I am the Warden!!
I have a line stuck in my head from a favourite Canadian stand-up, Joey Elias, about dinner at the Lindros home. You know, Eric Lindros. Hockey? He had something like 10 concussions? For those of you who mock my sports metaphor, just stick with me on this. He talks about how engaging the dinner conversation must be.
"I like soup! What about you, do you like soup?"
You know what? I like soup! It's good to keep things simple and reliable. Fantasy gamers like soup too. It's simple, it's tasty, and it keeps you warm on a cold blustery day. Just like powers. How's that for a segway?
Whether they be mystical, scientific, nuclear, granted by the gods, or endowed as the result of a freak accident, powers represent that generic category of wizards, superheroes, and sci-fi enhancements. Without these powers, our characters are just a bunch of well-trained fighters. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.) They allow us to fly, blast through walls, set people on fire with just a thought, summon a bolt of lightning, dominate a weak-willed creature, and any other infinite concept imaginable. Powers are what make these games fun.
With Great Power Comes Sweet Power Dice
As we discussed last time, skills provide your character with the means to boost your efforts through trained dice though at a cost. Powers work on a similar principle, but they are not limited to the number of times you can apply them, only the conditions under which you can use them. When you give your character a power in the Optional System, a whole world of opportunity opens up.
Powers are a generic category for any learned or innate abilities far beyond the scope of a normal creature. In the Optional System, powers are available whenever you roll dice so long as your power applies. When it does, you can add the power dice (d8s) listed with that power to any active or opposing roll and have at it. Some powers require activation (particularly those used for attack rolls) while the majority of them are consistent and remain functioning for as long as you want them to.
Claiming a power still requires training points, as does everything else in the game. Once you've trained your character in a power, you start with a number of power dice listed for the power (if applicable). As more training points come into your possession, you can increase the strength of that power with additional power dice, extended applications, and more.
Example #1: Your character has the ability to fly with the Flight power. Whenever you use a Move option, you can use your Flight power to move instead and are no longer limited to remaining on the ground. You can move in all three dimensions and remain hovering when not moving. When you use the Flight power to make a Move option, you gain +1d8 power dice to all opposing Body rolls made to defend your character from physical attacks or you can gain +2d8 power dice if you make an attack roll immediately after a Move option with the Flight power or as part of a stunt to enact a charge. For every 2 training points you spend on this power, you increase the power dice by +1d8 or you can fly twice as fast when you use this power with your Move option.
Example #2: As a dwarf, you gain the Heat Vision power. You must activate this power as a Quick option to see in the dark. Any character within 2 Move options cannot gain concealment or be invisible to you. Once activated, you gain +2d8 power dice to all active Sense rolls in darkness. If you use this power in daylight or any equivalent lighting condition, you take a half penalty to all Sense rolls.