Package-Deal: Cyber-Journeyman

Whenever I read Eclipse and look at the Journeyman-chain of abilities, I have to wonder: Why would someone choose to take this over Transcendence?

Journeyman allows you to buy some stuff as if you were of a higher level. The maximum for this is an additional +3. Transcendence removes this limit and works for everything.

For the original question, well, there were a few reasons that I was able to see:

  1.  RP-requirements for Transcendence might annoy the player or don’t fit into the concept.
  2. If you only require a small boost to what you can buy for your character and thus don’t buy the full chain, Journeyman is cheaper.
  3. As you are limited on CP, you might only choose Journeyman because you know that you won’t have the CP to go far above your limits anyway.

Still, this was not enough to entirely convince me. So instead, I made a little Package-Deal. First, however, I would like to point you over here, so you can understand what I mean when I say that everything in this Package-Deal is Cyberware.

  • Journeyman/Master/Grandmaster 4 CP (Specialized for reduced cost: Instead of applying to a type of ability, it applies to a specific ability)
    • For example, instead of applying to spellcasting, it may only apply to a specific progression.
  • Innate Enchantment (“Magitech”) 4 CP (all of them are continious personal-only CL 1 Level 1 effects, thus costing 1,400 GP [except for Resistance, which is a Level 0 use-activated effect, thus costing only 700 GP])
    • +2 to Strenght
    • +2 to Dexterity
    • +2 to Constitution
    • +2 to Intelligence
    • +2 to Wisdom
    • +2 to Charisma
    • Mage Armor
    • Resistance
  • Immunity/Stacking limits when combining innate enchantment effects with external effects (Common, Minor, Trivial; covers effects of up to level one, 1 CP)
  • Immunity/the normal XP cost of Innate Enchantments (Uncommon, Minor, Trivial; only covers up to first level effects at caster levels of one, 1 CP)

For downsides, we have the following:

  • Valuable (Magitech can theoretically be salvaged from your body… But you wouldn’t survive the procedure)
  • Stigmata (The implants sometimes act up inside of your body, causing penalities if they do so while your body is in a moment of weakness)
  • Hunted (It’s arcane-magical technology. The more violent druid-sects disapprove of both greatly, meaning you just made yourself an excellent target for their “Rage against the Machine”)

 

This makes this package a lot of trouble (especially since it’s Cyberware), but otherwise free.

With 10 CP invested in Cyberware, a lot of the downsides haven’t come into play yet (thanks to the enhancement boni), and when it comes to system-crashes, there is a chance it hits Journeyman, which doesn’t do anything at all in combat anyway (though you will want it repaired before your next level up).

 

Of course, with 10 CP, you could also go Transcendence…But good luck finding a restriction that works well enough to specialize the entire chain further (and have it allowed for that matter).

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5 thoughts on “Package-Deal: Cyber-Journeyman

  1. A very effective package deal there!

    As for why Journeyman instead of Transcendence…

    That one is because Eclipse was designed to let you build pretty much anything d20. So just saying “Use Eclipse” is pretty much equivalent to saying “Use any d20 sourcebook ever written, including a lot of the stuff that was so awful that even the internet rejected it”.

    That’s why many campaigns start off with a limited list of allowable books, and often ban bits from what books are allowed. (How many “No third party stuff!” games are out there?)

    As examples… Even most of the Forgotten Realms games I’ve seen don’t allow the Spellfire Feat. Most GM’s nerf any form of infinite loop or power-for-nothing effects – such as using Gate to get a Solar to grant Wishes and Miracles or using Unfettered Heroism at all (since it can power endless spells even in baseline d20) – or at least push them off to very high levels (such as by banning Candles of Invocation), by which time they’ve usually closed up the game anyway.

    In Eclipse I had to put in a way to emulate endless loops or there would be builds that Eclipse couldn’t handle (which was against the primary purpose) – but this is why Mana Vortex is a level fourteen spell, and thus inherently firewalled behind “this entire chapter is purely optional”, “game master must let the character have access to fourteenth level spells”, and the general rule on page 10 (“Casting a spell or using a power normally requires a minimum Caster Level equal to (twice its level -1). The Game Master may or may not enforce this. If not, it may be possible to cast very powerful spells with very low Caster Levels and spells with fixed, rather than per-level, effects become far more valuable”) which still applies if the game master opts to enforce it even if your “caster level” is simply your level, as with the various methods of emulating spells.

    In Eclipse the Campaign Options checklist is the first step in setting up a game. You don’t want any PC Gods? Ban the Path of the Pharaoh. Don’t want “Spellfire” or similar effects? Ban the Path of the Dragon.

    You want a low-magic world? D20 is kind of high magic by default so you’ll want to limit a bunch of stuff. Among other items… limit spellcasters to the Paladin/Ranger table (Banning Specialization and Corruption for Increased Effect), ban Mana (Spell Enhancement, Generic Spell Levels), limit Innate Enchantment, Inherent Spell, Invocation, advanced Channeling, limit Caster Levels, and so on.

    A lot of games won’t allow Dominion at all. Even if they do… the ability notes “with the GM’s permission” right up in front (page 31) and requires some “excuse” – such as being given the rights to Dominion as a special gift from a deity (Page 72. Given that Eclipse generally does not include fluff text; putting things into your backstory is not sufficient) or the use of a tenth level spell (presuming that those exist in the setting and are accessible by the player characters).

