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Power Profile: element PowersPower Profile: element PowersPower Profile: element Powers

Some superpowers focus on the mythic elements of earth,
air, fire, and water (detailed in their own profiles), while
others focus on the elements of science, as defined on the
periodic table of elements: the power to take on qualities
associated with those materials, to transform into them,
or to transmute the elements to create them.

the transform effect
Element powers often deal with transmutation, transform-
ing one element or substance into another. The go-to effect
for this power is Transform (Hero’s Handbook, page 132),
which changes one type of object into another. Full trans-
mutation is a 5-point per rank Transform, able to turn any
material into any other material.

Transform’s description is intentionally vague, allowing the
player and Gamemaster to collaborate in defining different
types and categories of materials and what exactly occurs
when a character changes things from one to another. The
Under the Hood sidebar accompanying the effect’s de-
scription in the Hero’s Handbook (page 132) looks at some
of these. Possibilities to consider include the following:

• Creation: Transform can literally create things “out
of thin air” by turning air (or other bulk matter) into
something else. This is useful for powers that create
inanimate objects, particularly “real” objects different
from the constructs of the Create effect. For example
producing food out of nowhere can be a Transform
effect, whereas creating a giant barrier wall is better
handled by Create. The primary limit on creation, as
with all uses of Transform, is effect rank, and there-
fore mass: a Transform 10 effect can create 800 lbs. of

material, whereas a Create 10 effect can create a solid
object occupying 1,000 cubic feet, such as a wall 10
feet high, 1 foot thick, and 100 feet long. Transform
with the proper effect and rank can create equipment
as the GM sees fit. Certainly, the effect can create
weapons, tools, and similar things; A broad enough
effect can probably create electronics and machines
as well, up to and including vehicles, with sufficient
rank. Transform cannot create devices, although the
GM may permit it as a means of jury-rigging them
(Hero’s Handbook, page 160).

• Destruction: Reversing the creation process, Trans-
form can also “destroy” objects by turning them into
air or inert gas (or water, etc.). Keep in mind that the
transformation reverses itself once the effect is no
longer sustained, so for the creation or destruction
of an object to be truly permanent, the effect must
be Continuous in duration. Similar to creation, Trans-
form can potentially destroy equipment and remov-
able devices. As described in the Hero’s Handbook,
this is simply another means of “removing” those
items, and is accounted for in their cost; it is allow-
able so long as the Transform effect has the right de-
scriptors and rank to affect the item(s) in question.

• Side Effects: There is a tremendous range of “side
effects” to Transform, particularly the broader levels,
which can turn any material into anything else. Fortu-
nately, these effects are expensive, so the GM should
allow characters to get their “money’s worth” in terms
of effectiveness by giving Transform a measure of
“free” effects, so long as they fall within its param-
eters. For example, the Encase and Gas Cloud powers

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listed under Offensive Powers are both quite possible
using Transform to turn the air around a target into
stone, for example, or transforming all the oxygen
into nitrogen. Do they have to be Alternate Effects
of Transform? Not if the GM sees fit to allow some
“wiggle room” based on effect and descriptor(s).
Keep the Transform rank and power level limitations
in mind: A rank 4 Transform can’t create enough stone
to bind a human-sized target, for example, whereas
a high-rank Transform effect should be limited to
power level in terms of resistance checks against its
side-effects, for balance purposes.

element DescriPtors
The following are descriptors associated with element
powers, affecting how they are used in play.

• Alchemy: Magical element powers often have the
alchemy descriptor, the art of transmuting and con-
trolling the elements. Alchemy may involve various
potions, powders, and other paraphernalia. The Phi-
losopher’s Stone is a legendary magical item able to
transmute elements, the object of many an alche-
mist’s research.

• Chemical: A chemical is a form of matter with a con-
sistent composition. For example, water is a chemi-
cal substance composed of a consistent ratio of hy-
drogen to oxygen, whether it exists as a gas (steam),
liquid, or solid (ice). A chemical reaction can trans-
form one type of chemical into another. Most objects
are made up of mixtures of different chemicals or
contain various impurities.

• Element: An element is a substance made up of a con-
sistent type of atom. Elements cannot be changed from
one to another by chemical reactions; they require
nuclear reactions (nuclear fission or fusion) acting on
the atoms themselves. The process of turning one
element into another is referred to as transmutation.

