Physiomancy: An Elucidation
The precise origins of physiomancy are unknown, but then that is hardly surprising. The very nature of this magical practice lends itself to individuals who aren't the best record keepers, for they generally eschew standing still long enough to take notes. However, the past isn't really all that relevant to a physiomancer, as they are always looking towards the future!
Physiomancy itself is the art of turning magic inward, upon oneself. A counterpart of sorts to thaumentalists, physiomancers apply their sorcery to their very bodies, enhancing the function of such considerably. The spells intrinsic to this school of magic invariably grant their wielder extreme physical abilities that other magicians, or anyone else for that matter, only wish they were privy to.
Even before considering their rather drastic school spells, physiomancers can readily augment their inherent capabilities without fail. This makes them excellent adventurers, uniquely equipped to engage in exploration, hostilities, or just about any other physical pursuit desired. And with their predilection for personal perfection, physiomancers are often leaders in whatever field they adopt.
Needless to say, physiomancers aren't like most other wizards. They constantly strive to push their bodies to the very limit... and then far beyond. They relentlessly train to augment their physical capability, as most believe that a stronger body allows for stronger magic, though the jury is out on that notion. Regardless, physiomancers invariably have more sheer physical presence than other mages.
Their dress lends itself to freedom of motion and action, which means they're the kind of sorcerer that most often dresses as a stereotypical hero or villain. They eschew bulky, constraining costume components in lieu of stretch fabric where available, though less is generally preferred overall. Any armor they utilize will be minimal at best, with most of the physiomancer's defensive capability coming from their magic.
Perhaps of all wizards, the physiomancer's magic is the least flashy of the bunch. Sure, the feats they can achieve with their sorcery are beyond the pale, but aren't always obviously magic in and of themselves. Though this will naturally vary from one physiomancer to another, it's possible that one will only see a physiomancer discharge magic when shunting it into themselves for immediate use.
Above and beyond all of their mystical knowledge, physiomancers benefit from a potent ability that makes them seem super human even before the effects of their spells are put into play. Namely, instead of manifesting a magical effect upon casting a spell, physiomancers may channel the energy that would have been used to actualize it into their very bodies, enhancing them considerably - if in a transient fashion.
In other words, a physiomancer may cast any spell, and instead of utilizing it as intended, can substitute that spell's power rank in place of one of their physical ability scores. A physiomancer's Fighting, Agility, Strength, or Endurance may be augmented in this fashion, as is desired, which can be particularly devastating in battle if they possess even one spell that is of high rank.
The only catch is that this enhancement only lasts for a singular use of the ability score in question. For example, consider a sorcerer with Typical (6) Strength, who possesses a spell that functions at Monstrous (75) rank. By channeling that spell into their Strength, they may utilize that heightened ability score to, say, deliver an astonishingly devastating melee assault, after which it will immediately return to its nominal value.
Though intended for immediate use, physiomancer ability enhancements can be prepared and maintained as if they were spells, if one wishes.
While physiomancers have access to the same basic spells that any other sorcerer does, they have a tendency to study Personal spells above all others. The reason for this is that the school prioritizes improving one's physical capabilities, after all, and many Personal effects tend to do just that. Of course, even some Personal spells don't quite fit within this mold, so physiomancers often stick to a small, core roster of magic.
There's nothing preventing a physiomancer from learning spells that don't directly augment their corporeal existence, mind you, it's just that the school doesn't really focus on anything else. Thus, whenever a physiomancer desires to master a spell that doesn't dovetail well with their school's overall direction, they have to decide which abilities are more important: those that directly augment themselves and those that don't.
A physiomancer's spell roster, then, is a perpetual act of compromise. Why learn telepathy when you can become invulnerable to psionic attack, instead? There's no specific game mechanic to dictate how this works - simply a basic requirement that a physiomancer rationalize why a spell outside their primary focus is worth deviating from the overall plan. And, depending on their character, this may be easier said than done.
the Capricornian: A Sample Physiomancer
One can talk about physiomancy all day, but without an actual physiomancer to look at, it's hard to get a proper feel for this school of magic. To better illustrate how one can utilize it, a sample character is provided for your gaming use. This individual will be built primarily using the random character generation method, with a few choices made here and there, thanks to a handy set of percentile dice kept at my desk.
