SCHANG! KALAMF! QIP! KRADO! Power Words are fun to say!

Why Power Words?

  • Power Words are fast. You can use them in combat without significantly splitting your concentration.
  • Power Words are flexible. Whatever situation you need an edge in, there's a Power Word to suit.
  • Power Words play well with the other Powers. They're great for enhancing other abilities and plugging holes in your defenses.

What Power Words Are

Power Words are a limited form of magic-- easy to cast and instantaneous, but always noticeable and with no lasting effect. Cast at the right moment, they can provide the little boost you need to turn failure into success.
Buying Power Words costs 10 character build points and gives you knowledge of any five Power Words. Up to five additional Power Words can be awareded for a high Psyche rank, and further Power Words can be acquired for 1 character build point each. Since Power Words are a form of magic, they can be learned anywhere in Shadow.

Using Power Words

In general, using a Power Word is as simple as shouting a syllable loudly-- "SCHANG!" for Resume True Form, for example. The action takes essentially no time and can be combined easily with physical actions or other Power uses that don't require concentration. However, multiple Power Words may not be used by the same caster in a single round. Alternate activation methods are possible, with some mages using finger snaps or hand signs. All alternate activations must be instantaneous, simple, obvious, performed without tools-- and of course approved by the GMs before the start of game. Using a Power Word costs one Endurance.
The effects of Power Words occur instantly on completion of the activation and last for no more than a single combat round. Targeting is limited to the immediate surroundings of the caster, but may be used on any appropriate target including the caster herself. Using Power Words on things the caster cannot perceive fully is possible, although doing so invites a chance for the Power Word to miss its target. The name of a sentient target is used in the casting of Power Words ("MERLIN ASKIIR!"), and mis-naming a target drops the usual Advantage granted by Power Words in any contest.
Power Words are magic, and as such function in most dimensions (including Amber). However, due to their limited range, Power Words generally cannot be cast across Shadow boundaries or through psychic connections. The intensity of a Power Word's effect is based on the caster's Psyche.

The Problems with Power Words
First, Power Words are magic and therefore subject to all of magic's normal limitations: any Power Defense renders Power Words completely useless, and there are entire dimensions where Power Words don't even work.
Second, Power Words don't directly effect Amberites very strongly. Any of the concentration-disrupting Power Words can be resisted by a sufficiently high rank under normal circumstances.
Thirdly, the effectiveness of Power Words suffers decay against sentient targets after repeated use by the same caster. The first time you use a Power Word on a person, it's guaranteed to be fairly effective; but the second time it will be weaker, the third time more so, and after just a few uses it will have no practical effect at all. This explicitly does not protect the target against different casters using the same Power Word against them, and it is possible for a caster to learn multiple versions of the same Power Word which decay independently.

Example Power Words
Players are allowed, even encouraged, to make up their own Power Words. In general terms, Power Words have to be fast and easy; they should happen in a flash and not do anything that requires complex explanation or defining conditions. Some of the Power Words that follow were made by players in the past.

Disruption
Disruption spells temporarily interrupt the function of various Attributes and Powers. If the target is a Power being maintained by a player's concentration, that player must make a Power rank check to preserve it. Freestanding Power effects without the support of a player can frequently be destroyed outright by Power Word disruption.
Disruption Power Words used against the matching Power Defense weaken it momentarily, potentially allowing other attacks to penetrate.
Chaos Disrupt TRUG!
Effective against Logrus constructs, effects, and summoned creatures. Has no inherent effect on Shapeshifters or people with Logrus powers.
Magic Disrupt ESCIEN!
Effective against spells being cast, standing spells, conjured items, spell racks, and other Power Words. Can temporarily disable pointed items that function via magic.
Neural Disrupt NOXA!
Effective against creatures, throwing off their coordination and causing them to briefly twitch or flinch involuntarily. This Power Word breaks concentration and is resisted by the target's Warfare.
Pain Attack WEXIR!
Effective against creatures, gives a jolt of pain to the target but doing no real damage. This Power Word breaks concentration and is resisted by the target's Strength.
Pattern Disrupt FLIPE!
Effective against Pattern constructs and effects. Has no inherent effect on the children of Oberon or people with Pattern powers.
Psychic Disrupt ZAAL!
Effective against creatures, overwhelms the target's mind with nonsensical input. This Power Word breaks concentration and is resisted by the target's Psyche.
Resume True Form* SCHANG!
Effective against Shapeshifting or magically altered creatures or objects, forces the target to return to their true form. Has no effect on targets currently in their natural form.
Trump Disrupt* TRUMP DISRUPT, MOTHERFUCKER!
Effective against active Trump connections, items, or effects. Also can be used to block attempted Trump connections. Has no inherent effect on inactive Trumps or Trump Artists.

