BAM #4 - Basic Action Super Heroes

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BAM #4 - Basic Action Super Heroes

CreditsContributions: Ben Norman, Chris RutkowskyArtwork: Artwork by Danilo Moretti, Galaxy pictureis a public domain image by Space Telescope ScienceInstitute’s Office of Public Outreach,.IntroductionIt’s done! Basic Action Super Heroes! UltimateEdition (or BASH! UE as it is being called online thesedays) is finished! It is available now as a pdf fromrpgnow.com, drivethrurpg.com, and pigames.net. Asof right now, the pre-orders on the hardcopy bookshave nearly sold out. It is for the hard work that wentinto this that this issue of BAM! Is so long coming. Ihope it was worth the wait.Because it is a brand new Super Heroic edition of BASH!, I thought it best that this issue focus onintroducing that book to those who may not be familiar. BASH! has undergone some changesover the years, with updates in Megapolis and BAM! and we have incorporated many of theseinto a single rules set. In addition to an expanded, revised version of the game, you will also finda lot of content has been added (it has 100 more pages than the original). This added contentincludes advice for running campaigns for Narrators, updated and optional rules, and a host ofsettings for you to run your campaign in.These settings run the gamut from Pulp era Mystery Men, to Golden Age Superheroes, throughthe Silver, Bronze, and Iron Ages of comics. They also deal with varying levels of power fromSuper Teens just discovering their powers to Cosmic Heroes who fight to defend the universe.This issue we give attention to the latter: a preview of the Cosmic Heroes section of BASH!Ultimate Edition.Ben Norman has also contributed an article called “BASHing Out an Origin” which allows you tomake a random back-story for your character, which is really quite fun to use, and works withany edition of the game (or any superheroes game for that matter). Hopefully in the near future,fans will be able to submit some new articles and ideas for BASH! UE for these pages. For moreinformation about BASH! Ultimate Edition or how you can contribute to BAM!, please checkout the last page of this issue, or check out our website or Facebook page “Basic Action Games”.Chris RutkowskyBasic Action Gameswww.bashrpg.com2


With Cosmic Power…While most superhero stories focus on saving thecity, or the world, the very universe might hang inthe balance of a Cosmic campaign. Cosmic Heroescan travel across the galaxy, move planets, andeven survive inside a black hole. The CosmicSetting actually also takes place along-side one ofthe other settings. The Narrator should decide ifthe game takes place alongside a Silver Age, IronAge, or Fantasy setting, for example. Cosmicsettings obviously have a lot in common withScience Fiction campaigns, as space travel is such amajor component.What follows are some selections from the Cosmicsetting material from BASH! Ultimate Edition. Wewould have loved to put it all in, but it’s just toobig.Scale: Cosmic is not only a Setting for BASH!it is also a Scale of play- naturally the CosmicScale (60+ pts) works best here! Forinformation on special rules, see “CosmicScale” below. On occasion, mere mortalsdo play pivotal roles in cosmic events, butthese cases are rare.Who should play Cosmic? Groupsthat want to play gods, Cosmic Beings,or their agents, in battles for the entireuniverse!Recommended Reading &Viewing: Marvel’s Silver Surfer andCaptain Mar-Vell and DC’s Green Lanternand various New Gods stories are all goodexamples of Cosmic setting.TropesAll Powerful BeingsCosmic campaigns are filled with entitiesthat can best be described as “CosmicBeings”. These entities are often livingembodiments of concepts such as death, life,entropy, time, space, good, evil, order, chaos, etc,as old as the universe itself. Others might better bedescribed as gods, forces of nature, or simply asaliens. Such entities are so powerful, that theNarrator should not really worry about countingthe points used to build them (or even skipbuilding the creature and simply run it as a plotdevice). Power-wise, these beings can do whateverthey want.For as powerful as they are, however, these beingsoften behave according to some strict guidelinesthemore powerful the creature, the stricter therules, or more predictable the behavior. For acreature that can do anything- it is important toknow what they won’t. Here are some examples:An Ancient Pact: The being has made a pact,treaty, bargain, or other agreement with variousother beings which it dare not violate. It is thusprevented from directly intervening in the affairs ofmortals (for good or ill), or is limited to “its side”of the universe. Often, such beings will be forcedto use go-betweens, or subtle manipulation toachieve their aims, rather than direct application ofpower.Compulsion: The being must act in a certainway and cannot help itself. Perhaps it is drivenby the basic need to sustain itself, or maybe itmust focus its attention upon a certain taskthat the universe requires. As a result, thebeing does not utilize much of its greatpower for anything other thansatisfying its own compulsion. Indeed,even getting its attention may provedifficult (and disastrous).Limited Window: Perhapsthe being can only use its powersin its own dimension, only usethem in a certain way, or can onlyuse its powers for a limited periodof time. Such a being might be acosmic trickster who forces Heroes tocomplete its bazaar tasks before thesand runs out of a giant hourglass, ora lord of ultimate evil that can onlyuse its powers on a mortal at theirown request.Aloof: The being is completelyindifferent to the affairs of “lesserbeings” and simply doesn’t want tointerfere, much as we would beindifferent to the affairs of an ant.However, if the lesser being became enough of anuisance to get the entity’s attention, it might besmote.Saving the UniverseJust as Heroes on Earth fight to save the city frominjustice, or save the world from domination,Cosmic superheroes save many worlds, entiregalaxies, and on occasion, the universe from beingdestroyed. Doing this is more about the way inwhich the story is told than the powers of thecharacters. Instead of defusing a bomb that could3


