Powers (GURPS, 4th Edition)


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Basic combat training is still desirable, and full-time teams often provide it. Players may want a theme for characters who always work together. Classic examples are the four elements, as seen in the Fantastic Four and the Elementals, and light and darkness, as seen with Cloak and Dagger and in Jade and Obsidian, two members of Infinity Inc. Thematic abilities are even more common in villain superteams discussed on p. Full-time team members in fiction often have smaller supporting casts because they have personal relationships mostly with teammates rather than ordinary human beings.

On the other hand, the entire group can have a supporting cast see p. LEGION Supers groups in roleplaying campaigns commonly have one member for each player, but some published groups are bigger than that. There are several ways to approach such large teams in gaming. For a slightly larger organization, the GM may introduce one or two NPC heroes as additional members. See p. A better approach is to have the players create the members of one squad within the team, who regularly work together and get assigned to suitable missions.

Or a team could maintain special-purpose crews, with separate functions like investigation, espionage, or street operations. Another option is troupe-style play, with each player running two or more heroes. Some large groups may assemble a new force for each mission, including one hero for each player. Others may have permanently assigned squads, with players alternately taking the roles of members of two or more different squads.

Heroes who belong to large groups can be even more specialized in their abilities. Some players may play one combatant and one noncombatant, for more variety. This can be a common enemy or a disaster that they all have to deal with. They may simply all live in the same city and keep running into each other; for example, both the Marvel Universe and the Wild Cards series give New York a large superhuman population. They may be celebrities who share the stresses of public visibility and media attention.

Non-comics treatments of supers, such as Wild Cards and Heroes, can serve as models for a non-team campaign. A non-team campaign has to spend a good part of its time on the solo activities of the PCs, or on the two or three of them who happen to be together. Keeping this interesting to the players whose characters are off stage can be a challenge. Part of planning a campaign is deciding what origins are possible. This choice reflects, among other things, the range of power sources that are available in the universe. Many origins can be conceived as encounters with a power source, which may be anything from a god to an innovative technology.

In classic universes, the choice of origins is wide open see Many Origins, p. Everyone has a unique beginning and powers have diverse sources. The best way to capture this sort of world in a campaign is to let the players come up with origins to suit themselves, incorporate their power sources into the understructure of the setting, and build the game around their choices. Many GMs set limits on power sources, and as a result on possible origins. In a stringently realistic campaign, powers may have to be scientifically and technologically plausible among other things, this severely limits energy output from powers!

A broader approach may accept speculative or fringescience ideas like psionics or chi defined in terms of biomorphic energy fields or the like. A still broader one may accept any power that can be given a scientific-sounding explanation, but disallow divine, moral, and spirit abilities. On the other hand, a modern-fantasy campaign may allow supernatural powers, but forbid any nonsupernatural violations of strict scientific plausibility.

GMs influenced by science fiction may restrict players to a single source or origin, following H. In this setting, players have to show that their characters have powers with the permissible source and origins that involve encounters with it. Supers may all be mutants, or psis, or agents of higher moral powers. Even in such a world, heroes without powers may still be an option — for example, the Yeoman in the Wild Cards universe. A GM may also run a campaign where everyone is powerless, relying on high attributes, skills, and devices — for example, a classic pulp heroes background.

For a somewhat freer campaign in the same style, PCs may be allowed to have powers, spells, or superscientific devices, but only one or two per hero, and they may have to be low-powered. Finally, even if a universe allows many origins, all the members of a team may have the same origin. Two specific types are especially suited to this approach.

For example, the Fantastic Four all knew each other before they gained their powers; in fact, it was because they knew each other that they were all together for their shared origin. Super families gain new members by developing new personal relationships. This happened a number of times with the Fantastic Four. It was also responsible for the development of the Marvel Family around the original Captain Marvel, published by Fawcett in the s and now more often referred to as SHAZAM, for the magic word that grants his superpowers.

The prototype for this is the X-Men, a coalition of mutants; other possibilities would be aliens, artificially constructed beings, members of lost races, or wizards. A community-based team can recruit new members by seeking out other potential heroes with the same background. Some communities support more than one supergroup, and PCs may have to deal with a rival group of heroes or a group of villains with the same background see The Dark Mirror, p. The personal relationships within the team should be affected by their shared experiences as members of their particular community, and the character designs should all include suitable mental and social traits.

The X-Men introduced the concept of a school for supers into the genre, and several entries have developed it further, including the film Sky High. Attendance at a special school, particularly a boarding school, can itself be a form of community, as illustrated by martial-arts academies and schools of wizardry as well as supers colleges. There are also supers with no powers at all, who get by with natural talents, highly trained skills, and possibly some cutting-edge technology.

