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Jack's Super-Sense


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Hey gang, let's talk super-senses!

So it's been pointed out that Jack's energy awareness is pretty much a big bowl of inconceivable; it does not mean what you think it means. I'm willing to rebuild it to do what it should (as opposed to, I don't know, throwing a tantrum or something?) so I figured the first thing to do would be to more accurately explain what that actually is.

Erik and Ellie, through their father, are scions of the House of Swords, one of four ancient aristocracies based on the four suits of playing cards (or possibly the other way around). Each of the Houses are comprised of what I like to think of as metamagi; generation upon generation of mystically enhanced mutants.

If you're familiar with DC's Homo Magi, like the Posse from Blue Beetle, this might be more clear. Basically, they're functionally identical to ol' Homo Superior only, y'know magic-ier. I guess the rationale is that being born with the ability to use magic, especially in one specific way, is pretty much a mutant power anyway. Like D&D sorcerers, as opposed to wizards.

The point here is that, as far as Erik is concerned, magic's just another type of energy. Of course, the rules kinda sorta disagree, so that's gotta be reflected in his powers. I'm also not really clear on what's covered by Awareness and what's covered by Detect, but it sounds like he ought to have both. Let me know what you think of something like this:

Super-Senses 13 (mental; Danger Sense, Detect Energy 2, Detect Magic 2, Energy Awareness, Magic Awareness, Extras: Accurate 4, Acute 2) [13PP]

Of course, that's a whopping 8PP more than he's got right now, so if anybody has any ideas on how to array this or something, I'm all ears.

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There is no way to do all the things you want to do without spending more points than you are right now.

And you're right - as far as the system is concerned, "Magic" and "Energy" are two different descriptors, both of which are broad enough already. There is some overlap - a "lightning bolt spell" would have both descriptors, and trigger Super-Senses and Immunities based on either one.

"[Descriptor] Awareness" is Ranged and Radius by default. It is an instant, momentary awareness of a [Descriptor] power being used. The more extras you tack onto it, the more information you get in that brief flash. Accurate Awareness tells you precisely where the power was used. Acute gives you fine details about the power that was used. In any event, it is a Reaction, a brief flash.

"Detect [Descriptor]" has no Super-Sense extras by default. It is not Accurate, Acute, Radius, or Ranged. Detect is what you need if you want to specifically search for something instead of just passively waiting for it to happen around you. It is a sense that you use consciously and actively. It persists for as long as you decide to use it. If you want to be able to target foes in combat while blinded, you need to either buy an Accurate Ranged Detect that would pick them up, or add the Accurate (and possibly Ranged) extra(s) to one of your other persistent senses, like Normal Hearing/Olfactory/Touch/Mental/etc.

"Magic Awareness" will give you a Notice check every time someone (or something) else uses a power with the "Magic" descriptor. "Detect Magic" will allow you to perceive anything with the "Magic" descriptor around you at will (provided you purchase the right extras for it).

Here are some ideas on how to do what I think you want to do, spending as few points as possible:

Super-Senses 2 (Energy Awareness [Mental], Magic Awareness [Mental]) [2PP]

Super-Senses 1 (Danger Sense [Mental], Complications: Limited [Energy/Magic Attacks]) [1PP]

Super-Senses 6 (Detect Energy [Mental, Extras: Accurate 2, Acute, Radius, Ranged], Feats: Alternate Power) [7PP]

  • Alternate Power: Super-Senses 6 (Detect Magic [Extras: Accurate 2, Acute, Radius, Ranged]) [6PP]

With the two Detects arrayed, he could only use one at a time. The Awareness senses are not arrayed, so any use of a power fitting either one of those descriptors will trip them. The Awareness senses are not Accurate, so he wouldn't know precisely where the powers were used, only that they were used nearby. He could then activate one of his Detects and conduct a search for them.

These are "bare-boned." "The minimum." I'd recommend adding the Rapid extra to the Detects, so he could conduct searches faster, and the Extended extra for both the Awarenesses and the Detects, so he could lower the distance penalty.

Keep in mind that you can pay double for a Super-Senses extra to have it cover the entire sense type (i.e., all senses of that type that you possess), rather than an individual sense. So if you're planning to buy the same extra for two or more senses of the same type, you may as well just buy it for all of them. You could also take a Complication that states they only apply to certain senses.

He is, of course, free to assign different sense types, if you'd rather he "see" or "smell" energy and magic, instead of just "knowing" that they're there.

Also note that stretching things as far as "perceiving the people around me by the heat and electrical impulses in their bodies" is far outside the scope of "Detect Energy." "Detect Magic" would perceive a foe who is "made of magic," like Grimalkin...unless she has Concealment against the sense type of your Detect. Then your sense would require the 4PP "Penetrates Concealment" extra.

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Alright, that looks like a good starting point. For the sake of argument, can't Detect be extended to normal range for just one more rank? UP says:

Detect has no range ... For 2 ranks you can detect things at a normal range increment (–1 per 10 feet).
With that in mind, could I swing:

Super-Senses 5 (Detect Energy 2 [Mental, Extras: Accurate 2, Acute], Feats: Alternate Power) [6PP]

  • AP: Super-Senses 5 (Detect Magic 2 [Extras]) [5PP]

Beyond that, Rapid makes sense, but I think I'll have to leave that until later. I might just drop the Danger Sense out of necessity. As for Extended, I should probably just buy up his ranks in Notice, first; he can actually take 10 more before hitting caps!

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That "extra rank" the core book mentions is the Ranged extra. UP is more clear about it. Since we officially defer to UP here for any powers rules, it's always a good idea to look there first. In this case, the distinction is academic, but for the purposes of making your sheet easier to read at a glance, we would prefer that you note it as the Ranged extra rather than "2 ranks of Detect."

Keep in mind that, if you don't buy Radius, then the sense only perceives things in your front arc.

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Alright. I was quoting UP there, but I can see how that notation would make things easier to understand at a glance. I also can't remember 'arcs' ever coming up in actual play, but I suppose it's important for flavour if nothing else.

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