Ponies Of The Eclipse – Rockhoof At Level Four

For this particular request, it’s an upgrade to Rockhoof – basically “what he might be like after some experience” with specific reference to his past adventures and “A Rockhoof And A Hard Place”.

There’s another good reason for doing that. Given that Equestria is a low-level superheroic world (providing a constant supply of Mana for it’s heroes to work with); Rockhoof is an excellent example of the standard “Super Strongman” type. He lacks only Flight to be a splendid example of what PS238 calls the most common super-power package of all – “FISS”, or “Flight, Invulnerability, Super-Strength”. Even as he is… he’s a pretty fair approximation of what Superman was like in his early adventures, back when he was just leaping around rather than truly flying – and he could always work his way up to true flight in another level or two.

So why not? For those who want to play such a character (and are playing in a superheroic setting where it’s possible), he’s a general example of the build.

While, we don’t have much information on most of Rockhoof’s historical adventures, the Legends of Magic series does indicate that there were a fair number of them. Looking at the “A Rockhoof And A Hard Place” episode, we basically have a long string of “too strong and breaking things” jokes (which was a bit hard to swallow: there was plenty of fragile stuff in the past and apparently Rockhoof wasn’t a walking disaster area back then) along with a few “socially clueless” jokes (also kind of hard to swallow; he spent his youth as a scrawny weakling who presumably did not want to be kicked in the face; he should know better. Perhaps something happened?). Still, Rockhoof does demonstrate a very physical style of storytelling – and has presumably picked up a few levels with his historical adventures. It’s pretty arbitrary, but I’ll peg him at level four.

Rockhoof, the Pillar of Strength, Strong Man of Old Equestria

Level Four, ECL 5, Experienced Earth Pony Athletic Superhero.

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

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

To summarize the Basic Pony Modifiers:

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

To Summarize the Earth Pony Modifiers:

  • Mana-Powered Berserker (+8 Str) with no fatigue. In effect, an Earth Pony with a Con of 14+ (their average) can run a continuous +8 bonus to their Strength.
  • Nature Sense (very vague save for items related to agriculture).
  • +4 to resist bull rushes and knockdowns
  • Pays half price for Rune Magic (Homesteading) Casting and Mastery, Knowledge/Nature, and Survival. (Yes, Homesteading Magic covers digging ditches, plowing fields, and so on via magic. Some appropriate spells for use with Homesteading Magic can be found under Hedge Magic – such as Plow and The Laborer’s Word). These skills also receive a +3 Racial Bonus.
  • Immunity to Fatigue and Exhaustion.
  • A +3 bonus on any one hoof-based Martial Art.

Basic Attributes: Str 16 (+18 Ber +2 Knack +12 Enh = 48), Dex 16 (-2 Pony = 14), Con 14 (+2 Pony, +2 M  +1 Level = 19), Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 10 (+2 M = 12). (Pathfinder 25-point point buy).

Available Character Points: 120 (L4 Base) + 6 (Disadvantages; History and Obligations (Pillar of Equestria)) +8 (Duties to his Village – or to wherever he adopts now) +12 (level one and level three bonus feats) = 146 CP.

Basic Abilities (69 CP):

  • Hit Dice: 12 (L1d12, 8 CP) +20 (12 + 2 x Con Mod Template) +18 (L2-4d8, 12 CP) +20 (5 x Con Mod) +114 (Str Mod x 6, see “Divine Physique” and “Belt of Strength”, below) = 184 HP.
  • Skill Points: 18 (Purchased, 18 CP) + 28 (7 x Con Mod substituting for Int Mod) = 46 SP

Skills:

  • Acrobatics: +7 (7 SP) +2 (Dex) +3 (Tem) = +12 (Jump +50).
  • Bluff +1 (1 SP) +1 (Cha) +19 (Str), Specialized for Double Effect (Combat Only) = +42
  • Diplomacy +1 (1 SP) +1 (Cha) +19 (Str) = +21
  • Intimidate +1 (1 SP) +1 (Cha) +19 (Str) = +21
  • Knowledge/Nature +7 (3* SP) +3 (Race) +0 (Int) = +10
  • Perception +2 (2 SP) +1 (Wis) = +3
  • Perform (Storytelling)  +5 (5 SP) +1 (Cha) +19 (Str) = +25, +30 when telling tales of heroism. Corrupted for Increased Effect (listeners find his tales inspiring no matter how absurd they are, but he often accidentally breaks things while telling them).
  • Profession/Farmer +4 (4 SP) +0 (Wis) +3 (Tem) = +7 (Includes making basic farm tools, such as replacement shovels – since he’s specifically noted as having had his destroyed many times).
  • Profession/Sailor +4 (4 SP) +0 (Wis) = +4. Rockhoof picked up the basics after he joined The Mighty Helm, since they used a ship. He’s no great expert, but he is an able-bodied seaman. Unfortunately, his knowledge of Navigation is long out of date.
  • Survival +7 (3* SP) +3 (Race) +0 (Wis) +3 (Tem) = +13
  • Swim +2 (2 SP) +19 (Str) = +21
  • Homesteading Rune Magic Casting +7 (3* SP) +3 (Race) +1 (Cha) = +11
  • Homesteading Rune Magic Mastery +7 (3* SP) +3 (Race) +1 (Cha) = +11
  • Martial Art / Jade Mountain Stance Style: +7 (7 SP) +3 (Race) +13 (Permanent Str) +3 (Tem) = +26.
  • Perform (Sing) +0 (0 SP) +2 (Race) +1 (Cha) +19 (Str) -3 (Tem Unskilled Penalty) = +19
    • Specific Knowledge/Heroic Tales, Sagas, and Chants (+15 to knowing them, +5 to telling them) (1 SP).

The Jade Mountain Stance Style (Str):

  • Requires: Hooves
  • Basic Techniques: Attack 2, Power 3, Strike, and Toughness 4.
  • Advanced Techniques: Breaking, Combat Reflexes, Improved Disarm, and Weapon Kata (Any one simple weapon or farming implement, with a preference towards pruning hooks, shovels, hand axes, and similar items).
  • Occult Techniques: Healing Hand, Inner Strength, Ki Focus (Str), and Focused Blow.

Known Techniques (13): Attack 1, Power 1, Strike, Toughness 4, Breaking, Combat Reflexes, Improved Disarm, Weapon Kata (Shovel), Healing Hand and Inner Strength.

  • BAB +2 (12 CP).
  • Saves:
    • Fortitude +2 (6 CP) +4 (Con) +1 (Tem) +19 (Str) = +26
    • Reflex +2 (6 CP) +2 (Dex) +1 (Tem) +19 (Str) = +24
    • Will +2 (6 CP) +0 (Wis) +1 (Tem) +19 (Str) = +22
  • Proficiencies: Earth Pony Reinforced Shovels (1 CP).
  • Initiative: +2 (Dex)
  • Move: 40 (four legs) +30 (Light Foot) +30 (Haste),= 100 (50 on two or three legs).
  • Armor Class: 10 (Base) + 2 (Dex) +4 (Shimmermail) = 16. Rockhoof is still not so good at not getting hit. Fortunately, he does not really need to be.

Usual Weapons:

  • Unarmed: +22/+22 (+2 BAB +19 Str +1 Martial Art, Personal Haste), for 1d6+19, Crit 20/x2, lethal or nonlethal. 3 Attacks of Opportunity, see “Concussive Parry” below.
  • Shovel: +22/+22 (+2 BAB +19 Str +1 Martial Art, Personal Haste), for 1d8+13, Crit19-20/x2, lethal or nonlethal, B or S, Trip, usable as a shovel. 3 Attacks of Opportunity, see “Concussive Parry” below.

New Weapon (Pathfinder Design System): Earth Pony Reinforced Shovel. Simple, One-Handed (mouthed), Melee Weapon (6 Design Points), Additional Design Points (+1 Point, +15 GP. Earth Pony shovels need to be heavily reinforced to stand up to earth pony strength), B or S damage (1 Point), Improved Critical Threat Range (19-20, 3 Points), Improved Damage II (2 Points), Tool (Shovel, 0 Points), Special Feature (Trip, 1 Point). Net Result: Simple Weapon, Medium-Sized. Damage 1d6, Crit 19-20/x2, inflicts B or S damage, Trip Weapon, freely usable as a shovel, 20 GP.

  • Shovel-Thrown Rocks: +23/+23/+23 (+2 BAB +19 Str +3 Competence -1 Rocks), 1d6+19, Crit 20/x3, Range Increment 80′.

Other Abilities (77 CP):

