Eclipse d20 and Building Domains

Here we have something that’s been on the back burner for a long time – rescaling the character mechanics to represent domains rather than individuals – basically an extension of the rules for representing military units as individual characters. In this case, however, the scale has really gotten too large for direct interaction between Domains and normal characters – and so I’ve shifted some of the terminology around a bit to keep that clear.

First up, Settlements don’t exactly have races. Even when one species dominates the domain, their racial template rarely translates onto the domain scale. Settlements tend to be dominated by their Terrain and Nature – both of which are usually represented by small (15 CP plus a 3 CP Disadvantage) Templates. In general, a Settlement will have two – one representing the type of terrain the place is built on, the other representing it’s general nature. For our example, we have a Settlement built in a Forest as a Citadel (or Stronghold). It might have been built in a Fey Pocket, or as a Seaside Port, but this one happens to be a Forest Citadel.

Forest Settlement Template (15 CP):

  • Outriders (Occult Sense / Happenings in the forest, 6 CP). A Forest Settlement will always become a base for hunters, trappers, and foragers in those wilds – and, as such, will automatically gain a wide variety of information about things in or affecting the forest and a +2 on forest-related Profession checks.
  • Beast Master (Leadership with Beastlord, Corrupted for Reduced Cost / Forest animals only, 6 CP). People living among the great trees tend to adopt pets and live together with the local beasts, bending them to their will.
  • Forest Style (Scouting): +6 +Scouting (=8) (6 CP).
    • Basic Techniques: Defenses 4 (forests, fences, and palisades), Synergy / Forestry (Tier II, so +4), Synergy / Handle Animal (Tier II, so +4), Synergy / Survival (Tier 1, so +2), Toughness II (Plenty of wood for sturdy construction).
    • Advanced and Master Techniques: Travel with Mount (forest settlements quickly become familiar with existing trails and make more, allowing their travelers and traders to transverse the forest without hindrance), Mind Like Moon (having numerous foresters makes it hard for enemies to sneak up on a forest settlement), Rapid Shot (archery is a common pastime for the inhabitants of a forest domain, and so they can field extra skilled archers), and Split Movement (with every tree a watchtower and sniping position, a forest domain is adept at striking while avoiding contact with the enemy).
    • Occult Techniques: Hardy Pioneers (Inner Strength II), Wooden Reinforcement (Iron Skin), and Setting Fires (Wrath). A forest community has plenty of lumber for emergency reinforcement of their settlement and can – if hard pressed – use a controlled burn to drive back or corner an attacking force.
    • Known Techniques (4) are being left open for the players.

So why am I representing the general advantages and disadvantages of forest terrain as a martial art? Because – in game terms – it functions like one. A domain can only really take advantage of one form of terrain at a time, but will certainly be practiced at using it’s home ground to its best advantage, different domains with the same terrain may take advantage of it in different ways (making different selections from the “style” as they advance), and different terrains will allow the use of different special maneuvers – and offer boosts to particular professions. All of which fits neatly into a martial art.

  • Disadvantage: Settlements in great forests are always at risk of powerful creatures showing up and making trouble (Accursed, -3 CP).

Citadel Settlement Template:

  • Wall Construction (Augmented Bonus, adds (Might) to (Mobilization) when fighting defensively, 6 CP). While hardly as strong as the results of a Mystic Architect, well-defended walls grant a citadel settlement a strong defensive edge.
  • Militia: Proficient with all Simple Weapons (3 CP) and Light Armor (3 CP). A Citadel or Capital is fairly vital, and must be held – so the populace is invariably given at least basic weapons-training.
  • Citadel Style (Construction) (Corrupted for Increased Effect (+9 +0 Construction = +9) / only usable when fighting defensively, 6 CP):
    • Basic Techniques: Defenses (4) (with walls, buildings, and streets constructed so as to confound an enemies advance, a Citadel Settlement is very hard to defeat), Attack 4 and Power II (with fields of fire set up in advance, brushwood cleared, siege engines ready, and a gauntlet of defenses, a citadel is adept at inflicting disproportionate damage on attackers).
    • Advanced and Master Techniques: Improved Initiative (The alarms and defenses of a citadel allow the defenders to be rallied speedily), Reserves (Grant of Aid; a citadel has reserves of supplies, and can swiftly make crude repairs when damaged), Night Training (Blind Fight, a Citadel has lighting ready and provisions for fighting at night), and Volley Fire (Combat Reflexes, a Citadel has trained it’s troops to work in unison).
    • Occult Techniques: Gallant Defenders (Inner Strength II), Concentric Defense (Resist Pain), and Sally (One Finger).
    • Known Techniques (5): Once again, these are up to the players.
  • Disadvantage: Valuable. A Citadel dominates the surrounding countryside and is stronghold that no invader can afford to bypass. As such, they are primary targets for any takeover of the area.

Every domain needs a location. As it happens for our example…

A modest river winds around the bases of the hills, constantly cutting into the ancient glacial moraines where it runs more quickly. The small avalanches thus created expose ancient masses of crystal, renew the modest placer deposits of metal which the locals harvest, and block the flow of the water – giving rise to numerous small lakes and swamps rich in fish, wildlife, and the reeds so useful in basket-making, construction, making rush lights, paper-making, and many other basic crafts. The area surrounding the river valley is, of course, heavily forested, providing lumber and game. The Crystal Valley domain is no great metropolis, but it is nonetheless a good place, where the land well supplies it’s peoples needs with something left over to sell. Sadly, those same natural dams and swamps mean that the small river is only navigable with frequent portages, and so is of limited use for commerce and transport.

