Sometimes, a player may need to perform a specific task, solve a puzzle, have knowledge about a certain topic, or need to prove they’re “good enough” in some other way. Every player has 6 different attributes: Physical, Mental, Spiritual, Emotional, Social, and Financial. They’re broad, general areas of talent, skill, knowledge, and ability.
Super Powers Unlimited is designed to allow you to tell an infinite variety of stories, in an unlimited number of settings, using all sorts of characters. Your imagination is the only limit. But for simplicity and efficiency, to cover the wide variety of possibilities a player may encounter in your game, Attributes function broadly within their individual domains.
For example, rather than dividing up a character’s “knowledge” into several different potential sub-topics, they have the “Mental” attribute which shows how knowledgeable they are about things in general. The more educated a person is, the more they tend to know about a wide variety of things. A more educated mind tends to also be mentally stronger, have better memory recall, and be more resistant to mind control. A stronger mind tends to have sharper wits and perception. Better focus. And so on. All these things are covered by the one “Mental” attribute.
And likewise, if a person is physically strong, it’s common they may also have a naturally strong immune system, more attractive physical appearance, and better overall stamina and endurance. They probably also have a better sense of balance, faster reflexes, and an easier time climbing over things. Instead of listing all those potential skills separately, they’re all covered under the “Physical” attribute.
As Game Master, consider Attributes as both an art and a science. Use your best judgment to determine which Attribute (or Attributes) are relevant and applicable to whatever’s happening in your story right now. You decide which Attributes to test, to determine if the player succeeds in your challenge or not.
When tested, a player will roll a single d20 and add their total Attribute as a bonus. However, depending on the circumstances, you can eliminate the d20 roll or ignore the Attribute bonus. But most of the time, players will expect to be able to add their Attribute total to a d20 roll, combining both skill and luck, to see if they succeed.
First, decide how difficult the challenge is. If it’s something simple and easy, pick a low number. If it’s hard or nearly impossible, go high. You can pick any number as your difficulty. The player will need their d20 roll plus their Attribute total to meet or exceed your difficulty number. If they do, their action is successful. If they don’t, they failed.
What number should you pick? If needed, you can always find out a player’s current Attribute total first, and use that to estimate where to set your difficulty number. Alternatively, as a reference general guideline only, you may also use these difficulty values:
- 5 = Grade school level. Something so easy, a child could do it.
- 10 = Middle school level. Still fairly easy. Nearly everybody can do it.
- 20 = High school level. Moderate difficulty. Some skill required.
- 40 = Undergraduate level. High difficulty. Substantial skill required.
- 80 = Graduate level. Extremely difficult. Extensive skill required.
- 160 = Ivy league graduate level. Possible only for the elite.
- 320 = Master level. Only possible for the absolute best of the best.
- 640+ = Legendary level. Impossible for all but gods and legends.