Thursday, February 2, 2012

System Shopped: Beholders - Trinity

by Wizards of the Coast
Behold the Beholder!
System Shopped: Trinity
by Tobie Abad
February 2012

One of the more infamous (and yet very popular) monstrosities ever conceived and unleashed onto our imaginations comes from the most popular pen-and-paper role-playing game system of all: Dungeons and Dragons.   Imagine a massive spherical monster with a single massive eye on its center.  Beneath the eye is a deadly maw filled with jagged teeth.  Magically-empowered, the thing levitates with relative ease, and when necessary can redirect any of the ten eye-stalks that decorate its crown to unleash varying magical forces.   These are creatures of vile intelligence that cannot be underestimated.  And even worse, their very gaze strips away from its enemies the use of  magic, be it through spells or magical items.  Such monstrosities are a nightmare to encounter and are known collectively by this name: Beholder

Now that is a concept worth attempting to 'shop into other games!  So without further ado, let me start with an attempt to inject the beholder into the Trinity game line.

for AEON Trinity 
Miranda knew something was wrong but each time she reached out with her Telepathy, she found nothing happening.  The young boy with a bowl-cut slowly smiled at Miranda, as if aware of what she had just attempted.  Having long been an undercover agent of the Ministry working in AEON Trinity, Miranda was accustomed to tapping into her Psi powers without showing any outward signs.  And yet, the boy.. somehow.. seemed to know.

"Is something wrong," Janus asked his partner and glanced at the young boy she was staring at.  The two were in the Wet Market District searching for reports of what some locals thought was Aberrant activity.  However, nothing suggesting such had been seen within the last two hours.  The two AEON Trinity agents obviously felt they were on a wild goose chase and Janus, more than Miranda, was more than ready to head back to the outpost.  He noticed her silence, however, and knew Miranda would fall silent only when she picked up something... wrong.

"That boy," Miranda gasped but before Janus could turn to see who she was looking at, his eyes bore witness to a sight that would forever haunt his memories.  In a single eye blink, Miranda had transformed from flesh and blood into a massive sculpture of stone.  Her body had transmuted into an inorganic form so fast she never had time to even call out for help.  Janus raised both hands and called upon his Psi powers to manifest both an armored skin and barbed talons on his extremities.  Being a biomorph did have its benefits.

They were benefits that would, unfortunately, still fail him.

*The boy* Janus heard Miranda's faint Telepathic cry and as he turned towards the mentioned child, he saw something impossible happen; his skin and hands were changing again, with skin and bones shifting about to return them into a normal human state.  It was almost as if the boy's very gaze had some ability to cancel out his powers.   It took barely a second beat for Janus to realize the boy wasn't standing at all.  He was floating above the ground without the slightest mental strain visible.   As Janus trusted his muscle memory and drew out his Orgotek Pulse Laser Carbine, he saw the young man reveal an unexpected manifestation of Psionic force:  Eyestalks of pure psionic energy erupted from the boy's head and trained themselves at Janus.   

The Pulse Laser Carbine was never fired.

Janus ceased to exist before it could even be trained at the boy.

This Sounds Like Something From Anime
Well, what doesn't in Trinity, right?  But yeah, rather than have the monstrosity, I thought why not have young innocent children of terrifying psychic potential be the representations of Beholders in a Trinity game?  Doesn't feel Beholder enough for you?  Well, read on and see how I made that still happen.

What are they?
Beholders are young children whose bodies had been tampered with on both a genetic and psychic level.  Their bodies are sterile and unable to biologically mature, leaving them stuck in children's bodies that seem to harness the powers of Psi so easily.  And that, it is believed, is why they were created.  A certain organization noticed that a larger majority of any Psi-active individuals who were still below the age of puberty seemed to have a greater penchant for tapping into additional psychic modes.  The organization then closely monitored the births occurring at a hospital they had connections to for any child-bearing mother who had a greater possibility of delivering a Psi-active child.  Such children they swapped upon delivery and replaced with other children, usually taken from insurance-less parents or from deliveries that lead to the death of the mother (in such, they would inform the family the mother and the child died).  The children were then experimented on in various ways and for many years.  Around their 8th to 10th birthday, the organization noticed the children ceased to grow any older even as they continued to expand in Psionic potential.   And then one day, they were out.  The organization ceased to exist, and its members seemingly all met tragic ends.
from the manga, AKIRA

Sound very much like the kids in Akira!
There you go.  Now you have an idea what direction I'm taking.  Now think of them as having access to more modes than your typical Psion and yet seemingly capable of shutting down anyone else's powers with mere eye contact and you have a better idea.  Finally, realize these children have known nothing but the nightmarish life of being poked, prodded and studied all their lives before they finally escaped.  These are the Akira kids with a huge chip on their shoulder.

Beholder Template
Most are either Survivors or Judges in Nature.
Physical Attributes:  Strength 1, Dexterity 1-2, Stamina 3
Physical Abilities:   Stealth 3+, Endurance 4+

Mental Attributes: Perception 5, Intelligence 1+
Mental Abilities: Awareness 4+, Survival 2

Social Attributes: Manipulation 1, Charisma 1-2
Social Abilities: Intimidation 3+, Subterfuge 2+

Innately, the Beholder's very gaze cancels out any Psionic powers that are weaker than their Psi rating.  Unless the target spends an additional Psi point and wins a contested Psi vs Psi roll, any Psionic powers currently active which are gazed upon are cancelled out immediately.   This power is ALWAYS on.
Later attempts to activate a power while being gazed upon require the extra Psi point cost and the contested roll as mentioned above to function.

With a willpower point, the Beholder can summon its eye stalks.  Each eye stalk is able to harness one of the ten modes listed below.  Each eye stalk can only be used once per turn.  Multiple eye stalks can be harnessed in a single turn as a typical multiple action.
Eye stalk powers:
(Biokinesis) Psychomorphing 3
(Clairsentience) Psychometry 2, Psychonavigation 3
(Electrokinesis) Technokinesis 1
(Psychokinesis) Telekinesis 5
(Telepathy) Empathy 3, Mindshare 4, Psychebending 3
(Vitakinesis) Mentatis 3, Algesis 5

Backgrounds: Cipher 5
Willpower: 8
Psi: 6+

More often than not, Beholders are unaware of the violence they are throwing around (having lived lives where they were repeatedly asked to engage in similar tests and experiments).  Some, however, are old enough to understand the vile action done to them, and relish in the death and destruction they can bring.  There are some rumors that Beholders are able to warp away similar to the missing Order Chitra Banu, but others quell such rumors and claim, "If they could warp away, why would we still be seeing them?"

*Thank you to Nosfecatu for this challenge!
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