Special Attacks - how do I make them work with OL?

I’m working on a super-hero setting for an OL campaign. Many of the heroes have signature special attacks with wind-up time, minimum distance, negative drawbacks, etc. I’ve just been writing them out as special Favored Actions with the full details written in the Notes section of the character sheet.

For example: Focus Action: Charge in a straight line up to 30 feet to your target, then attack them with Energy vs Guard. Other creatures in the path are Deafened.

Are there recommended ways of handling things like that? Or do you have any advice/experience to share?

Hi! Moderator currently running a superhero campaign here.

My advice in this situation would be don’t try to change the system if you don’t need to, and my advice always is to avoid giving individual players separate abilities that the other players don’t get.

If these are NPC abilities, then you can write it out like that if you have to, but if you’re trying to give abilities like that to players then you risk one of them ending up more powerful than the others which leads to bad feelings around the table. In either case, I’d encourage you to step back and think about what the power you’re trying to show actually is.

Your example, sounds to me like a hero with shockwave based powers, with some sort of movement ability, right? So just put points into Energy and Movement, Bane Focus (Deafened), Boon Focus (Teleport), and Multi-Target Attack Specialist. Then, on their turn they can blast in a straight line at high speed (Teleport) then attack everyone along that line (Multi-Target Attack Specialist) and deafen them (Bane Focus). It works out basically the same and they even have their minor action left over.

Wind up time you could represent with them taking a turn to Bolster themselves before attacking. Minimum distance can be purely narrative, if you say they can’t use their power within 10’ then they just can’t. Negative drawbacks are trickier, but consider again having them be purely narrative, or check out Reckless Attack to see if that has you covered.

The only change I’d suggest you actually make to the Core Rules is to start above level 1 (which is actually suggested in the Core Rules, it’s just not the default). Starting at a higher level lets your players begin the game already feeling pretty powerful, as well as giving you enough Feat points and high enough attributes to pull off the combination I suggested above. I chose level 3, though you could easily go higher. The odd-numbered levels are probably better as they’re the levels that gate the higher level content.

I hope this was helpful, let me know if you have any other questions or need any help working out how to do something without writing new rules.


Thanks, that’s perfect. This process seems almost like cooking, where I knew what I wanted, and I had a big list of ingredients, but I had no idea how to use them to get there. On the other hand, you’re a master chef :slight_smile:

I’ll be doing more research on the feats/banes/boons in order to get better at building the concepts my players might want from the ingredients we already have.

As for starting level, I’m a little wary of starting too high, since this will be my players’ first foray into OL and I don’t want to overwhelm them with decisions. I was considering one session at level 1 as students, then a time skip to them at a higher level as professional heroes. Thoughts on that?

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That sounds like a great idea! I usually run a one-shot before a campaign to let everyone settle in, and a time skip is fantastic way to do that (which I may have to steal). It should give both you and your players a chance to try things out to see what works before launching into the game proper. Be sure to give them the choice to reshuffle their attributes and refund feats after the first session, just in case it turns out to be not what you wanted.

I’d also suggest using the Heromuster character sheet, it’s really very good and it allows you to easily cut down on the intimidating number of options by only showing you Banes, Boons and Feats you can access.

Let us all know how it goes!

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