Last updated on: 06/06/2001
The Power Plague© RPG
The game in brief
    This is my attempt at a post-apocolyptic/super hero style RPG game.  The rules that you'll find here borrow heavily from commercial and freely available RPGs, but since none of them provide the type of game I'd like to play, I had to write up my own.  Doesn't everyone?
    The tone of this game is bleak and deadly.  Think of it as early Gamma World meets Superworld, with a WildCards flair.  Mutated plants and animals (apes excepted) don't exist.  Civilization is a thing of the past, there are no city-state enclaves where high-tech people live in peace and comfort seperate from the deadly world outside.  Life is a daily fight for survival - for everyone; your opponents are the other relatively few survivors of the plague, and the ravaged world you have to live in.  99% of human-kind has died horrible deaths, 50% of all other great ape species shares their fate.  The survivors find themselves either horribly disfigured or reborn with super-human powers.  That's where you come in.

Chapter 1 - Background

  • 2001 Human Genome Project is completed and published on the World Wide Web; New Earth Movement (NEM) is founded in British Columbia, a semi-religious group that speaks out against technology and tampering with 'Mother Gaea'
  • 2002 Breakthrough in computer chip manufacturing produces incredibly small, inexspensive chips capable of multi-trillion instructions per second; Nano-technology experiments reported successful by EnGenLabs, an engineering company located in Northern Virginia.
  • 2003 Cold fusion devices bring an abrupt collapse of fossil fuel industry; Household robots appear on the market; Gene manipulation experiments produce a mated pair of chimpanzees that learn to speak English and eventually attain a high-school level of education; NEM blamed for attacks on several gene-tech companies.
  • 2004 Desert areas of the world are made productive through de-salinated irrigation; free energy via cold fusion devices, along with the increase in viable land, raise all nations up to the industrial level; Due to inexpensive computers and unlimited ‘free’ energy, 99% of the world is estimated to be on the World Wide Web.  Population rates increase dramatically over the next 5 years before leveling out at a world population net gain of 10 persons per second.
  • 2007 Smart chimps produce an offspring that inherits the ability to learn; NEM declares itself independent of any nation, begins recruiting soldiers and scientists for thier 'Army of Gaea'.
  • 2008 Nanotech treatment of cancer results in 100% success rates; secret experimentation with smart nanotech weapons begins in the Middle East as terratorial conflicts continue there.  Experiments begin on biological nano-technology to overcome the energy and reliability issues with mechanical nano-tech.
  • 2010 Nanotech weapons banned by United Nations after a failed Iraqi attack on a neighboring country results in the extinction of all life in a large town and surrounding areas; Army of Gaea successfully defends the NEM when a large UN force tries to arrest NEM leaders on conspiracy charges.  NEM declared outlaw by the UN, although many nations ignore the ruling due to popular opinion of NEM amoung their citizens.
  • 2013 German weapons manufacturer sucessfully incorporates a cold fusion generator into a large rifle-sized laser weapon; Laser warfare in Africa and the Middle East responsible for massive casualties.
  • 2016 EnGenLabs reports successful trials of a NanoGene that rebuilds damaged cells in the human body; Rumors circulate suggesting immortality genes have been created but are being made available only to the rich.
  • 2017 EnGenLabs begins work on NanoGene variations of the gene manipulation experiments that produced the smart chimps in 2003; The U.S. closes it’s borders with Canada, citing that countries refusal to enforce the NEM ban.
  • 2018 A lethal NanoGene is unleashed on the world during an attack on EnGenLabs by the Army of Gaea; 99% of human population is dead within three months, along with 50% of the other great ape species (Gorilla, Chimpanzee and Orangutan).

