Eclipsing Cable – A.K.A. Nathan Christopher Charles Summers Dayspring Askani’son

Cable’s arrival pretty much marked the end of the New Mutants. The book would go on for a bit longer, and the team name is still hanging on – but the original concept of “a group of kids growing up while learning to deal with each other, their powers, incipient adulthood, and the often hostile marvel universe outside” fell away in favor of the usual “superhuman strike team” with a side-dose of “mysterious mentor with secret goals” AND “grizzled veteran sergeant takes command”. Now the “kids” idea had been subverted from very early on – basing things in the X-Mansion made it impossible to effectively isolate the New Mutants from the semi-permanent warfare of the rest of the marvel universe – but it had heavily influenced things. That would no longer be the case, the group of friends turned into a full-blown military unit, and a number of the more emotionally awkward, childish, or socially-focused characters were quickly written out.

Cable was REALLY popular for a while, but I’ve never quite been able to tell from the artwork if he was a human character or an unusually mobile fortification. While it varied with the artist, people’s bodies are just not designed to look like walls – or to have arms and thighs big enough to smuggle multiple normal people in – and his was often drawn that way. The fact that he was a Mutant / Psychic / Cyborg / Military Guy / Time Traveler (who changed his parents lives well before he was born) / Techno-Organic Virus Victim / Refugee / User of Super-Advanced Alien Technology / Black Sheep of the Summers Clan / Mastermind / Gadgeteer / Heir to the Goblin Queen / Alternate-Dimensional visitor / Mentor with more guns and gadgets than you could squeeze into a truck and wildly varying levels of power and foreknowledge / Destined Messiah / Resistance Leader / Evil Clone Victim / Host to a Celestial AI would certainly help make a case for their being more than one guy in there.

Tongue-in-cheek humor aside, Cable really did have enough origins and power sources for three or four hero teams all by himself. Plenty of characters have gotten along with just being a Cyborg or a Time Traveler with some gadgets, or having a single mutant power. Throwing in all that suff was just overkill. Perhaps fortunately, most of the weird stuff rarely came up. Most of the time he was basically just a mysterious tough-as-hell mercenary with lots and LOTS of guns and a big reputation – even if it was developed entirely in retcons.

And then we come to his Techno-organic Virus, which was killing him (although, apparently, it also raises the dead), although he was holding it back with his telekinesis and/or telepathy, which was why his mutant powers were so weak. When he had to use his powers the virus tended to advance, when he could focus on the virus again he could push it back… Wait, what? A virus isn’t a spring; an infection gets WEAKER as you reduce the affected area, not more able to resist you. So if he could “push it back” and stabilize it, why couldn’t he cure it? And how is this related to the almost-identical seeming Transmode virus? And since it had affected and enhanced every cell of his body, and his entire skeleton, his organs, and his central nervous system… wasn’t it already everywhere? And he could reconfigure his cybrenetics with his mind?

Oh never mind. There’s just no getting around it; even by comic book logic there are parts of Cables existence that make no sense – so I’ll go with that. As with many of the more experienced, complicated, or higher-powered characters, THIS build only covers a portion of his abilities. It does offer a reasonable (for Cable anyway) set of base attributes though.

“Cable”, A.K.A. Nathan Christopher Charles Summers Dayspring Askani’son.

Level Eight Cyborg Mercenary Timejumper and Part-Time Mutant Messiah

Four Color Package (24 CP):

  • This includes Superheroic Physics, Superheroic Durability, Superheroic Build, Rapid Recovery, Minor Conventions (Ready for Inspection, Comics Code, It’s Sufficient, Heroic Will, Heroic Rally, Coincidental Catch, Heroic Health, and a Minor Benefit (see below).

Pathfinder Package Deal (Free).

Pathfinder Human (Free)

Basic Attributes: Str 16 (+4 Eq +6 Enh = 26), Int 12 (+6 Enh +2 Eq = 20), Wis 12 (+6 Enh +2 Level = 20), Con 14 (+6 Enh = 20), Dex 15 (+6 Enh +2 Eq = 23), and Chr 12 (+2 Human +6 Enh = 20). 25-Point Pathfinder Point Buy.

Cable is actually a mostly skill and equipment based character – and so we’re going to start with:

Skill Boosts:

  • Adept (Legendarium, Expertise (Mercenary), Perception, and Technology, 6 CP)
  • Adept (Rune Magic, Mastery and Casting for Telepathy and Telekinesis, 6 CP)
  • Augmented Bonus (Adds Int Mod to Cha Mod for skill totals, 6 CP)
  • Augmented Bonus, adds (Con Mod) to (Int Mod) for Skills, Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect / Rune Magic Only, Telepathy, Telekinesis, and Transmutation Only (6 CP).
    • This is INCREDIBLY cheesy. Tripling the effect of Augmented Bonus works well in a superhero setting, and for powers that are limited otherwise – but I’d be very cautious in allowing it in a normal game.
  • Fast Learner Specialized in Skills for +2 SP/Level (6 CP)
  • Finesse: May use Intimidation in place of Deception, Specialized and Corrupted/only to use Intimidate to Feint in combat (2 CP).
  • Journeyman for Skills, Specialized and Corrupted, Only for Rune Magic, only for Telepathy and Telekinesis (2 CP)
  • Mastery (6 CP): Mastery allows you to select (Int Mod x 3, 3 Minimum) skills in which you can “take 10″ even under stress. With an Int Mod of +5 and only thirteen skills which are normally ever rolled, Cable may simply “take 10″ on any of them.
  • Upgrade Human Fast Learner to +2 SP/Level (3 CP)

Level Eight Available Skill Points: 55 (Int Mod x 11) + 44 (Human and Purchased Fast Learner) + 24 (Purchased, 24 CP) = 123 SP

Skill Purchases:

The Destined Savior: Access to an Occult Skill (Legendarium) (3 CP), +3 SP to convert it to a “relevant” skill (3 CP), Professional (Legendarium, 6 CP), Skill Emphasis (Legendarium, 3 CP), Skill Focus (Legendarium, 6 CP). Net Total: 11 (6 Skill Points) +4 (Professional) +2 (Skill Emphasis) +3 (Skill Focus) +5 (Charisma) +5 (Intelligence) +3 (Specialty in Belt of Magnificence. 1 SP) = +33 (326,700 GP Net Value). Specialized for Double Effect/ must respect item slots normally (in effect, this simply pays for item-equivalents normally).Minor Privilege / as a time-traveler he may have up to 2000 GP worth of “future tech”, in his Legendarium abilities (3 CP)

It’s often left in the background – but Cable is a major religious figure, the prophesied savior who would defeat Apocalypse, the chosen one who’s return was awaited for two thousand years. And he did it twice – destroying Apocalypse in the future and then doing it again two thousand years before that, possibly making his previous victory and his own past into something that never happened at all. In any cast, the power of his legend pays for:

  • Armor Enhancements (applied to his Boost Armor, Below): +1 Heavy Fortification and Nimbleness (49,000 GP). Also, a Restful Crystal (+250 GP)
  • Belt: +6 Belt of Magnificence (200,000 GP). +6 to all attributes
  • Face: Goggles of Foefinding (2500 GP): Ignore your targets Cover bonuses to AC.
  • Head: Scout’s Headband (3400 GP)” +2 to Perception, 3 Charges/Day. He usually uses Mana to augment those charges.
  • Ring of OakHeart: +24 + (4 x Con Mod) HP (6000 GP)
  • Ring of Bodysliding: Greater Teleport (Spell Level Seven x Caster Level Thirteen x 1800 GP Unlimited-Use Use Activated x.2 (one use/day) = 32,760 GP). He usually uses Mana to power this.
  • Shoulders: Banner Of The Storm’s Eye (15,000 GP).
  • Torso: +4 Vest of Resistance (16,000 GP).
    • Future Tech:
  • Boost Armor with Gravlight (Max Dex +1, Armor Check -2), Improved Defense III (+3 Armor), and Increased Range of Motion I (+1 Max Dex), Rigid (+1 Armor Check Penalty). Total +7 (+3 Improved Defense +1 Magic = 11) Armor, +4 Max Dex (+1 IRoM, +1 Nimbleness = +6), Armor Penalty 3 (+1 Rigid -2 Gravlight -2 Nimbleness = 0), Speed +10, +4 Str, +2 Reflex Saves. (1000 GP).
  • Neural Computer Link (450 GP). Computer Use and Research checks become free actions.
  • Enhanced Punch: Concussion Rod: 2d8, Crit 20/x2 (45 GP)
  • Grow Blades: Chainsword: 2d8, Crit 19-20, Slashing (45 GP)
  • Universal Communicator with Satellite Datalink (5 GP): Send and receive audio, visual, and digital information
  • Cyberware: Subcutaneous Body Armor, Medium: +5 Natural Armor. DC 25 (100 GP)
  • Cyberware: Neuron Booster I (+2 Int, 75 GP)
  • Cyberware: Twitchfiber I (+2 Dex, Miniaturized/does not count against implant limit, 175 GP).
    • Net Future Tech: 1895 GP.

This leaves 1000 GP and 117 Skill Points to go

Omega-Level Mutant Psychic (32 SP):

  • Rune Magic (Int): Telepathy Casting +12 (6 SP Adept) + 5 (Int) +15 (Con Mod x 3) = +32
  • Rune Magic (Int): Telepathy Mastery +12 (6 SP Adept) + 5 (Int) +15 (Con Mod x 3) = +32
  • Rune Magic (Int): Telekinesis Mastery +12 (6 SP Adept) + 5 (Int) +15 (Con Mod x 3) = +32
  • Rune Magic (Int): Telekinesis Casting +12 (6 SP Adept) + 5 (Int) +15 (Con Mod x 3) = +32
  • Rune Magic (Int): Transmutation Mastery +4 (4 SP) + 5 (Int) +15 (Con Mod x 3) = +24
  • Rune Magic (Int): Transmutation Casting +4 (4 SP) + 5 (Int) +15 (Con Mod x 3) = +24

Sadly, for all of Cable’s incredible potential power – Level Eight Effects at Caster Level Sixteen for Telepathy and Telekinesis and Level Six Effects at Caster Level Twelve for Transformation – he can only spare two points of mana a round to actually use those abilities, effectively restricting him to second level effects with relatively low caps. If he should somehow be reborn as a natural part of the timeline his power would soon grow to immense levels – at least until he started causing paradoxes again. It’s hard to believe that he would manage to kick the time-travel habit.

Other Skills:(85 SP)

  • Askani Kung Fu (Dex) 9 (+15):
    • Askani Kung Fu Techniques: Defenses +1, Attack +1, Strike, Weapon Kata (Cyberweapons), Mind Like Moon, Prone Combat, Combat Reflexes, and Inner Strength.
    • Honestly, I can’t see Cable not knowing a martial art. On the other hand, I haven’t really looked at the character in many years, and about all I can recall seeing him use are weapons and powers. Ergo, this is pretty generic.
  • Athletics 2 (+10)
  • Deception 5 (+10)
  • Expertise (Soldier/Mercenary) 10 (5, Adept) (+15)
  • Expertise (History) 5 (+10)
  • Expertise (Law) 5 (+10)
  • Expertise (Sciences) 5 (+10)
  • Insight 5 (+10)
  • Intimidation 10 (+15)
  • Investigation 6 (+10)
  • Perception 11 (5, Adept) (+15)
  • Speak Language +5 (English, Spanish, Chinese, French, German, Askani, other future tongues).
  • Stealth 4 (+10)
  • Technology 10 (5, Adept) (+15)
  • Vehicles 9 (+15)

Total 123 SP.

Primary Powers:

Paradoxical Existence: Additional Form of Inherent Magic: Reality Editing, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect; only to maintain his own awesome existence (6 CP). Cable is a walking time paradox. He altered his own parents lives before he was conceived without splitting the timeline. He has stopped the future he grew up and trained in from coming to pass and yet remains. He is infected by a virus that makes no sense and must constantly keep it under control with powers wholly unsuited to the task but cannot eradicate it. His history is retroactive and entirely of his own invention, involving people who never before existed, He should be dead, has died, and yet lives. He SHOULD NOT and CANNOT be, but IS, and he doesn’t have enough accursed antediluvian blasphemous effulgent loathsome non-euclidian squamous tentacles to meet the qualifications for being a Lovecraftian blasphemy against all reality normally.

Constantly telling reality to roll over and play dead that way takes a LOT of power.

For Cable, maintaining his own existence is a Major (3 Mana) Reality Edit each and every round. This does, however, allow him to throw in a few extras – never running out of ammo, having unreasonable amounts of gear and weapons on him, bulking up or slimming down from moment to moment, and so on. For +1 Mana he can opt to “take 20″ on a save, maximize one of his attacks, ignore a minor condition (stunned, dazed, nauseated, etc), or automatically confirm a critical hit. For +2 Mana he can “take 20″ on an attack or check, take an extra action, minimize the damage from an attack on him, or shrug off most conditions (stunned, frightened, etc). Fortunately, none of this requires actions and can be done even if he’s unconscious or OUGHT to be dead.

If, however, he fails to maintain his own existence… things start to go very wrong. His body may start to twist and distort, he can start rapidly losing hit points or otherwise weakening, or he can even start to fade out of existence – and it will take a lot of extra editing and general misery to get back to what passes for normal.

Returning (6 CP): Cable is even more difficult to get rid of than most heroes, since unless you do something about all the time traveling he will just write his own death out of the timeline and pop up again sooner or later.

Flashback: Reality Editing, Specialized and Corrupted (very limited applications) for Reduced Cost. Cable may spend Mana to temporarily insert minor details into his backstory. This does not count as an action (2 CP).

  • For one Mana he gets to have made (IE: instantly make) a Gather Information check against an individual or organization – getting a capsule summary of their reputation on a success, adding in their general abilities at success +5, evaluating their comparative power level at success +10, and throwing in their usual tactics and current activities at success +15.
  • For two Mana he can add “Oh, I learned how to do that” to his backstory for a little while, giving himself five effective ranks in a skill long enough for a single roll.
  • For three Mana he can temporarily add a bit of history with someone (either a specific NPC or a general type of person who could plausibly be found in the vicinity) to his backstory. While this is always potentially useful, the description of that bit of history is up to the game master. Reality will usually put up with this a few times per session – but tends to bite back when pushed too far, and abruptly turning “Generic Guard #22″ into “Rivan the explosives expert who’s on a vendetta against you because you killed his youngest son in a prior adventure” isn’t always a good deal even if you get some useful information out of it and now know some of his weaknesses.

Internal Systems: Empowerment, Specialized for Unlimited Use, Corrupted for Increased Cost, only to power his Scout’s Headband and Ring of Bodysliding enchantments with Mana (4 CP).

Deep Reserve: 1d6 (4) Mana, Specialized and Corrupted/may only use one point per round to supplement his normal flow of Mana, may not use more than three points in any one-hour period, causes him to show ominous signs of existence failure, use requires a DC 15 Fortitude Save to avoid Fatigue (2 CP). Cable can occasionally push his limits a little bit – but it’s always a strain.

Deep Reserve: Rite of Chi with +2 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted / only to refill the supplementary Mana pool purchased above, requires at least an hour of relative inactivity or meditation per die, cannot be used while Fatigued or Exhausted (3 CP).

