Saturday, April 13, 2013

L is for Team Ladybug

First Appearance
Apprentice Twilight was playing around with the costume creator in City of Heroes and ended up with something inspired by this:

We discussed adding insect wings but she was dead set against it, but the inspiration remains. She was an Energy Blast/Energy Melee Blaster in CoH.

Not being one to let her wander the virtual streets alone I made a companion character:

Captain Ladybug was an Invulnerabilty/Energy Melee Tanker. Lots of glowy red fists and lots of knockback! I envisioned him as a big bulky suit of power armor.

Ladybug Girl was a typical college science major interested in the properties and applications of some of the fringe biologies that have appeared in the Super Era. As her father had feared, one day her investigations led to an accident and she was bathed in a srange chemical substance that energized her cells with an unknown type of radiation she has tentatively dubbed "red energy". It has many of the properties of kinetic energy but it is visible in the normal visual spectrum and can be manipulated like light energy. She has not been able to nail down all of the things it can do and she has not been able to recreate it, but she has learned to control it.  After designing a costume to hide her true identity she took to the skies and the streets and now fights crime as LADYBUG GIRL!

Captain Ladybug is Ladybug Girl's father, a robotics engineer by trade. When his daughter had her accident he helped her to analyze the strange energies that now flowed through her body. When she announced her intentions to go Super, he became increasingly worried about her safety. When talking failed to dissuade her he went with Plan B. He built a hulking suit of powered armor that coudl generate an artificial form of Red Energy and went after her and was soon dubbed by the media CAPTAIN LADYBUG!

(Yes, she knows. She figured it out the first time he showed up - BAM! POW! SMACK! ... Dad?)

She feels a strong sense of duty to repay the debt of her gift by making the world a better place. Combine this with her intense curiosity about the world of super-science and she gets into trouble a lot. She is a headstrong young woman who follows her gut and is sometimes driven by emotional reactions before she can really think about a situation.

He is a concerned father, an older man who had his children later than many and values them greatly. He never paid much attention to the ups and downs of the super-set and has no great desire to be a hero on his own. He is only in this to protect his girl. If she gave it up tomorrow, he could put the suit away, never touch it again, and be perfectly happy the rest of his life.

PDF link is here.

Ladybug Girl for ICONS

Prowess: 3 (Typical) - she's not a trained or an experienced fighter - yet
Coordination: 6 (Remarkable) - she's a deadeye shot
Strength: 3 (Typical) - she is a typical young woman in this area
Intellect: 5 (Excellent) - she's smart and educated
Awareness: 5 (Excellent) - she is more aware than most
Willpower: 5 (Excellent) - she is tenacious

Stamina: 8
Determination: 2

Origin: Transformed

Specialties: Science Expert (Biology), Science (Chemistry)

Blast 7 (Incredible) - Red Energy Blast - this is a blast of glowing red energy from her fists

Strike 5 (Excellent) - Red Energy Smash - this is a punch from her glowing red energized fist

Force Field 7 (Incredible) - Red Energy Field - this is a glowing red aura that blocks both energy and physical attacks. She doesn't really have to concentrate to keep it up but it does shut down if she is knocked unconscious  

Flight 5 (Excellent) - this appears to be tied to her energized cells but she is uncertain why or how it works.


Motivation: Chosen to Make a Difference - her feeling of assuming a duty by receiving this change drives her beyond all other considerations. She can't just sit home and let others help - she has to do it, as much as she can.

Identity: Secret Identity & College Student

Connections: Father (Captain Ladybug) and Local Scientific Community (College Biology Major)

Impetuous Youth: She tends to react without thinking first and she has little experience which is a dangerous combination. 

Too Curious By Far: Aside from her feelings of responsibility her other main drive is curiosity - how did this happen? what else could this energy do? what other discoveries are out there waiting to be made?

Weakness: Dark Energy Powers - She has only encountered this once, but a strange being of "black energy" once passed near her and she felt her powers diminish to the point she could no feel them anymore. This both worried her and excited her curiosity but she was not able to pursue the thing as it quickly flew off.

