Friday, May 3, 2013

Modern Marvels - Session 1

This campaign began a few weeks before the announcement that the latest Marvel RPG was kaput. I'm pretty disappointed with that as I think with some time the game could have made some serious inroads amongst that section of the RPG playing crowd that likes different mechanics, narrative play, and has at least some interest in superheroes. Unfortunately it won't have any more time, but I've rarely let a game's production status decide whether we play it or not so this campaign will be going on for some time. I've sketched out 6 events with around 3 acts each for our "Season 1". As long as the boys are interested, we will continue.

I am totally stealing the campaign concept from this thread on The more I read it the more I loved the idea so that's what I used. The main conceit is that the time is now but the Marvel Universe is just getting started - the Fantastic Four have been around for about a year, Tony Stark's bodyguard about the same, there are some rumors about a secret mutant group running around, and a few costumed villains have appeared and robbed banks and the like but there's been no big, open, super-event to bring it all together. SHIELD is a covert organization that has been assigned to stay on top of these new powered types and find out what's going on.

Our initial cast:
  • Iron Man, played by Apprentice Red
  • Black Panther, played by Apprentice Blaster
  • The Punisher, played by Apprentice Who
(Of course this means that our version of the Avengers may end up with Punisher as a founding member. It's weird but we will manage.)

The legendary Serpent Crown is about to be placed on display at the New York Museum of Fictional History. A private party for donors and bigwigs associated with the museum is the kickoff for this exhibition.

  • Black Panther is there because the name "Serpent Crown" triggered some vague memories of some old Wakandan legends. He is not in costume but is instead attending as a Wakandan diplomat.
  • Tony Stark is there because it's a party and there will be free drinks and he might want to buy the crown for his collection.
  • Frank Castle is there because he figures someone is bound to try and steal the thing or maybe just rob the patrons and he can make a very public example of anyone who tries this.
(Yes, I made the boys come up with reasons for their characters to attend. They did a good job)

There is some general hobnobbing then a group of large men shove their way to the front of the large room. One seizes the crown from it's display case (SMASH!) , places it on his head, then announces he is their new ruler. His men begin pushing the crowd back.

Frank gets the party started right by pulling dual .45's from beneath his long coat and unloading on one of the thugs in a very Matrix-esque move.

T'Challa pulls up his hood, sheds his jacket, then leaps onto the platform, claws out. He attacks and wounds Paul Destine, new holder of the Serpent Crown!

Stark steps out into the hall, opens his briefcase and armors up!

The villains go next as Destine and Sidewinder take on Panther, Cobra goes after the Punisher, and a woman starts herding the crowd to one side of the room.

(Here we learned about bad decisions and the interesting MHR initiative system as the bad guys got to go twice before the heroes got to go again at all)

Punisher and Cobra are tied up in a duel of guns and fangs and Frank declares war on these serpent guys. Panther declares Destine a Threat to Wakanda and is in a brutal close-quarters slugfest with him and Sidewinder who constantly teleports behind the beleaguered king.

Iron Man rockets into the room and is promptly grabbed by the female villain's stretchy arms - Anaconda!

After a momentary struggle he breaks free and blasts Destine with his repulsors. Enraged, Destine flies up (another power of the crown) and smashes a display case over Iron Man's Iron Noggin' - which does absolutely nothing! Seeing his chance, the Invincible One fires up the unibeam and blasts Destine with maximum firepower!

In mid-air Destine, realizing this is not his time (and realizing he has d8 emotional stress and d10 physical stress) raises his arms, begins to chant, and then he and his 3 minions disappear in a flash - gone!

DM Notes: This was a straight-up fight as we get back into the Marvel system, but it was a lot of fun. There is a learning curve with the game but it only takes a session or two to get the basics down. I really could have added some scene distinctions like "panicked crowd" or "large high-ceilinged exhibit hall" but we didn't really notice the lack. I was mainly focused on getting the basics of the system down - totals, effects, plot points, and the doom pool - so we left a lot of the flashy stuff for next time. We also kept forgetting to use an opponents stress dice, but we will be watching for that next session. By the end Punisher & Panther both had some stress and Iron Man had none.

