Attack of the Mutant Rules System

Copyright 1993 Frank T. Sronce Jr.



This is a diceless superhero game, originally inspired by the AMBER Diceless Role-playing(tm Phage Press) game. It has been heavily altered and expanded since then, to better suit the Superhero genre.



A few basics

This is a point based system, and is designed for comparatively "powerful" heroes, although it should work perfectly well at lower power levels. The standard game uses 50 point characters: that is, you have 50 points to divide up amongst your attributes, pseudo-attributes, and powers.

An attribute refers to a quality that ordinary humans should have a rating in. For instance, all humans have some level of strength, but an ordinary human would probably not have a rating for how fast he can fly. Pseudo-attributes are special attributes that your GM may (or may not) want to use. The main Attributes themselves (there are 6) can all be used in combat, to one degree or another. Pseudo-attributes do not directly influence combat, and are generally cheaper to increase.



The Basic Rule for Attributes and Powers

While attributes govern how good you are at the things that you do (how strong you punch, how fast you can run), powers add new things to the list of things that you CAN do.



The 6 Main Attributes

Psyche: The power of your mind and personality. It does not necessarily reflect your intelligence. Your Psyche is your willpower. It supplies the power to run your super-powers. For example, if you have telekinesis, your Psyche will determine how strong your telekinesis is.

Strength: This is your muscle power. Strength is used to lift and punch, and can even be used to defend against blunt attacks by catching them and using your muscle power to cushion the impact.

Endurance: This is your constitution. Your Endurance determines how long your character can keep a strong effort up, how long you can go without sleep, how much pain you can suffer before it starts to affect your effectiveness, and how fast you heal.

Warfare: This is your agility and accuracy. It determines how good your aim is, and how SKILLED you are at combat.

Speed: This is how fast you can move. It determines how quickly you can run and swim, and how fast you can land a blow in combat.

Invulnerability: This is the inherent toughness of your flesh and bones. This determines whether attacks which strike you will do actual injury, merely shake you up, or bounce off without any effect at all.



Combat Uses of the Attributes

Psyche determines the POWER of any mental attacks (and most superpowers as well). It is also used to defend against mental attacks.

Strength is the generic damage attribute. If you are stronger than your opponent, you can pin him down and tie him up, even if he is so invulnerable that you can't kill him.

Endurance is the great tie-breaker. In any closely matched contest that lasts for more than a few seconds, Endurance will soon come into play, as the character with the lower Endurance begins to tire before his foe does. Endurance also determines how long you can fight and use your powers before exhaustion starts to slow you down. High Endurance characters can often defeat stronger foes simply by running them to exhaustion, and then stepping in for the kill.

Warfare governs your aim and combat skill. To hit a target in a vital spot, use your Warfare. To execute a throw perfectly, use your Warfare. Warfare and Speed are often in conflict, as a very fast character rains blows upon a very skilled character, who uses feints and tricks to slip attacks back past his foe.

Speed and Warfare both help govern your reaction time. If a high Warfare character manages to ambush you, you will need a large Speed advantage over him in order to react before he can take advantage of it.

Invulnerability is used to keep your character alive. Not necessarily conscious, but alive. A character with a high Invulnerability rating can bounce bullets off of his chest, or walk through a wall of flame without being injured. Even when defeated in combat, characters with a high Invulnerability rating are rarely more than just stunned, whereas their less fortunate comrades may spend a few weeks in the hospital.

Warfare can help defeat Invulnerability, however, because most characters will have vulnerable points and weak spots- your effective Invulnerability against a grenade is much less if you swallow it first!



A word about Reaction Time

Whether a character's reaction time depends upon his Speed or Warfare will depend upon the circumstances. To REALIZE that something sudden is happening is a function of Speed. To perform the appropriate response automatically (say block or dodge) is a function of Warfare. When the response is fairly simple (a brick wall is ahead- stop running at it), Speed will tend to dominate. When the response is fairly complex (he is trying to grab you by the neck, do you know the appropriate counter-move?), Warfare will tend to dominate. As always, how quickly you manage to react in a situation is up to your GM.



Attribute Ranks

While you could refer to your attributes with numbers alone, a system of ranks has been devised that help to make it clear exactly what a Strength of 10 is capable of. From lowest to highest, the ranks are:

SUBHUMAN (-30) : You are so weak in this attribute that even a normal human can overpower you in a contest of attributes. For instance, a character with SUBHUMAN Psyche is easily bullied and dominated by even ordinary people. A character with SUBHUMAN Strength is probably very small, or perhaps suffers from some debilitating weakness (simple old age, for example) that has stripped him of his strength.



HUMAN (-20) : You are basically average. This is considered the human norm. Normal people can give you a run for your money in contests involving this attribute. Since this game is oriented towards powerful characters, being "merely human" in an attribute gives you 20 points back.



HEROIC (-10) : You are exceptional in this attribute, but not superhuman. You can always defeat an average person in contests involving this attribute, but there are many people capable of giving you a challenge. This attribute is generally associated with "realistic" heroes who have no superpowers.



SUPERHEROIC (0) : Your rating in this attribute is superhuman. You are capable of things that should not be possible for a real person under normal circumstances (for example, lifting cars up over your head, or bouncing bullets off of your chest).



Ranked (1-99) : Your power in this attribute goes beyond "merely" superhuman to powers that dwarf the abilities of mere mortals. This rather wide range is referred to as Ranked, because in most games it will be further subdivided by your GM into smaller ranks. In general, 1st Rank refers to the highest Ranked rating that any player character currently holds in that attribute.



