Eclipse and Skill-Based Partial Casters

And for today it’s the answer to another question…

I notice that you don’t have a ton of examples of the dweomer system, and no examples of a partial caster using a skilled based one. What might say, a version of a paladin or bard using the dweomer system look like?

-Jirachi

In Eclipse, of course, a “Partial Caster” is just a character who buys some magic but who doesn’t really focus on it. Gratuitously, I’m going to assume that less than 60 points over twenty levels is “dabbling”, and that 181 points or more is “a full caster” – leaving Partial Casting as any spellcasting package with a total cost between 60 and 180 points over twenty levels. On the “practical details” side, a partial caster usually has a fairly limited range of effects, is limited to mid-level effects at best (levels 4-6 depending on style), and may have a lower-than-maximum caster level.

So first up it’s Thaumaturgy or Dweomer based Paladin/Ranger/Assassin/Etcetera Spell Casting. To build the basics for that we’ll want…

  • Access to Thaumaturgy/Deweomer, Specialized/only provides access to four skills (3 CP).
  • +15 Base Caster Levels, Specialized and Corrupted / Thaumaturgy or Dweomer Only, do not support effects of above the “Difficult” level (30 CP). That’s five more than a 3.5 Paladin or Ranger gets, two less than a Pathfinder Paladin or Ranger gets – but in Eclipse they can buy a few more if they want to easily enough.
  • Adept (Their four Thaumaturgy/Dweomer Skills, 6 CP)
  • Augmented Bonus / Adds an attribute modifier to the base for Thaumaturgy or Dweomer skills, Specialized/only for the four Adept skills, above (3 CP).
  • Mastery (At least three of the Adept skills, 6 CP). This lets them “take 10″ instead of rolling when casting using at least three of their skills.
  • 10d6 Mana (as 20d4 (50) Generic Spell Levels), Specialized and Corrupted for Reduced Cost / Only to power Thaumaturgy or Dweomer, cannot power effects of above the “Difficult”” level (20 CP). Fortunately, generic spell levels return daily without need for Rite of Chi.
  • Unity (6 CP). This avoids the need to split their pool between Power and Generic Spell Levels. Trivial Effects cost 1/2 Spell Level, Easy Effects cost 2, Average Effects cost Four, and Difficult Effects cost 6. “Difficult” effects equate to spells of levels 5-6, and are beyond the usual range for Paladins, Rangers, Assassins, and such, but are possible here.

At a total of 74 CP this costs the same as Pathfinder Paladin Spellcasting. It will require a further investment of 10-20 skill points (or other boosters) to reach it’s full potential of using sixth level equivalent spells (in Eclipse there’s almost always a slight surcharge for creating your own style of themed spellcasting) – but it has the side benefit of boosting some checks and saves and is extremely flexible. It’s also worth nothing that – while it will use up the second permitted use of Adept – adding a second field will only cost 38 CP (totaling 112) since there’s no need to buy the Caster Levels or Unity again. You could even go for a third dip, for a mere 32 CP more (totaling 144 CP) – but you’d need to boost your skill points since you couldn’t take Adept again.

So what skills? Well, for some quick examples, lets say you are building a…

  • Battlerager: Self-Enhancement (personal boosting spells), Armory (summon / boost armor and weapons), Lightning (Page 103), and Physical Healing (Page 105). Avatars of War and Thunder, Battleragers are direct and powerful warriors and reasonably effective healers after a battle. They possess a fairly well balanced mix of abilities and can play many roles on the battlefield.
  • Berserker: Self-Enhancement (personal boosting spells), Shapeshifting (Page 105), Armory (summon / boost armor and weapons), and Speed (haste, rapid travel, accomplishing tasks as great speed). Berserkers are capable of taking deadly forms, equipping themselves in an instant, and rampaging across a battlefield with vastly enhanced physical abilities.
  • Demonologist: (Evil) Monster Summoning (Monster Summoning, Planar Binding, Etc), Hellfire (evil fire magic), Maledictions (from The Practical Enchanter), and Demon Channeling (summon monster channeling variant, from The Practical Enchanter). Commanding deadly and corrupting infernal powers, a demonologist tends to summon a few monsters to help him or her carry the fires of hell into the depths of an enemy line.
  • Healer: Life Transference, Mental, Physical, and Spiritual Healing (all from Eclipse, the Healing List, Page 105). There are lots of ways to heal people at higher levels, but a backup healer can still be pretty handy to have around. Healing is rarely the first option selected, but it’s a fairly common second or third choice.
  • Kineticist: Animation (obvious), Pyrotics, Reconstruction, and Telekinesis (Mostly from Psychokinesis, Eclipse page 104). As direct blasters Kineticists are not the most effective at magical battle, but they have an immense variety of utility effects, ranging from repairing items to opening locks to extracting breathable air from the water that’s filling a room. Whether you need to fly, temper metal, or haul masses of treasure, the Kineticist has a spell for you.
  • Planeward: Dimensional Warping, Stabilization, Transference, and Warp Detection (all from Eclipse, the Warping List, Page 105). A Planeward’s magic is dangerous, and often of fairly high level (commonly leading them to buy more Generic Spell Levels to work with), but the ability to teleport, shunt in matter and energy from other dimensions, detect and banish summonings, resist dimensional and temporal effects, and otherwise counteract a lot of the best high-level effects can make them quite vital in the right situation.
  • Radiant Master: Electrokinesis and Nucleokinesis (Eclipse, Psychokinesis, Page 104), Amplification (Eclipse, Mysticism, Page 106) and Stabilization (Eclipse, Healing, Page 106). The master of atomic energy is an odd fit in most fantasy settings, but they can work there just fine. After all, how many fantasy creatures have defenses against hard radiation, cannot profit from a boosting spell transmuting that hard radiation into raw magical power, or have no use for shifting their metabolism over to nuclear sources to avoid having to breathe for a time?
  • Ranger: Animalism (take on animal powers), Plant Control (animate plants, hurl volleys of spears, grow spikes, make plants let you through, etc), Mobility (boost movement, haste, boost missile fire, dimension door, boost stealth, etc), and Physical Healing (Page 105). Rangers are classic hedge-magi, capable of a wide variety of nature-related spells. It can be quite handy to have a tree pick you up out of a battle and put you safely up in its branches to let you do some sniping.
  • Solar Guardian: Celestial Radiance (holy light and purification), Armory (summon / boost armor and weapons), Inspiration (prayer, bless, other bonuses for the group), and Shielding (Stasis Fields, page 104). As fairly classic “Paladins”, Solar Guardians are radiant servants of the higher planes, defending others and striking down creatures of darkness.
  • Stalker: Darkness Mastery (Page 103), Venom Mastery (poisons and antidotes, toxic clouds, etc), Shadowwalking (moving in and out of the plane of shadow, blinking, etc), and Shadow Magic (the illusion-based variety). While the powers of darkness are usually seen as evil and corruptive, with determination they can be used for a variety of purposes. Similarly, slipping through the shadows to strike down opponents with deadly poisons may not be a pleasant or common way to do good – but it can be used that way.

Now, if you want to create a Spellblade or the equivalent of a Psychic Warrior you’ll want to buy Opportunist and Evasive to let you cast boosting effects as you fight,

For a Godling, advanced Adept, or Bardic type…

  • Upgrade the Access Feat to a full list (3 CP).
  • Take Mastery Again (if necessary, 6 CP).
  • Upgrade to 100 Generic Spell Levels (20 CP)
  • Upgrade to 20 Base Caster Levels (10 CP).
  • Include about +60 skill points (60 CP). Normally I’d take Fast Learner and another level of Adept to help with this, but Bardic types are normally already using those to get their other skills.

That raises the cost by 99 character points – up to a total of 173 CP. Of course, a Pathfinder Bard normally spends 174 CP on his or her magic, so that – once again – fits well enough.

As for skills… Well, at this point you can take any one of the full Thaumaturgy or Dweomer lists from Eclipse or you can invent your own list. Either can be a very effective option. If you want to be a fairly classical bard, you might want a list like:

  • Illusion, Presence, and Projection (Eclipse, Telepathy, Page 104), Physical and Spiritual Healing (Eclipse, Healing, Page 105), Vibration (Eclipse, Psychokinesis, Page 104), Auric Sight (Eclipse, Extra-Sensory Perception, Page 106), and Dimensional Warping (Eclipse, Warping, Page 105).

That won’t cover every spell on the Bard list – but as a freeform system it will cover more of them than any normal Bard with a limited number of spells known will get to have. If it doesn’t cover something you desperately want… well, trade out one of those skills that you don’t want for what you think fits well into a “Bardic Powers” theme.

For the next option:

Substituting Theurgy for Thaumaturgy/Dweomer is straightforward, although you will want an Intelligence of at least 12.

  • +15 Base Caster Levels, Specialized and Corrupted / Theurgy Only, do not support effects of above level six (30 CP).
  • Adept x2 (the six Theurgic Verbs and two Nouns, 6 CP).
  • Augmented Bonus / Adds an attribute modifier to the base for Theurgy skills (6 CP).
  • Mastery (At in 12+ covers all six of the Verbs, 6 CP). This lets the user “take 10″ instead of rolling to use Theurgy. (This is cheap, and may not be permitted – but it’s an obvious modifier to take if the game master allows it).
  • 6d6 Mana (as 12d4 (30) Generic Spell Levels), Specialized and Corrupted for Reduced Cost / Only to power Theurgy, cannot power effects of above level six (12 CP). Fortunately, generic spell levels return daily without need for Rite of Chi. Also fortunately, Theurgy is less expensive than Thaumaturgy or Dweomer,
  • Advanced Improved Augmented Bonus (Adds a second Attribute Modifier to their Intelligence Modifier when calculating Skill Points Per Level, 18 CP).

That’s 78 CP – but investing even a modest handful of additional skill points will let you work freeform magic within a speciality. If you invest more… you can wield a wide variety of spells indeed. The Bard/Godling/Etcetera version mostly simply needs more generic spell levels (another 36 CP worth will probably do), and a LOT more skill points – probably about 60 CP worth again. That gets them up to 174 CP – a precise match for what a Pathfinder Bard spends on their magic progression and approaching the limit for a “Partial Caster”.

