Super Power Control Mechanic

Yesterday, I played a game of Wushu Reloaded in a supers setting that I’m going to be launching with a few friends of mine. It’s intended to play with the Mutants and Masterminds system, but I’m going to be cutting in with odd games like this one to test out new mechanics for my next project.

While reading through Wushu Reloaded, I instantly fell in love with the control dice mechanic. While it seems to have been contrived for playing monsters who can lose control (werewolves and vampires are listed as examples), I saw it as a great mechanic for dealing with super powers and their effects on the setting.

Instead of a control pool, we called ours a power pool. It comprised of 5 dice (the current power level in M&M divided by 2). In addition to that, players listed their super powers on their sheet and gave it a rating. This rating was not to be rolled in the traditional Wushu sense (for action), but rather it was used after the roll to see how well you maintained control over the effects of your powers.

In play, Colossus (that’s the model for the big tank, although he hasn’t settled on a unique name, yet) went to roll his Aggressive Martial Arts trait (listed at 5). He places details, gathers his dice, and then takes any number of dice from the power pool to add to his roll, representing how his powers are helping him. In this instance, Colossus was rolling to tackle someone. His super strength clearly helps.

So far, Colossus’s dice pool looks like this: 5 dice from details/3 dice from the power pool (leaving 2 left in the power pool – that’s important). He rolls his dice against Aggressive Martial Arts for the action to gauge who came out on top. Despite the results of that roll, he used his power in that action, so he has to make a power control roll.

For the control roll, Colossus has to roll what’s left in the power pool, not what he took. So, after taking 3 dice, there are 2 left. He rolls these against his power trait. If any of the dice roll under his control rating, he has a good control of his powers for this scene. If not, he lost control of his powers, creating a setback/consequence/twist in the narrative.

What losing control means is different for each hero. In this case, when he lost control of his powers during that tackle, Colossus hit his target so hard they flew through the window of a Chinese restaurant, but the fight ensued with the endangered population of the packed dim sum hour. If it were, say, Cyclops losing control, maybe his opponent got his visor off and he blew up a fuel tanker. If Superman loses control…we get the final scene of Man of Steel, with all its inglorious destruction.

I’m still working on my supers mechanics during my downtime from working on Jadepunk, but whatever it ends up being, this mechanic will certainly be a part of it. We enjoyed it thoroughly, both as a means of causing environmental destruction and as a self-regulatory system (players didn’t want to use too much power when civilians were around to avoid hurting anybody).

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