> Marvel > WQ-Gifts

Section 2: Gifts

On this page... (hide)

  1.   1.  Building Gifts
    1.   1.1  Modules
  2.   2.  Actions
    1.   2.1  General Actions
    2.   2.2  Specialized Actions
  3.   3.  Elements
    1.   3.1  Physical
    2.   3.2  Mental
    3.   3.3  Dimensional
    4.   3.4  Celestial
    5.   3.5  Esoteric
    6.   3.6  Hybrid
  4.   4.  Restrictions
    1.   4.1  Wonder-Toys
    2.   4.2  Other Sample Restrictions
  5.   5.  Enhancements
  6.   6.  Sample Gifts
    1.   6.1  Gift Cost Examples
  7.   7.  Modules vs. Separate Gifts

Note: Last modified September 08, 2012, at 11:42 PM

This is the big chunk. Gifts are, basically, anything really crazy the character can do. The unique seven billion dollar suit of armor, the power cosmic crackling beneath a hero's skin, the spells of a sorcerer supreme, all are classified as Gifts.

1.  Building Gifts

Gifts are infinitely varied, but simple to build in theory. Each Gift is built with two components: Elements (nouns) and Actions (verbs). A Gift will have one Primary Component, the "basic concept" of the Gift, which is usually but not always an Element, and one or more Secondary Components (usually Actions), which reflect the breadth of the Gift's usefulness. For example, the Primary Component of a Gift might be the Element Water, with the Actions Sense and Shape as Secondary Components. Alternately, a gift might be based on the Animate Action as a Primary Component, which can affect the Secondary Components Stone and Metal.

Components (with one set of exceptions) are rated 1-5 based on how broadly applicable they are. A Component with a value of 1 is extremely specific, rare and/or focused, like the Element of Formica or the Action of Resist. A Component with a value of 3 is fairly classic in scope and power, like the Element of Air or the Action of Shape. A Component with a value of 5 has phenomenally wide applicability, like the Element of Dimension (including both space and time) or the Action of Command. A sample chart is provided, with the most likely-used Components listed in greater detail.

The exceptions referenced above are "all-encompassing" Elements, like Sorcery, Reality and Godhead. These Components are functionally limitless in scope, restricted only by their source of origin. When allowed at all (Sorcery will be in this campaign, for obvious reasons), they each have a value of 6.

A Gift's cost is its Rank. The Rank of a Gift is the value of the Primary Component plus the highest-value Secondary Component minus one (PC + SC - 1). The cost in DP for the Gift is the Rank times the number of Levels being purchased.

Please note that unlike Skills, it is perfectly acceptable to have a "specialization" of a Gift build on a more general version of it. In fact, this is encouraged in cases where a player would have to buy redundant levels of a more specialized version of a Gift that would duplicate an existing general version. For purposes of clarity, this is called a tiered Gift from here forward. Example: Captain Beacon has a tiered Gift: Spectrum Master at L-5 and Light Master at L-7. The Light Master tier should only require the purchase of two levels on top of the existing Spectrum Master, not seventeen separate levels.

1.1  Modules

Extra Components can be added to increase the versatility of a Gift. These "Modules" do not add levels to a Gift, but grant it further capabilities. Under normal circumstances, each Module has the same DP cost as the Gift's Rank. Unless otherwise determined when building the Module, once it is purchased, the Module affects the entire Gift, no matter how many levels are purchased before or after the Module is installed. No Module can add a Component that has a higher value than the Action or Element that forms the Gift's corresponding Component.

Note: when a Gift is tiered, Modules can be bought for the broader version or the more focused version. A Module for the broader tier affects as much of the power as it can. If Captain Beacon buys Traverse Spectrum, it operates at L-7 in light and L-5 in all other affected energies, but if he buys Deflect X-Rays, it only works at L-5. A more focused Module only works with the focused tier, but is bought at the reduced tier cost: Captain Beacon's Ride Light Module propels him at L-7 speeds as long as he can generate or acquire visible light.

Optional Rule: Some Modules can be made deliberately weaker or more specific than the full scope of the Gift. At the GM's discretion, a Module built with more restrictive Actions and Elements than the base Gift has a cost equal to the (Element value + Action value - 1) instead of a full Rank of the Gift. Though in other campaigns this will vary, it is very appropriate to low "level" spells, spirit Gifts and simple gadgets, for example.

2.  Actions

General Actions Specific Actions
  • Create: 3
  • Destroy/Weaken: 2
  • Interface: 2
  • Master: 5
  • Move: 3
  • Resist: 1
  • Sense: 1
  • Shape: 3
  • Transform: 4
  • Traverse: 3
  • Accelerate: 3
  • Animate: 4
  • Blast: 2
  • Blend: 5
  • Change State: 4
  • Contract/Shrink: 3
  • Copy: 3
  • Decelerate: 3
  • Deflect: 2
  • Expand/Grow: 3
  • Heal/Repair 2
  • Manifest: 5
  • Penetrate: 2
  • Project: 2
  • Quickshift: 4
  • Reflect: 3
  • Ride: 3
  • Sheathe: 3
  • Throw: 2
  • Toughen: 2
  • Wall/Screen: 3
  • Wield: 4

Though Elements form the "core" of most Gifts, Actions are by definition what characters will do with them, so they come first. Also, while there are virtually limitless Elements, the vast majority of Gifts will be based on a notably smaller pool of Actions. So, here we are. :-)

2.1  General Actions

These Actions are the building blocks of the Gift system. Most Specialized Actions are defined by their relationships to General Actions. To be clear, Specialized Actions do not have General Actions as prerequisites -- this division is for clarity only. The Action's value is listen in parentheses immediately after its name.

