6164 in-depth character profiles from comics, games, movies

DC Heroes RPG – New Rules – Powers – H to Z

Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game



Index for part 2


Illusion (Mirror Images) (Additional Rules)

Note by Eric Langendorff and John Colagioia
Helpers: Sébastien Andrivet, Roy Cowan

Illusions (Mirror Images) is a special Bonus for the Illusion Power. It increases Illusion’s Factor Cost by one.

If a character can *only* perform the Mirror Images application, this is a packaged limitation. The notation is Illusion (Mirror Images Only), and this results in a Power with a Base Cost of 10 and a Factor Cost of 04.

With it, the Illusion Power can only produce illusory doubles of the user. This is as per the classic Dungeons & Dragons magic-user spell of the same name. The effects are as follow:

  • One illusory duplicate can be created by AP of Power.
  • APs of Illusion (Mirror Images) are added to the OV when attempting to attack the Character with this Power. That doesn’t apply to Area of Effect attacks that catch the Character in their radius.
  • A common tactic against this Power is to Multi-Attack to hit several Mirror Images. While the normal Multi-Attack penalties apply, this lessens the OV bonus to the number of images which are *not* attacked.
    For instance, attacking four of the seven images of a person with Illusion (Mirror Images): 07 produces an OV bonus of 3 (7-4=3) rather than the normal OV bonus of 7, although this is on top of the +2CS Penalty for Multi-attacking four targets.
  • The maximum number of Mirror Images that can be Multi-Attacked within a given Phase is equal to the current AV of the attacker. Mirror Images are confusingly identical and may not fade instantly once attacked. This doesn’t apply to Area of Effect attacks.
  • All images that get attacked are dispersed. As long as even one image is thus dispersed, the Illusion Power of the Character is lowered by one AP. This AP must be Recovered.
  • Note that this is for images that are attacked, not hit. Any missed attack against a person with Illusion (Mirror Images) will disperse an image. What doesn’t disperse an image is a successful attack since it hits the original.
    Likewise, the example Multi-Attack against four images above will either disperse four images (if it misses) or disperse three images and hit the original (if it hits).

Timeshadow (X-Factor enemy) vs. Marvel Girl

Timeshadow demonstrates Illusions (Mirror Images) against Jean Grey.


Author: Sébastien Andrivet.
Mental Power
Link: WILL
Range: Self
Type: Auto
Base Cost: 100
Factor Cost: 02

This Power enables the Character to become intangible. For instance by dispersing their atoms, or somehow becoming out of phase with the normal world.

An intangible Character can freely move through physical objects and other Characters. They cannot affect matter and matter cannot affect them. Likewise, energy in the physical world (fire, electricity, etc.) is normally irrelevant for the Character. They cannot affect it and it cannot affect them.

Somehow, the Character remains able to breathe when in an Intangible state. Carried and worn items also become intangible.

Extraordinary interactions

Force fields (such as those produced by the Force Field, Force Wall or Force Shield Powers) can stop an Intangible Character.

To pass through one, the Character must pit their Intangibility APs as AV/OV against the force field’s AP value as OV/RV. If RAPs are scored the Character can pass through the force field. This takes an amount of time equal to the APs of the force field minus the RAPs.

Some settings feature Intangibility-resistant materials. These have APs of Force Wall in addition to their BODY, possibly with the Only To Oppose Intangibility (-2FC) Limitation.

Intangibility makes a Character tougher to locate using Radar, Sonar or Thermal Vision. Any Perception Check using this Power against an Intangible Character have the active APs of Intangibility added to the OV/RV.

Grappling ghosts

Two Characters with Intangibility may be able to physically interact with each other. This is automatic if both Characters are willing to interact. If a Character with Intangibility is attempting to affect another Character with Intangibility without their consent, this requires an Action Check.

Such an attempt takes an Automatic Action and pits the attacking Character’s Intangibility APs as the AV/OV against the defending Character’s Intangibility as the OV/RV. One or more RAPs allow the Characters to physically interact with each other, yet both remain intangible to the real world.

Similar interactions are possible between Characters with APs of Dispersal and APs of Intangibility. However, the GM might add modifiers if the Characters achieve Intangible and Dispersed states using very different rationales.

Associated Powers and B&L

Characters with Intangibility frequently also have APs of Air-Walking and/or comparable mobility Powers.

The “solidify inside a target” ability and Partial Dispersal Bonus from the Dispersal Power in the rulebook can also be used with Intangibility.

Wallpass Limitation (-1FC)

The Wallpass Limitation makes it harder to pass through matter. When walking through an obstacle, the Character takes an amount of time equal to the BODY of the obstacle minus their APs of Intangibility. If the object has APs of Density Increase, those are added (linear addition, e.g. 3+4=7) to its BODY for the purposes of this calculation.

Only To Affect Intangible (BC becomes 10)

The Character cannot use Intangibility to become intangible or make themselves harder to locate via Radar, Sonar or Thermal vision. They only can attempt to affect Dispersed or Intangible Characters. The APs of Intangibility for such a Character can only be used to touch a Character with Intangibility or Dispersal, as explained above.

Does Not Affect Worn Or Carried Items (-1 FC)

Designer notes:
This Power was originally called Dispersal v2. The idea was to have it replace Dispersal. Since Dispersal doesn’t model the most common forms of intangibility in comics (with some important exceptions, such as using the Speed Force to vibrate through objects).

Later on we decided to keep both approaches rather than overwrite one. “Dispersal v2” thus became “Intangibility” to avoid confusion.

Kitty confronts Dracula with a crucifix

Kitty Pryde of the X-Men is intangible.

Interface (Additional Rules)

Note by Gareth Lewis, Eric Langendorff

The Power description for Interface makes it overwhelming against foes like Iron Man, not allowing them an opportunity to resist the control of even a single AP of the Power. While his APs of Interface would still be overwhelming, here are some clarifications to make the Power slightly fairer.

While Interface allows the Character to make the Gadget perform whatever actions it’s designed to, a Gadget with Security Systems is designed to do nothing unless the security is overridden. Thus, the Character must overcome the Security Systems before doing anything else.

When trying to take control of a machine with Security Systems, the character with Interface must first overcome the Security System with a roll using his APs of Interface as AV/EV, against the APs of Security System as OV/RV.

Any RAPs scored indicate success in bypassing it, and the character won’t have trouble with the Security System of that particular device in the future, unless it gets upgraded.

If the device the Character is trying to control is already under another’s control (whether manually or by Interface), the Character must try to take control of the device away from them. They must perform a Skill vs. Skill roll, with the APs of Interface applied to controlling the Device as the AV/EV, and the current wielder’s appropriate Skill as the OV/RV.

If RAPs are earned then the Interface character gains control of the device, although the other character may try to take back control on the subsequent phase, if applicable (for example, if the device is a car from which they’ve been ejected, they have to get back in it before trying to use their Vehicles Skill to regain control).

If the device has Security Systems, the character with Interface may spend an Automatic Action to reprogram it to only allow themselves access, in which case the other character must bypass the Security System before they can try to regain control.

Trying to control an independent robot (which aren’t usually controlled by a Skill) requires a Dice Action. For a self aware machine (one which has Mystical Stats), the APs of Interface applied to the attempt function as APs of Control to take command of the robot.

For a non-sentient robot, the highest AP Stat or Power acts as the OV/RV against the roll. If the robot is under the control of another character, then Interface must roll against either the Skill (or Attribute) being used to control it, or the Radio Communications signal used.

Tracer shooting a pistol

Spider-Man enemy Tracer has the Interface Power.

Iron Will (Updated Power)

Note by Sébastien Andrivet
Link: MIN
Range: Self
Type: Auto
Base Cost: 10
Factor Cost: 04

This Power allows a Character to resist all forms of mind-controlling Powers, including (but not limited to) Aura of Fear, Broadcast Empath, Control, Hypnotism and some forms of Numb, Aura of Pain and Stagger. The APs of Iron Will are added to the Character’s RV against such Powers.

Mental Freeze and Mystic Freeze normally ignore Iron Will, unless the specific Character employing this Power bases them on mind control. Straight Mental and Mystical Attacks such as Magic Blast and Mind Blast also are outside of Iron Will’s purview.

This Power may be purchased with the optional Limitations Does Not Apply Against Mental effects, Does Not Apply Against Mystical Effects, and Does Not Apply against Physical Effects. Each such Limitation represents a -1FC cost reduction.

Designer’s notes:

In the rulesbook, Iron Will is a rare remnant of the old Mental/Physical/Mystical taxonomy that used to pervade the system. This has been slightly changed here so Iron Will works like similar Powers, rather than in a First edition way. It’s just a tiny bit of tidying up.

Black Tarantula (Carlos LaMuerto) fights Hand ninja

Black Tarantula has the Iron Will Power.

Kinetic Absorption (Structural only)

Author: Sébastien Andrivet
Helper(s): Eric Langendorff, Roy Cowan
Link: BODY
Range: Self
Type: Auto
Base Cost: 25
Factor Cost: 05

This Limitation of the Kinetic Absorption Power means that Kinetic Absorption APs can only be applied against structural impacts — damage that would shatter the Character’s corporeal infrastructure. Examples include:

  • Falls.
  • Collisions, vehicular crashes, and other body-wide impacts (such as being hit by a giant robot whose hand is larger than you are).
  • Explosions of a primarily concussive nature.
  • Attacks specifically described as aiming to break the bones and joints (such as some wrestling attacks, trying to hit somebody in the head or arms with a nunchaku, etc.).
  • Being run over by most vehicles.
  • And similar attacks.