My goal was to get the doom pool to 2d12 as soon as possible so I could end the scene before Destine was defeated as this would make the next scene and the rest of the event a lot tricker to set up. It's nice to have a mechanic to do that beyond just "the DM says he leaves" - there are actual mechanics at work in building up the pool and mechanics for spending those dice. It ads a little structure to it and puts a clock on the scene that everyone can see - Nice!

Fun moment: As we're getting started the boys are checking out milestones and figure out that if Stark drank too much at the party (he gets XP for this), then Punisher could call him weak and pathetic for doing so (he gets XP for that) then Panther could declare Drunken Iron Man a Threat to Wakanda (XP for Panther) and so everyone could gain some XP before anything else happened! They thought that was both very funny and pretty cool.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Revelations From a Month of Character Building - ICONS

After building all of those characters I thought I would share some of the things I found along the way. Those of you who play it a lot already probably know this stuff but for others who do not:

  • Challenges are the "intake" - they are how you gain Determination. In fact, they are the only really reliable way to do it as different GM's will handle the other methods somewhat differently.
  • Qualities are the "outflow" - they open up the opportunity to spend that Determination. There are a few ways to use it without tagging a quality (like healing) but most of the fun stuff requires you to tag to spend it.

So one consideration when creating a character is to keep some kind of balance between them. You don't want to have a bunch of Challenges and then not have any Qualities you can use to spend all of that D. Looking at the Qualities:

  • Catchphrases and Epithets - These are versatile, easy ways to open up some Determination. You can work them in to almost any situation, from combat to a dinner banquet. If you have a solid concept it's fairly easy to come up with one of them at least. 
  • Connections and Identity - these are likely to apply more in social situations than a brawl  -no one cares what you like or who your friends are when the punches start flying. It's good to have some non-combat options though. If a connection is taken hostage then you do have a combat use for them!
  • Motivations - also fairly versatile and also fairly common - try to think of one if possible. These are also fairly easy to tie in to a Challenge, say a personal behavior issue,  to give a nice matched pair of ways to earn Determination and ways to spend it.
With Challenges, it helps to think about how and when they will be used as well,
  • Bad Luck - this is largely GM driven but it is versatile. I suspect it will come up the most often in combat or action scenes and can be unpleasant when it does.
  • Enemy - this is handy but it means they will be showing up a lot over a campaign. If you can make it an enemy group then your GM will have a little more variety when dropping ninjas on your head. Again I see this one leading into combat most of the time.
  • Personal - this is one where a player has a little more control over the circumstances where it will matter. In Champions these would be physical and psychological limitations and would vary wildly from character to character, from Honor Codes to Berserker Rage, to missing an arm. There are a lot of ways to use these kinds of things in social and action situations. Also, if you can link some kind of obsession or honor code back to a Motivation, then you have a really nice setup for generating and then spending your Determination.
  • Social - funny looks, bad attitudes, a bad smell, weird beliefs - these tend to be the non-combat things that come up. Maybe you can link them back to a Connection or an Epithet or Catchphrase.
  • Weakness - usually a combat-based Challenge but if you go broad and pick something like an allergy to sunlight then you should have all kinds of opportunities to gain Determination. Like Bad Luck, I'd be careful with this one. 

Ideally I would want a mix of combat and noncombat Aspects without crippling the character. This is an area where you can personalize and bring a concept together even on a randomly generated hero:
  •  Extra Limbs? Spines? Body of Flame? Surely there's an easy Social Challenge there
  • Lots of offensive powers? Maybe your hero is vengeful, bloodthirsty, or goes berserk? Going the other direction, maybe he fights only when attacked or has a code of honor?
  • No offensive powers? Maybe he's afraid of melee combat or has a Weakness tied to punches or edged weapons.
  • Powers that make no sense? Maybe you're a lab accident or failed experiment. That leads to an obvious Enemy in your creator and maybe a personal issue of "can't remember own origin story".
  • "Trained" origins seem like good candidates for personal challenges, particularly psychological ones. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Revelations From A Month of Character Building - M&M

While working on all of the characters for April I ended up reading the Mutants and Masterminds 2nd Edition and 3rd Edition rule books back to back. This was an eye opening experience, as I've been a hold out for the last 2 years trying to keep on going with 2nd Edition. After working with both of them I have decided to move on to 3rd for all of my M&M games.

