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

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

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

Lightning Strike Style (Dexterity):

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

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

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

Feathered Serpent Style (Dexterity):

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

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

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

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

Pacifist Fist Style (Charisma):

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

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

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

Shadowed Gaze Style (Dexterity):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Care Bear Stare Style (Charisma):

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

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

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

Pipes Of Doom (Charisma):

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

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

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

Hajimari Mo Shori (Wisdom)

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

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

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

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

Torchfighter Style (Strength):

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

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

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

Building A Better Torch:

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

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

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

Robber Baron Style (Intelligence):

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

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

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

Eclipse D20 – The Piscin

Piscin (63 CP / +1 ECL racial template)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cat Style (Dex):

Honestly, this shouldn’t really need any description.

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

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

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

Racial Disadvantages:

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

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

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

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

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

The Gleaner, Spirit Cultivation, and the Harvester Of Shades

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

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

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

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

Witchcraft III (18 CP)

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

Basic Witch Abilities:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Likely Minor Upgrades (3-7 CP):

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

Possible Notable Upgrades (12 CP)

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

Possible Major Upgrades (21-36 CP).

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

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

Alewelian Doctors Bags, Regeneration And Medical Wonders In D20

A Doctor’s Bag only produces minor (cantrip-level) medical effects – but it allows the user to chain those effects together to produce greater ones by breaking down treatments into smaller steps (see: Lerandor’s Rule). Difficulties that would normally call for level zero effects to fix – minor scarring, removing planter’s warts, and so on – can, of course, be fixed with a single application of some medication drawn from the bag. Greater problems require additional treatments. A condition calling for an effect of L1/L2/L3/L4 to fix will require roughly 3/7/12/24 such one-minute treatments spread over the course of at least a similar number of hours. Unfortunately, using a Doctor’s Bag to it’s full potential requires a decent level of the Heal skill and at least a bit of Knowledge / Arcana.

Greater Medical Invocation (Spell Level One. Creates any Cantrip-level medical effect). Base Cost: Spell Level One (Reduced to L0 via the Ambient Magic Limitation, which raises the casting time to one minute) x Caster Level One x 1800 GP (Unlimited Use Command Word Activated) x .6 (Cannot affect a particular creature more than once per hour, effects are only cumulative in terms of building up to higher level effects, maximum of twelve patients per day) x .8 (the user may “chain” a maximum number of simpler effects together equal to their (Heal Skill Total + Knowledge/Arcana Skill Total) – although Specialties in Heal (Medical Magic, Cumulative Care, or similar) and Knowledge/Arcana (Medical Magic, Spell Chaining, Spell Design, or similar) may be applied. That gives us a net cost of 432 GP in most settings. On Ailewelia, with the Abundant Magic x.8 modifier that’s 345 GP for a standard version – and only 86 GP for a city-use only version.

Not surprisingly, most versions throw in an instruction book which – at least when used with a Doctor’s Bag – counts as a Masterwork Tool (+2) for both Heal and Knowledge/Arcana (only +20 GP for medical magic only instead of all uses), for +70 GP (14 GP in settings where cheap printing methods are readily available).

Typical Effect Levels Include:

  • L0: Bandage, Contagion Ward, Contraception, Cure Minor Wounds, Diagnosis, Disinfect, Painkiller, Relieve Allergy, Relieve Indigestion, Sobriety, Stabilize, and Transfuse (up to 6 HP).
  • L1: Cure Light Wounds, Dentistry, Expel Parasites, Healthful Rest, Induce Abortion, Lesser Restoration, Lesser Vigor, Optometry, Relieve Illness, Relieve Impotence, Relieve Malnutrition, and Relieve Poison (generally pointless unless the GM is using slow poisons however).
  • L2: Calm Emotions, Cosmetic Surgery, Cure Moderate Wounds, Delay Disease, Delay Poison (only useful on very, VERY, slow poisons in d20), Fertility, Induce Hibernation, Induce Regeneration (requires months with supporting treatment), Relieve Infirmity, Remove Addiction, and Remove Paralysis.
  • L3: Cure Birth Defect, Cure Serious Wounds, Heart’s Ease, Hormone Therapy, Induce “Cold Sleep”, Remove Blindness/Deafness, Remove Curse, Remove Disease, Repair Bones, Sex Change (mostly functional but infertile), Transplant Organ, and Vigor.

More Advanced Effects Include:

  • L4: Cosmetic Rebuild, Cure Critical Wounds, Induce Regeneration II (Weeks with supporting treatment), Neutralize Poison (see “Delay Poison”), Nourishment, Panacea, Restoration (still requires diamond dust), Sex Change (full), and Treat Genetic Disorders.
  • Out Of Reach: Heal, Raise Dead, Species Shift, and similar outright miracles. “Revival” spells are technically within reach, but – in practice – need to be completed in minutes at most, making them impractical. Very minor “Mass” effects might be achievable, but are far more readily and quickly done as direct spells to multiple patients. While various “treat poison” spells are on the list, given the speed at which d20 poisons work, only “Relieve Poison” might be worth using most of the time, and even then only with an upgraded Doctor’s Bag. Chaining your way up to higher level effects will simply take too long.

While in theory an advanced version might also provide a Competence Bonus to one or both of the relevant skills, in practice this starts getting expensive very quickly – and it’s not hard to reach the third level effects anyway. If you really must reach those fourth level effects without advancing the relevant skills much, simply use a level two Greater Medical Invocation (capable of producing any first level medical effect) as the basis. This doubles the base costs shown above (going from a cantrip-equivalent to a first level spell equivalent), but starting from level one effects means that chaining them to reach effects of levels 2/3/4 only calls for 3/7/12 steps – which should be possible for even a starting physician.

On Miracles Of Medicine in D20

This brings up a question I’ve seen variations of several times – “What are the options for restoring a body part in d20? or “Do you really need a specialized level seven spell to grow back a lost hand?”

The answer is, of course, no. How do I know this? Well, first up… many real-world creatures can regenerate limbs and such just fine. Ergo, the process does not actually require magic. Even if you feel that reality has some of that, you probably do not think that Starfish are using the stuff.

Secondarily, human children have sometimes managed to grow back severed fingertips and other small chunks. Thus we know that humans have the capacity, they’re just bad at it.

Finally, of course, there is ongoing real-world research (with some success) into getting body parts to regenerate. It’s cutting-edge, but there IS promising research into the topic – and the Knowledge skill tells us that really tough questions, well beyond the knowledge of any layman, are DC 20-30. So lets call the task DC 30, probably using either Heal or Craft/Alchemy to handle it. We could call cutting-edge research DC 35, but that’s not really supported by the rules and is mostly quibbling.

Honestly, that’s not that hard to pull off* – and that’s perfectly reasonable when it comes to d20. Relatively low-level characters routinely pull off superhuman feats in a wide variety of fields, Why should medicine be any different?

*Lets say you are L1. That’s Base Skill (4 SP) +4 Aid Another (likely from an apprentice, +2) (free), a Specialty in a specific field (since most d20 skills are very general, +3, 1 SP), Skill Emphasis +2 (could be Specialized and Corrupted to match the Specialty for triple effect, 3 CP), Skill Focus +3 (could be Specialized and Corrupted to match the Specialty, 6 CP), Masterwork Tools (50 GP, +2), say a +2 attribute bonus (an attribute of 14, reasonable enough for a specialist) = +18. For 5 SP, 9 CP, and 50 GP. You could pick up another +10 if you did Specialize and Corrupted Skill Emphasis and Skill Focus, for+28. And that’s without throwing in any kind of enhancement spell (which could further boost things or easily replace a fair chunk of those bonuses).

So what’s a normal level of skill? The world record long jump is just under thirty feet – DC 30. Answering the toughest questions in a field of study? DC 30. Climbing across a greased ceiling with poor handholds only? DC 30. Hear an owl gliding in for the kill? DC 30. Attract the attention of kings – or even of the fey and gods (should they exist in a setting) with your performance? DC 30. The greatest possible (and some impossible) feats for a normal human being… are DC 30. And that tells us that real world-class experts and scientists, world champions, and similar folk at the peak of their abilities… have about a +10 total in their specialties. Even without any exotic bonuses from Eclipse… Level One: +4 Skill Points, +3 Feat, +3 Attribute Modifier = +10. First level d20 characters tend to start off superhuman or at least near-superhuman.

So what makes the “Regenerate” spell seventh level if this sort of thing is so easy?

The standard Regeneration spell requires 2d10 rounds if the original body parts are not available to re-attach. Lost all four limbs? Massive broken bones? Kidneys wrecked? Twelve to One Hundred and Twenty seconds will see you right as rain. If the original material is still around to reattach… it takes six seconds. Major blocks of flesh and bone reappearing in seconds with no source of biomass, no fatigue or effort, and no time spent learning to use them.

Now THAT’S the insane part. The standard level seven “Regenerate” spell is built for use in combat time. It’s for use by adventurers who want their companion healed and fully functional right NOW.

So what if we let it take longer? Hours? Days? Weeks? Months? How about if we throw in some special components, like taking it easy, regular exercise and physical therapy sessions, and eating lots of high-protein foods? That’s roughly -4 levels for four steps of time increase, with another -1 for the expensive components, which gives us… level two.

And that’s actually pretty reasonable. It’s also in the range of effects that really high skills can normally, produce, which matches up nicely with the skill-based calculation.

In real-world terms a Doctors Bag would be a miraculous godsend. In d20 terms… not so much. D20 really doesn’t HAVE much in the way of slow medical problems. It has wounds, poisons that work in combat time, and fanciful “diseases” that mostly seem to be a cross between contagions and curses. A great many of the problems this item addresses – dental issues, contraception, pain, allergies, indigestion, sobriety, parasites, abortion, needing eyeglasses, impotence, malnutrition, infertility, infirmities (age-related or otherwise), birth defects, and so much more – basically don’t exist in d20 except as characterization issues. What this does mean is that a fairly basic healer can work through the night and have a low level party mostly patched up in the morning.

Of course, that’s pretty much the way the game is played anyway.

The Ignis Elves of Modun

closeup photo of fire during night time

Photo by Francesco Paggiaro on Pexels.com

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

The Ignis Elves of Modun

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For a total of 6 CP or one feat.

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

Basically the Firebending package seen here.

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

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

Relationship to other elves/races:

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

Statistics:

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

Ignus Elves

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

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

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

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

Energy Infusion (Fire) (6 CP)

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

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

Languages: Elven (1 CP)

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

42 CP

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

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

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

The Aqua Elves of Modun

timelapse photography off water fountain

Photo by Gabriel Peter on Pexels.com

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

The Aqua Elves of Modun

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Basic alchemical creations common amongst the Aqua Elves:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Basically the Waterbending package seen here.

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

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

Relationship to other elves/races:

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

Statistics:

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

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

Self-Development: +2 Intelligence (12 CP)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Languages: Elven, Ultrasonic Elven (2 CP)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Divine Lawful Republic Of Laurelin Part V – Node Magic

Not surprisingly for a magical world that is heavily dependent on nodes and ley lines, Ailwellia (and the Empire in particular) have a series of specialized spells that deal with the topic. Given that most of them are not really important in combat – or to most player characters – there’s no need to go into full writeups for such spells. It is, however, worth noting what they are and what – in general – they do.

Node Spells:

  • Detonate Node (L9): Releases the energies of a node in a destructive blast of wild magic, which may destabilize other nodes and ley lines many miles away and will send a surge of wild magic across the land. Any Ward, Dragon, or Mages Guildmaster associated with the node may make a caster level check against the user to stop it. Given that most cities depend on and use nodes, usually an act of war and a capital crime.
  • Node Seed (L8): Starts the formation of a node – although the less suitable the location, the longer it will take, and it usually takes years even in a suitable one.
  • Unbinding (L7): Returns a developed node – or a contaminated or twisted one – to pristine condition. Any Ward, Dragon, or Mages Guildmaster linked with the node may make a caster level check against the user to stop it. Commonly another capital crime unless used against an enemy city in time of war or to fix damage.
  • Ward Node (L6): Awakens a nodes magic as a 24-hour Rank-6 Ward Major – but only works on nodes that do not already have Wards linked to them.
  • Anchor Weave (L5): Keeps a node or ley line stable when something is trying to influence it, move it, or twist it’s nature for twenty-four hours.
  • Shift The Weave (L4): Nodes and Ley Lines can be moved about and altered in aspect, but the process requires setting up a great deal of stuff first – preparing channels for the magic, altering the environment to foster a particular type of magic, erecting shrines to various entities, and so on. This takes at least eight hours (longer at the option of the GM or if there is opposition), whereupon this spell will set the process in motion – although it will require at least a day more (with ever-increasing side effects, wild magic surges, and large-scale disturbances) for the process to complete. The same spell can be used to try to reverse the process, requiring opposed caster level checks. If a node has a Dragon, or a Ward, opposed checks against it are also in order to change things.
  • Dragonbless (L3) Bestows any one Path Of The Dragon feat that the recipient meets the requirements for. It lasts for ten minutes per caster level, but only works on node-linked Dragons and does not stack, even if used to grant different feats – although the target may switch between multiple instances each round as a free action. While the user must touch the recipient, touching the node the dragon is linked to also counts. Annoyingly, the duration cannot be more than doubled; the node eventually disrupts the effect.
  • Dragoncurse: (L2) Like Bestow Curse but has medium range, only works to limit the Path of the Dragon, and only works on Dragons – although targeting the node a dragon is linked to also counts as being within range of the dragon. Generally blocks one feat/6 CP at CL 3-7, two at CL 8-14, and three at CL 15+.
  • Channel Node (L2). Taps into the power of a node to produce a spell effect appropriate to the node. Such effects tend to be limited and minor (for example, a Fire Nexus might allow Scorching Ray or double-length Burning Hands on most days), but might allow greater effects (Fireball, Wall of Fire, whatever) during fiery celestial conjunctions. During times of great power – perhaps the every 10,000 year passage of the great fiery comet – it might allow Meteor Swarm or summon a small army of fire elementals.
  • Detect Node (L1). Basically Detect Magic, but attuned to the energies of Nodes. It can provide a good deal of information about a node – it’s theme, how strong it is, whether it has a Dragon or a Ward, how may ley lines feed into it, how stable it is, and so on – if the user can make decent Knowledge (Arcana) checks.

Where there are important – and difficult to manage – resources, there will be tools to help manage them. Thus we have the…

Nexial Staff:

This adamant-sheathed staff is covered with intricately engraved depictions of dragons with tiny gemstone chips in their mouths. The dark metal shimmers with an iridescent sheen, picking out the dragons in many colors and making them seem to twist and coil around the staff.

Minor Features (8100 GP):

  • Provides a continuous Detect Node effect (2000 GP). This is somewhat arbitrary, but a specialized form of “Detect Magic” is cheap enough.
  • Adamantine Chasing (Basically “Made of Adamant”) Hardness 20, 40 HP (3000 GP).
  • Dwarvencraft Folded Metal (+6 Hardness (26 Total), +10 HP, 800 GP). Not that magical staves commonly get broken anyway. As a pair of Dragon Magazine things this is somewhat dubious – but it’s also not like “my item is harder to break” will generally break the game.
  • Wand Chamber (100 GP). This is silly, but why not? And it can add a more generally-useful function to an item that is otherwise extremely specialized. And Dungeonscape is even 3.5! If at all possible, get a first-edition style rechargable multifunction wand made with Create Artifact, or another stave made for a Tiny or Diminutive creature. This is important because there is a substantial chance that you will want to disguise this item.
  • Mounts two Fortifying Stones (Pathfinder. There is debate as to whether these stack. Given that one will take over when the first fails, I’ll say that the Hardness does not, but the HP do. So Hardness +5 (31 Total), +40 HP (90 Total), 2000 GP).
  • Decorative Gemstone Chips (200 GP). This could reasonably be included at no charge since “looking good!” has no particular cost – but it’s arbitrarily rated at 200 GP to make the cost come out even.

Functions as a Quarterstaff of Entwined Serpents (5050 GP).

  • +1 Quarterstaff (also +2 Hardness (33 Total) and +10 HP (100 Total)).
  • User may use a standard action to release two Magic Missiles that look like tiny white and black dragons (instead of snakes). If you want to be able to fire them into the sky to pop like little fireworks, go right ahead. That’s a rather minor Flourish (see The Practical Enchanter).
  • The holder may cast spells as if he or she possessed the Eschew Materials feat.
  • This is legitimate enough so far; you can make a staff out of any material  you like and this is a standard – albeit a Pathfinder – item. Turning it into a spellcasting staff as well is a bit dubious, but you could always just enchant the hollow adamant sheathing as the Quarterstaff of Entwined Serpents and then slip a core enchanted to cast spells into it. Leave a few little holes for skin contact and “firing ports” and you should be fine. Stacking tool functions is generally allowable too, so…

Staff Functions (Pathfinder Style Rechargable Staff, 10 Charges, 36,850 GP)

  • Base Caster Level Eleven. Base save DC’s (13+Spell Level).
  • Spell Functions:
    • Ward Node (3 Charges, 8800 GP).
    • Anchor Weave (2 Charges, 8250 GP).
    • Shift The Weave (2 Charges, 4400 GP).
    • Dragonbless (1 Charge, 6600 GP).
    • Dragoncurse (1 Charge, 4400 GP).
    • Channel Node (1 Charge, 4400 GP).

