Players spend character points on various powers for their heroes, like acquiring skills or other traits. A power is made up of one or more effects, possibly with different modifiers, which increase or decrease the cost of the effects.
Effects can be used to create any number of different powers. A hero with the Concealment effect could use it to create a power called Blending, Blur, Cloak, Invisibility, Shadowmeld, or anything else appropriate to the character you wish to play. It’s all a matter of how powerful the effect is and what modifiers have been placed on it to increase or decrease its performance. Another way to think of it is that this book is filled with effects, but your character sheet is filled with powers.
Power effects are acquired in ranks, like ranks for other traits. The more ranks an effect has, the greater its effect. Each effect of a power has a standard cost per rank.
Power effects fall into certain categories or effect types. Effects of the same type follow similar rules and provide descriptors for certain other effects. This section discusses the different effect types and the rules governing them.
Attack effects are used offensively in combat. They require an attack check and damage, hinder, or otherwise harm their target in some way. Attack effects require a standard action to use. Their duration is usually instant although their results—whether damage or some other hindrance—may linger until the target recovers. Attack effects always allow for a resistance check.
Control effects grant the user influence over something, from the environment to the ability to move objects or even create them out of thin air. Control effects require a standard action to initiate, but can then usually be sustained. Control effects used against unwilling targets usually require an attack check and allow a resistance check, the same for the hazards they are capable of causing, such as creating intense cold or dropping a heavy object on someone.
Defense effects protect in various ways, typically offering a bonus to resistance checks, or granting outright immunity to particular effects or conditions. Most defense effects work only on the user and are subtle and permanent, functioning at all times. Some are activated and sustained as a free action, meaning they can switch on or off, but can potentially leave the user unprotected.
General effects don’t fit into any other particular category. They’re not governed by any special rules other than those given in the effect’s description.
Movement effects allow characters to get around in various ways. Some provide a speed rank with a particular form of movement—such as ground, air, or water—while others offer different modes of movement, like walking on walls or slithering along the ground like a snake.
Although activating a movement effect is typically a free action, the character must still take a move action in order to actually move using the effect. So, for example, the action of the Flight effect is “free” and activating it grants the character a Flightspeed rank equal to the effect rank. Moving that speed rank still requires a move action, however.
Sensory effects enhance or alter the senses. Some sensory effects improve the user’s senses while others grant entirely new senses or fool the senses in some way. Sensory effects are typically a free action to activate and sustain, or are permanent and always in effect.
Senses are grouped into sense types, descriptors for how different sensory effects work. The sense types, and some of the senses included in them, are:
Visual: normal sight, darkvision, infravision, low-light vision, microscopic vision, ultravision, X-Ray vision
Auditory: normal hearing, sonar (accurate ultrasonic), ultrasonic hearing
Olfactory: normal smell and taste, scent
Tactile: normal touch, tremorsense
Radio: radio, radar (accurate radio)
Special: This is the catchall for other sensory descriptors not given above, including unusual senses or exotic descriptors like cosmic, gravitic, magical, and so forth.
Using powers is a fairly simple matter. Some power effects work automatically. Others—particularly those affecting other people—require some effort to use, like an attack check or a effect check. Powers affecting others allow resistance checks against their effects.
In some cases, you may be required to make an effect check to determine how well an effect works. A power check is just like any other check: d20, plus the power’s rank, plus any applicable modifiers, against a difficulty class set by the Gamemaster. The results of various power checks are described below.
In some cases, usually when one effect is used directly against another, or against a particular trait like an ability or skill, an opposed check is called for (see Opposed Checks in The Basics). If a contest is entirely a matter of whose power is greater, a comparison check is called for; the character with the higher power rank wins automatically.
Each effect has certain parameters that describe the time needed to use the effect, the subject or target, the distance it works at, and so forth. The basic effect parameters are Action, Range, and Duration.
Using or activating an effect requires a particular amount of time. See Actions, for details about the different types of actions. Modifiers may change the action needed to use an effect.
Standard: Using the effect requires a standard action.
Move: Using the effect requires a move action.
Free: It requires a free action to use or activate the effect. Once an effect is activated or deactivated, it remains so until your next turn. As with all free actions, the GM may limit the total number of effects a hero can turn on or off in a turn.
Reaction: It requires no action to use the effect. It operates automatically in response to something else, such as an attack.
None: It requires no action to use the effect. It is always active.
Each effect has a default range, which may be changed by modifiers.
Personal: The effect works only on you, the user.
Close: The effect can target anyone or anything you touch. Touching an unwilling subject requires an unarmed attack check against the subject’s Parry.