destroy the city, Cosmic Heroes might need toassemble an ultimate equation that will stop theuniverse from imploding. Mechanically, these tasksare the same- the characters work to stop acalamity before the time runs out- the difference isthe story. When thinking of Cosmic challenges tothrow at the players, consider the sort of challengeyou’d throw at any other superheroes and makethem Cosmic. A chase scene might take place acrossthe entire galaxy. Heroes may battle to stop acreature the size of a planet. Villains may try tohold up the Galactic Banking Federation.In addition, Cosmic games often involve situationswhen the direct approach is beyond their abilitiesand must be resolved through puzzle solving,mysteries, and politics. An infinity character-pointentity is unlikely to be cowed by Heroes- or evennotice them- in a straight up fight. If the Heroescould give (or deny) it something it wants,however, or get other entities of similar power toally against it- it might back off. For situations likethis, the Narrator should enable the Heroes tofigure out how they can best thwart such a mightyfoe. If a straight fight is impossible- the playersshould know it.Inter-Planetary Conflict: One of the greatestproblems that Cosmic characters have to deal withis war- wars between planets (or galaxies) thathave lasted for thousands (or even millions) ofyears. It is inevitable that many innocent worlds(like the Earth) get caught in the crossfire.Protecting these worlds, or ending the conflictaltogether is a common goal for Cosmic Heroes.This will often pit these characters against othercosmic forces that back one side in the war, oragainst entire fleets of starships involved. WhileCosmic Heroes may have the power to routinelysmash these fleets, they cannot do so forever- ifthere is to be any solution, the Heroes must find away to stop it beyond escalating the conflict.Cosmic Heroes might take on a quest to get “theone thing” that would stop the war, and bring theenemies to forge a truce.Running Cosmic Scale GamesObviously, using characters with the power tojuggle planets can seem like a daunting task.BASH! Ultimate Edition makes it easy, however.Cosmic Math: Multipliers Beyond 10: Withunlimited potential for increase, you would thinkthat Cosmic powers would become extremelymath-heavy (and be a pain to calculate at thetable). Not so- if anything the math gets easier. Atthe Cosmic scale, any “multiplier” over 10 becomesa Dice Bonus instead. Rather than rolling x14, youwould roll x10 with a +4 Dice Bonus, a x11 wouldbecome x10 with a +1 Dice Bonus, etc. Sincemultiplying by 10 is as simple as placing a “0” afterthe result of the roll, Cosmic scale remainsmathematically simple to run.Example: Infinity Knight does x13 damage with hiscosmic blast. He rolls the dice and gets a “7”+3 =10x10 = 100 damage.Cosmic Stats: Cosmic characters purchase statsthe same as any other character up to 5 at 2Character Points per level in a stat. However, thereare Cosmic powers that allow a character toincrease their effective multiplier with a statbeyond 5. Like all Cosmic powers, these are boughtin 5 level increments. Thus, you may see a cosmiccharacter with Brawn 5 (8). This means that thecharacter has 15 levels in Cosmic Might in additionto a base of 5 Brawn.The Beyond Rating: Many Cosmic entitieshave stats or powers that cannot be measured, ormay even be infinite. These stats or powers aresimply rated “Beyond” indicating that they areimmeasurable. Whenever a character with aBeyond rating goes against someone without it, theBeyond rating will automatically win- no dice rollsare necessary. When two entities are in a conflictusing abilities with Beyond ratings, the result isusually a stalemate, unless the plot has affected theconflict. Often, the shift in this balance is the workof Heroes or Villains.Example: The Cosmic Beings, Alpha and Omegaface off pitting their Beyond rating attacks againstthe other’s Beyond rating soak. In a straight upfight, they can trade blows for eons with no clearvictor- but if Alpha has discovered (or been given)some secret that gives it an advantage, then it willwin.Beyond Rating is usually only used by the Narratoras part of some plot device. Cosmic Beings withBeyond ratings are often plot devices inthemselves. Dealing with them should always havesome work-around- part of some puzzle, intrigue,or mystery, rather than a straight fight. Somebeings have only one or two Beyond ratings- thismight be for something that they represent in theuniverse. A being representing time itself, forinstance, might have the Time power at Beyondrating, but other abilities with actual numbers. Inthis case, the being is vulnerable in some ways, butall-powerful in another. Use of this Beyond abilityshould be used sparingly as a plot device as well.4


