Bulletproof Blues 3e EN:Gifts

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Gifts are exceptional abilities that a normal human can have, but that most humans do not have. In a game where the players are supposed to be portraying characters within the range of human possibility, they could probably purchase gifts, but not powers. The details of each gift are highly dependent on a character's background, so the player should work with the GM to flesh out these details. Each gift costs one character point. We suggest spending about 5 character points on gifts.

Typical Gifts

This is a list of typical gifts found in a Bulletproof Blues game. This list is not exhaustive. A character may well have an gift not listed here, subject to GM approval. However, any new gifts should be approximately as useful as these gifts, in order to maintain a sense of fairness with other characters.


Table: Typical gifts
Gift Benefit
Animal Empathy Use Diplomacy and Manipulation skills on animals
Blindfighting The character incurs fewer penalties when unable to see or hear
Connected Get a favour from an old friend -- or an old enemy
Cybernetics The character has one or more artificial limbs or organs
Elusive May base defense on Agility rather than Brawn in close combat
Famous Get attention, and perhaps favors, from strangers
Fascinating Get attention, and perhaps favors, from admirers
Hard Target May base defense on Brawn rather than Agility in ranged combat
Headquarters The character has one or more bases of operation
Indefatigable The character does not incur a penalty when injured
Leadership Spend plot points for others on the same team
Lightning Strike May use Agility for Close Combat attack rolls
Linguist Learn new languages with minimal effort
Master Plan Gain a tactical benefit if there is time to prepare for an encounter
Mental Calculator Solve complex mathematical operations by thinking about them
Minions Minor, mostly nameless lackeys of marginal usefulness
Perfect Recall Remember something perfectly with a Reason roll
Pro From Dover The absolute best in their field, whatever that is
Quick Change Change into superhero garb with a quick action
Second Identity The character has a second, completely legitimate identity
Sharpshooter Use weapons at longer than usual range
Sidekick The character fights more effectively alongside their mentor
Team Player Gain a bonus die when working with others
Tenacious May base defense on Presence rather than on Agility or Brawn
Unsettling Make people nervous for no real reason
Utility Belt Dependable access to small, ordinary items
Vehicles Sundry modes of fast and stylish transportation
Wealthy Solve problems with money


Animal Empathy

The character has a bond with animals, and can use Diplomacy and Manipulation skills on them. Normal animals are more likely to be calm around the character, although a dangerous, hostile animal might require a successful Diplomacy or Manipulation roll to keep the animal from attacking. A character's Animal Empathy might be limited to a specific type of animal, such as cats or sea creatures. If this is the case, the character gains a bonus die on Diplomacy and Manipulation rolls when interacting with that animal type.

Blindfighting

Normally, a character who can't perceive their opponent has great difficulty in combat. If a character has the Blindfighting gift, they do not incur any of these penalties.

Connected

"I know a guy." The character has a wide ranging network of friends, rivals, and former associates. From time to time, the character can contact one of these people, and have a reasonable chance of getting a favour from them. When the character wants to get a favour from someone, the player names the NPC and briefly describes how their character knows this contact. When the character meets their contact, they must attempt a moderately difficult (DV 3) Diplomacy (Presence) roll to see how their contact receives them. The GM may increase the difficulty or grant a bonus die on the player's roll, depending on the situation.

Cybernetics

The character has one or more artificial limbs or organs. Under ordinary circumstances, these serve as ordinary replacements for the character's original biological parts. However, the player begins each game with one extra plot point. Cybernetics are a particularly good justification for a bonus die, an attribute surge, a power stunt, or even a retcon. (Who would have suspected that you had thought to store a tracking device in your cybernetic hand?)

Cybernetics can be obvious, but they do not have to be. The primary purpose of cybernetics is to be a prosthesis, and most people do not want to look like androids -- except, of course, actual androids, who may also buy this gift.

Elusive

A character with the Elusive gift is fast on their feet and good at rolling with the punches. When making a Close Combat defense roll, the character may substitute their Agility for their Brawn. The player may choose which attribute to use on a case by case basis.

Famous

The character's name and likeness are widely known, perhaps due to their exploits, or possibly because they are from a notorious family. It is difficult for the character to pass unnoticed, because paparazzi are often nearby. People who are impressed by celebrity may be more likely to cooperate with the character, and the character can sometimes gain favors from strangers. If this is the case, the character gains a bonus die on relevant Presence rolls.

Fascinating

A character with the Fascinating gift is naturally, effortlessly compelling. It is difficult for the character to pass unnoticed, because they will be the focus of attention in nearly any circumstances. People who are swayed by their instinctive responses may be more likely to cooperate with the character, and the character can sometimes gain favors from admirers. If this is the case, the character gains a bonus die on relevant Presence rolls.

