Friday, September 23, 2011
Icons Friday Special - The Hedghog!
A long time ago in a short-lived Champions campaign, a DM needed a memorable NPC leader for an underground band of rebellious low-powered supers. Also having been recently thinking that if adamantium claws popping out of one's arms was awesome, why not improve upon that for the next experiment? At that moment, Hogan, "Weapon P", or "The Hedgehog" was born. He's not a really complicated character but he can be deep, as deep as you want him to be, by tapping into flashbacks and lost memories - or he can be simple, angry comic relief.
Hogan was born a long time ago. He has suffered some memory loss so he's not sure when, but he knows he is old. All his life (as far as he can remember anyway) he has healed almost as fast as he can be harmed. This is not a pain-free process, but it does keep one alive.
At some time in the past Hogan's skeleton was coated in adamantium and numerous adamantium spikes were implanted all over his body beneath the skin. With a mere flexing of certain muscles, these spikes extend forth. This process does not improve Hogan's attitude and so is typically used only when something has asked to die. In short order, an angry, super-healing ball of unbreakable spikes is swinging into action - violent action.
The Hedgehog doesn't really need to use a lot of tactics - he jumps into the middle of a group of enemies and explodes. Against a single tough foe he leaps and goes for a bear hug. Besides the obvious, one model that might be useful is that of Thibbledorf Pwent, the berserker dwarf from Salvatore's Drizzt novels.
The Hedgehog was last seen in Miami circa 2000 leading an band of underground mutant rebels and working with Professer Y and the Y - Men. Since then it is rumored that he headed for Paragon City but only a few unreliable reports actually place him there.
Prowess - 9 (Monstrous) Despite his memory loss he still knows how to fight and has been doing for longer than almost anyone else alive
Coordination - 5 (Excellent) He has very good control over his body
Strength - 4 (Good) Despite his abilities he is not significantly stronger than a normal person
Intellect - 4 (Good) Again he's pretty much a normal guy. He'd probably be ranked higher if he could stop forgetting things.
Awareness - 8 (Amazing) His senses are far more developed than a normal person's
Willpower - 6 (Remarkable) His long life and the many trials he has faced have built his will beyond that of a normal man
Specialties - History Expert (+2)
Healing Ability - Regeneration 10 - baby he was born this way!
Adamantium Spines - Aura 6 - You hit him, he hits you, either way you're taking damage!
Life Support 2 - Pathogens, Toxins
Immortality - 1 [X2]
"Loyal" - despite his bad temper Hogan does feel loyalty - to friends (those he can remember)and to fellow mutants (he tries to help out as much as he can but he respects it when some people do not want help)
"Unstoppable Rage" - when something bad enough happens, Hogan's response is typically to "flip out and kill someone". This is largely a negative trait, but it does come in handy when the odds are against you - he is relentless in his berserker state and has saved a team on more than one occasion. Note: He has not previously had a problem telling friend from foe - he knows who his enemies are most of the time. The problem is in knowing when to "pull the pin". The good part is the "Unstoppable" part, the bad part is the "Rage" - I thought about separating them into a challenge and a quality but they really go together and so they are here. Different scenes may emphasize differrent sides of this quality so don't be hobbled by a desire for consistency - let him flip out every once in a while without consequences.Hint: Robots, Elementals, and Undead are handy for this.
"Lost Memories" - Hogan knows he has been alive for a long time but he doesn't know for how long. He has flashbacks and sudden bursts of knowledge (represnted by his specialty above) that come out of nowhere and enable him to break down Spartan fighting formations in detail, yet he can't remember what he was doing 10 years ago. This is a good way to get him involved in non-combat parts of the game and pretty much opens him to whatever abuse the DM sees fit to put on him - old enemies, forbidden knowledge, sons of old enemies, pictures of him on old west wanted posters, old girlfriends, his face in a tomb painting inside a pyramid, heroes that remember him as an enemy ... whatever the DM wants is fair game if you want to play the undying berserker combat monster.
The Hedgehog is fairly pricey but he is not meant to be a newbie starting character. In his own way he may be the most durable sentient being on the planet and a pretty nasty fighter too, so 57 points is a relative bargain. In combat he is strictly a melee monster, so hopefully his regen keeps him up long enough to get to his target. Out of combat he contributes about as much as the DM allows - he is an awesome plot-dropping device via the Lost Memories challenge. This makes him perfect in an ongoing campaign as the ongoing drop-in character: He's a skilled and uncomplicated hand to hand fighter so he's easy for a new player to run, regen makes him pretty forgiving of mistakes, and his memory problems explain why he suddenly doesn't get the jokes or know the arch-villain who the team is facing down this week! If someone shows up at your regular game and wants to play then hand them this guy! "But I don't know anything about the campaign!" - Perfect! You'll do fine!
Another trick here is to let the slow build-up of determination as he recalls things and runs into old enemies during a session (you are using him, right DM?) let the slow build-up of rage, then when it comes time to fight he just explodes in fury, burning determination left and right to do all kinds of crazy things. he is meant to shine in battle - let him!
One obvious tweak someone could make is to give him some sort of ranged attack. Let him shoot spines! If they grow back over time then it makes the question of what the heck happened to him even more interesting and that much more different than that other guy.
To decrease his cost you could drop the life support and rely on Regeneration and Immortality but it's only 2 points and fairly thematic. Unfortunately this character relies on high levels of Fighting, Regeneration, and Awareness to stick to the concept, and lowering them much reduces it to the point that it's no longer true to that concept. Best I could see is -2 points of Life Support, -1 point of Spines, -2 points of History Specialty, -1 Willpower, and -1 Awareness. This gets him down to 50 points and stays pretty close to the original goal.
So there it is, yet another hero Messed With that Probably Shouldn't be!