Minor Powers:

  • Man of Iron: Advanced Improved Augmented Bonus: Adds (Str Mod) to (Con Mod) for HP purposes (18 CP).
  • Attack/Defense Expertise (BAB/AC, 6 CP).
  • Attack/Effect Expertise (BAB/Effect, 6 CP).
  • Human Shield: Opportunist: May take an attack for any target within normal movement range once per round, Specialized and Corrupted / the attack automatically hits the user and this will not work against attacks that do not require rolls to hit (2 CP).
  • Quick Draw Artist: Reflex Training / may draw or change weapons as a free action (6 CP).
  • Battle Hardened: Immunity/Fear (Common, Minor, Major, 6 CP).
  • Sanctum (Graymalkin): Corrupted for Increased Effect; Cable doesn’t gain extra abilities in his sanctum, the sanctum itself has some abilities – and those can be pressed into service by someone else if they capture the place. Ergo, this is Corrupted for Increased Effect (6 CP, Graymalkin has 36 CP worth of abilities).

Graymalkin:

Automated Systems: Leadership (Exotic, Constructs), Specialized/only exotic constructs (6 CP).Graymalkin comes with a crew of maintenance/repair/light security robots, various automated systems that deliver items and provide small services, and “Professor” – a fifth level AI who operates the place.

Some of Professors points go into providing exposition (Lore/Mission Briefings and Lore/Record Searching, Specialized in providing game master exposition, 12 CP), a Stipend (1200 GP/24,000 Credits/Dollars monthly – enough to maintain an arsenal of personal gear, but major vehicles and stuff will require either salvaging parts from elsewhere or additional supplies/money, 12 CP), and advanced medical care (Immunity to the normal limits of medical treatment, Luck with +8 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted/only to “take 60″ on medical checks, 12 CP). The Professor also has a Displacement Core capable moving itself or others across time and space (4d6 Mana with Reality Editing, Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect / only to move Graymalkin or other willing creatures across time and space with GMO difficulties (24 CP) plus Rite of Chi with +4 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted / only to recharge the Displacement Core, requires four hours per die, 6 CP). Under the usual rules for a Stipend, Graymalkin starts off with a net value of 12,000 GP or 240,000 Credits/Dollars:

Onboard Manufacturing: Equipage, with Purchasing and Returns. Specialized and Corrupted for Reduced Cost: technological items only, minor modifications are possible but relevant designs must be available, may require hours or days depending on the scale of the order (6 CP). Onboard systems and minor asteroid mining operations provide the equivalent of a Stipend of 1200 GP or 24,000 Dollars / Credits per month to work with. The armories and stores thus start off with a net value of 12,000 GP or 240,000 Dollars / Credits – enough to keep even Cable thinking that he has enough guns.

Reconstruction: Shapeshift with Elemental Forms and Variants, Specialized / only to take on station forms suited to the environment and modify it’s internal layout (6 CP). Graymalkin is usually a space station, but it can be a floating island, a massive aerial platform, or an installation, and can add, remove, or modify it’s rooms and layout pretty much at will. Given that changing to an appropriate form covers all the environmental stuff, positioning thrusters, and similar details, we’re basically only interested in the stuff that’s relevant to characters working there or breaking in.

Cloaking: Specialized for Increased Effect (Graymalkin simply blends into it’s environment, and so can take the form of a massive orbiting base without attracting global attention) / this blurring effect does not work against observers who are reasonably nearby. A ship which comes within a thousand miles or so will – if looking – be able to detect the presence of Graymalkin and its cargo or occupants fairly readily (6 CP).

Physical Structure: Note that the various Rooms are considered Specialized for half cost; they don’t yield downtime earnings; they simply provide facilities for the characters/crew. Thanks to Graymalkins shapeshifting abilities, the various rooms adjust as needed.

  • Airlock (Drawbridge, 160 GP).
  • Armory (Two, 390 GP). There are plenty of guns, armor, and station-defense missiles available.
  • Bar (125 GP),
  • Bath (65 GP),
  • Bedrooms (Four, 600 GP),
  • Bridge (Guard Post, 160 GP), Actually Professor pretty much runs the place, but there are some relatively clunky manual controls here if anyone wants to use them.
  • Cells (Two, 180 GP). These are reasonably restraining, but any serious metahuman will require additional measures.
  • Cerametal Plating (Hardness 30 hull and external doors, 2500 GP).
  • Chaff Launcher (100 GP).
  • Common Room (150 GP).
  • Communications: Multichannel Digital Broadcast and Reception System (150 GP)
  • Damage Control System (Medium, repairs 3d10 with DC 15 Expertise (Technology) check, 750 GP)
  • Danger Room (Dojo, 155 GP) What with internal shapeshifting, this provides the usual highly-realistic combat simulations – and is reinforced with the cerametal plating just in case.
  • Dock (160 GP). Depending on Graymalkin’s current form thse may be spacedocks, facilities for planes or boats, or whatever.
  • Galley (Kitchen, 80 GP). Actually most food and drinks are obtained via “Purchasing”, but some people do like to do their own cooking.
  • Hull / Defensive Walls (270 HP per 10 x 10 section, 1560 GP)
  • Hydroponics (Two Greenhouses, 300 GP).
  • Instruments: Class II Starship Sensor Array (750 GP)
  • Laboratories (Two, 390 GP), Thanks to Shapeshifting, these will work for almost any relevant skill.
  • Laundry (60 GP)
  • Lodging (215 GP). Crew / Agent quarters.
  • Medical Bay (Infirmary, 185 GP).
  • Meditation Room (Sanctum, 95 GP).
  • Multimedia Library (230 GP). In a modern setting this is a general +2 to relevant skills as well as an entertainment center.
  • Observation Dome (220 GP). The Professor has something of a hobby in astronomy. Watch out if he asks you to deliver a package; by now it may be his fourth or fifth pass through any specific year, and he occasionally meddles by mail.
  • Office (60 GP).
  • Portal Generator (Escape Route, 180 GP). It’s hard to say where you’ll wind up if you use this, but Graymalkin DOES use a gate-generating system as it’s main drive. Wherever you wind up is usually better than being aboard a failing space station though.
  • Sitting Room (240 GP). The common areas are pretty nice.
  • Storage (x4, 240 GP).
  • Trophy Room (125 GP)
  • Vault (150 GP).
  • War Room (150 GP).
  • Water Recycling (Reservoir System, 200 GP).
  • Weaponry: Missile Launchers (Four, 400 GP)
  • Workshops (Three, 540 GP). Thanks to Shapeshifting, these will work for almost any relevant skill.

Graymalkin has its limitations, but it’s still a base of operations capable of traversing space, time, and dimension and supporting a small rebellion anywhere it goes. That’s a pretty good base for almost any group.

Basics:

  • BAB: +6, Corrupted/Does not provide iterative attacks (24 CP).
  • Hit Dice: 8 (L1d8, 4 CP) +32 (L2-8d6, 14 CP) +24 (Ring of Oak) +60 (Con Mod x 12) +96 (Str Mod x 12) = 220. Mutants & Masterminds: Toughness 16.
  • Saving Throws:
    • Fortitude +4 (Purchased, 12 CP) +5 (Con) +4 (Res) = +13
    • Reflex +1 (Purchased, 3 CP) +2 (Eq) +4 (Res) +6 (Dex) = +13
    • Will +4 (Purchased, 12 CP) +5 (Wis) +4 (Res) = +13
  • Proficiencies: Proficient with all Simple, Martial, and Exotic Weapons (15 CP).
  • Armor Class: 10 (Base) +10 (Armor) +5 (Nat) +6 (Dex) = 31 (32 in Melee).
  • Attacks
    • Melee: +15 (+6 BAB +8 Str +1 Martial Art), Damage 1d4+8 (Basic), 2d8+8 (Concussion Fist) or 2d8+8 Slashing (Extruded Blade). (Mutants & Masterminds: Basic +8, Concussion Fist or Blade +11)
    • Ranged: +12 (+6 BAB +6 Dex), Damage varies. Cable may be equipped with virtually anything from the d20 future books with the option to maximize the damage. In most cases, 3d8 to 3d12, with missile launchers inflicting up to 8d6. (Mutants & Masterminds: generally +7 to +13).

Overall Point Costs:

  • Four-Color Package: 24 CP
  • Skill Boosts: 43 CP
  • Skill Points: 24 CP
  • Messanic Traits: 24 CP
  • Paradoxical Existence: 23 CP
  • Minor Powers: 50 CP
  • BAB: 24 CP
  • Hit Dice: 18 CP
  • Saves: 27 CP
  • Proficiencies: 15 CP

This comes to a total of 272 CP.

Available Character Points: 216 (Level Eight Base) +10 (Disadvantages: History, Accursed (with unstable reality), Hunted (various enemies), Obligations (Destroy Apocalypse) + 16 (Duties to the Askani) +30 (Human, L1, L3, L5, and L7 Bonus Feats) = 272 CP

Remaining Details:

  • Minor Four-Color Abilities: Stabilize (Cable always stabilizes when dying) and Air Bubble (Cable can hold his breath an unreasonably long time).
  • As an eighth level character, Cable can carry around 33,000 GP – or 660,000 credits or dollars – worth of gear.
    • Feet: Great Big Boots (Vanguard Treads, 3100 GP): Cable ignores difficult or slippery terrain and gets +8 to resist Bull Rushes and +4 to resist grappling attempts to move him into another square.
    • Tool Belt: Travelers Anytool (250 GP).
    • Advanced Medical Pouch (Slotless Healing Belt, 1500 GP)
    • Regeneration Stimulator (Rod of Bodily Restoration, 3100 GP).
  • That leaves 25,000 GP – or 500,000 Credits / Dollars – worth of gear. In general, that’s enough to let him carry all the guns, explosives, missile launchers, and minor military gear (as a casual time traveler, he’s free to shop at any progress level) that he could possibly want – and given that he doesn’t use external armor, doesn’t usually bother with a vehicle when he can “Bodyslide” (Teleport), and doesn’t need a lot else except clothes… Cable has no reason NOT to carry a small mountain of weaponry.

The usual rule for d20 is that levels 1-2 are for normal people, level three is for highly-trained experts, elite military types, brilliant scientists, and so on. levels four and five are for pulp heroes, levels 6-10 are for superheroes, levels 11-15 are for demigods, and level 16+ is for classical gods – but throwing the Superheroic World Template (free mana for everyone, every round!) into play upgrades everything by at least one rank – putting Cable into the high-end superhero/minor god range.

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Eclipsing Sunspot

Roberto da Costa was a handsome rich kid and occasionally successful womanizer at fourteen (he may well, for example, have a few half-Asgardian kids that he doesn’t know about). Brash and more impulsive than was good for someone who was tough but not armor-plated, he was a reliable, if somewhat sarcastic, friend – but was mostly distinguished from any of a thousand other good-looking super-strong types by his limitations. HIS special abilities were solar powered and ran out pretty quickly in the dark and he was just tough enough to avoid injuring himself with his own strength – and even that was only while he was powered up.

Bobby originally absorbed solar energy and used it to boost his strength and durability as well as to swiftly recover from simple injuries and to throw off the effects of Selene’s life-draining touch (and even to stun her with the energy overload). Given that be absorbed light and heat, he seemed to be fairly resistant to such effects as well. Later (and after very large power boost from Gideon’s pointless experiments on him) he learned to use his powers for flight and projecting energy blasts (Black ones. Which makes little sense even by comic book standards but does look neat). His evil twin “Reignfire” pulled the standard comic-book routine about “imagination in using your abilities is far more important than years of practice!” (Given that we’re not overrun with rock stars and super martial artist kids I’d say it’s not, but comics) and Roberto soon learned to create rains of fire, give people heat stroke or hypothermia, absorb lasers and gamma rays, and survive in space. He also seems to have become much tougher (possibly at the expense of his flight, blasting, and more subtle powers – although they may be stronger than ever but cause him to age when he uses them).

During his early days Bobby ran out of power quickly, but his ability to absorb and store power grew with time and experience – and was then super-charged by Gideon’s experiments. Currently, given that he can now absorb ambient heat energy for power, running out of energy is no longer a concern barring truly exceptional circumstances.

Socially, according to the Marvel Wiki, he’s also been the Black Rook, Black King, and Lord Imperial of the Hellfire Club, a leader in the X-Corporation, bought out A.I.M., became it’s Supreme Leader, and turned it into a legitimate organization, funded and led an Avengers team, joined forces with US Intelligence, gone independent again, and continues to control massive global business interests. That’s blatantly in the “Multi-Billionaire” range, which is doing pretty well for someone who’s inheritance was in the “Millions” range. In any case, “Bobby” really hasn’t changed his actual personality or behavior patterns very much. Why should he? Doing what he does has worked out fairly well for him up until now.

We’ll be comparing to THIS build, but that seems to leave out a lot – rather like the build for Mirage left out most of her abilities as a Valkyrie so as to fit her into “power level ten”. Ergo, I’ll mostly be using the attribute estimates, but will be adding in some stuff from his Wiki entries.

Four Color Package (24 CP):

  • This includes Superheroic Physics, Superheroic Durability, Superheroic Build, Rapid Recovery, Minor Conventions (Ready for Inspection, Comics Code, It’s Sufficient, Heroic Will, Heroic Rally, Coincidental Catch, Heroic Health, and a Minor Benefit (see below).

Pathfinder Package Deal (Free).

Pathfinder Human (Free)

Basic Attributes: Str 14 (+2 Enh = 16, 32 when powered up, up to 48 when “surging”), Int 13, Wis 12, Con 14 (+2 Human +2 Enh = 18), Dex 14 (+1 Level +2 Enh) = 17, Cha 14 (+2 Enh = 16). (Pathfinder 25 Point Buy).