Ground Zero
    February 19th, 2018, the NanoGene was released and the world was devastated.  99% of the planet’s population was killed outright by the plague, 50% of the survivors were immune to the plague and pass the immunity on as a dominant trait.  Of the infected survivors, 75% were horribly disfigured in some way, the remaining 25% were re-born with mutations that gave them super-human powers.
    The plague is a mix of genetic engineering and nano-technology.  It has the body of a biological virus, with a nanotech brain.  It’s programming causes it to perform three functions, in order: Create two exact copies of itself, Make random changes to host DNA and cell structures, Seek new host.    The NanoGene can only survive 12 hours outside of a host, and if the new host species is not primate it can only replicate once before it dies.  The human body becomes immune to the plague within 24 hours of infection and cannot be infected by it ever again.
    EnGenLabs’ compound in Costa Rica was completely leveled, most of the Army of Gaea was killed by the virus along with the lab workers.  The management seemed particularly immune to the plague, but rumors of a nanotech antidote or innoculation to the NanoGene could not be confirmed because of the brutal deaths of all EnGen management at the hands of someone calling himself The Avenger, a member of the Army of Gaea who awakened from the plague with super human powers.
    The plague covered the globe in three months, traveling on the winds and any living host it could come in contact with.  There is no place on Earth free of the plague, all new born primates are infected in the womb, sometimes inheriting the parent's mutations, most often exibiting something new, if it lives at all.  Mortality amoung primate fetuses is 75% in the first trimester, 95% in the second; if the fetus survives to the third trimester it will survive the plague -- surviving birth is another matter.

Chapter 2 - Character Generation
    First, the player(s) and GM should decide amoung themselves what kind of campaign they will be playing, and rough out the background of the starting area.  The GM will usually have most of this prepared ahead of time but there's nothing wrong with a group effort.  Once the background information has been decided, the players need to decide on the type of character they want to play from the following choices:

  • Pure Human - Immune to the NanoVirus and can pass this immunity on to offspring
  • Deformed Human - One of the unlucky that survived the plague but were deformed by it
  • Super Human - One of the few who survived the plague with great powers
  • Mutated Ape - See the Apes section for details before continuing
    Pure Humans will obviously not have any mutations of any kind, but will actually be lower on the social ladder in most cases, despite out numbering the Super Humans 5 to 1.  The Deformed are shunned by everyone, for the most part; after all, even the most charitable would hardly give out food when they have a hard time getting it themselves.  The more mobile amoung the Deformed are sometimes used as slave labor by some of the more unscrupulous individuals, usually disguised as charity.  The extremely low number of surviving humans have had no chance to practice civilization in any case.
    Ape characters are a special case and should be very rare.  If the GM allows Ape characters, see the Apes section for special character generation rules before coming back to this section.
    Characters start out with a base score of 12 in each of the ability scores listed to the right.  Roll 5d4 + 5 for the number of points that can be added to the base score; points may be subtracted from scores to increase others, to a minimum of 10.
    Not all points have to be spent in this step, but you cannot come back and adjust the ability scores after you move on.
    The next step is determining what mutations the character gained from the NanoVirus.  (This step applies only to those characters in the Super Human category.)  Add the character's Power score, one half of the character's Fortitude score and the remaining points from the Ability Score step (if any); this is the number of points than can be spent on mutations.  Mutations are rolled randomly, but there must be enough points to qualify; if a mutation is rolled that costs more than the available points, you must roll again until a mutation is rolled that costs the current point total or less.  After the first mutation is determined, the player can select advantages and/or disadvantages to personalize the mutation and possibly gain extra points for more mutrations.  If there are at least five points left, the player can roll for another mutation, following the above rules, and continuing in this manner until there are not enough points left or the player feels the character has enough.  Once this step if finished the player cannot come back and there is no chance of gaining further powers.
    The next step involves the purchase of skills.  Add the character's Intelligence Score, one half of the character's Agility Score and one half of the character's Strength score to the remaining points from the last step; these are the points that can be used to purchase the character's skills and beginning skill ability.

    The following tables list the various skill categories that are available, specific skills will be detailed in the Skills chapter.

Skill Categories
Power (NanoGene mutations)
Weapon (combat skills)
Scholar (languages, lores)
Craft (armorer, wood carver, thief)
Survival (swim, climb, forage)
Weapon Skill Categories
Bash - axes, clubs, maces, fists, feet, etc.
Slash - swords, claws, etc.
Stab - spears, staves, daggers, etc.
Throw - rocks, hand axes, knives, etc.
Shoot - guns, bows, slings, etc.

Chapter 3 - Powers  (see notes section for SR and other explanations)

Base SR: 25%   DR: 3   DMG: 0
    The character can mentally communicate with mammals, birds and reptiles, which will obey simple commands if it's within their power.

Body Density Control
Base SR: 15%   DR: 6   DMG: 0
    The character can increase and/or decrease his or her body density by SR percent.  i.e. A Body Density Control SR of 68% will allow the character to increase or decrease his or her body mass by 68%.

