Last revision: November 22, 2005
The Modern Age is a gaming module which attempts to reproduce the feel of the early costumed hero stories in novels and magazines, as well as the pulp magazines, movie serials, adventure comic strips and the super hero comics of the nineteen-thirties. In the world it describes, there are mystery men in strange costumes, crusading reporters, hard-boiled detectives, flamboyant swashbucklers and eccentric inventors. Naturally, there are also such real-world problems as Nazis, communists, anarchists, mobsters, cold-hearted businessmen and self-serving politicians. Why is it called "The Modern Age"? Because so much of the current American way of life was either created in this decade or became common.
The history of this world exactly matches ours, up until 1898. (The event which occurred then is detailed in the separate module titled "Game Master's Notes.") Little notice was paid to the event which changed this world at the time. Indeed, it wasn't until near the end of the Roaring Twenties that people realized the world had changed. It was in 1929 that the first scientifically documented cases of paranormal feats were recorded. Abilities long thought to be only found in tales of heroic daring-do were being reported in newspapers and on newsreels.
Those studying the phenomenon were divided over whether people with these faculties had always been part of humanity and simply not documented (though some argued that they had been documented, as myths and legends), o were something new. One thing was certain, however. While the majority of mediums, mentalists and professional acrobats and strong men could still be proven to be scam artists or performers who staged their feats, there were a few whose abilities were genuine beyond reasonable doubt. The Age of the Adventurer had arrived.
There was some popular interest in these "paranormals" as experts termed them for a while, but the Great Depression brought an end to this. People were more concerned with surviving than speculating on such matters. The entertainment industry was booming, however, and made use of the capabilities of these people, resulting in many of them starting careers in the movies and such. Their special abilities were noted by the public and press, but success for the paranormals in this field normally depended on more mundane faculties, such as their acting talent. This popularization of paranormals had the effect of making them seem commonplace, something unusual but no more so than movie stars, millionaires and presidents. Because of this attitude, scientists and others who might have profited from paying attention to these people and their strange abilities generally dismissed them as mere popular inventions.
In addition to the performers, a few of those with useful paranormal abilities were hired by police or military forces, and some others cashed in on their strange talents in other ways. Several evangelists claimed that they had special abilities or divine powers, granted by God. Some of them actually believed it. Their explanation was accepted as being as reasonable as any other offered. Most folks with these abilities just tried to get on with their everyday lives. As Europe began sliding towards war, the number of these paranormals increased, as did the magnitude of abilities demonstrated. Not only were the capacities of the newly-empowered greater than those of paranormals of past years, but even those who had possessed their abilities for some time found them improving. A strong man who could originally lift a horse could now lift a tank. Still, with all the other concerns of both private citizens and government officials, the impact of these folk on world consciousness was minor. Beyond an occasional mention in the papers or newsreels or on the radio, they rarely attracted much attention. There were, after all, fewer than two thousand known paranormals by the mid-thirties.
A few studies of the paranormal phenomena were arranged, some by government agencies at various levels, some by universities, others by interested individuals. One research group whose work was reported on occasionally by the press coined the word "Adventurers" to refer to those types of paranormals who tended to become involved in hazardous activities. This term quickly caught on with both the media and the public.
By 1937 the matter of paranormals and their abilities was forcing itself into the larger public awareness. Several of these people were beginning to make a difference in the world. Some of these changes were good, some were bad, some simply changes. For the most part, the criminal and crime-fighting Adventurers worked alone. A few, however, gathered occasionally in small groups. In San Francisco, a mysterious character known only as the Night Master brought several major crime figures to justice, beginning in 1935. By the Fall of 1937, he had been joined by several others, in a sort of loose and informal confederation. The press dubbed them "The Shepherds," because (as one reporter phrased it) they not only brought the black sheep of humanity to justice, they also helped lost white sheep to rejoin the flock. Interestingly, the reporter who named the group was an Adventurer himself, and an early member of The Shepherds. This may explain why so many of their exploits are known and documented.
There are three types of Adventurer. The first can be compared to hard-boiled detectives, crusading reporters, test pilots and explorers. Though their abilities are within human bounds, they tend to be near or at human limits in one or more Characteristics, and to have more skills than normals. These Characters succeed through determination, luck and hard-earned experience.
The second type includes individuals portrayed in many fantasy and science-fiction stories, as well as some of the early fictional costumed characters. These are the mystery men, the people with a little more ability than a human should have. They are the more exotic pulp heroes and the types of characters you would find in many movie serials, as well as in myths, legends and folklore. They are better than the rest of mankind in many ways, and can occasionally do things that are impossible for other humans. The defining factor is that their feats are just beyond what is humanly possible, though normally they do not possess any overtly paranormal capabilities. Most have no true "powers," their abilities being limited to what normals can do, but allowing them to be better at those things. They tend to have several Characteristics which are well above average, perhaps one or two Characteristics which are slightly beyond what is humanly possible, and generally posses a number of Special Talents.
The third type is obviously more-than-human. They may be able to fly, or shoot bolts of flame from their fingertips. They may, as with the first or second type, also be as good as or better than normals at normal activities. Most of them aren't, being merely human in all other respects, except for having the general benefits shared by all Adventurers. (See below.) Generally, they are normal folks who can do a few things which are impossible.
It takes more than strange powers to make an Adventurer, and there are many Adventurers who have no abilities obviously beyond those available to normal humans. As the name implies, they must either possess a spirit of adventure which makes them seek out risk and action, or must have something in their nature or background which causes the m to become involved in adventures even if they would rather not do so.
In these rules, several example characters are used to illustrate features of this campaign. One of these is Dr. Fenrisa Freysdottir, a retired circus sideshow freak turned businesswoman. Her home - a large loft in downtown San Francisco, above the Lafeyette Theater, which she owns is the headquarters of the Shepherds. Two other founding members are the Night Master and the Dragon's Hand. Below is presented the first detailed view these two had of Dr. Freysdottir. Also mentioned is Dutch, Dr. Freysdottir's handyman and an Adventurer himself.
The tiny woman was covered in brown fur, had large, pointed ears and her face protruded into a blunt muzzle, complete with a wolf's nose. Once her gloves were off it could be seen that the fingers of her strangely-shaped hands were tipped with canine claws. Fen, grinning at their expressions, removed her hat and flipped it spinning onto one of the pegs, then sat down on the bench and began puling off her shoes. The Dragon's Hand did likewise.
"Oh, that's not necessary," Fen said quickly, "although you're welcome to. I don't follow Japanese customs, I just want to get my poor, strange feet out of these shoes as quickly as possible."
The Night Master manfully avoided looking. The Dragon's Hand looked, then glanced quickly away, blushing. Dutch examined her feet with open curiosity.
"Hey, I hadn't noticed that before! You've only got three toes."
"On each foot, yes," sighed Fen. "Shortly after I was born my parents had to have my feet altered, or I would never have been able to walk properly. The orthopedist did a good job; they are quite functional. Unfortunately, I just can't locate shoes that are comfortable. Have you ever tried to find shoes in women's size 3, triple wide at the ball and triple narrow at the heel?"
Initial Characteristics and skills are developed using the basic Interworld game rules. (Note: A Character with the Special Talent of Psionics will have this activated before the beginning of the Modern Age game.) Be sure to keep a record of the base Characteristic scores, even where the current value changes due to acquisition of a Power.
(A change brought about by a Special Talent or one of the Characteristic rolls described below is a permanent part of the Character.) Players should not despair just because they receive "useless" or mismatched abilities. The challenge is making what you get work. The Characters are then converted into Adventurers using the rules below. Adventurers tend to mature early and to retain their youthful vigor until extreme old
age. Some of this is due to the constant training most of them practice. Some of it is due to the thorough healing that seems to be part of an Adventurer's abilities. Sometimes they have access to advanced medicines or even magic which keeps them young. However, most of it seems to be something innate to Adventurers.
Some of the details involving what sets Adventurers apart from others are presented in the following restaurant conversation, which takes place between Dr. Freysdottir and Judson Kemper, the civilian identity of the Night Master.
"I have done some checking into your background," said Judson, watching, entranced, as shrimp after shrimp vanished behind the veil she normally wore in public. "You have made quite a success for yourself, in your various business enterprises."
"Not as good as you have," Fen countered.
"I have managed to trace your history back to around 1902, when you were employed as an entertainer."