GODLIKE (100+) : Your power in this attribute has gone to the point of becoming ridiculous. Retire the character or get your GM to start up a new, very-high-power campaign oriented around characters with attribute ratings of 100+. While a 50 point character CAN achieve a rating of GODLIKE in an attribute by taking lots of SUBHUMANs and HUMANs in his other attributes, I do not recommend allowing such characters into your game. They tend to be dangerously unbalanced. I, personally, would probably only allow GODLIKE Invulnerability, as this would make the character unkillable without allowing him to dominate the game completely.



A low level campaign

For a low-power campaign, you can simply start out every attribute at HEROIC. This makes having superhuman strength a 10-point power. A low-level character built on 110 points will be just as powerful as a normal character built on 50.



Overlaps among the Attributes

While the attributes are mostly independent, it IS possible to create unrealistic characters by ignoring the fact that some of the attributes do overlap (meaning that sometimes it is questionable which attribute should be used). Watch for very strong characters who have no endurance, or high Warfare characters who are unbelievably slow. While the player MAY have a good explanation for this disparity, be sure to point it out to him and ask if this really fits his concept, or if he is just trying to save points.



The Pseudo-Attributes

This attributes are optional; your GM may choose not to use them. They govern aspects of your character that your GM may prefer to have you role-play. They generally range from -5 to +10 in their ratings.

Appearance: How well people react to you on sight. A positive value can be defined as looking friendly, or beautiful. A negative value might represent a hostile attitude and a withering glare, or simply having a face that makes babies scream.

Wealth: How skilled you are at making and dealing with money. Regardless of where you are, your current available funds will tend to change to meet this value: a character with Wealth +10 can bounce back from a stock market crash inside of a week, while a character with Wealth -5 can win a lottery and somehow manage to spend all of it in a few days, eventually having to sell everything that he had purchased in order to pay the interest payments on the excess that he had bought on credit.

Intelligence: How smart your character is. To a lesser degree, how educated. Solving puzzles, researching topics, figuring out how to repair alien technology, all of these things are associated with your Intelligence.

Perception: The character's ability to notice subtle events and spot things that he might otherwise have missed. A character with negative perception never spots things out of the corner of his eye. A character with +10 can spot a villain lurking in an alley several blocks away.

Luck: This attribute is normally where you sock away any unspent points, or get the last couple of points you need to complete your character. When things could go one way or another, and you have no control over them, your GM will probably take a look at your Luck rating. The principal rule of Luck is that it should never decide the course of an adventure. Luck alone should never kill off a character. Characters are allowed (and gleefully encouraged by sadistic GMs) to take "bad luck" up to -10. If you want a character whose power is being supernaturally lucky, ask your GM if you can take a luck of +15 or more.

Luck is a special case among the pseudo-attributes, because you CAN purchase both Positive "good luck" and Negative "bad luck" both without them cancelling each other out. Such a character suffers from wild changes of fortune.

Ranks among the Pseudo-Attributes

A rating of -5 is generally equivalent to SUBHUMAN. A rating of 0 is HUMAN, and a rating of +5 is HEROIC. A rating of +10 is SUPERHEROIC, and has gone beyond what is normally possible for a human being. Ratings beyond +10 can be considered the equivalent of Ranked.



Weight

Your character's mass is somewhat dependent upon his Strength, but you can freely choose almost any mass that you like. Your mass is rated on a scale of -30 to 100+, like any normal attribute. Please note that "Strength" below refers to the effective strength of whatever you are trying to move yourself with. If you are too weak to lift yourself with your muscles, but you have Flight, you can still fly by using your Psyche instead of your Strength to move yourself.

If your Strength and Mass are equal, then it will take strength equal to your own to lift you easily, but you will not be able to jump any higher than an ordinary person.

If your Strength is 1 to 10 points LESS than your Mass, then you cannot jump at all, and must lumber along slowly.

If your Strength is more than 10 points LESS than your Mass, then you cannot move at all. This is not recommended.

If your Strength greatly exceeds your mass, then you can make prodigious leaps, but others will not require as much Strength to lift you as they would if your Mass were equal to your Strength.





POWERS

Powers are what make superhuman characters more than simply souped-up human beings. Powers let you do things that ordinary humans simply cannot do. The more flexible and useful a power is, the more it is likely to cost. The following are suggested costs for some basic superpowers common to the genre. The general rule is 10 points for a useful superpower.

The costs usually go in the sequence 5 points, 10, 20, 30, etc.



Potential Powers

A potential power can be purchased for 1 point. This allows you to have an undeveloped power that you cannot use yet. By spending Experience Points on it, you can expand it into a full power. If you intend to add a new and wildly different power to your character in the future, you should ask your GM whether or not you should purchase a 1-point potential power in it. For instance, if you have created a very strong, very invulnerable character, but you intend to purchase Flight for him one day, you may have to purchase a 1-point Potential for Flight. Otherwise, when you tell your GM that you intend to purchase Flight for your character, he may tell you that it doesn't fit in with your character concept.

Some GMs will allow "radiation accidents." This is when you tell him that you intend to purchase a radically new power for your character, and he arranges a suitably bizarre accident which grants you your new powers. But if your GM doesn't like the idea of using "radiation accidents," you had better purchase potential powers for anything you want to add later.

Of course, some powers are more reasonable to add than others. If your character can already shoot flame out of his hands, adding a flaming Close Attack would not be unreasonable. And in some campaigns, even a normal character could be tutored in magic and gain the ability to cast spells. Check with your GM, preferably at character creation time.



Common Attack Powers



Ranged Attack (10 points) : Enables you to fire some kind of energy blast or ranged attack at your foes. The type of damage done (Stunning, Paralyzing, Killing, etc) should be declared when the character is created. The damage done, and range at which the power works is dependent upon your Psyche.

Below are some example modifiers for this power.

Area Effect (+10 points or only +5 for a small area) : either a cone extending from the character or an explosion radiating out from the point targeted. The power hits the entire area at full strength. This modifier makes it easier to hit agile foes, and lets you strike everyone standing in the same area at once.