So what nouns should these characters study?

  • Beguilers master the Mind and Illusion elements, weaving deceptions and influencing minds to subtly bend the world to their will. Suggestion, Charm, Glamours, Phantasms, and more lie within their purview. If a campaign involves stealth or intrigue, they can be most effective.
  • Deathlords study the Spirit and Illusion elements, wrapping the dead in quasi-real shells of undeath, speaking with or raising the dead, imbuing inanimate objects with life, and peering into the planes beyond all fall within their purview.
  • Healers study the Body and Spirit nouns (although they often dabble in the Mind as well) – offering them access to a wide variety of enhancements, the ability to repair injuries of all kinds,
  • Seers study the magic of the Mind and Time, peering into the future to learn a myriad secrets and subtly enhancing their allies and hindering their enemies. Perhaps fortunately, only those few seers who have surpassed all normal limitations may actually travel though time or manipulate it to any great degree.
  • Stormweavers study Air and Fire, two of the most volatile and easily-stirred elements. They may manipulate storm and lightning, channel energy, manipulate the winds, and employ the destructive power of fire. They are easily amongst the more violent Theurgists.
  • Treemages study the Earth and Plant nouns, creating barriers and earthquakes, hurling spikes of wood and stone, entangling victims, dropping them into pits or quicksand, growing useful herbs, constructing fortified campsites, and more. There is rarely a time when mastery over the land and the things that grow upon it is not useful.
  • Voyagers study the magics of Space and Water, allowing them to navigate their crafts through the barriers between dimensions, exploring strange worlds, pocket realms, and the depths of the sea. While they may wield the forces of ice, acid, and banishment in emergencies, their magic is perhaps best used to reach their desires rather than to blast opponents.

Even taking only two elements at a time, there are 66 possible combinations. Add a few more elements to the mix and there are – thanks to the joys of permutations – thousands.

Overall, both systems allow freeform casting within particular themes at a cost close enough to more conventional spellcasting to allow them to be plugged in to “standard” character builds with little or no difficulty.

And I hope that helps!

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Eclipse – Entreaty Magic, Superheroics, and Tricksters

This power package request is for a “Doctor Strange” style Sorcerer – albeit perhaps one with more limited use of their abilities so as to fit into a standard fantasy universe.

Well, while comic book mages tend to have a variety of minor powers that they use all they want to, their forte is the well-chosen and highly specific spell, usually involving gestures, peculiar incantations, and calling on various magical entities. Has a swarm of demonic horrors gotten loose? The Mage throws the protective circle which gives everyone a few moments to get things organized, his or her companions hold back the demons while the mage works on the grand spell of sealing, and the demonic horde is sealed away again just barely in time. They’re powerful, but it generally takes a few moments for them to bring that power to bear – and it’s at least implied that major magic is not to be thrown around indiscriminately. Spider Man may punch out dozens of thugs and wrap them all up in webbing, but the Crimson Bands of Cyttorak are reserved for major situations.

So how can we build that kind of magic? I shall call it…

Entreating The Infinite

The user may call upon the aid of supernatural beings, channeling their powers into the physical world. Sadly, this is subject to some major limitations:

  • The user may only develop links with a limited [(Cha Mod + Level)/2] group of mystical entities, each of which only grants effects related to it’s field of influence. In addition, the user must pick a reasonably coherent group of entities to invoke:
    • For example, a Cthulhu Mythos mage who gained his powers from the Necronomicon might call on…
      • Azathoth for chaotic spells of transformation and destruction.
      • Cthalpa for powers of vulcanism and the deep earth.
      • Cthulhu for telepathic and mind-manipulating effects.
      • Nyarlathotep for divination, dark knowledge, and curses.
      • Shub-Niggurath to summon monsters, induce mutations, and manipulate fertility,
      • Ubbo-Sathla for healing and shapeshifting.
      • Yog-Sothoth for spells related to teleportation, gates, and dimensions,
    • An ancient, mummified, priest of the Old Kingdom might call upon…
      • Anhur for battle enhancements, hunting, and combat.
      • Anubis for spells of Death, Creating/Controlling/Destroying the  Undead, and communicating with the Dead.
      • Imhotep for spells of healing, construction, and architecture.
      • Isis for spells of Force (Magic Missile, Shield, Etc) and Magical Manipulation (Dispel Magic, Antimagic Sphere, counterspells, etc).
      • Khonsu for lunar magics, such as shapeshifting.
      • Ra for spells of solar might and rulership.
      • Shu for magics of the Air and Winds.
    • A Marvel Comics mage apprenticed to Doctor Strange might call upon…
      • Agamatto for spells of truth, light, and the manipulation of raw magical energy.
      • Cyttorak, for spells of force and binding.
      • Denak to summon monsters and constructs.
      • Ikonn for illusions.
      • The Seven Suns of Cinnibus for blasting and light effects.
      • The Seraphim for spells of protection.
      • Watoomb for spells of air and transport.
  • Each such entity grants a pool of (Cha Mod + Level/2) spell levels worth of magic to draw on. Unfortunately, renewing those pools is a slow process: the user may make an appropriate Knowledge skill check once per day to gain (check result/2) spell levels through some means (meditation, prayer, study, minor rituals, ceremonies, chanting names of power, or whatever suits the user’s style). Gaining points faster requires serving one or more entities. Minor services will half-fill a pool, major ones will fill it entirely – although no one entity will do more than completely refill the associated pool in any one day no matter how many services the user performs. For some examples….
    • You could serve Isis by regularly teaching magic. That’s a minor service when it comes up (even if you may often need to dispel some students mess). It’s a major service if you have to rescue your students from dangerous witch hunters. If it’s more than a few days between adventures your Isis pool will automatically start full.
    • You could be protecting some relic, gate, or place of power. That’s minor if you’ve just got to keep an eye on it and regularly take precautions, major if there’s a serious assault on it.
    • You could just undertake missions. Perhaps Anubis wants you to hunt down some undead? This kind of thing is usually major every day for the duration. Minor missions tend to be future setups… “go to this address and leave 10 GP in a bag stuck to the door with a silver nail before you depart”.
    • You could commit yourself to advertising your patron. Do you regularly talk about how wonderful it is and try to get other mages to call on it? Probably minor, unless this sort of thing is likely to get you hunted down or killed.
    • Do you adhere to an oath to hunt down monsters which threaten children? Minor when you need to investigate, major when an actual fight comes up.

Thus, for example take Erebus Herensuge, an eighth level magus of the Brotherhood of the Black Pharaoh with Charisma 18. He can call on six different Lovecraftian Horrors, each of which can provide him with eight levels of spells (for a total of 48) – but his Knowledge Arcana skill of +12 will only get him back an average of 11.25 spell levels per day. Fortunately, a Minor service will get him four spell levels in the appropriate pool and a Major one will get him eight – and he is…

  • Responsible for recruiting more Cultists for Azathoth. Basic recruiting activities are a Minor service, but recruiting an influential or powerful person is a Major service.
  • The organizer for ceremonies honoring Cthalpa, tossing sacrifices into any convenient volcano, apparently bottomless sinkhole, or the depths of an abandoned mine. That’s Minor whenever he can get together with the cult, or Major when they can offer a truly worthwhile sacrifice.
  • Aiding Nyarlathotep by slipping eldritch tomes and disturbing occult lore into libraries and other locations. Minor if it’s something people have to hunt for, major if it’s blatant – such as adding terrible mystic secrets to an “ornamental” public mural.
  • Helping monsters interbreed with humanity to honor Shub-Niggurath. Minor if it’s just making it easier, such as by covering up an odd birth, Major if it’s enabling a serious horror to create some dark spawn.
  • Breeding slimes and oozes in honor of Ubbo-Sathla. Minor if they lurk in the depths, major if they come out for a major attack. They also help get rid of anyone who survives being dropped into a sinkhole…
  • Encouraging the installation of Teleportation gateways in the city in honor of Yog-Sothoth – Minor for enabling, Major for finding a way to use them to summon horrors from beyond into town.

Erebus is going to be making a lot of trouble just to keep the magic flowing. He’s also quite likely to try to toss any player characters who happen to be investigating his activities into a sinkhole or old mine he’s filled with slimes, oozes, and other monstrosities, and thrown various treasures into – but then dungeons need to come from SOMEWHERE. Similarly, he leaves mythos tomes about to drive people mad (while also stocking the libraries with the dangerous lore needed to defeat him) and turns monsters loose in town. He’s very handy for a game master to have around!

A player character is more likely to take things like teaching, guardianship, and missions – but that sort of thing will automatically provide them with motivations, connections, reasons to go on missions, and involvement with the setting. I usually consider that a good thing.

  • Entreaties can be interrupted like any other form of spellcasting, although the user is perfectly free to throw in metamagic (Still, Silent, etc) to avoid such issues. They can even throw in an extra +1 to make an effect swift or +2 to make it Immediate (thus allowing comic book mages to throw up those reflexive shields they love to use).

So to actually build this, take:

  • Path of the Dragon/Shaping (Specialized, only as a prerequisite, 3 CP)
  • Pulse of the Dragon (Summons Magical Energy), Specialized and Corrupted (involves Entities, Limited Pools, Knowledge Checks, Services, and Interruptions as above) plus Heart Of The Dragon (Shapes Magical Energy provided that it under the user’s control). While the number of entities, and the pool size, is always limited as above, the ability to cast higher level spells costs increasingly more. To summarize the calculations, the ability to make entreaties of level…
    • One requires Pulse (Corrupted for Increased Effect, Specialized for Reduced Cost, 3 CP) plus Heart II (Specialized and Corrupted for Reduced Cost, 6 CP), for a total cost of 12 CP and a minimum level of one.
    • Two requires Pulse (Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect – automatic control and 2 spell levels, 6 CP) plus Heart II (Specialized for Increased Effect and Corrupted for Reduced Cost, 12 CP), for a total cost of 21 CP and – as per the general rule on controlling magical effects – a minimum level of three.
    • Three requires Pulse II (Specialized for Increased Effect – automatic control and 3 spell levels, Corrupted for Reduced Cost, 12 CP) plus Heart II (Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect, 18 CP) for a total cost of 33 CP and a minimum level of five.
    • Four requires Pulse II (Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect – automatic control and 4 spell levels, 18 CP) plus Heart III (Specialized for Increased Effect and Corrupted for Reduced Cost, 28 CP) for a total cost of 49 CP and a minimum level of seven .
    • Five requires Pulse III (Specialized for Increased Effect and Corrupted for Reduced Cost, 28 CP) plus Heart III (Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect, 42 CP) for a total cost of 73 CP and a minimum level of nine.
    • Six requires Pulse III (Specialized and Corrupted for triple effect – 6 Spell Levels and Automatic Control, 42 CP) and Heart III (Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect, 42 CP) for a total cost of 87 CP and a minimum level of eleven.

