Granny – Skills, Skill Tricks, and Skill-Related Abilities

Skills are very important to Granny; so she’s spent a fair chunk of points – in fact, 111, well over a third of her total and more than any normal class – on acquiring and enhancing them.

Skill Enhancements:

  • Upgrade Pathfinder Package Deal Fast Learner to Triple Effect (4 CP). This is cheesy, but NPC political figures can usually be allowed a little cheese – and a handful of extra skill or hit points really isn’t all that important.
  • Fast Learner, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect (+3 CP/Level): Only for buying Skill Enhancing Abilities, must buy at least one “skill trick” per level (6 CP). This provides +3 CP / Level to buy skill-enhancing abilities with.
  • Advanced Improved Augmented Bonus (adds Cha Mod to Int Mod for Skill Point purposes, Specialized and Corrupted/only adds to skill points through level five, 6 CP). Over several centuries, Granny has had a lot of time to let helpful people show her how to do things – but that’s gotten less and less effective as fewer and fewer of them have anything to show her.
  • Available Skill Points: 136 (L1-5: 8 x [Int Mod + Cha Mod]) + 21 (L6-8 3 x Int Mod) +3 (Purchased, 3 CP) +6 (Favored Class) = 166 SP.
  • Augmented Bonus; adds (Int Mod) to (Cha Mod) for skill purposes (6 CP)
  • Augmented Bonus: adds (Cha Mod) to (Int Mod) for skill purposes (6 CP).
  • Access to three Occult Skills – Foresight, Legendarium, and Dream-Binding (9 CP)
  • Adept: Foresight, Knowledge/Engineering, Legendarium, and Spellcraft (6 CP)
  • Adept: Bluff, Diplomacy, Intimidate, and Perception (6 CP).
  • Luck with +4 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted for Reduced Cost, Only for Skills, only to “take 20″ in advance (no rerolls) (4 CP).
  • Skill Emphasis (3 CP) and Skill Focus (6 CP) (both in Legendarium).
  • Given that Granny has a lot of built-in “equipment” thanks to her Legendarium skill, a suitable “masterwork tool” (or tools) for all her skills may be more or less assumed.

This gives all of her Int or Cha Based skills a base of +7 (Int) +10 (Cha) +3 (Path) +1 (Luck) +4 (Comp) +2 (Tool) = +27 Base. Ergo, that will be the assumed base below.

Intelligence and Charisma Based Skills:

  • Bluff +11 (5 SP*) = +38
    • Skill Trick/Spinning a Whopper: Mystic Artist (for Bluff), Specialized and Corrupted / provides the Manipulation options of Fascinate and Hold Audience only (2 CP). This isn’t nearly as important to Granny as is used to be – her other powers far surpass this sort of trivia anyway these days – but it was fairly useful early on.
    • This is something of a stretch – Bluff is not usually considered a suitable skill for Mystic Artist – but convincing your listeners that they really do want to keep listening to this insane story does seem right in line with the Bluff skill.
  • Craft; Alchemy +2 (2 SP) = +29
    • Skill Trick/Touch of the Philosophers: +4 CP worth of Innate Enchantment, Spell Level 1 x Caster Level One x 2000 GP for Unlimited-Use Use-Activated. Dexterous Fingers (Trickster Magi list. Reduces the time required to use a skill by three rounds. If this results in zero time or “less” it becomes a free action. If applied on a continuous basis throughout a skill-based crafting project, it reduces the required time by 75% or allows a project to proceed at normal speed while only taking up a couple of downtime hours per day, so that it, like studying spells, can proceed while adventuring) (2000 GP) and Alchemical Tinkering (Pathfinder), both Specialized for Reduced Cost (requires a DC 20 Alchemy check, only for Alchemy, tinkering only works on alchemical bases and catalysts (under Haagenti), not on guns or existing items) (2 CP).

Granny is mostly a herbalist, but at this point – after centuries of refining her will – she is easily capable of imposing temporary structure on alchemical raw materials with little more than a touch – both producing items as needed and accomplishing her projects very quickly indeed. That isn’t actually much use given her current abilities – an extra 25 GP per day, even if the cost is no more than a little casual dabbling that she’d probably do anyway, means very little to her now – but having people come to her for medicines for their children, and special supplies, and so on, is a useful window into the community to keep open.

  • Craft; Foodstuffs +3 (3 SP) = +30
    • Note that Specific Knowledge/the recipes and procedures for up to (Int) basic meals or complex dishes comes with each skill point invested in Craft/Foodstuffs – and that cooking has a base DC of 5. Thus “taking 10″ normally gets you 25 at DC 25 – allowing a cook with basic skills to ready a good meal for two, a common meal for four, or a poor meal for twelve, in about an hour. Having done quite a lot of cooking… that’s much more reasonable than the roughly one day per common meal figure that
    • Skill Trick/Good Eats: +2000 GP Innate Enchantment/Good Meal (as per Good Berry, but works on freshly-prepared meals, snacks, or candies). Spell Level One x Caster Level One x 2000 GP (2 CP). This handy talent allows the user to greatly stretch short supplies or provide a days meals to a (size) small child in the form of a single candy.
    • OK, so Granny has learned how to cook most of her favorite dishes. After all, in some cases she’s the only one who remembers what they are.
  • Craft; Image +5 (5 SP) = +32

Craft; Image is the art of adding sensory impressions to your works. Do you want your Flash Powder to provide a fireworks display? Make your cheap wine taste like the finest vintage? Cause smoke to take on a monstrous form? Make your sonic blast into a celestial song? Play Gandalf and make your alchemical firework take the form of a stooping dragon? Make a stage seem like a window into a great city for your play? Make a thin mattress more comfortable? Make your Fireball into a skull blazing with green fire that explodes? When you want to play with your special effects, than Craft Image is the skill for you. It‘s DC 5/10/20 to add Minor/Notable/Major impressions to something:, +5/10 for Large / Colossal targets, and +5 if you want the impression to linger beyond the duration of the item or effect it’s applied to. Since sensory impressions have no actual value, this counts as a part of the same activity that produces or prepares the item to be modified. Thus the check could be made while casting a spell, building a stage backdrop, or preparing food or drink to be served. As a side effect, the user may add (Skill Check / 15, rounded down) to the DC’s of saves against his or her relevant (those that generate actual detailed images to deceive people) illusion effects.

Craft Image doesn’t really change the game mechanics much, but it does let you describe your stuff as dramatically as you like. Go ahead. Build two identical castles, describe one as a “dark and ominous mass, crouching atop the hill like a ravenous beast poised to descend on the hapless villages below and wreck havoc” and the other as “a shining citadel, a beacon of protection offering a place of refuge to the hapless villages below” and see which one attracts valiant heroes to defend it and which one attracts would-be minions and valiant heroes who want to attack it.

  • Craft; Policy +11 (11 SP) = +38
    • Craft Policy was covered in a prior article, HERE.
  • Diplomacy +11 (5 SP*) = +38
    • Skill Trick/Snare of Words: Immunity/The distinction between Diplomacy and a Martial Art equal to the total value sans tools (Uncommon, Major, Minor, Specialized and Corrupted/only works against creatures of types who could normally be affected by Diplomacy but who are arbitrarily immune (IE; being player characters/”destined heroes” or plot requirements) (2 CP). Even those who are somehow impervious to persuasion can be distracted, affected by guilt, and otherwise troubled by skilled words. Against such opponents the user gains +2 to Intimidate, +2 to Bluff, +4 to AC, DR 4/-, 8d6 of (nonlethal damage) Sneak Attack, Inner Strength, Iron Skin, Light Foot, and Resist Pain. All of this can, however, be bypassed by engaging in conversation, listening to her monologues, spending time trying to persuade her to turn away from her evil ways, and rationally responding to her arguments before starting a fight.
      • Skill Trick/Heraldic Privilege: Upgrade Snare of Words to Specialized for Increased Effect (gains +4 to Intimidate, +4 to Bluff, +8 to AC, DR 8/-, 8d6 of Sneak Attack, and double-strength Inner Strength, Iron Skin, Light Foot, and Resist Pain (+2 CP).
        • Skill Trick/Diplomatic Immunity: Upgrade Heraldic Privilege to Triple Effect (+2 CP). The user gains +6 to Intimidate, +6 to Bluff, +12 to AC, DR 12/-, 12d6 of Sneak Attack, and triple-strength Inner Strength, Iron Skin, Light Foot, and Resist Pain (+2 CP).

With these tricks about the characters WILL politely let the villain monologue, and offer them a chance to reform and make their own heroic speeches, or they will make their “boss fight” a great deal harder (and perhaps near-impossible; Triple-Strength Iron Skin and Resist Pain will get the AC boost up to +24 and the DR to 24/-). I’ll pay for Granny to have the full 6 CP package I think.

To be sensible, Granny really ought to have a normal martial art that would help her deal with monsters and other NPC’s rather than a special ability designed to justify cinematic “confronting the villain” tropes. I suppose she could get one though a relic if she really HAD to have one – but if it comes down to a direct fight that she can’t weasel out of Granny has basically lost already. Her goal is to be the invisible chessmaster and the power behind the throne. From her point of view… if you know enough to actually be coming after HER instead of her “Dark Enchantress” decoy persona her schemes are collapsing already – and her last hope is to get you to LISTEN TO HER and consider whether or not she’s a net benefit to have around, evil or not. Ergo, a last-ditch ability to try and force negotiations.

  • Disguise +11 (11 SP) = +38
    • Skill Trick / Method Acting: Immunity to Gather Information, Sense Motive, and Alignment Detection (Very Common, Minor, Trivial, Specialized/Only if the user’s Disguise skill check equals or exceeds the opposing Skill Check or Caster Level Check, in which case the opponent using the ability will detect the user’s cover, rather than the underlying reality, 2 CP).

Like it or not, if spells like “know alignment” are at all common, public figures are going to be hit with them regularly – and getting no answer will be seen as them having something to hide, no matter how many reasons are given for maintaining their privacy. They’re going to HAVE to have some ability along these lines to function at all.

While this is partially overridden by her Mind Shielding effect, that simply blocks detection, while this trick allows the user to create a false result – which is far less suspicious than getting no result. 

  • Dream-Binding +11 (11 SP) = +38. +3 Specialty in Caer Hunleff (1 SP).
    • Smith of Dreams: Granny’s Dream-Binding is Specialized for Increased Effect (she simply treats her total skill bonus – including any permanent personal magical bonuses – squared x 100 GP as her budget to “buy”things with, although she still can’t dream up expendable items) / she cannot use the magical items that she “creates” herself; she can only use them to equip others – although if she creates downtime structures she can live or work in those. With a total value of 144,400 GP (plus 23,700 for Caer Hunleff), Granny can readily equip lower-level parties or maintain a fair amount of infrastructure all by herself.

Yes, this means that Granny can, if she wishes, be a load-bearing boss; if and when she dies, her dreams, including any structures that she has dreamed into being, will go with her.

  • Skill Trick/Forge of Dreams. Immunity/having to go shopping or build (Common, Minor, Major, Specialized and Corrupted/items to be rendered permanent must be “created” with dream-binding and then made permanent – expending alchemical components with a cost equal to the normal cost of the item (2 CP).

And here we have another handy trick; Granny can get you supplies, various permanent magic items, and create buildings, overnight – but there’s no point in trying to rob her; she hasn’t got stockpiles of stuff (save, perhaps, for basic herbs). She may have a supply of Alchemical Catalysts (covered in more detail under Haagenti in THIS article), but at 100 GP per ounce she can carry 48,000 GP worth in a thirty pound bag – and that will be safely tucked away in a personal extradimensional space. No more “magic item shop” problems. Instead the ancient hag in the woods can supply you with the magical items you need for your quest – and when those same items vanish, are depleted, or are sacrificed at the end of the quest, there’s nothing to complain about; they have simply returned to the realms of dream from which they were temporarily drawn.

  • Foresight +11 (5 SP*) = +38
    • Foresight is basically made of skill tricks. Granny, not being a spellcaster, usually uses it for her political maneuvering, to just “happen” to have the relics she’ll need at any given moment be the ones that she’s using, and to just happen to have convenient items dreamed into existence at any given moment.
  • Handle Animal +5 (5 SP) = +32
    • Skill Trick/Tyrant Master: Immunity/the distinction between animals and other creatures for skill purposes (Uncommon, Major, Minor, Specialized and Corrupted/only covers “domesticating” and “training” monsters and slaves) (2 CP).
  • Intimidate +11 (5 SP*) = +38
    • Skill Trick/Sonorous Iron Voice (Cha Based Martial Art): +2 (2 SP) +17 (Cha + Int) +3 (Path) +1 (Luck) +4 (Comp) +2 (Tool) = +29 (+22 for buying abilities). Sonorous Iron Voice focuses on the throat chakra, imbuing the user’s voice with supernatural power – generating sonic blasts and vibratory effects – it can also add subtle, manipulative, overtones to the user’s words.
      • Granny’s eleven current abilities include +2 Synergy to Diplomacy, +2 Synergy to Intimidate, +2 Synergy to Bluff, +2 Synergy to Sense Motive, Battlecry (Variant: may make an Intimidate check against all opponents within 30 feet as a standard action once per encounter), Mobility, Mind Like Moon, Inner Strength x2, Ki Focus (+4 Sacred Bonus to Charisma), and Wrath (Sonic Damage) (2 SP for a net +20).
      • Granny will usually use this form in noncombat situations, but – since she may or may not be doing so in at any given time – it’s benefits have not been included in her skill totals.

Technically this isn’t a “skill trick” since it’s really a separate skill instead of a power that builds on an existing skill – but it’s set up to cost two skill points and the primary function is to provide the effects of the classical “never outnumbered” skill trick in allowing a mass intimidation check. That seems quite close enough to throw it into the category. Secondarily, it only works cheaply thanks to Granny’s absurd boosts to Charisma and Intelligence based skills, but there’s no reason not to take advantage of that if you can persuade the game master that such an art should exist. Given that she’s had centuries in which to get someone to invent and develop it for her, I’d say that it’s justified.

 

When it comes to Knowledge skills, Granny originally studied engineering and architecture because she wanted a palace and didn’t want to trust someone else to design her secret passages and escape routes. She picked up a fair knowledge of the Nobility and Local Information while ruling, of History while living through it, and of Arcana by dabbling across the centuries – but she’s not really a scholar. On the other hand even the rule-of-thumb knowledge of basic principles (putting in a skill point or two) will get you a long way when your effective “intelligence” (a +17 modifier?) puts you well beyond most comic book super-geniuses.

  • Knowledge; Arcana +5 (1 SP) = +32
  • Knowledge; Dungeoneering +1 (1 SP) = +28
  • Knowledge; Engineering +11 (5 SP*) = +38. +3 Specialty in Mystic Architecture. Base (for Mystic Artist abilities) = +37.
    • Mystic Artist with Seeking for Engineering (Architecture) (12 CP).
      • Inspiration Abilities: Emotion, Competence, Excellence, Mass Greatness, Mass Excellence, and Heroism.
      • Synergy Abilities: Block, Group Focus, Harmonize, and Serenity.
      • Manipulation Abilities: Hold Audience and Suggestion. Granny can access Emotional Auras and Freedom, but needs to be using one of her Relics to do so.

Granny is a formidable mystic architect. What’s more, she’s fully capable of using Dream -Binding to create a citadel and a fortification around a settlement overnight (even if she does tend to have the locals do enough work to disguise the fact that she doesn’t actually need them. Its better for their morale that way). That’s a pretty massive defensive advantage.

It also means that if you attack and destroy the Dark Enchantresses castle… she’ll just make a new one someplace else a day or two later. She may even move it from time to time just to make it harder to find.

  • Knowledge; Geography +1 (1 SP) = +28
  • Knowledge; History +5 (5 SP) = +32
  • Knowledge; Local +5 (1 SP) = +32
  • Knowledge; Nature +1 (1 SP) = +28
  • Knowledge; Nobility +5 (5 SP) = +32
  • Knowledge; Planes +1 (1 SP) = +28
  • Knowledge; Religion +1 (1 SP) = +28

The Celeano Manuscripts: As per a Mask of a Thousand Tomes, but consists of several hundred massive tomes (basically immobile, x .5), requiring a DC 20 Linguistics check (x.8) and at least 1d4 hours of intense study and concentration in a suitable library to use (x.8) = 3200 GP. If you have the time to use the Manuscripts they provides a +10 competence bonus to any Knowledge skill check – for Granny, a net +8 over the competence bonus that’s already included in the values above.

