This is information common to all (or most) of my campaigns. It consists of restrictions on what powers and such player characters can have, interpretations and clarifications on old rules, and changes in the rules. Please note that all rules are based on Champions Fourth Edition (the "Big Blue Book").

Regarding player character power restrictions, a disclaimer: Life is not fair, and a game that simulates life (even some weird version of it with superheroes running around) need not be either. As superheroes, you will have access to powers that ordinary people do not. Likewise, you are likely to meet people and/or devices with powers that you are not allowed to have, like extra-dimensional travel or future seeing. Sometimes you’ll see things that are not even buildable by the Hero rules. If I think it will make a good story, and the outcome will depend on the player characters’ actions, then I consider it legitimate, especially if it requires the players to use means other than brute force.

Restrictions given here are not absolute. If your character concept requires a certain power that’s listed as forbidden, and you can do it in a way that does not cause whatever problem I was anticipating when I forbade it, then I’ll let you have it. Conversely, powers not forbidden, but obviously having the same problems as ones that are, should be avoided. For example, you’ll find below I do not want characters to have Aid to BODY, since it can make them careless around normals. It would, however, be OK to buy this if it were limited to Self Only, since it could then not be used on normals. It would not be OK to buy Transform: Injured person to Uninjured person, even though this is not specifically prohibited.

Skills

Athletic Skill: This new skill type is the ability to perform a certain sport or other athletic activity, e.g. Ice skating, Tennis. It also gives a practical knowledge of the rules of the activity, if any. Each Athletic Skill costs 2 points, or may be bought based on DEX for 3 points. +1 per 1 point either way. The Skill Enhancer Athlete lowers the cost of all Athletic Skills by 1; this costs 3 points.

Languages: I do not use the similarity chart. Literacy is free in a character’s native language, unless otherwise noted in the write-ups for the individual campaigns. For characters learning foreign languages, literacy is free unless the language being learned uses a writing system substantially different than what the character is used to so far. For example, in a modern day campaign setting, a native English speaker learning Chinese would need to spend an extra point to be able to read and write Chinese characters.

Martial Arts: Characters should generally use only the maneuvers listed in the Champions book. Do not use the more exotic ones from Ninja Hero or The Ultimate Martial Artist unless your character conception absolutely requires them.

Skill Levels: In heroic games, 10-point overall skill levels apply to skills only. They may not be used as combat levels to add to OCV or DCV. (Heroic games use a lot of skills, so these levels are still a bargain at 10 points.) In superheroic games, these levels can be applied to skills or combat as usual.

Perks

Followers, Vehicles, and Bases: These should get a maximum of 60% of their total points from disadvantages. (This is the same disad to total point ratio that characters are built on in superheroic games.) The rest of their points must come from player contribution. You should not be able to get a powerful follower for only a few points by piling on disads.

Talents

Combat Sense: This only allows you to keep track of opponents that you were in hand-to-hand combat range with before you were blinded or otherwise became unable to see them. It does not detect opponents that move into hand-to-hand range while you can’t see them -- buy spatial awareness or some other sense to be able to do that. Your combat sense must have some way that it can be negated (which you may or may not know about until it happens). What this is will depend on the special effect of your combat sense. If your combat sense works by listening to the heartbeats or breathing of your opponents, then invisibility or darkness to hearing will counteract it. If it is a psychic sense, then darkness to mental group will block it. If it works by analyzing your opponents’ fighting style and predicting their next moves, then someone with a very unorthodox fighting style will be immune. And so on...

Danger Sense: Similarly to combat sense, any character’s danger sense can be negated in some way which depends on the special effect. This should not happen often, but it will sometimes. So buy this talent only if you can accept the fact that some people will occasionally be able to negate it.

Find Weakness: This should be quite rare for player characters, and taken only with attacks that are otherwise weak in comparison with other players’ attacks. (Or highly limited, e.g. "vs. rocks only")

Powers

Aid: Player characters should not have Aid to STUN or END, as these make combats go on too long. (Your opponents will not have these either, except in rare situations where they are lacking in other areas.) PCs should also not have Aid to BODY, as this seems to make heroes less careful around normals.

