Powers represent special abilities your character has learned, the effects of which are vast and varied. Powers come in two varieties: General Powers that depend on your Mental and Physical philosophies and Class Powers that depend on you class philosophy (see Philosophies for more information). Your character will begin with only a few powers, but with training and experience he'll learn new powers and improve his existing powers.
All powers have an "Effect", which explains what the power does. Effects can include making an attack, granting a boon, using a skill in a unique way, imposing a condition that changes the environment, and much more. Powers have many other aspects, including specified ranges, costs to use, and augments that enhance your powers over time. It may become overwhelming if you attempt to examine all aspects of a power at this time, so try to limit yourself to examining the few aspects described below. While detailed information about reading, understanding and using powers will be discussed in detail in the How to Play section, you can refer to the How to Read a Power section for a more detailed look at the anatomy of powers.
- Effect: This will tell you what the power does and is arguably the most important aspect of a power. You want to examine the Effect section of powers first to see if the power sounds interesting or aligns with your character concept.
- Prerequisites: This will indicate any Philosophy Rank or other requirements for the power. You cannot choose a power if you do not meet the prerequisites. Generally speaking, the higher the prerequisite Philosophy Rank of the power, the stronger and more powerful it is.
- Disciplines: This indicates which Discipline a power belongs to. Typically, you want to only choose powers within your granted Disciplines. Sometimes a power will belong to multiple Disciplines, in which case you only need to have access to one of the listed Disciplines in order to choose the power. In a limited number of cases, a power may require both Disciplines, which would be indicated in the prerequisites section of the power.
- Requirements: This section indicates requirements necessary to utilize the power. This sometimes includes certain equipment requirements, such as using a shield or a particular type of weapon. While you will choose your character's equipment later in this tutorial, it is important to keep your proficiencies and planned equipment in mind when choosing powers.
General Powers enhance a character's skills or mental and physical capabilities. While a few General Powers have class specific requirements, most can be used by anyone who meets the prerequisites. Mental Methods can allow a character to make detailed observations of his surroundings, inspire his allies, and improve his mental saving throws. Physical Maneuvers can improve weapon and physical attacks, knock opponents off-guard, and improve physical saving throws. General Powers can also improve skills by allowing a character to use them in new ways, granting bonuses to a skill in certain situations or applications, or utilizing skills to enhance attacks and defenses.
Your first level character gains one General Power (plus any additional powers that may be granted as Racial or Class features). As always, when choosing your character's general power, keep in mind the character concept you've developed. If your character has a particular knack for sneaking up on people, perhaps you'll choose a power that augments the stealth skill. If your character is supposed to be strong and burly and overcome most physical maladies, perhaps you'll choose a power to augment physical saving throws. Or if your character is a strong leader and role-model, perhaps he would like to inspire his allies with a Morale affecting power.
Once you have chosen your general power, you can record its name and notes about it in the General Powers section of the character sheet.
Class Powers are chosen from your character's Class Philosophy. These powers are unique to each class philosophy and represent the training and specialization of that class. All class philosophies break powers down into one of four tiers, known as Calibers: Basic, Advanced, Legendary and Ultimate. These Calibers represent the relative strength of one power towards another, with Basic powers being the weakest and Ultimate powers being the strongest.
At first level, your character gains one Mastered Basic Power for which he qualifies (see Mastered vs. Memorized Powers below). Your character may gain additional Basic Powers through Racial or Class features. As your character gains experience and increases in level, he will gain more Basic Powers, as well as powers of higher Calibers. You can browse Basic Class Powers for each philosophy by following the first set of links to the right. You can alternatively browse powers by Discipline, by following the second set of links.
Choosing your character's first class power may seem a bit daunting at first, as you will likely have many to choose from. Consider limiting your search to a specific Discipline that most closely aligns with your character concept and what you want your character to be able to do. You can browse class powers by discipline by following the links to the right. Alternatively, you can use the Power Search utility to search for powers of a specific keyword, such as Cold or Healing. You will have many opportunities to diversify your character's abilities later, so try to think of a theme for your character's abilities and start there.
Mastered versus Memorized Powers
Most Powers your character receives are Mastered powers, allowing you full access to the power's capabilities and all of its augments (assuming you meet the prerequisites for those augments). While all characters gain Mastered powers, some classes also grant Power Memorizations as a class feature. While the number of powers a character can memorize and how they gain access to those powers varies by class, the general idea is that a character can change or trade out his memorized powers for other powers after each Extended Rest. Wizards, for example, may memorize any spells out of their Spell Book (up to their total number of Spell Memorizations per Caliber). Clerics, on the other hand, may memorize any spell within their granted Disciplines (no Spell Book necessary), but are limited to one per Caliber. See the Power Memorization page for a more detailed explanation.
While Memorized Powers are more versatile then Mastered Powers, they are also more restricted. A character using a power that is Memorized (and not Mastered) cannot use any Master Augments for that power. In other words, while a character with Power Memorizations has access to more powers, they are not able to use those powers with the same efficacy as a character who has mastered them. Additionally, as with all powers, a character must meet the prerequisites of a power before he can memorize it. Using powers (both Mastered and Memorized) and augments are explained in greater detail in the How to Play section.