Friday, April 26, 2013

W is for Wizard of Wor

First Appearance
CoH periodically released new costume pieces and parts and full sets. One of them was magic-themed and of course this meant I needed a new character to try them out. Wiz went through several incarnations but one that stuck around was a Sonic/Dark Defender, mainly because it looked particularly "wizardy". I'm shallow like that sometimes.

Yes, the old videdogame was in my head for some reason when I was working on him. Maybe it was the colors, I don't know.

The Wizard of Wor was born on earth but was noticed by certain organizations as having high magical potential. Unfortunately for him he was not invited to attend a magical English secondary school. Instead he was kidnapped and raised on a distant world, a harsh, unforgiving place with a harsh unforgiving Master. As he passed various test over the years he was taught more powerful magic. Only the best could serve the Master of the place as his champion and lieutenant, and this decade of training would winnow a group of candidates down until only the strongest survived. He did, but instead of ascending to be the master's right hand he set off planted devices, self-destructs, and then cast a long-prepared spell to take him home. At the end though the Master caught him as the spell was completed and corrupted the final step. Instead of returning to Earth the turncoat was sent tumbling into another dimension.

It would be a long road home. The Wizard spent a year traveling various dimensions as he divined the correct path home, moving ever closer to his goal. Eventually he reached it, but he knew that agents of the master could still be watching for him. He created an identity-concealing costume, contacted some potential friends, and decided to begin a new life as a hero. This would give him a cover as "just another costumed do-gooder", allow him to watch for signs of the cult, make some new allies, and atone for the terrible things he had done during his training.

The Wizard of Wor stays hidden behind his mask and robes. His voice is modulated through his mask, concealing that as well. He is physically fit, athletic and energetic, and an experienced, dangerous physical combatant. He comes across as knowing a lot but saying little more than is needed to resolve the current situation. He doesn't have a lot to say unless educating an ally on a magical threat of some kind. He tends towards the grim, as he knows what is out there and how dangerous it can be, but he has occasional lighter moments where he can come across as more likable - there may still be a real person inside there. The Wizard has never been heard to laugh. He dreams of a day when the greatest magical threats to the world are destroyed and the Master is slain once and for all, when he can finally take off his mask.

 Wizard of Wor for ICONS

PDF is here

Prowess: 5 (Excellent) - Much of his early life was spent in combat
Coordination: 5 (Excellent) - A matter of survival
Strength: 4 (Good) - In good shape
Intellect: 5 (Excellent) - Bright and educated
Awareness:5 (Excellent) - Senses honed by experience
Willpower: 8 (Amazing) - This reflects his self control and mental discipline

Stamina: 12
Determination: 2

Origin: Transformed
Specialties: Occult Master, Martial Arts Expert

Force Field 5  - Mystic Shield - Learned early and something he does without even thinking about it now 

Wizardry 8 - Magic, Willpower-based - Known Powers:
  • Winds of Wor (Flight) 
  • Iron Bands of Bollarro (Binding)

Epithet: "The Militant Master of Magic" - he's known for not being a very traditional wizard, jumping into hand to hand situations like a pro.

Motivation: Protect the city and the world from mystic threats, waging a constant underground war against these things.

Enemies: The Circle of Thorns - A powerful magical group that poses a huge threat to life on earth if left unchecked, he has already had several skirmishes with them and has marked them as his next target

Bloodthirsty: The Wizard is not like many traditional superheroes. He knows what these magical cults are capable of and sees this as a war, not a sport - he's not playing tag here. People are going to die and most of them are going to deserve it. If he's pointing a loaded finger at the leader of an evil cult who is holding a hostage, well, you might not want to be that hostage - it's a close thing for him.

Masked: He keeps his face and voice hidden for his own protection. Revealing them would potentially give his greatest enemy his location and make him more vulnerable to certain magical attacks. As no one has seen his face, no one can be 100% sure he is a male, or even human anymore.

Here Wor consults with an angel and the king of pop!
What if Dr. Strange or Dr. Fate had the attitude of the Punisher? I wanted to ponder this and WW is the result. At 50 points he is remarkably cheap for what he can do. He has a fairly ferocious melee capability plus his Wizardry which makes him all kinds of flexible. 

I kept his Force Field separate from his Wizardry because I wanted it to be a separate, instinctive thing. Even if his main magic is drained he could still put up his field. Looking at it from an efficiency point of view it could probably just be rolled into his Wizardry list replacing Flight which would give him another point of Determination but I'm leaving it the way I wrote it up here for now.

