The Infinity Gems
According to various sources, namely Thanos of Titan (quoting from the Infinity Well) and the Soul Gem itself, the Infinity Gems were originally one, a singular being that was alone in all creation. This one being was all powerful, since all that was, was it.
This being grew tired of its lonely existence, and ended it. From the ashes of its demise, the multiverse came into being and, soon after, so did the Infinity Gems. The core of this being's might reincarnated, the Infinity Gems can hold sway over reality itself, if used properly.
Each of the gems, in other words, holds power over one aspect of existence. Used individually, an Infinity Gem can make its wielder vastly powerful. Used in tandem, however, the Infinity Gems can make their wielder all powerful, if he or she understands how to do so.
Common Characteristics of the Infinity Gems
Though the Infinity Gems can do great things, their wielders most often cannot, primarily because the gems themselves are possessed of a frightening intelligence. The gems pick and choose who will wield them, and can prevent those of weak prospects from doing so.
If someone wants to wield an Infinity Gem (or all of them) and the gem resists, the would-be controller must pass an easy difficulty Willpower action, opposed by the Willpower of the gem. Once this action has been passed, the gem may be used by the gem's possessor at will.
Since the gems are formerly of one omnipotent mind, it is recommended that each have Intellect and Willpower scores of fifteen (15). This makes them dangerously smart, but still controllable by powerful characters, even if the gem wishes otherwise.
Additionally, each gem has a unique personality, one that ought to be fleshed out by the Narrator. For example, the Soul Gem is shown to have quite a malignant mindset. However, the other gems aren't necessarily as dark. They're probably quite manipulative, though.
Once he or she has gained the use of an Infinity Gem (whether by the gem's choice or otherwise), what can its would-be wielder do with it? Again, this depends on the gem. The gem may reveal all of its abilities to its wielder, only some of them, or maybe even none.
If the wielder knows that the gem is capable of certain things, he or she may try to force these powers into the open using the psychic arm-wrestle detailed above, or convince it to do so by helping it achieve its own ends - whatever they may be.
The power of each Infinity Gem is, by definition, infinite. However, it is recommended that characters using a gem be limited to their Willpower score in use of the power(s) they have access to. This represents the safe level of power they can access through the Infinity Gem.
Should a character need to utilize more, he or she can do so by passing an average difficulty Willpower action, opposed by by the Willpower of the gem plus the incrased level of power they wish to utilize. This action is required each time one attempts to utilize augmented power.
Failing this action, however, may be disastrous.
Loss of Control
A character can lose control of an Infinity Gem under two circumstances. First, he or she may try to use too much power at once, failing an action to utilize too much power from the gem. Alternately, the gem may rebel if it is being used against its will in some fashion.
In the case of attempting to use too much power, the gem may simply fail to operate. This is usually the case when the character and the gem have a harmonious relationship. If this isn't the case, the power being used may explode out of control, in the worst possible way.
If the Infinity Gem rebels, it may do so because it has been forced to do the character's bidding, waiting for just the right time to strike. If the gem is working with a character willingly, but they begin to act counter to the gem's wishes, it may simply 'malfunction' for a bit.
In either event, the character cannot use the gem until they renew their control over it. If the gem is working with the character of its own volition, it will usually just let the character back in charge. Otherwise, the character will have to regain control via more Willpower actions.
Touching the infinite rarely leaves a body unaltered. Those who have carried Infinity Gems in the past are often changed by the experience, and may very well be left with abilities they previously only had access to while they were in possession of a fragment of ultimate power.
It is unknown precisely by which mechanism powers of an Infinity Gem rub off on one of their possessors, but it is possible that being on good terms with the gem is vital to this process. Making frequent use of its abilities is probably necessary, as well.
Thus far, only Pip the Troll has definitively demonstrated this phenomenon, being that he possessed no teleportation powers before bearing the Space Gem for a considerable length of time. However, others who may have received such boons generally already possessed like abilities.