  • Ritual Magic (Atherian Variant). Atherian Ritual Magic allows knowledge skills to be used to generate magical effects, in much the same way that – in magic-free reality – knowledge can be used to create technologies, solve problems, and accomplish goals rather than simply allowing the game master to provide some exposition and offering clues as to how to fight monsters. In effect, Atherian Ritual Magic is sort of a generic “skill trick” for all knowledge skills. To keep things under control, Granny’s abilities are Corrupted: even with the time-saving trick below, she may enact no more than (Cha Mod) rituals per day – and major rituals count as three minor ones (4 CP)
    • Skill Trick/Words of Creation: Immunity / the time required to use Atherian-type magical rituals (Uncommon, Minor, Minor, 2 CP). This reduces the time requirements by two steps. A normally ten-minute ritual to get the household drains working would thus be reduced to one full action (Tens of Minutes to Minutes, Minutes to Full Actions) – although she must still get the relevant components from her Ritual Chest or Supply Pouch. Of course, the three-day ritual of Planar Transference would only be reduced to to hours (three days to one day, one day to hours).

In general, Granny can perform an immense variety of useful, albeit non-combative, rituals with relative ease – warding cottages against fires, chasing pests out of the fields, tracing bloodlines, predicting the weather, immunizing a village against a horrible disease, insulating and warming households during a bad winter, dowsing for the best place to dig a well, locating lost children, laying restless spirits, and so on. She can summon demons, raise a swarm of skeletons, or make it rain holy water too – but those are much bigger projects, and are likely to call for rare ingredients, considerably more time, and very high DC’s.

  • Legendarium +11 (5 SP*) +7 (Int) +10 (Cha) +2 (Skill Emphasis) +3 (Skill Focus) +3 (Path) = +36. Sadly, Granny’s usual +7 in magical and equipment bonuses is irrelevant here – but her massive attribute bonuses and skill-boosting feats still turn this into 388,800 GP worth of “gear”.
    • Specialized for Double Effect; “Items” purchased with Legendarium must be purchased as slot-free items at double cost. Granny’s items take up slots under the normal rules (and may have stacked effects under the normal rules), but are purchased at normal costs.  In effect, she just “spends” her Legendarium funds to purchase her “panoply” normally.
    • This also means that Granny has, over her extended lifetime, accomplished at least eighteen great deeds and seen them become a part of her legend. While her Dark Veil (from her Channeling powers) keeps those tales focused on “The Dark Enchantress” instead of on “Granny”, anyone who spends some time on Gather Information or research will be able to pick them up and get a pretty good idea of the Dark Enchantress’s capabilities. Specialized for Double Effect / items “purchased” with Legendarium must be bought as slot-free items for double cost. In Granny’s case they take up item slots normally regardless, and the stacking enchantments rules must be applied – so while her items may be powers derived from her legend, they are built just like normal items. Legendarium is a pretty major power for Granny – but then, one way or another, she’s invested quite a lot of character points into boosting her skills.
  • Linguistics +1 (1 SP) = +28
    • Skill Trick/Polyglot: Immunity/Awkward Linguistics Mechanics (Uncommon, Minor, Minor, 2 CP). Granny knows her base racial languages plus a number of languages equal to her total permanent Linguistics score. That will include Common, Sylvan, Infernal, Abyssal, Dwarven, Elven, and at least twenty-one more. In general, as an NPC, just assume that Granny knows all the tolerably common languages in the setting.
  • Perform; Acting +5 (5 SP) = +32
    • Skill Trick / Rumored Fame: Immunity to the distinction between Charisma and Reputation scores (Uncommon, Minor, Major, Corrupted/only uses 2/3’rds of the users Charisma score, 2 CP). Given her 30 Charisma this gives her an effective 20 on her Reputation score – which means that pretty much everyone in the country and nearby countries will have heard of her. That’s usually worth a substantial bonus on social interaction rolls.

This would be more expensive – but it can generally be assumed that any time the game master has the characters interacting with a V,I,P, he or she will be making a point of bringing it up anyway. There’s no point in having an NPC be famous or important if you don’t tell the player characters about it. Characters will develop reputations whether they buy one or not – but buying one offers them control. This option boosts one, but offers little control. Just allowing one to develop is a very hit-or-miss proposition – much more appropriate to wandering adventurers than to political figures.

  • Perform; Oratory +5 (5 SP) = +32 (+25 Base)
    • Mystic Artist/Oratory (10 abilities) with Echoes (12 CP):
      • Manipulation Abilities: Fascinate, Hold Audience, Emotional Auras, and Freedom.
      • Synergy Abilities: Block, Group Focus, Amplify, Harmonize, Serenity, and Rule the Horde.

Granny’s oratory has been polished across the centuries. She can weave suggestions, inspire overpowering emotions, break enchantments, enhance magic, renew her targets daily abilities, and more, selecting any two of those at a time and allowing those powers to echo back up to three times during the next two weeks.

This ability makes Granny’s tall tales pretty much redundant – but they’re cheap anyway and it never hurts to have a backup method of doing things. If this was an ultra-efficient build (instead of just exploitative) she’d probably have retrained those 2 CP – but Granny prefers to know that she can still tell a wild story with the best of them.

  • Perform; Strings +1 (1 SP) = +28
  • Perform; Sing +1 (1 SP) = +28
  • Qilin QiGong (Int): +3 (3 SP) +17 (Cha + Int) +3 (Path) +1 (Luck) +4 (Comp) +2 (Tool) = +30 (+23 for buying abilities).
    • Qilin QiGong is a discipline of breath control and drifting movements to focus and channel C’hi, focusing on internal alchemy, the development of the Embryonic Pearl (a focus and reservoir of life force), and the amplification of the user’s inner strength. While it falls under the broad umbrella of the Martial Arts, it has only minor combat applications, and relatively few bother to develop them. Sadly, while truly skilled practitioners can maintain health and vigor into extreme old age, it does nothing to extend the user’s maximum lifespan. It can make it a lot easier to reach it though.
      • Granny’s twelve current abilities include: Synergy: +2 Craft/Alchemy, +2 Heal, +2 Fly, and +2 Perception, Toughness IV (a minor variant that protects against attribute drain and damage rather than physical injuries), Inner Strength II, Healing Hand, and Vanishing. These bonuses have not been included, since Granny is not always using this style.
  • Spellcraft +11 (5 SP*) = +38
    • Chaos Magic: 3d6 (12) Mana with Unskilled Magic, Specialized for Double Effect (costs only 1 Mana per level of the effect produced), Corrupted for Reduced Cost/only for unskilled magic, requires verbal and somatic components, Arcane or Hedge Magic effects only, requires a spellcraft check at a DC of 5 x the effective level of the effect being produced, commonly (and quite correctly) seen as a dangerous and unskilled use of magical energies (12 CP). In general: Charisma-based, Caster Level (7 + Effect Level, 10 Max), maximum effect level 6 (going above Caster Level/2 risks losing control at the option of the game master), requires a Charisma Check at DC (6 + Mana Used) to avoid dangerous side effects of one-half the level of the spell used. Success on this check still produces awkward and inconvenient side effects.
    • Fires of Creation: Rite of Chi with +(2 x Cha Mod) Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted: only to regain Mana in the unskilled magic pool above, requires at least five minutes of rest per die (6 CP).

This is an extremely cheap way to cast some fairly powerful freeform spells – but it’s rarely an attractive option for adventurers. Even disregarding the need for being of fairly high level, having very high attributes, a high spellcraft skill, and a high base will save just to make it work, few adventurers like risking random side effects. After all, casting Scorching Ray and having the party hit with Burning Hands, or being abruptly outlined with Faerie Fire even if the would-be magus makes the charisma check to avoid actively dangerous side effects, can really mess up your plans. There are reasons why Wild Mages have never really been popular – and why the Eclipse versions usually roll to see what kind of effects they have to work with this round and then have to figure out a way to use it rather than letting the game master do whatever he or she finds amusing at the moment.

Other Skills:

  • Fly (Dex) +2 (2 SP) +0 (Dex) +3 (Path) +1 (Luck) +4 (Comp) +2 (Tool) = +12
  • Heal (Wis) +5 (5 SP) +5 (Wis) +3 (Path) +1 (Luck) +4 (Comp) +2 (Tool) = +20, +3 Specialty in Pregnancy, Birthing, and Babies (1 SP).
    • With a +23 base, and access to Witchcraft, Rituals, and various Spells, Granny is capable of handling pretty much any childbirth. Given the number of kids she’s delivered over the centuries, this makes it even MORE awkward to confront her.
  • Perception (Wis) +11 (5 SP*) +5 (Wis) +3 (Path) +1 (Luck) +4 (Comp) +2 (Tool) +5 (Gear) = +31
  • Profession (Lawyer) +6 (6 SP) +5 (Wis)+3 (Path) +1 (Luck) +4 (Comp) +2 (Tool) = +21
    • You’re a part of the government, you get involved in legalistic disputes.
  • Ride (Dex) +2 (2 SP) +0 (Dex) +3 (Path) +1 (Luck) +4 (Comp) +2 (Tool) = +12
  • Sense Motive (Wis) +11 (11 SP) +5 (Wis) +3 (Path) +1 (Luck) +4 (Comp) +2 (Tool) = +26
  • Sleight Of Hand (Dex) +2 (2 SP) +0 (Dex) +3 (Path) +1 (Luck) +4 (Comp) +2 (Tool) = +12
  • Stealth (Dex) +5 (5 SP) +0 (Dex) +3 (Path) +1 (Luck) +4 (Comp) +2 (Tool) = +15
  • Survival (Wis) +2 (2 SP) +5 (Wis) +3 (Path) +1 (Luck) +4 (Comp) +2 (Tool) = +15
  • Swim (Str) +3 (3 SP) +0 (Str)+3 (Path) +1 (Luck) +4 (Comp) +2 (Tool) = + 13

This may need a few tweaks later – working in sections makes it easy to forget a detail here and there and I very well may have misadded a few skill points in that enormous list – but next up it will be some skill applications – Granny’s Legendarium abilities and some Mystic Architecture (along with yet another approach to practical schools in d20).

Granny, The Secret Overlord

Part I: History and Basics

Long centuries past, a Dark Enchantress ruled her domains with an iron fist and terrible powers, laying curses upon defiant villages, sending monsters against rebels and dissidents, and enforcing fairly reasonable rules and tax rates, because she was a Dark Enchantress, not a stupid one.

Still, eventually a shining hero – a charismatic bard, who’s own magics were a match for hers – brought an end to her reign, as shining heroes do. He ruled the realm well enough, for while he (like so many shining heroes) had little skill in management or administration, he had enough sense to defer to people who did on such matters.

And his wife was fine with this, for having a Shining Hero to serve as a focus for the realm she’d founded worked even better at keeping things peaceful than rumors of her wicked ways, terrible curses, and invincible sorceries. It took little more than a change of clothes and hair color to let the tales of the Dark Enchantress recede into legend.

And when the Shining Hero – now a King, wise and full of years – died at last, his three heirs divided the realm between them, for the retiring Dowager Queen would not hear of shortchanging her younger children, or of conflict between them, or of setting one above the others.

And the tradition continued onto the next generation, as the two Dukes and a Duchess divided their lands amongst their children – making them Earls and Countesses beneath the nominal authority of the long-retired Dowager Queen. And all was well across a well-managed and prosperous land.

Today there is a realm of sturdy, prosperous, freeholders – a carefully tended baobab of a family tree rooted throughout the realm and tens of thousands strong, There are mayors, and city councils, and the structures of a loosely-organized society of equals inhabiting a peaceful and prosperous land.

And there is Granny. No one is quite sure just WHO’S Granny she is – but there is a certain Confucian finality about being the Ancestress, the Eldest, and the Matriarch, and everyone is glad to have her. Her advice comes with the wisdom of age, and her gentle, welcome, tyranny will – the realm hopes – continue for many years to come.

And then another Eldest will presumably take over as the giver of incontestably good advice to provide stability and wisdom. After all, while no one can quite remember who the previous Eldest was, or just when Granny became the Eldest – it must have happened sometime, right?

Granny is a pretty standard matriarchal archetype; she’s the tough-as-nails old woman who has been around long enough to see it all, who tells everyone what to do, who is listened to because she’s usually quite right – and who won’t hesitate to fill your ears with venom if you cross her or hers. She is ruthless, vengeful, shows little care or compassion for outsiders (although she does care for her friends and family), and is quite thoroughly selfish – albeit with an equally thoroughly rational understanding of how a stable, prosperous, society benefits her and hers in the long run and so is worth supporting because she’s still not stupid.

This being d20 however, Granny’s wrath is considerably worse than that of Conan the Barbarian. Are you an outsider who’s leading bandits in raiding her great-great grandchildren’s farms? Price gouging in an emergency? Running a (competing) protection racket? Granny will not hesitate to curse your kids to transform into (obedient to her) Barghests and have them slowly eat you alive. After that? They’ll make good slave-minion-creatures for her after you’re gone, and when some adventurer kills them… well, they’re now horrors of the lower planes. They’ll be happy there.

Then, of course, she might be feeling creative today and come up with something much, much, worse than that.

And yes, that’s pretty thoroughly lawful evil. Oh well!

Granny has taken an unconscionably long time to write up, mostly because her concept is really much too broad. We have the protective grandmother, the elderly queen, the venomous harridan, the evil beldame, the desiccated teacher, the evil/pragmatic (if not necessarily treacherous) grand vizier, and the wicked witch, all rolled up into one – and that lack of focus has made it difficult to touch on all the major elements, much less cover the minor secondary details.

Available Character Points: 216 (L8 Base) +10 (Disadvantages: History, Obligations (to whatever family she is most closely associated with at the moment), and Secret (she is the Dark Enchantress of legend)) +16 (Duties; national advisor/leader) +24 (Restrictions; Armor, Martial and Exotic Weapons, Expensive Personal Magical Items (more than 5% or her wealth-by-level). Granny’s various powers are very much rooted in her supreme self-confidence; relying on too much external stuff will seriously dampen her powers) +24 (L1, 3, 5, and 7 Bonus Feats) = 290 CP.

That’s actually quite a lot, especially since Granny isn’t really an adventurer and won’t be investing in large hit dice, much of any base attack bonus, or big saving throw bonuses. She’s a sage, a witch, and a matriarch. That doesn’t mean that she can’t put up a fight one way or another – this is d20 after all – but her first priority will be on escaping any form of personal confrontation, not on fighting to the bitter end.

Given that she’s successfully escaped for many centuries now, she’s going to be very good at it.

Race: Granny could be of pretty much any pathfinder-compatible race, although I’m going to assume a +2 bonus to Cha – and at least a slightly-extended lifespan would probably suit her best. She is, in any case, of Venerable age – although, due to her various abilities, this doesn’t really hinder her at all.

Package Deal: Granny has the Pathfinder Package Deal. For her build, the important bits are that she gets:

  • Fast Learner, Specialized and Corrupted/only works as long as the user sticks to a particular archetype and relatively narrow plan of development chosen at level one at each level, points may only be spent on skills and additional hit points (2 CP).
  • The ability to spend CP to buy HP directly.
  • A +3 Pathfinder Bonus on all “in-class” skills.

“Granny”

A.K.A. Endora (or Theodora), Zelena, Elphaba, Mama Yaga, Morgana, and many more names. For some reason, however, except when she’s going by “Smith” she always uses a name that ends in an “a”.

Titles: Realmfounder, Dark Enchantress, Queen and Dowager Queen, Dynast of the Realm, The Exalted One, The Wicked Witch of the West, Nightwarden, Matriarch, Ancestress, Grand Vizier, Dame, Mentor of Heroes, and Eldest.

Basic Attributes: Str 8 (+2 Leg = 10), Dex 8 (+2 Leg = 10), Con 14 (+4 Tat =18), Int 15 (+3 Age +6 Leg = 24), Wis 13 (+3 Age +4 Leg = 20), Chr 17 (+3 Age, +2 Level +6 Leg +2 Race = 30) (32 Point Buy, Aging Penalties bought off using Dominion Points).

Granny uses Tattoo Magic to boost her constitution because it provides her with a blatantly obvious explanation for why she isn’t frail and sickly, like so many extremely elderly people. The fact that she doesn’t really need it is easy to hide that way.

Basic Abilities (53 CP):

  • Hit Points: 12 (L1 3d4, 16 CP) + 22 (L2-8d4) +12 (Immortal Vigor) +48 (Con Mod x 12) +18 (Pathfinder Favored Class Bonus as enhanced, see below) = 100 HP.
  • BAB: +2, Specialized and Corrupted / Only for swatting unruly children, chasing animals with brooms, killing vermin, and similar household tasks (4 CP). Granny has never really practiced physical combat and any skill she acquired in passing in her youth has long since atrophied after centuries as a venerable old lady.
    • Technically, if you aren’t actually inflicting an effect it’s not an attack and does not require a roll. Ergo, Granny can automatically smack people with brooms and canes as long as this has no effect whatsoever beyond expressing irritation non-verbally.
  • Saves:
    • Fortitude: +2 (Purchased, 6 CP) +4 (Con) +5 (Res) +1 (Luck) = +12
    • Reflex: +2 (Purchased, 6 CP) -1 (Dex) +5 (Res) +1 (Luck) = +7
    • Will: +6 (Purchased, 18 CP) +5 (Wis) +5 (Res) +1 (Luck) = +17
  • Combat Information:
  • Proficiencies: All simple weapons (3 CP). Granny may not have any serious martial training, but she is centuries old and she’s not an idiot.
  • Initiative: +0 (Dex). Granny does get to roll twice and keep the best roll though.
  • Move: 30′.
  • Armor Class: 10 (Base) +4 (Mage Armor) +4 (Force Shield) +1 (Luck) +4 (Martial Art) = 23 (35 and DR 12/- versus those who refuse to negotiate, see Skills).
  • Usual Weapons: Magic. What’s the point of being a Dark Enchantress if you’re going to fight with a weapon?

