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The Quiz (DC Comics) (Doom Patrol) as a header for new DC Heroes RPG powers

New Powers for the DC Heroes RPG

(Repository #2)


Sequence

This is one of our new DC Heroes RPG Powers repositories.

Everything is explained — and there’s a full table of content — at the “base camp” article about Powers.

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Dimension Travel (Tesseracts Only)

By Sébastien Andrivet.
Helpers: Nicolas Lemaçon, Leroy Van Camp III, Quintanads, Gareth Lewis.

The Tesseract Limitation is a series of packaged Limitations for the Dimensional Travel Power. A tesseract  is a sort of miniature dimensionOther realms of existence that are not our universe to which only the Character, and perhaps some allies, have access to.

It can replace the Tesseract Limitation for Dimension Travel (BoH:SE p69) as it provides more details and options.

With the Tesseract Limitation, any use of the Dimension Travel Power can only take place between this dimension and the dimension the Character is currently in.

Tesseracts can receive additional properties, such as Security Systems (protection against cross-dimensional intrusion) or Obscure (protection against cross-dimensional detection).

These are bought just as if the Tesseract were an Artefact or Gadget (depending on the dimension’s nature) that cannot be Taken Away, but does not need a BODY Attribute.

Dimension Travel (Micro-Tesseract Only)

With this packaged Limitation, Dimension Travel has a Base Cost of 10 and a Factor Cost of 3.

A Micro-Tesseract (abbreviated as µT) is limited to holding 1 to 3 Gadgets or Artefacts, which the Character can have appear and disappear from thin air. The maximum weight of the whole is equal to the APs of Power, minus 4.

Examples include Rom the Spaceknight’s Neutralizer and Analyzer, or the Black Knight (Dane Whitman) elf-made armour, Shield of Night and Sword of Light.

Due to the very limited size, the only possible operations are Summoning or Banishing the Gadgets or Artefacts – there is no Travel equivalent.

  • Hand-held Gadgets and Artefacts can appear ready to use in the Character’s hand.
  • Worn Gadgets and Artefacts can be summoned around the Character’s body, already fitted.

An Area Knowledge can be acquired for this micro-tesseract, which turns Summoning and Banishing into Automatic Actions. Though it is an Advantage and is listed as such, this Area Knowledge is not bought separately – rather, it raises Dimension Travel (Micro-Tesseract Only)’s Base Cost to 20 and the Factor Cost to 4.

If the Gadget or Artefact under consideration has no meaningful Powers, Attributes, Skills, etc. (e.g., it is cosmetic) then the Insta-Change Advantage may be a better fit than Dimension Travel.

Dimension Travel (Mini-Tesseract Only)

With this packaged Limitation, Dimension Travel has a Base Cost of 10 and a Factor Cost of 5.

Acquiring an Area Knowledge for it is possible just like with the Micro-Tesseract, raising the Base Cost to 30 and the Factor Cost to 6.

A Mini-Tesseract (abbreviated as MT) works much like a Micro-Tesseract. But the Volume of the MT is equal to the APs of Power.

The MT space is assumed to be an airless, lightless, gravity-less void at about 10°C (50°F). Time passes as normal in the space, and things like bombs, computers and robots function normally inside. Damage done inside the space does not affect the Character.

If an outside party attempts to locate and/or enter the MT (usually with a Dimension Travel Power), the OV/RV is equal to the APs of Dimension Travel (MT Only) plus the INF/SPI of the MT’s owner. Various additional measures such as the Obscure Power or Mystically-Linked Security System APs might add to that.

Placing and reclaiming within a MT

To place an item into the space requires a Dice Action against an OV/RV equal to the mass of the object plus 2 APs (minimum value is 1) added to the distance from the Character (linear addition, so for instance 3+4=7).

Thus, for instance, placing an item weighting 2 APs and located 3 APs away would have an OV/RV of 2+2+3=7.

If the item is held by a resisting person, they can instead use their SPI/SPI as the OV/RV if this is higher.

Reclaiming an item doesn’t require a roll, but nevertheless consumes a Dice Action (barring an Area Knowledge). Items that are physically linked (such as a sheathed sword or a quiver full of arrows) can be called in as one.

The item can appear within a Range equal to the APs of Power minus the mass of the item, but this appearance occurs with very low force – it can only displace gasses and perhaps some liquids (GM’s call). Worn items can appear on the Character’s body, fully fitted.

Special Bonuses and Limitations for a MT

Transdimensional (+1 FC)
The MT is also accessible from other dimensions. The Travel Distance may be greater, and certain dimensions may make it harder or easier to reach the MT dimension.

Can Store Other Living Beings (+3 FC)
The subject can resist using SPI/SPI, plus their mass and their distance away from the Character (linear addition as per above). This Bonus is often taken along with a Suspension Power modified to be used on MT-stored subjects.

Self-Storage (+3 FC)
The Character is capable of storing themselves, effectively withdrawing from the normal universe, even if they do not have Can Store Other Living Beings. The OV/RV is the Character’s own mass.

When the Character chooses to reappear, they do so in the same spot he disappeared from – though the MT provides no way of monitoring the outside.

Again, the MT space is in inhospitable and further measures or Power are needed for lengthy stays.

No Location Jumping (-3 FC)
The MT is only accessible from a specific place, often corresponding to a specific object (a wardrobe, an altar, a magic lake, etc.).

If an object is necessary but can be moved (a Bag of Holding or Portable Hole, to quote from classic Dungeons & Dragons) then this Limitation doesn’t come into play. Rather the Power is part of a Gadget or Artefact.