Determining the Capricornian's Basic Abilities
Per the norm, we begin by rolling up some ability scores. Going in order, I wind up with 37 for Fighting (Good (10)), 28 for Agility (Good (10)), 63 for Strength (Good (10)), 71 for Endurance (Good (10)), 76 for Reason (Amazing (50)), 67 for Intuition (Incredible (40)), and 84 for Psyche (Amazing (50)). That actually turned out pretty well for a sorcerous character, even before pondering ability score gambles.
Opting to at least attempt to enhance this nascent individual's combat prowess, I gambled on the easy table in an attempt to augment his or her Fighting. Rolling an 80, I acquired a +3 CS bonus, which makes this character's Fighting Incredible (40). Meanwhile, I applied the other gamble to Agility, again using the easy table. Rolling up a 30, I gain a +1 CS bonus, which will raise this person's Agility to Excellent (20).
This grants our burgeoning physiomancer a Health score of 80, a Negative Health of 22, a Karma sore of 140, and a Mental Health of 162. Not bad, not bad at all! That just leaves this character's Resources rating, and a roll of 76 gives us Excellent (20) livelihood for our new wizard. Finally, this person will begin their adventuring career with a Popularity score of zero (0), since they are relatively new to the public arena.
Determining the Capricornian's Magical Abilities
As we know we're building a physiomancer, we can skip table 3, so let us begin the process of determining what spells this character will have by rolling for the number of initial spells he or she will know. Managing a 38, we find that our physiomancer will have three spells. Not a lot, but then their ability scores will help to mitigate that somewhat. But, knowing how may he or she will have, we can roll for spells!
Rather than rolling spell types entirely by chance, I choose one school spell, one personal spell, and one randomly determined type of spell, winding up with Plasticity (58), Individual Shield (51), and an entreaty of some sort (99). In keeping with the fact that I'm building a physiomancer, I opt for an entreaty to Banda, an ancient Babylonian demigod famous for his super running ability, and decide on a spell invoking that.
This is a good bedrock for a physiomancer, from the look of things, with the character having impressive ability scores (for an otherwise normal human), along with magic that helps to prevent injury, allows for impressively fast movement, and of course provides remarkable flexibility. The only thing missing is an outright offensive magical ability, really, which we can solve when choosing a mystical device!
Determining the Capricornian's Magical Appliance
All sorcerers may begin play with one magical item, an implement which is intended to bolster their survivability - particularly when casting spells is simply impossible. Since we're thinking of giving our nascent physiomancer an offensive ability with which to balance out his or her overall capabilities, I'm thinking some sort of weapon would be ideal for this purpose.
As the Babylonian gods were generally big on maces, and this character already has one thing pointing his background in their general direction, that seems like a good enough weapon. Even before considering a magical power it will hold, this object can do considerable damage in this physiomancer's hands, so they shouldn't find themselves defenseless, even if completely neutralized by annulment or antimagic.
Rolling for spell-like powers randomly about five times, I didn't come up with anything that seemed to fit, so I decided I would simply choose the power of Eldritch Palm, allowing the mace to inflict Force damage with each strike when desired. I'm seeing how this character is going to turn out in my head, so I decide that this Force damage will take the form of a torrent of water, released upon impact.
Quantifying the Capricornian's Magical Arsenal
As we only have four spell effects to quantify for this physiomancer, we'll hit table D to resolve all of them. With rolls of 75, 56, 17, and 49, that gives our nascent wizard an Incredible (40) ranked Plasticity, an Incredible (40) ranked Individual Shield, an Excellent (20) ranked Super Running entreaty to Banda, and a Remarkable (30) ranked Eldritch Palm in the mace, which is raised +2 CS by its strong portable limitation.
However! This character has access to two spell rank gambles, and being the generally paranoid person that I am, I opt to throw both at the material strength of the physiomancer's mace. One wouldn't want their prized mystic possession to be wrecked during routine battles, after all! To begin with, the item has a minimum material strength equal to its functional spell's rank, which is 50.
So, attempting two gambles on the traditional and crazy tables, respectively, I wind up with rolls of 71 and 88. These results both offer a +2 CS boost, which ultimately gives our physiomancer's mace a material strength of Shift Y (200), since m.s. gambles are generally not capped. Not bad for something that was made thousands and thousands of years ago, as it turns out.
Determining the Capricornian's Background Information
To further differentiate this physiomancer, I opt to randomly generate quirks and talents. With rolls of 22 and 18, I manage an allergy of some sort, while 39 and 99 point me towards a technological aptitude. To continue pointing this character in the direction I'm feeling them go, I opt to make that an allergy to electricity, perhaps something that pushed him or her away from a conventional career.