Part II will cover her various skills, skill-based powers, and a wide variety of skill tricks.

Making Magical Minions, Affordable Warlordism and Henchmen

Stormtroopers. Gangers. Toughs. Devotees, Stooges. Toadies, Vassals. Lackeys. Thugs. Pawns. Underlings. Aides. Retainers. Made Men. Flunkeys.

Evil Masterminds, mafia bosses, and gang leaders always seem to have their swarms of thugs about – but they never seem to train them properly. Their thugs fall for the same silly ruses, and people claiming to be sick, and simple distractions, over and over again. Their aim is always terrible. They get treated as being completely disposable by their bosses, they get wiped out by heroes in hordes (and without inducing any guilt whatsoever), and there are always – ALWAYS – more. They don’t seem to demand hazard pay, they don’t require recruitment, they don’t even seem to eat and drink. They’re just THERE.

And unless you’re in a deconstruction, they never surrender, or lament that they will never see their children grow up, or beg for mercy. You never see mourning relatives either. They just march to their anonymous dooms. Where do bad guys GET all of these obedient, disposable, unremarked, faceless minions?

Well…

You take Summon Monster as a Summon Minion variant. This version summons an NPC minion of the caster’s race with an effective level equal to (spell level -1) OR 4 thugs with an effective level of (spell level -2) or ten lackeys with an effective level of (spell level -3). All come with appropriate gear for an NPC of their level, although it will vanish with them. All have effective attribute scores of 12 in everything. The spell is otherwise identical to Summon Monster.

Getting minions designed using Eclipse is more expensive; it requires +1 level of the Amplify Metamagical Theorem to get one type of minion and +2 levels to get the usual summon monster style selection. Even then, the caster will have to work with the game master to design them and will need to keep them useful in a variety of situations and roles. Otherwise, given the ease with which Eclipse characters can be specialized for particular tasks, you can expect to see a lot of “Army eh? I summon (extremely specialized high powered lightning mage) and have her blast the entire area”.

The Basic Minion (48 CP):

  • Universal Jack of All Trades: All Minions are considered to have a +1 base in any unrestricted skill (12 CP).
  • Innate Enchantment: +2 to All Skills (1400 GP), Greater Invocation of Convenience (Produces any L0 Hedge Magic Effect, 2000 GP), Power Tool (2000 GP), Enchant Tools (L0, +1 Circumstance Bonus, 1000 GP), Mage armor (1400 GP), Force Shield I (1400 GP), Resistance (+1 Resistance Bonus on Saves, 700 GP), and Immortal Vigor I (+14 HP, 1400 GP) = 11,300 GP (12 CP).
  • Luck with +4 Bonus Uses, Specialized in Skills (6 CP).
  • Proficient with Simple Weapons (3 CP).
  • Immunity/having to worry about where their gear is beyond tracking it’s encumbrance (Uncommon, Minor, Major, 3 CP). Yes, this subsumes worrying about drawing weapons and such.
  • Minions normally come equipped with:
    • Explorer’s Outfit (10 GP, 8 Lb)
    • Light Crossbow with 3 cases of Bolts (38 GP. 7 Lb)
    • 2 Spears (4 CP, 12 Lb)
    • Heavy Mace (12 GP, 8 Lb)
    • Wooden Holy Symbol (1 GP, -)
    • Common Musical Instrument (5 GP, 3 Lb).
    • Thieves Tools (30 GP, 1 Lb)
    • Block and Tackle (5 GP, 5 Lb)
    • Pitons x10 (5 SP, 5 Lb)
    • Caltrops (1 GP, 2 Lb)
    • Chalk
    • Grappling Hook (1 GP, 4 Lb)
    • Lamp (1 SP, 1 Lb)
    • Oil, 5 Pints (5 SP, 5 Lb)
    • 100′ Silk Rope (20 GP, 10 Lb)
    • 10′ Pole (2 SP, 8 Lb)
    • Masterwork Artisan’s Tools (55 GP, 5 Lb)
    • Assorted Minor Bits – comb, string, tacks, candlestub, etc.
    • Light Riding Horse with saddle, bags, etc (75 GP)
      • With Workhorse, this leaves them with a Light Load.
  • Luck with +4 Bonus Uses, Specialized in Saving Throws (6 CP).
  • Workhorse (6 CP). A minions encumbrance level is reduced by one. They can carry roughly another two hundred pounds before exceeding a heavy load.
  • First Level Bonus Feat: Occult Sense / Detect what their summoner would like them to do in their current situation. This means that you don’t have to worry about issuing orders or having them misinterpreted; they just know.
  • Minions get four skill points. These are automatically invested in the Duck and Cover martial art, providing them with DR 2/-.

That gives our generic first level minions +1 to Attacks and Damage, AC 19, 23 HP, +2 on Saves, +5 on All Unrestricted Skills, and Initiative +1. They normally speak Common and one other language suitable to their race. They do get racial abilities.

Basic Minions are just all-around competent. They can cook excellent meals, manage your accounts, take care of your horses, provide first aid, find food and warmth in the wilderness, run bars, steal stuff, fix your mundane gear, baby-sit your kids, and paint your portrait with all the skill you’d expect of a well-trained professional – with occasional flashes of brilliance.

So are minions only for spellcasters? Certainly not!

Gangsta Wrap: This elegant scarf (many other variants exist) does not take up an item slot, since it need only be activated once per month in any case. It summons four basic minions to serve the user,

  • Summon Thugs III (Specific Summons -1; four L1 thugs with no higher level options) with Improved Persistent +8 (lasts one month), Amplify +1 (Gets “Generic Eclipse Minions, as written up above), -3 (seven or more levels of built-in metamagic) -1 (takes a full minute to activate) -1 (can only be activated at a place suitable for hiring aides – whether that’s your office or a favored hangout) = SL 6 x CL 11 x 1800 GP (Unlimited-Use Command Word) x .05 (one use per month) = 5.940 GP. You will have to wait a month to “hire more” if they get killed though.

Four are not enough? Go to the Minion Employment Agency (Nodwick Import-Export Services) and hire some M.E.A.N.I.E.S

And how does that service get them?

  • A Minion Employment Agency uses Summon Minion IV with Persistent +1 (lasts one minute per caster level), Amplify +1 (Minions are written up in Eclipse, although you only get one type per level, which must remain generic enough to be suited to a variety of tasks), Renewable +1 (when the spell is recast an existing summons may be extended, eliminating any one status condition or purging one negative level and regaining 3d6 hit points, one lost attribute point, and one use of a limited-use ability each time the spell is recast), Amplify +1 (being deceased does not prevent a minion from regaining hit points, and coming back, when it’s turn for renewal comes around – but it will suffer short-term amnesia as to exactly what happened), -2 (five or more levels of built-in metamagic) = Level Six.
  • Effective Cost: Spell Level 6 x Caster Level 11 x 2000 GP (Unlimited-Use Use-Activated) x .5 (Immobile) = 66,000 GP. This can sustain 110 castings in total (each providing one third-level minion OR four second-level thugs OR ten first level lackeys), for an effective rental cost of about 1 GP per day (25 GP/Month or 250 GP/Year) per casting. (Interestingly enough, this comes out reasonably well in line with the rules on hirelings and such).

In either case, if first-level minions don’t do it for you, the simplest thing to do is to boost the level of the base spell.

  • A Gangsta Wrap II (L2 Minions) costs 8190 GP, III (L3 Minions) costs 10,800 GP, IV costs 13,770 GP, V costs 17,100 GP, VI costs 22,770 GO, VII costs 24,840 GP, and VIII costs 29,250 GP.
  • A Minion Employment Agency II costs 91,000 GP and provides 130 sustained castings (each providing 10 L2 Lackeys OR 4 L3 Thugs OR 1 L4 Minion), III costs 120,000 GP and provides 150 sustained castings (and L3/L4/L5 lackeys/thugs/minions), IV costs 153,000 GP and provides 170 sustained castings (and L4/L5/L6 lackeys/thugs/minions), V costs 190,000 GP and provides 190 sustained castings (and L5/L6/L7 lackeys/thugs/minions). I’d recommend some caution here; it wouldn’t take very much optimization to create an army of elemental blasters or some such.

You can also improve the duration another one or two steps instead of improving the summoning level, taking it to tens of minutes or hours per level – effectively dropping one or two levels on the minions in exchange for the ability to sustain ten or sixty times as many. Do you happen to need a clone army for your Star Wars game?

For a “ten times as many” example take a version III and give yourself 12,000 L2 Veteran Troopers, 800 Grizzled L3 Sergeants to command squads of 15 Troopers each, and 100 L4 Dashing Captains to command Companies of 8 Squads each, and your Warlord has the iron core for his army – and an answer as to how anyone can afford to actually field an army in d20. Yes, 120,000 GP is a big investment – but it buys you a fair-sized military force with perfect loyalty, unbreakable morale, a load-out of basic equipment, little need for supply lines, and the ability to reform itself from total annihilation in a day – at least as long as you maintain control of your central castle, or capital, or wherever you’ve put the place (video game special effects are optional). The resulting numbers are also a reasonably good match for the typical army sizes in medieval Western Europe. You’ll want to go for the “sixty times as many” option if you want to represent the armies of the Middle East or Asia.

Shadowed Galaxy Character Setup II

I thought that I’d put this up long ago – but apparently I hadn’t. So here it is now.

General Notes: All characters are stellar explorers – and must be able to function as a part of a close-knit group aboard a small ship. Characters who cannot work in a group, insist on keeping piles of deadly secrets, are actually possessed by horrible alien forces, are utterly insane, are too crippled to be recruited, or are otherwise incompatible with working with a group are automatically weeded out before they ever get aboard. You can’t play one.

You can play very difficult characters if you want, but if you go overboard you probably won’t be taken on the next trip. Be sensible.

Character Advancement is being handled by direct awards of character points, at a rate of two points per session to start with. After level four this is reduced to one point per session. Logs and contributions are usually worth an extra 1 CP per session.

Skills and Equipment:

Equipment is handled through the Equipment Skills – which cover acquiring, operating, maintaining, and repairing various types of gear. You are automatically considered proficient with anything you buy through an Equipment Skill. Such skills include:

  • Armory (Str): Armor, Power Armor, Shields, Life Support, and similar.
  • Biotech (Con): Organ Implants, Surgeries, and Genetic Modifications.
  • Gadgetry (Int): Sensors, Computers, Tools, and Utility Items.
  • Logistics (Chr): Supplies, Subscriptions, Licenses, and Lifestyles.
  • Vehicles (Wis, Occult): Vehicles. Note that this is an occult skill (basically, there’s a 3 CP
  • Weaponry (Dex): Weapons. These are almost as popular as Armor.

Action Skills bend reality a bit to allow heroic feats. Unfortunately, each time you do something major with an Action Skill, it’s value is reduced for the rest of the session. Consider them your “Special Effects” budget. They include:

  • Bullet Time (Con): Pull flashy tricks, evade damage, and take immediate actions.
  • Erudite Focus (Int): Act ;ole Mr Spock or Gilligan’s Professor, get hints, and resist some mental attacks.
  • Narrative (Chr, Occult): Detect narrative influences or buy Whimsy Cards.
  • Sensitive (Wis): Detect psychic clues, resist mental influences, gain Power, and be a generic “Psychic”.
  • Stealing the Scene (Con, Occult): Invoke cliches and tropes.
  • Tough It Out (Str): Resist attribute damage/drain and various conditions through sheer grit.

Equipment and Action skills generally cannot be used unskilled.

Other Skills:

  • Idiotic Technology (Wis, Occult): Basically the Shadowed Galaxy version of “Use Magic Device” – allowing the user to fiddle with Idiotic Technology, make deductions about it, keep a few such devices ready to use, and use them. This is not especially safe, but it’s sometimes necessary.
  • Faith (Wis): Measures the intensity of your religious beliefs – and how much control you can exercise over Spacefield Effects.
  • Networking (Chr): Your ability to manipulate organizations. Commonly purchased with bonuses with particular groups to represent rank within them.
  • Minions (Chr, Occult): Recruiting minions – and making sure that they do what you’d want them to do when you’re not there.

Special Ability Notes:

Unlike most settings, the Shadowed Galaxy doesn’t forbid many abilities. The limitations fall more under how they work. Thus it’s wise to consult the GM on your character design. Things that are generally functional within the setting can be tweaked.

For an example take Returning. Some Spacefield Template Effects can provide it. In such cases the Spacefield Effects include storing the user/victim’s mind and reconstituting a body if they’re physically killed. A few Informational Effects basically turn the “user” into a free spirit, and let them manifest a new body after they’re “slain”. Biotech can provide some impressive regeneration. Psychic Powers have (very, VERY, rarely) been known to allow for body-hopping (likely in conjunction with some additional ability), and – given the lack of success with cloned bodies and “braintaping” – only computers and androids can back themselves up microtronically.

So humans in general may…

  • Employ up to 4 CP worth of Relics if they should happen to acquire any.
  • Buy up to 3d6 Mana – whether as Mana, Generic Spell Levels, or Power – without it counting against the limit for various special abilities. Beyond that point, it does.

As for specific power sources…

Biotech: Humans are pretty good at medical skills, understanding their own biology, implanting synthetic organs and tissues, correcting genetic flaws, fixing up damaged bodies, and so on. They have free access to the Biotech skill and may opt to take various adaptions (even as bonuses to the equipment skills with an immunity to having them taken away) starting off – but modifying such things after an organism matures is extremely difficult. Humans simply do not seem to be able to solve the problems inherent in active adjustments, such as shapeshifting. Note that this also bans the “partial shapeshift for big attribute bonuses” trick.

Psychic Powers: Humans may develop up to 36 CP (plus Pacts) worth of Witchcraft Powers (or actual psionic abilities of up to level two) – which is actually quite a lot. Unfortunately, a fair number of the advanced Witchcraft abilities are either limited (although this does reduce their cost) or simply do not work.

  • Aegis only provides the “care” function rather than destroying diseases, etcetera (3 CP).
  • Apparition is possible, but will kill you without some special ability to avoid having your body shut down while you’re focusing on a temporary one (2 CP).
  • Ashen Rebirth is very likely to kill you when used (2 CP).
  • Birth of Flames works, but creates a purely intangible entity that cannot materialize. It’s still an effective scout though (3 CP).
  • Blessing cannot bestow a permanent benefit. Given that this is very rare anyway, this does not change the cost.
  • Bones of Iron mostly works, although Iron Lung doesn’t work well (No change).
  • Breath of Life only lasts for a minute of concentration at most (2 CP).
  • Breath of Peruza works VERY briefly (2 CP).
  • Covenbond is Ritual Only, and so is only (3 CP).
  • Darknsense can cause serious confusion in the user (3 CP).
  • Dismissal cannot banish entities since the Shadowed Galaxy lacks true outsiders, elemental, and outer planes and it’s only options for being selective are disrupting hyperspace-related entities, subspace-related, or informationally-powered entities (3 CP).
  • Divination covers low-end detections only – nothing above level two (3 CP).
  • Flesh Like Mist is VERY dangerous and often fails (2 CP). If you’re taking this, a bit of Luck may be in order.
  • Grounding is messy, since the energy has to go SOMEWHERE (4 CP).
  • Hag-Riding works, but the victims need to have some psychic ability (4 CP).
  • Leaping Fire only works in part; it cannot provide rapid healing, eliminate fatigue, or eliminate exhaustion (4 CP).
  • Light of Truth has no holy-energy combat applications beyond causing flash-blindness (4 CP).
  • Longevity is a bit more limited, but not enough to justify a cost change.
  • Master of the Sabbat does not work.
  • Master the Elements does not work,
  • Mouth of the Earth works, but causes backlash (3 CP).
  • Nightforge will not work.
  • Possession is generally not possible without something that sustains your existence without a body (3 CP).
  • Ridden by the Loa can tap some low-powered entities, but they’re more like Vestiges than anything else – and generally lack any major powers (3 CP).
  • Sanctify can give areas moods and such, but not much more (2 CP).
  • Seize the Wandering Soul is generally short of targets (3 CP).
  • Siphon will not work.
  • Sleep of Stone mostly works (being reassembled rarely does, 4 CP).
  • Spirit Binding is very temporary at best (at least for humans) and the advanced command stuff won’t work (3 CP).
  • Spirits of the Deep generally has no power source to use, and so does not work.
  • Summoning is very limited for lack of targets and there are no sources for borrowed magic. It is normally a ritual, and is Specialized and Corrupted for (2 CP).
  • Sympathetic Link is generally limited to planting bits of yourself to use (3 CP).
  • Tenebrium’s coin works, but you need to do something like run a psychic hotline and “money” means very little in the Shadowed Galaxy (2 CP).
  • The Sight is never controllable (3 CP)
  • The Inner Fire generally does not work.
  • The Secret Order does not work.
  • The Umbral Form allows blending with shadows, not becoming insubstantial – although you can move within them easily (3 CP). Most psychics just use Shadowweave unless they didn’t take it.
  • True Prosperity only works on a few plants or a garden patch at most (3 CP).
  • Venomed Touch does not work
  • Warding provides a +3 Luck Bonus to Saves and a +2 Luck Bonus to AC, but no other bonuses.
  • Weathermonger only allows data-collection and steering things a bit (3 CP).