Unfortunately, Pulse III is as high as it goes. While it is possible to take Heart higher (at ever greater expense), it would probably be simpler to take Mana with the Spell Enhancement option to allow for the occasional really powerful spell at higher levels. Still, if somebody wanted to commit to paying for this package at 8 CP per level through level eleven – basically converting it into a limited spell progression – that would be entirely reasonable.

For comparison, this really resembles a specialized version of Sorcery. Eleven levels of Sorcerer Spellcasting with similar Specialization costs… 88 points instead of 87. The sorcerer will have less flexibility, but doesn’t have to divide his or her spells into a bunch of specialized pools. That looks like it’s going to be reasonably well balanced.

  • In any case, the caster level of such effects is equal to the user’s level, the saving throw DC’s against them are based on the level of the spell and the user’s Constitution, and they overcome magic resistance with a roll of (1d20 + caster level + Con Mod). If the user is casting counterspells they will tend to be specifically tuned, requiring a spell of only (target spell level – 2) – but he or she can only counterspell things with appropriate themes.

And that gives us the standard comic-book mage: debonair, knowledgeable, personable (high charisma), and very tough (high constitution) for a more-or-less-normal human being with flexible magic that they nevertheless rarely use for anything minor.

If you want to be the Sorcerer Supreme, you’ll also want the Superheroic World Template and the Four-Color Superhero Package (24 CP). If you want to have a special relationship with a particular patron or group, a few more points in Augmented Bonus (Add a second characteristic modifier to your Charisma modifier with respect to a particular entity) will do it nicely.

For the minor powers? I’d go for a bit of Witchcraft. After all, a level eleven character will have at least 288 CP, and this magic system will cost less than a hundred of them even with a special modifier or two. Twenty or thirty points worth of Witchcraft can provide a wide variety of minor tricks to use when you don’t want to expend your limited supply of Entreaties.

Now, if you just want to be a trickster… don’t bother going past second or third level spells. You’ll still get decent-sized pools and more entities to call on as you go up in level, but it will be pretty cheap – and still gets you some built-in involvement in the game.

Skill Stunts and Epic Skill Stunts VIII – Heal, Profession/Physician, and Knowledge/Medicine.

Healing is going to be a have a lot of options. Not only is it a broad skill that covers a multitude of real-world disciplines and advances, but it’s always been regarded as semi-miraculous. Few other character types so consistently confront Death and win, and – in countless tales and legends – few other characters are quite so selflessly heroic. Even in reality healers often work long hours under great stress, go into danger to save others, risk deadly contagions, and stand up for their patients against threats and political pressure. That’s not to say that there aren’t incompetent, venial, and downright useless people making a living in the field – but it says something that Healers are one of the few types of professional workers who have been deified in many different cultures.

On the other hand, most of these stunts really shouldn’t need descriptions. As living human beings most of the readsers should have a pretty good idea of how healing works – and d20 makes magical healing cheap and easy anyway. After all, if you’re going to rely on combat for excitement you can’t leave the characters laid up for lengthy periods, It should also pretty much go without saying that healers – and especially highly skilled healers – usually make a pretty good living unless magical healing is easily and cheaply available to everyone. To even things up a bit, and because getting your cures ready to go is simply sensible, quite a few healing effects may be prepared in advance – but this doubles the DC and a healer may never have more than (Wis Mod + Level / 2) pre-prepared “medications”. Such preparations have no significant cost however.

  • DC 10 (normally no stunt required):
    • Craft simple but comfortable and reasonably effective prosthesis, such as peg legs or “hook hands”.
    • Deliver a baby if there are no major complications.
    • Make easily-digested high-energy foods for victims of starvation and malnutrition.
    • Make the dying comfortable and relieve their fears. This may include arranging an easy death.
    • Moderate pain.
    • Produce simple plant and mineral based poisons and remedies.
    • Split a simple break in a bone so that a limb will be usable within reasonable limits.
    • Spout confusing jargon that demonstrates that you are, in fact, a medical expert. (It is amazing how often this comes in handy).
  • DC 15 (may not require stunts):
    • Clearly explain the nature of an illness, injury, or dysfunction to someone with no medical background.
    • Determine a creatures cause of death.
    • Induce semi-permanent immunity to ordinary diseases.
    • Induce hybridization between species in a baseline d20 universe.
    • Make a death look natural.
    • Make advanced prosthesis, such as articulated hands that can be set in particular positions, legs with spring joints that are almost as good as a real leg, and so on.
    • Purify basic drugs from natural sources.
    • Set up a small infirmary without supplies.
  • DC 20 (require stunts to perform in a reasonable length of time):
    • Induce a +2 alchemical bonus to a physical attribute for a few hours.
    • Inflict great pain without inflicting much of any actual damage.
    • Make functional Charm-level prosthesis. (See The Practical Enchanter and HERE).
    • Perform cosmetic or dental surgery.
    • Produce advanced (modern) drugs (sadly, most are not very effective in d20 terms).
    • Relieve allergies and arthritis and reduce similar troubles to something manageable.
    • Safely deliver a baby despite all kinds of complications.
    • Splint multiply and badly broken limbs to allow healing and restore minimal function.
  • DC 25:
    • Detect traces of drugs, toxins, magic, psionics, and other outside influences in an individual or corpse.
    • Force a victim of a successful unarmed strike to save or be dazed/dazzled/deafened for 1-2/1-4/2-8 rounds.
    • Induce hybridization between very different types of creatures (EG, elementals and humans) in a baseline d20 universe.
    • Induce immunity to extremely deadly diseases for several years.
    • Make functional Talisman-level prosthesis.
    • Maximize the effect of a healing spell.
    • Perform simple surgery, curing 2d4 damage. Unfortunately, any given patient can only be healed via surgery once per day.
    • Set up professional-level facilities without supplies.
  • DC 30:
    • Cure (or inflict) blindness, deafness, or disease.
    • Determine what a creature was doing shortly before its death.
    • Heighten or inhibit sexual ability and/or fertility.
    • Induce a +4 alchemical bonus to a physical attribute or a +2 bonus to a mental attribute for a few hours.
    • Induce nerve regeneration.
    • Organize a hospital to double the effectiveness of healing effects used within it for the next week.
    • Perform a Lesser Restoration once per day per patient.
    • Sicken a target with an unarmed strike for 2d4 rounds.
  • DC 35:
    • Cure various neural disorders, including most insanities.
    • Inflict exhaustion with an unarmed strike.
    • Neutralize poison and heal it’s effects.
    • Perform organ transplants
    • Perform complex surgery, curing 3d6 damage – although patients can still only be treated with surgery once a day.
    • Produce “Pulp” drugs.
    • Revival (allows normal treatment and recovery for up to three minutes after “death”),
    • Set up hospital-level facilities without supplies.
  • DC 40:
    • Create a clone (either an “empty” physical copy or a normal infant).
    • Cure a supernatural disease,
    • Extend the duration of a patients current and remaining age categories by 3d6 years each.
    • Extract memories from a corpse.
    • Induce slow regeneration of limbs and organs.
    • Induce a +6 alchemical bonus to a physical attribute or a +4 bonus to a mental attribute for a few hours.
    • Inflict an appropriate (described in medical terms) Bestow Curse or Poison effect with an unarmed strike.
    • Provide a full Restoration (once per day per patient),
  • DC 50:
    • Create a tailored “disease” or plague. Note that this can be used to repair genetic damage or errors. This can also be used to create a strain of herbs with tailored medical uses.
    • Extend the duration of each remaining age category by an additional 3d6 years (totaling 6d6).
    • Induce a triple-strength Rite Of Chi (from Eclipse) effect for a patient, A second use on the same patient in the same day is DC 70, and a third is DC 100.
    • Induce a temporary version of “lycanthropy”, equivalent to the various “Bite” spells.
    • Inflict Enervation with an unarmed strike,
    • Perform advanced surgery (curing 4d12 damage) – although patients can still only be treated with surgery once per day each.
    • Quicken Recovery (as per the Epic Level Handbook),
    • Set up for advanced surgery or virtually any other medical procedure without supplies. Notably, this means that you can (if the GM consents) install cyberware, grafts, or other augmentations even when these things are not normally available in the setting. This can also be used to add Templates, although they must be paid for before further level advancement may occur or an additional template may be added. DC 50 for +1 ECL, 60 for +2 ECL, 75 for +3 ECL, 100 for +4 ECL, DC 180 for up to +7 ECL, and DC 250 for up to +10 ECL. Templates of up to +4 ECL may be made hereditary at +25 DC.
  • DC 60:
    • Animate the dead through mad science. You may control up to (Skill Total / 2) hit dice worth, although none may have more than one-fourth that many hit dice. If you have other means of creating or controlling undead, the totals are independent.
    • Cure (or inflict) Lycanthropy, Mummy Rot, and similar curse-diseases.
    • Induce a +8 alchemical bonus to a physical attribute or a +6 alchemical bonus to a mental attribute for a few hours.
    • Inflict an appropriate (described in medical terms) Greater Curse or Paralysis / Unconsciousness effect with an unarmed strike.
    • Perform ultra-advanced surgery (curing 5D20 damage) – although patients can still only be treated with surgery once a day.
    • Rebuild limbs, induce reasonably rapid regeneration, or redesign bodies.
    • Transfer a consciousness into another body, a golem, or a “prosthetic body”.
    • Treat a damaged local ecosystem – although a full recovery may require months or years.
  • DC 75:
    • Build a Flesh Golem. This bypasses the usual prerequisites and 80% of the GP cost – but does not bypass the experience point cost (in 3.5 anyway). Reducing both costs to 10% of normal is DC 100.
    • Create a “plague” that will swiftly spread across the land and spontaneously cure and provide a permanent immunity to a specified illness or disorder.
    • Create a clone body that’s linked to the original creature to receive it’s consciousness in case it dies.
    • Force a victim of an unarmed strike to save or die.
    • Induce symbiosis – for example, turning chunks of a gelatinous cube into “Bacta”.
    • Prevent a target from aging for 6d6 years.
    • Provide a permanent +2 inherent bonus to an attribute.
    • Rebuild a creature into a different kind of creature.
  • DC 100:
    • Create obedient living creatures. The user may maintain up to (Skill Total) hit dice worth of such creatures, although no single creature may have more than (Skill/5) hit dice in total.
    • Create a “plague” that radically alters it’s victims, perhaps adapting a species to a new environment.
    • Induce a Perfect Recovery (as per the Epic Level Handbook).
    • Induce +2 Positive Levels for twenty-four hours.
    • Raise the Dead
    • Render a living target immune to a particular type of energy or effect (including negative energy effects, poisons, radiation, etc) for twenty-four hours. Unfortunately, no single creature may have more than two such immunities active at any one time and inducing a second is DC 150.
    • Restore a target creatures youth.
    • Treat a damaged wide-area ecosystem.

