[Ultra-power], which permits the character to use a wide range of powers for 3 character points per rank, is open to abuse by players who care less about having fun than they do about “winning”. It’s important to stress that the powers in an [Ultra-power] should have a tightly unifying theme and should all derive from the same power source. If the [Ultra-power] is relatively low-powered, like Grimknight’s “investigator’s tools”, then the GM may want to turn a blind eye if the player plays a bit fast and loose with the “tightly unifying theme”. After all, there’s not much harm in allowing the player some latitude when the rank of the [Ultra-power] is only 1 or 2.
For a character whose main power is the [Ultra-power], enforcing the theme becomes more important. A character who can accomplish anything the player can think of can easily spoil a game and ruin everyone’s fun.
It’s also important to recognize that just because the [Ultra-power] is rank 6, for example, that doesn’t mean that every power in the [Ultra-power] necessarily has rank 6. For example, Miasma’s “grenade launcher” [Ultra-power] is truly formidable at rank 11, yet she has several grenades which are of far less rank than that. Her smoke grenade, for example, is only rank 2. The most important thing to consider when choosing the rank of a power in an [Ultra-power] is what makes sense for the character.
The theme and the rank of the [Ultra-power] are important limits on the character, but the most important limit should be what makes sense for the character’s background and abilities. A character should never have a power simply because the rules permit it. You control the game, not the rulebook.
While on the topic of [Ultra-power], here’s a question from a player on how to write-up [Ultra-power] in the Bulletproof Blues Character Sheet Helper.
I have some questions about the Bullet Proof character sheet helper spreadsheet. I am in the middle of creating a gadgeteer for a pulp hero game and was wondering about the Ultra Power on the sheet. How do group my gadgets under Ultra Power or do I not and just do them individually?
The way [Ultra-power] works, it allows you to have any power that a) fits in the theme of the [Ultra-power], and b) has the rank of the [Ultra-power] (or less).
In the Character Sheet Helper, you buy the [Ultra-power] in the top powers section, and then, if you want, you can write up some frequently-used powers in the [Ultra-power] section in the bottom part of that screen. The powers listed in the [Ultra-power] section do not cost the character any points, and you are not limited to the powers you write up in the [Ultra-power] section — that list is just to make it easier for you and the GM during play. If you take a look at the Character Sheet Helper file for Miasma, she’s a pretty good example of how to write up a character with an [Ultra-power].
We hope this has been helpful.