A Powered World

A Powered World


  • A Powered World is a system for superpowered RPG campaigns that focuses on creating interesting super powered characters in order to create a fun world and roleplay for the players and the Game Master.  The system creates a set of rules and the ability to add chance mechanics to your game. This creates a foundation that allows the GM and the players the ability to weave a story together through cooperation and working together to describe their story. The rules are not strict, heavily math focused, or forces you into tight rigid limitations; A Powered World creates a simple framework to allow players and GM’s imaginations to flow  and work together to create interesting super powered characters with unique skills and characteristics that can work together in a unique super powered world.

  • Any kind of superpowered campaign can be run with this: superheroes, supervillains, mercenaries, government agents, thieves, criminals, anarchists, everyday good-doers, members of a highly trained organization, and many other potential groups.

Players and Game Masters

  • A Powered Word system requires a good working relationship and ability to work together well between players and Game Masters. The GM’s job is to create the world, story and to play out any opposition the players must deal with whether it be antagonist or just creating challenges that a player must go through and deal with. A player's job is to create a unique and fun character that works for a vision that they are happy with and can work well in the world the GM is creating.  To tell the story and play the characters well the GM and players must craft stories, encounters, fights, and moments that are large parts discussions and agreement on how these things go, with some chance mechanics to allow for randomness and unbiased decisions  in the campaign. The players and GM’s must work together to create the best story together, no one's perfect, but try your best to have the best game possible.

Creating a Character:

  • Before character creation it should be decided what kind of powered individual you are trying to create and what the group dynamic will be.

  • Anytime in the character creation part of the book, if a range of numbers is given, such as 5-15, how high or low the range should be is based on how advanced or powerful the players and their characters should be based on the GM's decision. Any range can also be increased or decreased beyond the limit if the GM decides that is what they would like for their campaign: playing with weak, low powered characters or playing characters strong enough to be gods are potential options if that is the world the GM wants to run. The ranges are just approximate numbers for average leveled campaigns.

  • The Steps of character and power creation can be done in any order.

  • Powers:

    • Introduction:

      • Powers can be a variety of different and strange abilities with many different potential focuses and capacities. Powers can have a central focus, complicated powers, multiple simpler powers, be based upon a specific idea, or multiple ideals; the potential for powers are boundless and unlimited.

        • In My setting: Powers are attained by everyone between being born and around their 16th birthday. The most common cause of power snapping is through moments of stress or high emotions; If an event does not cause a snapping, the effects of puberty will cause one. The Powers given are shaped by the situation of the snapping, as well as shaped by different focuses, information about the person's memories and character, the emotional situation, and physical situation of the person. Sometimes strange powers emerge from snapping events that do not seem to warrant it, powers are a strange and interesting phenomenon. Players would need to decide what moment caused the snapping and discuss with the GM on how their powers were created in that moment.

    • Point buy:

      • The players get to work with the GM to decide on what they want their powers to be. What level your powers are, how they function, what they can do, and the full scope of capabilities and limitations of your powers.

      • Start each player out with 5-15 points . Pick out your powers, players and the GM should talk out power ideas and decide what level they would be at.

      • This chart describes the full span of the power level of different powers. It goes beyond what an average player should be allowed in cases of more powerful beings.

Main Powers

21 points

An apocalyptic leveled power

18 points

An absolute leveled power

15 points

An unstoppable leveled power

13 points

An overpowering leveled  power

10 points

An exceptional leveled  power

8 points

A high leveled power

5 points

A strong leveled power

3 points

A medium leveled power

2 points

A low leveled power

1 point

A minor boon power

Increase in power levels can be decided upon multiple different aspects of powers: magnitude, precision, pure power, ease of use, potential uses, span, limits, amount of people affected, scope, and many other aspects that are dependent on the power. This should be discussed between the GM and each player.

Example of Power Progression

Consider a potential power progression for a relatively simple power, Pyrokinesis, control of fire.

Minor Boon Power:

Ability to generate candle sized flames, small sources of light, or gain resistance to burns.