"You mean I was a freak in a circus sideshow," she replied. "I'm not ashamed of my carney background. Circus folk as a rule are good people, and more accepting of those who are different than the rubes and hicks."
"One interesting thing," Judson continued. "I found a photo of you dated 1906. Your appearance hasn't changed a bit since it was taken."
"Ah, now I know what you're after," she said, with a laugh. "A gentleman doesn't ask a lady her age, and a lady never volunteers it. Well, I'm not a lady. I was born ninety-seven years ago."
"I... see." Judson maintained his imperturbability, but he was definitely startled.
"As near as I can figure, this odd little body of mine simply stopped maturing when I was about sixteen," amplified Fen.
"That explains your healthy appetite," said Judson, in sudden revelation.
"Yeah. I have a teenage metabolism."
All three types of Adventurers are extremely resistant to disease and aging, and they heal quickly and completely from any injury which does not kill them. Most have no scars, although blemishes which are psychologically important may remain. Indeed, Adventurers are often marked in some distinctive way. Think of gold-flecked eyes or a prominent, hawk-like nose, or simply "The look of eagles." Because the accumulated damage of a lifetime that results in hearing loss and so forth for normals is constantly being repaired, Adventurers have more acute senses than most normals (add 1 point to Perception). As Adventurers age, they find themselves retaining their vigor well past the point when most people would be experiencing a decline.
Adventurers heal several times faster than normals, and more completely, even to regenerating lost body parts. (The standard healing rate rules apply only to normals. Adventurers heal at the standard rate per day instead of per week.) Physical problems caused by genetic faults may not be affected. Indeed, only a few such handicaps are repaired. In these cases, most attempts at corrections through magic or medicine will be "re-corrected" by the healing that comes with an Adventurer's benefits. However, a disability that the person profoundly wishes to be rid of often will be corrected, though perhaps over a period of months or even years.
Adventurers are not limited in how high they may develop their Characteristics. Even someone who is not, initially, more than human (such as a Type I Adventurer), may become so simply by spending enough Experience Points on their Characteristics scores. Adventurers are more tolerant of damage than normals. An Adventurer who has been injured in a fight may not even realize it until the fight is over, or may notice the wound and decide to ignore it. They automatically gain the Special Abilities of Toughness (add 1D6 to Hit Points) and Temperature Insensitive; they never suffer from shock (though they can be Stunned, if the optional rules are used), and severe blood loss is rare. They can even recover from apparent death, though at the cost of much of their gained abilities, as described below.
Remember, no one knows what causes Adventurers, or exactly how their more exotic abilities work. Here are presented some of the speculations made about Adventurers by those interested in them. It also presents Character examples of the three categories of Adventurer. Note that there is considerable overlap between the three types, and that sometimes it is impossible to definitely categorize a person as one and not another.
"All my life I've wondered why I am the way I am," Fen told him, more serious than he had seen her before. "I have occasionally encountered other strange people, but it has only been in the past few years that I have had the resources to actually make a study. I want to observe you folks, and for those who agree examine you. I will keep your secrets, and respect your privacy, and you will benefit from anything I discover."
"Just what do you mean, by 'you folks'?" asked Judson.
"Once you know the signs, you'll be able to spot them." said Fen. "For instance, we are unusually healthy. How long has it been since you had a cold? Or any other illness? I'm willing to bet it has been several years, at least. I'm also willing to bet that your bullet wound was completely healed in about a week. That you have better vision and hearing than other people. That things most people find difficult you find easy, and that things they find impossible you find merely difficult. And that you aren't suffering any reduction of ability with age, even though you are nearing fifty. Shall I go on?"
"I hadn't thought about those things in quite a while," said Judson, slowly. "There was a time when it seemed to me that there was, indeed, something special about me. I didn't follow up on the concept, though."
"You're what I refer to as a Type One," said Fen. "Young Janice is a Type Three. Dutch is a Type Two. I'm an unusually gifted Type Two."
After using the basic rules to determine the initial Characteristic scores and any special talents, establish the background and buy appropriate skills. Then, roll 10D10. The total points may be added to the Characteristics, used to buy skills, or the Player may use some or all of them to buy rolls on the Special Talent table. The cost is ten points for each roll, from the additional points rolled only. At the beginning of the game, no Type I Character may have Characteristics over the human limit of 30.
After determining initial Characteristic scores and any special talents, establish the background and buy appropriate skills. Then, roll 6D10. The total points are distributed among the Characteristics. At this stage, no Type II Adventurer may go over the human limit of 30. These points may also be used to buy skills, or 30 of these points may be used to buy one random roll on either the Mental Power table or the Physical Power table. Next, roll 3D4. This gives the number of rolls to be made on the Special Talent table. Before the Special Talents are rolled, two of them may be traded for one roll on either the Mental Power table or the Physical Power table. If a Characteristic is raised above 30 by a Special Talent that is allowed at this stage. As mentioned above, this bonus goes in the permanent score; it is natural for the Adventurer to be that strong or smart.
Note that if a Power is obtained which increases a Characteristic, a record of the original score should be kept and the new one noted separately. Characteristic gains caused by a Power are not natural, and if the Power is not working for whatever reason the Characteristic will return to normal.
Next, roll percentile dice. There is a 20% chance that the Adventurer will have some sort of disadvantage. This may be chosen by the Player with the GM's consent, using the tables below as examples or creating one from scratch. A distinctive appearance is common, as mentioned above. The disadvantage may also be randomly rolled, in which case the Game Master and Player should be certain that what is obtained is appropriate for the Adventurer. For instance, someone who does not have a Power would probably not find any of the disadvantages from the Power Limitation table to actually be a disadvantage. If an inappropriate disadvantage is rolled, try again, or create one for the Character. The Adventurer may trade one Power or two Special Talents to get rid of a Disadvantage.
After determining initial Characteristic scores and any special talents, establish the background and buy appropriate skills. Then, the Player must make a choice. He may either roll 10D10 and add the points to Characteristics (going above 30 if that is desired). Or, he may make a roll on the Random Powers Table, to determine how many Powers of which type to roll for. Deciding whether superhuman Characteristics obtained by the 10D10 die roll are natural, and therefore permanent, or a temporary, Power-type effect should be determined on a case-by-case basis. As a general rule, however, any score over 50 is unnatural. If a Power is obtained which increases a Characteristic, a record of the original score should be kept and the new one recorded separately. Characteristic gains caused by a Power are not natural, and if the Power is not working for whatever reason, the Characteristic will return to normal.
Next, roll percentile dice. There is a 30% chance that the Adventurer will have some sort of disadvantage. If this happens, it should be rolled randomly. The Game Master and Player should be certain that what is obtained is appropriate for the Adventurer. For instance, someone with Shapeshifting would find most physical alterations to be only a minor nuisance. If an inappropriate or insufficient disadvantage is rolled, try again, modify the result appropriately, or create one.
Here is presented one person's speculations on the possible causes of Adventurers' abilities.
"One thing I have uncovered applies especially to me," Fen told him. "There is a rare birth defect which results in a child who has thin, fine features, including slightly pointed ears. In most times and places these are killed. When allowed to grow to adulthood they are of around average intelligence, but unusually trusting and naive. They laugh easily, and are usually cheerful. I am not the first person to associate this birth defect with legends about both changelings and elves, but as you can understand I have put a lot more effort into researching such instances than anyone previously."
She shook her head, and laughed again, a clear, high sound that produced odd sensations.
"We also tend to talk too much," she confessed. "Another birth defect causes body hair to be thick and dark, and is probably one source of werewolf tales. I seem to have received a large dose of both legends."
"You said earlier that these abilities run in families, and there are more people who have them every year," said Judson. "That sounds distressingly like evolution."
"To some extent," Fen agreed. "However, even people who had unusual abilities twenty years ago have them stronger, now. Take me, for instance. I first incorporated telekinesis moving things by thought alone into my sideshow routine in 1902. Back then I felt like a miracle worker when I could lift a pencil stub. Today, I can lift more than my own weight."