I also gave him Binding instead of Blast for his main ranged attack, mainly because it's more interesting. He can stunt into a blast if he just wants to blow things away, but the binding option lets him interrogate prisoners during or after a confrontation. 

He will be burning Determination to do interesting things with his powers so it was important to me that he start with at least 2 points. Hopefully I have given him enough Challenges to gain some more and enough Qualities to spend them in fun ways. With his power level he can maintain up to 8 effects at a time so he has room to use those points.

Going back to the question above ...

Is this the end?

Wizard of Wor for Marvel Heroic Roleplaying

PDF Link is here

Most of Wor in MHR is Dr. Strange with some Punisher added in as well. His Milestones are a mix of the two, insuring the proper attitude. His Specialties are as well. His Powers are in a single set (as opposed to Strange's 3!) with lots of options for adding in multiple dice, stepping them up, or stepping them down, so he should still be fairly versatile. he is not intended to be as powerful as Strange, but is instead a combat-focused battle wizard. One set may be restrictive but I didn't want to load him down with a bunch of "magic items" to create another power set. I see him as reliant on his own abilities, using items temporarily at most, which would be covered by the asset creation rules. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

V is for Captain Vesuvius!

First Appearance
Continuing my "Shield Guys" mania of the time I decided I wanted a magical fire-themed shield tanker and a few hours work in the character creator resulted in this guy.

While vacationing in Italy gymnastics trainer Marcus Mollari wandered into a cave near Pompeii. Inside he found an ancient shrine to a long forgotten god of fire and earth. In a place of honor rested an ornate helm. Drawn irresistibly closer, he picked it up and placed it on his head. Instantly he was possessed by an ancient Roman spirit out for vengeance, the spirit of a Roman special agent, an investigator of secret cults and societies. Having followed clues to Pompeii, he had been close to a final triumph over his greatest enemies when the ill-timed volcanic disaster ended his work prematurely. The cult endures even in the present day, but so does he - and now they're going to pay!

On the Move!

Marcus soon returned home, externally unchanged. However, when he dons the Helm of Vesuvius he gains new powers, seems to become taller, and his voice changes. Occasionally he speaks in Latin without even realizing it. During these times he's sharing his body with an ancient Roman crimefighter and is a very different person from his normal self.

 Captain Vesuvius for ICONS

PDF link is here

Prowess: 4 (Good) - Not an expert but learning
Coordination: 5 (Excellent) - Gymnastics!
Strength: 4 (Good) - Athletic but not a bodybuilder
Intellect: 4 (Good) - Not bad
Awareness: 4 (Good) - Another area developing rapidly
Willpower: 6 (Remarkable) - Helm + Spirit = Better

Stamina: 10
Determination: 2

Origin: Gimmick - Helm of Vesuvius
Specialties: Acrobatics, Computers, Occult

Aura 5 (Device) - Flames of Vesuvius! 

Resist Magic 5 (Device) - Helm of Vesuvius

Elemental Control 7 Lava (Device) - Helm of Vesuvius - known powers:
  • Offense: Fiery Sword of Vengeance (Strike)
  • Defense: Fiery Shield of Justice (Force Field)
  • Create: Fiery Doom of Judgement (Bonus Power)
Step away!

Secret Identity as Marcus Mollari, Gymnastics Trainer

"Spirit of Roman Vengeance" - When using the helm Marcus is sharing/hearing/possessed by a Roman spirit that is somewhere between Soloman Kane and Batman. This gives him all kinds of gritty determination but can be tricky when it's time to not be an obsessed vigilante.

Weakness: Time and Dimensional powers - the Helm is a magical conduit to the ancient earth spirit inside Vesuvius. Powers that interfere with time and open dimensional rifts can interfere with this connection, causing a loss of power. The ancient spirit does not go away - it lives in the helm - but the fiery lava power weakens and fades if the connection is not available.

Enemy: Cult of the Twin Serpents - this is a powerful magical secret society that dates back to at least Roman times. The Spirit is now back in action and ready to root them out once and for all.

You were warned!
At 47 points Captain V is just over the book's number for point buy characters and yet he's pretty capable. If he needs to be 45 exactly I would drop 2 points of magic resistance. He has some use out of combat and is pretty nasty in combat with his sword and shield and flaming aura. Two starting Determination should let him pull of an elemental stunt pretty easily. Technically his EC is "fire" but I think it fits better as "lava" - just treat it like fire. One downside is that all of his powers come from the Helm, so if it is taken away he doesn't have much left. Upgrades could include a movement power of some kind - maybe he can "surf" lava? Also a bonus power to shape some Fiery Barriers could be a lot of fun in a fight.

