When a power says, “use a touch attack to use this power”, does a player need to make multiple touch attacks to use multiple powers or is one touch attack enough? If just the one, is there a multi-action penalty for using multiple touches?

My reading is that using a power that requires a touch attack is an action, per Savage worlds Deluxe edition page 65

The most common actions are making Tests of Will, using a power, or attacking with the Fighting or Shooting skill.

and that the touch attack is essentially included in that action. So that only one touch attack would be needed to make contact, but then after making contact the player would still need to take additional actions to use additional powers.

Example 1: Draining Touch and Damage Field from Fantasy Companion

Draining Touch

After casting the spell, the mage delivers his draining touch on a successful touch attack (+2 Fighting).

Damage Field

If a character with a damage field strikes someone in unarmed combat, the target takes the field’s damage plus the character’s Strength die (Str+2d6). The character may also simply touch the opponent (+2 to Fighting) and do the field’s damage only.

Player has activated the Damage Field the previous round. This round they want to use Draining Touch and also apply the Damage field if they strike. Is this one action or two?

Example 2: Draining Touch and Viper Tooth Gloves Fantasy Companion

Viper Tooth Gloves

Upon command (make an arcane skill roll), the gloves exude a deadly contact poison. The user can deliver the poison with a successful Fighting r o l l  —  a g a i n s t unarmored foes a Touch Attack (+2 to Fighting) suffices.

In the same round the player wants to Activate the Item, Use it in a touch attack, and Also cast Draining touch. How many actions is this?

Example 3: Paralysis and Infection from Super Powers companion V2


The character infects foes with a magical or extremely fast-acting disease via a Touch Attack.


A successful Touch Attack causes the victim to make a Vigor roll if the power’s trapping is physical, Smarts if it’s mental, or Spirit if it’s a matter of will

Player wants to use both powers. How many actions is this.

Example 3A

As above only the Player has taken Carrier for Infection.

Carrier (–1): The character cannot “turn off” her ability to transmit disease.

Example 4 All of the above.

Player has all of the above. How many actions is it to use everything?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Should also be noted that I believe this question is now too broad. The Superpowers Companion uses a completely different set of rules for how its powers work to The Fantasy Companion. I can't VTC though, as I've already done it once and rescinded on this question \$\endgroup\$
    – Wibbs
    Commented Aug 3, 2017 at 18:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Wibbs The difference in how the powers are used appears irrelevant. If it is not irrelevant, it is fairly important in understanding the question, so not sure how you consider that too broad. Neither specifies which powers are and aren't actions per my read. Any chance you can explain why you think there is a difference that is important? \$\endgroup\$
    – Ringo_St R
    Commented Aug 3, 2017 at 19:44

1 Answer 1


I am unaware of a canonical source for this situation, so this is simply how I would rule it and your GM may disagree (so check with your GM to see how they want to handle it).

If a power has a passive effect (i.e. the effect doesn't require activation, like Damage Field or Infection), any contact between the power's target and a different character (regardless of who initiated the contact) will trigger the effect and thus the effect trigger doesn't count as an action.

If a power requires activation on a target, the caster and the target must be in contact because the caster made an explicit effort to make contact (like a touch attack) before activation can be attempted; the activation attempt counts as an action.

The need for a touch attack is only to establish contact, which is generally opposed, although the contact could be made under false pretenses (like the promise of casting a beneficial effect on the target) which wouldn't require an explicit touch attack, but I expect this circumstance to be in the minority; maintaining a successful grapple would also constitute a situation not requiring an explicit touch attack. If the contact attempt is opposed, only one power activation attempt can be made per successful contact (since such contact would likely be fleeting at best and the activation attempt still requires a round of time), but if time is not a concern and the target is either incapable of or choosing not to oppose the contact then multiple power activation attempts could effectively be made (since there is no need to reestablish contact).


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