  • Add Odinpower and Odinmight to his basic Berserker ability, for a total of +18 strength (+6 CP).
  • DR 2/-, versus both physical and energy attacks (3 CP).
  • Upgrade his racial Mana Pool with a form of Natural Magic (Reality Editing), Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect / only to support the user’s heroic narrative and let the user’s abilities function without normal scaling restrictions (2 CP). This is great for engineering and digging massive trenches, but so-so otherwise.
  • Concussive Parry: Opportunist (6 CP): Rockhoof may make an attack of opportunity against any attack that enters his threatened area. If his attack roll exceeds that of the attacker he can subtract the damage he “inflicts” on the attack from the damage IT would normally inflict, reducing it to a minimum of zero. If this completely negates the damage from an attack, it also negates any other effects it might have, such as requiring a saving throw.
    • This is a powerful defense, but this IS a superheroic setting, so why not? In other settings it might get defined as an Inherent Spell to limit it’s uses – but a superhero will just fuel it with mana and get exactly the same result anyway.
  • Reflex Training: Can spend Mana to maintain his “Berserker” strength enhancement and his Innate Enchantments without it requiring an action of any kind – even while asleep or unconscious. Corrupted for Reduced Cost / he must do so as long as he has Mana available. (4 CP).
  • Innate Enchantment, Specialized for Increased Effect (effects are considered extraordinary abilities and cost no experience to acquire) / Requires two mana to activate for one minute. Is blatantly obvious in operation since he bulks up a lot (11,310 GP Value, 12 CP).
    • Lob (L1: The user may hurl three items at his or her full BAB and with no need for getting out or loading ammunition or for a physical weapon (or proficiency therewith). This is otherwise treated as if the user was using a medium-sized Halfling Staff Sling. Only while wielding a shovel (x.8), only for throwing rocks (x.8) = 1280 GP.
      • In general: 1d6+Str Mod bludgeoning damage and a -1 to hit for using rocks instead of bullets, Crit 20/x4, Range Increment 80 feet, requires a normal roll to hit. In combination with his Reality Editing he could also throw lots of dirt and junk to make clouds of dust and difficult terrain if he wanted to.
    • (Weapon) Mastery (Halfling Sling Staff, Cantrip): +3 Competence Bonus to BAB with a Halfling Sling Staff (or magical simulation thereof). x.7 Personal-Only (700 GP).
    • Thousand Pound Stance (Target gains a +8 versus Bull Rush, Grapple, Trip, Overrun, being lifted or thrown, or similar situations, for one minute. x .7 Personal Only = 1400 GP). Note that this changes the -4 Penalty for Light Foot to a +4 Bonus.
    • Resist Energy (Provides resistance 10 to all energies), x.7 Personal-Only = 1400 GP
    • Personal Haste: User gains a +30′ enhancement bonus on all movement rates and +1 attack at his or her full BAB when making a full attack (2000 GP).
    • Light Foot: User becomes very light, gaining a +30 circumstance bonus on his or her ground movement speed and, a +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. x .7 Personal Only = 1400 GP.
    • Heroic Will: Protection From Evil, Personal Only (x.7), 3/Day Only (x.6), Only when the GM feels that the user is being compelled to do something against their personal code or otherwise is likely to summon a mighty surge of will to throw off possession/mind control/etc (x.25) = 210 GP.
    • Heroic Rally: Remove Fear, 2/Day Only (x.4), user must make an adequate inspiring speech (x.6) = 480 GP.
    • Coincidental Catch: Feather Fall, 2/Day Only (x.4), activates automatically (x1.5), but only works 50% of the time (x.4) = 480 GP. When a hero falls off a roof or gets dropped, there is a substantial chance that SOMETHING will happen to break his or her fall.
    • Heroic Health: Relieve Illness (from the Hedge Wizardry spell list) 1/Day (x.2), Personal Only (x.7) = 280 GP. Relieve Poison (from the Hedge Wizardry spell list) 1/Day (x.2), Personal Only (x.7) = 280 GP, Lesser Restoration 2/Day (x.4), Personal Only (x.7) = 560 GP. Fast Healing I (from The Practical Enchanter, for 18 rounds, 2/Day (x.4), Personal Only (x.7)) = 560 GP.
  • Hard Training: Finesse (substitutes Con Mod for Int Mod when computing skill points, 6 CP). Thanks to Pathfinders ruling that changes like this are retroactive, this gets him quite a few skill points.
  • Double Damage against inanimate objects, Corrupted/also applies when he accidentally damages stuff (4 CP).
  • “Muscular Spectacle” / Augmented Bonus, adds Str Mod to Cha Mod when using charisma-based skills (6 CP).
  • Finesse, Uses Str Mod in place of Dex Mod for Ranged Combat, Specialized / only for throwing rocks with his shovel (3 CP).
  • Mana-Powered Inherent Spell/Trebuchet Special (L3 Transmutation). You can grab an unresisting individual (or adjacent group of up to four if you have sufficient strength to lift them) and throw them to any location within medium range accessible via a normal parabolic trajectory. The landing is harmless and, during the trip, they are considered to be stationary while the world moves by them (6 CP).
  • Divine Physique: Advanced, Improved, Augmented Bonus: Adds (Str Mod) to (Con Mod) when calculating Hit Points. Specialized and Corrupted/only works for levels 1-5 (6 CP). This gets him an extra 78 HP, or 114 when his Belt of Strength is active
  • Divine Endurance: Improved Augmented Bonus x3 (Add Str Mod to all three saving throws), Specialized / only while being noble, helpful, charging in to face the foe, standing between others and danger, and otherwise being a big boy scout or Superman/Captain Marvel expy, Corrupted / Costs 2 Mana per Use. That’s +13 to all saves, or +19 when his Belt of Strength is active (12 CP). Note that this means that he can normally only boost two saves a round.
  • Minor Privilege (3 CP). Rockhoof gets invited to all the parties and has lots of willing female companionship.

To summarize his various defenses, he can attempt to parry incoming attacks. If he’s still hit, he has DR 6/- versus physical attacks, DR 16 versus Falling Damage, and Energy Resistance (All) 12. If damage still gets through, two points of any melee damage inflicted by a sentient being and nine points of any other damage is converted to nonlethal damage.

Equipment:

  • Charms: Captain’s Torc, Conjurer’s Tattoo (His Shovel), Contraceptive Charm, Foothold “Boots” (hoofwrappings), Impervious Glue, Resounding Horn, and Tinkerstone.
  • Talismans: Ditty Bag, Helm Of War, and Shimmer Mail.
  • Relic: Thur’s Belt Of Strength (Inherent Spell, L3 Personal-Only Enhance Strength/+8 Str for one minute per level, Corrupted for Increased Effect / uncontrollably drains mana to renew itself, makes the user clumsy and prone to breaking things as well as removing any sense of tact or awareness that maybe you should take the thing off sometimes. Net +12 Strength and a lot of environmental and social damage (1 CP Relic).

Rockhoof is now capable of withstanding enormous amounts of damage, bouncing arrows from his skin, resisting minor energy bolts, partially blocking fairly serious attacks with his shovel, dishing out rather a lot of damage, and will be unaffected by most poisons, diseases, or other special effects – although he can be overloaded if he’s hit with more than two a round and has moments of vulnerability (when he’s spending some of this rounds mana keeping his strength boosted). Still, at this point… he’s your basic Colossus, fully capable of going toe-to-toe with massive elementals, lesser giants, and similar menaces. In comparison to normal characters… the Superheroic World Template adds at least +3 CR, a high-efficiency Eclipse build is about +2. and he has a +1 to start with – making him roughly equivalent to a normal character of level ten or higher.

He also has his full allotment of Charms and Talismans and has picked up one minor Relic on his adventures.

Faster than a speeding pegasus! More powerful than an avalanche! Able to leap small hills in a single bound! Look! Up on the mountain! It’s Rockhoof!

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Prince Bluebloods Aggravating Pony Overlord List Part V – The Palatial Personal Parlor Of Perilously Prepared Pretentious Proverbs

Previously on the Aggravating Overlord Channel…

And today it’s more Pony Overlord rules, for those times that you just want to be irritating…

