View Full Version : [d20 Modern + 3.X D&D] Magic Items as Superpowers

2009-10-21, 08:17 PM
Since I've been keeping my gaming mind fresh while away from gaming by dreaming up new ideas all the time, here's one I had for introducing super-hero rules to d20 modern in a very easy, quick, and (presumably) working and balanced way: Make magic items into superpowers.

Here's the basic idea: Take your favorite d20 system you want to introduce superpowers to. I'm assuming d20 Modern, but it could just as easily be something else, like Spycraft or whatever, as long as it's d20 and doesn't use D&D rules for wealth and magic items (and, well, spells and such aren't present, at least in the "standard" rules). Then, take those magic items that (1) can be carried and used by individuals and (2) are permanent items (I guess single-use or charged items could be worked into the system, but that sounds like too much trouble to me) and rename/re-fluff them as if they were superpowers instead. Belt of Giant Strength? Super-Strength. Helm of Telepathy? Just telepathic powers. Hammer of Thunderbolts? Thunder-Fist!

As for how people "acquire" those powers, assume that super-powered characters (PCs and whichever NPCs the DM decides are "super") receive their Wealth By Level, per D&D tables, as "power points" they can buy powers with. Each power is assumed to have a PP cost equal to the original item's GP cost. (If you're going with a mutant/"DNA power" theme, you can call them "Gene Points" and keep the same abbreviation as a bonus...)

Once you "buy" a power, you're assumed to function as if the appropriate item was permanently equipped. Of course, this leads to restrictions due to body slots, which should help balancing things. As for items that you hold and wield (weapons, crystal balls, etc)... I'm thinking of having two special "hand" slots where you equip those powers, which require the character's actual, physical hands to be free to use the powers. I'm still shaky on how would powers derived from magic weapons and armor work - maybe come up with some new "basic" armor and melee-attack powers, which can then receive enhancement bonuses and special abilities.

Of course, characters shouldn't be limited to magic items already in the books. Using the item creation rules to come up with new items, especially ones based on under-represented spells, is encouraged. If you want to have a Fireball power but there's no permanent Fireball item, just use the existing rules to come up with one, and pay the resulting price.

Oh, and it bears mentioning - I'd require characters to have a character level at least equal to the item's caster level (regardless of the item's price) before they can learn the equivalent power.

So, what do you think? Good idea, or am I way off my rocker? :smalltongue:

Edit: I think it's obvious, but before people complain: It's obvious that characters made with the above rules will be a lot more powerful than standard characters in the same system. That's the entire point of it - they're superheroes! They're not supposed to be measured against whatever "common" threats there are in their native setting, but against similarly super-powered NPCs and such (maybe even D&D monsters, re-fluffed to better fit the setting).