Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Tales To Flabbergast Presents... ZZZAP, SON OF ZZZAX!!!

ZZZAP, SON OF ZZZAX


STATISTICS
F             GD (10)
A             IN (40)
S             GD (10)
E             IN (40)
R             FB (2)
I              GD (10)
P             FB (2)

Health:  100
Karma:  14
Resources:  TY (6)
Popularity:  5

BACKGROUND
Real Name:  Kevin Collier
Occupation:   Student
Legal Status: Citizen of the United States with no criminal record...yet
Identity:  Secret
Other Known Aliases: None
Place of Birth:  Houston, Texas
Marital Status:  Single
Known Relatives:  Mom, Gary (stepdad), Kid Sis
Base of Operations:  Campaign City, USA
Past Group Affiliations:  None
Present Group Affiliation:  PC Team


KNOWN POWERS
Electric Body:  Zzzap can shift from his human form into a quasi-solid electromagnetic state, providing several advantages and disadvantages, including:
  • Firing electrical bolts of Incredible (40) intensity up to 5 areas away.
  • Delivering a shocking touch of Incredible (40) intensity.  Those grabbed (via a Fighting FEAT to hit), or those that grapple Zzzap, must make an Endurance FEAT at the intensity of the shock or be knocked unconscious in addition to the damage.
  • Making arcing leaps at Remarkable (30) rank.
  • Incredible (40) protection from physical and electrical attacks, and Excellent (20) protection from other energy attacks.
  • Water-based attacks do +2CS damage against Zzzap in his energy form.
Pet—MODOG:  MODOG is the heroic identity of Kevin's bulldog puppy, Grumbles.  The li'l guy wears a headband that generates Mental Force Bolts at Excellent (20) rank at a range of 1 area, and loafs in a levitating pod that floats at Poor (4) rank speed.  Being a puppy of normal intelligence, the li'l guy barely follow's Zzzap's directions.  Stats are F: Fb, A: Pr, S: Fb, E: Fb, R: Pr, I: Pr, P: Pr, H:10, K: 14

Talents:  Student, Television Junkie

Contacts:  None

ADDITIONAL NOTES
Zzzap, Son Of Zzzax dreams of being some combination of skateboard, guitar, and surfing legend, but has never tried any of them.




ROLE-PLAYING NOTES
Zzzap, Son Of Zzzax is a thrill-seeker and a showboat, and needs a strong leadership presence to reign him in.  He's a shoot first, think second kinda hero.

MODOG usually floats on the sidelines, yowling adorably in encouragement.






HISTORY
Layabout and C-student Kevin Collier was on the field trip when the incident at Rick Jones' Locker went down.   Believing it was a Top Secret energy drink, Kevin chugged a bottle labeled "Zzzax Juice", and the results were about as expected.  He also snagged a levitating purple contraption, thinking it was a futuristic ashtray he could give to his stepdad for Father's Day.  Turns out it made a sweet flying bed for Grumbles!





FROM THE BULLPEN!
The instant Theron, Official Friend Of The Field Guide mentioned his "Rick Jones" idea is the same instant Zzzap, Son Of Zzzax was born.  The electrical boy and his barely-psychic dog exploded into my head like thunderbolts.  I've been dying to play Zzzap in a superhero gameANY superhero gamefor over a decade. 

In the intervening years, I've learned that there's a character named Zzzap in the Ex-Heroes novel franchise, and a MODOG popped up in official Marvel continuity.  But mine were first, damn it!  
Here's even some doodles from years ago!






I finally rolled up Zzzap in the old-school Marvel rpg, and, yeesh.  The dice were brutal, with an 84, 21, 39, 05, 78, 01, and 33, translating to Incredible, Good, Good, Feeble, Remarkable, Feeble, and Good.  TWO FEEBLES?!!!  GAH.

After much agonizing, I decided to make Reason and Psyche the dump-stats to represent having his brains scrambled by villainous energies.

Hey, there's precedent.




SIX DEGREES OF...
  • Zzzax is a major Hulk enemy --> Rick Jones!!!




