Superpower Tabletop

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Superpower Tabletop

Post by Archengeia on Sat Apr 13, 2013 6:23 pm

So I was discussing with a friend of mine various comic related things to DC and Marvel and was reminded of a super-hero, superpower, mutant, whatever-you-want-to-call-it tabletop thing I've only done twice in the past. Yes I know such things exist, no I don't care. I prefer my own system for reasons I hope will be obvious. I just sort of felt like sharing, but no I will not be starting a campaign like this (at least not yet) for two very important reasons. One, it's a lot of work as you'll see soon. And Two, I've got a campaign I'm rather invested in going right now thanks heh.

First of all, the overall character sheet is fairly similar. HP, AC, Saves. I like to consider the characters as having other stats that basically replace Attributes... Defense, Offense, Intellect, Agility, and Cunning. These, like Attributes, affect basically everything, but unlike Attributes do not change, they are set based on character creation. Then of course there are Skills (a fairly similar list to my abridged list I use for the Magusien ruleset, with some obvious exceptions). And of course, finally, there is your Power.

Now here's the two big catches. First, leveling is more similar to Elder Scrolls then it is to standard D20. Basically you tend to get better at what you use. Now, the players who are in my games are almost always cool people, thus I don't have to worry about them trying to trick the system to getting much better at A or B (no summoning monsters in their inn over and over to raise Mysticism), but if any player tried that I'd tell them no and warn them, and if they did it again g'bye. Rule 1. In any case, the point here is the way you solve dilemmas, missions, etc. determines how you advance to a degree, but this is part of where that 'lot of work' thing comes in as that's up to me *taps head* up here. There is one other caveat here; your HP, AC, Saves, Skills are the things that can go up in variable based on how you solve situations, but your Power doesn't 'go up' per say. That's the second catch.

Your Power never really gets stronger. Rather, you get more skilled at using it, and can use it in different ways. I'll give examples later but the idea is that the damage you do never really changes, the stats never alter, but as you learn to use it more you can be more creative with it, perhaps more utilitarian, or whatnot. This isn't quite universal as Powers can vary wildly. Which I will cover next.

Powers are fully custom. I go to my players and say okay, here's your limitations. The stronger the Power you request, the greater drawback it will have (see: Rogue for a good example of this). As you level up you may get better at bypassing that drawback. And you can't ask for any stupid Powers like the Power to wish for other Powers or anything ridiculous. Basically, that's it as far as limits; whatever you want, within reason. I've heard some unique ones before (I have 3 I'd pick myself, which I dare not describe). As you are probably already guessing, due to the absolute custom nature of the Powers there's a great deal of work involved on my part making them work in the rules and defining them. But ultimately selecting the Powers is the most important point of this entire Superpower Ruleset because the entirety of it, character creation and design and the playing of it thereof, boils down to the question; if you could pick a superpower that would be either interesting, fun, engaging, or all of the above, what would you pick? Thus I encourage players to spend considerable time on this question, often asking them to do this before designing a character, personality, goals, backstory, etc.

This ultimately brings me to the question I have of all of you. I find myself curious, if I were to start up a campaign of this nature, what Powers would you guys pick? And I will probably bug you on chat to respond, because I find this topic of conversation fascinating heh.


Lastly, some examples in brief, using the recent Marvel Cinematic Universe as the template.

Ironman: Effectively has two types of stats; in suit and out. His out of suit stats are pathetic, but with very high Cunning and Intellect. HP progression is non existent, same with AC. Ironman gets a custom Skill (many heroes do) called Wealth, which he gains a bonus to at the start. Wealth combined with Genius Intellect in this particular case is Ironman's Power. The way Wealth works is once per period of time (usually a month of in game time, on the 1st) you roll a d20 plus your Wealth stat. That number represents the net profit that you have to blow on your gadgets, suit, repairs, and generally everything while leaving enough money to keep your company flourishing. I call these WU's, or Wealth Units, for lack of creative nomenclature. The way these work is actually very simple; any given 'feature' in one of his suits costs 1 WU. For example, in the original Ironman 1 movie, the suit he built there (not the one in the cave, the actual Ironman suit in his lab) would be 5 WUs; 1 Offense, 1 Defense, 1 Mobility, 1 Transport, and 1 Communication. Now the person playing Ironman could decide to add more features, or indeed upgrading existing ones, but he must keep in mind that his source of WU's is always finite. Repairs and, indeed, replacements also cost WU's. Thus, the Ironman player must constantly be aware of their limitations with regards to WUs and keep some aside as spare for repairs, lest they be out of commission for a while (and maybe a villain takes advantage of the situation). There are also within-reason limitations on how high you can go with upgrades and features, for obvious reasons. To use the movies as an example, again, the last suit he used in the Avengers movie (immediately following his scene with Loki, the one he used during the big battle) would be 7 WUs. The same 5 as before, with 1 additional for the Jarvis AI being added to the equation (with obvious benefits), and 1 for the deployability of the rocket-to-wrist thing.

