03.01 Rd6 Advantages: Special Abilities
The term alien is a very relative term. Technically, everybody is an alien to someone else. However, for purposes of convention we will be very human-centric. In game terminology, alien refers to anything not strictly Human. This includes all the aliens in a sci-fi setting as well as near-Humans, mutants and genetic experiments that have ended up with special abilities. Each Alien Ability (referenced as Special Ability) is listed with its game mechanic effects.
Special Abilities (1-5 points)
General Point Value Guidelines
|Point Value||Game Effect and Examples|
|1||An ability that is only of limited usefulness. Examples include gills for breathing under water; resistance to one environmental extreme; a very long lifespan.|
|2||An ability that gives the character a distinct advantage in certain limited situations. Examples include the ability to put off a bodily function like eating, sleeping or even breathing for a comparatively short amount of time, extra appendages.|
|3||The character has a very useful advantage. The ability to regenerate Stun damage at a rate of one point per round; self-powered wings; the character has an extra wound level before death-like coma; natural armor that increases outward (or inner, but not both) Strength by up to +1D|
|4*||The advantage is almost always a factor. Virtual immunity to one specific form of damage (electricity, gamma radiation, etc.); the ability to make healing rolls at an hourly rate instead of the normal rate; the character is immune to one sort of non-physical, specific form of attack (taunt, trick, intimidate, etc.)|
|5*||A special effects sort of ability that gives the character a distinct advantage. This is a very powerful ability natural to the character – perhaps the character can teleport over very short distances; has the ability to change shape or size; can transform a very limited amount of energy to matter or back again.|
* These abilities are very hard to keep under control. The gamemaster should not allow a character with these abilities to have other very powerful Advantages without some major Compensations being present. You may not wish to choose these abilities at first.
Below are examples of Alien/Special Abilities
Natural Melee Weapons
Does your character have an natural weapons? If so, you’ll need to determine what sort it has. An alien doesn’t need to be a predator in order to have weapons like claws or sharp teeth. Many herbivores have defensive weapons as well.
|1||STR + 1D|
|2||STR + 1D+1|
|3||STR + 1D +2|
|4||STR + 2D|
|5||STR + 3D|
|Claws/Talons||The character can use his claws to inflict damage with a Claw attack using Fighting.|
|Tail||The character can use his tail as a weapon to do damage with a Tail attack using Fighting.|
|Fangs||The character uses sharp teeth do damage with a Bite attack using Fighting (must be Grabbed, see special attacks).|
|Tusks||The character uses sharp horns or tusks inflict damage with a Charge attack using Fighting (see special attacks) .|
|Beak||The character’s sharp beak inflicts damage with a Beak attack using Fighting (see special attacks Head Butt).|
|Kick||The character’s powerful kick does damage with a Kick attack using Fighting.|
|Pincers||The character pincers are sharp and very strong, inflicting damage in a Grab attack.|
|Trampling||The character tramples for damage as part of a Charge Through attack, using Fighting|
|Body Spikes||The character can use these sharp weapons in combat, causing damage in a Grab or Tackle attack.|
|Venom||Venom does damage in stun only and can be used as a Spit attack or in conjunction (free action) with a Bite attack.|
Natural Ranged Weapon
3 for the first Level, 1 point per level after the first.
The character has some sort of natural ranged weapon, using Ranged Weapons to target it.
Long range equals 20 times the number of Level in this Special Ability times the character’s Strength, lifting, or applicable Ranged Weapons (as appropriate) in meters.
The damage for Ranged attacks is the character’s Strength Damage plus 1D per Level (physical projectiles) or 2D for Energy blasts per Level in this Special Ability.
The projection must have a visible effect (such as a ray that glows or bone spikes) and it may not do mental damage.
Note that, regardless of the nature of the projection, there are no additional effects from this type of Special Ability unless an Enhancement allows otherwise.
Does your alien have some sort of natural protection against attacks? How much protection does it afford? Armor can be anything from a thick layer of blubber to scales to chitinous armor plating.
