Exotic Martial Arts – Lightning Strike, Feathered Serpent, Pacifist Fist, Shadowed Gaze, Care Bear Stare, Pipes Of Doom, Hajimari Mo Shori, Torchfighter, and Robber Baron

And for today it’s a nine exotic martial arts. As is to be expected, none of them are particularly reasonable. Some of them aren’t even particularly sane. Nevertheless, here they are.

  • Lightning Strike: The Eclipse version of Iajitsu.
  • Feathered Serpent: For when you want to use your bow in close combat.
  • Pacifist Fist: The art of last-minute negotiation.
  • Shadowed Gaze: Attacking with Photon Manipulation.
  • Care Bear Stare: Yes. Go ahead. Combine it with Pacifist Fist.
  • Pipes Of Doom: For inflicing mayhem with your music.
  • Hajimari Mo Shori: When the staredown decides the battle.
  • Torchfighter: Who needs a real weapon? Beat them up with a torch.
  • Robber Baron: An economic warfare style.
  • As a bonus, there’s a discussion on using Witchcraft was a weapon, an example of a player being awkward, and the War Torch, an unusual simple weapon.

Lightning Strike Style (Dexterity):

While great beasts, armored juggernauts, and men of valor may withstand many blows, many a lesser foe may be dispatched with a single swift strike – all the more thoroughly if they are yet unready. Ignore an opponents arms. What use are they if they do not get to wield them? Be prepared to strike instantly and with true killing intent. Victory may not be yours, but your foes shall feel your wrath.

  • Requires: BAB +4 or more, Dex 16+, having fought at least one duel. Employs a chosen one-handed weapon.
  • Basic Techniques: Attack 2, Power 4 (+4 Damage), Defenses 2, Synergy (Initiative/Specialized in Formal Duels for Double Effect (+4)).
  • Advanced and Master Techniques: Double Damage versus Flat-Footed Opponents, +3d6 Sneak Attack.
  • Occult Techniques: Inner Strength x2, Vanishing Technique, Ki Focus (+4 Initiative).

This, of course, is the Eclipse version of Iajitsu Focus or Pathfinder Iajitsu Strike. Unlike those, it maxes out at +(6d6+8) instead of (9d6) – but it also doubles the user’s base damage. Also unlike those styles, it simply requires a flat-footed opponent – not that the weapon have just been drawn, so if you really want to build a character around it you don’t have to sheathing and unsheathing your weapon. You just need to keep your opponent flat-footed or at least fulfill the conditions for sneak attacks.

Feathered Serpent Style (Dexterity):

The bow is a power that lets an ordinary men reach out and strike down beasts that move at speeds no man can match, that plucks birds from the air, that brings death to the predators that would devour their families, that makes any high place into a defended fortress. It struck without the risk of closing to charging ranges that bedeviled spears and stones. It pierced deep – and, unlike the magic that few could master, it made tribes, rather than individual heroes, strong. Mastery of the Bow is bred into blood and bone and calls forth the valor of men – although few now walk that ancient path.

  • Requires: BAB +4, Dex 16+, use of a particular type of bow.
  • Basic Techniques: Attack 2, Defenses 2, Power 2, and Strike.
  • Advanced And Master Techniques: Mighty Blow, Point Blank Shot, Rapid Shot, and Ki Arrow*
  • Occult Techniques: Inner Strength II, Touch Strike, and Focused Blow.

*) Ki Arrow: Presence, Specialized for Double Effect/Only affects the user, two first level spell effects, Gravity Bow and Arrow Mind.

Yes, it’s yet another bow style. This time around, it’s set up to allow the use of the bow as a primary weapon in close combat. That’s not especially reasonable (which is why it’s in a collection of exotic martial arts), but this is d20.”Reasonable” went out the window when the word “Magic” came up.

Pacifist Fist Style (Charisma):

The Art Of War is often said to be Diplomacy continued by other means. Practitioners of the Pacifist Fist Style see war as a failure; the only righteous use of force is in defense – and so they have developed the art of giving peace another chance, even when most folk would say that battle has already begun.

  • Requires: Diplomacy total of +8 or more.
  • Basic Abilities: Defenses 3 (Adds to Will Saves), Strike (Voice, causes self-realization damage versus Charisma), Synergy (Diplomacy, Sense Motive, Intimidation, and Gather Information)
  • Advanced and Master Techniques:
    • Katsujinken: This ability allows it’s user’s to negotiate even at the very last moment, giving them a last-ditch opportunity to avert death and disaster. Even as swords and bows are being drawn, or guns are brought to bear, the user may draw forth the time for a brief conversation from the tides of war. Reflex Training with +1 Bonus Uses (four/day total), Corrupted for Increased Effect (allows lots of free actions) and Specialized for Reduced Cost (4 CP) / Only to allow conversations and negotiations with opponents or potential opponents, plus Blessing, Specialized and Corrupted / only to share the Reflex Training ability to have conversations with an opponent (2 CP).
    • Opportunist: The user may switch to another martial arts style if negotiations fall through.
    • Immunity to Those Who Completely Refuse to Negotiate (Very Common, Major, Trivial, grants the user DR 5/- against all attacks (including energy and attribute damage) by such opponents, +2 to all Saves against them, and a +2 to their AC against them.
    • Mindspeech, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect (ignores language barriers and works on anything down to animals that can communicate normally, even if not in words) / only to attempt negotiations during Katsujinken.
  • Occult Techniques: Inner Strength x2, Healing Hand, and Ki Focus (+4 Sacred Bonus to Charisma)

All right. The odds of talking your way out of most fights in d20 is about zero, Nevertheless, if it is in character to try here’s a way to do so without just conceding the initiative to your opponent.

Shadowed Gaze Style (Dexterity):

Whether surrounded by glittering motes, afterimages, or a simple blur, the rare individual who masters the use of Shadowweave in combat gains a wide variety of useful options, even if the raw power available is less than overwhelming.

  • Requires: Witchcraft (Shadowweave)
  • Basic Abilities: Defenses 4 (Corrupted for Increased Effect / not effective against True Sight or non-visual targeting senses), Power 4, and Strike.
  • Advanced And Master Techniques: Whirlwind Attack, 3d6 Sneak Attack.
  • Occult Techniques: Inner Strength x2, Light Foot, and Vanishing

A few – mostly online – players have tried desperately to turn various abilities into instant-win buttons – usually by trying to claim that (generally misapplied) real-world scientific rules somehow make those abilities incredibly lethal or powerful. (The ones who are really focused on this approach rarely play for long; they tend to get frustrated). One of the most recent was trying to use Witchcraft.

The first attempt was made assuming that – since the “hard science” default for the Shadowweave power manipulates photons – Shadowweave can instantly generate lethal beams of radiation and / or cook things with microwaves throughout its ten minute default duration.

The answer there, of course, is that Witchcraft uses personal energy. While it is entirely possible for a skilled Witch (presumably with a technical background of some sort) to upgrade ambient photons into gamma rays or microwave radiation, the power output is still only the usable fraction of that of the physical body and it’s applied indirectly. Thus such attempts are about as effective in doing damage as a decently skilled punch or kick – about 1d4 to 1d6 damage (almost always “Fire” damage in d20 although Electrical is possible).

Now that is highly efficient in terms of power to damage – it only costs 1 Power for ten minutes of activity, in which time you could do a hundred dice of damage – but 1d6 a round? That really isn’t much more effective than using a club or torch – and might be far less effective if you have a good strength bonus or get more than one physical attack. Time matters too. Still, this is going to be a ranged touch attack, so there’s that.

The second attempt was using ambient energy sources – wanting to create a Solar Lens and hurl beams of superheated radiant death around.

Now that IS somewhat more promising; after all, solar furnaces exist, and using Shadowweave to redirect light is still nice and cheap. Moreover, the first reported use of a solar furnace in combat was ascribed to Archimedes during the Second Punic War (218-202 BC) so the concept is almost certainly available in most fantasy settings – even though testing has shown that the mechanisms described were probably unworkable, and the report was likely referencing a theoretical idea rather than a working system. In this case, however, we’re dealing with a set of psychic abilities – so it really is the thought that counts.

The actual temperature achievable is necessarily limited to the apparent temperature of the local sun measured from the planetary surface (which automatically accounts for absorption, and so is a more reliable guide than the Solar Constant would be)

Since that information is not available in most settings, but the worlds are often quite earthlike, the simplest approach is to look at the temperatures achievable by existing solar furnaces. The Odeillo solar furnace is the world’s largest, at 177 ft high and 157 ft wide. While that is not a continuous reflective area, it is still more than twenty times the area a witchcraft-based lens can be expected to cover. Odeillo can reach temperatures of up to 6330 F.

House fires vary, but the average temperature is reported to be a bit over a thousand degrees F. Looking at the rules on environmental hazards… that’s 1d6/Round. Being hit by a blob of Lava at about 2000 F is 2d6, likely in part because it will stick and continue to cause damage, which is simply rolled into the 2d6,

The d20 damage rules are not linear however, which is why a direct hit with a one megaton fusion weapon only does 16d8 damage and why a hit with a colossal mace (12 x 12 x 12 times the mass, traveling 12x the distance in the same time, and thus able to transfer 12 to the fifth power (248,832 to be precise) times as much damaging kinetic energy to the target) does not inflict thousands of times the damage of a hit with a normal mace.

So… the “solar beam” will affect a relatively small area and (unlike lava) will not stick, will create an ionization layer where it hits which will dissipate part of the available energy, and is only three times as hot. Being generous and ignoring the ionization problems while applying d20’s logarithmic damage multipliers (the math can be found on the site), that gives us 1.6 times the damage of lava an average of 11.1 points. So to get that average… 3d6+1. Presuming, of course, that you have a nice clear day, the sun is high in the sky, and you can concentrate on maintaining the effect. Since it will start to spread out at range, you’ll probably lose a d6 or so over some increment – probably over 40 to 80 feet since the collimation will be affected by the radius of your initial lens effect. For simplicity the GM might just give it medium range. Its going to be a ranged touch attack again though, which is something.

So this approach works, but it isn’t really a beam of ultimate burning death in d20 terms. It is comparable to other modern-style energy weapons from d20 future however, which is probably quite appropriate. Still a very useful tool though!

At this point the player blew up, announced that no one else understood anything at all, that he was being malignantly cheated of his powers, and that everyone should concede to his brilliance. When this did not work, he rage-quit.

That’s too bad since he didn’t get to the idea of using fine control – which must be there to make images – to inflict damage directly to vital organs or (possibly!) to interfere with the electrical impulses of the nervous system. That doesn’t really work in d20 because d20 doesn’t actually pay any attention to biology at all (there are some articles on that around), but you certainly CAN buy precision damage to use with Witchcraft, and actually accomplish something useful with your incredibly cheap, if very small, fire or electrical attack. Even better, since you can effectively flank people with Witchcraft with great ease, your sneak attack will work much of the time. And it will still be a ranged touch attack.

Witchcraft really isn’t very good at inflicting massive damage, but versatility has a power of it’s own – and, like anything else, if you invest in enough upgrades, you can build a reasonably effective character around it.

Care Bear Stare Style (Charisma):

Love and compassion have a power of their own. While few indeed are those with the spirit to make such things a focus of their abilities, there are always those few.

  • Requires: Witchcraft (Glamour and Healing)
  • Basics: Power 4 (Increases the DC of saves versus Glamour-induced Charming, Calming, and similar effects, increases amount healed by direct healing), Toughness 4, and Synergy (Diplomacy and Heal).
  • Advanced and Master Techniques; Improved Disarm, Sneak Attack II (Boosts Healing rather than damage), Advanced Witchcraft (Dismissal).
  • Occult Techniques: Inner Strength II, Iron Skin, and Ki Block.

OK, this is silly. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with being silly. This also seriously stretches the whole idea of a “martial art”, and some of the rules for them – but Eclipse explicitly allows weird variations and it this variation is hardly likely to break the game.

Pipes Of Doom (Charisma):

A skilled instrumentalist can play beautifully- or can produce a cacophony that seems capable of driving a sonic spike straight through their victims bleeding ears into their brains. A very few can do both at the same time, turning music into a deadly weapon of it’s own. Despite the name, any kind of instrument can be used with this style, although user’s are limited to a particular category of instruments unless they learn another type.

  • Requires: Perform (Instrument Type) 8+
  • Basic Abilities: Strike (Sonic, 1d4 base, range 30′ touch attack, no save), Power III, Synergy (Perform Subskill), Synergy (Perform Vocal), Defenses II (Sonic Deflection Shield).
  • Advanced And Master Techniques: Whirlwind (allows an attack on a 20′ radius), Opportunist (can maintain a musical Mystic Artist effect while making musical attacks), Weapon Kata (Voice), Change Of Key (Metamagic/Elemental Manipulation (Specialized and Corrupted/only to alter the elemental effect of the musical attack from Sonic to Force, Fire, Electrical, Cold, or Acid, 2 CP), plus Metamagic/Amplify (Specialized and Corrupted / Only to add (Cha Mod) to the base damage, 2 CP), plus Streamline (Specialized and Corrupted / only to let the Amplify effect be added for free, 2 CP)).
  • Occult Techniques: Inner Strength x2, Paralysis, and Wall Of Sound (Ki Block).

Pipes Of Doom won’t make a performer into a particularly powerful combatant, at least not without some major enhancements – although, since this style makes a musical instrument into an effective weapon, it can be enchanted or enhanced as such – but it can give them something to do while they (presumably) enhance the rest of the group.

Hajimari Mo Shori (Wisdom)

Two warriors stand, motionless, yet already joined in battle. By the time that blades are drawn, the victor has already been decided. Such is that art of Hajimari Mo Shori – Victory at the Onset. This is a weapon form, but the user may opt to learn the art for use with any single type of weapon.

This art is Specialized for Double Effect: may only be focused on a single opponent at a time, user must spend an action making an opposed Will check against said opponent, with the art only becoming effective if he or she wins.

  • Requires: Will Save Bonus of +4 or more, commitment to some form of warriors code, Weapon Focus on the chosen weapon or point-buy equivalent.
  • Basic Techniques: Attack 4, Defenses 4, Toughness 2
  • Advanced and Master Techniques: Mighty Blow (Double Effect provides a +4 bonus on the roll to confirm a critical), Dodge, Improved Disarm (Double Effect prevents the return disarm attempt if you fail to disarm an opponent), and Expertise (AC and Damage, Corrupted for Triple Effect, one way only; -1 to -5 AC for triple that amount of bonus damage).
  • Occult Techniques: Inner Strength x2, Light Foot and Resist Pain.

A powerful style for duelists, Hajimari Mo Shori can – if you win the contest of wills – grant an enormous edge on your opponent. Even if they are using a martial art of their own, doubling the effect of your own is a powerful advantage. Of course, if you lose, you’ve wasted time and will have to wait until the next round to switch to a more useful style. A skilled opponent will doubtless make good use of that time.

Torchfighter Style (Strength):

The Torchfighter has one basic strategy; you are holding what is basically a burning club; hit things with it and set them on fire. If they are just out of reach, lunge with fire. If they are further away than that, threaten to set them on fire.

It isn’t pretty and it isn’t fancy, but people have been waving burning sticks at dangerous things to hit them, set them on fire, and hold them back, for quite some time. The reflexes needed are pretty well instinctive by now.

  • Requires: Str and Dex 14+
  • Basic Abilities: Attack 2, Defenses 2, Power 4, and Synergy (Intimidation).
  • Advanced And Master Techniques: Blinding Strike, Improved Bull Rush, Mighty Blow, and Reach.
  • Occult Techniques: Inner Strength x2, Serpent Strike (force opponent to breathe flame, Con only but only costs 1 Con Point to use), and Wrath (All damage becomes fire damage, fire resistance 12 for 3d6 rounds, 2 Con Points to use).

Building A Better Torch:

The base rules are that a medium-sized Torch, when used as a weapon, does 1d3 damage +1 Fire Damage and normally counts as an improvised weapon (-4 to Attack Checks, throwing range of 10′). Of course, torches are normally relatively short, light, lengths of wood with an end wrapped in oiled, pitch-soaked, or waxed rags and set alight. Anyone actually intending to use a torch as a weapon will want a heavier piece of wood and more fuel (thus eliminating the “improvised” part). If they want to get really elaborate, a metal end (so that you can reuse your torch), with short stud/spikes on it to help hold the rags and fuel (a “War Torch”) is in order.