Currently Known Resources (In general, resources provide circumstance bonuses)

  • Placer Mining +4 (Crystal +8). The area has considerable reserves of crystal (many of use in magic), although – unusually – they are buried in dirt and loose rock, apparently thanks to glacial deposition.
  • River Transport +2: While relatively near the Imperium to the south, with a river connection that is mostly navigable, the area is prone to small landslides, that break the river up into a series of long lakes and require frequent portages.
  • Forestry +2: The local forests offer plentiful supplies of timber, although a good deal of it is (or at least was) used in the mining operations.
  • Reed Ponds and Swamps (Fishing and Reed Production +4). The long lakes produce plenty of usable reeds, support large colonies of fish, and not a few beavers and otters.

Local resources are the equivalent of mundane equipment for a domain. Not surprisingly, the extent and value of the local resources is a major determinant of whether or not you’ve found a good place to settle down and get started building. A port will offer bonuses to Trade, Transport, and Fishing, a fishing fleet will offer bonuses to Survival or to Fishing, mountains offer ore and stone, and even swamps offer something. Unfortunately, of course, the best places usually already have domains on them – which is why the disaster which struck the realms north of the Imperium offers so many opportunities for founding profitable domains and why the Imperium is subsidizing the founding of such domains so as to rebuild it’s trade.

Basic Build for the Crystal Valley Domain:

Current Magnitude: 2. Base 72 Construction Points +3 (Disadvantage: Imperial Obligations) +6 (Founder Bonus) = 81

As a relatively new domain Crystal Valley is only recently established – but between recruiting the refugees from the recent disaster in the area, being founded by a sizeable party of adventurers, and being a supported colonizing expedition from the Imperium, it’s been growing rapidly and is past the introductory “just arrived” stage. Thus it’s Magnitude (“Level”) Two.

Basic Attributes: Might +2 (effective +4; Centric’s whoop currently provides a +2 Might bonus), Training +3, Scouting +2, Construction -2 (12 CP to raise to +0), Mobilization +1, Diplomacy +1

Domain Attributes do mirror the usual set, but I’m going with “attribute modifiers as attributes” for domains – not because of the “it’s simpler!” battlecry but because it emphasizes the scaling differences – and because Domain Attributes are much cheaper to raise than Domain Attributes. Add more people to the army because your population base is growing? That’s more Might. Bring in Masons and start replacing wattle-and-daub structures with stone? That’s boosting the Construction score. So here’s our first new rule: Domain Attributes cost 6 CP per +1, but you can’t buy more than (Magnitude) points of boosted attributes in total. No domain has the resources to upgrade EVERYTHING.

Professions: 0 (0 CP) + 15 (Training x (Magnitude + 3)) = 15

  • Survival +5 (5 PP) +2 (Scouting) = +7

This is pretty basic for any domain. On the Domain Scale this tends to take the form of fishing fleets and fish markets, subsidiary villages, farming, hunting, and housing construction – but “gather resources from the surrounding area and be self-sufficient” is pretty much what a domain DOES. About the only exceptions are outposts that are supported by their patrons.

  • Craft/Alchemy +4 (4 PP) +3 (Training) = +7

The expedition which founded Crystal Valley was led by a master Alchemist, who set up shop there – so this is hardly surprising.

  • Handle Animal +3 (Tier II, 1 PP) +1 (Diplomacy) = +4

Flocks, herds, draught animals, and mounts are all fundamental to civilization, so this is a fine skill to have. Especially if someone or something attacks them.

  • Simple Profession/Crystal Mining (Tier III) +5 (2 PP) +2 (Scouting) = +7

The most obvious source of profit in the area is the reserves of crystal – although, thankfully, there isn’t a lot of training required to look through newly-exposed layers of earth and look for the shiny bits.

  • Complex Profession/Forestry (Tier II) +5 (2 PP) +2 (Scouting) = +7

Gathering lumber, nuts and fruits, dyes, and all the other vegetable resources of the forest falls under Forestry – making it a basic skill for any forest domain.

  • Simple Profession / Fishing (Tier III) +4 (1 PP) +2 (Scouting) = +6

A source of profit as well as a way to build up reserves, this simple profession is cheap to buy.

For a Domain, it’s skills represent the abilities and professions of the people who live there. While this does make “retraining” a little easier, it’s already usually fairly easy to persuade a game master to let characters pull a few skill points out of things they never use to invest in things they do. Sure, Carpentry may have been useful early on, but when you never do it any longer – and have seen a thousands of monsters, spells being cast, and weird realms – those skill points have probably wandered over into something else anyway. I’m using the Skill Tier system (making less useful skills cheaper to buy) for the setting of this domain, but you can just ignore that if you’re not interested. One important note is that a Domain can make (Magnitude + 2) Profession Checks in each Domain Turn. One of them is usually Survival unless the domain has already built up reserves to use.

In any case, as a fairly new domain, Crystal Valley doesn’t have that wide a selection of professions as yet – only the most vital ones. We can, of course, presume that there are people who can make usable shoes, weave crude homespun, and make basic clothing – but most of that really goes under the basic Survival check, rather than building up reserves or producing anything for export.

Offense Rating: +2 (12 CP) +4 (Might) = +6

Considering that it’s guarded by a group of adventurers – including Cenric and his sapient combat- trained armed and armored gorillas – having a decent “Base Attack Bonus”  should not be too surprising.

