It goes without saying that there are all kinds of pitfalls involved in bringing characters that weren’t originally designed for RPGs into your game. Even leaving aside the plot issues involved when your PCs run into a character that the players know from various media, there are all kinds of issues involved with making the game rules themselves do justice to the character.
One of the hardest parts, that I’ve found, is magical abilities. Most characters that have magic – particularly those involved in a recurring TV series – rarely define how it works or what its limitations are. There clearly are some, if only because they tend to be limited in the scope of what they can accomplish, and often use the same magic over and over, but the audience is rarely privy to the details.
That’s a difficult thing for an RPG, as they tend to focus very closely on the details. Hence why, so far, there’s only been one magic-using character showcased, and he was from a mini-series.
Of course, that doesn’t mean it can’t be done…at least not with Eclipse. As such, this next character is my first attempt to portray a magic-user from a TV series, one whose powers aren’t explicitly defined. Admittedly, it’s a low-power character to be sure, but he’s a good starting point. So let’s give it up for…
The quintessential bumbling villain, Gargamel is also the main antagonist of the smurfs. While he’s a somewhat competent wizard, that seems to be more in spite of himself than anything, since we’re talking about a guy who can’t defeat a race of tiny blue mushroom-people. Gargamel’s magic is entirely based around rituals, meaning that he has no combat abilities whatsoever, basing his plots around deception and trickery.
In this regard, Gargamel makes an adequate villain, primarily in games that are less combat-oriented, for 1st-level heroes. I’d recommend increasing his ability scores to a point-buy value equivalent to the PCs (see below), and, if you’re worried about introducing smurfs into your game, changing his name as well.
Available Character Points: 48 (level one) + 10 (three disadvantages; Aged, Broke, and Compulsive) + 6 (level one bonus feat) + 6 (human bonus feat) – 6 (Untrained) = 64 CP.
Ability Scores: Str 8, Dex 11, Con 12, Int 13, Wis 9, Cha 8.
Ordinarily, characters’ stats are determined via a point-buy. However, the Pathfinder method of point-buy starts all characters off with a 10 in all scores and builds on that; characters who lower their scores receive bonus points.
The issue here is that Gargamel has several stats that are below 10, and those that aren’t are only slightly above that – this means that even the minimum of 10 points gives him ability scores that are far too high. As such, the above scores simply ignore point-buying altogether, simply setting Gargamel’s stats at values which seem appropriate. Note that the above ability scores take into account Gargamel’s +2 human racial bonus.
- 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 (34 CP)
- 1d6 Hit Die (2 CP).
- +2 Fort save (6 CP).
- +2 Will save (6 CP).
- 20 skill points (20 CP).
|Skills||Ranks||Ability Bonus||Class Bonus||Other||Total|
|Craft (alchemy)||1||+1 Int||+3||–||+5|
|Escape Artist||1||+0 Dex||–||–||+1|
|Knowledge (arcana)||1||+1 Int||+3||+3 Skill Focus||+8|
|Knowledge (engineering)||1||+1 Int||+3||–||+5|
|Knowledge (geography)||1||+1 Int||+3||–||+5|
|Knowledge (history)||1||+1 Int||+3||–||+5|
|Knowledge (local)||1||+1 Int||+3||–||+5|
|Knowledge (nature)||1||+1 Int||+3||–||+5|
|Knowledge (nobility)||1||+1 Int||+3||–||+5|
|Profession (wizard)||1||-1 Wis||+3||–||+3|
|Spellcraft||1||+1 Int||+3||+3 Skill Focus||+8|
|Use Magic Device||1||-1 Cha||+3||–||+3|
With his Intelligence of 13 and his human bonus, Gargamel has a total of 22 skill points to spend. As explained in previous articles, his class skills are Craft and Profession, along with twelve other skills of his choice (and indicated above with the +3 class bonus) .
Special Abilities (30 CP)
- Companion/cat familiar named “Azrael” (6 CP).
- Contacts/Gargamel’s mother and Lord Balthazar (2 CP).
- Leadership/specialized for half cost/one 0-level youth named “Scruple” (3 CP).
- Occult Ritual (6 CP).
- 1 CP spent on the Great Book of Spells relic.
- Skill Focus/Knowledge (arcana) (6 CP).
- Skill Focus/Spellcraft (6 CP).
The Great Book of Spells (1-point relic)
This ancient tome is a spellbook, but not in the usual sense. Rather, this codex is a boon for those who practice ritual magic, as it contains a seemingly endless supply of ritual formulas. However, the Great Book of Spells cannot be studied through reading; attempting to do so just showcases page after page of gobbledygook.
Instead, the book must be petitioned on the last night of the full moon each month. Doing so causes the spirit of the book to awaken for one day (until the next sundown) during which time it will teach the petitioner one ritual requested. However, the book is prone to misinterpreting the requests made of it, so those who ask it for aid must be sure to precisely state that which they wish to accomplish.
In game terms, the Great Book of Spells has Double Enthusiast/specialized and corrupted for triple effect (6 CP) – it can only be used for one day per month, is limited to spending points on knowing formulas for ritual magic (see the last paragraph on Eclipse pg. 96), and characters must spend 1 Character Point of their own to be able to use it. In effect, the book knows a half-dozen rituals at any one time, and can change which ones it knows from month to month.
As mentioned above, Gargamel makes a poor choice for an adversary for your PCs. He serves better as a background character, one who plays a minor supporting role in a larger plot – perhaps he has access to the ritual the PCs need, but won’t ask the Great Book of Spells for it unless the PCs help him with his latest scheme first. Or perhaps one of his rituals goes horribly wrong, and it’s up to the PCs to clean up the mess.
Characters that insist on a physical fight with Gargamel should be disappointed, as he’s a coward who will run at the first sign of trouble, and beg for mercy if he can’t run. Besides his relic, he has no treasure worth taking, and characters who attack him should gain no XP for it. After all, any character weak enough that they lose consistently to the smurfs is no real threat to Pathfinder heroes.