• Countering: Element powers can counter a wide
range of other effects. A power like Transmutation
can potentially counter any effect with a chemical re-
action descriptor by creating the right chemical com-
pounds: smothering fires, neutralizing acids, and so
forth. Transmutation powers can potentially directly
counter each other, transforming a substance back
into its original form, or simply disrupting the origi-
nal transformation to allow it to revert.

element features
Some potential Feature effects associated with Element
Powers include the following:

• You can transmute tiny amounts of material (mass rank
–5 or less) by touch. This still allows for a broad range of
minor effects, from turning small objects into solid gold
to destroying bits and pieces of larger mechanisms
(locks, screws, fasteners, and other mechanical parts).
See the Transmutation power for additional ideas.

• You can immediately recognize transmuted or chem-
ically altered materials by seeing or touching them.

• You are able to transform clothing and similar worn or
carried items so they are unharmed by your own trans-
formations. This Feature is a default effect of Element
Powers and transformations in many settings.

offensive Powers
There are many elements harmful to living targets or
capable of damaging anything. Offensive element powers
produce and project these elements, possibly transform-
ing the user or parts of the environment into them.


You can create a powerful corrosive that eats away at any
material. The Weaken and Damage effects occur simulta-
neously, then both occur again on the following round,
applying Damage against the Weakened Toughness. If
you can project a corrosive at a distance, apply the Ranged
modifier to both effects.

Corrosive: Weaken Toughness, Affects Objects, Secondary Effect,
Linked to Damage, Secondary Effect • 5 points per rank.

A similar power with different descriptors is Disintegra-
tion, which is the breakdown of matter into energy rather
than by chemical means.

Likewise, a more limited type of Corrosive is Oxidize,
where you speed up the corrosive effect of oxygen on
materials (causing iron to rust away almost instantly, for
example). Apply the flaw Limited to Oxidizing Materials to
both effects, reducing the cost to 3 points per rank.


You trap a target in transmuted bonds of material, such as
turning the air around the target into stone or steel, often
leaving only the target’s face or head uncovered.

Encase: Ranged Affliction (Resisted by Dodge, Overcome
by Damage; Hindered and Vulnerable, Defenseless and
Immobilized), Extra Condition, Limited Degree • 2 points
per rank.


Combining different volatile chemical elements or con-
verting tiny amount of matter into energy via fission you
produce a powerful explosion. If the blast originates with
or near you, then you are unaffected. If you can produce
the explosion at a distance, apply the Ranged modifier.

Explosion: Burst Area Damage • 2 points per rank.

Gas clouD

You create a cloud of choking or inert gas capable of suf-
focating those within it. You are unaffected by your own
gas cloud, either leaving a “hole” in the center immedi-

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ately around you, or able to otherwise negate its effects.
Certain gases may inflict different conditions; feel free to
vary those listed to suit particular descriptors, or to apply
the Variable Conditions modifier (see the Illusion Powers
profile) for the ability to produce a wide range of different
gas clouds. If you can create your gas cloud at a distance,
apply the Ranged modifier.

Gas Cloud: Cloud Area Affliction (Resisted and Overcome by
Fortitude; Fatigued, Exhausted, Incapacitated), Cumulative
• 3 points per rank.


You can heat up or ignite your own body by creating a
powerful oxidizing reaction, without any harm to yourself.

Immolation: Damage (heat), Reaction (touching or being
touched) • 4 points per rank.


You transform a living subject into a solid, non-living sub-
stance, typically stone, but it could just as easily be metals
such as gold, iron, or lead. This version requires you to
touch the target. If you can petrify at a distance, apply the
Ranged modifier. If you can restore a petrified subject, add
the Reversible modifier.

Petrify: Affliction (Resisted and Overcome by Fortitude;
Transformed), Limited Degree (third only), Progressive • 2
points per rank.

For the classic “petrifying gaze” like that of Medusa, add
the Perception Range and Sight-Dependent modifiers, al-
lowing you to affect any target you can see that can also
see you. Targets who deliberately block their vision are
protected against your power.

Petrifying Gaze: Perception Ranged Affliction (Resisted and
Overcome by Fortitude; Transformed), Limited Degree (third
only), Progressive, Sight-Dependent • 3 points per rank.


You transmute a portion of the ground or floor into a
sticky muck, causing targets standing there to sink and
become trapped, unable to move. If you are limited to af-
fecting a small area under a single target, remove the Area
modifier from the power.

Tarpit: Cloud Area Affliction (Resisted by Dodge, Overcome
by Strength; Hindered and Vulnerable, Defenseless and
Immobilized), Cumulative, Extra Condition, Limited Degree • 3
points per rank.

Defensive Powers
Defensive element powers either provide protection from
the often-harmful effects of the elements or grant the
user the elements’ resistance to certain effects.

chemical immunity

You are chemically “inert” and immune to harmful chemi-
cal reactions, including the effects of acids, bases, chemi-
cal burns, and so forth. You are not immune to the side-
effects of chemical reactions, such as the force of an
explosion or intense heat or cold, without taking addi-
tional ranks in Immunity.