Mutant Powers:

  • Energy Absorption: Hysteria (Mutant Powers). With Extended, Warding, and Mighty, Specialized and Corrupted for Reduced Cost / must be exposed to a sudden surge or great amount of heat or solar energy (in other words, GMO) (8 CP).
  • Solar Strength: Mana-Powered Berserker with Controlled, Odinpower, Odinmight, and Enduring (21 CP): +16 Str, reduce all Stun damage taken by 4 points (a specialized increase to Damage Reduction).
  • Solar Vitality: Mana Powered Grant of Aid, Specialized for Reduced Cost and Corrupted for Increased Effect (may substitute for eating and drinking) / May only be used three times in any one-hour period, and no more than seven times per day in total (3 CP).
  • Solar Vigor: Immunity to Fatigue and Exhaustion (Common, Minor, Minor, Specialized/powered by Mana, 2 CP).
  • Solar Powers / Adept: Charisma-Based Solar and Anti-Solar Rune Magic Casting and Mastery (6 CP) plus Fast Learner, Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect only to keep Rune Magic Adept skills and the Sunfire Style Martial Art maxed out (6 CP), Eldritch (Even his solar effects are generally black, 0 CP), Augmented Bonus (Add Con Mod to Cha Mod for Skill Purposes, Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect / only for Rune Magic, only for Solar and Anti-Solar Rune Magic, 6 CP). Net Rune Magic and Sunfire Style Skills: +10 (Purchased) +3 (Charisma) +12 (Augmented) = +25 (Caster Level 12, Effects of up to Level Six, 13 Martial Techniques).
    • Sunfire Style Techniques Known (with solar bolts): +3 Attack, +2 Defenses, Prone Combat, Versatility, Rapid Shot, Sunder, Inner Strength x2, Ki Focus (+4 Constitution), and Healing Hand.
  • Energy Resistances: Opportunist: May immediately draw Mana and “cast” Fire / Radiation / Cold Resistance / Immunity effects when exposed to an appropriate attack or environmental hazard without it counting as an action, Specialized / only on himself (3 CP).
    • The “Draw Mana” part is pretty cheesy – but this is really just a way of noting “he automatically casts appropriate resistance effects every hour or two”, so it makes no real difference.
  • Solar Metabolism: Innate Enchantment: All effects Spell Level 1 x Caster Level One x Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.7 Personal Only (If applicable). 11,100 GP net value (12 CP).
    • Boosted Attributes: +2 Enhancement Bonuses to Str, Con, Dex, and Cha (5600 GP).
    • Immortal Vigor I: +(12 + 2 x Con Mod) HP (1400 GP).
    • Deep Breath: The user need not breathe. In combination with enhanced toughness this will allow survival in space for a considerable time. (2000 GP as it is already personal-only)
    • The Party Never Ends (Level Zero): The user may indulge in intoxicants without consequences, has immense sexual stamina, and may otherwise party insatiably (700 GP).
    • Force Shield I : +4 Shield Bonus to AC (1400 GP).

Skills:

  • Skill Boosters: Upgrade Human Fast Learner to 2 SP/Level (3 CP), Advanced, Improved, Augmented Bonus (Diligent Learner; Add (Con Mod) to (Int Mod) for Skill Purposes, Specialized / only adds to skill points for levels 1-5 (6 CP), +1 Int for Skill Purposes (6 CP). Adept (Expertise (Business), Expertise (Pop Culture), Networking (a Shadowed Galaxy skill) and Persuasion, 6 CP).
  • Available Skill Points: 16 (Int) + 16 (Fast Learner) + 32 (Diligent Learner) +4 (Purchased, 4 CP) = 68 SP.
  • Skills: Acrobatics 8 (+2 Sy +3 Dex = +13), Athletics 6 (+4 Str = +10, +18 when boosting Str), Deception 3 +3 Cha = +6), Expertise (Business) 10* (+2 Int = +12), Expertise (Culture) 10* (+2 Int = +12), Insight 5 (+1 Wis = +6), Intimidation 4 (+3 Cha = +7), Martial Art (Capoeira) 10 (+3 Dex = +13), Networking 10* (+3 Cha = +13), Perception 3 (+1 Wis +5 Eq = +9), Persuasion 10* (+3 Cha = +13), Speak Language 2 (English, Spanish, Latin, Portuguese, and As’kani), and Vehicles 2 (+3 Dex = +5)
    • *Half cost due to Adept.
  • +3 Specialties: Soccer (usually used with Athletics or Acrobatics to play and Expertise/Pop Culture to know the rules and plays) (1 SP), Networking (South American Businesses, 1 SP), Deception (tricking people who find him attractive, 1 SP) and Persuasion (persuading people who find him attractive, 1 SP), Expertise (Business) (Takeovers, 1 SP), Athletics (Recreational, 1 SP. Yes, this includes sex),
  • Unarmed Techniques Known: Defenses +2, Synergy (Acrobatics), Improved Grapple (No AOO, +4 to Grapple Checks, 6 CP)), Fast Grab (may initiate a Grapple with a normal melee attack (6 CP), Improved Critical, and Whirlwind Attack..

Given that Roberto has trained with Wolverine and the X-Men, Captain America, the Black Panther, Daredevil, and the Avengers, and done reasonably well, he’s probably pretty good at the unarmed combat thing.

Basics:

  • BAB +6 BAB (Corrupted, does not contribute to iterative attacks, 24 CP)
  • Hit Dice: 12 (L1d12, 8 CP) +32 (L2-7d8, 24 CP) +36 (Con Mod x 9) +12 (Immortal Vigor) = 92 (Mutants & Masterminds: Toughness 11, 12 with Costume, +1 when Str Boost in use.
  • Saving Throws: +3 Fort (9 CP), +2 Ref (6 CP), +2 Will (6 CP). All +2 Resistance, net Fort +9, Ref +7, Will +5.
  • Proficiencies: Proficient with all Simple Weapons (3 CP).
  • Armor Class: 10 (Base) +4 (Dex) +4 (Armor) +4 (Shield) +2 (Martial Art) = 24.
  • Attacks
    • Unarmed: +11 or +18 (+6 BAB +4 or +11 Str +1 Magic), 1d4+5 or 1d4+12, in either case +1d6 versus robots, constructs, etc (Mutants & Masterminds 6 or 13, 8 / 15 versus robots, including Sentinels). Crit 19-20/x2, Improved Grapple, Fast Grab, and Whirlwind Attack, Magic and Adamantine.
    • Solar Blasts: +12 (+6 BAB +3 Martial Art +3 Dex), usually 12d6 (Mutants ( Masterminds 12). Versatile, Rapid Shot (may use two lower-level bolts), Sunder (may target small objects carried by others without penalty). Note that his solar powers can be greatly augmented if he has enough energy to channel.

Minor Items:

  • Expertise (May trade AC and Attack Bonus, and Attack Bonus and Effect, 12 CP). It’s worth noting that, in Eclipse, those work both ways. You can trade AC for Attack Bonuses – or Attack Bonuses for AC. That’s quite handy when you want to fight defensively.
  • Major Privilege (Extreme Wealth, 6 CP).
  • Improved Initiative +4 (6 CP).
  • Luck with +4 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted/only usable when making a cooperative roll in support of a teammate (4 CP).
  • Luck with +4 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted/only for Saving Throws (4 CP).
  • Double Enthusiast, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect / only for buying Privileges, Contacts, and Favors (Taken twice, for 12 CP worth of such things (12 CP).
  • Immunity / the time required to assign Enthusiast Points (Common, Minor, Great, Specialized and Corrupted / powered by Mana, only usable when points are currently unassigned – generally once per adventure. 4 CP).
    • In effect, Roberto can simply pull out contacts, favors, and privileges over the course of an adventure until he’s used 12 CP worth of such things – at which point his locally-available resources are exhausted for the moment, and any further attempts will take a while.
  • Minor Privilege: Access to super-technology equivalent to minor magical devices (3 CP).

Roberto is rich, and powerful, and has connections with multiple governments, intelligence agencies, criminal organizations, numerous superhero and supervillain groups, and more. That would be a LOT of power even without his mutant abilities. You never know what kind of handy connection or favor he’ll pull out when something needs to be done.

Overall Point Costs:

  • Four-Color Package: 24 CP
  • Hysteria: 8 CP
  • Solar Strength: 21 CP
  • Solar Vitality: 3 CP
  • Immunity to Fatigue: 2 CP
  • Solar/Antisolar Powers: 18 CP
  • Fire/Cold Resistance: 3 CP
  • Solar Metabolism: 12 CP
  • Skill Boosters: 21 CP
  • Skill Points: 4 CP
  • BAB: 24 SP
  • Hit Dice: 32 CP
  • Saves: 21 CP
  • Proficiencies: 3 CP
  • Minor Items: 51 CP

For a total of 245 CP

Available Character Points: 192 (Level Seven Base) +30 (Human, L1, L3, L5, and L7 Bonus Feats) +10 (Disadvantages: History, Accursed (the use of his powers is incredibly obvious due to his dark aura), ) +14 (Duties; superhero, businessman) = 246 CP. That leaves 1 CP left over. Buy a skill point or some permanent contacts or something.

Remaining Details:

Minor Four-Color Abilities: Automatically Stabilizes when below zero hit points, Solar Navigation (always knows his current latitude and longitude when exposed to the sun), Mask of Darkness (no one can make out his features when his powers are active).

As a seventh level character with a Major Wealth privilege, Bobby gains personal access to “wealth by level” at level eight – a value of 33,000 GP.

Standard X-Man Equipment Package (13,000 GP):

  • Kevlar Reinforced Costume (“Leather Armor”, but 40 GP and only 5 pounds), Masterwork (+150 GP), +1 (+1000 GP), Amulet of Tears (2300 GP. This can provide up to +36 HP per day. Throwing that into his HP total for the purposes of calculation in M&M provides Toughness 12 normally, 13 when “blasting”. Armor Crystal: a Lesser Iron Ward Diamond (2000 GP). This isn’t a big deal, but every little bit helps.
  • Advanced First Aid Kit / Healing Belt (750 GP).
  • “Pocket Secretary”/Hero Team Comlink: Satellite Smartphone with HUD and hands-free links (250 GP), Smartsearch (As per a Tome of Worldly Memory, 1500 GP), Intelligent (500 GP), Int, Wis, Chr all 10 (0 GP), 30′ senses, uses Message at will (1000 GP). Note that, since smartphones can talk anyway, there is no need to buy speech for it.
  • Reactive Contact Lenses / Raptors Mask (3500 GP).+5 to Spot (Perception), Immunity to being Blinded or Dazzled.
  • Utility Pouch: Keys, LED minilight, multitool, chalk, nylon ties, etc. All the little junk that pops up once in a blue moon (10 GP).

Other Equipment (20,000 GP):

  • Raise his Costume/Armor to +2 (+3000 GP).
  • Crystalfiber Weave: Ring of Adamant Weaponry (6000 GP).
  • Shield Generator: Vest of Resistance +2 (4000 GP).
  • Power Gloves: Body Wrap Of Mighty Strikes +1 (3000 GP) with a Least Demolition Crystal (1000 GP, +1d6 damage versus constructs, robots, etc).
  • That leaves 3000 GP – or about 60,000 Credits – worth of gear. Basically, if he wants to bring out some normal equipment he can easily afford it.

This is actually horribly inefficient compared to buying some technology – but is passive and a lot less trouble to keep track of.

As befits someone who’s had an enormous power boost, Sunspot is indeed a powerhouse – and likely to be a central pillar of any team he’s part of unless it’s got an Avengers-style lineup of characters like Thor, Iron Man, The Vision, Sersi, Quasar, Hyperion, the Scarlet Witch, and the Hulk. He’s strong, tough, fast, has versatile energy-manipulating powers, flight, wealth, resources, allies, invulnerability to several common energy types, and connections. Sure, other characters are likely to edge him out in particular fields, and he’s no mentalist or great detective – but there’s almost always SOMETHING useful he can be doing.

Eclipsing Warlock

Warlock illustrates a major problem in character conversions. Open-ended powers are fairly common in writing because you don’t have to explain exactly how the powers work to the reader until something comes up – which means that rules and limitations can be added as needed for your plot. In the comics this usually annoys selected readers – the ones who see how a particular ability could easily be used to solve a problem if it wasn’t for the fact that the character with that ability apparently knows nothing about a field that they’re supposed to be an expert in. In reality, this is usually because the writer is NOT an expert in the characters field of study, and so doesn’t know about whatever-it-is – but that does not really work as an in-setting explanation.

In a role-playing game you have to set up all those limitations in advance, know how things work, and be reasonably well aware of the possibilities inherent in any power that you let a character have. That’s why so many RPG’s wind up full of lists of “what this power can do”, and specific spells, and so on. It’s so that the game master has a good idea of what the character can do, rather than having to deal with the players pulling stuff out of nowhere.

Some game masters can handle that, but I’ve seen more than one game collapse when one of the players started asking questions. For example… one Shadowrun game collapsed when the player who happened to be a business major started asking questions about economics. (Just as another went down when a character turned out to have some actual principles). My favorite was the collapse of a Champions game when the question of “How to tell if they’re clones?” came up – and the exercise enthusiast in the group said “Well… we’re working with a team of medical experts. Take a look at the crystals in their bone structure; they develop microfractures under stress,. Those don’t heal because the crystals are inorganic and are formed during bone growth, so comparing them in high and low stress areas will tell you about their age, exercise habits, and a lot more!”

And then the player who read a lot of science magazines chimed in with “And if that doesn’t work we can check…” and gave his own list of tests to try.

Now imagine giving a bunch of college student engineers access to the ability to “mimic any technological device subject only to the technological limitations of a superhero universe.

That’s a bit of a worst-case scenario, but it isn’t pretty is it?

Ergo, this version of Warlock is going to be taking the “list” approach. It’s going to be a pretty generous list, but still a limited one.

THIS version of Warlock builds him as a self-aware construct. Unfortunately, in d20 terms, that is a poor approach. Warlock simply does not have the d20 Construct type. After all, he wasn’t good at attacking, could be stunned, could be subjected to mental effects, death effects, and (exotic) diseases, could heal on his own, could be knocked out or have his attributes drained, was subject to exhaustion, and more. He fed on electricity, and could be recharged through a standard wall socket (although he certainly did not get enough energy that way to actually power most of his tricks). I’ll take the attribute estimates though.

It’s also very hard to say how old he was, but he was apparently “born” with most of his powers. Ergo, most – if not all – of his major abilities are going to be in his technorganic racial template.

Technorganic Entity / Technarch (94 CP / +2 ECL Racial Template or +3 ECL Acquired Template):

  • Racial Attribute Modifiers: Str +2, Con +2 (24 CP).
  • Trick: Transmode Virus. Infecting someone with the Transmode Virus is a throw of the dice; you may get a chance to drain their bioelectric “lifeglow” as they transform – but they might resist the virus, develop an asymptomatic infection (as Douglas Ramsey did), resist the drain or break away before it’s complete (possibly developing their own technorganic powers as S’ym and Nastirih did), and – even if you succeeded – it only put the victims into suspended animation until they got hit with some electricity and woke up with new powers (they may or may not retain their old ones). Given that it is extremely unreliable, and that the results are more or less up to the game master, the circumstances for using this touch-attack trick is simply “when confronted with an organic target that isn’t protected from viruses” (6 CP).
  • Mana Powered Grant of Aid, Corrupted for Increased Effect / substitutes for food and water and can restore fatigue or exhaustion / requires electrical power input. If the source is a Trans-mode Virus victim, that suffices for (1 + their Con Mod) uses. Plants suffice for 1-3 depending on the size, house current suffices for 2 per turn, high voltage stuff up to five (6 CP).
  • Stardrive: Mana Powered Inherent Spell, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect: Only usable out of atmosphere, is extremely fast but does take time, can be followed, and can be detected, blocked, or intercepted along the way. Greater Teleport with a +2 level advantage; you get to look around along the way (6 CP).
  • Amorphous (6 CP). Technarchs basically don’t have a “true form”.
  • Extra Limbs (6 CP).
  • Adept, Specialized for Two Skills Only (Expertise (Computers) and Technolog, 3 CP).
    • +10 to each Adept Skill (10 CP).

Outside of the basic boosts, Warlock could apparently transform his body to emulate virtually any technological device or vehicle – provided, of course, he knew how they worked, that he had sufficient internal resources to keep his core functions online while emulating whatever-it-was, that he had sufficient fine control to emulate the required precision, that his technorganic flesh could emulate the required material properties and structures, that he thought of it, and that the writers wanted it to work.