Other Special Abilities
Aside from weapons and natural armor, there are several other types of special abilities.
Some special abilities add a bonus to a certain skill at all times. You can easily modify many of these choices by substituting new skills. The usual Point Cost for these abilities is 2 points. The bonus can be increased by +1D for 4 points.
Any Special Ability that gives a bonus to the die roll or the skill total also allows the character to use that skill as if trained.
|Acute Senses||The character adds +2D to Search Tests based on visual acuity.|
|Agriculture||The character receive a + 2D bonus to his Scholar: agriculture Tests.|
|Climbing Claws||The species has climbing claws which are used for climbing only. They add +2D to his|
Athletics: climbing skill while use the claws.
|Enhanced Stamina||Due to the harsh nature of the species environmental origin, the the character receives a +2D bonus to Stamina and willpower Tests in harsh or difficult environments.|
|Environmental Resilience||The character can endure extreme environments and gains a +2D to Resist or other Stamina Tests in those environments.|
|Intimidating||The character gains +1D when using Persuasion through intimidation due to his fearsome appearance.|
|Jumping||The character’s strong legs gives him a remarkable jumping ability. He receives a +2D bonus for h is|
Athletics: jumping skill.
|Natural Camouflage||The the character gets +2D to Stealth in his natural terrain. This advantage is negated when the the character is not in this terrain.|
|Naturally Agile||+2D to all actions involving Acrobatics and Athletics for purposes of climbing, jumping, or other actions requiring balance.|
|Master of Disguise||The character has a natural talent for disguise. He gains a +1D bonus to all disguise totals and a +1D bonus to any Presence-based actions while in that disguise.|
|Prehensile Tail||The the character has a prehensile tails and can use it as an extra limb at +1D to his Agility.|
|Specific Terrain Survival||The character has an innate sense of survival in a certain terrain – mountains, plains, wilderness, tundra, desert, aquatic. This species gets a +1D when making Survival Tests regarding in these terrains.|
|Stealth||The character has such a natural ability to be stealthy that he receives +1D when using his hide or Stealth skills.|
|Swimming||Swimming comes naturally to the the character, who gains +1D to Dodge and +3 to Move underwater.|
|Teaching Ability||The the character may advance all specializations of the scholar skill at half the normal Character Point cost.|
|Vibration Sense||The character is attuned to movements and vibrations and can sense approaching objects in contact with the ground up to 60 meters away. Using this ability requires a Very Easy Perception roll.|
Starting Character Abilities
Still other special abilities provide a bonus at the time a character is created. For example, a new alien characters
receive 2D for every 1D they spend on Stealth skills to represent a very stealthy species. Another more technically inclined species may receive an extra 4D for beginning skill dice which must be applied to Intellect skills, and may also place up to 4D in a beginning Intellect skill instead of the normal 2D limit.
|Business Affinity||At the time of character creation only, the character receives 2D for every 1D of skill dice allocated to Scholar: bureaucracy, and Scholar: business.|
|Aquatic Affinity||At the time of character creation only, the character receives 2D for very 1D allocated to the Athletics specializations in swimming and Survival: aquatic skills.|
|Mountain Affinity||At the time of character creation only, the character receives 2D for every 1D allocated|
to specializations of Athletics: climbing and Athletics: jumping.
|Combat Finesse||At the time of character creation only, the character receives 2D for every 1D allocated to the Melee Weapons, Fighting and Athletics: throwing skills.|
|Cultural Learning||At the time of character creation only, character receives 2D for every 1D of skill dice allocated to Cultures or Languages.|
|Rural Upbringing||At the time of character creation only, the character receives +2D bonus skill dice, which may only be used to improve the following skills: Scholar: agriculture, Scholar: business, Scholar: ecology, Scholar: meteorology, Persuasion, and Medicine: first aid.|
|Mechanical Aptitude||At the time of character creation only, the character receives 2D for every 1D allocated to any Repair/Craft and Devices skills.|
|Stealthy||At the time of character creation only, the character receives 2D for every 1D allocated to the Stealth skills.|
Other special abilities do not directly impact the mechanics of the game. These abilities simply allow an species to do things others can not. A bird-like species can use their wings to glide through the air. Other species can see in the dark. Aquatic species can breathe both water and air with no penalties.
