We've posted a fifth PDF Preview of Volume 2 of Heroes & Villains for DC Adventures. This one includes the full Mutants & Masterminds Third Edition write-up of Spectre, complete with its portrait, straight out of the pages of the book.
March 2012 Archives
We've posted a fourth PDF Preview of Volume 2 of Heroes & Villains for DC Adventures. This one includes the full Mutants & Masterminds Third Edition write-up of Poison Ivy, complete with her portrait, straight out of the pages of the book.
We've posted a third PDF Preview of Volume 2 of Heroes & Villains for DC Adventures. This one includes the full Mutants & Masterminds Third Edition write-up of Power Girl, complete with her portrait, straight out of the pages of the book.
We've posted another PDF Preview of Volume 2 of Heroes & Villains for DC Adventures. This one includes the full Mutants & Masterminds Third Edition write-up of Shadow Thief, complete with his portrait, straight out of the pages of the book.
Now available for pre-order in our Green Ronin Online Store, it's DC Adventures Heroes & Villains, Vol. 2! This long-anticipated book completes our look at the Heroes & Villains of the DC Universe, covering Lady Shiva through Victor Zsasz. Pre-Order through our online store and we'll offer you the PDF version for just $5. Pre-Order through a participating Green Ronin Pre-Order Plus brick-and-mortar retailer, and they will give you a coupon code good for the PDF version for just $5. Or, if you just prefer pixels, you can get just the PDF version for $20.
Here's a PDF preview of Heroes & Villains, Volume 2 to give you an idea of what you'll find inside. The preview includes the Table of Contents (Lady Shiva through Victor Zsasz) and the Introduction.
Continuing with design journals for Heroes & Villains, Volume 2 is the order of the day! And today we hear from our Silver Age guru, Professor Christopher McGlothlin, M.Ed.. All those titles around his name clue us into the fact that he's someone we can learn a lot from. Usually he drones on about history, but in this design journal he's talking about comics... Flash villains, the Rogues, and specifically, the Top!
Shout to the Top!
I'm sometimes asked, "How do you writer guys decide which characters you work on in those DC game books?" My usual answer is, of course, a coast-to-coast customized car race to the death: no rules, winners get their pick of characters (and to shake the hand of Mr. President).
The truth is more conventional, and--for better or worse--does not involve us freelancers scoring points for mowing down pedestrians. Fact of the matter is Jon Leitheusser just happens to be really good at his job, and has a great understanding of what each member of the Legion of DC Universe Freelancers is best at. I may still organize the aforementioned freelancer death race, but that will be without official Green Ronin sanction.
Vehicular homicide aside, as the freelancer who just turned 43 and the one best able to handicap a potential Captain Compass vs. Cave Carson fistfight, my character assignments tend toward the old and weird. Truly, it's one of the best things about being old and weird yourself.
Thanks to Jon's understanding and the generosity of Seth Johnson, the balance of Flash's Rogues Gallery fell under my purview. It was--as expected--a wonderful mixture of old and weird. Some of the entries were old characters, and some weird characters. Only the Top was both, so I adore the work I did on his entry above all.
Roscoe Dillon and I are both products of the 1960s, so I call him "old" with the greatest affection. "Old" is the new "cool," after all. However, one does not get to "old" without a re-invention or three along the way, and the Top is no exception. After beginning comic-book life as a wonderfully gimmick-obsessed John Broome/Carmine Infantino creation, the Top died a comic-book death and (somewhat inexplicably) became a disembodied body-snatcher during the Disco Era. At the start of this millennium, Identity Crisis and Geoff Johns made him into a psychotic menace. Oh, and he died. Again.
I am proud and honored to be the Top's DC Universe biographer. Chronicling all that re-invention is a fairly basic writer thing; you just include all the relevant details and hope your reader understands you're hitting the high points in a long career of strangeness. However, getting all the associated game information on a finite page is another, more daunting task. So much to say, so little space... there was ultimately nowhere to go but insane.