Hero Points & Setbacks: At the Cosmic scale,the ability to add +1 to the total of a roll for oneHero point is only useful on occasion- but HeroDice remain very useful. Thus, in the Cosmic Scale,Hero Points should be awarded in batches of 5 forgood play, etc, rather than one at a time. But withCosmic power, comes Cosmic responsibility, and soSetbacks should also be awarded in batches of 5 ata time [enabling the Narrator to use Villain Dicemore often].In addition, the limitation of 1 Hero Die per roll isaltered. A character may gain the benefit of onlyone Hero die- but may roll several at once andkeep the best result. This greatly increases thechance of dice exploding, and may even give youyour choice of exploding dice.Example: Infinity Knight rolls a 5 (a 3 and a 2)... buthe needed a 10 to save the planet! He picks up 3Hero Dice and rolls them, getting a 2, 3, and 1. The2 and 3 will explode because they match dice in hisoriginal roll. He rolls for them and the 2 yields a 5,and the 3 yields a 1. He keeps the 2+5 and adds itto his roll of 5 for 12, enabling him to save theworld!Cosmic Difficulty: Just as Cosmic charactersmay wield powers beyond that of any World Classsuperhero, they also take on challenges beyondthem as well. The following difficulties are addedto Cosmic Scale games:Value Difficulty80 Impossible120 Beyond Impossible160 Beyond Belief200 Beyond ImaginationCosmic Distance, Range, Size, and Area:Range and Area are different on the Cosmic scale.In space, or in vast empty dimensions resemblingspace, instead of “squares” areas are measured in“grids” with each representing an area of manymiles (this figure is deliberately left vague for theNarrator to use as she wishes). For this reason,hundreds of characters could all be within a singlegrid. To make it easier to function at this scale, theSpace enhancement (see Cosmic Powers below)allows you to move, and use ranged abilities ingrids. This works at a ratio of 5 squares to 1 grid.Without it, a character with Flight moves farslower- 1 grid per minute per 5 squares of Flight. Soa character with Flight 25 would move only 5 gridsper minute. This would allow the character to getaround- even able to fly around the Earth- but itwould take a while. To make a hand-to-handattack, you must obviously be in the same grid asyour opponent, and also have some way to reachthem (as two characters in the same grid may bemiles apart).Large bodies, like planets, some spaceships, orCosmic Beings might also be measured in grids.Some beings may be so large they hold entireplanets or star systems in their hands. In general,you might use grids to define the smaller of theseobjects if they are tactically relevant (maybe anasteroid or gigantic starship takes up 1 grid, a moontakes up 2x2, a planet takes up 6x6 to 20x20) butbeyond this, you should just use description toexplain how big something is. Telling a player thatan entity is 10,000 grids tall is less informative thansaying that it is the size of a solar system.Cosmic Knock-Back: Any attack that has theAnnihilation enhancement, or attacks made withCosmic Might, do Cosmic Knock-Back, which ismeasured in Grids. Ordinary knock-back is ignoredin a grid-scale battle, as it is irrelevant. The amountof grids the target is knocked back is 1 Grid per full50 damage, -1 Grid of knock-back per Grid/sidethat the target has. So if the target (a 3x3 Gridobject) takes 250 damage, it gets knocked back 2Grids (250/50 = 5-3 = 2). Brawn has no effect onresisting Cosmic Knock-Back (you have nothing tostand on) but mass does.Because there is no gravity or friction in space, theobject keeps moving at this same rate of speeduntil it is stopped. If it is a character capable ofmoving in Grids, it can slow itself down or stopand turn around on its next panel.Cosmic Collateral Damage: One of thecommon tropes of Cosmic campaigns is the abilityto destroy a planet. These celestial bodies, alongwith stars, moons, asteroids, gigantic space ships,etc, use the collateral damage rules just as anyobject on Earth would use. For every Grid theobject is across, it has 50 Soak and 100 Hits. So anobject that is 4x4 Grids has 200 Soak and 400 Hits.Also, attacking an object 1 Grid or larger in size,there is a -5DM penalty to the damage roll (thuspreventing a lower scale Hero from accidentallydestroying the moon by rolling really high). TheAnnihilation enhancement gives Cosmic attacks theability to do double Collateral Damage and ignoresthe -5DM penalty.Example: Infinity Knight sees an Asteroid hurtlingtowards the planet of the peaceful plant people.This gigantic 2x2 grid Asteroid has 100 Soak and200 hits. Infinity Knight’s cosmic blast does x13damage, and would only do x8 vs. such a large5


object normally. Infinity Knight uses someOmnipotence to add the Annihilation enhancementand increase his damage to x15. Against theasteroid, he now does x30 damage (2d6+20)10. Herolls the dice and gets 10+20 = 30*10 =300damage- blasting the asteroid to smithereens.When Worlds Collide... Sometimes, celestialbodies collide as well. To determine what happens,the Narrator needs to figure the collision speed inGrids. Two objects, one moving 4, the othermoving 6 grids towards each other would have acollision speed of 10. An object moving 6 gridsslamming into one moving 4 grids from behindwould only have a collision speed of 2, since theywere traveling the same direction. The DM eachobject does to the other is its size in grids acrosstimes the collision speed. Notice that if the objectsare different sizes, the larger will do more damageto the smaller. Dice are not rolled, instead using“10” in the place of a dice roll for both objects.Note- these rules are only used when objects withsize measured in Grids crash into one another- notwhen a planet “crashes” into a Hero (they’d justland on the planet).Example: Planet R is colliding with Planet X! PlanetX was moving 0 grids, and Planet R crashed moving10 grids, giving a crash speed of 10. Planet R is asmall 6x6 grid planet, and Planet X is a much larger10x10 grid planet. Planet R does x60 damage toPlanet X, and Planet X does x100 damage to PlanetR. Planet R does 60x10 = 600 damage to Planet Xcausing horrendous damage, boiling its oceans,shattering mountains, etc, but the planet is still inone piece. Planet X does 100x10 =1,000 damage toPlanet R, destroying it entirely.If an inhabited planet is struck by a celestial body,the results are catastrophic. The loss of life isproportional to double the fraction of Hits theplanet lost in the crash. This means it is impossibleto wipe out all life on a planet without destroyingit (you only have to reduce it to half its Hits). So ifa planet with 1,000 Hits took 100 damage aftersoaking, it would mean that one-fifth of all life onthat planet was destroyed! If a celestial bodycrashes into another and all of the damage issoaked, it still means horrible loss of life, but thedamage will be concentrated in one area ratherthan a large fraction of all life.Moving A Planet: To move a planet, you needCosmic Might, or need Telekinesis or Push with theAnnihilation enhancement. Every 5 levels in thepower lets you affect a body with sides equal to 1Grid (double this for Push). So to affect a 2x2 gridmoon, you’d need 10 levels of Cosmic Might. Thedistance you can move the object each page is 1grid for every 5 levels you have beyond theminimum to affect it. So in the above example, ifyou had 20 levels, you could move that moon 2grids in a page. If you don’t have levels beyond theminimum to affect the object, all you can do isslow it down, or move it in squares (not worthmeasuring at cosmic scale). However, sometimesbeing able to move a moon a few feet might beenough to save it.If an object is already moving in grids, thecharacter might increase its rate of movement bypushing with it, or slow it down by pushing againstit. An object would have to be slowed down to 0grids before its course can be reversed, but orbitscan be altered inward or outward withoutstopping the forward momentum.You can stop the rotation of a planet if you canaffect double the planet’s size in Grids. So 20 pts ofCosmic Might is enough to stop a 2x2 Grid moon’srotation.Note- it is possible for some planets to beexceptionally dense or light. Simply double orhalve its effective grid size for the purposes of howhard it is to move.Cosmic PowersOne thing that the Cosmic setting is known for isblowing the lid off what the reader thought waspossible- even for other superheroes. Cosmiccharacters not only smash through walls, they cansmash through planets.To this end, the rules for powers need to beadjusted to function at the Cosmic level. Forstarters, there is no “ceiling” to Cosmic powers.Powers can go well beyond 5 levels. For manypowers, it is simply a matter of following thepower’s description, using bigger numbers. So aSpecial Attack 8 could be used to do +8DM forexample.Other powers need to have special rules for howthey function beyond 5 levels. There are alsoentirely new powers that are made to be used atthe Cosmic scale.Scaling Powers: Any power that can extend to5pts can be scaled up to Cosmic levels. Powers thathave fixed point costs, or that extend to less than5pts cannot be scaled up to Cosmic levels. Anypower that can be used with a range or area,however, can be used with the Spaceenhancement, and attack powers can be boughtwith the Annihilation enhancement.6