    Thus quite a few games will not offer access to Transcendence – an ability that comes after Dominion and becoming a God – at all.

    So Journeyman allows some rather more limited exceptions from level-based caps for those who aren’t gods. For example, Journeyman and Master (Skills), Specialized in skills linked to a particular attribute (whichever one you’re using for your Rune Magic) and Corrupted (Only for Rune Magic) gives a +6 boost on the cap for Rune Magic skills for (9 CP) – which can give a Rune Mage +3 effective Caster Levels and access to spells six levels before he or she would normally have gotten them. That’s still pretty good even if you can’t have Godfire.

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    1. Yes, that’s why I said “why would you choose Journeyman over Transcendence”. Obviously, when you cannot choose Transcendence, Journeyman does an excellent job.

      Though I wonder… Does the requirement for Innate Spell overwrite the normal spell requirement or do you first have to unspecialize your caster levels? It just seems like it only requires you to be able to cast the spell and then it uses your character level as your caster level…

      And what is the deities support, mechanically? I mean, I bought it as a 3 CP contact (an abomination, which would have at least some sort of divine connection), but other than a Privilege, what other options are there?

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  2. And to answer those in order…

    Ah, there I’m just used to the optimization boards, where the baseline assumption is that everything ever mentioned anywhere is available and “why would you ever take THAT?!?!” is a common response to anything that isn’t considered “optimal”…

    Innate Spell doesn’t require caster levels. Like most other inherent / “monster-style” abilities it simply uses character level and defaults to save DC’s based on Con (although going with some other attribute that makes sense for the character is a reasonable alternative).

    What constitutes “an excuse” for the purpose of buying Dominion is simple; once you’ve gotten to be in charge of something – whether it’s as a guildmaster, or major noble, or being the protector of the great western forest – and have developed it into a major feature of the setting, you have a good reason to take Dominion provided that the GM is willing to countenance it.

    You can’t really buy that with character points because that “and have developed it into a major feature of the campaign” part calls for a lot of work from the Game Master – who will need to develop (or at least approve) that domain, make sure that it requires ongoing work from the character to keep it running properly (and supplying those dominion points), and explain to the other players why so much is revolving around a single character (which is why it’s easier in a “Birthright” style campaign, where pretty much ALL of the PC’s are running domains).

    That’s why even the 10’th level “Coronation” spell notes that it “…fulfills any in-game requirements for taking the Dominion ability”.

    Out-of-game… no matter how high-level the spell, you’re on your own in convincing the game master to put in all that work so that you can have Dominion.

    Acquiring Godfire is a similar quest item. After all, on the mechanical side, virtually any ability can be described as stemming from deific support – so such abilities mean nothing when it comes to getting direct divine intervention. Worse, putting in an ability that did give the user access to direct divine support would just be another “I Win!” button – and d20 had too many of those at the time (and has more now). There are Contacts and Privilege and Favors of course – but none of those really cover “put me on the path to godhood” unless the Game Master is feeling REALLY generous.

    Thus the real barrier between a player character and Godfire is simply convincing the Game Master that he or she is willing to let you have it. And once again… there’s nothing that your character can buy that will help with that. That’s between you and the game master.

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    1. Ah… Ok, that explains it.
      When you said that Eclipse doesn’t do fluff, I thought you meant it doesn’t count on any sort of fluff requirement (which is to say, a non-mechanical requirement).

      The way I understood Dominion was that taking it doesn’t require you to put effort into the realm, but gathering dominion points will do so, which made a specialized Dominion ability (prerequisite only) pretty attractive and allows you to be in a leadership position of an empire that runs itself (or at least could, as was the case with Kadia).

      In the same manner, I do not understand what a “quest item” could grant you that no one else, not even the gods themselves, could logially supply (I mean, what else are Favors and Contacts and Privileges there for if not to gain something a specific group of people or individuals could provide?). I could see how it would put a (Specialized and Corrupted) Contact/Privilege/Favor with the gods/a god/whatever on ice for a while (or possibly forever, given that it’s a big thing they’ll only do once in a while and you’ve pretty much exhausted yourself with that) and how it needs to be GM approved, but I don’t feel it is something that comes completely out of nowhere.

      Then again, I suppose it makes sense on the other side of the screen (though I’m not sure how valid the idea of a god actively running his religion is in D&D-Lore, given that it was a pretty big Forgotten Realms-plotpoint back in the day). Though I still think that acquiring Dominion shouldn’t be so hard if guildmasters of every small guild and every towns’ major qualifies for it (even if he doesn’t take it and/or gains points rarely, if at all). It doesn’t even seem to list any sort of actual requirements in the ability: “Coronation” seems to be the only thing mentioning a requirement for Dominion at all. Unless you mean the “GM permission”-part, in which case I always interpreted it similar to the requirement to take Path of the Dragon or any other ability rather than an in-campaign-problem.

      Godfire I can see being a problem, as a Divine Spark is harder to obtain than a grant of land or a small temple in the middle of nowhere. Still, that begs the question: Would it be more logical to buy a spellcasters aid and simply have him cast “Divine Spark” on me?

      What I don’t understand is why the backstory can’t serve as a possible explanation. In fact, it seems way easier to have it established during the backstory, as it would, as you’ve already said, cost enormous effort on the GMs part and could rob the other characters’ screen time.

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