Commoner Wealth By Level – Purchasing the Basics

According to Pathfinder (where the wealth-by-level tables are open game content), two first level commoners can be expected to have a combined wealth of 520 GP. That’s actually fairly impressive – so what can you expect to find on a basic peasant farm?

The Land (No Cost): While the most important piece of a farm is, of course, the land, land isn’t something that peasants (or most other d20 characters) normally own – at least not in the modern sense.

In classical (that is; theoretical) feudalism, land ultimately belonged to the King, because the King was the ultimate organizer of the realm’s defense. The king essentially rented out chunks of land in exchange for service – and those nobles sublet some of that land, and so on, creating a a complex (if mostly improvised) “system” of obligations, defining a network of protection in return for service. At the bottom were farmers – people with little or no military power and basically considered a part of the land – the part needed to make it useful.

That was pretty messy in practice, and full of thousands of complications and exceptions since I’m summarizing complex social systems that existed across Europe over several centuries in a short paragraph. In part thanks to those messy complications medieval governments were nowhere near as efficient as an imperial government could be as far as massive public works and armies went – but the many, MANY, variations on the general theme worked well enough to get along for quite some time in the real world.

In d20 however… Claiming a piece of land in d20 probably calls for dealing with various divine mandates, making pacts with entities from other dimensions who hold power or influence in the area, negotiations with nature spirits, bargaining with beings who may have far older claims to the land, encounters (and mining and weather rights claims) with creatures that live under or above it, and defending against raiding horrors.

And no, farmers aren’t up to dealing with that themselves – although it could provide a better-defined hierarchy for fantastic feudalism; the King literally balances the divine mandates governing the land (and gains divine powers of kingship), the major nobles deal with the extradimensional entities (and gain strange magics), intermediate ones deal with nature spirits (gaining some druidical style powers), and so on – right down to the local nobles who fight the minor monsters (gaining combat experience points) and hold the lines so that the local farmers can actually do something with the land (and hopefully produce enough of a surplus to support the rest of the pyramid).

Regardless… the farmers work the land. Some will pay rent, a few will hold the right to work some land without paying thanks to various grants, others owe the local lord labor on his lands, others share their crops, some “own” land (at least until someone more powerful claims it), and so on. The details rarely matter; the peasants have land to work and it hasn’t got any kind of a consistent “value” – and so does not count against their personal wealth by level.

Besides; there are no rules anywhere that I can find on pricing or simply owning land. You can buy buildings, and control domains, but d20 doesn’t seem to consider “real estate” by itself to be a meaningful form of wealth.  That alone makes it pretty much impossible to set a value.

Housing (120 GP): Peasant farmers may not own their homes either – but they generally have a well-established interest in them. A wattle and daub cottage would “cost” about 35 GP – given that the raw materials were a few posts and stakes, some brushwood to weave between them, and mud. More elaborate ones with multiple rooms and a few sheds will cost a bit more. However, given the danger level of a typical d20 universe, a nice solid Log Cabin (90-120 GP, depending on how elaborate) is about the minimum; it will at least keep out bears and wolves and slow up minor raiders and monsters for a few moments. We’ll take the large economy size in case of kids, for 120 GP.

But wait! The SRD says that a House costs 1000 GP! Therefore all first level characters must either live in communes (or perhaps tents) or go homeless!

Well no, not really. That is – at least presumably – the price for a modern-sized stone house with roman-style central heating, running water (from an aqueduct or rooftop cistern), glass in the windows, a full set of good furnishings, at least basic locks, fireplaces, hearths, and chimneys, dedicated bathrooms with some ventilation, and various other goodies. The kind of house that comes fairly close to what most PLAYERS will think of as a decent house. What we’re talking about for the peasantry is more of a big box with a bar for the door, a hole for smoke to get out of, a fieldstone hearth, and some boards which can be put in place to seal the windows. Such houses are fairly quick to build, use little in the way of materials beyond what is ready to hand, and are fairly cheap – even in realty at current prices, much less at quasi-medieval ones.

Furnishings (17 GP) weren’t a big thing for the peasantry normally – but d20 peasants are both far better off and have more leisure time. This is fairly crude and straightforward furniture; the fancy upholstery and finely finished (anyone can POLISH) surfaces are generally for the rich.

  • Large Table (1 GP).
  • Small Table x2 (1 GP).
  • Shelves or Cabinets, Assorted, x4 (2 GP).
  • Chairs x5 (2.5 GP).
  • Benches x3 (1.5 GP).
  • Cots / Basic Beds with blankets, simple pillows, and bedding x5 (5 GP, the parents will usually put theirs together of course).
  • Medium Chests x2 (4 GP). Yes, the SRD says 10 GP – but these are just sturdy boxes to keep things in, not travelers chests with basic locks and such.

Clothing (10 GP):

  • While the rules state that characters begin with one outfit valued at 10 GP or less for free, peasants probably don’t. On the other hand, d20 Peasants are actually quite prosperous – and are not likely to wear a “Peasants Outfit”. A choice of the equivalents of an Artisan’s Outfit, Soldier’s Uniform, or Traveler’s Outfit (at 1 GP each) is reasonable. Given that they don’t need combat mobility and such, normal people simply add layers when it’s cold, a second set for each family member is also reasonable, at a net cost of (5 GP).
  • Common Copper Jewelry (5 GP). In practical terms this is a bit of money stashed away in the most secure available place – on the owners person in difficult-to-steal forms.

Livestock (85 GP): Here we have the largest “treasure” on a classical medieval farm – and many modern ones. In many cases this represents a share of the village herd/flock/whatever, but that makes no real difference.

  • Pigs x4 (12 GP). Normally turned loose to forage in the woods, pigs turn bitter acorns, chestnuts, various household wastes, and other roughage into rich, tasty, pork. While only about 65% of a pigs weight is reasonably good eating for humans, 100% of it is usable for other things or can be fed to other farm animals.
  • Chickens x50 (1 GP). While finding the eggs from your free-range chickens was a knack, chickens were also invaluable in keeping down the bugs. As long as you keep the foxes and other predators away (and perhaps scatter a little loose grain every so often) you can easily have plenty of chickens.
  • Goats x4 (4 GP). Goats browse brush and leaves and will help clear your land, producing a fair quantity of milk, some meat, and modest quantities of woolly fur along the way. They also smell terrible, but most livestock doesn’t smell all that nice anyway.
  • Sheep x8 (16 GP). Sheep need good grazing, but are more productive than goats – producing lots of wool, a fair amount of meat, and a little milk. Unfortunately, they require a lot more care than goats as well.
  • Cows x2 (20 GP). Milk goes bad, but butter and cheese keep quite well – and each cow will produce a heifer or calf every year. The stomachs of young cattle are also vital for providing Rennet, with which to make cheese.
  • Oxen x2 (30 GP). Pretty much a necessity for hauling carts and plows. Note that bulls are valuable – cows need to be bred regularly to keep the milk coming – but they are big, dangerous, and uncooperative. Generally only one or two farmers in an area keep a bull, paying for it by renting out its services in breeding cows.
  • Beehive (2 GP). Once you find a wild swarm, bees are actually pretty easy; you dump the swarm into a container and install it in a box or woven beehive and that’s about it. A broken jug on a pole will do to scoop them off a branch. European honeybees are pretty cooperative; swarms that let themselves get collected get protected and leave lots of descendent swarms. Swarms that flee from farms don’t get protection. Selective breeding – however unintentional – strikes again!
  • Cats (Number Unknown). There’s no price on these since “barn cats” don’t really belong to anyone in particular; they just wander in and out, ensuring their welcome (and the occasional bit of milk, food, warmth, or petting) by keeping down the vermin.
  • Dogs x2: There’s no price on dogs either; unless they’re well-trained and proven exceptional. Dogs produce plenty of puppies, and more than a few are given away by owners who don’t need that many dogs.
  • Other Animals x0 (0 GP): If there are ponds or streams, ducks, geese, and fish join the list – but they’re iffy, and breed themselves. There’s no assigned cost. If you need to buy some to start, they’re a bit more expensive than chickens, but not horrendously so.
  • Horses x 0 (0 GP). Horses are rare amongst the peasantry; while horses are faster, they need a higher quality diet and more care. Horses are thus preferred in battle, and may be encouraged by landlords who want a pool of breeding stock. Oxen, however, are just as enduring – perhaps THE primary factor in farm work – and so peasants commonly prefer the cheaper ox.

This is, of course, a VERY prosperous little farm – not just one but two cows, no need to rent oxen to pull the plow, pigs enough to have meat regularly throughout the year, chickens for eggs, sheep for wool, bees for wax and honey, and goats for whatever it is that they want to do with goats. (It’s also an unusually diverse farm, but this is a generic list. If you only want sheep remove some other animals and spend more on sheep. Or wait for level two, and more wealth by level).

Tools and Supplies (95 GP) are the next major component of taking care of a farm. Unfortunately – if quite understandably – what “Artisan’s Tools” might be is never specified. Ergo, here are some lists – Artisan’s Tools: Ten sets, at double cost (100 GP) since these are fairly through sets. That also ensures that there are always enough tools for two people to work at once without sharing any. Overall, however, I’m taking 5% off to represent duplication given that almost every set of tools includes knives and hammers.

