Aberrant 2.0 Paramorphs
- 1 Background
- 2 Character Creation
- 3 Unique Abilities
- 4 Knacks
- 4.1 Combat Knacks
- 4.2 Utility Knacks
- 4.3 Social Knacks
- 4.4 Mental Knacks
- 5 Temporal Control
- 6 Characters
The Hammersmith Incident created three types of Inspired. The first two were the most well known, the Novas and the Psions, both capable of manipulating fundamental universal forces to meet their ends, having influenced the course of human civilization through centuries.
The third type is far rarer, and far more interesting. Their control is over another fundament of the universe, but one more subtle than the Novas or Psions. Their control is over time and probability. This is innate control, not the emulation of time and probability control a Nova gains from brute force via the powers of Entropy Control or Temporal Manipulation. Paramorphs are naturals at using time and probability to their advantage.
They are also Inspired, perhaps the purest Inspired. Every Daredevil holds the ability to become a legendary polymath, no matter their intellect, inclinations, or education. Theories on this abound. Perhaps the Many-Worlds theory is true, and a Daredevil can reach into one of any infinity of parallel universes and find a double of him who happened to have mastered the skill. Perhaps it's an innate part of their probability manipulation. Perhaps it's an entirely unrelated cause, correlation versus causation. Research on paramorphs (versus psychomorphs and eximorphs, or Psions and Aberrants as Aeon typically calls them) is slow-going, and even decades of accumulated research on fully willing subjects has brought little fruit.
Good examples of Paramorphs and their power aesthetics from other various fictional sources include:
- Homura Akemi, from Madoka Magica
- The Pointman, from FEAR
- Wesley Gibson, from Wanted (the movie, not the comic)
- Captain Price, from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
- Michael Thorton, from Alpha Protocol (and his inspirations, Bourne, Bauer, and Bond).
- Just about any 80s action hero
As you might be able to tell, Paramorph powers are either relatively subtle-on-the-edge-of-believability abilities which allow for improbable feats... or blatant and obvious time manipulation.
Paramorphs are built as normal baseline characters for Step 1 (baseline) character generation. Step 2 (inspiration) is where they get significantly altered. A Paramorph has 30 Transformation Points to work with, and a starting Inspiration of 1. A Paramorph's Inspiration pool is equal to (2 * Inspiration).
Transformation Point Costs
- Inspiration: 1 per 4 transformation points
- Attributes: 2 per 1 transformation point
- Abilities: 6 per 1 transformation point
- Ability Mastery: 1 per 3 transformation points
- Backgrounds: 5 per 1 transformation point
- Merits: 3 BP per 1 transformation point
- Knack: 1 per 2 transformation points
Experience Point Costs
- Knacks: 10 XP per Knack
- Ability Mastery: 12 XP per Mastery
- Inspiration: Current Rating * 6
Paramorphs are nearly impossible to detect. In fact, only a few characters are capable of detecting Paramorphs at all.
A Nova with Temporal Manipulation or Entropy Control (or similar temporal and probability manipulation powers) may attempt to roll their power's rating as a dice pool at +2 difficulty (+1 difficulty if the Nova has both powers, use the lower of two power ratings in this case) to detect a Paramorph. Success gives a rough idea that one exists and is nearby, but little more than that.
A Paramorph's ability to alter time and probability allows them to do interesting things. They can change the tactical situation, apparently unconsciously, to their own advantage, avoid even the most certain of fates via strings of increasingly-unlikely coincidence, and so on. A Paramorph has a total Inspiration score and four Inspiration facets: Dynamic, Reflective, and Destructive. Each facet is a part of the character's personality and reflects how the character is most likely to react in a crisis. A Paramorph may have as many total dots in her three facets as her permanent Inspiration, and may have no more than 5 points in any single facet. At 3 points and 5 points in a facet, the Paramorph gains additional bonuses.
A Paramorph's Dynamic facet is his ability to make leaps of faith, subconsciously manipulating probability and chance to grant the ability to take spontaneous action without worry of failure. Dynamic paramorphs look before they leap, acting before they have more than an inkling of a plan, making up their course of action as they go along.
Each point in the Dynamic facet of a Paramorph's Inspiration adds +1 to a Paramorph's Initiative, and a Paramorph reduces the difficulty of any task which requires fast thinking or action by his Dynamic facet.
At 3 points in his Dynamic facet, a Paramorph may freely switch all actions with no penalty and reduces all multiple action penalties by -1. At 5 points, a Paramorph may take an additional action every round.
A Paramorph's Reflective facet is his ability to endure conditions and wait, dealing with achieving long-term goals or extended tasks. Reflective Paramorphs tend to be inhumanly patient and enduring, their mastery of time and probability tuned to the point where waiting a week without food, drink, or sleep is something they find to be almost relaxing.
Each point in the Reflective facet of a Paramorph's Inspiration adds +1 to any dice pools that involve waiting for something to happen or to end. The most common such pools are Endurance, Resistance, and Willpower. A character also gains a number of bonus dice equal to his Reflective facet when making any rolls that are part of (or the entirety of) an extended project, and an additional -0 Heroic Health Level per point in Reflective Inspiration.
At 3 points in her Reflective facet, a Paramorph may ignore all wound penalties and succeeds any standard difficulty rolls to endure pain, deprivation, or harsh conditions. At 5 points in her Reflective facet, a Paramorph adds +1 to his permanent and temporary Willpower. This increase does not count for experience costs-a Paramorph with Willpower 5 (not including the +1 from Reflective 5) still pays 10 XP to raise Willpower by 1, rather than 12.
A Paramorph's Destructive facet is his ability to break things. It can be as obvious as the use of anti-tank missiles to blow up a building, or something more comparatively subtle such as a poison, or even breaking the will of nations with a single speech. Paramorphs with high ratings in their Destructive facet are often direct, unsubtle juggernauts or conniving serpents in the garden.
Each point in the Destructive facet adds +1 to a Paramorph's attack damage, or +1d to any rolls made to destroy an object, idea, relationship, or concept.
At 3 points in her Destructive facet, a Paramorph adds an automatic level of damage to all attacks. At 5 points in her Destructive facet, a Paramorph reduces the difficulty of any roll to destroy or disassemble an object, idea, or relationship by 1 and add an additional point of Armor Piercing to all attacks.
