (Smartgun Link, Data Display, Low-Light, Flash Resistance).
  • Subdermal Impact Weave III (+2/- Universal Damage Reduction).
  • Communicator III (Transceiver and Network Datalink).
  • Computer II (equivalent to a Tablet).
  • Oxygen Reserve I (10 Minutes).
  • Reaction Booster II (+2 Initiative).

Weaponry: +6 (3* CP) +3 (Dex) +2 (Training) +3 (Template) = +14

  • Black Cat Flechette Pistol: One-Handed Small Arm, Improved Critical I, Enlarged Magazine I, Silent, 3.5 lb. 2d6 Damage, Crit 18-20/x2, 40′ Range Increment, 50-round magazine, Silent. Cost: Weaponry 4 +1 (Smartgun Link accessory, +3 to hit). “The handgun of choice of special ops, swat, and daemon-response forces. You don’t want to cross their path.’ Manufactured by Core-Tech Arms exclusively for the military and special police needs.”
  • Lion’s Roar Mini-Grenade Launcher: One-Handed Small Arm, Cannot Critical, Improved Damage I, Explosive III: 2.5 lb, 5 Shots, 4d8 damage in a 10′ radius, 40′ range increment. Cost: Weaponry 4. “Crowd Control, Doorbreaker, or Assault System, the Lions Roar can fill dozens of different tactical needs on the battlefield. You don’t want to hear the Lion’s Roar!”
  • Tigers Claw Combat Knife: 2d4 Damage, Crit 20/x2, 10′ Range Increment if Thrown, Impervious (never gets damaged), Vibro (+15 damage to overcome Damage Reduction only). Cost: Weaponry 3. “Forged of Core-Tech Arms exclusive Duralloy Blend, the Tigers Claw Combat Knife is slim and diamond-honed to a permanent razors edge, a tool suitable for all your needs! Comes with a lifetime guarantee, if you manage to break it we will replace it for free!”
  • Thunderbolt Flash-Bang Grenades: 15′ burst radius, DC 18 Fortitude Save or Blinded and Deafened for 1d4 rounds. Cost 2.

Less Complicated Skills:

  • Spellslinger Style: +6 (3* CP) +4 (Dex) +4 (Training) +3 (Template) = +17
    • Known Techniques: Attack 3, Strike, Defenses 1, Weapon Kata (Rays), Weapon Kata (Unarmed), Rapid Shot
  • Acrobatics: +1 (1 SP) +4 (Dex) = +5
  • Athletics +1 (1 SP) -1 (Str) = +0
  • Arcana: +6 (6 SP) +3 (Int) +3 (Tem) = +12
  • Concentration +3 (3 SP) +2 (Con) = +5
  • Craft +3 (3 SP) +3 (Int) = +6
    • Covers Weaponsmithing, Carpentry, Charmsmithing, Fieldworks, Mechanics, and Armorsmithing
  • Engineering (Arcane): +6 (6 SP) +3 (Int) +3 (Tem) = +12
    • Gadgets (4): Wrist Grapnel, Smoke Pellets, Spell MiniGrenades (5), One-Shot MiniParachute.
  • Linguistics +2 (2 SP) +3 (Int) = +5
    • Languages (5): Three Solaran languages (irrelevant, so not counted), Gathran, four of choice.
  • Perception +6 (3* SP) +1 (Wis) +3 (Tem) = +10
  • Stealth: +1 (1 SP) +1 (Wis) = +2
  • Survival: +1 (1 SP) +1 (Wis) = +2

Other Equipment:

  • Armor: Light Kevlar (+3 Armor, Max Dex +5, Armor Check Penalty -1, Spell Failure 15%, 10 lb. Fortunately, purchasing “Smooth” takes care of the spell failure and armor check penalty.
  • Waterproof Survival Pack: Bandages, Bedroll, Brush/Comb, Canteen, Compass (not working), Firestarters, Flares, Flashlight, Glue, Grapnel, Hatchet/Hammer, Insect Repellent, Matches and Match Safe, Messkit, Needles & Thread, Razor, Scissors, Silk Rope, Soap, Spare Clothing, String, Tarp, Towel, Washcloth,
  • Rations: The local food is a LOT better, allowing him to reserve his box of 24 Ration Bars for emergencies. For actual meals he usually just picks up some pre-packed meals with preservation charms and uses his Luncheon Pot.