Ranged: The effect works at a distance, limited by perception and path and requiring a ranged attack check against the subject’s Dodge defense. A ranged effect has a short range of (rank x 25 feet), a medium range of (rank x 50 feet) and a long range of (rank x 100 feet). Ranged attack checks at medium range suffer a –2 circumstance penalty, while ranged attacks at long range suffer a –5 circumstance penalty. See Action & Adventure for details.
Perception: The effect works on any target you can perceive with an accurate sense, without any need for an attack check. If you cannot accurately perceive the target, you cannot affect it.
Rank: The effect’s range or area of effect is determined by its rank, as given in its description.
Each effect lasts for a particular amount of time, which may be changed by modifiers.
Instant: When used, the effect occurs and ends in the same turn, although its results may linger.
Concentration: You can keep a concentration effect going by taking a standard action each round to do so. If you are incapable of taking the necessary action, or simply choose not to, the effect ends.
Sustained: You can keep a sustained effect going by taking a free action each round to do so. If you are incapable of taking the necessary action, or simply choose not to, the effect ends.
Continuous: The effect lasts as long as you wish, without any action required on your part. Once active, it stays that way until you choose to deactivate it (a free action).
Permanent: The effect is always active and cannot be deactivated, even if you want to. A permanent effect cannot be improved using extra effort.
Effects targeting other characters allow a resistance check. The defense used and the difficulty class depend on the effect and its modifiers.
Willing characters can forgo their resistance check against an effect, if they wish. This includes characters who think they’re receiving a beneficial effect, even if they’re not! You can’t forgo Toughness checks, but you may choose to discontinue the use of effects with a duration of Continuous or Sustained that grant a Toughness bonus in order to lower your resistance.
The Immunity effect allows characters to ignore certain effects altogether, removing the need for a resistance check.
In some circumstances the effects of one power may counter another, negating it. Generally for two effects to counter each other they must have opposed descriptors. For example, light and darkness powers can counter each other as can heat and cold, water and fire, and so forth. In some cases, such as magical or mental effects, powers of the same descriptor can also counter each other. The GM is the final arbiter as to whether or not an effect with a particular descriptor can counter another. The Nullify effect can counter any effect of a particular descriptor!
To counter an effect, you must take the ready action. In doing so, you wait to complete your action until your opponent tries to use a power. You may still move, since ready is a standard action.
You must be able to use the readied effect as a standard action or less. Effects usable as a reaction do not require a ready action; you can use them to counter at any time. Effects requiring longer than a standard action cannot counter during action rounds (although they may be able to counter ongoing effects, see the following section).
If an opponent attempts to use a power you are able to counter, use your countering effect as your readied action. You and the opposing character make effect checks (d20 + rank). If you win, your two powers cancel each other out and there is no effect from either. If the opposing character wins, your attempt to counter is unsuccessful. The opposing effect works normally.
Example: Thetis, goddess of the seas, is fighting the Silver Knight. The hate-mongering villain hurls a blast of white-hot fire (a Ranged Damage effect). Having prepared an action, Thetis’s player says she wants to counter Silver Knight’s fire blast with her water powers. The GM agrees the two powers should be able to counter each other, so he asks Thetis’s player to make a Water Control effect check, while he makes a Fire Control effect check for Silver Knight. Thetis’s player rolls a result of 26 while the GM rolls a result of 19 for Silver Knight. Thetis successfully counters the flame blast, which fizzles out in a gout of steam.
You can also use one power to counter the ongoing effect of another, or other lingering results of an instant effect (like flames ignited by a fiery Damage effect). This requires a normal use of the countering effect and an opposed check, as above. If you are successful, you negate the effect (although the opposing character can attempt to reestablish it normally).
Example: Mindmaster has placed Johnny Comet under his mental control (an Affliction effect). Lady Justice has the power to break such bonds (the Nullify effect). She shines the light of liberty on her teammate and makes an effect check (d20 + her Nullify rank). The GM makes a check of d20 + Mindmaster’s Affliction rank. If Lady Justice wins, Johnny is free of Mindmaster’s control. If she fails, the Victory League will have to come up with another plan to neutralize their super-fast teammate without hurting him.
You can spend a victory point to attempt to counter another power as a reaction, without the need to ready an action to do so. See victory points for details.