  • Animal Husbandry: Harnesses and Yokes, Butter Churn, Cheese and Butter Molds. Cheesecloth, Restraints, Gelding Kit, Horn Rasp, Hoof Knife, Hoof Pick, Nippers, Hoof Stand, Shearing Tools, Pitch Ointment, Branding Iron., and Goad.
  • Butchering: Smokehouse, Flensing Knife, Bone Saw, Knives, Hand Axe, Grill, Meat Hooks, Brine Tub, Bacon Hangers, Scrapers, Sausage Grinder / Stuffer, Boning Knife, Whetstone, Cutting Boards, Netting, Salt, Gut Hook, Skinning Knife, Carcass Rack, and Drying Rack.
  • Ceramics: Potters Wheel, Kiln, Throwing Rib, Rags, Knife, Turning Blade, Beating Tub, Drying Boards, Mallet (for breaking up clay), Sieve (to remove bits of stone and rubbish from clay), Vats (to let clay settle out of water in), Waiting Boards, Molds, Roulettes, and Awls.
  • Clothworking: Loom, Spinning Wheel, Carding Combs, Needles, Pins, Thimbles, Scissors, Shears, Needlecase, Pincushion, Bobbins, Reels, Threadholders, (Cloth) Iron, Lucets, Spindles, Beaters, Dye Vat, Fulling Hammers, Tenterframes, Hecklers (beds of spikes for getting the fiber out of flax), Washboard, Buttons, and Press.
  • Cooking: Iron Pot, Skillet, Grill, Skewers, Tripod, and Cauldron, Cutting Board, Knives, Ladle, Cleaver, Strainer, Sieve, Colander, Mallet, Whisk, Spoons, Rolling Pin, Buckets, Grater, Drying Rack, Mortar and Pestle, Quern / Handmill, assorted Jugs and Clay Pots with Lids, Pitchers, Pickling Crocks, Bowls, Canisters, Pans, and various local or otherwise easy-to-find Seasonings.
  • Farming: Axe, Billhook, Flail, Harrow, Haymaking Fork, Hoe, Mattock or Pick, Maul, Moldboard or Wheeled Plow (to suit local conditions, although plows were often communally owned), Rake, Scythe, Shears, Scythe, Sickle, Spade, Box Sieve, Wheelbarrow, Winnowing Basket, and Bells, Rattles, and Drums (to give the kids to keep birds away from freshly sown seeds; this can make a rather large difference in yields).
  • Fishing: Birchwood Rod, Fishing Net, Fish Trap, Silken Line, Cork Bobbers, Steel Hooks, Lead Sinkers, Velvet Lures, Narrow Netting, Trident, Fish Drying Rack, and minor items (tiny file for sharpening hooks, etc). .
  • Metalworking: Forge, Crucible, Molds, Anvil, Tongs, Plyers, Wedges, Punch, Bending Fork, Bellows, Hammers, Swages and a Swage Block, Fullers, Sledge Hammer, Punches, Drifts, Axe, Chisels, Bits Augers, Files, Whetstone or Grinding Wheel, and Metal Polish. Another kit that would probably be more than 5 GP as a base since an anvil alone is listed at 5 GP (and, according to the trade goods section, contains up to 10 GP worth of Iron. Oh well. It averages out anyway since many other tool sets should be cheaper than 5 GP).
  • Tanning / Leatherworking: Vat, Scraper, Various Awls, Punch, Knives, Shears, Stropping Stick, Whetstone, Needles, Paste Horn, Pincers, Polishing Bone, Burnishing Stone, Tacks, Thimble, Thread, Stamping Irons, and a source of Tannic Acid (often Oak or Chestnut shavings).
  • Woodworking / Carpentry: Awl, Cording Mallet, Hammer, Clamps, Saw, Square, Chisels, Chalk, Prybar / Crowbar, Bow Drill, Ladder, Plane, Rasp, File, Mallet, Plumb Line, Knife, Axe, Draw Knife, and Lathe. Nails were expensive, and generally purchased for a job. For most work pegs were quite sufficient.

This is, of course, rather absurdly complete. No normal medieval peasant household would have ALL (or even most) of those tools or even most of the relevant skills. Villagers tended to specialize a bit (that’s a manor point of living in a community). In reality, most would only have some basics and would assemble others or improvise as needed. Secondarily, there’s probably a good deal more than 5% overlap between the various sets of tools – but that 520 GP worth Wealth-by-Level has to go into SOMETHING, and it’s better to be vastly over-equipped than under-equipped.

Lighting (3 GP). Lighting was normally a rather limited thing for the peasantry, and was often restricted to the light of the hearthfire – but a dawn-to-dusk workday didn’t leave a lot of time or energy for activities beyond having a snack and going to bed after the sun went down anyway. If the night was long… waking up for some conversation, or lovemaking, or prayers, or to urinate, or some such would be natural enough – but that sort of thing didn’t call for much light. Thus most peasants made do with a few rushlights or candles for those limited times when they were up at night. We’ll do better here since these peasants are pretty rich by earthly standards.

  • 2 Lamps (2 SP). Cheap, simple, and often used to burn animal fat. It’s important to keep the wick well trimmed to get as much light as possible.
  • 18 Pints of Oil (18 SP). That’s 255 hours – enough to leave a light burning all night for several weeks if something comes up.
  • 1000 Rushlights (1 GP). These are simply peeled reeds soaked with animal fat (usually mutton fat or tallow, although lard or any similar fat would do. A little beeswax was sometimes mixed in since it was said to improve the light and unsalted fats were preferable), and are virtually free (10 per CP). These are quite fragile, give poor light, and only last half an hour or so, but they will generally suffice for “I got up to check the kids / go to the bathroom / secure a loose window shutter / find out what that noise was / have to finish something up despite the sun going down” and can easily be lit from a smoldering hearthfire or any other flame.
  • If a nearby town or noble has an Eternal Flame (The Practical Enchanter) the local farms are likely to have Continual Flame light sources at a comparable expense.

Medication (30 GP).

  • Midwife’s Kit (10 GP). Hopefully you will have an actual midwife on hand when a baby comes – but if not, this is much better than nothing.
  • Blessed Bandages x2 (Magic Item Compendium, 10 GP Each, 20 GP). These are mildly expensive – at least a weeks income for our little peasant family – but if the baby tips over the boiling cauldron on itself, or a kid falls out of a tree and lands badly, or a youth gets kicked by a horse, or there’s an accident with an axe… there is very little time to get help, the odds of a patient stabilizing on their own are poor, and most peasants aren’t skilled healers. A Blessed Bandage, and automatic stabilization for a dying character, is all too likely to be the difference between “Full Recovery” and “Holding a Funeral”. Any sane parent will find that money. At higher levels you will want a few more – because that will mean that you will NEVER have to choose who lives and who dies.
  • Normal Bandages may simply be cut as needed from the supply of Flannel (under Miscellany).
  • In reality the medieval peasantry had access to a wide variety of herbal remedies, some of them reasonably effective – but that sort of thing doesn’t exist in d20. Fortunately, most of the things that they treated don’t exist in d20 either; the rules only cover things that are serious threats to adventurers. If you want to presume a stock of herbal remedies, go right ahead; no game effect = no cost.

Religion (19 GP):

  • Five Wooden Holy Symbols (5 GP). Going without a symbol of divine protection is just stupid.
  • Cheap Holy Text (10 GP). A rarity in reality – if only because most actual medieval peasants couldn’t read anyway.

Here’s a test. If you can read the following passage out loud – whether or not you understand it – then under mediaeval English law (established in 1172, enshrined as a legal literacy test in 1351, and not fully abolished until 1706), you would be presumed to be a priest or monk, would get the Benefit of Clergy, and could not be legally executed for any crime short of high treason. In all likelihood, if accused of any minor crime, you’d go free.

“Miserere mei, Deus: secundum magnam misericordiam tuam.
Et secundum multitudinem miserationum tuarum, dele iniquitatem meam.
Amplius lava me ab iniquitate mea: et a peccato meo munda me.”

The idea was very simple: only clergymen were literate – so being able to read that text was legal proof that you were a priest or monk, outside the jurisdiction of royal courts, and thus exempt from the most serious punishments.

That doesn’t actually not PROVE that most people at the time were illiterate, but I’d say that it’s pretty good evidence.

  • Household Shrine (Icon or crude statuette, 3 GP). Peasants rarely had these in reality, but then in reality you generally don’t see gods having fistfights in the streets.
  • Votive Candles/Incense/supply of other tiny symbolic offerings (1 GP).

Recreation and Education (11 GP): This wasn’t that big a concern for actual medieval peasants, but d20 peasants are RICH peasants. Why shouldn’t their kids get a few toys and a bit of education?

  • 5′ Ball (2 SP).
  • Five Board Games (5 SP).
  • Bowling Set (5 SP).
  • Playing Cards (1 SP).
  • Dice (1 SP).
  • Dominos (1 SP).
  • Horseshoes Game (5 SP).
  • Five Hornbooks (1 GP). These are single (two if two sided) printed sheets, glued to wooden paddles and covered with thin, transparent, layers of horn. They basically highly-condensed children’s primers. They usually show the alphabet, some religious bits, numbers, and a few other important bits of elementary education at very modest prices. Basically the extreme Cliff’s Notes version of an elementary school education.
  • Five Wax Slates and Styluses (1 GP). These are basically two boards with slight rims on them, bound together and with the inward faces coated with dark wax. You can write on them with a stylus, and smooth them over to reuse with a bit of warmth.
  • Common Musical Instrument (5 GP). Honesty, a set of reed flutes or some such ought to be free – but music was one of the few things shared by rich and poor alike.

Storage (18 GP):

  • 5 Barrels (10 GP). The large economy size.
  • 10 Baskets (4 GP). Also large, and with lids.
  • Sacks x 40 (4 GP).

Provisions (1 Year for a family of Five, 75 GP): As a note, this comes to about 4 CP per person per day – and represents eating well above the basic “subsistence” level, which is about 2-3 CP per person per day.

  • 2500 Lb of Grains (25 GP). Milling Grain and Baking Bread were traditionally village-level monopolies granted (and taxed) by the local Lord – but in d20 taxation is usually a little more direct; given the number of monsters nobody has the time to run around enforcing this sort of thing.
  • 400 Lb of Dried Beans or Lentils (8 GP). This presumes that bread-and-beans is the staple diet, and pretty well covers basic nutrition in terms of calories, proteins, and carbohydrates. Fats are needed in relatively small amounts and some vitamins and minerals must be added by gathering greens and/or eating a little meat –
  • 200 Lb of Nuts (6 GP). These cover the fat requirements, and are nutritious and tasty to boot. What’s not to like? At least given that d20 really doesn’t have serious allergies.
  • 400 Lb of Root Vegetables (Potatoes, Turnips, Carrots, Onions, Etc – whatever is cheap, 4 GP).
  • Assorted greens and herbs. These are mostly gathered, or grown in the kitchen garden, at no real expense – but should cover any remaining need for vitamins and minerals.
  • 4 Lb of Salt (20 GP). They’ll probably need a lot more salt over a year for preserving meat, pickling things, and similar – but they won’t have it on hand at any given moment and won’t need it for the table.
  • Ale (5 small kegs, 1 GP).
  • Common Wine (5 Bottles, 1 GP). Mostly for weddings and other celebrations.
  • Sundries (10 GP). A bit of spice, fruit, and beer here and there.
  • Meat, eggs, butter, cheese, and milk come from the livestock in quite adequate, if not enormous, quantities. Fish are normally obtained fresh from ponds and streams with nets, traps, and fishing rods.

