Character-Defining Feats

The original request here was for a few “character-defining” Feat Packages – things that would be useful, reasonably effective, and highly thematic packed into a 6 CP / One Feat framework. In Eclipse that most often means either one major ability or several minor abilities with serious thematic limitations to cut down their costs. So here are a few examples of that sort of thing – Feats that I’m going to call Amulet Crafter, Bloodline Of The Tomb, Dreaming Of R’lyeh, Favor Of Prometheus, Heroic Aegis Of Fate, Infernal Liking, Musical Theater, and Wind Child.

Amulet Crafter: Complex symbols painted on bits of wood and paper, crude and tiny carvings of totems both mundane and mythical, twists of elaborately knotted rope, bits of inscribed pottery… a multitude of forms, but all bits of magic, of the unseen world, bound by a mystics will and the work of his or her hands into material form. Perhaps the oldest and simplest of magics – but one requiring far less of lore to bring to fruition. Most Amulet Crafters have a particular style that they prefer, but with careful focus… magic can be invested in the most unlikely objects.

Thus a modestly skilled Amulet Crafter focusing on Totems might have prepared three Amulets today – a Bear Figurine containing two Mana, a Fox Figurine containing one, and an Eagle Figurine containing one.

Presuming that the Crafter’s abilities are sufficient, the Bear Talisman might be used to frighten away a pack of wolves, or to Cure Moderate Wounds, or to Speak With Animals, or to induce hibernation in someone, or any other feat suited to a couple of first level spells or a single second level one and thematically related to the Bear Totem. Foxes / Kitsune are notorious for tricks and illusions, so that Fox Figurine might be good for an instant disguise, hiding the door the characters are lurking behind, a few moments of invisibility, a Grease spell, or any other suitable first level effect. The Eagle Figurine? Good for breaking a fall, sending a brief message communicating with birds, enhanced eyesight, or whatever. A shinto-flavored Miko might use Omamori and Ofuda, perhaps dedicated to the Kami of the Sun, of War, and of Travelers today. A tribal hunter might carry a medicine bag for luck, a viking warrior a hammer pendant and a spiritualist a skull – but the system is always the same.

  • Mana, 1d6 (4), with Unskilled Magic, Specialized for Increased Effect (efficient mana use – none is wasted and the side effects are usually merely visual) and Corrupted for Reduced Cost / Only for unskilled magic, mana must be invested in symbolic amulets each morning and can only be expended to produce effects symbolically appropriate to that type of amulet, amulets can be taken away and require a bit of time to prepare – although that can be done in advance.
  • Rite of Chi, Specialized and Corrupted / only to refill the Mana pool above, requires a brief ceremony in honor of the forces the Amulet Crafter draws upon.

While Amulet Crafters will soon run into the (rather low) limits of Unskilled Magic, it’s easy enough to expand on this a bit – add another die of Mana (4 CP) and Bonus Uses on the Rite of Chi (2 CP) and you’ll be a fairly flexible and powerful spellcaster at low levels. The dedicated spellcasters will leave you in the dust at high levels – but in all but the most combat-focused games there will never come a time when a pocket full of very versatile, if low-powered, magic cannot be used to good effect if you’re clever about it. This is also a perfectly good way for minor members of the clergy, shaman, and hedge wizards to operate – or a way to run a low-magic game.

Bloodline Of The Tomb: In you, the blood of some ancient overlord has run true, and the ancient Tomb Lords recognize that fact. Should you die, you will be gathered unto your ancestors a bit more literally than most. Their servants will help you out on occasion and you will be gifted with some (GM Determined) relic of the ancient ways – although you can only get it replaced or exchanged when you happen to die. While everyone has ancestors… yours are paying attention and willing to intervene.

  • Returning, Specialized and Corrupted for Reduced Cost / While the user’s body will disappear in about a day, they will not return for some weeks – and even then it will be as a mummy, deep in the catacombs beneath an ancient pyramid, and as a minor part of the court of an ancient mummified god-king, where you will have duties, and get sent on errands, and likely be expected to marry some mummified minor princess or handmaiden. It will be tricky to get away (2 CP)
  • Minor Favors, Specialized for Increased Effect (favors need not be repaid) and Corrupted for Reduced Cost (2 CP) / Once every few days you may call on the services of a handful of Ushabati, the Phantom Servitors of the Kingdom Of The Sands. They may prepare and serve a splendid (if INCREDIBLY old-fashioned) meal, pull you and your friends out of a pit, delay pursuers for a minute or two, patch up wounds, pay for a night on the town with a handful of ancient gold coins, march ahead to check for traps, and many other services. Ushabati are invariably reasonably competent (as suited to their master’s level), but are hardly an overwhelming force.
  • Enthusiast, Specialized for Reduced Cost (1 CP) / only to provide points for personal Relics, plus a Contact with Occult-2 (a relic- and item- creating mummy, Specialized for Reduced Cost / is only available in the catacombs beneath the pyramid you return under, tends to have it’s own ideas about just what you need (1 CP).

Having your long-dead ancestors looking out for you from a haunted underworld of dust and darkness is an ancient idea, and an oddly comforting one; what awaits beyond is welcome, haven, and rest – and, if you are clever and determined, a chance to watch over those you care for in turn. The dead need not hate the living, for life is a mere blink of the eye in the face of millennia, and the living will stand among them soon enough.

Dreaming Of R’lyeh: The servants of the Outer Gods have taken a liking to you. Every month or so, shambling things will emerge from between the dimensions to eat intruders in your home or sanctum, bring strange visions wrapped in crystalized ichor, leave disturbingly-formed trinkets of unknown provenance around the place, tell you incomprehensible stories, leave cryptic clues in near-forgotten languages, and provide modest payments of random types of Obols (usually 3d4 per month) for things that you hope were only dreams – whether or not Obols normally exist in the setting. If they do not normally exist, they cannot be duplicated. You can use them anyway. Did you expect the Elder Ones to be bound by rules? In any case, the neighbors are likely to be MOST unhappy.

  • Major Favors, Specialized for Increased Effect – only to receive occasional gifts that need not be repaid – and Corrupted for Reduced Cost / You become known as eccentric and attract investigation, 4 CP).
  • Major Privilege (Known and respected by Lovecraftian Entities, Specialized and Corrupted / may cause rather violent reactions from other groups, 2 CP).

The unwilling magus is one of the classic protagonists of magical tales – a character who is entangled in incomprehensible mystic affairs and who must deal with that as best he or she can, using whatever favors and bits of arcana they have managed to extract from the insanity of their lives. In d20… Obols are not a bad way to represent the dubious favors of incomprehensible entities and the use of mystical secrets gathered from such interactions.

Favor Of Prometheus: Whether it is peat burning in a lodge of sod and mammoth bone, logs burning in a cave, or even the flickering flame of a lamp warming an igloo on the tundra, the fire of the hearth means light, warmth, safety, and home. It is the gathering point of friends and family, the beacon of civilization that shines across the wilderness. It marks a place that people care for, a place where they gather, a place that they defend, and a place that they will not allow to grow cold and dark. A fire may be used for cooking, crafting, lighting, heating, hardening wood, or a thousand other things – but at it’s heart this is the fire of civilization, of humanity gathered and grown strong. While that fire burns… the darkness shall not take them.

  • Mystic Artist / Survival, Specialized and Corrupted for Reduced Cost (2 CP) / only allows the construction of one fixed piece of artwork at a time – a hearthfire to warm and light a camp or structure, only offers access to Inspiration and Synergy abilities, requires fuel and a properly prepared spot for a fire, only usable for one particlar combination of effects per day, requires at least ten minutes of work to set up in any given location.
  • Innate Enchantment (6 CP) Plus Immunity to the XP cost of these enchantments (Uncommon, Minor, Trivial, 1 CP): (Field Provisions Box, Sphere of Awakening, Healing Belt x2, all Specialized and Corrupted for Reduced Cost / only functions when the characters are encamped and a Hearthfire has been built, takes up to an hour to get ready (2 CP).
  • Inherent Spell (Secure Shelter, reduced to L3 by inclusion of an elaborate focus (assorted camping gear) and requiring up to an hours time to set up, appears as a well set up camp, goes away when you break camp). Specialized and Corrupted for Reduced Cost (2 CP) / requires a DC 20 Survival check plus the use of assorted tools, can never include the arcane functions (Arcane Locks, Alarm, Unseen Servant), and requires assistance from other characters.

“Attacked in camp” is something of a cliche (and a not uncommon complaint from players who feel that being attacked while unready is “unfair”) – but as the Romans regularly demonstrated, a well-prepared camp is not necessarily a soft target. With this feat, a parties camp can be a place of strength and safety, its hearthfire a beacon and a rallying point.

Heroic Aegis Of Fate: It is a dubious privilege to hold the gate, pass, or bridge, to be the one who takes a stand against onrushing doom – for while the tale of your epic heroism may live across the centuries, it is all too likely that it will be in memory of your sacrifice.

Then out spake brave Horatius; The captain of the gate “To every man upon this earth, death cometh soon or late, And how can man die better, than facing fearful odds, for the ashes of his fathers, And the temples of his gods.”

-Lays of Ancient Rome by Thomas Babington Macaulay

  • Major Privilege: The character always gets to face, and attempt to deal with, major problems before they involve the ordinary folk of whatever community he or she watches over (6 CP). While there are upper limits to the number of folk who can be so protected, the chosen of fate may turn that dubious favor to the protection of others. As long as they endure, and attempt to defend some local community, no great disaster will befall it. A house may burn, a raid steal some cattle, crops may be poor, and a few may die from some dread illness – but there shall be no great fires, no mighty army that devastates the countryside, no great famine, and no terrible plague as long as the chosen hero places himself or herself between that which threatens and the ordinary folk he or she is defending. That marauding dragon will focus on YOU, the invading army will pursue YOU, the dark entity which has sent the spirits of disease to plague the people will first send them after YOU, and so on.

You could probably justify this as a curse (a sort of variant of “preferred target”) or perhaps a Corruption of a package of rulership-related abilities, but even characters who do not rule, and who place themselves between others and harm entirely voluntarily, quite often seem to have this ability. While you hold the pass, or bridge, or docks, or walls, or frontier fortress, or gather and tend the sick to keep the plague from spreading… disaster will not fall upon those you defend while you endure. There are few acts of heroism greater than that.

Infernal Liking: Devils have taken a liking to you. From their burning twilight halls to their dark embassy in the heavens, they all recognize you and keep an eye on your doings. For reasons only they comprehend every month or so they will send you friendly notes written in blazing hellfire runes (displaying, in their commentary, a disturbingly intimate knowledge of what you’ve been up to) and care packages of the eternally burning minerals and metals of the hells, subtly deadly drugs and foodstuffs, invitations to corrupt social events, introductions to those who have made dark bargains with devils, bizarre alchemical ingredients, and occasional low-value souls too weak to bother with or too innocent for hell to easily hold or utilize. Somewhat more often they will drop by for tea to encourage you and to tell you tales of infernal matters. On rarer occasions they may offer to hire you for various tasks, possibly paying with holy items that they regard as toxic waste.

  • Minor Favors, Specialized for Increased Effect – only to receive occasional gifts that need not be repaid (3 CP)
  • Major Privilege: Known and liked by Devils, Specialized / may cause odd reactions from other groups (3 CP).

Classically Devils were tempters, they came bringing gifts – eventually corrupting, but outwardly fair. Most games, of course, treat them as war machines, bringing blood and death or granting power to the target of the week. There’s no subtlety there, no question of whether it is better to keep your eye upon them or to simply turn away steadfastly. With this feat, there are indeed questions again.

Musical Theater: A Theatrical Master knows that life is a performance – and sees no reason why it should not be a good and enjoyable one!

  • Mystic Artist (Most often Perform / Dance or similar), Specialized for Reduced Cost (3 CP) and Corrupted for Increased Effect (See below) / effects must be taken in the order given, most effects have no statistical game effects, does not allow the use of advanced abilities save for related purposes,
  • Opportunist: Can maintain a Mystic Artist effect as a free action each round, Specialized for Reduced Cost (3 CP) / only for this list of mystic artist effects and only if the performance is taking place at an appropriate venue.
    • (Skill 3) Life Of The Party (Inspiration Skill 3, Emotion): Everyone at an event where you perform will have a really wonderful time, and enjoy themselves greatly.
    • (Skill 4) Good Times, Good Times (Synergy Skill 3, Block): No party-pooper ever dampens an event where you perform. People may leave if the place catches fire, but they will still remember having a great time!
    • (Skill 5) The Event Of The Season (Manipulation 3, Fascinate): Everyone has heard about your performances, and wants to get in to wherever you are at! There will be envy and crowds. You pretty much get free invitations to every social event in the vicinity.
    • (Skill 6) The Party Never Ends (Manipulation 6, Hold Audience): Any event that you liven up tends to run late. Everyone is having such a good time that they hate to leave!
      • Skipped – Inspiration 6 (Competence) and Synergy 6 (Group Focus).
    • (Skill 9) Spontaneous Choreography (Inspiration Skill 9, Greatness): Everyone near you when you perform is suddenly a competent dancer (+2), decent singer (+2), knows the music (1 SP), knows the choreography (1 SP), and gains (1d10+Cha Mod) social HP, allowing them to look good and to shrug off a few faux paus, insults, or social barbs.While no one is actually forced to cooperate, who says that life cannot be like a Hollywood musical? !
    • (Skill 12) Inspiring Presence (Synergy Skill 9, Amplify): You make everyone at an event look good. There will be no sour notes, flubbed performances, or minor accidents among the servants while you are present! You can live comfortably simply by circulating around a town through it’s various social events.
      • Skipped – Manipulation 9 (Suggestion).
    • (Skill 15) Why Choose? (Synergy 12, Harmonize): Rather than two effects you can combine up to (Cha Mod + 1) effects from this art! (Not, of course, that it matters a lot).
    • (Skill 18) The Focus Of Attention (Inspiration Skill 12, Excellence): You may designate one individual as the “Belle Of The Ball”. The just seem to be amazingly good looking, clever, and witty. Everyone will recognize them, want to talk to them, and accept them.
    • (Skill 21) Master Choreographer (Inspiration Skill 15, Mass Greatness): Your Spontaneous Choreography now covers the entire event, including the servants and random passers-by!
    • (Skill 24) Feeling Good (Synergy Skill 18, Serenity): No one at an event where you perform ever gets hung over, throws up, gets their clothing damaged, or suffers any consequences for over-indulgence.
    • (Skill 30) Social Expectations (Synergy Skill 24, Rule The Horde): Violence never seems to break out at events where you perform. Even mortal enemies will merely snub each other, not attack.
    • (Skill 36) The perfect Venue (Manipulation Skill 12. Emotional Auras): When you perform, somehow the setting is always perfect – the temperature and breezes are just right, the decorations are wonderful, and everyone is delighted to be present!
    • (Skill 48) A Splendid Meal (Synergy Sloll 36, Concerto): The food and drink at an event where you perform functions as a Heroe’s Feast (this is stretching it a bit, but seems acceptable as a variant ability – especially at Skill 48).
    • (Skill 60) (Manipulation Skill 15, Freedom): When you perform at a gathering, lesser manipulations cannot hold. Those attending who might require it are affected as if by a Break Enchantment spell.

OK… This is pretty bluntly the equivalent of spending a Feat on privilege (you always get invitations to events and don’t have to worry about minor expenses in town – but this lets you do it with style and can effectively turn the world into a musical. In an intrigue or politics heavy game – and depending on the character – the style, the invitations, the parties, and the connections this ability will bring may be well worth the 6 CP price.

You dare challenge Megamind?
This town isn’t big enough for two supervillains!
Oh, you’re a villain all right, just not a super one.
Oh yeah? What’s the difference?
Presentation!

Wind Child: The wind roams. It hears the words that are spoken, whether in wisdom, in foolishness, or in passion. It hears the incantations, knows the summons, and has carried the words of the pacts that were young when it was old. It carries the magic of weather, of the seasons, of the aurora, of music, of language, of lightning, and of movement. It is the first breath of life and the final sigh of the escaping soul. Without the life-giving wind, the world would bake beneath the sun and freeze beneath the stars, the oceans wafting away before heaven’s pitiless fires. The winds are the patrons of life, of the turning of the world as it should be.

And there are things they want done. There are aberrations, and undead, and outsiders to banish or destroy. There are places where fools have disrupted the order of the world which must be mended. There are quests to be carried out and prophecies to be fulfilled. There are agents, men and women who can focus the formless power of the winds, channel it with greater precision than a tornado’s path of destruction or the undirected lightning of a storm. A Wind Child Hears, and Channels, and Serves the purposes of the winds.

A Wind Child will regularly hear the voices of his or her patrons, the whispering words of the winds that girdle the world. Prophecies. Warnings. Missions. Moreover, the Wind Child knows that the fate of many lies with them. If they fail a mission – or worse, refuse – the world may endure… but will be lessened.

A Wind Child may call upon each of his or her patrons – the winds of the North, East, South, West, and Heavens – once per adventure, crying aloud for their intervention in a great voice. For, while their power is vast, a mortal cannot endure channeling it often.

  • Buy this as Enormous Favors with the Wind Spirits, Specialized for Reduced Cost (6 CP) and Corrupted for Increased Effect (Favors can be repaid at reduced value and piecemeal).
    • The Wind Spirits are “Paid back” by the user undertaking various missions and listening to the winds bizarre advice (the winds do not relate to mortals that well).
    • The user may only claim one favor from each of the five winds per adventure.
    • Favors may only be expended for significant acts of magic.
    • The winds only respond to requests that they find appropriate (although, if they do not respond, no favor is expended).
    • The user must wander where the winds takes him or her at least one month in three.
    • Requests must be stated loudly and firmly. No stealthy requests are possible.
    • The user cannot be of evil alignment and must always keep to his or her oaths.
    • If the user betrays the winds, he or she will suffer their wrath.
    • The winds often opt to manifest and speak at very inconvenient times.
    • The user tends to be somewhat “primal”, tending to dress and speak as one from the dawn of the world.
    • The user may never ignore the presence of Aberrations, Outsiders, or (especially!) the undead.
      Are known, recognized, and assumed to be heroes, for the Winds carry the words of their deeds. Their presence will not pass unnoticed.

A Wind Child does have access to quite a lot of power. Call on the North Wind to drop a small glacier on an enemy stronghold? The East Wind to carry the party to the fabled isles before the competition can get there? The Wind of Heaven to breathe new life into the dead? Such things are easily accomplished by the Winds. On the other hand, a Wind Child cannot use that power often (and so will often save their favors for emergencies), has endless arbitrary built-in plot hooks, has obligations to his or her patrons, and pretty much always get involved with dangerous situations. You will never have any trouble getting a Wind Child involved in an adventure.

Willy Watt, Allwellian Scion Of Chaos

For our next Alwlellia character we have Willy Watt, chaos-born warrior-mage and artificier. Willy doesn’t like to talk about his childhood or life before taking up adventuring – but like most chaos-born, his early life was almost certainly no fun at all. Things, of course, got worse when he gained the ability to gain levels by absorbing the energies of chaos directly, instead of by long practice and study or even by harvesting chaos magic and using it in careful rituals of transformation. Not only was he a being of chaos, but he was a being of chaos who might manifest entirely new powers at any moment.

Lets just say that he wasn’t on the fringe of the empire entirely by choice. The rest of the party DOES know that Willy subscribes to the old notion that the best revenge is to live well, live long, and see your enemies funerals along the way. To this end… he’d been seeking immortality with some success, since he’s not pretty hard to kill.

This version is at level nine rather than ten, since that is the latest version that I have access too.

Here we have the Introduction to Allwellia again – neatly boxed up for easy skipping for those who’ve seen it before.

The Allwellia Campaign is a high-powered Eclipse campaign. Not only does it allow quite a lot of character-optimization cheese, but it allows each player character to have a custom race/birthright – which means that each one can be expected to sneak in a bunch of high-powered abilities precisely adapted to whatever the player wants the characters role to be. In effect, they’re trading in the character’s basic racial modifiers for about a tailored template. Secondarily, it is both magic (80% of base cost, starting off at level two with 1800 gold to spend) and treasure rich.

The major problem is that the setting is FULL of wild magic. Some rare individuals – “Sparks” – can directly absorb that magic (“experience points”) when they battle the creatures of the wild, transforming and enhancing themselves in weird and wonderful ways (“Sparks” use Eclipse builds). More common (if still pretty rare) are Embers, who can absorb the wild magic but not directly use it – so they can use it up in rituals to grant themselves specific patterns of abilities (Class Levels) or in gaining a few other boosts. Finally, of course… most people can’t absorb wild magic at all. They may still gain a few levels via years of slow and painful practice or by being infused with power by some Spark with Leadership (or some similar ability), but – while they still get Birthrights – they’re relatively generic.

Wild magic is the explanation for the abundance of magic items as well. Not only can items randomly appear in the wilds – even if many such random items are useless or outright dangerous – but they can be “farmed”. Placing an appropriate mundane item in a box covered with the correct runes and formulas and leaving it in the wild will – in time – result in a fairly predictable enchantment. Items that get left too long, or get disturbed, or where something goes wrong, can be just as insane as the random stuff – but all you need to produce magical items is the right formula (there are books) and time.

Unfortunately, the Wilds are just that. Did an airship crash? By the time the search party finds it it may have transformed into a haunted pirate ship, complete with a crew of monsters all with their own magic. Has the wild magic surged today? An old family cemetery with an “eternal flame” marker may turn into a volcano full of fire vampires surrounded by a sprawling city of the undead – none of which “dead” existed last week. Was there a great storm? Perhaps the old coastal village has been swallowed up by the sea, and is now a civilization of underwater monsters bent on conquest. Mapping the wild isn’t entirely futile – it helps keep major features in place – but the details change constantly.

Race: Wyld-Imbued Human

People normally stay far away from Wyld Magic Nexi – but they are unpredictable, sometimes flaring up out of nowhere, only to manifest elsewhere a few hours later. And so, sometimes a child is born to travelers who are passing near such a nexus at the wrong moment – and the child receives a birthright of wyld magic.

Most such children soon die or become creatures of the Wyld, their bodies warped and twisted – but some few parents know enough to save their infants, tattooing runes onto their bodies and embedding crystals in their flesh to guide the wyld power within. More such runes must be added throughout their lives, revealing to the knowledgeable much of what the power within the scion of the wyld has been channeled into.

In terms of the Empire… such children are the equivalent of dangerous cyborgs, unholy fusions of artificing techniques and mortal flesh. Most go cloaked and hold to the shadows, for they are often feared – for who knows what Wyld powers they may possess or when they might go mad?

Birthright: The Adaptive Wyld (31 CP / +0 ECL).

  • Adaptive Learning: +2 SP/Level (Fast Learner, Specialized in Skills, 6 CP).
  • Wyld Focus: Fast Learner, Specialized in Innate Enchantment for Double Effect, 6 CP). Note that this takes up the user’s second possible Fast Learner option, since the limit is twice – once in a template and once more. In this case, they’re both in the template. Currently 24,000 GP Effective Value
  • Breath Of The Wyld: Immunity /. The XP Cost of Innate Enchantment, Uncommon, Minor, Trivial (up to (Maximum Value of (2000 + Hit Dice x 500) GP), Specialized / only to cover innate enchantments gained through this racial template, 1 CP).
  • The Wyld Storm: +2d6 (8) Mana with Spell Enhancement, Specialized for Reduced Cost and Corrupted for Increased Effect (can upgrade each Innate Enchantment power) / only for upgrading Innate Enchantment powers, only for a specific list of upgrades for each effect, limited to effects appropriate to the caster level (6 CP).
  • Pulse Of The Wyld: Rite of Chi with +4 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted / only to restore the mana pool for the Wyld Storm, above, only works between encounters (4 CP).
  • Blood Of The Wyld: Empowerment (only applies to a maximum of (Hit Dice) Innate Enchantments for unlimited use), Corrupted for Increased Effect (Uses Hit Die for Caster Level) / only when using Pulse Of The Wyld to boost effects, cannot boost beyond what the effective caster level would normally support. (6 CP).
  • Wyld Affinity: +2 Racial Bonus to Use Magic Device (2 CP).
  • Template Disadvantages:
    • Accursed. Anyone who gets a good look at the character may make a Knowledge (Arcana) check at DC 20 to deduce the powers he or she gains from Wyld Focus (-3 CP).
    • Outcast. Many of the people of the Empire consider characters with this birthright dangerous and accursed (-3 CP).
  • Innate Enchantments (All gain the settings Abundant Magic modifier for x.8 Cost, Current Maximum of 24,500 GP Net Value):
    • General Abilities (9870 GP):
      • Artificers Monocle (1200 GP): Allows Identification of magic items using a simple Detect Magic
      • Detect Magic (SL 1/2 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use Activated, 800 GP)
      • Immortal Vigor I (SL 1 x CL 1 x .7 Personal Only, x.5 only to remain alive below zero HP. +1 2 x Con Mod (22) HP for this purpose, 560 GP).
      • Masterwork Thieves Tools (+2 to Disable Device and Open Locks, 100 GP)
      • Personal Heroism (SL1 x CL 1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated = 1600 GP).+2 Morale Bonus to Attacks, Saves, and Skills.
      • Relieve Poison (SL 1 x CL 1 x 2000 GP x .7 Personal Only, +4 on saves versus Poison, -2 on each roll for ability damage from poisons, 1120 GP).
      • Travelers Any-Tool (Universal Masterwork Tool for Craft and Profession skills that use tools, 160 GP)
      • Fortunes Favor (SL 1 x CL 1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated, The Practical Enchanter, 1600 GP). Provides a +2 luck bonus on skills and attribute checks
      • Unfailing Wanderer: Lesser Restoration (SL 1 x CL 1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x .7 Personal Only, Only to eliminate fatigue/reduce exhaustion x.5, 560 GP).
      • Cure Minor Wounds (SL 1 x CL 1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x .7 Personal-Only, only to automatically stabilize if below 0 HP (x.6), 420 GP).
        • Normally unlimited-use healing is a no-no, but making it “only to automatically stabilize yourself” takes most of the utility out of “unlimited healing”.
      • Ring Of Sustenance. X.5, only to allow his daily downtime to be counted as crafting time (1750 GP).
    • The Wyld Storm Abilities (14,240 GP):
      • Comprehend Languages (SL 1 x CL 1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated =1600 GP). Upgrades to Glibness, Tongues, and Greater Command.
      • Dexterous Fingers (SL 1 x CL 1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated = 1600 GP): Reduces the time required to use a skill by three rounds, becoming a once-per-round free action if reduced to zero or less. Decreases the time for long-term uses of a skill by 75% if applied continuously. Upgrades to The Laborer’s Word, Stone Shape, and Minor Creation.
      • Enhance Attribute/+2 Int (SL 1 x CL 1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated =1600 GP). Upgrades to Bestow Insight, Suggestion, and Ruin Delvers Insight (As Ruin Delvers Fortune, but Int Based).
      • Grease (SL 1 x CL 1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated = 1600 GP), Upgrades to Fog Cloud, Stinking Cloud, and Holy Storm.
      • Jump (+10 to Jump, SL 1 x CL 1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.7 Peronal Only = 1120 GP). Upgrades to Spider Climb, Fly, and Dimension Door – also personal-only.
      • Know Direction (SL 1/2 x CL 1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated = 800 GP). Always knows the direction to the center of the disk. Upgrades to Nerveskitter, Locate Object, and Clairaudience/Clairvoyance.
      • Light Foot (+30 circumstance bonus ground movement speed a +10 circumstance bonus on jump checks, and DR 10 versus Falling Damage (SL 1 x CL 1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated = 1120 GP). Upgrades to Lions Charge, Blade Storm, and Freedom Of Movement. All Personal Only.
      • Personal Haste (SL 1 x CL 1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated = 1600 GP).Upgrades to Masters Parry (Block 25 damage as an immediate action), Evasion (Immediate Action, take no damage on a successful reflex save), and Ghosting Technique (Greater Mirror Image).
      • Produce Flame (SL 1 x CL 1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated = 1600 GP). Upgrades to Scorching Ray, Fireball, and Wall of Fire.
      • Speak With Animals (SL 1 x CL 1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated = 1600 GP). Upgrades: Speak with Plants, Greater Animal Aspect, and Commune With Nature.

As racial templates go, this is EXTREMELY high-powered for +0 ECL. After all, it packs in both possible instances of Fast Learner, Mana, Rite of Chi, and open-ended Innate Enchantment – five very powerful abilities. Sure, you’ll want to upgrade some of the secondary abilities a bit – but you could easily afford to do so at level one. Overall, you’re purchasing several of the most convenient buffs and some fairly significant spell-like abilities – quite enough to keep up with most full spellcasters until they start hitting fifth level spells – on the cheap.

Willy Watt

Ninth Level Accursed Scion Of Chaos

Available Character Points: 240 (L9 Base) +10 (Disadvantages: Healing Resistant, Hunted, and Secret) +24 (L1, 3, 6, and 9 Bonus Feats) = 274 CP

Basic Attributes: Str 13 (+4 Enh, 17), Dex 16 (+2 Level = 18), Con 16 (+4 Enh = 20), Int 18 (+2 Enh = 20), Wis 12, Cha 10.

Basic Abilities (120 CP):

  • BAB +11 (Specialized in Melee for Half Cost, 33 CP),
  • Skill Points: 14 (14 CP) +60 (Int Mod x 12) +24 (Human Fast Learner) = 98 SP.
    • Adept: (Half cost for Knowledge (Nature), Move Silently, Search, and Use Magic Device, 6 CP).
    • Immunity – the distinctions between up to (Int Mod +1) Craft Skills (Uncommon, Minor, Minor, 2 CP).
    • Luck with 4 Bonus Uses, Specialized in Skills (6 CP)
  • Hit Points: 26 (L1-9d4) + 4 (L1 Bonus Hit Die, 8 CP) +100 (10 HD x [Con Mod + Int Mod]) = 130 HP.
    • Advanced Improved Augmented Bonus/Wily Guard: Adds (Dex Mod) to (Con Mod) for HP Purposes, Corrupted for Reduced Cost / only applies to first 12 Hit Dice (12 CP).
  • Armor Class: 10 (Base) +4 (Dex) +7 (Armor) +3 (Shield, grants Light Fortification) = 24
  • Saves:
    • Reflex +3 (9 CP) +4 (Dex) +5 (Res) +2 (Mor)= +14
    • Fortitude +2 (6 CP) +6 (Con) +5 (Res) +2 (Mor) = +15 (+19 vrs Poison and Disease).
    • Will +3 (9 CP) +1 (Wis) +5 (Res) +2 (Mor) = +11
    • Luck with +4 Bonus Uses, Specialized in Saves (6 CP).
      • Willy generally makes his saves.
  • Proficiencies: All Simple Weapons (3 CP), Light Armor (3 CP), and Shields (3 CP).
  • Initiative: +4 (Dex)
  • Move: 30 (Base) +30 (Haste) +30 (Light Foot) +10 (Collar) = 100

Usual Attacks:

  • All Melee: +5d8 Electrical Damage, Four AoO, Augment Crystal.
    • Sun Sword: +24/+24/+19/+14 (+11 BAB +3 Str +2 Enh +4 MA, +4 Comp, Haste), 2d8+5 (MA, +2 Enh +3 Str), Crit 19-20/x2, Extra +2 Enh vrs Evil, x3 Crits vrs negative energy plane or undead creatures
    • Whip: +22/+22/+17/+12 (+11 BAB +3 Str +1 Enh +3 MA, +4 Comp, Haste), 1d6+4 (MA, +` Enh +3 Str) +1d6 Shock, Crit 20/x2 +d10 Shock, 15′ Reach, can conduct touch spells.
    • Morning Star: +23/+23/+18/+13 (+11 BAB +3 Str +4 MA, +4 Comp, +1 Masterwork, Haste), 1d12+5 (MA, +3 Str), Crit 20/x2.

Lord Of Chaos (78 CP):

  • Finesse (Bases Channeling on Con Mod, not Cha Mod, 6 CP).
  • Wyld Channeling 3 (6 CP), +13 (2.5 x Con Mod) = 16 Uses (15 CP).
    • This is another user of Theran Channeling –  focused on tapping into and directing the wyld magic of the Disk rather than positive and negative energy. This doesn’t have the advanced ability support that normal channeling has, but is fairly formidable on its own.
  • Base Intensity 10 (User HD + Average Modifier of (-2) +8 (18 CP) = 16.
  • Base Magnitude 5d6 (9 CP) + 15 (User HD + Con Mod)
  • Conversion: 4 x L5 Effects (12 CP): Greater Heroism, Stop The Sands, Immortal Vigor V, Mass Fast Healing I (lasts 26 rounds), See: The Practical Enchanter.
  • Luck with +8 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted/Only for Channeling Rolls and Channeling Control Saves. (6 CP).

Wyld Channeling Effects:

  • Magic: Have the GM roll on any handy Wyld Surge or Wonder table. DC 5, DC 15 if affecting an existing magical effect, DC 25 to exert some (GMO) influence over the result.
  • Item Repair: Magical items are created using wyld energies, and so are fairly readily repaired by them. DC 15 if the item is simply damaged, 25 if destroyed, 35 if incomplete in the first place.
  • Temporary Life: The user may generate an Animate Object effect, affecting up to (Magnitude) Small Objects (or reduced numbers of larger objects as usual) for up to (Intensity) rounds. This can also be used to reshape a similar volume of material. DC 15
  • Item Infusion: Adds a surge of power to an item with a caster level of up to (Intensity), Double any one function of the item for (Magnitude) total uses / minutes – but this always adds some permanent wyld twist chosen by the GM to the item.DC 20.
  • Environmental Twist: Change the local environment into a temporary wyld zone with a theme of the user’s choice with a radius of (Intensity) feet (and partial effects up to twice that radius) and a duration of (Magnitude) rounds. DC depends on the complexity of the theme and how much it changes the area.
  • Evolution: Channel wyld energy into a creature, changes last for (Magnitude x Magnitude) minutes, becoming permanent if the total exceeds twenty-four hours. The changes are always an evolution of sorts, but while templates may be added, beyond a lifetime limit of (Constitution) CP any permanent improvements must be “paid for” before advancement can occur. DC varies depending on the level of control desired and the extent of the improvement being made.

Wyld Rune Forger (24 CP):

  • Shaping, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect / only to produce Healing effects, (6 CP).
  • Taskmaster: Divides the required time for using Craft and some Profession Skills, as well as the time required for mundane tasks, by (Intelligence) (6 CP).
  • Hands O/T Dragon: +3 to Craft, Knowledge, and Profession skills (6 CP). .
  • Forge O/T Dragon. No tools are required for crafting, basic tools grant a +2, Masterwork Tools grant a +5 (6 CP). .

Disciple Of Eternity (32 CP):

  • Immunity To Aging (Uncommon, Major, Major, 6 CP). He can expect to live for many centuries – and intends to further improve this as he goes along.
  • Immunity to Disease (Uncommon, Major, Minor, 4 CP). He can be affected, but ignores the first 4 points of attribute damage on each roll and gains a +4 on relevant saves.
  • Immunity to having to Metabolic Needs (Very Common, Major, Minor, 10 CP). Need not breathe, eat, drink, or sleep.
    • This has surpassed his Sustanence effect, but that wasn’t hugely expensive anyway.
  • Spell Resistance 14 (6 CP).
  • Power Resistance 14 (6 CP).

Expert Warrior (20 CP):

  • Presence (Shocking Grasp effect), Specialized for Increased Effect (20′ Radius) and Corrupted for Reduced Cost / only affects a single target at a time, only one that he has just stuck with a melee weapon (4 CP).
  • Constant Training: Augmented Bonus, Add (Con Mod) to Martial Art Skills in which the character has invested at least 1 SP (6 CP).
  • Reflex Training (Combat Reflexes Variant, 6 CP).
  • Immunity to Armor Check Penalties (Common, Minor, Minor, 4 CP). Ignores up to a total of -4 in Armor Check Penalties.

Skills:

All Skills +2 Morale, +2 Luck, +4 Competence.

  • Appraise: +0 (0 SP) +5 (Int) +2 (Synergy) = +15
  • Balance: +0 (0 SP) +4 (Dex) = +12
  • Bluff: +0 (0 SP) +0 (Cha) = +8
  • Climb: +0 (0 SP) +3 (Str) = +11
  • Concentration: +0 (0 SP) +5 (Con) = +13
  • Craft (Blacksmithing, Jewelsmithing, Leatherworking, Medicine, Tailoring, Wood Working) +12 (12 SP) +5 (Int).+5 (Tools) +3 (HD) +2 (Synergy) = +35
    • Crafting enchantments is normally much slower than using the relevant Feat and spells. Still, he can currently turn a profit of 55 (DC) x 55 (Taking 20 via Luck) x 25 (Taskmaster + Dexterous Fingers + Industrious Tool) x 2/3 (profit only) /10 (converting to GP) = just over 5000 GP per week.
  • Decipher Script: +0 (0 SP) +5 (Int) = +13
  • Diplomacy: +0 (0 SP) +0 (Cha) = +8
  • Disable Device: +4 (4 SP) +5 (Int) +5 (Tools) = +22
  • Disguise: +0 (0 SP) +0 (Cha) = +8
  • Escape Artist: +0 (0 SP) +4 (Dex) = +12
  • Gather Information: +0 (0 SP) +0 (Cha) = +8
  • Handle Animal: +0 (0 SP) +0 (Cha) = +8
  • Heal +6 (6 SP) +1 (Wis) +2 (Belt)+5 (Tools) = +22 (+25 with Medicine and Anatomy)
  • Hide: +0 (0 SP) +4 (Dex) +8 (Collar) = +20
  • Intimidate: +0 (0 SP) +0 (Cha) +2 (Sy) +10 (Hat) = +20
  • Jump: +0 (0 SP) +3 (Str) +10 (Enh) +10 (Cir) +28 (Spd) = +59
  • Knowledge (General): +0 (0 SP) +5 (Int) = +11
    • Nature: +12 (6* SP) +5 (Int) +2 (Sy) = +19, +22 (The Wyld).
  • Listen: +0 (0 SP) +1 (Wis) = +7
  • Martial Arts: All +6 (Con)
    • Craftsman Of Azeroth: +8 (8 SP) +3 (Str) = +25
    • Fairy Sail: +1 (3 SP)+4 (Dex) = +19
    • Nemesis Scourge Style: +7 (7 SP) +4 (Dex) = +25
    • Steel Driving Style: +8 (8 SP) +3 (Str) = +25
    • See HERE for these styles.
  • Move Silently +12 (6* SP) +4 (Dex) +6 (Collar) = +30
  • Open Lock +5 (5 SP) +4 (Dex) +5 (Tools) = +22
  • Perform: +0 (0 SP) +0 (Cha) = +8
  • Profession: +0 (SP) +1 (Wis) = +9
  • Ride: +0 (0 SP) +4 (Dex) = +12
  • Search +12 (6* SP) +1 (Wis) +2 (Glass) = +23
  • Sleight Of Hand +3 (3 SP) +4 (Dex) = +15
  • Speak Language: +1 (1 SP) +5 (Int) = +14
    • Speaks Common, High Imperial, and the Elemental Tongues.
  • Spellcraft: +1 (1 SP) +5 (Int) = +14
  • Spot: +6 (6 SP) +1 (Wis) = +15
  • Survival: +4 (4 SP) +1 (Wis) +2 (Synergy) +5 (Tools) = +20
  • Swim: +0 (0 SP) +3 (Str) +8 (Swim Speed) = +19
  • Tumble: +0 (0 SP) +4 (Dex) = +12
  • Use Magic Device +12 (6* SP) +0 (Cha) = +20 (+25 for Piloting the Fairy Sail).
  • Use Rope: +0 (0 SP) +4 (Dex) +5 (Tools) = +17

+3 Specialities (4 SP): Use Magic Device/Airship Piloting, Knowledge: Nature (The Wyld), Heal (Medicines), Heal (Anatomy),

Personal Details: Age 28, 5’8, 212 Lb,

Magic Items:

Current Magical Tattoos:

  • +4 Con, +4 Competence to All Skills, +4 Competence to Attacks.

Slotted Magic Items:

  • Arms:
  • Body: +3 Chainmail
  • Chest: Vest Of Resistance +5 (20K)
  • Eyes:.Blindfold Of True Darkness: Blindsight out to 30 ft., immune to sight-based effects
  • Alternate: Corsairs Eye Patch: 3/day see invisibility for 1 round or gain Blind-Fight for 1 minute
    Feet:
  • Hands: Gauntlets of Strength +4 (12,800 GP).
  • Head: Captains Hat. Personal emblem in lightning, +10 Enh to intimidate, Use activated Shocking Grasp (5d8) 2/day, Pirate-Themed Disguise Self at will, At will but only one at a time, Dancing Lights with option of looking like little lightning bolts.
  • Neck: Continuous Collar of Umbral Metamorphosis: 60′ Darkvision, Hide in Plain Sight, Cold Resistance 10, Superior Low-Light Vision, Hide +8, Move Silently +6, +10 to all movement modes (17,600 GP)
  • Ring: Ring of Communication (1600 GP).
  • Ring:
  • Shoulders:
  • Waist: Healing Belt. +2 to Heal, 3 Uses/Day, 1/2/3 to heal 2d8/3d8/4d8.

Slotless Items:

  • Päikesetera: Sun Blade: Bastard Sword, wielded as Short Sword. +2, +4 versus Evil, double damage/x3 against negative energy plane or undead creatures, sheds Daylight 1/Day.
  • Thunderbolt: +1 Shocking Burst Whip.
  • +1 Heavy Steel Shield of Light Fortification.
  • Two Wands Of Cure Light Wounds (1200 GP).
  • Necklace Of Fireballs: 6d6, 2x4d6, 2x2d6

Weapon Augment Crystals:

  • 2x Lesser Energy Assault (+1d6): Fire and Lightning (4800 GP).
  • Lesser Truedeath Crystal (+1d6 vrs Undead, Ghost Touch, 4000 GP).

Armor/Shield Augment Crystals:

  • Greater Aquatic Action: Swim 1/2 Land Speed, no Armor, Attack, or Move Penalty in water, water breathing (2400 GP).

Basic Equipment:

  • Explorer’s Outfit, Magnifying Glass, Mirror, Pocket Knife, Masterwork Healers Kit, 100′ Masterwork Spider Silk Rope, Grapnel, Canteen, Ball of Twine, Tent, Bedroll, Mess Kit. Masterwork Survival Kit.

Willy is pretty much a video game character; he can inflict a lot of damage, has a pretty good array of basic magic, and is hard to get rid of for long. As such, he can contribute in almost any situation, is pretty much by definition fairly high-powered, and is quite capable of functioning without a party. He’d still prefer to have one though, since more specialized characters will have a massive edge over him in their fields.

The Witch Of The Spectral Tides

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The moon a ghostly craft far tossed upon a sea of clouds. Shades which gather nightly at a shrine that is no more. Drumming born of waves that rhythmic crash on rocky shore. A priestess – wraith there dances fore an altar almost dust. Her dashing pirate captain waits within the falling dusk. Their daughter hid from gathered foes who struck them down. Her destiny a living curse on traitors who’s hearts remain unbound. And when that curse has borne it’s fruit, and those hearts beat no more, shall stillness lie on waters deep, and calm upon the shore. The final stones lie fallen, the shrine’s blessing now is past. And Captain’s shade bears Priestess’s shade to ocean’s rest at last.

Her parents slain by her fathers mutinous second in command and his allies, Evaril Gastly came of age upon the shores, a feral child, her siblings the beasts of the sea and her first tongue that of the living waters. The sea calls. In pulsing blood flows ancient tides. Voices – of the fleets of the dead, of godlings lost, of spirits forgotten, and of inhuman empires long lost to time – echo in the cry of gulls, in the crash of waves, in the thunder of the storm, and in the sighing wind. For those lonely or mad enough to hear, a myriad secrets. Magic long lost, waiting to be called forth.

Evaril calls upon those lost powers, the mysteries of the Sea of Souls, the invocation of times and places long since gathered into the vaults of time. With no formal training there is no system to it, but merely the gathering of a thousand lost pearls of wisdom, secrets scattered and broken. Hers is the art of the Occultist, for the depths of the seas yield up treasures more than sufficient to her needs.

