Eclipse, Paths and Powers: Channeling Subpaths Part II

Continuing on from the previous post.

Hand of Darkness (Negative energy users only):

Shadowmastery:

This is basically an area of total concealment for you which can’t easily be countered at low-levels. How great this ability is depends entirely on your character. The Shadowsense has two interesting applications: First off, you can see in an area where no one else can see you, True Seeing be damned. This has the benefit that you can sneak attack roundabout everything. The second one is much more interesting: Shadowsense allows you to pinpoint everything in your darkness… Including invisible creatures and users of the “Darkstalker”-feat, shoud it be ingame. This ability can be worth it… But it really depends on your character.

Fearspeaker:

I’m… not a fan of this one. It sounds useful, don’t get me wrong, but the DC is kinda low and as soon as you have a high enough level to affect useful targets… They might very well be fear immune. Not the best ability in my opinion.

The Dark Veil:

This time, we have an ability that can be very handy in social situations. Diplomatic encouter gone wrong? Raze their memories, try again. The DC is better tha Fearspeakers until level 16 and the ability can end an encounter, depending on the circumstances surrounding it. Also, it’s not a [Mind-Affecting] effect, which means it works on some high-society targets that walk around with Mind Blank 24/7.

Nightmare:

It doesn’t list the saves this time, so I’ll assume it’s (10+cha mod+emulated spell level), which… is decent, actually. It’s not as great as Conversion, but it still offers Major Image and Suggestion, two very powerful spells (Phantasmal Killer offers two saves… so I’m not too keen on that). The second effect is interesting, especially if your DM rules that it interferes with sleep/rest and thus spell recovery.

Vanishing Shadows:

This ability is something else: It’s a DC 18 Mass Programmed Amnesia… except that it can never be reversed. This is so damn good that I suggest you take it the moment you get the chance. It’s very powerful if you know how to use it and have enough downtime.

Shadow Realms:

A troublemaker ability. It’s fun to use and allows very limited planeshift, but it’s a more creative and less mechanical ability and is thus limited by how much fu you have screwing with people why they sleep.

The following Channeling Subpaths have abilities with different effects depending on your energy. If you have Dualism, you can take both, but they cost extra.

Planar Bonds:

Seal of Life/Death:

Death Ward/Life Ward as a swift action. It’s decent and worth taking, but nothing too exotic.

Seal of Light/Darkness:

This is basically retributive damage of a hard to resist type (Sacred/Profane). If you are a melee character… Then yes, take this. It has the tendency to be amazing for you. While it’s only 3d6 per enemy strike, that can mean up to 12d6 after a full-round attack (if it has the Evil/Good subtype that DOUBLES). If you have other retributive qualities, by all means, stack this on top.

Inner Light/Darkness:

Gives you the Half-[Alignment Outsider] templates for good/evil. Now that is pretty good, but what’s even more interesting is the fact that this relies on Intensity instead of your character level and lasts for 10 round per Magnitude. Since it relies on Intensity, boosting it gives you good SLAs at a great caster level. This is an encounter ender, or, if pulled at the right moment, a campaign ender, thanks to a high-CL Blasphemy/Holy Word.

Flow of Life:

Negative energy gives a life-drain. Who cares? The positive energy variant gives a positive level. This means that it gives your entire party a few +1s and a FEAT. Specialize and Corrupt this ability to get rid of the bonus hit points and the +1 boni and take an additional 1 Mana cost to give them 3 Special Abilities tailored to the encounter at hand. This is pretty damn amazing.

Aura of Light/Darkness:

It’s… ok, I guess. The Intensity Penality hurts, the spell selection is limited… I guess it’s awesome against really low level enemies, but I’d still say the Presence special ability is better, especially since it gives the level 1 spell up front. Commanding might seem like a good idea, but I can’t really say it’s awe-inspiring.