01-05 Diminished Senses (1D6 for #, 1D10 each for % penalty)
06-10 Reduced Intelligence (1D10 for points lost*)
11-15 Low Self Control (1D10 for points of Will lost*)
16-25 Physical Change (See below)
26-34 Phobia/Psychosis (Player and Referee Choose)
35-40 Prejudice (Character inexplicably inspires dislike/distrust, -25 percentage points for reactions)
41-47 Reduced Agility (1D10 for points lost)*
48-54 Reduced Perception (1D10 for points lost)*
55-61 Reduced Endurance (1D10 for points lost)*
62-68 Reduced Strength (1D10 for points lost)*
69-75 Special Requirement (Player and Referee Choose)
76-82 Vulnerability (Player and Referee Choose something from which the Character takes 1D6 points of damage per Combat Phase of exposure)
83-95 Power Limitation (See below)
96-00 Roll Twice
*Characteristics will not drop below 3.
01-05 Inorganic (Metal, Plastic, Water, etc., Player and Referee Choose)
06-10 Altered Body Temperature +/1D100 C
11-15 Size Change +/(3D10) X 10% (minimum size 10 cm)
16-20 Altered Proportions (Player and Referee Choose)
21-30 Age Change +/1D6 X 10 years (minimum age 1 year)
31-40 Physical Handicap (Player and Referee Choose)
41-50 Color Change (01-30: Eyes;
91-00: Roll two)
51-60 Gender Change
61-70 Animal Form 1D100 % (Player and Referee Choose)
71-83 Plant Form 1D100 % (Player and Referee Choose))
83-85 Something Wild (The GM and Player should cooperate on this to create an interesting, original and possibly useful change)
86-90 Mass Gain 1D100 kg. (Above 140 kg this includes a permanent size change)
91-95 Mass Loss 1D100 kg. (Below 40 kg this includes a permanent size change)
96-00 Roll Twice
Any physical change which results from a Disadvantage roll is now the Character's normal state.
01-10 Power Always On (In this case, no Endurance is used except for combat)
11-20 Power Very Noticeable
21-30 Power Requires Double Endurance Points
31-40 Power Uses Hit Points Instead of Endurance Points
41-50 Power Requires Special Conditions (Player and Referee Choose)
51-60 Power Requires Activation Roll (% Chance = 1D10)
61-70 Power Works Only in Alternate Form
71-80 Power May Only Be Used 1D10 Times Per Day
81-90 Power Activates Accidentally (2D10% Chance, Player and Referee Choose Conditions)
91-00 Roll Again, Disadvantage Affects All Powers
*These Disadvantages generally apply only to one Power.
Roll once to determine the number of physical and/or mental Powers obtained. Then roll on the appropriate table for the specific Power(s).
Roll Mental Physical
01 0 0
02-03 0 1
04-08 0 2
09-15 0 3
16-20 0 4
21-22 0 5
23 0 6
24-26 1 0
27-31 1 1
32-38 1 2
39-44 1 3
45-46 1 4
47 1 5
48-52 2 0
53-58 2 1
59-65 2 2
66-68 2 3
69 2 4
70-76 3 0
77-82 3 1
83-85 3 2
86 3 3
87-91 4 0
92-94 4 1
95 4 2
96-97 5 0
98 5 1
99 6 0
100 Roll Two Sets of Powers
Adventurers of the first type almost never have Powers, and those of the second type only rarely. This should not be a problem; being an Adventurer is what counts. If the Player insists on his Character having a Power, after the Character is otherwise complete, allow him to choose a Power, then roll a Disadvantage; this must be kept, even if he already has a Disadvantage! See the notes at the end of this section for further advice on how to adjust Powers. It should also be noted that most physical Powers have visible effects. For instance, it is obvious where an energy blast comes from. Some mental Powers may also be visible, depending on exactly how the Player wishes them to function. For Powers whose effectiveness depends upon Skill Levels, the Character will have an initial Skill Level of 1D4.
09 Death Touch (Anti-Life)
10-11 Desolidification (Astral Projection)
12-13 Dimensional Portal
18-19 Energy Control
20-21 Energy Manipulation
22-24 Energy Sense
25-27 Enhanced Ability
28-30 Enhanced Intelligence
31-33 Enhanced Perception
34-36 Enhanced Will
37-39 Environment Manipulation
40-42 Flight (Levitation)
55-57 Invisibility (Mind Clouding)
59-61 Life Support, Type 1
62-64 Machine Rapport
65-67 Magical Spells
68-70 Mental Blast
71-73 Mental Domination
74-76 Mental Sensing
77-79 Mental Shield
00 Choose One
05-06 Altered Composition
13-14 Death Touch: Poison/Venom
15-16 Density Control
17-18 Desolidification (Gas/Mist/Vapor/Liquid/Energy Form)
25-26 Energy Blast
27-28 Energy Control
29-30 Enhanced Agility
31-32 Enhanced Attack
33-34 Enhanced Fitness
35-36 Enhanced Senses
37-38 Enhanced Speed
39-42 Enhanced Strength
45-46 Extra Limbs
47-50 Flight (Wings/NVMS)
55-56 Invisibility (Light Bending)
65-66 Life Support, Type 2 and Type 3
73-74 Physical Domination/Possession
75-76 Quick Heal
79-80 Size Control
81-82 Special Defense
83-84 Special Offense
85-87 Speed Run
93-94 Tangle Field
99 Weather Control
00 Choose One
Alchemist: The person with this Power operates in the same way as someone with spellcasting abilities (see below), except that a great deal of physical equipment is necessary. However, the Character can prepare potions, nostrums, philters and the like ahead of time, and save them until needed. This is a specialized form of the Knowledge Power. See the rules covering prepared spells in the section on magic.
Awareness: The person with this Power is in tune with the universe, and is almost never caught off guard (add a 50 percentage point advantage for Surprise rolls, plus 2D10 (rolled once, when creating the Character) to Perception). He or she often senses events of cosmic importance from a distance, and will tend to show up without being invited, and often without knowing why.
Clairvoyance: This involves being able to learn about an environment at a distance. Roll 1D6 for the number of senses simulated, to a maximum of five. The player then chooses which sense(s) will be used with the ability. The range = 50 X Will in kilometers, and scans a spherical volume equal to Will in meters. There is no endurance cost. Ordinary barriers do not affect this Power, but certain spells and Powers do.
Costume: A person with this Power has a costume capable of withstanding any other Powers the character possesses. It is also self-cleaning and self-repairing. There is a 10% chance it will also provide protection at 1/4 the level of the Power of Armor.
Death Touch (Anti-Life): This is the ability to directly attack the life force of something. It has no effect on non-living things, but will affect anything alive, even a living thing transformed into something inorganic. This Power does 1D6 damage per use for each two points of Will (roll for each attack separately), at a cost of 10 Endurance Points per die of damage. It may be used at lower levels for proportionately less cost. Range = touch.
Desolidification (Astral Projection): The ability to project the consciousness to a distance from the body, and to perceive that distant area as if physically present. This is somewhat more committed than Clairvoyance and Remote Sensing; for instance, mental attacks on the Astral form will injure the Psi as if they had been made upon his person. On the other hand, the ability may be coupled with any other Psi talent, which can then be used as if the Character were physically present. The Astral form may be noticed by anyone making a Perception roll at -45 percentage points. Those with the ability of Telepathy, the Powers of Awareness, Mental Sensing or Enhanced Senses (if an appropriate sense is enhanced) or the Special Talent of Keen Senses make their rolls without this penalty. Range = Will X 4D10 kilometers (rolled once, during character creation). Sight is standard, with 1D4 of other senses also available. There is also a 10% chance of Telekinesis Type I with this Power.
Dimensional Portal: This Power allows the character to open doorways to other worlds. This can be used to visit alternate universes and strange planes of existence. With practice, it can also be used as a three-stage teleportation, as the character learns how to open a portal to a particular plane, move a short distance there, and return at a location far distant from the starting point. The chance of success is 3% per Skill Level, plus 1 percentage point per point of Intelligence, and 10 percentage points for each time the same trip is made. The Endurance cost is 30 points for opening a gate, plus 10 per Phase (10 seconds) to keep it open.
Duplication: The ability to create an exact, though temporary, duplicate of something which already exists. Duplicates of living things will be puppets of the creator, with no volition, though the creator will be able to see through their eyes, etc. Duplicates cost 1 Endurance Point per 100 grams per minute. Range of Control = Will in kilometers. Range of Creation = Will in meters. Controlling a duplicate of a living thing is similar to operating through an Envoy (see below).
Empathy: This ability allows the Character to perceive the emotional state of others. It has a range of 3 meters per point of Will and costs 1 Endurance per minute of use. The user can focus on an individual, or simply perceive the consensus, with exceptions standing out. There is a 10% chance that the character can influence others' emotions, as per the Power of Mental Domination.
