Archive for September, 2012

Spinning a Yarn

September 15, 2012

It was either a spider motif, or the goddess Kali.

Like most internet nerds, I read my fair share of webcomics. One of these is Spinnerette, a comic about a girl named Heather Brown who becomes the eponymous Spinnerette, a superhero with spider-like powers. In a refreshing change from most superhero comics, she’s thrilled about her transformation, as her secret dream has always been to be a caped crusader against evil.

The comic is fairly light-hearted, focusing on Heather’s enthusiasm as she adjusts to her new double-life. It does have its serious moments, of course, but for the most part its an adventure-comedy-drama sort of webcomic. It’s also a comparatively low-power setting as well – while the various heroes and villains have powers far beyond ordinary people, none of these are the world-shaking abilities often found among more mainstream comics.

It’s this latter point that interested me in making an Eclipse conversion of Spinnerette. One thing I didn’t mention in last week’s conversion of Malecite was that I had originally figured him for a fifth-level character. Needless to say, that went up as I calculated the levels necessary for the strength and variety of his powers. With Spinnerette though, her powers are comparatively minimal, and aren’t that strong overall – a perfect candidate for a low-level hero.

As with all of the other Eclipse characters posted so far, Spinnerette is built using the Pathfinder rules for Eclipse, including +6 CP at every odd-numbered level, receiving Craft, Profession, and twelve other skills of her choice as class skills, and the use of the Pathfinder package deal for her race.

Available Character Points: 144 (level five) + 10 (three disadvantages: Obligations, Secret, and Showman) + 18 (levels one, three, and five feats) + 6 (level one human bonus feat) = 178 CP.

In Spinnerette’s case, her disadvantages represent her superhero obligations (which she happily undertakes), that she needs to keep her identity a secret (something not so easily done when you have six arms!), and how her superhero activities draw the media spotlight.

Ability Scores (20-point buy): Str 12, Dex 16 (includes +2 racial bonus), Con 14, Int 13, Wis 10, Cha 14.

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 (103 CP).

  • 5d10 Hit Dice (30 CP).
  • +5 Warcraft (30 CP).
  • +2 Fort save (6 CP).
  • +4 Ref save (12 CP).
  • +2 Will save (6 CP).
  • Light armor proficiency (3 CP).

The light armor proficiency is for the suit she wears later in the series; being made out of Heather’s “spider” silk, it’s strong enough to grant her an armor bonus (how much is uncertain, but I’d likely say +4, the highest bonus light armor can provide).

  • 16 skill points (16 CP).

Skills

Ranks

Ability Bonus

Class Bonus

Other

Total

Acrobatics

2

+4 Dex

+3

+9

Climb

3

+2 Str

+3

+8 movement

+16

Craft (knitting)

1

+1 Int

+3

+5

Diplomacy

3

+2 Cha

+3

+8

Disguise

3

+2 Cha

+3

+8

Fly

3

+4 Dex

+3

+8 movement

+18

Knowledge (current events)

1

+1 Int

+3

+5

Knowledge (earth and life sciences)

3

+1 Int

+3

+7

Knowledge (popular culture)

3

+1 Int

+3

+7

Perception

2

+0 Wis

+3

+5

Research

1

+1 Int

+3

+5

Stealth

1

+4 Dex

+3

+8

Heather has a total of 26 skill points to spend, thanks to receiving +1 skill point per level from her race, another +1 skill point per level from her Intelligence bonus, and the 16 skill points she bought for 16 CP. All of the skills listed above are class skills for her.

It should be mentioned that normally having a poor maneuverability rating to her fly speed (see below) would cause a character to take a -4 penalty to Fly skill checks, rather than a +8 bonus. We’re bending the rules here, however, as Eclipse doesn’t state that Celerity for an additional movement mode grants anything other than a +8 bonus. Since the modus operandi for Eclipse is that, when there’s a grey area, default to what’s more beneficial for the player (notwithstanding the GM’s judgment call on an issue, of course), that’s what we’re doing here.

Special Abilities (75 CP)

  • Celerity/additional mode (climb) (18 CP) with a +10 ft. modifier (+3 CP).
  • Celerity/additional mode (fly) (18 CP) + 40 ft. modifier (+12 CP)/specialized for half-cost (poor maneuverability, but may hover up to 50 ft. below an overhanging surface) and corrupted for two-thirds cost (requires a solid surface within 50 ft.).

This power is meant to approximate her web-slinging.

  • Equipage/50 gp. worth of material per week (18 CP)/specialized for double effect and corrupted for two-thirds cost; only may have silk ropes, nets, and similar materials.