Psychic (+10 points) : this makes it a Psychic attack. A Psychic attack is invisible to most characters, and attacks the subject's Psyche directly, bypassing their Invulnerability. It requires a VERY large Psyche advantage to do permanent damage with a Psychic attack, and it cannot affect mindless things or objects.

Lasting (+10 points) : the attack does damage over a short period of time, rather than all at once. This reduces the initial damage done, but lets it do far more damage in the long run. A Fire Blast might set fire to a house and burn it down, or might not. A lasting Fire Blast can set stone on fire for its duration (for example, napalm). There are generally a number of reasonable ways of getting rid of the ongoing attack before it wears off. Also, additional lasting attacks GENERALLY only extend the duration, rather than adding to the damage done.

Personal Immunity (+5 points) : You cannot be affected by your own power. If reflected back somehow, you simply absorb it. This may also grant you some (GM's option) protection against very similar powers, but when your evil clone shows up, your powers will not affect each other.



Blades (5 points) : Basically 10 points of Strength purchased with the "Only to get through the target's Invulnerability" disadvantage. Blades can be defined as Personal or Independent. Personal blades are things like claws and horns, which cannot be taken away from you (easily, anyway). Independent blades are things like knives, swords, and brass knuckles, which CAN be given to other people, taken away, or even used against you.

You get to choose at what point the damage that the blade can do reaches its maximum. This generally reflects exactly how HARD the blade is: if a super-strong character's fist is harder and tougher than the dagger in his hand, he may well end up doing LESS damage if he tries to use the dagger instead of his punch.

Beware: while you can have a weapon with a very large maximum (say an invulnerable sword which cannot increase your effective damage above GODLIKE), these will probably be considered very rare and very valuable in your campaign. If it is an Independent device, people may attack you just to steal it.

Melee Attack (5 points) : Basically a Ranged Attack with a range of one millimeter. Usually defined as a glowing aura around your hands, which does damage when you touch people. Note that while you CAN punch with this power, the damage done by your Strength will be applied separately from the damage done by your Psyche (under most circumstances, anyway).



Close Attack (10 points) : This power causes damage to anyone who touches the character. Common forms are bursting into flames, or being covered with spikes. A close attack like spikes, while it doesn't tire you to maintain it, cannot be turned off, either, so don't hug anyone. Note that you CAN attack offensively with a Close Attack just by grabbing and hugging your opponent.

Physical Close Attacks are often defined as Blades of some kind, and can add to your effective Strength when punching. Most others surround the character with energy and do damage based upon the character's Psyche.

Area Effect (+10 points) : This increases the range of the close attack so that it affects anyone within the character's immediate vicinity.

Psychic (+10) and Lasting (+10) both work as per Ranged Attack.



Presence Attack (5 points) : The character has the voice of authority (or intimidation, or whatever form of presence you desire). He can pit his Psyche against anyone within hearing range using his words and appearance alone. While this can affect everyone in the immediate area at full strength, it requires a hefty Psyche advantage to do more than slow your opponents down. This power can be defined as Personality-based, or Psychic. Psychic lets you affect people without raising your voice or even talking out loud, but will not work against people whose minds are defended against psychic attacks. Neither power is likely to work on machines (although Personality-based Presence MIGHT be able to affect an intelligent machine).



Weak Telekinesis (10 points) : Your character can exert a few pounds of pressure with the power of his mind alone. The range at which this works, and the speed with which he can move things, depends upon his Psyche. Telekinesis is usually invisible, and difficult to block.

Strong Telekinesis (+10 points) : Your character can exert great force at a distance, using the power of his mind alone. This lets you use your full Psyche as Strength at range, and is thus very powerful.

Area Effect (+10 points) : Your telekinesis can affect a small area at full strength, enabling you to pick up and manipulate a number of small objects at once.

Feedback (+10 points) : You can feel when your TK is touching something, enabling you to mentally feel your way around a dark room or target an invisible foe.

Internal (+10 points) : You can affect the internal parts of a creature or object- Feedback is required for this, so that you can focus on it properly. This can even let you attack a creature from the inside out, where their Invulnerability is considerably lower.



Camouflage (5 points) : The character can change colors to match his surroundings, at a speed dependent upon his Psyche. This can keep you hidden fairly well, as long as you only move very slowly. It also works best at a good distance; up close, people are likely to notice you sticking out from the tree, even if you're the same color as it is.



Invisibility (10 points) : The character can become invisible. In most genres, if you want to be permanently invisible, it doesn't cost any more points because, while permanent invisibility requires no concentration, you won't be able to turn it off (your body will automatically vary it from 50% to 95% to make you as invisible as necessary), even if you want to. If being permanently Invisible is not much of a disadvantage in your campaign, it costs an extra +5 points. Invisibility works best at a distance; up close, there are small distortions in the air that an observant character may notice.

Normal Invisibility works by allowing MOST of the light striking you to pass through your body. This makes the invisible character's sight dimmer and less distinct. The character can control exactly how much light passes through you- at 100%, you cannot be seen in any amount of light, except by your fringe of distortions, which will be very small. Of course, you cannot see, either. At 95%, you can be invisible in broad daylight and still see. At 50%, you can be invisible in a dark area and still be able to see. At 25%, you will appear somewhat ghostlike and translucent, and can frighten people by shouting "Boo!" at them. Your speed at changing from one level of Invisibility to another depends upon your Psyche. Note that characters with special, or extremely accurate senses may be able to detect your presence with ease.

