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Poor Taste?


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Our Exiles style is currently game is taking a break and when we re-start most of us will probably create new characters (we completed the main storyline and fixed the universe). During the course of the game (2 years and counting) several characters (both PCs and villains) were killed (some for story reasons, a few were actually killed during combats). Most of these characters were very well done and I would like to see them get some play time again. I like to play characters that have an emphasis on versitility, such as Mimics (and other types of VPP users), and have come up with a concept to bring these deceased characters back into play.

 

I would like to play a character whose power is the ability to possess and animate a corpse. Yearning to be a hero, he..."acquires" the remains of fallen heroes or villains and uses them to be super. My question(s): Is this character concept too insensitive or potentially insulting to the other players? Would you allow in this type of character in your (standard to moderately dark) superhero game? Thanks in advance for all comments and thoughts.

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Re: Poor Taste?

 

My best advice? Go straight to the horse's mouth. It's a really cool concept honestly, and I'd be intruiged by seeing it play out, but I can also understand how some might have issues. Every group is different, and some people do have a very heavy investment in their PC's. Whether or not it's insulting though, that's really up to the individual(s).

 

So my 2 cents: Run it past your GM and your group.

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Re: Poor Taste?

 

This is totally dependent on your players' sensibilities. My general feeling is that PCs, including dead ones, belong to their players. I call it a "characteright ©". If it were me, unless I knew the player extremely well, I would probably put out some feelers first. As for me, if it was a character I played long enough to feel attached to, I would want them to stay dead. If not, then I'd probably just shrug and tell you to go for it. In your case that would be the end of it because people are making new characters, but in other cases I would consider the reactions of PCs or NPCs who knew the deceased character. That could bring a world of ire down on the character who messed with their remains - and their memories.

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Re: Poor Taste?

 

I admit, that one would probably have me making a face, and declining its use in my campaign. I can understanding the urge to want to use old characters anew, but in this case the premise makes me go 'yuck'. I think a lot of superheroes would find it disturbing/offensive in character as well, and group tension/conflict, imo, is over rated.

 

That said, it is an original concept, and not everyone has the same buttons I do. Your fellow players and GM might be quite cool with it for all I know.

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Re: Poor Taste?

 

I would like to play a character whose power is the ability to possess and animate a corpse. Yearning to be a hero' date=' he..."acquires" the remains of fallen heroes or villains and uses them to be super. My question(s): Is this character concept too insensitive and potentially insulting to the other players? Would you allow in this type of character in your (standard to moderately dark) superhero game? Thaks in advance for all comments and thoughts.[/quote']

 

First and formost, ask the Game Master and other players for the campaign. If he/she would be okay with it then I would proceed.

 

As a GM, this concept is a little dark for a Traditional "Four Color" campaign, but with what you had described would fit in a Dark Superhero setting. Of course such a setting might want/need to deal with the "insensitivity" on a character level, but I doubt that it should upset the players.

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Re: Poor Taste?

 

So my 2 cents: Run it past your GM and your group.

This is clearly sage advice and what I will do when the re-launch gets closer.

I would consider the reactions of PCs or NPCs who knew the deceased character. That could bring a world of ire down on the character who messed with their remains - and their memories.

I must admit that the above is part of why I would play such a character. I think it would create a lot of interesting role-playing opportunities.

I admit' date=' that one would probably have me making a face, and declining its use in my campaign. I can understanding the urge to want to use old characters anew, but in this case the premise makes me go 'yuck'. I think a lot of superheroes would find it disturbing/offensive in character as well, and group tension/conflict, imo, is over rated.[/quote']

I fear some of my players might agree with you. Though having access to pre-built characters is one of the draws to this concept, I will try appealing my group that at least their work will see playtime again.

First and formost' date=' ask the Game Master and other players for the campaign. If he/she would be okay with it then I would proceed.[/quote']

Again, good advice. As I am one of the main GMs of the game my players have a tendency to defer to my wishes, though in this case it’s not an advantage. I don’t mind tension between characters in game, but I definitely don’t want any outside the game.

 

Thanks for the great input you guys, and more is always welcome.