  1. All of my guest quarters shall actually be miles away and linked to my fortress by an authorized-use-only teleportation doorway with guard-operators standing by all night! Servants, kitchens, air conditioning vents, and so on will be purely local, so anyone who wants to get out and sneak around can stealthily explore the wrong place entirely!
  2. Members of my legions will get free training and tuition as well as substantial pay raises for increasing their qualifications! Adding things like “Lay Therapist”, “Hostage Negotiator”, or “Plumber” will be strongly encouraged! I want the general public to assume that my guards are omni-competent and can be turned to to resolve any problem and I want heroes to have to deal with guards who will be attempting psychotherapy and non-violent conflict resolution between pies!
  3. Everybody thinks that plans calling for intervention from magic unicorns are impractical, but I shall show them that they are wrong!
  4. Occasionally I will dig out and erect a massive crypt-dungeon, filled with formidable defenses, clever traps, and terrible monsters, then ceremoniously hide a locked and warded chest in the central crypt, offering no public explanation! The chest will hold a supply of glasses and good liquor, a high-quality first aid kit, a random bonus prize, and personally signed certificates of graduation from the Blueblood Academy for Adventurers. I will then offer to hire graduates if I ever need an artifact or something retrieved from an ancient temple of doom, liche’s crypt, or similar location.
  5. My employees will have decent tailoring, good grooming, elocution lessons, regular visits to the spa, and decent hygiene! If they want to act like uncouth barbarians, I shall open a gate to Valhalla and see if Odin would like to run an exchange program for some bored Einherjar who would like to try a modern deathstyle for a bit and train with modern weapons and pies!
  6. I will instruct my fashion designer that – when designing for a pony – it is accessories, not outfits! After all, it’s not like any conceivable outfit could possibly be much of an improvement on ME!
  7. My guards will be perfectly capable of functioning in the dark! Between night-sight gear, spells, training, and blindfolded combat practice it shouldn’t be any problem at all and it will give the visually handicapped a chance to shine!
  8. My stronghold shall be overstaffed, for many hands makes for light work! Outsiders who show up claiming to be there to do maintenance, make repairs, or install special equipment will be directed to appropriate properties around the city that are in need of work! I have lots! Their activities will then be reviewed and rated online! They had best hope that they are actually good at repairs!
  9. When my employees park their vehicles to do something on foot, they will do it in full confidence that attempting to bypass said vehicles biometric security locks will lead to being dosed with knockout gas, entangled with mystic chains, or whatever other random security feature the weekly security competition has put in this week.
  10. I will not add unsuitable females to my harem! One night stands are one thing, but who needs troublemakers in the family?
  11. If my chief engineer upsets me (or gets too frustrated with me using magic to do things) I shall reassign him to the Kerbal Space Program! It’s not like I have a lot of real engineering to be done anyway; I am a magic unicorn pony!
  12. I shall not fill the corridors with traps! I have kids, servants, and hundreds of minions, many of whom will doubtless be injured for every hero who is mildly inconvenienced! Instead there will be occasional clearly labeled dead-end side-corridors leading to nonlethal containment traps that the heroes can assume are protecting something important and meddle with to their hearts content!
  13. If the Girl Scouts are delivering my Thin Mints, a servant will meet them at the door with the required forklift and take them around to the kitchen. They will then be offered tickets to an amusement park, but NOT a tour of my stronghold unless it’s “bring your child to work” day and they happen to be some employees offspring.
  14. When I install “Spiked Deadfalls”, “Scorpion Pits”, “Shark Tanks”, “Piranha Pools”, or any similar “death trap” or “execution” device, they shall actually be illusions over teleportation portals that will drop those who pass through randomly into the homes of energetic old ladies armed with broomsticks, cantankerous old men with shotguns loaded with salt, highly skilled female martial artists who happen to be in the shower, or in front of a monstrous family watching TV who can be counted on to scream “A HUMAN! RUN FOR YOUR LIVES KIDS, I’LL HOLD IT OFF! CALL THE POLICE!”.
  15. When the heroes inevitably toss ME into one of those “death traps” I shall let my natural background music swell and announce that I have come to grant whoever is there a wish – and presuming that it is at all reasonable, I shall not be a Jackass or even a Literal Genie about it. As a side benefit, when I’m teleporting or dimension hopping, I’m more likely to get a friendly reaction to my abrupt appearance!
  16. While I shall invariably taunt my enemies as I escape, the fact that I usually do so by teleporting or dimension-hopping (at least when no water slide is available) means that such taunts must be prerecorded! They will be delivered by automated Taunt-O-Matic (TM!) systems. Being an Aggravating Overlord calls for the occasional sacrifice!
  17. I will not send out droid, undead, or golem armies against heroes who are reluctant to kill living beings but have no qualms about destroying constructs. Instead I shall place kittens and puppies in need of difficult and lengthy rescue efforts in their way and save the army of constructs for things like dam-building, mining, and other tedious large-scale projects where they might actually accomplish something useful.
  18. I shall not be typecast! My every outfit and hairstyle will be a bold fashion statement and always different! It’s not like they won’t be able to identify me anyway! How many other Aggravating Unicorn Pony Overlords have YOU seen?
  19. My doomsday devices shall have digital timers that reset to various random numbers every few seconds after they are tampered with! When they happen to hit zero there will be a blinding moment of flash photography and the resulting picture will be published with the headline “Blundering “Heroes” Accidentally Trigger “Doomsday Device”. Child’s Birthday Cake Ruined” since any such “Doomsday Device” is actually going to be an elaborate baking oven.
  20. If my guards are defeated in battle, I will route my attackers through several video-game worlds instead! Perhaps they can show me how to get past “Waterfall”, “Animal Antics”, “Ninja Gaiden”, “Dr Wiley’s Castle”, “Aztec”, “The Perfect Run”, “Through the Fire and Flames”, “The Water Temple”, “The Dam”, and :”Turbo Tunnel”!
  21. If I have something the heroes vitally need, and one of them or their hangers-on suddenly offers to warm my bed (and I find them sufficiently appealing), I shall take full advantage of the situation while ensuring that the actual item is in a safety-deposit box in a random bank while I am only carrying a copy! If they’re going to be underhanded, I shall be underhanded too – and I will still get something for my trouble!
  22. I will not triumphantly grab and try to use some ancient mystic/psionic/alien/lost science artifact! Those things never work right until they’ve been analyzed, properly attuned by being “paid for” in some fashion, and put into your inventory! Besides, I wouldn’t be an Overlord if I didn’t have plenty of power and artifacts already!
  23. I will be very selective in my hiring of character assassins! Entirely too many columnists, comedy hosts, and writers will happily turn on you at a moments notice or do hackwork that is all too easily revealed as a hired hit piece!
  24. I shall not conceal my weaknesses! Fine wines, pretty mares, good food, great personal accessories, and more do attract me, while dirt, damage to my hair, incompetent minions, poor hygiene, and noxious odors all repel me! I am, however, neither stupid nor incapable of self-control! I can and will ignore such things when something important is going on!
  25. Any important facilities, storage areas, escape pods, and similar necessities will be found INSIDE my defenses! Leaving important stuff unprotected is asking for it and I do that enough anyway!
  26. I reserve the right to fire minons who are excessively irritating know-it-alls who say “I told you so!” too much! It’s not like ANY plan is likely to hold up when a bunch of crazy heroes comes through anyway, so they’re not exactly making a useful contribution there!
  27. When my mechanisms, spells, rituals, and mad science devices fail, they will do so in great bursts of colored light and loud bangs with symphonic accompaniment! Everypony loves a good fireworks display!
  28. I will employ stone, metal, modern safety techniques, and warding spells to make sure that my stronghold is proof against fire, flood, storms, natural disasters, and various other hazards while requiring minimal maintenance! Cheap construction always costs you more in the long run!
  29. I shall hire some competent people to run my intelligence, census, and similar services! There is no use trying to give orders to make things sillier if you do not know what is going on!
  30. If a hero feels a need to speak to me in person, there is always videoconferencing! Otherwise he or she can await one of my general audience days, just like everybody else! And bring a fruit basket!
  31. I will have many projects going on at once! This is what Delegation and Subdivisions are for! If some heroes disrupt one project, well, there shall be a dozen more that actually get finished!
  32. Drugs, rituals, artifacts, and pacts offering immortality will be carefully examined for difficulty and drawbacks and filed accordingly! While I have Immortality ANYWAY, the kids don’t always inherit it and I can only bestow it up until they move out! If any of them want to put up with whatever drawbacks a given method has (there are always SOME) I will gladly help them get it set up!
  33. Any classical monsters working for me will be provided with new riddles, weaknesses, or vulnerable points! There is no point in having a guardian or enforcer that can be defeated by any kid with access to Google!
  34. Just in case there is a background music failure, I will have a backup background music system installed, complete with an AI to pick something appropriate. What is a good scene without background music?
  35. I will keep my priorities in order! Dramatic Escapes (Family first, and with less drama), Cool Scenes, Being Annoying, Bad Puns, Expanding My Harem, Teaching Moments, Coming Up With Evil Explanations for Nice Deeds, Chocolate Desserts, Ruling Effectively, and Finding More Heroes to Amuse Me, in that order!
  36. If a Hero or (especially!) Heroine starts a transformation sequence, I will wait until it is halfway through to interrupt and point out that they are now naked. If necessary, I will use my powers of transmutation on their clothing to ensure that this is so – and to make sure that it remains true. There’s nothing like a bunch of naked heroes doing a Benny Hill chase scene!
  37. My word is my bond! My Safeword, on the other hand, is Power Word Escape!
  38. Collecting Dread Artifacts of Great Power is always fun until you try to use them for something important, at which point they invariably backfire! I will use them only for trivia, and when a hero steals one because “He does not know what he has his hooves on!” I shall laugh uproariously when it blows up in his or her face! Besides… Aggravating Overlord Vastly Wealthy Influential Magic Cartoon Unicorn Wizard here, remember? It’s not like dread artifacts are going to do much that I can’t find a way to do anyway!
  39. I will make sure that any invisibility devices that I either use or leave around to be stolen will stop working at dramatic moments! What good is a dramatic moment with no audience?
  40. Any robots will have concealed power systems, well inside. The vulnerable external power pack will be a popcorn grenade trap (because a hero who tries this obviously needs more grains!) Set to go off when somebody grabs it!
  41. Zombie, Ghoul, Vampire, Wraith and other undead armies are GROSS. Also useless and prone to going out of control. The necromancer down the block can HAVE them. A squad of scantily dressed lovely cat girls and/or handsome and virile horse boys looking for someone to protect and rescue them from me is FAR more effective at delaying heroes – and lets me get rid of them. Where do the blasted things keep coming from anyway?
  42. I shall not be cheap. What use is being incredibly wealthy if you do not spend your money? Hordes are for dragons, and look how much good they do THEM.
  43. Any idea that crosses my mind will get serious consideration! After all, how can I be stopped if even I do not know what I am up to at any given moment?
  44. If cornered I will break out the emergency eyepatch, pirate shirt, and ninja-to. Then I shall be invincible! Or in a mental hospital. If it works for the Joker, it will work for me!
  45. I shall have small, cute, furry things with big eyes handle my personal security! Even if the heroes should somehow work up a desire to attack, the law of cartoon cute will stop them.
  46. If I must resort to generic villainy, I shall go to a discount club and invest in an entire pallet of the large economy size. Do you have any idea how embarrassing it is to run out of villainy?
  47. Any offerings of cringing slaves, frightened children, or beautiful young virgin women will be accepted, sorted out by the staff, given meals and appropriate treatment, and either sent home or – if they actually want a job – given the usual security checks and evaluation. (See Legions Of Cuddly, Harem, and Staff). Adults who show up four or more times will be referred to social services! Children who prove to have been around this four or more times will be given a swat on the rear, a good scolding, and a note sent to their parents or social workers! If they have neither they will be assigned some social workers! I am not a babysitting service most of the time!
  48. If I feel a need to demonstrate my utter decadence, ruthless domination, or extreme edginess I will hire in some people to play the necessary roles! The look on the heroes faces when some of the heads “mounted on the wall” ask them how they’re doing is priceless!
  49. Whenever a policeman comes to arrest me, or solo hero tries to capture me, or I am somehow trapped in the company of someone utterly unlike me, I shall consider how amusing they seem likely to be and then either 1) Teleport, or 2) Use my “change genre” power to make it a “Buddy Picture” just in case it wasn’t already.
  50. If the heroes attempt to break or reform me by listing off all my flaws, errors, failures, and bad habits I shall listen closely! They will almost certainly remind me of several fun things that I need to do again!

Adventurers Of The Anomaly – oAllandras Rasil de’Radoen Van Des-Prosium de’Taliaemente’ ip Carthoran

And here we have an extremely complicated character – an Eclipse conversion of a higher-level character from an old Continuum II campaign exported to the Anomaly setting – which is, in itself, probably far too complicated. Allowing characters from virtually any setting to interact will get that way.

I would probably have recommended something simpler for a first Eclipse character – but who am I to argue with nostalgia?

The open road. Fresh air and soaring birds. No walls, just limitless skies and distant horizons. The sound of the wheels turning over the bumps in the road, urging the horses onward, the dogs rushing through the brush,leaving irate parents yelling threats as they discover what you’ve been doing with their cuter daughters, a belly full of good food, and a purse full of coin. There was no better feeling for a wanderer – or at least not for him. Something about the open road had always called to him, it felt like home. Besides, the customers were out there. He might no longer need to rely on scams, but there was only so much of a market for magical trinkets in any one place.

It felt good to finally be on the road again. He’d spent far too long apprenticed to the mages guild and spending all his time in one city – but (in the time that wasn’t spent with friends or frantically avoiding marriage) there had been so much to learn. Runes and sigils, the dragonlore, anchoring, crafting, and mastering his knack for opening the doors between realms, to link distant places, and to bind energies together. Well, OK, maybe master was a bit strong a word – but at least he’d learned and practiced enough to significantly reduce the chances of accidentally killing himself, or the local countryside, whenever he messed around with his dimensional magics.

And linking had come in really handy that time he accidentally gated to the desert instead of the arctic. Or when Chandra’s father came home early. Or when the guards showed up while he was selling those spices that totally fell off a wagon somewhere on a dusty road well outside of town and that nobody else had come across before he did, honest. And when Sharae’s husband didn’t stay out drinking as long as expected. And… well, a good escape route was a great thing. Plus, being able to woo women and find lost property to sell in places outside your base of operations made it much easier to keep a good reputation at home, as well as not have to drop out of school.

Anyway. The road. A new wagon, recently made to his specifications. Months carving in all the runes to strengthen it and make sure it was anchored to him so he could always access it and find his way back to it. Plenty of cargo to sell: he’d spent a fair bit of time turning standard open air market vendor trash into magical trinkets that even worked as advertised. Charms to keep clothes clean, fit, and well-mended. Amulets to keep youngsters from becoming young parents. Pitchers that kept beverages cool, plates that kept food warm, brooms with cleaning charms, sponges that actually removed stains. Enough to keep him fairly respectable.

