Controls Liquid Metal

Published March 21, 2014 by

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For some reason, you can control nanites in a very particular way, bonding them together to simulate living liquid metal. The uses of this power are vast, ranging from simple things – like sharpening blades, minor repairs, and cleaning up stuff – to more advanced uses like shaping them into tools, weapons, shields or a liquid armor that covers your body.

There are many possible explanations for having such control over the nanites: you have been chosen by a nano-spirit as some kind of shaman and you incorporate its powers and essence, you use a cyber-implant to hack them and through a special mushroom diet your mind can make the necessary calculations to keep such control, you have a numenera which interprets your thoughts in order to make the nanites respond to it.

The nanites become part of what you are, therefore you can’t take them off and use it when you want. As your control over the nanites grows, more of them join you and more liquid metal is part of you. The liquid metal can be seen shining over some parts of your body almost all the time, a possible reason you might like it is to show of a lot of skin, or cover yourself when you want to hide this aspect.


GM Intrusion: There's a strong electromagnetic field somewhere nearby affecting your control over the nanites, requiring more concentration - aise the ability's cost by 1 point.


Pick another PC, your nanites seem a little disturbed in his presence, often making humming noises or showing weird – and maybe disturbing – patterns.

Additional Equipment:

You have an oddity that looks like a perfect polished metal sphere. You can change it to create rough shapes, but nothing delicate, with details. Only those who can control liquid metal may manipulate it, which means you are not the only one in control of it.

Minor Effect Suggestions:
You can align the metal to reflect light – if there is any on you – into an specific direction and maybe blind someone temporarily.
Major Effect Suggestions:
Your nanites destroy the enemy's tissue at a molecular level, dealing 2 bonus to damage.
Tier 1:

Minor Matter Alterations (1 Intellect point): You can alter matter in microscopic ways, doing things like sharpening blades, making minor repairs (or major, taking more time and spending more intellect), cleaning up things (or small places). It’s very similar to Hedge Magic, but its useshould be coherent with the pawer’s nature – maybe requiring the GM approval. You can spend an additional 2 points of your Intellect poll to make longer actions (10 minutes, when you have to spend  2 more Intellect points), like repairing big things or cleaning big places. Action.

Enhance Weapon (2 Intellect points): You can make any metal weapon deadlier, by adding microscopic enhancements, like molecular sharpened blades, microscopic saws or stakes. The affected weapon grants the user a +1 bonus to damage. If the PC himself is using the weapon this ability effect lasts indefinitely (forever or until the GM judges that the weapon sustained enough damage and must be enhanced again), but if it is another character that is handling the weapon, then the effect lasts only 10 minutes. Action.

Tier 2:

Melting Climbing (3 Intellect Points): When you are climbing, the liquid metal helps by melting and filling the microspaces on the surface, moving the difficult two steps in your favour. It also allows you to remain stationary for as long you want. Action.

Omni-Tool (1+ Intellect points): you can shape a simple tool, without moving parts, for the task you are performing, and it moves the difficult one step in your favour. If a complex tool is necessary (at GM discretion), with moving parts or something else, you must spend an 2 additional points (total 3). The tool lasts for as long as you need to complete the task. Action.

Tier 3:

Liquid Weapon (3+ Intellect points): You can shape small or medium weapons with your liquid metal. The weapon last 10 minutes. This ability can be affected by Enhance Weapon by spending plus 1 Intellect point. Action.

Liquid Shield (3 Intellect points): You can shape a shield with your liquid metal. The shield last 10 minutes. Action.

Tier 4:

Liquid Armor (4 Intellect Points): You can cover your body with liquid metal creating an armor that gives you +3 to Armor without any penalty. The armor lasts 10 minutes. Action.

Tier 5:

Reflection Ray (3+ Intellect points): If there’s a lot of light available (condition above ) you can align the metal in a way that focuses the light in a ray to deal 4 points of damage to any target in long distance. If you apply Effort to increase the damage rather than to decrease the difficulty, you deal 2 additional points of damage per level of Effort (instead of 3 points). Action.

Tier 6:

Mastery over Metal: Your enhanced weapons receive a +1 bonus to damage and your Liquid Armor +1 bonus to Armor (giving you a total of +4). This bonus adds to the one from the Enhance Weapon ability, giving you a total bonus of +2. Now you also can create Large Weapons. Enabler.

17 thoughts on “Controls Liquid Metal

  1. MalignantMind says:

    Could use some grammatical fixes and some minor re-wording, but this one looks promising.

    1. Daniel Pires says:

      Thanks for the feedback! English isn’t my native language, so i still have difficulties. I’ll send it to a fried for a revision, but if you want i’d like to hear some sugestions.

  2. I like the initial idea and I got really excited, but the read through didn’t do quite it for me. Not sure if balance is what is bothering me, or just wording. Sometimes I feel like you say too much, and should leave more details to the player and GM to fill in. Mechanical suggestions:

    The major effect is too weak, increase to 2 damage, and switch with the minor effect (it is actually far closer to what a major effect should do).

    Didnt like Tier 5, Omni Tool: I think it should be something like 2 Intellect for a simple tool without moving parts, but the cost should be closer to 4 Intellect for a complex tool (GM’s discretion), and could possibly be two abilities at different tiers.

    The connection failed to do anything for me as well. No suggestions there.

    Tier 6: how much damage is that doing now, precisely?

