I forgot how many powers there were in this book…wow. I think we may have to split up the powers section into two posts as a result.
…Please don’t hurt me. >_>;
How Powers Work
As I noted before, powers in Blood and Vigilance are similar to skill points in d20 Modern core, working under the same point level and “class vs. cross-class” system…there are some differences, however. The primary one is the concept of “Power Stunts”. Power Stunts reflect specific aspects of the general uses of a power, and are indicative of the mastery a character has over said power. If you want to use other uses of the power, sure, but unless you have a Power Stunt it’ll cost you an action point to use it. Stretch your powers too far and you’ll be running out of action points and forced to rely on what powers you have left. In this way, Power Stunts are a limiter to just how much a character can do with what they have, which is essentially a nice way of saying “you can’t use your fog-summoning weather powers to make a thunderstorm at first level without cost, jackass”. Your typical character gets Power Stunts at every odd level (including 1st level, so that they have at least one power specialty to start out with); there are some exceptions, however, such as Mutant (as noted in the first part of this review) and Advanced Training (which gets them at even, rather than odd, levels). There are also some powers which are exempt from having Power Stunts or gain free power stunts (such as Superhuman Ability, because…well…an ability score bonus doesn’t need to drain your Power Stunt pool, does it?).
In addition to Power Stunts, powers differ from skills by having some spell/psionic-like concepts such as the duration power (from permanent powers and instantaneous “press button one and then you’re done” powers to durational abilities), activation time (similar), range (self-explanatory), and exclusivity. To explain that last one, powers marked “Exclusive” are essentially one-power wonders; you can gain one Power Stunt for one use of the power (as well as more generic “bonus to this” Power Stunts), but no more than that; you have to spend Power Points separately to buy ranks in other uses of an Exclusive Power. These are mostly relegated to powers that would be overpowered (hehe) otherwise. But enough blathering, let’s look at the powers that have been given to us!
The Big List-o’-Powers, Part 1
As would be expected, this power lets you drain someone’s ability score. As an Exclusive-listed power, you can only choose one ability score when you take ranks in this power; any other ability scores you want to drain will cost their own power points. You can spent Power Stunts to augment either the attack bonus of your drain or the number of rounds it takes to recover from your drain. There are also two feats to augment the power; Drain Transference lets you absorb the ability points you drain as a temporary boost rather than simply take them from your enemy without any personal benefit, while Durable Drain makes your ability drain work as per the Ability Damage special quality rather than simply a quick-fix drain.
You can temporarily augment one ability score as an ability surge with this Exclusive power. A rather boring ability on paper, but useful in-game and essential for the sake of completeness.
Another Exclusive power…wow, three of those in a row. Anyway, Absorption has four applications you can choose between when gaining ranks in it; you can reduce either energy ranged attacks, energy melee attacks, physical ranged attacks, or physical melee attacks. The Absorption Blast feat lets you take the damage you’ve taken and store it to blast back at your foes, which is always fun, and the Absorption Conversion lets you take melee damage from either Physical Melee Energy Melee Absorption and turn it into a temporary bonus to either Strength, Dexterity, or Constitution.
You know what animals are feeling. Doesn’t that make you feel special? But I kid, this is actually a rather neat power, letting you use Charisma-based skills on animals as well as people, and you can use the Henchmen feat to have animal, rather than human, minions in your employ.
This, on the other hand, is a boring power that’s pretty much here for the purpose of completeness. You gain a natural armor bonus to Defense equal based on your ranks in this skill. Wee. There’s also an accompanied feat, Thick Skinned, which lets you translate that natural armor bonus to Defense into Damage Reduction instead.
Yet another Exclusive-marked power with several types held within. You can choose to take ranks in either Energy Aura (your aura deals damage based on a certain energy type), Physical Aura (you spread an aura of venom, blades, thorns, anachronistically sharp water…whatever it is, it deals physical trauma), and Psychic Aura (you deal both psychic damage and Wisdom point damage to anyone trying to read or enter your mind while in your aura bubble). This power can be made permanent, although this has both benefits and drawbacks, most of which should be rather obvious.
You can turn into one size Medium or Small creature of the Animal type a certain number of times per day (dependent on the number of ranks you have in the skill). As an Exclusive power, you have to take additional ranks for each different animal you can transform into…poor Beast Boy must be crying at his Power Point expenditure. There is also a new feat associated with the power (which lets you choose a size Tiny or Large Animal as a form you can take), and a power-specific limitation you can take that grants you more Power Points in exchange for taking on the Intelligence and Wisdom scores of the creature you transform into as well, causing you to run the risk of not being able to turn back to your normal form. Ouch.
You can throw a ranged projectile based around the same three types of damage as the Aura power; unsurprisingly, this means that blast is also yet another Exclusive power. Blast has three feats to augment it: Arcblast (which is essentially the Cleave feat, but with Blast), Arcstorm (Great Cleave, but with Blast), and Multiblast (Multishot, but with Blast). Blast is an overall versatile power, and one of the most common powers in the genre as a whole.