 Captain Vesuvius for Mutants and Masterminds (3E)

PDF is here

Captain Vesuvius - PL 10

Strength 1, Stamina 1, Agility 5, Dexterity 3, Fighting 5, Intellect 0, Awareness 2, Presence 2

Accurate Attack, All-out Attack, Languages 1, Power Attack, Takedown

Acrobatics 7 (+12), Close Combat: Fiery Sword 5 (+10), Insight 4 (+6), Investigation 5 (+5), Perception 3
(+5), Persuasion 3 (+5), Ranged Combat: Energy Control 5 (+8)

Fiery Shield of Justice: Force Field 8 (+8 Toughness; Impervious)
Fire Immunity: Immunity 5 (Damage Effect: Fire)
Flames of Vesuvius: Energy Aura 4 (DC 19)
Helm of Vesuvius: Fire Control: Energy Control 12 (DC 27)
Blast Wave: Burst Area Blast 6 (Alternate; DC 21; Burst Area 3: 120 feet radius sphere; Reduced
Range: close)
Create Fire: Create 8 (Alternate; Volume: 250 cft., DC 18; Movable)
Fiery Sword of Vengeance: Damage 10 (Alternate; DC 25)
Quick Change: Feature 1 (Notes: Transform into costume as a free action)

Initiative +5
Blast Wave: Burst Area Blast 6 (DC 21)
FIery Sword of Vengeance: Damage 10, +10 (DC 25)
Flames of Vesuvius: Energy Aura 4, +5 (DC 19)
Grab, +5 (DC Spec 11)
Helm of Vesuvius: Fire Control: Energy Control 12, +8 (DC 27)
Throw, +3 (DC 16)
Unarmed, +5 (DC 16)

Dodge 11, Parry 10, Fortitude 6, Toughness 9, Will 12

Enemy - Cult of the Twin Serpents: this is a powerful magical secret society that dates back to at least Roman times. The Spirit is now back in action and ready to root them out once and for all.

Motivation: Justice: When using the helm Marcus is sharing/hearing/possessed by a Roman spirit that is somewhere between Soloman Kane and Batman. This gives him all kinds of gritty determination but can be tricky when it's time to not be an obsessed vigilante.

Power Loss - Time and Dimensional Effects: the Helm is a magical conduit to the ancient earth spirit inside Vesuvius. Powers that interfere with time and open dimensional rifts can interfere with this connection, causing a loss of power. The ancient spirit does not go away - it lives in the helm - but the fiery lava power weakens and fades if the connection is not available.

Latin, Native Language

Power Points
Abilities 38 + Powers 65 + Advantages 5 + Skills 16 (32 ranks) + Defenses 26 = 150 

Checking for Clues
Notes: Keeping him at PL10 does restrict what he can do but he is still pretty close to the ICONS version. He does gan an area blast as an alternate power, always a handy trick to have. He also trades magic resistance for immunity to fire to keep with the fire theme.

Offensively he has the Sword at 10/10, a ranged attack at 8/12, the area blast at +6, and the aura at +4 so he has a variety of ways to hurt badguys and the aura will help keep the minions off at least.

Defensively he's about par for PL10 but his Parry is down 1 pt and his Fort is low - his Will is quite strong though!

For upgrades he could still use a movement power and maybe Create Objects as an lat power for his Energy Control. A penetrating attack or one with an increased Critical range would be nice for tough targets.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Overreaction Wednesday

It's been a while since I've talked newsy stuff - been building characters you know - and it's clearly time:

UPDATE evening of 4/24: Well I picked the right day to talk news. The biggest news of the day is the end of the Marvel Heroic RPG after a little more than a year. That might be a record.  Announcement is down the page here. MWP Forum talk is here. There's just nothing good about this and having just recently started up a new campaign for the boys I was hoping for a lot more material over the next few years. Age of Apocalypse would have been a huge boost to any potential X-Men games. Looks like it stops with the Civil War books and Annihilation. Damn.

So by the end of this year both the DC and Marvel RPG licenses will be inactive. That's a little surprising with all of the movies and cartoons and everything else going on right now. If this golden age of superhero stuff can't support these kinds of things when will it be viable?

