Thursday, June 2, 2011

7K - Every hero has an Origin

When we discussed races, I mentioned that race has no mechanical effect on the character. It's all cosmetic. However, the race/class dynamic is pretty core to d20, and it is a good idea to preserve it. In our case, though, we have Origin instead of Race.

Superheroes have origins. That's one of the tropes of the genre. They have some X factor (in some cases, literally) that sets them apart from the rest of the population. In the Seven Kingdoms setting, there are relatively few possible origins, because I want to keep the stories fairly well focused. So, you cannot be a space alien. Also, your list of "powers" is fairly restricted. This is much closer to the use of archetypes seen in systems like Brave New World rather than the build-to-suit of Champions or Mutants & Masterminds.

Every character chooses an Origin at character creation. That Origin will give certain bonuses. Many of these bonuses will revolve around the Power skill, which is always considered a class skill. Some of these abilities require extra effort from the hero, and have a stress cost associated with them. Paying a stress cost reduces your current stress total by that amount, just as if you had suffered stress damage. However, it is not damage, and cannot be reduced or negated in any way. Also, you cannot reduce your stress below 0 with your Power, nor can you spend sanity instead of stress.

Below are thumbnail sketches of each of the Origins. In the future, I will write a full post on each one.

There are four Origins that are available to characters of any race: Magus, Paladin, Paragon, and Wielder.
  • Magus - You have been initiated into the deep mysteries of magic, far above and beyond what even common wizards can command. What may take them days of preparation takes you hours, and what takes them hours takes you minutes. You may use either Power or Spellcraft to cast rituals, and gain proficiencies in schools from both. By spending 3 stress, you may add your Power and Spellcraft ranks together for one check. (Obviously, you need to know the magic rules for this to make sense, and you don't yet. We'll get to that. Also, while Magus/Wizard is the most common combination, a Magus can take any class and still make use of rituals.) Inspirations: Dr. Strange, Gandalf.
  • Paladin - You serve your god as a tool, and more often as a weapon. You were chosen as a vessel of divine power, and have been trained since birth to use that power. Depending on which god you serve, you will gain access to certain auras with which you can surround yourself. These are chosen as proficiencies of the Power skill (and will be detailed in the full post on paladins). Additionally, all paladins can spend 2 stress to give one of their action dice to any ally with which they can communicate. Inspirations: Green Lantern, Jedi.
  • Paragon - You weren't born with special powers. You have nothing to use other than your natural wits, strength, and force of will. Fortunately, you are blessed with uncommon amounts of those, and a drive to make the most of them. At every odd level, when most characters get a bonus feat, you get two feats, which must come from different families. At every fourth level, when most characters gain a bonus to one stat, you also increase your lowest stat by one (your choice if there is a tie). Finally, you may spend 2 stress to use Power instead of any other skill for one check (if you do not have ranks in the original skill, you are still considered untrained). Inspirations: Batman, Ozymandius (from Watchmen), Doc Savage.
  • Talisman - You have been chosen by the eddies of destiny to wield one of the true items of power in this world. You have become bonded to this item, your fate intertwined with its. As you progress in Power, so does it, allowing you to choose benefits for the item as proficiencies (this will be detailed in the full wielder post). By spending 1 stress, you can substitute Power for any other skill, when making a check in which the item is directly involved. By spending 3 stress, you can add your Power ranks to any one check in which the item is directly involved. Note that the item must actually be used as part of the check. If your item is a sword, then you can use Power to attack or Intimidate, but it is unlikely to help with Appraise or Search. Inspirations:Arthur with Excalibur, Tony Stark with the Iron Man suit, Liono with The Sword of Omens (an example of sword which might actually help with Search).
If your race is goblin, then you may belong to one of the strange and extremely rare variants. These unusual and powerful beings are referred to as Teratins, and most are practically unique.
  • Teratin - You are descended from one of the merlanes' experiments that is less well known. Perhaps it could not be reliably repeated. Perhaps it was not considered a success. Perhaps it simply happened too late in the war, and the merlanes were disbanded before your forefathers could multiply. Whatever the reason, you are gifted with unusual abilities and an unearthly appearance. At every even level, you may gain a feat from either the Bloodline or Basic Combat family (this is in addition to the standard feat at every odd level). Many of these feats will have specific effects for teratins that use their Power skills. You may also spend 1 stress to add your Power ranks to any one Notice or Survival check. Inspirations: Thing, Man-Thing, Hellboy.
If your race is feylin, you may have been fortunate enough to be born a "trueblood." This means that you favor your faerie heritage over your human heritage. Your strong faerie blood is enough to grant you certain abilities beyond what is available to your brethren.
