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Choosing Powers

Last Modified: July 28, 2010

Next is the Powersets. Once you've chosen a primary and secondary power, the rest is typically much easier.

Powers First

I think this is the most common way to create a character. While browsing around the various powersets or after viewing a particular power in action from another hero, you decide to try it yourself. For example, when I first logged into City of Villains, there was a high-level Mastermind who summoned six robot pets right in front of me. I logged back off and made a robots Mastermind right then.

Note that once you've picked your primary and secondary powersets, it becomes very easy to figure out AT (since in most cases, you won't have a choice), name (usually want something that fits), and costume (if you're a Ice blaster, having a costume of all reds with flames engulfing your body just doesn't make sense).

Jungle Commando
Jungle Commando

Powers from Name

While it's much more common to pick a name from the powers, it can be done in reverse. Consider "Jungle Commando". The perfect powers would be an Assault Rifle/Traps Corruptor, an Assault Rifle/Devices Blaster, or a Mercenaries/Traps Mastermind. Likewise, if your chosen name has "ninja" anywhere in it, you'll probably be looking for a powerset that uses a sword or knife (or the ninja Mastermind).

Powers from Archetype

Technically, this is a given since your Archetype determines what powers you can chose. If you already know your AT, you're a long way towards figuring out your final power selections (due to lack of options).

Powers from Origin

Sometimes deciding the method that your hero/villain gained their power gives you a clear idea what powers to pick. Here's my take on the most likely matches between Origin and Powers:

  • Natural

    Great for any kind of weapon user, or elementalist, and obviously the ATs that use martial arts. Also good for Masterminds who use thugs, ninjas, or mercs.

  • Science

    Most powers that are in the body like elements, psionics, strength or speed. Devices, robots, and weapons are a stretch.

  • Technology

    Devices, robots, weapons. Tech is kind of like the opposite of Science (even though many people confuse the two). The key here is that Tech is something that is not part of the body while Science changes someone from the inside.

  • Mutation

    Mutation also has to do more with powers that come from within so any non-devices, non-robots, and non-weapons powers.

  • Magic

    With a good story, magic could be anything, but it's more likely to be the same kind of powers as mutant, natural, and science because magic can be from within or in artifacts (magic weapons for example). The only real opposite to magic is straight technology like traps, bots, guns, etc.

Ame Kuru
Ame Kuru

Powers from Costume

This can actually happen a lot. Let's say you are just browsing around in the character creator and see a costume piece like the rice paddy hat. You instantly think of Raiden from Mortal Kombat or those thunder guys from Big Trouble in Little China. Instantly, you know you want an electricity user and have a good idea of the general costume as well (possibly even origin in this case – Natural).

Powers from Story

It's generally very easy to pick powers after you've figured out a story. Basically, a story is an explanation of how your hero/villain go their power in the first place so you pretty much know your powers ahead of time. Ex:

Max Snively started his day like any other. Hungry, dirty, and with a mean determination to take what he knew the world owed him… If only he could figure out how. But this day was not to end like any other.

The Luddites who attacked the lab hadn't planned on the blast-proof containers being able to withstand the bomb. The surviving researcher didn't notice his access card fall to the ground as he fled. Max, who searched the rubble for valuables, couldn't have hoped for better luck than when he found the shiny card and the set of crates that it opened.

Up to this point, I could do a lot for what he finds in the lab and does with it, but I think I'll go with a bots mastermind…

When the machines popped out of the crates, he bolted thinking that he had tripped some kind of security system. He didn't even look back until he was clear of the building perimeter, but when he did, he realized that he was being chased by two small battle bots. He redoubled his efforts even as his bowels loosened their contents into his pants. When he could run no longer and collapsed to the ground, he swore at his lot in life, cursed to die poor and unknown in a stinking alley.

But the end didn't come. He glanced up and the two drones stood silently. At first he thought that they had run out of power, but then one moved, surveying the landscape to the side and behind. Max tried to edge away, but the drones noticed and moved closer keeping distance between them. (Umm, I could really take this a lot further, but this is getting long so let's wrap up)

It wasn't long before Max noticed that the little robots would obey his every command. As is the nature of people like Max, he saw the opportunity and zealously seized it. He returned to the lab, robots in tow to see what other goodies he might find. As he ran, a maniacal, almost crazed laughter escaped from his mouth. Soon, the city would know his power…

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Powerset

A power set is a set of powers (imagine that) that are available to a given hero. They come as Primary or Secondary powersets and consist of a series of powers that are related to each other and the hero type involved. For example, Dark Blast and Gloom are both attacks in the Dark Blast powerset for Defenders.