Now there's nothing wrong with 2nd - It's a complete, solid game and I like it a lot. The main reason I wanted to use it is that I have a ton of supporting material for it and I like having ready-made stuff at hand when I'm running. Freedom City is the big one here but Silver Age and the Book of Magic and Instant Superheroes are all huge too. There are also some good adventures written for it, from Time of Crisis to the downloadable stuff to the Dr. Null adventures. The biggest win for me here was that having all of those things in 2E and playing 2E means I don't have to convert anything! I do a lot of conversion in my D&D campaigns so I'm not looking to take on more for my occasional supers game sessions. This is the single biggest factor keeping me with 2nd: I have a bunch of good stuff for that I want to use!

Then I re-read 3rd edition for the first time in a long time, cover to cover. It quickly reminded me of why I liked this game so much when DC Adventures came out in 2010 - From the way the pages are laid out to the art to the substantial improvements and streamlining in the rules themselves it's just better. I'm not just comparing it to M&M 2nd, I'm comparing it to any other RPG core book out there. It's just a level up from almost all of them. I really liked it then and somewhere along the way I let that be trumped by 2nd's greater pile of available material. I'm not going to do that any more. As much as I like the 2nd edition, I like the 3rd more.

The other consideration is that even though it came out in 2005 I never got to that effortless level of familiarity with the rules for M&M 2E. I just didn't play it or run it enough. That means in the last few months as I have tried to get a sustained run of it off the ground I am still having to look up rules fairly often - 8 years after the book came out! If I'm going to have to burn time in-game to page flip, and if I'm going to spend time between sessions reviewing the rules and making up my own cheatsheets, then why not do it with the current version? Additionally there is more material out now for 3rd than when I started: The GMG is amazing, Power Profiles is handy, Threat Report has given us a nice stack of drop-in villains, and the internet has had a chance to crank up the pipeline and turn out an amazing amount of stuff - as usual one of the best resources for the game is The Atomic Think Tank itself.

Anyway, I thought I would share this "personal journey" of mine. I didn't really see it until I had both versions side by side, in a way, and that sealed the deal for me. So from here on out any M&M stats I post up on the blog will be for M&M 3. I'm using Hero Lab for everything now too so I'll post up the files for that for any conversions I do too.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Z is for Zeo Morpheus

First Appearance
Closing out the month this is another of Apprentice Blaster's creations inspired by Neo in The Matrix. This was one of his favorites. The combination of costume and powers really worked for him. He was a Dual-Pistols/Energy Melee Blaster in CoH.

Zeo has some strange ideas about the nature of reality but he does fight on the side of the good guys. A mysterious mentor figure introduced him to the ongoing war between good and evil and showed him how to unlock the secrets of the universe, the code that underlies all of reality. This gave him the ability to move and react faster than anyone and he uses this power to protect those who cannot do what he does and do not know what he knows, until the day comes that he can correct the situation.

Zeo is quiet, but confident. He knows that he is the chosen one but rather than being cocky about it he sees it as a weighty responsibility that he must see through to the end. He doesn't have a lot of time for friends and family as he is totally focused on becoming stronger and better able to carry out his mission.There is a calm about him. He rarely raises his voice, and doesn't waste motion jumping around or gesticulating excessively. he comes across as someone who can be relied on in a crisis, even when things are going poorly. His companions have never seen him surprised.

 Zeo Morpheus for ICONS

PDF link is here

Prowess: 6 (Remarkable) - Maximum un-augmented human
Coordination: 6 (Remarkable) - Maximum un-augmented human
Strength: 6 (Remarkable) - Maximum un-augmented human
Intellect: 5 (Excellent) - Good but not a genius
Awareness: 10 (Unearthly) - Permanently changed when he became "The One"
Willpower: 6 (Remarkable) - Maximum un-augmented human

Stamina: 12
Determination: 3

Origin: Birthright
Specialties: Acrobatics, Martial Arts Master, Weapons (Guns)

Wizardry 10 - Code Mastery (Cosmic - Awareness)
Known Powers: Force Field (Super-Slo-Mo Dodge), Fast Attack

Zeo Morpheus and the Aluminum Knight - no doubt hunting agents underground

Motivation: "Free the System" - he fights an underground war to "free us". From what? See below.

Epithet: "The One" 

Connections: Rebel Underground - this is both a source of aid and a source of hostages for his enemies if they learn of his attachments

Social:"Believes reality is a computer simulation that enslaves all of humanity" - he knows how people react so he tries not to bring it up too often but it is the belief that drives his life and he can't help but talk about it sometimes.