Miscellany (37 GP):

  • Cart (15 GP).
  • Flint and Steel (1 GP).
  • Grooming Kit (1 GP): Comb, scissors, nail file, sponge, hairbrush, very small mirror, soap, chewing sticks, and tooth powder.
  • 5 Mess Kits (1 GP) – plate, bowl, cup, fork, knife, and spoon each.
  • 20 Lb Plaster of Paris (1 GP). This has rather a lot of uses, from patching walls to making molds for casting things.
  • Canvas: 40 Square Yards (4 GP). In the period this was probably made of hemp. While industrial hemp is not the miracle plant that it’s promoters describe, it IS pretty good and makes cloth of good quality.
  • Flannel: 40 Square Yards (4 GP). Another cheap and highly servicable cloth, Flannel tends to become clothing, then polishing cloths, then cleaning rags.
  • Hemp Rope, 250 Feet (5 GP). It does take several people, a ropewalk (a long series of supports to hold the rope up), and a set of geared hooks to twist several strands of twine into rope – but a few not-especially skilled youngsters would be expected to produce about three miles of rope a day (better than a hundred GP worth). Yet another item priced for adventurers.
  • 5000 Feet of Twine (1 GP). The earliest known twine dates back 32,000 years – and represents one of the most valuable inventions in history. Twine was the basis for snares, rope, nets, cloth, restraining animals, gathering wood, carrying tools, and thousands of other activities. Respect the twine!
  • Winter Firewood (100 Days, 1 GP).
  • Two Pots of Glue (1 GP). Peasants will make more when they need it – it is an animal byproduct after all – but it is always good to have some on hand.
  • Leather, Thin, 2 Square Yards (1 GP). Straps, laces, patches… A bit of leather has many, MANY, uses.
  • Mops, Brooms, Dusters, Etc (1 GP). You tie some straw to a stick for a broom, a bunch of twine to a stick for a mop, and some feathers to a stick for a duster. A bit of glue to hold things together better is optional.

And there we have our 520 GP – and, by classical real-world standards, an absurdly wealth set of peasants – and it will get even better for them as they go up in level. You also have a list for what can be found in a village, and what bandits can steal from one.

Items that are specifically NOT on the list:

  • Block and Tackle (5 GP). This actually isn’t very useful on a farm when you have oxen handy. Dragging heavy stuff around is what oxen are really good at.
  • 3.5 and Pathfinder both list Ink at 8 GP per ounce. The recipe for classical India Ink (a staple for many centuries) is to grind dry hide glue, burnt vegetable oil, soot, and charred bone together in a mortar and pestle. This gets you powdered ink. Add a little water, press it into a mold, and let it dry to make ink sticks, add a larger amount of wanter and bottle it to make battled ink. Berry juice, salt, and vinegar makes colored ink. Boiled walnut shells and vinegar make walnut ink. Ink is easy, and I will assume that the peasantry prepares some if they want to mark things.
  • Writing Quills aren’t priced in Pathfinder, although metal-tipped pens are at 1 SP. If a fantasy peasant wants a quill pen goose and swan feathers were the classical choices (but who knows what a fantasy universe will favor), need to be collected (usually from molting birds), cleaned (cutting off most of the barbs and cleaning the inside with something long and thin), stuck into hot sand for half an hour or so (to draw off the oils and “temper” them), and cut a proper tip – by far the trickiest part, but still only a minutes work.
  • Brushes. Classically a Brush is simply some fur tied and glued to a stick. There’s not much cost to this if a peasant wants to label some stuff.
  • Pathfinder paper is apparently twice as expensive as parchment (although the price drops by 50% if you have it bound into a book). Small farms produce animal hides, and thus can produce parchment for free. They could make paper too, but it would call for another set of tools.

Eclipse and Mythic Ascension IV – The Universal Abilities

Mythic Technicality

Well, TECHNICALLY… Luminis Kanto

For this segment it’s time to look at the “Universal” Mythic Abilities – the options that any “Mythic Character” can take. 

First up is a look at the two most outstanding (or, perhaps more accurately, most disruptive) abilities on the list…

Beyond Morality: You have no alignment. If an effect is alignment-based, you’re treated as being of the most favorable one for you.

  • This one is pretty easy to build. Immunity/Alignment Energies (Common, Major, Minor – since the forces that cause you to have an alignment are pretty subtle, 6 CP).

Divine Source: You may grant divine spells. You gain two Domains – your alignment domains unless you’re Neutral, in which case you may select freely. Each day as a spell-like ability, you can cast one spell of each level equal to or less than your tier chosen from among your domain spells. At tiers 6 and 9 you may select this again, adding a domain and two subdomains each time.

Before building this ability, it’s necessary to note a poor design decision in the original rules. The basic Mythic rules let you pick up Beyond Morality – a fine choice in itself, since it protects you from Holy or Unholy damage as appropriate, from quite a few spells, and from a variety of other troubles – and then take Divine Source – gaining a free choice of two domains. Of course, you can always propose new domains or pull them from obscure sources.

Now spell-like abilities are pretty handy things. According to the SRD…

A spell-like ability has no verbal, somatic, or material component, nor does it require a focus or have an XP cost. The user activates it mentally. Armor never affects a spell-like ability’s use, even if the ability resembles an arcane spell with a somatic component. It has A spell-like ability has a casting time of 1 standard action unless noted otherwise in the ability or spell description. In all other ways, a spell-like ability functions just like a spell. They are subject to spell resistance and to being dispelled by dispel magic. They do not function in areas where magic is suppressed or negated. Spell-like abilities cannot be used to counterspell, nor can they be counterspelled.

So you can pick up access to two spells of each level one through nine and use one of them of each level up to your current tier each day as a spell-like ability. Admittedly it’s in two thematic lists – but there are a LOT of thematic lists out there.

That’s pretty obviously a great deal better than – say – spending two of your choices on picking up “Commune” and “Plane Shift” once per day each, or Darkvision (there are fairly cheap spells and items for THAT), or the ability to speak all languages (get a Tongues spell) or some such. So we either assume that pretty much EVERYBODY takes this (and simply reduce the number of choices by two and build it into the base template abilities) or we let the price go up some.

So lets take a look at the price of building it.

  • Dominion and Manipulation, Specialized and Corrupted/only as prerequisites (4 CP).
  • Sphere of Influence x2, Specialized (for Increased Effect; your clerics may draw spells of up to your Tier from you without your having to withdraw to an outer plane) and Corrupted/does not reduce spell levels for you or provide awareness of events within your sphere of influence (8 CP).
    • To pick up additional Spheres of Influence according to the original rules, buy them at 6 CP each – with the Corruption going to acquiring two subdomains from those that go with the basic sphere of influence.
  • Godfire, Specialized and Corrupted/does not actually allow the user to collect or expend godfire or provide any side-benefits (2 CP).
  • Divine Attribute, Specialized and Corrupted for increased effect (the character remains in control)/does not provide near-limitless power, rather the user may, each day, as a spell-like ability, cast one spell of each level equal to or less than your tier chosen from among the domain spells that your spheres offer to your Clerics (6 CP). Personally, I’d insist on a substitute for any domain that offers access to Gate, Miracle, Wish, or any other spell that’s primarily controlled by it’s massive costs.
    • This one is more than a bit of a stretch simply because the mathematics is wonky anyway; there’s no reasonable way to decide just how much power a Specialization and Corruption on infinite power should let you have – and an “increased effect” that lets you gain control of something infinite, even if it is reduced in the process is just as unreasonable. I’m going to blame it on Mythic Power and Reality Editing this time – but I wouldn’t allow this anywhere else. Throw “reliant on the user having Mythic Power to maintain control” in with the other limitations there.
  • Transcendence (Corrupted/only applies to Mythic Template abilities, 4 CP). This lets you ignore things like “level requirements” in favor of simply using your tier – since there’s nothing that actually prevents a low level character from having a high Tier.

That’s a grand total of 30 CP on this one – the price of five normal feats. Like it or not, this represents quite a lot of power, and bringing down it’s cost that far is already a bit of a stretch.

How comparable is that to the rest of the path abilities though? I’ll just have to work out more of them and find out before deciding what to do about it.

So for the rest of the Universal Mythic Abilities we have…

Commune with Power: You can spend an hour in meditation to Commune with the source of your power.

  • To build this one take Inherent Spell, Specialized for Double Effect / requires one hour of meditation (Commune) (6 CP).

Display of (Attribute): You can spend a point of Mythic Power to get a +20 bonus on a roll based on a particular attribute.

  • To build this one take Inherent Spell, Mana Powered Option, Corrupted for Increased Effect/limited to boosting rolls linked to a specific attribute: Moment of Insight/Skills and Checks, +3 levels to convert to a Circumstance Bonus (6 CP).

Extra Mythic Feat: Get an extra mythic feat. 

  • There’s nothing to build here; spend 6 CP and buy an extra.

Extra Mythic Power: Get +2 Mythic Power/Day.

  • To build this buy more Mana, Specialized for double effect (each point counts as two) /only to power mythic template abilities, natural magic must be purchased separately and for specialized effects only (6 CP).

Legendary Item: Gain a legendary item with (Tier) abilities (Maximum 3/6/10 with first / second / third purchase).

  • “Legendary items” are generally difficult to destroy, contain a certain amount of “Legendary Power” (as opposed to “Mythic Power”, although “Mythic Power” can substitute for “Legendary Power”), must be bonded to a specific character for it’s Legendary Powers to operate, and can let it’s user power his or her “surge” ability with Legendary Power. After that, they can have a fairly wide variety of special powers. Eclipse calls items along those lines Relics – although Relics are a good deal more flexible (and potentially more powerful) than Legendary Items, since Relics can add directly to the user’s powers… Getting a Legendary Item in Eclipse is pretty straightforward; buy Create Relic, Specialized and Corrupted/only for making personal relics using points from Enthusiast, can only make a limited selection of relics (2 CP), Double Enthusiast, Specialized for Increased Effect (4 CP available) and Corrupted for Reduced Cost/the points may only be used to make Relics, creating a relic requires some associated mighty deed (4 CP). Further upgrades may mean investing more points in a relic – but Mystic Link and similar abilities may also be very helpful.

