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IndianaWalsh

Superpowers

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Over the past couple weeks I've been working on a subsystem for handling superpowers, based on the way that Force powers work in SWRPG.

My intent was to facilitate cinematic combat; in most superhero movies, combat is highly mobile, with characters knocking one-another into the air and winding up for big attacks and making use of their environments. Also, as much as possible, I tried to include some out-of-combat applications of powers, such as using your Speed to steal items or using Energy Projection to disrupt electronics. Finally, I wanted to balance the need for characters to be vulnerable with their ability to do incredible things. As such, I made heavy use of the Strain economy: If you want to drop a train on someone, you can, but it's going to cost you.

I'm not 100% sure about game balance. I ran most things past the Discord community, but suggestions for balancing the XP prices are appreciated.

Edited by IndianaWalsh
NewVersion

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!!! VERSION 2 NOW AVAILABLE !!!

Changes for version 2:

  • Added an explanation to hopefully clarify how the power trees work.
  • Limitations are now a little stronger. Most give a higher bonus.
  • Added power trees for Intelligence, Size Manipulation, and Stretching
  • Slight changes to a few powers.
  • New talent: "Signature Power"
  • A couple abilities have "X" cost. These are abilities whose cost I'm not so sure about. I'm very open to suggestions.
Edited by IndianaWalsh

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This is cool. A good start. I can see this format working really well with adapting other supers games into Genesys that have formulated archetypes, like the game AMP Year One, where characters have powers that are specific to what genetic Strain they happen to be. 

 

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Version 2.5 now available

New stuff:

  • "Superpowers" and "Martial Arts" magic skills. Both of these skills give you much narrower options than the other magic skills, but you can activate them for a lower strain cost, can tie them to different characteristics, and you don't have to invest in knowledge skills to use them.
  • Mind Control and Telekinesis have been separated
  • New Talent: "Fastball Special"
  • Appendix converting the power trees to the talents system
  • No abilities have X cost anymore but I'm still not sure of a non-narrative effect for the "microscopic" ability under the Shrink power

In addition: have an adversary

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TAURINE (RIVAL)

Energy-drink-powered thug

BR  AG  INT WP CUN PR

5 3 1 2 2 2

Soak: 10         Wounds: 20   Defense: 0/0

Attacks:

Unarmed (Brawl): 10 damage, Crit 4, Knockback, Pierce 4

Skills: Brawl 3, Athletics 3, Resilience 2, Coordination 1, Cool 1

Abilities: Adversary 1

Strength: Taurine can lift any object up to silhouette 3 without making a check. He may also use the Hurl ability. His unarmed attacks have Breach 2 against objects and vehicles.

Speed: Taurine gains one free extra maneuver per round which can only be spent on movement. His first unarmed attack deals +2 damage for each range band he has moved in that round.

Durability: Taurine has Armor 2 against physical projectiles

Flight: Once per day, Taurine may spend a maneuver to immediately drink a can of Bull Honky. He gains the ability to move through the air and can carry any object or person he can lift into the air with him for the rest of the scene.

Limitations:

Momentum: Taurine’s strength increases exponentially while in motion. If he has not moved at least one range band this round, his Brawn drops to 4, his attacks lose all Pierce and Breach, he loses the ability to lift anything larger than Silhouette 1, he loses his Armor, and his Soak drops to 7.

Bull Honky: Taurine’s power is derived from his habitual consumption of an energy drink called Bull Honky. If he has not consumed the drink in the past 2 hours, he loses all special abilities, his Brawn drops to 3, and his Intellect increases to 2.

Edited by IndianaWalsh

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4 minutes ago, BringBackForbiddenStars said:

I really like this, have you ran a session with this? It seems like balancing encounters could become a nightmare at those power levels.

I haven't run it yet (I'm starting a campaign in a couple weeks). Encounter balance will definitely be a challenge, but I don't think an insurmountable one. As long as you know what toys your group is playing with, you should be able to come up with adversaries that will challenge them, especially since the genre gives you a lot of freedom to introduce new threats once your players outgrow old ones.

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On 6/18/2018 at 12:48 AM, Absol197 said:

I love how super-wealth is a power in this :P .