Designer’s notes:
Kinetic Absorption (Structural only) is a Power that almost was necessary on many occasions, over more than a decade. However, a limited version of Skin Armour usually turned out to be a satisfying solution, and was used every single time as a reasonable approximation of what we were trying to model (starting, IIRC, with it being the choice made to model the Angel (Worthington)’s ability to soak up falls).

For a while a Kinetic Absorption (Structural only)-like approach was discussed for certain forms of body armour, but the Blunting Power ended up being the preferred approach and a better fit.

Still, Skin Armour wasn’t fully, entirely satisfying for some Characters — primarily those with abnormally flexible or armoured bones — as it gave a somewhat smudgy resolution of the situation that wasn’t modelling what should happen with low-EV or high-EV attacks.

Thus did Kinetic Absorption (Structural only) eventually emerge, first as a new Power and then as a Limitation after Eric reminded me of Kinetic Absorption in BOH:SE. It should replace the Skin Armour of a number of characters on Writeups.org, though we can only do that as we happen upon them rather than as a systematic search. The site is too big.

Gamora vs. Ronan the Accuser

Gamora has the Kinetic Absorption (Structural only) Power due to her artificial bones.

Lightning Immunity

Link: BODY
Range: Self
Type: Auto
Base Cost: 05
Factor Cost: 04

This Power allows a Character to protect themselves against electricity-based attacks. The APs of Power are added to the Character’s RV against any and all such attacks.

Designer’s notes:
This Power has been used for years and never really detailed, being an obvious variation on Cold Immunity and Flame Immunity. But let’s be thorough.

Menoetius chasing the Angel

You can just tell that Menoetius has the Lightning Immunity Power.

Mass Effect Powers

The various Powers representing heavy defenses and biotic abilities in the Mass Effect games have not been integrated in this document, since they are quite universe-specific (though the Stagger Power below was originally developed for Mass Effect weaponry).

They can instead be found in the Mass Effect biotics articles.

Kaidan Alenko surrounded by biotic dark energy

Lt. Kaidan Alenko using his biotic powers.

Morphic Stability

Author: Gareth Lewis
Helper(s): Dr. Peter S Piispanen, Sébastien Andrivet, Eric Langendorff
Physical Power
Range: Self
Type: Auto
Base Cost: 25
Factor Cost: 06

The APs of Morphic Stability are added to the RV against offensive Powers that attempt to alter the Character’s body, such as attempting to transform them into an animal. This includes Powers such as Diminution, Dismember, Enlarge, Mutation, Petrification, Transform and Transmutation.

The character may choose to voluntarily drop their resistance, to accept beneficial alterations from their allies, unless they take the Always On Limitation (-1 FC) at character creation.

This Power may be purchased with the following Bonus: Transform Immunity (+1 FC). The Power protects against any and all attempts to change the base template, form and physical characteristic of the character.

Examples would include Dispersal with the Area Effect Bonus, or Fluid Form with the Usable on Others Bonus.

General Note:
When a Power such as Morphic Stability, which has a list of Powers it protects against, actually only protects against a subset of the listed Powers, the Cost of the Power is reduced for each two Powers removed from the list by -10 BC and -1 FC (it should never be reduced below BC: 05 and FC: 04).

Silverclaw (Maria Santiago) leaps to the attack

Silverclaw has the Morphic Stability Power.


Author: Sébastien Andrivet
Physical Power
Link: STR
Range: Normal
Type: Dice
Base Cost: 25
Factor Cost: 05

This Power allows a Character to numb opponents, making them slower and weaker – possibly to the point of unconsciousness. Such an attack involves an Action Check with AV/EV equal to the APs of Numb and OV/RV equal to the victim’s DEX/BODY.

Half the RAPs gained are subtracted from the target’s STR, and the other half from his DEX. Any odd RAP left over is applied against STR. For instance, getting 5 RAPs from the Numb Power would reduce the target’s STR by 03 and DEX by 02, while 6 RAPs would reduce both Attributes by 03.

When both an opponent’s DEX and STR reach 0, his BODY automatically reaches a Current Condition of 0 and he’s knocked out. All Physical Attributes are Recovered normally.

A powerful enough organism can rapidly recover from the effects of the Numb power – as long as the subject is still conscious. This is a special Recovery Check, which can be attempted every (APs of Numb Power) – (BODY of target + APs of Regeneration Power) APs of time, with a minimum of O APs of time.

The Check itself is done using an AV/EV equal to (BODY + APs of Regeneration + APs of Systemic Antidote) against an OV/RV equal the APs of the Numb power. Half the RAPs gained via this Recovery Check are used to recover the target’s STR, and the other half his DEX. Any odd RAP left over is applied to STR. Desperation Recovery can also be attempted.

Sabra with her original flag costume

Sabra‘s weapons have the Numb Power.


Author: Sébastien Andrivet
Special Power
Link: Special.
Range: Varies.
Type: Auto.
Base Cost: 50
Factor Cost: 10

The Omni-Ability Power covers those highly flexible capabilities that do not fit cleanly enough with other flexible Powers such as Omni-Power, Sorcery, Force Manipulation, Self-Manipulation, Mimic, Omni-Arm, Acuity, Adaptation, etc..

It is a broom wagon of sorts.


Omni-Ability has two components :

  • Its AP level, as with any Power. These APs do nothing in themselves, but they mark the highest level Omni-Ability can emulate. A Character with Omni-Ability: 06 cannot use Omni-Ability to emulate something with more than 6 APs.
  • A pool of points. These points are used to buy abilities within the Omni-Ability framework, and can be reassigned. However, costs are four times those of Character Creation.

Omar Omnipants has Omni-Ability: 05 with a 50-points pool. So this means he bought the 5 APs at a Factor Cost of 10, plus a Base Cost of 50, plus 200 points (50*4) for the pool.

He can use his pool to buy Powers, Skills, Attributes, Advantages, etc. as part of his Omni-Ability, with a cap of 5 APs. For instance he could get 5 APs of Force Shield for 30 points (10 points Base Cost, plus 5 APs at the Force Shield’s Factor Cost of 5) and have enough points to get 2 APs of Acid as well (15 points of Base Cost and FC 3 – Omar is 1 point short of getting a third AP of Acid).


Omni-Ability must have a GM-approved theme. All abilities emulated by Omni-Ability must fit that theme. Examples include “wild psionics”, “fire powers”, “projectile payloads”, “liquids secretion”, “abjuration spells”, “collective memory of the species”, etc..

Omni-Ability takes 8 APs of time (about 15 minutes) to be reconfigured. The currently emulated abilities are deleted, and the points in the pool can be assigned anew.

Exceptionally narrow themes *could* lower the Omni-Ability divisor from 4 to 3. That is, it takes three points from the pool to buy one point of an ability, rather than four.

The GM must agree that the proposed scope is markedly smaller than the norm for Omni-Ability in their game. And there are good odds that the sought-after effect can be modelled using another Power.

Most other Bonuses and Limitations can be applied to the FC as per normal procedure.


Omni-Ability is even more flexible than the usual “do anything” Powers in DC Heroes. But it is more complex in practice, since you need to compute the cost of the Powers you’re emulating.

The usual recommendation for this type of Power in SHRPGs is to pre-compute a few standard configurations the Character uses often. And to give the Player a list of BCs and a copy of the FC table, of course.

It should be OK for the Player to slap on Special Range Bonuses, Special Volume Bonuses, etc.. This is true even it’s a bit exploitative, such as adding Range to Radio Communications (whose APs are all about Range). Communication and travel Powers often use more APs than combat-oriented Powers of the same tier, so it should work out okay.

Design notes

Like the Enhance Power, Omni-Ability uses *two* numbers, since it comes with a cap to the APs it can deploy. This allows these optional Powers to be flexible without being riddled with Bonuses and Limitations, and without producing absurd and/or overpowered results.

Omni-Ability resembles the “Variable” Effect in Mutants & Masterminds or the Variable Power Pool in Champions.

In fact, Omni-Ability is primarily useful when emulating other tabletop RPGs and CRPGs , rather than modelling something seen in a comic book, novel, movie, etc.. Some versions of the Mimic (Calvin Rankins) would be the main exception to that.

It was spurred into creation by modelling abilities in Diablo III, where the Player chooses from a large menu of class abilities and modifiers – but can only slot a few on their action bar.

Diablo 3 - Female witch doctor cinematic art

Guardian of Death’ magic is modelled as an Omni-Ability.

Omni-Power and Sorcery mimicking Bonuses and Limitations

Commenter: Sean MacDonald

Bonuses can be applied to Powers created by Omni-Power or Sorcery at a cost of 3 active APs per 1 FC of the Bonus. For example, a character with Omni-Power: 10 duplicating an Energy Blast with an FC 1 Bonus would have to spend 3 of his APs on the Bonus, leaving 7 APs remaining for Energy Blast.

Bonuses are suggested to be this expensive because they can add considerable effectiveness to an ability. Allowing the spending a single AP to get Area of Effect or only 2 APs to get Usable on Others and Area of Effect can quickly get abusive.

This is also why allowing Limitations to be taken using the same guidelines is not suggested. It would be too easy to take Limitations that would have no effect in the current circumstances as an easy means to generate additional APs.