  • Torch: 1 CP, 1 Lb, 1d3 (+1 Fire) damage if used as a weapon, Critical 20/x2, burns for one hour. -4 to hit. May set a creature on fire on a critical hit.
  • Heavy Torch / Flaming Club: 3 CP, 1 Lb, 1d4 (+2 Fire) damage if used as a weapon, Critical 20/x2, burns for two hours, may set a creature on fire on a critical hit.
  • War Torch: Really, this is basically a light mace with studs that serve as anchorage for wrapping it in strips of cloth that happen to be on fire. Using Pathfinders weapon design rules this is a One-Handed Simple Weapon (6 DP), Hammer Weapon Group, Improved Damage (1d4 Bashing, 1 DP), Secondary Damage (1d4 Fire, 2 DP), Improved Critical Range (19-20, 3 DP), Tool (It’s a torch. Thanks to being heavier it will normally burn for two hours before more pitch must be applied, although it will need a fresh dip after each combat in which it is used as a weapon). 5 Lb, 6 GP.
    • Net: War Torch: 1d4 Bludgeoning + 1d4 Fire, Crit 19-20/x2, 5 Lb, each successful hit requires a DC 15 Reflex save from the victim to avoid catching on fire.

That’s actually pretty effective in the early game, where catching on fire for 1d6/round is something to worry about, but will lose it’s menace later on. Of course, the Torchfighters occult techniques may be relatively easy to resist, but 2d4 Constitution Damage is a fairly deadly threat even late in the game.

Robber Baron Style (Intelligence):

Business can be just as cutthroat and vicious as any battle with blades or spells, as the Robber Baron well knows. With ruthless tactics a practitioner of the Robber Baron style can often drive those with less business acumen into quick bankruptcy.

  • Requires: Economic Warfare Proficiency, Control of a business.
  • Basic Abilities: Strike (Yes, literally inducing an opposing businesses employees to leave), Power 3 (increasing the number of lost employees), Toughness 4 (the “Company Town” effect; keeping your employees in debt to you makes it very hard for them to leave), and Synergy (the user’s primary business skill).
  • Advanced and Master Techniques: Mighty Blow (On a critical Strike the opposing business must spend a turn reorganizing and reopening stores rather than acting), Whirlwind Attack (You may strike at up to seven opposing businesses or storefronts at once), Improved Bull Rush (you may attempt to place opponents in an unfavorable business position, driving their operations out of the most profitable areas), and Deflect Arrows (you may attempt to avoid a legal entanglement, summons, order, or similar difficulty).
  • Occult Techniques: Inner Strength II (Only adventurers normally become skilled enough to use Occult Business Techniques, and they normally have resources from adventuring beyond the reach of normal businessmen), Healing Hand (bringing those hidden resources into play), and Paralysis (Through legal action you may render an opponent temporarily unable to do anything to stop you).

All right, economic warfare rarely comes up in my games, and I’d be willing to bet that it almost never comes up in most games – but if somebody wants to invest some skill points in it, why not? A clever player can always find somewhere to put it to use.

Eclipse D20 – The Piscin

Piscin (63 CP / +1 ECL racial template)

Piscin, also known as Hexcats, Witch-Cats, or (in adventurous cases) “Pawdawans” are bobcat sized humanoid felines, typically found hanging around human civilizations – usually taking basic positions in pest control, personal service, babysitting, cooking, and similar jobs where they can live comfortably on irregular, and poorly-paid, work since their personal expenses and living requirements tend to be pretty minimal. They are slightly larger and heavier than a typical house cat, usually have tufted ears, are comfortable moving on both all fours and standing up, and have frontal paw-hands. With a fairly impressive racial knack for a modest selection of useful spells they also make excellent adventuring companions or squires, although they are not the best in direct combat.

Personally, they tend to act a lot like any other cat; rubbing against friends (and thus scent-marking them), regarding most attempts to get them to go away as invitations to play, climbing things to peer down at people, sleeping wherever they please (and in positions that would snap a humans spine), pouncing on small prey, and alternating between collapsing in an apparently boneless puddle and bounding around wildly.

On Ailewelia Piscin are a new species – the creations of epic-level alchemy and an assortment of other magics. Why did the characters invest time, money, and magic in this project? Because one of the players likes tales about helpful cats – Puss In Boots, Magnifi-Cat, The Game Of Rat And Dragon, and many more – and decided that his character wanted some cute little cat-people aides of his own. And so the party – who are all willing to throw immense amounts of magic and not a little money into basically random projects – made it happen. This is, of course, why they’re rather highly magical; they were designed by some powerful mystics instead of being sculpted by gods or evolving naturally.

Ability Modifiers: +2 Dex (12 CP in Template). Unsurprisingly for a feline, Piscin are fast and agile.

Shrinking I, Corrupted / Reduces base movement to 20′ (8 CP). Piscin are on the lower end of the “Small” size range, and generally stand about two and a half feet to three feet tall (76-91 CM) (plus tail if measuring length) and weigh in at about fifteen to twenty pounds (7-9 KG). -2 Str, +2 Dex, +1 to AC and Attacks, +4 to stealth related skills and any knockback suffered, -4 to grappling, smashing doors, and similar checks.

Natural Magic: Piscin start off with three levels of Charisma Based Spontaneous Bardic Spellcasting, Corrupted for Reduced Cost (Extremely limited spell list, 16 CP), choosing their spells from the following list.

  • L0: Dancing Lights, Know Direction, Mage Hand, Mending, Prestidigitation, and Spark.
  • L1: Color Spray, Escaping Ward, Inspiring Word, Lesser Vigor*, Snapdragon Fireworks, and Shadow Trap.
  • L2: Cure Moderate Wounds, Full Pouch, Lesser Thunderclap (As per Great Thunderclap, but 5′ Radius), Resist Energy, Summon Swarm, and Vortex Of Blades (Melee Attack all desired foes within [Reach + 5]).
  • L3: Campfire Wall, Greater Pyrotechnics (no fire source required), Summon Unicorn, Prayer, Stinking Cloud, and The Laborer’s Word (Hedge Magic, this site).
  • L4: Cure Critical Wounds, Fireball, Greater Mirror Image, Hold Monster, Ruin Delver’s Fortune, and Secure Shelter.
  • L5: Cursed Gaze (as Bestow Curse but Medium Range), Greater Blink, Greater Heroism, Mislead, Panacea, and Restoration
  • L6: Cloudkill, Dirge Of The Victorious Knights, Greater Shout, Heal (5 Points/Level, 100 maximum), Hero’s Feast, and Raise Dead.

Why is this only corrupted? A total of 42 spells to pick from – six of them being Cantrips – is downright pathetic! And yes, yes it is. Still, most of those are fairly good spells – and they include a fair variety of damaging, condition-inflicting, buffing, healing, utility, and defensive options. While it isn’t power overwhelming its not at all a bad support package.

Innate Enchantment (Up to 7500 GP Value, 8 CP):

  • Boots Of The Cat (1000 GP): Piscin take the minimum possible damage from falls and always land on their feet.
  • Speak With Animals (x.5, felines only, 1000 GP).
  • Mule Cords (1000 GP). Piscin can carry surprising amounts of gear around despite their small size.
  • Personal Haste (2000 GP). Piscin are actually quite fast (+30′ Movement, 50′ Total) and gain one extra attack at full BAB when making a melee attack. What do you expect? They’re CATS.
  • Embrace The Wild (x.8, always Low-Light Vision and Scent, +2 to Listen and Spot, 1600 GP). Unsurprisingly, Piscin have catlike senses. This is a cheap way to get it,
  • Endure Elements (1/Day, Personal-Only, 280 GP). They’ve got fur – but do not shed.
  • Lesser Restoration (1/Day, Personal-Only, d280 GP). Piscin tend to recover quickly.
  • Lesser Vigor (1/Day, Personal-Only, 280 GP). Piscin tend to heal quickly.
  • Explorer’s Outfit (10 GP). Piscin don’t actually need clothing or shoes. They do kind of like hats.
  • Bedroll (.1 GP). Piscin tend to sleep comfortably almost anywhere.

On Ailewelia, where the Abundant Magic (x.8) modifier applies, that leaves 1568 GP left over. So Piscin there get Personal-Only Skill Mastery (+2 on each of their Adept Skills, 560 GP), a +1 Competence Bonus to BAB with Questionably Practical Weapons (as described below, Personal-Only Weapon Mastery, 560 GP), and a Pin Of Perfume (user is always nice and clean and smells nice too, 200 GP).

Immunity to the XP cost of their Racial Innate Enchantments (Uncommon, Minor, Trivial, 1 CP).

Immunity to Antimagical, “Dead Magic”, and Dispelling effects (Common/Minor/Epic, Specialized and Corrupted / only to protect Innate Enchantments, Only those that come with being a Piscin, 6 CP).

Adept: Cat Style Martial Art, Hide, Move Silently, and Tumble (6 CP).

  • Cat Style +5 (2 CP): Defenses 2, Strike. Fighting as cats, Piscin can do 1d4 + (Str Mod) damage (lethal or nonlethal, always considered armed) with their claws and gain a +2 bonus to their AC. While this isn’t particularly incredible by adventurer standards, it’s a reasonably effective defense for a small cat. Given that most Piscin have a decent dexterity bonus, they usually have another boost or two in here.
  • Hide +3 (1 CP). Note that this stacks with the +4 bonus for being Small.
  • Move Silently +5 (2 CP). Also stacks with the +4 bonus for being Small. Piscin can be quite sneaky when they want to be.
  • Tumble +3 (1 CP).

Cat Style (Dex):

Honestly, this shouldn’t really need any description.

  • Requires: Being in the form of a cat.
  • Basic Abilities: Defenses 4 (Treat as Natural Armor), Power 1, Strike, Synergy (Climb) and Toughness 4.
  • Advanced and Master Techniques: Instant Stand, Mighty Blow, Weapon Kata (Any one questionably practical weapon), and Blind-Fight.
  • Occult Techniques: Inner Strength II, Light Foot, Vanishing Technique.

* “Questionably Practical Weapons” include things like weaponized dueling cloaks with bladed edges and/or weights sewn into them, gunblades, double-ended spears, lantern shields, coup sticks, entrenching tools, pendjepit, whips, aclys, full moons, mongwanga, hinged scythes, wind fire wheels, lajatang, urumi, and various other tools, implements, and personal items which someone has decided make great weapons when that position is – when looked at objectively – really, REALLY, doubtful. The only good things about most of them is that no one in their right mind will consider them to be serious weapons and that many of them can also be used as effective tools of some type, which is sometimes useful.

Piscin Gadgets: Piscin (save for Pawdawans) rarely have the money for any notable magic. They can, however, cause various minor tokens and curiosities to manifest a little bit of magic, at least in their paws. This is their version of Shaping (Use of Charms and Talismans version, 6 CP). (See The Practical Enchanter for details on Charms and Talismans)

Racial Disadvantages:

  • Incompetent (Intimidate). Piscin are just too cute. Who could be scared of them?
  • Accursed (Cute and Cuddly). Piscin are cuddly and find it near-impossible to resist being glomped. They all too often find themselves taken out of action by random people who decide to hug them, pet them, scoop them up and cuddle them, or scratch their ears.

With a net cost of 63 CP, Piscin are a +1 ECL species – although it is not uncommon for them to spend 32 CP from their first level point allotment to buy off their ECL adjustment.

I believe that helper cats are an important part of a video game called “monster hunter”, which may be the root of some of the items that the requesting player wanted them to have – but since I’ve never played any monster hunter it is hard to be entirely sure.

As a synthetic race (and one meant to be usable in other settings) the Piscin lack the biggest special advantage of most Ailewelian nonhumans – getting to stack their Innate Enchantments with external magics. On the other hand, few of their innate enchantments actually need to be able to stack with anything to remain effective – and their built-in spellcasting progression can be completed by ECL 15 (level fourteen if they buy off their ECL) for a mere 91 additional CP. Sure, that’s a chunk – a good quarter of their base CP at that level – but it’s probably well worth it.

Sadly, the Piscin have no package deals on Ailewelia yet. There aren’t even any full ADULTS there yet – but something roguish seems most likely. As might be expected for a player design, the Piscin are a fairly high-efficiency build – but, unlike many such, are not particularly game-breaking, Just really, really, helpful.

The Gleaner, Spirit Cultivation, and the Harvester Of Shades

Back in 2005, Atlas Games came out with the “Occult Lore” sourcebook – a collection of specialty magical systems for third edition. Some of them were pretty obvious; for an example, the “Elementalist” was basically a Specialist Wizard, and there are plenty of versions of elemental mages out there. Others were at least interesting, and a few were fairly original. One such was the “Gleaner”, a practitioner of “Spirit Cultivation” – the art of gathering up the residual psychic impressions of departed spirits and building them up into minor gods.

Unfortunately, the Gleaner clashed with some of the basic rules (such as being able to force souls – even if they’d since become gods or archdemons or some such – to be resurrected as mortals against their will), required absurd amounts of record-keeping (they needed to keep notes on every corpse they ever encountered), relied on the slow development of a set of vulnerable items that – if taken away – left them permanently crippled (barring the GM providing replacements), and even at the high end relied mostly on short term skill boosts, “Transformation” style combat boosts that made them third-rate combatants, and – at very high levels – being able to use a very limited selection of clerical spells of up to level eight at a cost of 3000 XP per casting. Rather like the Truenamer… it basically did not work. Worse, since it really had no options every one was pretty much identical. It might have been all right as a specialty prestige class, but as a twenty level class it was pretty useless.

But one of the current players is interested in the concept, so I shall make a version that will work reasonably well. I shall call it the Harvester Of Shades. It’s going to be based on Witchcraft since that system is so flexible that it’s easy to Specialize and Corrupt its various powers to get weird effects.

The Basic Harvester Of Shades Package (48 CP In Total):

Witchcraft III (18 CP)

  • Pact of Duties: Ensure proper transitions from life to death, aid spirits who are stuck between the planes, destroy, contain, or at least oppose the undead (-6 CP).
  • Pact of Taboos: Must never create undead, may not work with people who do create undead, may not take long-term control of undead (although they may be briefly controlled and used before they are destroyed) (-6 CP).
  • Advanced Abilities:
    • Improved Occult Talent (Psionics: gains access to Astral Construct (Variant: Always gets “Enveloping”, but can never take it’s own actions), Create Sound, and Defensive Precognition, manifested at an effective level equal to the user’s hit dice. Specialized for Reduced Cost / provides no “free” uses of the abilities, does not provide access to level zero psionic abilities. While they may theoretically upgrade to get some level zero abilities, those are so trivial as to be fairly meaningless. If you want a list of them anyway, there’s one over HERE (6 CP).
    • +2 levels of the Wilder Progression (Specialized / only for Power, no disciplines, 6 CP).

Basic Witch Abilities:

  • Clamoring Voices (The Adamant Will):With their minds filled with a myriad fractured personas and voices, a Harvester can readily divert mental attacks and probes into the cacophony.
  • Glean The Dross (The Inner Eye, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect): When an intelligent creature dies, and it’s soul departs, residues are left behind – for if a mind can leave psychic traces on items it valued and held close, how much greater the imprint on the body it has left behind? A Harvester can glean those traces with a touch and the expenditure of 1 Power. Thereafter, he or she will always be able to speak of the deceased as if he or she was an acquaintance. For 2 Power he or she can either call on vast array of memories to gain a +(Level/2) Insight bonus to a single skill for one minute or effectively use Speak With Dead on one of the deceased that they carry – although the answers may come in the form of brief visions, memories, or emotions at the option of the game master. On the side of the cleansed corpse… It is no longer a valid target for Speak With Dead or transformation into an Undead.
  • Touch Of The Grave (Elfshot, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect – Three specific L2 effects only, used as individual effects, all touch-based, at a cost of 2 Power each: Death Knell, Gentle Repose, and Ghoul Touch.
  • Eyes Of Darkness (Witchsight): Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect: Provides Detect Magic and Detect Undead at no cost, can provide a (non-evil) version of Deathwatch for 2 Power.
  • Poltergeist (The Hand Of Shadows):
  • Hand Of The Fallen (Dreamfaring): Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect / The user may interact with creatures in the Ethereal or Near Astral planes at no cost – seeing, hearing, and touching them. This effect extends to the user’s personal gear when in use, making their armor and weapons effective against incorporeal opponents.
  • Presence Of The Dead (Glamour): Those the user gazes upon will feel the chill of death. Specialized and Corrupted / produces one specific effect only (Accursed Glare) at a cost of one Power per ten minutes.

