Abilities and Effects

Introduction

Interested in some visuals to help you master the process of making Abilities? Click Here to download a PDF to help you out.

An Ability is anything you can do beyond normal human capabilities. You purchase Abilities with Essence.

Example: Mario of plumbing fame can jump extremely high. That is an Ability. We’ll call it "High Jump."

Effects are what you use to describe exactly what your ability does. Every Ability has one or more Effects.

Example: Mario’s "High Jump" Ability lets him traverse great distances and also land on people and hurt them. The two Effects associated with Mario’s "High Jump" Ability are Flight and Damage.

Effects are ranked to determine how powerful they are, and how much they cost. For example an Ability with Damage (Rank 1) would have enough power to break something flimsy made of wood, but an Ability with Damage (Rank 4) could shatter concrete.

If you want to adjust the range or duration of an Effect, or customize it in any other way, you use Modifiers. Modifiers can be positive or negative, enhancing or limiting the scope of the Effect. Positive Modifiers make each rank of the Effect more expensive, while negative Modifiers make each rank cheaper. You cannot cheapen an Effect under 50 Essence.

Example: Mario can throw fireballs, so we’re making a new Ability for him called "Throw Fireball." Its main purpose is to burn enemies, so we’ll take the Damage Effect, but we want to be able to burn enemies that are far away, so we’ll add the Ranged modifier to that Effect.

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EFFECTS

To pick out all the Effects that are a part of an Ability you have in mind, go down the list of questions and answer the brief questions that are at the start of each Effect. If the short question seems to match, see the full description to find out more about how the Effect works.

Keep a list of each of the Effects that you’ve picked out and their price per rank, and then move on to Modifiers in the next section.

Adaptation - Variable Essence Cost PER ADAPTATION
Does this Ability allow your target to endure extreme environmental conditions or scenarios?

Agility - 200 Essence PER RANK OF EFFECT

Does this Ability allow your target to move more nimbly or react more quickly?

Communication- 100 Essence PER RANK OF EFFECT
Does this Ability allow your target to communicate by unusual means?

Concealment (Sense) - 100 Essence PER RANK OF EFFECT
Does this Ability allow the target to be more difficult to noticed?

Damage – 100 Essence PER RANK OF EFFECT

Does this Ability injure or destroy its target?

Debuff - 100 Essence PER RANK OF EFFECT
Does this Ability restrict or impede the target?

Endurance 100 Essence PER RANK OF EFFECT
Does this Ability allow your target to work for long periods of time or display great feats of metabolism?

Flight - 200 Essence PER RANK OF EFFECT
Does this Ability allow the target to move through the air, even if it’s for short periods of time?

Growth - 200 Essence PER RANK OF EFFECT
Does this ability allow your target to get bigger or make them always much larger than a normal person?

Healing - 200 Essence PER RANK OF EFFECT
Does this Ability reverse the effects of injury or damage on the target?

Illusion - 200 Essence PER RANK OF EFFECT
Does this Ability trick targets into thinking there’s something there when there isn’t?

Mimic - 400 Essence PER RANK OF EFFECT
Does this Ability allow you to copy your target’s Abilities?

Movement - 200 Essence PER RANK OF EFFECT
Does this Ability allow your target to move in non-conventional ways at about the same speed as they’d normally move?

Move Object - 100 Essence PER RANK OF EFFECT
Does this Ability allow you to move around large large or heavy targets with ease?

Protection - 100 Essence PER RANK OF EFFECT
Does your Ability reliably defend your target from harm?

Sense - 100 Essence PER RANK OF EFFECT
Does this Ability allow you to determine where your target is?

Shrinking - 200 Essence PER RANK OF EFFECT

Does this Ability allow your target to get smaller or make them always much smaller than a normal person?

Speed - 200 Essence PER RANK OF EFFECT
Does this Ability allow your target to move overland very quickly?

Teleport - 300 Essence PER RANK OF EFFECT
Does this Ability allow your target to move long distances instantly, without traversing the space between?

Variable Creation - 200 Essence PER RANK OF EFFECT
Does this Ability allow you to manifest various different kinds of tools or terrain features?

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NON-STANDARD EFFECTS

Fusion - 500 Essence PER RANK OF EFFECT
Does your ability allow you to merge with another person?

