Eclipse d20 – Binding Mysterious Spirits V. The Psychopomp, the Whisper From The Grave, Balam, Dantalion, Geryon (and his Bulls of Wrath), and Kagura.

As always, these Mysteries presume that their Channeler has the basic Bokor package, at 24 CP.

The Psychopomp and the Whisper From The Grave

Acererak was the Arch-Lich “responsible” for the classic Tomb of Horrors, and – as a Vestige – is apparently still clinging to his “unlife” after a fashion. He supposedly grants a tiny portion of the terrible powers he once wielded.

Of course, if being powerful, unwilling to fully die, and slain by adventurers was really enough, then half the dark lords who have ever lived should have become Vestiges. This illustrates a general problem with Vestiges. With a nigh-infinite number prime material planes, each with the potential to host a nigh-infinite number of worlds, even the most bizarre circumstances will pop up over and over again. Why aren’t there an endless host of Vestiges?

Just as importantly… why some no-longer-undead guy should bestow some undead powers that were almost entirely based on his transformed (and no longer existent) undead physical form is beyond me. Wouldn’t some of his knowledge, or magical power, or something else that was a part of HIM instead of being a part of a generic template make more sense?

So, OK; how about something a little more interesting?

The Psychopomp (32 CP + 3 CP Disadvantage / Duties. The Psychopomp must be a listener and faithful guide to the dead, regardless of his or her personal opinion of them or their lives)

The Psychopomp stands between life and death, a part of neither and a guide to both, a guardian at the crossroads, offering enigmatic advice to the incomprehending. Unless a spirit accepts their judgement, they do not judge, but merely ensure passage. Anubis, Charon, the Grim Reaper… all fill the role. It is not, however, a role that calls for divinity; shaman, deceased relatives, and lesser spirits all commonly take the role.

Among them, Bokor who choose to channel the Psychopomp.

  • Guide of the Dead: Privilege/The spirits of the newly dead and any other free spirits in the area get to spend a few “minutes” out of the normal flow of time speaking with the Psychopomp. If such a spirit agrees to a destination, or has none in mind, the Psychopomp may send the spirit on to either reincarnation or to any appropriate afterlife (3 CP).
  • On The Paths Of The Dead/Witchcraft III, Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect/each basic ability is limited to a fairly specific, simple effect (rather than allowing dozens), often with additional limitations (6 CP).
    • Dreamfaring/In Dead Mans Shoes: By expending a standard action and 3 Power a Psychopomp may briefly abandon his or her hold on the material plane to become an incorporeal free spirit. Incorporeality can only be safely maintained for (Will Bonus) rounds. After that, resisting the siren call of the afterworlds to return to the material realm requires a Will check at a DC equal to the number of rounds you are already past your limit. If the user fails three such checks in a row, he or she will depart for the afterworlds.
    • Infliction/Transcendent Blast: As per triple-effect Infliction, but this radiance only affects the Undead (including incorporeal ones) and blatantly reveals the user’s nature.
    • The Adamant Will/Citadel of Souls: A Psychopomp cannot be involuntarily possessed. Such attempts can be blocked for an entire hour with the expenditure of one Power. This does not count as an action and may be automatically activated whenever a possession is attempted.
    • The Inner Eye/Tales Of The Dead: A Psychopomp can read the traces of death upon an object, area, or corpse – determining details such as if and when an item was used to kill, what the killer felt about the victim, how long ago a creature died, and what they were feeling when they did, and so on. Secondarily, he or she can sense the presence of spirits and undead and the approach of death. This sense may be activated as a free action for ten minutes at a cost of one Power.
  • Strengths Of The Dead: +2d6 Mana as 6d6 (21) Power, Specialized and Corrupted/only to power the Paths of the Dead abilities given above (4 CP).
  • Touching The Fading Light: Rite of Chi with +4 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted/only to rebuild the Paths of the Dead power pool above, only usable in the vicinity of a recently slain creature (4 CP).
  • The Unfallen Mantle: Luck with +4 Bonus Uses, Specialized in saving throws (6 CP).
  • The Instant Of Death: Reflex Training (three action per day variant) with +8 Bonus Uses, Corrupted / may not be used more than three times in any one encounter (12 CP). A Psychopomp may occasionally invoke the timelessness of death, stepping momentarily out of the normal flow of events accomplish some task in a mere instant.

Being a soul-guide doesn’t offer a lot of raw combat power – but it can provide a great deal of information and it does include two of the handiest defensive abilities that Eclipse has to offer – the ability to automatically succeed on a save when you really need to and the ability to take extra actions when you need them. Being able to blast the undead is just a bonus.

The Whisper From The Grave (32 CP + 3 CP Disadvantage / Insane. Those who channel the Whisper have an irrational fear of death; if confronted with a serious chance of being killed, they tend to flee expeditiously).

Death in d20 is not an especially frightening thing. People KNOW that their spirits continue after death, they can go and visit various afterlives, they know that resurrection, reincarnation, various forms of transfiguration (becoming a god, or demon, or various other outer-planar creatures), and visits from the dead occur on a regular basis. Even if you betray your god, or are horribly evil, or have other problems… there are plenty of other gods who will approve and reward you. And while there are plenty of ways to put it off… there’s no avoiding it in the end. Sooner or later the odds will catch up with you no matter what, even if it takes a million years, and you will just have to put up with moving on. It is still a big change though – and there are always some who listen to that whisper of fear, of doubt and uncertainty and choose to linger in the embrace of the grave rather than moving on. To call upon that dubious host is somewhat foolish, but all too common.

  • Innate Enchantment (6000 GP Value / 7 CP. All Spell Level One, Caster Level One, Unlimited-Use use-Activated).
    • Detect Undead (2000 GP).
    • Hide From Undead (2000 GP). Note that this can be granted to companions with a simple touch.
    • Protection From Good (2000 GP). This too may be granted to companions.
  • Presence (Resist Energy), Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect/only affects the user, only protects against Cold and Electricity (6 CP). This provides 20 points of resistance to start, 40 at level seven, and increases to sixty at level eleven.
  • Occult Sense / Deathlore (3 CP): The user may gather about a paragraph’s worth of information from a corpse. If this is about the circumstances of death and and general information about the deceased and the cause of death, success is automatic. If the user would prefer other information he or she must share a language with, or use an effect which would allow communication with, the deceased. If the deceased would not have wanted to give up that information the corpse may make a will save (DC 14 + User’s Cha Mod) as if it was alive; if it succeeds it may censor the information it provides. Specialized/Any given user may only target a given corpse once with this ability.
  • Trick / Paralyzing Touch (4 CP): As a standard action once every five rounds you may make a touch attack to paralyze a living target. If the target fails a Fort Save (DC 10 + Level/2 + Cha Mod) it will be paralyzed for (Level/2) rounds. Corrupted/the victim gets a new save as a full-round action each round to end the effect.
  • Immunity to Negative Energy (Common, Major, Major, 9 CP).
  • Grant of Aid, Specialized and Corrupted for 3x the daily number of uses (1/Level) / Can only be triggered by exposure to negative energy, cannot restore negative levels (6 CP).

The Whisper From The Grave isn’t an especially versatile entity, but it can be awfully handy when dealing with a more subtle scenario – and even if it’s only real offensive ability is the paralyzing touch, it’s a pretty good one. A channeler could do much worse. 

Balam (32 CP + 3 CP Disadvantage / Irreverent. Balam has seen enough of various gods to have some pretty serious doubts about them being any more than really powerful people – and shares those doubts with his summoner. A channeler cannot regain divinely-granted spells while Balam is present).

According to the grimoires, Balam gives perfect answers to queries about things past, present, future and can make men invisible and witty. The name is probably derived from the biblical Balaam, a prophet-magician who was called on to curse Israel and could not, because god did not command it (although he did offer the upset king who had demanded his services some practical advice – basically “get them sinning and god will favor them less”). He supposedly died in battle. What a prophet was doing in a battle where he was going to get killed is never really explained.

In Wizard’s d20 version Balam possesses some combat-related foresight, a small gaze attack – perhaps to represent cursing groups – and a rather nice reroll ability, which is a pretty reasonable way to represent some prophetic ability. That’s a fairly reasonable place to start.

  • Luck, with +12 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted/only usable to reroll, only usable once every five rounds (8 CP).
  • Advanced Augmented Bonus: Add (Dex Mod) to (Str Mod) for combat purposes (12 CP).
  • Eyes and Hands: Witchcraft III, Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect/each basic ability is limited to a fairly specific, simple effect (rather than allowing dozens), often with additional limitations (6 CP).
    • Witchfire/Ice Eyes: You may spend 2 Power and a Swift Action to gain a Gaze Attack with a 30′ range that inflicts 3d6 Cold damage, or half that against a DC (16 + Cha Mod) Fortitude Save for up to one round per level. This supernatural ability works on constructs and, under the usual, rules, – does not require an action on your part to employ.
    • Witchsight/Death Eyes: You may spend 2 power whenever the game master calls for an Initiative Check or Reflex Save to see the patterns and flow of combat, gaining a + (Level/4) insight bonus to your Armor Class, Initiative, and Reflex Saves for one minute per level.
    • Hand of Shadows/Crushing Hand: You channel your determination into your weapons, allowing them to inflict damage as if they were one size larger. This is a constant effect with a cost of one Power per hour.
    • Witchfire/Icefire: All your attacks carry an aura of icy fire with them, and inflict an extra 1d8 cold damage. This is a constant effect with a cost of one Power per hour.
  • +2d6 Mana as +6d6 (21) Power, Specialized and Corrupted/only to power the four Eyes and Hands powers listed above (4 CP).
  • Rite of Chi with +6 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted/only for Power, only to rebuild the power pool for the Eyes and Hands Powers, above (5 CP).

Balam effectively comes with better than 90 power – which should be quite enough to run those four abilities for a day. Admittedly this version only has a limited number of rerolls available, but – since that once every five rounds limitation tends to promote saving rerolls for emergencies – a limited number of daily uses will have much the same effect.

Dantalion (32 CP + 3 CP Disadvantage / Compulsively nosy. Those channeling Dantalion cannot stand there being things they do not know or motivations that they do not understand, and will try to read the thoughts of anyone in the vicinity who is doing something for unknown reasons and will want to stop and do research or discuss matters if they ever fail a knowledge check).

Here we have yet another resident of the Ars Goetia. According to the Lesser Key Of Solomon…

“The Seventy-first Spirit is Dantalion. He is a Duke Great and Mighty, appearing in the Form of a Man with many Countenances, all Men’s and Women’s Faces; and he hath a Book in his right hand. His Office is to teach all Arts and Sciences unto any; and to declare the Secret Counsel of any one; for he knoweth the Thoughts of all Men and Women, and can change them at his Will. He can cause Love, and show the Similitude of any person, and show the same by a Vision, let them be in what part of the World they Will.”

Well that pretty well covers most of the things you could want doesn’t it? Doesn’t it EVER occur to would-be demonologists that if this had any chance of working the world would long since be under the thumb of a successful summoner?

Oh well. Wizards of the Coast gave him the ability to prevent others from attacking (for one round in every five), a bonus to knowledge checks, the ability to read thoughts, and short-range teleportation. That could be a lot worse. Of course, it could also be better…

  • Ten Thousand Faces / Superior Improved Presence: Dantalion lacks a true form of his own, and so borrows one from the mind of anyone who looks upon him. This is equivalent to a constant Disguise Self effect – allowing him to change his own appearance, and that of anyone else within a ten foot radius, to suit his whims. This does not count as an action. He gains a +4 Circumstance bonus when interacting with anyone who can be affected by mind-affecting powers and anyone who attempts to attack him (whether physically, magically, or what-have-you) must make a Will save (DC 13 + Cha Mod) or lose their action. The save must be repeated each round, although if the Channeler is currently attacking someone they get a +5 bonus (18 CP).
  • The Rule of Will: Witchcraft III, Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect/each basic ability is limited to a fairly specific, simple effect (rather than allowing dozens), often with additional limitations (6 CP).
    • Tap the Akhasic Record / The Inner Eye: Drawing on the psychic echoes of knowledge past, the user may spend 1 Power as a part of a knowledge check to gain a +12 bonus on it – and to count as being skilled.
    • Read Thoughts / The Inner Eye: You may use the Read Thoughts psionic power at will at no cost. Creatures may resist with a DC (16 + Cha Mod) will save.
    • Phantom Step / Hand of Shadows: you may expend 2 Power and a Standard Action or 5 Power and a Swift Action to instantly transport yourself and any objects you carry up to heavy load to any location you can see within medium range. If the space is occupied by something you cannot see, you will collide with it, stunning yourself for one round.
    • Who Walks Unseen / Shadowweave: You may expend 2 Power and a Standard Action to create an effect equivalent to the Greater Invisibility spell.
  • +3d6 Mana as +9d6 (32) Power, Specialized and Corrupted/only to power the Rule of Will powers listed above (6 CP).
  • Rite of Chi with +6 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted/only for Power, only to rebuild the power pool for the Rule of Will Powers, above (5 CP).

Dantalion has some substantial defensive abilities. Even a moderate chance of an enemy losing their action whenever they try to attack you is a major benefit, and throwing in invisibility and even short range teleportation can go a very long ways towards not being targeted – but Dantalion has no real offensive abilities at all unless you get very creative about disguising appearances.

Geryon (32 CP + 3 CP Disadvantage / Compulsive. Those hosting Geryon will find themselves speaking in thieves cant, like a gangster, or in some other dialect which will serve as a warning to the knowledgeable).

In Greek Myths Geryon was a grandson of Poseidon and a fearsome giant warrior, possibly with extra arms and bodies. Sadly for him, Hercules shot him with a poisoned arrow so as to steal his cattle. Much later on Dante’ put him in the Inferno as the venomous avatar of Fraud and a winged transport for Dante and Virgil. From there he made it into the first edition Monster Manual as an Arch-Devil with poison, ice powers, and a horn that summoned Minotaurs (his “cattle” – and the secret cow level). Later editions deposed him (and gave him vastly increased abilities). Still later, he somehow wound up both alive and a Vestige.

Well, OK. The “Giant Multibodied Warrior” version is kind of hard to implement (and just what it would do is kind of dubious anyway, although I may throw in some Minotaurs to give him more bodies to work with) – but the master of fraud and corruption who moved Dante and Virgil past deadly dangers has possibilities. To make sure there’s some combat power there I think I’ll equate “corrupting” to “corrosive” – and in d20 that means “acid”. So, some minor acid power that can affect large numbers of people.

