GURPS – Generic Universal RolePlaying System GURPS – Generic Universal RolePlaying System

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5. Powers (and Power-related questions)

5.1. General Questions.

5.1.1. Do I really need Affect Others to create a volume (Area Effect) of Force Field DR?

Powers is entirely clear on the fact that one level of Affects Others + any amount of Area Effect + Force Field creates an area defense that surrounds the edge of the affected area. It explicitly limits this option to the advantages listed under Force Field. This is cheaper than the usual level of Affects Others per person because: (1) you can't choose who you affect, because you're protecting an area, not individuals, and (2) nobody inside actually gains the defensive advantage, so threats that go off inside the area still get you. Radiation Tolerance with Affects Others N lets you grant N people plus yourself Radiation Tolerance. Radiation Tolerance with Affects Others, Area Effect, and Force Field lets you surround everybody in your area with a radiation-blocking screen – including an enemy who grapples you and shoves plutonium in your face, which will still hurt you because your protection is at the edges of the field, not on your person.

5.1.2. I want to take All-Out -25% limitation for my one of my mental abilities (which normally require a Concentrate). Do I have to suffer the disadvantages of both All-Out Attack and Concentrate now?

No. All-Out works exactly like it says. The rules are explicit: take an All-Out Attack manoeuvre (instead of the one you took without the limitation). You can't really interrupt most abilities anyway, but if for some reason it becomes possible, All-Out Attack isn't Concentrate, and none of the rules for Concentrate apply.

5.1.3. How do I build the ability to transfer FP from myself to others?

You can come close simply by taking Healing, allowing one of the FP-healing modifiers for Regeneration (Heals FP Only -0% or Heals FP +100%), and simply ruling that the rate is 1:1 because 2:1 would be abusive.

5.1.4. I can't find the Reduced Duration limitation! What gives?

Here's an quick fix from Kromm:

Maybe -10% for 1/3 duration, -15% for 1/6 duration, -20% for 1/10 duration, -25% for 1/20 duration, -30% for 1/30 duration, -35% for 1/60 duration, -40% for 1/100 duration, etc. About 1/3 off for going from minutes to seconds seems quite fair.

5.1.5. I want the power to withstand lots of damage, the way it's done in Those Other Games, without going into negative HP or having DR. How do I do that? ('Vitality Reserve')

Consider adapting the Energy Reserve idea to HP instead of to FP. A "Vitality Reserve" should do what you want. To fully parallel the behavior of ER, it should be depleted independently of HP, not be subject to the ill effects of HP loss, heal in parallel with HP, and heal irrespective of rest. So VR would amount to HP that you can lose without shock, knockdown, knockout, or death, and that regenerate at the rate of 1 HP/day on a successful HT roll, regardless of conditions. Most of these advantages parallel Ablative DR (which is also independent of HP and not subject to the ill effects of HP loss). Moreover, neither affects what happens in slams and falls. The differences:

Advantages of Ablative DR:

  1. Stops damage, not injury; e.g., 1 point prevents 2 HP of injury from an impaling wound to the torso, 4 HP of injury from a skull hit, etc.

Advantages of Vitality Reserve:

  1. Soaks all injury, including that from disease, poison, and radiation; extreme dehydration and starvation; critical failures that result in direct injury; vampiric leeching; and Cosmic attacks that ignore DR.
  2. Can be spent like HP for any ability that allows this, notably spells. I'd say that justifies simply pricing VR like HP, much as ER is priced like FP.

That justifies simply pricing VR like HP, much as ER is priced like FP.

5.1.6. When enhancing Advantages (e.g. Control) with Persistent or Independent, what are the reasons for choosing either one over the other?

Control + Persistent has a duration that is indefinite. It could be days if you have enough caffeine in you. This is balanced by the fact that you have to sit there and concentrate.

Control + Independent is a flat (well, more flat than the above, hopefully you know what I mean) duration of a few minutes. This is balanced by the fact that you can walk away.

5.2. Innate Attacks and Afflictions

5.2.1 How can I define magical weapons using Innate Attack?

There are two ways to define a magical weapon as an Innate Attack. The first is to define the weapon itself as an Innate Attack, and the other is to define an Innate Attack that is delivered through the use of a weapon. Let's examine the two.

1. Defining a magical weapon as an Innate Attack

This is probably the most straightforward way to do this. This is a simple damage-dealing attack.

