Monday, June 30, 2014

Donovan of the Elduman (Final)

(FYI, this took way too long for me to care about spelling and mangled word use errors. Sorry. All complaints will be resolved when my fucks given per day are refreshed.)

Fucking Elduman fucks. Alright, so this is going to be my attempt to achieve a final version of Donovan as a 250 point character with up to 75 points of disadvantages not stemming from his racial template. If you're interesting in contrasting and comparing, you can find the rough draft here: Donovan. We'll start out with the Elduman template, as that has undergone some changes since last time. 

11 points
Secondary Characteristic Ranges: IQ 11+, SM 0 (4' 6" - 6' 6")
Advantages: Elduman Resilience: Damage Resistance 3+ (costs 1 FP/min -5%, psionic -10%) [13], Doesn't Eat or Drink [10], Energy Reserve 2+ (Psionic, abilities only -10%) [6], Injury Tolerance (No Groin) [2], Less Sleep 4 [8], Telecommunication (Telesend, telepathy psionics -10%, racial -20%, 1 FP/minute -5%) [20], Temperature Tolerance 1 (Hot) [1], Unaging [8]
Disadvantages: Fragile (Brittle) [-15], Revulsion (Gifts) [-5], Unnatural Features 1 [-1], Sexless [-1], Unusual Biochemistry [-5], Vulnerability (Occasional Substance: sonic damage, x2 multiplier) [-20]
Special: Elduman may by abilities designated as exotic and supernatural, as long as they apply psionic modifiers to them. The GM has final say in determining what may be bought as a psionic ability.
Special: Elduman may not purchase sorcerous abilities of any kind and may not be mages (i.e. learn spells). 
Special: The Elduman revulsion to Gifts is not well known and only causes the Elduman distress when their physical bodies are touched by Gifts. 

Alright, so that's a bit different than previously seen. First let's discuss Energy Reserve. Energy Reserve is an advantage you use to buy a special type of FP, this FP can only be used to power the designated abilities. So an Elduman's energy reserve of 2 can only be used to power their psionic abilities. These FP can't be used for anything else like when you go through a particularly lengthy battle or something and it drains FP. They also aren't drained by effects that drain FP unless they target an energy reserve specifically. They also regenerate at a rate of 1 FP per ten minutes. The Telecomminication advantage means all Elduman can communicate telepathically with one another, assuming you know who to contact and they are willing to pick up the psionic phone. Elduman are native to a crystalline desert, so they are accustomed to warm climates and thus have Temperature Tolerance, which adds their HT stat to the the upper end of the temperature they're comfortable in without having to make HT checks (normal being 35 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit). You'll also notice that Unaging has dropped from 15 points to 8. That's because rarely have we ever had a campaign where the in game time lasted more than a year, so I've halved the cost and points refund for lifespan related advantages and disadvantages. 

Looking at disadvantages we see Fragile (Brittle), this means that Elduman are crystal, living crystal, but still crystal. Their limbs have a tendency to shatter when they are crippled by damage. They also have a revulsion to Gifts, as shown by Donovan's festival of pukery in the campaign. Basically, any time an Elduman is exposed directly to Gifts, he makes a HT check, if he succeeds he is discomfited and his skills suffer. If he fails, he's basically useless. You'll also see a Vulnerability to sonic damage. Elduman are crystal, and weird sonic forces tend to shatter crystal and glassware. Basically, any time an Elduman takes sonic damage, the damage gets doubled after it penetrates damage resistance. You'll notice that there isn't a sonic damage listed in the GURPS books. We have burning and corrosion and toxic and so on. That's not how damage works in GURPS. See, the Rankethlek are vulnerable to electricity. But electricity does burning damage, and so does fire. Because they're both hot and burn things. You'll know an effect is sonic in nature because it will say things like sonic or sound and such, same way you know burning damage comes from electricity and not fireball. It will say so. It's really neat because you don't have to add some nonexistent imaginary damage type to the game like Pathfinder does. 

The first special just allows Elduman to buy psionic crap. Your average Uncout, Fell Human, Child of Volung and so on can't just up and buy Innate Attack or Magic Resistance. But an Elduman can if he flavors it as a psionic effect (i.e. applies a psionic modifier like telepathy, psychokinetic, and so on). The second special just means Elduman cannot under any circumstances use sorcery or sorcerous abilities. The third special just clarifies the Elduman revulsion to Gifts. 

Donovan of the Elduman
289 (250) points
41 year old Elduman
5' 11" 150 lbs. 

Points From Characteristics: 8
ST: 8 [-20]
DX: 11 [20]
IQ: 13 [60]
HT: 10 [0]
HP: 10 [4]
Will: 10 [-15]
Per: 8 [-25]
FP: 10 [0]
Basic Speed: 5.25 [0]
Dodge: 8
Basic Move: 5 [0]
Build: Average [0]
Size Modifier: 0
Appearance: Average [0]
Technology Level: 5 [0]
Cultural Familiarity The Old Empire (native), Haven [1]
Languages: Malstern [0], Asosan [4], Goebleen [4]
Wealth: Dead broke [-25]

Eight points. That's pretty good. Donovan's Pathfinder stats aren't impressive, except for Intelligence and Charisma, and Charisma is handled elsewhere in GURPS. It also doesn't measure your undead lifeforce, so we don't have to worry about figuring out at which point GURPS Donovan gets damaged by positive energy instead of healed by it. I'm thinking that occurs around a Charisma of 30. Anyway. Donovan has only an average amount of willpower and common sense in Pathfinder, along with an average amount of physical robustness, and he's pretty shitty at noticing things, so we come out fairly cheap in the stats department in GURPS. His Dexterity is above average, and he's incredibly intelligent, and IQ and DX are the most expensive basic attributes in GURPS, so that does get expensive. Definitely offset by his average Will and Perception and his ability to be encumbered by less than thirty pounds of stuff. 