As might be expected for a fairly well optimized high-tech cyborg character with three minor templates (world, low-level adventurer, and upgraded species) stacked onto him, Tarsus is quite formidable for his current level. On the other hand, he cannot be expected to increase in relative power as quickly as a character without all of that stuff will – which is, in large part, the goal of the low-level adventurer template.

Eclipsing Drago, the Son of Shendu

Drago was the major villain of Jackie Chan Adventures season five. The son of the early-seasons villain Shendu, he was, like his father, a Fire Dragon Demon Sorcerer. Unlike his father, outside of being a demon-dragon who wanted to gain vast powers and take over the world, he was a fairly typical obnoxious, overconfident, impatient, and easily-manipulated teenager. As such his usual pattern was to find a new source of extra power (on the show the relics of his aunts and uncles “Demon Chi”) and try to grab it – ushering in a battle with the heroes who always turned up at about the same time. Sometimes he got a hold of his new power source and sometimes not – but either way he’d wind up without it at the end and yet would manage to escape. Eventually he managed to get a hold of several powers at the same time – and was still defeated, although that time it took more effort.

Drago was fought to a standstill more than once by a random bystander who accidentally absorbed some Demon Chi – granting them powers more or less equal to his, but no skill in using them. That alone made it pretty obvious that he wasn’t particularly skilled either. He was, however, very strong, agile, and fast (at least compared to a normal human being), had a scaly armored hide and a tail to smack people with, could sense demonic powers, and could project potent blasts of fire. Given a little time and some appropriate foci he could work a fair number of dark magical rituals and even a few quicker spells – albeit mostly focused on moving demonic powers from one host to another.

When he did acquire additional demonic powers they were pretty limited as well – amounting to little more than some basic elemental manipulation. With Water powers he could shoot blasts of water, create whirlpools around himself, and make big waves. With Gravity powers he could levitate and (I think) employ basic Telekinesis. With Thunder powers he could project lightning and absorb natural lightning to enhance himself.

Presumably there was more potential than THAT in those powers, but it’s not like he ever got to spend much time experimenting with them. He never got to keep them for very long and he spent a lot more of his time trying to find a base other than the local junkyard and trying to find some minions who were tolerably competent and didn’t want to backstab him (he never really managed to do either).

And if that doesn’t seem too impressive, it’s because it shouldn’t. Drago could be a serious threat if he got a hold of the components for a major ritual, or actually managed to hang onto several sets of powers – but for the most part he was fighting an elderly ritualist (most of Uncle’s direct spells looked like level one or two), a fast and highly skilled – but still entirely human and fairly low level – martial artist, a kid, and a big guy who was an apprentice mage. Drago had claws, fangs, and fire breath capable of destroying cars in a single blast – and yet apparently the closest he came to seriously hurting someone was leaving them in his Fathers way in a future timeline that never actually came to pass.

While I can’t say that I’ve seen much of the actual show past the first season, I have seen Drago’s first appearance with Future Jade on youtube – and it gave me a distinct angry-ex-boyfriend impression. He might have grown a bit past that in the next season, but the Wiki’s don’t really show it – and it would explain why the Chan’s kept letting him get away. If you’ve got to have a villain in your life… if you can’t get Colonel Klink, Catwoman, or Megamind, an angry and basically ineffectual teenager who spends a lot of combat time on banter is probably your next best choice.