Total Cost: 50,000 GP. (40,000 GP if the Abundant Magic modifier applies – which is not likely given that this is a highly specialized item).

A Grand Nexial Staff has a +3 Bonus (resulting in Hardness 37 and 120 HP), a Base Caster Level of 17, reduces the cost for Ward Node to 2 Charges and includes Unbinding, Node Seed, and Detonate Node for 3 Charges Each, at a net cost of 120,000 GP (Abundant Magic pretty much never applies). They are considered extremely dangerous to the Empire, and it is generally illegal to carry them without a special permit or to sell them to anyone except the Imperial Military.

Both Nexial and Grand Nexial staves are extremely rare. Anyone capable of making one really has no use for one; Staves are for spells you often want, not for stuff that you only want once in a blue moon.

Staff Of The Dragon Lords:

A legendary Staff Of The Dragon Lords (sometimes known as a Staff of Tiamat or a Staff of Bahamut) is actually fairly simple to make: you take a Nexial or Grand Nexial staff and you turn into a 4 CP relic with a selection of carefully-chosen and highly specialized powers on top of it’s magical functions. There actually is a bit of a point to doing so, especially if you can’t make the basic staff yourself; it is an immensely powerful geomantic tool and the creator doesn’t necessarily have to be able to get along without it already if they purchase the basic staff. On the other hand, it’s still an incredibly specialized item. Node manipulation, and even node-based ritual magic, simply aren’t things that most adventurers want to bother with. They’re generally after quicker, more versatile, devices and power.

Relic Powers (4 CP Relic):

  • Cloaking, Specialized and Corrupted / only affects the staff itself, can be penetrated by higher-level divinations (2 CP). The Staff generally shows up as little more than a Quarterstaff of Entwined Serpents – useful, but not at all impressive. Still, at least it helps cover up what the bearer is carrying around.
  • Ritual Magic, Specialized and Corrupted for Reduced Cost / only for rituals of Node and Ley Line Manipulation or related to a nodes theme (2 CP). Anyone holding the staff can conduct rituals for these purposes while at a node.
  • Siddhisyoga, Specialized and Corrupted for Reduced Cost / may only be used to create “Ioun Stones” to be added to the staff, only adventurers may be used as “payment”, GM sets abilities purchased and the value of the sacrifices (2 CP). Each time an adventurer (or “Spark”) is sacrificed to the Staff a portion of their essence will be trapped in an Ioun Stone – which will be mounted in the mouth of one of the heads of the dragons carved on the staff (more heads will appear if necessary). So long as the staff is in contact with the user these will function as if they were orbiting. Stones cannot, however, be added otherwise, and if one is taken from the staff it cannot be returned to it and is very likely (at least a 50% chance) to break. Worst of all, a rather high percentage of them are cursed – about what you’d expect of an item created via sacrificing intelligent beings.
  • Mystic Artist (Knowledge/Arcana), Specialized for Reduced Cost (3 CP) and Corrupted for Increased Effect (The staff itself is the artwork in question, so the effect can be maintained as long as the user is holding it) / only allows access to Greatness (user’s Knowledge/Arcana 9+, grants 6 CP/a temporary feat) and Heroism (User’s Knowledge/Arcana 30+, grants 12 CP/the equivalent of two temporary feats), only provides the CP bonus, not other benefits, only allows a number of options equal to the current number of sacrifice-generated Ioun Stones on the staff, only affects the staff user, only to provide bonuses related to the sacrifices magical abilities and skills. The user may swap between bonuses – or reactivate one that deactivated when the staff was disarmed or set aside – once per level per day.
    • This is probably the biggest selling point of the Staff – if you don’t have a decent Mystic Artist in the party. If you do… well, they’ll almost certainly be a great deal more versatile in terms of granted bonuses (unless they’re cripplingly self-limited), won’t have to perform human sacrifices to expand their repertoire, will grant better bonuses, and their bonuses won’t stack with this bonus. Given that choice going with the actual mystic artist is a no-brainer.
  • 2d6 (7) Mana with Reality Editing plus Rite Of Chi with +8 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted / only one edit is possible – adding (Mana Used/2, rounded down) charges to the staff (10 CP). In practice, the Staff recharges itself (the user could also add one charge with an appropriate spell) at 16 Charges/Day and maxes out at an effective 26 charges. Of course… unless you’re leaning hard on Channel Node, this is extreme overkill. Most characters will hardly ever use the thing, much less burn through more than twenty charges in a day.
  • Augmented Bonus: Adds (Cha Mod) to (Int Mod) with respect Skill Checks, Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect / only applies to checks (including rituals) involving nodes and their magics (6 CP).  This makes you REALLY good at that node-related stuff you will probably never use.
  • +3 Specialty in Spellcraft, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect (+9) / only for ritual magic involving nodes and ley lines (1 CP). Now making you even better at things you will almost never do.
  • Specific Knowledge: Nodes of the World (1 CP). Basically a catalog – and, oddly enough, always up to date. Or you could buy a book.
  • Specific Knowledge: Node-Related Rituals (1 CP). This doesn’t include any specific rituals, but it does help let you know what’s practical and available – or in researching or designing them. Or, once again, you could buy a book. It will probably gather dust though.
  • Lesser Dragonbond (Favored Foe variant, Specialized for Increased Effect / only applies in very limited areas, 6 CP). The user may bond with 1/2/3/4/5 specific nodes at levels 1/5/10/15/20. Each time the user bonds with a new node, he or she may increment a bond rank (including the new one) by one level. While at a bonded node, the user gains abilities based on the rank of the bond with it:
    • Rank 1) +1 Caster Level, gain access to 1L0 and 1L1 Spell Formulas related to the node’s theme, gain +2 on checks to perform ritual magic related to the node or its theme. Gain +2 on Knowledge checks related to the node, +1 to all Saving Throws.
    • Rank 2) +2 Caster Levels, gain access to 1L0, 1L1, 1L2, and 1L3 Spell Formulas related to the node’s theme, gain +4 on checks to perform ritual magic related to the node or its theme. Gain +4 on Knowledge checks related to the node, gain +2 to all Saving Throws.
    • Rank 3) +3 Caster Levels, gain access to 1L0, 1L1, 1L2, 1L3, 1L4, and 1L5 Spell Formulas related to the node’s theme, gain +6 on checks to perform ritual magic related to the node or its theme. Gain +6 on Knowledge checks related to the node, gain +3 to all Saving Throws.
    • Rank 4) +4 Caster Levels, gain access to 1L0, 1L1, 1L2, 1L3, 1L4, 1L5, 1L6, and 1L7 Spell Formulas related to the node’s theme, gain +8 on checks to perform ritual magic related to the node or its theme. Gain +8 on Knowledge checks related to the node, gain +4 to all Saving Throws.
    • Rank 5) +5 Caster Levels, gain access to 1L0, 1L1, 1L2, 1L3, 1L4, 1L5, 1L6, 1L7, 1L8, and 1L9 Spell Formulas related to the node’s theme, gain +8 on checks to perform ritual magic related to the node or its theme. Gain +8 on Knowledge checks related to the node, gain +4 to all Saving Throws.
    • This is genuine power – but not that much of it, slow to develop, and only available in VERY limited areas. That’s not much use to traveling adventurers, even if it is good for a local mages guildmaster or military wizard.
  • Disadvantage: Hunted (-3 CP). The staff is a device of tremendous power (albeit in a field that is mostly unwanted), as well as a potential major threat to any land that relies on ley lines and nodes, or wishes to avoid being overrun with swarms of magical monsters. It’s also a constant temptation to kill powerful individuals in search of more power. As such, it doesn’t matter how impractical it really is; the law will be after you looking for pretty much any excuse to confiscate the thing.
  • Disadvantage: Compulsive (-3 CP). The user will inevitably become fascinated with nodes and ley lines, want to spend most of their time at their bonded nodes (and begrudge time spent away from them), and delve into their secrets whenever possible – seeking out sages and scholars, buying rare books, and otherwise being an obsessive pest.

It’s hard to put a value on relics. After all, even a fairly minor character can contribute the points and it doesn’t take a high level character to make them – but few people have the ability to make relics and hardly anyone wants to give up permanent character points. Still, if many villages have a relic-creator, and some dying elders who want to pass on some bonuses to their kids, utilitarian relics in general may be cheap. This thing however… it attracts enemies just by existing. Actually making one is going to make life very awkward. It’s a bit like setting up a shop that sells nuclear weapons. People are going to want to stop you and the price will have to be pretty high just to justify the risk. On the other hand, on the rare occasion that you need this kind of a tool – perhaps the millennial conjunction is causing a nexus of dark magic to form beneath the city and soon the zombie apocalypse will start if you can’t stop it – it’s invaluable.

But the odds are pretty good that you will never need one – and if you do you will have to go on a quest to find one. So it’s a plot device. There’s no fixed price because no one is making the things and because there’s normally no market. After all, except for those rare occasions when you really need it, all you have is a great conversation piece that attracts the inquisition. In standard d20 terms, what we have here is a minor artifact, and it can be handled the same way.

The Divine Lawful Republic Of Laurelin Part IV – City Magic II

And to continue the list of ward-supported and general magic items for Ailwellia…

