Archive for May, 2013

Sailing to Saturn

May 13, 2013

I mentioned in my previous post that, like many table-top gamers, I play a lot of video games. Well, to further legitimize the stereotype, I also watch a lot of anime, though, as with the video games, these days it’s not nearly as much as it used to be.

I was captivated by anime when I first discovered it, which luckily for me was during its entry into the American mainstream in the mid-late 90’s. Unfortunately, being a teenager at the time, I had little in the way of personal funds to acquire this new habit. As such, I had to make due with what was being shown on broadcast television…which at that point was very little. One of the few shows that was available to watch, however, was Sailor Moon.

Compared to the domestic animation available at the time, watching Sailor Moon was a revolutionary thing, as ridiculous as it sounds now. We take things like an advancing plotline and actual characterization somewhat for granted now, but at the time they were exceptionally rare in animated TV shows. Even considering that it was an anime which mostly featured monsters of the week, was poorly edited for American television, and was made primarily for teenage girls, it was one of the highlights of my cartoon-watching years (which are now behind me…mostly).

Eventually I acquired fansubs of the show which, along with translated copies of the manga, helped me to appreciate it more. True, it suffers in comparison to contemporary anime, but it’s still fun, even if only for the sake of nostalgia. It’s in that spirit that the next character I’m providing stats for is from this series. Here is…

Sailor Saturn

“I am Death, destroyer of worlds.”

Hotaru Tomoe is one of the youngest Sailor Senshi, being twelve years old when she’s introduced as Sailor Saturn. She’s also the most powerful, being the Senshi of Death (but not rebirth, as is often mistakenly attributed to her). She takes to the field quite rarely, compared to her fellows, and then only to face an enemy of unusual strength…and even then, she usually has little trouble dispatching them, given the overwhelming force of her attacks.

That’s…somewhat problematic. Hotaru is young and inexperienced, which in d20 terms is how you say “low-level,” something that doesn’t fit at all with the sheer destructive force she can bring to bear. True, we’re using Eclipse: The Codex Persona to generate her stats, which gives us some leeway in how we develop them, but that’s still a large gap to overcome. Particularly since Eclipse posits that children of Hotaru’s age are level zero characters!

So how can we resolve this disparity? Well, there’s one immediate answer: given that Hotaru’s powers as Sailor Saturn are something she manifests rather than something she learns, we can say that her powers are a template, rather than class levels. In fact, one of the co-authors of Eclipse already posted a generic magical girl template on his blog, so we’re going to crib that and modify it as needed for our purposes.

Available Character Points: 24 (level 0 base) + 6 (human bonus feat) + 6 (starting traits) + 10 (disadvantages) +0 (duties) = 46 CP.

Hotaru’s disadvantages include History (her dual-persona with Mistress 9, and her connection to the Death Busters), Secret (her secret identity as Sailor Saturn; if revealed, she gains the Hunted and Valuable disadvantages), and Unarmored (like all magical girls, the Sailor Senshi rely solely on their magical abilities for attack and defense).

It’s worth noting that, after the end of the third season, Hotaru bought off her History disadvantage as part of the season’s climax. As this counts as an “epic adventure” that dealt directly with her history, it cost her no Character Points to remove; it’s listed here as a notation, to account for her disadvantage-based CPs.

Note that, being level 0, Hotaru has yet to receive any points for her duties – which include combating supernatural evils and supporting her Princess – as those won’t pay off until she grows some more. She also has yet to receive any level-based feats, though she is receiving Pathfinder’s 6 CP of “starting traits.”

Ability Scores (0-point buy): Str 7, Dex 10, Con 8, Int 11, Wis 12, Cha 15. This includes Hotaru’s +2 human racial bonus (applied to Charisma).

The number of points assigned for buying ability scores is typically set by the tone of the campaign. Given that Sailor Moon seems like a fairly typical fantasy campaign, albeit an urban one, a 15-point buy is typical (the series has its moments of “high” or even “epic” fantasy, but these are usually at the denouement of a season, and are not representative of the series as a whole).

Unfortunately, that doesn’t work here. Just like the problem we had with Gargamel, Hotaru simply doesn’t have overwhelming ability scores in any area, and indeed is notably sub-par in several areas. Given that, I’m electing to try something different here: her point-buy value has been reduced to 0 – the points she receives from her single-digit ability scores, as well as her human racial bonus, give her enough points to buy stats which, I think, accurately reflect her character.

Human Traits

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

As always, this last bullet point is in reference to the Pathfinder Package Deal.