I mean, it definitely is, but it's still hilarious :D !

Bruce Wayne, Tony Stark, Oliver Queen, Danny Rand, Norman Osborne, & Malcolm Merlin would all agree.

There are some other great ideas in there, too.

Edited by player966703

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7 minutes ago, Mathadar said:

This has come such a long way.  I love it.  Mind if you try and adapt the hero that uses minions?  Sort of like how Ant Man can use swarms of ants, or a mastermind has his own thugs/ninjas/zombies/robots that he can use to fight for him.

Reference: https://paragonwiki.com/wiki/Mastermind

For that kind of character, I'd probably just take the Superpowers magic skill with the Conjure spell type. I'd be interested to see what you'd come up with that's more in-depth, though!

I do address "swarm of ants"-type characters on page 4 with "The Roach-Fiend" (based on a character my friend played in a Cypher system supers one-shot).

Edited by IndianaWalsh

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Ah. I see now.  I was more in desire of creating up to 6 minions
1 Rival Bruiser
2 Rival Enforcer
3 Minion Thugs
10 (Gang War) which can be run as a swarm so less individuals, like say 3 minion group of 4 or 5 max.

I have been trying to figure out how to do larger minion groups for a PC control.  I am fine with setting up before a battle and using the narrative concentration maneuver.  I was looking at a way to not constantly spend strain on summoning them.

This also applies to Necromancers and their zombies, Robot Minions (I saw you included a Robotic Butler as an option)

I basically figure first turn summon weakest, then stronger, then stronger.  I even had an idea for Augmenting them to help fill in the Mastermind's Equip (Minion/Rival) and Upgrade (Minion/Rival) Mechanic.  If not, perhaps could do talents similar to the Signature vehicle stuff, but with summoned minions/rivals where they boost stats, similar to the robotic butler you described.

Basically, if they do Superpower (Conjure) then they can't equip or upgrade, which I DID plan to use strain for that, given it gives them new abilities.

Edited by Mathadar

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Ok, so from the City of Heroes inspired approach we have Damages Ranked like the following, which can be used to help bring abilities over, or at least figure out what kind of Average damage we want to help work on difficulty of the check and what bonuses to add, since on average your primary weapon stat is 3.

Melee Attacks

  • Light (DMG 1) (Usually minimal damage, but with several abilities for buff/debuff.)
  • Minor (DMG 1)
  • Moderate (DMG 2)
  • High (DMG 3)
  • Superior (DMG 4)
  • Extreme (DMG 5) (Very Rare to see, usually capstone abilities that are either prepare, slow firing, or exhausting (lose strain) to use)

Ranged Attacks

  • Light (DMG 4-5)
  • Minor (DMG 6-7)
  • Moderate (DMG 8-9)
  • High (DMG 10-11)
  • Superior (DMG 12-13)
  • Extreme (DMG 14-15) (Very Rare to see, usually capstone abilities that are either prepare, slow firing, or exhausting (lose strain) to use)

 

Example of a converted Brute Power Table
**Battle Axe**
(10 EXP) Beheader (+2 DMG, M:Heavy, Knockdown)
(10 EXP) Chop (+3 DMG, M:Heavy, Knockdown, Slow-Firing 1)
(10 EXP) Gash (+4 DMG, M:Heavy, Knockdown, Slow-Firing 1)
(15 EXP) Build up (+blue.png.1ac38d39938d291476bccb3f272009d7.png and +1 success.png.ce95f5afbe3828dc8086458651fcc546.png on attack roll until end of next turn, Slow-Firing 2)
(15 EXP) Swoop (+4 DMG, M:Heavy, Knockdown, Slow-Firing 1)
(20 EXP) Taunt (Make Coercion check (not sure what difficulty to make it), targets foe and all foes engaged with target, they must make you the target of their next attacks if the check succeeds, Slow-Firing 1)
(20 EXP) Whirling Axe (+2 DMG, M:Heavy, Blast 2, Knockdown, Slow-Firing 1)
(25 EXP) Cleave (+5 DMG, M:Heavy, Knockdown, Slow-Firing 1)
(25 EXP) Pendulum (+4 DMG, M:Heavy, Knockdown, Blast 4, Slow-Firing 1)

Let me know what you think, but if this tract covers well, I can figure out for the minions what their attacks will be, to basically build their weapons/attacks and price them accordingly, because its using the same concept for the spread of weapon damages.  Next time I will do a ranged example.