Inspiration allows any Paramorph to do more than a few things.
- Fortune's Favored: Paramorphs may reroll a number of rolls per scene for free equal to his permanent Inspiration. The second roll, of course, stands.
- Heroic Durability: Paramorphs are incredibly lucky and tend to be very, very difficult to kill, despite them being merely human in other ways. The Paramorph gains a second "Heroic" health track, made up of (Inspiration + Willpower) -0 Health Levels. The Paramorph assigns all health damage he or she takes to this track first. This "Heroic" health track heals instantly at the end of a scene no matter what damage it's filled with, and regenerates 1 health level of any type per round in combat.
- Incredible Luck: A Paramorph may spend 1 Inspiration point to reroll any dice which did not come up as successes on one of his rolls, or reroll all successes on an opponent's roll. Obviously successes and failures on these dice both stand. This even applies to Nova Mega-Attributes. Either of these forms of incredible luck may only be used once per roll. However, both can be used simultaneously (for 2 Inspiration points).
- Temporal Immunity: Paramorphs are extremely resistant to temporal alterations. They control their own personal timelines, and cannot be erased by time travel shenanigans such as going into the past and killing their mother. Against powers such as Stop Time or Dilate Time, they gain a number of bonus successes equal to their permanent Inspiration.
- Dramatic Editing: Paramorphs can alter probability and reality to create the most unlikely coincidences. Use the Adventure! rules for dramatic editing.
Paramorph characters regain 1 Inspiration point from these situations. None of these may give the paramorph more temporary inspiration than their maximum.
- Virtue or Vice: Indulging a vice or exalting a virtue gives 1 temporary Inspiration back.
- Relaxation: An entire day of rest and relaxation, without doing any serious work, grants 1 temporary Inspiration point.
- Wild Success: Rolling, without the use of knacks, rerolls, or any other factors, 5 or more net successes on a roll after difficulty (and not gaining any benefits from it) also grants 1 temporary Inspiration point.
- Being Stylish: A Paramorph may attempt to show off with any roll, halving their successes (round down). If the Paramorph still succeeds, he may gain a temporary Inspiration point in this fashion. Showing off in this fashion should be described in at least some detail.
- Sessions: Paramorphs gain 1 temporary Inspiration point at the start of a session.
Whereas Novas (and to a lesser extent, Psions) accomplish things via inhuman ability, a Paramorph accomplishes tasks via inhuman skill. The delineation between the two is not fully understood, but a Paramorph seems to bias their probability bending into certain lines of thought alongside their natural expertise, rather than along their physical attributes.
A Paramorph with Ability Mastery in an ability is an incredible expert in said ability, beyond normal human capabilities. Having an Ability Mastery adds 1 bonus success to any rolls the Paramorph makes related to the power, and also grants several additional benefits. Ability Mastery of a field skill grants the mastery of all abilities in the field.
- Desperation Maneuver: Once per scene, a Paramorph may pay 1 willpower and 1 Inspiration point to convert all die in a dice pool to successes.
- Superhuman Mastery: The Paramorph may buy the ability up higher than normal, increasing its maximum rating by +2, representing further refinement of the Paramorph's mastery of probability control and time. This normally will increase the maximum rating to 7, but it can go even higher.
- Fast Learner: The Paramorph pays only (Current x 1) cost to raise an ability above 5 if the Paramorph has a relevant ability mastery.
- Botch Protection: Paramorphs may never botch the use of an ability with an Ability Mastery.
- Strength of Will: A Paramorph's ability to succeed and his ability to twist the odds greatly improve the results from expenditure of will. A Paramorph gains double the effect of any willpower points spent when using them on a roll for which they have an Ability Mastery.
Paramorphs have more blatant expressions of their mastery of time and chance in the form of Knacks-tricks which border on the superhuman-but almost always can be explained via "luck" or "skill", skirting the edge of probability. Paramorph knacks are rarely obvious and have very few signs of their functioning.
Repurchases: Some Knacks can be repurchased to improve their capability. Repurchase benefits are listed with the system.
Requirements: Most Paramorph knacks have some level of mundane requirement-the Paramorph needs the framework to make their (relatively) more subtle powers work, whereas Novas and Psions can simply throw crackling cosmic power around without a care. A Paramorph doctor may be able to work miracles, but he still needs to do the surgery in the end, rather than just waving his hand and curing someone. A Paramorph soldier can make guns do impossible feats in his hands, but without a gun he can't shoot someone, and so on.
Lightning Reflexes: A Paramorph with this knack is never caught flat-footed or otherwise surprised. Even though his measured reaction times are still well within (trans)human possibility, they operate continuously on the high end of human reaction speed and never have "slow days". This Knack is repurchaseable.
- System: The Paramorph is considered to have rolled '5' on any initiative roll where she rolls below 5. If repurchased, the Paramorph never rolls initiative, instead calculating his initiative as (Dexterity + Wits + 10). The repurchased version refunds all XP from merits which allow rolling multiple die for initiative, such as Combat Veteran.
- Requirements: Lightning Reflexes requires the Paramorph to be fast on his feet already. The Paramorph must have a Dexterity + Wits total of 6 for the first purchase, and a total of 8 for the repurchase.
Ambush Master: If the Paramorph initiates hostilities, he can easily have, and can maintain, the pressure on the enemy, they'll always be the ones reacting to him, rather than the other way around.
- System: The Paramorph's opponents are considered to have rolled '1' on any initiative roll as long as the Paramorph is the one to initiate hostilities.
- Requirements: Ambushing and keeping initiative requires an understanding of stealth and tactics, so only characters with Stealth 1+ and Tactics 2+ may possess this knack.
Opening Gambit: Han shot first. Paramorphs with this knack can do that all the time, as well.
- System: If the Paramorph initiates hostilities, for the first turn, all of his enemies are considered to have an initiative of 1 no matter what they roll.
- Requirements: Anyone capable of pulling off one of thse is either a master of deception (Manipulation 4+) or a extremely fast thinker (Wits 4+).
Blindside: A Paramorph with this knack can blindside anyone with lower initiative, catching them absolutely unaware.