Create (3)
This is the most basic of Actions. Quite simply, this brings the Gift into existence, in as undifferentiated a manner as possible. Obedience will weaken the mental resistance of a subject, Phasing will make the Hero intangible, and Fire/Heat will cause an appropriate area to burst into flames. The Create Action can be used to invoke limited variations in especially broad Elements with a successful roll against a difficulty appropriate to the situation (df. 15 base, at least +5 in combat). Create Energy could be caused to generate electricity or light, while Create Luck can be directed into good or bad luck. Failing such a roll will almost always have interesting consequences.
Destroy/Weaken (2)
This causes the Element to cease to exist, in part or in whole. Destroyed metal vanishes, weakened speed slows a target, and destroyed thoughts are lost to memory.
Interface (2)
The ability to communicate either through or with the Element, depending on whether or not the target has the consciousness to communicate with.
Master (5)
Mastery is a "catch-all" Action that grants the potential for near-total command of the Element. Mastery itself provides a wide range of control, granting the ability to Create, Move, Sense, Shape and Transform the Element as per the individual Actions. All other Action Modules are explicitly compatible with Master. Lacking the ability to Create an Element with Master is a Restriction Module; remove any of the other Actions, however, and it ceases to be "Mastery."
Move (3)
Transfer an amount of the affected Element from one "place" to another. The effect of this Component on a Gift will depend heavily on the category. Physical Gifts will be straightforward, while Gifts such as Thought and Serendipity will be somewhat more esoteric in manifestation.
Resist (1)
The character is less likely to take damage from the Gift's Element(s). Add the level of the Resist Gift to (Fitness + Stamina) for the relevant Element if it is in the same Scale as the character's Fitness. If the Resist Gift is of a higher Scale, it replaces Fitness for all affected Elements.
Sense (1)
Substance or manifestation of the Gift can be detected without use of the usual senses. Clarity and its Skills still apply, but the Hero has a literal "sixth sense" regarding the Gift. The Enhanced Sense Special Ability explicitly does not apply.
Shape (3)
The Gift's Element can, quite simply, be reshaped, sculpting it to the character's will. If the Hero doesn't also have the Move Action or a similar Component, the Element is reshaped but cannot change location.
Transform (4)
The substance of the Element is changed in some way. Light can change color, copper transformed to steel, affection to confusion, or a ward against ghosts into a ward against faeries. The greater the breadth of the Element affected by the Gift, the wider the range of possible transformations.
Traverse (3)
Whereas the Move Action allows the Gifted character to move the Element, Traverse allows the character to pass through the substance unharmed, at a speed determined by (Gift-level + Athletics). This includes the Resist Action for the Element and the ability to "breathe" it (or to not need to breathe while in it), though other forms of sustenance will be necessary over time without other Gifts. The character's maximum speed while in the Element is based on the Gift's level. Note that having the ability to Traverse non-physical Elements, such as Space or Time, does not grant the ability to survive underwater or in lava.