Enemy: "The Agents" - these are the mysterious agents who police the reality program and hunt down those who would disrupt it

Personal: "Destiny as the One" - this is something he sees as a huge responsibility, that he is the only one who can free humanity from the grip of the machines. This has rendered all other aspects of his life as secondary, so he spends most of his time learning and training to be better so he can succeed in his mission.

Notes:  Zeo ends up at 55 points, powerful but not ridiculous. I went through several iterations of him, mainly focused on how to cover all of his powers and keep him at less than 80 points! I had his abilities much higher at first along with a few specific powers but that still left out some of his moves, left him with 1 Determination, and was way too expensive. After playing around with it for a while, I decided to go with the approach above: Give him high but not superhuman abilities, then roll all of his truly super moves into a cosmic wizardry power. It lowered his cost AND gave him 3 Determination to pop out powers as needed. The basics are that he can dodge and shoot/punch super fast. the rest, like super strength, flight, healing and the rest of the stuff we saw in the movies can all be done through this one power. After all, isn't knowing how to manipulate the code of the universe the very definition of Cosmic Power? It works for me.

In combat he just carries normal guns and tends to open with those, throwing them away after each fight. That's not a power, that's just a shopping trip. He's also strong and skilled enough to fight hand to hand against most opponents without using his power, though if he does decide to use it his opponent is likely to be in trouble fast.

Zeo Morpheus for Mutants and Masterminds (3E)

PDF is here, HeroLab file is here

Zeo Morpheus - PL 12

Strength 0, Stamina 2, Agility 12/4, Dexterity 2, Fighting 14/8, Intellect 2, Awareness 10/5, Presence 2

Defensive Roll 6, Evasion, Improved Initiative 2, Move-by Action, Power Attack, Takedown 2, Uncanny Dodge

Acrobatics 2 (+14), Athletics 8 (+8), Perception 10 (+20), Ranged Combat: Slo-Mo Shooting 6 (+16/+8), Technology 6 (+8)

Guns!: Blast 6 (Easily Removable, DC 21; Multiattack)

"The One"
Bullet Time!: Enhanced Trait 6 (Traits: Dodge +4 (+16), Parry +2 (+16))

Hand Strike: Strength-based Damage 10 (DC 25)
 Punching Explosion: Damage 5 (Alternate; DC 20; Multiattack)

Slo-Mo Coordination: Enhanced Trait 16 (Traits: Agility +8 (+12))

Slo-Mo Kung Fu: Enhanced Trait 12 (Traits: Fighting +6 (+14))
 Strength of The One: Enhanced Trait 12 (Alternate; Traits: Strength +6 (+6))

Slo-Mo Reaction: Enhanced Trait 2 (Advantages: Improved Initiative 2)

Slo-Mo Senses: Enhanced Trait 10 (Traits: Awareness +5 (+10))

Slo-Mo Shooting: Enhanced Trait 4 (Traits: Ranged Combat +8 (+16))

Super Flight: Flight 9 (Speed: 1000 miles/hour, 2 miles/round)

Initiative +20
Grab, +14 (DC Spec 10)
Guns!: Blast 6, +16 (DC 21)
Hand Strike: Strength-based Damage 10, +14 (DC 25)
Punching Explosion: Damage 5, +14 (DC 20)
Throw, +2 (DC 15)
Unarmed, +14 (DC 15)

Dodge 16/12, Parry 16/14, Fortitude 9, Toughness 8/2, Will 15

Sometimes he works with the authorities!

Enemy: The Agents: these are the mysterious agents who police the reality program and hunt down those who would disrupt it

Motivation: Responsibility as The One: this is something he sees as a huge responsibility, that he is the only one who can free humanity from the grip of the machines. This has rendered all other aspects of his life as secondary, so he spends most of his time learning and training to be better so he can succeed in his mission.

Obsession: "Believes reality is a computer simulation that enslaves all of humanity" - he knows how people react os he tries not to bring it up too often but it is the belief that drives his life and he can't help but talk about it sometimes.

Native Language

Power Points
Abilities 50 + Powers 90 + Advantages 12 + Skills 16 (32 ranks) + Defenses 12 = 180

Teamed up with Captain Ladybug!

