I need some AW-style Psionic powers

edited July 2015 in Story Games
Hello friends! I need some AW-style powers for this game I'm working on. There are two kinds of powers in my game (players get to pick one of each). The game is a bit of a mutant-survival thing.

"Node" moves are intrinsic to the character, like "When you *concentrate on open flame* you can make it expand arc around at your will. If you use that to Go Aggro or Act Under Fire, use those rules, but roll +Power instead. Also, you are not immune to fire and you have to be able to see the fire to control it."

"Network" moves are about the character's influence on the group, i.e.
"When you *rest in the wild together* (as a group), talk to the others about how to set up the camp. If they follow your advice, then you cannot be surprised in camp, and all members of your group will wake up refreshed even after a short night's sleep (lower the countdown clock by 1 if before 10 o'clock). Also, you take +1 forward, one-time use for you, for dealing with any encounters that happen while camped."

(The infirmary/workshop rules will be Network moves, but will depend on the participation of the group in order to work).

I've been away a while, so I don't know - is there a repository of moves I should be looking at? Is there another Powered by the Apocalypse game that's covering some of this ground and has been fairly balanced?


  • I would instead do something like:

    When you use your powers, roll with +power,

    on 6- you went 'too big' and wrecked more than you intended, curse this X-gene
    On 7-10, pick two of:

    * You fully handle the situation
    * Nobody yells for the Sentinels to come and arrest you
    * You're not exhausted from your use of the power

    On 10+ you get all three and you're real cool bub

    Under no circumstances should you be trying to design superpowers as individual moves. That misses the whole point of superpowers and moves. The playbooks should be things like "Neighborhood Legend" (Daredevil, Spiderman) or "Grim Warrior" (Punisher, Wolverine)
    or "Troubled Leader" (Cyclops, Captain America)
  • RyRy
    edited July 2015
    It's not really a supers or comic book kind of game - it's more like we're a bunch of clones waking up after the world regrows millennia after the end, but have a few psionic powers manifesting.

    Which is all to say - that's a pretty good move (and I'll amend the thread title).
  • @Ry Don't be too hasty to change your design: bear in mind that JD is just giving you their take on how they'd do it, including some pretty sweeping statements about powers & moves.

    There are already PbtA games in circulation that do have superpowers as individual moves (I could make an argument that many of the playbook moves in Monsterhearts, for example, can be thought of in terms of superpowers), so think about what your vision for your design is carefully before embarking on any radical changes.

  • Preternatural Strength: When you embrace the iron and stone in your soul, roll+power. On a 10+, hold 3. On a 7-9, hold 1. On a miss, hold 1, but the next time you sleep you'll wake with terrible headaches and aching muscles (and take -1-ongoing for a few hours) and don't make this move again until you sleep.

    Spend your hold to:
    * Do +1-harm when you do harm with a muscle-powered weapon
    * Take -1-harm when you take harm
    * Lift, bend, carry, or break something you shouldn't be able to
    * Leap higher or further than you should be able to
    * Perform another feat of super-human strength

    I can literally write moves all day.
    Let me know if you want more.
    - Alex

    PS: I really do like specific moves, having one generic move comes off as pretty weak (although there may be an exception I can detail...).
  • Alex I want more!

    Having read the above, I'm hoping for a balance between generic and specific, like tank / leader / dps / terrain control.
  • Picked up monster hears but can't unzip on my phone. More later
  • Monsterhearts has some great stuff, of course. Possibly also Monster of the Week, the various AW:Dark Ages documents, and Freebooting Venus. Eye of Chaos, if you can get your hands on it.

    Ry, I'd supply some but I don't know what kind of thing you're looking for. What's your creative drive here?

    My favourites, I think, are the purely fictional moves (like some of the Talents in the original Red Box Hack), which can then be combined in interesting ways (c.f. Augury and the workspace rules in AW).
  • RyRy
    edited July 2015
    Creative drive is that I'm making this game, partially inspired by the recent Prophet comics, where these 4 people fall out of ice in a cave on an alien world. They start helpless rely on each other to survive, and then split up, die, or thrive. Sort of John Carter crossed with Prophet crossed with Fallout.

    So I'm really hoping for moves that fill different needs for the group.
  • Hmmm. What I mean is:

    What, for this game, makes a *good* move?

    What, for this game, makes an *excellent* move?

    What, for this game, makes a move bad or inapplicable?
  • When you call to the voices in the earth, roll+power. On a 10+, choose three. On a 7-9, choose two.
    * You raise up an obstacle or obstruction out of the frozen, dead ground.
    * You cause a rain of rock and ice, doing 1-harm ap area. (choose this up to 3 times)
    * You cause a massive shake in the ground, knocking any or all people nearby off their feet.
    * You don't cause collateral damage.
    * You don't exhaust yourself (if you do, take -1-ongoing until you stop and catch your breath).

