Don’t Reveal Your Gifts

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This is a light DRYH hack inspired by this music video. Secondary inspirations are Rising Stars and Chronicle.

Something happened to your town to make this possible. Maybe there was a strange meteor a few years back, or a solar flare at high noon in Summer with you right underneath. Maybe it was a drug trial run on your parents before you were born, or just being downstream from that plant they said was totally safe.  Whatever is was, over the last few years a few of the kids around your age have been developing powers.

One of the know-it-all kids convinced everyone that the adults wouldn’t understand, that the government would come and take you away, and that was enough to keep a bunch of rebellious adolescents quiet. At least for a few months, until one of the oldest kids with powers freaked out a couple weeks ago, totally wrecked the school. Turns out the know-it-all was right: the government descended on your town and took him away. Now they’re constantly hanging around and asking questions and the rest of you are having a real hard time keeping cool.

It was only so long before the stress got so bad someone would blow. Nobody thought the day would be bad enough that you’d all flip out at once…

The Questionnaire

  • Why can’t you rely on your parents or another adult to help you? Think about what kind of troubled young teen with superpowers you want to be. This matters because it forces you to be self reliant.
  • Who do you just know is going to be on the news claiming they always thought you were trouble? Think about your petty small town rivalries and what you did to deserve them. This matters because it gives the GM hooks to personalize your opposition.
  • Where do you plan to run? Think about the plans a kid with no resources or real understanding of the world would make to try to get away. This matters because it allows the GM to structure the first session or two.
  • What is too important to leave behind? Think about a possession or loved one that you’ll risk your own safety to hang onto and take with you on the run. This matters because it gives you an early goal.
  • What just happened? Think about what kind of terrible day would cause you to reveal your powers in a way that will immediately out you as a threat. This matters because it allows the GM to structure the first scenes and get you all together.

Rules Changes

Player Dice

  • Discipline remains unaltered, though it’s colored by the kind of competencies available to adolescents rather than full adults. Since there are no responses, when discipline dominates you can decrease Stress by one or Scrutiny by one.
  • Exhaustion becomes Stress; picture becoming more effective but scared because of adrenaline. Like normal, you can raise it by one intentionally and it automatically increases by one when it dominates. When it exceeds six, you crash.
  • Madness becomes Recklessness; you can achieve a lot more if you’re willing to risk getting noticed. Like madness, you can vary the number of these dice you add to any roll. When recklessness dominates, increase Scrutiny by one.

Talents

  • Exhaustion talents become Aptitudes, and represent the thing you’re best at and get better at as the going gets tough. They work identically to exhaustion talents (minimum success equal to your Stress automatically, or take on another Stress die to add your Stress to the successes).
  • Madness talents become Powers. Pick something big and flashy; it needs to be versatile and capable of massive collateral damage. Energy projection, telekinesis, and super strength are great choices. Like madness talents, to use your power (voluntarily) you must add Recklessness dice to your roll equivalent to the level of the effect you want to create.

GM Dice

  • Pain becomes Danger, but is essentially unchanged. The GM always rolls at least one danger die, and can roll up to nine. When danger dominates, gain a coin of Catastrophe: even if the character succeeded, he or she made a mistake that will come back to haunt the group later.
  • Scrutiny starts at zero, and represents the intensity with which the authorities are looking for the player characters. It’s increased by crashing and Recklessness dominating. Add these dice to every roll: even when there aren’t police and FBI agents actively in the scene chasing the characters, the effects of the manhunt on the behavior of the rest of the world and the intensity of the scene are palpable. When scrutiny dominates, if the result was a failure, the acting character is captured and will have to be rescued by the others (but reduce Scrutiny by 2). If the result was a success, the group must immediately face a new Danger 3 (plus Scrutiny) challenge of a group of cops or agents; obviously, if Scrutiny is high enough to keep dominating, this could keep going until someone is captured.

Crashing and Snapping

  • Crashing causes you to erupt in a storm of powers, probably causing massive property damage and casualties, immediately raising Scrutiny by 3. You pass out afterwards (for hours rather than days), leaving your friends to figure out what to do with you (and probably resulting in a capture and reduction of Scrutiny by 2 if you were not in a position to be saved before the authorities got you), but you have your full Discipline and other capabilities when you wake up.
  • Snapping is mostly rolled into Crashing; instead, the secondary threat to characters is Scrutiny getting high enough that they’re faced with immediate capture.