You have…well…claws. They can either be retractable or non-retractable, and can also be made out of metal (gee, I wonder who that could be referencing). There’s a feat to let you bust up armor as well, which is always fun.
Okay, here we go, our first major general power with multiple Power Stunts. This power is divided up into the following stunts: Cold Snap (minor cold damage), Ice Ramp (you can “fly” on ramps of ice, albeit at a somewhat slow and clumsy pace), Ice Slick (self-explanatory), Resist Cold (also self-explanatory), Snow Armor (also also self-explanatory), and Wall of Ice (take a guess). There are feats to enhance your snow armor into hard ice armor and to increase your resistance to cold into Damage Reduction against cold attacks as well.
The stunts here are Land Grab (both a giant hand of earth you can summon and a bad pun), Pillar (create-a-platform at its finest!), Sand Blast (gritty damage-dealing attack), Tremor (the earthquake, not the movie), Tunneling (gain a burrow speed), and Wall of Earth (do I really need to say it?). Like Control Cold and the other Control powers, Control Earth is a rather nifty power and showcases the variability of the Power Point + Power Stunt combo.
Electrical Empathy lets you find out what’s wrong with machinery, Resist Electricity is like Resist Cold…only with electricity (it also comes with an similar resistance-to-DR feat)…Shock Therapy is your melee damage-dealer for this Control power, and Short Circuit lets you fry electronics.
You can create either weaponry or a wall out of a nondescript “energy”. Readers of Dungeons and Dragons will presumably recognize this “energy” as being made of the same Wordanium as “of Force” spells.
You can move flames with Fire Walk, render yourself undetectable to thermal sources with Heat Mask, fatigue or even exhaust someone with Heat Wave, heighten or dull a flame’s damage with either Intensity of Quench Fire, resist fire damage with Resist Fire (yep, it has the DR feat too), or create a smokescreen with Smoke Cloud. If you’re of the particularly nasty sort, you can take the feat Toxic Cloud to make your smokescreens thick and damaging. This one’s varied in a good way.
Control Gravity, on the other hand, is somewhat of a mixed bag. Two of its Power Stunts let you replicate other powers (Decrease Gravity lets you lift the de-gravved object as if you had superhuman strength, while Gravitic Flight lets you get a bit of slow, clumsy flight going), one makes sense given the context (Increase Gravity does the inverse of Decrease Gravity, imagine that), and one is just strange (Gravity Snare allows you to pin people to the ground…with SCIENCE!! Incidentally, Gravity Snare also doubles as the damage-dealer of this Control power when coupled with the power feat Gravity Crusher).
And here, we have what may be the greatest power ever (well, not really, but it’s a fun one). You can send word to allies and enemies alike with Insect Messenger, ride the winds (if you have the power to shrink as well) with Insect Steed, and either harass or damage your foes with Nettling Insects or Summon Insects. Huzzah!
Two stunts of light (Blinding Attack and its opposite, Resist Light), two stunts of darkness (the Hide-bonus Cloak of Shadows and the “as seen over in the Spells section” Darkness), four powers that are here for completeness.
Depending on your particular Power Stunt, you can either tear apart machinery, replicate flight by “riding magnetic waves” (wha?), create a barrier to metal objects coming at you, or replicate telekinesis…on metallic objects only. You can also take the feat Human Metal Detector for added magnetic fun, allowing you to sense metallic objects within a 60-foot radius. A fun and somewhat wacky power overall.
In addition to the expected “[Energy Here] Resistance” and a Black Canary-esque damage dealer, there is an aspect of this power to cloak yourself from prying ears and one that allows you to vibrate an object to bits.
Last but definitely not least, Control Weather finishes off the Control powers. With everything from fog production to lightning strikes and storm summoning to wind riding and wind blasts, Control Weather has a little something for the electrohead, the air super, or the general stormy character. It also has four feats for making your winds windier and your storms stormier.
Like Aura and Blast, but with a touch attack. Also Exclusive, also having three options of the same types as the aforementioned powers.
Your Spidey sense tingles and allows you to make Will saves to act normally in surprise rounds. Has a feat that adds a dodge bonus to Defense to the overall danger sense package. There is also a feat that supposedly adds a bonus to Reflex, but its effects are copy-pasted from the aforementioned dodge bonus feat…so…yeah.
Like Absorption, but with shield/opposing attack/however-you-wish-to-flavor-it deflection instead of shrugging it off. Has a feat to allow ricocheting an attack back at the enemy.
You become the epitome of the “literally a brick wall” Brick super, resisting attempts to knock you back or trip you up in addition to gaining Damage Reduction. It also increases your effective weight, so it’s best not used in delicate situations, as it were.
This power lets you become incorporeal, stick a part of your body into someone else and then rematerialize to cause them nasty damage, or levitate.
And to end this on an interesting note, we have this power. You can heal others, but at the cost of pain and suffering to yourself, which is a pretty neat (if unpleasant and relatively common) concept.
Coming up next time, even more powers in Part 3!