  • +1 Bonus to Speak Language (Infernal, Specific Knowledge/The Fifth Layer Of Hell (2 CP).
  • Master Of The Infernal Realms: Witchcraft III, Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect/each basic ability is limited to a fairly specific, simple effect (rather than allowing dozens), often with additional limitations, taken twice, for a total of eight specific effects (12 CP).
    • Witchfire/Disrupting Gaze: You may spend 2 Power and a Swift Action to gain a Gaze Attack with a 30′ range that inflicts 2d6 Acid damage (your targets being torn apart by molecular telekinesis), or half that against a successful DC (16 + Cha Mod) Fortitude Save for up to one round per level. This supernatural ability works on constructs and – under the usual rules – does not require an action on your part to employ.
    • Shadowweave/Expanded Vision: You guide the light from all around you into your eyes – allowing you to see in all directions at once. You gain a +6 bonus to Spot and Search checks and cannot be flanked. On the other hand, you cannot avert your eyes from gaze weapons, and suffer a -3 penalty on saves against bright lights and similar visual threats. This is a constant effect with no cost unless you intentionally deactivate it, in which case it costs 1 Power and a free action to start again.
    • Witchsight/Perfect Nightsight: You see in twilight, shadows, and darkness, including magical versions thereof, as if it was full daylight. This is a constant effect at no cost.
    • Dreamfaring/Eyes of the Archdevil: You may see, and strike into, the Ethereal, Near Astral, and Shadow planes at no cost as a constant effect.
    • Hand of Shadows / Phantom Step: You may expend 2 Power and a Standard Action or 5 Power and a Swift Action to instantly transport yourself and any objects you carry up to heavy load to any location you can see within medium range. If the space is occupied by something you cannot see, you will collide with it, stunning yourself for one round.
    • Glamour / Forked Tongue. You gain the benefit of a constant Glibness effect.
    • Hand of Shadows / Fingers of the Night. You may expend 1 power and a move action to make a Disable Device, Open Locks, or Sleight of Hand check at a range of 60 feet. For an additional 2 Power you gain a +5 on the roll.
    • Shadowweave / In Mortal Guise. You gain a constant Change Self effect.
  • +3d6 Mana as +9d6 (32) Power, Specialized and Corrupted/only to power the Master of the Infernal Realms powers listed above (6 CP).
  • Rite of Chi with +8 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted/only for Power, only to rebuild the power pool for the Master of the Infernal Realms Powers, above (6 CP).
  • Birth of Flames with +4 Bonus Uses, Bonus Uses are Specialized/must be identical to the first construct (9 CP). Geryon can call on the services of five Bulls of Wrath. These may be called forth, or returned to mental storage, for 1 Power each.

Bull of Wrath (Astral Construct VI / Large Construct).

These appear to be massive minotaurs, carrying axes.

  • Basic Statistics: 10d10+30 (85) HP, Initiative +1, Speed 80, AC 27 (Base 10 + 15 Natural +2 Martial Art), Attacks 3 x +21 Slam for 1d10+12 damage, 10 x 10 Space, Fort +3, Ref +4, Will +3, Str 33, Int 10, Wis 11, Con -, Dex 13, Chr 10. 60′ Darkvision, Low-Light Vision
  • Construct Traits: Immunity to poison, sleep, paralysis, stunning, disease, death effects, necromancy effects, mind-affecting effects (charms, compulsions, phantasms, patterns, and morale effects), and any effect that requires a Fortitude save unless it also works on objects or is harmless. They are not subject to critical hits, nonlethal damage, ability damage, ability drain, fatigue, exhaustion, or energy drain. They cannot normally heal damage save by their own fast healing, but can be repaired.
  • Options:
    • Celerity: +10 Movement (80′ total).
    • Knockdown: Those hit by a Bull of Wrath must make a DC 22 Str check or fall.
    • Semisentient: They are sensible and gain a +6 bonus to Intimidate, Spot, Jump, and Listen.
    • Fast Healing II
    • Sentient (Int 10, 40 SP (Minotaur’s Wrath Martial Art (Str Based) +21 (Attack +4, AC +2, +5′ Reach, Combat Reflexes, Versatility (May do lethal damage, nonlethal damage, bludgeoning, slashing, or piercing damage at will), Mighty Blow, and Whirlwind Attack), Speak Language 2 (Giant, Infernal), Intimidate +16, Spot +16, Listen +14, Jump +17), Improved Bull Rush, Power Attack, Innate Enchantment (SL, CL1, Personal Haste (Unlimited-Use Use-Activated, 2000 GP), plus one use each (Unlimited-Use Command Word Activated x One Use) of the following none spells: Benign Transposition, Blades of Fire, Blood Wind, Close Wounds, Grease, Light Foot, Resurgence, Swift Invisibility, and True Strike).
    • Warding: They may hold an action to intervene and take an attack or damage meant for someone else.

Bulls of Wrath don’t actually have weapons – but being astral constructs and having the Versatility option covers inflicting various types of damage, so giving them the appearance of carrying axes is a mere special effect.

This version of Geryon is highly alert and mobile and an expert at fraud – but not especially good at physical combat, even with his handful of special tricks. For THAT he has his private squad of goons. Those are quite powerful when Geryon first becomes available even if they become less useful offensively as levels increase – but their Warding ability will continue to be handy even at very high levels.

Kagura, (32 CP + 3 CP Disadvantage / Insane. Those channeling Kagura suffer from severe claustrophobia whenever bound or tightly confined).

Otiaz is something of a mystery. The earliest mention I could locate was a Spanish priest who accompanied Pizarro in the early 16’th century. There are a couple of variant spellings, and it appears as a name in a few places, but it doesn’t seem to mean anything in any likely language – and neither does spelling it backwards, various variants, or most of it’s anagrams – although they do appear as (rare) names. Ergo…

Naraku, a being consisting of a horde of demons merged together around an evil human core, could split off fragments of himself – manifesting other demonic entities that embodied bits that he’d rather get rid off or thought might be more useful outside himself, maintaining control by holding their mystical hearts captive. Perhaps it is not all that surprising that his first creation embodied his capacity for self-reflection. For his second shed collection of soul-shards… Kagura carried the parts of his myriad component souls that yearned for freedom, to regain their own lives free of Naraku. As such, Kagura’s power was considerable, her aspect was the ever-roaming wind, and her determination to be free was an all-consuming fire. When Naraku at last tired of her defiance and attempts to escape, he slew her – but his own life continued, leaving her soul-fragments adrift upon the winds, free at last but still bound to the world by his own life. Now those same fragments can empower others, granting them many of the powers Kagura once held.

That works at least as well as most “Vestige” / Mystery origins, even if it is straight out of the “Inuyashu” Anime.

  • Augmented Bonus: Add (Cha Mod) to (Int Mod) for Skill Points through L1, Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect/may only be spent on the Dance of Winds Martial Art (Dex Based), the Vortex Style Martial Art (also Dex based), and Disable Device – and must be split evenly between them (6 CP). This gives each of those skills a score of (Cha Mod) x 4 + (Dex Mod), plus anything the base character has chosen to invest.
    • Dance of Winds Total: 01: +1 AC, 03: +2 AC, 05: Strike, 07: Weapon Kata/Wind Saber, 09: Blind Fight, 11: +3 AC, 13: Mighty Blow (target automatically tripped on a critical hit), 15: Mind Like Moon (DC 15 Reflex Check to avoid being Surprised or Flat-Footed at the beginning of combat), 17: +2 Synergy to Tumble, 19: +4 AC, 21: Dodge, 23: Healing Hand, 25: Inner Strength, 27) +1 to Attack, 29: Iron Skin, 31: Vanishing, 33: +2 to Attack, 35: +3 to Attack, 37: +4 to Attack, 39+: +2 Synergy to Stealth.
    • Vortex Style (Focused on Wind Saber, Defenses Specialized for Double Effect versus ranged attacks) Total: 01: +2 AC versus Ranged Attacks, 03: +4 AC versus Ranged Attacks, 05: +6 AC versus Ranged Attacks, 07: +8 AC versus Ranged Attacks, 09: Rapid Shot (Wind Saber), 11: Combat Reflexes, 13: +5′ Reach, 15: Instant Stand, 17: Strike, 19: +1 to Attack, 21: Inner Strength, 23: +2 to Attack, 25: +2 Synergy to Flight, 27: Ki Block, 29: +3 to Attack, 31: Wrath (Lightning), 33: +4 to Attack, 35: Light Foot, 37: Power +1 (Wind Saber damage 1d8+1d6), 39: Power +2 (Wind Saber Damage 2d8).
  • Innate Enchantment (9 CP).
    • Wind Saber. You may use the wind as a weapon to strike your enemies. As per Produce Flame, but does slashing or bludgeoning damage at your option (2000 GP).
    • Vortex Edge: Upgrades your Wind Saber to a base of 2d6 Damage and provides 10′ of reach which does not inhibit attacking adjacent characters (2000 GP).
    • Fingers of the Wind: You may make a Disable Device, Sleight of Hand, or Dirty Trick check, or perform a simple unrolled manipulation (open a door, etc) as a standard action at medium range (2000 GP).
    • Cloak of Mists: As per Concealing Amorpha: Gain 20% Concealment (2000 GP).
  • Mistress of the Winds: 2d6 (7) Mana with Reality Editing: Specialized and Corrupted, for Triple Effect, only for Reality Editing, only to produce Supernatural Effects equivalent to Spells (Minor Edits produce L1-L2 effects, Notable Edits produce L3-L4 effects, Major Edits produce L5-L6, and Grand Edits produce L7-L8 effects. Given the specialization for triple effect, these cost 1, 2, 3, and 4 Mana respectively. Such “spells” require their usual casting times and are cast at the user’s level. Users may only spend 1 Mana on an effect per 5 levels or part thereof that they possess, the user is limited to the list of effects given below (almost all wind, fog, or cloud effects) (12 CP).
    • Minor Edits (1 Mana, Levels 1+): Binding Winds, Cloudburst, Deep Breath, Fog Cloud, Gust of Wind, Summon Medium Air Elemental, Updraft, Whirling Blade, Wind Wall, Wings of Cover, and Breath of Frost (Ice Blast).
    • Notable Edits (2 Mana, Levels 6+): Arctic Haze, Air Walk, Boreal Wind, Capricious Zephyr, Contagious Cloud, Defenestrating Sphere, Downdraft, Eye of the Hurricane, Favorable Wind, Haboob, Stinking Cloud, Stolen Breath, Summon Large Air Elemental, and Feather Chariot (as per Phantom Steed).
    • Major Edits (3 Mana, Levels 11+): Airy Water, Control Winds, Cloudkill, Cyclonic Blast, Freedom of Movement (24 hour duration), Freezing Fog, Sandstorm, Solid Fog, Summon Huge Air Elemental, Wind Walk, and Breath of Life (As per Animate Object. If used on Corpses treat them as Skeletons for the duration).
    • Grandiose Edits (4 Mana, levels 16+): Cloud Chariot, Control Weather, Immediate Wall of Force, Mastery of the Sky, Summon Elder Air Elemental, and Whirlwind.
  • Rite of Chi with +12 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted/only to refill the Mistress of the Winds pool, only usable between encounters (8 CP).

Kagura, as probably befits an anime character, is pulling a couple of cheap tricks to be as powerful as possible – and is using Specialized and Corrupted reality editing (in itself a take-a-good-look-a-this-first flag for the GM) to become a fairly powerful, if very highly specialized, spellcaster along the way. Of course, like most anime characters… she only has enough Mana to pull off one or two major special tricks in each battle. Unlike a full spellcaster, most of the time she’s going to be relying on her basic attacks.

Running with Magical Girls

This particular offline question was pretty simple; basically “What are the basic elements of running a “Magical Girls” game like Sailor Moon, Cardcaptor Sakura, Shugo Chara, Daybreak Illusion, or Tokyo Mew Mew?”

“Magical Girls” shows are fairly popular – but when it comes to role-playing games you probably don’t want to go for the “cute Bewitched for kids” or for the “explore being grown up without actually having to be grown up” styles; the first doesn’t work well with groups – or with sensible players who put some thought into what they’re doing – and most groups don’t need to “explore being grown up”. An awful lot of players ARE grown up.

That mostly leaves the Magical Girl Warriors genre. A team of young and inexperienced heroes with various special powers against the forces of darkness? That’s pretty standard RPG fare anyway.

The basic thing about Magical Girls is that the shows are made for young women, and appealing to other demographics is a bonus. Maintaining a certain level of innocence is required, or your “magical girls” story will drift into another genre. And while there’s nothing wrong with that, if you started a magical girls game in the first place then presumably you wanted to run a magical girls game.

So you can’t break that innocence. Nothing too horrible is going to happen where the characters can see or find out about it, even by implication. You won’t have little kids dying of slow, painful, cancers while hooked up to a bunch of machines, or have the magical girls dealing with civil wars and national famines, or have lots of innocent bystanders bleeding out from horrible injuries. Any permanent on-screen casualties (the characters may temporarily die for dramatic effect all they please) will tend to be clean, fairly quick, dramatic, and far between even if there is loads of property damage.

In a RPG, where the players think about consequences, unless you isolate all battles in other dimensions, or deep space, or some such like Shao-lin Showdown (implicitly lowering tension, eliminating hostage-taking and similar tactics, and breaking away from the notion of “defending the area”), this means that all the commonly-used offensive powers are going to be weak enough to avoid too many awkward questions about where the misses go and why the battles haven’t killed hundreds of people.

Yes, you can throw in attacks that do not harm the innocent to avoid the “friendly fire” and “misses” problem, but such attacks are incredibly convenient tactically and the players will almost certainly start finding an excuse to zap everyone they meet, since it’s now a quick and easy way to identify the villains – who presumably won’t be using such attacks anyway, since it would mean that they couldn’t harm the heroes. This doesn’t really work.

That means that all the defensive powers are going to have to be weak so that the weak offensive stuff still works. You can get away with “battles for laughs” for a while (it works for Bugs Bunny), but you’ll soon lose any sense that there’s an actual threat if no one can actually be harmed.

It’s kind of hard to keep the players from knowing about what actual military-level firepower can do though – or from comparing it to what their characters powers do if you admit it’s existence. So serious firepower has to be kept out of things. There may be cops with pistols, but you are not going to see military snipers, assault rifles, and anti-tank weapons, much less air strikes and tactical nuclear weapons. Otherwise you’re headed for Fleet Girls or Strike Witches territory. Similarly, secret ID’s are in order to avoid having overly-serious adults getting involved and taking over the series or game.

In the shows, occasional magical girls possess vast cosmic powers of renewal, destruction, time control, or similar. Of course, these are mostly informed (rather than demonstrated) powers or only get used during the climactic scenes of particularly epic plots. Do NOT give powers like this to role-playing gamers. They will want to use them, or to threaten to use them, at every possible opportunity – usually destroying the game in short order.

A magical girl setting is fairly normal (often only one city) and the girls spend a lot of time on normal problems – both of which serve to keep them easily relatable to their target audience. No matter how grave the characters responsibilities they will not actually focus on them. In the face of planetary threats that want to destroy civilization, the characters will fuss over boys, agonize over schoolwork, try to get good grades, go to slumber parties, and gossip – rather than train, study tactics, and get some serious military equipment and advice. Do you remember Buffy The Vampire Slayer versus the Judge? Or blowing up Sunnydale High School to stop the Mayor-Demon? That’s not going to happen in your basic Magical Girls setting.