Coins

  • Coins of Despair become Coins of Catastrophe. They represent mistakes the player characters made catching up to them. They work the same as despair, and generate coins of Hope when used.
  • Coins of Hope are unchanged.

Card Crawl

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This is an extremely lightweight D&D-esque system designed to provide extremely fast-paced character creation and combat. It’s intended to replicate a lot of classic dungeon crawl-style play: characters become less disposable and more interesting over time (but are easy to replace at low level) and players might alternate PCs as some of their “stable” are unavailable for particular adventures.

All character detail is handled with cards that can be reduced to a packet after play (but unlike some card systems, many of the cards expect players to personalize them). At the beginning of each session, players arrange their cards into several “sheets” of up to 3 x 3 cards (card binder sleeves are probably helpful) which can actually alter the way the character plays each session (by rearranging skills and their bonuses and weapon combos).

I only got the character cards done before I got distracted; I’ll hopefully get back around to adding the other cards later.

Core System

  • Roll dice + skill bonus
    • 2d6 for Cautious action
    • 1d12 for Aggressive action
    • Cautious vs. Aggressive only matters for description of action (player basically trades higher average and minimum for less chance at high numbers)
  • Difficulty:
    • Against Opponent: 6 + Opponent skill
    • Against Environment: 6-18
    • Tie goes to defender
  • Margin of success matters

Character Creation

  • Take one race card
  • Take one +4/+4 character card (or a second race card if the first race was Human and the player wants to be a half-X)
  • Take one +1 attack
  • Take a 1 point, 2 point, and 3 point Defense card (or larger if the GM wants a lower-lethality game)
  • Take one piece of basic gear.

Character Cards

Outside of character creation, cards have a cost equal to highest bonus x 10 (most cards are 8 points divided between two skills, min 1, so a +4/+4 costs 40 points and a +7/+1 costs 70). A player can only have one race card (two if a half-human), and only one of each other category of card.

Each card has a place for the player to write a name, focus, or description; a special ability; two skill bonuses; and two skills. The bonuses are on right and bottom, skills are on left and top. When you place a card adjacent to another horizontally or vertically, the sides combine to form a bonus (ignore any skills or numbers on sides that are not adjacent). Players can arrange their cards as desired at the start of each session but must have one card in the center and can only build one card out from that card (to a max of 9 x 9). Many of the skills are deliberately vague, and the player should be allowed to use any skill that could remotely make sense for a situation, within the GM’s tolerance.

The cards are here.

Until you’ve purchased a card, you do not have whatever the cards represent: no name, no title, no class, no backstory. For example, a player that chooses Human and Elf to start is just “The half-elf” until he buys a class and becomes “The half-elf Fighter.” He may eventually purchase name and backstory elements as well, but until the card is purchased, it’s a mystery to everyone.

Attack/Action Cards

Each card costs the innate bonus of the attack x 10. You have to buy cards in pyramid (e.g., 2 at +1 to buy a +2, 3 at +1 and 2 at +2 to buy a +3, etc.). Some require a class card as a prerequisite for purchase (e.g., Fighter attacks).

Each has a combo bonus on the bottom and right. Higher bonuses come from cards that are harder to use. If you use the attack successfully, if your next action is the attack to the right or the bottom, you get the bonus. Like character cards, attack cards can be arranged as desired each session, but must have one in the middle.

Each has an attack with a base attack bonus involved and an effect.

The difficulty of an attack is usually equal to 9 unless otherwise modified.

Defense Cards

Each card costs the number on the card x 10.

Each card has a rating 1-9. These cards aren’t arranged, but just kept in a stack. When the character is hit by an attack, he or she must discard defense cards with a total rating at least equal to the margin of success (e.g., roll of 11 vs. difficulty of 9 must discard 2 points of cards; that could be two 1 cards, or a 2 or better card). A player may have to discard a large card if there are no smaller cards that exactly total the damage.

Each card has a special effect. The player can tap a defense card to gain the effects of the card. The card can’t be used again until untapped (including to expend for soaking damage). A long rest untaps the cards.

A player can only use defense cards equal to total usable character and attack cards (i.e., three for a starting character and up to 18 for a character with two full 3 x 3 grids of cards). A player with more defense cards must select which ones to bring on the adventure.

The character is Incapacitated at 0 cards (even if some cards are just tapped). This may or may not mean death, depending on the situation, but usually means the character is just unconscious if any cards are tapped rather than expended.

Healing can restore 1 card (equal or less than the value of the healing effect). If you’ve been healed, you can’t be healed again until you’re damaged again. Otherwise, defense cards return due to natural healing (at slow rate based on speed GM wants characters to be out of play between adventures).