Where talents are concerned, a roll of 34 means this individual will have four talents (or talent slots, at least). A 14 and 87 gives us Tactics, a 76 and 90 points us at Psychology, a 30 and 18 gives us Climbing, and a 00 and 69 give us Thrown Objects. Not horrible choices, but to make them fit better, I swapped out Psychology for Electronics, and Thrown Weapons for Skill / Mace.
A roll of 03 means that this character will only have two contacts (or contact slots). Being a sorcerer in the making, I opt for both to be spent on a mentor, that being the character's instructor in the arts arcane. Truly wanting a level three mentor, I find I need two more contact slots, which I can acquire by taking two more negative quirks - or one that counts twice, such as a Rank Loss, to the character's Agility.
This will reduce that ability score to Good (10) again, thus lowering the character's Health to 70, but their plasticity should help to cover for that.
Determining the Capricornian's Origin Story
Over the course of building this character, a mental picture of him formed in my head. I decided that he is Qazi Sabbagh, an Iraqi youth who was born with an inherent understanding of all things technological, and pursued a career in electronics as a result. Unfortunately, he was also born with a devastating susceptibility to electricity, which repeatedly caused him serious injury on the job in relatively short order.
Leaving his job in despair and exploring his homeland, Qazi journeyed to Tell Abu Shahrain, the ruins of Eridu, which is arguably the oldest city on earth. Finding a small fissure near old Eridu, Qazi climbed down out of curiosity, only to fall through an unanticipated passage not to his death, but instead to another universe entirely! Passing into the House of the Cosmic Waters, Qazi gazed upon the Abzu!
Greeted by its ruler, Enki, Qazi was confounded. Sure, he'd read bits and pieces about old, Babylonian myths, but to meet an actual god from those times? Conversing with this youth, Enki discovered Qazi to be a craftsman endangered by his own craft, and feeling a kinship for him, offered to share some of his mystical secrets. Seeing nothing else for it, Qazi agreed, and became Enki's sorcerous apprentice.
Abandoning his former life, Qazi continues his tutelage with Enki from afar, and adventures using his potent physical magic as the Capricornian!
As stated previously, physiomancy is the idea of using magic almost exclusively to augment one's physicality. As such, school spells dedicated to this notion are all potent extensions of one's raw capabilities in one way or another. Their casting may, in fact, be one of the few times one sees a physiomancer not simply blasting magic into their body for a quick pick-me-up, and actually slinging spells!
But digression has occurred. These are thirteen known physiomancy school spells:
Type: Physiomancy Spell
Cost: 4 points (base cost), plus 1 point per additional +1 CS
Clinging is the ability to directly adhere to someone or something in one's environment. The primary example of this ability in nature is the gripping ability of an octopus or squid, using their evolved suction cups to aid in the grappling of their prey. However, numerous other techniques, ranging from microscopic molecular hooks to even molecular charge suppression can produce this effect as well.
This power, when invoked, allows its possessor to stick to other matter that comes into physical contact with him or her. The only property of an object that may cause this power difficulty is its relative slickness; a clinging character must pass a power FEAT roll against that property of an object to stick to it. If successful, a clinger may cling to something until it is destroyed or they are forced to let go somehow.
Using clinging, a character can readily climb most vertical surfaces with ease - even more so if they possess the climbing talent or super climbing power. With their ability to stick, however, a clinger can actually walk up walls or even along ceilings and other upside down surfaces - something those other abilities cannot manage whatsoever - at least, not without the aid of special equipment or other powers.
In its basic state, this power grants a character the ability to cling with an intensity equal to their Strength (might) rank. However, the player behind a character with clinging may increase this base value by either gambling on it (when using the random character generation method) or by adding an additional point beyond its standard cost for each +1 CS to its raw intensity.
Type: Physiomancy Spell
Cost: 1 point per rank
As the name of this ability implies, detachable parts allows its possessor to disconnect one or more portions of his or her anatomy - without undue harm to themselves. When such parts are detached from one's body, the wielder of this ability retains a neurological link to the disembodied bits, allowing control of them anywhere within Near distance of their person. Even better, these parts are primarily self-sufficient.