PDF link is here

More Aliens!

Captain Ladybug for ICONS

Prowess: 4 (Good) - he's not an experienced fighter but he's learning
Coordination: 4 (Good) - he doesn't really need to be better than this
Strength: 7 (Incredible) - the suit does the heavy lifting
Intellect: 5 (Excellent) - he's smart and educated
Awareness: 4 (Good) - he is more aware than some but not amazingly so
Willpower: 5 (Excellent) - he is driven to protect his daughter

Stamina: 12
Determination: 1

Origin: Gimmick (Ladybug Battlesuit)

Specialties: Science (Physics), Electronics, Mechanics

Hmmm, snow creatures
Invulnerability Device 8 (Amazing) - Ladybug Battlesuit - his suit is tremendously resilient and he often uses it to shield others

Life Support Device 6 (Cold, Breathing, Heat, Pathogens, Radiation, Vacuum) - Sealed Ladybug Battlesuit

Leaping Device 5 (Excellent)  - Battlesuit JUMP! 

Strike Device 3 (Bashing) - Glowling Red Armored Fists 

Motivation: Protective Father - his primary concern is Ladybug Girl. While he does trust her judgement and capabilities to a degree, he will drop everything to protect/saver her whenever he feels she is in danger.

Connections: Daughter (Ladybug Girl)

Late Bloomer - Captain Ladybug is in his 50's and has little knowledge of the whole super culture other than what he has experienced so far with his daughter. This is both a physical issue at times, and a social one. 

Secret Identity - Engineer & Father

Clearly not friendly snow creatures

Notes: So today it's two characters instead of two systems. they both come out to 54 points, higher than standard point-builds but not that high. I think these writeups cover the core of both though there would be somewhat more detail in an M&M design than what's here. She can fly around and blast things while he jumps in and engages on the ground. They're both fairly tough but his life support lets him go places that she should not. 

Beyond the powers and stats I hope the Aspects give a solid picture of how they operate. She can use Impetuous Youth and Curiosity to gain enough Determination to really get into trouble, then dad can hopefully get her out. 

Not friendly? So be it!

Friday, April 12, 2013

K is for Kaptain Amerika

I'm going to violate one of my self-made rules for the blog and repeat a previous post. I do this for two reasons: first, I really like this character, and second, none of the other options for "K" really lit my fire. This is one of my favorite old CoH characters and I like the write-up I gave him, so rather than straining to make a mediocre concept interesting I'm going to reprint him for this round of the A to Z challenge. 

When he doesn't have the shield out he is occasionally mistaken for a certain speedster...
 Roger Stevens was an undersized youth who wanted to join the military during the Worldwide Patriotic War of the 1950's. Rejected for his poor physical condition, he kept trying and was eventually accepted into an experimental program designed to create the finest soldier possible. The treatment worked, but only on him, and its creator and the facility used was destroyed soon afterward in an attack on the lab. Despite this attack, experiments in human enhancement would continue and some would succeed, but none as spectacularly as the Kaptain.

The Kaptain spent time training in many forms of unarmed combat, firearms of allies and enemies, languagesm tactics, and strategy. He was also equipped with a special and unique uniform and equipped with a shield made of a unique metal, symbolic of his role as "shield of the people", a protector, not an avenger. Within months he was in action both at home and abroad and the People's Republic of Amerika soon had its first true super war hero.

For fifty years Kap was the symbol of the best part of Amerika. The expeirment that created him also retarded his aging process, so that the passing of five decades touched him as though a mere 5 years had passed. Always forthright, always humble, duty pressed him onward. Even as his wartime comrades passed away he stayed true to the Republic and its citizens. Even as new heroes and new leaders sprang up with different values and priorities, he kept to his core beliefs. As the century drew to a close he felt somewhat isolated from the leadership of the Republic, their open greed and corruption grating against his sense of right and wrong and his sense of duty to the people. He kept going though, knowing that this was his place in the world.