Energy Transformation:

It’s flight and incorporeality. It’s useful and  you can keep it up for quite a while because the Intensity effect isn’t worth bothering with most of the time. The healing is nice, so I’d suggest the positive energy version over the negative energy version.

Path of Infusions:

Imbuement:

Nothing to write home about. It gives you the ability to cast a specific set fo spells, but said spells aren’t as immediately useful compared to other spells. Can be used, but it’s not too great.

Spiritfire/Banefire:

Soo… This can make you resist and deal some energy. I guess it’s nice if you are in an unfriendly environment, but it’s not too great in combat, as it doesn’t affect every Fireball, just the one that happens to be in the area the moment the Channeling occured. It’s not that good of an ability.

Edit: After getting this ability explained properly, I have to change that statement. Eclipse generally accounts for 6 types of energy (sonic, fire, acid, electricity, cold, force) unlike the way 3.5 normally lists energies (as in, without force as an option). If you have a readied action, you can, in theory, counter kinetic energy, which allows you to block charges or even regular attacks, theoretically without limit. In addition to that, it makes it very easy for you to sunder items or selectively attack targets in a crowd (dealing a good chunk of damage depending on the situation).

Living Matrix:

Powerful. VERY powerful, in fact. No caster level check, no nothing: For the negative energy variant, you buffs are just gone. For the positive effect… You’d be surprised what you can do with additional spell-levels if you rely on a pool of them. The negative energy variant is flat out broken. Take it and roll the next wizard you come across.

Hand of the (Un-)Maker:

It offers nice effects. It can heal, it can disintegrate, it can create things out of nothing. It’s one of the best spell-packages in the Channeling-Subpaths and allows you some great versatility for just 6 CP.

Forge of Will:

Allows you to empower or depower a magic item. Depowering is pretty amazing, as shutting down equipment basically kills mundanes, but empowering is worth it too. Unlimited Use items of Improvisation and x/day items of Black Tentacles are worth noting, and if you picked up Seal of Light/Darkness, you’ll like this on your constant Wounding Whispers. It’s a great boost to have for scrolls too, allowing you to get cheap low CL items and boost them up before you use them.

Lifeshaping/Plague Mastery:

Plague Mastery is awesome if you have a lenient DM and absolutely terrible otherwise. Lifeshaping, on the other hand, oh boy. Instantaneous Polymorph?… You know what, I can’t even cover this on my own, so here is a link to the polymorph handbook over on minmaxboards.

This is it for now. There are still 3 Subpaths left to go, which means it will take 2 more posts in this series to cover them all. See ya later.

 

 

 

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “Eclipse, Paths and Powers: Channeling Subpaths Part II

  1. Hand of Darkness Path

    Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? It’s the guy with this path.

    Shadowmastery is indeed quite straightforward; you can “see”, other people can’t – although there is the subtle problem of not being able to “see” past the boundaries of your own darkness. It’s still a good trick though.

    Fearspeaker is basically a crowd control ability. Want everyone to clear out of your way as you race through the streets? Want the courtiers to cower as you bypass protocol to go in and speak with the king? Want to confront and turn aside that small horde of minor creatures or terrify some thug into ratting out his gang leader? Want to ignore the cannon fodder and head straight for the boss? Fearspeaker will do that very nicely. It is more of a social power than a combat effect though.

    The Dark Veil illustrates an important point: Eclipse abilities generally do not have flavor text. Taking it very literally makes you “a forgotten part of the greater darkness”. No one will be able to find your school or tax records. The people in your hometown and that you’ve met will recall you vaguely if at all. Your bar tabs will get written off. The tales of your deeds will be told about other people or are now about a nameless protagonist. You probably won’t get many more birthday presents. If you don’t show up in court to address all those speeding and parking tickets no one will care. And so on and so forth.

    Nightmare is fairly straightforward, does use the default save DC’s – and yes, it will normally interfere with spell and power recovery. It’s also handy for making sure that the enemy generals are overtired or paranoid and for similar social manipulations.