Yet the opponents need to be a fair match for the characters (or even more powerful, so the characters can be plucky heroes), or the show will descend into a farce. But if a group of reasonably powerful opponents takes the conflict seriously – laying ambushes, bringing in enough firepower and other resources, learning counters for known tactics, making sure that enemies that go down will not be getting back up, focusing their attacks, and exploiting obvious openings, against a group that does NOT match those tactics… the group that does will roll over the group that does not like a steamroller over cardboard cutouts.

So magical girls opponents have to be incompetent. If the girls are not going to focus, the villains can’t either. In fact, the bad guys are likely to be so incompetent at being bad guys that some of them will fall in love with some of the girls – and never mind that this is roughly equivalent to watching James Bond betray England because he was unable to resist the seductive wiles of a barely-adolescent girl scout with a box of thin mints. Friendship and love triumphs uber alles!

Making this part work is dependent on the players going along with it. Talk it over first. If half the characters take their new guardian-of-the-world responsibilities seriously while the other half go for the slice-of-life stuff the game will wind up splitting right down the middle – and probably won’t survive.

But if everyone is incompetent, and any plans are going to be a bit silly… how do they all even FIND each other?

You bring in the wild coincidences and plot contrivances. There may be an excuse for this – a mentor who keeps providing last minute directions (while doing nothing effective in the way of training or providing discipline), some weird force that draws the heroes and villains together, precognitive dreams, or some such – but it will never be properly explained, since then it could be properly exploited – and a large chunk of the audience (and virtually all gamers) would be really annoyed with the stupidity if it was NOT.

As for the ordinary people in the setting… The girls in the target audience normally have reasonably well-meaning guardians, and usually have fairly decent friends, and relatives (girls who don’t usually don’t get to spend a lot of time watching magical girls shows or buying the stuff advertised on them). So most of the magical girls will have those things too so as to keep them easy to relate to. Yet no competent, well-meaning, guardian would allow children to go and risk their necks squaring off with a bunch of villains that are quite dangerous to kids even if any SWAT team could handle them.

Yet if things get left to the SWAT team you have either no show (or at least not a magical girls show) or no game.

That means that those guardians have to be quite oblivious. Any social workers, police, teachers, or similar individuals have to be oblivious as well. No matter how paper-thin the disguises, flimsy the excuses, or imbecilic the diversions… adults will, at the very most, think that the magical girls might be up to something mildly naughty. (“But I can’t come and help fight Dremloch the Devourer! I’ve been grounded!”).

But it’s awfully jarring to have those same guardians offering sensible advice about normal life problems – like the target audience’s parents often will – while being utterly blind about everything else that’s going on. A Magical Girl show needs a mentor figure who can be an adult, and who knows what is going on, but who cannot reveal things to other adults or exert any real authority over the main characters.

To fill this role we have the cute critter companion – a well-meaning, adult, and reasonably sensible mentor who can readily be excused (for lack of hands, powers, and resources) from regularly taking a direct role in things, who has a fairly decent excuse for not bringing in other adults (there are no others/would be taken to a lab/would not be taken seriously/can’t communicate with those who lack magical powers/etcetera), and who lacks any method beyond “I told you so!” and nagging to make the magical girls listen. (The Magical Girls will also often have cute pets/annoying younger siblings who mostly get into trouble, but those aren’t usually mentors).

Speaking of relationships… Magical Girls are often princesses or nobles from some tragically lost realm to appeal to small-child fantasies (or are at least especially chosen). There’s usually a mysterious boyfriend who appears and disappears about and who has just enough power to help out a bit occasionally (although things will never go far enough to risk spoiling that innocence). They look sexier than girls their ages should – and often have regularly repeated transformation scenes with implied nudity – since that helps bring in a male audience, usually justified as being due to their marvelous health and their use of some trinket to transform themselves (and to allow for “trapped in their normal identity” plotlines). There’s usually a coming-of-age subtext, but that can only go so far before you, once again, leave the genre behind for adult superheroes (or for Hentai, but those games tend to be either very specialized or very short lived, and usually both).

That sort of thing goes on and on, but it’s distinctly secondary to the soap opera and the personal interactions.

So whatever you do… if you really want to run a Magical Girls game don’t get cynical. If you get grimmer and edgier, don’t expect the players to do anything but throw in a few minutes of moan-and-agonize characterization before switching to D&D/Warhammer 40K mode, optimizing their tactics, and massacring every opponent in sight.

It’s worth noting that My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is a twist on the genre – everyone in the setting is magical to some degree and pony society seems to treat fairly small kids as independent and responsible adults so there’s little need for secrecy – but a lot of the general conventions still apply.

Eclipse, The Practical Enchanter, and Epic Item Creation

And today it’s a quick question from Alzrius.

I’ve noticed that both Eclipse and The Practical Enchanter are largely silent on the issue of creating epic magic items. This is slightly ambiguous, since there are some areas where the books diverge from the standard rules, and so I’m not sure to what extent (if any) they’d do so there.

For instance, Eclipse has Create Item for traditional magic item creation, but there is no epic version of those feats (e.g. no Eclipse version of Craft Epic Wondrous Item), which technically means that such things couldn’t be made? Or would the basic version be sufficient? Likewise, The Practical Enchanter doesn’t list any x10 multiplier to the cost of epic magic items in its item creation tables (or any altered XP costs for epic items, for that matter).

Given that most of the subtler changes are still called out (e.g. making Heighten Spell innate, or having the magic item tables not use those footnotes in 3.5 that changed a magic item’s cost based on the spell’s duration), should those epic alterations for making magic items be left in, or discarded?

-Alzrius

In general, unless one is listed in the ability itself, abilities from Eclipse and The Practical Enchanter abilities do not have a “level twenty” limit. Thus Augment Attack has a listed maximum you can buy – but Defender will keep right on raising your armor class for levels past twenty, just as Trick will keep right on raising the DC for victims to save, and Imbuement will give your weapon ever more power. Similarly, the “Create Item” abilities do not have an upper bound unless the GM opts to put one in – which I do not really recommend.

The Epic Magic Item rules have some problems anyway.

  • They don’t interact well with things (like Fey Cherry Wood, or the Scribe cleric alternate class feature, or the Golden Helm Guild) which reduce the cost for some crafters – meaning that you can wind up with otherwise identical magic items save that one has a “market cost” of 193,500 GP and the other (made by someone without a 10% price break) has a “market cost” of 2,150,000 GP. Similarly, an item that grants three differing +2 bonuses may wind up suddenly becoming an epic item – while a trio of +2 slotless items glued together is not, even if the two are effectively identical.
  • Secondarily, there are bonus types that aren’t considered, there are ways to increase an items caster level that specifically do not increase it’s cost, and you can wind up with a situation where adding the 500 GP “Illuminating” enchantment to your +5 Vorpal Sword costs 1,805,000 GP (Market Price above 200,000 GP) while making it intelligent and giving it a bunch of powers – including unlimited production of light – will only cost 100,000 or so.
  • Then, of course, there were a number of published items from before the Epic Level Handbook with costs greater than 200,000 – which were now presumably epic (and useless, since the characters they were meant for now could not afford them). Of course, the Magic Item Compendium – which was published well after the Epic Level Handbook – lists the classic Staff of Power at 211,000 GP without changing it to an epic item – despite mentioning the epic level rules about magic items costing more than 200,000 GP previously. Maybe those very expensive pre-Epic Level Handbook items are grandfathered in?
  • Finally… the Epic Handbook rules were a very mixed bag. The Epic Spell system was hard to avoid breaking, the magic items were mostly just “with higher plusses” (which could be beaten out by Relics in many cases), the order in which you took classes had a massive impact, some skills had many epic uses, others none, and so on. I made sure that Eclipse could duplicate the various abilities – but (as with most things in Eclipse) “level” didn’t really come into it.

Overall, trying to duplicate a system who’s only real use was to restrict access to slightly more powerful magic items and which was such a mess already simply didn’t seem worthwhile – especially when Relics (as shown in Eclipse II) could be used to make far more interesting “epic items” in any case.

So for the quick summary answer… No. Eclipse and The Practical Enchanter are not really designed for use with the Epic Level rules on item prices and do not normally use those rules.

Eclipse d20 – The Ultimate Weapon

It’s the ultimate weapon. The trouble is, it doesn’t just wipe out your enemies. It wipes out EVERYTHING. It may turn back time, start a new big bang, awaken the elder ones to remold the universe in their image until they take another nap and a new world arises, or do any of a thousand other things – but the details do not matter one tiny bit; everyone and everything you ever knew – and possibly the user – will be gone. Even if the user survives, he, she, or it, will pay a terrible price.

So how do you buy this?

As usual in Eclipse, you need to look at what this actually does in the game. Functionally… an Ultimate Weapon will never come into play until the dark powers have either scored a complete and eternal triumph or are about to, simply because nothing else can possibly justify it’s use or make the threat of using it believable. At that point, with the game ending otherwise, the characters present their plot coupon – and the dark powers either back off or the game does indeed end (albeit possibly with some sort of “new world” epilogue like Wolf’s Rain).

So you can either do a curtain drop on a downer ending (quite likely if the dark powers don’t believe that the heroes would do that) or the dark powers back down and settle for minor incursions and attempts to steal the weapon – and THAT not only kills off most future excitement and heroics but renders most of the earlier ones moot.

Really, the only excitement to be found here is in trying to get the weapon in the first place or in dealing with anti-climactic small-scale incursions that would never be a big enough threat to be worth using the Weapon on.

Secondarily, in Eclipse… if one character can have something, so can others. That means that your ultimate weapon has to independently veto attempts to use it by crackpots and such or the universe would have ended long ago.

  • So take Enormous Favors (The Powers That Be, 12 CP). Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect / the user may only actually gets to ask for a favor when all other hope is lost, the user has little to no control over what actually happens but it always essentially ends the game and prevents the user from ever asking for another favor, only works for those who are granted the appropriate magical authority by The Powers That Be.

That should cover dropping the curtain. Even if you want to count it as a spell… a Grandiose Favor will cover a fairly high level one, so tripling that takes us a LONG ways up the chart and possibly beyond it.

So… that’s a 2 CP relic. The only real difficulty in making it is getting the GM’s permission to claim favors from “The Powers That Be”. It isn’t easy to get whatever passes for The Almighty in the setting to intervene on your behalf.

If it rarely gets stolen, or turns up again when it does… buy:

  • Enthusiast, Specialized for Increased Effect and Corrupted for Reduced Cost; the points may only be used in conjunction with Create Relic (2 CP).
  • Create Relic, Specialized and Corrupted/only to make the Ultimate Weapon using points from Enthusiast, may require some adventuring (2 CP).

That combo means that it may require an adventure or two to get it back, but the Ultimate Weapon will always return to the possession of it’s authorized wielder sooner or later.

  • Privilege: Authorized Wielder of the Ultimate Weapon (3 CP). Given that this is “you can commit suicide!” I can’t see it costing too much. Few characters will take it though; it’s just so USELESS.

If you want your Ultimate Weapon to be good for the occasional lesser trick… take:

  • Upgrade Enthusiast to Double Enthusiast with the same limitations (+2 CP, for a total of 9 CP)) and throw in:
  • 2d6 Mana with Reality Editing, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect (Minor/Notable/Major/Grandiose (if allowed) edits cost 1/2/3/4 Mana)/only for Reality Editing, effects produced must fit in with the theme of the weapon and are obviously generated by it, user must have the privilege of using the weapon, mana only recovers at 2 points per day.

And now, at a total cost of 9 CP, you have a four point relic that can generate some major effects – but only a few, and it takes days for it to recover. You can’t use that too often, but it will be fairly impressive when you do.

Honestly… whether it’s Marvels Ultimate Nullifier, DCs Anti-Life Equation, Dr Who’s Moment, Sailor Saturn’s Silence Glaive, the Slaver Amplifier, or the Deplorable Word… This sort of device is interesting when it’s the McGuffin you seek, or accounts for some ancient tragedy – but actually hauling it into the current story is all too often a symptom of having written yourself into a corner.

For most purposes it’s better to simply buy yourself a reputation for having access to an ultimate weapon, or a great big bonus to bluff and an immunity to truth detection.

Eclipse d20 – Binding Mysterious Spirits IV. Agares, Andras, Arete, Glaysa-Labolas, Astaroth, Belial, Buer, Kabeiroi, Eurynome, Echoing Vengeance, and Oculi Umbra.

As always, Level Four Mysteries build on the Bokor power package, so anyone calling one (or who wants to use one as a template) is assumed to have Witchcraft II, +6d6 Power, Dismissal, The Sight, and Divination already – although those are limited in the Bokor build to wind up with a total cost of 14 CP. Taking the full Bokor package at 24 CP is highly recommended though. As with most Witchcraft enhancements it can be useful to anyone who isn’t a primary spellcaster and the package is tweaked to be as efficient as possible.

Agares (32 CP + 3 CP Disadvantage / Healing Resistant. A character channeling Agares gains only half the benefit of Cure Wounds or Heal spells. Neutralize and Remove spells grant a new save, but are not automatic fixes. On the other hand, the relevant Inflict Wounds, Harm, Contagion, Poison, and Blindness/Deafness spells allow an extra save or have their effect halved).

Agares is yet another resident of the Ars Goetia – according to which he can make runaways and deserters come back or make enemies flee, exalt people or destroy dignities both Temporal and Supernatural, enhance communication, and “make the earth spirits dance” (cause earthquakes). His element is the Earth, his direction is North, and his Sign is Aries, giving him some power over war. As usual, he’s supposed to command legions of lesser spirits, but that’s a listed attribute of every demon in the Ars Goetia, since they were all supposed to be great powers of the abyssal realms. He enjoys teaching immorality and appears as a pale old man riding a crocodile and carrying a hawk.

Wizards of the Coast made him into a General of the Elemental Plane of Earth, granting a small (but untyped) bonus if both he and a foe are touching the ground and immunity to fear (although the standard binder gets that anyway, making it pretty pointless). He also provides a bit of extra protection against airborne foes, lets you understand languages, can shake the earth in a 10′ radius, and lets you call up a (very weak for the level it appears at) earth elemental to help you out. Overall the usual evaluation is somewhere between “Bad” and “Very Bad”.

I’ll be going back towards the original notion – including allowing Agares to control a selection of minions.

