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.

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 – Binding Mysterious Spirits III, Ahazu / Ahazie, Andromalus, Focalor, Ile Zeremika, The Swashbuckler, Eligos, and The Presence.

It’s important to note that 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. Thus, if you like the power-package associated with a particular Mystery, all you need is 49 CP to buy it directly. It’s more efficient to just take the 24 CP Bokor package to start with but it is a way to add a particular Mystery to your arsenal permanently, and without taking up one of your channeling slots.

Level Three Mysteries:

Ahazu or Ahazie (probably singular, although this is uncertain due to references to Ahazu-demons, possibly originating in Babylon or Assyria) is a semetic night spirit that apparently caused a seizure-related illness (“Ahazie”; whatever this was it cannot be identified in modern terms due to lack of information) by touch. Or may have kidnaped people, although that seems likely to have been “briefly taken away” – another way of saying a seizure. Given that, I suppose that giving such an entity the ability to see at night, make people lose actions, and torment the righteous is reasonable enough.

Of course, the fact that the Wizards of the Coast version requires poking around in the depths of the Abyss would be limiting, if the standard Binder couldn’t bypass the whole “epic level quest” part with a single generic feat that negates the special requirements for calling Vestiges. (Doesn’t that seem a little cheap somehow)? In any case… Ahazu comes in the darkness, bringing seizures, diseases, and death to those he touches and bringing his summoner abhorrent secrets and the perilous shelter of the void.

Ahazu the Seizer (32 CP + 3 CP Disadvantage / Compulsive hoarder. Ahazu wishes to stash away captured foes, valuables, caches of weapons, and more).

  • Whispers of the Void: Enthusiast, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect; only for Skills, only for the Secrets skill, the secrets known are determined randomly by the GM each time Ahazu is called upon, many of the secrets are maddening and/or dangerous to know (3 CP). Each time Ahazu is called upon, he will bring along knowledge long lost in the depths of time – the maddening meaning of a terrible symbol, the incantation to open a gate long sealed, the location of some ancient city overthrown for defying the gods, or (just as likely) some useless bit of ancient trivia.

Secrets (Intelligence, No Unskilled Use, Restricted) originally appeared in the Ancient One Template. Each skill point invested in the “Secrets” skill brings extraordinary knowledge – the names of a dozen powerful fey, the routes through the crypts beneath the sacred mountains, how to open the seven gates of the netherworld, or the summoning chant of the three winds. The game master may let a character roll against his or her Secrets skill to see if they know some bit of lost information – or simply give the user additional secrets/plot hooks when it’s convenient.

  • Wrapped In Sheltering Darkness: Immunity to effects that target the Mind or Soul (Common, Severe, Epic, Specialized and Corrupted/if you die while using this ability you cannot be Raised or Resurrected, it requires a standard action to activate, it may attract the notice of entities from the void beyond the planes or even let them follow you back, and it blocks all related beneficial effects as well, 12 CP).
  • What Waits Between The Stars: Witchcraft III (6 CP).
    • Infliction (with the Mouth of the Earth (Abyss) upgrade (6 CP).
    • Hyloka, Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect / One Effect Only, the Grasp of Darkness. The user may spend 3 Power and a Standard Action to cause a Seizure (Will Save DC 18 + Cha Mod) in any creature within 60′. A creature which fails to save may take no actions for 1d3 rounds and is Fatigued afterwards if subject to Fatigue.
    • Hand of Shadows / Touch of the Ebon Gate. Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect / One Effect Only; Remote Theft. The user may spend 1 Power and an Standard Action to attempt to steal an item weighing up to eighty pounds from any target within 60′. If the target fails to save (Will DC 15 + Cha Mod) the item (armor, weapon, ring, pants, or whatever) appears in the user’s hands. The user must have a free hand to use this effect.
    • Witchsight / Eyes of the Uttermost Night, Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect / the user may only manifest Blindsight out to 5′ per level (100′ maximum) although this costs no Power.
  • +2d6 Mana as 6d6 (21) Power, Specialized and Corrupted/only to power What Waits Between The Stars, above (4 CP).
  • Rite of Chi with +4 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted/only usable between encounters to regain the What Waits Between The Stars Power Pool, above (4 CP).

Ahazu or Ahazie provides a powerful – if somewhat risky – mental defense, free game master plot hooks, a vicious set of attacks (including the option for pretty much permanent paralysis), handy Blindsight – and an incredibly bothersome “steal your equipment at range” effect. It’s hard to get much more annoying than – say – stealing someone’s plate armor while they’re wearing it.

Andromalus the Judge (32 CP + 3 CP Disadvantage / Compulsive. Andromalus hates being taken off a case. If ordered not to investigate, threatened, or blocked, his channeler will go undercover and continue to investigate).

Yes, it’s another visitor from the Ars Goetia, where – at least according to the Lesser Key of Solomon – “His Office is to bring back both a Thief, and the Goods which be stolen; and to discover all Wickedness, and Underhand Dealing; and to punish all Thieves and other Wicked People and also to discover Treasures that be Hid.”

OK. So we have a beat cop of sorts – or possibly a hard-boiled detective. Given that the Bokor is a magic-using class focused on divination, manipulation, and minor illusions, channeling Andromalus is clearly going to turn the user into a card-carrying member of the Trenchcoat Brigade.

  • Under Arrest: Presence, Specialized Increased Effect (Double Radius), Corrupted for Reduced Cost / only usable once every five rounds, allows a new save every round of effect. All enemies within 30′ must save or be affected as if by Hideous Laughter – albeit with slightly different special effects (4 CP).
  • Eyes of the Judge: Improved Occult Sense/Detect Trickery. Reveals the presence of intentional deception. In general this reveals invisible and actively hidden creatures and items, but not those which simply happen to be behind things or are unintentionally concealed, such as by darkness. It reveals attempts at sleight-of-hand, cons, and picking pockets, reveals secret doors that have been intentionally concealed (but not one that’s been accidentally wallpapered over), reveals the presence of (but does not let you see through) intentional disguises, shapeshifting used as an intentional disguise, and illusions, reveals intentional counterfeits and forgeries (but not that items that have been misidentified), and grants a +6 bonus on Sense Motive and Appraise checks (sadly, since few if any statements are untainted with falsehood, and attempts to make the speaker look better, this sense can only provide bonuses to detecting major prevarications). If this ability opposed by magical effects such as Glibness or Nondetection a Will roll-off will determine the result (12 CP).

Since the basic Bokor package provides access to The Sight (covering short-range clairvoyance and postcognition, reading auguries, pathfinding, and locating thieves) and Divination (covering various Detections, Locate Object, and True Seeing), they already have access to most of the basic divinatory magic an occult detective is likely to need. Still, there are a few higher level effects which would be very handy. Ergo, take…

  • 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 the Vestige is summoned: either +10 Power or to upgrade The Sight and Divination to Corrupted for Increased Effect (the two abilities also offer access to Blood Biography (Pathfinder), Discern Lies, Mind Probe (Pathfinder) and Contact Other Plane. All, where relevant, require a Standard Action, the expenditure of 2 Power, and have a Will Save DC of (16 + Cha Mod).
  • Enthusiast, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect: Only to buy Privilege/recognized as a magical detective entitled to cooperation and assistance from the local law enforcement (3 CP). As long as you host Andromalus, you are officially on the job.
  • Enthusiast, Specialized and Corrupted/only to buy a Contact, specified when Andromalus is summoned (1 CP).
  • Enthusiast, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect (3 floating CP): Points are set when Andromalus is summoned, points may only be used with “Create Relic”, relics may not augment each others effects, may only create 1 CP relics at levels 1-6, may create a 2 CP relic at levels 7-12, and may create a 3 CP relic at level 13+ (3 CP).
  • Create Relic, Specialized and Corrupted/only usable to make personal relics, only usable with points from Enthusiast, and all relics carry a disadvantage – although this does help reduce their cost (2 CP). This is typically used to create dramatic magical weapons (bonus sneak attack, double damage versus a group, etc), trenchcoats with protective functions (spell resistance, damage reduction, or storing things), and similar paraphernalia.
  • Witchcraft III, provides access to The Adamant Will, The Inner Eye, Witchsight, and Witchfire, subject to the same limitations as the basic Bokor witchcraft package (2 CP).
  • +2d6 Sneak Attack (6 CP).

This version of Andromalus makes his channeler into a formidable occult investigator – albeit one who’s best suited to mid-level settings and who has relatively limited use of his or her magical powers. That’s intentional, as full spellcasting tends to make solving most mysteries pretty trivial.

Focalor, Master of the Storms (32 CP + 3 CP Disadvantage / Accursed. A channeler hosting Focalor constantly drips sea water, leaving an easily followed trail, soaking all their gear, adding +50% to the weight of their armor and clothing, and causing various other minor difficulties).

According to the Ars Goetia Focalor appears in the form of a man with a griffin’s wings, drowns men, and overthrows warships; but if commanded by the conjurer he will not harm any man or thing. Focalor has power over wind, sea, and storm, but is much less effective on land. I tend to presume that – when channeled – Focalor also allows his summoner to operate underwater.

  • Speak Language: Aquatic (1 CP).
  • Aura of the Storm: Presence / Those channeling Focalor cause all enemies within 10′ to suffer a -2 penalty to attack rolls, saving throws, skill checks, and ability checks (6 CP).
  • Innate Enchantment (12 CP).
    • Ocean Spray (Salt Water, 2000 GP).
    • Crystal of Aquatic Action (3000 GP). Armor does not penalize swim checks, swim speed equal to one-half your ground movement, take no penalties for attacks or movement while underwater, can breathe water as easily as air.
      • Immunity/The need to attach this crystal to Armor to use it (Uncommon, Minor, Trivial, 1 CP).
    • Ball Lightning (As per Produce Flame, but Lightning Damage, 2000 GP).
    • Storm (Blood) Wind: User may take a swift action to give his or her melee attacks and combat maneuvers a 20′ range increment (Personal-only, 1400 GP).
    • Produce Water (1000 GP).
    • Resist Energy (Lightning Only, x .5, Personal-only, 700 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).
  • Empowerment, Specialized for Increased Effect (the user’s level functions as the caster level) and Corrupted for Reduced Cost/only applies to Spray, Ball Lightning, and Resist Energy (4 CP).
  • Metamagical Theorem: Multiple, Amplify, Streamline II, Specialized and Corrupted, only to add a secondary Shocking Grasp effect to Produce Flame to increase it’s damage and change the type to Conjuration (Creation), thus bypassing Spell Resistance (8 CP).

This winds up as a ranged touch attack, inflicting (2 + User Level, 6 Maximum)d6 + (User Level, 5 Maximum) points of electrical damage as a touch attack at up to 120′ range or in melee and can be used to make iterative attacks. There is no save and spell resistance does not apply.

Spray: Conjuration (Creation), Level; 1 (Almost anyone), Casting Time; One Standard Action, Components; S, Range; Short, Effect; Spray of material, Duration; 1d4 rounds (blindness) plus Special, Saving Throw: Fortitude (affects objects), Spell Resistance; no.

Spray actually comes in hundreds of variants – one for each caster. Regardless of whether the spell throws dust, water, pie filling, paint, vinegar, whiskey, etc, the basic effect is to Blind a victim who fails to save for 1d4 rounds. A secondary L0 effect also applies, regardless of the success or failure of the save, until the victim gets a few rounds to clean up. Thus glowing dust makes the target glow (Light), Dust makes them dirty (Prestidigitation), Pie makes them covered in goo (Prestidigitation I suppose), Water makes them wet (Drench), and so on.

D20 spells are a mixed bag on Blinding effects. You find area effect spells that inflict permanent blindness at Druid 4 (Murderous Mist), Blinding Spittle at Druid 2, Flashburst at Wizard 3, Glitterdust at Wizard 2, and Dirty Tricks to cause it temporarily without using a spell at all. Personally, I think that “Pie in the Face” works just fine at level one.

Focalor could really use Witchcraft’s Weather Control discipline – and could get it for only 2 CP given the Bokor’s limitations – but the only real way to squeeze out a few more points is to limit or take a few items off the Innate Enchantment, and given d20’s usual focus on personal combat, and the limited combat uses of witchcraft-based weather control (it’s very expensive to use much of it), I couldn’t justify it. Still, Focalor is a fairly decent choice for a ranged combatant and a Bokor who wants the weather control abilities can pick them up on the cheap anyway.

Ile Zeremika (32 CP + 3 CP Disadvantage / Irreverent. While you channel Ile Zeremika you are unable to turn away from arcane magic long enough to renew any divine spells you may have).

A demigodling character named Karsus originally turned up in The Enchanted Wood module for Dragonquest (still among the top five modules I’ve ever seen), Dragonquest was bought out by TSR, and Karsus wound up as a very vaguely related character from Netheril – an archmage who tried to steal the power of the goddess of magic with an epic spell. In the Tome of Magic he got turned into a not-very-effective Vestige who basically lets you detect magic, use magical items a bit better, and use Dispelling Touch every so often.