Unlike most of the prior skills, I have items for Heal with DC’s well in excess of 100. Other skills have such options as well of course; but for most of them so far I haven’t thought of enough of them to be worth listing.

  • DC 120:
    • Build a Flesh Colossus. This bypasses the usual prerequisites and 80% of the GP cost – but does not bypass the experience point cost (in 3.5 anyway). At DC 150, both costs are reduced by 90%.
    • Create new types of creatures.
    • Provide a permanent +3 Inherent Bonus to an attribute.
    • Purge all external influences from a target living creatures mind, body, and spirit – eliminating poisons, possessing entities, diseases, and all similar difficulties.
  • DC 180:
    • Create or awaken a Realm (or Planetary) Spirit , causing an entire ecosystem to become an intelligent entity – and one which is generally well-disposed towards the one who awakened it.
    • Force a victim of an unarmed strike to save or be permanently transformed into a different creature.
    • Provide a permanent +4 Inherent Bonus to an attribute.
    • Treat a damaged planetary ecosystem.
  • DC 250:
    • Bestow true immortality on a target creature, providing immunity to aging and 12 CP worth of Returning (from Eclipse) on a permanent basis.
    • Clone a body from near-dust and pull the original spirit (if willing) back to it.
    • Provide a permanent +5 Inherent Bonus to an attribute.
    • Revive a deceased planetary ecosystem (although a full recovery is likely to take centuries).

Epic Stunts for Healing:

Most of the Epic Stunts for Heal simply involve using one of the above stunts either very quickly and/or to affect a large number of creatures at once. As such, I’m not really going to bother listing anything beyond a few of the most obvious.

  • Healing Touch (As per Heal, Research Level 6, DC 34)
  • Healing Aura (as per Mass Heal, Research Level 9, DC 46),
  • Divine Radiance (Research Level 13, DC 62) Cause 24d6 of Divine Damage to Undead and 24d6 of healing to any living creatures you desire within a radius of (2 x Check Result Feet). Line of sight is not required (the effect will pass through solid barriers) and any undead destroyed by the blast must make a will save or suffer a final death.

Eclipsing Drago, the Son of Shendu

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

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

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

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

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

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

So to build him I’ll start with the…

Fire Dragon Demon Sorcerer Template:

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

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

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

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

Drago

Would-Be World Conquerer

Level One (ECL 2) Fire Dragon Demon Sorcerer

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

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

Basics (23 CP):

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

Preferred Weapons:

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

Other Abilities (41 CP):

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

Skills:

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

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

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

Ponies Of The Eclipse – Somnambula, Pillar of Hope

The “Power Of Hope” is just about as undefined as the “Power Of Heart”, and can range from simply inspiring others on through being virtually all-powerful (at least if you go with the “Heart is an AWESOME power!” trope). Ergo, the first thing to do when writing up Somnambula is to take a look at what she’s actually shown doing. She…

  • Helped out her neighbors when they were in need. So she’s a nice person. Of course, being a nice person doesn’t require any special powers – and, to be fair, it seems like “being a nice person” is pretty much the default for a pony. Really obnoxious ponies are fairly unusual.
  • Guessed a riddle. Of course, it was one that was uniquely suited to her thanks to a bit of narrative causality and anyone can guess a riddle. That doesn’t necessarily call for any special powers, but perhaps a bit of Lore or (more likely) Luck is in order. Maybe a Narrative skill too, although that is a bit farfetched.
  • Crossed a narrow bridge while blindfolded. Well… lots of real people have crawled across catwalks and ledges and such when they couldn’t see. She had a voice to guide her, could feel her way, and is inherently on all fours to start with. This required some determination, but no special powers. Still, perhaps some Luck is in order again.
  • Got swallowed by a giant snake – which happened to have a livable interior – and directed other ponies towards the mouth to get out, giving them bits of her necklace to light the way. This required determination, unbridled optimism (most animals DIGEST the things that they swallow), and a plentiful supply of light sources. Still no real indication of any major special powers though.
  • Kicked the head off a large timberwolf. This calls for a decent knack with Pegasus Pony Air Magic (to use the high-pressure impact-boosting effect) – but it’s not that impressive in My Little Pony terms. Rainbow Dash kicked chunks out of four sizeable trees (starting 56 seconds in) just to set up a campsite. Given that timberwolves have been shown to be fairly easy to knock apart (if difficult to “kill”), this doesn’t seem to be beyond the basic powers of a normal pegasus pony.
  • Created an effect which hurls away a bunch of… well, semi-illusory (and apparently pretty light) mummy/zombie things created out of dreams by a cursed amulet. This was centered on her, but didn’t have much effect on her or her friends. So… a Whirlwind Push maneuver? Using Pegasi Air Magic to create a high-pressure blast of air to toss them away? Some sort of Light Burst from her necklace? Some combination of those? Positive Energy Wave? A variation on Pathfinders level three Anti-Undead Shell effect? Calling on the Vishanti for the Light of Truth? Dispel Illusion? Hard to say, but SOMETHING. Still… an air blast and bright light from her necklace certainly seems to cover what we’re shown. I’ll probably give her some alternatives anyway, just in case.
  • Threw a potion bottle and hit a small target. Either good aim, a bit of air magic to guide the shot, or Luck (whether a power or the basic “the heroes make the shot when they need to” narrative imperative).
  • Made a fairly high-speed loop and a sharp turn in flight. So she’s a reasonably agile flyer. Of course, Pegasus Ponies have “Perfect” maneuverability anyway. This still helps to justify some Luck or a skill booster though.
  • Is a cheery optimist who always hopes for the best and she apparently offered advice on politics and rulership that was better than what someone who was raised to rule could come up with. I’m going to call that “Luck” again (for taking 20 on coming up with some good advice), simply because “divine providence warps the universe so that whatever advice you gave works out” really isn’t a reasonable power to buy and because actually being sensible enough to offer good advice normally doesn’t fit in well with plans that involve “letting the giant monster eat me….”. It also means that I’m really reaching here, but so be it!
  • Makes a good motivational speaker. Admittedly, that’s a knack, but – once again – it doesn’t really call for any special powers. A professional-level skill (that’s +5 to +8 or so), Luck, or a skill booster would probably do it – but I think I’ll call it evidence for Bardic-type powers, simply because otherwise all I’ve got so far adds up to very little more than “Luck with Bonus Uses”, “a bit above average with her racial air magic”, and “shiny necklace”.

So, presuming that it IS Bardic Powers… Well, she was in a small village. Farming villagers usually don’t have either a lot of time or need for motivational speakers, yet rather a lot of ponies were gathered to hear her speak in what was apparently a regular event. Evidently whatever benefit her powers provide, it is both well worthwhile and temporary (to keep them coming back). Well, that’s easy enough.

Finally, of course, she strikes me as a bubbly, happy, teenage almost-hippy who wants you to get in touch with your “inner self” and let “the light within” shine forth to illuminate the world – thus the bit about the light from her necklace illuminating the whole kingdom (which seems unlikely physically, but makes a good metaphor for being an advisor to the throne). Ergo, I’ll put her at Level Three, just like Flash Magnus.

Pegasi: live fast, get sealed into limbo young.

Oh well. Fortunately, when you’re using four templates – the Superheroic World Template (providing free Mana to work with every round), the Low-Level Adventurer Template, the basic Pony Template, and the Pegasus Template, you don’t need a lot of levels to have a good deal of power.

Somnambula, Pillar of Hope

Level Three (ECL 4) Pegasus Inspirational Traveler

Since most of the template summaries are pretty much the same as last time, I’m boxing them for easy skipping if you’re so inclined.

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

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

To summarize the Basic Pony Modifiers:

  • Quadruped. In general ponies are slow and have trouble moving while using tools or weapons.
  • Attribute Modifiers: -2 Dex, +2 Con. An additional +2 Con and +2 Chr are dispellable magical bonuses.
  • Damage Reduction 9/- versus both Physical and Energy Attacks, only DR 2/- versus melee attacks by living creatures.
  • Endure Elements. Ponies pretty much ignore the weather.
  • Ponies heal 1d8+1 damage per round three times per day.
  • Ponies are always treated as having lots of pockets, even in the nude.
  • Ponies get minor cartoon effects, such as hair that responds to moods, blushing through fur, and so on.
  • Ponies may begin or participate in spontaneously choreographed musical numbers that provide bonuses for group tasks.
  • Have a base pool of 1d6+3 Mana, regaining 1d6 with an hours rest up to three times a day and 1-2 points per day regardless. For Somnambula I’ve rolled 6 – low-average. Still, she usually only needs it for her Harmonic Convergence power, and then only one point.
  • Get a +2 Racial Bonus to Perform/Sing

To summarize the Pegasus Subrace Modifiers:

  • 40′ Flight, with perfect maneuverability
  • Cloud-Walking
  • Adept (Rune Magic/Air, Mastery and Casting, Flight, and Knowledge/Nature (Specialized for Double Effect in Weather Prediction and air-related phenomena).
  • +3 Racial Bonus on all Adept Skills (effectively +6 for the specialized Survival)
  • Damage from high-speed collisions, crashes, and similar impacts is one-fourth normal to a maximum of 6d6.
  • Resist Lightning 10 (stacks with general energy resistance).
  • +2 racial bonus to Spot (Perception in Pathfinder).
  • Additional +6 Racial Bonus to Spot (Perception)/Specialized, only to make up for range, fog, and other atmospheric penalties (3 CP).