First, it has a list of advantages, called abilities, through which the power can be expressed; these abilities should be based on a common focus or theme, such as fire, magic, or plants. Second, it has a power modifier that can be applied to an advantage to turn it into an ability within the power; these modifiers are based on the source of the power, such as chi, psi, or spirits. Such abilities can still be included within the framework of a power. A passive ability can be shut down by powers or devices that affect its source, or by the unpredictable nature of the source itself.

GMs can look for indirect ways that Talent could affect a passive ability. For example, superhuman strength is commonplace among supers see Strength and Super-Strength, p. A treatment that shut down his superpowers, though, would also reduce his food intake. GMs may also design meta-traits that package together advantages and disadvantages and give both the same source modifier. For example, he might be resistant to injury because he has bony plates covering his skin, or his skeleton was reinforced with metal.

Such traits can be bought as bare advantages, with neither a source nor an associated Talent. An advantage of this sort is usually an inherent trait, but it could also be the result of a transformative power, magical spell, or weird device. Which way a transformational ability works is usually a 0-point feature of the power; there are benefits and costs either way, as the example of Growth should suggest.

Such beings have racial templates. If being a member of a race requires having a source, then being denied access to the source means death or long-term incapacitation. For example, dragons might be inherently magical to such a degree that being cut off from magic would kill them; this is Dependency on mana, an energy that is Very Common in most fantasy settings. On the other hand, racial templates can include powers if every normal member of the race has the ability in question.

For example, dragons might all have a flame power manifested as fiery breath, with a magical source. A no-mana zone would render dragons unable to breathe flame, but they would still be huge serpentine creatures with armor, claws, fangs, and massive strength. The ability to acquire a racial template can itself be a power, based on the Alternate Form or Morph advantages. Like any other transformational power, this can be taken either as actively maintaining the body in a specific form, or as reshaping it into a form that remains stable until modified again.

A single score of 20 puts someone into the street-level power range, while boosting all four to 20 puts him into the classic comicbook range. GMs may want to set the ceiling on attributes at 25 or 30 instead of 20 for super normals, especially for those who only take a single attribute at this level. These include both specialists, usually in combat skills such as archery or kung fu, and Renaissance men who are masters of many skills.

Heroes who have skills of 25 and up can easily do things that an ordinary master of the skill would hesitate to attempt. In effect, a skill that high is the equivalent of a superpower — but one that the hero has learned. Those defaults are limited by the Rule of 20 p. B : if a basic attribute is higher than 20, skills default to it as if it were But some supers are universal geniuses, possessing many different skills at very high levels.

Paying the points for all of them can get expensive!

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As an alternative, a GM might allow them to break the Rule of Apply the enhancement to attribute points in excess of 20; each point bought that way raises the limit for skill defaults by 1. Example: Divine Grace has DX She pays points for DX 22; she then buys four more points of DX with Super Attribute, which cost her points, for a total cost of points. GMs may want to consider allowing heroes to purchase wildcard skills p.

B; see p. In four-color or cinematic campaigns, GMs might want all characters to take wildcard skills, possibly with optional specializations. Genres other than comic-book adventure may have characters with equal breadth. One way to avoid this is to divide characters into two groups.

Supers and major supporting characters — anyone who keeps coming back and has a name and a full character sheet — have access to wildcard skills. In effect, the first group is similar to Allies, and the second to Contacts. Skills and Talents In a campaign with a more realistic flavor, GMs should stick with skills of ordinary breadth.

For heroes with high proficiency in several fields, GMs should define suitable Talents. In supers campaigns, Talents may have more than four levels, and GMs may want to consider defining Talents for combat skills. However, such traits as Mana Enhancer could form part of a superpower that enhanced the use of learned magical spells. If the character is a brilliant scientist — or a powerful enchanter — these may be his own creations.

Otherwise he may have a Patron who granted them to him in exchange for his services, or an Enemy he took them from, or he may simply have found them in some museum collection or crashed spacecraft. For a discussion of such devices, see Chapter 4. These can be defined as new power modifiers see p. Entire robotic bodies may instead give the character Electrical or Maintenance as a disadvantage. Unfortunately, increasing ST in this way makes it extremely expensive, if not impossible, to match the feats of comic-book crime-fighters. The rules presented here make it feasible.

In four-color campaigns, the enhancement Super-Effort from p. Striking: When you are striking a blow with Super-Effort, use dice of damage based on the supervalue. When you are engaged in any ST-based attack, add those dice of damage to the normal damage from the attack. This also affects knockback from the blow.