Hard Target

When making a Ranged Combat defense roll, the character may substitute their Brawn for their Agility. The player may choose which attribute to use on a case by case basis.

Headquarters

The character has one or more bases of operation, equipped with supplies and equipment reasonable for the character's background and skills. If the character is a member of a team, the base(s) might be shared with the other team members, at the player's discretion. A headquarters is primarily a convenience for the GM and a fun asset for the character. It is not generally useful in combat, and is mainly used for flavor and a setting for roleplaying. For example, a high-tech base might have an air-tight security system, complete with laser turrets and knockout gas, but this won't keep the base from being broken into by pirates or taken over by a sentient computer virus.

Indefatigable

Normally, a character who has been reduced to 1 Endurance can speak and take roleplaying actions, but any other action, including combat, incurs a penalty die. A character with Indefatigable is just as close to defeat, but they do not incur a penalty die for this condition.

Leadership

A character with the Leadership gift excels at bringing out the best in others, and other people are more effective with the character than they are alone. The player of a character with Leadership can spend their own plot points on behalf of their teammates and allies. For example, this could be to help an ally do something the character with Leadership is not in a position to do, or to provide support for a teammate who is in trouble.

Lightning Strike

A character with Lightning Strike can deal devastating blows using speed and finesse rather than brute force. When making a Close Combat attack roll, the character may substitute their Agility for their Brawn. The player may choose which attribute to use on a case by case basis. This can reflect the character's advanced advanced martial arts training, their superhuman speed, the harnessing of the character's chi, or some other effect.

Linguist

A character with the Linguist gift is fluent in dozens of languages, and is capable of quickly deciphering new languages when they encounter them.

Master Plan

With sufficient time and preparation beforehand, a character with the Master Plan gift is able to gain a tactical benefit during an encounter at a time chosen by the player. The form this takes can vary, and should be negotiated between the player and the GM, but a relatively typical use of a Master Plan would be similar to the use of a plot point. The amount of time needed to formulate a Master Plan should be long enough to be believable, but not so long that it renders the gift useless. Generally speaking, a character should only be permitted to concoct one Master Plan per game session, unless the GM makes an exception.

Mental Calculator

The character can perform complex mathematical calculations in their head in the same amount of time that a skilled mathematician could perform the same calculations on a powerful computer. Also, the character has an intuitive understanding of higher mathematics, and is able to comprehend and remember intricate formulae and equations after examining them briefly.

Minions

The character has one or more minor, mostly nameless lackeys of marginal usefulness. Such minions might be mooks, agents, armed guards, administrative staff, or technicians to keep the character's equipment in proper working order. There is no set limit to the number of minions a character might have, subject to the GM's approval, but the more minions there are, the less competent they are. For example, if a character has just three minions -- an administrative assistant, a chauffeur/auto mechanic, and a computer expert -- they might be reasonably competent at their respective assignments (3 in their most relevant attributes, with relevant skills). If the character has dozens of minions, however, the best among them would have 2 in their relevant attributes, and none of them would have any skills requiring advanced education or technical aptitude.

Minions are primarily a fun asset for the character. They are not generally useful in combat, and are mainly used for flavor and as a foil for roleplaying. Minions should never steal the limelight from a player character.

Perfect Recall

The character may perfectly remember any event, document, recording, or picture which the character has taken the effort to study and memorize. The character does not need to understand the items to be memorized, because the information memorized is not stored as text; it is in the character's memory as a picture. As such, the information is not subject to instantaneous retrieval, but the character may mentally "scroll down" or "fast forward" looking for a specific bit of data.

Pro From Dover

The character is the best in their field, whatever that field is. They may or may not be famous for it -- if not, then they have either taken some effort to conceal their extraordinary knowledge, or perhaps there is a conspiracy to deny them the acclaim that they deserve. A character with the Pro From Dover gift may choose a specific, narrowly-defined professional, scholarly, or technical field in which they are the undisputed expert. When answering a question or performing research related to their specialty, they gain a bonus die.

A character may only be the Pro From Dover in a single narrowly defined noncombat specialty, and each player character with the Pro From Dover gift must choose a different specialty.

Quick Change

The Quick Change gift is usually possessed only by posthumans and stage magicians (and posthuman stage magicians). Quick Change enables a character to change into superhero garb with a quick action. This could be made possible by super-speed, a costume stored in a ring, or just wearing a different outfit underneath street clothes.

Second Identity

The character has a second, completely legitimate identity. The character's second identity is completely documented and will withstand even the most focused scrutiny. Alternately, at the player's choice, the character has no documented identity at all: any and all records of their existence have been erased from every database, everywhere.