Informational (or perhaps Conceptual) Abilities are quite limited. Humans simply are not capable of handling more than 24 CP worth of active informational powers (6-: Novice, 12-: Initiate, 18:-Master, 24-: Grandmaster) with one major exception: Informational Powers built as Witchcraft may have their cost reduced by Pacts.

Spacefields are generally beyond humanities ability to sense or manipulate in any detail. The only known interface is the Faith skill. Characters may request a +1 ECL Spacefield Template, but the details are up to the game master.

Randolf Upton Pickman, A.K.A. Pharaoh Nephren-Ka, E-poh of the Tcho-Tcho, Mylakhrion of Theem’hdra., and others.

The planes where mankind can exist are a tiny island in an infinite sea, surrounded by reefs of possibility and dedicated guardians. Yet there are things – some minor, others vast and powerful – which sometimes walk our realms when the stars are right and a gate is opened. Some find our little island little more than a shortcut, an amusing path less trodden, or a source of some desired oddity. Others… take an interest. Some even wish to understand, and seek that understanding in strange and maddening ways.

If some mortal is very, VERY, unlucky… they may even take a liking to him or her. Whether that means that said mortal was never entirely mortal at all, or whether they become so retroactively has never been determined.

Favored of the Outer Ones

+2 ECL Race or +3 ECL Acquired Template – although baseline d20 humans can “acquire” it for a mere +2 ECL since their racial advantages can simply be subsumed into “In The Guise Of Humanity”.

In The Guise Of Humanity (9 CP):

  • Fast Learner, Specialized in Skills (3 CP).
  • Bonus Feat (6 CP).

Randolf appeared (mostly) human as a child, and – at least for now – can easily pass for one as far as conventional examaination goes.

The Hidden Eye That Sees Unveiled (30 CP):

  • Adept: Craft/Visual Arts, Diplomacy, Knowledge/Arcane Lore (Specialized in Mythos Lore for Double Effect), and Perform/Oratory (6 CP).
  • Fast Learner, Specialized Skills, Corrupted/only to give his Adept skills a “racial modifier” of +(effective Level) (4 CP).
  • +3 to each Adept Skill (4 CP).
  • 2d6 (8) Mana with Resilience, Specialized and Corrupted/only usable for the Resilience Natural Magic (4 CP).
  • Rite of Chi with +4 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted/only to restore Mana, only usable for the Resilience function (4 CP).
  • Occult Ritual, Specialized and Corrupted; Can only perform the terrible, sanity-blasting, rites of the Outer Ones using his Mythos Lore (2 CP).
  • Major Privilege: Gets along with virtually all of the Outer Gods and their Servants, despite how incredibly awkward this is (6 CP).

Randolf, while still rather human, sees what is hidden – and can present it to other humans. He is also highly resistant to the dread effects of interacting with the Outer Gods and their servants in their true (or near-true) forms (those he explains to are rarely so fortunate) – although too much of that sort of thing will overwhelm even his defenses and slowly erode his (debatable) humanity. Oddly enough, most of the Outer Ones are quite willing to go along with this.

Guardian Spawn of The Dark Tapestry (15 CP):

(Dreamspawn) Companion, with +4 Template Levels, Great Form, and Transform (Corrupted; only the Companion can transform), +3 Speciality in Managing it. Specialized with the Standard Dreamspawn limitations (15 CP).

I’ve only put up a few specific Dreamspawn. To save time, I’d suggest using a minor variant of Queen Yintor. As Randolf is level one,:”she” gets a 3 CP bonus – in “her” case buying a particular Trick; the first time anyone sees Randolf’s companions true form” he or she will suffer 1d4 points of Wisdom Damage, 1d4 points worth of Wisdom Drain, and 1d4 rounds of Confusion. A successful Will save will reduce this to the minimum effect – one point of damage, one of drain, and one round of confusion. This is, however, Specialized; it can only affect any given creature once during their lifetime (3 CP).

The Outer Ones have vouchsafed Randolf a companion on his voyage beyond the gates of sanity, a guardian and supporter that may at times appear human, but is anything but. In it’s questioning and attempts to understand it’s new master it may, perhaps, become a little more human – or it may simply wind up increasing Randolfs upcoming dementia faster than ever.

Still, the enhancements and powers it grants him make surviving the many enemies that Randolf has acquired for simply existing a lot easier.

The Dreamer In The Labyrinth (66 CP):

  • Mystic Artist (Craft/Visual Art, including Painting, Drawing, Etching, and – possibly – Film-making (6 CP).
    • Basic Abilities: Skill: 3: Fascinate, 4: Emotion, 5: Block, 6: Hold Audience, 9: Suggestion, 12: Emotional Auras, 15: Freedom, 18: Amplify, 21: Harmonize, 24: Mass Suggestion, 30: Serenity, 36: Alter Attitudes, 48: Puppet Master, and 60: Rule the Horde.
  • Bonus Uses: +4 (6 CP).
  • Path of Whispers: Subliminal, Conditioning, Compelling, Immersive, Undertow, and Worldgate (36 CP).
  • The Art of the Occult: The Hidden Way, Spellweaver, and Sphere of Mastery (18 CP).

Randolf paints and draws – and dreams and visions of things that cannot exist in the world as it is pour through his pen and into reality, each work a potential gateway for that which is beyond and a crack in reality that helps to reshape the world into somewhere where such beings CAN exist. Those who gaze upon a work that happens to be “active” at the moment may find themselves subject to strange compulsions, experiencing memories and visions of the realms beyond, subject to the plots and themes of inhuman entities, or possibly can even be drawn into the realms beyond. Unfortunately, at the moment, he has little control over such events.

Similarly, while he little knows it at the moment, his images can also back any magic he happens to learn with the energies of the Outer Realms or even carry him partially beyond the boundaries of the world.

Whispers Of The Black Tapestry (108 CP):

  • Mystic Artist (Perform/Oratory) (6 CP).
  • Bonus Uses +8 (12 CP).
    • Skill: 3:Block, 4: Emotion, 5: Fascinate, 6: Competence, 9: Greatness, 12:Excellence, 15: Mass Greatness, 18:Mass Excellence, 21:Group Focus, 24:Harmonize, 30: Serenity, 36: Mass Heroism, 48: Double, and 60: Rule The Horde.
  • Basic Modifiers: Amplification, Echoes, Rapid, and Seeking (24 CP).
  • Path of Dissonance with Selective Targeting (+6 CP): Dissonance, Distracting, Disrupting, Stunning, Maddening, and Banishing (42 CP).
  • Chords of Fate: Harmonics (affects Undead), Spirit Summons, Spirit Channels, and The Great Summons (24 CP).

The Voices of the Outer Ones leak into Randolfs voice – and disrupt the very structure of reality and the creatures within it, whether living or dead. With time and practice he may be able to learn to disrupt the restraints that keep his targets from using their full potentials and store borrowed magics in the inflections of his words – but at the moment, only the disrupting energies of alien realms are really his to call upon, and he’s barely aware of even that.

High Priest of the Outer Ones (20 CP):

  • Dominion (Cultists) (6 CP)
  • Path of the Pharaoh: Manipulation, Sphere of Influence (Mortal Ties with The Outer Realms, Corrupted/he is drawn to points where contact is occurring, and there will try to sort it out so that everyone involved comes out OK), and Godfire (Corrupted; cannot actually spend any save to return from death but does get the side effects – such as not aging and not losing attribute points to disease) (14 CP).

Randolf doesn’t actually control any cults yet – but he’s their natural leader. He senses it when they open gates and call upon the outer ones, he can grant them a certain amount of actual power through various unspeakable and incomprehensible Offices, and he can manipulate events to help enable or cover up their activities.

As Randolf makes the acquaintance of more Cultists, and (willing or unwillingly) becomes a major figure in their rituals and beliefs, he will become ever harder to keep dead – and he will come ever closer to the ability to warp the Earth into a pocket-realm where the Outer Ones can easily come and visit, whether he wishes to do so or not.

His Unspeakable Destiny (38 CP):

  • Unique Returning with a Minor Rewrite, Specialized and Corrupted for Reduced Cost: Randolf reappears at a point in time and space chosen by his unnatural patrons, each time he reappears he becomes less human and more a creature of the “Cthulhu Mythos”, each reappearance sends him into a predestined role. The only way to stop the sequence (and his eventual rise to join the ranks of the Outer Ones) is to travel back in time to one of his prior appearances and there find a way to massively disrupt the timeline and thwart his destiny. In effect, he must be raised or resurrected quite promptly or he will become very difficult indeed to retrieve (8 CP).
  • Privilege: The “Favor of the Outer Ones” doesn’t have to be “paid for” up front – although that also means that the character doesn’t start off with much knowledge of his abilities, much less understanding how to use them or how they work. Levels Two and Five are (or will be) devoted to paying for the template and picking up an increased understanding of his talents. Randolf thus had a somewhat disturbed, but otherwise fairly “ordinary”, childhood (3 CP).
  • Double Enthusiast, Specialized for Increased Effect (4 floating CP) and Corrupted for Reduced Cost (4 CP) / only for use with “Create Relic”, all the Relics Randolf “creates” are actually borrowed from the Outer Ones; they’re usually very weird, they’re only available when the Outer Ones feel like lending him something, and what he gets is entirely up to the game master. (4 CP).
  • Create Relic / Specialized and Corrupted / All the Relics Randolf “creates” are actually borrowed from the Outer Ones; they’re usually very weird and what he gets is entirely up to the game master (2 CP).
  • Inherent Spell with +6 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased (Level Nine) effect (15 CP). L9 “Anyspell” effect, producing any Arcane effect of up to L6. Note that this requires that he call upon an appropriate Outer One, is considered blatant blasphemous and horrible black magic by pretty much everyone except the Outer Ones, will not be fully under control until he reaches L17 (and the ability to control a ninth level inherent spell properly), requires a modest ritual at least 1d4 minutes long, calls for a minor offering, and gives the Outer One invoked a limited point of entry into the “normal” universe – allowing some sort of tinkering or even a minor manifestation (15 CP).
  • Major Favors: The Outer Ones (6 CP).

Randolf has encountered several of the Outer Ones – although the forms they have chosen to take in his eyes are a lot more “normal” than any other entity could reasonably expect and it generally hasn’t been for long. They are, however, definitely taking an interest.

  • Baba Shiby” (“Mother of Shiva”, Life Manipulation, Monsters, Conjuration, and Relationships) usually acts sort of like a genial “house mother”. After all, she DOES have a thousand young – even if they are all aberrations of one sort or another. She seems to see Randolf as being one of them. Hopefully, she is wrong.
  • “Gnarly Hotep” (“The Twisted Way At Peace”, Darkness, Mind Control, Transformation, and Conflict) shows up in a variety of forms. Gnarly just can’t resist stirring up trouble, just to see how far people will go – and the greater the powers they bring into play, the better he likes it. He’s still especially proud of “The Rain Of Colorless Fire” – whatever that was.
  • “Uncle Yoggy” (“Elder Conjunction”, Time, Space, Dimensions, and Gates) is surrounded by a fiery froth of opening and closing wormholes traversing space and time, and as a result is never more than partially in any one place. He’s extremely distracted and quite obliging – but almost always gets whatever-it-is quite wrong.
  • “Ozymandias” / “Ozzy” (“The Fallen Eternity”, Chaos, Creation, Destruction, Music and Werewolves) acts like a stereotypical drugged-out hippie full of nihilistic wisdom, tells people not to worry or plays music that drives mortals mad while weird monsters appear nearby and eat them, and often leaves the people who survive his visits with strange curse/powers – commonly including forms of Lycanthropy which render them near-mindless monsters while transformed.

No, Randolf has no idea why any of them have chosen to look the way that they do for him. He thinks that they’re just whimsically pulling images from somewhere, and for once he’s right. 

For when Randolf has lived his second-to-final incarnation, and been slain at long last by what-he-must-become, all mortality and humanity will be subsumed, and what once was Randolf will return at last to Earth, sliding down from the far realms, the spaces between the stars, abandoning his place in the dark tapestry to come again to his birthplace. There he shall wait, dreaming in a death which is not a death, until R’leyh rises once more, and he – the perfected high priest of the Outer Ones and now their Native Guide – shall stride forth to stand beside his ancient friends as an equal. And he shall show them around the place, and they shall make themselves comfortable upon the Earth which is his house, and there shall be a party at the twilight of the gods that none save the Outer Ones will understand.

That is not dead which can eternal lie, and with strange aeons, even death may die.

ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn


At 286 CP that is one heck of a template. That’s in +8 ECL territory, and it probably well deserves it even if most of the powers it grants are a bit more subtle than blasting the enemy. After all, this is a Template that grants godhood (even if rather limited) to a first level character. Fortunately for Randolf, however, the entire thing is Specialized and Corrupted.

  • His abilities attract attention of the Outer Ones and their Servitors. This is not a (direct) problem for him beyond the occasional damage to his sanity, but can be hard on the rest of the world.
  • He feels responsible for managing the impact of the Outer Ones and their Servitors on the world – often frantically attempting to manage them so as to minimize the impact.
  • His abilities attract the notice of investigators, demon-hunters, and similar groups. Generally they are not happy about them and would like to see him dead.
  • His artwork is easily-recognized, and can be used to trace his incarnations across space and time.
  • He is subject to nightmarish visions of the Outer Ones and their Servitors, which he is compelled to express in his imagery.
  • He is occasionally asked to run “errands” or perform rituals for the Outer Ones. Declining results in ill fortune and (once he knows about them) his powers becoming even more erratic.
  • He is compelled to display his artistic talents, but often has little control over the results.
  • His occult powers are easily recognized as forbidden black arts by anyone who pays attention to his activities and their effects. In most places they are banned.
  • The “performance” of the Whispers Of The Black Tapestry cannot be sustained; the duration is thus limited to the basic 5 rounds plus the Echoes duration.
  • He occasionally utters terrible prophecies or unleashes dark forces without even meaning too.
  • He is a veritable magnet for strange and bizarre events, rifts in reality, dark artifacts, and other people’s prophecies. Oddly enough, this often makes it possible to anticipate him by finding a relevant prophecy.
  • His mere presence often causes conventional devices to malfunction. At best, he effectively only gets one-third to one-half of the treasure and equipment his level would normally grant.
  • His mystical abilities with the visual arts only work in conjunction with his nightmarish visions of the Outer Ones; only images of such visions express these powers.
  • He is compelled to draw his visions, activating at least some (GMO) portion of the Path of Whispers on one each day without even being aware that he is doing so.
  • He starts off mostly unaware of his various potential abilities.
  • His magical powers are too bizarre to be used in the creation of conventional magical items, and will influence any conventional talents he develops enough to bar their use as well.
  • The Template subsumes Duties (to the Outer Ones) and Restrictions (cannot use divine powers from any “normal” deities, including those bound into items). Given that this would eventually be worth rather more CP than the character gains from the items that wind up double-Specialized and/or Double-Corrupted (normally a big red flag) I’ll let this particular Template get away with that.
  • The user counts as whichever of a human, a non-human, an outsider, and a native of the prime material plane is most disadvantageous at any given moment.
  • Mortals who are psychically or magically sensitive, or are aware of the presence and nature of this Template, are instinctively wary of the user, generally preferring to avoid them entirely. The user’s social life is going to suck.

That brings Favored of the Outer Ones down to 95 CP – the upper limit for a +2 ECL race (or +3 ECL Template). Are those enough limitations to justify that?

Probably. After all, at low levels Randolf doesn’t have the knowledge or control to use his nifty powers that effectively. Sure, he can optimize the use of Whispers Of The Black Tapestry, His Unspeakable Destiny, or the abilities granted by bonding with a Dreamspawn (all of which have some serious downsides) at mid-levels, but it’s not like other characters can’t optimize and Mystic Artist is hardly the go-to path for raw power. At high levels… there will be lots of more outrageous characters around.