Psychic Invisibility works by telling everyone in the immediate vicinity that they can't see you. Unlike normal Invisibility, this automatically affects all senses and does not affect your ability to see and hear, although you are advised to be stealthy because a lot of noise (or waving your hands in someone's face) is hard to ignore, and may cause the person to notice you. Psychic Invisibility does NOT affect cameras or anything that is immune to psychic contact, nor does it work well on anyone you do not outrank in Psyche. Unlike normal Invisibility, it grows worse at range, as your effective Psyche gets lower and people are more likely to be able to overcome it.

No Fringe (+10 points) : The character is completely invisible, and there are no distortions. For Psychic Invisibility, this means that the character can make as much noise as he likes without having to worry about a previously affected person suddenly noticing him.

Affects All Senses (+10 points) : The character's Invisibility also screens out noise and smell (but not touch). This can reduce your ability to hear and smell, as above for sight.

Passive (+10 points) : It takes next to no concentration and effort for you to remain invisible, letting you remain invisible and still use your full Psyche for your other powers.



Mental Block (5 points) : The character's mind is highly resistant to manipulation. Psychics have trouble sensing him, much less affecting him. This power is generally the equivalent of around 25 points of Psyche purchased "only to defend against Psychic attacks." A Mental Block subtracts from any psychic attacks that YOU make, too. This power is basically "psychic interference," static that makes psychic contact with the character more difficult. Unlike purchasing Psyche with the above limitation, this power also makes the character more difficult to detect with any kind of psychic senses or scans. Unfortunately, it also prevents friendly telepaths from sending you telepathic warnings or messages.

Total Block (10 points) : The character is probably a psychic void; his mind cannot be detected or contacted in any way, except by the most powerful of psychics. The equivalent of around 50 points of Psyche, as above. Please note, that even for a SUBHUMAN Psyche character, this puts their effective Psyche for resisting psychic attacks up to Ranked(20). Of course, being SUBHUMAN Psyche, they can still be intimidated and manipulated by almost anyone.



Flight (10 points) : The character can soar though the air. They can hover and float at will. Their speed is dependent upon their Psyche rating. Your Psyche also governs how much weight you can be carrying and still fly.

Space Flight (+10 points) : You can also soar through space. In many space-based campaigns, this will allow you to travel between star systems by accelerating to faster-than-light speeds.



Levitation (5 points) : The character can walk on air. He cannot move much faster than a normal human run, regardless of his Psyche. His Psyche still applies for determining how much weight he can lift while levitating.



Leaping (5 points) : You can apply your Psyche instead of your Strength for making jumps and leaps. This power is most appropriate for martial artists, and other comparatively low strength characters who still want to be able to make unbelievable jumps and leaps.



Teleport (10 points) : You can move instantly from one point to another point without passing through the space in between. You have to be able to see your "landing" spot clearly, and your maximum range is dependent upon your Psyche. You have to build up the power before you can teleport, so the further away you are trying to get, the longer you have to concentrate. The general rule is, it should take just as long to teleport there as it would have taken you to fly that distance. Teleporting takes a lot of energy, and it takes it out of you all at once. Character with low Endurance may be knocked unconscious if they teleport a great distance.

Instant (+10 points) : You no longer have to build up the power first. While teleports are just as exhausting as before, you can now teleport at your full Speed, enabling you to use this power to dodge in melee.

Memorize Locations (+10 points) : You can memorize a spot and teleport to it without being able to see it directly. The amount of time you need to memorize a spot depends upon how far away you want to be able to teleport to it from.

Distance Less Important (+10 points) : The distance you can teleport goes up exponentially as you concentrate. In a space-based campaign, you can even teleport from solar system to solar system, provided that your Psyche is high enough.

Force Field (5 points) : You can surround yourself with a force field that lets you use your Psyche as an additional layer of Invulnerability. This requires a fair amount of concentration. Naturally, this will not protect you against attacks inside your body (swallowing acid) or against most lasting attacks that are already doing damage (unless your forcefield stops oxygen from getting in, in which case you had better not need to breathe, turning it on will not put out the parts of you that were on fire). The GM should declare exactly how realistically he or she wishes to portray force fields; for example, will the character be able to fire out through his force field or not? Generally, the character's force field is assumed to flicker around the spot he fires from, allowing him to shoot through it, but also allowing someone with superior Warfare to shoot him through the momentary opening.

Passive Force Field (+5 points) : You can maintain your forcefield with a minimum of effort and concentration, allowing you to use your full Psyche for other powers at the same time. If you are rendered unconscious somehow, this protection will vanish.

Area Effect (+5 points) : Your force field can be expanded to protect everyone in your immediate vicinity without significantly reducing its strength. Others, friendly or not, cannot pass through the field at will unless the character is concentrating on opening and closing it for them.



Alternate Form (5+ points) : You have another form that you can assume at will, taking a second or so to change. The second form is basically a different character, and can be as similar or dissimilar to your original form as you like.

For 5 points, you can change into a -50 point character (basically, put all attributes at HEROIC, and you have an extra 10 points to spend). For 10 points, you can have a 0-point alternate form (all attributes starting at SUPER). Beyond that, the cost goes up by 1 per point.

Thus, you can have a 20 point alternate form for 30 points (a 50 point character can thus have two 20 point forms). For 50 points, you can have a 40-point alternate form, which is the equivalent of a 50-point character spending 10 points to have a 0-point alternate form.

The cost of your alternate form can be reduced, however, by placing limitations upon your ability to transform. If your transformation to and from your alternate form takes too long to be useful in combat (you cannot really fight while transforming), your alternate form may be 3/4 to 1/2 cost (your GM will rule depending upon how long the transformation takes; if it takes you 24 hours to change from one form to another, you may even be allowed to purchase the extra form at 1/4 cost).

Other likely limitations are: can only change on certain occasions (the full moon for a werewolf), can only change while angry (a certain green superhero), or only being able to change once a day.

