Saturday, April 20, 2013

R is for Red Dynamo

More than halfway through the month and I haven't written up a full-on power armor guy? Sorry Radium Man, maybe next year! Clearly it's time for the RED DYNAMO!

First Appearance
Red Dynamo started out as an homage to the silver and red Iron Man suit from the late 80's, maybe my favorite of his many looks:

That's where it started, anyway. After seeing quite a few Iron Man lookalikes running around Paragon City I decided to get away from it a little more and eventually landed on the look you see here.

Besides his regular style changes he also underwent multiple name changes as I moved him around the different servers. At one point he was the Crimson Centurion, then Scarlet Centurion, then Scarlet Sentinel, then at the end of the game he was Red Dynamo, another (somewhat unintended) Iron Man allusion. His backstory changed quite a bit too until I landed on what you will find below.

"Looks like the Hellions have found a new girlfriend ..."
Robert Taylor was an upwardly mobile corporate project manager when he was put in charge of a secret technology project. The company had captured a battlesuited supervillain and intended to keep, disassemble, and analyze the suit with an eye towards producing countermeasures. Feeling like this was a worthy cause Robert threw himself into the project and helped to assemble a crack team of technology experts.

Over the many months inquiries from his superiors gave the PM some misgivings and he eventually discovered the real plan was to build a set of suits for a new corporate super team, keeping the tech a secret. This did not sit well with him but one night a terrible accident destroyed the lab, the captured suit,  the new prototype suit, and all of the project data (which of course was not being stored offsite due to security concerns). The project was written off, the team was reassigned, and everyone moved on.

Secretly, Robert had arranged the whole thing. He had also managed to keep a copy of all of the data. He began working on a secret project of his own in his spare time. Not being a one-man super science team he quietly approached former members he could trust as well as other experts he knew and revealed his secret plan to them: They would use the data to build their own super-suit and create a new super hero! Through his contacts and their connections he managed the entire process one piece at a time and after two years the thing finally came together. With a small, carefully-chosen subset of his team Robert assembled the suit, put it on, and powered up for the first time. Then he took to the skies, looking to make a difference.

The Red Dynamo has been in action for about a year now and the team has learned a lot. Bugs have been ironed out, data is constantly analyzed, and support functions have become almost routine. It's a dangerous life though, and you never know what might happen tomorrow.

"Nice, that even stung a little bit"

Robert is the man in the suit but he knows he could not do it alone. Much like a big-time racing team it takes a lot of talented people, special facilities, time, and money to keep the suit up and running to give him the chance to make a difference and he is very grateful to everyone on his team.

He does have concerns though and at times they weigh heavily on him. What if the company (where he still works) finds out? What if the villain whose designs he copied finds out? What if there's some kind of back door that he doesn't know about? What if his true identity is discovered? All of these things keep him awake sometimes, but he keeps on with it, knowing he is doing the right thing.

"My turn"

 Red Dynamo for ICONS

PDF is here

Prowess: 5 (Excellent) - Battle Predictors
Coordination: 5 (Excellent) - Targeting systems
Strength: 7 (Incredible) - Super-servos
Intellect: 5 (Excellent) - Educated techie guy but not supra-genius
Awareness: 5 (Excellent) - Sensors!
Willpower: 5 (Excellent) - Driven but not obsessed

Stamina: 12
Determination: 1

Origin: Gimmick 
Specialties: Electronics, Mechanics, Power (Blast)

Invulnerability Device 7 - Centurion Suit 

Flight Device 7 - Centurion Suit 

Blast Device 5 (Blasting) - Electro-blasters in gauntlets (Electricity)

Absorption Device 5 (Ability Boost – Strength) - Centurion Suit - Electrical Absorption 

Supersenses Device 6 (Infravision, Radar, Enhanced Vision, Enhanced Hearing, Extended Vision, Extended Hearing ) - Sensor Suite 

Life Support Device 7 (Cold, Breathing, Heat, Pathogens, Radiation, Toxins, Vacuum) - Red Dynamo Suit 

Trapped in a cage of plasma, Dynamo struggles to free himself!

