# Modular Abilities (Preparation Required) With Insubstantiality Probably Should Not Get a Savings For "Always On" or "Usually On"

Regarding insubstantiality, it seems to be switchable by default, because the core rules say:

Your “natural” form (physical or insubstantial) is considered a special effect. You must take this advantage if you can change between a physical and an insubstantial form.

I want to have characters with Modular Abilities with Preparation Required (1 hour). I want their standard list to include some version of Insubstantiality. The idea is that the party will take about an hour in the morning, at their base camp, to choose their powers for the day, and then they will have a sixteen-hour adventuring day, during which they probably won't reconfigure their powers. If a player character goes insubstantial in the morning, I think the character can switch the insubstantiality on and off. However, if at some point the character wants to put a different power in the slot, that character will be out of the fight for a full hour while he/she gets reconfigured.

The basic cost would be 88 points for "can carry objects, no encumbrance" because I don't want player characters running around naked. This would be a cost of (5+(3*88))*.5=135 for the basic switchable ability.

Insubstantiality can get a 50% cost savings for "always on." If this could be turned off and turned back on instantly, this seems impermissible. Modular Abilities can always be turned off. However, if there is an hour-long delay, perhaps the savings is justified. The cost would seem to be (5+(3*44))*.5=69 character points.

In other words, I think you can get a 66-point savings if you are willing to take an hour-long delay before you can turn your power back on.

Question: Have I described the 69-point version correctly, or am I misunderstanding how it would work?

# It's not Always On, It's Minimal Duration

In actual practice, what you're doing is not making the trait always on, but making its duration no less than a certain value as a de facto consequence of how Modular Abilities work. And if we go by RAW, Powers has precedent values for how much of a discount minimum durations provide, on page 111:

## Minimum Duration

### Variable

Only available for switchable abilities that would – in the GM’s opinion – seriously inconvenience you if you couldn’t deactivate them at will. Your ability must stay “on” for a certain period of time once activated; you can’t shut it off before this time is up. Minimum Duration can never exceed Maximum Duration (if any). Limitation value is as follows:

• Less than 1 hour: -0%
• Up to 8 hours: -5%
• Up to 12 hours (or one night): -10%
• Up to 24 hours: -15%
• Up to 1 week: -20%
• Up to 1 month: -25%
• Greater than one month: -30%

One could argue that these values are a bit high for the specific case of Insubstantiality (whose Always On state is a significant limitation who goes all the way down to -50%), in which case you might be generous and decrease the 1-hour limitation from -0% to -5% or -10%.

• Thank you! as usual, I have learned a lot from your answer.
– Long
Commented Aug 1, 2019 at 14:17