Breakable and Can Be Stolen are also de rigueur, to represent the fact that your Innate Attack is a real, physical object. Finally, if you want your weapon to disappear when you don't need to use it, add Switchable (+10%).

One property of weapons is that they can often deliver more than one type of damage; for example, a sword can deliver both cutting and impaling damage. Being magical, they could also possess both a melee and a ranged attack. To represent this, define one Innate Attack for each type of damage, and buy all but the most expansive as Alternative Attacks (at 1/5th price).

2. Delivering an Innate Attack through a weapon.

This method can be used to represent a power that comes from the wielder but can only be delivered through the use of a physical weapon, or it can also represents damage a certain weapon deals in addition to its normal, physical attack (for example a Flaming sword that inflicts fire damage in addition to its normal cutting and impaling damage).

First, you need to define your Innate Attack normally. Since the attack depends on the presence of a sword, your innate attack should have either an Accessibility (only while wielding magical sword, -40%) or some of the Gadgets limitations (Breakable, Can be Stolen, etc.). This assumes that the power comes from within the wielder and can work with any magical sword; if it works with only one particular sword, or the power comes from the sword itself, add Unique (-25%).

Second, decide how the damage will be inflicted.

Again, if you want to buy two or more innate attacks for your weapon (for example, an Air Jet ranged attack and a cutting melee Air attack), buy the most expansive at full cost and the others as Alternative Attacks.

5.2.2. How do I build an Innate Attack which ignores all DR, even Hardened?

Buy the Innate Attack with the Cosmic (Irresistible Attack) +300% and Cosmic (Bend rules: ignores Hardened too) +50% enhancements. It will only be countered with Cosmic DR. In general, the GM should consider power tiers if such issues are common.

5.2.3. How do I build an Affliction with no 'saving throw' (i.e. one not resistible upon hitting)?

In one word, No! You can buy 20 levels to make the resistance roll penalized by -19. You can take Cosmic (Irresistible Attack) to ignore DR, Minds Shield, Resistant etc. You can not negate the resistance roll altogether. That would cost an infinite amount of points.

5.2.4. What about using Cosmic (Irresistible Attack) +300% to get rid of the resistance roll?

NO! C(IA) means that the attack is not resistible by 'secondary' defenses - DR, Resistant etc. An Affliction that ignores the resistance roll is the same as an Innate Attack which ignores HP and kills the character on any hit. Read: grand ultimate munchkin stuff.

5.2.5. How do you add Follow-Up onto a mundane weapon, or even multiple weapons?

If there is only one instance of a weapon (not weapon class) that can be used as a carrier (probably bought as Signature Gear), then it is just a +0% Follow-Up (usually, see below). If it can work with any weapon, it is a case of adding +50% Rule-Bending Cosmic enhancement. If the GM is willing to bother, s/he should assign values of +10% to +40% for different category sizes. Please remember that Follow-Up cost is modified from +0% to something else by the various characteristics of the carrier attack (Range, Homing etc.).

You might also want to look at Power Ups 1: Imbuements.

5.2.6. How do you Link an attack onto a mundane weapon, or even multiple weapons?

You buy a Link, probably the +20% one. Then you add an Accessibility to reflect the weapon category size of applicable weapons. This is indeed cheaper than the Follow-Up case, because it doesn't overcome DR if the primary attack does. Please note that Linked attacks should still have the appropriate Range/Reach, Acc etc.

5.2.7. Can I Afflict myself?

Sure. But you lose all the niceties of having a personal Advantage and get all the effects of being Afflicted (HT roll, uncontrollability after activation, variable duration etc.).

5.2.8. How do I build a wide damaging field/aura? Not just skintight, but several hexes in size?

Powers states that an always-on damage field requires Aura (+80%), Always On (-40%), and Melee Attack (-30%). That's a range 0, "if I touch you or you touch me" type of thing. An actual radius would amount to adding Area Effect on top of it all. That might not be "canon," but it's logical and the simplest way to do it. So a 4-yard field would add Area Effect 2 (+100%) and the net modifier would be +110%. I don't see any conflicts: Aura covers the "free attack" effect, Always On addresses the "constant effect" angle, Melee Attack takes care of the "ground zero is at range zero" element, and Area Effect handles the "blankets an area" aspect. You can omit Always On – for a net +150% – if you want it to work like an ordinary Aura that you can switch on and off. The other aspects don't seem negotiable.

