Suburban Knightmares

One of my favorite websites is The Spoony Experiment, a website where a fellow known as The Spoony One reviews various movies, video games, and other aspects of popular culture. While informative, the main draw of his reviews is, to me, the hysterical way he’ll tear them a new one for their faults – it’s internet snark at its finest.

Until recently, Spoony was a member of a collective of such reviewers known as That Guy With the Glasses. While it largely functions as a loose confederation, the various members of TGWTG will often make guest appearances in each other’s reviews. Usually these are quick cameos, but sometimes a review will turn into a fully-fledged crossover between two (or more) reviewers.

Sometimes, though, the TGWTG crew pulls out all the stops…

Each year, the reviewers get together and put on a large multi-part production as a group, turning the proverbial dials up to eleven when they do. One year it was a giant battle royal between them all, another year it was them trying to overthrow a country, etc. But there’s one such spectacle that’s of particular interest.

The 2011 TGWTG team-up was called Suburban Knights, and it involves the group going on an epic quest to recover a magical artifact…while dressed up as famous characters from various fantasy-based media. It’s pretty silly, but then, that’s sort of the point.

Before going any further, it should be noted that this article will contain SPOILERS. For what it’s worth, I recommend watching the mini-series, as it’s funny and only about as long as a feature film (e.g. about two hours).

Malecite

“Tell me, what do you think of the twenty-first century?”

The reason I’m going on about this is because of the villain in Suburban Knights, a ruthless sorcerer named Malecite (pronounced “malachite,” which I think is how they should spell it too, but the credits list it as “Malecite”). Malecite is searching for a powerful artifact that he created long ago – a gauntlet known as Malecite’s Hand – that will allow him to use his magic without drawing upon his life force.

Incredibly old, Malecite is driven by a deep hatred for the rise of technology that ended the reign of magic in the world. He has sought to regain Malecite’s Hand for millenia, as it gives him the power to cast spells with impunity, and thus bring about the end of the era of technology.

Available Character Points: 264 (level ten) + 30 CP (first-, third-, fifth-, seventh-, and ninth-level feats) + 6 (human bonus feat) + 10 (three disadvantages; Dependent, History, and Hunted) + 10 (Fast Learner) = 320 CP.

Malecite’s disadvantages represent his enduring obsession (for over two thousand years!) with finding his gauntlet, the reasons he lost it in the first place (which comes back to haunt him at the climax of the series), and that groups opposed to his finding it and carrying out his plan continually pop up (there have assuredly been others throughout the millenia who rose to combat Malecite’s ambition).

The above notes that, as a 10th-level character, Malecite has five feats from his levels. This is in reference to Pathfinder’s increased pace of giving characters feats – every odd-numbered level, rather than every third level. While it’s only a difference of one feat here, by 20th level, this results in a Pathfinder-based Eclipse character having 18 CP more than a “normal” (e.g. 3.5-based) Eclipse character.

Of course, that’s just looking at feats alone – the gap between Pathfinder and 3.5, as judged in Eclipse, is actually slightly wider. For example, Pathfinder characters in Eclipse get the Pathfinder Package deal, which I’ve mentioned before, worth 12 CP. Even beyond that, if we stick to the Pathfinder paradigm of giving characters “traits” – two “half-feats” at character creation that help to flesh out their back-story and give small bonuses – that’s another 6 CP (since Eclipse prices a feat as being 6 CP, that’s what two “half-feats” are worth).

This is another benefit to using Eclipse as opposed to straight class-and-level builds – the CP breakdowns make comparison much easier. In this case, we can see that by 20th level, a Pathfinder character (that uses the traits rule) has gotten one-and-a-half more levels’ worth of abilities over his 3.5 counterparts (and don’t forget to compare racial builds – a Pathfinder-Eclipse human gets 13 CP, compared to a 3.5-Eclipse human getting 9 CP).

Ability Scores (25-point build): Str 12, Dex 16, Con 16, Int 17, Wis 10, Cha 12. These include his human racial bonus (applied to Intelligence), and the +1 bonuses from Improved Self-Development at levels 4 and 8 (added to Constitution and Dexterity, respectively).

