A lot of these are going to come up as they occur to me. These are mostly fluff details, I just want to make sure that everyone is on the same page with how certain powers work in the world.
“Power” pre-fix functionality
In the game rules there are a number of powers that are what I would refer to as “metapowers,” which is to say they modify the state of or interact with other’s superpowers in various ways. This includes things like power-detection, power suppression, power boosting, and so on. In previous Marvel games its been a non-issue: the only real source of superpowers was genetic mutation. In this setting, powers can come from myriad sources: what then do these things apply to?
As a general rule of thumb, anything that affects “powers” can be considered to affect the following:
- Any and all powers derived from the neogene.
- Any “created” power that exists due to an internal mutagenic effect. Someone subjected to a metamorphosis brought about by a bite from a radioactive spider, for example, would likely not have the neogene, but still be effected by such things.
- Any inherent power of an extra-terrestrial or extra-dimensional race.
Similarly, the following things are almost never affected:
- Technology based powers, alien or terrestrial
- Most stuff involving cosmic energy. Which the PC’s don’t have access to anyway.
Psionics seem to exist outside of these rules, and are unpredictable. Some psychics derived their power from the neogene, and it seems to apply there. Others, such as the monks of Shangri-La and Master Talu, obtained psychic powers by years of practice and honing their concentration. With them it is less certain. While it should work, the psychics seem to have an instinctive sense for deflecting it or evading it. This is more apparent with trained psychics than “natural” (read, neogene) ones, but it has become clear that neogene psychics who undergo real training also develop a disinclination to follow the rules.
I use psychic powers as a catch-all for anything involving telepathic communication, including mind-reading, domination, astral projection, and post and precognition.
Such powers tend to be sensitive subjects. For one thing, they’re nasty. For another, it’s difficult to take the moral high ground when you’re literally prying data out of a persons brain without their consent. Especially if it leaves them a drooling idiot afterwards. The mind is distinct from the body – be wary of manipulating it too much.
As such a difficult power to manage, I’ve placed a few restrictions on it, in and out of universe.
First, in-universe: The Monks of Shangri-La developed telepathy way back in ancient times. One of their first students attempted to use his power to conquer a huge chunk of what was then Asia, and almost succeeded. As it was, a large number of the original high-masters were slain in the conflict. From that time on, Shangri-La has sharpened its mandate about maintaining oversight on those who use psychic abilities. This was a non-issue for many years – if you were a psychic, you were a monk of Shangri-La or had been trained there, and they were VERY careful about who they taught their skills. Nowadays, with the emergence of the neogene, its gotten a might trickier. There are lots of people – kids really – developing psychic abilities with no training of any kind.
The Monks have basically one mandate – anyone using psychic abilities for selfish, evil reasons will be deprived of them. And yes, they do have a way of doing just that. Whether or not they can catch anyone is another story, but they seem to be generally pretty good at it. Anyone with psychic powers is expected to identify themselves to them. They are also expected to seek training, either at Shangri-La, or under Master Talu and his apprentices at The Academy. A handful of Shangri-La monks serve with the Coalition Council. Master Talu is an active member of the council. There is also at least one at St Crispin’s Hospital for the Normally Infirm
Now, the crunch restrictions are as follows:
- The maximum range for “effective use” of any telepathic power is equal to the power ranking times 10 in yards. Twice that is the maximum range a psychic can sense the presence of a mind and roughly how “strong” it is.
- No line of sight to the target increases the difficulty of the feat by 2 steps. This can be mitigated to 1 step if the user can “verify” the target by some other means, eg hearing them through a door, observing them on CCTV.
- The difficulty also increases a step for each quarter of the maximum effective range one is from the target. For example, if your rank in the power is 10, you have a maximum range of 100 yards. So, from 1 to 25 yards, you have the basic difficulty of the feat. From 25-50 it increases by 1. From 50-75 by 2, and from 75-100 by 3.