Energy Control: The character has the ability to metabolize energy, absorbing it and utilizing it at will. There are two forms of this Power, with only a 25% chance of the character having the second, more powerful, version. Type 1 allows the character to control only one type of energy or force, which must be set at the beginning. It allows the character to absorb up to 3D10 points per Combat Phase (rolled each time), storing up to (Skill Level X Fitness) in total points. This can then be released as per Energy Blast, but only as the same type of energy. As an example, Flame Master (Skill Level 2, Fitness 15) has a total of 30 points he can absorb, and can therefore soak up all 23 points of heat damage from the pool of burning gasoline. He then uses this to aim a blast of flame at Rampage, who threw the tanker truck at him in the first place.
Type 2 Energy Control is more flexible. It allows the same amounts of absorption and storage, but the character can absorb several types (2D4) (rolled once, during character creation) of related energies and transmute them from one to another. For instance, Dynamo grabs a power line, absorbs 18 points of electricity, and uses this to fire a magnetic blast at the giant robot. Or, Flame Monarch, Flame Master's big brother, absorbs the heat from the fire and uses it to create a blast of light, which blinds Rampage.
Both types of Energy Control provide immunity to the form(s) of energy the character can absorb. There is a 20% chance characters with this Power also have Energy Sense. The damage done with an attack using either version of this Power = (points absorbed) X (the percentage point gap by which the "to hit" roll was made).
Energy Manipulation: Similar to Energy Control, except that the energy is not taken into the character's body but is manipulated mentally, at a distance. This means that the Power does not grant the same immunity to injury from the energy. There is a 20% chance characters with this Power also have Energy Sense. Otherwise, the Character can only tell roughly where and how much energy is available, within the range of the Power. Range = Will X 50 in meters.
Energy Sense: This allows the character to detect and analyze various types of energy. Range = Perception X 100 in meters.
Enhanced Ability: Some natural ability of the Character is improved, doubling the chance of success with it. This may be used for any one Characteristic, Skill or Special Talent.
Enhanced Intelligence: Add 4D10 to Intelligence.
Enhanced Perception: Add 4D10 to Perception.
Enhanced Will: Add 4D10 to Will.
Environment Manipulation: The character can change any one factor in the immediate surroundings (Radius = Fitness in meters) by 10% per minute per 10 meters radius, to a limit equal to the character's Skill Level X 10 in percentage points. More than one factor may be changed at a time if the Character pays for each factor separately.
Flight (Levitation): A mental ability related to Telekinesis. This allows the character to fly at a maximum speed of (Will X 10) kilometers per hour, for a cost of 5 Endurance Points per Combat Phase for hovering plus 1 Endurance Point per Combat Phase per two kilometers per hour of speed.
Gadgeteer: The character has an innate ability to create devices. This allows the Character to create items which can perform various functions, even to duplicating the effects of Powers. The chance of success is determined in the same way as for the Power of Alchemist. This is a very specialized form of the Power of Knowledge. See the rules covering prepared spells in the section on magic.
Healing: The character can heal (Will X 1D6) points of physical or mental damage per use (rolled each time), at a cost of 10 Endurance Points. This will also cure illness.
Hunch: The ability to integrate information on a subconscious level, providing a bonus to the Perception and Intelligence rolls. The bonus = (Intelligence + Will)/2 in percentage points.
Illusion: The ability to create realistic mental projections. The base chance of successfully deceiving someone is [(Character's Intelligence) (Target's Intelligence) + (Character's Skill Level + Will) (Target's Will)] X 10%, for a target who is not aware that an illusion has been cast. Unresisting targets increase the chance by 50 percentage points. The chance of success decreases by 10 percentage points per sense simulated; the cost is 2 Endurance Points per sense simulated per Combat Phase per person affected. Each person to be affected must be targeted separately.
Invisibility (Mind Clouding): This is the mental ability to confuse the senses of living things. The character subtracts 10 percentage points per Skill Level from the Perception roll of the creature this is being used against. Each target is affected separately and must roll for perception separately. Cost = 5 Endurance per Combat Phase per target. Radius = Will X 20 meters. Focusing on one target multiplies this by a factor of (Will/5).
Knowledge: Occasionally, an Adventurer will be someone with an innate understanding of how some part of the universe works. This is normally 1D6 skills with a combined level of 4D10 points. However, this is one Power which the GM should be extra flexible with. Negotiate, and be willing to listen to the Player's ideas. For people who wish to have the knowledge of a fictional character, the detail of that knowledge depends upon how well the character has been thought out, and how well such knowledge is known by the general public.
For instance, someone wishing to have the knowledge of Sherlock Holmes would draw upon the vast storehouse of Holmes lore built up in Humanity's group unconscious, taking the consensus as the truth. It should be ruled by the GM that when the Character has this sort of implant, that they should get all of the character's knowledge, including the personality. This means that, for a while at least, the Character will have trouble sorting out just who he or she is!
Life Support (Type 1): This is the Power to slow the body's metabolic rate by a factor equal to the player's Skill Level plus one. For instance, a character with two Levels of Skill in Life Support can triple his or her breath holding time.
Machine Rapport: The Character with this ability can tune in to the workings of devices, be they mechanical, electronic or other. The user will normally have an area of specialty, such as computers, automobiles or firearms, and will operate at a 50 percentage point disadvantage on other types of devices. However, there is a 10% chance that the Character has a general ability, and may use his Power on any device without penalty. Range is equal to however far away the Character can clearly perceive the device. Machine Rapport costs no Endurance to use. The character is able to understand how to control machines on a roll of (Chance of Control = ((Skill Level + Intelligence) X 10)%) and diagnose their problems with +100 percentage points chance of success.
Magical Spells: The character has a natural ability to understand and work with magic. See the rules for casting spells in the section on magic for the details. This is a specialized form of the Knowledge Power. People with this ability are counted as Spellcasters for the purpose of determining their ability to create and use spells.
Mental Blast: This Power allows the character to directly attack the mind of an opponent. This works much like the Power Energy Blast, except that it is only effective on creatures with minds and is not generally affected by barriers, even forcefields. Damage = 1D6 points per Skill Level (rolled for each attack). This Power has a range of 5 X Will in meters, and costs 5 Endurance per die of damage.
Mental Domination: This allows the Character to pit his Will directly against another's. Once a successful "to hit" roll is made, subtract the Character's Will from the target's Will, using appropriate Skills and other modifiers on both sides. If the remainder is between 10 and 6, the target is still aware and resisting, but can be compelled to perform simple acts which do not conflict with that person's morals. If the remainder is between 5 and 1 the person is Dominated, and probably will not remember what he does, but will unconsciously resist committing acts which are strongly counter to their morals. With a remainder of 0 to -4, the person is unconscious and compliant. For remainders of less than -4 the Character is in complete Domination, possessing the target's body and sensing everything it senses. Range = Will in meters. Endurance cost is 1 point per Turn for each point of Will used. Note that Endurance may be conserved by using less Will than the attacker's maximum. (Used in conjunction with Telepathy, range is the same as for that ability.) Unresisting targets increase the chance to hit by 50 percentage points, and shift the degree of control one level deeper.
Mental Sensing: Similar to Clairvoyance, except that the character is able to gather general impressions rather than specific sensations. With Clairvoyance, the character would "see" that the object is a black box, while Mental Sensing would give the impression of something dark, metallic and square, with a sinister air about it. Though less precise, Mental Sensing often gives more complete information. The Endurance cost, Range and so forth are the same as for Clairvoyance.
Mental Shield: This Power reduces the chance of successful Telepathy by 50 percentage points. It reduces the effects of Mental Blast by (Will + Skill Level) Damage Points, at a cost of 1 Endurance Point per point of attack deflected.
Psionics: The Character has all the abilities outlined under the Special Talent section, and they are fully active.
Revivification: The ability to raise the recently dead. This has the same limitations as standard medical revival practices. In normal circumstances, if the person is dead for more than five minutes, they will be brain damaged. In this case, there will be some permanent memory loss, even if the Character is healed fully later. The cost is 50 Endurance points; the chance of success is [(10 X Will) + (10 X Skill Level) (10 X each minute since death)]%. Range = touch. The revived Character is restored to 1 HP and 1 Endurance.