Mind you, it didn’t count his supply of fireball darts, sleeping powder, lock picks of opening, soft soled boots of climbing, delayed alarm buttons, illusory fireworks, and various other gadgets – but only adventurers usually wanted those, and they were never a reliable market. He’d used some himself though – such as when Isabel’s father put his daughters art studio at the top of a tower – but it was better not to need to!

Anyway, up ahead was the nexus he’d come to find. A shortcut to bypass some of the open road that was known to be a bit more, problematic for lone travelers. He had defenses of course, his rod of force, and wand of light, a few fireball darts (not too potent, but enough to scare off the easily discouraged), a bag of pepper, some minor combat skills if they got in close, and of course as a last resort, he had a crossbow and dagger (even if he had little idea of how to use htem). But why risk it if this bit of the old roadways would get him over to the other side of the mountains immediately? The crops had been poor over there this year, and his load of grain and vegetables should fetch a pretty good price. And lumber. After all, he’d had some space left and the forest was just sitting around and wouldn’t miss a few trees.

Right, there was the nexus… push on those energies there, right, portals open. And in we go…

Allandras is something of an oddity, having left the clan to study in the Mageocracy of Cisnaud. While he could always return, his time amidst the great magi and the merchants guilds have fanned the flames of both ambition and greed. Seeing the raw power of the Arch-magi, and the chests of gold – and even promissory notes, when so much gold would be difficult to carry – has shown him that he wants those things as well. Power and Wealth are there for the taking; the streets teem with tales of adventurers gaining both – and both shall be his as well!

He hasn’t much direct power-handling capacity – but Allandras has a knack for using rituals involving dimensions/gates, and binding/linking,which has served him well. He plans to use it to short circuit a lot of travel time that his competitors have to take. He’s not above a bit of larceny, and there’s not much he wouldn’t consider selling, depending on local rules/mores/and black market availability – but he isn’t in such a rush as to take stupid risks. His training in the guild rapidly focused on his gifts as a crafter, but he rapidly because unsatisfied when he realized that he did best with relatively minor enchantments. Still, that has allowed him to make a host of different items so that he almost always has what he needs with more to sell.

Naturally enough, when adventuring he relies on his items – his Wand of Light, Rod of Force, Fireball Darts, Lockpicks of Opening, Boots of Climbing, and a wide variety of spell tokens in one form or another. A Caravan means that he doesn’t have to walk – and makes pulling out heaps of goods look a lot more plausible (and reduces suspicion of illusion).

Some of the talents from his upbringing still serve him well though. An ear for languages that turned into an ability with tongues, great for a traveling merchant. From Esmelia an appreciation for dance, and song. And while his voice doesn’t yet influence people the way hers did, it’s enough to help attract customers and put them at ease in the market place.

So, a wagon more full of good than can reasonably fit in a couple of them, some gear that looks finer than it is, an assortment of trinkets for sale and use, an ability to start crafting more valuable items, both artistic, useful, and magical, which will get stronger over time.


Characters in the Anomaly setting all get the Low-Level Adventurer Template, 24 CP worth of abilities drawn from their home dimension, a racial template that spends most or all of the points available for a baseline species, 25-point Pathfinder Point Buy attributes, and a starting level of two. That’s enough to make them pretty formidable in their own ways.

The Low-Level Adventurer Template provides:

  • A -3 penalty on unskilled skill checks.
  • Slow level advancement, by direct session-based character point awards rather than experience points. Succeeding in goals helps, but killing things and taking their stuff does not.
  • A +3 bonus on five skills which suit their backgrounds and training. Sadly, this cannot be applied to active psionic or magical skills. These are, however, considered to be natural skill ranks.
  • Extra hit points equal to [12 + (2 x Con Mod)].
  • Two minor special talents or “knacks” appropriate to their home universe – one Class-A (roughly equivalent to the effects of a first level spell or power) and one Class-B (roughly equivalent to the effects of a cantrip).
  • In his case these are Enduring Health (+2 Constitution) and Mage Sense (Detect Magic).

Characters will be using the Condensed Skill List, complete with the various skills special functions. These may, however, be adjusted for world or origin; Sci-fi characters rarely spellcast, but often have other special talents. Skill Checks are normally made on 3d6, and characters may “take 15″ instead of “20″. They are normally assumed to get a “5″ for passive checks, such as to notice something in passing.

Malavon (His Dimensional Origin and Birthright) World Laws grant him…

  • Flux Tapping: Characters from Malavon do not need sleep or rest to replenish their abilities: they can tap into the energy flux from hyperspace, or into subspace, that occurs at dawn or dusk. They tend to be limited by how much power they can store and handle, rather than by how much is available to tap into. In d20 that’s Immunity/The need to sleep or rest to recover “daily uses” of powers and abilities (Common, Minor, Grand, 12 CP).
  • Use of Charms and Talismans: Shaping, Corrupted and Specialized for increased (level one and possibly weak level two) effects/can only produce effects for which the user has the appropriate foci ready, can only support a limited number (seven and three) of minor charms and more notable talismans at one time, charms and talismans are modestly expensive and take some time to attune for use (6 CP).
    • Usual Charms: Alchemists Flask (easily fractionate or extract chemical), Contraceptive Charm, Dust of Illusion (produces minor illusions), Ice Chest (keeps things cold), Mandarin’s Pin (stay fresh and clean), Merasian Vapors (instant makeovers), and a Vanishing Cloak (grants a few seconds of invisibility up to (3 + L/3) times daily. .
    • Usual Talismans: Bracers of Hurling (throw small items with the speed and accuracy of a light crossbow), Preserving Chest (Closet, keeps thins from spoiling), and Shimmermail (+4 Armor Bonus to AC, no encumbrance or penalties).
  • Use of Relics: Double Enthusiast, Specialized in Relics for Increased Effect, may use up to 4 CP worth of relics at any one time (6 CP).

As an adventurer with some history – but without the skill to make major relics – Allandras has one minor item (The Favor of the Rom: Provides Fortune (Reflex Saves) and Luck Specialized in Saving Throws – allowing him to take no damage on a successful Reflex save and to either reroll a save or “take 20″ in advance once per day. The other three points are usually used with his Artificer ability to get more limited-use gadgets.

Racial Template: Fantasy Human (31 CP / +0 ECL).

  • Highly Adaptable: Racial Bonus Feat (6 CP).
  • The Quick And The Dead: Fast Learner Specialized in Skills for +2 SP/Level (6 CP)
  • Narrative Skills: May roll a skill check without a penalty if an attempt to describe how he or she is resolving a relevant situation does not work out (Opportunist, 6 CP).
  • Pacts and Blessings: Double Enthusiast, Specialized in Innate Enchantments for increased effect (up to 3500 GP effective value) and Corrupted for Increased Effect (the user need not worry about the XP cost of these innate enchantments) (6 CP).
    • 3500 GP isn’t very much – but it does suffice for a couple of first level effects and a Cantrip. Due to the dangers of the road, Allandras is currently maintaining Force Shield I (+4 Shield Bonus to AC), a +2 Enhancement Bonus to Wisdom, and Resistance (+1 Resistance Bonus to Saves).
  • Social Ties: Fantasy Humans come in tightly-knit clans, guilds, gangs, and other organizations. Hermits… are rare, generally considered insane, and highly vulnerable. Ergo, these humans get 7 CP worth of social benefits – privileges, contacts, favors, and reputation, or similar items (7 CP). He has…
    • Minor Privilege: Allandras is an obvious wandering merchant, and will be accepted as such pretty much anywhere he goes (3 CP).
    • 1 Contact with the Well-Travelled Modifier. Given 1d4 days Allandras can find a standard level Contact of his choice somewhere in the local area (4 CP). This also applies to the three bonus contacts from his Socialize skill.

Available Character Points: 72 (L2 Base) +6 Disadvantages (History, Compulsive / sees pretty much everything in terms of business, always looking for a potential profit) +12 (Human and L1 Bonus Feat) = 90 CP. Currently has 4 CP as experience, and so is considered to have started L3.

Basic Attributes (Pathfinder 25-Point Buy): Str 9, Dex 14, Con 12 (+2 Knack = 14), Int 18, Wis 10 (+2 Enh = 12), and Cha 12

Known Languages: Tradetongue (“Common”), Elvish, Aeran, Draconic, and one of choice.

Basic Abilities (23 CP):

  • Hit Dice: 6 (L1d6, 2 CP) +6 (L2d6, 2 CP) + [12 +4 (2 x Con Mod), Template] +6 (3 x Con Mod; he hasn’t put points into his L3 HD as of yet, so it starts as a d0 – but still counts) = 34 Hit Points.
  • Armor Class: 10 (Base) + 2 (Dex) +4 (Shimmermail) +4 (Force Shield) +2 (Martial Art) = 22
  • Initiative: +2 (Dex).
  • Move: 30′
  • Proficiencies: Staves (1 CP).
  • Skill Points: 24 (Int Mod x 6) + 12 (Fast Learner) + 6 (Purchased, 6 CP) = 42 SP.
  • BAB +0 (0 CP)
  • Saves:
    • Fortitude +1 (3 CP) +2 (Con) +1 (Res) = +4
    • Reflex +1 (3 CP) +2 (Dex) +1 (Res) +1 (Per) = +5
    • Will +2 (6 CP) +1 (Wis) +1 (Res) = +4

Special Abilities:

  • Adept (Appraise, Deception, Persuasion, and Socialize, 6 CP)
  • Adept (Local Knowledge, Perception, Perform, and Scholar, 6 CP).

Skills:

  • Appraise +6 (3* SP) +4 (Int) +3 (Tem) = +13. Effectively gain +20% on treasure.
  • Craft +4 (6 SP) +4 (Int) = +8
    • Covers: Armorer, Carver, Etcher, Jeweler, Smith, Tailor, and Wainwright.
  • Deception +6 (3* SP) +1 (Cha) +3 (Tem) = +10.
  • Local Knowledge +4 (3* SP) +4 (Int) = +8
  • Martial Art (Unarmed) +6 (6 SP) +2 (Dex) = +8
    • Covers Strike, Defenses 2, and Versatility.
  • Perception +6 (3* SP) +1 (Wis) = +7. Provides +1 on Reflex Saves.
  • Persuasion +6 (3* SP) +1 (Cha) +3 (Tem) = +10
  • Perform +6 (3* SP) +1 (Cha) = +7
    • Covers: Dance, Oratory, Seduction, Singing, Strings, +2 Additional.
  • Profession/Merchant +6 (6 SP) +1 (Wis) = +7
  • Scholar +6 (3* SP) +4 (Int) +3 (Tem) = +13. Provides +2 levels worth of any one Favored Foe or Favored Enemy variant. Since this is likely to provide bonuses to various forms of crafting or merchandising, this will be determined in play.
  • Socialize +6 (3* SP) +1 (Wis) +3 (Tem) = +10. Provides +3 Bonus Contacts.
  • Use Magic Device +4 (6 SP) +1 (Cha) = +5

Allandras is just below the threshold to get special abilities from several of his skills. He should achieve it for several of them next level.

