View Full Version : Savage Worlds Superhero Game power balancing critique wanted.

2010-12-06, 12:33 AM
Recently one of my players was given the DM reins so I could rest from running, and all of us could rest from D&D. A supers game won out, savage worlds is the system, and everyone picked out character concepts. I went last as is my habit. Super sorcerer. Super sorcerer. Blaster guy. Brick.

Played a game with a mentalist character that didn't really click, and the game master is throwing so many magic types around I was beginning to wonder if I was playing D&D still (to a degree). Most of the characters in this not too serious game are already knock-offs. One of the super sorcerers is - well - think Sauron wakes up after 10,000 years with all his power virtually gone. Another is as close to Supes as the rules allow for. Given the environment I figured a knock off of Shandril Shessair would be fun - problem is the power is spellfire.

Or a variant. Those familiar with the books know the girl can essentially drop line of sight nukes. Munchkin is an understatement.

Also I tend to start from a knock off and then pull in other details until I have something quite a bit different from the original. In the end the power also gets renamed to soulfire - because it doesn't just interact with spells - it interacts with damn near anything supernatural. And not in a safe way for the attacker.

I'm currently rebalancing this some. The character, Rose, has hit seasoned and has 30 power points. I'll concentrate on that because outside a d12 for spirit her stats are average, and many of them are in areas not that useful to her as a super (She has Knowledge - Music and Perform - Cello maxed out)

So first, without creating any new powers this is the closest analogue I could come up with:

Immunity - Nearly Complete Coverage (16) - weakness natural kinetic energy (bullets, blades, beatdown et al)
Healing + Rejuvenation (5)
Ranged Attack (3)
Flight (2)
Explosion (2)
Damage Field (3)

Yes, this is 1 point over, but its a starting point against which to compare a custom power.

First, although immunity is the closest analogue, it's overkill. Rose is not immune to anything not supernatural in origin. A super can hit her with electricity and it won't be likely to affect her, but a jolt from a tazer will send her down. Further even with the write up above the weakness is far broader then usual - while there are supers who are over dependent on ranged abilities who might not think to just beat the snot out of the poor girl, she doesn't have many options against a super strong character or a super marksman. That said, her immunity does extend to blocking mental powers and abilities that immune characters aren't always immune to.

Second, and this is the tricky part - she is not so much immune as absorbing energy. Not in the same sense as a character with the absorption power - whatever she doesn't absorb is broken up and dissipates. The absorbed energy fuels all other powers, so once she is out of stolen energy she has no super powers.

Aside - This is part of her background. She was 20 before anyone knew she was a super because for her power to do anything she has to be attacked with a super power.

Anyway the tricky balancing part is this - all her other powers feed off the stolen energy. She "flies" by blasting herself off the ground. Her ranged attack is a redirect of the stolen energy except transformed into 'soulfire' - the fundamental energy that makes supernatural powers and effects possible. And like Shandril, every super sorcerer in the setting wants her for a lab rat because of this ability and what secrets of magic might be revealed by studying her.

If she absorbs more energy than a set threshhold it begins to leach out and burn those around her (damage field) - she cannot deliberately activate this power. Eventually if she absorbs enough energy it escapes in a catastrophic explosion. Depending on the magnitude of the energy released she can be shaken to outright killed.

In some ways the closest existing writeup is the force power since, like force, soul fire has a lot of sub-applications. I decided on it being a leveled power with a high up front cost to block cherry-picking.

Again, this is a draft.

Soulfire (5 + 3 / level )
Supernatural energies of any type which strike the character are absorbed and can later be redirected out as soulfire, the primal energy of sentient creatures.

Whenever the character is targeted by or in the area of any supernatural power they make a spirit roll + soulfire level. If successful and the power is less than the soulfire level of the wielder + successes and raises the power is absorbed completely and has no other effect but to boost the charge level of the soulfire character. If the power is greater than the soulfire level of the character + successes and raises but at least 1 success was rolled the power has no effect on the character but isn't absorbed and can damage other targets. If the power is greater than twice the soulfire level and twice the successes and raises rolled it can affect the character normally against her will.

A soulfire wielder may forgo absorption and be affected normally by a super power. Conversely a super sorcerer can forgo trying to overpower the soulfire weilder and force charge them if they know the nature of her ability - why they'd want to do this is made clear below.

A character can absorb a number of levels equal to soulfire level + spirit safely. Above that threshold the character becomes enflamed, projecting a damage field (as per power) and burns off a point of charge each round. If the character is charged beyond twice normal limit she is shaken and must make a spirit roll each round or explode. For every 4 points beyond this upper limit there is a -1 penalty to the roll. The explosion does 1 damage per 4 points released in this manner. When rolling to soak wounds from this damage the character adds their soulfire level to the roll.

The character can burn off the charge by projecting a ranged attack. Each attack deals 1d6 damage / point spent in the attack, up to the limit of the soulfire level. The attack can be made nonlethal for a charge point, knockback for 2 points, or divided among multiple targets for 1 point.


Deflection(2) The character can use the energy to deflect projectiles. This costs 1 charge point per -1 penalty, to a maximum of the character's soulfire level (at -5 at 5th level). The weilder must be aware of the attack to deflect it, and the deflection effect must be paid for 1 / minute.

Disjunction(2) The character can pull energy out of magical items, deactivating them. The amount pulled / round is equal to soulfire level. The item is destroyed if more than 3x it's power rating is drained off this way.

Flight(4) The character can use the jets of soulfire to fly. At a cost of 1 charge point per 10 minutes the flight is equal to 1/2 soulfire level. Or the character can burn off the energy more quickly to fly at her soulfire level at a cost of 1 charge point a minute.

Healing(2) The character can use the energy to heal. It costs 2 charge points to remove a wound from themselves and 4 charge points to heal another. Only one wound / round may be removed.

That's it. I'm not entirely happy with it. In play the largest problem is coming up with a way to counter allied characters charging her since there's no drawback as of yet to doing so (there needs to be). Aside from that, the power trends towards specialization - it eats up a lot of power points and shoves other powers out. In previous write ups the character using this is has been a bit of a glass cannon - she can do a lot of damage in a hurry, but she doesn't have much staying power and very little defense to speak of against normal attacks - though flying away or teleporting away (using a gift from an allied PC) is usually an option.

The character I'm quite pleased with though - but that's for another thread sometime I suppose. Still would like additional input on balancing this out.