Throwing: When you throw an object, use your supervalue bonus to figure throwing range, use the thrust damage based on it in figuring out damage from thrown objects, and use the BL derived from it in figuring out both of these. Knockback Resistance: When something collides with you, if you have time to brace yourself, include your supervalue bonus in the ST score you use to resist knockback. This is a passive use of super-strength and does not cost FP. For various reasons, a character might spend some points on ST without the Super-Effort modifier, and then add on more ST with the modifier.

For example, he might be big and strong, even apart from his superpowers; he might be a giant, and need the extra ST to function at all. In other words, a character that has super-strength is stronger than any normal human being even without the benefits of Super-Effort. B rather than looking them up in the table. For such a character, list the ST that benefits from SuperEffort as an advantage, with its own point cost.

Super-Effort does not affect HP; to gain the ability to withstand massive damage, take Injury Tolerance Damage Reduction as discussed on pp. That is, each level of super-strength costs 40 points. In four-color campaigns, the applications of superstrength in combat are restricted to avoid injuries to normal human beings see p. For example, the Archetype template see p. This fits a hero whose muscles contract rapidly against light loads, but no harder than normal against massive loads — such as a speedster see the Speedster template on p.

The Super-Effort modifier has no effect on HP; to get a character who can withstand massive blows, take Injury Tolerance Damage Reduction as defined on pp. Strength and Weight Increasing ST by adding muscle, bone, and sinew normally adds to body weight; see the Build Table on p. B or damage suffered from falls or collisions pp. B , and disregard it in figuring knockback p. The size of a dose of poison p. B also is unaffected by ST or HP with a power source. Players may designate ST or HP with a power or source modifier as granting virtual weight or not, though the GM may override this and have all super ST and HP work one way or the other.

Instead, this section discusses two other aspects of supers. Second, it discusses traits that reflect the special role of the hero — both his personal image and how he fits into his society and culture. Appearance See p. B21 Comic-book supers commonly have above average looks. Affliction See pp. B To teleport people or objects without teleporting yourself at the same time, buy Affliction Advantage: Warp. To limit this to small objects, add Exoteleport p.

Then use the lower-cost version of Warp to determine the percentage for the Advantage modifier. See Itching right for details. To enable it to counter super-strength, Binding can be taken with a new enhancement: Special Enhancements Super-Binding: Through massive effort, you can create elaborately layered bonds and snares. This counts as extra effort, costing 1 FP per attempt. When you try this, ignore the normal extra-effort rules. Itching Itching is an irritating condition. You are at -2 to DX for the duration of the itch.

Scratching for one full second relieves the itch, but you can do nothing else while scratching. First, take the effective ST of a single layer of binding. Look it up on the table and take the corresponding supervalue. Each added layer increases total ST by that much. Charisma See p. Claim to Hospitality See pp. The point level is unlikely, unless supers are utterly commonplace in the campaign setting. That is the number of levels of control you can apply through extra effort; this replaces the normal extra effort rule. This advantage is especially appropriate for teenage sidekicks; it helps make up for their not being fully trained in combat or the use of their powers.

Duplication See pp. B Like Compartmentalized Mind, Duplication can benefit from a form of Super-Effort: Compartmentalized Mind The standard version of Compartmentalized Mind is active all the time, but some heroes may have it with the Switchable enhancement, letting them activate extra mental compartments at will. Going back to a single compartment is normally done by mutual consent; if one compartment is unwilling, it requires a Quick Contest of Will.

Treat this as a resistance roll: The compartment that favors reunion must succeed in its Will roll. If one compartment has been controlled by an outside force, successful reunion requires another Quick Contest of Will to see if the control continues. The controlled compartment must defeat the uncontrolled one, or the control is broken. Switchable Compartmentalized Mind can be used with a variant on Super-Effort: Special Enhancements Massively Parallel: When you switch to multiple compartments, you have the option of setting up a large number of compartments.

This requires spending 1 FP. Look up your standard number of compartments in the Base Value column of the Super-Abilities Table see p. Read over to the Supervalue column. The number shown there is the number of mental compartments you can activate. This does not enhance your combat abilities; in fact, only one of your compartments can initiate any combat action, physical or mental including abilities like Mind Control. Nor does it let you learn faster by having multiple compartments study a skill in parallel.

But it allows you to do many mental tasks at the same time speeding up certain kinds of mental work. Special Enhancements Multiplication: In noncombat situations, by spending 1 FP in extra effort, you can form more than your normal number of duplicates. Look up your standard number of duplicates in the Base Value column of the Super-Abilities Table see p. The number shown there is the number of bodies you can split into. This does not enhance your combat abilities; only one of your bodies can initiate any combat action.

Nor does it let you learn faster than normal by having your dupes study the same subject in parallel. But it lets you do many tasks at the same time, speeding up work and other noncombat activities. Enhanced Defenses See p. Enhanced Move See p. B52 For more effective speedsters, the GM may want to allow the following modifiers: Special Enhancements Cosmic Instantaneous Acceleration : The speedster can go from a standing start to top speed in a single Move maneuver.