Spiritual Manipulation: A Harvester can bring the haunting energies of the Silver Twilight, the Lands Of Mist, the Borderlands of the Afterlives, to the physical world. In general, there are three basic sets of effects that can be produced – calling upon the Whispers of the Dead, bringing forth their Haunting Presence, and calling on the true energies of life and death to Disrupt the powers of Undeath. Worse, each such field is limited to a fairly narrow set of effects:

  • 3d6 (11) Mana with Reality Editing, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect: Only for reality editing, only for the following three death-related themes, only for a limited list of effects: Minor/Notable/Major/Grandiose edits cost 1/2/3/4 Mana and have minimum levels to use of 1/4/9/17. Note that the GM may opt to not allow Grandiose edits. If not, that’s too bad – but the package remains reasonably effective (18 CP).
  • Rite of Chi with +8 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted / only to restore Mana, only the Reality Editing pool given above (6 CP).
  • Possible Edits:
    • Whispers Of The Dead: The lore of the dead is vast, and their reach is without limit.
      • Minor: Divination, Searching Shadows, Selective Alarm, and Whispering Wind
      • Notable: Detect Scrying, Discern Lie, Helping Hand, and Thaumaturgic Circle.
      • Major: Bestow/Remove Curse, Dream, Sending, and Tongues.
      • Grandiose: Communal Mind Blank and Trap The Soul (No gem required).
    • Haunting Presence: Allowing the energies of the spirit world to leak into the world of the living can disturb the order of things in a wide variety of ways. While death is always a part of the world, normally the living remain comfortably unaware of it’s presence, whether for good or ill.
      • Minor: Cause Fear, Dancing Lights/Darkness (ten minute/level duration), Lesser Curse Terrain (may also be applied to buildings and such), and Nondetection.
      • Notable: Hide Campsite, Curse Terrain (can produce effects equivalent to Guards and Wards if applied to a building), Emotion (Calm Emotions, Crushing Despair, Fear, Good Hope), and Phantasmal Killer.
      • Major: Improved Invisibility, Shadow Conjuration, False Vision, and Greater Curse Terrain.
      • Grandiose: Supreme Curse Terrain and Weird.
    • Disrupt Undeath: The unnatural presence of negative energy is antithetical to the proper passage from life to death. Positive energy – the anchor that holds a spirit to flesh – is the proper way of things. As such, a Harvester can channel the energies of the Silver Twilight to encourage life and disrupt the forces of undeath.
      • Minor: Consecrate, Cure Moderate Wounds, To Dust Return (removes a corpse), Prayer.
      • Notable: Death Ward, Disrupt Undead (1d6/Level to undead, may be divided between targets), Greater Restoration, Panacea (3.5 Version).
      • Major: Atonement, Hallow, Mass Death Ward, Undeath To Death.
      • Grandiose: Greater Restoration and Superheroism (The Practical Enchanter).

Omen Mastery: Occult Sense / Attackers. A harvester is always at least vaguely aware of when a group is coming for him or her. When actually attacked they cannot be caught flat-footed and are always considered to have just had three rounds to prepare. Note that they may, if they wish, use one of those rounds to ensure that the entire party has two rounds to prepare and is not caught flat-footed (6 CP).

And that gives us a basic 48 CP package – available at level one if you push it a bit. It’s still a bit specialized, but that should be enough tricks to be a reasonably useful member of a party. Some of it’s tricks even scale effectively with level, allowing a Harvester to develop more advanced abilities elsewhere, while retaining these tricks to supplement their primary focus.

For those who wish to continue along this route, here are some possible upgrades:

Likely Minor Upgrades (3-7 CP):

  • Additional levels of the Wilder Progression (for more Power) (3 CP/Level). Rite of Chi with Bonus Uses to recover Power might be useful too (variable cost).
  • Additional Mana for Spiritual Manipulation (1d6 / 6 CP). Note that, if you buy this, you will eventually want more Bonus Uses on your Rite of Chi too (+4 Bonus Uses for +6 CP).
  • Spiritual Armor: (Defender, 6 CP). Provides a Deflection bonus to AC thanks to the Gather’s tendency to be constantly surrounded by spiritual energies.
  • Witchcraft / The Inner Fire (6 CP). Provides some basic spellcasting, usually drawn from clerical domains. Other advanced witchcraft powers might work too. A deathly (Venomed Touch) touch perhaps? Creating items of solidified darkness (Nightforge)? There are a lot of possibilities here at (6 CP) each.
  • Helpful Haunts: Leadership, with the Exotic Modifier (Spirits), Specialized / spirit followers only, followers can be temporarily blocked out in various ways and must thereafter be contacted again (usually via seances), followers are individualized NPC’s and are not always all that cooperative (5 CP)
  • Use of Charms and Talismans (6 CP). Charms and Talismans (from The Practical Enchanter) are pretty minor magic – but they are easily traded out and can be extremely convenient, especially at lower levels.
  • Spectral Stride/the Harvester may briefly abandon his or her hold on the material plane, to become a free spirit. Shapeshift with the Shape of Death and Incorporeal Forms enhancements, Specialized and Corrupted/only to take Incorporeal Form, and the Incorporeal Form can only be safely maintained for (Wisdom) rounds, after that, resisting the siren call of the afterworlds to return to the material realm requires a Will check at a DC equal to the number of rounds you are already past your limit. If the user fails three such checks in a row, he or she will depart for the afterworlds (6 CP).
  • Innate Enchantment: (Up to 5500 GP value, 6 CP).
    • +5 Competence Bonus to Spot ((Skill) Mastery, SL 1 x CL 1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x .7 Personal Only = 1400 GP.
    • +5 Competence Bonus to Listen ((Skill) Mastery, SL 1 x CL 1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x .7 Personal Only = 1400 GP.
    • Immortal Vigor I (+12 + 2 x Con Mod HP, SL 1 x CL 1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x .7 Personal Only = 1400 GP.
    • Message: ((Message, SL 1/2 x CL 1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated = 1000 GP.
      • Immunity/The XP Cost of Innate Enchantments (Uncommon, Minor, Trivial), Specialized / only to cover the costs of spell level 1 or 0 Caster Level One Innate Enchantments (1 CP).

Possible Notable Upgrades (12 CP)

  • Spirit Fetch (12 CP). This shamanic companion can get various nature, elemental, and outer-planar spirits to do you favors.
  • Witchcraft – Seize The Wandering Soul and Spirit Binding (12 CP). The ability to capture souls is dubious, but on occasion very useful – particularly if the user has access to Charms and Talismans and opts to employ Spirit Pearls.

Possible Major Upgrades (21-36 CP).

  • Channeling: 3+(Cha Mod) uses/Day (6 CP), at +2 Intensity (3 CP) with +4 Bonus Uses (6 CP) and Dualism (6 CP). This allows the Harvester to channel both positive and negative energy. It’s a bit expensive, but it might be worthwhile in an undead-heavy setting.
  • Sympathetic Magic: This uses the Volur package for that – although it does cost 24- 36 CP. It’s fairly subtle, but does offer some long-term boosts to the entire party. It’s worth noting, however, that this is a fairly subtle power and is hard to get much use out of in direct combat.

Overall, taking the “Harvester” package will provide some handy tricks throughout a character’s career – but it really isn’t well-suited to be a high-level characters primary power source even if they take pretty much all the upgrades. A vigilante, or occult detective, or mystic, however, will probably find it an excellent starting point.

The Ignis Elves of Modun

closeup photo of fire during night time

Photo by Francesco Paggiaro on Pexels.com

Hello, Spellweaver81 here again! Continuing to post material here to try to help out with the update schedule. For today it is my rendition of a combination of High Elves and Dark Elves called the Ignis Elves (See!  I said you couldn’t stop me!). Again this will be part of a consolidated Modun Campaign Setting that hopefully the others in our gaming group might find fun to explore for a bit.

The Ignis Elves of Modun

They are known as Slavers, Fire Elves, Fire Shapers, Copper Elves, High Elves, and Dark Elves, but the most common name is the Ignis Elves. They claim to be the direct successors to the ancient Elven Empire of old (a claim disputed by the other elves) and thus claim superiority over all other varieties of elves (also disputed by other elves) and every other race on Modun (obviously disputed). Still, none can dispute their mastery of fire and combat magic. Their mastery of the arcane arts proved crucial in aiding the people of Modun in repelling the last two invasions by the Dolls. However, just because they are members of the alliance of kingdoms that defend Modun from invaders, doesn’t mean that they are liked by the other members of the alliance. An ongoing history of slavery, imperial ambitions and the general racism of Ignis Elves towards everyone else gives other plenty of excuses to avoid them.

In terms of appearance, they differ from other elves by their grayish brown skin and hair that can range from charcoal black, to golden, or even copper red in color. Hair is usually worn in large voluminous curly styles that are frequently adorned with copper circlets or crowns that frame their hair and make the Ignis Elves appear taller than they would otherwise. Due to the extreme temperatures of their environment, much of their clothing is made of tough leathers and metallic fibers and is frequently cut to show off their bare arms even legs. When feeling particularly intense emotions like anger, an Ignis Elf’s skin can start showing glowing veins resembling magma.

The main trait of Ignis Elves compared to other races is their deep affinity for fire and heat. Indeed, their affinity is so strong that it enables them to withstand even full immersion in lava (although they can still drown). Boiling water, fire, and red hot metal all mean nothing to them. However, such resistance does come at a significant cost, as their people are especially vulnerable to exposure to cold extremes and take double damage from such hazards. Even worse, everyone on Modun knows of this vulnerability and grew up hearing folk tales of several ways to exploit this. Still, there is nothing quite like witnessing an Ignis Elf dip their hand into a pool of magma and then let it pour out of their hand like water.

The primary settlement of the Ignis Elves is the immense Niavista Caldera. In legends it was the capitol of the ancient Elven empire before it was destroyed in the first invasion of the Dolls and has since been resettled by the Ignis Elves afterwards. It is a land of continuous lava flows, hydrothermal springs, geysers, and the forests of giant lichen. The air reeks of sulfur, the ground trembles regularly, and footing is treacherous for the unwary as thin layers of hardened ground can suddenly spill one into boiling hot pools of mud or water in an instant. While this may annoy the locals, it can readily kill anyone else in an instant.

Still, there is life here beyond the Ignis Elves. Giant lichen the size of large trees fill the landscape, feeding on the enriched volcanic soil while smaller ones crowd each other for space. Colorful hyper-thermophile bacterial mats grow in the boiling springs, enormous coral-like masses form in the mists of the many geysers, and a number of animal species resistant to the heat like the magslugs, flame monkeys, and the sparktail deer can all be found here.

The architecture of the Ignus Elves is usually directly cast basalt stone forms, more often, formed out of masses of basalt bricks assembled into the desired frame. Flooring, roofing, and walkways are made from lichen planks held together with nail-less joints. Most structures tend to be short, squat designs with little in the way that is more than two stories in height due to the ongoing seismic tremors of the region. The particularly wealthy will decorate the exterior of their homes with a number of metal and glass fixtures to show off to other Ignis Elves and to distinguish themselves from the dwellings of the lower class and the slaves.

Lava flows are controlled with giant dams and magmaducts that criss-cross the caldera to carry excess lava to designated facilities for processing into basalt or to specifically chosen outflows outside of the caldera. The dwarves have been notable clients for this excess flow as they use the heat to run their forges and to process into pumice for their floating fortress-ships. Attempts to threaten to open up the dam and flood everyone downhill of the caldera with a wave of lava have not been well received.

Farming of the thermophile algae mats is done in carefully constructed terraced pools of boiling spring water. The water for each terrace is controlled for specifics in temperature, mineral content, and acidity to ensure that the many varieties of farmed algae all find ideal conditions suited for the particular growth needs. This diet is then further supplemented with various farmed mushrooms and truffles cultivated throughout the caldera. Still, the lack of substantial variety and viable sources of animal protein (especially from animals that can be cooked) does mean that Niavista Caldera is a net food importer. What viable exports the Ignis Elves have are largely limited to exotic alchemical reagents, arcane knowledge, and black sand fertilizer.

For the local alchemy, the caldera provides plenty of useful reagents for the Ignis Elves to generate useful goods:

  • Fire Ash – A potent alchemical oxidizer that is widely feared by both targets and users. A mere few flakes of this oxidizer is sufficient to spontaneously set most things on fire including even seemingly inert materials like water, sand, gold and even burnt ash. Worse yet, the ash will burn until it has consumed ten times its mass in material after which – if a fire remains – it can easily be extinguished via more mundane means. Until that point is reached though, best bets include keeping the affected area cold or depriving the fire of air. Even more unfortunately, while the Alchemy Craft check to safely handle Fire Ash is DC 30, actually creating it is only a DC 5. Thus many alchemists have lost their limbs and lives to this incredibly dangerous substance. Obviously, this substance is extremely illegal in many jurisdictions and being found in possession of it without a (hard to acquire) license is alone frequently grounds for criminal charges.
  • Alchemical Copper – This copper alloy does not tarnish and has a strength and hardness (and oddly enough, weight) equal to that of steel. The most unusual characteristic though is that alchemical copper conducts heat so well that it does not support a detectable temperature differential even when one end is in lava and the other is immersed in water. One of the most popular uses for this is the creation of swords with a small bead of lava stored in a bulb in the pummel to grant the blade a +2d6 Fire Damage. For would-be wielders that are not Ignis Elves though, without adequate protections the sword will burn them too. And reheating the bead of lava once it finally cools is a difficult procedure too. Craft DC: 15.
  • Black Sand Fertilizer – By fair the most widely sought after export from the caldera. While the Ignis Elves keep the exact formulation a secret, it is known to include pulverized basalt, ashes of various algae, and minerals extracted from hydrothermal springs. Farmland sprinkled with this fertilizer just after planting grows crops three times faster than normal, potentially allowing a tripling of harvests over the course of a single year. A single 50 pound sack will supply enough fertilizer for an entire acre over a single planting season.
  • Dusk Resin – A resin extracted from the mycelium of the giant lichen that is renowned for its fire resistance properties. Wooden items treated with this resin gain Fire Resistance 12. Crafting DC: 10.

With regards to religion, the Ignis Elves staunchly refuse to worship anything but the Elven pantheon and vehemently denounce any suggestion that the various other pantheons are different views of the same deities. As such, the Ignis Elves view the religious practices of the other races as primitive cult religions not nearly as rich in history and theology as their own (yet another claim disputed by others). The fact that the other elves tend to also worship other deities in addition to the Elven pantheon – or worse still, conflate them together – is just further evidence in their mind that they are the one true elven race and the others are mere degenerates of their perfected form.

The culture of the Ignis Elves is centered around the belief that they are the true heirs to the Elven Empire of old and that they alone are the ones who repelled the invasions of the treacherous Dolls. As a result, it is their right to rule Modun and guide its peoples towards prosperity and security. The fact that the other races resist this notion only shows how much in need of guidance they are. Still, when the world was in danger, the other races came to the Ignis Elves for aid and the Ignis Elves delivered with a level of arcane might the other races could not match.

Thankfully for the rest of Modun, most of the energies of the Ignis Elves is spent politicking against each other for dominance as opposed to attempting to assert dominance outside the caldera. Assassinations of such rivals are rare and considered undignified, with the preferred weapons being scandals, trade wars, rumors, and sheer arcane oneupmanship being much more common. Still, that doesn’t mean paying mercenaries to attack a rivals caravans isn’t off the table, so long as it can be done discreetly. Such infighting extends both between families and within families. It is for this reason that many Ignis Elves like to procure slaves for the production of half-elven offspring. Such offspring are frequently useful resources as magical aides, guards, and assistants without being viable rivals due to their tainted bloodlines. After all, a full elven family member may try to usurp dominance for themselves, but a half-elf is unable to hold a position of dominance (or often even respect) in Ignis Elven society, so they are “safe” family to have around. Unless one has other family that might offer better perks for serving them instead.

Most such slaves humans used for the production of half-elves, but others have been known to be acquired in the past. Many find use as dedicated craftsmen making the things the Ignis Elves cannot (or don’t want to), but others are often sold back to their home communities as bargaining chips in exchange for various favors for their “rescue from bandits”. Those that are found to be particular obstinate or useless get sent to farm the hot spring algae terraces, although that is not a task many survive for long. Efforts to breed half-elves amongst the other races has had less success than with humans for reasons that are still being actively studied.

Copper is the most central metal to the Ignis Elves who claim it is for practical reasons and nothing like the Aqua Elves obsession with gold. They value it for its thermal conductivity properties and its usefulness in attacking lightning. With careful alchemical treatment, they can even transform it into a form that can withstand the heat of lava without melting. The fact that it is ductile and malleable enough to make into thread that can be woven into cloth is just a nice perk from their perspective. Plus they feel the reddish color provides a nice complement to the aesthetics they have chosen whether it is the black basalt buildings, the magmaducts plated with copper, or the black and golden hides gathered from the native sparktail deer. Having to trade with other races for it is just one of those annoying facts of life.