Captain America: Anyone who knows me could probably guess why Captain America is one of my favorite superheroes. His stats are unusual in that they are overall quite low, compared to others who specialize. His Attributes, HP, AC, and Saves are all 'above average' for a standard human but that's basically it, and his stats don't increase particularly fast. His Power is actually his Shield, which is of course Indestructible (not like MTG's Indestructible where you could get around it), and can be used as a weapon with great effect. As he levels he can learn a greater variety of ways to use the Shield effectively, with obvious examples being throwing it, the 'boomerang effect' where it unerringly comes back to him, the cannonball maneuver, shielding himself under it, that sort of thing. While this leaves Captain America somewhat weak he does have a custom Skill (told you) called Leadership, which he gets a bonus in. Put simply, any group Captain America is leading (large or small scale) will do significantly better under his leadership than it would normally, resulting in bonuses to dice rolls for effects, morale boosts on defenses and saves, increased damage (in some cases), and so on. The level of coordination having Captain America as a leader adds makes any team he's in charge of increase its capacity, in combat and out, by quite a bit.

Thor: Thor is one of the two I'm listing here that I probably wouldn't allow players to play as-is, for various reasons, but I will describe nonetheless for I know Fier would kill me if I didn't. Thor has a huge HP pool, and massive Defense. His other stats are above average, with a decent Offense. His AC is actually not that high, in fact it's fairly low all things considered. Thor does not get a custom Skill (gasp) but his Power is Mjölnir. Mjölnir is, of course, his Indestructible hammer which he wields quite well. Thor is an excellent example of the 'more uses but doesn't get stronger' thing I mentioned earlier for Powers. The damage Mjölnir does never really goes up, but the ways he can use it spread far and wide. For example, at the initial he could simply use it to whap things, but then he could learn how to recall it unerringly to his outstretched hand, the ability to fling it like a ranged weapon, the ability to cause quakes to destabilize or destroy with it, the ability to fling it while not letting go thus doing a fairly short range but effective flight, the ability to use it to channel lightning... et cetera et cetera. Thor as-is is simply overpowered primarily because of his insanely high Defense stat, but if it were brought more to acceptable levels I think he'd be interesting with the many tricks you could learn with Mjölnir.

Hulk: Yeah you saw this coming. The Hulk is the other I wouldn't allow because he's either a massive pain simply to be around, or insanely overpowered in combat. But here we go. Hulk's standard human stats are pathetic, lower even than Ironman's, except for his Intellect and his Willpower Save. His Intellect allows him a good variety of Skills as he goes and the ability to 'keep up' so to speak, but his Willpower comes into play more often. Any time the GM deems it appropriate, he would have to succeed at a Willpower Save to prevent an Involuntary Turning. Success would be obvious. Failure would result in a berserk, out of control Hulk. Naturally the Banner character could also, at other times, do a Voluntary Turning (also a Willpower check), in which he would turn to Hulk and remain in control. The Hulk himself has stats that are through the roof, unfortunately (I am not a Hulk fan but I do know the setting well enough to be fair about it). HP, Offense, Defense, Agility, Fortitude Save, Reflex Save, all are high to the point of ridiculous. A Voluntary Turning would probably end just about any combat you found yourself in as he just obliterated the opposition. With some limitations and balancing I could see this being playable but, depending on party size, I would still be hesitant. In a party of 2 or 3, having one person who is unstable can work for drama and character dynamic; in a party of 5 or more, it's just a hassle.

Hawkeye: You're probably wondering why I'm including Hawkeye (since I will not be including Black Widow, because she is essentially just a skilled Rogue). That's because this is Marvel Cinematic Universe setting and in it I contest that Hawkeye does in fact have a Power; Unerring Aim. I rather like this one personally. His overall stats are fairly similar to Captain America's (lower in most, higher in some), and he has to keep track of his ammunition and bow, but the ability to switch between his 'trick' arrows combined with the Aim Power has some real potential. Naturally as he levels he could find, design, or request different trick arrows to use (within reason as always), since his Power itself doesn't really change or adapt, but this has tremendous potential for support, artillery, offense, defense, and utility both in and out of combat. Honestly I don't have much else to add here. Of the ones on this list this'd probably be my second pick.