Longevity: You no longer physically age and regain any physical attribute points lost to aging.

  • Well… Immunity/Physical Aging (Uncommon, Major, Major, 6 CP).

Mythic Craft: You craft things twice as fast as usual, can make them masterwork by simply paying the cost, and add your tier to skill checks associated with making magic items.

  • This is kind of dull, but OK; take Luck, Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect/only for Skills, only for crafting-associated checks, only to “take 20″ in advance. Thus Mythic Crafting; you may automatically “Take 60″ on crafting-related checks. It’s only once per day, but so are such checks. Alternatively, you could take an immunity to the time normally required for crafting and multiply your speed that way, or just take Action Hero/Crafting and pull stuff out whan and as you need it. In all cases, you can buy this for (6 CP).

Mythic Spellcasting: You can spend a point of Mythic Power to pump up a limited number of spell effects.

  • Another easy one. Take Reality Editing, Specialized and Corrupted/only to amplify spells, can only be applied to (Casting Attribute) chosen spells to produce a preselected effect. Of course, doing it this way means that you can decide how Mythic Spellcasting will upgrade each of your chosen spells – and so every Mythic Spellcasters Mythic Spells will be different. Personally, I think that that’s a good deal more appropriate.

Mythic Sustenance: You no longer need to eat, drink, or breathe. If targeted by something that affects you through those functions you may ignore it.

  • That’s Immunity/Metabolic Effects (Very Common, Major, Major), Specialized and Corrupted/only covers eating, drinking, and breathing, does not protect the user if he or she voluntarily eats, drinks, or breathes (and yes, that means no talking if you don’t want to breathe) (5 CP).

Pierce the Darkness: You either gain Darkvision or improve your existing Darkvision.

  • Buy Occult Sense/Darkvision or the Improved modifier, in either case (6 CP).

Enhanced Ability: Gain a permanent +2 bonus to an ability score, may be taken once per score.

OK; this is a sop to the Multiple Attribute Dependent types; rather than watching as – say – the party wizard takes a +10 Intelligence while they need to settle for +4/+4/+2, they could make that +6/+6/+4 – although the opportunity cost is high and the Wizard will probably take this once for a +12 Intelligence in total. Of course, the fact that this is limited to +2 per attribute pretty much says that it’s a typed bonus of some sort. The fact that it doesn’t say what type indicates that it’s going to be an unusual one.

  • So; Take Innate Enchantment (7000 GP Value) for (8 CP), take the usual “+2 enhancement bonus to an attribute” personal-only boosting spells (five of them, at 1400 GP each), and then throw in the Innate Enchantment modifier that converts them to another bonus type – perhaps Sacred or Profane or Alchemical or some such (+6 CP). Throw in Immunity/Dispelling and Antimagic (Common, Minor, Great, Specialized and Corrupted/only protects the innate enchantments in this template, 4 CP) and you have 18 CP for +2 to each of five attributes – a bargain for the multily-attribute dependent, but a high cost for a character who only needs one or two of those.

Next up it’s an assortment of immunities – all of which fail if the source of the effect is another creature with Mythic Power. Of course, given that all serious opponents are going to be Mythic, this makes them a lot less effective than they might be… In general, either Uncommon, Major, Great (covering effects of up to level seven; I suspect that anything throwing around effects of level 8+ is going to be Mythic anyway) (6 CP), or (Common, Minor, Great) (also 6 CP). Listed immunities include Fear (Common, Minor, Great), Diseases and Poisons (Common, Minor, Great), Curses and Compulsions (Uncommon, Major, Great), Blindness and Deafness (Uncommon, Major, Great), Petrification and Polymorph (Uncommon, Major, Great), and Sleep (Common, Minor, Great). If you want, call them Corrupted for Increased Effect (covers effects of up to level eleven)/not versus powers originating from “Mythic” sources. 

Ultimate Versatility: Once per day you may temporarily change one of your past choices about a class feature.

  • This one is awkward for two reasons. In a normal game it’s a headache since it can involve some fairly major shifts, all of which must be accounted for. In Eclipse it’s even worse, since it doesn’t really have classes. Oh well; buy Inherent Spell/Personal Inspiration (L3, provides +1 Positive Level for ten minutes. 6 CP). That will let you snag a particular special ability if you need it for a bit without calling for a profound character rewrite…

Farwalker: You can plane shift once per day. Taking this twice provides three uses/day.

  • For this one take Channeling 1/Day, Specialized/only for spell conversion (1 CP) and Spell Conversion to a L5 effect (Plane Shift), Corrupted/cannot be powered by normal channeling (6 CP). OK, this one costs 7 CP for the first instance – but only another 2 CP to get it up to the three times a day version.

Mythic Presence: You may spend a point of Mythic Power to frighten those nearby, affecting non-mythic creatures much more severely than Mythic ones (Panicked/Shaken versus Unaffected / Shaken if of lesser Tier, totally unaffected if of higher Tier).

  • Buy Presence (Fear), Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect (30′ radius and add Tier to base 10 + Cha Mod save), only works for one minute on a point of Mythic Power rather than being continuous, limited in effects by Tier (as above).

Mythic Sight: Gain 30′ blindsense. If taken twice you can detect illusions and magical deceptions as if using true seeing . This ability doesn’t work against illusions and magical effects that were cast by other mythic creatures or that are affecting other mythic creatures.

  • Another easy one; Take Occult Sense/Blindsense (6 CP) then Improved Occult Sense/Illusions and Magical Deceptions, Specialized/does not work against effects that originate from or are on “Mythic Creatures” (Another 6 CP).

Tongues: You can understand and speak any language, as the tongues spell.

  • Take Presence (Comprehend Languages), Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect (all languages in a wide radius)/only works on you, does not allow reading languages (6 CP).

Hm… At this point, virtually all the universal mythic abilities except the divine powers and the multiple attribute boost work out to six character points – just the same as a normal feat. Since the multiple attribute boost normally took several choices, that works out nicely, but the divine powers may just have to wind up as a part of the general framework. I really can’t see too many characters passing them up – especially when, in Eclipse, you can buy most of the other powers outside of the Mythic Template if you feel like it.

Eclipse and Mythic Ascension Part III – Mythic Hero Basics

Mana Potion!

Just drink it!

And to continue with Alzrius’s basic question…

 

You’ve converted a number of Pathfinder classes to Eclipse, but I wanted to ask how you’d convert over Paizo’s latest big power-up for PCs: Mythic Adventures.

-Alzrius

While the secondary progression mechanic (Part I and Examples) is probably the simplest way to do “Mythic” characters in Eclipse, giving the players a secondary pool of character points to go wild with may be a little intimidating. Still, there’s no reason why you can’t build a match for the original mechanics. It just takes longer since you can’t offload the work on the players. Thus, under the original Mythic rules…

 

A “Mythic” character should be treated as being about 5 levels higher than he or she actually is – and the Mythic progression itself is divided into ten ranks that require a LOT of story-awards (the initial catalyst and then twenty-nine more mighty deeds) to get. Besides the general wonderment of beholding the return of the ECL modifier, that gives us a +5 ECL Template divided into ten steps – and probably Specialized to double up the available points/the abilities only become available gradually, in a set of ten “Tiers”, each of which requires completing various quests. It’s apparently expected that characters will have a base level of nearly twice their Tier – but that also apparently isn’t a hard requirement. It’s just that you usually won’t be able to get in a lot of mighty deeds without getting in a lot of adventuring.

 

That gives us a framework to work with. As for what we’ll want to hang on it…

 

Mythic characters have access to a source of power that others do not – some occult force that allows them to resist the efforts of those who do not possess it and empowers many other special abilities. That power is measured in mythic energy points which renew themselves each day.

 

Eclipse includes a form of powerful mystic energy points that can be used to power a very wide variety of abilities – Mana. Ergo, in a Mythic Setting, any character who’s purchased Mana is “Mythic”, but most people never (or can’t) buy any Mana. When does someone cease to be normal and ascend to the level of myth? That’s up to the game master. In general though, only the player characters can successfully deal with Mythic Menaces – so we’re back to first edition… “Help us Player Characters! You’re our Only Hope!”.

 

To get a self-renewing pool of magical energy equal to the specified limits buy:

 

  • Mythic Power: Mana 6d6+2 (23), Specialized for double effect (each point counts as two) and Corrupted/only to power template abilities, maximum availability of (Tier x 2 +3) points per day, natural magic must be purchased separately and for specialized effects only (27 CP). Getting it back on a daily basis calls for Rite of Chi with +12 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted (all uses are automatically expended once per day even if this wastes some or all of them, only usable to regain mythic power) (8 CP).

That covers the full mythic power reserve. You could break up the cost per tier if you wanted to – probably at 8 CP for the first Tier and +3 per additional Tier – but it’s certainly not important yet.

Mythic Characters and Creatures also get to pump up their attributes on the cheap. That might just be a world law – in fact, I’d recommend that anyone who wants to run a game filled with legendary heroes apply the half-price attributes rule – but they seem to get attributes even more cheaply than Feats (they can get up to +22 in total, although only +10 of that can be spent freely, the rest would go into +2 to each attribute). That’s a bit tricky. There are several ways in Eclipse to raise your attributes and effective attributes that are cheaper than just buying them, but most of them don’t stack with everything.

 

You could take an immunity to the time and effort needed to raise your attributes, reducing the character point cost – but I’d be REALLY reluctant to allow this one. Natural-law immunities go out of control very easily amd this conversion is alredy likely to involve several of them. Even more importantly, if you allow an immunity like THIS you don’t even need an infinite loop; you can just jump straight to infinity. I’m pretty notorious for helping people build any kind of character they want to, but even I’m going to have to say “No” to this one.