Gear and Spell Cards

Gear/Spells grant a special ability (generally used by tapping the card). Gear and spells are acquired from adventuring (casters also get magic attacks that represent more commonly usable spells; spell cards are generally more powerful). A character can only equip a number of gear + spell cards equal to lowest card total of any other group (e.g., a character with 2 character cards, 1 attack, and 3 defense cards can only equip one piece of gear or spell). Any piece of gear or spell that hasn’t been tapped can be swapped between encounters with another piece of gear or spell the character owns and could be carrying.

Like defenses, gear and spell cards are untapped after a long rest.

Enemies

Enemies have a HD type, an attack bonus, and anything else is a special ability. Roll one HD for each creature in the fight when it begins and eliminate them like defense cards. For example, a four pack of d6 goblins rolls 2, 3, 5, and 6. A hit on goblins of 5 MoS might take out both the 2 and 3 or the 5. Enemies can use their attack bonus as a skill bonus for things they should be great at, half their bonus (rounded down) for things they might be competent at, and +0 for everything else. Beefy enemies might have multiple HD each: group them into clusters for each enemy after rolling and the enemy is incapacitated when all of its dice are gone.

Inheritance (Second-Gen Supers)

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I recently got linked to Legion of Nothing and very quickly tore my way through the five years of biweekly updates. It’s a take on the idea of generational superheroes, my other favorite examples of which are The Incredibles and Sky High. (I might also mention Watchmen, but I’m not sure it has quite the same vibe.)

Most supers campaigns I’ve played or heard about have tended to focus on first-generation heroes, and a lot of supers RPG settings even make “superheroes are just emerging now” a central conceit. But positing a Golden or even Silver Age of powered individuals prior to the start of the campaign has a number of interesting advantages:

  • It’s required to have some kind of equilibrium with law enforcement and government that can inform player actions. Either the previous generation got superheroics outlawed, in which case the players know they’ll be acting on the sly, or the previous generation established a set of protocols (implicit or explicit) about how the new player characters can act within the world.
  • Player characters don’t have to start from scratch: they’ll necessarily inherit resources and wisdom from the previous generation. The characters can start heroing from the first session, because they don’t have to feign ignorance of the genre conventions while they learn to be heroes or spend several sessions justifying access to necessary support.
  • Game plotlines can play with a fully fleshed-out “how do powers alter the world?” concept immediately, and can reference events with short exposition about what the previous generation knew. Players can be launched right into a tangle of plotlines with earlier development based purely on their forebears’ prestige.
  • Character generation can mix random and purchased powers generation, possibly satisfying both camps.

These last points are the focus of the (mostly system-agnostic) ideas below.

Previous Generation Generation

Most supers systems have some kind of random power generation method. Have each player make at least two characters using this method; you don’t need to fully flesh out character stats, but at least get a full suite of powers to figure out exactly what the character can do.

Use the collaborative system of your choice (Smallville Pathways, Microscope, etc.) to assign those power sets to semi-fleshed out characters. You need each one to be a named hero or villain with a good idea of personality and history. You particularly want to make sure these characters have numerous trysts that could produce another generation of supers. If you wind up with a whole set of notes on previous stories and characters in this world, so much the better.

Note a point where the characters start to wind down to care for their children and ultimately think about retirement. Then all the players pick the parents for their actual PCs based on which relationships they find interesting and what kind of powers they want to have.

Use this information and the rules below to generate your characters.

Perks and Flaws

The ideas below assume that you’re using a system with point-based chargen for all elements. If you’re using something where powers aren’t really quantified on that scale, the GM should just give away powers equal to the previous generation and award free points for each perk that isn’t about powers sufficient that everyone feels that the other advantages are worthwhile (e.g., if Inheritance grants a bunch of really potent powers, Trained should give a whole spread of really good combat skills).

Perks and Flaws are separate from normal chargen. Each Perk costs one point and each Flaw awards one point. Players start with Inheritance (except those that take Scrub) and can buy more by taking Flaws. Most Flaws are mutually exclusive with at least one Perk. You can only buy these traits if they make sense within established facts from the prior generation (e.g., if both parents are described as dead broke, you probably shouldn’t take Wealthy for their kids).