  • Journeyman’s Tools (Enchant Tools, Arcanum Minimus (one minute setting up tools to use, -1 spell level, +2 Circumstance Bonus to a particular Craft Skill, halves the time required for a job. SL 1/8’th x CL 1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use Activated x.8 Abundant Magic x.7 (only one set of tools at a time) x.8 (requires the appropriate skill to use) x.5 Utilitarian Village Magic= 56 GP). A set of Enchanted Tools is a long-term benefit to any crafter. As such, they are widely sought.
  • Least Wyrdstone / +1 Weapon (Magic Weapon. SL 1/4’th x CL 1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.8 Abundant Magic x.8 (only affects one weapon or bundle of ammunition at a time) = 320 GP. When attached to a weapon or container of ammunition, a Least Wyrdstone empowers it with a +1 Enhancement Bonus.
  • Least Warding Cartouche +1 Armor/Shield (Magic Armor, SL 1/8 x CL 1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.8 Abundant Magic x.8 (Only affects one suit of armor or shield at a time) =160 GP. This tag may be fastened to a shield, suit of armor, or item of clothing to give it a +1 enhancement bonus.
  • Lesser Warding Cartouche +2 Armor/Shield (Eldritch Armor I, SL 1/4 x CL 1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.8 Abundant Magic x.8 (Only affects one suit of armor or shield at a time) =320 GP. This tag may be fastened to a shield, suit of armor, or item of clothing to give it either a +2 enhancement bonus or a +1 enhancement bonus and a +1 armor property. Unfortunately, these options are set when the Lesser Warding Cartouche is created.
  • Lesser Wyrdstone / +2 Weapon (Eldritch Weapon (L2), SL 1/2 x CL 1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.8 Abundant Magic x.8 (only affects one weapon or bundle of ammunition at a time) = 640 GP. When attached to a weapon or container of ammunition, a Lesser Wyrdstone empowers it with either a +2 Enhancement Bonus or a +1 Enhancement Bonus and a +1 Weapon Quality. Sadly, these options are set when the Lesser Wyrdstone is created.
  • Lesser Beast Mask (Aspect of the (Beast), SL 1/4’th x CL 1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.8 Abundant Magic = 400 GP). This sometimes-useful item allows the wearer to take on some of the characteristics of an animal (The Practical Enchanter, Pqge 91). Such as natural Armor and Weapons, Unfortunately it does not include attribute modifiers, and so – from most people’s viewpoint – is of fairly limited use, since slightly more expensive items work a lot better.
  • Lifestone: Revival I (Heals 1d8+1 damage after death. If this brings the recipient up to -9 or more they get a Fort save (DC 10 + rounds dead) to come back with the Staggered state. Level 2 Base, +2 levels to buy off XP requirement, -1 level for 1d4 Int Damage. Effective SL 1 x CL 1 x 50 GP (One-Use Use-Activated) x.8 (Abundant Magic) x2 (No Item Slot) Plus Lesser Restoration (Effective SL 1/4 x 50 GP (One-Use Use-Activated) x.8 (Abundant Magic) x.5 (Only to restore Con damage in case you died of Con poison or similar effects) x2 (No Item Slot) = +10 GP). Total 90 GP. Anyone carrying a Lifestone has a decent chance of coming back to life if they die of moderate amounts of damage or poison. User’s may carry any number of Lifestones, gaining more healing and a+1 sacred bonus to Fort save per additional stone (up to a maximum of seven stones) if they wish.
  • Light Crystal: Light (Arcanum Minimus – one minute casting time – for a further -1 level). SL 1/16’th, x CL 1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x .5 (Immobile) x.8 (Abundant Magic) x.7 (Item Only) = 35 GP. Once firmly fastened into place on an immobile surface, these small crystals will begin to glow softly, gradually brightening to the level of several torches. They can be touched and turned off if you don’t want light at the moment, but will again take several minutes to brighten again once reactivated. Many people just cover them.
  • Lucky Charm (Resurgence, SL 1/4’th x CL 1 x 50 GP One Use Use Activated x.8 Abundant Magic = 10 GP). This small token may be expended (not an action) to reroll a failed save. A very common item for those who can afford one. At double cost it can be slot free.
    • Similar charms include Emergency Healing (Cure Light Wounds), Feather Falling, and several others). They’re occasionally bought as general-use items at 40 GP or even in other worlds, at 50 GP. They’re just handy. 
  • Master’s Tools (+3 Circumstance Bonus to a specific Craft or (relevant) Profession skill, allowing tasks to be completed in one-third the normal time. Enchant Tools with Arcanum Minimus (one minute setting up tools to use, -1 spell level, SL 1/4’th x CL 1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use Activated x.8 Abundant Magic x.7 (only one set of tools at a time) x.8 (user must have the relevant craft skill) x.5 Utilitarian Village Magic = 112 GP). A set of Enchanted Tools is a long-term benefit to any crafter, multiplying the amount of work they can get done as well as improving the quality – for a considerable boost in income. As such, they are widely sought.
  • Masters Ring (Master’s Touch, SL 1/4’th x CL 1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.5 (Only works for a specific type of item, such as “shortswords”) x .8 Abundant Magic = 200 GP. These rings grant proficiency with one type of weapon or armor chosen when the item is made.
  • Mending Wand (Make Whole, Pathfinder Version, SL1/2 x CL2 x 1800 GP Unlimited Use Command Word Activated x.8 Abundant Magic x.6 (3 Uses/Day) = 864 GP. While not a particularly vital item for most adventurers, Ailwellian cities are – as this list shows – chock-full of minor CL1 magical devices, most of them fairly expensive and yet no more durable than any normal item. As such, repairing them is a fairly lucrative business = and even if you’re only charging 1-2% of the purchase price you can pay off the price of a Mending Wand in few years and be making a very comfortable living after that. Much better than student loans.
  • Milling Engine (Unseen Servant, SL 1/4’th x CL 1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.5 Immobile x.8 Abundant Magic x.4 (only performs a specified type of work, specified when constructed) = 80 GP. This device may be dedicated to drawing wire, hammering out metal leaf, helping out in a printshop, hammering out felt, assisting in the kitchen, or any of a thousand similar tasks, but it’s swarm of dedicated unseen servants can handle the basic busy-work and provide a +4 assistance bonus to a cook, smith, or other craftsman.
  • Miraculous Tools (+6 Circumstance Bonus to a specific Craft or (relevant) Profession skill, allowing tasks to be completed in one-sixth the normal time. Enchant Tools with Arcanum Minimus (one minute setting up tools to use, -1 spell level, SL3 x CL5 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use Activated x.8 Abundant Magic x.7 (only one set of tools at a time) x.8 (user must have the relevant craft skill) x.5 Utilitarian Village Magic = 6720 GP). Tools like this are more theoretical than real. Sure, they let the user get a LOT more done – but at an enormous cost. If you really want some crafting done you can usually have someone else do it for a much smaller cost.
  • Obedience Collar (Charm Person, SL 1/4’th x CL 1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.8 Abundant Magic x.6 Only affects the wearer, only to make them obedient to the individual who put the collar on them = 240 GP). Usually applied to prisoners or slaves, an Obedience Collar makes the victim – once they fail to save – docile, unwilling to try to save any more, and unwilling to try and remove the collar. They’re fairly rare though, since a few well-chosen curses applied by a Slavemaster’s Lash can accomplish much the same thing, more reliably, and at virtually no cost. Secondarily, they depend on how the game master interprets the Ward function of Magic Circle Of Protection From Chaos; if it simply provides a bonus to saves against mind control, the collar will still work. If they use the version that provides immunity to mental control, it won’t work. Plus, of course, if you leave town, it will quit working anyway. Quite a lot of cities ban these anyway as a part of banning Charm Person, which is incredibly easy to abuse in a crowded city.
  • Orphan’s Cloak (Endure Elements SL 1/4’th x CL 1 x 1800 GP Unlimited-Use Command Word x .2 1/Day, x.8 Minors Only x.8 Abundant Magic = 58 GP. Relatively uncommon, since, for less than six times the price, you can get a far-superior Aristocrat’s Doorway installed – and people without a lot of servants and such usually settle for an umbrella or a good waterproof cloak.
  • Orphan’s Bowl (also Everlasting Gobstopper Bags and many other forms): Any child with one of these will always have food for themselves and a friend (Goodberry, SL 1/4 x CL 1 x 1800 GP Unlimited Use Command Word Activated x .2 (1/Day) x.8 (Abundant Magic) x.8 (Minors Only), x.5 (the roll is always considered the minimum of “2″) = 29 GP. (Versions which work for Adults – Ration Bar Bags – cost 36 GP). More common than one would think, because – while the dole normally suffices – giving some out of these out is a popular way for the wealthy to show off how philanthropic they are at a fairly low cost. As a note, since berries have no real cost, there’s no cost for including a hundred or so as “components” in the enchantment. Adventurers sometimes buy versions that work out of town, for 144 GP, but most of them don’t bother; an adventurer who can’t find something to eat before starving to death probably won’t live long enough to starve anyway.
  • Performers Gloves (Sticky Fingers, SL 1/4’th x CL 1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.8 Abundant Magic = 400 GP): +10 on Sleight Of Hand checks. (This is apparently a Typeless or perhaps a Circumstance bonus – which opens the gate for any number of similar effects. At least this one is widely regarded as more than a bit suspicious for anyone but performers).
    • These are sometimes banned in an effort to reduce pickpocketing, but anyone who can afford a 400 GP item to assist in Sleight Of Hand probably has something much larger in mind – and other ways to get a bonus too.
  • Phalerae Torc +4 to All Attributes (Six +4 Attribute Spells: SL 1/2 x CL 1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.8 Abundant Magic x.7 Personal Only x6 (Six Spells) = 3360 GP). An item that spectacularly demonstrates the general unfairness of life; someone rich enough to afford such an item is virtually guaranteed to suddenly be stronger, healthier, smarter, better looking, more perceptive, and more coordinated – and more talented in every art – than a normal person, and possibly downright superhuman in some areas. D20 populations may be created equal, but they certainly do not stay that way.
  • Protective Cartouche +3 Armor/Shield (Eldritch Armor II, SL 1/2 x CL 1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.8 Abundant Magic x.8 (Only affects one suit of armor or shield at a time) =640 GP. This tag may be fastened to a shield, suit of armor, or item of clothing to give it armor enhancements totaling +3. Unfortunately, these options are set when the Warding Cartouche is created.
  • Radiant Lens (Color Spray, SL 1/4’th x 1800 GP (Unlimited-Use Command Word Activated) x.6 (Seven Uses Per Week) x.8 (Abundant Magic) = 216 GP. Another popular item for the better-off guards and minor criminals, a Radiant Lens has a fair chance of temporarily incapacitating several ordinary people at once.
  • Repairman’s Hammer (Repair Light Damage, SL 1/4’th x CL 1 x 1800 GP Unlimited-Use Command Word Activated x.8 Abundant Magic x.6 (3 Uses/Day) = 240 GP). Sadly, the Repairman’s Hammer falls afoul of the general “no unlimited healing items” rule, even if it is a variant on the normal healing spells. That’s probably just as well; allowing a small group to make 600 significant repairs – to virtually anything – per hour changes quite a lot of things pretty profoundly.
  • Repeating Thunderstick: Lightning Bolt (SL 1 x CL 4, x 1800 GP Unlimited Use Command Word Activated x.8 Abundant Magic x.6 (7 Uses per Week) = 3456 GP. A version that does 1d6 damage to the user (a built-in Arcanum Minimus effect to get the spell down to L0) is only half that much, but isn’t recommended. Naturally, of course, variants using other attack spells are available.
  • Restful Lamp: (Healthful Rest, SL 1/4’th x CL 1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.8 Abundant Magic = 400 GP). Anyone who sleeps within 30 feet of this lamp heals twice as fast as normal. Most cities have a few of these around, just in case of some major disaster. After all, while this is pretty weak sauce as far as magical healing goes, you can pack an enormous number of people in hammocks into a 30′ radius.
  • Ring Of Oak (Immortal Vigor I, Sl 1/4’th x CL 1 x 2000 GP Unlimited Use Use Activated x.8 Abundant Magic x.7 personal only = 280 GP). Grants +(12 + 2 x Con Mod) HP. A popular item in general, but especially with the city guard. The upgraded versions – a Ring Of Ironwood (+24 x 4 x Con Mod) HP for 560 GP and Ring Of Adamant Wood (+36 + 6 x Con Mod) HP for 1120 GP are also popular among those who can afford them.
    • Various other items – a Ring of Feather Falling or a Translators Medallion (Comprehend Languages) follow this same pattern.
  • Skill Booster 0 (Competence, +1 All OR +2 Group OR +3 Single, skill(s) chosen when the item is created). ((Skill) Mastery 0, SL 1/8 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x .8 Abundant Magic x.7 Personal Only = 140 GP). Skill boosting items are – if still a little expensive – always a hot commodity, granting even the newest bumbling apprentices enough skill to be competent assistants.
    • Specific skill boosters to Stealth and Disguise are sometimes prohibited, as well as skill boosters for groups such as “burglary skills” – but blocking all skill boosters is a major weight on the economy and the number of skill boosting spells is quite large – so, as a rule, on those two specific skills are blocked and generic boosters are left alone. This applies to the later items of this type listed below as well.
  • Skill Booster I (Competence, +2 All, +3 Group, +5 Single, skill(s) chosen when the item is created). ((Skill) Mastery 0, SL 1/4’th x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x .8 Abundant Magic x.7 Personal Only = 280 GP). While expensive, this sort of item can be useful in an immense variety of ways, and so remains popular.
  • Skill Booster II (+4 All, +7 Group, +10 Single, Competence, skill(s) chosen when the item is created, ((Skill) Mastery 2, SL 1/2 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x .8 Abundant Magic x.7 Personal Only = 560 GP). While this is getting into “too expensive for most people” territory, the utility is undeniable – and not a few adventurers are more than willing to pay the 6720 (8400 GP in standard worlds) for a version that will work anywhere. It may not be as immediately effective as a magic sword or a device that throws fireballs, but near-universal professional-level competence is quietly and persistently useful in almost any situation.
  • Skill Booster III (+5 All, +8 Group, +15 Single, 1600 GP) ((Skill) Mastery 3, SL 1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x .8 Abundant Magic x.7 Personal Only = 1020 GP). While this getting to the point where something else might be more useful, some adventurers are still willing to pay the 16,800 (21,000 GP in standard worlds) for a version that will work anywhere. Even at the levels where this sort of thing becomes affordable, boosts this large can still be quite worthwhile.
  • Slavemaster’s Lash (Bestow Curse, 1600 GP). While commonly used to curse slaves with a submissive nature, difficulties in running away, and similar controlling effects, you can also curse wild animals with domestication, give pickpockets shaky hands whenever they are trying to steal something, play practical jokes, and curse children to become briefly nauseous if they eat too many sweets. It isn’t the most pleasant method of exerting social control but it IS both very quick and fairly difficult to remove. On the more extreme end… if you really want to turn some pitiful victim into a cursed monster or something… at six hundred curses an hour it probably won’t take very long. You just need to break the hideous fate you’re inflicting down into small steps and keep going until they fail to save against each one. At six hundred curses an hour, it’s not going to take long – and will not be easy to get rid of either.
    • Many cities greatly restrict the Slavemaster’s Lash – but it’s just too useful to ban entirely. Curse a graffiti artist to have their own work portrayed on their face until it’s cleaned up and it will pretty much put an end to THAT, with no further effort. Curse the peeping tom to yodel every time he peeks? Curse a dangerous bull that nevertheless breeds very well with an inability to charge? Curse a horse with an inability to kick it’s handlers? Keep a dangerous dog from biting people? Curse an unmotivated kid with an inability to run off and play until their homework is done? The line between responsible use and abuse is very thin.
  • Thunderstick: Lightning Bolt (SL 1 x CL 4, x 40 GP Single Use Command Word Activated x.8 Abundant Magic = 128 GP. A version that does 1d6 damage to the user (a built-in Arcanum Minimus effect to get the spell down to L0 is only 64 GP, but isn’t recommended).
    • Some cities try to control these, but that’s pretty rare. There are so many area-effect offensive spells – and people coming up with new ones all the time – that trying to control them is pretty much a waste of time. That’s also why there are plenty of variations on this thing floating around. 
  • Token Of Escape (G’elsewhere Chant, SL 1 x CL 1 x 40 GP One Use Command Word Activated x.8 Abundant Magic = 32 GP), Teleports the user to a safe place within 100 feet. Again, double cost for a slot-free version, but often simply worn as a ring or some such, so that it is effectively “in hand” to use whenever you want. Another popular item among the rich who want some extra protection for themselves or their relatives.
  • Tools Of Daedalus (Enchant Tools, +7 Circumstance Bonus to a specific Craft or (relevant) Profession skill, allowing a weeks worth of tasks to be completed in a day. Enchant Tools with Arcanum Minimus (one minute setting up tools to use, -1 spell level, SL4 x CL7 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use Activated x.8 Abundant Magic x.7 (only one set of tools at a time) x.8 (user must have the relevant craft skill) x.5 Utilitarian Village Magic = 12,544 GP). While somewhat impressive this really isn’t any more effective than simply getting a dozen or so normal craftsmen working on something unless the user is really powerful already – in which case they usually have better things to do than to turn out basic crafts even if it IS at rather high speeds. There are likely a few sets of tools like this around somewhere – there’s always some hyper-specialist with exotic requirements out there – but if someone wants some of these, they’ll almost certainly have to be a special commission.
  • Tori: Dimension Door (SL 3 x CL 5 x 1800 GP Unlimited Use Command Word Activated x .5 (Immobile) x.8 (Abundant Magic) x Destination Modifier (Specific Destination x.4, say to a specific secret crypt = 4320 GP, Limited Set x.7, say nearby street corners or anywhere on the estate, etc) = 7560 GP, Anywhere Within Range – 10,800 GP). Anyone who steps through a Tori and whispers the command word will be teleported to an appropriate destination up to 600 feet away,
  • Torque Of Beasts (Speak with Animals, SL 1/4’th x CL 1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.8 Abundant Magic = 400 GP). While this is another popular item, it’s one that is often returned quite quickly. While the idea of talking with a pet, or instructing your horse in a trick with a few words instead of patient training is attractive, the truth is that most animals are lousy conversationalists and that explaining tricks to them takes a long time anyway. They’re generally pretty stupid and very self-centered, even with magical translation.
  • Tree Cloak (Tree Shape L2 Full Day Variant. Sl 1/2 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x .2 (1/Day) x .8 (Abundant Magic) = 160 GP. Once per day the user can turn into a tree – and can remain that way as long as they wish.
    • Cursed versions that cannot be voluntarily turned off (x.5) and which take a full minute to activate (Arcanum Minimus, =1 spell level) are a mere 40 GP in case you wish to keep some defeated enemy in your atrium or garden to pick fruit and flowers off of and to prune occasionally. While this is allowable in some areas, in the vast majority of the Empire anyone found actually trying to do something like this is in for some particularly nasty penalties – although there are, of course, rumors of some greater nobles acting as if they are above the law and of traitors to the empire suffering penalties of this general nature in the imperial gardens.
  • Vexillum Torc: +2 to All Attributes (Six +2 Attribute Spells: SL 1/4 x CL 1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.8 Abundant Magic x.7 Personal Only x6 (Six Spells) = 1680 GP).
  • Vision Projector (Minor Image, SL 1/4’th xCL 1 x 1800 GP Unlimited Use Command Word Activated x.6 requires an especially prepared surface to project on, x.8 Abundant Magic x.6 requires pre- prepared stories to work from x.5 immobile = 65 GP. When you fit a script, story, or book into a Vision Projector it turns it into a decent movie – never quite the same twice, but almost always fun. It helps a lot if the “operator” is familiar with the story, since that provides much more consistent and sophisticated results.
  • Wererat Collar (Bite of the Wererat, SL 1/2 x CL 1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.8 (Only works on one creature at a time even if the collar is transferred) x.8 Abundant Magic = 640 GP) plus Add Metamagic (+1 level of Duration to a spell of up to L3), SL 1/2 x CL 1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.4 (Only for the collars Bite Of The Wererat spell) x.8 Abundant Magic = 320 GP) for a net cost of 960 GP. A favorite of roguish types, wrapping up a fair degree of enhancement and a disguise at an entirely reasonable price – at least if you’re past the first few levels.
    • Most cities require that items like this also make the user clearly identifiable somehow or ban them entirely, but given the number of different shapeshifting effects out there (including actual lycanthropy) this can be difficult to enforce.
  • Wolf-Collar (Aspect of the Wolf: SL 1/4’th x CL 1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.8 Abundant Magic = 400 GP). While it is commonly regarded as fun to be a wolf sometimes the actual utility is kind of limited in a city. There are a few cursed versions floating about that will only come off with a Remove Curse effect (120 GP), but even that is simply for practical jokes since all the “cursed” wearer has to do to get it off is to get outside the city, which will deactivate it.
    • If you really want to turn someone into a dog… Rent a Slavemaster’s Lash for an hour. It won’t take anywhere near 600 curses to work a bit-by-bit transformation that will be enormously difficult to remove and can include plenty of ways to compel obedience. This isn’t generally allowed of course. Not only is it pointless and stupid (just BUY A DOG if you want a dog) but contract-slaves have rights while outright chattel slaves are rare.
  • Wonderworker’s Tools (+5 Circumstance Bonus to a specific Craft or (relevant) Profession skill, allowing tasks to be completed in one-fifth the normal time. Enchant Tools with Arcanum Minimus (one minute setting up tools to use, -1 spell level, SL1 x CL1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use Activated x.8 Abundant Magic x.7 (only one set of tools at a time) x.8 (user must have the relevant craft skill) x.5 Utilitarian Village Magic = 448 GP).
  • Wristlets Of Joy (L1 Anyspell / Sex Cantrips, L1/4’th x CL 1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x .8 Abundant Magic = 400 GP). These simple wristbands allow the user to deploy an endless stream of minor sex-related spells – aiding or preventing conception, adding various enhancements, creating pleasure links, providing lubrication, and so on. It should not be surprising that they are extremely popular amongst those who can afford them.
    • Upgraded versions are (of course) available, but can start leading to addiction problems.
  • Wyrdstone / +3 Weapon (Eldritch Weapon (L3), SL 1 x CL 1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.8 Abundant Magic x.8 (only affects one weapon or bundle of ammunition at a time) = 1280 GP. When attached to a weapon or container of ammunition, a Wyrdstone empowers it with a total of +3 in weapon enhancements, although at least a +1 Enhancement Bonus must be included. Sadly, these options are set when the Wyrdstone is created. Users of missile weapons will often invest in one which works outside of towns; even at a net cost of 19,200 (24,000 GP in standard settings) it won’t take all that many shots before you start saving on the cost of conventional enchanted ammunition.

The Divine Lawful Republic Of Laurelin Part III – City Magic

Given the supportive effect of the City Wards, and the general ease of magic item creation on Ailwellia, there are quite a lot of minor magic items available there – including a few that are useful enough to adventurers to justify making more expensive versions that work anywhere.

City Charms:

  • Masquerader’s Mask (Charm): Provides a preset costume (this can be a disguise, but given that it’s only what could be achieved by a quick change of clothing few restrictions apply) whenever the user calls for it. The Talismanic Version allows up to three outfits. Note that these are real outfits, and may include a few pounds of minor items, such as thieves picks and tools and/or a belt knife.
  • Triboots (Charm): This variant on the extradimensional space charm lets you swap between up to four pairs of shoes at whim – commonly dress boots, ice skates, roller skates, and tough waterproof outdoor boots.