D&D Next takes a misstep - take a look at this article and then look at the comments below it. Skills optional? Feats default to a +1 Ability Score with other options ... optional? Yes, it looks like quite a mess. This is the kind of stuff in a really good April Fool's joke, but it appears to be true.

In better news, Stonehell : The Rest of the Dungeon is on the way to being completed. Facebook page is here for more info.

Also, Pathfinder keeps cranking out more books! I kinda wish I had gotten more into it, but then looking at the monthly pace of publication I'm kinda glad I didn't.

The DC Adventures Universe book is finally headed our way - announcement and a preview here. I expect that with the wrapup of the DC thing we will see more straight-up M&M books in the next year or two, likely with a Freedom City 3E book at the heart of it - that's  not announced or anything, just my speculation. With Cosmic Power, and Emerald City already set for later this year and the bi-weekly  Gadget Guides going strong M&M is looking good.

Great Power is "very nearly done". I'm looking forward to it. More ICONS is a good thing.

Stark City has begun releasing chapters to backers and it's solid. More on it to come.

The Home Campaigns
  • The grown-up 4E D&D campaign continues. One of these days the summaries will catch up to the actual sessions and balance will be restored to the universe.
  • Stonehell has stalled out a bit due to ridiculous kid schedules but is still very much on the current games list
  • The boys have also been distracted by our new Marvel Heroic campaign - yeah I said "campaign". More about that later.
  • We've also dusted off the M&M campaign - the Apprentice side this time - and had a run at that again. 
The downside here is that the 4E ToEE game has gone quiet again as they are more interested in Stonehell and one of the superhero games most of the time.

The other big loser is ICONS - we just haven't played it much recently. Not through lack of interest but through lack of time and the right combination of Apprentices. It has been mentioned several times lately so I don't think we will get past the next couple of weeks without a session but it is an unusual gap for us. I'm thinking about turning Stark City over to Apprentice Blaster to see what he can do with running a game but I'm not sure he wants to - he's pretty happy as a player. 


First Appearance
Well, it's not hard to see where the inspiration for this on came from. Let's just say I liked to challenge myself with the costume creator. He was a Traps/Electric Defender for those of you who played the game.

From the original bio: On his home planet UTINNI UTINNI was a shaman of his tribe. Unlike his tribemates, he was not content to stay in the desert his entire life, so he set out to explore the wider world. Several misunderstandings later he found himslef on a ship with a malfunctioning hyperdrive and despite his best efforts to fix it, things went a little plaid and he ended up on this planet. Fortunately his technology is as good as magic here so he decided to spend some time exploring before looking for a way home

One year later: He has become fascinated with the wild mix of technology found on this planet and going home is no longer a real priority. he is seeing things no other member of his tribe has seen, built new gadgets, made some new friends, and even become a hero to some non-tribesmen! This is a great place, and he intends to stay as long as he possibly can!

U-U is a member of a naturally inquisitive race, and he is a prime example of this tendency. He is also both fascinated by and incredibly adept with technology, more the practice than the theory. He is an eternal optimist, cheering up his companions with his antics and his knack for having just the right gear at just the right time. He is a constant scrounger, going through trash and excitedly running off towards any junkyard he might happen across. The upside is that he is an absolute genius when it comes to making devices that do impossible things. He's not big into theory, he just seems to make it work.  He's been compared to a living utility belt and though he didn't really get the reference it seemed like a compliment so he was happy. He's a big team player, aiding and supporting his friends.

One note: He does not speak English, or any other earth language. He understands it just fine, but his outward communications is "a bunch of jibber-jabber" to quote one teammate, and extensive use of emphatic  gesturing. He also frequently pulls out a portable holo-viewer to communicate things - a holo-picture is clearly worth at least a thousand words. Think Scotty & that fuzzy thing in the Star Trek reboot movie, or Chewie in the Star Wars movies - even without speaking a language they manage to get their point across.


PDF is here

Prowess: 3 (Typical) - He's a fixer, not a fighter
Coordination: 6 (Remarkable) - He is remarkably accurate
Strength: 2 (Poor) - He's the size of a human child and is not super-dense
Intellect: 8 (Amazing) - This is where he excels, even amongst his own kind
Awareness: 4 (Good) - "Kind of a skittish little feller ain't he?"
Willpower: 3 (Typical) - He has a hard time resisting his own bad habits

Stamina: 5
Determination: 1

Origin: Unearthly
Specialties: Electronics Expert, Mechanical Expert, Computers Expert

Invulnerability 5 (Device) - Personal Force Field Generator - the first thing he built after seeing a super-battle and something he never leaves behind.