That’s not actually very interesting, and is cheap to build to boot – so the Mystery Ile Zeremika basically lets you play Harry Potter. You can still use Wands and Staves, but your wizard spellcasting (if any) gets a big boost in caster level – and you can invoke a wide variety of minor spells pretty much at will as long as you have your staff/wand/rod.

  • Device Use: The channeler may use magical devices as if he or she was a wizard of equal level, Specialized/spell trigger items (Wands and Staves) only (3 CP).
  • Empowerment, Specialized and Corrupted / only for Zerkika’s Pranic Mantras (for unlimited use), Requires the use of the Rod of Power (2 CP).
  • +6 Caster Levels, Specialized in Wizard Spellcasting (18 CP). If the channeler has no other Wizard Spellcasting levels, this gives the Pranic Mantras (below) an effective caster level of six.
  • Zerekika’s Pranic Mantras are the Secret Words of Creation, Preservation, and Destruction, given form by Breath and Voice and focused via a Rod of Power. In game terms… Innate Enchantment: Specialized and Corrupted for Reduced Cost / the user must wield a ritually purified rod, staff, or wand carved with occult runes to use these powers, if the wand is lost or destroyed it will take at least twenty-four hours to attune another. A character channeling Ile Zeremika may use only one of the “level zero” and one of the “first level” effects available per character level they possess, although they may change their selection with each summoning. All effects Spell Level 0 (1/2) or 1, Caster Level One, Unlimited-Use Command Word Activated (36,000 GP total value, for a total of 12 CP after Specialization and Corruption).
    • Level Zero (All SRD): Arcane Mark, Dancing Lights, Detect Magic, Ghost Sound, Light, Mending, Message, Open/Close, Prestidigitation, and Produce Water (9000 GP Effective Value).
    • Level One (SRD): Charm Person, Grease, Hideous Laughter, Magic Missile, Obscuring Mist, Protection from Evil, Silent Image, True Strike, and Unseen Servant. (16,200 GP Effective Value)
    • Level One (Exotic) (10,800 GP Effective Value):
      • Augment Device: You may empower a magical device you touch as a swift action, increasing the DC to save against its effects by two for one minute per caster level.
      • Dispelling Touch (The Practical Enchanter). Basically Dispel Magic as a single-target touch spell.
      • Glitterblast: As per Glitterdust, but single target.
      • Impedimentia: Perform a Dirty Trick combat maneuver at medium range with a CMB equal to (Caster Level + Int Mod + 6). If you succeed the penalty lasts for 1d4 rounds, +1 round for every 5 which your attack exceeds the targets CMD. Removing the condition requires that the target expend a standard action. This does not provoke an Attack for the maneuver, although the spell casting may. There is no save, but spell resistance applies normally.
      • Kinetic Blast: Make a Bull Rush (you do not have to move), Disarm, or Trip attempt at medium range and without provoking attacks. CMB = (Caster Level + Int Mod + 6). There is no save, but spell resistance applies normally.
      • Minor Earthward (Paths of Power): Blocks 1d8 + Caster Level (5 Maximum) incoming damage. May be used once per round on or off initiative without requiring an action. A second use in a turn counts as an immediate action.

Ile Zeremika (OK, I confess… according to Google Translate that’s “Hair Pottery” in Basque) can make you a fairly formidable trickster mage, equipped with a wide variety of useful minor abilities that you can use all you want to no matter what your personal abilities are – and provides some major boosts if you happen to dabble in actual wizardry.

The Swashbuckler (32 CP + 3 CP Disadvantage / Showman. Those channeling the Swashbuckler are unable to resist posturing, explaining their plans, making dramatic entrances, and otherwise acting like they are in a movie. They take a -3 penalty on Initiative (although that is generally not enough to cancel out the Swashbuckler’s bonus) and others gain a +3 bonus to figure out what they’re up to).

In the Ars Goetia the Demon King Paimon was more or less a generic “good for anything” sort of summons. He taught everything, could reveal anything you wanted to know, granted magical servants, social positions, and political power, and bound others to the summoners will. That’s… pretty much enough right there isn’t it? It’s really no wonder that Wizards of the Coast cut him down a bit – turning him into a Casanova type who grants martial skills and a bonus to Perform (Dance). That really has nothing much to do with Paimon, but it’s easy enough to go with a fairly generic dexterity-based swordsman styled after Cyrano de Bergerac, Errol Flynn (in a variety of roles), John Carter, Zorro, and dozens of similar characters.

  • Proficient with Rapiers, Corrupted/only with Rapiers that have been professionally personalized for the user and have his or her name engraved upon them (2 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 Blade Dance, Tumble, and Perform (Dance) (6 CP).

Blade Dance is a Dex Based Martial Art, so the user’s score will be (Cha Mod x 4 + Dex Mod). For totals of… 01: +1 to Attacks, 03: +1 to AC, 05: d8 Base Damage, 07: Combat Reflexes, 09: +5′ Reach, 11: Crippling, 13: Improved Disarm, 15: +2 to Attacks, 17: +2 to AC, 19: d10 Base Damage, 21: +3 to Attacks, 23: +3 to AC, 25: d12 Base Damage, 27: +4 to Attacks, 29: Inner Strength, 31: Touch Strike, 33: Focused Blow, 35: Vanishing, and 37+: +4 to AC. Bonuses to Attacks and AC are not cumulative; use only the best modifier the user qualifies for.

  • Presence/Dance of Blood, As a standard action the user may make a single normal melee attack at his or her full BAB against any enemies within ten feet. If the user is moving, he or she may strike at every enemy within 10′ of their path. (6 CP).

This is pretty powerful, but since WOTC introduced the Serpents Strike spell, evidently allowing a normal attack is within the power of a first level spell – and so is within the limits of Presence. Whirlwind Attack (at the same cost, but not mobile) can affect a larger area if you have a long reach though.

  • Augmented Bonus: Add (Dex Mod) to (Str Mod) when wielding one-handed blades, Specialized in Rapiers Only (3 CP).
  • Augmented Bonus: Add (Cha Mod) to (Dex Mod) for AC Purposes (6 CP)
  • Augmented Bonus Add (Cha Mod) to (Dex Mod) for Initiative Purposes (6 CP)
  • Awareness (6 CP). No defensive penalties for Surprise, retaining Dexterity Bonus when caught flat-footed or attacked by an invisible opponent, suffer no save penalties for surprise attacks.

The Swashbuckler is focused entirely on Rapiers, but is actually extremely competent with them – although it suffers from the obvious weakness that, without an personalized, prepared in advance, weapon to use, the Swashbuckler is fairly useless unless you want to dance or tumble. Even better, with Augmented Bonus, the Swashbuckler will scale somewhat with the channeler’s level.

Bonus Mystery:

Personally , for a master of the martial arts, I’d prefer something like…

Eligos the Warmage (32 CP + 3 CP Disadvantage / Compulsive. Those channeling Eligos will find it near-impossible to turn down a personal challenge to battle).

According to the Ars Goetia, Eligos discovers hidden things, knows the future of wars and how soldiers should meet, attracts the favor of important persons, and is a powerful warrior. I’m going to say that he knows the hidden arts of battle, the secrets of a thousand tricks that can meet even the most exotic of attacks on equal terms.

  • Enthusiast, Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect, only for Weapon Proficiencies or more Rite of Chi (+2 Uses) if the user is already proficient with his or her preferred martial or exotic weapon, must be selected when Eligos is summoned and cannot be changed thereafter (3 CP). This will either grant the channeler proficiency in any one Martial Weapon or the +2 uses on the Rite of Chi.
  • Mythic Martial Arts: Mana, 3d6 (10) points with Reality Editing, Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect / Mana can only be regained via Rite of Chi, may only be used for reality editing, only for wild “martial arts” stunts related to Swords, user may only expend one point of Mana per turn per four levels or part thereof (18 CP). The Mythic Martial Arts rules cover a variety of tricks that this can be used for.
  • Rite of Chi, with +5 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect (recovers 10 points per use), only usable between encounters, only restores Mana to the Mythic Martial Arts pool (14 CP).

Eligos can’t be your sole go-to solution since he can only invoke a few special tricks per fight – but he can supplement pretty much any combative build or Mystery very effectively indeed.

The Presence (32 CP + 3 CP Disadvantage / Inept. Anyone channeling the Presence suffers a -2 modifier to actions taken in violation of the local laws).

The Presence is a remnant of a primitive divine order, of a simple and inflexible belief that even the most trivial social assumptions were ordained by the gods. Unfortunately, that belief tended to fail the moment that a tribe with different customs was encountered – and so, today, the Presence is a mere Mystery, a haunted remnant of what it once was.

According to Wizards of the Coast, Primus used to be a Lord of Order – and still is, since a new Primus was promoted after the Modrons found out that the old one was dead, thus transforming a figure whom no one cared about and who was replaced by an effectively identical version into a Vestige that no one would want to bother with. According to Wizards of the Coast, Primus gets a small bonus when being boring by doing the same thing over and over again (and so rewarding boring play), makes your attacks lawful and +1d6 versus Chaos, and (once every five rounds) can use Command – albeit not language based and with the side effect that the victim cannot hear or see the user for 1d4 rounds or until they attack.

OK, that last bit is interesting, but overall this is a pretty poor bit of design – and is tied to a very specific bit of cosmology and a particular adventure within it at that. Ergo I think that I’ll create The Presence – an enforcer of a near-forgotten notion of divine order who’s mere existence on the mortal level can cause a variety of effects on those about it.

  • Skill Bonuses: +1 to Knowledge/The Planes, Knowledge/Arcana, Knowledge/Religion, Knowledge/Engineering, and Knowledge/Local.
  • Commanding Presence: Presence, Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect: Only usable once every five rounds, requires a standard action, limited to (Cha Mod) targets within 30 feet. Targets who fail a Will save are subject to a Command effect (as per the spell, but not language dependent), are forced to ignore the user’s presence for 1d4 rounds if he or she does not directly interact with them, and becomes Shaken for the next 1d4 minutes (6 CP).
  • Lawful Presence: Presence, Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect: Affects a maximum of (Cha Mod) targets at any one time, requires a standard action, 30′ foot initial range. Affected weapons (or sets of 50 projectiles) within range become +1 Chaos Bane Brutal Surge weapons for the next ten minutes per level of the user. This does not stack with other magical properties however (6 CP).
  • Leading Presence: Presence, Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect: Affects up to (Cha Mod) targets (which may include yourself) at any one time, requires a standard action, 30′ foot initial range. Affected targets gain a +3 morale bonus on saving throws, attack rolls, checks, and weapon damage (6 CP).
  • Fateful Presence: Presence, Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect: Only usable once every five rounds, requires a standard action, limited to (Cha Mod) targets within 30 feet, although you may include yourself. Those affected gain a +(Level/3, +5 Maximum) luck bonus to Saves, Hit, Damage, Checks, and AC for the next minute (6 CP).
  • Accursed Presence: Presence, Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect: Only usable once every five rounds, requires a standard action, limited to (Cha Mod) targets within 30 feet. Targets who fail a Will save are Cursed, as per Bestow Curse. The curse must be the same for all targets (6 CP).

There. That’s quite effective in the “bestow a stack of orderly fixed bonuses” fashion – and is still quite boring. Still, there are times – especially when you’re getting your more active effects from some other mystery – that a stack of bonuses can be handy.

Eclipse d20 – Binding Mysterious Spirits II, The Cheshire Cat, Haagenti the Infernal Alchemist, Malphas the Treacherous Duke, and Sabnock the Warbringer.

There really isn’t any difference between Level One and Level Two Mysteries in Eclipse outside of their style; as Mysteries increase in “level” they may provide more powerful individual tricks, but they’re going to provide less of them.

The Cheshire Cat (32 CP + 3 CP Disadvantage / Incompetent. The Cheshire Cat has a terrible time concentrating on things for long, thus anyone channeling it suffers a -5 penalty on Concentration checks.

The Cheshire Cat appears from nowhere and returns to nowhere, his origin is as uncertain as his motives, and his toothy smile often wanders about without him. It would be hard to find a creature more likely to become a Mystery. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, better known as Lewis Carroll, may have popularized the Cheshire Cat – but no one knows where the meme started.