Really, I suspect that there was a reason that his “vehicle” and “power armor” forms were really just him with a passenger compartment – although the fact that his “mutant power” was pacifism and a desire to be nice was probably a limiting factor too.

Warlocks exact limitations remain pretty much unknown, since his major displays of “power” were 1) competing with the Impossible Man as to who could look more impressive (there was a lot of teleporting during that, but that may well have been the Impossible Mans doing) and 2) trying to stop the Beyonder, upon whom his energy attacks were completely ineffectual.

Now there may have been later character development, but he was dead until fairly recently – so I’m going to assume that what I recall from his original New Mutant days is still close enough. And from what I remember, in actual practice Warlock often turned into (cartoonish) vehicles for his friends to travel in, became power armor for Cypher (apparently providing strength, a direct computer interface, protection, and sensory information), used tendrils of himself as probes, and occasionally smacked people – with getting much bigger and a few energy-weapon options for serious emergencies.

And that was about it as far as emulating technology beyond car-jacks and such went. Really, Warlock acted as if he had a not-especially enormous library of built-in options and simply mixed and matched to suit his current needs. Ergo, that’s what I’m going to give him.

  • Powering Up: Natural Magic(s): Reality Editing and Spell Enhancement, Specialized for Increased Effect and Corrupted for Reduced Cost / only to affect his innate enchantments / technological gear, only to amplify the effects, effects are fixed with each one of his abilities, only gets (Int Mod) boosts per system, effects are low mana cost but of brief duration; in effect (and to avoid assigning and then tracking a wide variety of durations) he simply gets to allo (Con Mod x 3) Booster Points between his various abilities each round (8 CP).
  • Advanced Tech: Innate Enchantment can normally be used to buy the equivalent of mundane equipment – but it’s rarely worth bothering with in fantasy based games. With that 1-to-20 GP-to-Credits conversion ratio and both d20 Modern and Future in play however… mundane equipment is suddenly a LOT more attractive. Still, even superheroes don’t automatically have access to super-technology, so I’m going to treat having access to the d20 Future lists to “buy” stuff from as a an Immunity / normal limits on equipment availability (Very Common, Major, Great (for +4 Tech Levels over the usual PL4 base), Specialized and Corrupted / only for Innate Enchantment purposes, any systems that require ammunition or fuel must have it supplied by normal purchases, 10 CP).

This is actually the first character on the site to use a classical “exploit” – combing through various d20 books to find some rules that were never meant to work together and combining them in a thoroughly abusive fashion. In this case it’s Innate Enchantment, the GP-to-Credits conversion rule, and searching through a pile of d20 Future equipment lists and Cybernetics to get really cheap bonuses. Of course… this is a pacifistic support character in a superhero setting, where many or most problems are solved by fighting. Getting him a lot of cheap high-tech “gear” to use probably isn’t going to unbalance anything very much.

It was somewhat amusing to do it once, but it was terribly time-consuming and I don’t think that I’d care to do it again.

  • Quasi-Magical Functions:
    • Masters Touch (Spell Level One x Caster Level One x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use Activated x.7 Personal Only = 1400 GP), Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect / he has no need for proficiency with any of his built-in technology. Boosts: 1/2/3 grants a +2/3/4 competence bonus with any rolls involved in using a specified item.
    • Boosted Str and Con: +2 Base (2800 GP, Spell Level One x Caster Level One x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use Activated x.7 Personal Only): Boosts: +1/2/3 to raise the bonus for one of the affected attributes to +4/+6/+8.
    • Enlarge (mostly used to become a vehicle. Spell Level One x Caster Level One x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use Activated x.7 Personal Only = 1400 GP): Boosts: +15 Reach, grow an additional size category,
  • Technical Functions:
    • AudioVideo Camera (33 GP): Boosts: Telescopic Pickups, Ultrahigh Resolution, Voice Analysis
    • Blackout Goggles (60 GP). 60′ Darksight. Boosts: 120′ feet, Electromagnetic Field Detection, Frequency Filtration.
    • Boost Armor (DC 18) with Gravlight (+4 DC), Environmental Seal (+4 DC), and Segmented I (+2 DC) : +7 Armor, +5 Max Dex, Armor Penalty 0, Speed +10, +4 Str, +2 Reflex Saves. (1000 GP). Boosts: Extra +6 Str, Extra +5 AC, Extra +2 on Reflex Saves and +20 Ground Movement.
    • Cargo Capacity: 4000 Lbs (5 GP). Boosts: Exotic Environment (Below Freezing, Vacuum, Odd Atmosphere, Etcetera), Provisioning (air, food, water, etc). Suspension (unresisting creatures can be put into suspended animation).Note that, while cargo can easily be accommodated, any actual cargo will still count against the user’s encumbrance.
    • Cellular Interceptor (250 GP). Boosts: Tap Nearby Hardline, Signal Trace, Line Monitoring.
    • Chemical Kit (33 GP, +2): Boosts: Increased Quantity, Medical Synthesis, +10 to Roll.
    • Class-II (Starship) Sensor Array (DC 27, 750 GP): High Resolution Video, Infrared, Electromagnetic Sensors, Radiation Detection, LADAR Detection. DC 15 computer use check to determine location and general nature of those in the area, identify and locate all visible hazards, identify major weapons and defenses, survey and analyze the environment. Boosts: Tracking (can follow other “vehicles”), Orbital Survey (a detailed evaluation of astronomical stars, planets, etc, allowing them to be mapped, various characteristics identified, and their biospheres (if any) to be examined), and Navigation (+10 on relevant checks).
    • Desktop Computer (175 GP). Boosts: Automatic Piloting, +10 to Technology, Personal Backup (in case someone erases some of his memories, or there’s a major trauma he wants to forget).
    • Force Shield (325 CP): DR 10/-, Boosts: Total DR 15/-, Double Energy Resistance, 10′ Radius.
    • Grappling Tether (5 GP): A “Tractor Beam” that locks on to something up to 200 feet away. Boosts: Extreme (Space) Range, Repulsion (Str + 6), 20′ Radius Effect.
    • Hologram/Audio Player/Recorder (10 GP). Boosts: Extreme Scale, Extreme Volume, High Fidelity (can be mistaken for reality, but only requires a DC 15 perception check to spot the illusion at a glance. Any careful inspection reveals it).
    • Hoverpack (45 GP): Flight, 80/Perfect. Boosts: Orbital Launch/Reentry, Supercruise (for long range travel), Submersible.
    • Intellipicks (14 GP): Opens Mechanical Locks and Maglocks (Roll Disable Device at +20), Boosts: Disable Electronic/Computer Locks, Security Scan, Spoof Security Sensors.
    • Microscope (50 GP). Boosts: Diagnostic Scan, Bioanalysis, Materials Analysis.
    • Microtorch (10 GP): Arcwelder/Cutter, 2d10 Touch Attack. Boosts: Double Damage, Taser (Fort Save, DC – Damage + 4 or paralyzed 1d4 +1rounds, can also disrupts gear), Arclight (blinding light in a 60′ cone, DC 16 reflex check to avoid 1d4+1 rounds of blindness when it comes on).
    • Neural Computer Link (450 GP). Computer Use and Research checks become free actions. Boosts: +10 on roll, Wireless Access, Secure Channel.
    • Neural Recorder (25 GP): Can record sensory information and thoughts so others can experience them. Boosts: Transmit Experiences (Short Range), Memory Probe (+5 to Save DC), Psionic Analysis.
    • Portable Environment Generator (14 GP): According to it’s listing, this works under “any conditions”. I’m going to presume that it normally does NOT work deep underwater, in space, in high-radiation zones, and so on. Boosts: Mobile, Severe Environment (toxic atmosphere, high radiation levels, underwater, etc), and Deadly Environment (requires Severe Environment, covers deep water, space conditions, corrosive atmospheres, and so on. It will require further boosts to do things like survive inside a star).
    • Power Backpack (Fusion Generator , 4 GP). Boosts: Power External System (1-3 depending on the external systems scale).
    • Silent Suit (60 GP): +10 to Stealth, Boosts: +15, Chameleon Weave, Simulate Clothing.
    • SmartPhone (5 GP). Boosts: Voice Mask, Spoof Identity, Emergency Beacon.
    • Traveler’s Any-Tool (250 GP) (Universal masterwork tools). Boosts: Powered (Work x5), Automated (Work x 20, requires Powered), and Enhanced (Additional +3 to checks),
    • Universal Communicator (3 GP): Send and receive audio, visual, and digital information. Boosts: Extreme Range, Burst Transmission/Flash Download, and Transmission Editing.
  • Cybrenetics”. Specialized for Half Cost / cannot be “Boosted”. Having these causes him to take 50% more damage from electrical attacks. Moreover, since a creature can only support (Con Mod +1) cybrenetic un-miniaturized “implants” before beginning to acquire negative levels, to survive becoming a technoorganic creature (with three implants that count) a target must have a base Constitution of 12+ or be above first level.
    • Anti-Flare Implants (Miniaturized/does not count against implant limit, 500 GP)
    • Data Archive: All skills are class skills, +4 to Knowledges (375 GP).
    • Luminous Skin (Miniaturized/does not count against implant limit, 2 GP).
    • Neuron Booster I (+2 Int, 38 GP)
    • Subcutaneous Body Armor, Heavy: +8 Natural Armor. DC 25 (225 GP)
    • Twitchfiber I (+2 Dex, Miniaturized/does not count against implant limit, 88 GP).
  • Melee Weaponry:
    • Chainsword: 2d8, Crit 19-20, Slashing (45 GP)
    • Concussion Rod: 2d8, Crit 20/x2 (45 GP)
      • Standard Melee Weapon Boosts: Double Damage, Adamantine, Merciful
  • Ranged Weaponry:
    • Concussion Rifle with Heavy Stun (Fort DC 18) Module: 2d10, every 5 throws back 5 (90 GP)
    • Disintegrator 3d8, Crit 20/x2, Energy, 50′ Increment (250 GP)
    • Variable Charge Pulse Rifle, 3d10, Crit 20/x2, 80 Ft (325 GP)
      • Standard Ranged Weapon Boosts: Double Damage, 20′ Radius, Extreme (Space) Range.
  • Special Weapon:
    • Gravity Snare (45 GP): DC 13 Reflex Save to avoid 1d6 rounds of being unable to move. Escape Artist DC 40 or Str DC 30 to escape. 30′ Range Increment. Boosts: Extreme (Space) Range, 20′ Radius, Antivehicle.

That comes to a total of 11,204 GP and a total Innate Enchantment cost of 12 CP. While 12 CP is the usual limit, that will let him eventually learn to emulate another 296 GP worth of gear – most likely a few weapons that use ammunition (which he will have to stock.) or some special gadgets such as a DNA sequencer or some such.

Template Disadvantage: Xenophobia. Technorganic Creatures begin speaking only their own, racial, language and are generally unsure that any organic creature can be classified as being truly intelligent (-3 CP).

That comes out to a total of 94 CP – a +2 ECL race.

So…

Warlock / Douglock / Current Magus of the Technarchy

Level Four Stellar Explorer, +2 ECL Race (Technarch) = ECL 6.

  • Superheroic World Template (gets Mana equal to his (Con Mod) to use each round, free).
  • Four-Color Package (24 CP). This includes Superheroic Physics, Superheroic Durability, Superheroic Build, Rapid Recovery, Minor Conventions (Ready for Inspection, Comics Code, It’s Sufficient, Heroic Will, Heroic Rally, Coincidental Catch, Heroic Health, and a some Minor Benefits (in his case three cantrip effects, see below).
  • Pathfinder Package Deal (+2 to Int)
  • Technarch Racial Template (Above): +2 ECL.

Basic Attributes: Str 14 (+4 Eq +2 Racial +2 Enh = 22), Int 14 (+2 Racial +2 Eq = 18), Wis 12, Con 16 (+2 Race +2 Enh = 20), Dex 14 (+2 Eq +1 Level = 17), Cha 8

All of Warlock’s special abilities are inherent in his racial template and the four-color template.

Available Skill Points: (Int Mod x 7, free) = 28 SP.

Skills: Expertise (Computers) 4 (+10 Race, usually +10 Eq), Investigation 2, Perception 5, Speak Language (English, 1), Stealth 1 (+10 Eq), and Technology 1 (+10 Race) = 14 SP. That leaves him with 14 unspent skill points. A small Martial Art with Whirlwind Attack and Improved Grapple might be in order – he did once grab a bunch of the Avengers at one time – but it was with surprise, so it might not count.

Basics:

  • BAB +2, Corrupted / does not contribute to iterative attacks (8 CP).
  • Hit Dice: 20 (L1, d20, 16 CP) + 8 (L1, 2d4, 16 CP) + 16 (L2-4, d8’s, 12 CP) + (Con Mod x 6) = 62 HP (plus Force Field) (Mutants and Masterminds Toughness +9. +12 with Force Field).
  • Saving Throws:
    • Fortitude +4 (12 CP) +5 (Con) +1 (Res) = +10
    • Reflex +4 (12 CP) +3 (Dex) +2 (Eq) +1 (Res) = +10
    • Will +6 (18 CP) +1 (Wis) +1 (Res) = +8
  • Proficiencies: None. His species does not normally use external equipment.
  • Armor Class: 10 (Base) +7 (Armor) +8 (Natural) +3 (Dex) = 28
  • Attacks:
    • Melee +8 (+2 BAB +6 Str, possible competence bonus or more Str), Damage Transmode Virus or by weapon, current Size, and current Str modifiers (Mutants and Masterminds, anything up to +12 damage, can be armor-piercing)
    • Ranged +5 (+2 BAB +3 Dex, plus possible competence bonus)

Minor Items

  • Minor Favors: The X-Groups (3 CP).
  • Extraordinary Returning: Warlock can return from having his “lifeglow” drained, or even from being disintegrated – but it takes him being infused with a lot of lifeglow to do it quickly; most of the time it will take months or years (12 CP).
  • Immunity/Seduction (Uncommon, Minor, Major) (3 CP). Being fundamentally sexless will do this for you.

Point Costs:

  • Four-Color Package: 24 CP
  • BAB: 8 CP
  • Hit Dice: 44 CP
  • Saves: 42 CP
  • Minor Items: 18 CP

Total: 136 CP

Available Character Points: 120 (Level Four Base) +10 (Disadvantages: History, Enemies, Broke and Pacifist) +12 (Restrictions: non-unique external Armor, Weapons, and Equipment) +12 (L1 and L3 Feats) = 154 CP.

That leaves 18 CP left over – enough for three feats. Since I haven’t seen the character since his return, I’ll just leave those to cover anything that I’ve left out.

Finishing Touches:

  • Warlocks minor four-color powers are Resistance (+1 Resistance Bonus on Saving Throws), Know Direction (given his sensors and navigational abilities being able to sense magnetic north is not too important, but he can), and Stabilize (Karma automatically stabilizes if knocked below zero hit points).
  • Wealth By Level: Warlock is theoretically entitled to 2000 GP worth of stuff after applying his “broke” disadvantage – but he really has nothing much to spend it on anyway. He’s basically a living space probe. What is he going to spend money on? Bribing Captain Kirk to stop spouting cheesy contradictions at him to try and make him malfunction?
    • He might or might not carry the standard X-Man “First Aid Kit”, but he certainly does not wear the usual uniform, even if he often fakes it.

