Powers in Brave New Heroes – Design Philosophy


This is a quick post about some of the meta-rules I’ve attempted to follow while designing the power building guidelines for Brave New Heroes.

These are guidelines not rules

Like the stunt creating guidelines in The Dresden Files creating powers in Brave New Heroes is based upon a set of suggestions rather than concrete rules. This is important to me because, despite proverbs to the contrary, rules are made to be followed and the more rules involved the more the table tends to end up discussing how to do what they want within the rules rather than making their own decision and moving on to playing.

I want a set of guidelines for building powers simple enough to remember without cracking open a game book so that we can easily improvise powers while playing.

The FATE fractal and abstract mechanics

This is my primary inspiration of course. I want guidelines that will remain true to the nature of FATE which means that powers follow the fractal concept and they use a small number of abstract game mechanics.

Prefer cost adding over cost discounting

Rather then discounting the cost of a power by removing a capability we will prefer adding capabilities to powers for additional cost. Discounting the costs of powers leads to awkward situations such as powers with negative cost, or powers that can almost never be used, but when they can are overwhelming.

Prefer game-time over creation-time

I want to be biased towards real, at the table, playing. Rather then a book full of options that force someone to spend time thinking about how a power works when they are creating a their character, I prefer to delay those decisions to actual game play when it become far more interesting. It is the character’s decisions about effect building and the interplay of a power’s aspects with the environment and the narrative that will decide what a power can and can’t do. A limitation on a power is only meaningful during game play.

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