Defense Rating: 10 (Base) +2 (Light Terrain Barriers) +4 (Enhanced Earthworks) +2 (Assistance / Armored Troops) +1 (Mobility) = 19

The party has focused heavily on building up defenses, rather than accepting a few casualties in order to expand more rapidly – a cautious, low-risk, option. At this point Crystal Valley has spent more time on building defenses than on anything else.

Cohesion: 20 (12 CP + 2 x Construction – otherwise known as 2d10 HD).

As with military units and hit points, loss of all Cohesion doesn’t mean that everyone is dead and the domain has been burned to the ground; it just means that all organization has collapsed and the Domain is thus incapable of taking domain-scale actions. I’m going to give the maximum for the first few domain hit dice because why not?

  • Fortification Check:+0 (Construction) +2 (Purchased, 6 CP) = +2.
  • Response Check: +1 (Mobilization) +1 (Purchased, 3 CP) = +2.
  • Morale Check: +1 (Diplomacy) +1 (Purchased, 3 CP) = +2.

Will the domain endure an earthquake with minimal damage? Will the firefighters put out that house fire before it burns down a major section of the capital? Will the army stand against that horde of undead? Will the government resist being bribed and suborned? The perils may be different, but the concept of “Saving Throws” remains.

Militia: Add All Martial Weapons to All Simple Weapons (6 CP).

With the city led by several martial characters with their own troops, the militia may not actually be skilled with all martial weapons – but they’re practiced with all the ones they’ve actually got, so the difference is something of a moot point.

Initiative: +1 (Mobilization) +4 (Improved Initiative, 6 CP).

Again, with adventurers personal followers providing the backbone of the cities forces, a fast response to any difficulty is only to be expected.

Domain Abilities:

  • Stipend (6 CP):

At the moment, Crystal Valley is supported by it’s founders, who have a surprising amount of resources to invest in it. This translates to having a Stipend.

  • Alchemical Mastery (6 CP): Using the “Where Does He Get These Wonderful Toys” package at a basic level, the domain is well-equipped with alchemical wonders and exotic charms and talismans.
  • Privilege (Order Patron) (6 CP): The domain has not yet learned to exploit this fully, but likely will fairly soon, further enhancing it’s Charms and Talismans.

This is basically having a magical patron – a gateway to developing further powers based on that patron. While the selection of patrons that can grant powers to an entire domain is kind of limited, in the setting that includes (obviously enough) all of the Domain Lords – although not all of them are willing to do so. Of course, while Domain Lords are specific to Atheria, it’s hard to deny the benefits of having a more powerful patron that may assist you on occasion. Just look at real-world politics for a long list of examples of one country serving as a patron for another.

Wealth Rating: Well-Off (3 CP).

This is from The Practical Enchanter, which offers an option for using Wealth Levels instead of money for a setting – and at the moment, thanks to salvaged resources, support from the Imperium to the south, and being founded and supported by a bunch of wealth adventurers, the Crystal Valley domain is doing quite well at the moment.

Note that, among other minor benefits (and a comfortable lifestyle), being Well Off provides access to some Charms and Talismans – minor but useful items. These include a Talismanic
Ditty Bag and three charms – an Alchemist’s Flask, Sunstone, and “Elfin” Cloak.

One reason for getting a Wealth Rating is that City Magic Items (See “Magical Businesses”) tend to be quite expensive, while Charms and Talismans are generally useful and cheap. Secondarily in this case, it’s because Atheria (the setting for the Crystal Valley Domain) doesn’t support normal magical items or magical businesses, making Charms and Talismans the only real option.

Is this complete? Well… on Atheria, where conventional magical items do not exist, you don’t really need rules for money. After all, Domains really don’t collect heaps of coins; they accumulate stockpiles of food and supplies, build aqueducts, roads, canals, irrigation systems, and villages, have land and herds of animals, and deploy vast amounts of labor (for those with fond memories of playing Civilization, you can always Corrupt some special ability of your domain to require a massive structure and call it a Wonder of the World).

For other settings you can simply treat “Domain Scale Money” as normal money that cannot be translated into character-level funds because it’s an abstract measure of resources; tracts of arable land, days of service owed, herds of pigs, and so on – stuff that’s spread out over the doman. You can’t really translate “we get a bunch of stuff to feed the garrison with from the farmers every week” into a +5 sword. Magical swordsmiths tend to want gold and gems and powerful items in exchange for their labors – not bellyaches from eating too much.

Powerful Adventurers who are heavily involved in the domain effectively contribute a Bonus Feat each – two if they have a substantial number of personal followers with useful talents. Still, there are distinct limits to this sort of thing; no combination of adventurers can contribute more than 36 CP worth of benefits in total. For the moment I’ve only accounted for Cenric, but several other characters may make contributions.

Now there will doubtless be corner cases, and I’ll have to make a few more rulings – but this gives us a reasonably detailed way to describe domains, a way to measure their ability to handle wars and other emergencies, details about what they produce, and the obvious note that the quick way for a domain to improve is by holding off attackers and through conquest – taking over additional areas. Waiting for natural population growth to increase your domains magnitude is going to be a very slow process – like waiting to level up through role-playing awards.

Eclipse And Sphere Magic – The Sphere Of Blood, A.K.A. “Bloodbending”

This inquiry was about constructing a Spheres of Power character – in particular, a user of the Blood Sphere.