  • Elemental Leadership: Agares brings along 2 x (Channeler’s Level + Cha Mod) ECL of creatures from the Elemental Planes. Their maximum individual ECL is (Channeler’s Level – 3) and they vanish at 0 HP, returning to the elemental planes. Any that are banished in this fashion cannot be recalled for at least a week, even if you summon Agares again. A channeler does, however, get to select them anew each time they go up a level (9 CP).
  • Strength of the Elements; Witchcraft III, Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect/each basic ability is limited to a fairly specific, simple effect (rather than allowing dozens), often with additional limitations (6 CP).
    • Hand of Shadows / Shockwave: You radiate a concussive blast. You, and up to (Cha Mod) other creatures of your selection are not affected. Other creatures in a 20′ radius take (2d6+Level, max +20) Force Damage and must make Will saves (DC 16 + Cha Mod) or fall prone (and yes, this will knock down flying creatures if they fail to save).
    • The Adamant Will / Ironheart: You are immune to fear. This is a constant effect with no cost.
    • Witchsight / Read the Winds: You may spend 1 Power to gain 60′ Blindsight for the next hour.
    • The Inner Eye / Language Sharing. You may spend 1 Power to be able to speak and read (if there is a written form) any language spoken by any creature within 30′ for the next hour.
  • The Path of Earth/Bones of Iron (6 CP). Allows the user to enhance his strength and toughness in a variety of ways, activating one technique per round as a free action.
  • +3d6 Mana as 9d6 (32) Power, Specialized and Corrupted/only to power the Strength of the Elements, above (6 CP).
  • Rite of Chi with +12 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted/only usable between encounters to regain the Strength of the Elements Power Pool, above (8 CP).

This version of Agares commands a selection of elemental minions, can enhance a channeler’s physical form in a variety of ways, possesses a handful of psychic tricks – and allows a summoner to tap into tremendous reserves of power to channel into those abilities (thirteen dedicated uses of Rite of Chi to regain power can be expected to restore 182 Power over the course of a day; a character channeling Agares can afford to burn all 32 points in that dedicated pool in pretty much every fight – making Bones of Iron far more useful). The healing resistance is a nuisance, but the defense it offers is sometimes useful.

Andras (32 CP + 3 CP Disadvantage / Insane. A character channeling Andras sees no inherent value in leaving people alive – and makes no secret of that feeling)

According to the grimoires, Andras can make people quarrel with each other, offers instructions in killing, rides upon a great wolf, and personally kills people – quickly, efficiently, and with great thoroughness. Given that he had a nasty tendency to kill off his summoner, as well as his summoners assistants, allies, friends, and relatives, it’s hard to see why anyone would want to summon him unless they no longer cared for anything but having someone killed. Fortunately, in d20, summoning and controlling a spirit is a routine thing, rather than a great and dangerous act of magic.

  • Innate Enchantment (11 CP):
    • Master’s Touch: Andras makes you proficient with whatever you pick up in the way of weapons, armor, and shields (2000 GP).
    • Mountain Stance: Add (L/6 + 1)d6 (to a maximum of +4d6) to the damage inflicted by the target’s melee attacks this round. This is considered normal weapon damage; the spell simply lets the user hit things harder (1400 GP).
    • Personal Haste: +30′ Movement, +1 attack when making a full attack (2000 GP). His channelers appear to be riding a mount, but this is merely appearance; any attacks directed at the “mount” are in fact directed against the channeler.
    • Immortal Vigor: +(12 + 2 x Con Mod) HP (1400 GP).
    • Wrath (+2 Morale Bonus to Strength, +2 Morale Bonus to Constitution, +1 Morale Bonus to Will, -2 AC). X.9 (Cannot be turned off) = 1260 “GP”.
    • Shield: +4 Shield Bonus to AC (2000 GP).
    • Weapons: Composite Longbow (100 GP), Greatsword (50 GP), Longword (15 GP), Scythe (18 GP), Lucerne Hammer (15 GP), Fauchard (14 GP), Naginata (35 GP), and Kusarigama (12 GP).
  • Metamagical Theorem: Amplify with +4 levels of Streamline, Specialized and Corrupted/only for Innate Enchantments in this package, only to enhance their caster level one effects (10 CP). Enhanced effects are as follows:
    • Master’s Touch: Provides a Feat related to the weapon (Most often Improved Critical, but it can vary with each weapon and each summoning).
    • Mountain Stance: +2d6 Damage on each physical attack.
    • Personal Haste: +60 Move, +2 Attacks when making a full attack.
    • Immortal Vigor: +(24 + 4 x Con Mod) HP.
    • Shield: +8 Shield Bonus to AC.
    • Wrath: +4 Morale Bonus to Str and Con, +2 Morale Bonus to Will, -4 AC.
  • Deathbringer: Witchcraft III, Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect/each basic ability is limited to a fairly specific, simple effect (rather than allowing dozens), often with additional limitations (6 CP).
    • Hand of Shadows / Bladestorm: You may spend 2 Power and a standard action to attempt one attack at your full BAB against everyone you desire either along a 60′ line, in a 40′ cone, or in a 15′ radius around yourself. Hits inflict normal damage for your base attack.
    • Witchfire/Choice of Deaths: You may spend 2 Power and a standard action to imbue one weapon (or up to 50 projectiles) with “+2″ worth of weapon enhancements of choice for the next three minutes. This stacks with dissimilar abilities from other sources (albeit not with itself) and need not include an Enhancement Bonus – but weapons without enhancement bonuses do not count as “magic”.
    • Glamour/Mass Murderous Command: You may spend 2 Power and a standard action to subject all enemies within 30′ to a Murderous Command (Pathfinder), Save DC 16 + Cha Mod.
    • Witchfire/Adjust Bow: You may spend 1 Power as a standard action to “customize” a bow for the next 24 hours – adjusting it to suit your strength and grip. You may apply your (Str Mod) to the bows damage.
  • +2d6 Mana as 6d6 (21) Power, Specialized and Corrupted/only to power the Strength of the Elements, above (4 CP).
  • Rite of Chi with +4 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted/only usable between encounters to regain the Strength of the Elements Power Pool, above (4 CP).

This version of Andras gives you proficiency with everything, boosted movement and attacks, bonuses to Str (+4), Con (+4), Damage (+2d6), Will (+2), and AC (+4) which always apply, a free Feat of choice with every weapon, mass murderous command, the ability to add magical properties to your weapons, and the ability to make area of effect attacks. Sadly this doesn’t let you play games converting a “Smite Evil” effect to other things – but if that was the attraction… find something you can have fun with without a cheap exploit.

Arete (32 CP + 3 CP Disadvantage / Compulsive (Insatiable Curiosity). Arete fills channelers with the urge to comprehend all things. Any attempt to do research or gather information while hosting Arete will take 1d4+2 times as long, but will also yield 1d3 interesting bits of information. If a character gathers enough experience points to level while hosting Arete, he or she must spend at least 4 CP on Knowledges).

Arete isn’t a classical demon, or even a creature; it’s a word. In greek it’s “Excellence”, “Moral Virtue”, “Knowledge”, or “Fulfilled Potential” and applies to all kinds of things. The arete of a fine stallion is quite different from that of a bird, house, or person. As an english noun, it’s “the aggregate of qualities, as valor and virtue, making up good character” – or, in french, “a sharp ridge separating two cirques or glacial valleys in mountainous regions” (I have no idea if there’s some sort of linguistic relationship buried there or not). In White Wolf’s Mage it’s a measure of enlightenment. Wizards of the Coast used it as the name for a Psionic Vestige which (sadly enough) provides a bit of Power, three near-useless psionic abilities, some damage reduction, and a save boost. None of that is all that impressive, and while the damage reduction is nice, you still need some actual powers to do anything. Ergo, I’m going to use a more eastern concept of what “enlightenment” means and go for “health-bestowing”.

  • +1d6 Mana as 3d6 (10) Power (6 CP).
  • Advanced Occult Talent using Psychic Spellcasting (2 Power/Spell Level), Specialized for Double Effect (no L0 spells, doubled (6) L1 Spells, +12 Power) (12 CP): Lesser Vigor (Spell Compendium), Lesser Restoration (SRD), Sustenance (The Practical Enchanter), Protection From Evil (SRD), Divine Favor (SRD), and Remove Sickness (Pathfinder).
  • Double Enthusiast, Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect/Only to buy Resistance (6 CP). This provides a total of a +4 bonus to divide between your saves.
  • Immunity: Time required to change Enthusiast (Uncommon, Minor, Great, Specialized in the Save bonus above, 3 CP). This allows the resistance bonus to be re-allotted each round as a free action.
  • Damage Reduction 3/-, Specialized in Physical Attacks for Double Effect (6/-) (6 CP).

This mystery allows a channeler to restore their, and others, bodies when they are injured and to resist various attacks to some degree – but channeling a near forgotten notion of physical virtue simply isn’t very effective, even if the Mystery is a notable improvement on the Vestige. Forget Arete. It simply isn’t a good choice. If you want a serious healing Mystery, call upon…

Glasya-Labolas (Bonus Mystery, 32 CP + 3 CP Disadvantage / Compulsive. Glasya-Labolas is a collector of monster organs, exotic poisons, lethal viruses, deadly plants and animals, and similar items, and will tend to pick them up along the way. This… can be VERY difficult to explain.

In demonology, Glasya-Labolas teaches the liberal arts, and has mastered many secrets of the body and soul (in this case allowing him healing skills and granting his channelers instantaneous regeneration of minor wounds). He grants murderous skills to those he inspires, makes men invisible, and sees the past, present ,and the future. He appears as a dog with gryphon wings.

In this case I’m going to lean heavily on the (vague) association with healing, so as to provide a useful, and reasonably low-level, healing Mystery.

  • Damage Reduction 3/-, Specialized in Physical Attacks for Double Effect (6/-) (6 CP). Wounds inflicted on one who hosts Glasya-Labolas will heal themselves, at least to some extent, virtually instantaneously.
  • Master Physician: Witchcraft III, Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect/each basic ability is limited to a fairly specific, simple effect (rather than allowing dozens), often with additional limitations (6 CP).
    • Hyloka/Breath of Life: You may spend 1 Power and a standard action to provide your target with a full days worth of healing (2 HP/Level and/or 2 points of Attribute Damage and a bonus check against negative levels, the first two doubled and the negative level save given a +5 with a DC 15 Heal Check; this check may be made as a part of the casting).
    • Witchsight/Diagnostics: Provides a +12 bonus to the Heal skill at no cost.
    • Hyloka/Healing Mastery. You may spend 3 Power and a Standard Action to produce the effects of a Panacea spell (Spell Compendium).
    • Witchsight/The Evil Doctor’s Trick: You may spend 1 Power as a Swift Action to gain +4d6 Sneak Attack for one hour.
  • Master PhysicianMaster Physician//Blessing, Specialized and Corrupted/Only for Saving Throws. Bestow a +2/+3/+4 Luck Bonus to Saves at levels 3+/7+/12+ to an individual for ten minutes for 1 Power, to all desired targets within 30′ for 2 Power (6 CP).
  • Breath of Puruza (6 CP). The user may support their life processes with Power, allowing him or her to override paralysis, pain, normally fatal damage, poisons, and other problems.
  • +3d6 Mana as +9d6 (32) Power, Specialized and Corrupted/only to power the six Master Physician abilities listed above (6 CP).
  • Rite of Chi with +6 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted/only for Power, only to rebuild the Master Physician Power Pool above (5 CP).

Glasya-Labolas is a formidable healer, although – as usual – hit points are generally best restored out of combat. Incapacitating conditions, however, are often well worth fixing during a fight. He offers some decent defensive and minor offensive boosts and lets his channelers resist a variety of special attacks. He’s still not a particularly spectacular Mystery, but he can be quite useful.

Astaroth (32 CP + 3 CP Disadvantage / Compulsive. Those channeling Astaroth can never admit that anyone else is right about anything, always feeling it necessary to say “except when…” for anything more complex that simple observations).

According to the grimoires, Astaroth seduces mortals into evil and madness by means of vanity, laziness, and philosophical rationalizations. He teaches mathematics, crafts, the arts of oratory and invisibility. and can draw upon hidden treasures. He is wise, and grants power over serpents. Wizards of the Coast made him smell bad. I have no idea why, although I might be able to dig up something by going through his associations.

  • Lore of Ages: +1 on each of the eight basic Knowledges, Specialized/does not actually provide a bonus, merely allows making all Knowledge Checks as Skilled Checks (4 CP).
  • Secrets of the Cosmos: Luck with +4 Bonus Uses, Specialized for Half Cost, Corrupted for Increased Effect (May “Take 30″ in advance or “Take 15″ after the roll). Only for Skills, only for Knowledge Skills (6 CP).
  • Master of Manipulation: Witchcraft III, Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect/each basic ability is limited to a fairly specific, simple effect (rather than allowing dozens), often with additional limitations (6 CP).
    • Witchfire/Breath of Synthesis. You may spend 2 Power and a Standard Action to “exhale” a 60′ cone of irritating or nauseating gas. Those in the area and not immune to poisons must make a DC (16 + Cha Mod) Fortitude Save or suffer your choice of a primary effect for one round and a secondary effect for 1d4 additional rounds. Those who save only suffer the secondary effect for one round. Possible effects include Nauseated/Sickened, Blinded/Dazzled, Frightened/Shaken, and Exhausted/Fatigued. Since this is a physical manipulation of the atmosphere, spell and power resistance does not apply.
    • Glamour/Honeyed Words: Gain a +12 bonus to Bluff, Diplomacy, and Intimidate at no cost.
    • Witchfire: Gain a +6 bonus on Craft skills at no cost.
    • Glamour/Suggestion: You may spend 1 Power to use a Suggestion effect as a supernatural power with a Will save DC of (16 + Cha Mod).
  • +4d6 Mana as +12d6 (42) Power, Specialized and Corrupted/only to power the four Manipulative powers listed above (8 CP).
  • Rite of Chi with +6 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted/only for Power, only to rebuild the power pool for his Manipulative Powers, above (5 CP).
  • Double Enthusiast, Specialized and Corrupted/only to take a Crafting-related abilities, can only be changed when Astaroth is summoned (6 CP).

Astaroth is obviously a powerful crafter, capable – if working with someone who can provide the necessary spells and powers – of making almost any item a party might require. Of course, there are a lot of other ways to do that.

For some reason (lack of communication between writers?) there’s another version of Asteroth. It’s mostly notable because it uses a mechanic from the Book of Vile Darkness – Vile Damage That’s damage, whether to hit points or an ability, which is just such an evil violation of a characters body or soul that it can only be healed by casting appropriate healing magic within the area of a Consecrate or Hallow spell (apparently going to a good-dominant plane will not work). It also works on inanimate objects and on things that are MADE of evilness, but oh well. It may or may not thwart regeneration and (natural) fast healing; the book never says. There are a number of feats and enhancements which allow their user’s to add one point of vile damage to their attacks (although there’s nothing about how it interacts with damage reduction), a way to make half the damage of a spell-like ability vile which specifically notes that an immunity to the base damage type of the ability will protect you (nothing about whether resistance helps – although it seems like it should; if you don’t take the damage how can it be vile?).