Notes: Definitely one of the more complicated characters I have done this month. This is about 10 revisions in to the design and I think this one covers everything, but even at PL 12 there are compromises. I started with the speedster template as I wanted to emphasize his speed but I don't think there's much left of it here. 

The design ended up with all of his boosts built into "The One" powerset. This represents the boosts to most of his combat abilities when he is on. Outside of this he also carries an interesting range of guns. He can fly, he can punch somebody really hard or cut loose with a flurry using his multiattack option. He can also trade his kung fu for super-strength, kind of a built-in super power attack, shifting from +14/10 to a +8/16, and that's before using power attack! So he has a wide range of options in melee.

His punching is maxed at +14/10 but his guns are only at +16/6, so if he picks up a heavier gun it's not as much of an issue. Also, multiattack can bump the damage up to an 11 pretty easily, which is pretty nasty.

With a Toughness of 8 (6 of which comes from Defensive Roll) he's pretty reliant on active defenses. To insure this works out for him he has +20 Initiative and +20 Perception and Uncanny Dodge. Also, because I think it's cool seeing "+20" next to a couple of things on a character sheet.

If he loses his powers (say he believes he has been booted out of the Matrix) then he drops to about a PL8 effectiveness which means he's not totally helpless but it is a rather different character at that point.

Roads not taken:
  • He had various levels of Quickness during the process, but I don't really recall anything from the movies that would demand that. I eventually dropped this to get his ranged attack up to a respectable level
  • He had Speed as an alternate power for his flight for a while but I had the same issue as Quickness. If he needs to move fast on the ground he can take a car, though I did not give him an equipment allowance.
  • I had given him an area burst damage attack to represent a fast-moving series of punches but I think Multiattack & Takedown are more effective, so I dropped that as well.
  • No HQ - thought about it, decided I wasn't going to design one, so he has no base. 
Anyway there he is, wrapping up April A to Z!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Y is for Yellowjacket!

First Appearance
No, not THAT Yellowjacket! This Yellowjacket is a member of the Motorbots! You can read all about the Motorbots and the rest of the Formshifters here. YJ was Apprentice Blaster's creation, an homage to Bumblebee created after watching one of the Transformers movies. This is a relatively low-mileage character as he was mainly played right after watching one of the movies and then sat idle quite a bit of the rest of the time. This also means I have fewer shots of him. Regardless, I haven't done one  of the 'Bots this month so I thought he would make an interesting entry.

From the Motorbots post: My backstory concept, modified many times over the years, is that there is a civilization of intelligent robots out there somewhere. One of them started experimenting in ways the others found abhorrent and he was eventually expelled from their society. Searching for a technologically developed remote yet secure place to work he eventually discovered earth and landed there in the 1960's. Not all of the Formshifters were comfortable with simply unleashing their problem child on an unsuspecting and blameless universe so they assigned Maximus Alpha to recruit a small band of fellow bots and track their renegade down and verify that he was behaving himself. If he was not then they were to silence him and any of his experiments that were hanging around. This means Maximus is not just a benevolent do-gooder here to protect people - he's mainly here to kill a villain and stop whatever he's working on, while keeping a low profile with the natives.

Now to help keep that low profile when the Motorbot strike force arrived in the 1980's they used their formshifting power to take on the appearances of some of the most common mobile objects on the planet - motor vehicles. This lets them move among human society without detection or suspicion and is an excellent disguise for what would otherwise be a 20' tall robot. The problem is that once a Formshiter takes a form, it's either temporary or permanent. A temp form takes some effort to maintain and goes away if the bot goes unconscious. A permanent form has no overhead but cannot easily be changed without a lot of energy and some special equipment available only back on the homeworld. Since this was likely to be a long-term assignment the Motorbots permanently took on the forms of the vehicles they saw when they arrived. Unfortunately they cannot change to a newer form and as time passes this is causing them some problems as their once-anonymous shapes now stand out among the 20-30 year newer vehicles around them. "Hey there's a really clean 88 Vette outside" is not conducive to stealthy observation. "Car nuts" are a constant problem for them.

According to Blaster, he's like Bumblebee. So, check the reference material. I'm pretty sure he means the movie 'Bee, not the cartoon version.