Basic Abilities (10 CP)

  • Proficiency with one simple weapon: spear (1 CP).
  • 2 hit points (0 CP).
  • +0 BAB (0 CP).
  • Fort +0, Ref +0, Will +1 (3 CP).
  • 6 skill points (6 CP).


Ability Modifier




+2 Cha




+1 Wis


Knowledge (art)


+0 Int


Knowledge (history)


+0 Int




+1 Wis


Sense Motive


+1 Wis


Hotaru’s skills are something of an oddity. Since we’re using the Pathfinder rules for Eclipse, Hotaru should be able to pick twelve skills, plus Craft and Profession, as class skills. However, she can only take ranks equal to her level…but she’s level zero!

The compromise we’re making here is to allow Hotaru to take up to 1 rank in skills, but she won’t receive any bonuses for class skills. In effect, until she reaches level one, she treats all skills as cross-class.

Minor Healing (12 CP)

  • Healing Touch, specialized for increased effect/each use requires an expenditure of Body Fuel, effective level is increased by +2 (6 CP).
  • Body Fuel with the Efficient modifier, specialized for one-half cost/must use Constitution, may only be used to fuel Healing Touch (6 CP).

Essentially, Hotaru can take one point of Constitution burn (that is, Constitution damage that can only be cured non-magically) to heal – with her current statistics – 4 hit points of damage to someone. That’s exceptionally little return for such a high investment, but it fits with the source material; Hotaru is shown to heal only minor injuries, mostly cuts and scrapes, and is heavily exhausted as a result.

Ironically, as a level 0 character, Hotaru loses no hit points as a result of taking Constitution damage. I would expect that it’s still a fatiguing experience, though.

Sailor Crystal (18 CP)

  • Extraordinary Returning (12 CP) with the Rewrite (+6 CP) modifier.

That Sailor Senshi are reborn when they die is an early trope in the series, but the first season makes it seem situational; that is, they come back because they’re reincarnated/resurrected in various instances.

It’s only in the last season that they start getting into the nature of what, exactly, Sailor Senshi are, and how they’re different from normal people, that being that their soul is a “sailor crystal” that’s linked to a particular planet. It’s heavily implied that these crystals are, on their own, eternal, which in turn suggests that dead Sailor Senshi will come back to life – at some point, and possibly in a new incarnation – if slain.

Unfortunately, this is never answered out-and-out during the last season, as the final villain is more focused on conquest, corruption, and consumption than all-out genocide. Ergo, we’ll have to make an educated guess. Given that resurrection and rebirth happen so often in the series anyway, we’ll go ahead and make this an intrinsic power.

For a d20-based game, the soul is hard to definitively destroy, but it can be done, to say nothing of other methods of attacking or trapping it. Hence, this is Returning with the Extraordinary modifier. Since they sometimes return in a new incarnation that’s different, albeit only slightly, from their previous life, that’s the Rewrite modifier.

Sailor Saturn Transformation (6 CP)

  • Reflex Training, specialized for one-half cost/may be used to take a standard action once per day (3 CP).
  • Innate Enchantment, specialized for one-half cost/only for half the normal GP value (3 CP).
    • Void Sheathe (700 GP), this is a variant that only functions for her “transformation pen.”
    • Sailor Senshi Transformation Sequence (2,000 GP).

The use of Reflex Training here allows Hotaru to not only transform instantly in response to a threat (needing a free action to grab her transformation pen and a swift action to invoke her transformation), but also to then take a standard action immediately. Given the comparative rarity of her fighting an enemy, however (since enemies seem to appear once a week at most), this usually isn’t needed more than once per day.

Technically, Hotaru is 200 GP over her limit for her innate enchantments here, but that’s such a small amount that we’ll waive it. Also, while the Void Sheathe spells is from The Practical Enchanter, the Sailor Senshi Transformation Sequence spell is as follows:

Sailor Senshi Transformation Sequence, Transmutation; Level 1; Components V, F (transformation pen); Casting Time 1 swift action; Range personal; Duration permanent (D). This spell changes the user’s clothing into some stereotypical battle-costume. The change is actually instant, but the spell effect gives everyone watching the vague impression of a lengthy and dramatic transformation, with background music and appropriate imagery.

