Skills and Powers
Unlike Items which are physical objects which are purchased or traded from other Avatars, Skills and Powers are purchased ONLY with APs (or, in the case of Skills, granted by the Avatar's House). Also unlike Items, purchased Skills and Powers can never be removed from an Avatar once they are earned.
The basic difference between Skills and Powers is that Skills are available to all Avatars and Powers are only specific to Genres. Powers have a minimum EM requirement which must be met before the Power can be earned by an Avatar. If the Avatar's EM falls below this minimum requirement for any reason in the future, the Avatar cannot use the Power until the Avatar's EM is restored to at least the minimum value necessary to use the Power. Likewise, Skills sometimes have a minimum Stat requirement before they can be used, and this requirement must be met before the Skill can be earned. Again, this requirement must be maintained for the Skill to be used (note that the free Skills which are given by the Avatar's House do not have any Stat requirements, even if they are listed in the Skills section with a Stat requirement). Even if a Skill or Power cannot be used because of this restriction, it remains a part of the Avatar, albeit dormant.
In order to use any Power, you MUST spend at least the minimum amount of EM shown in the description. Except for those few Powers which have only a simple cost to invoke, the more EM you put into a Power, the more effect will come out of it. Powers which cause damage to an opponent have their own Offensive and Defensive calculation (explained later) which is written right into the text of the Power. If the Power is substituting for a Combat Action, then this calculation overrides the normal combat calculation. This calculation always involves EM, and the minimum amount of EM that you may use is the EM requirement of the Power. You may use any amount of EM from the minimum requirement up through your currently available EM. Remember that you can only use as many EM points as you actually have in a single Combat or within 10 minutes outside of combat when using Powers. When a calculation involving EM is called for within the description of the Power, the EM number which should be used is the actual amount of EM that you decided to put into the Power when you invoked it, NOT your total EM. Remember that EM is finite, so using it all on one Power may achieve the desired effect but will leave you powerless for the remainder of the combat (or ten minutes if outside of combat).
Many Skills have "stacking" requirements, in which a more powerful Ability cannot be purchased until a lesser Ability in the same class is purchased. For example, you cannot purchase Edged Weapons II without having purchased Edged Weapons I first. If you can afford both at the same time, though, you may purchase them at the same Avatar Level.
All Skills and Powers have a cost associated with them that represents the amount of APs which must be spent to earn them. Once this cost is paid (upon reaching a new Level), the Skill or Power becomes a permanent part of the Avatar. Note that there is no specific restriction on the number of Skills and Powers an Avatar can have other than the number of APs he is able to spend on them.
Appendices B, C and F through J list all of the different Skills and Powers available to Avatars. If an Avatar's Genre Selection includes more than one Genre, he is free to choose Powers from any of the Genres that are represented. The Avatar's CC will list the name of the Skill or Power that he has, but for the actual application of the Skill or Power, the Avatar should keep the appendices available for reference.
Skills and Powers also share limitations on how often they can be used. Some Skills and Powers can be used any number of times, but many can only be used once during a set interval (an hour, a day), and some restrict their use to one target per interval. This will be clearly presented in the description of the Skill or Power, but its enforcement is a matter of trust. Since a day is a long period of time, we trust you as the player to keep track of a Skill or Power which has been used and to not use it again until it is legal to do so.
As previously noted, each House has a series of Skills which are conveyed to its members. Some of these Skills are duplicated in the list of Skills which can be purchased, so it should be noted that House Skills are NOT paid for with APs are actually free to all members. The House Skills will count towards stacking requirements of other Skills, even if they are the "Enhanced" version of the Skill. Unlike other Skills, an Avatar is assumed to have the Skills of his House based on the Tier level shown on the front of his CC, and therefore does NOT have to reveal the back of his CC to use a House Skill. Anytime ANY Avatar uses ANY House Skill (except for the actual House Fleming Skills), he must make a separate single card pull from his REMAINING AC Deck (the card will return to his deck regardless of the result). If the result is an Ace AND the Avatar using the House Skill is a Fleming using a non-Fleming House Skill, he may not be able to use the Skill OR may have blown his cover. This is explained in detail in the House Fleming section in Appendix A. If the Avatar is NOT a Fleming, the card pull is for consistency only.
Any Skills or Powers which enable the user to use a "Mental Action" will call for the following calculation comparison: (MIND + AC Pick + modifiers) vs. (MIND + AC Pick + modifiers). In order for the Skill or Power to work, the Avatar's calculation must simply exceed the target's calculation. In the case of actual Mental Attacks which might cause damage, please see the section on Mental Combat. Remember that Mental Actions are not possible without some Item, Skill or Power to invoke them.
Unless otherwise noted, if the same Power is used by more than one Avatar at the same time, the effects are calculated separately, not combined (unless there is a numerical addition or subtraction which logically would affect a target twice). Further, a second use of the same power will generally be cumulative unless otherwise noted (for example, two Toxic Cloud attacks will do damage twice per combat round).
As a final note, the Avatar System is meant to be a very open and creative system, in that the Powers available to the players are extremely generic. For example, one of the powers is "Physical Projectile", which has set characteristics such as the amount of damage it can cause and under what circumstances it can be used. It is up to the player who owns the Power to define it for the frames of reference of the players who will witness it. For example, that same "Physical Projectile" might be a magic arrow, a steel ball, a rock, or perhaps a flying chipmunk. Avatars are therefore much freer to define what their character's Abilities are when they describe an Action to the Avatars around them.
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