|Affliction||Attack||Standard||Close||Instant||Fort. or Will||1 per rank|
|Alternate Form||Varies||Varies||Varies||Varies||—||See description|
|Blast||Attack||Standard||Ranged||Instant||Toughness||2 per rank|
|Burrowing||Movement||Free||Personal||Sustained||—||1 per rank|
|Communication||Sensory||Free||Rank||Sustained||—||4 per rank|
|Comprehend||Sensory||None||Personal||Permanent||—||2 per rank|
|Concealment||Sensory||Free||Personal||Sustained||—||2 per rank|
|Create||Control||Standard||Ranged||Sustained||—||2 per rank|
|Damage||Attack||Standard||Close||Instant||Toughness||1 per rank|
|Dazzle||Attack||Standard||Ranged||Instant||Fort or Will||2 per rank|
|Deflect||Defense||Standard||Ranged||Instant||—||1 per rank|
|Duplication||Control||Standard||Close||Sustained||—||3 per rank|
|Element Control||Control||Standard||Perception||Sustained||Strength||2 per rank|
|Elongation||General||Free||Personal||Sustained||—||1 per rank|
|Energy Absorption||General||Free||Personal||Sustained||—||See description|
|Energy Aura||Attack||Reaction||Close||Instant||Toughness||4 per rank|
|Energy Control||Attack||Standard||Ranged||Instant||Toughness||2 per rank|
|Enhanced Trait||General||Free||Personal||Sustained||—||As base trait|
|Environment||Control||Standard||Rank||Sustained||—||1-2 per rank|
|Extra Limbs||General||None||Personal||Permanent||—||1 per rank|
|Feature||General||None||Personal||Permanent||—||1 per rank|
|Flight||Movement||Free||Personal||Sustained||—||2 per rank|
|Force Field||Defense||Free||Personal||Sustained||—||1 per rank|
|Growth||General||Free||Personal||Sustained||—||2 per rank|
|Healing||General||Standard||Close||Instant||—||2 per rank|
|Illusion||Control||Standard||Perception||Sustained||Awareness||1-5 per rank|
|Immortality||Defense||None||Personal||Permanent||—||2 per rank|
|Immunity||Defense||None||Personal||Permanent||—||1 per rank|
|Insubstantial||General||Free||Personal||Sustained||—||5 per rank|
|Invisibility||Sensory||Free||Personal||Sustained||—||4 or 8 points|
|Leaping||Movement||Free||Personal||Instant||—||1 per rank|
|Luck Control||Control||Reaction||Perception||Instant||—||3 per rank|
|Magic||Attack||Standard||Ranged||Instant||Toughness||2 per rank|
|Mental Blast||Attack||Standard||Perception||Instant||Will||4 per rank|
|Mimic||General||Move||Personal||Sustained||—||8 per rank|
|Mind Control||Attack||Standard||Perception||Instant||Will||4 per rank|
|Mind Reading||Sensory||Standard||Perception||Sustained||Will||2 per rank|
|Morph||General||Free||Personal||Sustained||—||5 per rank|
|Move Object||Control||Standard||Ranged||Sustained||Strength||2 per rank|
|Movement||Movement||Free||Personal||Sustained||—||2 per rank|
|Nullify||Attack||Standard||Ranged||Instant||Rank/Will||1 per rank|
|Power-Lifting||General||Free||Personal||Sustained||—||1 per rank|
|Protection||Defense||None||Personal||Permanent||—||1 per rank|
|Quickness||General||Free||Personal||Sustained||—||1 per rank|
|Regeneration||Defense||None||Personal||Permanent||—||1 per rank|
|Remote Sensing||Sensory||Free||Rank||Sustained||—||1-5 per rank|
|Senses||Sensory||None||Personal||Permanent||—||1 per rank|
|Shapeshift||General||Move||Personal||Sustained||—||8 per rank|
|Shrinking||General||Free||Personal||Sustained||—||2 per rank|
|Sleep||Attack||Standard||Ranged||Instant||Fortitude||2 per rank|
|Snare||Attack||Standard||Ranged||Instant||Dodge||3 per rank|
|Speed||Movement||Free||Personal||Sustained||—||1 per rank|
|Strike||Attack||Standard||Close||Instant||Toughness||1 per rank|
|Suffocation||Attack||Standard||Ranged||Instant||Fortitude||4 per rank|
|Summon||Control||Standard||Close||Sustained||—||2 per rank|
|Super-Speed||See description||Free||Personal||See description||—||3 per rank|
|Swimming||Movement||Free||Personal||Sustained||—||1 per rank|
|Teleport||Movement||Move||Rank||Instant||—||2 per rank|
|Transform||Control||Standard||Close||Sustained||—||2-5 per rank|
|Variable||General||Standard||Personal||Sustained||—||7 per rank|
|Weaken||Attack||Standard||Close||Instant||Fort or Will||1 per rank|
Name: What the effect is called.
Type: The type of effect.
Action: The action required to use the effect: standard, move, free, reaction, or none.
Range: The range at which the effect operates: personal, close, ranged, perception, or rank.
Duration: The effect’s duration: instant, concentration, sustained, continuous, or permanent.
Cost: How many character points the base effect costs per rank.
A description of the effect and what it does in game terms follows.
A listing of extras relevant or unique to the effect. Extras unique to an effect are in italics.
A listing of flaws relevant or unique to the effect.
If any of these entries do not apply, they are omitted. So if an effect does not have any particular extras associated with it, the extras entry is omitted.