 

Basic Attributes: Str 10, Dex 12 (-2 Pony = 10), Con 14 (+2 Pony +2 Magic = 18), Int 14, Wis 13, and Cha 16 (+2 Magic = 18) (Pathfinder 25-Point Buy).

Available Character Points: 96 (Level Three Base) +6 (Disadvantages: History and Foolhardy – a version of Insane) +12 (L1 and L3 Bonus Feats) = 114 CP.

Basic Abilities (36 CP):

  • Hit Dice: 16 (L1-3, d6, 6 CP) +20 (12 + 2 x Con Mod Template) +12 (3 x Con Mod) = 48 HP.
  • Skill Points: 6 (Purchased, 6 CP) + 12 (Int) +24 (6 x Cha Mod) = 42 SP.
  • BAB +1 (6 CP).
  • Saves:
    • Fortitude +2 (6 CP) +4 (Con) +2 (Knack) = +8
    • Reflex +2 (6 CP) +0 (Dex) +2 (Knack) = +4
    • Will +2 (6 CP) +1 (Wis) +2 (Knack) = +5
  • Proficiencies: None.
  • Initiative: +0 (Dex)
  • Move: 40 (four legs, 20 on three or less), Flight 40 (Perfect, +8 on Fly Checks).
  • Armor Class: 10 (Base) +4 (Shimmer Mail) +4 (Martial Art) = 18

Other Abilities (78 CP):

  • Adept (Perform/Acting, Wing Dancer Martial Art, Diplomacy, and Bluff, 6 CP).
  • Luck (6 CP) with +12 Bonus Uses Specialized in Saving Throws (9 CP), +8 Bonus Uses Specialized in Skills and Checks (6 CP), and +4 Bonus Uses Specialized in Attacks (3 CP). This is spectacularly unexciting, but quite useful. When it’s really important… Somnambula pretty much ALWAYS pulls through.
  • Mystic Artist (Perform / Acting), Specialized for Double Effect (double potency of effects) and Corrupted for 2/3’rds cost (4 CP); The initial activation requires at least three minutes of exposure to the user’s performance, only allows the use of Inspiration and Synergy Mystic Artist Abilities (never Manipulation), can only produce beneficial effects, and requires a compatible alignment and general philosophy to take effect on listeners.
    • Basic Modifier / Echoes, Specialized and Corrupted: Does not work with advanced mystic artist abilities, only allows the use of Inspiration and Synergy Mystic Artist Abilities (never Manipulation), can only produce beneficial effects, and requires a compatible alignment and general philosophy to take effect on listeners (2 CP).
      • Somnambula’s entire life, like Pinkie Pie’s, is basically performance art – in her case, outrageous optimism, bubbly good cheer, and a deep surety that everything will turn out all right in the end.
  • Harmonic Convergence: Mana Powered Innate Spell / High Prayer (The Practical Enchanter, basically a double-strength Prayer) L5, reduced to L3 by costing 5 Mana instead of 2 to cast (6 CP),
  • Indefatigable Optimism: Augmented Bonus / Adds (Con Mod) to Charisma-based skills (6 CP).
  • Universal Jack Of All Trades (12 CP): +1 to all Charisma-Based Skills, effectively has one skill rank in all unrestricted skills – avoiding the -3 penalty for being unskilled. Somnambula is annoying that way; she can throw together a good legal defense, sail a ship, analyze molecular structures, cut gems, forge swords, and do pretty much anything else with great competency based on nothing more than luck and a positive attitude.
  • Advanced Improved Augmented Bonus (Adds Cha Mod to Int Mod for skill purposes), Specialized and Corrupted/only applies up to level five, only for calculating skill points, points may only be spent on Charisma-based skills (6 CP).
  • Occult Skill / Narrative, with +3 SP on paying off the “irrelevant” surcharge (6 CP).
  • Occult Skill / Stealing The Scene, with +3 SP on paying off the “irrelevant” surcharge (6 CP).

Skills (42 Skill Points Total):

  • Bluff +6 (3*SP) +4 (Cha) +4 (Con) +3 (Tem) +1 (JOT)= +18
  • Diplomacy +6 (3*SP) +4 (Cha) +4 (Con) +3 (Tem) +1 (JOT) = +18
  • Flight +6 (3* SP) +3 (Race) +1 (Dex) +8 (Perfect Man) +3 (Tem) = +22
  • Knowledge/Nature (Specialized for Double Effect in Weather Prediction and air-related phenomena) +6 (3* SP) +3 (Race) +1 (Int) = +10, effectively +20.
  • Linguistics +2 (2 SP) +1 (Int) = +3. Somnambula speaks three extra languages.
  • Narrative +6 (6 SP) +4 (Cha) +4 (Con) +1 (JOT) = +15
  • Perform/Acting +6 (3* SP) +4 (Cha) +3 (Tem) +4 (Con) +1 (JOT) = +22
    • Mystic Artist Abilities (9): Inspiration: Competence, Greatness, Excellence, Mass Greatness, and Mass Excellence. Synergy: Group Focus, Amplify, Harmonize, and Serenity.
  • Perform/Dance +1 (1 SP) +4 (Cha) +4 (Con) +1 (JOT) +2 (Syn) = +12
  • Perform/Singing +1 (1 SP) +4 (Cha) +4 (Con) +2 (Race) +1 (JOT) = +12
  • Rune Magic/Air Casting +6 (3* SP) +3 (Race) +4 (Cha) +4 (Con) +1 (JOT) = +18
  • Rune Magic/Air Mastery +6 (3* SP) +3 (Race) +4 (Cha) +4 (Con) +1 (JOT) = +18
  • Spot +1 (JOT) +1 (Wis) +2 (Race) = +4, extra +6 only to counter penalties for range and atmospheric conditions.
  • Stealing The Scene +6 (6 SP) +4 (Con) = +10
  • Wing Dancer +6 (3* SP) +4 (Cha) +4 (Con) +3 (Tem) +1 (JOT) = +18
    • Known Techniques (9): Defenses 4, Mind Like Moon, Synergy (Dance), Instant Stand, Inner Strength, and Healing Hand. This gives her just a bit of healing ability and considerable skill at dodging attacks.

+3 Skill Specialities: Air Mastery / creating pressure waves (1 SP), Offering Good Advice (1 SP),

Somnambula’s Glowpaz Necklace:

“Glowpaz” is a greenish crystal that is apparently plot-luminescent. It glows brightly when given as an award, somewhat when the bearer needs light, and apparently not much at all when the bearer is trying to be sneaky – but I’m going to presume that it’s based on the will of whoever’s holding the stuff rather than on plot points and that the Prince who gave it to her wanted it to glow brightly. In Eclipse terms, it’s a relic:

  • +2 in Charisma Based Rune Magic/Light Magic Mastery and Casting, Specialized for Reduced Cost / only to generate basic light effects (no worthwhile illusions, hypnosis, etc – although a Color Spray would work), does not stack with similar items or actually having the skill, and Corrupted for Increased Effect (the user need not spend Mana to produce illuminating effects (2 CP).

As a “natural” relic, this has an effective cost of 1/3’rd point (generally rounding down to 0) and will allow anyone with a +0 or better Charisma Modifier to generate cantrip level light effects at caster level one. Those with a +2 or more can get first level effects at higher caster levels. Somnambula, with an effective +9 for charisma-based skills due to her Indefatigable Optimism and Jack Of All Trades abilities, can generate second level light effects at caster level five.

  • Larger chunks of Glowpaz or collections of smaller pieces can fairly readily be turned into slightly more powerful (1 CP) relics – providing a +8 base in Light Magic Mastery and Casting as above, but otherwise essentially the same. If the necklace is this powerful, Somnambula will have an effective skill of +17 – enough to generate fourth level light effects at an effective caster level of eight. That’s sufficient for effects like Brightest Light, Celestial Brilliance, and Wrathful Mantle (at least if the game master feels that it fits under “basic light effects”. It is a fairly good candidate for her anti-dream/undead/whatever burst however).

Somnambula is, of course, the party bard. She isn’t bad on her own, but she really shines when she’s boosting the rest of the party; After all, she can use Harmonize to combine double-strength Mass Excellence (Two +8 Bonuses – Saves? AC? Attributes? Attacks? Damage? All good!) and Mass Greatness (two positive levels and 2d10 temporary hit points) – triggering it with a quip or phrase. Then she can stack a double-strength Prayer effect on top of that. That’s pretty impressive even by superheroic standards – enough to make a bunch of random villagers into a reasonably effective force.

Ponies Of The Eclipse – Flash Magnus, the Pillar of Bravery

A thousand years ago Flash was a cadet in the Royal Legion of Cloudsdale – which really tells us very little. Still, even today, most “cadets” are teenage trainees, Cloudsdale is just one city (and so probably had a relatively small military, accounting for some of that organizations apparent informality), and Equestria’s Rank-And-File seems to be expected to take charge whenever danger pops up – which is sort of a “Junior Officer” role.

So, when a problem pops up in Equestria, the nearest individual(s) with combat training take charge of the civilians. They draft those with useful abilities to help deal with whatever it is and get the ones without useful talents out of the way. This would never work in real life – but ponies are clearly labeled, hard to seriously injure, recover quickly, and almost never get killed, so drafting suitable bystander to help deal with a monster or other emergency is actually fairly reasonable.