Randolf Upton Pickman

Level One Would-Be Hapless Bystander

Randolf is a nice, obliging, fellow. Unfortunately, he’s so out-of-tune with humanity that he’s had a terrible childhood – and finding himself to be the chosen high priest of the outer ones (or even a potential Outer Lord) has not really improved matters. In a rather weird way, Randolf is baby-sitting his patrons in their interactions with earthly creatures while they baby-sit him in his interactions with the creatures and powers of the outer realms.

Racial Package: Favored of the Outer Ones.

Available Character Points: 48 (Level Base) +2 (Untraveled, a variant on Illiterate. Randolf has never really been beyond his country birthplace and the local woods and town. He has a little bit of theoretical knowledge of the world, but is essentially unfamiliar with other cultures, species, and places) + 12 (Racial and L1 Bonus Feats) = 62 CP.

Package Deal: Student (Privilege/gets basic housing and support for free, has access to university facilities and libraries, 3 CP), +1 each with Computer Use, Craft (Writing), Drive, Knowledge (Art and History), and Research (6 CP), and Enthusiast (Specialized in Skills, for Double Effect, 3 CP). If transplanted from d20 Modern into a fantasy world the Pathfinder Package Deal is probably preferable.

Basic Attributes: Str 8, Int 14, Wis 16, Con 12 (14), Dex 8 (10), Chr 10. (22 Point Buy).

Languages: Common, Latin, and the “Dark Speech” of the Outer Ones.

Basic Abilities (31 CP):

  • Hit Points: 20 (L1d20, 16 CP) + 2 (Con) +16 (Dreamspawn Link) = 38 HP.
  • BAB: +1 (6 CP).
  • Saves:
    • Fortitude: +0 (Purchased, 0 CP) +2 (Con) = +2 (Effectively +8 due to Companion)
    • Reflex: +0 (Purchased, 0 CP) + 0 (Dex) = +0 (Effectively +8 due to Companion)
    • Will: +2 (Purchased, 6 CP) + 3 (Wis) = +5 (Effectively +6 due to Companion)

Combat Information:

  • Proficiencies: Simple Weapons (3 CP) and Pistols (3 CP).
  • Initiative: +0.
  • Move: 60′
  • Armor Class: 10 (Base) +4 (Mage Armor) +2 (Judo) = 16. Also, Protection from Law.
  • Usual Weapons:None

Special Abilities:

  • Bestowed by Template Companion: Need not Eat, Drink, Sleep, or Breathe, effectively immune to poison*, Fast Healing I (up to 20 points/hit die/day)*, Protection from Law*, and True Strike 3/Day*. May employ 4L1, 4L2, & 4L3 Absolute Command effects daily used as Reflex Actions at caster level equal to his level. These require making both a Fortitude and a Will save against the spell at +4 to avoid fatigue. All use-activated. Effects marked with an “*” are subject to dispelling and antimagic versus caster level one – but will come right back again next round.
  • Adept: Pays half cost for Decipher Script, Disable Device, Research, and Spot (6 CP)
  • Fast Learner, Specialized in Skills for Double Effect (6 CP).
  • Witchcraft II with the Rituals and Karmic Links Pacts paying for Witchcraft III and +3d6 Power (24 total) (12 CP). Save DC 13. Basic Abilities: The Adamant Will, Glamour, The Hand of Shadows, Healing, The Inner Eye, Shadowweave, and Witchsight. Notably, combining Glamour and The Inner Eye allow him to bypass language barriers – at least for living things.

Skill Points: 7 (CP Spent) +8 (Int Mod x 4) + 8 (Racial Bonus Feat spent on Fast Learner at L(-2)) = 23

  • Computer Use +1 (1 SP) +2 (Int) +1 (Package) = +4
  • Craft/Writing: +1 (1 SP) +2 (Int) +1 (Package) = +4
  • Craft/Visual Arts: +4 (2 SP*) +2 (Int) +4 (Race) = +10
  • Decipher Script +4 (2 SP*) +2 (Int) = +6
  • Diplomacy: +4 (2 SP*) +0 (Cha) +4 (Race) = +8
  • Disable Device +4 (2 SP*) +0 (Dex) = +4
  • Drive +1 (1 SP) +0 (Dex) +1 (Package) = +2
  • Knowledge/History +1 (1 SP) +2 (Int) +1 (Package) = +4
  • Knowledge/Arcane Lore (Specialized in Mythos Lore for Double Effect), +2 (1 SP*) +2 (Int) +4 (Race) = +18
  • Knowledge/Art +3 (3 SP) +2 (Int) +1 (Package) = +6
  • Martial Art/Tai Chi: +1 (1 SP) +3 (Wis) = +4 (Provides Defenses 2, already in his AC above).
  • Perform/Oratory +4 (2 SP*) +0 (Cha) +4 (Race) = +8
  • Research +4 (2 SP*) +2 (Int) +1 (Package) = +7
  • Spot +4 (2 SP*) +3 (Wis) = +7

Note that his Companion can grant a +20 Insight Bonus on a skill check three times per day. A “*” indicates half cost due to Adept.

Personally Randolf is a competent starting sage-type and has a number of psychic tricks to call on – but he really isn’t much of an adventurer. He isn’t likely to master most of his template powers very soon either – but he will learn to use the powers his Companion grants fairly rapidly, if only because she’s quite capable of explaining them and because the passive durability-enhancements will work whether he quite understands them or not. That will make him a tolerably effective and surprisingly durable minor mage.

Of course, Randolf intended to be an artist, not an adventurer or mage. If he really MUST develop some combat abilities he has lots of levels to go as of yet.

Future Development: Randolf could REALLY use some luck for Saves and some for Skills, but that’s cheap enough to pick up quite soon. More Witchcraft – and some more durability effects, such as a bit of damage reduction, will help his career as well.

Really though, he’s set up assuming a more or less “realistic”, even if Lovecraftian, setting. Massive leveling up is not really a thing under those assumptions.

Randolf is loosely inspired by “Ow, My Sanity”, a webcomic spoofing the Magical Girlfriend and Harem genres in a Call of Cthulhu setting. Of course, given that this is d20 and that the characters quite commonly achieve godlike power in the setting, Randolf is a lot tougher and more powerful than the hero of that comic. Unfortunately, “Ow, My Sanity” is on indefinite and possibly permanent hiatus – but what there is of it is well worth a look.

Eclipse d20 – The Great And Powerful Trixie, Celestia’s School for Gifted Unicorns, the Alicorn Amulet, and the Ursa Minor

Trixie Lulamoon has made several appearances in My Little Pony, albeit with significant personalty changes from appearance to appearance – even after allowing for the effects of the Alicorn Amulet. She has a wand and either a cape or a stylized moon for a cutie mark.

Wait. Isn’t there something a little weird about that? Unicorns have a horn. No one in Equestria uses a wand. From that point of view… Trixie’s cutie mark is saying “I use an alien system of magic!”. (Given her profession it also says “my show is going to be exotic and well worth watching” – but that’s secondary).

So Trixie performs unusual magic. Is it just stage magic and tricks? After all, “I use props and tools” could reasonably be taken from her mark.

No. It can’t be. “Stage Magic” relies on preparation, props, visual angles, and misdirection. How do you set up in advance to deal with whatever comes of an open challenge to an audience in a world where almost everyone has a special talent that they’re proud of? If Trixie’s special talent is to use her magic to pull back the cloak of time (star-tipped wand, cloak of stars… I could make a case for her being an astrologer too) and see the future well enough to get ready for whoever will challenge her… why isn’t she a top advisor to Celestia? Even if it was strictly limited to challengers, stubborn bureaucrats, underhanded nobles trying to slip something past her, and would-be assassins would all qualify.

That seems pretty unlikely.

Trixie does use smoke bombs and similar gadgetry, and it’s obvious enough that she’s good at bluffing and often simply claims that her way of doing things is better than a challengers – but she’s also blatantly incredibly versatile compared to most unicorns. Normal unicorns seem to be capable of low-powered, short-range, telekinesis, sensing magic, making light, and doing something related to their cutie mark. Trixie is capable of skillful telekinesis, firework and light displays, illusions, changing hair colors, briefly shutting up a heckler with an (easily-removed) “mouth zipper”, creating electrical energy discharges sufficient to be annoy and startle a Pegasus (cartoon joy buzzer style), animating rope, and producing what appear to be small weather effects – and it isn’t likely that dealing with only three challengers in a brief segment would display all of her abilities. While her power level is nothing like Twilights (although she seems to be more versatile at this point; it is pretty early in the series), she seems to be a match for Rarity – and Rarity is pretty powerful compared to the average Unicorn.

So Trixie is reasonably powerful compared to low-level NPC’s, very versatile, uses exotic magic, and is apparently far more attractive and persuasive than her skills and personality seems to warrant since she apparently does make a living with her shows. She (at least per Lauren Faust) was admitted to Celestia’s School for Gifted Unicorns – which may not be uncommon, but does at least show the ability to pass the entrance exams. It’s implied elsewhere that she left before graduating – possibly because of personality problems and possibly because the school wasn’t helping her much.

On the other hand, Trixie gives relatively brief shows, and only one or two a day. Perhaps, unlike most other unicorns, she runs out of magic fairly quickly. Additionally, it seems like a lot of her magic may be self-taught.

Hm… Self-taught, highly versatile, powerful at fairly low levels but no match for a high-level specialist, runs out of power quickly, but has some ability to manipulate social situations in her favor, and rather poorly socialized… Trixie, unlike the vast majority of unicorns, is a Witch.

To account for the personality changes, I’m going to make her into a Bokor – a Spirit Channeler.

So; this version of Trixie hails from Neigh Orleans, where a small colony of Zebras has brought along their exotic magic and mixed with the local earth ponies to produce even more exotic hybrids – both of blood and magic. Among them… the magic of the Bokor. Trixie, with few unicorns about to provide training in Equestrian Unicorn Magic, learned some of those arts – and easily qualified for Celestias School for Gifted Unicorns. Unfortunately, her somewhat difficult baseline personality, the constant shifts resulting from her spirit channeling, and the fact that the teachers there didn’t know much of anything about her style of magic except that it was weird and scary, soon led to her leaving. Trixie took up with some traveling performers (“ran away to join the circus”) and picked up some of their skills before breaking up with them as well (albeit on more friendly terms; circus performers are used to odd behavior patterns) – setting out on her own career. Sadly, Trixie was over-proud of her skills and not yet an especially polished performer in season one, and so tended to be far, FAR, too provocative. She has improved a good deal since then though – although, for her, even “bearable” is a big improvement.

Trixie Lulamoon, The Great and Powerful (when channeling Ile Zeremika), The Clever and Discerning (when channeling Andromalus), The Mysterious and Resourceful (Haagenti), The Humble and Penitent (Naberius), The Swift and Deadly (Cheshire Cat), and The Avatar of Flame (Amon). Also known as “The Complete Fruitcake” when influenced by The Alicorn Amulet.

Level Five Bokor

Racial Package: Unicorn Pony (30 CP/+0 ECL race)

  • Attribute Shift, +2 Charisma/-2 Strength (6 CP).
  • Innate Enchantment, caster level x spell level 1 x 2000 gp (7 CP; 6000 gp)
    • Greater Mage Hand x2 (allows handling two items at once), (4000 gp).
    • One additional 0- or 1st-level spell. In her case that’s Greater Prestidigitation (from the Trickster Mage spell list). That provides a LOT of flexibility for minor tricks.
  • Immunity/stacking limitations when combining innate enchantment effects with external effects (common/minor/trivial; only covers level 0 or 1 effects) (2 CP).
  • Immunity/the normal XP cost of racial innate enchantments (uncommon/minor/trivial) (1 CP).
  • Immunity/needing to concentrate on spells (common/major/trivial – only for spells of level 0 or 1), specialized for half cost/only applies to innate enchantments (1 CP). This allows Trixie to use her telekinesis (and Greater Prestidigitation) without actually paying attention to it, just like a human uses their hands.
  • Immunity/verbal, somatic, and material components when casting spells (very common/major/minor – only for spells of level 3 or below) (10 CP). Note that this also affects her spells as Bokor, although it does not entirely overcome the limitations; it just means that you have to be watching closely and make a DC 15 Spellcraft check to spot them.
  • Eldritch, a unicorn’s horn glows when using innate enchantments or spellcasting, and a matching glow surrounds the target (0 CP).
  • Skill Focus (6 CP). In her case that’s in (Unicorn) Gadgetry.
  • Accursed. Any damage, or other harmful effect, that befalls a unicorn’s horn (e.g. must target their horn specifically, rather than the unicorn overall) causes all innate enchantments and spells cast to immediately end. No more can be used until the effect is healed (-3 CP).

I’m using Alzrius’s racial description rather than my own because mine relies on treating the ponies as superheroes – while this character is meant for a more-or-less standard game.

Available Character Points: 144 (Level Five Base) +10 (Disadvantages: Accursed (due to the extreme difficulty in finding information on Mysteries in Equestria, Trixie only learns of one for every two ranks or part thereof of her Knowledge/Arcana skill), History and – inevitably – Showman) + 12 (L1, L3, Bonus Feats) = 166 CP.

Package Deal: None. If used in a Pathfinder (or Ponyfinder) game, apply the Pathfinder Package Deal.

Basic Attributes: Str 8 (6 after racial modifier), Int 16, Wis 10, Con 16, Dex 16, Chr 8 (10 after racial modifier). Given that Trixie is supposed to be working on her character flaws, her +1 from fourth level will probably go to Charisma. It won’t be enough.

  • Strength: There’s not much to go on here. Trixies Wagon doesn’t even seem to have a harness in season one (and judging from the amount of gadgetry that seemed to be built into it, it may have had some sort of motor like the cider machine), but her new (or heavily-rebuilt and modified) wagon has a harness in season six and she’s seen casually strolling along while pulling it. Of course, that may not mean anything but “showing off less” or just “ponies are presumed to have no trouble towing small wagons”. I’m setting her strength to a minimum simply because she’s a caster and there’s no indication that she’s particularly strong.
  • Intelligence: Trixie seems to be pretty clever about magic and shows a variety of skills, so a fairly high rating here makes sense.
  • Wisdom: For this… Trixie falls to her pride and overdoes her challenges and attempts to confront an Ursa when completely unprepared (honestly, it’s a big bear. A few stink/smoke/irritant bombs might well have driven it off), gives into the Alicorn Amulet before she even TOUCHES it, and certainly doesn’t seem all that perceptive. Even by the old-school notion of Wisdom (are you sensible?) it’s not her strong point.
  • Dexterity: Trixie does sleight-of-hand with hooves, and does some escape artist tricks and such. That’s probably not all telekinesis and magic; Equestrian audiences are unlikely to be impressed with telekinetic tricks.
  • Constitution: Trixie wanders Equestria alone, getting plenty of healthy outdoors exercise – and likely dealing with various minor monsters. If she got too sick or injured… she’d be dead. Ergo, a decent Constitution (and probably some healing magic) is in order.
  • Charisma. You’d think this would be a priority for a showpony wouldn’t you? Well, you are apparently greatly and powerfully wrong. Trixie isn’t greatly evil, but she is powerfully abrasive. Fortunately, a practiced routine goes a long way towards covering that while she’s on a stage.

Languages: Common (A.K.A. Equestrian and English), Draconic, Zebrican (a somewhat bastardized dialect), and Sylvan.