Of course, by the time a party encounters any of the (extremely rare) sources of Vile Damage… getting an area Consecrated is generally trivial. It’s only a second level spell. The only real point is to say “You can’t heal this during combat!” – but in-combat healing generally isn’t a big thing anyway, although the Book of Vile Darkness tries to make Vile Damage a very big deal indeed.

Ergo, here we have…

Belial, the Tongue of Corruption (32 CP + 3 CP Disadvantage / Untrustworthy. While you channel Belial, people will see you as untrustworthy and you will have a terrible time convincing them of even the most obvious truths. Annoyingly, this never works when you WANT it to. It has no effect when trying to convince people of untruths).

Belial renders things worthless, corrupting vows, properties, intentions, and sacred places alike.

  • Augmented Bonus: Add (Cha Mod) to (Int Mod) for Skill Points through L1, Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect/may only be spent on Bluff, Disguise, and Intimidate, must be evenly split between them. This effectively provides a bonus of (Cha Mod) x 4 skill points in each of those skills (6 CP).
  • (1 + 4 x Cha Mod) uses of Channeling, Specialized/only for Conversion, Conversion to a set of Sixth Level Spells, both Corrupted / the powers of Belial render that which is nearby worthless. Each time you employ these powers you will drain a charge from some nearby magical item at the option of the game master (18 CP).
    • Cancerous Rune: Up to eight creatures within short range will be surrounded by an aura that distorts incoming healing effects; for the next twenty-four hours (10 minutes if a DC 16 + Cha Mod) Will save succeeds) or until they receive a Remove Curse spell. During that time healing is ineffectual, producing strange growths, stinking pussy discharges, and similar messes instead of repairing any damage.
    • Corrosive Rune: As per Acid Storm. Save DC (16 + Cha Mod).
    • Plague Rune: As per Bestow Curse, but with medium range and affecting up to 4 targets within a 30′ radius. Save DC (16 + Cha Mod). If used to curse an area it can Desecrate it or counter a Hallow effect for an hour.
    • Desiccating Rune: As per Mummify. Save DC (16 + Cha Mod).
  • Casting the Runes: Enthusiast, Specialized for Increased Effect (+2 CP) and Corrupted for Reduced Cost (2 CP). Only to expand the user’s Witchcraft Abilities, and only two choices, selected from when Belial is summoned: either +10 Power or to upgrade The Sight and Divination to Corrupted for Increased Effect (the two abilities also offer access to Contact Other Plane, Divination, Locate Weakness (Pathfinder), and Unluck. All, where relevant, require a Standard Action, the expenditure of 2 Power, and have a Will Save DC of (16 + Cha Mod).
  • Shattering Runes. You may augment your attacks with destructive runes, allowing them to better penetrate defenses. Augmented Attack/+3d6 (+10) Damage to overcome Damage Reduction and Hardness Only (9 CP).

Belial provides a reasonably strong offense, some social skills, and excellent sources of information. While he lacks the raw power in any given field that comes with specialization, he also covers a much broader range of abilities than most Mysteries. If you aren’t sure what you’re going to be facing, Belial is an excellent choice.

Buer (32 CP + 3 CP Disadvantage / Obligations. Buer is a healer, and those channeling him share his oaths. The user must go to the aid of plague-stricken villages, stop to help disaster victims, and aid those who have been injured by accidents).

According to the Ars Geotia Buer teaches Natural and Moral Philosophy, Logic, and the virtues of all herbs and plants. He also heals all infirmities and gives good familiars. He is depicted in the shape of a centaur with a bow and arrows.

Wizards of the Coast gave him a sex change and focused on healing powers. Of course, as usual, Buer has a problem. Her healing powers may be unlimited use, but they’re simply too weak to be useful in combat – and she’s not supposed to be available until sixth or seventh level, by which time getting healed up between fights is pretty trivial, even if you have to resort to a nice, cheap, Wand of Lesser Vigor or have everyone put on Healing Belts after the fight.

Well, the “Virtues of all herbs and plants” is pretty strongly linked to herbal medicine, and the healing all infirmities is blatant – so the healing part seems fair enough. Ergo, a competent healer with a few other powers.

  • Adept: Heal, Knowledge/Nature, and Survival (6 CP).
  • Augmented Bonus: Add (Cha Mod) to (Int Mod) for Skill Points through L1, Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect/may only be spent on the three Adept skills, must be evenly split between them. This effectively provides a bonus of (Cha Mod) x 4 skill points in each of those skills. With Adept, that gets you a base of (Cha Mod x 8) (6 CP). Fortunately, skill bonuses from Templates are uncapped.
  • Nature’s Path: Witchcraft III, Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect/each basic ability is limited to a fairly specific, simple effect (rather than allowing dozens), often with additional limitations (6 CP).
    • Witchsight/Diagnostics: Provides a +12 bonus to the Heal skill at no cost.
    • Hand of Shadows/Words of Power: You may spend 2 Power and a Swift Action to apply a physical skill (and the equivalent of one minute of work) to every appropriate target within 30 feet. While the effect need not be the same for all targets, unwilling targets get a Will save (DC 16 + Cha Mod) to resist.
    • Hyloka: You save against poisons and diseases with a +15 bonus and do not automatically fail on a “1″. If you make your save, the poison or disease is completely eliminated from your system.
    • Witchsight/Nature’s Awareness. You gain a +8 bonus to Survival and Knowledge/Nature, may track at normal speed without penalty, and may roll to identify plants, animals, and pure water as a free action. There is no cost to use this ability.
  • Immunity: The normal limits of the Heal skill (Uncommon, Major, Major, 6 CP). In general, this allows the user to produce quasi-magical effects (Cure or Close Wounds, Panacea, Revify/Breath of Life, Heal, Cure/Delay Disease, Cure/Delay Poison, Restoration, Heal, Remove Paralysis, etc, etc, etc…) at a DC of (35 + 5 x Spell Level). Sadly, a target can only accept (Constitution) effective levels of such effects daily and attempting to raise someone who’s been dead for more five minutes will, at best, produce an uncontrolled flesh golem – and usually fails entirely. The user may also use 3.5 rules, Pathfinder Rules, or Pathfinder Unchained rules when using the Heal skill as he or she desires. Note that, if using Pathfinder rules, this effect may also be used to hurt people.
    • It’s worth noting that – presuming a host with a +4 Charisma Bonus – Buer grants a base heal check of (+32 “Racial” +12 (Untyped) +2 (Masterwork Kit) = +46, +49 if the Skill Speciality applies, plus the hosts Wisdom Modifier – and if the host has some skill at healing, it gets added right in.
  • Form of the Centaur: While you channel Buer you may change into a Centaur whenever you wish. Innate Enchantment, Spell Level One x Caster Level One x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.7 Personal Only when applicable: Enlarge Person (Does not allow the use of larger weapons, x.7, 980 GP), Barkskin (+2 Natural armor, 1400 GP), Personal Haste (Only to increase movement, x.7, 980 GP), Wrath (Morale Bonuses: +2 Str, +2 Con, +1 Will, -2 AC, 1400 GP), +2 Str (Enh, 1400 GP), +2 Con (Enh, 1400 GP), Ant Haul (1400 GP, triple carrying capacity), Claws (Hooves) of the Bear (2000 GP), and Boots of the Earth (Pathfinder, 5000 GP) = 16,720 GP. Specialized; this is an all or nothing deal and involves taking the form of a centaur, which is often awkward (9 CP).
  • Immunity/the need to actually have a Healer’s Kit to get the bonus for having one (Uncommon, Trivial, Trivial, 1 CP).
  • Skill Specialty: Healing, +3 to produce the effects of spells in the Healing domain (1 CP).

This version of Buer is an effective combat healer – capable of providing healing that covers both physical damage and status conditions, to multiple characters at once, at a modest range, and as a swift action. If offensive applications of the Heal skill are allowed in the game, she can also do things like Cause Wounds as a part of the same action. The (considerable) bonuses to Survival and Knowledge/Nature – along with the ability to take the form of a centaur – are simply bonuses, as this version of Buer is well worth channeling in her own right.

Kabeiroi (32 CP + 3 CP Disadvantage / Obligations. Whenever you visit a settlement and are currently channeling Kabeiroi you must attempt to organize a celebration or party in honor of the local goddesses of nature and magic).

The Kabeiroi / Cabiri were very minor, and very obscure, secondary divinities of the Greek mythos. From the few mentions… they were probably sons of Hephaestus, and helped him at his forge. They may have also (for some reason and in some stories) presided over celebrations and dances held in honor of Demeter, Persephone, and Hekate. They may have occasionally came to the aid of distressed sailors. Anything beyond those fragments is pretty much unknown.

I suppose that would qualify them as a Vestige, but there’s very little to go on here – which may be why the Wizards of the Coast version is almost completely useless. Ergo, I shall build a more effective Mystery. For my purposes… I shall assume that he/they were the offspring of Eurynome (below) through an affair with Hephaestus, took her side in a quarrel with Zeus, and wound up being thrown out of normal existence along with her.

  • Augmented Bonus: Add (Cha Mod) to (Int Mod) for Skill Points through L1, Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect/may only be spent on Craft/Metalworking, Perform/Dance, and Profession/Sailor, must be evenly split between them. This effectively provides a bonus of (Cha Mod) x 4 skill points in each of those skills. (6 CP)
  • Doubled Enthusiast, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect, only to buy Augmented Bonus (Add another attribute modifier to to DC of some of the user’s occult effects). The original version purchased an effect that was ALSO Specialized and Corrupted for triple effect (Scrying spells only) – which sounded nice until you noted that the only scrying effects are few and far between and the Wizards of the Coast version did not provide one that had a save in the first place. This version can, however, be used to boost a wide variety of different abilities (6 CP).
  • Eyes of the Night/Witchcraft III, Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect/each basic ability is limited to a fairly specific, simple effect (rather than allowing dozens), often with additional limitations (6 CP).
    • Dreamfaring/The Wandering Spark: The user may spend 1 Power and a Standard Action to release a tiny spark of his or her own essence as a probe – an effect equivalent to an Arcane Eye spell.
    • Witchsight/Eyes of the Night: The user has Darkvision and Low-Light Vision, or an extended version if he or she has Darkvision already. This has no cost.
    • Glamour/Horrific Visions: The user may spend 2 power and a Standard Action to unleash a Phantasmal Killer (Save DC 16 + Cha Mod).
    • Witchfire: Eyes of Fire: You may spend 2 Power and a Swift Action to gain a Gaze Attack that inflicts 3d6 Fire damage, or half that against a DC (16 + Cha Mod) Fortitude Save for up to one round per level. This supernatural ability works on constructs.
  • Nightforge (6 CP). Where Cabiri chooses to see darkness, it becomes impenetrable.
  • +3d6 Mana as +9d6 (32) Power, Specialized and Corrupted/only to power the four Manipulative powers listed above (6 CP).
  • Rite of Chi with +6 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted/only for Power, only to rebuild the power pool for his Eyes of the Night Powers, above (5 CP).

Kabeiroi is reasonably effective, and his (their?) abilities work fairly well when combined with almost any type of spellcaster. He/they still suffers a bit from the lack of any real theme, but you can’t have everything. Clever players may want to focus the “group of occult abilities” DC boost on Phantasmal Killer, making it extremely lethal; it’s probably best to think about the likely results for a few moments before allowing that option.

Eurynome (32 CP + 3 CP Disadvantage / Corrosively Sarcastic. Anyone hosting Eurynome cannot hold their tongue, suffering a -5 modifier on Diplomacy checks).

Another Greek wanderer, Eurynome (“She of Broad Pastures”) was Zeus’s third wife, goddess of water-meadows and pasture, and mother of the Kharites / Charities – minor goddesses of grace and beauty. She was one of the sea-goddesses who caught Hephaestus when he was cast from Olympus. A very minor figure yes, but there wasn’t anything to suggest her being more or less banished from reality. Robert Graves argued that classical scholars lacked “the poetic capacity to forensically examine mythology” and that he was therefore uniquely qualified to determine what the “original” myths (that supposedly gave rise to the myths we’ve actually got) had been – based on nothing but his intuition (actual scholars call this “making stuff up”). He created a supposedly Pelasgian story wherein Eurynome was a supreme goddess who created the universe by dancing on the waves. I’m going to discount that one. If I’m going to go with sources people simply made up, I’d at least like them to be popular enough for most players to identify or find easily on the internet.

OK, so a minor nature goddess of the wetlands who got severely upset with her husband Zeus and wound up being banished from reality for it? Perhaps after going to Hephaestus for a really good weapon to smack him with?