Telekinesis: The ability to move objects with the mind. The equivalent Strength = Will. There is a 10% chance that the Telekinetic Strength will be ten times the rolled value. Range = Will X 10 in meters. Endurance = 1 per point of Strength used per Combat Phase, plus the appropriate amount for striking a blow, etc.
Telepathy: The ability to communicate mentally. This can also be used to read the thoughts of unwilling or unsuspecting minds. Reading surface thoughts (skimming) will not alert a non-psi, and costs only 1 point of Endurance per point of Intelligence of the target per minute. Looking for a specific memory (probing) costs 5 points of Endurance per point of the target's Intelligence per minute, and will be noticed if the target makes a successful Perception roll. Two-way communication costs 5 Endurance Points per Turn. For all uses, add 1 Endurance point for each 10 kilometers of distance to target. Range = (Will X 20) kilometers.
Chance of success for communication = (Will + Skill Level) X 2%, plus 10-50 percentage points for familiarity and willingness. Chance of success for probe = [(Character's Intelligence + Will) (Target's Intelligence) + (Character's Skill Level) (Target's Will)] X 10%, for an aware and resisting target. Unresisting targets increase the chance by 50 percentage points. During a probe, the telepath must make a Perception roll to find what is being sought. Psis have a 20 percentage point bonus to notice the contact. The degree of familiarity with the target influences how easy contact is.
Teleportation: A very useful and potentially very dangerous talent. The user must have at least some knowledge of the destination or the teleportation will not work. It is impossible to teleport into solid objects. Teleporting into a liquid will result in 1D10 points of damage for water (rolled each time), increasing or decreasing in proportion to the increase or decrease in density, and will cause the Psi to bounce in a random direction and for a random distance (up to the Character's maximum). This could easily be lethal. Range = (Will X 10) in Kilometers, and may be doubled by 1 minute of concentration. Horizontal movement counts as 1 and vertical movement two. Endurance = (10 + Distance in kilometers).
Transformation: The same as Shapeshifting (see) except that it applies only to others. Roll to hit as normal, Range = (Will X 10) in meters.
Transmutation: The Power to change one element to another. The cost is 10 Endurance points per gram per step on the periodic table moved, and the Character may affect 10 grams per point of Will. Range = Will/10 in meters. The time required is one Phase per gram. Physical change is a Level one difficulty task; chemical change is a Level 2 difficulty task; elemental transmutation (a shift of one in any direction on the table of the elements) is a Level 3 difficulty task. (Mass remains constant for all changes.) Each increase in Level of difficulty doubles the Endurance cost. While this offers a feedback similar to that which comes with Cell Manipulation, anyone who uses this ability on a living thing will almost certainly kill it.
When used as an attack, this ability does 1D6 (rolled each time) per 5 points of Will, and costs 5 endurance per die. It is suggested that the Game master declare that the life force prevents transmuting the atoms in living creatures. Damage from this Power in combat may still be done, by such tactics as transmuting air to poison gas, and will be equal to Will/5 in D10 (rolled each time) at a cost of 10 Endurance points per die of damage.
Absorption: This Power is similar to Energy Absorption, except that the user takes on the physical characteristics of whatever is touched. For instance, touching steel will gain the benefits of increased density (as outlined under Density Control) and touching water will allow a limited form of Desolidification. Normally, the person's appearance will remain generally the same, but there is a 10% chance that the Power will cause the Character to take on some or all of the appearance of the object touched. In this case, the Power will allow the Character to duplicate the appearance of living things, in a limited form of Shapeshifting, although the Character's size will remain the same. Endurance cost is appropriate to the Power effect being duplicated, plus 5 Endurance per Combat Phase. When the source is inorganic the Character has Life Support 3.
Adaptation: The Character may alter his body and mind to better fit the environment. The change requires only one Combat Phase no matter how extensive, but requires 1 Endurance Point per 10% away from what is normal for the character per Hour. The limit of the change is the extent of change from normal which can be paid for.
Altered Composition: The Character may become stone, water, electricity or etc., with the appropriate properties and weaknesses. This should be defined as a set group of Powers, which are only usable when the Character is in the altered form. For instance, being able to turn into steel would give the benefits of Density Control level 9, but would make the Character vulnerable to magnetic effects. Most Altered Compositions should include Life Support Type 3. There is no Endurance cost for the transformation, and it takes 1 Combat Phase. The Endurance costs of the Power effects duplicated are figured normally. The Character ordinarily has only 1 altered form, but there is a 10% chance for 1D4 (rolled once, during character creation) additional forms.
Armor: This is magical armor which appears and vanishes at the wearer's wish. It has 1D10 X 10 Base Hit Points and 1D10 X 10 Armor Points, both rolled once, during character creation. (See Material Damage Resistance section of the basic rules for definitions.) If it is damaged, it will heal same rate as the Character heals, although if the Character is injured he will heal first. If it is destroyed, the armor will not become functional again until its Base Hit Points have been fully restored, since it actually does not exist until then. If separated from its owner, the armor may be summoned by an act of will (Chance of Success = (2 X Will) + (40 Distance in Kilometers)%. The chance may not be less than 10%. The attempt requires concentration. Distractions will reduce the chance of success appropriately. By a similar function, the owner will always have a general idea of where the armor is.
Costume: The Character has a personalized costume appropriate to and resistant against the Character's Powers. It will appear and vanish at the wearer's wish, whether or not the Character has an alternate form. If it is damaged, it will be whole and clean the next time it is brought forth. There is a 20% chance it will also provide protection at 1/4 the level of the Power of Armor.
Darkness: This Power allows the Character to produce a field of impenetrable darkness, with a radius of Fitness X 10 in meters at a range of Strength X 100 in meters. This normally only affects sight, but there is a 20% chance it will also blanket 1D6 (rolled once, during character creation) other senses or means of detection, such as hearing, radar or Clairvoyance. It costs 1 Endurance per 1 meter of radius per Combat Phase for each sense of method of detection affected.
Death Touch (Poison/Venom): The Character excretes some toxic substance, either through the skin, through natural injectors (hypodermic fingernails or stingers) or through the breath. Damage = (1D6 points X ((Fitness + Strength)/20)) (rolled each time), rounding to the nearest whole die. Obviously, if the target is wearing armor this must first be penetrated. This Power costs no Endurance to use, but it has only 1D10 (rolled once, during character creation) doses per day, recovering one dose in (24/total # of doses) hours.
Density Control: This allows the Character to change density at will. Each level of change alters the base density by a factor of two; that is, it is doubled or halved. Each doubling of density doubles the Character's mass, which affects all the Calculated Characteristics dependent on it, including the base hand-to-hand and weapon bonus damage. Each doubling also adds Armor Points equal to the Character's base Hit Points. Each halving reduces the Character's mass by 1/2, and doubles the distance which may be jumped. At level 10, the Character has the same abilities as offered by Desolidification. Endurance cost is (10 Points X the square of the level) per minute. There is a 10% chance this Power can be used on others, at a range of Strength X 10 meters.
Desolidification (Gas/Mist/Vapor/Liquid/Energy Form/Phasing): The exact type of Desolidification must be chosen by the Character. The various physical transformations will grant the user abilities appropriate to the altered density (see Density Control). The energy form allows the Character to do Energy Blast type damage, but based on the hand-to-hand damage normally done by the Character and with a range limited to touch. The Phasing type of Desolidification means that the Character is almost impossible to harm, but finds it equally difficult to affect the rest of the universe. Maximum speed of movement is Strength in kilometers per hour, for a cost of 5 Endurance Points per Combat Phase for hovering, plus 1 Endurance Point per Combat Phase per two kilometers per hour of speed. Phasing Characters who don't at least hover will fall.
Device: A miscellaneous item, usually innocuous in appearance, which in reality is something quite different. This is a manifestation of the Character's Power, and is as much a part of him as his own hand. The Player chooses the type of gadget, with the GM's approval. Stats are then rolled in the same way as for a Character, except that it does not have Skills. It may have an alternate form, of the Player's choice, if approved by the GM. The device will have 1D6 (rolled once, during Device creation) Powers, not necessarily appropriate to its form. It may even be used as what it looks like, where appropriate, using the Character's stats to determine any damage if the device is used as a weapon. If the Device is damaged, it will heal on its own. If it is destroyed, it will be re-formed at the same rate as the Character heals, although if the Character is injured he will heal first. After destruction, the Device will not become functional again until it has been fully restored, since it actually does not exist until then. If separated from its owner, the device may be summoned by an act of will (Chance of Success = 20 + (40 Distance in Kilometers) %. The chance may not be less than 10%. The attempt requires concentration. Distractions will reduce the chance of success appropriately.