Basic Abilities (77 CP):

  • Hit Points: 12 (L1d12, 8 CP) +14 (L2 and 3, d8, 7, 7, 8 CP), +10 (L4 and 5, d6, 5, 5, 4 CP) + 15 (5 x Con Mod) = 51 HP
    • Trixie has been touring, on her own, to towns on the fringes of the Everfree. She may or may not have fought an Ursa, but she’s almost certainly fought Timberwolves and dealt with other perils – and she is still alive. A decent number of hit points is definitely in order, although she’s focusing less on hit points as her magic improves.
  • Skill Points: 12 (Purchased, 12 CP) + 24 (8 x Int Mod) = 36 SP. 32 have been invested in her eight Adept skills, giving them all a base of +8.
    • Access to Occult Skill (Unicorn) Gadgetry, as a “Relevant” skill (6 CP). This is probably a fairly normal skill in Equestria, but we are more or less presuming a visit to a fairly standard setting.
    • Adept: Bluff +8* (+2 Synergy to Diplomacy, Disguise, Intimidate, and Sleight of Hand), (Unicorn) Gadgetry (+11 +3 Skill Focus +2 Synergy from Knowledge/Arcana= +16 with a +3 Specialty), Perform (Stage Magician, covers many tricks) +8*, and Sleight of Hand +11* (6 CP). Skills marked with an “*” are often augmented with Witchcraft.
      • Usual Unicorn Gadgets (16): “Motorized” Wagon (+6 to pullers effective strength, 1), Opens into an elaborate Stage (2) with Lightshow, Magician’s Props, and Fireworks (2), Smoke Bombs (1), Refrigerator / Freezer (1), Stove / Water Heater (1), Charmed Cloak (+4 Deflection Bonus to AC, 3), “Smart” Cards (display whatever is needed and reform if damaged. This provides a +10 bonus to performing card tricks and individual cards can serve as a license, pass, or business card, 2), Ectoplasmic Mirror (Spend 3+ Power, generate a minor ectoplasmic construct that you can use as a stand-in and speak through. Unfortunately, while “real”, it is about as effective as an Unseen Servant with a Mirror Image and Ventriloquism, cannot get more than thirty feet away from you, and lasts no more than three minutes per point of power supplied (although the first three count), 1), Veil of Maya (This can be set up to cover her stage, or a carnival booth, or similar – covering up the signs of Trixie’s magic use, so that her powers will appear even more mysterious, 2).
      • Stage Magic Gadgets (From +3 Specialty): Vanishing Stone (A part of her cloak clasp): This activates as a free action up to three times daily, turning her Invisible – but the effect lasts for a maximum of one turn (1), Stone of Transit (Also a part of her cloak clasp): Teleports the user to a pre-prepared box, circle, or similar “receiver” within the range of a normal move as a move action up to three times per day (1), and an Innocent Blade: This vicious looking, wickedly sharp scimitar that can, if the bearer wills, pass through living creatures (and, optionally, their clothing) without harming them. It has no other special function (1).
    • Adept: Concentration +11, Knowledge/Arcana +11, Spellcraft +13 (with +2 Synergy from Knowledge / Arcana), and Survival +8 (6 CP).
      • Known Mysteries: Amon, Naberius, The Cheshire Cat, Haagenti, Andromalus, and Ile Zeremika.
    • Specialties and Other Skills: (Unicorn) Gadgetry/Stage Magic (1 SP), Craft/”Gypsy” Items (2 SP for a +5 total, mostly for fixing her wagon), and Magic Tricks (1 SP).
  • BAB: +2, Specialized in Ranged Combat for Double (+4) Effect (12 CP).
  • Saves:
    • Fortitude: 2 + (Purchased, 6 CP) +3 (Con) = +5
    • Reflex: +2 (Purchased, 6 CP) +3 (Dex) = +5
    • Will: +0 (Purchased, 00 CP) +0 (Wis) = +0
  • Combat Information:
    • Proficiencies: All Simple Weapons. Trixie knows how to effectively wield all the common items you’d find around a circus – hammers, mallets, clubs, poles, knives for throwing acts, crossbows for the “shooting” games, spears/prods for poking at misbehaving acts/attacking monsters, and so on (3 CP).
    • Initiative: +3 (Dex) -3 (Showman) = +0
    • Move: 30′ (60′ with Horseshoes).
    • Armor Class: 10 (Base) +3 (Dex) +4 (Deflection) +4 (Armor) = 21.
    • Usual Weapons: Trixie normally relies on her mighty magic, not weapons! Still, if she must… she usually has a few knives about (they are so useful after all) to chuck telekinetically. That gives her a +7 to hit and no damage modifier, which isn’t bad for a small blue unicorn.

Special Abilities (89 CP):

Bokor Powers (48 CP).

  • Basic Power Package (24 CP)
  • Initiate of the Mysteries I (14 CP).
  • Witchcraft Pacts:
    • Missions. Trixie wanders Equestria, is in contact with strange spirits, and has highly versatile abilities. It would be hard to find a better special agent wouldn’t it? Ergo, Trixie undertakes occasional missions for the spirit world – and so can be found almost anywhere, doing almost anything, that the plot demands for her patrons mysterious and unexplained (even to her) reasons. Could you ask for a better adventure hook? (-6 CP).
    • Rituals. Trixie performs an assortment of minor rituals – speaking of herself in the third person to avoid giving her location away to malevolent spirits, making small offerings, visiting obscure shrines when she passes them, and telling certain tales as a part of her act (-6 CP).
    • Duties: Trixie must never take up permanent residence anywhere or adhere to a regular route of travel, must take and train at least two apprentices during her lifetime, must constantly (and abrasively) test the patience of those who wish to befriend her, and must often mysteriously disappear into the wilderness following the omens of the winds (-6 CP).
  • +2d6 Mana, taken as 6d6 Power. Bokor Limitations, Only usable for Witchcraft (4 CP). This gives Trixie a total of 55 Power – quite a respectable amount!
  • Rite of Chi with +8 Bonus Uses, only to restore Power, Bokor Limitations (6 CP)
  • Witchcraft II to Doubled Effects father than one-third cost (allowing Trixie to produce Telepathic Projection, Telekinetic, Animation, Light, and Illusion effects of L0/1/2/3 for .5/1/2/3 Power. These have a base range of 60 feet and a base Will save DC of (16 + Cha Mod) (+4 CP).
  • Breath of Life (2 CP). Allows the user to Animate an object of up to Large size for an hour for 3 Power. When necessary, Trixie is perfectly capable of animating her wagon and telling it to go and take care of itself.
  • Finesse; Substitutes (Int Mod) for (Cha Mod) when it comes to Witchcraft (6 CP).
  • Double Enthusiast, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect (6 Bonus CP) / only active when channeling a Mystery, only changes only when summoning a Mystery, only to an ability associated with the latest Mystery to be summoned, the acquired ability may not be used more than three times before it fades until a new Mystery is summoned (6 CP).

Introductory Courses at Celestia’s School for Gifted Unicorns

What does get taught at Celestia’s school? Well, at least in Eclipse terms it seems likely to go something like this…

  • Magical Kindergarten (ages 6-7) presumably teaches Unicorns to control their innate magical talents. By the end of it… they should have a fair handle on basic telekinesis and should only surge under serious stress.

As for Celestia’s School for Gifted Unicorns…

First Year: Honing your Natural Magic and General Education

  • All students: +6 CP Innate Enchantment (usually expanding on their special talent), plus courses in the ethics of magic, and some basic knowledge of history, literature, elementary mathematics, and basic science – or what passes for it in Equestria plus general socialization. (Other ponies get this stuff in their normal schools and apprenticeships since it’s pretty much presumed for every character, like Literacy). Trixie did not complete this year – making her severely undertrained for her potential and leaving her with woeful gaps in her general knowledge.

Second Year: Basic Magical Theory.

  • For magical-talent students the start of a Spell Progression.
  • For students with limited affinities the basics of Rune Magic – Some SP (or CP if necessary) in Rune Mastery and Rune Casting and a little Mana (Specialized in Rune Magic only). Usual minimum of +1 Mastery (allowing Cantrips), +2 Casting (providing a casting level of one), and 1d6 Mana Specialized in Rune Magic.
  • Given that Trixie was already using an entirely different magic system it’s not surprising that she dropped out when she saw this coming up. Celestia’s school simply wasn’t much use to her.

Third Year: Practical Magical Focusing

  • For magical-talent students: Storing Mana with which to enhance spells and continuing their Spell Progression.
  • For students with limited affinities: Storing Mana to power spells and developing their rune magic skills.

Fourth Year: Gathering Mana

  • All Students: Rite of Chi, possibly with Bonus Uses.

Fifth Year: Professional Certification, followed by Graduation

  • For magical-talent students: Advancing their Progression and expanding their list of known spells.
  • For students with limited affinities: developing their rune magic skills to professional levels.
  • Graduation: All students should now be competent enough to start careers, usually as first level characters. Celestia’s school graduates some of the best magical healers, shielding experts, communication mages, and other specialists in Equestria – greatly improving the lives of her little ponies throughout the land. Those talented students with actual spell progressions tend to head into research and (since they can teach a wide variety of students with specialized talents) into teaching – although they usually get some practical experience (and pick up a level or two) out in the world first.
  • Post-Graduate Studies (Years Six and Seven): Individualized studies. Commonly Spell Research, Creating Magical Items, Runic Ritual, Alchemy, Combat Magic, and so on. Yes, this means that even an advanced Equestrian Education is often over by age fourteen or fifteen, while most other students are educated . Is that really a surprise? The show IS, after all, aimed at kids

Most first years will acquire a few effects that they can use almost without limit. Trixie, by the usual standards an incurable dabbler, learned a variety of tricks – but most of them were not associated with her special talent, and so are each only usable a very few times per day at best. Worse, she dropped out quite early, leaving her with only part of a first year magical education. She may be a powerful Bokor (even if she thinks of that as her “stage magic”) but, by normal Equestrian unicorn standards she is mostly untrained.

Partial First Year: +4100 GP to her Racial Innate Enchantments (4 CP):

  • Wizard’s Pocket (SL 1, The Practical Enchanter) Caster Level One Unlimited-Use Use-Activated, x.4 (may only be renewed when the duration runs out, may not be spammed) = 800 GP.
    • Trixie has the equivalent of secret pockets, and can store five cubic feet / 50 pounds of material about herself at only five pounds of encumbrance and retrieve items as a move equivalent action. This makes all kinds of Sleight-of-Hand MUCH easier to pull off.
  • Handyman (SL0, repairs one point of damage to an inanimate object. While this will put pieces back together it does not restore magical properties or repair constructs). Spell Level Zero reduced to -1 by Ambient Magic limitation, Caster Level One, Unlimited-Use Use-Activated = 500 GP.
    • Trixie, not being an idiot, presumably slipped back into town during the night after Boast Busters and used a combination of Hand of Shadows (Getting all the pieces picked up and put back together) and Handyman to put her wagon back together. Being homeless is pretty miserable!
  • Goodberry (SRD SL1, 0 after the Ambient Magic Limitation). Caster Level One Unlimited-Use Use-Activated, x.2 (Once Per Day) = 200 GP.
    • An invaluable trick when on the road. Find a few berries – or force a few on a bush out of season with Greater Prestidigitation – and you have food for days.
  • Obscuring Mist (SRD SL1). Caster Level One Unlimited-Use Use-Activated, x.2 (Once Per Day) = 400 GP.
    • When you really need to run away there’s nothing like a sudden fog.
  • Relieve Illness (Hedge Wizardry, SL1, 0 after the Ambient Magic limitation): Caster Level One Unlimited-Use Use-Activated, x.2 (Once Per Day) = 200 GP.
    • When you’re traveling alone, a minor illness can be dealt with. A major one is often a death sentence. This spell will reduce the severity of an illness considerably.
  • Cure Light Wounds (SRD, SL1, 0 after the Ambient Magic limitation) Caster Level One Unlimited-Use Use-Activated, x.6 (Three Times Per Day) = 600 GP.
    • Similarly, minor injuries can become infected, or accumulate, and swiftly prove fatal on the road – so any sensible long-distance solo traveler needs to learn to deal with them.
  • Hearthfire (Hedge Wizardry, SL2 reduced to SL1 by Ambient Magic limitation), Caster Level One Unlimited-Use Use-Activated, x.2 (Once Per Day) = 400 GP.
    • A small fire and a stove will suffice for heating, cooking, baking, hot water, and light, with no trouble or expense.
  • Expeditious Retreat (SRD, SL1) Caster Level One Unlimited-Use Use-Activated, x.2 (Once Per Day) = 400 GP.
    • Are there a lot of monsters? Bandits? Going faster is often quite enough to save your neck. This has since been superceded by her Horseshoes, but it was very useful back when she was starting out.
  • Shield (SRD, SL1) Caster Level One Unlimited-Use Use-Activated, x.2 (Once Per Day) = 400 GP.
    • It may not last very long, but when you’re principally interested in getting away, stopping magic missiles can be pretty important.
  • Alarm (SRD, SL1, 0 after the Ambient Magic limitation): Caster Level One Unlimited-Use Use-Activated, x.2 (Once Per Day) = 200 GP.
    • Another invaluable effect for the lone traveler. After all, it’s not like she has anyone else with her to stand guard.

Other Abilities:

  • Reflex Training (3/Day Bonus Actions Variant) with +4 Bonus Uses, Specialized in Movement and activating Movement-Boosting Effects (6 CP). Trixie is very good at ducking out when necessary.
  • Action Hero/Stunts (6 CP). Trixie will occasionally pull things off that she has never done before – and will quite possibly never do again.
  • Immunity/Needing to wear clothing or light armor of up to 100 GP value to enjoy it’s beneficial effects (Common, Minor, Major, 6 CP). Trixie need not wear heavy clothing in winter to keep warm, raincoats to keep dry, minor armor to avoid injury, swarm suits to keep off bugs, or anything at all to avoid public indecency and to have pockets. Yes, this is a pretty standard part of being a pony – but it certainly isn’t a normal part of most other settings. Trixie, like the Royal Guards, has an upgraded version, covering armor as well as simple clothing. Given that this version of Trixie may show up in other worlds… it’s worth calling it out, as opposed to simply leaving it as a background assumption.
  • Damage Reduction 3/-, Specialized in Physical Damage for Double Effect (6/-) (6 CP). Ponies are TOUGH. And it starts young. We can tell, because the Cutie Mark Crusaders are still alive. It’s another thing that isn’t called out in the show because EVERYONE in Equestria is resistant to injury – but when you’re interacting with outsiders, it’s worth noting.
  • Opportunist: Trixie gets to provide herself with special effects (via Greater Prestidigitation and minor (no cost) touches of Witchcraft) without it requiring an action of any kind. She can have a bit of faint background music, her cloak may blow in a non-existent wind, simple spells may have impressive special effects, and so on. In general, this is worth a +2 bonus on relevant rolls and makes her act look more impressive (6 CP).
  • Damage Reduction 3/-, Specialized in Energy Damage for Double Effect (6 points of general energy resistance) (6 CP). Like most cartoonish characters, ponies tend to shrug off minor energy discharges – including things like being set on fire – with a bit of superficial blackening that goes away in a few moments. Once again, this isn’t really called out in the show because this kind of thing applies to everyone in Equestria – but it’s worth noting when you’re interacting with normal mortals.
  • This actually leaves 1 CP left over. I’d spend it on a Specific Knowledge of Stage Magic – covering tricks, its history, and great stage magicians.

Equipment (9000 GP):

  • Amulet of Tears (2300 GP). If you’re trying to run “Equestria” under the standard rules, this item is probably almost standard issue. Even the kids survive outrageous stuff quite regularly.
  • Horseshoes of Speed (3000 GP). What traveling equine entertainer could pass up these?
  • Hat of Disguise (1800 GP). Invaluable for any stage magician.
  • Everfull Mug (200 GP). Not a major item, but combined with Goodberry it lets you travel with very little risk of going hungry or thirsty.
  • Bag (Hat Lining) of Tricks (900 GP). You never know when a small assistant will come in handy – and pulling an animal from your hat is about as classic as you can get.
  • Trixie’s Wagon is a large two-pony fully-furnished Caravan (requires Str 10 for easy pulling). It includes built-in seats, cabinets, and a wardrobe, two one-pony (two if they’re intimate) bunks in the rear, a chest of drawers who’s top serves as a table, a small larder, a wine rack, a glass-fronted china cabinet, and shelves with bars to keep things from falling off. Small windows and a skylight allow for light in the daytime, at night there are brackets for oil lamps – although Trixie mostly uses magical effects. There is a small porch on each end. Racks and cases along the outside fold out to provide storage for trade goods, a set of masterwork artisans tools and a workbench, a small forge, and a wide variety of storage spaces and barrels. An assortment of minor items – pots and pans, a water tank, a supply of food (about a months worth for one pony), a spare cape and hat, bedding, an (average) door lock, soap, and similar miscellany – is included at a net cost of 350 GP (Caravan 250, Tools 55, minor goods 45).
  • That leaves 450 GP for minor stuff – a few books on stage magic, some extra props, some bottles of decent wine, hiring an assistant or a venue for a big show, hiring a youngster or two as shills for her show or servants, a selection of posters to put up, and other minor gear. After all, Equestria isn’t that big on magic items outside of household Gadgetry anyway.

Translated into d20, Trixie is actually a very impressive stage magician – mostly because powers that don’t do much in combat are really, REALLY, cheap in d20. Most d20 games are focused on fight-the-monster, get-the-treasure, and save-the-world – with more mundane careers relegated to the backstory. It being d20, however, her left-over points have gone into combat related abilities – leaving her a competent, if minor, trickster-styled adventurer.

What about the Alicorn Amulet? Well, given that it was evidently in a junk shop with no takers for quite some time… I’m going to assume that appropriate users are scarce. It’s a 4 CP Relic, all powers Specialized: using it makes the wearer crazier and crazier until the game master takes over the character – and it makes the user fairly obviously insane or possessed long before then.

  • The Alicorn Amulet: 3d6 (12) Mana with the Spell Enhancement option, Corrupted/only to enhance the user’s spells and psychic powers (18 CP, 1 point adds +3 spell levels, but only one point may be used), Rite of Chi with +8 Bonus Uses, Corrupted/the ritual is to gloat, explain your plans, and otherwise act like a stereotypical villain (6 CP), Immunity/Having the amulet removed against the user’s will (Uncommon, Minor, Major, 3 CP).