Given that he’s incredibly ancient, as well as a pioneer of magic in the world, it seems appropriate for Malecite to have such a large point-buy allotment.

Human Traits

  • Bonus feat (6 CP).
  • Fast Learner, specialized in skills (3 CP).
  • Humans get to pick which attribute enjoys the Pathfinder Template bonus – buying off a Corruption worth (4 CP).

Basic Purchases (97 CP)

  • 10d6 Hit Dice (20 CP).
  • +5 Warcraft (30 CP).
  • +3 Fort save (9 CP).
  • +7 Reflex save (21 CP).
  • +3 Will save (9 CP).
  • One simple weapon proficiency (quarterstaff) (1 CP).
  • 7 skill points (7 CP).

Skills

Ranks

Ability Bonus

Class Bonus

Total

Acrobatics

4

+3 Dex

+3

+10

Intimidate

6

+1 Cha

+3

+10

Knowledge (arcana)

7

+3 Int

+3

+14

Knowledge (earth and life sciences)

2

+3 Int

+3

+8

Knowledge (physical sciences)

2

+3 Int

+3

+8

Knowledge (technology)

2

+3 Int

+3

+8

Linguistics

2

+3 Int

+3

+8

Martial Arts (urban staff combat)

10

+3 Dex

+3

+16

Perception

1

+0 Wis

+3

+5

Spellcraft

7

+3 Int

+3

+14

Stealth

2

+3 Dex

+3

+8

Survival

2

+0 Wis

+3

+5

Malecite has a grand total of 47 skill points. 40 from his +3 Intelligence bonus and 1 racial bonus rank over ten levels; the other 7 are from CP expenditures. As per the Pathfinder Package Deal, Malecite gets to have twelve skills (in addition to Craft and Profession) be class skills – these twelve are those in the table above.

The Urban Staff Combat martial art skill is from the Emergence Campaign Weblog. With a total bonus of +16, Malecite has learned eight techniques: Attack 2, Defense 4, Power 1, and Strike.

Three of Malecite’s Knowledge skills (earth and life sciences, physical sciences, and technology) are d20 Modern skills. Likewise, the bonus languages he gets from his ranks in Linguistics are deliberately undefined; anyone who’s been alive for millenia most assuredly has learned to speak more than one language!

Presuming that his Hit Dice received average rolls (after the first, which is maximized), then with his Constitution bonus Malecite should have a total of 67 hit points.

Special Abilities (165 CP)

  • 10 caster levels/specialized as sorcerer only for half cost (30 CP).
  • Metamagic/Triggering (6 CP).
  • Metamagic/Easy (6 CP).
  • Metamagic/Compact (6 CP).
  • Create Relic (6 CP).
  • Fast Learner (6 CP).
  • Expertise (6 CP).

Expertise here grants Malecite +3 additional attacks of opportunity per round.

  • Occult Sense (6 CP) with the Improved modifier (+6 CP). Malecite can sense magic itself, and knows when one of his spells has been dispelled, cancelled, or otherwise undone.
  • Immunity/aging (uncommon/minor/legendary; 12 CP).
  • Block (6 CP) with the Catch modifier (+6 CP). This is set to affect missile weapon attacks.
  • Occult Ritual (6 CP).
  • Martial Arts (3 CP).

This is the special ability that lets him strike unarmed without provoking an AoO, rather than the skill listed above.

  • Body Fuel (6 CP) with the Efficient (x3; 18 CP), Versatile (6 CP), Reserve (x3; 18 CP), and Blood Magic (6 CP) modifiers.

Sinking so many CP into Body Fuel is how Malecite is still able to use magic so freely despite it draining his life force when he doesn’t have the gauntlet. While he has no magic levels himself, he can create one spell level per 2 hit points sacrificed (1 hit point for 0-level spells), and has 72 “phantom” hit points that can only be used for this purpose. He may also add up to +4 levels of metamagic that he knows to spells he casts – either with or without the gauntlet – by sacrificing an appropriate number of hit points.