I initially considered buying Warlock Immunity / Effects Targeting Normal Life Processes (Very Common, Severe, Great, Specialized / can be affected by electronics-disrupting powers as if they were targeting his metabolism, can be “hacked” with appropriate abilities, still subject to exotic “poisons” and “diseases” targeting technorganic creatures, requires small quantities fo raw materials (and a fair amount of electrical energy) on a regular basis, and so on. Notably, however, he does not need life support in space (18 CP). However, given his environmental seal and other abilities… he does not really need it.

Warlock… is potentially very dangerous, but the pacifism pretty effectively limits that – so for the most part he serves as transportation and to provide utility powers. There’s nothing wrong with that of course, but it’s not the most exciting role to actually play. Personally I’d tend to speculate on a racial history AS an evolution of a crashed technorganic starship – it would certainly seem to fit, right down to his preference for having a “pilot” – but there’s really no way to be sure.

Eclipsing Karma

Karma was a war refugee, abuse victim, caretaker for her younger siblings, and – on a loose “team” of kids – the “adult” one. She had the ability to possess other people, although it put her into a trance at first, She could apparently drain their life energy too, although this was only mentioned in her backstory, and never happened again. Since it was with a sibling, presumably something special was going on. Later she developed the ability to keep functioning to some degree while possessing people and even to possess a lot of people at once. She apparently has some secondary telepathic powers and psionic resistance, but has never really developed those abilities.

Unfortunately, that made her a boring, BORING, character. She was the controlled adult one, the one who was trying to forget a past that was full of misery instead of searching enemies (OK, she had a crimelord uncle, and so what? She’s part of a superhero team) and thus was avoided when it came up, and she had a power that mostly took her out of action and either won (opponent controlled!) or failed (they resist!) in a single moment despite the writers occasional attempts to add some suspense with “psychic struggles” to gain or maintain control, defensive devices that other characters had to remove, and “I cannot hold him long!”.

So, like most characters with “win or useless” powers, Karma makes occasional appearances, but never stays in any given book for long. She was even, in about the most predictable “twist” in the history of comics, possessed herself for a considerable period. Who could EVER have guessed that a character called “Karma” who possessed people would wind up getting possessed?

According to THIS Mutants & Masterminds build Karma has Str 14, Int 16, Wis 16, Con 16, Dex 13, and Cha 10. I’m going to give her Str 10 instead, simply because she shows no signs at all of being stronger than average. (I’m not sure that being handed a job as a secretary so that she could support her younger siblings while studying at Xavier’s justifies Int 16 either, but eh…).

  • Superheroic World Template (gets Mana equal to her (Con Mod) to use each round, free).
  • Four Color Package (24 CP). This includes Superheroic Physics, Superheroic Durability, Superheroic Build, Rapid Recovery, Minor Conventions (Ready for Inspection, Comics Code, It’s Sufficient, Heroic Will, Heroic Rally, Coincidental Catch, Heroic Health, and a some Minor Benefits (in her case three cantrip effects, see below).
  • Pathfinder Package Deal (Free).
  • Pathfinder Human (Free)

Basic Attributes: Str 10, Int 16 (this covers her languages), Wis 14 (+2 Enh +2 Human = 18), Con 16, Dex 12 (+1 Level = 13), and Cha 10 (+2 Enh = +12). Pathfinder 25 Point Buy.

Innate Enchantment: All Spell Level One-Half or One x Caster Level One x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x .7 Personal Only (when applicable). 8000 GP Value = 9 CP.

  • Detect Psionics: (1000 GP)
  • Enhanced Attribute: +2 Wis (1400 GP).
  • Enhanced Attribute: +2 Cha (1400 GP).
  • Akhasic Library (Skill Mastery): +3 Competence Bonus on Int-Based Skills (1400 GP).
  • Alertness (Skill Mastery): +3 Competence Bonus on Wis-Based Skills (1400 GP).
  • Force Shield I: +4 Shield Bonus to AC (1400 GP).

There’s really not that much justification for this – and none at all for the Force Shield – but some skill bonuses aren’t really a big deal either and she needs SOMETHING to give her a little protection while she stands around in a trance. It may not be a required secondary power, but it comes close.

Her primary mutant power is also pretty easy:

  • Mana Powered Inherent Spell (Psionic Power) I: Psychic Bolt (Up to (Wis Mod) targets within medium range take 4d6 damage, save for nonlethal damage. User may allow an automatic save (she usually does, effectively making this “take 4d6 nonlethal”)) (6 CP).
  • Mana Powered Inherent Spell (Psionic Power) II: Dominate, Corrupted for Increased Effect (user may spend up to 3 Mana/12 Power on Augmentations regardless of level) / user is subject to sensory feedback from those controlled; if they are hurt the user must save or be dazed, if they are killed the user suffers 1d4 damage to a random attribute) (6 CP).
  • Mana Powered Inherent Spell (Psionic Power III): Tower Of Iron Will (6 CP).

There’s not a lot of justification for this either, but there is a certain amount of “able to resist other telepaths” there, so why not?

  • 3d6 Mana, Specialized for Reduced Cost / only to power “Psychic” Effects (9 CP).

Basically, a small reserve so that she can augment her Dominate effects.

  • Rite of Chi with +4 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted / only to refill the Mana pool, above, maximum of 1d6 per hour (4 CP).

Skill Points: Upgrade Human Fast Learner to +2 SP/Level (3 CP). Plus Fast Learner, Specialized in Skills for +2 SP/Level (6 CP). Adept (Acrobatics, Athletics, Insight, and An Vinh Martial Art are purchased at half cost (6 CP). That’s 28 SP at Level One, +7 SP per Additional Level = 49 SP at Level Four.

  • Skills: Acrobatics 7* (+8), Athletics 7* (+7), Deception 4 (+5), Expertise (History) 2 (+8), Expertise (Hunting) 4 (+10), Expertise (Teaching) 4 (+10), Expertise (Philosophy/Theology) 4 (+10), Expertise (Treatment/Medicine) 2 (+8), Insight 7* (+14), Investigation 2 (+8), Martial Art (An Vinh, a wisdom-based empty-hand style 7* (+14), Perception 4 (+10), Persuasion 2 (+3), Rune Magic (Telepathy, Wis Based, Mastery and Casting 2 (+8), for telepathic effects of up to second level at caster level four, 4), and Stealth 3 (+6) = 49 SP.
  • An Vinh Techniques (7): Attack +3, Strike, Blinding Strike, Weapon Kata (Longsword), Expertise (may trade AC for Attack and Vice-Versa).

Basics:

  • BAB: +3 BAB (Corrupted, does not contribute to iterative attacks, 12 CP), Canny Strike (Finesse, 6 CP). Uses (Wis Mod) in place of (Str Mod) in melee combat.
  • Hit Dice: 6 (L1d6, 2 CP) +9 (L2-4d4) +12 (Con Mod x 4) = 27 (Mutants & Masterminds: Toughness 6, 9 with Costume).
  • Saving Throws: +2 Fort (6 CP), +2 Ref (6 CP), +5 Will (15 CP). All get +1 Resistance. Net Totals: Fort +6, Ref +5, Will +10.
  • Proficiencies: Proficient with all Simple and Martial Weapons (9 CP).
  • Armor Class: 10 (Base) +3 (Dex) +3 (Armor) +4 (Shield) = 20. May transfer up to +5 from Attacks when unarmed or fighting with a longsword.
  • Attacks
    • Unarmed +3 (BAB) +4 (Wis) +3 (M. Art) = +10, Dam 1d4 (Base) +4 (Wis) (Mutants and Masterminds, Damage 5, Improved Critical).
    • Longsword: +3 (BAB) +4 (Wis) +3 (M. Art) = +10, Dam 1d8+4 (Wis) with Longsword. (Mutants and Masterminds, Damage 7, Improved Critical).
    • Psychic Bolts: Three targets, 4d6, save for nonlethal. (Mutants and Masterminds, Affliction 7).

Minor Items

  • Minor Favors: The X-Groups (3 CP).
  • Privilege: Gets her X-Man outfit for free, Corrupted/Fixed Benefit (2 CP).
  • Immunity/The Minimum Level Requirement for Controlled Use Of Magic (Very Common, Major, Major, Specialized and Corrupted / only for the use of Innate Spells (Powers), only for the use of the three specific innate spells which make up her talent (5 CP). This lets her keep her mutant talent under control as if she was six levels higher than she actually is – allowing her to use her three effects without fear of backlash or failure.

Point Costs:

  • Four-Color Package: 24 CP
  • Innate Enchantment: 9 CP
  • Inherent Powers: 18 CP
  • Mana Reserve: 13 CP
  • Skills: 15 CP
  • BAB: 18 CP
  • Hit Dice: 2 CP
  • Saving Throws: 27 CP
  • Proficiencies: 9 CP
  • Minor Items: 10 CP

Total Cost: 137 CP.

Available Character Points: 120 (Level Four Base) +10 (Disadvantages, History, Prejudice (Mutant Lesbian Immigrant), Enemy) +8 (Duties to Family) = 138 CP.

That leaves her with one extra character point. Go ahead and stick it into some skill she ought to be familiar with.

Finishing Touches:

  • Minor Four-Color Powers: Resistance (+1 Resistance Bonus on Saving Throws), Know Direction (After all that desert wandering, it’s hard to get Karma lost), and Stabilize (Karma automatically stabilizes if knocked below zero hit points).
  • Wealth By Level: 6000 GP:
    • Gifts of the Norns: Everlasting Rations (350 GP), Everfull Mug (200 GP), Travelers Cloak (1200 GP), Chronocharm of the Horizon Walker (Half move as a swift action 1/Day, 500 GP), Chronocharm of the Celestial Wanderer (Reroll a perception check 1/day, 500 GP ), Chronocharm of the Grand Master (+5 AC versus as ranged attack as an immediate action 1/Day, 500 GP), Boots of Landing (Always land on feat, reduce falling damage by 2d6, 500 GP). That leaves 2250 GP for other stuff.

There’s not a lot of justification for her having much of any non-standard gear along – but I’m going to assume that the Norns still favor her a bit and there’s nothing there that would be unusual for an unequipped superhero to do…

Standard X-Man Equipment

  • Kevlar Reinforced Costume (“Leather Armor”, but 40 GP and only 5 pounds), Masterwork (+150 GP), +1 (+1000 GP), Amulet of Tears (2300 GP. This can provide up to +36 HP per day. Armor Crystal: a Lesser Iron Ward Diamond (2000 GP). This isn’t a big deal, but every little bit helps.
  • Advanced First Aid Kit / Healing Belt (750 GP).
  • “Pocket Secretary”/Hero Team Comlink: Satellite Smartphone with HUD and hands-free links (250 GP), Smartsearch (As per a Tome of Worldly Memory, 1500 GP), Intelligent (500 GP), Int, Wis, Chr all 10 (0 GP), 30′ senses, uses Message at will (1000 GP). Note that, since smartphones can talk anyway, there is no need to buy speech for it.
  • Reactive Contact Lenses / Raptors Mask (3500 GP).+5 to Spot (Perception), Immunity to being Blinded or Dazzled.
  • Utility Pouch: Keys, LED minilight, multitool, chalk, nylon ties, etc. All the little junk that pops up once in a blue moon (10 GP).

 

Karma is very sad. This version has had a substantial upgrade on her skills, has been given a defensive and secondary offensive aspect to her power, can actually use her low-grade telepathy, knows how to use weapons, and now… makes a very good secretary for a superhero group and a passable investigator. Her basic flaw, however, remains exactly the same; she’s got a binary win / fail power with boring effects and no real action to it and is quite fragile. It’s that lack of OPTIONS that allows her to be built as a mere level four character. She’s got one trick. It’s a fairly powerful trick mind you, but her focus is still extremely narrow.

Secondarily, of course, she hasn’t really been a regular character anywhere and her appearances have been few and far between. Ergo, she hasn’t gone up in level all that much (like it or not, “leveling up” is a fairly good approximation of character development – they gradually overcome old limitations, develop new skills, tricks, and abilities, and strengthen their old powers as they make appearances (“go on adventures and earn experience”). Thus she’s still only level four.

Eclipsing Mirage

Danielle Moonstar or “Dani”, A.K.A. Mirage (or, briefly, “Psyche”)

Level Six Psychic Illusionist with a +1 ECL Valkyrie / Vakyrja Template, for ECL 7.

Mirage was fairly straightforward: originally she could manifest images of things that you feared or desired and thus either frighten / distract you or make you happy / confused. As she gained control, she could get more subtle about it. She also had some rapport with animals and soon developed a mental link with Wolfsbane.

And that was well and good. She had no actual offensive abilities outside of being decent (for a teenager) with a bow and knife, but she revealed secrets, confused targets, created diversions, got an overview of things through animal eyes, and scared groups of minions quite well. She worked very nicely in an investigative team.

Later on she developed the ability to manifest other images as well, becoming a useful general illusionist.

Still later she became a Valkyrie / Valkyrja (getting herself a flying horse, high resistance to soul- and death-related magic, the ability to sense death coming, and the ability to “fight off death” (basically being able to keep people alive if she “won a duel with death”. Usually she did, but sometimes she lost – and sometimes Death arrived peacefully and told her that it would be a bad idea to fight because the injuries were beyond mending). That still wasn’t much of a tactical power though.

Eventually a power-altering device upgraded her illusions to be able to manifest as quasi-real things – although she’d been stated to have that potential very early on. That didn’t last that long since it made a bunch of plotlines awkward, but she had fun with it for a bit.

Currently she’s had her mutant powers removed – although, in fact, looking at some current pictures… she seems to have simply traded in her illusions for membership in SHIELD (giving her access to advanced tech and spy gadgets) and the ability to have more weapons on her than a dozen heavily armed men could normally carry.

Anyway, we’ll be seeing how the Eclipse version (using the Superheroic World Template) stacks up to the Mutants & Masterminds version over HERE.

First up, it’s the elephant in the room. Becoming a Valkyrie / Valkyrja is actually a very big deal. Sure, they were only minor goddesses – but they traditionally had some fairly major powers, even if Marvel’s writers only bring them up on rare occasions.

Valkyrie / Valkyrja (32 CP / +1 ECL Acquired Template):

Classically the Valkyrja CHOSE the slain, shaped the course of battles and the destinies of men, granted health and fortune, or brought misery and death. They were spirits of Death, War, and Battle – servants of Odin and Freyja, yes, but extensions of their power and powers in their own right. In the Marvel Universe the Valkyrja tap into the Odin-Power – and, as a group, have been shown (in “What if the New Mutants stayed in Asgard?”) stripping Hela of her power and status and empowering Danielle Moonstar as the Asgardian goddess of death in her place. Going by that and by the old stories… being a Valkyrja offers a lot more power than Mirage has ever really used. It’s too bad that she doesn’t really know that.