Example: Super Running can be scaled up to Cosmiclevels, because it has a point cost of 1-5pts. Armor,however, cannot be scaled up to Cosmic levels, as ithas a listed cost of 1-3pts. Likewise, Super Speedcannot be scaled to Cosmic levels, as it has a fixedcost of 3 or 5pts.Most powers that are scalable to Cosmic levels,you simply continue applying the existing rulesbeyond 5 levels. The following powers requirecertain adjustments (See BASH! Ultimate Edition fordetails): Push, Scan, Telekinesis, Duplication,Growing, Shrinking, StretchingRecommended Powers: Immunity is a veryimportant power in any cosmic campaign that willdeal with space or extra-dimensional travel. Acommon power for space-faring beings is Immunity4: Cold, Radiation, Suffocation, and Starvation.Flight or Teleportation is absolutely necessaryunless you want characters to be dependent onvehicles or to remain on a single world. The SpaceEnhancement makes Flight useful even at the Gridscale.Finally, the character should have something fromthe Cosmic category of powers.Cosmic Power EnhancementsAnnihilation (5pts): This enhancement isadded to attack powers to make possible such featsas the destruction of planets (or moving them).Any power with this enhancement does doublecollateral damage and ignores the -5DM penaltyapplied to attacking objects with a size in Grids. Itis also possible to use Push and Telekinesis to moveobjects in Grid size, but you’d need the Spaceenhancement as well on those powers to movethem in Grids.Space (1pt): This is an Enhancement to the Flightpower, and to any powers using range or area.This enhancement is necessary for a character toleave or enter an atmosphere with Flight. While inspace, Instead of measuring distance in squares, thispower is measured in Grids (every 5 squares ofFlight becomes 1 Grid of Space Flight). Without thisEnhancement, any battle where Grids are beingused as measurement, the character can onlyinteract within a single Grid.In addition, the speed per hour that you can movewith Space Flight is far greater than what you cando within an atmosphere; essentially like a “warpdrive”. A distance that is one level less can becrossed in 10 minutes, and a distance that is onelevel more can be crossed in 10 hours. A distancetwo levels less can be crossed in 1 minute, and adistance that is two levels greater can be crossed ina week. A distance three levels less (or fewer) canbe crossed in 10 seconds and a distance three levelsgreater can be crossed in a year. The apparentincongruity of these figures is the result of timedilation (the faster you go, time slows down).Level Distance Speed per Hour1 1 Grid several hundred miles2 2 Grids several thousand miles3 3 Grids Orbit the Earth (tens ofthousands of miles)*4 4 Grids To the moon (hundreds ofthousands of miles)5 5 Grids Anywhere in the star system(millions of miles)6 6 Grids Between star systems (tensof light-years)7 7 Grids To a distant star system(several thousand lightyears)8 8 Grids Across the Galaxy (hundredsof parsecs)9 9 Grids Beyond the Galaxy,(immeasurable)10 10 Grids Across the UniverseCosmic Power CategoryIn addition to augmenting existing powers, thereare some powers that only fit within the Cosmicscale. These powers “The Cosmic Category” cannotbe placed in a multi-power, and are bought in 5level increments. Enhancements and Limitationsaffect the point cost of these powers at a rate of1/5th the power’s level, instead of +1/-1 point.Because all the Cosmic powers are bought in 5level increments, this should be easy. So a level 20Cosmic power with an Enhancement costs 24points, and a level 20 power with a Limitationwould cost 16 points. A level 20 power with oneLimitation and two Enhancements would cost 24points (20/5 = 4. 20-4+4+4 = 24). As normal,you only get a break in the point cost from a singleLimitation.As an option, the Narrator may allow characters inanother scale to take powers from the Cosmiccategory, but should be wary of doing so, and limithow much can be taken (maybe even to 5 levels).These powers do often appear in lower scaledsettings, however, these are usually as some plotdevice- a cloning machine, or one that grantspowers, a character being brought back to life- areextraordinary things, even for superheroes.7