Spells Known (23 CP)

Malecite knows the following spells: death blow* (2 CP), dominate person (1 CP), call lightning (arcane variant; 2 CP), cone of cold (fire variant; 2 CP), escape velocity* (2 CP), fireball (1 CP), fireball (electrical variant; 2 CP), heart breaker* (2 CP), invisibility (1 CP), locate object (1 CP), mage hand (1 CP), magic missile (1 CP), stoneskin (1 CP), trap the soul (variant that uses an ancient book rather than a diamond, and can release a prisoner via writing in the book rather than being destroyed; 2 CP), tremors* (2 CP).

These spells are bought via the sidebar on Eclipse page 11. The standard spells cost 1 CP each, while the original variants that Malecite invented cost 2 CP each. Note that these also count as Spells Known when Malecite is using Malecite’s Hand.

This is bending the rules slightly – when using Malecite’s Hand, Malecite is a spontaneous spellcaster, and should be paying double the costs listed above for his spells. However, since he’s technically buying these for use with his Body Fuel spellcasting powers, he’s paying the non-spontaneous prices. It’s a bit of cheese, but we’ll let it slide considering that he doesn’t have the gauntlet most of the time.

The spells marked with an asterisk are new spells, described as follows:

Death Blow; School transmutation; Level sorcerer/wizard 4; Casting Time 1 standard action; Components V, S; Range touch; Target creature or object touched; Duration instantaneous; Saving Throw none; Spell Resistance yes.

This spell allows you to hit a foe for massive damage. A creature or object successfully struck with an unarmed strike (not merely a touch attack) takes 1d6 points of damage per caster level (10d6 maximum). A creature killed by this spell is apparently struck by a blow of epic proportions (e.g. punched to pieces, launched into orbit, etc.) and leaves behind no physical body unless the caster wishes to do so.

Escape Velocity; School conjuration (teleportation); Level sorcerer/wizard 7; Casting Time 1 standard action; Components V, S; Range adjacent; Target one creature; Duration 1d4+1 rounds; Saving Throw Reflex negates; Spell Resistance yes.

A creature hit with this spell is apparently knocked into orbit (or otherwise launched into the atmosphere) for 1d4+1 rounds. While this seems to be because of a physical blow, the target is actually launched by a teleportation effect. Due to disorientation, a creature can take no actions while so teleported, and the caster does not know how long they will be gone.

At the end of the spell’s duration, the target lands prone in their original space. If now occupied, the target lands in the closest unoccupied space, and the creature occupying their original space is also knocked prone. If used indoors, with no way to send a creature outside (e.g. a window), the spell apparently sends them into a wall at great speed, causing them to be dazed for 1d4+1 rounds.

Heart Breaker; School necromancy [death]; Level druid 6, sorcerer/wizard 5; Casting Time 1 standard action; Components V, S; Range adjacent; Target one living creature; Duration instantaneous; Saving Throw Fortitude partial; Spell Resistance yes.

This spell allows the caster to attempt to rip out a living creature’s heart. On a failed save, the target creature takes 5 points of damage per caster level (maximum 75 points); creatures reduced to 0 hit points or less have their heart torn out of their body. On a failed save, they take 3d6 points of damage + 1 per caster level (maximum of +15). Only living creatures with a heart (GM’s prerogative) are subject to this spell.

Tremors; School evocation [earth]; Level bard 6, sorcerer/wizard 6; Range short (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels); Area 40 ft. radius spread.

This spell functions as earthquake, except as follows. The spell has only a 30% chance of causing the roof to collapse in a cave, cavern, or tunnel, a 40% chance of causing a cliff to collapse, does not open fissures on open ground, deals 25 points of damage to a structure (typically only enough to cause poorly-constructed structures to collapse completely), and water in the area is treated as being one degree rougher, as defined by the Swim skill (e.g. calm water becomes rough water, rough water becomes stormy water).

Malecite’s Hand (35 CP)

Something of a misnomer, this relic is actually the gemstone embedded on the back of the gauntlet. It bestows immense spellcasting powers on whomever wears it, though only slight control over those powers. This is usually more than enough to tempt its wearer into studying magic further (e.g. developing further base caster levels).

