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Reconciling Immortals, Part Iby Scott Moore
For characters reaching 36th level, the Immortal character class, originally presented in Frank Mentzer's Immortals Rules boxed set (the gold box) and later revised for Aaron Allston's Wrath of the Immortals boxed set (WotI), provides further advancement and adventuring opportunities. Unfortunately, several significant differences exist between these two products. Some items addressed in one product are ignored, or even contradicted, in the other. The purpose of this series of articles is to help document the information that differs between the two products as well as to provide some suggestions for expanding the material presented in both sets. For this first article in the series, we'll examine some of the differences between the rule sets.
The introduction to WotI Book One (page 2) makes a note of some of the differences between that set and the earlier gold box. Where there is a conflict between the two rules sets, it recommends using the WotI set as the definitive guide. While this does make sense for certain items (such as eliminating the limit on the number of Immortals per level, dropping the Olympics and competition requirement for advancement, and dropping the sphere association for spells), there are certain aspects of the gold box rules that players may wish to continue using in their game. For those that may own only one of these boxed sets, the following will give you an idea of exactly where some of the rules differ and offer you the option of adopting either system (or a combination thereof) as the base rule in your own campaign.
The Immortals rules expand the standard ability score tables to a range of 1-100. Depending of the set of rules used, however, the modifiers for ability scores of 19 and 21 differ. For the sake of consistency, pick one of the following progressions and make the noted changes to your copy of the rules.
Quicker Bonus Progression
In the table at the bottom of the middle column on page 52 of WotI Book One, change the ability score ranges "18-19", "20-21", and "22-23" to "18", "19-20", and "21-23" respectively. This brings WotI in line with the faster ability score bonus progression as detailed in the gold box.
Slower Bonus Progression
In Tables 2 and 3 on page 30 of the Player's Guide To Immortals from the gold box, change the ability score ranges "18", "19-20", and "21-23" to "18-19", "20-21", and "22-23" respectively. This brings the gold box in line with the slower ability score bonus progression as detailed in the WotI boxed set.
Increasing Ability Scores
According to page 58 of Book One from the WotI boxed set, the Power Point (PP) costs per ability point increase, as well as the maximum ability score attainable, for the Initiate and Temporal Immortal ranks are the same. The gold box omitted information on the Initiate rank from its progression table (page 5 of the Player's Guide), so for those without a copy of WotI, use the same figures for both of these ranks. In addition, the gold box required certain minimum ability scores to be reached for three "Greater Talents" (the three primary ability scores associated with the character's sphere) before progression to the next rank could occur. This requirement was dropped in the later WotI boxed set.
Rules for allowing Immortals to continue to gain General Skills are given in WotI (Book One, page 54), but they are not addressed in the gold box. For those without access to the WotI boxed set, Immortals may gain a new General Skill slot at each of the following PP levels: 400, 700, 1200, 2000, 3500, 5500, 9000, and 13000.
The level and PP structure differs significantly between the two products. Progression in both systems is measured in PP, with 1PP = 10,000 XP. In the gold box, the character's XP total is converted to PP when they become an Immortal (Player's Guide, page 3). In WotI (Book One, page 54), player characters automatically start with 300 PP, regardless of their previous XP total.
A fair compromise between these two systems would be to bring new Immortals with less than 3,000,000 XP to the minimum 300 PP when they start, but allow those with more XP to convert to a higher, equivalent, PP total. In campaigns with few PC Immortals, you may consider allowing those with higher XP totals to convert to Immortal levels higher than that of a starting Initiate, as appropriate to their converted PP total.
Saving throws between both rules sets are relatively close. The biggest differences are for the Initiate and Hierarch ranks. Per page 56 of WotI Book One, Initiates have a Physical save of 15 and a Power save of 17, while Hierarchs have a Mental save of 5 and a Power save of 4. Per Table 4 on page 3 of the gold box Player's Guide, Initiates have a Physical save of 14 and a Power save of 16, while Hierarchs have a Mental save of 4 and a Power save of 3. Again, use whichever you prefer, or modify the saving throw tables as appropriate if you wish to combine some of these affects.
Both versions of the Immortal rules indicate that Initiates start with an Armour Class (AC) of 0 (gold box Player's Guide, page 4, and WotI Book One, page 57). The gold box does not allow Dexterity modifiers to affect this base AC, although the WotI boxed set does. In addition, WotI Book One gives a progression chart for AC improvement by Immortal level (page 55), while the gold box allows Immortal characters to purchase a better AC at a cost of 100 PP per point of improvement. If you decide to permit both options, keep in mind that the base AC may not be improved beyond -20 in this manner, per the gold box. Even without dedicating PP to improve AC, an Immortal will reach a -20 base AC once they hit 36th level anyway (per WotI).
Aura Attacks (Awe)
In the gold box Player's Guide (page 12), an Immortal's Aura attack is described as affecting any mortals within sight range, up to a maximum number of targets equal to the Immortal's Intelligence modifier. In WotI Book One (page 9), the range is limited to within 60 feet of the Immortal, but there is no limit on the number of targets. Combining these rules, a third option would be to allow the Immortal's Aura to affect all targets within 60 feet, plus additional targets within sight range beyond 60 feet, up to maximum number of targets (both with 60 feet and past it) equal to the Immortal's Intelligence modifier. Thus, individual targets beyond 60 feet are only affected if the number of creatures within 60 feet is less than the Immortal's Intelligence modifier.
Although worded slightly differently between the two products, the Immortal may select any of the following effects when they employ an Aura attack against a target:
1) Fear, as per the Cause Fear spell, for a duration of three turns.
2) Paralysis, as per the Paralysis spell, for a duration of three turns.
3) Charm, as per the Charm Person, Monster, or Plant spell, with double the normal duration.
An unarmed blow from an Immortal causes anywhere from 2d6 to 4d6 points of damage (2d6 for Initiates and Temporals, 3d6 for Celestials and Empyreals, 4d6 for Eternals and Hierarchs), plus Strength modifier, per pages 55-56 of WotI Book One. Per page 13 of the gold box Player's Guide, such an attack causes a number of d6 dice of damage equal to the Immortal's Strength modifier (1d6 minimum, 20d6 maximum). Use whichever mechanic you prefer. As an option, use the gold box rules with the minimum dice of damage as determined by the values given in WotI Book One.
Both rules sets give equivalent rates for flying in physical (360'(120')) and incorporeal/gaseous forms (720'(240')). In the gold box, however, an Immortal's base surface rate of movement is given as 120'(40') (Player's Guide, page 10), while the WotI boxed set (Book One, page 59) gives an Immortal's base walking and swimming rate at 150'(50'). If using the older gold box rules, consider upgrading characters to these new movement rates.
According to the gold box rules (Player's Guide, page 9), Immortals regain lost ability score points, hit points, and PP at a rate determined by the plane they are currently on. One point of each can be regained per round on friendly planes, one per turn on neutral planes, and one per day on hostile planes.
Per the WotI rules, hit points are regained at a rate of 1d4 per day if the Immortal is active, or 1d8 per day of rest (Book 1, page 59). Expended temporary PP are automatically regained after a full night's rest (Book One, page 74).
Use whichever mechanic better fits your campaign.