Dimension Travel (Macro-Tesseract Only)

To be written in a fantastic future full of wonders.

Rom fights Dire Wraiths

Rom the Spaceknight stores his weapons in a tesseract.

Dispersal v2

This proposed Power has been renamed “Intangibility”.

The original intent was to have “Dispersal v2” replace Dispersal. But having both approaches available is better. And giving them two different names makes notation clearer.

This leaves us, for Characters who are less than solid, with the following options :

  1. Dispersal.
  2. Intangibility.
  3. Fluid Form.
  4. Spirit Travel.
  5. (Niche cases better represented by another Power).

The differences can be subtle, aye. Forsooth.

Kitty confronts Dracula with a crucifix

And as it happens, Kitty Pryde can do subtle.

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Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) v1.1.1

Author: Bryant Berggren.
Helper(s): Unknown.
Physical Power
Link: STR
Range: Normal
Type: Dice
Base Cost: 20
Factor Cost: 03

This Power allows a Character to generate a powerful burst of electromagnetic energy, which disrupts electrical equipment and radio transmissions.

The Character makes an Action Check, using the APs of Power as the AV/EV against the target’s DEX/BOD as the OV/RV.

RAPs gained by the attack are subtracted from the APs of any electronic-based Power or Attribute the target possesses. This includes Mental Attributes, the Data Storage and/or Recall Power of computers, and any Radio Communication or similar Power.

Any equipment being carried by the target is automatically “hit” as well.

Design Notes

This power was written to replace the modified application of Magnetic Control for atomic weapons in earlier editions of the game.

Another version of EMP rules can now be found as part of BoH:SE’s Electrical Control Power.

The two differ primarily in that EMP is an active energy discharge while the damaging portion of Electrical Control uses electricity already existing in the target (and thus uses BOD/BOD as its OV/RV instead).

As with the earlier use of Magnetic Control, Electromagnetic Pulse can substitute for Electrical Control in nuclear weapons at the GM’s preference.

Radioactive Man (Dr. Chen Lu) transforming

The Radioactive Man (Chen Lu) has the EMP Power.

EMP Shielding

Author: Bryant Berggren.
Helper(s): Unknown.
Physical Power
Link: BODY
Range: Self
Type: Auto
Base Cost: 05
Factor Cost: 04

This Power allows a Character or Gadget to protect themselves from an Electromagnetic Pulse. The APs of Shielding are added to the RV against any EMP attack.

APs of Shielding are not transferable unless purchased with the Usable By Others or Area Effect Bonuses.

EMP Shielding normally will not protect equipment the Character has on their person. To do so the Power must have the Bonus: Protects Personal Items (+1 FC).

MJOLNIR armor model sheet, male and female

MJOLNIR power armour in Halo games has the EMP Shielding Power.

Energy Control

Author: Dr. Peter S Piispanen.
Helper: Roy Cowan, Adam Fuqua.
Mental Power
Link: INT
Range: Normal
Type: Dice
Base Cost: 100
Factor Cost: 10

A character with Energy Control can project, modify, or cancel out electromagnetic energies of all types. That includes heat, light, electrical, radio waves, gamma rays and exotic high energy particles.

A character with Energy Control can perform a variety of actions and may even split the APs of power between the various uses listed. A character with 10 APs of Energy Control could fire a 06 AP blast while adding 04 APs to their RV versus energy attacks.

Applications

Energy Control can be used for the following effects:

  • The user may fire beams or bolts of energy as a Physical Attack using the APs of Energy Control as AV/EV and the target’s DEX/BODY as OV/RV. The type of energy used for each attack must be specified and any relevant resistances the target has are treated normally.
    For example, if the energy controller fires a heat beam and the target has Flame Immunity, it bolsters the target’s RV as usual.
  • The Character can add APs of Energy Control to the RV of themselves or others within the range of their Power versus any energy-based attacks. This can be done at the start of the turn as an Automatic Action or during the Declare Actions step of a phase in response to an opponent’s declared attack.
    In the latter case it is still an Automatic Action but does count as the character’s Dice Action for that Phase.
  • The character can mimic the Electromagnetic Pulse, Flash, and Radio Communication Powers. Flash can be used for non-visible energy perception abilities as well.
    For example, an infrared Flash could be used against an alien that sees in Thermal Vision or a microwave Flash might be used to disable the sensors of a robot with Radar Sense.
  • The character can perceive electromagnetic energy as if they had the Detect Power for this purpose.
  • Energy Control can be used to change the frequency of energy waves and thus the energy type. A radio beam could be converted to a beam of visible light.
    This requires an Action Check using the APs of Energy Control as AV/EV versus an OV/RV equal to the APs of the energy being altered. The RAPs gained are the APs of the new energy type.
    Changing a damaging energy type to a non-damaging one, such as turning an Energy Blast into harmless radio waves) or vice versa adds +2CS to the OV/RV of the Check.

Limitations

Energy Control is available with the Limitation: Can only control one type of energy, which reduces the Base cost to 20 and the Factor cost to 08.

Depending on the type of energy chosen (GM’s judgment) or by the player’s choice, some of the standard abilities of Energy Control listed above may not be available. This is a -1 FC Limitation for every two effects that cannot be used.

A character with Energy Control (Infrared Only) might have an additional -1FC for not being able to mimic Electromagnetic Pulse or Radio Communication.

Design note

In 2022, the elevated-out-of-caution costs were adjusted to better fit the costing scheme of Powers in the rulesbook.

Superman X (Legion of Super-Heroes animated series) among flames with energy shields

Superman X has the Energy Control Power.