Low Leveled Power:

Ability to throw fist sized balls of flame with enough power to ignite a campfire

Medium Leveled Power:

Ability to control a small area of flames, generate fire shields, or surround your body in a layer of flame

Strong Leveled Power:

Ability to generate and control larger swaths of fire, project high powered beams of flame, and create large flame walls

High Leveled Power:

Ability to create and manipulate flames in a large radius around oneself and project highly destructive  blasts of flames

Exceptional Leveled Power:

Ability to generate and have strong control and manipulation over all fire in a very large area, capable of generating flames upwards of several thousand degrees, or creation of fire that obeys vastly different rules then real fire

Overpowering Leveled Power:

Ability to create highly dangerous, destructive, versatile, and varied flames over a vast area

Unstoppable Leveled Power:

Ability to create large enough swaths of flames to easily burn city blocks, burn nearly any material it touches, and spreads at an uncontrollable  rate

Absolute Leveled Power:

Ability to generate miniature suns, control all flames in a radius hundreds of miles across, and capable of causing untold hundreds of billions of dollars in damages

Apocalyptic Leveled Power:

Ability to generate and control flames to such an extent that you are capable of potentially world ending consequences or to warp the world at a fundamental level

  • Each character also gets an additional 2-8 points to draw from this table. This allows for increased physical ability, or minor abilities such as minor healing factor, resistance to damage, enhanced senses, or other minor abilities that allows for a person to keep up in a superpowered fight.

Secondary Powers

4 points

A low leveled power

3 points

A minor boon power

2 points

2 enhanced sense abilities

2 points

1 extremely enhanced sense ability

2 points

2 superhuman physical traits

2 points

1 beyond superhuman physical trait

1 point

2 minorly enhanced physical traits

  • Foundations of each Power:

    • Each power needs a foundation and that foundation is used to help each player and GM more fully understand each power. Each foundation should be increased and grown upon until it allows you the best understanding of your power.

    • The initial foundation of your powers should be an ideal or focus for the entire set of powers. You could focus on ideas such as shadow, ghost, strongman, angel, speedster, human computer, technological genius, pyrokinetic, advanced mind, or many other potential options. The initial foundation can be as short or complex as you prefer and it should help create a focus for your set of powers or singular power.

    • Each power should have a foundation and explanation of what it is and some of what it’s capable of doing. Such as, Pyrokinetic: Capable of manipulating flames, Ability to phase through walls, Capable of seeing 5 seconds into the future, Able to sense vibrations through walls, Superhuman strength capable of lifting massive weight, and other potential ones.

      • Each power should also be given a point total and a power level

    • Each Power should also get a set of at least 3-5 limitations and 3-5 capabilities in order to get a well defined shaping of each individual power. Further limitations and capabilities can be further added on or described in order to shape the power further. The better shaped a power is, the easier both the players and the GM can understand and agree on what a power is capable of doing. Limitations are just as important as capabilities, putting limitations on your power may allow you to have further capabilities in other areas; it also allows for setting of limitations described by your power level.

      • A power's limitations should describe a set of circumstances that limits what a power is capable of. Some examples: a telekinetic has a max range of 100 feet and a max effective range of 60, the strongman hero maxes out at 5 tons, someone's healing ability only functions in the sunlight, or a pyrokinetic is only able to control flames up to a certain degree of heat.

      • A power's capability is something that the power is completely capable of doing and describes an action, possibility, or range of how a power can function. Some examples: A hydrokinetic can easily create whips of water, the mind reader can read a person's surface thoughts without a struggle, the speedster is fast enough to run upon the surface of the water, or the psychic can see into the next 10 minute future of anyone they touch.

    • Capabilities and limitations can often go hand in hand and some capabilities could be reworded as limitations and vice versa. A good set of capabilities and limitations allow for a good shaping of a power. They may not describe all aspects of a power, but that is fine, further limitations and capabilities can be added as a game runs and a person works on their power further.

    • When rolling for anything that the GM and player agree is one of their capabilities the player can roll twice or more and choose the most favorable number. A limitation is either something that cannot be done in any way, or if the GM and player agree that there is a chance something blocked by a limitation could be possible, have the player roll twice or more and they choose the least favorable number.

  • Random Element:

    • Most people don't usually get to pick or choose the powers they are stuck with, players are allowed to choose their abilities with the help of the GM to allow them to play a character they want to play and that the GM agrees with it. In order to factor in the uncontrollable powers, each character should roll 2 D20 dice before or after choosing their powers  and then must pick one of the two elements in the below table based on their roll.