  • Immunity to Mental Disruption (Common, Severe, Epic, 27 CP Base), Specialized and Corrupted for Reduced Cost (9 CP)/only covers Wisdom damage or drain, madness, insanity, and confusion effects. The Cheshire Cat is already quite mad; further madness has no effect on it or its hosts.
  • Advanced Augmented Bonus: Add (Con Mod) to (Armor Class), Specialized and Corrupted/you may only add one-half the modifier and it counts as Luck Bonus (6 CP). The Cheshire Cat’s tendency to fade out of existence, makes it and its hosts rather hard to hit.
  • Fangs of the Cat: Witchcraft III, Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect / each of the four basic witchcraft abilities granted is limited to a fairly specific, simple effect, often with additional limitations (6 CP).
    • Glamour/Maddening Squall: You may spend 2 Power and a standard action to radiate a wave of disrupting psychic power as a supernatural power; everyone within range (30′ base) must make a will save or be dazed for one round. This ability is mind-affecting, can be used once every five rounds, and cannot affect creatures who cannot hear.
    • Hyloka/Sinking in the Claws. You may spend 2 Power and pick a target within 60 feet as an immediate action. If it is willing, or unwilling but fails to save, when you suffer hit point damage half of it will be transferred to them. This supernatural power remains in effect for one hour, or until the creature dies, gets out of range, or (if originally willing) becomes unwilling (in which case it gets the save it would have been entitled to at the beginning if it had been unwilling then).
    • Hand of Shadows/Phantom Fangs: You may spend 2 Power and a standard action to invoke the supernatural power equivalent of a Manyjaws spell. This power may be only be used once every five rounds.
    • Infliction/Fanged Charge: You may spend 2 Power and a standard action to invoke the supernatural power equivalent of Melf’s Unicorn Arrow (albeit using big cats instead). This power may be only be used once every five rounds.
  • +4d6 Mana as 12d6 (42) Power, Specialized and Corrupted/only to power the Fangs of the Cat abilities listed above (8 CP).
  • Rite of Chi with +8 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted/only usable between encounters to regain the Fangs of the Cat Power Pool, above (6 CP).

The Cheshire Cat brings a fairly formidable array of offensive powers (far more than the Vestige it’s replacing had) to the table – but still does not offer all that much in the way of defense. A Bokor calling on The Cheshire Cat will want to have other defenses on tap. That being said… this is d20, and it’s very true that the best defense is a good offense.

Haagenti, the Infernal Alchemist (32 CP + 3 CP Disadvantage / Compulsive. Haagenti does not wish to associate with fools (constantly snubbing anyone with an Intelligence of less than eight) and will continually maneuver towards having any Animals the channeler employs Awakened.

According to the Ars Geotia Haagenti grants scientific skill and possesses great powers of Alchemy and Transmutation, which he/she will share with the summoner. According to Wizards of the Coast, Haagenti is the Mother of Minotaurs (maybe via transforming other creatures into monsters? At least “an alchemist did it” is a LITTLE different from “a wizard did it”), granting skill with shields and some weapons, protection from transformations, and the ability to cause Confusion by touch. I’m… not quite sure how Wizards of the Coast got that out of Alchemy, Science, and Transmutation, but OK. Alchemy is fairly minor and cheap, so I’ll want something to fill in with anyway.

  • Skill Bonuses: Craft/Alchemy +2 (2 CP), +4 Craft/Alchemy Specialized for Half Cost / Only for producing Alchemical Catalysts (2 CP), +3 Speciality in Alchemical Catalysts (1 CP).
  • Innate Enchantment (9 CP). As usual, Spell Level One, Caster Level One, Unlimited-Use Use-Activated
    • Master’s Touch: You are effectively proficient with all shields and axes (Only, x.7) (1400 GP).
    • Confusing Touch: As per Confusion, but affects only one target, requires a successful touch attack, and lasts only L/3 (rounded up) rounds – which is why it’s L1 instead of L3 (2000 GP). The save DC is kind of low to start of course – but any competent Bokor will be buying a few secondary abilities to bring those up for all his or her Mysteries anyway.
    • Alchemical Tinkering (Pathfinder, 2000 GP). You may turn any alchemical item into any other alchemical item of the same or lesser value and may change guns into other types of guns similarly. Usually used with some Alchemical Catalysts since they are compact, cheap, and easily subdivided so you can just use the value you need. Unused alchemical items produced in this way are destroyed after one round, while firearms revert to their original types after one minute.
    • Dexterous Fingers (Trickster Magi list). Reduces the time required to use a skill by three rounds. If this results in zero time or “less” it becomes a free action. If applied on a continuous basis throughout a skill-based crafting project, it reduces the required time by 75% or allows a project to proceed at normal speed while only taking up a couple of downtime hours per day, so that it, like studying spells, can proceed while adventuring (2000 GP).
    • Alchemists Lab (500 GP). +2 Circumstance Bonus to Craft (Alchemy) Checks.
  • Alchemical Mastery/Luck, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect (take 60) / Only for Skill Checks, only for Craft/Alchemy (6 CP). This is generally used to produce Catalysts in the user’s spare time – thus providing an effective “alchemical allowance” of 30 GP (or more) worth of stuff each day.

The Five Alchemical Catalysts are Philosophical Sulfur, “Red” Mercury, Alchemical Salts, True Jade, and Orichalcum Powder. In game terms they are generic alchemical materials, used as raw materials for other crafting projects. An Alchemist can make (Skill Check/2) GP worth in a week using no raw materials (roll as per income, Alchemical Catalysts are considered as Trade Goods) or use the normal Crafting rules (Base DC 20) once they have some to use for raw materials. In Haagenti’s case this will result in a minimum check of 71; (Base DC 20 + 5 x Increased DC) = DC 70 x 71 / 7 (for one days work) = 71 GP/Day. Subtracting the cost of your raw materials gets us 47.3 GP / Day. Catalysts are worth 100 GP per ounce.

  • Trick: Dimensional Throw. You may throw, trip, or bull rush (your choice) your target in a direction outside of the normal three, trapping them between worlds. The victim may make a DC 20 Int check to escape each round for the next (Level / 3, rounded up) rounds. If it hasn’t made the check by then, it escapes automatically. Once it escapes it will wind up back where it was originally. Dimensional travel will also work, and takes the user to wherever it normally would have taken him or her (6 CP). This trick may only be attempted once every five rounds, requires a touch attack, and allows the usual saving throw.
  • Immunity to Transmutation (Uncommon, Severe, Epic, Specialized and Corrupted/only works against Transformations – petrify, polymorph, and similar – and turns you back at the start of your next turn if you so desire, rather than simply preventing the effect (9 CP).

This version of Haagenti can be reasonably useful to anyone – but is especially useful to a low-level Bokor, who will find channeling Haagenti a comfortable source of funds and access to a ready supply of alchemical devices quite useful.

Malphas, The Treacherous Duke (32 CP + 3 CP Disadvantage / Compulsive. Malphas seeks political power, social influence, and sexual indulgences at all costs, and inflicts those appetites on his channelers.

In the Ars Geotia, Malphas is one of the greater and more subtle powers – an architect and siege engineer, a negotiator of services, a provider of familiars and information on enemies – and a treacherous liar, always seeking power and influence for himself. I suppose that’s how poison and treacherous attacks got into things in the Tome of Magic.

  • Double Damage against targets who are denied their Dexterity Bonus to AC or whom the user is betraying (6 CP).
  • Poison Use: You are not at risk of poisoning yourself when handling poison or applying it to a
    weapon (6 CP).
  • Companion (Raven or Dove Familiar) with a +2 ECL Template (Spirit Fetch) (12 CP): Granted Ability: +3d6 Mana as +9d6 (32) Power, Specialized and Corrupted/only for use with the four Secrets of Malphas and Venomed Touch, below.
  • Secrets of Malphas / Witchcraft III, Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect / each of the four basic witchcraft abilities granted is limited to a fairly specific, simple effect, often with additional limitations (6 CP).
    • Shadowweave/Swift Invisibility: The user may spend 2 Power as a Swift Action to become invisible for up to one round per level. This is subject to the usual limitations of Invisibility. The effect cannot be renewed until it’s over, and once the user returns to visibility he or she must remain visible for at least five rounds before he or she can return to invisibility.
    • The Inner Eye: The user may use sense-sharing with his or her Companion at no cost. Doing so is a free action.
    • Witchfire/The Serpent Mist: As a standard action the user may infuse a dose of any poison he or she has available. directly into any target within 40 feet as a standard action for 1 Power. While saves against the poison are made normally, there is no save against it being applied to you in this fashion.
    • Hyloka/Burning Blood: The user may spend 1 Power when called on to make a save against poison to automatically succeed. This does not count as an action.
  • Witchcraft/The Path of Water/Venomed Touch, Corrupted/the poison cannot be stored for more than a (Constitution) minutes (4 CP).
  • Skill Speciality / +3 when rolling to know things about poisons (1 CP).

This version of Malphas is a solid and (thanks to Spirit Favors and the ability to create poisons on demand) highly versatile choice. Even better, Spirit Fetch familiars make excellent spies and share their master’s skills and lack most of the problems inherent in normal familiars thanks to their Returning ability.

Sabnock (also spelled Sab Nac, Sabnac, Sabnach, Sabnack, Sabnacke, Salmac and Savnock) is – at least according to the Ars Geotia – a Great Marquis of Hell. He builds high towers, castles and cities, furnishing them with weapons, ammunition, and supplies, he grants fine familiars, can make wounds and sores turn gangrenous or fill them with worms. He is depicted as a soldier with armor and weapons, the head of a lion, and riding a pale horse.

The Wizards of the Coast version basically limits this to granting armor – magical full plate and basic proficiency with it, a limited version of Benign Transposition, and a bit of damage reduction. This isn’t BAD, but the armor isn’t especially fantastic (and lacks a shield), the range on the Benign Transposition is kind of short and you have to be one of the people switched, and the DR simply isn’t enough and is overcome by piercing weapons in any case. Thus Sabnock is generally rated as being a reasonable, if not particularly impressive, choice.

Sabnock the Warbringer (32 CP + 3CP Disadvantage / Compulsive. Anyone channeling Sabnock feels compelled to remain armed, armored, and ready for battle at all times. If they cannot do so, they will suffer a -3 Morale penalty on everything they do.

  • Skill Speciality / Military Engineering (1 CP).
  • Imbuement (Full Plate Armor) (6 CP).
  • Damage Reduction 6/- Specialized versus physical attacks only, Corrupted/only while the Armor is active (4 CP).
  • Second Skin: Immunity to Armor Penalties (Common, Minor, Minor, 4 CP, reduces armor penalties by 4 / 20%.).
  • Use of Charms and Talismans: (Shaping Variant, 6 CP).
    • Charms:
      • Captains Torc: Grants +4 to Listen, the user may be clearly heard at great distances when speaking, -1 on saves versus sonic attacks.
      • Foothold Boots: The user may find purchase in the air three times a day, thus – for example – catching their balance after a failed check or doubling their jumping distance. This does not count as an action.
      • Lifestone: The user will not suffer continuing damage or constitution loss from “wounding” weapons or lose HP over time if below zero HP.
      • Resounding Horn: Can be heard and recognized at great distances. For 1d4 Con damage it can be heard by friends and relatives anywhere.
      • The Ocean’s Arms: The user is very buoyant, and will find it almost impossible to drown.
      • Vanishing Cloak: Turns the user invisible as a swift action up to (3 + Level/3) times daily. Sadly, this lasts no more than two rounds.
      • Wraith Guantlets: The user may reach inside of things (to put things in or pull them out), turn doorknobs from the other side, hit incorporeal creatures, and so on, although each such trick does 1d4 points of damage to the user.
    • Talismans:
      • Helm of War: Acts as Heavy Fortification five times per summoning, using this is not an action and is announced after what the results would have been is announced. .
      • Rune Weapon: Armor Spikes are +1 Warning (+5 bonus to Initiative checks) weapons.
      • Tulthara: Creates a Greatsword sized for the user as needed. 2d6,Crit 19-20/x2, Slashing, Counts as Magic. (Note that if you combine this with Anime Master and Strongarm Bracers (MIC) you get +2 sizes – and up to 4d6. Whether that’s worth a feat/6 CP and 6000 GP is up to you).
  • Innate Enchantment (8 CP):
    • Chitin Mail: L1 Transmutation. For one minute per level of the caster whatever armor the user is wearing is treated as being one armor category lighter. The maximum dexterity bonus increases by two, the armor check penalty is reduced by two, arcane spell failure goes down by 15% (to a minimum of 5%), and the speed penalty is eliminated (1400 GP).
    • Master’s Touch: the “Full Plate” below and the Tulthara above only (x.7, 1400 GP)
    • Masterwork Full Plate Armor with Armor Spikes (1700 GP): After Chitin Mail and Immunity +8 Armor, Max Dex +7, No Armor Check Penalty, Spell Failure, or Speed Penalty.
    • Benign Transposition (2000 GP). It’s only at caster level one, but it can still be very handy tactically.
    • Charms and Talismans (30 GP per Charm x 7 Charms, 75 GP per Talisman x 3 Talismans = 435 GP). Basically, Sabnock does not need to equip himself; his gear is simply there when he needs it.
  • Reflex Training, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect; only for Benign Transposition, only once every five rounds, only reduces using the effect to an immediate action (6 CP).

