Wednesday, January 3, 2024

New Salem Character #3: Paper Doll

Paper Doll (John David Heather Winthrop IV)

Pyramid Tier: 1    Experience level: 3

Affect/Gimmick: "The clothes make the man". He's impeccably dressed, but his clothes are a series of paper tearaways that let him change his appearance immediately, similar to the 1980's DC hero Nemesis' face masks. He's androgynous, creepy, unstable of personality, and carries tailoring shears as a weapon. 

Gang?: Yes, the Decoups (French for Cut Ups). There are usually only a few of these at a time, and given his powers might not be there of their own will. They generally appear as fashion model types. 

Status: He's a pimp primarily, running a string of whorehouses in the Bowery, but he's also a 'vanisher'; if you need to disappear he has safe houses and alternate identities; if you need someone else to disappear, well, he can do that too. He reports up through the Hustler in both capacities because he wants the Syndicate's implicit protection; they want him somewhat controlled and at arms length. He's helpful, but crazy

Powers: 3

  1. Armor B (Device): Armor Defense Rating is only 33 because it's layers of paper clothing. Still, it provides him with 2 secondary powers
    1. Transformation C - Disguise: His can, with 5" movement, change his clothes appearance, tearing away what he's wearing to reveal a completely different outfit. Given his Absorption power this acts as very effective disguise (d% save to identify him once he's out of sight and switched). 
    2. Strength Boost: If his armor ever takes ADR damage, add his Charisma score in for his Strength and treat it as Heightened Strength C (see game mechanics notes) when calculating carrying capacity and HRH damage for his next action as he goes a little berserk. His new Carry Cap is 1,096 and his new HTH damage is 1d10.
  2. Absorption - Personality/Affect: Paper Doll can duplicate someone else's affect, either by spending an action studying them at relatively close range (15") or remembering from a prior study. Once he assumes their affect he doesn't physically change but he gets 100% of their voice, mannerisms, inflections, stance, etc. and even without his armor it's a d20 save vs. I to not be fooled (with his armor it's d%). This acts as half strength Weakness Detection (+3 to hit, no weakness learned) on whoever he's mimicking. He does not know that this also lets him duplicate psychic powers, and will be mightily surprised when he learns it!
  3. Transmutation - Identity (Device): By changing someone's clothes into the paper clothes of his making he can alter their identity. As with his own Absorption their affect will change, as will their personality (which is of Paper Doll's design and always subservient to him, though not always noticeably). Targets need to consent to the change or be unconscious when it happens. Targets will have only hazy memories at best of what thet did while they were transformed. d% saves vs C are allowed per hour once the clothes are removed. 5 charges per day, it takes a solid 3 minutes to change the clothes. 
  4. Low Self Control: Paper Doll isn't 100% there... he will fly into rages, love bomb people, and shift between the affects and personas of people he has absorbed. Treat this as the Prejudice weakness for initial reactions only; some people can learn to deal with him, or fall for his dedicated charm. He should be played as mercurial and unpredictable.
Weight: 160               Basic Hits: 4    Agi Mod: +0
S: 9         E: 12          HP: 9            
A: 14        I: 16          Pow: 51          
C: 14                         Move: 34"        
Accuracy: +1
Damage Mod: +2
Reactions Mod: -1 initially or +1 later
Carrying Cap: 154    HTH: 1d4
Inventions: Tailoring shears are a surprisingly well made weapon (as good as a hatchet) +1 to hit, +1d6 damage. His Safe As Houses are tailor made safe houses good for relocating people who need to be hidden and all have secret exits; he has (I*lvl) in use at any time and they are 1/2*I*d% to locate with extensive work.

Background/Origin: John David Heather Winthrop IV is absolutely not the heir to the Happy Witch Toy Company, which is the major employer in the Bowery. His father has made that absolutely clear for while HWTC has existed since the Great War selling things with spooky iconography, Randolph 'Duke' Heather Winthrop IV and his forebears take no truck with loose morals, hedonism, or personal weakness in their staff or their family. The decidedly odd John David never saw eye to eye with his old man, took and inheritance and popped off to live his own hedonistic life. 

Duke hoped his son with end up as solidly reputable tailor, or even an fashion designer (acceptable one supposes), but expected him to end up a dissolute, prodigal, failure. Instead John David vanished, and "J.D" the Paper Doll took his place in a cut up of fashion and identity and sex and violence. 

Paper Doll is, on paper, a pimp, pure and simple, running a set of bordellos and whorehouses for the people who come to the Bowery for their vice. His real talent is making you into someone else... whether you want it or not. Creepy and unsettling, people come to him to get away from the law, or themselves, or their errors and debts. Sometimes people don't come to him at all, he goes to them, or someone delivers them, and they disappear into an identity that isn't their own....

Game Mechanics: I'm introducing a small change to V&V to suit my own preferences. Rather than normal carrying capacity being based on a cube of 1/10th your Strength, it's the square. This means that 'normal human' Strength can go as high as 27 before you're getting outside of real human ability. If you have Heightened Strength B, however, you keep the cube calculation. Heightened Strength C are cases where you have small strength bonuses (such as from Animal/Plant Powers) but also keep the cube calculation. It's a very minor tweak, but it helps at the scale we're playing with here. 

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