The Three Design Concepts for Powers Part III

This is the last part of the explanation of the Three Design Concepts for Powers (Portions I and II found at the other end of their links) Although this is focused on V&V House rules these are ideally underpinnings of nearly any game system.  Whether a Spell for Brown Book D&D to ‘Feats’ for the most recent incarnation of the plethora of modern systems available today and in the future.

The Mechanics are described last in part because they are marginally not as important as they may appear at first, in V&V they are intentionally mixed in with the description for flow and communication.  This is part of the balancing act between characters and the Gm: allowing for face time for everyone so some mechanics though appearing very powerful may get less use than their utility may indicate. If the mechanism encumbers the characters play style or would overly harm story elements important to the tale being told then the power may be called upon less often or effectively.  Of course the Mechanics element of any power should not be underestimated they are an important link for determining potential efficacy/impact of the character on the game while also helping make the character an individual separate from the great mass of powered beings that there can be in a fully fleshed out gaming universe. 

Mechanics however are still very important they also can most easily make a character feel in play different than other characters.  Theses are also a baseline that everyone can agree to.  The Mechanics for a power do not have to be identical to what is presented in the books, whether new or stolen from another power, as long as it makes sense and helps make the character iconic.  The mechanical description while interwoven but not hidden within the description for flavor should tell any players or observers the following items:


How much effort it requires to activate a particular ability or sub ability is an important consideration in the usage of a power or ability. This can be expressed in Power/PR/Power Cost for how much personal energy must be expended while charges are used for things with internal or prepaid power sources, other costs can include Actions, Turns, Movement, etc.  At times, especially with Movement costs, the energy level may fluctuate based upon how large of an area influenced.    

Range and Area of Effects:

Sometimes the powers possessed by a character have a very short range (touch or HTH are typically for very close combatants). When a power has a range associated with it the mechanics should inform what this is based upon. Mental powers have ranges based typically upon Intelligence or Charisma (Mind Control, Psionics, Telepathy, etc.)  Physical powers usually have a basis in Agility, Endurance or Strength (though some do have an Intelligence component).  Telling the possessor of the power or abilities that there is no range or an area of effect are also important details to not be overlooked and should not always be left to negative space.

Target(s) and Odds of influence:

This information includes such things as the capacity to target multiple individuals as well as how likely a power will strike against an average defender using various defensive concepts (Referencing the Combat Table). Some powers do alter how effective certain kinds of powers are with targeting the defender especially those which adjust Accuracy and Evasion as well as Defensive category of powers.


Basically an effect is what influence the ability after it is paid for and it has successfully beaten the odds/struck its target.  Most powers have an influence in the form of dealing out/with hits, enhancing/denying movement, aiding/hindering detection, or altering the environment (often with a goal of performing one of the previous effects).  Generally the last thing in a mechanical description (because its need hinges upon many other positive results for the power) it is also the goal.


As an example of how mechanics work throwing a punch (an ability nearly everyone has and should understand) it will be defined to show how other powers differentiate mechanically.  A punch would have a touch/HTH range, for no PR and one action cost, targeting one opponent per strike using the HTH column, dealing HTH damage as an effect.  This really isn’t spelled out singularly on character sheets because it is an understood ability for most characters.  Some of the powers don’t list the alterations to differentiate some of the mechanics around some powers from say a HTH punch many are simply understood to be different by information gleaned from the title and appearances on the Combat Table.  In part to preserve space as well as because the differences are slight. 

The Artwork continues displaying counters from my own V&V Campaign, as initially  seen in the first Expanded Powers post.


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