Points From Advantages: 140
  • Ally: Asosan Knight (25% points, always around x4, cost offset by Andorian's boon) [2]
  • Ally: Grey (75% points, always around x4, cost offset by Andorian's boon) [6]
  • Ally: New Haven Agent (25% points, always around x4, cost offset by Andorian's boon) [2]
  • Ally: New Beltan Agent (25% points, always around x4, cost offset by Andorian's boon) [2]
  • Ally: Viknerfell Agent (50% points, always around x4, cost offset by Andorian's boon) [4]
  • Charisma 1 [5]
  • Contact: Asosan Wizard (Current Affairs - 12, 12 or less availability x2, usually reliable x2, cost offset by Andorian's boon) [2]
  • Contact: Cant Agent (Current Affairs: Cantellen - 12, 12 or less availability x2, usually reliable x2, cost offset by Andorian's boon) [2]
  • Contact: Mork Guy (Current Affairs: Morkend - 12, 12 or less availability x2, usually reliable x2, cost offset by Andorian's boon) [2]
  • Mind Control (telepathic -10%, 4 FP/use -20%, 2 uses/day -30%) [20]
  • Mind Reading (telecommunication -20%, telepathy -10%, 2 FP/minute -10%) [18]
  • Psychic Crush: Affliction 1 (coma +250%, based on Will +20%, malediction: spell range modifiers +100%, telepathy -10%, 3 FP/use -15%) [23]
  • Psychic Reformation: Modular Abilities (5 points, super memorization, 1/day -40%, telepathy -10%) [10]
  • Telekinesis 15 (psychokinetic -10%, 3 FP/minute -15%, visible -20%) [45]
Obviously we have Grey as an Ally advantage. In previous versions I've used the minion enhancement, but Cary is adamant that Thrallherding is not mind control. So Grey doesn't have it and will definitely drop the mic and peace the fuck out if Donovan treats him like shit or has him do something ridiculously dangerous. You'll also notice that there are some Contact advantages up there. Contacts and Allies are somewhat different from one another, but they're both useful to the spy network concept. The gist of the difference is that Contacts are for information and small nonhazardous favors, whereas Allies are bodies on the ground doing whatever.

The way I am working it is the spy is an Ally if the expectation is that they do things for Donovan, and a Contact if they are passively observing and reporting to Donovan. The Ally versions can of course still report information to Donovan, but it relies on their skills and placement in the society. I'm also ruling that a Contact can be changed to an Ally on the fly, assuming the points values match up. Contacts can do things, but when you are working for an invader against your home country (for undisclosed reasons that don't factor in mind control or actually meeting him and thinking he's neat) very little beyond observing and reporting back carries no risk. You'll also notice that I've purchased the Vinkernfell agent at 50% points, rather than 25% of Donovan's points. This is because Giant templates are going to be more expensive than a relatively mundane Cant or Asosan.

To give you an idea of how Contacts work, when Donovan wants to accrue information on the political climate of Asosa or something current in the nation, he rolls 3d and if he rolls less than 12 his Asosan wizard can give him the information he's looking for. I'll then make a 3d roll for the wizard's skill level of 12 to see if he knows what he's talking about, modifying the skill level as needed depending on the type of information and how secret it is. On a critical failure, the wizard will lie (or just be misinformed), on a regular failure he won't know and Donovan can check back in 1d days to see if the wizard gets him the intel he wants.

Charisma is something I didn't include in the rough draft version of Donovan, which is stupid. Charisma offers a bonus to reaction and influence rolls on people Donovan interacts with (assuming they are similar creatures and can understand him). Basically it's a wide range bonus on getting people to do what you want. Mind Control is just that. Mind Reading allows Donovan to pick up the surface thoughts of those around him, however it is limited by the telecommunication limitation, which means Donovan has to establish telepathic communication with the target first. He'll also need to speak the same language as the target.

Psychic crush is psychic crush, it basically shuts a target's mind down into a coma. Assuming the target doesn't resist, it immediately knocks the target out as if they had dropped to -1 x HP (so if the target has 10 HP, that would be -10). At this point you need to make a HT roll every half hour or you are dead (assuming someone doesn't wander by and stab you repeatedly, which requires HT rolls as well). On a critical success (3-4 normally, but if your skill level/attribute is 15+ it's 3-5, and it becomes 3-6 if your skill level/attribute is 16+) you might wake up and be able to not die. Now that's what it does to you. How does the attack defend process work? It's resolved by something called a quick contest. Normally, Affliction attacks are resolved by the Innate Attack skill (like the Innate Attack and Binding advantages) but I've purchased the malediction modifier, which means damage resistance doesn't protect from the coma and it resolves more like a spell so Donovan can target pretty much anything he can see. Normally an Affliction target's HT, but I've bought a modifier that targets Will instead. So instead of rolling against Innate Attack to see if the coma mind bullet hits, we do something called a quick contest, which basically amounts to comparing your degree of success with your opponents. Because it's a malediction, Donovan rolls against his Will of 10 and the target rolls against their Will. Let's say it's a Goblin with a will of 8. So Donovan rolls 3d and gets 8, success by 2, while the Goblin rolls a 15, failure by 7. Obviously the Goblin loses and Donovan's psionic horsecock forces him into a coma. In situations like this, which are actually called resistance rolls, the attack has to succeed. He can't just fail his check by less. So Donovan has to get below his Will to affect the target. If both parties succeed on their checks, it comes down to who succeeded more. In ties, the defender wins and isn't affected.

The final ability is Telekinesis. You'll noticed I've purchased Telekinesis 15. Basically, Donovan has a pair of disembodies "hands" controlled by his mind. These hands are normally invisible, but I've modified them to be visible in some way to reduce the cost. They can look like anything, a shimmer of heat, the Predator cloak, ghostly hands, whatever. The 15 indicates the ST of the hands, and he can basically use the hands to do anything a pair of ST 15 hands could do. Wield weapons, lift himself up, open doors, punch things, pick up and move things (at a rate of 15 yards per second) and so on. They only have a range of 10 yards though, so they have to be within 30 feet of Donovan, but that can be increased with a long range enhancement (20 yards would increase the cost to 49 points, and the next increase would be 50 yards and increase the cost to 56 points). With a Telekinesis ST of 15, Donovan only does 1d+1 damage with a telekinetic punch. If Donovan keeps a large knife handy for the hands to grab, that changes to 1d+2 (2-7) impaling damage (which has a x2 damage modifier if it penetrates damage resistance) on a stab or 2d-1 (1-11) cutting damage (which has a x1.5 damage modifier if it penetrates damage resistance) on a swing. Telekinesis is pretty hand, and it's strong enough to lift Donovan up, so he can levitate himself around. He can also chuck rocks and such with TK. There's a calculation for it based on the basic lift of a given ST and how heavy the object is. The gist is that Donovan's basic lift with his Telekinesis 15 is 15, so he can throw a 45 pound object and deal 1d+2 (3-8) damage (there is reduced damage for lighter and heavier objects thrown). Which isn't that impressive, but if he spends 13 points over the next few adventures and practices with his TK in off time and ups it to a Telekinesis ST of 20, we're talking 2d-1 for a basic punch with his Telekinesis, a 2d+1 impaling stab, and a 2d-1 slash with the knife. An 80 pound rock he throws will now do 2d+2 damage. Each of those is more than sufficient to kill a humanoid creature. Or at least hurt them enough to knock them out.

