Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving Randomness

This year, aside from the usual health and family stuff, I am thankful for Villains & Vigilantes. Sure I'd played games before that and a lot of games after that, but V&V was a real breakthrough game for me in that not only did it produce really cool, memorable gaming experiences but it also made enough internal sense for me to take it apart and figure out how it worked and why. That pocketwatchability made the rest of my gaming career possible.

One thing I would do for fun on snowy days was roll up 26 characters in V&V and build a campaign setting around them. This ended up being very useful as I could populate somewhere the players had never been with an interlocking web of heroes and villains to drop into world-history conversations, making the world feel more lived in. In the big shared comics universes there are other heroes, other teams, other things going on that the PCs aren't involved in, and V&V's random character creation made it easy to capture that.

So on and off I'll presenting a hero, his rogues gallery and their likely crimes for GMs to use to populate the places of their world that the PCs don't inhabit, either for worldbuilding backstory or crossover opportunities.

The White Elephant is the hero of the metropolises' theater district. By day Drew Moore is a fight choreographer and special effects theater technician, but since he was gifted with a really ugly statue that grants him the ability to grow anywhere from 9-20 feet in height and extend his wings for super-hearing and flight he spends his nights fighting the criminals who prey on the theater goers and the theaters. In addition to carrying a tusk-shaped club to wield in combat he's a bit of an inventor, using his knowledge of light and sound design, costuming and electronics to find ways to out-wit his foes. (Size Change- Growth, variable up to x3, Body Power - extended ears act as wings and triple hearing, Heightened Intelligence A +6)

Wixua is a madman obsessed with Chinese martial arts movies. White Elephant's still not sure how he gained his ability to fly, his mastery of esoteric martial arts styles (which include chi-punching people at a distance) and ability to deliver staggering amounts of damage, but we do know that he continues to attack, kidnap and threaten people in and around the theater district. Wixua is actually driven by the spirits trapped in an ancient construction deep under the district, but he doesn't understand their demands entirely - he just knows he has to keep following what commands he does understand in order to keep his powers. (Flight, Natural Weaponry +3/+6 with bonus power (chi can enhance initiative for next turn by +8 or be used as a 1d12 Power Blast, Heightened Attack, Special Requirement)

Pit Boss is a theater musician who sold his soul to the devil for power. In return he received a magical clarinet that can generate flames, cold, or hunks of stone that move at his muscial command. More importantly, he knows a spell that lets him infuse another person with a theater spirit, giving him a cast of rotating sidekicks such as the incredibly lucky Nathan Detroit, the dangerously accurate Annie Oakely or the deadly psychotic Sweeny Todd. Whenever Pit Boss returns its with a new sidekick and crimes that are thematically appropriate for that sidekick. (Pet, Flame Powers Item, Ice Powers Item modified so it makes cold or rocks with the density of ice.)

Fagan is a thief who runs a ring of young thieves, just as in Oliver. Fagan is blessed with incredibly keen senses, an ability to spot the main chance and perfect moment to strike and super-human strength that belies his slender frame. He also possesses a strange, alien device that lets him warp reality in inexplicable ways - he's not entirely sure how it works, or how to get it to do what he wants, but he has mastered using it to make himself ageless, invert gravity, create temporary tunnels through solid objects and other tricks to help him escape. He claims to have been the original Fagan who picked this object off of someone on the London streets and has been toying with it ever since. Depending on the game he could be a black-souled kidnapper or a greyer figure who offers the abandoned shelter and compassion; regardless you can always have the aliens come back looking for their gizmo.... (Heightened Senses, Heightened Strength B, Mutant Power Device)

Small Actor is a crazed, failed thespian who, despite his mastery of all the physical skills of a master dancer, acrobat, singer and magician is simply too flat, wooden and unlikable to succeed in the arts. Acquiring a drug that let him reduce his size he now preys on other actors and theater types - slipping around unnoticed he can acquire (or create) evidence for blackmail and extortion, acting as a procurer and dealer for their baser instincts and even go go far as murder. (Size Change - Smaller, Heightened Expertise (any theater related roll), Heightened Defense, Reduced Charisma.)

Scot is a witch, able to magically change her shape to any animal or to three different female forms of varying ages (something W.E. isn't aware of yet, as one of those forms is her alibi), She has an incredibly active brain that gives her a wild imagination, lets her shrug off lots of pain and gives her faster than normal reflexes. Most importantly she can shift in and out of the Dramaturgological Realm. She can reach into there to alter probability, enter it partially to become invisible, intangible, both or simply enter into it completely to disappear. Her plots are always about stealing the things she needs to perform versions of Shakespeare's plays in the higher realm in fashions that would let her rewrite the world. She's White Elephant's greatest threat and the one for which he is most likely to need assistance.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!