Your power requires intense concentration to work


Your power only recharges in specific circumstances(During the day, at night, alone, in social settings, when exercising, when feeling a certain emotion, etc)


Your power causes you to become somehow inhuman. Roll another d20 to see how severe it is


When your power is in use, a fundamental force  begins to act strangely to you (Gravity, friction, density, inertia, light, energy, heat, entropy, sound, kinetic energy, etc)


Your power slowly damages your body in some way


You are now physically deformed in some way. Roll another d20 to see how severe it is


Someone else got a power at the same time as you, 

your relationship is not a good one


When your power is in use, one of your emotions begins being warped and twisted


You haven’t slept since your gaining your powers or your power requires you to sleep double the amount of a normal person


You get an additional 2 points to draw from any table


Your power causes people around you to feel a certain emotion or mental state


Your highest level power is increased a power level but has become more uncontrollable


Your power functions differently based on the attributes of the people around you (amount of people looking at you, the emotion of a crowd, proximity of people in range, number of people fighting, etc)


You feel uncomfortable looking at yourself since you got your powers. You believe your powers have destroyed your past self and fundamentally changed who you are


Your mind no longer functions like a normal humans


Your power has created a secondary entity in your head that has some control over your powers


Your powers cause violent tendencies the more it is used


Your body no longer feels pain


Your power begins to cause physical or mental pain if used for too long


Pick one of your powers at random, except the highest power, if you only have one power, a power from the second chart is chosen.  The power increases a power level

  • Skills: 

    • Your characters are more than just what their powers give them. The characters are skilled people with powers that bring them up to superhuman level. Most characters will have a handful of skills that they feel very confident in, sometimes even some bolstered by their own powers. But no character is perfect and everyone has deficiencies in areas.

    • Skills are action, abilities, and maneuvers that your character excels at. Pick 2-6 skills that your character excels at, discuss with your GM what are good and valid skills for a character to have. Some potential ideas are: hand-to-hand combat, firearms, diplomacy, deception, haggling, insight, agility, acrobatics, athletic ability, strength, endurance, perception, mastery with a weapon, stealth, and many other possible options. Whenever you must roll for anything that can be connected to one of your skills, up to GM and players agreement, you can roll twice or more and choose the most favorable roll.

    • As much as every character has skills they are great at, they have abilities that they struggle to do. Deficiencies are actions, abilities, and maneuvers that your character is lacking in ability or they are negative character traits the character has. Some potential ideas are: uncoordinated, short-sighted,  terrible sense of direction, difficulty telling the truth, can’t resist the urge to steal, difficulty speaking with others, shy, aggressive, lack of endurance, weak muscles, Inability to lie, and many other possible options. Whenever you must roll for anything that can be connected to one of your deficiencies, up to GM and players agreement, you must roll twice or more and choose the least favorable roll.

  • Backstory and Character: 

    • Your character is something beyond their powers and skill sets. They’re people who have lived their own lives and each have their own unique existence.  How much backstory and character traits you want to give your character is up to you, but having a good understanding of your character allows you to play a more fun and interesting character.

  • What Kind of Group are you in?

    • One of the most important questions that will have to be decided is what kind of group and what kind of people the characters need to be in order to fit into what the party and GM thinks the game should be like. Some groups are supervillains, superheroes, mercenaries, shadowy government agents, or even terrorists. This is a decision a GM and a party will have to come to and agree upon in order to shape their characters and backstories.

  • How did you get your powers?

    •    Everyone gets their powers in one way or another.  Every world and game has different ways powers can be created. In my setting every power is gained during a significant moment in your life and it causes a snapping moment that causes you to gain powers. Any way to get powers is valid, but think about how you gained yours?

  • What was your life like growing up?

    •   What kind of place did you live in growing up? Slums and poverty, rich high society, small town, massive supercity, or even living under a highway pass. How did you grow up in it, did you follow your way of life perfectly, are you a rebel against a system that doesn’t understand you, are you living a double life, do you have a dark secret, or have you found some new way to write your story?

  • Why are you a member of the group?

    •   Every party is made up of a group of people who are connected in some way. Often being members of a group committed to a common cause. Why are you a member?  Why choose them? What are your eventual goals? What do you think about them? Do you know them? These are questions to ask yourself.

  • What are you like?