- System: If the Paramorph attacks an opponent with a lower initiative total, the Paramorph catches the opponent by surprise unless the character succeeds on a (Wits + Awareness) roll with difficulty equal to 2 plus the Paramorph's permanent Inspiration.
- Requirements: A Paramorph with this knack needs to have some idea of how to stab someone in the back, and requires Stealth 2+.
Move Reading: A Paramorph with this knack is exceptionally good at beating anyone slow (or slow-witted) enough to telegraph their movements.
- System: All opponents with lower initiative than the Paramorph are at +1 difficulty to attack the Paramorph. This stacks fully with any other difficulty increases.
- Requirements: To read an opponent's moves requires significant combat experience, and therefore the Paramorph needs at least two combat abilities at 3+ (combat abilities are Brawl, Melee, Martial Arts, Firearms, Heavy Weapons, and Gunnery).
Hard to Kill: A Paramorph with this Knack finds dying to be the hardest thing he's ever done in his life. This knack may be repurchased any number of times.
- System: The first time in any scene the Paramorph would be reduced past Incapacitated with lethal or aggravated damage, the Paramorph is merely reduced to his last -4 health level instead. Every repurchase allows the Paramorph to apply this against another attack.
- Requirements: Only the strongest willed people can will themselves to literally not die. This knack requires Willpower 7+.
Indomitable Will: The character is essentially impossible to brainwash, interrogate, or break, even with psionic or quantum powers.
- System: All mundane attempts to brainwash the character or extract information automatically fail. All attempts to use mind-altering powers on the Paramorph (including mental blast) are at (Inspiration + 2) difficulty.
- Requirements: The character must have Willpower 6+.
Impossible Evasion: The Paramorph can dodge anything, no matter how unlikely. This knack may be repurchased a number of times equal to the Paramorph's Inspiration.
- System: One per combat per purchase of this knack, the Paramorph may force an attack to automatically fail, as if the enemy had 0 successes on the roll.
- Requirements: Only incredibly capable Paramorphs are capable of evading such impossible attacks. The character must have a Dexterity + Athletics pool of at least 8d.
Last Stand: Heroes never die without accomplishing something. A Paramorph with this knack is incapable of dying before getting at least one last word in. And that word is generally lethal.
- System: If the Paramorph is reduced past Incapacitated with lethal or aggravated damage, the Paramorph ignores any damage past his Incapacitated level. In this state, the Paramorph is invulnerable to any and all harm, regains all Inspiration, and ignores wound penalties. Furthermore, the Paramorph doubles his Permanent Inspiration and all dice pools (as well as automatic successes)-including pools for damage. This heroic state lasts for one turn, at the end of which the Paramorph drops dead for good.
- Requirements: To be a hero to the last is something only the strongest willed and toughest men and women can achieve. This knack requires Stamina 4+ and Willpower 8+.
Made of Iron: The Paramorph never gets hurt as badly as he should-bullets hit at shallow angles, the complex dynamics of the explosion's fireball happen to leave him mostly unharmed, the ammunition was of inexplicably poor quality, and so on. This knack may be repurchased.
- System: The Paramorph adds (Inspiration) to his bashing/lethal/aggravated soak. Repurchase adds (Inspiration * 2) to his soak instead. This soak is considered natural soak.
- Requirements: A Paramorph with this needs the toughness to shrug glancing blows off, and requires Stamina 3+.
Resolute: The character has nearly infinite reserves of willpower, above and beyond what one might think humanly possible.
- System: The character adds (Inspiration) to his permanent willpower. This increases the pool for willpower rolls, but also increases the maximum number of temporary willpower points a character can possess. This does not affect experience costs for raising Willpower.
- Requirements: The character requires the ability to endure pain and suffering, and must have an Endurance of 2+.
Untouchable: This knack makes the opponent's high-tech weaponry more dangerous to the enemy than the Paramorph. Many of the original Aeon members prefer outdated weaponry specifically to take advantage of this knack, taking on advanced armies with nothing but a .45 caliber revolver and a century-old knife. This knack may be repurchased.
- System: As long as the Paramorph has notably inferior weapons and equipment to the opposition, all attempts to attack the Paramorph are at (+Inspiration) difficulty and the Paramorph is allowed a reflexive dodge at full pool against them. Notably inferior weapons and equipment require things like fighting a 21st century infantry platoon (heavy weapons included) with nothing more than a revolver, or taking on power-armored soldiers with payload rifles with a M-16 and sheer balls. Psionic and quantum powers do count as "superior equipment" if their combat effects are notably superior to what the Paramorph's equipment can produce. A repurchase of this knack makes outgunning the Paramorph a great way to commit suicide, as failed attacks against the Paramorph are automatic botches if Untouchable applies.
- Requirements: The Paramorph has to be fast to be untouchable, and needs a minimum Dexterity + Athletics of 6.
Assassin: The Paramorph, when faced with an unaware foe, is always in a position to strike and deal the absolute maximum damage.
- System: When attacking from surprise, the Paramorph deals a killing blow-all damage dice are considered to have rolled successes.
- Requirements: An assassin has to be stealthy and have a good "poker face". This Knack requires Manipulation 3+ and Stealth 2+.
Born to Kill: The Paramorph is exceptionally adept at dealing damage with any tool he or she has available.
- System: The Paramorph may reroll any dice which do not come up as successes on a damage roll. The reroll stands.
- Requirements: This Knack only works with any combat skill that the Paramorph has at 2+. Any lower, and the Paramorph isn't skilled enough to maximize weapon damage.
Dim Mak: The Paramorph hits weak points with every shot or blow-and if no weak points exist, he makes those weak points exist. A Daredevil with this ability can destroy cars with single rifle bullets, kill a man with a single punch, and so on. This knack may be repurchased.
- System: The Paramorph reduces enemy soak by (Inspiration) before calculating damage. Repurchasing doubles the effect of this knack.
- Requirements: Only the perceptive can seek out and hit weakpoints, and therefore a character needs Perception 3+ to use this knack.
Slayer/Sniper: The Paramorph is a legend in melee or in gunfights, dealing out the pain with any weapon he or she has on hand. Slayer provides a Paramorph the zenith of melee combat ability, while Sniper makes the Paramorph impossibly good with ranged weapons of any sort.