2.2  Specialized Actions

Accelerate (3)
Increase the speed of an Element.
Animate (4)
This advanced Action, combining Move and Shape, allows the Hero to bring the element of the Gift to "life," causing it to act as the Hero wills. The Fitness of the Animated object (if relevant) is equal to the Gift's power level, and its Agility is equal to the character's Insight. When applicable, Skills are identical to the character's.
Blast (2)
This is basically a violent, specific variation of the Creation Component. Using the Blast Component with a power turns it into an unsubtle weapon. Create automatically grants the ability to Blast.
Blend (4)
This extremely potent Action allows the affected Gift to be used with other Gifts that also have the Blend Action, creating completely distinct powers.
Change State (4)
This Action allows the character to change the solidity of physical Elements, or the intensity of other Elements, without affecting the forces that normally cause such changes. Liquid electricity, solid helium, and granite-energy are all possible at room temperature, while humor can be turned to hate without providing an external stimulus (like propaganda). Some Elements might not be subject to this Action at the GM's discretion, and the GM may determine that it only produces certain states, if affects prove abusive.
Contract/Shrink (3)
The Gift's element can be caused to fold in on itself, becoming smaller without a corresponding reduction in its other attributes. (Note: This power explicitly violates the square/cube law for living things.)
Copy (3)
While this may seem like nothing more than a weak version of Create, where Create is raw without other Actions, Copy can create exact duplicates, depending on the level of the Gift involved. Non-Physical Copying is usually temporary, having a duration in the primary Scale of the campaign (typically Heroic) regardless of the Scale of the Gift.
Decelerate (3)
Reduce the speed of an Element.
Deflect (2)
With this limited variant of Move, an attack can be turned away from its target. The Hero makes a Reaction Skill check to use Deflect; if successful, the attack is diverted away harmlessly. In some campaigns, a critical failure may result in the attack becoming a hazard to innocent bystanders and/or nearby property.
Expand/Grow (3)
The Gift's element can be caused to increase in area, becoming larger without losing (or gaining) intensity. Like Contract/Shrink, this power violates the square/cube law. Characters will explicitly not collapse under their own weight, but to gain extra Fitness from a "Grow Self" Gift, add an appropriate Module.
Heal/Repair (2)
Damage to the Gift's Element can be undone.
Manifest (5)
This is a highly advanced version of the Create Action, allowing the character to determine the Shape and specific manifestation (variant of Transform) of the created Element. "Summoning" creatures is a version of Manifest, though Manifest provides no control over the minds of free-willed beings. Manifest can be taken as a Module of Master as long as "Create" hasn't been removed as a Restriction; Master can be likewise be taken as a Module of Manifest.
Penetrate (2)
All attacks with this power are treated as "traumatic" unless the character has defenses with the Toughen Action. See Section 3 for further details.
Quickshift (4)
This specific variant of Transform can also be purchased for powers with that General Component. Each Quickshift level (or Module, if added to another Gift) represents a single alternate shape that the Gift's element can be instantly transformed into. The first use of Quickshift in a given round does not require the use of a standard action or a Skill check.
Project (2)
This limited variation of Create simply fires a "bolt" of undifferentiated Element at a target, using Marksmanship to hit. GMs should be leery of any attempt to purchase Project with an Element of unusually high value, such as Gold or Servitude.
Reflect (3)
An attack can be turned back on the attacker, or another target of the character's choosing. Unlike most uses of an Action, the Hero must make two Skill checks to apply this Component fully: a defensive check to successfully use Reflect, then a standard Marksmanship roll to hit the new target (though the latter roll does not constitute a separate action and therefore creates no multi-action penalties). Reflect is an advanced variant of the Deflect Action, and includes the effects of that Action.
Ride (3)
The character can use the Element for propulsion. For solid or liquid Elements, this usually allows characters to create "bridges" that carry them at impressive (albeit limited) heights, while less material Elements provide flight. This is distinct from Traverse in that it does not allow the character to move through the Element. Instead, Ride uses the Element to move the character. This "flight" can be through the air or in more mysterious substances, such as astral realms or spirit worlds, if the character can access them.
Sheathe (3)
This creates a field of the Element around the character. The exact effects vary from Element to Element, but usually involve both an offensive field and a related defense with the Toughen Action (see below). By definition, the benefits of Sheathe are never ranged.
Throw (2)
A limited version of Move, you can cause the target to hurtle (literally or conceptually, depending on the Element) from one place to another. Unlike with Move, the thrown target cannot be directly affected again with this Gift until it comes to a stop.
Toughen (2)
Defenses related to the power ignore the effects of traumatic damage, including those generated by the Penetrate Action. The effects of this Action are detailed in Section 3.
Wall/Screen (3)
Defenses created by the Gift can be extended out to a range equal to its Scale and level. This Action is automatically available to a Master, but adding it as a Module means that no roll is necessary to create a shield.
Wield (4)
This allows the character to use, manipulate and alter a Gift manually. Altering and manipulating the Gift takes a minimum of one round and a related Skill roll. Best suited to Gadgeteer-related Gifts, it can also represent a character who can mold space like clay, fashion water into a whip, cast known spells out of magick, or forge a sword from its Platonic ideal. This is a limited variant of Mastery, allowing partial uses of Create, Shape and Transform that require the presence of pre-existing materials (though "materials" can be anything that the Gift's Elements cover). Whether these Feats can be performed on the fly or require lengthy preparations depend on the Element and the GM. However, simply using a Gift requires only the relevant Skill rolls: piloting or acrobatics to fly, marksmanship to fire blasts, Know-How (Gift) to place screens, etc.

3.  Elements

Ohhh boy. There's gonna be a few of these, folks, so sit down and get ready. This rabbit hole runs deep.

Elements are broken down into five basic categories due to the varying rules involving them: Physical, Mental, Dimensional, Celestial and Esoteric. Hybrid categories will be included within and after the basic categories as needed. Note that everything below this point is a guideline, meant to be a non-comprehensive example of what value an Element can be.

3.1  Physical

Physical Elements
  • Energy: 5
    • Electromagnetic Spectrum: 4
      • Electricity 3
      • Magnetism 3
      • Radiation 3
    • Gravity: 4
    • Motion: 4
  • Matter: 5
    • Gases: 4
    • Liquids: 4
    • Solids: 4
  • Life: 5
    • Animal: 4
    • Microscopic: 4
    • Plant: 4
  • Technology: 5
    • Mechatronics: 4
  • Other/hybrid:
    • Classical Elements: 4
      • Air: 3
      • Earth: 3
      • Fire: 3
      • Water: 3
    • Nuclear: 4
    • Weather: 4

This is the realm of Newtonian reality, where Gifts affect the natural world in a direct manner. A plurality, if not an outright majority, of Elements used in Wonder Quest will be found here. Elements can be added to a Gift as Modules, though usually on a more limited basis than with Actions. As a general rule, only a directly related Element can be added to the Element that represents a Gift's Primary Component. For example, electricity can almost always be added to magnetism as a Module and vice versa, but adding wood to the air Element is not likely.

