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So, a PC is a wizard. One of her spells is a Variable Summon effect. She does this by invoking the names of all sorts of things from a magical book.

What I am trying to figure out, is how can I make it so that she cannot pick a different thing to summon without her book? The effect is not truly Removable--she can still perform the spell without it. Nor is it Slow--she only needs to glance down at the book to memorize the quick incantation.

How could I make it so that she is unable to change her Variable, if she is disarmed, without actually losing the effect?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Just wondering, how is magic handled in your setting? Is it just handled as a collection of Powers with the Magic descriptor or are there common restrictions/traits that one or more groups of spells share? \$\endgroup\$
    – Areadbhair
    Nov 1, 2019 at 16:04

2 Answers 2

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This is probably a Quirk

One of the flaw modifiers you can put on a power is Quirk, representing a relatively minor inconvenience:

A Quirk is some minor nuisance attached to an effect, essentially the reverse of a Feature (see Feature under Extras). A Quirk is generally worth, at most, 2–3 character points, and many are simply 1-point flaws.

As with Features, the GM should ensure a Quirk is truly a flaw (albeit a minor one) and not simply part of the power’s descriptors. For example, the fact that an attack with a “sonic” descriptor likely will not travel through a vacuum is not a Quirk, simply part of the “sonic” descriptor (especially since the attack may be enhanced by a medium such as water). On the other hand, a shapeshifter unable to change color (losing some of the power’s utility), or a telepath unable to lie while using Mental Communication, do have Quirks to their powers.

A Variable power that you're unable to change without a specific tool to hand sounds like a power with a quirk to me - the flaw isn't as serious as most others since you can never be properly disarmed of the power, but it could conceivably still be a problem for the character. It has a lower cost than the modifiers you were looking at since it's a flat value based on how serious the GM thinks the flaw is rather than a cost per rank of the main power.

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Have you considered the Triggered Extra?

When I think of magic, especially when concerning tome-bound magic like this summon effect, I think to the Wizard class in Pathfinder or Dungeons and Dragons. At the start of each day, a Wizard needs to reference his/her spellbook in order to prepare their casts for the day, of which they can only manifest a finite number.

Applying this concept to Mutants and Masterminds, there is an Extra called Triggered; it allows you plant or prepare an action beforehand and goes off on the condition you set when you create the power (proximity, sounds, time, commands, etc), but you can only use this ability as many times as you bought the extra. So you can choose your summons whenever you wish, but there are consequences to locking in your summons all at once or keeping uses free. On one hand, you don't have to worry so much about loosing the book right away if you already made all your choices that day; on the other, you have more versatility if you summon as you need to (such as summoning a healer if you have to deal with significant injuries or a skill horse if you need a particular skill-set you don't have access to normally)

As to the specifics, I highly recommend taking Removable; I know that you want to avoid using it, but 7 points per rank is a hefty price AND summon can be a gas guzzler depending on the Summon-specific extras your player wants to use. I also suggest taking 1 rank of Subtle for the power; Triggered has a nasty little side-effect where your stand-by effects can be discovered with a Perception check, limiting that to Magic Detection or Magic Vision will definitely help them out in that regard.

TL,DR: here's my proposal

Removable,Variable Summon with Triggered and Subtle: (7r+(1+c))*4/5 or 3/5 | r=ranks, c=casts

For example, lets say you want to use 50 points:

50 / .6 = ~83

A) 7*10+(12+1) = 83 | 12 casts of at least 150pp summons

B) 7*8+(26+1) = 83 | 26 casts of at least 120pp summons

Without the discount from Removable, it looks like this:

A) 7*5+(14+1) = 50 | 13 casts of at least 75pp summons

B) 7*3+(28+1) = 50 | 28 casts of at least 45pp summons

NOTE: I say "at least" because summon can have enough extras to meet the 5pp per rank Variable gives you, though it can go as low as 2pp and normally hovers around 4pp.

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