5.3. Insubstantiality

5.3.1. If I have the Partial Enhancement, do I also need the Affect Substantial Enhancement?

You don't *have* to take it. If all you want to do is use your hands to poke things (and, with Can Carry Objects, carry things), Partial will do all on its own. If you want to use other abilities in the material world – like use your hand to Deathtouch people – then you also need Affect Substantial.

5.3.2. Do I need Affects Substantial enhancement, if my Innate Attack/Magic only works while I'm insubstantial?

If it affects the material world, then you need Affect Substantial. If it only affects the insubstantial world, then you do not. The 'Only while insubstantial' by itself is usually worth -10%.

5.3.3. If I have the Partial Enhancement and an Innate Attack that requires only my fist to be substantial to work, do I need the Affect Substantial Enhancement?

Yes. Partial strictly lets you use natural body parts in mundane ways. It does not let you activate special abilities on those body parts as a way to short-circuit the need for Affect Substantial. The Innate Attack being "on" your fist is a special effect – it could just as easily be a zero-range mental blast.

5.3.4. If I have Illusionary Form, can I also punch for ½ damage, since I take half damage from physical attacks?

No. You're limited exactly as if you had Shadow Form, which means you cannot make purely physical attacks.

5.3.5. Is damage halved before or after I subtract DR from the damage (After would mean also DR is halfed)?

You take half *damage.* Damage is the roll before DR. "Half injury" would be after DR.

5.3.6. Should I also apply the Illusionary Form limitation to the Partial and the Affect Substantial Enhancements?

That depends on what you want to do. If you want your body to be partly solid and also partly able to affect the material world, then combine Illusory Form with Partial. If you want to be a magical illusion that can be damaged by attacks but that can also wield magical powers in the material world, then combine Affect Substantial with Illusory Form. Combine all three if you can affect the material world with your body *and* special powers, and the material world can somewhat affect you.

5.3.7. Which mundane environmental conditions or attacks can an Insubstantial character ignore, by default? If they need to breathe, are they affected by Respiratory Agents?

An Insubstantial character can ignore hazardous temperatures, pressures, and radiation. Even though he needs to breathe, he is immune to toxic gases, air-borne (or any other mundane form of) disease or poison, or any other physical condition of his environment. He is immune to altitude sickness, the bends, seasickness, jet lag, G-forces from tight high speed turns; basically anything the physical world can do to harm someone except cut off his oxygen. Oxygen is normally only cut off by large solid, nonfluid objects. The cosmological explanation is up to the GM.

He is vulnerable to attacks channeled through his senses (flash-bangs, basilisk gazes). If he was subject to a cyclic attack while still substantial, he is still affected by any remaining cycles. If an advantage requires the user to touch his target (like Possession or Neutralize), the user can still "touch" the insubstantial character by reaching into the space he occupies, IF the attack is a supernatural one. Magical or psionic Possession would work; physical brain-drilling tendrils would not. He is vulnerable to non-physical supernatural attacks, including anything with the Malediction enhancement.

5.4. Permeation

5.4.1. What does Permeate (everything) cost?

P66 suggests 80 points, if you really need it. Insubstantiality might be a better alternative, depending on what exactly you want to be able to do.

5.4.2. If I have Permeate (Metal) can I punch/slash (with the can carry equipment enhancement) through metal armour (does metal armour protect from my attacks)?

Metal armor works just fine against your attacks, for the same reason that attacks with metal work just fine against you: you can walk bodily through a material, but you have no immunity at all to sudden, violent encounters with that material.

5.4.3. Or would I need an additional enhancement for the effect described in previous question, such as reduced time?

You cannot use Permeation to bypass DR at all. For that, buy a suitable Innate Attack and add Cosmic, +300%. You can link it to Permeation, if you like.

5.4.4. If I have Permeate (Metal) can I still hit someone with Body of Metal?

Yes. It's important to understand that Permeation doesn't mean "This material and my body can't interact at all." It means nothing more than "I can walk (not reach, not attack) through this material."

5.4.5. If I have Permeate (Flesh), can I decide that I can grab a foes heart by permeating the surrounding tissue but not the heart? Can I use permeate (Flesh) to grab a broken bone, aligne and fix it (by deciding that I can permeate all but this bone)?

No and no. Buy those abilities separately as Innate Attack and Healing with suitable modifiers.

5.4.6. Could I do it by adding the Selective "Area" Enhancement? Or would I need another Enhancement?

See above. It has nothing to do with Permeation. It's a separate set of abilities.

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