"Come now my child, if we were planning to harm you, do you think we'd be lurking here beside the path in the very darkest part of the forest..." - Kenneth Patchen, "Even So."

THIS IS A BLOG ABOUT STORIES AND STORYTELLING; some are true, some are false, and some are a matter of perspective. Herein the brave traveller shall find dark musings on horror, explorations of the occult, and wild flights of fantasy.

Saturday, July 23, 2016


SUPERHEROES, and especially a character on the level of Superman, are a tall order for any system to replicate.  The following was a bit of test run, seeing how well the Cypher System could handle the Man of Steel.  This version is a bit closer to the New 52 Superman, especially in earlier issues, where he can still be injured and is often battered and bruised.  It also tips its hat to Clark from Smallville.  

Obviously, the Superman we all know would be a Sixth Tier character, with access to all the following powers.  He would have concentrated on Might and Speed, building large pools and three or four points of Edge in each.  I also assumed he bought additional Power Shifts, giving him 5 in Strength and Resilience each (see below).  Rather than present his full stats (I saw him as a Tier 6 Mild-Mannered Reporter Who Hails From Krypton) I have decided to post just his Focus.  It might be useful for players who want a young Kryptonian slowly growing into his powers.

The Tier abilities are drawn from various other Foci around the core rulebook (X-Ray vision from Sees Beyond, Heat vision from Blazes With Radiance, and even Teleportation from the Magic Flavor tweaked into Supersonic flight.  


While race is usually best handled as a Descriptor, as the source of all of their powers and what makes them unique, Kryptonians take their race as a Focus. Survivors of the doomed world of Krypton, Kryptonians outwardly appear to be human but are immensely more powerful. Their cells absorb and metabolize solar energy from yellow stars like Earth's sun, giving them powers they wouldn't possess under Krypton's red supergiant, Rao. This, combined with their incredible molecular density, is the source of their abilities on Earth.

Kryptonians apply their 5 Power Shifts (p. 270) to Might-based Strength (3 Shifts) and Resilience (2 Shifts) rolls, giving them base attack damage of 9 and 2 points of natural armor. Additional Shifts can be purchased for either category at a cost of 10 XP each, adding +3 damage or +1 Armor. The presence of the radioactive mineral Kryptonite cancels out these Power Shifts so long as the Kryptonian remains in short distance of it. In addition, being in immediate distance to Kryptonite causes the character to take 5 points of damage per round, first from Might, then from Speed and Intellect.


1. Pick one PC who knows your secret and believes that you have been sent to the Earth with a great purpose, such as providing an example to the rest of humanity with your actions and deeds. Not living up to these expectations can be greatly disappointing to that character.

2. Pick one PC who suspects your alien origin and is suspicious of you, seeing you as a possible threat to humanity or the scout of an invasion force.

3. Pick one PC that you would do anything to protect, and who you will race to the side of whenever they are in danger or need.

Minor Effect Suggestion: Your amazing actions inspire your allies around you, giving them all a +2 to die rolls the next round.

Major Effect Suggestion: You do something so amazing that bystanders and your opponents are stunned, doing nothing but gaping in awe. If you don't already have it, this gives you and your allies the initiative the next round.

Man of Steel: In addition to making Might Defense rolls against toxins, diseases, and environmental damage, the Kryptonian can also use his Might in place of a Speed Defense against physical attacks. In effect, instead of dodging an attack, the Kryptonian lets it hit and just shrugs it off. Note that his or her Power Shifts affect the roll. Enabler.
   Rapid Recovery: Your ten-minute recovery roll takes one action instead, so that your first two recovery rolls take one action, the third takes one hour, and the fourth takes ten hours. Enabler.

X-Ray Vision (3 Intellect Points): The Kryptonian can see through matter as if it were transparent. You can see through up to 6 inches (15 cm) of material for one round, although some materials might be harder to see through than others, and lead blocks this power completely. Action.

Heat Vision (3 Intellect Points): As an Intellect action, the Kryptonian shoots beam of fiery red light from his eyes at a target within long range. This heat melts and burns, dealing 5 points of damage. Action.

Faster Than a Speeding Bullet (4 Speed Points) The Kryptonian moves with blinding speed up to 1,000 feet (305 m) in one round. Action.
   Up to Speed. If you do nothing but move for three actions in a row, the Kryptonian accelerates greatly and can move up to 200 mph (about 2,000 feet each round) for up to ten minutes (about 35 miles), after which he or she must stop and make a recovery roll. (Move up to 322 kph [about 610 m each round] for up to ten minutes [about 56 km].) Enabler.

Super-breath (+5 Might Points): The Kryptonian emits a blast of cold from his or her lungs in a wide cone in front of him or her up to short range. This blast instantly freezes water and extinguishes flames. All within the burst take 5 points of damage. If Effort is applied to increase the damage rather than to decrease the difficulty, 2 additional points of damage per level of Effort are dealt (instead of 3 points), and targets in the area take 1 point of damage even if the Kryptonian fails the attack roll. Action.

Look! Up in the Sky! (4 Speed Points): The Kryptonian can float and fly through the air for one hour. The power is an expansion of Tier Four "Up to Speed." By doing nothing more than move for three rounds, the Kryptonian accelerates to 200 mph (322 kph). Anything he or she can normally carry can be carried while flying.
   Supersonic (6 Speed Points): The Kryptonian launches himself or herself at unearthly speeds, traveling almost instantaneously (mere minutes) to any location that he or she has seen or been to, no matter the distance, as long as it is on the same world

No comments:

Post a Comment