 

Since they have Mana anyway, this might just be Reality Editing; making yourself stronger, smarter, et al seems unlikely to be harder than creating a secret escape passage that didn’t exist before (although doing so in a stable fashion is probably a LOT harder) – and most people overestimate their abilities anyway. Of course, this sort of thing REALLY needs a limitation to avoid the infinite loop syndrome. It does fit very nicely though; their source of special power raises their attributes to superhuman levels as well. Ergo…

 

Occult Skill; Life Editing (requires Mana with Reality Editing and that the “Mana = Mythic” rule be in play. No Attribute Base, Trained Only).

Reality Editors normally edit situations and the environment, not individual living creatures – and especially not themselves. After all, tinkering with the structure of the body, mind, or soul with your will alone is all too likely to result in changes that will kill the being so manipulated without the ongoing support of your will – and everyone sleeps, gets knocked out, or runs out of Mana sometime. Once that happens, the horrible effects are entirely up to the game master. A Life-Editor has, however, mastered the art of making small changes so carefully that his or her merely being alive is enough to sustain them. Even better, when he or she dies… the changes will simply fade away harmlessly. While Life Editing cannot benefit from an attribute modifier (since that produces unstable feedback problems), and is most unwise to enhance (since, if an artificial boost fails, you’re back in “the game master selects the horrible consequences” territory), it can be affected by skill-enhancing feats other than Augmented Bonus.

In any case, a Life Editor may increase his or her own attributes, or those of any other non-“mythic” creature that lacks this ability by a grand total of (Life Editing Ranks/2), rounded up. Unfortunately, once such a bonus has been allotted, it will require months of careful meditation and self-discipline to reallocate it. Optionally, characters may substitute 6 CP spent on enhancing the target’s racial abilities instead of taking +1 to an attribute – but that’s up to the game master. It’s more common amongst monstrous characters though.

  • So; Buy Reality Editing (Specialized and Corrupted/only for Life Editing, 2 CP), Access to Occult Skill/Life Editing (3 CP), Fast Learner, Specialized in Skills, Corrupted/only to keep Life Editing at (Level + 3) (2 CP). That’s a total of (7 CP).

Mythic Items: All Mythic Characters can spend “Mythic Power” to get special results out of magic items.

 

  • That’s Reality Editing, Specialized (for double effect) and Corrupted/only to enhance magical items (4 CP). That will allow spending one point of Mythic Power to produce “notable but plausible” edits – which is quite enough to get some spectacularly unlikely effects out of a magic item.

Hard to Kill: Mythic characters automatically stabilize when below 0 HP and survive until (-2 x Con) HP.

 

  • Well, this isn’t as effective as the (fairly common) house rule of not dying until minus (HP) at higher levels, but it is handy. To buy it take Grant of Aid with Spark of Life: Specialized and Corrupted/simply stops bleeding and extends survival to -(2 x Con Score) (4 CP).

Surge: You get to boost d20 rolls, rather like Action Points can be used to do.

 

This does look a lot like Action Hero at first glance – but Action Hero is a per-level, not a per-day thing – and, honestly, there are better ways to get occasional boosts. Thus, while the boost-a-roll option is included under Action Hero for back-compatibility, the real meat of the ability is in the more exotic options – crafting, influence, invention, stunts, and so on – all of which really SHOULD be available, but certainly should NOT be a per-day thing. To buy this take:

 

  • Reality Editing, Specialized for half cost and Corrupted for increased effect: Only for minor edits, only for boosting the effects of character-action d20 rolls (not, for example, if the player opts to by a d20 hit die), the bonus is determined at random based on the user’s tier (1-3: d6. 4-6; d8, 7-9; d10, 10; d12) (3 CP).

Amazing Initiative: Add your Mythic Tier to your initiative checks.

 

  • This one is a little tricky simply because in Eclipse – among the other attempts to limit the Rocket Tag syndrome – I tried to avoid open-ended initiative bonuses. On the other hand (since it was intended to have ways to reproduce everything in the game), that just means that the methods of getting bonuses are a bit less obvious. For this one take Augmented Bonus (add a chosen attribute modifier to Dexterity based checks, Specialized in Initiative Checks for Double Effect, Corrupted/only becomes available at +1 per Mythic Tier, 4 CP) with Reflex Training/Costs Mana Option (6 CP), Specialized/can only be used on your turn, cannot be used to cast a spell. That lets you spend a point of Mythic Power to take an extra standard action (3 CP).

Recuperation: Get back all your hit points after resting for eight hours. If you rest for an hour and spend a point of Mythic Power you regain (Max/2) hit points and any (non-mythic) class features that are limited by uses/day – such as rage, bardic powers, and spells as if you’d rested for eight hours.

 

OK now; restoring some hit points is pretty easy. Refreshing all your uses-per-day stuff is quite a bit harder. While there are a few things in Eclipse which will do it; all of them are rather limited high-order abilities. That’s because resource management is – or at least used to be – a fairly important part of the game (and to judge by the frequency with which people have trouble with credit cards and debt, no learning opportunity in this field should ever be discarded lightly). Still, once you make this a common ability of all the player characters most of it’s actual effect is gone. You’ve simply gone from “come back tomorrow” to “come back in a few hours” – the only real change in actual play being that enemies who survived the first fight will still be down a bunch of their daily-use stuff while you’re effectively down any minions you could have had since they can’t keep up. Given that the Mythic rules are pretty blatantly slanted towards “if you don’t have this tag on your character sheet you lose” anyway, who cares?

 

  • Buying it simply requires another natural-law Immunity – in this case to Recovery Time (Very Common, Major, Major – to reduce it to one-eighth normal), Corrupted/only works on hit points unless the user spends a point of Mythic Power (10 CP).

Mythic Saving Throws: On a successful save you completely resist effects from non-mythic sources.

 

  • This is an easy one. Buy Fortune x 3 (Evasion, Impervious, and Defiant), Specialized/only works against non-mythic creatures (9 CP). Why is that Specialized? Because in a Mythic game all of your real opposition is going to be Mythic anyway.

Force of Will: You can spend Mythic Power on rerolls or on making nonmythic types reroll.

 

  • This sounds like luck – but the ability to force other creatures to reroll is definitely reality editing (if you wanted it to be personal only, just buy Luck, Corrupted/Costs Mana instead of uses/day, specialized/rerolls only – which will be a bit cheaper). To buy this little knack take Reality Editing, Specialized for Increased Effect (can affect other creatures and offers no saving throw) and Corrupted/only to force single d20 rerolls (minor edits), must be a personal roll or a roll made by a non-mythic creature (4 CP).

Unstoppable: You can shrug off a wide variety of conditions.

 

  • Now this is a handy one; all that save-or-suck stuff still costs you something – but it won’t cripple you in a single shot. To buy this take Reality Editing, Specialized and Corrupted/only to remove personal conditions ( bleed, blind, confused, cowering, dazed, dazzled, deafened, entangled, exhausted, fascinated, fatigued, frightened, nauseated, panicked, paralyzed, shaken, sickened, staggered, or stunned), only one at a time as a minor edit (2 CP). Opportunist/may be used once per round at the start of the user’s turn even if this would not normally be possible (6 CP).

Immortal: You come back after you die unless you’re slain by an Artifact, Deity, or Coupe De Grace.

 

  • This one is actually pretty iffy. Obviously enough, the primary way to get rid of a Mythic Character once they get this ability is a Coupe De Grace. Unfortunately, many players see an enemy making a Coupe De Grace attempt on their character as the Game Master spitefully targeting them. After all, aren’t there other characters who are still up that their opponents “should” be focusing on (rather than fairly sensibly making sure that some pesky healer doesn’t put a “fallen” foe back into the fight)? From those players point of view… a Coupe De Grace only makes sense once all the characters are down and the game master is closing down the game in a total party kill. This one… seems likely to result in either a) effectively unkillable characters, or b) ill feelings. Still, most game masters are pretty reluctant to kill player characters anyway; it disrupts the game too much – which means that this this ability makes little difference. That’s also why it’s a cheap one in Eclipse. To buy this ability just take Returning (Means of death; Coupe De Grace or slain by a deity or artifact) (6 CP).

Legendary Hero: You regain a point of Mythic Power every hour.

 

  • Yep, you get to use your mythic powers more often. Buy Grant of Aid with +8 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted/only to refill the user’s Mythic Power Pool, only restores one point per our (6 CP).

That’s 93 CP so far – a fair chunk, but nowhere near the total that we have to work with.

 

Finally, a Mythic Character gets five Mythic Feats, ten Mythic Path Abilities, and two Special Mythic Path Abilities. I’ll start dealing with them next.

 

Arcanist Casting in Eclipse

Freezing on the Sea Cliffs

Hey, I didn’t know that you knew that one! – kleinnick

Today it’s another question from Alzrius – in this case, on how to use Eclipse to build something new from Paizo…

Paizo recently released the public playtest for their Advanced Class Guide. One of the classes in the book – the arcanist – has a method of spellcasting that blends the spontaneous spellcasting of a sorcerer with the prepared casting of a wizard.

More specifically, the arcanist has a number of spells per day and spells known, as per a sorcerer. The difference is that they have a spellbook, and each day they use it to choose what their “spells known” will be, preparing them out of their spellbook like a wizard.

While the developers are still making changes to these classes, they’ve said that the arcanist’s spellcasting method will remain the same. This leads me to ask, how would you model this method of spellcasting in Eclipse? Not using the Studies limitation for a magic progression means that you are a preparatory spellcaster who uses your entire spell list (a la the cleric or druid), whereas using the Studies limitation means that you’re either a preparatory caster who needs to find and record spells before you can prepare them (as per the wizard) or are a spontaneous spellcaster with a small – and unchangeable (mostly, maybe swapping out a spell known every level or two) – list of spells known. There doesn’t seem to be an option for a “hybridized” method of spellcasting like what the arcanist has.

Well, the conceptual basis for “Vancian” spellcasting – at least as presented in earlier editions – was basically that a Wizard had no particular natural power; he or she skillfully drew a trickle of energy from the planar structure of the universe and bound it into spells – each an an individual immaterial object, comparable to a hand-assembled anti-tank missile or similar one-shot device. A Wizard could only keep so many spells ready for much the same reason that a fighter could only carry so many weapons; they each took up part of a limited carrying capacity. Being Out of Spells was simply being Out of Ammo. They needed spellbooks to help them prepare or “memorize” their spells simply because spell-structures were incredibly complicated and had to he just right to work.

