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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Colossus in the Playground
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    Default Atlacamani - Unique Creature

    Looking for advice on an NPC/item of cargo I'll be adding to the game soon. The following is combination actual description, train of thought, plan and call for help.

    edit: I should mention that this obviously isn't meant to be a complete creature description, just an outline of the extra abilities she'll have in addition to being human and whatever class she chooses. Also, how do I fix this damn table?
    edit mk. 2: Goff thinks that "interesting patterns" is too vague All I mean is complicated patterns that are interesting to look at. Any suggestions for change? I'll try "complicated" for now, but it's not really what I meant...

    Atlacamani


    A girl, no more than nine or ten years old, gazes up at you warily. Tattoos or fine scars trace interestingly complex patterns across her dark skin. Her thick black hair is decorated with beads, plaits and brightly coloured thread. The woollen smock, covered in geometric images, hangs from her thin shoulders. She is pretty, helpless, clearly human, and not in the least threatening, yet you feel vaguely discomforted by her presence.

    The material plane is completely infused with magic. Within every rock is the essence of the Plane of Earth. In every stream runs a bit of the Plane of Water. And within every living thing is that mix of divine, arcane and strange wild magic that created and sustains them. In this world, where magic blankets, envelops and is contained within all of existence, there is a miniscule, person-shaped hole, an emptiness, a space of pure Nothing. Oh, you can see the girl that fills this space with your own physical eyes, touch her with your fingers, but when you reach for what really matters – her magical essence – there is nothing to find.
    Atlacamani is an impossibility. She should not exist. The gods leave their mark on every thing they have a hand in creating. Arcane magic holds the very universe together. It should not be possible for anything to exist without having some spark, some speck of magic. Yet she does.
    This unique condition is both a boon and a hinderance. Spells and magical effects rely on the magic present inside all existence to find, attach to and manipulate their targets, whether that is the environment, a creature, or the very fabric of reality. Atlacamani does not possess this innate magic, and so effects that would rely on it, simply cannot “find” her. This includes curses, rays and other harmful spells, but also buffs and healing. Furthermore, magical items rely on linking their magic with their wielder in order to be activated. This means, of course, that Atlacamani cannot use them. With time and effort, she may learn to force such items to work for her, but it will still be relatively difficult. Furthermore, it may be possible after a while for her to make her body accept positive magic by learning to alter the shape and nature of her person-shaped void.
    Spells that target something other than her and deal damage (e.g. fireball, bolt of lightning) can effect her, but not as easily as with other people. Spells that manipulate something other than her (e.g. soften earth and stone) effect her normally if she’s within its range (though I’m trying to decide whether to give her a bonus to her saves or something similar). I’m still trying to decide whether spells that summon objects (e.g. cometfall, acid arrow) will effect her or in what way. I think summoned creatures will be able to attack her as normal. A chance that they might be dispelled is possible, but that might just be covered in the later Dismissal ability. I still haven’t decided the effect of illusions and the magical weapons of enemies. Any thoughts?

    My basic aim of this girl is to make her incredibly vulnerable – to begin with, she’s just a child with no levels in anything (‘cept maybe one of Commoner), and just her Non-magical and Physical Soul attributes – but occasionally incredibly powerful. She’s unlikely to be a PC at any point, though it would be possible. For the entirety of this campaign, she’s going to be very little more than a burden, as the party will have promised to take her with us and keep her safe. The rest of the party is level 10-12. Her ultimate destiny is at least two campaigns away (the rest of mine, then the next one that Goff has planned, and then the one in which Atlacamani will be required to use her abilities), and will probably be epic. What class she takes will depend on which party member takes a shine to her. Her abilities, especially the later ones, are much more aimed at being last-chance do-or-die impressive feats than everyday abilities, and she’s much more about flavour than ability. Anyway, basically, do you think that I succeeded in my aim to make her vulnerable but dangerous? As I said, she’s unlikely to be a PC so LA isn’t really going to be an issue, but I’d prefer that she not have one. Do you think she will need one? If so, how could I get rid of it?

    Note: Progression will be by level or hit dice, but severe stress or trauma can force abilities to occur earlier. The numbers below do not correspond to her level or hit dice, but just relative positions. Any advice on what level/HD they should be gained is appreciated.

