Monday, April 9, 2012

Mind Shrike Part Deux

A couple months ago, I made a few versions of a random supervillain named Mind Shrike. My plan was to run Mind Shrike through the superhero games I have on hand to see how they differed from each other. The first report was, perhaps not surprisingly, that Marvel Super Heroes is fast and fun while DC Heroes is ponderous and lacking flavor. This is pretty much how I feel about their respective comic books; read into that what you will. We have a few more Mind Shrikes lined up, so let's take a look at the next one. He was created with Champions (technically the 4th edition of the Hero System), granddaddy of the point-based RPG non-craze.

Credit for Mind Shrike and his kin, by the by, goes to Lee's (Useless) Super-Hero Generator, which is actually very useful.

Typing up a Champions character takes forever and a day, so let's do the conclusions first. Given how often I've said I love Champions, it shouldn't surprise you to discover that I still love Champions. So many options. So much control. So what if it takes an hour to make a really good character? That's part of the game. Champions is the best high-detail generic system I've ever found -- a high priority for me, since I like switching genres and styles and power levels, without the fuss of having to learn a whole new set of rules every time.

Best low-detail generic system? Today I'd pick the simplified version of Over The Edge. You know, the one without any of that Al Amarja crap. Fun system, irritating setting. I don't want a game that tries to nail me down to a particular place and particular NPCs, especially if they sound more like William S. Burroughs than Edgar Rice Burroughs... anyhoo. Mind Shrike.

Making MSIII reinforced a few points for me. First, one of the great strengths of Champions is its Disadvantages system. You get a certain number of points to build a character for free, but you can get more points -- sometimes double your initial amounts, sometimes more -- by voluntarily taking on Disads that will come out in play. Vulnerable to sunlight? Hunted by the Illuminati? Stuck taking care of the illegitimate son you kidnapped from his highborn mother? Have some points to make your character stronger! And also have some complications that will provide grist for the GM's mill, and help you flesh out your character concept to boot! MSIII was built as a standard Champs 4e character, with 100 base points and 150 from Disads. When I'm running games these days, I usually reverse the ratio. It still works pretty well.

Second, it can be hard to spend all those points. I ended up giving MSIII several more abilities than his predecessors. We'll see this problem recur when we get to Mind Shrike V.

Third, I know Champions too well. This version of Mind Shrike has innate "psychic mind-numbing" powers that he used to steal a Mysterious Device that lets him fly. So I gave him two separate multipowers. Would I let a PC do that? Dunno. The fact that I spent the last 10 minutes thinking about it, though, tells me that I've got more invested in Champions than is perhaps necessary...

Anyway, on to Mind Shrike III.

STR 15
DEX 20
CON 20
INT 13
EGO 18
PRE 13
COM 10
PD 15
ED 15
END 50

Psychic Mind-Numbing: 60 point Multipower
  • 4d6 EGO Attack; Normal Range (-1/2) w/Linked 1d6 INT Drain, Ranged
  • 3d6 EGO Attack; AE Cone, No Range
Mysterious Device: 60 point Multipower; OIF Device
  • 15" Flight, x8 NCM; O END
  • 20 STR Telekinesis; O END
Conversation (12-)
Electronics (11-)
High Society (12-)
Basic French

Secret ID
Hunted by PSIBAN (More Powerful, 8-)
Hunted by Device's creator (As Pow, 11-)
Greedy (Cmn, Str)
Thrillseeker (VC, Str)
Liar (VC, Mod)
Berserk if Device is taken away (Unc, 14-, 11-)
DNPC: Taxi driver brother (Normal , 8-)
Vuln: 1.5x STUN from Killing Attacks (VC)
2d6 Unluck


  1. If anybody's going to kibbitz about the "Normal Range" limitation, it's intended to give Mental Powers the same range limits and accuracy penalties as ordinary ranged attacks. If you don't like it, or if you think -1/2 is too generous, try come combination of Reduced By Range and Visible.

  2. I love MSHRPG for its random generation, I also hate it when I have a party where one character has Monstrous Acidic spit and the other has Poor rating teleportation. The idea of a universal power system is nice but doesn't always make sense.

    I wholeheartedly recommend Hi-Lo Heroes for a low maintenance Supers game where everyone is more or less on the same playing field.

  3. Thanks for the recommendation! I'll check it out -- I love superhero games -- and maybe even make a Mind Shrike with it.