Friday, April 5, 2013

E is for The Exclamation!

First Appearance 
One day City of Heroes rolled out a new powerset - Street Justice. As always, homage type characters were on my mind and after seeing some of the moves I wanted somebody with a long coat - the swirling trench-coat thing would like nice with the rapid motions of the set. While I was thinking about some of this I was also doing some research for ICONS and came across this image:

That plus a quick review of certain Justice League episodes resulted in The Exclamation!

In an alternate universe, a certain conspiracy-hunting hero realized he might not live forever and that his work must go on. He took in an orphaned street kid as his assistant and apprentice and trained him in every way he could. The kid had some natural talent for fighting and the aggression of a young man as well and so his mentor made sure he received a lot of training in the martial arts - practical training, not flashy tournament styles.

Inevitably, years later, his mentor made a mistake and was tragically slain, dying in the arms of the apprentice. Enraged, the student-no-longer took up his teacher's lifelong mission, even adopting a similar look. Whispers of the death of the mentor were soon replaced by rumors that he was back from the dead, and was taking a more direct hand in things brutally taking vengeance on those responsible for his death. Even his calling card was different, expressing action instead of questions.

Revenge taken, the new/old hero has continued his exploration and extermination of secrets, lies, and corruption. His main targets are organized crime, gangs, and the biggest corrupt politicians. He is relentless in pursuit and uncompromising in his justice. The Exclamation is not afraid to kill and is quite comfortable judging those who he has solid evidence against. He does not use guns, though, preferring to deliver justice up close and personal, hand to hand.

His mission has become an obsession and he has little time for a "normal life". His true identity, Steven Rand, has slowly become less and less important as he spends more time each year as The Exclamation. He has far more "contacts" than friends and no real family to speak of. A few honest cops and his old martial arts trainer are about the only people who truly know him as Steven, and not all of them know his secret.

The Exclamation for ICONS:

Prowess: 7 (Incredible)
Coordination: 6 (Remarkable)
Strength: 4 (Good)
Intellect: 6 (Remarkable)
Awareness: 6 (Remarkable)
Willpower: 6 (Remarkable)

Stamina: 10
Determination: 3

Origin: Trained

Specialties: Martial Arts Expert, Computers Expert, Criminology Expert, Investigation Expert

Invulnerability - 4 (Good) - Armored Trenchcoat (Device)
Precognition - 3 (Typical) - Extensive network of contacts and internet skill (Treat as Device)

"Networked" - Ex has an extensive network of petty criminals, conspiracy theorists, clean cops, and a lot of fringe groups. Sometimes he helps them, sometimes they help him.

"Obsessed with Justice" - this is extreme enough to perhaps be a challenge, but it also powers him through the worst moments as he just cannot quit.

"Calling Card" - to help strike fear into his targets Ex sometimes leaves a business card marked only with an exclamation point. Occasionally he lights a fire in that shape, or spray paints it on a wall. Regardless, it's not hard to tell when he's been somewhere and set something straight.

"Hunted by the Corrupt" - Ex has "handled" enough hi-profile figures that he has become a target, and with his distinctive garb he is not a difficult target to find. he has survived so far but it is a growing problem. 

"Rationalist" - Ex is a man who tends to think in terms of the physical world - magic and the supernatural is not something that really enters his equations and he is convinced that they can be explained through more conventional superpowers or advanced devices. A confrontation with an undeniably supernatural force or entity could cause all kinds of problems for him.

PDF character sheet here

Notes: What if The Question took on his own "Robin"? What if this apprentice ended up more like the Punisher than Nightwing? Mix in a little Rorschach and Batman and we have an interesting mix of character traits that is (hopefully) fun to play in both "transition scenes" and "action scenes". In the movie I see him as played by Brandon Lee.