That’s a system where characters are generally limited to a relatively small selection of effects in a few narrow themes but can use the basic effects (usually equivalent to fairly specialized spells of level three or less) as much as they want. They also get a relatively small number of spell points available to boost those effects up to the equivalent of spells of levels 4-6. Finally, there are a number of specific talents and boosts they can pick up – mostly equivalent to specialized feats -to improve their magic.

Honestly, there are already a LOT of ways to dabble in thematic magic in Eclipse, and ways to pick up specific specialized boosts. Still, it’s boring to do things the same way again and the request was to pretty much match the original system – so here is yet another way to build this sort of thing.

First up, Spheres Of Power gives characters (Level + Casting Attribute Modifier) “Spell Points” to boost them up with. To buy those spell points take…

  • 6d6 (24) Mana with Spell Enhancement, Specialized and Corrupted for Reduced Cost (12 CP) / only for Spell Enhancement or Rune Blood Magic, only to upgrade Blood Spells, each spell only allows a specific set of seven (I like seven, so why not?) Upgraded functions. As usual, no more than three points of Mana may be spent upgrading any single spell.
  • Rite of Chi with +8 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted for Reduced Cost (6 CP) / only to recharge the restricted Mana Pool above, takes at least half an hour of rest per die.

Well, that was cheap. Most characters will probably want more spell points and recovery thereof, but that’s not hard to get.

Next up we need to buy the actual abilities – which the Spheres Of Power system seems to mostly limit to third to fourth level effects. A few individual effects may hit higher levels, but they’re usually special cases and have various special conditions attached to them.

One way to make such a character in Eclipse is to take Rune Magic (the “Blood Casting” and “Blood Mastery” skills, for 2 SP/Level), take Shaping (Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect/ only to produce level one effects in an extremely narrow field, only works with specific spell effects approved by the game master, requires gestures and spellcasting to use (although that also gives us “Caster Level = User’s Hit Dice” automatically) (6 CP).

Please note that, in some cases, I’m just going to substitute something better for the abilities listed for the Sphere Of Blood. That’s because the Sphere of Blood includes some implicit assumptions about “biology” having something to do with “life” in d20. It doesn’t, or you couldn’t use the same healing spells that work on humans on elementals and such. In d20 a human can father a mostly-human kid on a mass of fire or rock – or on a ghost. You can cross-breed almost anything. Face it. Real-world “biology” has nothing to do in D20 beyond getting frustrated and going to cry in a corner.

We’ll also add the Arcanum Minimus metamagical feat from The Practical Enchanter, Specialized and Corrupted / only applies to Shaped effects, always applies to shaped effects (2 CP) – allowing affected spells to be cast at a reduced level if they are sufficiently limited. In this case, Blood Sphere spells only work on creatures with blood and creatures inherently immune to bleed damage cannot be targeted unless they have fed on living blood within the last hour. Other special conditions may apply to particular effects

That gives us effects with a base effective power level of level two spells – with additional special requirements commonly boosting the base spell up to something equivalent to level three (which I’ll be taking as the default). Common enhancement options include:

  • Continuing (+1/2/3 Mana to have the effect continue for one round/minute/hour per caster level without concentration).
  • Multiple (+1/2/3 Mana, effect strikes up to 2/4/8 targets).
  • Area (+1/2/3 Mana for 5′ Radius or 10′ Cone, 20′ Radius or 30′ Cone, or 30′ Radius or 60′ Cone).

and

  • Range (+1 Range Category for +1 Mana).

Note that enhancements can be applied up to a total of 3 Mana, so there is nothing wrong with combining them until that limit is reached.

  • Save DC’s are normally (13 + Mana Spent + Casting Attribute Modifier). Dedicated bloodbenders will buy Improved Augmented Bonus (12 CP) to add a second attribute modifier to this.

So lets define those effects:

Beasts Of Blood: You may cause a temporary Construct to rise from the blood of a recently-slain creature of at least medium size within close range (no more than once per corpse). This is a Psychic Construct I to III (your choice, as per The Practical Enchanter), with a duration of Concentration. It can leave the creation range. You can control no more than twice your Caster Level in hit dice of constructs at any one time although you can merge two of them (choosing which “survives”) to add the sacrificed constructs remaining hit points to the one that “survives”. The Continuing option is available.

  • +1 Mana: Construct IV. Summon a Hemo-Goblin from a currently bleeding targets blood*.
  • +2 Mana: Construct V. Add one Construct Option of each rank (A, B, and C) to your construct.
  • +3 Mana: Construct VI. Summon up to four Hemo-Goblins from currently bleeding targets blood, still only one per target*.

*A Hemo-Goblin has the base states of an otherwise ordinary goblin. It appears in a space adjacent to the target. It gains a (Caster Level) bonus to its armor class, attack rolls, saving throws, and skill checks and fights the target to the death. It will relentlessly pursue the target if they try to run. It vanishes after a full day, when slain, or if the target dies, whichever comes first. It will not do anything save pursue and fight the target but always knows the targets general location – not that it will tell anyone. Only one can be created for any given target at a time. This, of course, is from the Spheres Of Power Wiki – and is a sufficiently horrible pun that I just could not leave it out even if the effect actually makes little or no sense.

Blood Spider’s Weave: Target takes 1d4/Two Caster Levels and is Entangled. A Fortitude save negates the Entangled part. The Entanglement persists for (Concentration + 1d4) rounds or the target spends a move action to save again successfully. The Continuing, Multiple, Area, and Range Options are available.