  • Intuitive Linguist: Enthusiast, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect / only for languages, but allows two, languages can be changed at a moments notice with a use of Comprehend Languages (3 CP).
  • Dimensional Ritualist: Inherent Spell, Specialized for Increased Effect (Level Six Base) / requires a 15-30 minute ritual. (Level Six Greater Invocation of Dimensional Manipulation, produces any arcane dimension-warping effect of up to level five. 6 CP), plus Four Bonus Uses, Specialized the same way but for reduced cost (3 CP).
    • Normally he maintains a small pocket dimension linked to his caravan or to an unfolding pouch or some such – Spacewarp (L2, +1 for 1 Day/Caster Level, +1 for Mobile, and +1 for Furnished. His space is about 50 x 60 x 10, and comes with racks, tables, a magical workshop, and so on. Other ritual applications include keying gates, plane shifting, joining dimensional caravans, putting a similar pocket dimension in his wagon (if he doesn’t feel like carrying it, the same modifiers apply), setting up a Dimension Door escape on a delayed trigger, and similar tricks.
  • Linking Ritualist: Inherent Spell, Specialized for Increased Effect (Level Six Base) / requires a 15-30 minute ritual. (Level Six Greater Invocation of Linking Magic, produces any arcane linking effects of up to level five. 6 CP), plus Four Bonus Uses, Specialized the same way but for reduced cost (3 CP).
    • Linking magic is a bit of a specialized field, but it’s good for locating things, establishing local dimensional overlays, communications, binding things together (whether that means holding a rockslide stable or causing an opponent to split incoming damage with you), and tapping into various power sources. His most common use is to toughen his Caravan – and to link himself to it so that he can always find it again.
  • Dragonfire Forgemaster (24 CP): Path Of The Dragon: Shaping (allows endless Prestidigitation, 6 CP), Way Of The Artificer: Charmsmith (allows the crafting of very trivial magic items, as well as Charms and Talismans for those who can use them, with sales prices of 20-50 GP, 6 CP), SpellForging (allows the crafting of items with a cost of up to 4000 GP, 6 CP), and Harvest Of Artifice (the first 100 XP worth of item crafting each month does not cost any XP, 6 CP).
  • Expert Artificer (10 CP). Create Relic: Specialized and Corrupted / only to make limited-use items (Apply “Specialized / Does Not Recover to the items created, only select abilities that normally offer a limited number of daily uses) costing a maximum of 3 CP each, only using points from Enthusiast (2 CP) and Double Enthusiast, Specialized for Increased Effect (provides four floating CP) and Corrupted for Reduced Cost / points may only be used with Create Relic, limited as above. Taken twice (8 CP).

This package turns various limited-use innate magical abilities into charms, fetishes, potions, dusts, bags that “contain” spells, strange crystals, and even quasi-technological gadgets. At the moment, his stockpile consists of

  • Fireball Darts (5 uses of Fireball, 1 Point). Sadly only 3d6 and prone to malfunctions.
  • Lockpicks of Opening (6 uses of Knock, 1 Point). .
  • Boots of Climbing (6 uses of Spider Climb, 1 Point).
  • Dusts of Vision and Sleep (6 uses of Minor Image and 6 uses of Sleep, 1 Point).
  • Dusts of Earth and Fire (6 uses of Entangle and 6 uses of Produce Flame, 1 Point).
  • Wand of Light (14 uses of Cure Light Wounds and 14 uses of Color Spray, 1 Point).
  • Rod of Force (6 uses of Magic Missile and 6 uses of “Hydraulic Push”, 1 Point).
  • Pouch of Tricks (6 uses of Grease and six uses of Magic Mouth, 1 Point)
  • A pot of Curative Ointment (3 Points).

Yes, this comes out to 11 CP worth of items instead of 8. That’s because he’s using the three points left over in the personal relic allotment that comes from his Malavon Birthright.

Major Equipment:

As a traveling merchant with a multitude of ways to make money, Allandras gets to start off with level three wealth-by-level instead of level two – and so gets 3000 GP worth of gear. In addition, since he can make items of up to 4000 GP value, qualifying magic items are half cost.

  • Prehensile Cloak (Original): Can act as a third arm or be used with any “unarmed” martial art without having to take a special ability to do so (1000 (500) GP).
  • Healing Belt (MIC, 750 (375) GP) 3 charges/ day, spend 1/2/3 as a standard action to heal 2d8/3d8/4d8 and +2 to Heal checks.
  • Phantom Mill (The Practical Enchanter, 2000 (1000) GP) Provides a small legion of Unseen Servants.
  • Two-person furnished Caravan (Horse or Mule-drawn). Includes built-in seats, cabinets, and wardrobe, a two person bunk in the rear, chest of drawers (the top serves as a table), larder, wine rack, glass-fronted china cabinet, and shelves with bars to keep things from falling off (these are on hinges, and can serve as a door for his extradimensional warehouse). Small windows and a skylight allow for light in the daytime, at night there are brackets for oil lamps. There is a small porch on each end. Racks and cases along the outside fold out to provide storage for trade goods, a set of masterwork artisans tools and a workbench, a small forge, and a wide variety of storage spaces and barrels. An assortment of minor items – pots and pans, water tank, supply of foodstuffs (about a months worth for one), clothing, bedding, an (average) door lock, soap, and similar miscellany – is included at a net cost of 350 GP (Caravan 250, Tools 55, minor goods 45).
  • Minor Adventuring Gear: explorers outfit (and a spare), rope, grapples, a couple of flasks of oil, staff, light crossbow and bolts, a lantern, small metal mirror, ritual pouch, small prybar, a pair of mules, sacks, two knives, twine, wire, paper, pens, and ink, wax, chalk, etc. 175 GP.
  • Materials and trade goods: 600 GP.

Allandras hasn’t much of any direct spellcasting (picking up Power Words to store his ritual effects might be a good idea), but he does have an extensive arsenal of magical gadgets – and can easily provide gadgets, transport, and support for an entire party. That’s well worth investing his first couple of levels in. Direct magic – or whatever else he chooses to do – can come later.

For some examples of things that you can make with the Expert Artificer package:

  • Spell Talismans:
    • Innate Spell with Multiple Uses:
      • Two L1 Effects: 6 Uses Each (1 CP), 14 Uses Each (2 CP), 22 Uses Each (3 CP).
      • L2 Effect: 6 Uses (1 CP), 14 Uses (2 CP), 22 Uses (3 CP).
      • L3 Effect: 5 Uses (1 CP), 13 Uses (2 CP), 21 Uses (3 cp).
      • Related L3 and L4 Effect (1 CP), either 5 Uses of Each or a Related L5 and L6 Effect (2 CP), 9 Uses Each of a related L3 and L4 effect (3 CP).
      • Related Set: One effect of each level 3-7 (3 CP).
    • Unfortunately, this doesn’t bypass the level requirements for using innate spells, so low-level artificers must wait a while before using the high-level stuff. On the other hand, there’s nothing at all wrong with taking along a plentiful supply of Multiplying Shuriken (Magic Missile), Rainbow Crystals (Color Spray), Healing Draughts (Cure Light Wounds), and Origami Golems (Unseen Servants) on your early adventures.
  • Curative Ointment:
    • Healing Touch with Bonus Uses (enough to cure (5 x Chr Mod x Level HP) and Improved/Switch/Empower with Bonus Uses to provide (4+Level/3) total uses of Remove Disease, Remove Blindness/Deafness, Cure Serious Wounds, Remove Curse, Neutralize Poison, and Restoration (3 CP).
    • Curative ointment isn’t all that level-dependent, so a low-level party may find having a pot along very VERY helpful.
  • Sorcerer’s Bag:
    • Improved Occult Talent, Corrupted for Increased Effect (spell level) / slots must be preset. provides 5L1 and 3L2 charms/fetishes/scrolls/whatever with whatever you like in them for (1 CP).
    • That’s not as many uses as you can get from Innate Spell, but you do get a wide variety of effects. This is taking cheesy advantage of the rounding rule, but Improved Occult Talent is not likely to break the game.
  • Ring of Whispered Wishes:
    • 6d6 Mana with Reality Editing, Corrupted / cannot be used for other purposes (3 CP).
    • This useful little item answers small wishes – that there be something solid to catch onto when you’re sliding towards the cliff, that an opponent suffer some brief disadvantage, that a spell operate in a way it really shouldn’t or pierce that spell resistance. There’s usually enough power for nine or ten very minor requests, but larger boons expend the rings power far more rapidly.

Someone with this package makes a wonderful seller of potions and items that provide more uses of your own abilities, rather than independent abilities. Even better, they don’t need expensive ingredients, or to spend experience points, or to have all kinds of spell formula available. If you kill them, their stock ceases to work. If you steal their stock, it will soon cease to work as they invest their Enthusiast points in making some new stock. You can’t even accumulate it, because unused purchases will lose their power after some agreed-on date (when they make new stuff). On the other hand, buying from them can be quite inexpensive.

The Anomaly – Wealth, Religion, and Obols.

The primary high-end currency of the Anomaly is not a fiat currency, or credits backed by some sort of political unit, or precious metals and gems, or anagathic drugs, or magically-imbued feathers, or souls, or shells, or packets of herbs, or potion-coins, or any of the hundreds of other exotic currencies used in one location or another.

It’s the Obol.

Obols appear to be moderately sized coins or tokens, usually embossed with some strange sigil or image – although the exact nature of that symbol does not matter in the least (it appears to be determined by the unconscious beliefs of whoever or whatever initially created a particular Obol or by the people who have carried it since). Most commonly there are…

  • The black, “tarnished gold” Obols, of Death, Destruction, and Endings.
  • The glittering sunlight-silver Obols of Life, Creation, and New Beginnings.
  • The opaline crystal Obols of Destiny, Chaos, and Transformation.
  • The deep red-iron Obols of Order, Preservation, and Spirits.