By a similar function, the owner will always have a general idea of where the device is. The device may be operated at a distance of (Fitness X 100) meters with the same chance of success as summoning it. For each point of Intelligence over 5, there is a 10% chance that the device is sentient, with its own volition. In this case, the Device is counted as an NPC and gains Experience Points like any other Character.
Dispel: The ability to cancel the effects of other Powers, or of spells, potions and the like. The chance for success is [(Character's Fitness) (Target's Fitness) + (Character's Skill Level) (Target's Skill Level) + 20] X 10%. The cost is 10 Endurance Points per attempt.
Disintegration: Similar to Energy Blast, this Power ignores Armor Points and attacks Base Hit Points directly. Damage = (1D6 points X ((Fitness + Strength) / 10)) (rolled each time), rounding to the nearest whole die. This Power has a range of 5 X Fitness in meters, and costs 15 Endurance per use.
Energy Blast: The ability to project energy from one's body in a beam or cone. Damage = (1D6 points X ((Fitness + Strength) / 10)) (rolled each time), rounding to the nearest whole die. This Power has a range of 10 X Fitness in meters, and costs 10 Endurance per use.
Energy Control: The physical equivalent of the Mental Power.
Enhanced Agility: Add 4D10 to the Character's Agility. There is a 40% chance that the Player may roll again, adding to the initial bonus. Each additional roll also gives a 10% chance for more points.
Enhanced Attack: Add 1D6 to the Character's hand-to-hand damage. There is a 10% chance that the Player may add another 1D6. The Character may purchase additional damage at a cost of 20 Experience Points for each D6.
Enhanced Fitness: Add 4D10 to the Character's Fitness. There is a 40% chance that the Player may roll again, adding to the initial bonus. Each additional roll also gives a 10% chance for more points.
Enhanced Senses: Divide a total of (4D10 X 10) percentage points in bonuses to the Character's Perception roll between 1D8 senses (this includes any extra sensory perceptions gained through other Powers or Special Talents). There is a 10% chance that the Character may roll an additional (4D10 X 10), adding to the initial bonus. At +50% a sense extends 10% beyond normal range (such as into the ultrasonic and infrared). This increase occurs again at each additional +50% bonus.
Enhanced Speed: Add 4D10 to the Character's Speed. There is a 10% chance that the Player may roll again, adding to the initial bonus. Each additional roll also gives a 30% chance for more points. For each 50 points over a base score of 10 the Character gets and extra attack.
Enhanced Strength: Add 10D10 to the Character's Strength. There is a 50% chance that the Player may roll again, adding to the initial bonus. After this roll there is a 20% chance for more points. The rolls continue at a 20% chance until the first failure to make the roll.
Envoy: The ability to create a doppleganger of the Character. This is physically identical to the person who created it, and has all the appropriate abilities. If damaged, it heals at the same rate as the Character. Using an Envoy requires total concentration; if the Character is distracted, there is a (50 Will) % chance the Envoy will vanish. Range = 3D10 in hundreds of meters (rolled once, during character creation). Cost = 10 End per minute. A Character whose Envoy is damaged takes 1/10th the damage, to a limit of 1/10th the Envoy's total Hit Points. If a Character is killed while using an Envoy there is a (Strength + Will + Fitness) % chance that he will become the Envoy. The recovery to normal will be similar to that experienced with the revival of a dead Character except that all penalties and times are halved, and there will not be a re-roll of Powers.
Extra Limbs: The Character has 1D4 (rolled once, during character creation) extra limbs, which may be manifested at will. These may be similar to those the person naturally possesses, or they may have another form. There is a 10% chance the extra limbs are extensible, able to reach out three times the normal distance. There is a 5% chance that an extra limb has a Power, usable only through that limb.
Flight (Wings/No Visible Means of Support): This allows the character to fly at a maximum speed of (Will + Fitness) kilometers per hour, for a cost of 5 Endurance Points per Combat Phase for hovering, plus 1 Endurance Point per Combat Phase per 10 kilometers per hour of movement. There is a 10% chance of having Hyper Flight, in which the top speed is multiplied by 10 and the Endurance cost is divided by 10. This may be used only on long flights, and not in combat. Characters with wings may glide at no Endurance cost, and soar on thermals if they buy the appropriate Skill.
Forcefield: This allows the Character to erect a barrier which will withstand ((Will + Fitness) X 2) points of physical or energy damage. The cost is 1 point of Endurance for each point absorbed. Normally, the forcefield is skin tight, but there is a 10% chance that the user can expand it to a radius equal to the Character's Fitness in meters. There is an additional 10% chance that the Character can project the Forcefield at a distance, with the Range = ((Will + Fitness) X 10) in meters. There is also a 20% chance that the Character will have Heightened Forcefield, which withstands twice the damage.
Invisibility (Light Bending): The Character controls light in such a way that he is able to wrap the image of his surroundings around himself, and not be seen. Enough light gets through the field that the Character can see what is going one, but at 1/10th the normal brightness. This normally only affects the visible portion of the spectrum, but there is a 10% chance that the Power applies to all electromagnetic radiation. This does not offer protection from a deliberate attack. The Power has no range, but affects a volume of 1 meter in diameter per 5 points of Fitness. It costs 2 Endurance point per Turn (1 minute) of use per meter of radius.
Invulnerability: The Character has Armor Points = [(Fitness X 2) + 2D10] (rolled once, during character creation, then modified as Fitness changes). There is a 20% chance he or she will get an additional 2D10 points of armor. The points gained apply to all physical attacks, including such things as Energy Blast. The Armor Points heal at the Character's normal rate, after the Character recovers any lost Hit Points. (See Armor Penetration section in basic rules.)
There is a 5% chance the character will instead have full Indestructibility, in which case the Character can not be physically harmed in any way. The Character may have only two other Powers besides this, and may not remove any Disadvantage. This Power automatically includes Life Support Type 3, which does not count as one of the additional two Powers. (There are limits to this Power, but they are unlikely to be encountered in the normal play of the game.)
Leach: The ability to drain Endurance from others. The Character may take Strength X 2 Endurance Points from another living creature per Combat Phase. This Power normally requires physical contact, but there is a 10% chance that it has a range of Strength in meters, and if so there is an additional 10% chance that it has a radius effect.
Leaping: The Character multiplies his movement in a jump by 2D6 (rolled once, during character creation). If an Agility roll is made the by a falling Character subtract the maximum jumping height from the height used to calculate the damage.
Life Support (Type 2 and Type 3): Type 2 allows the character to go indefinitely without breathing. There is a 15% chance that the Character will have Type 3 Life Support. This allows the character complete independence from breathing, eating, and so forth, regardless of the environment.
Manipulation: This is a special form of Telekinesis which allows the Character to move matter on the molecular level. It is similar to the psionic ability of Matter Manipulation, but is both more powerful and more limited. The mass affected is 1 kilogram per point of Fitness, for an Endurance cost of 10 points per kilogram. Physical change is a Level one difficulty task; chemical change is a Level 2 difficulty task. Level 2 costs twice as much Endurance as Level 1. Range = Fitness in meters. While this offers a feedback similar to that which comes with Cell Manipulation, anyone who uses this ability on a living thing will almost certainly kill it. The time required is one Phase per kilogram. When used as an attack, this ability does 1D6 per 5 points of Fitness (rolled each time), and costs 5 endurance per use.
Mirage: This is an ability to manipulate light to create realistic images. The base chance of success is [(Character's Intelligence) (Target's Intelligence) + (Character's Skill Level + Will) (Target's Will)] X 10%. This Power normally only includes sight, but there is a 10% chance of 1D6 (rolled once, during character creation) additional senses being affected. The chance of success is reduced by 10 percentage points per sense simulated; the cost is 2 Endurance Points per sense simulated per Combat Phase. Use of this Power requires concentration; each level of distraction increases the difficulty by 10 percentage points.