Chameleon Skin
Base SR: 25%   DR: 5   DMG: 0
    The character can match the color of his or her skin to any surface the character is in contact with.  Complex colorations are subject to difficulty modifiers to the SR.

Cold Touch
Base SR: 15%   DR: 10  DMG: 2
    The character can lower the temperature of an object by SR/2 degrees farenheit nearly instantaneously simply by touching it.  The character can ignore cold based damage on a successful SR roll, and can likewise cause damage.

Computer Telepathy
Base SR: 05%   DR: 8   DMG: 0
    This mutation is a special case; the character cannot have any other mutations except normal Telepathy.  The character can communicate and operate computers by touching any part of the computer and maintaining absolute concentration.  The character can make programming changes, seek information from databases, determine damage and how to fix it, and communicate with other computers that are connected to the one the character is touching if it is on a working network.  This ability requires special training to be of any use; the skills of Computer Tech, Computer Programming, Robotics, etc. are needed in order to perform any actions within those skill areas.  A character with this mutation but no training in the required skills can only gain rudimentary information about the computer and the data it may be storing.
    The character can use this mutation on all forms of computers, including robots and other computer intelligences, but these later cases are able to resist to some degree, depending on their intelligence level and programming.  The more advanced computer intelligence systems may be able to provide training in related skills, up to 50%, depending on the operational state of the system.
    If the character has a mutation other than Telepathy when this one is gained, he can either keep Computer Telepathy and remove all other mutations or he can choose one other mutation in place of Computer Telepathy.  In either case, the character cannot gain further mutations, even if others would have been available.

Disruption Touch
Base SR: 10%   DR: 10  DMG: 3
    The character can disrupt the molecular bonding of an object by touch, causing it to turn to dust.  The character can affect up to SR/5 cubic inches of material.

Base SR: 25%   DR: 6   DMG: 0
    The character can stretch any part of his body. [more detail here]

Electrical Generation
Base SR: 15%   DR: 8   DMG: 1
    The character can generate and deliver electricity by touch.

Energy Absorbtion
Base SR: 25%   DR: 5   DMG: 0
    The character can absorb a single type of energy, using it to heal him or herself or dissapating it in another form (flash of light, heat, etc.)

Enhanced Hearing
Base SR: 30%   DR: 0   DMG: 0
    The charcter's hearing is increased, doubling range and sensitivity.

Enhanced Perception
Base SR: 30%   DR: 0   DMG: 0
    The character is hyper aware, noticing sounds and movement that others would miss.

Enhanced Smell
Base SR: 30%   DR: 0   DMG: 0
    The character can detect and distinguish odors much better than normal.

Enhanced Speed
Base SR: 30%   DR: 0   DMG: 0
    The character's speed rating is doubled.

Enhanced Touch
Base SR: 30%   DR: 0   DMG: 0
    The character's sense of touch is greatly enhanced.

Enhanced Vision
Base SR: 30%   DR: 0   DMG: 0
    The character can see twice as far as normal, and can see in near darkness like a cat.

Fear Generation
Base SR: 20%   DR: 5   DMG: 0
    The character can cause everyone around him to feel very afraid.  Effects depend on target's stats.  Works on everyone in range, can be tuned to individuals if difficuly modifiers are applied.

Force Field Generation
Base SR: 20%   DR: 8   DMG: 0
    Character can generate an impregnable Force Field.

Healing Touch
Base SR: 15%   DR: 6   DMG: 0
    Character can cause wounds to heal by touching them.  Cannot regenerate severed limbs, but can re-attach them if done within a reasonable time.  Victim must rest several hours after having been heald, depending on the amount of healing done.

Heat Touch
Base SR: 15%   DR: 10  DMG: 2
    The character can raise the temperature of an object by SR/2 degrees farenheit nearly instantaneously simply by touching it.  The character can ignore heat based damage on a successful SR roll, and can likewise cause damage.  Flammable objects will burst into flame automatically.

Immune to aging
Base SR: n/a   DR: 0   DMG: 0
    Character does not age beyond puberty or age when first infected.

Immune to disease/poison
Base SR: n/a   DR: 0   DMG: 0
    Character's immune system immediately isolates and eliminated poisons and diseases, including nanotechnology and the effects of radiation.

Incredible Agility
Base SR: n/a   DR: 0   DMG: 0
    Character's Agility score is doubled.