    •   How would you describe yourself, or even more importantly how would others describe your character? What are your personality traits and how do you live your life? How do they view themselves? Make sure to take the time to understand how your character acts and thinks.

  • What are your life goals ?

    •   Everyone wants to accomplish something. What are your passions and what do you have to accomplish in life? What are the next steps in your life? Everyone wants something, what do you truly want out of life? 

Making a Character Example:

  • Let’s make an example character to help understand how to put one together. We’ll make Joseph Morales, a street level hero  named Karmic Justice. He fights for justice and fights those he believes to be deserving of it, he often goes too far in fights and has a rough reputation.

  • We’ll go through a simplified version of his character creation. We will not go through all of his powers capabilities and limitations, and we will keep his backstory brief.

  • Joseph will have a 8-4 for his powers, which means he has 8 points for main powers and 4 points for secondary powers.

  • Powers:

    • 5 point strong power: Superhumanly enhanced physique- majority of bodily functions at superhuman levels, including strength, speed, reflexes, agility, and durability

      • Capabilities:

        • Capable of feats of strength enough to flip cars

        • Can run a 2 minute mile without breathing hard

      • Limitations:

        •  Skin cannot stop bullets

        • His reflexes and agility are upper tiers of possible for a normal person, not superpowered levels

    • 3 point medium power: Reading of People sins-capable of looking into a person's eyes and can read their guiltiest sins

      • Capabilities:

        •  Can see up to 3 major incidents of a person's life that they deem sin worthy

      • Limitations:

        •  People can oppose his will and make his power less effective, opposing d20 checks

    • 4 point low level secondary power: Limited healing factors

      • Capabilities:

        • Any wound he is not killed by will heal within  72 hours 

        • Can heal broken bones, cut skin, bruises, and ripped tendons

      • Limitations:

        • Capable of bleeding out

        • Wounds can get infected

        • Larger wounds heal slower

        • Cannot regrow limbs

    • Joseph rolled a 17 and a 5 on the random effects table. We will have him use 17, Your powers cause violent tendencies the more it is used. Whenever Joseph uses his powers too much or pushes them too far he begins to grow more angry and violent. This has led to him gaining a slightly tarnished reputation as a hero, he has been known to go too far in taking down criminals.

  • Skills

    • Joseph will be given 2 skills and 2 deficiencies

    • Skills:

      •  Hand to Hand Combat: Joseph is well versed in several martial arts and his powers lend him impressive hand to hand combat skills.

      •  Information Gathering: Joseph tracks down the people he takes down by using rumors, informants, and research. He has grown proficient at it

    • Deficiencies

      •  Antisocial: Joseph finds it difficult to talk with people for extended periods. Gets uncomfortable talking with many people

      • Violent Tendencies: Joseph always had violent tendencies and they have only grown worse due to his powers. When in stressful situations he is prone to getting angry quickly.

  • Background

    • Joseph grew up on the streets of his city in a rough neighborhood. He had good parents and they taught him and supported him in trying to have a good life and not to fall into any of the rougher lifestyles where they lived.

    • He gained his powers when he was 14 when he was defending a girl from two men who were threatening her. His power snapped as he was being beaten by the two men. His body became strong and he could see into the men's minds and see what other horrible things they have done. Each blow by the men no longer phases him as much and each bruise begins to fade as they heal superhumanly quickly.

    • After brutally defeating the two men with his newfound power, Joseph decides to dedicate his life to protecting those who need help, protecting the innocent, and stopping those he deems sinners.

    • Joseph is now 24 and  has decided to join The Street Watchers, a low funding superhero group dedicated to help clean up the streets. They reached out to him and he decided to help them out as he believes they’ll all get themselves killed without him.

    • Joseph considers himself a good man who just wants to bring justice to wrongdoers and to help the innocent. Joseph is also a violent, angry  man who tries to channel his problems into stopping criminals. This has led to him becoming an effective but particularly brutal hero.




  • Characters have access to items, gadgets, tools, weapons, armor, advanced technology or maybe even cybernetic upgrades. A character's equipment is an important part of what they are capable of doing and can be large boons in a character's performance. 