    {table=head]Level | Ability
    1 | Non-magical: Atlacamani is immune to all magical effects, spells, direct supernatural abilities, etc., harmful or beneficial. For area effects that alter the environment immediately around her (eg. Fireball – heats the air), she is treated as having Improved Evasion. Spells that effect only the environment effect her as usual. Detection spells fail to register her. Only scrying spells that “look at” an area or “hear” sounds pick her up. She is unable to use any magic item. Non-activated magical qualities of items are suppressed when equipped by her (e.g. a +2 Flaming Dancing Greatsword would be a masterwork greatsword when wielded by her).
    | Physical Soul: Atlacamani’s soul is intimately connected to her body. In order for her soul to move on to the afterlife, a metaphysical being must come to her body and physically take it. All spells for raising the dead fail, but as her soul does not leave, ‘repairing” the corpse and “restarting” it will bring her back to life.
    2 | Non-intuitive Magic: With a good deal of practice, Atlacamani can learn to employ magical devices, but it is always harder for her than for normal people. She always needs Use Magic Device to use any magic item. Items that normally have a UMD check have a 25% higher DC. She does not gain Use Magic Device as a class skill (unless she takes a class that does).
    3 | Closing the Void: After a time, Atlacamani can learn to suppress her “void” and force her body to accept spells once a day. Each time she must make a Fortitude save (DC 15+spell level) or be Fatigued. If she is already Fatigued, she takes a -5 penalty to her save and is instead Exhausted.
    4 | Closing the Void: 2/day
    5 | Touch of Unmagic: Atlacamani can repel magic with a touch. Upon succeeding on an unarmed touch attack, she can empty a spell slot, lose a prepared spell or remove one use of a spell-like or supernatural ability of her target. The maximum spell level that can be nullified is equal to one half of her hit dice, and she can do it a number of times per day equal to her Charisma modifier (min. 1).
    6 | Purging Grasp: Atlacamani can repel non-innate magic and sever interplanar bonds with a touch. Upon succeeding with an unarmed touch attack, she can purge magics as per the Dispel Magic and Dismissal spells once a day.
    7 | Greater Touch of Unmagic: Atlacamani develops the ability to channel her Touch of Unmagic through weapons, allowing her to use it as part of an attack. In addition, she deals an extra 1d6 damage per level of the spell repelled +1 per 4 character levels. She can do this a number of times a day equal to 1 + her Charisma modifier (minimum 1/day).
    | Greater Purging Grasp: Purging can be channelled through weapons, allowing her to use it as part of an attack. In addition, it works as the spells Greater Dispel Magic and Banishment instead of Dispel Magic and Dismissal. She can do this twice a day.
    8 | Closing the Void: 3/day
    9 | Greater Touch of Unmagic: 2+Cha mod/day (min 1)
    10 | Greater Purging Grasp: 3/day
    11 | Expanding the Void: Once a week, Atlacamani can force her “void” outwards, repelling all magic and magical effects within her range, as per the spell Anti-magic Field. Each time she must make a Fortitude save (DC 20) or be Fatigued. If she is already Fatigued, she takes a -5 penalty to her save and is instead Exhausted.
    12 | Closing the Void: 4/day
    13 | Greater Touch of Unmagic: 3+Cha mod/day (min 1)
    14 | Greater Purging Grasp: 4/day
    15 | Expanding the Void: 1/day
    16 | Void Explosion: Once a week, Atlacamani can thrust her “void” out in a great explosion of unmagic, tearing through the very fabric of the magic of the universe. It moves in a 50-ft sphere centred on herself or an 80ft cone in the direction of her choice. This area acts as per Greater Purging Grasp (except it works on everything in the area), Greater Touch of Unmagic (except it works on everything in the area, does maximum damage, and any susceptible creatures within range must succeed on a Fortitude save (DC 20+Cha) or have all their remaining spells/spell slots/ability uses purged with corresponding damage), and Expanding the Void (lingering within the area until it naturally runs out), as well as Mage’s Disjunction. She must then make a Fortitude save (DC 25) or fall unconscious for 2d20 hours. Success means she is instead Exhausted.[/table]
    Last edited by Serpentine; 2008-02-28 at 11:28 PM.