|3||Atmospheric Tolerance||The character can breathe one form of atmosphere (gas or liquid) that would normally be lethal by human standards. This can be purchased for different versions of atmospheres.|
|3||Danger Sense||The character can sense danger. He is never surprised. Rather, he and his attacker must determine initiative as normal. Even if the attacker still goes before the character does, any combat modifier from the surprise is reduced by 2.|
|3||Environmental Tolerance||Alien can endure extreme environments and suffers no ill effects from them.|
|7||Immortality||The character is immortal, though he will grow older, at a decreased pace compared to the rest of her species. If he is reduced to max wounds, he doesn’t die. He will not go unconscious or bleed to death (as mortally wounded characters do), but he will not heal without psionic or magical aid or the Accelerated Healing Special Ability – his arms could be blown off, her abdomen eviscerated, or whatever.|
He may perform only the most minimal of physical actions, such as squirming, and some actions may be impossible. He may rely on his Agility for initiative purposes only.
There should be one particular set of circumstances whereby the character will die forever. These sets of circumstances should not be too unusual – killed directly by magic, drowned, decapitated, and so on are all good examples. A character may not have this ability more than once.
|3||Infrared Vision||Alien can see in the infrared spectrum, giving him the ability to see in complete darkness if there are heat sources to navigate by.|
|3||Longevity||The character lives longer than the average Human. Often, this Special Ability has a Flaw attached that governs what the character must do to maintain his life. The character should gain peripheral bonuses during game play because of his longer outlook. A character may not have this ability more than once.|
|3||Night Vision||Alien has excellent night vision and can see in darkness with no penalty.|
|3||Omnivorous||The character can gain nourishment from any organic substance (though he is not immune to poisons). He can also chew through just about any organic substance with no adverse effects to his teeth or jaws. A character may not have this ability more than once.|
|8||Possession, Limited||The character can possess the body of a living creature or a corpse. The character must be within three times the Level of this Special Ability in meters of the target in order to possess it.|
Possessing a corpse doesn’t require a roll, but it does take an action.
Possessing a living being involves making an opposed Willpower check by the possessor versus the target. Exceeding (but not equaling) the target’s Test means the target has been possessed.
To gather knowledge about his host body’s life, the possessing character must generate a successful Investigation total against the target’s Intellect roll as a Free Action. Information the possessor gains depends upon the level of success achieved. 1 success gets basic information (target’s name, age, address); 2 success gets more personal information (target’s job, financial status, any current schedule); 3 successes gets more in-depth personal information (identities and backgrounds of family, friends, lovers), etc.
With Limited Possession, the character does not gain control of the new form. Instead, he must use Persuasion or Persuasion (intimidation), or other applicable skills to convince his host to do what he wishes.
Exiting a host body is commonly a simple action. As long as the possessing character exits before the host dies, he simply moves on to his own or another form. Killing a possessing spirit usually involves taking it completely by surprise with a killing blow to the host form or using a spell to force it to remain in the body until it can be slain.
|10||Possession, Full||The character can possess the body of a living creature or a corpse. This works in the same way as Limited Possession, save that the possessing character gains her new form’s physical attributes (Agility, Stamina, Strength), retains her own mental attributes, and gains complete control over the new form.|
Scalable Constant Abilities
These can be bought at Ability Levels. Bonuses received from taking multiple Levels of the same Special Ability are added together. The point cost is for the first level and each additional level is one more point per.
|Points for first Level||Ability||Description|
|3||Accelerated Healing||The character gains a +1D per level to his Stamina for all natural healing attempts, and a Critical Failure is treated as 1, rather than having a negative effect on the die roll.|
|2||Ambidextrous||The character is equally adept with her right or left hand (assuming bilateral symmetry). He may perform an action with each hand in the same round (with multi-action penalty) and gains a +1 per level to each skill total. |
The actions must involve the hands. Each action must require only one hand. If the character performs only one hand-related action in a round, she does not get the bonus.