  • Augmented Bonus: Add (Cha Mod) to (Int Mod) for Skill Points through L1, Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect/points may only be spent on the Sky Cutting Martial Art, Handle Animal, and Knowledge/Nature and must be evenly split between them (6 CP). This effectively provides a bonus of (Cha Mod) x 4 skill points in each those three skills. If the user doesn’t have the skill otherwse the relevant attribute modifier gets added in as well (For the Sky Cutting Style it’s Dex).
  • Immunity/The Distinction between Occult Techniques and Advanced/Master Techniques (Uncommon, Minor, Major, Specialized and Corrupted/only to allow the Sky Cutter Martial Arts allotment of Occult Techniques to be replaced with Advanced or Master Techniques (1 CP).
    • Sky Cutting Total: 01: DR 1/-, 03: DR 2/-, 05: Attack +1, 07: Combat Reflexes, 09: Mighty Blow (opponent is automatically tripped on a critical hit), 11: Blinding Strike (opponent suffers penalties on a critical hit), 13: Crippling (may opt to do 1d4 Constitution damage instead of extra hit point damage on a critical hit), 15) Attack +2, 17) Improved Trip, 19: Mind Like Moon, 21: +5′ Reach, 23: Prone Combat, 25: Attack +3, 27: DR 3/-, 29: Attack +4, 31: DR 4/-, 33: Power +1, 35: Power +2, 37: Power +3, and 39: Power +4.
  • Innate Enchantment, Corrupted/user is covered with glowing “tattoos” which clearly give away that the user is channeling Eurynome and the powers that he or she has available (including the current abilities of Munkattingusupia) when any of these powers are active. (8 CP).
    • Munkattingusupia, an Adamant Pitspawned (+2 to confirm criticals) Fauchard (1d10, Crit 18-20/x2, Reach, Trip, with a Wand Chamber (4114 GP). The channeler can call this weapon forth at will, but it will vanish one round after it leaves his or her hand.
    • Floating Disc with Rapid Casting (cost x 2), only usable to allow the channeler to walk along a few feet above a surface on a “cloud of mist” (x.5) – avoiding leaving a trail and gaining a +1 to hit in Melee for being on higher ground (2000 GP).
    • Master’s Touch, only to grant the channeler proficiency with Munkattingusupia, Eurynome’s personal weapon (x.4) = 800 GP.
    • Enlarge Person, Personal-Only (x.7) (1400 GP). However minor, Eurynome was still a Greek Goddess. She and her hosts tower over everyone else.
    • Speak with Animals (2000 GP).
  • Immunity to Dispelling effects (Common/Minor/Great, Specialized and Corrupted / only to protect Innate Enchantments, Only those that come with this Mystery, 4 CP).
  • Presence/Shocking (Corrosive) Grasp, Specialized and Corrupted/only works on creatures which wound her with natural weapons or swallow her, leaves your clothing severely damaged after a few hours of channeling her (2 CP).
  • Immunity/to not being able to use a Reach Weapon to attack adjacent spaces normally (Common, Minor, Minor, Specialized in Fauchard, 2 CP).
  • Munkattingusupia (The Moon-Cutting Blade): Improved Superior Focused Imbuement, Specialized for Reduced Cost/only works on Adamantium Pitcrafted Fauchards (12 CP).
    • Levels 1-2: +1
    • Levels 3-4: +1 Corrosive
    • Levels 5-6 +1: Corrosive Keen
    • Levels 7-8: +1 Corrosive Keen Energy Surge
    • Levels 9-10: +2 Corrosive Keen Energy Surge
    • Levels 11-12: +1 Corrosive Keen Energy Surge Vampiric
    • Levels 13-14: +1 Corrosive Keen Energy Surge Vampiric Priced Functions (Difference between +6 and +7, 26,000 GP); Prismatic 3/Day (18,000), Intelligent (Int 10, Cha 10, Wis 12, 1000), Telepathy (1000), 120′ Senses (1000), Ring of the Forcewall Functions (5100). Special Purpose: Aid the Channeler of Eurynome. Since the weapons intelligence is a manifestation of the user’s powers Ego is irrelevant. Munkattingusupia has it’s own actions to use it’s Forcewall Ring in; it usually holds to block charges and such.
    • Levels 15-16: +1 Corrosive Keen Energy Surge Vampiric Priced Functions (Difference between +6 and +8; 56,000 GP); Prismatic (30,000), Intelligent (Int 10, Cha 10, Wis 12, 1000), Telepathy (1000), 120′ Senses (1000), can draw a charge from any device that casts a “Cure” spell to generate a Panacea effect 2/day (Panacea, with the Arcanum Minimus/Magical Devices limitation, making it L3, 12,000 GP). Magic Missile 3/Day (1200), Acid (Shocking) Grasp 3/Day (Usually used to boost an attack, 1200), Resurgence 3/Day (1200)), Acid (Magic) Missiles 3/Day (1200), Special Purpose: Aid the Channeler of Eurynome (no cost), “possesses” a Ring of the Forcewall (5100) and a Healing Belt (750) = 55,650 GP.
    • Levels 17–18: +1 Corrosive Keen Energy Surge Vampiric Priced Functions (Difference between +6 and +9; 90,000 GP); As per L15-16, but upgrade Panacea to unlimited (or as many times as you have charges to fuel it) use (+18,000 GP), add Read Languages (1000 GP), Read Magic (2000 GP), and Blindsense (5000 GP), Aquatic (2000 GP), Everbright (2000 GP), “possesses” Goggles of the Golden Sun (Acid variant “Fireball”, 4000 GP).
    • Levels 19-20: +1 Corrosive Keen Energy Surge Vampiric Heretical (as per Magebane, but targets divine casters and those using divinely-granted powers) Priced Functions (Difference between +7 and +10; 102,000 GP); As per L17-18, adding Gauntlets of Ghost Fighting (4000 GP), Sphere of Awakening (1800 GP), Orb of Mental Renewal (3100 GP) and Rod of Bodily Restoration (3100 GP).

Eurynome is actually fairly nasty, particularly at high levels where Munkattingusupia comes into its own. With a high critical range, a bunch of different critical-based effects thrown in, high base damage, and the support of a spellcasting sapient weapon she can be quite effective in melee. Given that she’s a fourth level Mystery – and so comes into play just when a Bokor can channel two at once – her most obvious compliment is Andras. The two of them make a fairly nasty combo.

Kas was originally a lieutenant of the arch-lich Vecna. He was supposedly given a massively powerful artifact-sword, tried to overthrow Vecna, and lost. Thus the “Sword of Kas” way back on the first edition artifact list (+6 Defender short sword, Int 15, Ego 19, double damage against non-Prime Material Plane beings. 5 benign powers, 2 major powers, 1 minor malevolent power, 2 major malevolent powers, 2 prime powers and 1 side effect). Edition bloat took over later of course.

Kas actually has a sensible reason to be a Vestige. Presumably Vecna killed him really thoroughly. He even has a good reason to have it in for Undead. Of course… “A powerful warrior who was really thoroughly killed by a Lich and who’s remaining soul-fragments really hate the undead” is a good deal more generic than you think; how many powerful warriors do you think have been really nastily killed by Liches throughout the history of the multiverse? I’d say “a lot”. So, OK; that’s easy enough. Ergo…

Echoing Vengeance (32 CP + 3 CP Disadvantage / Compulsively attacks the Undead, barring a DC 15 Will save).

They died horribly, leaving nothing behind save rage, and echoing pain, and a cry for vengeance with no throat to hold it or body to let it act. Mingling on the borders of life and death, concerns of mortality shed, but unwilling to depart, those manifold cries form a great pool of power – a dark well that only the most foolhardy would dare to touch.

Still, most adventurers don’t even seem to know what “caution” means.

  • Double Enthusiast, Specialized and Corrupted/Only for buying Imbuement (something the user normally wears, causing it to operate like a Gem of Fortification) Specialized in Fortification and Resistance to Negative Energy for Double Effect (6 CP). This results in Light fortification at L1, Light Fortification and Medium Fortification against Undead at L3, Medium Fortification at L5, Medium Fortification, Heavy against Undead at L7, Heavy Fortification at L9, Heavy Fortification Death Ward at L11, Heavy Fortification Death Ward II (3 Uses/Day) at L13, Heavy Fortification Death Ward III (6 Uses/Day) at L15, and Heavy Fortification Soulfire at L17+.

Adding multiple uses of things to armor is a little odd; a first use costs [(Existing Bonus + Bonus of Ability) squared – (Existing Bonus) squared] x 1000 GP. In this case the first instance of Death Ward costs [(5 + 1) x (5 + 1) – (5 x 5)] x 1000 GP = 11,000 GP. The Second instance costs 13,000 GP, and the third costs 15,000 GP – so each extra use gets progressively more expensive. Ergo, adding a second instance adds (the baseline number of uses + the number of times the ability has been added past the first) uses.

  • Augmented Attack, +4d6 (15) damage, only to overcome Damage Reduction, Specialized/only versus Undead (6 CP).
  • Proficiency with Swords (6 CP).
  • Witchcraft III, Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect/each basic ability is limited to a fairly specific, simple effect (rather than allowing dozens), often with additional limitations (6 CP).
    • Elfshot/Blinding Strike: The user may expend 2 Power on a critical hit (this does not count as an action) to force the target to make a Will Save at DC (16 + Cha Mod) or be stricken permanently blind. This affects constructs, undead, and other creatures unless they’re immune to curses.
    • Glamour/Iron Will: The user gains a +8 bonus on Bluff and Intimidate at no cost.
    • The Adamant Will/Deathless Rage: The user is immune to all fear and to mind-affecting powers used by Undead at no cost.
    • Shadowweave/Vengeful Gaze: The user may spend 3 Power and a Standard Action to generate a Prismatic Ray with a save DC of (18 + Cha Mod).
  • +3d6 Mana as +9d6 (32) Power, Specialized and Corrupted/only to power the four Manipulative powers listed above (6 CP).
  • Rite of Chi with +6 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted/only for Power, only to rebuild the power pool for his Eyes of the Night Powers, above (5 CP).

Echoing Vengeance is obviously at its best against undead (and has obvious synergies with Eurynome), but is fairly handy for anyone who wants to try being fighty – especially at higher levels, where his Fortification and Soulfire are fully online. Minor variants – substituting other groups for “undead” – are certainly possible. A Dragonslayer version might have protection from energy or breath weapons instead of Soulfire, while a Demonslayer would take still other things – but the basic pattern is obvious enough.

Oculi Umbra (32 CP + 3 CP Disadvantage / Blocked. While channeling Oculi Umbra you cannot use any light-based effects).

Tenebrous is a bit of a problem. First of all, “tenebrous” isn’t a name, or any kind of traditional demonic or mythic creature; it’s just a mildly-uncommon word that means “shadowy” – derived from Tenebrae (“Darkness”). That’s not really a lot to go on.

Tenebrous also illustrates one of the major problems with conversions to Eclipse. Depending on how you read his/her “Turning” ability it may or may not offer limitless uses of Channeling. Eclipse adds enough high-end options for Channeling to turn it into a power source on a level with primary spellcasting. Unfortunately, that means that bestowing unlimited-use Channeling is roughly equivalent to giving a Sorcerer unlimited use of his or her spells. Ergo, I’m going with the interpretation that says “as a cleric” means that uses are limited as a basic cleric and providing a few other little upgrades.

So… let us create that which looks with envy upon existence, peering out from every shadow – Oculi Umbra.

  • Channeling (either positive or negative): 3 + (3 x Cha Mod) uses per day at +4 Intensity, Corrupted / you may only spend one of these uses every five rounds (18 CP).
  • +10 Bonus Uses of Channeling, Specialized and Corrupted/only for Conversion, below, activates Aura of the Night and Eyes of Shadow automatically during the Summoning and must be used (if available) to reactivate either if they are deactivated during the summoning (5 CP).
  • Conversion to any one of a set of level five spells (12 CP):
    • Aura of the Night: Deeper Darkness with +2 levels of Sculpting (may alter the radius from 0 (inactive) up to a 60′ radius as a free action, +1 level of Difficult to Dispel (+5 verus Dispelling), and -1 level for 3+ levels of built-in Metamagic = L5 Base.
    • Before The Darkness: As a swift action you infuse up to two weapons, your unarmed attacks, or up to 100 projectiles (in two groups of fifty) with primal power for one minute. During that time those weapons inflict 4d8 extra damage – 1d8 each of Fire, Lightning, Acid, and Sonic damage. (L1 Blades of Fire, +1 level extended duration, +3 levels combined spell (4 x L1), +0 levels Change Elemental Type, +1 level of Difficult to Dispel (+5 verus Dispelling), -1 level for 3+ levels of built-in Metamagic = L5 Base.
    • Eyes of Shadow: Dragonsight (Spell Compendium, L5).
    • Oblivion Stride: For one minute per level you can bend space – ignoring up to 60 feet of distance once per round as an immediate action. This may be used to move from place to place, ignoring barriers that do not stop planar travel, to dodge an attack (providing a 50% miss chance), or to make a single melee attack at range without moving from your current position. You do threaten each square within range, but are still limited to a single strike using an immediate action (L5). Unfortunately, activating this ability is a standard action.

Oculi Umbra is a somewhat fragile Mystery, as befits a shadow of existence; unlike most Mysteries, many of his powers are subject to Dispelling – although they are quite potent otherwise.

Well there were a lot of those weren’t there? I probably spent much more time than I should have on Munkattingusupia, but hopefully it will make a good example.

Eclipse d20 – The Great And Powerful Trixie, Celestia’s School for Gifted Unicorns, the Alicorn Amulet, and the Ursa Minor

Trixie Lulamoon has made several appearances in My Little Pony, albeit with significant personalty changes from appearance to appearance – even after allowing for the effects of the Alicorn Amulet. She has a wand and either a cape or a stylized moon for a cutie mark.

Wait. Isn’t there something a little weird about that? Unicorns have a horn. No one in Equestria uses a wand. From that point of view… Trixie’s cutie mark is saying “I use an alien system of magic!”. (Given her profession it also says “my show is going to be exotic and well worth watching” – but that’s secondary).

So Trixie performs unusual magic. Is it just stage magic and tricks? After all, “I use props and tools” could reasonably be taken from her mark.

No. It can’t be. “Stage Magic” relies on preparation, props, visual angles, and misdirection. How do you set up in advance to deal with whatever comes of an open challenge to an audience in a world where almost everyone has a special talent that they’re proud of? If Trixie’s special talent is to use her magic to pull back the cloak of time (star-tipped wand, cloak of stars… I could make a case for her being an astrologer too) and see the future well enough to get ready for whoever will challenge her… why isn’t she a top advisor to Celestia? Even if it was strictly limited to challengers, stubborn bureaucrats, underhanded nobles trying to slip something past her, and would-be assassins would all qualify.

That seems pretty unlikely.

Trixie does use smoke bombs and similar gadgetry, and it’s obvious enough that she’s good at bluffing and often simply claims that her way of doing things is better than a challengers – but she’s also blatantly incredibly versatile compared to most unicorns. Normal unicorns seem to be capable of low-powered, short-range, telekinesis, sensing magic, making light, and doing something related to their cutie mark. Trixie is capable of skillful telekinesis, firework and light displays, illusions, changing hair colors, briefly shutting up a heckler with an (easily-removed) “mouth zipper”, creating electrical energy discharges sufficient to be annoy and startle a Pegasus (cartoon joy buzzer style), animating rope, and producing what appear to be small weather effects – and it isn’t likely that dealing with only three challengers in a brief segment would display all of her abilities. While her power level is nothing like Twilights (although she seems to be more versatile at this point; it is pretty early in the series), she seems to be a match for Rarity – and Rarity is pretty powerful compared to the average Unicorn.

So Trixie is reasonably powerful compared to low-level NPC’s, very versatile, uses exotic magic, and is apparently far more attractive and persuasive than her skills and personality seems to warrant since she apparently does make a living with her shows. She (at least per Lauren Faust) was admitted to Celestia’s School for Gifted Unicorns – which may not be uncommon, but does at least show the ability to pass the entrance exams. It’s implied elsewhere that she left before graduating – possibly because of personality problems and possibly because the school wasn’t helping her much.

On the other hand, Trixie gives relatively brief shows, and only one or two a day. Perhaps, unlike most other unicorns, she runs out of magic fairly quickly. Additionally, it seems like a lot of her magic may be self-taught.

Hm… Self-taught, highly versatile, powerful at fairly low levels but no match for a high-level specialist, runs out of power quickly, but has some ability to manipulate social situations in her favor, and rather poorly socialized… Trixie, unlike the vast majority of unicorns, is a Witch.

To account for the personality changes, I’m going to make her into a Bokor – a Spirit Channeler.

So; this version of Trixie hails from Neigh Orleans, where a small colony of Zebras has brought along their exotic magic and mixed with the local earth ponies to produce even more exotic hybrids – both of blood and magic. Among them… the magic of the Bokor. Trixie, with few unicorns about to provide training in Equestrian Unicorn Magic, learned some of those arts – and easily qualified for Celestias School for Gifted Unicorns. Unfortunately, her somewhat difficult baseline personality, the constant shifts resulting from her spirit channeling, and the fact that the teachers there didn’t know much of anything about her style of magic except that it was weird and scary, soon led to her leaving. Trixie took up with some traveling performers (“ran away to join the circus”) and picked up some of their skills before breaking up with them as well (albeit on more friendly terms; circus performers are used to odd behavior patterns) – setting out on her own career. Sadly, Trixie was over-proud of her skills and not yet an especially polished performer in season one, and so tended to be far, FAR, too provocative. She has improved a good deal since then though – although, for her, even “bearable” is a big improvement.