- System: The Paramorph adds [Inspiration] to the damage adds of melee/unarmed attacks (Slayer) or ranged attacks (Sniper). The additional damage adds granted are capped by the total (damage + damage adds) of the weapon-a pistol dealing 5L damage cannot add more than  to its damage, even if the Daredevil has Inspiration 10.
- Requirements: Slayers are consummate experts in all things hand to hand and must have Brawl and Melee at 5+, while Snipers must have Firearms and Heavy Weapons at 5+ to understand the way of the gun to this point.
Merciful: There are no dangerous weapons, there are only dangerous men. The corollary, of course, is that a non-dangerous man can make even the most dangerous weapons nonlethal. And you're the man for that job. This knack may be repurchased.
- System: After damage is rolled, the Paramorph chooses exactly how many levels of damage (up to the number of successes) to inflict on the target. A repurchase applies this to even area-of-effect weaponry such as grenades, rockets, and bombs. Note that with area of effect weaponry, this "mercy" only applies to one target. You might be able to selectively spare someone with a nuclear warhead, but the rest of the city is still fucked.
- Requirements: The Paramorph must have a 3+ in a relevant combat ability, as well as Perception 3+ (for knowing where to aim). A repurchase of this knack requires Heavy Weapons or Gunnery 5.
Ten Thousand Weapons: In the hands of the Paramorph, everything can be used as a weapon.
- System: The Paramorph takes no penalties for using improvised weapons, and increases their accuracy to +0 (if it was lower) and their damage to +3B or +1L (again, if the original damage was lower). Apply this before applying any other weapons-modifying knacks like Universally Deadly.
- Requirements: The Paramorph must have either Melee or Athletics 4+ to have the skill to use anything and everything as a weapon.
Universally Deadly: The Paramorph is a weapons savant, who has a connection to a virtual eternity of experience in a hundred different lifespans of weapons usage. He is familiar with every weapon which has been made or will ever be made in history.
- System: The Paramorph adds +2 damage and +1 accuracy to all weapons (including unarmed attacks), and takes no penalties for using exotic or unfamiliar weapons. Furthermore, the Paramorph's expertise with weapons means that all armed attacks are at +1 difficulty against him-he knows the characteristics of weapons so well he can instinctively position himself to minimize threats.
- Requirements: The Paramorph must have at least one combat ability at 4+ to use this knack.
Chain Shot/Fury: Give the Paramorph a gun and a room full of enemy combatants, and he'll give you a room full of corpses and an empty magazine. The close combat equivalent, Fury, allows for the rapid elimination of multiple enemies in melee range.
- System: If the Paramorph kills an opponent with an attack and possesses Chain Shot, he may make a reflexive attack against another opponent with a firearm or other ranged weapon until he either runs out of ammunition, runs out of hostile targets, or fails to kill a target. A Paramorph with Fury may do the same thing, but with melee weapons instead.
- Requirements: The Paramorph must have a Dexterity + Firearms pool of 8d (for Chain Shot) or a Strength + Melee or Strength + Brawl pool of 8d (for Fury).
Crowd Control: The Paramorph is exceptionally good at disabling multiple opponents at once.
- System: The Paramorph is allowed to make a "full attack", where he makes 1 attack against up to (Wits + Inspiration) enemies until he has attacked each once or has run out of actions or possible attacks to make. Like a full defense, the first attack is at -0, then subsequent attacks take a cumulative -1 penalty, rather than using the normal multiple action rules. Similarly, a full attack means the Paramorph may not do anything else-in this case, this includes moving from his position.
- Requirements: Someone skilled at Crowd Control requires competent combat skills and an understanding of basic tactics, and therefore has a combat ability at 2+ and Tactics 1+.
One Man Army: The Paramorph may be outnumbered, but he is never outmanned. The more people are there, the more chaotic the situation, the more elements of luck he can bend to his will, and the more time seems to slow down.
- System: When the Paramorph is outnumbered, he gains benefits: every combat roll gains +1d for every opponent facing him past the second, every three enemies facing him add +1 difficulty to all rolls made to attack him up to a maximum difficulty penalty of (+Inspiration), and every four enemies facing him grant him an additional, free action which may only be used for combat purposes (up to Inspiration extra actions). For every additional opponent the Paramorph is facing, The GM may calculate how badly the Paramorph is outnumbered via a ratio, those directly engaged or engaging the Paramorph, or directly pairing off opponents 1:1 with the others and then calculating from there, depending on the situation, game type, and drama level.
- Requirements: A Paramorph who is a One Man Army must understand small unit tactics to exploit them, and therefore must have Tactics 2+.
Don't Fear The Reaper: A Paramorph with this knack is a glorious typhoon of carnage, barely pausing to mow down foes like chaff. This Knack is repurchaseable-a Paramorph may have up to (Permanent Inspiration) total incidences of this Knack.
- System: The Paramorph reduces all multiple action penalties by 2. Every repurchase reduces multiple action penalties by an additional 1.
- Requirements: The Paramorph needs to be well-coordinated to use this knack, and requires a minimum Dexterity of 3+ and Wits of 4+.
Double Trouble: Normally, akimbo weapons is stylish but doesn't do much. For a Daredevil with this knack, though, two guns or two swords means twice the lethality, no questions asked. This knack may be repurchased.
- System: If the Paramorph is wielding paired weapons, he gains a free, reflexive attack with his off-hand weapon as long as he is normally capable of acting. If the character is ambidextrous and has no off-hand, the player chooses which weapon is his off-hand. A repurchase of this knack allows an additional reflexive attack (for a total of 2), rate of fire permitting.
- System: Only the coordinated can use two weapons at once, and therefore a Dexterity + Wits of 6+ is required for this knack.
God of War: War is in the Paramorph's blood. He is a weapon of destruction par excellence, an unstoppable engine of destruction who tears through elite soldiers like an action movie hero fighting nameless extras. This knack can be repurchased, making the character a near-invulnerable god of war.
- System: Whenever the Paramorph removes an enemy from combat, he regain a temporary Inspiration point, up to his normal maximum. A repurchase gives the character an additional temporary -0 health level every time an opponent is defeated as well. Any damage taken to these temporary health levels is ignored when they fade at the end of the scene.