Perks

  • Inheritance: (Automatic) You have fully inherited the potential from one of your ancestors. You can buy powers from that prior character up to whatever levels that character had (and can buy them after chargen with sufficient in-story rationale as to why latent powers are awakening).
  • Dual Inheritance: (Replaces Inheritance) You have inherited potential from both sides of the family. You can treat both prior characters’ powers as your Inheritance for purchasing at chargen or later (with the same need for rationale for latent awakening).
  • Combined Power Genesis: (Replaces Inheritance) The mixture of your parents’ genes created a new set of powers influenced by but not identical to your forebears. Work with the GM to come up with a list of powers and levels that are inspired by your characters’ ancestors, and you can purchase them like an Inheritance. These have similar magnitude and levels to the prior characters (e.g., if both characters have weak powers at low ranks, you probably shouldn’t hybrid it into a major power at high rank).
  • Prestigious Legacy: Your ancestors weren’t just heroes, they were some of the most renowned heroes in the world. You have a very easy time gaining renown and respect, and may just collect some completely unearned accolades if your costume is similar enough to your ancestor’s. You may sometimes gain aid or gifts from people that feel they owe debts to your forebear.
  • Wealthy: You descend from supers that either already had money, managed to turn their powered earnings into lasting and legitimate wealth, or married into money. While all of the (non-Broke) characters are comfortable and have access to whatever resources are standard to the team, you’re rich in your secret identity. This gives you a lot of potential social and political pull and freedom from having to work a day job to protect your identity. If the system includes a wealth trait, you can purchase as much as you’d like (others can only buy up to middle class). If there is no such trait, you can just assume you’re rich.
  • Trained: Your parents decided to prepare you from childhood to take over for them some day, or at least to protect yourself against their enemies. You can buy any combat skills you wish and have easy access to training for more in-play (other PCs are limited to what makes sense for their background at chargen, which might be very low indeed if you start as teenagers).
  • Augmented: Your family was friendly with psychics, inventors, government scientists, or some other group that could give their kids a leg up. You can buy limited powers that represent what makes sense for improvements from mental defense constructs, cybernetics, or minor genetic boosts. These should be limited to things it makes sense to do to your children to give them a protection against an empowered world, rather than whole power tropes on their own.
  • Airtight Identity: Your family has been very careful to establish a wall between powered and civilian life. You’ve trained from childhood on behaviors to keep people from finding out your secrets (including low-level psychic defenses to protect you from surface probes). There’s no paper trail leading to you from any of your parents’ costumed deeds. If a plotline is uncovering the real identities of the PCs, yours will be the last to fall and the easiest to actively protect.

Flaws

  • Scrub: (Replaces Inheritance) If you got any powers at all, they’re much weaker than those of prior generations. Maybe your parents were the skill specialists of the team with no powers at all. You can only buy echoes of your ancestors’ powers: replace major or moderate powers with similar weak powers, and you can only take a rank or two of them (if that’s meaningful in your system). You should probably take Trained and get yourself some powered armor or gadgets if you’d like to fight evil with your friends. You cannot buy Dual Inheritance or Combined Power Genesis.
  • Obvious/Mutated: Your powers are very hard to hide, either as a direct inheritance or some new element from combined powers in a bloodline. You might constantly leak visible energy, be unable to turn off your armor/size, or have other inhuman mutations to your body. With some combination of containment tech, illusion projection, or just really bulky clothes, you can still maintain a secret identity, but it’s always one malfunction or accident away from being revealed to everyone nearby. You cannot buy Airtight Identity.
  • Villainous Forebear: At least one of your ancestors was a very bad person that still has notoriety, enemies, and former allies that believe debts are owed. You have to work twice as hard to get respect as your teammates (because everyone is just waiting for you to go dark too and/or suffered at the hands of your forebear). You will often be singled out by people that want payback for the sins of the father. You cannot buy Prestigious Legacy.
  • Broke: Maybe your parents died early or just were never very good with money, and you never learned even basic money-management skills yourself. Unlike the other characters, your character is not even middle class: you cannot buy any wealth- or finance-related traits, and your secret identity is poor. Even if you still live a comfortable life supported by the rest of the team or the government, you’re the last person they’ll trust with unrestricted access to team resources that could be sold off and you’re the first person they’ll blame if something gets stolen. You cannot buy Wealthy.
  • World on Your Shoulders: Growing up with your legacy was too much to live with, and it did bad things to your mental health. You must take at least one relatively crippling psychological problem such as addiction, overconfidence, narcissism, etc. Your personality is somewhat annoying or worrisome to your teammates, and they’ll have a hard time trusting you with serious responsibilities or even getting you to admit that you have a problem.
  • Overprotective Parents: Your parents never wanted this for you, and have tried hard to keep you from following your legacy. They will constantly try to interfere with your superheroing. You cannot buy Trained or Augmented.
  • Cursed: Your lineage comes with a major downside, either as a consequence of your powers or an unrelated aspect of your bloodline. You have some kind of incurable chronic debilitating ailment. It’s probably not fatal within your expected career as a hero, but it causes you pain and difficulty performing certain tasks.
  • Open Identity: Either because your parents were public or you made a mistake early in your career, you have no secret identity: your legal identity is publicly associated with your powered one. This puts any unpowered friends and relatives in serious danger, and threatens the secret identities of your teammates if they’re seen with you unmasked. You cannot buy Airtight Identity.
  • Promises to Keep: You made a long-term bargain with a (relatively) benign entity or inherited one from your family. Maybe you owe service to the government beyond what your team already provides, maybe your mentor is powerful and requires service for knowledge, or maybe you owe your powers themselves to some group intent on collecting for a long time. You will regularly be leaned on by this group to do things you might not otherwise want to do.