Cosmic Complete Maneuverability : The speedster is exempt from maneuver rolls, and can turn on a dime, without concern for acceleration. This requires taking the Cosmic enhancement both on Enhanced Move and on any underlying movement ability. Note that acceleration still has physiological effects that can require a HT roll; to avoid these, take Immunity to Acceleration. Extra Attack See pp.

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B This is a classic advantage for speedsters. To simulate the classic superspeed move of running past multiple foes and striking at all of them, a hero with this ability can add Talent to the limit of 9 on attack skill for a Move and Attack, improving his chances of hitting his foes. Reconfigurable Mechanisms: You have internal or external machinery such as cinematic nanotech that is capable of performing different functions. You can work with a catalog of standard items, or add any improvised device whose design and operation you understand.

New gizmos require a concept roll, but not a prototype roll — the mechanisms take care of that automatically. Mechanisms external to your body are subject to signal jamming; internal devices are not. Normally this includes physical abilities and must be taken with some form of the Physical enhancement.

Spirit Trapping: You can visit the spirit plane and acquire the services of its denizens, which provide you with spells or knowledge mental skills. Each trip requires going into a trance lasting several minutes. Hard to Kill See pp. B Another way to make sure that characters keep coming back. See A Matter of Life and Death p. Higher Purpose Modifiers enhancements and limitations can be applied to Modular Abilities. But some Modular Abilities provide slots that can contain advantages, and those advantages can also take modifiers.

If the modifier affects Modular Abilities as a whole, use it to adjust the overall cost of Modular Abilities; if it only affects the functioning of a specific advantage, use it to adjust that cost. This can allow an advantage to fit into a slot worth fewer points than its unmodified cost. An older hero still fighting for his cause is especially likely to have it. Less Sleep See p. B65 Heroes who patrol by night and hold down jobs by day should definitely be able to function on reduced sleep. Racial Memory See pp. B In a world where supers have been around for a while, some identities may have been passed down from hero to hero.

Scanning Sense Modular Abilities See pp. B See p. B71 This book adds some new modular abilities to those listed on p. Instead you have pacts with a number of beings whose sigils are bound into a book or stored in a database, etc. You can only call upon a pact by accessing the grimoire and taking time to review the sigil. Electrically powered supers may add an additional variety of Scanning Sense to their powers: Field Sense: Your scanning sense relies on electric fields generated within your body. This works like standard Radar, but base range is yards underwater, 20 yards in air or vacuum.

In addition to its active functions, your field sense acts as a Detect for bioelectricity and for electrical power sources including machines with the Electrical disadvantage. B A major superteam that operates on a continental or global scale may have secret files on various topics. This advantage gives access to them.

Among other materials on record may be the Secret Identities of team members. Shapeshifting See pp. B Many supers have a specialized variant of Alternate Form: the ability to turn into a different person with superpowers.


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A classic version of this is the child who can take the form of an adult hero. Another, found in both heroes and villains, is a Jekyll-and-Hyde change into a more physically formidable body.

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In creating such a character, the baseline is the form that the character reverts to when knocked unconscious or deprived of his powers. Changes in attributes should be dealt with by giving the superpowered form suitable attribute modifiers. For example, if a brilliant scientist IQ 16 changes into a brutal monster IQ 8 , give the alternate form IQ -8 []. One common motif in this type of transformation is the normal form being physically disabled in some way while the super version is fully functional.

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The same approach can be taken to changes in Appearance. Special Limitations Preventable: To change form, you have to speak a code phrase, make a special gesture, touch a magical talisman, or meet some other requirement. This takes no longer than the usual time, but you can be prevented from doing it by mundane methods such as gagging you. If you depend on an external physical object to make the change, you can also take suitable gadget limitations. Super Jump See p. B89 Some supers have this with a new limitation: Special Limitations Bouncing Only: Figure an increased jumping Move as for standard Super Jump: double your normal distance and height for each level of Super Jump and divide by 5, or take your normal ground Move, whichever is greater.

Instead, when you experience a fall or collision, roll against the best of DX, Acrobatics, or Jumping. If it does, you must bounce, and you roll at -5 per multiple of your jumping Move, or fraction thereof, by which you exceed your jumping Move. Standing on a roof 6 yards up, he see a purse-snatching in the street below. He jumps and hits the ground with velocity His roll against his Acrobatics18 at -5 is a success; he rebounds with Move 9.