Chemical Immunity: Immunity 2 (chemical effects) • 2 points.

Destroy Projectiles

You can transmute incoming projectiles into harmless
gases or otherwise destroy them, preventing them from
having any effect on you unless they are in some way
indestructible or immune to your power. You must be
capable of action in order to Destroy Projectiles (that is,
the effect is sustained rather than permanent). If you can
Destroy Projectiles over a wider area, apply the Affects
Others and Area Modifiers; if you can choose who in the
area receives your protection, apply the Selective modi-
fier as well.

Destroy Projectiles: Immunity 10 (projectiles), Sustained
• 10 points.

DiamonD harD

Your body is (or can become) as hard as diamond, perhaps
turning into actual diamond in the process! If your
Diamond Hard state is temporary, apply the Activation
or Sustained modifiers. A Diamond Hard form may be ac-
companied by the Unliving power (following) or a degree
of Enhanced Strength.

Diamond Hard: Impervious Protection, Noticeable • 1 point
for rank 1, + 2 points per additional rank.

molecular PhasinG

By altering the molecular valences of yourself or other
material, you become able to “phase,” passing harmlessly
through that material as if it were not even there. If you
alter the valences of other materials, you might have the
Affects Others modifier, allowing you to bring others with
you or even create “phase doors” for them to pass through
without you.

Molecular Phasing: Insubstantial 4 • 20 points.


You have a body of something other than living flesh-and-
blood, making you immune to many mortal concerns.
Some with this power also have no Stamina, meaning
they do not recover or heal on their own.

Unliving: Immunity 30 (Fortitude Effects) • 30 points.

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movement Powers
Characters can harness power over different elements to
provide propulsion or change their own physical state,
shifting from one location to another.

chemical rocket

You can create and sustain a chemical reaction that pro-
vides you with rocket thrust, allowing you to fly, possibly
at very high speeds.

Chemical Rocket: Flight • 2 points per rank.

Quantum BreakDown

This power disintegrates your physical form, allowing
your consciousness to shift locations and recreate your
physical form there, effectively disappearing from one
place and reappearing in another.

Quantum Breakdown: Teleport • 2 points per rank.

The standard version of Quantum Breakdown results in
nothing more than a harmless show of light and pos-
sibly sound as you vanish or reappear. The following
version results in a considerable release of energy when
you do so, creating a powerful explosion. Essentially, you
“detonate” at one location, disappearing in the blast, then
reform some distance away.

Explosive Quantum Breakdown: Teleport, Burst Area Reaction
Damage (explosion, upon teleporting) • 2 points per Teleport
rank + 5 points per Damage rank.

transmutative tunnelinG

You transform rock and soil into gas, shearing a passage
through the ground. The transmuted material might
revert to its original state, closing the tunnel behind you,
or remain transformed, leaving a tunnel for others to
follow, as you choose.

Transmutative Tunneling: Burrowing • 1 point per rank.

utility Powers
The useful effects of different elements and compounds,
plus all the options available to characters able to trans-
mute them, make for utility powers with a wide range of

chemical analysis

You can analyze chemical compounds, learning their
structure and composition. The GM may require an ap-
propriate Expertise skill check—such as Chemistry or
Forensics—to fully understand what you have analyzed,
but even just the basic information can be quite useful:
recognizing a particular chemical residue as acid left by a
known super-criminal, for example. The default setup of

the power assumes you’re examining the subject at close
range; if you can analyze from a greater distance, apply
the Ranged effect of Senses as well.

Chemical Analysis: Senses 3 (Detect Chemical Compounds,
Acute, Analytical) • 3 points.

neutralize reaction

You can slow certain chemical reactions to a standstill,
nullifying effects with appropriate chemical descriptors.
This includes putting out fires by stopping the oxidiz-
ing reaction and neutralizing acids and explosives. It can
also prevent powers based on chemical reactions from
working. Apply Nullify modifiers to expand or refine the
power, such as Concentration if you can suppress chemi-
cal reactions, Precise if you can choose which reactions to
stop, and Area if you can affect reactions over a wider area
than a single target.

Neutralize Reaction: Ranged Nullify Chemical Effects, Broad,
Simultaneous • 4 points per rank.


You can transmute elements and compounds, transform-
ing inanimate matter into virtually anything you wish. See
The Transform Effect in this profile for additional infor-
mation. The full scope of the power’s effect depends on
the modifiers applied to it.

