Monday, March 24, 2014

Savage Worlds Mass Effect: Powers

For those wondering, I will eventually compile these into a single document, edited into something a lot clearer. First, a basic overview of the two Arcane Backgrounds, then considering the individual powers.

Tech v. Biotics
While there's an obvious in-universe reason for the difference between the two, Tech and Biotics share many of the same powers. What's the differences?
1) Tech is not unique. Everyone can take the Tech skill, even without the Arcane Background. Tech represents the advanced technology of the Mass Effect Universe, and most people have a passing familiarity with it. The Arcane Background, however, represents a real flair with tech, being able to manipulate devices to share power pools and enact unique powers without necessarily having a device that does exactly that. With Tech, ANYONE can try to hack a computer with their omni-tool, use an acid-thrower weapon, create barriers with a portable barrier emitter, or activate the shields on their armor; someone with the Arcane Background might be able to use a Mind Reading power to simply learn executive level-passwords, or use their omni-tool to throw bolts of acid, create barriers, or create shields on armor that doesn't have it. The Arcane Background is Flexibility with tech, and the ability to learn new tricks.
2) Biotics have a bit of extra power. Though most biotics prefer to keep their slow replacing, natural points for emergencies, they can all make use of bio-amps for a pool of freely usable power points. While 500 credits isn't cheap, it's affordable to a lot of people and biotics find those 10 points to be enough for most uses. If someone has both Arcane Backgrounds, they can use Power Points from other objects to recharge their Bio-Amps; recharging a bio-amp from another device requires an action and a successful Tech check.




Arcane Background: Tech.
Arcane Skill: Tech (Smarts)
Starting Power Points: None. Dependent upon device.
Starting Powers: 1, plus devices.
A Tech character has learned to make use of the varied capabilities of omni-tools. In addition to learning the basics of Tech skills and the omni-tool, most pick up a specialty... a power that they can coax out of almost any omni-tool, using its on-board power.
As mentioned above, those with the Tech background do not have their own Power Points. They must, instead, rely on the power points in the devices they use. Some devices will have power points dedicated to certain devices, such as armor with dedicated shields (the Armor power). Devices with dedicated powers can be used by anyone with the Tech skill, and anyone may choose to learn the Tech skill. Those with the Arcane Background, however, can use those points to also fuel their own powers, subverting the design for their own purposes. Tech powers also do not reduce the Tech skill when sustained.
Available powers for the Tech Arcane Background are: Armor, Barrier, Blind, Bolt, Dispel (Tech), Greater Healing, Healing, Invisibility, Mind Reading (Tech), Puppet (Tech), Smite, Speak Language, Stun, Succor, Summon Ally (drones). Those powers with a (Tech) notation will only function against other tech powers and machines; you can turn off a Tech-based Armor power or barrier with Dispel, you can crack a computer or robot’s memory with Mind Reading, or control a device with Puppet, but you cannot use these on people, animals, or directly on biotic powers (though Dispel may be targeted at a biotic amp). Many offensive powers will have suitable trappings; acid, cold, eletricity, heat, light and sound are all possible. A power with different effects is a different power; one can learn Fire Bolt and Acid Bolt as separate powers.

Omni-tools
Omni-tools are, at the very low end, the world’s best smart phone. With extranet access when near a node, the extent of what can be considered “common knowledge” is pretty vast. Civilian models include the ability to function as a flashlight, scanning system, do basic repairs, dispense medi-gel (when provided a source), basic programming, hacking, video and audio recording and communication, breaking items into “omni-gel” (a semi-liquid amalgamation of plastics, light alloys, and ceramics), and, of course, video games, movies, and music. 
Military and top-end commercial omni-tools are more robust, especially in the minifacturing capabilities. With finer control and fewer safeguards, these omni-tools allow the use of various “tech powers”, making use of hard light, onboard VI, and available materials (including an on-board supply of omni-gel).
Anyone with the Tech skill may use their omni-tool for basic tasks, including the Healing power (if they have a supply of medi-gel). Those with the Tech Arcane Background may use an omni-tool for any of their powers. A standard, civilian, omni-tool will usually have 5 Power Points, which recharge at a rate of 1 per minute. More advanced omni-tools will have 10, 20, or even 30 power points, while some will have greater recharge rates, or be optimized for use with certain powers.