To Evaril the seas call. A debt of blood is owed, and she will see it paid. The hand of her mother’s goddess is upon her – but on that power she may not call, for she is already it’s expression and the answer to her priestess-mothers deathword. For vengeance she was preserved, and vengeance she will bring upon the treacherous. Since she must sail the seas in freedom, to bring blood and death upon her targets… she will follow in her father’s footsteps, and walk the path of the pirate captain. For what other path can offer her what she requires? She calls in turn into the infinite depths, the seas of eternity – and from those depths is answered. As yet, she takes but small steps in the shallows, and bears the merest touch of the powers beyond the far realms. But that shall pass, until only the Witch of the Spectral Tides remains to walk the haunted decks and shores.

Given that Evaril was for a Pathfinder Pirates campaign, while it doesn’t matter a lot the Goddess involved was likely Calistria (CN) or Nethys (N).

Pathfinder Package Deal (Free):

  • +2 Charisma (for Sea Otter Wildfolk anyway),
  • 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).
  • Immunity/not being allowed to buy up their (normally maximized) level one hit die later on. Uncommon/Minor/Major (3 CP).
  • Action Hero (Crafting), Specialized and Corrupted/the user still has to spend the time, and money, and may ONLY create standard items by spending action points (2 CP).
  • +3 to skills that fit the character concept (Craft, Profession, any Adept skills, purchased Occult Skills, choice of 12 others)
  • Accursed (must use the Pathfinder versions of spells even where those have been downgraded, may not take “overpowered” feats, -3 CP).

Evaril Gastly

Witch Of The Spectral Tides

Shall The Sea Yield Up It’s Lost

Racial Template: Wildfolk (Sea Otter Styling) (+0 ECL)

The Wildfolk are not necessarily consistent; the animal attunements of parents don’t necessarily have anything to do with those of their offspring – and while they can interbreed with humans, any offspring are invariably Wildfolk. Of course, the Wildfolk are relatively rare in the Shackles, and so it is fairly likely that racial prejudice played a role in her parents deaths.

  • Self-Development/Attribute Modifiers of +2, +2, and +4 distributed between Strength, Constitution, Dexterity, Wisdom and (possibly) Intelligence (for animal-morphs noted as being especially tricky or cunning) as appropriate to the animal type the Wildfolk emulates. No single attribute may be enhanced more than once. (48 CP).
  • Occult Senses/Low-Light Vision and Scent, Corrupted/the Wildfolk suffer a -2 penalty on saves against light and scent-related attacks (8 CP).
  • Martial Arts/1d4 Natural Weapons (3 CP).
  • Adept/Pays half price for four skills related to the animal type they emulate (A claw-related Martial Art, Survival, Swim, and Profession/Sailor, 6 CP).
  • +2 to each Racial Adept Skill (4 CP).
  • One Bonus Feat appropriate to the emulated species (6 CP). As Sea Otters are skilled tool users… Fast Learner Specialized in Skills for Double Effect, Corrupted / only to keep Adept Skills maxed out (4 CP), Upgrade Pathfinder Package Fast Learner to +2 points/level (2 CP).

All this is Specialized for Reduced Cost; the Wildfolk are subject to strong instincts and occasionally must make will checks to resist them, suffer from various minor physical limitations and major species-related social prejudices, have assorted dietary restrictions, are somewhat limited with regard to equipment (a lot of it must be especially-fitted for particular species, are readily described and recognized, and may have minor special requirements.

  • Obligations x2: The Wildfolk are bound to nature, and must protect and defend it – restricting the spread of urban civilization to maintain the balance, expelling outsiders, destroying undead, and taking druidical duties in addition to incorporating a wide variety of minor rituals honoring the spirits of nature into their daily lives.
  • Accursed: The Wildfolk sense major affronts to nature in a wide radius – and can be sickened by particularly bad examples while they are in close proximity. Thus, if the land is filled with toxins, or infernal energies, or blighted by the undead, they may suffer penalties for that – despite their obligation to deal with the situation.

Basic Attributes: Str (8), Int (16, +2 Race = 18), Wis (7), Con 14, Dex 12 (+2 Race = 14), Chr 16 (+4 Race +2 Path = 22). 20-point buy.

Available Character Points: 48 (L1 Base) +10 (Disadvantages) +2 (Duties) +2 (Restrictions: Armor, Clerical Magic) +6 (L1 Bonus Feat) = 68 CP.

Basics (22 CP):

  • Base Attack Bonus: +0 (0 CP).
  • Hit Points: Hit Die: 8 (L1d8, 4 CP) +2 (Con Mod x 1) = 10 HP
  • Armor Class: 10 (Base) +2 (Dex) +4 (Armor) +1 (Shield) +3 (M. Art) = 20
  • Saves:
    • Fortitude: +2 (Purchased, 6 CP) +2 (Con) +1 (Res) = +5
    • Reflex: +0 (Purchased, 0 CP) +2 (Dex) +1 (Res) = +3
    • Will: +0 (Purchased, 0 CP) -2 (Wis) +1 (Res) = -1
  • Proficiencies: All Simple Weapons (3 CP) and Shields (Specialized in Claw Gauntlets, 1 CP).
  • Skill Points: 2 (2 CP) +16 (Int Mod x4) +16 (Fast Learners from L(-2) = 34
  • Adept (Half Price for Hedge Magic, Perform (Voice), Knowledge (Arcana), and Knowledge/Local, 6 CP)
  • Initiative: +2 (Dex)
    Movement: 30′ (Base), Swim 15′

Usual Weapons:

  • Claw Guantlets: +1 (+0 BAB, -1 Str +2 MA), 1d8 (+1 Base, -1 Str), Crit 20/x2, 5′ Reach, Three AoO.

Other Abilities:

Stipend (6 CP)

  • The unfathomable powers of the worlds beyond pay their servants in the eldritch coin of the spirit world – the tarnished black coins of the underworld, the gleaming gold of the heavens, the firedrops of the nine hells, and more. Oddly enough, while such coins may be remarked, and may occasionally attract odd occurrences, there is never any real trouble in spending them.
  • Create Item, Specialized & Corrupted/prerequisite only (2 CP).
  • Harvest of Artifice, Specialized and Corrupted/only for use with Transmutation, only provides cash, user must specify plot-hook sources for this funding (2 CP). This provides 100 XP a month that can only be used for “transmutation”. (+1 CP per +50 XP)
  • Transmutation, Specialized and Corrupted/only to produce money, never actually occurs on screen (2 CP).
  • Net Result: 200 GP/Month for 6 CP, 400 for 8 CP, 800 for 10 CP, and 1200 for 12 CP, A character who starts with this ability adds ten times his or her monthly income to his or her starting cash.

Blessing Of The Seas (6 CP):

  • The tides of magic sweep through the seas, as certainly as it’s watery currents – and one who has harvested an ancient art can act as a focus for them. What result that brings will vary from day to day – but it can benefit many.
  • Innate Enchantment / Fleet-Sized Cheap Ward Major III (18,375 GP Value, 19 CP), Specialized and Corrupted for Reduced Cost / Powers are determined semi-randomly (roll three times at dawn for each slot, user picks from the results), makes user extremely valuable, can be corrupted if someone can control the user, only works on ships and their crews or a group thereof, user becomes a sympathetic link to the ships and Crews) (6 CP).

Basic Bokor Package (12 CP):

The Bokor, or “Binder”, shares their life with entities from beyond time and space – exchanging access to reality for the powers that those entities can bestow. This ability is built as Witchcraft, Specialized and Corrupted: All effects require gestures, incantations, and a spell component pouch to work, involve invoking strange beings, have ominous and disturbing “special effects”, cause the user to display obvious physical stigmata related to the entities that he or she invokes (these also reveal some of their current powers to the knowledgeable), and provoke rather strong reactions in people. Bokor are generally regarded with great suspicion by Clerics and similar characters given that they call on strange and unreliable beings – some of them beyond the influence of the gods themselves.

  • Witchcraft II. Provides the use of fairly minor Glamour (telepathic projection, Producing L0 effects for 1 Power and L1 effects for 2 Power), Hand of Shadows (telekinetic and animation effects, 1 power for L0 effects, 2 Power for L1 effects), and Shadowweave (light and illusion, 1 Power for 10 minutes of activity) effects with a base range of 30 feet, a base Power score equal to (Sum of Physical Attributes/3), and a base Will save DC of (13 + Cha Mod) (4 CP):
  • +2d6 Mana, taken as 6d6 (+27) Power. Witchcraft only (4 CP).
  • Dismissal (2 CP). The user may attempt to banish residual or active magic and either damage or attempt to dismiss outsiders.
  • The Sight (2 CP). The user may obtain vague omens of the future, locate paths, employ clairsentience, and locate thieves of his or her personal goods.
  • Divination (2 CP). The user may produce various Detection and True Seeing effects.
  • Host of Mysteries: Ridden by the Loa with Firm Control (6 CP). This normally allows the user to host a spirit which can influence him or her in various ways while granting a temporary template of up to +4 ECL – but this build restricts that quite a bit:
    • The total template value may be no more than +1 ECL (32 CP) per six levels or part thereof that the Bokor possesses.
    • Each +1 ECL represents a separate Mystery – an individual entity.
    • Users only know how to invoke one Mystery per applicable (innate and permanent – skill points and feats that provide bonuses only) rank of Knowledge/Arcana.
    • The user may activate (Cha Mod) Mystery templates per day.
    • Channeling a Mystery requires a summoning ritual requiring 1d4 minutes.
    • Mysteries remain bound to the summoner for twenty-four hours unless they are ritually expelled – a process that also requires a full minute.
    • Each Mystery brings along a set of behavioral tendencies, a physical sign, and at least one disadvantage – although that does increase their net “value” to 35 CP.
    • Mysteries may be assigned “levels” by the game master; if the game master opts to do so the Bokor can only call upon Mysteries with a level less than (Bokor Level / 2, Rounded Up). In general, Mysteries come in levels one through eight.
  • Immunity/the one-point-per-hour cost of keeping Ridden by the Loa Running (Common, Minor, Major (up to 30 Power/Day equivalent, Corrupted/cannot normally be turned off to get rid of a batch of inconvenient Mysteries, 4 CP).

Cost: (24 CP – 12 CP Pacts: Epic Quest (destroy those responsible for her parents deaths and the offense against her mother’s Goddess) and Rituals (regular offerings honoring the spirits of the boundless sea), Net Cost (12 CP).

Initiate Of The Mysteries (4 CP): Innate Enchantment: Specialized and Corrupted: Only one effect per Mystery currently hosted can be activated, with the choice made when the Mystery is summoned, all effects Spell Level One, Caster Level One, Personal-Only where relevant (x.7). 10,400 GP net value, for a base cost of eleven CP and a final cost of (4 CP).

  • Aura of Light/Darkness (Practical Enchanter); +1 Sacred/Profane bonus to Saves (1400 GP).
  • Flesh Ward (Practical Enchanter); Provides DR 2/- (1400 GP).
  • Immortal Vigor I: Provides +(12 + 2 x Con Mod) Extra Hit Points (1400 GP).
  • Resist Energy (SRD): Provides Energy Resistance 10 versus any one of acid, cold, electricity, fire, or sonic damage (1400 GP).
  • Sign (SC): +4 Insight Bonus to Initiative (Already personal-only, so 2000 GP)
  • Ward of Light/Darkness (Practical Enchanter); +1 Sacred/Profane bonus to AC (1400 GP).
  • Wrath of Heaven/The Infernal (Practical Enchanter); +1 Sacred/Profane bonus to Attacks and Damage (1400 GP).

Calling Upon The Deeps (4 CP):

  • Rite Of Chi with +4 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted / Only to restore Power, only for Witchcraft Pool, only works between “encounters) (4 CP).

Houngan Conjurer (8 CP):

A myriad possibilities can be found in the deeps, with this art, some can be called forth to your allies aid.

  • Create Relic, Specialized and Corrupted/only usable to make one-point relics, only usable with points from Enthusiast, requires that the user come up with a neat ritual, and all relics carry a disadvantage – although this does help reduce their cost (2 CP).
  • Double Enthusiast, Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect (a total of six “floating” character points)/points may only be used to create relics (“conjures”), relics have a maximum cost of one point and no one can use more than one at any one time (6 CP for the ability to create a similar number of one-point relics).

The Treasury Of The Deeps (Personal Houngan Conjure, already paid for. 1 CP Relic):

For quite some time now Evaril’s personal Houngan Conjure has been the Treasury Of The Depths – a device which provides:

  • A boost to her Stipend – increasing the haul to 1200 GP per month, and the starting bonus to 12,000 GP. (6 CP).
  • An upgrade to her Siddhisyoga, adding the Efficient modifier (6 CP). This allows her to trade that 12,000 GP for 8000 GP worth of magical talents.
  • Disadvantage: Accursed. The wealth drawn from the Treasure can ONLY be spent on Siddhisyoga (-3 CP)

Spiritual Whispers (3 CP):

  • Finesse, substitutes (Cha Mod) for (Wis Mod) with respect to Skills, Specialized for Reduced Cost / only for Profession and Survival (not for Heal, Perception, and Sense Motive).

The Harvest Of The Deeps (3 CP):

  • Siddisyoga, Specialized for Reduced Cost / may only use money from her Stipend (8000 GP Value / 12,000 GP Cost).

Harvest Of The Deeps – Enchantments:

  • +1 Masterwork Studded Leather (1175 GP), +4 Armor Bonus. No armor check penalty
  • Lesser Armor Crystal Of Aquatic Action (1000 GP). The user takes no armor check penalty on swim checks and gains a swim speed (and a +8 bonus on Swim checks) equal to half their land speed.
  • Field Provisions Chest (2000 GP): Provides food and drink for 15 medium-sized creatures each day.
  • Hat of Disguise (1800 GP): Allows use of a Disguise Self Effect.
  • Healing Belt (750 GP): +2 to Heal, 3 Charges/Day, Spend 1/2/3 to heal 2d8/3d8/4d8.
  • Cloak Of Resistance +1 (1000 GP).
  • Ioun Torch (75 GP).
  • Harvest Of The Deeps – Mundane “Gear”:
  • Thieves Tools (30 GP).
  • Good Bedroll (Bedroll, Pad, 2 Blankets, Pillow, 1 GP)
  • Compass (10 GP) +2 to Survival (Navigate).
  • Depth Sensor (20 GP).
  • Swim Goggles (5 G): See twice as far while underwater.
  • Swim Fins (8 GP): +2 to Swim checks.
  • Spell Component Pouch (5 GP): For casting spells.
  • Air Bladders x 200 (20 GP): Can hold her breath up to twenty minutes.
  • Claw Gauntlets x 2 (26 GP). These reinforced gloves are designed to be worn by species with natural weapons (claws) on their hands. They add weight and impact to the user’s blows, reinforce the hands – allowing them to function as a light metal shield – and reinforce the claws, allowing them to inflict more damage. They’re basically ineffective for races which do not have claws.
    • Pathfinder Weapon Design: Base Qualities: Simple Weapon (4 DP, base 4 GP), Damage +1 over Natural Claws (0 DP), Critical as per Claws (0 DP), Slashing (0 DP), One-Handed.
    • Improved Qualities: Attached (1 DP), Improved Damage +2 Die Sizes to Natural Claws (For her 1d8, 2 DP), Shield (Light Metal, +9 GP, Net 13 GP, 1 DP)
  • Lighter (6 GP).
  • Explorer’s Outfit (Clothing/Hat/Boots/Belt/Pouches, 10 GP).
  • Magician’s Pouch (60 GP):

Magician’s Pouch: This modest bag contains various spell and ritual components, including packets of salt, beeswax, assorted colored chalks and small candles, origami paper, incense sticks and various common herbs, string, pen and ink, several pencil-sized “wands” (bone with lead bands, hawthorn, ebony with gold tips, elder, oak, magnetized steel, and mistletoe), a “scribing” tip (for the wands), 2 small knives (meteoric iron with oak handle, silver with rowan handle), silk cloths, 2 small bowls/bells/cups/incense burners/etc (silver and gold), a silver disc/mirror, tongs, wire, matches, a set of rune or “tarot” cards, a small key, some rings (Simple blank bands; 4 copper, 2 silver, 2 gold, and 2 iron), a small flute, embroidery thread, brass chime, holy symbol (Per user’s beliefs), some crystals, needles and thread, pins, and assorted vials (Holy and unholy water, assorted oils, alcohol, mercury, “fingerpaints”, glue and healing herbs) in a padded roll. Basically an upgraded spell component pouch. Water-tight and somewhat resistant to fire, grants a +2 bonus on minor rituals and Hedge Magic.

Skills (34 SP):

  • Acrobatics: +0 (0 SP) +2 (Dex) = +2
  • Appraise: +0 (0 SP) +4 (Int) = +4
  • Bluff: +0 (0 SP) +6 (Cha) = +6
  • Climb: +4 (4 SP) -1 (Str) +3 (Path) = +6
  • Craft (Int)
    • Carpentry +1 (1 SP) +4 (Int) +3 (Path) = +8
  • Diplomacy +2 (2 SP) +6 (Cha) +3 (Path) = +11
  • Disable Device +1 (1 SP) +2 (Dex) +3 (Path) = +6
  • Disguise +2 (2 SP) +6 (Cha) +3 (Path) = +11
  • Escape Artist +0 (0 SP) +2 (Dex) = +2
  • Fly +0 (0 SP) +2 (Dex) = +2
  • Handle Animal +0 (0 SP) +6 (Cha) = +6
  • Heal +0 (0 SP) -2 (Wis) +2 (Enh) = +0
  • Intimidate +0 (0 SP) +6 (Cha) = +6
  • Knowledge +0 (0 SP) +4 (Int) (General).
    • Arcana +4 (2* SP) +4 (Int) +3 (Path) = +11
      • Specialty, +14 in Mysteries (1 SP).
    • History +1 (1 SP) +4 (Int) +3 (Path) = +8
    • Local +4 (2* SP) +4 (Int) +3 (Path) = +11
    • Religion +1 (1 SP) +4 (Int) +3 (Path) = +8
  • Linguistics +1 (1 SP) +4 (Int) +3 (Path) = +8
  • Speaks: Aquan, Taldane (“Common”), Mwangi (“Polyglot”), Osiriani, Senzar, Hallit, Varisian, Tien, and Skald.
  • Martial Art/Blade Of Dreams Style: +4 (2* SP) +2 (Race) +6 (Cha) +3 (Path) = +15
  • Perception +1 (1 SP) -2 (Wis) +3 (Path) = +2
  • Perform (Voice) +4 (2* SP) +6 (Cha) +3 (Path) = +13
  • Profession
    • Hedge Mage +4 (2* SP) +6 (Cha) +3 (Path) +2 (MP) = +15
    • Cook +2 (2 SP) +6 (Cha) +3 (Path) = +11
    • Sailor +4 (2*SP) +6 (Cha) +2 (Race) +3 (Path) = +15
  • Ride +0 (0 SP) +2 (Dex) = +2
  • Sense Motive +0 (0 SP) -2 (Wis) = -2
  • Sleight of Hand +0 (0 SP) +2 (Dex) = +2
  • Spellcraft +0 (0 SP) +4 (Int) = +4
  • Stealth +0 (0 SP) +2 (Dex) = +2
  • Survival +4 (2* SP) +6 (Cha) +2 (Race) = +12 (Navigate +14).
  • Swim (15′ Swim Speed) +4 (2* SP) -1 (Str) +2 (Race) +8 (SS) +2 (Fins) +3 (Path) = +18.
  • Use Magic Device: +1 (1 SP) +6 (Cha) +3 (Path) = +10

Skill Notes:

  • Hedge Magic is basically Ceremonial or “Folk” Magic – charming warts, determining which of the village boys a village girl is most likely to marry, helping someone lose weight, making cattle less likely to stray, conducting seances, and so on. It does let the user maintain up to (skill total) points worth of Charms and Talismans – in her case, a Contraceptive Amulet (Charm, 1), a Cleansing Pin (equivalent to a Cleansing Candle, Talisman, 3), a Hidden Pocket (to keep her Journal in, Charm, 2), and a Firespice Shaker (Makes food extra tasty, Charm, 2).
  • Hand Of Dreams Style (Cha) focuses on using ectoplasmic energy drawn from dreams to enhance the user’s Claw Gauntlets.
    • Known Techniques (8): Defenses 3, Attack 2, +5′ Reach, Combat Reflexes, Inner Strength.
  • Known Mysteries: All L1 to start.

Occultist (Random) Starting Wealth: 150 GP:

  • Basic Equipment: Explorer’s Outfit/Hat/Boots/Belt/Pouches (Free), Fishing Net (4 GP). 50′ Hemp Rope (1 GP), Grappling Hook (1 GP), Belt Knife & Sheathe (2 GP), Common Backpack (2 GP), Small Chest (2 GP), Mess Kit (plate, bowl, cup, fork, knife, and spoon, 2 SP), Journal (10 GP).
  • Traveler’s Pouch: This light, watertight, leather carrying bag contains a selection of items any traveler should have along – brush, comb, and razor, a little packet each of soap, sticking plaster or salve, wax, tacks and thread, needles, buttons, fishhooks and sinkers, string/fishline, flint and steel, small whetstone and file, a couple of small knives, a vial of insect “repellent”/ medication, and a thin bag (Suitable for use as a pillow if stuffed with something yielding). Usually a shoulderbag or belt pouch. 1 pound or less. About 2 GP if purchased – but most characters should be presumed to have this stuff. (Contents list and weight from “Woodcraft” by George W. Sears, circa 1880).
  • Net Cost: 24,2 GP. Leaves 125.8 GP for spending money. Most of this is in her Hidden (Dimensional) Pocket with her Journal.

We were schooner-rigged and rakish, with a long and lissome hull,
And we flew the pretty colours of the crossbones and the skull;
We’d a big black Jolly Roger flapping grimly at the fore,
And we sailed the Spanish Water in the happy days of yore.

We’d a long brass gun amidships, like a well-conducted ship,
We had each a brace of pistols and a cutlass at the hip;
It’s a point which tells against us, and a fact to be deplored,
But we chased the goodly merchant-men and laid their ships aboard.

Then the dead men fouled the scuppers and the wounded filled the chains,
And the paint-work all was spatter dashed with other peoples brains,
She was boarded, she was looted, she was scuttled till she sank.
And the pale survivors left us by the medium of the plank.

O! then it was (while standing by the taffrail on the poop)
We could hear the drowning folk lament the absent chicken coop;
Then, having washed the blood away, we’d little else to do
Than to dance a quiet hornpipe as the old salts taught us to.

O! the fiddle on the fo’c’sle, and the slapping naked soles,
And the genial “Down the middle, Jake, and curtsey when she rolls!”
With the silver seas around us and the pale moon overhead,
And the look-out not a-looking and his pipe-bowl glowing red.

Ah! the pig-tailed, quidding pirates and the pretty pranks we played,
All have since been put a stop to by the naughty Board of Trade;
The schooners and the merry crews are laid away to rest,
A little south the sunset in the islands of the Blest.

-John Masefield, A Ballad Of John Silver (1902, Public Domain)

Emaril is – as expected for a magical dabbler in Eclipse – fairly formidable at low levels since she’s grabbing the low-hanging fruit from multiple styles of magic. She’ll be weaker in comparison to other characters at higher levels, but by then she’ll probably be using a psychic construct (The “Vengeance”) as her personal ship and will probably be the party generalist, supporting whichever specialist is having the most trouble at the moment.

Eclipse d20 – Adventures with Mario

And for a somewhat off-the-wall request… it’s how to build a d20 RPG character resembling Mario, of video-game fame.

  • Well, Mario is mostly a fighter type. He can take a lot of damage and keep going, hits well, may know various martial arts, and seems to be resistant to most attacks. He sometimes uses abilities such as Whirlwind Attack and uses several different weapons. I’m not aware of him dual-wielding anything, but he apparently does fairly often use a big two-handed hammer, with which he charges at things and smashes them. That’s a pretty standard charger build.
  • While he apparently is skilled in a lot of professions (race car driver, doctor, demolitions, sports referee, etc), that is not at all hard in d20 where a total of +5 (easy enough with adventurer-level attributes and even a minor general skill booster) represents a normal human level of proficiency for holding a job in any given field.
  • He’s been shown to have some pretty incredible superhuman attributes too – but those are far less consistent and mostly only appear in games that are arguably set in superhero worlds. Such demonstrations can reasonably be taken to go with higher levels, the superheroic world template, and buying the Four-Color Template. After all, once you start ignoring physics there’s not much point in trying to rate abilities in terms of physics.
  • He’s a destined hero, one of the Seven Star Children who will possess extraordinary power. Of course, this is d20 where heroic destinies are a dime a dozen and pretty much EVERY player-character can quickly grow into a being of extraordinary power.
  • He somehow finds “power-ups” pretty much everywhere he goes.

So what do we need to make a reasonable low-level Mario?

Race… I’d put him as a (Pathfinder) Dwarf personally. Sure, that slows him down a little – but the general modifiers fit and he kind of looks like a dwarf to me. It will also let him use a Dwarven Longhammer as a martial weapon and helps him spot all those bonus boxes disguised as stone blocks.

His most favored method of attack is jumping on or kicking things. Ergo, his usual weapon will be…

Plumber’s War Boots

  • Weapon Construction (Pathfinder Weapon Creation Rules): Two Footed, Close Martial Weapon (Must wear both to use, 5 DP), Additional Design Points +3 (+45 GP), Attached (Cannot be disarmed, 1 DP), Improved Critical Threat Range (19-20, 3 DP), Improved Damage (2d6 at Medium Size, 5 DP),
  • These finely stitched boots are ornamented with the sigil of Sun Wukong, and so carry a small hint of the power of the Great Sage, Equal to Heaven. Anyone who wears them can kick or stomp on things really, REALLY, well. Melee. They come as a pair, and both must be worn to use them effectively (Treat as two-handed weapons). Damage (M) 2d6B, Critical 19-20/x2, 50 GP (May have both Weapon Enchantments and/or a +2 Masterwork Tool Bonus to Balance, Jump, and/or Tumble added).

He’ll need a Martial Art to go with those. So how about…

Tai Kwan Leep (Str Based Weapon Form – Plumbers War Boots):

Ed Gruberman, you fail to grasp Ti Kwan Leep. Approach me that you might see… Boot to the head!

  • Requires: Jump +5 or more, +2 or higher BAB specialized in Melee Combat, and Dex 12+.
  • Basic Techniques: Attack 2, Damage 4, Defenses 4, Synergy/Tumble, Synergy/Jump.
  • Advanced and Master Techniques: Enhanced Strike (Crushing) with +4 Bonus Uses, Opportunist (May make a Full Attack after a Charge), .
  • Occult Techniques: Inner Strength, Light Foot, Healing (Specialized for Double Effect / Personal Only), and Inhalation Of The New World (Rite of Chi with +4 Bonus Uses, Specialized/only to recover Inner Strength, 6 CP).

Star Child Template (32 CP / +1 ECL).

I usually recommend limiting characters to 12 CP worth of Innate Enchantments, so as to avoid them simply going after every possible small bonus – but this doesn’t quite cover the basics this type of character seems to require, so he or she will need…

  • Immunity to the normal value-limit of Innate Enchantment (Very Common, Minor, Minor, Specialized for Half Cost / only allows exceeding the limit by 6 CP, not 12) (4 CP). This allows the user to have up to 18 CP worth of Innate Enchantment.
  • Immunity/The XP Cost of his floating Innate Enchantments (Uncommon, Minor, Trivial, 1 CP).
  • Immunity to Dispelling and Antimagic (Common, Minor, Great,, Specialized and Corrupted/only protects Innate Enchantments, 6 CP).
  • Opportunist: May renew Innate Enchantments as a free action when necessary (6 CP).
  • Innate Enchantment: Up to 17,500 GP total value. All effects Spell Level One x Caster Level One x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use Activated x .7 (Personal Only) if relevant (18 CP).
    • Ant Haul (Triples Carrying Capacity, 1400 GP).
    • Immortal Vigor I: Provides +12 (2 x Con Mod) HP. (1400 GP).
    • Jump: +10 Enhancement Bonus to Jump (1400 GP).
    • Lead Blades (Hammer Only, x.7, 1400 GP). Hammer does 3d6 damage.
    • Light Foot (1400 GP). +30 circumstance bonus on ground movement speed+10 circumstance bonus on jump checks, as well as DR 10 versus Falling Damage [only]. The user is, however, considered one size category smaller in a Bull Rush, Grapple, Trip, or Overrun situation.
    • Muleback Cords (1000 GP). +8 Strength for the purpose of computing Carrying Capacity.
    • Personal Heroism: +2 Morale Bonus to Attacks, Saves, and Skills (2000 GP).
    • Personal Haste (2000 GP). +30′ Enhancement to Movement Rate,
    • Produce Flame (2000 GP).
    • Skill (Any) Mastery: +2 Competence Bonus to All Skills (1400 GP)
    • Wrath: +2 Morale Bonus to Str and Con, +1 to Will, -2 to AC (1400 GP).
  • Weaponry:
    • Plumbers War Boots (50 GP), Masterwork Weapon (+300 GP), Masterwork Tool (+2) for Balance, Jump, and Tumble (+150 GP)
    • Dwarven Longhammer (2d6 (3d6 with Lead Blades), Crit 20/.x3, Reach, Exotic Weapon, 70 GP).
  • Conventional Items:
    • Adventurer’s Sash (20 GP). For carrying an inventory of power-ups.
    • Air Bladder x 30 (3 G). Can easily hold his breath for three minutes.
    • Canteens x 2 (4 GP). Rarely needs to stop to drink.
    • Cold Weather Outfit (8 GP). Traverses icy glaciers without concern.
    • Compass (10 GP). Keeps moving in one direction with no errors.
    • Hot Weather Outfit (8 GP). Traverses deserts without concern.
    • Masterwork Tools for any one profession or craft skill (50 GP).
    • Music Box (20 GP). Star Children are often accompanied by tinkling music wherever they go.
    • Toolbelt, Heavy (Haramaki, 3 GP). +1 Armor Bonus to AC. Lots of tool loops and pockets (+4 GP).
          • Grand Total: 17,500 GP.
  • Template Disadvantage: Obligations. Must go to the rescue whenever people are kidnaped or held hostage, even if no reward is in the offing (although there is almost always cake somehow) (-3 CP).

For the power-ups take…

  • 4d6 Mana with Reality Editing, Specialized and Corrupted / only to produce Relics (as above) and minor power-up devices, only a specific list of items specific to the character, devices must be “harvested” from relevant areas, the user may only carry a maximum of (Cha Mod) devices along with him or her (8 CP).
  • Rite of Chi with +16 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted / only usable to refill the pool for producing power-up devices and relics above, only usable between levels/maps/stages/whatever (10 CP).
  • Create Relic, Specialized and Corrupted / only to allow the creation of a limited set of relics appropriate to the character, Relics only function for the duration of a level / world / extended scene / what-have-you before resetting (2 CP),
  • Double Enthusiast with Adaption, Specialized for Increased Effect (four floating CP, can be reassigned immediately via the expenditure of 1 Mana per CP) and Corrupted for Reduced Cost / only to invest in Relics, Relics only function for the duration of a level / world / extended scene / what-have-you before resetting, only for a limited set of relics appropriate to the character (4 CP).

While I’ve never been much for video games, it would be hard to miss the memes – and quite a lot of video game “power ups” are pretty awkward in RPG terms. RPG “power ups” tend to come in two forms – short term stuff like spells and potions that usually only last for the length of a scene or two and semi-permanent additions to the user’s character sheet. Short term video game powers ups match well enough, but many video games have an intermediate level – stuff that lasts through one dungeon/world/adventure/module/whatever you want to call a stage of the overall game / adventure and then goes away. RPG’s don’t have a lot of stuff like that, if only because they tend to be settings, not a collection of maps and levels that you go through one by one. Sure, that intermediate duration does turn up in RPG’s sometimes – occasionally you get loaned an item for the duration of your quest, or the blessing of the water goddesses shrine lets everyone breathe under water while adventuring there (so that everyone can play with the rules for underwater adventures for a bit), or something like that, but that sort of thing is always set up by the game master simply because levels/maps/whatever are not nearly as strictly designed in freeform RPG’s as they have to be in computer-run video games.

In addition, you generally don’t just find power-ups laying around. After all, in most RPG’s, the setting doesn’t revolve around one particular character – and if that rare mushroom can heal wounds in moments, somebody will grab it as soon as they see it. Doom may have had weapons and healing kits laying all over it’s volcanic demon maze, but in an RPG people will be asking “who put them there, and why aren’t the demons either using them or kicking them into the lava to keep the characters from using them?”

Neither will most RPG’s turn the characters into sharks with laser beams for the sake of an underwater novelty level, just as RPG’s don’t usually reset characters to “unwounded but none of the enhancements they just finished collecting” at the start of each new segment. If a RPG character gathers eight fire orbs that let him or her throw blasts of fire of ever-increasing power, and which work forever as long as they are in the pixie kingdom… they are going to want to know why all the fire orbs they’ve collected so far vanish as soon as they leave the pixie kingdom for the gnome tunnels, forcing them to start collecting a new set of the blasted things so they can throw blasts of fire again. They may also start wondering why no one ELSE bothers collecting fire orbs when they’re just lying around in odd corners – or perhaps why that ancient shrine has a puzzle you have to solve to get in? Shrines are places that get a lot of traffic!

Sure, you can invent convoluted reasons for that kind of thing, but that gets old fast. Worse, since power-ups are a pretty integral part of a video-game character, it’s kind of incumbent on said character to build them in.

So here’s a package for that. The user’s Mana Pool should be full at the start of any given “Map” (World? Level?). It will deplete as the user adventures.

  • Pass by a forest spring? That’s a good place to look for a Fairy! (Legend of Zelda)
  • Visiting a Cathedral? Probably a good place to get a bottle of Castlevania’s super Holy Water.
  • At a carnival? Perhaps it’s time to pick up a Tanooki Suit (Mario).
  • Haunted House? Look for Magic Fruit that lets you eat ghosts for a bit (Pac-Man).

In general, things like Super Mushrooms or Fire Flowers (Mario) generally just cost Mana – although the amount depends on just how potent the game master thinks that they are. Things that last through a level (such as Pegasus Boots (Zelda), the Hammer from Donkey King, or Mario’s FLUDD are generally relics.

So that’s +1 ECL for the Star Child Template and 24 CP for the Power-Up Package. That’s not really too bad. You could take it at level one. Sure, you won’t be able to afford much else with only 10-12 CP left over from Disadvantages and Duties or some such (Proficiency with Simple and a limited set of Martial Weapons (6 CP), and a skill point (1 CP), +1 BAB Specialized in Melee Combat (3 CP), and +2 HP (2 CP)) – but you’re going to be fast (about 80′ ground movement), get two attacks that hit fairly hard, have (17 + 3 x Con Mod) HP, will be all around competent, and will be able to find useful items pretty much wherever you go (a relic that provides a decent AC boost would be a good choice until you get to level two). That’s not at all bad for a starting character.

Where to go from here? Well, there’s a long series of articles on fighter-type builds already, but… more hit points (possibly using Advanced Improved Augmented Bonus to add in another attribute modifier), more BAB, Luck for Saves (and better base saves), more Skill Points, Fast Learner (probably specialized in Skills or Hit Dice), Expertise (Power Attack), and various weapon or attack boosts (such as buying up the immunity on Innate Enchantment and applying Lead Blades to his boots too, for 4d8). If you want the “Extra Lives” you’ll want Returning – but RPG’s are usually a lot harder to die in than video games anyway, just because it takes a lot longer to make a new character than it does to press “start”. If you want Yoshi you want Companion, and use the level-based bonus points to add the ability to swallow things whole.

For special tricks throw in 3d6 Mana with Reality Editing/Spell Enhancement, Specialized and Corrupted / only to boost the Innate Enchantments of the Star Child template, requires a full-round action to use (6 CP) and Rite of Chi with +8 Bonus Uses (Specialized and Corrupted / only to recharge the “Special Tricks” pool, only between encounters, 6 CP).

That will let you turn Produce Flame into a Fireball, use Jump to bounce over a castle or reach something flying high above, boost the Mule Cords to lift some incredible weight, or use Light Foot to imitate an effect like Dimension Door or just to run up walls or stand on clouds. Sure, you can’t pull those tricks off all that often – but it’s always nice to have semi-freeform special moves in your back pocket.

Overall this looks like a decent “mystic warrior” build, and will probably be fun to play – at least if you know enough about the Mario video games to know what kind of power-ups you might be able to come up with.

Eclipse d20 – Creating A Vampire

This request was straightforward – to break down the various elements in the Vampire Template for Eclipse and see what they should cost, because there’s quite a gap between “CR + 2” and “ECL + 8” – which mostly says “Vampires aren’t all THAT tough, but we think that some of their powers are easily abused by players”. So here we go:

“Vampire” is an acquired template that can be added to any humanoid or monstrous humanoid creature with quite a few effects:

  • All past and future hit dice become d12’s – but the new vampires Con becomes 0. Honestly, this is sometimes an advantage for mages – but a d12 is effectively equal to (1d4+4), and very few adventurers actually dump Con, and most buy boosters. This is usually a penalty, and awkward to buy to boot. So replace it with 0 Con (0 CP) and Advanced Finesse (Gets bonus HP from some attribute other than Con, 12 CP).
  • Gain +6 Natural Armor. This is kind of expensive, at least at lower levels, to buy straight. And honestly, it doesn’t really fit in with my ideas about vampires – so I’m going to use Defender (Natural Armor variant) (6 CP) to provide a natural armor bonus that will slowly increase with level and Improved Augmented Bonus (Applies an Attribute Modifier (most often Strength) to the user’s Natural Armor rating, 12 CP). That will generally cover the bonus at lower levels and improve on it at higher ones.
  • A vampire gains a slam attack (usually 1d6, but varying by size) if it didn’t already have one. Once per round, a vampire that hits with it’s slam attack or primary natural weapon attack can inflict two negative levels. Now level drain used to be a terrible and frightening power. The victim lost levels instantly – and it was hard to get them back. Every player hated level drains – and so they were heavily nerfed in third edition. Now “negative levels” are a pretty good debuff, but they are fairly readily fixed and usually go away on their own even if you don’t fix them. There’s a fourth level spell that inflicts 1d4 of them at range (a touch-based version would thus be only level three). That’s reasonable enough; after all… a simple Bestow Curse is FAR more flexible and can be at least as debilitating and the vast majority of monsters don’t survive meeting the party – so why would they CARE if they get a few negative levels before being killed? So forget the “could be permanent” part. On any target worth worrying about, they’ll either die in combat or get it fixed because they’re going to be a recurring villain, and so have to grow in strength to continue being a challenge rather than losing power to negative levels. So build this as Presence/Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect (touch based Enervation): only works on one target at a time, only works once per round, requires a successful slam or natural weapons attack instead of a touch attack (6 CP). The easiest way to get a Slam attack is to just buy a bit of Martial Arts – presumably a Strength-Based “Vampire Style” – at a net score of at least three (pretty much any unarmed style which lets you buy Strike and Power I) at a cost of 1-3 CP depending on the users (boosted!) Strength score. As an advantage, this is easy to improve upon later. Just spend some more skill points on the martial art.
  • A vampire can suck blood from a living victim with its fangs by making a successful grapple check. If it pins the foe, it drains blood, dealing 1d4 points of Constitution drain each round the pin is maintained. On each such successful attack, the vampire gains 5 temporary hit points. Now this… honestly, this is weaker than the drain from the Slam attack. And grappling is hardly the most effective attack (sure, there are grapple builds, but they aren’t exactly amajor factor), and – while it isn’t really mentioned – I’d say that this only works on creatures that HAVE blood. Moreover, once again… ability drain isn’t that hard to fix. So Presence again, requiring a successful Grapple check that pins the foe, only working on creatures with blood, etc (6 CP).
  • Anyone with unprotected eyes that the vampire targets must succeed on a Will save or fall instantly under the vampire’s influence as though by a dominate person spell (caster level 12th, and so lasting for twelve days). The ability has a range of 30 feet. Now vampires usually use this to maintain control of a few NPC’s, likely including a bodyguard or two, to make trouble, and to try to turn characters against the rest of the party when it comes to a fight. PC’s, of course, are mostly fighting non-humanoid monsters – which is why “Dominate Person” is only Brd4, Sor/Wiz 5.This will still be a serious pain in a PC though, because – with unlimited use – it’s going to get used on everyone the party wants to interrogate, on every officious guard, on every shopkeeper, and against every allowable opponent – whom the user will then throw at other opponents and foul up all of the GM’s encounters. For this one I’m going to be applying the general Eclipse rule that “unlimited uses” in a monster template generally means “enough so that the GM need not worry about it during the course of a fight with the PC’s”. Is that unfair to someone who pays for an +8 ECL template? Yes, it would be – but if a character is taking it that way, there’s no need to figure out how to build the template. Eclipse is back-compatible. We’re going to be recalculating the cost with the price break for somewhat limited uses – and it’s VERY unlikely to be anywhere NEAR that high. Buy this as Inherent Spell with +4 Bonus Uses, Corrupted for Increased Effect (level five Dominate Person” effect, +6 Bonus Uses) / maximum range of 30 feet, user must look into the target’s unprotected eyes (12 CP).
  • Once per day the vampire can summon 1d6+1 rat swarms, 1d4+1 bat swarms, or a pack of 3d6 wolves as a standard action. Arrive in 2d6 rounds, serve for up to one hour. That’s basically Inherent Spell II (L4 Summoning, Can summon 1d4+1 creatures of CR 2 (Like Rat or Bat Swarms) or 4d4 of CR 1 (Wolves) – but upping the duration to an hour takes us to about level six. So Corrupted for Increased Effect (Level Six Effect) / creatures do not arrive for 2d6 rounds (6 CP). I suppose that could be handy at times – but it’s not a big deal. Buying it this way does open up the opportunity to buy more uses or some summoning-boosting effects though.
  • A humanoid or monstrous humanoid slain by a vampire’s energy drain rises as a vampire spawn 1d4 days after burial. If the vampire instead drains the victim’s Constitution to 0 or lower, the victim returns as a spawn if it had 4 or less HD and as a vampire if it had 5 or more HD. In either case, the new vampire or spawn is under the command of the vampire that created it and remains enslaved until its master’s destruction. At any given time a vampire may have enslaved spawn totaling no more than twice its own Hit Dice; any spawn it creates that would exceed this limit are created as free-willed vampires or vampire spawn. A vampire that is enslaved may create and enslave spawn of its own, so a master vampire can control a number of lesser vampires in this fashion. A vampire may voluntarily free an enslaved spawn in order to enslave a new spawn, but once freed, a vampire or vampire spawn cannot be enslaved again. This, of course, is another ability that will will be grossly abused by many players. The “Returns as an Undead” part is normal enough; negative energy (and I think we can presume that the normally-permanent Constitution loss is something more than simple blood loss, as you get with any normal wound) tends to produce that effect. The “under the user’s control” bit is just as open to abuse as any other version of getting minions is – and is essentially a minor variant on Leadership with a Specialization – you have to create your minions yourself, they are malevolent evil undead (and so often create problems), and have severe social and feeding issues (3 CP).
  • A vampire can take the form of a bat, dire bat, wolf, or dire wolf as a standard action, losing access to Slam and Dominate, but gaining the natural weapons and extraordinary special attacks of its new form. It can remain in that form until it assumes another or until the next sunrise. (If the base creature is not terrestrial, this power might allow other forms.). Once again applying the general rule of “enough uses not to have to worry about it in an encounter”… That’s Shapeshift (6 CP) with Dire (+3 CP), Growth (+3 CP), and +4 Bonus Uses (6 CP), Corrupted for Increased Effect (can always take those four forms even if their hit dice are too low, +6 Bonus Uses, so at least 7/Day) and Specialized for Reduced Cost / Only those four forms, loses access to their Slam attack and Dominate Person powers, limited by sunrise (Net 9 CP).
  • A vampire has damage reduction 10/silver and magic. A vampire’s natural weapons are treated as magic weapons for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction. So, does a weapon have to be Silver AND Magic, or is it Silver OR Magic? I think “Or” is the way to go on this one. That’s Damage Reduction 5, Specialized for Increased Effect (Physical Attacks Only, for 10/-), Corrupted for Reduced Cost (Not versus Silver or Magical Weapons) (8 CP).
  • A vampire heals 5 points of damage each round so long as it has at least 1 hit point. If reduced to 0 hit points in combat, it automatically assumes gaseous form and attempts to escape. It must reach its coffin home within 2 hours or be utterly destroyed. (It can travel up to nine miles in 2 hours.) Any additional damage dealt to a vampire forced into gaseous form has no effect. Once at rest in its coffin, a vampire is helpless. It regains 1 hit point after 1 hour, then is no longer helpless and resumes healing at the rate of 5 hit points per round. This is a bit tricky – anything “unlimited” always is – but once again we can look at what this actually DOES. Coming back from death is Returning – and this is a rather limited form. A two hour time limit? A specific, vulnerable, point of return? A form which only moves at 20′ and can be fairly readily seen and followed to interrupt the process? Sure, it flies… but few mid- or high-level groups of adventurers will be stopped by THAT. So Returning, Specialized as above (3 CP). As for the fast healing part… d20 fights generally don’t last all that long. For the Fast Healing take Inherent Spell III (Personal-Only Harm) with 4 Bonus Uses, Specialized for Reduced Cost (6 CP) / only inflicts (heals for an undead) 5 points of damage per round, does not provide the secondary effects of Heal, cannot be activated for an hour after a successful Return, and Corrupted for Increased Effect (Triggers as needed). OK, that’s only 50 HP/Hit Die/Day (to a maximum of 750 per day), but that will look unlimited enough for practical purposes. I would guess that this is one of the big items that “justified” the +8 ECL rating – since you could keep going in, dying fighting mindless monsters, and coming back a few hours later to do it all over again and keep whittling them down – but is that really any different from a group that keeps falling back to rest after a fifteen-minute adventuring day? Character deaths are a lot less common than they were in older editions, so this isn’t a very big advantage any longer.
  • A vampire can assume gaseous form at will as the spell (caster level 5th), but it can remain gaseous indefinitely and has a fly speed of 20 feet with perfect maneuverability. But this as Inherent Spell IV (L6 Effect, Gaseous Form upgraded to One Hour / Level, 20′ Base Movement, effect can be toggled on and off) with +4 Bonus Uses (12 CP). That should be enough. After all, at a mere level five that’s all day.
  • A vampire has resistance to cold 10 and electricity 10. That’s Damage Reduction 5, Specialized for Increased Effect (Energy Attacks Only, for 10/-), Corrupted for Reduced Cost (Cold and Electricity only) (8 CP).
  • A vampire can climb sheer surfaces as though with a spider climb spell. That’s Celerity with an Additional Movement Mode (Flight), Specialized / the user must maintain contact with a surface that can reasonably support them (9 CP).
  • A vampire has +4 turn resistance. Well, that’s Turn Resistance IV (8 CP).
  • Abilities increase from the base creature as follows: Str +6, Dex +4, Int +2, Wis +2, Cha +4. As an undead creature, a vampire has no Constitution score. This is pretty expensive to buy directly; Even taking them at half price for being in a template, that’s a total of +18 in Characteristics, for a total of (108 CP). That’s pretty pricey – but then attribute bonuses are just generally good. There’s something there for pretty much everyone. On the other hand, most characters won’t need most of those, which makes this a lot less valuable than it might be. That’s… actually pretty good, at least up until the point that no one really cares about skill checks any longer.
  • Vampires have a +8 racial bonus on Bluff, Hide, Listen, Move Silently, Search, Sense Motive, and Spot checks. That’s Adept, Specialized for Increased Effect (those seven skills) / only works for the template skill bonuses, not for buying further increases (6 CP) and +28 SP to buy the skill boosts with (28 CP).
  • Vampires gain Alertness (Skill Emphasis x2, Spot and Listen, 6 CP), Combat Reflexes (Reflex Training, Combat Reflexes Variant, 6 CP), Dodge (Defender, +1 to AC purchase, Specialized and Corrupted / only versus one designated opponent at a time, 2 CP), , Improved Initiative (Improved Initiative, 6 CP), and Lightning Reflexes (Resist, +2 to Reflex Saves, 6 CP). Fortunately, in Eclipse, there are no prerequisites to worry about.