  • Occult Sense/The Forces of Death: May sense the coming and presence of Death (both the entity and the process), and communicate with Death and the Dead (6 CP).
  • Grant Of Aid, Mana Powered, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect (Uses mana at one point per use, works up to three rounds after death has technically occurred) / Only for “doing battle with Death”, only to get those affected to stable condition (not good health), occupies the user during the rounds it’s used (6 CP). In effect, if a Valkyrja is near someone who has just been mortally injured or slain, she can fight death for their life – spending up to the next three rounds (and probably all the mana she gets during that period) on Grant of Aid. If she can “heal” them enough for them to reach normal stability during that time, they will live. If not… she loses her duel with death, and they die (although she is unharmed save for the waste of time). Technically, Valkyrja can also do battle for their OWN lives – making them pretty tough to kill.
  • Blessing, Specialized and Corrupted/only to allow the use of Grant of Aid on others (2 CP).
  • Privilege: May arrange a peaceful and easy passing and a smooth transition into a the afterlife or into a suitable reincarnation for those under their (3 CP). Valkyrja can escort the dying into the realms of death, making their passage easy and offering a choice of destinations.
  • Weave of the Norns: Adept (Wisdom-Based Death Rune Magic and Destiny Rune Magic, both Mastery and Casting in Each, 6 CP). +4 in each Adept Skill (8 CP). Valkyrja can, of course, build this up – but even the least skilled start with some abilities along these lines, even if they never use them much.
    • In Mirage’s case that’s +7 all around – enough for first level spells and caster level three if she was really aware of those powers. At the moment, any use of these powers is likely to be unintentional.
  • Spell Resistance, Specialized for Increased Effect / only against Death and Soul Magic (6 CP). This provides a resistance of (10 + 2 x Level). It can be upgraded with a further +10/+20 at the cost of another 6/12 (3/6 after the template specialization) character points.
  • Bearers Of The Dead: Immunity to Dimensional Barriers (Very Common, Severe, Major, Specialized and Corrupted / only to interact “physically” with spirits and move between the realms of the living and the dead (instead of all dimensions), costs 2 Mana to activate for one minute) (5 CP). Valkyrja in non-superheroic settings will need to modify this slightly or buy some mana.
  • Spectral Stride: Shapeshift with the Shape of Death and Incorporeal Forms enhancements, Specialized and Corrupted/only to take Incorporeal Form, costs 2 Mana per round maintained. Note that if the user opts to remain incorporeal and on the edges of the realms of death, he or she will be effectively invisible, just like any other unmanifested spirit (6 CP). Valkyrja in non-superheroic settings will need to modify this slightly or buy some mana. Classically this was mostly used to remain unseen while awaiting the outcome of duels and such, but the Valkyrja could get in pretty much anywhere; no place in the mortal realms was barred to the handmaidens of Death.
  • Immunity to Aging (Uncommon, Major, Minor, 4 CP). While not truly immortal, Valkyrja can expect to live for many centuries with little sign of the passing years.
  • Companion: A Mystic Mount with a +2 ECL Template, 12 CP): Typically an Asgardian Horse with a variant on the Spirit Fetch template (less Favors, more Wings and Flying).
  • Contact: Death (2 CP). Valkyrja get to know Death the Entity – and it hasn’t got many friends. It’s usually quite willing to talk. It also rather approves of people putting up a good fight, and bears no ill-will for being “defeated”. After all, that’s really only “Just a moment, OK?” from its prospective.

At 64 CP this would normally be a +2 ECL template, but Valkyrja are…

  • Drawn to death. They will often find themselves called to attend and escort heroes to their rewards, to guide those dying untimely, to shape the course of fights, to teach lessons to young warriors, and to help calm the unquiet dead.
  • Automatically entangled in the various Asgardian, Death-God, and Demonic disputes over the Dead and intervention in the material plane.
  • Expected to be highly skilled in combat, A Valkyrie must be skilled in several different weapons and must maintain a BAB of at least 3/4’th their level to use their powers.
  • Generally regarded as servants and harbingers of death. Most people will NOT be happy to see a Valkyrja and often blame or attack them for things that are in no way their fault.

This counts as a Specialization that reduces the cost to 32 CP – a +1 ECL Acquired Template.

Four Color Package (24 CP):

  • This includes Superheroic Physics, Superheroic Durability, Superheroic Build, Rapid Recovery, Minor Conventions (Ready for Inspection, Comics Code, It’s Sufficient, Heroic Will, Heroic Rally, Coincidental Catch, Heroic Health, and a Minor Benefit (in her case, +2 Charisma).

Pathfinder Package Deal (Free).

Pathfinder Human (Free)

Basic Attributes: Str 12 (+2 Totem = 14), Int 13 (+1 Level = 14), Wis 14 (+2 Human = 16), Con 14 (+4 Totem +2 Enh = 20), Dex 14 (+4 Totem = 19), and Cha 14 (+2 Four-Color Minor Power = 16). Pathfinder 25 Point Buy.

Danielle needs an attribute booster, mostly because she’s almost always been either lacking in effective offensive powers (especially when she’s fighting robots) or powered down – and so the writers have usually given her the “badass normal” treatment (making her skilled enough to hold her own against millennia-old asgardian warrior women). Since it works when she’s powered down this can’t be a “mutant” ability – but she is Amerindian (and proud of her heritage), spent years training with a Shaman with significant magical ability, and showed an immediate rapport with a wolf-shapeshifter – declaring her her “soulmate”. Ergo, she’s channeling her spirit animal – in her case, obviously, a wolf. That’s Shapeshift, with the Attribute Modifiers, Hybrid Form, Clear Speech, and Variants (human appearance) modifiers, Specialized/a single animal form only and Corrupted/cannot actually Change Forms, for a net cost of 9 CP. This, of course, is one of the cheapest exploits in Eclipse – but is most helpful to physical-combat focused characters of races that don’t get a lot of bonuses to their physical attributes and fits into a superhero setting very readily indeed given the number of animal-themed characters running about in them. Her Wolf Totem grants her Str +2, Con +4, Dex +4, +2 Natural Armor, Trip (automatic attempt with a melee attack), Track, and Move +10.

Skills:

  • Upgrade Human Fast Learner to +2 SP/Level (3 CP). Net Skill Points: (Int Mod + 2) x (Level + 3) +12 (12 CP) = 48 at Level Six.
  • Tribal Heritage: Adept, pays half cost for Athletics, Expertise (Cheyenne Heritage), Intimidation, and Martial Art / The First Rays Of Heavenly Fire, 6 CP). All at a base of +9 (18 SP). Totals of Athletics +13, Expertise +11, Intimidation +12, and First Rays +12
  • Other Skills: Acrobatics 2 (+6), Deception 3 (+6), Expertise (SHIELD Agent) 3 (+6), Insight 5 (+8), Investigation 4 (+6), Martial Arts (Generic Hero Style, Str) 2 (+6), Perception 5 (+8), Stealth 4 (+8), and Vehicles 2 (+6). (30 SP).
    • Bow Techniques (6): Attack +3, Instant Stand, Rapid Shot, and Inner Strength.
    • Unarmed Techniques (3): Attack +2, Improved Disarm.

Mutant Powers: Fast Learner, Specialized in Skills for +2 SP/Level, Corrupted / only to keep this set of Adept skills maxed out (4 CP), Adept (Wisdom-Based Rune Magic, both Casting and Mastery for Beastmastery and Illusion, Beastmastery Specialized for Increased Effect / telepathic effects only, no summonings/transformations/etc, 6 CP). Augmented Bonus (Add Con Mod to Wis Mod for skill purposes, Specialized for Double Effect/Only for Rune Magic, 6 CP). Total: 9 (Level + 3) +3 (Wis) + 10 (2 x Con Mod) = +22. Caster Level 11, Effect Level 5 for Illusions, x1.5 for Beastmastery.

  • Her Illusions were originally mostly Figments based on strongly-emotional memories pulled from her target’s memories. These days she can give them a certain degree of reality with shadow magic and create illusions that can bring joy, induce potentially lethal levels of fear, and pull off a wide variety of other tricks.
  • Her Illusions were originally Corrupted for Increased Effect (sometimes “cast themselves” when she didn’t want them to), but she’s since bought that off – so her actual upper limits haven’t changed that much.
  • When “Depowered” this turns into Rune Magic: Weapons (mostly guns, knives, and various trick arrows) and Rune Magic: Spy Gadgets (Corrupted/only small and subtle stuff, she does not rate “James Bond” spy cars and such).

Soulmates: Mindspeech with Mindlink and Sense Sharing, may be established at any range with Rahne Sinclair / Wolfsbane (+1 CP), Specialized and Corrupted for Reduced Cost / ONLY with Rahne, only really works well in her Hybrid or Full-Wolf form, does not extend past death (or didn’t; now that Dani is a Valkyrja, who knows?), relies on her mutant Beastmastery and stops working if that does (4 CP).

This was the second half of a wonderful scouting combination; Mirage gets the general layout from mice, rats, birds, pets, and the other small animals that are found everywhere humans are, Wolfsbane slips in inconspicuously and gets any needed details, and Mirage relays them to the rest of the team. The fact that it was almost never used was kind of disappointing.

Basics:

  • BAB +7 BAB (Corrupted, does not contribute to iterative attacks, 28 CP), +1 BAB with Bows (2 CP).
  • Hit Dice: 12 (L1d12, 8 CP) +14 (L2-6dd, 0 CP) +30 (Con Mod x 6) = 56 (Mutants & Masterminds: Toughness 8, 11 with Costume).
  • Saving Throws: +3 Fort (9 CP), +4 Ref (12 CP), +5 Will (15 CP). Fort +8, Ref +8, Will +8, all +2 Resistance (see Equipment) for +10 Total.
  • Proficiencies: Proficient with all Simple and Martial Weapons and Light Armor (12 CP).
  • Armor Class: 10 (Base) +4 (Dex) +3 (Armor) +2 (Natural) +5 (Enduring Combatant / Improved Augmented Bonus: adds (Con Mod) to (Dex Mod) for calculating AC, 12 CP) = 24.
  • Attacks
    • Bow: +8 (BAB) +4 (Dex) +3 (Martial Art) -2 (Rapid Shot) = +13/+13, 1d6+4 (+1 Magic +4 Str) +1d6 versus Evil Outsiders, Crit 20/x3.
    • Unarmed: +7 (BAB) +4 (Str) +2 (Martial Art) = +13, 1d4+4, plus automatic improved trip attempt.

Minor Items:

  • Martial Arts I: May inflict 1d4 damage in HTH, is considered armed when “unarmed” (3 CP).
  • Expertise x2: AC and Attack, Attack and Damage/Effect (12 CP).
  • Immunity/the normal limits of Intimidation. Mirage may opt to inflict a Dazed condition for one round with a successful Intimidation check (Common, Minor, Trivial, 2 CP).
  • Minor Favors: SHIELD (3 CP), X-Groups (3 CP).
  • Immunity/Fear (Common, Minor, Major, 6 CP).
  • Track (Wilderness, using Cheyenne Heritage, 3 CP).
  • Privilege: Unlike most heroes, Mirage actually has access to magical gear (3 CP).
  • Privilege: Salaried (Secret Agent, Hero Team Member, Etc) (3 CP).

Total Costs:

  • Four-Color Package: 24 CP
  • Wolf Totem: 9 CP
  • Skills & Mutant Powers: 19 CP
  • 12 Extra Skill Points: 12 CP
  • Mindlink with Rahne: 4 CP
  • BAB: 30 CP
  • Hit Points: 18 CP
  • Saving Throws: 36 CP
  • Proficiencies 12 CP
  • Armor Class: 12 CP
  • Minor Items: 38 CP

Grand Total: 214 CP.

Available Character Points: 168 (Level Six Base) +24 (Human, L1, L3, and L5 Bonus Feats) +10 (Disadvantages: History, Enemies (Originally the Demon Bear, later various) ) +12 (Duties; superhero, agent) = 214 CP

For the remaining details:

  • Four Color Minor Power: +2 Charisma (as previously noted).
  • With a +1 ECL Template on top of being Level Six, she’s entitled to 23,500 GP worth of gear. In Mirage’s case she has the standard “X-Man” package (13,000 GP):
    • Kevlar Reinforced Costume (“Leather Armor”, but 40 GP and only 5 pounds), Masterwork (+150 GP), +1 (+1000 GP), Amulet of Tears (2300 GP. This can provide up to +36 HP per day. Throwing that into his HP total for the purposes of calculation in M&M provides Toughness 12 normally, 13 when “blasting”. Armor Crystal: a Lesser Iron Ward Diamond (2000 GP). This isn’t a big deal, but every little bit helps.
    • Advanced First Aid Kit / Healing Belt (750 GP).
    • “Pocket Secretary”/Hero Team Comlink: Satellite Smartphone with HUD and hands-free links (250 GP), Smartsearch (As per a Tome of Worldly Memory, 1500 GP), Intelligent (500 GP), Int, Wis, Chr all 10 (0 GP), 30′ senses, uses Message at will (1000 GP). Note that, since smartphones can talk anyway, there is no need to buy speech for it.
    • Reactive Contact Lenses / Raptors Mask (3500 GP).+5 to Spot (Perception), Immunity to being Blinded or Dazzled.
    • Utility Pouch: Keys, LED minilight, multitool, chalk, nylon ties, etc. All the little junk that pops up once in a blue moon (10 GP).
    • And some individual items with the remaining 13,500 GP: +1 Composite Longbow (Str +4) (2800 GP), Medicine Pouch (+2 Constitution, 4000 GP), Least Fiendslayer Crystal (1000 GP), +2 Vest of Resistance (4000 GP), and Boots Of The Mountain King (1500 GP).
  • That leaves some 200 GP (about four thousand dollars) for minor supplies – although her salary covers a rather good lifestyle.

Mirage is still primarily a team booster and illusion-crafter – a very useful member of a team, but not the one you turn to to defeat a rampaging menace. Oddly enough, in her “Depowered” mode, she’s actually a lot more destructive (capable of pulling out all kinds of guns, grenades and other explosives, missile launchers, and advanced energy weapons as well as various “spy gadgets” as needed) – if far less sneaky.

The fact that she can almost always save a dying teammate if she can devote a few rounds to it – being able to pull them back to stability from an average of negative 150 hit points, 40 points of Constitution (or other attribute) drain, or being energy drained to level (-14) – is pretty handy too.

Channeling Mysterious Spirits – The Discordant Powers and the Seven Deadly Sins Part II – Pride/Cruelty, Sloth, Deception, Envy/Treachery, and Chance.

And for today (and Halloween) it’s the second half of the Seven Deadly Sins and Discordant Powers – a set of spirits/forces which can be channeled by Bokors / Binders and Equestarian Dragons. As usual, these spirits / forces build on the basic Bokor package.

If you haven’t looked at Part I (Gluttony, Lust, Greed, and Wrath) it’s over HERE.

Pride / Cruelty:

Pride and Cruelty are two faces of a single thing – placing oneself above others and believing that that self-appointed placement gives you the right to use, abuse, and torment those “beneath you”, displaying your “superiority” for your own amusement. Classically, Pride was often considered the fundamental sin, the gateway through which corruption entered the soul. It was the updated version of Hubris – taking credit for the gifts that god had given, as Satan had tried to do at the beginning. And given how little of life was under human control at the time… there was some truth to that. One might more or less rightfully take credit for working hard with what you had, but birth rank, inheritance, health, strength, dexterity, and many other factors depended a great deal on your heritage and circumstance.