Detachable parts includes something akin to environmental independence, allowing disconnected body parts to persist despite a lack of oxygen, sustenance, and the like. This self-sufficiency also functions at detachable parts' power rank, meaning that one's disembodied chunks can last quite a while if they have a high enough rank in this ability - which can be a good thing if you misplace your hand somewhere inconvenient.
Parts of the character which have been detached operate as if they were still in their proper location. Disconnected eyes can still let the character see normally, if at a strange perspective compared to the norm, and so on. The trick is that one's parts, in and of themselves, do not acquire any other abilities as a result of this power's use - those disconnected eyes aren't going anywhere unless they're placed on something that can move.
Which leads to strange mental visuals of detached eyeballs mounted atop detached hands via Sticky Tack ™, and so on.
Mind you, if one has access to other powers, he or she can readily couple them to this ability. Flight is a great option for this power, since it lets disconnected parts float around willy-nilly. Shape change allows any part to transform into any other part - or any other thing, really. In fact, one could transform their body into a cloud of things if desired, ranging from interlocking machinery to an insect swarm to a pile of loose change.
Type: Physiomancy Spell
Cost: 12 points (flat cost) for each invulnerability category
A character with this ability possesses complete immunity to any one category of attacks that they choose. This invulnerability can be any one class of attack listed within the Universal Heroes game, from the physical to the spiritual. When subjected to any attack from the chosen category, a character with this ability may completely shrug it off - though others in their surroundings may not be so lucky.
The eight forms of attack in the Universal Heroes game are as follows:
* Physical Attacks: these kinds of attack are those most commonly experienced by characters. They include all forms of Blunt Attack damage, Blunt Throwing damage, Edged Attack damage, Edged Throwing damage, Force damage, and Shooting damage, as well as specialized effects that involve related phenomena (such as extremes of pressure and falling damage).
* Metabolic Attacks: metabolic attacks are the sort that assault a character's bodily structure, either directly or indirectly, and often invisibly. They include corrosion (acid), disease, poisons, rotting, and unusual phenomena which can either alter or destroy one's form or molecular structure, such as aging, disintegration, or even shrinking.
* Energy Attacks: these are many and varied, and include a large array of different phenomenon. Energy attacks include cold, electricity, fire, heat, light, magnetism, radiation, sound, and a whole lot more. If it inflicts Energy damage or Force damage (note the slight overlap with physical attacks), invulnerability to energy will completely prevent it from working on its possessor.
* Warping Attacks: this category of invulnerabilities allows a character protection against capabilities that act to alter or negate their own super human skills. These include most of the 'power control' powers. This class of invulnerability will also protect a character against abilities from the (admittedly small) 'reality control' power block, which is used to alter the very rules of the game!
* Magical Attacks: magical attacks are those which inflict Sorcerous damage, and include the majority of special, campaign-specific thaumaturgical forces; ask your Judge about these. While magical spells and powers which inflict damage that isn't Sorcerous do not fall under this heading, non-damaging spell effects (ranging from banishment to mind control to even telekinesis) do.
* Vampiric Attacks: these attack forms all act to drain a character of something, whether it be wielded by the classical blood-drinking vampire or the 'sanitized' psychic vampire seen in more recent fiction. This invulnerability immunizes one from all the forms of vampirism, whether it concerns the up-front damage caused by these abilities or their dreaded transformative powers.
* Psionic Attacks: this form of invulnerability protects from attacks which inflict Karmic damage, such as an empathic hammer or psi bolt, as well as odd forms of psionic energy like spectral flames. While psionics which inflict damage that isn't Karmic do not fall under this heading, non-damaging psionic effects (ranging from emotion control to illusion projection to even telepathy) do.
* Deionic Attacks: deionic attacks are the uber-powerful abilities of immortal beings! Strictly speaking, this invulnerability offers protection against any attack which inflicts Deionic damage, but it can also affect the special abilities of the gods themselves. These may range from observation by deific abilities to dread curses from on high.
Unlike standard invulnerabilities, you do not gain a discount for purchasing multiple forms of this ability; each category of greater invulnerability is simply that valuable. In fact, it is recommended that the Judge not allow a character too many forms of greater invulnerability, as a character could conceivably possess enough of these to be nigh-untouchable. The recommended limit of greater invulnerability forms is 2.
Finally, a player may take a ranged form of greater invulnerability. A field effect version of an invulnerability functions within one area, but can be 'broadcast' to anyone the character chooses within this area of effect. This counts as an extreme enhancement to greater invulnerability, and adds 12 to its cost - for each type to be broadcast. Pricey, but your teammates will absolutely love having you around!