Photographic Reflexes

Author: Sébastien Andrivet
Helper(s): Roy Cowan, Michael A. Ficklin, Adam Fuqua, Eric Langendorff, Tyler.
Mental Power
Link: INT
Range: Special
Type: Auto
Base Cost: 100
Factor Cost: 10

This Power allows a Character to duplicate DEX or any existing Physical Skill from any other Character.

To use Photographic Reflexes, the Character must have access to extensive visual data about the Character whose DEX or Skill they want to duplicate – movies, film footage, direct observation, Remote Sensing (visual) and such are all valid sources.

It takes about half a week (17 APs) to study one person and duplicate their DEX and/or the Skills they’re seen using. This time can be reduced under certain circumstances as allowed by the GM. For example, Superspeed could subtract its APs from the time necessary if the Character can play recordings at a corresponding speed.


The Character can duplicate any number of Skills and Subskills. However, the total APs of duplicated DEX and Skills held at one time cannot exceed the APs of Photographic Reflexes.

Only the absolute value of Skills is used, with no consideration as to whether the original Character bought them linked or not.

Physical Skills that can be duplicated using Photographic Reflexes include :

  • Accuracy (Physical).
  • Acrobatics.
  • Evasion.
  • Martial Artist.
  • Thief.
  • Vehicles.
  • Weaponry.

However, Photographic Reflexes can only duplicate their physical aspects. For instance :

  • Observing a pilot allows for learning how to perform flight manoeuvres, but not how to read the instruments panel readings or how to compensate for damage to a plane’s control surfaces.
  • Watching a safecracker open a lock would allow the mimic to unlock similar mechanisms. But not to defeat locks with different designs, or analyse a lock’s design in the first place.

Some elements of non-Physical Skills can also be mimicked, subject to the GM’s judgment. For instance :

  • Animal Handling (Riding) might be duplicated to the extent of using observed techniques on mounts taught to respond to those orders. Such as watching an equestrian and then riding a trained horse.
  • The physical bases of Artist Subskills could also be mimicked. The Character could replicate a piano player’s performance but would not be able to read musical notation – or play variations over the observed music.

Specific applications of Medicine (First Aid) and Military Science (Demolitions) can be duplicated after observation but only within the limits of that singular example. Frex :

  • The Character might be able to perform a particular first aid procedure such as CPR. But they would not know how to deal with a complication not seen in the original studied event.
  • Watching a demolitionist arm or defuse a certain type of bomb would only allow the Character to do so with other bombs of the same type.

If the GM accepts, some Powers that are actually Skills (i.e., they have the Skilled Power Bonus) can be duplicated. Likewise some Skills that are actually Powers (with the Powered Skill Limitation) can be excluded from Photographic reflexes.


When using duplicated combat techniques against the original Character, the Character with Adaptation (Photographic reflexes) is at an advantage, since they know the exact moves the Character will perform.

They thus benefit from both a -1CS to that opponent’s Physical OV when attacking them and a +1CS to their own Physical OV against attacks by that opponent.


Like any physical skill, the Skills acquired through Photographic Reflexes must be maintained and trained or they will atrophy – each Adapted Skill and Adapted DEX loses one AP per week after the initial study. The loss of each AP can be prevented with a 10 Hero Points fee.

This represent basic and advanced physical conditioning needed to physically “carry” the skill. As well as further study of the subject and other users of that Skill to gain a deeper understanding besides the immediately useful.

HPs used for the maintenance fee are not lost, however. They can be used to buy the Skill or raise DEX as per normal Character Advancement.

Unlike Adapted Skills and DEX, the knowledge of the individual’s fighting skills for the OV bonuses does not fade, nor does the ability to imitate specific movements from a studied Character.

However, at the GM’s call an opponent’s fighting style may have changed enough since he was last studied that the Character with Photographic Reflexes cannot use the OV bonuses until the opponent has been studied again.

By using Character advancement the Character can have Skills higher than anybody he ever Adapted a Skill from. For instance purchasing Artist (Juggling): 06 although he never Adapted any Artist (Juggling) Skill higher than 5 APs.

The Recall Power and the Data Storage Power do not allow for longer retention of the APs of Adapted Skills – Photographic Reflexes is committed to muscle memory instead.

Maintenance example

The Street Mime has Photographic Reflexes: 10.

One day he breaks into an abandoned gymnasium and discovers that it is the place where Kung Fu Lad himself is training. The Street Mime avidly watches the Lad’s katas and by returning there several times actually manages to get the hang of Kung Fu Lad’s techniques. He thus adapts Kung Fu Lad’s Martial Artist: 10.

Since everybody’s kung fu fightin’ (video), the Street Mime wants to keep Kung Fu Lad’s skill as long as possible. He’ll work out to keep the necessary muscles, suppleness and so on.

Each week for 20 weeks he spends 10 HPs to keep his Martial Arts at 10 APs. He has chosen to spend a total of 200 HPs on the Martial Artist skill – that’s hard work and real training.

Before seeing Kung Fu Lad the Street Mime had no Martial Artist skill. So those 200 HPs slowly pay for the 125 HPs entry fee to buy Martial Artist using the standard Character Advancement rules. The first AP costs 60 HPs, so after 185 HPs spent he has Martial Artist: 01, and 15 extra HPs remaining to buy the next AP.

At this point, he has *both* Martial Artist: 10 Adapted from Kung Fu Lad, with a maintenance fee, and Martial Artist: 01 that he has bought with his own HPs as a normal skill. The backstory in how he learned it is linked to his power, but that’s just backstory. The first Martial Artist score is actually a Power, while the second is a native Skill.

Special Bonus

This Power can be purchased with the following special Bonus : Can Adapt Non-Physical Skills (BC +100), although this requires some mean of observing the thought processes of the Character whose Skills are to be duplicated – such as the Telepathy power.

If the Character can *only* Adapt non-physical skills, BC and FC are the same as for standard Photographic Reflexes.

Designer’s notes

Those Characters could conceivably be modeled by simply giving them high DEX and numerous Physical Skills. The point of Photographic Reflexes is to add the following points :

  • Characters with Photographic Reflexes have to locate and study people who are actually good enough in the given skill. This is unimportant for NPCs but if PCs are to have this one this is part of the fun. They also have to find ever-tougher Characters and specialists.
  • Photographic Reflexes provides an advantage against people the Character has specifically studied. It’s one of the big aspects of the ability as depicted in comics.
  • Characters with Photographic Reflexes can get pick-up skills and then never use them again, particularly non-standard background skills sometimes found in writeups such as Artist (Cooking).
  • Some skills are not Skills — a Character with Photographic Reflexes watches a great basketball game, learns the killer shot that won the match – now they have a power that simply allows them to redo that specific gesture over and over again, as often as they like.
    If they later want to talk with some street kids on a playground about the murder last night, the ability to do that is a guaranteed ice-breaker. A psionic with this ability can copy a surgical procedure from a top surgeon to save someone’s life, and then delete the skills from their mind.
  • There is also the matter of Skilled Powers. A Character with Photographic Reflexes would be able to duplicate abilities such as the missile Reflection/Deflection trick some superheroic martial artists use.

Echo (Maya Lopez) kicks Daredevil

Echo (Maya Lopez) has the Photographic Reflexes Power.

Plant Animation

Author: Sébastien Andrivet
Helper(s): Nicolas Lemaçon
Link: AUR
Range: Normal
Type: Auto
Base Cost: 10
Factor Cost: 07

This Power allows a Character to animate plants such as brushes and trees into creatures following their instructions. They will remain animated and obedient for a length of time (in APs) equal to the Character’s APs of Plant Animation. At the end of this time, the plants revert to their previous existence where they stand.

A character using Plant Animation divides the APs of Power into 2 numbers as desired. The first number serves as the plant creature’s Dex, Str and Body while the second number serves as the creature’s Infl, Aura and Spirit against Mystical Attacks.

Plant creatures do not possess Mental Attributes and, as such, are immune to all Mental Attacks. On the other hand they have a -2CS RV toward fire-based attacks, and are vulnerable toward defoliants.

No plant creature can possess an Attribute with an AP value above its APs of weight, plus 3. Thus, a typical 10′ tree, weighing 4 APs, cannot have Attributes above 7. Of course, a Character who also has the Plant Growth Power has ways around that.

A frequent Limitation for all Animation Powers is the Half-Dex Limitation, where the Dex value of the plant creature (before any reduction for weight) is halved (rounding down) once the creature starts moving. This Limitation is a -1 FC one.

Groot makes a forest come to him

Groot using the Plant Animation Power.

Power Reserve (Zoomorph)

Author: Sébastien Andrivet
Link: WIL
Range: Self
Type: Auto
Base Cost: 10
Factor Cost: 10

This is a packaged set of Limitations for the basic Power Reserve Power. Said Limitations are :

  • APs of Power Reserve (Zoomorph) can only be used to augment scores that have been adopted from an animal using the Zoomorph Power. This includes Growth and Shrinking.
  • No such score can be augmented by more than 2 APs
  • The Power Reserve APs are assigned when a new form is taken using the Zoomorph Power. A new assignation cannot be done without changing form.

Snowbird flying as an Arctic owl

Snowbird has the Power Reserve (Zoomorph) Power.