Motivation: To use his luck and skill to do good - he found himself in a rare position to make a difference and he decided to do so. This drives him to continue being the guy in the suit.

Connections: "Team Dynamo" - his buddy with the metal-shop, his superhero girlfiend, his friends on the police force, his cousin in the University Science Department, his IT guys - he has a large and diverse team working on this "project" and they are both a source of aid and information and potentially at risk if the whole thing unravels. 

Epithet: "The Scarlet Sentinel" - hey as many names as this guy went through I had to include this. Feel free to ignore it if you'd rather not give him a name. 

Gettin' down with the Dynamo

Secret Identity -Robert Taylor, corporate project manager, secret leader of Team Dynamo

"Borrowed Tech" - This can be used as a variant case of "Bad Luck" as the suit is not entirely of his own design. Much of the internal hardware design from circuits to servos was borrowed from a villain's suit and modified first by his corporate team and then again by his private team. The software has the same lineage. It has all of the bugs one might expect of this mixed heritage. There are concerns about someone figuring out where the tech came from and unraveling the secret of the Red Dynamo. The team is worried about back doors or command codes allowing someone else (like the original villain) to disable or take over the suit somehow as well. This is their nightmare scenario.

"It's just a temporary glitch ... give me a second to fix it"

Notes: This guy illustrates one of the weaknesses of ICONS in that all powers are valued similarly other than "x2" powers. This means that "Super-Senses - 6" (or Flight or Burrowing or Life Support) costs as many points as "Invulnerability -6" and that's a tough call. It does keep the system simple, but for a character like this it means all of those "lesser" powers add up and bump his cost up to 72 points, one of the most expensive I have done.  Once you hit 1 starting Determination there's really no reason not to keep adding powers as there's no downside. I could see some kind of tiered approach to powers in an ICONS 2E to help alleviate this but it may not be worth the increased complication for most people.

In combat he's pretty versatile - he can fly, he's tough, he can shoot, he can punch, he has radar, etc. I set his Absorption to boost his Strength but it could be changed to anything and still fit. If you set it to boost his Blast, rather than just being a separate attack as described in the book, then that could be a lot of fun too - Blast 10 coming at ya! He can switch it with a point of Determination so it's not set in stone anyway and should be fun to play with during a big fight.


 Red Dynamo for Mutants and Masterminds (3E)

Link to PDF is here

"Hmm ... giant pumpkin creature attacking the city - ASSEMBLE!"

Red Dynamo - PL 11

Strength 10, Stamina 0, Agility 1, Dexterity 2, Fighting 8/4, Intellect 3, Awareness 2, Presence 2

Accurate Attack, All-out Attack, Benefit, Wealth (well-off), Connected, Contacts, Defensive Attack, Improved Initiative 2, Interpose, Move-by Action, Power Attack, Precise Attack (Ranged, Concealment), Precise Attack (Ranged, Cover), Ranged Attack 2, Ranged Attack 6

Close Combat: Energy Fist 2 (+10), Expertise: Business 5 (+8), Insight 3 (+5), Perception 3 (+5), Persuasion 6 (+8), Technology 3 (+6)

"Let him have it!"

Battlesuit (Removable)
Armor: Protection 12 (+12 Toughness; Impervious)
Boot Jets: Flight 9 (Speed: 1000 miles/hour, 2 miles/round)
Capacitor Array: Energy Absorption 5 (Absorbs: Electrical Energy, Boost: Blast)
Comm System: Radio Communication 2
Life Support System: Immunity 10 (Life Support)
Sensors: Senses 11 (Accurate: Radar, Darkvision, Direction Sense, Extended: Radar 3: x1k,
Infravision, Time Sense, Ultra-hearing)
Servo Motors: Enhanced Strength 10 (+10 STR)
Electro Blasters: Blast 10 (Alternate; DC 25)
Tactical Computer: Enhanced Trait 17 (Traits: Dodge +7 (+10), Fighting +4 (+8), Advantages: Ranged Attack 2)

"Both barrels!"

