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Powers

Transformative Powers

Here we continue our discussion of “Powers” in Hack100 – Specialities that are extraordinary or supernatural in some way – with a look at effects that temporarily transform a character. Some examples would be shapeshifting, lycanthropy or berserking. Such abilities may or may not be within the full control of a character.

As with our look at the use of spell casting in the previous blog, we’ll consider some illustrative examples.

Shapeshifting

The character can transform voluntarily into another creature, often an animal such as a bear, a wolf, or an eagle. In doing so, they retain their intellectual capacity and awareness but swap their physical capabilities for those of the creature. As a result, some of their Abilities undergo a temporary adjustment. For example …

Bear:

  • Strength increases by 20%.
  • Toughness increases by 20%. Health increases accordingly (although any existing Damage is retained – the transformation shouldn’t heal in any way).
  • Influence through non-verbal communication only.
  • Hand-to-Hand becomes a claw or bite attack with a +5 Damage Modifier.
  • No Ranged attack.
  • No armour.

Wolf:

  • A heightened sense of smell – Perception increases by 20%.
  • Stealth increases by 20%.
  • Influence through non-verbal communication only.
  • Movement speed increases to 15 metres per round.
  • Hand-to-Hand becomes a bite attack with a +3 Damage Modifier.
  • No Ranged attack.
  • No armour.

It is suggested that the Task Roll to perform the shapeshift should be of Normal Difficulty and that the transformation should last a maximum of 1 hour and cost 8 Health (upon reverting to the character’s normal form). No further attempt to shapeshift may be made that day. Of course, the Referee is free to adjust these parameters as befitting their game world.

Lycanthropy would work similarly, except it would be beyond the control of the character. The transformation at each full moon would be unavoidable.

Berserking

“Berserking” (as I’ve termed it here) works similarly to shapeshifting except that the transformation may not be in the full control of the character. Literary examples include the “warp spasms” of 2000 AD’s Sláine and Logen Ninefingers’ transformation into The Bloody-Nine in the novels of Joe Abercrombie. The Incredible Hulk would be a non-fantasy example.

Usually, the transformation is triggered in some way – perhaps by the character becoming injured or angry. The effect is usually to increase the character’s physical characteristics, often quite dramatically:

  • Strength increases by 20%.
  • Toughness increases by 40%. Health increases accordingly (although, again, any existing Damage is retained).
  • Strength Bonus is added to Hand-to-Hand Damage.

The Referee should decide how easy or difficult it is for the berserking state to be triggered and recovered from. For example, it might be triggered by a failed Willpower roll upon receiving Damage for the first time in any given combat. Similarly, a successful Will Power roll may be needed to stop berserking – this may be attempted once per round. A berserking character will start to attack their own side once all the enemies in a fight have been dealt with!

The Health cost of Berserking is 10% of a Character’s total Health per round of combat. The usual rules regarding zero and negative Health apply.

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