This one was also slightly awkward; it’s meant to denote that Heather can create spider silk that can be used for other things besides webs, but those are fairly limited in scope.

  • Extra Limbs (6 CP).
  • Grant of Aid (6 CP) with the Mighty modifier (+3 CP) specialized and corrupted for triple effect/regains hit points only, effect happens slowly (1 hit point per round) up to 50 hp per day.
  • Innate Enchantment (8 CP)
    • +2 to Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution (4200 gp).
    • Web twelve times per day (2400 gp).
  • Martial arts (3 CP) with d6 damage (+3 CP).
  • Privilege (3 CP).

The privilege is meant to allow for superheroes being legally allowed to run around and apprehend criminals in blatant disregard for most law enforcement procedures; they can even testify against them in court without having to reveal their secret identities.

One minor caveat needs to be made in regards to some of the above powers. The comic briefly mentions that superhero powers of all types are caused by the “Cherenkov-Kirby reaction.” This goes for everything from Spinnerette’s genetic mutation to magic, and other powers – only super-science devices (e.g. power armor) are exempt from this.

The logical extension of this, in other words, is that Spinnerette’s powers are essentially magical in nature; in Eclipse, that’s normally a cause for corrupting them. However, we aren’t doing that here for several reasons. First, in the context of the comic this only comes up environmentally; there are places where such powers are naturally suppressed, and others where they are augmented – beyond that, it’s a relatively meaningless distinction.

More germane is that even when in a field where C-K powers are suppressed, most of Spinnerette’s abilities are still present; her extra arms, for example, don’t suddenly vanish. Given all of the above, it seems safe to ignore the issue with making some of her powers be vulnerable to antimagic abilities.

Until next time, may all of your super powers work when you need them!

Advertisements

Suburban Knightmares

September 9, 2012

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 successful 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!

Power Word: Recriminate

September 2, 2012

Yeah, it was kind of like that.

Sometimes an idea never gets off the ground, no matter how valiantly you attempt to lift it. Such is the case with my attempt to use the Eclipse point-buy d20 system in my group, which I spoke about previously. Ultimately, while some of the other players were sympathetic about it, I couldn’t rally the support of even one other person. Given the overwhelming lack of support, I’ve had to shelve all plans for using Eclipse.

It’s a pity, and I won’t say I’m not disappointed, but while it means I won’t get to put the book to good use at the table, there’s no reason I still can’t have fun with it here! You can still expect to see more Eclipse-based Pathfinder characters as the mood strikes me (though I’ll still be posting plenty of other Pathfinder material also).

Having said that, today’s character is an original one – this is the character I was originally going to play had my group given me the thumbs-up. I was originally going for an “emo” character, the sort of anti-hero type that wants to do good, even as all of his natural abilities lend themselves towards evil ends. Does the build work? Well, you be the judge…

Dirk Markson

Dirk Markson was different from other people from the moment he was born – after all, most babies are born alive.

Barely resuscitated, no one knew that when they managed to bring baby Dirk back to life, something else came through with him. However, it became clear that something was abnormal about the child fairly early on. In the first few months of his life, neighbors complained of hearing strange things and pets disappearing. When Dirk was five, he told his mother there was a “bad thing” growing in her, something that unnerved her greatly when she found out two weeks later that she was pregnant again.

Dirk, who by that point had been telling everyone about his imaginary friend, tried to tell his mother that the thing inside her was bad, no matter how often she tried to insist that it was going to be a little brother or sister. Of course, being a good son, Dirk had to take things into his own hands to save his mother…he didn’t mean for it to kill her too…

The death of Dirk’s mother was enough to convince everyone that the boy was a thing of evil, and it was only because of his “imaginary” friend – in actuality a malevolent spirit named Ilix – that he was able to escape before his own father tried to kill him. Managing to run off, Dirk managed to make his way to the capitol city, where he spent the next decade living on the streets. Had it not been for Ilix’s constant advice – teaching him to harnass the power of his mind, how to fight, and even how to channel some negative energy – Dirk would likely have come to a bad end.

Things changed for Dirk when he saw some adventurers come into town. The group were treated like rock stars; whereas Dirk was used to scorn, this group were fawned over and openly admired. Dirk immediately set his mind to becoming an adventurer, doing good deeds so that the people would respect and admire him – Ilix objected strongly, but Dirk couldn’t be swayed. He decided to join up with the next group of adventurers who would have him.

Dirk’s background here is an abbreviated version of what would have been a much more in-depth back-story had the character been given the go-ahead. Since the GM set things in a custom campaign world that – in a very Ravenloft-like manner – sometimes pulled in people from other worlds, Dirk would have come from contemporary Earth, and his tribulations would have been much more detailed. The above version should suffice for most medieval fantasy worlds.