This also explains why Twilight and company tend to wind up dealing with monsters attacking Ponyville; Twilight has authority over the local guards by virtue of being a princess and probably has some training. Celestia would have to be pretty silly to have totally neglected a students physical education and basic combat training when she knew that said student might have to fight Nightmare Moon – and she’d probably pick up some more from simply being around Shining Armor. Ergo, if there’s a monster attack, and Twilight is available… she grabs the people nearby with useful talents (such as her generally-exceptional friends) and they deal with it. Similarly, Applejack – who is the best qualified to deal with it – deals with a stampede and the Mayor presumably does the paperwork.

Finally, this makes trying to take a detachment of six pegasi – at least three of them partially-trained youngsters – through the Dragon Territories, and then leaving one of the kids in charge of the rescue plan when the dragons do attack, make some trace of sense. Dragons or not, the pegasi weren’t expecting any trouble – and when there was trouble, the one who stayed to face it and came up with a plan was automatically assumed to be in charge – cadet or not.

It also explains why there was no trouble over him “violating orders” to help out a griffon village later on. He was there, he took charge, and it worked out – making him right. No real-world military could function that way, but given ponies, the magic of friendship and harmony, and what’s basically a town militia, it’s at least comprehensible.

As for his actual abilities… He doesn’t really seem to be on the top end of the normal-pegasus scale for speed, or militarized weather manipulation, or even combat skill – although he’s presumably at least decent at all of them. He doesn’t actually seem to be terribly bright either, but he does mean well – and in Equestria that goes quite a long way all by itself. He IS fast, evasive, reasonably strong, quite acrobatic, and lightning-resistant, but the only thing he’s got that pretty much every other military-trained pegasus doesn’t have is a magic shield – and he has to get that into position; it doesn’t automatically protect him.

And there’s a reason for that.

If you’re nigh invulnerable, or have powers far beyond those around you, or your defenses aren’t always at risk of failing… you don’t NEED bravery. THAT is why Flash Magnus is pretty much a normal pegasus pony with a neat shield – because if he doesn’t get the shield in position in time (a risk with every attack made against him) he’s going to get hurt. Probably not too badly given that he IS a pony and they’re pretty tough anyway, but just a little bad luck – such as missing several times in a row – could easily bring him down. That is what makes being at the forefront, being the bait, and being the first into danger, an act of courage rather than basic tactics.

So what we have here is Captain America with wings. All-around competent, and with reasonable tactical skills (at least for a setting where you can’t do anything that would confuse a small girl too much), a valued member of the Pillars because of his courage, determination, loyalty, and being the only one who has any real idea what he or she is doing in a fight.

Secondarily, he hasn’t wandered the world extensively like Mistmane or Mage Meadowbrook or (especially!) Starswirl The Bearded even if he did start off with a solo encounter with some dragons and then participated in a few group encounters with Gryphon diplomacy, the Pillars against the Sirens, and so on. Ergo, level three, or ECL 4 with the +1 ECL Pegasus Pony package.

Flash Magnus, Pillar Of Bravery

Level Three (ECL 4) Pegasus Military Officer

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

  • A -3 penalty on unskilled skill checks.
  • Very slow level advancement, by direct session-based character point awards rather than experience points. Succeeding in goals helps, but killing things and taking their stuff does not.
  • The status of valuable trouble magnets – they’re rare and find trouble everywhere they go.
  • A +3 bonus on five skills which suit their backgrounds and training. Sadly, this cannot be applied to active magical skills.
  • Extra hit points equal to [12 + (2 x Con Mod)].
  • Two minor special talents. For the full list see the Template, for Flash Magnus we’ll be taking +2 Dexterity and Internal Compass (so that he never gets lost).

To summarize the Basic Pony Modifiers:

  • Quadruped. In general ponies are slow and have trouble moving while using tools or weapons.
  • Attribute Modifiers: -2 Dex, +2 Con. An additional +2 Con and +2 Chr are dispellable magical bonuses.
  • Damage Reduction 9/- versus both Physical and Energy Attacks, only DR 2/- versus melee attacks by living creatures.
  • Endure Elements. Ponies pretty much ignore the weather.
  • Ponies heal 1d8+1 damage per round three times per day.
  • Ponies are always treated as having lots of pockets, even in the nude.
  • Ponies get minor cartoon effects, such as hair that responds to moods, blushing through fur, and so on.
  • Ponies may begin or participate in spontaneously choreographed musical numbers that provide bonuses for group tasks.
  • Have a base pool of 1d6+3 Mana, regaining 1d6 with an hours rest up to three times a day and 1-2 points per day regardless. For Flash I’ve rolled 8 – at the high end of the usual pool.
  • Get a +2 Racial Bonus to Perform/Sing

To summarize the Pegasus Subrace Modifiers:

  • 40′ Flight, with perfect maneuverability
  • Cloud-Walking
  • Adept (Rune Magic/Air, Mastery and Casting, Flight, and Knowledge/Nature (Specialized for Double Effect in Weather Prediction and air-related phenomena).
  • +3 Racial Bonus on all Adept Skills (effectively +6 for the specialized Survival)
  • Damage from high-speed collisions, crashes, and similar impacts is one-fourth normal to a maximum of 6d6.
  • Resist Lightning 10 (stacks with general energy resistance).
  • +2 racial bonus to Spot (Perception in Pathfinder).
  • Additional +6 Racial Bonus to Spot (Perception)/Specialized, only to make up for range, fog, and other atmospheric penalties (3 CP).

Yes, that’s a whole bunch of racial stuff. That’s because ponies come with a whole load of powers and abilities straight out of the box, even if taking them out of the box does make them a lot less collectible.

Base Attributes: Str 13, Dex 16 (-2 Pony +2 Knack = 16), Con 14 (+2 Pony +2 Magic = 18), Int 12, Wis 13, Cha 12 (+2 Magic = 14) (Pathfinder 25-Point Buy).

Available Character Points: 96 (Level Three Base) +6 (Disadvantages: History and Foolhardy – a version of Insane) +6 (Duties to the Cloudsdale Military) +12 (L1 and L3 Bonus Feats) = 120 CP.

Basic Abilities (66 CP):

  • Hit Dice: 23 (L1-3, d8, 12 CP) +20 (12 + 2 x Con Mod Template) +12 (3 x Com Mod) = 55 HP. Usually starts with three additional temporary hit points from Personal Greater Heroism.
  • Skill Points: 12 (Purchased, 12 CP) + 6 (Int) + 18 (Augmented Bonus) = 36 SP.
  • BAB +2 (12 CP).
  • Saves:
    • Fortitude +0 (0 CP) +4 (Con) +4 (Resistance) +4 (Morale) = +12
    • Reflex +4 (12 CP) +3 (Dex) +4 (Resistance) +4 (Morale) = +15
    • Will +2 (6 CP) +1 (Wis) +4 (Resistance) +4 (Morale) = +11
  • Proficiencies: All Simple and Pegasi Weapons plus Shields (12 CP).
  • Initiative: +3 (Dex)
  • Move: 40 (four legs, 20 on three or less), Flight 40 (Perfect, +8 on Fly Checks).
  • Armor Class: 10 (Base) + 3 (Dex) +4 (Shimmer Mail) +3 (Martial Art) (Usually) +4 (Shield Bonus from air-based Force Shield effect) = 24.

Usual Weapons:

  • Strike: +9 (+2 BAB +1 Str +2 Martial Art +4 Morale), 1d4+1 (Str) +4 (Morale) (may add +3d6 Concussive Strike, for 1 Mana), Crit 20/x2 plus Fort DC 16 Blinding Strike. May inflict Lethal or Nonlethal Damage and make a Whirlwind Attack. Counts as being armed or unarmed as desired.
  • Javelin: +11 (+2 BAB +3 Dex +2 Martial Art +4 Morale), 1d8 +1 (Str) +4 (Morale), Crit 20/x2, Range 30. May spend 1 Mana on a wind assist to add +1d8+1 damage, raise the range to 120, and increase the critical range to 19-20/x2. With his Tulthara Charm (see Equipment, below) he may opt to inflict lethal or nonlethal damage and will never run out of Javelins.

Other Abilities:

  • Advanced Improved Augmented Bonus (Adds Dex Mod to Int Mod for skill purposes), Specialized and Corrupted/only applies up to level five, only for calculating skill points (6 CP).
  • Adept: Acrobatics, one Wind Gallop Martial Art, Knowledge /Military Tactics, History, and Gear and Perception (6 CP).
  • Skills (All save Rune Magic skills +4 Morale):

Purchased Skills:

  • Acrobatics +6 (3* SP) +3 (Dex) +3 (Tem) = +16
  • Flight 6 (3* SP) +3 (Race) +3 (Dex) +3 (Tem) +8 (Perfect Man) = +27
  • Javelin Storm Style Martial Art +6 (6 SP) +3 (Dex) = +13
    • Abilities (7): Attack 2, Power 1, Crippling, Expertise (may trade off attack bonus for AC), Inner Strength, and Vanishing.
  • Knowledge/Nature (Specialized in Weather for double effect) +12 (6) (3* SP) +6 (3) Race = +22
  • Knowledge/Military Tactics, History, and Gear +6 (3* SP) +1 (Int) +3 (Tem) = +14
  • Perception +6 (3* SP) +1 (Wis) +3 (Tem) = +14 (Additional +6 versus atmospheric penalties).
  • Perform/Sing +2 (2 SP) +3 (Cha) +2 (Race) = +7
  • Rune Magic/Air Casting +6 (3* SP) +3 (Race) +2 (Cha) = +11. Effective Caster Level 5.
  • Rune Magic/Air Mastery +6 (3* SP) +3 (Race) +2 (Cha) = +11. May use second level effects.
  • Stealth +4 (4 SP) +3 (Dex) = +11
  • Wind Gallop Martial Art +6 (3* SP) +3 (Tem) +3 (Dex) = +16
    • Abilities (8): Defenses 3, Attack 2, Strike, Blinding Strike, and Whirlwind Attack.
  • Fortune (Evasion Variant, 6 CP). If Flash makes a successful Reflex save he takes no damage. This is actually pretty normal for combat-trained Pegasus Ponies: “no be there” seems to be one of their major defensive strategies.
  • Reflex Training: Combat Reflexes Variant (+3 Attacks of Opportunity per round) (6 CP).