Initiative +9
Electro Blasters: Blast 10, +10 (DC 25)
Grab, +8 (DC Spec 20)
Throw, +10 (DC 25)
Unarmed, +10 (DC 25)

Accident - Bugs in the System: 
Motivation: Doing Good
Relationship: "Team Dynamo" 
Secret: Secret Identity

Native Language


Dodge 10/3, Parry 10, Fortitude 5, Toughness 12, Will 9

Power Points
Abilities 28 + Powers 91 + Advantages 19 + Skills 11 (22 ranks) + Defenses 16 = 165

"I think he's had it!"

Notes: the MM3 version is very close to his ICONS version but likely stronger and faster when it comes to real-world numbers. I started with the Battlesuit archetype and modified it quite a bit to reflect his particular capabilities. I also raised him to PL 11 to reflect his year of experience.

  • Protection is up to 12
  • Sensors, Comm, and Life Support all remain the same
  • Flight is boosted one level to take him over Mach 1(as with the ICONS version)
  • Blasters are revised to a +10/+10 instead of a +8/+12. This makes them a little more accurate but still leaves them below his new PL limits - see below
  • I have added Electrical Absorption as a new power wired to the blasters. This will boost their damage but since it's still limited by PL it's a bit underwhelming - if he can manage to absorb some electricity then his blasts go to a +10/+12 for a few rounds. It's sort of overkill on the absorption side and underperforming as an offensive boost.
  • His Advantages and Skills are completely redone to reflect that he's not a tech genius inventor guy. He has more social skills and abilities and more direct combat abilities as well. The Precise Attacks let him pull off the hostage scene in Iron Man while move-by attack lets him do a Mach-1 flyby punch that's pretty cinematic too.
Given my dislike of how the absorption worked out here;s an alternate version of Red Dynamo with that power replaced by increases to his base Strength and Blast powers, making them a +10/+12 all the time. There's even a point left over so I gave him  Ultimate Effort: Technology so that when the suit shorts out and he absolutely positively has to get it up again he can burn a Hero Point and get it back online. Here is a link to Version 2.0.

"The city is safe once again"

Friday, April 19, 2013

Q is for Barbarian Queen

First Appearance
This was another gift to Lady Blacksteel. I did not spend much time with the female side of the character builder for CoH, but every once in a while I was inspired by something and took a walk over there to see if I could put it together. This was some kind of confluence of Valeria from the Conan movie, the Tarakian from Heavy Metal, and Leeloo from Fifth Element. So, a little early 80's, a little late 90's, and this is where I ended up. She humored me and played her quite a bit for a time.

The Barbarian Queen comes from another world where she is a barbarian ... and a queen. After a prophecy of doom for her tribe the king's daughter set off on a quest to find out how to change this fate. Alas, she was too late and returned to the smoldering ruins of her village. Swearing vengeance on the cult of Set she set out on a quest to wipe them out just as they had done to her people. Along the way she has learned much and become one of the most ferocious fighters in the world. Then an interrupted magical ceremony - interrupted by her sword - went out of control and she woke up in our world. Now she seeks any sign of the cult of Set here while she also searches for a way back home.

BQ speaks with an accent not quite like any in our world, somewhere between Russian and German. She is a woman of action, with little patience for extended debates and questions of right and wrong. She is quite content to follow her own internal moral compass and sees no need to explain or otherwise justify her actions. In the past she had some guilt over the fate of her village but she has made peace with it and taken up her mission of revenge as her main calling in life.