• Shape and Substance: Transmutation affects both
an object’s substance (what materials it is made
from) and shape (the form those materials take). So
for example you can transmute a steel bar into a steel
sword (different shape), an apple into one made of
solid gold (different substance), or a wooden branch
into a steel sword (different shape and substance).
Transmutation limited to changing just shape or just
substance is a broad-to-broad Transform, costing
only 4 points per rank. If you can produce exact
copies of objects, apply the Precise modifier.

• Range: Transform is a close range effect by default.
If you can transmute materials at a distance, apply
the Ranged modifier. If you can do so without having
to target the material, apply the Perception Ranged
modifier, eliminating the need for an attack check.

• Area: Transform affects a set amount of mass based on
rank. An Area Transform can affect multiple targets in
the area, provided no individual target’s mass exceeds
the effect’s rank. So a Burst Area Transform 6 can trans-
form all inanimate targets in a 30-foot radius, with no
individual target exceeding 50 lbs. (mass rank 0). If you
can selectively transform some targets in the area and
not others, apply the Selective modifier. Apply it again
if you can also transform targets in the area in different
ways, such as turning some things into air, others into
lead, and leaving some unaffected.

• Duration: Transform is sustained by default,
meaning when you stop maintaining the effect, the

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transformed materials revert to their original shape
and substance. Apply the Continuous modifier if your
transmutations are permanent unless reversed by
you or some similar effect.

Transmutation: Transform (any material into anything else) • 5
points per rank.

other element Powers
In addition to changes in substance, element powers
often involve changes in form and state, making nearly
all of the powers in the Morphing Powers profile poten-
tial element powers as well. As with morphing powers,
virtually any power with “Form” in its name is a potential
element power, particularly if it involves a type of form
that can be an element or compound, such as a gaseous,
liquid, or solid material.

Control over the basic constituents of air, minerals, and
water provides some of the effects of Air Powers, Earth
Powers, and Water Powers. As mentioned previously,
all of the “Form” powers in these profiles may be element

Radioactive elements, and the power to split off or fuse
atoms, connect element powers and Radiation Powers.
Transforming into a radioactive element, or producing
such elements, can expose targets to radiation damage.

element comPlications
Element power complications tend to revolve around the
powers’ potential to change things and how some wield-
ers of element powers become less than human.


Chemical elements exist in a complex and delicate state of
balance, and upsetting that balance can cause unforeseen
disaster. Element powers have considerable potential for
accidents, either as occasional complications introduced
by the GM or a regular problem plaguing a wielder of
element powers.


It is not difficult to see how the power to produce
certain chemical compounds can potentially feed into
certain addictions. A transmuter or master of chemical
reactions could be a “living factory” for designer drugs,
making it all too easy to gain and maintain an addic-
tion. The character then has to deal with the complica-
tions stemming from the addiction (and possibly trying
to hide it from others).


Element powers, especially Transmutation, can make
someone famous, leading to a never-ending parade of
fortune-seekers and others with grandiose plans to put

the character’s powers “to work” in some fashion or as part
of some get-rich-quick scheme.


Power over the basic building-blocks of matter can
provide amazing insights into the nature of reality itself,
but are they enough? Element powers might drive charac-
ters to search obsessively for more information about the
source of their powers and how they function, from the
dedicated scientist who spends endless hours in the labo-
ratory to the equally obsessive alchemist who collects and
studies obscure grimoires and formularies.

Power loss

The potential for the loss of element powers depends on
their source: magical or alchemical powers might require
the ability to perform certain rituals, or depend on various
exotic components, without which the wielder is help-
less. Element powers stemming solely from interaction
between the wielder’s mind and quantum or atomic
forces are more difficult to remove, although things af-
fecting the character’s state of mind may do so.


Element powers can be fearsome, with the potential to
destroy economies and infrastructure if left unchecked.
Those with the power to transform themselves into
different elements may also be something other than
mortal flesh and blood, leading others to wonder if
they are truly living beings at all. Such “monsters” may
become the targets of society’s prejudice and find them-
selves outcasts.


Element powers can be a heavy responsibility, especially
for characters using them for things other than crime-
fighting and keeping the world safe. A transmuter might
be involved in the elimination of chemical or radioactive
waste, for example, or in the complex and delicate manu-
facturing of valuable materials or compounds.

Similarly, having personal responsibilities like supporting
a family or protecting loved ones might encourage those
with element powers to use them for profit. An unscru-
pulous foe could use extortion or blackmail to try and
get element powers churning out artificial gold and dia-
monds, for example.


A common weakness for element powers is the inability
to effect certain transformations and the consequences
of attempting them. For example, while transmutation
cannot affect animate beings by default, it may also be
unable to work on any organic matter (a Limit on the
power effect) and cause painful “feedback” when an
attempt is made, leaving the character stunned or worse.

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