If you want more than two forms, you pay half cost for every additional form after your first alternate form. Please note that the most expensive (after limitations) alternate form is always considered the first one.

You can further reduce the cost by taking Character Limitations such as "required to spend at least 50% of my time in my wimpy, negative 50 point human form or I start to go crazy." The exact value of these depends upon your GM's judgement, and may change if you change your alternate form(s).

If a character purchases Alternate Forms for an alternate form, then he can only assume those forms after first assuming the original alternate form. The GM should make sure that this is in the character concept, and is not just being done to juggle points.

Watch characters taking things like Character Limitations for their alternate forms as well. There is strong potential for abuse here.

IMPORTANT NOTE: You cannot spend more on an alternate form than your starting character points plus five. A 50-point character cannot spend more than 55 points on an alternate form. This is a simple kludge to deal with the fact that there is a 50 point difference between a 5-point form and a 10-point form, instead of a 5 point difference. Without this rule, a player could create Obnox the Rules Screw: A -200 point human (all SUBHUMAN attributes, all pseudo-attributes at -5) who purchased a 240-point alternate form with no disadvantages or restrictions on it. He simply changes into his 240-point form and never assumes his "base" form again.



Limited Powers and Attributes



Sometimes, usually to save points or provide a certain special effect, you will want to purchase something that only works under certain circumstances. This is referred to as a Limited Power (or Limited Attribute). This reduces its cost. All limitations MUST be approved by your GM beforehand. Here are some examples:



Psyche, only for your powers (1/2 cost) : This allows you to have a weak-willed character with potent powers, but does not increase your character's willpower, and cannot help defend you in a Psyche contest (and will not apply towards a Personality-based Presence Attack).



Psyche, force of will only (1/2 cost) : The reverse of the above. This enables you to have a potent personality with weaker powers. If you haven't purchased any powers that depend upon your Psyche, then this can save you some points without any cost to your character, so it is recommended that only characters with powers that are affected by their Psyche rating be allowed to take this option. If the powers in question are fairly useless, your GM may further reduce the value of this limitation.

Psyche, defending against psychic attacks only (1/4 cost) : This is similar to the power Mental Block, but does not interfere with the character's ability to use mental powers himself. It just gives him a potent mental shield. On the other hand, it doesn't defend him against being detected by mental probes, either.



Strength, only to penetrate invulnerability (1/2 cost) [See the power Blades]

Endurance, healing only (1/2 cost) : You heal more quickly than your would expect from your ability to deal with injury and exhaustion.

Endurance, resisting damage and fatigue only (1/2 cost) : You can resist more damage and fatigue than your ability to heal would indicate.



Warfare, only with one weapon (1/2 cost) : You are specialized in a particular kind of attack, and your effective Warfare is higher with it than with any other weapon or combat maneuver. If you use a similar, related attack, your GM may choose an appropriate value for your Warfare between your basic score and your maximum Warfare.



Speed, reaction time only (1/2 cost) : You have better reaction time than your ability to run. This is useful for "Rambo-style" heroes who can dodge quickly, but who cannot outrun a car.



Speed, movement only (1/2 cost) : You can run faster than you can react, basically enhanced running. Beware of things that suddenly jump in front of you; you may not be able to stop in time.



Invulnerability, only while concentrating (1/2 cost) : Your body's resistance to damage depends upon your ability to concentrate on it. This is appropriate for many martial artist characters. If you are knocked unconscious, your Invulnerability reverts back to normal. You will also tend to be vulnerable to attack whenever you are not expecting trouble. This has the advantage over the power Force Field that it does offer some additional protection, even against attacks that hit you in your internal organs, and against lasting attacks that were already doing damage when you turned your Invulnerability on.



Invulnerability, suit of armor (1/2 cost) : You have additional protection from some kind of armor you wear. This has the disadvantage that it generally takes some time to change in and out, and you will tend to be vulnerable when you are not expecting trouble. Also, if defeated, your armor can be taken away from you. On the other hand, once you have the armor on, its defenses will not go away just because you are knocked unconscious. Unlike most other kinds of Invulnerability, this does NOT add additional protection to your internal organs, and will not apply against any attack that goes around the armor and hits you directly. It is more like a force field that you can take on and off.



Invulnerability, only versus one kind of attack (cost varies) : You are especially resistant to a certain kind of attack. This limitation generally halves the cost of your Invulnerability, but may even quarter it if the type of attack is fairly rare. Mild limitations (+20 Invulnerability to everything except magic in a standard superhero game) may only reduce the cost by a fourth or even a tenth.



Absorption (generally 1/2 cost) : You have an attribute which increases towards a maximum value as you absorb more energy. The basic rule is, if you will rarely be able to get more than half-way to your maximum potential value, then it is half-cost. An example of this is the character whose Strength rises from Ranked(10) up to Ranked(30) [total cost 10 points instead of 20] as he absorbs kinetic energy. In a fight, he is unlikely to rise above Ranked(20), just because he tends to fall back towards Ranked(10) when he is not being hit. BUT, if he knows that he is about to go into an important combat, he can prepare for it by absorbing a lot of energy right now, and hoping that it lasts him through the fight.

If what you absorb energy from is fairly rare, or if it takes a LOT of it to increase your attribute, or if your attribute drops back to normal again almost immediately, this can go all the way down to 1/4 cost or lower. Basically, if the GM thinks that your Absorption is not much of a weakness, you may get next to nothing for it.



Reduction (generally 1/2 cost) : You have an attribute which can be reduced by certain conditions or attacks. For instance, you may purchase +30 Strength, reduced by exposure to fire. In this case, whenever you are struck with a fire-based attack, your effective Strength will plummet. In a manner similar to Absorption, if the attack which affects you this way is rare (Kryptonite), or if it takes several seconds of exposure to reduce your attribute completely, this limitation may be worth less. If it is very common it may be worth more.