  • Potential Equipment:

    • Some equipment may allow a player more proficiency over a skill or a ability: a lockpick would be a good help for breaking into a door, bullet proof vest would be another layer added unto a person's superpowered tough skin, a GPS could help a specialized teleporter get where they need to go, a blade superpowerdly sharpened would enhance a sword fighter very well, and many other potential options.

    • Some equipment is important or essential to even allow a skill or a power function: a enhanced sharpening power is useless without a sword, a superpowered advanced assassin may need a sniper rifle, a power over control of metal may need to have bits of metal on their person to assist with powers, a technology based super would need a great deal of technology and tools to create their devices, and many other potential options.

    • A lot of a character's equipment is more cosmetic than an essential tool: costumes, masks, additions to weapons or armor, colors, tatoos, and many other potential options.

    • Money is also an important aspect to most people's lives and the GM and players will need to decide how a player is achieving money and how much money a character starts with. Buying further equipment is also often based on the amount of money or other forms of currency.

  • Questions to Ask:

    • What resources would your group have access to?

      •  Every group has access to different levels of goods and equipment. A high leveled, world renowned hero group would most likely have access to more state of the art equipment then a few supervillainous teens in their parents garage. This is a question that has to be decided by the GM and is dependent on what group the players are a part of.

    •  What would your character have access to with their backstory?

      •  Every backstory also has potentially different levels of starting wealth and access to certain goods. A supervillian from a rich, influential family would have a much greater wealth and access to good items then a poor superheroine from a downtrodden part of town. It’s important to think about your character's backstory when coming up with what equipment you’d have.

    •  What items are essential for the character?

      •  Some characters need certain items to be effective or a theme for a character may need access to certain things or even be able to come up with unique or reflavored objects. Make sure your character has anything they think is important and that they need to have.

    • What level of technology do you have access to?

      •  Different worlds and different powereds have access to different levels of technology. You could have a wild west superhero campaign, a supernatural middle ages group, your tech based hero may be able to develop technology decades ahead of the rest of the populace, or your world may take place in the 2300’s in a cyberpunk dystopia. Make sure to think about and ask what levels of technology your world and group has access to.

Playing the Game:

  • The players and the GM must work together to create characters and decide their powers, backstories, skills, and equipment. GM’s and players must also know the chance system which is an important aspect to bring randomness into the system, and they must figure out how to flow when making the story and encounters. The GM must also think about the world they want to make and run.

  • The Chance System:

    • Much of the story and encounters can be decided upon by the GM and the player and if the two are in agreement then rolling is not a necessity. But rolling puts randomness into the system and allows players and GM’s a chance of success or failure and allows for decisions to be decided randomly.

    • The System for rolling for randomness is the Chance System. The GM rolls a D2o dice and the players roll their own and the rolls are a scale, and the closer the player's dice is to the GM’s decides how effective, successful or good the roll is.  It is up to the GM and players to decide what decides success or failure: a simple task may success as long as it’s within 1o of the number, a medium task succeeds within 5, and a player has to roll within 2 of the GM to succeed on a very difficult task; these are just examples, it should be decided upon by the players and GM to decide what success is. The Chance System allows for more than just success and failure, the closer you are the better and more successful the roll is, and farther away may cause the player to fail at their task more significantly.

    • Powers, skills, and equipment can allow the player to roll more then one d20 and allow them to pick the most optimal roll. More than two dice can be rolled though; a player with skills and power may be able to roll 3 dice, and a player with powers, skills, and enhancing equipment could roll 4. Rolling 4 dice is the max amount of dice that can be rolled.

    • The GM can decide to give negative dice to the player because of antagonist skills or level of difficulty. A player with powers and a skill fighting a person with powers and an opposition skill could cause the player to only roll 1 dice instead of 2 as the opponent blocks their bonuses. More difficult encounters may also cause players to roll less dice if the GM decides it is necessary.

    • Some situations may cause the player to be at a supreme disadvantage, they would have to roll 2 d20’s and take the least favorable option. More severe disadvantages may make you roll more dice, to a maximum of 4 .When rolling for things that you have a deficiency in is one time you would have it. Another is when a character has a negative status effect, fighting against superior powers,  or dealing with an extremely difficult action, such as: severe power levels difference in opposition could cause 2-4 dice if the difference is severe enough, a character blinded in hand to hand combat, a super strong hero fighting while under the effects of a power that drains their strength, or wounded characters trying to accomplish demanding tasks.