A Powers Framework

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I’m not really sure what the system below is for, but it more or less came together all at once in my head while thinking about how comics tend to have very plot-devicey magic and how it would be cool to do something more consistent. So the frameworks include magic, psychic abilities, and superpowers. The major goal is to make the three types of effect have limited overlap. It also makes mind control really hard, because that’s generally more trouble than it’s worth in a supers game.

Magic

  • Magic is an act of will: Creating a mystical effect requires the mage to imagine it completely and use this mental template to create a change in the world. This is often done by using ritual objects and chanted spells to more easily force the mind into quickly envisioning common effects. Many mages study languages invented for magic, where spell vocabulary that would be complex in conversational languages are much more efficiently spoken. A spell in a language the mage doesn’t understand is almost always useless. Envisioning new effects is mentally draining, but a mage can use well-remembered spells indefinitely.
  • Magic requires sympathy: The more things are connected, the easier it is for a mage to channel magic through them. A mage has a much harder time throwing fire at a stranger across a room than igniting a nemesis via blood and a true name across the world. Forging symbolic links between the target and intention is essential to all magic.
  • Magic moves energy: Mages cannot create or destroy energy. To throw lightning, a mage must have access to a significant source of electricity. However, due to sympathy, this energy doesn’t have to be on hand, just connected to the mage by a sympathetic link. Naturally occurring sympathetic “channels” link vast untapped wells of various forms of energy within the earth, and a mage with access to these ley lines can evoke significant power. Even a master mage cannot evoke significant effects without access to power (but such mages often know many different ways to find and channel power).
  • Magic cannot invade another’s mind: Magic may not alter or divine the thoughts of another sapient being. However, mages can teach most such individuals to willingly project parts of their thoughts in a way that the mage can access (essentially visiting their dreams). Some mages develop ways to trick individuals into doing this to read their minds without them knowing, but even then nothing beyond surface thoughts can be accessed or adjusted.
  • Magic cannot deliberately alter the wielder’s body: Despite the dreams of many a mage, it’s not possible to change the body of the mage. This is likely due to even the most minor of changes being invasive enough to break concentration or throw off the sympathy of the mage to him or herself. Magic can create the illusion of personal change. Sometimes magical backlash will alter the mage. The inherent use of magic often seems to extend the life and health of the mage within the human norm. Magic can alter the forms of others, but doing so requires very complicated rituals (as altering biology is an extremely complicated thing to envision).
  • Magic cannot create or destroy mass: Magic can teleport matter in discrete chunks (beings or objects that are part of a sympathetic whole), but cannot create it from nothing nor eliminate it. Thus, magic cannot cause things to grow or shrink, and cannot remove part of a coherent being or object. Magic is very good at removing foreign objects that don’t share a sympathetic unity with their hosts. Magic can cause a target to slowly increase or decrease in mass by exchanging matter with the environment (e.g., eating or excreting for living beings).
  • Magic is impermanent: Reality seeks to undo magic, leaving behind only what would make sense in a purely rational world. Damage dealt by flung energy remains, and objects or beings altered slowly and within the bounds of chemistry or biology may retain their changes. But pure magical constructs or significant physical changes revert quite quickly. A mage can weave a more complex spell (creating a more complete and robust visualization of the change) to make the effect last longer, but it will eventually expire. Through great effort, a mage can sometimes set up a persistent sympathetic bond to a source of power that will renew the magical effect, but breaking the bonds or exhausting the power source returns the magic to temporary status.
  • Magic is learned: Magic is knowledge and training, won like any skill through dedication and practice. Some individuals seem to have more of a knack for it, just as some individuals have a knack for any other educational focus, but there are no humans “gifted” with a shortcut to power and none that cannot evoke magic if they successfully learn the discipline. If one puts in the time and effort, magic is available to all sapient beings, and is a learned skill like any other.