Either way, whether receiving enhancements to extant powers or altogether new abilities, a former bearer of an Infinity Gem should ultimately pay the Response Bonus cost for such a boon to keep it. This is a great way to justify the acquisition of new powers, though!
Infinity Gem Descriptions
the Mind Gem
The first known user of the blue Mind Gem was the Kree Supreme Intelligence. He/she/it claimed a Kree patrol found the trinket, and used it to absorb the mind of the Silver Surfer. This prompted an epic psychic battle between the two, a fight which the Surfer ultimately won.
Leaving the Supreme Intelligence deranged as a result, the Surfer subsequently turned the Mind Gem over to the Elders of the Universe. They were holding Mantis and Shalla Bal captive to force it from the hero, and to save his friends he gave in to their demands.
Failing in their effort to use the gems against Galactus, the Elders lost the Infinity Gems in a nearby black hole. After a subsequent clash between Galactus and the In-Betweener, the Mind Gem was seized by the Grandmaster, who bore the powerful artifact for some time.
He kept it until Thanos took it from him, terminally. Sure, the Grandmaster got better, having two distinct forms of immortality, but by the time he recovered, Thanos had upended the entire universe with the Infinity Gems, having found out their deadly secret.
After that debacle, the Mind Gem fell into the hands of Moondragon, who was already a highly powerful psychic. Greatly augmented by the power of the Mind Gem, Moondragon used it well alongside the rest of the Infinity Watch, at least until Rune arrived to steal it from her.
Seizing all six Infinity Gems from the Infinity Watch, this extraplanar vampire took them home, as part of a plot to wield them against his universe. This caused the original entity that comprised the Infinity Gems' power, Nemesis, to reform, though this rebirth was rather transient.
Eventually drifting back into its home plane, the Mind Gem fell into the hands of the Illuminati. They reserved its power for a crisis worthy of its might, which eventually occurred when another timeline found itself on a collision course with our own.
Though they prevented the destruction of both realities, the Mind Gem was shattered as a result of this exertion. It cannot be destroyed, however, and the Mind Gem, now yellow, resumed its corporeal existence in time. It allows the use of these, and many more, psionic powers:
Auscultation (w): rather than bluntly probe the mind of another, the wielder of the Mind Gem may simply eavesdrop on the psychic radiation of other beings. This is usually a trouble-free process, as the target of this power generally won't realize it is even happening.
Mind Control (w): with this ability, the wielder of the Mind Gem can override the will of others, coercing them into doing things they normally wouldn't. This requires a successful, easy difficulty Mind Control (willpower) action against the gem bearer's victims.
Psi Bolt (w): the wielder of the Mind Gem can blast the mind of others with raw psionic force, causing power intensity karmic damage to the victim. This requires an easy difficulty Psi Bolt (willpower) action first.
Psychic Probe (w): the gem holder can probe the mind of other sentients, to search for any information desired. Unless the target of such a probe is willing (and who ever is), this requires a successful, average difficulty Psychic Probe (willpower) action.
Telekinesis (i): the Mind Gem can be used to psionically affect any object without physical contact. The gem can affect an amount of weight equal to this power's current intensity, though living targets may add their own Strength in opposition against the power.
Telelocation (w): the bearer of the Mind Gem can use their awareness of others to track their psionic 'signature'. Easy actions find folks familiar to the gem bearer, average actions can locate those less familiar, and challenging actions are needed for unfamiliar subjects.
Telepathy (w): the Mind Gem allows its bearer to converse with anyone via a direct mental link, anywhere within power intensity range. Should the gem be working willingly with its wielder, this limitation is ignored, and the wielder can mentally contact anyone in the universe.
the Power Gem
The red Power Gem was not known to be such, until the conflict between Galactus and the In-Betweener was over. When the Elders fled, Champion claimed the Power Gem, but didn't realize exactly what he had until Thanos all too easily tricked it away from him.
After the Infinity Gauntlet affair, the Power Gem passed to Drax the Destroyer. That hero retained the Power Gem for quite some time, until he lost it to the extraplanar vampire known as Rune, who intended to wield the Infinity Gems against his own universe.
