Tales of Justice
Hmm. I was going to use Martin Prinz as my Example for this one, but he has not yet been added to the campaign website, and linking to offsite stuff is still kind of a pain in the gnaester on this site. Oh, AMYTHYST! Put down the torque wrench and show off a little on the Characters roster, would you?
Meanwhile, I have converted a middling version of Sunspot from the X-Force to use as an example. Roberto da Costa absorbs solar energy and feeds it into his Power Reserve, and from there he can feed three different things on his character sheet. He has some special limitations on how he does that, but they will not matter to our discussion here.
And as we get started, Berto is just about completely empty: he’s been watching a Magnum PI marathon for a ridiculous amount of time. A hundred sixty-two episodes, kiddo, forty-eight minutes an episode, that’s five and a half DAYS sitting in front of the television, how are you supposed to save the day when you’ve been eating junk food and watching television for most of a week?! Outside you go!
While he’s charging up — at character creation, Sunspot chose that his Power Reserve could feed 2 things, his Strength and his Body. After a major subplot was resolved, he blew a lot of Hero Points on getting the Energy Blast power, and blew more HP on connecting that to his Power Reserve as well. Only the first 2 Powers and/or Attributes connected to the Power Reserve are included in the cost; after that, he would’ve had to pay 5 more Base Cost points per additional Power or Attribute at character creation. Since he did it later on, and since Base Cost is multiplied by 10 during Character Advancement, the GM charged him 50 HP just to add Energy Blast to the Power Reserve set.
Power Reserve is like a water bucket. Normally it is full to the AP level that the PC bought the power at. Sunspot has a theoretical “full level” of 18 APs on his character sheet. He uses it in constant little ways whenever he is awake, because he is barely in his early twenties and he is constantly trying to be “awesome”, and maybe because he has not spent much time training in what his powers can really do.
But, okay, he has a theoretical bucket that carries 18 APs when it is full to the brim. Sunspot can use an Automatic Action to pour any amount of those APs into the other things he has designated: his Strength, his Body, and his Energy Blast. If he had Power Reserve with no limitations, then he could put all 18 into his Strength for a round, then put half into his Strength and split the other 9 somehow between his Body and Energy Blast in the next round, or however else he wanted to use it. Any Power Reserve APs not assigned at a given moment would flow back into the bucket. He would always have 18 extra APs to use in those designated statistics, unless a villain did something specific to damage the Power Reserve power.
However, Sunspot took the limitation that his Power Reserve must be fed by his Energy Absorption.
GM note: This is where the GMs rewrote some of what is in the rule book, because the rule book was trying to drop you into an unreasonably complex death trap. If this does not seem to line up with what you read in the text, GOOD!
Sunspot’s Power Reserve starts out empty. He steps out into the Hawaiian sunlight and uses his Energy Absorption to fuel up. It may take a little while, depending on the weather and what he is wearing and what he is doing, but Energy Absorption is an Automatic Action so he does not have to make a roll unless someone starts shooting weaponized sunbeam lasers at him, or tries to coat him in darkness, or some other hostile complication ensues. After a very short wait, Sunspot’s Power Reserve fills up to the point where he normally starts running around doing things; let’s say he got impatient at 10 APs.
(He is still ridiculously overpowered, of course.)
Now Sunspot is going to go fight the Wrecking Crew. Poor silly Sunspot. He puts 4 APs of his Power Reserve into his Strength, 2 APs into his Body, and that leaves him only 2 unused APs of Power Reserve until he absorbs more energy. The Power Reserve points remain until they are used in an Action. If Hailstorm throws ice chunks at Sunspot’s back, whether or not Sunspot shrugs off the impact whatever Power Reserve APs were involved in his defense are now evaporated. If Sunspot could use his Power Reserve on Skin Armor, he would need to replace those points after getting hit with a Physical Attack.
Using whatever Power or Attribute you allocated Power Reserve APs to, uses up those APs. Time for more Energy Absorption to refill the bucket! Too bad Blackout is not going to make that very easy….
A third possibility exists for combining Energy Absorption and Power Reserve, and it is super expensive: the Energy Absorption gets the Bonus that it feeds Power Reserve, but Power Reserve does not pick up the Limitation that it must be fed via Energy Absorption. In this case, any APs picked up by Energy Absorption cannot stay in Power Reserve; they must be immediately assigned to one of the connected Powers or Attributes, where they remain until used. This combination has the potential to become game-breaking very quickly, so the GMs will not be giving any price break of any sort on the purchase or use or care of these powers. Someone can have it … if they can afford it!
(And not in a Gadget, either. Gadgets fed more power than their fuel cell capacity, well, those Gadgets explode. Or melt. Maybe both.)