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Re: Poor Taste?

 

I'd allow it as variation on a Spirit Summoning ability.

 

Basically the character channels the dead characters psychic residue gets powers from there. Then you just make it clear that he's not enslaving the souls or ravaging the bodies of dead heroes. Instead he's borrowing from their astral template... or some such new age/techno-babel nonsense.

 

He need not get access to skills, memories or emotions, though that ability could be written up as well.

 

Maybe a name like "Monument" or "The Memorial Man", though "Valhalla" is an excellent suggestion.

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Re: Poor Taste?

 

Our Exiles style is currently game is taking a break and when we re-start most of us will probably create new characters (we completed the main storyline and fixed the universe). During the course of the game (2 years and counting) several characters (both PCs and villains) were killed (some for story reasons, a few were actually killed during combats). Most of these characters were very well done and I would like to see them get some play time again. I like to play characters that have an emphasis on versitility, such as Mimics (and other types of VPP users), and have come up with a concept to bring these deceased characters back into play.

 

I would like to play a character whose power is the ability to possess and animate a corpse. Yearning to be a hero, he..."acquires" the remains of fallen heroes or villains and uses them to be super. My question(s): Is this character concept too insensitive and potentially insulting to the other players? Would you allow in this type of character in your (standard to moderately dark) superhero game? Thaks in advance for all comments and thoughts.

 

One obvious problem with the character is that he's a criminal. The situation would have be pretty desperate before most of my characters would work with a graverobber any more than they'd work with a Robin Hoodesque character who robs banks for justice. Also, bodies have a nasty habit of decaying so the smell alone...

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Re: Poor Taste?

 

Even if you can get past the "ick" factor, it's going to lead to a lot of problems when you try to integrate the character with the rest of the PCs, especially if a few of them are still playing characters from the original group:

 

PC: I'm not sure what's worse - a shapeshifting villain desecrating the memory of one of our greatest heroes, or a shapeshifting villain too dumb to impersonate a live hero!

 

You: No, I'm really a hero! See, I just need to desecrate and rob graves to get the corpses to possess them so I can use their powers!

 

PCs: .....oh.

 

You: So can I join the team? I will need a little extra room at your HQ for my...stuff.

 

PCs: Well, uh, we're still waiting to hear back from...uh...The Aryan. But if that falls through, we have your resume'...

 

As others have said, if your GM and the other players are okay with this, then it's all good. But I think one way to make the character more palatable is to make him more like the alien played by Jeff Bridges in Starman. Your character could take the form/powers of any deceased character if he can touch any of that character's DNA.

 

Now instead of having to pilfer graves, your character could be someone who discovered his power after being a longtime collector of hero memorabilia - a cape at a charity auction, a coffee mug used by a heroine before a Regis & Kelly interview that found its way onto EBay, etc. This still gives your character that hint of creepiness without crossing the line of graverobbing.

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Basically the character channels the dead characters psychic residue gets powers from there. Then you just make it clear that he's not enslaving the souls or ravaging the bodies of dead heroes. Instead he's borrowing from their astral template... or some such new age/techno-babel nonsense.

As others have said' date=' if your GM and the other players are okay with this, then it's all good. But I think one way to make the character more palatable is to make him more like the alien played by Jeff Bridges in Starman. Your character could take the form/powers of any deceased character if he can touch any of that character's DNA.[/quote']

These are great ideas and will definately make the character more playable in game. I just have to get the idea past the players and GM so they will let me…”pay homage” to their past characters. Being able to copy deceased heroes will be alot easier though I will have to come up with a reason why I can't copy anyone, otherwise the character just becomes a standard Mimic.

One obvious problem with the character is that he's a criminal. The situation would have be pretty desperate before most of my characters would work with a graverobber any more than they'd work with a Robin Hoodesque character who robs banks for justice. Also' date=' bodies have a nasty habit of decaying so the smell alone...[/quote']

Were it my game' date=' this would recieve a big fat 'Oh, HELL no'. Just ... TOO creepy.[/quote']

I think you guys may be right. The above suggestions are a nice solution.