So there's my examples. What kind of Powers would you guys pick to play as... and why?


Last edited by Archengeia on Mon Apr 22, 2013 3:54 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Superpower Tabletop

Post by Zeiss on Sun Apr 14, 2013 1:52 am

So after talking a little with Arch, I decided that I would go for a teleportation power.

It would be the blinking one. I could use it primarily on myself, but also takes someone or something with me, up to 500 pounds. At first, it would be limited by my visual range, but after levelling up, I could go back to previously visited places (in a radius of five kilometers from my position). I could also teleport blindly if desired, but it would be dangerous since I could find myself in a wall and die instantly.

So yeah, that's it. Cool
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Re: Superpower Tabletop

Post by Kolson on Sun Apr 14, 2013 3:20 am

Mine would be phasing, like walking through walls or increasing my defenses mixed with some hand-to-hand and weapon use.

Probably won't use guns but I'd have to think about that while coming up with a character background.
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Re: Superpower Tabletop

Post by Permeus (tabran) on Sun Apr 14, 2013 6:28 am

well i decided to go with the Ororo Munroe power set (aka Storm).

as for Zeiss there are a fair few teleportation type power's
there is Harlequin i think he is a batman villain (thou all i find when i search is the Jokers friend) that uses holes in reality to get to things and attack E.G. Guard is standing there and a hole apers behind him and you punch him in the back of the head (or whack him with a hammer) its the same idea as the portal gun, just thought i tell you about it as its a villain that is over looked Sad

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Re: Superpower Tabletop

Post by Snarg of Wildpaw on Sun Apr 14, 2013 7:38 pm

Disclaimer: This is a little highly powered, since he was around power level 11 when I came up with this guy, but here's the base concept. It'd likely be toned down quite a bit in lower level play.

I suppose I might try to resurrect one of the older M&M characters that I've had in store for a while. He was firstly a psychic combatant through telekinesis, mind control, mental illusions, force field, teleportation, flight, etc, and secondly a physical combatant which he used his tail for. Other than that, he's actually fairly weak and must take medicine for off-planet sicknesses (he was traditionally designed for a spacefaring game). He was a prison guard and second mate on a prison ship. High acrobatics, bluff, concentration, intimidate, civics, tactics, sense motive, piloting, and medicine, are the skills he has some training and experience in.

There's not a huge reason behind it aside from the fact that I find those types of powers interesting and mixing it up with a custom race that had an uncommon type of combat style. The psychic powers were normally not used for combat, although they were used in quite a deadly fashion when they did come out. It was kind a darker setting so things were a bit ... interesting. Just to give you an example, one of the uses of the power was called "Shred Internals". Yeah.

If I had to depowered it, I'd probably just start him off with the base melee combat, a little ranged weapon know-how (just basic), and give him a slight bit of telekinesis. In the background I originally made, he had already gone through training by a psychic combatant guild (don't remember exactly what they were called, but that's what they were), so he'd be at pre-training levels.

Found an older version of his avatar:
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Re: Superpower Tabletop

Post by Permeus (tabran) on Mon Apr 15, 2013 2:19 am

i found this and thought that it may be useful

http://www.superherodb.com/

http://classicmarvelforever.com/cms/marvel-comic-book-characters-profiles.html#s
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Re: Superpower Tabletop

Post by Rory on Mon Apr 15, 2013 3:02 am

Okay, I've been trying to come up with a way to dance around this, but I'm just gonna go for it. My choice is the resultant of putting on the Terror Mask. I'd grow to about 6'11" and gain super strength, with as much muscle and other tissue that a healthy body of that height could contain, and you also gain the power to regenerate.

Regeneration would be the kind that allowed me to heal grievous wounds and dismemberment, but it wouldn't be passive, and neither is it indispensable; I'd have to activate it, unlike Wolverine. That means that the power is limited to my discretion and waking hours. As for indispensable, it thrives on energy.

Since you're not a fan of violent aesthetics, which is an oxymoron, I've been debating the blood siphon as the way that the energy is obtained and simultaneously used--basically, the chest and ribcage fissure to siphon the energy from enemies, dealing minor damage while allowing you to regenerate, then close up again. The downside is the area of effect--limited range and friendly fire--and the upside is damaging enemies while restoring yourself. The whole chest rupture thing could be scrapped.

To run a comparison with the Hulk, like you said, HP, Offense, Defense, Agility, Fortitude Save, Reflex Save are maxed out or even break the limit. He also has an alter ego which is intelligent and strong of mind. Involuntary Rage is the drawback, though it doesn't seem like much.

