Welcome back to Let’s Study AMP: Year One from Third Eye Games! Today we’ll be taking a quick peek at the powers chapter for the game. Normally I don’t go into too much detail on the powers, equipment and spell lists in most games, but AMP deserves a quick look at the powers systems to give a better idea of how they work.
Each AMP comes from any of several strains, each of which grants access to 6 different main powers. The Blaster Strain for example, has access to Battery, Bolt, Constructs, Enhancer, Flux and Vampire powers. These powers are also further refined by the Enhancements and Tricks that are bought for them. A Bulk Strain AMP with the Behemoth power for example, could be different from other Bulks in that he knows the Boost Jump trick that enhances his leaping distance. It’s a neat way to further differentiate one AMP from another of the same Strain.
Anatomy of a Power
Each power writeup in the game is given an extensive writeup composed of several sections. Looking over it reminds me a little bit of Aberrant and Exalted’s power writeups, but in a good way.
I think it’s unavoidable to have a decent chunk of detail in a rules-medium supers game, and AMP is really no exception to this. I won’t go into full detail as that’s reserved for the book itself, but just to give an idea of the things that go into a power we’ve got:
- Skill Check, if any are applicable
- Range – Which is sorted into Short, Medium or Long range bands, while also having options for Self, Touch and Line of Sight.
- Duration – Options include Instant, Scene, Battle, Concentration, Support, Reaction and Permanent
- Resistances – Which denote any applicable resistances to the powers. These are Dodge, Dodge/Block, Dodge/Find Cover, Strength and Mental Trauma.
- Core Ability – The basic ability gained by having this power.
- Augments – These are additional sub-abilities that further enhance the power and allow for enhancements to the core ability or tricks that are a slightly modified implementation of the ability.
As you can see its got a lot of detail into it, but thankfully each power writeup has pretty much everything you need to know about it in one place. I expect that repeated play of AMP will improve familiarity considering that starting characters only begin with 3 different powers.
Enhancements and Tricks
The Augments in a Power are also worth mentioning as they factor in just how an AMP decides to specialize in their use of their powers. Enhancements are modifiers that further improve the base ability, such as adding more damage to an attack from the base power. Tricks on the other hand are much flashier. These are essentially ways by which an AMP can utilize the power in an interesting fashion, from long-distance jumps to turning their skin into stone.
The Powers System of AMP: Year One is definitely a result of a lot of thought and planning. As a big Supers fan, I’m happy how AMP was able to balance having a wide range of interesting powers in a fashion that makes sense with the fiction of the setting. Given the pseudo-scientific nature of the setting, there’s nothing here regarding Magic as a superpower, but I can live with that. It’s a design choice that I agree with as it makes AMP step away from the usual “everything but the kitchen sink” approach to superpowers.
The use of trees to denote prerequisites was giving me Exalted PTSD flashbacks, but thankfully they weren’t bad at all, which is something I am incredibly relieved to learn. If a Supers Game is made or broken on the merits of its powers system alone, then AMP is certainly a winner in that category.