A moment of quiet reflection

 Barbarian Queen for ICONS

PDF is here

Prowess: 6 (Remarkable) - fury of a wolverine
Coordination: 6 (Remarkable) - speed of a hunting panther
Strength: 5 (Excellent) - strength of a roaring tiger
Intellect: 4 (Good) - canniness of a hunted fox
Awareness: 6 (Remarkable) - ears of a wary wolf
Willpower: 5 (Excellent) - spirit of a cornered lion

Stamina: 10
Determination: 3

Origin: Trained
Specialties: Weapon Expert (Sword), Stealth, Investigation

Strike 5 (slashing, magical device) "Sword of Kings"  - her father's magical blade

Invulnerability 5 (magical device) - "Armor of the Tarakians"

Danger Sense 8  (magical device) - "Winged Helm of Valeria"

"Uncivilized" - This helps her cut through a lot of needless delays to speak directly to others, and to hit people who deserve it,  but it can be a problem in certain social situations

Motivation: "Revenge" - she is out for vengeance on the Cult of Set and is suspicious of any serpent type villain or hero.

"Bloodthirsty" - she can have a hard time holding back in battle once her blood's up. If she's been wounded, look out!

Enemy: "Cult of Set" - she has noticed a number of serpent themed villains in this world and is determined to find and root out any Set cult that she finds. If using her in the M&M Freedom City campaign world, this could put her on the trail of the Serpent Folk quite easily.

Notes: BQ comes out to 55 points (again!) and while she is a bit similar in theme to Phurious Pharaoh from yesterday, but they were not created together. 

With the Danger Sense becoming her defense she is very hard to hit in combat and her magical strappy armor keeps her in fairly good shape even when she is hit. Starting Determination of 3 gives her a chance to pull of some stunts or tricks early in a fight too. Her Qualities and Challenges will make it fairly easy to gain even more Determination in combat as well, so she should be enacting all kinds of craziness in battle. 

Outside of battle her Nature and Investigation specialties should give her a chance to contribute and she is quite capable physically as well.

Now for another take ...

 Barbarian Queen for Marvel Heroic Roleplaying

PDF is here

In this incarnation BQ is very similar to her ICONS version. She is quite capable in combat and should be as helpful out of it as any other Marvel character.
  • She can go into a berserker rage (similar to Wolverine) and has a Milestone tied to causing physical harm to people. 
  • The Wings of Valeria grant a version of Spiderman's Spider Sense
  • She has a weapon that also enhances durability (thank you Cap) as in this version we're considering her main defense to be Jedi-esque deflection moves with the Sword of Kings rather than her strappy outfit. 
  • Her other Milestone is a conversion from Black Panther in that she can tag people as Set Cultists and gain XP from taking action against them
I think this is a pretty solid version of her and a fun mix of capabilities. I'd consider swapping out one of her Milestones with a conversion of Armor's "For my Ancestors" set and adapting it to use BQ's Barbarian Heritage. I could see bringing that in to reflect her getting control over her bloodlust and replacing that Milestone. I would also swap out her Berserk SFX with the Focus SFX found on several other characters to reflect her still being nasty in combat but in a more controlled way. 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

P is for Phurious Pharaoh

First Appearance
I was playing around with some new costume options in CoH and realized I could probably pull off an Egyptian themed character with a little effort. I still needed more though, more than just the costume. I needed an attitude - and then I gave him the expression you see above and a legend was born. In that game he was a Dual-Blades/Regeneration scrapper.

Phurious Pharaoh leaps into action!

Buck Brogan was a big-time professional wrestler. At the top of his game he took a vacation and went to Egypt. While touring the pyramids and museums he was injured in an accident but instead of dying he was seized by the spirit of an ancient king. Their spirits merged and his body was restored but he was irrevocably changed. From that day forward Buck Brogan and the spirit of the ancient Egyptian king Macho-Ra became the PHURIOUS PHARAOH!

Phurous Pharaoh protects the Baby New Year!

Pharaoh is mad quite a bit of the time. His awesome physique comes from a combination of his wrestling-trained body enhanced by the divine spirit,  but his rage comes mostly from the ancient king. Wrongfully murdered by evil spirits in his own time the curse and revenge he swore upon them as he expired sustained his spirit through the ages. Now, with the appearance of the proper vessel his time is at hand and vengeance will soon be his. He does have calmer, quieter moments now and then but most of the time ... well ... imagine a top pro wrestler powered by an ancient, angry, arrogant noble spirit bent on revenge and planning to deliver it in hand to hand combat. Subtlety is not an area of strength for him.