All of the above are for Hotaru’s “normal” form; that is, these things are independent of her actually having transformed into Sailor Saturn. For her transformation, we’ll apply the following template:

The Sailor Saturn Template (26 CP/+0 ECL)

  • Immunity to anyone independently making the connection between Sailor Saturn and Hotaru Tomoe (very common, minor, minor) without the use of a great deal of detective work, powerful magic, or some similar method (8 CP).
  • Luck, with +4 Bonus Uses (12 CP).
  • Opportunist, use Acrobatics once per round – allowing her to move up to her speed as part of the check – as a free action. This may be used to avoid an attack of opportunity (6 CP).
  • Innate Enchantment. All abilities are constant (e.g. unlimited use), level 1 or level 0 effects at caster level 1 (spell level x caster level x 2,000 gp), with the personal only modifier (0.7). Total cost 12,600 gp (14 CP).
    • Inspiring Word, +1 morale bonus to attack rolls, damage rolls, saving throws, and skill and ability checks (1,400 gp).
    • Jump, +10 enhancement bonus to Acrobatics checks involving jumps (1,400 gp).
    • Force Armor I, +4 armor bonus to AC (1,400 gp).
    • Force Shield I, +4 shield bonus to AC (1,400 gp).
    • Mending, keeps her costume in good condition (700 gp).
    • Immortal Vigor I, 12 additional hit points (1,400 gp).
    • Resist Energy, resistance 10 to all forms of energy damage (1,400 gp).
    • Void Sheathe, this is a variant that only functions for the Silence Glaive (700 gp).
    • Enhance Attribute (Constitution) I, +2 enhancement bonus to Constitution (1,400 gp).
    • Fast Healing I, regain up to (20 hp per level per day – 10 hp at level 0) hit points (1,400 gp).

Of course, the above CP costs don’t match the amount listed at the template’s heading. That’s because the entire template is corrupted for two-thirds cost. This is for several reasons: The template is only active when she’s using her Sailor Senshi Transformation Sequence spell; when it’s down, she doesn’t have any of the templated abilities (this could be a major weakness if she ever faces someone who can use dispel magic). There’s also a fairly unending cavalcade of enemies for her (and her friends) to face, even if Saturn is left on the bench most of the time. She’s also at least somewhat famous, which can be a hindrance when trying to keep her identity a secret.

Except…now we come to the issue of her attacks. Let’s go over these in more detail. In the anime and the manga, Sailor Saturn has four special powers that she can use:

Death Reborn Revolution is, in the manga, the attack the defeats Pharaoh 90, which he says is a “negative energy” attack. Hm, that does fit with her being the Senshi of Death, insofar as Pathfinder is concerned. Now, the attack looks like ribbons, but that doesn’t mean anything; at most that’s an instance of the Eldritch ability (Eclipse p. 31) altering the cosmetics of the spell.

As for the spell itself, it must be fairly powerful to take out one of the Pharaoh 90, the “big bad” of the third season. So let’s say that it’s harm…but given that it’s used at range, it must have the Extension (+1 spell levels) upgrade from the Extension metamagic theorem. It also seems to be an area effect, given that it seems to hit Sailor Saturn also (requiring Sailor Moon’s intervention to save her and reincarnate her as a baby), so let’s call that the Boost (+2 spell levels) and Hammer (+2 spell levels) upgrades from the Area metamagic theorem.

Given that harm is a 6th-level spell, that’s an additional +5 spell levels, for a level 11 spell in total. Okay…let’s say those modifiers are built into the spell itself, rather than being true metamagic. That reduces the total cost by 20%, down to +4, making it a 10th-level spell. Still very high, but we’ll take what we can get.

Silence Glaive Surprise is, in the manga, a mist-like attack that seems to confuse and frighten the Amazones Quartetto. In the anime, it’s an attack that Sailor Saturn almost uses to destroy Queen Nehellenia, but is interrupted before it’s unleashed.

Hm, this one is tricky. The manga appearance seems to imply it’s not a damage-dealing effect so much as one to cause confusion. But the anime seems to imply that it’s a powerful attack, though we never see it. The best thing here may be to split the difference. Let’s take a damage-dealing fog spell, acid fog, and throw in the Alter (negative energy) (+0 spell levels) and Infliction (confusion) (+2 spell levels) upgrades from the Elemental Manipulation metamagic theorem. That makes it deal negative energy damage in accordance with her theme of Death, as well as the Death Reborn Revolution, and has the disorienting effect as well. Since you don’t get a price break for building in +2 spell levels of metamagic, this is an 8th-level spell…that’s her weak attack, too.

