Fireborn: Dark Phoenix
‘Powers’ are specifically not innate features of a character’s species (in the case of playable races, at least – though see also Edge Powers, referring to race-specific Edges that function like powers, e.g. flight, or aquatic creatures)
All characters have a base Ki pool; this is equal to the sum of their Earth plus Air aspects, divided by two (rounded up). Ki is used to draw power from Key Items; this is a nebulous definition that basically covers any potential source of a particular ‘power’ (in the sense that APs could be spent to acquire it). All powers must have an associated Key Item, and every individual power costs one Ki to bind and internalise it.
It should be noted that Ki is an abstraction; technological items could be used to bind powers, too (e.g. a character who found a rechargeable jetpack might be able to gain the Mythic Leap power). In these instances, Ki represents the character’s devotion to working with that item and making it a vital part of their abilities, rather than any mystical link – but if the power is linked to an external source in this way, the power cannot be used when the character is separated from the source (e.g. if the aforementioned character was arrested, they would lose the mythic leap power until they regained their jetpack).
One Ki point must be assigned to each new power when it is bought for the first time (but not increasing a rank of an existing power). Once this is done, the Ki point may not be unspent, nor may the AP invested in that power – however it is possible to find new Keys to allow the use of those powers if (for some reason) the old ones become undesirable or are lost somehow.
Finally, all characters have a Max Ki Rank. This is the maximum rank they can hold in any power to which their Ki is bound and is equal their ‘Advancement Point Level’ or APL (being AP / 10), divided by two. However, all characters may also choose one single Power that (once acquired) can breach these rules and be advanced to Rank 5. This choice cannot be changed.
There is, however, one final use of Ki. Unbound Ki points can be spent to avert a deadly situation, for one’s self or for a party member. This is always done by the most expedient means possible (usually reducing the damage enough to prevent a fatal wound and automatically stabilising on -7, if there are no other sources of immediate danger). While this is not a complete guarantee of a free escape, it will prevent the character death, and give some reasonable security that the character won’t immediately die due to circumstances beyond their control (e.g. after spending a Ki point to not die in combat and being knocked out instead, there would be some reasonable guarantee that the character wouldn’t be left helpless in a burning building).
The decision to spend unbound Ki to avert death must be made as soon as the death is discovered, before any further actions are taken (It may be possible if, for example, finding a fellow party member dead, that a Ki point could be immediately spent to find them alive but on the brink of death). Note that once used for any purpose, Ki points are gone entirely – the only way to gain more is via the Ki Devotion edge, which means there is a hard limit of five additional points beyond the maximum. Averting death will permanently reduce a character’s potential…