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So you'd want a different power table for every different kind of minion? I might be missing something here, because it looks like Gash and Swoop are the same ability but with a different cost?

I'm very hesitant to give one player access to the action economy of six minions, but thinking about that character-type did give me an idea for an adversary:

MANY-MAN (RIVAL)

Mild-mannered mailman Manuel “Manny” Mann moonlights as the malicious mobster, Many-Man!

BR AG  INT WP CUN PR

2 3 3 2 4 3

Soak: 3           Wounds: 12   Defense: 0/0

Attacks:

Unarmed (Brawl): 4 damage, Crit 5

Machete (ag-Melee): 5 damage, Crit 2

Skills: Brawl 1, Melee 2, Coercion 2, Coordination 1, Cool 1, Driving 2, Piloting 1, Superpower (Cun) 3

Abilities: Adversary 1, Signature Spell (improved) [Conjure+Medium+Additional], Finesse

Self-Duplication: Many-Man may manifest copies of himself with an Easy Superpower check. His copies have all the same abilities and equipment, including self-duplication, but they disappear when the copy that manifested them is knocked out.

Equipment: Assault rifle (Ranged; Damage 8; Critical 3; Range [Long]; Auto-fire), heavy clothing (+1 soak), power-regulating headband (see Druid’s Circlet, but applies to Many-Men instead of animals. Free “summon ally” plus concentration per encounter)

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Wow, I wish I had seen this earlier! I've been working on superpowers for a week from a pretty similar approach. I was doing talent trees like this, and I'd come to the same conclusion that skills and heroic abilities as they exist just wouldn't cut it. I even came to some of the same specific implementations of powers. But now I'll just use this cause it's 50x more complete and thorough!

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11 hours ago, IndianaWalsh said:

Teleportation!

SxT24fi.png

How about a range option?

What other minor powers are you working on? Phasing/intangibility, Supreme accuracy (Bullseye's perfect aim, Captain America and Daredevil ricocheting thrown objects in impossible ways).

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12 hours ago, jackissocool said:

How about a range option?

What other minor powers are you working on? Phasing/intangibility, Supreme accuracy (Bullseye's perfect aim, Captain America and Daredevil ricocheting thrown objects in impossible ways).

Phasing as an ability would actually be identical to teleportation -- it lets you bypass physical obstacles with your movement. There are some accuracy-related things under super-speed, but I'm very hesitant to allow people to just auto-hit with ranged weapons. I'd consider an ability that gives thrown weapons auto-fire, though.

To increase the range you can teleport, you can combine it with super-speed, with a Limitation on your speed indicating that it can only be activated while Teleport is active.

Currently I have my sights set on -- permanently being larger than sil 1 (if you want your character to be a t-rex or something), having extra arms, and invisibility.

Edited by IndianaWalsh

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I see a lot of differences with phasing. Moving past obstacles is similar, but there's also many other uses for intangibility - lots of defensive ones, for example. Additionally, teleportation is also more than just avoiding obstacles. It lets you move in any direction is a big one. I'd consider rephrasing the basic power of Teleport like so:
Spend 2 Strain as an action so that your movement allows you to appear at any point you can see within range.
And then use the current phrasing of Teleport for the basic power of Intangibility. Then Intangibility could upgrade linearly:
Basic Power
⬇️

Phasing (Incidental use)

⬇️

Untouchable: As an out of turn incidental when hit by a physical attack, spend a Story Point to automatically cause it to miss.

Or something like that.

Edited by jackissocool

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I do have a question...do you have any idea how to handle those characters like Batman who have tons of gadgets on them at any time? I was thinking of something for Hawkeye or Green Arrow could be handled by Energy Projection but Batman types are still not able to be done properly from what I can see.

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Why ? Use the rules for making gear to make Batman's gadgets. And as gm you can bend these rules as much as you wish to get exactly what you want. I don't see why Batman types can't be done properly.

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