More Powers for Powers

for GURPS Fourth Edition

by Reverend P. Kitty

While Characters introduced the psionic power framework to GURPS Fourth Edition, Powers took it to the next level and created powers for anything. From ancient Shaolin healing techniques to demonically powered deception of the senses, any concept can be turned into a robust, flexible power. The examples below follow the rules and guidelines from Chapter One of Powers and represent some common themes found in a wide variety of genres.


"The closer we come to an atmosphere with only one sun -- a yellow sun -- the more our molecular density gives us unlimited powers."
-- General Zod, Superman II

Sources: Super
Focus: Density

This is the power to alter the density of oneself, other people, or any inanimate objects. Its users can increase their density to become incredibly tough and strong or decrease it to walk through walls. Opponents targeted by Density power generally experience the drawbacks instead; increased density can slow, stop, or even crush a target, while density can be partially decreased to make them easier to hurt. The quasi-scientific nature of this ability makes it poorly suited for a supernatural power; in practice, it is rarely found outside of four-color comics (Super).

Density Talent: 5 points/level

Density Abilities

Binding, with Unbreakable (and usually with Constricting); Catfall, with Feather Fall; Damage Resistance, with Tough Skin*; Improved G-Tolerance*; Injury Tolerance (any of Damage Reduction*, Diffuse, or Homogenous*); Insubstantiality; Lifting ST*; Permeation, but not with Tunnel; Pressure Support*; Protected Power; Radiation Tolerance*; Resistant to Knockback*; Striking ST*; Vacuum Support*; Walk on Air; and Walk on Liquid.

* These advantages can take a Nuisance Effect if the user becomes incredibly heavy when using them. Twice normal weight (minimum 500 pounds) is worth -5%. Ten times normal weight (minimum 2,000 pounds) is worth -10%. Knockback is a Common threat; resistance adds to ST instead of HT.

Density wielders can buy Afflictions to change the density of other people or objects. Afflictions which reduce density should have Advantage (Insubstantiality), to dematerialize the subject completely, or any of Attribute Penalty (ST), Negated Advantage (Damage Resistance), and Disadvantage (Skinny and Vulnerability to Physical Attacks), to partially lower the target's density, making them weaker and more fragile.

Afflictions to increase density should have Advantage (any marked with a * from the list above) and/or Disadvantage (Reduced Basic Speed, Cannot Swim, and either Very Fat or Increased Life Support (Massive), depending on whether you want the target to weigh twice as much or ten times as much). Very Fat should be treated as a non-metabolic variant which includes no skill bonuses or penalties. Selectivity will let you give your friends the advantages of increased density while saddling your opponents with the drawbacks; this isn't particularly realistic, but neither is the genre in which this power is normally found!

Power Modifier: Density. The advantage belongs to the Density power. This modifier is almost always Super (-10%).


"Now I rule the dreamworld. I will hide in dreams. I will be a wise and tolerant monarch, dispensing justice fairly, and only setting nightmares to rip out the minds of the evil and wicked. Or just anybody I don't like."
-- John Dee, Sandman: Sound and Fury

Sources: Divine, Magic, Psionic, or Spirit
Focus: Dreams and sleep

Dream power gives its users control over states of consciousness and the dreams that emerge from the deepest levels of sleep. They can interact with dreaming subjects, either communicating through their dreams or taking control of them directly. This power usually represents a specialized path of sorcery (Magic), being in service to the Dream Lords or their kind (Divine or Spirit), or a mental discipline somewhere between Astral Projection and Telepathy (Psionic).

In many settings, the dreams of every sleeper all float through the same ethereal sea. This is the dream world, with countless dream bubbles bobbing and drifting but (almost) never colliding. In such a game, this power also allows its users to visit this dream world via the Jumper advantage. If the campaign does not feature such a world, GMs may allow a Dream adept to project directly into a single person's dream instead, or disallow the advantage entirely.

Dream Talent: 5 points/level

Dream Abilities

Detect (Sleepers); Doesn't Sleep; Fatigue Attack, with Malediction and Hazard, Missed Sleep; Healing, with Affliction Only and Accessibility, Only Dream Afflictions (-20%); Illusion, with Mental*; Jumper (World), with Projection (+0%) and Limited, Dream World (-20%); Less Sleep; Mind Probe*; Mind Reading*; Mind Shield, with Limited, Dream; Oracle, as interpreting dreams; Protected Power; Telecommunications (Telesend)*; Terror*; and Visualization.

* These advantages must have Accessibility, Only on sleeping subjects (-20%) or Accessibility, Only on sleeping or daydreaming subjects (-10%). The latter includes dazed and hallucinating subjects as well.

Afflictions are allowed with Malediction and one or more of Coma, Daze, Hallucinating, Sleep, Unconsciousness, Advantage (any of Deep Sleeper, Doesn't Sleep, or Less Sleep), Disadvantage (any of Extra Sleep, Insomniac, Light Sleeper, Nightmares, Sleepy, or Slow Riser), or any Negated Advantage or Negated Disadvantage for the above. These are also the only Afflictions that Dream's Healing can neutralize.