So to build him I’ll start with the…

Fire Dragon Demon Sorcerer Template:

  • Draconic Toughness: +3d4 Hit Dice (24 CP) and +4 CP towards enlarging their first hit die (thus getting a d4 even as an infant) (4 CP). While extra hit points are always nice, this is because you need at least 4 hit dice to qualify for shapeshifting to a Deinonychus, below.
  • Heritage Of The Ancient Dragons: Shapeshift, with Dire (allowing dinosaurs – specifically Deinonychus), Attribute Modifiers, Hybrid Form, and Clear Speech, Specialized and Corrupted for Reduced Cost (9 CP) / cannot actually change forms, obvious humanoid dragon, easily identifiable, blatant predator, causes considerable social problems (9 CP).

This provides 60′ Ground Movement and natural weapons, replaces his physical racial attribute modifiers with Str +8, Dex +4, Con +8, and grants him +5 Natural Armor, Low-Light Vision, Scent, and Pounce. This is grossly exploitative, even beyond the usual Shapeshift cheese. While that doesn’t really matter for an NPC who’s “level” is entirely arbitrary, this is only really suitable for player characters in games using the Superheroic World Template (where this sort of thing is useful, but minor) or SciFi settings where things like mecha, power armor, and vehicle combat seriously overshadow personal physical abilities.

  • Fire Demon C’hi: Witchcraft I and II (12 CP), 1d6 Mana as 3d6 Power (6 CP), and Rite of C’hi with +4 Bonus Uses, Both Specialized for Reduced Cost / only to restore Power (6 CP). This gives him access to three basic abilities, as follows:
    • Witchfire, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect (Range and Damage) Fire Creation Only, cannot use pre-existing flames, create prestidigitation effects, extract essences, infuse drugs or toxins, or for any other application. Note that this can be quite powerful – but the rather low Save DC (14) means that most targets can dodge quite effectively, escaping injury entirely if they happen to have Evasion.
    • Witchsight, Specialized and Corrupted / Drago may detect C’hi / Magic – and only C’hi / Magic – at no cost and gets occasional “visions” of sources of power that he can go after, but cannot sharpen his senses, give himself Darksight, Scent, or other special sensory powers, or use any other Witchsight functions.
    • Healing, Specialized in Self-Healing for Double Effect. Drago DOES recover very quickly.
  • Absorbing Demon Chi: Witchcraft/The Path Of Spirits/Ridden By The Loa, Specialized and Corrupted for Reduced Cost / Must find a unique source of power to absorb, powers can be stripped away, by counterspells and make him vulnerable to banishment and dismissal spells, no more than +1 ECL of template per power source. Templates do not, however, cost Power to maintain when not in use (2 CP).

At a total of 63 CP this is a +1 ECL Template – and grossly overpowered for it’s cost. Of course, in a world of normal people… he’s a dragonman. His career choices are basically Circus Freak, Cloistered Monk, or Supervillain. He’s lonely enough to give his minions another chance even after they betray him, to spend a good deal of time bantering with his enemies, and to make “bringing more dragons to earth and be respected” be his major life goal. That’s really kind of sad.

Drago

Would-Be World Conquerer

Level One (ECL 2) Fire Dragon Demon Sorcerer

Basic Attributes: Str 14 (22), Dex 14 (18), Con 14 (22), Int 13, Wis 14, and Cha 12 (Pathfinder 25-Point Buy).

Available Character Points: 48 (Level One Base) +10 (Disadvantages: Accursed (opponents always show up as soon as he gets close to obtaining something good), Broke (Variant; no matter what base Drago acquires, he always winds up back in the junkyard), and Inept (Charisma Based Skills)) +6 (Level One Bonus Feat) = 64 CP.

Basics (23 CP):

  • Hit Dice: 16 (L1d16, 8 CP (+4 for Template)) +12 (extra 3d4 at L1, Template) +24 (4 x Con Mod) = 52 HP.
  • Skill Points: 6 (Purchased, 6 CP) + 4 (Int) = 10 SP.
  • BAB +1, Specialized in Melee Combat (3 CP).It’s largely instinctive at this point, but Drago is a reasonably effective brawler.
  • Saves:
    • Fortitude +0 (0 CP) +6 (Con) = +6
    • Reflex +2 (6 CP) +4 (Dex) = +6
    • Will +0 (0 CP) +1 (Wis) = +1
  • Proficiencies: None. Drago relies on his massive strength, natural weapons, armored hide, and fire-blasts in combat – which is actually pretty reasonable. If I had those advantages and fought unarmed martial artists a lot, I’d probably tend to rely heavily on them too.
  • Initiative: +4 (Dex)
  • Move: 60
  • Armor Class: 10 (Base) +5 (Natural) +4 (Dex) +2 (Leathers) +2 (Martial Art) = 23.

