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Plant Control: What good is it for?

Plant Growth

OK, I admit that this is an unusual topic: the use of a specific superpower in the role-playing game Tri-Stat DX. The reason for it is that I haven’t written anything in a long while and I realized it’s because I tend to obsesses on finding something meaningful to talk about, instead of just writing what I like at the moment. Sure, the results might not always be of high quality, but as someone famous once pointed out, “the only way to improve your writing skills is to write constantly”.

With that said: this is a topic I just happened to see on a role-playing forum the other day. Tri-Stat is a free, multigenre game so of course people would discuss if it is worth using. And it’s easy to see why more than one person would be disappointed with this power: in fiction, plant-controllers usually summon plant monsters out of the ground to attack, typically with crushing tendrils. This power does not allow you to do that; it explicitly says that to emulate such attacks you must buy the Special Attack attribute instead.

So what good is TSDX Plant Control for? Let’s look at the description:

*It has no required or optional PMVs (Power Modifier Values, that is, Range, Area, Targets or Duration.) So it cannot be easily customized.

*It uses the Fast Progression Chart, starting at 10 cm. So it does have an area of effect, just one determined by level instead of being bought separately. 10 cm is like, a potted plant, though. Not sure if its necessary, but just in case I’d buy a level whose area is large enough for existing trees to fit in- 10 meters should do.

*When a power has no Range, the area is normally assumed to be centered around the character- you’d expect him or her to be caught in the expanding flora as well, but since as described, “this Attribute can control the growth and movement of all plants in the surrounding area” I assume the user can choose which plants within this area are affected.

“But wait- plants can’t move! Does this power animate them?” you might ask. I do not believe so, or it would state it more explicitly. Besides, plants do move- when they grow. So I assume the Power allows you to control in which direction the plants grow- not just up but also sideways or even down. And anyone who has seen a sidewalk broken by tree roots can appreciate the force plants exert while growing. For game purposes, I would treat an enlarged plant as a creature of the same size (except that it doesn’t move, of course.) Use the table under the Grow attribute to find out how much damage it does while growing (which presumably it does in one round, regardless of final size). Similarly, the plants could be used as improvised log walls for defense.

* After the Duration PMV Rank has expired (oh, so you can buy Duration after all- that must have been an error) the plants will return to their normal state and size before the control.” Well that’s convenient. 🙂 So how long should the plants remain changed? If you only plan to use them for combat, Duration 2 (5 rounds) should be enough. But to make use of the full range of tricks listed below, take Duration 5 (1 hour) That way, if for example, you use a tree as a makeshift ladder, it will still be there when you need to get down. Besides, you can always determine a shorter duration with each use.

*I would advice against taking the option of rising your power level in exchange of specializing in certain types of plants. Unless your character lives in the wild, it’s hard enough already to find useful ones. Fortunately, there’s a very easy solution to that: seeds.

Controlled plants can grow to a maximum size of 5 times their normal mature state.” That means you don’t need fully-grown plants- just bring your own seeds, toss them anywhere within your area and turn them into their fully-mature forms in one round! Even better, since the plants return to normal after Duration ends, you can simply pick up the seeds up again!

Examples of plants whose seeds you could carry include:

-cacti

-poison ivy

-kudzu

-trees (for REALLY big ones, try sequoias)

-any edible plant

-medicinal plants

-poisonous plants like belladonna

If the Game Master feels that some of these seeds are too rare or powerful, he might require the player to buy them as Gadgets (treat each seed as a Minor Gadget in this case.)

*I also would not make use of the “larger than five times” growth option; that’s sufficient for most plants- grass becomes bushes, saplings become trees etc. This option also provides smaller areas of effect in exchange for the larger plant sizes.

In conclusion, while Plant control is not a flashy power, it’s still and interesting and useful ability if you know how to use it right. And it helps round out a plant-themed Super- one with Telekinesis: Wood, for example.


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