Type: Physiomancy Spell
Cost: 1 point per rank<
Gyration is the power to spin one's body at seemingly impossible speeds! When invoked, the character with gyration will begin to rotate at a velocity that is too fast for the naked eye to follow, causing its wielder to appear like unto a living whirlwind. By leaning in a specific direction while spinning thus, a gyrator can easily achieve power rank velocities, as is defined on the land/sea speed table.
Rotating that quickly has a number of defensive benefits, as well. A gyrator can see in every direction simultaneously, thanks to their rapid rotation, and can thus benefit from the effects of circular vision. Furthermore, the power of gyration naturally gives such characters immunity to vertigo whilst spinning so, whether induced by their own motion or efforts by others to physically or psionically cause a loss of balance.
Offensively, gyrating characters can inflict power rank damage in melee, and may block, brace, or avoid grappling attacks with gyration's power rank if it is higher than the normal base for such maneuvers. Furthermore, a gyrator can fling objects, either at a single target or at everyone within their current area, inflicting damage of the appropriate type equal to their power rank or the m.s. of the flung objects (whichever is less).
Gyration is a natural complement to a variety of other powers, which can either be taken with it or developed as power stunts. These include the cyclone power, which involves the creation of a vortex of spinning air, super digging, which involves burrowing through the earth or other impediments to one's progress, or even gliding, using one's rotation to defy gravity - at least for a little while.
Type: Physiomancy Spell
Cost: 4 points per rank
Characters with learned invulnerability have the power to gain resistance to attack forms which damage them - after being exposed to them. Upon suffering damage of any type, the possessor of this power may attempt a power FEAT roll against its intensity. If this FEAT roll is successful, the character will develop resistance to that form of damage equal to that which was received - with an upper limit of this power's rank.
For example, a hero who has just acquired Excellent (20) ranked learned resistance is attacked by a group of thugs. After being struck with fists for Typical (6) Blunt Attack damage, the hero can acquire like resistance to Blunt Attack damage if he can pass a FEAT roll against the amount of damage inflicted. From then on, he'll retain that resistance indefinitely - unless he opts to replace it with a different one.
This power can replace lower ranked resistances with higher intensity protection, but this involves suffering the full force of such an attack. By voluntarily lowering one's learned invulnerability, the character with this power can let their body adapt to the damage form anew. If exposed to damage higher than one's power rank, the wielder of this power can always attempt to learn resistance to it with a red FEAT roll.
That hero with Excellent (20) ranked learned invulnerability might want additional resistance to Blunt Attack damage. Climbing to the roof of an apartment building, he leaps off to land on the concrete surface below! By suffering the full damage caused by this fall, the hero can attempt another FEAT against the intensity of damage suffered, the success of which will grant him newer, higher rank resistance to Blunt Attack damage.
If he lives.
Finally, learned invulnerability can provide a large number of resistances to its possessor, though it is not necessarily proof against everything. One may maintain a 'roster' of learned resistances that is equal to its power rank number. If a character with learned invulnerability encounters a new attack form and is at their resistance cap, they can acquire a new resistance only by 'forgetting' a previously mastered resistance.
Looking back on our example hero, let us assume he's stricken down by a psi bolt. Not wanting to repeat that particular experience, he tries very hard and manages to learn a resistance to that power, at his power rank. However, this causes him to lose one of his older resistances, and thinking he can always jump off another building at a later date, he lets his Blunt Attack protection lapse - until he can recover it later, that is.
Type: Physiomancy Spell
Cost: 2 points per rank
Using organs, one can grow themselves additional body parts. These can be anything real or imagined, ranging from arms to legs to hearts to adrenal glands to whatever else. Parts added to one's body are transient in nature, only lasting while this art is maintained. Extra body parts usually have a set benefit, though one can stack the effect with redundant additions, counting as one maintained power for each bonus provided.
Some of the more common effects that this art can produce include the following:
- Arms: this most often involves a set of arms (surprise!), but can be any kind of manipulative limb, from a prehensile tail to surprise tentacles. Each doubling of arms (or the addition of singular organs, in the event of things like a tail) provides an additional melee attack each turn.
- Brains: by duplicating one's own brain, a character acquires additional mental capacity, adding a temporary +1 CS to their Reason score.