  • +1 Mana: When the caster takes damage the target also takes damage, up to 1 point/caster level/round.
  • +2 Mana: The damage continues each round until the entanglement is broken. The user may force the target to remain still or to take a 5′ step as the caster directs each round.
  • +3 Mana: None.

Bloodlore: Within close range you may learn the targets state of health, current and maximum hit points, and other physical health information, such as diseases and toxins present, although a Fortitude save applies if the target wishes to resist. Range and Multiple apply.

  • +1 Mana: Relieve Illness/Poison (Hedge Wizardry). Enhance Disease/Poison (Victim gets an extra dose of the deleterious effect).
  • +2 Mana: Expel Disease/Poison. Blood Sense (Blindsensing of creatures with blood within a 30′ radius).
  • +3 Mana: Bestow Curse.

Blood Spray: Given a source of uncontained blood within close range, you can telekinetically manipulate it. A flask of blood, 2d6 HP worth of the user’s blood, or blood drawn in combat will do, but using blood this way renders it unfit for further use. This allows you to perform a variety of simple tricks (laying a trail, pushing a button, closing a door, etc) using the blood as a tool or allowing you to perform a Ranged Combat Maneuver at +4. The Range and Mass modifiers apply.

  • +1 Mana: Blood Alchemy (add an alchemical effect up to 50 GP), Obscuring Blood (Mist)
  • +2 Mana: Blood Link (you are effectively grasping the target until it’s removed).
  • +3 Mana: Blood Shield (grant 2 x caster level temporary hit points), Stinking Cloud

Coagulation: The user may take 2d6 damage to create any mundane item (or group of related items, such as a bow and arrows or the pieces of a suit of armor,which can be created in place) valued at up to 500 GP. Such items are enchanted with Greater Magic Weapon or the equivalent (Greater Magic Armor, or Greater Magic Tool) but will fade from existence a few moments after the caster lets go of them. The Continuing option applies to keep items around after they would normally disappear.

  • +1 Mana: The item is effectively made of Adamant, Mithril, or another GM-Approved special material.
  • +2 Mana: The items “Plusses” may be expended on specific powers, although the GM may rule that some will not work.
  • +3 Mana: The user may control the item within close range as if he or she was using it normally. He or she might thus create a suit of armor and walk it into an area to check for traps.

Conduit Of Life: A weapon anointed with 2d6 HP worth of blood or which has wounded an opponent within the last five rounds may be manipulated by virtue of that blood, being granted the Bane (versus the type of creature the blood came from) and Whirling properties. The Continuing modifier may be applied.

  • +1 Mana: Add the Brutal Surge or Corrosive property.
  • +2 Mana: Add the Enervating or Vampyric property.
  • +3 Mana: Add the Bodyfeeder or Implacable property.

Crystals Of Blood: You may crystalize blood, causing an opponent to take (2d6 +1d6/two caster levels to a maximum of 12d6) damage and be staggered for a round. Being internal and made of the targets own tissues, this bypassed DR and temporary hit points. This may be used as a ranged touch attack ray or allow a fortitude save to half the damage and negate the staggering effect. The Area and Multiple modifiers apply.

  • +1 Mana: Add (Casting Attribute Modifier) rounds of being staggered to the damage.
  • +2 Mana: Boost damage to (2 + Caster Level)d6, 20d6 maximum. Add “victim takes 3d6 bleed damage per round for (Casting Attribute Modifier) rounds” to the effect.
  • +3 Mana: Change Of State: If the victim dies, their blood remains crystalized until the crystals are broken, and may be readily collected and saved for later use. Blood Talisman: Using 1d6 HP worth of crystalized blood from a creature you may grant up to (Caster Level / 2, 12 maximum) CP worth of abilities from that creature to whoever carries that crystal for the next hour. Sadly, only one such talisman can be used at a time by any given creature and the blood vanishes after the duration expires.

Hemorrhagic Command: As long as you concentrate, the target must make a Fortitude Save each round as a standard action to avoid being forced to perform some simple physical action instead of their intended action(s) – although this causes considerable bruising. The victim can forego this save to act mentally. The Continuing and Multiple modifiers may be applied.

  • +1 Mana: Provide a +10 bonus to a physical movement skill (EG: Jump, Running Speed, Tumble, etc). Provide the “Compression” ability
  • +2 Mana: Override Paralysis, casting without need for physical movement and moving yourself.
  • +3 Mana: Induce the equivalent of Nausea, for (Concentration + 2d4) rounds. A Fort save reduces this to Sickened. Cause 3d6 Constitution damage, but a Fortitude save reduces this to 6d6 normal damage.

Sanguine Mastery: With concentration you can manipulate another creatures blood within Close range. You may cause bleeding (1 Point/Caster Level) or grant resistance to bleeding (1 + Level/3 points, bleeding attacks must roll Caster Level or (for nonmagical bleeding attacks) BAB + 1d20 against your Caster Level + 10 or be negated). A Fort Save, a lapse in concentration, or any of the usual methods will stop the bleeding. The Multiple, Area, and Continuing options are all available.

  • +1 Mana: Spell impedes a sense, causing a 20% miss chance or inflicting some similar penalty. The victim is effectively Greased while the bleeding continues.
  • +2 Mana: Spell negates a sense while the bleeding continues. Double the Bleeding Damage or the protective effect.
  • +3 Mana: None.

The Blood Is The Life: You may manipulate life force, either causing or removing the Dazzled, Deafened, Fatigued or Staggered conditions while you concentrate and for an additional 2d4 rounds. The Continuing, Multiple, Area, and Range modifiers are all applicable.