Arcane background: Biotic
Arcane Skill: Biotics (Spirit)
Starting Power Points: 10
Starting Powers: 3
Biotics are born with small nodules of element zero within their bodies, allowing them to generate mass effect fields with an effort of will. For most species (all save the asari), this would usually result in only minor effects, as the electrical fields generated by the neural system are insufficient and not coordinated enough to generate more powerful fields. To this end, biotics are fitted with implants. These cybernetic devices amplify and direct the mass effect fields more precisely, allowing far greater effects. Most human biotics are fitted with L3 or later models; the old L2s have greater potential, but tended to have negative side effects. Most aliens have a system similar to the L3 in place.
Biotics can supplement their power with “bio-amps”, external devices which attach to a port on the brainstem. These devices provide additional power points to a biotic, and recharge far faster than natural reserves. One’s natural reserves (10 Power Points) recharge at a rate of 1 per hour; most amps will recharge at 1 point per minute. While any combination of natural and amped power points may be used, they continue to recharge at their separate rate. Amps cost approximately 50 credits per power point capacity, though local market conditions may make them more or less expensive, and those above 10 Power Points are frequently far more expensive military models.
Available powers to a biotic background are: Armor, Barrier, Blast, Bolt, Burst, Damage Field, Deflection, Entangle, Fly, Havoc, Pummel, Smite, Stun, Telekinesis, Wall Walker. Biotic powers seldom have effects such as those listed on page 106 & 107, though they may have the "Mass Effect" trappings below.

Mass Effect Trappings
Mass Effect Trappings are most common with Biotic powers; many Biotic powers are only secondarily about causing damage, being far more useful in their ability to control your opponents.
*Grappling. Some Biotic powers will have a Grappling effect, holding opponents in space, or even above the ground. If the power is successful, make an opposed Biotics check against the opponents Strength or Agility. If successful, the opponent is grappled. If the biotic wishes, he can continue a grapple so long as the power is maintained; in the case of Instant powers, this may be continued at a cost of 1 PP per target per round. A continued grapple does not result in more damage, only in continued control. Targets may resist grappling as normal, using either Strength or Agility v. the Biotics skill. See page 73 for more information about grappling.
*Push. Biotic powers can also wrap a short-lived Mass Effect field around their target, moving them away from the point of impact. In this case, refer to page 75 for the rules for Push; the biotic uses their Biotics skill instead of Strength. Powers with this trapping require 1 additional power point, though those with an area of effect only need spend 1 point no matter how many are effected.
*Armor Piercing. By using the mass effect, objects are accelerated to great speeds, providing 2 AP at the cost of 1 power point.

Powers List
The full list of powers is listed below, with three different notations. T powers are based on the Tech skill; those with a B are available to biotics. Those listed as TO (Tech Only) are available only to Tech users, but furthermore only apply against tech-based targets; you may use Blind to shut down someone's optics, but cannot shut down someone's actual eyes. Cybernetic systems may be targeted by TO powers, though require a raise to be effective.

Armor (TB): Armor is a very common power to find in military-grade armor, where it is frequently referred to as "Shields" and carries a dedicated power supply; 10-20 points is not uncommon. Note that at the low end, shields may burn out quickly; a 10 point power supply will only supply 11 rounds of shields, before requiring several minutes of recharging (it can be stretched to 15 rounds if the user is willing to spend an action to reactivate their shields every 3 rounds, rather than maintain them). The power is far less common to Biotics, largely due to the prevalence of the power in Tech. In both cases, the power manifests as a glowing set of armor around any worn armor.

Barrier (TB):  Both manifest as glowing fields, with tech fields tending towards a "caution orange", while biotic fields are blue, with purple and white highlights. The tech power can appear different colors, if the user wishes. Secondly, while the field is generally immobile, some massive objects (such as the Ymir mechs and large vehicles) are able to anchor Barriers to themselves, making them immobile in relation to the mech, rather than the rest of the room. Biotics can likewise accomplish this, though it requires a raise and may require substantial power point investment to provide complete coverage. Barriers do provide cover from many biotic and tech powers, making destroying the barrier a good way to increase those powers effectiveness.

Blast (B): A Biotic Blast creates a mass effect that either repels everyone from the center of the template (using a Push effect from the Mass Effect trapping), or pulls them towards that same center (using a Grappling effect from the Mass Effect trapping). These effects might show up in special-created tech devices, but are beyond the capabilities of omni-tools. Trappings must be chosen when the power is taken; a Blast with Grappling and a Blast with Push are two powers.

Blind (TO):  Blind is useful for shutting down or fogging optic sensors, be they security cameras, HUDs in an armor's helmet, or the optics on Geth and various mechs. This is not invisibility; it is obvious to anyone who sees through the system that it is compromised.

Bolt (TB): Biotic Bolt most frequently involves a Push effect, but might also use a spray of debris accelerated to great speed, leading to an Armor Piercing effect. Tech-based Bolts involve using an omni-tools to create and propel a projectile. Different elemental trappings are possible; Acid's Corrosion or Burn, Cold/Ice's Fatigue or Slow, Electricity's Armor Piercing, Conduction, or Spasms, or Fire's Armor Piercing, Fatigue, or Flammable are all possible, but any given power can only use a single element, and all trappings must be chosen when the power is learned.