Clairsentience: Being able to see into the future or past is not allowed without a "no conscious control" or similar limitation.

Damage Reduction: Not allowed for player characters. Exceptions might be made vs. specific special effects only (like "vs. heat and fire based attacks only"), even then only when it is in line with the character’s conception.

Density Increase: Each 5 points of Density Increase or Growth adds +1" of knockback that the character does when doing a Move Through. This does not apply to any other attack.

Enhanced Senses, Mental Awareness: The book says that a character with mental power gets this sense for free. I restrict this to characters with at least around 30 points in mental powers. A Multipower can qualify if the majority of its slots are mental powers. A Variable Power Pool does not qualify. Abilities bought as mental powers but with non-mental special effects do not qualify, like the ability to generate electrical impulses that control a victim’s brain. Of course, anyone whose powers do not qualify for free Mental Awareness can get it by paying the three points to buy it.

Enhanced Senses, N-Ray: Henceforth this is not a separate sense, but rather an advantage (like Ranged or Targeting) that is purchased on an existing sense. For 20 points, a character’s sense may penetrate most materials that it ordinarily would not. The character must actively decide to use the N-Ray sense, he/she will not notice something behind a wall without actively deciding to look. There must still be a reasonably common substance or circumstance that will block an N-Ray sense. An N-Ray sense will not see anything invisible to the base sense, and it will not see in darkness that blocks the base sense. For +10 points the N-Ray advantage extends to all senses in a group (but of course only works for those senses in the group that the character actually has).

Extra-Dimensional Movement: Not allowed.

FTL Travel: Not allowed unless otherwise stated in the individual campaign write-up.

Growth: See Density Increase.

Hand-to-Hand Attack: I consider this to have an Active cost of 5 points per die. This does not change the real cost of an HA attack, but does affect how it can be put into Power Frameworks. A 4D6 HA would still cost 12 points, but it would take up 20 points of a Multipower reserve. An HA cannot have any Advantages that wouldn’t make sense for the character to buy on his/her STR, like Ranged or NND.

Killing Attack: In superheroic games the use of these is usually considered unheroic, even against opponents with good defenses. Frequent use of KAs will probably make you a primary choice of target (unless of course you only ever use them against inanimate objects).

Mind Link: I do not want to see entire groups of heroes Mind Linked together. This has in past games made it too easy for a few of the more vocal players to monopolize the action by constantly telling the others what to do. Mind Linking your character to his/her follower is OK.

Regeneration: This should not be bought Usable by Others (see Aid).

Transform: Transforms which can create anything useful need to be approved by the GM. If I allow these, I will often require an appropriate skill roll. For example, transforming something into a TV set would require an Electronics roll; if the roll failed, you’d end up with something that looked like a TV but did not actually work. Transforming your handwriting into someone else’s would require a Forgery roll, etc.

Advantages

Charges: Sometimes you might have a power with charges that recover at a different rate than once per day. Maybe you have a power that works once per hour, or four times per year, or whatever. I’ve come up with the following way to do it. (This rule is experimental, and if it leads to abuses I’ll change it.) Start with the limitation or advantage that would normally be appropriate. For each level different on the time chart, add or subtract -1/2 of limitation or +1/4 of advantage as appropriate.

Example: For the power described above that has 1 charge every hour: 1 charge is normally a -2 limitation. Per hour is 2 levels up the time chart from per day, so you would have a limitation of -2-(-1/2)-(-1/2)= -1. (Note that 1 charge per hour is a much bigger limitation than 12 charges per day, as it should be. The character with 12 charges per day has the option of blowing them all in the same hour.) For the four times per year mentioned above, you’d start with -1 for 4 charges and go down 4 levels: -1+4(-1/2)= -3.

If you move up the time chart while at -1/4, you should go to +1/4; so 6 charges per hour would be a +1/4 advantage.

Invisible Power Effects: Mental powers can take a +1/4 advantage. These powers will still be visible to anyone with Mental Awareness, but the target of the power will not perceive the attack unless the target has Mental Awareness.

