Friday, April 1, 2011

(Really) Weird Arcana – The Cyborg Sorcerer (New... Bloodline?)

This new “bloodline” is not for the faint of heart. Actually, it’s superior to all other bloodlines, because it is the only one constructed along True Scientific Principles!
The Cyborg Sorcerer “Bloodline”
Class Skill: Use Magic Device.
Bonus Spells: shield (3rd), levitate (5th), protection from energy (7th), resilient sphere (9th), wall of force (11th), disintegrate (13th), reverse gravity (15th), iron body (17th), meteor swarm (19th).
Bonus Feats: Combat Casting, Improved Grapple, Great Fortitude, Endurance, Diehard, Silent Spell, Still Spell, Power Attack.
Bloodline Arcana:
Whenever you active one of your devices (primitives call that “spellcasting”), electric pulses surges all around your body for 1 round. Anyone who attacks you with melee or natural weapons during that round suffers 1d8 of damage +1 for every two sorcerer levels.
Bloodline Powers:
Cyberarm (Ex): At 1st level, the nanites in your body converted one of your arms (your choice) to a cybernetic limb with two functions. You can use it to make melee attacks (in which you are automatically proficient) for 1d6 points of damage plus your Str modifier. The secondary function of your cyberarm is that it is a universal tool. You can use it to simulate any generic tool (like look picking devices or a crowbar).
At 7th level, the nanites in your body absorbed enough raw material to treat your cyberarm as an adamantine weapon. You can activate your cyberarm for natural attacks for a number of rounds per day equal to 3 + your Charisma modifier.
Exoskeleton (Ex): At 3rd level, you develop a metallic dermal armor in random parts of your body. You now have a +2 armor bonus. This special cybernetic armor doesn’t incur any penalty or restriction for maximum Dexterity, checks and arcane spellcasting. For every four levels, your armor bonus is improved by +2 (to a maximum of +6 at 19th level).
Pulse Cannon (Ex): At 9th level, your nanites evolved enough to assemble a pulse cannon (choose the place). This weapon can be used to make ranged touch attacks that deal 4d6 points of damage. This damage is ½ fire and ½ electricity.
You can use your cyberarm a number of times per day equal to 3 + your Charisma modifier. You can expend two of your daily uses to send a greater blast. This special blast can be used either to ignore an object’s hardness or as an area attack (10-ft. radius sphere, Refl save for half damage, DC equal to 10 + ½ your sorcerer level + your Charisma modifier), your choice.
Steel Skull (Ex): At 15th level, parts of your brain and at least one of your eyes are substituted by bionic parts. You gain darkvision (or double your natural racial range) and blindsense 60 ft. Your superior sensory devices also enable you to ignore figment illusions and grant the benefits of slippery mind (as the rogue advanced talent).
Living Machine (Ex): At 20th level, your nanites now sustain and constantly regenerate your body. Every time your hit points drop below half, you acquire fast healing 4. Your metallic carapace grants you DR 5/adamantine. Finally, you also don’t need to breath, sleep or eat.

Disclaimer: Ok, this is a total silly bloodline.  I built it originally as part of a greater article on how to add some of the good old gonzo gaming-style to your Pathfinder table, like Gamma World, Encounter Critical, Planet Algol, The Herculoids, Thundarr the Barbarian, Masters of the Universe. I may still write the article in the future. And yup, I’m a fan of all those sources above and also of Blackmoor, Temple of the Frog, Expedition to the Barrier Peaks and – of course – Golarion’s Numeria, the "Savage Land of Superscience" (probably the coolest name ever!).

Variant: “Wait, I mean it! It really is technology!
If you’re crazy enough to kick the bucket all the Nine Hells away, try this: the cyborg “bloodline” is actually a character that utilizes pure 100% science-fiction (or fantasy) advanced technology. Forget the mechanics and pay attention to the flavor, on how the rules are presented in the campaign. Maybe your character learned the secret of the Ancients and their unique “magic”, or maybe you uncovered an artifact that infected you with nanites.

Ok, the fluff is easy. The rules? Let’s see…

First, forget spellcasting. All your “spells” (let’s call them “devices”) are actually technological machinery implanted in your body. As your level increases, these nanites inside you adapt more quickly to your biology and neurological pathways. The description of your powers should fit a technological mindset – you and your Gamemaster should work together to pick up spells that better reflect this.

Spell components can be easily used as the necessary actions to activate a device. Somatic components are the result of you meddling with your implants (pushing buttons and activating inserted weapons). Verbal components are voice commands to your devices, like calibration and target determination. Finally, material components are special fuels required by your inner machines (like diamond for your instantaneous “crystalloid skin matrix”, a.k.a. stoneskin).

Now the big change: all your powers and devices are extraordinary abilities. They work even inside antimagic areas and ignore SR (but not DR and energy resistance).

The drawbacks?

First, you can’t affect directly other spells. The Gamemaster should remove from your “device list”, spells like dispel magic and mage’s disjunction.

Second, you are literally part machine. Until you reach the 20th level and your nanites starting automatically healing you, you only heal naturally until ½ your hit points. Above that mark you’ll need of repairs. This is simulated by a special craft skill check that you need to succeed (DC 15 + your level). Let’s cal it Craft (Technology) – remember, this is a science-fantasy game. Each failed check results in you needing new spare parts. These are normally specific amounts of metals and other substances, with a cost equal to your cyborg level x 10 in GP. You bionic components also require constant maintenance in the form of a special upkeep equal to your level x 100 per month. Failure in paying this results in your hit points falling to ½ their maximum and all your devices and powers are disabled.

Third, you gain vulnerability to electricity and effects that target constructs (but you are not of the construct type). If you take electricity damage any device activated (a.k.a. spell cast) in the following round has a 25% failure chance.
Finally, you suffer a –1 in social checks (except Intimidate) and reactions with living beings for every cyborg “bloodline” power you possess.

Don’t forget that your bloodline class skill is now Craft (Technology).

Good game!