Forbidden Limitations & EnhancementsCosmic powers may not have any of the followingLimitations or Enhancements: Multi-Power, Linked,Burn-Out, Energy Cost, or Finite. or Recharge.Cosmic Powers ListBelow is a list of the Cosmic category of powers,with an abbreviate description of what each powerdoes. For more details on how these powerswork, check out BASH! Ultimate Edition.Cosmic GRACE: Some Cosmic Beings are sodexterous that they exhibit far moreprecision than the most advancedmachinery. Cosmic Grace makesthis possible.Cosmic MIGHT: Some CosmicBeings are so strong, that theycan move planets, or shattercomets with a punch. CosmicMight makes this possible.Cosmic THOUGHT: SomeCosmic Beings with minds sopowerful, they can conceive ofconcepts beyond ourunderstanding, and withstandmental strain that would drivemortals mad. CosmicThought makes this possible.CREATION: The mortals were rightwhen they said that Matter and Energyare one in the same. They were wrong,however, when they said that mattercannot be created or destroyed. Thepower of Creation makes it possible toproduce matter and energy in greatquantities-- either for constructiveor destructive purposes. In addition toemulating certain constructive or destructivepowers, Creation can also be used to create ordestroy entire planets, stars, and more.FATE: Some call it entropy, others call it chaos,while some call it destiny. Fate can be described asabsolute control over probabilities. It is the powerto unravel reality itself, and reconfigure it. You canFate to emulate Nullify or Confusion (un-luck) asyou see fit, and can also use it to manipulateothers’ Hero Points or Setbacks.Beyond this, you have the cosmic ability to alterreality. You can alter someone’s advantages,disadvantages, powers, stats, or even the role theyplay in the grand scheme of the universe. Reality isyour oyster, but playing with it can come at a greatprice…LIFE: It is not uncommon for Cosmic Beings tohave the power to restore, transform, or evencreate life itself. Mortals might also duplicate thispower with forbidden magic rituals or supersciencemachinery, but these instances should beused as a plot device. You can use Life to emulateHealing or Summoning powers. Beyond this, youcan use Life to restore life to a dead being,transform a life-form into another, and even createlife itself. But this is not a power to be tamperedwith lightly.OMNIPOTENCE: From“Omni” meaning “all”and “potence” meaning“power”- you have allpowers (more or less)!You can use Omnipotenceto emulate any otherpower except those in theIntense Training and Cosmiccategories. In addition, all ofthese powers have theVariable enhancement for freeif applicable.OMNISCIENCE: From “Omni”meaning “all” and “Science”meaning “knowledge” — youknow everything! You have whatsome would describe as a “cosmicawareness”. You can emulate a hostof powers that facilitate your ability toknow or sense things. In addition, youwill know when somebody uses aMental power or uses a Cosmic powerto permanently change the universe.TIME & SPACE: You have achievedmastery over a key component of thevery universe itself. You can use Time & Space toemulate Teleportation (or DimensionalTeleportation) or Super Speed as you wish. Youalso have an innate sense of time. You alwaysknow the exact date and time, and will alwaysknow when somebody else has altered thetimeline. In addition, you have unlocked thecosmic secret of time travel.8


BASHing Out an OriginBy Ben NormanThink about your favorite super heroes.They all have fantastic abilities andinteresting costumes but they also haveinteresting origin stories. Some were bornwith their powers while others gainedthem through some kind of accident.Some heroes had no such luck and had tomake or find their own super-abilitiesusing fantastic super-science orarcane ritual. Often theseorigin stories influence themotivation for why that herogoes out night after nightlooking for ‘bad-guys’.The BASH! rpg allows us torole-play characters withall kinds of super powersthat can go out and facedown criminals with equallyfantastic abilities. In only afew minutes you’ve definedyour hero’s attributes, skills,powers, and weaknesses. In onlya few minutes more, you and theother players will be playingthose heroes in an excitingadventure. Does yourhero have an interestingorigin to explain how heor she (or it) came to be…super?Many of the writers that created some ofour favorite super heroes had spent hoursor days, trying to develop a unique andexciting genesis for their characters. Often,players don’t have that kind of timebefore they are to send their characters offto battle evil. Sometimes, players in aBASH! game have had very littleexperience with the superhero genre at alland little idea of where to even beginwhen creating an origin story.A character’s origin canmake a huge differencein how that character isplayed.Presented below are a series of tables tohelp those with little time, or experience,to quickly put together the foundations oftheir hero’s origin. They are divided intothree general categories: Origin;Complications; and, Motivation(otherwise known in BASH! as MentalMalfunctions).You can randomly roll from each of thesetables or just select a result that you like:it’s your character after all! For randomresults, roll 2d6 and consult the table.Some tables allow for explodingdie rolls. With these, as with theBASH! game itself, matchingresults (each die has rolled thesame number) means that youthen roll another d6 and addthe results.OriginsThe Origin category has threeseparate tables. Select theone most suitable for the typeof powers of your character. Ifyou haven’t decided what typeof source your powers comefrom then roll a 1d6: 1-2 is forBiology; 3-4 is for Super-Science; and, 5-6 is for Magic.The Origin categorytables all allow forexploding results.Biology (Table 1-1) – isfor characters with a genetic source forpowers. These heroes could be mutants,aliens, or somehow changed so that theirpowers are just a natural part of theirDNA.Super-Science (Table 1-2) – these heroesuse awesome technologies as the source oftheir powers; whether its gadgets carriedor part of you (maybe the character is theSuper-Science).9