- Exoskeletons: by forming a bony shell around one's softer tissues, a character can receive power rank protection from attack, per body armor. Such a bony exterior can easily be used to inflict +1 CS Blunt Attack damage in melee. Mind you, it has the effect of lowering one's Agility by -1 CS.
- Eyes: one can grow spare eyes anywhere, really, and can use this for either a +1 CS on visual Intuition FEATs or to simulate circular vision.
- Glands: spare glands can amplify the effects of ordinary organs considerably. Multiple pituitary or adrenal glands, for instance, might drastically alter one's biochemistry.
- Legs: limbs of this sort provide propulsion. Each doubling of legs (or flippers, or whatever) provides a +1 CS to one's normal movement rate.
- Muscles: by generating additional muscle tissue, one can temporarily increase their Strength, gaining a +1 CS for each set of muscles they've 'stacked' on.
- Redundant Organs: creating redundant, spare vital organs increases one's base Health point total by fifty percent. Additional sets of vital organs also offer this bonus, based on one's original Health score.
- Wings: adding wings to one's body, along with several corresponding modifications to one's bone structure, temporarily allow for flight, which works per the wings power - though each additional set of such can increase this by +1 CS.
Type: Physiomancy Spell
Duration: 1d10 turns + maintenance, if desired
Cost: 2 points per rank
The personal weaponry ability is one with which its wielder may develop all manner of 'natural' weapons to fight their battles. These can range from claws to horns to battle tails to quills to razor skin to fangs to... whatever really. A character may develop as many forms of weapons as he or she feels the need for, but each manifested weapon counts as one spell or psionic for the purposes of power maintenance.
Similarly, personal weaponry can be enhanced with a variety of special effects. Each of these also count as one maintained power, but can apply to any weapons the character has active at a given time (their choice where multiple weapons and enhancements are concerned). Such 'enhancements' include the corrosion, disease, poison, and rotting powers, among many others that 'fit' such a theme.
Personal weapons that inflict Blunt Attack damage cause one's Strength (might) +1 CS in damage, while those that cause Edged Attack damage simply work at the Strength (might) rank; the latter trades raw output potential for lethality. Special effects (corrosion, etc.) function at the personal weaponry rank regardless of the Strength that backs them up, for they merely use physical weaponry as a delivery mechanism.
Type: Physiomancy Spell
Cost: 1 point per rank
Plasticity is a trait which makes one's body malleable and, well, plastic. In such a state, a character can stretch and deform their body as they see fit, maintaining their normal bodily processes all the while. Plasticity itself does not allow one to change their volume; in order to do that, one must also possess the elongation power, an ability which is often seen in tandem with this one (but is itself quite different).
A plastic character is more durable than normal, where incoming damage is concerned. This ability grants its possessor power rank resistance to Blunt Attack, Blunt Throwing, Force, and Shooting attacks, the energy of such assaults being harmlessly absorbed by the character's malleable body. This capability also allows one to similarly absorb falling damage, whether the plastic character is falling or catching someone else who is.
Mind you, plasticity always 'absorbs' damage by redirecting it back at its source, albeit at its original intensity -2 CS. Falling from a great height will likely cause a plastic character to bounce, while they will reflexively carom bullets back towards their source. One can even use a plastic character as a living slingshot, propelling items as if they were thrown at up to the plasticity's power rank in Strength!
Type: Physiomancy Spell
Cost: 3 points per rank
The character with reassignment is of fluid capability, for he or she may reassign the values of their various ability scores and powers (if any) as they see fit. This often coincides with a character who has multiple forms, their many ranks shifting from one form to another, but not always. It need not be tied to any real explanation but can often be used with other powers to more readily justify its presence on a body.
How reassignment works is that the possessor of this power may shift prowess from one of their ability or power ranks to another on a CS per CS basis. For example, a body with Poor (4) Strength and Amazing (50) Reason likes to swap between the two in order to surprise people who underestimate his physicality. Every -1 CS he applies to his Reason can be added as a +1 CS to his Strength (or any other statistic, really).
This can get a bit more complicated when applying column shifts to one's super powers. This is because some are more potent than others, and require a bit more 'fuel' to enhance via reassignment. If a power costs more than one 'point' per rank during character generation, one must reduce another ability by that many CS to give it but one CS increase (so yes, boosting ultimate power is still rather difficult).