Sealed Systems (Free Diving Only)

Author: Sébastien Andrivet
Helper(s): Ethan Roe, Eric Langendorff, Roy Cowan, Adam Fuqua, Pawsplay
Link: BODY
Range: Self
Type: Auto
Base Cost: 05
Factor Cost: 01

This is a packaged Limitation for the Sealed System Powers. With this Limitation, the *only* functions of Sealed Systems APs become :

  • They are added (using a linear addition, e.g. 4+5=9, not 6) to the OV/RV against suffocation.
  • They are added to the time during which the Character can hold their breath. This is also a linear addition, so 1 AP of Sealed Systems (Free Diving Only) doubles the time one can hold their breath.
    Unlike with the fuller Sealed Systems Power, there is no +4 Special Duration Bonus.

The Free Diving Only packaged Limitation for Sealed Systems does not specify OV/RVs used against suffocation or how much one can hold their breath. This is to be compatible with house rules, since DCH’s rules about drowning are odd.

Wonder Woman flying over a white background, by Nicola Scott

Wonder Woman has Sealed Systems (Free Diving Only)


Author: Nick Yankovec, Sébastien Andrivet, and Eric Langendorff.
Helper(s): William Chamberlin, Roy Cowan, Pawsplay, Peter Piispanen, Quintanads.
Link: BODY
Range: Self
Type: Auto
Base Cost: 25
Factor Cost: 07

Powers augmented by Sharpness have an extraordinary ability to penetrate defenses even if they do not otherwise inflict extreme amounts of damage.

The comic-book exemplar of Sharpness is the X-Men’s Wolverine, whose adamantium  claws only do damage equivalent to very sharp short swords against human opponents but can still slash through foot-thick steel walls with ease.

When an attack is made using Sharpness, the APs of Sharpness are subtracted from the RV of the target versus that attack. An attack using Sharpness: 04 versus an RV of 14 would reduce the RV to 10.

The target’s RV cannot be reduced below the base EV of the attack it is augmenting. If Sharpness is used with Claws: 08, the final RV cannot be reduced below 08 APs.

When attacking an inanimate object (and thus using BODY/BODY as the OV/RV), the Sharpness effect is applied to both the OV and the RV.

The Sharpness modifier is applied before Hero Point expenditure or Column Shifts of the EV or RV are added. Sharpness only reduces RV for the purposes of calculating the RAPs achieved by that attack. It does not reduce the amount of HPs that could be spent on raising RV versus the attack or to reduce RAPs with Last Ditch Defense.

The attack that Sharpness augments is designated when it is purchased. For each attack after the first that Sharpness enhances, the Base Cost is increased by 5 points. Sharpness is usually partnered with offensive Physical Powers but can also be connected to Martial Artist EV.

Sharpness can be purchased with Psychic Link or Mystic Link to enhance Mental or Mystical Powers respectively. If a Character has Sharpness for abilities in multiple categories, Sharpness must be purchased separately for each type.

For example, Razorr wants to enhance Claws, Projectile Weapons and Mystic Blast (No Range) with Sharpness. She purchases standard Sharpness for the first two Powers and then buys Sharpness with Mystic Link for Mystic Blast.

This Power may be purchased with a special Factor Cost Limitation: Ineffective versus Energy Barriers (-1FC), which includes force fields and similar “hard-energy” constructs.

In addition to Wolverine, other characters with Sharpness include Silver Samurai and Harpoon of the Marauders (augmenting their Martial Artist EV when applied to weapons), Mantis of the Avengers and Magnus Robot-Fighter (augmenting their Martial Artist EV), and the Aliens from the eponymous movies (enhancing their acidic blood).

Designer’s notes:
Sharpness being unable to reduce the opposing RV below the EV of the attached attack makes it less useful for high EV abilities.

This is deliberate, as it is intended to represent lower-EV attacks that still routinely inflict damage against high-RV targets. It also limits the potential abuses of the Power. For this reason, it is not recommended that the Power be purchased with a Bonus to ignore that innate limit.

Mantis knocks Thor out

Mantis has the Sharpness (Martial Artist (EV)) Power.


Author: Sébastien Andrivet
Helper(s): Eric Langendorff, Black Adam, William Chamberlin
Link: STR
Range: Touch – Explosive Radius
Type: Dice
Base Cost: 20
Factor Cost: 05

A Character with the Power of Shockwave can knock down and unbalance nearby persons with but a Dice Action. A Shockwave doesn’t inflict damage per se – it staggers, dazes and knocks prone.

A Shockwave attacks the following values :

  • The Character makes an Action Check using the APs of Power as the AV/EV against the target(s) DEX/DEX as the OV/RV.
  • APs of Density Increase can be used to increase one’s RV against Shockwave. APs of Joined can be used to increase both OV and RV against Shockwave. APs of Growth do not usually provide a defense.
  • The Bracing Manoeuvre (BOH:SE) p150 can be used to reduce the RAPs from a Shockwave attack.
  • Targets who are currently in the air – more than a metre or so above the ground – receive a +1CS OV/RV Bonus against a Shockwave.

RAPs from a Shockwave have the following effects :

  • The target’s AVs and movement rate are all reduced by the RAPs inflicted by the Shockwave Dice Action. This concerns all AVs (Physical, Perception, Mental, Character Interaction, etc.) and movement rates (Running, Swimming, Flight, DEX-derived running speed, etc.)
  • On the Phase that follows the Shockwave Dice Action, targets can attempt to shake the RAPs inflicted by the Shockwave attack. This is a Dice Action using DEX/STR against the RAPs gained by Shockwave ; each RAP erases one RAP inflicted by the Shockwave Dice Action.
  • The RAPs inflicted by Shockwave automatically fade, at the rate of 2 RAPs per Phase. This is on top of any RAPs gained by a Dice Actions to shrug the effects off. This fading effect takes place at the very end of the Phase, once all Actions have been resolved.

It is not uncommon for this Power to be a Skilled Power that is Contingent on STR – and it sometimes appear as a Trick Power based on STR. This is the most common form of Shockwave – hitting the ground to knock nearby persons prone. Note that very unusual grounds (for instance a super-metal with a BODY well above the Character’s STR) may make Shockwave impossible.

Some Characters who deliver particularly violent Shockwave attacks may also have a Bomb Power that is Combined with their Shockwave Power.

Designer’s notes:
Some GMS may opt to make Shockwave attacks a Combat Manoeuvre based on STR, but we find the Power-based approach cleaner.

Most super-strong characters never pull that trick (or just once or twice, which is within the remit of a Trick Power), the APs are not necessarily correlated with the STR and should be set independently, producing effects comparable to some Powers without having bought a Power isn’t clean, etc.

Though chronologically Shockwave was designed before Stagger, it is now best considered as a version of Stagger with various changes already built on to keep the notation short.

Poundcakes yelling about her rep

Poundcakes‘ seismatic boots have the Shockwave Power.

Shotgun Blast

Author: Sébastien Andrivet
Helper(s): Eric Langendorff
Link: STR
Range: None — see below
Type: Dice
Base Cost: 10
Factor Cost: 01 (plus Range, see below)

This Power allows a Character to fire blasts of small projectiles at an opponent or target. The AV/EV of an attack using Shotgun Blast is DEX/APs of Power while OV/RVs is the target’s DEX/BODY. If the Shotgun Blast Power is part of the Powers of a Gadget, the AV becomes the relevant Weaponry Subskill instead – as normal for a DEX-based Power.

A Shotgun Blast automatically has both the Scattershot Advantage and the Diminishing Limitation.

The Shotgun Blast’s Range should be bought separately (BC 0, FC 1) and is listed immediately after the Power — for instance Shogun Blast (Range 03): 05.

In details-oriented stories such as techno-thrillers, equipment with Shotgun Blast will usually also have Projectile Weapons, to represent firing solids (“slugs”) rather than pellets (“buckshot”). This Projectile Weapons Power usually has the Ammo Switch Drawback — noted as Projectile Weapons (Ammo Switch): XX. This subtlety is not present in most stories, where shotguns always fire buckshot.

Designer’s notes:
Shotgun Blast is simply a shorthand to avoid writing over and again “Projectile Weapons has no Range and uses the listed Range instead” and “Advantage: Scattershot”. This makes the game stats for shotguns much briefer.

Demon killed with a shotgun in the Doom video game

“Doom Guy” is an iconic shotgunner, as this demon can attest.

Shrink (Additional Rules)

Note by Dr. Peter Piispanen and Vincent Bartilucci.

Here are proposed rules for two common applications of the Shrink Power in comics. This doesn’t change the FC, BC or other attributes of the Shrink Power.

Shrinking out of a Grappling or Wrestling attempt

The Character with the Shrink Power can substitute their APs of Shrink for either the AV or the EV to get out of a grapple. They will also get the Blindside Bonus if the person Grappling or Wrestling is not aware that they can shrink.

Bluff Character Interaction Manoeuvre

The Shrink Power is often used to trick observers into assuming that the Character teleported away or became invisible. By default the Shrink Power acts quickly enough to allow this. Howbeit, the Character with the Shrink Power must be able to hide to make it look like they vanished. How many APs of Shrink this requires depends on the cover available nearby.

This provides a -1CS OV/RV Bonus to the Bluff Interaction Manoeuvre, but this bonus only works if the targets are not aware that the Character can shrink.

The Atom (Ray Palmer) shrinking

The Atom (Ray Palmer) is one of the emblematic Shrinking heroes.

Skin Armor (Usage clarification)

Author: Sébastien Andrivet

Important note about usage on WORG

On writeups.org, Skin Armour is assumed to protect against “Kinetic” class damage, but not against “Energy” or “Neither” damage. These categories are listed on BoH:SE, p.224.