Some skills that characters could employ with either hand include Fighting, Thievery: lockpicking, Ranged Weapons, Athletics: throwing, Athletics: lifting, Craft/Repair: Artist, and Forgery.
A character may take multiple ranks of this Special Ability for two pairs of hands and multiple ranks for each additional manipulative limb.
|3||Animal Control||This gives the character the ability to control one particular species of animal, bird, or insect. The character gets a +1D bonus to her Animal Handling total for that species. She must generate an animal handling versus the Presence or willpower of the animal (more than one animal can be targeted, although this is a multi-action). If the character gets a high enough success (gamemaster’s decision), the animal is controlled for a number of minutes equal to the Animal Handling skill Rank x 10.|
A controlled animal serves its master faithfully, even sacrificing itself on her behalf. The Special Ability has a range of sight or voice. The character may gain one more species for each rank.
Note: A swarm of insects counts as one animal, as does a school of small fish. Any creature with a Intellect die code of less than 2D could be considered an animal, unless the gamemaster says otherwise (for example, a horse would be animal, but a zombie with a Intellect of 1D would not).
|2||Armor-Defeating Attack||When a character with natural weapons (the character’s fists, claws, teeth, etc.) attacks someone protected by armor, this ability negates the Armor Value, up to +1D per Level. The character must specify how the attack negates the armor: an acidic mist slips through any openings, enchanted claws reach directly to the flesh, etc. There should be at least one type of armor that is unaffected by this.|
|2||Attack Resistance||The character is highly resistant to a certain type of attack. He gains +1D per Level to his damage resistance total against this type of attack. |
Energy Attacks: Resistant to blasts of heat, fire, electricity, radiation, light, cold, and so on, but not the ability to survive in extremes of such environments.
Extranormal Attack: Resistant to damage from any Extranormal based (such as Magic or Psionics) attack.
Mental Attacks: Resistant to mental harm from any source. It does not provide protection against interaction attempts.
Non-enchanted Weapons: Resistant to physical damage from non-enchanted weapons, but not from poisons, energy, or similar materials.
|3||Blur||The character can appear indistinct to the naked eye or non-enchanted visual aids (binoculars, cameras, etc.). Commonly, a character with this Special Ability will only be spotted out of the corner of the eye. This adds +1D per Level to the character’s Dodge and Stealth totals, as well as +1 per Level to all Search, Investigation, and attack difficulties against the character that the blurring character is not actively trying to defeat. |
On the character’s turn, she may automatically become blurry, without taking an action, and remain so until she chooses otherwise. Blurring also makes it difficult for the character to hold a conversation with others.
|3||Confusion||The character can hamper the thoughts of those he comes into physical contact with at will. He gains the confuse skill at +1 Rank per Level (it is a Presence skill, described only here) and can only increase with additional Levels of this Special Ability. |
As a multi-action with a Fighting attack, he may also perform a confusion attack versus his target’s Willpower. IF the attacker succeeds in an opposed test, the target is confused for a number of rounds equal to the level of the ability.
|3||Darkness||The character can project a field of darkness around himself, adding +1 per Level to the difficulty of any sight-based skill totals. The field extends in a half-sphere around the character with a radius equal to one meter per Level. The field can be maintained for a maximum of one minute per Level before dispersing.|
|2||Elasticity||The character can stretch, elongate, and compress his body, allowing him to expand his height or become so narrow he can pass through keyholes, cracks, or any other opening he could normally see through. It takes one round or more to slip through small openings, depending on their depth. The character gains +1D per Level to Contortion, Dodge, or Sleight of Hand totals, in addition to Disguise attempts he performs on himself.|
|0||Extra Body Part||The character has an extra limb or organ. If external, these may be secondary arms or legs, a tail, or some more exotic bodily addition, such as fins, tentacles, or antennae. If internal, the parts are organs such as extra eyes, hearts, or mysterious glands. Unless specified by a Disadvantage or Limitation, the extra parts are included in the hero’s body tastefully. |
Additionally, except in cases where the character has an Enhancement or another Special Ability that uses this one this one (for example, Extra Body Part: Tail and Natural Weapon: Tail), the extra part is nonfunctional. A character may have only one rank in this Special Ability, but she may have multiple versions to represent multiple additional organs or limbs.
