Is there anything preventing someone with Arcane Background from using two Powers in one turn, taking a -2 penalty to each cast attempt?

Using Powers

As an action, a character may use a single power by declaring the Power he's using, spending the desired number of Power Points, and making an arcane skill roll.

Given a character can generally take two or more actions in one turn, suffering a penalty to all dice rolls involved, I feel this lands in the same category. There's the restriction of one attack per weapon per turn, and the arcane character could conceivably be a single weapon. That removes the opportunity to use two attack powers in one turn.

What about buff powers? Could an arcane character with sufficient skill cast Deflection and Smite simultaneously, rolling Arcane-2 each time?


No, you cannot activate more than one Power per turn. Activating a Power is seen as a single generic action, and as you cannot use the same action twice in a turn, you cannot activate two Powers in the same turn.

See here for official confirmation of this.

However, there is nothing stopping you activating Smite on one turn and then Deflection the next, maintaining both so that you have both effects ongoing and active.

EDIT (From Sitting Duck's answer): The Core Book Super Power AB is the exception, as each power uses a separate skill. In that case, you can activate multiple powers on the same turn while taking a standard MAP.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I have my workaround. The characters in question are based on River from Firefly/Serenity. When they receive their subliminal trigger, all powers immediately activate. :-) \$\endgroup\$ – Hand-E-Food Dec 11 '12 at 21:57

The Core Book Super Power AB is the exception, as each power uses a separate skill. In that case, you can activate multiple powers on the same turn while taking a standard MAP.

  • \$\begingroup\$ That is a very good point. Do you mind if I edit this into my answer? \$\endgroup\$ – Wibbs Dec 11 '12 at 18:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ Go right ahead. \$\endgroup\$ – Sitting Duck Dec 13 '12 at 15:55

In most cases, using two powers is doing the same action twice, which is not allowed: you cannot attack with your sword twice per round, you cannot fire your revolver twice per round, you cannot cast a fireball twice per round.

There are two exceptions:

  1. Superpowers are different skills, and therefore different actions. If you have a superheroine with Colossus' superstrength (Smite) and Shadowcat's "phasing" ability (Deflection), she could activate both in the same round with the usual multi-action penalty to both rolls.
  2. If your character has more than one arcane background (Magic + Miracles, say, like DnD's Mystic Theurge), they you could activate two powers with two different rolls (Spellcasting, Faith) with the usual multi-action penalty. Edit: This will only be possible if your setting allows a character to have more than one Arcane Background. In the core rules, Arcane Background is only one edge (regardless of the descriptor: Magic, Miracles, etc) and can only be taken once.
  • \$\begingroup\$ My understanding is that by the core rules it is not possible to take two arcane backgrounds. See peginc.com/forum/…. You might want to qualify your second exception to make this clearer. \$\endgroup\$ – Wibbs Dec 13 '12 at 12:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ You are perfectly right. The core rules say clearly: "Unless an Edge specifically says otherwise, it may only be selected once", so Arcane Background can only be taken once (unless the setting says otherwise). Thanks for spotting it! :-) \$\endgroup\$ – sergut Dec 13 '12 at 14:04

I did read somewhere in the Savage World forum an answer where Clint suggested that if you had two heads then each could cast a spell at -2.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ That probably depends strongly on the particular setting. If magic is verbal- or brain-only, then it would make sense; if it were a whole-body channeling thing though, then you'd need two whole bodies. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Dec 11 '12 at 17:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ I also remember the post you are referring to, but can't for the life of me find it on the official forums. On the whole I would tend to agree with SSD, in that whether this is applicable will depend on the specific setting, and the trappings involved in actually using powers. \$\endgroup\$ – Wibbs Dec 11 '12 at 18:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ SSD & Phil - yep I agree. \$\endgroup\$ – David Allan Finch Dec 12 '12 at 13:12

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