City And Ailewellian Magical Items:

  • Amorphous Cloak (Amorphous Form, SL 1 x CL 1 x 1800 GP Unlimited Use Command Word Activated x.7 Personal Only x.8 Abundant Magic = 1008 GP): This billowing black cloak allows the user to dissolve into misty black goo on command, albeit only for brief periods at a time. Since the effect can be deactivated at will, with a little timing practice user’s can do things like walk through barred gates without even breaking stride. Secondarily, the cloak can easily merge into darkness or shadows, or wrap around the user to conceal their identity and is effective camouflage (+2 circumstance bonus to relevant checks) in a dark or shadowy environment. Rumors of someone wearing a Greater Beast Mask (Bat) and running around proclaiming “I am the night!” or “I’m Batman!” are unconfirmed.
    • A fair number of cities try to control, ban, or actively suppress stealth-enhancing and disguising magic. The results… tend to be a bit mixed. There are a lot of ways to do both, so the cities which add the Minor Ward Power of “Counterspells” to the ward can block a series of specific spells and any items based on them, but will completely miss anything else. Laws, of course, can be broken – but the Empire isn’t bad at enforcement and this approach doesn’t cost much while Ward upgrades cost rather a lot. Controls usually call for special restrictions on such items, but those are hard to enforce, if only because stuff is shipped in and out of cities all the time. As usual, a lot depends on the local nobles.
  • Amulet Of Warning (Anticipate Teleportation, SL1 x CL8 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.2 One Use/Day x.8 Abundant Magic = 2560 GP). While the radius of delay and warning this amulet provides is only forty feet, that’s enough to provide a great deal of security against sudden surprise attacks. Such amulets are still fairly rare however; relatively few people feel that they need to worry about things teleporting in to attack them, and many of those few who do simply cast the spell themselves with much more power behind it. A few of the most paranoid adventurers, however, are willing to pay three times the cost – 7680 GP (or 9600 GP in standard worlds) for a version that works anywhere.
  • Animated Rope (Animate Rope, Sl 1/4’th x CL 1 x 1800 GP Unlimited Use Command Word Activated x.8 Abundant Magic x.7 applies to the enchanted rope only = 252 GP). Pretty obvious, but relatively cheap and occasionally useful. Not uncommonly used by Watchmen to speed up restraining prisoners (Due to the general harshness of Imperial Law, many prisoners try to escape pretty hard).
  • Aristocrat’s Doorway: Endure Elements (SL 1/4’th x CL 1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.8 Abundant Magic x .5 (Immobile Item) = 200 GP plus Cleanse (Cantrip, so SL 1/8’th x CL 1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.8 (Abundant Magic) x.5 (Immobile Item) = +100 GP), Total = 300 GP. This common architectural feature affects those passing through a portal, whether in or out -protecting them from the effects of ordinary weather for the day and making them clean and tidy at the same time. They’re favored by well-to-do people with kids, guards, or reasonably frequent visitors.
  • Armillae Torc +6 to All Attributes (Six + 6Attribute Spells: SL 1 x CL 1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.8 Abundant Magic x.7 Personal Only x6 (Six Spells) = 6720 GP). Here, of course, we have the practical climax of life’s unfairness – enough of a boost for a wealthy individual to be downright superhuman, at least in the “Captain America” sense.
  • Attribute Booster +4 (SL 1/2 x CL 1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.8 Abundant Magic = 800 GP). With these devices we begin to see d20’s built-in advantages of being wealthy – where simply getting some money really CAN make you smarter, stronger, healthier, and so on, rather than those being minor secondary effects of better education, better food, and less filth. It may be because of equipment, and luck, but rich people really ARE better than other people in a d20 universe.
  • Belt of the Werewolf (Bite of the Werewolf, SL 1 x CL 1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.8 (Only works on one creature at a time even if the belt is transferred) x.8 Abundant Magic = 1280 GP) plus Add Metamagic (+2 levels of Duration to aspell of up to L3), SL 1 x CL 1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.4 (Only for the belts Bite Of The Werewolf spell) x.8 Abundant Magic = 640 GP), net total = 1920 GP). One of the more potent reasonably-priced enhancement effects about, a Belt Of The Werewolf grants a considerable boost in combat abilities even if – sadly – no great increase in durability in low-level users.
  • Belt of Stealth (Iron Silence, SL 1/2 x CL 1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x .4 Two Uses/Day, x.7 Personal-Only x.8 Abundant Magic = 224 GP. Twice a day, for one hour each time, negates armor penalties to Hide and Move Silently checks.
    • While this might fall under Stealth prohibitions, hardly anyone except the Imperial Military actually wears any armor in cities – and they sometimes want to sneak.
  • Blademaster’s Gloves: (L3 Greater Invocation/Any effect available to the Wind Blade style, (swift action and immediate action spells are cast as such regardless). SL 1 x CL 1 x 2000 GP Unlimited Use Use Activated x.6 (50 Uses/Month) x.8 Abundant Magic = 960 GP. While not enormously powerful, a set of Blademaster’s Gloves offers enormous versatility in a fight – enough so that occasional adventurer’s feel that the 14,400 GP cost of a set that works outside of cities (18,000 GP in standard settings) is worth the cost.
  • Bolter (Ice) (Ice Knife, SL 1/2 x CL 2 x 2000 GP Unlimited Use Use Activated x .8 Abundant Magic = 1600 GP). The pistol-like Ice Bolter fires low level but reasonably effective energy/dex damage attacks, with a small area-of-effect option and a +2 bonus to hit. Certainly they’re expensive toys – but a couple of squads armed with them can be a serious threat to quite a few targets simply by targeting the area around them even if their base AC is too high to hit directly. Variant forms targeting other attributes (Lightning/Int, Fire/Str, Sonic/Wis, Acid/Chr) are available as well.
  • Bottomless Flask (Create Water, +1 Level shift to the creation of a specific basic liquid (beer, wine, vinegar, gruel, basic soup, or similar of fair, but not particularly great, quality) (SL 1/2 x CL 1 x 1800 GP Unlimited Use Command Word Activated x .8 (Abundant Magic) = 720 GP. Most commercial models include a secondary Prestidigitation effect (SL 1/8 x CL 1 x x 1800 GP Unlimited Use Command Word Activated x .8 (Abundant Magic) x.4 (Only to make minor modifications to the liquid poured out and/or to make it hot or cold) = +72 GP, for a net cost of 792 GP. A Bottomless Flask of – say – beer can pour out a wide variety of beers, ales, lagers, and similar drinks, It will take quite some time for (say) a bar to pay off the cost of a Bottomless Flask Of Beer, but being able to sell whatever kind of beer a customer calls for while never having to pay for kegs to draw from will start turning a profit eventually. Some places, such as soup kitchens, opt to install an immobile version (x.5) with the Utilitarian Village Magic (x.5) modifiers at a net cost of 198 GP. The Empire tends to subsidize that sort of thing.
  • Butlers Badge (Prestidigitation with Sculpt Spell built in, SL 1/4’th x CL 1 x 2000 GP Unlimited Use Use Activated x.8 Abundant Magic = 400 GP (800 GP for an out-of-town version)- although this would still be a steal at the standard game 2000 GP price). This is probably the most useful low-end magical device ever created. Sculpt Spell (+1 Level) says that “You can modify an area spell by changing the area’s shape to either a cylinder (10-foot radius, 30 feet high), a 40-foot cone, four 10-foot cubes, a ball (20-foot- radius spread), or a 120-foot line” – so this gives you all the versatility of prestidigitation combined with a considerable area of effect.
    • An in-town version using Conjurer’s Tricks (The Practical Enchanter, L2) as the base costs four times as much – and is, once again, probably well worth the price. Unfortunately, an out-of-town model requires SL 3 x CL 5 – and while it’s still very handy, it may not be fifteen times the price handy.
  • Centurian’s Helm (Towering Oak, SL 1/4’th x CL 1 x 1800 GP Unlimited Use Command Word Activated x .8 Abundant Magic = 360 GP. This gives the wearer a +10 competence bonus on Intimidate checks and a +2 bonus to Strength. It’s a pretty standard item for Imperial Military Peacekeeping patrols, where simply showing up and glaring is often enough to settle minor altercations.
    • In general, spell effects in this setting need at least a one-minute duration for an item to make their operation “Continuous”. Ergo, making a permanently-operational Centurion’s Helm calls for a L2 version. Fortunately, an in-city only version of that is still only (SL 1/2 x CL 1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.8 Abundant Magic = 1600 GP. Mildly expensive, but not uncommon amongst squad leaders and such.
  • Cloak Of Guises (Alter Self, SL 1/2 x CL 1 x 1800 Unlimited-Use Command Word Activated x.8 (Abundant Magic) = 720 GP. While less popular than it deserves – since most of the people who might want one are quite unfamiliar with the variety of options it offers – This is a very popular item with the less reputable elements of a city, offering as it does a wide variety of mobility options, combat enhancements, and disguises. As such, it’s often considered a suspicious item.
  • Commander’s Baton (Silent Image, SL 1/4’th x CL 1 x 1800 GP Unlimited-Use Command Word Activated x .6 (Only for projecting images high in the air) x.4 (Only projects a very limited range of simple – if large and colorful – symbols in various colors) x.8 Abundant Magic = 345 GP. A Commanders Baton is a common tool for patrols, garrisons, and generals. While each tends to have slight differences in the array of symbols it can project, it is generally easy enough to set up a quick code – “Arrow down means “send assistance”, red means combat, blue means medical, orange means…” Near-instant – if relatively simple – communication over a range of several miles is quite invaluable – to the point where most cities restrict their unofficial use. Most civilians must content themselves with distress flares or a Fireworks Pouch.
  • Crown Of Venya (Light Of Venya, SL 1 x CL 1 x 1800 GP Unlimited Use Command Word Activated x .8 Abundant Magic x.7 (12 Uses / Week) x.8 (Good alignment only) x.8 (requires periodic ritual offerings to the gods of light) = 645 GP. While this item – thanks to the healing option on the rays the Light Of Venya generates – falls afoul of the “no unlimited healing” rule, it can still be useful to have ranged (even if fairly minor) healing on top of the illumination, anti-undead, and anti-evil outsider functions.
  • Dancing Slippers (Lightfoot, L2 variant to get a one-minute duration, SL 1/2 x CL 1 x 2000 GP Unlimited Use Use Activated x .8 Abundant Magic x.6 (three swift-action uses per day) = 480 GP). Three times per day the user may call on these shoes (any kind of footwear works) to allow him or her to move without provoking attacks of opportunity for one minute. The out-of-town variant is popular with many martial adventurers, even if it DOES cost 5760GP (7200 GP in baseline games).
  • Diving Mask (Deep Breath, SL 1/4’th x CL 1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x .8 Abundant Magic x.5 Underwater Only and x.7 Personal Only = 140 GP). Obviously enough this allows the user to breathe underwater indefinitely and also functions as a good set of diving goggles. Handy for ship, dock, and bridge repairs, but commonly rented for recreational purposes.
  • Endless Cheese (Create (Food), L2. Variant – creates fairly good food, but only of a specific type and only enough for one person at a time. SL 1/2 x CL 1 x 1800 GP Unlimited Use Command Word Activated x.8 Abundant Magic = 720 GP. Stationary versions apply the Immobile (x.5) and Utilitarian Village Magic (x.5) modifiers for a net cost of 180 GP. This, of course, is another item that is often subsidized by the Empire. Whether it’s an endless round of Camembert, an endless pot of stew or curry, or an endless box of cinnamon rolls, these items can produce enough food for a normal human every six seconds – about as long as it takes a server to dish it out. While never the finest food – and always a little different from each enchantment – the quality is quite passable. Most Insula will have several items of this type (and people often take a meal or two at another Insula for more variety). Coupled with a minor Perpetual Fountain (Create Water L1 Version, SL 1/4 x CL 1 s 2000 GP Unlimited Use Use Activated x .8 Abundant Magic x.5 immobile x.5 Utilitarian Village Magic = 50 GP, and a water supply sufficient for about 2400 people) this makes most Insula almost independent, at least in the short term.
  • Equestrian Pin (Mount, SL 1/4’th x CL 1 x 1800 GP Unlimited-Use Command Word Activated x.5 (Only one mount may be present at a time) x.8 (Abundant Magic) = 180 GP. This simple broach need merely be touched and commanded whenever you would like a steed (or to renew your current steed). While more expensive than simply getting a light riding horse initially, the Pin has no maintenance and it is hard to beat the convenience.
  • Feather Comforter (Feather Fall and Endure Elements, both SL 1/4’th x CL 1 x2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.8 Abundant Magic x .2 (Only to make sleeping on/under the Feather Comforter incredibly comfortable and cozy) x.5 (effectively immobile) x2 (two spells) = 80 GP. Prestidigitation (SL 1/8 x CL 1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use Activated, x.8 Abundant Magic x.2 (only to avoid “bed head”, keep the bedding nice and clean, and so on) x.5 (effectively immobile) = 20 GP. Net Total = 100 GP. This king-sized feather comforter or mattress topper allows everyone in the bed to be incredibly comfortable all night and to wake up neat, clean, and refreshed. It never needs cleaning or repair – even making itself in the morning under normal conditions. A very popular luxury amongst those who can afford them. (Traveling versions usable outside the cities cost 400 GP, and are STILL very popular. For an additional +40 (town) or +160 (traveling) GP you can add a +2 circumstance bonus to sexual activities and lucid dreaming while using the Feather Comforter. This is also very popular).
  • Firemans Cloak (Aura Against Flame, SL 1/4’th x CL 1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.8 Abundant Magic = 400 GP). While not a big thing for adventurers – who are rarely in peril from relatively minor flames – Fire Resistance 10 and the ability to automatically extinguish normal flames on contact is extremely useful to anyone in emergency services.
  • Flare Rod (Daylight, SL 1 x CL 1 x 40 GP One-Use Command Word Activated x.8 Abundant Magic = One Use, 32 GP). A popular item among the City Guards, who find that lighting up an area is often enough to bring those there under control in an instant and without fighting.
    • A Nightfall Rod uses Deeper Darkness – and lasts for twenty-four hours – but is otherwise identical. Unfortunately, it’s banned – often magically – in many cities.
  • Grandmaster’s Tools (Enchanted Tools (+4 Circumstance Bonus to a specific Craft or (relevant) Profession skill, allowing tasks to be completed in one-fourth the normal time. Enchant Tools with Arcanum Minimus (one minute setting up tools to use, -1 spell level, SL 1/2 x CL 1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use Activated x.8 Abundant Magic x.7 (only one set of tools at a time) x.8 (user must have the relevant craft skill) x.5 Utilitarian Village Magic = 224 GP). While too expensive for most common crafters, a true master will fairly often own a set of tools like this, and so can get a month of work done in a mere week. Any crafter who can obtain a set will do so if at all possible. .
  • Greater Elfinstone: A constant stream of specialized cantrips ensures a safe, healthy, pregnancy and easy childbirth. (L1 Anyspell / Medical Cantrips, -1 level for One Minute Casting, effective SL 1/8 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x .4 (Only to ensure safe, healthy, easy pregnancies, easy deliveries, and healthy babies) x.8 Abundant Magic = 80 GP).
  • Greater Beast Mask (Aspect of the Beast, the L2 version that includes attribute modifiers, SL 1 x CL 1 x 2000 GP x.8 Abundant Magic = 1600 GP. This fairly powerful item partially transforms the user into an animalistic form, resembling a were-creature, when activated – a transformation that includes attribute modifiers. Unfortunately, it doesn’t do much for your clothing, so it is wise to be using Shiftweave (with one outfit made to accommodate the physical changes) or otherwise magical clothing when you use it.
  • Greater Lucky Charm (Mass Resurgence, One Use, SL 1 x CL 5 x 50 GP One-Use Use Activated x.8 Abundant Magic = One Use, 200 GP). Expend (not an action) to let a group reroll failed saves versus a particular effect. Another common item for guard contingents and for criminal groups.
  • Greater Warding Cartouche +4 Armor/Shield (Eldritch Armor III, SL 1 x CL 1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.8 Abundant Magic x.8 (Only affects one suit of armor or shield at a time) =1280 GP. This tag may be fastened to a shield, suit of armor, or item of clothing to give it armor enhancements totaling +4. Unfortunately, these options are set when the Warding Cartouche is created.
  • Hat Of Disguise: In-town only price is 1/4’th the normal base, so 360 GP after the “Abundant Magic” modifier. However, unless you’re attending a costume party, this is usually considered a somewhat suspicious item.
    • Another commonly banned item, although if the ban is only legal versions that only provide costumes, or which make it obvious that the user is “disguised”, are generally permitted. While those are cheaper, they’re also within the range of effects available through Charms and Talismans (most commonly a Diplomatic Sash and Merasian Vapors) so almost no one bothers to make such things as full magical items.
    • As a general rule, “city-only” versions of standard magic items priced under about 12.000 GP can be assumed to be 1/4’th the base cost.
  • Healers Tome (Panacea, with Arcanum Minimus; Catalyst Materials, Powers Of Light, and Karmic Debts. SL 1/4 x CL 1 x 1800 GP Unlimited Use Use Activated x.8 (Abundant Magic) x.6 (3 Uses/Day) = 216 GP. (A version which works anywhere is 864 GP). A Healers Tome can repair a wide variety of conditions quickly and easily – provided that the user is willing to owe favors to the powers of light, is dedicated to upholding the light, and is supplied with things like exotic herbs, scrapings from unicorn horns, phoenix feathers, or whatever the GM thinks is appropriate. That’s difficult to qualify for – but the Tome can immediately heal a wide variety of debilitating conditions, (if not a lot of damage) making it invaluable in an emergency – enough so that relatively minor adventurers occasionally pay for a version that works anywhere, at a cost of 864 GP.
  • Heroic Apparel (Heroism, SL 1/2 x CL 1 x 2000 GP Unlimited Use Use Activated x.7 Personal Only x.8 Abundant Magic = 560 GP. Sometimes the clothes really do make the man, and anyone wearing Heroic Apparel will feel inspired to new heights – gaining a +2 Morale Bonus to attack rolls, saves, and checks.
  • Hidden Light (Ebon Eyes, SL 1/4’th x CL 1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.8 Abundant Magic = 400 GP). Tucked behind the ear (and occupying the Head slot) this unlit black candle lets the user see through magical darkness. They’re popular with more well-off criminal and night patrols in cities where it’s possible to use magical darkness spells.
  • Hidden Pouch (Wizards Pocket, SL 1/4’th x CL 1 x 2000 GP Unlimited Use Use Activated x .8 Abundant Magic = 400 GP). Another immensely popular item a Hidden Pouch can store up to fifty pounds of material extra dimensionally, allowing them to be retrieved as move-equivalent actions. They’re often installed in sleeves or pockets and used to conceal weapons or other equipment. While there are occasional attempts to ban such things, their general utility – and the immense variety of ways to either produce equipment or to function without it – generally handily defeats such efforts.

