With an understanding of the basics of one's ability scores, how they are rated in comparison to others, and how to perform actions with them, it is time to start applying this knowledge to the world around your character.
All of the action in the Universal Heroes game takes place in a grand multiverse of possibility, a multiverse being defined as a multitude of dimensions. In fact, the Universal Heroes rules recognizes seven physical dimensions: three of space, three of time, and a seventh - the last of which has very strange aspects, indeed. Navigating these seven dimensions can be tricky, but luckily for us the three dimensions of space are the easiest to recognize and cross, and there are all manner of ways to get from point A to point B available to a character.
The simplest of which, naturally, involves walking there.
Walking / Running
|Rank||Running Speed / Acceleration *|
|Feeble||One half area per turn|
|Poor||One area per turn|
|Typical - Excellent||One and a half areas per turn|
|Remarkable||Two areas per turn|
|Incredible +||Three areas per turn|
The standard means of going places since time immemorial, walking allows for the crossing of horizontal spaces. A healthy character can, in one minute, cross 1.5 areas of space. The base unit for space in the Universal Heroes, an area is 44 cubic yards, meaning that this 44 yards extends in all directions. This assumes that said character is not in any hurry, and is simply having a pleasant stroll or determined walk.
However, this does not always apply, and a character may need to run to the scene of some crime or another (or, if a villain, from it). If running, a character can cross a number of areas per turn - the basic unit of time in the Universal heroes game (equal to six seconds) - that is determined by his or her Str (vgr) rank. These speeds are detailed on table 17.
This table reflects the maximum 'base' running speed for a character, for a given Str (vgr) rank, assuming an overall (and somewhat optimistic) top speed for human beings equal to thirty miles per hour. This is approximately ten times the standard walking rate, though maintaining this level of speed over time is easier said than done. Table 17 also reflects a rate of acceleration upon the body a character can reasonably withstand per turn.
While running characters can normally accelerate to their maximum sprinting speed almost instantaneously, acceleration forces come into play when wielding super-human movement powers. If a character has a running power that lets them move at well beyond three areas per turn, for instance, it will take him or her some time to accelerate to maximum speed. Acceleration tolerances are determined on the table above using one's End (res) score.
* For walking speeds, simply change 'turn' to 'minute'.
Sometimes, you've just got to move fast... above and beyond the normal sprinting speed available to you. When this is the case, characters may attempt a red Str (vgr) FEAT roll to gain a burst of speed, allowing them to move one area per turn faster than is normal for them. If the character fails this FEAT, however, they will stumble and fall, but still continue moving as if subject to a Slam effect.
A character can turn at up to ninety degrees without losing speed, as this is generally considered standard maneuvering. If they attempt a tighter turn, however, said character must slow down to half their maximum speed to do so safely. If one wishes to bypass this slowdown, they must pass a green Agy (bal) FEAT roll to do so. If this FEAT roll fails, the character may very well trip, slowly rolling to a stop.
Similarly, it is hard to concentrate on moving at maximum speed while doing something else. Texting while sprinting, for example, is ill advised. To safely manage another activity while moving, one must reduce their speed by half unless they are engaging in a charging maneuver, as running is part of the deal there. If one is in too big a hurry, the FEAT described above (and consequences of failure) applies here as well.
For the most part, moving indoors is just like moving elsewhere. Of course, most rooms are not 44 yards to a side, so for ease of use, simply consider each individual space inside a structure to be one area for the purposes of movement. This adjustment to movement generally takes into account the need to make use of doors and windows to get in and out of an area - whether opening them or plowing through.
It is difficult to maneuver through a heavily cluttered area, one that is full of people, obstacles, or both. When doing so, running characters should slow down by one degree of speed (from three areas per turn for a person with Incredible (40) Str (vgr) to two, for instance) to retain control of their movement. If one refuses to slow down, they must pass a yellow Agy (bal) FEAT to avoid running into someone or something.
|Turns||FEAT Required||Rest Period|
|End (sta) x1||Green||1d10 Turns|
|End (sta) x2||Yellow||2d10 Turns|
|End (sta) x3||Red||3d10 Turns|
|End (sta) x4 +||Red each turn||4d10 Turns|
Table 17 indicates that even a relatively frail person can move along at a decent clip when they need to. But how long can they keep that up, you ask? The distance a person can run before needing rest depends entirely on their End (sta). How this comes into play is when a character has run at their top speed for a number of turns equal to their End (sta) rank number.
