Powers are supernatural abilities and equipment bestowed to Contractors for successfully completing the Harbingers’ Games. They are the reason Contractors risk their lives in the Games and the primary means of Advancement in The Contract.
For examples, see the Stock Powers.
A Contractor’s Powers are an awakening of their personal potential, and are therefore almost always unique to each individual. Each Power has a specific, predetermined behavior, but their effects are drawn from a mind-boggling array of possibilities. This means that any Contractor can gain access to the sorts of Powers you’d hope a Character with their concept would have. This is as true for generic archetypes (sorcerers, ninjas, super-soldiers, werewolves, etc) as it is for more unique concepts (stage magician, graffiti artist, plumber, basket-weaver, or really anything you feel inspired to create).
Every time a Contractor succeeds in a Harbinger’s Game, they receive a Gift that can be spent to grant a new Power or improve an existing Power.
The Contract's Power System
The Contract has a unique Power system that allows Players to create flavorful Powers for their Characters.
Families of similar effects are grouped together in Base Powers that act as the starting point for Power creation. Examples include Injure, Investigate Individual, Alternate Form, and Disguise. The Contract currently has over 70 Base Powers.
These Base Powers provide a generic effect and system that can be customized by using Enhancements, Drawbacks, and Parameters. Taking Enhancements or raising Parameters increases the Gift cost of the Power, while taking Drawbacks and lowering Parameters reduces it. All Powers must cost at least one Gift. Enhancements and Drawbacks can have a significant impact on what the Power is and how it operates. Usually, this does not amount to a mere Dice bonus or modifier, but an entirely new capability or restriction on the Power.
Powers are further customized by editing their Description. The Description gives Players a wide, unstructured ability to flavor their Powers in a way that fits their Character's Concept. Descriptions can have in-game impact but are limited to non-mechanical traits and cannot affect the potency of the Power too much.
All Powers are obviously supernatural in The Contract unless the Base Power specifies otherwise. This means that they have some visual beyond their primary effect that marks their user as a supernatural being. It may also take the form of a mutation or modification that is always present even when the Power is not being used. This restriction can be removed with the "Concealed" Enhancement.
You can create Powers using the website.
So my Character can do anything I want?
Yes and no. There are three important restrictions on Powers.
- They must be created using The Contract’s Power system.
- Your Character must be eligible to take the Power. They must have enough Gifts to spend and be the proper Status (Novice, Seasoned, or Veteran).
- They must fit the Character's Concept. Healing Powers are especially restricted to Characters who can be defined as "healers."
The Contractor's Cell Leaders have the ability to veto any Player-created Power for any reason. For Contractors attending a Game in another Cell, the GM may allow or disallow their attendance at the start of the Game at their discretion.
Other ways to get Powers
The primary way of obtaining Powers is through the Gifts given by succeeding Games, but there are other ways.
Coins of Charon
These are awarded when one of your Characters dies in a Game. You may use a coin of Charon to start a new Character with a single Gift. This could figure into their backstory as a premature awakening or a Power they have always had.
The Golden Ratio
If you act as the GM for a Game in which at least one Contractor dies and at least one Contractor achieves victory, you are given an Improvement that can be used to enhance an existing Power on one of your Characters.
A given Character is limited to receiving one of these Improvements for every two Gifts they've earned.
Stealing from Contractors or looting their corpses
Hey, it's a dog eat dog world. Powers that have taken the Unique Item Drawback are granted as specific items that can be lost or stolen.
And why shouldn't you take it? Why shouldn't that awesome item be yours? You're risking your life in these Games, and it may save your life. You could probably get away with it, and the guy who has it is an asshole anyway. They don't deserve it. You do.
Just realize that making an enemy of a Contractor is pretty dangerous, and going around killing Contractors is a great way to make a lot of very powerful enemies.