For a while, I’ve had Power(s) on my mind. The ball started rolling when I decided to work out a way to scrap the current Tier 1 Power (Specialization) and make the rest of the Powers more easily accessible.
The more time I spend thinking about it, the more I realize I’ve never been truly happy with the Power trees. Power trees are one of the older concepts of the Stage: their first version appeared way back when the system was in its first iteration in 2008. They started out as a kind of substitute to character classes and as a way to grant characters abilities beyond mundane applications of Skills. This basic concept hasn’t changed much since then.
Today, every Power tree is linked to two Skills and provides special abilities related to those Skills. And that’s where things stop making sense to me. As people have pointed out in the past, the Skill combinations in Power trees are factitious: they’re based on several archetypes I had in mind when I first started working on the Stage: the warrior, the burglar, the commando, the leader, the martial artist, etcetera. While these archetypes were a great starting point for coming up with Powers and giving them a place on the Stage, I don’t feel the game needs this ‘device’ to be fun or easy to understand anymore.
So the Power Trees are going out.
But that doesn’t mean the Powers themselves must go. They are part of the Stage’s lifeblood. If anything, it needs more of them. My plan is to link Powers to single Skills. Every Skill level (except Skill level 1) should give access to two or more Powers that are linked to that Skill. Players can buy those Powers with Character points in the same way they do right now. I am not in favor of using a Tier system and making Powers prerequisites of Powers (the way it works now), unless that makes sense in the context (e.g. Improved specialization should have Specialization as a prerequisite, but there’s no reason for Counter to be a prerequisite of Death lunge).
I currently have 144 Skill-related Powers in the Core Rulebook and the Supernatural Rulebook. This number may need to go up to around 192 - 240. Writing Powers is a fun but time-consuming process; as such, it’s unlikely these new Powers will be available for testing shortly. However, the proof of the Power is in the balancing: they need to be tested. Since I’m writing a new setting (in addition to Verden) and some extra Spells as well, perhaps I can give the new Powers a swing when the time comes around to playtest this new material!
Let me know what you think, here!