Reduced END: Any power that is not bought all the way down to 0 END requires a minimum of 1 END per phase. This includes using your flight to hover in place, for example. This does not apply to powers that are on charges or that do not normally cost END.

Usable on Others: This requires GM permission to buy. For effects like Shrinking vs. others, it is better to buy them as Transforms.

Limitations

Activation: For a continuous power, this must be rolled each phase to see if the power stays up. Exceptions are Uncontrolled powers, and powers that stay up on their own (Entangles). The effect of most mental powers will continue after an activation roll is blown in a later phase, although this will prevent the mentalist from feeding END into the power, giving the victim successive plusses on his/her EGO roll. At GM option, a player may be allowed to take an Activation roll only to start a continuous power. This, if allowed, will be worth half the normal limitation (rounded down).

Charges: See above discussion under Advantages.

Concentrate: I am not quite as severe as the book as far as this Limitation goes. Concentrating will not make the character totally unaware of what is going on around him/her. The character can observe what’s going on, although to pay close attention to details may require Perception rolls at minuses...

Focus: A Focus need not be completely Personal or Universal; it can be somewhere in-between. For example, a suit of powered armor might work for anyone who was roughly the same size and weight as the person it was designed for, but not for others. (Do not try to abuse this by saying that your Focus only works for your friends, or some such thing.)

A power may not get bonuses for both Focus and Only in Hero ID Limitations. Be sure to read the discussion in the Champions book on what is and is not a Focus; if you take points for a Focus Limitation, then there will be times when you will not have access to the power.

Independent: This will only used by the GM to make items and such that the player characters (or others) do not have to pay points to use. It should not be used by players.

Limited Power: This type of Limitation should only be taken when character conception and special effects dictate that it should. Do not take it just because you need to save points. (The same applies to other limitations as well.) If you have several different circumstances in which your power doesn’t work, you should just take a single Limited Power Limitation, and base its value on the overall restrictedness of the combination. "Doesn’t work in strong electric or magnetic fields" is still only worth +1/4, if anything.

Only in Hero ID: The character who takes this Limitation must have a non-hero ID that he/she must be in for a significant fraction of his/her daily activities. Also, there must be a reasonably feasible way that someone who knew how could prevent the character from going to hero ID; e.g. the character must speak to change IDs, or needs to have a certain item handy, etc.

Requires a Skill Roll: Continuous powers need only be rolled for as they are turned on. Attacks and other instant powers require the roll each time they are used. This limitation cannot be taken on powers that are kept on all the time, like Armor.

Side Effects: You can have a side effect on a power even if it does not require an Activation or Skill Roll. Just define a reasonably possible condition under which the side effect would occur. For example, for a magical spell, the side effects might activate if the caster were hit while casting.

Variable Limitation: The limitation chosen can never be situational things like "Does not work on Tuesday." (It just so happens that today is Tuesday...)

Power Frameworks

Elemental Control: An Elemental Control is appropriate only when it groups together powers that are separate in game terms, but are in real terms manifestations of a single ability. You should be able to describe the ability in a single sentence: "The character has the ability to..." Overly vague descriptions like "The ability to cast magical spells" are not suitable; more specific things, like "The ability to generate magical fire" or "The ability to magically levitate things" are OK.

There is another kind of Elemental Control that you sometimes see, "Elemental Control: Werewolf Powers" or some such thing. This sort of Elemental can be allowed. It should be thought of as similar to a package deal. I will look at such Elementals carefully and may require certain powers in them, or may require certain disads to be taken.

Because the slots of an Elemental Control all represent different aspects of the same ability, we’ll be using a new rule from Adventurers’ Club. A power (drain, transfer, dispel, suppress) which takes points away from one power in an EC will take the same number of points away from all other powers in the EC. (Exceptions will be made according to special effect for drains, etc. which reduce a power by creating circumstances that make it harder to use the power, rather than actually removing the power; for example, Suppress vs. Flight by making the air more dense would reduce telekinetic flight but not a telekinetic force field in a telekinesis-based Elemental Control.)