  • Glamer - You have a knack for using the ancient faerie tactics of distraction, confusion, and deception. While you cannot quite muster the full illusory and enchantment abilities of true faeries, you can usually fool simple mortals. You may always add your Power ranks to any Sleight of Hand or Perform check. By spending 1 stress, you can add your Power ranks to your Bluff or Stealth for one check. By spending 3 stress, you may add your Power ranks to any one repartee attack. Finally, by spending 3 stress, you may craft a simple illusion, making any one small object look like a different small object until the end of the scene (or you choose to stop). Consider the item to have been created with a Forgery check equal to the Power check for purposes of determining if someone is fooled (simply noticing that this is an illusion does not permit the viewer to see the true shape underneath, unless a critical success is scored). As with any faerie magic, touching the illusion with iron will destroy it.
  • Changeling - You are able to take on the form of other creatures, and gain some of their abilities. Each creature is learned as a proficiency, and some particularly complex or unusual creatures may require multiple ranks to master (this will detailed further in the full post). Changing shape is a skill challenge (DC 15; 5/-; round), in which each failure deals 1 wound. For each additional proficiency spent on the shape beyond the minimum, you can reduce the number of successes needed by 1 (minimum 1). With your mastery over your body, you can also choose to add 1 stress to any Acrobatics check to escape from bonds or move through a tight space. You can also mold your own flesh to close over injuries, spending 3 stress instead of an action die to heal 1 wound as a refresh action. Inspirations:Changeling, Wolfsbane, Odo from Deep Space 9.
Finally, certain humans, primarily of Linnean descent, have recently gained mysterious and dramatic powers from an unknown source. The common belief is that these humans were born with a tiny piece of the shattered Cudowny Crystal attached to their soul, and thus they are called Shardlings. (I will do an entire post on the history, implications, and role of the Shardlings.) Listed below are the known Shards, though rumors persist of other Shards, some with even more fantastic abilities.
  • Acrobat - You move with impossible grace and speed, able to leave ordinary humans far behind. You may add your Power ranks to any Acrobatics check. By spending 1 stress, you may use Power checks instead of Defense for the remainder of the scene. By spending 3 stress, you may increase your speed by an amount equal to your Power check (rounded to the nearest 5) for the remainder of the scene. Also by spending 3 stress, you may add your Power check to your current initiative (see the rules on initiative for some of the ways this can be used). Inspirations: Daredevil, Spiderman.
  • Blaster - You have an innate connection with an element (you choose one at character creation), and are able to call it forth to attack your enemies. The ten elements in the 7K setting are: Earth, Water, Air, Fire, Wood, Ice, Light/Lightning, Metal, Force/Sonic, and Decay/Acid. Note that, for the most part, your control over the element is crude (Avatar: The Last Airbender is a reasonable standard for what you can do). The primary use is as an attack (using your Power check as the attack and dealing 1d6 damage) or defense against a single attack (using your Power check instead of your Defense). By spending 2 stress, you can either increase the damage by 1d6, or defend against an additional attack (or defend against an attack while also attacking that round). You can use this ability multiple times in the same round, potentially dealing a tremendous amount of damage to an opponent, but suffering a great deal of stress in the bargain. Finally, you can spend 3 stress to shape the element into some form that is slightly more sophisticated. This could mean coating the floor with Ice, filling the sails with Air, alerting your allies with a Light flash, or creating a bridge of Metal. Again, it should be noted that these creations are crude, and you could not create a sword of Earth or duplicate a particular Sonic effect. Inspirations: Iceman, Cyclops, Firestorm.
  • Brick - You are the biggest and the strongest, and you don't even exercise. You add your Power ranks to your Strength score for determining your carrying capacity. Whenever you suffer physical damage, you can make a Power check against a DC of 10 + damage to ignore it completely. If you spend 1 stress, you can add your Power ranks to any one Athletics or Endurance check. If you spend 3 stress, you can add your Power ranks to your Strength or Constitution score for the remainder of the scene (increasing all relevant bonuses, and stacking with the standard bonus to carrying capacity and the bonus to your Athletics or Endurance checks, if any). Finally, you may take the Hulking Beast bloodline feat. Inspirations: Hulk, Thing, Superman.
  • Flier - Cue the Peter Pan song, because you can fly. While this may be one of the least powerful of the Shards by any objective measure, it is also probably one of the most envied. You gain a fly speed equal to 5 times your Power ranks. You can use a Power check instead of Acrobatics or Athletics when airborne. You may also spend 2 stress to make a diving attack, gaining the standard benefits of a charge action and adding your Power ranks to the attack. However, you must make a DC 20 Power check after the attack, or crash. Inspirations: Superman, Angel.