This version of Sabnock still can’t provide buildings – but he will allow you to instantly ready yourself for battle even if you happen to be locked in a cell, prevents you from being hindered by the armor and weapons he grants, grants a good level of damage reduction, provides a good many magical trinkets, negates five critical hits and/or sneak attacks per day, and allows the use of Benign Transposition an immediate action starting at level one.

Eclipse d20 – Binding Mysterious Spirits, the Bokor, Amon, Aym, Otzi, and Naberius

The offline question for today is about Binders…

You’ve shown that Eclipse can readily duplicate the Binder – but Binder’s are a pre-Pathfinder Tier-3 (barring the GM allowing some really broken Vestige) class. Given that, shouldn’t Eclipse be able to build cheaper equivalents of their various abilities so that there are points available for a few improvements? And couldn’t there be a point buy method of building Vestiges?

The answer to that, is “Yes, of course”. Given the fact that each Vestige-equivalent will also be a compact power-package, and those are always useful to people building characters, it’s also “Yes I will”. While there will likely be somewhat less “unlimited use” stuff, save for some out-of-combat shenanigans (which are pretty commonly abusive) “unlimited use” at the usual “once every five rounds” is very rarely going to actually amount to more than twice per encounter, making a dozen or more uses per day pretty much equivalent to “infinite” as far as most games go.

Now Binding is supposed to be easy magic, often used by people with very little formal training. That’s a defining characteristic of the Witchcraft system in Eclipse, so I’ll be using that for a lot of the basic package. So let us build ourselves a Bokor.

Basic Bokor Package (24 CP).

Witchcraft, Specialized and Corrupted: All effects require gestures, incantations, and a spell component pouch to work, involve invoking strange beings, have ominous and disturbing “special effects”, cause the user to display obvious physical stigmata related to the entities that he or she invokes (these also reveal some of their current powers to the knowledgeable), and provoke rather strong reactions in people. Bokor are generally regarded with great suspicion by Clerics and similar characters given that they call on strange and unreliable beings – some of them beyond the influence of the gods themselves.

  • Witchcraft II. Provides the use of fairly minor Glamour (telepathic projection, Producing L0 effects for 1 Power and L1 effects for 2 Power), Hand of Shadows (telekinetic and animation effects, 1 power for L0 effects, 2 Power for L1 effects), and Shadowweave (light and illusion, 1 Power for 10 minutes of activity) effects with a base range of 30 feet, a base Power score equal to (Sum of Physical Attributes/3), and a base Will save DC of (13 + Cha Mod) (4 CP):
  • +2d6 Mana, taken as 6d6 Power. Only usable for Witchcraft (4 CP).
  • Dismissal (2 CP). The user may attempt to banish residual or active magic and either damage or attempt to dismiss outsiders.
  • The Sight (2 CP). The user may obtain vague omens of the future, locate paths, employ clairsentience, and locate thieves of his or her personal goods.
  • Divination (2 CP). The user may produce various Detection and True Seeing effects.
  • Host of Mysteries: Ridden by the Loa with Firm Control (6 CP). This normally allows the user to host a spirit which can influence him or her in various ways while granting a temporary template of up to +4 ECL – but this build restricts that quite a bit:
    • The total template value may be no more than +1 ECL (32 CP) per six levels or part thereof that the Bokor possesses.
    • Each +1 ECL represents a separate Mystery – an individual entity.
    • Users only know how to invoke one Mystery per applicable (innate and permanent – skill points and feats that provide bonuses only) rank of Knowledge/Arcana.
    • The user may only take on (Cha Mod) Mystery templates per day.
    • Channeling a Mystery requires a summoning ritual requiring 1d4 minutes.
    • Mysteries remain bound to the summoner for twenty-four hours unless they are ritually expelled – a process that also requires a full minute.
    • Each Mystery brings along a set of behavioral tendencies, a physical sign, and at least one disadvantage – although that does increase their net “value” to 35 CP.
    • Mysteries may be assigned “levels” by the game master; if the game master opts to do so the Bokor can only call upon Mysteries with a level less than (Bokor Level / 2, Rounded Up). In general, Mysteries come in levels one through eight.
  • Immunity/the one-point-per-hour cost of keeping Ridden by the Loa Running (Common, Minor, Major (up to 30 Power/Day equivalent, Corrupted/cannot normally be turned off to get rid of a batch of inconvenient Mysteries, 4 CP).

As a note, you could also just purchase +2d6 Mana, taken as 6d6 Power, only usable to keep Mysteries bound, automatically spends itself whether the user likes it or not (4 CP) – but the immunity approach is more elegant.

That package provides some versatile minor “spellcasting”, the ability to cast out spirits, some fairly potent divinatory abilities, and the ability to channel Mysteries – taking on a variety of specialized power packages. This extra magical power does come at a cost though; there won’t be quite enough points left to duplicate the rest of the first level Binder build; 1d8 HP (4 CP), 8 + (4 x Int Mod) SP (8 CP), Proficient with Simple Weapons and Light Armor (6 CP), Saves +4 (+2 Fort, +2 Will, 12 CP). That costs a total of 30 CP, and the Bokor only has twenty-four left. Our Bokor will either have to chop out 6 CP worth of abilities (I’d drop one of the saves and buy it up later), take a few disadvantages for extra points, or spend their first level feat on it (although I’d recommend Fast Learner, Specialized in Skills for Double Effect instead. It’s much more useful later on).

Later levels have a base cost of only (4 CP for BAB, 4 CP for a d8 HD, 2 CP for 2 SP, and 5 CP for Saves (somewhat more than is really needed actually) – leaving 9 CP / Level for Extra Power, Witchcraft improvements, special defenses, and whatever else comes to mind. Most commonly that will include a secondary power package:

Secondary Power Package: Initiate of the Mysteries

(21 CP at full cost, may be purchased in segments with a minimum starting cost of 5 CP).

Some Bokor learn to draw extra power from the Mysteries linked to their spirits. Innate Enchantment: Specialized and Corrupted: Only one effect per Mystery currently hosted can be activated, with the choice made when the Mystery is summoned, all effects Spell Level One, Caster Level One, Personal-Only where relevant (x.7). 10,400 GP net value, for a base cost of eleven CP and a final cost of (4 CP).

  • Aura of Light/Darkness (Practical Enchanter); +1 Sacred/Profane bonus to Saves (1400 GP).
  • Flesh Ward (Practical Enchanter); Provides DR 2/- (1400 GP).
  • Immortal Vigor I: Provides +(12 + 2 x Con Mod) Extra Hit Points (1400 GP).
  • Resist Energy (SRD): Provides Energy Resistance 10 versus any one of acid, cold, electricity, fire, or sonic damage (1400 GP).
  • Sign (SC): +4 Insight Bonus to Initiative (Already personal-only, so 2000 GP)
  • Ward of Light/Darkness (Practical Enchanter); +1 Sacred/Profane bonus to AC (1400 GP).
  • Wrath of Heaven/The Infernal (Practical Enchanter); +1 Sacred/Profane bonus to Attacks and Damage (1400 GP).

Note that, at higher levels, a Bokor may pay an additional 3 CP to allow selecting the same effect twice to make it double effect. A further 4 CP will allow the same selection to be made three times for triple effect.

  • Immunity/Dispelling and Antimagic (Common, Major, Epic, Specialized and Corrupted/only protects innate enchantments that provide personal augmentations, 9 CP).
  • Immunity/the normal XP cost of Innate Enchantments (Uncommon, Minor, Trivial [only covers first level effects at caster level one], Specialized/only to cover initial racial abilities, 1 CP).

The original Binder also got the ability to conceal the signs of channeling a Mystery (just use a small Illusion, possibly with an upgrade to make it less costly to keep it going), Immunity to Mind-Affecting Abilities (the Adamant Will would work best here), three bonus feats, and immunity to Energy Drain and Negative Levels (a decent Immunity). Not too surprisingly, even if you want all of that as-is… in Eclipse that leaves quite a lot of character points left over to buy other improvements.

So lets build some Mysteries.

Amon, The Burning Darkness (32 CP +3 CP Disadvantage/Accursed. Amon’s mere presence leads to political turmoil, the enabling of bad decisions, and ill-judged lust. The game master should refrain from pointing out obvious problems with player plans and proposals when Amon is being channeled and have NPC’s behave (in-)appropriately) (-3 CP).

Amon hails from the Ars Geotia, wherein he knows the past and future, enables pacts, aids in finding love, and reconciles friends and foes. He may or may not be an Egyptian sun-god sneaking into a new pantheon in disguise. According to Wizards of the Coast he grants darkvision, fire breath, and horns you can ram people with.

That’s… not especially impressive. Sure, the flame breath is useful enough, but a lot of characters will already have Darkvision – and being able to ram things with your head isn’t very impressive. Thus I think that I can improve on this particular one-trick pony.

Touch of the Corona / Innate Enchantment: (11 CP). All at Spell Level One, Caster Level One.

  • Blades Of Fire: +1d8 Fire Damage to your melee attacks (2000 GP).
  • Claws of the Bear (Variant: Ram’s Horns, when charging may use both “claws” as a single attack if you’re willing to ram your head into your target) (2000 GP).
  • Embrace The Wild: +2 to Listen and Spot, Gain Low-Light Vision and either Blindsense out to 30′ or Scent (chosen when the Mystery is summoned) (2000 GP).
  • Mending: You may repair objects with a touch, but only those which were created with the use of flame (metal, glass, fire-tempered wood, etc) (1000 GP).
  • Resist Energy, Fire Only (x.5), Personal Only (x.7) (700 GP). You gain Resistance to Fire 10.
  • Lesser Orb of Fire (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).

The Fires of Amon:

  • 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/The Burning Breath: Fire Generation Only, only usable once every five rounds, Limited to (Level +1) dice up to the maximum (3d8 or 9d6), if targeting a “Small Area” it may be up to a 10′ radius or a 50′ line (6 CP).
    • Hyloka/Burning Blood: Those hosting Amon may spend 1 Power when called on to make a save against poison to automatically succeed, burning it away in a burst of flame.
    • Witchsight/Burning Eyes: Darksight. For one power/hour anyone hosting Amon can see as it if everything was illuminated by full daylight, regardless of natural or magical darkness.
    • Elfshot/The Burning Word: You can spend one power to cause a target to burst into flames. They will take 1d6 fire damage regardless of the initial save, and may extinguish the fire normally – but if the initial save failed the victim must save again each round for one round per level of the user or re-ignite for another 1d6 damage.
  • +4d6 Mana as 12d6 (42) Power, Specialized and Corrupted/only to power the Fires of Amon, above (8 CP).
  • Rite of Chi with +8 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted/only usable between encounters to regain the Fires of Amon Power Pool, above (6 CP).

Amon from the Tome of Magic is generally regarded as a bit below average. Here, of course, he’s had a notable upgrade; while the maximum damage on his Fire Breath has been reduced from ten dice to nine dice, this version offers many more abilities. They may not all be “Unlimited Use”, but they should be unlimited enough for most games.

Aym, Master of War (32 CP + 3 CP Disadvantage/Aym utterly lacks social graces, and shares much of that problem with those who invoke her. Those channeling Aym suffer a -2 penalty on all Charisma-linked skill checks).

Aym is another resident of the Ars Geotia, wherein he “sets cities, castles and great places on fire, makes men witty in all ways, and gives true answers concerning private matters.“ So he’s an arsonist, a repartee coach, and a spy. Ergo, in this case, Aym is a master of the elemental arts of war – granting access to sixteen Elemental Stances, and allowing her Channeler to use up to four of them at a time. (A Stance is simply a combat boost – in these cases 6 CP worth – Specialized and Corrupted since the user may use only one-quarter of them at a time).

Skill Specialties: Tactics, Logistics, and Military Organization (3 CP).

Elemental Stances:

  • Avalanche Strike: Augmented Attack/+2d6 (taken as +5) Damage to overcome Damage Reduction and Hardness Only
  • Cutting Wind: Evasive (Sunder) and Specialist (Sunder) (2 CP).
  • Earthwalk: Immunity/Speed Reductions due to wearing Armor (Common, Minor, Trivial, 2 CP).
  • Flowing Water: Opportunist/Each time the user makes an attack, he or she may also take a 5′ step (2 CP).
  • Heart of Fire: Immunity/attribute drain or damage (Common, Severe, Minor). Ignore the first two points of attribute damage from any attack, disease, or toxin.
  • Heart of Water: Innate Enchantment/all Spell Level One, Caster Level One, Personal Only (x.7), Three times per day each (x.6): Lesser Restoration, Relieve Illness, Relieve Poison, Remove Paralysis, and Remove Fear (4200 GP) plus the effects of a Healing Belt (3 Uses/Day, spend 1/2/3 to heal 2d8/3d8/4d8, 750 GP). It’s kind of cheesy to shove this in under Stances, but 4 CP worth of cheese is barely enough to put on a cracker. And yes, you can use remove paralysis on yourself while you’re paralyzed (2 CP).
  • Ice Mirror Kata: Gain the Favored Enemy Ability. The bonuses must be allotted when Aym is summoned however.
  • Lashing Branch: Opportunist/5′ steps and withdrawals provoke AOO before they’re taken (2 CP).
  • Leaping Fire: Presence/those who strike the user with melee weapons from within a ten foot radius are struck by a fire-based version of Shocking Grasp cast at the user’s level (2 CP).
  • Read the Winds: Gain Blind Fighting (2 CP).
  • Stony Pillar: DR 3/-, Specialized for double effect (6/-)/only against physical attacks (2 CP).
  • Ten Ton Strike: Gain Enhanced Strike / Crushing Blow
  • The Fires Within: Immunity to Fire (Common, Major, Minor (12 Points), 2 CP).
  • Thunderbolt Strike: Augmented Attack/+2d6 (taken as +5) Damage to overcome Damage Reduction and Hardness Only (this stacks with Avalanche Strike).
  • Venom of the Earth: Double Damage versus Objects (2 CP).
  • Wind Blowing: Shaping/Specialized and Corrupted for Increase Effect (Only to generate force-disk “stepping stones” under the user’s feet, allowing him or her to run around up to five feet above a surface, ignore difficult terrain and minor obstacles, and find firm footing “on” ropes, ledges, and similar. Unfortunately, maintaining the effect is distracting enough to inflict a -2 penalty on the user’s attacks (2 CP).