Note on value 5 Elements for Marvel: Life, Matter and Energy can each be purchased as Modules for one of the others. This automatically means that the character wields the Power Cosmic and registers as such to the Cosmic Entities, Elders of the Universe, and other high-end big shots. Caveat emptor.

Value 4 & 5 Elements

There are only three value 5 Physical Elements, representing the broadest possible aspects of the material world. If a value 5 Element is Created without an effort to control its manifestation, or Projected without other Actions to specify the type, its undifferentiated nature means that it will be as neutral and inert as possible. Matter will be a semi-solid blob of a mostly harmless solution (once the kinetic energy dissipates), energy will be a transient burst of interesting electromagnetic variety, and life will be the earliest, least active protoplasm imaginable. The Transform and Change State Actions can solve this problem.

Value 4 Elements are very broad, encompassing multiple elements (classical or otherwise), and are listed under their value 5 Elements. Undifferentiated Value 4 Elements manifest in as classical a form as possible (earth, fire, lightning, etc.) when Created, unless specified otherwise or manipulated with other Actions.

This Element refers specifically to non-living molecular structures, though the molecules of a life form can be affected indirectly. In all other instances, any solid, liquid or gas can be affected by this Element. Fires can be affected chemically, but not directly controlled without an additional Module. Science geek note: Although technically mass is not exactly matter, it is indistinguishable from a Gift-related standpoint. (Please keep this example in mind when considering the definitions of other Elements.)
  • Solids
  • Liquids
  • Gases
This Element can control the non-material forces of the physical world: light, heat, sound, force, electricity, magnetism and so on. For the Marvel campaign, gravity qualifies as energy, though it is more difficult to manipulate as a subset of the energy Element (this can be negated with a Module). The weak force can also be manipulated, but critical failures can be extremely dangerous.
  • Electromagnetic Spectrum: Includes electricity, magnetism and all forms of radiation, including light.
  • Gravity: Though a straightforward Element, it's a fundamental force with extremely broad application and influence on matter and energy alike.
  • Motion: Kinetic energy, sound, velocity and vibration.
Living patterns are sufficiently unique and complex to have their own Element. At this value, however, any living thing can be affected by available actions, from microbes to great whales. This is explicitly not qi, which is covered in the Celestial category. It only affects the physical structure of living things, and while the power itself can defy the laws of physics and nature with the right Actions, alterations made by it cannot.
  • Animal
  • Plant
  • Microscopic: Bacteria and viruses.
Some Elements won't fall into the simple classifications above. Some examples of cross-discipline Elements are:
  • Technology (5): Any and all inorganic things deliberately built, from carts to computers.
  • Nuclear (4): A broad and quirky Element that includes radiation, heat and small-scale matter effects.
  • Classical Elements (4): all of Earth, Water, Air and Fire.
  • Weather (4): Includes air, water, temperature and electricity, with manipulation of both matter and energy.

Value 1 - 3 Elements

At these levels, a Physical Element should ideally have a short, pithy descriptor - one word and you know what the affected Element is. Nigh-universal Elements are value 3, moderately common Elements are value 2, and rare Elements are value 1. Note that animals are included on this list; the listed powers only include physical control over them. They are also listed for shapeshifters who wish to have a particular animal as a Module for their transformative abilities.

  • Value 3 examples: Earth, water, air, fire, electricity, magnetism, light, heat, darkness, force, sound, electronics, metal, wood, birds, fish, mammals.
  • Value 2 examples: Paper, wolves, gasoline, aluminum, glass, flowers, music, green.
  • Value 1 examples: F-Sharp, platinum, neon, eels, chartreuse.

3.2  Mental

Mental Elements
  • Perception: 5
    • Astral: 4
      • Mindspace: 3
      • Zeitgeist: 3
    • Awareness: 4
      • Illusion: 3
      • Individual Senses: 3
  • Will: 5
    • Ego: 4
      • Emotion: 3
      • Volition: 3
    • Intellect: 4
      • Memory: 3
      • Thought: 3

Power over the physical world is flashy and impressive, but power over the mind is subtle and effective -- and terrifying. Mental Elements can involve detecting, tapping into and even altering the thoughts and perceptions of others, while potentially expanding the thoughts and awareness of the character's own mind. The Mental category has two value 5 Elements: Will and Perception, which can be Modules of each other.

In general, Mental Elements drop below value 3 through application of the Limited Targets Restriction, though this is a suggestion, not a rule.

