Everything that might cause harm, and subsequently, every defense in The Hero Instant is tagged with one or more Energy Type. Energy Types show the obvious differences between Lightning Lad’s electric energy blast and Firestar’s flame-blasts for example, but they also include the ‘Power Cosmic’ of the Silver Surfer, the ‘Psychic / Mental’ Energy of Prof. X, or even just simple ‘Force’ which might come from a fist, a sword or even Cyclops’ optic blast.
An attack might have more than one Energy / Damage type associated with it: it might be a ‘Mystic Fireball’ or a ‘Psychic Ice Blast’.
It’s important to note, when you use your Toughness ability score to attempt to block damage, a normal Toughness score ONLY protects against the ‘Basic’ Energy types: ‘Force’, ‘Fire / Heat’, ‘Cold / Ice’ and ‘Cosmic.’ Unless you have a power that states otherwise, you may only roll 2 dice against any other damage type: as if you were a normal human. Also note that if an attack has two (or more damage types), you gain your Toughness as a defense so long as it works against ANY ONE of the damage types. For example, if someone threw a magical lightning bolt at you, and you had a ‘Mystic’ shield, you would gain your full Toughness. If they had simply tried to shock you with a live electric wire, you would be limited to only rolling 2 dice.
Basic Energy Types
Force is pure kinetic energy. It can take the form of a punch (an attack that causes damage), a force-field wall (a barrier that prevents damage), Cyclops’ optic blasts, or any physical collision. Other energies might have associated powers allow themselves to be treated as ‘Force’ – like a sorcerer’s Mystic Energy Bonds, or items made of solid light or sound. This is the most common type of energy / damage.
Cosmic Energy is any un-defined ‘energy’ that is not Force. Characters like the Silver Surfer and Darkseid use ‘Cosmic’ Energy.
Fire / Heat is any sort of energy that might cause a fire to start or for something to burn. As noted, damage by fire in comics is not as excruciating as a similar burn would be in the real world. Lasers have the advantages and disadvantages of both ‘heat’ and ‘light’.
Ice / Cold: In a super-hero universe, ‘Ice / Cold’ is a radiant energy, opposing heat that can be controlled and directed. As a solid, ‘Ice’ is simply a ‘Force’. Cold can be defended against with Heat.
Exotic Energy Types
Biological “Energy” is what keeps us living and undead things moving around. It is also the basis for attacks that directly affect our biological systems, like poisons, toxins or weird machines designed to drain our very life force!
Light / Radiation is any sort of radiant energy from anywhere along the spectrum from ultraviolet to infrared qualifies. X-Rays and Gamma Rays all qualify. As a way of doing direct damage, Light can be either ‘Heat’ or ‘Force’. As a Force, for example, Green Lantern can create force items made of green light. Light can be defended against specifically with Darkness.
Dark Energy is similar to ‘cold’, but opposing Light, Darkness is a radiant energy that can be controlled and directed. It can also be solidified into a dark ‘force’. Darkness can be defended against with Light.
Electricity can be formed into blasts or other effects, controlled and directed outside of the laws of physics. Electricity can have additional effects added to it, and can also be defended against specifically.
Magnetism is a specialized Force that can have many of the same effects as Force with these exceptions: it only interacts with electricity, ferrous metals and other magnetic effects. That is, you can create a Magnetic Force wall, but the only things it would stop are objects made with ferrous metals, electric attacks and, of course, other magnetics effects.
Sonic Energy is energy made of highly controlled sound waves. It can be used to make attacks, create senses like radar and sonar, or even to create ‘solid sound’ objects, which are Force affects.
Psychic or ‘Mental energy is energy of the mind. Generally speaking, it cannot interact with any other sorts of energies or physical matter, although it can frequently be seen, and so can interact with Light and Darkness. ‘Psychic’ energy mostly interact with other psychic energy and of course, minds and thought. All mental super-powers are made of ‘Psychic’ energy.
Mystic Energy is a type that can be an added component to any of the above energies; Mystic Force, Mystic Darkness, etc. If an energy is described as simply ‘Mystic Energy’, it has none of the qualities of any other kind of energy, and is ‘pure’ magic.
A type of damage can be delivered in a variety of ways: by touch, by projectile or needle, by energy blast, by some kind of gas or other area-filling effect, etc. You might have specific powers that can protect you from a type of Delivery. For instance, you might be ghostly and unable to be touched, or you might have a gas-mask and be immune to gas-based effects.
Attacks can have more than one Energy Type: use your best defense.
Damage types are simply tags that describe the nature of the energy/damage. As such, some encounters might have attacks that add “Mystic”, “Psychic” and even “Cosmic” to another kind of energy. For instance you might be attacked by a demon with “Mystic Fire” powers, or have to move through an area clouded with a “Darkness Gas” (remember, these are super-villains, and so can come up with some pretty crazy stuff.) In these cases, use the best defense you have against the attack. If you have a stronger defense against fire than magic, use that against “Mystic Fire”. If you are immune to Gas attacks, you are also immune to damage caused by “Darkness Gas”, whatever that does.