Once they reach this point, they must attempt a green End (sta) FEAT roll. If successful, they may continue, while failure indicates they must pause and rest for 1 to 10 turns (roll one of your percentile dice; that's how many turns the winded character needs to catch their breath). A character who is still running at this point may continue until they've done so for twice their End (sta) rank number in turns.
To keep pouring on the speed, they must pass a yellow End (sta) FEAT roll this time. If it fails, they must rest for 2 to 20 turns (roll both of those percentile dice and add the result together). Passing this FEAT allows your runner to continue their sprint towards (or away from) whatever has caused them to run in the first place. If they must keep moving for longer, though, this gets harder over time.
Once our runner has done so for three times their End (sta) rank number, they must pass a red End (sta) FEAT to keep going. Failure indicates they must rest for 3 to 30 turns (roll a d10 three times for the total amount of turns they must pause). If he or she succeeds, they can continue on, up until they reach an amount of time, in turns, equal to four times their End (sta) rank number, at which point they must stop imminently.
He or she can push it further, though this requires an additional red FEAT roll each turn now, not at multiples of their End (sta) rank number. Our marathon runner can keep the pace up as long as they can continue to make these FEATs each turn (often requiring Karma). As soon as he or she fails, they will collapse, needing 4 to 40 turns of rest to recover from this titanic exertion.
As an example, let us look at an average, relatively fit human.
To wit, a body with Typical (6) Str (vgr) and Typical (6) End (sta) can run at their top speed of one and a half areas per turn for six turns (or 9 areas) without having to make a roll. They need a green End (sta) FEAT to make it to 18, a yellow End (sta) FEAT to make it to 27, and a red End (sta) FEAT to make it to 36 areas. After this, they need to pass a red FEAT every additional turn to continue.
Incidentally, a mile is exactly 40 areas in length. And now you know why your gym teacher kept making you run those, and pushed you to run to the very end... to build your Endurance!
A few notes on exhaustion. One can avoid it entirely by pacing themselves; one need not walk to avoid becoming exhausted - they just need to move at a more reasonable pace. Pacing oneself involves moving as though their End (sta) was two steps lower on the table; a body with Remarkable (30) End (sta) moving at only one area per turn, for instance. Furthermore, having an End (sta) of Unearthly (100) or higher negates the effects of exhaustion entirely.
Similar to walking, swimming allows a body to easily get from one point to another, but swimming refers to movement across a body of water, as opposed to a field or city street. When swimming, a character can simply tread water, an action allowing him or her to move at one-sixth of their base walking rate (as is determined on table 17, above). If necessary, a character can put their all into a swim, and move at a rate equal to one-sixth of their running speed - which is ten times faster!
While this seems similar on the surface, aside from the generally slower rate of movement, the danger with swimming is that drowning is a real concern. A swimmer is subject to exhaustion just as a runner is, and if they push themselves until rest is needed, they must pass a Str (vgr) FEAT to keep themselves above water. If this FEAT is successful, our swimmer is fine, but if not, they may indeed slip under the waves and drown.
Nominally, the length of time a character can hold their breath is determined as is exhaustion, on table 18. The difference with holding your breath, however, is that instead of needing rest when the End (sta) FEAT ultimately fails, one must breathe immediately or fall unconscious. If this occurs from lack of oxygen, a character has drowned or suffocated (depending on the circumstances), and will begin to lose Endurance ranks, one per turn.
The problem while swimming is that, if already exhausted before one needs to suddenly hold their breath, a body begins at the point where a yellow End (sta) FEAT roll is required, as they've already built up fatigue poisons in their system - as well as a whole lot of carbon dioxide. This is why it pays to pace oneself when swimming, unless you wear a life preserver or other method of keeping yourself afloat.
|Falling Time||Falling Speed|
|One turn||3 stories / turn|
|Two turns||6 stories / turn|
|Three turns||10 stories / turn|
|Four + turns||20 stories / turn|
Often, walking or swimming just won't get a body where he or she needs to be, as a bevy of important locations lie up in the clouds, whether they be on mountain tops or in skyscrapers. Whether using stairs, ladders, fire escapes, or simply climbing a vertical surface with requisite handholds or the appropriate equipment, a character can only move vertically at a rate equal to one story - approximately twelve feet - per turn. This applies to vertical movement in either direction - up or down.
The danger with vertical movement, though, is falling; it seems that people are always being pushed off of extreme heights to their doom. If he or she cannot find convenient grips to break their fall, a falling character will accelerate to their fate at the rate presented on table 19.