Then one day news came theat a terrorist organization had acquired a nuclear weapon and was planning to detonate it somewhere in Manhattan. The gravest of threats demand the greatest of heroes and soon Kap was on the case. He pursued and destroyed most of the cell members. Bursting into the underground laboratory of the cell leader, he realized that something strange was in the works here - after all of his years of duty he knew what a nuclear device looked like and this machine was no bomb. As the leader leapt onto the platform, one arm still hanging useless, broken from an earlier hit from Kap's shield, he turned back, grimaced in triumph, pulled a lever, and things...changed.

Kap staggered, feeling a ... shift ... unlike anything he had ever felt before. His enemy yelled at him that it was a different world now, and though they were shielded from the change there was no place for him in it. In reponse Kap bashed the leader with his shield, knocking him out. Feeling a growing sense of unease Kaptain Stevens rushed back outside and into a world much like the one he knew, but clearly not his home.Within a few minutes he realized the People's Republic was no more - he was lost, a man without a country, a hero without a cause.

On the edge of despair Kap acquired civillian clothing and set about learning where he was. He had some hopes of finding a way back home but as time went on he realized he couldn't be sure his home even existed  anymore. As he learned more about this new place, indecision, melancholy, and a feeling of helplessness began to take hold of him for the first time in half a century. The language was largely the same, so he could blend in. The technology was quite similar so he was able to function within this strange society. It was not home, however, and he was unable to pull himself out of a spiral of depression.

Headed downward, he drifted to the edges of the city. He saw cruelty and violence here, much as he had seen it at home. One day though, as he saw a young mother and child under assault by some thugs, something stirred within him and he took action, much as he would have if he had seen these things at home. He kept at it over the next few days, thrashing a varierty of hoodlums and criminals and finally wiping out a local gang in a one-man war on crime. He realized that despite the drastic differences between his home and this "America" bad things still happened, he still had the means to do something, and the people still needed a champion. Donning his characteristic red uniform and bearing his iconic shield, the last survivor of the Republic took to the streets - Kaptain Amerika, Hero and Protector of the People, would not abandon his duty!

Notes: Kap is extremely concerned for innocent bystanders who might be caught up or injured  but is far less particular about the means used to deal with criminals or enemies - due process was more of a goal than a rule in Amerika. He has also been afected by the passage of fifty years of super-duty, not having been frozen in an iceberg for decades so he is not strictly a child of the fifties afresh.

PDF sheet is here

  • Prowess - 8 (Amazing) Genetically enhanced, trainedby the best, 50 years of hard, direct experience
  • Coordination - 7 (Incredible) Genetically enhanced, trained by the best, etc...
  • Strength - 6 (Remarkable) Genetically...etc...
  • Intellect - 5 (Excellent) etc.
  • Awareness - 6 (Remarkable) Enhancement, training, experience...he has lots
  • Willpower - 7 (Incredible) There's very little that he has not been through, so not much phases him anymore

Stamina - 13

Determination - 1

Origin - Transformed

Specialties - Weapon (Shield), Acrobatics, Military

"The Shield of the Republic" - a unique weapon made of an indestructable lightweight alloy that both protects its bearer and can be thrown with stunning accuracy to strike at range
   - Reflection- 8 (Amazing) Using the shield defensively
   - Blast - 6 (Remarkable) Thrown Shield
   - Fast Attack - 6 (Remarkable) up to 3 attacks per panel with either fists (All-Out Attack!) or a thrown shield (Ricochet!)

"Patriot" - Even though his national affiliation is a little blurry and the world situation unfamiliar, he is still a believer in the land where he was (sort of) raised. If there is a threat to THIS America, he has resolved to treat it as if it was a threat to THAT Amerika. This is more of a strategic, conceptual thing - a cause.

"Defender of the People" - Kap will go out of his way, risk his life, and even sacrifice his life to protect the innocent. This is more of a tactical thing, influencing his decisions in combat RIGHT NOW.