  •  Combat and Encounters:

    • Many encounter and combat decisions can be discussed and agreed upon by the GM and the player without the need for the Chance System. Players doing simple tasks, tasks they are proficient in,and applications of their power that are well defined may not need to roll to decide if they succeed, as long as the player and GM agree any action goes forward.

    • The Chance System is to be used in moments where uncertainty is needed and the player faces the possibility of failure, In moments like: a sharpshooter making an impossible shot, an acrobat making it over a high wall during a chase, a detective trying to get information out of a criminal, an illusionist trying to con a policeman, whether a superstrong hero can smash through the villains shields, or when someone is fighting to resist a psychic mental attack. Moments like these are when the Chance System should be used, when things carry the potential for failure and random elements are needed.

  •  Worlds and Groups

    • Every GM will have a different world with different rules and ideas in it. Make sure to think through your world and make sure it’s as expanded and grown as you want it to be. A Powered World system should be able to work for almost all superpowered campaigns and can be worked around to fit almost any setting.

    • The system is made to be the basis for GM’s and players to use their creativity to bloom with and create amazing games. But every game will be different and A Powered World allows you to have the versatility to pull it off.

    • An important part of all campaigns is what group the GM wants to play with. Both which actual players should be in the campaign and what kind of characters they will be playing. Every campaign will run differently and a large part of that is what group of players and characters you have and what they do as part of the world.

  •  Add on to it

    • A Powered World is a framework for many potentially different kinds of campaigns, worlds, powers, and characters. Feel free to add on your own systems, rules, ideas, or important information that a GM feels is needed for their world. The system is made to be able to handle many different ideas and GM’s and players' creativity should be allowed to flow as best as they can. So feel free to do what you want and run your group the way you want it to be done.

Quick Example Combat:

  • Setting the Scene:

    • Eclipse is a mid tier assassin who took a mission to take out on what she assumed to be just a rich business man. During her attack she discovers he is secretly a high powered super.

  • The Combat

    • Eclipse attempts to sneak forward at the target as he is walking down a quiet city street at night. She slinks forward using her shadow state ability. 

    • GM asks for a sneak roll, Eclipse has sneak as a skill and her shadow state ability would normally give her 3 dice advantage, but the GM says she will only get 2 because of an unknown disadvantage.

GM rolls a 6, Eclipse rolls a 19 and a 1

  • 5 difference, the GM says that Eclipse manages to sneak up to the man and he has not reacted. Eclipse then draws her knife and quickly reaches around and slices at the man's neck. GM describes how Eclipse’s blade slides across his neck and it’s as if she slid it across steel.  The blade fines no purchase and the man is unaffected.

  • GM then asks Eclipse to make a dodge roll. Eclipse’s shadow state grants her better dexterity, agility, and speed but the man's speed will surprise her so he says she only rolls 1 dice.

GM rolls an 11, Eclipse rolls an 18

  • 7 difference, the GM describes Eclipse managing to turn her body to blunt the blow. Even with weakening the hit, Eclipse finds herself rocketing through the air and slamming into the ground around 10 feet away.

  • Eclipse wants to roll as she hits the ground and her shadow form would help her minimize damage. The GM agrees her agility is good enough so she rolls on the ground and only gets minor scrapes, her left ribs are aching severely from where the man hit her though.

  • The man turns from where he stands, eyes glowing a dull red and the air around him grows dark and oppressive. Eclipse realizes she may have bitten off more than she can chew. Deciding she can try this again another time, Eclipse shifts further into shadow form and uses another of her skills, speed, to quickly try to flee down the street to get away from the man.

  • The GM says her power and skills gives her a high advantage to getting away, but she gets 2 dice as the man launches a powerful attack.

GM rolls a 15, Eclipse rolls a 19 and a 14

  • 1 difference, Eclipse begins sliding effortlessly down the street at high speed. Easily jumping to the side as the man launches a massive blast of dark energy down the street at her. Eclipse manages to turn around the corner and disappear into the night

Last Few Words:

  • A Powered World is made to be a fun RPG to run cool superpowered stories in. I think it’s versatile and will be great to use to run any ideas you could have. I’ve had a lot of fun putting it together and I hope that anyone who’s willing to give it a shot has a great time. Thanks for reading A Powered World.

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