The Divine Lawful Republic Of Laurelin Part II – City Wards and Nodes

Cities are normally built around magical nexi, with a “Tower Of Wizardry” – usually built by the founding Sparks or the Military and almost always owned and maintained by the military – acting to channel that magic into a set of City Wards to keep out creatures of the Wyld and to empower mystical items within the city. The Standard City Wards are normally Rank Seven, providing Four Minor and Three Major abilities.

Minor Ward Powers:

  • Hallowed Of Law (Hallow versus Chaos). The cities – and everyone inside – are protected by Magic Circle Of Protection From Chaos effect, creatures slain there cannot rise as undead, rolls to dispel chaotic magics gain a +4 lawful bonus, and rolls to dispel lawful magics suffer a -4 lawful penalty. A single spell can be attached to the Hallow effect as usual (Most often Resist Energy/Fire, which serves to prevent city fires). .
  • Use of Charms and Talismans: Residents are granted Shaping (Use of Charms and Talismans variant). Even the poorest residents will generally have ak few bits of minor, utilitarian, magic about. It’s about 3 GP for a Charm (Limited to Seven) and 10 GP for a Talisman (Limited to Three).
  • Vortex Chamber (a variant on the general suppression of malign effects): This area beneath the tower is the “eye” of the hurricane of magic that is a nexus. It drains magic – mostly from the upwelling geoarcane power of the nexus of course, but to some extent from Sparks and minor spellcasters and magical items. That makes it a point where dangerous magical items and materials can be more-or-less safely stored (and used to the benefit of the city by providing extra magic for the ward), where minor mages can be readily imprisoned (and more powerful ones can be somewhat more readily restrained), and where magical testing can be carried out with somewhat less risk.
  • Wind Wall: Those defending the city are protected by a Wind Wall effect.

The occasional Rank Eight wards provide an additional minor power (chosen by the game master) related to the nexus. At that power level, even the Empire’s military engineers can’t keep EVERYTHING under control. Some cities use the Counterspell minor ward power to try and restrict particular types of items or magics they consider undesirable, but that rarely works as well as they might like.

Major Ward Powers:

  • Enhanced Magical School (Variant): While Ailwellian wards don’t empower actual Spellcasting, they do empower items – although items empowered by City Wards will obviously only work within those city wards. In general, when figuring out the cost of creating items, spells of levels 0-3 are effectively two levels lower (with “-2″ being treated as 1/8’th and “-1″ being treated as 1/4’th) and spells of levels 4-5 are reduced by one level – effectively making low-level items that only operate within cities extremely affordable, especially with the x.8 “Abundant Magic” modifier for relatively standard items. After all… that’s about 200 GP for a constant Cantrip, 400 GP for a constant level one effect, 800 for L2, and 1600 for L3. After that, it starts jumping – L4 would be 24,000 and L5 would be 44,800, so the practical sequence stops at L3        
  • Mystic Walls: The wards can effectively keep out most creatures and forces born of the Wyld – but can be bypassed in various ways, including simply ramming through with brute force. While this option will cause quite a lot of damage to the creature bulling it’s way through, that is not enough to dissuade a powerful dragon or other such creature.          
  • Watchsight. Guards, watchmen, and guard creatures are granted a limited version of True Seeing. While they are not guaranteed to spot illusions, shapeshifters, invisibility, and so on, they are far more likely to do so than normal. Creatures using such abilities will need to supplement them with more conventional stealth skills.

While the capital, and a few of the oldest cities near the center of the disc, may be protected by Epic Wards, the additional powers of such things are generally individualized by the game master.

While it is unknown to most, magic is the essence of the Wyld and of Life itself. Left to itself… it grows, it spreads, it generates new nexi and it holds them apart from each other. Past a certain limit of intensity… it literally grounds itself, creating new lands around the edges of a disc, into which life can expand. Where mortals seek to tame the Wyld… the magic dwindles. Less magic is produced. Lesser nodes deplete, and their remaining magic flows into the greater nodes. Eventually, when there is insufficient magic to be drawn in to sustain them, the greater nodes will begin to fail – although a Vortex Chamber, if sufficiently stocked with wyld items to drain, can forestall such losses for centuries – and perhaps indefinitely if items with sufficient magical energy can be thrown into the Vortex. Mana can also be channeled in from afar via artificial ley lines, or added with rituals drawing on other reserves, but it’s very, VERY, hard to channel enough energy in to accomplish much with rituals. What would happen to an area that actually went magically “dead” remains unknown, but it is theorized that at least some Wyld remains in every node, preventing complete depletion.

Nodes are weaker near the Capital and the center of the disc however; humans there get less varied birthrights generally and tend to have abilities related to adapting to using new magic and to tapping into their personal magical reserves. That’s generally weaker, but the improved control is helpful in performing advanced magic. Nonhumans do well under such conditions however, since many of their abilities rely on their internal magic in the first place -which is why attribute modifiers, sensory powers, and similar basic personal boosts are so common among them. (Elves are important in the center of the disc because it was elven strongholds in high tree villages that helped fight off the undead apocalypse – and thus they outnumbered many other species by the time it was over. Or at least so the Elves claim).

On Nodes:

Alewelia is a realm of magic, of power that flows through its elements – but while Fire rarely occurs in any vast quantity, and Air and Water are too unstable to form very many ley lines and nexi, Earth is stable enough to provide the structure for innumerable streams and pools of power to form – Ley Lines and Nexi.

Ley Lines are gathering points for magical power, chaotic streams fed by all the elements – wild and unattuned. Their power is relatively weak, but can still be tapped in limited ways to power the magical equivalents of waterwheels and mills. They are, however, nothing compared to the power of Nexi.

Nexi are shaped – Flavored? Aspected? – by the lands about them and by the great, planar tides of power that sweep across Alewelia. As such, they have Themes. Themes can be anything, but the most common are Clerical Domains. The next most common are Elements and Schools of Magic, then Simple Concepts, then Psionic Fields – and then the strange stuff, like “Science”, “Blood”, “Ritual”, “Circle”, “Elves”, “Insanity”, “Corruption”, “Chaos” (as a method rather than an alignment), and many more.

A nodes theme determines what kind of rituals it empowers, what any dragon linked to it will be like, what enchantments can be easily cultivated by magical “farmers” in the area, what reagents are common in the area, what magical animals and plants spontaneously appear from normal versions, and a long list of other minor effects – often including a set of spells that, when cast directly by a spellcaster, are treated as one level lower within the nexus. Oddly, wyld nodes may have superficial themes or “flavors” (Pirates! Undead! Dinosaurs! Ninja! Undead Ninja Pirate Dinosaurs!) while remaining wyld nodes; they (unlike other node types) appear to be self-regulating and grow on their own – which is why they are the basis of the node network.

Sparks and Embers who trigger near a particular nexus tend to be attuned to it’s theme, gaining experience points from activities related to it’s theme, albeit slowly – and even more slowly when away from an appropriately themed node. Such Sparks and Embers are, however, even rarer then those attuned to the Wyld, despite the dense populations of cities. Wyld Energies are, after all, the forces of raw magic, transformation, and growth, and so are especially likely to trigger new Sparks and Embers. Wyld-influenced and dominated areas are more common than all of the areas attuned to themes put together. Moreover, wyld-influenced areas tend to be dangerous, stressful, and prone to outbreaks of wyld magic – all of which increase the likelihood of new triggers. Thus a solid majority of all Sparks and Embers are attuned to the Wyld, while all other types tend to be classified as “exotic”. Sure, there may be a few mid-rank clerical-domain “Cat” nodes out there, and several more at rank-1 scattered around in the fringes of the empire (if those aren’t just flavored wyld nodes) – but the total number of “Cat” sparks running around can probably be counted on one hand.

Some theoreticians say that Sparks and Embers are essentially miniature nodes in themselves – their unusually powerful internal magic having been focused by some triggering event and growing in strength as they absorb relevant energies. This may, perhaps, explain some old legends about incredibly powerful Sparks merging with the land to become nodes – sometimes with much of their personality surviving as a City Ward.

In any case, exotic Sparks are generally too rare to form parties, have far more limited opportunities to gather experience points, and tend to make lousy adventurers – although the few who get experience through rituals and/or service to others can make wonderful professions out of providing a modest, but regular, supply of XP to promote low level characters, construct specialized items that are hard to farm, to create sapient devices, or for similar purposes.

Nodes can be upgraded, degraded, detonated, split, merged, and transformed – but the larger and more powerful the node, the harder most of this is. Meddling with a rank-1 node might take nothing more than erecting a few small shrines, planting a few appropriate trees and bushes, and waiting a few days, even without boosting spells to hurry it up. A rank-7 node, on the other hand, has immense energy reserves and has likely shaped the territory around itself for many miles – and so may require a small horde of people working for a year to intentionally change.

Node
Size
Maximum
Ward Area
Ritual
Magic
Tidal
Shift
Dragon-
Might
Magical
Charge
Node
XP
Ley Thorp /
Hamlet
—- 90% Least 1d4 100
1 Small Town +2 60% Lesser 3d4 200
2 Large Town +3 30% Young 3d8 500
3 Small City +4 10% Young 3d12 1000
4 Large City +5 5% Adult 3d20 2000
5 Metro-
polis
+6 3% Elder 3d20+20 5000
6 Mega-
polis
+8 2% Ancient 2d20+40 10,000
7 Imperial City +10 1% Ascended 2d20+60 20,000
  • Maximum Ward Area: The maximum size of the community that the nexus can support a Ward for. Occasional cities manage to tie Wards into several small nodes at once to cover larger areas, but those are always unique cases.
  • Ritual Magic: The skill check bonus to Ritual Magic appropriate to the node performed there
    Tidal Shift: The chance of the seasonal tides of magic causing a shift in the theme of the node or of the surrounding area if it is unmaintained. Properly maintained nodes need be checked no more than once per decade, If a shift occurs, roll again; if the second roll would not indicate a shift, only the surrounding area is affected. If the node itself is affected, it will often be weakened for a time – but such events are rare enough that no one has yet derived any consistent rules for them save that nodes never weaken below level one, perhaps due to them always having at least a spark of wyld magic at their hearts.
  • Dragon Might: The power level of the Dragon that the node can support. Dragons are not exactly easy neighbors, but they do automatically maintain the node they’re linked to, so that’s something.
    Magical Charge: The “Spare” energies of a nexus, measured in available spell levels per day. After this is depleted, nodes no longer offer a “price break” (as noted earlier, one level, drawn from this pool) to spells appropriate to their theme. Certain rituals and tapping spells can get more than one level out at a time. Unmaintained nodes may flare and discharge this energy in magical effects matching the nodes theme roughly midway through each season (as per Tidal Shift). Maintained nodes virtually never do so, as draining excess energy is a standard part of maintenance. Nodes that lack spell attunements – such as certain conceptual nodes – cannot release energy through spell effects, and will explode instead. While such nodes might still occur naturally for brief periods, they won’t last.
  • Node XP: The total amount of XP available to matching Thematic Sparks or available to tap for in-theme magical projects per season.

A citywide spell effect designed to “ride” the influence of the Nexus requires +6 spell levels of the Area theorem or the use of the Battle Magic Metamagical Theorem (at twenty aides, five minutes casting time, 2500 GP worth of (reusable) equipment, and a (again reusable) magic circle drawn near the center of the nexus (this usually requires some hours to set up, but many cities have either permanent setups or some method of creating one quickly).

Underground nodes occur as well, and there are some reports that they may be a bit more stable than surface nodes are – but there isn’t a lot of evidence on that.

Alewelian Crafter Dwarves:

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

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

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

Crafter Dwarf Racial Template:

● Longevity: Immunity to Aging (Uncommon, Major, Trivial, 1 CP). Dwarves can live for about three centuries, although – thanks to the many dangers of the depths – their average life expectancy is only about two.
● The Songs Of Stone: Occult Sense/Elemental Earth, Specialized / Requires a reflexive skill check to yield information, 3 CP): Dwarves skilled in farming can sense the quality of soil, miners can sense seams of ore and other minerals, architects can sense stonework, and so on – allowing dwarves a reflexive skill check when passing near such things to detect and evaluate them.
● Universal Crafter: Equipage with Purchasing, Specialized and Corrupted for Reduced Cost / requires the use of a workshop and hours or days of work as determined by the game master (4 CP). While Crafter Dwarves must pay the full market price of what they produce, they are not limited by such petty concerns as “availability” and only a little by time. Theirs is the power of the primal runes, the symbols that others master only with long study are theirs instinctively.
● Treasures Of The Deep: Double Enthusiast, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect (6 CP) / Only usable for two specific abilities, always starts as a Stipend, changes over to Action Hero (usually the Crafting option, although other forms have been known to appear) if – and only if – the user develops some form of the Spark. Dwarves create, even ordinary folk among them create wealth quickly and easily. Their Sparks forge wonders and legends.

Baseline Stipend:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Racial Disadvantages (-10 CP)

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

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

Mastercrafter Dwarven Cultural Package Deal:

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

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

Runechanter Dwarven Cultural Package Deal:

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

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

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

Runebinder Dwarven Cultural Package Deal:

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

● Ritual Magic (6 CP). This style involves – unsurprisingly – lots of runes. It’s usually run according to the Legends Of High Fantasy system.
● Mana, 1d6 (4), with Unskilled Magic (4 CP), Specialized for Increased Effect (efficient mana use – none is wasted and the side effects are usually merely visual) and Corrupted for Reduced Cost / Only for unskilled magic, mana must be invested in symbolic runic amulets each morning and can only be expended to produce effects symbolically appropriate to that type of runes, runic amulets can be taken away and require a bit of time to prepare – although that can be done in advance.
● Rite of Chi, Specialized and Corrupted / only to refill the Mana pool above, requires a brief ceremony in honor of the forces the Amulet Crafter draws upon (2 CP).

Rune Citadel Dwarven Cultural Package Deal:

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

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

Rune Priest Dwarven Cultural Package Deal:

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

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

Talking with the scholars:

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

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

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

Alewelian Gnomes

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

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

The most common elemental affinities for the Gnomes include:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gnomish Terrain Magic Cultural Package Deal:

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

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

Gnomish Wanderer Cultural Package Deal:

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

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

Gnomish Knack Expert Cultural Package Deal:

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

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

Gnomish Astrologer Cultural Package Deal:

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

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

Gnomish RuneFarmer Cultural Package Deal:

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

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

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

Notes from the Imperial Academy Of Science And Magic

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

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

Alewelian Halflings:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

● Mundane Equipment:(90 GP Total):

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

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

Racial Disadvantages:

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

Halfling Cultural Package Deals: Select two from…

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

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

Honey halfling don’t care.