Multipower: Power points in a Multipower reserve can only be used for one particular power per phase. A character need not decide how to allocate all of his/her points at the beginning of his/her phase, but once points are allocated they cannot be moved until the character’s next phase.

Example: A character has the following Multipower:
50 Multipower Reserve
10 m Energy Blast, max. 10D6
10 m Teleport, max. 25"

The character puts 20 points into Teleport and Teleports a 5" half move, holding the other half phase. When he uses his remaining half phase, he could put his remaining 30 points into a 6D6 EB, or he could put everything into the Teleport and make another half move (up to 13"). Of course, if his Multipower had been bought with 50 point fixed (Ultra) slots, he would have been stuck with Teleport and no EB for the whole phase.

Variable Power Pool: This is one of the most easily abused items in the game. A power pool must have a well-defined special effect which explains how the powers work. This will necessarily put some restrictions on the types of powers the character can put in the pool. These restrictions are necessary, and do not save the character any points unless they are particularly severe. For example, a Gadget pool is limited by the level of technological know-how possessed by the user. A present-day scientist could not build a Teleport device, since this is beyond the understanding of present-day science. This restriction is not worth any points. The limitation that all gadgets built must be through foci, and can only be built if the appropriate parts are available, would be worth points. (See the section on special effects, below.)

A character with a power pool should design ahead of time a list of slots. Start out with 10-20 or so, adding more as the character progresses. You should stick to those slots, except to sometimes design new slots when the circumstances of an adventure make it necessary.

Disadvantages

Berserk: A full-fledged Berserk is not recommended. This would mark a character as psychotic, and people who knew about the Berserk would treat him/her as such.

Dependence: The Dependence rules as written are not quite adequate. For example, Aquaman has a Dependence on water, once per hour. Under the current rules, if Aquaman were out of water for an hour, he would take damage just once, and he would have another hour before taking more damage. So Dependencies of this form should be bought as Susceptibilities instead. Just buy a Susceptibility to being without the required substance for the appropriate time, and determine how commonly this would occur. For Aquaman it would be either Common or Uncommon depending on the kind of situations he got into in the campaign. Once he was without water for the required hour, he would take damage every phase until he got water or died.

Normal Characteristic Maxima: This should not be taken as a Disadvantage. Your character either has it automatically because of the particular campaign, or doesn’t have it.

Psychological Limitation: You should take Psych Lims that are based on your character’s personality, and which will cause your character to behave in ways in which you as a player might rather not. Stay away from Psych Lims that are overly vague ("Tries to do good things"), or are things you’d want to do anyway ("Tries not to get himself killed"). The best Psych Lims are ones which are peculiar to your character. If your character has all the same Psych Lims as your last six characters, something’s wrong. (The same goes for all other Disads as well unless they are common campaign disads.)

Power Special Effects

A few of the special effects have their own unique flavor and so deserve individual mention.

Magic: Magical powers fall into four categories: Spells, Innate abilities, Bestowed powers, and Item effects.

Spells are effects that a caster produces using his or her knowledge to channel power. All spells should cost END, either from the caster’s personal END or from an END Reserve. You should take this as a limitation on any power that wouldn’t normally cost END, like a water breathing (Life Support) spell. Do NOT buy spells on charges, that’s much too D&D-ish. Spells should have at least -1/2 in Limitations. Magic Pools will generally be of this type (spell magic), although some may be Bestowed instead. Spell Pools (as opposed to Multipowers or spells that are purchased individually) should always have some sort of "style" restrictions on the kind of spells the character will be able to use. These may or may not be limitations on the pool control cost, depending on how severely they restrict.

Innate abilities just work because of the magical nature of the being who has them. These are usually narrow and well-defined, and new ones cannot be learned like new spells can. Very few beings would have an Innate Magic Power Pool. Certainly no PCs would unless it were highly restricted.

