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[SPC2] Using the Copycat Power When the Player Doesn't Know the Target's Powers

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  • [SPC2] Using the Copycat Power When the Player Doesn't Know the Target's Powers

    Three Copycat questions for anyone interested:

    (1) Let's say a player uses Copycat on a random NPC who happens to have the Attack (Ranged) power. Let us also say that the player did not know before using Copycat that the NPC had the Attack (Ranged) power; he was just using Copycat with the hope that he might get something from the target and lucked out that he hit someone with a power. Great for him so far! But how would you GMs go about having him figure out what power he snagged? A Smarts roll? A Notice roll ("hey, my hands feel all tingly, almost like they could shoot fireballs!")?

    (2) Which brigs up another question: do you ever allow a player to use Copycat to discover what powers an opponent has? Let's say your party's Copycat touches an opponent with Super Strength, Parry, and Flight, but the Copycat doesn't know any of that. Does the Copycat become aware of those powers just by touching the opponent? Or does he copy them "blind" like in my hypothetical above?

    (3) Finally, if an opponent has three powers that the Copycat doesn't know about, but Copycat only has enough Power Points to absorb one of them, how do you choose which one he absorbs? If he can sense what powers an opponent has, then the player just chooses. If not, though, how do you handle it? In my game so far, I have been giving our Copycat player whichever power has the highest Power Point value that he can actually absorb. So, if our Super Strong, Super Parry, Flying baddie from number 2 has 8 points in Strength, 5 points in Parry, and 4 points in Flight, and the Copycat can copy up to 7 points worth of a power, Copycat would end up with Parry.


  • #2
    1) No roll required to know he "got something" but he may need to figure out what he got. Kind of like picking up a magical weapon in a fantasy campaign - you know it does something but figuring out what can be an experience.

    2) No "right way" for this one. My take is he only learns of the powers that can be copied. If a guy has Copycat 4 then he's not going to be able to learn that Captain Bloodrage has Super Strength 6 [12], Armor 6 (Heavy) [10], or "Blood Stride" Teleport (Rapid Teleport) [6], but could learn about the Captain's Blood Sight (Heightened Senses (Infravision)) [1].

    3) Run it how you want, but I'd let him know "You sense a defensive power and a movement power; which do you focus on?" Then he can learn the specifics as in #1.
    I hope you find the above post useful. And not insulting, because I was trying to be helpful, not insulting; being a pedantic jerk, that isn't always clear.


    • #3
      How can you copy something you don't know. I usually run a Super Sorcerer. He can cast a spell that copies any power. How can you copy something you don't know or see?
      I'd rule it's not possible until he sees the power or ability. Otherwise it's just meta-gaming.


      • #4
        "How?" Depends upon the trappings.
        Some Copycats have to deliberately calibrate their ability to copy a known quantity (very common for tech-based copycats).
        Others, like the iconic Rogue, merely have to touch someone to copy all the powers they can copy, and learn what they've stolen by experimentation.

        Blind copy has a lot of precedence - heck, Amazo learns what he's copying as he copies it.
        It doesn't have a lot of precedent for mages, but super sorcery has always been weird. Heck, using SS for Copycat is really inefficient. 20 PP for 10 levels of SS; 10 levels of SS give you 5 of Copycat, which gives you up to 5 PP of stolen powers ... for 20 actual PP. Much better to just simulate the powers with a spell.
        Last edited by ValhallaGH; 08-11-2017, 04:19 PM.
        I hope you find the above post useful. And not insulting, because I was trying to be helpful, not insulting; being a pedantic jerk, that isn't always clear.


        • #5
          Actually, the super-sorcery thing sounds more to me like a -2 Limitation: "You can only use this to emulate a Power you know someone in the general area has." So if you've fought Baron Blood several times before, when he attacks your base, his power-list is completely on the table (with that Limitation, I'd even say you could cast a power at less than the original's full rank, so long as you can manage the basics--if you can cast up to a 5-point spell, and Baron Blood has 10-point Armor, you can do a 5-point emulation). If, OTOH, you're up against the Masked Menace, and you've never actually seen him use a power before, your SS is worthless until he tips his hand (though you could copy an ally's powers while you were waiting).


          • #6
            I think of Rogue from Marvel's x-men. When she touches someone, she gets their power. Except in extremely young incarnations, she usually absorbs knowledge of that power and can sometimes use it better than the original holder. There's an exchange of memory, instinct, and identity that comes with the powers.

            Scarlet Witch is another one to consider. She shoots Hexbolts that make other people's powers all wonky and uncontrollable. Usually this results in general mayhem, but they always seem to work out very beneficial for her, don't they? Very often, she seems to retain some control over what happens, at least on some instinctual level.

            A Bird of Prey episode had a power mimic who could (and must) copy any power within proximity. He would get a headache whenever he detected a metahuman nearby, although it seemed like he always let the opponent use their power first and then just knew instantly everything about how to use it.

            The DC Universe has a character named Taskmaster (I think) who picks up the skill and abilities of anyone he sees. Although I think the idea is that he mimics the specific abilities he sees, he seems to get all related techniques as well, such as picking up an entire fighting style after watching a couple of punches or kicks or picking up Gymnastics after seeing a jump.

            Several episodes of Smallville had villains that could drain something from someone like emotion, life force, or heat. They didn't know Clark was different until they used their powers and realized he was something special. One person said he tasted sweeter, was more appetizing. Another person said the effect of the drain was more intense and more lasting. They just knew upon using their powers that he wasn't normal.

            I think there's more to any power copycat than just a simple copying of a power. At the very least, you may want to turn to the trappings and see how they might help with power detection/identification, or at least make your power mimic standout from others.
            Last edited by LordRahvin; 08-14-2017, 03:33 AM.


            • #7
              Thanks for all the input, y'all. This has helped me think a bit more about how it will work going forward for the player in my game.


              • #8
                There is also the possibility of powers that are always on; before Spidey was contacted by Tony Stark in Civil War, he wore welding goggles to diminish some of the sensory overload. Someone copying that could find themselves "blinded" by the influx.