    Would like to see an update to this, because it could be a real winner (who, over the age of 30, doesn’t love some Terminator 2 liquid metal type action??)

    1. Gustavo Sicoli says:

      perhaps omni tool could be a lower tier power with cost 2 and you could spend effort to create complex tools.
      Tier 6 is +2 dmg, 4 points of armor and the ability to create large wpns.

      I think Liquid weapon should always be enhanced without using the tier 1 ability.

      @Mark, any power suggestion, anything you would like to see liquid metal do that is not covered above? I helped a little in the creation of this focus, and one thing that differs from terminator is the fact that you still have your body, so you cannot assume just any shape yourself like T1000.

      1. I would not dare add more powers to the above.

        I see the difference between this and T1000: the fact the focus requires an oddity that has a mention of being controllable by others is a flaw in the focus by the way

        1. Daniel Pires says:

          The focus doesn’t need the oddity.

    2. Daniel Pires says:

      Hello @markclevelandmassengale:disqus , thanks for the feedback. I followed you sugestions, but now there are too many tiers with two abilities. I thinking of dispensing “Minor Matter Alterations” now…

      1. Hmm. Looks like Omni-tool got changes like Gustavo wanted (seems different now)..maybe I imagined that. ::shrug::

        In Omni-tool, it says “you must spend an effort, and it will also move the difficult two steps in your favour”; the actions for which difficulty is affected positively is unclear (I know it is the next action which involves the tool, but that is not particularly clear). And for that matter, why is the complex tool (required for the more complex action) making tasks easier? The higher cost should not include additional benefit when using the tool; the reason for the higher cost is the growing collection of tools the character no longer needs to carry.

        “Torch” is given as an example of a complex tool; that is not complex at all (actually, I suggest that you do not mention a flammable, usually wooden/cloth tool as something a metal shaper could make using breaks the believability of the focus immediately).

        also Effort being spent to drive an ability’s greater use is not done in the core, presumably due to the limitation to 1 application of Effort per action; instead, it would be better to state “the cost is 1 Intellect to create a simple tool, and the cost is 4 Intellect for a complex tool”; that way the player can still spend Effort when a task is difficult and requires a complex tool.

        1. Gustavo Sicoli says:

          “he higher cost should not include additional benefit when using the
          tool; the reason for the higher cost is the growing collection of tools
          the character no longer needs to carry.” – I agree.
          Ya, torch was a
          bad example, Daniel. But I think he want to say that you are able to
          weld with it, since liquid metal don’t need heat for that. Torch didn’t
          made sense at all.

          I’m kind of divided about this split cost, is
          there any example of different costs? The idea of employing effort was
          to make it costy for the player to use the complex tool at lower tiers, 4
          points may be costy, but it’s possible to have edge 3 at tier 2, making
          it very cheap. But ya, it may be just enough.

          1. “weld”?? okay this just got zany!

            I don’t know of a power that sets precedence for a split cost, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. I was actually thinking Tier 1 might be a minor tool, cost of 1, and Tier 3 might be a complex tool, cost of 3 (extending what Omni Tool @ tier 1 can do)

            In light of “idea of employing effort was to make it costy”, it seems that limitation I noticed was intentional.

            Hm: I started tweaking what I see here, but am about to write the whole focus myself so that it differs more from Employs Magnetism

          2. Gustavo Sicoli says:

            Idk your take on weld, but it’s basically applying fused metal into a surface and wait it to get cold. If you control liquid metal you don’t need to fuse it nor wait until it becomes cold since you can just put it liquid there and commands it to become solid as you do with any other think. Don’t get the zany part of this.

          3. Sorry for splitting hairs.

            Admittedly, ‘zany’ isn’t the right word for what I felt happened there. What I should have been saying is: don’t say ‘weld’ either. The word ‘weld’ breaks the mood (it suggests the heating and cooling of metal using a modern-to-us welding device, whereas if it were described as it is in this latest post is, as it should be, far different).

        2. Daniel Pires says:

          Updated it again. I lowered the cost for the complex tool to 3 (1+2).

          1. Better. I would just make Omni-Tool only apply to “simple tools” at tier 2 with a flat cost of 2, and increase the possibilities of that power to include complex tools at tier 4 (or longer lasting simple tools)

  3. After reading Gustavo’s reply, I found the additional equipment (sphere) and its limitation makes the focus sound like it really isn’t about your power so much, as the oddity’s special properties. This weakens the focus significantly. So much seems to depend on having that oddity, and if so, that feels like weak design.

    I am reading this as implying that a character who is separated from their sphere of metal would be unable to shape metal. Is that correct?

    Also, the equipment entry for the sphere seems to imply that the GM will be able to put you up against creatures that can contest the character shaping it; isn’t that better as a suggestion of GM intrusion, rather than a property of the sphere?

    1. Daniel Pires says:

      No, that metal sphere is just an oddity to play with, the liquid metal is actually around your body. They are separate things.

      And yes, someone could dispute the use of the sphere with you.

  4. Joshua Dudley says:

    I really like this focus, but I do think you should clarify the Omni-Tool. It is written in a way so that it seems like it could be usable for any action. I think you should include information in the description that states situations where it cannot be used. For example, combat. It’s highly unlikely that a utility power like this would be effective for any action. It also wouldn’t apply to many social situations. It would make the power much clearer in how it can be used. Very good work, though.

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