Absorbing Ideas

Part of the reason I like RPG’s is probably the building aspects.  Unlike in the real world I do have the focus, time and ability to see things through that aren’t really possible in the real world.


Absorption Power Commentary: This is conceptually the ability to collect from other nouns abilities that alter themselves typically handled in game by gaining new or different powers, characteristics, abilities etc. from the immediate surroundings, including friends or opponents.  In addition, this power can be used to deny opponents access to certain special abilities as well as possibly alter environmental effects.  The use of the Absorption power may mimic the desired ability, remove the desired characteristics or trade one or a set of abilities for another.  Secondarily: absorbed results that significantly or dramatically alter the character are not permanent generally speaking, but may be permanent if they are low level results, representing a challenge/limitation or for really dramatic results.  Tertiarily: the character usually has limits on how much may be absorbed, with the character either losing all gained abilities once the limit is reached or gradually losing enhancements and /or restrictions to use as new ones are gained, unless the abilities are permanent. As a final note this power by itself may be flexible to the point of being a significant annoyingly problematic power especially with a player who may enjoy challenging a GM.  


A: Offensively speaking Absorption is considered fairly indirect as many sorts of absorption powers take incoming energies and either reflects them (retuning the energy as the same type but at a different and hopefully more viable target) or transmutes them (turning one type of energy to another) generally this is described as absorbing the energies to build up a pool of the resource then releasing the accumulated energies.  Other offensive uses include gaining powers from allies, opponents or the environment while in some cases removing defenses from the targets is another way to increase the offensive capacity of Absorption.  A character who removes from a target character the ability to accurately target objects in his surroundings alters the combat in that the character should be less likely to optimize their environment; it could end up working like a use of the darkness power or the blinding effects of a light power as well as forcing the targeted character to reconsider how to be effective in combat.


B: The versatility in using an absorbing defense means there are a wide variety of uses to Absorption, after all if you remove a Light Control from one character you have used a defensive ability through denying a cheap way to damage and blind opponents of the character who lost the power.  In addition, if you mimic the looks of an opponent’s team mate they are probably not going to attack the mimic until they have good reason, and some powers are primarily defensive so trading 0 Invulnerability for 20 Invulnerability can change the outcome of the combat dramatically.   Characters who borrow abilities from their environment could gain resistance to fire of some sort from becoming one with the earth, becoming air could defend against most blows much like gaining non-corporealness, becoming one with wood could decrease the effectiveness of lightning based attacks and as a general rule becoming a harmful environment generally grants decreased likelihood of being hit by that environment.  What abilities are gained are up to the Gm, who should be generally consistent and considerate of the Players desires and input as well as the power and story balance.   


C: Since this ability frequently involves the alteration of powers or attributes, absorbing any one of the abilities that directly or indirectly grant some form of movement; such as flight, speed bonus or vibratory powers does grant those benefits as well. Assuming a gaseous form may allow the character to pass through small openings or float along at his ground movement rate and becoming a form of energy may grant movement based upon the energy type.


D: Senses are not typically granted by Absorption, most often occurring when another power is absorbed, in some cases the absorber may be able to simulate Heightened Senses by absorbing memories, thusly gaining insight into how a death trap was constructed letting the character devise a way out using the inside information as an example of an indirect duplication of Heightened Senses with the absorption power. Another possibility is one of a character being able to target superpowers by detecting them.  This should not reveal other supers secret identities in the situation, as a secret identity is one of a characters deepest and greatest responsibilities.




Examples of Absorption Powers (1d8 +1d6-1)


-Addiction Guy: The character with this power can absorb and then suffer the withdrawal symptoms from any sort of physical or mental addiction; he then can inflict those same problems upon his opponents as an attack.  The first use of the withdrawal symptom as an attack is free, every use after that costs 5 PR. This variant of a power can skew things towards a much darker campaign or, quite possibly worse, into problem of the week territory as the absorber seeks out a never-ending series of problems to absorb to gain power.  This also does not remove the core issue that caused the problem in the first place and may worsen the issues if the addict realizes they can ‘cure what ails them’.


-Blobule: the Blobule absorbs some of the Biomass (i.e. weight) of target equal to the attacking characters (Hth damage [plus modifiers!]) x10 in lbs. per action.  Both characters gains all the benefits as well as penalties of having the altered biomass.  The Blobule however does not ingest food, instead losing 50 pounds per week as any character who lost gains 50# per week (per day if hospitalized for treatment) until they regain their weight levels. Tecnomass is the name of a variant that draws upon technology bits and pieces to gain mass and/or repair health with a rule excepting clothes.  Sometimes Technomass characters have a radii and apparently a removed need to use an action (Game wise the character is forced to take their last action between turns and only to use this power to restore to optimal systems level   


-Brain Net: in some cases the character draws from nearby characters the available tenths of an inventing point available in the building the character is currently in to add to his current total of inventing points tallied only once per adventure. In addition, the character having developed an ability to call upon others to do his thinking for him now uses their inventing % +I% (not Inventing %) of the person (s) nearest him (in the case of two persons take the nearest 3 people and divide by 2, with 4 take 4 peoples I% and divide by 3, etc.)


