The legends and myths of old greek and other ancient civilizations are full of heroes and anti-heroes who have abilities and powers beyond the pale, powers which were often the result of kinship to a god or half-good, a gift of one or something that had been stolen from them. Our more modern stories, like the adventure and fantasy novels (and comics) of the pulp-area, feature such powers as well, but their relation to gods and tribe totems is a more blurred one.
So why should we as GM, as the storytellers of our time, not use such mighty powers as well?
My new title contains 50 examples of mythic abilities (or “fantasy super powers”) that might have been bestowed onto a character as a gift of the gods, or through blood relations to them. The GM may use them to enhance NPC (both good and foul), or to grant a selection of them to the PC in a campaign where heroes set forth to achieve their destiny (or to change it). They may also be useful to a GM who wants to created mythic tribes or (player-)races like “the Atlantians” or “the Tribe of the Wind-God” (with matching powers).
And as none of you reads (or follows) my blog for my sales pitches, I provide you 20 of the entries. Have fun!
Warning! The abilities are not balanced in regard to each other. When a word in a text appears in brackets, it is meant as an [option] that the GM my replace with something that is more fitting for the individual game or game world. When a Saving Throw is mentioned, it is up to the GM which one is fitting (so usually a Saving Throw vs. Magic should do the trick).
01# A Head held High
The character cannot die unless his or her head is severed. He or she will suffer from the effects of every other wound, so, and may be left for dead by an enemy (but will recover later on).
The character will stop to age after he or she reached the age of [x]. Even supernatural means will change this.
03# All-Understanding Ear
The character will understand the (general) meaning of any words spoken by a mortal, no matter which language is used.
04# An Eye for Innocence
The characters recognizes a person that is [truly innocent] on sight.
When the character eats the ashes of a fire, he or she will learn the names and faces of those who have sit around it for a t least a turn.
The character may have a deed or attack fail he or she is witness to. To do so, the character needs to say (or whispers) the word “fail!” For every use of this ability, the characters maximum hit points are permanently reduced by one.
The character understands [the chirping of birds], and those will often tell him or her what they have been witness to during the last few days. The character may call forth any [small, non-magical bird] within line of sight, and communing with it takes one turn.
08# Blood of the Martyr
When the character flagellates him- or herself vigorously (1d4 damage), he or she benefits from the equivalent of a Protection from Evil spell, with a level equal to the level of the character and a duration measured in hours.
09# Bringer of Judgment
Any [magic-user] the character looks straight into the eyes for three heartbeats must pass a Saving Throw or will begin to weep
The character may enter the dreams of everybody he or she saw since the last night, and may thereby leave a short message that the person will still remember after he or she woke up.
11# Eros Incarnate
The character will never be turned down by anybody who is attracted to his or her gender in general. The seduction will never create true love but just the burning desire to spend “one night” with the character, and will never work twice with the same person.
12# Eternal Bloodhound
The character will never fail to follow a track he or she has picked up once, even if there is o real “trace” left. When a track was taken up once, it may be followed till the character sees the “quarry”. From that point on, a trace must be picked up anew.
When the character spends one turn dancing around a bonfire, he or she will get a +2 attack bonus, and any character that was witness to the dance and later fights alongside the character will gain a +1 bonus. Those effects only last till the next noon after the firedance.
14# Fire Within
The character my ignite any flammable object by holding it in his or her bare hands for a minute. Any flame created that way will never harm the character.
15# Friendship of Beasts
No [regular animal] will ever attack the character unprovoked.
16# Gaze of the Gods
The character will always know the exact [attributes] of everyone he or she faces.
The character may decide to simply pass through any solid obstacle (like a wall or a door) that is up to two feet thick (and may take items up to light encumbrance with him or her). Doing so is harmful and the character loses 1d6 hit points in the process. If the obstacles turns out to be thicker than two feet, the character still suffers the damage but is expelled at the place of entry instead of passing through the object.
18# Hands of War
The character may parry with his bare hands and/or underarms like they would be daggers and may strike with bare hands as if they would be hatchets
19# Heart of the Wild
The character my turn into a deer or stag [AC: 17; same hit points] together with all items currently worn on person up to light encumbrance, but will remain in this form for exactly one turn. Afterwards, the character may not use this ability during the following turn.
The character knows immediately when his or her name was spoken by somebody who is hostile to the character (or his or her aims) within seven miles of him or her (but not who was it).