Far more rarely are found the translucent star-filled Obols of Time, Space, and Memory, the Ruby Obals of Will-Working, the various tints of Mind-Obol Diamonds, or several other exotics.

Obols are not made of matter. They are links to the realm of the power they represent and a reserve of unfocused energy operating under that realms rules. Unless they are being interacted with by a being capable of interacting with other realities – a quality associated with higher life forms – they are essentially inert. They can be moved about, but cannot be damaged, show no chemical properties, are usually impervious to radiation or other energies (although some types transmit particular energies as if the Obol did not exist at all), have no temperature (although each type and value produces the sensation of a characteristic temperature to the touch), and chime when struck with distinctive tones – although no one two observers quite agree on what they “really” sound like. They can be clearly seen in the dark (although they do not photograph well in the dark), since the sensation of their appearance seems to transmitted directly to the minds of observers, rather than being primarily reliant on their eyes. Their mass appears to be derived from the boundary effect that defines their surfaces (or so say some scholars who have spent a lot of time fiddling about with and spinning Obols of various shapes).

If handled by a creature that is capable of other-dimensional interaction, Obals are somewhat more mutable. The sigil they bear can be changed with a period of concentration (although few bother). Multiple Obols can be combined into a single, higher-value Obol – and higher-value Obols can be divided into multiple lower-value Obols, down to a minimum value of one.

And any intelligent creature will recognize their value. Obols can be spent at full value anywhere at all. The guards at the gates of death may have no regard for ordinary treasures, but they – like elemental beings, demons, aliens, and spirits – will accept Obols in payment.

For Obols are the very stuff of magic. Anyone who holds one can expend it as a standard action, leaving behind nothing but whatever bits of dust were stuck to it’s surface at the time, to invoke a magical / psionic / occult effect suited to the type of Obol they are expending.

  • One Obol is worth one first-level effect, with a caster level equal to the user’s (Wis Mod + Base Will Save).
  • Larger numbers of appropriate Obols can be expended to produce higher level effects. Provided that the user’s effective caster level is at least (twice the level of the effect to be created minus one) it costs 3 Obols for a L2 effect, 5 for a L3 effect, 12 for L4 effect, and 25 for L5 effect – the usual maximum.
  • It is possible to add special components, or amplification circles, to increase the effect – but if the user is duplicating a specific effect that calls for such things already, they must either be provided or the base level of the effect used must be increased to compensate for their absence.

If you wish to give a delirious dying man a few minutes of painless clarity to say his farewells and a quick, clean, passage into death… a Deathly Obol will suffice. An easy childbirth, saving a child dying of some injury, or a conception when there seemed no chance of such a thing? A Life-Obol will grant your desire. A blessing for a farm to avoid accidents during the harvest? An Order-Obol can meet your needs. Giving a newborn a true name and a destiny? A Chaos-Obol can weave your will into the fabric of reality (Often with greater success than another type of Obol would grant, although (with Chaos) success is never guaranteed. Still, Chaos Obols are one of the few types that can bend the odds of the future, rather than affecting the present).

Carrying such links to powers and principles does have it’s side effects however.

  • Carrying more than six Obols of a particular type will bring the bearer into closer touch with the powers that the coins represent. They will touch his or her dreams, or even sometimes whisper to the bearer when he or she is awake. They may attempt to manipulate the bearer for their own ends. Still, at the end… a few will be expended on the bearers dying whims. Thus do death-words gain their power.
  • Carrying more than twenty-seven Obols of a particular type will bring the forces that that represent into play in your daily life and make the bearer disquietingly aware of their presence. Obols of Life might cause any contraceptive measures you take to fail, lead to encounters with life-spirits, inspire artists to create new (and sometimes terrible) things, or attract predators or other nuisances – as well as allowing the bearer to detect new pregnancies, some illnesses, and tell whether or not an artwork is truly original. Obols of Death might reveal the approach of death in the injured and ill (attempting to play a double-or-nothing game with Death is a classic tradition, but very risky), stir unquiet spirits, cause someone to become sick, or something similar. Sometimes… when the powers of a particular realm manifest most powerfully (and usually inconveniently), another Obol of that type will be found in the vicinity. Few consider such “interest” worth the trouble.
  • Carrying more than 280 Obols of a particular type will link the bearer to the force they embody quite directly – weakening the user’s ability to do things opposed to the nature of his or her horde. Carrying many Obols of Death will make it difficult to heal others or be healed, while Obols of Life may make it difficult to inflict harm. On the other hand, the user may now expend Obols of the appropriate type as an Immediate Action until his or her horde drops below the critical value.

Despite these dubious flaws / advantages, Obols are in many ways an ideal coinage. They are, after all, impossibly durable, have an inherent value that is easily recognized by anyone, are as fungible as entries in a bookkeepers tome, are easily converted into other valuable things, and are easily concealed and transported.

For conversion purposes, an Obol can be roughly valued at 25 GP, and can be expended in lieu of 5 XP in games which feature XP costs for various enchantments or spells. Unfortunately, since Obols function both as money AND a source of magic, it’s much easier to convert Obols into lesser currencies than it is to do the reverse. You can sell an Obol almost anywhere, but most people will prefer to keep their money in the form of Obols if they can (at least up to the point where the weird effects start happening). After all, mere gold will not help much when you need some magic in an emergency situation.Thus Obols are rarely traded for mere gold and trinkets.

Still, since Obols are far TOO valuable for minor purchases, lesser currencies are actually much more commonly traded.

So where do Obols come from?

  • They can be created as Wondrous Items.
  • They are fairly common gifts from otherworldly visitors. For example, according to tales of the lands of Leros and Nilander…

On the day of dead, when tombs and graves open as the mouths of the underworld, and the spirits of the long-deceased walk the lands of the living, those daring enough to open their doors to such wandering shades – and who welcome their cold and spectral guests with the warmth that only the living can muster – may be paid for their hospitality with the imperishably tarnished black coins of the underworld, where even gold is touched by decay.

How much of that is truth, and how much is fancy distorted by thousands of miles of distance and travelers tales is difficult to say.

Priests of the Powers get some regularly, for they have:

  • Create (Wondrous) Item, Specialized for Increased Effect (time spent on religious affairs and obligations counts towards item creation time) and Corrupted for Reduced Cost / only to create a particular type of Obol (4 CP).
  • Harvest of Artifice, Specialized for Increased Effect and Corrupted for Reduced Cost / only for use with Transmutation to create Obols, user must act as a priest of the powers he or she is tapping into and must spend a good deal of effort displaying the benefits of aligning yourself with such powers to the local populace (4 CP). This provides 200 XP a month that can only be used for “transmutation”.
  • Transmutation, Specialized for Increased Effect (Produces Obols instead of normal valuables) and Corrupted / only to produce a specific type of Obols (4 CP).

The net result? For 12 CP and a fair amount of time spent on being a priest of a particular set of powers you get a divine “salary” of 16 Obols per month. That’s pretty good for a non-adventurer, even if you’re likely to “spend” at least half of them performing your duties. Priests with more personal power do usually get to keep more of their Obols for emergencies though, so abilities such as ritual magic, shamanic magic, healing touch, and so on, are quite common among them.

Obols are also convenient in games for several reasons; they give non-casters more access to magic, they discourage the looting of villages (since the people are likely to use up their Obols defending, healing, and fighting back if they’re attacked), they are a highly versatile but temporary source of magic for particular missions, and they are an excellent incentive for characters to undertake missions that aren’t likely to yield a lot of cash otherwise.

More Gryphon Species Affinities for Eclipse and Equestra

And today it’s the answer to a question…

I wanted to request a few more gift packages: what would Owl and Snow Lion Gifts look like? (I figured we needed one mythological cat in there, to balance out the phoenix.)

-Alzrius

Well, now that I’ve gotten to it… here is the owl, one mythological bird, and two mythological cats, with a refresher on how these packages are built first.

Many gryphons have secondary species affinities, most often powered by Mana – but that’s about the limit of their instinctive channeling. Beyond that point, they generally need to learn to use it consciously, from scratch.

Secondary Species Affinity: Double Enthusiast, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect: only to buy abilities related to the users feline OR avian species morphology (not both), can only be changed to a total of [(Con Mod x 2) + 2], 2 minimum) specific abilities or combinations of abilities. (6 CP). While this does not inherently bypass the minimum level requirements for full control of spellcasting (inherent or not), reducing those spells to level three by spending mana on them means that even the most powerful effects require a maximum level of five to fully control – so it isn’t much of an issue. Given that a gryphon will normally only have one or two such effects it can usually be excused. If it matters, however, buy a small Immunity (+4 on your effective level for controlling inherent spells (Common, Minor, Minor, Specialized and Corrupted / only to cover the minimum level requirements for the two possible secondary species affinity spells) for 1 CP and drop it later. A Gryphon may purchase a Secondary Species Affinity twice: once for each of the user’s contributing species.

The Owl is noted for silence, seeing in the dark, and striking suddenly from that darkness to bring sudden, violent, death.

Possible Owl’s Gifts Include:

  • Con Mod 0-: Either a +6 Racial Bonus to Stealth or +2d6 Sneak Attack.
  • Con Mod +1: Mana-Powered Inherent Spell, Specialized for Decreased (Mana) Cost / only allows a single first level spell. Either Low-Light Vision or Instant Search
  • Con Mod +2: Mana-Powered Inherent Spell, either Blindsight or Wraithstrike
  • Con Mod +3: Mana-Powered Inherent Spell, Level Four Effect reduced to Level Three by costing 3 Mana to activate. Either Implacable Pursuer or Heart Ripper.
  • Con Mod +4: Mana-Powered Inherent Spell, Level Five Effect reduced to Level Three by costing 4 Mana to activate. Either Doomtide or Summon Undead V (rather grotesquely, the owl-gifted vomits up a wad of bones which turns into the summoned undead).
  • Con Mod +5: Mana-Powered Inherent Spell, Level Six Effect reduced to Level Three by costing 5 Mana to activate. Either Aura Of Terror or Disintegrate.

The Pard is a beast of legend, a thing of mystery, known only by rumor and tales of cunning. It cuckolds lions, evades hunters, and vanishes like a mist before the dawn.