Incredible Build
Base SR: n/a   DR: 0   DMG: 0
    Character's Build score is doubled.

Incredible Charisma
Base SR: n/a   DR: 0   DMG: 0
    Character's Charisma score is doubled.

Incredible Fortitude
Base SR: n/a   DR: 0   DMG: 0
    Character's Fortitude score is doubled.

Incredible Intelligence
Base SR: n/a   DR: 0   DMG: 0
    Chaacter's Intelligence is doubled.

Incredible Power
Base SR: n/a   DR: 0   DMG: 0
    Character's Power score is doubled.

Incredible Strength
Base SR: n/a   DR: 0   DMG: 0
    Character's Strength score is doubled.

Base SR: 50%   DR: 1   DMG: 0
    Character can see into the infrared spectrum.

Base SR: 15%   DR: 7   DMG: 0
    Character can cause light to pass through his or her body.  This makes the character immune to laser damage also.

Kinetic Shield
Base SR: 20%   DR: 5   DMG: 0
    Character can wrap a kenetic shield around him as a second skin, clothing and other worn objects are outside of the shield.  Kenetic damage is completely blocked by this mutation.

Linguistic Genius
Base SR: 30%   DR: 0   DMG: 0
    Character can understand and speak any language he or she is exposed to automatically, to a degree equal to the SR.

Light Generation
Base SR: 25%   DR: 3   DMG: 0
    Character can cause any part of his or her body, including the whole body at once, to glow with a light equal to SR percent of sunlight.

Location Sense
Base SR: 50%   DR: 2   DMG: 0
    Character knows his place in the world, literally.  He can return to any location he has visited, cannot be lost, etc.  This is an extrasensory perception not related to sight, so blindfolding doesn't affect it.

Mechanical Wizard
Base SR: 35%   DR: 5   DMG: 0
    Character can build or repair any mechanical device he desires, out of whatever mechanical parts are at hand.  If the device would normally be impossible to build or repair, it will only work in the hands of the character, returning to useless junk if contact is broken.

Mental Body Control
Base SR: 15%   DR: 8   DMG: 0
    Character can ignore pain, slow or stop bleeding, control breathing.

Mind Control
Base SR: 20%   DR: 10  DMG: 0
    Character can insert his mind into another living body, giving it commands and using any physical abilities of the controlled body.  Character's original body is in a trance-like state while controlling another body, and it not aware of anything around the original body that the controlled body is not.

Pain Generation
Base SR: 25%   DR: 4   DMG: 1
    Character can cause the nerve cells to fire by touching that part of the body.  Skin to skin contact muct be made.  The pain is intense, affects determined by victim's stats and area touched.

Base SR: 25%   DR: 8   DMG: 0
    Character can cause the cells of his body to match phase with other solid objects, allowing him to pass through without affecting either the object or himself.  He cannot take anything with him, including clothing.

Plant Control
Base SR: 35%   DR: 5   DMG: 0
    Character can control plants to move and/or grow, causing branches to whip out, vines to grapple, etc.  He cannot cause a plant to do anything it would not otherwise be able to do given time or circumstance.

Psychic Blast
Base SR: 10%   DR: 4   DMG: 3
    Character can send a blast of phychic energy into another mind, causing physical damage and confusion.

Quick Recovery
Base SR: n/a   DR: 0   DMG: 0
    Character can recover from the effects of fatigue and regain SR at twice his normal rate.

Base SR: 50%   DR: 10  DMG: 0
    Character's body natually causes wounds to heal and severed limbs to regenerate.  Time to heal is based on SR.

Self Healing
Base SR: 35%   DR: 5   DMG: 0
    Character can concentrate on a wound and cause it to heal.  He cannot heal anyone besides himself with this mutation.

Base SR: 20%   DR: 5   DMG: 0
    Character can change the shape of his body to match that of any other body he is familiar with, including animals and other people.  Mass remains the same, so he could chapechange into an ant, but it would be a BIG ant.

Skeletal Enhancement
Base SR: n/a   DR: 0   DMG: 0
    Character's bones are alloyed with steel.  Character is more resistant to physical damage and can withstand greater pressures.

Sound Imitation
Base SR: 35%   DR: 3   DMG: 1
    Character can immitate any sound he has heard, including sonic attacks.

