Wednesday, January 19, 2022

DC Heroes in the 2022 Character Creation Challenge

 On day 19 of the Character Creation Challenge I have a drink with the hobgoblins of foolish consistency!

At the end of the day I'm a V&V guy first, a Marvel Super Heroes guy second. While I've written professional articles for Silver Age Sentinels, the third place superhero game for me is going to be the original Greg Gordon designed DC Heroes rules, because they are so gleefully insane. Not all of them. Most of them work fine. But you have to wonder whether they were haunted by the consistency hobgoblin or if they just nailed their tongue to their cheek when writing the gadgetry rules (were all laser pistols have Heat Vision and all radios have Super Ventriloquism).

Everything in DC Heroes rated in Attribute Points, which are Geometric in nature – every point is twice as good as the one below it. Normal people have a STR of 3, Batman has a STR of 5, and is 4 times stronger. Superman has a STR of 25. There's a handy chart for this, and it's designed to scale across codes. So if you have a 20 STR and lift something weight 18 APs of weight you can throw it 2 AP of distance, which also equates to 2 AP of speed. 

DC Heroes has 9 characteristics, which are cleverly split into three groups – physical, mental, and spiritual – and three other groups – action, power, and resistance. So when you look at the grid its clear what everything means

Your Aura is your spiritual Strength, for example. It's a clean system if a little cumbersome at points. 

There's an extensive list of powers that are derived from across all the heroes of the DC universe, and then a smaller list of skills that have some special rules to differentiate them from powers, but not much. The game does make the weird decision (much like early GURPS) to eschew the design of the supers universe and state that powers are explicitly internal, and if you need a device you have to build it using either the Gadget advantage in character creation or with the Gadgetry rules in play, and they have different point costs. So Batman doesn't have a Utility Belt power, he has an array of Gadgets, (Including Omni-Gadget, which he can define the moment he needs it). This makes device heroes more cumbersome to play, which is an odd choice given the DC universe. 

Characters are built on multiples of 450 points. For that you're supposed to be able to build a member of the Teen Titans. For three times that you're a member of mid 80's Justice League, more or less. For 5 times that you're roughly Superman. Weirdly, advantages and drawbacks (but presumably not the Gadget advantage) are supposed to scale with your multiple – so while High Connections with an organization costs 15 points at the Teen Titans level, it costs 45 points at the JLI level. Basically it costs 3% of your point total. This keeps x5 heroes from wildly abusing the rules, but for some builds of Batman or Nightwing it makes it nigh impossible to build them at all as they are so advantage heavy. 

Anyway, I'm going to be building a member of the Legion of Superheroes, the 30th century teens where most have a single super power, plus a flight ring and a transsuit to survive in space if need be, and who are hands down my favorite DC heroes. I have the stats on a Legion Flight Ring from the basic book as Booster Gold uses one, and one of the Legion supplements so I have an idea of what their average stats are. 

Bela Bree was a rocket jockey kid, doing intersystem drag races in souped up shuttles, when she had an engine blowout and crashed on an unoccupied dwarf planet. At least she thought it was unoccupied: there were gravitic ghosts of a dead race there who granted her the power to attract and repel matter, which she was able to use to summon help. Knowing she needed to do something more with this power she reached out to the Legion and was able to prove herself in battle. Now as Miss Motion she's a member in good standing, and also the chief grease monkey in their transport bay. 

Bela's basically normal-for-a-hero attributes – she's in exceptional shape with great reflexes and intelligence -  cost 248 points. Her skills with Vehicles and Gadgetry cost another 78, a reduced price because they are Linked to her DEX and INT, and if something drains those her skills drop. This is a cost saving tool for the high stat high skill no power PCs, but I'm using it here. (You can Link powers to characteristics as well, but that won't work for me). 

The average Legionnaire has one or two powers at 15-20 AP, which is insanely high, but generally they are unmatched in their area of expertise. I settled on a power – Attraction/Repulsion, which lets you push things away or pull them to you, but it distinct from Telekinesis, Gravity Decrease, or Magnetism – because no Legionnaire has it and because I've always had a fondness for the character it was added to the game rules to model, Yankee Poodle from Captain Carrot and his Amazing Zoo Crew. No, really. 

So she has Attraction/Repulsion at 18 AP (enough to move 3,276 tons) and I added Force Shield at 15 with the limitation that it only works on objects, as it models her ability to parry incoming attacks on herself or others with a repulsion or attraction beam, at up to 64 miles. These two together cost 445 points, so she looks like she'll be a x2 character as she's at 761 points

She needs the advantage of Connections – High with the Legion, which at x2 costs her 30 points, but I'm also going to mark it at 3% of her total points in case that changes.

Now her devices, The Transsuit has Sealed Systems 10 to be able to survive in hostile environments for an hour, with the limitation that it doesn't provide a combat defense against gas or radiation. That ends up costing 23 points under the gadgetry rules, but has a 10% chance to just not work as I didn't mess with the Reliability number. 

I suspect reliability numbers for these things are honored more in the breech, as Booster Gold's flight ring doesn't have one. The flight ring does have Flight at 8 and Telepathy (only to control the flight ring at a distance) at 8, which takes her to 871 points spent. If I left it here she'd have 29 unspent hero points as a x2 character, which isn't bad.


The flight ring also has 64 AP of Super-Ventriloquism that only works to send an SOS to the Legion. Yes, that's right – it can throw its voice across the galaxy, but just for an SOS. This costs another <checks math> 448 points. The cost of an entire Teen Titan. 

So… she's really a x3 character with 17 unspent hero points. 

Am I being a little silly? Yes, but so is DC Heroes. 

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