The Three Design Concepts for Powers Part I

A special note should be included about the Origin of characters powers before getting to the design concepts for powers and the notes about individual powers themselves. There is and should be some influence on any individual power by the origin of a characters power(s) which ties into game malleability. Where a power originates from can be a useful building block for an iconic character design thus a character can choose to have many of their powers derive from a single point of origin or have powers come from or be influenced by a variety of sources of power.  Some characters have multiple power origins which appears to be done to make some characters seem more experienced this choice can really make an interesting character if not a power itself but should not be over used.  Some origin concepts may work well in some campaigns others may not work as well.  If the campaign is supposed to be gritty street heroes then godlike aliens and filthy rich tycoons of industry may not work as well as nosy reporters and gun toting vigilantes.

When it comes to designing or altering a power for any reason, here are some notes: there are 3 basic parts to any complete power, and by design there is a philosophical harmony behind them.  The three distinct elements to the design of a power are specifically the title, the description and the mechanic.  Because of the huge number of possible results these descriptors are left fairly vague, and the Gm is encouraged to assign reasonable characteristics to match the desired abilities based upon a high degree of matching the player’s input. In the best of the designed powers all three items work together to provide a harmonious, informative, concise and enjoyable experience for the Player, Gm and any observers.  The Gm and players should work up fairly interesting and useful abilities for the character to tell their own story rather than having a sole reliance upon the rules presented in these books.  Even if a power has a really definite title, description and/or mechanic associated with it in these rules the players should feel free to suggest and GM’s should really consider altering any part of the elements to make the character sensible/cohesive/iconic and by extension making the Game itself hopefully that much more enjoyable.

The Title should be concise, it is the introduction of a power and there is a certain power in a brief, unique, but vibrant intro. Ranging most often from 2-6 words, two to make it more distinctive than some onomatopoeia or too common of a titular name while keeping it under seven should make the phrase generally beneath the notice of legal influence. Operating as the intro for the characters next dramatic action, after a few sessions the others witnessing the character calling out the power should have an idea of what to expect when the character says he will be using his Super Sleeper Hold, his Knockout Punch or “I just hit him.” and probably expect some different probabilities of altered though similar end results, often challenging or removing the obstacle. The title should be no more than six words typically, in part for brevity and making it an easy recognize ability and in order to also counter the possibility of plagiarism. The Title can also add to the drama of a situation in some cases for example rather than pulling out his Broadhead Arrow again the character can add some mystery to the moment by pulling out his Razor Rocket Arrow, a hitherto unseen Arrow by the other players at the table (perhaps pre approved by the Gm during an outside of game discussion) adding a new flavor to the encounter yet with the same mechanics as the regularly used Broadhead Arrow.

The Artwork continues displaying counters from my own V&V Campaign, as first seen in the Expanded Powers post.

3 thoughts on “The Three Design Concepts for Powers Part I

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s