Enhance

By Sébastien Andrivet.
Helpers: Eric Langendorff, Nicolas Lemaçon.

Enhance is a Power used by Gadgets and Artefacts to amplify a specific capacity of the operator.

The APs of Enhance are added to the operator’s relevant score using linear addition. So, for instance, 7+4 will be 11. Not 8 as with the usual AP addition.

Most commonly, the Enhance Power adds a single AP.

Cap

APs of Enhance have a set “cap”. They cannot bolster the operator’s score beyond that cap.

A typical notation is Enhance (Thief (Stealth)): 01 (cap is 07). It notes what is being enhanced, by how many APs, and how high its ceiling is.

In this example, a person with Thief (Stealth): 07 or more would not benefit from using the item. A person with 6 or fewer APs would add 1 AP to their score.

Enhance works best in games where the tables have been modified to use one-AP wide columns.

Usage

Here are examples of use, from least to most common :

Usage note – prevalence in equipment

High-quality equipment isn’t generally assumed to have Enhance. DC Heroes models heroic action, not techno-thriller action. So the focus is on the people’s competence, not the quality of their gear.

High-quality equipment is the baseline for tasks. It is shoddy or insufficient equipment that represents a penalty, not good equipment that brings a bonus.

Examples

To put it in another way – even a superb sniper rifle isn’t going to turn a mediocre shooter into a good one. And a superb sniper can be assumed to use a high-end weapon, or be skilled enough to make do with a more ordinary rifle.

It’s the operator, not the weapon.

A sniper rifle with the Enhance Power to Weaponry (Firearms) would need to be a highly advanced cyber-gun or somesuch. And even in this case it is possible that the weapon would simply have its own APs of Weaponry (Firearms) as it essentially aims itself.

Another ballistics-related example would be laser sights. We observe countless times in comics, action movies, etc. that run-of-the-mill shooters do not get more accurate when using laser sights. The lasers are simply there because they look cool. They do not change how the gunfight takes place.

Yes, laser sights (or holographic sights, etc.) certainly help with accuracy in more realistic stories. But here :

  • We are concerned with more stylised stories, with clear hierarchies in power and competence. Pecking orders are critical to super-hero comics.
  • We are dealing with a game system where +1 means doubling a given quantity. Thus, an increase by one is actually a big boost.

Usage note – why Enhance

Enhance specifically avoids equipment having absurd side effects when used by a broad variety of persons. See the “substitutive vs. additive” discussion for more about this.

This is especially useful for our articles where we write about equipment, such as body armour. It allows the equipment to behave properly even when used by a wide variety of characters.

It also helps avoid “dark corners”. This is when the GM has to make judgment calls about :

  • Whether such superhuman durable character would really benefit from wearing such magical chainmail hauberk.
  • Or whether such character with borderline superhuman strength should benefit from using a steel crowbar to force a door open.

If a piece of equipment will only ever be used by a single Character, Enhance is much less necessary.

Usage note – when to use Enhance, when not to

Characters

If considering this for a Character rather than equipment, you are *probably* wrong. See the “building up vs. building down” discussion for Characters enhancing their own abilities.

Consider the Enchantment Power if they enhance other characters. If the Enchantment Power should in this case have a cap, it’s simpler to eyeball a Limitation for Enchantment rather than force Enhance into that hole.

Self-powered equipment

In many cases, equipment supposed to multiply the user’s abilities behaves substitutively. So a power armour suit described as increasing strength 50-fold ends up being simply statted up as /STR/ 08.

This is because there’s little evidence that a strong person using the suit is radically stronger than when it’s an ordinary person. Or that a frail person would be much weaker than a standard operator, using the same suit. Thus, /STR/ is simple and sufficient.

Likewise, the user’s strength does influence the damage done by a chainsword, a vibroblade, etc.. They can hit harder if they’re stronger. But not, in most cases, by a full AP. Thus, Claws (or EV) is simple and sufficient.

What usually happens is that stronger operators have a custom, larger version of the weapon (likely with a Recommended Strength score) with more APs in Claws or EV.

Dancing on the ceiling

The cap is a key component of the Enhance Power. If the Gadget or Artefact would be useful to anyone, no matter how powerful, use another Power without a cap.

If the Ruby Pendant of Elemental Fire would help even the Human Torch withstand mega-heat, just go with Flame Immunity and call it a day. But this is not true of the commercially-available fire resistant jumpsuit Johnny Storm has to wear whilst racing cars.

High-tech insta-polarising protection glasses likely have a ceiling as to whom they can protect from bright lights. Galactus would *probably* not benefit from them. But this ceiling is very high. It’s not unreasonable that the Thing (Benjamin Jacob Grimm)’s baby blues would benefit from these.
So heh, just go for an AP or two of Shade.

Computing cost for Enhance

Enhance has no Basic Cost, and its cost isn’t computed using a Factor Cost. Instead, we use a variant over the Power Loss chart.

The cost of an AP of Enhance is equal to the FC of the ability being enhanced. So Enhancing a FC 06 ability by one AP costs 6 points. Or 12 points for 2 APs, etc..

Then you add a multiplier based on the cap, and round to the nearest (up for .5) :

Cap Multiplier
05 or less 0.8
06 0.9
07 1
08 1.05
09 1.1
10 1.2
11 1.25
12 1.3
13 or 14 1.35
15 or 16 1.4
17 to 19 1.45
20+ 1.5

This is the cost *without* the usual divider for Gadgets/Artefacts. So this cost will be halved for a Gadget/Artefact that cannot be Taken Away, and quartered if it can be Taken Away.

If you use Descriptors, here’s a convenient link to multiple Descriptors costs.