Talent See pp. Suitable limitations include Divine for skill taught by a god , Psionic for intuitive hunches about how to use a skill , and Spirit for skill aided by a spirit ally. In a campaign that uses wildcard skills see Wildcard Skills, p. Talents cost as little as 5 points per level; after the first level, wildcard skills cost 6 points per level, and 12 points per level from then on. The former approach has more to recommend it if some Talents, such as Green Thumb, also serve as power Talents for such things as Plant Powers. Telekinesis See p. B92 Telekinesis can be made more powerful for four-color campaigns, and a little creepier for noir or horror-themed campaigns.

Animate Life-forms Partial : This lets you control just one body part of your target. Super-Effort: By spending 1 FP, you can boost your telekinetic power to a much higher level. Refer to the Super-Abilities Table on p. Look in the Base Value column for your normal Telekinesis level. Read across to the Supervalue column. This higher power can be used for lifting and handling heavier objects. It does not affect the damage you inflict by a telekinetic blow. Super-Damage: Like Super-Effort, but it also affects the damage you inflict by striking or throwing.

Unusual Background See p. B96 Unusual Background has a lot of applications in a comicbook world. Being a Super In a world where only a few people have superhuman abilities — fewer than a hundred in the entire world, or no more than a single modest team in a large country such as the United States — being one of those people is a big Unusual Background worth 50 points.

If superhuman abilities are more common, but rare enough that only a major city has more than one person with them, having powers is worth 10 points.

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This does not apply to super normals; everything they have is off the shelf. It gives two advantages: the opportunity to approach the super and ask for help with a problem whether the help is forthcoming depends on a reaction roll , and having a subject of conversation that interests a lot of people. If superhuman abilities are worth no more than 10 points as an Unusual Background, personally knowing a metahuman is no longer worth any points. This is parallel to the Gadgeteer Friend version of Unusual Background p.

Omnilingual This is an alternative to the usual rules for learning languages, designed for heroes like the super-spy who conveniently turns out to be fluent in every tongue he encounters. By itself, this Unusual Background gives an accented comprehension level for both the spoken and written language; if you also have Language Talent, raise that to the native comprehension level. The Unusual Background cost is 40 points. In a campaign featuring multiple inhabited planets, alien dimensions, or the like, Xeno-Omnilingual costs 80 points and grants the same benefit for alien languages.

Those spoken by races with exotic vocal organs may require the Mimicry advantage and an IQ roll for you to speak them. Versatile See p. Warp See pp. B The amount a teleporter can take with him is normally equal to his Basic Lift, which can be increased by taking Extra Carrying Capacity. Its only effect is to raise his mental carrying capacity as figured from his Will defined below. Several additional options are available for superteleporters, in the form of new enhancements and limitations: Special Enhancements Mental Carrying Capacity: Your carrying capacity for teleportation is based on the strength of your psyche, not of your body.

Basic Lift is equal to the square of your Will, divided by 5, in pounds; use the table on p. B17, but base it on Will instead of ST. All the destinations and the sequence in which they are reached must be chosen at the outset. The distance modifier is based on the single longest distance between two consecutive points in the sequence.

Success means you make your first hop, plus further hops equal to your margin of success. Cost is as on p. He wants to cross Cosmopolis going rooftop to rooftop. He plots a course that involves seven hops. Six are jaunts of between 20 and yards, but his fourth teleport crosses the Cosmopolis River. With IQ 12, he must roll 14 or less. He rolls a 10, succeeding by 4. This gives him a total of five teleports out of seven. He makes it across the river, but stops two rooftops short of his goal. Had he prepared for 4 seconds -3 , he would have succeeded by 6 and made all seven hops.

Obviously, you have to have Telekinesis p. You can teleport any object you have in your telekinetic grasp without physically touching it. Use this limitation to figure a diminished-cost version of Warp that can be the effect of an Affliction. By itself, this limitation lets you teleport up to your Basic Lift an encumbrance of None ; for heavier loads, buy Extra Carrying Capacity and combine the two modifiers. Note: If your Basic Lift is high enough so that your reduced carrying capacity exceeds your body weight, you can teleport yourself with Exoteleport.

However, your body counts against your carrying capacity, rather than being over and above your carrying capacity. Instead, apply it to your ST or Lifting ST, and base the amount you can teleport on your enhanced lifting capacity. This does not benefit any aspect of Will other than its use to determine how big a load you can teleport. Figure your range and damage normally as defined on p. Then, for each level of Super Throw, double range. Regardless of the distance, the throw is completed in one turn. For example, a ST 10 man can throw a lb. Ultrapower 50 points This new advantage is based on Gadgeteer, but it affects powers rather than inventions.

