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Skip Navigation LinksHack Guidelines>Ability Sets

Ability Sets

In this hack Power sets are called Ability Sets. Other than this name change they are basically the same as defined in Cortex Prime.

Ability Sets are containers for Ability traits (aka Powers in Cortex Prime), SFX, and Limits.

Each trait die costs a number of Advances depending upon its step. Each SFX in an Ability Set costs two (2) Advances. Each Limit in an Ability Set reduces the cost of the Ability Set by one (1) Advance, but not to less than zero (0).

Trait die costs are not cumulative; for instance a d8 trait costs four (4) total Advances, and to upgrade it to a d10 costs two (2) more Adances not six (6) more Advances.

Ability Set Costs

Trait: d4
Trait: d6
Trait: d8
Trait: d10
Trait: d12
Additional Ability Set
cumulative +1

Every player character starts with one empty Ability Set at no cost which they can then spend Advances to add Ability traits, SFX, or Limits to.

Most player characters have two Ability Sets, but some have only one and others have more than two. There is no maximum number of Ability Sets a character might have, but unlocking each additional Ability Set costs a cumulative +1 Advance.

For instance, a second Ability Set costs 1 Advance to unlock, a third Ability Set costs 2 additional Advances to unlock, a fourth Ability Set costs 3 additional Advances to unlock, a fifth Ability set costs 4 additional Advances to unlock, and so on. Thus a character with five Ability Sets has spent a total of ten (10) Advances just on unlocking Ability Sets.

Because of this premium, there is an incentive to make character concepts work in as few Ability Sets as is practical. On the other hand a character can potentially add a die from each Ability Set to a dice pool, increasing their odds of success and potential for a better effect die. Finding a balance between these two considerations is left to each player to decide for themselves on a character by character basis.

Ability Traits

Ability sets may include one or more Ability traits that represent some of a character's more notable abilities.

Often, no roll is necessary to narrate how a character's abilities allow them to do colorful things that enrich the story. But sometimes success or failure matters, and when that is the case an action or reaction roll is typically called for. Whenever a character takes an action or reaction, they may include up to one (1) Ability trait from each of their active Ability sets in their dice pool if their player can describe how the trait might help them succeed.

By spending one (1) Plot Point per additional Ability trait a character can also include more than one Ability trait from the same set. Some SFX allow an additional Ability trait from the same set to be included in dice pools without having to spend a Plot Point per as well.

A player can attempt to justify adding a given Ability trait to a dice pool with a great deal of latitude, but the GM and / or other players may push back if a particular Ability trait added to a particular dice pool just doesn't make sense or strains plausability too much.

Ability Traits List

The Ability Traits document details all of the Ability traits available and describes what they allow a character to do.

A GM might decide to not include all of the available Ability traits in a particular campaign. It is also possible that there might be some custom Ability traits available that represent an setting-specific concept. It is also possible that a character might be allowed to have a custom Ability trait. Check with the GM to find out which Ability traits are available for player characters when making a character.

Example Ability Set

The Well Equipped Ability Set provide below is an example with nine (9) Advances worth of abilities within it.

Two d8's and one SFX costs ten (10) Advances, one Limit reduces that cost by one (1) Advance, for a final cost of nine (9) Advances.

This Ability Set can be further upgraded over time by applying more Advances to it. For instance, upgrading Armor from a d8 to a d10 would cost two (2) more Advances. Adding Ranged: d8 would cost four (4) Advances. Adding another SFX would cost two (2) more Advances.

Well Equipped

Melee: d8
Armor: d8

SFX: Shield: On a successful reaction against a physical attack, you may step up Armor or Melee for your next action or reaction.

Limit: Gear: Shut down any Well Equipped Ability trait or SFX and gain one (1) Plot Point. Take an action versus the doom pool to recover each Ability trait or SFX shut down in this way.

Advances: 9