Years ago, I'd forced (absolutely forced) myself to buy copies of every Flash story from Showcase #4 to the then-current Wally West series in preparation for writing a Flash sourcebook that, sadly, never got published. H&V2 gave me a great excuse to dive back into those great old stories again, now with an eye towards getting every bizarre detail of the Top's fictional life down pat. That's when the madness began to take hold.
Coming up with game statistics for that one gimmick top that tangles people up in streamers was a must. Including the tops that explode was a no-brainer. The gimmick top that's also a flamethrower... well, c'mon, it's a top that's also a flamethrower! By the time I'd worked up statistics for the top that projects a tornado and the top that sprays glue, I knew I'd drifted into obsession.
By the time I was done, I'd written up every single gimmick top Roscoe Dillon had ever used. Every single one. Well, okay, I didn't do the atomic grenade top (because it's really a plot device) or the top that would've made the Flash really, really old (because Barry Allen faked him out and Dillon never actually got it to work). The rest are all there, each one a 1960s style comic-book caper waiting to happen. If that doesn't intrigue you--or at least make you smile--then my friend you just aren't Silver Age.
Which is totally okay. I included the Top's late-'70s mind-hopping power, and his more recent bout of insanity and vertigo-inducing powers are spelled out in a handy sidebar. So, my Bronze- and Modern-Age loving compadres, we have you covered as well.
Much to my delight, I was able to provide every moment of the Roscoe Dillon saga for your reading and gaming pleasure, and in a space that actually fit into the book. I hope you'll enjoy the fruits of my madness. Did I mention there's a top that's also a flamethrower?
The Top PL10
Immortality: Immortality 6, Recently dead or brain-dead body nearby • 12 points
Spinning: (Enhanced Advantage 11 (Defensive Roll 4, Fascinate (Deception), Improved Initiative 6), Enhanced Defenses 20 (Dodge 10, Parry 10), Enhanced Intellect 3, Senses 1 (Radius Vision), Limited: Must Remain Immobile • 7 points
Concealed Tops: Array (32 points), Removable (-8 points)
- Streamer Top: Ranged Affliction 8 (Resisted by Dodge; Hindered and Vulnerable, Defenseless and Immobile • 32 points
- Blacklight Top: Concealment 4 (All Visual), Attack, Cone Area • 1 point
- Blinding Top: Affliction 10 (Resisted by Fortitude; Visually Impaired, Visually Disabled, Visually Unaware), Cumulative, Perception Area (Visual) • 1 point
- Bola Tops: Ranged Affliction 10 (Resisted by Dodge; Hindered and Vulnerable, Defenseless and Immobile), Cumulative, Extra Condition, Limited Degree • 1 point
- Electro-Top: Ranged Damage 10, Resisted by Fortitude • 1 point
- Flamethrower Top: Ranged Damage 10, Cloud Area • 1 point
- Gas Top: Ranged Affliction 8 (Resisted by Fortitude; Dazed, Stunned, Incapacitated) Cloud Area 2 (30 feet), Cumulative • 1 point
- Glue Top: Ranged Affliction 6 (Resisted by Dodge; Hindered and Vulnerable, Defenseless and Immobile), Burst Area, Cumulative, Extra Condition, Sustained Duration, Limited Degree • 1 point
- Grenade Top: Ranged Damage 10, Burst Area • 1 point
- Soundwave Top: Ranged Damage 10, Sustained Duration • 1 point
- Tornado Top: Move Object 10, Cone Area, Sustained Duration, Limited Direction (repulsion) • 1 point
Agile Feint, Defensive Roll 4, Evasion, Fascinate (Deception), Improved Initiative 6, Improvised Tools, Inventor
Acrobatics 6 (+9), Athletics 4 (+6), Close Combat: Unarmed 4 (+8), Deception 4 (+6), Expertise: Criminal 4 (+6), Expertise: Science 6 (+8), Expertise: Tops 8 (+10), Intimidation 4 (+6), Persuasion 3 (+5), Ranged Combat: Tops 8 (+10), Sleight of Hand 4 (+6), Stealth 4 (+7), Technology 7 (+9)
Concealed Tops +10 Ranged, Damage 10 or others
Unarmed +8 Close, Damage 2
Dodge 14 Fortitude 9
Parry 14 Toughness 6/2*
*Without Defensive Roll.