The Tome Of Magic version of Aym is generally regarded as rather sucky. After all, the big plan with that version of Aym is “destroy the stuff we want to steal!” and a 1d6 fire aura which does not scale at all. This version can do everything that that version does as well or better, and offers an enormous array of alternative combat stances for the summoner to use.

Otzi, the Elder Archer (32 CP +3 CP Disadvantage/Compulsive; the Master Archer is chivalrous, and will push channelers to rescuing the women and children, champion the innocent, and so on): This one is not, so far as I can see, from the Ars Geotia – but after you pull out the names (and the origin story implying that the Elven gods are humorless, snobbish, bastards on the level of the worst of the Greek pantheon) all you really have is a generically good archer – an Archetype that goes back a very long ways indeed. Ergo I’ve named this one for one of the earliest specifically known archers.

  • Immunity to Trivial Expenses, Specialized and Corrupted/ammunition only (Common, Minor, Trivial, may ignore the need for ammunition costing up to 5 GP/Shot, 2 CP). This suffices to cover most of the non-magical variant arrows.
  • Imbuement (Bows) (6 CP). This isn’t enough on it’s own, but if you’re channeling the Master Archer a lot you’ll probably get a decent bow to start with.
  • Immunity to the Penalties for Firing into Melee: Common/Minor effect/Minor resistance (4 CP).
  • Innate Enchantment: (8500 GP Value, rounded to 9 CP).
    • Composite Longbow (100 GP). If you don’t actually have a better bow, you automatically get to act like you have a basic one. You don’t really (although you will look like it), but it’s close enough for “Adjust Bow” (below) and the other bow-related abilities to work just fine.
    • Master’s Touch, Only applies to Bows (x.5, 1000 GP). Anyone channeling the Archer is automatically proficient with Bows.
    • Arrow Mind: You threaten squares within your normal reach with your bow and may fire arrows without provoking AOO (2000 GP).
    • Guided Shot: Your ranged attacks do not take range penalties and ignore the AC bonus granted by anything less than total cover. This does, however, require a Swift Action on each turn that you use it (2000 GP).
    • Gravity Bow: Your arrows do damage as if they were one size larger (2000 GP). That will usually be 2d6 for a medium-sized archer.
    • Weapon Mastery/Composite Longbow: +4 Competence Bonus to BAB with Composite Longbow (Personal-Only, 1400 GP). Yes, this will add to iterative attacks.
  • Immunity to Dispelling effects (Common/Minor/Great, Specialized and Corrupted / only to protect Innate Enchantments, Only those that come with this Mystery, 4 CP).
  • Witchcraft III, Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect / each of the four basic witchcraft abilities granted is limited to a fairly specific, simple effect, often with additional limitations (6 CP).
    • Hand of Shadows / Animate Arrows. Spend 1 Power as a swift action, for one minute per level your arrows can perform a combat maneuver (choice of Bull Rush, Disarm, Dirty Trick, Grapple, Steal, Sunder, or Trip) instead of inflicting damage when they hit. Use your rolls, but replace (Str Mod) with (Dex Mod).
    • Hyloka/Zen Archery: You may spend 1 Power as a swift action to swap some (up to Level + 3) of your skill points into a bow-based martial art for an hour. This is a bit of a stretch for Hyloka – but then Specialized and Corrupted covers quite a bit of stretching.
    • 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.
    • Shadowweave/Sniper’s Step: The user gains a +10 bonus to Stealth (Hide, Move Silently) skills at no cost. The user’s position is not automatically revealed when firing arrows, and the +10 also applies against checks to spot where arrows are being fired from.
  • +2d6 Mana as 6d6 (21) Power, Specialized and Corrupted/only to power the four effects above (4 CP).

As might be expected with an initial design popularly described as “Terrible”, our Archer has had a considerable upgrade. With the ability to perform long-range combat maneuvers, take on a bow-based martial art for the duration, and several continuous archery-boosting spell effects, the user is actually going to be quite competent.

Naberius, the Whispering Sage (32 CP + 3 CP Disadvantage / Compulsive; must explain everything in great detail and depth to anyone who asks, thus cannot keep a secret when directly questioned).

Last up for our “level one” Mysteries we have Naberius (or Cerberus) – an emigrant from Greek mythology via the Ars Geotia. In that book he restored lost dignities and honors (or, in other sources, took them away) (presumably where the restoration of lost attributes came from), made men wise in the arts and sciences, and taught oratory and grace. Not bad for a three-headed guardian hound even if at least half the “demons” in the Ars Geotia also made men wise in various arts (evidently the desire to “get really good without talent, time expenditure, or hard work!” was pretty common then too). He’s also described as one of the best choices on the WOTC official 3.5 list – and not just among the level one choices. He’s the only top-rated choice in the first three levels of choices. To quote The Binder Handbook on him… “Naberius gives a host of good abilities, the only thing keeping him from destroying the mind of everyone who reads him with his amazingness is the fact that he’s incredibly niche and not generally useful day to day for most Binders.”

Ergo, if any of the first level Mysteries are going to have to be trimmed… it’s going to be The Whispering Sage here. He’ll probably fit in well enough though.

  • Innate Enchantment (6 CP).
    • Masterwork Tools: Thieves (Disable Device and Open Locks, 100 GP), Balance Pole (Balance, Jump, and Tumble, 150 GP), Power Suit and Mirror Sunglasses (Bluff, Diplomacy, Gather Information, 150 GP), Dark Silk Clothing (Stealth or Hide/Move Silently, 100 GP), Spectacles and Hearing Horn (Perception or Hide/Move Silently, 100 GP), Magnifying Glass (Search, 50 GP), Grip Gloves (Climb, Slight of Hand, and Use Rope, 150 GP). Surgeon’s Tools (Heal, 50 GP), Flippers (Swim, 50 GP).
    • Mental Library: Effectively Masterwork Tools for all eight Knowledges, Read Languages, Use Magic Device, Sense Motive, Spellcraft, Survival, and Diplomacy (700 GP)
      Traveler’s Anytool (250 GP): Counts as masterwork tools for most Craft and Profession skills.
    • Alchemists Lab (500 GP): +2 on Craft/Alchemy checks.
    • Skill Mastery (SL1/2 x CL1 x 2000 GP x.7 Personal Only = 700 GP): +1 Competence Bonus on all Skill Checks.
    • Disguise Self: (2000 GP): +10 bonus on Disguise checks.

Naberius gets a boost here simply because he needed Innate Enchantment for Disguise Self – but then had 3000 GP more to spend. Ergo, this version winds up with a +2 Circumstance (Tools) bonus and a +1 Competence bonus on almost every skill. That’s hardly going to break a game – especially since most characters get tools for their skills anyway – but it can be convenient.

Immunity to Attribute Drain and Damage (Common, Major, Major), Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect (Immunities to attribute damage and drain normally divide the resistance by five; so this is a base of six points, then increased to 18) / does not actually prevent the attribute loss; it merely allows the user to recover it at a greatly accelerated rate – “healing” one point of each damaged attribute per round, and one point in each drained attribute per hour (9 CP).

There’s a bit of a trim there – some attribute injuries may be so great that even Naberius will be unable to fully heal them – but how often are you confronted with something that drains more than eighteen points from an attribute in one shot?

  • Double Enthusiast, Specialized and Corrupted/Skills Only, must be selected during the initial summoning and may not be changed thereafter. As part of a template, these six bonus skill points may be used to purchase any skill ranks desired (6 CP).

That covers actually taking six skills or becoming familiar with up to eighteen – which should be plenty. It also lets you invest all six in one skill if you really want to be good at something.

  • Witchcraft/Advanced Glamour: Specialized and Corrupted/only two effects. The channeler may spend 1 power to either use Suggestion as a Supernatural Power for 1 Power or to gain a +12 Enhancement bonus on a Diplomacy or Bluff check as a Supernatural Power (3 CP). Unfortunately, neither may be used more than once every five rounds.
  • +2d6 Mana as 6d6 (21) Power, Specialized and Corrupted/only to power the two Advanced Glamour abilities given above. (4 CP).
  • Presence: Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect: may only be used once every five rounds, requires a standard action, increased effect only extends the radius. This produces the effect of a Command spell against all enemies within 30 feet (6 CP).
  • +1 to Speak Languages (Elder Runes, 1 CP).

Naberius actually fit in quite nicely; he got trimmed in a couple of spots – reducing two items from “unlimited use” to ten to twenty times a day, making his disguises dispellable, and limiting the maximum resistance to attribute damage and drain – but he picked up some cheap-and-minor skill bonuses in place of “unlimited use”. Overall, if you want to be a skillmaster or the party Face, there are much worse options – although you’ll have to attack people in some other way. He’s got no real direct combat powers to offer you at all.

Next time around on this it will be more Mysteries.

Industrial Wrights and Magic VII – Small Cities and Magical Businesses

Now that the various ongoing family emergencies are – hopefully – under control enough to have a little spare time, I shall be trying to catch up around here a bit. This series may finish up in relatively small bites though.

Now that we’ve reached Cities things are getting complicated. Cities will have high level characters living in them – and that will have as much of an impact as high-level characters usually do.

A Small City has 10,001-24,000 inhabitants (Roughly 1800 to 4400 Households), and a basic magic budget of 2d8 x 7200 GP, averaging 64,800 GP. They have three Foundations (although those vary enough that I won’t be addressing them here), and they’ve also passed three major thresholds:

  1. They are long past the point where any wilderness-oriented characters can be expected to be hanging around. Like towns before them, except in special circumstances, Cities will dominate enough territory around them to not leave a lot of true “wilderness”.
  2. The population is now high enough that – even if each household only contributes 1 GP per month in fees (a very small portion of a households Profession or Craft-derived income) fees can support a variety of city services.
  3. With a +6 Settlement Modifier and multiple rolls, there will, at a minimum, be two eleventh level professionals (13,000 GP Wealth By Level) and two ninth level commoners (8000 GP Wealth By Level) about – as well as a lot of seventh level types. There may be characters around of up to level fourteen (27,000 GP Wealth By Level). Do they keep that money stacked in the corner? No, of course, not; while some of it may be tied up in a home, for the most part it’s going to be invested – and investing in fee-for-use city services and assorted magical facilities is low-risk, low maintenance, and high-return.

Thus a Small City has reached the point where many of it’s basic services will belong to specific people (or families) and will be managed for-profit. Fortunately, going into competition with an overly-greedy provider is extremely easy, which will keep prices reasonable-to-cheap. In the real world competition tended to be stifled by guilds, restrictive laws, and legal proceedings against outsiders.

That doesn’t work nearly as well in d20, where the most likely source of new competition is some high level adventurer, who possesses vast personal power, superhuman skills, and combat magic, has an unpredictable temperament, and is used to dealing with opposition by massacring it. Sure, they MAY be more restrained in town – but in that case they’re likely to be friends with a super-diplomat or some such.

Now a high level adventurer may choose to enforce his or her own monopoly, but this will involve a lot of gratuitous unilateral interference with other matters – which takes us back to very familiar territory indeed; an oppressed populace and a ruthless, powerful, overlord. How often does THAT little scenario come up? It’s NEVER a good idea to hang an “Approved Target!” sign on yourself.

In practice, this means that a Small City can simply be presumed to have

  • Carcass Chutes with Leathermaking and Preservation Modules.
  • Cleansing Fountains
  • Composting Chutes.
  • Dedicated Phantom Mills (Almost certainly including street-cleaning and minor repairs).
  • Endless Skeins
  • An Eternal Flame Brazier
  • Millshafts
  • Perpetual Fountains

In addition, some entrepreneur will be using a Foundation Stone to for heavy transport, someone might be running an Owl Post, and – if the rolls for high-level characters were good – an Endless Lumberyard and Perpetual Soup Fountain (Type 0, 2 Gallons/Round, 7500 GP, provides almost 30,000 gallons of soup per day at about 1500 calories per gallon. Sure, people will get tired of soup – but that’s quite enough to drastically mitigate the effects of any siege or famine) or Endless Sideboard (with the takeout menu option) are also quite likely.

