Changing Powers in a Variable Power Pool
Characters with VPPs based on a skill roll require 1 hour to change 10 actual VPP points. What this means is that if you start with a character with a gadget points pool and no gadgets built, it would take 1 hour (in game time) to build a 10 point gadget (actual points, including limitations or advantages, not taking into account the active points); if the character was building a 5 point gadget it would take 30 minutes; if the character was building a 40 point gadget it would take 4 hours. To modify a pool so that it still uses the same power but functions somewhat differently (same power with an area effect instead of single target, same power but boosting its strength) requires, without a skill roll, HALF the aforementioned rate, 1 hour per 20 points (3 minutes for 1 point).
If in the middle of combat a character wanted to make modifications (for example, give an existing gadget an area effect), it requires a skill roll - those modifications could not be done without that skill except at the aforementioned rate. If one has an appropriate skill one can modify the pool during combat in a SINGLE PHASE, assuming the character does NOTHING ELSE during that phase (although he may leave force fields or other protection up, even if they consume endurance) and operates at HALF DCV and may not take a recovery. However, the skill roll has to be made. Furthermore, for each 5 actual points modified in a single phase, -1 is applied to the skill roll. Thus, modifications can be spread throughout the character's phases however he wishes; if less than 3 actual points are modified in a phase, there is no penalty. The penalty is averaged, so if a character changes, on average, 5 actual points per phase he worked on modifying a pool, his penalty is -1; if a character changes 10 actual points per phase, his penalty is -2. FURTHERMORE, these penalties apply in the scenario of changing the functionality of a pool power slightly; if the functionality is changed greatly, so that it performs a whole different power or effect, then the penalty is DOUBLED. In that case, the only "no penalty" situation would be 1 actual point changed per phase; otherwise, 5 actual points changed equals a -2 penalty, 10 actual points is a -4, etc..
This is fairly complicated but a couple examples should demonstrate: a character called Gadget Man wants to change his Energy Blast so that it becomes, using the same basic lazer power, a Killing Attack. While this is technically a different power the GM rules that it is a minor change because all he is doing is changing the intensity. The Energy Blast cost the character 15 points. He decides to make the change across three of his phases; in all three phases he does nothing but tinker with the gadget. The average change is 5 actual points modified per phase (15 actual points divided by 3 phases). That is a -1 to his gadgeteering roll. Later, in another combat, he decides to change his Killing Attack to something that turns him Desolid. This is entirely a different power and effect, the GM decides (as the player imagined). The player does it all in one phase! Thus, he changes 15 actual points in one phase. That is -3 (-1 per 5 actual points changed in a phase) and it is DOUBLED as it is a whole different power, so it is a -6 to his gadgeteering roll.
Making the skill roll is not enough - nor is it even a bad thing necessarily to miss the roll if one is desperate enough. It is more important how the roll is made. The player makes the skill roll himself. Then that number is compared to the number he needed to make. How close the number comes determine how likely the power is to malfunction. If the roll is made exactly, there is a 50% chance the power will malfunction somehow (see below). For every 1 below the roll required, that 50% chance is reduced 10%; for every 1 above the roll required, that 50% chance is increased 10%. Thus, for example, if the player needed 11 or less and rolls 17, it will certainly malfunction (110% chance). However, if the player needing 11 or less rolled a 7, there would only be a 10% chance it would malfunction.
The nature of the malfunction is determined randomly by the GM, secretly, according to the table below, using a 6 sided die. It's up to the player what he wants to do, knowing the percentage chance something might go wrong but not knowing what that might be.
|1||The percentage malfunction is the percentage any damage or effect of the power is reduced (e.g., if the percentage above was only 10%, then the Energy Blast of the power would be reduced 90%, or the Desolid of the power would be reduced to 90% of 8 BOD per phase to 7 BOD per phase)|
|2||100% minus the percentage malfunction is the percentage of time the power works (e.g., if the percentage above was only 10%, the power would work 90% of the time, either 90% of the time it's fired or 90% of the segments it's used|
|3||The percentage malfunction is the percentage of the time it misfires or goes in the wrong direction OR (up to GM) percentage off the aim of the power is (e.g., if the percentage above was only 10%, the GM might throw an attack off 10 degrees to the left or right)|
|4||The percentage malfunction is the percentage chance that the power has some sort of side effect; side effect is up to GM, but could be a Power Drain to some player whose powers are related to the power, for example)|
|5||The percentage malfunction is the percentage chance that the power backlashes on the character, either by blowing up in his hand or somehow else giving him a negative effect.|
|6||GM's discretion, again based on the percentage malfunction (e.g., 10% above should be a minor negative effect or only a 10% chance of something going wrong each use).|
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