Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Big Game Wednesday - Digging Deep

When we left off, Gary had proposed killing off Matrix and letting me use her experience points to build a new character. So now I had to come up with a new concept.

I had been getting back into Spider-Man at this time and found the idea of his core suite of powers--agility, speed, clinging--very appealing. But I didn't want to make a straight Spider-Man clone, and I wanted a bit more offensive punch. And for some reason, my mind kept coming around to an obscure DC hero named the Human Bomb. He was an old Quality hero who had been ported over to DC and appeared in a Justice League crossover in the 70's. His hands had been coated in some sort of liquid explosive formula, so he would punch stuff and it would blow up.

Well, the liquid explosive thing was pretty silly, but just the visual image of a punch resulting in an explosion sounded really cool, and it was easy to model in Champions (Energy Blast, 0 Range). So, why would things blow up when he punched them? I got the idea of some kind of device attached to his hand that would release a blast of explosive force. But why would anyone ever have something like that?

I don't know if I got the inspiration from seeing Tunneling on the list of powers or not, but the idea of railroads using dynamite to "dig" through mountains came to mind. And as I toyed with the idea of my Spider-Bomb character a bit more, I tossed in pieces of Wonder Woman (using his incredible reflexes and the metallic blasters on his arms to deflect bullets) and Karnak from the Inhumans (sensing the weaknesses in a structure, an ability he would use infrequently to demolish buildings in one blow).

I named the character Digger and rounded him out with a few skills and some weaknesses based on his origin story, the standard stuff about being an innocent dude who learned too much and was used as the subject of horrible experiments by an evil corporation. That's his original costume on the left there, as part of a team concept I was playing with for a potential comic book (note on the picture--that's Matrix floating above Digger's head, and there on the left is a preview of a mysterious character soon to appear in Hero Go Home ). One thing I did to save points was to buy his blasters as a Focus.

Focus is a Champions term for a power that derives from a device, like Green Lantern's Power Ring. Now, the key element for determining whether you could get points for a Focus was whether the character could lose the item, and therefore lose the powers temporarily. If they could not (such as Thor's hammer, which always returned to his hand and was too heavy for anyone else to wield, with one exception which I don't even want to think about right now), then the item was a Special Effect and not a Focus.

Digger's blasters were permanently attached to his arms, which would normally eliminate them from consideration as a Focus. But I needed the points, so I came up with the idea that the blasters contained a special type of battery that would recharge from the electricity produced by Digger's nervous system. These batteries would need to be removable for frequent maintenance--cleaning the contacts and such. So Gary let me buy them as an Inaccessible Focus, removable after I'd been knocked out for a round or so. Oh hell, was that a bad idea.

All in all, though, with Digger, I had finally gotten the hang of building characters for Champions (and yes, I guess it does say something for the complexity of a system that takes you three tries to come up with a decent character build). He was not a haphazard collection of powers tied into a blank slate of a character (like Blaze) nor was he a blatant rip-off of a particular character or a particular comics publisher's universe (like Matrix). He was a character with strengths, weaknesses and a unique history who made use of the flexibility inherent in the Champions system.

So the next week, when the heroes returned from the mission which had resulted in Matrix's heroic sacrifice, they found a new hero waiting at their headquarters, drinking a beer and wishing to apply for membership. And he immediately proved his worth when Eurostar took over a nuclear missile base and set up hordes of agents to guard it from attack. Digger simply tunneled the team under the base and bypassed the agents, taking the heroes directly to their big fight with Eurostar. The day was saved, and a new hero was born.

Next Week: Luck and Unluck

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