03 November 2017

Earthdawn 4E: Anatomy of a Horror 03 - The Babcock

This is the third 4E Anatomy of a Horror, an ongoing series about Earthdawn Fourth Edition. Introduction and Index.

Everything contained here is the work of a fan and not associated with FASA Games.

This was written up for FASA's Halloween social media in honor of Ross Babcock. First posted to the official Facebook account, I decided it needed a little cleaning and could stand to be put up somewhere more permanently.

The general concept honors the Earthdawn tradition of taking classic D&D tropes and putting them in a context to make sense; The Babcock is a mysterious benefactor who sends adventuring groups on quests for good reason. This is also a concept that can form the basis of a campaign. While it is deceptive, it isn't a bait and switch and this is true to the setting.

Babcock, The

He appears as a middle-aged human man with a jovial demeanor and sense of serenity about him. The Horror’s easy nature draws in even the most jaded adepts and lowers their guard. Of course, this all plays into his ultimate plans, continually looking for those in need and willing to make a deal. His astral form appears the same as his physical form, unless the viewer can penetrate his concealment. In which case, he appears to be cast in a stark light, casting a wide shadow that moves independently. Blue-green lines of power course through his skin and branch off into astral space - possibly connecting to his various “beneficiaries”.

The Babcock is a particularly insidious Horror because many of his victims don’t see him as a Horror, or even realize his true nature, but see him as a benefactor and/or patron. His interest is in those he feels can benefit from his special brand of support, particularly groups of young adepts who are eager to face the world, with quests.

Once the impressionable heroes have accepted his offers and they are marked, The Babcock sends them on quests, sometimes with a greater plan in mind, others simply to grow their legend. Unlike other Horrors, The Babcock has a vested interest in seeing his marked victims survive their ordeals, but he wants them to struggle and suffer in the process. The Horror uses his powers to ensure their victories always come at a cost, whether sabotaging their efforts or causing them trauma by hurting those they care about. However, his powers also make certain his heroes survive.

Over time The Babcock’s victims come to rely upon him completely, trusting him implicitly. Once fully corrupted, they frequently disappear from the world. To what end is unknown, though the Babcock always has a plan. It isn’t unheard of for those who die in his service to return through Unnatural Life, or the promise of rare knowledge to bring back the very loved one he secretly killed be used as a carrot to drive the desperate hero forward, deeper into his clutches. No matter, The Babcock’s champions can continue their stories of greatness and suffering forever.

While competent in combat, The Babcock has little interest in fighting and only does so when necessary or to make a point. He always seems to have a horde of beasties and or champions waiting in some Other Place.

Challenge: Master (Fourteenth Circle)
DEX: 16        Initiative:                  18       Unconsciousness:      149
STR: 15         Physical Defense:  28       Death Rating:               166
TOU: 16        Mystic Defense:      27       Wound Threshold:     25
PER: 20        Social Defense:       29       Knockdown:                  17
WIL: 20        Physical Armor:     18       Recovery Tests:           6
CHA: 21        Mystic Armor:         18       Karma:                            15 (60)
Movement: 12
Actions: 4; Bite: 38 (32)
Conceal Corruption (14, Standard): This power conceals the astral and physical manifestations of The Babcock’s mark, uses of Forge Champion, and his own true form. The Difficulty to detect these increases by 14. The Babcock may still use the mark to affect the victim while this power is active.
Corrupt Compromise (35, Standard)
Corrupt Karma (34, Standard)
Corrupting Influence: The Babcock gains +1 to Interaction tests against a victim for each Corruption Point the Victim has. This bonus also extends to the Sensing Difficulty of his illusions.

Crushing Grip: If The Babcock begins his turn grappling a victim, the victim suffers a Wound.
Cursed Luck (34, Free)
Damage Shift (33, Simple)
Disrupt Magic (34, Standard)
Dual Nature: The Babcock has an astral and physical form. They are not independent, but both must be destroyed to kill the Horror. As long as one of the forms survives, it can reform the other. Attacks that deal mystic damage affect both forms.
Favored Spell (Other Place): Each success on a Spellcasting test to weave threads for Other Place weaves two threads instead of one. The Babcock does not need to use doorways for this spell and the range increment is 10 miles.
Forge Champion (20, Sustained): This power functions as Forge Construct with modifications. The Babcock can use this power on a marked, corrupted victim when they gain a Corruption Point from one of The Babcock’s powers. The Horror spends the five Karma Points, one each turn as a Standard Action, infusing the victim with his energy. This infusion is visible astrally and physically, and feels like a painful rush of power usually accompanied by shouting. If successful, this power causes the victim’s tattoos to expand in addition to any other necessary alterations. The victim does not become a Horror construct through the use of this power, but can later be turned into a construct through Forge construct.
Forge Construct (34, Sustained)
Harvest Energy (34, Free): If The Babcock uses this power on a victim, it gains an additional point of Karma even if the test is not successful. The Babcock can only use this power on a marked victim and only when the victim has emotions related to suffering and perseverance, such fear, pain, and triumph over adversity.
Horror Mark (34, Standard): This power can only be used on a victim who has engaged in some kind of deal with the Horror, usually accepting a gift or a job. Each mark manifests as a similar, but unique tattoo somewhere on the victim. The Babcock can perceive through the marked victim’s senses, use his powers on the marked victim at any range, and through the marked victim as though The Babcock is the marked victim. This includes any marked victims who have since been turned into Horror constructs. As the victim’s Corruption Points increase (Gamemaster’s Guide, p. 456), they are more inclined to trust The Babcock and engage in his quests. Once Corrupted, the victim completely trusts The Babcock unless the evidence against him is absolutely overwhelming and there is no refuge in delusion.
Karma Boost (Free): The Babcock can use this power on any test.
Karma Drain (34, Standard)
Natural Leader: All allies gain the Teamwork power..
Resist Pain (4)
Silent Walk (30): As the talent, Player’s Guide, p. 170.
Spellcasting (34, Standard)
Spells (Player’s Guide): (The Babcock is a Tenth Circle Illusionist) Assuring Touch (p. 294), Cloak (p. 295), Disaster (p. 296), Unseen Voices (p. 299), Blindness (p. 299), Innocent Activity (p. 300), Mind Fog (p. 301), See the Unseen (p. 301), Notice Not (p. 305), Stop Right There (p. 306), Suffocation (p. 306), Bond of Silence (p. 307), Illusion (p. 308), Presto! (p. 309), Astral Shadow (p. 309), Chosen Path (p. 310), Memory Scribe (p. 311), Vertigo (p. 314), Walk Through (p. 314), Other Place (p. 315)
Surprise Strike (20)
Teamwork: Opponents are Harried by one less opponent if at least one other attacker has this power.
Terror (35, Standard)
Unnatural Life (34, Standard)
Special Maneuvers:
Carried Interest (The Babcock): The Babcock may spend additional successes on a test using one of his powers against a victim to give the victim a -2 penalty or +2 bonus per success to test; the Horror chooses which when the test is made. The penalty or bonus must be used before this special maneuver can be used again against the same victim.
Opening (The Babcock): The Babcock may spend additional successes from an Attack test to give his allies a +1 bonus per success spent to Attack tests against the opponent until the end of the next round.
Squeeze the Life (The Babcock, Unarmed): This inflicts unarmed damage instead of claw damage.