Psionics

  • Psionics are exhausting: Unlike magic and superpowers, psionic abilities seem to violate known physics: they can exert energy on the environment with no clear source. However, using them exhausts the wielder proportionate to the strength of the effect. Only time and relaxation can restore a psion’s ability to exert power.
  • Psionics enhance perception: Many psionic abilities provide sensory information to the wielder without a clear chain. A psion can learn to read minds, interpret energy signals outside the normal spectrum obvious to humans, view remote locations, and even glimpse aspects of the past and future. In most cases, the psion can only detect, not influence: minds cannot be controlled, signals cannot be generated, locations cannot be teleported to, and time cannot be traveled.
  • Psionics extend touch: Psions can move things with only the mind and a force beyond what their muscles can create using telekinesis. Many learn all kinds of interesting variations beyond simply lifting objects, such as defensive “force fields” and generating or halting sufficient friction to alter fire, heat, and even electricity (pyro, cryo, and electrokinesis). The range on these effects is always based on the wielder’s perception, but that is often greatly expanded by other psionic abilities. Creative psions can seem to violate the limits of their powers by applying telekinesis in precise ways.
  • Psionics are part of sapience: Only sapient beings can gain psionic powers, and only a subset seem to have the gift. Rather than some kind of inherent limitation, these powers seem to be accessed by reaching a state of mind that is unique to the wielder. It remains uncertain whether all humans could gain these powers, but they appear in only a small fraction of the population. There are no individuals limited to only a minor talent, though some psions may not realize their starting insight can be further developed by training. If the psion’s mind was to change bodies, psionics would be retained.
  • Psionics are all connected: Psions often cannot devote the time to become skilled in more than one aspect of psionic power, but no psion is limited in the choice of disciplines. A psion skilled in telekinesis could choose to develop his or her telepathy at any time, and vice versa.

Superpowers

  • Superpowers store energy: Each individual with superpowers has a type of energy that his or her body will absorb and store within an internal “battery.” Energy cannot be created or destroyed, but can often be stored drastically more efficiently than chemical batteries. Some powered individuals can project energy commensurate with a small power station, but only if they’ve previously absorbed all that power from their preferred source. When the internal battery runs out, the powers stop working. Common sources of power are light, electricity, chemical (i.e., eating food), or kinetic. The powered individual takes reduced harm from the energy type, but the conversion is rarely completely efficient and those that can absorb more dangerous sources tend to find them a less robust source of energy (e.g., a kinetic absorber is hard to hurt but not completely invulnerable to impacts, and requires more effort to fill up than an individual powered by sunlight).
  • Superpowers alter the body: All superpowers in some way alter the wielder’s body. This may mean an actual physical change or the ability to project energy or matter. No powers allow the wielder to alter the world without a direct link to the physical form: telekinesis, teleportation, telepathy, and anything else that could reasonably have “tele” in the name are the province of magic and psionics.
  • Superpowers can seem to alter mass: Individuals with superpowers can shrink, grow, or add physical augmentations that seem to create mass from nowhere or make it disappear. In all of these cases, the individual is coupling dimensional warping with shapeshifting. An individual that grows retains the same mass, but is slightly shifted outside the normal dimension to seem heavier and larger, and one that shrinks is shifting in the other direction. The cube-square law doesn’t come into effect, but neither does strength scale directly: a “giant” is stronger, but not in a completely proportionate manner. Characters that alter mass are not completely in phase with this reality, and that can become a vulnerability that magic or psionics can sometimes exploit.
  • Superpowers cannot directly alter another: All superpowers affect the wielder, not anyone else. However, projected energy, chemicals, or biological agents can have minor or major effects on a target. In all cases, these must be transmitted to the target through a logical vector for the type of emission.
  • Superpowers are part of biology: All superpowers come from mutation, accidental or deliberate genetic manipulation, or entirely alien biology. Someone who knows what to look for can identify a powered individual via DNA (though uncommon powers may appear at unexpected places in the genetic sequence). If an individual were to transfer his or her mind to another body, all powers would remain with the original one.