Now that comes out to 294 CP – which is pretty costly. On the other hand, the template has some serious drawbacks:

  • Vampires are Undead, are inherently (and always) evil, have about the worst possible social issues, are harmed by positive energy and holy water, and can be Turned with positive energy.
  • Vampires cannot enter an area that smells strongly of garlic.
  • Vampires can be driven and held at bay back by a mirror or strongly presented holy symbol (a standard action in either case). A vampire cannot touch, or make melee attacks against, a creature taking such action for the rest of the encounter and must stay at least five feet away from them.
  • Vampires are unable to cross running water, although they can be carried over it while resting in their coffins or aboard a ship.
  • Vampires are unable to enter a home or other building unless invited in by someone with the authority to do so. They may freely enter public places, since these are by definition open to all. (How long such an invitation is good for, or if it may be rescinded, is never explained).
  • Reducing a vampire’s hit points to 0 or lower incapacitates it but doesn’t always destroy it (see the note on fast healing). However, certain attacks can slay vampires. Exposing any vampire to direct sunlight disorients it: It can take only a single move action or attack action and is destroyed utterly in the next round if it cannot escape. Similarly, immersing a vampire in running water robs it of one-third of its hit points each round until it is destroyed at the end of the third round of immersion. Driving a wooden stake through a vampire’s heart instantly slays the monster. However, it returns to life if the stake is removed, unless the body is destroyed. A popular tactic is to cut off the creature’s head and fill its mouth with holy wafers (or their equivalent).
  • Vampires only have access to the following domains: Chaos, Destruction, Evil, or Trickery.
  • Vampires can only have Rats or Bats (or, presumably, evil spirits) as familiars.

Those are some pretty glaring weaknesses. It’s a bit of a stretch – but if one of them somehow gets overhead to seal the exit from the circle… seven kids with wooden holy symbols could trap a vampire until the sun rises and destroys it. Putting garlic in it’s coffin will be a serous problem for it. If you just move said coffin inside someone’s HOUSE, it will be unable to get back to it if “slain”, since it would have to be invited in. Sure, a party can compensate for many such problems – but even if the game master allows a few substitution weaknesses (and opts not to enforce some of the other traditional weaknesses), I’d say that there are enough weaknesses on that list to count the entire template as being Specialized. That gives it a total value of 147 CP – a +4 ECL Template.

Honestly… that seems about right for this template. Vampires have some specific easily-abused powers – especially against monsters who often aren’t even intelligent, much less in possession of holy symbols or mirrors – but then a +4 ECL Half-Celestial gets some impressive attribute bonuses and a pretty good array of other powers (including, at higher levels, access to Holy / Unholy Word, Resurrection, and Summon Monster IX) for the same cost – which is arguably better, even if the payoff is somewhat delayed.

On the other hand, this isn’t exactly the sort of template that I’d recommend to a player. It’s more than a bit all-or-nothing, there isn’t much focus to it or room for growth, their major offensive ability (negative level infliction via brute-force bashing) is built around an abstract game mechanic that has nothing at all to do with anything in the original myths, and the real principle advantage – being able to send in the Thralls and dominated villagers – isn’t actually a lot of fun in play. Classical vampires were subtle, mysterious, and horrible, not just wandering monsters with a suite of abilities meant to annoy player characters.

Personally – and most of the current players seem to agree – if someone wants to play a vampire, I’d go with either the Shadowed Galaxy First Stage Vampire or the Basic Vampire template. Those are only +1 ECL (a modifier easy to buy off later) and provide an interesting array of abilities useful outside of combat.

Eclipse d20 – Candice Tintop, Mad Scientist

For our next Allwellia Character we have Candice, the groups resident mad scientist and robot master (as a special effect all of her constructs tend to be full of clockwork regardless of their game statistics and usually use a wild-borne emerald as a power core). Candice has never revealed much about her past – but given her periodic crazed attempts at major research projects, her tendency to create hordes of robots, and her occasional mutters about “Albert Wily”, “Ivo Robotnik”, and some sort of apocalyptic “Death Battle”, it is generally assumed that she was a member of a group with similar interests, there was some sort of falling out, and that she escaped the resulting disaster. Regardless, like so many mad scientists, Candice is more than a bit crazy, making most of her constructs resemble overly-cute toys and naming them in the same fashion. She led her party for quite some time, although she has recently taken a sabbatical to work on another one of her major projects. The group expects it to burn down a city or something at any time now.

Here we have the Introduction to Allwellia again – neatly boxed up for easy skipping for those who’ve seen it before.

The Allwellia Campaign is a high-powered Eclipse campaign. Not only does it allow quite a lot of character-optimization cheese, but it allows each player character to have a custom race/birthright – which means that each one can be expected to sneak in a bunch of high-powered abilities precisely adapted to whatever the player wants the characters role to be. In effect, they’re trading in the character’s basic racial modifiers for about a tailored template. Secondarily, it is both magic (80% of base cost, starting off at level two with 1800 gold to spend) and treasure rich.

The major problem is that the setting is FULL of wild magic. Some rare individuals – “Sparks” – can directly absorb that magic (“experience points”) when they battle the creatures of the wild, transforming and enhancing themselves in weird and wonderful ways (“Sparks” use Eclipse builds). More common (if still pretty rare) are Embers, who can absorb the wild magic but not directly use it – so they can use it up in rituals to grant themselves specific patterns of abilities (Class Levels) or in gaining a few other boosts. Finally, of course… most people can’t absorb wild magic at all. They may still gain a few levels via years of slow and painful practice or by being infused with power by some Spark with Leadership (or some similar ability), but – while they still get Birthrights – they’re relatively generic.

Wild magic is the explanation for the abundance of magic items as well. Not only can items randomly appear in the wilds – even if many such random items are useless or outright dangerous – but they can be “farmed”. Placing an appropriate mundane item in a box covered with the correct runes and formulas and leaving it in the wild will – in time – result in a fairly predictable enchantment. Items that get left too long, or get disturbed, or where something goes wrong, can be just as insane as the random stuff – but all you need to produce magical items is the right formula (there are books) and time.

Unfortunately, the Wilds are just that. Did an airship crash? By the time the search party finds it it may have transformed into a haunted pirate ship, complete with a crew of monsters all with their own magic. Has the wild magic surged today? An old family cemetery with an “eternal flame” marker may turn into a volcano full of fire vampires surrounded by a sprawling city of the undead – none of which “dead” existed last week. Was there a great storm? Perhaps the old coastal village has been swallowed up by the sea, and is now a civilization of underwater monsters bent on conquest. Mapping the wild isn’t entirely futile – it helps keep major features in place – but the details change constantly.

Candice “Candi” Tintop

Level Ten Mad Scientist

Racial Template: Crafter Dwarf (31 CP / +0 ECL):

  • Attribute Shift (+2 Con, -2 Chr, 6 CP)
  • Skill Specialty/Craft/Stone and Metal +3 (1 CP)
  • +1 BAB, Specialized/vrs Orcs, Half-Orcs & Goblinoids only, Corrupted/does not add to iterative attacks (2 CP)
  • Speak Dwarven as an extra language (1 CP)
  • Universal Crafter: Equipage with Purchasing, Specialized and Corrupted for Reduced Cost / requires the use of a workshop and hours or days of work as determined by the game master (4 CP).
  • Leadership, with Animated Objects and Constructs, Specialized for Reduced Cost / only for Animated
  • Objects and Constructs, User must spend hours or days building them (6 CP).
  • +3d0 Hit Dice, Specialized in determining the user’s effective level for Leadership (6 CP).
  • Innate Enchantment (Up to 7500 GP Value, 8 CP). All effects Spell Level 1/2 or 1, Caster Level One, Unlimited-Use Use Activated.
    • Resist Energy (10), L1, Personal Only (1400 GP).
    • Mending (L 1/2, 1000 GP)
    • Immortal Vigor I (L1, adds 12 + 2 x Con Mod HP, Personal Only, 1400 GP)
    • Traveler’s Any-Tool (160 GP).
    • 2x Healing Belt (Variant, Repairs Animated Objects and Constructs, 1200 GP).
    • Light (L1/2, Unlimited-Use Use-Activated, 1000 GP).
  • Racial Disadvantage/Insane. Crafter Dwarves treat constructs like people, consider them alive, and get very upset if they are destroyed (-3 CP).

Putting ANY version of Leadership into a “race” is a pretty unusual move. After all, between this and the boosted level for it’s effect it says that you can tell when a “Crafter Dwarf” hits adulthood (level one) by simply watching to see when they build their first minions – and means that any Crafter Dwarf settlement is likely to have a small army of constructs on tap both for defense and to do most of the basic labor. A first level Crafter Dwarf will average eight CR 1 constructs. Presuming that most of them make at lesat some servant/laborer constructs (which seems like a pretty obvious thing to do)… Each will be capable of doing pretty much any job that a normal person can do – and constructs are tireless, labor twenty-four hours a day, need little or no support. The social effects of this one are going to be pretty major. Even a small group of Crafter Dwarves essentially comes with their own portable industrial revolution and is likely to act like leisured aristocrats. Throw in the ability to make almost anything else they need via “purchasing” and you can reasonably expect to find reasonably wealthy little settlements of Crafter Dwarves in the most inhospitable places. About the only restriction (at least in Allwellia) is that Crafter Dwarves can only be born near a Crafting Nexus, which at least keeps them relatively rare.

The Innate Enchantments theoretically don’t come into play until the user pays their XP cost (not much) or (for NPC’s who don’t get experience or PC’s who don’t want to spend any) they get a little training (spending 1 CP on a specialized immunity to that rather small activation cost).Still, that generally means that you can expect almost any Crafter Dwarf to have mastered them – usually even before level zero since a single disadvantage will more than suffice. While none of those enchantments are particularly major items, this will make even Crafter Dwarf children unusually durable and skilled in working with stone and metal.

I don’t expect there to be a lot of room for other races in a Crafter Dwarf community. Unless they’re especially talented as artists, or high enough level to be serious experts, or rich enough to not worry about their community role, what are they going to do? All the basic jobs and roles are going to be filled by tireless constructs.

Basic Attributes: Str 10, Int 18 (+2 L4, L8 +6 Enh = 26), Wis 11, Con 14 (+2 Enh = 16), Dex 14 (+6 Enh = 20), and Cha 12.

Available Character Points: 264 (Level Ten Base) +10 (Disadvantages: History, Blocked (Clerical Magic; sees the universe as complex mechanisms), Compulsive (Tinkerer, will tend to fiddle with traps and ancient mechanisms without thinking about it)) + 30 (L1, L3, L5, L7, L9 Bonus Feats) = 304 CP

Basic Purchases (181 CP):

  • Base Attack Bonus: +7 (42 CP) +2 Luck. (Extra +4 with Rays from MA, can “whirlwind” a ray within a 15′ radius).
  • Skill Points: 33 (33 CP) +65 (Int Mod x 13) +26 (Fast Learner Specialized in Skills, 6 CP) +26 (Boost) = 150 SP.
    • Adept x2: Pays half cost for Craft (Constructs), Disable Device, Hide, Search, Escape Artist, Move Silently, Open Lock, and Sleight Of Hand (12 CP).
  • Hit Points: 10 (L1D6 + 1d4, 10 CP) +12 (Immortal Vigor) +45 (L2-L10, d6, 18 CP) +0 (upgrade 3d0 Racial Hit Dice to all purpose, 6 CP) +48 (Con Mod x 16) +96 (Cunning Evasion, Advanced Improved Augmented Bonus: Adds (Int Mod) to (Con Mod) for HP Purposes, Specialized and Corrupted / only for hit dice through level six – although her racial hit dice and racial Immortal Vigor count, 6 CP) = 211 HP.
  • Armor Class 10 (Base)+5 (Dex) +2 (MA) +1 (Def) +3 (Nat) = 21
    • When “Armor” Active: +4 (Armor) +4 (Shield) = 29
  • Saving Throws:
    • Fortitude: +4 (12 CP) +3 (Con) +4 (Res) = +11
    • Reflex: +2 (6 CP) +5 (Dex) +4 (Res) = +11
    • Will: +4 (12 CP) +0 (Wis) 4 (Res) = +8
    • Luck with +4 Bonus Uses Specialized in Saves (6 CP).
  • Proficient with All Simple Weapons and Light Armor (6 CP)
  • Initiative +5 (Dex) +4 (Improved Initiative, 6 CP) = +9
  • Move: 30′ [+30′ (Enh) when armor active].

Common Attacks (Presumes use of Combat Drug and Armor since those are quick, cheap, and long-lasting buffs).

  • Ice Ray/Adamantine Imprisonment/Weather Control/Etc: Either Will DC 21 for Half Damage (Affects Objects) or Ranged Touch Attack +21 (+7 BAB +5 Dex +5 Luck +4 Martial Art).
  • Heavy Mace: +12/+12 (+7 BAB +2 Enh +3 Str, Personal Haste), 1d8 + 5 (+2 Enh +3 Str), Crit 20/x2.

Candi may have taken a few swings in melee, but it’s certainly not her thing unless she’s either holding the legendary weapon which will destroy the foe in a single blow OR has completely run out of other options. She’s not helpless in a physical fight, but why would she pick doing 1d8+5 over – say – instantly imprisoning one or more opponents in icy adamantine bonds? And why take damage from a big area of effect or massive attack when she can throw up a quick barrier to block it and line of sight?

Other Abilities (123 CP):

  • Augmented Bonus/Adds (Int Mod) to (Dex Mod) for Dexterity based skills (6 CP).
  • Stipend (Only for Crafting): May make up to 1200 GP worth of goods per month with racial Universal Crafter ability without other costs in her spare time (12 CP).
  • Upgrade Racial Leadership to Double Effect (6 CP).
  • Finesse (Saves against her Witchcraft abilities are based on Int, not Cha, 6 CP).
  • +13 Levels of Int-based Wilder Spellcasting with no Caster Level, Corrupted / provides no disciplines. (Net = 147 Wilder +13 Witch = 160 Power) (26 CP). This is a bit cheesy, but most characters have some cheese somewhere.
  • Reflex Training (Extra Actions Variant) with +4 Bonus Uses, Corrupted / only to use Witchcraft Abilities (8 CP).
  • Reflex Training (Extra Actions Variant) with +8 Bonus Uses, Specialized / only to act defensively (9 CP).
  • Rite of Chi with +12 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted /. Only to recover Power, only when there is a break in the action (8 CP).
  • Witchcraft III with The Secret Order, Corrupted for Reduced Cost / Requires various blatantly obvious Foci that can be taken away (16 CP Base). This provides 13 Power and a selection of twelve basic abilities / devices. A mad scientists basic abilities are usually (although not always) Specialized in particular applications for double effect. (CL 14, Will Saves DC 21, 30′ Base Range).
  • Basic Functions:
    1. Auric Distortion Cloak (The Adamant Will, Specialized for Increased Effect / presents a false aura to aura detection effects at no cost.
    2. Essence Extractor: When directed at an unresisting creature, corpse, or area of up to a 20′ radius, this device extracts specific substances for 1 Power. It can thus be used to gather poison from deceased monsters, perfume from flower gardens, drugs from various plants, or gold from ore.
    3. Etheric Manipulator Vest (Dreamfaring, Specialized for Increased Effect / only to let the user see and attack into the Ethereal Plane at no cost.
    4. Folding Centaur Armor (Hand of Shadows: Mage Armor, Shield, and Personal Haste, 2 Power for 10 Minutes/caster level).
    5. Healers Kit (Healing, Specialized in Hit Points for Double Effect, 2d4/Power, max 3 Power/Round)
    6. Holographic Image Projector (Shadowweave, Specialized for Increased Effect / may spend 2 Power to generate a Minor Image effect or 4 Power to generate a Major Image effect.
    7. Hypersonic Pulser (Glamour, Specialized for Increased Effect / Panics animals in the area that fail to resist for 1 Power.
    8. Hypnotic Wheel (Glamour/Suggestion for 2 Power).
    9. Microbot Assistants (Hand of Shadows/Can do an hours light work every five minutes)
    10. Multi-optics Band (Witchsight, various vision boosts. 1 Power/Hour).
    11. Ray Gun (Infliction/Ice Ray, 9d4/15d4/21d4 Damage for 1/2/3 Power, +3 power for a 5′ Radius, Save Will DC 17 for Half). With Atheric Crystalizer Upgrade (Nightforge, +4 CP). Can make ice constructs as durable as Adamant. With Death Ray Upgrade (Mouth of the Earth, upgrade to d8’s for +1 Power, 4 CP).
    12. Sensory Link System (The Inner Eye, Only for use with Personal Constructs, 1 Power/Ten Minutes).
  • Advanced Systems:
    • Combat Drug (Wrath of the Sea and Dance of Flames, +6 to Str and Dex for ten minutes for two power, 8 CP).
    • Feral Genegraft (Flesh Like Mist, Specialized and Corrupted / only to take on rat traits, like a Bite Of The Wererat effect, for two Power, 2 CP). Since this doesn’t have a duration limit she usually has it running at all times, just for the attribute bonuses.
    • Null-Gravity Boots (Whisper Step, 4 CP).
    • Planar Sealer (4 CP). This gadget provides access to the Dismissal ability.
    • Teleportation Belt: Ashen Rebirth with Teleportation, Specialized for Reduced Cost / only for the Teleportation function (6 CP).
    • Weather Control Module / Weathermonger (6 CP).
  • Witchcraft Pacts – Advertising (-6 CP), Rituals (Major research projects, at least twice per year, with unpredictable results (-6 CP).

The Witchcraft-based “Mad Scientist” build can be extremely potent at low levels, particularly when you buy extra hit dice and thus boost up your Witchcrafts effective “Caster Level”. Adding a huge heap of Psionic Strength on top of the cost-efficiency of Witchcraft makes you pretty competitive in the mid-levels too. That combination catapulted Candi to party leadership early on, if only because she had the biggest attack/blast in the party, could keep it up for quite some time, and had a swarm of minions to hide behind while she fiddled with her gadgets.

Skills (All +4 Competence): (3 SP Left)

  • Balance +11 (11 SP) +5 (Dex) +8 (Int) = +28
  • Craft Constructs +13 (6* SP) +8 (Int) = +25
  • Craft Weapons +13 (13 SP) +8 (Int) = +25
  • Disable Device +13 (6* SP) +8 (Int) +4 (Tools) = +29
  • Escape Artist +13 (6* SP) +5 (Dex) +8 (Int) +4 (Tools) = +34
  • Hide +13 (6* SP) +5 (Dex) +8 (Int) = +30
  • Knowledge/Architecture and Engineering +13 (13 SP) +8 (Int) = +25
  • Martial Art/Ray Master +13 (13 SP) +5 (Dex) +8 (Int) = +30
  • Attack 4, Defenses 3, Reach (+10′, only for Whirlwind Attack), Mind Like Moon, Whirlwind Attack, Prone Combat, Inner Strength II, Light Foot, and Vanishing.
  • Move Silently +13 (6* SP) +5 (Dex) +8 (Int) = +30
  • Open Lock +13 (6* SP) +5 (Dex) +8 (Int) +4 (Tools) = +34
  • Ride +13 (13 SP) +5 (Dex) +8 (Int) = +34
  • Search +13 (6* SP) +8 (Int) = +25
  • Sleight Of Hand +13 (6* SP) +5 (Dex) +8 (Int) = +30
  • Spot +13 (13 SP) +0 (Wis) = +17
  • Tumble +13 (13 SP) +5 (Dex) +8 (Int) = +30
  • Use Magic Device +13 (13 SP) +1 (Cha) = +18
  • Use Rope +2 (2 SP) +5 (Dex) +8 (Int) = +19

Speaks: Common, Dwarven, Sign Language, Sphinx, Terran, Giant, and Draconic.

Skills from +6 Headband of Intellect:

  • Appraise: (Level+3) +8 (Int) = +25
  • Knowledge/Nobility: (Level+3) +8 (Int) = +25
  • Knowledge/Dungeoneering: (Level+3) +8 (Int) = +25

Specific Knowledges: Constructs (1 SP), Metallurgy (1 SP), and Riddles (1 SP).

Magical Items:

  • Ring of Protection +1 Light Fortification.
  • Handy Haversack.
  • +2 Heavy Mace
  • Ring of Communication,
  • Bronze Griffon. When animated, a bronze griffon acts in all ways like a normal griffon under the command of its possessor. The item can be used twice per week for up to 6 hours per use. When 6 hours have passed or when the command word is spoken, the bronze griffon once again becomes a tiny statuette.
  • Headband of Intellect +6.

Conventional Gear: Spare Explorers Outfit (2 GP), Canteen (2 GP), Silver Holy Symbol (25 GP), Pot of Glue (-), 10 Iron Spikes (-), two weeks “Good Meals” (-), 100′ Silk Rope (20 GP), Grapnel (2 GP), Spool of Thread (-), Ball of Twine (-), Spool of Wire (10 GP), Sewing Kit (1 GP), 10′ Folding Pole (2 GP), Camping Gear (Tent, Bedroll, Cooking Kit, Etc, 12 GP), “Zippo” Lighter (2 GP), Pens & Ink (-), 2 Blank Journals (20 GP), Mechanician’s Handbook (50 GP), Javelins x10 (10 GP).

Mystic Tattoos: +2 Luck to Attacks, +4 Resistance to Saves, +4 Competence to All Skills.

Thanks to access to an Altar Of War, she can consider up to six weapons (a bundle of 50 ammo counts as one weapon) as being +1. We haven’t gotten a ruling on whether her ray gun counts.

Available Constructs: (Max CR 13, total CR of 64):

  • Maully and Andy (Teddy Bear Guardian Dolls, 2 x CR 3 = 5)
  • Sugar Plum (Pony, Small Animated Object / Heavy Crossbow, CR 2),
  • Norbert (Small Heli-Rat Animated Object,CR 2)
  • Hooty Blo (Small Animated Object/ Bronze Owl, with Camera, CR 2),
  • Animated Hand Crossbow (Pellet Variant, stays with Hooty Blo, CR 1).
  • Wall-e1 and Wall-e2: Mosaic Tile Golems (CR 7 x 2 = 9).
  • Slinky, Coils, and Hissy Fit, Iron Cobras x 3 (3 x CR2 = 5)
  • Mr Fuzzles (Large Animated Winged Tiger Statue, +3 CP for CR 6: Fly (1), Burrow (1), Mithril (Hardness 15, +4 Natural Armor, 1). When she needs a steed, she has Mr Fuzzles.
  • Twinkle Toes: Robot Arachnid (CR 2)
  • Chonk The Pony (Clockwork Steed, CR 6)
  • 2 x Tickles, Animated Masterwork Thieves Tools (+4 where relevant, total CR 1).
  • Dawn, Sunset, Moonlight, and Sunshine (Amber Unicorns, CR 3 x 4, = 8).
  • Chez: Animated Lounge Chair (Medium Animated Object, Move 40′, Additional Movement Mode / Flight (CR 3).
  • Mr Floateysaur: Animated Ship (Colossal Animated Object, Fly (1), 3x Faster (60′ Move, 3), Slower (No Ground Movement, -2), treat as Mithril (Hardness 15, +4 to Natural Armor, 4), Deck Gun (Ranged Attack, 20′ Increment, 2) (CR 12). Oddly enough, Mr Floateysaur cannot swim – but next level she intends to add +4 Construction Points to get the CR up to 14, adding Swim (1), and an Additional (1) Ranged (2) Attack. (She may work on getting the Ranges up after that. There’s no official pricing for that, but it’s hardly unreasonable).

Candi’s constructs have yet to be a really big factor – even the flying ship is mostly just for fun since two other characters have got them (albeit by entirely different methods) and had them first – but they have helped divert a few crowd scenes and have been reasonably useful for running errands and doing a little light scouting. In part that’s because Candi tends to regard them more as pets and companions than as resources, but there are still enough of them to make it seem like she is running a mechanical Noah’s Ark.

Overall, Candi is actually a pretty-well balanced. She’s got a decent selection of tricks, enough power to use them as needed, some troops to hide behind while she uses them, and her attacks, saves, armor class, and hit points are quite good enough to buy her some time if someone gets past her minions. Admittedly, her tendency to be “cutesy” is eccentric, but as mad scientist quirks go it’s pretty minor.

Marcus Silvus, Wyld Shapeshifter

Our next Allwellia character is the party tank – but in this case the player has a tendency to try and increase the challenges his character faces by accepting serious disadvantages and by playing against his characters strengths. Given that the rest of the group likes to optimize characters… the counter-dynamic is for everyone else in the game to try and optimize his characters beyond all reason. Ergo, here is a horrendously over-optimized version of Marcus Silvus, Wyld Shapeshifter.

Here we have the Introduction to Allwellia again – neatly boxed up for easy skipping for those who’ve seen it before.

The Allwellia Campaign is a high-powered Eclipse campaign. Not only does it allow quite a lot of character-optimization cheese, but it allows each player character to have a custom race/birthright – which means that each one can be expected to sneak in a bunch of high-powered abilities precisely adapted to whatever the player wants the characters role to be. In effect, they’re trading in the character’s basic racial modifiers for about a tailored template. Secondarily, it is both magic (80% of base cost, starting off at level two with 1800 gold to spend) and treasure rich.

The major problem is that the setting is FULL of wild magic. Some rare individuals – “Sparks” – can directly absorb that magic (“experience points”) when they battle the creatures of the wild, transforming and enhancing themselves in weird and wonderful ways (“Sparks” use Eclipse builds). More common (if still pretty rare) are Embers, who can absorb the wild magic but not directly use it – so they can use it up in rituals to grant themselves specific patterns of abilities (Class Levels) or in gaining a few other boosts. Finally, of course… most people can’t absorb wild magic at all. They may still gain a few levels via years of slow and painful practice or by being infused with power by some Spark with Leadership (or some similar ability), but – while they still get Birthrights – they’re relatively generic.

Wild magic is the explanation for the abundance of magic items as well. Not only can items randomly appear in the wilds – even if many such random items are useless or outright dangerous – but they can be “farmed”. Placing an appropriate mundane item in a box covered with the correct runes and formulas and leaving it in the wild will – in time – result in a fairly predictable enchantment. Items that get left too long, or get disturbed, or where something goes wrong, can be just as insane as the random stuff – but all you need to produce magical items is the right formula (there are books) and time.

Unfortunately, the Wilds are just that. Did an airship crash? By the time the search party finds it it may have transformed into a haunted pirate ship, complete with a crew of monsters all with their own magic. Has the wild magic surged today? An old family cemetery with an “eternal flame” marker may turn into a volcano full of fire vampires surrounded by a sprawling city of the undead – none of which “dead” existed last week. Was there a great storm? Perhaps the old coastal village has been swallowed up by the sea, and is now a civilization of underwater monsters bent on conquest. Mapping the wild isn’t entirely futile – it helps keep major features in place – but the details change constantly.

Marcus Silvus

Level Ten Wyld Shapeshifter, Fenris Understudy.

Basic Attributes: Str 7, Dex 5, Con 11, Int 13, Wis 13, Cha 10

Dire Wolf/Dire Wolf Hybrid Abilities: Str 25 (+6 Ch +4 Enh +6 Eq +1 Lvl = 42), Dex 15 (+6 Ch +6 Eq +1 Lvl = 28), Con 17 (+6 Ch +4 Enh = 27), Int 13 (+6 Ch +1 Enh = 20), Wis 13 (+6 Ch = 19), Cha 10 (+6 Ch = 16). 10′ Reach, takes d8 damage from falls,

On adventures Marcus normally stays in Dire Wolf or Hybrid Dire Wolf form.

Available Character Points: 264 (L10 Base) +10 (Disadvantages: Accursed x3 – no rerolls for terrible attributes) +20 (Restrictions, externally directed spellcasting, armor) +36 ( Birthright, L1, L3, L5, L7, L9 Bonus Feats) = 330 CP.

Imperial Order Birthright

  • Defender (Specialized / Not versus Wyld Creatures (3 CP).For most people this is only +1 AC.
  • 1d6+2 (6) Mana with Reality Editing, Specialized and Corrupted / Only to order the environment (3 CP)
    • Places around Order birthrights tend to be exceptionally clean and well-laid out, although sometimes a little unnervingly neat. They can also organize things rapidly, research complex topics by sheer brute force of logically arranging data, etc,
  • Rite of C’hi with +4 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted / only to refill the ordering pool above (4 CP).
  • Enthusiast (3 CP)
  • Fast Learner: (Socialized in Skills for +2 SP per Level, 6 CP)
  • Immunity/the restriction that martial arts are for specific weapons (Very Common, Minor, Major), Specialized and Corrupted for Reduced Cost / only works with a specific martial arts style, the style cannot have any mystical effects (4 CP).
  • Double-Advanced Blessing / the user may share abilities with up to (Charisma) other nearby (within 60′) individuals in addition to himself at any one time. Specialized and Corrupted / only works for a specific martial arts style and any immunities related to it, the style cannot have any mystical effects, only works as long as the user can continue to shout directions as a free action (6 CP).
  • Immunity/the inability to use more than one martial art at a time (Very Common, Minor, Major), Specialized / only works to add a specific martial arts style (6 CP).
  • Bonus Feat (6 CP)
  • Disadvantages: Accursed/draws Wyld monsters, Blocked/Chaos Magic, Wyld Magic, Etc, and Compulsive/need for organization (-10 CP),

That’s a rather subtle birthright by Allwellian standards – but the ability to effectively organize a battle to his liking, and to bestow fairly substantial combat bonuses on the rest of the party, would make Marcus the obvious leader and commander if he didn’t carefully avoid that role at all times.

Birthright Upgrades (36 CP):

  • Defender to Universal (3 CP).
  • +8 Bonus uses to Rite Of Chi for Order Pool (4 CP)
  • Buy off restrictions on Martial Arts Weapons (8 CP). Any weapon can be used with any martial art(s).
  • Reduce Blessing to Specialized (Only for Martial Arts and immunities related to them, 3 CP). Martial arts many now include occult abilities.
  • Upgrade ability to use multiple martial arts to three at a time (Grand, no longer limited to a specific style, 18 CP).

To retain sanity, I’d recommend limiting the ability to share martial arts effects on top of whatever martial art the target is already using to a single additional martial art. It could be read either way, but allowing EVERY player character to use three martial arts at a time means having to give all the monsters massive bonuses to keep them effective. There really is no point in that kind of arms race when the real goal is just to let the fighter be an equal to the spellcasters.

Basic Purchases (172 CP): (Dire Wolf Baseline)

  • Base Attack Bonus: +9 (Corrupted / No iterative attacks, 36 CP).+4 BAB, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect (+12)/ only to transfer to damage via Expertise, does not add to iterative attacks (24 CP)
  • Skill Points: 4 (4 CP) +273 ([Int Mod + Str Mod] x13) +26 (F. Learner) +14 (Bonus) = 317 SP.
    • Immunity/Not getting skill points for boosts retroactively (Uncommon, Minor, Great, 6 CP)
    • Here, once again… OK, a lot of his skills are very physical, and others can be aided by flexing his enormous muscles and growling, but deriving almost all of his skill points from his strength without any justification at all is pretty blatant cheese.

  • Advanced Improved Augmented Bonus: Adds (Str Mod) to (Int Mod) for Skill Point Purposes (18 CP)
  • Adept (Hide, Listen, Move Silently, Spot, 6 CP).
  • Hit Points: 10 (L1D10, 4 CP) +8 (L2D8, 2 CP) +39 (L3-10d6 0 CP) +0 (4d0 Bonus HD, 16 CP) +12 (2d6 Immortal Vigor) +15 (4d4 Armory) +520 (20 HD x [Con Mod + Str Mod]) = 564 HP
    • Advanced Improved Augmented Bonus: Adds (Str Mod) to (Con Mod) for Hit Point Purposes (18 CP)
    • And here we’re doing it again – channeling everything through his strength simpoly because it’s so high. Still, the tradition of strongmen shrugging off mighty blows counts for something.

  • Fast Learner, Specialized in Hit Dice (Uses d6 base, 6 CP).
  • AC: 10 (Base)+9 (Dex) +3 (Nat) +3 (Def) +12 (MA) -1 (Size) = 36
  • Saving Throws:
    • Fortitude: +2 (6 CP) +8 (Con) +1 (Res) = +11
    • Reflex: +0 (0 CP) +9 (Dex) +1 (Res) = +10
    • Will: +3 (9 CP) +4 (Wis) +1 (Res) = +8
    • Luck with +4 Bonus Uses, Specialized in Saves (6 CP).
  • Proficient with All Simple Weapons and Martial Weapons (9 CP)
  • Initiative +9 (Dex)+3 (Eq) = +12. Roll twice, keeping the best.
  • Move: 50′ (Base) +30 (Enh) +30 (Eq) +10 = 120′

Usual Attacks:

  • Melee: +35/+35/+35/+35 (+10 BAB +12 MA+16 Str +3 Enh -1 Size -4 Bonus Attacks, Personal Haste), Damage as per Weapon +43 (16 Str +3 Enh +24 Expertise), Blind Fight, Mighty Blow, +25′ Natural Reach, 9 AoO.
  • Ranged: +28/+29/+29/+29 (+10 BAB +12 MA+8 Dex +3 Enh -4 Bonus Attack, Personal Haste), Damage per Weapon +43 (16 Str +3 Enh +24 Expertise), Mighty Blow.
  • 36 Inner Strength Points (Regain 9d6+1 daily), usable for Vanishing, Resist Pain, Iron Skin, Light Foot, Healing, and Wrath (Lightning).
  • May take up to -8 on attacks to add +2 additional damage per -1 taken.

Other Abilities (130 CP):

  • Shapeshift, with Shrinking, Hybrid, Enchanted, Dire, Growth, and +4 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted / must have killed a creature to shapeshift into it, gets no bite attack (11 CP)
  • Current Forms: Wolf (Dire Base). Human, Falcon, Serpent, Badger, Weasel, Panther.
    • This, of course, is one of the classic ways to deal with poor attributes – learn to shapeshift and use those of your shapeshifted form.
  • 2x Double Enthusiast, Specialized & Corrupted for Increased Effect (12 Floating CP) / Only for Innate Enchantment (12 CP).
    • +1 Int, Wis, Str, Dex, Con, Cha, all Personal-Only (Cantrips, 3360 GP). (All boosted to +6 Chaos Bonus by Metamagic, Below).
    • Personal Haste (1600 GP).
    • Resistance, Personal Only, +1 Resistance Bonus to Saves (560 GP).
    • Healing Belt x2 (1200 GP).
    • Basic Gear: Longsword (15 GP), Bedroll, Medium Tent (5 GP), Air Bladder (2 GP), Compass (10 GP), Ioun Torch (60 GP), Cold and Hot Weather Gear (5 GP), Snowshoes (2 GP), Personal Care Items (1 GP), Collar (-). Net = 100 GP.
    • Composite Longbow for Str +19 (1900 GP).
    • Net Total: 8720 GP, may have up to 11,500 GP total value.
  • Metamagic: Power +3 (Specialized and Corrupted / Only to upgrade attribute boost innate enchantments by +3 effective levels to +6), Elemental Manipulation +3 (Specialized and Corrupted / Only to change Innate Enchantment attribute upgrade effects from Enhancement to Chaos Bonuses), Streamline III (Only to reduce the costs of the above metamagics) (10 CP).
  • Empowerment for Innate Enchantments, Corrupted for Increased Effect / uses has base Hit Dice as his Caster Level for Attribute Boosting Spells, and so can apply his +0 metamagics to them (6 CP).

This is a big slice of cheese. Marcus is basically boosting all of his attributes by SIX for a mere 20 CP. On the other hand… it’s being allowed because the player initially elected to put up with those TERRIBLE starting attributes rather than taking advantage of the standard rule on such things – that with attribute modifiers totaling less than zero he could toss out those terrible, TERRIBLE, numbers and reroll. Secondarily, of course, in this high-magic, high-treasure setting… he could invest in a +6 Belt of Magnificence (normally 200,000 GP) for 160,000 GP (presuming no further price breaks) and spend 12 CP on Innate Enchantment to absorb the thing and convert it to some other bonus type if he wanted to stack bonuses anyway. For now saving 160,000 GP is probably a better deal than saving 8 CP – but as levels go up things like Bonus Uses on Luck (Specialized in Saves) and similar investments will eventually be worth a good deal more than 160,000 GP. So… Marcus is getting away with it. You probably shouldn’t expect this to fly with game masters who are running lower level or less over-the-top games though.

  • Immunity/The XP Cost of his floating Innate Enchantments (Uncommon, Minor, Trivial, 1 CP).
  • Immunity to Dispelling and Antimagic (Common, Minor, Great,, Specialized and Corrupted/only protects Innate Enchantments, 6 CP).
  • Damage Reduction 4/-, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased effect/Physical Only, Not Vrs Silver (net 12/Silver or Energy, 9 CP). (Martial Arts Damage Reduction 6/- stacks with this).
  • Grant of Aid with +4 Bonus Uses, Specialized/only when he Shapeshifts (6 CP).
  • Journeyman (Combat Abilities), Specialized in Hit Dice (3 CP).
  • The Call Of Ancient Blood: Privilege/killing a normal animal also counts as killing a dire animal for shapeshifting purposes (3 CP).
  • Totemistic Binding: Access to two Occult Skills (Armory and Biotech) at Normal Cost (12 CP).

This is another hefty slice of cheese: the Armory and Biotech skills come from the high-tech Shadowed Galaxy setting, where the “Equipment Skills” pretty much replace both money and magic items – and offer access to some pretty powerful stuff. Of course, other characters in the setting are accessing some of those skills for exactly the same reasons. Fortunately, however, since “Occult Skills” can come from anywhere in the multiverse, they can be freely “reskinned” – so he has versions of the two which use totemistic magic for self-enhancement instead of high-tech gear, which suits his theme but functions exactly the same way. He just uses little fetishes and charms instead of high-tech gadgets.

  • Rite of Chi with +8 Bonus Uses, Specialized for Reduced Cost and Corrupted for Increased Effect / only to restore Inner Strength (9 CP).
  • Improved Expertise, Specialized for Increased Effect / only to transfer up to 20 points from Attack Bonus to Damage, at a ratio of -1 to the Attack per +2 Damage (12 CP).

This isn’t an ubercharger build – but in combination with some extra Base Attack Bonus (only for converting to damage) this gives him a nice boost. It seems only fair; the fighter SHOULD be the best one in the party when it comes to inflicting damage with weapons.

  • Lunge (6 CP). Increase Natural Reach by +5 feet.
  • Whirlwind Attack with +4 Bonus Uses (12 CP). With a total of +25′ reach, rather high damage, and the ability to use it five times a minute, Marcus can do a fair imitation of an artillery strike. Even better, Whirlwind attack only damages your chosen targets – allowing you to leave all your friends undamaged, which is a LOT better than a fireball.
  • Oathspeaker: Mystic Artist (Oratory) with Echoes, Specialized for Increased Effect (doubles effective skill, may swear an oath as a free action) / only affects the user, only for Inspiration abilities, only as long as the user is acting to fulfill his oath (normally up to once per day per level for three minutes maximum) (12 CP). He most often uses Heroism (+2 Positive Levels, for +2 to BAB, Saves, and AC and +12 CP for three minutes.

Marcus’s oaths and promises have the power of his honor behind them. If he announces that he WILL save the fair maiden even if he must leap the mighty fire-belching chasm to do so… Then he can simply award himself a second level variation on “Jump” via Inherent Spell and some Immunity (Fire) to make that possible. This is a powerful and versatile ability, Personally I am not sure that this counts as cheese, if only because it is so very, VERY, classic. Fantasy stories are FULL of dramatic declarations of intent that seem to grant the hero a great (if very temporary) surge of power. Why should games be any different?

Skills: (317 SP Spent).