Mind you, the reverse is also true. Say a character has Excellent (20) planar control, which is quite expensive to acquire during character generation (fifteen points). Each negative CS the character with reassignment applies to planar control allows her +3 CS to apply elsewhere, either in one ability score or power or in three separate ones. Such costly powers serve as a great 'bank' for reassignment to draw upon.
Changing ranks around takes one full action, but the wielder of reassignment may shift as many as they like at one time. Health and Karma scores should be retallied as one's ability scores change. The only built-in limit to altering one's ability and power ranks is that they may not drop below Feeble (2) rank, and similarly may not exceed the overall power ceiling as defined by the Judge - or the rearrangement power rank.
Reassignment cannot be used to change its own rank.
Of course, one can add limits to reassignment as they see fit, in order to enhance that rank. Limiting oneself to rearranging either ability scores or powers (not both) is considered a weak limitation. Constraining reassignment to altering only physical (Fighting, Agility, Strength and Endurance) or mental (Fighting, Reason, Intuition, Psyche) ability scores counts as a strong limitation.
A further, very strong constraint of reassignment involves the character only being able to reassign their ability score and power ranks between two distinct, fixed forms, sort of like a voluntary alter ego. Finally, restraining the power such that it can only swap the ranks of two specific statistics can be counted as an extreme limitation.
Regeneration / Self
Type: Physiomancy Spell
Cost: 2 points per rank
Characters possessing this ability recover from inflicted damage far faster than ordinary folks. Instead of the normal healing rate, a character with this ability will heal damage at a rate equal to their regeneration rank every minute. This is divided up on a turn by turn basis, so the amount of Health a regenerating character will recover each turn is equal to their regeneration rank number divided by ten.
For example, characters with Incredible (40) ranked regeneration will heal four lost Health points per turn. If a character possesses regeneration at a rank that is less than Good (10), they won't actually heal lost Health points each turn. For instance, a character with Feeble (2) regeneration would only heal back two points per minute, so they'd actually gain one Health point every five turns, instead.
All of this assumes that the character who regenerates isn't actually suffering continuous damage. If the cause of damage is still being applied (say, because your character is on fire), regeneration cannot occur until the damage is no longer being inflicted. Regeneration occurs at the beginning of a turn, but will not apply if damage from a previous turn carries over into the next (SD damage can be a bane to regenerators).
Type: Physiomancy Spell
Cost: 1 point per rank
This power describes the capability to return to life upon one's untimely demise - most of the time, anyway. While not quite immortality, revival is a means by which one's body attempts to 'jump-start' itself in the event of its death. Upon dying, the body will actually make a rapid and serious attempt to repair fatal damage, replace missing tissues, and otherwise restore itself to a condition that can support a continued existence.
The difficulty of this depends on the nature of one's demise. If the vast majority of one's body is present (save for blood or minor chunks lost in a bullet blowout), a green FEAT will resuscitate the fallen character. A yellow FEAT is necessary if some larger chunks are missing - but you know, most vital bits remain. A red revival FEAT is usually necessary when just under half of the original body remains.
More serious damage is usually an impossible FEAT to recover from, unless the Judge is feeling generous. The main thing, though, is that this FEAT is made upon one's death - which means, being dead, the character has no Karma to spend on the revival check. That's why this power is not true immortality; even if you have it, and have it at a respectable rank, you can still die (permanently) from a bad die roll.
One consideration to keep in mind with revival is that it does sometimes allow for the resuscitation of one's body from significantly smaller portions of itself. It's possible that, in cases of extreme mutilation, more than one chunk of a character's body can revive, becoming two (or more) complete selves. These new 'clones' are treated as NPCs, but should mirror the original character's behavior.
At least, until the point of their divergence.
Type: Physiomancy Spell
Cost: 1 point per rank
A specialized, reactive ability, situational adaptation allows a character to quickly manifest new, temporary characteristics which give him or her the potential to survive a sudden, hostile turn of events. This works by immediately (and possibly drastically) altering one's body to persist in the face of the new situation, and then changing it back as soon as the danger has passed.
Situational adaptation can counter a sudden uncontrolled vertical movement (such as falling) by manifesting things such as wings, a gliding surface, or even pockets of lighter than air gas. It can also work against various attack forms by physically altering the body to counter each one, momentarily transforming one's skin into steel under a hail of bullets, or perhaps into asbestos to ward off repeated gouts of fiery doom.