This Element includes thought, memory, volition and emotion. It is the sum total of everything that defines sentience, and thereby a personality.
  • Ego (4): Personal drive and the ability to choose. Through this element, empathic influence, mental domination and even possession are possible with the right Actions.
    • Emotion (3): How a person feels.
    • Volition (3): This is where decisions become action. This Element permits no insight into the process that leads to a decision, but when a character can alter a decision regardless of prior consideration, that may not matter. The morality of affecting free will is another matter entirely.
  • Intellect (4): The flow and storage of concepts and data within the mind. The abstract information (as opposed to the viscera of awareness) that inform the drives of ego.
    • Thought (3): The stream of consciousness that takes place more or less on the surface of the will. Absolute control is not possible with this Element, but communication, "mind-reading" and suggestion are.
    • Memory (3): Storage of perception, information and past decisions. Altering this data will not automatically change the decision-making process, but can fundamentally transform the body of knowledge that informs choice.
This Element includes not only the five senses, but the ability to sense connections and presences with the mind alone.
  • Awareness (4): Our senses are how we discern reality. This Element can permit a character to share senses, limit them, or deceive them entirely.
    • Individual Senses: Sight and hearing are value 3 Elements; smell, taste and touch are value 2. Touch can be a Module of hearing. Smell and taste can be Modules of each other.
    • Illusion (3): False awareness inserted into the mind. Not to be confused with illusions created with the Physical Elements of light and sound.
  • Astral (4): Extra-sensory perception, through non-local observation via the astral plane of mentality made "real." Astral damage doesn't affect the physical body, but unconscious is unconscious...and dead is dead.
    • Mindspace (3): The idea of "distance" in astral reality. Actions can be applied to Mindspace to create Gifts like Clairvoyance and Dowsing, and/or affect use of the astral plane.
    • Zeitgeist (3): The idea of "time" in astral reality. Actions can be applied to Zeitgeist to create Gifts like Precognition and Psychometry, and/or also affect use of the astral plane.

3.3  Dimensional

Dimensional Elements
  • Space: 5
    • Distance: 4
    • Volume: 4
      • Phase State: 3
  • Time: 5
    • Lines: 4
      • Juncture: 3
    • Tempo: 4

If Physical Elements are your stuff, Dimensional Elements are where (and when) you keep your stuff. Its value 5 Elements are space and time. Note that Dimensional Elements do not, by themselves, include Physical components like force and mass.

This is big. Really big. Ahem.
  • Distance (4): This is the space between your stuff. This is the Element used to build teleportation Gifts, though it can also be used to warp distances to varying purposes.
  • Volume (4): This is the space of your stuff, or inside it. You can make something "bigger" or "smaller" without changing its mass, increase (or decrease) the capacity of its cavities, or twist its features without damage with the appropriate Actions.
    • Phase State (3): So-called "solids" are actually mostly empty space. This Element alters how the emptiness of objects interact.
The stuff that keeps everything from happening at once.
  • Tempo (4): The rate at which time moves. This can affect speed, reaction and impact, though not direction. This is the Element counterpart to the Accelerate and Decelerate Actions.
  • Lines (4): A "timeline" is a sequence of events. This is distinct from tempo in that one is rate, the other is temporal "place." Altering tempo can speed up or slow down a bullet; altering a Line can move someone "through" time itself while a bullet passes through where they were not. Note that in the Marvel Universe, using Traverse Line to travel backwards never changes history in your original timeline. (It creates a new one that proceeds from the changed event.)
    • Juncture (3): The Element of alternate timelines. This doesn't allow travel through or manipulation of the internal structure of a timeline -- one's own or others -- but does allow travel between timelines, the ability to affect such travel, and the manipulation of the process by which alternate realities intersect.

3.4  Celestial

Celestial Elements
  • Flux: 5
    • {Element} Flux: 4
  • Vitality: 5
    • Agility: 4
      • Reflexes: 3
    • Fitness: 4
      • Health: 3
        • Resistance: 2

Named in honor of the Celestials, the cosmic entities that monitor the evolution and enlightenment of the Marvel Universe, the Celestial category is for "meta" powers, or powers about powers. (This will be called "Core" or "Key" in the generic Five-Scale system.) This can be a Gift that makes you super-strong beyond the capabilities of physical muscle, the power to mimic other abilities, or a union with the underpinnings of existence itself. It has two value 5 Elements, Vitality and Flux. Each can be a Module of the other, though in Marvel it is extremely rare for the value 5 version of these Elements to both be available to any being lesser than Cosmic Entities and Principalities.

This is the raw stuff of superhuman power. Vitality is the font from which Legendary Attributes flow. While it is possible (and indeed, more common) to simply purchase an Attribute to levels beyond the merely Human, beings who transform (either temporarily or permanently) into creatures beyond mortal existence often have Vitality or one of its subset Elements.
  • Fitness (4): The classic "brick" power. The benefits of buying Fitness as a Gift include the option of adding Modules such as Leaping, Heal and Toughen, and performing feats that are not physically possible through mere strength or toughness (like creating tremors with a stomp and shockwaves with a clap). With more versatile Actions, Fitness can also be used to weaken, strengthen or heal others.
    • Health (3): A more focused example of the advantages provided by Fitness.
      • Resistance (2): This represents the power to influence the body's potential to fight off diseases and toxins. When increased to Legendary Scale, Resistance grants immunity to most natural dangers of this sort. By contrast, if reduced to Trivial Scale, the target immediately falls ill, suffering penalties as determined by the GM.
  • Agility (4): The classic "bouncer" power. Potential Modules could include Clinging and Running (for a variant of Super-Speed).
    • Reflexes (3): As the Attribute specialization.
This is the power that directs the energy behind other Gifts. While it is theoretically possible to have undifferentiated Flux, virtually all characters who have a variation of this Element also have a Restriction limiting it to a specific power source. In the Marvel Universe, the primary sources are mutation, cosmic, sorcery and divinity. The former two and latter two may sometimes overlap, allowing the other to be bought as a Module.
  • (Element) Flux (4): To determine the cost of an (Element) Flux, subtract one from the cost of the Element being affected (minimum cost 1). For example, Physical Flux is a value 4 Element, while Motion Flux is value 3, and Electric Flux is value 2.