At the end of a fall, a body may be severely hurt, depending on their abilities. You see, when a person hits the ground after a fall, the damage to them (and whatever they hit) is figured as if it were a charging attack, with the m.s. of the item struck on the ground acting as the body armor of the 'target'; see the combat section for more on this phenomenon. This demonstrates how normal humans die so easily from a fall while super-heroes occasionally do not - especially if they're tough enough.
Thanks to either powers or equipment, many people have the ability to fly. A flying character typically moves at rates of travel much greater than those who are landlocked, so to speak. The top speeds of such fliers are determined by the gear or powers that allow them to do so in the first place. However, when a character first gets going, they are bound by their body's ability to accelerate. This is dependent on their End (sta) rank, as is determined on table 17.
In other words, one may fly at over two hundred miles per hour - 15 areas per turn - but if he or she only has Good End (sta), it'll take them over 7 turns to get up to top speed. Some powers may counter this acceleration limitation, though, and are so noted. On the other hand, if a flying body wishes to decelerate, they may do so by simply halving their current speed each turn, thus quickly bringing themselves to a complete stop.
Landing is good idea at this point. This is simply the ending of flight, most likely by decelerating to sensible speeds and touching down on a runway, helipad, etc. FEAT rolls aren't needed while landing, unless a character tries to land while traveling at more than three areas per turn. If attempting to do so, they must pass a yellow Agy (bal) FEAT roll to land safely.
A variant form of flight, gliding should also be mentioned here. Unpowered flight, gliding allows a character to ride air currents at the listed flight speed, but their altitude drops one story per turn unless they pass a green Agy (bal) (or gliding power rank) FEAT every turn in the air. Similarly, a character can't gain altitude while gliding unless he or she passes a yellow Agy (bal) (or gliding rank) FEAT roll; this involves carefully moving a glider around in air currents, and is tricky to say the least.
Flight speeds are presented for convenience on table 20.
While flying, characters or vehicles will lose one area of movement during any mid-air turn; this implies relatively safe handling of the change in direction. If one attempts to bypass this small loss of velocity, they must pass a green Agy (bal) or Control FEAT to do so; this FEAT is also required when attempting a turn of greater than 90 degrees. If both are attempted simultaneously, the FEAT is of yellow difficulty.
If one of these FEATs fails, the character may well lose control of their flight. When this occurs, the character (or the vehicle they're piloting) will careen off in a random direction, which may include 'up' or 'down'. Recovering control of one's direction at this point requires the success of the FEAT previously failed. The flier may attempt this FEAT each turn until they regain control or crash into something.
When flying close to the ground or low in a city, the area might be full of what is called clutter. It may be people, houses, trees, or anything else, but all moving characters risk striking clutter if they don't slow down when it is in the area. Flying characters can only move safely at equivalent ground speed velocities, lest they ram themselves or their vehicles through the clutter before them.
Naturally, safety may be disregarded in such conditions. As is the case with most other difficult control situations, this requires a successful yellow Agy (bal) or Control FEAT; passing this means the flier pulled off a dazzling acrobatic maneuver to avoid all the stuff in their path. Failing this FEAT means the flier will crash into something in his or her way - possibly wrapping themselves or their ride all around it.
All characters can leap to some extent, depending on their Str (vgr) score. The distance a character can jump is a value determined by the amount of weight they can lift, minus their own weight. Where the result falls on on table 3 determines a character's natural leaping score. For example, a character with Good (10) Str (vgr) weighs 200 pounds. They can lift 400 pounds, so subtracting their weight drops them in the Typical (6) category for leaping purposes.
Once you have this rank, apply it to table 20, below, to determine just how far your character can jump. Horizontal distances function at the listed rank, while vertical distances (leaping up) occur at a -1 CS.
Our example character, then, can leap a smidge over six feet - which is pretty impressive, really. This is an average; making a leap forward of this distance would require a yellow Str (vgr) FEAT. Using this logic, -1 CS (4.125 feet) would be a green Str (vgr) FEAT, while +1 CS (8.25 feet) would be a red Str (vgr) FEAT.
Similarly, our sample character can leap up approximately four feet into the air on average (this being with a yellow Str (vgr) FEAT roll).