- Requirements: To be a God of War, one must live and breathe it. A God Of War must have all combat abilities (Brawl, Melee, Martial Arts, Firearms, Heavy Weapons, and Gunnery) at 4+, as well as Athletics and Tactics at 3+.
Sleight of Hand: The Paramorph is very good at handling small objects quickly and precisely, which translates into better Legerdemain rolls and superior weapons reloading times.
- System: The Paramorph may reload his weapons reflexively and gains (Inspiration) to all Legerdemain rolls.
- Requirements: The Paramorph must have Legerdemain 2+ or Dexterity 4+ to have the skill with fast, precise hand movement, needed for this knack.
Trick Shot: The Paramorph is impossibly good with firearms, capable of doing incredible trick shots and impossible feats of marksmanship.
- System: The Paramorph halves the final difficulty of all called shots (round down). Furthermore, the Paramorph takes no additional penalties from attempting a called shot-they do not go last in Initiative when attempting one. Finally, the Paramorph adds a number of dice equal to the original difficulty penalty of the trick shot. However, this Knack halves the number of extra successes when applied to damage.
- Requirements: A trick shooter must be a skilled shot, with Firearms/Heavy Weapons/Gunnery 3+ or above.
Follow The Breadcrumbs: Evidence just seems to drop into the Paramorph's lap. It takes very little time for the Paramorph to get to the bottom of the case, even if he has to simply stumble into it.
- System: The Paramorph subtracts (Inspiration) from all Investigation difficulties.
- Requirements: To follow the Breadcrumbs, the Paramorph must either have sharp senses or know what to look for, and must have either Perception or Investigation at 3+.
Keen Sense: The Paramorph notices important details before anyone else does. The shadow of someone using active camouflage, the smell of a guard's cologne, the barking of attack dogs, the mutterings of a conversation... the Paramorph can unerringly sense and focus on those small details.
- System: The Paramorph subtracts (Inspiraton) from all Awareness difficulties.
- Requirements: The Paramorph must be good at spotting minute details already, with a Perception + Awareness of 6+.
Trivia Expert: The Paramorph seems to be a walking encyclopedia, because for some reason he already knows relevant details for any situation. They might not always be right, but following those hunches always leads to the goal.
- System: The Paramorph may roll (Inspiration) at any time when faced with a roll where obscure knowledge may be helpful (say, a ritual murder). Success gives a tidbit of random trivia that may or may not be true, but will help the Paramorph achieve his or her goal.
- Requirements: A Trivia Expert must be well-read and requires either Intelligence 3+ or Academics 2+.
Brilliance: The Paramorph is a font of useful facts and knowledge. More practically, the Paramorph can figure out any unknown tool or device in a handful of minutes, if that.
- System: The Paramorph can learn how to use an unfamiliar tool extremely quickly. A Paramorph from the 1920s with this Knack who ended up in the 21st century would be able to operate a computer as well as the average person within minutes. Furthermore, the Paramorph has an intuitive idea of what any tool does and how to make use of it, even odd tools such as alien technology. Finally, the Paramorph gains (Inspiration) dice to any attempts to repair or reverse-engineer objects.
- Requirements: A brilliant character must be intelligent, and cannot be slow-witted, with a minimum Intelligence of 3+ and Wits of 2+.
Excessively Prepared: The Paramorph always has the right tool for the job, or a sufficiently practical improvised tool.
- System: The Paramorph never takes penalties for lack of valid tools-because if he needs a tool, it'll be within arm's reach. This extends to utilities such as food or water as well, as long as it's even remotely possible to find it in the environment.
- Requirements: Someone excessively prepared has to be very good at improvisation and creative uses for equipment, with a minimum Wits of 3+.
Maintenance-Free: The Paramorph's stuff always works. The zippers on his clothes never break, his guns don't jam, his computer never crashes or gets spyware, he never runs out of toilet paper, and the like. In essence, he is immune to minor inconveniences-or major ones, such as his gun blowing up in the middle of combat.
- System: The Paramorph ignores equipment failure conditions (such as the weapon self destruction on overcharged weapons) and furthermore his equipment can always be maintained with the simplest tools and a minute of spare time. However much he uses it, they stay essentially as good as new barring directed violence. Finally, if the Paramorph uses a prototype system with bugs, those bugs never occur.
- Requirements: A Paramorph with this ability must have basic mechanical familiarity, and an Engineering of 1+.
Ace Pilot/Stunt Driver/Sea Dog/Trick Rider: The Paramorph is a god among men in his chosen conveyance. An Ace Pilot can make anything that flies pull off outright impossible maneuvers, while Stunt Drivers do the same with land vehicles and Sea Dogs do the same with ships. Trick Riders, of course, can do it with animal mounts. This Knack may be repurchased multiple times, each repurchase allowing the Paramorph impossible expertise with another mode of transportation.
- System: The Paramorph adds his permanent Inspiration to a vehicle's maneuverability score, increases the vehicle's safe speed to its normal maximum speed, and increases its maximum speed by 10% per point of permanent Inspiration with a combination of redlining the engine, massaging the odds of catastrophic failure, and subtle temporal trickery. Furthermore, while the vehicle is moving, all attacks against the vehicle that the Paramorph is aware of have their difficulty increased by (Inspiration/2 or Wits/2), whichever is higher (round down). Finally, if the Paramorph is Incapacitated or killed while at the controls of a vehicle, the Paramorph ignores it (treating it as a mere -4 wound penalty) until the vehicle is destroyed or stops moving.
- Requirements: The character must have a Drive/Pilot/Ride ability of 3+ to purchase the knack relevant to the vehicle type. (Naval vessels use "Drive").
Obstacle Course/Navigational Hazard: The Paramorph's escape routes always end up being tangled obstacle courses which are as dangerous to his pursuers as the Paramorph himself. "Obstacle Course" applies this to foot chases, while "Navigational Hazard" applies this to vehicular chases. This Knack may be repurchased once to apply the effects to both.
- System: Whenever a pursuing opponent suffers a mishap or takes damage from collision or melee attack, they take (Inspiration * 2) dice of bashing damage, soakable normally. If the cause of damage was an attack or collision, this damage is unsoakable instead. Furthermore, if a vehicle is destroyed by this damage and has anything flammable on it, it inexplicably bursts into flames and explodes. Its passengers may attempt a Dex + Athletics roll at +2 difficulty to avoid horrible flaming death.