Rounding Error

You can choose to keep track of partial points (fairly easy to do when the character has two powers that cost 5.5 points each), or you can round the cost up AGAINST the character (11 points of Speed, movement only, costs 6 points). Your GM's judgement is necessary here, if you want to round a cost up or down. To discourage half and quarter-point powers, we recommend rounding costs up to the next full point.





Character Limitations

Sometimes you will want to place limitations on what your character can (and can't) do which aren't really limitations on his powers. Character Limitations are things like "Hates and fears all snakes," "Changes into alternate form involuntarily every full moon," "Goes berserk when injured," etc.

Generally, these are things that limit what your character WILL do, as opposed to what he CAN do. These limitations are generally fairly cheap (-1 to -5 points), letting you "buy them off" easily should your character manage to overcome his limitation.

A Zero-point Character Limitation is just a role-playing tip. If your archeologist has "Fears all snakes (-0)" as a limitation, then you are expected to role-play your fear of snakes, but will not suffer any penalties for it. This may help earn you additional experience points for good role-playing, or may hurt you if you regularly ignore venomous snakes that appear in your game. Furthermore, if you decide that having faced his fear and overcome it last adventure, James is no longer afraid of snakes, then you simply remove the Character Limitation from his character sheet.

On the other hand, a "Fear of snakes (-1)" is a powerful fear, and will allow the GM to say that your character drops his gun when a bad guy waves a snake at him. The more points you get for a Character Limitation, the more crippling it should be when it actually applies. A character with "Fear of snakes (-10)" would probably pass out if he saw a baby garter snake, and would die of a heart attack if actually bitten by one. The GM should be miserly when giving out points this way.

Unspent XP

Sometimes it's nice to save a couple of experience points just so that if you DO need to overcome your fear of snakes this game session, you can tell the GM that you are buying that limitation off, RIGHT NOW. This is really the only kind of "spending XP in the middle of a session" that the GM should probably allow.



Character Limitations and Alternate Forms

A common Character Limitation is "required to assume other form whenever such-and-such occurs." If the other form is more powerful, then this is, at best, a -1 point limitation. On the other hand, if the alternate form is far weaker (see Miracleperson's -80 point civilian identity), this limitation may be considerable.





Experience Points

To simulate the way in which your characters grow in power and skill, AMRS awards you Experience Points for playing, which can be spent on improving your current powers and attributes.

1 Experience Point for showing up and playing.

1 Experience Point for role-playing well and staying in character.

1 Experience Point for surprising the GM and doing far better than he expected. For example:

"All right, Joe, your character has been stripped of all of his superhuman powers by the insidious Dr. Powerblock, and now you're being attacked by Megaloth the Mighty, who is tossing cars at you. What are you doing?" [The GM is considering how far Megaloth will chase him and what the character will need to do to escape the lumbering giant.]

"I attack!"

"Right... Your all-HEROIC attributes and no powers character is going to take on a guy who can't be hurt by bullets, and who can throw cars around." [The GM is now considering whether Megaloth will kill Joe, take him prisoner, or just knock him senseless and leave him there.]

(Time passes)

"When he swings at me, I jump through the window, out onto the street!"

"All right, you crash through the glass, while Megaloth's mighty fist takes out yet another wall."

"That was the last support beam, right?"

[The GM pauses, considering.]

"Um... exactly. The building shudders and starts to collapse... [He checks his notes and discovers that Megaloth's Speed and Intelligence are both too low for him to realize what is happening before the building collapses on him.] "The building collapses in a huge roar of tumbling bricks... Megaloth is buried." [The GM checks his notes again, and realizes that neither Megaloth nor Dr. Powerblock (who was hiding on the penthouse floor) can withstand the collapse. Both are knocked unconscious.] "Um... you feel your powers come rushing back, so you must have nailed Dr. Powerblock too!"

[The GM, who HAD been trying to come up with a way to let Joe live through the encounter, is astonished to realize that Joe has just defeated the night's villains. The GM scrambles for a new plotline, and Joe will receive a full 3 Experience Points for this session.]



Withholding Experience

Perhaps the easiest way to encourage better role-playing among your players is to only give the +1 Experience Point role-playing bonus to people who role-play better than the rest of the group does.



Spending Experience

Since AMRS does not go into much detail about your specific skills and training, experience points can be spent on anything that your GM will approve. Your GM has the authority to tell you no, especially if you want to improve an attribute that your character has not used in a year, or to purchase a power that is wildly different from your current powers. This is a good reason to purchase Potential Powers at character creation.



Example Characters



Golden Buoy (50 points)

Psy: HERO (-10)

Str: Ranked (50)

End: SUPER

War: HERO (-10)

Spd: SUPER

Inv: Ranked 50 [SUPER] (25)



Attractive (1)

Resist Aging (4)

Bad Luck (-10)



Golden Buoy is a very powerful brick who, due to a horrific boating accident, gained phenomenal strength and a body shaped like an ocean buoy. He is fast and immensely strong. When he uses his great strength, a golden field of energy springs up over his body which protects him from all harm. Otherwise his Invulnerability is merely SUPERHUMAN. Golden Buoy has a history of bad luck. He once caused a ship to sink because they mistook him for a warning buoy. Golden Buoy does not age since his accident.







The Thick (50 points)

Psy: HERO (-10)

Str: Ranked (25)

End: SUPER

War: HUMAN (-20)

Spd: HERO (-10)

Inv: Ranked (60)



Mental Block (5)

Good Luck (+10)

Bad Luck (-10)



The Thick is a Ranked Annoyance. He is slow but strong, clumsy but powerful, and nearly impossible to hurt. His greatest weakness probably lies in the fact that he still needs to breathe; his SUPERHUMAN Endurance will only delay death by drowning, if you can keep him down.

