Saturday, February 12, 2011

Unfortunate Character Choices - Bulldozer

Welcome back to another round of analyzing some of the "lesser" stars of published RPG characters. Today's contestant is from "Enemies II" published in 1982 for Champions, then in what was technically 2nd edition, although editions 1 through 5 are pretty much interchangeable.

"Bulldozer" - I like it. The name implies strength, toughness, possibly some kind of overrun attack, and maybe some kind of mechanical element like a battlesuit. Most of those are not present in this character.

Technical issues - Well, he's really strong as 50 Str is about par for a Brick in this edition of the game. Con of 24 and Body of 15 is OK. His powers though...

  • One level of Density Increase? Just one? Losing 1" of knockback is really nothing to get excited about. Then to buy it to 0 End Cost to keep it always on is just...strange.
  • Damage Resistance vs. all Killing Attacks is good. That's about as much as you could get in this edition. However, is this a side effect from his radiation exposure? Density Increase gives 3 points of fully resistant PD & ED for each level taken, so a few more levels of DI would give him higher defenses against everything AND they would be fully resistant AND they would fit the character concept better.
  • +3" of Running - why?
  • Double Stun from females in HTH? Oh boy here's another double-stun character whose best defense is a 20! There's nothing in the description that indicates why this should be the case, other than him being a construction worker from Jersey. Seems a little severe for a "Cultural Package" limitation.
  • Fear of Spiders? Kind of random, but OK, and Hunted by Police is fine.
 Let's give him the test: An average 10d6 punch is going to do 10 Body and 35 Stun. His PD will stop the Body and allow 15 Stun through. Con of 24 means he's not Stunned and Stun of 47 means he can take 3 or 4 of these punches before he drops - not too bad. His OCV, Spd, and End are on the low end but not crippling.  However, if he gets punched by a girl it gets very ugly. He still stops the Body, but the Stun goes to 70 on average. That means he stops 20 points and then 50 goes through, knocking him unconscious in one shot! I think I would change that "Fear of Spiders" to "Fear of Female Bricks".

Technically, the only redeeming thing here is his point cost. Look at that - he's only built on 166 points! That's about half of what most serious Supervillains were built on in this book, so maybe there's a reason he's kind of weak. Build-wise I would spend my points differently, but as long as he's not fighting a girl he's not terrible.

The worst part of this character isn't so much the powers or the background - it's the costume. Look at that! The only thing that makes him distinctive is that it says "B-U-L-L-D-O-Z-E-R" down the side of his arm! How lame is that? It's like a soccer jersey or some showy brand, not a super-suit! Of course, given the outccry over the lameness of this guy's look, they would surely fix it in the next edition's rogue's gallery 7 years later, right?

So how would I fix this guy? I kind of like the supered-up construction worker but I think Marvel's Wrecking Crew did it better than this. I see three good options:

  1. Go all mechanical and make him a bulldozer that was infected by some kind of nanotech, maybe alien nanotech. Make it look like Bumblebee from the Transformers live action movies only a 'dozer instead of Camaro and you could have some fun with it.
  2. Go with the Altered Human Construction Worker idea but say he can generate a plane of force in front of him when he moves, kind of like the Juggernaut but make it visible and vaguely dozer-blade shaped  with some kind of boost to his melee damage  - maybe a damage shield and a force field or force wall effect.. I'd also let him wear a hardhat too and this might be a salvageable character. In Hero terms I'd give him some levels with Move Through and let him plow into people.  
  3. Put him in a battlesuit and give a big flat piece of metal on each forearm that he uses to block attacks and slap people around. Paint it yellow and give it some Tunneling and he at least looks the part of a disgruntled 'dozer driver who rebuilt his machine into something more.
Super-names tend to be fairly literal in the sense of "what they do or look like" not literal in the "name running down one arm" sense so it would be nice to have some visual bulldozery element here.

Anyway, that's enough for now.

Oh wait.

You'd think that 13 years later and the NEXT next edition of the game and it's attendant enemies book they would have dropped this guy or come up with a better look. I'll let you be the judge of 5th Edition Bulldozer:


Adam Dickstein said...

I like him as either the Construction Worker Juggernaut idea or the Armored Guy. Maybe the the Armored version carries some sort of multi-tool/nano-tech/memory metal shield that can transform into a Shovel (Lift and Knockback?), a Drill (Tunneling) and other simple forms for varies construction themed abilities.

Or...wait for it...give the Transformable Shield to the ConstructionNaut. Oh yeah. That's be sweeet.

Higgipedia said...

It almost looks like 5e Bulldozer is wearing Chuck Taylors...

Blacksteel said...

I see that, Heh. He's supposed to be kind of a pro wrestler in 5th edition but I think I like that even less than the original take. It also makes him look like a mul from Dark Sun.