Study of the Arcane is central to Ignis Elven culture with many of the most respected members of their society being amongst the most powerful mages on Modun. Through countless centuries of experimentation, training, and study, they have managed to recapture a small portion of the power their ancient ancestors once possessed.  To this end, they have learned to craft focusing wands that allow them to tap some of that ancient power into boosting their spells.  Such wands are often constructed of exotic components and is unique to the elf it is crafted for.

Basically, this is a package Ignis Elven mages can purchase.

    • Amplify Metamagic – Specialized: Requires a wand-like focus that costs 10,000 GP per level of the base spell to be Amplified.  Said wand will be incorporated into the gestures component or otherwise held in hand while casting said spell. (3 CP)
    • Streamline Metamagic (Multiple) – Specialized: One applies to one Metamagic (Multiple) (3 CP)

For a total of 6 CP or one feat.

Much like with the Aqua Elves, a rare few Ignis Elves gain the talent for shaping fire. Naturally this grants the possessor a great deal of destructive power, but is poor at defense. Still, particularly clever Ignis Elves have found a way to manipulate the energies involved to perform tricks such as flight, control heat, and even facilitate chemical and alchemical reactions.

Basically the Firebending package seen here.

    • Shaping (6 CP), Pulse of the Dragon (6 CP), and Heart of the Dragon II (18 CP), Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect (produces effects of up to level three)/strictly limited to a particular element (water), requires gestures, requires training (at least one martial art techniques in a relevant martial art per level of effect which can be produced). That’s 30 CP – in general, a +1 ECL template. Basic recommendation for martial arts is Crane Style Kung Fu – a style focusing on footwork and sudden blows.

Finally the Ignis Elves have a fondness for keeping and raising the smoke monkeys native to the caldera. These small sized creatures, while not as intelligent as the hominids, are still amongst the most clever animals on land and share a similar immunity towards intense heat with the Ignis Elves. Most have been trained to perform a number of tricks or simple tasks by their owners (who often claim the monkeys are easier to train than non-Elven hominids) such as basic cleaning, guarding, message delivery, and even rudimentary tasks with farming algae. Most races note with annoyance that the monkeys are often treated with a good deal more care and affection than the hominid slaves the Ignis Elves like to keep.

Relationship to other elves/races:

  • Aqua Elves – There are few relationships with the Ignis Elves as openly hostile as the Aqua Elves. The Aqua Elves have an egalitarian view of others that the Ignis Elves perceive as outright crude and bordering on being a disgrace to their elven heritage. Aqua Elven counterraids on Ignis Elven raids into the territory of others (even non-Aqua Elves) doesn’t endear them in their eyes either. The only things that have kept the two races from all out war has been that both are part of the Grand Alliance and the difficulties each would have in assaulting the other’s territory. That hasn’t kept the two from openly and loudly contemplating it though. The fear that the others races might back the Aqua Elves over the Ignis Elves in such a confront is not lost on them either. This is one of the primary reasons that Black Sand Fertilizer is exported in such large and cheap quantities: to keep the other races from taking sides too hastily.
  • Ventus Elves – While the Ignis Elves can admire the beauty and grace of the Ventus Elves, the lack of refined manners and appreciation of ancient Elven culture gives them a backwards air that can make humans seem refined. Though there is no denying the quality and craftsmanship of their honey, amber and silken goods, nor of their beauty. And their music is definitely a feast for the ears. Their penchant for working alongside giant bees of all things is a bit weird though.
  • Terra Elves – Ignis Elves do appreciate the aloofness of the Terra Elves towards other races and the dedication to the perfection of their crafts. Their underground cities are wonders to behold and one has to admire the courtesy for building their cities so that hominids of all sizes can easily navigate is a welcome touch given their own immense size. One must not mistake their aloofness for cowardice though, as their immense size couple with their even more enormous armored war mammoths can be terrifying. Best to stay on their good side.
  • Dwarves – The dwarves are valued trade partners as they buy stone, and fertilizer in exchange for metals and food acquired from far off lands on caravans pulled by their giant wooly rhinos. Navigating their complicated clan structures is difficult though and best left to those that have had the time and patience to track such matters. After all, one rarely angers a single dwarf, but more likely an entire clan all at once and their clans can easily hold feuds for generations.
  • Humans – Humans are a contradiction in that they breed so rapidly as to be annoying pests while at the same time be valuable troops during invasions from other worlds. That the humans remain so divided amongst themselves yet willing to band together in a common cause is another mystery for the ages. The humans cannot deny though that their accomplishments pale in comparison to those of the elves and need to learn the humility of accepting that others (particularly the Ignis Elves) are just simply better.
  • Gnomes – There is appreciation at the Gnome study of the unknown. The fact that they direct those ambitions towards the more mundane aspects of the world as opposed to more proper fields like magic is just one of those things that makes them a lesser race. The “toys” they produce have their novelty at least, even if so much of what they produce can be replicated with a few simple spells. Their introduction of firearms to humans was not appreciated though.
  • Halflings – Any race that can cause you to rot from the inside out from a poisoned arrow is to be treated with a great deal of respect, regardless of their size. Unfortunately, half of what is commonly known about them seems to be a product of excitable human adventurers and the other half appears to be deliberate misinformation on the part of the halflings. Beyond that, there is so little known about them beyond that it is hard to draw firm conclusions.

Statistics:

(Note this build assumes the Condensed Skill List seen here.)

Ignus Elves

Attribute Shift (+2 Intelligence, -2 Constitution) (6 CP)

Self-Development (+2 Charisma) (12 CP)

Immunity / Sleep Effects (Uncommon, Minor, Major) (3 CP)

Infrared Light Sense: Corrupted and Specialized: Cannot read fine detail, can be blinded by lights others can’t see, Blindness effects impact this ability as well (4 CP)

Energy Infusion (Fire) (6 CP)

Skill Bonus: +2 Arcana, +2 Concentration, +2 Scholar (6 CP)

Racial Weapons: Rapiers, Crossbows, Punching Daggers, Whips (3 CP)

Languages: Elven (1 CP)

Occult Sense: Sure Footing (Corrupted and Specialized: Only provides information as to whether a given spot will hold your weight within a few meters any direction.) (2 CP)

42 CP

This entire racial package is Corrupted for a total of: 29 CP

Friend No One Likes: Most everyone else on Modun that isn’t an Ignus Elf has a low opinion of them. A lot of it has to do with the Ignis Elven slaving parties, but the systematic racism, imperialist ambitions, and the tendency to do the absolute minimum requires by the current alliance system does not win them any friends either.

Well Known Vulnerability: Just about everyone that has ever heard tales told around the campfire know that the Ignus Elves are vulnerable to cold. There are far too many tales of how a clever human/gnome/dwarf/halfing/other elf took advantage of this to get the upper hand against them in myriad of contests.

The Aqua Elves of Modun

timelapse photography off water fountain

Photo by Gabriel Peter on Pexels.com

Hello, Spellweaver81 here! Thoth has allowed me to post material to the blog to try to help fill out the update schedule, but I can’t promise this will be a regular thing (sadly work impacts us all). For today we have a consolidation of several ideas in my head regarding what I feel is a more interesting rendition of Aquatic Elves (yes I know, yet another elf variant…) to hopefully make them a more useful and fun addition to any campaign than the existing SRD and PFSRD versions. Admittedly the implications of this version will tend to render them a bit campaign specific comparatively. If there is interest (or I feel like it, you can’t stop me!), I may try to do write-ups for Ignis Elves (more classic High Elves),Ventus Elves (Flying Elves), and Terra Elves (Dark Elves) following semi-familiar themes while putting my own twist to them. Who knows, if I get REALLY ambitious I might take a look at the other standard races (humans, dwarves, gnomes, and halflings) and try to give them a similar treatment and then integrate it all into a semi-coherent campaign setting – tentatively called Modun right now. But anyway, for today we have….

The Aqua Elves of Modun

Frequently also known as Elves of the Mangrove Forests, Sea or River Elves, Water-Shapers, Gold Elves and even Privateer Elves, the Aqua Elves originally hail from the mangrove forests of the tropics. Equally at home both on the sea, under the water, and on land, they can often be found anywhere a ship can reach plying trade routes, exploring, and searching for fortune and glory. They are often seen abroad as sailors, translators, alchemists, mages, and treasure hunters.

Appearance wise, they resemble other elves although with more copper or bronze skin tones. Hair is either white or black and usually worn long and braided into one or more long tails tied to a golden hoop at the end. Clothing styles vary, but are usually made of sea silk – an incredibly light and fine fabric made from the byssus of pen shells – with a skin tight layer covering the torso and a looser outer tunic. Wealthier Aqua Elves will even incorporate gold thread, leaf, and fasteners into their clothing.

Their main trait compared to other elves is the ability to survive underwater indefinitely. They are able to breath water and withstand the immensely cold temperatures and pressures of the deep oceans along with adjustable buoyancy, ability to communicate with sea creatures capable of language, and are natural born swimmers. Still for all of this, they tend to prefer to live near land (or near water as the case may be) simply because if a big ocean monster comes along, they can retreat to shore and flee land monsters by taking to the water. That hasn’t stopped rumors though of ancient and legendary cities of Aqua Elves hidden in the depths of the oceans though.

Aqua Elven settlements are usually hidden amidst the tangled roots of mangrove forests and their brackish waters. Entrance and exit via boat from such settlements are often disguised such that hostile invaders get hopelessly lost and entangled in the twisting maze of roots and branches in which case they then become vulnerable to the Aqua Elves leaping from beneath the water to slay interlopers. More than one group of pirates found out the hard way that attempting to pillage a sea elf settlement was amongst the worst possible career moves.

The water is the primary source of food and raw materials for the sea elves with extensive use of aquaculture and tree shaping of the surrounding mangrove trees. This includes the construction and cultivation of artificial reefs, kelp forests, extensive tidal weirs, and floating gardens facilitating the growing and harvesting of fish, shellfish, sea silk, pearls, exotic corals, unusual inks and dyes, aquatic crops, alchemical reagents, and even new habitats for aquatic wildlife. Some will even cultivate a variety of tropical fruits and spices personal use or even export.

Aqua Elven architecture tends to incorporate tree-shaping the mangrove trees and incorporate floors both above and below the water into their construction. As dry land is at a premium in their forests, it is common for many structures to be floating or built around the trunks and branches of the surrounding trees. Indeed, floating constructions are common enough and mobile enough that it is entirely possible for a given settlement’s layout to change over the course of a given day as a building (such as an alchemist’s shop) will move towards its sources of raw materials in the morning, then float over towards potential customers during the day, and finally at night anchoring in a more private corner of the settlement. It also enables much of the settlement to evacuate with their belongings without a lot of effort if given sufficient warning.

Underwater constructions tend to focus more on defense, storage of valuable goods, and communal areas than on actual living spaces and workshops. Some of this is simply the expedience of maintaining cooking fires and things like bedding on the surface, but also partly due to the fact that anything on the floating structures can be easily relocated on a moment’s notice, whereas anything stored underwater is more long term and theoretically harder for would be looters to locate and steal.

Unfortunately, even with access to bog iron, various metal excreting corals, and alchemical distillation of metals from sea water, most metal and stone are scarce in Aqua Elven settlements and must be imported in any significant quantities. Metals like gold that are highly resistant to corrosion are highly prized in their society (although the beauty of gold helps too), but also metals that react strongly to water like magnesium, calcium, and sodium have immense value too. Such reactive metals can be used by their alchemists to form flares and fires that will readily burn underwater and are invaluable as sources of light and heat away from the surface. Paradoxically, such reactive metals are relatively easy to extract from the salt of seawater and the shells of shellfish for a skilled alchemist. Still, most communities of Aqua Elves won’t turn down a gift of metal bars or finely polished blocks of stone.

Basic alchemical creations common amongst the Aqua Elves:

  • Glow Ink – An extraction of bioluminescent enzymes from various mollusks that is then alchemically treated. Glow Ink can then be injected to create bioluminescent tattoos of a variety of colors. More advanced versions can change color in response to mood. Not recommended for stealthy types unless one uses some concealing paint when trying to not be seen. (DC 10)
  • Glow lamps – Related to Glow Ink in that it is an alchemically treated extraction of bioluminescent enzymes that is then embedded into a gel filled sac. When hung outside during the day, will store energy from sunlight that it will then release again in the absence of light thus serving as a rechargeable light source. Efforts to coat a variety of surfaces with the substance for walls and floors that illuminate pathways at night unfortunately leave an unpleasant odor and slick surface. (DC 10)
  • Underwater Flares and Fire Logs – Made with a combination of magnesium, calcium, and sodium, these react with water to produce a source of heat and/or light equivalent to a surface torch or a campfire. Needless to say, these cannot be extinguished with water. (DC 15)
  • Treated Wood – In the absence of large quantities of metal and stone, wood has often been treated with a specially formulated varnish to make it harder, fire resistant, and more resistant to rot. Treat as similar to items permanently affected by the Ironwood spell. (DC 20)
  • Healing Poultice – A concoction of various extracts and sea plants that is then wrapped in silk and applied to an injury. Effectively acts identical to a cure light wounds spell. (DC 10)

Why are the DC’s so low compared to other benchmarks? Well, these are supposed to be common amongst the Sea Elves, so chalk it up to have ready access to appropriately easy reagents nearby and a long tradition of using said reagents. So probably increase the DC to make these in regions without ready access to the appropriate reagents as then an alchemist would have to do things the “hard way” instead.

Religiously, Aqua Elves tend to follow a combination of the Elven and Oceanic pantheons with the particular deity focused on being a matter of tradition for each settlement. While matters of worship tend to be personal affairs, there usually is a village elder that acts as spiritual leader, advisor, and representative to the gods for the whole community. What shrines or temples they do create tend to involve magical fountains that coin offerings can be tossed into.

Still, there are those that hear the whispers from the depths promising power and promises of things that never were. This is especially true for those that spend large amounts of time sleeping in the water itself where such whispers can taint their dreams. Those that listen to the Deep Ones will frequently gain significant power, but at the expense of their sanity. All who fall prey to such temptations will soon develop an unhealthy obsession with quicksilver and develop an aversion of the surface and the sun. It isn’t uncommon for such individuals to then attempt to poison their own communities in an attempt to “free the minds” of their comrades before eventually retreating to the depths of the seas. From there what happens to them isn’t clear, but the few that return will have developed a talent for shaping quicksilver like watershapers control water and will often sport mutations like scales, claws, and fangs along with some sort of divine backing and a strong hostility for all things of the surface world. Such mutants are referred to as Deepwater Elves and are met with extreme prejudice.

Culturally, Aqua Elves are a free-spirited people who value action over protocol. If pirates are harassing the nearby shores, they will deal with the pirates themselves without waiting for “permission” from the kingdoms nearby that claim to have jurisdiction. Most kingdoms will hand out privateer commissions to provide an official paper trail for such actions, but even then the Aqua Elves feel they don’t need such formalities. Aqua Elven adventurers similarly will go on quests to right perceived injustices with little heed to what the local authorities might say about such matters. Unfortunately, this tendency to react before getting things like “permission” or sorting out all the legal nuances has not endeared the Aqua Elves to many city guards, nobles, and magistrates.

They are also said to have a fascination with gold and love to acquire it and use it in their crafts. Whether it be gold fabric, jewelry, prosthetics, (alchemically treated) armor and weapons, gold leaf, or golden dyes, Aqua Elves will shamelessly flaunt it or seek to acquire it. Interestingly, this seems to be more a response to its untarnished beauty as opposed to any perceived sense of monetary value. While outright theft is considered highly unsavory in their society, their loose adherence to things like “the law” has resulted in more than a few instances where their love of golden rewards has caused trouble in other realms.

Sailing is an important part of their culture. When asked why a race that can swim and breath water would construct boats, the most common reply is to the effect of “and why do humans ride horses or build wagons despite being able to walk?”. Their ships are not so much constructed as they are grown from floating trees carefully shaped over the span of years into the shape of a sailing boat with the trunk forming the mast, the leaves and branches making the sails, and the lower trunk and root system forming the hull. Careful reinforcement of critical areas with metal strips serve to strengthen the structure against rough seas and enemy action. Particularly ancient ships can grow to be absolutely enormous in size and are fearsome to behold on the seas. It is with these vessels that the Aqua Elves explore the world, patrol against pirates, and engage in trade with those friendly settlements they encounter. Experiments with underwater vessels occur from time to time, but typically run into issues with navigation and steering unless significant quantities of magical enchantment are deployed.

