Campaign of the Month: November 2007
Each character in Bodhisattva Complex has the option of adopting a spirit guide to lend them power otherwise unheard of. These spirits are the remnants of people who lived during the First Age or even before that, when the world had yet been untouched by the ravaging wild atma. Now left without their bodies or the lives they led during those times, the “asura” are doomed to exist between life and death.
Each character in BC has a karma value assigned them by the GM. This value waxes and wanes over the course of the game as that character grows and experiences new things or their view on life changes in some way. Karma is the key to unlocking an asura’s true potential and bringing out its power.
How Asura Work
Asura are bascally a combination of two other mechanics from the D&D universe; legacy weapons and vestiges. In order to bond with an asura and utilize its power, a character must have access to a pool of at least 1 essentia. In most cases the asura is willing to bond with the character, but in some instances an unwilling asura can be forced into service. In order to do this, the player must make a level check and add their CHA modifier to the result. If the check succeeds, the asura is forced into bondage and its abilities can be used. The asura is allowed another check every so often to resist the will of the binder and escape service.
Asuras have three principal categories into which their gifts fall; ability score enhancements, spell-like/psi-like abilities or maneuvers, and skill-oriented gifts. Almost all asura will have one gift that falls into each of these categories that will grow more potent as their bonded partner’s karma value changes. For example, Cecilia DuBourge begins with one gift; a +2 enhancement bonus to her partner’s DEX score. This gift eventually grows to a +4 and +6 over time. Additionally, Cecilia will grant bonus ranks in DEX-based skills such as Tumble and Move Silently, as well as granting her partner a number of spell-like abilities per day.
Asura have signs and displays much like vestiges do, but their effects aren’t nearly as obvious or jarring to strangers. Hyuga causes his partner to stand a little straighter and speak more clearly, for example, while Bedlam gifts his companion with a more acute sene of hearing.
The karma values required to unlock new abilities in an asura are known only to the GM, seeing as how these events are supposed to be important and directly tied to the story. When unlocking the first few gifts the player will receive them in a predetermined order, but after a certain point the choice can be made as to which gift a player will receive next.
Each asura has an innate ability that is unique to it and can be utilized by anyone currently bonded with it. These are referred to as traits. Some traits have simple effects such as adding certain skills to a character’s favored list, while others have more complicated and powerful effects.
Using an asura’s trait usually requires spending a number of action points – between one and five, depending on the trait’s power. Some traits can be used without limit while others are restricted by the same rules as maneuvers or spell-like abilities.
Traits are affected by a character’s growth and karma the same way that an asura’s gifts are. When asura reach a certain level of development there is a chance for their inherent traits to change.
A list of traits as they appear:
- Unshakable Will: Allows the asura to resist bondage and make compulsion attempts against the person to whom it is bonded. Note: This trait is considered a detriment and allows for the asura to have stronger gifts in exchange.
- Counter Strike: Whenever the bonded is attacked and that attack misses, he may spend 1 action point to immediately gain an attack of opportunity against that target.
- Third Arm: When the bonded spends 2 action points, they may ready an action and retain that action indefinitely.
- Strong Personality: The bonded may spend 1 action point to force a target to focus on him or her. That target must make a Will saving throw with a DC of 15+ 1/2 the bonded’s character level. If the target fails their save their attitude improves by one stage.
- Miser: Allows the bonded to steal a small amount of gold from an enemy with a successful melee attack by spending 1 action point.
- Mutable Weapon: On a successful attack, the bonded may spend 1 action point to change their weapon’s attribute between slashing, bludgeoning, or piercing for that attack.
- Soul Music: Allows the bonded to spend action points in place of Bardic Music uses three times per day.
List of Asura so far
Huyga Manekata: Former leader of the Six Realms military squad. A staunch solder boy type who takes everything seriously. Has an unflinching respect for his platoon-mates. Hyuga grants abilities related to physical strength, including some maneuvers. Currently partnered with Milo Shore.
Trait: Counter StrikeGifts
- Gift of Might – +2 enhancement bonus to STR. Grows to +4 and +6 with time.
- Sin-stained Blade – Grants a number of maneuvers and stances per encounter from the Stone Dragon and Iron Heart disciplines.
- Soldier’s Anamnesis – Gives the bonded a bonus to Athletics and Survival checks that increases over time.
Cecilia DuBourge: Arcanist of Six Realms, an eccentric woman with a penchant for dark, romantic things. Cecilia is a magical genius with a chip on her should involving her family and their views on responsibility. Her gifts revolve around magic and speed, granting enhancements to dexterity and spells that affect movement speed and fiddle with the enmy’s perceptions. Currently partnered with Honoria Blanchard.
Trait: Strong PersonalityGifts
- Gift of Acuity – +2 enhancement bonus to DEX. Grows to +4 and +6 with time.
- Ars Arcanum – Grants a number of arcane spell-like abilities per day from the sorcerer list.
- Dancer’s Anamnesis – Gives the bonded a bonus to Acrobatics and Concentration checks that increases over time.
Bedlam: A vagrant found by Hyuga and enrolled in Six Realms because of his unusual talents. Bedlam is usually quiet and reserved, but when he does speak is full of sauce and sarcasm. His gifts revolve around intellect and understanding of the world around you, granting enhancements to knowledge skill checks and spells and powers used for divination and manipulation of time and space. Currently partnered with Charlotte Cabochon.
Trait: Soul MusicGifts
- Gift of Clarity – +2 enhancement bonus to INT. Grows to +4 and +6 over time.
- Schizophone – Grants abilities that allow bardic music and sound descriptor spells/powers to do extraordinary things.
- Vagabond’s Anamnesis – Gives the bonded a bonus to Communication and Bardic Knowledge checks that increases over time.
Purusha: The soul of a nameless naga scribe who was executed for betraying the first high priest of Ananta to the rakshasa tribes. Purusha is a creature of few words, rarely expressing his will. However, when he does, he does so with an intensity unseen in other Asura. He is constantly scheming, even between life and death. His true name is completely unknown- the name Purusha is merely a title given to those buried in the tombs of naga heretics.
Trait: Unshakable WillGifts
- Gift of Sapience- +2 enhancement bonus to WIS, grows to +4 and +6 with level.
- Divine Oratory – Grants a number of spell-like abilities with the truename descriptor each day.
- Sagacity – Gives the bonded a bonus to Truespeak and Knowledge (religion) that increases over time.