Super Structure

Q&A on GURPS Supers

By Sean "Dr. Kromm" Punch

What follows are some clarifications and answers to questions about GURPS Supers, Second Edition. These questions were originally posed on the Internet, and have been edited here for clarity and brevity, and to preserve context. Feel free to send your questions to Dr. Kromm.

Special thanks to Runar Magnusson for all of these great questions!

Clarifying Old Super Abilities

1. The Absorption power states that it can be used to increase attributes. It does not specifically forbid one from increasing advantages or powers. Can one do this?
2. If a character with 6 levels of Absorption is hit by an attack that, while smaller than 6d, manages to fill his battery, do the 6 levels of Absorption immediately protect as DR against the excess damage?
3. Am I right in assuming that a character with the Transformation advantage does not get a -10% Accessibility limitation ("Useful only in Body of . . .") on his powers or super advantages?
4. Does DR protect against the Dehydrate power? The power description says that Toughness protects; however, it also says that regular armor doesn't protect, and I've always seen DR as "regular" armor.
5. If a character has DR, does it protect his eyes?

1. Absorption explicitly allows points to be put into a "Power or Attribute." This means that you can raise ST, DX, IQ, HT or the Power of any super or psi power, but nothing else.
2. No, because his battery was not full when the attack hit.
3. Yes.
4. DR does protect against Dehydrate. Toughness and DR are the same thing; Toughness just happens to have an Unusual Background cost built into it because it's odd for normal humans to have DR.
5. No. Just as for Toughness, the DR advantage does not protect the eyes. For that, take the Nictating Membrane advantage.

Creating New Super Abilities

If I wanted to create a super Danger Sense power (like Spider Man has) instead of a psionic one, how would I go about doing so?

Just give the character Danger Sense and say that the special effects aren't psionic. This has no effect on point cost. The fact that the character will not be affected by anti-psi measures is balanced by the fact that he cannot improve his skill or power, or use psi-boosting drugs or gadgets.

Super Characters

1. In a high-powered Supers game, how does the fact that the characters are built on 500-700 points affect the point levels of Dependents and Enemies?
2. I am especially interested in Dependents. For example, in a 600-point Supers game, would a character's spouse be unusually point-heavy for a "normal", would the Dependent disadvantage be worth more points, or would everything simply stay the same?

1. Officially, it doesn't, but it's clear that the point levels suggested for building Allies, Enemies, Dependents and Patrons assume a 100-point game. Many GURPS players scale these costs in campaigns where the PCs are worth more; e.g., in a 500-point game, these NPCs are built on 5 times the listed points. This does not apply to Ally Groups, though, because huge mobs of people are useful due to their sheer numbers, even if they are low-powered.
2. The new break points for the Dependent disadvantage would be at 0, 150 and 300 points, replacing the 0-, 25- and 50-point limits in the Basic Set. For instance, a 150-point Dependent would be worth a base -12 points to a 600-point PC, just as a 25-point one would be worth -12 points to a 100-point PC.

Super Combat

1. Do super attacks that do crushing or cutting damage follow the rules for blow-through that are applied to hand-to-hand weapons; i.e., no blow-through for the torso?
2. If the answer to the above question is "yes," would it be a limitation, enhancement or neither to have a generic attack that does damage like a bullet (i.e., blow-through after HT hits to the torso, but able to do 3x damage to vitals)?
3. When characters with high levels of Enhanced ST make an All-Out Attack and opt for more damage, do they just add the regular bonus (as described in the Basic Set) or do they get more damage than that?
4. When a character in "Body of . . ." form is hit by an attack aimed at the brain, heart, vitals or other human organs, does the damage multiplier still apply?

1. Super "energy" attacks (lasers, fireballs, et cetera) -- regardless of damage type -- should be treated just like beam weapons, fire or electricity: they can do 2 x HT damage to the torso before blow-through. Blow-through does not apply to other super attacks that do crushing or cutting damage.
2. This would be a net +0% enhancement (a special effect). While the attack would be devastating against the vitals, that's a moderately hard target, and this added effectiveness would be balanced by the damage limit when targeting the torso, which is the easiest target.
3. Strong characters get +2 damage on an All-Out Attack, just like everyone else. Certain damage modifiers (fine weapon, Weapon Master, All-Out Attack, et cetera) are linear, and represent an attack with greater precision or keenness, not a magnification of a strong character's brute strength.
4. No. All of the "Body of . . ." abilities make the character vulnerable to some attack form while in altered-body form. These vulnerabilities replace the normal human vulnerability to blows to vital areas, and are why these "Body of" advantages don't cost more.

Super Equipment

A player in my Supers campaign wants to create a character who is not a gadgeteer per se, but who has some equipment from higher TLs. What sort of point cost should I impose?

Use the High Technology advantage (p. CI26) and charge him cash for his gear. He can buy Wealth if he wants lots of ultra-tech gear.

Article publication date: January 22, 1999

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