Sneak Peek #2: Handling Powers in Agents of Oblivion
In a world of occult super-spies fighting all sorts of evil from every possible source, who has time to keep up with power points?! While we love the fluidity of Savage Worlds, when I went to the drawing board to come up with my wish list for Agents of Oblivion, I knew Power Points had to be jettisoned like a burned out Tesla-coil. The obvious question is why.
A lot of people grief over tracking them and (here’s a confession) this is a lesser concern for me. Honestly, it’s not that hard to scribble a few lines here and there. The direction I’ve been wanting to take the game was more into the story arena. If you’ve seen any of my adventures, you know I break them down by scene more than anything, and the agents need to be able to do cool stuff. Naturally, the other side of the coin, is the bad guys get to as well. So, having the powers work “by the scene” is a good happy balance in my book. The flip side is any power for a duration greater than instant is maintained from the moment it is up. Nothing is free in this world. I’ve also eliminated the Rank requirements for powers, so you can have a starting agent who can turn invisible and puppet people around, you just won’t be that good at doing that stuff, but you can grow into it.
Why did we go in this direction? There are a number of reasons.
1. I wanted to make it play well with Realms of Cthulhu. People have expressed the desire to mix up the two milieus and I’ll share a secret with you. I originally pitched Chaosium the concept of doing Agents of Oblivion for Savage Worlds using the Cthulhu license. Only after I took a step back and thought about how much more important it was to build a solid foundational rules set, did I move forward with Realms as it stands instead. Negotiating a license in many instances is not immediate, regardless of whom or what you’re dealing with, so I had a lot of time to think about the direction I wanted to take the line. Ultimately, it made sense to go the direction we’re going now, but I thought you might be interested in hearing about what might have been.
2. I wanted to have some kicking spytech and SUDs and I didn’t want them to be a hassle to keep up with. They don’t use any Power Points either (and I never planned for them to do so). So, having a mixed blend of different systems for different (what essentially amount to) powers was a definite no-no. As an aside, if I could have ditched keeping track of ammo, I would have, but that’s a different discussion. One we’ll have later on this week.
3. Freewheelin’ occult super-spies should be all about the action, so minimizing the bookkeeping (as minimal as it might already be) made a lot of sense. You just go and do. You have other things to keep up with. How many nemesis rounds do you have? What kind of shady things are going on? Who, really, is pulling your strings? If I have my pistol disguised as a laptop, what about that sketchy guy with the valise over there? You start looking for conspiracies, you’re gonna find them my friend.
Until next time, I bid you, dear reader, adieu!
I really like the idea of “scene based” effects as opposed to simulation so I applaud the way powers work in Agents of Oblivion.
I looked through AoO player’s guide and I am very intrigued by the content. Will there be some sort of the mission generator? And most importantly, when can we expect AoO to be released?
I do like my fiddly bits, and my group uses glass beads to track Power Points (called Mana in my last campaign). Whatever you’re doing had better be worth one less fiddly bit at the table… ;-)
Thank you very much. It works really seamlessly in play. There is a mission generator and agency generator and bad guy generator and more!
Nothing against fiddly bits here, but I adjust the system to work with the style of play. We dropped it for magic, but it’s there (in spades) for loadouts, if you want it. Lots of customization is to be found within these pages.