"The Last Amerikan" - Kap was born and raised in a world where different choices were made in the 20th century. Culturally he gets a lot of what makes "America" but it is different from the "Amerika" where he grew up. This causes misunderstandings sometimes, especially with references to the past, history, and politics. It also means his standards and expectations are somewhat off from what is traditional.

"Flexible Ethics" - In contrast to the image of a similarly named hero, Kap is a lot less Lone Ranger, and a lot more Jack Bauer. He is far more interested in what is effective when it comes to saving lives and thwarting criminals than he is concerned with rules and policies and codes of honor. this can get him into trouble with other authorities, his own authorities, and can create revenge-driven enemies.

"Bullheaded" - After doing what he does for over 5 decades, Kap is pretty confident in the decisions he makes and it can be very difficult to dissuade him from a course of action once he has chosen it.

"Sucker for a Pretty Face" - One of the best ways to try and dissuade Kap from a given course of action is through an attractive female. He has had very few long-term female attachments, considering himself on permanent wartime duty.

The Kaptain tests out a new environmentally sealed suit
Kap comes out to 62 Points which is fairly high. He's a pretty combat-centric character but his intellect and awareness give him a chance to contribute outside of that and his Challenges and Qualities should make life interesting too. I think the Fast Attack power is a little gamey, but the Cap we all know is rarely shown hitting only one guy - in some panels he's punching one guy, shield bashing another, and kicking a third, and I wanted to capture that. Tell the DM to bring some minions.

To drop him down a bit you could take away the Fast Attack power and drop his Willpower to 6. That lowers his cost to 55 which in my mind is an "experienced" character but keeps most of the "character" of Kap. If that's still too high then drop his Blast and he can rely on his Reflection to hurt people at range - his cost drops to 49 and his Determination goes to 2. This would be a younger Kap with less experience - maybe he's the replacement for the original.

Looks like the suit works just fine as Kap kicks a mutant where it counts 

And of course, for the 2013 update it's not cool to just repost - I have to add something new ...

Kaptin Amerika for Marvel Heroic Roleplaying

PDF is here.

Here is another interpretation of Kap, mainly based on the published Cap sheet. 
  • This one is best solo, then team, then buddy just because that's how I see him. 
  • His distinctions are new. I assume Defender will be used in combat a lot, Patriot has some use in and out of battle, and Amerikan is likely plot point bait to be rolled as a d4 in social situations. 
  • Powers are the same as Cap's with the addition of one SFX - "One Man Army" which is Wolverine's berserker mode renamed. I thought it was an effective illustration of the different backgrounds of this guy vs. the one we know.
  • Specialties are the same
  • Milestones: 
    • Former Living Flag is an altered version of Civil War Cap's milestone. I think it helps play up his being from an alternate history and struggling to blend in. 
    • In Amerika ... is an altered version of one of Wolverine's milestones to play up the Flexible Ethics qualities and again illustrate the differences between our Cap and this Kap.
The milestones are the area where I think more experimentation is needed. Both of these could be more refined, at least in the 10XP option. Also, there are others that fit pretty well. I really like a possible version of the "Old Friends, Old Enemies" milestone used by Spider Man (Deadly Foes), and several others. Both of Cable's milestones could be adapted as well, I believe.

Anyway there are two versions of Kaptain Amerika. One of the fun parts of this kind of game is mixing and matching elements of different "known" characters and turning concepts inside out. Kap's a pretty good example of how that works for me. 

Next up: The end of the week with the Letter L!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

J is for Jolly Jade Giant

First Appearance
Another combination of inspiration and interest. I wanted to make a plant controller in CoH but had not really stuck on a concept. Then things finally came together and the Jolly Jade Giant was born!

In  a magical mystical amazingly green land the Valley Giants tend their crops. Guardians of the land, they take their mission as both caretakers of all plant life and defenders of nature quite seriously. As each generation comes of age they are sent out into the universe to gain experience and knowledge before returning to the valley as guardians. One such young giant, possibly nicknamed "Sprout" in his youth, came to our world and quickly joined in the superhero life, using his powers for the advancement of good.

