Plasmids (3.5e Variant Rule)

From D&D Wiki

Jump to: navigation, search

The following is an adaptation of the "Mana-Based Spellcasting" variant rule, inspired by the Bioshock game series. It has been modified to be applied to all classes, giving all players a set of psuedo-magical abilities. This system is not meant to be a replacement of magic or psionics, but rather a supplement to make characters more powerful.


Strain Tolerance[edit]

An adventurer's strain tolerance equals her Constitution ability score (not the modifier) plus her total character level

Activating a Plasmid[edit]

Using a plasmid taxes both the body and the mind, and this is the basic limiting factor for how many plasmids can be used before resting. Every plasmid has a strain cost, based on its level of power.

Whenever an adventurer calls upon a plasmid, she accrues strain equal to the plasmid's strain cost. While her total strain is less than or equal to her strain tolerance, she suffers no ill effect. Activating a plasmid past her strain tolerance, however, is extremely taxing.

When a character's strain exceeds her strain tolerance, she immediately becomes fatigued (even if she is normally immune to this condition). To call upon another plasmid, a fatigued character must first make a Fortitude save with a DC equal to 20 + the plasmid's level + her excess strain. If successful, the adventurer uses the ability as normal; otherwise, she loses the ability and immediately becomes exhausted (even if she is normally immune to this condition), though she does not accrue strain from the attempt. An exhausted scharacter cannot manifest any abilities. An hour of complete rest relieves exhaustion.

Recovering Strain[edit]

Am adventurer loses strain equal to 1/2 her character level (but never more than her constitution modifier) per hour if she does not cast spells, fight, run, or otherwise exert herself. A hero who is fatigued due to excess strain ceases to be fatigued as soon as her strain no longer exceeds her strain tolerance. However, an adventurer does not recover strain while exhausted.

A character recovers much faster when she rests; a full 8 hours of rest removes all strain.

Preparing Plasmids[edit]

An adventurer may only have two plasmids readied and available to use at one time. It is a full round action, which provokes an attack of opportunity, to switch a single active plasmid with one the hero does not have prepared. If the hero is struck by the attack of opportunity, they must make a Concentration check against DC 10 + damage taken. If the check is failed, the hero is unable to change their plasmid, and may undertake one standard action or move action.

Gaining Plasmids[edit]

A hero has no limit on the maximum amount of abilities they may have (though they do have a limit on how many abilities they have readied for use). The method for gaining these abilities, and indeed the nature of the system as a whole, is left to the discretion of the Dungeon Master. Here are a few possibilities:

  • A derivative of the magic system. Heroes have the capability naturally, like sorcerers. They must find particular tomes from which they can learn new abilities
  • Genetic manipulation. Heroes can be injected with substances which rewrite their DNA, and grant them seemingly magical abilities. In order to acquire new powers, the heroes must inject genetic cocktails.
  • Magical genetic modification, a synthesis of the previous ideas. Magic can be used to rewrite the original template which the body follows throughout its developement, grant it new powers. Heroes consume magical elixirs to acquire new abilities.



The most common name for the power.

  • Strain Cost: The strain accumulated by activating the plasmid
  • Activation Time: The time required to call upon the ability
  • Range: The maximum distance from the player at which the power may be activated
  • Target(s)/Area: The number of creatures, dimensions of the area, the potential volume affected, and so on, which can be affected by the plasmid
  • Duration: How long the plasmid's effects last
  • Saving Throw: Whether a saving throw is allowed, and, if so, what type of save and the effects of a successful save


The following were designed for players from level 5 and below.


The next thing you see is your body disintegrating into a pile of ash, which is swiftly dispersed by a mysterious breeze. After a moment of brief terror, you realize you've already jumped to your new location

  • Strain Cost: 6
  • Activation Time: Free action
  • Range: Personal
  • Target: You
  • Duration: Instantaneous

The hero may teleport 5 feet in any direction, so long as the destination is within view. This is the equivalent to a five-foot step, though the hero may still move, attack, or even make an actual five-foot step.

Failsafe Senses[edit]

As you open your eyes, you realize every sensory organ is contributing to your view of the world around you

  • Strain Cost: 6
  • Activation Time: 1 standard action
  • Range: Personal
  • Target: You
  • Duration: 10 minutes/level

All of your sensory organs (eyes, ears, skin, etc.) are capable of detecting the entire range of sense. Should the hero be blinded, or deafened, this power allows them to operate as though they were unimpaired. However, if the hero has darkvision, or low-light vision, these traits will not function if they are blinded.

If the hero activates this power, but none of their sense are impaired, they gain a +2 bonus to Spot, Search and Listen checks.

Benign Transposition[edit]

With a gust of wind and a moment of disorientation, you find you have taken your ally's position

  • Strain Cost: 6
  • Activation Time: 1 round
  • Range: Close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
  • Target: One willing creature of up to Large size
  • Duration: Instantaneous

You may instantly switch positions with another willing creature. Objects and equipment carried by the subject and you (up to the maximum load) will also be transported, but not additional creatures, even if they are being carried. The movement is instantaneous, and does not provoke an attack of opportunity.

Pavlov's Incantation[edit]

For a brief instant, your mouth fills with a vile taste, and though it subsides rapidly, you shudder at its memory

  • Strain Cost: 6
  • Activation Time: 1 standard action
  • Range: Personal
  • Target: You
  • Duration: 10 minutes/level
  • Saving Throw: Fortitude negates

Any creature that bites you must succeed on a Fortitude save or be nauseated until the end of its next turn. Furthermore, if the creature has 2 Intelligence or lower, it will not willingly bite the target again if it fails the Fortitude save.

Back to Main Page3.5e HomebrewRules

Home of user-generated,
homebrew pages!