- Requirements: The character needs Athletics 2+ for Obstacle Course and Drive 2+ for Navigational Hazard, to avoid the dangers in their escape routes.
Shortcut: The Paramorph can always find the shortest and easiest possible route from point A to point B, however implausible it may be. This Knack may be repurchased.
- System: The Paramorph ignores all movement penalties due to broken or difficult terrain and may traverse it at full speed with no need for any sort of roll. A repurchase renders the Paramorph immune to any incidental environmental hazards that could plausibly be avoided with luck. A Daredevil with this Knack could sprint through a minefield without worry, but couldn't walk through a river of acid, for example.
- Requirements: The character must have a minimum Athletics of 2+ and Survival of 1+. The repurchase requires an Athletics of 3+.
Binary Invisibility: Not every computer system is perfect. Not every case can be tested. Inexplicable bugs pop up all the time. They just happen, though, to pop up whenever you show up-and they work to make you invisible against most types of electronic surveillance and data mining. This Knack may be repurchased.
- System: Any unwanted attempts to trace the character over computer systems automatically fail. The character has a nonexistent presence over the internet, OpNet, or any other world wide network, outside of friends or family who the character wants to correspond to. The character doesn't get spam mail or anything else, and attempts to search for the character come up with the wrong person. Similarly, the character never gets recorded on cameras. If repurchased, all automated electronic systems fail to respond to the character-if there's nobody actively monitoring a security system, he could waltz straight through the front door, trip every alarm, and nothing would go amiss.
- Requirements: The character has to be at least nominally computer savvy, with a Computers of 2+ or Intrusion of 3+.
Shadow Operative: The Paramorph is a ghost in the shadows. Although he isn't actually invisible (Psions and Novas do that instead), he is a master of stealth, capable of finding some way of hiding in a bright featureless room. This Knack may be repurchased, allowing a paramorph to hide in just about any situation, no matter how inexplicable, shifting from momentary blind spot to blind spot like a ghost.
- System: All difficulty penalties to Stealth are halved. A repurchase eliminates all difficulty penalties to Stealth rolls.
- Requirements: Shadow Operatives have to be good at sneaking around, with a minimum Stealth of 3+. The repurchase requires a true master of Stealth, with Stealth 5+.
Spy's Luck: The Paramorph cannot be eavesdropped on. Lady Luck finds a way to interfere with the most subtle eavesdropping and disrupt any attempts at covert surveillance.
- System: Any attempts at covert surveillance of the Daredevil automatically fail without the use of powers such as Telepathy, Clairsentience, or ESP or an Ability Mastery. Even those powers are at +2 difficulty to track and monitor the Daredevil. This Knack has no effect on more obvious methods of information gathering, such as news cameras or breaking into one's luggage.
- Requirements: A character has to be good at either stealth or subterfuge, with a Stealth of 2+ or Subterfuge of 2+, to have Spy's Luck.
Untraceable: The Paramorph leaves no trace of his passing. DNA evidence comes out degraded, footprints get ruined almost immediately, fingerprints are smeared and useless-even scents get masked and rapidly dissipate.
- System: The Paramorph leaves no forensic evidence on the scene and cannot be tracked without an Ability Mastery in Investigation or powers (such as Mega-Perception, Clairsentience, or Pretercognition). Any attempts to track the Paramorph with such powers are at +2 difficulty. Note this doesn't prevent the Paramorph from incriminating herself-if she foolishly leaves her heirloom pistol at a crime scene, the lack of DNA evidence won't mask that it's her gun.
- Requirements: None.
Dramatic Entrance: No matter what you do, you look amazing doing it. This is obviously useful for social events, but can also provide an edge in combat.
- System: The character gains +2d to all social rolls. In addition, the character may use this knack to intimidate in combat. If the character rolls more than 5 successes on a single action, he may reflexively roll (Charisma + Intimidation) against opponents' (Willpower + Highest Combat Ability). If the opponents fail this opposed roll, they suffer a +1 difficulty penalty to all combat actions besides fleeing. A botch of this roll results in the opposition losing their first turn as well.
- Requirements: The character must have something to work with for dramatic entrances. A minimum Appearance + Style 5+ is necessary.
Go Tell The Spartans, Passerby: The character is such an inspiring leader that his subordinates give it more than their all.
- System: Any forces directly commanded by the character add the character's Inspiration to their Willpower. This increases their reserve of Willpower points as well as their resistance to psychological warfare. A panicky mob led by this character will loyally stand and fight as if they were a crack, high-esprit unit, even against massively superior force.
- Requirements: A character needs to be sufficiently inspiring, with a Charisma + Command of 6+, to use this Knack. Furthermore, the character has to know what he's talking about, and needs a minimum Strategy of 2+.
Inspirational Aura: The character is an inspiration to everyone whose life he touches, to the point where they bring a little of her exceptional luck and heroism with them.
- System: The Paramorph may inspire a group of people or a single person with an inspirational speech or gesture. For the rest of the scene, those people gain a temporary Inspiration of 1, can spend Inspiration points as a Paramorph, and gains an additional +1d in any ability the Paramorph has an ability mastery in. A Paramorph may inspire up to 1 person at a time at Inspiration 1, 10 at Inspiration 2, 100 at Inspiration 3, and 1,000 at Inspiration 4+.
- Requirements: A character cannot inspire if he is not impressive. A minimum Charisma and Appearance of 4+ are required to make this knack work.
Master of Dissimulation: The Paramorph is capable of lying so well that the only people who can call him on his bullshit are the people who are already experts in the field-and even plenty of them will get fooled.
- System: Whenever the character lies or bluffs, any attempts to detect this lie or bluff automatically fail unless the opponent is both an expert in the field in question (Ability 4+) and succeeds an opposed roll to detect the deception. This is independent of any disguise or physical appearance problems-the character can mumble something about being a pacifist monk when dressed up in bloody combat gear and anyone who isn't familiar with that religion will find their own excuses to accept this.
- Requirements: Manipulation + Subterfuge 6+
Master of Style: The character can dress to get exactly what effect he wants, whether it's to impress or to disguise himself to infiltrate an evil volcano lair.