Base SR: 45%   DR: 5   DMG: 0
    Character can manipulate objects without touching them physically.  The amount of wieght he can telekinetically lift is determined by the SR.

Telekinetic Flight
Base SR: 50%   DR: 3   DMG: 0
    Character can fly without any visible means.  The amount of weight he can carry aside from himself and his maximum speed are determined by SR.

Base SR: 15%   DR: 5   DMG: 0
    Character can communicate with others mind to mind, the telepath cannot read anything other than conscious thought unless a very difficult SR is rolled.

Base SR: 35%   DR: 10  DMG: 0
    Character can teleport to any location he knows, range determined by SR.

Thick Skin
Base SR: n/a   DR: 0   DMG: 0
    Character's skin is very tough, cannot be cut by anything short of a laser, etc.

Base SR: n/a   DR: 0   DMG: 0
    Character can see into the ultraviolet spectrum.

Wall Climbing
Base SR: 45%   DR: 2   DMG: 0
    Character's bare hands and feet can adhere to ANY surface, allowing him to walk on walls, ceilings, etc. as if walking on level ground.

Base SR: 50%   DR: 0   DMG: 0
    Character has feathered or bat-like wings (his choice) that allow him to fly and glide.  Feathered wings are large and fold up on character's back allowing his arms to be free during flight but make wearing anything on the upper body difficult at best.  Bat wings attach along the character's sides, arms and hands, making it easier to wear clothing and armor on upper body but he can't use his arms for anything else when flying.

Chapter 4 - Skills

To Be Written

Notes to be expanded on
    Powers are either activated or permanent.  Permanent Powers are ‘on’ all the time, cannot be turned off, etc.  Activated Powers must be ‘turned on’ before they have any effect and are rated by a Skill Rating (SR) that determines how well the power is used.  This is a number from 0 to 100 and usually expresses the percentage chance to successfully use the mutation.  It can also be used to determine range, duration, and other effects of the mutation, according to the descriptions above.  Activated Powers may be able to activate unconsciously under certain conditions, but still must adhere to the skill roll.   For Example: a character with the Kinetic Shield mutation is attacked from behind while the power is deactivated. The character can attempt to raise the shield as a reflexive defense measure but still must succeed in an SR roll for that power.
    Each power has a drain rating, from 0 to 10, which along with a difficulty rating determines how much that power is reduced in effectiveness until recovered.  Difficulty ratings range from 0 to 5, 0 being no contest, 5 being extremely difficult.  A power with a drain rating of 5 and a difficulty level of 3 would reduce the power’s skill level by 15% (5x3) until the character rests long enough to regain full efficiency.  Special successes reduce the difficulty level by one each, so in the above example one special would result in a 10% drain, two specials would result in a 5% drain, and three or more would result in no loss at all.  The difficulty level cannot be lowered past 0.  This drain occurs whether the skill roll was successful or not, with exceptions noted in the individual power descriptions.
    Power SRs are recovered at a rate determined by the character's CON score.  If a power is drained below 1% the character falls unconscious until that power is recovered to (20-CON)%.

    Combat is a skill vs. skill contest.    A character either uses a power skill (which is affected by draining, as above) or a weapon skill, rolled on a d%.  A successful hit will do damage equal to the DMG rating of the weapon/power multiplied by the 10’s die used to determine the hit.  For example: using a weapon with a 3 DMG rating, if a roll of 38% results in a hit, that hit will do 9 (3x3) points of damage.  This means that as the skill is improved the potential for doing greater damage increases. Damage is reduced by any protection the target is using, including armor and defensive powers.

Advantages & Disadvantages
    Powers are randomly chosen, but can be modified with advantages and disadvantages.  Each power will have its own list of ads/disads which either add or subtract from the advancement pool.  Each ad/disad may have levels of effect, which carry their own point values.  Some examples:
Death Aura - Character is dead with respect to machine and psychic detection.  Medical equipment will think the character is dead and refuse to work on him(+3), psychic powers will not work on character(-5), the healing touch power does not work on character(+5), insects attracted to decay are constantly seaking out the character(+2).
Scaled Skin - Character's skin is scaled like a snake or lizard(+2), scales also have the coloration of a reptile(+2).
Immune to Psychics - Character's mental discipline make him immune to psychic attacks and probes(-8).
    Advancement points can also be used to increase the starting % of a power, at a rate of 3% per point.  No more than 5 points can be used on any one power.