With GM permission, Control (Dreams) may be included as part of this power, for 30 points/level. (See Godlike Control on p. 92 of Powers.) By default, it only applies to the dream which currently involves the user, or that of the person he's touching. With an IQ roll, the level of Control can be used as a bonus or penalty to any roll made by a participant in the dream. This can include Psychology rolls to analyze the dreamer, Fright Checks made by the dreamer, the wielder's Illusion rolls to change the dream, and so on. Control can lengthen or shorten the duration of a dream from the dreamer's perspective; use the guidelines for Control (Time). Depending on the setting, more esoteric uses may be available; for example, if a dream world exists, Control may allow you to merge the dreams of a number of people equal to its level.

Power Modifier: Dream. The advantage belongs to the Dream power. This modifier is typically Divine (-10%), Magic (-10%), Psionic (-10%), or Spirit (-25%).

Sensory Awareness

Sources: Biological, Chi, Divine, Spirit, or Super
Focus: Enhanced senses

"You're a detective with hyperactive senses! You're a monster, man, a human crime lab with organic surveillance equipment. What more could you want?" "Control."
-- Blair Sandburg and Jim Ellison, The Sentinel

Wielders of this power can use their five senses to their utmost acuity. Unusual senses are apppropriate as well, as long as they can be rationalized as being based on one or more of the wielder's existing senses. Senses that emit some form of energy to work (e.g., Scanning Sense) or that involve wholly supernatural methods of perception (e.g., Clairsentience) are never allowed; take ESP power for that. Sensory Awareness power may be the result of inborn mutation (Biological or Super) or intense training of the senses (Chi), but just as often represents a pact with an all-seeing god (Divine) or equivalent spirits (Spirit).

Sensory Awareness Talent: 5 points/level

Sensory Awareness Abilities

Dark Vision, with Hypersensory; Discriminatory Hearing; Discriminatory Smell; Discriminatory Taste; Enhanced Tracking; Hyperspectral Vision; Infravision; Microscopic Vision; Night Vision; Parabolic Hearing; Peripheral Vision; Protected Power; Protected Sense; Psychometry, with Hypersensory; Sensitive Touch; Subsonic Hearing; Telescopic Vision; Ultrahearing; Ultravision; and Vibration Sense, but not with Sense of Perception.

In a game that plays fast and loose with the laws of physics, some GMs may permit Scanning Sense (Para-Radar) with the No Intercept enhancement to be considered a passive, "hypersensory" extension of the normal senses and thus eligible for this power. No other Scanning Sense is ever appropriate, however. Note that while See Invisible is not part of this power, Dark Vision (with Hypersensory) and Vibration Sense will both allow the user to find and fight invisible foes.

Sensory Awareness users will benefit greatly from Acute Senses and extra levels of Perception, though neither qualify for the Power Modifier. See Inappropriate Abilities (Powers, p. 10) for an explanation.

Power Modifier: Sensory Awareness. The advantage belongs to the Sensory Awareness power. This modifier is generally Biological (-10%), Chi (-10%), Divine (-10%), Spirit (-25%), or Super (-10%).


"You'd leave me standing, son."
"I can leave photons standing, Jay."

-- Flash (Jay Garrett) and Flash (Wally West), JLA: Crisis Times Five

Sources: Biological, Chi, or Super
Focus: Personal acceleration

This power allows the user to accelerate the speed at which his body acts, down to the molecular level. The majority of its abilities involve multiple actions, high-speed running, and rapid recovery. Speed power is commonly found in the comics (Super), where it includes the ability to "match the atomic frequencies" of matter (Insubstantiality) or of other dimensions or times (Jumper). However, it is equally appropriate for the swift fists of wuxia fighters (Chi) or naturally fast prodigies (Biological).

Speed Talent: 5 points/level

Speed Abilities

Altered Time Rate; Chameleon, with Dynamic and Accessibility, Only While Running (-30%) but not with Controllable; Enhanced Dodge; Enhanced Move (Ground); Enhanced Time Sense; Extra Attack; Insubstantiality*; Invisibility, with Switchable and Accessibility, Only While Running (-30%); Jumper (Time or World)*; Protected Power; Recovery; Regeneration; Striking ST; Super Jump; Temperature Tolerance, for cold; and Walk on Liquid, with Accessibility, Only While Running (-30%).

* These advantages may not be appropriate in certain genres (GM's decision).

In a cinematic game, the GM may allow Speed users to take the Cosmic (+50%) enhancement on their Enhanced Move, negating the need for any acceleration time. In such a game, Warp may also be added as part of this power, with a special limitation, "Must Traverse Distance: You actually travel to the destination under your own power; you just do it instantly. You cannot warp to anywhere you could not get to normally, given time. -30%." This allows the speedster to travel across the country in the blink of an eye without being able to teleport out of a jail cell.

Increased DX, Basic Speed, and Basic Move are all de rigeur for anyone with Speed power, but they are not part of the power itself.

Power Modifier: Speed. The advantage belongs to the Speed power. This modifier is usually Biological (-10%), Chi (-10%), or Super (-10%).

Article publication date: January 27, 2006

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