To continue with Mutants in Eclipse, here we have the Duplicator – a Class-I mutant who can make more of himself or herself. As usual, “mutant powers” are built using Unlimited-Use Use-Activated Innate Enchantments – at an effective base “Cost” of (Spell Level x Casting Level x 2000 GP x Modifiers).
Now, self-duplication that’s a simple enough power as long as the user is a relatively normal human being and isn’t carrying any special equipment. It’s a bit more trouble if the user happens to be high level, or is carrying the legendary Ragnarok Blade that can destroy mountains, or possesses weird superhuman powers.
In the comic books, writers can simply skip past that kind of problem. In a game it’s going to come up over and over and over again.
Fortunately, the mechanics of constructing the power will take care of that kind of thing for us. As it turns out, unique items, extremely dangerous materials, ultra-technology, mutant powers, and whatever-it-is that empowers a high-level character simply will not duplicate for lesser mutants. What we want here is:
Summon Psychic Construct II (from The Practical Enchanter), +3 spell levels for lasting one hour per caster level, +2 spell levels for Replicant (the construct gets to use it’s creators skills and mental attributes, and may share it’s experiences with him or her if it gets back to him or her before it vanishes), +1 level for summoning 2-5 at a time, -1 level for not getting the usual +6 Natural Armor and Slam Attack, -2 levels for not getting the usual Construct type or traits, including Darkvision Low-Light Vision, and the wide variety of Immunities. -1 level for only being able to summon a single type of construct; a copy of the user with two options – Bonded (may be mentally commanded as a free action) and Equipped (comes with mundane copies of whatever equipment the user is carrying, although this will not extend to exotic gear such as ultra-technology, radioactives, exotic explosives, and similar items).
That’s (Spell Level Four x Caster Level Seven x 2000 GP for Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x .8 Duplicates can be knocked unconscious and interrogated just like their creator could be. This is likely to be important when so many of them can be running around, x .7 only a relatively limited number of duplicates can be in existence at any one time; even the best duplicators are normally limited to a hundred or so – despite their theoretical limit of fifteen thousand = 31,360 GP) – just shy of the 32,000 limit on a Class-I mutant. Go ahead. Add a personal-only cantrip effect that the primary character gets to use; perhaps something to help keep his or her memories straight?
There. If you want to buy more powers, only the original gets to use them. On the other hand, if you want to buy skills, martial arts, and proficiencies with conventional weapons, your duplicates can be reasonably effective. They still won’t be able to stop a serious superhuman in a direct confrontation, but their complete disposability can still make them pretty useful if you’re ruthless enough.
Class-I Duplicators are strong – if rather conspicuous – information-gatherers and detectives, are good at instant crowd scenes, and can be quite effective against ordinary folk or a weak enemy. Against major opponents, however, they’re often rather ineffectual – especially if the original didn’t happen to be carrying any major weapons at the time.
Now, if the game master is willing to put up with it, it is possible to create superheroic duplicates with some share in the originals innate powers. What you need is to use a seventh-level base effect, allowing them to select the “three character levels” option – which could reasonably be stretched to cover anything up to Class-III mutant powers. Drop the “One hour per caster level” back to “one round per caster level”. Upgrade the limitation for them only getting three powers (counting the “Class Levels” one) to -2 levels, since they’d normally be entitled to quite a few more.
That gives us (Level Six Spell x Caster Level Eleven x 2000 GP for Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x .7 Limited to three or four duplicates at a time, despite being theoretically entitled to up to eleven x .9 Duplicates can be mind-probed, intimidated, and so on, just as their creator can be = 83,160 GP).
That’s expensive – that’s almost a Class-III power, and a +3 ECL, right there. If the user has his or her own powers, he or she is going to wind up with quite an ECL penalty. If not, he or she can summon three powerful constructs, rather than duplicates – but that’s an interesting power in itself (even if it is one that will make your near-defenseless primary character a primary target).