Even before the actual city budget gets spent… a Small d20 City is going to be well-lit, surprisingly clean, free of smoke, low-odor, equipped with magical industrial facilities, and with plenty of water. The wealth-by-level rules pretty much guarantee prosperity – and also explain why there isn’t a lot of petty crime in most d20 worlds. Traditionally, petty criminals arose from among the poor and desperate who could not find work that paid enough to survive on.

In d20 level one characters automatically have quite enough resources for a couple to be happily prosperous. It doesn’t have any poor-and-desperate adults save by game master contrivance (presumably just as scarce for NPC’s as it is for PC’s). Eclipse says that rather young children can have some skill points. Pathfinders rules on “Young” characters tell us that a character can be a full-fledged first level Expert, Adept, or Warrior at age nine (and could, in theory, reach epic levels before age ten). The basic d20 rules tell us that any kid who as so much as one skill point can readily support themselves. After all, “Profession / Thief “ is no easier to acquire, and no more profitable, than “Profession / Leatherworker”, or “Profession / Scrounging”, or any other Profession or Craft skill – but it’s a lot more dangerous. And you cannot be an effective petty thief with no skills. Ergo… petty criminals are rare. This is, of course, only to be expected. When you come right down to it, one of the main attractions of roleplaying games is escapism – which is why grimdark role playing games tend to be fringe productions.

As for spending the actual 64,800 GP budget… since we now only need to look at some big-ticket items we have some hard choices. A Small City still has to depend on the countryside for supplies and raw materials – there simply isn’t going to be enough magic available to provide EVERYTHING that it needs – so there will be a few choices to be made.

  • For general utility – and basic defense – it’s hard to beat a City Father (24,000 GP). It’s also fair enough to say that having one more of less says “This Is A City!”.
  • A Basic City Store provides some (150 GP/Day) support for the city government and a modest, but very helpful, source of supply (8225 GP).
  • A Trading City, Distant Outpost, Mountaintop Hideout, or similar city will probably go for a couple of City Gates (28,000 GP) – either to and from a larger trading hub to hook into a gate network or to a couple of other cities to form a part of a ring of gates. Basically… it the surrounding territory won’t provide resources in sufficient quantities and varieties, they have to be brought in from somewhere else.
  • Cities in better areas will usually prefer a Wind Tower (The Practical Enchanter, 29,000 GP) – allowing the city to (mostly) control the weather in a twenty-four mile radius. That’s useful in so many ways that just listing the important things it affects would take several paragraphs. It’s also a serious magical defense. A conventional force will have a good deal of trouble dealing with continuous storms and blizzards. Admittedly, the only “conventional forces” that you’re likely to encounter in a rational d20 world are orcs, goblins, and similar “mass of troops” species, but it’s still a start.
  • That leaves about 4000 GP either way. I’m going to presume that one of a Small Cities three Foundations, or someone – likely a city administrator defending their position – will pad the budget a bit, allowing the addition of a 6500 GP item; either a Bone Vault or a Dark Rampart. The Bone Vault is probably most useful – but the Dark Rampart addresses the fear of massive undead outbreaks comfortingly directly.

A Large City has 24,001-50,000 inhabitants (about 4400 to 9100 Families), three Foundations (still not considered) and a budget of 2d12 x 9600 GP, averaging 124,800 GP. It also has a +9 Settlement Modifier and rolls three times for major NPC’s. That means three Professionals of levels (1d6+13) with anywhere from 35,000 to 96,000 GP and three Commoners of levels (1d6+11), along with quite a few others.

That means that a Large City has passed another Threshold; there will be people there who will control major organizations and businesses in their own rights – and regardless of the enterprise, it’s core is going to be built on magic. Like it or not… magic makes things easier. Doing things by mundane means may require fleets of ships, elaborate machines and hundreds of workers, a network for training nurses and doctors, producing medicines, and elaborate medical machines, or hundreds of workers to harvest crops… and a network of City Gates, a Construction Wagon, or a Healing Spring will do it faster, better, and far, far, cheaper. When you come right down to it, that’s what makes magic attractive. It bypasses all the restrictions and limitations of reality.

So we’re going to have businesses built on large, expensive, pieces of magic. They’re mostly going to be catering to adventurous types, because that is quite literally where the money is; it’s the adventurers who have a lot of free cash laying about. Those expensive pieces of magic are going to be built using the “immobile” modifier since that’s the only reliable way to make sure that those same adventurers don’t run off with the magic that makes your business possible.

So lets make a few businesses.

Mystic Massages (10,000 GP)

This cheerful spa offers massages, hot towels, steam rooms, manicures, mudpacks, scented baths, pedicures, hot wax, salts, and acupuncture. For customers with a more serious problems it also offers Remove Disease, Remove Curse, Remove Blindness/Deafness, and Cure Serious Wounds. While such treatments are only available a couple of times a day each, they are generally available on-demand and at prices considerably lower than the cost of hiring a spellcaster.

  • Spell Level(s) Two (After Ambient Magic Limitation) x Caster Level Three x 1800 GP for Unlimited-Use Command-“Word” Activated x .5 (Immobile) x .4 (two uses/Day) x.8 (Requires at least an hour of attention from a good masseur to take effect) = 1728 CP, or 6912 GP for all four spells. Personally I’d throw in another 3000 to cover all the facilities and some minor stuff; a Cleansing Ring, Type I Perpetual Fountain, and Forgestaff will provide cleaning, water, heat, and steam for around 1200 GP, leaving enough to pay for some nice facilities and tools.

Spa’s like this aren’t likely to sell all their spells in any single day – but there will likely be a demand for at least a couple of them (most often Cure Diseased and Cure Wounds of course). Even if they only charge 25 GP apiece, at two spells per day it will be less than seven months before the place pays for itself – at least assuming that the basic “spa” part is self-supporting. It should be; plenty of spas do just fine without offering immediate, blatantly effective, magical cures to select customers.

This is a fairly low-end magical business – but it can remain useful over a fair range of levels and offers a nice sort of alternative reward; you rescued the owners daughter? How about a couple of free magical massages for the party each week?

Marvelous Tattoo Parlor (24,000 GP, Greater Version (Double Bonuses) 48,000 GP).

A Marvelous Tattoo Parlor can provide and sustain a total of 144 (6 per hour x 24 hour duration) magical tattoos, although no one individual may have more than three and the effects of similar tattoos do not stack. Available tattoos normally include the following seven – although the game master may opt to include others or allow more specialized versions. (one for expertise in skills seems particularly appropriate).

  • +1 luck bonus on attack rolls.
  • +1 deflection bonus to AC.
  • +2 resistance bonus on saving throws.
  • +2 competence bonus on attack rolls.
  • Spell Resistance 23 (33 with Greater Parlor)
  • +2 Enhancement Bonus to any one Basic Attribute
  • Cast Spells at +1 Spellcaster Level when determining level-based variables.

Tattoos normally only last for a limited time (or until Dispelled or the user is slain) – but are quite cheap: a tattoo normally costs 5 GP/Month it will last, 50 GP/Year for longer periods.

  • Marvelous Tattoo Parlor: Create Magic Tattoo, Renewable (+1 Spell Level). Spell Level 3 x Caster Level 13 x 1800 GP (Unlimited-Use Command-Word Activated) = 70,200 GP, +100 x 100 GP (materials cost) = 80,200 GP. x.5 (Immobile) x.9 (User must have a Skill Speciality in whatever he or she uses to draw tattoos (Craft (drawing), Craft (painting), Craft (calligraphy), or a similar Craft skill) x.8 (User must have Skill Focus or Skill Emphasis on their tattoo-making skill) x.8 (number of days/renewals must be pre-committed when the tattoo is created, and cannot thereafter be rescinded even if the recipient has the Tattoo dispelled or they’re killed or some such) = 23,100 GP. Given that Tattoo Parlors are traditionally more or less holes-in-the-wall with a few sets of tools, I’ll call it 24,000 GP in total.

Renewable (+1 Spell Level): A new casting may – instead of producing a new instance of the spell – add it’s duration to that of an existing instance regardless of the current range to the target. If the instance is a summoned creature, this cures said summons of one status condition, one negative level, 3d6 hit points, and one lost attribute point, and restores one use of a limited-use ability each time the spell is recast) rather than a new one arriving.

A Marvelous Tattoo Parlor offers cheap boosts to low-level adventurers and civilians – but effectively only offers long-term buffing spells. That’s useful, but once dispel magic and buff-removal becomes a common tactic, such enhancements usually won’t last for long. There are ways to defend them of course – but most such ways are very expensive and very limited. Fighter-types, of course, can afford a feat or two to do it – but most magical types have better uses for their feats.

  • Greater Marvelous Tattoo Parlors use a version of the spell that doubles the effect (+4 Spell Levels) and lasts for two days as a base (+1 Spell Level) with the built-in metamagic modifier (-2 spell levels for 5 levels) = Level Six. This raises the price to 46,200 GP, but allows the structure to support 288 Tattoos, each twice as powerful as the baseline ones – resulting in no particular change in the baseline price for tattoos, although I’d probably put one in anyway because they people running the place could.

The “Renewal” option is obviously quite powerful in conjunction with an unlimited-use magical device; it allows you to keep a fair number of instances of the spell around. Is it overpowered?

Well, lets do it another way. Create Magic Tattoo already lasts for a full day. Making it last a full year is +8 levels of Persistent, and I’ll throw in +4 levels of Amplify to double the effect. Given that this is going to last for a year… we can throw in some modifiers beyond the -3 levels for 7+ levels of built-in Metamagic; the person being tattooed takes 1d4 Dexterity damage due to being stiff and sore (-1 spell level), the tattooist becomes Exhausted in the process (-1 spell level). That gives us… A level nine effect. So Spell Level Nine x Caster Level Seventeen x 1800 GP for Unlimited-Use Command-“Word” Activation = 275,400 GP plus 10,000 GP for the material components. That’s expensive – but then we can apply… x .5 (Immobile) x .2 (one use per day) x .5 (the actual casting requires eight full hours of being tattooed) x.9 (User must have a Skill Specialty in whatever he or she uses to draw tattoos (Craft (drawing), Craft (painting), Craft (calligraphy), or a similar Craft skill) x.8 (User must have Skill Focus or Skill Emphasis on their tattoo-making skill) = 10,274.4 GP. Users will have to return once a year, but this version can effectively maintain 365 Tattoos – and they’re even notably harder to dispel. If we stick with 50 GP for a tattoo… the place will pay for itself inside of seven months. And there will be plenty of customers. +4 to an attribute? A +2 on all related skill checks? Pays for itself even if you’re just making weekly profession or craft checks.

Personally I’m going to stick with the Renewal option in most cases. It may look rather efficient – but it’s actually a good deal less effective (and more manageable in the game) then simply going for a long-term high-level effect in the first place.

Altars and Shrines of War channel the power of the Gods of War into the world, blessing the weapons of those who make offerings there. A mere Altar can maintain a supply of +1 weapons, while a Shrine – with it’s attendant priest – can maintain a enough more powerful weapons to equip a legion.

  • Altar of War: Magic Weapon, Renewable (+1 Spell Level) . Spell Level Two x Caster Level Three x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x .5 (Immobile) = 6000 GP. Can maintain up to 30 +1 Weapons or bundles of ammunition. Upgrades may increase the number of sustainable weapons by +10 weapons per +1 Caster Level for +1000 GP.
  • Shrine of War: Greater Magic Weapon, Renewable (+1 Spell Level), Ambient Magic Limitation (-1 Spell Level). Spell Level Three x Caster Level 8 (for +2), 12 (for +3), 16 (for +4), or 20 (for +5) x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x .5 (Immobile) x .6 (requires the daily attendance of a priest of a god of war to operate) = 14,400 GP (+2), 21,600 GP (+3), 28,800 (+4), and 36,000 (+5). A Shrine of War can maintain 60 weapons (a bundles of 50 pieces of ammunition counts as one weapon) per caster level.

Altars and Shrines of War can make a magical weapons – a combatants bread and butter – available cheaply enough to let them carry a selection of them, possibly throwing in a few Weapon Crystals to provide relevant special abilities. Admittedly, the effects can be dispelled, and you’ll have to return to town to get them renewed – but when “renting” a magical weapon (of whatever bonus) can reasonably be priced at about 1 GP a month, martial classes can hardly help but benefit.