When Sorcerers were introduced the general presumption (where people gave it any thought at all) was that a Sorcerer either had a natural reserve of magic or could draw on power much more quickly than a Wizard and had some sort of natural channels through which they could shape that power into a particular effect, much like a fancy tip on an icing applicator. Of course, they only had so many channels and could only handle so much power. The rules never examined the difference that closely – after all, the rules also don’t bother to differentiate between an axe to the head and a club to the knee – but presumably a Sorcerer ran out of stored magical energy or power-handling capacity and tired (albeit not enough to have an in-game effect worth noting) while a Wizard just ran out of prepared spells.

The Arcanist evidently has a Sorcerer’s ability to tap into or store raw power but lacks natural channels for it – so they build artificial channels for it. Sadly, artificial channels are apparently both fragile and complex, and must be renewed on a daily basis. (Why Spell and Channel formula are entirely interchangeable is a good question, but game convenience has a lot to say about that).

Now this does have limitations. Most notably, this makes an Arcanist even more dependent on his or her spellbook than a Wizard is. At least if something happens to their spellbook a Wizard will have whatever spells are in his or her head to work with. If worst comes to worst, he or she can even convert most of them into Scrolls, and then copy them back into a spellbook once he or she is back in town and can pick up a new book. Arcanists have no such option; their spell choices are simply gone in the morning. Of course the fact that a Wizard or Arcanists spellbooks are vulnerable, expensive, and time-consuming only has an effect if the game master enforces it, so this may not be much of a limitation at all.

Secondarily, the flexibility is not as great as it might be; most characters have some favorite, workhorse, spells that they use all the time anyway – while a high-intelligence Wizard may well have a greater variety of prepared spells available in any one day, and can gain some of the same casting flexibility with spell-recall items, such as Pearls of Power (or some of the even cheaper items in the Magic Item Compendium).

As for how to build such a character in Eclipse… the quick and easy way is to buy levels in a desired spellcasting progression as a spontaneous caster, Specialized for Increased Effect (spells known may be readily changed) with the limitations being that…

  • The user loses one spell slot of each level he or she can cast.
    • Honestly, that’s no big problem in most cases – and if it is, there are plenty of ways to get more spells.
  • Their Spells Known (or “Channels”) other than Read Magic must be renewed from a spellbook daily. As usual for book-based casters the user starts off with a spellbook containing Cantrips as the GM decides, (Int+3) first level spell formula at level one, and an additional two castable spells of choice per level thereafter. Other spells must be acquired in other ways.
    • How important this is varies with the Game Master and the setting. If spells are scarce, spellbooks are seriously threatened on occasion, and the characters must rely on spell research and automatic spells, then this is a major limitation. If not, then it’s a lot less important.
  • Due to the fragility of artificial magical “channels”, the user cannot amplify his or her spells or effective casting level with Mana, Hysteria, Berserker, or similar abilities. Similarly, he or she may not reduce the impact of applying a metamagical theorem other than Compact or Battle Magic below +1 spell level.
    • Now this is a significant limitation. It cuts an Arcanist off from a lot of the usual Eclipse ways of powering up their spells – but, to be fair, those methods don’t exist in Pathfinder, so that’s fair enough.

There are other ways of course; an Arcanist gets a base of 225 levels of spells per day at level twenty. To build that progression we’ll want to buy:

  • 90d4 generic spell levels as Mana, Corrupted/only usable for arcane spells, must be broken up into a regular spell progression (never offering more spells of any higher level than of any lower level) – although turning it into a progression does allow attribute based bonus spells (180 CP).
  • 20 Base Caster Levels, Specialized/only for the generic spell levels purchased above (60 CP).
  • 34 Spontaneous Spell Formula. That would normally cost 68 CP, but we want to be able to change them – which calls for thirty-four instances of Enthusiast, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect (2 points per instance, all points can be reassigned with a mere hour of study)/ Only for Spontaneous Spell Formula, never offering more spells of any higher level than of any lower level, arcane spells only, spells must be renewed every day – a net cost of 102 CP.
  • Spontaneous use of Read Magic (2 CP). Actually I’m not quite sure whether or not Read Magic counts against an Arcanist’s available formula slots, but I’m going to assume that it doesn’t.
  • Buying Attribute Based Bonus Spells for a custom progression was never addressed directly – but it’s simple enough; buy Immunity/the need to apply the Magician ability to Rune Magic only (Common, Minor, Epic, Corrupted/only applies to a single spell progression, 12 CP) and then the Rune Magic Magician ability (6 CP).
  • Getting unlimited Pathfinder-style use of a selection of Cantrips calls for Shaping, at the usual six-point cost (6 CP).

That gives this progression a base cost of 368 CP at level twenty or 18.4 CP per level – just over what a Sorcerer pays (or the same with rounding). Of course, those extra 8 CP buy you the ability to make minor tweaks in the progression to suit yourself and avoids one of the major restrictions of doing it the quick-and-simple way.

Is doing it either way especially unbalancing?

I’d say no. There are plenty of ways to work freeform magic in Eclipse; allowing a Sorcerer-type to vary their spell list in exchange for a few fewer spells really isn’t that big a deal.

Eclipse and Mythic Ascension, Part I

And today it’s a question from Alzrius – although only part one, because this is going to be a LONG one. 

You’ve converted a number of Pathfinder classes to Eclipse, but I wanted to ask how you’d convert over Paizo’s latest big power-up for PCs: Mythic Adventures.

I tried taking a stab at this myself, but I suspect that this is a bit more than I can chew, at least until I’m able to get further experience with using Eclipse. I did get some basics down, however.

The Designing Encounterssection mentions (under the “Adjusting CR and Level” sub-header) that a character with 20 class levels and 10 mythic tiers (the maximum number allowable) is essentially a 25th-level character.

From that, I figured that a mythic character has a +5 ECL template, and so has a total of 191 CP to build it with. Throw in a mythic flaw (as a disadvantage that’s part of the template) and that rises to a total of 194 CP.

The base mythic abilities are easy enough to make…for the most part. Most of the mythic abilities revolve around spending a use of “mythic power” for various effects, the most basic of which is to improve die rolls; that sounds like Action Hero, with other abilities specialized to require an action point. There’s also a lot of Improved Self-Development (+10 total!).

The mythic feats granted by the template were a little more difficult to convert, simply because 1) there are so many of them, and 2) I wasn’t sure about building just those feats in Eclipse without also including the “normal” feat abilities, since they build on those.

Mythic Paths was where things went off the rail for me. Mostly because there were so many abilities across six different paths, and because having each path have twelve (!) different path abilities – in addition to the base mythic abilities – really pushed the cost. (I eventually figured the entire template was specialized, since gaining all of these requires satisfying a grand total of 29 mythic trials…not to mention how the template is gained in the first place).

Mythic spells and magic items aren’t part of the character, and so don’t need to be dealt with…I think. I’m slightly uncertain because some still require an expenditure of “mythic power” – presumably that’s no different than an expensive material component.

Finally, since these are meant to be broken up into ten “tiers,” I wasn’t sure how to do that, short of breaking up the entire template into ten packages of 19- or 20-CP bundles to dole out over time.

Presuming that’s not too tall of a request…how would you make “Mythic Eclipse”?

-Alzrius

I’ve got to admit it; I find this one more than a bit strange.

Basically, under Pathfinder’s “Mythic” rules… your character is exposed to some weird source of power, and infused with some of that power. As your character performs mighty deeds, he or she gains even greater powers. Soon lesser individuals can barely touch your character, and have little chance to oppose him or her.

This sounds a great deal like normal play to me.

After all, “exposed to some weird source of power” often happens as part of a characters basic origin story – and if it doesn’t happen then, player characters quite routinely expose themselves to alien energies, wade through dragon’s blood or other weirdness, visit exotic planes of existence, pick up malfunctioning artifacts, work for crazy divine patrons, channel entities from beyond the comprehensible cosmos, and, if all else fails, get involved with their own insane magical experiments.

They “perform mighty deeds and gain power from them”. Yes. Yes, they do. Story / quest / goal / whatever awards have been around since the early days of first edition. You completed a mission of some sort, you built up your reputation and legend, you gathered mundane rewards – and you also went up in level, gaining mighty powers.

And it’s pretty well acknowledged that, all else being equal, low-level characters have little chance against higher level ones.

Really, the “Mythic” rules represent a jump back to first edition.

In first edition, most people could not gain levels. Player characters and special NPC’s were unique because they could. By third edition EVERYONE got levels, and PC’s only real claim to being special was that they were apparently lucky bastards who found more gear than most of the other people. .

Under the “Mythic” rules, most people cannot gain Mythic Tiers; Player characters and special NPC’s are unique because they can.

In first edition quite a lot of your character advancement was awarded for accomplishing goals of some sort. By the time third edition came along, that sort of award was pretty rare. It was hard to calculate or award “treasure” – and keep wealth-by-level straight – for goals.

Under the “Mythic” rules a fair chunk of your character advancement is awarded for accomplishing goals of some sort.

“Mythic” does split from first edition in putting story awards on their own track – but that’s not particularly new either; quite a lot of early games put experience points into separate tracks depending on how you earned them. Thus games like Ysgarth and World Tree had different categories of abilities that advanced with XP from using those abilities.

While I’ll look at other ways of building mythic abilities next, the simplest, quickest, and most flexible option for mythic-style Eclipse only requires one power:

Immunity/having only one experience point chart; Very Common, Severe, Legendary, 60 CP Base, Specialized for Increased Effect (gets only one additional chart, abilities purchased on the secondary chart do not have to pay attention to the restrictions of the Adventurer Template) and Corrupted for Reduced Cost/the secondary “tier” chart only gets special goal-awards rather than splitting XP awards evenly with the primary chart, only goes to level ten, does not provide hit dice or skill points, and is normally capped at (Level/2) +1. Net Cost: (40 CP).

And that pretty much does it. With that extra allotment of character points you’re free to buy all kinds of specialized enhancing abilities. If you want to copy the original style, you can go ahead and throw in “Corrupted/Does not work against opponents who also possess this “mythic immunity” on a lot of defenses and special powers.

