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Skip Navigation LinksHero System>Meta Concepts >Bundled Powerup HERO

Bundled Powerup HERO

This document describes an alternate method of awarding experience that is GM driven and in addition to the standard XP awards mechanism.


XP is awarded normally in the standard fashion.

However, the GM may sometimes "tack on" additions to various characters as serves the needs of the plot and / or events in play. These type of power-ups come to the character via external factors, and are not selected by the player of the character.

Rather, the GM designs a package of abilities that fulfills some idea they have or defines some status, state of being, social construct, or role relevant to the story line. Some samples would include:

  • the character has been elevated to a leadership position
    • the character has become the sovereign of a nation
    • the character has become the head of a corporation
  • the character has undergone a "radiation accident" or "mystic transformation" of some kind
    • the character slew a dragon and bathed in its blood, gaining mystic resistance to harm
    • the character shut down a thermogravitronic reactor and emerged with personal density alteration abilities
  • the character has undergone a traumatic event and been strengthened by it
    • the character died and was brought back to life...but was somehow altered by the experience
    • the character possessed a powerful item for a time and was permanently changed by it
    • the character temporarily combined with some other entity, and isn't quite the same any more
  • the character is special / marked out / has become elevated above normal folk
    • the character is a "chosen one" of some sort and acquires special abilities
    • the character fulfilled a prophesy (deliberately or accidentally) and something happens
    • the character has ascended to godhood

Whatever the specifics involved, the GM composes a collection of powers, perks, abilities and balances them out with Disadvantages and / or detrimental effects. In the final analysis the package is either a 0-sum (the detriments entirely offset the benefits), or close enough not to create an imbalance in the game.

The GM either arbitrarily grafts the package onto the target character via fiat, or offers the package to the player and allows them to chose to take it or to not take it, as is, the good with the bad.


The pros of this method is it allows a GM with a particular vision who wants / needs a player to fill specific niches or roles to impose or incentivize these abilities into play.


The cons are it can unbalance a campaign, particularly if it is used with a heavy hand. And while it can be used for positive outcomes, it's kind of Monty Haul-ish at its root. There is a risk of GM bias creating a Mary Sue. If imposed, it risks damaging a players feeling of ownership over their own character. It can also make other players feel like the GM is biased and that there isn't a level playing field. And so forth. It isn't impossible to use this method for a net benefit to a campaign, but it is a slippery slope that requires finesse to traverse.

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