Trixie Lulamoon, The Great and Powerful (when channeling Ile Zeremika), The Clever and Discerning (when channeling Andromalus), The Mysterious and Resourceful (Haagenti), The Humble and Penitent (Naberius), The Swift and Deadly (Cheshire Cat), and The Avatar of Flame (Amon). Also known as “The Complete Fruitcake” when influenced by The Alicorn Amulet.

Level Five Bokor

Racial Package: Unicorn Pony (30 CP/+0 ECL race)

  • Attribute Shift, +2 Charisma/-2 Strength (6 CP).
  • Innate Enchantment, caster level x spell level 1 x 2000 gp (7 CP; 6000 gp)
    • Greater Mage Hand x2 (allows handling two items at once), (4000 gp).
    • One additional 0- or 1st-level spell. In her case that’s Greater Prestidigitation (from the Trickster Mage spell list). That provides a LOT of flexibility for minor tricks.
  • Immunity/stacking limitations when combining innate enchantment effects with external effects (common/minor/trivial; only covers level 0 or 1 effects) (2 CP).
  • Immunity/the normal XP cost of racial innate enchantments (uncommon/minor/trivial) (1 CP).
  • Immunity/needing to concentrate on spells (common/major/trivial – only for spells of level 0 or 1), specialized for half cost/only applies to innate enchantments (1 CP). This allows Trixie to use her telekinesis (and Greater Prestidigitation) without actually paying attention to it, just like a human uses their hands.
  • Immunity/verbal, somatic, and material components when casting spells (very common/major/minor – only for spells of level 3 or below) (10 CP). Note that this also affects her spells as Bokor, although it does not entirely overcome the limitations; it just means that you have to be watching closely and make a DC 15 Spellcraft check to spot them.
  • Eldritch, a unicorn’s horn glows when using innate enchantments or spellcasting, and a matching glow surrounds the target (0 CP).
  • Skill Focus (6 CP). In her case that’s in (Unicorn) Gadgetry.
  • Accursed. Any damage, or other harmful effect, that befalls a unicorn’s horn (e.g. must target their horn specifically, rather than the unicorn overall) causes all innate enchantments and spells cast to immediately end. No more can be used until the effect is healed (-3 CP).

I’m using Alzrius’s racial description rather than my own because mine relies on treating the ponies as superheroes – while this character is meant for a more-or-less standard game.

Available Character Points: 144 (Level Five Base) +10 (Disadvantages: Accursed (due to the extreme difficulty in finding information on Mysteries in Equestria, Trixie only learns of one for every two ranks or part thereof of her Knowledge/Arcana skill), History and – inevitably – Showman) + 12 (L1, L3, Bonus Feats) = 166 CP.

Package Deal: None. If used in a Pathfinder (or Ponyfinder) game, apply the Pathfinder Package Deal.

Basic Attributes: Str 8 (6 after racial modifier), Int 16, Wis 10, Con 16, Dex 16, Chr 8 (10 after racial modifier). Given that Trixie is supposed to be working on her character flaws, her +1 from fourth level will probably go to Charisma. It won’t be enough.

  • Strength: There’s not much to go on here. Trixies Wagon doesn’t even seem to have a harness in season one (and judging from the amount of gadgetry that seemed to be built into it, it may have had some sort of motor like the cider machine), but her new (or heavily-rebuilt and modified) wagon has a harness in season six and she’s seen casually strolling along while pulling it. Of course, that may not mean anything but “showing off less” or just “ponies are presumed to have no trouble towing small wagons”. I’m setting her strength to a minimum simply because she’s a caster and there’s no indication that she’s particularly strong.
  • Intelligence: Trixie seems to be pretty clever about magic and shows a variety of skills, so a fairly high rating here makes sense.
  • Wisdom: For this… Trixie falls to her pride and overdoes her challenges and attempts to confront an Ursa when completely unprepared (honestly, it’s a big bear. A few stink/smoke/irritant bombs might well have driven it off), gives into the Alicorn Amulet before she even TOUCHES it, and certainly doesn’t seem all that perceptive. Even by the old-school notion of Wisdom (are you sensible?) it’s not her strong point.
  • Dexterity: Trixie does sleight-of-hand with hooves, and does some escape artist tricks and such. That’s probably not all telekinesis and magic; Equestrian audiences are unlikely to be impressed with telekinetic tricks.
  • Constitution: Trixie wanders Equestria alone, getting plenty of healthy outdoors exercise – and likely dealing with various minor monsters. If she got too sick or injured… she’d be dead. Ergo, a decent Constitution (and probably some healing magic) is in order.
  • Charisma. You’d think this would be a priority for a showpony wouldn’t you? Well, you are apparently greatly and powerfully wrong. Trixie isn’t greatly evil, but she is powerfully abrasive. Fortunately, a practiced routine goes a long way towards covering that while she’s on a stage.

Languages: Common (A.K.A. Equestrian and English), Draconic, Zebrican (a somewhat bastardized dialect), and Sylvan.

Basic Abilities (77 CP):

  • Hit Points: 12 (L1d12, 8 CP) +14 (L2 and 3, d8, 7, 7, 8 CP), +10 (L4 and 5, d6, 5, 5, 4 CP) + 15 (5 x Con Mod) = 51 HP
    • Trixie has been touring, on her own, to towns on the fringes of the Everfree. She may or may not have fought an Ursa, but she’s almost certainly fought Timberwolves and dealt with other perils – and she is still alive. A decent number of hit points is definitely in order, although she’s focusing less on hit points as her magic improves.
  • Skill Points: 12 (Purchased, 12 CP) + 24 (8 x Int Mod) = 36 SP. 32 have been invested in her eight Adept skills, giving them all a base of +8.
    • Access to Occult Skill (Unicorn) Gadgetry, as a “Relevant” skill (6 CP). This is probably a fairly normal skill in Equestria, but we are more or less presuming a visit to a fairly standard setting.
    • Adept: Bluff +8* (+2 Synergy to Diplomacy, Disguise, Intimidate, and Sleight of Hand), (Unicorn) Gadgetry (+11 +3 Skill Focus +2 Synergy from Knowledge/Arcana= +16 with a +3 Specialty), Perform (Stage Magician, covers many tricks) +8*, and Sleight of Hand +11* (6 CP). Skills marked with an “*” are often augmented with Witchcraft.
      • Usual Unicorn Gadgets (16): “Motorized” Wagon (+6 to pullers effective strength, 1), Opens into an elaborate Stage (2) with Lightshow, Magician’s Props, and Fireworks (2), Smoke Bombs (1), Refrigerator / Freezer (1), Stove / Water Heater (1), Charmed Cloak (+4 Deflection Bonus to AC, 3), “Smart” Cards (display whatever is needed and reform if damaged. This provides a +10 bonus to performing card tricks and individual cards can serve as a license, pass, or business card, 2), Ectoplasmic Mirror (Spend 3+ Power, generate a minor ectoplasmic construct that you can use as a stand-in and speak through. Unfortunately, while “real”, it is about as effective as an Unseen Servant with a Mirror Image and Ventriloquism, cannot get more than thirty feet away from you, and lasts no more than three minutes per point of power supplied (although the first three count), 1), Veil of Maya (This can be set up to cover her stage, or a carnival booth, or similar – covering up the signs of Trixie’s magic use, so that her powers will appear even more mysterious, 2).
      • Stage Magic Gadgets (From +3 Specialty): Vanishing Stone (A part of her cloak clasp): This activates as a free action up to three times daily, turning her Invisible – but the effect lasts for a maximum of one turn (1), Stone of Transit (Also a part of her cloak clasp): Teleports the user to a pre-prepared box, circle, or similar “receiver” within the range of a normal move as a move action up to three times per day (1), and an Innocent Blade: This vicious looking, wickedly sharp scimitar that can, if the bearer wills, pass through living creatures (and, optionally, their clothing) without harming them. It has no other special function (1).
    • Adept: Concentration +11, Knowledge/Arcana +11, Spellcraft +13 (with +2 Synergy from Knowledge / Arcana), and Survival +8 (6 CP).
      • Known Mysteries: Amon, Naberius, The Cheshire Cat, Haagenti, Andromalus, and Ile Zeremika.
    • Specialties and Other Skills: (Unicorn) Gadgetry/Stage Magic (1 SP), Craft/”Gypsy” Items (2 SP for a +5 total, mostly for fixing her wagon), and Magic Tricks (1 SP).
  • BAB: +2, Specialized in Ranged Combat for Double (+4) Effect (12 CP).
  • Saves:
    • Fortitude: 2 + (Purchased, 6 CP) +3 (Con) = +5
    • Reflex: +2 (Purchased, 6 CP) +3 (Dex) = +5
    • Will: +0 (Purchased, 00 CP) +0 (Wis) = +0
  • Combat Information:
    • Proficiencies: All Simple Weapons. Trixie knows how to effectively wield all the common items you’d find around a circus – hammers, mallets, clubs, poles, knives for throwing acts, crossbows for the “shooting” games, spears/prods for poking at misbehaving acts/attacking monsters, and so on (3 CP).
    • Initiative: +3 (Dex) -3 (Showman) = +0
    • Move: 30′ (60′ with Horseshoes).
    • Armor Class: 10 (Base) +3 (Dex) +4 (Deflection) +4 (Armor) = 21.
    • Usual Weapons: Trixie normally relies on her mighty magic, not weapons! Still, if she must… she usually has a few knives about (they are so useful after all) to chuck telekinetically. That gives her a +7 to hit and no damage modifier, which isn’t bad for a small blue unicorn.

Special Abilities (89 CP):

Bokor Powers (48 CP).

  • Basic Power Package (24 CP)
  • Initiate of the Mysteries I (14 CP).
  • Witchcraft Pacts:
    • Missions. Trixie wanders Equestria, is in contact with strange spirits, and has highly versatile abilities. It would be hard to find a better special agent wouldn’t it? Ergo, Trixie undertakes occasional missions for the spirit world – and so can be found almost anywhere, doing almost anything, that the plot demands for her patrons mysterious and unexplained (even to her) reasons. Could you ask for a better adventure hook? (-6 CP).
    • Rituals. Trixie performs an assortment of minor rituals – speaking of herself in the third person to avoid giving her location away to malevolent spirits, making small offerings, visiting obscure shrines when she passes them, and telling certain tales as a part of her act (-6 CP).
    • Duties: Trixie must never take up permanent residence anywhere or adhere to a regular route of travel, must take and train at least two apprentices during her lifetime, must constantly (and abrasively) test the patience of those who wish to befriend her, and must often mysteriously disappear into the wilderness following the omens of the winds (-6 CP).
  • +2d6 Mana, taken as 6d6 Power. Bokor Limitations, Only usable for Witchcraft (4 CP). This gives Trixie a total of 55 Power – quite a respectable amount!
  • Rite of Chi with +8 Bonus Uses, only to restore Power, Bokor Limitations (6 CP)
  • Witchcraft II to Doubled Effects father than one-third cost (allowing Trixie to produce Telepathic Projection, Telekinetic, Animation, Light, and Illusion effects of L0/1/2/3 for .5/1/2/3 Power. These have a base range of 60 feet and a base Will save DC of (16 + Cha Mod) (+4 CP).
  • Breath of Life (2 CP). Allows the user to Animate an object of up to Large size for an hour for 3 Power. When necessary, Trixie is perfectly capable of animating her wagon and telling it to go and take care of itself.
  • Finesse; Substitutes (Int Mod) for (Cha Mod) when it comes to Witchcraft (6 CP).
  • Double Enthusiast, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect (6 Bonus CP) / only active when channeling a Mystery, only changes only when summoning a Mystery, only to an ability associated with the latest Mystery to be summoned, the acquired ability may not be used more than three times before it fades until a new Mystery is summoned (6 CP).

Introductory Courses at Celestia’s School for Gifted Unicorns

What does get taught at Celestia’s school? Well, at least in Eclipse terms it seems likely to go something like this…

  • Magical Kindergarten (ages 6-7) presumably teaches Unicorns to control their innate magical talents. By the end of it… they should have a fair handle on basic telekinesis and should only surge under serious stress.

As for Celestia’s School for Gifted Unicorns…

First Year: Honing your Natural Magic and General Education

  • All students: +6 CP Innate Enchantment (usually expanding on their special talent), plus courses in the ethics of magic, and some basic knowledge of history, literature, elementary mathematics, and basic science – or what passes for it in Equestria plus general socialization. (Other ponies get this stuff in their normal schools and apprenticeships since it’s pretty much presumed for every character, like Literacy). Trixie did not complete this year – making her severely undertrained for her potential and leaving her with woeful gaps in her general knowledge.

Second Year: Basic Magical Theory.

  • For magical-talent students the start of a Spell Progression.
  • For students with limited affinities the basics of Rune Magic – Some SP (or CP if necessary) in Rune Mastery and Rune Casting and a little Mana (Specialized in Rune Magic only). Usual minimum of +1 Mastery (allowing Cantrips), +2 Casting (providing a casting level of one), and 1d6 Mana Specialized in Rune Magic.
  • Given that Trixie was already using an entirely different magic system it’s not surprising that she dropped out when she saw this coming up. Celestia’s school simply wasn’t much use to her.

Third Year: Practical Magical Focusing

  • For magical-talent students: Storing Mana with which to enhance spells and continuing their Spell Progression.
  • For students with limited affinities: Storing Mana to power spells and developing their rune magic skills.

Fourth Year: Gathering Mana

  • All Students: Rite of Chi, possibly with Bonus Uses.

Fifth Year: Professional Certification, followed by Graduation

  • For magical-talent students: Advancing their Progression and expanding their list of known spells.
  • For students with limited affinities: developing their rune magic skills to professional levels.
  • Graduation: All students should now be competent enough to start careers, usually as first level characters. Celestia’s school graduates some of the best magical healers, shielding experts, communication mages, and other specialists in Equestria – greatly improving the lives of her little ponies throughout the land. Those talented students with actual spell progressions tend to head into research and (since they can teach a wide variety of students with specialized talents) into teaching – although they usually get some practical experience (and pick up a level or two) out in the world first.
  • Post-Graduate Studies (Years Six and Seven): Individualized studies. Commonly Spell Research, Creating Magical Items, Runic Ritual, Alchemy, Combat Magic, and so on. Yes, this means that even an advanced Equestrian Education is often over by age fourteen or fifteen, while most other students are educated . Is that really a surprise? The show IS, after all, aimed at kids

Most first years will acquire a few effects that they can use almost without limit. Trixie, by the usual standards an incurable dabbler, learned a variety of tricks – but most of them were not associated with her special talent, and so are each only usable a very few times per day at best. Worse, she dropped out quite early, leaving her with only part of a first year magical education. She may be a powerful Bokor (even if she thinks of that as her “stage magic”) but, by normal Equestrian unicorn standards she is mostly untrained.