When this ultimately failed, the Power Gem found its way into the hands of the Illuminati, who used the Infinity Gems in an attempt to prevent our timeline from colliding with another. They were successful, though the Power Gem was seemingly shattered in the process.
The Infinity Gems cannot be destroyed, though, and the Power Gem ultimately returned to the universe at large, albeit in a purple hue. Capable of drawing power from the totality of existence itself, the following abilities have been documented by wielders of the Power Gem:
Ability / Power Boost (w): by tapping the power of this gem, the wielder may increase any power (or their Strength) to the gem's current power intensity, or the power's intensity +1 (whichever is higher). This boost lasts as long as the gem's wielder wills it.
Energy Absorption (s): with his or her control over energy, the bearer of the Power Gem is rarely affected by harmful energies. The gem can be used to simply absorb any offending energy attack, up to an intensity equal to the current power intensity, per use of the power.
This energy is normally redistributed across reality, so the character need not worry about absorbing too much power. However, the gem wielder can retain the sponged energy for immediate use, within themselves, but is then subject to the limitations of this power.
Energy Control (i): the gem can be used to influence energy of any stripe. The Power Gem can manipulate any form of energy at the current power intensity, and can be used to control energies it generates at +1. Any power stunts must be developed normally.
Energy Generation (a): a source of infinite power, the Power Gem can be used to emit energy, of an amount equal to the current power intensity. This energy may come in any form the gem wielder desires, but will be in a raw, unfocused state.
Transduction (i): the Power Gem can be used to change one form of energy into another. This merely requires an easy difficulty Transduction action, which is only opposed if the power to be transformed is under someone else's control.
Regeneration (s): by channeling the power of this gem into one's body, it can be used to augment one's natural physiology, promoting healing. The gem essentially allows a character to regenerate, healing at a rate determined by the current power intensity.
the Reality Gem
The yellow Reality Gem was not known to be such, until after the conflict between Galactus and the In-Betweener. The Collector fled this failure with the Reality Gem, but could never figure out what it was. He did so when Thanos traded it for the infant form of the Runner, however.
Thanos kept the Reality Gem until it was taken from him in the Infinity Gauntlet affair, but got it back shortly thereafter. Apparently, Adam Warlock thought giving it to Thanos would be a check on the nigh-infinite potential for abuse represented by his Infinity Watch.
That villain retained possession of the Reality Gem until the extraplanar vampire known as Rune came to this universe, and stole the Infinity Gems from their current bearers. He wielded them against his own timeline, causing the reformation of Nemesis, but ultimately failed.
The gems made their way back to their home realm in time, at which point they fell into the hands of the Illuminati. They were reluctant to bring the gems' power to bear, but their hand was forced when it was needed to save our universe from colliding with another.
Though successful, the Reality Gem was shattered in the process of saving our space-time. The Infinity Gems cannot be destroyed, however, and in time the Reality Gem reconstituted itself, though now in a red hue. As always, the Reality Gem holds sway over causality itself!
Perhaps the most difficult gem to explain and/or codify, this powerful artifact allows one to alter, or even ignore, one or more of the laws of physics as we know them. The probable scope of the Reality Gem's ability to tinker with our space-time is listed here:
Causality Control (i): this far-reaching power allows the bearer of the Reality Gem to muck about with the principles underpinning existence. The gem's wielder may amplify, repeal, or otherwise modify aspects of reality as they see fit - to a small extent, at least.
When accessed via the Reality Gem, causality control allows its wielder to use any ability with the word 'control' in its name, and they can do so without mastering each as a power stunt. They can even maintain the usual amount of simultaneous effects, as per the norm.
However, such abilities are limited to near missile distance in their area of effect - assuming the gem's bearer only has that Infinity Gem. Each additional gem they acquire increases their effective range with this gem by one step, being infinite when all six are in hand.