Strength is the focus, so Offense and Fortitude are way up. Since the kind of Regeneration I'm going for is an activated power, I'd need a moderate amount of HP, which means a considerable Constitution. I'm also going for better-than-average reflex and agility, but not high or superhuman. There's no sudden berserk mode, and everything mental is at the Average Joe mark.

My character wouldn't have a proficiency in any of the other weapons, just mainly unarmed. Another power is being able to grow bone blades from the forearms, but I don't want to include that for the sake of keeping this build as balanced as possible.

Here's a link: http://splatterhouse.wikia.com/wiki/Terror_Mask#Powers_and_Abilities

The mask and disembodied voice are optional. All of the actual powers proper are fueled by expending Necro energy, which could probably be scrapped for the tabletop thing.



Last edited by Rory(Gronth) on Fri Apr 19, 2013 12:10 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : revising)
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Re: Superpower Tabletop

Post by Ashakel on Mon Apr 15, 2013 7:02 am

Alright, like I said on the chat, these are the two I find interesting and would like to try out.

1. The first one is basically feruchemy from Mistborn. It's one of my favorite systems. The character would have the ability to store physical and mental attributes into special items he would carry on himself. While storing the attribute he would have to live in a weakened state, for example nearly blind while storing vision, weak while storing strength, etc. When the items were full, he could voluntarily use these attributes to become amazingly strong, fast, agile, light or heavy, or being able to recall memories he stored, for a short duration of time. Character progression would depend on 2 things I think - One is finding more of these items (bracelets, rings, etc) which would allow him to store a bigger number of attributes and/or more of a single attribute. The other thing is that by leveling he could learn to spend less time in a weakened state before storing.

2. This one is slightly different. The character has the power of creating an invisible/semi-transparent ghost form of himself, which is able to do airbending. The casting of this could actually be a roll, so if he rolled a 1 he would have to go to sleep/fall unconscious and only the form would be active. In other cases he would have negative modifiers on himself while trying to at the same time control the ghost form. The ghost can manipulate air/wind, therefore pushing opponents, turning switches on and off, creating diversions, or balls of air on which you can ride like in the ATLA. On higher levels the negative modifiers on the character are reduced, while wind force can knock enemies unconcious, or envelope them in a small tornado, and also the ghost caller can use this form to manipulate the wind and air in order to fly himself or someone else a small distance.
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Re: Superpower Tabletop

Post by Gwydo on Mon Apr 15, 2013 11:19 am

I've played Marvel games before, and had a lot of fun. Played an Ironman/War Machine-esque character (I named him Caliber), but it was a pain in the @ss when he didn't have access to the suit.
Also played a super fast genius cat creature. (Think Cheetara meets Reed Richards/Hank Pym) He was fun.

I'd have to say my favourite existing characters would have to be either Deadpool, Darkness or Spawn. There is no way I could play CRAZY like Deadpool, but the thought is funny.
Deadpool Stats:
http://dcandmarveluniverse.wikia.com/wiki/Deadpool82004
Spawn Stats:
http://dcandmarveluniverse.wikia.com/wiki/Spawn
The Darkness Stats:
http://dcandmarveluniverse.wikia.com/wiki/The_Darkness
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mutant magic or Tech

Post by Permeus (tabran) on Mon Apr 15, 2013 2:46 pm

mutant magic or Tech

one thing to consider when coming up with your power is were it comes from is it a magic based power like Juggernaut and his Crimson Gem of Cyttora or Hellboy or Spawn .

is it Tech based like Ironman and his suit or Cyborg .

lastly is it mutation based this one is easy most of us know this one but ill list some anyway, so we have Cyclops and Colossus or Nightcrawler.


now for me my weather power would be magic as in my mind it fits magic a lot better than mutation were as Rory's power set fit into the magic or tech power types in my eye's. now Zeiss power can be any of then as we have all seen tech based teleporters and both magic and mutations is all over the lore.

Now so i don't double post.

as said i see my power set been Magic based as it fits better in my head, my base power would be wind based and progress from there but it is also based on were i am, like say i am near a lot of water it will be easier to do water based weather things like rain or fog, if i am in a cold land then its easer to do sleet and snow.