I've opted to replace the energy bolt stuff of the previous version with Telekinesis because Telekinesis is much more versatile than the energy bolt stuff. It's more expensive, but purchasing energy bolt as Innate Attack and even reducing the cost by making them all alternatives to one another (you just pay for the most expensive Innate Attack and then pay 1/5 the cost for the others, but if one is disable somehow they all are), it still comes to 30 points and they all only do 1d of damage. With Telekinesis you get at least 1d of damage and much more versatility, even if it is more expensive ultimately.

Psychic reformation is also on there. Basically, Donovan has 5 floating character points he can purchase skills with. The super memorization thing means he needs to have a manual of some kind to read from to rearrange the character points, and it takes 1 second per point to rearrange them. He can't just put them into whatever he wants whenever he wants wherever he wants. I've also put in the 1 use per day modifier, so he can't rearrange the points willy nilly. It has also been designated as a telepathy power, so anything that neutralizes telepathic abilities is going to neutralize his ability to use the skill level he has purchased with these 5 points. 

Points From Perks: 0

Points From Disadvantages: -35
Short Attention Span (SC 12) [-10]
Truthfulness (SC: 6) [-10]
Weirdness Magnet [-15]

So for disadvantages we have Short Attention span with a fairly easy self-control roll of 12 or less. This doesn't mean Donovan has trouble staying on task, it's more meant to indicate the inattentiveness of his Pathfinder character. Truthfulness because Donovan does not like lying, even if it means the world burns. Third and final one is Weirdness Magnet because Donovan is a PC and is going to get into sticky situations because GM.

Points From Quirks: 0

Points From Racial Template: 61
Elduman Resilience: Damage Resistance 6 (costs 1 FP/min -5%, psionic -10%) [26]
Doesn't Eat or Drink [10]
Energy Reserve 10 (Psionic, abilities only -10%) [27] 
Injury Tolerance (No Groin) [2]
Less Sleep 4 [8]
Telecommunication (Telesend, telepathy psionics -10%, 1 FP/minute per use -5%) [26]
Temperature Tolerance 1 (Hot) [1]
Unaging [8]
Fragile (Brittle) [-15]
Revulsion (Gifts) [-5]
Unnatural Features 1 [-1]
Sexless [-1]
Unusual Biochemistry [-5]
Vulnerability (Occasional Substance: sonic damage, x2 multiplier) [-20]

As you can see, we've modified Donovan's racial template a bit. His telepathy can now contact non-Elduman, we've increased his psionic energy reserve, and we've also upped his damage resistance to be equivalent with plate armor. 

Points From Skills: 76
Acting (IQ+1/A) - 14 [4]
Autohypnosis (Will+0/H) - 10 [4]
Body Language (Per+4/A) - 14 [16]
Detect Lies (Per+3/H) - 13 [16]
Diplomacy (IQ+2/H) - 15 [12]
Expert Skill: Psionics (IQ+0/H) - 13 [4]
Fast-Talk (IQ+0/A) - 13 [2]
Guns (DX+0/E, TL 5 pistols) [1]
Hypnotism (IQ-1/H) - 12 [2]
Interrogation (IQ-1/A) - 12 [1]
Intimidation (Will+0/A) - 10 [2]
Mental Strength (Will+2/E) - 12 [4]
Mind Block (Will+2/A) - 12 [8]

If only Pathfinder Donovan wasn't built around being shitty at noticing his surroundings and having only an average amount of willpower and common sense and intuitiveness. A 5 point increase in his Perception would save us 4 points on Body Language and keep it at a reasonable skill level of 12 and save us 4 points if we wanted to keep Detect Lies at 11, or just leave it as is and increase it to 12. Realistically, with Pathfinder Donovan's focus on Sense Motive, we should/could probably jack up Detect Lies and Body Language towards the 14 range of skill level, but that would make both of them pretty points heavy. Maybe it'll get increased later after I finish making the character and see where we're points heavy and points light. I'm kind of bouncing around not doing these sections in the order they appear on this post. 

Points From Special Crap Accrued During Play: 39
Andorian's Boon: Ally: Asosan Knight (as above) [2]
Andorian's Boon: Ally: Grey (as above) [6]
Andorian's Boon: Ally: New Haven Agent (as above) [2]
Andorian's Boon: Ally: New Beltan Agent (as above] [2]
Andorian's Boon: Ally: Viknerfell Agent (as above) [4]
Andorian's Boon: Charisma 1 [5]
Andorian's Boon: Contact: Asosan Wizard (as above) [2]
Andorian's Boon: Contact: Cant Agent (as above) [2]
Andorian's Boon: Contact: Mork Guy (as above) [2]
Andorian's Boon: Perception +2 [10]
Ally: Gob (100% points, around fairly often: 9 or less x1) [1]
Duty: Assist Keroen Skathos (almost all the time, moderately hazardous) [-15]
Independent Income 5 [5]
Nightmares: Vacusu (SC: 12) [-5]
REDACTED: Energy Reserve 4 (Psionic, abilities only -10%) [11]
Reputation: Defended the Warrens From Warren Hunters (+2 reaction modifier, affects large class of people: Goebleen x1/2, recognized all the time x1) [5]