Example

CINEMATIC NINJA CLIMBING CLAWS [BODY 03, EV: 02, Enhance (Acrobatics (Climbing)): 01 (cap is 06)].

Acrobatics (Climbing) is FC 05 as a stand-alone Subskill. One AP of Enhance for it thus costs 5 points. The cap is 06, so that’s a multiplier of 0.9. Cost is thus 4.5 points, rounded back to 05.

Next we buy the rest. Three APs of BODY is 12 points, two APs of EV is 7 points. So that’s a total of 24 points for this Gadget. It cannot be Taken Away, so its costs 12 points all told.

Enhancing raw scores

The most common applications for Enhance involve raising the physical EV or RV of the operator. These are not stand-alone quantities, unlike Acrobatics (Climbing). Instead, these are aspects of the operator’s STR or BODY.

Thus, in DCH term, a truncheon increases the melee combat EV component of the operator’s STR. Melee combat EV isn’t everything that STR does, so in DCH terms what is being Enhanced is STR with a Limitation. It has a lower FC.

Here is a list of the common FC you’ll need:

  • Melee combat EV (or EV for short) — FC 06.
  • EV for a very specific physical action (like prying things open, Disarm attempts, Grappling/Wrestling) — FC 04.
  • Physical RV in general — FC 06.
  • Physical RV against kinetic impacts only — FC 05.
  • Physical RV against energy attacks only — FC 05.
  • Physical RV against a specific descriptor of kinetic impact (Unarmed attacks, slashing attacks, piercing attacks, corrosives…) — FC 04.
  • Physical RV against a specific descriptor of energy impact (Flame/heat, sonics, lightning, cold, telepathic assault, bright lights…) — FC 04.

AVs or OVs can usually be handled with Skills (such as Accuracy or Evasion).

Example

Gordon Freeman in HλLF-LIFE has a crowbar, of course, of course.

A crowbar is great at prying stuff open – it’s a lever and a wedge. It should considerably increase STR when doing so. It is also used to smash attacking headcrabs. Therefore:

Crowbar [BODY 06, Enhance (EV): 01 (cap is 07), Enhance (STR – only to pry things open): 02 (cap is 10)].

EV is FC 06 for Enhance Power purposes. So one AP of Enhance for it is 6 points, multiplied by one for the cap so… 6 points.

STR that can only be used to pry things is FC 04. Two APs of Enhance for it thus cost 8 points, time 1.2 for the high-ish cap that’s 9.6 rounded to 10.

So we have 16 points in Enhance Powers, plus 36 points for the high BODY (it’s good steel). This is 52 points. A crowbar can be Taken Away, and thus has a Gadget divisor of 4. So this piece of video game history ends up costing 13 points.

However it doesn’t increase the EV of a person who can lift elephants. It’s not heavy and strong enough for that. And it will not help with your crates-opening if you can already punch through steel. Your fingers are stronger than the crowbar.

Design Notes for costing

We went through various models based on incremental costs to reach the cap, or a reversed Power Loss logic.

That the most coherent scheme ends close to the FC value is a lucky break. The actual values have some dither around the FC number, but it’s negligible.

Gadgetry and Occultist rolls for Enhance

When going through the process to build a Gadget or enchant an Artefact, APs of Enhance have a special multiplier. This applies when :

  • Buying parts.
  • Doing the Gadgetry or Occultist roll against the Enhance Power to build it.

For these purposes, each AP is multiplied by four times its cap multiplier (round up). The value cannot be higher than the cap.

Example

Crowbar [BODY 06, Enhance (EV): 01 (cap is 07), Enhance (STR – only to pry things open): 02 (cap is 10)].

The AP of Enhance (EV) has a cap of 7, which means a multiplier of 1. 4×1=4, so this single AP of Enhance is counted as a 4 APs Power for Gadgetry purposes.

The APs of Enhance (STR – only to pry things open) have a cap of 10, which means a multiplier of 1.2. 4×1.2=4.8. Two APs time 4.8 is 9.6 rounded to 10. So this Enhance Power is counted as a 10 APs Power for Gadgetry purposes. Which is equal to cap, so it wasn’t going to go higher.

Typical wood tonfa

Melee weapons are a common use case for the Enhance Power.

Enhanced Initiative v1.1

Author: J.D. Marquart for Pulsar Games, edits by Sébastien Andrivet.
Mental Power
Link: INT
Range: Self
Type: None
Base Cost: 18
Factor Cost: 01

Enhanced Initiative APs are added to the Character’s APs of Initiative when determining Initiative.

Since this is applied automatically at Initiative, Enhanced Initiative does not require any Action.

The Base Cost is based on the Lightning Reflexes Advantage, and the Factor Cost is based on the Superspeed Power and Attributes.

Design notes

In its sole Pulsar Games appearance, this Power was called Enhanced Reaction.

Spider-Man (Peter Parker) crawling on the ceiling, over a white background

Your friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man has the Enhanced Initiative Power.

EV for Characters

Author: Sébastien Andrivet.

Some character writeups have an EV listed as a Power. Often with characters with reinforced and/or heavier extremities, such as adamantiumAn indestructible metal in Marvel comics-laced bones.

There isn’t much to say about it. It does the normal EV thing using normal EV costs, and there’s nothing preventing a Character (rather than a Gadget) from having an EV.

It is usually used when using the Claws Powers would mean additional notation about Killing Combat and not being sharp and just denoting enhanced punches/kicks.

Bullseye (Marvel Comics) (Earliest) throws pen at Daredevil

Once Bullseye had adamantium-laced bones, he gained an EV.