Pet: The Character has an animal companion. The creature's characteristics and Powers are rolled as for a Character, with the following exceptions. The type of animal is chosen by the Character, with the GM's agreement. The animal's base value for the Intelligence Characteristic can not be higher than 5, and the pet only gets 1/10th the number of points that a human does to spend on Characteristics. The other base Characteristic values should be determined using the guidelines for animals at the end of the basic rules, with GM approval. Skills may be rolled for and purchased normally, but the skills should be appropriate for the type of creature. The animal is a separate entity, but the Character has a mental rapport with it which is difficult to interfere with and which can only be broken by death. An uninjured member of this partnership can lend healing to an injured one, but only in physical contact. Each partner always has a good idea of where the other is. The pet is also an Adventurer and has all the appropriate benefits and rolls for Powers and Disadvantage, the same as for a Character. For each point of Intelligence above 5 there is a 10% chance the pet is sentient. In this case, the Pet is counted as an NPC and gains Experience Points like any other Character.
Physical Domination/Possession: The Character has the ability to physically merge with another living thing, possessing and controlling it. This is similar in some ways to a combination of Mental Domination, Teleportation and Desolidification. The chance for success is [(Character's Intelligence) (Target's Intelligence/2) + (Character's Skill Level + Will) (Target's Will)] X 10%, for an aware and resisting target. Unresisting targets increase the chance by 50 percentage points. The cost is 10 Endurance Points per attempt, plus 10 Points per Turn after success. Range = Will X 10 in meters. If the possession fails, the Character is ejected from the target's body, suffering 2D10 Points of damage (rolled each time).
This power normally only works for living creatures within 25% of the Character's mass. Anything larger or smaller may be controlled for a short time, but this is very difficult, and the greater the difference in size the shorter the time the possession is successful.
Quick Heal: The Character recovers per hour instead of per day (as for other Adventurers) or week (as for normals), and at twice the standard rate for most Adventurers. There is a 10% chance the Character heals per Turn.
Shapeshifting: The ability to change one's shape. Roll on the table below once each for upper and lower mass factors.
01-05 1.0 1.0
06-10 1.2 0.9
11-15 1.5 0.8
16-20 1.8 0.7
21-30 2.0 0.6
31-40 3.0 0.5
41-50 4.0 0.4
51-60 5.0 0.3
61-70 6.0 0.2
71-80 7.0 0.1
81-85 8.0 0.07
86-90 9.0 0.05
91-95 10.0 0.03
96-98 20.0 0.01
99 30.0 0.005
100 40.0 0.001
Normally this Power only allows changing to a warm-blooded creature, but roll percentile dice for a chance to be able to have a wider range of changes. A roll of 21-40 means that the PC may become any animal with a central nervous system. On a roll of 11-20 the PC may become any multicellular animal. On a roll of 06-10 add plants, and on a roll of 01-05 add inanimate objects. Endurance cost = (10/Turn) + (10/Turn for each 10% away from the Character's normal mass), multiplying this by 2 for non-warm blooded creatures and by 3 for non-living objects.
For the first two levels of this Power (all warm blooded creatures) the DNA and biochemistry remain the same. For the second level (anything with a central nervous system) and below, the Character becomes a perfect copy, including the biochemistry. For the last level of this Power (inanimate objects) the change is complete to the atomic level.
Size Control: This allows the Character to change size at will. Each level of change alters the Character's base size by a factor of two; that is, it is doubled or halved. Each doubling of size increases the Character's mass by a factor of eight, and affects all the Calculated Characteristics dependent on mass, including hand-to-hand and weapon bonus damage. Each halving reduces these Characteristics similarly. Endurance cost is 10 Points times the square of the level per minute. There is a 10% chance this Power can be used on others, at a range of Strength X 10 meters. Endurance cost = (10 * (level^2))/minute.
Special Defense: There are two basic types of this Power, and the Player may choose which to have. The first grants absolute immunity to damage from one specific type of attack, such as bullets, knives, electricity or Mental Blast. The second gives 3D6 (rolled once, during character creation) points of resistance to all forms of either mental or physical attack (Player's choice). There is no separate Endurance cost for this Power.
Special Offense: The Player chooses one attack which always does at least some damage, except against Indestructibility or Special Defense. Damage is rolled normally, but one-tenth (a minimum of 1 point) ignores all defenses and is applied directly against the target's Hit Points. For targets with abilities which would normally reduce the effects, such as Armor or Invulnerability, the advantage of the defender is ineffective. There is no separate endurance cost for this Power.
Speed Run: This allows the character to run at a maximum speed of ((Will + Fitness) X 10) kilometers per hour, for a cost of 1 Endurance Point per Combat Phase per 10 kilometers per hour of movement. At any speed of over 400 kph the character may run across water, but a Dexterity roll must be made every Turn, modified according to the size of the waves. There is a 10% chance of having Hyper Speed Run, in which the top speed is multiplied by 10 and the Endurance cost is divided by 10. Shifting to Hyper Speed requires a moment of concentration, and it may not be used in combat.
Stealth: The Character has a bonus of (Intelligence + Agility)/2 percentage points to remain undetected under any circumstances, even from mental scans or other Power effects, or from spells or devices.
Swimming: The Character may swim at a maximum of ((Will + Fitness) X 3) kilometers per hour, for a cost of 5 Endurance Points per Combat Phase per 10 Kilometers per hour of movement. The Character has a 20% chance of also having the Power of Life Support. If the Character has no Skill in swimming, roll 1D4 for the level granted by the Power.
Tangle Field: The Character has the ability to hinder ground movement. The effect will resist damage equal to Strength X 25 at a cost of ½ Endurance Point per point of resistance. This effect may be physical, such as a web or glue, or even mud; or it may be non-physical, appearing as an energy web or solid field. At the player's discretion, and the GM's approval, this can be used as a strictly mental Power, a "zone of compulsion" which acts against Will instead of Strength. In this case, the points in the field are equal to Will X 25, applied against Intelligence instead of Strength, and the Power may be resisted as a mental attack (see: Psionics, Mental Domination).
Vehicle: This is a manifestation of the Character's internal magic, and it is as much a part of him as his own hand. This Vehicle has its own Characteristics, rolled in the same way as a Character, but it does not have Skills. It may travel at a maximum speed of ((Will + Fitness) X 10) kilometers per hour, for a cost of 1 Endurance Point per Combat Phase per 10 kilometers per hour of movement. The Vehicle may also move normally for the type of transport it is. It will require appropriate fuel as its "food." There is a 10% chance of the Vehicle having Hyper Speed, in which the top speed is multiplied by 10 and the Endurance cost is divided by 10. No other Powers be used during Hyper Speed travel. The size of the vehicle is determined by a roll, as shown on the following table:
This is normally a ground vehicle, but there is a 20% chance that it will be an aircraft. If so, there is a 10% chance that it is a spacecraft. For airplanes and spacecraft, the top speed = ((Will + Fitness) X 50) kilometers per hour. For space craft, this is the top atmospheric speed. The speed in space is limited to the acceleration time available. Acceleration = (top speed in kph divided by 100) g. There is a further 10% chance that a spacecraft will have an FTL drive, with top speed = (Will + Fitness) light years per day. The design of the vehicle, whatever its type, and the appropriate fuel are left to the Player, with the GM's approval.
For each point of Intelligence above 5 there is a 10% chance the Vehicle is sentient. In this case, the Vehicle is counted as an NPC and gains Experience Points like any other Character. Vehicles normally do not have an alternate form, but may at the GM's discretion.
Weapon: This is a manifestation of the Character's internal magic, and it is as much a part of him as his own hand. Think of Mjolnir or Excalibur. The Player chooses the type of weapon, with the GM's approval. Stats are then rolled in the same way as for a Character, except that it does not have Skills. The Weapon will have 1D6 (rolled once, during weapon creation) Powers, not necessarily appropriate to its form. It may even be used as what it looks like, determining damage normally. If the Weapon is damaged, it will heal on its own. If it is destroyed, it will be re-formed at the same rate as the Character heals, although if the Character is injured he will heal first.
After destruction, the Weapon will not become functional again until it has been fully restored, since it actually does not exist until then. If separated from its owner, the Weapon may be summoned by an act of will (Chance of Success = 20 + (40 Distance in Kilometers)%. The chance may not be less than 20%. The attempt requires concentration. Distractions will reduce the chance of success appropriately. By a similar function, the owner will always have a general idea of where the Weapon is.
Damage done by Weapons used as weapons is as appropriate for the type plus the Weapon's hand-to-hand damage as calculated from its Characteristics. For each point of Intelligence above 5 there is a 10% chance the Weapon is sentient. In this case, the Weapon is counted as an NPC and gains Experience Points like any other Character. Weapon normally do not have an alternate form, but may at the GM's discretion.