This is a category that hasn't been seen before. In GURPS the points totals start out even, but during play they get less even. So when the guys ally with Gob as a group (a cost split between the four of them) an advantage for Gob gets added to character points. Donovan saw the Vacusu and it scared the fuck out of him, so now he has nightmares. The guys have a Duty to Keroen now as member's of the warband, so that's up there as well. You'll also see Andorian's boon up there. Donovan asked Andorian to improve his non-mind control completely mundane and based on mutual respect and admiration herding. Andorian couldn't do that so he just upped Donovan's Charisma. In GURPS I've used the boon to offset some of the cost of his current collection of Contacts and Allies and given him a bump of Charisma and Perception as well. How much I gave him is based off of how much Karrak's immortality (Doesn't Eat or Drink, Doesn't Breathe, and Unaging) ended up being, which was 38 points and was the most expensive of the boons. The modified Perception is already factored into the appropriate skill levels. I've also thrown Independent Income 5 on there as well, to indicate the money coming in from Freebooter's Crossing. So every month, Donovan gains 250 marks, as do the other three characters and Gob. I don't want to talk about kingdom building in GURPS. Ever. 

To kind of further explain this section, these kinds of things exist outside of the character's points for character creation (thus the name of the category). So when Donovan got the nightmares, he didn't get 5 more points to spend. His character point total just got reduced by 5 points. The same goes for Karrak's Gift abilities. When GURPS Karrak gets his immortality, it doesn't delay his character point advancement from scenarios and learning and role-playing and such, he just gets the points. If GURPS Karl loses an eye, he gets the disadvantage and his character point total gets reduced. Things start out even in GURPS, but they quickly get uneven through play. Some people will be devoting off time to improving skills, some people will get trained in certain skills by professionals and learn quicker, some people will learn easy skills, some people will make pacts with supernatural creatures, and so on. Everyone has access to these options, so everyone has the same chance to do these things and gain abilities and such. It's the way the rulebooks say to run things, and I don't disagree with them, so I support them. 

So that's the gist of Donovan's character in GURPS. I think all my point totals are accurate, and I think I've transferred the character reasonably well. Obviously, if Cary were creating Donovan anew from level 1, he'd likely go different routs because Perception is tied more strongly to a manipulator and people reader in GURPS than it is in Pathfinder (meaning it doesn't rely solely on the character's undead lifeforce and physical attractiveness). 

Donovan also has some gear. GURPS Donovan would have a Ring of Deflect +2, which adds a +2 bonus to his Dodge defense, Block defense, and Parry defense. A Ring of Resist Fire (Incorporated powerstone with 3 energy). What that means is that Donovan has a ring with resist fire on it and a powerstone with 3 energy in it. What that means is that he's immune to fire and heat for 1 minute when the ring is activated. This uses 2 energy from the ring. The spell costs 1 energy to maintain, so he can go for up to 3 minutes at a time. In a normal mana area (most of Orcunraytrel and The Known World) the ring's powerstone will recover 1 energy per day. He also has a Psionic Ring of Power 5, this object acts as a psionic energy reserve and has 5 FP he can use to power his psionic abilities. Wee!

Sorry Cary, no headband of intellect for you in GURPS. 

Edit After The Fact (08/12/2014): To convert Donovan, rather than translate him, I reduce his IQ to 11, freeing up 40 character points. This would reduce his Will to 8 though, so I'd buy that back up to 13 for 15 points. This leaves us with a positive balance of 25 character points. I miscalculated the cost of his Telekinesis as 42 when it should be 45, so we're down to 22 character points. I changed the stuff above to reflect this. To make his Elduman Resilience more in keeping with the Pathfinder version (because I like it and the concept of Elduman instantly shunting psionic energy into their crystalline flesh to make it bind together strongly is kind of awesome) I'd change its modifiers to 1 FP per use and add the Requires Attribute Roll: Active Defense roll for -40% and then add Reliable 4 to it for +20%, so Donovan would make a DX/2 + 7 check to activate it and would roll against 12 to bring it into effect when hit. I'd also increase it to 2 FP per use so that would be a -10% modifier, not -5%. This would have the net effect of reducing it to 18 character points from 26, putting us at 30 leftover character points. I'd increase it from 6 to 7 for three character points and pop on 3 more points into his Energy Reserve for 9 points. This puts us down to 18 leftover character points. I'd reduce the FP cost of Telekinesis running for a minute from 3 to 2, reducing it to a -10% modifier. This doesn't change the cost though because you calculate cost based on the level of an advantage, so 5 x .55 equals 2.75. With advantage costs, you round up, so that's 3 points per level of Telekinesis (you round down when calculating the value of a disadvantage). With the reduced FP cost you multiply 5 x .6 for a cost of 3 character points per level of Telekinesis. So yeah. With the remaining points I'd put 12 into Telekinesis to increase it to 19 (moving from a Basic Lift of 45 lbs. and a thrust damage of 1d+1 and swing damage of 2d+1 to a Basic Lift of 72 lbs. and a damage of 2d-1/3d+1. I'd then increase his Energy Reserve by 2 more for the last 6 character point. This gives him an Energy Reserve of 15. Donovan also has 10 FP, so he effectively has 25 FP to use on psionic abilities. Plus, they both recharge 1 point every ten minutes or so, so he'll effectively gain back 2 FP every ten minutes if he doesn't do anything strenuous to impede FP recharge.

This is all a horribly moot point though, because I horribly horribly miscalculated psychic crush's cost and the cost of psychic reformation. So really this is all useless information. Hehehehe.

Ermagerd, Erderting (08/11/2014): Let's resolve the already present issues of Donovan before worrying about converting him to GURPS. Issue one is that Telekinesis is actually 45 points not 42, so we're at 253 character points. I also mangled math and psychic crush is listed as 23 points, not 45, its actual price. So we're now at 275 character points, 25 over our cap. First thing we do is increase the FP cost of psychic crush to 4 FP, which makes it a -20% limitation instead of 15%. Channeling the psychic crush of Pathfinder, we apply Easily Resisted 2, for -10%. Psychic Crush in Pathfinder has a +4 bonus to Will saves against it, so a +2 to the defending characters Will to resist it isn't such a big deal. This has a net result of reducing us to 43 points for the ability and dropping us to 273 points.