  • Armory (Occult): +13 (13 SP) +16 (Str) = +29 (+3 Specialty).
    • Str +6 (3), Stealth +8 (3), Athletics +8 (3), Martial Arts +8 (3), Heavy Fortification (3), +6 Dex (3), Heavy Weapon Mounts (can use all weapons without penalty for not having hands, 3), +30 Move (3), +8 to Intimidation (3)
  • Autohypnosis: +13 (13 SP) +4 (Wis) +8 (Eq) = +25
  • Balance: +13 (6* SP) +9 (Dex) +8 (Eq) = +30
  • Biotech (Occult):+13 (13 SP) +8 (Con) = +21 (+3 Specialty).
    • Rebuild (Treats Dire Wolf as his base form, Level-Based Attribute bonuses apply to that form, 3), +6 Dex (3), +4d4 Hit Dice (3), +8 to Sensory Checks (3), Extended Lifespan (1), Flash Resistance and Hearing Protection (1), +3 to Initiative (3), +8 to Autohypnosis and Survival (3).
  • Craft: Pioneering Gear +13 (13 SP) +5 (Int) = +18
  • Handle Animal +13 (13 SP) +3 (Cha) = +16 (Wolves +19)
  • Heal: +13 (13 SP) +4 (Wis) +2 (Belt) = +19
  • Hide +13 (6* SP) +9 (Dex) +8 (CoUM) +8 (Eq) +2(DW) -4 (Size) = +36
  • Intimidate: +13 (13 SP) +3 (Cha) +8 (Eq) = +24
  • Jump: +13 (13 SP) +16 (Str)+36 (Spd) +8 (Eq) = +73
  • Knowledge/Geography: +13 (13 SP) +5 (Int) = +18
  • Knowledge/Law: +13 (13 SP) +5 (Int) = +18
  • Knowledge/Nature: +13 (13 SP) +5 (Int) = +18
  • Knowledge/Nobility and Royalty: +13 (13 SP) +5 (Int) = +18
  • Knowledge/The Wyld: +13 (13 SP) +5 (Int) = +18
  • Listen +13 (6* SP) +4 (Wis) +8 (Eq) +2 (DW) = +27
  • Move Silently +13 (6* SP) +9 (Dex) +6 CoUM +8 (Eq) +2 (DW) -4 (Size) = +34
  • Pack Leader Style: +13 (13 SP) +16 (Str) +8 (Eq) – +37
  • Feral Rage Style: +13 (13 SP) +16 (Str) +8 (Eq) – +37
  • Storms Hammer Style: +13 (13 SP) +16 (Str) +8 (Eq) – +37
  • Perform (Oratory): +13 (13 SP) +3 (Cha).
  • Speak Language +13 (13 SP) +5 (Int) = +18
  • Common, High Imperial, Canine, and 16 More.
  • Spot +13 (6* SP) +4 (Wis) +8 (Eq) +2 (DW) = +27
  • Survival +13 (13 SP) +4 (Wis) +2 (Sy) +8 (Eq) = +27 (Hunting +30, Track +38).
  • Swim: +13 (13 SP) +16 (Str) = +29

+3 Specialties (6 SP): The Empire*, Tracking, Hunting, Imperial Law*, Biotech (Dire Wolf Rebuild), Armory (Heavy Weapons Mounts), and Wolves.

* – Not Included in totals.

Equipment:

  • Belt: Healing Belt (600 GP): +2 to Heal, 3 Charges/Day, Spend 1/2/3 to heal 2/3/4d8.
  • Neck: Continuous Collar of Umbral Metamorphosis: 60′ Dark-vision, Hide in Plain Sight, Cold Resistance 10, Superior Low- Light Vision, Hide +8, Move Silently +6, +10 to all movement modes (17,600 GP)
  • Ring: Ring of Communication (1600 GP).
  • Ring: Ring of Anticipation (Roll twice for initiative keeping the best result, 4800 GP)
  • Scholars Pin +1 Enhancement Bonus to Intelligence (800 GP).
  • Pet Amulet: Keeps a furry creature clean, neat, and scentless (Slotless, 1600 GP).

Mystic Tattoos: +4 Str, +4 Con, Spell Resistance

Pack Leader Style (Str):

  • Requires: Access to Wolf-Form, Imperial Order Birthright.
  • Basic Techniques: Attack 4, Defenses 4, Synergy/Survival, Synergy/Hide, Synergy/Heal, and Toughness 2.
  • Advanced and Master Techniques: Combat Reflexes, Mind Like Moon, “Shout Warnings” (Luck with +4 Bonus Uses, Specialized in Saves) and “You’ll be all right pup!” (Grant of Aid with +4 Bonus Uses, Specialized in Hit Points).
  • Occult Techniques: Inner Strength II, Vanishing, and Resist Pain.
  • Known Techniques (19): Attack 4, Toughness 2, Defenses 4, Synergy/Survival, Combat Reflexes, Mind Like Moon, Shout Warnings, You’ll Be All Right Pup, Inner Strength II, Vanishing, Resist Pain.

Feral Rage Style (Str):

  • Requires: Access to Dire Wolf Form
  • Basic Techniques: Attack 4, Defenses 4, Synergy/Survival, Synergy/Hide, and Toughness 2.
  • Advanced and Master Techniques: Blind Fight, Breaking, Mighty Blow, and Reach.
  • Occult Techniques: Inner Strength II, Light Foot, and Iron Skin.
  • Known Techniques (19): Attack 4, Toughness 2, Defenses 4, Blind Fight, Breaking, Mighty Blow, Reach. Inner Strength II, Iron Skin, and Light Foot.

Storms Hammer Style (Str)

  • Requires: +6 BAB
  • Basic Techniques: Attack 4, Defenses 4, Strike, Toughness 3
  • Advanced and Master Techniques: Reach, Imbuement (currently +3), Bonus Attack II.
  • Occult Techniques: Inner Strength II, Healing, and Wrath (Lightning). .
  • Known Techniques (19):Attack 4,Defenses 4, Strike, Toughness II, Reach, Imbuement, and Bonus Attack II., Inner Strength II, Healing, and Wrath (Lightning).

This actually leaves Marcus with eight unspent character points – unless I’ve made an error, which is certainly possible late at night and with a character this complicated. Still, I find myself unsure of what to spend them on – so that can await further character development.

Marcus, of course, is an extremely powerful tank – and one with enough offensive power to be sure that attackers will HAVE to deal with him. For most games I’d class him around ECL 16-18 – as might be expected given a base level of ten, +2 ECL for the custom race/template, about +4 for using an Eclipse build, and +2 for all the high-optimization options. He’s still no match for an ubercharger, or other really high-end build of that level – but he ought to be considerably more interesting to play.

Millificent of Allwellia

The Allwellia Campaign is a high-powered Eclipse campaign. Not only does it allow quite a lot of character-optimization cheese, but it allows each player character to have a custom race/birthright – which means that each one can be expected to sneak in a bunch of high-powered abilities precisely adapted to whatever the player wants the characters role to be. In effect, they’re trading in the character’s basic racial modifiers for about a tailored template. Secondarily, it is both magic (80% of base cost, starting off at level two with 1800 gold to spend) and treasure rich.

The major problem is that the setting is FULL of wild magic. Some rare individuals – “Sparks” – can directly absorb that magic (“experience points”) when they battle the creatures of the wild, transforming and enhancing themselves in weird and wonderful ways (“Sparks” use Eclipse builds). More common (if still pretty rare) are Embers, who can absorb the wild magic but not directly use it – so they can use it up in rituals to grant themselves specific patterns of abilities (Class Levels) or in gaining a few other boosts. Finally, of course… most people can’t absorb wild magic at all. They may still gain a few levels via years of slow and painful practice or by being infused with power by some Spark with Leadership (or some similar ability), but – while they still get Birthrights – they’re relatively generic.

Wild magic is the explanation for the abundance of magic items as well. Not only can items randomly appear in the wilds – even if many such random items are useless or outright dangerous – but they can be “farmed”. Placing an appropriate mundane item in a box covered with the correct runes and formulas and leaving it in the wild will – in time – result in a fairly predictable enchantment. Items that get left too long, or get disturbed, or where something goes wrong, can be just as insane as the random stuff – but all you need to produce magical items is the right formula (there are books) and time.

Unfortunately, the Wilds are just that. Did an airship crash? By the time the search party finds it it may have transformed into a haunted pirate ship, complete with a crew of monsters all with their own magic. Has the wild magic surged today? An old family cemetery with an “eternal flame” marker may turn into a volcano full of fire vampires surrounded by a sprawling city of the undead – none of which “dead” existed last week. Was there a great storm? Perhaps the old coastal village has been swallowed up by the sea, and is now a civilization of underwater monsters bent on conquest. Mapping the wild isn’t entirely futile – it helps keep major features in place – but the details change constantly.

.Millificent, Wyrm Of Alchemy

56 year old female Sand Gnome Spark. Black Hair, Blue Eyes, 2 Ft 1 Inch (0.91 meters), 37 lbs (16.8 kg), Profession: Nomadic Trader and Alchemist, Linnorm of the Western Desert.

The caravan leader had thought he had all the angles figured out. He had led previous expeditions that had mapped out a significant portion of the lava tubes under Mount Vengeance. As such, he thought he had a lead on the location and route to a much larger chamber deep beneath the volcano where it was rumored that incredible treasure and power lay. Perhaps even a dragon’s horde. As such, he gathered a caravan of venturesome gnoes known for being able to keep their mouth’s shut and their heads down. Millificent was among them.

The journey was treacherous, and more than a few members of the caravan were slain by bandits, wandering monsters, and the occasional collapsing tunnel. Eventually though, the tunnel ahead opened up to reveal a massive chamber dimly lit by the bio-luminescent fungi that was so common in the deep tunnels. Unfortunately, the rumored dragon’s horde was nowhere to be found. What they did find were the skeletal remains of a colossal two-headed dread linnorm slain in its home – likely in a territorial battle with an immense dragon. Whatever horde had once existed here was now long gone, either looted by the dragon or by others seeking wealth and power. Even the shattered bones were beginning to merge with the very stone of the mountain itself. The very air seemed to crackle with magic and psionic energies still writhing and twisting with pent up power. Thick streams of crystalized black blood dripped from the very bones of the slain giant and formed small pools of glowing power. While the rumored treasure was nowhere to be seen, the expedition was not a total loss. The bones, blood, and the minerals that had been soaked in their power were valuable commodities in their own right.

So began efforts to harvest what they could to use themselves or to haul back and sell to those who valued such things. Out came bottles, pickaxes, and chisels to collect the most valuable bits to haul back to town. More than once the work paused as it sounded like the ancient linnorm was roaring to life and shaking the foundations of the world, but once the shaking stopped the work continued again – although not without trepidation and frequent glances over their shoulders. It was during the attempted removal of one of the many teeth larger than any of the gnomes present that a partial collapse of the cavern occurred, unleashing a torrent of crystalline black blood onto the unwary treasure seekers.

The poisonous liquid burned at their flesh and tore at their minds. A few managed to crawl out of the pool of blood to die slow and agonizing deaths, but Millificent came out transformed. A tiny portion of the ancient power of the linnorm had merged with her and given her the Spark. Now she could wield its magical and psionic power over the elements of ice and fire. In time, perhaps she could wield even more of its former power. For now though, she and the other survivors dragged themselves back to town, sold what they could salvage from the failed expedition, and disbanded. The Spark within Millificent however called to her, and urged her to go out again. To seek out wealth and power. And…. perhaps…. a chance to avenge itself against the dragonkind that slew it for its treasures.

Heritage:

Centuries ago, when the mages warded the volcanic Mount Vengeance to prevent future eruptions, the side-effects of those wards were not understood at the time. Only later, when immense geysers of mystically imbued lava began to burst forth from the surrounding countryside was the error realized. Fires scorched one verdant forests and grasslands from the landscape, leaving sweeping the Desert of the Black Sands in their place.

Still, many found opportunity in the disaster. The Sand Gnomes form caravans that traverse the black dunes and lava rivers to ply their wares at each stop on their route. Along the way, they harvest alchemical reagents that grow along the lava flows and the mystically charged sands that erupt from the many geysers of ash and sand. A few caravans even brave the old magma tubes that criss-cross the disk to ply their wares to the denizens on the underside of the disk.

Traversing the desert has had an affect on the Sand Gnomes as well. They possess an innate ability to control sand for both defense and to form tools and weapons. They are talented survivalists able to find water in even the harshest environments. They are also skilled alchemists and capable negotiators known for driving hard bargains and producing all sorts of useful concoctions.

On the other hand, Sand Gnomes tend to be rowdy, big-eaters, and miserly with their coin. As such, the arrival of a Sand Gnome caravan frequently met with enthusiasm as well as annoyance.

For the Sand Gnomes, their caravans are their families, even if they aren’t related by blood. Sand Gnomes identify themselves by a given name and a name for the caravan they are members of in place of a family name. Other species find this convention confusing, but to them it is as natural as any other system for identifying themselves. Children, when they come of age, will leave the caravan of their parent(s) and move to join another at one of the many ports of call on their travels. The head of the caravan is typically the most powerful or the most senior member of the group (frequently both).

So it was that Millificent was traversing the black sands with the Jasplin Caravan. It was a relatively new caravan, but one that managed to make a number of ties with out of the way brokers and merchants around the disk thanks to the charismatic (if a bit unscrupulous) connections of their leader Jasplin Jasplin. Millificent had been recruited due to a fairly recent incident granting her spark status that gave her highly flexible powers. As an additional incentive to bring her in, they had even paid to have her tattooed with the caravan’s trade key This particular trek was to the oasis town of Shadowshire. They had successfully fought off raids by Vulpin and the occasional angry volcano otter. The attack from a band of adventurers was unexpected and difficult to repel however. Millificent burned a substantial amount of power doing what she could during the defense, but it was Jasplin suddenly sprouting scales, claws, and a breath weapon during the fight that turned the tide.

The sudden eruption of magical energies from the transformation prompted a backlash of power that disrupted a number of carefully hidden wards on the main wagon, causing it to suddenly disgorge a substantial number of shackled slaves. When the adventurers had been run off the arguments began. Millificent wanted nothing to do with sapient trading, whereas Jasplin insisted she had no choice in the matter. Arguments escalated to shouting, and shouting became blasts of energy. While Millicent had expended much of her psionic and magical powers reserves, Jasplin’s unrestrained use of magical attacks gave her ample opportunity to absorb energy again. That edge gave her the opportunity to stun Jasplin and make a break for it. While Millificent wasn’t strong enough to free the slaves, she could keep them from entering the trade hubs necessary to sell their wares given that she had the tattoo key. Given how paranoid many of those cities got, it would be a long time before the Jasplin Caravan could sell their wares and then procure more slaves. All Millificent had to do was stay low so they couldn’t track her down and exact whatever passed for justice amongst the slave-traders.

Racial Template: Sand Gnome (31 CP / +0 ECL)

Hailing from the Desert of the Black Sands, desert gnomes traverse the region in caravans, trading in weird and wondrous items along the way. Known to be proficient alchemists, they have a knack for scouring the landscape for ingredients and for haggling with others when plying their wares.

  • Shrinking I: Corrupted / Reduces base movement speed to 20 (8 CP) (-2 Str, +2 Dex, +1 to Melee AC and Attacks, d4 Falling Damage)
  • Attribute Shift: +2 Constitution/-2 Strength. Sand Gnomes are hardy travelers, but aren’t particularly strong even for their size (6 CP)
  • Racial Skills:
    • Adept (Specialized for Reduced Cost / Two Skills Only (Diplomacy and Craft (Alchemy), 3 CP).
    • +3 on Negotiation and Craft (Alchemy) (2 CP), Sand Gnomes are natural traders and alchemists,
    • Speaks Gnomish (1 CP)
  • Innate Enchantment: Desert Nomads (7500 GP, 8 CP)
    • Endure Elements (L1, x.5, only versus hot weather, 1000 GP).
    • Forge of Sand (L1, Creates a piece of standard equipment weighing up to 10 lb made of sand, such items last up to 10 minutes/level, but fall apart in anyone else’s hands, 2,000 GP)
    • Mage (Sand) Armor (Personal Only, 1400 GP, the sand inevitably found on a Sand Gnomes skin helps block attacks).
    • Force (Sand) Shield I (Personal Only, walls of sand appear as needed to block attacks, 1400 GP)
    • Detect Water (L0, Can detect nearby sources of drinkable water, 1,000 GP)
    • Penumbra (L0, Personal Only, Does not suffer any penalties or blindness caused by bright light, such as those from light sensitivity or light blindness, 700 GP)
  • Immunity / The XP Cost of Racial Innate Enchantments (Uncommon, Trivial, Trivial, 1 CP).
  • Immunity / Dispelling and Antimagic, Uncommon, Minor, Great, Specialized and Corrupted / only to protect racial Innate Enchantments, 2 CP).
  • Fast Learner, Specialized in Buying Larger Hit Dice (3 CP).
  • Racial Disadvantage: The Sand Gnomes are compulsive nomads, and find it impossible to settle down in one location (-3 CP).

Like most Allwellian “races”, Sand Gnones are quite powerful – although some of their advantages do not scale as well as they might. Still, having automatic immediate access to pretty much every common piece of equipment, +4/+4 Armor/Shield bonuses, and a nice bonus to Diplomacy and Alchemy is a pretty decent package at lower levels and – as with all Eclipse abilities – can readily be expanded on later.

Available Character Points: 264 (Level 10 Base) + 10 (Disadvantages: History, Hunted, Insane) + 24 (Bonus Feats from Levels 1, 3, 6, and 9) = 298 CP.

Disadvantages:

  • History: The player produces a few pages of notes for the GM about the character’s history, personality, and goals. This includes mention of friends and family, old enemies or allies, and where the character got his or her training and equipment.
  • Hunted: Millificent abandoned her old caravan when she found out they were involved in sapient trafficking. Since she was the one with the trade access rights tattoo in the caravan, this has effectively locked the caravan out of a number of lucrative cities and ports. The caravan leader Jasplin (a corrupt devotee to the Path of the Dragon) particularly has it in for Millificent.
  • Insane (Fearless): Millificent has had her sense of fear eaten by the Old Ones due to the intervention of Derngarm after he got tired of Millificent’s hydrophobia.

That last one is an example of an in-game change; Derngarm may have been calling in the Elder Ones (as he does for all his magic) – but the actual spell was a simple “Remove Feat” to temporarily negate Millificents fear of water – the group was fighting pirates aboard a ship and Milli had just gone overboard. The player felt that the characters Hydrophobia was getting old, and so – with the game master’s permission – used the excuse to trade in the disadvantage.

Basic Attributes (4d6 keep 3d6): Str 9 (13 -2 Size -2 Racial +1 Enh = 10), Dex 14 (+2 Size = 16), Con 19 (13 + 2 Racial + 4 Tattoo), Int 21 (15 + 2 Level + 4 Tattoo), Wis 14, Cha 14 (Millificent is quite talented for a gnome, but this is to be expected for a Spark)

Basic Abilities: (108 CP)

  • Hit Dice: 37 (L1d8, L2-10d6, Buy Racial Fast Learner up to Double Effect to pay for it, 3 CP). Advanced
    • Improved Augmented Bonus ( Add (Int Mod) to (Con Mod) when computing hit points, Corrupted / only effective on hit dice through L12, 12 CP). HP 37 + (10 x [Con Mod + Int Mod]) = 127 HP.
  • Skill Points: +4 (Purchased, 4 CP) +65 (Int Mod x 13, Immunity/Not getting skill points for Int boosts retroactively (Uncommon, Minor, Great, 6 CP) +21 (One-Time Boost) = 90 SP.
    • Buy off Specialization on Racial Adept (3 CP): Add Survival and Bluff (Acting) to Negotiation and Craft (Alchemy) for half cost.
    • Adept (6 CP): Pays half cost for Fire Rune Magic Casting, Fire Rune Magic Mastery, Rose Briar Style, and Disguise.
  • Base Attack Bonus: +10 (Corrupted: Does not provide iterative attacks, Fast Learner, Specialized in BAB, 6 CP, Remainder 20 CP).
  • Saves:
    • Fortitude: +3 (9 CP) +4 (Con) +3 (Luck) +1 (Mor) +4 (Res) +1 (Com) = +16
    • Reflex: +5 (15 CP) +3 (Dex) +3 (Luck) +1 (Morale) + 4 (Res) +1 (Com) = +14
    • Will: +3 (9 CP) +2 (Wis) +3 (Luck) +1 (Morale) + 4 (Res) +1 (Com) = +14
    • Luck with +8 Bonus Uses, Specialized in Saves (9 CP).
  • Proficiencies: Exotic Weapon Proficiency: Spiked Chain (6 CP)
    • This is a bit cheesy – who learns to use a Spiked Chain with full proficiency with no other weapons training at all? – but so be it! Saving 3 CP skipping out on “all simple weapons” isn’t all that much cheese.
  • Initiative: +3 (Dex) = +3
  • Move: 30 (Base) – 10 (Racial) + 30 (Personal Haste) + 10 (Untyped) = 60 Feet/Round
  • Armor Class: 10 (Base) +3 (Dex) +4 (Armor) +4 (Shield) +1 (Size) +3 (Luck) = AC 25, Flatfooted 22, Touch 17.

Usual Attacks:

  • Spiked Chain: +22/+22 (+10 BAB, +5 Int +1 Mor +1 Com +1 Enh, +4 MA, Haste) for 1d12 +1d6 (Cold) +6 (+5 Int +1 Enh) Damage, Crit 20 / x2, Reach 10′, 3 AoO, +2 to Trip and Disarm.
  • Alchemist’s Fire (Ice, Etc): +18/+18/+18 (+10 BAB, +3 Dex, +1 Mor, +1 Comp +3 MA, Haste, Rapid Shot) for 6d6/6d6 and Splash 6 Fire (Whatever) Damage. 80′ Range Increment. Can be enhanced with Will Of The Philosopher (below). Usually a Touch Attack. (Also for other alchemical items, Spray Effect can be used to automatically hit 5x within 30′).
  • Dragonfire ST: +14 (+10 BAB, +2 Dex, +1 Morale, +1 Competence) for 2-10d6+1 Ice Damage
  • Dragonfire AoE: +14 (+10 BAB, +2 Dex, +1 Morale, +1 Competence) for 1-5d6+1 Ice Damage over 30′ radius

Other Abilities:

Spiked Chain Mastery (36 CP).

  • Finesse: Spiked Chain (Bonuses based on Int instead of Str, 6 CP)
  • Master of the Chain: 4d6 (18) Mana with Reality Editing, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect (Minor/Notable/Major/Grandiose edits cost 1/2/3/4 points each/only for reality editing, only for fabulous tricks with spiked chain, maximum mana use of (1 + Level / 4 per turn) (24 CP)
  • Rite of Chi with +8 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted / only to restore the reality editing pool above, only between fights (6 CP)

Now this can get pretty silly. Want to lash out at short/medium/long range? 1/2/3 Mana. Whirlwind a massive radius? 1-2 Mana. Lash out at a passing airship, wrap the chain around a mast, and suddenly pull yourself aboard? 3 Mana. Drag it down to you instead? 4 Mana. Give your chain temporary enchantments? Probably totaling about +4 per Mana Spent, and lasting for an hour or so. Whirl the chain to create a temporary Wall Of Force effect? 3. Make a piece of rope function as a spiked chain or pull out a holdout spiked chain? 1 Mana. This pretty much allows all the absurd stunts that you see out of chain weapons in ninja anime. Admittedly, this is a bit of a limited resource – but it’s quite versatile.

Mllificent hasn’t actually done much with this. While she seems to like having the option, melee combat – even with a variety of insane options available – really isn’t her thing. She tends to rely on her Alchemy.

Hardened by Harsh Environment (14 CP):

  • Innate Enchantment (+8000 GP to Racial Package, 8 CP)
  • Warding Rune (+1+CL/3 Resistance to Saves (1400 GP)
  • Inspiring Word: +1 Morale Bonus to Saves, Attacks, Skill Checks, and Damage (1400 GP)
  • Ward of Heaven: +(CL/3) Luck Bonus to AC and Saves (1400 GP)
  • Fortune’s Favor: +2 Luck Bonus to Skills (1400 GP)
  • Personal Haste: +30 to Movement, +1 Attack at full BAB (2000 GP)
  • Guidance: +1 Competence Bonus to Saves, Attacks, and Skills (700 GP)
  • Empowerment (Innate Enchantments) / Specialized in Warding Rune and Ward of Heaven for Increased Effect (Uses the users Hit Dice instead of Caster Level, 6 CP).

Most characters are limited to 12 CP worth of Innate Enchantment – but “racial” stuff doesn’t count against that limit, so Milli can have a second helping. Like most innate enchantments, hers focus on providing a wide variety of useful – if relatively minor bonuses from cantrips and first level effects. Again, Millificent is going for a generalist here. None of these innate enchantments are really focused on anything in particular.

Master Alchemist (46 CP)

  • Shaping (6 CP), Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect (First level spells) / only for Healing effects, requires a medical kit and time (maximum 7 times/day on any given target).
    Taskmaster: Specialized and Corrupted / Alchemy Only (2 CP)
  • Will of the Philosopher: 2d6 (7) Mana with Reality Editing, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect (Minor/Notable/Major/Grandiose edits cost 1/2/3/4 points each / only for reality editing, only for enhancing alchemy (12 CP).
    • As with her Spiked Chain Mastery, this can be used to greatly boost the effects of alchemical items, spread them over considerable area, alter their effects, hurl them to great distances, or just find a few more bottles amongst her supplies when she needs them. This, once again, allows a vast multitude of tricks – but is a pretty limited resource during any one fight.
  • Rite of Chi with +4 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted / only to recharge the reality editing pool above (4 CP).
  • Double “Damage” (Effect) With standard alchemical items, Specialized for Increased Effect (Triple Damage thanks to the usual doubling rules) / only works with personally-made alchemical items (6 CP).
  • Create Relic: Specialized and Corrupted / only to make limited-use items (Apply “Specialized / Does Not Recover to the items created, only select abilities that normally offer a limited number of daily uses) costing a maximum of 3 CP each, only using points from Enthusiast (2 CP).
  • 2x Double Enthusiast, Specialized for Increased Effect (provides eight floating CP) and Corrupted for Reduced Cost /points may only be used with Create Relic, limited as above (8 CP)
    • This is the “where does he get those wonderful toys” package from The Golden Ones, allowing the creation and use of a wide variety of temporary items for each adventure.
  • Create Relic: Specialized and Corrupted / only to make a Philosopher’s Stone (2 CP)
  • Double Enthusiast: Specialized for Increased Effect and Corrupted for Reduced Cost / only for making a Philosopher’s Stone (4 CP)
    • The Philosophers Stone relic can be found HERE

While this has long been Millificent’s favorite set of powers to use, she has only recently really developed her higher-order abilities along these lines – leading many or her opponents and allies to severely underestimate her. In a way, that slow-burn build is a direct consequence of her spreading her points among four major sets of abilities – including one which was more or less useless at low levels. In effect, she’s been multiclassing instead of building up one or two sets of abilities before starting a new one. Now that all of her abilities are fully functional she’ll probably be demonstrating her abilities a lot more.

Blood of the Linnorm (49 CP).

  • Shapeshift with +4 Bonus Uses, Specialized / No Animal Forms (6 CP)
  • Attribute Modifiers (6 CP)
  • Variants (3 CP). Millificent is fond of taking the forms of a variety of different elves (i.e. Dark Elves, Avariel, Aquatic, etc.) as there tends to be at least one subspecies with abilities useful for the current situation
  • Growth (Large, Huge, Gargantuan) and Enchanted (Dragonforms), all Specialized for Reduced Cost / Only to take Linnorm forms (7 CP)
  • +3d0 Hit Dice, Specialized for Increased Effect / only to calculate possible Linnorm forms (12 CP).
  • Will Of Fire: Mana: Specialized and Corrupted / only for use with Rune Magic (Psionic Fire) 10d6 (35) (20 CP)
  • Rite of Chi with +12 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted / only to refill the Psionic Fire pool above (8 CP)

As of this level Millificent can currently can take Crag and Fjord Linnorm forms- a good thing as she felt it was appropriate to invest most of the required points early on, and the smallest Linnorms have sixteen hit dice. Thus, for much of her career, this ability has been a point-sink with little return beyond taking variant elven forms and (in conjunction with her rune magic skills below) a bit of fire magic. That’s roughly equivalent to a two or three level penalty in standard d20 without much to show for it. That hurt quite a bit through levels two to nine. It also demonstrates a major difference between Millificent and most Eclipse builds: The vast majority of Eclipse characters will pick one or two specialties – generally trying to keep one or both categories maxed out – and develop them until they’ve picked up all the abilities they want before moving on to something else. Investing points in abilities that you cannot yet use is pretty rare.

The Winter Of The World (44 CP):

  • Dragonfire (Ice Variant, 6 CP)
  • Eye of the Dragon x2 (12 CP). Can store up to 76 Spell Levels, absorbing up to 42 spell levels daily.
  • Reflex Action with +8 Bonus Uses, Extra Actions Per Day Variant, Specialized and Corrupted / only for Spell Absorption (6 CP)
  • Breath of the Dragon / Specialized and Corrupted: Prerequisite Only (2 CP)
  • Living Fire (Ice Variant, 6 CP)
  • Body of Fire (Ice Variant, 6 CP)
  • Kinetic Master (6 CP)

Another powerful ability sequence with some very useful abilities (reflexive spell absorption alone is pretty nice) – but, once again, nowhere near where it could be at this level and greatly under-utilized. Living Fire (Ice) and Body Of Fire (Ice) can easily provide far greater mobility, enhanced abilities, armor, various special abilities, and masses of renewable temporary hit points – a near-perfect compliment to her Spiked Chain Mastery abilities – but Millificent hasn’t used them much. While that’s partially because taking the time to set up a psychic construct in the middle of a game drags everything to a halt, but designing a few in advance would mostly take care of that. They might be less perfectly tailored, but that’s much better than not using the ability.

Minor Notes (1 CP):

  • Trade Access Rights Tattoo: Minor Privilege, Specialized / brings various enemies (1 CP)
  • Mundane Equipment: Masterwork Spiked Chain (Backup), Alchemist’s Kit and Lab, Tent, Riding Dog, Saddle, and Saddlebags, Traveler’s Outfit, Cooking Kit, Silk Rope (50 ft)

Skills: (90 SP)

All Skills: +2 Luck, +1 Morale, +4 Competence.

  • Bluff: +13 (6* SP) +2 (Cha) = +22
  • Craft / Alchemy: +13 (6* SP) +5 (Int) +3 (Race) +2 (Lab) +2 (Gloves) +2 (Sy) = +34
  • Disguise: +13 (6* SP) +2 (Cha) = +22
  • Heal: +0 (0 SP) +2 (Wis) +2 (Belt) = +11
  • Hide: +0 (0 SP) +2 (Dex) +8 (Amulet) = +17
  • Knowledge/Local: +13 (13 SP) +5 (Int) = +25
  • Martial Art/Alchemic Mastery +13 (13 SP) +5 (Int) = +25
  • Martial Art/Rose Briar Style +13 (6* SP) +5 (Int) = +25
  • Move Silently: +0 (0 SP) +2 (Dex) +6 (Amulet) = +15
  • Negotiate (Cha): +13 (6* SP) +2 (Cha) +3 (Race) = +25
  • Rune Casting (Psionic Fire): +13 (6* SP) +5 (Int) = +25 (CL 13)
  • Rune Mastery (Psionic Fire): +13 (6* SP) +5 (Int) = +25 (Up to L6)
  • Search: +13 (13 SP) +2 (Wis) = +22
  • Spot: +0 (0 SP) +2 (Wis) = +9
  • Survival (Wis): +13 (6* SP) +2 (Wis) = +22

+3 Skill Specialties: Knowledge/Local (Alchemical Resources), Search (for Alchemical Resources), Bluff (Acting) (3 SP). .

Martial Arts:

  • Rose Briar Style (13): Power III, Attack IV, +5 Reach, Whirlwind Attack, Combat Reflexes, Inner Strength, and Light Foot.
  • Alchemic Master Style (13): Power III (+1d6 base to Alchemical Attacks), Attack IV, Toughness III (Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect / only versus damage caused by Alchemical Effects, but all of those. Reduces the damage from alchemical effects by 6 points), Synergy/Craft (Alchemy), Prone Combat, and Rapid Shot.

Alchemical Items: Fog Rock, Tindertwig x5, Acid Flask x10, Alchemist’s Fire x10, Alchemical Holy Water x10, Alkali Flask x10, Bottled Lightning x10, Liquid Ice x10, Iron Pellet Grenade x5, Glue x10, Tanglefoot Bag x10, Antitoxin x10, Antiplague x10, Smoke Pellets x10,

This is way behind, but – between the Philosopher’s Stone allowing transmutation, money, and her great skill as an alchemist, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to simply suppose that she has substantial supplies of pretty much everything. This  a fairly minimal selection.

Slotless Magical Items:

  • Bag of Holding I + Shapesand 240 lbs
  • Handy Haversack
  • Everburning Torch
  • Shiftweave Clothing
  • Spiked Chain +1
  • Immovable Rod x2
  • Magical Board Game
  • Tattoo Parlor Investment (4,000 GP)
  • Lesser Weapon Crystal Of Elemental Assault (Cold).

Magical Tattoos: +4 Int, +4 Con, +4 Skills, all Enhancement Bonuses.

Slotted Magical Items:

  • Healing Belt +2 Comp to Heal, 3 Charges/Day, spend 1/2/3 for 2/3/4d8 Healing.
  • Ring of Communications: Communicate with other such rings within one mile
  • Cloak of Arachnida: Spiderclimb, Immunity to entrapment via Web spells or webs of any sort (moves at half speed), Web 1/day, +2 Luck Bonus on saves against poison from spiders
  • Gloves of the Master Alchemist: Stores potions and alchemical items only as per a Handy Haversack, items appear in the user’s hands when needed. Produce any cantrip level alchemical, fire, or ice effect 1/round, Stir items when not present, Toss alchemical items with the speed and range of a light crossbow, Spray up to (Int Mod) doses of any alchemical substance available onto any target within 30′, +2 Competence Bonus to an Alchemy Check, 3 Charges/Day, spend 1/2/3 to produce any alchemical item worth up to 10/100/1000 GP, but the items vanish in one minute, whether used or not
  • Continuous Amulet Of Umbral Metamorphosis: Grants 60′ Darkvision, Hide in Plain Sight, Cold Resistance 10, Superior Low-Light Vision, Hide +8 (Untyped), +6 Move Silently (Untyped), +10 All Movement Modes (Untyped).
  • Pin Of Strength: +1 Enhancement to Strength (800 GP).

Overall, Milllificent has a broad array of tricks and powers – but little depth in any of them. Worse, several of them have only recently become effective. Still, having hit level ten she’s become quite effective – and she should be able to build up her abilities further over the next few levels.

Eclipse d20 Powers – Returning

And today it’s a question:

Returning:

1) How long does it take you to come back to life?

2) In what condition do you come back? Full HP? 1 HP? Also, what heals and what doesn’t? Do you regrow limbs? Heal diseases? And what about spell slots and the like?

3) What’s to stop a character who can only be killed by some specific thing from just offing himself if confronted by that thing?

4) On the topic of offing one’s self, it seems like you would never need more than minor rewrite, because you could still get a full re-spec just by killing yourself four times.

5) Do you always come back as the same thing, and do you know what you’ll come back as?

-Kalkra

This particular question neatly illustrates one of the fundamental principles of Eclipse – that the operational details of many or most powers depend on the details of the setting, on the players description of how their character’s power works, and what the game master thinks will work well in his or her game. Minor tweaks (“variants”) are expected – but if there are major ones, you’ll probably want to Corrupt or Specialize the power to more closely fit what you want and what the game master is willing to accept. So lets take a look at some ways in which various characters in various settings have used Returning.

I’ll start off with a few fantasy characters:

Derngarm, a Mystic Gunslinger and Dark Guardian of the Gates of the Underworld, Childe’ Of The Harrowed Gate, has Extraordinary Returning, Specialized for Increased Effect and Corrupted for Reduced Cost: he reappears where people facing overwhelming threats pray for a heroes aid, and is bound to answer that call – but he does bring along his equipment (the increased effect, 8 CP). So when Derngarm is slain, his body and gear falls to dust or otherwise vanishes anime-style (making him rather difficult to raise conventionally) – but he will soon reappear at full power somewhere where there is a caravan, settlement, or similar group in desperate trouble. Once he deals with that, he will be free to look for his friends again. It usually doesn’t take him long to come back – groups in desperate trouble are all too common – but dealing with the complications of getting them out of trouble can take a while or even get him killed again, starting things over. Even on a success… he might be thousands of miles from his friends.

Drago, the Son of Shendu from Jackie Chan Adventures, has “Returning, Specialized for Reduced Cost / Drago can’t actually return from death, but he does show quite a knack for evading capture or getting out of jail. If the series hadn’t ended he might even have made it back from the netherworld”. The important part here is that he often gets defeated – but equally often makes a miraculous escape from his captors either by fleeing the fight or by escaping confinement. After a few weeks he can find some new minions and return to making a nuisance of himself (3 CP).

Randolf Upton Pickman, High Priest of the Outer Gods, has 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). So he can “return” thousands of years before he died.

Shadowed Galaxy Mummies get “Returning with Major Rewrite, Specialized/only to switch back and forth between two alternate versions: the relatively normal “living” version (as an informational creature anchored into a more or less “living” body) and the “dead” version (as a bodiless informational entity), Neither, of course, is all that human. Corrupted/achieving the “dead” version is quick and easy (the physical body gets killed, releasing the informational spirit), but returning to “life” requires that the body spend three to seven days in an especially-prepared sarcophagus. The user can be prevented from making a full return by completely disposing of the body or denying him or her access to an appropriately prepared sarcophagus and can be disposed of utterly by destroying him or her on the informational level (6 CP).” Thus this style of mummy can continue to intervene as a disembodied spirit after “death”, but will be stuck that way unless their body can be retrieved and properly treated.

Shadowed Galaxy Vampires get”Returning, Corrupted (EVERYBODY knows about vampire weaknesses, 4 CP). Vampires can recover from almost any physical injury given time. They can even build up a power reserve over time from the steady flow of thermal and other energies into subspace through them – provided that they have months or years of time and are totally inactive. About all they need is for most of their body parts to be in one place, for there to be at least a little air and water about, and for there to be nothing in the way of reforming any vital organ. Of course, if their parts are, say, burned and widely scattered, or have been hit by something capable of severely damaging them on the spacefield level, or something similar, it won’t work.”

Technically Shadowed Galaxy templates could go under either Sci-Fi or Horror just as well – but they are set up so that they could plausibly be a basis for all the fantasy tales, so they might as well go here.

Gravewright the Lich has “Returning (Extraordinary): Must destroy Phylactery, Specialized / Everybody knows this one (6 CP).”. Well, he’s a Lich. He possesses or constructs a corpse near his phylactery and presumably grabs whatever cache of stuff he left for himself. This generally takes quite a while of course – for which adventurers should be grateful. If a lich’s returning worked immediately you might have to fight the same lich over and over again to reach it’s lair – only to find that it had grabbed it’s phylactery, items, and bugout bag, and teleported to some other shielded lair.

Familiars are often given Returning (they come back unless their master is permanently killed) so as to avoid the problems inherent in losing a familiar. This usually calls for a minor ritual to re-embody your familiar spirit – meaning that it usually has to wait until you can take a break from adventuring and pick up another appropriate animal to put the spirit in – or at least to the next day in the case of actual spirit familiars.

Some unusually durable relics have Returning ( Specialized and Corrupted / only applies to the item itself (2 CP). As a special effect, such items are simply nigh-indestructible unless special measures specific to the item are taken. Even if broken by some mighty force in some other way, or cast into a black hole or something, they need merely be reforged, repaired, or located again to return to full potency.

The Chthonic Invested get Leadership with the Exotic and Emperor’s Star improvements (Evil Outsiders and Accursed Beings, the positive level points go to Returning). so that if you kill off their accused minions, they can just keep summoning them back. Other types of characters – summoners and such – often use the same basic trick in their own styles.

Granny has “The Dark Revenance”: Returning / As long as one or more of her Shadow-Familiars exists to bring her back, Specialized / may require many months (3 CP). So Granny basically has some dread minions who can summon her back if they get away after she dies. Of course, if she gets away she can summon more dread minions. Granny doesn’t come back very fast, but she’s very hard to get rid of permanently.

Rokean, a quasi-symbiotic (or perhaps parasitic) creature has “Returning; As long as Rake (the host) survives, his Symbiont can regenerate from him, whether he likes it or not (6 CP).”

The Merchant has “Returning (When his time comes at last, Elareth may attempt to strike a deal with Death itself; if he succeeds, he gets to come back again. Naturally enough, he would prefer to avoid putting his negotiating ability to such a test, 6 CP),”

The Royal Cartographic Society Package Deal provides Returning as well. You can never count the members of the RCS out when they’re on an expedition; they’ve been lost for years, fallen overboard, been trapped in avalanches, and suffered many other horrible fates – only to return later (if sometimes years later) with an epic tale of adventure. Returning, Specialized and Corrupted/only works while on expeditions in distant lands and only if the characters body is not recovered and the player can come up with some tale of his or her character’s dramatic escape from certain doom (2 CP).

One of the abilities the Black Compass provides is Returning, Specialized and Corrupted/only works when the user is lost at sea or stranded on a small island and the status of his or her body remains unknown (2 CP). That’s not actually a particularly uncommon power in seafaring or pirate themed settings, quite a few characters have purchased some version of it. It’s nice to know that – if you go overboard in a storm or something – you will wind up being safely washed ashore.

Many Fey creatures have Returning, Specialized/may require a month and usually comes with partial amnesia (3 CP). Unless they are entirely slain by cold iron, they fey are always reborn from the forces of nature – although you could certainly slow things up by burning down their forest or some such. Other fey are bound to particular natural features, and so need to protect those features or risk losing their immortality.

Comic book characters fairly often have some form of Returning – and are popular enough that I have written up a fair number of them. For some examples from the site…

Magma (Marvel, the New Mutants) returned to life immediately and at full power (better than before she died really, since the experience activated her full volcanic powers and transformation into a lava creature) when her corpse was thrown into a lava lake. That’s Returning, Specialized and Corrupted/her body must be exposed to really extreme heat, such as a pool of magma, a blast furnace, or a rocket exhaust (2 CP)”. That’s kind of cheap, because, after all… how likely is it that an enemy is going to make that mistake again? And how often is there going to be a lake of fire on a battlefield for her to restore herself with?

Raven (DC Comics, the Teen Titans) has Extraordinary Returning (12 CP). Raven must be slain and her soul forcibly taken into the higher afterlives for her to truly die. Of course, Raven is a comic book mystic and “equipment” as such isn’t much of a thing in the source material for her – no matter how sensible it would be for her to use some (and so she has some in the writeup). Still, she has connections with major mystical groups and is capable of inter-dimensional travel; so she can probably get resupplied without difficulty when she comes back. Besides, comic books tend to treat death as a temporary inconvenience anyway, especially for mystics. On the other hand, she never comes back until her death has been milked for as much melodrama as possible.

Cable, from Marvel Comics has “Returning (6 CP): Cable is even more difficult to get rid of than most heroes, since unless you do something about all the time traveling he will just write his own death out of the timeline and pop up again sooner or later.” Of course, Cable is a walking paradox maintained by continuous reality editing. Consistency isn’t his thing – and he doesn’t have to worry about the details of his “coming back” because he simply adds to his paradox collection by skipping out on his own past.

Warlock, again from Marvel Comics (The New Mutants), has “Extraordinary Returning: Warlock can return from having his “lifeglow” drained, or even from being disintegrated – but it takes him being infused with a lot of “lifeglow” to do it quickly; most of the time it will take months or years (12 CP).

Sam Guthrie / Cannonball (Marvel Comics, The New Mutants) has basic returning – in his case representing the super-advanced healing factor that’s a part of his rather low-grade immortality, more or less “Highlander” style. You can kill him, altough it takes a while, and if you then burn him to ashes in a blast furnace or something, he’s dead until a normal comic-book resurrection pops up. Still, destroying his heart, or pulling his guts out, or a lot of other usually-fatal injuries won’t slow him up for very long. Oddly enough, this is the about the closest thing to general “Combat Returning” on the list. If he’s just been stabbed through the heart or something that doesn’t dismember him or inflict massive tissue damage he might be back in good shape in no more then ten minutes or so.

Baron Ector’s Minions get “Another Faceless Minion/Returning. As long as Minions wear masks, visors, or helmets, don’t use names, and otherwise avoid letting themselves be individually identified by the enemy, they gain the Returning ability (6 CP). This also, of course, lets their bosses display their terrible villainy by gratuitously killing them on a whim without actually losing valuable minions.”

Baron Ector (an original PC) himself is a member of the The League Of Villainy, which offers a league package deal that includes “Returning/unless the villains enemies make VERY sure to find, examine, and dispose of, the body, he or she will soon return, Specialized/will not work if the character intentionally makes a heroic sacrifice or dies in an exceptionally dramatic and final fashion (falling into a black hole, cast down a shaft into the main reactor, etc, 3 CP).”