    Vanishing Shadows is a wonderful way to induce a little cognitive dissonance. “Why don’t you all just forget that I’m a dark presence with no proper business here? And that I’m an enemy of the state and a mass murderer? And forget who I am! Take it from me, I’m a trusted advisor to the prince!”

    For Shadow Realms it’s also important to note that there’s no range limit on entering dreams – making it a perfect, and nigh-undetectable, way to stay in touch with your spies and minions, to deliver grim warnings and dark prophecies, and to otherwise influence the course of events.

    Planar Bonds

    Seal of Life/Death and Seal of Light/Darkness are – as you note – both pretty straightforward. You’re quite right on Inner Light/Darkness too; those spell-like abilities can be quite impressive and are one of the major reasons to take this path. Similarly, you’ve got a good handle on Flow of Life – although I’ve more often seen it Specialized in followers of the same faith and Corrupted / only those who carry the holy symbol of your god (or similar limitations) to simply triple the entire effect.

    Aura of Light/Darkness is really another social ability rather than a serious combat power. It’s “I am so saintly / evil that minor undead (and whatever else you’ve added via Censure) are automatically affected by my mere presence”. (This can get quite messianic if you start bolstering people and default to giving them something like “Grant of Aid” with some bonus uses). Throwing in a spell effect is usually just a topper.

    Finally, Energy Transformation is – once again – pretty straightforward – although the “I rise into the air as a shining being of light / specter of utter darkness” thing can be fun when you want to make an impression.

    The Path of Infusions

    Imbuement is basically a utility power; it says that your party has all the holy/unholy symbols, water, blessings, and similar stuff that you want. That was a bigger problem when you needed blessed/cursed vials to keep holy water in, when holy symbols needed a special blessing to work, and so on. It’s not especially important in most current games, but – given the nature of the path – it’s still an obvious first step.

    Spiritfire is notable for a number of things:

    It creates simple physical energy – thus bypassing spell / power resistance and antimagical defenses. That makes it one of the few powers you can use to blast golems and such.

    It does not require a roll to hit.

    There is no saving throw.

    You can specialize it in particular types of energy for double effect. (And yes, Sonic and Kinetic Energy / Force are valid choices. Things like “hard radiation”, however, are not simple and so are not available).

    Have you got a dozen thugs holding knives to the threats of a bunch of child-hostages? Target the knives and the Thugs. Even if the thugs don’t die, they are suddenly no longer armed – and the children will not be touched.

    Have you had a disagreement with the royal guards but do not want to hurt them? You have many choices! Destroy their weapons? Break their Armor? Destroy their boots to make it hard for them to run on the cobblestones?

    Need to stop a ship? Destroy twenty important ropes to instantly cripple it.

    Even just as straight damage… twenty opponents mixed in with your party? The damage may not be especially enormous (unless specialized, or you take “Doubled Damage” with it, or do something else), but fifteen or twenty points to each of twenty-odd targets is not bad.

    Banefire also has some tricks to it. For example, you can negate Kinetic Energy – thus breaking charges and pounces, stopping flights of arrows, or saving your party from a fall. In more modern settings you can shut down security systems, robots, and vehicles. Quite a lot of force spells create (negatable) energy-constructs, as do many psionic abilities and energy barrier effects. The ability to negate some damage is simply the only one that needed numbers.

    Living Matrix is basically the “make it generic” upgrade to Spiritfire/Banefire – and the negative energy version is quite specifically a counter to high-end spellcasting. It may cost three uses of channeling per spell, but it allows a Channeler to effectively shut down a spellcaster for a few rounds.

    That’s in there mostly because there basically was no existing counter for high-end spellcasting. There are still counter-countermeasures of course – such as the “Brackish” metamagical effect – but at least the spellcasters will have to really work at it. Fortunately, for them however, most Eclipse characters don’t really need a lot of buffs (or magic items) to operate.