This stems from a misunderstanding of the word “Physical” in DCH. This is discussed in the “Physical vs. Kinetic” article the New Rules File Miscellanea.

As it happens, the misunderstanding works great. Because we often need to denote characters more resistant to Kinetic damage than to other types.

If a different approach is sought, you will see Bonuses and Limitations as “Skin Armor also protects against energy attacks” or other such clarifications for a specific character.

Protection vs. Knockback

Furthermore, Skin Armor is assumed not to protect against Planned Knockback Attacks – which attempt to displace the character, but do not in themselves inflict the Physical RAPs that Skin Armor defends against.

This also corresponds to how things usually work in comic books, where strong characters can sometime knock back foes they cannot hurt.

The Molten Man (Mark Raxton) throws Spider-Man against some furniture

The Molten Man (Mark Raxton) has the Skin Armour Power.

Slow (EQ)

Author: Sébastien Andrivet
Mystical Power
Link: INF
Range: Normal
Type: Dice
Base Cost: 20
Factor Cost: 03

The Slow (EQ) Power allows a Character to slow and hinder the actions conducted by the target. This is generally used to blunt the effectiveness of their assaults. However it also affects other Dice Actions such as Character Interaction, Perception Rolls, etc.

The movement speed of the target (and their gross mobility in general) is unaffected. The effect only hampers fine coordination. Likewise the *strength* of the target’s attacks isn’t diminished. But they are easier to see coming.

The APs of Slow (EQ) Power are the AV/EV tested against the target’s INF/SPI. RAPs are interpreted using the following table :

RAPs Effects
01 LDD against the target’s Dice Actions receives a 1 Genre Column Shift Bonus
02 Both LDD and OV boosting against the target’s Dice Actions receive a 1 Genre Column Shift Bonus
03 As for 2 RAPs. Furthermore OVs for the target’s Dice Actions are all raised by 1 AP
04 OVs for the target’s Dice Actions are all raised by 1 AP. LDD, OV boosting and RV boosting against the target’s Dice Actions all receive a 1 Genre Column Shift Bonus
05 OVs for the target’s Dice Actions are all raised by 1 AP. OV boosting and RV boosting against the target’s Dice Actions all receive a 1 Genre Column Shift Bonus. LDD against the target’s Dice Actions receives a 2 Genre Column Shift Bonus
06 OVs for the target’s Dice Actions are all raised by 1 AP. RV boosting against the target’s Dice Actions all receive a 1 Genre Column Shift Bonus. Both LDD and OV boosting against the target’s Dice Actions receive a 2 Genre Column Shift Bonus
07 OVs for the target’s Dice Actions are all raised by 2 APs. RV boosting against the target’s Dice Actions all receive a 1 Genre Column Shift Bonus. Both LDD and OV boosting against the target’s Dice Actions receive a 2 Genre Column Shift Bonus
08 OVs for the target’s Dice Actions are all raised by 2 APs. LDD, OV boosting and RV boosting against the target’s Dice Actions all receive a 2 Genre Column Shift Bonus
09 As for 8 RAPs. Furthermore, the target receives a 1 Genre Column Shift Penalty to all AV boosting.
10+ As for 9 RAPs. Furthermore, the target receives a 1 Genre Column Shift Penalty to all EV boosting.

“Genre Column Shift Bonus” are applied on the Genre Table on p. 227 of Blood of Heroes: Special Edition. Bonuses mean a leftward shift, penalties a rightward shift.

“Boosting” is used as a shorthand for the usual spending of Hero Points in a Dice Action, as explained in Idea Seven: Hero Points (BoH:SE pp126-127).

Designer’s notes:
This emulate the effect of the various slow spell lines in the original Everquest video game. It is named Slow (EQ) with the parenthetical in case we later need a Slow Power that works differently.

This approach seeks to replicate the tactical applications and general feel of these spells. *Technically* it could be a Time Slow Power. But that doesn’t carry over as well and completely fails for lower-level versions of the spells (such as Drowsy, that slows attackers by but 10-ish percent).

There are ample precedents of RAPs-based result tables (though not usually that detailed), and the DCH online community has used Genre Column Shift mechanics before. The combination of the two is unusual, but it does give a precise control of the output of the Power to avoid weirdness. If you are looking for a more traditional approach, consider the Numb Power.

The Slow (EQ) Power assumes the use of one-AP-wide columns via variant Action Tables and Result Tables. Otherwise, raising the OV by one AP would have almost zero effect in more than half the cases, eh ?

Gitane (Everquest half-elf ranger) portrait rotation 2/4

The ranger Gitane wielded the legendary sword Earthcaller, with the Slow (EQ) Power.

Spirit Steed v1.1

Author: Mike Winkler
Helper(s): Gareth Lewis
Mystical Power
Link: SPI
Range: Special
Type: Auto
Base Cost: 55
Factor Cost: 05

This Power allows a Character to invoke a personal transport of an animal, mechanical or mystical nature. When the power is purchased the Character must determine the specific form that the steed will take, such as a certain breed of horse, a particular type of motorcycle, a skateboard, or a preposterously large sea horse.

Whether the steed is land- or water-based should also be determined at this time. The steed’s Characteristics will be fixed thereafter — once a white horse, always a white horse.

When the power is activated the Character must spend one Phase summoning their spirit steed. It will then appear within 2APs of the Character at the location of their choice. The steed will respond to the verbal commands of the Character and perform as they command within the limits of its abilities. Any attacks performed are Ramming Maneuvers using the APs of Spirit Steed as AV/EV.

Example: The Mystic Rider has Spirit Steed at 8 APs. He calls forth his motorcycle, determined at during Character creation to be a 1952 Silver Black Phantom . When Mystic Rider calls it forth he can order it to run down his enemies (AV/EV of 08) or to give a ride to a friend. He could not command the bike to pick up a baby from a burning building as it has no hands.

The spirit steed’s movement speed is equal to the Power’s APs. The steed may also travel as far as ½ of its APs in ways that involve minor aberrations of physics, subject to GM approval; a spirit steed might run up walls or make seemingly-impossible leaps, but not pass harmlessly through walls or teleport past obstacles. At no point can the steed travel more than its APs of power away from the Character.

The BODY and STR of the spirit steed are equal to the invoking Character’s Current Spirit Condition. If the Character takes Mystic Damage the steed’s Attributes are reduced appropriately. Likewise, if the spirit Steed is damaged the Character’s Current Spirit is similarly reduced.

At no time will a Spirit Steed have Mental Attributes. Such a steed would be better represented as a Pet.

Spirit Steed can be purchased with the following standard Bonuses: Amphibious (+2 FC), Flyer (+2 FC), Malleable (+10 BC), and Distinct Entity (+2 FC)

  • Amphibious: The steed can travel on land or water with equal facility.
  • Flyer: The spirit steed is a flying form such as a giant eagle, winged horse, or a flying carpet.
  • Malleable: The Spirit Steed can be cosmetically altered with each invocation. A sporting gear Spirit Steed could be of any general type (rollerblades, skateboard, kite board, skis, snowboard, etc.) while a motorcycle steed could be of any make or manufacture or even a unique design. While the appearance may vary from one invocation to the next, the game effects of the steed remain the same.
  • Distinct Entity: The steed’s STR and BODY are equal to the invoking Character’s Spirit, not his Current Spirit Condition, and damage to one does not sympathetically harm the other.

The user can also purchase other Powers to be used with the steed, if appropriate. Power Usable by the Spirit Steed Only is a -1 FC Limitation. Examples of applicable Powers include Energy Blast, enhanced or extended Senses, and Dimension Travel.

The Ghost Rider (Nicolas Cage) racing his precessor

One of these Ghost Riders has the Spirit Steed Power.

Split v3.7

Author: Gareth Lewis
Helper(s): Sébastien Andrivet, John Colagioia, Roy Cowan, Kal El el Vigilante, Eric Langendorff, Andrew Lee, Dr. Peter S Piispanen, Chris Cottingham, RD Miles
Physical Power
Link: DEX
Range: Self
Type: Auto
Base Cost: 50
Factor Cost: 10

This Power allows the character to split themselves into two or more complete beings. A character can split into a total number of additional separate beings equal to the APs of the Power.

Each split being possesses the same Attributes, Powers (excluding Split itself, which only the original retains), and Skills as the original character at that character’s AP levels, minus one (1) AP for each active AP of Split.

Example: A character with all Attributes at 6 APs, Split of 2 APs, and an Energy Blast of 8 APs, could split into three separate beings, each of whom would possess all Attributes at 4 APs and 6 APs of Energy Blast.

Duplicates created through the Split Power do not themselves possess the Split Power. Rejoining of duplicates is instantaneous at the original character’s will, so long as the character and duplicates are in physical contact, at which point the character sustains the greatest amount of damage taken by any one of the duplicates.

Dead duplicates cannot rejoin with the original character. Additionally, for every duplicate which dies, the original character automatically and permanently loses one AP from each of his Attributes, Powers and Skills.

The character is aware of all duplicates, but has no direct knowledge of their experiences until reabsorbing them, at which point he gains their memories. For the character and his duplicates to be aware of what each is currently experiencing, Split must be purchased with the Common Consciousness Bonus (+2 FC).

Conversely, Split can also have the No Awareness Limitation (-1 FC) where the character has no awareness of the duplicates’ locations, and the original body doesn’t gain their memories on reabsorbing them. If they have the No Original Body Bonus (see below) then either one body may be dominant, with their memories being retained for the character, or no memories at all are retained of the time they were split (in which case the Limitation gets an extra -2 FC).