He is also a Weirdness Magnet, as is evident from his Luck. Strange things tend to happen around him, both for his benefit and detriment.







Pi-Clops (50 points)

Psy: Ranked (30)

Str: HERO (-10)

End: Ranked (5)

War: Ranked (25)

Spd: SUPER [HERO] (Reflexes only: -5)

Inv: HERO (-10)



Ranged Attack (10) [Eyeblast. Goes off automatically if anyone lifts the bandage from his forehead.]

Good Stuff (5)







Miracleperson (50 points)

Psy: Ranked(5)

Str: Ranked(10)

End: Ranked(5)

War: Ranked(5)

Spd: Ranked(20)

Inv: Ranked(10)



Space Flight (20)

Life Support (10)

Alternate Form [normal human] (5)



Must remain in human form [Pat Smith] at least 50% of the time or will slowly go insane. (-40)



Pat Smith (-80 point character)

Psy: HERO (-10)

Str: HUMAN (-20)

End: HERO (-10)

War: HUMAN (-20)

Spd: HERO (-10)

Inv: HERO (-10)

No powers.



When changing back and forth from Pat Smith, Miracleperson involuntarily causes a small explosion as the two bodies are dimensionally displaced. The GM declares this a 0-point power, because it allows him a sneaky attack on unsuspecting foes, but it may also prevent him from changing back and forth if anything (or anyone) valuable is in the area.



Miracleperson is the kind of character many GMs hate. He is very powerful (that -40 point Character Limitation lets him buy lots of nice powers without reducing his already impressive attributes), but has a crippling weakness- half of the time, almost anyone could kill him. He cannot use his Endurance to its full potential, because he has to resume his human form before he will really become tired. Even if the GM is merciful, an enemy telepath will gleefully catch him in his human form and mentally prevent him from changing back to Miracleperson. The GM should base the cost of Character Limitations like this on his own personal style- if you always give the characters a chance to survive, -40 is probably far too much. Miracleperson's GM has made it clear that he will probably die the first time that he is careless and ends up being attacked by a supervillain while in his human form.

Please note that Miracleperson STILL had to pay the 5 points for an alternate form, despite it being less than -50 points, and his having a special limitation regarding it. Sometimes it can be very useful to be able to duck around a corner and come out with a different face (and different fingerprints, too).







Mandy (50 points)

Psy: Ranked(10)

Str: HUMAN (-20)

End: SUPER

War: HERO (-10)

Spd: HERO (-10)

Inv: SUPER / HERO (-5) [Armored Trenchcoat]



Heal by Touch (10)

Teleport to and from any electrical system by touch (20)

Force Field, Constant and Area Effect (15)

Presence Attack (5)



Alternate Form: SHEEBLA (35)

Sheebla is a 70-point character, but can only be used in the electrical "universe."



Must become Sheebla on a regular basis (-1)



SHEEBLA (70 points)

Psy: Ranked(10)

Str: Ranked(20)

End: SUPER

War: HERO (-10)

Spd: Ranked(10) Running, HERO Reflexes (0)

Inv: SUPER



Heal (10)

Force Field (15)

Presence Attack (5)

Blades (clawed hands) (5)

Teleport back out of the electrical system (10)

See into the real world (10)

Appearance (-5)



Justice (50 points)

Psy: Ranked (30)

Str: HERO (-10)

End: SUPER

War: SUPER

Spd: HERO (-10)

Inv: HERO (-10)



Ranged Attack (10)

Shields (20) [big, versatile]

Scan Auras (20) [specific, details, few defenses, scanning]







Professor Z (50 points)

Psy: Ranked (50)

Str: SUBHUMAN (-35)

End: SUPER [HUMAN] (-10)

War: HERO (-10)

Spd: SUPER [SUBHUMAN] (-15) [Wheelchair bound]

Inv: HERO (-10)



Mind Control (40) [subtle, long range, any command, lasting]

Read Thoughts (20) [scan, details, specific, wide area]

Mind Blast (30) [psychic, area effect]

Bad Stuff (-5)







Judgement (50 points)

Psy: SUPER

Str: Ranked (15)

End: Ranked (5)

War: Ranked (5)

Spd: SUPER

Inv: Ranked (10)



Scan for Powers (long range) (10)

Scan for Evil (5)







Miracleperson (50 points)



Miracleform (185 points)

Psy: Ranked (30)

Str: Ranked (30)

End: Ranked (20)

War: Ranked (20)

Spd: Ranked (30)

Inv: Ranked (35)



Flight (10)

Life Support (10) [Space capable]

Good Luck +1

Dependent (-1) [Wife]



Human Form (-90 points)

Psy: HERO (-10)

Str: HUMAN (-20)

End: HERO (-10)

War: HUMAN (-20)

Spd: HERO (-10)

Inv: HUMAN (-20)



Good Stuff +1

Dependent (-1) [Wife]



Miracleperson (50 points)

Psy: Ranked 30 [HERO] (10) {Miracleperson has to spend at

Str: Ranked 30 [HUMAN] (2.5) least half of his time in human

End: Ranked 20 [HERO] (5) form, or his powers and mental

War: Ranked 20 [HUMAN] (-2.5) health will suffer. In any non-

Spd: Ranked 30 [HERO] (10) combat situation, he will usually

Inv: Ranked 35 [HUMAN] (5) be found in his human form.}



Flight (5) [Not while human]

Life Support (12) [Not while human]

Good Stuff (4)

Dependent (-1) [Wife]



Fireball (0) [Miracleperson generates a flash of fire every time he changes form. This is involuntary, and he cannot change without the fireball effect occurring.]