Extrasensory Perception (ESP)

Author: Roy Cowan.
Helpers: Sebastien Andrivet, Pawsplay, Peter Piispanen.
Mental Power
Link: INT
Range: ½ APs, rounding down.
Type: Auto
Base Cost: 15
Factor Cost: 4

When this Power is active, which requires the expenditure of an Automatic Action each phase, it allows its user to perceive the environment around them as if they could see it clearly despite visual impediments.

Such characters seem to have eyes in the back of their head, reacting to events behind or above them as if they were looking directly at them.

Applications

It is impossible to Blindside someone with this Power unless the attack originates outside the Power’s Range. They can Block or otherwise respond to attacks and other events taking place out of their line of sight as if they were in view.

The APs of this Power can also be used to overcome penalties for visual impediments such as the Fog or Flash Powers or being blindfolded or in darkness.

When these penalties are measured in APs or RAPs, the APs of ESP can offset them on a one-to-one basis. If the user has 6 APs of ESP and takes 7 RAPs in a Flash attack, he can reduce the result to 1 RAP.

If the penalties take the form of Column Shifts, then the APs can be used to lower the OV and/or RV to normal levels. If the user is suffering a +2CS to OV due to natural darkness, then APs of ESP can be subtracted from the OV to reduce it to its pre-modifier column.

Perceiving the environment with Extrasensory Perception does not count as eye contact for purposes of Powers and other qualities triggered by directly viewing the phenomenon in question. However, it does count as telepathic contact in cases where that is a factor.

Obstacles

This perception attenuates rapidly with successive solid physical obstacles the character is attempting to see past.

Sensing events in this instance requires a Perception Check with an AV/EV equal to the APs of ESP and an base OV/RV equal to twice the APs of the distance using normal math.

Thus, no Check would be needed within 0 APs as it will automatically be fully successful, while anything taking place 1 AP away would have an OV/RV of 02/02, and so forth.

Each intervening obstacle such as a wall adds +1CS to the OV/RV, possibly more if said obstacle is especially thick or dense or the material has an unusual resistance to penetration by psychic abilities (GM’s judgment).

  • If the above Perception Check achieves at least 1 RAP the Character has a vague sense of what they are “seeing”, as if through a dense fog.
  • RAPs equal to at least half the RV (rounding up) give a strong general perception as if viewing the scene through a slightly out of focus lens.
  • RAPs equal to or greater than the RV gives the Character a crystal-clear image.

This Perception Check is considered part of the Automatic Action spent to keep the Power active and does not prevent the Character from making another standard Perception Check with their normal vision at the same time.

Blindness

Blind psychics often purchase this Power with the Compensatory Bonus (+2FC). This gives ESP a Normal Range and using it no longer consumes an Automatic Action each phase — it is treated as being Always On.

Characters with Compensatory ESP treat blindness as a MPR, as the Power eliminates most of the disadvantages of that Drawback.

Many Jedi have this Power between 4 to 8 APs. Madame Web from the Spider-Man comics also had this Power.

Sabra Shulvu - Jedi Knight - SWTOR - in a spaceship

Sabra Shulvu the Silent Knight, being a Miralukan Jedi, has the Extrasensory Perception Power.

Extra-Sensory Tracking

Author: Chris Cottingham.
Helper(s): Eric Langendorff, Frank Murdock.
Link: WIL
Range: Special/Normal
Type: Dice
Base Cost: 20
Factor Cost: 04

This Power allows a Character to hunt down other characters through the use of extra-sensory insights, independent of any physical tracks or traces.

It may function through a variety of methods, depending on the character. The hunter might:

  • Be telepathically detecting the quarry’s mind.
  • Be following psychic or ectoplasmic residue.
  • Be guided by clairvoyant or precognitive visions.
  • Have a subconscious knowledge which gradually surfaces at need.
  • Have a highly developed intuitive sense, with ill-explained hunches guiding their steps.

Use

The Extra-Sensory Tracker must be within Normal Range of the quarry in order to initially “tune” his or her particular brand of insight to follow a particular quarry. Once a quarry has been tuned in, Range no longer matters, so long as the Character is following the trail.

Note that this Power does not immediately reveal the quarry’s location, as Life Sense or Detect might. The Power reveals the trail, the Power user must follow the trail step by step to arrive at the target’s current location.

The AV/EV of a Telepathic Tracking attempt is the APs of Power; OV/RV are the quarry’s INT/MIND. Any active APs of Mind Blank are added to RV while Obscure adds to OV and RV. A +2 CS OV/RV penalty applies if the Character is unfamiliar with the quarry.

(GM discretion on what constitutes “familiarity” with a quarry, it may be through a personal relationship, through a prior psychic contact such as a telepathic communication or a vision via Precognition or Postcognition, etc.).

If the Character has a limited familiarity, or is operating from a detailed description and/or a photograph, then the OV/RV penalty is reduced to +1 CS.

RAPs of a successful check are the length of time the Character can follow the trail before a new Action Check is needed. Typically, a failed Action Check simply means a delay, as the Character can try the next Phase to pick up the trail again.

Special Limitations

Some versions of Extra-Sensory Tracking may have a Decaying Limitation (-1 FC) where a failed action check means the psychic trail has faded beyond the point where it can be followed.

In that case, the quarry would have to be reacquired through the “tuning in” process mentioned above before tracking could resume. (This explains why many police psychics might carry a photo with them, in case they need to “tune in” on the target again.)

If the quarry has gone outside of normal Range in the interim, then the trail is lost.

Examples

Extra-Sensory Tracking would be possessed, most famously, by Dawnstar of the Legion of Super-Heroes.