- System: The character gains +2d to all Style rolls, and halves the difficulty of all disguise rolls.
- Requirements: Style 3+.
Poker Face: They never see you sweat. You've been in identical situations so many times, lived every possible outcome. They don't scare you.
- System: All attempts at intimidation or reading the Paramorph's emotional state (via Rapport) fail automatically without the use of powers. Even with powers, all attempts are at +4 difficulty. Furthermore, the Paramorph gains +2d to all rolls to lie or bluff, owing to his incredible poker face.
- Requirements: To have an inhumanly good poker face requires a good poker face in the first place. This Knack requires Willpower 7+ or Manipulation 3+ and Wits 3+.
Ahead of His Time: The character seems to understand exactly how the future will turn out. When other people are writing about how there will be flying cars and atomic space liners flying to the moon in the year 2000, he's the one predicting cellular phones, the internet, facebook, and bittorrent. It seems like a minor talent, but the character also seems to understand exactly how to use and build said technology.
- System: The character never suffers difficulty penalties due to anachronistic technology. A 1920s character with this knack taken into 2150 will be able to fly a fusion-powered aerospace fighter with no difficulty penalties (assuming, of course, he has Pilot). Furthermore, a character automatically understands how to reverse engineer any sort of technology and the minimum requirements to produce it. Note that gadgets, as a semi-independent emulation of a posthuman's powers rather than truly being advanced technology, do not fall under this category.
- Requirements: The character must have a Wits of 3+ to have the intuition necessary to make such leaps of logic.
Gadgeteer: The character is exceptionally good at building and improving equipment, as well as understanding the principles on which systems are made. Given enough time, he can make a copy of just about any invention, or build his own device on similar principles.
- System: The character adds (Inspiration) to all rolls made for developing or buiding superscience or gadgets-even if the character is only an assistant.
- Requirements: Gadgeteers have to be good at engineering and applied science, with an Intelligence + Engineering pool of 7+ and at least one Science ability at 2+.
Genius: The character is a scientific genius with no equal, unraveling the secrets of the universe with such speed it is as if the universe itself is whispering the answers to the Paramorph in question. Which it is.
- System: The character adds (Inspiration) to all rolls made for scientific or engineering advancement-even if the character is only a lab assistant.
- Requirements: The character must be both inspired and intelligent, with a minimum Intelligence and Inspiration of 3+.
Sun Tzu's Blessing: The Paramorph is a strategic genius to end all strategic geniuses. He can take up a bunch of ragged militia and fight a first world army to a standstill. He could defeat a Napoleonic army with longbowmen and swords, or shatter a World War II-era armored division with only pike-armed cavalry. However he does it, the winning side is always the side he's on, no matter the disadvantage in manpower, materiel, or training.
- System: The character adds (Inspiration) successes to rolls on strategic planning.
- Requirements: A strategic genius has to be a strategic genius. A minimum Intelligence + Strategy of 8+ is required for this knack.
Demolition Man/Insurgent Zero/Mimetic Counteragent: The Paramorph knows how to disassemble things. The "Demolition Man" Knack covers disassembling physical objects, the "Insurgent Zero" variant covers disassembling social constructs like groups or nations, and the final version, "Mimetic Counteragent", covers the disassembly of ideas. The Paramorph can see the weak points in their chosen field, and may choose to gracefully disassemble these (taking a car apart bolt by bolt, a peaceful succession of power in a nation, an idea fades away) or violently shatter them (disabling and rendering permanently unusable a weapon, causing a nation to break up into sectarian civil war, creating violent backlashes against an idea).
- System: the character adds (Inspiration) successes to any rolls made to disassemble an object/society/idea-this can be violent or nonviolent as desired. Furthermore, the "Demolition Man" knack has combat benefits, reducing the soak of any physical object by (Inspiration), which stacks with other soak-reducing knacks, and allows a character to reflexively disassemble weapons with a successful disarm.
- Requirements: A Demolition Man must be learned, with an Int + Engineering of 6+. Insurgent Zero has to be charismatic and crafty, with a Charisma of 3+ and a Manipulation + Subterfuge of 5+. And a Mimetic Counteragent must be intelligent enough to recognize even the smallest flaws in an argument, then charismatic enough to press them, with an Intelligence + Academics of 5+ and a Charisma + Etiquette of 4+.
Duct Tape And Baling Wire: The Paramorph may make temporary repairs on any equipment that hold up just long enough to get to safety or accomplish a task.
- System: The Paramorph may roll (Wits + Valid Engineering Field) at difficulty (vehicle's current damage penalty + 1) to fix any damage to a vehicle or device that is not completely destroyed. Each success repairs 1 health level of damage, or the effects of 1 called shot. Each one of these rolls takes 1 minute to complete and may be attempted at any time, even in the middle of combat. However, these repairs are temporary and last for one scene, after which their effects are lost. If the vehicle would have been destroyed if not for these jury-rigged repairs, it fails catastrophically at the end of the scene. Larger vehicles require more Paramorphs with this knack to successfully repair: 1 Paramorph is needed per every 100 tons of vehicle. Less than that, and the temporary repairs take longer to accomplish (1 Paramorph repairing a 6,000 ton vehicle would require 1 hour to make 1 roll, for example).
- Requirements: The Paramorph must be skilled at repairs, with Engineering 3+, to be able to improvise temporary repairs to critical systems on the fly.
Hot Rod: The Paramorph may, in a short period of time, customize a single piece of equipment to be significantly better than any factory model.
- System: The Paramorph may roll (Intelligence + Engineering) factoring in any bonuses (such as from Gadgeteer, lab assistants, or ability masteries), with one roll representing approximately 1 day of continuous work. Each success counts as 1 success on an Advancement roll to apply to that single piece of equipment-unlike a normal advancement roll, these apply to single examples and are not easily reproducible.
- Requirements: To hot rod something, the character must have an Intelligence + Engineering of 7+. Furthermore, the character needs some field experience with the system in question and must have that ability at 2+. Someone enhancing firearms would need Firearms 2, while someone enhancing a fighter would need Pilot 2, and someone enhancing computers would need Computers 2.
Anatomical Expert: The Paramorph has a superlative understanding of biology and medicine, which provides him the ability to heal or wound with particularly brutal effectiveness.