And for some scholar’s opinions…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alewelian High Elves:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

High Elf Cultural Package Deals:

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

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

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

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

And according the the archeologists…

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

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

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

Exotic Ioun Stones

While Ailewelia makes it easy to create magic items that’s because it’s full of wild magic – and using that to make magic items doesn’t always work out even if you’re cautious. When something goes wrong – or if you’re picking up stuff that’s spawned from pure wild magic in the wilderness – not a few enchantments turn out to be bizarre, marginal, or even fairly useless. Others can be wildly overpowered – especially if they go undiscovered, and accumulating power, for a century or two.

So here we have some of the odder, if still more or less functional, Ioun Stones to turn up – admittedly, quite a few of them in bins of misenchanted items. Some of them also turn up as enchanted nuts and seeds, which at least makes the druids happy. Planting one of those in an area of high wild magic can get… strange. Personally, I’d give it a roll on that old table for the Ultimate Bag Of Beans (Dragon Magazine 171).

As for the stones, the samples so far include:

Agate Of Angry Tweety Birds: The user is constantly surrounded by a swarm of colorful, but somehow very angry looking, birds. Each round the user may, as a standard action, point at a target and send a bird hurtling towards it to strike like a catapult stone, inflicting 4d6 bludgeoning damage before vanishing. Birds have a 50′ range increment but require a normal ranged attack check. Interestingly, an Agate Of Angry Tweety Birds can link up with any Weapon Augment Crystal, applying the effects to the birds (6000 GP, Moderate Conjuration).

Andesine Of Applause: Provides the sounds of an appreciative and enthusiastic (if well-behaved) audience whenever the user is making a Perform check, providing a +1 Morale Bonus to said check (400 GP, Faint Illusion).

Bardic Bayldonite: The user may at any point sacrifice 1 SP or 1 GP to the stone, receiving in return two hours of decent / excellent music, as if he or she had hired a skilled / expert performer. This music may be suppressed at will, but such intervals will still count against the duration. All funds thus collected will somehow wind up being donated to one or another charitable cause, although which one it is varies from stone to stone (250 GP, Faint Illusion).

Baryte Bookstone: The user has effectively memorized the contents of a particular tome chosen when the stone is created. (400 GP, Faint Divination).

Beer Cozy: This floating slate disc will, at any time, hold your drink without ever spilling it or allowing it to become diluted by things like rain. This is most often used to keep a potion handy for immediate use, but is also useful in bar fights or when you opt to do something very stupid while drunk. (400 GP, Faint Conjuration).

Benetite Of Bedtime: Can be set to orbiting one child or a group of up to six children, whereupon it will tell them a pleasant story, usually containing some reasonable moral or practical lesson. If and when they go to sleep, they will have pleasant dreams, usually about the story. (200 GP, Faint Enchantment).

Bezoar Stone. This grey-black fibrous mass protects the user against hangovers and similar symptoms of over-indulgence. (400 GP, Faint Conjuration (Healing)). More powerful versions also provide a +2 on saves against ingested poisons (1200 GP, Moderate Conjuration (Healing)). The most powerful versions (12,250 GP, Strong Conjuration (Healing)) can also cast Neutralize Poison once per day as well as granting the benefits of the lesser stones.

Black Diamond Midnight Hexstone: The user of this powerful stone gains control over the “Darkforce”, and can manipulate it in a variety of ways. Unfortunately, no individual user can effectively tap into more than a few of the many possibilities this presents. L5 Greater Invocation (Any desired “Darkforce” Power/Spell of L3 or less) x Caster Level 10 x .7 (Any given user will only be able to access (Cha Mod) individual effects other than the basic “Darkbolt” effect) x.8 (User must have Darksight) x 2000 GP (Unlimited-Use Use-Activated) x 2 (no item slot required) = 112,000 GP. Saving throws against the effects produced are DC 17. (Strong Evocation).

● A Darkbolt is a single target ranged touch attack, inflicts 10d6 (1d6/Level to a maximum of 10d6) Force Damage and has a Bull Rush score equal to the damage rolled. Victims will automatically be carried the maximum possible distance if the Bull Rush succeeds. It can also be used as a strength check to break through things.

Other appropriate effects include

● Dark Matter: Creates 40 cubic feet of a dark substance equivalent to oak within short range. It can be shaped as the user wills, but attempting to entrap a target allows a reflex save. The stuff lasts for ten minutes.
● Aura Of Darkness: +6 Armor Bonus, DR 5 / Light or Holy. Lasts for ten minutes, but can simply be “left running” while the user has the stone active.
● Wings Of Shadow: Much more dramatic than Fly, but you do need room to spread your wings. Otherwise as per Fly. Again, this can simply be left active while the user has the stone active.
● Darkstorm: Does 10d4 Force damage to a 60′ cone, a 20′ radius, or a 5′ line 120 feet long, with the effect occuring within medium range. Reflex save for half.
● As well as dozens of other Darkness and/or Force spells (generally upgraded to third level if currently below that), such as Blacklight, Chain Missile, Cone of Dimness, Manyjaws, and many many more.

Other stones along this line have been seen, but all of them are thematic, tied to particular sets of descriptors, and apparently never involve the Chaotic, Evil, Good, or Lawful descriptors. Rumors of a high epic level set involving the “descriptors” of Space, Reality, Power, Mind, Time, and Soul are unconfirmed.

Bowenite Battlestone: Allows a Tiny (or smaller) Familiar to disappear inside itself, an effect equivalent to a Familiar Pocket spell but providing an excellent moving point of view, allowing the Familiar to continue providing Alertness. The stone also provides the benefits of a Spell Component Pouch and allows the Familiar to fire two Magic Missiles (for a total of 2d4+2 damage) each round. (8000 GP, Moderate Evocation).

Burning Ember: This burning lump of coal acts as a Bag Of Flames (Magic Item Compendium, 3500 GP, Faint Transmutation). Minor variants have other elemental affinities but the same basic effects.

Carbuncle Of Cataclysm: This crimson stone will suggest that people buy it. Once purchased it will sarcastically point out flaws in it’s user’s plans, note blatantly obvious things that they SHOULD have done or be doing (You’re going caving. Maybe bring a light source?), and offer after-the-fact corrections when things go wrong (It’s best to find out how to hotwire a car before you try to do it!). It is actually tolerably well informed (being able to “take 15″ as if skilled in all Knowledge Skills), but it is inhabited by a spirit of disaster, not foresight or planning. While it occasionally offers decent insights into plans that are likely to fail (and thus fall within it’s domain) any plan that IT proposes is guaranteed to turn into a disaster if implemented. (1000 GP, Moderate Divination).

Catseye Narration: The user of this stone, and his or her party, will be provided with a narrator, who will describe what is going on, although only the user and his or her party will be able to hear them. (“Here we see our brave adventurers in battle against a group of Orc warriors, and it’s going fairly well, but Ahrin has just taken an arrow to the knee! THAT’S going to hurt his mobility a bit!”). Occasionally this will provide a few moments warning of combat, granting the user and his or her party a +1 Competence Bonus to Initiative up to three times per day (1250 GP, Faint Divination.

Celestine Clock: The user can tell at a glance what time it is. He or she may also set it to chime at a chosen time or after a particular duration. This provides a +1 Circumstance Bonus to Craft (Cooking) and Knowledge (Astronomy) (400 GP, Faint Divination).

Conjunction Chrysocolla: This stone allows the user to tap into celestial powers, ranging from the minor charms of routine conjunctions up to the grandiose power of once-per-age alignments. On any given day the user will have access to 1d4 effects. On most days these may be determined randomly, setting their levels (rolled independently with a d6) at 1) Level One, 2-3) Level Two, 4-5) Level Three, or 6) Level Four and may use each of them once ever ten rounds. On days with only minor celestial events the available effects will be of levels 1-3) L0, 4-5) L1, and 6) L2. On GM- chosen days with grandiose events – perhaps the ten-thousand year comet that marks the ending of the age links the Crown Of Fire with the Emperor’s Scepter today – the spells available might be pretty much anything. Spells are cast at Caster Level Ten, or the minimum level requred for spells of above level five (90,000 GP, Strong Evocation).

Crazy Cat Lady Catseye Emerald: Provides DR 3/not being a cat, automatically keeps cats clean and fluffy in a 10′ radius (the effect persisting after they leave until they get dirty again), cleans up any minor cat-related messes in a 10′ radius, allows the user to speak with cats (although they rarely have much of interest to say), and produces 4 GP worth of cat food and treats every day – enough to feed a considerable swarm of housecats or a few bigger ones, if still having virtually no resale value as it spoils (and gets cleaned up) rapidly. Most cats near the user will want to be petted. (2500 GP, Faint Evocation (Cats)).

Crystal Idiocy: This thin crystal sheet functions as a personal video game console, allowing the user to play a wide variety of anachronistic video games by gesturing at it. If several people within a 60′ radius have them, they may opt to play elaborate team games and/or MMO games. This can greatly amuse children and help mitigate periods of boredom. Users with Wis of 8 or less must make a DC 8 Will check on a random day each week or wake up short of sleep. (100 GP, Faint Illusion).

Crystal Pirate Parrot: This small crystal parrot apparently wears a tiny pirate hat and looks like it has a tiny cutlass, although these are just details of the carving. It sometimes flies around the user’s head and sometimes sits on his or her shoulder. It can be taught a few simple words beyond the “Aaargh!”, “Pieces of Eight!”, “Ahoy Matey!” “Avast Ye!”, “Aye Aye!”, “Heave Ho!”, “Shiver Me Timbers!”, and “Walk The Plank!” it starts off with, sparkles like any intricately carved crystal, and looks neat. (200 GP, Faint Transmutation). The 25,000 GP (Strong Transmutation) version actually functions as a Familiar which can talk and grants a +2 bonus to Appraise and two Languages (chosen when the Parrot is created).

Evil Overlords Sphalerite Soothstone: This stone effectively has the insight and general knowledge of an average six year old human child, and will occasionally chime in when the user is making plans with simple questions about said plans. It is strongly recommended that any flaws in such plans that are revealed by the Soothstone be corrected before said plan is implemented. (400 GP, Faint Divination).

Feldspar Fagin: Within one week the user will have acquired a gang of 3d8 street urchin followers who will bring him or her rumors, reports on things going on in the area, and occasional stolen items of moderate value. There is also a one in six chance each week that the gang will need some help, which the user will be obliged to provide – bailing a kid out of jail, getting them supplies because the pickings have been poor, treating wounds or illnesses, or possibly even a daring rescue mission. Otherwise, however, the gang will be supportive and provide many minor services. (4000 GP, Strong Enchantment).

Fluorapatite Of Force: 3 Charges/Day, the user may spend one as a move action to create a 10 x 10 Wall Of Force up to thirty feet from the user. This barrier lasts for three rounds. (10,000 GP, Strong Evocation).

Goshenite Galaxy: Creates three force-stars to orbit the user each round, up to a maximum total of twelve. These may be used to:

● Deflect incoming projectiles. It requires one star to deflect an incoming bolt, arrow, shuriken, dagger, bullet, magic missile, or similarly sized projectile, two for javelins, spears, and similar weapons, and three for ballista bolts and such. Giant-, or Siege Engine-, hurled boulders and similar “weapons” are not affected. This does not require an action and may be done at any time – even on behalf of another character.
● Intercept rays. Each star so employed grants a (cumulative) +3 to the targets AC against the ray and to the save (if any) against it’s effects. This does not require an action and may be done at any time, even on behalf of another.
● Block melee attacks. Each star sacrificed for this purpose reduces the damage from such an attack by six points. This does not require an action and may be done at any time, but cannot be done on behalf of another.
● Attack. The caster may launch up to (Spellcasting Attribute Mod) stars at a target as a standard action later on. They may also launch a single star at a target as a swift action. In either case, each star gets a roll to hit at the caster’s full base attack bonus plus their spellcasting attribute modifier plus five, threatens critical hits on a 19-20, and inflicts 1d6 points of Force damage. This does not provoke attacks of opportunity, but it is treated as a small physical projectile – and so one Star can deflect another.
● Create patterns or swirl around within close range. This looks neat and is a free action.
(72,000 GP, Strong Evocation. See the “Halo Of Stars” spell on the blog).

Icy Hailstone: When the user holds up his or her hand and wills it, it will immediately be filled with a block of hard-frozen ice or a snowball. This can be thrown as per a rock, used as a temporary weight, be tossed ahead to possibly trigger traps, be used to cool drinks or to make ice cream, or be used as a wedge or for many other purposes, but will soon melt and is no tougher than ice or snow usually is. (1800 GP, Faint Conjuration)

Iron Skewer (set of three): When loaded with appropriate ingredients these implements float themselves over the nearest fire until your shish kabob is nicely done (providing a +3 Speciality in Cooking for this particular dish). Once done, the shish kabob will circle the user’s head until eaten, remaining fresh and piping hot for up to three days. (200 GP, Faint Conjuration).

Jade Chimes: This handful of jade strips are mystically linked, and always circle the user in the same order. They function as per a Bardic Instrument, albeit using Perform (Percussion) (specialities in the Xylophone, Bells, and Chimes could all apply) rather than Perform (Strings). If not in use they tend to chime gently and soothingly, although the user can suppress this “wind chime” effect at will. Cost, functions, and magical aura as per the selected Bardic Instrument.

Jeremejevite Crownstone: This unusual stone gathers all of the user’s Ioun Stones up into a whirling crown or halo. It has AC 28, 25 HP, Hardness 20, Saves of +10, and must be eliminated before any of the user’s other Ioun Stones become vulnerable to harm or capture. Secondarily, the Crownstone functions as a Wayfinder Of Hidden Strength, although which other stone is considered “slotted” can only be changed once per day. (12,000 GP, Strong Evocation and Transmutation).

Keg Stone: Stores up to ten gallons of liquid as long as it is not particularly dangerous, unstable, or outside the normal temperature range for human consumption (tea yes, soup yes, vinegar yes, oil yes, molten metal no, nitroglycerin no, naphtha no, damaging acids no. Holy Water… ask your GM) dispensing it on request at the same temperature as it was when it was stored. Sadly, the Keg Stone can only store one type of liquid at a time. (500 GP, Faint Transmutation).

Lapis-Lazuli Lego: The user may produce legos, maintaining up to (Int Mod +1) x 5 GP worth of them at a time. (500 GP, Faint Conjuration. If you don’t feel like trying to estimate how many legos that is… look at real-world prices with each 1 GP = $20). An advanced version of this stone allows them to be animated with concentration – but at a maximum range of ten feet. This does allow the user to put on elaborate puppet shows and such however (1200 GP, Faint Conjuration).

Lunar Zodiac Armalcolite: These stones bring the influence of the moon into the user’s life, allowing them to tap into the effects of lycanthropy – albeit in a limited form, equivalent to one of the “Bite Of The” spells – at will. Unfortunately, the user will also find themselves becoming hairier, showing the classical symptoms of lycanthropy, will find that any kids they have are born as lycanthropes, and will have some trouble with their new animal instincts (these may call for the occasional DC 15 will save to resist) with all such effects persisting for weeks after they cease using the stone (x.7 cost modifier): Wererat (16,800 GP), Werewolf (42,000 GP), Wereboar (78,400 GP), Weretiger (126,000), and Werebear (184,800 GP). (Moderate to Strong Transmutation).

Magnetite Gearstone: The user may reach out into the universe and call forth an item worth up to 10 GP as a standard action. Sadly, a maximum of 10 GP worth of items can be maintained at any one time, items vanish in two rounds if you let them go, and it can’t produce any item that isn’t basically generic; you can get an arrow, but not a masterwork arrow. (4000 GP, Moderate Conjuration).

Malachite Hairstone: This spiky fibrous stone causes the user’s hair to become a spiky, brilliantly colored, mass. This is an effective substitute for a helmet and has been described as making the user “look cool”. (200 GP, Faint Transmutation).

Merry Wanderers Wavellite Songstone: The user always remains dry, clean, and neat (via limited Prestidigitation, x.25) and is not affected by natural weather (Endure Elements). In addition, the user may make a DC 15 Perform check to cause any area they stop in to become a welcoming and comfortable campsite – subject to the effects of Mage’s Comfort, supplied with hearty, if basic, food and drink for up to eight occupants (a variant on the Field Provisions Box, trading half the quantity for better quality), and a cheerful, if well-concealed, hearthfire which will, if it is too hot, radiate cold instead of heat. (5000 GP, Moderate Conjuration and Illusion (Shadow)).

Mage’s Comfort (Bard I, Sorcerer/Wizard I, Illusion (Shadow), Casting Time 1 Minute, Components V, S, Area: Special, Duration Two Hours Per Level, Saving Throw None (Harmless), Spell Resistance No).

Mages Comfort makes an area (campsite, apartment, extradimensional space, etc) pleasant to stay in – with blankets, cushions, comfortable chairs, endtables, beds with nice mattresses, and other “real enough” furnishings. Anything removed from the area will, however, vanish instantly and none of the items can be effectively used as weapons, restraints, or for purposes other than comfort.