Pony names tend to be pretty descriptive and fairly often tell us something about their personal talents – and here we have Flash (“a brief burst of energy”) and Magnus (“the great”) for a name. Moreover, he seems to be a pegasus-style Paladin; a guardian who will always place himself between friends, innocents, and the helpless, and any danger. So…

Flash

  • Opportunist: Can use a personal-enhancement air magic effect of up to level two as a part of another physical action (6 CP). He usually uses this to pull off incredible acrobatics, make instant high-speed aerial turns, boost his armor class, boost his speed, expand his physical attacks to affect a small area (knocking down a line of creatures by flying through them or spinning to affect a small radius). boosting the impact of one of his attacks, or similar tricks.
  • Reflex Training, Three Action Per Day Variant, Specialized for Increased Effect (provides a full round action, but can only be used when heroically going to the rescue of someone else, 6 CP).

Magnus:

  • Mana-Powered Inherent Spells:
    • Greater Warding Rune (The Practical Enchanter, L3, reduced to L2 by costing 3 Mana, adds +4 + (CL/6) Resistance Bonus to Saves for one minute per level, 6 CP).
    • Personal Greater Heroism (The Practical Enchanter, L4, reduced to L2 by costing 4 Mana, +4 morale bonus on attack rolls, saves, checks, and weapon damage, immunity to fear effects, and temporary hit points equal to the caster level, Max 20. Lasts ten minutes per level, 6 CP)
    • Greater Blink (d20 base, L5, reduced to L2 by costing 5 Mana. Note that this is more than he has available from the Superheroic Template with his Constitution Modifier, so this is a limited-use effect that taps into his personal mana reserve – albeit by only one point. His special effects run more towards moving in and out of cover, moving so fast that opponents cant keep track of him, and vanishing into the shadows than becoming invisible, but the mechanics are the same (6 CP).

Netitus

Flash’s shield was capable of (mostly) protecting him from Dragonfire and the Siren’s magical (sonic?) blasts and survived being used as a dragon plaything. Ergo, the shield itself is close to indestructible and will protect the user from a good deal of energy damage and at least some simple physical damage if properly deployed. It’s obviously a Relic, and the build looks like this:

  • Returning, Specialized for Reduced Cost / does not apply to the user, simply renders the shield itself nigh-indestructible (3 CP). There are, of course, ways to destroy it – but none that are likely to come up in combat.
  • Immunity to Energy Damage (Very Common, Major, Minor), Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect (36 points)/ user must be able to raise the shield against an incoming attack, must expend an Attack of Opportunity, and must successfully make a DC 20 Reflex Save to make use of this immunity (10 CP).
  • Immunity to Physical Damage (Very Common, Major, Trivial), Specialized for Increased Effect and Corrupted for Reduced Cost (10 points of protection, 3 CP).
  • Blessing, Specialized for Increased Effect (May protect a small area) and Corrupted for Reduced Costs / only to allow the user to extend the two immunities above to one or more persons behind him or her if it is successfully used against an area effect attack (4 CP).

With a net cost of 20 CP, this is a 3 CP Relic – in a setting where characters may have up to 4 CP worth. Given that the build for Mage Meadowbrook included the ability to equip her companions with a single 1 CP relic each, this works out perfectly. It’s also pretty much a build for Captain America’s shield, but the resemblance is hard to deny anyway.

Other Equipment:

  • Charms: Cleansing Wand, Contraceptive Charm, Ditty Bag, Firespice Shakers, Fireworks Pouch, Sovereign Ointment, and a Tulthara (creates Javelins “made of lightning” which may inflict lethal or nonlethal damage at the user’s option).
  • Talismans: Helm Of War, Mother’s Tears Amulet, and Shimmer Mail.
  • Outside of the usual basic supplies (some rope, rations, a water bottle, personal items, and the rest of a basic travel kit) Flash – like most ponies – really doesn’t use a lot of equipment.

Flash Magnus is fundamentally very different from his companions. They were all solo heroes to start with – while Magnus was a Soldier. He’s competent in a wide variety of tactical roles, he can use weapons other than his favorites, and if confronting major monsters his reaction is not to confront them directly with his massive magical power, it’s to pull them into a trap set up by his comrades. In a team full of rugged individualists used to adventuring on their own, Flash Magnus is the one who keeps them organized and on-mission rather than each doing their own thing.

For further development… his biggest needs are more attacks (Personal Haste if the game master is willing to put up with it, Bonus Attack otherwise), better saves to make the use of his Shield more reliable, and pumping up his Constitution and Dexterity a bit. Otherwise he’s really quite competent; Pegasus Air Magic has a wide variety of combat applications, his attacks are already pretty good, he has ranged options, he has melee options, he’s highly mobile, and Netitus will – with a little luck – let him tank a good bit of incoming damage.

Ponies Of The Eclipse – Mistmane, Pillar of Beauty

Mistmane – or at least her role as the “Pillar of Beauty” – is a bit awkward. After all, beauty isn’t really a quality that you have. It lies in other people’s perceptions.

Checking some definitions… “A set of qualities in a person or thing that pleases the senses or exalts the mind or spirit”. “An especially graceful, ornamental, or excellent quality”. “An exceptionally good example of something, regardless of whether or not it is a “good” thing.”.

There is physical, mental, and spiritual beauty, the dagger-like beauty of a deadly stratagem, the beautiful elegance of a brilliant mathematical proof, the bloody beauty of a tiger pulling down its prey, and even a warped beauty in a scene of utter carnage. There is beauty in friendship, love, and sacrifice – and in the maniacal purity of obsessive hatred.

There have been people who have thought that torturing children was pleasing to the senses, exalting to the mind and spirit, and an excellent example of the finer things in life – a thing of marvelous beauty. Thankfully, most people do not agree – but that alone shows that there is no consensus on what is “beautiful”.

I personally would say that there is more beauty in a scarred, crippled, and elderly, but still enduring, survivor of war, loss, and suffering, than there is in any vain supermodel – but that is merely MY perception.

Mere appearance often has little to do with beauty. Beauty lies in the mind that perceives it, not in the outside world.

And if Mistmane (who struck me as rather physically ugly to start with and seemed to gain some character from her magical “aging”), had somehow given up what most of us would describe as her inner “beauty” – some or all of the positive elements of her personality and perhaps a part of her ability to relate to others (the primary function of Charisma in d20 terms) regardless of the motive – she wouldn’t be hero material. She’d be Granny at best, or more likely Hydia from the Volcano of Gloom, or the Wicked Witch of the West.

Damaging her physical appearance was a side effect. Mistmane’s aspect is not mere physical “Beauty”, but a much deeper and far greater Beauty. Her aspect is Accord – forgiving wrongs and overlooking conflicts to come together to solve greater problems. Cooperation – not quite Harmony, but perhaps the best that could be expected of a relatively new federation of once-quarreling tribes. Still, in Accord… there is the seed of Harmony.

Perhaps quite literally.

That is why (at least in my version) she has that moving magical mane, an effect she shares with Princess Celestia, Princess Luna, King Sombra, and the Pony of Shadows – all individuals channeling a power beyond themselves.

So, Mistmane was a pretty young mare with high-end magical talent, an excellent spellcasting education (if only fair by modern standard since there have been advancements over the last thousand years) , and a good deal of natural power (in superheroic d20 terms a high constitution). She returned home from school on being informed that one of her best friends had become the local ruler, only to find that said friend had gone a bit mad with jealousy as well. She defeated and cured her old friend, restoring beauty, prosperity, and good government to the area in the process, before wandering off across Equestria to look for further adventures in being nice to people.

So what is Mistmane seen to do? Well – presuming that Rarity’s campfire-tale version of a story from a thousand years ago has all the details right (which honestly seems pretty unlikely) and throwing in what the Wiki’s say she does in the comics, she is seen to…

  • Escape an entangling/grappling effect. That’s L0) Untie, boosted up to L1) Liberating Command, with the usual Unicorn option to power it up further to escape other forms of confinement, dogpiles, and similar restraints. .
  • Communicate with Animals and Plants That’s L0) Influence Animal, powered up to L1) Speak with Animals, L2 Speak with Plants, and L3) Influence Animals (lets you try to persuade groups of animals and grants a +10 enhancement bonus on social skills against them).
  • Attempts to Purify a Timberwolf. That’s probably L0) Purify Food And Drink boosted up to L3) Remove Curse. She might also be able to manage L3) Neutralize Poison.
  • Cause a plant to suddenly grow and grapple someone. Similarly, she can fix up a sick tree and – for a short time thereafter – a trail of flowers sprouts where she walks. So… L1) Enhance Plant (prettier, stronger, more fruit, stronger medicinal effect – double something at CL1+, 3x effect at CL4+, quadruple something at CL 7+), L2) Plant Strike (cause a nearby plant – even if small – to execute up to (Cha Mod in total) combat maneuvers on those targets adjacent to it – such as a Grapple, followed by a Hold/Pin), and even L3) Plant Growth or L3) Diminish Plant. She has a slight disadvantage on this particular set of effects – they cause her to leave an obvious trail of flowers for a bit – but that’s really too minor to worry about in game terms.
  • Project multiple magical blasts – although they might be representing telekinesis. I’ll presume an actual combat spell – L1) Magic Missile – although she can power it up to provide a variety of secondary or enhanced effects.
  • Summon a Flying-Serpent Psychic Construct (Water versus Fire) that defeats a similar construct and then either grapples an opponent, ties them up in vines, or dissipates while Mistmane casts a spell to tie an opponent up in vines. Probably L1) Summon Psychic Construct, powered up to get higher level ones.

OK, up to this point this is Improved Occult Talent (three level zero and three first level effects plus standard unicorn boosting effects) – the standard unicorn bonus feat option for having an advanced magical education. Given a high constitution and the superheroic world template (or a reserve of Mana) to work with and boost those effects, you get a versatile mage with a wide selection of fairly low-level effects.