"Hey, why do you spell furious with a ph-"


 Phurious Pharaoh for ICONS

PDF Sheet is here

Prowess: 6 (Remarkable) - he's a skilled, experienced professional fighter
Coordination: 3 (Typical) - Pharaoh cares not for ranged combat!
Strength: 6 (Remarkable) - peak human + magic = strong
Intellect: 3 (Typical) - Buck wasn't the smartest guy anyway and Pharaoh didn't really add much in this department
Awareness: 4 (Good) - Not the best but better than average
Willpower: 9 (Monstrous) - He has an agenda, some might say obsession, and nothing will steer him away from this

Stamina: 15
Determination: 1

Origin: Transformed (+2 to Willpower)
Specialties: Wrestling Expert, Athletics, Occult

Strike 6 (slashing, magical device) "Blades of Fury"  - Pharaoh wields dual Khopeshes

Regeneration 6 "Eternal Rage" - The spirit of Macho-Ra heals his wounds 

Invulnerability 4 (magical device) - "Mystic Armor of Karnak"

Postcognition 5 "Echoes of the Past" - Pharaoh can pick up echoes of past events by touching objects

"Phurious!" - Boundless Rage is not always a good thing but in Pharaoh's case it powers him through dire circumstances - he is almost literally fueled by his rage.

"Former Egyptian Royalty" - This covers a certain bearing - some might call arrogance - and expectations, and might even serve as a form of "connections" under unusual circumstances.

"Former Pro Wrestler" - This covers a certain bearing - some might call arrogance - and his fame and his competitive, athletic nature. It too may serve as a form of "connections" as most of his associates are still alive and working. The circumstances of his transformation are fairly well known and he is still followed by many loyal fans. His is not a secret identity.

Enemies: "The Five Evil Spirits" - These are the spirits that in ancient times combined to slay Macho-Ra's mortal form and bring an end to his dynasty, causing chaos and war in ancient Egypt for a generation. As he lay dying he cursed them and their priests and swore that he would one day have revenge upon them. Now that he is back, he just has to figure out how to find them in 21st Century America.

Enemy Note: The nature and identity of these spirits is left for the individual campaign as I'm only writing up the one character here, not him and all of his enemies. Perhaps it is actually the Six Evil Spirits and after noticing Pharaoh's return they have united to create a new champion to oppose him - Captain Infernal! 

Phurious Pharaoh waits for the Regen to kick in

Notes: Phurious Pharaoh comes out to 55 points which seems to be where a lot of my characters are falling - clearly there is some kind of sweet spot there for me. He's 10 over the book number for point-built heroes but let's chalk that up to experience. Physically he is quite capable and his Willpower means he will be pretty resistant to mental attacks.  Despite the Phury that colors this guy I wanted him to be more than a pure combat monster and I have tried to do that in three ways

1) Postcognition gives him an interesting way to contribute to investigations and explorations, whether it's solving a crime or exploring an alien spacecraft. Plus it's not a power you see a whole lot yet fits very well with his origin.

2) His Pro-Wrestler persona gives a player some fun social angles and a reason to ham it up in play. Think Hulk Hogan or the Late Great Macho Man for inspiration.

3) He doesn't know who his greatest enemies actually are! This gives him a huge mystery to solve that will almost certainly require help from other characters to both find and defeat them. You could go with my suggestion above or mix it up - maybe one or more of them were time-traveling supers from now! Plus it could be fun to have him declare any hostile super-being he encounters as one of the Five Evils and watch the question marks form over their heads as Phurious really gets worked up.

Tweaks and Alterations: 
  • He does use two swords and I almost gave him Fast Attack 2 to represent it. For a more traditional take swap this out with his Postcognition. 
  • In CoH he had Superleap as a movement power. Give him Leaping 5 and bump him up to 60 points if you think it's important.
  • I wanted to emphasize the Rage a bit more so at one point I had him with Emotion Control 4 (Hate Only) but I'm not sure how much use a hero will get out of it in this game, mechanically. I envisioned it as a bonus to be bestowed on allies for a strength and mental resistance boost but there's not an easy way to do that in ICONS., so I swapped it out for Postcognition. Feel free to give it a try.
  • I also really wanted to give him Immortal but it seemed like overkill with the Regen, which I chose for its more immediate, tangible game effects. It's not like his Determination can go any lower so why not throw it in too?
Let's try something with a little more detail ...