Preferred Weapons:

  • Talons/Tail/Claws: +7/+7, 1d8+6 (Lethal or Nonlethal). Can Pounce.

Other Abilities (41 CP):

  • Ritual Magic (Legends of High Fantasy style, 6 CP). Dragon can work powerful rituals if he can find the ingredients for them – but otherwise can only produce fairly basic spell effects.
  • Power Words, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect / only to store personally-generated ritual effects (6 CP). Given time Drago can store up to five minor and three major ritually-generated effects. Usually he has a few for gathering Demon C’hi, but he’s not really very good at loading up with other useful effects in advance. He’s got the standard teenager lack of forethought.
  • Leadership, Specialized for Increased Effect (Drago gets some basic minions, even though he’s too low-level and low-charisma to qualify for any) / His minions are unreliable, and are likely to betray him if he seems weak (6 CP). He usually has three apparently teenage minions: “Strikemaster Ice”, the pizza delivery guy, “D.J. Fist”, the mechanic, and “M.C. Cobra” the video gamer. Sure, they were competent martial artists – but even working together they were no real match for Jackie Chan after the surprise wore off. And Drago still took them back after they tried to backstab him.
  • Returning, Specialized for Reduced Cost / Drago can’t actually return from death, but he does show quite a knack for evading or getting out of jail. If the series hadn’t ended he might even have made it back from the netherworld (3 CP).
  • Luck with +2 Bonus Uses (9 CP). Drago usually gets lucky a few times in each episode. Then, of course, his luck runs out and he gets beaten.
  • Universal Damage Reduction 2/-, Specialized for Double Effect (4/-, versus both physical and energy damage) / only to convert normal damage to nonlethal damage. Drago gets knocked out a lot, but rarely seems to get too badly hurt (3 CP).
  • Witchcraft/Path of Water/Spirits Of The Deep, Specialized and Corrupted for Reduced Cost / only to share a bit of his current “demon chi” powers with mortals, only works on followers gained through Leadership, bestowed templates are never better than +1 ECL, bestow a very limited set of abilities, and have obvious physical effects (2 CP). This probably gets upgraded with a few points later on, making it cheaper to use and longer lasting instead of buying off those limitations.
  • Adept (may purchase Acrobatics, Dragon Brawling Martial Art, Ritual Magic, and Escape Artist for half cost), 6 CP).

Skills:

  • Acrobatics +4 (2* SP) +4 (Dex) = +8
  • Dragon Brawling +4 (2* SP) +6 (Str) = +10
    • Known Abilities (5): Defenses +2, Strike (can do lethal or nonlethal damage with his natural weapons), Toughness II (Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect / only protects against the energy forms linked with his current set of powers – at base, fire only. This does stack with his base damage reduction however – so he normally ignores the first six points of fire damage and converts the next four points to nonlethal damage. That’s quite enough to ignore most normal fires).
  • Ritual Magic +4 (2* SP) +1 (Int) = +5. Drago really can’t do much beyond minor tricks without rare magical ingredients even WITH the use of Luck.
  • Escape Artist: +4 (2* SP) +4 (Dex) = +8
  • Linguistics: +1 (1 SP) +1 (Int) = +2. Drago speaks English and Mandarin.

Specific Knowledge: Demon C’hi (1 SP). Drago doesn’t know a lot, but he’s fairly knowledgeable on this topic.

In more serious settings Drago is probably best used as an unwanted suitor/villain, a comic relief villain, as a redeemable villain, or in some other reoccurring semi-enemy role. If you want to use him as the big bad guy, he’ll need a bunch of levels and some MUCH better plans and minions.