Powers and Perils

Super Powers

As usual (per most SHRPG's) Super Powers must be broken into at least three catagories: Mental, Innate(or Physical), and Magic. Since Magical innates are already covered in the books, I will not attempt to modify them (the rules suffice just fine for basing powers off magical spells already in the book). Additionally one might like Gestalt Powers (which act on the best of the three options based on the other person's defenses as well). These can be done quite easily, by rating them in each of the three fields and grouping them as a single power (ie. The person really has three abilities with the one power). The other factor regarding Gestalts is that they can draw from any energy reserve as well, this leads to trained magicians who are able to use Mental Power Pool, Physical Power Pool, energy level, or casting ability to power these powers. This is why they should not be given to players often, if ever.

Mental Powers typically include the kinetics & technics (pyro, chryo, psycho), blasts, and other such powers. For me to list them here would be pointless, as this is more an explanation of the rules than anything else. Also these can quite easily simply mimick spells if the GM so deams it (Psylock of Marvel has a "wounds spell" for a psychic knife for instance). So here is how they should be rated/used:

  1. Innates all have separate MEL's and EL's.
  2. Mental Innates have MEL = highest mental stat (Int, Wil, Elo, Emp) on the innitial MEL chart for magic.
  3. Mental Innates have an EL = (Int+Wil+Elo+Emp)/30, round down (this rates a normal person's innate low of 0, high of 10 (20's with mult of 4 on all mental)). But generally it reflects about a EL5 for a player. This is rather powerful as we all know (a EL5 psychic blast that does 6d10 damage divided over all mental stats CAN incapacitate a "normal" in one shot). This is about how it should be, as they are after all "super powers".
  4. Mental Innates pull energy from Energy level or Power Pool*(see below). BMC is determined by GM (so you could give a char a really tough to use power if you wanted to). Casting cost is the same as for spells. Duration should be similar to Telepathic Powers.
  5. Mental innates are blocked by METAL armor covering the head at a rate of Helmet AV*10. This means that an AV+2 helm will stop 20 points of mental damage PER ATTACK. Helmets made by other materials may also have this effect. Note: this modifier results from BOTH helmets if the attacker and defender both are wearing helms.

    EXAMPLE - Thinker Tom the mentallist wants to keep his head from getting crushed so he is wearing a metal helmet. He casts the above EL5 psychic blast against a Duke suited out in a metal helmet also (and ornate plate). He rolls a wopping 44 damage. Unfortunately only 24 got past his own helmet, and 20 stopped before reaching the Duke (AV+2 for metal helmet). So the duke suffers 4 points of "psychic blast" damage, and ends up temporarily loosing one point from each mental stat.)

Physical Powers are like Mental powers except they are based of "genetics" as it were. Or they can be cyborg or otherwise, but if they are a automatically recharging ability not based on Mental Stats or Magic they can be covered under this section (if they do not recharge, make them "items" and what not).

  1. Physical Innates all have separate MEL's and EL's.
  2. Physical Innates have MEL = highest physical stat (Str, Sta, Dex, Agi, Con) on the initial MEL chart for magic (typically this is going to be Con I'd venture).
  3. Physical Innates have an EL = (Str+Sta+Dex+Agi+Con)/40, round down. A rating of 0 to 10 for a normal human adventurer (give or take an EL). Generally it will be around 5 (again). Again this is powerful enough to smack people around with (or not get smacked around in the case of "invulnerability to physical damage").
  4. Physical Innates pull energy from Energy Level or Power Pool*(see below). BMC is once again up to the GM. Casting cost is the same for spells, duration should typically be one phase. (So "Speedie Dyno-mite" can do a power blast, or do a "speed rush" and get an extra attack (which might be the power blast), but doesn't necessarily have two attacks for 5 turns perhaps EL phases for duration would work also. IT IS UP TO THE DM.
  5. Physical Innates are blocked by ANYTHING that would normally block them. Shields, whether magical, mental, or innate will block them. Having Super Strength EL 10 might add 100 to your strength for 10 phases (or permanantly if the GM is REALLLY nice) per use, but if you hit an elf who happens to be immune to iron with an iron sword you still won't hurt them. Sorry punk. Know thine enemy is the best advice I can give the player at this point.
  6. The real benefit comes from not having to speak, move or otherwise "cast" an innate. You simply expend energy and it works. Typically you still have to be awake, but not always.