Summoning - 300 Essence PER RANK OF EFFECT
Do you have a friend, ally, minion, summon or other autonomous companion that can act on their own?

Shapeshifting - 1500 Essence, One Rank
Can you transform into something totally unlike your normal self?

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RANK CAP

The maximum rank that any Effect in any Ability can have is 5. This goes up by 1 every other level.

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HOW EFFECTS START

An Effect with no Modifiers can happen at will and with no big downsides, within narrative reason. It occurs somewhere within your immediate area, about 10 feet/3m or so. Once an effect happens, it resolves itself quickly and doesn't continue to work after the initial activation, usually a few seconds at most.

Effects originate from their owner, and select a single target. This target may either be you or others, but not either. You must describe (or clearly infer) if your Effects target you or buff another in the Effect description. This means that you can create Abilities that target others as buffs for no extra charge, so long as they only effect others and not yourself, or you can create things that your character can do only to themselves.

All of that can change with the use of Modifiers! Just ask the question at the beginning of each Modifier about EACH EFFECT within an Ability. Modifiers can be applied to some but not all of the Effects within an Ability, so ask each question for each one.

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POSITIVE MODIFIERS:

Positive Modifiers make an Effect more than the baseline, and make an Effect cost more per each rank of it you purchase.

Remember: Modifiers cost Essence for every rank of the Effect they are associated with. So they are cheap to attach to Level 1 Effects, but can get very expensive when added to, say, Level 7 Effects.

AFFECTS MULTIPLE +50 (OR MORE) PER RANK OF EFFECT
Does this Effect work on multiple people at the same time?

INDIRECT +100 PER RANK OF EFFECT
Does this Effect allow you ignore obstacles between you and the target?

ONGOING +100 PER RANK OF EFFECT
Does this Effect continue operating after its been activated, or does it never turn off? (Effects that do not require Ongoing: Adaptation, Agility, Endurance, Movement, Summoning, Shapeshifting)

RANGED +50 PER RANK OF EFFECT
Does this Effect operate outside of your immediate area? (Effects that do not require Ranged: Sense)

SELF/OTHER +25 ESSENCE PER RANK OF EFFECT
Can you target either yourself or another with this Effect?

TRANSFERABLE +50 ESSENCE PER RANK OF EFFECT
Can you give this Effect to an ally to use at their discretion?

TRIGGERED +50 PER RANK OF EFFECT
Does this Effect start working after certain conditions are met?

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NEGATIVE MODIFIERS

Negative Modifiers are things that give your Effects narratively exploitable weaknesses, and help tell the people you’re writing with what might be a good opportunity to act on. Expect them to be used against your character for the benefit of the story!

Important: You may apply as many Negative Modifiers as you want to an Effect, but the overall Cost will not drop below 50 Essence per rank of Effect.

ACTIVATION -50 OR -100 PER RANK OF EFFECT
Does this Effect take some time to start working?

CHAOTIC -50 PER RANK OF EFFECT
Is this Effect difficult to control?

CONCENTRATION -50 PER RANK OF EFFECT
Do you have to pay attention to make this Effect work?

FINITE -50 PER RANK OF EFFECT
Does this Effect run out or fade over time?

LIMITED -50 PER RANK OF EFFECT
Does this Effect not work sometimes?

INDISCRIMINATE -50 PER RANK OF EFFECT
Does this Effect not let you select a target?

REMOVABLE -50 PER RANK OF EFFECT
Is this Effect a physical object that can easily be taken away from you?

SIDE EFFECT -50 PER RANK OF EFFECT
Does this Effect have a negative outcome on you when you use it?

WEAKNESS -25 PER RANK OF EFFECT
Is there a specific thing that this Effect doesn’t work on?

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PRICING EFFECTS

So, what you’ve read may have been a little confusing, and you may be wondering how to price your effects. The math is all very simple once you understand how all the piece fit together!

First off, let’s start with the most basic form of an Effect. Each Effect comes with an Essence price per rank. Let’s say you pick Damage for your ability, which has a price of 100 Essence per rank. So if you had Damage rank 3, it would cost you 300 Essence.