Miracleperson (50 points)

Psy: Ranked(5)

Str: Ranked(10)

End: Ranked(5)

War: Ranked(5)

Spd: Ranked(20)

Inv: Ranked(10)



Space Flight (20)

Life Support (10)

Alternate Form [normal human] (5)



Must remain in human form [Pat Smith] at least 50% of the time or will slowly go insane. (-40)



Pat Smith (-80 point character)

Psy: HERO (-10)

Str: HUMAN (-20)

End: HERO (-10)

War: HUMAN (-20)

Spd: HERO (-10)

Inv: HERO (-10)

No powers.



miracle = 85 points

human = -80 points

if human buys miracle-form, costs 10+85 = 95 points.

human is now 15 point character.



50 - 10 + 80 = 120 points to blow on other form. (110 point miracle person).



-50 point human buys 90 point superform.

90 point super must turn into -50 point human.







Items and Devices

This refers to any item or device that the character might find useful. A 0-point device is something that the character could easily acquire, and is therefore considered to be "free." It would be unrealistic to restrict the character's access to this device.

A character with a negative Wealth rating should be restricted as to exactly what amounts to a "0-point" item for his character. While the average adult American can afford a car, a modern day character with a Wealth of -5 would not be able to, and might sell any car he did acquire in a misguided attempt to make a profit. In any case, he would not be able to afford repairs for it, were it to be destroyed.



Examples of 0-Point Items: A bicycle, a slingshot, clothes, or a car (in a modern setting, anyway).



Ownership

An Unowned item has 0 points in Ownership, and is not normally considered "part" of the character's description. If destroyed, the character must replace it. The character can, however, purchase items that are an integral part of him. The more points spent on Ownership, the more the item becomes an integral part of his character.

For example, a cowboy character might have a horse with 0 points in Ownership. This horse, regardless of its attributes (it might be an exceptional horse) would just be "his" horse. If killed, or allowed to run off, the character must replace/recover it on his own. The player has no real control over the horse's actions; it is an NPC run by the GM.

For 5 points in Ownership, the item becomes "loyal" to the character. The above horse, had the character paid 5 points for it, would always return when lost, would come when he whistled for it, would buck off would-be thieves who tried to steal it, etc. Should the horse die, the character will either a) be able to replace it easily, receiving a second horse with similar loyalties, or b) receive 1-2 extra XP per session until he has received as many points back as the horse cost him.

10 points in Ownership makes the item practically part of the character. The cowboy above would be able to communicate almost telepathically with the horse, including sending it to get help. The player would have almost total control over the horse's actions. No one else could ever tame the animal, and almost no one could control its mind well enough to make it betray its master. In short, the horse would practically become part of the character.



Item Attributes

An item with 0-points in an attribute class is basically the "minimum" for that class. It possesses no special attributes FOR WHAT IT IS. A horse with a Speed of 0 can still run faster than a normal human, but NOT faster than most horses. Most attributes can be applied to items, although their effects may vary.



Intelligence: If you want the item to be more intelligent than people would reasonably expect, give it additional points in Intelligence. A car with an Intelligence of 0 is just a car. A car with an Intelligence of 5 probably has some kind of onboard computer, and can communicate with its driver and probably drive itself if necessary.

Luck: The luck associated with the item. This usually adjusts the character's luck while using the item.

Psyche: The item's force of will and personality. In the case of an inanimate object, this is used to resist attempts to control or manipulate the item (generally with Powers like "Control Machine" or "Animate Object").

Strength: The amount of physical power the item can exert. For instance, a strong horse could leap further and kick harder than a normal horse, while a strong car could shove smaller cars out of the way on the freeway.

Endurance: The item's ability to keep going and repair damage. An inanimate object with Endurance might have a self-repair function. A car with a high Endurance would be able to run longer and better on the same amount of fuel as a normal car.

Warfare: The item's agility and aim. For an inanimate object, this can increase the item's usefulness. For example, a gun with a Warfare rating might have a telescopic scope, or some other aiming device, while a car with a Warfare rating might be able to turn on a dime and maneuver far more fluidly than a normal vehicle.

Speed: How fast the item can move and, to a lesser extent, react. A fast car could outrace other vehicles with ease, whereas a fast gun might reload almost instantly, or have minimal recoil.

Invulnerability: The item's toughness and hardness; it's ability to shrug off damage. A bullet-proof car would have a good Invulnerability rating.



Utility Costs: The more it's worth, the more it costs

Certain items will be inherently more useful than others. A motorcycle is generally more useful in an adventure than a bicycle. A jet is far faster than a propellor plane. Both are slower than a decent space craft. For a particularly rare or useful item, the GM can increase its cost, while reducing the cost of a less useful item.

This is basically done by thinking of the item as a Power (or set of Powers) that would let the character perform whatever task the item does and then using the cost of those Powers. This may be modified by the availability of the item in the game. Some examples follow:

A riding horse, in most genres, would be free, not because it is of little use, but because of its availability. Any character with a sufficient Wealth score to afford one would normally be allowed to start with one in their possession.

A helicopter, on the other hand, is almost as good as having Winged Flight (5 points), and can carry other people in the bargain. Charging 2 to 5 points for it would not be unreasonable. However, a character with a Wealth of 5-10 could certainly justify buying one. But unless he paid the points, the item would still be under the GM's control, and might be in the shop when the character needed it most. Also, if it were destroyed, he would have to find and buy another one, whereas the character who owned one might be able to get his back almost immediately.

A space craft generally provides Interstellar Flight (20 normally, perhaps less if it has difficulty inside atmosphere) and complete Life Support (10) for multiple passengers. The GM could easily justify a cost of 15-30 for it.



For instance, in a modern setting, the GM might halve or quarter the Ownership cost of a character's bicycle, as compared to a car. In most cases, raising the cost will not be necessary. By simply requiring the character to pay for any Powers that the item simulates, its cost will generally even out.


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