|3||Fast Reactions||The character gains +1D per Level to his Perception when determining initiative, and, for up to three times during the adventure, he may receive one additional action for one round.|
|2||Fear||The character can provoke fear in those who can see or hear him. He gains a +1 per Level to all Intimidation totals and -1 per Level against those Attacking the character. The willpower or Presence difficulty to resist a Fear attack is 2.|
|6||Flight||The character can fly, either by nature or by virtue of having wings. The character’s flying rate equals his base Move times 2 times the number of Levels. The Flying skill is required to maneuver.|
|3||Glider Wings||The character can fly by drifting with air currents, provided there is sufficient wind. Characters with this Special Ability need the Flying skill to control their passage. A character may not have this ability more than once.|
|1||Hyper-movement||The character is extremely fast, adding +1 per round per rank to her base Move rate, which in turn affects all other types of movements.|
|1||Immunity||The character is highly resistant to disease and poisons and receives a +1D per rank to Stamina or Resist checks when determining whether he has contracted an illness or suffering from ingested poisons.|
|5||Intangibility||The character can reduce his physical density to virtually zero for one minute per Level. During that time, his Damage Resistance Score against physical and energy attacks is +3D per rank, but his movement rate is halved. An intangible character can pass through solid objects, providing they do not contain wards or other spells of protection designed to repel passage of this nature. He may not pass through energy or electrified barriers. While intangible, the character cannot carry any object along (including clothing), nor can he attempt any physical attack. It takes a full round for a character to become intangible or solid, during which he can do nothing else. The character must spend at least one minute solid before attempting intangibility again.|
|2||Invisibility||The character can become transparent. This adds 1 per Level to the character’s Dodge and Stealth totals, as well as -1 per Level to all Search Investigation, and Attack Totals against the character that the invisible character is not actively trying to defeat.|
Additionally, no character may take an action to spot the character unless the gamemaster feels there is sufficient provocation, such as brushing against others or removing something in a crowded area.
The invisibility covers the character’s basic clothes only – not any gear she’s carrying, or anything she picks up. Also, remember that the character is transparent when invisible – she can’t hide things behind her back.
|2||Iron Will||The character is highly resistant to all interaction attempts and mental attacks. The character gains a +1D per Level to all willpower rolls and -2 to Totals of any such attempts against this character.|
|5||Life Drain||This ability allows the character to drain Attribute pips from his target. The character must choose one set of Attributes to target, either physical (Agility, Strength, Stamina), mental (Intellect, Perception, Presence), or Wounds. |
For example, most vampires drink blood, and thus lower Stamina, while succubi target the soul and so weaken mental attributes. The player must specify in what manner the character drains these attributes (biting a vein, hypnosis, and so) It should involve some sort of successful attack result (either physical or mental).
When the character wishes to employ Life Drain, he makes an Attack on his target using the relevant skill. For every Success the character makes, the character drains one pip per Level off each of the target’s relevant attributes or one Wound per Level for every two Success. (Remember that there are three pips in each die.)
If any of the target’s attributes ever go to zero or the character reaches the Dead Wound level, the target dies. If the target survives, she regains one attribute point (to each attribute affected) every hour after the attack.
For each attribute pip the character drains, he may add one pip to any attribute in his chosen category. He would get one Wound for each Wound drained. Life Drained attributes and unused Wounds disappear at a rate of one pip or point per hour.