Wandering over towards science fiction…

Space Marines (Warhammer 40K) can enter a state of suspended animation, either through meditation or if dying – but must be revived with a complex (medical) procedure. (They can also burn fate points to evade certain death, but that’s a part of the game system, not unique to them). That’s Returning, Specialized/the body must be recovered and countermeasures administered (3 CP). This is actually pretty weak – if the body is destroyed, or lost in space, or some such it will not work – but in a setting with no normal method of resurrection it can be a priceless second chance.

Timelords (Doctor Who, original series) get “Returning with Minor Rewrite (4 CP): Timelords will regenerate, returning from death, unless special precautions – such as using a special weapon, incinerating the body in a furnace, or using certain special drugs or poisons to shut down the process, are taken (come to think of it, there are a lot of ways to stop this; fortunately, most enemies in the original setting don’t consider people coming back to life as a serious possibility, unlike most d20 universes). Secondarily, this tends to be confusing for a time, and to disrupt social relationships, since the character returns in a new form and may have some new skills and have lost old ones entirely. Between this, and the major limitations on the process, this is a Specialized and Corrupted power”

The revived series turned Time Lord Regeneration into a full-fledged, semi-miraculous, heroic sacrifice scene capable of destroying interstellar battle fleets – but that isn’t returning as such. What is it? Well, they’ve now specifically showed the doctor drawing power from humanities massed belief in him, which is pretty blatantly the Dominion-Godfire route- and unleashing some Godfire can accomplish all kinds of things over and above coming back to life. Personally I preferred the Doctor as a clever alien rather than a godling, but I have to admit that the new series tends a lot more towards fairy tales than the old one.

The Transhuman Template includes a version of Returning – Unique Returning, Corrupted / the character may lose memories acquired since his or her last backup if his or her neural network is not recovered and may have trouble adjusting to a new body, requiring a Will save with a DC based on how exotic the body is to avoid taking 1d4 Wisdom damage when placed in a new body (12 CP). Of course, what kind of new body you can afford depends on the state of your in-setting “finances” (favors owed) and any special purpose orders you put in. Worse, if someone takes out your backups, you might wind up truly dead before you get a chance to make some more!

Dream Entities from a modern setting were psychic constructs / manifestations of popular mythology, ranging from Santa Claus to Anime characters and on to Freddy Kruger – and were fairly common in one setting. They got “Unique Returning (Specialized and Corrupted: Dream Entities are obvious supernatural beings. They are always easy to recognize, must make will saves (DC 15) if they try to act out of character, and cannot even enter antimagic areas: they’re simply pushed back into dream while within one. They’re ALWAYS based on some bit of popular culture. To stop their returning their source material must be eliminated; this is difficult but well-known, 6 CP),” Sure, you could disrupt them for a while – but they would just be back again later, most often turning up at film festivals, or during anime week, or during their holiday.

Moving on towards horror settings, here’s a positive-energy based version.

Leperotic Cloning: Augmented by an unnaturally strong life force, the user’s cells are capable of infesting another creatures body, multiplying and spreading through it like a monstrous cancer or unholy fungus. If and when the user dies, if a victim of this horror is currently available, his or her soul will transfer itself into the victims body – driving out the existing soul and providing the final impetus to transform it into a near-duplicate of the user’s old body.

Fortunately, the user’s cells can only infest a very similar creature that is on the very brink of death – and they gravely weaken the bond between the victim’s body and soul; if the victim suffers a lethal injury before the user’s soul moves in, the body will promptly collapse into a mass of mangled tissue, that will rot away with utterly unnatural speed – normally collapsing into dust and slime within hours. This is purchased as Returning, Specialized and Corrupted for one-third cost (2 CP): the user must set up his or her returning in advance by striking a “final blow” against a victim of the same basic type (a humanoid for a humanoid, a dragon type for a dragon, etc), renouncing the damage in favor of giving up 2d6 hit points to smear some of his own blood or tissue into the wound and allowing the (essentially dead) victim to “escape”. For the next two days the victim can be cured by the use of Remove Curse, Cure Disease, Heal, or similar effects, or by taking any form of negative level that requires a save to remove. After that, the victim is merely a potential host for the user’s spirit and can only be saved by some form of Raise Dead, Resurrection, or Wish. The user may prepare multiple possible hosts at the same time – but this sort of thing does tend to attract some extremely negative attention. This will also require Timeless Body with Age-Shifting, Specialized and Corrupted/only to take on the species-adjusted physical age of the characters new body (2 CP).

Darklings get “Returning (6 CP): As extradimensional creatures of shadow, Darklings will return within a few weeks after being “killed” unless they’re destroyed by light-based effects or their access to the plane of shadow is cut off at the time they’re slain.” Darklings do tend to flee from light-wielding opponents, but then that’s probably expected of shadow-creatures anyway.

The Knights Of Hades get “Returning. Unless you take care to entrap a Knight of Hades soul when you destroy it, or chase it back to the lower planes and disrupt it there, they tend to come back (3 CP).” Usually their dread masters send Knights Of Hades back when they’ve got a job for them, but sometimes they just come back on their own to spread havoc. As a rule, they tend to re-appear in some ancient crypt or torture chamber or other noisome location at midnight during the dark of the moon or some such – but that’s mostly just a flare for the dramatic.

The minor lovecraftian entities known as “Dreamspawn” are creatures of distant alien planes, but like to anchor themselves to mortals to hide from the greater horrors that prey on THEM. They have Extraordinary Returning (12 CP). Destroying a Dreamspawn requires that you kill it’s bondmate (or somehow destroy his or her memory and imagination) and then pursue the Dreamspawn into it’s home realm and kill it there. Of course, simply eliminating the bondmate suffices for most purposes. The Dreamspawn may be killed at “home” by said greater horrors and, even if it survives, it won’t be back until it finds another dreamer somewhere in the cosmos. “Killing” a Dreamspawn without killing it’s bondmate simply means that it will be back in a day or so.

Hellguides (Think Dante and Virgil) get Unique Returning: The Hellguide will always return until he or she either achieves redemption or becomes utterly and unrepentantly evil. Specialized and Corrupted/the Hellguide may have to achieve various spiritual quests, escape from the underworld, or accept strange missions in exchange for his or her return. In addition, various supernatural entities may either take a special interest in the Hellguide or take advantage of his or her return to escape into the normal world (6 CP).

Puppet from Beyond (From “Down Among The Dead Men”) states that “Some who return from death find themselves trapped between the worlds, able to manifest a body – pulling together stray bits of matter, possessing and transforming a corpse, or some such – and strongly linked to that form, but unable to fully pass into the living world, Still, this has it’s advantages; mere physical damage may destroy the body that they are currently operating, but they will find or create another soon enough. Extraordinary Returning (user must be slain by effects that drain or snuff out his or her life force, hunted down between the planes, or spiritually imprisoned to prevent him or her from simply creating another body later on), Specialized/the user’s body is instantly destroyed at zero hit points and it will require some weeks to create a new one, in the meantime, effects which rely on having some portion of the user’s true body to work with will not be able to bring him or her back or be otherwise effective (6 CP).

And, finally, we have a few examples that are just silly.

Teenagers from Outer Space get “Extraordinary Returning (12 CP). Our teenagers are nearly impossible to kill. They have a tendency to emerge from vehicle crashes slightly dazed, they dive behind a coffee table which, quite miraculously, shields them from the detonating tactical nuke, and massed machine-gun fire inflicts nothing but flesh wounds. In really extreme cases, it turns out that the one that just fell into the black hole was actually a clone. As a rule, the first time that they ought to be killed in a given session, they’ll emerge relatively unharmed. The second time, it’s off to the hospital (or local equivalent) for some time and some minor trouble that will stick with them for the rest of the session. The third time… well, three strikes and you’re out. If they intentionally go for a heroic self-sacrifice it counts as two strikes, but they do get a free kiss from their love interest (if any).”

Teenagers From Outer Space is a pretty silly setting, which originally did not acknowledge death – or injuries beyond being briefly stunned – at all. The d20 conversion takes damage a little more seriously than that, but it is STILL a silly setting with few consequences.

Cartoon Sitcom Residents – such as Dexter and company from Dexter’s Laboratory – get “Extraordinary Returning (Specialized, requires abandoning all experience and benefits that might otherwise have been gained from a “death episode” (3 CP).” If they die on an adventure, they just show up for the next one and no one really shows any awareness that they died. After all… each episode basically has to start from the same status quo since you never know what order people will see your cartoon shorts in.

Creatures from the Battling Business World Cartoon Setting get Extraordinary Returning (Specialized, Requires being “animated” with standard cel-based or 3D animation tools) (3 CP). Most toons are unaware that they have this ability. They have trouble thinking of themselves as creations. It would take a “mundane” friend thinking, “Hmm, that guy was a lot like a cartoon character. I wonder what happens if we base a cartoon on him?” for anyone to discover it.

In fact, no one ever did discover this ability; Battling Business World characters tended to have this as a sort of backup form of returning, since they normally woke up in bed at home the next morning after dying – leading to things like “I can’t get a babysitter honey!” “Oh well! Just slit the kids throats and we’ll get them some pudding in the morning!”.

Of course, if they had a few more minutes, they could always get the kids playing “Bullet Tag” instead of killing them themselves.

The Black Beast – in his immense egotism – has “Returning: Can only be killed in a suitably epic confrontation (6)”. There will be no stupid death for this character! He cannot be assassinated, or poisoned, or otherwise quietly eliminated; there must be a dramatic confrontation that the bards will tell tales of for years to come.

John Jack, Secret Agent, gets Extraordinary Returning (12 CP, although he gets it at half cost in the Federation-Apocalypse setting): Jack can only be killed by being captured and then being put into a an absurd death trap and failing to escape or be rescued: otherwise his body simply disappears, or he turns out to be gravely and inconveniently wounded but not dead, or he otherwise returns in a few sessions – usually at some critical moment.

Star Trek Voyager Ensigns get “Extraordinary Returning (Series must be cancelled to keep The Ensign from coming back). Corrupted: The Ensign must assume a new name with his or her return, as well as always wearing a red shirt and being the primary target (8 CP).” That one is more than a bit tongue-in-cheek – but after all, Voyager basically has no source of new Ensigns, they get killed fairly regularly, and the population of the ship is fairly small – yet they never seem to run out of Ensigns (or, for that matter, shuttlecraft). Now you know why not.

So what can we say about those questions?

“How long does it take you to come back to life”? While it varies with the setting and the special effects, the usual answer is “a while”. There are a few examples of quick returning on the list – Derngarm, Shadowed Galaxy Mummies (the Spirit Form), and Magma – but they definitely have their own problems. As a general rule, Returning is a lot slower than using spells and psionic powers – but it works in a lot of settings and situations where such spells and powers are not available and it works under it’s own power rather than calling for help from the outside.

“In what condition do you come back? Full HP? 1 HP? Also, what heals and what doesn’t? Do you regrow limbs? Heal diseases? And what about spell slots and the like?” Once again, this depends a lot on your setting, your special effects, and the description of your personal version of returning – but given that Returning is usually a downtime thing, it rarely matters. After all, if you Return by transferring your mind into a new clone body at your secret cloning facility halfway across the galaxy, that will heal almost anything. If you rise as an undead to avenge yourself upon your murderer, that won’t heal much of anything – although it may not matter much either because the fact that you have a skull for a face won’t matter to you any longer.

“What’s to stop a character who can only be killed by some specific thing from just offing himself if confronted by that thing?”. Well, if you can only be permanently slain by a silver weapon forged under the light of the full moon… presuming that you know that someone has such a weapon, and are willing to cede the field to them, and are willing to be out of play for however long it takes you to come back, and are willing to become known for abandoning your treasures and responsibilities and being instantly driven away by anyone who waves an appropriate weapon at you (or credibly pretends to do so)… then nothing. Now, if it requires a special ritual to keep you dead, or requires that someone find and destroy your phylactery, offing yourself would simply be giving them a better chance to get rid of you permanently.

“On the topic of offing one’s self, it seems like you would never need more than minor rewrite, because you could still get a full re-spec just by killing yourself four times.”. The quick general answer there is that what you can rewrite once again depends on your setting, your special effects, and the description of your personal version of returning. The quick game-mechanical answer is that it tends to be the same points each time for any given version of returning. Does your body change form? Well, form-basedphysical abilities are going to change, but your mental skills and abilities most likely will not.

Of course you can buy this as a power for retraining: Returning with Major (50% of available character points) Rewrite, Specialized and Corrupted / usable once every three levels at most, if the user actually dies it only works if the body was not recovered and the cause was weird and mystical (being disintegrated in a dimensional vortex, fine, devoured by something, not so good) and the new abilities purchased must relate to the cause of “death”, otherwise requires at least two months of downtime (and more is better) and is restricted to changing out learned abilities (6 CP). You can read more about retraining (and why a reliable method of doing so is treated as a special power) over HERE.

5) “Do you always come back as the same thing, and do you know what you’ll come back as?” This, once again, depends a lot on your setting, your special effects, and the description of your personal version of returning. Vampires tend to come back as vampires. According to tradition, slain werewolves often come back as vampires. Timelords change around a lot of skills and some physical details, but always come back as Timelords. A revenant who rises to avenge his or her death may not even come back with Returning and might trade almost all his or her mental abilities in for tracking abilities and the raw ability to beat their target to death.

And I hope that helps!

Mystaran Immortals And Eclipse D20

The question here (From “Frank”) is whether or not I ever did an Eclipse conversion for Mystara’s Basic Dungeons and Dragons Immortals.

Now I have to admit that I hadn’t: most of the early games I played in or ran started with the little blue book edition – the “starter kit” that led into 1’st edition AD&D rather than with “Basic D&D”- and the AD&D rules had been almost entirely supplanted by Continuum II rules by the time 2’nd edition came along. Still, it’s an interesting question – so lets take a look at it. After all, Basic D&D had some campaign options, and a mass battle system, and the Immortals rules, all of which were well ahead of their times.

Basic D&D to Eclipse covers a pretty big jump in editions, mechanics, and game assumptions – but probably the biggest difference between the Immortals of Mystara and the Gods of Eclipse is that Immortals cross a sharp dividing line after they hit level thirty-six – basically starting over again at “Immortal Level One” with a modest selection of Immortal-level powers, a brand new thirty-six level progression to work on, a modest number of hit points, and the ability to (fairly cheaply) create mortal-level avatars of any mortal level up to thirty-six. Now, admittedly basic D&D levels didn’t offer nearly as many options as levels in Eclipse and were generally less powerful – but “level thirty-six” was still a pretty high bar to clear and those levels were scaled to the game environment just as much as the levels in later versions of the game were. For comparison purposes I’d peg a level thirty-six basic D&D character at at least low epic level in Eclipse – call it level twenty-four. That’s two-thirds their base level, which seems fair enough.

Secondarily, Mystaran Immortals were subject to a lot of social rules about their interactions with mortals – basically handwaving away why Immortals didn’t just handle a lot of their own affairs. Most settings will not have this universal treaty between the gods or anything similar to keep PC’s from running amuck – so the rules will have to allow for mortals and immortals to interact on relatively even terms rather than drawing a sharp distinction between “mortal” and “immortal” abilities.

Eclipse, of course, treats godhood / immortality / gaining a sphere of influence as a slow evolution; With GM permission it is perfectly possible to have a god as a part of a first or second level party – and the system is set up to make that playable. A low level god has purchased a few extremely powerful “divine” (and almost never usable) powers instead of more typical stuff that may be weaker, but can be used far more often. Those rules have been used a number of times, mixing minor gods in parties with mortals – and it worked just fine. The player-character gods did indeed have major divine powers in the form of Godfire – but Godfire recovers so slowly that such gods had to rely mostly on the same sorts of abilities that every other character relied on in their everyday adventures.

Thus Eclipse has no hard-and-fast dividing line between mortal and immortal powers beyond “I upgrade this power beyond all reason by backing it with Godfire” – and even then a powerful “mortal” can boost their powers to match. In Eclipse, there is nothing actually preventing a normal character from learning to create galaxies or throw planets around; it will just take a lot of work and levels. Sure, the spell for creating a dimension of your own design of arbitrary size is level twenty-one – but there are several ways for mortals to achieve the ability to cast that spell well before level thirty-six.

So there’s the first major difference: In Eclipse terms, “Immortals” are just high-level characters who have bought a few specific abilities. Since buying Godhood doesn’t cost them any of their old powers – in fact, those usually continue advancing – quite a few a few of Mystara’s “Immortal Powers” are utterly irrelevant. An Eclipse character who controls undead, or turns into a dragon, or is an expert thief, doesn’t need any special abilities to retain those abilities when they ascend to godhood, unlike Mystaran Immortals who only got to take four “Immortal Powers” and lost their “mortal” abilities. For that matter, Eclipse “Immortals” get to keep their racial abilities too.

So we can eliminate the Mystaran Immortal Powers of…

  • Control Undead. This is Negative Energy Channeling – a basic cleric ability that commonly starts at level one. Like a lot of this stuff, if you want it, by level twenty-four you should have had it for a very long time.
  • Dragon Form: Shapechange. The original version provides lots of extra attacks, but the Eclipse version provides various inherent powers and a LOT more uses of a breath weapon. It’s a wash – and if a character wants this, they should (once again) already have it by level twenty-four.
  • Dragon Breath: Inherent Spell with Bonus Uses or Path of The Dragon or similar. Dragon Breath in Eclipse is just a high-powered attack spell. Why not try a set of Martial Maneuvers instead?
  • Extra Attacks: Any skilled combatant gets some of those automatically thanks to iterative attacks, and there are plenty of ways in Eclipse to get more.
  • Fighter Abilities: Half of the special maneuvers of Basic D&D are now standard elements of the combat system – which is good; you do not need to be a high level fighter to learn to brace a weapon against a charge – and the rest are just combat feats. Are you a fighter type? You probably already have the maneuvers that you want.
  • Increased Movement. Immortals basically get a +20′ on their movement modes. Is there an epic level type running around without access to Haste? (You can buy it later with Legendarium)
  • Leech: This attack lets the user drain levels or “Immortal Power”. So… Trick (6 CP).
  • Mystic Abilities: You get some Classical Monk-style powers. As usual on this list… If a character wants these, they should already have them. The Monk Package is relatively cheap.
  • Poison Bite/Sting: Trick (6 CP). Yes, the venom described is exceptionally deadly – but given that the save DC’s for Tricks go up with level, that will happen automatically.
  • Spit Poison: Trick (6 CP). Possibly combined with a way to make melee attacks at range. There are first level spells for that.
  • Summon Weapons: Spirit Weapon, use of Charms and Talismans (Tulthara), various spells and lots of other ways – including just paying for the appropriate enchantment. In fact, the cheap weapon enchantment is better than the original immortal ability; it doesn’t cut out if someone moves your weapon.
  • Swoop: Basically double damage on a flying charge. So (Doubled Damage, 6 CP) if you don’t already have it – which you should if you’re into charging.
  • Thief: This lets you keep your Thief skills (although the basic rules didn’t offer the equivalent of modern “epic uses” or even a lot of the current standard ones). Again, unnecessary in Eclipse where your skills won’t vanish just because you developed Godfire.
  • Turn Undead: This is Positive Energy Channeling, a mainstay of every basic good cleric.
  • Weapon Mastery: This lets you be exceptionally good with a few weapons, like almost any d20 fighter – or any combatant at all in Eclipse, where Martial Arts skills are a thing.

A few “Immortal Abilities” are things you might want to buy – but as “divine powers” they’re kind of pathetic. They’re also available to perfectly normal people.

  • Detection Suite lets you detect stonework traps, sliding walls, sloping corridors, new construction, and hidden or secret doors like a Dwarf or Elf. As an “Immortal Power” that is more than a bit sad. Just take Occult Sense / Architecture (6 CP) and you can do all that and much more.
  • Height Decrease lets you escape bonds fairly easily and makes sneaking easier. Otherwise it’s entirely cosmetic. That’s… the equivalent of a first level Liberating Command effect and some Skill Bonuses. As an immortal power this does not impress.
  • Height Increase lets you throw rocks like a giant and is otherwise cosmetic. So a basic rock-throwing spell? Why is your EPIC LEVEL IMMORTAL DEMIGODLING throwing rocks? If they actually have nothing better to do in a fight (or virtually any other situation other than, perhaps, a rock-throwing contest), they should probably go home and think about their wasted levels.
  • Improved Saves is a specialized and weakened version of the Fortune ability. 6-9 CP altogether. Also something that almost any epic-level character will already have a better version of.
  • Increased Damage lets you add up to two extra dice to your damage with weapons or unarmed attacks – but Eclipse offers lots of better ways to do a little more damage.
  • Increased Initiative is just (3 CP) worth of Improved Initiative.
  • Snap lets you grab an opponent up to twenty feet away, drag them in, and hit them. This is another waste-of-time power. Sure, you could use Lunge or Telekineisis or Taunt or something to build an equivalent ability – but why bother? Buy a harpoon.

Honestly, if you think that any of this stuff is really worth bothering with in your character build, a high-level Eclipse character should almost certainly have it already. And if you don’t want it… well, that solves that problem. Ergo, this entire section is basically “no cost”.

Immortal Powers that are actually somewhat useful include:

  • Call Other: This is a much weaker version of Gate that costs 10 Temporary “Immortal Power”, has a fair chance of success but no certainty, cannot be used to simply escape, and is expensive for any immortal to travel through. You ‘ll want Path Of The Pharaoh / Gateway – and with anything approaching those limits it will only cost about (2 CP). Don’t be cheap. Pay the other 4 CP and travel for free. (This is the only thing in the “Immortal Powers” list that actually calls for being an “Immortal” by the way).
  • Groan costs 20 Temporary Immortal Power and forces everyone within a 180′ radius to save or be paralyzed for ten rounds. That;s actually a pretty good effect – but 20 TP is fabulously expensive and this edition used fixed saves (so anyone important was very likely to resist). What you’re going to want in Eclipse is Hold Monster with Battle Magic (Specialized and Corrupted / only for Hold Monster, 2 CP) and Power Words (Specialized for Increased Effect and Corrupted for Reduced Cost / only to store Hold Monster Effects (4 CP). That has limited usage at any given moment, but will let you try bind entire armies – and you don’t need any “Temporary Immortal Power” to run it.
  • Howl causes those in a 180′ radius to flee in terror for 3d6 rounds, although it suffers from the same low save DC’s as Groan. Since this has no listed cost, this is actually pretty good – although fear immunity/protection seems to apply normally. I’d probably go for a Fear effect, with Battle Magic (Specialized and Corrupted / only for Fear, 2 CP) and Power Words (Specialized and Corrupted / only to store Fear Effects (2 CP). That has limited usage at any given moment, but will let you try and terrify entire armies.

Presuming that any given Immortal will want to pick up Gate and perhaps Groan or Howl… setting aside 12 CP should cover that.

Now, to actually become an Immortal / God, you will need to buy Dominion (6 CP. By level twenty-four you are almost certainly in charge of SOMETHING), Manipulation (6 CP), Sphere of Influence (6 CP), and Godfire (6 CP). Congratulations. At the low, low, price of 24 CP you are now a God – if a fairly minor one. Unlike Mystaran gods, who all use basically the same power set, your choice of your Sphere of Influence will affect a lot of aspects of your character.

Next up we have the Immortal Spells. Some (Most? All?) will not actually be spells in Eclipse of course, but these are powers that all Mystaran Immortals have.

  • Bestow/Diminish. Costs permanent Immortal Power, can grant or remove abilities. This is a basic function of Godfire.
  • Conceal Magical Nature: This is capable of concealing artifacts and such for up to a year. You can do this with cloaking spells and Metamagic, a tailored spell (designed or freeform), Godfire, or Reality Editing – but as a God you have access to Seal Of Silence (6 CP), which is a much more impressive and far more versatile way to hide things.
  • Create Species: Another function of Godfire.
  • Detect Immortal Magic: Since there’s no difference between mortal and immortal magic, the basic detection function isn’t complicated – but the global area and one-day duration is trickier. On the other hand, you’re only interested in genuinely major acts of magic, not in having an alarm going off every time an avatar of some mercy goddess casts “Cure Light Wounds” or better (probably about twenty times a round, all day, every day. Mercy goddesses are popular, numerous, and BUSY). Ergo, you could take this as an Occult Sense (6 CP). Of course, “Automatically sense related major events” is a built-in part of the path to Godfire, so you don’t even necessarily have to buy anything at all for this.
  • Hear Supplicants: For this you want Ears Of The Wind and Multi-Tasking (12 CP in total). If you want, you can extend this with Know The Flock (+6 CP), and automatically know what’s up with all of your followers and anything that’s influencing them. Multi-Tasking also has the benefit of letting you do many things at once, which Immortals normally cannot.
  • Immortal Eye: Lets you use Clairvoyance on anywhere you have an interest. Arguably covered by Know The Flock, but you could easily add an Occult Sense, use Spells, or just Specialize the Multi-Tasking for increased effect.
    Increase Spell Duration: There is metamagic for this. Taking it with with Glory will let you do this readily enough (12 CP, or only 6 CP if you specialize down to this specific effect).
  • Power Attack: This really doesn’t mean anything in Eclipse, where there is no such thing as “temporary (divine) power”, but various forms of power draining or blocking, or other incapacitating effects, can be built – most easily with Trick (6 CP) and an option to make melee attacks at range.
  • Probe: In Eclipse terms, this tells you if someone has Godfire. Given that Godfire is a massive cloud of magical potential that gathers around gods… this can be done pretty easily. It also tells you peoples names – which is a very impressive parlor trick, and is sometimes taken as an Occult Sense (basic information about those you look at, 6 CP). Rather like MMORPG’s. You can see the tags – “Arif Meldoon, Level Six Expert (Tailor and Crafting Magic), Has a Minor Quest to offer.”. The original version will not reveal mortal avatars, which is less than helpful.
  • Probe Shield protects against Probe. Unfortunately, as written, it is short-term, moderately expensive, and only protects against the “name” part of Probe. It’s a game mechanic meant to help enforce the non-intervention rules. In Eclipse you can just buy Cloaking (6 CP) and be done with it forever.
  • Reduce Saving Throw: This makes a mortal-level spell harder to save against. Of course, with three or four levels of the Amplify metamagic, you can basically eliminate the save entirely. You can get Amplify and Glory, Specialized in this specific trick, or in drastically reducing saves, for a mere (6 CP).
  • Shape Reality: This one is a biggie! It has several separate functions:
    • Create a Heavenly Body. They start uninhabited, but that’s fairly readily fixable. In Eclipse, this calls for very high level magic – mostly because it is recognized that creating heavenly bodies with an arbitrary size, velocity, and composition, can easily destroy solar systems. Say “Asteroid, One Foot above the Campaign Planet, Orbital Velocity of 99.9999999999% of Light Speed, Directed straight towards the Campaign Planet”. For a Mystaran Immortal that’s 5 Immortal Power and well within the capabilities of a first-level new Immortal. Eclipse wants to know “then why is the setting still around?”. So this one converts as “you must work very hard and have vast magical powers to be able to do this”. No cost, because most immortals in Eclipse CANNOT do it. And thank them for that.
      • Sadly, this was one of the items that Frank was specifically interested in – but it’s simply too potentially destructive. On the other hand, you can easily create your own dimension in Eclipse; you just can’t ram it into another one.
    • Move a Heavenly Body: Another job for very high level magic – and for the same basic reason. This one also basically converts as “you need loads of power for this” and has no cost because, if lots of people can do this, the setting will have been destroyed before the game begins.
    • Create a Plane: Ah, an easy one! Take Creation (6 CP) and get your own dimension built to your personal specifications. You want more? Take Bonus Uses (+6 CP).
    • Move A Plane: This doesn’t actually make sense in Eclipse. Even in Mystara it really only moved established planar access routes and only worked if no other immortal was on the plane – and in Eclipse it’s not really a big deal to create and destroy dimensional weak points and you don’t actually have to use them to travel anyway. There are spells for manipulating portals, color pools, and similar, or you could just take a little Mana with Reality Editing to do it. Most simply, take it as a Minor Privilege (Can re-arrange planar access routes if no other divine power is objecting, 3 CP).
    • Alter A Plane: This lets you control your personal planes. This is a basic function of Godfire. – and there are some rules for dimension design in this article. (The subject was too esoteric to make space for it in Eclipse).
    • Transform: Basically a high-powered Polymorph or Reincarnation effect. Like most things that cost permanent Immortal Power, this is a function of Godfire.

Now that mess is a little more expensive – a total of up to 69 CP. Admittedly a 24’th level character will have around 650 – 700 CP as a base, and a 48’th level character may have twice that – but 69 CP is still enough to buy plenty of other tricks for the non-immortals in the party.

Basic Immortal Abilities:

  • Armor Class: An Immortal has a base AC of 20, and gains up to a +20 bonus at level 48. Buy Defender (All three possible variants, 18 CP). Done.
  • Artifact Creation: Take Create Artifact (6 CP). A level one Eclipse character can make artifacts – although an epic level character will probably find it a great deal easier to do so.
  • Aura Attack: Awe. A basic function of having Godfire.
  • Combat Abilities:
    • Proficient with All weapons and armor. By the time you hit level twenty-four you should be proficient with whatever you want to be. No cost here.
    • Base Attack Bonus: While the Immortal class basically sets this at (Level/2), or (2 x Level / 3) when translated, Eclipse characters are free to buy more or less – and should already have BAB. Again, no particular cost.
    • Damage: Immortals do up to two extra dice of damage, on top of a 2d6 punch. That’s convenient I suppose, but fairly meaningless in Eclipse. If a character is interested in doing extra direct damage in combat, they should be doing a LOT more than this by the time they reach epic levels. For this, I’ll refer you to the Advanced Fighter series.
  • Communication (Telepathic): Mindspeech (6 CP).
  • Creation Of (Temporary) Magic Items: Now this is a little odd by later edition standards, where your array of magic items is a much more important part of your character. To do this buy access to the Occult Skill Dream-Binding (3 CP) and spend some skill points. Viola! Temporary magic items.
  • Granting Power Points: A basic function of having Godfire; you can use it to boost yourself or others.
  • Improving Ability Scores: A function of Levels, Dominion, Godfire, and Epic Items. Immortal Statistics went up to 100, but the actual bonuses were spread out more and only went up to +20. Ergo, in current d20 scaling, Immortal Attributes peak at 50. Still pretty high – but hardly unreachable. Worse, most of the attributes other than Strength pretty much no longer had any effect for Immortals. Really, no cost. If you want to leverage your better scores, try Augmented Bonus and/or Finesse.
  • Immunities:
    • Immunity to Aging and Diseases is a part of having Godfire.
    • Immunity to “Mortal Dragon Breath” is nonsensical in Eclipse, where there is no sharp dividing line between “mortals” and “immortals” – but is mostly just equivalent to having a decent Energy Resistance, or Fortune and Luck (for Saves) or any of several other defenses that any epic level character should have. No cost.
      Immunity to Level Drain. There are pretty basic protective spells, as well as a choice of armor enchantments, to cover this. Any epic level character should have this covered already. No cost.
    • Immunity to having to Eat and Drink. If you actually care, less than a single CP worth of Innate Enchantment (a couple of Everfull Mugs (400 GP) and Everlasting Rations (350 GP) – perhaps x.8 (Cannot Share) covers this. When was the last time that your epic level character was at risk of starving to death anyway? Legendarium (see below) will cover this easily.
    • Immunity to having to Breathe: You could buy this straight as a minor Immunity, or just buy a Necklace of Adaptation (9000 GP) – but the effective way to do it is to buy access to Occult Skill (Legendarium) (3 CP). At level twenty-four that will provide a fair amount of inherent items/powers, which will come in handy later.
    • Immunity to Life Trapping: Godfire will handle this.
    • Immunity to Mortal Magic. Again, meaningless in Eclipse – but being nigh-immune to minor spellcasters is appropriate enough. Buy Spell/Power Resistance (6 CP). At epic levels this is pretty well proof against normal spellcasters.
    • Immunity to Mortal Poisons. Well, that’s Immunity (Common, Major, Major, Corrupted / not against attacks by creatures with Godfire, 6 CP). That won’t completely protect you against really powerful poisons – but that also is fairly classical. Buy a small attribute-healing effect with your Legendarium to recover quickly from anything that does get through.
  • Resistant to Mortal Attacks. Meaningless in Eclipse due to the lack of a hard division between “mortal” and “immortal” abilities, but the basic result was that ordinary creatures had a hard time damaging an immortal. Buy some Damage Reduction, Specialized in Physical Attacks and Corrupted / not versus creatures with access to Godfire, both for Increased Effect (6 CP for DR 9/creatures with Godfire). Buy a small healing effect with your Legendarium to handle any damage that does get through.
  • Infravision: Occult Sense (6 CP). Darksight has long since replaced Infravision in the system, but this is Eclipse: you can buy either one you want.
  • Movement: Immortals can walk, swim, turn incorporeal, and fly a bit faster than normal. Buying this gets expensive in CP terms, but by the time level twenty-four rolls around your Legendarium will neatly cover some of those abilities (and probably a good deal more).
  • Regenerate 1d8 HP/Day. D20 characters heal a lot better than this automatically. No cost. Immortals may have lots of hit points (the sources contradict themselves somewhat) – so this is probably Augmented Bonus (18 CP to add a second attribute modifier to their Con Mod for Hit Point purposes).

That’s 78 CP. Again, somewhat pricey – but easily manageable at epic levels.

Forms: Mystaran Immortals can take on their True Form, a non-corporeal Spirit Form, and Mortal Forms – but they can only take on one form at a time. Eclipse characters can use Multi-Tasking to keep an eye on many places at once (pretty much what the Spirit Form is good for) and communicate with followers. Eclipse characters can use Godfire to make mortal avatars (Basically by Creating Life as the desired Avatar), and thus can be in many places at once and do many things at once – an optional rule for Mystaran Immortals. Overall, this is a bit of a wash, and so has no cost.

Unlimited Spellcasting: This costs a lot of Temporary Power each day, but offers unlimited access to all the mortal-level spells in the book. Of course… those spells were weaker, were of far more limited level, and had far less variety than the current d20 spell lists – even discounting the multiple styles of freeform magic in Eclipse. Just as importantly, Eclipse d20 has no “mortal level” magic. It’s just magic. Worst of all… this makes no sense. The writers had to throw it in on Mystara because non-spellcasters had no options comparable to spellcasters – and they had to allow spellcasting, or the players would rebel. Yet if they threw in a spellcasting option like the “Fighter Abilities” option it would be a must-have, or you’d be crippling your character. Yet most classical godlings didn’t do much spellcasting, if any. Hercules and Frey had some powers, but they certainly weren’t druids, mages, or d20 clerics. So it had to be something optional, yet available to every immortal. Ergo… spend a bunch of temporary power, get unlimited magic for the day.

But nothing in any mythology works this way. This compromise simply will not work in the game. It was acknowledged that it didn’t work properly in the original rules with the bit about “Most immortals… spend 100 TP every day so as to be able to cast any spell (magical, clerical, and druidic) any number of times per day”.

Honestly, you can punch people, or use a dragon’s breath weapon twice per day – or cast limitless high-powered spells. Which do YOU pick?

So this one is a flat “No”. Immortal characters in Eclipse get whatever spellcasting they’ve purchased, just as they get whatever combat abilities and skills they’ve purchased. That offers monstrous amounts of power at epic levels already. Go ahead and dabble in Hexcrafting, if you want a cheap option that allows some epic-level casting for your dramatic deific effects. Or just take Divine Attribute (6 CP). If you are REALLY lucky you may be able to persuade your game master into letting you Corrupt and Specialize it for Increased Effect – you only get a few effects, but you retain something reasonably close to control when you use them. Regardless, I’m not going to count that option since it goes well beyond what a Mystaran Immortal could normally do simply because Divine Attribute takes you straight into “Game Master Fiat” territory.

In practice, this super-spellcasting option is mostly unplayable anyway. D20 quite literally offers (thanks to Distant Horizon’s own Spell Templates in The Practical Enchanter) hundreds of millions of possible spells. There are tens of thousands of individual spells scattered over hundreds or thousands of sources. There are dozens of types of spellcasters with their own spell lists. To use this power effectively the player and game master would have to be familiar with a large chunk of that material, sort through it for items to allow and disallow, and keep track of it. Even –>I<– do not want to try and do that! The game is for having fun, now for nightmare thesis projects!

So that gives us a total: “Immortal Powers Template” cost of (12 CP) + Basic Godhood (24 CP) + Immortal “Spells” (69 CP) + “Basic Immortal Abilities (78 CP) = 183 CP. That’s in +5 ECL territory (albeit with a few points to spare if I’ve forgotten something) – and I don’t see much in the way of drawbacks to cut down that cost with.

So: you hit level twenty-four (or higher), go on a series of mighty quests, and – at the end – pick up a +5 ECL template and then sit out of play until the other characters catch up with you. After that… you use your new powers to adventure on a larger scale until you hit level 48 (ECL 53), where it’s probably long past time to retire.

Eclipse d20 – Alchemical Creations, The Item List

As for the alchemical products list, we have…

The Pinnacle – Grand Alchemy.

Grandiose, Mythic, or “Arcane” Alchemical Creations pretty much give reality the finger – and, as such, calls for extremely high DC Crafting Stunts, Grandiose Reality Editing, or massive acts of magic. This is the sort of thing that makes most Wizards, Psychics, AND Scientists go “Whaaaaa?”.

There are two major categories of High Alchemy – Arcane Materials and Arcana Essences – and one specific procedure, the Arcane Antithesis.

Arcane Materials exhibit unnatural properties. They may remain perpetually hot or cold, have virtually no weight, be near-perfect insulators, want to accelerate endlessly, maintain a sourceless difference in electrical potential across themselves, amplify or frequency-shift light, be superconductors, block magic, or gravity, or some other force, or be incredibly tough. If you want to make a boat with sails that catch the winds of thought that blow through the astral plane at superluminal speeds… this is the discipline you want. There are thousands of possibilities here from everburning cooking logs on through armored clothing and nightsight goggles and on up to space drives. Just remember that his sort of thing makes no sense and you will save yourself a headache.

Arcane Essences are distilled forces and conditions. Sanity, Magnetism (or “Lodestone”), Gravity, Darkness, Winter, Purity, Curses, Lightning, Rage, Luck – or even things like “Knowledge”, “South”, “Up”, “Entropy”, “Life” (also known as “Aqua Vitae”), “Death” (“Aqua Mortis”), or “Time”. Released without control, their effects are unpredictable and crude. Breaking a vial of Gravity is likely to cause an implosion (and perhaps a mild earthquake), followed by an explosion as the compressed materials expand again. With some method of control essences can be used for all kinds of tricks – so anyone who wants to get into Essences will want some magical or technical ability to control what they do when they’re released. Perhaps some Gadgetry again? A gravity-powered Flight Harness, a Solar Blaster, and a Magnetic Force Shield would be quite useful – and giving them an external power sources will bypass the usual usage restrictions on gadgets in favor of their alchemical “ammunition”. Once again, this kind of thing is in the realm of concepts made physical. It’s not going to make any sense unless, perhaps, you can manage to squint properly with your brain.

Arcane Antithesis: This operation does only one thing; it creates a negative version of something. Not just something like “antimatter”, which has a positive rest mass and yields energy when combined with normal matter. This means Negative Matter. Negative Energy. Negative Entropy. Negative Information. A hole in the multiverse. Something which isn’t just unlikely; it’s impossible. This is generally a lengthy project, is limited to things that might fit in a moving van, and requires the constant presence of the original thing you’re making an antithesis of.

Once you’re done the two will annihilate, leaving nothing. This isn’t quite final and absolute – but it’s about as close as you’re likely to get. Sure, there is undoubtedly another one of whatever it was coming into existence elsewhere in the multiverse, but you can be pretty sure that whatever it was – even if it was an indestructible artifact – is out of your life for a very long time to come. If you really must get rid of something this will generally do it for you.

Mastery – High Alchemy

High Alchemy still cheats – but it cheats a lot less than Grandiose Alchemy does. It still calls for Major Reality Editing, very high DC Crafting Stunts, or magic of around level six, but the things that it produces mostly operate in comprehensible ways. It too has three basic branches – Condensates, Devices, and Lifeshaping.

Condensates are pretty straightforward: you make something smaller and more concentrated with no loss in its effects. You can thus turn bottled potions into little capsules, store great amounts of water in small flasks, turn excellent six-course meals into sticks of chewing gum, make air pills that last for hours, turn various alchemical items into drops or little “gems”, turn drums of fuel oil into drops of “pyroconcentrate”, turn high-pressure steam into a dry powder (a substitute for explosives in the many worlds that don’t allow them), condense light into liquids (possible “blaster ammo”), modify equipment so that it can be expanded from, or collapsed into, little capsules, or even try to extract and condense information – perhaps turning a mass of magnetic tapes into a DVD or allowing you to drink a book instead of studying it.

The main problem with Condensates is that – for the most part – they’re simply more convenient to carry. Unless the GM is really into rocketry, and is worried about the delta-v of various fuels, it’s impressive to put a few drops of fuel into a locomotive’s firebox and have it run at full power for hours – but in settings offering easy access to extradimensional storage space, that is really all it is. There’s nothing wrong with that, and condensates are often useful, but they’re rarely a major factor unless you really MUST hide something in a false tooth.

Devices are fairly simple: they are built using alchemical techniques and so work much better than their actual construction and the designers skill justifies. A suit of armor full of clockwork might operate as a mechanical man, capable of reasoning and performing skilled tasks. A statue might function as a basic Golem. Paint might make what is painted real (See “Marvelous Pigments”). A cup or fork might purify poisons. A camera might function (if no such items exist) or reveal mysterious and normally invisible presences or reveal desires or someone’s inner nature (if cameras exist in the setting). A skeleton key might conform itself to any lock. A precious alchemical stone might function as a universal magical component, losing value as expensive spells are cast. A rod of lead (which resists various magics) might absorb several spells before melting. A flask might hold a dimensional pocket that can safely contain virtually anything. A wand of strangely alloyed gold (“Orichalcum”) might enhance spells – either slightly or a great deal but only a few times. A whip might hit like it was as heavy as mercury and be impossible to grasp save by the handle. A compass fitted with a chip of material might always point towards the main mass the chip was taken from. A spear of dissimilar metals might discharge electrical arcs on impact.

Devices are pretty classical “you get equipment bonuses”. The trouble is that they generally have to be created by the alchemist in their entirety, tend to require a certain amount of maintenance, and so are limited by personal skills. In game terms, if you have the ability to enhance your items this way, each relevant skill (usually Craft, but others may be eligible in particular cases) provides “gadget points” equal to it’s base rating (Skill Base + Attribute Modifier + Skill-Enhancing Feats) to invest in relevant items – although their overall effectiveness is always limited by the characters level. Thus the GM might rule that Craft/Armor and Craft/Clockwork can both contribute “Gadget Points” to the cost of a Clockwork Soldier (Say, 10 Points) – but that cost will go down as the character goes up in level and said Soldier goes from being a very useful ally to a minor distraction. Alternatively, if someone only wants to dabble in this form of Alchemy, an Occult Skill (Equipment Enhancement or some such) may be in order.

Lifeshaping allows an alchemist to extract qualities from living things, either storing them for later use or imbuing them into other living things or even artifacts – whether by purely mystical means, grafting tissues, or bizarre surgeries. Sadly, the extraction process is generally fairly destructive (although getting a use of a breath weapon, or dose of poison from a serpent, or some such is usually simple enough), so transferring the abilities of sapient beings around is generally pretty unethical. Moreover, it is much, MUCH, easier to give something a temporary ability than it is to make it permanent. Thus a practitioner might extract the strength of a bull – perhaps creating an elixir / “mutagen” to let someone take on that attribute temporarily, or imbuing it into an item to make it move on it’s own, or even attempting to transfer it permanently into another creature to replace it’s own strength.

Possibilities with lifeshaping include monster creation (usually starting with some minor life form too weak to hold it’s pattern well and infusing it with the desired abilities), creating “mutagens”, grafts, or “animal elixirs” capable of bestowing animalistic powers (either temporarily, permanently, or inducing something akin to Therianthropy), the transference or storage of souls, imbuing objects with temporary or permanent life, supercharging bacteria to create plagues, deadly mists and slimes, and similar weaponry), bioengineering lifeforms to produce useful products or byproducts, supercharging higher life forms to temporarily boost them or induce regeneration (sometimes known as “flesh glue), raising the (very recently) dead, extending lifespans, restoring personal energies, curing cases of disease or poisoning, restoring lost bodily functions, and making various kinds of “animal extracts”, such as putting a Rust Monsters power in a rod, or a use of Dragon’s Breath in a potion, or just smearing a location with Manticore Musk to scare off most other predators.

