Thinking about area powers

I had a thought late last night. One of the lingering annoyances I have about BB3 is how to have a power that affects a vast area, you have buy the power again, and again, and again. And while this is simple and easy to explain, it’s not very elegant. And it’s ugly on the character sheet.

So I am thinking, instead of making area powers (like darkness) have the area and set by the character’s Power Level. Similarly, powers like Explosive Blast would still have the Blast power as a prerequisite, but the size of the area would be based on the character’s Power Level. The base area would be:

Power Level Area
1-3 1 m radius
4-6 10 m radius
7-9 100 m radius
10 1 km radius

What about characters who can affect larger areas, but whose Power Level really shouldn’t be this high? Perhaps a new power, Increased Area, which increases the effective area of a character’s area-affecting powers by a factor of 10.

How would this impact character write-ups? Instead of a character with Power Level 4 buying

  • Darkness (10 m radius)
  • Great Darkness(100 m radius)
  • Vast Darkness(1 km radius)
  • Ultimate Darkness (10 km radius)

in order affect a 10 km radius, they would instead buy

  • Darkness (10 m radius, based on their Power Level of 4)
  • Increased Area x1000 (cost: 3 points)

Since Increased Area can be purchased multiple times, unlike other powers, perhaps it should be listed in a separate section, after the main list of powers. “Power Enhancements”, perhaps? Increased Range could also be in this new section (the base range of ranged powers would also be based on the character’s Power Level).

Making a close range power, like Brawn Drain, into a ranged power, like Brawn Drain Ray, would still be a case of a power having a prerequisite (Brawn Drain is the prerequisite for Brawn Drain Ray). Similarly, making a single-target power, Dazzle, into an area-affecting power, like Mass Dazzle, would a case of a power having a prerequisite (Dazzle is the prerequisite for Mass Dazzle). But once a power is ranged, or is area-affecting, then any relevant power enhancements would apply to it.

What do you think? Am I over-thinking this? Would this make the game system simpler, or more complicated?

P.S. This led me to another thought: trading off 3 ranks in Power Level for a level of increased area (or increased range). A character with Power level; 5 and the Blast power, for example, could make their attack affect a 10 m radius area, but at an effective Power Level of 2 — trading 3 Power Level in exchange for making their Blast an area-affecting attack. Similarly, a character with Power Level 9 and Mazz Dazzle (1 km radius, based on their Power Level) could trade 6 ranks of Power Level in order to attack a 100 km radius with their Mass Dazzle (making it effectively a Power Level 3 attack, for that one attack). I think this would be an optional rule, since it adds some complexity that most people probably do not need.