4.1 Complications

Sometimes, a character doesn't want to inflict Stress on an opponent. For example, they may want to immobilize an enemy and not beat him up. Telepaths or mystics may want to put someone to sleep. A superspy may want to seduce an enemy operative. In those cases, the EFFECT die isn't used to create Stress. Instead, you use it to create a Complication.

A Complication is a non-Stress disadvantage inflicted upon a target. Complications work much like Stress: They are measured in dice (D4, D6, D8, D10, D12) and when it makes sense, you add an opponent's Complication die to your own rolls against her. Complications can also be staged up, just like stress. If a Complication is staged up past D12, the target is incapacitated in some way.

Example: Amora the Enchantress seeks to get a politican on her side. He assembles her dice pool and gets a D12 EFFECT. The Senator's roll isn't nearly so good. Amora's player decides to create a Complication: 'Seduced by the Enchantress' D12. The Senator's swayed by her ample charms. Next round, Amora presses the seduction, adding the 'Seduced by the Enchantress' Complication die (D12) to her roll. She succeeds again and stages the Complication above a D12. The Senator is now putty in her hands and incapable of acting against her.

The major difference between a Complication and Stress is how it is removed. Stress cannot be removed except through recovery. If you don't have some sort of healing factor (or a comrade doesn't have a healing power) chances are, you'll keep the Stress through the whole of a scene. On the other hand, a Complication is removed as soon as it is dealt with. If Spider-Man creates a D10 'Webbed Up' Complication for Doctor Octopus it hinders Doc Ock right up until the Rhino takes an action and rips the webbing off of Doctor Octopus.

Complications are often easier to inflict on a target than Stress. A lot of characters have powers that allow them to resist damage. However, Complication are often easier to get get rid of, too. Please note, you can add both an opponent's Stress die and Complication die to your roll.

Here are some example complications to further clarify how they work:

  • Captain Britain wants to detain some bank robbers for the police, so he uses his Strength power trait to wrap a lamp post around them. They now have a 'Wrapped up in a Lamp Post' complication.
  • Black Panther is fighting an evil Iceman clone inside the Wakandan embassy. He takes a moment to turn up the embassy's heating system to full blast, creating a 'Is it Hot in Here?' Complication for the Iceman clone.
  • An anti-mutant bigot is making a big speech to a crowd, trying to encourage them to riot. Magik, who is watching from the shadows, casts a spell on the bigot so that the threads of his clothes disintegrate. Now he has to make his speech with a 'The Emperor has no Clothes' Complication.
  • Storm is very hurt and hiding from the Brotherhood of Evil. She knows if they find her, her chances of outfighting the whole group is slim. She also knows help is on the way so she just needs to delay the Brotherhood. She summons a fog bank, creating a 'Thick as Pea Soup' Complication for her enemies.
  • Deadpool is fighting the evil, bespectacled crime boss, Mr. Peepers! Thinking fast, Deadpool licks two fingers and then presses those spit-slicked fingers hard against Mr. Peepers' giant, nuclear powered glasses! Mr. Peepers now has a 'I Can't See!' Complication!
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