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Mad, Beautiful Ideas


Michael Hopcroft
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Recently among the collection of PDF RPGs I picked up (I usually buy PDFs these days because of space limitations) was the superhero RPG Truth & Justice, which is largely about "mad, beautiful ideas" of wild, logically inconsistence but that are the essence of the superhero ethos (at least according to the author). Although most Hero players would find the PDQ system to T&J much too simple and broad-brush for their taste, I was wondering what sorts of bizarre things one can actually do in Champions. Is there a reason why a cowgirl-theme heroine can't use her lariat to trip up a giant robot on the rampage and make it Fall Down Go Boom? Any reason a guy with a set of trick boomerangs, baseballs or horseshoes can't be an effective hero or villain?

 

What sort of crazy ideas have you had, and how have you written them up for your Champions characters?

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Re: Mad, Beautiful Ideas

 

The crazy ideas I've written up are many and varied.

A team of slightly-larger-than-man-sized robots that transform into human-wieldable melee weapons and firearms known as "The Weaponmen"

A team of superpowered luchadores.

A guy who gains super-speed powers from caffeine.

A shark.

A teenage girl with a chainsaw who talks to the trees.

A 50's era baseball hero, who throws a baseball bat, 'the Fine Pine Patriot' like Captain America throws his shield.

An older bald guy who rides on a mop, with the state goal of 'Cleaning up this City'

An elderly lady who knits mind-controlling sweaters and commands yarn to do her bidding.

A 5 year old in osh-kosh with massive mind-control powers.

Luchahotep, the Egyptian God of Masked Mexican Wrestlers.

1" tall aging arsonist.

Nun-Chuckles: Warlord of the Clown Ninja Clan

Robo-Deutch, the Aryan Android

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Re: Mad, Beautiful Ideas

 

A normal human, driven to extremes because of loved ones lost to crime, trains hard and, relying heavily on boomerangs and a fancy car, becomes the most feared crimefighter in a world where gods fight crime.

 

A frail but patriotic teenager volunteers for an experiment to make him a prime physical specimen. Armed only with his athletic prowess, military training, and an indestructible shield, he can defeat villains capable of single-handedly throwing a battleship past the horizon.

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Re: Mad, Beautiful Ideas

 

Doctor A, that was indeed beautiful. :)

 

My most bizarre-sounding concepts are probably among the ones I wrote for Digital Hero #44, including

a magnetically-powered superstrong mummy with metal bandages it can animate like tentacles, and acrobatic superleaping zombies that shoot energy blades from their hands.

 

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Re: Mad, Beautiful Ideas

 

A bored dimensional conqueror builds a giant robot and comes to earth to "play" as a superhero, the Deus Ex Machina.

 

A redneck alcoholic demolitions expert is imbued with fragments of a mystical artifact and transformed into an nigh-unstoppable iron golem and a feared avatar of justice.

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Re: Mad, Beautiful Ideas

 

A normal human, driven to extremes because of loved ones lost to crime, trains hard and, relying heavily on boomerangs and a fancy car, becomes the most feared crimefighter in a world where gods fight crime.

 

A frail but patriotic teenager volunteers for an experiment to make him a prime physical specimen. Armed only with his athletic prowess, military training, and an indestructible shield, he can defeat villains capable of single-handedly throwing a battleship past the horizon.

 

But if they were to fight, who would win?

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Re: Mad, Beautiful Ideas

 

How about this: a pharmaceutical biochemist, who occasionally samples some of his inventions, has a bad reaction to one of them and goes on an acid trip. In his 'vision', he sees the Greek gods and is commanded to accept his true power and help save the world. When he awakes, he finds that he has super-speed and a few other Powers. He designs a costume and begins patrolling the streets of Vegas as Oracles!

 

So, herald of the gods, or fortunate survivor of a mutagenic hallucinogen? Only Oracles knows for sure!

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Re: Mad, Beautiful Ideas

 

That reminds me of the Wild Cards character Cap'n Trips, a combined vicitm of the Wild card vitrus and lots of psychedelic drugs. He had severeal different forms into which he would transform at random, incvluidng sometimes the WRONG one for the task at hand.

 

Oracles probably doesn't know himself whether the vision was a hallucination, real, or a combination of both. He probably suspects the third; something happened, and his mind tried to make sense of it the only way it could.