See One-Use Powers p. Special Limitations Externally Boosted: You can enhance your powers, but not unaided. Activating a one-use power always requires help from an external source, such as a scientific device, enchantment, or spell. Creating such a power source requires the efforts of a Gadgeteer or Quick Gadgeteer. Since your powers already exist, boosting them is treated as analysis followed by modification, as defined on p.

B; see the section on Skills p. You may do your own gadgeteering or seek help from someone else. One group of these relate to costumes and appearance. GMs in cinematic or ComicsCode campaigns are encouraged to invent other perks of this sort, and to look favorably on players doing the same.

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Cloaked You can wear a cape or cloak and move freely. B for that. Anime-inspired characters may get the same effect from a scarf. Masked You can put on a domino mask that covers only your eyes and nose — and become unrecognizable! With this perk, a hero with this limitation can still wear a costume or clothing. His garments have no DR or any other function that protects against damage, such as Damage Reduction; their function is to preserve his decency, hide his secret identity, and give him pockets.

This perk is legitimate even in realistic campaigns. In silly campaigns, a hero might wear a full suit of body armor — and still get no extra DR from it; it would be purely a fashion statement. Skintight Your costume fits you perfectly and has effectively no thickness; you can wear it under your civilian clothing without bulges and without anything showing. Alternatively, you can put your costume on over your civilian clothing and look as if you were wearing nothing under it. See Adaptable Clothing, p.

Some examples: Burrower You can dig with your natural body parts as if equipped with a shovel. Your speed is determined by the volume you can excavate; it is almost certainly less than the Tunneling advantage would allow see p. This gives you improved climbing ability p. B and can also be used for swinging from place to place.

Whether in the big city or in a tropical jungle, you can travel above the ground by swinging on vines, ropes, artificial spider webs, or some other substance. With this perk, you can routinely find new places to attach your lines, or new vines already in place, without having to make repeated skill rolls. Alternatively, you can use Move! GMs may permit other perks that exempt heroes from certain skill rolls; see Rules for Cinematic Campaigns, p. Generator You can produce a steady flow of direct current, comparable to the output of a battery.

For short-term exertions, you can roll vs. Ignition You can produce a small spark that can light a candle, a gas burner, kindling, or any other Highly Flammable or SuperFlammable material see p. You can inflict 1 point of burning damage by touch, once per object. Illumination You can generate a lighted area, as if carrying a flashlight, by emitting light from your own body. Perfume Your body generates its own natural scent, which most people find pleasing.

Each perklevel Unusual Background should name a skill or technique and a special restriction; e. See Skills and Super-Strength p. The GM may want to require certain mental disadvantages to reflect a particular style of play. When you strike blows, you inflict increased damage because of your hard body surface. You have to spend a long time searching for another one that suits you as well. No Visible Damage You must have Unkillable to take this perk. On the other hand, a significant number look unnatural.

This can be represented as Monstrous appearance. Code of Honor See p. Avoid using firearms and other conventional weapons; you rely on your own powers or martial-arts skills. Keep your word, even for promises made under duress. Protect the innocent from evildoers. You can use your powers to defeat nonhuman foes, but not to bully or humiliate them. B Villains, especially mad scientists and masterminds, are likely to have a new form of Compulsive Behavior: Compulsive Rhetoric: You feel a constant need to explain, justify, and magnify yourself.

In combat you regularly make speeches, and in a silly campaign you may fall into soliloquies in mid-battle. Lacking captive foes, you fall back on bragging to your henchmen or making long speeches by radio, television, or Internet chat. Pacifism See p. B Traditional four-color heroes have Cannot Kill; this is still true of many present-day supers, but not all. Sense of Duty See p. Sense of Duty to a Small Group is very common in teams. Social Stigma See pp. B Some supers have a distinctive social stigma: Guy named Otto Octavius winds up with eight limbs. What are the odds? In some settings, anyone with superpowers gets this reaction; in others, it applies to a specific group such as mutants.

You get -2 on all reaction rolls, and if you display your powers in public people react with fear and hostility. Split Personality See p. B Delusions See p. B Discussed under Dual Identities, p. Discussed under Dual Identities, p. Trademark See p. B Flashbacks See p. B Supers may experience flashbacks to their origins, especially if those were traumatic in some way.

Honesty See pp. B Honesty is appropriate for heroes who are soldiers, police officers, or government agents, or who cooperate completely with the legal authorities. Vigilantes should never take it. Megalomania See p. But single-minded pursuit of some fantastic goal, treating ordinary human beings with contempt, or Putting captured enemies in deathtraps is classic behavior for four-color villains. It can be defined as a variant of Trademark. Another new option is the equipment trademark; see Trademarks, p. Weirdness Magnet See p. B In the comics, friends and families of supers seem to be amazingly likely to gain superpowers of their own, either temporarily or permanently.