Of course, the problem here is that you have to have a source for the property you want to extract and bestow. That’s generally not much of a problem with common domestic animals, and only a moderate problem with less common ones – but if you want to give someone the strength, diving ability, and swimming ability of a sperm whale… you will likely have some considerable difficulty in catching one alive, getting it into your laboratory, building apparatus to fit, and basically distilling vital functions from it – especially since it is almost certain to resist. Stealing functions from intelligent creatures – basically rendering them down for useful bits – is generally about as unethical as it gets. That’s why “creating monsters” is usually a thing for villains, not heroes.

Journeyman Procedures – Middle Alchemy

Middle Alchemy doesn’t cheat very much. “Notable” Reality Editing, High – but not particularly Epic – DC’s, and Spells of level three or less will suffice. It covers Compounds, Firecrafting, and Drugs and Toxins.

Compounds exploit the inherent, natural, magic of animals, plants, and minerals. The witch doctor who prepares a meal of Lions Heart to imbue youngsters facing their rite of manhood with courage, the jeweler combining metal and carefully chosen gems to exploit their magic, and the herbalist brewing mystical tonics are all simply activating the magic inherent in their materials, rather than creating enchantments of their own.

Compounds are indeed magical, but tend to be quite specific and more powerful effects tend to either have prices attached, don’t last very long, or call for extremely exotic magical materials since there is only so much magic inherent in most materials. Thus, unlike most d20 “crafting”, these recipes tend to call for specific ingredients rather than simply assigning a generic raw material cost. This also means that this field offers a list of specific applications (determined by the user’s skill and what components are available), rather than a generic description of how it works and what is possible. Ergo, here are some possibilities. There are plenty of others of course – but there is no guarantee that the ingredients for any of these will be available in any particular setting.

  • Bane Powder or Venom: Damages some type of creature, bypassing most defenses. Often applied to weapons.
  • Beast Draught: Temporarily grants a specific animal ability or may permanently grant a personality trait appropriate to the source animal.
  • Birthstones, when set in appropriate metals and combined with appropriate symbols may have actual – if minor – magical powers. Or just be superstitions. That depends on the setting.
  • Bloodfire Catalyst: Turns the user’s blood into an outrageously corrosive substance and makes the user resistant to acid while this effect lasts. Fire based versions also exist, but are even trickier to make.
  • Bottled Sleep: Acts like a days rest, but uses deep reserves – making it effective only once per month.
  • Burgeoning Verdigris Elixir: Makes plants grow in mere moments.
  • Canned Fog: Pours out a sizeable cloud when opened. Other weather can also be canned; tornado in a can anyone?
  • Canopy Of Waters: The air in a fair radius remains breathable, but the area is effectively underwater: fires won’t burn, people can swim through the air, and so on.
  • Dark Elixir: Drinking this allows the user to use any one shadow magic spell of level two or less, or one specific shadow magic spell (chosen when the elixir is brewed) of level three. It can also be used to add +20% reality to a Shadow Magic spell cast normally. Sadly, the components are very rare.
  • Dental Paste: Mends and restores teeth.
  • Draught (or Paint) Of Living Death: Makes a living creature seem to be undead.
  • Ectoplasmic Dream: Creates a vision, phantasm, or dream when opened, the general type of vision or phantasm must be defined in advance, but the user may determine the details.
  • Ectoplasmic Draught: Allows the user to exhale a Psychic Construct.
  • Elixir Of Mental Clarity: Relieves any mental affliction, including senility and being near death for a time.
  • Entropic Salts: Cause devices and structures to breakdown or fail. A pinch might rust a lock into uselessness or break a wagon wheel, a handful might cause a tank engine to fail or a treat to snap.
  • Foamstone: Expands enormously, and then becomes as hard and durable as granite,
  • Fumes Of Vision: These grant clairvoyant visions, capable of crossing space, time, and dimension, but aren’t especially reliable and offer very little control. Concentrating on something will usually get a few somehow-relevant glimpses if the GM is feeling cooperative though.
  • Golem Transformation: The user temporarily takes on the traits of a Construct.
  • Liquid Metals can transform from solid to liquid and back again when properly triggered, This also covers “memory metals” that can take on many detailed forms.
  • Reanimation Elixir: Raises the recently dead for a short time.
  • Recharging Bath: Adds charges to a charged magical item over a time proportionate to the charge cost.
  • Sacred Balm: Acts as a Panacea spell, albeit at minimal caster level. Often requires very rare components or the blessing of a major, good-oriented, religious figure.
  • Sacrificial Incense: Can summon and manifest minor spirits and makes an acceptable offering to any spirit or divine being.
  • Scroll Ink; Allows the user to scribe scrolls without a feat or XP cost.
  • Spectral Sand: Dissolves into brilliant rainbow light when thrown, an effect similar to Color Spray.
  • Spell Catalysts” These make specific spells or groups thereof either more powerful or easier to cast.
  • Tangle (Foam, Webbing, etc) is basically an area-effect relative of the Tanglefoot Bag.
  • Tempering Oil makes objects it is applied to considerably more durable.
  • Universal Solvent is hard to store and use, but often surprisingly effective.
  • Vigil Candles: Grant a minor blessing to a specified individual when burned, no matter where they are if blessed / holy. If cursed / unholy they inflict a minor, temporary, curse on them.
  • Waters Of Alchemical Sulfur: When applied to a mundane item it permanently gains the Masterwork quality.
  • Wraith Dust: When thrown adheres to ghosts and other intangible apparitions and renders them temporarily solid.
  • Yielding Grave Elixir: Raises small numbers of weak undead permanently or lots of weak undead temporarily, can temporarily enhance the powers of greater undead.

This particular option can be a lot of fun. You can go questing for rare ingredients and tell people that you could cure that condition if you just had some specific components, and so on – but if you get too far into it, you can wind up with people wanting to know what components can be found in every monsters corpse, and along every path, and in every town, which is more than a bit boring. With Compounds you need to be careful to strike a balance. This also fits in fairly well with the Ceremonial Magic rules, although powerful magical components can quite reasonably upgrade the results that can be achieved.

Firecrafts are mostly straightforward, and fall under Middle Alchemy for two reasons – because quite a lot of worlds normally disallow simple explosives, rockets, guns, and super-concentrated fuels unless you use magic in their construction and because using a little magic to make them so greatly decreases the chance of either setting yourself on fire or producing catastrophic explosions. Other than that… in any world where fireworks work properly, this sort of thing is usually relatively cheap and adding special ingredients may produce unusual effects. An alchemist who specializes in blowing things up can be quite formidable.

  • Catalysts and Inhibitors can speed or slow chemical reactions, induce fevers (and a limited form of Haste) or suspended animation, extinguish or enhance fires, preserve unstable materials for later use, counteract poisons or make them take effect near-instantly and otherwise either vastly speed up or slow down various chemical reactions.
  • Explosives power grenades, can be formed into shaped charges blow holes in barriers, blow up areas, propel shrapnel, and power guns, cannons, and mortars. Special ammunition can be given various weapon-properties through alchemy, although the total very rarely goes above the equivalent of +3.
  • Fire Constructs take advantage of the fact that a fire can be considered something very close to a form of life – and are closely related to both Firework, Incendiaries, and Fuels. They are basically temporary “creatures” made of fire, rather like Gandalfs Fiery Dragon Firework – but capable of actually following orders, making decisions, and taking physical actions. Sure, they’re a bit insubstantial and fairly short “lived”, but they can be about as impressive as it gets.
  • Fireworks include all the usual fountains, pinwheels, rockets, bombs, firecrackers (these can be alchemically treated to drive away spirits and ghosts), and other ornamental stuff. Interestingly, fireworks can be made to give off other energies, creating auras of elemental force, holy or unholy areas, and even inclining areas towards particular alignments or types of magic. Flares in particular can light large areas, blind opponents, create strobe-like effects, act like sunlight to harm the undead and other light-susceptible creatures, and act as signals.
  • Fuels drive steam, internal combustion, and rocket engines, provide warmth, set things on long-lasting (and very intense) fire, burn underwater, and amplify fire spells.
    Incendiaries can produce fiery blasts, set an area on fire, provide long-lasting light, burst into flames when exposed to air, produce enough heat to melt metal or stone, power flame rifles and pistols – and can even leave behind small quantities of molten iron. I recommend caution when making FOOF however, no matter how skilled you are.
  • Luminaries include things like glowing chalk, luminous paint or ink, “glow sticks”, and a wide variety of other things that store or produce light. This isn’t usually a major category unless your alchemist desperately needs solar cells or nonmagical flameless lights – but simple and minor does not necessarily mean that they can’t be handy.
  • Smokes may impede vision, render the air toxic and unbreathable, cause temporary blindness, use up all the oxygen in an area, or leave various sorts of residues.

The Drugs and Toxins of Middle Alchemy both work incredibly quickly and can go a bit beyond the natural limits of such things – which is, of course, why you need alchemy to make them. This sort of thing includes d20 style poisons and antivenoms (real poisons and antitoxins generally do not take effect instantly), drugs that induce emotions, healing herbs which greatly accelerate healing by resting (about x 3), induced hibernation, powders of blindness, confusion, nausea and hallucinations, erasing memories, inducing (often poorly controlled without a lot of practice) psychic powers, vermin spray (does a fair amount of damage to vermin), hangover cures (that also work on recreational drugs), cleansing foam, generic antitoxins and disease cures, brews that knit bones, and that always-hot commodity, longevity elixirs. This may even may include the various Pulp Drugs if the game master is feeling very, VERY, generous.

The trouble with these substances is simple: they can push, augment, and disrupt the user’s body, and act unnaturally quickly – but they’re not magic. They won’t work on creatures with extremely abnormal metabolisms (or which have no metabolisms at all), their possible effects are really quite limited by d20 standards, they will lose effectiveness with overuse, and there are likely to be side effects – potentially quite serious side effects. There’s only so much combat drug that you can use before giving yourself a heart attack or stroke. That’s why most Alchemists only indulge in this sort of thing on rare occasions.

Student Brews – Low Alchemy

Low Alchemy is basically chemistry. Unlike most of the other reality-defying fields of research described above, you don’t actually need to use special powers to make it work – but a bit of Minor Reality Editing, the use of basic (generally level one) spells or even relevant level zero cantrips, and setting fairly high DC’s can vastly decrease the required time, enhance the purity and quality of the results, allow the preparation of larger quantities, let the user work with insufficient or primitive equipment, let the user skip past having to know more specific skills like “metallurgy”, and/or greatly reduce the chance of accidents. It’s still chemistry though. In a setting where characters strike like battleship guns, treat anti-tank missiles as minor annoyances, and can commonly take a one-magaton city-killing fusion bomb (according to d20 Future a mere 16d8, averaging 72 points of damage) to the face without breaking stride, Low Alchemy is fairly often convenient, but isn’t especially terrifying.

Quite a lot of Middle Alchemy can be done as Low Alchemy as well, but it makes items produced that way a lot less effective, a lot less pure, cost a lot more, and far more dangerous to make.

Given the extent of chemistry as a real science I’m not even going to try and list all the major categories of substances available – but here are a dozen that adventurers are fairly often interested in:

  • Clay and Ceramics cover pottery, bricks, tiles, cements, glazes, heat shields, synthetic bones, thermal and electrical insulators, crucibles, armor plating, catalytic surfaces, containment for various substances, terracotta, pipes, cutting edges, and many other products. Fast-setting and extra-strong varieties are reasonably often useful to adventurers.
  • Coloring Agents such as paints, dyes, enamels, bleaches, and lacquers, preserve materials, are often notable items of trade, and play a considerable role in Ritual Magic.
  • Corrosives include powerful acids and bases, as well as some substances which only affect specific targets – dissolving only steel, or only flesh. Batteries fall into this category too, as well as electroplating.
  • Distilling produces perfumes and alcohols, “cracks” crude oil into various products, separates out specific chemicals, and produces a wide variety of intoxicants.
  • Firearms, Gunpowder, and Explosives also fall under Low Alchemy IF – and ONLY IF – they normally work in the setting. If not, then it will take a much more powerful alchemist to concoct a version that will. If it’s high-energy reactions that are forbidden – such as in the Forgotten Realms where a fire god basically regards explosions as tasty candy and eats them before they can actually explode anything – you may need to go all the way up to Condensates and use the “Powdered Steam” trick. In any case, presumably I do not need to explain what guns are good for in RPG’s.
  • Gases include sleeping gas, flammable gases, nerve gases (poisons, but ones that call for a relatively small dose), mustard gas, liquified gases, anesthetics, and a wide variety of other unpleasantness.
  • Glues, Adhesives, and Sealants have a multitude of obvious uses, ranging from hull-sealing slap patches to surgery. Honestly, if an adventurer can’t think of some uses for a tube of superglue, they should go home.
  • Neutralizing agents start with compounds of clay and charcoal (which absorb and neutralize odors, water, and a wide variety of other chemical and alchemical agents), antitoxins, PH balancers to counter corrosives, water purification tablets, hygroscopic materials that suck water out of things, gas masks, and a wide variety of other chemical countermeasures.
  • Oils and Lubricants range from simple animal fats on through buckeyballs, near-frictionless, non-reactive, and “nonstick” surfaces.
  • Polymers and Plastics are used in armor, packaging, and thousands of other products. If you have a computer to look at this with, you should be familiar with a LOT of plastic products.
  • Smelting covers extracting metals and making alloys with various combinations of natural properties, glassblowing (including crafting vessels, lenses, and stained glass), making gemstones and crystals (both real and false), and even creating alloys that closely resemble precious metals without actually costing very much. If you want to be a counterfeiter you could do far worse.
  • Toxins and Medicines have problems. Poisons can be very effective in reality, but in d20 there are saving throws – and with realistic agents most of them won’t have a particularly high DC, d20 creatures often have no metabolism to be affected by realistic poisons, and are very often incredibly resistant even if they fail their saving throws. Real life medicines are only rarely up to the effectiveness of a first level spell and usually take far, FAR, too long to work. Personally, I would not waste my time. – unless you need to treat a LOT of people. After all, if it’s just three adventurers with a magical plague, you go with Cure Disease. If it’s city full of ordinary folks… a vaccine or drug which can be produced in massive batches is probably preferable.

Pathfinder’s Tinctures, Alchemical Reagents, and Power Components also fall into this category.

There are a lot more categories of Low Alchemy of course – but there isn’t a lot of point in going into them. These items may be occasionally useful, and they might even play a critical role in some special plan – but just how often will something like Pathfinder’s Paper Wall Paste (can be used to create a 5 x 5 sheet of paper that looks like a dirt wall on one round) really be that important? Why not just learn to cast Silent Image, which affects a much larger area and is at least ten thousand times as versatile?

That’s why Pathfinder added in the Alchemical Tinkering spell – which transforms one alchemical item into any other alchemical item – although given the vastly greater options for Alchemy on THIS list, that spell will only work on items of Low Alchemy (there might be higher level variants available though). That way clever players who come up with creative ideas for making some alchemical item actually useful can simply pull them out without loading themselves down with a half a ton of expensive alchemy that they will almost certainly never use.

Now there are doubtless sources with items that don’t fit into any of these categories properly out there – but there should be more than enough possibilities here for play, and this is Eclipse! if you find something really weird that you like in am obscure sourcebook… just ask your GM about including it. Odds are that it can be managed. Go ahead and post it here in the comments too; there’s no reason not to share.

Eclipse d20 – Alchemical Creation

There are several ways to handle d20 alchemy. While some of the general ideas were discussed HERE, there have been enough “how to” questions that it’s time for some specifics.

  • Eclipse includes a list of alchemical spells (on page 22) as one of it’s examples. So first up we have Alchemical Spellcasting. It’s effective – and not much of a departure from standard d20 magic – but it doesn’t quite suit the idea of an alchemist in his lab, with hundreds of his creations ready to hand. A dedicated Alchemical Caster could just buy the list multiple times since it’s fairly cheap, but it still won’t be THAT many spells. Obviously enough, given the power level of actual spells, this approach cannot allow that huge laboratory stockpile – or it would allow any alchemist with some time and a Handy Haversack to haul along hundreds of powerful alchemical items and thus be prepared for anything and everything.

If you’re going to allow that, then Alchemy needs some other restrictions to keep it from getting out of control and taking over the game. Thus…

  • Standard d20 Craft (Alchemy) restricts itself to “Low” Alchemy – things that are at least semi-plausible as slightly magical chemistry. That’s reasonable, but a bit boring – and there are plenty of lists out there for things to be made with that kind of alchemy. The major restriction here is that such items really aren’t powerful enough to be more than toys for high-level characters. Sure, there are some very high-end booster feats, but doubling or tripling the effect of a 3d6 alchemical fire attack or grenade doesn’t mean much when the spellcasters are throwing around Meteor Swarm, Gate, and Time Stop. If you really want this sort of thing… buy a trivial variant on “Double Damage” (“Double Effect With Standard Alchemical Items”, 6 CP), Specialized for Increased Effect (Triple Damage thanks to the usual doubling rules) / only works with personally-made alchemical items.

That might actually be worth taking at low levels if you’re making that sort of character. Sure, 6d6 worth of Alchemists Fire Damage to a single target that costs a bit still isn’t really a match for a basically-free Burning Hands (up to 5d4 to a modest area), but it is only the equivalent of a single Feat, and you don’t have to wait until high levels to take it. You might want to buy something like an Immunity to the cost of obtaining raw materials to make alchemical items too; (Common, Minor, Major, for 30 GP off the raw material costs of alchemical crafting, 6 CP). Throw in some Innate Enchantment (Handy Haversack, only for storing alchemical creations, and Launch Item, to let you “throw” them accurately at long range, Dexterous Fingers (Trickster Magi list) to speed up making alchemical items, perhaps a bonus to Craft/Alchemy, and an Inherent Alchemists Lab), plus a little Luck (Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect / only for making Alchemical Items, 6 CP) and you have a worthwhile alchemists package for about 24 CP – available to a starting character or over about two levels worth of unallocated character points.

Honestly, 3.0, 3.5, Pathfinder I, and any number of supplements already have massive lists of potential alchemical items to make. I’ll throw in a few noncombat suggestions down in the alchemical item lists, but that will let you keep up for a while.

  • Rolemaster used Alchemy to make magic items; it had nothing to do with chemistry at all. On the other hand, Eclipse already offers quite a few different systems for making magical items. There’s really no need for another one system since a would be item-making “alchemist” is simply using a different set of special effects. For this approach I’d recommend the “Where Does He Get Those Wonderful Toys” package found HERE for the temporary stuff and a few of the usual item creation abilities with appropriate special effects. A character who wants to do this might consider the writeup for the Philosophers Stone, found on this list of sample relics.
  • The Gadgetry Skill (probably specialized in Alchemy) lets you make things like “Oil Of Etheralness” – a substance oil with many possible uses. You might dip arrowheads in it to let you shoot through walls and armor, or coat yourself in it to become ethereal, or apply it to a lock to bypass it, or anoint your eyes to see into the ethereal plane, or apply it to armor or a weapon to temporarily give it the “Ghost Touch” property, or use it to reach inside a locked box and steal the contents without disturbing the box. Go ahead, reduce a Lodestone to a dozen pinches of “Magnetic Essence” and play Magneto Junior for a little bit. The joy of Gadgetry is that you don’t necessarily have to define exactly what whatever it is you’ve made actually does until you use it -and you don’t really need to be consistent between uses. If you’ve made a rocket-launching wristband, you can use them to attack, signal, create diversions, to carry ropes aloft, and for many other purposes.
  • Glowstone Alchemy (Part I and Part II), on the site, is basically a version of “alchemy” / engineering / enchantment that relies on some incredibly dangerous and toxic substance which is a source of mighty and terrible energies. While this generally relies on the availability of such a substance, it can reasonably represent working with intensely toxic radioactive substances, the Weird West’s Spirit-Imbued “Ghost Rock”, older edition’s Red Steel, the Chronicles Of Thomas Covenant’s “Earthblood” (whatever that is), “Dust” from the His Dark Materials trilogy, the Malfean Vitriol of Exalted, Hellfire, the warped materials that have been touched by Lovecraftian Outer Gods, the Residue of Banished Ghosts, and many other outrageous power sources.

This is usually just an Occult Skill – essentially another version of Gadgetry where the Devices are much more powerful than usual because working with said power source is outrageously dangerous and because the compounds and devices themselves come with hideous downsides and are horribly toxic – greatly limiting how many such items any given character can use and live (at least without turning into a radioactive mutated horror). The exact options may vary, but the Glowstone Alchemy lists (mostly in Part II) should give you the general idea.

For some versions of Alchemy – those with the notion that the “True Goal” of the Alchemist is the purification, transformation, and enhancement of the mind and spirit – you’re probably best off using Mystic Artist. For a somewhat tongue-in-cheek version of this style that I helped someone write up for their character (or was it for someone else’s character?), here we have Mystic Bartending.

  • Mystic Artist, Specialized for Increased Effect (Double the base skill for power-purchasing purposes) and Corrupted for Reduced Cost / You must pour your targets a drink, and they must drink it, rather like taking a potion (4 CP). Echoes, Specialized and Corrupted / negates the effects of the initial use of the ability, all three rounds must be expended at once (2 CP).

The result is that you can serve people drinks with various mystical effects, all of which can be triggered as a free action within the next two weeks and will have their effects last for three minutes or until exhausted, whichever is shorter. If not triggered within two weeks the effects are lost – and you’ll just have to come back to the bar for some more drinks. Given that the drinks are built from a fairly limited set of mystic artist effects, similar effects do not stack, but other bits do.

Mystic Bartending School of the Mystic Arts: Effective Skill / Ability Learned:

  • 3+: Drunken Enthusiasm (Emotion, 3). A single draught of your beverages can cause powerful emotions for all who partake.
  • 4+: Sobering Draught (Block, 3). Your beverages can counteract of all sorts of intoxicants for all who partake.
  • 5+ Bartenders Counsel (Fascinate, 3): You may cause your targets to drink massively, at Skill 6+ you can whisper Suggestions to them, albeit only one at a time. .
  • 6+: The Hard Stuff Liquor (Hold Audience). Your beverages can keep all the people you serve fascinated and drinking for hours.
  • 9+: Mead Of The Einherjar (Greatness, 9): Grants those who partake (up to Level/3 targets) 1d10 temporary hit points, +1 to their BAB, Saves, and AC, and 6 CP worth of temporary abilities – although the ability must be set in advance and be the same for everyone partaking in this particular batch (Perhaps Fire Resistance 30, or Grant of Aid with +4 Bonus Uses, Specialized in healing hit points – for a base of 5d8+25 healing).
  • 12+: Drunken Style (Excellence, 12). Grants a single target two +4 Morale Bonuses, these can be applied to attributes, to Saves (all of them), to AC, to Attacks, or to Damage – although, once again, what the boosts are applied to must be determined with the drink is served.
  • 15+: Freyja’s Wine (Amplify, 9). Grant a +2 Caster Level bonus to all who partake of the wine. This does not add to spells known, but does apply to level-based spell effects, caster level checks, and similar items.
  • 18+: Mead Of Suttungr (Harmonize, 12): You may imbue a single draught with any two of your effects, with the number of targets to be affected being limited by the most restrictive effect.
  • 21+: Spirits Of Dawn (Serenity, 18): Your drinks count as a nights rest and refresh uses-per-day abilities. This can be served to an entire party, but only functions once per week.
  • 24+: Drunken Mastery (Mass Greatness, 15): As per Divine Mead, but for up to (Cha Mod + Level) targets.
  • 30+: Transcendent Ale (Mass Excellence, 18): As per Drunken Style but for up to (Level/2 + Cha Mod) targets.
  • 36+: Draught Of Valhalla (Heroism, Skill 30): Doubles the effects of Divine Mead, but only for a single target. Still, for example, a draught that will let someone heal (13+ Level/3) * (d8+5) damage can be quite useful.
  • 48+: Valhalla’s Keg (Mass Heroism, 36): As per Draught Of Valhalla, but affects up to (Level/2 + Cha Mod) targets.
  • 60+: Cauldron Of Aegir (Double, 48): Double any one aspect of any lesser ability whenever you use it.

For some possible drinks, consider…

  • Mead Of Odin (Harmonize – Emotion and Serenity, 21+): The imbiber may glimpse the great feasting hall of Valhalla, and be revived as the spirits of the dead are there revived to battle!
    • Acts as a nights rest and refreshes uses-per-day abilities (only once per real week though). User gains Immunity to Fear and a +5 Morale Bonus to Hit and Damage for the duration.
  • Draught Of Völuspá (Harmonize – Greatness and Amplify, 18+ for a single target, 24+ for groups): Once during the next two weeks the imbiber may hear the voices of the spirits speaking, and channel their power into his or her magic.
    • Provides +2 Caster Levels, 1d10 + Con Mod temporary hit points, +1 to BAB, Saves, and AC, and+7 Bonus Standard Actions for Spellcasting only (maximum of one per round, not compatible with other reflex actions) (Reflex Training (extra actions variant) with +4 Bonus Uses, Specialized in Spellcasting only).
  • Wine of the Valkyries (Harmonize – Greatness and Excellence, 18+ for a single target, 30+ to affect groups): The user hears the voice of the Valkyrie, chanting runes of battle and inspiring him or her to even greater heroic deeds!
    • Provides +1d10 + Con Mod temporary hit points, +1 to BAB, Saves, and AC, user heals (1d8+5) damage up to once per round as needed six times during the duration (Greant of Aid with Bonus Uses, Specialized in Hit Point only), user gains a +4 Morale Bonus on Saving Throws, and a +4 Morale Bonus (and +2 Temporary HP per Hit Die, +2 Fortitude, Etc) to Constitution.
  • Winterfire Brandy (Harmonize – Greatness and Excellence, 18+ for a single target, 30+ to affect groups): In freezing cold, ice may be skimmed from freezing ferments until only the purest essence remains, a draught of burning fire.
    • Provides +1d10 + Con Mod temporary hit points, +1 to BAB, Saves, and AC, and 3d6 Mana with the Unskilled Magic Option, Specialized and Corrupted / only for Unskilled Fire Magic, DR 4/- and Energy Resistance (All) 4.

Admittedly those are fairly high-skill drinks, but Mystic Artist is actually one of the most overpowered abilities in the system – capable of providing a wide variety of powers at relatively small expense. The problem is, of course, that the user has to define the combinations of abilities to be used, specify their individual effects, and set them up – making it quite complicated to use. Secondarily, the fact that it tends to provide party-level boosts means that it’s perceived as a support power, rather than a personal power – and support powers tend to be cheap in any case.

  • Modern thought sometimes treats Alchemy as just another branch of Ritual Magic – it’s just that your rituals mostly involve making complicated glassware, mixing stuff, distilling it, reducing it to powder, subjecting it to days of slow heat, and using many other elaborate procedures. Your magic circles are mostly engraved on your equipment, you meditate on philosophical mysteries rather than invoking mystical beings, and so on. Your effects, of course, come in the form of potions, powders, oils, incense, alchemical beasts, and materials with strange properties – most of which eventually fail, although you can raise the ritual DC to let you store them longer.

As usual, rituals which are repeated over and over again tend to set their patterns in the structure of magic. They become easier. Mystic symbols and circles can be drawn in paint or chalk rather than being inlaid in mystically-significant metals. Complex sigils are simplified, unpronounceable names are abbreviated and given vowels, and – eventually – they turn into common rituals or even into near-immediate spells. In the end… they may not even be recognized as magic at all. Quite a few “folk remedies” and even technological processes fall into this category – their channels worn so deep into reality that the necessary elements are no longer even recognizable as parts of a ritual. Repetition has power. In d20, all those urban legends that saying a creatures name three, or seven, or thirteen, or whatever, times will cause it to appear? Those are well-worn rituals, reduced to such a simple act that any idiot can do it.

This variant is quite effective – but I find it kind of disappointing. Making Alchemy just another branch of ritual magic – entirely divorced from chemistry – just seems to take a lot of the fun out of it. Moreover, Ritual Magic is intentionally designed to be unreasonably difficult, otherwise it all too easily becomes a universal solution – and that means that your master alchemist may wind up not using much alchemy because it takes far too long.

  • A Ceremonial Magic version of Ritual Magic works for minor alchemical items, and is fairly classical, but is pretty inconsequential unless you’re playing a low-magic level-limited game. This system wasn’t even written for d20, but would work just fine for it with a few minor terminology changes.
  • “Full Metal Alchemist” style “Alchemy” is available through the Create Item / Transmutation line of abilities – and, in fact, Edward Elric is among the sample characters – but this kind of “alchemy” has little or nothing to do with classical alchemy outside of a few words like “transmutation”. Real world would-be alchemists never tried to repair radios or suddenly create arrays of big guns using magical circles. They were people puttering around in laboratories and looking for funding, not adventurous near-superheroes.

Of course, if you actually want to be a real-world alchemist, you want a selection of craft skills (for making alloys, faking precious metals and gems, compounding dubious medicines, and even a bit of genuine chemistry), a bit of basic medical knowledge, some knowledge of herbalism, and a good deal of skill at talking people into supporting your “research” and spinning negative results into something positive. If you’re consciously conning people some Sleight Of Hand will come in handy as well. In-game this isn’t “Alchemy”. It’s just a con artist specialization.

  • If you want to create a cross between a potion-maker and a mad bomber, there’s the Pathfinder Alchemist – but honestly, they don’t really have much to do with alchemy either.
  • You could also pull some pieces from the first “Ninja” build over HERE – simply selecting the alchemically-related options for their Tricks. In fact, the “Tricks”may be all you need.
  • If you just want to make a wool sweater that acts like chainmail or something… Craft Appearances isn’t even an Occult Skill: it’s something that anyone in a magical world can learn to use. It can be used to make stuff look different.

Craft (Appearances): Each point of this skill total allows the user to select a piece of personal equipment and describe it’s appearance as they wish. This has no mechanical effect on the item however. An additional +2 points will, however, cause an items encumbrance to match its appearance OR allow the user to disguise a larger item, such as a vehicle or structure.

If you REALLY want your base to look like a crumbling ruin, or decorate for Halloween, go right ahead. This doesn’t really cost anything outside of your skill investment since appearances have no cost.

Then there’s High Alchemy, sometimes known as Philosophy. This is the stuff where you cheat on chemistry and physics – sometimes quite outrageously – with Reality Editing, Magic, Immunities, or Skill Stunts. It’s a subtle branch of magic, dressed up with a lot of chemistry and some physics – but it is still a branch of magic. For conveniences sake, I’ve split up the reputed products of “Alchemy” into four basic levels – Low, Middle, High, and Grandiose – and a variety of subcategories.

  • Doing it with Skill Stunts requires a very high skill (or some method of boosting your alchemy skill checks beyond all reason, such as Luck with Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect / only for Skill Checks, only for Alchemy, 12 CP. This will let you “Take 60” when you need to), Skill Focus (+1 or better, 2+ CP), Skill Stunts (6 CP), and some Mana and (likely) Rite Of Chi to power them – although it can be Specialized and Corrupted to make it pretty cheap. If you want to pull get to the level where you can do things like manipulate the lifecycle of stars, create endless sources of magical elixirs, and call on cosmic forces, you will want Epic Skill Stunts (6 CP) and a lot of cash with which to develop epic level effects. The time-reducing effect might be a good idea as well. The GM will have to set the DC of making various alchemical devices and improvements thereof.
  • You can also do it without stunts by just taking Immunity to the normal limits of the skill – although you will need to once again attain those absurd skill checks, so the luck purchase may still be in order. That’s (Uncommon / Major), with a Major Immunity allowing for easier Low Alchemy, Great Immunity allowing for Middle Alchemy, Epic Immunity covering High Alchemy, and Legendary Immunity covering Grandiose Alchemy. At a cost of 6/12/18/24 CP. That’s expensive. Unless you plan on using a particular skill a LOT, Stunts is probably a better choice.
  • Access to suitable spells or powers – perhaps a Greater Invocation (Per The Practical Enchanter) of Alchemical Manipulation or Alchemical Rune Magic or some appropriately specialized Witchcraft or some such – is yet another way to cheat. As a rule, Low Alchemy doesn’t require such things, although effects equivalent to Cantrips or Level One Spells will make it much safer, faster, and easier. Middle Alchemy calls for effects of Level Three or below, High Alchemy calls for effects of Level Six or below, and Grandiose Alchemy often calls for effects of up to Level Nine. This tends to be the most expensive option, but it offers access to a variety of quick magic as well as handy effects like Alchemic Mist (See Haagenti, the Infernal Alchemist).
  • Reality Editing is probably the most straightforward method. For this you’ll want Mana with Reality Editing, Specialized for Increased Effect (the products it is used to produce are stable for lengthy periods) and Corrupted for Reduced Cost / Only for Reality Editing, only for Alchemical Manipulations, must have purchased at least 1d6 per level of reality manipulation (4 CP per d6 of Mana, you’ll want at least three or four dice eventually, for about 16 CP). You’ll also want Rite of Chi with +8 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted for Reduced Cost / only to restore the “Alchemy Pool” above, requires at least half an hour of some chosen type of intellectual effort per die recovered (the form the players have most commonly encountered so far requires reading new books and contemplating the new knowledge therein, 6 CP), requires an appropriate setting – a sitting room and supply of scholarly texts, a laboratory, a school, etc. .

Those are all relatively cheap simply because Alchemy is generally fairly slow – and so making it effective in combat is a job for foresight, stockpiling, and carrying around loads of vials, flasks, and pouches full of exotic substances. That’s a lot of trouble for the player, uses up much of their downtime, and can be fairly readily taken away. Ergo buying alchemical talents has to be a relatively modest investment of character-building resources, or no one will bother.

Next up; the alchemical products list.

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Eclipse d20 – Building Occultists

“Occult” means “Hidden”. An Occultist… studies that which is hidden. His or her specialty is lost tomes, unpronounceable names, secret rituals performed under cover of night, lost shrines and crypts, hidden locations, and cultures long-vanished. They’re at their best in “secret supernatural” worlds, That’s hard to maintain in modern settings; camera cell phones alone make “hiding the truth” a lot more complicated and usually call for supercomputers or magic that somehow monitors the entire internet and censors it as well as plentiful memory erasure – but it’s a lot easier in more classical settings.

They also don’t fit in with high magic settings. If magic makes the trains run, or there’s a spellcasting priest in every temple, or there’s an official court wizard who can fly and hurl bolts of lightning, or talented kids can sign up for magic classes… then there isn’t much of a place for lost mystic secrets. Why bother researching a translation for an ancient incantation from the wall of a pyramid when you can go down to a professional spell designer and commission a modern version of the incantation complete with four thousand years worth of technical improvements?

That’s why superhero worlds that include actual Occultists tend to relegate them to their own little mystical underworlds. Mountain-Smashing Woman and Fusionman (the embodiment of the “Solar Phoenix” / C-N-O fusion cycle) don’t generally do crossovers with the gangster-hunting Shadow Weaver and Presbyter John the Exorcist.

A classical occultist doesn’t have much magic of his or her own – and certainly doesn’t have the neatly systematic magic you usually find in role-playing games and a lot of movies and television programs (albeit not all of them). They’re usually extremely knowledgeable, capable of a few personal tricks (including basic divinations and occasional knacks) and of rituals (especially summonings and exorcisms), but most of their powers are “Found” magic. Stuff that they have picked up, and most of which will soon run out when used.

Perhaps for this mission they wield a rare talisman discovered in a fey forest, a genuine Hand Of Glory found in a curiosity shop, an invocation of Anubis (very dangerous and requiring an escalating offering each time it is used), a Dragon’s Fang, a Wand of Thunder cut from a thousand-year oak during a mighty storm during a specific celestial conjunction, three one-use spells granted by some dread power of the netherworld, and a favor owed by an ancient lich.

Now several of those things might be very multipurpose, or good for several uses – but all too soon, their powers will be used up.

Really lucky Occultists may have a device or two that either can be recharged or has a daily / weekly / whatever allotment of uses – things which are likely to become a cornerstone of their activities across their careers – but for the most part everything beyond their minor personal powers is likely to be traded out for each mission. Given their limited occult arsenal, quite a few of them will also carry a blade, crossbow, or gun and wear some basic low-profile armor.

Of course, literary, movie, graphic novel, or television series occultists have a major advantage. They always seem to have stuff that fits the plot. If they’re going up against demons they will have some holy stuff, and it it’s werewolves there will no sign of holy stuff, but there will doubtless be a magical silver blades, warding spells, and shapeshifting-related magics.

Now, that could just mean that they have a LOT of magic and only use the few items that fit the plot – but if you give a player character a large stockpile… they will either find some way to use every bit of it (no matter how obscure part of it is) or they will simply stock up on generically useful magic. If you only let them have a little… they will still stock up on the most generically useful stuff they can for fear of being stuck with an inappropriate stockpile.

  • If they are good at scouting or planning they may be able to stock up on something appropriate, but a lot of groups just don’t do much of that.
  • If the game master gets directly involved in the selection – usually in the role of some god or mystical mentor – he or she can make sure that the selection is nicely relevant. In fact, it can even be turned into clues and foreshadowing. This is likely the best method, and I’ve had a lot of fun with it – but it IS a lot of trouble and can be pretty tricky to pull off if the players head off in some unexpected direction.
  • The easiest method is for the Occultist to use the Occult Skill “Foresight” – using it to pick out appropriate items on the fly.

So lets make some suitable Occult Powers. First up, a few basics:

Psychic Magic (9 CP):

Witchcraft II (Three Basic Abilities) with +2d6 Mana as +6d6 Power, Path of Water/Dismissal, Path of Air/The Sight, and Path of Light/Divination. All Specialized for Reduced Cost / requires interruptable gestures, incantations, and access to various components (a spell component pauch will do), user becomes a magnet for spirits and weird occult events, user is mystically marked by the powers he or she serves and will be preferentially targeted by their enemies (21 CP). Occultists will normally have a Pact of Service and a Vow (-12 CP), for a net cost of (9 CP).

Occultists are – as is expected for any Witchcraft-based character – fairly impressive to start with. they know (or can find out), all kinds of things, have several useful tricks (depending on which basic Witchcraft abilities they take), and have a fair chance of getting rid of extradimensional pests. What they don’t have is a lot of raw power. They’re mystic investigators, not war-mages.

Ritual Magic (6 CP).

This one is pretty obvious. Rituals – magic circles, strange reagents, suspicious candles, bubbling cauldrons, sacrifices, mystical places and locations, and calling upon outre powers with unpronounceable names – are a major occult tool. Rituals are powerful and versatile, but the ones with worthwhile* effects tend to call for difficult-to-get components, very awkward times and places, and far too much time – which is why you can buy the entire branch of magic so cheap. On the other hand, Occultists tend to be investigators. They don’t stand in the opening gates of hell and do battle with the emerging dark horde; they arrive three days early and get to work on a ritual designed to keep those gates from opening in the first place.

*To adventurers. Minor rituals to bless gardens, keep bugs out of the stored food, keep an eye on babies, call in the livestock, and so on are quick and easy – but adventurers rarely care.

Spirit Magic (6 CP):

Double Enthusiast, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect (6 Floating CP) / Only for Favors (Cha Mod + 3 version, either two sets of minor favors or one of major favors), can only be changed or renewed in between adventures, must be cleared with the GM (6 CP).

Occultists constantly trade services and favors. They run small errands for various powers – perhaps stopping a land developer from bulldozing an ancient altar, renewing fading ancient seals, supporting causes favored by various powers, and so on. They spend work and time and older occult favors to bring in a continuous supply of new ones. Thus a genuine Occultist can start off each adventure (or major segment thereof) with a selection of mundane and supernatural favors to call on. Of course, the acceptability of any given request is up to the game master – but at least this is a lot quicker than rituals.

Hidden Lore (3 CP):

Access to an Occult Skill (3 CP). Personally, I’d suggest one of:

  • Foresight (allowing the user to make sure that he or she has the RIGHT favors and other preparations):
  • Gadgetry (allowing the user to have a pouch full of prepared alchemical, occult, or other devices according to his or her personal style. What is that Hand Of Glory capable of? Lots of stuff, depending on how you use it), or
  • Secrets (Granting the user truly impressive secret knowledge). Higher level occultists will probably want all three, but there’s only so much you can do at low levels.

That’s really all you need for a basic occultist for a mere 24 CP. That’s a pretty powerful package at low levels, but becomes considerably less impressive at higher levels – and while you can build on it, the lack of focus hurts. Moreover, if you want to stick with the theme… you’ll be taking individual powers, and fairly diverse ones at that, rather than anything coherent. Of course, that’s not necessarily useless – a clever character with a wide variety of minor powers can be quite effective – but you will have a hard time competing in a kick-in-the-door style game when the wizards and clerics start throwing around high-level magic. Of course, you will still have plenty of points left for other abilities.

If you really want to stick to the theme, you’ll want things like:

Spellforging (6 CP):

Improved Superior Power Words, Specialized and Corrupted for Reduced Cost (6 CP) / Cannot be refilled during an adventure, cannot store spells more than one level above what the user could normally cast (Level / 2, Rounded Up), any expensive components must be either supplied or the spell must be taken at a higher level to buy them off, spells are stored in physical talismans.

Occultists can “prepare” a limited number of spells (A total number of spell levels equal to their Constitution) via summoning entities to grant them or constructing them with rituals and storing them in various trinkets. While they can’t have very many such spell-constructs ready at any one time (there are stability issues or something) they can store a reasonable amount of power – but must use it with great caution, since their stock of spells is anything but easy to renew.

Knight Of (Nexus) (6 CP)

The raw forces of elemental magic flow throughout the world, waxing and waning, ebbing and flowing with the years, the seasons, and the stars, forming pools and rivers of power, nodes, ley lines, and the threads of fate, the bonds between places and worlds. But where a name is given… that place is set apart. A knot is tied in the threads of fate. There is identity, a place gains a life and spirit of it’s own. Camelot, Neverland, Gotham… the order of the Name laid over the Chaos of the world.

Sometimes a mere mortal bonds with that power, coaxes it into expression, becomes a voice and embodiment of ancient powers. And for a time, there shall be greatness.

  • Mystic Link with Communications and Power Link, Specialized and Corrupted for Reduced Cost / links you to a specific, relatively small, location, does not interact with any further mystic links you may buy rather than stacking as Mystic Link upgrades usually do, communications only occurs in GM-specified visions and vague feelings, user must spend a good deal of time at the linked location, preferably being a resident of the place, user is obligated to defend the location (3 CP).
  • Leadership with Exotic Followers, Specialized and Corrupted / only one follower (a Ward Major at one-third your level / hit dice), follower (obviously) never accompanies you anywhere (3 CP).

With this, an Occultist awakens the spirit of a place that he or she has bonded with – giving that place an occult significance and defenses of its own in the form of a Ward Major and becoming a representative and guardian of that place, able to tap into whatever personal powers the Ward bestows remotely. Indeed, that power can be shared; other Knights will need only the first (3 CP) link to gain those powers as well – at least as long as they’re suited to the task.

Magical Knack (6 CP):

Shaping, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect (L1 Effects) / Only for effects related to a very specific, narrow, field, requires some freedom to gesture and/or incant, only to duplicate a very limited list of first level spells unless further augmented.

This offers unlimited access to a series of specific tricks. Someone with a Fire Knack might be able to always have a lit cigarette, cause a match or lighter to flare up into a brilliant light whenever he or she wants (Blinding Flash or Light), be able to flick them at targets and set them on fire (as per Produce Flame), be able to exhale great clouds of smoke (Obscuring Mist), turn a cigarette into a wave of flame (Burning Hands), set fiery symbols burning on the ground or in the air, and perhaps a few more tricks – but that’s pretty much it. Another user might have a knack with Visual Illusions (perhaps Disguise Self, Silent Image, Blend, Shadow Trap, and Vanish), or Wind Magic, or Monster Summoning, or Alchemical Effects.

A few Occultists will expand on this – taking 1d6 Mana with Spell Enhancement, Rite of Chi, and +4 Bonus Uses on Rite of Chi, all Specialized and Corrupted for Reduced Cost (+6 CP) / only for use with a specific Magical Knack, Mana may only be regained given a few moments to rest. This will allow him or her to use a bigger Knack effect a few times in any given fight – perhaps upgrading that burning cigarette into a full-scale Fireball, or even throwing one down to produce a Wall of Fire.