The giant is a tall green humanoid who speaks with a deep, almost booming voice. He is physically tough and strong though he has not reached his full growth. His main power though is his ability to enhance and control plant life. With this power comes the customary responsibility and he knows he is here to learn and train for a greater role yet to come. He is eager to learn, friendly, and prefers to work with other heroes rather than alone as he assumes they know more about just about everything than he does - other than plants. He is quite friendly and tends to make nervous conversation when the action is about to start.

Looks like trouble ...

Jolly Jade Giant for ICONS

Link to PDF here.

Prowess: 3 (Typical) - he's not really a fighter
Coordination: 4 (Good) - he's alright but this is not his thing
Strength: 6 (Remarkable) - he is a young giant!
Intellect: 3 (Good) - average for humans but above average for giants
Awareness: 5 (Excellent) - he is in-tune with his environment
Willpower: 5 (Excellent) - he is driven by his cause

Stamina: 11
Determination: 1

Origin: Gimmick (+2 to Awareness)

Specialties: Nature Expert, Science (Biology)

Plant Control - 8 (Amazing) - This is what his people do and he's already very good at it
Growth - 4 (good) - When needed he can grow to 20' tall. His Strength goes up to 7 (Incredible), he gains Invulnerability 4 (Good), and his defense is at -1 as he is a larger target.
Regeneration - 5 (Excellent) - He heals more quickly than meat beings

Catchphrase : "Ho Ho Ho!" - typically right before the battle begins

Motivation : "Defender of Nature" - In general his people's hierarchy of favored life forms is Plants>Animals>Other Intelligent Beings but he is young and has bent somewhat on this philosophy

Weakness - "Defoliants" - From Agent Orange to Round-Up things intended to kill plants are a danger to him

Social - "Not From Around Here" - He has learned much about the Earth and Humans but he still runs into awkward and unfamiliar situations from time to time.


Notes: At 46 points he almost a by-the-book point-based character. I would think his primary ranged attack would be using plants as a binding attack but that can be tricky to pull off in a street or indoor battle. Having 3 points of starting Determination should let him stunt into some interesting options, though. A lot of plant-type characters tend to be one-dimensional but with Growth-4 and the resulting Strength boost and Invuln power he can function as a Brick-type character besides just tangling up people's feet. His Regen will come in handy here too. 

Now what other games are out there that let you play a large plant-man? Oh, wait ...

Jolly Jade Giant for Gamma World

Link to PDF here.

This is JJG at 10th level in the 2010 edition of Gamma World.Now he's a little different here. This takes him back to his City of Heroes roots where he was a Plant/Empathy Controller. With the Plant and Empathy origins in GW7 he functions very similarly to that. A lot of his capability will be determined by his gear and mutations, but this is a pretty solid core for keeping that theme. He's tough and charismatic but he's also not that bright and not that dextrous -sounds like it's right for a giant plant-man!

Yep, it's all ruined!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

I is for IRON MOM!

First Appearance
This one was a Mother's Day thing for Lady Blacksteel a few years ago. I had a concept and ran with it and then turned it over to her to play. She did, humoring me for a while. I can see it being even more fun in a tabletop game.

Tired of her super-husband always heading out on patrol after work, an annoyed suburban housewife finally asked "Why don't you get one of your super-genius-billionaire friends in your little club to build a super-suit for me? Then I could keep an eye on things while the kids are in school  and you can pick it up in the evenings." Hearing that tone of voice, super-dad made a decision that he perhaps regrets today on a personal level, but it undeniably made the city a safer place.

Iron Mom patrols her city with all the energy of a mom on playground watch. Her tendency is to intervene rather than not, so quite a few citizens have gotten to meet her via auto accidents, stray pets, and unruly children. Normally she tries to minimize her use of violence, instead using the suit's enhanced senses and physical capabilities to solve a variety of problems. Children are a special concern though and if threatened she will crank the suit up to Overmax and cut loose in whatever way is needed - threatening a school bus is a pretty solid way of summoning the red and yellow guardian of good behavior.