Friday, May 24, 2019

Tales To Flabbergast Presents... THE CONFOUNDING CAPZARRO!!!

CAPZARRO


STATISTICS
F             RM (30)
A             EX (20)
S             IN (40)
E             AM (50)
R             PR (4)
I               GD (10)
P             TY (6)

Health:  140
Karma:  20
Resources:  TY (6)
Popularity:  TY (6)

BACKGROUND
Real Name:  Roger Stevens
Occupation:  Security Guard 
Legal Status: Citizen of the United States with no criminal record...yet
Identity:  Secret
Other Known Aliases: None
Place of Birth:  Chicago, IL
Marital Status:  Single
Known Relatives:  None
Base of Operations:  Campaign City, USAK
Past Group Affiliations:  None
Present Group Affiliation:  PC Team


KNOWN POWERS
Kryptonitium Shield / Shields Of Opportunity:  Capzarro's chief weapon is a green, crystalline disc made of Monstrous material called "kryptonitium".  This shield may be thrown up to six areas away, and inflict up to Amazing (50) Blunt damage.  As Capzarro is prone to misplacing his K-Shield, he often uses opportune objects (trash can lids, manhole covers, hubcaps, serving trays, etc) of Remarkable durability instead; these items deal Remarkable (30) Blunt damage when hurled up to 3 areas away.

Frost Vision:  Capzarro projects icy eye-beams at Remarkable (30) rank, usable in the following ways:
  • Emitting cold at Remarkable (30) intensity, up to 3 areas away.
  • Entrapping targets in Remarkable (30)-strength blocks up to 2 areas away.
  • Creating slicks of Remarkable (30)-intensity slipperiness.
Chained Mail Armor:  For when he's without a shield, Capzarro's garish suit provides Body Armor at Excellent (20) rank.




Talents:  Martial Arts B, (S)tumbling, Weapon Specialist: Shield

  
Contacts:  None


ADDITIONAL NOTES
Capzarro haltingly speaks in the third person with backwards grammatical structure and warped logic, inducing Shift X irritation in listeners.


ROLE-PLAYING NOTES
Capzarro is sincere and honest to a fault, and desperately wants to do the right thing.  However, his muddled thinking often results in inadvertently assisting bad guys and foiling police efforts.  His compatriots usually have to explain who he's supposed to clobber.

In combat, Capzarro is less a fluidly graceful super-soldier and more a wantonly physical mega-monster.





HISTORY
Roger Stevens was a security guard at the facility  housing Rick Jones' Locker.  On the front lines of The Incident, he was  standing near a decked-out Captain America mannequin bathed in the rays of a faulty other-dimensional duplicating machine filtered through a be-Pym-particle'd Cosmic Cube (more a Cosmic Crouton, truth be told) and transformed into a craggy brute of mighty power and dim intellect.

Though no longer "normal", Stevens tries to maintain his old life through the use of heavy makeup and trenchcoats.  Everyone who knew him before The Incident assumes he suffered a brain injury, and treats him accordingly.










FROM THE BULLPEN!
This wonky weirdo, inspired by one of my favorite characters over at the Distinguished Competition, popped into my head while working on a completely different blog post, so I diverted focus with a quickness to ride the brain-lightning.  The end result tickles me pink, y'all.

After rolling Capz's stats, I had to use the "modelling method" to design the completely-outside-the-rules-as-written shield.  Captain America appears in at least a half-dozen sourcebooks in the Marvel Super Heroes game line, and his iconic equipment is described differently in each instance.  This was definitely an effort in "fudging it", and I hope the shield isn't too egregious (or too wimpy) in play.

I copied Iceman's abilities verbatim for the frigid-vision..



SIX DEGREES OF...
  • Bizarro is one of Superman/s greatest foes --> Superman once encountered Captain America (and wielded the shield, even!) --> Captain America is a certain someone's mentor!!!

Straight-up one of my favorite funnybooks.

ALL THE DITTOS!!!