Honestly, between that and the (pretty much) required secondary abilities – Adept II, various investigative and knowledge skills, more Occult Skills, a nice high Will Save, a little Luck, enough hit points to take a few hits from eldritch horrors, some Contacts, and the usual character-building basics, you should be able to fill up a number of levels quite handily.

Beyond that… take a Spirit Fetch companion, or learn some additional Witchcraft, or take more Occult Skills, or pick up some of the Lesser Paths (Part I and Part II) – or just be a Rogue or Ranger type who dabbles. There is nothing wrong with that, and it will generally be a lot easier for the game master to deal with than a high-level full spellcaster. After all, despite characters like John Constantine, a classical occultist is someone who’s learned a lot of lore and a little magic, and who likely has a few toys – but who relies on investigation, preparation, and cunning not by preference, but because they simply do not have a lot of raw power to work with.

Eclipsing Venom

This request was for a way to build Marvel Comics “Venom”. Now that’s a little odd simply because “Venom” isn’t a particular character; it’s an alien blob of goo that gloms onto another character and enhances them. Sure, it has it’s own intelligence and such – but it doesn’t really DO much of anything on it’s own except search for a host. Worse, unlike – say – a suit of power armor, it mostly enhances the hosts own abilities up to a maximum limit and provides a limited selection of new ones. (It also can only be “worn” by entities that meet certain compatibility requirements, but that’s purely a plot-driven thing, and has little bearing on building it).

In d20 terms, that isn’t so much a creature as it is an item. Worse, it’s an item that depends a lot on the built-in assumptions of a comic book world – most notably the Superheroic World Template and the Four-Color Template. In a setting without those in play, the Venom Symbiote is going to be a lot more limited. Still quite powerful – but limited. After all, the user won’t be able to ignore support and leverage, hit things at whatever range fits best on the page, or otherwise ignore physics.

In Eclipse terms, an item that provides a suite of new abilities is probably a Relic.

So what sort of abilities does the Venom Symbiont provide?

  • Predatory Essence: Shapeshift (Leopard Attributes), Attribute Modifiers (Str +6, Dex +8, Con +4, +10 Move, +1 Natural Armor, +8 to Agility and Stealth skills, Low-Light Vision, Scent, 1d6 Bite, 1d3 Claws), Hybrid Form, Clear Speech. Specialized: Leopard Form Only, Corrupted: Cannot actually Change Forms (24 CP base, net cost 8 CP).
  • Malleable Form: Add Variants (3 CP, equivalent to a continuous Alter Self effect). Obviously enough, to fit the theme, I’d take this as a minor variant – perhaps a small “pool” of power/points/what-have-you to allocate between some of the possible effects. Perhaps about 5 Options from among: Natural Armor (+1 per Option allotted), winged flight (3 options for clumsy gliding), extended reach (+5/Option, +15′ Max), Natural Weapon Upgrades (to 1d8, 1 Option, to 2d8 3 Options), Camouflage (1 Option), Full Disguise (3 Options), Damage Reduction (1/- per option allotted), Wall-Crawling (3 Options), Winged Flight (5 Options).

These are both examples of Shapeshift Cheese – but we’re talking comic book superheroes here. A fairly large helping of cheese comes with the territory.

Web Shooting:

  • Inherent Spell (L3 Anyspell, producing any Webbing effect of up to L2), Corrupted / Powered by Mana (4 CP).
  • 4d6 (16) Mana with the Spell Enhancement Option, Specialized and Corrupted / only for use with the Web Shooting power above (6 CP).
  • Rite of Chi with +14 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted / only to recharge the webbing pool above (9 CP).

In a superhero world, with a basically unlimited Mana supply, that will allow the user to routinely throw around some fairly high-powered Web-based effects. In a standard d20 world, where the mana supply is going to be pretty limited… that will still suffice to throw around two or three fifth level webbing effects in any one fight. That isn’t bad; a well-placed wall of webbing (stone) or some such can have a fairly big effect on a battlefield.

Innate Enchantment:

  • Symbiotic Consciousness: Intelligent (500 GP) Int 10, Wis 10, and Cha 10 (0 GP), Telepathy (1000 GP), 120′ Senses (1000 GP), Darkvision (500 GP). This might need to be upgraded – but I’m not really aware of the symbiont showing any exceptional brilliance. The symbiont also has the ability to track separated bits of itself / offspring; I’m going to call that a minor enhanced sense on the level of Darkvision, above, given that it’s basically a plot device (500 GP). Unfortunately, the Symbiont basically lives to fight – and so tends to constantly push the wearer towards violence.
  • Handy Haversack (2000 GP). The symbiont can store stuff in extradimensional pockets. This is very convenient, but is still mostly a nod to the convention of skin-tight superhero costumes.
  • Healing Belt x 2, x.7 Personal-Only (1050 GP). The symbiont offers some regenerative abilities. How much? That’s pretty hard to say. After all, not only is it subject to the usual variability of comic books, but translating to d20 – where an anti-tank missile does an average of 14 damage and a megaton city-killer fusion bomb does an average of 72 – throws in yet another set of narrative conventions. I’m calling it 12d8 – enough to shrug off quite a lot of attacks, but not enough to keep going indefinitely.
  • Sleeves Of Many Garments (200 GP): The symbiont can serve as pretty much any kind of clothing.
  • Traveler’s Any Tool (250 GP), Masterwork Thieves Tools (100 GP), and Alchemists Lab (200 GP): The symbionts shapeshifting abilities are quite enough to let it substitute for tools.
  • Personal Haste (+30′ to movement modes, +1 attack when making a Full Attack) (Spell Level One x Caster Level One x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated = 2000 GP).
  • Extended Reach (+5 Natural Reach for one minute) (Spell Level One x Caster Level One x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x Personal Only x.7 = 1400 GP).
  • Immortal Vigor (+12 + 2 x Con Mod HP) (Spell Level One x Caster Level One x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x Personal Only x.7 = 1400 GP).
  • Enlarge Person (Practical Enchanter variant, +1 Size Category when active) (Spell Level One x Caster Level One x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x Personal Only x.7 = 1400 GP).
  • Create Rope (Creates up to 60′ of strong silk rope, lasting up to one hour per caster level. Optionally, you can make one end sticky and/or fire it as a ranged touch attack to stick to something with about Str 16) (Spell Level One x Caster Level One x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated = 2000 GP).
  • Augment Attack: (+1d8 damage with up to three natural weapons, lasts for one minute) (Spell Level One x Caster Level One x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x Personal Only x.7 = 1400 GP).
  • Flesh Ward (DR 2/-) (Spell Level One x Caster Level One x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x Personal Only x.7 = 1400 GP).

With a total cost of 18,300 GP, these innate enchantments would normally cost 19 CP – but they are Specialized and Corrupted for Reduced Cost / the user takes Double Damage from Fire and Sonic attacks (6 CP).

Disadvantages (-10 CP).

  • Accursed. The symbiont occasionally spawns copies of itself, or becomes infections, or otherwise extremely troublesome. The wearer will just have to run around cleaning up the mess when this happens, but will gain no experience points for doing so.
  • Accursed. The symbiont tends to animate itself and wander off looking for a new host if it’s current user fails to use it for a time, ir simply isn’t satisfactory.
  • Incompetent:The user tends to absorb some of the symbionts personality traits, exaggerate instincts and irrationalities, becoming disassociated from normal society, and having difficulties with social interactions – suffering a -3 penalty on all social skills.

That gives us a net cost of 26 CP. Due to the magic of rounding down, we could fit in another 1 CP worth of special abilities – perhaps an alien language that it shares with the user (1 CP).

Once again, this is a hyper-efficient design – and is, like all 4 CP Relics, something of a game-defining device. This is also why the usual suggested limitation is 4 CP worth of Relics (if the game master opts to allow them at all) – enough so that everyone can have their own little superhero package, but not enough to completely dominate the game.

Eclipse – The Houngan Conjurer II

This time around, it’s a bit of a collaboration and an example – how one Eclipse character in a Forgotten Realms game is opting to use the Houngan Conjurer package (a method of making temporary character-enhancing items. He’s calling his “Talismans”.).

The in-game justification for his powers is apparently that:

It is my art to channel what WAS, what MAY BE, and what IS NOT into the NOW. Of Magic, Lore, and Prophecy in the service of the Loomeinsenerid and the Kvoorum-Parandaja order. The Talismans are of time-not, embodiments of talents you might have in other lines of time or might yet learn. Being within the High Forest – the Eye Of Time on Abeir-Toril – makes it easy to call such things forth.

  • “Loomeinsenerid” – apparently the “Engineers of Creation” who built the universe.
  • “Kvoorum-Parandaja” – apparently “Quorum Healer”, repairers of broken realities?

In other words “Here is something you might opt to learn in the next level or two. Go ahead and experiment with it. If you don’t like it, we can try something else. If you do, you can buy those powers normally it and I’ll make a new “Talisman” with some other powers you might be interested in trying out”. It lets players experiment with various powers before they have to make any permanent decisions about them or get a temporary boost to fit some specific situation. That’s a good way to do it since it’s both very useful to the players who are new to the system and a nice way to boost a group.

The first set of Gerad’s talismans were forged in the foothills of the Lost Peaks, amidst the great trees of the primordial High Forest of Faerun. There, at dawn, the time of new beginnings, atop an outcropping of the mountains bedrock, he build a ritual fire of oak, ash, and hawthorn with which to call upon the powers of the world casting into it the tokens and spirit-fetishes he had spent his time preparing. Soon, beneath the moon, the fire burned black and cold, yet as filled with stars as the night sky above. The flames were feathered by no physical force, raven’s wings of spiritual fire beating against the winds of fate. It defies what is to come; there shall be no fate but what the strong make for themselves.

The first talisman was for an Uthgardian Barbarian of the Raven Tribe:

Alone among the birds and totems of the North, the Raven speaks outside of Dream. It carries the Words of the Spirits to the ears of mortal men, with the discarded quills from it’s wings are written runes of strength and wisdom, and it guides the souls of the fallen to the realms of the honored dead! Those who are shown the wisdom of the Raven may learn how to draw upon their inner strengths, the divine spark that dwells within! Bright will they shine in the tales to come!

Here, in this Forest which is of more worlds than one, we stand upon the borders of the Spirit World. You have left your kin, and a choice stands before you! To follow the Raven’s Path and bring forth new gifts and wisdom for your descendants to come, to follow the Scouts way, standing as a guardian between your folk and the horrors that may come, or to take both paths, and stand as a hero to both those who live and those who are yet to come. If you would take the Raven’s Path or the Dual Way… reach into the possibilities of the Raven’s Wings, and draw forth what wisdom speaks to you. Then… you may either make it your own, or seek another choice with the seasons turning.

When the Mighty Barbarian reached into the cold flame (taking one point of cold damage to set the link) he found himself holding a belt woven of hide and raven’s feathers – a token of spiritual wisdom.

Cincture Of The Raven (1 Point Relic):

  • Pen Of The Raven: Shaping, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect (L1 and weak L2 Effects) / only to power the equivalent of Charms and Talismans and subject to all their limitations. The belt’s wearer may draw a quill from the belt and use it to sketch the Runes and Symbols of Uthgar, Beorunna, the Ancestors, and the Totemic Beasts upon otherwise normal items, allowing them to channel the wearer’s personal strength – in effect equipping himself or herself with the equivalent of seven Charms and three Talismans (as found in The Practical Enchanter) (6 CP).
  • The Enduring Blood Of Uthgar: Grant of Aid with +4 Bonus Uses, Specialized / only to restore hit points (6 CP).
  • Disadvantage: The Cincture Of The Raven lays upon it’s wearer an obligation to teach others of the ways of Uthgar and the Totems as chances arise to do so (-3 CP).
  • Net Cost 6 CP + 6 CP -3 CP = 9 CP. 9 CP / 6 (Relic) = 1.5 CP, rounds down to 1 CP.

The next talisman to called forth was for a spirit-shaman and witchcraft-based blaster.

Fire is the element of change, transforming what it touches. The fire of the ritual burns upon the outcropping of rock, the fragrant smoke rising beneath the moon and stars. As Gerad casts a shimmering crystal-bound feather into the flames, the dark fire of the Raven Spirit changes to a pillar of twisting flame, burning green at it’s base and the riotous colors of autumn foliage above.

Seasons Pass, gods pass, and ages pass – but the earth and forest endures, it’s strength undaunted. Here, in the forest where too are the roots of time, we touch upon that solid core, the strength that binds the worlds together. As you have sworn to defend the world, so may it may lend it’s strength and endurance to you. If you would claim the strength of that bond, reach out to the fire of the world’s heart and, with a drop of your blood, become one with it’s ancient strengths.

Reaching into the fire to claim the Talisman again caused one point of damage to set the link and produced a belt of thin links of ash bound with iron, each of the twenty-four links engraved with a rune of the elder futhark.

Girding Of The Forest Lands (1 Point Relic):

  • Vigor Of The Elder Ash: Grants access to the Bones Of Iron (Ash), Corrupted for Reduced Cost / only works within the boundaries of the High Forest, only when at least two other members of the Pact are in the party (4 CP).
  • +2d6 Mana as +6d6 Power, Specialized and Corrupted / only to power the Bones Of Iron (Ash) ability above (4 CP).
  • +1d6 Mana as +3d6 Power, Corrupted/this deep reserve can only be recovered at the moment of dawn (whether or not the user sees it), as the forest wakes, not via Rite Of Chi or other methods.
  • Disadvantage: Obligation / Must deal with the natural animals of the forest through nonlethal means if that is at all possible.

The next talisman to be forged was for a war smith gadgeteer, a follower of the gods of artifice.

As Gerad cast a rune-covered ingot of iron into the green flames, they leaped up into a raging blaze before collapsing from a flaming crown into a deep bed of coals, the furious breath of heat from it mirroring the heat of a forge, where imagined tools become reality. Within the fiery tunnels of the coals in the fires heart lay glimpses of salamanders, efreeti, and fire elementals, hammering out the weapons of wars past and present, from crude copper daggers to unimaginable devices from beyond the stars.

Artificer and Visionary, the past you have forsaken for the sake of what is to come. In the spirit of Gond your Patron, and of Oghma the Loregiver who is mine, know that the chains of the past are broken, no forge but your will will be needed for your many creations to come! Reach forth now to the forges of the gods and take the fire of creation that will burn henceforth within you as well.

When the smith reached into the fire to claim the forming Talisman, he took one point of damage (to set the link as usual) and found himself holding a cincture of flattened links of chain, each wrought with images of weapons, some known, others suggesting fantastic creations and vehicles of war.

Cincture Of War (1 CP Relic):

  • +6 to his Preferred Martial Art (6 CP).
  • DR 4/- (Universal DR 2/-, Specialized for Double Effect / only versus physical attacks, 3 CP).
  • Immunity / the time normally required to put gadgets (He was using the Gadgets skill) together, so they no longer had a +1 point cost if not specified in advance (Uncommon, Minor, Minor, 2 CP).
  • Specific Knowledge / Tunnel Fighting (1 CP).
  • Disadvantage: Must fight as an honorable warrior (-3 CP).

Finally, the fourth and last talisman in this set was for a psychic specializing in Astral Constructs and Energy Projection.

With the colors of the dawn in the eastern sky, and the first glint of the sun shining like a fiery jewel upon the horizon, the remains of the fire collapse to ash, to be blown away upon the wind – although a single burning ember that refuses to be extinguished or fade remains, set into a buckle, suitable for a belt. The circular copper clasp is inscribed with twin dragons, inlaid in black and white, mirroring and circling each other in the symbol of balance. If opened, it reveals the eternally-glowing ember within.

The Purest Yang Becomes Yin. The Purest Yin Becomes Yang.
Two Sides Of A Coin, Separated By A Barrier That May Not Exist.
From Rites End, A New Beginning; The Cycle Turns.
From Darkness and Cold an inextinguishable spark of Light and Fire.
A Creation Incomplete Draws Balance From The Void.
A Sourceless Wind Blows Between The Worlds.
Receive Now The Spark That Answered A Call Unvoiced.

Sunset Hag’s Broom Cinder (1 CP Relic):

  • Hysteria (Mental Powers), Specialized for Reduced Cost (2 Power) and Corrupted for Reduced Cost / only for boosting psionic abilities (not skills, will saves, or non-psionic abilities), only for effective caster / manifester level (4 CP). This can be activated as a free action for 2 Power and lasts for the rest of the round. It manifests as hysterical cackling laughter.
  • Streamline, Specialized for Double Effect in applying standard Augmentations to Psychic Powers for Double Effect (+6 Power worth of “free” Augmentation), Corrupted for Reduced Cost / only when using Hysteria, above (4 CP).
  • Enthusiast, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect / only to set up Mystic Link Effects, Double Enthusiast / Specialized and Corrupted for Reduced Cost / only to set up Mystic Link Effects (Net Cost 4 CP, may be used to set up 4 CP worth of Mystic Link Effects).
    • This defaulted to two of the groups mystics with Communications and Power Link, Specialized and Corrupted / only within the High Forest, only with individuals or places touched by the Fey, can only transmit seven supernatural effects per day, all those linked must possess at least latent telepathic abilities (GM Veto over NPC’s)
  • Drawback: Insane: The bearer of the Cinder develops extreme hydrophobia. While this phobia excuses liquids kept in artificial containers (barrels, glasses, waterskins, and so on), it extends to natural bodies of water, puddles, and rain. The Cinder does not function if wet since the user will be too panicked to draw upon it.

Overall… I think the Cincture Of War was a little uninspired in comparison to some of the others (apparently it was more or less what the player asked for though) and the Broom Cinder looks like it’s a bit TOO efficient, but both are functional enough. Otherwise things were nicely themed; all men, a fire ritual, a small “test of courage” and a minor sacrifice of the recipients own strength to claim their talisman, a basic theme, a more-or-less reasonable explanation for why the character can make talismans in the first place, and – I’m told – some nice role playing in response. Yes, it makes the characters a little bit more powerful – but getting the group all taking an interest in and participating in a mystical ritual? Giving them all a common bond and a commitment to something beyond themselves? Thematic yet unique toys for everyone? Just as with Narthion – the character the Houngan Conjurer package was originally written up for – I think this makes a pretty good addition to a RPG.

Eclipse D20 – Makhpia-Luta (Red Cloud), Amerindian Earth Mage

It was apparent from a very early age that Red Cloud was going to be a shaman. The way that small objects moved around and changed colors when he grabbed at them before he could talk was something of a giveaway. Given such an auspicious start, the tribal shaman started him on the spirit-drums as soon as he could – a decision that he soon regretted more than a bit. Fortunately, the error of giving a very small boy a drum was easily fixed by taking it away again at bedtime.

The real trouble turned out to be that Makhpia-Luta wasn’t particularly well attuned to the totems. He had a rare and powerful affinity for the magic of the Earth, and the even rarer ability to channel the Earthpower into specific spells – but his dreams remained determinedly pedestrian and none of the great totems spoke for him. The shamans of the People faced a dilemma; the boy was far too powerful – and far too adept in the ways of combative magic! – to allow him to simply run around without spiritual guidance, he was far too impatient to join the Lorewardens, and simply turning him loose in hopes that he would settle down would be a major gamble. What if someone managed to subvert him? Without guidance young mages were very vulnerable to such gambits.

But then the spirits presented another option. A Totem-Sworn on a major quest came through, Makhpia-Luta heard the call of adventure, and the Sworn One continued her quest with a new ally. Perhaps that was what the Great Totems had had in mind all along.

Makhpia-Luta (Red Cloud)

Level One Earth Mage

Basic Attributes: Str 10, Dex 14, Con 12 (+2 Tem = 14), Int 16, Wis 14, and Cha 12 (3.5 32 Point Buy). .

Low-Level Template (0 CP)

  • Disadvantages: -3 on Untrained Skills, advancement by direct CP Awards, valuable trouble magnet.
  • Advantages: +12 + (Con Mod x 2) HP, +3 on five skills, +2 Constitution, Prestidigitation at will.
  • For full information on the low-level template, look HERE.

Nomadic Cultural Package Deal (0 CP)

  • Companion (Animal Companion) (Hawk).
  • Proficient with All Simple Weapons.
  • Specific Knowledges: Horse Care, Plains Survival, and Tribal Traditions.

Available Character Points: 48 (L1 Base) + 2 Duties (Mystic Guardian Of The Plains) + 12 (Human, L1 Bonus Feats) + 10 (Disads: History, Obligations/Help the Totem-Sworn, and Inept (Diplomacy; Red Cloud just has a way of putting his foot in his mouth) = 72 CP

Basic Expenditures (17 CP):

  • Base Attack Bonus: +0 (0 CP).
  • Hit Points: 6 (L1d6, 2 CP) +12 (Immortal Vigor, 12) +6 (3 x Con Mod) = 24 HP
  • Armor Class: 10 (Base) +2 (Dex) +4 (Martial Art) = 16
    • Fortitude: +0 (Purchased, 0 CP) + 2 (Con) = +2
    • Reflex: +1 (Purchased, 3 CP) + 2 (Dex) = +3
    • Will: +1 (Purchased, 3 CP) + 2 (Wis) = +3
  • Proficiencies: All Simple Weapons (See Cultural Package Deal above, 0 CP).
  • Skill Points: +0 (Purchased, 0 CP) +12 (Int Mod x 4) +8 (Fast Learner) = 20
    • Boost Human Fast Learner to 2 SP/Level (3 CP)
    • Adept: Half cost for Arcana, Perception, Staff Style, and Persuasion (6 CP).
  • Initiative +2 (Dex)
  • Movement: 30′ (Base)

Usual Weapons:

Makhpia-Luta normally relies on magic. If he must fight something physically and has time to prepare he usually uses his Earth Affinity to put a Shillelagh effect on a staff, boosts himself with Aspect Of The Beasts and hammer away with it. IF he doesn’t have time he’ll focus on defense while awaiting help – and on occasionally using Breaking Technique to try to bring down the roof or otherwise divert any attackers. At his base…. Staff: Staff: +0, 1d6+0, Crit 20/x2. That’s not horrible – but it certainly isn’t very good either. 

Talents (16 CP):

  • Earth Affinity (Constitution Based): Shaping, Specialized for Increased Effect (Level Zero Effects) and Corrupted for Reduced Cost / Only to produce effects in a very narrow field (4 CP) plus 3d6 (12) Mana with Spell Enhancement, Specialized and Corrupted for Reduced Cost/only to enhance Earth Affinity (6 CP).
  • Telepathy (Charisma Based): Shaping, Specialized for Increased Effect (Level Zero Effects) and Corrupted for Reduced Cost / Only to produce effects in a very narrow field (4 CP) plus 1d6 (4) Mana with Spell Enhancement, Specialized and Corrupted for Reduced Cost/only to enhance Telepathy, may only spend one point to do so (2 CP).
    • If you want a list of examples of what effects fall under these categories, you can look over HERE and HERE

Master Sorcerer (36 CP):

  • Magesight (Occult Sense/Magic, 6 CP).
  • Occult Talent (and Improved, Specialized / just for more slots, not yet for more spells) (9 CP) and Improved Occult Talent (12 CP) (Intelligence Based): Net 10x L0 Slots and 6x L1 Slots. For simplicities sake, these are just being treated as a single pool.
  • Known Spells: Earth Channel (L0, Free, Transfer Adept Mana to Earth Sense), Shield (L1, Blocks 15 Damage, Immediate), Kinetic Storm (L2, as per Stone Call), Bestow Curse (L3), Cure Light Wounds (L1), Scorching Ray (L2), Greater Shield (L3, blocks 25 damage in a 10 radius), Remove Curse (L3), Eldritch Weapon III (3 Mana), Call Lightning (L3), Lesser Gate (L4, a somewhat hazardous, time-consuming, very tiring, and destination limited, version of Teleport), Shadow Conjuration (L4), and Aspect Of The Beasts (L4, lets the user take on animal characteristics and attribute modifiers as per The Practical Enchanter for One Hour Per Level).
  • 3d6 (12) Mana with Spell Enhancement, Specialized and Corrupted / only to enhance Occult Talents, may only spend (Int Mod) points on enhancing a Spell (6 CP). Note that this is the only way to access spells of above level one – so Red Cloud can throw a few powerful spells each day, but his Mana is a very limited resource. If he uses it unwisely, he may wind up unable to do anything at all.
  • Rite Of Chi with +2 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted / Only to recharge the Occult Talent enhancement pool, may not be bought up further, 2’nd use in a day requires tapping into a ley line and the third requires tapping into a ley line nexus (3 CP).

Other Abilities (3 CP):

  • Create Relic, Specialized and Corrupted for Reduced Cost / only to create One Point Relics, only for use with points from Enthusiast (2 CP).
  • Enthusiast, Specialized and Corrupted for Reduced Cost / the point may only be used for Relics (1 CP).
    • Relic: Shaman’s Eye: +1 use of Rite Of Chi (2 CP), Improved Augmented Bonus / Add (Cha Mod) to Mana Rolls, Specialized / only for Rite Of Chi rolls (6 CP), +3 Speciality on Perception (Sensing Magical Energies) (1 CP). Net cost as a relic: 1 CP.

Skills (20 SP):

  • Arcana: +4 (2* SP) +3 (Int) +3 (Tem) = +10
  • Perception: +4 (2* SP) +2 (Wis) +3 (Tem) = +9
  • Persuasion: +4 (2* SP) +3 (Cha) +3 (Tem) = +10
  • Religion: +4 (4 SP) +3 (Int) = +7
  • Scholar: +4 (4 SP) +3 (Int) +3 (Tem) = +10
  • Staff Style: +4 (2* SP) +3 (Int) +3 (Tem) = +10
    • +4 Defenses, Breaking Technique.
  • Survival: +4 (4 SP) +2 (Wis) = +6

Red Cloud is a very powerful Sorcerer. In fact, under the world laws he was set up under – basically the “generic fantasy novel” rules I created for Valdemar (and similar) games – he’s almost as powerful as he is ever going to get (there are only about 6 CP worth of Magic left for him to buy – getting the second incidence of Improved Occult Talent up to full use (3 CP) and getting Enthusiast up to 4 CP in total (3 CP)). It would probably be more “reasonable” in terms of classical d20 to spread that 75 CP worth of magic out over – say – four or five levels, but the “powerful yet inexperienced and somewhat naive young mage” (who usually needs to learn more about how and when to use his powers rather than more powers and has few talents other than magic) is a pretty standard literary archetype.

And so Red Cloud is off to adventure, complete with powers that hopefully will not get him into more trouble than he can handle yet. He will become more powerful with level – but it’s going to be because his effective caster level goes up and improves his existing spellcasting somewhat, not because he learns more magic. For the most part, his abilities are what they are.

As a side effect, this makes it much easier to run a game, just as it makes it much easier to write a novel. Red Cloud may become more skilled, improve his tactics, and learn to use his list of powers more effectively – but they won’t be radically changing as they pick up a new level of spells or some such the way that games tend to change when the spellcasters pick up Teleport or Plane Shift. Even better, that makes it simple to mix levels in a party, since many spells don’t care much about caster level.

Eclipse d20 – Cenric, Barbarian Beastmaster

Honestly, the inspiration for this one is probably 50% Tarzan, 50% the Monkey King, and 50% Mowgli. At 150% that pretty much makes him Enkidu, and – like all d20 characters – properly larger than life. As a highly optimized character from Atheria, with it’s powerful Birthrights, cut-rate Attributes, and special magical options… he’s quite powerful indeed.

Birthright: Atherian Barbarian (Gorilla Totem, 31 CP +0 ECL Race).

Those enhanced by the Gorilla totem are probably the most straightforward subtype of Atherian Barbarian there is. They are bigger, tougher, and stronger than normal people – but have relatively few outre capabilities. On the other hand, few totems find humans a better channel for their abilities than the Gorilla.

As usual for Atherian Barbarians, their abilities are all bought Corrupted (gives them obvious animalistic features and powerful instincts according to their tribal totems).This allows their 31 CP racial allowance to provide 47 CP worth of abilities:

  • Innate Enchantment (Up to 8500 GP Value, 9 CP). While this is something of a rarity among the Barbarians, Gorillas are so close to human that their racial aptitudes are come through extremely well.
    • Branch To Branch: Gain Brachiation Only (x.5) = 1000 GP. May swing through trees and on vines at (Ground Movement Rate + 10′).
    • Embrace The Wild: Gain Low-Light Vision, Scent, and a +2 Typeless Bonus to Listen and Spot. (2000 GP).
    • Skill Mastery / Enhance Skill Group: Gains a +3 Competence Bonus to Jungle Skills – Animal Handling, Knowledge / Nature, Martial Arts (Jungle Lord Style), and Survival ((Personal-Only, 1400 GP).
    • Surefoot: +10 Competence to Balance, Climb, Jump, and Tumble. The user does not lose his or her dexterity bonus to AC when balancing or climbing (2000 GP).
    • Towering Oak: +2 Str, +10 Competence to Intimidation (2000 GP).
  • Immunity / The XP Costs of Racial Innate Enchantments, Specialized and Corrupted / only through spell level one caster level one (Uncommon, Minor, Trivial, 1 CP).
  • Muscle Memory: Advanced Improved Augmented Bonus: Adds (Str Mod) to (Int Mod) for Skill Point Purchases, Only through level six, only for physical skills (6 CP).
  • +6 Str (18 CP), +4 Con (12 CP), +2 Dex (6 CP)
  • +1 Bonus to Jungle Lord Martial Arts (Strike).
  • Disadvantage: Insane (Exceptionally Powerful Instincts): As far as Gorilla Tribesmen are concerned… the organization of a gorilla band is the right and proper way to do things! They aren’t just what their instincts demand – they’re the way that EVERYONE should live! (-3 CP).

Basic Attributes: Str 14 (+6 Racial +2 Enh +1 Level +1 Purchased = 24), Dex 12 (+2 Racial = 14), Con 14 (+4 Racial = 18), Int 14, Wis 10, Cha 12 (28 Point 3.5 Point Buy).

Available Character Points: 96 (L3 Base) +10 (Disadvantages; Obligations to Trademaster Piso, History, Irreverent) +12 (L1, L2 Bonus Feats) +6 (Duties, has pacted with a Fey Lord to create a kingdom of intelligent animals) = 124 CP

Basic Purchases: (69 CP)

  • Wealth Level: Starting: Common, Currently Well-off (3 CP), further upgraded to Affluent, but this is Specialized and Corrupted / only for Charms and Talismans (2 CP)
    • Starting at “Common” got him the option to take two NPC Class (Adept, Aristocrat, Expert, or Warrior) Levels as a +1 ECL Template. He took Expert (L1, +24 SP, d6HD, +2 Will) and Warrior (L2 +2 SP, d8HD, Proficient with Simple and Martial Weapons, Armor, and Shields, +2 Fort). This is quite effective for warrior-types.
    • Armor Shields & Weaponry: Heavy Armor, Shields, Specialized Weapons and Equipment.
    • Five Charms and Two Talismans.
    • May have a loyal henchman (In his case his Riding Mastadon) and a dozen ordinary employees / slaves.
  • Base Attack Bonus: +4 Specialized for Increased Effect / only with “primitive” weapons (24 CP), no iterative attack. +1 (Template) = +1 General, +9 with Primitive Weapons.
  • Hit Points: 22 (L1-3d8, 12 CP) +14 (L1 Template) +55 ([Str Mod + Con Mod] x 5) = 91 HP.
  • Advanced Improved Augmented Bonus: Adds (Str Mod) to (Con Mod) for HP Purposes, Specialized and Corrupted / only through level six (6 CP).
  • Saving Throws:
    • Fortitude +0 (Purchased) +2 (Template) +4 (Con) +1 (Mor) = +7.
    • Reflex +2 (Purchased, 6 CP) +2 (Dex) +1 (Mor) = +5
    • Will +2 (Purchased, 6 CP) +0 (Wis) +2 (Template) +1 (Mor) = +5
      • Luck with +4 Bonus Uses, Specialized in Saves (6 CP).
  • Proficiencies: Simple and Martial Weapons, Light, Medium, and Heavy Armor, and Shields (Template).
  • Skill Points: 6 SP (6 CP) +56 (Str Mod x 8) +30 (Template) +16 (Int Mod x8) = 108 SP.
    • Adept: Pays half cost for Animal Handling, Knowledge / Nature, Martial Arts (Jungle Lord Style), and Survival (6 CP)
  • Armor Class: 10 (Base) +2 (Dex) +4 (Shimmermail) = 16 (Adjusted by weapon, see below).
  • Initiative: +2 (Dex).
  • Movement: 30 (Base) +10 (when brachiating).

Usual Weapons:

  • Large Thrown Rocks (Ancient Huntsman Style): +11/+11/+11/+11/+11 (+9 BAB +2 Dex +1 MA +1 Mor -2 Bonus Attack), Damage 1d10+7+1 (Str) (Mor), Crit 20/x2. Expertise (may reduce attack check by up to -5 in favor of +2 damage per step). 20′ Range Increment.
  • Large Two-Handed Iron Bound Spiked Club (Jungle Lord Style): +15/+15 (+9 BAB +7 Str +1 Mor -2 Bonus Attack), 3d8+17 (1.5x Str, +1 Mor +5 Impact, Crit 19-20/x3. +5 to AC while wielded, 3 Attacks Of Opportunity, may use Resist Pain while using this style.
    • Martial: 5 Design Points, Two-Handed: +3 Design Points, Additional Design Points: +3 (50 GP). Improved Critical (x3, -3 DP), Damage 2d6 (5 DP). Improved Critical Threat 19-20 (3 DP). Net: 2d6, 19-20/x3
  • Unarmed (Jungle Lord Style): +17 (+9 BAB +7 Str +1 Mor), 1d4+8 (Str, Mor), Crit 20/x2, +5 to AC, 3 Attacks Of Opportunity, may use Resist Pain while using this style.
  • Any Large Object (Pioneer Spirit Style): +13 (+9 BAB +7 Str +1 Mor -4 Improvised), usually 1d6+8 (Str, Mor), Crit 20/x2, May subtract up to -5 from Attacks to add +2 to AC per point subtracted when using this style.
  • Large Thrown Javelin (Savannah Hunter Style): +11/+11 (+9 BAB +2 Dex +1 MA +1 Mor -2 Fast Throw), 1d8+8 (Str, Mor), Crit 20/x2 plus automatic trip, 30′ Range Increment.
  • Large Knife (Stone Fang Style): +19 (+9 BAB +7 Str +2 MA +1 Mor), 1d8+8 (Str, Mor) +2d6 (Sneak Attack), Crit 20/x2, can use Whirlwind Attack and Ki Block.

Other Abilities (49 CP):

  • Leadership with Strength in Numbers, Horde, BeastLord, and Emperor’s Star, Specialized for Reduced Cost / only animals, Corrupted / only for Primates (7 CP). The +6 CP from Emperors Star go to Innate Enchantment(Muleback Cords, Sapient, Int 14, Cha 12, Speech, and +2 Con) – making his ape and monkey followers intelligent, speaking, and capable of carrying equipment.
  • Shaping, Specialized for Increased Effect and Specialzied for Reduced Cost / only to use the Beastmastery Cantrip (4 CP).
  • +5 Strength, Corrupted / user is a hulking brute, easily recognized, has a hard time finding armor and weapons that fit, and so on (20 CP). Four points spent to reduce the level of Beastmastery Anyspell IV to Zero.
    • This allows him unlimited use of animal magic spell effects of up to level three. He can speak with animals, have them scout areas for him, heal their injuries, summon them to attack (per Summon Nature’s Ally), borrow various animal powers, cause a stampede to cause minor damage over a fair area, calm animals, charm animals, send animal messengers, identify animals (and their birthrights), cast magic fang, and many other things – albeit all having to do with animals.
  • Monkey Grip (May use weapons one size larger than normal, 6 CP).
  • Imbuement (Iron-Bound Spiked Club), Specialized / only to grant it the Impact Property (+5 Damage) (6 CP).
  • Bonus Attack (Jungle Lord Style) (6 CP):

Skills (All +1 Morale):

Tier One Skills (Martial Arts) (36 SP):

  • Ancient Huntsman Style: +8 (8 SP) +7 (Str) = +16
  • Jungle Lord Style: +8 (4* SP) +3 (Enh) +7 (Str) +1 (Race) = +20
  • Pioneer Spirit Style: +8 (8 SP) +4 (Con) = +13
  • Savannah Hunter Style: +8 (8 SP) +7 (Str) = +16
  • Stone Fang Style: +8 (8 SP) +7 (Str) = +16

Tier One Skills (Other) (36 SP):

  • Animal Handling: +8 (4* SP) +3 (Enh) +1 (Cha) +2 (Sy) = +15
  • Hide +3 (3 SP) +2 (Dex) +4 (or more, Elfin Cloak) = +10 (+13 if still or in natural surrounds, +16 for both).
  • Knowledge/Architecture And Engineering +2 (2 SP) +2 (Int) = +5
  • Knowledge/Geography: +2 (2 SP) +2 (Int) +2 (Sy) = +7
  • Knowledge/Nature +8 (4* SP) +3 (Enh) +2 (Int) = +14
  • Spot: +8 (8 SP) +2 (Unk) +2 (Wis) +2 (Sy) = +15
  • Survival: +8 (4* SP) +3 (Enh) +2 (Wis) +2 (Sy) = +16
  • Swim: +1 (1 SP) +7 (Str) = +9
  • Tumble: +8 (8 SP) +2 (Dex) +10 (Enh) = +21

Tier Two Skills (23 SP):

  • Balance: +7 (3 SP) +2 (Dex) +10 (Comp) = +20
  • Climb: +8 (4 SP) +7 (Str) +10 (Comp) = +26
  • Handle Animal: +8 (4 SP) +2 (Cha) = +12
  • Heal: +8 (4 SP) +0 (Wis) = +9
  • Intimidate: +8 (4 SP) +1 (Cha) +10 (Comp) = +20
  • Listen: +0 (0 SP) +2 (Wis) +4 (Torc) = +7
  • Speak Language: +8 (4 SP) +2 (Int) = +11

Tier Three Skills (8 SP):

  • Craft / Primitive Weapons: +7 (2 SP) +2 (Int) = +10
  • Craft / Woodworking: +7 (2 SP) +2 (Int) = +10
  • Jump: +7 (2 SP) +7 (Str) +10 (Comp) = +25
  • Use Rope: +7 (2 SP) +2 (Dex) = +10

Skill Specialties (2 SP): Hide (In Trees), Knowledge/Nature (Animals),

Specific Knowledges (3 SP): The Barbarian Lands, The Dimensional Lands, Laws and Customs of the Imperium,

Martial Arts:

Ancient Huntsman Style (Str):

Humans throw rocks – and while there are other creatures that throw rocks, humans and protohumans do it accurately and effectively. It’s one of the defining traits of the human evolutionary line. Bands of ape-men throwing rocks stood against everything Africa put up against them – and won. This “martial art” is founded on the reflexes of two million years – and on the spirits of the ancestors who back up it’s users. With it, you throw rocks. Fast and hard. And, if you are skilled enough – your distant ancestors will inspire other rocks join in on the fun.

  • Requires: at least a +2 BAB specialized in Primitive Weapons (Rocks, flasks, grenades, etc)
  • Basic Techniques: Power 2, Attack 2, Strike, and Toughness 4.
  • Advanced And Master Techniques: Blinding Strike, Rapid Shot (Rocks), Quick Draw (Rocks), and Expertise (Attack and Damage, Specialized for Double Effect / only to transfer from Attack to Damage).
  • Occult Techniques: Man-Band Spirit, Inner Strength 2, and Wrath (Force Damage).
  • Known Techniques (8): Strike, Power 2, Attack 1, Rapid Shot, Quick Draw, Expertise, and Man-Band Spirit.

Man-Band Spirit: Presence (Swift Hurling effect), Specialized for Increased Effect / The user effectively throws three extra rocks at his highest BAB when making a full attack – but this only works with plain rocks, which take off to follow the leading rock as if the user had thrown them.

Swift Hurling:

  • Transmutation, L1 Bard, Sorcerer/Wizard, Components: V, S, M (the missile or missiles to be launched), Casting Time: One standard action, Range: Touch, Target: Special, Duration: Instantaneous, Saving Throw: None, Spell Resistance: No
  • Swift Hurling will launch up to three arrows, bolts or sling stones as if fired from an appropriate weapon or hurl up to three items such as daggers, shuriken, rocks, flasks of holy water, or bottles of alchemical preparations, as if the caster had thrown them. Outside of the fact that the missiles need not be drawn and no mundane launcher (bow, crossbow, etc), is required, this is a normal attack – an attack check is required, range modifiers apply, and relevant Feats, attribute bonuses, and similar effects all apply normally. Where more than one possible mundane launcher or mode applies, such as a longbow or composite longbow, the choice is up to the caster. All shots are made at the user’s full BAB, they need not be launched at the same target, and the user may opt to either roll once for all the shots against a single target or for each independently.

This is actually a mildly abusive use of Presence, and should technically go under “advanced and master techniques” – but getting help from ancestor spirits is blatantly an occult technique and it’s a caveman style for throwing rocks. If you’re going to use Rocks as a competitive weapon… you’re going to have to abuse SOMETHING.

Jungle Lord Style (Str):

Men based many martial styles on the instinctive defensive and offensive movements of animals. The Jungle Lord style instead bases them on recalling the ancient ways – not the agile dance of the monkey style, but the brutal smashing of the killer ape. There is no delicacy here, no finely perfected katas – merely the ancient urge to destroy and the swift reflexes of the hindbrain, unmediated by conscious thought.

  • Requires: Str 18+.
  • Basic Techniques: Strike, Power 3, Attack 3, Defenses 3
  • Advanced And Master Techniques: Brutal Parry (Finesse, Adds Str Mod to AC Instead of Dex Mod), Mind Like Moon, Weapon Kata (Chosen type of Club), and Combat Reflexes.
  • Occult Techniques: Inner Strength II, Ki Focus (Damage), and Resist Pain.
  • Known Techniques (10): Strike, Power 3, Brutal Parry, Weapon Kata (Iron Bound Spiked Club), Combat Reflexes, Inner Strength II and Resist Pain.

Pioneer Spirit Style (Con):

The land has a rhythm to it. Every so often, there is a gully. Trees grow around the water, the weather turns in regular seasons.

And for a Pioneer… the land is an opponent. A creature to be defeated, and broken to service. Certainly, no single pioneer can truly mark the land – but they can establish themselves, they can raise homes and cities, they can farm and harvest. And they, and their families, can endure, facing the land with it’s own rugged strength until – after ten thousand battles – it is broken to the service of men.

  • Requires: At least one basic Craft skill at +8 or more, +1 General BAB, Survival +8 or more.
  • Basic Techniques: Strike, Power 1 (can do 1d6 damage with anything that comes to hand), Toughness 4, Synergy: Craft (Any), Handle Animal, Survival, and Knowledge/Geography. .
  • Advanced And Master Techniques: Battlecry, Quick Draw, Expertise (Attacks and AC, Specialized for Double Effect / only to transfer from Attacks to AC), and Sneak Attack (I Kilt A Bar With This Ere Shovel…).
  • Occult Techniques: Inner Strength II, (Ancestral) Ki Focus (+4 to Int-Based Skills, counts as skilled), (Ancestral) Ki Focus (+4 to Wis-Based Skills, counts as skilled).
  • Known Techniques (7): Synergy: Handle Animal, Survival, and Knowledge/Geography, Battlecry, Expertise (As above), Inner Strength, Ki Focus (Wis Based Skills).

Savannah Hunter Style (AKA “Pointy Stick Style”) (Str).

With blunt objects, humans smash. With pointy objects, humans poke – either throwing or jabbing them. This is another ancient, and near-instinctive style. As usual with the ancient styles… accuracy is good, certainly, but the basic tactic has always been “entire man-band throws pointy things at food/threat”. Thus Strength matters more than precise accuracy,

  • Requires: at least a +2 BAB specialized in Primitive Weapons (Select Spear or Javelin)
  • Basic Techniques: Power III, Attacks III, Synergy / Spot, Synergy / Survival,
  • Advanced And Master Techniques: Quick Draw, Fast Throw, Weapon Kata (now covers both Spear and Javelin), and Mighty Blow.
  • Occult Techniques: Inner Strength II, Light Foot, and Paralyze.
  • Known Techniques (8): Attacks 1, Synergy/Spot, Quick Draw, Fast Throw, Mighty Blow, Inner Strength 2, and Light Foot.

