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Boll Weevil

The Abnormals.

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The Abnormals is a campaign my erstwhile gaming group started in the early eighties. A couple of us would take turns GM'ing so we could all play. Most of the group were D&D players and a bit intimidated by the Champions game mechanics. As players came and went they would request to play certain character archetypes. I would build the characters and they would play them. The characters would then be added to the pile, to be played by newcomers or as NPC's. After 25+ years, a handful of my favorites have remained. Those characters are the Abnormals. These guys were always the second string. When Grond shows up at the shopping mall, they called...The Champions (or The Good Guys before them). Our guys were called in as a last resort. The usual resulting property damage totaled slightly more than the bank robbers made away with. Think Ghostbusters gig at the hotel. Later, with a more stable group of players, they evolved a bit. The government (SHIELD-like) would hire the Abnormals to handle jobs the mainstream heroes would refuse. It was always thought but seldom said that the Abnormals should have been the LAST guys to call for a sensitive black-ops mission. All regular members had at one time worked for this organization (UNTIL since 5th ed).

 

The team has had many members and red-shirts over the years but the core has always been:

 

Sidney: Sid is the team's mentalist and team leader. He is a forensics expert as well as the expert in all things paranormal. He started in 1984 as the Charles Xavier of the group and ended up as the Rupert Giles. His skin is white and his eyes are black. He is frequently called upon by various agencies including Cincinnati Police to investigate "x-files" or supers-related activity.

 

Boll Weevil: BW is the martial artist of the group (since before martial arts was defined). He started in 1983 as a spider-man clone. He has four arms and the basic clinging, web-shooters etc. He has bony spikes on his wrists that can inflict venom as well. His personality is much like that of Murdock from the A-team. He is the natural sciences expert of the group. He is a brilliant scientist...and bats**t crazy. That's just fun for the whole family. Boll Weevil has among the highest DEX of any character in his class. It is a running joke among the group that he shots fired by agents at point blank range will miss him.

 

Captain Cockroach: CC is the Juggernaut of the group. He is nigh-invulnerable. When he started in 1984 he had a STR of 40 and no other offensive powers. As the baddies in the CU (starting with the Enemies books) started rising in points, he began to carry a special baseball bat (Mage? Nope, never read it). Otherwise, the Cap'n would spend 3 of his 4 phases running back onto the map after being blasted. Captain Cockroach does not Dodge. He has, however, shown up at the door of a villain's hideout with dynamite strapped to his chest. CC is the only completely human-looking Abnormal so he does a lot of the undercover stuff. In this campaign we always like to play to the shticks. He has been "captured" on several occasions, begging the agents not to shoot. Because it's him, they always did. All of them. It's fun. Captain Cockroach is the electronics, mechanic, systems etc expert of the group. Who better to disarm the bomb than the tank?

 

Wombat: As I've mentioned in other threads, Wombat was a character sheet created before an origin. This is something I like to discourage but we needed a brick (ok, we got a couple) and Wombat was a fun one. Wombat started in 1983 with a STR of 100. That was a lot of points for a 200 point character. He lacked resistant defenses and burned END faster than he recovered. He is 9 feet tall. Pre-5th, this meant he had Growth, Always On. Now with 20+ years of experience (and an ever increasing campaign starting points level) he has been "re-built" more than any other character. Even with Boll Weevil's craziness and Captain Cockroach's recklessness, Wombat is by far the reason people call the Abnormals as a last resort. He WILL throw a bus at Ripper. His DEX is high enough that he isn't a clumsy monster but with his size and strength he is a living wrecking ball. Back when doing a "Shockwave" was a normal combat maneuver, well, small structures would fall down too. The Abnormals mostly lacked ranged power (and Flight). Wombat made up for this by performing a fastball special with Captain cockroach. This often missed, leaving man-sized holes in every Rosie's Bar map building and contributing to the reason the Cap'n spent most of his combat time running. Wombat is most likely of Empyrean origin and prefers a colder clime. He is the team's survival expert and tactician.