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Re: Mad, Beautiful Ideas

 

Mad and Beautiful Ideas

 

Frisbee - Mad supervillian who built remote controlled frisbees to attack the heroes. His movement power was placing a frisbee over his head which would dematerialize him, the frisbee would fly off, and then rematerialize him. A well plan explosion during the rematerialize phase ended his career short. Until the daughter of Frisbee showed up.

 

Trekkers - Based on another GM's idea that supervillians were simular to the Illuminate, you just had to have the "sci-fi geeks". This superhero group would dress up in old-style Star Trek uniforms and spread the vison of Gene Roddenberry. They had a nasty habit of stealing alien spacecraft from miltary bases. (For reasons unknown, they could always repair it with the equivalent "Federation" technology, apparently Technobabble is a form of Magic.) At one point, tried to claim ownership of the International Space Station (as salvage) with an offer to upgrade it to a "working" Space Station with, you know, working Life Support, Shields, Artifical Gravity, Transporter and possibly install at least one working Phaser Bank (purely for defensive purposes). The heroes captured them, but they were willing to turn them over to NASA and reach a more diplomatic solution.

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Re: Mad, Beautiful Ideas

 

How about this: a pharmaceutical biochemist, who occasionally samples some of his inventions, has a bad reaction to one of them and goes on an acid trip. In his 'vision', he sees the Greek gods and is commanded to accept his true power and help save the world. When he awakes, he finds that he has super-speed and a few other Powers. He designs a costume and begins patrolling the streets of Vegas as Oracles!

 

So, herald of the gods, or fortunate survivor of a mutagenic hallucinogen? Only Oracles knows for sure!

 

There's a difference "know[ing] for sure and having a fixed irrational belief. Oracles does not know for sure.

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Re: Mad, Beautiful Ideas

 

I don't agree that there are many Superhero concepts, no matter how silly, you can't write up in Hero, so long as the GM is willing to interpret the rules liberally, allow Transformation Attack, Summon, EDM, and Power Skill, and apply custom limits and advantages where needed. That doesn't mean that there aren't characters that will break a given campaign, or that there aren't characters that are completely unplayable; just that there really isn't much you can't write up.

 

This reminds me of claims that you couldn't build a 350 point character that could smash tanks. Eventually, after multiple 350 point characters that could smash tanks were posted, the assertion changed to "You can't build a 350 point character by the CU Guidelines for starting characters who can smash tanks".

 

So long as you adjust guidelines and campaign ground rules to fit the characters you're trying to build, you have a lot of wiggle room in HERO.

 

The opening opponents in my last GenCon game were an army of gorillas in diving helmets. My games get fairly mad. ;)

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Re: Mad, Beautiful Ideas

 

My husband created a sort of superteam based on a news article about a stray cat who gave birth to her kittens inside the San Onofre nuclear power reactor.

 

The 4 kittens (named by the staff Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Neutron) developed intelligence and powers far beyond those of mortal cats (and reflecting the nature of the subatomic particles they were named after). He even designed a recurring enemy in the form of their mother (who had escaped capture by the plant staff), who was also powerful and intelligent, and resented the humans who had stolen her children away (the young cats have befriended them).

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Re: Mad, Beautiful Ideas

 

My husband created a sort of superteam based on a news article about a stray cat who gave birth to her kittens inside the San Onofre nuclear power reactor.

 

The 4 kittens (named by the staff Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Neutron) developed intelligence and powers far beyond those of mortal cats (and reflecting the nature of the subatomic particles they were named after). He even designed a recurring enemy in the form of their mother (who had escaped capture by the plant staff), who was also powerful and intelligent, and resented the humans who had stolen her children away (the young cats have befriended them).

That sounds like a cute idea for a convention one-shot, with the PCs as the kittens. Kind of a nuclear Watership Down...
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Re: Mad, Beautiful Ideas

 

 

So, herald of the gods, or fortunate survivor of a mutagenic hallucinogen? Only Oracles knows for sure!

 

Don't forget the sneakers with wings glued to them, spray painted gold, that really weren't focuses, but that the character though they were, so if they got taken away his powers went away, most of the time. :)

 

 

My only strange one is Meeb.

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