4th Power Project: Classes, Part 3 (Other Powers)

stealthyThe beginnings of some at-will powers were posted last week- not all of them by any means, but I figured it was a start.

Now as I mentioned then, at-will powers should come up fairly often, and be the stand-bys. The other powers are Per Scene (formerly Per Encounter) and Per Session (formerly Per Day.) In 4e, it’s a pretty easy scale: Dailies are better than Encounter are better than At-Wills, at least as far as damage goes. With modern powers, I don’t necessarily see that as being the case. The division is more based on the drama of the power: is this something the characters should be doing every scene (but not every round), or is this something that should only come up maybe once a session? Also unlike their equivalents, you wouldn’t necessarily try and burn through the modern powers as often as possible.

Additionally, I look at the powers as being closer to “spells” as far as interesting effects go. This does add the most challenging part, however: balancing them by level. Since you’re not just evaluating damage, conditions, area, and so forth, you’re trying to adjudicate the relative balance of less easily defined powers. Thus, when looking at these powers, please do keep in mind that they might need to be moved around in levels.

What you need to know: Per Scene and Per Session powers are specific to classes. I may also give them additional “kickers” based on build later, just like their 4e counterparts, but that will come later (hopefully after I have the builds nailed down.)

Per Scene

Ear Clap
Strong Hero
Standard Action
Melee – Unarmed
Str vs Fort
Hit: 2[W] + Str Mod, and the target is deafeaned until the beginning of your next turn

Slow Motion Leap
Tough Hero
Immediate Interrupt
Trigger: An ally within a short distance is hit by a ranged attack.
Effect: You move to the ally’s square, and the ally is pushed one square. You take the damage and effect from the attack.

Kip Up
Fast Hero
Dex vs Reflex
Immediate Interrupt
Trigger: You are attacked in melee while prone
Effect: You stand up.
Hit: You deal damage to your attacker equal to 1[W] + your Dex mod.

Stay on Target
Smart Hero
Immediate Reaction
Trigger: An ally within sight that can hear you misses with a per scene attack power.
Effect: The power is not expended. If the ally uses the same power again this turn, it gains a bonus to hit equal to your Int mod.

Cold Read
Dedicated Hero
Immediate Reaction
Wis vs Will
Trigger: You meet a new person. Target that person.
Hit: You gain one piece of information about the target based on an observable fact.

Phone a Friend
Charismatic Hero
Standard Action
Special: You must have access to a phone, email, or similar.
Effect: For the purposes of one skill roll, you are considered trained in that skill. If you are already trained in that skill, you are considered to have been Aided By Another.

Per Session

Knockout Punch
Strong Hero
Standard Action
Melee – Unarmed
Str vs Fort
Hit: The target is knocked unconscious (save ends, or ends if the target takes any damage.)

Takin’ It
Tough Hero
Immediate Reaction
Con vs. Fort
Trigger: You are attacked in Melee
Hit: 3[W] + Con Mod
Miss: Half damage

Improbable Hiding Place
Fast Hero
Immediate Interrupt
Trigger: Someone comes into an area and doesn’t know you are there.
Effect: You can make a Stealth check, even if you’re not in a hiding spot.

Always Prepared
Smart Hero
Standard Action
Effect: You produce an object that you can afford, reasonably own, and keep on your person.

Can Haz Cheezburger
Dedicated Hero
Standard Action
You can use Bluff, Diplomacy, and Insight on an animal. While you can not literally communicate with the animal, you can attempt to convince it to perform an action with the appropriate check or gather simple information from it with the appropriate check as part of this action. The DC is set by the GM based on the request.

Imitoot You Exarctly
Charismatic Hero
Standard Action
Effect: Choose one person’s voice that you have heard. You can imitate it for the rest of the session. You still must make Bluff checks when appropriate, but you get a +5 bonus to rolls when impersonating the person.

Skill Powers

Extra bonus powers! I’m considering just keeping the 4e power progression, and replacing utility powers with skill powers. As long as I create at least 6 skill powers at every level that cover the spectrum of classes (to make sure that there’s an option for every character at every level) I think it can work. Of course, writing them is still the problem…

Anyway, here’s a small sampling I generated while working on the other powers. There were all conceived as Per Scene powers.

Break Something
Trained in Intimidate
Minor Action
Effect: The next attack you make against an object this turn is at a +2 to hit and deals double damage. If you destroy the object, you gain a +5 bonus to your intimidate checks until the end of the scene.