D20 kind of limits the possibilities here. The d20 system doesn’t really acknowledge “pain” (or hunger, or thirst, or much of any other bodily need), damage, injury, and illness are totally abstract, and attitude problems are pretty common for adventurers even when they aren’t simply murder hobos (homeless wanderers with little personality or motivation other than greed who kill everything and everyone who gets in their way and then loot the corpses). That really takes a lot of the point out of classical cruelty. Egotism? These characters battle dragons and rule nations. Gluttony already covered dark arts and “perfection” (using Luck to “take 20”). Actual personal godhood is a bit much for a spirit to bestow. Something could be done with Augmented Bonus – perhaps using Double Enthusiast, Specialized and Corrupted for increased Effect (only for Augmented Bonus, 6 floating CP, five or six times) to justify incredible pride by simply getting a bunch of statistical bonuses, but that’s boring. Innate Enchantment could stack up a whole slew of minor enhancements, but that’s both boring and involves massive checking for stacking issues each and every time.

No, in this case we’ll lean towards Hubris – setting yourself above the very gods.

  • 2d6 (8) Mana with Reality Editing, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect (each mana spent counts as three) / only for Reality Editing, blatantly calls on unholy and blasphemous forces (12 CP). There are few things more arrogant than to simply bend reality to your will.
    • Note that those channeling Pride usually like to pretend that they’re using their personal power, rather than just bending reality. It’s cheaper too; bringing that sixty-ton stone idol to life as an oversided Stone Golem and sending it out to crush your foes is a Grandiose (4 Mana) Edit, picking it up and hurling it down the steps is pretty Major (3 Mana) Edit – but making a mighty effort and toppling it down the temple steps in an avalanche of rubble that sweeps away your foes? That’s actually somewhat plausible, and so counts as a mere Notable (2 Mana) Edit. Go ahead, when the very gods have stacked the deck against you… demonstrate that the will of the gods themselves is no match for your defiance!
  • Rite of Chi with +12 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted / only to restore Mana for Reality Editing, user must demonstrate his or her superiority, be a sneering bastard, or indulge in a cruel and vicious act to activate it (8 CP).
  • Dark Words: Innate Enchantment, Spell Level One x Caster Level One x 1800 GP (Unlimited-Use Command Word Activated). Doom, Wrack (like Doom, but the target becomes Sickened, Fortitude Negates), Thorn (like Doom, but target takes 1 Damage per Round and a -2 penalty on attack rolls, skill checks, and ability checks as magical needles agonizingly stab into his or her joints, Reflex Negates). Total: 5400 GP (6 CP).
    • Yes, this lets someone channeling Pride be an obnoxious bastard for free all the time. What did you expect?
  • Opportunist: The channeler may use the powers of Pride once per round as a free action (6 CP).
  • Privilege: The channeler is always treated as at least minor nobility, everywhere that he or she may go (3 CP).
  • Disadvantage: Someone channeling Pride can never admit to being in the wrong or apologize. He or she will, at most, offer justifications (no matter how insane) for his or her actions.

Sloth:

Sloth goes beyond simple laziness. It is a lack of interest, it is despair, and it is what we would now classify as clinical depression – the belief that all that awaits you in life is misery and that nothing is worth attempting. It is a lack of feeling and empathy, it is the refusal of joy and grace. It is turning away from life and the divine to embrace the void.

Unfortunately, unlike most of the other Deadly Sins or Discordant Powers… The standard notion of Sloth does anything BUT drive you to action. That’s spectacularly uninteresting in terms of the game. On the other hand, the desire to embrace the void is something that I can work with.

To a channeler of Sloth… reality is pain. All of life and consciousness is but the drawn-out scream of the universe uselessly protesting it’s inevitable slide down the entropic slope into the endless, futile, void. That Void is the only true surcease, the only true panacea. To help others pass into the void is the only true kindness.

  • Channeling: 1 + (3 x Cha Mod) uses, Specialized / only for Conversion (9 CP).
  • Conversion to a set of four sixth level spells (9 CP):
    • Entropic Caress (as per Bestow Greater Curse).
    • Entropic Cone (Short Range Cone effect, otherwise as per Bestow Curse).
    • Inevitable Night: As per Call The Void, but affects up to (Level) creatures of the user’s choice who are within short range of the user each round.
    • Welcoming Void (as per Disintegrate).
  • Access to an Occult Skill (Dream-Binding, 3 CP).
  • Augmented Bonus, Adds (Cha Mod) to (Int Mod) when calculating first level skill points, Specialized for Increased Effect / the skill points go exclusively into Dream-Binding (6 CP).
  • This gives the channeler an effective Dream-Binding Skill Bonus of (Cha Mod x 9) – in effect allowing him to pull three items, each with an effective value of up to (Cha Mod x Cha Mod x 900 GP) back from the edge of the void to use during each summoning. Sadly, only permanent items are eligible.
  • “It really doesn’t matter” Damage Reduction 8, Specialized and Corrupted / Physical Damage Only, can be negated by hitting the user with “good hope” or similar morale-boosting effects (8 CP).
  • Disadvantage: Those channeling Sloth simply do not care. They receive no save against effects that produce morale penalties.

Sloth… is sort of a casual, generic, impersonal evil. It isn’t that it CARES, it’s just vaguely of the opinion that both you and the universe would be better off if you were ground down into a fine powder and annihilated – and if there’s nothing more interesting (not that ANYTHING is very interesting) going on it might as well take care of that. Someone channeling Sloth will kill a small child just as casually as you might straighten up a crooked picture and for much the same reason; it’s untidy, it’s vaguely annoying, and it’s very little trouble to fix that situation.

Deception:

Deception is – to no one’s surprise – one of the most subtle sins or “Discordant Powers”, and creeps in everywhere – from the stealthy tendrils of falsehood that slip in when one exasperatedly fails to correct some minor misapprehension to the grand deceptions that send myriads off to die. Perhaps worse… the bitter venom of falsity can spread itself, reaching out across time and space through the veins and arteries of news, rumor, and gossip to infect, to fester, and to corrupt persons far beyond the original deceivers reach. There is a REASON why so many dark and malevolent powers have borne the title of “Lord of Lies”.

The Serpents Tongue:

  • Augmented Bonus, Adds (Cha Mod) to (Int Mod) when calculating first level skill points, Specialized for Reduced Cost / the skill points go exclusively into Bluff (3 CP).
  • Mystic Artist, Specialized for Increased Effect (Double skill level for acquiring abilities) / the user can only purchase Manipulation abilities, and Corrupted for Modified Effect (Greater Summoning is replaced by Deceive Reality – a version of Bestow Greater Curse with Medium Range and Puppet Master is replaced by LieSmith – the ability to spread rumors, slanders, and baseless accusations which will rapidly spread through the target population, gaining a great deal of credence as they go) / only usable for malevolent purposes (6 CP).
  • +4 Bonus Uses of Mystic Artist, above (6 CP).

With this combination you gain you gain Fascinate and Hold Audience at (Cha Mod +1), Suggestion, Emotional Auras, and Freedom at (+2), Mass Suggestion at (+3), Deceive Reality at (+4), Alter Attitudes at (+5), and Liesmith at (+6 or more).

Gluttony grants personal power. Lust grants powerful agents. Greed grants items, or the equivalent. Wrath destroys everything nearby. Pride twists the world to demonstrate personal superiority. Sloth brings the final silence. But Deception… Deception shatters the bonds of faith, of friendship, and of alliance. It breaks down the trust which is the foundation of society. The other Sins and Discordant Powers may inflict horrors on those in the immediate vicinity and taint areas – but only Deception will leave a trail of cities in chaos, countries at war, and once-friends and allies at each others throats – and the Serpents Tongue, the terrible power of subtly twisted words lies at the core of that power. You do not need powerful magic, or combat prowess, or great authority, or an army, to destroy.

  • Witchcraft III (6 CP):
  • The Adamant Will, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect / only to resist or present false results to mind-reading, detection, and “truth” effects at no cost. There is no simple and reliable way to determine if the user is lying or twisting the truth.
  • Shadowweave, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect / May spend two power to create a Major Image effect.
  • Glamour, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect: Only to imbue papers and related items with an aura of authenticity and authority. The user may spend one power to gain a +20 bonus on a Forgery check and a second to reduce the time required to a single action.
  • Glamour, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect: You may spend two power to create a Glibness effect.
  • Master of the Sabbat: Corrupted for Increased Effect (Can lay curses without the Elfshot ability), Specialized for Reduced Cost / Only works for laying curses, user must gather at least seven foul and suspicious ingredients (things like graveyard mold, toxic fungi, the tongue of a hanged man, blood from a virgin child, whatever) and brew them together to create the curse and apply the mixture to the target to complete it. All in all, you can generate a level 3 Curse for 12 Power, level 4 curses for 24, level 5 for 48, 6 for 96, 7 for 192, 8 for 384, and 9 for 768 (and so on if even greater curses are allowed). Fortunately, you do have up to 28 days to provide the required Power total (4 CP). Equivalents of the various “Curse Terrain” Pathfinder spells are favorites.
  • False Flesh: Apparition, Corrupted for Increased Effect, Specialized for Reduced Cost: the user must design a single, specific, psychic construct, specify its general appearance, and can only summon it around himself or herself, but it automatically has the Class-C “Enveloping” ability (3 CP).
  • Shaping, Corrupted and Specialized for increased (level one and possibly weak level two) effects/can only produce the effects for which the user has the appropriate foci ready, can only support a limited number (seven and three) of minor charms and more notable talismans at one time, charms and talismans are modestly expensive (and thus limited by wealth and lifestyle) and take some time to attune for use (6 CP).
  • Specific Knowledge: How to create foci for Black Magic Charms and Talismans (1 CP). Charms and Talismans – including those of black magic – are discussed in The Practical Enchanter.
  • Disadvantage: Deceivers cannot help but spread misinformation, gossip, misery, and deceptions, slowly twisting any realm they visit towards darkness.

Envy and Treachery

Envy… is not so much wanting something for yourself. It is the little whispering voice that says “Why should they have what I do not?”. It is a jealous desire to deprive others of happiness in an attempt to fill your own misery and emptiness. When active it directs it’s greatest malice at those about you – your family, friends, and neighbors whom you can easily reach – and becomes Treachery. The desire to betray and to thus share your misery.

Treachery is perhaps the most feared of the Sins and Discordant Powers. Wrath? Greed? Lust? For all the evil that such powers can unleash, they are but natural, necessary, things expressed without Temperance. But to betray… to betray is always personal. To betray you must first gain trust – and then shatter that precious gift. No simple failure of control will easily lead to the outer darkness; but to truly embody Treachery… you must cast out the light from your heart.

Surprisingly enough though… Treachery is one of the least interesting sins. It takes real talent to Deceive well, skill, wealth, and fame or power to make the most of Lust, a willingness to abuse yourself and wealth to make the most of Gluttony, and so on… but for Treachery all you need to do is go behind the backs of people who (foolishly) trusted you and attempt to screw them over. Half your coworkers in any office job are usually doing THAT.

Even worse, when it comes to d20, basic Treachery is really pretty pointless. Like it or not, the characters are generally the functional equivalent of a small army. They may go back on deals, or backstab their patron – but they tend to define “subtle” as “single target spells and the Barbarian not using rage”. When it comes to NPC’s betraying each other the details are going to be up to the game master’s plot and don’t need game statistics. When it comes to NPC’s betraying PC’s… well, many PC’s don’t really trust anybody anyway, will automatically assume that they’re going to be betrayed if there is the slightest sign of it, and – if there isn’t – the players will get pretty cross about it, which is no good for the game.

Like it or not, the only form of treachery that will both work and be any fun when it comes to player characters is the flamboyantly treacherous kind – the sort of “treachery” you get from a villain who twirls his fu-manchu mustache, strokes his villainous goatee, and tells one and all that they would be fools to trust him and that he is a master of poisons – and then offers them tea and snacks.

And as long as they are useful to him… drinking the tea and eating the snacks will be entirely safe. Betraying people at random simply isn’t conducive to future operations.

The Dark Chancellor

  • Access to an Occult Skill (Foresight, 3 CP).
  • Augmented Bonus, Adds (Cha Mod) to (Int Mod) when calculating first level skill points, Specialized for Reduced Cost / the skill points go exclusively into Foresight, providing an effective base of (4 x Cha Mod + Int Mod -3) in the skill (3 CP).
  • Witchcraft III (6 CP).
    • Hyloka, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect / the user is immune to poisons. This is a constant effect with no cost.
    • Witchfire, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect / the user may spend 3 power to make an immediate Craft / Alchemy check.
    • Glamour, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect / Aura of Honesty. The user may (in fact must) be an blatantly obvious villain, but no one with a base Will save below +6 will recognize this and he or she may spend 2 power actively to get a +10 Sacred (OK, Unholy) bonus to Diplomacy and Bluff for the next hour – as long as he or she makes it obvious that they cannot be trusted. After all, “only a fundamentally honest man would tell people the limits of his trustworthiness up front!”.
    • The Inner Eye, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect / the user may spend 2 Power to make a Gather Information check with a +10 bonus as a Standard Action.
  • 2d6 (8) Mana with Reality Editing, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect (each Mana point spent counts as three) / only for use with Reality Editing, only for a specific set of edits (12 CP):
    • Quickly Producing poisons (1), drugs (2), “scrolls” of dark magic (1 for spell levels 1-2, 2 for 3-4, and 3 for 5-6. Uncopyable, but always usable by the summoner), suitable bribes (3), or various potions (2) – all of which must be used fairly quickly or they will lose their power.
    • Ritually Summoning dark spirits, undead, and demonic aides – although such entities will never have s CR of more than one-half the user’s level or serve for more than twenty-four hours unless the Mana used to summon them is left committed to them (usually 1/2/3 for minor/notable/major creatures).
  • Rite of Chi with +2 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted / only to recharge the Reality Editing pool above, requires at least ten minutes of meditation and/or relative inactivity per die (3 CP).
  • Double Enthusiast, Specialized for Increased Effect (four floating CP) and Corrupted for Reduced Cost (4 CP). Points may only be used in conjunction with Create Relic, below, all relics created are products of dark magic, are limited to two points, must be approved by the game master, and carry at least one three-point disadvantage – although this does add to their point totals.
  • Create Relic, Specialized and Corrupted/only for use with points from Double Enthusiast (above), all relics created are products of dark magic, are limited to two points, must be approved by the game master, and carry at least one three-point disadvantage – although this does add to their point totals (2 CP)
  • Specific Knowledge: Handbook of Poisons (1 CP).
  • +3 Specialty in Craft: Alchemy (see Haagenti, the Five Alchemical Catalysts, 1 CP).
  • Disadvantage: The channeler must be flamboyantly and blatantly criminal and untrustworthy, even if few others will ever notice this (-3 CP).