Dr. Strange, or his amulet, often seems to use this ability, sometimes following a trail in astral form.

Other characters who have or could develop Extra-Sensory tracking include many police psychics and fictional “psychic detectives”.

Saturn Girl has a Limited version of it, Derived from her Telepathy and requiring her to have had previous telepathic contact with the quarry. Many other characters may have this Power with similar Limitations.

For example, some police psychics may have Extra-Sensory Tracking Contingent on clairvoyant or psychometric skills such as Postcognition or Object Awareness. (Think again of that police psychic who carries a photo or something from the crime scene to “tune in” the quarry.)

Rachel Summers, with her ability to detect psychic residue and her skill as a telepathic “hound” might also develop this ability.

Saturn Girl (Imra Ardeen), Superboy and Cosmic Boy during the Silver Age

Saturn Girl of the Legion of Super-Heroes has many Powers, including Extra-Sensory Tracking.

Flight (OV clarification)

Commenters: Sébastien Andrivet, Roy Cowan & Dr. Peter S Piispanen.

For two or more objects using Flight along the same rough vector, the GM may wish to subtract the pursuer’s Flight APs from the pursued’s Flight score before calculating OV substitution (with a minimum result of 0).

This prevents oddities such as one supersonic jet pursuing another at the same speed suddenly needing to beat an OV of 11 to hit even though they are both in relatively static positions. Or in more extreme cases, two FTLFaster than the speed of light ships suddenly needing to beat an OV of 30 or more under similar circumstances.

Since this does not seem to fit the source material in most such cases.

Northstar (Jean-Paul Beaubier) flying, over a white background

Northstar sure has a a lot of Flight APs.

Fluid Form (Only To Squeeze Through)

Author: Sébastien Andrivet.
Helper(s): Ethan Roe, Eric Langendorff, Roy Cowan.
Link: BODY
Range: Self
Type: Auto
Base Cost: 10
Factor Cost: 02

This is a packaged Limitation for the Fluid Form Power.

The Only to Squeeze Through Limitation means that APs of Fluid Form are only usable to pass through small passages and holes, or fit into small spaces. The APs are checked against on the Shrinking table to get a sense of what is possible.

None of the other effects of Fluid Form apply.

For instance, Fluid Form (Only to Squeeze Through): 05 can be used to fit through any aperture, or hide into any space, something the size of a house cat could reasonably fit in. Since house cats have 5 APs of Shrinking. Though most house cats also have APs of Fluid Form (Only to Squeeze Through) of their own… okay, assume a small dog instead. Let’s move on, heh ?

Such movement is performed with 1 AP of speed. However, some Character may have a +1 FC bonus to a suitable movement Power (such as Running) to have it apply to Squeezing movement.

A Character can have both Shrinking (often Always On) and Fluid Form (Only to Squeeze Through). Do a linear addition (e.g. 3+3=6) to see what the Character can Squeeze Through.

Fluid Form (Only to Squeeze Through) is often the produce of flexible bones (or being an invertebrate !). But it can also be used to describe Characters who have a very limited form of Fluid Form or Anatomical Separation, some advanced form of circus contortionist training, etc.

Design notes

For years we gave characters who can do that one or two APs of Fluid Form.

But it gradually became obvious that it didn’t really work. In fact it created more problems than it solved.

Fluid Form (Only to Squeeze Through) emerged as the best approach after trying numerous angles to model Characters with flexible bones such as the Cobra, Ragdoll, Hepzibah, Morbius, etc..

Cobra squeezes into a narrow opening

The Cobra demonstrates the Fluid Form (Only to Squeeze Through) Power.

Force Wall v1.4.1

Author: Sébastien Andrivet and Eric Langendorff.
Helper(s): William Chamberlin, Roy Cowan, Kal El el Vigilante.
Physical Power
Link: STR
Range: Self
Type: Auto
Base Cost: 15
Factor Cost: 07

The Force Wall Power allows a Character to erect a simple defensive barrier in the form of a wall or a bubble.

The barrier has a Body equal to the APs of Force Wall. It is usually composed of the same types of energies as those created by the Force Manipulation Power, but without the flexibility of Force Manipulation.

Manifestation

A wall is a flat or slightly curved structure with a maximum surface area of 2 APs (2 square yards). It must be manifest within arm’s reach of the user.

A bubble is spherical in shape, centered on the user. It contains a maximum volume equal to the APs of the Force Wall Power. Unless such a volume is insufficient to contain the Power user, in which case the bubble’s volume is the minimum necessary to contain the user himself.

Force Wall with the Ranged Bonus enables a Character to create a Force Wall at Normal Range (not just around himself), and changes the Action Type to Auto/Dice. Projecting a Force Wall at Range allows the user to entrap another Character within a bubble.

Trapping an unwilling target is a Dice Action with an AV/EV equal to the Character’s Dex/APs of Force Wall, and OV/RV equal to the target’s Dex/Str.

Breaching

Force Walls are attacked as inanimate objects, using the Character’s Str/Str or APs of an appropriate Power as AV/EV vs. the wall’s Body/Body as OV/RV.

Unless the Force Wall has Hardened Defenses (see below), 1 or more RAPs is sufficient to shatter (“breach”) the Wall. Although the Power user may apply Last Ditch Defense against the damage.

An Attacker may attempt to Multi-Attack the Force Wall and one or more targets behind it (provided all such targets are within Range of the Attack). But the Attack must inflict enough damage to shatter the wall. If the Multi-Attack would have different AVs vs. the individual targets, use the lowest AV.