Le Parkour
Trained in Athletics
Move Action
You move you speed, ignoring difficult terrain, and you can take 10 on any Acrobatics or Athletics checks used to move over hindering terrain during the move.

Trained in Physical Sciences
Immediate Reaction
Trigger: You or an ally within sight that can hear you misses with a ranged attack.
Effect: Repeat the attack on a different target within a short distance of the original, with a bonus equal to hit equal to your Int mod.

That’s what I’ve got this week. Next week, a list of skills, and maybe a few feats. Then… playtesting?

About Dave

Dave "The Game" Chalker is the Editor-in-Chief and Co-Founder of Critical Hits. Since 2005, he has been bringing readers game news and advice, as well as editing nearly everything published here. He is the designer of the Origins Award-winning Get Bit!, a freelance designer and developer, son of a science fiction author, and a Master of Arts. He lives in MD with e, the Geek's Dream Girl.


  1. Is there a reason Cold Read is both Insight and Dedicated? Seems like it might step on the toes of the Dedicated Hero, if anyone can take the exact same thing.
    .-= Graham´s last blog ..CriticalAnkleBites and ChattyDM pretend to be journalists =-.

  2. It was an error, I fixed it while you were posting :)

  3. I’ll have to give this a solid looking over in the morning. ^.^

  4. TheMainEvent says:

    I think that part of people’s concerns with a lack of attack options can (and will) be alleviated with robust gun mechanics. Star Wars Saga Edition has burst, autofire, single shot (as you’d expect) and couple with grenades I feel like my fairly combat ‘MEH’ character has choices to make each round.

  5. Looks interesting so far, the “Slow Motion Leap” power is closer to something from the bodyguard prestige class than the core tough hero. Are you planning on altering the wealth system at all? From my experience with d20 modern, and the reason I quit running it, wealth was too easy to spec for and characters were quickly able to have “infinite” exploding 9mm bullets.

  6. @TheMainEvent -

    From what Dave has said, however, it isn’t his goal to create robust firearms mechanics.
    .-= Graham´s last blog ..CriticalAnkleBites and ChattyDM pretend to be journalists =-.

  7. @Graham: That depends heavily on what you consider to be “robust”, what The Main Event described is a fairly simple system for representing firearms in groups without going into all of the specifics of each and every different type of weapon, but it will most likely end up being more than just “pistol, rifle, baseball bat”.

    I imagine it will be somewhere in between the two, so I dub it semi-robust. :D

  8. @Bartoneus -

    True. When I talked to Dave before, though, I got the impression it would indeed be something like “light pistol/heavy pistol/rifle/assault rifle/baseball bat”, though.

    (Baseball Bat falls into firearms now. It is official.)

    This is, actually, similar to the Star Wars SAGA categories, with 2 or 3 types of blaster and blaster rifle, and a couple heavy weapons.

    As for burst/auto/doubletap/etc, I’d put those ones (burst and doubletap particularly) as feats or powers, not weapon features.
    .-= Graham´s last blog ..CriticalAnkleBites and ChattyDM pretend to be journalists =-.

  9. People talking about guns: That’s my hope, make the weapons (not just guns) into easy generic types, but then have feats and powers that make them more interesting to use. A big thing, though, is that I consider guns to be more of a higher level (upper-Amateur/lower-Professional) thing so I won’t be focusing on them too much yet until I’ve got the groundwork. The big thing was I wanted a build for them to set it up for later.

    Kallatos: Bodyguard is getting mostly absorbed by the Protector build of Tough Hero, but then will probably get its own Professional Path as well.

    The wealth system is DEFINITELY changing. I don’t quite know to what yet, but it won’t be d20 Modern, which was always a big stumbling block for that system.

  10. OriginalSultan says:

    I like the powers you have here. They are interesting and do a good job of showing the highlights of each class. I think you may have trouble coming up with more powers for all of the levels though. I mean, how many variations on stepping in front of a friend to take a hit for him are there (just as an example)?

  11. I’mma let you finish, but,
    Fast Hero
    Per Session
    Immediate Interrupt

    Effect: As an interrupt you can take your full turn. This replaces your turn at your rolled initiative order for this round, and you go back to your rolled initiative order on your next turn. You can not benefit from any extra actions on the round in which you use this power. In addition you grant combat advantage until the end of your next turn.

  12. OriginalSultan: That’s definitely the biggest issue in my mind, and I don’t have a great solution yet.

    Sian: Brilliant!