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    HalflingRogueGirl

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    Default Re: Atlacamani - Unique Creature

    Looks great. As long as she won't be a PC or enemy to them you shouldn't even worry about CR. Then again, with only 1/2 of a homebrew under my belt what do I know?
    Last edited by SilentNight; 2008-02-28 at 11:19 PM.
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    Default Re: Atlacamani - Unique Creature

    Interesting concept.
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    Default Re: Atlacamani - Unique Creature

    Neat! I tried to make a magic-less race, and was in the process of failing miserably. (It was just as an excuse to make rediculously-epic mundane items, admittedly...)

    As far as patterns go, I always liked "attractive". It's a disinteresting enough description to stop players from trying to create an astrological map out of the patterns. Though, it might be too superficial a description, if they're meant to be important. For that matter, are they light or dark? It's probably a silly question, since scars are usually light, and her skin is already dark....

    As far as her abilities, I'll just say that I'd hate to be the party wizard. While she's got enough power in there to make a PrC, there's little ability for her to augment or aid other characters. Her peak ability is... Enormously inconvenient. I wouldn't want to be in that radius when it goes off, no matter whose side I'm on. The concept is a good way for her to go 'nova', but it's indiscriminate and doesn't use the rest of her abilties.

    Compare with those cheese-ifying Wizards who expend the majority of their higher-level spells dropping off a dozen delayed-blast fireballs in a single god-killing explosion.
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    Colossus in the Playground
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    Default Re: Atlacamani - Unique Creature

    Just giving my girl a bump. I'll most likely be introducing her in the next game, so I could really use some more feedback. In particular, I'll need to figure out pretty early on what effect certain spells and magic effects - specifically/especially illusions, magic weapons, spells that summon or create objects etc - will have and I'd appreciate any thoughts.
    I'm also considering options for protecting her. She'll be very fragile, so protection could be pretty important, but obviously aren't likely to be able to be placed on her. I'll probably just leave it to the party to figure out, but I'm thinking of allowing certain items or spells to be targeted at items instead of her person. For example (a bad example, because looking at it now it doesn't work like I thought it did, but I'll pretend it does), a Ring of Force Shield that can be activated by an ally by voice (as she won't be able to activate magic items for several levels, though if I decided it just needed the sound to work then it might be a possibility) and focuses on the ring itself rather than the wearer, meaning that it protects the wearer but only as coincidence to her being in proximity to the ring. If you know what I mean...
    So. Uh... PEACH?
    Last edited by Serpentine; 2008-03-01 at 01:35 AM.

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    Default Re: Atlacamani - Unique Creature

    Well, if you want to keep her protected, a non-magical way to improve equipment is probably a good place to start. After that, levels in monk. I'm not sure if Vow of Poverty is magical or not, but it might be a good alternative.

    While I like the concept a lot, I think that the abilities are usable too seldom. When I think of a hole in the magic of the universe, I think of something that's innately active, so things like Touch of Unmagic and Purging Grasp would work on contact without limit, and Closing the Void would work as many times as Atlacamani would be willing to risk. To fill in the dead levels left by this, maybe Atlacamani could learn some ways to expand her hole outside herself for more specific purposes, like quenching ranged spells or an "anti-magic ray" effect against a spellcaster, essentially crippling them.

    Basically, I'm saying that this could use some more power. As things stand, she's pretty worthless to a party and unimpressive as an exception to the universe's laws. The concept is great, but I think more can be done with it.
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    Default Re: Atlacamani - Unique Creature

    Quote Originally Posted by SilentNight View Post
    Looks great. As long as she won't be a PC or enemy to them you shouldn't even worry about CR. Then again, with only 1/2 of a homebrew under my belt what do I know?
    Not giving it a CR is like begging your Players to attack her, because they will... Players love to fight what they're not supposed to, after all.