As usual for similar items, levels from the secondary progression do not stack with levels from the primary one. Thus being Level Thirteen/Tier Seven does NOT let you buy abilities as if you were a 20’th level character; it lets you have a complimentary set of level seven abilities to go with your level thirteen abilities – rather like a Gestalt character, although players are likely to buy truly complimentary talents rather than just getting a second set.

Now that is pretty cheap. It’s not hard to come up with 40 CP, and if you put it into a template you get a mere +1 ECL unless you put some more stuff into it.

Now talking your game master into letting you take an Immunity to a pretty fundamental aspect of d20’s rules is quite another matter. Such Immunities carry a rider about “if the Game Master opts to allow it” for exactly this reason; allowing someone to take an Immunity to having to gain experience points to go up in level, or to the normal progression of time, or to limits on actions in a round, or some such, can easily wreck the game. It’s a bit like playing Chess and ruling that pieces can’t be taken; there are some rules that the game simply does not work without.

On the other hand, ruling that Knights can also move and capture like pawns (and will now be known as “Templars”) will leave the game quite playable.

Will this particular Immunity break the game? It’s blatantly asking for an ECL adjustment, but if all the player characters are using it… well, the levels and abilities of NPC’s are pretty much arbitrary anyway. I think I’d prefer to just note that most NPC’s are fairly low level and stay that way, and thus the PC’s are special right out of the box – but this route will achieve much the same result.

Next time around I’ll look at the basics of building to match the “mythic” rules.

Eclipse – Servant of a Fallen God

El Shaitan

A being of mystery am I, a thing of spells and patches…

This request was for a Pathfinder / Dragonstar planetouched (earth ancestry) youngster who has been drafted into the space marines and who has accidentally summoned and bound himself to a Shaitan – a djinn/demon who was once a near demigodling, but who has been near-forgotten for centuries, and so has little power left (something which once more having a follower may start to fix). The Shaitan grants him what power she can in exchange for his soul, his service, and his deeds to restore her – and, in the meantime, she can manifest near him to help promote her own goals.

OK then… one Eclipse Build, starting off with the…

Pathfinder Package Deal: (Discussed more fully HERE)

  • +2 to an Attribute, Corrupted/the attribute is fixed by race (8 CP).
  • Fast Learner, Specialized and Corrupted/only works as long as the user sticks to a particular archetype and relatively narrow plan of development chosen at level one at each level, points may only be spent on skills and additional hit points (2 CP).
  • Immunity/not being allowed to buy up their (normally maximized) level one hit die later on. Uncommon/Minor/Major (3 CP).
  • Action Hero (Crafting), Specialized and Corrupted/the user still has to spend the time, and money, and may ONLY create items by spending action points (2 CP).
  • Pathfinder provides a +3 bonus to “Trained In-Class Skills”. This is an option attached to the skills system, not part of a character build – “Characters get a +3 bonus on skills that fit their character concept”. The awkwardness in Eclipse comes in deciding which skills qualify as “In-Class”. The simplest option is simply to let the character consider Craft, Profession, and their selection of a dozen other skills “in-class”. No cost.
    • Selected Class Skills: Bluff (Cha), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Disable Device (Dex), Disguise (Cha), Knowledge/The Planes (Int), Perception (Wis), Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Spellcraft (Int), Stealth (Dex), and Use Magic Device (Cha).
  • Package Disadvantage: Accursed (must use the Pathfinder versions of spells even where those have been downgraded, may not take “overpowered” feats, -3 CP).

Next up, it’s a unique Racial Template. Those are always potentially cheesy, but practically everyone in the intended game is going to be fairly unique anyway.

Racial Template/Earth-Themed Native Outsider (30 CP/+0 ECL):

  • Pathfinder Package Attribute Bonus goes to Constitution.
  • 60′ Darkvision (Occult Sense, 6 CP).
  • Proficiency with all Simple and Martial Weapons (9 CP)
  • One Bonus Feat, Corrupted/must be earth-magic related (4 CP).
  • The original Attribute Shift (-2 to one attribute to add +2 to another) is replaced by a simple +2 to an attribute, since the game is using the half-price attributes rule – so +2 Wisdom (6 CP).
  • Immunity/Acid; takes five less (0 minimum) damage from acid (Common, Major, Trivial, 3 CP).
  • Inherent Spell, Corrupted/Earth-related effects only (4 CP). This is commonly taken as two L1 effects 2/Day each, but a level two effect twice per day is equally common.
  • Bonus Language (Terran) (1 CP).
  • Racial Disadvantage: Obvious elemental hybrid traits, subject to prejudice and discrimination (-3 CP).

For his Racial Choices I’ll put in…

  • Fast Learner, Specialized for Double Effect in (Earth-Related) Magic Levels, (+2 CP/ level).
  • Inherent Spells: Two first level effects usable twice per day each; Earthward I (Cast as an immediate action, blocks 1d8+Level/Max Five points of damage from an incoming attack or effect) and Iron Master (turns a bit of iron into an iron or steel implement weighing up to ten pounds for ten minutes per level).

That’s a fairly powerful race – but not overly so. It should do nicely.

Basic Attributes: Str 12, Dex 12, Con 12 (14), Int 14, Wis 12 (14), Cha 16 (3.5 32-point buy).

Available Character Points: 72 (L2 Base) +6 (Disadvantages: Outcast/obvious planetouched who has bound his soul to an outsider, Untrustworthy) +4 (Duties as a Space Marine) +6 (level one bonus Feat) = 88 CP (and 10 SP from Intelligence).

Basic Purchases (45 CP):

  • Warcraft (BAB): +1 (6 CP).
  • Hit Points / Dice: 2d8 (8, 6, for 8 CP) +4 (2 x Con Mod) = 18 HP
  • Proficient with: All Simple and Martial Weapons (Free) and Light Armor with the Smooth modifier (6 CP).
  • Armor Class 10 (Base) +1 (Dex) +6 (Armor/Combat Fatigues) +1 (Defender) = 18
  • Initiative +1 (Dex)
  • Movement: 30′
  • Save Bonuses:
    • Fortitude: +2 (6 CP) +2 (Con) = +4
    • Reflex: +2 (6 CP) +1 (Dex) = +3
    • Will: +2 (6 CP) +2 (Wis) = +4
  • Skill Points: 7 (Purchased, 7 CP) + 10 (Int Mod x 5) +4 (Fast Learner) = 21

Special Abilities (43 CP):

  • Two levels of Clerical Package Deal Spellcasting, Specialized/spells are randomly determined at the start of each day, Caster Level may not be expanded to cover other progressions. (2 CP after eight CP from racial Fast Learner effect is included). Domains: Earth and Fire. Choice of Spell Conversion to either Healing or Harming. Restrictions: Conduct (appease his Shaitan), Restrained (no wide-area destruction).
  • Two Sorcerer Magic Levels, Restrictions of Conduct (appease Kalki) and Studies (limited spell selection). Specialized/The spells are provided by his Shaitan; using them requires that she be present and approve of their use (which she is reluctant to do unless he is in immediate peril, since her power is limited now), the caster levels cannot be expanded to cover other progressions (16 CP).
  • Shaping, Specialized for Increased Effect (only works for the user’s limited list of level zero spells), Corrupted/must be free to gesture and speak (4 CP). This provides Pathfinder-style unlimited use of his level zero spells.
    • He can cast 4L0 and 3L1 Cleric Spells (and his L1 domain spell) and 6L0 and 5L1 Sorcerer Spells. He will “know” five L0 and two L1 Sorcerer Spells.
  • Fortune (takes no effect on a successful reflex saves) (6 CP)
  • Defender (+level/5, rounded down AC bonus. Minimum of +1. (6 CP)
  • Companion (Mystic Companion, CR 2 creature base) with +2 ECL Template and Transform (Specialized for Increased Effect: the user cannot take the Companions form and the Companion can only take a version of the user’s form that matches the companions sex – but the companion enjoys a +2 bonus on each attribute when taking the user’s form). Specialized/the Companion is not loyal to the user as companions usually are, and has no obligation to help the user physically or socially; the user will just have to stay in the good graces of this fairly-independent NPC (9 CP). This will represent our manifested entity, who usually appears a lot like him – rather than as the churning elemental power she is in reality.

Hm… What to use for a base, what to use… In this case, I think I’ll use a 3.5 Azer – rendered a bit more generic.

Generic CR2 Medium Elemental Being: 2d8 HP, Speed 30′, AC +6 Natural, BAB +2, Proficient with Simple and Martial Weapons and Light and Medium Armor, Darkvision 60′, All Saves +3, Str 13, Dex 13, Con 13, Int 12, Wis 12, Cha 9, Does +1 point of Elemental Damage with their Attacks, Energy Infusion of Choice, Spell Resistance II, and one Bonus Feat. 16 + (Int Mod x2) Skill Points.

As a Mystic Companion add: Improved Fortune (Evasion), use their “master’s” base saves with their attribute bonuses where they’re better than their own, add (Master’s Level/2, rounded down) d8 HD, Natural Armor, and BAB, a +1 bonus to Str or Con for every 5 levels or part thereof which their master possesses, and +3 CP to spend for every level their master has. They’d normally get a base Int of at least 8, but they’re doing better than that already.

So our faded Shaitan’s current base is 3d8 HP, Speed 30′, AC +7 Natural, BAB +3, Proficient with Simple and Martial Weapons and Light and Medium Armor, Darkvision 60′, All Saves +3, Str 15, Dex 15, Con 16, Int 14, Wis 14, Cha 11, Does +1 point of Elemental (Lightning) Damage with her attacks, Energy Infusion/Air (no damage from Lightning, double from Acid), Spell Resistance II (13), 16 + (Int Mod x2) Skill Points, Improved Evasion, all Saves +3 base, and Two Bonus Feats. Arguably, she too should get the Pathfinder Package Deal, and so get +2 to an Attribute – but I’ve no idea what would be suitable and I’m not going to work out her skill points; that’s too campaign sensitive; let the GM do it to suit how he or she envisions the relationship.

