Sunday, April 21, 2013

Special Powers in Daredevils

The third section of the Daredevils rule book is called 'Optional Systems.'  (The first section is 'The Characters' and the second is 'The Game.')  Optional rules appear throughout the book, but the 'Optional Systems' section is reserved for rules that don't appear elsewhere.

There are rules that cover 'Gimmicks' – I would call them gadgets.  “Gimmicks are technological devices, usually ahead of their time, that are used by Daredevils on their adventures.”  The rules cover how player characters can create Gimmicks, provided they possess appropriate skills.  A Task Value is determined for any (potential) Gimmick in part by multiplying Value Factor by Weight Factor.  Value Factor is generated by assigning numbers to one or more of seven classifiers (e.g., reduction in size, change appearance) coded 'A' through 'G.'  (Yawn.)  Surprisingly, there are no rules regarding the monetary cost of developing a Gimmick, just the time involved.  Ten Gimmick examples are listed, including genre appropriate devices like mercy bullets and a grappling cane.

Luck Points share some of the functions of Hero Points in RuneQuest; however, I don't think that Hero Points were extant in the then current edition of RuneQuest.  Before an adventure, a player rolls dice to determine how many Luck Points his or her character has.  For short adventures, 1D6 is rolled; for longer adventures, 2D6.  As an alternative, the Gamemaster can roll and record Luck Points so that players are unaware of how much luck their characters have.  Luck Points can be used to “[r]eroll any one die roll” (1 point), reduce the effect of non-fatal critical damage upon a character (2 points), or prevent an effect that would cause the death of a character (5 points).

Special Powers represent abilities beyond those of normal men.  Characters generated via the 'advanced' method can obtain ten 'purchase' points for each “Preadventure career” year spent.  Two options are provided for 'basic' characters.  In the first method, the player rolls 1D100; the result is the number of 'purchase' points available for Special Powers.  Also, the difference of the result from 100 is divided by five; this is the number of additional points that may be applied to the character's Attributes.  In the second method, the player rolls 1D100 and consults the 'Randomly Acquired Special Powers' table.

The most likely result on the 'Randomly Acquired Special Powers' table permits the player to roll once on the 'Nature of Powers' table.  Other results allow the player to roll twice or three times on the 'Nature of Powers' table.  Some results preclude a roll on the 'Nature of Powers' table, but grant five or ten additional points to allocate among the character's Attributes.

Three paragraphs discuss the possibilities of player characters gaining Special Powers “in the course of play.”  In brief, such possibilities should be uncertain, difficult, and require a long amount of time.

The most likely result on the 'Nature of Powers' table is “Talent Ability” and the second most likely result is “Talent Power.”  There is a 57% chance of obtaining one of these results.  For Ability or Power, the particular Talent is determined randomly.  In a 'basic' game where talents are not used, 2D10 are rolled to determine a value for the “Talent.”  If the purchase method is in use, a Talent Ability costs five points and a Talent Power costs ten.  (The Ability and the Power for a given Talent can be purchased together for twelve points.)  An Ability or Power reflects a given Talent's sphere...usually.  The Esthetic Talent Power is essentially the same as 'Danger Sense,' a non-Talent power.  (The Esthetic Talent Ability allows a character “to evaluate the worth of an artwork.”)  The Natural Talent Ability gives a character “an innate sense of direction” and the 'Power' provides “a natural empathy with beasts.”

Examples of other Powers include Escape Artist (10 points), Heightened Senses (10 points each), Hypnosis (10 points), and Invisibility (30 points).  'Cat' Ability (15 points) gives a character “a heightened kinesthetic sense,” which allows the character to take less damage from falls, climb more easily, walk tightropes with no chance of falling, etc.  Spirit Power (15 points) allows a character to achieve any of three effects:  increase the value of a Skill, increase the value of an Attribute, or “reduce the immediate effects of wounds or injury.”  Each effect is temporary (lasting one 'Detailed Action sequence') and requires a successful roll (based on the character's Will Attribute).

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