3.5  Esoteric

Esoteric Elements
  • Fortune: 5
    • Blessings: 4
    • Curses: 4
      • Gambling: 3
        • Cards: 2
        • Slots: 2
    • Battle Luck: 4
      • Love Destiny: 3
  • Spirit: 5
    • Medicine: 4
      • Ghosts: 3
      • Pantheon: 3
    • Unearthly: 4
      • Heavenly: 3
      • Infernal: 3

There are Elements hidden in the shadows. Fate, ghosts, things that move in the dark but vanish when the lights are on. Among other things, we sometimes call them Esoteric.

In the world you're reading this in, there is little tangible proof of the existence of something beyond life. When this Element is available in a setting, the character who has Gifts related to it knows spirits to be fact. In Marvel, the Pearly Gates have a revolving door.
  • Medicine (4): Spirits of the physical world have power and knowledge. Play nice with them and they might even help you.
    • Pantheon (3): A particular group of spirits heeds your Actions.
    • Ghosts (3): When the dead rise, you call the characters who control this Element. The Action of "Bust" is entirely optional. ;-)
  • Unearthly (4): The higher (and lower) forces are at your disposal. Just remember, they're very powerful, and if you make demands rather than requests, both sides are good at holding grudges.
    • Heavenly (3): You either have friends or enemies in high places, depending on your Actions and how you apply them.
    • Infernal (3): Mephisto and his buddies are not nice, but they have resources. Of course, your Actions might also drop a world of hurt on this Element.
Fate. Luck. Destiny. Probability. Whatever one wishes to call it, the Element of chance can remove chance from the equation. You can add your level in your power to affected rolls or difficulties, but you have to make a roll every time -- and if the Wild Die comes up 1, at least some of your manipulation of Fortune rebounds.
  • Blessings (4): Good luck. You can't make things worse for people, but you can make things better, or prevent the same, or "shift" good luck between people with the right Actions.
  • Curses (4): The reverse of blessings. When someone asks "who did I tick off," you can be the answer.
    • Gambling (3): You can clean up in Vegas. Just remember, your Gift won't protect you from the leg-breakers that follow. Types of games (cards, slots) are value 2, while individual ones (Texas Hold 'Em, Craps) are value 1.
  • Battle Luck (4): You can't win the lottery, but when you gamble with your life, you tend to win.
    • Love Destiny (3): Even you can't stop True Love, but everything else is fair game. Depending on your Actions, you can ensure a lack of impediments, start a nice distraction of a quarrel, or just find M. Right Now.

3.6  Hybrid

Hybrid Elements
  • Self: 4
    • Celestial Self: 3
    • Dimensional Self: 3
    • Esoteric Self: 3
    • Mental Self: 3
    • Physical Self: 3
  • Speed: 4

Not every Element fits the nice, neat categories above. Here are a few examples of how to noun outside the box.

  • The Self is a singular, unique Element -- the character -- but that Element is present as long as the character lives. The Physical, Celestial, Mental, Esoteric, and Dimensional Selves are each value 3 Elements; Physical and Celestial Elements can each be bought as Modules for each other, as can Mental and Esoteric. The Total Self is a value 4 Element, and allows characters to apply Actions to any aspects of themselves.
  • Speed (4): Super-speed as an Element is far more than the ability to run fast, and is presented here as 1) one of the most common Elements around and 2) an example of how to build an Element outside the structure presented above. Affecting Speed is similar, but not identical, to the Tempo Element from Dimension. Speed won't permit the actual alteration of time, but does allow the character to interact to some extent with physical force, and so will permit the development of Modules that interact with the physical world more directly (such as whirlwind-blasts by churning the character's arms) by choosing the appropriate Actions. At higher Scales, the Juncture Element from Dimension might become available as a Module.

4.  Restrictions

Restriction Modules and Components can also be added to a Gift to reduce its cost. Modules are moderate Restrictions that inhibit the use of the Gift in some way, such as the need to use the character's hands to manipulate devices or cast spells. As with weaker Modules, minor Restrictions can provide a lower DP bonus at the GM's discretion.

By contrast, extremely limiting Restrictions function like negative Components, and can reduce the Gift's Rank by one or more. These greatly reduce the Gift's effectiveness, or result in considerable danger to the character. Examples include losing the power when exposed to a common energy type, or having it be completely ineffective against a certain substance. (Rare energies or substances qualify as Restriction Modules instead.)

Restrictions of some kind are highly recommended for all-encompassing Components (hint, hint).

4.1  Wonder-Toys

It is possible to wield Gifts through the use of objects -- empowered items that transcend "normal" science and/or magic of the world. Any Gift that is wielded through such "Wonder-Toys," whether Wonder-Tech or Wonder-Talismans (WT for short regardless) qualifies for a Restriction. If the object is both nigh-indestructible (giving it resilience at least one Scale higher than most campaign elements) and difficult to steal, this only qualifies as a Module. If the object can either take damage or is wielded in such a way that it can be stolen while in use, each qualifies as a Restriction Component.