That lets Trixie toss around sixth level spells quite readily – which should be sufficient, given that most of her “major” effects were likely short term or were so flawed that they were easy to get around.

As a bonus, here are some statistics for the Ursa Minor.

My (very rough) calculations give the Ursa Minor a height of about 24 feet (figuring that Ponies are about four feet tall when not crouching a bit). That’s on the lower end of “Huge”, so figuring from a Dire Bear, an Ursa Minor would look something like this…

Ursa Minor:

  • Huge Magical Beast (About 24 feet tall). (Possibly Augmented Animal if the limited magical powers are taken as being provided by the rules of Equestrian reality rather than being innate).
  • Hit Dice: 20d8 + 120 (210 HP).
  • Initiative +0
  • Speed 40 Feet (8 Squares)
  • Armor Class 18 (-2 Size +10 Natural), Touch 8, Flat-Footed 18
  • Base Attack/Grapple: +15/+23
  • Attack: Claw +29 Melee (2d6+14)
  • Full Attack: 2 Claws +29 Melee (+2 Weapon Focus, -2 Size, 2d6+14) and Bite +22 Melee (3d8+7).
  • Space/Reach: 15 Feet/10 Feet.
  • Special Attacks: Improved Grab, “Shooting Stars” / Magic Missile as a Supernatural Ability 5/Day (10 Missiles). This attack is only used when something is really annoying and hard to hit physically.
  • Special Qualities: Low-Light Vision, Scent, Immunity to Blinding and Light-Based Effects, Immunity to Magic Missiles. Radiates sufficient light to dimly illuminate a radius of ten feet per hit die, this automatically dispels all Darkness effects within that area with caster levels of less than it’s hit dice.
  • Saves: Fort +18, Ref +12, Will +13
  • Abilities: Str 39, Dex 11, Con 23, Int 2, Wis 12, Cha 10.
  • Skills: Listen +10, Spot +10, Survival +15, and Swim +15
  • Feats: Alertness, Endurance, Run, Luck with +4 Bonus Uses (only for Saves), +2 BAB specialized in Claws,
  • Extra Skills (+6 SP), and Grant of Aid (Stellar Powers).
  • Environment: The Everfree Forest, Equestria
  • Organization: Usually Solitary, pairs possible.
  • Challenge Rating: 10
  • Treasure: None
  • Alignment: Always Neutral
  • Advancement: 37-64 HD (Colossal Ursa Major).

Combat: An Ursa Minor attacks notable opponents by tearing at them with its claws. Up to one minor opponent per limb may simply be stepped on as per Grappling (see Improved Grab).

Improved Grab (Ex): To use this ability, an Ursa must hit with a claw attack. It can then attempt to start a grapple as a free action without provoking an attack of opportunity.

Like all Equestrian Animals, Ursa’s are strongly affected by Friendship and Harmony, suffering a -6 penalty on saves against such effects – including against musical effects.

OK, Trixie almost certainly could not defeat an Ursa Minor, much less an Ursa Major. She might well, however, be able to escape from one – or (if she had time to channel the right Mystery, get up a Shield spell to handle the Magic Missiles, and prepare some alchemical toys) be able to stay out of reach and harass one with spells, smoke, stink, and other irritants until it leaves.

This version of Trixie is – quite intentionally – versatile enough to fill a great many different roles, just as she does in fanworks. You want Trixie the Noir Detective? Trixie the Mad Bomber? Trixie the Crimelord? Trixie the Rebellious Arsonist? Trixie the Mage Duelist? Trixie the Foil for Twilight? Here you go. Just pick a relevant Mystery and associated Bonus Feat and you’re all set.

This one just kept getting longer, so it’s a couple of days late…

Zhan Rayden, Master of the Earth, Levels 9-12

Zhan Rayden, Master of the Earth

“Earthbender” (Eclipse Kineticist-Style Build) Mystic Architect

Zhan Rayden is now approaching what used to be called “Name Level” – the point at which the characters were supposed to start collecting followers, founding domains, and otherwise having a larger-scale impact on the world rather than simply going out to fight monsters. The faster level gains and classes-for-all system introduced in third edition have pushed that to a much later point (if it ever happens) – but I happen to think that people who battle dragons, create mighty magical devices, teleport across the world, and explore other dimensions SHOULD be very important and noteworthy people. Given that Rayden was already an architect-builder, expanding his influence beyond his personal reach is a fairly obvious path to take anyway – so I’ll be including some such options in these levels.

————————————————————————————-

Level Nine:

Basics: +4 SP (+2 Int Mod, +2 Human Fast Learner, Committed to Adept Skills, +2 Doubled Pathfinder “Favored Class” Bonus)) +30 CP (Base plus L9 Bonus Feat), +1d4 (+Con Mod, +Wis Mod) HP. “Healthy One” (+2 CP to become more durable).

Basic Attributes: Str 15 +2 (Wrath) +6 (Shift) +1 (Level) +2 (Enh) = 26, Dex 16 +8 (Shift) +2 (Enh) = 26, Con 19 (17 +2 Pathfinder +2 (Wrath) +4 (Shift) +1 (Level) +2 (Enh) = 28, Int 14, Wis 16, Cha 13.

Adept Skills:

  • Avalanche Fist Martial Art +12 (Base) +6 Con +3 Path: Net +21, Toughness IV, Attack II, Combat Reflexes, Breaking (Specialized for double effect/only against earth, stone, and metal), Versatility, Vanishing and Inner Strength.
  • Craft/Stonemason: +12 (Base) +3 (Int) +3 (Path) = +18
  • Earth Rune Magic/Casting +12 (Base) +3 (Wis) +3 (Path) = +18
  • Earth Rune Magic/Mastery +12 (Base) +3 (Wis) +3 (Path) = +18
  • Perception: +12 (Base) +3 (Wis) +3 (Path) = +18
  • Profession/Architect +12 (Base) +3 (Wis) +3 (Path) = +18
  • Profession/Engineer: +12 (Base) +3 (Wis) +3 (Path) = +18
  • Use Magic Device +12 (Base) +1 (Cha) +3 (Path) = +16

As for those 30 (+2 from “Healthy One”) CP…

  • +1 BAB (+11 Total) Specialized in Melee (3 CP)
  • Hit Die: d4 (0 CP). Rolls: L1d5 (5), L2d4 (2), L3d4 (3 +2 Path), L4d6 (6 +2 Path), L5d6 (6 +2 Path), L6d6 (3 +2 Path), L7d4 (2), L8d4 (4), L9d4 (2), Immortal Vigor +2d6 (12), +11 x (Con Mod + Wis Mod) = 185 HP.
  • Increase his Damage Reduction to 3/- (Specialized for Double Effect (6/-, 10/- with Toughness) / Only versus physical damage), (1 CP + 2 CP from Healthy One). That’s getting quite impressive; in combination with his massive number of hit points, he can wade through quite a lot of minor foes with no difficulty.
  • Body of Stone: Immunity / Sneak Attacks and Critical Hits (Common, Major, Major, 9 CP). This reduces the extra damage from Sneak Attacks and Critical Hits by 30 points. That won’t stop a serious crit-build, but it should suffice versus
  • Saves: +1 Will (3 CP) (Net Fort +6/Ref +6/Will +4)
  • Skill Points: 2 SP (Pathfinder Bonus, 0 CP). These are going to Linguistics and Stealth.
    • Linguistics +4 (SP) +2 (Int) +3 (Path): Common, Terran, five other languages.
    • Ride: +1 (SP) +3 (Dex) +3 (Path) = +7 (+11 when Armored).
    • Stealth: +12 (SP) +4 (Dex) +3 (Path) = +19 (+23 when Armored).
  • Hammer of the Underworld / Augmented Attack/+2d6 (taken as +5) Damage to overcome Damage Reduction and Hardness Only, Corrupted / only with melee combat (4 CP).
  • Upgrade his Metamagical Theorems: (Elemental Manipulation and Amplify with Streamline II, Specialized and Corrupted: Only to add +2 levels of Infliction and Empower to Fists of Stone and Stone Mountain Stance (8 CP)) to Specialized Only (Also adds two levels of Empower to his Force Shield and Force Armor – raising their effective bonuses to +6 and providing a now-needed +4 to his AC) (4 CP).
  • Strengths of the Earth IV: +4 Bonus uses for Rite of Chi, Specialized and Corrupted / only to restore Mana, requires at least one hour of sleep per die regained (2 CP).
  • Upgraded Strengths of the Earth: Rite Of C’hi, Specialized and Corrupted/only to restore Mana, requires at least one hour of sleep per die regained (2 CP). This gets his effective Mana Recovery Rate up to 2d6 per hour of sleep (Since he has two instances of Rite of Chi, even if each takes an hour to work), up to a maximum of 17d6 per day. Given that Rayden only has 5d6+6 (25) Mana at the moment, this is far more than enough unless he takes a nap later on in the day.
  • Upgrade Runic Ritual to cover Combat Spells – however rarely this is practical (2 CP).

Magic Items: With 46,000 (or +13,000) GP to spend, it’s time to consider these again:

  • Armor:
  • Belt: Healing Belt (MIC, 750 GP. 3 Uses/Day, spend 1/2/3 to heal 2d8/3d8/4d8, +2 to the Heal Skill). Includes Attribute Boosters: Str, Dex, and Con, each +2 (12,000 GP. Per the rules in the MIC these functions can be added at cost to any item which occupies an appropriate slot).
  • Body: Ghost Shroud (MIC, 5000 GP): +1 Deflection to AC, all Melee Attacks are treated as Ghost Touch.
  • Chest:
  • Eyes:
  • Feet: Combined Item; Boots of the Earth (Pathfinder, Inner Sea Gods, user may plant his or her feet as a move action, gaining Fast Healing I and a +4 bonus to CMD to resist bull rush, reposition, and trip combat maneuver attempts. These effects end if the wearer moves or is moved, knocked prone, or rendered unconscious, 5000 GP) and Vanguard Treads (MIC, 3100 GP, lets you ignore difficult terrain, slippery surfaces, +8 CMD versus bull rush and +4 CMD versus reposition attempts – but +10 to attempts to track the user). As combined, these have a net cost of 9650 GP). Given how many HP he has for his level… he needs these badly, just to get healed up each day.
  • Hands:
  • Head:
  • Headband: Third Eye Clarity (MIC, 3000 GP, 1/day immediately remove daze, stun, etc).
  • Neck:
  • Ring:
  • Ring:
  • Shield:
  • Shoulders: Cloak of Protection +1 (1000 GP)
  • Wrists: Wristbands of the Poseur III (8000 GP. Note that between his Use Magic Device check and attributes he can get full use out of these quite easily).
  • Slotless Items:
    • Everfull Mug (MIC, 200 GP)
    • Handy Haversack (2000 GP).
    • Ioun Torch (75 GP)
    • Cracked Dusty Rose Prism Ioun Stone (+1 Competence to Initiative, 500 GP). He may have implanted this, since that only calls for skill checks, not money.
    • Cracked Magenta Prism Ioun Stone (+2 Competence Bonus to any one skill, may be changed once per day, 800 GP). Mounted in a Wayfinder (500 GP) to provide a Resonant Power (a +1 nameless bonus on any one saving throw. He usually takes Will).

This comes to 43,475 GP – leaving 2525 GP available for minor supplies. He really ought to upgrade to at least a +2 Cloak of Resistance – but he can’t quite afford it at the moment. It is worth noting that he has rather a lot of unused item slots. As usual for an Eclipse character, the magic items are nice, but they aren’t really required for him to do his thing.

Ninth level brings Rayden the ability to penetrate Damage Reduction to a modest degree, as well as a bit more magic and a drastic boost to his ability to resist sneak attacks and critical hits. Those aren’t especially dramatic powers, but they’re very useful. One thing he still doesn’t have is any Energy Resistance. He’ll probably have to come up with some soon.

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Level Ten:

Basics: +4 SP (+2 Int Mod, +2 Human Fast Learner, Committed to Adept Skills, +2 Doubled Pathfinder “Favored Class” Bonus)) +24 CP (Base), +1d4 (+Con Mod, +Wis Mod) HP. “Healthy One” (+2 CP to become more durable).

Basic Attributes: Str 15 +2 (Wrath) +6 (Shift) +1 (Level) +2 (Enh) = 26, Dex 16 +8 (Shift) +2 (Enh) = 26, Con 19 (17 +2 Pathfinder) +2 (Wrath) +4 (Shift) +1 (Level) +2 (Enh) = 28, Int 14 +2 (Enh) = 16, Wis 16, Cha 13.

Adept Skills:

  • Avalanche Fist Martial Art +13 (Base) +6 Con +3 Path: Net +22, Toughness IV, Attack II, Combat Reflexes, Breaking (Specialized for double effect/only against earth, stone, and metal), Versatility, Vanishing, and Inner Strength.
  • Craft/Stonemason: +13 (Base) +3 (Int) +3 (Path) = +19
  • Earth Rune Magic/Casting +13 (Base) +3 (Wis) +3 (Path) = +19
  • Earth Rune Magic/Mastery +13 (Base) +3 (Wis) +3 (Path) = +19
  • Perception: +13 (Base) +3 (Wis) +3 (Path) = +19
  • Profession/Architect +13 (Base) +3 (Wis) +3 (Path) = +19
  • Profession/Engineer: +13 (Base) +3 (Wis) +3 (Path) = +19
  • Use Magic Device +13 (Base) +1 (Cha) +3 (Path) = +17

As for those 24 (+2 from “Healthy One”) CP…

  • +1 BAB (+12 Total) Specialized in Melee (3 CP)
  • Hit Die: d4 (0 CP). Rolls: L1d5 (5), L2d4 (2), L3d4 (3 +2 Path), L4d6 (6 +2 Path), L5d6 (6 +2 Path), L6d6 (3 +2 Path), L7d4 (2), L8d4 (4), L9d4 (2), L10d4 (3), Immortal Vigor +2d6 (12), +12 x (Con Mod + Wis Mod) = 200 HP.
  • 4 CP – two from “Healthy One” and (2 CP) – are being invested in buying an Extra Hit Die, but that costs 8 CP, and so will not be available until next level.
  • Saves: +1 Fortitude and Reflex (6 CP) (Net Fort +7/Ref +7/Will +4)
  • Skill Points: 2 SP (Pathfinder Bonus, 0 CP). These are going to Linguistics and Stealth.
    • Linguistics +5 (SP) +2 (Int) +3 (Path): Common, Terran, six other languages.
    • Ride: +1 (SP) +3 (Dex) +3 (Path) = +7 (+11 when Armored).
    • Stealth: +13 (SP) +4 (Dex) +3 (Path) = +20 (+24 when Armored).
    • (From Int Boost) Concentration +12 (Hit Dice) +9 (Con) +3 (Path) = +24
  • Gather Power II: Immunity/the Mana Cost of using Rune Magic, Specialized and Corrupted: Requires a move action, produces a spectacular display of elemental energy, usable for earth rune magic only, if the users spell is interrupted he or she must make a concentration check (DC 10 + Damage Taken) or lose the accumulated energy taking 3d6 Damage per point of Mana Gathered (Common, Major, increased from Major to the Epic (2 Mana Point maximum) level), +6 CP after limitations).
  • Initiate of the Earth V: +1d6+2 Mana, Specialized in Rune Magic, Corrupted/includes no Natural Magic (3 CP). This gives him a total of 6d6+8 (30) Mana. For most utility effects he’s going to be relying on Gather Power and Runic Ritual to conserve his Mana. That’s not such a good idea in combat, but in combat he will usually be relying on his blasts.
  • Mystic Artist/Modifiers/Seeking, Specialized for half cost / Only works with massive fortresses, soaring cathedrals, and similar mighty and enduring works (3 CP). This allows him to build targeted effects into his works. Given that he’s making fortresses and temples and such, bonuses that target their rightful occupants are likely.
  • Mystic Artist / Stonemason, Specialized for half cost / Only works with massive fortresses, soaring cathedrals, and similar mighty and enduring works (3 CP).

With this combination Rayden can design and build some very impressive structures indeed. Since he’ll presumably be using Harmonize on both sets of abilities, this will let him build in two double-effect abilities and two standard ones – which offers rather a LOT of options.

Magic Items: With another 16,000 GP to work with, it’s time to invest in an upgraded Cloak of Resistance (Increasing it to +3, at +8000 GP), a Pathfinder Style Amulet of Mighty Fists (gives his fists the Warning ability as per a +1 Modifier, 4000 GP), and adding Intelligence Enhancement (+2, provides (Hit Dice) ranks in the Concentration skill) to his Headband (4000 GP).

With this level Rayden basically picks up another attack, gets a bit better on his utility earth magic and becomes a better architect. That’s potentially VERY useful later on, but – at least at the moment – isn’t particularly dramatic. Still, despite his defenses Rayden still has several major vulnerabilities. Perhaps most notably, he has damage reduction and armor class for physical attacks and can automatically make a few saves to avoid save-or-die (or save-or-suck) effects – but he doesn’t really have any special defenses against energy attacks. He’ll have to pick up at least a little.