Changes inflicted on space-time by the Reality Gem normally last for an aura duration, unless the gem's bearer specifically concentrates on extending them further. When the change is no longer maintained, normal cause and effect bounces back immediately.
Causal changes are not necessarily lethal, as folks within the distorted area of reality are changed alongside it. However, the gem wielder may specifically exclude them from the causal change, and thus inflict power intensity damage each round the target is in the altered area.
In fact, one clever use of this gem is to target a specific person with a reality altering aura for a mere second. The resultant reality hiccup carries a powerful stunning effect, as the brain of the victim violently rebels against the altered reality before it!
the Soul Gem
This green gem was initially held by the High Evolutionary, who gave it to Adam Warlock to help him rid Counter-Earth of all evil. Adam did, and kept the gem for his troubles. Since the gem is generally known to be 'evil', the High Evolutionary was happy to be rid of it.
Warlock wielded the gem until Thanos killed him, and took it for himself. The Titan used the six gems to build a universe-smashing gem of immense size (as big as a bean bag), but got dead. The gems then dispersed across the cosmos, except for the Soul Gem.
Captain Mar-Vell placed it on Warlock's grave as a final respect, where it stayed until the Gardener stole it to replace his discarded Time Gem. That Elder of the Universe held onto it until he was eaten by Galactus, and the gem fell through a black hole with several other Elders.
When the Silver Surfer came looking for the gems for Galactus (with Sue and Reed Richards), the In-Betweener seized the Soul Gem, and used it in his battle with Galactus. The In-Betweener lost, and was imprisoned by Lord Chaos and Master Order for his troubles.
Resurrected by Death to destroy half the universe's teeming life, Thanos looked for an expedient way to do so. Peering into the Infinity Well, he found out the true secret of the Infinity Gems, and came to take the gems from those who held them.
Thanos started with the In-Betweener, since Death didn't like him after the being forced him/her/it to kill several of the Elders, recently. Making short work of the braggart, Thanos seized the Soul Gem and left the In-Betweener to his fate.
After the Infinity Gauntlet debacle, Adam Warlock was alive once more, as all good Marvel heroes never say die, and got his Soul Gem back. He retained possession of it for a time, aside from a few hiccups involving Magus (his evil side) and Goddess (his good side).
Eventually losing the Soul Gem for good when Rune stole it and its fellow gems, the device passed to the Illuminati, who used it in an attempt to prevent our timeline from colliding with another. They were successful, though the Soul Gem was seemingly shattered in the process.
The Infinity Gems cannot be destroyed, however, and the Soul Gem ultimately returned to the universe at large, albeit in an orange hue. Capable of manipulating the very souls of sentient beings, the following abilities have been documented by wielders of the Soul Gem:
De-evolution (s): one of the Soul Gem's stranger powers, this ability allows its wielder to reverse artificially induced evolution. This doesn't seem to fit in the general class of powers this gem seems to hold, unless it involves making one's body match their soul. Or something?
Internal Universe (i): the Soul Gem itself either contains, or is the doorway to, a pocket dimension of the largest size (not infinite, but really, really big). This reality can be used to store as many souls as the gem's wielder likes, for an indefinite period of time.
Psi Bolt (w): this karmic blast can be used to 'disrupt one's anima center', inflicting either power intensity karmic damage to their mind, or acting as a stunning attack. Either requires a successful, easy difficulty Psi Bolt (willpower) action.
Soul Control (i): the Soul Gem can be used to literally absorb the soul of another, storing it in the pocket dimension inside itself. While so holding a soul, the wielder can make use of any skill or knowledge said soul may have knowledge of.
Spectral Sense (w): The Soul Gem can be used to sense other sentient beings to a) track someone known to the wielder, or b) determine the presence of other people via the existence of a soul within them - including those in higher dimensions, such as astral bodies.