On the other hand, dropping down occurs at this rank +1 CS. This is the safe distance the character may fall without hurting oneself. Our friend with Good (10) Str (vgr), then, can drop down 8.25 feet - over half a story - without any undue injury. A drop of greater distance inflicts damage as per a fall (described above), though the distance one can leap downward is subtracted from the overall amount when figuring out how far they fell.
Again referring to our example with Good (10) Str (vgr), say they drop two stories. That's twenty-six feet, give or take, and subtracting their eight-ish leaves them at eighteen. That still counts as only one turn worth of falling damage, and the harm suffered (if any) is based upon that distance. This doesn't do a lot of good on significant falls unless the character has a large Str (vgr) score, at which point they may absorb some of this pain more easily.
Leaping distances are presented for convenience on table 20.
|Rank||Land / Water||Leaping Distance||Air||Space|
|Feeble||15 MPH (1 area)||2.0625 feet (1/64 areas)||30 MPH (2 areas)||375 MPH (25 areas)|
|Poor||30 MPH (2 areas)||4.125 feet (1/32 areas)||60 MPH (4 areas)||750 MPH (50 areas)|
|Typical||45 MPH (3 areas)||6.1875 feet (3/64 areas)||90 MPH (6 areas)||1,125 MPH (75 areas)|
|Good||60 MPH (4 areas)||8.25 feet (1/16 areas)||120 MPH (8 areas)||1,500 MPH (100 areas)|
|Excellent||75 MPH (5 areas)||16.5 feet (1/8 areas)||150 MPH (10 areas)||3,750 MPH (250 areas)|
|Remarkable||90 MPH (6 areas)||24.75 feet (3/16 areas)||225 MPH (15 areas)||7,500 MPH (500 areas)|
|Incredible||105 MPH (7 areas)||33 feet (1/4 areas)||300 MPH (20 areas)||15,000 MPH (1,000 areas)|
|Amazing||120 MPH (8 areas)||66 feet (1/2 areas)||375 MPH (25 areas)||37,500 MPH (2,500 areas)|
|Monstrous||135 MPH (9 areas)||99 feet (3/4 areas)||450 MPH (30 areas)||75,000 MPH (5,000 areas)|
|Unearthly||150 MPH (10 areas)||132 feet (1 area)||600 MPH (40 areas)||150,000 MPH (10,000 areas)|
|Shift X||180 MPH (12 areas)||264 feet (2 areas)||750 MPH (50 areas)||669,600 MPH (.1% light)|
|Shift Y||210 MPH (14 areas)||330 feet (2.5 areas)||1,500 MPH (100 areas)||3,348,000 MPH (.5% light)|
|Shift Z||240 MPH (16 areas)||660 feet (5 areas)||3,750 MPH (250 areas)||6,696,000 MPH (1% light)|
|Class 1000||480 MPH (32 areas)||1,320 feet (10 areas)||7,500 MPH (500 areas)||18,600 m.p.s. (10% light)|
|Class 3000||750 MPH (50 areas)||2,640 feet (20 areas)||11,250 MPH (750 areas)||93,000 m.p.s. (50% light)|
|Class 5000||1,500 MPH (100 areas)||5,280 feet (40 areas)||15,000 MPH (1,000 areas)||186,000 m.p.s. (light speed)|
While the previous forms of movement require a body to physically cross the space between the origin and end point of their travels, teleportation does not. This form of movement, regardless of how it functions, involves a character effectively ceasing to exist at one point in space and then instantly beginning to exist at another. A teleporter has a great range of movement, as this power uses the Far range category.
However, while teleporters can cross a vast distance in the blink of an eye, all of them face the risk of teleporting into a solid object. If he or she doesn't know the area being teleported into precisely, a body may inadvertently transport themselves into something solid. This causes damage equal to the m.s. of the object, and a person so damaged must immediately roll an End (res) FEAT vs. the intensity of this damage.
If this roll is successful, this teleporter can successfully transport to safety, but if not, they will immediately pass out, and begin to lose Endurance ranks at a rate of one per turn. If deep within a solid object, such as a mountain or a thick wall, this may spell the end of our teleporter, as nobody may know where the unfortunate traveler wound up after their little trip.
But what are the odds of this happening, you ask? It ultimately depends on the area teleported into. If it is free of clutter, our teleporting friend is likely to be okay. But if it's littered with people or objects, or has been filled full of bulky things as a trap, a teleporter could be in real trouble. To be completely random, the Judge may just give a percentage chance of this happening and roll against it.
Teleportation ranges are presented for convenience on table 21.
But Wait, There's More!