As previously discussed, we're converting, not translating here. Since dialogue skills are based on reading people and not your personal undead lifeforce in GURPS, Cary would likely have reevaluated how perceptive he wanted Donovan to be. The same goes for Will/Wisdom. So we buy up Will and Perception to 13 for 40 points (313). Then we reduce IQ to 10 for -60, which drops Will and Perception to 10 (253)

As I said yesterday, I'd like to keep Elduman Resilience more in keeping with the current Pathfinder representation. We add the Requires Attribute Roll: Active Defense roll for -40% and then add Reliable 4 to it for +20%, so Donovan would make a DX/2 + 7 check to activate it and would roll against 12 to bring it into effect when hit. I'd also increase it to 2 FP per use so that would be a -10% modifier, not -5%. Assuming my math is accurate here, we're looking at 18 character points for this ability instead of 26 (which was calculated wrong in the first place). So we're down to 245. But the drop in IQ has reduced some of his skills to a very uncomfortable place.

Because Donovan's Perception is now 12 (base of 10 plus Andorian's boon) we don't quite need Body Language at Per+4, so I'll reduce it to Per+2, dropping it from 16 character points to 4 and dropping Donovan's points total to 241. I'll increase Hypnotism and Interrogation to IQ+0 for 2 and 1 points, respectively, putting us at 244. We buy Interrogation up to IQ+0 for an additional character point and we drop Mental Strength and Mind Block to Will+1, which frees up 6 points. Then we buy up Will to 11 for 5 points. This all has a net effect of leaving us at 244 character points. We drop Detect Lies to Per+2, this frees up 4 character points and puts our beloved Elduman at 240 character points.

And it is at this point that I say fuck Donovan and buy 3 more points in his Energy Reserve and leave the 1 character point leftover. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

GURPS Kethranmeer (Final)

Long ago there was a campaign called The Rebellion Arc. Rebelling occurred. It began with a prison break. It ended with the death of Kethranmeer. Kethranmeer was a Soulless once known as the Beast of Beltan prison and then later known as Spineplate to the members of the group. After D'alton Braun, Derf R. Nosnam, John Johnson, and Xein Mac'fumos reunited Spineplate with his creator A'lst, he became Kethranmeer, the first of the Rankethlek. Kethranmeer died because my players were assholes that couldn't decide on which side they were fighting for and continued not choosing a side right up until Nakmander threw a meteor at Kusseth City and Kethranmeer made the choice for them. Because I feel like it I'm going to build Kethranmeer in GURPS. Which is something I've never done before. I think. Maybe. 

This version of Kethranmeer will be built as a 250 point character with up to 75 points worth of disadvantages not stemming from his racial template. T
his is Kethranmeer is him right before he takes several lightning bolts and fingers of death on the chin from Nakmander. Well, maybe not so much. GURPS and Pathfinder are very different systems with different values ascribed different game mechanics. For instance, damage resistance and damage reduction are basically the same thing, but having damage resistance on your character is a much bigger deal in GURPS than having damage reduction in Pathfinder is. You have fewer hit point in GURPS for starters. Anyway, I see first level as being about a 75 point character, 5th level region around 150, 10th level around 250, and 20+ level as like 500. So based on that opinion on have on points and level, Kethranmeer should be like 300 or 350 points. So this is Kethranmeer 50 points or so weaker than he should be. Or something. Moving on.

First off we need to take a look at the Rankethlek racial template:

27 points

Attribute Ranges: ST 12+, HT 12+
Secondary Characteristic Ranges: Will 10+, SM 0 - +1 (6’ - 7’)
Advantages: Damage Resistance 5+ (Can’t Wear Armor -40%) [15], High Pain Threshold [10], Doesn’t Breathe [20], Doesn’t Eat or Drink [10], Injury Tolerance (No Blood) [5], Injury Tolerance (No Brain) [0], Injury Tolerance (No Eyes) [5], Injury Tolerance (No Head) [7], Injury Tolerance (No Neck) [5], Injury Tolerance (Unliving) [20], Resistant (Very Common: Metabolic Hazards) [30], Unaging [8]
Disadvantages: Cannot Float [-1], Fragile (Unnatural) [-50], Electrical [-20], No Sense of Smell/Taste [-5], Noisy 1 [-2], Unhealing (Total) [-30]
Special: Rankethlek may buy abilities designated as exotic and supernatural, as long as they apply psionic modifiers to them. The GM has final say in determining what may be bought as a psionic ability. This means that even though they do not have FP, they can purchase the Energy Reserve advantage to buy psionic specific FP to use for psionic powers.
Special: As unliving constructs of metal, Rankthlek do not have the ability to buy or use FP.
Special: Rankethlek may purchase HP up to 100% more than their ST attribute, rather than the normal 30% for humanoid characters.
Special: Rankethlek may purchase up to 5 levels of Hard to Kill and Hard to Subdue.
Special: Rankethlek are creatures of living metal based on the sorcerous arts used to create Soulless, and as such gain no benefit from normal first aid skills. At character creation select an appropriate metalworking skill to be treated as the First Aid skill (with the GM’s permission). Rankethlek are not necessarily always made of metal, for instance, a Rankethlek primarily constructed of wood could choose a woodworking skill as the skill to treat as First Aid.

So what does all that mean? The Damage Resistance stems from the fact that Rankethlek are metal, usually steel, so their skin has about as much protection as a suit of steel plate in GURPS. High Pain Threshold mean that Rankethlek are made of metal, so pain don't hurt them. In GURPS, when you take damage, you get a penalty on your checks equal to the damage due to the shock of the impact of something on your flesh. The penalty maxes at -4. Doesn't Breathe, Eat, or Drink are fairly obvious. Whatever A'lst did to animate the Rankethlek appears to be self-sustaining, so they don't need to recharge or undergo maintenance. You can see several varieties of Injury Tolerance up there. This is because Rankethlek are not flesh and blood creatures so they don't have blood, eyes, or brains so they're immune to anything that specifically targets any of that. They have a neck and head, but if you lop off a Rankethlek's head, he'll still be able to see, hear, and talk, so it's more a cosmetic thing than anything else. This also means that all those things they don't have can't be targeted by attacks for additional effects and damage. Rankethlek have a vitals target area, because the lightning heart that animates them can be damaged and exists in their chest. So they're still vulnerable. The Injury Tolerance (Unliving) means that Rankethlek aren't living creatures, so injuries don't fuck them up the same way they would a human. Normally impaling (x2), large piercing (x1.5), cutting (x1.5), and huge piercing (x2) modify damage that penetrates damage resistance by the amounts I've listed in parentheses. Cutting is like an axe blade, impaling is like a javelin or thrusting sword, large piercing is like a .45 caliber pistol or a large bird of prey's beak, huge piercing is like an elephant rifle (specifically the Greener Elephant Rifle found in GURPS High Tech). Injury Tolerance (Unliving) reduces that to huge piercing and impaling dealing normal damage, large piercing becoming x1/2, piercing to x1/3 (piercing normally has no multiplier on damage), and small piercing (which normally has a modifier of x1/2) to x1/5. So yeah, it suddenly becomes a lot harder to hurt things that aren't actually alive. Zombies and other undead would have pretty much all of the same injury tolerances as Rankethlek do. 