  • +1 Mana: Add Blinded, Exhausted, and Surged (Gain an extra attack or AoO) to the list.
  • +2 Mana: Add Diseased (pick one), Poisoned (1d6/1d6 Con), Confused, Nauseated, and Hasted / Slowed to the list.
  • +3 Mana: Add Energy Drained and Paralyzed to the list.

This one hung me up for a while – but then I realized that, in my general fondness for “realistic”, simulationist, systems, I was trying too hard; d20 “biology” runs on magic and positive energy, not on earthly notions about how bodies actually work, making this just a “modify conditions” effect.

Transfusion: Once per round as a free action the user may transfer any Bleed Damage taken by a creature in close range to another creature in close range as temporary hit points. The Multiple option is available.

  • +1 Mana: Add 1d2 Con Damage to the Bleed. Heal beneficiary by (Hit Dice of Victim x Con Damage). This won’t work on creatures with no Con.
  • +2 Mana: Drain 1d4 Mana OR 2d4 Spell Levels OR 3d4 Power from the victim. Transfer a poison or disease from one victim to another. Vampiric Touch using d8’s.
  • +3 Mana: Transfer Mana/Spell Levels/Power from the victim instead of draining them. Blood Brotherhood / link two willing targets together so that, as long as they remain within medium range of each other, they have a common pool of hit points.

While there may be something I missed, one final item from the Sphere Of Blood is Immunity to Bleed Damage. Personally I’d take that as an Innate Enchantment (Cure Minor Wounds Cantrip, x.7 Personal Only x.6 only to automatically stop wounds from bleeding, Unlimited-Use Use-Activated = 420 GP. About half a CP worth of Innate Enchantment.

There are various special modifiers you can buy – but Eclipse offers an immense variety of special modifiers to buy. Get what you like.

Now that entire package comes out to 38.5 CP and 46 SP – although you’ll probably want to buy a few of those thematic extras along the way which will increase the cost to around 50.5 CP. In practice I would probably just pay a little more, go freeform to begin with, and save the bother of writing up the base effects – but that wasn’t what the request was for.

In any case, this is still pretty cheap; you could complete the basic components of the Sphere of Blood in about five levels without much of a strain. That’s because the Spheres were designed to bring Spellcasters down to a desired power level – the equivalent of “Tier 3″, where most of the martial classes tended to hang out. Sure, the system boosts the save DC’s a bit, but it pretty much eliminates the vastly powerful high-level magic shenanigans and a great deal of the versatility.

Eclipse, on the other hand, was designed to let martial characters, and skillmasters, and other types of characters, be just as effective as the clerics and wizards. After all, how could I say that “you can build any kind of character that you want” and then tell people “except that I’m taking away a lot of the spellcasters toys so you can’t build them”?

So very limited power sets are kind of cheap in Eclipse. After all, there has to be SOME reason to take them instead of full-blown spellcasting. Thus, while Eclipse will build pretty much any power set you want, there’s one thing that it definitely WON’T do. By itself, it will not limit the characters to fit a particular setting, power level, or style of play. After all, if it did… it would not be letting you build pretty much any power set would it? Thus, while the basic Shaping / Arcanum Minimus / Spell Enhancement combination as shown above sticks reasonably closely to the limitations of Spheres Of Power, there are ways around that. Most obviously… if a character pursues the Rune Magic option long enough they WILL eventually be able to cast improvised spells of above ninth level within that field, even if they will want to buy a bunch more Mana to do it with. As always, it is sometimes up the the game master to say “No”.

Eclipse, Spelljamming, and Cosmic Voyages

The ornate helm is a thing of beauty. Wrought of blue-green metal and ornamented with a tracery of tiny black opals, it is hard to say if it suggests the surface of the sea at night or the night sky. It is clearly a treasure of great price even before it is touched – but when it is touched, to the heart it sings the music of the spheres, a song of travel and distant worlds. The mana within it burns with the need to take flight, and sail the seas of space once more.

Today, it’s something that’s come up recently – a relic of a lost world created by a long-dead god from the dreams of his (or her?) followers, for – thanks to the Eclipse’s “Infusion” ability – gods often wind up creating religious relics, granting powers to their followers, and developing strange divine attributes based on their followers beliefs.

Crown Of Worlds (Also known as the Helm Of Stars and by many other names) (4 CP Relic):

  • One Level of Cleric Of Madai Package Deal Spellcasting (10 CP): As usual, using this requires making a fairly serious commitment to the service of Madai (at the moment, that mostly means gathering what little is known about him or her and working towards his or her resurrection). As usual, the package deal includes two Paths/Domains, their accompanying “Domain Powers”, Spell Conversion (to the spells from the Cosmic Voyager Domain. It is important to note that any spell the user happens to have available can be converted – not just clerical spells), and the usual set of Domain Spell Slots.

The Cosmic Voyager Domain:

Within the cosmic deeps, the elemental forces of reality – whatever those may be in any given part of the multiverse – run riot, unrestrained by the presence of stars, worlds, and life. Still, voyagers seek to penetrate those depths, searching out whatever lies beyond. For those who feel that call, the Cosmic Voyager domain will answer.

Granted Power: Superstition (6 CP). Characters with this domain may prepare clerical spells of up to level four even in realms where the power they draw upon has no presence – or even if it does not currently exist.

