Thursday, October 20, 2016

Heroism and Experience as Power-Sets

Heroism as Power-Set

So far, we have psionic powers, martial arts and cybernetics as power-sets. Each invests the character more deeply into a particular aspect of the setting, and expresses what makes him cool.
  • Psionic Powers invest the character more deeply into Communion and Psi-Wars as a mystical setting. It lets your character be cool in a “spooky” way.
  • Martial Arts invest the character more deeply into a particular culture and Psi-Wars as a warrior setting. It lets the character be cool in a “lethal” way.
  • Cybernetics invest a character more deeply into technology and the robots of Psi-Wars. It lets your character be cool in a profoundly physical way.
I've decided on a Heroic power-set as a fourth option. It represents a more generic power-set, someone who is cool for the sake of being cool. A heroic character embraces the fact that he's an action character as his prime element and turns that particular aspect up to 11. It also has no specific focus. Whereas the other powersets require huge catalogs of options for the player to navigate, the heroic power set will not. The hero isn't required to worry about the specific nature of his heroism. He's free to work those details out later.

This doesn't tie a character into anything specifically, but it seems very probable that such characters would have a great deal of destiny. These characters matter. Wherever they show up, the world shifts and changes. They're “the chosen one.”

Attributes: Choose one of DX +1 [20], IQ +1 [20] or both HT +1 [10] and Will +2 [10]

Advantages: Destiny (Varies) 3 [15]; Choose 15 points of Appearance (Varies), Combat Reflexes [15], Danger Sense [15], Daredevil [15], Destiny +2 or +3 [5/level], Fearlessness or Unfazeable [2/level or 15], Hard to Kill [2/level], Rapier Wit [5], Serendipity [15], or improve Luck to Extreme Luck [30] for 15 points.

Experience as Power-Set

The rest of the power-sets involve moving the character in a new direction. But what about characters who want to be more of what they already are? Should a spy take psionic powers, she becomes able to read minds or see the future, while a martial artist spy becomes a lethal ninja, and cyborg spy becomes a master of technology, but what about a spy who wants to be more of a spy?

After the End also has power-sets, though less dramatic than those of Psi-Wars (it’s a lower-key game), and it also features an Experienced power-set. It represents an additional investment into your characters capabilities, and it’s specific to each template, which is very suitable to Psi-Wars. It would also address a concern I have, namely that players who enjoy the more high-octane gameplay typical of the super-hero-style antics of the prequels might want to start at higher point totals (400, perhaps). Can non-Psi-Knight characters keep up without resorting to psionic powers and martial arts?

Dungeon Fantasy doesn’t use these sorts of power-sets. Instead, they offer power-ups, smaller packages that characters can grab as they increase in experience. This actually fits the rest of the power-sets pretty well: A psionic character doesn’t buy psionic powers 50 points at a time, nor do martial artists. Instead, they improve a few skills and buy a few powers 5-10 points at a time. Power-ups work the same way.

So, I propose mixing the two: Every template has associated power-ups, and characters who choose Experience as their power-set get a 50-points worth of power-ups.  I'd like to make the individual power-ups worth no more than 25 points, so players can buy them in place of something in their advantage set, if they wished.

To make this work, I need to define power-ups for each individual template, which is a lot of work, work that I’m willing to do, but we should start one template at a time.

I’d like to start with the Spy, as the Spy is the most non-combat focused of the character templates thus far. If I can’t come up with ~100 points worth of power-ups for the Spy, then this idea won’t work.

Advantages: Choose 50 points from your template Advantages, or from your template Power-Ups.

Spy Power-Ups

Conspirator 25 points

Advantages: Spend 20 points on Forgettable Face [1], Honest Face [1], Illuminated [15], Security Clearance [5 to 15], Serendipity (Conspiratorial -20%) [12], Truth Seeker +1 to +4 [5/level], Zeroed [10]

Skills: Expert Skill (Conspiracy Theory) (H) IQ [4]; Spend one additional point on Current Affairs (Headline News or Politics) (E) IQ [1], Propaganda (A) IQ-1 [1], or Intelligence Analysis (H) IQ-2 [1] or Detect Lies (H) Per-2 [1].

Illuminated allows the character to roll IQ in place of Hidden Lore (Communion) to recognize any Communion symbolism, and the character may roll IQ to recognize someone’s Destiny, provided it’s involved in any conspiracy. Finally, it grants a +3 to Pulling Rank rolls.

Master of Disguises 25 points

Advantages: Spend between 0 and 20 points on Impersonator, raising it to a minimum of +4 [20]. Spend remaining points on Accent (Any) [1], Convincing Nod [1], Cultural Familiarity (Any) [1] or Cultural Adaptability [10], Disposable Identity [1], Equipment Bond (Disguise Kit) [1], Gizmo 1 (Disguise Kit Only -80%, Cosmic: Retcon +50%, Requires Disguise Roll -10%) [3], Passing Appearance (Androgynous or Passing Complexion) [1], Voice [10]

Skills: Mimicry (Speech) (H) IQ+2* [1]; Spend an additional 4 points improving Acting, Disguise or Mimicry.

Note that Voice adds +2 to Mimicry.

Cosmic: Retcon means that the character can claim he was already using said gizmo. For the Disguise gizmo, this means that the character can claim to have been diguised “the whole time” as some other character (that the GM approves).

Ghost 25 points

Advantages: Spend between 0 and 20 points on Craftiness, raising it to a minimum of +4 [20]. Spend remaining points on Skills (below) or on Catfall [10], Flexibility [5] or Double-Jointed [15], Forgettable Face [1], Nightvision +1 to +5 [1/level], Perfect Balance [15], Serendipity (Stealth Opportunities Only -80%) [3], Silence +1 to +2 [5/level], Trained by a Master (Evastion -50%) [15].

Skills: Improve Stealth by 1 level for 4 points; Spend one point on Jumping (E) DX [1], Climbing (A) DX-1 [1], Acrobatics or Escape (H) DX-2 [1].

Hacker 25 points

Advantages: Cyberneticist 4 [20]

Skills: Computer Hacking (H) IQ+4 [4]; Spend one point on Computer Operation (E) IQ+4* [1], Computer Programming (AI) (H) IQ+2* [1], Electronic Repairs (Computer) (A) IQ+3* [1], or one of the following perks: Beep Fluency [1], Cross-Trained (Computers) [1], Equipment Bond (Computer) [1],

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