For that +2 ECL Template I’ll add in…

  • Fast Learner, Specialized in Hit Dice (Increase all hit dice to d10’s, 6 CP).
  • Energy Infusion (Fire) (immune to Fire, double damage from Cold. (6 CP)
  • Universal Damage Reduction 5/- (12 CP).
  • Unique Returning (18 CP). As a godling, Kalki is pretty much unkillable save by another god.
  • Immunity/Dimensional Barriers (Very Common, Severe, Major, 18 CP): Kalki can move between the dimensions – although this may take her some time; being able to breach the dimensional boundaries doesn’t mean that it may not be a fairly long trip. This is how she gets back when banished or something.
  • Mystic Link with the Communications and Identity Modifiers (12 CP).
  • Witchcraft III: Our Shaitan is ineligible for Pacts – but she does have two bonus feats, and has spent one on +3d6 Power (Giving her a total of 30) and Summoning. This is pathetic given her once-divine status, but it’s all the power she can channel into the world without a priest of hers to open the way for it.

That’s 90 CP – under the 95 CP allowance for a +2 ECL template.

Overall this fellow has good spellcasting – even if the randomness drastically limits his clerical powers – and a formidable companion. Of course, he is at that companions beck and call if he wants to use his powers – which is a perfect plot hook for the game master. 

Eclipse: The Summoner and the Chimeric Master

apparitions and ghosts

Not Exactly

There are many who summon creatures from the Outer or Elemental Planes – but they are fools. Such beings are powerful, and have long memories, and do not appreciate being torn from their places, even in spirit, to dance to the whims of some mortal mage. Worse… each time you call on a creature, you give it’s home realm a bit more of a claim upon your soul. If you summon creatures of evil, it is an act of evil, and it binds you to the realms of evil – and the same for creatures of good, or law, or even of elemental energies. Why else do so many magical specialists at last become creatures of the planes?

There is a plane, however, from which one may draw what you will without commitment, a plane to which every sapient mind holds a natural gate, just waiting to be exploited… the realm of dreams. There, where every mind nightly weaves a realm of it’s own, in the thousand shattered mirror-shards and within the walls of the invisible labyrinth, one can find both allies and foes to call forth with no greater obligations.

A dream to some. A nightmare to others!

The request was to build a character like the Pathfinder Summoner. So OK… for the basic’s we’ll want: +15 BAB (90 CP), 20d8 HD (80 CP), +24 Saves (72 CP), 40 SP (40 CP), Proficient with Simple Weapons (3 CP) and Light Armor (3 CP) with the Smooth modifier (+3 CP). Why the character needs d8 hit dice when it’s a pet-based caster build is a bit of a mystery, but OK; Fast Learner Specialized in Hit Dice (6 CP) saves 40 CP off the Hit Die price – for a total base cost of 257 CP. If you want to use this build in a Pathfinder game instead of a 3.5 game you’ll also want a Pathfinder Race and Package Deal – but that doesn’t cost anything.

For the spellcasting we’ll want 20 levels of the Bardic Spellcasting Progression using Charisma-Based Spontaneous Arcane Casting, Corrupted for Increased Effect (+1 each to Spells Per Day and Spells Known over the base chart, spells thus become available one level early/A Chimeric Master has a very limited spell list to choose from. (160 CP). That takes us up to 417 CP.

Now for some special abilities…

  • To get unlimited use of his or her zero-level spells we’ll want: Shaping, Specialized for Increased Effect (only works for the characters limited list of level zero Chimeric Master spells), Corrupted/must be free to gesture and speak (4 CP).
  • +4 to a Save, Specialized/only for the benefit of his or her Companion, which uses the Masters save bases with it’s own attributes (6 CP).
  • Spell Formula Knowledge: Summon Monster VII, VIII, and IX, Gate (4 CP). Unfortunately a Chimeric Master doesn’t have spell slots this high – but he or she can use relevant spell-trigger items.
  • Immunity/the barriers between Reality and Dream, (Common, Severe, Major), Specialized for reduced cost and corrupted for increased effect (using this ability is a swift action and the user may selectively leave items with his or her companion)/only to allow the user to take the Companions place in the realm of dreams or return therefrom, requires touching the Companion to depart the material plane and emerging next to it on the return, if the companion is slain on the Material Plane the user is forcibly returned to it’s position, taking 4d6 damage and being stunned for one round (6 CP).
  • Double Enthusiast x3, Specialized and Corrupted/may only be changed when the user increases in level, can only be spent on blatant physical mutations, using these makes the user obviously unnatural (18 CP).
  • Occult Skill/Dream-binding (3 CP). This wasn’t a part of the original idea, but there are a few points left over and it fits this variant.
  • To get some dedicated summoning powers we’ll want: Channeling (either Positive or Negative) with Cha Mod +7 Daily Uses, Specialized/Only for Conversion (7 CP) + Spell Conversion to a set of four L6 or below spells, Corrupted for Increased Effect (L9 or below)/All spells must be summoning-related, only one summoning may be active at a time, effects that do not involve the user’s Apparition of Dreams are limited by caster level as usual (12 CP), +4 Uses of Channeling, Specialized and Corrupted/only for summoning or exchanging places with the user’s Apparition of Dream (2 CP). The spells are:

Summon Apparition of Dream: The user may call forth his or her Companion (purchased below). It requires one minute to summon the Apparition from the realm of dreams, but only a standard action to call his or her Apparition to his or her side from anywhere within long range with the side effects of a Dimension Door spell.

Transposition of Dream: The user may trade places with his or her Apparition of Dream within long range. This requires a standard action and has the same side effects as a Dimension Door spell.

Summon Monster IX; While this version’s monsters remain for a maximum of one minute, it can also be used as Summon Monster I-VIII to suit the user’s level.

Gate: This is the standard effect, but is not usable until level seventeen. All components must be supplied.

Apparition of Dreams (Companion/Companion Creature Variant), Specialized for Reduced Cost and Corrupted for Increased Effect. An Apparition of Dreams is…

  • Quasi-Real; the Apparition is sustained by it’s master’s will. It can be Dismissed or Banished like an Outsider (returned to it’s summoner’s dreams) and will vanish if it’s master is unconscious, asleep, or dead. In either case it must then be resummoned. If it moves more than 100 feet from its summoner it’s current and maximum hit points are reduced by 50%. At mare than 1000 feet the totals are reduced by 75%, and at 10,000 or more it is immediately returned to the realm of dreams.
  • As an aspect of it’s Master, the Apparition shares his or her body slots – but not the effects of items. If there’s a conflict, the Apparitions conflicting item or items goes inactive.
  • An Apparition of Dreams It does not heal naturally. If recalled from death via it’s Returning ability, it starts at one-half it’s normal hit points when summoned the next day
  • An Apparition of Dreams cannot wear armor; it disrupts it’s connection to it’s Master.

So to build our Companion we want…

  • Companion (Companion Creature), Increased Effect/The Companion gains bonuses based on the (3 x its Masters Level/4) rounded off rather than on its (Masters Level/2) rounded down (6 CP).
  • As usual for a Mystic Companion, the basic creature is normally a creature of CR 2 or less. Even before any template modifications, however, the creature will always appear fantastical.
  • Transform, Increased Effect (while only the Master may transform, his or her items will remain functional (6 CP).
  • Template II (12 CP), Increased Effect/beyond the fixed items below, the contents of this template are pretty much up to the Player, with only modest Game Master input/veto power.

Apparition of Dream Template Abilities:

  • Returning (if “slain” reforms after it’s master gets a nights rest and dreams it back into existence, 6 CP) with Rewrite (Corrupted/only when master gains a level or enacts a mighty ritual, 3 CP).
  • Storage with Spell Storing, Specialized and Corrupted/only to release spells transferred to the companion over the Power Link, spells may be disrupted, identified, or blocked as if they were being cast on the companions end, the companion must take the same casting action as the actual caster 4 CP)
  • Presence/Mighty Guardian. The user may provide a +1 Circumstance bonus to the armor class and saving throws of allies within a 10′ radius. If the user has a mental link to an ally within that radius the bonus is a +2 for that specific individual, Specialized for Double Effect/the user must be able to move freely, must be aware of the individuals presence, and must be fully functional; if the user is stunned, asleep, helpless, grappled, stuck in the mud, entangled, etc, the effect fails (6 CP).
  • Mystic Link (3 CP), with Power Link (+3 CP), Identity Link (+3 CP),and Communications Link (+3 CP), all Corrupted for Increased Effect/The Master and the Apparition of Dreams are blatantly obviously bonded – with identical mystic symbols glowing on their skin or some such to easily identify them. As long as the user and/or companion can be seen, the linkage cannot be mistaken.
    • (Power Link): The Master and the Apparition share their languages and knowledge skills.
    • (Identity Link): The user and the Apparition may portion out damage between themselves, although neither may be reduced below the point of death in this way.
    • (Communications Link): Allows full sensory sharing.
  • Occult Sense/Darkvision (6 CP).
  • +4 on Will Saves against Enchantment spells and effects (6 CP).
  • Adept (Deception, Knowledge/The Planes, Perception, one skill of choice, 6 CP).
  • +2 Constitution (12 CP).

At a total of 61 CP, this leaves 98 CP available to buy unique abilities with. That’s quite a lot. Each Apparition of Dreams will be wildly individual.

The Apparition of Dream is an appallingly powerful companion – but really isn’t particularly worse than having a well-optimized cohort, and is more expensive. The fact that it can be extensively rebuilt between levels definitely complicates things though; if the characters are rising in level quickly enough it might be worth giving it some pretty specialized abilities for a bit.

And that pretty much completes the Chimeric Master. Actually playing one will involve a lot of additional decisions – what to buy how soon, what to buy in incremental steps rather than all at once, and what you’re going to put into your Companion’s design – but if you aren’t willing to make choices, Eclipse probably isn’t the game system for you in the first place.

Eclipse: The Codex Persona is available in a Freeware PDF Version, in Print, and in a Paid PDF Version that includes Eclipse II (245 pages of Eclipse races, character and power builds, items, relics, martial arts, and other material) and the web expansion. Here’s a Featured Review of it and another Independent Review.

The Practical Enchanter can be found in a Print Edition (Lulu), an Electronic Edition(RPGNow), and a Shareware Edition (RPGNow).  There’s an RPGNow Staff Review too.