The Big Picture

Thursday, May 16, 2019

The Disco Devil Fashion Show!


Playing with the Champions Online and City Of Heroes character creators is a hoot, as each engine offers distinctly different visuals.

Here's the COH version of Disco Devil, in his Battlin' Bellbottoms™ duds... complete with Authentic Sequin Sparkle Action™!!!  (I think DD's like The Winsome Wasp, in that he changes costumes every few months.)





Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Tales To Flabbergast Presents... THE EGOTISTICAL GAMMARILLA!!!

GAMMARILLA


STATISTICS
F             EX (20)
A             IN (40)
S             IN (40)
E             EX (20)
R             TY (6)
I               GD (10)
P             GD (10)

Health:  120
Karma:  26
Resources:  RM (30)
Popularity:  TY (6)

BACKGROUND
Real Name:  Mitzi FItz-Hugh
Occupation:  Teenage spoiled brat
Legal Status: Citizen of the United States with no criminal record... yet
Identity:  Secret
Other Known Aliases: None
Place of Birth:  New York, New York
Marital Status:  Underage
Known Relatives / Relationships:  Angus Fitz-Hugh (industrialist father), Collette Fitzh-Hugh (socialite mother), Mistress Agnes Robbins (au pair), Radley Hellerman (chauffeur)
Base of Operations:  Campaign City, USA
Past Group Affiliations:  None
Present Group Affiliation:  PC Team


KNOWN POWERS
Irradiated Ape Body:  Mitzi can transform her 5'4" frame into that of an 8'-tall, 800-pound, green gorilla, granting:
  • Body Armor against physical attacks at Remarkable rank, and energy attacks at Good rank..
  • Resistance To Radiation at Excellent rank.
Gamma-Blasts:  Can hurl green energy at Good rank.


Talents:  Heir To Fortune

  
Contacts:  None (even Radley, her chauffeur, dispises her)


ADDITIONAL NOTES
She's the kind of kid that inspires Oompa Loompas to song.


ROLE-PLAYING NOTES
Teenage Mitzi Fitz-Hugh is the stereotypical "mean girl", being wealthy, gorgeous, and better than you... which makes it all the more ironic that her superhuman form is that of a giant, smelly, shaggy, glowing, male ape.  She constantly gripes about the unfairness of her abilities, especially when her lessers got much cooler—and lest disgusting—stuff.

However...

Mitzi secretly relishes the newfound power and freedom provided by her transformation.  The trappings of upper-crust life fade away, with no need for frilly dresses, or being "a lady", or using proper forks, or being seen and not heard, when she's hurling cars and smashing walls and pummeling losers.

Deep down, maybe, just maybe... all that Mitzi Fitz-Hugh needs is a hug...? 



HISTORY
Awful alpha-female of the cool clique, Mitzi Fitz-Hugh, wouldn't have been on the bus the fateful day of the incident at Rick Jones' Locker had her limo not broken down.  She can't believe it was happenstance, as that insolent chauffeur most likely damaged the car on purpose to torment her.

And she especially can't believe that one of those nameless dweebs in the Dungeons & Dorkuses club "accidentally" shot her with some stupid laser-thing while she was modeling a fur coat that would've driven those PETA freaks bonkers.

And she super-mega-extra can't believe that the combination of green beam and animal hide grafted to her body, granting her the ability to shift almost entirely into a hulking, gamma-powered primate.  A MALE ONE.

Ugh, the indignity.  And worst of all is the press sticking her with a series of terrible nicknames, like "Gammarilla Girl" and "The Savage She-Monkey" and "Seedless Grape Ape".  She decided to own Gammarilla purely out of spite.



FROM THE BULLPEN!
I'm gonzo for funnybook gorillas.  Ask anybody.  Probably best not me, though, as I can wax primateic for hours about 'em (particularly DC's "purple gorillas on comic covers" craze).

My dice were on fire for Mitzi's stats, getting a GD, EX, TY, IN, RM, GD, and EX.  Being of Altered Human origin, I upped that RM to another IN, and put all those high numbers into physicality.  Her Power ranks aren't all that, but they are in keeping with her inspiration.