Xenoglossy (i): using the Soul Gem, the wielder can understand the spoken languages of others, and communicate with others in their own tongues as well. Since accomplishing this doesn't involve mastering a language, there is no limit to its use in general conversation.
the Space Gem
The purple Space Gem was unknown as such until it came into the possession of the Runner, another Elder of the Universe. He received the gem after Galactus' battle with the In-Betweener, and kept it until Thanos took it away from him, wielding the Time Gem.
After the Infinity Gauntlet affair, the Space Gem went to Pip the Troll, who alternately stored it between his toes, and down his pants. He kept it for quite some time, until he lost it to the extraplanar vampire known as Rune, who used it against his own universe.
When this ultimately failed, the Space Gem found its way into the hands of the Illuminati, who used it in an attempt to prevent our timeline from colliding with another. They were successful, though the Space Gem was seemingly shattered in the process.
The Infinity Gems cannot be destroyed, though, and the Space Gem ultimately returned to the universe at large, albeit in a blue hue. Capable of manipulating space in manners small and grand, the following abilities have been documented by wielders of the Space Gem:
Bilocaton (i): simulating the ubiquity provided by omnipresence, the Space Gem allows its wielder to effectively appear in more than one location at once. They can occupy two different points in the universe simultaneously, doing so with power intensity range.
Deflection (i): by wrapping him/her/itself in a constantly shifting space warp, the wielder of the Space Gem can generate an effective defense against assault. Incoming attacks, redirected by these bends in space, suffer a -4 to hit the gems' possessor.
Dimensional Transit (i): the Space Gem allows one to traverse the myriad planes of existence. This is easy for familiar dimensions, average for realms one has visited from six to ten times, challenging for realms one has seen from one to five times, and daunting for unknown realities.
Propulsion (a): rather than teleporting, the wielder of the Space Gem may, if they so desire, simply boost the speed of an existing form of travel. He or she can boost the speed of said form of travel up to this power's intensity, or increase the original by +1, whichever is higher.
Space Control (i): by manipulating the very fabric of space, wielders of the Space Gem may expand, contract, and curve the universe around them as they see fit. This can be used to speed, slow, or change the direction that others travel at, and a whole lot more.
Teleportation (i): one of the most obvious aspects of the Space Gem is the ability to teleport. It can do so with power intensity range, unless the gem is working willingly with its owner. In this case, its range is limited only by the imagination of its wielder.
Teleport Others (i): similarly, the wielder of the Space Gem may teleport others, in addition to themselves. The range constraints of this power are the same as teleportation's, and the holder of the Space Gem may teleport an amount of mass equal to an equivalent Strength score.
The Time Gem
The Gardener was the first known being to wield the red Time Gem. He held it for several thousand years, until a chance encounter with the Stranger prompted him to discard the device. Apparently, wielding the Time Gem in battle made him feel all dirty inside.
The gem wandered into unknown hands for a time, until all six were recovered by the Elders of the Universe, in an effort to kill Galactus. This failed, as did a subsequent attempt by the In-Betweener, after which the Time Gem, now orange, returned to the Gardener's hands.
In time, Thanos arrived to take it away from him. Thanos used the gem on the Gardener, killing him with the microscopic plant life within his own body. After the Infinity Gauntlet incident, the Time Gem passed to Gamora, who has slowly learned how to use its many powers.
She retained the Time Gem for quite some time, until she lost it to the extraplanar vampire known as Rune, who intended to wield the Infinity Gems against his own universe. When this ultimately failed, the Time Gem found its way into the hands of the Illuminati.
Though hesitant to wield its power, they nonetheless used it and the other Infinity Gems in an attempt to prevent our timeline from colliding with another. This effort was successful, though the Time Gem was lost in the process, set adrift through the timestream.
The Time Gem eventually found its way back to its proper space-time coordinates, albeit in a green hue. Wielding absolute power over the dimensions of time, the following abilities have been documented by, and are theorized to be available to, wielders of the Time Gem:
Age Control / Self and Others (s): the gem can be used to alter the age of either its wielder or another being, adjusting it forwards or backwards by a number of years equal to this power's intensity times four. However, beings cannot have their age altered to a number less than zero.