After the festival of injury tolerance, we have Resistant (Metabolic Hazards). This basically means that Rankethlek are immune to anything you need a metabolism to be vulnerable to. So they're immune to poisons, diseases, vomiting, itching, and so on. Unaging merely means that Rankethlek don't get old and weak and die eventually. 

Cannot float means Rankethlek don't float. Fragile (Unnatural) means once Rankethlek take enough damage, there's not enough left for their lightning hearts to keep functioning, or the lightning heart itself is too damage to sustain them. So when a Rankethlek is reduced to negative hit points equal to their maximum hit points, they just die. Game over. Electrical means that Rankethlek are in some way animated by electricity, so effects that specifically fuck with electricity fuck with them too, so any time they take a critical hit from an electrical attack, they get knocked out. No Sense of Taste/Smell are self explanatory. Noisy means Rankethlek have a penalty on Stealth checks or others have a bonus on Sense rolls to hear them, depending on the situation, because they're made of metal. Unhealing means that Rankethlek do not heal naturally. They can't take a nap like other characters and recover a few hit points, and you can't use various first aid skills on them either. 

So then you see a bunch of special crap there as well. The first special entry says that Rankethlek can use psionics like Elduman can. The second one says that Rankethlek don't have FP, and they can't buy them. This means they're also immune to effects that drain FP. The third entry says that Rankethlek can buy up their HP up to double their ST in HP, rather than the normal 30% (ST 10 can have up to 20 HP instead of 13 HP.) The fourth entry allows Rankethlek to buy two abilities way above what living creatures can. So yeah, Rankethlek might just die at negative hit points, but those that buy those abilities will be able to stay conscious and keep fighting till they do. The final entry explains that Rankethlek can use an appropriate skill instead of First Aid to act as First Aid. 

Alright, let's build this guy.

We'll start with his racial template modifications because he diverges slightly from normal Rankethlek. The first thing you note is that his damage resistance is higher than 5. This is because Kethranmeer was refurbished from Spineplate with some wolf-iron plating. He's also lost the electrical disadvantage because A'lst put some shielding around his lightning heart, which doesn't happen to Kethranmeer's sons. You'll also note that he's a little bit noisier than freshly made Rankethlek. This is because he was scavenging some of his parts to work on creating his five sons, so while his structural integrity is intact and just as durable, it's the equivalent of a jury rigged job, so he clatters and clanks a bit more than other Rankethlek.

Kethranmeer, First of the Rankethlek
245 points
6' 8" 600 lbs. 

Points From Characteristics: 129
ST: 15 [45]
DX: 10 [0]
IQ: 11 [20]
HT: 14 [40]
HP: 30 [30]
Will: 11 [0]
Per: 11 [0]
Basic Speed: 6.5 [0]
Dodge: 9
Basic Move: 6 [0]
Build: Average [0]
Size Modifier: +1
Appearance: Average [0]
Technology Level: 5 [0]
Cultural Familiarity: Kusseth (native), Steeltown [1], The Fallen Empire of Man [2]
Languages: Citytongue (native), Blacktongue (accented), [4], Guttertongue (accented) [4], Thoeleknair (Accented) [4], Wretchtongue (accented) [4]
Wealth: Dead Broke [-25]

So as you can see, we've already spent a lot on his characteristics and attributes. Kethranmeer's ST is 15, because he's metal and strong and stuff. 15 is like super fucking strong in GURPS. We're talking real impressive. His DX is average because he's a big metal dude weighing several hundred pounds. His IQ is slightly above average because he's spent a lot of time around smart people like Xein and A'lst and A'lst spent a lot of time teaching him. His HT is 14 because he's a tough and durable metal dude. I've doubled his HP from 15 to 30 because he is a monster to put down. I've also bought and included the appropriate cultural and language familiarity for him. I've marked him as dead broke because he never had a job and doesn't really have an income of any kind. 

Points From Advantages: 61
Digital Mind [5]
Enhanced Defense (Block: Shield) [5]
Hard to Kill 5 [10]
Hard to Subdue 5 [10]
Independent Income 1 [1]
Patron: A'lst (FoA: 6) [30] 

Kethanmeer has Digital Mind because he's a prototype of his kind. He doesn't have a mind like a normal Rankethlek or Soulless would, he's a prototype. He also can't use psionics like his children can. Digital Mind makes him immune to anything telepathy related. He has Enhanced Defense (Block: Shield) because he uses a shield a lot and has developed expertise with using a shield to block incoming blows and such. We've maxed out Hard to Kill and Hard to Subdue because Kethranmeer does not quit. Ever. He spend several decades in the bottom of a mineshaft after being torn apart by a dragon and he didn't quit. He has Independent Income and a Patron because even while A'lst is off doing his thing and Kethranmeer is off doing his, A'lst is still looking out for his metal son. 