 Yellowjacket for ICONS

PDF Link is here

Prowess: 5 (Excellent) - Experienced but still young
Coordination: 5 (Excellent) - Robotic coordination
Strength: 7 (Incredible) - Robotic strength
Intellect: 4 (Good) - Not bad but not an intellectual
Awareness: 4 (Good) - Room for improvement
Willpower: 5 (Excellent) - Better but not the best

Stamina: 12
Determination: 2

Origin: Unearthly
Specialties: Acrobatics, Martial Arts, Weapons (Guns)

Blast 6 (Blasting) - Big Blaster, must be in Bot form

Invulnerability 6 - Robotic Armored Shell

Superspeed 5 - Must be in car form

Friendly Optimist - YJ is the youngest of the Motorbots, arriving decades after the first group and as such has a more adventurous attitude and a more positive outlook than most.

Epithet: "The Youngest" - this is often used to excuse his behavior

Social:"Large Alien Robot hat Looks Like a Camaro" - this can be quite a shock the first time he reveals himself

Bad Luck: "Trouble Magnet" - If one of the bots is accidentally discovered it will be him. If one of them gets attached to a human, it will be him. If one of them steps on a twig and gives away their presence, it will be him.

Social: "Speaks via Sound-Bite" - His voicebox was damaged some time back so YJ speaks through radio/TV sound clips making his speech a little difficult to follow.

Notes: 50 points so not too much. He's a pretty simple character - fast, tough, shooty with decent strength and a good attitude. Bad luck and the rest just keep life interesting for him.

I took a different approach from the writeup I did for the leader in 2011. There I had Transformation as an actual power. I don't know that that is really necessary here as the only reason he changes is to go faster and to blend in. You could probably swap out the super-speed for the transform but at that point it might be easier to just go full alter-ego and give him two writeups - one for humanoid form and one for car form. That seems like a lot of overhead for the relatively minor mechanical differences though it would help to emphasize what he looks like at any given time.

 Yellowjacket for Mutants and Masterminds (3E)

PDF is here

Yellowjacket of the Motorbots - PL 10

Strength 8, Stamina -, Agility 6, Dexterity 3, Fighting 10, Intellect 1, Awareness 1, Presence 1

Agile Feint, All-out Attack, Interpose

Acrobatics 2 (+8), Perception 4 (+5), Persuasion 4 (+5), Ranged Combat: Blaster: Blast 10 7 (+10), Technology 7 (+8)


Blaster: Blast 10 (Removable, DC 25)
Alt: 4 Wheels down: Speed 7 (Alternate; Speed: 250 miles/hour, 0.5 miles/round; Limited: Only in Camaro

Camaro Form: Morph 1 (+20 Deception checks to disguise; Single form; Activation: move action)

Medium Motorbot: Growth 4 (+4 STR, +4 Tough, +2 Intimidate, -4 Stealth, -2 active defenses, +1 size
category; Innate; Permanent)

Protection: Protection 10 (+10 Toughness; Impervious [7 ranks only])

Robotic Life: Immunity 30 (Fortitude Effects)

Initiative +6
Blaster: Blast 10, +10 (DC 25)
Grab, +10 (DC Spec 18)
Throw, +3 (DC 23)
Unarmed, +10 (DC 23)

Dodge 10, Parry 10, Fortitude Immune, Toughness 10, Will 9

Duty to Friends and Family: YJ won't leave anyone behind or alone

Motivation: Thrills: This is a product of overconfidence and curiousity and some attraction to danger.

Secret: The Motorbots are a secret group on Earth and take pains to keep it that way

Native Language

Power Points
Abilities 42 + Powers 77 + Advantages 3 + Skills 12 (24 ranks) + Defenses 16 = 150

Notes: If any of the bots are PL10 it's Yellowjacket, so that's where I kept him. Combat-wise he is fairly simple - Gun, Strength, and lots of speeding or jumping around. Impervious 7 gives him immunity to small guns and hand weapons. In M&M it's possible to directly link some things so in this version he has a Morph ability, and can only use his superspeed when morphed (and cannot use his gun as the speed is an alternate power). He also has permanent, innate growth 4 which makes him about 15 feet tall which seemed about right. This affects his defenses but I've bought them back up to about par for PL10 to keep him as a more dodgy-type combatant.

I changed up his Complications a bit from ICONS. Here he has more duty type issues. I also left off the speaking thing as I don't think you want it to be enough of a problem to get Hero points for it. It's really just a quirky thing about the character rather than a serious disadvantage here.