-Depravation: the character is capable of removing one sense from his target upon a successful HTH strike.  Typically the character chooses to remove sight thus making the character behave as if he is encircled in darkness.  However other senses may also be chosen thus removing the ability to hear, smell, feel etc. The character may remove only one sense per strike, the target only forfeits his ability to detect danger after all senses have been removed (6 at a minimum, +1 for every power with a sensory component the character has) because Detect danger has more than one sensory component.  In addition, if the character ‘removes’ a sense that does not exist (like sight from a blind character) 50% of the time the absorber loses the sense while the other 50% of the time the power cannot be used for an hour.  All senses removed return at the rate of E# of turns.


-Diminish: Lowers superpowers but feels good in direct proportion to loss of powers Discovered during a search for a way to control burgeoning superpowers allow character to ignore certain PSl’s for the feel-good duration. Random % chart to be built.


-Dread Alteration: the character has the capacity to permanently trade powers between any two characters excepting himself up to once per week.  The character must be able to touch (this requires successful HTH rolls in combat) his targets and expends 5 power points per power moved from one character to another.  The Dread Altering character must be able to pay the full cost for all powers once begun to be so switched or else be knocked into unconsciousness by the drain for as long as the character while sleeping would take to normally recover the power. Once the character reaches 0 Power they make awake or continue to sleep as the character desires. 


-Empathic healing a character absorbs the damage another has taken unfortunately they themselves must then take the damage. up to the amount rolled for Hth damage is transferred per round and may be retransferred in some cases. (50% of the time the damage can be retransferred healing the empath and harming another, check when power is first used in this manner).


-Living Power Point: the character has the capacity to trade power points between two or more characters in a 1” range.  Roll 3d10 for how many temporary power points may be switched between the two targets power scores.  This use of power cannot reduce a current power score below 0 or raise a characters’ current power above his normal maximum.  This is automatic between consenting characters out of combat otherwise a successful HTH roll is needed as a part of expending an action to activate the power.


-Psychometric Touch: the character has the ability to absorb the feeling or emotions that the object in question has been imbued with.  This can grant the ability to understand some of the past or importance of the item in question though it’s history, perhaps telling a character why a particular sword was forged, what murders a knife has performed, etc… the GM is encouraged to use the Cosmic Awareness mechanics for representative ideas and suggestions keeping in mind this is limited to tangible items and is not intended as a replacement for Cosmic Awareness or other enhanced senses nor as a mystery breaker either.


-Show me that trick: The character can use successfully any ‘trick’ shown to the character, mechanically this is often shown as a way to negate combat related powers (including heightened Agility) gain the benefits as if the character had more trainings (say up to E/4 in additional trainings per level representing discipline) negate others trainings or allow the character to turn the Level vs. level chart from a negative to a positive.  The Absorption of interesting maneuvers and trained tricks is mostly skill-like, often requiring time and analysis, rather than impromptu reactions. Versions of this ability this may have several interesting limitations like the ability only lasts for an hour since the viewing of the skill/being around the skill possessor.


-Strength Drain: The character is capable of removing one point of strength per point of damage that would have been regularly dealt by the character in HTH combat.  This deals no damage but can cause the loss of hits, power and Carrying Capacity (as well as HTH damage) as if the character had the new level of Strength all along.  Characters with less than 20 Endurance will be likely unable to move after their strength is 0 (or possibly more) unless they have some exterior way of moving themselves since in most cases their Carrying capacity will then be less than their body weight.


-Super-self:  the character has the ability to mimic the powers and weaknesses of up to 1d6 other characters gaining all their powers and weaknesses so long as they are from one (and only one chosen at acquisition of this power) frequently encountered metahuman sub group chosen at character generation (innate powers, devices, magical items, magic powers and skills, though this may be different in different campaigns).  The character stores these powers for a week during which all of the advantages and weaknesses are in full effect and he cannot store any more power/weakness combinations until the duration is up on one or more of the five suites of power she has.


-When I become the Son: Possessing the ability to Duplicate powers, the remarkable note about this development is that oddly enough reflecting a reduced level of experience with these powers compared to other 40% of the time are usable at half the original characters’ level, 40% of the time are usable at half the absorbing characters level, 20% of the time are usable at half the original character plus the half absorber characters level.


-World Wide Deadly Attraction: The character is capable of drawing upon powers that are from the dead or have gone missing in some form.  With some characters this ability can reach across the entire planet.  In well-developed campaigns the Gm might have the resources to either reference previous allow interesting options such as random selection, ghostly encounters (real or emotional) and forays into the campaign past.  And if an oft found or relied upon power suddenly disappears from the characters’ purview that may spur an investigation into areas that might be quite dangerous.



The Artwork is called the Mirror of Possibilities done in 1993 by myself pencil on paper.   Showing a young  fighter as he might become one day. Of course can he reach that is the question.  So what do you think: Can he reach it?








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