A Monument of the Enduring Warrior uses the Greater Magic Armor spell to enhance Armor and Shields. Since that spell is only level two such a monument operates without a priest at a cost of 4000 GP (+1), 8000 GP (+2), 12,000 GP (+3), 16,000 GP (+4), and 20,000 GP (+5). Given that such a Monument can also support 60 items per caster level, this allows low-level combatant characters to get some substantial bonuses on the cheap.

Fantastic Stable (50,000 GP)

A Fantastic Stable “sells” (rents?) – magical mounts. Unfortunately, such mounts are summoned creatures. While they are obedient and well-trained mounts, they will remain for a maximum of one year and can be dispelled like any other summoning – although the Stables caster level of 17 makes this somewhat difficult. On the plus side, buying a mount (or a group of lesser mounts) is fairly cheap. After all, once the Fantastic Stable has been constructed it’s operating expenses (the salaries for a dozen or so attendants, basic maintenance, and some food) are quite reasonable and the mounts are effectively free. Where else can you pick up a Manticore or Unicorn to ride for a year for about the cost of a conventional warhorse?

Summon Mount is a somewhat more limited version of Summon Nature’s Ally: it only summons creatures to ride on, offers a considerably smaller (three at each level) selection, and they always show up next to the caster. It does, however, includes appropriate saddle, tack, and harness, the creatures are considered to be well-trained mounts, and it can be Renewed; a new casting may – instead of producing a new creature – add it’s duration to that of an existing summons regardless of where it is, incidentally curing said summons of one status condition, one negative level, 3d6 hit points, one lost attribute point, and restoring one use of a limited-use ability each time the spell is recast) rather than a new one arriving. Otherwise, all the usual limitations of summoned creatures apply normally.

If you summon a mount one level less powerful than you are entitled to you get two of them. If two or more levels less you get four.

Available Mounts:

  • I: Riding Dog (Medium), Equine (Pony/Mule/Horse) (Large), Hippocampus (Large).
  • II: Axe beak (Large), Hippogriff (Large), Heavy Warhorse (Large).
  • III: Giant Eagle (L), Pegasus (Large), Large Wolf (4 HD).
  • IV: Dire Boar (Large), Griffon (Large), Giant Scorpion (Large).
  • V: Manticore (Large), Orca (Huge), Unicorn (Large).
  • VI: Elephant (Huge), Nightmare (Large), Wyvern (Large).
  • VII: Kirin (Large, CR7 version), Mastodon (Huge), Triceratops (Huge).
  • VIII: Dragon Horse (Large), Roc (Gargantuan), Young Dragon (Chromatic, Metallic, or otherwise as the GM permits. Usually Large).
  • IX: Androsphinx (Large), Celestial Charger Unicorn (Large), Dragon Turtle (Huge).
  • Fantastic Stable: Summon Mount V, Persistent +12 (Lasts for a year) -3 Spell Levels (7+ levels of built-in Metamagic) -1 Spell Level (Takes a full minute to cast) -2 Spell Levels (Requires an elaborate marble stable complex as a focus) -2 Spell Levels (Operator takes 1d4 points of wisdom damage and becomes Exhausted, which is why a dozen or so attendants usually split the duty) = Level 9 x Caster Level 17 x 1800 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x .5 (Immobile) x.4 (two uses/day) x .6 (Takes a full hour to set up for a summons) = 33,048 GP plus about 17,000 GP for the Stables – for a net cost of 50,000 GP. That’s a fair chunk of change. But a Fantastic Stable can “sell” two type V mounts per day – or trade one of them in for two Type IV’s or four Type III’s or lower. Sure, they “only” last for a year – but if they charge a mere 200 GP per casting and only get – say – three customers per week (how many nobles would like a Unicorn Mount / emergency healer?)… the place will still have paid for itself and be turning quite a profit within two years.

This variety of Magical Businesses can have a substantial impact on a setting. Most notably they can provide the non-spellcasters with cheap and easy access to the basic tools and enhancements that they need to do their jobs AND with important links back to society and a home base – while being of far less help to primary spellcasters. It isn’t really enough to fix the balance issues in the game, but it will help a bit.

Industrial Wrights and Magic VI – Settlement Foundations

Now that we’re coming up on larger settlements… it’s time to take a look at the foundations of cities, so we know how to tinker with the basic values given below.

Just as importantly, unlike the situation in 3.5 or Pathfinder, Eclipse-style settlements are NOT general purpose markets and magic item shops. There are millions of possible magical items, many of them (and almost anything of interest to an adventurer) highly specialized. If you want full plate armor (always personally fitted) you either go to a city large enough to support a master armorer and find one or you spend a few points to develop an adventurer’s usual superhuman skill in the field and make it yourself. The same applies to magic items. If you want a Cloak of the Four Winds, and the only person who makes that sort of thing at the moment lives in a city two hundred miles away… it’s time for sending messages (and expecting a long wait) or for a trip. Similarly, most people are very, VERY, poor by the standards of adventurer’s who raid dragon hordes. There is no ready market for magic items at the prices adventurers want to charge outside of the largest cities.

Standard Settlement Values:

Settlement Type   

Population                   

Guards / Militia

Town Budget

GP Limit

Total Cash Assets

Settlement Modifiers Foundations

Settlement Level

Near-Ghost Town          1-40                                   No Guards/Militia No Town Budget        1d8 GP or GMO       2d20 GP or GMO -5. Wild 10% / +5         Nothing much is sold here. None                     Level Zero
Thorp                        40-160                            Guards/Militia 1d4+1 Budget 1d3 GP            GP Limit 1d20 GP       2d4 x 10 GP -3. Wild: 10% / +7             Sells basic foods, tools, and
handicrafts only.
25% One Foundation        Level One
Hamlet                    161-800            Guards/Militia 4d4 2d4 x 10 GP               1d4 x 10 GP                 2d4 x 100 GP -2. Wild 5% /+5           Cloth, Sells rope, tools, leather
armor, and simple weapons
50% One        Level Two
Village                      801-1800           Guards/Militia 3d8+8 2d8 x 10 GP               3d8 x 10 GP               4d6 x 100 GP -1                                           No specialists, but stuff
can be sent for given time.
1 Foundation Level Three
Small Town             1801-4000         Guards/Militia 3d20+20 3d20 x 10 GP              2d4 x 100 GP              3d4 x 1000 GP +0                                Resource refinement – iron, fine cloth, etc. 2 Foundations Level Four
Large Town            4001-10,000               Guards: 5d10 x 10 5d10 50 GP                5d6 x 100 GP           5×10 x 1000 GP +3                               Mundane specialists and
scholars are available.
2 Foundations Level Five
Small City          10,001-24,000             Guards 4d4 x 50 2d8 x 600 GP             3d6 x 1000 GP            4d6 x 10,000 GP +6 (2 Rolls)                         20% Garrison of 2d6x20 Traders and exotic goods. 3 Foundations Level Six
Large City        24,001-50,000             Guards 4d6 x 50 2d12 x 800 GP            4d4 x 3000 GP          4d12 x 12,000 GP +9 (3 Rolls)                 Garrison 3d6 x 10 x 1d6 Universities and Magic 3 Foundations Level Seven
Metropolis       50,001-100,000           Guards (3d6 + 6) x 100 2d4 x 2500 GP           2d6 x 10,000 GP        10d4 x 25,000 GP +12 (4 Rolls)               Garrison (2d4+1) x 100   Foreign enclaves abound. 4 Foundations Level Eight
Megapolis  100,001-500,000         Guards (2d6+3) x 1000
2d8 x 5000 GP          GM Discretion.          8d8 x 100,000 GP +12 (8 Rolls)                         The Garrison is no longer
separate.
5 Foundations Level Nine
Imperial City         500,001+                     Guards 4d12 x 1000 2d8 x 5000 GP          GM Discretion.          5d4 x 1,000,000 GP +15 (12 Rolls)                Guards ARE the Garrison Anonymity is normal 6 Foundations Level Ten

Guards/Militia: The able-bodied who can assist at first, They start going professional (even if often part time) around the small town level.

  • Town Budget: How much cash the town, as a group, can scrape up to pay for public works and jobs in any given month.
  • GP Limit: How much cash is available to buy things with. Note that this is a TOTAL, and that characters are unlikely to be able to extract more than a fraction of it with any single sale.
  • Total Cash Assets: How much money you could find if you grabbed all the readily-portable valuables in the settlement. X10 if you’re valuing buildings and such, x100 if your valuing the land, structures, and inhabitants as a whole. (Say you want to buy your own Thorp full of serfs).
  • Settlement Modifiers are used to determine the level of important NPC’s – mostly because, like it or not, the higher level characters ARE the settlements major power centers, authorities, military resources, and major industries. Add the settlement modifier to the die rolls given below to determine the highest level character(s) in that category in the settlement. If the total is two or higher, roll 1d6 for the number of subordinates of about half that level. That pattern continues, but – as a rule – it doesn’t much matter; the player characters usually aren’t interested in dealing with anyone who isn’t important and influential (EG; of reasonable level) in one way or another.
  • Dice marked with an “*” may be “wild” types in small settlements. Check the indicated chance to use the alternative modifier on those dice. Such individuals usually live near, but not in, their host settlement and are wilderness-oriented. Wild Arcanists are commonly plant-mages, herbalists, shamen, or elementalists. Wild Entities tend to be treents, awakened animals, dryads, and similar creatures of the wilds. Wild Priests tend to be druids, anchorites, shamen, and so on – and Wild Warriors are commonly rangers, beastmasters, shapeshifters, and lycanthropes,.
    • Administrator (Aristocrat, Politician, Noble, Organizer): d4.
    • Arcanist (Artificer, Astrologer, Mage, Pacter, Spirit Binder, Summoner, Illusionist) d6*, d4.
    • Commoner (Farmer, Miner, Weaver, Cook): d6+2, d4+2.
    • Entertainer (Thespian, Jester, Courtesan, Barkeep/Psychologist): d8-4.
    • Entity (Dragon, Fey, Giant, or similar): d20-14*. Many settlements will have no associated “monsters” at all.
    • Hedge Mage/Priest (Adepts, Witches, Pastors, Herbalists, Ritualists, etc): d6, d4.
    • Priest (Cleric, Druid,Shaman, Enlightened Soul, etc): d6*, d4
    • Professional (Expert, Inventor, Sailor, Sage): d6+4.
    • Scoundrel (Rogue, Bard, Factotum, Ninja, etc): d8, d6.
    • Warrior, NPC Basic (Militiamen, Guards, Hunters, Frontiersman): d8, d6
    • Warrior, Exotic (Martial Artists, Paladin, Cavalier, Shapeshifter): d4*, d4.
    • Warrior, Combat Focused (Barbarian, Fighter, Ranger, Scout): d8, d6*, d4

Foundations are reasons for their to be a settlement there – and the bigger the settlement, the better the reasons tend to be . Unlike the similar concepts of “Tags” in Dungeon World or “Qualities” in Pathfinder, Foundations generally are not transient. Governments, alliances, and nations change – but the great cities continue, even if they wax and wane.

You don’t really have to bother with foundations. If the characters are just picking up supplies before going back to a dungeon or something just send them to the nearest sizeable town, maybe introduce a few sources for healing, or speciality items, or alchemical supplies, and let them get on with what they want to do.