Stone Fang Style (Str).

Many beasts come with built-in weapons. But humans have never seen an advantage that they didn’t try to make their own. A thick pelt? I could use a coat! Milk for their young? We can drink that! Fangs and claws? We will take our fangs and claws from the Earth Itself, stealing a birthright we were not born with!

  • Requires: at least a +2 BAB specialized in Primitive Weapons (Select Knife or Hand Axe)
  • Basic Techniques: Power 2, Attack 4, Defenses 2, Synergy/’Survival.
  • Advanced And Master Techniques: Weapon Kata (Whichever of Knife or Hand Axe wasn’t picked), Sneak Attack 2, Whirlwind Attack.
  • Occult Techniques: Inner Strength 2, Ki Block, and Light Foot.
  • Known Techniques (8): Power 1, Attack 2, Sneak Attack 2, Whirlwind Attack, Inner Strength, and Ki Block

Charms And Talismans

With his recent acquisition of an Order Sponsor, Cenric has been able to acquire a small part of the Order Birthright – and will soon be upgrading his charms and talismans to match.

  • Acquired Order Birthright Package: Innate Enchantment.Specialized: only works with a high-ranking in-empire patron to channel the magic of Order to the user, double effect (6CP/10,000 GP). Enhance Charms and Talismans (L2 spell effect, increasing the effects of Charms to L1 and those of Talismans to L2. Personal charms only, 8400 GP) and Inspiring Word (personal only, +1 Morale bonus to Saves, Attacks, Checks, and Weapon Damage).

Current Talismans:

  • Shimmermail (+4 Armor Bonus with no penalties).
  • Tulthara (Two-Handed Iron-Bound Spiked Club when he wants one).

Current Charms:

  • Captains Torc: +4 to Listen, -1 on saves versus Sonics, can be heard at extended ranges.
  • Elfin Cloak: +4 to Hide, +7 if still or in a natural environment, +10 for both.
  • Firebox: Holds a small, permanent, smokeless fire.
  • Foothold Boots: Get purchase on anything, including air, for a few moments three times per hour.
  • Flux Iron: Can turn into any needed simple tool.

I’ve been ill, so it’s back to playing catchup for a few days…

Eclipse d20 -Serilda Ofellius Mallius

Serilda is another character for the current Atheria game – in this case a master alchemist/artificer who likes to explore lost tombs, ancient ruins, and distant lands, looking for exotic components with which to make rare Charms and Talismans, for inspiration for her own forging of Relics – and for Artifacts from the ancient world, since creating such things is almost a lost art on Atheria.

As such, she tends to deal with her problems by blasting them with alchemical bolts – or by retreating to create an appropriate Relic. As usual for a specialized character for Atheria she is quite formidable – but also as usual she’s going to start broadening her abilities rather than increasing her power since she’s already got pretty much every relevant boost for Alchemy, for making Relics, and for using Magical Items that there is on Atheria. She’s got nowhere to go there.

She’s also totally inept in melee, however dangerous she is with her Alchemical Bolters – and so she’s (very sensibly!) hired a bodyguard to watch her back.

Serilda Ofellius Mallius

Level Four Imperial Artificer

Birthright: Order (The Alarian Imperium)

  • Assistant (Their “Aid Another” actions provide a +4 bonus rather than +2, 6 CP).
  • Privilege/Imperial Patron (6 CP. Exiles may substitute a bonus feat).
  • Innate Enchantment. Specialized: only works with a high-ranking in-empire patron to channel the magic of Order to the user, double effect (6 CP/10,000 GP). Enhance Charms and Talismans (L2 spell effect, increasing the effects of Charms to L1 and those of Talismans to L2. Personal charms only, 8400 GP) and Inspiring Word (personal only, +1 Morale bonus to Saves, Attacks, Checks, and Weapon Damage, 1400 GP).
  • Fast Learner (may be specialized, 6 CP).
  • A bonus feat worth 6 CP.

Most children in the Imperium are given Lesser or Greater Scholar’s Eyes (Charm Version: +2 Int for skill purposes only for non-imperials, +4 for imperials. Talisman Version: +4 Int for skill purposes only for non-imperials, +6 for imperials) very early on. These are pretty much unheard-of outside the Imperium, where the results are far less noticeable. Given the inflexible imperial codes of conduct, and the stiff penalties for violating them, children normally invest a few in a reasonable understanding of imperial law and their house customs very early on. Freeborn children who don’t usually wind up being sold unless they’re consistently lucky or have some other form of special protection.

Uniquely, it is possible to acquire some portion of the Order birthright. Unfortunately, while other characters may buy the Innate Enchantment ability they still have to pay CP for the Imperial Patron, go out and find one, persuade him, her, or it to take them on, and sustain the relationship.

Birthrights have no actual cost to the character; everyone gets one for free for being born.

Available Character Points: 120 Base +10 (Disadvantages: Hunted (Accursed monsters from ancient tombs), Irreverent (Pays no attention to stories about “Gods”), and Blocked (non-alchemical spellcasting) +24 (Birthright, L1, L2, L4 Bonus Feats) = 154 CP.

Basic Attributes: Str 8, Int 14 (+4 Enh = 18), Wis 14, Con 14, Dex 14 (+2 Level +4 Enh = 20), Cha 12.

Basic Purchases (96 CP):

Starting Wealth Level: Well-Off (3 CP). Upgrade to Wealthy (Specialized and Corrupted / only with respect to Charms and Talismans, +3 CP).

  • Equipment: Standard gear up through full plate and exotic weapons as required.
  • Magical Items: Seven Charms and Three Talismans. Upgraded by the Order Birthright, these can produce effects of L1 and L2 respectively, or you can take standard Talismans as Charms.
  • Can afford high-quality common animals. As a note, animals with the Order Birthright are generally of very high quality, very easy to teach and train, and have minor powers related to organizing their environment.
  • Retainers: A loyal assistant, guard, or henchman and up to a dozen ordinary employees.
  • A +2 permanent wealth bonus to any two of Craft, Diplomacy, Speak Language, Perform, Profession, or Ride. In her case, Craft/Alchemy and Craft/Charms and Talismans. As both of those are Tier-2 Skills, the effective bonus is +4.

Other Basics:

  • BAB: +3, Specialized in Ranged Combat for Double Effect (18 CP). +2 BAB, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect (+6 with Bolt Throwers Only, 12 CP).
  • Hit Points: 20 (L1-4d6, 8 CP) +12 (Immortal Vigor) +12 (6 x Con Mod) = 44 HP.
  • Saving Throws:
    • Fortitude +1 (Purchased, 3 CP) +2 (Con) +1 (Mor) +2 (Res) = +6
    • Reflex +1 (Purchased, 3 CP) +4 (Dex) +1 (Mor) +2 (Res) = +8
    • Will +2 (Purchased, 6 CP) +2 (Wis) +1 (Mor) +2 (Res) = +7
      • Luck with +4 Bonus Uses, Specialized in Saving Throws (6 CP).
  • Proficiencies: All Simple Weapons (3 CP).
  • Skill Points: 9 SP (Purchased, 9 CP) +28 (Int Mod x 7) +14 (Fast Learner) = 50 SP.
    • Skill Modifiers: Order Birthright Fast Learner Specialized in Skills (0 CP), Fast Learner Specialized in Skills, Corrupted / only to keep Adept skills maxed out (4 CP), Adept (Buys Knowledge / Arcana, Craft / Charms & Talismans, Knowledge / Nature, one other skill, for half cost, 6 CP).
  • Armor Class: 10 (Base) +5 (Dex) +6 (Shimmermail) +4 (Shield) = 25.
  • Initiative: +5 (Dex) (+8 Improved Initiative II, 12 CP) = +13
  • Movement: 30′ (Base) +30′ (Enh) = 60′.

Preferred Weapons:

Alchemical Bolter(s): +19/+19/+14/+9 (BAB +12, Dex +5, +2 MA), Damage/Special, Crit 20/x2, Range Increment 80′.

  • Available Munitions:
    • Acid x6: Touch Attack, 3d6, +2d6+1 Splash Damage. Corrodes and damages surfaces.
    • Crossbow Bolts with Adamantine Blanch x6: Normal Ranged Attack, 3d6+1, Crit 19-20/x2.
    • Dragons Breath Pepper Oil x6: Touch. DC 18 Fort Save or Blinded and at -2 to all actions for 2d4 rounds.
    • Fire x6: Touch Attack, 3d6, +2d6+1 Splash Damage. May burn for an extra round.
    • Firecracker x2: 1d6+2 Nonlethal Damage, Deafen for 1d4+2 rounds, DC 11 For Save to half effects. One Square.
    • Flash Powder x2: DC 15 Fort Save or 3 rounds Blindness in a 10′ Radius.
    • Frost x6: Touch Attack, 3d6, +2d6+1 Splash Damage. Often puts out fires.
    • Ground Pepper x6: Touch, DC 16 Fortitude Save or Sneeze for 1d4+2 Rounds.
    • Smokestick x3: Fills a 20′ Radius
    • Tanglefoot x3: Touch Attack, DC 19 Reflex Save, Lasts 2d4+2 rounds.
    • Thunderstone x2: DC 21 Fort Save or Deafened for one hour, 10′ Radius.
      • May make a single, triple-effect shot as a full attack action – but only three times and only regains one use of this ability per day.

Serilda CAN use simple melee weapons – but generally does not bother since she’s quite useless with them.

Family Talent: Alchemical Powers (37 CP):

  • Innate Enchantment, Corrupted for Increased Effect (up to 17,250 GP Value) / Must take regular alchemical treatments to boost her internal magic and must use additional charms and talismans to focus it (12 CP)
    • Belt Of Speed: Personal Haste (The Practical Enchanter, Spell Level One x Caster Level One x 2000 GP for Unlimited-Use Use-Activated = 2000 GP).
    • Basilisk Blood Bracer: Touch Of Alchemy / “Call Item” at 100 GP or Less (L2 / 3 Power, Manifestor Level 3, x 2000 GP for unlimited-use use-activated x.4 only to produce alchemical items, x.6 for 3/day = 2880 GP).
    • Elixir Vitae: Immortal Vigor I, Spell Level One x Caster Level One x 2000 GP for Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x .7 Personal Only = 1400 GP. Adds (12 + 2 x Con Mod) Hit Points to the user’s base total.
    • The Stone Of The Philosophers: All Effects Spell Level One x Caster Level One x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x .4 (twice per day) x .7 Personal-Only:
      • Fast Healing I for 18 Rounds 2/Day (The Practical Enchanter) (560 GP).
      • Relieve Illness (Hedge Wizardry, this site) 2/Day (560 GP).
      • Relieve Poison (Hedge Wizardry, this site) 2/Day (560 GP).
      • Lesser Restoration 2/Day (SRD) (560 GP).
    • Sigil Ring Of Alchemic Mastery (Spell Level One x Caster Level One x 2000 GP for Unlimited-Use Use-Activated = 2000 GP): Apply (Int Mod, 3 Maximum) of the following enhancements to any alchemical item the target uses: +1d6 Damage, +2 to the Save DC, +2 rounds duration, or +5 to an existing radius of effect.
    • Gloves Of The Athanor’s Weave: Anyspell (L0 Alchemy Effects) (Spell Level One x Caster Level One x 2000 GP for Unlimited-Use Use-Activated = 2000 GP): produces any one of the following effects:
      • Any one Polypurpose Panacea effect.
      • Brew: Makes up to a pint of tea, extract, or mixture from the usual ingredients.
      • Detect Poison: SRD Effect.
      • Flare: SRD Effect.
      • Identify Herb: Determines a herbs identity, potency, and uses.
      • Paint: Coats up to a 5 x 5 foot area with paint, light oil, glue, or a similar substance.
      • Smoke Cloud. Makes a burst of smoke roughly equivalent to a smokestick.
      • Spray. Sprays the contents of a vial of material onto any target within thirty feet.
    • Ioun Torch (75 GP).
    • Locket Of Winds: Breath Of Transmutation / Alchemic Mist, Reduced to L1 by being powered with 4 HP when used, Spell Level One x Caster Level One x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated – 2000 GP. Turns up to two doses of an alchemical material or toxin into a 20′ radius burst within medium range.
    • Pendant Of The Iron Winds: Force Shield I, Spell Level One x Caster Level One x .7 Personal-Only – 1400 GP.
    • Vials Of Mist: Obscuring Mist, Spell Level One x Caster Level One x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x .4 (Two Uses / Day) = 800 GP.
    • Calcining Alembic / Masterwork (+2 Bonus) Industrious Alchemists Lab Talisman (225 GP): Activated as an Imperial Charm, this allows the user to work three times as fast. As an Imperial Talisman, it allows the user to accomplish a days work in an hour.
    • Shaping Spectacles / Masterwork (+2 Bonus) Industrious Artisans Tools for Crafting Charms and Talismans Talisman (80 GP). Activated as an Imperial Charm, these allow the user to work three times as fast. As an Imperial Talisman, these allow the user to accomplish a days work in an hour.
    • Mundane Functions (59 GP):
      • Durant Cloak: Cold Weather and Hot Weather Clothing (10 GP), Heavy Protective Gloves (2 GP), Thieves Tools (30 GP), Spell Component Pouch (5 GP), Bedroll, Blanket, and Cot (2 GP), Small Tent (10 GP),
    • Total: 17,159 GP.
  • Immunity / The XP cost of L1 Innate Enchantments (Uncommon, Minor, Trivial, 1 CP).
  • Immunity to Dispelling (Common, Minor, Minor, Specialized / only to protect Innate Enchantments, 2 CP).
  • Immunity / The need to attune Industrious Tool Charms and Talismans (Uncommon, Minor, Minor, 2 CP). Technically this is a natural-law immunity, and so requires special permission. On the other hand, this is about as unimportant as it gets and is very unlikely to break the game – so why not?
  • Immunity / Part of the time normally required to “draw” alchemical items and devices (Common, Minor, Trivial, 2 CP). This reduces the time needed to get out an alchemical item to a free action – provided that it is already only a move action. Another trivial natural law immunity.
  • Inherent Spell with +5 Bonus Uses (Six Total), Corrupted for Reduced Cost (9 CP) / requires assorted alchemical dusts, powders, and components, gestures, and a full-round action to use. Level Three Alchemical Anyspell (choice of: Acid (or other elemental) “Arrow”, Alchemic Mastery (+20 on an Alchemy check), Alchemic Mist, Cure Moderate Wounds, Delay Poison, Fog Cloud, Glitterdust, Grease (up to 20′ radius burst), Lesser Restoration, Tanglefoot Blast (up to a 20′ Radius).
  • Well-Supplied: Immunity / The normal limits of Craft / Alchemy: May prepare up to (Skill Total x 50 GP) worth of alchemical gear each day without it counting against her normal supplies (Common, Minor, Major, 6 CP).
  • Skill Emphasis (Craft Alchemy) (3 CP). Provides a +4 Bonus since Craft/Alchemy is a Tier-2 Skill.

Other Powers (21 CP):

  • Create Relic (6 CP)
  • Double Enthusiast, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect (6 floating CP) / only for making Relics (6 CP)
  • Luck with +8 Bonus Uses, Specialized in Skills (9 CP).

Skills:

  • Tier One Skills (24 SP):
    • Disable Device (Int): +5 (5 SP) +4 (Int) +1 (Mor) = +10
    • Martial Art (Thunderbolt Prana Style, Dex): +7 (7 SP) +5 (Dex) +1 (Mor) = +13
    • Tumble (Dex): +7 (Free) +5 (Dex) +1 (Mor) = +13
    • Knowledge/Arcana: +7 (Free) +4 (Int) +1 (Mor) = +12
    • Knowledge/Nature: +7 (Free) +4 (Int) +1 (Mor) = +12
    • Search (Int): +7 (Free) +4 (Int) +1 (Mor) = +12
    • Spot (Wis): +7 (7 SP) +2 (Wis) +1 (Mor) = +10
    • Survival (Wis): +5 (5 SP) +2 (Wis) +1 (Mor) = +8.
  • Tier Two Skills (15 SP):
    • Balance (Dex): +5 (2 SP) +5 (Dex) +1 (Mor) = +11
    • Craft/Alchemy (Int): +7 (3 SP) +4 (Int) +4 (Wealth) +4 (Emp) +1 (Mor) +4 (Sy) = +24
    • Craft/Charms and Talismans (Int): +7 (3 SP) +4 (Int) +4 (Wealth) +1 (Mor) = +16
    • Escape Artist (Dex): +3 (1 SP) +5 (Dex) +1 (Mor) = +9
    • Handle Animal (Cha): +3 (1 SP) +1 (Cha) +1 (Mor) = +5
    • Open Lock (Dex): +3 (1 SP) +5 (Dex) +1 (Mor) = +9
    • Ride (Dex): +3 (1 SP) +5 (Dex) +1 (Mor) = +9
    • Speak Language (Int): +5 (2 SP) +4 (Int) +1 (Mor) = +10
  • Tier Three Skills (3 SP):
    • Decipher Script (Int): +7 (2 SP) +4 (Int) +1 (Mor) = +10
    • Jump (Str): +4 (1 SP) -1 (Str) +1 (Mor) = +4

Specific Knowledges (8 SP):

  • Imperial Law And Customs (1 SP), House Mallius Customs (1 SP), The Imperial Encyclopedia of Charms and Talismans (3 SP), Exotic Charm and Talisman Components (1 SP), Everyman’s Handbook Of Alchemy And Artifice (2 SP).

Thunderbolt Prana Style:

All right, it’s basically “I am really good with magical guns”. You’re not getting an elaborate description here.

  • Requires: Weapon Specialization in Bolt Thrower (+2 or better dedicated BAB)
  • Basic Techniques: Attack 4, Defenses 2, Power 3, and Synergy/Craft Alchemy.
  • Advanced and Master Techniques: Mind Like Moon, Prone Combat, 2d6 Sneak Attack.
  • Occult Techniques: Inner Strength II, Focused Blow, and Ki Focus (Dex).
  • Known Techniques (7): Attack II, Synergy (Craft Alchemy), Mind Like Moon (DC 15 Reflex Check to avoid being Surprised), Prone Combat, Inner Strength, and Focused Blow.

Charms and Talismans

  • Talismans: Greater Scholars Eye (+4 Int), Sash of Agility (+4 Dex), Improved Shimmermail (+6 Armor Bonus).
  • Charms:
    • Two Alchemical Bolters: This simple weapon holds up to eight doses of alchemical mixtures, launching them as attacks with the range of a Light Crossbow. It does take a round to reload once emptied however. Alchemical Items are usually Touch Attacks.
    • Two Hidden Pockets. These expand the capacity of the Bolters to 24 vials each – although this increases the reload time to three rounds. First Bolter: Alchemists Fire x6 (120 GP), Acid x6 (60 GP), Flash Powder x2 (100 GP), Smokestick x3 (60 GP), Tanglefoot x3 (150 GP), Thunderstone x2 (60 GP), Firecrackers x2 (20 GP). Second Bolter: Alchemists Frost x6 (60 GP), Dragon’s Breath Pepper Oil x6 (60 GP), Ground Pepper x6 (12 GP), and Bolts with Adamantine Blanch x6 (60 GP).
      • Note; Her complete daily loadout comes out to 762 GP. That leaves 438 GP worth of alchemical stuff in her normal daily allowance.
    • Rewinding Sleeve Grapnel.
    • Fiend Gauntlets: The user may handle hot, corrosive, and otherwise dangerous things without fear of harm.
    • Broach Of Warding: Provides the L1 Warding Rune Effect (+2 Resistance Bonus to Saves).

Passions, Apathies, and Relationships in Eclipse

To the last I grapple with thee! From hell’s heart I stab at thee! For hate’s sake I spit my last breath at thee!

-Moby Dick

Passions are larger than life commitments. They are the things that drive you to accomplish impossible feats, to push far beyond normal limits to save a loved one, to find the strength to hurl back a mighty demon that seeks to extinguish the light you guard, to stand alone and hold a pass against an horde of foes seeking to attack your city, and to crawl out of the very grave to avenge yourself upon your enemy. Passions – whether of hatred, of love, or of simple determination – are strengths that drive mighty deeds, both foul and fair. They both create and destroy. They both protect and torment. A Passion is always focused on doing or accomplishing something of importance – at least to you. A book-lover may collect and preserve books while a book-hater seeks then out to burn them – but both can be equally passionate about it.

The trouble with Passions is that they need to be reasonably specific and only help you out when they apply. Hating the Viking Raiders with all your heart won’t help you out against the wicked King John and his oppressive reign. Secondarily, positive Passions – a desire to defend, or serve, or build – are much safer than negative ones. Positive Passions tend to be open ended; if you are willing to die to defend someone… the Passion is still better fulfilled by you surviving unless it’s a choice between them and you. That way you can continue to defend them in the future. With negative passions… if you’re willing to die to destroy the evil emperor… then hurling yourself into a magma pool while grappling with him works just fine. You may die – but you have fully fulfilled your purpose. The tradeoff is that positive passions are often harder to invoke. A Passion to defend your city won’t do much if no one is currently threatening it unless you’re currently building up its defenses.

A Passion defines your relationship with something – whether that’s a rival, an enemy, a friend, a companion, a place, or a thing.

The inverse version – Apathies – is used in stories when you want to make a character suffer. For an all-too-common example… you can have a character lose their great love. Then have them be overcome with grief, make a great point of their terrible suffering, and have them refuse to take an interest in life. You can even have them attempt suicide. That’s an easy way to appeal to those audience members who feel unjustly put upon by powers beyond their control (most people, and especially teenagers), to the hopeless, and to those who can think of no way to try and overcome their own issues. That makes them a splendid audience sympathy character, sure to appeal to everyone who is either depressed already or who feels that “I probably couldn’t handle that either”. Unlike a Passion, an Apathy takes a character out of action rather than driving them to it. In Eclipse, that’s generally a disadvantage – most often Dependence or Accursed.

Has a person of Passion lost someone they love? Whether they succeed or fail… they DO SOMETHING.

  • Orpheus – and many other heroes – challenged the powers of Death itself.
  • In more realistic tales they often swear vengeance, and go forth to destroy the people who slew their loves, to sell their families into slavery, to burn their homes to the ground, and to sow their lands with salt!
  • If the loss was caused by some impersonal force… perhaps they found an orphanage or build a temple or erect a safety rail, or dedicate themselves to finding a way to prevent similar tragedies, in memory of their lost one.

Such people may despair for a time – but they take their Apathy and they turn it into Passion.

Many years ago… a man down the block from my parents house was informed that his wife was dying of cancer. There really wasn’t anything he could do – it was in the hands of the doctors – but he was a man of Passion, and he decided that cancer was the result of some sort of “magnetic imbalance” and started trying to build a machine to cure her. That wasn’t sane by most standards – but he kept trying in her memory even after the various medical treatments had failed and she had died. If he and his wife had only lived in a world of magic… he might well have succeeded.

So can you build Passions in Eclipse?

Of course you can. There’s already an article on building True Love over HERE.

If you just want die roll bonuses you can use the Bonds effect from the Nobilis articles.

But if you really want to break reality… you’re going to need something a little stronger than die roll bonuses. If what you want is something more like…

The battle was fell indeed, and the stench of burning powder and spilled blood lies thick. Despite your efforts your greatest enemy has won. Your ship is in a race between burning and sinking, your crew lies dead, your bowels are scattered across the deck and your shoulder is nailed to the mast by a sword. Your final words are an oath to all the powers that may be, and upon your very soul, that somehow, someday… your enemy WILL PAY.

And two years later, as the moon eclipses the sun and unnatural darkness falls… your ghostly ship, well-armed skeletal crew, and your wrathful spirit rise from the depths, launching a raid against your enemies homestead – a last chance to gain your vengeance against your enemy and all he values before you and your ghostly ship of the dead go on to become a curse upon the world.

Die roll bonuses won’t get you that. They won’t let you defy death and hold the way against a horde of enemies while others escape despite your mortal wounds. They probably won’t even let you duplicate some stuff that’s actually happened in the real world, such as Gladys May Aylward managing to tow more than a hundred children through the mountains to safety in the midst of an invasion. Fitting a feat THAT unlikely into a game will usually call for more than some die roll modifiers!

The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides
By the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.
Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will,
Shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness,
For he is truly his brother’s keeper and the finder of lost children.
And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger
Those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers.
And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee.

-Quentin Tarantino

In Eclipse Passions are built with Mana and Reality Editing. They are Specialized and Corrupted for Reduced Cost.

  • Each die of Mana must be assigned to a particular Passion. While Passions may change over time – each session the character may reassign one die of Mana – it’s a slow process. If a passion is fulfilled – lets say you had “Slay The Dark Lord!” as a driving passion at six dice – then it will take six sessions to transfer them to something else after you succeed.
  • Mana may only be expended on reality editing in pursuit of the passion the die is assigned to.
  • A Passion must be assigned at least one die of Mana to allow Minor Edits, two for Notable Edits, three or four for Major Edits, and five or more for Grandiose Edits. Edits don’t count as actions, but you can only invest (Cha Mod) points of mana in edits per turn – unless the GM thinks that your proposal for an edit fits into the flow of the narrative really, REALLY, well. Edits that directly affect someone another being – such as trying to inflict a crippling wound – always allow a Will save. Edits always require the permission of the game master and will only work if they are dramatically appropriate.
    • Minor Edits are things like finding a weapon ready to hand when you need one, taking a move action without provoking attacks of opportunity, taking 20 on a roll, halving the damage from an attack on you, pulling out (and using up or having to leave behind) some convenient minor item of gear, taking an attack meant for someone else nearby, taking a player minute (with free kibitzing from other players and the GM) to come up with the perfect remark, briefly throwing off the effects of an enchantment, or making a brief speech. Dramatic special effects (similar to area-effect Prestidigitation) fit in here too; do you want to swear so foully that metal tarnishes, plants wither, and surfaces corrode in the area? Or scream so that sensitive individuals hear you in distant places? Or make a cutting remark so cold that everyone in the area feels chilled? Go right ahead.
    • Notable Edits include things like taking a Standard Action without provoking AoO, copying a feat or 6-point ability that you are eligible for but haven’t yet taken for ten round, maximizing the effect of a spell, power, or other roll, emulating a first or second level spell effect as long as you can describe some reasonably plausible method for doing so, greatly impressing someone with your courage, vulnerability, or whatever, or inflicting a crippling wound (equivalent to a “Bestow Curse” effect). You can perform a stunt so impressive (or comical) that everyone around you who isn’t doing something extremely urgent and important will take a few moments out to wonder or laugh over it. You might parry – and possible even reflect – a spell with a physical manifestation (for example, knocking away a Fireball before it detonates). You can draw on your Passion for strength to throw off fatigue or other minor conditions or to make a spell or other power last longer than it should. You can simply shrug off the damage from an attack (it’s merely a flesh wound!) or manifest an intimidating psychic aura. You can even improvise whatever simple tools you need at the moment. This is Reality Editing. It can do a LOT of things.
    • Major Edits include things like taking a Full Round Action without provoking AoO, getting a +15 on a roll, copying a feat for the duration of a scene, emulating a third level spell provided that you can describe some reasonably plausible (by Hollywood logic) method of doing so. You might impress someone so much that they might well offer you a job or perhaps some patronage. You might change a relationship in a dramatic scene – perhaps turning a Rivalry into (unrequited?) Love. You can focus utterly on a task, ignoring any die-roll penalties you would normally suffer from with respect to that task for a scene or initiate a confrontation, leading someone to either have to face you directly or back down. YOu can draw on the strength of your Passion to throw off the effects of poison, negative levels, or other major conditions or to remain standing and functioning despite mortal wounds. You can survive an accident that should have killed you; go ahead and throw yourself off a cliff, into a river, or into some other situation that should be lethal and vanish, returning (considerably) later having somehow survived.
    • Grandiose Edits are legendary deeds. You might drive off a far superior foe in a surge of berserk power, hold a chokepoint against an army for long enough for backup to arrive (the GM may call for a check to see if you survive), sacrifice yourself to accomplish some great goal or lay a great curse (usually with delayed effects). You might even go on a sidequest to call upon some hidden resource, such as Aragorn’s Spectral Army. Why not break something important and start some form of countdown to an enemies base or vehicle collapsing or exploding for no apparent reason? Grandiose edits are feats out of legend – but you shouldn’t always expect a game master to allow them.
  • The mana pool of a highly specific passion (“Defend the Princess!”) automatically refreshes daily, while the mana pool of a general passion (“Defend the Kingdom”) automatically refreshes weekly.
  • The mana pool of a Passion can also be refreshed by doing things directly related to the Passion. For example, if your Passion is defending the kingdom, then renewing your vows of service before the king will refresh your pool. Sadly, no more than one pool per day can be refreshed in this way.
  • Passions are major motivations. Characters who go directly against their Passions may suffer backlash. Perhaps Moroch The Implacable has sworn to destroy The Dark Lord at all costs and has invested seven mana dice in that Passion – but, when it comes to the confrontation and the Dark Lord says “Hey! Join Me! Let us Rule Together and I shall share with you the Secret of Eternal Youth!” Morloch says “Hey! That sounds pretty cool!” and joins the Dark Lord. In that case that Mana is going to spend itself at the discretion of the game master – perhaps ensuring that Moroch’s once-allies will become aware of his base betrayal, or arranging some terrible weakness, or creating a terrible rivalry with some other dark power, or notifying demons that Moroch’s soul is forfeit, or assisting other enemies, or causing his once-invincible sword to snap, or all of those things. And the next session Moroch may reduce his once-passion by one die, but the remaining dice will once more spend themselves whenever their pool refreshes. And so it will go until the Passion is spent and those dice are invested elsewhere.
  • Any given character can have a maximum of (Charisma) dice of Passions.

It thus costs 2 CP for one Passion die.

Some possible Narrow Passions? I Will…

  • Destroy the Dark Lord And Free The World From His Thrall.
  • Aid My Blood Brother In Both War And Peace.
  • Love, Protect, And Uplift My Family At Any Cost.
  • Serve My Friend And Liege Beyond Death Itself.
  • Drive Back The Horrors From Beyond And Preserve Our World.
  • Reclaim My Rightful Lands And Title From Those Who Hold Them.
  • Slay The Dragon That Ravaged My Home And Rebuild It Greater Than Before. .
  • Document This War And Compose The Greatest Epic Ever Known That It Will Be Forever Remembered.
  • Find True Love, Though Hell Should Bar The Way.
  • Allow Neither Rain, Not Snow, Nor Gloom Of Night To Stay Me From Delivering Messages!
  • Escape Unjust Restraint, For I Am The Captain Of My Soul.
  • Let Nothing Bar Me From Your Side, For I Will Always Be There For You.

Some possible Broad Passions? I Will…

  • Defend The Kingdom Against All Who Threaten It.
  • Be The Greatest Pirate Ever In Both Truth And Legend.
  • Assist My Friends Out Of My Matchless Loyalty.
  • Strike Down Evil Wherever It Arises That The Light May Triumph.
  • Protect And Aid The Innocent No Matter What The Threat. .
  • Drive The Usurpers From The Kingdom Into The Outer Darkness.
  • Hold To My Word, No Matter What The Price.

“Upon him I will visit famine and a fire,
Till all around him desolation rings
And all the demons in the outer dark
Look on amazed and recognize
That vengeance is the business of a man.”

-Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind

So go forth, and play with Passion.

Dark City Heroes I – Majestic

Gotham City, founded in 1635 by Captain Jon Logerquist on a site where a eldritch entity has lain imprisoned for forty thousand years. As the city grew its occult influence has expanded as mortals unknowingly tapped and channeled it – fostering cultists, empowering arcane rites, and awakening mystical potentials. The first heroes appeared in the 1800’s, exploiting the concealing shamanic magic of Masks* to fight the gangs that controlled the city without exposing their civilian identities and connections to the gangs revenge.

*To don a mask (or, for those with the right powers, to shapeshift) with the intention of being someone else… is to draw a mystical line dividing those identities that only powerful magic, skilled, determined and lengthy investigation, or direct revelation can violate. Thus has Superman concealed his identity for decades with nothing more than a pair of glasses.

Today Gotham remains, as it has for centuries, a city of twisting alleys, archaic secret-laden neighborhoods, forgotten nooks and structures, eldritch nexi, and hidden sorceries. It is older far than Batman – so what heroes might he have Eclipsed in his rise?

The game-setup question is more or less “What sort of young heroes might Batman have grown up around in Gotham City?” – and the rules of the that game are:

  1. Level One Eclipse Builds.
  2. Human – although human-looking Variant Humans Races or Birthrights are available for Heroes and Villains.
  3. Half Cost for buying up Attributes with CP (commonly 6 CP for +1)
  4. Bonus Feats at L0, L1, L2, and every two levels thereafter.
  5. Handguns are considered to be Simple Weapons. Long Arms are Martial.
  6. A Condensed Skill List – in this case:
Acrobatics (Dex) Balance + Escape Artist + Tumble
Arcana (Int) Spellcraft + Knowledge: Arcana
Athletics (Str) Climb + Jump + Swim + Escape Artist (STR)
Background (Int) Covers any five Craft, Profession, or Perform skills.
Deception (Cha) Bluff + Disguise
Endurance (Con) Control Shape + Concentration + Endurance
Handle Animal (Cha) Handle Animal, Ride, Profession/Teamster, etc.
Insight (Wis) Sense Motive + Gather Information
Linguistics (Int) Speak Language + Decipher Script + Forgery
Martial Arts (Var) It’s a superhero setting; invent two with attribute modifiers and give them a each a +4 bonus.
Perception (Wis) Search + Spot + Listen
Persuasion (Cha) Diplomacy + Intimidation
Religion (Wis) Knowledge/Religion, Knowledge/The Planes, Heal, and performing various religious services and rituals
Scholar (Int) Covers Knowledge / Architecture and Engineering, Geography,
History, Local, and Nobility
Stealth (Dex) Hide + Move Silently
Survival (Wis) Survival + Use Rope + Knowledge/Nature
Thievery (Dex) Appraise + Disable Device + Open Locks + Pick Pocket / Sleight of Hand
Use Device (Cha) Use Magic Device, Use Psionic Device, and Use Technological
Device. For practical purposes there isn’t much difference.

Majestic (Edmund Wells):

According to ancient tales, unicorns shed their horns every seven years – and those alicorns retain potent magic, being tokens of healing, purification, and strength. But unicorns are rare, and thus true alicorn is almost unheard of.

According to the modern world, unicorns never existed in the first place, and such tales are simply tales.

Meridith knew that it was nonsense, and the her grandmothers “unicorn horn” pendant was doubtless carved from the horn of some other animal – but if her sickly baby didn’t want to let it go and it amused him… it merely took fastening the chain to the side of the crib to keep it too high for him to do more than hang onto it.

She panicked a bit when she came back and found the pendant missing from the chain – but her son wasn’t choking and didn’t have it in his mouth. It wasn’t in the bedding or under the crib either – and he couldn’t possibly have swallowed it. He’d probably thrown it somewhere – and it would surely turn up eventually.

It never did, but eventually she forgot about it. The distraction of seeing her baby son fully recovered and happy again – and, later, of seeing him growing up strong and healthy – was more than enough to keep her from thinking about the mysteriously missing pendant until the memory faded.

She never knew that her grandmothers pendant – carved of true alicorn and given with love unknowing of its power to an innocent – had merged with her infant son, rendered him once  more healthy – and giving him the potential for unicorn powers.

As he grew young Edmund has often found himself acting as the protector of the smaller children. When he hit adolescence, he soon discovered his ability to transform into a Unicorn Stallion – as well as the ability to sense those who were truly evil, and who had to be stopped.

Since then… rumors that the Wild Hunt rides once more are whispered around the city. The police are equally puzzled, but are unwilling to publicly admit that they are keeping an eye out for a sword-wielding vigilante who reliably assaults only the most vicious and evil criminals.

Race: Human Variant (Atherian Light Birthright, 30 CP / +0 ECL).

All of their racial abilities are Corrupted. The Children of Light suffer a -5 penalty on all attempts to be stealthy or to deceive people, are easily identified by their radiant auras by any form of magical detection or by perceptive observers (Spot DC 20).

  • +2 Charisma, +2 Dexterity, +2 Intelligence, and +2 Wisdom (16 CP)
  • Innate Enchantment (7500 GP, 6 CP):
    • Command (2000 GP).
    • Protection From Evil (personal only, 1400 GP)
    • Enhanced Insight: +3 to the Insight Skill (personal only, 1400 GP)
    • Inspiring Word (personal only, +1 Morale bonus to Saves, Attacks, Checks, and Damage, 1400 GP)
    • Immortal Vigor I (+12 + 2x Con Mod HP, personal only, 1400 GP).
  • Fast Learner (often Specialized in Channeling for Double Effect, 4 CP).
  • Channeling/Positive Energy: 3 + Cha Mod uses/day (6 CP) with a +4 bonus to their Base Intensity (4 CP).
  • Immunity/Time (reduced aging) (Common/Major/Minor, usually 4 CP but reduced to 0 CP due to relatively short campaign timescale (and standard comic book time).

The Children of Light suffer from some automatic disadvantages: they are Compulsively Truthful and Blocked (they can’t use negative-energy channeling, darkness-related magic, magical enhancements to stealth, non-healing necromantic magic, or anything else related to Darkness), for a total of -6 points

Basic Attributes: Str 10, Dex 12 (+2 Racial = 14), Con 12, Int 14 +2 Racial = 16), Wis 14 (+2 Racial = 16, Cha 14 (+2 Racial = 16). (3.5 28 Point Buy. For Pathfinder 20 point buy go to Con 13). In Unicorn Form: Str 20, Dex 17, Con 21.

Available Character Points: 48 (L1 Base) +10 (Disadvantages: Valuable, Hunted, and Broke, see below) +12 (L0 and L1 Bonus Feats) +2 (Duties) +6 CP (Fast Learner, only for Channeling) = 72 (78) CP

  • Valuable. He turns into a Unicorn. There are any number of mystics out there who would like to have a Unicorn – or some pieces thereof – on hand.
  • Hunted: He’s attacking the most evil mobsters, street gangers, and petty villains around. Some of them have surely taken notice.
  • Secret (Identity). Well, superhero setting. This is almost a given for most heroic characters.

Basic Purchases (48 CP):

  • Base Attack Bonus: +1 Specialized in Melee Combat (3 CP)
  • Hit Points: 24 (L1;4d6, 32 CP) +12 (Immortal Vigor) +6 (6 x Con Mod) = 42 (Unicorn 66)
  • Saving Throws (all gain a +2 Resistance bonus versus Evil):
    • Fortitude +0 (Purchased) +2 (Template) +1 (Con) +1 (Mor) = +4 (Unicorn +8).
    • Reflex +1 (Purchased, 3 CP) +2 (Dex) +1 (Mor) = +5 (Unicorn +6).
    • Will +1 (Purchased, 3 CP) +3 (Wis) +1 (Mor) = +5.
  • Proficiencies: All Simple Weapons (3 CP).
  • Skill Points: 4 SP (4 CP) +12 (Int Mod x 4) = 16 SP.
  • Athletics (+4 SP +4 Str +1 More = +9, extra +24 for Jumping), Insight (+4 SP +3 Wis +1 Mor +3 Enh = +11, extra +5 to Detecting Lies), Martial arts (+4 SP +5 Str +1 Mor = +10), Stealth (+4 SP +3 Dex +4 Racial = +11), and Survival (+0 SP +3 Wis +1 Mor +3 Racial = +7).
  • Human Armor Class: 10 (Base) +2 (Dex) +4 (armor) = 16 (+2 Deflection vrs Evil)
    • Modified Unicorn Armor Class: -1 Size, +1 More Dex +6 Natural = 22 (+2 Deflection vrs Evil)/
  • Initiative: +2 (Dex). (Unicorn +3)
  • Movement: 30 (Base) +30 (Enh) = 60 (Unicorn 90).

Usual Weapons:

  • Unicorn Horn: +10/+10 (+1 BAB +3 Enh +5 Str +1 Mor) for 1d8+9, Crit 20/x2, 5′ Reach,
  • Unicorn Hooves: +7/+7/+7 (+1 BAB +5 Str +1 Mor) for 1d4+6, Crit 20/x2, 5′ Reach,

I’m not worrying about the “Natural Weapons” rule. This is a PC, and doesn’t need to use GM shortcuts. In any case, rearing up to kick – or back kicking – isn’t too compatible with stabbing with a horn.

Abilities (30 CP):

Shapeshift with Growth, Beasts, Enchanted, and +4 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted for Reduced Cost (8 CP) / only to take (Urban) Unicorn Form.

Urban Unicorns are anthracite-coal black, with green, gold, red-gold, or orange eyes instead of white with sea-blue, violet, brown, or fiery gold eyes, their 1/day Teleport operates within their city and it’s suburbs instead of within their forest, and their “Wild” (City) Empathy works on police, officials, and city employees rather than animals. Otherwise, they’re just the same as standard SRD forest-dwelling Unicorns.

Unicorn Powers:

  • Senses: Darkvision 60, :Low-Light Vision, Scent
  • Constant Defenses: Magic Circle Against Evil, Immunity to Poison, Charm, and Compulsion.
  • Spell-Like Abilities
  • Detect Evil: at will, as a Free Action.
  • Greater Teleport: from anywhere in Gotham to anywhere in Gotham 1/Day.
  • Cure Light Wounds (1d8+5) 3/Day
  • Cure Moderate Wounds (2d8+5) 1/Day
  • Neutralize Poison 1/Day.
  • Skills: +4 to Stealth, +3 to Survival.
  • Damage Reduction 2/-, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect / Only versus Physical Attacks, only works against metallic weapons (6/Non-Metallic Weapons, 3 CP).
  • Enhance Racial Innate Enchantments/+4000 GP Effective Value (4 CP).
    • Personal Haste: +30′ Movement, +1 Attack when making a Full Attack (2000 GP).
    • Unseen Servant (2000 GP).
  • Channeling:
    • Conversion to four Radiance effects of up to level two: Solar (Scorching) Ray, Glitterdust), Extended Color Spray (30′ Cone), and Pyrotechnic Flare (as per Pyrotechnics (Fireworks option only, but no fire is required) (6 CP).
    • Conversion to one Healing effect (Cure Moderate Wounds, 3 CP). .
  • Use of Charms and Talismans (6 CP): These are actually more-or-less inherent – the difference being that, while they’re free instead of having a small cost, it will take days or weeks to trade them out via meditation and practice.
    • Charms (7):
      • All-Weather Cloak: He is not bothered by normal weather conditions. Of course, unicorns aren’t.
      • Amulet Of The Stallion: He has the sexual potency of a stallion.
      • Mandarin’s Pin: Mud, rain, and other crud slides right off him, he is always nice and clean and freshly groomed.
      • Silken Tongue: He can speak clearly, and cast his voice up to fifteen feet, even if his mouth is full or something is wrong with his voicebox (like being a Unicorn).
      • Sovereign Ointment: Can use Cure Minor Wounds up to 30x a day, but no more than 1d4+1 times per target.
      • Trackless Boots: He leaves no trail and cannot be tracked by non-magical means.
      • Vanishing Cloak. He can become invisible for 6-12 seconds (3 + Level/3) times per day.
    • Talismans
      • Dao Sigil: He heals an extra 1d6 damage and one attribute point per day and can (very slowly) regenerate lost limbs and organs.
      • Helm Of War: May reduce a critical hit to a normal hit up to seven times – but only regains one use of this per week.
      • Shimmermail: He gets a +4 armor bonus from his mythic aura.

Majestic isn’t particularly subtle. He’s a rather brutal vigilante who relies on closing with serious bad guys at high speed, goring them, relying on his resistance to bullets, knives, and similar weapons to let him deal with their thugs, and on his (rather modest) healing abilities to let him handle what damage does get through – or with injured bystanders. His usual routine is to go  out, quietly turn into a unicorn in some back alley or hidden location, and roam around dealing with the bad guys. If cornered, or when he’s done… he uses his once-per-day teleportation power to return to one of his “lairs” – hidden cubbyholes in abandoned buildings or unused subway stations – makes sure that no one else is currently around, turns back to human, and goes home.

So far it has worked reasonably well.

In play, like any other narrow specialist, Majestic is quite formidable – even before customizing with some unicorn martial arts. On the other hand, that’s not going to last. Unicorn powers are pretty useful at low levels – but they’re fairly trivial at higher levels. Like it or not, there all too soon comes a time in d20 where being kicked by a horse is no longer much of a worry.