If a Force Wall is breached, the Wall disappears. Furthermore, the Power itself is lowered by 1 AP, which must be Recovered as if it were a Mental RAP.

If a Force Wall is breached, the Power user’s Actions on the following phase take place at the end of the Initiative order as if the Character had been Intimidated . Although no other effects of Intimidation apply as a result of this effect.

Opacity

Players should decide when the Power is purchased whether the Force Wall is transparent or opaque to sight, sound, or gas diffusion.

Force Wall bubbles that are opaque to gas diffusion may protect against gas attacks, but also carry the risk of eventual suffocation from lack of fresh air.

Airtight Force Wall bubbles are considered to have Sealed Systems (Only Versus Gas Attacks) with APs equal to the current APs of Force Wall.

Special Bonuses

Force Wall may be purchased with the following special Bonuses:

Variable Transparency (+5 BC per factor, defined at the time Force Wall is purchased)
The transparency of the Force Wall to sight, sound, and/or gas diffusion may be defined at the time the Force Wall is created.

Air Supply (+1 FC)
Characters enclosed within a Force Wall bubble are supplied with air for an amount of time equal to the Force Wall’s APs plus 4.

Increased Size (+1 FC per additional AP of surface area or volume)

Can Attack Through Wall (+30 BC, +2 FC)
Characters on one side of a Force Wall (defined at the time the Wall is created) may freely Attack targets on the other side of the Force Wall.

Hardened Defenses (+3 FC)
Force Walls with Hardened Defenses are not breached unless they accumulate damage equal to their APs of Body (i.e., their Current Body Condition reaches 0).

Continuous (+1 FC)
RAPs of damage to the Wall are not applied to the Power itself so long as the user spends one Automatic Action each phase to maintain the Power.

Special Limitations

Force Wall may be purchased with the following special Factor Cost Limitations:

  • Force Wall Loses 2 APs Per Breach (-1 FC).
  • Force Wall Loses 4 APs Per Breach (-2 FC).
  • Force Screen (-3 FC): Force Wall loses 1 AP per RAP of damage taken to the Wall.
  • Wall Only (-2 FC).
  • Psychic Feedback (-1 FC): any RAPs of damage applied to the Force Wall are used as the AV/EV of an immediate Mental Attack using the Int/Mind of the Power user as OV/RV. RAPs scored on this Attack are taken as Mental Bashing damage against the Power user.

Design notes

This serves as a rewrite of sorts for the Force Field and Force Shield Powers, which normally provide only RV additions. Force Wall can either substitute for those Powers or — as we prefer — supplement them to represent different types of force fields.

The well-known example of the official version of Force Field is the shielding of most science-fiction ships. It makes the vessels harder to damage but allow some damage through even when they are not breached.

An example of Force Wall would be standing shields which completely block damage until they are overloaded or the generator itself is destroyed, at which time the field collapses completely.

A key reason why Force Wall was developed is when, say, a 4 APs a Force Field is protecting diverse characters. It would make a high-RV character like Colossus (Piotr Rasputin) nearly invulnerable, but a low-RV character such as his teammate Dazzler (Alison Blaire) would remain fairly easy to hurt. Yet it’s the same force field – that’s not how it usually works in comics !

Traci 13 blocking a spell

Traci Thirteen sees her magical Force Wall shattered.

Geoforce v1.1

Author: Sébastien Andrivet and Roy Cowan.
Mental Power
Link: INT
Range: Normal
Type: Dice
Base Cost: 20
Factor Cost: 06

This Power allows a Character to sense and control local tectonic activity and volcanism such as faults, subterranean geography and magma flow.

Applications

A Character with Geoforce may use the Power toward a number of applications, including :

Geoperception

Awareness of major conditions underground within a distance equal to the APs of Power.

With concentration the Character can determine local volcanic activity, presence and location of fault lines, underground temperature, large caves of any origin, presence of specific minerals or bodies of water, especially large beings moving underground or other large sources of underground vibrations, etc..

Create earthquakes

Those earthquakes are centered around the Character, who is immune to the direct effects but not incidental ones such as falling buildings and other earthquake hazards.

The maximum intensity is equal to half the APs of Power on the modified Mercalli scale  (see below), rounding down. The maximum radius is equal to ⅔ of the APs of Power.

For instance, a Character with 14 APs of Geoforce can create an Intensity VII earthquake with a radius of 9 APs around them.

The effects of such artificial earthquakes drop sharply at the end of the radius.

Note that in some regions, near tectonics edges, an artificial earthquake may well trigger an actual quake.

Diminish the intensity of earthquakes

As above, but the Mercalli rating of the earthquake is lowered.

Grow a volcano

This feat takes about an hour. The maximum above-ground height of the volcano is ½ the APs of Power – for instance 8 APs is sufficient to create a volcano that is about 150 feet high.

This may or may not be accompanied by an earthquake effect as above, at the Character’s discretion.

The artificial volcano appears in a state of eruption, and will remain eruptive for APs of time equal to the APs of Power.

If the region has no history of volcanism, the volcano will then cool and shut off. If not, it is now considered to be a normal volcano. Congrats.

Widen or close natural fault lines

A clear natural fault must exist in order to perform this. A Character able to manipulate the ground by creating faults of his own has Earth Manipulation.

Redirect flows of magma

Magma will usually have the Flame Being power ranging from 10 to 17 APs according to temperature.

Modified Mercalli scale

This is adapted from the pamphlet The Severity of an Earthquake prepared by the U.S. Geological Survey in 1986.