Enhancement
These Power Words provide momentary aid to a target in a specific context.
Burst of Force TRENG!
Applies physical force at range onto the target for an instant.
Burst of Magic KALAMF!
Generates a "pulse" of magical energy. Can increase the effectiveness of spells or magical items (but not other Power Words). Sometimes useful for activating magical items or as a "flare" for anyone observing with mystic sight.
Burst of Psyche LOZO!
Boosts the target's Psyche for an instant for the purposes of Psychic combat only. Does not increase the effectiveness of other Power Words.
Burst of Speed QIP!
Boosts the reaction and movement speed of the target for an instant. Does not affect action declaration in combat, but may alter execution.
Defensive Luck GHOOSH!
Creates an instant of fortunate karma, sort of like a small dose of "Good Stuff." Results will be either fortunate events for the caster, or minor accidents befalling the opposition.
Lifeforce KHII!
Generates a burst of living energy in the target. This is not enough to heal any wounds, but does function as a "wake up call" for those who are sleeping or unconscious, restarts vital organs which may have seized up momentarily, and can stave off death for a single round.

Environmental
Power Words which do not affect players directly, but rather the setting surrounding them. These decay against the particular environment that they are effecting instead.
Process Surge ZUP!
Adds an extra burst or push to any process (fire, magic, technology, etc.), momentarily increasing its efficiency. Casting it on a working auto engine would give it a quick burst of extra power, while a campfire would briefly flare up.
Process Snuff PUZ!
The opposite of Process Surge-- momentarily dampens a process. Throwing it at a car's engine would cause it to slow slightly or even stall out; a campfire would dim, but a flickering candle flame would likely go out altogether.
Shade THILO!
Adds to the darkness of all shadows in an area. The effects are spooky, frightening, forbidding, but with no real effect. Basically used to disorient and confuse.
Strobe KRADO!
Releases a bright burst of white light. Useful in temporarily blinding an opponent (at least the first time), but pretty useless for illumination.
Weaken Structure NWOD!
Temporarily weakens the molecular structure of an object, rendering it easier to damage. Won't work against pointed items.
Strengthen Structure DESSA!
The opposite of Weaken Structure-- temporarily reinforces the molecular structure of an object, helping to prevent immediate damage. Won't work on pointed items.
Spark PHAS!
Creates a single flash of fire about the size of a hand. Causes pain to living creatures but no actual damage.
Thunder LENGO!
Creates the sound of a thunderbolt. The sound is appropriately loud and carries. Can startle creatures or temporarily deafen them.
Slip* PLIIL!
Momentarily reduces the friction on the target for a moment. Only affects a small area, but can be used on people, objects, and locations.

Stick DLEF!

Causes touching targets to stick together for a moment. Only affects a small area, but can be used on people, objects, and locations.

Sidebars

Didn't some of those Power Words used to only affect the caster?

Yup. But we experimented with allowing them to be used on external targets, and it turned out to be both not game-breaking and a lot of fun.
Simple Decay
The Power Word decay scheme above is really only practical for a large scale Throne War with some sort of automatic tracking or a big grid for who-got-hit-with-whose-Power-Words. If you don't want to worry about this, make decay global-- any caster using any variant of the same Power Word effect causes decay for all subsequent iterations of that effect. Then you can just keep track of Power Word hits with hash-marks.

Can I buy multiple versions of SCHANG? What about Magic Disrupt?
You can totally buy multiple versions of the same Power Word, but each instance of a Power Word takes up a slot by itself. The reason to do this is that both of the power words would decay independently. For instance, I could buy Schang1 and Schang2 and use 2 of 5 slots on them. When I'm being stared down by scary mister Shifter after he has been affected by Schang1 I can now use Schang2 to full effect.

Why do some have asterisks?

These are probably the most used Power Words. They have been very useful in saving many a royal ass from it's deserved kicking and are labeled to help newbies pick them out.