Aquatic elven magical training tends to differ with more traditional wizardry or sorcery on a number of levels. Firstly aquatic elven mages place an emphasis on simultaneous casting of multiple spells. Fundamentally, an aquatic elf mage can use a combination of adding ultrasonic tones to layer verbal components while using separate hands to handle the somatic components of the spells. While this initially limits them to two simultaneous spells, their mages have developed a means of crafting magical golden prosthetics that can provide additional hands to the wielder. Such prosthetics cost 10,000 GP per pair (for a maximum of two additional pairs of arms, six total) and are crafted specifically for the wielder. These arms are under the mental control of the user and otherwise function identically to normal arms and hands.

Basically, this is a package Aqua Elven mages can purchase.

  • Multiple Metamagic – Specialized: Requires a free hand for every spell being combined and things that block ultrasonic frequencies also block using this ability. (3 CP)
  • Streamline Metamagic (Multiple) – Specialized: One applies to one Metamagic (Multiple) (3 CP)

For a total of 6 CP or one feat. Many such mages will purchase additional applications of Streamline and start using the Spamming option to fire spells multiple times in a single round. This can allow stunts like casting Fireball in a sixth level slot with four levels of free Multiple would allow the spell to go off five times for 5x10d6 damage as opposed to Meteor Swarm that is only 4x6d6 damage and is a ninth level spell.

Additionally, a rare few are born with a talent for shaping water. This gives them a great deal of control over nearby water sources or even substances that contain significant quantities of water like blood and plants. This grants them an innate ability to heal themselves and those around them in addition to some of the more imaginative uses like creating water constructs of whales and other aquatic creatures to loose upon their enemies. There are even legends of some that can shape gold in a similar fashion.

Basically the Waterbending package seen here.

  • Shaping (6 CP), Pulse of the Dragon (6 CP), and Heart of the Dragon II (18 CP), Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect (produces effects of up to level three)/strictly limited to a particular element (water), requires gestures, requires training (at least one martial art techniques in a relevant martial art per level of effect which can be produced). That’s 30 CP – in general, a +1 ECL template. Basic recommendation for martial arts is Ghost Busting Technique – a style focusing on flowing movements and supernatural powers.

The Aqua Elves also have a friendly relationship with various species of dolphins such as classic dolphins, river dolphins, and even orcas. Much of this is simply from sharing a means of communication and similar playful and free-spirited natures, but the relationship is one of mutual benefit to both. The elves get helpers that are even better swimmers and echolocators than they are while the dolphins get access to someone with hands and a large supply of fish. Most simply act as scouts and assistants while fishing and harvesting helping to round up and haul in catches, but others have been known to join elven communities. Some orcas have even been known to allow themselves to be saddled and used as mounts for elves that have proven themselves as true friends.

Relationship to other elves/races:

  • Ignis Elves – Relations with the Ignis Elves can best be described as mutually antagonistic to bordering on outright hostile. Ignis Elven arrogance at proclaiming themselves the true elves combined with a view of anyone who isn’t an Ignis elf is fit to be second class citizens at best or slaves at worst does not endear them to the Aqua Elves (or anyone else for that matter). The penchant for Ignis Elves to keep human slaves for breeding Half-Elf pawns in their political games doesn’t win them any points either. The fact that both are members of the Grand Alliance is what keeps the minor border skirmishes from escalating into all out war. Still, the Aquatic Elves are perfectly fine with lacing their conversations with their Ignis brethren with derogatory language in the ultrasonic frequencies said brethren can’t hear.
  • Ventus Elves – The Ventus Elves are simultaneously viewed as the epitome of elegance and awkwardness. It is hard to ignore their grace when soaring through the air like eagles, but yet instantly dispel all notions of that grace when on the ground and opening their mouths. There is something to be said for being a little too free and independent. And while Aquatic Elves can appreciate a life lived in balance with nature, they also admit that the Ventus Elves need to take a bath a little more frequently.
  • Terra Elves – The reclusive subterranean Terra Elves are seen with a mixture of fascination and incredulousness regarding what possesses them to build elaborate underground cities of immense beauty and geometric perfection. However it is that obsession with perfection that at times puts the Aquatic Elves off to them. The Aquatic Elves feel that it is the careful incorporation of flaws, not their exclusion, that grants true beauty. Still, the Aquatic Elves appreciate that when a Terra Elf gives his word on something, he will always deliver as promised. They just wish the Terra Elves would lighten up a little and learn to say something is good enough.
  • Dwarves – Aquatic Elves highly regard dwarven metal craftsmanship and delight the opportunity to acquire their refined metal and stone. The dwarven penchant for blunt honesty and straightforwardness is appreciated, but the internal politicking between the clans is perceived as exhausting. The fact that trading with one clan can suddenly put you on bad terms with another clan on the other side of the planet is seen as absurd in the extreme.
  • Humans – Humans are seen as simultaneously a wondrous and varied people while at the same time being far too hung up on laws, rules, etiquette, and status. The Aquatic Elves fully acknowledge that the modern alliance system of kingdoms is what provides peace and security for most of the Hominid races, but find the systems that humans use to deal with each other highly Byzantine and unfathomable. The fact that the most blatant examples of people not following human rules tend to be other humans makes the whole race seem to come off as hypocritical. The human tendency to view themselves as the “default”
  • Gnomes – Gnomes are kindred spirits and yet also a bit too smart for their own good. They share a love for exploring and experiencing new things, but the Gnome then have to go and ruin it all by trying to reduce everything down to mechanisms and laws of nature. On the other hand, the immense intricate clockwork mechanisms produced by Gnome craftsmen are a sight to behold. So perhaps there is something to be said for removing the mystery and wonder from the world if it can create new wonders.
  • Halflings – There are few trade partners as reliable as Halfings in the eyes of the Aqua Elves. The Halflings seem to possess an almost insatiable hunger for alchemical reagents from across the world and will pay for such deliveries with potions, elixirs, oils, and poisons without compare anywhere else. Just best to pay no heed to the sometimes nasty effects of their poisons, their near constant blood feuds, or the (probably mythical) reports of ritual cannibalism. Those are likely just the tales of a few overly excited humans attending one of the Halfling victory feasts.

Statistics:

(Note this build assumes the Condensed Skill List seen here.)

Attribute Shift: (+2 Dexterity, -2 Constitution) (6 CP)

Self-Development: +2 Intelligence (12 CP)

Immunity / Sleep Effects (Uncommon, Minor, Major) (3 CP)

Aquatic Template Feat: Innate Enchantment (up to 7500 GP effective value, 8 CP) plus Immunity / The need to attach the crystal to Armor to use it (Uncommon, Minor, Trivial, 1 CP), both Corrupted / only functional when in water, causes a partial shapeshift into a more water-adapted form (usually webbed hands and feet with ears more akin to gills). (6 CP)

  • Greater Armor Crystal of Aquatic Action (3000 GP). The user takes no armor check penalty on swim checks, gains a swim speed (and a +8 bonus on Swim checks) equal to half their land speed (normally 15’), takes no penalties on attacks or movement while underwater (as if under the effect of freedom of movement), and has Water Breathing.
  • Mindlink (Water Creatures Only x0.5, Does not extend past normal conversational range x0.7). Aqua Elves can “speak” with any aquatic creature that is capable of language, is willing to talk to them, and is not immune to mental effects (700 GP).
  • Snakeblood Tooth (1350 GP). +5 Alchemical Bonus versus Ingested Poisons. 3 Charges/Day: 1 to gain that +5 versus all poisons for three rounds, 2 to share it with three nearby allies, and 3 to become immune to poison for a round.
  • Resist Energy (Variant, Pressure Only, x.5, Personal Only x.7 = 700 GP). Aqua Elves are immune to water pressure damage down to great depths, due to having resistance 10 to it.
  • Wings of the Sea (+30′ Swim Speed base but +20 Only x.7, Personal Only x.7 = 980 GP). Aqua Elves can swim slightly faster than they can move on land, having a base Swim Speed of 35′.
  • Mundane Equipment Equivalents:
    • Air Bladders x 100 (10 GP): Any Aqua Elf can share a bit of its water-breathing magic with any air-dweller it is in contact with, but can only do so for a total of ten minutes divided by the number of creatures that it is trying to help before the air runs out. Fortunately, an Aqua Elf can restore it’s reserves with a minute or so at the surface. Secondarily, they can also produce a fairly good-sized bubble of air by similarly exhausting their reserves.
    • Buoyancy Belt (10 GP): Lets you adjust yourself for neutral buoyancy, gaining a +2 Circumstance Bonus to Swim Checks. Note that this does stack with the Circumstance Bonus from the Swim Fins.
    • Compass (10 GP): +2 to Navigate Checks
    • Depth Sensor (20 GP): Lets you know about how deep you are.
    • Fishing Net (4 GP): Lets you tow along small items, clusters of seaweed, and similar items without carrying a net or bag.
    • Knife (2 CP): Aqua Elves can use their webbed hands to slice their way out of nets and other entanglements.
    • Signal Whistle (1 GP): A DC 5 Perform check allows you to send simple signals, audible normally for the first quarter-mile, -2 to perception DC per additional quarter-mile. Aqua Elves can make a variety of sounds which travel very well under water.
    • Swim Goggles (5 GP); These keep stuff out of your eyes and let you see twice as far as usual when under water.
    • Swim Fins (8 GP): +2 Circumstance Bonus to Swim checks (for a grant total of +12).

Immunity/the normal XP cost of Innate Enchantments (Uncommon, Minor, Minor, Specialized/only to cover initial racial abilities, 1 CP).

Skill Bonus: Acrobatics +2 / Linguistics +2 / Profession Sailor +2 (6 CP)
Ultrasonic Hearing / Echolocation: Corrupted and Specialized: User can be deafened by sounds others can’t hear, Echolocation makes the user readily detectable to others with similar senses, doesn’t provide as detailed information outside of water, and can be impaired with effects that affect normal hearing. (4 CP)

Racial Weapons: Tridents, Short Swords, Daggers, Spears, and Nets (3 CP)

Languages: Elven, Ultrasonic Elven (2 CP)

That is 43 CP, but the entire racial package is considered Corrupted:

Reputation: Aqua Elves have a (not entirely undeserved) reputation for being obsessed with gold and are known to sometimes do unsavory things to acquire it. This also tends to attract the occasional group of bandits, pirates, and thieves hoping for a quick haul. The fact that a disproportionate amount of followers of the Elders of the Deep come from the ranks of Aqua Elves doesn’t help their reputation either.

What do you mean there is a law against drawing unfavorable images of the local nobility on the side of the palace? I was bet a hundred gold I wouldn’t do it and I showed them! The nobility have plenty of money, they can pay someone to clean it up if they find it so annoying! Or better yet, they can pay me to do it for them! I’ll only charge them a hundred gold for it!”

Clumsy on Land: while graceful in the water, Aqua Elves are not so adept on land and as a result suffer a -3 penalty on Athletics and Stealth checks when out of the water, trip or slip when at inconvenient times, and incur spectacular accidents that annoy others.

“Look, it isn’t my fault that octopus kept latching onto the mayor’s face! So I accidentally knocked over the sushi cart and set it free…. But I tried to beat it off his face with a frying pan! Who knew that frying pans could hurt people when you weren’t underwater?!”

Visions: There is a reason most of the Hominid races tend to stay away from the water and its depths. Strange voices, not often consciously perceptible, are carried upon the currents. These voices can grant strange and disturbing visions of potential futures, influence dreams, and exploit an individual’s mental flaws. Listening to the voices and heeding their call can quickly drive one to madness and obsession. Actually sleeping in the water for prolonged periods of time only worsens the issue.

Alright, whenever you hear voices in your head that aren’t your own, don’t listen to them. Nothing good ever comes of it. Especially when those voices start telling you to spout tentacles, turn into a giant eyeball, and murder your neighbors. No deity worth worshiping to going to be telling you to do that!”

For a total of 29 CP. Are they overpowered compared to many races? Sure, but the intent is to make sure all the playable races in Modun have significant benefits to each of them and have distinct flavor within that setting. We shall see if I manage to succeed at that.

Alewelian Crafter Dwarves:

The Crafter Dwarves of Alewelia are creatures of the mountain bedrock, of the deep magic that binds the Discs together – sparks of the wyld burning within a substrate of stony order. The earth awoken and aware of itself.

The dwarves are a swarthy and stocky folk, their flesh dense, hard, and rough, their natures enduring and durable, and their minds stubborn. They are gifted with the wealth of the earth, with long lives, with constructs to guard them, and with considerable skill – but they prefer to live deep underground, in isolated fastnesses, surrounded by other dwarves. Just as tellingly, they have little use for Elven Wards, or Gnomish Trade, or even Halfling Productivity. Others may come to them if they need some mighty wonder in a hurry, but they have little need of others. Thus their deep halls are hidden, sealed away from the outside world, and filled with wonders that outsiders will never see. Many dwarves never deal with outsiders at all.

They are sometimes known as Mustali – “The Exalted Ones”. According to their legends… when cataclysms come, and the civilizations of the disc are under siege, and the enemies have gathered about the fastnesses of the Mustali, then are the armories of the Mustali opened, then are weapons and armor of legendary might given to the defenders of the disc, and then are the monsters driven back. They do not take credit for the heroes of such battles, merely for arming and armoring them. And for the Mustali… that is credit enough.

Crafter Dwarf Racial Template:

● Longevity: Immunity to Aging (Uncommon, Major, Trivial, 1 CP). Dwarves can live for about three centuries, although – thanks to the many dangers of the depths – their average life expectancy is only about two.
● The Songs Of Stone: Occult Sense/Elemental Earth, Specialized / Requires a reflexive skill check to yield information, 3 CP): Dwarves skilled in farming can sense the quality of soil, miners can sense seams of ore and other minerals, architects can sense stonework, and so on – allowing dwarves a reflexive skill check when passing near such things to detect and evaluate them.
● 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). While Crafter Dwarves must pay the full market price of what they produce, they are not limited by such petty concerns as “availability” and only a little by time. Theirs is the power of the primal runes, the symbols that others master only with long study are theirs instinctively.
● Treasures Of The Deep: Double Enthusiast, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect (6 CP) / Only usable for two specific abilities, always starts as a Stipend, changes over to Action Hero (usually the Crafting option, although other forms have been known to appear) if – and only if – the user develops some form of the Spark. Dwarves create, even ordinary folk among them create wealth quickly and easily. Their Sparks forge wonders and legends.

Baseline Stipend:

● Create Item, Specialized and Corrupted/only as a prerequisite (2 CP)

● Harvest of Artifice, Specialized and Corrupted/only for use with Transmutation, only for only provides “virtual” cash for use with Purchasing , requires regular work in a workshop (2 CP). This provides 100 XP a month that can only be used for “transmutation”.

● Transmutation, Specialized and Corrupted/only to produce virtual money for “purchasing” (2 CP).

That lets a dwarf produce 200 GP worth of goods each month – and lets them start with an extra 2000 GP worth of starting cash.

● Call The Stones: 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). Dwarven runecraft can bring the stones themselves under their command.
● The Mountain’s Heart: +3d0 Hit Dice, Specialized in determining the user’s effective level for Leadership (6 CP).
● Pulse Of The World: Innate Enchantment (Up to 11500 GP Value, 12 CP). All effects Spell Level 1/2 or 1, Caster Level One, Unlimited-Use Use Activated.