Burst (B): Burst functions much like Blast, including available trappings and the necessity of separate powers.

Damage Field (B): Biotic damage fields most frequently have the Push trapping. This power has a range of Self only.

Deflection (B): Biotic Deflection fields are a less aggressive version of the Damage field, pushing away harmful materials but not actively harming others. Some versions may have the actual Push trapping. 

Dispel (TO): Dispel can function against any tech power or item; this can include weapons without other tech-powers. It should be noted, however, that Armor and Barrier powers provide heavy cover against this power, reducing the Tech skill check by 4. If used against non-power based devices (like weapons or mechs), the items will restart in 3 rounds. Mechs, geth, VIs and similar devices may resist this power with their Vigor, Spirit, or Tech; simple devices (like firearms) require an unopposed roll at -2 to affect.

Entangle (B): Entangle uses a mass effect field float its target a few inches to a few feet off the floor. With the Push trapping, targets spread out (and the biotic receives a +2 to their push roll). With the Grapple trapping, the target must make two rolls to break free, though this can greatly increase the cost (especially for an area effect power). Failing to pay the ongoing cost of the grapple will end the power for that target, however.

Fly (TB): Fly is a very rare power, as the fine control of mass effect fields needed is relatively rare. Hanar using this power (either biotically or through their personal flight packs) move at their swimming pace of 6.

Greater Healing (T): Like Healing, this power may be learned in two variations; one for living creatures, the other for machines (including robots and cybernetic systems). These two variations are separate powers, and may not substitute for each other. On living creatures, using the power requires a source of medigel; for machines, it requires omni-gel; either a source of ready omni-gel, or something that can broken down into it (which includes most modern devices and non-structural construction). 

Havoc (B): Havoc is a common, non-damaging power among advanced biotics, allowing them to break up formations and chase people out of cover. Using the Push trapping will add to the distance the power throws its targets; using the Grapple trapping frequently results in targets floating in air, or held to the ground by powerful mass effect fields.

Healing (T): Like Greater Healing, this power may be learned in two variations; one for living creatures, the other for machines (including robots and cybernetic systems). These two variations are separate powers, and may not substitute for each other. On living creatures, using the power requires a source of medigel; for machines, it requires omni-gel; either a source of ready omni-gel, or something that can broken down into it (which includes most modern devices and non-structural construction). The version for machines does have one advantage; it does not need to obey the "Golden Hour", unless it has integral repair systems (as geth and many cybernetic systems).
Krogan have an innate version of this power, which functions every 10 minutes and is rolled with their Vigor attribute. This allows them to make a free power check against any poison and disease. Krogan that have been uninjured for the past 10 minutes may make an immediate check to heal damage, though that begins the 10 minute clock. The Krogan power requires no medi-gel.

Invisibility (T): A power common to special forces troops (such as infiltrators and some groups of Asari commandos), this power is also not unheard of among the geth.

Mind Reading (TO): Mind Reading only works against Tech-based targets, and is, essentially, a hacking shortcut; while anyone can use Tech or Investigation to attempt to hack a computer, that is an extended test similar to a Dramatic Task (p. 84). The Mind Reading power circumvents this need, allowing access to be rapidly gained, sometimes without the notice of the subject.
Asari also have this power as a racial ability. This power has a range of Touch, requires 3 full rounds, and successful use of the power results in both characters being Shaken (but not wounded).

Pummel (B): Pummel is very similar to Havoc, save for the shape of the template, and may use its rules.

Puppet (B, TO): For biotics, this incredibly difficult power manipulates the target through a combination of limb telekinetics and microburst mass effect fields confusing and sapping an individual's control of their own body. This power only functions against organic targets when used by a biotic.
When used by a Tech user, this power is a brute-force hack of a tech-based brain, shunting control to the Tech until internal systems override the control. It can be used against the heavily cybernetic, but requires a raise and the Spirit roll to resist is at +2.

Smite (TB): Smite can be used to apply Elemental Trappings to various weapons, such as an Electrical Smite power that includes Spasms or Armor Piercing effects, or Biotic-enhanced bullets with Push or Grapple effects. Grapple effects from empowered ammo last only one round.

Speak Language (T): Most omni-tools are able to translate the common languages of the galaxy into the user's preferred language; this requires no roll, power points, or skill check. More exotic languages, however, can sometimes be translated by those with dedicated linguistics computers.

Stun (TB): Tech-based Stun weapons are particularly common among police forces; some will carry the Spasms electrical trapping, Fatigue Fire/Heat trapping, the Slow Cold/Ice trapping, or the Deafen Sound trapping. Armor, Armor Powers, or the Barrier power provide cover from these weapons, depending on their protection (page 67).

