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Super Abilities and BIO-E


My ultimate goal in this section- Create flexibility within each super power, allowing players to customize their characters, while balancing the relative value of each power in hopes of "enforcing" game balance. Essentially, I want to assign a cost to every power and sub-power and allow players to add to or take away from their power selections. BIO-E is the most applicable Palladium quantity for this purpose, already having been used for similar purposes in Transdimensional TMNT and After The Bomb, so it makes sense to build on the solid existing structure of those games. Eventually, I'd like to see every power contain a flexibility comparable to my revision of the APS: Metal power. One advantage to using BIO-E is that it's compatible with the Advantages, Disadvantages, Animal Powers, and especially Size Levels used in After the Bomb.

The First Step

Weighting the relative worth of many of the existing Super Abilities is difficult, but some are reasonably straightforward. The fairest solution I can come up with is to assign BIO-E costs in terms of the game stats these powers provide. For example, the 1D6x10 + 2 Electrical Ray of Alter Physical Structure: Electricity should be worth more BIO-E than the 3D6 + 1D6 power Energy Expulsion: Electricity. In addition, APS: Electricity provides several sub-abilities including an immunity to electrical attacks and an SDC bonus. All of these points should factor in to the total cost of power selection....

Keep in mind that these calculations are being provided now for the sake of argument, as well as to provide a framework for cutting up existing powers and creating new ones. In an end product this would all be "behind the scenes," replaced by a BIO-E cost listed next to each ability and sub-ability.

Specific Notes....

Allowing for powers that grow with experience level, all of these calculations should be made using the average ability of that power between 1st and 6th levels. For example, if a given power were to provide a bonus of +4 to dodge at first level, + 2 per additional level, the value used to calculate the power's worth would be a dodge bonus of +9 (the average of +4 and +14). Round up or down when appropriate....

If it's necesary for calculating bonuses, one should assume that the character being given a power has attributes of 10 with five attacks per melee and 30 SDC.

Natural Armor Ratings gave me some trouble, so I decided to include them as part of the SDC bonus. Statistically speaking, a Natural AR is just another game stat that allows you to get hit more often without being killed. To incorporate powers that provide Natural AR, I calculate something called "Adjusted SDC." If the concept of Natural AR were done away with, Adjusted SDC would allow characters to endure roughly the same punishment. It's calculated as follows:

Adjusted SDC = 20 * SDC   / ( 20 - NatAR )

As an example, the adjusted SDC of a character with APS: Metal would be: 20 * 800 / 3 = 5333 SDC. This seems like a complication to the system, but figuring out another fair system incorporating Natural AR would be even more difficult.

The Formulae So Far:

For example: The BIO-E cost of Energy Expulsion: Fire is calculated by the ranged damage it does. The power can inflict a maximum of 18 points at first level and 48 points at sixth level (an average of 33), with a maximum range of 300 feet. This means the BIO-E cost will be 41 points. For comparison, Energy Expulsion: Electricity inflicts a maximum of 24 points at first level and 54 points at sixth level (average of 39) at a range of 400 feet, for a BIO-E cost of 48 points.


Some Examples:

Even with the set rules above, you have to make judgement calls on some powers. If you can't reproduce these numbers, I might have added or taken away a few points to account for some intangible factors. These amounts should provide a sense of scale for the powers with more specialized intent.

Minor Powers
Body Weapons: 29 BIO-E
Energy Expulsion: Energy: 44 BIO-E
Energy Expulsion: Electricity: 48 BIO-E
Energy Expulsion: Fire: 41 BIO-E
Energy Expulsion: Light: 44 BIO-E
Energy Resistance: 40 BIO-E
Extraordinary Mental Affinity: 11 BIO-E
Extraordinary Mental Endurance: 20 BIO-E
Extraordinary Physical Strength: 36 BIO-E
Extraordinary Physical Prowess: 39 BIO-E
Extraordinary Physical Endurance: 25 BIO-E
Extraordinary Physical Beauty: 10 BIO-E
Extraordinary Speed: 91 BIO-E
Flight: Glide: 31 BIO-E
Flight: Winged: 91 BIO-E
Flight: Wingless: 95 BIO-E
Healing Factor: 36 BIO-E
Heightened Sense of Hearing: 9 BIO-E
Impervious to Fire and Heat: 20 BIO-E
Multiple Limbs: Arms: 30 BIO-E
Multiple Limbs: Tentacles: 17 BIO-E
Multiple Limbs: Legs: 38 BIO-E
Nightstalking: 31 BIO-E
Power Channeling: 27 BIO-E
Superhuman Strength: 54 BIO-E
Major Powers
Alter Physical Structure: Electricity: 162 BIO-E
Alter Physical Structure: Fire (w/ flight): 107 BIO-E
Alter Physical Structure: Fire (w/o flight): 77 BIO-E
Alter Physical Structure: Ice: 98 BIO-E
Alter Physical Structure: Liquid: 107 BIO-E
Alter Physical Structure: Metal: 157 BIO-E
Alter Physical Structure: Plant: 66 BIO-E
Alter Physical Structure: Plasma: 164 BIO-E
Alter Physical Structure: Stone: 121 BIO-E
Animal Abilities: Bear: 62 BIO-E
Animal Abilities: Bird: 61 BIO-E
Animal Abilities: Canine: 53 BIO-E
Bio-Armor: 67 BIO-E
Create Force Field: 95 BIO-E
Energy Absorption: 101 BIO-E
Force Aura: 54 BIO-E
Growth: 74 BIO-E
Invulnerability: 145 BIO-E
Natural Combat Ability: 103 BIO-E
Sonic Power: 70 BIO-E
Sonic Flight: 170 BIO-E
Sonic Speed: 125 BIO-E
Spin at High Velocity: 108 BIO-E
Super-Energy Expulsion: 90 BIO-E
Supernatural Strength: 162 BIO-E
Tentacles: 101 BIO-E
Vibration: 104 BIO-E

How Do We Use It?

To make things simple, each character would start with some amount of BIO-E. Looking at the costs of the powers above, a value like 5D6x10 seems appropriate. It leaves room for street level characters that can't afford powers like Sonic Flight, but also allows for characters with Invulnerability and Supernatural Strength at the top of the food chain. Campaigns can be given power levels by fixing the amount of BIO-E players can spend.... Leftover points can be spent on cheap, relatively unpowerful selections like Extraordinary MA or PB, two powers that should be pretty common among superheroes but aren't often worth a full selection in an RPG.


Taking Away

Using the same formulae that determined the BIO-E cost for a power, we can obtain relative changes for those costs if we drop specific sub-abilities. If we take the Minor Power Superhuman Strength and remove the attribute bonuses, leaving only the increased Strength Class, the power will cost only 20 BIO-E. On the other hand, if we remove the increase in Strength Class and leave only the attribute increases the power costs only 34 BIO-E. If the player wants to downgrade the Strength Class to Extraordinary the power costs only 44 BIO-E.

As a more complicated example, the flight speed given by APS: Plasma (averaged between first and sixth levels) gives a flight attribute of 190.7 for a BIO-E cost of 41.4 points. If we reduce that flight speed to the character's normal speed attribute, assumed to be 10, the flight sub-ability should only cost 9.5 BIO-E. This is a difference of about 32 BIO-E, which means the new version of APS: Plasma should cost 132 BIO-E instead of 164 BIO-E. Making another sacrifice with the power could lower its cost even further; lowering the base damage of the Plasma Bolt from 1D6x10 to 1D4x10 will save the player 20 BIO-E.