● Ward Of Stone: Resist Energy (10), SL1 x CL1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x .7 Personal Only x..8 Abundant Magic = 1120 GP.
● Earth’s Resilience: Immortal Vigor I (Adds 12 + 2 x Con Mod HP, SL1 x CL1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x .7 Personal Only x..8 Abundant Magic = 1120 GP.
● Vulcanism (Produces L0 forge and flame related effects, such as Flare, Light, Mending, Dancing Lights, Ray Of Flame, Smoke Puff, Heating things, and many similar effects. SL1 x CL1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x ..8 Abundant Magic = 1600 GP.
● Hand Of The Earthquake: Rams Might: +2 Str, Unarmed attacks do normal damage and are considered armed. SL1 x CL1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x ..8 Abundant Magic = 1600 GP. With the earth’s strength and stony fists no dwarf is ever “unarmed”.
● Earthsblood (+2 Enhancement Bonus to Constitution) SL1 x CL1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x .7 Personal Only x..8 Abundant Magic = 1120 GP.
● Practical Mastery: +2 Competence Bonus to all Craft and Profession Skills (SL1/2 x CL1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x .7 Personal Only x..8 Abundant Magic = 560 GP. Dwarves shape the bones of the world and it bends to forge of their will.
● Martial Mastery: +2 Competence Bonus to all Martial Arts Skills SL1/2 x CL1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x .7 Personal Only x..8 Abundant Magic = 560 GP.
● Mastery Of The Earth: Master’s Touch (Grants effective proficiency with any weapon or shield, SL1 x CL1 x 2000 GP Unlimited Use Use Activated x.7 only items made primarily of metal or stone x.8 Abundant Magic = 1120 GP. With items of the earth, a dwarf can feel the intent of the crafter and their purpose and instinctively knows their use.
● Long Enduring: Ring Of Sustenance (x.8 Abundant Magic = 2000 GP). Dwarves, sustained by the magics of the earth, need but little rest and food,
● Hands Of The Craftsman: Traveler’s Any-Tool (x.8 Abundant Magic = 160 GP). A dwarves hands, as strong and hard as steel, mean that a dwarf needs few tools.
● Hands Upon The Earth: Healing Belt (Variant, Repairs Objects and Constructs, +2 to rolls to repair things, x.8 Abundant Magic = 600 GP.
● Draught Of The Deeps: Healing Belt (x.8 Abundant Magic = 600 GP).
● Paths Of The Earth: Locate Self (SL1/2 x CL1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.8 Abundant Magic x.5 Only works where the Dwarves have left their mark upon the stone – in their underground cities, passages, and mines = 400 GP
Mundane Gear:

● Camouflaged Personal “Tent” and “Bedroll” (15 GP): As creatures of stone, a Dwarf can simply ignore the elements and settle down to rest anywhere, seeming like nothing more than another boulder that, if looked at right, bears some resemblance to dwarf sitting cross-legged.
● Scent Cloak (20 GP): Dwarves smell of stone, of earth, of smoke, and of hot metal, not of meat or sweat.
● Compass (10 GP): Dwarves always know the direction of the Disc’s central rune.
● Whetstone and Polishing Stone (-): Dwarves may hone blades against their skin or between their fingers and polish materials by simply running their hands over them.
● Anvil and Blacksmith’s Tools (10 GP): In a pinch, a dwarf may simply use their knee as an anvil and handle hot metal with their bare hands – still gaining a +2 Masterwork Tools bonus from their “Anytool” ability. (Any necessary heat can be provided by their Vulcanism power).
● Spell Component Pouch (5 GP): As a minor aspect of their ability to craft things on demand, minor material components for spellcasting are not a concern for spellcasting dwarves.

● The Earth’s Fire: Immunity / Stacking limits when combining racial innate enchantment effects with external effects (Common, Minor, Trivial (only covers L0 and L1 effects, 2 CP). As with the other Alewelian races, this is a natural-law immunity – and, like most such, has an impact on the game far beyond it’s point cost. As usual, this should stay a “GM only” sort of thing, even if it is kind of required to make them competitive with those “build your own tailored race” humans.
● The Nature Of The Earth: Immunity/Dispelling and Antimagic (Common, Minor, Great, Specialized and Corrupted/only protects racial innate enchantments that provide personal augmentations, 4 CP).
● Inborn Strength: Immunity/the normal XP cost of Innate Enchantments (Uncommon, Minor, Trivial [only covers cantrips and first level effects at caster level one], Specialized/only to cover initial racial abilities, 1 CP).
● Instinctive Lore: Specific Knowledge (The Primal Runes,1 CP) and Speak Language (+1, Terran) (1 CP).
● -2 Cha (-6 CP). Dwarves are not the most expressive or communicative of folk, sharing as they do the obduracy of stones.

Racial Disadvantages (-10 CP)

● Insane. Crafter Dwarves treat constructs like people, consider them alive, and get very upset if they are destroyed.
● Incompetent: Dwarves are not good at dealing with outsiders. They suffer a -3 penalty on social skill checks when dealing with anyone save other dwarves, creatures of the underworld, and creatures with magical affinities with earth or stone. .
● Inept (-5 Swim):Unsurprisingly, as creatures of stone, Dwarves cannot swim very well.

As usual for an Alewelian race, the Crafter Dwarves are quite powerful – but they aren’t the most likely adventurers. While they are quite formidable they are also very comfortable at home – and so are rarely out and about even before factoring in their isolationist tendencies. About the only exceptions are their Sparks and occasional war parties out to avenge attacks on their hidden settlements.

Mastercrafter Dwarven Cultural Package Deal:

Something of a default for most non-adventurous dwarves, this is still extremely useful – although some get some basic militia training in place of the two incidences of Skill Emphasis. Either way though, this is a bit dull, even if it does mean that dwarven cities are very very rich indeed.

● Increase their Crafting Stipend to 1200 GP / Month (6 CP).
● Skill Emphasis (x2): +2 bonus to any two skills.

Runechanter Dwarven Cultural Package Deal:

Those who have truly attuned themselves to the primal runes of the world may chant them as they work, channeling the power of the world into their labors – and thus achieving results undreamed of.

● 1d6+2 (6) Mana with Reality Editing Specialized for Double Effect (Each point counts as two for Reality Editing), Corrupted for Increased Effect (effects may be built up over time via chants and ritual behaviors) / only to produce effects associated with Skills, requires a minimum skill bonus of +5/+10/+15/+25 to make Minor/Notable/Major/Grandiose edits (9 CP)
● Rite of Chi with +2 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted for Reduced Cost / requires half an hour, only to restore the Mana pool above (3 CP).

With this ability a Runechanter might craft an arrow to slay a legendary beast, create a truly binding treaty, protect an area against divination, paint a carnival you can step into the painting to visit, or any of a thousand similar feats. While most such effects are of limited duration or number of uses, the effect is hugely versatile.

Runebinder Dwarven Cultural Package Deal:

A runebinder specializes in tapping into the power of the Primal Runes directly – binding that power into the physical world. While this is an immensely flexible form of magic, this is only the beginning of a runebinders studies.

● Ritual Magic (6 CP). This style involves – unsurprisingly – lots of runes. It’s usually run according to the Legends Of High Fantasy system.
● Mana, 1d6 (4), with Unskilled Magic (4 CP), 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 runic amulets each morning and can only be expended to produce effects symbolically appropriate to that type of runes, runic 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 (2 CP).

Rune Citadel Dwarven Cultural Package Deal:

● Inherent Spell (Runic Oath, a version of Malediction (Doom), as per The Practical Enchanter, 6 CP), Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect (level nine base)/may only be applied to the caster, only intervenes seven times, only usable for major tasks, causes backlash if not completed, only one such oath may be active at any one time, and it must be at least twenty-four hours since a prior oath was sworn even if the task was completed quite quickly.
● Emperors Star: Your Construct-Followers gain +1 to BAB, Saves, and AC as well as the Enveloping ability – allowing their owner to “wear” them and use their abilities as his or her own.

A Runic Oath allows the user to swear to complete a major task – holding a pass while the villagers flee, defeating a great beast, slaying a dark sorcerer – as long as that task is 1) of importance (swearing to finish making lunch is not generally sufficient), 2) could reasonably be completed within a month and a day, and 3) can be started within the next few days. For the duration, the Runebound Character will need no food, drink, or sleep (although he or she must rest to recover limited use abilities normally) and will be assisted by a level four or less spell effect of the GM’s choice up to seven times – although the Oath will, if necessary, compel the user to finish the task or even bring them back as an undead and bind them to the task until it is done (and he or she can pass on) if that is required.

Rune Priest Dwarven Cultural Package Deal:

A Rune Priest seeks to ride the tumultuous currents of possibility that the Primal Runes send flowing through the world as their energies wax and wane with the years, flowing with the currents of fate and turning them to his or her own purposes.

● Presence, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect (affects a 30′ Radius), only triggers once every five rounds, and even then only when something important is happening – although it can be voluntarily triggered once per day. This produces an Improvisation effect on the user and on any nearby allies.
● 2d6 Mana (7) with Reality Editing, Specialized and Corrupted / only to invoke semi-random Whims of Fate (The player may spend 2 Mana to draw a Whimsy Card. Such cards may be used or discarded at any time, but the mana spent to draw them cannot be recovered until the card is either used or discarded (2 CP).
● Rite of Chi, Specialized and Corrupted / only to recover the Whimsy pool above, only functions during a nights rest (2 CP).

Talking with the scholars:

The scholars don’t have much to say about the dwarves. While they may somewhat overstate their role in the production of wonders (there ARE other sources of really powerful devices after all), they really do produce quite a lot of them – and when the hidden dwarven cities decide to step forward, they become near-bottomless arsenals, able to arm, supply, and support the armies of pretty much every other race put together. They may not supply many fighters, but an army needs quartermasters almost as much.

Some dwarves do make a religious claim to having been created from the primordial stone of the disc(s) before they were fully given form, to act as aids and servants of the creator powers. They were given their freedom, and endless wealth, as a reward when generations of labor had completed that task. It’s as good an explanation as most creation myths, and – given that even the current gods generally do not claim to remember the beginning – few see much point in arguing about it. Compared to the claims many of the other races make, this is fairly low key.

In actual play, the Crafter Dwarves are very much the classical dwarves of legend – rich, isolationist, creators of wonders, and defended by their many creations. And that is why they’re rarely found as adventurers. Still, they are as powerful as any of the other races of their world, and so are more than capable of adventuring. They just usually have no reason to bother.

Alewelian Gnomes

Gnomes are a little like humans – but they draw their magical strengths from the great tides of the elements, seasons, and planes rather than from anything so simple as local magical nexi. While they are far less variegated than humans, they are still more flexible – if perhaps a bit less powerful – than the other major races. Driven by their endless wanderlust, the Gnomes are the great travelers of the Empire, the traders and merchants who carry materials, new ideas, and resources between communities and even between discs, as well as being engineers and skilled craftsmen. Unlike most of the other races, however, they lack any great narrative of how they – and they alone – preserved civilization. The gnomes of Alewelia simply attribute their survival and prosperity to fast vehicles and knowing when to run. Even the most deadly army is of little import if they cannot catch you.

Most major settlements have a gnomish caravansary attached – but unlike most settlements the gnomes come and go as their small caravans, trading fleets, or flights of airships, arrive, linger for a time, and then depart. Each such group tends to be centered on an Orrery Engine, which empowers and defines their clans, drives their vessels, and links their far-flung communities together. The gnomes are not the fastest of traders, have an tendency to stop along the way for opportunistic trading or resource harvesting, and their routes tend to meander – but they almost always get there eventually.

The most common elemental affinities for the Gnomes include:

● Gnomes of the Wastes – Sand, Dust, Mud, Earth, Stone, Bone, Chitin, Insects, Reptiles, and Metal
● Gnomes of the Seas – Ice, Water, Mud, Seaweed. Shell, Wood, Monsters, Animals, and Astrology.
● Gnomes Of The Sky – Wind, Dust, Clouds, Stars, Sonics, Clockwork, Birds, Engines, and Gravity.

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

● Innate Enchantment: Elemental Affinity (Up to 11500 GP, 12 CP)

● Elemental Endurance: Resist Energy (10 Points): SL1 x CL1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.5, only versus a single energy type set by elemental affinity x.7 Personal Only x.8 Abundant Magic = 560 GP.
● Elemental Vigor: +2 Con (Enhance Attribute, SL1 x CL1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.7 personal-only x.8 Abundant Magic = 1120 GP.
● Elemental Shield (as appropriate to their elemental affinity); Force Shield I, SL1 x CL1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.7 personal-only x.8 Abundant Magic = 1120 GP.
● Elemental Armor (as appropriate to their elemental affinity); Mage Armor, SL1 x CL1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.7 personal-only x.8 Abundant Magic = 1120 GP.
● Forge of Will (Creates a piece of standard equipment weighing up to 10 lb made of the appropriate elemental material, such items last up to 10 minutes/level, but fall apart in anyone else’s hands, SL1 x CL1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.8 Abundant Magic = 1600 GP.
● Gaze Invictus: User does not suffer any penalties for elementally appropriate environmental conditions. Thus Wasteland Gnomes are unaffected by bright light, heat haze, and dry eyes. Sea Gnomes are unaffected by rain, fog, or being underwater. Sky Gnomes are unaffected by wind, dust, and mirages. SL 1/2 x CL1 x2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.7 Personal Only x.8 Abundant Magic = 560 GP.
● Gnome: Reduce Person; Size Small. +2 size bonus to Dex, a -2 size penalty to Str, +4 to Hide, +1 to attack and AC. SL1 x CL1 x2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.8 Abundant Magic x.7 Personal Only = 1120 GP. Well, they’re small. What else is there to say?
● Hardened Traveler: Resistance (+1to Saves, SL 1/2 x CL1 x2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.7 Personal Only x.8 Abundant Magic = 560 GP.
● Locate Elemental Resources (L0, Can detect nearby sources of drinkable water, or stone and ores, or pure air, etc. SL1/2 x CL1 x2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.8 Abundant Magic = 800 GP.
● Occult Knacks: Gnomes gain their choice of seven innate Charms and three innate Talismans (145 GP x.8 Abundant Magic = 116 GP) plus Empowerment (Take 1 Con Damage to power one of them up for 1d4 hours/the usual number of uses) 1/Day (Empowerment, SL1 x CL1 x2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.7 Personal Only x.8 Abundant Magic x.2 Once Per Day = 224 GP). Most gnomes will eventually take Shaping (the Empowering Charms and Talismans form) or some similar force to empower their knacks permanently.
● Of Ancient Lands: Embrace The Wild (Low-Light Vision, Scent, +2 to Spot and Listen. SL1 x CL1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use Activated x.8 Abundant Magic x.8 no Blindsense Option x.8 = 1280 GP)
● Orrery Engine Contribution; Every gnome can contribute just a bit towards the cost of an Orrery Engine (250 GP x.8 Abundant Magic = 200 GP)
● The Traveling Arts: Enhance Skill Group +3 (Craft (Varies with Elemental Affinity), Negotiation, Speak Language, and Survival), SL 1 x CL1 x2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.7 Personal Only x.8 Abundant Magic = 1120 GP.

● The Inward Fire: Immunity / Stacking limits when combining racial innate enchantment effects with external effects (Common, Minor, Trivial (only covers L0 and L1 effects), Corrupted for Reduced Cost / Mage Armor/Force Shield effects are only worth +2 each when stacked with external armor/shields, 1 CP). (As with the other Alewelian races, this is a natural-law immunity – and, like most such, has an impact on the game far beyond it’s point cost. As usual, this should stay a “GM only” sort of thing, even if it is kind of required to make them competitive with those “build your own tailored race” humans.
● Immunity/Dispelling and Antimagic (Common, Minor, Great, Specialized and Corrupted/only protects racial innate enchantments that provide personal augmentations, 4 CP).
● Immunity/the normal XP cost of Innate Enchantments (Uncommon, Minor, Trivial [only covers first level effects at caster level one], Specialized/only to cover initial racial abilities, 1 CP).
● Adept (the Traveling Arts Skills) (6 CP). All gnomes may purchase Negotiation, Speak Language, Survival, and a Craft skill related to their elemental affinity, for half cost.
● Fast Learner, Specialized in Buying Larger Hit Dice (d6 Base, 6 CP).
● Orrery Link: Mystic Link with Power Link and Transferable, Specialized for Reduced Cost / Only to link to Orrery Engines, does not give any sense of where the target Orrery Engine currently is, Orrery Engine must accept the users desire to link to it, Link must be established through ritual and remaining near the Engine for at least a week, Link may be cut by the Engine if it is directed to do so (6 CP).
● It’s important to note that Gnomes do not AUTOMATICALLY start off with a high-powered Orrery Engine link. They need to be a member of a community to get one at all, and most of them are fairly minor and oriented more towards trade than towards adventuring.
● Blessing, Double Specialized: Only usable upon death, only to transfer a portion of their investment in an Orrery Engine to it permanently (1 CP). Every gnome who dies while attuned to an Orrery Engine passes on a bit of their power to it permanently. While this is not a tremendous boost, over the centuries an Orrery Engine will eventually gather awesome power.
● Privilege: Alone among the known races of Alewelia, Gnomes have access to the magic of Heartstones – locally known as Orrery Engines (3 CP). This could also be considered a highly specialized natural law immunity, although – since it is externally directed – writing it that way would require far too much complicated wording to bother with.
● -2 Str (-6 CP). Like it or not, gnomes are really pretty tiny.
● Racial Disadvantage: Gnomes are compulsive nomads, and find it impossible to settle down in one location (-3 CP).