 

Other notable:

Connectix (NPC): Connectix is the Abnormals information expert. He stayed back at headquarters (a la Theora Jones from Max Headroom) and fed information to the group. He could monitor their vitals, see and hear through headsets and was connected to the computer. Connectix is a bit of an anachronism now. He was created WAY before the internet. Now his shtick seems almost trite. He could hack the bad guy's base network and open doors, access their security cameras and shut off the doomsday device seconds before launch. As a GM he was a good NPC for they group to do their thing with not much of a plan :)

 

 

The campaign was always run like the movie adaptation of your character's comic book. The Abnormals were more powerful than most heroes, but less powerful than the (sum of the) bad guys. The acts of the movie may go poorly but somehow the heroes would win the day. I know a lot of GMs don't play that way and I would never criticize that. My players and I preferred this. Our characters were the stars of the movie. Thinking of the game in those terms made it more satisfying when the characters did their shtick. We could imagine the audience watching as the agents' laser sights alighted on Captain Cockroach and the high-pitched whine of the blasters would activate...and CC would "look at the camera and smile". It's their game. It's their movie...it's my characters :)

 

We had two campaign tropes I always enjoyed GM'ing. In some ways it made it harder but it was more liberating:

 

First is what I liked to call the "Miles O'Brien story": In Star Trek, particularly DSN, Miles O'Brien would often tell stories detailing the account of an adventure that was somehow relevant to the current story. The players were given a character that they didn't create but used the Miles O'Brien to make it theirs. I would tell the players that Grond was at the mall destroying the food court. I would bring character sheets but usually wouldn't prepare much else, not knowing who would show up. The players would then say, "I remember fighting Grond when he escaped from Stronghold back in 85. He was being controlled by VIPER through a device on the back of his head. Is there anything visible there?". I would have never said that but Grond usually was someone's pawn. If so, I might have changed my scenario details to say yes and let the team decide whether to fight him or try to follow the new information. This is similar to the second trope...

 

When confronted with a difficult puzzle and the Miles O'Brien didn't force my hand, the players would try the old "Bat Deduction" trick. Remember the original Batman movie:

Batman: Pretty fishy what happened to me on that ladder.

Gordon: You mean, where there's a fish, there could be a Penguin.

Robin: But wait! It happened at sea! See? "C" for Catwoman!

Batman: Yet — that exploding shark was pulling my leg!

Gordon: The Joker!

O'Hara: It all adds up to a sinister riddle... Riddle-er. Riddler?

 

The Abnormals were all brilliant in their respective fields. Many had Deduction or similar skills. If a player could come up with a string of deductions that equaled a course of action the rest of the team agreed with, that was the answer. Again, this campaign philosophy only works as a hovercraft and not a railcar. It can take many weeks' worth of planning a story and takes me back to square one. I will say, playing in a slower-paced PbP game like HeroCentral helps alleviate the pain of the sudden Bat Deduction derail. I had planned to kidnap the president but now, apparently, you figured out my sinister plan to spring Neutron from Stronghold. Hello, plan B!

 

Anyway, that is the how the Abnormals campaign was run. The characters sheets were mine but the characters were a collaborative story. I'll admit most game nights were just bank robberies and street fights but that was always fun too. This hobby has outlasted countless friendships and I am thankful for 25+ years of gaming fun.

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Re: The Abnormals.

 

A while back, I asked who would be interested in playing in a campaign using pre-generated characters. This was the campaign I had in mind :)

Also, you can see the group needs some rounding out. At the very least they need some air support and ranged Blasters. I suppose that could be the same guy. How would you round out this group if you were writing this comic book?

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Re: The Abnormals.

 

You do need blasters and air support. Elemental heroes are good for that. You don't have any speedsters to help with rescues, crowd control, putting someone through a wall. You dont ahve any movement guys at all. I would at least have one guy with big TK to get the team around in a hurry.

CES

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Re: The Abnormals.

 

A speedster, huh? I couldn't agree more. One of my all time favorite characters is Quicksilver. As a GM, I had always feared speedsters (and mentalists) as game-breakers but I think I could handle it now. Thanks for the input.

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Re: The Abnormals.

 

He has been "captured" on several occasions' date=' begging the agents not to shoot. Because it's him, they always did. All of them. It's fun.[/quote']

Did nobody ever named him "Captain Brer"/"captain rabit"?

 

It can take many weeks' worth of planning a story and takes me back to square one. I will say' date=' playing in a slower-paced PbP game like HeroCentral helps alleviate the pain of the sudden Bat Deduction derail. I had planned to kidnap the president but now, apparently, you figured out my sinister plan to spring Neutron from Stronghold. Hello, plan B! [/quote']

Yes, I can imagine how much PbP helps here.

 

Also' date=' you can see the group needs some rounding out. At the very least they need some air support and ranged Blasters. I suppose that could be the same guy. How would you round out this group if you were writing this comic book?[/quote']

How about a Magician/Blaster?

Floating around, group teleports and bringing down enemy flier (using entangle/force to ground spells) usually coms with the shtick.

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