Magic (Table 1-3) – offers origins forheroes whose powers come fromsupernatural sources; whether by magicdevices, otherworldly heredity or arcaneknowledge.Table 1-1: Biology(Roll 2d6; if you roll doubles then rollanother d6 and add the result.)3- The powers of your hero are a result of secretexperiments by an agency: this could be a covertgovernment department (trying to develop superoperatives); a reckless corporation (secretly testingthe bio-chemical effects of a new product); or, anunderworld crime organization (trying to developsuper-minions).4 - Your hero developed a biology-altering agentor secret technology which granted powers to yourcharacter. [Alternate (if your hero’s Mind score islow or he/she does not have the appropriateskills): this biology-altering agent or technologywas developed by a close friend and ally.]5 - Your hero’s powers are due to his/her extraterrestrialorigins. Your abilities are natural to yourpeople. [Alternate: Your people are aliens, butthey have lived secretly on Earth for decades,centuries, or maybe longer.]6 - The nature of your hero’s powers is not clearbut they manifested during a period of intensestress (maybe over the loss of a loved one; or bythe torment caused by a great evil.)7 - You were accidentally exposed to somebiology-altering agent (radio-active scorpionvenom, chemical waste, or maybe geneticallymodified carrots) resulting in your hero’s powers.8-9 - Your hero is a mutant and was born withthese abilities. Did these powers manifest atpuberty or did your hero grow up with them?10 - The powers of your hero are an inheritedlegacy, natural to the ancestral line of your family.11 - Aliens abducted you and the ‘experiments’ theyperformed resulted in your hero’s powers.12 - You are the creation of someone else:whether you are just a general humanoid or aclone of someone else, your super powers werepart of the package. [Was your creator a friend orfoe? Is he/she/it still around?]13 or more - Your hero is serving as a host for anorganism. Your symbiotic relationship grants yourhero his/her special abilities. [Alternately: thisstrange organism is a parasite and only yourwillpower keeps it from dominating your body!]Table 1-2: Super-Science(Roll 2d6; if you roll doubles then rollanother d6 and add the result)3 - Your hero’s super-science abilities come fromtechnology provided by some other agency, orindividual, also sharing your crime-fighting goals.4 - Your hero developed a nano-reconstructivetechnique to partially, or totally, convert his/herbody tissues and organs into mechanicalequivalents.5 - You come from the future (or an alternateEarth) where the Super-Science knowledge you usefor your gadgets is pretty common.6 - Your hero uploaded his/her consciousness intoan android body that he/she created. [Alternately:Your hero designed and built advanced cybernetictechnology which he/she had grafted into his/herown body – with the help of an ally or by roboticassistants with surgical programming.]7 - Your hero’s ‘powers’ come from advancedtechnology you stole from a villain or evilorganization. Either you, or an ally, have theknow-how needed to maintain this equipment.8 - You were created (or cybernetically augmented)by an evil villain for nefarious purposes, butsomehow gained your freedom.9- You have an affinity with mechanical devicesand technology that is almost savant-like in nature;you have a technical understanding of machinesand gear that comes as much from intuition as itdoes from education (or maybe more so if youMind score is low).10- Your hero has gotten access to plans/schematicsof the super-science gadgets (from a book, adatabase, an alien learning device, or… theinternet?) which you use to create the ‘toys’ youuse to fight crime.11 - Your hero was gravely ill (or nearly destroyedfrom an accident of some kind) and had your braintransplanted into the body of an android.[Alternately: the incredible amounts of cybernetic10


components grafted into your body are the onlyreason you are still alive and mobile. Thistechnology is also the source of your character’spowers.]12 - The gadget(s) you use to fight crime comefrom reverse engineering of advanced, alientechnology that you somehow acquired.13-16 - Your hero was created (or cyberneticallyaugmented) by a covert government department(or military-contracted corporation) trying todevelop robotic (or bionic) soldiers.17 or more - A swarm of nanites (microscopicmachines) reside within your hero’s body and areresponsible for the incredible powers of yourcharacter. [These nanites have been acquired froman ally if your hero has a low Mind score or lacksthe appropriate technology or science skill.]Table 1-3: Magic(Roll 2d6; if you roll doubles then rollanother d6 and add the result.)3 - An immortal entity of some kind has bestowedyour hero with amazing powers so that you can beit’s agent of justice in the world.4 - A mystical entity or ghost has somehowbecome infused with you’re your hero’s essence orbody, granting him/her special abilities. Does thisentity/ghost take control of your character duringyour heroic adventures or does it merely adviseyou or guide your actions? [Alternately: You arepossessed by a demonic force or malicious ghostthat seeks to steal your body; only your strong willholds it at bay and allows you to use its darkabilities.]5 - You have come into the possession of a book ofmagic. Your powers come from the spellscontained within its pages.6 - You are the creation of some mystical entity orperson with sorcerous power and imbued with aself-aware life force. You use your special powersto battle evil; while at the same time struggle tounderstand the world around you.7 - Your hero has inherited supernatural powers asa family legacy and is a natural spell caster (or wasselected by a great magic user as an apprentice).[Alternative: One of your ‘parents’ is asupernatural/enchanted being and you haveinherited some of your powers from him/her/it.]8 - Your powers come from the magical artifactsand tools you carry. [These are the supernaturalequivalents of super-science origin. You decide ifthese were items found by your hero or created forhim by another.]9 - Your hero experienced someinexplicable/supernatural event that somehow leftyou with amazing abilities.10 - An ancient order of wizards (or a coven ofwitches) has used their spells to enchant you withsuper powers.11 - A mystical item has somehow come into yourhero’s possession that has bestowed you with greatpowers. [Alternately: the item in question hascursed you; but still your hero somehow managesto use these dark abilities for justice.]12 - Your hero has realized that he/she is thereincarnation of an ancient magic user. Thepowers you use to fight crime are the magicalabilities you have rediscovered.13 or more - Your hero is an enchanted being (adjinn/genie, fairy, mermaid, troll, Olympian god –whatever might reasonably suit the powers of yourcharacter) and has come back into the world to dobattle with evil.ComplicationsThe category of Complications consists oftwo tables (2-1 or 2-2). Complications arejust a way to throw a few wrinkles intoyour character’s story. You can roll oncefrom each table or skip rolling from one orboth if you wish. Any result rolled can bere-rolled if you do not like the result.Table 2-1: Complications – Part 1(Roll 2d6, ignoring doubles)2 - Before becoming a so-called ‘superhero’ youwere employed by an ultra-secret agency as asuper-operative.3 - Your hero has complete amnesia and operateswithout a past. How long has your character beensuffering from this condition; days, weeks, oryears? Does he/she have any remaining tracememories?4 - Your hero is currently operating under a newsuper identity and is trying to distance him/her-selffrom a past tragedy or disgrace – a second chance.5 - Your hero has just come out from retirementand hasn’t been crime fighting for some time (this11