100 x3 = 300

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USING MODIFIERS

If you want to adjust the distance or length of an Effect, or customize it in any other way, you use Modifiers. Modifiers can be positive or negative, enhancing or limiting the scope of the Effect.

Example: Mario can throw fireballs, so we’re making a new Ability for him called "Throw Fireball." Its main purpose is to burn enemies, so we’ll take the Damage Effect, but we want to be able to burn enemies that are far away, so we’ll add the Ranged modifier to that Effect.

Positive Modifiers make each rank of the Effect more expensive, while negative Modifiers make each rank cheaper. You cannot cheapen an Effect under 50 Essence.

Here's a simple equation you can use to figure out how much an Effect with Modifiers costs:

Total Cost = (Effect Cost x Rank) + (Modifier Cost x Rank)

So in the Mario example, the Effect is damage, which costs 100 Essence per rank. The Modifier is increased range, which adds 50 Essence per rank.

Total Cost = (Damage Cost x Rank 1) + (Ranged Cost x Rank 1)
Total Cost = (100 x 1) + (50 x 1)
Total Cost = 150

If Mario were Level 2, we could increase the damage Effect to rank 2, letting him do more damage. This would also increase the cost of the modifier, since it's modifying a more powerful Effect.

Total Cost = (Damage Cost x Rank 2) + (Range Cost x Rank 2)
Total Cost = (100 x 2) + (50 x 2)
Total Cost = 300

Now we decide to add the negative Modifier: Removable, because Mario can only throw fireballs when he is holding the fire flower and someone could take that away from him. All we have to do is add…

Total Cost = (Damage Cost x Rank 2) + (Range Cost x Rank 2) + (Removable Cost x Rank 2)
Total Cost = (100 x 2) + (50 x 2) + (-50 x 2)
Total Cost = 200
If you have more modifiers, just add them on the end, but always remember to multiply them by the current rank of the Effect.

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ASSEMBLING EFFECTS INTO ABILITIES

An Ability is just a collection of Effects, so the overall price of an Ability is just all of the Effect with their individual Modifiers and ranks added together. Let’s imagine a Poison Dart ability, which stabs the target and then poisons them. That sounds like Damage (100) and a Debuff (100), with the Damage being pretty low and the poison aspect being pretty high. We’ll assign the Damage rank 1, and the Debuff rank 3. The dart can be used at a distance, so we’ll need the Ranged Modifier (+50) on each. The poison lingers for a while after the dart has hit the opponent, so the Debuff will need the Ongoing Modifier (+100) to make it Sustained. The dart itself can be knocked out of your hands or taken away, so that gives both Effects the Removable Modifier (-50).

So the final Effects would look like:

Damage (100) Rank 1
Modifiers: Ranged (+50), Removable (-50)
(100 x 1) + (50 x 1) + (-50 x 1) = 100
Cost: 100 Essence

Debuff (100) Rank 3
Modifiers: Ranged (+50), Ongoing (+100), Removable (-50)
(100 x 3) + (50 x 3) + (100 x 3) + (-50 x 3) = 600
Cost: 600 Essence

The overall Ability cost is 100 (Damage) + 600 (Debuff) = 700

The Poison Dart Ability costs 700 total Essence.

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HOW ABILITIES ARE USED

Every Effect in a single Ability happens all at once every time that Ability is used. That means that if an Ability has multiple Effects, they only happen once. This is true even if some of the Effects have the Ongoing Modifier and others don’t! For Example, if you were to burst into flame and then shoot off into the air begin flying, you might build it as such:

"Rocket Blast Off"

Damage 2 (100 PER RANK OF EFFECT)
+Affects Multiple, 10 feet (+50 PER RANK OF EFFECT)
+Ongoing (+100 PER RANK OF EFFECT)
Cost: 300 Essence

Flight 3 (300 PER RANK OF EFFECT)
+Ongoing (+100 PER RANK OF EFFECT)
-Fades (-50 PER RANK OF EFFECT)
Cost: 1050

A large explosion blasts out around the Rocket Man, and then he takes to the skies. He slowly loses speed as he coasts through the air, but can Blast Off again to regain some speed.

If you wanted to continuously be able to send out explosions, or explode without blasting off, those would be separate Abilities.

  • Published
    Jul 23, 2018
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