There are several additional, more esoteric methods of travel that are available to players, but these mostly function similar to those presented here - or as slight variations therein. These other motive abilities will be described more fully as becomes necessary (usually in their specific equipment or power descriptions).
Concepts of Range
Overall, there are seven different range categories in the Universal Heroes game, each of which helps to define and differentiate the ascendant abilities of characters. These categories are named such that players can quite easily make sense of one in relation to the others, starting with Contact, then ascending through Very Near, Near, Middle, Far, and Very Far range, only to end with Infinite range.
While the Contact and Infinite ranges are pretty self explanatory, being zero and infinite, respectively, the other five range categories will vary based on the power rank of the ability in question - whether only a little bit or a whole lot, depending on which range category is used. This variance is covered in detail on table 21, below, for the five variable range categories.
Another vital area where range is concerned is sensory acuity. All characters can generally perceive the fine details of sensory stimuli within their current area without penalty, though each additional area a stimuli is distant reduces one's Intuition for the purposes of detecting it by -1 CS. Possessing the super senses power extends this sensory range by one area before penalties begin, as can a variety of high tech equipment and special powers.
Once a character's Intuition is reduced below Shift 0 when attempting to discern fine details in a stimulus, such is generally considered impossible. One may be able to see the moon quite well on a clear night, for example, but it's not like they can actually perceive individual boulders on its surface. No, only the most basic of details register at that point.
|Rank||Very Near||Near||Middle||Far||Very Far|
|Feeble||2 yards||.5 areas||1 area||1 mile||2 miles|
|Poor||4 yards||1 area||2.5 areas||5 miles||25 miles|
|Typical||6 yards||2 areas||5 areas||10 miles||250 miles|
|Good||10 yards||4 areas||10 areas||50 miles||2,500 miles|
|Excellent||20 yards||6 areas||20 areas||100 miles||25,000 miles|
|Remarkable||30 yards||8 areas||1 mile||500 miles||250,000 miles|
|Incredible||40 yards||10 areas||2 miles||1,000 miles||2.5 million miles|
|Amazing||50 yards||20 areas||4 miles||5,000 miles||25 million miles|
|Monstrous||75 yards||40 areas||6 miles||10,000 miles||250 million miles|
|Unearthly||100 yards||60 areas||8 miles||100,000 miles||2.5 billion miles|
|Shift X||150 yards||80 areas||10 miles||1 million miles||25 billion miles|
|Shift Y||200 yards||160 areas||100 miles||10 million miles||250 billion miles|
|Shift Z||500 yards||400 areas||1,000 miles||100 million miles||.5 light year|
|Class 1000||1,000 yards||50 miles||10,000 miles||1 billion miles||5 light years|
|Class 3000||3,000 yards||100 miles||100,000 miles||10 billion miles||50 light years|
|Class 5000||5,000 yards||250 miles||1 million miles||100 billion miles||500 light years|
Maps and Ranged Movement
Though it is not required, players of the Universal Heroes game may wish to have a map handy with which to detail their actions and movements. When a Judge makes a map, he or she should do so at a scale of two inches to an area, allowing for a detailed showing of all the action. This may seem small, especially when one is used to the map scale of other games, but a heroic fight tends to spread out all over the place.
A map this size is good for general use, but the Judge is free to make their own at any size they prefer. Just make sure to mark off each area as such on the map with dotted or dashed lines, so players know how far they can move their characters in a given turn. Of course, instead of going with a generic area mapping, one can instead used a concept known as ranged movement.
This allows a player to use a ruler to measure out his or her exact movements, a method that has both good and bad points. Good in that it is far easier to track a character's exact placement on the map, but bad in that it is harder for N/PCs to be anywhere in a given area at a given point in time, which can put a small crimp in a Judge's plans. Either way works well, however.
As far as pointers for one's heroes go, virtually anything can be used. Any die, coin, or other knick-knack can fill this function nicely. Some people make small paper stand up 'figures', whether two- or three-sided, with the front of the fold-up figure representing exactly where the character is. Some players even buy miniatures from their RPG supplier, painting them up to look like their characters.
Bear in mind that the scale of the map may alter the usefulness of these items. If the Judge uses a map of Manhattan Island, it will be of miniature scale, and it may be difficult to pinpoint exactly what street out of the twelve one's figure is standing on is actually occupied by the hero. To each their own, however, and for those that go forward with their map techniques, good luck to you!
Interested in using Technoholic content in your own project? Please read this beforehand!