Both fragile and removable can be taken for two Restriction Components, but expect the Wonder to be targeted on a regular basis. Damaged or stolen WTs can be repaired or replaced between battles with relative ease; repairing a damaged WT during battle is more complicated. To keep a stolen WT after an adventure is complete, its DP value must be paid for by the new owner. Otherwise, its various safeties cause it to lock up, melt down or otherwise cease to function. It makes a nice trophy, though. :-) (Special Gadgeteer note: stolen gadgets can be added as simple Modules if their Gadgeteer Gift has a high enough DP value to cover the cost.)

It is possible to have a "pool" of WTs in a single Gift affected by the relevant restrictions, though they should be tied to a single source; otherwise, only specific Modules that are affected by the Restriction qualify for the DP discount. One example would be a size-shifting hero who wears a harness with virtually limitless gadget-components within it. If that hero assembles a particular gadget which is then stolen, the harness can still be accessed, but if the harness is removed, then the hero must rely on native abilities. That hero qualifies for the relevant Restrictions on both the Modules and the Gift as a whole. Another example would be a matter-manipulating villain who can transform nearby materials into devices; individual Modules could be bought with WT restrictions, but the Gift as a whole could not.

4.2  Other Sample Restrictions

  • Limited Targets: Non-physical Elements can gain Restrictions by type of object that can be affected. If the class that can be affected by the Gift corresponds to a Physical Element with a value equal to or greater than the Primary Element of the Gift, it qualifies for a Restriction Module at best. If the Physical Element has a higher value than the Gift's Primary Element, then it qualifies for a Restriction Component Rank discount equal to the difference.

5.  Enhancements

It is possible to increase the capabilities of a Gift in more ways than simply adding Actions and Elements. (((FINISH)))


6.  Sample Gifts

6.1  Gift Cost Examples

Example One: Powerstar's Gifts are based on some of the most primal legends of the Empowered universe. His energy powers, for example, come from the overall concept of a latter-day "sky god," and also neatly match the broadest concepts of psychokinesis. He can generate and control force, heat, light, electricity, and magnetism (but not fire). This "Skyforce" Element is determined to have a value of four, and serves as his Primary Component. Powerstar's player wants to be able to affect this energy in almost any way imaginable. He takes a Secondary Component of Master, which grants him a wide range of Actions and has a value of five. The Skyforce Gift's Rank is eight (4 + 5 - 1).

Fortunately for Powerstar, his player has a lot of DP available, and the Narrator is allowing characters to have Gifts available up to Legendary Scale. All basic Gifts in this campaign start at Heroic level one, as per the standard rules. After looking over the Scale chart, the player decided to make the Skyforce Gift level L-7, which requires purchasing 17 levels at a cost of 136 (8 * 17) DP. Powerstar is then given nine (!) additional Secondary Components, for an further cost of 72 (8 * 9) DP. The final cost of this Gift at character creation is an impressive 208 (136 + 72) Development Points, for an equally impressive and versatile power.

Example Two: Andrea Florio is one of the best agents U.N.I.T. One has, based on her talents alone. She does, however, have a few minor Gifts that give her a useful edge against the likes of VORTEX and Dr. Ivory. One of these Gifts is her ability to see into the infrared spectrum, allowing her to track by heat and pick up targets in the dark. Its Primary Component is the value one Action of Sense, and the Secondary Component is infrared radiation, a value one Element. Her Spectrum Sight Gift has a Rank of one (1 + 1 - 1).

After consulting the chart, Agent Florio's player buys Spectrum Sight to H-4 (approximately 60 meters) and takes the Restriction Component "Heat-Flare," which allows a savvy opponent to blind Andrea's infrared vision with a sudden burst of heat or flame. The Narrator approves of this Restriction and determines its game mechanics. The power is now complete: four levels with a total DP cost of four (1 * 4) and a Restriction Component that returns one DP (1 * -1), for a final cost of a mere three (4 - 1) Development Points.

Now you know why Andrea has so many more Skills than Powerstar.