 

Great stuff, thanks all and please feel free to keep the great comments coming. “I will need a little extra room at your HQ for my...stuff.”, too funny.

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Re: Poor Taste?

 

I have to say that I don't really like the idea of this character. It really feels like it infringes on the memories of the "honored dead".

 

I am pretty sure that I wouldn't allow this in my campaign. If a player were to approach me with such an idea, I think I would have to limit him to the characters that he actually played...

 

I also see a play-balance issue. If the character is mimicking the powers of the dead hero, he will have to have enough points in his VPP (or whatever) to make it feasible. Copying the abilities badly would be a pretty bad thing to do, IMHO.

 

On the other hand, I could see a character whose the concept is a "fallen hero raised from the dead". So, for example, if HeroMan was a character that you had played in years past, and you wanted to play him again, you could use this as a reason that he has returned to life. Perhaps he is looking for revenge against his killer, or some other sort of thing.

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Re: Poor Taste?

 

I also see a play-balance issue. If the character is mimicking the powers of the dead hero' date=' he will have to have enough points in his VPP (or whatever) to make it feasible. Copying the abilities badly would be a pretty bad thing to do, IMHO.[/quote']

I agree here. Despite the complexity in playing such a character, I see the actual write-up as being pretty simple. Just off the top of my head, I think a Multiform VPP using the corpses of characters to be "copied" as Foci would cover it. My concept includes taking advantage of a pre-built pool of characters (both PCs and NPCs), those that have died during our game.

Corpse Possession VPP; OIF "Objects (corpses) of opportunity", One Type of Power "Multiform only", VPP Powers Can Be Changed Only In Given Circumstance "Changing forms requires a different corpse as a Focus", Character Has No Choice Regarding How Powers Change "Multiform can only be used to assume the form of a zombified version of a deceased character".
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Re: Poor Taste?

 

I think as stated the character has a lot of growth potential. Reading the concept I pictured a more villainous type someone obsessed with finding the prefect form to escape the previous one. However, the body jumping has led to side effects they did not expect. Memories of past lives seeping in, confusing him. Maybe he could begin play actually thinking he was one of the fallen heroes having written in his mind some story of how he survived. Only after several sessions does the truth come out along with the colored and dark past. The player would then have the opportunity of trying to repay his rather gruesome crimes while at the same time trying to come to terms with the bodies he needs to inhabit to survive. Maybe having some sessions leading up to the reveal where fallen hero one disappears again and fallen hero 2 emerges letting the other players become suspicious as to why you keep switching characters and using their old ones. I'm not sur if the character would be a permanent addition to the team in this form but may provide an interesting side story when the time is right.

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Re: Poor Taste?

 

I think as stated the character has a lot of growth potential. Reading the concept I pictured a more villainous type someone obsessed with finding the prefect form to escape the previous one. However' date=' the body jumping has led to side effects they did not expect. Memories of past lives seeping in, confusing him. Maybe he could begin play actually thinking he was one of the fallen heroes having written in his mind some story of how he survived. Only after several sessions does the truth come out along with the colored and dark past. The player would then have the opportunity of trying to repay his rather gruesome crimes while at the same time trying to come to terms with the bodies he needs to inhabit to survive. Maybe having some sessions leading up to the reveal where fallen hero one disappears again and fallen hero 2 emerges letting the other players become suspicious as to why you keep switching characters and using their old ones. I'm not sur if the character would be a permanent addition to the team in this form but may provide an interesting side story when the time is right.[/quote']

I love this whole idea. I think it would make for great roleplaying fun to try to avenge the fallen character's death or complete some task the character failed to before he died (as long as these goals don't conflict with the current storyline).

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Re: Poor Taste?

 

Here's another morality question...

 

What does he do with the corpses when he is done with them? Also, what happens do his body when he is "corpse-jacking" (assuming he has one)?

Good questions, these will help me flesh out (pun intended) the concept a bit. When he is done with a character's remains he will try to return them to where he got them from. If he stumbled across them (given our track record is possible the team could come across the corpse of a super in one of our stories) he will try to make sure the remains are taken care of appropriately (burial, memorial, ect.)

