(Copy/pasting from an old Reddit post of mine, edited for hashtags and formatting. I don't know why I didn't post this here when I first wrote it, but oh well.)
In creating the Ruby Governor, a character in my #MightySix
game, I need to use the "Powerk" (superpower) Sublimation. This has brought to my attention how this power actually works.
First, I like the power itself. The idea is that it allows you to rechannel absorbed energy/damage into another power. This allows characters such as Gambit, from X-Men. Unfortunately, the mechanical implementation of this idea is... well, I'll stop short of saying it's "unplayable", but the balance punishes the player for choosing this option.
The problem is this: Sublimation costs (5) Power Points per level. For that, you first get the power to absorb a given form of energy. This acts much like the Super Soak Powerk, with the complication Conditional Use ([energy source]), justifying a minimum cost of (2). For the remaining 3 Power Points, you can turn 1 absorbed point of energy/damage into 1 Power Point. You'd be better off putting those 3 Power Points into the cost of the power that's rechanneling that energy/damage.
There's a few different solutions to this:
- The first, and easiest, is to simply change the cost of Sublimation from (5) to (3). That way, after the initial (2) cost to cover the conditional Super Soak ability, you're just converting just 1 Power Point into 1 (conditional, temporary) Power Point for the given power. Where this is perhaps the most obvious choice for balance, it also feels the most bland to me in terms of effect.
- Another option is to keep the cost of (5), but have each point of absorbed energy grant 3 Power Points, instead of just 1. This has a similar effect as the first option, but de-emphasizes the absorption, favoring the power that takes the energy.
- The third, and trickiest, option is introducing a power curve. In order to do this, I'll make it so that each point of absorbed energy is converted to 1 Power Point per level in Sublimation. This is kinda neat, in that your power level acts as a force multiplier.
The catch to the third choice is in the cost. If I keep the cost at (5), that makes the first two levels underpowered relative to the previous two options, and the third level equal in power/cost. Levels 4+ are exponentially overpowered.
I can somewhat compensate for this by changing the cost from (5) to (5/10); the second number being the cost in Power Points per level after the first. Without getting into the math, by my numbers, increasing the cost of the additional levels delays the Powerk from becoming overpowered until levels 8+. It's not very elegant, but by that point, you're already investing a lot of Power Points into this.
Between these three options, the second one is my favorite in general. It balances flavor with elegant numbers. Since Ruby Governor is going to get Super Soak anyway, there's no reason to add even more emphasis on his defenses. He's already a heavy hitter as it is.