This can be represented by a specialized variant of Weirdness Magnet: Origins Magnet: People who are in your company or associated with you regularly acquire superpowers of their own, and often turn to heroism or villainy. This can be represented by a new disadvantage, which generalizes the Pyromania disadvantage from p. For example, you might be captivated by water and never miss a chance to start a flood or appreciate one you encounter. Make a selfcontrol roll whenever you have a chance to release your preferred element.

Similar constructions can be based on other nonstandard senses, such as Scanning Sense. See also Power Modifiers p. However, those benefits can be revoked at any time without formal proceedings of any kind. The GM is the judge of when this happens; he may be guided by reaction rolls. Periodic Recharge Forgetful Variable You often forget some of your powers or equipment, and thus fail to use them when they would be a good solution to a problem. You habitually call yourself by your villainous or occasionally heroic alias. This is especially suited to silly campaigns.

See the Mesmerist template p. The GM is the final judge of what combinations are allowed. Sense-Based See pp. This creates an ability that works through your Detect. To affect your target, you must sense and locate it with your Detect. An interval longer than 24 hours is not a meaningful restriction and does not count as a limitation. But comics writers have come up with a huge variety of different power sources. Methods of detecting mutant powers include DNA sequencing see p. Mutants may also be targets of bigotry, but this is treated as a separate disadvantage see Social Stigma, p.

However, yours works only on substantial opponents. While you are using them, you are totally focused on your own thoughts and perceptions. This works best with cognitive abilities such as Eidetic Memory or Intuitive Mathematician, but can also be applied to psionic abilities as an additional modifier, or even to body control abilities.

SKILLS A number of skills have special applications to supers: they aid in understanding the sources and nature of powers, they grant knowledge of the lives and deeds of supers, and they help in using powers or maintaining a heroic identity. Acting See p. B , this adds to all of your active defense rolls; you have the ability to deflect incoming Many supers assume a different persona in their heroic identities than in their mundane lives.

Chapters 6 and 7 offer some rules for performing such tasks. But another way of doing so is to use the same skills that normal human beings use to perform feats of strength: Breaking Blow, Flying Leap, Immovable Stance, and Power Blow. All of these skills have cinematic prerequisites: Trained by a Master, and sometimes Weapon Master.

So they only work in cinematic campaigns. In a cinematic or four-color supers game, heroes who meet these prerequisites can also buy them — and use them together with their superhuman strength. Alternatively, the GM may permit characters whose main emphasis is physical strength, agility, or hand-tohand combat to acquire them by taking the Unusual Training perk see p. The Brick template in this book assumes that this is possible see p. All these skills give their standard bonuses to ST bought without Super-Effort.

For ST with SuperEffort, first determine the effective Strength, damage, or other benefits gained from Super-Effort; then apply the modifiers from the skill to that score. The GM may also forbid the use of these skills with Super-Effort — but a hero taking a few seconds to ready himself and then punching a tank into scrap is very comic-booky! In a world where the existence of supers is public knowledge, a new required specialization is available for the skill: Supers, covering supers and topics related to them. Engineer See pp. B This is the skill used to analyze powers whose source is electronic, mechanical, or nanotech.

It can also be used to study abilities whose source is superscience, but at -5 to skill. The GM may define new specializations of Engineer for any given form of superscience, such as Force Fields or Gravitics. One such field, Psychotronics, is already available.

Analysis of a superscience device that falls within such a specialization is done at no penalty. Esoteric Medicine See p. B This is the skill used to analyze powers whose source is chi. Expert Skill See pp. B The Expert skill of Psionics can be used to analyze psionic powers. For psionic devices, see Engineer. Fortune-Telling See p. In worlds where magic, psionics, or super-powers are real, soothsaying may be more than fakery.

Bioengineering Heraldry alternate persona. Artist See p. B This is the skill used to analyze powers whose source is biological. For those that result from mutation or genetic modification, use Genetic Engineering; for powers that result from reconstruction of the body, use Tissue Engineering. B In a setting where supers wear distinctive insignia and color schemes, this skill lets you recognize a hero by his costume. B In a world of hidden or weird heroes, a new required specialization is available for this skill: Supers, covering supers and topics relating to them. If nature powers are available in a campaign setting, another new required specialization of Hidden Lore can be used to analyze them: Wilderness Lore, covering secret natural forces and plants and animals unknown to science.

This skill can be used to perform a choreographed battle with superpowers. It defaults to Innate Attack, or whatever other skill is used in the superpowered combat, at Its main use is for entertainment, but a Quick Contest against Perception can be used to persuade witnesses that two supers are really fighting. Thaumatology Hypnotism See p. B If telepathy is based on animal magnetism, then hypnotists can learn to influence their subjects telepathically. See Remote Hypnosis p. This is the skill used to analyze powers whose source is magical. Theology See p.