    Otherwise, unless you're looking for a rule set, does it really matter her abilities? I mean, she's going to be totally invulnerable to everything, why not go ahead and let her do anything you will her to as well, right? The DM is controlling, and thus can use caution when deciding her moves, rather than a player who'll go all out all the time.
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    Colossus in the Playground
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    Default Re: Atlacamani - Unique Creature

    Quote Originally Posted by JackMage666 View Post
    Not giving it a CR is like begging your Players to attack her, because they will... Players love to fight what they're not supposed to, after all.
    Well, all the players had to do was sneak in, grab the girl, sneak out. Upon watching a ritual of human sacrifice, they decided they really didn't like the priest and were hell-bent on slaughtering him, and now they've found an imprisoned couatl they're all for freeing it. They're not likely to attack a helpless 9-year-old girl. Fortunately, my party plays Good quite well
    Seraph, I like the look of those items. I'll definitely keep them in mind.
    Your point about the Touch of Unmagic and Purging Grasp was already suggested to me, for exactly the same reasons. I'm intending this to be in addition to character levels, though. You don't think it'd be too much? I suppose I could always just slap on a LA... About her worthlessness, as I said I intend her to mostly be quite vulnerable but occasionally very impressive and dangerous. Her main "purpose" (if she dies, I'm thinking the world will create another creature like her to fill this role, the party just might not be involved) is to travel to a dead continent where some great epic item is sucking the magic out of everything and spitting it away, generally killing almost all living things in the area (see Goff's Deathwalkers). As an unmagical being, she won't be subject to this item and will be able to approach and deactivate it. On the other hand, I do want her to be interesting, involved, and maybe even playable, so advice is sill always welcome, and I'll think about what you said, Seraph.
    Oh yeah, and I still need thoughts on the effect of illusions and enemies' magic items on her.

    I've been thinking, too, about what class/es she might take. Really it depends on what the other players do, who takes her under their wing etc. I'm kinda thinking thusly:
    Sorcerer/Wizard: Basically impossible, unless she invests very heavily into Use Magic Device to use scrolls and wands when she's able to, and then she may as well take another class and cheat.
    Cleric/Paladin: Same as Sorcerer/Wizard + skills and fighting ability.
    Fighter: Easy peasy, except for issues with magic items.
    Ranger: Non-magical variant only.
    Rogue: No problem.
    Barbarian: I don't believe Rage is a supernatural ability or anything but a state of mind, so that should be fine too.
    Monk: Well, we don't really use them anyway - no place for an Asian-themed class in a Medieval Europe-themed campaign - but I'll have to have a look at it and maybe think about tweaking it.
    Druid: Not much hope there.

    That said, it doesn't mean that being adopted by, say, a druid won't do anything at all. It'll just mean that she'll have to work out other ways of defending nature through Ranger or even Rogue or Fighter. There's always the possibility, too, that I might just expand her abilities into a sort of variant spellcaster - say, if the sorcerer takes a shining to her, they could get together to study the phenomenon and help her to develop it into something more malleable and of everyday use, which would end up being more like what Seraph seemed to be getting at.

    Erm, just to let you all know, I'm kinda using this as a place to set out and also record my thoughts on this as I get them. So don't get too alarmed if I seem to end up all over the place...

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    Default Re: Atlacamani - Unique Creature

    I like her. Much.

    I had made an unmagical golem once, with similar flavor. I'd think a walking, permenant antimagic field would be as impervious to spells as an ordinary antimagic field. As such any magic effect aimed directly at her would fail, and any area effect spell would fail to affect her as well. A fireball would burn away her clothes, her items held but fail to damage her. Whereas the same fireball, if it had been directly aimed at her would've been supprressed in the first place (possibly after burning a hole through her clothes). A summon that hits her would momentarily disappear (summons disappear when in an AMF but they reappear if AMF is gone before their time's up, don't they?) and reappear, failing to affect her (unless it tries to grapple in which case it's gone till she moves). And being utterly devoid of magic would make her unable to percieve illusions I'd think.

    But she'd still be as vulnerable as one gets with about 12 AC and less than 4 hp.


    On to difficult questions: How much unmagical is she exactly? Would a removed part of her body still be antimagic? Can a few drops of her blood dispel something? Would a single hair that randomly falls off her head be unmagical? So on and so forth, make up some stuff along these lines.