Magic Styles
Designing magic systems with variety depends partly on the "color" of the system -- the Development Points don't care whether you chant formulas or the names of angels -- but in many cases, the rules of magic differ. Here are a few models to play with.
  • Spellcasting (Wield Sorcery, 4+6-1 = 9): You can only cast spells you know...but a spell can be almost anything you can imagine. The character gets one spell per level of the Gift purchased for free (i.e. five spells at H-5, 12 spells at L-2, etc.), with each additional spell being a Module. It is also possible to conduct rituals that work the energies of sorcery more creatively, but this is a dramatic Feat requiring as long as is necessary for narrative tension.
  • Arch-magick (Master Sorcery, 5+6-1 = 10): This is it, the Big Kahuna of Gifts, the Holy Grail of versatility. You are a Master of Magic, a Supreme Sorcerer, a Wizard of Wonder -- in other words, you can do dang near anything you put your mind to. Thing is, almost every time you want to bend reality to your will, the GM is going to require a Skill roll. Critical Failures can do almost anything as the universe itself runs amok. It's still a really good idea to buy a few Modules, both to expand your repertoire and have a few "spells" that you can cast at will. As an alternative build to place some limits on limitless flexibility, Modules can be used to simulate "spheres of influence." These mimic multiple Gift purchases without forcing the character to buy several expensive Gifts. This normally serves as a Restriction Component reducing the Gift Rank to 9.
All Gifts presented can also be used with magical items; simply change the Skills used to manipulate the devices as necessary. Note that anything that can exist (more or less) in the "real" world can be built without requiring a Gift; Wonder-Tech is for equipment that can either exceed the technological limits of the character's native setting and/or
  • Power Armor (Wield Armor, 4+4-1 = 7): While the level and modules vary, power armor is typically based around Wield Force Projector with an additional rank added for the extra equipment built into the armor (Toughened defenses, chaff, and sensor arrays at a minimum). Modules can provide a number of bonuses. Some examples include: enhanced Fitness increases strength and functional health, Ride Projector grants flight, life support provides a sealed internal atmosphere, and each Missile Rack grants a single self-guided attack with a functional Agility of the armor's level. While the armor's wearer can lose Perseverance when struck, the armor itself has sufficient resilience and internal repair systems that it functions as long as its pilot does.
  • Gadget Harness (Wield Gadgets 4+4-1 = 7): Even more so than the Power Armor, the Gadget Harness is more of a conceptual blueprint than a sample Gift per se. It should have a starting Element as a basic model to work from (sonic projectors, holography, electro-dynamic field generators), which can then be expanded upon to own and kit-bash a wide variety of tools. The Harness gets half its absolute level in devices to start (i.e. L-4 grants seven gadgets), and further devices count as Modules. A Gadget Harness receives two Restriction Modules worth of discount if the Harness cannot be easily removed or damaged, but individual gadgets are vulnerable. The gadgeteer can theoretically wield all of the devices simultaneously, but multi-action penalties apply normally. Reconfiguring existing gadgets in the field to serve a previously unavailable function costs a Quest Point and requires a Repair roll of a difficulty appropriate to the divergence and complexity of the gadget desired. In other words, this is an Immediate Feat; see Chapter Three for further details.
Physical Powers
  • Voluntary Werewolf (Transform Self, Restriction: Only into specific wolf forms -- counts as two Restriction Components, 4+3-2-1 = 4): You are more than just a werewolf by night. You can transform into a wolf, or a wolf-man, or into places even further in-between. You can take on up to half your level in this Gift in alternate forms, round up, maximum 5. Each form has its own Attributes and Physical Advantages/Disadvantages, which must be determined when the form is developed. The Development Points used to build the birth form's Attributes and relevant Ads/Disads are redistributed to construct the new forms. If a full hybrid "wolf-man" form is purchased, it gains extra Physical Attribute levels equal to the levels in this Gift (maximum 10). No Attributes can be taken beyond the Heroic Scale, since normal wolves don't have Legendary Attributes. Modules that are necessary to model the classic werewolf's resilience are Heal and Toughen (both ineffective against silver), which grant additional resistance to all damage other than the classic weakness. These Modules are 3 DP each after the Reduction from the silver weakness. If Voluntary Werewolf is taken to Legendary Scale, the Heal and Toughen Modules do become Legendary, because even if the Gift can't increase flesh beyond natural limits, it can knit the body together to superhuman effect.
  • Elemental Master (coming)
Meta-powers (Celestial)
In all cases where a single Gift or Attribute is targeted, the character with the Celestial Gift can choose which power is affected unless a Restriction that reduces the character's control is applied.
  • Drain Power (Weaken Flux, 2+5-1 = 6): You can reduce a single power in a single target. Copied powers have a level equal to the lower of the targeted Gift's and your Mimic's. The power to affect all of a character's Gifts simultaneously (the equivalent of an Area Effect) increases the Gift's Rank by one (7). Drain Power can be resisted, either by Stamina or Willpower, chosen when the Gift is purchased.
  • Mimic Power (Copy Flux, 3+5-1 = 7): You can temporarily duplicate a single power from a single target. Copied powers have a level equal to the lower of the targeted Gift's and your Mimic's. The power to affect all of a character's Gifts simultaneously (the equivalent of an Area Effect) increases the Gift's Rank by one (8). Mimic can copy Physical Attributes with an additional Vitality Module. This Gift cannot be resisted without a countering Gift.
  • Power Boost (Expand Flux, 3+5-1 = 7): The character can increase the power of a target's Gift, either by the level in Enhance if the Gift is within the same Scale (to a maximum of 10 in that Scale), or to the level of the Enhance Gift if it is of higher Scale than the affected Gift. This is an extremely rare and potentially abusive power that should be carefully monitored, and critical failures with its use will have drastic consequences. The power to affect all of a character's Gifts simultaneously is Rank 8.
  • Steal Power (Move Flux, 3+5-1 = 7): You can temporarily steal a single power from a single target. The power to affect all of a character's Gifts simultaneously is Rank 8. This power grants a level of Gift identical to what Mimic Power provides, except the victim loses a corresponding number of levels in the affected Gift. As with Drain, Steal Power is always resisted, either by Stamina or Willpower, chosen when the Gift is purchased. Also unlike Mimic, stealing Vitality requires an increase in Rank.

7.  Modules vs. Separate Gifts

The broad range of possibilities afforded by Wonder Quest means that there will be a wide variety of ways to model a particular power, talisman or spell. These will have varying DP costs and ramifications on character development. While in most non-supers settings these should be restricted by the Game Master, there might still be more than one way to build a Gift. Each different method is likely to have advantages and disadvantages.