B Occultism See p. B This skill can be used to recognize and describe powers whose source is divine, elemental for traditional alchemical elements , magical, moral, or spirit. In settings where psionic abilities are classed as mystical phenomena, it also includes those. It includes cosmic powers at Philosophy See p. B This is the skill used to analyze powers whose source is moral. This is the skill used to analyze powers whose source is divine. Weird Science See p. B This is the skill used to analyze generic superpowers, and powers whose source is mutation or superscience.

It can also be used to analyze cosmic powers, but at -5 to skill. Physics See p. B This is the skill used to analyze elemental powers based on modern scientific concepts of matter, energy, and force. Power Blow See p. B This skill is usable with Telekinesis as well as with bodily strength. Double or triple your telekinetic strength after a successful roll. Psychology See p. B Experimental Psychology is the skill used to analyze savant powers.

Ritual Magic See p. B This is the skill used to analyze powers whose source is spirits. Replaces Boating all specializations. Use for combat rolls to operate any weapons system installed in a water vehicle, or for attack maneuvers with the vehicle itself. Make an IQ-based roll for Armoury pertaining to these weapons.

Use this in place of such skills as Acrobatics and Climbing for crossing or swinging from bowlaunched climbing lines and for shooting while dangling from high places. Replaces Group Performance Conducting , Law for canon law but not secular law, if the two are distinct , Public Speaking, Religious Ritual, and Theology for your specific faith and sect. Make a Will-based roll for Exorcism and Meditation. It can be used in Influence rolls against alien space probes, giant robots with logical puzzles, and similar entities.

Replaces Bicycling and Driving all specializations. In addition, it permits an IQ-based roll for Teamster. Use it for combat rolls to operate any weapons system installed in a ground vehicle, or for attack maneuvers with the vehicle itself. This generally allows you to answer any purely factual question, but not necessarily to understand the facts you know.

It does not enable you to perform practical tasks of any kind, nor does it encompass Hidden Lore, which must be learned separately for each specialty. Replaces Fishing, Survival, and Tracking, as well as Observation in wilderness environments. This default cannot exceed the relevant attribute -1 for Easy skills, -2 for Average, -3 for Hard, or -4 for Very Hard; that is, Fake!

It can also be used for traditional martial arts weapons skills like Staff and Tonfa. Use it in place of such skills as Acrobatics and Jumping in combat situations. If you also have Trained by a Master, you can add esoteric and cinematic skills based on unarmed combat. In settings where Weird Science is a valid skill, this includes its technological applications. This is used to cast spells with an effective skill modified by the prerequisite count; see GURPS Magic for a table of prerequisite counts.

Replaces Piloting all specializations. Use it for combat rolls to operate any weapons system installed in an air or space vehicle, or for attack maneuvers with the vehicle itself. It can also be used for Research in any field within the humanities or social sciences. Use this in place of such skills as Acrobatics and Jumping in combat situations. Make an IQbased roll for Armoury pertaining to these weapons. Users can wield two one-handed sticks at full skill without off-hand penalties.

Make an IQ-based roll for Armoury pertaining to these weapons and for Games skills such as darts. It lets you throw any object you can lift, as with Throwing Art, without having Trained by a Master or Weapon Master as a prerequisite. However, having one of these advantages is still a prerequisite for gaining the damage bonuses of Throwing Art. Use this in place of such skills as Acrobatics and Climbing for actions that benefit from throwing, such as climbing a tossed grappling line. Use it in place of such skills as Acrobatics and Climbing to climb up or swing from a whip; Garrote or Knot-Tying when choking or binding a foe with a flexible weapon; and suitable specializations of Erotic Art.

This is the technique for bouncing bullets off a melee weapon — or your arms, if you have suitable bracers, wristbands, or gauntlets, or just high DR. It lets you buy off the penalty for parrying bullets by intense mental focus on maintaining high speed. At a further -4 penalty, you can catch bullets rather than simply parrying them. Parrying energy beams is a different Hard technique. See Bulletproof p. Prerequisite: Mind Block; cannot exceed Mind Block skill. This technique uses a pattern of stream-of-consciousness prose crafted to sound like your natural thoughts.

A variant of Mind Block, which lets you translate your thoughts or knowledge into a different symbolism. For example, you might turn a message into a string of numbers or even a melody. He has to probe one layer deeper, or memorize the coded form of your thoughts and crack it. Cannot exceed base skill. This is a variant of a slam attack. You can fling yourself at a target, such as a vehicle or building, with your whole body tense and acting as a single rigid mass, and with your striking surface minimized. Typically this means having your clenched fists raised above your head, striking the target first like a spear point.

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