Last edited by Tabran Cole (Azerk) on Wed Apr 17, 2013 2:25 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : trying to fix the links)
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Re: Superpower Tabletop

Post by Kolson on Tue Apr 16, 2013 5:15 am

Probably mutant or tech for me. I like the idea of willful experiment or random accident.
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Re: Superpower Tabletop

Post by Permeus (tabran) on Tue Apr 16, 2013 11:14 am

also i forgot to say this but both magic and mutation have two types born and made.

a made mutan would be some one like spiderman, were as Nightcraler was born that way, same thing for magic a guy like Juggernaut got his powers from an item without the item he wouldn't have any power were as someone like Prue, Piper, and Phoebe always had magic powers even if they wont awoken till they read the book.

Spoiler:
if any one guessed that i was talking about charmed
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charmed
you get a cookie.
http://images.wikia.com/uncyclopedia/images/6/6c/Have_a_cookie.GIF
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Re: Superpower Tabletop

Post by Kolson on Tue Apr 16, 2013 11:58 pm

@Arch Any plans for equipment as powers? It would open up more potential viable concepts like Black Widow without having to have them go all Tony Stark/Bruce Wayne to do so.
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Re: Superpower Tabletop

Post by Archengeia on Wed Apr 17, 2013 12:23 am

Editing because my wording was awful. Yeah I have no problem with true gadget-based heroes like Romonov or Bruce or Green Arrow, as opposed to being tied pretty much entirely to a suit like Ironman or whatnot.


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Re: Superpower Tabletop

Post by Archengeia on Wed Apr 17, 2013 12:45 am

I'd honestly have to think about a superpower I'd use under these circumstances. Traditionally I have 4 I'd like but virtually all of them are either high powered or high potential (as you might imagine from me). I will continue to think on one that's more reasonable but I thought I'd share them, if anyone would care to read.

I don't really have a good name for this one (or any of them) but I shall dub it...
The Eighty Powers: Now this one really appeals to me for its complexity and the amount of thought and effort that goes into using it well. Essentially I have the powers of the eighty Robot Masters from the classic Megamans, but not at the same time. Rather I can switch between which Robot Master I 'am' at any given point. This changes my relative stats too (Defense, Offense, etc.) which vary wildly between the 80, as you might imagine. The relative use of the powers also varies, some being mundane or minor, some being utilitarian, some being powerful in offense or defense, etc. It requires me knowing all 80 powers and how to maximize their usage, and the concept appeals to me. Prooobably overpowered.

Might post more later. I won't actually be posting the fourth because it's just a toned-down version of the abilities Xagmus (from The Imperium, leader and founder of the Bastion) has, and even toned down they're beyond overpowered.

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Re: Superpower Tabletop

Post by Permeus (tabran) on Wed Apr 17, 2013 2:06 pm

OK I just realised that almost all the powers I like are wielded my females .... OK male's with powers I like gambit and iceman OK I feel better noe Razz

Psylock is another one that I like.

But I find the idea of been a P12 to be an interesting idea too (humm only arch will get that.) A P12 is the strongest psy level for a human in the babylon 5 setting and all such people are automatically put under the control of the psi copes or made to take drugs for the rest of there life's, there has been one or two people that have become higher than a P12 but most of them end up going beyond the rim (reference Jason iornheart)


ALSO i fixed the links in my post about power types.
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Re: Superpower Tabletop

Post by Essoje on Wed Apr 17, 2013 4:20 pm

My hero would be a carpenter-turned-into-magic-scholar-that-fights-outsiders thingy. He's a average guy whose job and hobby are the same, but had the luck to have come from a magical bloodline. As he starts getting older (25 years or so), he start seeing these smoky spheres all around town, that other people seems to ignore. Thinking he's gone crazy, he talks with his awesome but not so present father over the phone about checking in a mental hospital, but instead is told to go home and wait for his father's 'gift'.
Days later, he gets tons of books and a small box delivered to his door by this spooky character. These books talk about the family being descendants of the magi of old, and their eternal mission was to keep those smoky spheres, or 'rifts', in check, as they are passages to places between planes of existence or other planets. Inside the box is a jewel ring that gives him the ability to travel to the other side of the rifts. Everything else is left for him to discover using old thesis books from his ancestors, his own skills (which are only slightly above average except for his intellect) and any artifacts or knowledge found in his adventures.
So yeah, his real power is his ability to think, study, scavenge and craft, like finding a way to craft doors that 'anchor' these rifts and open stable passages that can be used by his allies or even create a personal 'teleport' network using these to travel great distances quicker by linking rifts together, or a ritual dagger found inside a tomb in a unstable rift that can cancel magic and spells but needs time to recharge between uses.
Of course, he's not the only one in the job, so there are plenty of allies (like his father and friends) and rivals (other magi families, with their own agenda), not to mention the creatures that might inhabit the rifts and whatever is in the other side...
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Re: Superpower Tabletop

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