- System: The Paramorph adds (Inspiration) dice to all Medicine rolls, and suffers no difficulty penalty to treat even unfamiliar biologies. Furthermore, the Paramorph is devastating in combat against living beings, adding +2 to damage due to a knowledge of anatomical weakpoints. If the Paramorph wishes to describe the potential injuries he can inflict in brutal detail, he may use (Intelligence + Medicine) for Intimidiation as well.
- Requirements: The Paramorph must be an excellent biologist and doctor, with Science (Biology) 2+ and Medicine 3+, to become an Anatomical Expert.
Patch Up: The Paramorph may temporarily heal an ally to get her to safety or back into action, although such quick fixes rarely last for very long.
- System: The Paramorph may roll (Wits + Medicine), adding any difficulty penalties in for poor tools or an unclean operating theater but not penalties for rushing her work, taking an interval of approximately 30 seconds (10 combat turns). Each success on this roll restores 2 bashing or 1 lethal/aggravated health level to a character. However, this healing is only temporary, and fades at the end of the scene, although this will never reduce a character to less than his last Incapacitated health level.
- Requirements: The Paramorph must be a skilled doctor, with Intelligence 3+ and Medicine 3+, and be a quick thinker, with Wits 3+, to use this knack.
Relatively few Paramorphs in the early age evolved from their control over instantaneous happenings to the ability to outright manipulate time itself-Maxwell Anderson Mercer was the most notable, but not the sole, paramorph with that power. However, the Nova Age and (eventually) the Psion Age have made it much more common. Unlike the other powers, temporal control is obvious and blatant. The Paramorph has begun to see through the cracks and finally understands what his power is, why his life is so blessed. With that comes manipulation of time-dilation, acceleration, stasis, and finally, more exotic and riskier options like acausal time loops, temporal cloning, precognition, and so forth.
Temporal Control techniques are bought as Knacks, but require Inspiration to activate and use. Furthermore, they also tend to require an Inspiration minimum-weaker Paramorphs do not yet have the raw power for gross time manipulation.
Temporal Manipulation Techniques
Bottomless Magazines: The Paramorph can rewind time to some extent. Although too weak to be useful on human-sized objects (and therefore insufficient for backwards time travel), the Paramorph uses it to never run out of ammunition or supplies.
- System: The Paramorph may spend 1 Inspiration point to gain infinite ammunition for the entire scene, allowing her to continually fire a weapon without fear of running out of ammunition.
- Requirements: Inspiration 3+.
Time Dilation: The Paramorph has mastered the most basic but most general-purpose temporal manipulation technique, allowing her to move and react faster by accelerating time. This knack is repurchaseable up to five times.
- System: The Paramorph may spend 1 Inspiration point to gain an additional action for the rest of the scene. Like all additional actions, this action cannot be split. Each repurchase grants another extra action on activation (so 2 extra actions with 1 repurchase, 3 with 2, and so on, up to 6 additional actions with the maximum 5 repurchases).
- Requirements: Inspiration 3+. Each repurchase requires an additional point of permanent Inspiration as well (so the first repurchase requires Inspiration 4, the second Inspiration 5, and so on, up to the fifth repurchase which requires Inspiration 8).
Temporal Loop: The Paramorph can twist his own timeline to be in more than one place at one given time.
- System: The Paramorph may spend 1 Inspiration point to warp his own timeline, creating an effective temporal clone of the character as of that exact moment. This duplicate tracks health and willpower separately, but shares the same Inspiration track. This loop is not stable and to avoid triggering chronology protection conjectures and being retroactively erased, only lasts for a scene.
- Requirements: Inspiration 5+.
Stasis: The Paramorph may stop someone else's timeframe temporarily, taking them out of action for a few precious seconds.
- System: The Paramorph may spend 1 Inspiration point to freeze any target (including himself) in time, preventing them from acting or being acted upon for a number of turns equal to the Paramorph's Permanent Inspiration. Unwilling targets may attempt to resist by rolling Willpower. Novas with Temporal Manipulation may add their power rating in dice to their willpower score, while Paramorphs may add their permanent Inspiration as successes to their Willpower roll. Each success on the resistance roll reduces the time in Stasis by 1 turn (to a minimum of 1 turn).
- Requirements: Inspiration 5+.
Time Damp: The Paramorph can create a field of slowed time around himself, allowing for the near-trivial evasion of most attacks.
- System: The Paramorph may spend 1 Inspiration point to add his permanent Inspiration to the difficulty of any attack made with high-velocity projectiles such as bullets, rockets, and so on for 1 turn. Any attempt to attack the Paramorph in hand to hand combat or with slower projectiles such as grenades, thrown objects (without certain M-Str Enhancements), or the like automatically fails. Time Damp has no effect on abilities which bypass the intervening space and hit the Paramorph directly, such as Algesis, Mental Blast, or Biomanipulation techniques, or on speed-of-light energy weapons such as lasers.
- Requirements: Inspiration 5+.
Time Stop: The Paramorph can accelerate her own personal timeframe to the point where everyone else is effectively standing still. Although this pause may only last for a few seconds, this is often more than enough for any Paramorph. This Knack may be repurchased.
- System: The Paramorph may spend 1 Inspiration point to gain an additional turn where only she (or any other Paramorph with similar powers) may act at all. Opponents may not even attempt to react to anything that happens in that turn, even if it involves a dozen anti-tank missiles being fired at them. The repurchase allows reflexive activation of Timestop and allows it to "hang" for as long as a Paramorph needs to escape danger, allowing a Paramorph to pay 2 Inspiration to evade any attack automatically (although large area attacks like Radiant Conversion, nuclear weapons, and so on require the Paramorph to pay an additional 1 Willpower surcharge due to strain as well).
- Requirements: Inspiration 6+.
Negate Injury: The Paramorph twists his past timeline, removing anything that happened that he didn't like. He was never hurt in the first place, he was always in the prime of health and is so now. Disease, poison, and injury are discarded like a bad dream.
- System: The Paramorph may pay 1 Inspiration to negate all injury or deterious effects. This gross timeline alteration is drastic and difficult to commit, and therefore may only be done once per scene.
- Requirements: Inspiration 6+.