I’ve finally finished reading the system bits of Wild Talents and I do wish I’d read it earlier as it is a pretty solid action system with a lot of crunch and grit.
It’s honestly the first time since reading Marvel Super Heroes by TSR that I felt like I could reliably model any power. MSH will always have a special place in my heart because it modelled things so well (in truth, it did no modelling, it was all narrative).
Essentially Wild Talents uses a system where you buy dice in ‘stats’, ‘powers’ and ‘skills’.
Powers are, ironically. the cheapest thing to buy (which I suppose is fair enough in a superhero game.). The base cost of every power is 1 point for 1 dice. It’s when you add qualities to it that the cost increases.
e.g. We want to create a power called “Fire Generation” which will model the power in the MSH Ultimate Powers Book. To keep the Math simple we’re going to guy one normal dice in it which is the logical equivalent of getting the power at Feeble (2) rank.
1 point spent in Fire Generation allows you to generate a plume of flame. It’s a showy effect but not useful for much else.
Each quality added increases the dice cost by 1 per die.
- Adding the Attacks quality adds a single point cost but it means that the fire can be directed into an attack. Of course, with 1 dice in it, it’s actually useless but bear with me here.
- Adding the Defends quality means that the fire can be used to defend against attacks by, burning attackers, destroying missiles and the like. Again, with one die it’s useless but you get the drift.
- Normally, if you get hurt or otherwise distracted, the power cuts out, and in this case, the flame plume would just stop. The Robust quality means that it keeps working even if you are hurt or distracted but it still stops if you’re knocked out.
- Fire Generation is a ‘fighting’ power but the ability to generate fire has other uses outside of roasting bank robbers. To be able to cook with it without turning the food to cinders, or light a cigarette without roasting someone alive or even just use it to light a room in the absence of a torch means you have to take the quality “Useful Outside of Combat”.
This means there’s an incredible range of Fire Generating Powers available.
It’s possible to buy Fire Generation with only the Useful Outside of Combat quality. Your character could have a career being a human barbeque, being able to perfectly create a Souffle or warm a room with his presence.
It’s also possible only to buy it with the Attacks quality so that it can only be used to blow things up.
This means a somewhat useless Fire Generation power costs 1 point per die, but a Fire Generation that allows you to attack, will defend you from attacks, will continue to defend you even if you get hurt and can be used to toast marshmallows and keep your coffee warm will cost 5 points per die (because we’ve added all four qualities). That’s quite expensive in points so how do we reduce it? By adding Flaws which reduce the cost per point. More on that later.
In the next WT post, I’ll talk about the dice conventions, the names of which were a major reason for me to have ignored Godlike and Wild Talents for so long.