Defining the Elements, House Rules

Though this might be seen as a part of Power Design series in reality this is more of a definition of conceptual mechanics rather than actual underpinnings.  Categorization is not necessary but very useful especially when one is searching for things.


For the powers listed here in my blog there are really two layouts in the power commentary:  the first is A=Attack B=Defense C=Movement and D= Senses (or ADMS), this gives a character a variety of ideas without relegating them to the scope determined by the dice.  The other pattern is each option is independent, A-D are merely options without following the previous ADMS pattern.  In some cases this break in conformity is logical because the utility of the power is so mechanically ingrained in multiple situations that pulling out the separate categories is neither feasible nor logical, in which case only one option should be taken most of the time unless the Gm has specific campaign dependent reasons for changing this.   For random characters in the ADMS case that do not have a specific goal design needed up to 2d3 options should be selected or created then the Power cost for any Powered attacks should be set equal to number of advantages+ number of modifiers –number of disadvantages (minimum of 1maximum of 8).  For players the Gm might conceive of some level of balance between characters and alter some if not all characters to at least aim for a similar level of variety without regard to the number of power options rolled on the dice.  A good GM will basically call upon players to share the limelight and be willing to sacrifice some appearance of relative power for the good of all no matter what the dice appear to say.  As a caveat keep in mind that the self-made hero in many a comic has won though the day not with his force of arms but wit and what some would sneer at as lesser talents (which in a gaming session would be called good roleplaying) while his godlike companions failed to do more than beat their heads against walls of power even greater than themselves. 

When it comes to designing, or altering a power (a factor in any universe) here are some notes: the 3 basic parts to any complete power shown above have by design a philosophical harmony behind them.  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 the player’s choice(s). The three distinct elements to the design of a power are specifically the title, the description and the mechanic.  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.  Since 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 creating unique presentations allows a greater expression.  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 mechanic to make the character sensible/cohesive/iconic and by extension the Game itself hopefully more enjoyable. These phrases may even develop into part of a language for a particular group.

Definition of an Attack Element (typically A): This is an element when used grants a greater effect upon aggressive portions of combat than an ordinary human.  This can range from primary combat effects like accuracy or damage benefits to secondary combat effects like altered KO% percentages, altered decision making for opposing characters, even reduction in movement or other effects on combat and the environment are included. Basically, this is where the character attempts to inflict a change upon a target much like the Second Law of Physics. The effects also do not have to be guaranteed or absolute, and are subject to Gm rationales for game effects though these should be uncommon and may be altered for sufficient drama.

Definition of a Defense Element (usually B): This is a whole or part of power that gives the character an increased resistance to some portion of reduced health, stamina, utility or negative combat elements effect to some portion or element of negative effects upon his character, frequently but not always as a direct result of combat. Primary examples of this element is a reduction in others accuracy, damaging capacity to the character or separate hit point capacity, smaller dice effect dice against the defending individual etc. as well as resistance to secondary combat effects like altered KO% percentages, avoiding altered decision making and even rarely resistance to reduction in movement, afflicting others with sensory impairments as well or other effects on combat are included in the realm of defense.  

Definition of Movement Element (Frequently C): This section of power elements deals with not only the ability to move in enhanced ways but also resistance to reduction in movement or other similar effects on the character are included in this grouping.   The character is also not limited to just common modes of movement (like running, jumping, swimming, etc.) but can include movement to other places, times, dimensions, and at speeds ranging from faster than ordinary men, faster than light, to at the speed of plot.

Definition of Sensory Element (Commonly D): This element of a power grants the character a differentiated or enhanced information source from most baseline human sensory capacity. This is also the realm where the character could be a one-eyed person in the land of the blind, see with sight beyond sight, and learns from the cosmos or time itself.  Common elements include being exceptionally perceptive in or out of combat, predictive or precognitive abilities, or detecting things that are not immediately observable to a ‘common man’.  It should be noted that extra sensory abilities that have direct impacts upon combat (no matter the resultant effect) are rightfully relegated to the respective element whether defensive or offensive.  

The Artwork for this blog is very old, I remember working on it in High school during one of the family trips to visit more family in Oklahoma.  It is my iconic character The Rook or Rookie displaying three elemental powers his suit can generate: His air boots firing in order to help with the backflip while he discharges an electrical bolt from his left hand as his right hand centralizes the heat the suit is generating in order to potentially burn the next person punched.    The medium is pen and Ink with colored pencils on 20# copier paper.



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