Wednesday, June 05, 2013

The Paladins of Space: A 4C System Supplement

This post features some supplemental rules for the 4C System, a super-heroic retroclone. I am keeping exact locations vague in this so that GMs will have some wiggle room in placing these characters in their own campaigns. Space is big, so there is plenty of room for the Paladins and the Eidolon in any campaign.

Courtesy NASA

The Universe is vast, and there are many forces, both good and evil, that roam the spaceways. A few groups have sprung up around various sectors of space to police and enforce justice. Out on the edges of the Milky Way there is a group that are the aftereffect of a long time war between two great planetary powers, the armored warriors known in most space cultures as The Paladins!

Centuries ago, a peaceful and technologically advanced world called Galan was invaded by a race of shape-shifting aliens that worshiped demonic beings in exchange for dark magics. These aliens were known as the Eidolon, and they had conquered and devastated many worlds in the name of their demon masters. Unlike other worlds that the Eidolon had fought against, the people of Galan rose up and used their technology to fight back. Three hundred of Galan's youth were selected by the world's Prime Computer to be grafted into powerful suits of armor that would allow them to fight against the Eidolon. Given powerful armor and great weapons, these first Paladins rose up into space to fight against the Eidolon and preserve their homeworld.

There were a number of great battles, and one of these Paladins pushed the Eidolon back to their home planet, only to fall victim to dark sorceries that allowed the Eidolon to escape from him and scatter among the stars. The war was over and Galan was spared, but the Eidolon still existed, scattered among the stars to lick their wounds and work to come back as a great galactic power. It was decided by the Prime Computer, the High Council of Galan and the 200 remaining Paladins that the Paladins would take to space and root out the evils of the Eidolon where ever they could find them, and put an end to their menace.

In most space cultures, the Paladins and their fights against the Eidolon are very well known. The Paladins are known as figures of honor and sacrifice throughout the space cultures. They often lend a hand during times of war, and have helped aid and rebuild planets devastated by war. They prefer to remain neutral in conflicts, with Galan offering aid and assistance to those harmed by war, rather than engaging in wars themselves.

The Eidolon still exist throughout the universe. Exact numbers can not be ascertained, but Galan's High Council estimates that there are probably a couple tens of thousands left scattered among the planets of the Milky Way. Since the Eidolon prefer to use their shapeshifting powers and act from behind the scenes, that makes it hard for Galan to figure their exact numbers. Typically when rumors of Eidolon on a planet reach the High Council of Galan, a Paladin is sent to investigate. If Eidolon are discovered, they stay until all of them have been rooted out and destroyed. Some space cultures find this approach and interesting irony, compared to Galan's typical stance as intergalactic peacekeepers. Once the Paladin is satisfied that the Eidolon menace has been eradicated, they move on to the next rumored location.

The main tool of a Paladin is called their Prime Device. This device takes many shapes, and is typically individualized to the appearance of the specific Paladin. The Prime Device does three things:
  • Universal Translator: The Prime Device allows translation between Galandor, the language of Galan, and the languages of those around the Paladin. It allows instantaneous communication and each person within 3 sectors of the Paladin are able to hear others as if they are speaking their language.
  • Analyzer: The red light of the Prime Device's analyzer function determines if the target being scanned is an Eidolon, or actually what they appear to be. On a red Awareness result, the Paladin is able to know the world of the target's birth and the presence of any enhanced capabilities.
  • Neutralizer: The weapon setting of the Prime Device is called the Neutralizer. However, while it is believed that this is a destructive weapon setting, it actually is a powerful teleportation device that opens a dimensional portal and banishes the target to that dimension. The Paladin rolls against the Fortitude of the target on the Master Table, and must get a Blue or Yellow result to banish the target. To those watching, it appears as if the Paladin has disintegrated the target.
Creating A Paladin
Making a Paladin under the 4C rules is pretty simple, for those who want to run a space-faring campaign, or perhaps a campaign where a Paladin has come to Earth, investigating rumors of Eidolon infiltration of the planet. Follow the 4C rules, with these changes.

Powers: Already possessing great power from their armors, Paladins are less likely to have super-powers, although sometimes the process of grafting people into their armor will awaken latent powers or mutations. A Paladin will never have Magic as a power. A Paladin has a 30% chance (30 or less on a roll of the d%) of having powers, and ignore any result of Magic on the Power Determination table.

Primary Traits: Use the following table to determine a Paladin's Primary Traits.

For Melee:
Die Roll
Rank Value

For Coordination and Brawn:
Die Roll
Rank Value

For Fortitude:
Die Roll
Rank Value

These scores reflect the fact that the Paladins have been involved in a centuries-long conflict with the Eidolon that has made them much more battle hardened than others of their relative experience would be. If a Paladin has any sort of powers, they should use the Advanced Power Selection table to determine them. All Paladins can fly through space and are protected from the rigors of space by their armor. Consider their armor to provide 40 points of protection from attacks.

Now, let's bring on the Bad Guys and talk a little bit about the Eidolon.

The Eidolon come from a world (now destroyed by the Paladin that followed them to their homeworld) that was covered with thick, toxic clouds that kept most light from reaching the planet's surface. The planet was dark and cold and very inhospitable. Despite all of the that, the Eidolon developed shape shifting abilities and were able to compensate for the harshness of their world and thrive regardless. This background is a big part of what drives the Eidolon to conquer and destroy.

The religion of the Eidolon is lead by the females of the species, they were the ones who crafted the pacts with their demonic masters, and it was the females who are able to use magic because of that. Females lead the species and the men work as drones or soldiers, almost.

The typical strategy of the Eidolon, upon reaching a new world, is to use their shapeshifting powers to infiltrate a small community, use it as a power base and then expand from there (after calling more Eidolon to the world). Typically there are usually no more than a thousand Eidolon on a planet at any time, and more likely those numbers are in the range of 200-300. They will work themselves into positions of power and then usurp the world from within, often using the world's innate fears to bring about wars and destruction.

Typical Eidolon
When a species is made up of shapeshifters, "typical" is hard to access. No one really knows the true forms of the Eidolon, as when they are not disguised they prefer to appear in a shape that is heavily robed and hooded. Otherwise they appear as typical individuals of the world that they are infiltrating.

Melee: 10
Coordination: 5
Brawn: 30
Fortitude: 30
Intellect: 30
Awareness: 5
Willpower: 10

Damage: 75
Fortune: 45

Lifestyle and Repute are up to the GM, and should probably be determined by the identity of the person that the individual Eidolon has taken over.

Shapeshift: The Eidolon have this at a Rank Value of 60.

Cold Resistance: Because of the coldness of their original home planet, the Eidolon have a great deal of resistance to cold, ice and other related conditions and attacks. This has a Rank Value of 40.

Tongue Probe: When taking over a person's identity, the Eidolon first absorbs the target's memories and personality. They extrude a long, barbed tongue-like probe from their mouth which embeds itself in the back of the target's skull. This probe does 10 points of damage per turn, and when the target is reduced to 0 Damage, they are killed and the memories are absorbed into the Eidolon. The target may attempt to wrestle out of this, if that occurs no memories are absorbed but the damage is still taken. If a target breaks away from this, they cannot have their memory absorbed by any Eidolon ever again.

This post, obviously, isn't intended to be a full exploration of these beings or their worlds. The idea is to give a starting campaign frame that a GM can use to flesh out their own 4C campaigns or world.