Possible Pard’s Gifts Include:

  • Con Mod 0-: Either a +6 Racial Bonus to Stealth or Favors (The Spirits of the Land) and Favors (The Spirits of the Sky) (6 CP).
  • Con Mod +1: Mana-Powered Inherent Spell, Specialized for Decreased (Mana) Cost / only allows a single first level spell, either Obscuring Mist or Camouflage.
  • Con Mod +2: Mana-Powered Inherent Spell, either Personal Greater/Improved Invisibility or Freedom Of Movement.
  • Con Mod +3: Mana-Powered Inherent Spell, Level Four Effect reduced to Level Three by costing 3 Mana to activate. Either Shadow Form or Dimension Door.
  • Con Mod +4: Mana-Powered Inherent Spell, Level Five Effect reduced to Level Three by costing 4 Mana to activate. Either Phantasmal Thief orJungle Mind.
  • Con Mod +5: Mana-Powered Inherent Spell, Level Six Effect reduced to Level Three by costing 5 Mana to activate. Either Superior Resistance or Transport Via Plants

The Snow Lion is an emblem of Tibet, representing – among other things – glaciers, the element of earth, snowy mountain ranges, strength, fearlessness, the joy of creation, east, and (magical?) power. It’s roar is courage and truth, the sound of emptiness that breaks the bonds that hold one to the illusion of reality. It is a guardian and guide upon the path to becoming a Buddha. White, with a turquoise mane, it ranges over the mountains, bounding joyfully from peak to peak – never flying, yet it’s feet never touching the earth. Not a creature, but a personification of concepts and a symbol of Buddhism.

This one… is a bit awkward. Sorting out a set of “tiger powers” calls for a bit of stretching since tigers are actual creatures, and we needed to dip into what they’re usually taken to symbolize to find enough items. The Snow Lion, however, is a symbolic creature to start with, and has the opposite problem; there are thousands of powers that can easily be said to fit a demi-deity and how should it be narrowed down?

So I won’t. Any Gryphon with a Snow Lion aspect is a pretty obviously some sort of destined avatar or something – and certainly should be a full-blown spellcaster. Ergo… they will need an intuitive knowledge of the spells and powers they will need to fulfill whatever their destiny is.

  • The Snow Lions Gift – at each level – has the same structure: it’s knowledge of 12 CP worth of Spell Formula, Specialized / such spells are intuitive, they cannot be taught to others, recorded in spellbooks, of put into scrolls or other items. Only the person with the gift can cast them. Those who prepare spells will get 6 formulas at each level of this gift, but will need no spell books or similar items to prepare them. Those who cast spontaneous spells will get 4 spells added to their list. While such spells must have something to do with the Snow Lion, and each level accessed will be a specific set unique to the individual user, there are still many, MANY, options.

The Thunderbird is an avatar of storms, bringer of rain, and controller of winds. It is a fury which sweeps down upon the land.

Possible Thunderbird’s Gifts Include:

  • Con Mod 0-: Either Resistance to Electricity 12 (Immunity; Common, Major, Minor, 6 CP) or Luck with +4 Bonus Uses, Specialized in Saving Throws (6 CP).
  • Con Mod +1: Mana-Powered Inherent Spell, Specialized for Decreased (Mana) Cost / only allows a single first level spell, either Commune With Birds or Shocking Grasp.
  • Con Mod +2: Mana-Powered Inherent Spell, either Call Lightning or Thunderous Roar
  • Con Mod +3: Mana-Powered Inherent Spell, Level Four Effect reduced to Level Three by costing 3 Mana to activate. Either Ball Lightning or Eye Of The Hurricane.
  • Con Mod +4: Mana-Powered Inherent Spell, Level Five Effect reduced to Level Three by costing 4 Mana to activate. Either Control Winds or Fickle Winds
  • Con Mod +5: Mana-Powered Inherent Spell, Level Six Effect reduced to Level Three by costing 5 Mana to activate. Either Summon Elder Air Elemental or Summon Storm (as per Control Weather, but simply summons a storm, offering no further control).

Eclipse – Elder Eidolons And Accursed Priesthood

Today it’s a query about setting up a fairly modest Cult with the power to change the world – albeit only very slowly and gradually. That’s pretty classic; the dreadful cult may not be very large, but over the years it’s terrible ceremonies slowly twist a substantial area towards becoming a realm of Lovecraftian horror, accomplishing some mighty summoning, or something similar.

Obviously, some heroes will just have to intervene at the last minute. Sadly, however, that may not be enough. If it’s a genuine Lovecraftian cult… any “victory” against it is always purely temporary. For some day the Elder Ones will reign once more – and that day may be delayed somewhat, but never stopped entirely.

Of course, in Eclipse, there are several ways to do this.

The idea is that a town worshiping Father Dagon would use a Magic Item in conjunction with Power Amplification Circles (from The Practical Enchanter) to be able to achieve together and over time what they couldn’t do alone in the here and now. They set up two Power Amplification Circles (one boosting a specific Greater Invocation and one boosting a Spell Group). The Magic Item would be casting a Greater Invocation with a Very Broad Range of Effects (+3 Levels) with Metamagic Modifiers of elaborate Component (-2), specific place (-1) and of course the circle (-4) making it a total -7 reduction). The Greater Invocation would only produce long-term Cantrip effects, with the duration further boosted by the second circle (-4), elaborate component (-2), specific place (-1), 10x casting time (-1) and the reduction for having lots of built-in metamagic (-3) for a total reduction of -11 and a final level of 6 – rendering the final Greater Invocation (Dagon’s Blessings) a level 2 spell (6 Base + 3 for Very Broad Theme – 3 for Metamagic -4 for Power Amplification Circle = 6+3-4-3 = 2).

Now that would mean it’d take days working in shifts to make sure anything gets done and requiring possibly months of continuous activation, but technically they could do everything nature magic would allow for if they were just competent, patient and smart enough to figure out how to craft those high-level spells from lower-level ones.

Now my question is: As ridiculous as the setup is (probably requiring a lot of people to basically just kill themselves irreversibly while casting to get it going in the first place), is it technically possible to stack it up like this?

-krackothunder

Well, lets take a look!

The basic spell is Greater Invocation (from The Practical Enchanter, Any Nature Magic Cantrip Effect, a very broad range of effects and so level three – although I’d probably let someone get away with taking it as level two since it IS only cantrips). On top of that, we’re throwing in +16 levels of the Persistent Metamagic to make the results permanent – reducing the level of the resulting spell with an elaborate component (a dedicated temple of Dagon, -2), a specific place (built on an ancient site holy to Dagon, -1), ten times the usual casting time (-1), the credit for having lots of built-in metamagic (-3) and a maxed-out Power Amplification Circle (-4) for a final spell level of seven.

We can squeeze another (-2) levels out of the Compaction metamagical theorem, so I’d throw in having a few of the worshipers take some attribute damage (-1) and beginning or progressing their slow transformations into Deep One s(-1) to get it down to level five.

So far, that works just fine. Unfortunately, throwing in another Circle runs afoul of the general rules on bonus stacking. A Greater Invocation can produce the effects of a wide variety of spells but doesn’t actually produce those spells; it just mimics them. The Greater Invocation is producing a permanent cantrip-level effect, but it isn’t actually creating permanent cantrips – and so another circle won’t help; it hasn’t actually got a fresh spell to start with.

Still, you don’t actually need another circle to pull off this trick. A Dread Relic Of The Elder Ones (an item) capable of casting that spell as a Unlimited-Use Command-Word item has a cost of (Spell Level 5 x Caster Level 9 x 1800 GP for Unlimited-Use Command Word x .6 (only for members of the Church of Dagon) x .8 (requires at least some ability to cast clerical spells calling on Dagon) x .5 (Immobile, so it can’t be hidden for later if adventurers find you) x .6 (requires a congregation and regular religious services in honor of Dagon to keep activated) x .6 (effects are always twisted towards the purposes of Dagon, regardless of the user’s intent) = 6998.4 GP. (Call it 7000). Lets say that it requires the sacrifice of two first level spell slots daily as well (using the Dedicated Item) modifier, for a net cost of 5000 GP – and our cultists can now chain together masses of those cantrips to produce higher-level effects, all of which will be permanent because the Cantrips making them up are permanent.

The two major remaining problems are that chaining together that many cantrips is likely to go horribly wrong every so often (which, to be fair, is as expected for a Lovecraftian cult) and that – since this relies on tying together a lot of permanent cantrips – messing up a few of them is likely to ruin the effect – and cantrips are fairly easy to break. This means that some pesky adventurers could all too easily ruin everything!

To get around the “easy to ruin” problem we’ll want something with an instantaneous effect.

To get that start with Limited Wish instead. Add (+2) spell levels to get rid of the component requirement, then throw in some of the modifiers from earlier – requires an elaborate temple (-2), ten times the usual casting time (-1), and only works using a +4 level amplification circle (-4), for a net level of two.

As an item this will require (Spell Level 2 x Caster Level 3 x 1800 GP for Unlimited-Use Command Word Activated x .6 (three uses per day) x .6 (requires holding a religious service with at least a dozen other cultists in honor of Dagon to activate) x .6 (effects – and side effects – are always twisted towards the terrible purposes of Dagon, regardless of the user’s intent) = 2333 GP.

Admittedly our nifty item – call it an Elder Eidolon (Of Dagon, although presumably other Elder Ones use the same basic design) – has to be installed in the center of a intricate magic circle in a temple of Dagon and be the center of worship by a Cult of Dagon to work – but three Limited Wishes per day can quite reasonably be used to gradually cause all sorts of effects, Even better, the effect of any given Limited Wish or chain thereof can probably be taken as Instantaneous and hence non-dispellable.

It will take quite a while to build up to really high-end effects – whether using one “limited wish” to hold the next one ready to go in a chain to exploit Lerandors Rule or simply stacking up small and gradual changes. Either way will probably result in it taking ten days to reach a ninth-level effect (such as cursing an area), a year for a fourteenth level effect, a century for a twentieth level effect, and perhaps two thousand years for a twenty-fourth level effect – but that actually seems fairly reasonable. and allows plenty of time to figure out the next step as you go. Even better, using instantaneous effects allows for interruptions. If the cult is driven off for a decade or so, they can just pick up where they left off when they manage to take their temple back.

And if the rest of the world is stupid enough to let the Cult of Dagon just do what it wants for two thousand years while the side effects and intermediate effects build up all around them… well, if the planetary population is THAT stupid than SOMETHING is going to get them anyway, and it might as well be the Elder Ones, who will at least appreciate the snack.

Worse, even if someone simply exploits the cult and the Limited Wishes for their own ends, the side effects will accumulate. It might take ten or fifty times as long for major effects to build up – but it will still happen. As long as people fall to the seductive lure of easy power, the countdown to doom will continue.