    Will she be growing up during the campaign, or in the downtime? Will her personal life (what little of it she may have) effect the campaign? A child needs friends, namely other kids to play with. I can't imagine what sort of a person a child would grow up to be without any other kids around. And she'd choose father and mother figures from the party (have PCs of both genders, I hope), which will affect her personality immensely. Further down the line, all sorts of fun can be had with an adolescent girl in an adventuring party (RPing kind of fun I mean, don't get any funny ideas. Or do get some funny ideas, that could get pretty interesting, if a bit awkward...). Are you planning to give some screentime to her first crush, her first boyfriend, stuff like that? I just got this weird idea: a sorcerer kid newly manifesting his powers for her first boyfriend... Think of the possibilities (for hillarity)!

    Not clear on physical soul. It looks like she can't die unless she's completely destroyed (disintegrated). I'd say it reads as if her hp can keep going lower, but any healing spell getting her back to positives will resurrect her.
    ...

    I'm assuming what you meant was she looks like a more organized Nameless One. "Serpentine patterns" can work you know.
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    Colossus in the Playground
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    Default Re: Atlacamani - Unique Creature

    Quote Originally Posted by cnsvnc View Post
    I like her. Much.
    Thank you And good questions...

    Quote Originally Posted by cnsvnc View Post
    On to difficult questions: How much unmagical is she exactly? Would a removed part of her body still be antimagic? Can a few drops of her blood dispel something? Would a single hair that randomly falls off her head be unmagical?
    Very. Good question... Perhaps when a part of her leaves her person, the "void" takes on the new shape and allows the magic of the world to invade the lost body part. I would consider allowing some small part of her - drops of blood or hair or whatever - being used as components for antimagic spells, but I'd have to think about it and look at the spells.
    Quote Originally Posted by cnsvnc View Post
    Will she be growing up during the campaign, or in the downtime? Will her personal life (what little of it she may have) effect the campaign? A child needs friends, namely other kids to play with. I can't imagine what sort of a person a child would grow up to be without any other kids around. And she'd choose father and mother figures from the party (have PCs of both genders, I hope), which will affect her personality immensely. Further down the line, all sorts of fun can be had with an adolescent girl in an adventuring party (RPing kind of fun I mean, don't get any funny ideas. Or do get some funny ideas, that could get pretty interesting, if a bit awkward...). Are you planning to give some screentime to her first crush, her first boyfriend, stuff like that? I just got this weird idea: a sorcerer kid newly manifesting his powers for her first boyfriend... Think of the possibilities (for hillarity)!
    This campaign shouldn't go for more than a few months. The party needs to keep moving but will be obliged to take her with them, so she probably won't be around children for very long. On the other hand, the elven rogue and gnome mystic thurge are both pretty childish. They're also the most likely parent figures, and I've already decided that her interaction with the party especially those who take her under their wing will determine her development. It will certainly get interesting... Oh gawd. I just realised something. By the time she's a young adult, the rogue will still be about the equivalent. And he's a high Cha, charming philanderer. Creepy or what? >.< Anyway, I think that Goff, who will be running the next game (and who coincidentally plays said rogue) will be leaving at least a couple of years of downtime, probably long enough for her to hit her teens and a level or two. We will be, if not roleplaying then describing what we do in that time, so I can put in that sort of detail for her. Oh, and as I mentioned, stress (and notably puberty) can bring on her abilities early

    Quote Originally Posted by cnsvnc View Post
    Not clear on physical soul. It looks like she can't die unless she's completely destroyed (disintegrated). I'd say it reads as if her hp can keep going lower, but any healing spell getting her back to positives will resurrect her.
    If I go with what I said about bodyparts, her body will become an object and some of the world's magic will enter it. Healing spells still won't work - cuz she's dead - but ones like mending, I'm thinking, will. Basically, if one of the object repair spells can't fix her body enough to be functioning, she's boned. I was thinking that said repair spells could be used to fix whatever caused her death, and then mundane means of restoring life - CPR, maybe an electric shock, that sort of thing - can be used to bring her 'round. Does that explain it better? And does it sound (relatively) reasonable? Basically she'll be like a real-life human - careful surgery may be able to take the role of the spells. On the up-side, in our game we have a modified version of natural healing - level plus Con modifier after rest. At least to start with, for her it probably won't be any more than the ordinary rules, but oh well.

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    Colossus in the Playground
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    Default Re: Atlacamani - Unique Creature

    One last, very last, bump in case anyone else has anything to say 'bout it.

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