It’s possible for duplicates to manifest slightly different personalities from the original, or dominant, body, but this is more a role-playing matter than another Bonus or Limitation. If used in conjunction with the No Awareness Limitation then the duplicates may be able to retain their memories between splits.

It’s possible the distinct duplicates could try keeping their memories separate even without this Limitation, as a Mental Check using their INT/WILL against the APs of Split, success indicating the original/dominant body may not be aware of the withholding. (The character may or may not have the No Control over Duplicates Limitation (see below)).

Additional Bonuses and Limitations for Split

Alternative AP Loss Bonus

AP loss per Split follows AP Loss Table below (+1 FC).

Split APs AP Loss
1 -1
2-3 -2
4-7 -3
8-14 -4
15-29 -5

Duplicates Vanish at 0AP (-1)

Whenever any of the duplicates’ Current Conditions reaches 0 they vanish, automatically reabsorbed by the character.

Exponential Split (+4FC)

The total number of beings the character can split into is decided by using the APs of the Power as an exponent of two (1 AP splits into 2, 2 AP splits into 4, 3 AP splits into 8, etc.). AP loss per split is minus one (1) for each active AP of Split. If a duplicate dies, the character receives a Burnout of 1AP of the Split Power.

The Alternative AP loss Bonus, and the No reduction of attributes on Split death Bonus, are both incompatible with this Bonus.

No AP Loss (doubles the Base Cost (to 100) and increases the Factor Cost (+3 FC))

No AP Loss to Original Body (+1 FC)

AP Loss only applies to the duplicates.

No Control over Duplicates (-2 FC)

The GM has complete control over duplicates. This limitation should be consulted with the GM before being purchased.

No Original Body (+1 FC)

When the character splits, they are splitting themselves rather than creating a duplicate of their original body, so each body they possess is considered equal. If any body is killed, the character survives as long as one split remains alive.

No Reduction of Attributes upon Split Death (doubles the Base Cost (to 100, 200 if the No AP Loss Bonus is taken) and increases the Factor Cost (+3 FC))

Puppeteer (-1 FC)

The duplicates are only extensions of the character’s will, and the character has to concentrate to have them do anything, leaving him unable to take any Actions. The duplicates are unable to perform any kind of social interaction, have 0AP Mental and Mystical Stats, and no HPs of their own, although the character has Leadership for the purposes of directing them.

The No Control over Duplicates Limitation, and No Original Body Bonus may not be taken with this Limitation.

Range Reabsorbing (+1 FC)

The character can reabsorb duplicates at a distance rather than needing to be in physical contact, to a maximum distance of their APs of Split.

Split Power is Possessed by all Duplicates (+2 FC)

This enables the duplicates to themselves create duplicates. The total number of duplicates in existence at any one time is still limited by the APs of the Power.

Time limit on Split (-3 FC)

APs of Split = APs of time the Splits may be active, but with a -1 AP for every AP of Split currently in use.

An army of Multiple Man in a street fight

Madrox is the most famous character with the Split Power.


Author: Sébastien Andrivet
Helper(s): Eric Langendorff, Black Adam, William Chamberlin, Chris Cottingham, Peter Piispanen.
Link: STR
Range: Ranged
Type: Dice
Base Cost: 20
Factor Cost: 03

A Character with this Power can attempt to briefly incapacitate — or at least hinder — a target, without inflicting damage per se. Stagger attacks can have a number of forms.

Depending on the exact description in-universe, the Stagger Power will daze, stun, knock prone, confuse, buffet, set on fire (forcing the target to extinguish the blaze), choke, nauseate, etc.

The in-universe workings of a Character’s Stagger Power should be defined during character creation, and the Player and GM should agree that the mechanics of Stagger are a good approximation of the effect the Character is envisioned to produce.

Mechanically, what Stagger does is make it difficult for the target to a/ move quickly and b/ make Dice Actions such as attacks, Perception rolls, Character Interaction, etc. It may also move the target back a bit and/or force them to sacrifice Actions to shake of the effects.

Stagger attacks the following values :

  • The Character makes an Action Check using the APs of Power as the AV/EV against the target(s) DEX/DEX as the OV/RV.
  • The Bracing Manoeuvre (BOH:SE) p150 can be used to reduce the RAPs from a Stagger attack.
  • When taking the Stagger Power for a Character, the Player must specify two Defensive Powers that are allowed to increase the RV of the target. Common examples include Density Increase, Growth, Joined, Flame Immunity, Lightning Immunity, Skin Armour, Cold Immunity, Shade, Force Field, etc. Further allowable defenses can be selected, each effective defense beyond the first two lowering the BC by four.

RAPs from a Stagger have the following effects :

  • The target’s AVs and movement rate are all reduced by the RAPs inflicted by the Stagger Dice Action. This concerns all AVs (Physical, Perception, Mental, Character Interaction, etc.) and movement rates (Running, Swimming, Flight, DEX-derived running speed, etc.)
  • If the Stagger Dice Action gains more RAPs then the Weight of the target in APs, then the target is Knocked Back by zero APs.
  • On the Phase that follows the Stagger Dice Action, targets can attempt to shake off RAPs inflicted by the Stagger attack. This is a Dice Action using DEX/STR against the RAPs gained by Stagger ; each RAP erases one RAP inflicted by the Stagger Dice Action.
  • The RAPs inflicted by Stagger automatically fade, at the rate of 2 RAPs per Phase. This is on top of any RAPs gained by a Dice Actions to shrug the effects off. This fading effect takes place at the very end of the Phase, once all Actions have been resolved.

Stagger is classified as a Physical effect, but a Mystic-Linked variant (attacking INF/INF and shaken off with INF/AUR) or a Mental-Linked variant(attacking INT/INT and shaken off by INT/WIL) are possible.

Designer’s notes:
Attacks that destabilise opponents without quite damaging them are not as well-represented in the rulesbook as straight damage ones. Historically we’ve used Flash as a general-purpose dazing/destabilising tool or considered that damage effects were close enough, but in many cases this is not quite satisfying.

Other Powers in the same vein in this document include Shockwave (a specialised version of Stagger) and Vertigo. These and Stagger have designs that stick close to Flash but add important details.

Stagger-type effects are usually encountered in video games, and the final impetus leading to creating the Power was some special ammunition types in the Mass Effect saga. In most other media, the Stagger-type effects are associated with actual damage, and are usually covered by the default Stun mechanism in DC Heroes.

Readers are welcome to consider Stagger in lieu of Flash in older writeups where Flash is shoehorned as a general dazing mechanic and Stagger might be a better choice. A telltale sign is the “Flash is not resisted by Shade, but by…” note, though it doesn’t automatically means that Stagger mechanisms would be better than Flash mechanisms.

The approach with a selection of effective defenses is loosely based on the precedent of having a Player-chosen “taboo substance” for X-Ray vision. The goal of this approach is to avoid having a large array of Powers with Stagger-like effects – like the array with Energy Blast, Mental Blast, Projectile Weapons, Laser Beam, etc. which are essentially the same thing with different descriptors.

Stagger-type attacks or much less prevalent than straight damage effects, and having an array of them would be noise.

This Power assumes Power APs/Power APs as the AV/EV as per DC Heroes default, though the common case on writeups.org is that Powers aren’t their own AV.

Zaeed Massani points his Predator pistol

Zaeed Massani‘s weapons can employ the Stagger Power.


The No Fine Manipulation Limitation (worth -1FC) is routinely used for the Stretching Power of weapons such as whips and lariats.

It means that actions that requires manual dexterity, such as typing on a keyboard, turning a key in a lock or opening a beer, cannot be performed via Stretching.

The Whip (Rod Gaynor) aka the Golden Age Castigo

The Whip‘s whip has the Stretching Power with this Limitation.

Subjective Reality (aka Imagination Gone Kablooie)

Author: Dr. Sean MacDonald
Mental Power
Link: MIN
Range: Special
Type: Auto
Base Cost: 100
Factor Cost: 01

The way that reality works for the Character with this Power is drastically different than the way reality works for others. For example, a Character with this power might have a stuffed toy that in his reality is alive, but to others in “real” reality, it is not.

Similarly, a Character with this power might be unable to experience magic since there is no magic in his reality, while others in “real” reality know perfectly well that magic exists.

When conflicting worldviews clash, reality accommodates both worldviews as much as possible, though this may limit what can possibly happen. For example, the “living” stuffed animal might not save his owner from being beaten up by a bully, since this would clash with the bully’s worldview that said stuffed animal is only a toy.

A Character with this power can only notice something that conflicts with his worldview if it has a Power or Attribute higher than the APs of this power. Thus, a skeptic can only notice that a powerful mystic entity is really a ghost if it has at least one Attribute or Power whose APs are higher than the skeptic’s APs of Subjective Reality

When a Character with this power is created, the details of his reality must be explicitly defined. Certain aspects of the Character’s reality might be disadvantageous. For example, in a child’s imaginary world, scientific laws are arbitrary, so gravity might temporarily reverse, or he might grow until he is larger than the galaxy.

However, it is reasonable that more aspects of the Character’s worldview be advantageous, such as that child’s Gadgetry ability or his stuffed animal companion.

Calvin and Hobbes in a tree during Autumn

Calvin has the Imagination Gone Kablooie Power.