A character may have multiple ranks of this Special Ability, as well as multiple versions of it.
|1||Natural Magick||The character can use a magic spell as a natural ability. |
An example of this would be a character who can dispel magic by his nature, rather than through the use of a counter-magic spell.
The cost of the ability – and the number of Level the character has in it – equals the difficulty of the spell. The chosen spell may not be charged (that is, have a fixed limit to the number of times it can be cast).
The character must adhere to the requirements of the spell, including its gestures, incantations, components, and so on. The casting of the spell is automatic (there is no need to roll a Magic skill to perform it), but the character does need to attempt any targeting skill or skill required by the casting (such as one needed to perform a gesture). If any of these fail, the spell does not work.
The player and the gamemaster need to discuss what spell the character will have, and what the range, duration, and so on will be. It’s suggested that some limitations be placed on the use of this ability to maintain game balance — for instance, a character who can toss fireballs as a natural ability might have to recharge for a certain number
of rounds between doing so.
A character may have this Special Ability once each for different spells.
|4||Paralyzing Touch||The character can freeze his target with the merest touch. When he makes a brawling attack, he may, instead of doing damage, paralyze her victim, who remains that way until he makes a successful Willpower roll against the brawling skill total. He|
may attempt to do so once per round; the only other actions he may
take are mental-based ones and Extranormal or Special Ability ones that
do not require movement. Note: Characters who are heavily armored
or covered will be harder to hit. The gamemaster needs to decide how
much skin is exposed and adjust the attack difficulty accordingly.
A character may not have this ability more than once.
|3||Sense of Direction||The character has a good sense of direction. He gains +1D per Level to Navigation and Search (tracking) rolls.|
The character can manipulate the shape, color, and overall appearance
of her body, though mass and body compositions remain the same.
The character must chose a specific creature to emulate, gaining one
form for every three additional points spent on this Special Ability. At
six ranks in this ability, the gamemaster may allow shifting among one
class of creatures (such as birds or furniture) as long as all forms chosen
for previous ranks were within the same class.
Body Points, Wounds, and the Knowledge attribute remain unaffected
by this Special Ability, but the dice in the Reflexes, Coordination,
Physique, Perception, and Presence (although the die code in the
willpower skill remains the same regardless of the change in form) are
redistributed to match the new form. Additional dice in skills above
the base attribute score remain the same, though the total dice in each
skill changes to reflect the adjustments in the base attribute. Likewise,
not all skills will be usable in the new form.
Attribute dice can also be used to include Special Abilities in the new
form. One attribute die can be spent to gain one rank in one Special
Ability or to get a +2 skill total bonus (split among up to two skills).
The gamemaster may allow a larger skill total bonus or more skills to
fall under the bonus if the desired effect is particularly narrow (such
as a bonus for a single sense).
For an example of how Shapeshifting can work, see the accompanying
Shapeshifting may be done at will, though a Limitation may force
it to be triggered by stress or environmental factors.
If shifting voluntarily, the character must generate a disguise total
of 11 to bring about the change, and a second total to turn back
again. Each change takes one
full round in which
the character may do
nothing else. Failure
at the check means
does not occur, and
the character cannot
try again for at least
It is highly recommended
that the hero
comes up with some
typical forms and their
before beginning play.
The new form need
not exactly resemble a
“typical” version of the
emulated creature or
The character can move in complete silence. He gains +2D per rank
to all sneak checks and a +1D per rank when attacking from behind.
Skill Bonus (1)
Skill Bonus represents a natural talent (a character with the Charismatic
group might be “friendly and outgoing”), a particular knack (a
character with the Animal Friendship group has a “way with animals”),
years of devotion to a profession prior to beginning adventure, or the
result of an extended life.
The character chooses a group of three related skills in which he
gains +1 to the skill total of any action performed with those skills (or
specializations of that skill). The skills need not be under the same
attribute. The character may or may not actually have adds in those
skills, and the gamemaster must approve the fact that they are “related.”
Some examples of skill groups include:
Acting: charm, con, disguise
Acute Balance: acrobatics, climbing, sneak