Silence Wall, also called Silent Wall in the anime, is a defensive ability. It raises a dome of dark energy over Sailor Saturn, and the people near her, to protect them from incoming attacks. Okay, we can use roughly the same formula here. That’s a resilient sphere that, presumably, also has Alter (negative energy) (+0 spell levels) upgrade from the Elemental Manipulation metamagic theorem added to it. That’s slightly awkward, as changing the spell from force to negative energy seems counterintuitive. I’d say that this sacrifices the wall’s hardness (but not it’s hit points; it’s still a barrier), but in return inflicts negative energy damage to anyone touching it.

Lowering her Glaive over the world is an attack that doesn’t have a name. In fact, it’s not an attack at all, strictly speaking. She just symbolically lowers the Silence Glaive and…everyone and everything on a given planet dies.


Okay, that’s a bit tricky. Let’s break this down as best we can. That’s clearly a negative energy attack. We could use a minor spell like inflict light wounds, since most people are only 1st-level characters with a scant handful of hit points anyway. But that doesn’t seem right, since this is supposed to kill absolutely everyone, and in some worlds there’ll be mighty heroes and powerful monsters with more hit points.

Let’s call this another instance of harm. To this we’ll add the Grandiose (+20 spell levels) upgrade from the Area metamagic theorem to cover the entire world, as well as the Verbal (+1 spell levels) upgrade from the Easy metamagic theorem to remove the verbal component. This is going to be monstrously huge…but there is one catch. When Sailor Saturn uses this power in the anime, it kills her. That’s the “dying to cast it” modifier (-4 spell levels), so that helps bring things down a bit. That’s a grand total of +17 spell levels on top of this 6th-level spell. If we build this into the spell effect though, that’s a -3 spell level reduction, bringing it all down to…a 20th-level spell.


So now we come to the problem. We’ve already spent all of Hotaru’s character points. Even if we find a method that doesn’t require her to buy a ton of caster levels for these spells, the spells themselves will cost far and away more Character Points than she has, or likely will for many levels. So what then do we do?

The Silence Glaive

Maybe it should be the Silence Glaive-Guisarme?

At this point, the only real answer is to turn to her weapon, the Silence Glaive, itself. Even as a relic, giving it those powers would cost far and away too much, so we’re going to go further and make it an out-and-out major artifact.

That’s problematic in more ways than one. For one thing, it moves the menace from Sailor Saturn herself, and shifts it to her weapon (which we’re not giving any restriction as to who can use it). Moreover, it strains credulity to have a zero-level twelve-year old wielding a major artifact…but if we can have a level one halfling wielding one on a trek to a distant volcano, why not here too?

That said, there are two divergences from the anime and manga that I’m going to make where the Glaive is concerned. The first is in regards to its weapon properties. Sailor Saturn never uses the Silence Glaive as a melee weapon, which is counterintuitive in a d20 game. Given its status as a major artifact, I’m going to call it a +6 spear (hence Hotaru’s weapon proficiency, in case she ever wants to make a melee attack).

Secondly, I’m not going to limit it to the four specific effects above. Rather, we’ll make it a weapon that can grant the wielder great power over negative energy, and say that the few instances that we saw in the source material (most of which were unique) are simply examples of a much wider array of powers. That’s getting away from the canon slightly more than I’m comfortable with, but I think that having that much power calls for slightly more breadth.

THE SILENCE GLAIVE (major artifact)

This five-foot polearm is composed of a single piece of black metal, the haft flaring slightly for grip. It’s blade is curved slightly, reminiscent of a sickle, with a small counter-point opposite it.

Less a weapon than a force for destruction, this +6 spear grants its wielder god-like control over the forces of death. The Silence Glaive’s wielder has access to 20 generic spell levels, which instantly replenish each round and may only be used to cast spells that utilize negative energy. These spells are always cast at 20th caster level.

Suggested Means of Destruction

  • Plunge the Silence Glaive and the Ginzuishou into the Galaxy Cauldron together, where the release of their energies will destroy both of them, as well as the Galaxy Cauldron itself.
  • Use it to kill everyone who was never born, inverting the Silence Glaive’s power over death and causing it become a normal, non-magical weapon.

In Conclusion

Overall, Sailor Saturn is…so phenomenally unbalanced that we need a new word for just how unbalanced she is.

Her stats are notably sub-par, even for a zero-level character. Even in her transformed state, she’d easily go below 0 hit points – and could likely be killed outright – with one solid hit from a level one melee-oriented character. That contrasts very poorly with her wielding such a powerful artifact; she’s essentially just begging for someone to one-shot her and take it for themselves (or, if an enemy feels bad about hitting a little girl, just making a disarm check).

This at least explains why she takes to the battlefield so rarely, and always surrounded by her friends when she does. She has a great deal of power, but that power is easily taken from her.