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Big Power Update

Discussion in 'Announcements' started by Polaris, May 31, 2018.

  1. Polaris

    For official threads only. Do not PM.
    Staff Account

    May 30, 2014
    #1 Polaris, May 31, 2018
    Last edited by a moderator: May 31, 2018
    New Power System

    The time is now! After quite a bit of work, the new power system is ready to go. This system aims to remove redundancies, clarify a lot of stuff, allow players more control and options, and perhaps most of all: simplify things.

    Two major points of contention were subpowers and species abilities, both of which caused a lot of confusion about where powers should go and how they were balanced. This is a pretty big change, but it's also one that the staff are confident will make things both more balanced, more open for players, and also much easier.

    For those curious, I put a brief history of SA's power rules under a spoiler tag.

    When SA launched it had a very basic power system. The entire system was just "Character's Powers/Abilities(remember, your character can't be all powerful)". This was also a system only for humans. Different species (including dragons, introduced months later) got entirely different applications. Dragons got fire breath, ice breath, and one extra power for free.

    In Feb 2007, characters were too 'minimally detailed', so there were new standards implemented. One big power and one small power was the name of the game for humans, but individual species had their own rules.

    In 2008, the system expanded to picking your two powers, describing them, and describing their strengths/weaknesses. Around this time, the species field was added, and became a normal part of the application.

    By 2009, the application you know was pretty much the same. We've made some changes (like swapping 'Character's Name' to 'Name', but the core of the template was the same. At this point, the Major-Minor system was fully in place, with up to four 'spell like' subpowers allowed. This system persisted for quite a few years with minimal changes, outside that at some point, the species field was lost entirely.

    For the 10 year anniversary in 2015, Starlight Academy shifted to allow players to have a whopping two powers. This was treated as an extremely minor change, noted at the very bottom of the announcement. Realistically speaking, most people had already been doing two powers for a while.

    When did we upgrade to five subpowers? Good question. The actual answer's been lost to time, but it was most likely somewhere around or before the 10 year anniversary. It wasn't actually an announced change, just something that was casually edited, likely to reflect how things had already been running.

    Species Abilities (sometimes called species powers), on the other hand, were only added in 2017, in an attempt to encourage people to list things out after a lot of issues with people assuming that they got certain powers just by writing down their species.

    Which brings us to the current day - this is the largest change to the power system in a long, long while, but it also fixes up a lot of issues that have been around for almost a decade.


    The New System

    New Power Divisions: Powers and Species Abilities have been rolled into a single category: Abilities! Regardless of the source of your abilities, they're divided into active abilities, passive abilities, and weaknesses. Active abilities are abilities like elemental manipulation, shapeshifting, etc - abilities your character chooses to use (even if they don't have control yet). Passive abilities are abilities like enhanced senses, normal auras, etc - abilities your character uses naturally, without making a choice to do so. Weaknesses are a drawback your character faces as a result of their abilities, something that makes them worse than a human. Things like a vampire not being able to go out in the sun, or a telepath who can't stand a crowd without breaking down.

    New Limits: Characters are now allowed to have three active abilities and five passive abilities. If you want more, your character needs to have a weakness that is directly comparable in scale to your extra abilities, or you'll need to upgrade after acceptance.

    Common Magical Items: We've set things up so that gaining, managing, and keeping track of simple magical items like nullification bracelets, language charms, human shape charms, etc. You can find a simple list of these items here and include them in the new common magical items profile field.

    Resources: Another new addition to the application, the resources field gives you a place to note what your character has access too. Are they rich? Poor? Do they own their own house? Are they just living in a dorm, and living off the school's scholarship? This isn't intended to be super detailed, but is intended to give everyone a better idea of your character.

    Major App Changes: We're trying to streamline the ability upgrade process, and part of that is rolling out the Major App Changes thread. While players are still free to make small changes to their applications, if you're making a major change (like retconning your characters age, giving them a new backstory, or adding a new common magical item), you make the change on your profile and then drop a link in the changes thread so a mod can glance in and prevent future issues. This will also help to keep other players updated on major changes to your character. We're trusting players to use their discretion on what a major change is compared to a minor change, but if you aren't sure, don't be afraid to use it! You'll get a like from a mod once they've read it over.



    First things first: You do not have to convert. If you want to leave your applications as they are, you can! However, you'll miss out on a lot of major benefits (vouchers, upgrades, etc). Unconverted characters will always have the chance to convert over (but won't get any bonuses from the contest), and won't be able to upgrade their abilities until the conversion is finished.

    Converting is intended to be an easy process, and is tied into monthly contest: Power Updates Contest. Unlike AIM, this is not an all-or-nothing contest. We understand this will be more work for most people than previous updates, so we're going to be rewarding you per application you update. However, the nature of the updates make things a bit trickier.

    So your options are simple:

    If you update your character, converting things over directly (no improvements or upgrades to your characters abilities), you get two upgrade vouchers. You also get these vouchers if you downgrade your character overall, such as by removing an ability or scaling it down.

    However, your other option is to take advantage of the new system. If you convert things over and find yourself under the limits (3 active / 5 passive, without weaknesses), you can improve your character up to those limits for free. However, if you take advantage of this you won't get any upgrade vouchers, and you might be pended for clarifications on your existing abilities (such as missing ranges, etc).

    You can find all the details in the contest itself, so head over there for more details!
    There's a lot to this update, and we understand some people might be confused. If you need any help, please don't hesitate to ask a member of the staff. We'll be updating this section with some frequently asked questions as things come up.

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