City Foundations:

  • A Good Place: The most basic, and common, reason for a Settlement; the spot is not obviously prone to natural disasters, is not overly infested with monsters, and offers access to reasonable amounts of basic resources – water and food (whether by hunting, fishing, agriculture, or magic) most obviously, but a truly good place will also offer access to clay and/or stone, hides and/or fiber, and wood and/or some substitute for fuel and structural materials. If something is especially abundant, it will be traded with other settlements.
    • Being in A Good Place makes it a great deal easier for a settlement to grow and flourish. Non-adventurers living in it are treated as one level higher when determining their wealth-by-level. Attempts to make money with Craft or Profession checks gain a +4 Bonus.
  • Beasts:: This town breeds exotic animals, crafts peculiar constructs, programs eccentric AI’s, or builds amazing androids, robots, or golems. This may range from an old woman who breeds exotically-colored Budgerigar in her cottage in a Thorp on up to a major research center that creates mass-cloned lots of “normal” or anthropomorphic intelligent talking animals for anonymous buyers in an Imperial City – but the general principle remains the same; you can easily purchase creatures here that would be difficult or impossible to obtain anywhere else.
    • Whatever-it-is is available at only 75% of the base price, but used items of that type sell for a mere 40% of their base price. Add 1d4+1 special facilities dealing with whatever-it-is suited to the scale of the settlement.
  • Capital: Whether through location, tradition, or decree, the Settlement is a nexus of political power – THE place for the local VIP’s, government offices and archives, and (since political power controls monopolies, taxes, and business conditions) people of groups with lots of money to hang out. It will be full of powerful people, rich in infrastructure, and filled with fine buildings and monuments.
    • Add Administrators (d8, d6), Arcanist (d8), Entertainer (d8, d6), Priest d8, d6), Professional (d12, d10), Scoundrel (d10), Warrior/Basic (d12, d10), and Warrior/Combat Focused (d12, d10). Double the Budget, including the (x12) allowance for magical infrastructure. Add (2 x Level) major administrative buildings, palaces, arenas, monuments, or other major works.
  • Crime: For whatever reason, the Settlement is a tolerated hotbed of subversive and criminal elements and cults – whether that means that it is full of slavers, assassins for hire, poison shops, and mad necromancers and demonologists or whether it supports hidden groups of paladins and clerics of righteous gods in the midst of an chaotic evil empire. Goods and services that are generally considered unethical or blatantly illegal elsewhere are sold here openly, and very often legally. There may still be things that you’ll have a hard time finding, but they are few and far between.
    • Double the GP limit, major non-adventurer figures calculate Wealth By Level as if they had two extra levels, allows the sale and purchase of normally-restricted goods and services. Add various secret hideouts as needed, ranging from gang hangouts to secret underground training facilities for the local assassins. Note that the streets are dirty and maintenance is often neglected.
  • Culture: This Settlement may be a great center of fashion or literature, premiere all the great plays, produce the most popular music, or just throw fabulous festivals and parties – but once the feedback loop starts it tends to become self-sustaining (the place becomes famous, which draws anyone trying to break into the business it’s famous for, some succeed, the place becomes even more famous from their efforts, and so on). No matter what the attraction, it will draw many visitors and a good deal of cash in exchange for intangible ideas – about the cheapest of all possible exports.
    • Decide what the place is a center for. Double any reputation modifiers collected while living here. Add Professionals (d8+4, d4+4) and Entertainers (d12-4, d10-4). Increase the DC of earning money through Perform by +5 but double the resulting monetary rewards.
  • Egotism: The Settlement was the personal project of someone powerful. It will be littered with statues, monuments, shrines, and similar items devoted to glorifying that individual and/or his patrons and will have various useful public works meant to support it.
    • Add one major civic structure (arena, racetrack, mansion/palace, great square, fortress) per settlement level and 10,000 GP worth of (blatant) public works and magic per settlement level.
  • Enchanted: The Settlement is a focus of powerful ambient magic, some of which is available to every resident. There will be strange weather, an abundance of fey creatures, minor magical phenomena in the streets, and plenty of minor magical mischief.
    • Each resident gains access to one to three (one automatically, one if level 6+, and one if any one of Int, Wis, or Cha is 16+) bonus magical feats (commonly Grant of Aid, Luck, Mindspeech, Occult Talent, Shaping, or (very commonly) the use of Charms and Talismans, but others are possible). Sadly, these bonuses will fade if a character is away for more than a week or doesn’t spend at least two-thirds of his or her time in Settlement. Add Entity (d6, d4) and Hedge Mage / Priest (d8). Increase the budget for settlement magic by 50%.
  • Enclave: This settlement is a stronghold of a particular race, ethnicity, or culture – and will draw more members of that group, people who need things that group does (or are believed to do) particularly well, and visitors who wish to visit an exotic town, in a self-perpetuating feedback loop. Appropriate racial, ethnic, or cultural speciality items will be easily available. Merchants and businesses targeting outsiders will shamelessly pander to relevant stereotypes.
    • Add Administrators (d8, d6) representing the group in question and everyone else in relation to said group. Add (d8, d4) Specialists in group-related fields. Group-related items are available at 75% of the normal cost, but sell for only 40%. Add 1d4+1 businesses, small districts, or similar showcasing the various stereotypes for visitors and tourists.
  • Established: This Settlement is OLD, with a history that goes back many generations. Some of its reasons for existing may have passed, but tradition and accumulated infrastructure has become a reason of it’s own. This is a common status for Settlements that were once entryways to new lands.
    • Double the budget for magical and mundane infrastructure. Add (City Level) facilities – libraries, schools, art studios, tourist attractions,historical or haunted locations, or similar – with centuries-old reputations (which the locals will gladly fill you in on in excruciating detail).
  • Guilds (Large Town and up only): This Settlement is a center for major guilds of factions – not the minor guilds of carpenters and weavers, nor the loose clubs of the (highly individualistic and contentions) major spellcasters – but the associations of those who have some power, but not enough to negotiate with the great on equal terms. Guilds of Mercenaries, Adventurers, Rogues, Assassins, and Scouts, Witch’s Covens, Warlock Cults, and more may all have a strong presence in town – commonly offering their members access to Hearthstones and/or Package Deals. While these are generally of some use to primary casters, their benefits tend to be focused on meeting the needs of more mundane types. Such a town is also likely to boast a few extra high-level types.
    • Add (City Level – 4) “guilds” of interest to adventurers which offer appropriate members who base themselves in the city some significant benefits. For an example, the Mercenaries Guild might offer a Package Deal, or boost a warrior-types effective level by one when it comes to calculating Wealth By Level (via getting special deals and using in-house facilities if anyone asks for an in-game reason), or offer access to a Hearthstone – or even offer more than one of those benefits. Such guilds invariably focus on “Low Tier” character types, offering little or no benefit to “High Tier” types.
  • Hub: The site is a natural nexus for resource processing – perhaps where coal from the valley, metals from the mountains, lumber from the northern forest, and herds being driven up from the southern plains, all tend to come together. It is a setting of manufacturing and industry.
    • Mundane equipment suited to the level of the settlement costs only 75% as much as usual here, but sells for only 40% of its base value.
  • Outpost: This Settlement (Small Town maximum) is supported from elsewhere – whether for diplomatic, military, trade, or other purposes. Outposts are rarely in Good Places, otherwise there would be little need for any special reason to place a settlement there; one would spring up naturally. Outposts that ARE in good places usually lose their Outpost status after people settle in.
    • Add a fortification and/or a diplomatic office and/or a trading post, a garrison of (2d4 x 10 x Settlement Level) men, and minor support businesses, normally including a healer of some sort. Mundane adventuring supplies (possibly exempting extremely expensive items such as telescopes) are readily available regardless of settlement size.
  • Presence: The Settlement is the seat of a major divine or quasi-divine power. Whether blatantly or subtly, it will deeply influence events. Residents may have visions, those who violate local taboos may suffer terrible fates, sacred, intelligent, or otherwise powerful animals may be common – or there may simply be some demigodling running the place.
    • Add (d12, d8) servants and a (d10) enemies of said power, at least one secret shrine, and a variety of strange customs that no one will explain to visitors.
  • Primordial: The Settlement contains, watches over, or has formed a bargain with, some terrible elder horror, sleeping power, artifact, monster, or hidden force. While this may be an onerous duty, and demand strange taboos, rites, and behaviors, there are always benefits for the inhabitants. The entity may be a source of strange magical resources, or sometimes bestir itself to defend the Settlement, or grant magical powers in exchange for meeting it’s demands and performing its rituals.
    • Given that each such situation is unique, there are no standard modifiers. A settlement built on the back of an island-turtle that only wakes once a century is very different from one haunted by a dark god where the walls occasionally bleed magical ichor that bestows the “pseudonatural” template on those who ingest it.
  • Resource: The site offers access to one or more special material resources – metals, gems, rare or abundant woods, petroleum, upwelling earthblood (whatever that is), coal, exotic herbs or fungi, compounds and drugs, the ingredients for exotic gourmet cheeses, or something similar that’s valuable enough to be worth establishing a settlement to get easy access to.
    • Add +4 to skill checks made to obtain funds in the settlement. Add +50% to the town budget.
  • Ruins: Plenty of Settlements have some old ruins, a haunted graveyard, or wererats in the sewer system, suitable for an adventure. THIS one has a nearby megadungeon – a multi-thousand year old necropolis, tunneled out mountain, abandoned (underground?) city, or other location that a hundred adventurers could explore for years and not run out of adventures to go on.
    • Add (d8, d6, d4) characters specializing in adventurer support – healers, armorers, alchemists, and so on. There will be a backroom market dealing in strange items (often with odd drawbacks) from the ruins, a doubled-up militia/city guard, and fairly regular problems with stray creatures from the ruins.
  • Sacred: A notable religion considers the area a holy site. There will be shrines, some holy men, pilgrims, and various archeological sites scattered about. It is entirely possible for more than one religion to consider a city holy – although even if they do agree on THAT, they very rarely agree on anything else.
    • Add Priests (d10, d8), (City Level +2) temples, monasteries, and Sacred Locations, and halve the effective cost of religiously-oriented magical features, such as a Healing Spring or appropriately oriented Planar Spire.
  • Safety: In a dangerous world this location is defended by divine decree, isolation, being perched atop a towering mesa, ancient wards, mighty walls and earthworks, the presence of a “school for adventurers”, being hidden (note that this tends to cut off trade and external support, so make sure that your settlement can get along without it), existing in a dimensional pocket (also tends to cut off trade), or something similar.
    • No modifiers. Most cities work hard on defending themselves anyway, so this just leaves more resources for other projects.
  • Trade: The Settlement is a natural nexus of transportation and trade – whether by air, sea, being at the intersection of major underground routes, having teleportation gates, dimensional rifts, access to the realms of dream or the afterlife or some other exotic aspect of reality, by hosting an ancient starport, or what-have-you. Materials from distant lands and exotic cultures will be relatively common. An extra 2d4+2 powerful individuals (nature and level GM) and their entourages will be around to take advantage of that – often making the settlement a center for whatever arts they practice.
    • Triple the GP Limit. Double the Budget, and multiply the amount available for City Magic by 1.5. Transportation, exotic items, and information are all readily available, as are would-be henchmen, kids selling “treasure maps”, and contacts with far-away places.
  • Twinned: This settlement has a an immediately accessible companion settlement. If, for example, it floats in the air, it’s “companion” may be on the surface, underground, in orbit, across the boundaries of life and death, in an alternate dimension, in the past or the future, magical versus technological, linked by a realm of dreams, or simply a little ways off but connected by some sort of transportation system.
    • While the second settlement must also have this foundation, both settlements are presumed to cooperate with each other, allowing both locals and visitors to draw on the resources of both settlements. Increase the Budget and the Magical Infrastructure allotment by 50%.
  • University: The Settlement is a long-established center of learning – hosting one or more great schools of magic, martial arts, channeling, mystic arts, or some other major discipline. Museums, ancient libraries, and research laboratories are likely – and it many be possible to obtain or commission a variety of unique items, alchemical reagents, or strange secrets.
    • Add (d8, d6) Professionals (Sages and Teachers) and a (d6) Administrator. Add (City Level) related Facilities of appropriate scale. Various ancient tomes, clues, and hints as to obscure adventures may be found around the city.

Exotic Conditions:

Exotic Conditions are abnormal, even by the standards of d20 cities, and often transitory. Ergo, these are even more optional than the rest of this…

  • Freedom: This settlement offers liberty. Slaves, bound spirits, summoned monsters, and anything else bound to service is legally – and sometimes magically – set free upon entering the settlement. Classically this was a major draw; in d20… it is a great deal more questionable. Slaves of more or less “normal” races are one thing – but bound outsiders, creatures called through gates, and many more d20 entities are considerably more problematic. And if it’s purely legal… how the Settlement will stop some high-level character out to retrieve a lost servant without suffering enormous amounts of damage is just as open to question. It’s best to leave this one to planar metropolises in chaotic planes; everyone there expects random insanity anyway.
    • There are no general rules for this one; it’s simply too volatile for that.
  • Newly Founded: This settlement is full of crude buildings and empty spots, has little or no organization or law enforcement beyond lynchings, and has very little infrastructure beyond what any higher-level individuals who are involved have brought along.
    • Treat this Settlement as if it was two levels smaller with respect to infrastructure, one level smaller with respect to the GP limit.
  • Ruinous: This settlement is a wreck. Whether due to a recent dragon attack, or being overrun by a barbarian horde, or some such, much of the population (and almost all the higher level types) have fled, monsters have moved in here and there, and there’s a power vacuum. Fortunately, this is generally a temporary condition; much of the infrastructure will probably survive and people will soon move back in.
    • Doing business here is difficult to nigh-impossible. For the moment, this isn’t really a settlement any longer; it’s a disaster area.
  • Therapeutic: This settlement offers health benefits. Unfortunately, most of the classic benefits (mineral rich hot springs which soak away infections or arthritis, rare herbs which relieve the plague, holy grottoes that offer miracles to the faithful) are pretty meaningless in most d20 settings, where easy magic handles all of that quickly and conveniently. Ergo, this Foundation is only applicable in settings where there’s something that ISN’T easily fixed. For an example, the classic Red Steel AD&D setting featured massive contamination with Vermeil – a dust that could give you various powers but which also gave you detrimental mutations – and the much rarer Cinnabryl, a magical ore that could protect against the side effects of Vermeil and which could be forged into (quasi-) magical weapons cheaply. In that setting a Settlement that offered some relief from the side effects of Vermeil would qualify for the “Therapeutic” foundation. Otherwise, pick something else.
    • Once again, there are no general rules for this since it’;s based on some exotic feature of the setting.