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Level Eleven:

Basics: +4 SP (+2 Int Mod, +2 Human Fast Learner, Committed to Adept Skills, +2 Doubled Pathfinder “Favored Class” Bonus)) +30 CP (Base plus Level Eleven Bonus Feat), +1d4 (+Con Mod, +Wis Mod) HP. “Healthy One” (+2 CP to become more durable).

Basic Attributes: Str 15 +2 (Wrath) +6 (Shift) +1 (Level) +2 (Enh) = 26, Dex 16 +8 (Shift) +2 (Enh) = 26, Con 19 (17 +2 Pathfinder +2 (Wrath) +4 (Shift) +1 (Level) +2 (Enh) = 28, Int 14 +2 (Enh) = 16, Wis 16 +2 (Enh) = 18, Cha 13 +2 (Enh) = 15.

Adept Skills:

  • Avalanche Fist Martial Art +14 (Base) +6 Con +3 Path: Net +23, Toughness IV, Attack III, Combat Reflexes, Breaking (Specialized for double effect/only against earth, stone, and metal), Versatility, Vanishing, and Inner Strength. Note that – when it comes to smashing rock and metal – his effective “strength check” now has a +46 Bonus. This will allow him to casually smash iron doors, reinforced masonry, and most walls.
  • Craft/Stonemason: +14 (Base) +3 (Int) +3 (Path) = +20
  • Earth Rune Magic/Casting +14 (Base) +4 (Wis) +3 (Path) = +21. Rayden can now throw his earth spells at an effective caster level of ten.
  • Earth Rune Magic/Mastery +14 (Base) +4 (Wis) +3 (Path) = +21. Rayden can now throw fifth level earth spells.
  • Perception: +14 (Base) +4 (Wis) +3 (Path) = +21
  • Profession/Architect +14 (Base) +4 (Wis) +3 (Path) = +21
  • Profession/Engineer: +14 (Base) +4 (Wis) +3 (Path) = +21
  • Use Magic Device +14 (Base) +2 (Cha) +3 (Path) = +19

As for those 30 (+2 from “Healthy One”) CP…

  • +1 BAB (+13 Total) Specialized in Melee (3 CP).
  • Completing the purchase of an extra d4 Hit Die (4 CP – two from “Healthy One” – for a total of eight character points including those spent last level).
  • Hit Die: d4 (0 CP). Rolls: L1d5 (5), L2d4 (2), L3d4 (3 +2 Path), L4d6 (6 +2 Path), L5d6 (6 +2 Path), L6d6 (3 +2 Path), L7d4 (2), L8d4 (4), L9d4 (2), L10d4 (3), L11d4 (3), second L11d4(3), Immortal Vigor +2d6 (12), +14 x (Con Mod + Wis Mod) = 244 HP. Honestly, after a point hit points are no longer a very important part of your defense – but having a lot of them is nice and Rayden automatically gets a fair chunk of them every level now anyway.
  • Saves: +1 Will (3 CP) (Net Fort +7/Ref +7/Will +5)
  • Skill Points: 2 SP (Pathfinder Bonus, 0 CP). These are going to Linguistics and Stealth.
    • Linguistics +6 (SP) +3 (Int) +3 (Path): Common, Terran, seven other languages.
    • Ride: +1 (SP) +4 (Dex) +3 (Path) = +8 (+12 when Armored).
    • Stealth: +14 (SP) +4 (Dex) +3 (Path) = +21 (+25 when Armored).
    • (From Int Boost) Concentration: +14 (Hit Die) +9 (Con) +3 (Path) = +26
  • Feet Upon The Ground / Leadership with Strength in Numbers and Horde, Specialized in Stronghold Staff – servants, repairmen, guards, minor clergy, cooks, a couple of mages with repair spells, your friendly alchemist, and so on. This thus provides support personnel and a garrison for his holdings, but not direct adventuring assistance (6 CP).
  • Continental Drift / Immunity to Effects that Impede Movement (Common, Major, Major, 9 CP). This provides protection against effects that impede movement of up to level five – including grappling, being underwater, and effects such as paralysis, solid fog, slow, and web. Higher level effects are not cancelled, but the user gets a +6 bonus on saving throws and other rolls to resist their effects.
  • Master Builder / Action Hero; the Crafting Option. Specialized for Double Effect, Corrupted for Reduced Cost / provides 2x the base number of Action Points to work with and covers the GP cost rather than the (non-existent) experience point cost (4 CP). Basically, Rayden can now complete at least one really major project, whether the rest of the party has been helping or not. This is also why I haven’t gotten him a Lyre Of Building (or variant thereof); between his earth magic and Crafting he doesn’t really need it to get things up rapidly.
  • Endurance of the Mountain: Damage Resistance 2/- (3 CP), Specialized in Energy Resistance for Double Effect (4/-). That isn’t a LOT of general energy resistance, but he can build on it later.

Magic Items: With another 20,000 GP to spend… Add +2 Enhancement Bonuses to Wis and Chr to his Headband (8000 GP, no surcharge per the MIC) and get a Hat of Disguise (1800 GP), just for the fun of it. Yes, that does leave 10,200 GP unspent – but I’ll just be saving that for his next level. You never know when there will be unexpected expenses in a new domain.

With this level Rayden basically gets a bit better on his utility earth magic – and gets to use his powers to build himself a free castle, complete with Mystic Artist and Ward Major functions. I’m going to presume that he (sensibly) gets himself a dedicated crafter of some sort (and perhaps someone like Verdigrised Forge to help maintain things), so as to be able to get his items on the cheap. From this point on, his magical items are 50% off.

He hasn’t, however, really upgraded his offensive capabilities or armor class since level eight very much beyond simply getting another attack. They were high-end then, and are still decent, and his other capabilities are quite good – but he IS a dedicated “blaster” type after all. He’ll have to be getting a few upgrades here too. He still won’t even remotely be a match for an Ubercharger, the “Mailman” Optimized Blaster, or a battlefield control Wizard – but he should be doing just fine in competition with Swordsages and such.

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Level Twelve:

Basics: +1 Attribute Point (Cha), +6 SP (+2 Int Mod, +2 Human Fast Learner, Committed to Adept Skills, +2 Doubled Pathfinder “Favored Class” Bonus)) +24 CP (Base), +1d4 (+Con Mod, +Wis Mod) HP. “Healthy One” (+2 CP to become more durable).

Basic Attributes: Str 15 +4 (Wrath) +6 (Shift) +1 (Level) +2 (Enh) = 28, Dex 16 +8 (Shift) +2 (Enh) = 26, Con 19 (17 +2 Pathfinder +4 (Wrath) +4 (Shift) +1 (Level) +2 (Enh) = 30, Int 14 +2 (Enh) = 16, Wis 16 +2 (Enh) = 18, Cha 13 +2 (Enh) +1 (Level) = 16.

Adept Skills:

  • Avalanche Fist Martial Art +15 (Base) +6 Con +3 Path: Net +24, Toughness IV, Attack III, Combat Reflexes, Breaking (Specialized for double effect/only against earth, stone, and metal), Versatility, Vanishing, and Inner Strength.
  • Craft/Stonemason: +15 (Base) +3 (Int) +3 (Path) = +21
  • Earth Rune Magic/Casting +15 (Base) +4 (Wis) +3 (Path) = +22
  • Earth Rune Magic/Mastery +15 (Base) +4 (Wis) +3 (Path) = +22
  • Perception: +15 (Base) +4 (Wis) +3 (Path) = +22
  • Profession/Architect +15 (Base) +4 (Wis) +3 (Path) = +22
  • Profession/Engineer: +15 (Base) +4 (Wis) +3 (Path) = +22
  • Use Magic Device +15 (Base) +3 (Cha) +3 (Path) = +21

As for those 24 (+2 from “Healthy One”) CP…

  • +1 BAB (+14 Total) Specialized in Melee (3 CP)
  • Hit Die: d4 (0 CP). Rolls: L1d5 (5), L2d4 (2), L3d4 (3 +2 Path), L4d6 (6 +2 Path), L5d6 (6 +2 Path), L6d6 (3 +2 Path), L7d4 (2), L8d4 (4), L9d4 (2), L10d4 (3), L11d4 (3), second L11d4(3), L12d4 (4), Immortal Vigor +2d6 (12), +15 x (Con Mod + Wis Mod) = 278 HP.
  • Saves: +1 Fort and Ref (6 CP) (Net Fort +8/Ref +8/Will +5)
  • Skill Points: 2 SP (Pathfinder Bonus, 0 CP). These are going to Linguistics and Stealth.
    • Linguistics +7 (SP) +3 (Int) +3 (Path): Common, Terran, eight other languages.
    • Ride: +1 (SP) +4 (Dex) +3 (Path) = +8 (+12 when Armored).
    • Stealth: +15 (SP) +4 (Dex) +3 (Path) = +22 (+26 when Armored).
    • (From Int Boost) Concentration: +15 (Hit Die) +9 (Con) +3 (Path) = +27
  • Mastery of the Elements: Elemental Manipulation and Amplify with Streamline IV, Specialized in specific boosts for his innate enchantments (6 CP after the twelve CP already spent).
    • Stone Strike and Mountain Stance: Double Effect (total of 2d6 Base with +4 Enhancement for Stone Strike, +4d6+2 for Mountain Stance), Two levels of Infliction Effects (Save DC 10 + Spell Level 1 + 10 Con Mod due to Empowerment), and two levels of Twining (adds a secondary elemental effect, for +50% (3d6+3) damage). That still isn’t as strong a blast as a Kineticist will have, and he has no area-effect options and fewer boosting tricks for it, but he gets more of them.
    • Force Shield and Force Armor: Double Effect (+8 AC Each – although this is reduced again by his Wrath ability).
    • Storm Of Stone: Range Increment becomes 200′
    • Ride the Earth: +60 Speed, +1 attack whenever attacking (not just with full attack).
    • Volcanic Wrath: +4 to Str and Con, +2 to Will, -4 to AC.
    • Immortal Vigor: +24 + 4 x (Con Mod) HP.
    • Geokinesis: The “Unseen Servants” can now perform multiple tasks without implicit direction.
    • Dust Weaving: Can now include minor sounds – although they always have a whispery, “dusty”, quality.
      • Unfortunately, the item-class enchantments do not use spells directly, and so cannot be affected by adding metamagic. This is, of course, some fairly heavy optimization – but it’s definitely time for it.
  • Endurance of the Mountain II: Increase Energy Resistance to 6 (1 CP + 2 CP from Healthy One).
  • Upgrade Mystic Artist/Stonemason from Specialized for Half Cost to Specialized for Double Effect (3 CP).
  • Contact (1 CP): The local overlord, governing council, or similar. If you’re going to be erecting at least one major public work (likely a mighty castle) of great magical power you had BETTER get acquainted with the local power structure.
  • Contact (1 CP): The local religious authorities or similar. They are almost certainly going to want to get in on the “mighty cathedral action” too – and ignoring them is NOT a good idea.

Creating a mighty castle offering various benefits and massive defensive bonuses for the secular authorities, or a cathedral with numerous boosts for the faithful, and then throwing in a Ward Major that bestows permanent benefits on any of the kings loyal knights / faithful followers who visit the place might be worth a great deal – quite enough to “buy in” as a major noble. If you prefer to build in the wilderness, and start founding your own nation… this sort of thing is a big, BIG, step towards doing so. A player character is likely to want his or her own base first – but there will be plenty of Crafting points available for construction later on.

Castles are an awkward thing in d20 and many similar games. Trying to sort out their “real cost” is an exercise in futility (Edward I spent about 80,000 English pounds building ten castles in the late 1200’s – one of few sources for their actual cost. Sadly, converting that to modern currencies beyond saying “a whole lot” calls for an endless maze of assumptions. D20 currencies are even worse, since they’re rarely even remotely consistent and pay no attention to actual economics. Common conversions run from $10 = 1 GP to $100 = 1 GP, but those are based on little more than handwaving). Still, the 3.5 DMG said 150,000 (a “Keep”) to 1,000,000 (a “Huge Castle”) – pretty pricey.

But in d20 a castle is pretty worthless. It remains an administrative center and a place to put your stuff, but a simple adamantine blade can easily take down your walls even before we start talking about magic and monsters. It may provide quarters and working room for a lot of folk, but there’s a funny thing about that; when you hire people they usually handle most of the details of getting themselves set up on their own. The “build a smithy to put a smith to work producing tools” sort of procedure is an artifact of games like “Civilization” and “Colonization”.

Thus I usually allow would-be landlords to just spend a few character points on a castle if they wish, as covered in the Castle Hieronymus article. If you want to go with cash… just remember that that 20,000 GP Holy Sword costs enough to feed and clothe 5000 Orphans, or to hire 137 laborers (normally with families), for a year – and it is still virtually nothing next to the actual cost of a useless castle.

  • Upgrade One With The Land: Immunity/Dispelling and Antimagic from (Common, Major, Great) to (Epic), Specialized and Corrupted/only protects his Earthbending abilities, 3 CP). This covers Dispel Magic, Greater Dispel Magic, Antimagic Sphere, Disjunction, and similar abilities of up to, and including, level nine.

Magic Items: Rayden picks up 26,000 GP worth of stuff at this level (and 10,000 GP left over from last level), and is now getting his stuff at half cost. This time around he’s going to be upgrading things. Cloak of Resistance to +4 (3500 GP), Upgrade Wristbands of the Poseur to Type V (Jumping right past Type IV, 24,250 GP), Upgrade his Amulet of Mighty Fists to +2 (Provides Warning (+5 to Insight to Initiative) and Whirling (3/Day you may spend a full round action to make one attack at full BAB against each opponent within reach. Given that Rayden effectively has Reach 35, this can be quite effective), (6000 GP), and double up the charges on his Belt of Healing (+750 GP, discounting the cost break from not needing another +2 on the Heal skill). That leaves 1500 GP left over for minor equipment.

  • Armor:
  • Belt: Doubled Healing Belt (MIC. 6 Uses/Day, spend 1/2/3 to heal 2d8/3d8/4d8, +2 to the Heal Skill). Includes Attribute Boosters: Str, Dex, and Con, each +2 (Per the rules in the MIC these functions can be added at cost to any item which occupies an appropriate slot).
  • Body: Ghost Shroud (MIC): +1 Deflection to AC, all Melee Attacks are treated as Ghost Touch.
  • Chest:
  • Eyes:
  • Feet All-Conquering Brogans (10,000 GP): The wearer ignores the effects of non-magical difficult terrain (such as rubble, undergrowth, steep slopes, stairs, and snow) and slippery surfaces (such as ice, wet stones, etc) and gains a +4 to his or her CMD versus attempts to move him or her (Bull Rush, Drag, Trip, Reposition, Grapple (being thrown or moved), etc) attempts – but anyone attempting to track him or her gets a +10 bonus. In addition, the user may plant his or her feet as a move action, gaining Fast Healing I and increasing the CMD bonus to +8 – although these effects end if the wearer moves or is moved, knocked prone, or rendered unconscious. (This is a combination of Boots of the Earth (Pathfinder, Inner Sea Gods, 5000 GP) and Vanguard Treads (MIC, 3100 GP). Given how many HP he has for his level… he needs these badly, just to get healed up each day). (Yes, I’m giving these their own name and a slight price increase, just because).
  • Hands:
  • Head: Hat of Disguise (SRD). This lets him look normal while still “wearing” his “armor”.
  • Headband: Third Eye Clarity (MIC, 1/day immediately remove daze, stun, etc). +2 Enhancement to Int, Wis, and Chr (Per Pathfinder, the boost to Intelligence provides the Concentration skill).
  • Neck: Amulet of Mighty Fists II (Pathfinder, provides the Warning and Whirling abilities).
  • Ring:
  • Ring:
  • Shield:
  • Shoulders: Cloak of Resistance +4 (SRD)
  • Wrists: Wristbands of the Poseur V. Now with Caster Level Seven and spells of up to the fourth level.

Slotless Items:

  • Everfull Mug (MIC)
  • Handy Haversack (SRD)
  • Ioun Torch (Pathfinder).
  • Cracked Dusty Rose Prism Ioun Stone (+1 Competence to Initiative). He may have implanted this, since that only calls for skill checks, not money.
  • Cracked Magenta Prism Ioun Stone (+2 Competence Bonus to any one skill, may be changed once per day). Mounted in a Wayfinder to provide a Resonant Power (a +1 nameless bonus on any one saving throw. He usually takes Will).

Given that I’m well past the requested levels, it’s time to get back to heavy optimization, and this level has a pretty big dose of it; upgrading all those innate enchantments boosts his armor class and damage output substantially. Becoming a major factor in local politics is, in optimization terms, simply a bonus associated with arranging to buy his magic items at half cost. Personally, I’d say that getting into politics is a fairly major step for a character, but I do have to admit that it doesn’t add much to your combat abilities in a dungeon.