Abilities 40 Skills 33
Powers 65 Defenses 16
Advantages 4 TOTAL 158
Motivation--Greed: Money made the Top go round.
Relationship: The Top's girlfriend was Lisa (the Golden Glider) Snart.
Come back next time and we'll let Leon Chang loose on the Parasite! Plus for those of you who actually read the last line of articles like this, keep a look out tomorrow for a big announcement regarding the release of Heroes & Villains, Volume 2!
Heroes & Villains, Volume 2 is making good progress, so this seemed like a good time to kick off a series of design journals by the authors of the book. This time around we have Alejandro Melchor discussing his write-up of Terra!
A Terra by Any Other Name
Hi; I'm Alex Melchor, although I started going by the nickname of "Al-X" to tell myself apart from the dozens of other Alexes I was cursed to share classrooms with from kindergarten to college. And that brings me to the subject of one of the write-ups I was assigned for the 2nd volume of Heroes & Villains: Terra.
Now, I'm a long-time fan of all things Teen Titans, and so getting to work on the character responsible for one of the biggest debacles and heartaches the team has ever faced got me all giddy. However, as soon as I pasted the statblock template on a blank document, I was faced with a huge question: Which Terra?
There's the original buck-toothed sociopath Tara Markov, then her future/alternate self who was so nice and good she died a pointless sacrificial death, and then there's Atlee, who is naïve and awesome enough to hang out with Power Girl. It can be argued that the first and second are the same girl with different backstories, but the third is a very different character, and I had a limited wordcount and a single statblock to represent all three.
So I perused old comics and blogs, distilling what was essential for all three characters in terms of stats and hit an almost literal dirt wall: all three are powerful geokinetics, all three fly in hunks of rock and throw said hunks of rock at people's faces. Their only difference was in method.
And the solution was right in front of my face: in terms of stats and powers, they are the same character.
The statblock in Heroes & Villains, Vol. 2 corresponds to Tara I, and her ranks in Deception prove that, since the little psycho was able to fool the Teen Titans into trusting her, and her Skill Mastery in Deception means how easily lying comes to her. Obviously, Tara II would not have that, much less Atlee (including all those ranks in Insight).
It was a simple matter of subtraction: Start with the most complex character, and representing the other two is all about taking stuff away. Maybe a thing or two would have to be added, but that is a task for each individual GM's interpretation of the character, since the important part, the core of the character, is already done.
Both Tara II and Atlee would have no Deception ranks, while Tara II would be heavier on the Stealth and Investigation as her mission was to find Donna Troy in our time. Atlee has higher Will and a rank of Attractive and Fearless, plus she is quite probably PL14 even if she keeps herself within PL12 to avoid hurting people unintentionally.
Adjustments in ranks, however, are just a minor adaptation that could simply mean different stages of the same character's career; what can really individualize two characters are their Complications, and the three Terras couldn't be more different.