 

When he is "corpse-jacking" (you may have just named the power :ugly:), he bodily possesses the corpse, leaving no physical body behind. The corpse becomes the Focus of his Multiform (similar to common write-ups for "animating zombies" that use corpses as Foci for the Summon power). You have given me some inspiration though. Would this concept be less villain-like if he had no body of his own and was just an incorporeal spirit using the bodies to interact (as a hero) with the physical world?

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Re: Poor Taste?

 

One idea might be an Expendable Foci so that the body is destroyed after use leaving him in a constant search for the next Hero high. Oh, wait, you said less villain like.

 

I don't don't you should try to get away from the gruesomeness of the power. Embrace it and have the character come to terms. Just the statement of a "physical possession" of the corpse brings some, ahem, interesting images to mind. With the information presented I get a very strong reformed/reforming villain anti-hero vibe. One take on it may be the "born again" treatment, where the character does everything they can to embody the ideals of what it means to be a hero to try and make up for the sins of their past.

 

"Turn your thoughts away from cold, unfeeling light..."

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Re: Poor Taste?

 

When he is "corpse-jacking" (you may have just named the power :ugly:), he bodily possesses the corpse, leaving no physical body behind.

Glad I could be of service? :nonp:

 

Would this concept be less villain-like if he had no body of his own and was just an incorporeal spirit using the bodies to interact (as a hero) with the physical world?

 

I am not sure that it is possible to do this character as a truly heroic figure. He can act heroically, and would need to act as the dead hero he is animating, but I think there would still be some issues that the populace would have... necromancy will probably always be seen as evil (or at least creepy).

 

Another question (perhaps you already answered this one)... when he "corpse-jacks", does he at least temporarily repair the decay that has occurred, or do the "heroes" look like zombies?

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Re: Poor Taste?

 

Why not build in some kind of Physical Limitation where the character has no choice about this sort of thing? He's a cursed soul, bonded involuntarily to the bodies of the dead. He's not a grave robber in this case, as much as somebody trapped in a cycle of semi-rebirth. Escapes the whole "stealing from the dead" thing and makes it a bit more tragic.

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I don't don't you should try to get away from the gruesomeness of the power. Embrace it and have the character come to terms. Just the statement of a "physical possession" of the corpse brings some' date=' ahem, interesting images to mind. With the information presented I get a very strong reformed/reforming villain anti-hero vibe. One take on it may be the "born again" treatment, where the character does everything they can to embody the ideals of what it means to be a hero to try and make up for the sins of their past.[/quote']

Good advice. I think the "creepiness" of the concept is what drew me to it most. Though don't I want the character to be a villain I will probably stick with the corpse possession aspect, making him more of an anti-hero I think.

Another question (perhaps you already answered this one)... when he "corpse-jacks", does he at least temporarily repair the decay that has occurred, or do the "heroes" look like zombies?

This is a great question because I haven't totally decided yet. I almost want to claim "creative liscense" and decide on a case by case basis (based on what is most dramatically appropriate). Examples of what I imagine happening:

If he came across the bones of a long dead super, I think he would regenerate much of the corpse while possessing it so that you could at least recognize the original person (maybe like a mummy).

If he were to possess the body of a hero like Superman, he would remain very damaged or decayed as this would be in stark contrast to the invulnerability of such a character (think Marvel Zombies).

Though I have never played a female character, If he were to possess one I picture the result looking mostly intact but with a "deathly palor" (ala Lady Death).

Why not build in some kind of Physical Limitation where the character has no choice about this sort of thing? He's a cursed soul' date=' bonded involuntarily to the bodies of the dead. He's not a grave robber in this case, as much as somebody trapped in a cycle of semi-rebirth. Escapes the whole "stealing from the dead" thing and makes it a bit more tragic.[/quote']

Another very good idea. I was considering making him like an incorporeal spirit but I am leaning towards the idea of this just being his "super power" whether he likes it or not (which he doesn't). Sure he would have liked steel skin or super speed but at least he can help out (sorta).

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