  • L1: Locate Self: Identifies your current location in some detail, most often starting with identifying your current plane of existence and galaxy.
  • L2: Locate Portal: Locates the nearest ship-sized hyperspace jump gate, stargate, crystal portal, wormhole, nexus, or similar location, regardless of the form such things take within a particular realm or crystal sphere.
  • L3: Key Portal: Opens an existent, but currently-closed, stargate, crystal portal, or similar long enough for a ship to pass through it.
  • L4: Hidden Paths: Cloaks a ship against detection, providing a +15 insight bonus to Stealth attempts (using the pilots base skill) for the next hour.
  • L5: Shipway: Opens a ship-scale portal through realm barriers, allowing entry to, or exit from, hyperspace, subspace, astral space, or other planes – although the accuracy is poor, there is no guarantee of safe arrival conditions, things can follow you through, it can take up to ten minutes, and you are limited to those planes associated with the local reality.
  • L6: Arcane Modulation: Allows weaponry and spells to operate normally in poor conditions for up to an hour. You could fire lasers through ionized gas, plasma weapons underwater, kinetic weapons through a raging storm, or use incendiary weapons safely in a flammable medium. This normally affects a ship and all aboard it, but can be used to simply affect a 30′ radius.
  • L7: Planar Sphere: Alters certain planar traits around a ship to maintain “normal” conditions for the caster and vessel for one day.
  • L8: Warp Bubble: Allows a ship to reach worlds and regions that lack normal access routes. The voyage may require several subjective days and occasionally involves strange encounters along the way. There have been reports of time travel when the lengthy casting time of this spell is rushed, but those are difficult to confirm; there seem to be many random factors involved.
  • L9: Atheric Slipstream: Allows a ship extremely high-speed travel – sufficient for long-range interstellar travel and intergalactic travel given time. The exact time required is set by the game master, but even crossing a galaxy is fairly fast.

The Spelljammer Domain:

Ships that sail between the stars must be even more prepared for anything than those that traverse mere distant seas – and so this domain exists to allow sufficiently skillful captains to meet any contingency. A truly powerful Spelljammer Captain can guide his or her ship to harbor through incredible perils, always, somehow, bringing it safely home.

Granted Power: Spell Conversion (To the Spells of This Domain, 6 CP). With full spontaneous access to both the Cosmic Voyager and Spelljammer Domains, a powerful Captain can indeed be ready for anything!

  • L1: Evaluate Cargo: Allows you to evaluate the value and difficulties involved in transporting a given cargo – including things like hatching monster eggs, stowaways, and other troubles.
  • L2: Planetary Scan: Provides basic information on a planet from orbital range. This includes it’s general elemental conditions, whether intelligent life is present, and a quick description of it’s biosphere.
  • L3: Atheric Blast: Fires a 5′ wide line of energy with a LOS range of several thousand miles, but only functions in space. Attempts at planetary bombardment affect a single space, and only work if the caster is of very high level, with how high is required dependent on the planet.
  • L4: Aetheric Wind Mastery: Functions as Control Wind for the currents of space, only in space.
  • L5: Asteroid Field: Creates a dangerous barrier – roughly equivalent to a Wall Of Fire that takes a bit of time to reverse and lasting one minute per level after concentration ceases – on ship scales, but only functions in space. Interestingly, each caster tends to have their own unique variant.
  • L6: Aetheric Sail: Allows a ships sails to catch atheric winds for a day – creating dimensional distortions that allow flight, provide a form of “artificial gravity”, and hold an atmosphere bubble around it. Unfortunately, this works like sailing a ship in unpredictable weather with a crew that generally cannot see it – leaving the vessel subject to solar storms, unfavorable “winds”, and requiring a full crew and a skillful commander to maneuver effectively. Developing an appropriate piloting skill is highly recommended.
  • L7: Make And Mend: Performs basic repairs on a shipwide basis, renews a depleted atmosphere bubble, and replenishes and restocks minor supplies, such as rope, canvas, and water.
  • L8: Atheric Broadside: Allows a ships weapons to fire up to (Caster’s Level, 24 Max) Atheric Blasts, although no individual weapon may fore more than once per round.
  • L9: Atheric Shield: Wraps a ship in a sphere of force, preventing boarding, teleportation aboard unless the caster permits it, the effects of breath weapons and environmental conditions, and reducing all damage by 75% for the next ten minutes – although a close-range Disintegration attack will bring down the shield.

While these two domains may not be entirely unique to Madai, they certainly aren’t common.

Tapping The Emergency Reserves:

  • 1d6 (4) Mana with Spell Enhancement, Specialized and Corrupted / only for Spell Enhancement, only for the Domain Spells listed above (2 CP).
  • Rite of Chi with +4 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted / only ro recharge the Spell Enhancement Pool above, only works between encounters (4 CP).

This combination allows a captain to push the limits of his or her powers – spending mana to reduce the effective level of a spell for casting purposes by up to three levels. Thus, for example, a captain capable of casting only third level spells could still use the sixth level Atheric Sails effect to get his or her vessel into space.

Returning, Specialized and Corrupted / only applies to the Helm itself (2 CP). A Crown Of Worlds / Helm Of Stars is close to indestructible, unless very special measures are taken to get rid of it. Of course they’re incredibly valuable items in any case, so it’s rather rare for anyone to try to destroy one.

Witchcraft II, Specialized for Reduced Cost (6 CP) / not cumulative with other Witchcraft abilities, does not provide Power if user has other Witchcraft abilities and will usurp at least (Cha Mod) power as a reserve to provide repairs for it’s ship construct if needed, user must be a follower of Madai, and must provide at least a vehicle framework to focus these powers through.