  • (I) – Not felt except by a very few under especially favourable conditions.
  • (II) – Felt only by a few persons at rest, especially on upper floors of buildings. Delicately suspended objects may swing.
  • (III) – Felt quite noticeably by persons indoors, especially on the upper floors of buildings. Many do not recognize it as an earthquake. Standing motor cars may rock slightly. Vibration similar to the passing of a truck.
  • (IV) – Felt indoors by many, outdoors by few during the day. At night, some awakened. Dishes, windows, doors disturbed; walls make cracking sound. Sensation like heavy truck striking building. Standing motorcars rocked noticeably.
  • (V) – Felt by nearly everyone; many awakened. Some dishes and windows broken. Unstable objects overturned. Pendulum clocks may stop.
  • (VI) – Felt by all; many frightened and run outdoors, walk unsteadily. Windows, dishes, glassware broken…books off shelves… some heavy furniture moved or overturned. A few instances of fallen plaster. Damage slight.
    Standard Action modifier: Challenging.
  • (VII) – Standing is Challenging (OV/RV 02/02). Furniture broken. Damage negligible in building of good design and construction; slight to moderate in well-built ordinary structures; considerable damage in poorly built or badly designed structures. Some chimneys broken. Noticed by persons driving motorcars.
    Standard Action modifier: Difficult.
  • (VIII) – Standing is Difficult (OV/RV 04/04). Damage slight in specially designed structures; considerable in ordinary substantial buildings with partial collapse. Damage great in poorly built structures. Fall of chimneys, factory stacks, columns, monuments, walls. Heavy furniture moved.
    Standard Action modifier: Strenuous.
  • (IX) – Standing is Strenuous (OV/RV 06/06). General panic… damage considerable in specially designed structures, well-designed frame structures thrown out of plumb. Damage great in substantial buildings, with partial collapse. Buildings shifted off foundations.
    Standard Action modifier: Extreme.
  • (X) – Standing is Extreme (OV/RV 08/08). Some well-built wooden structures destroyed; most masonry and frame structures destroyed with foundations. Rails bent.
    Standard Action modifier: Extreme.
  • (XI) – Standing is Pushing the Limit (OV/RV 10/10). Few, if any (masonry) structures remain standing. Bridges destroyed. Rails bent greatly.
    Standard Action modifier: Extreme.
  • (XII) – Standing is Herculean (OV/RV 12/12). Damage total. Lines of sight and level distorted. Objects thrown into the air.
    Standard Action modifier: Pushing the Limit.

These rules can replace those on pp 151-153 of BOH:SE. If you want.

The Basilisk fights Spider-Man and the Thing

Basilisk has the Geoforce Power.

Gliding

Author: Roy Cowan.
The Gliding Power may be purchased with a +1 FC called Air Current Riding.

Characters with the Air Current Riding Bonus to Gliding possess the ability to catch updrafts and thermals to glide higher into the air.

Riding

This is considered a Dice Action. The AV is equal to the APs of Gliding and the EV is the APs of Gliding minus the character’s weight in APs (most adult character’s weigh 2 APs.) OV/RV is a universal modifier set by the GM based on current weather conditions.

A calm, cool afternoon in an area not known for extreme weather (San Francisco, perhaps ?) might have an OV/RV of 08/08. While a January day in the windy city of Chicago might rate an OV/RV of 01/01.

RAPs equal the amount of time in APs that a character may remain airborne before requiring another Air Current Riding Dice Roll Check.

Navigating

While airborne in this manner, the Character may move a distance per Phase equal to his APs of Gliding in any direction as if they possessed the Flight Power. Characters may even use Air Current Riding to take to the air from the Earth.

If a character who is Air Current Riding fails an ACR Check, they have lost the updraft and will begin descending, landing in APs of time equal to his altitude in APs – as per the normal Gliding rules.

GMs may allow subsequent Air Current Riding Dice Checks during the following Phases while the character is descending. RAPs would represent the character catching another updraft.

Tiny glider

Characters who have had their weight reduced below 0 APs through Shrinking, Dispersal, or other means gain the full benefit of lowered mass.

For example, if Tiny Tom (Gliding: 08, Shrinking: 10, baseline weight 2 APs) activates his full APs of Shrinking his AV/EV for his Air Current Riding Dice Roll Check would be 8 APs of Gliding / 8 APs of Gliding – (-8 APs of weight) or 8/ 16.

Gliding’s Movement APs are reduced by APs of Shrinking just like any other Movement Power.

Spider-Woman (Marvel Comics) (Earliest version) gliding in the night

Spider-Woman, riding air currents with the greatest of ease.

Grappling Immunity

Author: Sébastien Andrivet.
Physical Power
Link: BODY
Range: Self
Type: Auto
Base Cost: 10
Factor Cost: 04

This Power allows a Character to protect themselves from Grappling Attack, Wrestling Attacks, Throwing Manoeuvres and Submission Holds.

A Character with Grappling Immunity adds the APs of Power to their RV when defending against such Offensive Combat Manoeuvres.

At the GM’s discretion, certain Powers (such as Snare) that closely resemble a Grappling Attack may also be resisted by Grappling Immunity. This depends on the specific form of the Power used by the attacking Character.

Designer’s notes

For years we used Limited /STR/. Since it was usually equipment that had this ability. But doing the full notation (only to increase RV vs Grappling etc. etc.) every time was cumbersome.

Whereas seeing “Grappling Immunity” immediately suggests what it does. Which isn’t the case with /STR/.

Shocker (Herman Schultz) and Spider-Man

Shocker’ suit has Grappling Immunity, using vibration fields.

Growth

As noted in our Character Interaction New Rules file, allowing an extra target for Intimidation for each AP of Growth would be reasonable.

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