Power Sets: Speedster

Superheroes whose powers are those of speed are staples of comic book universes, going all the way back to the Flash in 1940. In this article, I’ll look at Wild Talents power builds that let you make your own speedster character, and then I’ll present a sample character at the end.

Acting Quickly

Fast reaction time can be a product of the speedster’s accelerated reflexes or his perception making the world seem to move “in slow motion.” Either way, it is a staple of the speedster power set.

The Go First extra was designed to make your actions resolve faster. You could add this Extra to any powers you take, but many speedsters should be able to speed up just about any action they perform. The following power does just this by adding the Go First extra to any other dice pool.

Lightning Reflexes (24 pts per die)

Attack (+2), Augment (+4), Go First 4 (+4), If/Then (only for Augment) (-1), If/Then (only to add Extras) (-1)

Defend (+2), Augment (+4), Go First 4 (+4), If/Then (only for Augment) (-1), If/Then (only to add Extras) (-1)

Useful (+2), Augment (+4), Go First 4 (+4), If/Then (only for Augment) (-1), If/Then (only to add Extras) (-1)

When you use this power, you can increase the speed of any action. Use the smaller of your normal dice pool or your Lightning Reflexes power. If you get a set, it resolves as if its width was 4 points greater for the purpose of initiative only.

The other element of acting quickly is being able to size up your environment. This comes down to the Sense stat, which can be improved as a Hyperstat. It may be a good idea generally to buy Hypersense with the flaw If/Then (only to determine declaration order), so that your speedster can see what everyone else declares in combat before deciding what he wants to do.

Doing Two Things at Once

Speedsters are so fast they can do a lot in the amount of time it takes normal people do just one thing. Wild Talents has this one covered pretty well with the Multiple Actions power. It is also worth considering adding Spray to powers, especially Attack powers, to make multiple actions easier without having to use the bonus dice from the full blown Multiple Actions power.

Moving Very Fast

Beyond reaction time and coordination, the thing that makes a speedster a speedster is (guess) speed. These heroes are classically ground-bound, so the thing to look at here is running.

Start by giving your character dice in Hyperrunning, then add levels of Booster until you reach the maximum speed you want. (Note that your base sprint speed comes from your Body, not your Running skill.) If your speedster has a lot of Willpower to throw around, you may consider replacing some of these Booster levels with No Upward Limit.

Other Tricks

Speedsters can produce other effects using their incredible speed, but most of them will be Useful powers of various stripes. Ideas include:

  • The ability to run on water or up vertical surfaces, or to tunnel through the earth by spinning in place (each a different Unconventional Move).
  • The ability to dodge attacks (Hyperdodge).
  • The ability to vibrate your molecules, allowing you to pass through normal matter (start with Insubstantiality, but remove the Attacks quality, for 4 points per die).
  • The ability to create gusts of wind by flapping your arms at great speed (a Useful quality with Range and Mass capacities, for 4 points per die).
  • The ability to create a damaging sonic boom while moving at great speed (an Attacks quality with Engulf, Radius, and Touch Only, Attached to your Hyperrunning, for 2 points per die).

Sample Character

Speedster (400 points)

Archetype (5 points)

Mutant

Stats (92 points)

Body 2d, Coordination 3d, Sense 4d, Mind 2d, Charm 3d, Command 2d

Base Will 9

Skills (36 points)

Brawling 3d, Stability 2d, 13 additional dice in skills

Powers (267 points)

Hyperdodge 6d (6 points)

Hyperrunning 4d+1WD (48 points)

Hyperskill, Booster 5

Hypersense 5d (15 points)

Hyperstat, If/Then (only to determine declaration order)

Lightning Reflexes 7d (168 points)

Multiple Actions 5HD (20 points)

Sonic Boom 7d (10 points)

Attacks, Attached to Hyperrunning, Engulf, Radius, Touch Only

This speedster can run at 1,000,000 mph. That’s fast enough to go from New York City to Los Angeles in about 10 seconds. He can’t run on water or up walls, or do many other speedster stunts. He reacts quickly and can perform many actions, and he can generate a sonic boom when he runs.

 

About Paul Stefko

Paul Stefko is a game designer living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He has done freelance work for Steve Jackson Games and is currently developing his own science fiction RPG, Full Moon, using funding from Kickstarter.