Bestowed magic is given by some force or being, for a reason. There is always a price. What powers can or will be bestowed, and with what limitations or side effects, depends entirely on who or what the bestower is. Sometimes the bestower is not who the recipient thinks it is.... Powers may be bestowed against the recipient’s will, such as a curse that turns the victim into a werewolf when the moon is full.

Item effects are magical powers which have been enchanted into some item. These powers should be bought with a Focus limitation. Some of them work for anyone, while others require a certain level of skill to operate properly or at all. The latter sort of item will be bought with a Requires a Skill Roll limitation, possibly with Side Effects. Items might have charges, have their own END reserve, use the user’s personal END, or be bought down to 0 END.

Note that for these purposes, intelligent objects that are capable of deciding who they’ll work for are not considered to be items in the sense of the above paragraph. They are really in the category of Bestowed powers, and might not be Foci. Also, some spells are cast using otherwise ordinary things as foci; these are not what the items category is about either.

Psionics: Psionic powers influence minds and/or matter by the power of the user’s mind alone. All psionic powers should use END from the user’s personal supply. An exception is Mental Defense, which psionics may buy freely without a Costs END limitation. Other minor powers might be similarly excluded from requiring END at GM’s option, such as some psionic senses.

Technology: Some things are impossible to do technologically because they break the laws of science. Most Transforms are in this category, for example. This of course depends on the level of technology. Some advanced individuals may have discovered things that most others haven’t. For example, technological teleportation has not been discovered yet by the mainstream science community (in any of my campaigns). A character might get his hands on a Teleport device that came from somewhere else. The character may or may not understand how the device works. If he does, he may find lots of people and groups going after him to try to take the knowledge from him. If he doesn’t, he’ll have trouble when the device needs to be fixed.

In general, technology is unforgiving and egalitarian; a technological device will work for anyone who knows how to use it. (Computer passwords might need to be hacked or codes broken, but such things can be done eventually.) There is not really any such thing as a truly Personal technological Focus.

House Rules: Pushing

The following rules, invented by Steve Otte, will be used for characters who push their powers. This applies to superheroic games, and may sometimes be used for heroic games as well.

First the good news: Powers may be pushed by up to 20 active points. That’s 1 to 4 damage classes.

Now the bad news: When pushing a power you must roll a certain number of dice.

* If pushing by 5 active points, roll 1 die.
* If pushing by 10 active points, roll 1+2=3 dice.
* If pushing by 15 active points, roll 1+2+3=6 dice.
* If pushing by 20 active points, roll 1+2+3+4=10 dice.

Count the number of ones on the dice. If there are any, you lose use of the power you pushed for a certain amount of time as follows:

* One 1: Power is lost momentarily. The character gets his/her REC in active points back with every recovery, including post-twelves.
* Two 1s: Power is lost until the character gets a good rest. Generally this means it’s lost until the next game session.
* Three 1s: Power is lost for an extended time. It recovers active points as if it were BODY damage. (Regeneration does not help.)
* Four or more 1s: Power is lost indefinitely, until some special cure is found at GM’s option.

For powers in a Multipower or Elemental Control, usually only the slot that was pushed is lost. For power pools, a broad class of slot types will be unavailable while the power is lost. For example, if you have a magic spell pool and push your energy blast spell, losing it, then you will be unable to do any ranged damage spells (any EBs or RKAs).

The loss of power represents some injury that happens because you overused the power. For example, pushing your running and rolling one 1 means you twisted your ankle. Two 1s would indicate a sprain, three 1s would mean a broken leg, and four would mean a crippling injury. (For powers which come from devices that could easily be rebuilt, it’s going to be harder to justify this rule. In such cases I will probably only allow pushing by 5-10 active points if at all.)

Note that the power always works at the pushed level for the phase in which you pushed it. Any loss takes place after.

These rules make pushing a power somewhat risky, something to do only when there is a real need; not just because you’ve got gargantuan amounts of END anyway and you wouldn’t mind the extra dice. (This might be characterized as "pushing your luck".) Note that if you push by 2 damage classes, the maximum normally allowed push, there is no chance of losing the power indefinitely, and only a small chance of losing it for an extended time.