  • 13 sorcerer magic levels (no built-in caster levels) (169 CP).
  • 3 sorcerer caster levels (9 CP).
  • Fast general metamagic upgrade (6 CP).
  • 24 ranks in Spellcraft/corrupted for increased effect – may only be used to power Occult Rituals (24 CP).

The above shows how Malecite’s power is increased dramatically with the gauntlet – the magic levels let him use his spellcasting with much less difficulty, falling back on Body Fuel as a way of enhancing his metamagic. Moreover, it gives him enough ranks in Spellcraft to cast incredibly powerful ritual magic – this was how he was going to cast the spell to bring about the end of the age of technology before Ma-Ti interrupted him.

The above is also a good example of why GMs should limit how much CP a character is allowed to sink into a relic. With its sixfold multiplier, sinking almost one-and-a-half levels’ worth of abilities into a relic is a recipe for some truly atrocious creations. Of course, Malecite did lose it for over two thousand years, making it more of a mcguffin than anything else, which is probably the best way to handle such a thing.

Looking over Malecite’s stats, there are some areas of relative deficiency. For example, even when using his Urban Staff Combat martial art, Malecite is going to have a total AC of 17, which is woeful for a 10th-level character. Likewise, his hit points are about what you’d expect for a sorcerer of his level, which is to say that they’re not that great. It’s thanks to the comparatively weak opposition he faced in Suburban Knights (e.g. characters of much lower level) that he was able to mow through them so easily.

Likewise, I have a suspicion that I probably could have modeled Malecite’s spellcasting more artfully. Instead of essentially giving him two forms of spellcasting (generic spell levels from Body Fuel, and sorcerer magic levels in the relic), it probably would have been better to have him buy the magic levels himself with a corruption or specialization to them, which the gauntlet would have bought off.

As it stands, despite his personal power and possessing the gauntlet, Malecite lost because Ma-Ti just happened to have the relic that was created specifically to defeat Malecite. This was explained poorly in the film – I remain convinced that, in the segment where the camera zooms in on Ma-Ti’s ring, what you should hear is the Voice of the Ancient World explaining how Aeon created a ring with a loadstone capable of reflecting Malecite’s magic back at him, rather than what was played (the bit about technology being Aeon’s legacy); that would have made much more sense.

That said, if you ever want Malecite to make a dramatic return for your game, I hope the above stats help you do it.

Special thanks to Spellweaver81 and Burning8bones for their suggestions on writing this character!

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5 Responses to “Suburban Knightmares”

  1. Thoth Says:

    I really must get around to watching that. It’s just hard to find a couple of spare hours these days that don’t already have three urgent projects to fill them…

    At a quick look (work calls) does Escape Velocity inflict any damage? It might be a bit lower level if it merely makes the target lose a few rounds during which time they’re not present to be attacked.

    • alzrius Says:

      No worries; I understand what it’s like to have very little free time.

      By itself, the escape velocity spell doesn’t inflict any damage – it just removes someone from the conflict (unless cast indoors, in which case it prevents them from doing anything, but they can still be attacked – this is a caveat that I’m not totally sure about, since it seems better in that the opponent is still there and can be targeted).

      I set the level based on the fact that it was essentially a weaker version of the maze spell, just with a shorter duration and greater chances of avoiding it. You may be right about the level, though; ultimately it was a judgment call made after eyeballing it.

  2. Excalibur d20 « Emergence Campaign Weblog Says:

    [...] Suburban Knightmares (alzrius.wordpress.com) Share this:StumbleUponDiggRedditLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. [...]

  3. Eclipse – Sample Races, Templates, and Characters | Emergence Campaign Weblog Says:

    […] Malecite, a Level Ten Villainous Mage from Suburban Knights, along with Malecite’s Hand, a vastly powerful relic and various new spells. […]

  4. Eclipse Builds by Alzrius | Emergence Campaign Weblog Says:

    […] Malecite, a Level Ten Villainous Mage from Suburban Knights, along with Malecite’s Hand, a vastly powerful relic and various new spells. […]

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