Partial First Year: +4100 GP to her Racial Innate Enchantments (4 CP):

  • Wizard’s Pocket (SL 1, The Practical Enchanter) Caster Level One Unlimited-Use Use-Activated, x.4 (may only be renewed when the duration runs out, may not be spammed) = 800 GP.
    • Trixie has the equivalent of secret pockets, and can store five cubic feet / 50 pounds of material about herself at only five pounds of encumbrance and retrieve items as a move equivalent action. This makes all kinds of Sleight-of-Hand MUCH easier to pull off.
  • Handyman (SL0, repairs one point of damage to an inanimate object. While this will put pieces back together it does not restore magical properties or repair constructs). Spell Level Zero reduced to -1 by Ambient Magic limitation, Caster Level One, Unlimited-Use Use-Activated = 500 GP.
    • Trixie, not being an idiot, presumably slipped back into town during the night after Boast Busters and used a combination of Hand of Shadows (Getting all the pieces picked up and put back together) and Handyman to put her wagon back together. Being homeless is pretty miserable!
  • Goodberry (SRD SL1, 0 after the Ambient Magic Limitation). Caster Level One Unlimited-Use Use-Activated, x.2 (Once Per Day) = 200 GP.
    • An invaluable trick when on the road. Find a few berries – or force a few on a bush out of season with Greater Prestidigitation – and you have food for days.
  • Obscuring Mist (SRD SL1). Caster Level One Unlimited-Use Use-Activated, x.2 (Once Per Day) = 400 GP.
    • When you really need to run away there’s nothing like a sudden fog.
  • Relieve Illness (Hedge Wizardry, SL1, 0 after the Ambient Magic limitation): Caster Level One Unlimited-Use Use-Activated, x.2 (Once Per Day) = 200 GP.
    • When you’re traveling alone, a minor illness can be dealt with. A major one is often a death sentence. This spell will reduce the severity of an illness considerably.
  • Cure Light Wounds (SRD, SL1, 0 after the Ambient Magic limitation) Caster Level One Unlimited-Use Use-Activated, x.6 (Three Times Per Day) = 600 GP.
    • Similarly, minor injuries can become infected, or accumulate, and swiftly prove fatal on the road – so any sensible long-distance solo traveler needs to learn to deal with them.
  • Hearthfire (Hedge Wizardry, SL2 reduced to SL1 by Ambient Magic limitation), Caster Level One Unlimited-Use Use-Activated, x.2 (Once Per Day) = 400 GP.
    • A small fire and a stove will suffice for heating, cooking, baking, hot water, and light, with no trouble or expense.
  • Expeditious Retreat (SRD, SL1) Caster Level One Unlimited-Use Use-Activated, x.2 (Once Per Day) = 400 GP.
    • Are there a lot of monsters? Bandits? Going faster is often quite enough to save your neck. This has since been superceded by her Horseshoes, but it was very useful back when she was starting out.
  • Shield (SRD, SL1) Caster Level One Unlimited-Use Use-Activated, x.2 (Once Per Day) = 400 GP.
    • It may not last very long, but when you’re principally interested in getting away, stopping magic missiles can be pretty important.
  • Alarm (SRD, SL1, 0 after the Ambient Magic limitation): Caster Level One Unlimited-Use Use-Activated, x.2 (Once Per Day) = 200 GP.
    • Another invaluable effect for the lone traveler. After all, it’s not like she has anyone else with her to stand guard.

Other Abilities:

  • Reflex Training (3/Day Bonus Actions Variant) with +4 Bonus Uses, Specialized in Movement and activating Movement-Boosting Effects (6 CP). Trixie is very good at ducking out when necessary.
  • Action Hero/Stunts (6 CP). Trixie will occasionally pull things off that she has never done before – and will quite possibly never do again.
  • Immunity/Needing to wear clothing or light armor of up to 100 GP value to enjoy it’s beneficial effects (Common, Minor, Major, 6 CP). Trixie need not wear heavy clothing in winter to keep warm, raincoats to keep dry, minor armor to avoid injury, swarm suits to keep off bugs, or anything at all to avoid public indecency and to have pockets. Yes, this is a pretty standard part of being a pony – but it certainly isn’t a normal part of most other settings. Trixie, like the Royal Guards, has an upgraded version, covering armor as well as simple clothing. Given that this version of Trixie may show up in other worlds… it’s worth calling it out, as opposed to simply leaving it as a background assumption.
  • Damage Reduction 3/-, Specialized in Physical Damage for Double Effect (6/-) (6 CP). Ponies are TOUGH. And it starts young. We can tell, because the Cutie Mark Crusaders are still alive. It’s another thing that isn’t called out in the show because EVERYONE in Equestria is resistant to injury – but when you’re interacting with outsiders, it’s worth noting.
  • Opportunist: Trixie gets to provide herself with special effects (via Greater Prestidigitation and minor (no cost) touches of Witchcraft) without it requiring an action of any kind. She can have a bit of faint background music, her cloak may blow in a non-existent wind, simple spells may have impressive special effects, and so on. In general, this is worth a +2 bonus on relevant rolls and makes her act look more impressive (6 CP).
  • Damage Reduction 3/-, Specialized in Energy Damage for Double Effect (6 points of general energy resistance) (6 CP). Like most cartoonish characters, ponies tend to shrug off minor energy discharges – including things like being set on fire – with a bit of superficial blackening that goes away in a few moments. Once again, this isn’t really called out in the show because this kind of thing applies to everyone in Equestria – but it’s worth noting when you’re interacting with normal mortals.
  • This actually leaves 1 CP left over. I’d spend it on a Specific Knowledge of Stage Magic – covering tricks, its history, and great stage magicians.

Equipment (9000 GP):

  • Amulet of Tears (2300 GP). If you’re trying to run “Equestria” under the standard rules, this item is probably almost standard issue. Even the kids survive outrageous stuff quite regularly.
  • Horseshoes of Speed (3000 GP). What traveling equine entertainer could pass up these?
  • Hat of Disguise (1800 GP). Invaluable for any stage magician.
  • Everfull Mug (200 GP). Not a major item, but combined with Goodberry it lets you travel with very little risk of going hungry or thirsty.
  • Bag (Hat Lining) of Tricks (900 GP). You never know when a small assistant will come in handy – and pulling an animal from your hat is about as classic as you can get.
  • Trixie’s Wagon is a large two-pony fully-furnished Caravan (requires Str 10 for easy pulling). It includes built-in seats, cabinets, and a wardrobe, two one-pony (two if they’re intimate) bunks in the rear, a chest of drawers who’s top serves as a table, a small larder, a wine rack, a glass-fronted china cabinet, and shelves with bars to keep things from falling off. Small windows and a skylight allow for light in the daytime, at night there are brackets for oil lamps – although Trixie mostly uses magical effects. 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, a water tank, a supply of food (about a months worth for one pony), a spare cape and hat, 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).
  • That leaves 450 GP for minor stuff – a few books on stage magic, some extra props, some bottles of decent wine, hiring an assistant or a venue for a big show, hiring a youngster or two as shills for her show or servants, a selection of posters to put up, and other minor gear. After all, Equestria isn’t that big on magic items outside of household Gadgetry anyway.

Translated into d20, Trixie is actually a very impressive stage magician – mostly because powers that don’t do much in combat are really, REALLY, cheap in d20. Most d20 games are focused on fight-the-monster, get-the-treasure, and save-the-world – with more mundane careers relegated to the backstory. It being d20, however, her left-over points have gone into combat related abilities – leaving her a competent, if minor, trickster-styled adventurer.

What about the Alicorn Amulet? Well, given that it was evidently in a junk shop with no takers for quite some time… I’m going to assume that appropriate users are scarce. It’s a 4 CP Relic, all powers Specialized: using it makes the wearer crazier and crazier until the game master takes over the character – and it makes the user fairly obviously insane or possessed long before then.

  • The Alicorn Amulet: 3d6 (12) Mana with the Spell Enhancement option, Corrupted/only to enhance the user’s spells and psychic powers (18 CP, 1 point adds +3 spell levels, but only one point may be used), Rite of Chi with +8 Bonus Uses, Corrupted/the ritual is to gloat, explain your plans, and otherwise act like a stereotypical villain (6 CP), Immunity/Having the amulet removed against the user’s will (Uncommon, Minor, Major, 3 CP).

That lets Trixie toss around sixth level spells quite readily – which should be sufficient, given that most of her “major” effects were likely short term or were so flawed that they were easy to get around.

As a bonus, here are some statistics for the Ursa Minor.

My (very rough) calculations give the Ursa Minor a height of about 24 feet (figuring that Ponies are about four feet tall when not crouching a bit). That’s on the lower end of “Huge”, so figuring from a Dire Bear, an Ursa Minor would look something like this…

Ursa Minor:

  • Huge Magical Beast (About 24 feet tall). (Possibly Augmented Animal if the limited magical powers are taken as being provided by the rules of Equestrian reality rather than being innate).
  • Hit Dice: 20d8 + 120 (210 HP).
  • Initiative +0
  • Speed 40 Feet (8 Squares)
  • Armor Class 18 (-2 Size +10 Natural), Touch 8, Flat-Footed 18
  • Base Attack/Grapple: +15/+23
  • Attack: Claw +29 Melee (2d6+14)
  • Full Attack: 2 Claws +29 Melee (+2 Weapon Focus, -2 Size, 2d6+14) and Bite +22 Melee (3d8+7).
  • Space/Reach: 15 Feet/10 Feet.
  • Special Attacks: Improved Grab, “Shooting Stars” / Magic Missile as a Supernatural Ability 5/Day (10 Missiles). This attack is only used when something is really annoying and hard to hit physically.
  • Special Qualities: Low-Light Vision, Scent, Immunity to Blinding and Light-Based Effects, Immunity to Magic Missiles. Radiates sufficient light to dimly illuminate a radius of ten feet per hit die, this automatically dispels all Darkness effects within that area with caster levels of less than it’s hit dice.
  • Saves: Fort +18, Ref +12, Will +13
  • Abilities: Str 39, Dex 11, Con 23, Int 2, Wis 12, Cha 10.
  • Skills: Listen +10, Spot +10, Survival +15, and Swim +15
  • Feats: Alertness, Endurance, Run, Luck with +4 Bonus Uses (only for Saves), +2 BAB specialized in Claws,
  • Extra Skills (+6 SP), and Grant of Aid (Stellar Powers).
  • Environment: The Everfree Forest, Equestria
  • Organization: Usually Solitary, pairs possible.
  • Challenge Rating: 10
  • Treasure: None
  • Alignment: Always Neutral
  • Advancement: 37-64 HD (Colossal Ursa Major).

Combat: An Ursa Minor attacks notable opponents by tearing at them with its claws. Up to one minor opponent per limb may simply be stepped on as per Grappling (see Improved Grab).

Improved Grab (Ex): To use this ability, an Ursa must hit with a claw attack. It can then attempt to start a grapple as a free action without provoking an attack of opportunity.

Like all Equestrian Animals, Ursa’s are strongly affected by Friendship and Harmony, suffering a -6 penalty on saves against such effects – including against musical effects.

OK, Trixie almost certainly could not defeat an Ursa Minor, much less an Ursa Major. She might well, however, be able to escape from one – or (if she had time to channel the right Mystery, get up a Shield spell to handle the Magic Missiles, and prepare some alchemical toys) be able to stay out of reach and harass one with spells, smoke, stink, and other irritants until it leaves.

This version of Trixie is – quite intentionally – versatile enough to fill a great many different roles, just as she does in fanworks. You want Trixie the Noir Detective? Trixie the Mad Bomber? Trixie the Crimelord? Trixie the Rebellious Arsonist? Trixie the Mage Duelist? Trixie the Foil for Twilight? Here you go. Just pick a relevant Mystery and associated Bonus Feat and you’re all set.

This one just kept getting longer, so it’s a couple of days late…

Reviewing Eclipse with KrackoThunder

Krackothunder has set up a blog reviewing the various options in Eclipse: The Codex Persona (and how to optimize them) – and, as I have time, I’ve been commenting on them with clarifications, further options, and ways to do things. Since there are a number of posts up there, here’s a bonus post of a brief index.

Eclipse, Paths And Powers: The Basics Of Channeling

This entry covers Channeling and the basic upgrades that aren’t part of particular paths.

Eclipse, Paths and Powers: Channeling Subpaths Part I

This entry covers the Glorious Touch and Hatred’s Weal Paths.

Eclipse, Paths and Powers: Channeling Subpaths Part II

This entry covers the Hand of Darkness, Planar Bonds, and Infusions paths.

Eclipse, Paths and Powers: Channeling Subpaths Part III

This entry covers the Divine Wrath and Tides of Light and Darkness paths.

Today for something different: Optimized Character Concepts

This entry covers some of the “things to watch out for” character design possibilities – albeit more from a standpoint of “how to use limited versions of these designs to make interesting characters”.

Pseudo-Changelings: A few template ideas

This one looks like a fairly heavily optimized template for making opponents for ponies – although I’ll admit that I haven’t had time for a full evaluation yet.

The Ultimate Creator of Federation-Apocalypse: A Template

This is basically a +1 ECL writeup for being God proper – the omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent creator and master of all things – who basically never confirms his/her/it’s/their existence or interferes in any detectable way since it would take away people’s free will.

Honestly, I never worried about writing this up, since game attributes for a character who never did anything observable and who couldn’t be proven to exist were not a priority – but it is certainly an interesting exercise.

Eclipse, Paths and Powers: Hexcrafting (sorta?)

An evaluation of the Hexcrafting card-based magical system.

Eclipse, Paths and Powers: Martial Arts

Obviously enough, a review of the Martial Arts system.

Ponies (yes, again) and Martial Arts

Here we have a writeup for Tatslponies – a creature invented by My Little Pony fans as a sort of a cross between Tremor’s “Grabboids” and Ponies. I’m not especially familiar with the idea, so…

Package-Deal: Cyber-Journeyman

A look at why some characters might opt for the Journeyman ability – and at Cyberware in Eclipse.

Short stuff: Unity and the Theurgy special ability

How to get access to pretty much all the spells there are.

Eclipse, Paths and Powers: Path of the Dragon, Part I

A quick look at the Path of the Dragon – Eclipses most blatant and straightforward route to super-heroism.

Really short posts: Are infinite CP possible?

A speculative way to get infinite CP.

And I really need to do an index for Alzrius too; there’s a list of the character’s he’s written up around (even if it needs updating), but no list of his other posts…