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I'm just getting into Mutants and Masterminds, and have encountered a snag while building a character: I don't know if Alternate Form only lasts for the turn or if it's the kind of thing where you assume it temporarily, then shift out of it later.

Currently, I'm working on building a character that can morph into an angel-like figure when they need to, but I'm not sure if the Heroic form of Alternate Form lasts until canceled, or if I'd have to shift into it every single turn.

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It's not unambiguously stated, but Alternate Form uses the flat Activation Flaw rather than the ranked Increased Action Flaw, which argues that you use it once to activate it and then it maintains itself as a Free action until you cancel it or someone Nullifies it.

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The basic Alternate Form power works like a switch. You turn it on, you have it. You turn it off, you don't. Billy Batson (hero name Shazam or Captain Marvel, depending on who you ask) has a great example of an Alternate Form power. He turns on his super-form, and it lasts as long as he needs it to, or until he gets knocked out.

There are other forms of this power, however. You can create Alternate Form powers limited to a specific condition, such as an elemental morpher who can turn into water when he's touching a natural body of water. In this case, every power inside the Alternate Form has its cost reduced, and when you leave the water, the power turns off.

You can also limit it to a specific number of turns with the Fades modifier, which can result in either an alternate form that gets weaker the longer it's on or one that only lasts five turns, but notice that both of these variations give points back, applying a -1/rank modifier on every ability in the power.

Mechanically, Sean Duggan is absolutely right, you need to spend a Free Action to maintain the effect and it can be nullified, but unless your GM requires you to call out every Free Action every turn, in gameplay it's easiest to assume it's around until you get knocked out or turn it off. But, on the off chance someone wanted to make a character with a limitation on their Alternate Form power, I wanted to put out a few ways to do so.

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