Note: This is different to What happens when you use a continuous power in an array and then switch to a different power? as that covers 2nd edition, and I'm focused on 3rd.

Say you have an array with two powers: one is a Create effect with Increased Duration (Continuous) extra, the other is an attack of some kind. You use the former to create a box, and then switch to the other. Does the box remain, or does it vanish?

The rules are ambiguous on this point, and there is a strong argument for either position from both a rules and a thematic perspective

The description for Alternate Effect states:

Alternate Effects cannot be used or maintained at the same time as other Alternates in the same array; they are mutually exclusive

The description for the Continuous duration states:

The effect lasts as long as you wish, without any action required on your part. Once active, it stays that way until you choose to deactivate it

From a rules perspective, one could argue that since one is not maintaining the effect, one would be permitted to swap between powers without dismissing the effect. On the other hand, one could argue that the effect being in place at all counts as the power being 'used'.

From a thematic perspective, one could argue for effects remaining with the following example: Imagine a superhero, let's call her Sue. Sue has the power to fire Ice Beams, with two applications: as an attack, or to build ice constructs. Since both rely on her firing Ice Beams, and she can only use the beams for one at a time, it makes sense that they would be an array. In addition, once her constructs are created, she doesn't need to sustain them (ignoring ice melting for this example). As such, it would make sense for the constructs to be Continuous. If she were to build a construct one round, then attack with her beams the next, it would make little sense for the construct to suddenly disappear, as they were not reliant on her in any way. However, one could argue that the two effects being able to be applicable at the same time violates the concept of an array.

I've checked the forums, and there is a solid 3 pages of discussion there with no consensus, so I'm looking for an official ruling on this if there is one at all. Thanks in advance.


2 Answers 2


Continuous is at its core a modifier, falling under the umbrella of the Increased Duration modifier:

Effects have a standard duration: instant, sustained, continuous, or permanent. See Duration for details. This modifier increases an effect’s duration. Choose one of the following options:

Concentration: When applied to an instant duration effect, this modifier makes it maintainable with concentration, taking a standard action each turn to do so. If the effect requires an initial attack check, no additional attack check is needed to maintain it on a target, but subsequent rounds of effect also do not benefit from critical hits. The target is affected on each of the effect user’s turns, making a normal resistance check (if any). Once the user stops concentrating for any reason, the effect ends and the target recovers normally, including resistance checks to remove ongoing effects.

Continuous: When applied to a sustained duration effect, this modifier makes it continuous.

Admittedly, this is not particularly clear, but I think a reasonable interpretation is that there is a progression of actions required to maintain an effect:

  1. Not maintained and does not last (Instant)
  2. Maintained with standard action (Concentration)
  3. Maintained with free action (Sustained)
  4. Maintained with no action (Continuous)
  5. Not maintained and lasts (Permanent)

By the wording of the Permanent modifier:

A continuous effect with this flaw becomes permanent in duration. It cannot be turned off, it is always on by default.

So, the best description of a Continuous effect (in general) is "an effect which requires no action to maintain and may be turned off as a free action." Assuming your GM allow you to put such an effect in an array (which they probably should with concepts such as Earth Controllers and Ice Controllers and the Create powers they love so much around), then you may, and the effects would last until you chose to dismiss them as a free action. Even Permanent duration effects might be in an array, assuming it is not the power that is permanent but rather its effect on the game world.

Create does not appear to counter or alter any of the text of Continuous, so there is no change for this effect specifically. However, I would recommend the Permanent modifier for Sue as well as Continuous, unless she has the power to un-make ice by some means based on descriptors (de-spawn the spell, re-absorb the ice, etc.).


They are mutually exclusive. The moment you use the alternate power in an array the first one ceases to exist, as though it does not exist anymore in your character sheet. So the item vanishes. Alternative effects exist to help a player simulate various effects using the same... "thing". In effect you are using the same "matter" - or energy, whatever - to produce a different "effect" in the world. Inside the game world you're using the same power, only producing different effects regarding game rules.

In your example there's no sense in defining those two powers as an array. Buy them separately. If you do an array this means the character creates something made of ice then uses that same ice - shaping it - to throw it as an attack.

edit: I don't know why I imagined you're using ice in your effect, probably from the other answer


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