For even more fun have the high priest take…

  • Three Specific Knowledges: the required runic circle, how to make proper temples to Dagon, and the theology of the Elder Ones (3 CP in total),
  • Innate Enchantment: an Elder Edolion (as above) and (Skill) Mastery (Spellcraft, L2, +20 Bonus to one roll for creating Circles, 1 Use/Day (x.2), only for the circle for the Elder Eidolon (x.3) = 720 GP) for a net value of 3050 GP or 4 CP.
  • Blessing, Specialized and Corrupted / only to pass on this package to a successor when slain, the user (or perhaps “host”) has no control over whether or not to do so; it will happen (2 CP)

All Corrupted (again, for the blessing, but this is Cthulhu Mythos stuff and it only saves 1 CP) / the user will find himself or herself creating a temple and gathering a cult to serve Dagon even if he or she has to sleepwalk to do it

This results in a net “cost” of 6 CP – but it was paid long ago by the first Priest of Dagon to develop this infectious accursed feat to empower himself and his successors – driving them to both service and madness whether the unfortunate priest-victims like it or not.

They might like it. There are always some people who would do anything for that kind of power.

So you have slain the high priest? Then the curse is upon you! You have done us a great service, but we must cast you out! Perhaps your friends can restrain you – but if not, it might be best to kill yourself. The curse would still return eventually – but if it inflicts itself upon an infant it may require many years.

Or you could just give your high priest the Ritual Magic ability for (6 CP) and let the cult work on gathering the components for some horrific ritual. That’s a good deal simpler, and will almost certainly take a lot less time – but if it gets interrupted by adventurers the cult will usually need to start over from scratch. That’s good for a mystery scenario though, where the characters find out a few of the things the cult is after, and must stop them from obtaining them, trace them to their base, derail whatever ritual they’ve managed to scrape together, and then deal with whatever lesser horror the disrupted ritual managed to produce.

And I hope that covers what you wanted to know!

Halfbreeds and Ponyfinder in Equestria – Kirin in Eclipse

And here we have another Ponyfinder type – the Kirin.

In Ponyfinder the Kirin are strongly dragonblooded ponies from distant lands. They have scaly coats, vaguely draconic features, and colors based on their elemental affinity – red, orange, and yellow for fire, blue, green, and white for water/ice, deep greens, browns, stony colors for earth, and the many colors of the sky for air. It’s implied that their cultures are basically eastern asian (with no particular reason given for that), but I’m having to rely on online sources here; I don’t have that particular book and they seem to be purely a fanon creation as far as the actual program goes.

Personally, I’d see a Dragon-Pony crossbreed – or race thereof – as creatures of great internal contradictions.

  • Dragons: Arrogant. Solitary. Predatory. Violent. Touchy. Hoarding. Hot-Tempered. Dominating.
  • Ponies: Sociable. Gregarious. Friendly. Mostly Nonviolent. Herbivorous. Generous. Enthusiastic. Group Oriented.

One could assume that a lot of those traits cancel each other out – but a lot of the point of playing a hybrid is to combine dissimilar traits and see what you can make of them. So trying that for Dragon-Ponies I see…

  • Generosity versus Hoarding. Kirin want stuff – and also see the value in being liked, owed favors, and impressing others. Thus they exchange gifts, especially when greeting others. Whoever gives the most impressive (but still reasonable for the recepient) gift will gain a substantial social edge, and the more impressive the gift, the greater the edge.
  • Solitary and Gregarious. Kirin DO live in tightly-packed groups, but they’re relatively small groups and they try to create an appearance of privacy and solitude through careful etiquette, privacy screens, thin “walls” that do little more than block line of sight, and similar stratagems. Many things are simply carefully “not seen”.
  • Nonviolent and Forgiving versus Touchy and Violent. Kirin are capable of savage violence and are easily offended – but are also well aware that violence is problematic and that most offenses are quite unintentional. Thus their social interactions tend to be filtered through layers of social rules, etiquette, and formality.
  • Herbivorous versus Predatory: This one is pretty simple. Kirin cusine tends to mix a bit of pretty much everything – a little meat, some gems and minerals, and simple vegetable fillers and sauces that let the exotic flavors shine through.
  • Arrogant and Enthusiastic: Kirin tend to throw themselves into their projects – but rarely, if ever, spend much time thinking about potential failure modes or whether or not whatever they have in mind is a good idea.
  • Sociable versus Hot-Tempered: Kirin like to share their projects and interact with each other – but criticism, rivalries, and even minor arguments tend to lead to contests to “settle the issue”, rather than to any kind of rational debate. Admittedly, having two fruit-growers involved in a heated, high-stakes, jam-making competition is a bit weird by most other races standards, but it works tolerably well.
  • Dominating (Me First!) versus Group-Oriented: Kirin want a hierarchy (SOMEONE needs to be in charge!) – but while anyone will enjoy the social status and rewards of leadership, any sane Kirin leader knows that the way to earn those rewards is to promote the welfare and goals of the group – not to simply exploit your followers. Kirin leaders thus focus on wisdom – knowing how to effectively promote those goals – rather than power. Their leaders tend more towards scholars, wise elders, teachers, and problem-solvers rather than warlords, demagogues, and combatants. A respect for age tends to go with that.

Ergo, we can reasonably say that many “eastern” elements of their culture and behavior are more or less rational social systems for dealing with their natural tendencies rather than an arbitrary way to reflect Earth’s mythology. That also means that they might reasonable appear in (surviving) relatively isolated kirin settlements without being a part of a greater culture. And that’s a good thing, because Dragon-Pony crossbreeds are likely to be scarce.

As for their abilities…

In Ponyfinder they get:

  • +2 Constitution, +2 Wisdom, and -2 Dexterity, to be Fingerless Quadrupeds with a boost to ground movement while on all fours, and Low-Light Vision just for being ponies. I personally don’t agree that ponies have Low-Light Vision – I see little evidence of it in the show – so that isn’t included in the Eclipse basic pony package, but a lot of other stuff is.
  • Fast Healing II whenever they take at least 1 Damage from the type of energy they’re resistant to to a maximum of 2 hit points per level per day. Honestly.. that’s over complicated and not very useful. Fortunately, basic Eclipse ponies get boosted healing (averaging 16.5 points per day) anyway. If you really must specialize for double effect / only work when exposed to appropriate elemental energies go right ahead.
  • 60′ Darkvision from having the Dragon type. I don’t think I’ll put this in though; at least judging by Owl’s Well That Ends Well, Spike can’t see well in the dark; we can’t be seeing as he does in the green dragon’s cave since there are shadows, Twilight needs Owlowiscious to guide her in the dark, rather than getting directions from Spike, and she wants a night assistant. Ergo it looks to me like Equestrian Dragons don’t have Darkvision.
  • Immunity to Spells and Psionic Effects causing Sleep or Paralysis from having the Dragon type again. Again, there’s little evidence of this from the series, although there is some evidence for general magic resistance – such as Greed-Growth Spike being immune to most magical attempts to stop him.
  • +1 Natural Armor. Well, that’s reasonable enough.
  • Resistance 5 to one energy type and “a corresponding elemental vulnerability”. Whether that means double damage or merely +5 damage or a penalty to saves or something is not entirely clear. Fortunately this can be ignored, since basic Eclipse ponies come with Resistance 9 to all kinds of energy straight out of the box.
  • Once per day they can spend a swift action to add +1d6 of the appropriate elemental damage to their melee attacks for up to one round per level. A modest, but worthwhile boost.

In Eclipse…

Kirin tend to be found in small clusters and villages, tucked away on mountain peaks, or in hidden valleys, or distant islands – wherever a dragon or two and some ponies had kids without too many others about to dilute the bloodlines before they settled into a reasonably stable culture. Unfortunately, this means that there are no mighty kirin empires out there; there simply aren’t enough kirin. Instead they tend towards isolated settlements, wizened elders who have settled down to meditate on a mountaintop for a few years (perhaps the equivalent of a draconic long nap), and wandering adventurers. Following their natural tendencies, Kirin are among the few ponies who have extensive inherent combat talents backing up their focus on formal etiquette and contemplative wisdom. Mucking about in a Kirin settlement is all too likely to trigger an “everyone’s a martial artist” episode. In Eclipse Equestria they get the following racial abilities:

Kirin (+32 CP, 63 CP Total with the Basic Pony Template for a +1 ECL).

  • Bonus Language: Draconic (1 CP).
  • Adept, Specialized for Increased Effect (+4 to the skill per SP) / only to determine the cost of their racial skill bonuses (6 CP). Their adept skills are:
  • Any one (Elemental) (Air, Death, Earth, Fire, Life, Spirit, Void, or Water) Dragon Style Martial Arts (Con Based), Specialized for Increased Effect (normally double the effect of each ability purchased, but variations – such as combining two base abilities – are possible) / only if the user is unarmored and unencumbered, user radiates elemental magical energies and is easily sensed by other elemental martial artists.
  • The same style, without the Specialization, for use when armored, Corrupted for Reduced Cost / must take the same abilities (or only one of the two options of “mixed” abilities) as the specialized version.
  • Rune Magic (Same Element) Casting.
  • Rune Magic (Same Element) Mastery.
  • Racial Skill Bonuses: +12 each to their two innate Martial Arts (5 CP), +12 Rune Magic Casting (3 CP), +4 Rune Magic Mastery (1 CP).

This means that a Kirin starts off with at least six, and more likely seven or more, martial arts selections and can start with one or more advanced techniques – and gets double effect out of them when unarmored and unencumbered. Thus, for example, an Earth Dragon Stylist could start off with DR 4/- (8/-) over and above their basic pony DR, a Weapon Kata (perhaps with a damage boost), and an Occult Technique (or two).

  • +2d6 (7) Mana with the Resilience Natural Magic Option, Specialized / only for use with their racial branch of rune magic and Resilience (6 CP). Note that, in Equestria with the Superheroic World Template, they may spend up to (Con Mod) Mana each round to fuel their Elemental Magic or Occult Martial Arts Powers without having to draw on their pool.
  • Rite of Chi with +4 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted / requires one hour of rest or meditation per die, only to refill the mana pool above (4 CP).
  • Spell/Power Resistance. Either Generic or Specialized for Increased Effect / only Spells and Psionic Effects causing Sleep or Paralysis (6 CP).

This type of Kirin – like half-orcs in a more conventional game – are always a bit of a sideshow even in an Equestria game. After all… if they even EXIST, they’re going to be pretty rare. Still, making an exotic character is another large part of the point of playing a hybrid in the first place. After all, this is Eclipse; any special power a hybrid gets can be developed in some other way if you want them.

Of course, this power package can be applied to other races as a +1 ECL level adjustment – a handy way to start off as an expert elemental martial-artist mystic if you so desire.