The great Orrery Engines of the Gnomes, forged of alchemical metals bound to the forces of the seasons, the elemental tides, the wandering discs, the nearby planes, and the planets, do not merely display the movements and relationships of those things. Instead they are driven by their motions and act as channels for their might, tapping into a well of raw cosmic power beyond the dreams of non-gnomes – channeling that power to those linked to them and, as a minor aspect, driving mighty gears to produce power to drive lesser engines.

● On a more-or-less mundane level access to an Orrery Engine provides a +4 Circumstance Bonus on relevant skill checks – most often Knowledge Geography, Knowledge The Planes, and Survival checks made for long range (or interstellar/planar) navigation (+3000 GP).
● More importantly, Orrery Engines function as Heartstones – the only known functional examples of that field of magic on the disc (See The Practical Enchanter).
● As an unusual Flourish (as per The Practical Enchanter) an Orrery Engine provides roughly (200 x Spirit Rank) horsepower to drive lesser machines with, transmitting that power to attuned alchemically-treated gears nearby.

Gnomish Terrain Magic Cultural Package Deal:

Whether a master of the desert sands, a binder of the forests, or a manipulator of the waters, Gnomes with this package have enhanced their natural affinity for some element of the world so as to allow them to manipulate that element – although their strength is limited.

● Shaping, Specialized in Terrain Related Magic, Corrupted / Requires pinches of alchemical catalysts (2 CP)
● 2d6 Mana with Spell Enhancement, Specialized and Corrupted / only for spell enhancement of shaping effects, only for Terrain Magic, does not naturally recharge, requires external focus of alchemical catalysts (4 CP)
● Rite of Chi with +2 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted ; only to recharge terrain magic pool above, requires spending one hour per die with an alchemical setup preparing the catalysts, (3 CP)
● Specific Knowledge / (Relevant) Terrain Magic (1 CP)
● Favors / (Terrain) Spirits (Specialized/only usable in that terrain 1 CP)
● Travel (Terrain), Specialized / requires 2 Terrain Magic Mana to activate for a day (1 CP). (Add Mount? +3 CP)

Gnomish Wanderer Cultural Package Deal:

Asking where gnomish groups get their vehicles is an exercise in frustration. Every gnomish group has at least a few people who can assemble and maintain a ship, zeppelin, or caravan.

● Gnomish Mobile Home: Companion with the Vehicle Template, Specialized for Half Cost / needs quite a lot of maintenance and time, needs supplemental power from an Orrery Engine to attain more than one-half speed, speed is halved again when multiple units are linked (6 CP).
● Skill Specialties: Craft Machines (Vehicles) +3, Use Device (Piloting) +3, and Survival (Navigation) +3 (3 CP).
● Touch of Repair: Repair Damage (As per CLW, but for items and constructs) 2/Day (Inherent Spell, Specialized for reduced cost (normally two L1 spells 2/Day each, 3 CP).

Gnomish Knack Expert Cultural Package Deal:

Gnomish Knacks don’t offer a lot of power, but they can be quite convenient – and quite a few gnomes believe that their knacks are true expressions of their selves, and that using them as a guide to what you are meant to be will lead to happiness. Oddly enough, a gnome who learns to fully use their knacks will very commonly learn to take various other forms as well. No one knows why.

● Shaping (Use of Charms and Talismans variant, 6 CP). While this only powers the users usual Knacks, it completely eliminates the problems normally associated with activating them.
● Shapeshift (6 CP).

Gnomish Astrologer Cultural Package Deal:

When your entire culture revolves around constant travel through a dangerous and ever-changing world the ability to find safe paths, get hints about the future, and analyze unknown items is always vital.

● Witchcraft II with Elfshot, Healing, and Witchfire, all Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect – equivalent to Bestow Curse, Triple Effect Healing, and allowing the manipulation of materials and the creation of Charms and Talismans by drawing astrological symbols on things. Unfortunately, this requires considerable time – at least half an hour – to get ready, although an astrologer can prepare up to three such effects in advance in the form of symbols drawn on some medium (most often paper).
● Duties Pact: Gnomish astrologers must provide warnings, speak of destiny, and otherwise pass on the messages they see in the stars, (-6 CP).
● The Sight and Divination, both Specialized for Reduced Cost / ritual only, involving creating horoscopes, peering at the stars, and interpreting various omens (6 CP).

Gnomish RuneFarmer Cultural Package Deal:

Alewelian “farming” (or “RuneFarming”) involves creating a “blank” item (preferably with as many appropriate affinities as possible), taking it to a place where the appropriate wyld energies are strong, surrounding it with the appropriate formula of focusing runes and diagrams for what you want to produce (most often engraving them on the outside of a box and burying it to keep them from being disturbed), and waiting. If you’ve done it right, and nothing goes wrong, in a few years you can come back and dig up a completed magical item. Of course, something very often goes wrong and the wyld is perilous (and gets more so as its energies get stronger – which is what you want for stronger items) so this can get pretty dangerous.

Gnomish RuneFarmers tend to simply pick out deep wyld areas along their regular routes, and bury the items there, intending to dig them up during a later pass. Simple enough, if even more dangerous than farming lesser items at the fringes of the Wyld.

● Occult Sense (Wyld Energies): Can pick up on wyld farms and items and shifts or potential shifts in the area. Provides a +3 Insight Bonus on related skill checks, including all those involved in Runefarming, Specialized/Requires deep meditation (3 CP).
● Skill Emphasis (Profession: Runefarming) (3 CP).
● Specific Knowledges: Magical Affinities and Correspondences (1 CP), Runic Formulas (A selection, 2 CP).
● Skill Emphasis (Whatever craft skill the user favors for making “blanks”) (3 CP).

Notes from the Imperial Academy Of Science And Magic

The scholars find the Gnomes a bit of a mystery. According to various sources there have been several times when they vanished from history entirely or have even been thought extinct, simply to re-appear later, as numerous as ever. While most historians assume that this indicates nothing more than their usual retreat-and-get-out-of-the-way strategy combined with a decent hiding place, some find that an unsatisfactory explanation for such a complete disappearance – preferring to believe that the Gnomes left the disc entirely, whether for other discs or other realms – and only returned when Alewelia was once more stable and prosperous enough to welcome merchants and support large-scale trade.

The rumor that gnomish vehicles are essentially arcane extensions of their masters, and that they and their crew and cargo can thus be simply carried along if their master teleports or plane shifts would tend to support such an idea (and is generally regarded as being less far-fetched then some of them being able to construct star-traveling ships), but scholarly inquires on the topic generally result in fanciful answers, a statement of not knowing, or changing the topic.

Alewelian Halflings:

In the hills and valleys about the great cities and their crowds lie the Hundred Shires, the many domains of the Halflings. Here bright wooden doors open into comfortable homes tunneled from the earth and stone of those hills, colorful, snug, and each a shelter fit to endure a cataclysm. War may sweep over the land, but the Shires hold.

The Halflings do feel that the elves do a pretty good job at maintaining the fancy parts of civilization, but are well aware that – in times of disrupted magic, wyld attacks, and disc-wide destruction – it is their tightly-knit and well-fortified communities that hold the land and allow civilization to survive. For what use is a soaring tower or a mystical library without a populace to use it? And when an elven city falls… it is overrun. When a Halfling outpost falls, every household beyond it is an armored bunker, well-armed, strongly held, with every door an adamantine barrier, supplied for years, and with endless options for retreat through the depths. A Halfling Shire endures.

In a lot of ways the Halflings are the “country gentry” of the disc; they don’t have to do all that much work to live very comfortably indeed. Their base abilities make them almost universally competent (even if it does tend to be more enthusiasm than practice). Their furniture is comfortable, their food excellent, their beds masterpieces of comfort, and their health good. It is often very hard for them to leave behind all the comforts of home when they do go adventuring- but even there, their enthusiasm allows them to perform much better than you might expect, even in a more experienced company.

Halfling Racial Template (31 CP/+0 ECL):

● Longevity: Immunity to Aging (Uncommon, Major, Trivial, 1 CP). Halflings tend to live a bit longer than humans – but not excessively so. This effect is, however, greatly enhanced by their Natural Health power. Halflings – resistant to disease, and toxins, rapidly healing injuries, and with greatly reduced trouble with arthritis and the other minor disabilities of age – will usually remain spry well into their second century.
● Adept (6 CP). Each Halfling has four skills with which they have a natural affinity, being able to purchase them at half cost.
● Strength In Community: Sanctum, Specialized for Increased Effect / a Halflings sanctum is always their community, where their families and friends are. There they gain +48 CP worth of abilities, albeit always things that can be used for the defense or benefit of their community (6 CP). A Halfling Shire is populated by the kind of experts that it may take a decade or more of intensive dedicated training to produce in a human population – with most humans dropping out before getting that far. Halflings in their Shire are not quite at the level of the Empire’s Minor Nobility, but they are certainly at the level of military specialists, expert crafters, and competent basic spellcasters.

● Community Leaders either add a double set of Occult Wards or a set of Guardians to the Sanctum – but this is also Corrupted for Reduced Cost (2 CP) / it only comes into play at levels 6+.

● The Yeoman’s Blessing: Shaping, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect (Cantrip level instantaneous transmutation effects that automatically compliment each other) / only to upgrade their equipment and domiciles, no conscious control, only takes effect over time, effect gradually fades if the item or domicile is left to itself, everyone else knows this, so only immediate consumables can be sold for much of a profit (6 CP)

1. Food and Drink prepared by a Halfling is always perfectly prepared and really, REALLY, tasty. It even keeps well!
2. Their homes gradually gain the useful benefits of being adamantine and their walls, doors, and windows cast shadows into the astral and ethereal planes, thus blocking (or at least greatly hindering) non-corporeal creatures, teleportation, and summoning within them.
3. Their personal equipment gains the useful properties of adamantine, including being treated as masterwork where relevant (it helps with most gear, but not with things like books), being tougher, penetrating some types of DR, and granting a bit of physical DR.
4. A long-term Halfling community will become increasingly convenient and comfortable. Those resident there for at least a day / month / year / decade / century gain a +1 / +2 / +3 / +4 / +5 morale bonus to skill checks and will saves. Sadly, the benefits for non-halflings are reduced by one level and caravans (or other mobile homes) also reduce the benefit level by one.

While this ability is convenient for low-level adventurers, and if and when their homes come under attack, this is rarely a particularly vital benefit. For the inhabitants of a Shire, it makes every home a pillbox.

● Draught Of The Earthblood: Innate Enchantment: (Up to 8500 GP, 9 CP)

● Good Fortune: Resistance (+1 on each save, SL1/2 x CL1 x2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.8 Abundant Magic x.7 Personal Only = 560 GP. Halflings are surprisingly tough, enduring, and able to somehow get out of all kinds of trouble.
● Green Thumb: A Halfling can cause small patches of plants – including bonsai trees, potted plants, and hydroponic gardens – to grow, flower, and even bear, quickly and easily even in very poor conditions. Halflings never run short of tobacco, spices, strawberries, etcetera even if they must grow them in pots in the basement . SL1/2 (one but takes several minutes to use) x CL1 x2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.8 Abundant Magic = 800 GP.
● Halfling: Reduce Person (Size Small. +2 size bonus to Dex, a -2 size penalty to Str, +4 to Hide, +1 to attack and AC. SL1 x CL1 x2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.8 Abundant Magic x.7 Personal Only = 1120 GP. Well, they’re small. What else is there to say?
● Harvester: A Halfling can somehow harvest enough food for four people for a day from any small patch of suitable plants (Goodberry, SL1/2 (requires fifteen minutes) x CL1 x2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.8 Abundant Magic x.2 1/Day = 160 GP.
● Natural Health: Relieve Illness 1/Day, Relieve Poison 1/Day, Lesser Vigor 2/Day (Heals 9 Points), Relieve Infirmity 1/Day. SL1 x CL1 x2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.8 Abundant Magic x1 (five total uses of the various spells) x.7 Personal Only = 1120 GP.
● Personal Knacks: Every Halfling has some minor magical tricks that they can use occasionally – two first level spells and four cantrips, each usable once per day SL2 (x CL1 x2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.8 Abundant Magic x.2 Once per day = 1280 GP.
● Roots Of Oak: Immortal Vigor (+12 + 2 x Con Mod HP): SL1 x CL1 x2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.8 Abundant Magic x.7 Personal Only = 1120 GP.
● Touch Of The Fey: +2 Dex (Enhance Attribute (Dex) I, SL1 x CL1 x2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.8 Abundant Magic x.7 Personal Only = 1120 GP. Between small size, short nerve paths, and a genuine touch of fey blood, Halflings are remarkably fast.
● Unquenchable Spirit: Personal Heroism: +2 Morale Bonus on Attacks, Checks, Saves, and Skill Checks. SL1 x CL1 x2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.8 Abundant Magic x.7 User must remain upbeat, cheerful, and interested in personal comforts = 1120 GP. For a Halfling, life is pretty much always good – an effect that results in meeting the world with great enthusiasm.

● Mundane Equipment:(90 GP Total):

● Cold and Hot Weather Outfits with Poncho and Boots (17 GP). Halflings are very tolerant of bad weather and never need shoes.
● Cooking Kit (3 CP): Halflings can cook anywhere as if they had suitable masterwork tools.
● Cot and Nice Bedroll (2 GP): Halflings can sleep comfortably almost anywhere.
● Folding Chair and Table (5 CP): Halflings always seem to be able to find a comfortable place to sit and a good place to set a plate and glass.
● Gauntlets/Brass Knuckles/Light Maces (15 GP): Any pair of gloves a Halfling wears acts as if they were Adamantine and Masterwork weapons of any of the types listed. That still isn’t much in the way of a weapon, but a Halfling is never helpless.
● General Artisans Tools (15 GP). These – of course – count as Adamantine Masterwork Tools for all Craft Skills. Halflings can perform expert work with nothing but a handful of twigs and stones.
● Haramaki (Belly Padding, +1 Armor Bonus, DR 1/- since effectively adamantine, no armor penalties, 3 GP). A round belly isn’t worth much as armor, but it is better than nothing at all. .
● Sling (-). Halflings can throw rocks as if using a sling. Most will carry a handful of marbles which will work as adamantine bullets, granting a +1 masterwork bonus to hit.
● Thieves Tools (30 GP); Again, these count as Masterwork, even if a Halfling has nothing but a bent paperclip and a bit of dry straw.

● The Inward Fire: Immunity / Stacking limits when combining racial innate enchantment effects with external effects (Common, Minor, Trivial (only covers L0 and L1 effects), 2 CP). (As with the Elves, this is a natural-law immunity – and, like most such, has an impact on the game far beyond it’s point cost. As usual, this should stay a “GM only” sort of thing, even if it is kind of required to make them competitive with those “build your own tailored race” humans.
● Immunity/Dispelling and Antimagic (Common, Minor, Great, Specialized and Corrupted/only protects innate enchantments that provide personal augmentations, only protects the basic racial abilities, 4 CP).
● Immunity/the normal XP cost of Innate Enchantments (Uncommon, Minor, Trivial [only covers first level effects at caster level one], Specialized/only to cover initial racial abilities, 1 CP).

Racial Disadvantages:

● Compulsive: Halflings are extremely insular. They regard outsiders, and “big folk” with considerable suspicion, hold grudges for generations, and feud with other clans of halflings. They tend to be quite sure that only their tight-knit communities and superb fortifications have allowed civilization to survive a series of cataclysms (-3 CP).
● Obligations: Halflings are closely tied to their communities, and will always spend a great deal of time and effort defending and supporting them. No halfling child is ever without a home, no Shire is undefended, and no attack on a community member ever goes unanswered (-3 CP).

Halfling Cultural Package Deals: Select two from…

● Apprenticed: Two instances of Skill Emphasis (6 CP)
● Community Bonds: Contacts (3 CP worth, usually locals – but there are occasional exceptions) plus Favors from the Local Community (3 CP).
● Hedge Magic: 6 CP worth of magic from one of the Lesser Paths – https://ruscumag.wordpress.com/2019/02/12/eclipse-lesser-path-magics-part-i/
● Militia Training: Proficiency with Simple Weapons (3 CP) plus Legionary (Specialized / Only works with Other Halflings, 3 CP).
● Specialized Training: Professional (6 CP).
● Suspicious Nature: Awareness (6 CP). Halflings are hard to sneak up on.
● The Gossip Network: Halflings tend to be nosy, gossipy, and to have no sense of shame about other people’s business. As such, they tend to hear about all kinds of local details and tend to catch wind of major events even before they happen. Apparently gossip somehow spreads back in time. Deep Sleep, Specialized / only as a prerequisite (3 CP) and Cosmic Awareness, Specialized for reduced cost / cannot be voluntarily activated, only tracks local gossip and major events that will affect the local area (3 CP).

