House Rules

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Hero Powers

[jm] – To summarize mine and Andy’s discussion earlier today, Hero powers should be treated more like spells rather than based on Sanity. Heroes should be able to use low level powers all day long. Moderate and more powerful powers should require a Magic Point expenditure, which will naturally heal upon one full nights rest. Sanity should track stressful situations. If the hero witnesses a stressful event, they should roll a Sanity check. On failure, they suffer Sanity loss. This is essentially putting them into a more stressful state. What’s needed now is a way to link a higher stressful state into a specific effect on the hero’s abilities or behaviors.
  • If a hero suffers 5+ points from a single event, they suffer Temporary Debility (similar to Temporary Insanity)
  • If a hero suffers 20%+ of their current Hero Points within 1 gaming hour, they suffer Indefinite Debility (similar to Indefinite Insanity).
  • The effects of Long Term Debility do not happen immediately. Instead, the hero first suffers a Long Duration Temporary Debility. This is followed by an appropriate Indefinite Debility.

Sanity Points by DArt

The mechanics of Sanity Points in CoC are really geared toward driving a character to change over the course of a campaign. As they are exposed to the horrors of the otherworld, it has an impact on them, and they change. Unlike D&D where you can just walk around meeting dragons and titans and your character shows no notable change.

I think Hero Points should have a similar mechanic. Maybe it represents the balance between your power and you. When you are in a surprising situation or otherwise faced with some kind of conflict, you may have to try and control your power.

When you fail, and too much of your power is uncontrolled (5pts/20% quickly), it lashes out. The power lashout can cause a variety of effects, including inducing a changed physical or mental state in you, damage to property around you, or perhaps bestowing powers on an unpowered individual.

I think of power use being mostly skill-driven, like weapon training or learning. A person who is a Hydrokinesis should be able to move water and splash it for free and unlimited times. They should be able to concentrate (make a skill check) to hold a globe of water around an enemies head or use a torrent to wash away an automobile.

They should need to make a Hero Point check to exert themselves in untested ways, as their body and the power finds an equilibrium. Forming a cutting jet, or using steam to push you along in flight, or other spell-like effects.

As a hydrokinesis loses his battle for equilibrium, he begins to have a constant drizzle of water pour over him. His speech turns burbling and he unconsciously forms whirlpools in bodies of water near him. Eventually, he is reduced to an animal-like state where he has no control over his wild powers.

[andy] – There are some good ideas here but I think that it needs some more development. I don’t like the idea of powers being “contagious” when they go out of control, but having powers governed more by skills fits in good. I’d like to achieve the type of feel that Worm had were how clever you were about using your strengths often mattered more than how strong or what those strengths were.


  • Encountering the hero’s vulnerability places the hero into a “Weakened State”. This causes a temporary loss of Hero Points.
    • This temporarily reduces the Hero’s current Hero Points making activation of hero powers more dangerous.
    • The temporary loss can, by itself, cause Temporary, or even Long Term, Debility if strong enough or encountered by an already weakened hero.
    • The Hero Point loss automatically restores at some appropriate rate. As it is restored, any debility suffered by the temporary loss itself is cured automatically without any long-term effects.
    • Any debility suffered by an exertion of Hero Power during a “Weakened State” is permanent.
  • Sanity Points are now Power Exhaustion Points.
  • Whenever a hero activates a power, they must roll a “exhaustion” check. On a success, there is no issue. On a Failure, they lose “PEP” equal to the strength of the hero power (major powers cost more than minor powers).
[andy] – Maybe limited use power needs to have a rating like creatures and events do for sanity in CoC. That way a succeed check still loses a small of PEP on very strong powers, and a failed check loses a varied amount depending on the power and luck.
[jm] – YES! I was trying to think of a way to drain more PEP from the heroes. It should regenerate slowly: maybe like hit points (1d3 per week).
[andy] – I was thinking slightly faster than that, because heros should be using it frequently. Maybe regain 1d10 for a nights rest, and as a combat action “Take a breather” regain 1d3. There should be a vulnerability type “power source” for a way to replenish PEP faster but with the ability to lose your power source and not be able to replenish at all. Either that or powers need to have small costs. I imagine them being able to use minor powers at least a dozen times before their exhausted and major powers maybe 3 or 4 times if they’re lucky.
[jm] – I disagree with fast healing, but I am thinking more along the lines of CoC where Sanity Points=PEP. As the players get further into the story, their Sanity Points are suffering, making each subsequent encounter more and more dangerous. If the players are not slowly being drained of PEP, and are instead healing up after every encounter, then there is little danger of Temporary Debility.
[andy] – I’m starting to think that maybe we’re going in the wrong direction entirely here. Heros should be heros. If you read comics or watch the movies they are near all powerful in the one area that they have powers in, but exploit a vulnerability or remove them from that area and they are mostly normal people. I don’t want the game to be a slow grind into helplessness, but things should get more dangerous over time as the heros make a name for themselves and tackle bigger threats. I think that is handled nicely by the bigger threats, rather than handicapping the heros.

House Rules

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