Weather Control: This is a potentially useful but also limited Power. Range = Fitness in kilometers. Radius affected = Fitness/5 in kilometers. Costs 10 Endurance Points per kilometer of radius affected per Turn. May only change weather by 10% of original conditions per Turn.
This list by no means exhausts the possibilities. The Powers described above were chosen because they are either typical of what people expect from paranormal abilities or because they are in some way interesting. Feel free to develop your own Powers. If a Player creates an interesting Power that does not upset the balance of the game, the Game Master may let him substitute it for one of those he rolled randomly. The Power descriptions are deliberately vague in many respects. This allows the Player and GM to custom tailor the exact way in which the Powers work, and to help individualize the PC to match the general flavor of the campaign. This also allows the Player to try and fit the randomly selected Powers together in a coherent fashion. Not that this is necessary; part of the charm of playing Modern Age is the often ridiculous combinations of Powers which occur. The Game Master should also allow the Players to make trade-offs. For instance, if a Player whose Character has the Power of Telekinesis would rather have magnetic Powers, allow him to define his Telekinesis as only affecting ferrous materials, and add Energy Sense that only works on magnetic fields and Mental Sensing that only works with electrically conductive materials. See the section "Playing the Game" in the Gifted Saga Game Master's Reference module for additional examples of Power trading. (This is available by mail from the address at the beginning of this module.) While Powers whose potency depend on Characteristics scores and Skill levels may not be directly improved, by using Experience Points to increase the Characteristics and Skills which govern their potency they can be indirectly made more effective. Experience may be used to improve those Powers which give a percentage point bonus by adding 10 percentage points to the bonus per Experience Point spent. Also, where there is a one-time roll to determine the potency of a Power, one Experience Point will buy a one-point bonus to the initial roll. For those Powers which have a chance for a more powerful version, the Character can upgrade to this for ((100 % Chance) / 5) Experience Points. That is, it would cost 16 points to buy the better form of a Power for which there was initially a twenty percent chance of having it. This does not require a roll; the PC is buying the higher level of Power at a cost inversely proportional to the initial probability of the higher level.
The special abilities of an Adventurer should not be reserved for adventuring. Besides the obvious benefits of practice, their simple utility value can be enormous. Play with them.
Dutch entered the hothouse and called out. His call was returned, but from an unexpected direction. Dutch looked up at one of the apple trees, and there, near the top, was Fen, floating with no visible means of support. While Dutch gaped, she descended, turning gracefully in the air to land facing him.
"You were flying!" he finally managed to get out.
"Levitating, actually," she countered, grinning. "It takes more effort than climbing a ladder. But, then, I don't have to fetch the ladder."
Some Adventurers take nicknames to hide their true identities. Some simply have nicknames for common use, with their real names known. The assumed names are often descriptive in some way, but not always. It is recommended that each Player Character be assigned a nickname by the Player. In game-play terms, nicknames provide an easy-to-remember handle to help players and the GM avoid confusion over Characters and NPCs.
If the Player wants a Power to affect an area rather than a specific target, there are two ways to do this. The Power can be defined as including up to 1D6 + Skill Level targets each time it is used, with each target receiving a separate "To Hit" roll. With this option, the user may choose to attack fewer than the maximum number of targets. The trade-off is that there is a -10 percentage point penalty for each target, cumulative, even if there is only one! (The justification is that since the Power normally affects several targets, it is difficult to focus on just one.) Alternately, the Power may be defined as affecting a set area, the specific dimensions depending on the Power. A general guideline is a radius of Will in meters at a distance of Will X 10 in meters. The trade-off here is that everything inside that radius is affected, including the caster if he or she happens to be caught in the effect! Also, the Endurance cost must be paid for each target affected. The "To Hit" roll must still be made to center the effect where desired. As an option, the user may be immune to the effects of the Power, if that is reasonable. To alter a Power which normally only affects the PC so that it will work on someone else, there are several suggested methods. The first is to limit the range to touch, and pay 1.5 times the Endurance for the other person. Other suggested penalties are: Power only affects others, Power must be used on other first and maintained before PC can use it, Power may not be used by PC while other is using it, Power works at 1/2 effectiveness for others, Power works at 75% effectiveness for everyone, including PC.
To use such a Power at range involves similar penalties but to a greater extent. Range will generally be Will X 10 in meters, and the PC must roll to hit even a willing target.
Adventurers both heroes and villains are notorious for being able to survive seemingly inevitable doom. The rule is, don't count someone as dead unless you see the body, and can confirm that it is the actual person, and not a dummy or a double. Even then, expect the condition to be temporary. Note that revived Characters are often different in some way. The experience of death seems to alter people. The following guidelines show how these changes can be made. If an Adventurer dies, assume automatic revival, unless the Player wishes to quit the game or switch to another character. For revival, re-roll the Special Talents as described below, using the original Characteristic scores. (Here counting "original" as including the extra points obtained from the secondary Characteristic die rolls for Type I and II Characters.) Adventurers of the third type must be re-defined as second type; those of the second type are now first type. Those of the first type become normal humans, except that they retain the health benefits and the ability to raise their Characteristics beyond human limits through experience. Any knowledge which has been gained, such as skills, is retained for members of all three classes.
Note that Characteristics increased by the secondary Characteristic die rolls are retained as is. Heightened Characteristic scores which result from Special Talent rolls may be retained, at the GM's option. Characteristic scores above 30 are generally not retained, though the GM may make exceptions.
Adventurers who become parents contribute part of their abilities to the child. If both parents are Adventurers, they will each donate one-third of their abilities, and the child will be of the same Type as the higher Type parent. The parents will operate at two-thirds their normal potential until they gain 30 Experience Points, at which time they will recover. (In gaming terms, all damage/durations/etc., are at two-thirds normal values until the parents recover.) A child with a single Adventurer parent receives half that parent's abilities, leaving the father or mother to operate at one-half potential until gaining twenty Experience Points, then at two-thirds until gaining another twenty Experience Points.
Alternatively, one or two Adventurer parents may set aside points until a total of forty is accumulated, and use these for their child without suffering any reduction of their abilities. However, at the beginning of the game the Player Characters should not know this. Remember, these guidelines are general. At the agreement of the Player and the Game Master, any or all of these may be altered for the individual PC.
One important note. Disadvantages can be paid off with earned experience. It requires 20 points, and there is no result until the full amount is available. Don't tell the players this; let them discover it for themselves through investigation of how their abilities work.
One of the features of the stories in these genres is the outrageous feats characters often perform. It is not uncommon for characters to swing on ropes or vines or swim underwater for astonishing distances. The rules presented above give general guidelines for such tasks, but additional details and some examples will help the Player and GM to agree on what the Characters can do and how difficult doing them is.
Some Players may consider the Type I as "merely a well-trained normal." The short sequences presented below demonstrate some of the capabilities of a Type I. Don't underestimate these people.
There was a thunk, and both men froze for just a moment. Then they dove for cover. An explosion blew the door and the furniture against it to splinters.
"They're throwing grenades!" yelled the Night Master.
Most of the lights were out in both the bedroom and the parlor, the bulbs shattered by the blast. Still, there was enough illumination for the men to see when a baseball-sized object was lobbed into the bedroom. The Night Master shot it out of the air, causing it to fall just outside the door. There was a yell and sounds of scrambling from the parlor, then the grenade went off.
"They won't try that again soon!" snapped the Night Master.
A large part of the secret in successfully performing outrageous stunts is in the preparation. Any task is easy with the right tools. Adventurers tend to accumulate an astonishing array of equipment, especially the Type I. Even more astonishing is the amount which they have on them at the time. Or perhaps they just have a knack for selecting the correct items before they are needed. The real trick is making it look routine, if not easy.
"Wow," whispered Dutch, looking over the edge. He glanced back at the Night Master, who was preparing to throw a folding grapple wrapped in rags across the gap between the buildings. "You've done this before?"
"Many times," the Night Master replied, as he sent the padded hook whistling through the air. It caught on a vent pipe projecting from the roof of the penthouse.
"You're crazier than I thought," said Dutch.
The Night Master didn't reply, instead pulling the line tight and tying it to a secure anchor. There was a slight inclination towards the other roof, which meant that they could slide over on pulleys. That would help a lot.
All original materials in this document are Copyright Rodford E. Smith, who can be reached at: Stickmaker@usa.net.