At 50 points he;'s one of my more reasonably costed characters so he could run alongside a crew of randomly generated heroes just fine. Also, 3 starting Determination is quite nice. His Specialties and Qualities give him something useful to do outside of fights. In a fight, well, Prowess 7 + Martial Arts 2 means he can do all kinds of mean things to thugs and major villains alike.

Yes, this is more of an Iron Age character than I typically create but I like his potential. He could end up tragic, he could end up seeking redemption, he could have interesting confrontations with other heroes and with villains both. Put him in some wilder situations and see if he can deal with the more extreme elements of a comic-book universe like aliens, gods, and wizards. It should be a lot of fun.

For an interesting nemesis I think Barking Alien's Afterlife would be great. Rumors of mob killings attract his attention, a first encounter with the supernatural killer leaves him shaken, research only makes it worse as the thing's true nature is revealed. For some extra drama maybe Afterlife killed Ex's mentor, knows it, and taunts him with it! Oh, the finale on that one should be something ...

Also ...

The Exclamation for Mutants and Masterminds 2nd Edition:

Link to PDF here.

The Exclamation

Power Level: 10; Power Points Spent: 150/150

STR: +4 (18), DEX: +4 (18), CON: +3 (16), INT: +4 (18), WIS: +1 (12), CHA: +1 (12)

Tough: +3/+9, Fort: +7, Ref: +8, Will: +7

Skills: Bluff 8 (+9), Computers 12 (+16), Disable Device 12 (+16), Disguise 12 (+13), Gather Information 12 (+13), Investigate 12 (+16), Knowledge (current events) 12 (+16), Knowledge (streetwise) 12 (+16), Notice 12 (+13), Search 12 (+16), Sense Motive 12 (+13), Stealth 8 (+12)

Feats: Attack Specialization 3 (Unarmed Attack), Benefit (Alternate Identity), Blind-Fight, Connected, Contacts, Defensive Attack, Defensive Roll 3, Diehard, Eidetic Memory, Elusive Target, Equipment 2, Evasion 2, Fighting Style: Kung Fu, Grappling Finesse, Hide in Plain Sight, Improved Block, Improved Critical (Unarmed Attack), Improved Sunder, Improved Trip, Instant Up, Jack-of-All-Trades, Master Plan, Power Attack, Quick Change 2, Redirect, Startle, Takedown Attack, Ultimate Effort (Will Save), Uncanny Dodge (Visual), Well-Informed

Equipment: Flashlight, Gas Mask, Handcuffs, Undercover Vest

Attack Bonus: +6 (Ranged: +6, Melee: +6, Grapple: +10)

Attacks: Unarmed Attack, +12 (DC 19)

Defense: +10  (Flat-footed: +5), Knockback: -4

Initiative: +4

Languages: Native Language

Totals: Abilities 34 + Skills 34 (136 ranks) + Feats 36 + Powers 0 + Combat 32 + Saves 14 + Drawbacks 0 = 150

Under M&M 2E (yes, some of us still use it) he has a lot more detail regarding his connections and information gathering skills. Eidetic Memory, Connected, Contacts - all of these work with his high skill levels to make a pretty potent character when it comes to "what's going on" or "who is this guy"? He's also pretty good at sneaking around.

His combat abilities are a little rough though. I started with the "Conspiracy Theorist" template from Instant Superheroes (once I realized I had it, anyway) and modified it up to remove any ranged/gun abilities and refocused it on a more martial arts style approach. I feel like his defense should be higher but pushing it up will push his toughness down even more and single-digit toughness can be rough in a fight, especially for a melee guy. His attack bonus I reduced across the board and then pushed it up with an unarmed combat focus, but I suspect that would be a lot easier to do in M&M3 with the whole stat split between fighting and ranged capabilities. If I was going to play him in a new campaign I would probably want to tweak him some more to get the numbers just right, but I think he's pretty effective as he is right now.

1 comment:

Joe Bardales said...

Nice! The Exclamation is another cool character concept. I really like how you present ICONS qualities and challenges too with an explanation of what they mean and how they might be used in play.