Flying Rocks: Flight 6 (120 MPH), Subtle, Platform (chunk of rock) • 7 points
Geokinesis: Dynamic Array (28 points)
- Shift Earth: Create 13 (Rock/Earth), Continuous, Extended Range, Innate, Limited: Needs ground or rock • 29 points
- Catapult Strike: Ranged Damage 14, Limited: Needs ground or rock, Linked to Ranged Affliction 14 (Resisted by Dodge; Dazed and Vulnerable, Immobile and Prone), Extra Condition, Instant Recovery, Limited Degree; Dynamic • 2 points
- Drill Through: Ranged Burrowing 9, Affects Others • 2 points
- Jagged Earth: Environment 4 (250 foot radius, create uneven ground conditions; Impede Movement 2), Selective • 2 points
- Sinkhole: Ranged Affliction 14 (Resisted by Dodge; Hindered, Immobile, Paralyzed), Continuous, Cumulative, Limited to targets on the ground, Resistible (Fortitude) • 2 points
- Stone Barrage: Ranged Damage 14, Multiattack, Limited: Needs ground or rock • 2 points
- Tremors: Area Burst 2 (60 feet) Affliction 12 (Resisted by Dodge; Hindered and Vulnerable, Defenseless and Prone), Extra Condition, Concentration, Instant Recovery, Limited Degree, Limited to targets on the ground • 2 points
- Undermine: Area Burst 2 (60 feet) Weaken Toughness 12, Affects Only Objects, Limited to targets on the ground • 2 points
Rock Shields: Dynamic Array (12 points)
- Stone Defense: Impervious Protection 12, Sustained, Limited: Needs ground or rock; Dynamic • 13 points
- Rocky Fortress: Perception Deflect 12, Limited: Needs ground or rock, Dynamic • 2 points
All-out Attack, Evasion, Great Endurance, Improved Defense, Instant Up, Languages (Markovian, English), Power Attack, Skill Mastery (Deception checks), Taunt
Deception 12 (+16), Insight 8 (+9), Investigation 5 (+6), Perception 4 (+5), Persuasion 8 (+12), Ranged Combat: Geokinesis Ranged Powers 7 (+10), Stealth 6 (+9)
Geokinesis +10 Ranged, Damage 14 or others
Unarmed +2 Close, Damage 0
Dodge 8 Fortitude 7
Parry 6 Toughness 14/2*
*Without Stone Defense.
Abilities 32 Skills 25
Powers 65 Defenses 19
Advantages 9 TOTAL 150
Unbalanced: Behind her rough but likeable personality, Tara is amoral and a borderline sociopath; while she can control herself in order to complete her objectives, she can fly into destructive rages. Her Geokinesis increases exponentially while in this state, but she can't control it as finely.
Immoral Loyalty: Tara is Deathstroke's lover, despite the large age difference between them (and her being underage as well). She is only loyal to him, and his manipulations always succeed with her.
Markovian Bastard: Tara is the unrecognized daughter of the King of Markovia and half-sister to Geo-Force, the legitimate (if abdicating) heir. She is very resentful of being exiled along with her mother.
If you want to use this same statblock for her other incarnations, the following Complications are appropriate. These Complications aren't included in Vol. 2, but this illustrates how easy it is to customize characters depending on how you want to use them.
Tara Markov (Team Titans)
Displaced: Tara's origins are muddy; all she remembers is a future that is now destroyed, and her attempts to reconcile her presence and the existence of her previous evil self can drive her to moody depressions.
Self-Sacrifice: Unlike her predecessor, this Tara is willing to give her life in the defense of others and fighting for what's right.
Estranged Sibling: Tara is afraid to be close to Brion Markov (Geo-Force), fearing that if she accepts her identity as his little sister, she might fall prey to the same psychosis that undid the previous Tara.
Mole Out of Underground: Atlee belongs to a different culture and has trouble adapting to life in the surface. She can be dreadfully naïve.
Unfortunate Legacy: Atlee's appearance was taken from the genetic template of Tara Markov. She wants to do all that she can to distance herself from this tragic legacy.
Grandiosity: Heroism is the main driving goal of the new Terra, all she can do to help others, she will, and she will have fun doing it.
Sidekick: Her role model and closest friend is Power Girl. This can be both a good thing and a complication.
There we go; all of these are Terra, and the statblock as published can represent any of them in a game--just as with any number of other characters in the Heroes & Villains volumes. What tells these characters apart is more than their numbers, it's their... well, their character.
Keep your eyes peeled for new design journals coming soon. Future entries will each feature a different writer and character from the new book! Also, watch this space for an announcement regarding the book's release!