doesn’t mean that your hero has to be a seniorcitizen; just that you had hung up the cape a fewyears ago.)6 - You have had your powers for quite some time(maybe your whole life) but, until recently, you’venever wanted to use them to fight crime. Wereyou intimidated by the dangers of crime fighting;or, just scared of your powers?7 - Before you began your superhero endeavors,your hero had suffered greatly at the hands of anevil criminal. Were you held captive? Did he/sheharm you or a member of your family? Was thiscriminal the one that spurred you into crimefighting?8 - You have taken up the cause and costume of along missing superhero of similar powers (bewarehis/her former enemies). Was this to keep thathero’s memory alive; or was there some otherreason?9 - Your secret identity is no longer a secret!10 - Your hero was once a member of a wellknown supers group (either in this city or another –work out the specifics with the GM). This garnishesyour character with an established reputation and asmall amount of celebrity.11 - Your hero had recently just emerged from along coma. Was this time of unconsciousnessmerely an incubation period for your powers?12 - Your hero has come back from the dead. Wasthis an event that happened before you became asuper hero? Were you killed while heroing andbrought back by a powerful ally (most surely annpc – work with the GM on specifics)?Table 2-2: Complications – Part 2(Roll 2d6, ignoring doubles)2 - You use your powers to ‘help ends meet’;maybe you actively seek corporate sponsors or sellyour minor Super-science gadgets.3 - The media does not seem to portray your herofavorably.4 - You are in a serious, long-term relationship andyour significant other knows of your super identityand does not approve of you risking your neck.[Alternatively: your romantic partner is jealous ofthe time you spending superheroing!]5 - The media has dubbed you a name that you donot like; all efforts to correct this have failed so far.6 - You secretly live off of a modest trust fund andhave convinced those who know you that you arejust going “off to work” when you are really goingout to patrol the neighborhood for evildoers.7 - Despite your heroic accomplishments, yourhero has somehow failed to gain any mediaattention; you are still unknown!8 - Pursuing bad guys often gets in the way of asteady job. Your hero has fallen on hard times andhas resorted to moving in with parents (or otherrelatives).9 - Another super hero (an npc) seems to getassociated with and the credit for your heroicexploits. Is this just because of bad reporting bythe media or is this other hero just too similar toyour own?10 - You have gained a benefactor who takes careof you and/or your family’s financial needs freeingyou from the hassle of juggling both a full-time joband crime fighting. Is this someone you saved?Did you impress this contributor with your heroicexploits?11 - You have just discovered that another familymember, loved one, or friend also has superpowers. Have you revealed that you know theirsecret? Do they know you are a super as well? Areyou worried that they may not follow the heroicpath?12 - Your super hero escapades have completelydestroyed your private life. You can’t hold adecent job, your divorced, and you’ve been barredfrom seeing your kids (if you had any); all thisbecause of your “obsession” with crime fighting.[Alternately: if your hero identity is a completesecret then it is because you are not reliable (atwork and home) and keep secrets (your ‘ex’ thinksthat you were having an affair.]Motivation (a.k.a. MentalMalfunctions):The last category, Motivation, offers yourhero that ‘Mental Malfunction’ whichspurs them to fight the super poweredcrooks as opposed to becoming one ofthem. You can pick one Motivation tableto roll from or randomly select it byrolling a 1d6 (an ‘even’ result then consulttable 3-1; an ‘odd’ result means that youuse table 3-2).12


