This idea had two purposes: one, to make a possible alternative system to fuel my own love for player customizable systems; second, to create a framework to help Pathogen participants design their powers.
Many WoD powers can in fact be broken into a set of simple rules that determine how they work.
First, select if you want to build your ability as a merit or a supernatural power. The latter may also come as a natural ability to a supernatural character splat.
You get a number of points to build the power based on the experience points you had to spend to purchase it:
If all levels of the power are the same ability, with each level's effect stacking with the previous one, then the points look like this:
If the power came as part of a supernatural package, then its price has to be counterbalanced by the weaknesses and drawbacks of that supernatural character type.
You can also increase the number of points you can spend by assigning extra costs:
no cost: 0 point
power point: 1 point each
Willpower point: 3 points each
health loss (Bashing): 1 point each
health loss (Lethal): 3 points each
instant (costs an action to activate/upkeep): 1/3
You can also increase the point cost by assigning various drawbacks. More on that later.
Now let's build the power:
effect die pool:
fixed number: 3x price.
rolled number: 1x price for each stat is added to the pool. (Attribute, skill, power stat etc.) Incorporating the power itself (eg. the power is called Celerity, and the die pool rolled is Dexterity + Celerity) counts as if you have added two stats.
attribute, skill, natural bonus (base Speed, Size etc.), equipment, merit, other powers
If stacks with no more than 3 of these, then price is only 1x.
If it stacks with more then price is 2x.
Also, a power that stacks with firearms is ALWAYS 2x.
- instant, reflexive: 1x
- single turn/turns 1x/2x
- scene 3x
- permanent: based on price: 3x if it triggers a Morality check, 2x if it costs a Morality dot, 1x if it costs a Willpower dot, 1/3 if it costs a power stat dot
You are building a merit tree with separate powers: +1/+2/+3/+4/+5, where all abilities cost a point of Willpower to use. Willpower cost means you can 3x your points, so your points become +3/+6/+9/+12/+15.
Finally, no power may give a bonus higher than +5. A character's total may be higher (a lot higher) when he adds up the bonuses from attribute, skill, power, equipment and all else (as long as no more than 3 stack, or it was specified that the power can stack with more), but the total points that the character gains from using the power may never be higher than +5. If the power replaces one of the stackable traits (for example, enchanted equipment)
finally, choose the effect. this is where you finally blow all the points you have accumulated so far.
minor effect: 1
median effect: 3
major effect: 9
extreme effect: 27
- Grant a skill specialty.
- Raise power point maximum.
- Decrease rightmost Health box penalties by 1.
- Raise Speed by 1.
- Raise power point maximum by 1.
- Give a bonus die when rolling for losing Morality, or against acquiring a Derangement.
- Remove a Derangement (that is not associated with a Morality dot).
- Grant 1 point of armor piercing.
- Grant 1 point of armor against firearms or general attacks.
- Grant +1 on an attack.
- A weapon that deals Bashing damage.
- Raise a skill
- Raise Size
- Raise Willpower maximum
- Never suffer rightmost Health box wound penalties.
- Raise Morality
- Increase Defense
- Grant Armor
- Cause Knockdown or Knockback
- Raise running Speed (only when spending your action to run) by itself once. (x3/x4/etc. Speed instead of 2x)
- Raise base speed by 5.
- Raise Defense
- Deal Lethal damage.
- Raise an Attribute
- Raise Speed by itself
- Raise Defense, and allow the bonus to apply against firearms
For example, let's build some Vampire powers:
Claws of the Wild
Type: standalone, Level: 3
Cost/Duration: 1 power point/scene, Action: Instant
Effects: Aggravated damage (major), climbing bonus (minor)
We get 9 points from the power's level, which is spent on a Major effect (Aggravated damage). The power point cost and the duration balance each other out for +1 extra point, which is spent on a climbing bonus.
Type: progressive, Level: 1-5
Cost/Duration: 1 power point/turn, Action: reflexive
Effects: Initiative bonus (median), Defense including firearms (major), Speed increase by itself (major)
As a progressive power, Celerity gets a 9 point base. This is increased to x3 and x3 again by the power point per turn requirement.