It’s boring, but if you really want classic simple-and-functional treachery instead, take…

  • Traceless Treachery (6 CP): When you send vital information to the enemy, open the gates to assassins in the night, or slip poison into a child’s supper… no evidence can be found, and no one will ever be able to prove that it was you.
  • Double Damage, when striking from behind or in treacherous attack (6 CP).
  • Cloaking (6 CP): Any form of magical or psychic detection will not reveal the user’s treachery.
  • Presence (Charm Person) (6 CP). Anyone who comes near a channeler of Treachery will find themselves trusting and liking them, regardless of how irrational that may be. (Alternatively, the user may radiate a mono-suggestion – “you want to take whatever bribe I’m offering” – but that overlaps with the Witchcraft functions below).
  • Witchcraft III (6 CP).
    • Glamour, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect / the user may spend 1 Power to generate a Suggestion Effect.
    • Dreamfaring, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect / the user may store his or her gear in his or her dreams – duplicating the effect of a Handy Haversack without cost or the Call Item psionic power by expending power.
    • The Inner Eye, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect / the user may spend 2 Power to make a Gather Information check with a +10 bonus as a Standard Action.
    • Hyloka, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect / the user is immune to poisons. This is a constant effect with no cost.
  • Grant of Aid with +6 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted / can only be recovered when the user commits some major act of treachery (5 CP).
  • Disadvantage: Those channeling Treachery are unable to stop scheming to advance themselves at the expense of others. While useful companions may be bypassed in the interests of using them in the future, everyone else they interact with for long is likely to suffer.

 

Chance:

Chance – or Chaos – differs from the other Discordant Powers. It isn’t really regarded as a “Sin”. It’s a FEAR. Civilization, and even simple survival are, ultimately, utterly dependent on the patterns of nature. Did the caribou take a different route in their migration? Did the rains not come and the crops fail? Did the river flood and sweep away your village in the night? Any little disruption of the pattern may spell doom. All of civilization… represents little more than a long struggle against the vagaries of chance.

And always… a fault in a dam, a wave from the depths, a shaking of the earth, Mrs. O’Leary’s cow, or any other chance bit of bad luck that you weren’t prepared for (and no one can prepare for EVERYTHING) – may being it all tumbling down.

Even those who channel chaos do not wish to be consumed by it. They too are seeking some measure of control – to harness and ride what they see as an unstoppable tide, the deep currents of chaos that life and civilization rides atop of like a raft of soap-bubbles drifting on an ocean. Beautiful perhaps, and seemingly stable – but ultimately effervescent and doomed.

And there is more than a bit of uncomfortable truth to that vision.

Those who channel chaos really have only two abilities – to twist what is happening NOW and to shift the probabilities of the future.

A Fortunate Twist:

  • 2d6 (8) Mana with Reality Editing, Specialized for Increased Effect (each points spent counts as two, points may be spent at any time without requiring an action, the user is automatically aware of what events are reasonably likely and their costs (IE: the user may consult the game master at any time) / only for Reality Editing, only to affect the environment, only for triggering reasonably likely events or affecting the outcome of events that occur naturally (12 CP).

For example… if a roof is caving in, manipulating who it hits is a minor (1 Mana) edit. Causing an old, unmaintained, roof to cave in where you need it right NOW is a notable (2 Mana) edit. Causing a solid roof to cave in is a major (4 Mana) edit IF the game master thinks it’s likely enough to allow at all. Steering a lightning bolt from a storm? 1 Mana. Having a gust blow down a house? 2 Mana. Steering the storm to destroy the business district? 4 Mana IF possible at all (and it probably won’t be). Need a sudden gust of wind to deflect an incoming flight of arrows? 1 Mana if there is already wind to work with, 2 if there isn’t – because there always could easily be a little wind.

  • 2d6 (8) Mana with Unskilled Magic, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect (Effects cost only one point per level with the side effects subsumed into the effect, the Caster Level is equal to the User’s Level. Maximum level of effect = (User’s Base Will Save Bonus) or (Wis/3), whichever is less) / only for Destiny Magic (12 CP).
  • Rite of Chi with +6 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted / Onlyto recharge the fate-twisting pools above, recharges a maximum of one die per minute, user must behave in a throughly chaotic manner (5 CP).

Twisting Fate:

Destiny Magic manipulates the probabilities of the future. The level of destiny magic spells depends on two basic factors: the level of effect you want and how much you want the spell to consider your desires. This can be very, VERY, dangerous. For some samples:

  • “We will have good luck in this battle”. This one is safe enough; you and your friends get some luck bonuses. You can simply use some of the appropriate spells.
  • “She will look over this way and notice me”. Also pretty safe unless you’re a wanted criminal, or a werewolf who will start her screaming or some such. People look around and notice things all the time. There probably won’t even be a save.
  • “They will drop the charges and let me out of jail in the morning”. Less safe, but unlikely to get you really hurt. One character tried this with a low-level spell; the locals concluded that he was mad – or “god-touched” – and shipped him off to an asylum where the monks would listen to his ravings in search of prophecy. This was awkward, but he WAS out of jail with the charges dropped.
  • “A diversion will come up during the trip that will give me a chance to escape”. This turned out a lot better; a diversion wasn’t unlikely and the destiny mage made it a higher level spell to avoid the diversion turning out to be a major monster attack or something and wound up with a few falling rocks, one of which knocked the transport wagon open. He then made his escape under his own power.
    • He didn’t even consider trying “The Daimyo will pass by along the way, recognize me as foreign but not mad, and give me an excellent job!”. THAT would call for a very high level spell indeed unless events along those lines were already in the works.
  • Thus “You will soon be badly injured” is pretty easy. “You will be hit by a runaway cart tomorrow and badly injured” is harder, but still plausible. “You will be hit and badly injured tomorrow by a runaway cart driven by your drunken son who will be crippled in the accident” is WAY up there, and may well be effectively impossible – if, say, the kid is currently several hundred miles away. Trying to force an event that unlikely into existence is also likely to have all kinds of unlikely side effects which may well endanger the caster and his or her party. Worse, it usually allows a save.
  • For an example from the more disastrous side… The party was hunting a colossal river serpent. They obtained flying steeds and attacked it at long range. The serpent promptly dove to the bottom of the river and burrowed into the mud where they could not reach it. One of the characters then tried to use first level Destiny Magic to make the serpent to come back up and fight. What was easiest? A lure. Where was he? Hovering directly over the river where the serpent was. He’d used a spell of such low level that it didn’t consider anything but what he’d asked for. Ergo… a biting bug bit his steed in a sensitive spot, he got bucked off, he landed in the river, and the serpent came back up to eat him – instigating the desired fight, but at close range rather than the desired sniping contest. He asked for a specific, and not unreasonable, event – but lacked the power to constrain his spell to more acceptable methods. A slightly higher level spell might have brought a cow by to drink and had it fall in.
  • If you try to directly affect someone else… they get a save. So “May your bowstring break!” is simple, and not implausible (bowstrings do break) – but it allows a save, and if the save is made normal probabilities continue in their course. Of course, twisting destiny to tell an Orphan that “you will soon be adopted by a fine set of parents!” is not too likely to provoke a save, even if the easiest way to arrange that does affect the kid. He or she won’t WANT to resist that destiny.

 

The deadly sins provide a great deal of power for little more than behaving very badly indeed. Sadly, that is – perhaps – appropriate enough. Chance is an interesting choice for a player character though.

Banishing The Darkness

And for today it’s a bonus post – responding to a question from Alzrius

One thing I’ve noticed in most d20 games is that banishing – as in, sending a creature from another plane of existence back to its realm of origin (or at least, removing it from the plane it’s currently on) – has no ability to enforce the banishment after the initial act of removal.

Spells like dismissal or banishment will send a creature back to its home plane, but most such creatures that warrant that level of magic being thrown at them have the ability to plane shift and greater teleport, meaning that if they want to come back, it will take them 2 rounds to do so (one to plane shift back, with the 5d100 off-target roll, and then one to greater teleport back to the exact place they were before).

Given that there’s no standard metric (other than local world laws) that formalizes the whole “demons and devils cannot enter the mortal world unless called by local residents,” this really seems to leave banishment options without any teeth. Even most exorcism options (which are a variation, to my mind, of banishment) simply expel the possessing spirit; they don’t stop it from simply trying again (e.g. a ghost can just use malevolence again). Since summoned creatures go back to their realm of origin anyway when “slain,” and called outsiders apparently die permanently when slain regardless of where they are when killed, it seems like it’s always going to be a better idea to just go ahead and kill extraplanar enemies, unless they’re summoned (not called) creatures of extraordinary power and are there for a long duration (such as a Pathfinder summoner’s eidolon).

To bring this to a question: how would you fix this? Adjust local world laws to change how extraplanar creatures can get to a particular world? Or come up with better banishing spells and effects? Or something else entirely?

-Alzrius

Well, in the wild days of first edition, putting together some widely scattered bits, it looked like an outsider who was forcibly cast out of the material planes could not return for a year and a day, while one that was slain on the material planes took a very long time (normally a century, although it was shorter for really powerful creatures) to reform on their home plane (often including a temporary or permanent demotion to a lesser form). One slain on it’s home plane was gone for good. Still… first edition; there were plenty of special exceptions and even likely some contradictory rules.

Third edition was originally pretty straightforward; if a creature was actually there and was killed, it was dead. If it was summoned, and was thus basically a copy, puppet, or construct, then no matter what happened to it there was no effect on the original creature (if there even was one). If it was Dismissed or Banished… It was sent home if it was really there while a summoning simply ceased to exist. Speculatively, perhaps you used a spark or your own vitality to help maintain the effect – and that linking to extraplanar energies was what gave those spells an alignment and potentially affected yours.

Then, of course, the Fiendish Codex I turned up. It focused on Demons, but I’d assume that the same general ideas applied to most outsiders.

According to it, if a demon was killed outside the Abyss, it’s body would dissolve in spectacular and horrific fashion and return to the abyss (unless magically restrained) while its “essence” fell back into the raw chaos of the Abyss, there (barring the direct intervention of a a god-tier entity) to be reformed as a new, and generally much lesser, demon.

Summoned demons, of course, weren’t really there, and couldn’t actually die; they were just spiritual puppets (barring the use of optional rules), so the demonic essence just come unanchored when the construct-body was “slain” and returned home to it’s real, undamaged, body if they were even real creatures in the first place.

If a demon was killed within the Abyss it was annihilated, both body and essence. Divine intervention could restore such a demon, but nothing else could. Thus most demons were FAR more cautious on their home plane.

In Pathfinder this sort of thing was addressed in Pyramid Of The Sky Pharaoh, according to which a dead Outsider either merges with its plane or has its essence escape into the planes. In either case it’s eventually drawn into the Maelstrom and wiped clean, to be born again at some point in the future – which is pretty much the eventual fate for everybody else too.

Unlike Death, Dismissal and Banishment do seem to be strictly temporary inconveniences. Of course, they are only 4’th and 6’th level spells respectively. They’re also potential one-shot encounter enders, given that an awful lot of Outsiders do not have the ability to plane shift on their own.

One-shot encounter enders are usually targeted for easy encounters, simply because the baseline “encounter” is supposed to use up about 25% of a parties resources. If an encounter is reasonably likely to be ended by one character with a single spell… it probably isn’t much of a challenge. Ergo, Dismissal (becoming available at level seven) is probably balanced for use against creatures of around challenge rating six or less. Banishment, which becomes available at level eleven and can handle multiple targets, is probably balanced for use against creatures with an individual challenge rating of eight or less.

Are creatures combining Plane Shift and Teleport to come right back after being Dismissed or Banished a common problem? Well… searching the Monster Manual turns up only seventeen creatures with access to Plane Shift as a standard thing. Those are:

  • Angels (Astral Deva, Planetar, and Solar), none of whom have Teleport – although a few have a once a day Wish. They probably have better things to do with it though.
  • Genies (Djinni, Efreeti, and Janni* (Janni are listed as having a Plane Shift special quality, but that is apparently referreing to Ethereal Jaunt. As natives, they’re not appropriate targets anyway)) have Plane Shift, but – once again – not Teleport.
  • Nightshades (Nightcrawler, Nightwalker, and Nightwing) also have Plane Shift but not Teleport.
  • A few individual creatures also have access to Plane Shift. These include the Trumpet Archon (which also has teleport! We have a winner!), Couatl* (no teleport and native anyway, so not a valid target), Bebilith (no teleport), Githyanki (1/day Plane Shift at at ninth level or higher, but no innate Teleport), Githzerai (1/day Plane Shift at eleventh level or higher but no innate teleport), Marut (Plane Shift 1/Week, but no Teleport), and Mind Flayers (Not generally appropriate targets, no innate teleport).

That leaves the Trumpet Archon (CR 14) as the only creature in the Monster Manual that can just pop back after being Dismissed or Banished.

The Monster Manual II only provides four creatures with Plane Shift – Ethereal Doppelganger, Ethereal Slayer, Glimmerskin, and Spell Weaver – none of whom normally teleport.

So against the intended targets, and most of the more powerful targets if they work, both Dismissal and Banishment are pretty much “out of the game” buttons. Evidently third edition pretty much handled the problem by making most creatures that you had any reasonable expectation of being able to handle with a mid-level spell unable to come back – and handled the “dimensional invasion” problem by simply not giving most of the more obnoxious creatures direct access to the material planes. I’m not sure if Pathfinder continued that offhand, but it seems fairly likely.

Now if you are plagued by evil spirits that keep returning… that’s likely to be a homebrew or third party rules problem, and so homebrew and third party rules solutions are in order.

  • In Eclipse the simplest thing to do is to build a little Metamagic into the spell formulas – most likely Compact (Using an expensive focus, taking 1d4 points of attribute damage from the casting (most likely Charisma) on the grounds that exorcising dark spirits is not easy) and +2 levels of Infliction (Ignorance: victims will remain unaware of the specific plane from which they were banished for a century to come. A fairly trivial effect really, given that there are myriads of prime material planes. I could easily justify cutting it down to +1 level of infliction).

World laws are more interesting though. “Extraplanar creatures must be summoned by natives of the plane they’re summoned to” puts an interesting limit on Conjuration, as well as preventing most demonic invasions. It does keep extra-dimensional beings from summoning allies though, unless you refluff that ability as “splitting off bits of their own essence”. Similarly, “Once banished, an outsider may not return to the plane of banishment for a hundred years” would work well. That might cripple a Summoner of course, but I rather suspect that Eidolons are constructs anyway, and not really subject to being Dismissed or Banished for very long.

For an interesting change of pace, take a leaf from “A Personal Demon”; In that book summoning demons was actually quite easy, and they didn’t really want your soul – but when one failed to come when called, you had to ritually bar it from again entering your world to keep it from using the portal later, Over the millennia… demons had failed to answer because they had currently been summoned by someone else – and so when they returned to the Abyss, they could not return. Over thousands of years… the supply of demons had been exhausted until no one believed that they existed any longer.

And then one middle-aged professor did his demon-summoning routine at a party, using the name of a trivial lust-demon from a newly translated clay tablet from a recent dig – a demon that no one had ever heard of because the ancient priests had noted her existence, but had ignored her and failed to pass on her name because she was too trivial to bother with.

And thus the Professor became “Master” of the last summonable demon on earth – basically “I Dream of Jeanie” long before that show came along. In a world similar to that… magicians might command the services of a single demon, with a very specific set of powers, and be frantically trying to steal other mages demons and searching for lost names.

And I hope that helps with the question!