Iron Mom for ICONS

PDF link here

Prowess: 3 (Typical) - she doesn't like to fight
Coordination: 5 (Excellent) - high school athlete and still has some skill
Strength: 7 (Incredible) - battlesuit! she would be a 3 without it
Intellect: 4 (Good) - better than average
Awareness: 9 (Monstrous) - mother + super hi tech sensors
Willpower: 6 (Remarkable) - she's hard to dissuade once she's made up her mind

Stamina: 13
Determination: 1

Origin: Gimmick (+2 to Awareness)

Specialties: Psychiatry Expert (she's a mom), Area Knowledge (she's a mom), Deception (she's a mom and so knows it when she sees it)

Invulnerability - 8 (Amazing) - Iron Mom Suit (Device)
Blast - 6 (Remarkable) - Electrical Blast - Iron Mom Suit (Device)
Flight - 5 (Excellent) - Iron Mom Suit (Device)
Supersenses - 3 (Enhanced Hearing, Extended Vision, Extended Hearing ) - Iron Mom Suit (Device)

"Catchphrase :Because I Said So" - Iron mom says this a lot and it does not always make a whole lot of sense.

"Motivation : Defend the Defenseless and clean up bad behavior " - she sticks up for the little guy, kids, women, puppies, and really almost anything she can  use to position herself as a defender. It also means that people know how to lure her in to a situation.

"Connections : Soccer Mom Network" - being an involved and active mom means she meets and talks to a lot of people. She can use this network both as her private identity and as Iron Mom. Of course, sometimes this draws her in to trouble.

"I Didn't Build This Thing!" - The strange alien genius known only as Doctor Oahu disappeared nearly a year ago. His last creation on planet Earth was the Iron Mom Suit. He gave her minimal instruction on its use, promised more, but disappeared the next day and has not been seen since. Sometimes in the heat of battle she discovers some new capability. Other times she "hits the wrong button" and the thing shuts down at a most inconvenient time.

"Weakness - Harsh Language" - Excessive use of profanity causes her visible distress, and a few criminals have been able to delay capture by unleashing a torrent of profanity as she approaches. It's rude and shocking and makes it difficult for her to concentrate. 

"Social - Oh Look it's Iron Mom" - Some of the more traditional male heroes (and villains) in the city still do not take her seriously. This is not so much because she's a girl but because of the mom thing. It's not a particularly intimidating name in their eyes and doesn't fit with their view of the super business. This continues but is likely to drop away over time as she continues to display her skill - and the power of the suit.

Notes: At 60 points she's one of the tougher characters I have posted but I think she's a pretty reasonable expression of the concept. I wanted to mix in the female hero, aspects of "mom" as a hero, and a little of the suit from Greatest American Hero, Hopefully the Qualities and Challenges and all the rest come together to convey this.

Iron Mom teams up with Super Patriot to clean up the street! 

And now ...

Iron Mom for Marvel Heroic Roleplaying

Link to PDF here

For Marvel we change things up a bit. I'm looking at the suit as an older model suit - maybe a gift from Tony Stark? - that was upgraded by an alien scientist and that's where our two power sets come from. One is the known, reliable suit tech one would expect a hero to have. The other is the unpredictable Alien Tech set that allows a lot of flexibility but also allows for shutdowns to gain a plot point.

Her affiliations are Solo>Buddy>Team just because that's how I see her - other arrangements could certainly be justified. Specialties are Psych (she's a mom), Menace (she's a mom), Medical (she's a mom), and Covert (she's a mom) - I think you see where I'm coming from on this. 

The "Iron" is mostly in the powers while the "Mom" is reflected in the Specialties and Milestones. 

I think she would be fun to play in most campaigns. If this version is a little too nice then swap out one of her Milestone sets for one from the Punisher. It could work surprisingly well for the mom who's willing to go a little too far.