Backgrounds

In addition to the special and modified backgrounds listed here, supers are eligible for the following Backgrounds: Allies, Clearance, Destiny, Fame, Mentor, Resources, Secret Identity, Status. Look these up in the appropriate Mastermind system core rulebook. Attunement and Dormancy may also be taken; these appear in Aberrant. Contacts, Dream, Equipment, and Requisition appear here because they have special requirements for supers or different game mechanics.

Superheroes (and villains) are larger than life. Sometimes, because of that, they've got backgrounds that we mortals can hardly imagine. The wealth of a Lex Luthor or a Tony Stark; the contacts of an Elijah Snow or a Wolverine; the political power of a Darkseid or a Black Panther. If the Mastermind chooses to allow it, your characters may have Background scores higher than five. However, it requires the Mastermind's expressed permission, and each point above a score of five costs three Freebie points. They're expensive, so tread carefully.

Merit requirement.

A super with the Weapon X Training Perk may choose to take this background, but nobody else. This attribute represents a piece of equipment that is made of adamantium, a super-hard, virtually unbreakable metal. Wolverine's claws and Cyber's skin were coated with this metal, but an adamantium sword is more common than Body Armor or Body Weaponry.

A weapon made of adamantium has only a difficulty of 4 for the purposes of damage tests (rather than the normal 6). It can cut through virtually anything, and is for nearly all intents and purposes indestructible. Of course, it can be stolen...

Armor composed of adamantium cannot be pierced, even by adamantium in most cases. Full conversion Body Armor (skin-grafts or bonds like Cyber's) requires five points in this Background, and decreases the difficulty to absorb blunt trauma to 5, or piercing damage to 4. As Body Weaponry or Body Armor, Adamantium requires the Healing Factor Power at a minimum Rank equal to the rank of the background. Otherwise, if the super takes simple skin grafts but does not get five points in this Background, there are still a number of benefits. Punches or kicks from adamantium-sheathed fists and feet are diff 4, and body parts covered cannot be successfully targeted for extra damage from called shots, crits, etc. Moreover, unarmed parries of weapons are possible.

An adamantium-bonded skeleton, like Wolverine's, is unbreakable. It will stop many blows (crushing attacks to the ribs can't really harm the character) and also give an automatic damage success in brawling.

If the super has a healing factor and he took Body Armor or Body Weaponry with this Background) its effective level is reduced by the (level of the background -1) to a maximum loss of 3 levels. Thus, the Adamantium Skeleton would reduce the effective level of a Healing Factor by 2. Therefore, a normal human healing ability is insufficient to handle adamantium beyond level one. If the Healing Factor is reduced to below zero, the super does not survive the bonding process. Internal implants (like skeletal bonding) increase the prerequisite level of the Healing Factor (though not the loss of effectiveness) by one.

Any super can have allies, and most need them. Allies can be of any sort - normal humans, supers, or even supernatural beings of some kind. These are characters, not cannon fodder; if the super abuses an ally's friendship, he can expect to lose that ally. Each dot in this Background gives the super one ally or increases the power of an existing ally. Note that a supremely powerful ally such as Charles Xavier, Apocalypse, or Nick Fury is worth five full points.

No, you can't have Galactus.

This ability is similar in some ways to Energy Channeling. In essence, the super can invest the energy patterns of his super signature into objects, which allows these objects to behave like unstable molecule costumes - i.e., the objects are affected by the super’s Power as if they were a part of the super’s own body. Therefore, a super with Energy Body (Fire) will not burn his clothing to ash if he has the Attunement Background; instead, they will transform into fire with him. Charged objects may be organic or inorganic, and must remain in continuous contact with the super in order to retain the benefits of the Attunement.

A very dangerous, very rare metal that was original touted as a less- expensive replacement for adamantium, carbonadium has a number of problems. A super with Equipment ●●● (Carbonadium Synthesizer), Allies (Wolverine, Maverick, or John Wraith), or Status (Russian Government) may take this Background, but he may grow to wish that he hadn't. 

Carbonadium is very hard, quite flexible and ductile when bathed in the proper radiation, but it is unstable. It slowly decays, becoming depleted carbonadium (which is intensely poisonous) and releasing hard radiation as it does so. Maintaining the carbonadium requires control of a carbonadium synthesizer. In mainstream continuity, it appears that only one was ever made.

Carbonadium does have some advantages. It's nearly as hard as adamantium (offering diff. 5 damage tests when used as a weapon). It is excellent at channeling certain powers (specifically, any Vampirism Power, any Power involving transfer of life force or death force, and hard radiation) offering a reduced (-1) difficulty on associated rolls using these Powers.

A high-level Healing Factor, resistance to radiation, or some form of life-force vampirism is required if you want to live very long with carbonadium. If the super does not have resistance to radiation, he will take one Health Level of damage per Rank per day (aggravated, difficulty 9 to absorb) from radioactive decay.

Bonding carbonadium as body armor or weaponry has similar requirements to adamantium, regarding Healing Factors and the like.

Often (though not invariably) going hand-in-hand with Status, Clearance makes an investigator's life much easier, giving him access to such things as government computer databases, tax records, and the like. The character must have some good reason for having this sort of thing (she might work for the FBI, or Revenue Canada, or the NYPD), but it sure expedites an investigation. Each point in Clearance gives you one extra die for pertinent Computer and Investigations rolls, and it also cancels out the increased difficulty for one rank of Secret Identity. Ranks above five are worth two extra dice apiece.

The super knows people in a variety of places. Anywhere that you could conceive of having a person that would be useful to know, you can get an contact. Each point in Contacts gets you one major contact (a TV reporter, an executive in the Kingpin's hierarchy, etc.) and a few minor contacts. Contacts are people who are willing to do things for you, but they nearly always exact a price. Supers like Gambit and Sabretooth are well-connected; they have contacts all over the place (Contacts 5).

It's true, this is a trait that not just any old super can have, but with time-travel these days, some people know that they are going to do something great. Think of Cable, who is destined to battle Apocalypse to the death, or Adam X, who will rule the Shi'ar Empire. Supers with destinies rarely die in skirmishes against the Trapster. They have some higher purpose, and knowledge of this lends them strength. Each game session, the super may re-roll a result once per dot in Destiny, though the second roll must be accepted (even if it is worse than the first). Alternately, the super may subtract one success per dot in this background, though each success so subtracted counts as a use of the Background.