Power Experiments (Action)

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Heroic Action Role-Play

Power experiments is what you use to exceed the limitations of powers in Action. Powers are designed for everyday use in an action context, not for solving large social or engineering problems, make inventions, or otherwise perform world-altering events. In other games, this might be called ritual magic, but the powers of action need not be magical and thus a more generic term is used here. Power Experiments has some similarities to Tinkering.

A power experiment represents a significant muster of resources and time. The more resources you use, the easier it becomes to succeed.

How To

In Action adventures, miracles are performed with frenzied effort and leaps of genius in very short time. These rules give a framework for power experiments; the game master must always interpret these rules in ways that fit the campaign. The following table gives benchmarks for calculating the difficulty of power experiments. There are schticks and powers that use or modify the power experiments rules.

A power experiment consists of six steps, each requiring a separate skill roll using a separate skill. This might sound daunting, but in many cases you can compensate for a low skill rating by making that aspect of the power experiment easier. Each step has a difficulty dependent on what you are trying to achieve and a consequence of failure.

Power Experiments Table

Time Powers Resources Secrecy Size Duration
Skill Relevant Skill Know Create/Impress Charm/Maneuver Shoot/Ride Origin Skill Skill
Difficulty Difficulty
6 Year Exact Power Factory Dangerous Personal Normal 6
9 Month Relevant Power Lab Annoying Building Day 9
12 Week Expert in the field Field kit Public Town Month 12
15 Day Relevant Form Basic tools Private County Year 15
18 Hour Relevant schtick Nothing Secret Regional Century 18
21 15 minutes (Limit Break) Nothing Handicapped Isolated Widespread Permanent 21

Time: This is how long you spend on the project .

Powers: This is where you work out a theory for the experiment using your Know, deciding what to do and how to proceed. Depending how relevant the powers (or schticks) you already have are, power experiments become harder. Expert refers to the schtick.

Resources: How much resources you have at your disposal to work your experiments. It is harder to improvise something out of rubber bands in the field than it is to order your ten thousand mooks to build it using state-of-the-art tools.

  • Factory: A full set of equipment, plentiful supplies, and a willing and able workforce.
  • Lab: Plentiful equipment and more supplies than you can carry. A truck full of gear or access to a large trash heap.
  • Field kit A man-portable power experiments kit, plus suitable pieces to work with.
  • Basic tools: A small toolkit and some junk. A Swiss army knife and what you can loot from a wreck.
  • Nothing: Your own will and power prevails!
  • Handicapped You cannot put in normal effort, perhaps because you are imprisoned, lack the full use of your body, or have other demands on your attention.

Secrecy: How tightly the lid is on, which is important if what you're doing is illegal, amoral, or if there is opposition to your project. Charm and Maneuver are the skills to keep things secret and root out spies. A failed roll means there is a leak, which can result in a conflict or be a plot hook for later.

  • Dangerous means the power experiment in itself has a detrimental effect, attracting the ire of your neighbors. Mutations, kidnappings, dangerous earthquakes and so on.
  • Annoying: Annoys the neighbors; lights and sounds at odd hours, strange odors, ghost sightings, and the like.
  • Public: Announced so that anyone interested know what you're doing, but not in itself dangerous and annoying. The effect may still be objectionable, but the experiment itself is not.
  • Private: Not publicly announced, but not secret either. If there is an investigation or surveillance, the experiment will be noted. Likewise, its is pretty easy to find clues afterward about what you did.
  • Secret: The experiment is hidden, and evidence is hidden. A thorough investigation can still uncover it, but that requires a specific investigation.
  • Isolated: The experiment is conducted in a secluded spot with no access for outsiders and no paper trail. Often on a base hidden in the wilderness. Very hard to detect beforehand, tough a paper trail may remain afterward.

Size: Larger effects are harder to create.

Duration: Power experiments have effects that last from days to centuries. All such effects are considered Curses and can be broken with enough effort, with longer-lasting the effects being harder to break. The Normal category means the duration is the same as whatever power the power experiment is based on; most often a scene (15 minutes) or less, but is some cases permanent. What skill you roll here depends on your power origin; Chi: Maneuver, Gifts: Spot,Magic: Know, Psi: Charm, Spiritual: Impress, Tech: Create. If you have several origins, you select which of the relevant skills to use.

Experiment Rolls

You need to roll for each category, but you need not succeed on all (or any) of the rolls. Rather, the effect of success and failure are modifiers on the next roll in the series. If you exceed the needed category on a roll, you gain a +1 modifier for each additional category you achieved. If you fail a roll, you get a penalty on the next roll equal to the negative Outcome. It is the final roll that determines the overall effect of the task. If the final roll succeeds, all is well. If the final roll fails, each point of negative Outcome has to be "bought of" by lessening the result in one of the categories by one; the experiment ran over time, was not as secret as you tough, or did not achieve the desired size or duration (you cannot change the resources column this way). Alternatively, you can accept setback, backlash, undesirable side effect to be determine by the GM. Read this setback in the Size column to see how large an area it affects. Finally, you can choose to simply fail, to give up on the project and waste the time and resources spent. The GM can levy some side effect or setback even in this case, but generally of a less catastrophic nature; one category of size for every three points of failure is about appropriate.

Co-operative Power Experiments

There is no need for the same person to do all the rolls in a power experiment. Different people can contribute to different rolls for the project. But the difficulty is based on the person who actually makes the roll; if you make the Know roll the difficulty is based on your selection of powers and schticks and so on. It is possible to Assist each other as long as the time-frame permits basic actions to do so.