Systemic Antidote

Author: Sébastien Andrivet
Helper(s): Dr. Peter Piispanen, Roy Cowan.
Physical Power
Link: BODY
Range: Self
Type: Auto
Base Cost: 5
Factor Cost: 4

Systemic Antidote add its APs to the RV of a Character against toxins and pathogens.

Like with other RV boosters in the rulesbook this is done using linear maths, so a Character with a BODY of 06 and 04 APs of Systemic Antidote would have a RV of 10 against relevant attacks.

Systemic Antidote will provide protection against :

  • Poisons such as neurotoxins, hemotoxins or necrotoxins (venom, poison gas, cyanide, etc.).
  • Bioactive compounds such as drugs (say, truth serums or narcotics), intoxicants (say, alcohol), irritants (say, tear gas) or anaesthetics (say, chloroform).
  • Pathogens such as bacteria and viruses.
  • Anything that a layman would confuse with any of these.

In many comic books though, it doesn’t protect against malignant tumours (cancer). Systemic Antidote doesn’t provide protection against corrosives (acid, strong bases, etc.) either.

For protection against old age, see the age-moderating Advantages.

Possible Limitations for Systemic Antidote include :

  • Systemic Antidote does not protect against disease (-1).
  • Systemic Antidote does not protect against poisons or bioactives (-2) (i.e., it only works vs. pathogens).
  • And in some rare cases :
    • Systemic Antidote does not work against poisons (but works against bioactives and pathogens) (-1).
    • Systemic Antidote does not work against bioactives (but works against poisons and pathogens (-1).

Designer’s notes:
An expanded and more detailed version of the Power to represent how it almost always works in the comics, which also makes writeups easier.

Deadpool crouches with a sword

Deadpool has the Systemic Antidote Power.

Temperature Control

Author: Sébastien Andrivet
Mental Power
Link: WILL
Range: Normal
Type: Dice
Base Cost: 20
Factor Cost: 04

This Power allows a Character to create a field of heat or cold. The Character may affect a volume up to their APs in the Power. Characters caught in the field are attacked with an AV/EV equal to the APs of the Power vs. an OV/RV of BODY/BODY.

The Power may also be used to create comfort zones in an otherwise inhospitable environment. To maintain a comfort zone, the Character with Temperature Control must expend an Automatic Action every Phase.

This Power can be purchased with the following standard Limitations : Only to Generate Heat (-1 FC), or Only to Subtract Heat (-1 FC).

The volume of effect can be expanded by a cumulative +5 APs for every +1 to the Power’s Factor Cost.

Elijah Snow and Doc Brass

Elijah Snow has the Temperature Control Power, but only for cold.

Time Slow v1.4.1

Author: Danielle Mendus
Mental Power
Link: WILL
Range: Normal
Type: Auto/Dice
Base Cost: 75
Factor Cost: 06

(Note: Time Slow replaces the Suspension Power. This power may be mimicked by Time Control.)

Time Slow allows a Character to slow the flow of time around themselves and/or others and put them in stasis. A Character who uses Time Slow on themselves must state the specific amount of time they wishe to remain in stasis or what event will trigger their revival.

While under the effects of Time Slow, a Character may subtract the APs of Power from the amount of subjective time that passes for them. Such a Character will age, heal and consume food and air at the same subjective rate.

For instance, a Character with Time Slow: 08 slows time around themselves for two hours (11 APs). For them, 3 APs of time (11 APs – 8 APs), or 30 seconds, pass.

To slow time around another Character, make an Action Check using APs of Time Slow as the AV/EV and the target’s DEX/BODY as OV/RV. Targets with Time Travel, active Superspeed, Continuum Control or Time Control may add their APs of the highest applicable power to the RV.

RAPs are subtracted first from the target’s APs of Superspeed (if applicable), then any remaining RAPs are subtracted from the target’s subjective time as stated above.

While in stasis, a Character’s OV against any attack is reduced by the APs (or RAPs, if the Character resists) of power. The APs (or RAPs) are also added to the OV of any opponent the Character attacks while in stasis. The Character may participate in combat, but only experiences a single Phase every 0 APs of time plus APs of Time Slow.

Therefore, a Character with 3 RAPs of Time Slow acting on them experiences a Phase every 3 APs (30 seconds, or every 8 normal Phases). A Character may declare and take actions normally, but suffers the OV restrictions mentioned above. In addition, the RAPs of Time Slow affecting the Character are subtracted from their Initiative.

The stasis effect lasts for as long as the Character with the Power desires (through the expenditure of a Dice Action each turn), or they may make subsequent checks with the RAPs from these checks replacing RAPs from previous checks.

The length of any subsequent effect is determined from the last successful check, not the first. To choose a new target or set of targets, stasis must be dropped on the current target (the current target may be reselected within a Multi-Attack if the user desires).

This power may be purchased with the standard Bonus: Aging Defense (+2 FC) which allows the APs of Time Slow to be added to the Character’s RV against Aging Attacks. Time Slow may also be bought with the standard Limitation Self-Suspension Only (Base Cost: 5, Factor Cost: 1, Range of Self).

Mountjoy killing somebody by absorbing their energy

Mountjoy has the Time Slow Power.

Time Stop v3.2

Author: Danielle Mendus
Mental Power
Link: WILL
Range: Special
Type: Auto
Base Cost: 75
Factor Cost: 08

This Power allows the user to step outside of time, effectively stopping time for the world around them. While outside of time, the Character is separated from the rest of the space/time continuum. They cannot affect anything in the normal timestream. The number of Phases a Character with Time Stop may stop time is equal to their APs of Time Stop.

The Character may take anything or anyone they can carry or touch outside of time so long as the APs of weight they are removing do not exceed their APs of Time Stop. This has the effect of recalculating how long theu and what they’re carrying or touching can remain outside of time.

To determine the length of time, subtract the APs of weight from the APs of Time Stop. The difference is how many Phases the Character and his cargo can remain outside of time. Once they re-enters the timestream, time begins moving again at its normal rate and the hero can again affect others in time.

This power can be mimicked by Time Control. Time Stop may also be bought with the following standard Bonuses: Extended Duration (+50 BC, +2 FC) which allows the Character to remain outside of time for a number of time APs equal to their APs of Power (rather than a number of Phases equal to same), and Partially in Phase (+2 FC), which allows the hero to manipulate and move objects still in time (though attacks are still not possible).

Designer’s note:
As an alternative take, one can use Superspeed with the following Limitations: Fatiguing (-2 FC), Usable on Others (+5 FC), Cannot Substitute for Physical EV (-1 FC), Miscellaneous: Touching anything not similarly stopped is an automatic Charging Attack (-2 FC).

This handles the duration (Fatiguing hurts), movement, Initiative changes, ability to notice odd stuff, dodging out of the way, and the inability to touch things (you can, it’ll just hurt you and the object). It does *not* handle multiple actions in the “conventional” sense (which is fine, because DCH doesn’t like that), but you get the equivalent effect with high AP values (Pushing too, probably) and a big-time Multi-Attack.)

Kid Quantum (James Cullen) gloating

Kid Quantum (James Cullen)‘s belt had the Time Stop Power.


Author: Sébastien Andrivet
Mental Power
Link: INT
Range: Normal
Type: Auto
Base Cost: 10
Factor Cost: 01

This Power allows a Character to see at night or in the dark just as if it were daylight. This effect is created through the intensification of existing light sources – possibly including radio waves, static electricity and so on. This type of vision also allows the Character to see underwater unhindered and to spot Invisible objects (see the Invisibility Power).

The Ultra-vision Power can be purchased with the following special Limitations :

  • Night Vision Only (-5 BC), allowing the Character to see in the dark but not underwater and not including the ability to spot Invisible objects with this Power.
  • Light Amplification Only (-5 BC), allowing the Character to see in anything but total darkness (as some light, however dim, is required for the Power to work) and underwater but lacking the ability to see Invisible objects.

Man-Beast leaping and mentally attacking

Man-Beast has the Ultra-Vision Power.


Author: Gareth Lewis
Helpers: Sébastien Andrivet
Mental Power
Link: INT
Range: Self
Type: Auto
Base Cost: 10
Factor Cost: 04

The Character is too chaotic for others’ Powers to predict their moves. The Character adds the APs of Unpredictable to the OV/RV against attacks using Powers such as Danger Sense or Weakness Detection.

This Power can have the following Bonuses:

  • Replication Immunity (+2 FC): The Character’s Abilities and Skills cannot be copied by Powers such as Photographic Reflexes or Adaptation. If they wish their other Powers to also be protected by Unpredictable then it’ll be a further +1 FC.
  • Never the Same Twice (+1): The Character’s moves fluctuate so much that attempts to view the future may not see the exact future that occurs. The APs of Unpredictable are added to the OV/RV against Precognition attempts where the Character is involved, and a failure may provide an incorrect vision.

Agent X #1 cover

Agent X has the Unpredictable Power.


Author: Gareth Lewis
Helpers: Eric Langendorff, Fran, Adam, Chris Cottingham, Peter Piispanen, Frank G. Murdock, Roger, Black Adam, GoBlueAero.
Link: STR
Range: Normal
Type: Dice
Base Cost: 25
Factor Cost: 07

Vertigo allows a Character to attack their opponent’s sense of balance, leaving them uncoordinated in their movement, or completely unable to move.