Phase Sequencing

  1. Mana Allocation for all Innates and Spells
  2. Defensive Innates (Mental or Physical) go up
  3. Missile Fire
  4. Magic Effect, Mental Effects, Physically Projected Innates
  5. Movement and Melee (including non-projected Physical Innates)

Attack Priority Table works as follows: As stated, all projected Innates go off the same as Magic (ie. Before melee) Non-Projected Physical Innates should use the OCV of the character as a creature in order to determine the speed at which they strike. Basically throwing something at someone is still going to be faster than having to hit them with a fist whether it's Innate or not.

EL's can be used in the following way - As a combat modifier to hit (and thus score more damage), or as a Roll modifier to see if you can use the Innate.

What is needed to use an Innate: Roll on the Magic table for Innate MEL and EL (* EL can ONLY be used to modify EITHER this roll or a combat roll, NOT BOTH). Roll on combat table for a "to hit" for Physical (all offensive) or Mental projected powers. Alternately a Mental Defense Value can be made (MeDV). Use the four mental stats and divide by 12, rounding up. This is not to be doubled (per innate magician's MDV) unless a specific power is given called "double MeDV/Iron Will/Mind Keep" or the like. A skill in Meditation may be allowed to increase this defense.

*Power Pool: Mental Power Pool equals all 4 (Mental stats+Con)/3, round up. This gives a normal a pool size from 5 to 140. An average character will have a Power Pool of about 73, and will be able to use their power several times before relying on Energy Level (causing sever damage to one's spirit via mental drain). Physical Power Pool equals all 5 Physical stats/3, round up.

-One note on Power Pools- This is HIGHLY controlled by BMC of powers, so be smart here GM's! When issuing powers to characters look at what they'll be able to do in the future and decide if that is too powerful NOW. Power Pools only increase with stats.

Experience Gains for Innates

CDF *EL OR MeDV * EL towards MEL for the Innate (whichever is higher). This is done like spells, ie. You get the highest if against multiple foes. You get this experience PER casting/use just like spells. EL cannot increase until stats do or you learn to PUSH your power*(see below). Characteristic increase is 1/50 IEP (Innate Experience Points), Only usable on Stats which were used for the innate (Physical = S,St,D,A; Mental = I,W,Em,Elo).

Other Options

The Push

This should be considered a SKILL. CTL would be 60 per power. Subtract CTL (left) from chance to use Power on Spell attack table (ie. You can't push until you are high EL or higher MELs). CTL left = CTL - partial expertise in the Push. Cost per level is CNL * 20 (yes, 20!) You ONLY GAIN d10 expertise per SUCCESFUL use of the power push (not successful attack) - not CDF or MeDV * anything.


This is essentially the skill of using your power more effectively or releasing it's true power VIA skill. It should also be required (possibly) that this can only be attempted in special conditions if DM's see it fit to restrict the use of this skill further.

A note on BMC's

GM's should feel free to limit the use of powers by way of this cost. Essentially Spells and Innates that have similar effects should cost the same. Group spells are also fine, but each spell should have a separate MEL. Physical innates might cost more as they are more "real" to most people in the game and characters have a slightly higher pool to draw from.

A brief comparison of Innates

PowerNormal LowNormal HighFormulaFigured High
PowerPools/Casting Ability Start Max Figured Low(3's)
MagicalBased on MDV*MEL6*27=162 1
MentalBased on (Mental stats & Con)/51405
PhysicalBased on Physical stats/5140 5

Magical Increase would be 27 per MEL. Innates would not increase. Magic items which add to stats would add to innates EL's and Power Pool, though.

