B114 mentions "Preparation Required" as a limitation. One option that seems to fit my campaign design is:

1 hour [of preparation gives a] -50% [cost savings]

GURPS Powers mentions that Modular Abilities can have various costs, if rearranging powers is costly, slow, and subject to disruption. What exactly do all of those three items mean? By "costly" we must mean that it costs some kind of resource, such as fatigue points, money, special equipment. By "slow" we get mixed up with the "preparation required" delay.

Page 63 says:

The GM may invent other forms. Set the per-slot cost to reflect the scope of available traits: 4 points for a short list, 5 points for a lengthy catalog, 6 points for nearly anything, and 7 points for anything. Cost per point in a slot should be 2 points if rearranging points is costly, slow, and subject to external interference; 3 points if just two of those; 4 points if only one of those; and 5 points if none of those.


Many fictional users of Modular Abilities require supreme concentration and effort to rearrange their abilities. Represent this using Costs Fatigue, Requires (Attribute) Roll (p. 112), and Takes Extra Time.

In my planned campaign, Takes Extra Time might not be appropriate, because a lot of the abilities in question are things like invisibility, that can be prepared long before combat start, and Takes Extra Time can only be used for a few special cases:

Takes Extra Time

You can only apply this limitation to abilities that require time to activate and that work fast enough to be useful in an emergency (e.g., combat).

My first thought was to give Modular Abilities limitations including Unreliable, Preparation Required, and Costs Fatigue. I think these would be applied to the reconfiguration process. I imagine that these would justify making the abilities cost 2 points per 1 point of power in the slot. However, the "Preparation Required" gives a major cost savings for the overall cost of the power, and thus assigning a cost of 2 character points per 1 point in slot might be double-dipping.

Question: Does this count as "double-dipping"?


A Tangled Matter

The pricing of Modular Abilities is a thing fraught with some fuzzy elements. The use of Preparation Required and Extra Time, especially with some MAs, is also a buggy topic. I'll try to help you sort some things out, warn you of potential exploits in this field, but you'll still need to make some final decisions yourself.

Takes Extra Time 3+ is Deprecated

First of all, I should warn you that if you ever have the urge to build a Modular Ability, or anything really, with Takes Extra Time level 3 or higher (i.e. 8× or higher time multiplier), you should probably use Immediate Preparation Required instead. Because TET has very generous pricing but doesn't result in that much in the way of time taken when the base time is low.

Immediate Preparation Required is introduced in Psionic Powers on page 20 and also found in Power-Ups 8: Limitations on page 14. The gist of it is that you multiply the limitation value of Preparation Required by 1½, but you give up the ability to walk around with a 'prepared' ability - you must use it immediately (in case of MA, this means immediately switching the thing that's in the MA slot). This is considered a fairer pricing nowadays.

Slow Modular Abilities

There's some fuzziness about how slow does a Modular Ability has to be to merit the slowness discount in its base price calculation. On one hand, you probably shouldn't stack such a discount with Takes Extra Time or Immediate Preparation Required, and even mere Preparation Required. On the other, I'm pretty sure that you'll see builds which take standard Modular Ability types (like Chip Slots) that take more than a second to switch, and apply Preparation Required to them.

In personal experience as a GM, I'd say that you should not mix the base-price and the limitation-based discounts. Both because it adds complexity to an already unwieldy trait-constructor, and in order to avoid point crocks.

You May Still Encounter Point Crocks

It has been pointed out at some time in the early post-Powers era that it's already possible to abuse some Modular Abilities into getting some traits for cheap: Preparation Required plus a limitation restricting the types of things put into the slot, applied to a cheap (non-cosmic) Modular Ability can sometimes result in being able to pay less than a total of 1 Character Point of cost per 1 Character Point worth of in-slot abilities. I think the example discussed involved standard magic spells, but it doesn't really matter that much.

So even if you avoid a blatant double-dip, you should still be on the lookout for misuses of Modular Abilities.


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