  • Immortal - You cannot die. While not as flashy as the ability to jump to any location in the world or fly with the birds, it does have the advantage of time. You can afford to wait out your opponents. You age at a radically reduced rate once you finish puberty at around 18 (the oldest known immortal Shardlings still appear to be around 20, despite nearing 75). No matter what damage is done to your body, you will eventually heal. Even poisons and diseases will be purged from your system over time. Any time you take a refresh action, you may spend 1 stress to use a Power check to determine the vitality recovered instead of the action die result (you still have to spend the action die, though). You may also spend 1 stress to take a refresh action while unconscious. If you fall victim to a poison or disease, you may spend 3 stress to add your Power ranks to your Constitution check to recover. Finally, you may take the Troll Blooded bloodline feat. Inspirations: Highlander, Wolverine.
  • Jumper - You can teleport anywhere in the world. In order to do so, you must be intimately familiar with your destination. The simplest action is to teleport to any location you can see, which requires a simple move action. Every jumper also has a "home" location. This is a place where they feel safe, and that they will jump to by reflex. Jumping to any location that is so readily familiar is free of cost. Jumping to any other site is not so easy, and requires both a base DC 40 Power check and costs 1 stress. You may memorize specific sites as Power proficiencies, which lowers the DC (the full post will give details). You may jump with whatever you can carry, including other people, so long as you can lift them completely off the floor (no dragging). If you are bound or grappled, you may spend 3 stress to jump away from the situation, adding your Power ranks to your Acrobatics check to escape. Inspirations: David Rice in Jumper, Nightcrawler.
  • Listener - You can hear the thoughts of people around you. With only a minimum of effort, you can pick up on emotional reactions and strong images, allowing you to add your Power ranks to any Sense Motive check. By spending 1 stress and making a Power check, you can tap into the surface thoughts of one person that you can see. If she makes a successful Sense Motive against your Power check, she will know that you are listening. If she then makes a successful Concentration check against your Power check, she can block you from her mind. To go deeper into a target's memories requires a cost of 3 stress and requires at least one turn. The target is automatically aware of your probe, and can make a Concentration check against your Power check to block you. Inspirations: Professor X, Daphne on No Ordinary Family.
  • Mover - You can move objects with the power of your mind. Note that this does not give you the ability to throw a telekinetic punch or create a forcefield. You are limited to moving other objects that you can see. Your effective Strength for lifting an object is equal to your character level, and your effective Dexterity is equal to your Power ranks. If you use a moved object to perform any skill check, attack, defense, or the like, you must also succeed at a Power check against the same DC to be successful. Moving a single object is relatively easy, and has no cost. For each additional object that you are moving simultaneously, you must pay 1 stress. Inspirations: Superboy, Sylar on Heroes, Nick Gant in Push.
  • Pusher - You can implant suggestions into the minds of those around you. Subtle pushes have subtle effects, but allow you to add your Power ranks to all Rapport checks. By spending 1 stress, you can add your Power ranks to any one Intimidate or Bluff check. But, when subtle simply won't do, you can spend 3 stress to give your target a simple, clear command. This must be a single, simple imperative phrase, like "Run away" or "Give me your sword." Your target must make a Concentration check against your Power check or obey the command. If the command is especially abhorrent or suicidal, the GM may give the target a bonus to resist. Inspirations: Purple Man/Purple Girl, Kira Hudson in Push.
  • Sentinel - You have tremendously enhanced senses. You may add your Power ranks to any Notice or Search check. Tiny clues can give you tremendous advantages, and for 1 stress you may add your Power ranks to any one Appraise, Sense Motive, or Survival check. You are able to compensate for the loss of one sense by using your others, and can pay 2 stress to negate a blinded, dazzled, or deafened condition until the end of the scene. By paying 3 stress, you are able to extend your senses beyond your immediate environs, and use Notice or Search checks as though you were standing up to your Power check in feet in any direction. Inspirations: Sentinel, Wolverine.
  • Shadow - You are able to fade from people's perceptions. You automatically gain the Traceless feat. You also add your Power ranks to any Stealth check. By spending 1 stress, you can ignore the standard penalty for using Stealth while observed. Also with 1 stress, you may add your Power ranks to any one Disguise check. By spending 3 stress, you can extend your power to apply to any opposed check in which you are attempting to hide your presence (e.g., avoiding a scrying ritual, blocking a listener from reading your thoughts), adding your Power ranks to the check. Inspirations: Invisible Girl, Kragar from the Vlad Taltos books.

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