Designing Super Powers, A GM's guide to basing BMC

Now, as stated, you will want to weaken up the player's or at least limit the use of their super powers. This is of course in order to keep the game fun (not balanced!). In any event, here go some guidelines you may wish to use.

  1. Start with a BMC of 1 for all powers.
  2. Add a point for each inch of range (ie. Base of 1")
  3. Add double range modifier for diameter effects, four times for radius.
  4. Add four points for each die 6 of damage per EL for offensive powers.
  5. Add six points for each die 10 of damage per EL for offensive powers.
  6. Add two points for each EL(max, not current) for defensive powers (ie. EL 4 immunity to something would be 9 points so far, while a radius effect 1" shield would be 13 ).
  7. Add five points if a defensive power's range goes up with EL (ie. EL*1" shield).
  8. Add ten points if an offensive power's radius or diameter go up with EL.
  9. Add two points if an offensive power's range goes up with EL.
  10. Add a starting use modifier, such as "it has twelve slots" would be 12 or 24 points.
  11. Add two points per phase of duration for any power
  12. Ignore 10 above and add 10 points if the duration of an offensive power increases per EL (ie. EL phases).
  13. Ignore 10 and 11 when dealing with defensive powers, add one point per turn (or phase, up to you GM) of duration.
  14. Ignore 12 if defensive power has a EL multiplier, use 5 points for EL*phase, 10 points for EL*turn, and 15 points for EL squared turns(hours, days, whatever).
  15. Ignore all of the above if the power is permanent and does not cost anything to use per Innate Power Other Power special ability on the Special Events Table.

EXAMPLE - Psylock's "wounds" for instance would be a base 1, plus no range points(in her case, not in the case of wounds itself), does say 1d6 per EL (+4 points), and has a duration of EL phases (+10 points). BMC in this case would be 15. If she has it at EL 5 she would do 5d6 damage when she hits and it would cost her 25 Pool or Energy. She would be limited to about 3 uses a day (which is fine when it lasts 5 phases per use).

EXAMPLE - The Wall wants a simple invulnerability to physical damage. He starts with 1 point, can get as high as an EL 7 because of his stats, (+14 points), and he wants it to last for turns (+10), for a total BMC of 25. Initially his EL may only be 3, and that may seem to be a high price to pay for this power (as the players will contest), but please remember that this power means that ANYTHING that is not magical which hits him is basically IGNORED. Even magical (and psychic) items must overcome the EL in order to inflict physical damage.

EXAMPLE - Justice Mindbender wants a version of Telepathic Powers. He decides he wants to do it a little differently, however. He figures he will only need to use two powers at one time, and there are a total of five powers (psychic blast, mind control, mind shield, mind reading, mind writing). He starts with 1 point. He figures he will keep it cheap and decides to do this via Vulcan mind probe form, ie. by touch. He wants to be able to have it do 2d6 per level (+8), and since it can be used defensively he has to pay the El max for this (EL5=+10). Because it has 5 slots, and he can use two at a time we add another (+10). He does not care about it lasting, because he figures either he'll have control or not and be able to write in the "you're my friend" command in one phase. Base cost for this entire power set would be BMC 29. Not bad, but you have to consider that the duration is short, and he must touch the person in order to use the power(s) (and it costs him nearly everything he has to use it at EL5). Still at max EL of 5, he will be doing 10d6 mental damage per shot.

EXAMPLE - Mind Flayer wants a similar power, but just the damage part. 1 point to start. He starts with no range(touch). He wants to do 2 d 10 per EL (+12) and wants there to be a lingering of EL phases (+10). The total would be BMC 23, but you can be sure that after five phases whomever was hit would be quite flayed (figure 10d10 from mental stats, basically they would loose an average of about 12 points each stat).

Marcel G. Chapa Liberty