Character points, or “CPs,” are the base unit of the game. With them, you can purchase ability scores, advantages, and powers. There are ads that also allow you to buy feats (2cp each), skill points (1cp for 4 points), and levels (10cp each). The powers Ability Boost and Ability Enhancement allow you to raise your score into the super range.
|Ability Scores (Power)||2cp / +1|
|Skill Points (Ad)||1cp / 4|
|Character Levels (Ad)||10cp / level|
CPs and Levels
There are two models for earning CPs: linear and curved (see below). GMs and players should decide as a group which kind of game they all want to play. In the linear model, you’ll hang out at street-level for quite a while; in the curved model, you’ll rapidly increase to global power levels and then godlike/cosmic levels after that. It’s really just matter of what you want to play.
In both cases, you get your CPs halfway through every level (i.e., at 500XP; more details here). You can bank CPs as long as you want, and you can spend them when you earn them, between games, or when you level up.
You start your characters at 4th level, which means that you start with 4 levels worth of CPs to spend above and beyond your natural ability scores. Starting at a higher level than 1st keeps the sheer strength of your powers in balance with your class features. It’s not generally fun to be able to raze a building with your heat vision but get knocked out by a thrown brick. When you start play at 4th level, you get all of the benefits of those levels, including wealth, feats, ability score increases, skill points, and other class features, etc.
In this model, you get 10CPs per level. Simple as that. The number of CPs you have will always equal your level x10. This is the standard model for the game, so all NPCs have been built on it.
In this model, you get a number of CPs per level equal to 10 + twice your level (see below). So, the totals stay similar at the early levels: e.g., 4th level gets 60CP instead of 40CP. But you get more powerful a lot faster: 210CPs at 10th level instead of 100CPs.
The downside to this system is that while you have that 210CPs, you’re still a 10th-level character, with the HPs and BA to match, so your powers can outstrip your basic stats. You can buy powers to compensate, of course, but you could end up buying the equivalent of levels in order to keep pace. That said, you do have a great deal more flexibility in what you buy because you get to decide where to compensate. It’s an optimizer’s option as much as it is a high-powered option, and if that’s what you’re into, then have at it!