Situational adaptation can conceivably handle almost any threat imaginable, but it is not without its limitations.
For one thing, it is not instantaneous. Devising a defense against a given threat or situation will take a full turn for the character with this power, during which time they will suffer damage normally. Secondly, a character can only produce one defensive adaptation at a time. This power will devise defenses against most threats, but multitasking is beyond it.
Third, adapted defenses are limited to this power's rank in effectiveness. For instance, if a character with Excellent (20) ranked situational adaptation is trying to adapt to an Amazing (50) ranked heat source, they can only manage up to twenty points of protection from it (from this power alone). Finally, characters have no control over the precise nature of their defensive adaptations - they are reflexive, after all!
One thing a character with situational adaptation can control, though, is just what their power is countering in the face of multiple threats. If suffering from both fire and radiation, they can choose the form of their demise. To suffer third degree burns or cancer, that is the question!
Type: Physiomancy Spell
Cost: 3 points per rank
A character with super speed may complete actions dramatically faster than others. This can work through a variety of different mechanisms, ranging from an augmented nervous system to something as exotic as living in an accelerated temporal frame. Regardless of how the power works for a character, super speed produces the same result: it gives its wielder the ability to do anything quick.
In essence, the possessor of this ability divides the amount of turns it takes them to do anything by this power rank number. Let us consider a villain with Remarkable (30) ranked super speed. Assuming he has Typical (6) Strength (vgr), he can leisurely walk at a pace that will carry him forty five areas in a single minute (as opposed to the one and a half without super speed). That's sixty seven and a half miles per hour!
If a character with super speed attempts to run, he or she can increase their movement speed even further. This works by shifting the character's walking intensity over to the air speed column, instead. Our villain with the Typical (6) Strength (vgr) score would thus move at 135 MPH (between Good and Excellent, as his ground speed was), while another with capped walking speed but like super speed would move at 225 MPH!
Keep in mind that super speed does not include super stamina. Running at top speed is just as difficult for a speedster as it is for anyone else without additional powers. Lacking additional ascendant abilities to back super speed up, a speedster is limited to short bursts of enhanced velocity. Even without outside help, however, such bursts of speed let a body cover ground astoundingly fast.
When super speed is combined with other travel powers, though, one can keep up a heightened rate of speed for as long as the other movement ability can operate. In game terms, this allows such powers to move up one speed category when paired with super speed. Super running and super swimming will operate on the air speed column, while flight will be upgraded to the space speed column. Not bad, eh?
Mind you, super speed is useful for more than just covering distance. The power is great when applied to tasks that take a very long time, such as construction, invention, surgery - and more. When one can reduce a task that should take weeks down to just a few hours, they can get a whole lot done - possibly meaning they only need to work a few hours out of the month (or out of the year, with sufficiently potent super speed).
Super speed applies to combat, also. For every rank in super speed a character has, they are allowed an additional attack each turn. Thus, our villain with the above, Remarkable (30) super speed can attack six additional times each turn. When used against multiple opponents (say, one attack per person), such attacks are resolved normally. However, when one foe is the exclusive focus of a super speedster, things can get messy.
Multiple attacks focused on a single opponent at super speed are always considered bursting, applying a +1 CS for each doubling of attacks (always round down). These attacks against a single foe may be resolved with one die roll for simplicity's sake, or rolled out individually - though the latter may take a while. With a Strength (mgt) score of Typical (6), our example villain's seven punches would ultimately inflict +2 CS damage!
The above assumes the character with super speed can normally attack once per turn. If they are granted extra attacks elsewhere, add these attacks to the amount which is granted by super speed. If our villainous speedster also had Remarkable (30) ranked Fighting score, he could add one more attack with a yellow multiple actions FEAT roll, bumping him up to another +1 CS of bursting damage against a single opponent!
Speedsters most often attack with their bare hands, because while they have super speed, their gear almost never does. Attacking someone with a weapon at super speed puts just as much stress on the weapon as it does whatever is being hit. This stress prompts a m.s. check that must be made on the item being used in melee combat against the overall damage caused - if it fails, the weapon will break during the burst of attacks.
With a sufficiently durable weapon, however, or even just considerable physical strength, a character with super speed can often dish out astonishing damage in the blink of an eye. Damage that is incredibly hard to defend against when you can't even make out the movements of your assailant. Those concerned about inflicting lethal harm upon their foes may wish to keep this in mind before attacking at top speed.