Points From Disadvantages: -74
Code of Honor (Soldier's) [-10]
Disturbing Voice [-10]
Duty: A'lst (FoA: 6) [-2]
Duty: Rankethlek (FoA: 6) [-2]
Duty: The Robust Five (Always, Extremely Hazardous) [-20]
Phobia: Claustrophobia (SC: 12) [-15]
Weirdness Magnet [-15]

The first disadvantage is Code of Honor (Soldier's) because Kethranmeer was a warrior first and foremost and not being a smelly murder hobo during a fight was important to him. I wouldn't call Kethranmeer lawful, but he definitely wasn't neutral or chaotic. He didn't kill indiscriminately and when he realized Nakmander was going to drop a meteor on Kusseth, he didn't take a cheap shot or strike from surprise. He spoke up and announced his intentions. He treated his foes with the same respect and honor they showed him. He also remained loyal to D'alton and the rest of the Robust Five. He could have peaced out at any time and left them to face foes like Reavers and Brasscoats on their own. Instead he stood with them. The three duties also kind of indicate his loyalty to his friends and family as well. The phobia is a holdover for his time as the Beast. The Beast was a savage metal creature chained at the bottom of the mines, ready to slay any living creature that came near it. Often tormented and torture by guard and inmate alike. Kethranmeer associates deep and dark places with the bloodthirsty Beast and has no desire to return to being that creature, or even recall his time as it, thus the phobia. Weirdness Magnet represents that he hands out with the PCs and weird stuff happens to them. Just as with the rough versions of the current group, Weirdness Magnet represents me the GM screwing with the group. 

Points From Perks: 0

Points From Racial Template: 51
Damage Resistance 8 (can't wear armor -40%) [24]
High Pain Threshold [10]
Doesn't Breathe [20]
Doesn't Eat or Drink [10]
Injury Tolerance (No Blood, Brain, Eyes, Head, or Neck) [22]
Injury Tolerance (Unliving) [20]
Resistant (Common: metabolic hazards) [30]
Unaging [8]
Cannot Float [-1]
Fragile (Unnatural) [-50]
No Sense of Smell Taste [-5]
Noisy 3 [-6]
Sexless [-1]
Unhealing (Total) [-30]

Points From Skills: 78
Amoury (IQ+3/A, TL 4 Body Armor) - 14 [12]
*First Aid skill
Boxing (DX+1/A) - 11 [4]
Crossbow (DX+0/E) - 10 [1]
Detect Lies (Per+1/H) - 12 [8]
Electrician (IQ+1/A, TL 5) - 12 [4]
Forced Entry (DX+2/E) - 12 [4]
Melee Weapon (DX+5/A, Axe/Mace) - 14 [20]
Shield (DX+4/E, Shield) - 14 [12]
Thaumatology (IQ-3/VH) - 8 [1]
Thrown Weapon (DX+2/E, Axe/Mace) - 12 [4]
Wrestling (DX+2/A) - 12 [8]

So those are Kethranmeer's skills and such. It's all pretty straight forward. He hits things with big hammers, has a shield, knows a little about sorcery from the remnants of his memories of the Fallen that first animated him, can kick down doors, repair himself, etc etc etc. 

Points From Quirks: 
Points From Techniques: 0

I supposed I could fill in his gear as well, but I still have to work one or two things out with how his blackstone maul operated, and he didn't carry around much beyond that and a shield. Hell, I could almost get away with giving him Discipline of Faith (Asceticism) as a disadvantage based on some of his behaviors. Oh well. But yeah, that's the gist of Kethranmeer there. If I were going to toss 55 more character points on here to bring him closer to what I feel he was at the end of The Rebellion Arc, I'd probably put 45 to ST (giving him a 20 in ST), adjust his HP down to 30 which would refund 10 points. I'd probably toss the rest into skills and up his Boxing, Wrestling, Shield, and Melee Weapon skills. Wee!

Edit After The Fact: So this is 245 point Kethranmeer (241 after I factor in the changes to language costs I made with cultural templates, and 238 after I factor in that I forgot a SM of +1 offers a 10% discount on HP). What would I add to bring him up to 350? This: ST+7 [63] (bringing base HP up to 22, 37 after HP increase of 15 is factored in), HP+3 [6] (bringing total HP up to 40), DX+1 [20], DR+7 (Can't Wear Armor -40%) [21] and leaves us with 2 character points left over. With Kethranmeer's hammer, he can deal out 8-28 damage crushing damage. It carries no wounding modifier, but still. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

Alternate Rules: Pathirdcore.X

Bringing the concepts of Fourthcore to Pathfinder is a thing I've been thinking about for a while now. What are the concepts of Fourthcore though? Some people aren't familiar with them. 

  • Difficult. The challenges in fourthcore adventures are designed to be especially difficult, requiring players to multitask, balance risk, adapt their strategies to complex and unpredictable scenarios, and decide on courses of action with incomplete information while under a pressing time limit. 
  • Deadly. Dungeoneers will die quickly and often, sometimes as a result of instant death and save or die effects. The consequences of failure are severe. 
  • Lucrative. The rewards found in fourthcore adventures are numberous, valuable, and very powerful. 
  • Over the Top. Fourthcore adventures are brought to life with extravagant threats and adventure sites that are both evocative and gruesome. 
  • Bleak. The world in which fourthcore adventures take place is grim, amoral, violent, and unhappy.
  • Dungeon Centered. Nearly all fourthcore adventures are traditional dungeon delves in the spirit of the Tomb of Horrors, Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan, and other classic tournament modules.
  • Game Oriented. A fourthcore adventure emphasizes the players' struggle to "win" the module by overcoming the challenges presented to them by the Dungeon Master. Player skill takes center stage in many fourthcore encounters. Metagaming is encouraged. 
My understanding is that fourthcore came about because some people felt that 4th Edition was too easy (a feeling I can understand). So they responded by coming up with a competitive concept that made the game murderous. One of the benefits of 4th Edition is easy character creation. I know that some people feel it is hard to make characters in 3.X editions of Dungeons and Dragons. They're wrong and dumb and should probably learn to play better. Character creation is not hard, choosing things is. 4th Edition removes distributing skill points, which does slightly reduce the time needed to deal with skills. However, you still have to make ability scores and choose race and class and feats. In addition, every class has to choose powers. So really, character creation takes longer in 4th Edition. What really reduces the time of character creation is the fact that Wizards has a character builder. That cuts down time significantly. But then, you can buy a Pathfinder or 3.5 license for Hero Builder, so the net overall result is that character creation in 4th Edition takes longer due to having the added difficulty of making choices between powers in addition to all the normal character creation trials and tribulations. 