Sharpshooter

With the Sharpshooter gift, the effective range of weapons, traits, and powers is doubled. Short range (10 m) weapons, traits, and powers have an effective range of 20 meters, medium range (100 m) weapons, traits, and powers have an effective range of 200 meters, and long range (1,000 m) weapons, traits, powers have an effective range of 2,000 meters.

Sidekick

The character fights more effectively when they fight alongside their mentor. If the sidekick is within short range (10 m) of their mentor, their Agility and Brawn are equal to their normal values, or their mentor's values, whichever is greater. The character's mentor must be chosen when this gift is purchased, and should change very rarely, if ever.

Team Player

A character with the Team Player gift excels at working with others, and is more effective with others than they are alone. A Team Player gains a bonus die when combining their effort with others as part of a task or in combat.

Tenacious

The character refuses to admit defeat when others would fall by the wayside. When making a close combat or ranged combat defense roll, the character may substitute their Presence for their Agility or Brawn. The player may choose which attribute to use on a case by case basis.

Unsettling

The character is able to put off a disturbing vibe that makes people nervous for no discernible reason. Strangers will find themselves disliking the character without knowing why, and normal animals will avoid the character unless forced to approach by a trainer or some other circumstance. On the other hand, the character may find it easier to intimidate others, providing a bonus die to relevant Presence rolls.

Utility Belt

The character carries a belt, backpack, or pouches with a number of small, ordinary items. The character can use a quick action to pull any needed item from their utility belt, as long as the item is small enough to fit in the palm of their hand and can be purchased from an ordinary retail shop. The power level (PL) of such items is usually 1 or 2.

Vehicles

The character has one or more vehicles which provide fast and stylish transportation. If the character is a member of a team, the vehicle(s) might be shared with the other team members, at the player's discretion. A vehicle is primarily a convenience for the GM and a fun asset for the character. It is not generally useful in combat, and is mainly used for flavor and to make it easier for the character to get around. For example, a character might have a tricked-out Tushek TS 600 equipped with rocket launchers, active camouflage, and biometric security, but it won't defeat a rampaging posthuman and it's not immune to being hacked by a deformed genius and his circus-themed minions.

Wealthy

If a problem can be solved by throwing money at it, a character with the Wealth gift can probably solve that problem. Food, clothing, and shelter cease to be concerns for a character with Wealth, but they are still plagued by the same interpersonal issues that are behind the serious problems most people face. In addition, sometimes wealth itself can be a source of problems. The character may have responsibilities related to their source of income, or they might need to fend off attempts to deprive them of their inheritance.

Custom Gifts

You aren't limited to these gifts, of course. Feel free to make up your own. They should be approximately as useful and powerful as the ones listed here. Abilities that are more powerful are the domain of actual powers, while abilities that are less powerful are likely just roleplaying, or perhaps a creative use of a plot point. Here is an example of a custom gift.

Sense Auras

The character can see the invisible emanations around people and things. The character may use a standard action to attempt a moderately difficult (DV 3) Perception (Reason) roll to determine the color of the aura of a person or object (see the "Typical aura colors" table). The character may attempt a remarkably difficult (DV 6) Perception (Reason) roll to sense whether the person or object has actively been in league with entities from beyond the mortal world, and whether the aura is "warm" (positive, life affirming) or "cold" (negative, life negating). A typical person's aura is slightly "warm", but even a person with a "cold" aura is not necessarily wicked: they could just be having a bad day.

The aura of a character with Mental Resistance is not able to be read. Their aura isn't missing: from the aura-sensing character's point of view, it has the same impression as a failed Perception (Reason) roll.


Table: Typical aura colors
Color Temperament
Red In a positive light, red indicates a healthy ego: someone powerful, sensual, passionate, and energetic. In a negative light, red indicates anger, an unforgiving nature, or anxiety.
Orange In a positive light, orange indicates productivity and creativity: someone sociable, detail oriented, and courageous. In a negative light, it can indicate stress and addictions.
Yellow Indicates optimism, and easy-going nature, inspiration, and intelligence.
Green Indicates balance, growth, and a willingness to change. It is a strong indication of a love of people, animals, and nature.
Turquoise Indicates a sensitive, compassionate nature, that of a healer or a counselor.
Blue Indicates calm and focus. It is a strong indication of clarity, truthfulness, and an intuitive nature.
Indigo Indicates deep feeling: someone of profound intuition and sensitivity.
Violet Indicates a sensitive nature and greater than average psychic potential. May also indicate an artistic temperament.
Lavender Indicates great vision and imagination.