Sunday, February 12, 2012

Mind Shrike mania

A few days ago I dug through my Blue Folder Of Miscellany and found a list of randomly-generated supervillains. I thought I'd take one and run it through a few different superhero RPGs to see what happened. Here's how the first couple turned out.

This is one of my very favorite RPGs, and the first one I played regularly. You can trace a lot of my preferences back to his game if you're the kind of person who enjoys doing that. So what happens when we create a character to match one of the names from that list?

First, we almost got Cyberbarbarian. Marvel has a random character generator with a surprising amount of flexibility, and the first guy I rolled up could easily have had magnetic powers and a throwing knife... but having spent years playing Marvel, I remember that one of their sample characters had that exact power set. Boring. Plus this character had an Endurance stat of Feeble -- he fought and jumped around like Spider-Man, but he moved like Aunt May. That's Marvel for you.

Attempt #2 was more successful. With very little work, I put together a passable Mind Shrike (with flight and psychic mind-numbing):

F - Good
A - Good
S - Good
E - Good
R - Remarkable
I - Remarkable
P - Typical

Flight - Remarkable (around 120 mph)
Lightning Speed - Excellent (applied to Flight; that's a rule I never used before)
Paralyzing Touch - Typical

Talents - Martial Arts B; Engineering; Law
Contacts - NeuroTech Incorporated (tech company); Daggerbeard (nu-metal band)

This version of Mind Shrike came together in around 5 minutes. He's a lightweight -- weak physical stats, no offensive power worth noting, but a decent flyer with some good skills. As a lawyer with nonlethal powers, I'd  probably use him as a comic relief character. He could probably skirt the edge of "crime," since all he does is use his gauntlets to momentarily shut down people's gross motor functions. The band contact was free-associated from Mind Shrike - Operation MindCrime - Queensryche. I think this Mind Shrike is a good illustration of MSH as a system. I made him fast, had to stretch logic to connect him together, and he's more interesting than he is useful. I could drop him into any Marvel game I've ever played and he'd fit. I can already see a comic subplot where he competes with the lethal-yet-generic Killer Shrike to see who gets to use the Shrike name.

I think this is the second edition that Mayfair Games published. It got played for a while, back in the day, but it never lasted. Could be wrong, but I think it's the only notable RPG that was based on logarithms. Point-based where Marvel is random, detailed where Marvel is sketchy. DC is a game with a universal measurement system that tries to tie strength, duration, power level, distance, citrus flavor, and everything else into the same numeric scale. Not a bad game, and it has a few neat rules, but I'm not likely to dust it off for much. Here's how Mind Shrike turned out in DC.

Dex 7   Str 3   Bod 4
Int 8   Will 3   Mind 6
Infl 4   Aura 5   Sprit 4

Flight 8 (around 225 mph)
Sensory Block 6 (w/the Area Effect advantage)

Skills - Occultist 5
Wealth 5
Hero Pts 25

I built him on 450 Hero Points, the suggested starting total for a new PC hero. It took a long time, with a lot of page flipping and occasional consulting of other books, since this version of DC has character generation rules in a different book than rules on its unified measurement chart and a few other things I wanted to see. This Mind Shrike is... eh. Some kind of person with some kind of magic-derived powers that let him fly and black out all of your senses. I'm not nearly as interested in this one as in the first one. He doesn't have enough hooks to hang a character on. I suppose I could have given him some drawbacks or something, but after 45 minutes of chart consultation, I was done with him. that's two Mind Shrikes down. A few more are waiting in the wings.

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