4th Edition does have an advantage in player durability though, and it's hard to get over that. It's not as big of a deal as you'd think though. 4th Edition characters are designed in 4th Edition. So 4th Edition monsters do more damage and have more hit points to give them a chance to possibly hurt 4th Edition characters (if they're out of healing surges and don't have a leader class with them). Pathfinder monsters are designed with Pathfinder characters in mind, so it kind of ends up being a moot point. However, the hostility of fourthcore is not intended to be coupled with the reduced hit points of the Pathfinder system. 

So how would I modify Pathfinder to make Pathirdcore.X? First I'd alter character creation rules slightly. I'd have characters be built using 25 character points, epic fantasy level, rather than 20 like we normally use in my campaigns. I'd also allow players to choose races valued at up to 15 race points per the Advanced Race Guide. I'd also say that all characters gain maximum hit points every level and start them at level two, rather than one. 

I'd have to modify rewards a bit as well, as there are differences in the design of gear in 4th Edition and Pathfinder. It's extremely important in both systems, but for different reasons. Anyway, first thing I'd do would be to remove the maximum of +10 worth of enchantments on magical gear. Additionally, I'd use something I've seen in some fourthcore adventures, enchantment rewards. The gist you find or are rewarded loot and it makes your weapon vorpal or flaming or something. 

So how would I structure advancement? Fourthcore is designed to be competitive and reward both skilled and lucky players. I would base advancement on player performance. So if we're talking about a group of second level characters, one part of the reward for the scenario would be sufficient experience to hit level three. So 3000 experience. This would go to the player with the fewest deaths during the scenario. The one with the second fewest deaths would get 75% of the needed experience, so 2250, the third fewest would get 50%, and the one with the most deaths would get 25%. In future scenarios the experience rewarded would be based on the experience needed for the highest level character(s) to get to the next level. In situations of ties, it would default to the higher tier. 

This brings up the issue of deaths. Since there's no desire to reroll characters in the middle of a scenario, death would not be permanent. If any character dies, regardless of the method, they return to life on the following round. However, this isn't a free special power. The first time you die, you are restored to life with 75% of your full hit points, the second time is 50%, the third time is 25%, and the fourth time it is 0 and stabilized, because 0 is better than negative thirty or complete bodily destruction. Every time you die after the fourth time, you gain a negative level in addition to being returned to life at 0 and stabilized. These negative levels are cumulative and last until the end of the next scenario. 

So those are just a few of my thoughts on how I might fourthcore Pathfinder. I think fourthcore is an innovative and fun concept for a style of play. I'd really like to return to it at some point in the future. 

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Today Was a Great Day

First a pair of examples. 

How Leadership Works:
Setting: Ye Olde Tavern

Steve The Nondescript Pirate: [To Karrak] "Hey, you're kinda pretty and personable and have an above average amount of undead lifeforce. Let's be friends."

Karrak: "Well, I dunno about all that, but do you [pause to drink heavily as a move action] want to come hang out with me? There's no booze, women, or money in it for you, and you'll have to share a 20 x 20 x 10 room with thirty other dudes, and you might die and we're not going to arm you with anything more than some chain mail with bloodstains on it and a spear, and you could be keel hauled for desertion."

STNP: "Where do I sign up?"

Karrak: "On my dick."

STNP: "Yes sir!"

How Thrallherding Works
Setting: The Depths of Cantellen Forest

Steve The Nodescript Cant: [to himself] "I sure do like this forest and the Cant race, and I sure do hate everyone else."

Subtle Psionic Call For Servants: Bzzzt.

Setting: Fort Jagged Tooth [close to 200 miles away]

Donovan: [to STNC] "You should work against your people because I want you to."

Setting: The Depths of the Cantellen Forest

STNC: "Yes sir!"

So yeah, it was a pretty awesome day today. I played Pathfinder's Carrion Crown adventure path with a level 2 Ratfolk Alchemist. I was leery going in because I wasn't completely sold on the character. But fucking a. It was like being MacGyver with explosives. I was nominated the MVP of the group and had a super fun time with the character's personality and capabilities. I have so many potions and alchemical weapons. It's fucking awesome. So much fucking fun. So many ways to influence events and encounters. I busted out of jail twice, was brought up on murder charges, juggled explosives, made friends, was rude to lawmen, maybe fell in love a little, and befriended the local barkeep (I mention it separately from making friends in general because it got me out of jail legitimately). I did all of this and I didn't even use any of my extracts. Oh, I murdered six townsfolk as well, and I'm thinking of taking up alchemical necromancy just to spite the inbred fuckheads of Ravensgro, Ravengro, whatever the name of the fucking town is. Oh, and I broken into a crypt and stole from a church and killed some bugs. I also taught people the mechanics of poison use in Pathfinder. 

Then I texted my ex-wife (who divorced me because I don't like Sol, summer, water, or give two shits where I live beyond whether I have a job and friends and because I felt that spending 50% of my income on supporting her was more than sufficient and was unwilling to spend more on her) in California to ask her what she thought of the new season of Orange is the New Black and she told me that she is broke and may have to come back home to Michigan. I was filled with such evil evil delight that I started cackling. It was grand. I'm not even sorry or ashamed. I'm going to do it again right now.


Earlier today I got to read Cary losing his damn mind based on a post on the blog a month ago that doesn't even apply to him. Which was initially infuriating, but when I realized that he had misinterpreted the post it became extremely entertaining. I thank him deeply for his service. Then Jason and I chatted and he reconfirmed for me that he is in fact an idiot and does not understand how leadership works in Pathfinder. It's always comforting and enjoyable to have your peers confirm your beliefs. I thank him deeply for his service. I'm retroactively going to say that he got to wear the Pretty Pretty Princess tiara made of Nel dicks for two days, rather than the previously discussed one day. Maybe only one and a half days, then Cary got it for twelve hours, and it finally returned to Eric. 

So yeah, it was a great day. Maybe in this campaign I'll be able to game for longer than three consecutive sessions, which is my current record. This includes Eric's attempt at Carrion Crown, Lance's Dark Sun attempt, and Shawn's attempt at the first published 4th Edition adventure. 

Now I'm going to continue watching Orange is the New Black and drink progressively larger amounts of scotch. It's going to be delightful.