Succor (T): Succor requires the presence of medi-gel, but does not actually reduce the amount of medi-gel possessed. Some versions will include the Jolt or Jazz Electrical trappings, though a critical failure with powers bearing those trappings results in Spasms for 1d4 rounds (this d4 does not Ace).

Summon Ally (T): Some engineers are able to create drones that can fight for them. These drones typically appear as balls of lights, and are able to attack targets. However, they are unable to move beyond a range of Smarts, are extremely vulnerable to melee attacks, and engineers find it difficult to summon more than one at a time; even with an increase in rank, each additional drone summoned after the first imposes a -2 penalty (so a Veteran engineer attempting to summon 3 Novice drones will find his Tech ability penalized by 4). Trappings, however, can be applied to both the Drone and its innate powers.

Novice Drone:
Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d6, Spirit d6, Strength d6, Vigor d8
Skills: Shooting d6, Notice d6
Pace: 6, Parry 2, Toughness: 10 (2)
Gear: None
Special Abilities:
*Armored Construct (+2 Armor)
*Construct: +2 to recover from being Shaken; no additional damage from called shots; constructs do not suffer from poison or disease.
*Fearless: drones are immune to Fear and Intimidation.
*Blaster: Equivalent to the Novice Bolt Power. Uses Shooting Skill, fires 1 bolt per round. Requires no power points.

Seasoned Drone:
Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d6, Spirit d6, Strength d8, Vigor d8
Skills: Shooting d8, Notice d6
Pace: 10 Parry: 2, Toughness: 10 (2)
Gear: None
Special Abilities:
*Armored Construct (+2 Armor)
*Construct: +2 to recover from being Shaken; no additional damage from called shots; constructs do not suffer from poison or disease.
*Fearless: Drones are immune to Fear and Intimidation.
*Blaster: Equivalent to the Novice Bolt Power. Uses Shooting Skill, fires up to 2 bolts per round (as Additional Bolts ability of the power). Requires no power points.

Veteran Drone:
Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d6, Spirit d6, Strength d8, Vigor d8
Skills: Shooting d8, Notice d6
Pace: 10 Parry: 2, Toughness: 10 (4)
Gear: None
Special Abilities:
*Armored Construct (+4 Armor)
*Construct: +2 to recover from being Shaken; no additional damage from called shots; constructs do not suffer from poison or disease.
*Fearless: Drones are immune to Fear and Intimidation.
*Blaster: Equivalent to the Novice Bolt Power. Uses Shooting Skill, fires up to 2 bolts per round (as Additional Bolts ability of the power). Requires no power points.
*Burst: Instead of using its Blaster, a veteran drone may use its Shooting skill to use the equivalent of the Burst power. Requires no power points.

Heroic Drone:
Attributes: Agility d12+3, Smarts d6, Spirit d8, Strength d8, Vigor d10
Skills: Shooting d10, Notice d8, Tech d6
Pace: 10 Parry: 2, Toughness: 12 (4)
Gear: None
Special Abilities:
*Dispel Resistant: Heroic drones resist the Dispel power with a +4 to their Vigor roll.
*Armored Construct (+4 Armor)
*Construct: +2 to recover from being Shaken; no additional damage from called shots; constructs do not suffer from poison or disease.
*Fearless: Drones are immune to Fear and Intimidation.
*Blaster: Equivalent to the Novice Bolt Power. Uses Shooting Skill, fires up to 3 bolts per round (as Additional Bolts ability of the power). Requires no power points.
*Burst: Instead of using its Blaster, a heroic drone may use its Shooting skill to use the equivalent of the Burst power. Requires no power points.
*Barrier: The Heroic drone may use the Barrier power per its Tech skill. It has 5 power points with which to use this power, though more may be donated by the drone's creator. Any barriers erected by the drone dissipate either at the end of the barrier's duration, or the drone's, whichever comes first.

Telekinesis (B): A common biotic power, this power can use the Grapple trapping to make it more difficult to escape, but it is seldom included.

Wall Walker (B): Biotics may create localized fluctuations in gravity to allow them to move along vertical or inverted surfaces. In weightless conditions, they may use this power to orient along any surface they choose; in those situations, they may always move at full pace and run.


Quick Reference: Powers Sorted By Tier
Biotic: 
Novice: Armor, Bolt, Burst, Deflection, Entangle, Smite, Stun, Wall Walker
Seasoned: Barrier, Blast, Damage Field, Havoc, Pummel, Telekinesis
Veteran: Fly, Puppet

Tech:
Novice: Armor, Blind, Bolt, Healing, Mind Reading, Smite, Speak Language, Stun, Succor, Summon Ally
Seasoned: Barrier, Dispel, Invisibility
Veteran: Greater Healing, Puppet