The APs of Vertigo act as the AV/EV, and the target’s DEX/MIND as the OV/RV. RAPs are subtracted from the target’s DEX, AVs and OVs (Physical, Mental, and Mystical), and their Initiative, while under the effect, and if the DEX is reduced to 0 the target is unable to act. Even if they can act, any Physical movement Powers they possess are also reduced by the RAPs.

The effect remains as long as the Character expends an Automatic Action to maintain it, and the target remains within Range. When the target is freed from the effect, either by leaving Range (which under their own power would require them to overcome Vertigo long enough to move), the Character releasing them from the effect, or the Character with Vertigo being rendered unconscious, the RAPs drop by an AP a phase.

If the target breaks free from the effect, they no longer suffer any penalty.

To overcome the effects of Vertigo, the target must roll using their DEX/WILL as the AV/EV, with the RAPs of Vertigo as the OV/RV. Success means the active RAPs of Vertigo are reduced by the RAPs of their roll.

This reduction is cumulative, and once their RAPs are greater than the remaining RAPs of Vertigo, they’ve completely shaken off its effects for the rest of the encounter.

If the target has Iron Will, its APs add to their attempts to resist the Power.

The Power can be Mentally of Mystically Linked, in which case the target’s DEX is replaced by their INT or INFL (Respectively) for their attempts to resist the Power.

Sonic Limitation (-1)

With this Limitation the Power is a sonic-based attack targeting an opponent’s inner ear. As a sonic-based attack it may be countered by other sonic-based Powers (either blocked by Sound Nullify, Shade (audio) or similar Powers, or countered by Sonic Beam or other sonic-based offensive Powers [which may perform a Block manoeuvre, with the APs of their Power replacing their RV against the attack if greater than their MIND]), and may not be able to affect deaf Characters (GMs discretion).

It also can’t affect those without ears, or similar audio receptors (and characters with No Vital Areas have a +1CS to their OV/RV against Vertigo). Targets possessing Super-Hearing or Extended Hearing suffer a -1CS to OV/RV. APs of Gymnastics, Dodging, or Dancer may be used in place of DEX for resisting the power.

Overwhelm Bonus

For each successive round an Automatic Action is used to successfully maintain the effect the target suffers 1 AP Damage to their Mind, representing the disorienting and debilitating effects of vertigo, and will pass out when their Mind reaches 0 APs. This Bonus raises the BC by 50, and the FC by 1.

Count Vertigo uses his powers

Count Vertigo has, unsurprisingly, the Vertigo Power.

Vibe Being

Author: Gareth Lewis
Physical Power
Link: BODY
Range: Self
Type: Auto
Base Cost: 15
Factor Cost: 06

This Power allows a Character to vibrate their body to such degree that anyone or anything touched by or touching a Character with an activated Vibe Being Power, including contact made in hand-to-hand combat, incurs a Physical Attack with AV/EV equal to APs of Vibe Being.

This special attack form does not count as an Action for the Vibe Being Character.

The APs of Vibe Being may also be substituted for a Character’s STR as the EV of any hand-to-hand attack.

Shaker vs. Spider-Man

Spider-Man villain Shaker has the Vibe Being Power via his suit.

Water Blast

Author: Peter Piispanen
Helper(s): Roy Cowan
Physical Power
Link: STR
Range: Normal
Type: Dice
Base Cost: 15
Factor Cost: 04

The Character can blast a powerful stream of water which attacks all targets within a 0 AP-wide Area Effect corridor. This is a Physical Attack with the APs of Water Blast acting as AV/EV.

This Power can be also be used to attack multiple targets who would not be encompassed in a single standard blast with the normal Multi-Attack penalties. Though standard uses of this Power are Bashing Damage, it can be used for Killing Combat in a manner similar to an industrial waterjet.

Each blast creates a volume of water equal to the APs of Power.

This Power can be purchased with the special Factor Cost Limitation: Environmentally Dependent (-1FC). The Power functions normally in high- or medium-humidity locales but in arid places the Power loses 2 to 4 APs and ceases to function entirely in areas where there is no free water in the environment.

Flow attacks Aquaman and the Flash

Flow of the Ultramarines has the Water Blast Power.

Weakness Detection v1.1.1

Author: Paul “Z” Ewande
Helper(s): JD, Steven Howard, Jackson, Mike Semchuk
Mental Power
Link: INT
Range: Normal
Type: Dice
Base Cost: 75
Factor Cost: 08

Weakness Detection allows a Character to analyze their opponent’s physical defenses in order to launch a devastating assault with a specific attack form (chosen when the Power is purchased) and to probe their opponent for possible Attack Vulnerabilities.

Hand-to-hand is the default attack form, but the Character can select other attack forms at the time when the Power is acquired.

The Character may target his opponent’s OV and/or RV. The APs of Weakness Detection act as AV/EV and the targeted defensive statistic (usually but not always the relevant Acting or Resistance Attribute) acts as OV/RV. RAPs are subtracted from the targeted defensive stat of the opponent for any attack made with the chosen attack form in the next Phase. RAPs cannot exceed the APs of the targeted defense attribute.

The Character may also target both the Opposing and Resisting values by adding both AP scores (using normal math, not AP math) and with a +1CS penalty to the final OV/RV of the Action Check. The RAPs are split evenly between the opponent’s OV and RV, with odd RAPs going to RV.

This same approach can be used to target multiple RVs (such as BODY and Skin Armor simultaneously), with +1CS added to OV/RV for each ability targeted past the first. In those cases, odd RAPs go to the targeted stat with the highest APs first.

The opponent can still boost their reduced defences with HPs as usual using the unmodified value of the attribute to determine the maximum number of HPs that can be spent.

A Character can also probe the opponent for Attack Vulnerabilities by using the Resisting Attribute as OV/RV and the AP of Weakness Detection as AV/EV, interpreting the RAPs as for Clue Analysis:

1 RAP: You know whether the target has some Vulnerabilities or not.
½ RV: You know what Vulnerabilities the target may possess.
RV+: You know not only the types of Vulnerabilities but their levels as well.

A few examples:

  • A Character with Weakness Detection: 20 is fighting an opponent with BODY 15. They make an Action Check with 20/20 against 15/15. They get 11 RAPs which are deducted from the opponent’s BODY in the next phase, leaving him with an effective BODY 04 for purposes of defending against the relevant attack.
  • The same Character attacks an opponent’s DEX 13 and gets 11 RAPs. The target then defends against the relevant attack in the next phase with an effective DEX 02 but uses his unmodified DEX 13 when spending the maximum possible HPs for defense, raising his final OV to 15.
  • That Character now faces a target with BODY 05, Force Field: 09, and Skin Armor: 08. They can target the BODY, Force Field and/or Skin Armor, but chooses only the latter two, which results in an OV/RV of 17/17 plus a +1CS modifier.

This power can be taken with the following Bonuses and Limitations: Additional Attack Form (+2 FC for each one), Cannot Target OV (-3 FC), Cannot Target RV (-2FC), Cannot Be Used On Living Beings (-2 FC), and Cannot Be Used On Non-Living Matter (-1 FC).

Cyborg Supernan (Hank Henshaw) with green power rings

The Cyborg Superman has the Weakness Detection Power.

X-Ray Vision

Commenters: Maficklin, Brent Walters, Pufnstuff.

If no blocking substance is specified in a writeup for a Character with this Power, you can usually assume lead. That’s the traditional one, after all.

Superman of 2465 spotting Muto in a cloud

Kryptonian characters such as the Superman of the year 2465 are the usual exemplars for the X-Ray Vision Power.


Author: Sébastien Andrivet
Helper(s): Roy Cowan
Link: WIL
Range: Self
Type: Auto
Base Cost: 30
Factor Cost: 07

This Power allows a Character to bodily transform into an animal, while retaining their own consciousness. This is limited to the beasts of one’s native planet.

The Character will retain their own Attributes, Powers, Skills, Advantages, Drawbacks, etc. but can adopt any Attribute, Power, Skill, Advantage, etc. from the animal’s character sheet. Use our Animals File as a source.

The Drawbacks and Limitations of the animal form must be adopted. Furthermore, most animal forms come with implicit problems – lack of hands, horizontal posture, difficulties to use vehicles, etc.

The Character cannot replicate any Attribute, Skill or Power with higher APs than his Zoomorph APs – including Shrinking and Growth. If the animal has one or more score above the Character’s APs of Zoomorph, the Character cannot adopt its form, even if the score in question is not being adopted.

The GM can allow some leeway, for instance if the Player provides examples of populations of animals smaller or larger than the specimen in the Animals File.

Shrinking and Growth must be adopted at the full value for the animal being considered. This produces the normal effect for using these Powers at these APs – Growth increases STR and RV, Shrinking increases OV and decreases movement, etc.

A Character can always opt to adopt the scores for the animal — for instance a movement Power or a STR score — rather than their own scores as adjusted by Growth or Shrink.

This Power may also be purchased with the following special Factor Cost Limitations: Can Only Assume Limited Range of Forms (birds, reptile, creatures of the night, etc.) (-2 FC) ; Can Only Assume one Specific Form (polar bear, white shark, etc.) (-4 FC).

Some Characters also have a few APs of Power Reserve (Zoomorph). This is a packaged Limitation for Power Reserve described in this document.

Designer’s notes:
A variant on Shapechange for those Characters not properly modelled by Shapechange unless a silly amount of modifiers gets involved.

Snowbird turns into a polar bear

Snowbird has the Zoomorph Power.


Compiled, formatted, edited, etc. by Roy Cowan and Sébastien Andrivet

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