  • Witchsight: Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect: The user may employ skills on space-vessel scales – using Survival for space navigation or tracking other ships, Spot to scan solar systems and planetary surfaces, Listen to hear broadcasts, Knowledge / Nature to determine planetary environments, Stealth to try and sneak his or her vessel past opponents, and so on, at no Power cost – but may not use this for other effects or except when aboard a suitable vessel.
  • The Inner Eye: Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect: The user may borrow a bit of skill at a language from whoever he or she is speaking to at no Power cost, bypassing language barriers as long as the mode of communication is something he or she can use and the target is neither shielded nor inherently uncomprehensible, but may not use this for other effects.
  • Hand of Shadows: Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect / The user can effectively operate, maintain, or repair a vessel with a fairly minimal crew, especially in dramatic situations, at no Power cost – but cannot use the Hand of Shadows for other effects.
  • Witchcraft/Path of Fire/The Birth of Flames. Corrupted for Increased Effect (Construct IX) and Specialized for Reduced Cost / Creates a vehicle (3 CP). Vehicles do not get their own actions; they must be operated by pilots, drivers, gunners, and other crewmen using their own skills and BAB, they can only be manifested or unmanifested off-screen in reasonably plausible locations, they always have type flaws (for example, most air vehicles cannot carry nearly as much weight as their strength indicates and only get half the usual number of hit points), and they suffer from any obvious vehicular limitations (such as not maneuvering well in dungeons). They do get a x3 multiplier for long-distance travel though, as they are utterly tireless. In this case, if the vessel has been “destroyed”, or “left behind”, the user must acquire or construct at least a suitable framework around which the construct can be manifested. Still, this will allow the user to turn any old hunk of junk that they can salvage into a functional ship.

Generic Spacecraft (Huge Psychic Construct IX):

  • Class-A: Elemental Subtype (Space), 2x Flight (40 in atmosphere).
  • Class-B: Fast Healing II, Facilities (Baths, Galley, Etc), Spell Storing II (Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect / only for a spell or spells of up to L3 used to represent bizarre weapons, 18 self-charging levels worth per day).
  • Class-C: Enveloping (Crew Compartments), Dimension Slide (Interplanetary Drive Variant: Once out of atmosphere may travel between worlds within solar systems in plot-convenient time), Basic Shields (Variant on Extreme Deflection, +4 to AC, +4 to Saves).
  • Flaw: Prone to weird malfunctions and negative space wedgies, attracts pirates, creatures, and other weirdness at a completely unreasonable rate.
  • Note: Spacecraft may also make physical attacks by ramming things; but this is a very poor idea.
  • Individual Crowns may manifest variant ships – perhaps substituting advanced sensors or laboratories for the Shields.

Net Cost: 27 CP / 6 = 4.5, rounds down to 4 CP as a Relic.

Like most four-point relics, this is a campaign-changing item – in this case, obviously enough, into “d20 in space”. It probably isn’t reasonable to allow player-characters to simply take “Create Relic” and turn items like this out – but it certainly wouldn’t be unreasonable to restrict “Create Relic” to lesser items. While the user will need to be able to use sixth level spells to access the full power of a Helm Of Stars, third level spells will suffice to get into space and start traveling – meaning that would-be Captains must have some basic competencies, but it’s nothing particularly noteworthy.

It’s also possible for a character to simply buy the relevant powers on his or her own, and do without a Crown Of Worlds – perhaps by becoming one of Dune’s “Guild Navigators” – but that is generally a rarity (unless, of course, the game master WANTS a bunch of random spacefarers casually knocking around the galaxy).

Six thousand years ago there was a world rich with magic, inhabited by many races and gods. It had fought off invaders before – but this time it was not to be. The enemy was a thing of darkness, all-devouring. Vortexes of negative energy tore across the lands, shattering defenses both magical and mundane, gouging the earth, and pulling people, beasts, and objects into the devouring void-flesh of the Enemy – the tiny part of it’s inconceivable form that extended into the realm it sought to devour. Armies, beasts, adventurers, and gods fought and died – but the Enemy raised legions of the dead, spawned devouring monsters, and replaced it’s losses with the allied fallen even as it continued to ravage the world.

According to the Histories of Atheria, an Emissary of the Light and the Archmage Almin of the Stars, wielding the power of a fallen god, opened a portal to Atheria – a last refuge for the survivors – and sacrificed themselves to seal the way behind them even as the last gods sacrificed themselves to turn the ancient world into a vast prison, a trap designed to hold the Enemy for long ages. The Domain Lords of Atheria, living Cosmic Principles, allowed those lost survivors to take refuge within their realms – a place where the Enemy could never come, for no being of the void could endure the Plane of Archetypes for so much as a moment.

And for ages, the people of Atheria believed themselves to be humanities last survivors.

But at least one of the Ancient Gods – Madai the Shipmaster, Master of the Winds and Patron of Travelers – had granted his followers another way to seek refuge. He had created (birthed? splintered?) mighty relics that allowed their users to sail between the stars, sparks of life traversing the void to seek out new worlds on which to burn. More, those helms were forged from a part of his own essence – and so, given enough power with which to work, were a potential seed of his resurrection.

Almin’s ancient spells have failed at last, the gates to the planes beyond have opened once more – and one of Madai’s creations has been gathered to Atheria, the realm of Principles and Archtypes, Fountianhead of Creation. If more can be gathered there, to drink from the cosmic source, Madai might well be reborn at last.