Clarification about bracketed decisions when creating abilities

Hi everyone! I stumbled across this game when looking for different TTRPG systems for the superhero genre, and I immediately loved it. The focus on narration and roleplay rather than crunching numbers, while still allowing for diverse characters and customization, completely hooked me.

I had one question so far regarding character creation, and that is about rules for decisions you must make when creating character abilities. The core rule book says on page 44 that “Some other decisions might need to be made with your abilities as well, noted in [brackets]. In addition to choosing a power or quality, you might also have to pick between basic actions, (Attack, Defend, Overcome, Boost, and Hinder), between different elemental/energy types (as listed under the Elemental/Energy category on the powers reference), or some other decision.”

There is only one ability in the entire rule book that actually has brackets around such a choice regarding the basic action, which is the Area Alteration ability from the Accidental power source: “[Boost or Hinder] any number of nearby targets using [power]. Use your Max die” (page 57). However, there are several other abilities that have the exact same wording but no bracket (e.g., Modification Wave or Sever Link for Mystic power source, page 59).

This is my question: For abilities that don’t have a bracket around those decisions, does the player get to choose at the time of using the ability for every single use whether it boosts or hinders, like for Modification Wave for example, or whether to remove a penalty or boost instead a la Sever Link? Or are those supposed to be permanent decisions that should have a missing bracket around them as well? Thanks!


My understanding is when it has a bracket you have to choose an option during creation. If it’s not in brackets then when you use the ability in gameplay you get to choose whether it’s a hinder or boost when used.


That’s my read on it as well.

Worth noting that Area Alteration uses the Max die, while Modification Wave ability defaults to Mid die so they’re reasonably balance compared to each other. Trading power for versatility, basically.