 Phurious Pharaoh for Mutants and Masterminds (3E)

PDF sheet is here

Phriend or Phoe?

Phurious Pharaoh - PL 12

Strength 8, Stamina 10, Agility 2, Dexterity 4, Fighting 10, Intellect 0, Awareness 8, Presence 8

All-out Attack, Benefit, Ambidexterity, Fearless, Improved Critical: Enchanted Khopesh: Strength-based Damage 4, Power Attack, Seize Initiative, Takedown 2, Uncanny Dodge

Acrobatics 6 (+8), Athletics 7 (+15), Close Combat: Blades of Phury 2 (+12), Expertise: Egyptian History & Mythology 8 (+8), Intimidation 7 (+15), Stealth 8 (+10)

Blades of Phury (Easily Removable (indestructible))

Enchanted Khopesh: Strength-based Damage 4 (DC 27; Affects Insubstantial: half ranks, Penetrating 5)

Energizing Phury: Healing 5 (magical; Persistent)

Mystic Armor of Karnak: Protection 4 (magical, +4 Toughness)

Phurious Leap: Leaping 3 (magical, Leap 60 feet at 16 miles/hour)

Phurious Speed: Speed 4 (magical, Speed: 30 miles/hour, 500 feet/round)

Spirit of Eternal Phury: Regeneration 10 (magical, Every 1 round)

Words of Phury: Burst Area Enhanced Fighting 4 (magical, +4 FGT; Affects Others Only, Burst Area: 30 feet radius sphere; Activation: move action, Sense-dependent: Hearing)

Initiative +2
Enchanted Khopesh: Strength-based Damage 4, +12 (DC 27)
Grab, +10 (DC Spec 18)
Throw, +4 (DC 23)
Unarmed, +10 (DC 23)

Dodge 10, Parry 10, Fortitude 12, Toughness 14, Will 12

Enemies: The Five Evil Spirits: Mysterious forces of Evil that wronged him so long ago.

Motivation: Revenge!: The Pharaoh seeks revenge on those who wronged him in his previous life.

Temper: Phurious!: The Phurious Pharaoh is driven by Rage! He uses this to his advantage in battle but out of combat it can sometimes be a problem.

Native Language

Power Points
Abilities 92 + Powers 46 + Advantages 9 + Skills 19 (38 ranks) + Defenses 14 = 180

Notes: here we get a slightly different version of the Phurious One: He loses Postcognition from the ICONS version but gains Leaping, minor Super Speed, greater Strength, the ability to make others fight harder, and the ability to heal! 
  • The Fighting increase is a move action hearing-dependent burst radius effect that represents him talking his allies into sharing his rage before a fight begins. It's not selective, so be careful. I would consider making it so as a future upgrade, perhaps based on hard experience
  • The Healing I envision as a sharing of his regeneration with a worthy ally. It would be cheaper to do it as an alternate effect of the regen but the way I have done it hear less him keep regenerating while he heals. To fit in some other changes it might be worth going with the AE.
  • The blades are defined as magical unbreakable penetrating weapons that can affect insubstantial targets. he also has higher skill and improved critical hits with them. He's not bad with his fists, but he's really nasty with these things.
  • His other Advantages are things that seem appropriate to me. Fearless, Ambidextrous, All-Out Attack, Power Attack all fit. Seize the Initiative lets him automatically go first by spending a Hero Point and that seemed especially appropriate for the Phurious one. 
This version is a little more combat-focused but he is also a better team player with his potential for a fighting bonus and healing. He is also very mobile, strong enough to throw cars at peoples, an expert on Egyptian History, and can sneak! I think he'd be fun to play and will see how he works the first chance I get.