    Hand of the (Un-)Maker Sadly, of course, positive energy can heal or create things, while negative can only disintegrate things. In this case the positive energy side of things is simply better.

    Forge of Will is very useful – but I’d be very cautious about assuming that shutting down a magic item will cripple a “mundane” character; between Imbuement, Martial Arts, and buying their abilities directly, magic items are useful to mundanes in Eclipse – but they’re rarely overly reliant on items.

    Still, doubling the caster level on the mages staff, or the plusses on your armor or some such is pretty handy too.

    Lifeshaping/Plague Mastery is sharply divided. Plague Mastery is mostly good during noncombat time – when starting a plague in the ranks of an enemy army, or arranging for an important figure to catch some new and horrendous plague, or some such may bring you victory with no need to fight at all. Still, who doesn’t want to create their own, personalized, zombie plague?

    How useful the Polymorph effects are depends a lot on which version of the spell the game master is using, how strictly they interpret it, and what creatures exist in the setting (the same problem with Shapeshifters). Your mileage may vary on this one.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Huh, I just realized that there is an edit function for comments that don’t belong to me… That’s concerning.

      Anyway, it’s nice to see the writer of the book come over and directly comment on it^^

      For the Hand of Darkness, it is nice to see you agree on it having incredible abilities.
      On the topic of Fearspeaker, I have to admit I didn’t account for social or mass encounters. I can see how impressive it would be to just walk along and have everyone panic.

      When it come to Aura of Light/Darkness, I stand by “the Intensity penality hurts”. While I know that Bolstering is pretty good, it now requires incredible Intensity to achieve a good effect, as it’s not half of Intensity-Level-10, which isn’t much. Of course, this isn’t too bad if you specifically go for Bolstering and specialize and corrupt your abilities accordingly, but for a standard channeler, it’s harsh. It can still be used to command though…

      Spiritfire and Banefire are abilities I have underestimated. The way I read it was that the first sentence established the fact that it has a range of 60 feet (and that alone). Of course, if it can target individual pieces, you have to calculate it differently against opponents that rely on their gear, as the Magnitude will most likely be high enough for you to sunder their gear entirely. I edited the post to include that information now.

      When I refered to “Mundanes” with Forge of Will, I wasn’t refering to melee characters, I was refering to actually mundane enemies. Most melee characters in Eclipse possess at least some magical ability or the ability to mimic it (via Imbuement, for example). As a matter of fact, I generally assume that a lot of melees build with Eclipse take Witchcrafts “The Inner Fire” and buy Luck with rerolls for the Will-Save. Most “mundanes” actually include artificer-style characters that pour most of their CP into Create Item, The Way of the Artificer, The Way of the Dragon’s Craft, Mentor with Prodigy for Crafting XP and Dwarven Rune Mastery. Which isn’t even that bad of a choice: When you have specialized and corrupted your relic to be capable of nothing but generating XP, you have a monthly income of 1900 XP for item creation for 18 CP (6 Relic, 6 Enthusiast with Double, 6 for the regular Harvest of Artifice), which allows for a lot of items to be made (especially if there is a Alchemic Mastery, specialized to only be capable of transforming Harvest of Artifice XP on a 1-to-1 basis). Of course, this kind of build is what Forge of Will is capable of countering quite nicely.

      For Plague Mastery… I did have the idea of using it along with Censure (Native Outsider) and Aura of Darkness (to Command) in a build I’m trying to put together. The idea is to use Brood Fever (a Disease which kills it’s victims with a special type of Negative Level that raises them as a templated native outsider) to raise an army.
      Still… For most cases, the ability varies with the DM you play with. If he allows for some crazy disease (maybe a “truth-disease”?), it can be funny to watch, but if you are restricted to the regular ones, a lot of it is simply attribute damage, which isn’t nearly as fun as it has the potential to be.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s