Dimensional Transit (i): the gem can be used to travel sideways through time, crossing the infinite stream of variant timelines. Characters can find truly parallel worlds with easy difficulty, slightly different timelines with average difficulty, and vastly different worlds with challenging difficulty.
Longevity / Agelessness (s): by focusing the gem upon themselves, the wielder of the Time Gem can acquire power intensity longevity. This power will enhance the character's eventual lifespan to a degree determined by the following formula:
(normal lifespan (70) minus age longevity acquired) times power intensity cubed = eventual lifespan
Stasis (s): the gem can halt biological functions completely, by placing a target in a null-time bubble, a bubble that will last until the target is released. If unwilling, one must pass an easy difficulty Stasis (strength) action against the target of this power.
Temporal Windows (i): the gem can be used to peer into other times and/or timelines. No temporal period is immune to this viewing, nor are any divergent or variant timelines. The trick is finding something specific to look for (success determined with an easy difficulty action).
Time Travel (i): the gem can traverse time easily, moving forwards or backwards in time with power intensity skill. If the gem is working willingly with its owner, there are no range limits, and card play is unnecessary for time travel actions.
The Infinity Gauntlet
When brought together, the Infinity Gems can be used in concert, allowing their wielder power over all. However, the wielder of the gems must know he or she is capable of doing so, otherwise the gems will merely work independently of one another.
For instance, the first time Thanos collected all the Infinity Gems, he simply used them as a source of raw power. The same occurred when he who is known as the In-Betweener nabbed all six gems, as he, too, was unaware of the gems' true nature.
However, after Thanos figured out the gems' dark secret, he became truly dangerous, as he had the fate of the universe in his hands. Of course, since the Infinity Gauntlet/War/Crusade debacle, many folks know of the gem's true power, and can now attempt to use them in concert.
That is, of course, unless you consider the edict of the Living Tribunal, who declared the Infinity Gems may never again be used as one. This subsequently has been ignored, and the Tribunal died anyway, so the completed Infinity Gauntlet is presented below.
Complete Infinity Gauntlet
When combined, the six Infinity Gems hold sway over all, as they can be used to do anything. If the holder of the Infinity Gauntlet does not understand its true nature, he or she can operate the gems as if they were using them by themselves, as is described above.
If the character knows the truth about the gems, he or she may use them as one. The first time a character does so, their use of the Gauntlet should be limited to their Intellect or Willpower score, whichever is higher. This represents the character's limited understanding of infinity.
As he or she practices using the Gauntlet, its intensity will steadily increase until the wielder can do anything and everything they desire. By passing a challenging Intellect action, the character can gain a greater understanding of the Gauntlet, and raise their effective power by +1.
This process will continue until the character exceeds intensity 30 in the use of the Infinity Gauntlet. At this point, he or she is omniscient and omnipotent, and is (in effect) undefeatable. Only blatant stupidity on the part of the Gauntlet wielder can make them lose it.
Incomplete Infinity Gauntlet
If someone doesn't have all six Infinity Gems, he or she can still use them in concert - if they know that they can, of course. For each additional gem a body holds, the effective intensity of usage with each gem's effects is increased by +1 for that person.
Furthermore, the effects of each gem can overlap. A body can use this to their advantage, combining the influence of the gems to control more of existence than before. The possibilities are near endless, but not as great as those available to one who has all six gems.
On An Unrelated Note
The original version of this work has been blatantly lifted without attibution by (at a minimum) Ben Riely's Marvel RPG Page, Classic Marvel Forever, and Marvel Super Heroes: The Unofficial Canon Project (for their Power Up Addendum). I guess those people really liked it.
However, my revised variation on this work, as far as can be ascertained, is only resident here, at Technohol 13. So you can make use of the original, twenty year old text all you like, or you can enjoy the modernized, streamlined version that I've made available just for you.
Your choice! But remember, kids: stealing is bad.
If you're not seeing this content within the technohol.com domain, it's been stolen by someone who doesn't respect others' work.