  • She’s also seen to clean up, and make minor repairs on, an entire village and it’s landscaping – including possibly removing a curse of ugliness -albeit at a significant, and apparently permanent, personal cost. Of course, in game terms… none of that has real effect save, perhaps, acting as a large-area Mending spell. Whether or not things look nice just isn’t a major element in the d20 rules. This is a powered-up version of Mending, Prestidigitation, or an effect that does cantrips. I’ll call it Cantrip Mastery (L2, produces up to three arcane cantrip effects targeting any desired target in a 20′ radius within short range. Thus you could Mend a lot of stuff, apply a Ray Of Frost to six opponents, and Drench all the torches in the area. A L3 version produces four effects in a 30′ radius within medium range. That’s useful, and fairly versatile, but still… I bet that most casters would prefer something like Fireball, Fly, or a nice battlefield-control effect).

So that’s Mana-Powered Inherent Spell (L3 Cantrip Mastery, 6 CP). Her grandiose effect was achieved by spending more Mana (+3 points), using the Compact Metamagic to pay for another +3 (by accepting a permanent curse of damaged appearance), and +2 levels worth of the Magic Of Accord (Below), to achieve an Amplified effect across a massive area.

And, of course, she has the standard unicorn racial Occult Talent package – all of which can be boosted as usual.

  • L0: Dancing Lights (in many trivial variants), Daze (with various special effects), Detect Magic, and (Skill) Mastery (provides a +3 competence bonus on a particular skill for ten minutes per level, +6 if it only covers a limited aspect of a skill. In her case it’s Craft/Landscaping).
  • L1) Greater Mage Hand.

The Magic Of Accord:

  • Metamagical Theorems, all Specialized/only for use with Occult Talents and no more than three inherent spells, no more than two Amplify (only +1 CP since Unicorns get part of it already), Area (3 CP), Compact (3 CP), and Sculpting (3 CP),
  • Streamline III (two levels of each of the above Metamagics save Compact), Specialized and Corrupted for Reduced Cost/no more than two levels in total may be applied to any one effect, only when acting on behalf of others or working in a group endeavor, shows a tell-tale physical sign (moving ethereal mane) (6 CP).

The Magic of Accord is, in fact, a lesser, and somewhat unbalanced, version of Alicorn Magic – but it’s about as much of that power as is available to a Unicorn who lacks Earth Pony and Pegasus Magic. It does, however, give Mistmane exceptional flexibility and control over her magic when acting in Accord with others – a trick that Starswirl the Bearded (who is something of an anti-social loner) has never mastered. That alone makes her a renowned sorceress and allows her to make a substantial magical contribution to a group that contains a more powerful spellcaster in Starswirl and a more versatile healer/item crafter in Mage Meadowbrook.

Mistmane The Enchantress, Pillar of Beauty Accord.

ECL 5 (including a+1 ECL racial template) Unicorn Pony Enchantress

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

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

To summarize the Basic Pony Modifiers:

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

To Summarize The Unicorn Subrace Modifiers:

  • Occult Talent provides their usual minor spellcasting.
  • Immunity/Being unable to Concentrate on more than one thing at a time (covering up to three tasks and/or spells of up to level three at any one time).
  • Upgrade their basic Mana supply with the Spell Enhancement Natural Magic option.
  • Metamagic: Amplify / Only applies to Occult Talent abilities.
  • A +2 Racial Bonus to Knowledge/Arcana (2 CP).
  • +2 Intelligence/-2 Strength.
  • One Bonus Feat.
  • Executive, Corrupted for Increased Effect (add the user’s Int Mod to his or her effective level of use)/requires 2 Mana/hour to power. Unicorns are good at coordinating groups, and can provide substantial bonuses.

Basic Attributes: Str 8 (-2 Race = 6) (+3 for one level of Self-Development = 9). Dex 14 (-2 Race = 12), Con 16 (+4 Race +2 Knack = 22), Int 12 (+2 Race = 14), Wis 14, Cha 14 (+2 Race = 16). (Pathfinder 25-Point Buy).

Available Character Points: 120 (Level Four Base) +10 (Disadvantages: Blocked (Polymorph Magic), Compulsively Nice and Forgiving, and History) +12 (L1 and L3 Bonus Feats) +8 (Duties: Pillar of Equestria) = 150 CP.

Basic Abilities (50 CP):

  • Hit Dice: 20 (L1-4, d6, 8 CP) +22 (12 + 2 x Con Mod Template) +24 (4 x Com Mod) = 66 HP.
  • Skill Points: 12 (Purchased, 12 CP) + 14 (Int) + 14 (Fast Learner) = 40 SP
  • BAB +2 (12 CP).
  • Saves:
    • Fortitude +0 (0 CP) +6 (Con) +1 (Knack) = +7
    • Reflex +2 (6 CP) +2 (Dex) +1 (Knack) = +4
    • Will +2 (6 CP) +2 (Wis) +1 (Knack) = +5
  • Proficiencies: All Simple Weapons (3 CP) and Oriental Weapons “Suitable For Women” (3 CP).
  • Initiative: +1 (Dex)
  • Move: 40 (four legs, 20 on three or less).
  • Armor Class: 10 (Base) + 1 (Dex) +4 (Shimmer Mail) +3 (Martial Art) = 18

Other Abilities (100 CP):

  • Magic Of Accord (Above) (16 CP).
  • Inherent Spell (as above, 6 CP)
  • Fast Learner, Specialized in Skills for Double Effect (6 CP).
  • Adept (Atheric Dance, Craft/Landscaping, Perception, and Knowledge/Engineering, 6 CP)
  • Mystic Artist (Landscaping) (6 CP), with Composition (Specialized, only as a Prerequisite, 3 CP), Influence (6 CP), Mass Influence (6 CP), Acclaim (6 CP), Song of Power (Specialized, only as a prerequisite, 3 CP), and Touch The Soul (6 CP).
    • At a net cost of 36 CP this is pretty expensive – but Mistmane’s magical landscaping can deeply influence cultures, illustrate philosophical points, empower her to achieve remarkable things, and – at it’s peak and once every thousand years – change the world. Mistmane never fully understood it (or she might have completed her ascension to Alicorn)- but her beautiful Gardens of Accord would help bring the suspicious tribes, insular villages, and local leaders of Equestria together as one nation and would, in the end, usher in the Age of Harmony (and likely Discord, since he put in an appearance soon after the Tree of Harmony did).
    • At +20, this allows her to incorporate Inspiration (Emotion, Competence, Greatness, Excellence) and Synergy (Block (prevents weeds and minor changes in her gardens), Amplify, Harmonize, and Serenity) functions into her gardens – over and above her ability to influence the wider world with them.
  • Luck with +8 Bonus Uses (18 CP).
  • Privilege (Fabulous Beauty, 3 CP).
    • Mistmane sacrificed this ability to empower her grand spell of renewal – which is why her high charisma currently manifests itself as looking like everyone’s cheerful grandmother. The points wound up accidentally being invested in the flower she used as a focus, giving it Returning (the flower is essentially indestructible, 6 CP), a Mystic Link (with Power Link, 6 CP) to her, and Grant of Aid (6 CP) with +2 Bonus Uses (3 CP) – the net cost of 21 CP making the flower a three-point relic.
  • Skill Emphasis (Craft / Landscaping, 3 CP).
  • Skill Focus (Craft / Landscaping, 6 CP).

Skills:

  • Aetheric Dance Martial Art +7 (3* SP) +3 (Tem) +6 (Con) – +16
  • Craft (Landscaping) +7 (3* SP) +2 (Int) +3 (Tem) +5 (Feats) +3 (Enh) = +20
  • Diplomacy +4 (4 SP) +3 (Cha) = +7 (Specialized in Animals for Double Effect, +10 Enh = +24).
  • Escape Artist +4 (4 SP) +1 (Dex) = +5
  • Handle Animal +2 (2 SP) +3 (Cha) = +5
  • Knowledge / Arcana +4 (4 SP) +2 (Int) +2 (Race) = +8
  • Knowledge / Engineering +7 (3* SP) +2 (Int) +3 (Tem) = +12
  • Knowledge / Nature +2 (2 SP) +2 (Int) = +4
  • Perception +7 (3* SP) +2 (Wis) +3 (Tem) = +12
  • Perform (Sing) +2 (2 SP) +2 (Race) +3 (Cha) = +8
  • Sense Motive +3 (3 SP) +2 (Wis) +3 (Tem) = +8
  • Spellcraft +4 (4 SP)
  • Swim +2 (2 SP) -1 (Str) = +1
    • Specific Knowledge: Oriental Cultural Arts (1 SP).

Aetheric Dance Style (Con):

  • Requires: Unicorn Magic
  • Basic Techniques: Defenses 4, Synergy/Knowledge/Arcana, Synergy/Spellcraft, Toughness 2 (Variant, +2 on saves made during magical duels), Attack 2 (Specialized for Increased Effect / with spells during Magical Duels).
  • Advanced Techniques: Mind Like Moon, Weapon Kata (Shuriken or Chakram), Deflect Arrows, and Improved Initiative (Specialized, only during Magical Duels).
  • Occult Techniques: Healing Hand, Inner Strength, Serpent Strike, and Vanishing.

Known Techniques (8): Defenses 3, Toughness 2, Improved Initiative, Inner Strength, and Healing Hand.

Equipment:

  • Charms: All-Weather Cloak, Automatic Writer (Uses Loaded Brush), Bracers of Force, Druid Boxes, Grace of Miravor, Sands of Time, and Stunstone.
  • Talismans: Loaded Brush, Shimmer Mail (Mages Kimono), and a Sunstone.

Mistmane is a powerful – if rather subtle – force for cooperation, cultural change, and peace – but isn’t really much for fight scenes and is best off sticking with someone who can block incoming attacks. As a more conventional adventurer she’d be well advised to acquire a damage blocking effect as an Innate Spell or to find a way to upgrade her Psychic Constructs so that she can “wear” one and let it absorb the damage. Worse, as usual for superheroic mages, she’d need several levels worth of Mana and Rite of Chi to get it back with to function effectively in more conventional settings.

Still, she’s an excellent example of a standard superheroic mage; she’s got a rather limited list of base effects that she can use all she wants. She can vary them to fit the situation and boost them to some extent – but most of the game-breaking powers (easy long-range teleportation and that kind of thing) are basically out of her reach. 

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

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