Power Sets: Super-Genius

Not every superhero can stop a locomotive in its tracks or hurl bolts of energy. Some heroes are endowed with incredible mental prowess, being able to think on levels no normal human could comprehend. These super-geniuses can make formidable adventurers when they can properly apply their gifts.

Smartest Alive

Obviously, the place to start for genius is the Mind stat. Increasing Mind to superhuman levels grants photographic memory and the ability to solve problems faster than a super-computer. But what does that mean in play?

First, the GM should probably not rush the player when making decisions. A super-genius thinks with lightning speed and can consider every outcome in the split second it takes to act.

Second, a super-genius is an expert in every field. When coming up with mere facts, the GM should let you roll for any skill, even if you don’t have dice in it. This won’t let you shoot a gun, but you should be able to identify one if knowledge of it is publicly available.

A more powerful way of modeling omni-competence is with a Variable Effect power that mimics the effects of any skill. You simply know how to do everything. Try this.

Omni-Competence (15 points per die)

Attacks (+2), Endless (+3), If/Then (Only for Variable Effect) (-1), If/Then (Only to mimic mundane skills) (-1), Variable Effect (+4), Willpower Cost (-2)

Defends (+2), Endless (+3), If/Then (Only for Variable Effect) (-1), If/Then (Only to mimic mundane skills) (-1), Variable Effect (+4), Willpower Cost (-2)

Useful (+2), Endless (+3), If/Then (Only for Variable Effect) (-1), If/Then (Only to mimic mundane skills) (-1), Variable Effect (+4), Willpower Cost (-2)

With a successful activation, you can assign dice from Omni-Competence to any skill. Activating this power costs 1 Willpower per normal die, 2 per Hard Die, and 4 per Wiggle Die.

For more ideas on what is possible with superhuman levels of Mind, see Progenitor by Greg Stolze.

Ten Steps Ahead

With such vastly accelerated thoughts, a super-genius is probably coming up with contingency plans all the time. In any given situation, he will have some strategy to increase his own or his allies’ chance of success. Consider the following power to model this.

Master Plan (9 per die)

Attacks (+2), Augments (+4), Exhausted (-3), If/Then (Only for Augment) (-1), Power Capacity (Range) (+2), Willpower Bid (-1)

Defends (+2), Augments (+4), Exhausted (-3), If/Then (Only for Augment) (-1), Power Capacity (Range) (+2), Willpower Bid (-1)

Useful (+2), Augments (+4), Exhausted (-3), If/Then (Only for Augment) (-1), Power Capacity (Range) (+2), Willpower Bid (-1)

Once per scene, you can add your dice in Master Plan to a single roll made by you or an ally within range. If the roll fails, you are slightly demoralized and lose 1 Willpower.

The Right Tools for the Job

In the comics, many super-geniuses are also super-inventors. Some focus this into creating specialized weapons and armor, or power suits, but that is a topic for another article.

Instead, let’s talk about the genius who builds a lot of little tools. He always has the right gadget for the situation, tucked away in a pocket or on a tool belt. The following power lets you have this kind of versatility.

Utility Belt (9 per die)

Attacks (+2), Depleted (-1), Duration (+2), Focus (-1), If/Then (Only for Variable Effect) (-1), If/Then (Only for small equipment) (-1), If/Then (Qualities share recharges) (-1), Variable Effect (+4)

Defends (+2), Depleted (-1), Duration (+2), Focus (-1), If/Then (Only for Variable Effect) (-1), If/Then (Only for small equipment) (-1), If/Then (Qualities share recharges) (-1), Variable Effect (+4)

Useful (+2), Depleted (-1), Duration (+2), Focus (-1), If/Then (Only for Variable Effect) (-1), If/Then (Only for small equipment) (-1), If/Then (Qualities share recharges) (-1), Variable Effect (+4)

You possess a tool belt with many small compartments which you have filled with useful gadgets. Somehow, you always have just the right tool for the job. You can pull out such an item by assigning dice from your Utility Belt power, but you only carry a total number of items equal to the number of dice in the Utility Belt power squared. Thus, if you have Utility Belt 2d+2HD+1WD, your Belt contains 25 gadgets.

You define the effect of each gadget as you draw it using the normal rules for Variable Effect, although each device must have the Focus flaw, and many will have the One Use flaw, representing disposable tools. Of course, you can always pull out a new smoke bomb, taser dart, or whatever by activating Utility Belt again.

Once you have depleted your Belt’s stored items, you must restock at your base. This requires extensive work fashioning new gadgets and should be handled during downtime.

Sample Character

Super-Genius (400 points)

Archetype (5 points)

Source: Driven

Permission: Power Theme

Stats (108 points)

Body 2d, Coordination 2d, Sense 2d, Mind 4d (8d), Charm 2d, Command 3d

Base Will 16

Skills (64 points)

Dodge 3d, Stability 2d, 27 dice in other skills

Powers (223 points)

Hypermind 4d (16 points)

Master Plan 6d+1WD (90 points)

Utility Belt 5d+2WD (117 points)

Ideas for Utility Belt gadgets include:

  • Force Shield 3d+1WD: As the Block miracle with Defends +1 and Focus. Costs 0 Willpower.
  • Grappling Gun 2d+1WD: As the Unconventional Move miracle with an extra Defends quality, both with Booster and Focus. Can move 100 yards per turn. Requires two actions to activate (one for each quality), but costs 0 Willpower.
  • Shock Grenade 2d+1WD: Attacks quality with Daze, Electrocuting, Non-Physical, Radius, Focus, Limited Damage (Shock), and One Use. Can be thrown 30 yards. Costs 0 Willpower.
  • Tracker 4d+1WD: Useful quality with Booster 2, Duration, Subtle, Focus, and One Use. Can track the target up to 6.8 miles. Costs 0 Willpower.

 

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.