Alewelian Halflings pretty much take the prize as “generalist survivors”. They may not have the raw magical power of the Elves or the adaptability of humans, but they are almost impossible to extirpate from an area – rather resembling a bunch of humanoid badgers. For a people so reluctant to go adventuring, they are really pretty good at it.

Honey halfling don’t care.

And for some scholar’s opinions…

According to some historians “Halfling” is a bit more literal than a vaguely insulting way of saying “midgets”, with Halflings representing a stable cross between humans and “Lings”, an ancient (and apparently now-extinct) species of communally hive-minded humanoids with strong tribal tendencies. That heritage supposedly expresses itself subconsciously, providing basic skills in pretty much everything, passing information around through the more sensitive members of the community, creating a pool of psychic energy that enhances the entire community, and allowing the remnants of the Ling’s psionic abilities to express themselves in the ability to do without most tools and various minor knacks.

When it comes to their notions that it is only THEIR efforts that have held civilization together through the dark times… well, pretty much every species believes that. After all, each tends to spend a lot of effort holding on to the things they consider most important during a cataclysm – so it should be no surprise that halfling communities tend to dig in and endure. Holding on to a pocket of underground dwellings while monsters freely wander the surface may not be as great a contribution to the survival of civilization as they imagine though.

Halflings don’t adventure much – but they really are surprisingly good at it. They tend to be very skilled in their areas of interest, have numerous support abilities when working at home, their weapons are treated as adamantine, they don’t need most supplies or tools, and they have excellent racial bonuses (+4 Dex, +3 on Saves, +6 Hide, +4 to Crafts, Disable Device, and Open Locks, and +2 to all other skill and attribute checks, +3 to Attacks, +1 to AC, some resistance to poisons and disease, extra hit points, a bit of self-healing, a few minor spells, and DR 1 or more (depending on armor). Sure, they suffer a -2 penalty on their Strength – but that’s still an excellent base for a martial type, skill monkey, or skill-based caster.

Once again, there are hundreds or thousands of d20 races running about. Why yet another? Because the races of Alewelia nicely illustrate one of the core concepts of Eclipse: Setting Over Rules. The local races SHOULD be more powerful in the setting than generic races. That’s WHY they dominate the setting. They SHOULD be closely tied to it’s history and nature. And they should be attractive enough to make players want to try them out – hopefully as a bit more than a “human in a funny hat” or a playing piece.

The exact wording of the rules doesn’t matter; Eclipse expects (in fact it pretty much demands) that the GM make a lot of rulings about how various abilities work in his or her setting. It tells you right up front – on the bottom of page one – that the GM will be making a lot of rulings on how various abilities work in the setting.

And yes, as a happy side effect… this preemptively cuts off rules lawyers, the “rules as written!” crowd, and argumentative players since the ONLY valid argument with the decisions of the GM is “that does weird effects on the setting” followed up with some coherent reasoning as to why. It was something of a priority.

Even if the “I’m playing in character!” argument doesn’t get cut off until the tail end of page eight.

Alewelian High Elves:

The Elves of Alewelia tend to be a bit insufferable. With their long lives to accumulate skills and build, they were among the first races to become truly civilized – planting mana-focusing Dairilin Oaks on magical nexi to serve as prototypical Towers Of Wizardry, focusing the mana of those nexi into the first city wards, and constructing safe treetop villages while most other races were still wandering hunter-gatherers or living in caves. In the dawn of time, those first villages were the wonders of the world – a lead that has been maintained across the millennia partly because those prototypical settlements were already occupying many of the best magical nexi and partly because the elves have become symbiotic with the city wards they created.

When foolish meddling with the dark powers triggered an Undead Apocalypse – the Nightfall War of legend – those villages became living fortresses. By the time that war drew to an end… many races were extinct, many others had been reduced to a handful of survivors, and most of the surviving, non-elven, settlements were tiny, isolated, places – hidden in deep caravans, huddled on tiny veiled islands, or perched on isolated crags. But many of the elves, their settlements, and their territories, survived. With their long-hoarded pre-war skills – almost forgotten by the shorter-lived races due to the exigencies of war – the elves rebuilt and set the pattern of the Empire to come. Other races – most notably the halflings and gnomes – were absorbed into the empire, while the short-lived (if highly adaptable and fast-breeding) humans made up much of the population base.

The elves still have an affinity for the great forests and the magic of the land, and so ensure that the cities boast green spaces, rooftop gardens, and a certain amount of nature – but the High Elves of the Empire are urban elves, the sophisticated inhabitants of the most ancient cities on the disk, at home among the marble and crystal towers of antiquity. They KNOW that they are the keepers of elder lore, wise, and experienced, rich in coins, influence, and imperial connections. They stand upon the shoulders of ancient giants and know that much of the world is ordered according to their desires. They are smug – and, however irritating that is, it is not entirely unjustified.

Alewelian High Elf Racial Template (31 CP / +0 ECL):

● Rooted In The World: All living beings hold a core of wyld energy, of potential and growth. In elves, that spark burns hot – but it’s energy passes back out into the world. A population of High Elves helps sustain nearby magical nodes and the great wards they empower, even if all the nearby wyld has been fully tamed. 1d6 Mana, Specialized and Corrupted / Offers no Natural Magic, maximum of 1 Mana, only to (automatically) feed the local magical nexus (2 CP).
● Local Traditions: The Elves have had many centuries to develop a wide variety of Racial Package Deals, offering far more than the usual one to three choices (3 CP).
● The Green Depths: The lives of the Elves are tied to the long, slow, life of the forests, which the years touch lightly. Immunity to age (uncommon /minor/minor, 2 CP). Elves can expect to live for many centuries.
● The Wind In The Branches: Elves are slender, gracile, precise, and swift – but not especially muscular. Attribute Shift: +2 Dex, -2 Str (6 CP)
● The Stochastic Wild: Occult Sense (Select One), Specialized / the “user” s little or no control, the GM decides when something comes up. An elf might have strange visions, or occasionally overhear people a hundred miles away who are talking about them, or sense when puppies are in danger, or be alerted when demons are nearby, or have an intuitive ability to navigate, or any of a thousand other things. For good or ill, however, this sense is fixed at birth, and cannot be changed (3 CP).
● Speaks Elven (1 CP). It doesn’t matter if they’ve ever actually learned it or not, all elves who are old enough to speak both speak and read the ancient language of the Elves.
● The Light Of Ancient Days: Innate Enchantment (Up to 9500 GP Value, 10 CP)

● Extended Childhood: +2 Competence Bonus to All Skills (SL1 x CL1 x2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x .8 Abundant Magic x.7 Personal Only x.4 only affects six skills in total that the user took an interest in during his or her extended childhood = 448 GP.
● Falling Star Style: Patterns of Attack and Defense, laid down across the ages, become as powerful as any ritual. The ancient weapons of the Elves are the One-Handed Sword and the Bow – with which they gain the grace of a thousand generations. (Personal Haste, SL1 x CL1 x2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.8 Abundant Magic x.7 Only to add +1 Attack at full BAB when making a Full Attack with Bows and One-Handed Swords = 1120 GP.
● Grace Of Dawn: Enhance Attribute (+2 Dexterity, SL1 x CL1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use Activated x.8 Abundant Magic x.7 Personal Only = 1120 GP
● Heritage Of Dairilin: Patterns give strength to magic – and the patterns of the great city wards of Alewilia have been linked to the elves for millenia. Each elf in a city adds – just a bit – to the power of the City Wards. (500 GP worth of value added to the local Ward Major, x.8/only works on Wards built on Magical Nexi x.8 Abundant Magic = 320 GP).
● Inner Stillness The mind of an elf is old well-established, and so is difficult to bend. (Sidestep (+3 Competence Bonus on Saves Versus Enchantment spells and effects) SL1/2 x CL1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.8 Abundant Magic x.7 Personal Only = 560 GP).
● Legacy Of Nightfall. With vigilance through the night all-important during the Nightfall War, Alewilian Elves learned to enter a trancelike state that allowed them to remain vigilant through the night while gaining the full benefits of a nights rest. Keep Watch (SL1 x CL1 x2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.8 Abundant Magic x.5 (One Target Only) x.8 (User Only) = 640 GP).
● Master Builders: Across the ages the Elves have been the architects of the world, the first temples and structures were theirs – and to the elves the patterns of such things have long become familiar. If they examine a structure, or even move through it attentively, they have an excellent chance to detect hidden doors and passages, slanted floors, hidden rooms and compartments, and – for that matter – areas in need of repair or likely to fail. They’re also good at designing and building structures. (Detect Architecture, +5 Insight Bonus to relevant checks, may “take 5″ passively when merely walking by an architectural feature. SL1 x CL1 x Unlimited-Use Use-Activated .-8 Abundant Magic = 1600 GP).
● Natural Affinity: Cloaked in the forces of nature, Elves are unaffected by normal environmental extremes of heat and cold, (Endure Elements, SL1 x CL1 x2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.8 Abundant Magic x.2 (1/Day) x.7 (Personal Only) = 224 GP).
● Song Of The World’s Youth: Embrace The Wild (Variant: Low-Light Vision, Sensitivity to Wyld Energies (this sort of includes nature and magic, even if only vaguely) (allows analysis with appropriate skill checks) instead of a choice of Scent or Blindsense, and +2 to Spot and Listen. SL1 x CL1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use Activated x.8 Abundant Magic = 1600 GP)
● The Magic Of Eld: The supple strength of wood, the mighty sinews of beasts, the flight of birds, the cutting edge of stone or metal… The strength of the Bow is old, OLD, magic. The power that struck down the beasts that would devour friends and family, that brought food, that repelled enemies, that brought down birds and the fleetest of prey. But it is the magic of wood at it’s core, the ancient heritage of the elves. Weapon Mastery (+3 Competence Bonus to BAB with Elven Longbows, SL1/2 x CL1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.8 Abundant Magic x.7 Personal Only = 560 GP.
● Touch Of Kings: Elves have a knack with herbal magic, using it to soothe small problems. (Polypurpose Panacea, SL1 x CL1 x1800 GP Unlimited-Use Command Word Activated x.8 Abundant Magic x.6 3 Uses/Day x.8 Requires Heal +5 or better and various healing herbs = 691 GP.
● Wakeful Meditation: The High Elves cannot be forced to sleep; such effects will result in nothing more than a momentary blink or yawn. (Dawn (SL1/2 x CL1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.8 Abundant Magic x.7 Personal Only x.7 does not affect nonlethal damage = 560 GP.
● Net Total: 9275 GP

● Ward Channeler: Enthusiast, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect / only to add up to 3225 GP worth of “City Magic Items” and / or the ability to sense Nature and/or Magic to their Innate Enchantments (3 CP).
● The Inward Fire: Immunity / Stacking limits when combining racial innate enchantment effects with external effects (Common, Minor, Trivial (only covers L0 and L1 effects), 2 CP).
● Immunity/Dispelling and Antimagic (Common, Minor, Great, Specialized and Corrupted/only protects innate enchantments that provide personal augmentations, only protects the basic racial abilities not the “city magic items”, 4 CP).
● Immunity/the normal XP cost of Innate Enchantments (Uncommon, Minor, Trivial [only covers first level effects at caster level one], Specialized/only to cover initial racial abilities, 1 CP).
● Racial Disadvantages:

● Accursed / Susceptible to Wild Corruption. The elves constant channeling of magical energy is useful for fueling Wards, but inherently renders them vulnerable to wyd corruption, suffering a -3 penalty on any rolls needed to resist such difficulties (-3 CP).
● Blocked: Unlike human characters, Elves cannot spend CP to expand on or otherwise improve their racial template abilities. Their pattern is set, and they are what they are. (-3 CP).

Alewelian High Elves are an atrocity of power for a +0 ECL race – in large part due to that natural-law immunity that bypasses stacking limits. That kind of thing is potentially game-breaking. It’s included here because – unless there’s some major advantage to playing with a preset race – pretty much every player is going to go for that “design your own Birthright” option. Why take a standard race when you can have 31 CP precisely tailored to the kind of character you wish to build? Ergo, these elves have hefty slice of cheese built in to make them more attractive to play.

High Elf Cultural Package Deals:

Elven Cultural Package Deals are generally fixed within any one area – but there are a lot of areas. Some elven clans train with swords or bows, others have minor spells that everyone knows (making some classes, spell activation items, and options more common there), and some even have things like an affinity towards economic combat or a mystic art – but that is rare. Others provide particular skills or specific knowledges – whether survival or local laws (having such elves about may cause really annoying legal situations for those that have not been trained for decades in how the laws work). For good or ill, however, such local package deals are quite inflexible, and only shifts on a scale of decades or centuries. Thus elven cultural packages cannot provide open cultural “slots” or adaptability.

In any case, elven cultural package deals normally include at least 3 CP worth of social elements Common elements in such packages include:

● Privileges, Favors, and Contacts (3 CP Base, Specialized for Reduced Cost / only applies in those few cities supporting a particular cultural package (1 CP)). This may mean a good position in the local caste structure, being allowed to carry weapons openly, membership in an important club, church, or similar group, priority access to healing magic, an excellent lifestyle, being able to get favors from the local government, having an “in” with the local thieves guild, or being able to borrow occasional magical items for a bit. ,
● Specific Knowledges: A detailed knowledge of the local laws, or legends, or etiquette, or justifications for elven elitism, how to use the feathers of the local magical birds to make Feather Talismans on the cheap,
● Access to an Occult Skill (3 CP). Some elven cultures preserve weird alien skills, allowing youngsters to learn them with little trouble – and often turning the local social structure upside down since all the local elves have access to telepathic abilities (powered by temporary reductions in the skill) or some other weird discipline.
● Weapon Proficiencies Simple Weapons (Specialized, only as a Prerequisite, 1 CP) plus either some type of one-handed sword or longbows (In either case Corrupted / items manufactured by elves only, 2 CP). Alternatively, “Proficient with Elven Cultural Weapons, 3 CP)

The disadvantages of a particular elven cultural package deal rarely need quantifying; they tend towards excessively formal, etiquette-driven, and somewhat oppressive social structures, fairly blatant elitism, centuries-old grudges and feuds between houses, castes, rigid social roles, bizarre dependencies (these are very rare, and – oddly enough – usually result in very exotic eye colorations), and the occasional weird obsession with magical gems.

And according the the archeologists…

Unsurprisingly, the Elven account of “the beginning” stresses their own central importance and natural superiority as well as being told entirely from their point of view. That doesn’t make it true even if it IS pretty polished. Most of the non-elven archeologists and historians focused on deep history agree that the reality is somewhat different:

  • No one really knows much about “the beginning”. They do know that there are ruins everywhere because various disc-wide catastrophes have wiped out or nearly wiped out prosperous civilizations at least six times before. The last time – the uprising of the undead now remembered as the Nightfall War – was some 4105 years ago. Before that it was something to do with dragons. Before THAT… maybe it was elementals? There are a few old inscriptions that might match that.
  • The lengths of the prior cycles aren’t all known, but the shortest one known was 4124 years and the longest was 7958 years – so the end could (in theory) come at any time. Still, it might not come for thousands of years yet even if there is a real “cycle” of some sort. There is a lot of social pressure to NOT do anything that might set one off another cataclysm though, since it is generally believed that the last major disaster was the result of someone experimenting on undead to mutate wyld shades so they could bypass wards against the wyld – and only a few cultists are looking forward to another.
  • The elves do do exceptionally well with City Wards, did come through the Nightfall War in fairly good shape, and are indeed extremely well adapted to keeping cities functional, which has let them maintain that early lead through this cycle. Not surprisingly, however, most of the other major races ALSO claim to have been first, with humans even having a few bits of evidence to point to.
  • The disc is smaller than is recorded in some of the old records. It is suspected that the edges went unstable and calved off when the Wyld advanced towards the center during the Nightfall War. Civilized goblins and several other races appeared out of the wyld in recorded history – even though they were on record in the previous age. There is some speculation that they were fringe dwellers then, and various tribes have simply migrated back to the disc after their homes split off – but others speculate that some types of nodes just tend to throw them up or perhaps that they only survived in REALLY isolated enclaves. Nobody really knows. .

While there are already more than enough races running around in d20, the Alewelian races are excellent examples of tying races into the setting – something that most games, using generic races for generic settings, tend to miss out on. 

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.