    When you bring a storm of ice around yourself, roll+power. On a 10+, choose one and hold 3. On a 7-9, choose one and hold 2.
    * Spend your hold to ignore the effects of cold until the next sunrise.
    * Spend your hold to send a blast of icy blades (2-harm near/far)
    * Spend your hold to surround yourself in a freezing chill (1-harm ap area hand)
    * Spend your hold to gain +1-armor until the next sunrise.

    When you channel the might of the alien animals, roll+power. On a 10+, hold three. On a 7-9, hold one. Spend your hold to:
    * See in total darkness for a few minutes
    * See at great distance for a few hours
    * Shift your skin coloring to blend into your surroundings for a few minutes
    * Leap or pounce a great distance
    * Gain claws (2-harm hand messy) and thick fur and hide (1-armor but you can't wear armor) for a few days

    - Alex
  • RyRy
    edited July 2015
    Good move on a success - makes the player feel awesome and makes the other players feel like the character who pulled off the move is indispensable
  • RyRy
    edited July 2015
    Good move on the middle result - makes the player feel like they're making some forward progress but that the world's complexity is coming towards them from another direction
  • What about in terms of genre, scope, style?
  • Echoing Paul's curiosity. Particularly regarding the thematic consequences of these powers.

    Is the risk of these powers...
    ...personal physical harm?
    ...environmental damage?
    ...social alienation?
    ...psychological, emotional strain?
    ...attention from some antagonizing power?
    ...becoming less "human"?

  • Dirk's is easier to answer. Risk is supposed to be additional cost and

    Is the risk of these powers...
    Additional complication, which could mean ...

    ...attention from some antagonizing power? (BEST, but has to be varied)
    ...personal physical harm? (break a rib good, "damage" bad)
    ...psychological, emotional strain? (between the player characters) including becoming less "human"?
    ...environmental damage? (environmental effects only if they're complicating, like wrecking the bridge or starting a wildfire)
    ...social alienation? (not really, the PCs aren't part of a society at the start and any social connection they have will typically be fragile)

    Tone starts like this:



    and turns into this:


    and from there the group continues breaking things until it's broken (fin), or comes together with something it encounters and grows roots (fin).
  • How far I am

    - [ ] Zap, shock, start fires
    - [ ] Can emit chemicals and pheremones, from nauseating gas to ones which increase or decrease arousal (remember arousal doesn't just mean happy feelings, it includes anger and fight or flight response)
    - [ ] Perfect Sense of objects in surrounding 50 feet
    - [ ] Can read a path like it's a transcript of a video feed, and can follow practically anything
    - [ ] Can make plants grow, flower, entrap with them. If it can bear fruit it does so in minutes
    - [ ] You are a perfect Jet-li martial artist, can jump, twist your body, it's like your opponents are all moving at half speed.
    - [ ] You can jump about a hundred feet, and climb on walls at great speed
    - [ ] You can talk to anything - animals, aliens, even some plants. You're able to convince them you're like them, but look different. You're obviously still an outsider to any insular cultures or loners, but they'll probably at least talk to you.
    - [ ] You can see how to strengthen or weaken any object
    - [ ] You know how to get into and out of places, you cannot be lost
    - [ ] You can make poisons, stimulants, and other drugs, identifying the relevant chemical properties in the environment and using them to the utmost effect
    - [ ] You regain 1 Conviction after every situation where you have reason to believe you are at risk of killing something dangerous or dying.

    - [ ] With group, generate a powerful electrical discharge that arcs through targets
    - [ ] Go through each of the team, providing encouragement and prolonged touch, awaken with +1 Conviction restored and halve current stress.
    - [ ] Collective meditation followed by touch of instant death (or total shattering of large object)
    - [ ] With the group together, can keep a marathon pace through the entire day, only requiring 4 hours of sleep
    - [ ] You'll find food and water if there's any to find and can't be surprised in camp
    - [ ] You can call shots - once in a battle you can say "that hasn't happened yet" to something the GM is describing, and instead order another player to act first
    - [ ] You can read a group of intelligent creatures like they are a manual, you can pick up on who is the leader, how they relate to one another, and some of their stories
    - [ ] Working together, you can build almost anything (maker move)
    - [ ] You can all talk to each other telepathically, even if you are unconscious (you may be disoriented but they can tell you're there
    - [ ] When your group is exposed to the elements, such as a day under the sun in hot weather, you suffer no ill effects (you still need to eat and drink, but you are not dehydrated faster than you would be in a temperate clime)
    - [ ] You can enter a seance with the whole group, bringing artifacts and items from groups you have encountered, and predict how groups of intelligent or semi-intelligent things will react to each other in a weeks-and-months time scale. This doesn't help you with individuals in the moment.
Sign In or Register to comment.