Meteor Storm: When set circling the user’s head, this stone becomes a dozen smaller stones, each allowing the user to cast a particular level zero spell once per day. If the user does not have a caster level use their (Level / 3). (2500 GP, Faint Varied). Alternatively, the stones can each have a trivial continuous function – keeping your hair neat, your feet dry, your food and drink warm or cold as appropriate, glowing like a candle, allowing you to smoke the same (mundane) cigarette, pipe full of tobacco, or cigar indefinitely, reminding you when it’s time for your medications, keeping your hands clean, substituting itself for any missing button on your outfit, providing a tickertape record of all the treasure you gain, functioning as a self-inking rubber stamp with up to (Cha Mod +1, 1 Minimum) messages available, making your pupils look like tiny skulls, acting like a zero-calorie everlasting sucker, or similar.

Musgravite Sculptstone: By dint of the amazing flexing and posing this stone allows, the user may employ his or her (Str Mod) instead of his or her (Cha Mod) when using the Intimidate skill. The user may apply this same effect when attempting to show off and/or impress people by flexing his or her incredible muscles at them (2500 GP, Faint Illusion).

Obsidian Inkstone: The user may “write” or “draw” runes, symbols, pictures, diagrams, and similar things on any suitable surface within thirty feet in the equivalent of black “permanent” marker, covering up to 100 square feet per round. Attempting to draw on a resisting creature allows a DC 12 will save, and will usually be considered annoying. Drawing silly stuff on sleeping creatures does not allow a save. (750 GP, Faint Conjuration). Versions which allow a full palette of colors are 2000 GP. Versions which also allow the creation of Magic Tattoos (As per Create Magic Tattoo, but only requiring one minute each) cost 32,000 GP and radiate Moderate Conjuration.

Optometric Crystal: This crystal sphere will float in front of one of the user’s eyes whenever he or she wishes, there serving as either a telescope or a magnifying glass as needed. Faint Divination, 2500 GP. Reduce to 500 GP if cheap optical quality lenses are available in the setting).

Orbital Moonstone: This softly pearlescent grey sphere orbits it’s user always keeping the same side towards him or her. It…

● Acts as an Calculating Grand Orrery for the local system, offering a +4 Circumstance Bonus on Knowledge (Geography) checks and on Survival Checks to navigate the void of space. It also tells the time and acts as a focus for the Augury spell (2000 GP).
● Bestows several Specific Knowledges – Rocketry, Alchemical Fuels and Explosives, and Piloting (Space Vehicles).
● Provides a +1 Enhancement Bonus to Survival.
● Provides a +1 Enhancement Bonus to Control Shape.
● Allows the user to manifest a Moon Blade (Caster Level Five) on command.

(36,000 GP, Strong Evocation and Divination).

Papagoite Propstone: The user has an endless supply of minor accessories – glasses, cigarettes, hats, tight-fitting shirts to be burst by muscle flexing, and similar items. While such items will fade away a few moments after leaving the user’s possession, cannot be used as alchemy supplies, spell components, weapons, or armor, the user can claim a +2 circumstance bonus on a roll up to three times per day, provided that he or she can describe how such a prop helps. For an example, a user might claim a +2 bonus against blinding light by dint of his or her cool sunglasses. (4000 GP, Faint Illusion (Shadow))

Paste Stone: This stick of clayey chalk can be grabbed, rubbed on something, and will coat it with a thin sticky layer similar to library paste or rubber cement. While there is no inherent limit to the area covered or number of applications, the stuff is not particularly strong and it will take a long time to cover any significant area (250 GP, Faint Conjuration).

Peridot Of Presentation: The user of this stone will find that his or her cloak bellows dramatically in the wind (whether or not there is a wind), their gleaming white teeth glint in the sun, their hair is never messy, even bloodstains and injuries will simply add to their striking appearance. The user gains a +1 Circumstance Bonus on Charisma-Based Checks (1200 GP, Faint Transmutation).

Peridot Piestone: Whenever the user wishes, he or she can cause a pie of any common variety to appear in their hand. While such pies have no actual nutritional value, and vanish entirely in ten to fifteen minutes, they are quite tasty. They are also well-balanced for throwing, and may be tossed to their maximum range of forty feet without penalty as a ranged touch attack. Any large or smaller creature struck by a pie becomes messy, and must make a DC 8 Reflex Save to avoid either slipping and falling or being blinded for one round until they get the pie out of their eyes (a 50-50 chance of either result). (1800 GP, Moderate Conjuration).

Pounamu Of Parturition: If this stone is allowed to orbit a pregnant female for three days it will project an illusion of what the baby or babies will look like once it or they are born. (200 GP, Moderate Divination).

Prismatic Chalk: This stick of chalk will never run out and takes on whatever color the user wants at the moment. A boon to artists. Often paired with a stone of Mica Fixative, which plates an invisibly thin layer of Mica over a small area sufficient to protect chalk, charcoal, crayon, and similar media from smearing and casual water damage. (200 GP and Faint Conjuration for either stone).

Reflective Facets: The twenty facets of this quartz crystal can each be used to capture an image, as if taking a photograph. Individual images can be looked at at any time (although a magnifying glass may prove useful), discarded at whim, or – up to three times per day – be permanently imprinted on an appropriate surface up to one foot square in good ink. If facets are unfilled, the stone will busily fill them up with candid images of the user at various interesting moments, although such images can be discarded at whim as usual. (2000 GP, Moderate Divination).

Rhinestone: The user appears to be covered in tiny sparkling gems, with more floating in the air about him or her. This is extremely garish, can cause considerable startlement in onlookers who are suddenly confronted with this apparition, and provides 5 points of energy resistance versus light-based attacks, such as lasers. (250 GP, Moderate Illusion).

Rhodonite Ringstone: Creates numerous illusory Ioun Stones orbiting the user. If the user has more than a dozen or so, this will result in the appearance of Saturn-style rings. Any attempt to grab or attack one of the user’s Ioun Stones has a two in three chance of targeting an illusory one instead. (800 GP, Faint Illusion).

Sapphire Service: The user acquires the services of a supercilious (if mostly illusory, alas) butler, given to dry sarcastic commentary, who will show up whenever called. The butler can provide services equivalent to those of an Unseen Servant, albeit one with access to Create Water (while this can be flavored via Prestidigitation, it is still water), Mending, Periscope (allowing it to look around corners and such out to a range of thirty feet and describe what it sees. Of course, if it encounters something hostile, it will tend to return with an arrow through it, or carrying it’s head, to dryly announce that “there seem to be hostiles sir!”), and Prestidigitation. (6000 GP, Faint Illusion (Shadow).

Sinanju Sunstone: Provides a +7 Competence Bonus to all Martial Arts skills – whether or not the user knows the style in question. Unfortunately, if the style requires a prerequisite feat that the user does not have the bonus is reduced to +1 – but the user is treated as if they fulfill that requirement while they are using the style (24,000 GP, Strong Divination).

Smoky Serandite: The user is immune to smoke inhalation and may exhale smoke instead of air at will. Such smoke may be sulfurous, luminous, colored, scented, irritating, low in oxygen, annoyingly hot, or any desired combination of up to three of those attributes. The user may also blow smoke rings or puff smoke into an opponents face in an attempt at a Dirty Trick. (500 GP, Faint Transmutation).

Smoldering Sphalerite: The carved incense holder can contain one block or pound of incense, igniting it or extinguishing it as the user wills. If pulled from it’s orbit it can be used as a hand-warmer or (with some puffing) to light candles or dry twigs. (500 GP, Moderate Evocation).

Spiky Scheelite: The user may point to any space within 30′ and fill a 5 x 5 area with Caltrips as a standard action OR fill a 10 x 10 area with caltrips as a full round action. Sadly, the caltrops vanish after an hour, and are obviously magical creations even before that, and not salable. (4000 GP, Moderate Conjuration).

Thomsonite Eyestone: The user may cause the stone to project an obviously-illusory “hologram” filling up to a 10′ cube of whatever he or she envisions, allowing him or her to easy display maps, images of targets or witnessed scenes, plans, scenes from tales, and similar items. (500 GP, Faint Divination and Illusion).

Tourmaline Tailstone: The user gains a jaunty, puffy, tail. This is decorative and provides a +2 circumstance bonus to attempts to look cute. (400 GP, Moderate Transmutation). Improved versions (2000 GP, still Moderate Transmutation) provide the same bonus to Tumble and Balance Checks (In Pathfinder, Acrobatics checks, and only 1200 GP). In neither case is the tail prehensile or an effective weapon. It can, however, be grabbed.

Unknowable Unikite: This stone has between one and thirty facets, but it is impossible to tell exactly how many. In general, the higher the intelligence of a creature examining the stone, the worse the resulting headache will be, with superhuman intellects potentially being briefly incapacitated with severe migraines. If used as a die in a game of chance it is 90% certain that the game will break up in an acrimonious dispute. (200 GP, Strong Necromancy).

Zeolite Windstone: Monitors environmental hazards, warning the user of radiation, flammable or toxic gases, irritants, low oxygen levels, excessive particulate levels, and similar environmental quality issues. Admittedly, it does nothing about them, and most people quickly become aware of being underwater or being unable to breathe on their own, but the warning of more subtle hazards is sometimes useful. (1500 GP, Faint Divination).

Character-Defining Feats

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Lays of Ancient Rome by Thomas Babington Macaulay

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Eclipse d20 – The Silver Tree Lodge

The players in the Allwellia game have decided that they want a base of their own – a place built to accommodate them and enhance their abilities, to provide some focus for their adventuring, and to house their retinues. For good or ill, however, none of them have any points to spare save for the Mystic Gunfighter / Lovecraftian Invoker, who is more than happy to spend a little of his power (and quite a chunk of the group treasury) accommodating their desires. And that is why they are currently getting the…

Silver Tree Lodge (6 CP, 248,676 GP).

Or about 300,000 GP without the Allwellian “Abundant Magic” x.8 modifier.

High above the ground in the branches of a mighty, banyon-like multi-trunked tree, surrounded by the rustling silvery leaves and cooling breezes of the upper air, the numerous platforms and structures of the Silver Tree Lodge glow faintly with the mingled radiance of the moon and stars. Winds softened by the rippling foliage carry gentle mists and rains coiling about the verdant tree, drifting softly down from the Skydocks further up, where the Fairy Sail and the Phantom Voyager are moored when the (unfortunately-named) Reckless Voyagers of Abyssal Meddling – the Company of Shadows – are in residence. Along the branches, sparkling through fountains and cascading in tiny waterfalls from branch to branch, flow streams of water, rivulets supplied by the perpetual fountain and reserves of water in the upper levels. As the cascades pass through strings of vine and patter upon chimes and drumheads of resonant jade and living wood, the deeper tones complement the sounds of birdsong – and of the bells, woodwinds, and strings ringing with the plucking winds of the upper levels in am ever-varying symphony – beauty concealing an array of terrible powers torn from the beating heart of creation by elder magics.

The characters will undoubtedly have to deal with other would-be claimants, the Empire wishing to garrison the place (after all, it’s a new settlement – and empires tend to object to competition, to major power nexi and possible threats outside their control, and to stuff they don’t own as is the general nature of empires). Secondarily, of course, this is a completely over-the-top design, a mystical place of power of terrifying potency. Leaving something like this purely in the characters hands would be completely insane even if half of said characters weren’t insane themselves.

As with most strongholds, this one is built around money and a single basic ability – Sanctum, the ability to claim a place and gain enhanced power while there. Usually those are fairly private and – while not easily mobile – can be moved given time and effort. Not in this case!

  • Sanctum, Specialized for Increased Effect / The power invested in the Silver Lodge cannot be transferred to a new location without the use of three Wishes (to prepare the new site, to set up a transfer link to it, and to initiate the transfer), the sanctum is an obvious place of power that will attract various creatures and official attention. (6 CP, provides 48 CP to work with). The Lodge is a nexus of unearthly power, a connection between what IS and what MIGHT BE, and thus a beacon to what is beyond.

So let us build a Sanctum!

Sanctum Powers:

  • Mystic Link with Power Link (The original creator, Specialized / only to maintain the functions of the lodge and provide the creator with basic awareness of what is going on in it, the creator may not draw on the Sanctum’s powers remotely, 3 CP): The lodge will remain functional, whether or not it’s creator is there – or is even still among the living, for the bond of it’s creation extends beyond death.
    • In other words… the Sanctum is a fairly permanent thing.
  • The Angles Of R’yleh: Cloaking, Specialized for Reduced Cost/Divinations about the sanctum will reveal general information about the place – whether people are in residence, are the servants busy, is the garrison up to strength, etc – but never anything precise enough to put to use about the activities or location of anyone important. There shall be no scry-and-die tactics here (3 CP).
    • It’s a bit of an oddity to apply this to a location rather than to a character, but as variant powers go, that seems pretty reasonable.
  • Cyclopean Craftsman: Mystic Artist/Architecture with Seeking, Specialized and Corrupted for Reduced Cost/the user may only create one structure (The Silver Tree Lodge) and cannot later change the effects going into it (4 CP). This, of course, uses Harmonize to provide two functions.
    • From Water Does All Life Begin (Heroism, Skill 30): All Residents/Defenders gain +4 Positive Levels (+4 BAB, Saves, and AC, +24 CP):
      • The residents 24 CP go to… Double Enthusiast, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect/Only for Innate Enchantment (Up to 5500 GP Value, 6 CP), Immunity/the XP cost of up to 5500 GP worth of Innate Enchantment (Common (since they will be changing regularly), Minor, Trivial, 2 CP), Damage Reduction 2/-, Specialized in Physical Damage for Double Effect (4/-) (3 CP), Grant Of Aid (6 CP), Speak Serpentine (still a language that doesn’t properly exist. They’ll speak it anyway) (1 CP), Occult Sense/Attacks (always gain two rounds to prepare and a +1 Insight bonus to AC and Saves, 6 CP).
    • Echoes Of Deep Time – (Serenity, Skill 18): When this music plays (up to twice per week), all Residents/Defenders gain the equivalent of a nights rest – eliminating fatigue, regaining hit points, attribute points, restoring uses-per-day powers, being able to prepare spells, and so on, in an instant.
  • The Song Of Creation – Occult Construction Methods: Action Hero/Crafting, Specialized and Corrupted / only for construction, expansion, and repair of the sanctum (2 CP). Taken at effective level nine, by level ten this provides a total of 23 AP to work with – enough to complete the construction of the Silver Tree Lodge through whatever inexplicable means the user prefers.
  • Lost Caracosa Ritual Chamber – Occult Ritual (6 CP): With the aid of the lodge’s occult library, runic arrays, and heaps of components, this chamber can be used for many feats of Ritual Magic (Atherian Variant, using appropriate knowledge skills).
  • The Gates Of The Silver Key – Privilege (3 CP). The lodge is a nexus of Genesis Magic – the primal power of Creation and Transformation. Creatures born there can have any of several different Birthrights, fertility is heightened, and childbirth is eased. So are other acts of creation – an effect purchased as:
    • Dominion (Specialized and Corrupted/only as a prerequisite, 2 CP), Path Of The Pharaoh; Manipulation (Specialized and Corrupted/only as a prerequisite, 2 CP), and Path Of The Pharaoh; Sphere Of Influence (Genesis)/Specialized for Reduced Cost and Corrupted for Increased Effect (Genesis-related spells are cast as if one level lower for casting purposes only, +10 unnamed bonus to acts of creation undertaken at the lodge, including alchemy and crafting)/does not provide information, cannot grant spells, bonus cannot be transmitted beyond the lodge (3 CP)
  • Gift Of Gla’aki, The Dreaming Lands – Leadership with Exotic Followers (Traps, Constructs, and Wards), Specialized for Increased Effect (Ward may be of Rank (ECL -4), but never Epic and only covers the tree and lodge and it’s immediate vicinity) and Corrupted for Reduced Cost (6 CP) / Ward Only, Ward does not generally bother to discriminate between inhabitants and people who have been around for more than a few hours (“all mortals look alike to me!”), powers are mostly determined by the Genesis Nexus and the standard City Ward effects of the setting.  The Ward powers – which affect every resident of the lodge – are as follows,
    • Minor Powers:
      • Industry: Mundane Productivity is multiplied by a factor of seven within the Ward.
      • Longevity: Natural Aging within the Ward is reduced to 1/10’th of the normal rate.
      • Non-Euclidean: The area has numerous dimensional distortions, pockets, and local gates. It can be very confusing to outsiders. It also makes it even harder to scry on than the Angles Of R’yleh already do.
      • True Dreaming: Residents may adventure in the Dreamlands while the sleep, can keep track of those distant but dear to them through clairsentient dreams, and may occasionally receive visions from mysterious sources.
      • Warcraft: Residents gain +2 BAB, +1d10 HD, and proficiency with shields, medium armor, simple, and martial weapons, as long as they are within the Ward.
    • Major Powers:
      • Empowerment. Allwellia features cheap items for non-adventurers that only work within a Cities Ward. Such items will work in the lodge as well.
      • Mystic Herbs. In conjunction with The Gates Of The Silver Key, the Silver Tree produces fruits and mystical herbs that allow the creation of 1d6 mystical potions or works of alchemy every day without other costs. Such things are suitable catalysts and components for almost any form of Middle Alchemy. https://ruscumag.wordpress.com/2020/11/28/eclipse-d20-alchemical-creations-the-item-list/
      • Mystic Walls: The Ward can surround itself – in part or whole with a deadly Cloudkill mist at will.
  • Mantic Engineering: Siddhisyoga, Specialized for Increased Effect (effects are purchased at their normal cost) / all powers are invested in the sanctum, and can be moved only via the aforementioned Wishes (6 CP). Items purchased through Mantic Engineering include:
    • Fruit Of The Sepheroth The Silver Tree grows marvelous alchemical fruit, containing portions of the five Alchemical Catalysts – Philosophical Sulfur, “Red” Mercury, Alchemical Salts, True Jade, and Orichalcum Powder (these are generic alchemical materials, used as raw materials for other crafting projects. They count as Trade Goods,worth 100 GP/Ounce. The trees fruits produce some 1000 GP worth per day. This is a variant of the Dragonscale Supply Pouch, 13,000 GP after the Abundant Magic modifier.
    • Roots Of The Earth: The Lodge is empowered by the magic of the world itself, and is effectively indestructible (Lyre Of Building, x5 for Unlimited Use of a daily ability (rendering structures invulnerable), x.5 for eliminating the Building function = 26.000 GP after the Abundant Magic modifier).
    • The Celeano Manuscripts: As per a Mask Of A Thousand Tomes, but consists of several hundred massive volumes (basically immobile, x .5), requiring a DC 20 Decipher Script check (x.8) and at least 1d4 hours of intense study and concentration in a suitable library to use (x.8) x.8 (Abundant Magic) = 2560 GP. If you have the time to use the Manuscripts they provide a +10 competence bonus to any Knowledge skill check.
    • The Springs Of R’lyeh: Perpetual Fountain II (2400 GP with the Abundant Magic modifier). At 45,000 gallons per hour, this provides more than enough waterflow for fountains, waterfalls, running water, and turning waterwheels to provide power for the other facilities.
    • Sigils Of The Elder Ones: Greater Marvelous Tattoo Parlor (38,400 GP after the Abundant Magic modifier). This means that the lodge owners can each have their quota of three mystic tattoos – and most of their entourages can have one each.
    • Fane Of The Black Pharaoh: Shrine Of War (28,800 GP after Abundant Magic, maintains up to 1200 +5 Weapons (50 Ammo counts as one weapon). The residents of the lodge tend to be quite heavily armed.
    • Shrine Of The Pallid Mask: Monument Of The Enduring Warrior (16,000 GP after Abundant Magic, maintains up to 1200 pieces of +5 Armor). With +5 Armor and Shields, the residents of the lodge can put up considerable resistance to attackers.
    • Boundless Gifts Of Yog-Sothoth (Provides 750 GP worth of supplies per day, pulling them from other universes where they are no longer needed, City Stores, 7250 GP after the Abundant Magic modifier). The lodge never runs short of food, rope, cloth, and other basic supplies – although expensive raw materials for major projects will still need to be brought in.
    • Eye Of Cthughu: Dark Rampart (5200 GP after the Abundant Magic modifier). Undead cannot be created within several miles of the burning eye of creation – preventing spawning undead from simply taking over.
    • Pillar Of Ithaqua (Wind Tower (The Practical Enchanter), 23,200 GP after the Abundant Magic modifier). There may be storms in the evening, but they are purely for drama, enjoyment, and watering the area. The weather around the lodge is always ideal.
    • Phantom Mill: (The Practical Enchanter, 2000 GP, 1600 GP with Abundant Magic). Basically a swarm of unseen servants takes care of cleaning, laundry, butchering, canning, picking fruit, letting the pets in and out, closing the windows when it rains, powering the elevators, minor repairs, serving meals, grinding grain, sawing lumber, heating water for baths, scrubbing your back in said baths, watering and fertilizing plants, weeding, and similar minor household tasks throughout the lodge.
    • Mystic Massages (8000 GP after the Abundant Magic modifier). A full-service spa and massage parlor which can also supply the occasional Remove Disease, Remove Curse, Remove Blindness/Deafness, and Cure Serious Wounds effect.
    • Universal Foundry: Greater Invocation (any “Enchant Tools” effect of up to Level Three, L4) x Caster Level Seven x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x .5 (Immobile) x .8 (Only works with installed Artisian’s Workshops = 22,400 GP (20,000 GP after the Abundant Magic Modifier). This provides those working in relevant shops with a +4 Circumstance Bonus to their Craft or Profession skill checks and provides a x4 multiplier on the amount of work they can accomplish.
      • Artisan’s Workshops (count as Masterwork Tools, provide +2 Circumstance Bonuses on relevant Craft/Profession checks, provides sufficient workspace for up to three workers, x10 (x.5, Does not provide “downtime” income = 1800 GP. Sadly, this is not really magic, so the Abundant Magic modifier does not apply): Current shops include: Alchemy/Chemistry, Arts and Crafts, Books/Scrolls/Paper/Illumination/Etc, Food/Drink, Metal, Wood/Plastics, Glass and Ceramics, Fiber (Tailoring/Weaving/Sewing/Spinning), Stone/Gems/Crystal, and Mechanics/Constructs.
      • One Master’s Badge (The Practical Enchanter) for each Workshop (x.5 Immobile x.8 Abundant Magic = 8000 GP). These provide a +4 Assistance Bonus to anyone working in the shops and another x4 multiplier (x7 in total) to the amount of work accomplished.
      • At a net cost of some 34,200 GP (or 27,720 GP on Allwellia) the Universal Foundry provides a bonus to crafting of +2 (Masterwork Tools) +4 (Circumstance) +4 (Assistance) = +10 on relevant Craft and Profession checks, as well as allowing the user a x7 multiplier on the amount of work done – allowing a weeks worth of work to be done in a day. (a +20 bonus and two weeks worth of work per day after the effects of the Genesis Nexus and the Industry effect of the Ward are added in). While that sounds like a lot… the difference between working with a bag of portable tools and an automated industrial facility set up to suit your needs would arguably be larger than that.
        • Admittedly, d20 is focused on adventurers running around on quests, but you’d think that there would be SOME benefits to actually setting up a fully-equipped workshop or factory. Unfortunately, the rules really don’t cover much of anything beyond plunking down 55 GP for a set of “Masterwork Tools” (or 250 GP for a “Traveler’s Any-Tool”) unless you count Pathfinder’s “Amazing Tools Of Manufacture” – which are over-expensive, limited to specific skills, designed for use on adventures when you want something urgently, and are limited so as to make it very hard to actually make a profit. You’re generally better off with a Fabricate spell.
    • Whispers Of The Neverborn: Advanced Blessing, Specialized and Corrupted / only to allow characters at the lodge (other than it’s creator) to tap into it’s creative enhancements (Song Of Creation, Lost Caracosa, Gates Of The Silver Key, Mantic Engineering (only to add functions), and Invocation Of The Elder Ones) (4 CP). Unlike a normal sanctum, where most special powers only work for the creator, quite a few of the lodges functions can be accessed by anyone there who makes an effort.
    • Basic Facilities: The costs for these are drawn from Pathfinder’s “Downtime” rules. The base costs are as listed, but the overall total is going to be halved by a x.5 “Provides no downtime income or other services” modifier. Basic aids and services are taken to be three-“person” “Teams” (generally L2-3, averaging +8 in relevant skills / providing a +4 assistance bonus to relevant checks. This is normally 300 GP, but as magical spirits who ONLY do their specific thing and generate no downtime income, they too will wind up being half cost).
      • Forest Carillon (Bell Tower (450 GP) plus Masterwork Great Harp, Pipe Organ, Drums (400 GP), plus the area around it counts as a Ballroom (+2 to Perform), plus three-“person” “Musician Team” (300 GP, base skill +8, +2 masterwork instruments, +4 assistance +2 Ballroom = +16 base (more than enough for a truly masterful performance), although these are actually spirits of music rather than people). This provides the background music of the lodge, but isn’t really associated with a particular location so much as the entire structure. The wind, birds, and falling waters throughout the lodge and the silver tree it stands in provide the music; this is just how it’s purchased. Given that the music of a Bell Tower can be heard up to a mile away at full volume, this can get interesting if a musician with Mystic Artist decides to sit in.
      • Airship Dock: High in the upper branches, this complex of catwalks, loading cranes, and basic elevators draws power from the waterwheels below to provide docking and facilities for the parties various air vehicles (320 GP) plus two maintenance/supply crews (+4 assistance bonus to relevant checks, 600 GP).
      • Lair (Animal Habitat (790 GP) plus Hatchery (170 GP) and pet-care specialist team (300 GP). A series of cozy, rounded, chambers within the mighty limbs of the silver tree, the Lair serves as a home for the groups (numerous) pets, familiars, and any of the werewolves who feel like curling up in a den for a while instead of just using their lodgings. Also handles basic veterinary work when the characters don’t just use spells.
      • Personal Quarters (Six sets): Bedroom (300 GP), Bath, Sauna, and Lavatory (+2 versus Disease, 250 GP), Lodgings (for up to twenty servants / followers / whatever, 860 GP), Office (120 GP), Sitting Room (+1 bonus on Bluff, Diplomacy, Intimidate, Knowledge (local), and Perform checks to influence or learn about guests, 480 GP), Storage Area(s) (120 GP), Nursery (250 GP), and Common Area(s) (200 GP). These are basically mini-mansions – personalized luxurious homes set up with plenty of space for servants, concubines/paramours, and attendants. Cooking, however, is usually handled in the Foundry, to take advantage of it’s ridiculous boost. With a net cost of 2580 GP (plus a share of the general “luxury” expense below) these should probably be considered equivalent to luxury penthouse suites.
      • Training Area: Dojo (310 GP), Armory (x2, 780 GP), Infirmary/Surgery (+2 to Heal, 370 GP), plus Medical Team (+4 Assistance to Heal, 300 GP), Gym (360 GP, and War Room (+2 to Attacks and Morale Checks for twenty-four hours if used to plan or direct combat or an adventure, 300 GP),
      • Tabernacle Of Apeiron, Shrine Of The Dark Tapestry: Statues x 4 (Azathoth The Blind Chaos, Yog-Sothoth The Key And The Gate, Nyarlathotep The Phantom Of Truth, and Shub-Nigguruth Mother Of Life, 240 GP), Labyrinth (The ever-shifting Logrus, the Yellow Sign, laid out on the floor, 370 GP. It’s burning center is the Eye Of Cthughu, above. The Logrus is also a Power Amplification Circle (Applied Spellcraft, The Practical Enchanter): Reduces effective level of spell drawing upon the Elder Ones for casting purposes by two within it (DC 35, Base Check +29 Base +10 Take 10 = 39, Time Requirement: One Week base, Four Hours in the lodge, Pigment and Binder Materials (100 GP). Transmutation Spell (L2, Paint to Inlay)), Observation Dome (+2 bonus on Knowledge (geography), Knowledge (nature), and Knowledge (planes), 440 GP), Summoning Chamber (+3 bonus on Knowledge (planes) checks relating to a creature being called/summoned, +3 bonus on Charisma checks, Diplomacy checks, and Intimidate checks to influence or bargain with a creature called or summoned here. 1040 GP) and Altar (210 GP).
      • Invocation Of The Elder Ones: The Tabernacle is also the focus for Enormous Favors (The Elder Ones), Specialized and Corrupted / Only usable once per month, always involves significant offerings to the Elder Ones during a major ritual, tend to have assorted unforseen side effects (4 CP).
      • The Withered Moon Heart: Once per week, after a half-hour long ritual, a powerful spellcaster drawing on the Elder Ones can store one or more spells in the altar of the Tabernacle. Sadly, no more than three such spells can be stored in total and doing so requires a +15 or more in Spellcraft. Greater Spellbind (SL 9 x CL 17 x .1 (Once per Week) x .5 (Immobile) x 500 GP (Unlimited Use Spell Completion) x.9 (Requires Spellcraft +15 or more to use) x.6 (Only for storing magic derived from the Elder Ones) x.8 (Spell limit is in total, not per user) = 28,091 GP.
        • Allwellia has lots of faiths, and lots of local gods, and competing philosophies – including the militant atheists who insist that the various “god” lack “true divinity” (Whatever that is. Some of the “gods” seem inclined to agree) and “The Society Of The Invisible Tree” who seem to be into cabbalistic notions and hallucinogens – but much of the population does acknowledge the power of the Elder Ones. Rather like the Titans of Greek Myth, the Elder Ones are not generally concerned with people. They’re out there, they control fundamental aspects of existence… and they do what they do. They don’t get a lot of worship except from eccentric sages who want to study the foundations of reality and crazed cultists who don’t CARE that what their gods want is completely incomprehensible. Naturally enough, the creator of the Silver Lodge is one of the eccentric mages.
      • Recreation Area: Bar (+2 to Gather Information, 250 GP), Game Room (300 GP), Common Area (200 GP), Grotto (at the base of the trunks, 500 GP), Classroom (250 GP), Storage (120 GP), Trophy Room (250 GP), The Escape Route (actually a waterslide, although there is an option to get off halfway down so you can simply take the elevator back up, 360 GP). For reasons that most of the characters do not care to think about, this is also where two sets of Cells (360 GP) and an oddly-equipped “Torture Chamber” (330 GP) wound up. Presumably it is so that the sounds of other people having a party to which those locked up are not invited will annoy them.
      • Courtyard(s) (x2, 360 GP). The courtyards/platforms connecting the various sub-facilities of the lodge are mossy, comfortable, and well-maintained – but not especially remarkable. The planters around the edges do, however, serve as a Mystic Greenhouse (890 GP) and there is a pleasant pavilion (Common Area, 200 GP) and swimming pool (“waterhole”, 200 GP) available.
      • The Gatehouse is more of a section of hollow trunk, a few features protecting the stairs going up to through a hollow trunk to the main lodge, but the general invulnerability of the lodge makes even a simple closed and barred door a formidable obstacle to any ground-based assault. Gatehouse (with Gauntlet, and “Tower”, protecting the stairs up, 710 GP).
      • General Luxuries (12,000 GP): The lodge is well supplied with fine furniture, objects de art, fine wine, silk sheets, comfortable mattresses, and so on.
        .
        .Net unmodified total of 40,910 GP, effective total of 20,455 GP

It’s worth noting that the servants and followers all enjoy the benefits of +4 Positive Levels (+4 BAB, Saves, and AC, and +24 CP, going to Double Enthusiast, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect/Only for Innate Enchantment (Up to 5500 GP Value, 6 CP), Immunity/the XP cost of up to 5500 GP worth of Innate Enchantment (Common (since they will be changing regularly), Minor, Trivial, 2 CP), Damage Reduction 2/-, Specialized in Physical Damage for Double Effect (4/-) (3 CP), Grant Of Aid (6 CP), Speak Serpentine (still a language that doesn’t properly exist. They’ll speak it anyway) (1 CP), Occult Sense/Attacks (always gain two rounds to prepare and a +1 Insight bonus to AC and Saves, 6 CP)) as well as Warcraft (+2 BAB, +1d10 HP, and proficiency with shields, medium armor, simple, and martial weapons) as well as +5 Armor, Weapons, and Shields, cheap personal items, and access to alchemical supplies. That’s actually pretty formidable even if they are low-level followers to start with.

Overall, the Silver Tree Lodge is a place of frightening power – albeit one of less use to most adventurers than you might think. After all, it’s usually not the player characters who want to unleash the insane powers of the Elder Ones. That’s usually reserved for crazed cultists. 

Willy Watt, Allwellian Scion Of Chaos

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Race: Wyld-Imbued Human

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

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

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

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

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

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

Willy Watt

Ninth Level Accursed Scion Of Chaos

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

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

Basic Abilities (120 CP):

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

Usual Attacks:

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

Lord Of Chaos (78 CP):

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

Wyld Channeling Effects:

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

Wyld Rune Forger (24 CP):

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

Disciple Of Eternity (32 CP):

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

Expert Warrior (20 CP):

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

Skills:

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

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

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

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

Magic Items:

Current Magical Tattoos:

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

Slotted Magic Items:

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

Slotless Items:

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

Weapon Augment Crystals:

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

Armor/Shield Augment Crystals:

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

Basic Equipment:

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

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

Eclipse d20 – Adventures with Mario

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

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

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

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

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

Plumber’s War Boots

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For the power-ups take…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Eclipse d20 – Creating A Vampire

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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