Available Character Points: 48 CP (level one) + 6 CP (first-level feat) + 6 (human bonus feat) + 10 (three disadvantages; Healing Resistant, Irreverent, and Unlucky) = 70 CP.

Dirk’s nature as a conduit for dark forces means that the gods look askance on him; similarly, healing magic is less effective than it would normally be otherwise. His unluckiness has been around since his birth, and likely played a role in his being host to a malignant spirit…poor Dirk just can’t catch a break.

Ability Scores (20-point build): Str 11, Dex 15, Con 13, Int 12, Wis 10, Cha 17 (including +2 racial bonus).

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).

This last bullet point is an indicator that Dirk’s stats are built using the Pathfinder Package Deal, found at Eclipse Pathfinder – Basics and Races. I should mention that this will be true for pretty much all the Eclipse characters I’ll be posting.

Basic Purchases (26 CP).

  • d10 Hit Die (6 CP).
  • +1 Warcraft (6 CP).
  • +1 Fort save (3 CP).
  • +1 Will save (3 CP).
  • Light armor proficiency (3 CP).
  • 5 skill points (5 CP).
Skill Ranks Ability Bonus Class Bonus Total
Bluff 1 +3 Cha +3 +7
Intimidate 1 +3 Cha +3 +7
Knowledge (local) 1 +1 Int +3 +5
Martial Arts (nightmare storm) 1 +3 Cha +3 +7
Perception 1 +0 Wis +3 +4
Stealth 1 +2 Dex +3 +6
Survival 1 +0 Wis +3 +4

Dirk’s basic purchases are comparatively light for a melee-oriented character. He’s skimping on weapon and armor proficiencies because he plans on fighting unarmed (see below) and is using other means – such as martial arts – to bump up his defensive abilities. He’s also elected to have his saves be more broad than strong – two +1 bonuses rather than one +2 bonus. As his first hit die is maximized, with his Constitution bonus he’ll have 11 hit points.

In regards to his Skills, Dirk has 5 ranks from CP purchases, 1 for being human, and 1 for his Intelligence bonus. As per the Pathfinder Package Deal, his class skills are Craft and Profession, as well as twelve others: Bluff, Diplomacy, Disable Device, Disguise, Intimidate, Knowledge (local), Knowledge (religion), Martial Arts, Perception, Sense Motive, Stealth, and Survival.

The Nightmare Storm martial art is taken from this post on the Emergence Campaign Weblog. Dirk was, as with all of his esoteric abilities, taught it by Ilix. With a +7 bonus to the skill, Dirk has taken Attack 1, Defense 2, and Synergy (channel checks).

Special Abilities (45 CP).

  • Martial Arts (3 CP) for 1d6 damage (+3 CP).

This is the special ability, distinct from the skill.

  • Witchcraft III (18 CP).
  • Mana/3d6 power (6 CP).
  • Two witchcraft pacts: corruption and gateway (-12 CP).
  • Advanced Witchcraft: Nightforge and The Secret Order (12 CP).

It goes without saying at this point, but Ilix is Dirk’s teacher insofar as The Secret Order goes. Thanks to his ability scores, his purchase of mana, and The Secret Order, Dirk has a total of 27 power.

  • Companion (6 CP) with the template modifier (+6 CP)/specialized for half-cost – the companion does not need to obey Dirk and actively works to corrupt him to evil. Companion is a familiar (-6 CP).

Dirk’s write-up never got so far as to include the stats for his monstrous familiar. Had it done so, Ilix would most likely have been built using the stats for a dire bat with a modified version of the spirit fetch template.

  • Negative Energy Channeling 6/day (9 CP).
  • Imbuement (unarmed combat) (6 CP).

The above math may look slightly wonky, as Dirk has spent 45 CP out of 44 remaining for special abilities. This is on purpose; 2 CP were subtracted as per the corruption witchcraft pact, which would have been folded back in as 3 CP spent by the GM. In this case, I’ve elected to add it to the negative energy channeling (which is also bought with the 6 CP Dirk receives for having a familiar) so that he can use it 3 + Cha mod times per day. The imbuement ability is bought purely as a prerequisite for using the Nightmare Storm martial art.

Overall, Dirk is a character built to have powers that have a cost to using them. He has a broad spectrum of witchcraft abilities, but using them allows through his dark patron’s power (as per the gateway witchcraft pact), and will quickly deplete him as he runs low on power. He can likewise use negative energy – and will likely develop that more as he gains levels (probably along the Hatred’s Weal advanced path) – but that has its own dangers. Overall, it’ll be tough for Dirk to avoid succumbing to the darkness as he strives to go into the light.