Table 3-1: Motivation – Group A(Roll 2d6, ignoring doubles)2 - You crave the adoration, no... The Worship, ofthe people!3 - You have lost faith that your powers and effortswill make a difference; you’re just too pig-headedquit!4 - You (or someone close to you) were victimizedby a past crime and want to use your powers (orgadgets) to protect others from the anguish yousuffered.5 or 6 - You believe that you are not just a supercrime fighter; you are a hero and role model forthe cause of good.7 or 8 - Crime-fighting is in your blood; you neverreally thought your powers were for anything else.9 or 10 - Whether its karma or religious conviction,you believe that you must use your powers forgood: there might be bad consequences for you ifyou don't.11 - You fight crime – it’s your job! You swore anoath or were given a mandate to do just that: yoursponsor pays you well enough for your service.12 - You believe that super criminals must be metby a justice of equal measure; the police are notadequate but you are!Table 3-2: Motivation – Group B(Roll 2d6, ignoring doubles)2 - You were given the “great powers – greatresponsibilities” speech and took it to heart.3 - You are trying to redeem yourself from a darkpast.4 - You are a do-gooder by nature. You use yourpowers to make the world a better place.5 or 6 - You had a “vision” or sudden revelation.In it you saw that evil became powerful because itwas not opposed; and you’re not going to let thathappen!7 or 8 - You were inspired by comic books or otherheroes to take up that noble cause.9 or 10 - Fighting crooks is a thrill! Nothing testsyour mettle like going toe-to-toe with anothersuper.11 - You don't see much difference between themcrooks and you. You enjoy hurting others; but,nobody minds much if the ones you're hurting arethe “bad-guys”...12 - You are a follower. When yourleader/motivator decided that he/she was going tofight crime, you just naturally tagged along. [Findanother player whose hero would make a suitable‘super-buddy’.]Character ArchetypesWith all these Cosmic options, we thoughtwe’d present to you some CosmicArchetypes that we couldn’t fit in BASH!Ultimate Edition. There are more in thebook, but these should give you an idea ofwhat you can build!Sentient PlanetA planet that has developed intelligence,and powerful psionic abilities, it can be apowerful ally or enemy… It uses itspowers of Creation and Life to populateits planet and develop its topography. Agood sentient planet does so to keep itspeople content, and does all it can to keepthem safe, while an evil one demandsworship and sacrifices, and delights intormenting people unfortunate enough tobecome marooned on its surface.112 Pts (18 Stats, 94 Powers)Brawn 5 (9) Agility 1 Mind 3Powers:Growing 40 (4x4 Grids, Treat as CosmicMight 20) 40ptsFlight 5 [Enhancement: Space] 6ptsCreation 10 (it often uses this power toalter its own geography) 10ptsLife 25 [Limitation: Cannot restore life todead beings] (it uses these powers tocreate life on its surface) 20ptsOmniscience 15, 15ptsBoost 3 Agility: x4 to attack anyone insideits atmosphere.Recommended Advantages & Disads:Immortal, Frightening Presence, Unliving,Secret (some sort of weakness), Freak,Outsider, Unskilled.13


Recommended Skills: Science/Geology,Social Science/ArcheologyThe Omnipotent AndroidOriginally designed to adapt to anyenvironment and record data on it, theOmnipotent android traveled the universefor millennia. Its prime directive was toensure that its knowledge survived, whichmeant periodically having to destroythreats to itself for its own survival, andbecoming nigh invincible. Eventually itacquired so much knowledge and power, itgranted itself sentience. Perhaps it wentinsane, and decided to destroy all life in theuniverse- or perhaps it simply wants to beleft alone. Either way, the Omnipotentandroid has an uncanny ability to cross thepath of Heroes… Who usually must defeatit by exploiting some logical fallacy in itsprogramming.It often uses its levels in Omnipotence andCreation to make its Omni-Ray incrediblypowerful, capable of obliterating planets,or possibly simply teleporting them.could use its Telekinesis combined withOmnipotence to move a planet.91 Pts (28 Stats, 62 Powers)Brawn 5 Agility 4 Mind 5Powers:Omnipotence 25, 25ptsCreation 10, 10ptsOmni-Ray: Special Attack 1[Enhancements: Variable, Space,Annihilation] 8ptsTelekinesis 5 [Enhancement: Annihilation]10ptsFlight 4 [Enhancement: Space] 6ptsArmor 3 (x8 Soak) 3ptsSkillful 1 (2 extra skills)Recommended Advantages & Disads:Unliving, Photographic Memory,Immortality, Outsider, Public ID.RecommendedSkills:Athletics/Aerobatics,Craftsmanship/Metalwork, Drive/Control,ItPilot/Evasion,Science/Physics,Computers/Encrypting,Humanities/ForeignCultures,Occultism/Astrology,SocialScience/History, Medicine/Diagnosis,Outdoor/Flora & Fauna14


Basic Action Super Heroes! Ultimate EditionThis book has everything you need to create characters and runsuper-heroic adventures within minutes. The rules are light andeasy all you need are two ordinary dice, a piece of paper, and thisbook. Character generation is so simple, you could fit all the infoyou need on a 3x5 card, but we included a sheet anyway.Do not assume that by simple, we mean incomplete, either. Bashhas over 50 versatile super powers, numerous skills, and evenrules for collateral damage. The action is fast and furious, pacedover a series of panels, pages, and issues, just like a comic book.A printer friendly edition is also included.BASH! has undergone some changes over the years, with updatesin Megapolis and BAM! and we have incorporated many of theseinto a single rules set. In addition to an expanded, revised versionof the game, you will also find:Less record-keeping, more Awesome. Energy is no longer the"default" rule for handling powers-- so you have less to keep trackof during play. Hero dice, Hero points, and team-work maneuversare now a part of the core system, so you can really bring it to thebad-guys!Easier to read layout, better explained rules, including many examples.Character Archetypes: Writeups of various iconic super hero & villain archetypes such as the Brick,Martial Artist, and Blaster. These templates can be easily tweaked to quickly have a custom character!Hordes of Minions! Fleets of Vehicles! Random Encounters!Eras & Subgenres: One of the things BASH! Fantasy & Sci-Fi editions did was extensive work on thesubgenres of Fantasy and Sci-Fi, such as Steam-Punk or Space Pulp. BASH! Ultimate Edition will do thesame thing for Superheroes, enabling you to run a game with the theme & tone of the Gold, Silver,Bronze, or Iron Ages. There are also sections on Science Fiction, Fantasy, as well as CosmicSuperheroes.Alternative Mechanics: Not everyone likes to multiply. Not to worry, alternate mechanics are included inthe appendix.Basic Action Games is now on Facebook. Search for “Basic Action Games” tofind us!Have an idea for an Adventure, Article, or new idea for any incarnation ofBASH! We’d love to see it! Simply send your submission in .doc format tomastermind@bashrpg.com.15

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