Blast 5 (Device) - Electroblaster! - the second thing he built after he realized people thought he would be an easy hostage

Wizardry 8 "Gadgets" - (Known powers Flight & Affliction)This is Int-based and reflects his constantly-carried array of knick-knacks, gizmos, and scrap devices that he somehow uses to do amazing things.

Flight Pack!

Catchphrase : "UTINNI" - some combination of exclamation, name, and battle-cry, this is the one word that most of his teammates can catch. 

"Inventor" - U-U has an intuitive genius for understanding technology. This mostly involves combining and improving things that already exist but every once in a while he comes up with something that no one has ever seen before.

"Scavenger" - Most of what Utinni builds is junk or salvaged from something else. He doesn't really think about building things from new parts - why bother when the entire universe is his parts-pile! He is constantly on the lookout for interesting objects with potential usefulness and wherever he is living tends to look pretty messy, with tools and parts everywhere.

"Optimist" - U-U loves the life he is living right now. Super-Earth is just the most interesting thing he can conceive and he can't get enough of it. Even while chained to a wall he can't help but communicate his excitement over those new stun blasters the guards used to knock them all out!

"Little Feller" - Utinni is not a physically impressive specimen. In fact no one is really sure what is under those robes and what he looks like inside the hood. Regardless he's only about 3 feet tall and is somewhat fragile. This can be a hazard in the superhero game but he doesn't care.

"Jibber-Jabber" - As described above U-U does not speak any known earth language. He manages to communicate just fine most of the time, but every once in a while he hits a rough patch and just cannot get his idea across.

Notes: At 50 points UTINNI UTINNI is a pretty solid character with a lot of capabilities. That Stamina 5 though ... try not to get hit! I thought about folding his blast into his gadget power but it helps to have a solid offensive and defensive power outside of the wizardry to let you get truly creative - I hate seeing a great power like that spending 90% of it's time as offense or defense so I solve the problem by adding those first and separately. Determination is essential for whipping up new gadgets so I made sure U-U has a lot of ways to earn and spend that vital resource. If you need one more "Bad Luck" would not be totally out of line for him.

I also wanted to mix in a character that does not have outstanding physical stats. My brain tends to think of "4" as a good starting point for ICONS character stats (MSH's "Good") and a double-digit stamina as almost required, so it takes a little effort to go the other way and prove good stats are not a requirement - though maybe one really good stat is a requirement ...

My general take on things is that I have to be interested enough to be willing to play a particular character before I would bother sharing him online. I feel that way about UTINNI, 5 Stamina and all.

Now to mix things up a bit (hey, blame Disney):

UTINNI UTINNI for Marvel Heroic Roleplaying

PDF sheet is here

He's a Solo d6, Buddy d8, Team d10 as you might expect. 

He only has the one Powerset but it's fairly diverse and has a lot of SFX designed to let him do interesting things with it:
  • Energy Absorption gives him a reactive type power option - this fits the nature of some of his devices 
  • Overload lets him step up or double a gadgets power -or spend a PP to do both - then shut it down - it lets him power up when needed, but there is a cost.
  • Multipower lets him add two dice at a reduced level - this lets him contribute similarly to Overload but at a lower level and without the associated cost
  • Defensive Gadgets lets him throw a shield on another character at the irks of freaking out if it doesn't work (d6 Emotional Stress) - very in-character for his attitude and role.
  • Backups lets him spend a PP to reroll a result he doesn't like - again, very gadgety in feel
Then he has the gear limit found on many characters.

His Milestones are the best I have right now. I think they could be refined further but I think these are a good start. His first is the team player set found on several heroes, again emphasizing his team-oriented attitude. His second is an adaptation of Mister Fantastic's "For Science" set in the basic book. I think it works but could be better. The biggest problem when it comes to milestones is that he doesn't have a family, he doesn't have a history of foes or of lovers so a lot of the more common sets aren't really open to him. Yellowjacket's "Maker" is close but I don't really see UTINNI building self-aware robots, much less debating them. Ms. Marvel's "Kree-Fueled Powerhouse" adapted to reflect brains over brawn might work but it was going to take more time.  I even considered Hercules' "Immortal Friendship" set with a few tweaks but the team player probably fits better right now. 

UTINNI teams up with "The Skunkerine"  (yes, that was his name,and he had a whole backstory to go with it )