I wager the contraption that blasted her came from The Leader's arsenal, while the glamorous fur was provided by The Headmen Of Manhattan Collection.





SIX DEGREES OF...
  • The Leader is The Hulk's arch-enemy --> Rick Jones!!!
  • The Headmen are The Defenders' arch-enemies --> The Hulk is a Defender --> Rick Jones!!!


Thursday, May 9, 2019

Tales To Flabbergast Presents... THE DUMBFOUNDING DISCO DEVIL!!!

DISCO DEVIL


STATISTICS
F              EX (20)
A             RM (30)
S             TY (6)
E             GD (10)
R             TY (6)
I               TY (6)
P             TY (6)

Health:  66
Karma:  18
Resources:  GD (10)
Popularity:  TY (6)

BACKGROUND
Real Name:  Buck Sorensen
Occupation:  School bus driver 
Legal Status: Citizen of the United States with no criminal record...yet
Identity:  Secret
Other Known Aliases: None
Place of Birth:  St. Louis, MO
Marital Status:  Divorced
Known Relatives:  Dr. Katherine "Kitty" Beemis-Sorensen-Dudek-Huang (ex-wife), Thelma Sorensen (teenage daughter)
Base of Operations:  Campaign City, USA
Past Group Affiliations:  None
Present Group Affiliation:  PC Team


KNOWN POWERS
Pyrotechnic Pitchfork:  Like a spear, it's made of Good material and possesses Good strength.  Grants wielder:
  • Fire Generation at Incredible rank.
  • Light Manipulation at Incredible rank.
  • Sound Generation at Typical rank.

Rocket Skate-boots:  Grant Lightning Speed at Excellent rank, both forward and backward.


Talents:  Driving, Occult Lore, Performer (Roller Boogie), Repair / Tinkering

  
Contacts:  Crime ("Big Hoagie" McLean, bookie), Medicine (Ex-Wife, veterinarian).


ADDITIONAL NOTES
If mustaches had power ranks, his would be Unearthly.


ROLE-PLAYING NOTES
Disco Devil took to superheroing to gain the respect of his family and peers (and maybe make some scratchheroes get paid, right?), but being a chronic underachiever means he's always thiiiiiiiis close to supervillainy.  His heart's in the right place, but that place is lazy, shady, and kinda sleazy.  [Think "Scott Lang 's deadbeat uncle".]

Disco Devil boasts that his expertise (*snort*) of All Things Supernatural comes from mystic mastery over the Pyrotechnic Pitchfork, but he really just watched a lot of In Search Of... as a kid.


HISTORY
Perpetually down-on-his-luck school bus driver Buck Sorensen drove the fateful day of the incident at Rick Jones' Locker.  He made off with a demonic trident, a pair of high-tech skates, and a mirrored ball.


Sorensen knew these contraptions were His Big Chance, but he struggled for weeks because the trident didn't do squat, and the skates were damaged.  He mulled and pondered and stewed, but it wasn't until he was drunk in the tub as Alison Blaire's breakthrough song came over clock radio that inspiration struck like a laser on fog machine clouds.  Sorensen modified the trident with karaoke equipment from his defunct DJ business and "borrowed" car parts, and fixed the skates (which housed hidden mini-engines, which was boss).  With the addition of his championship "Mr. Groove-Thang '77" duds (they still fit!) and the remainders from a pop-up Halloween store, lo, the Disco Devil arose!

(Oh, and the ball?  Sorensen hung it proudly in his studio apartment to help the plentiful lava lamps "make panties melt even faster".  Ugh.)





FROM THE BULLPEN!
If there's two things coded into my DNA, they're disco and Satanism.  Blame terrible 1970s parenting.

My random stat rolls were:  TY, GD, FE, TY, EX, TY, RM.  Legit diced a 94 (excellent!) and a 98 (remarkable!), which was a great counterbalance to the 06 that came up Feeble.  I pumped that sad boy with the +2 Reason Column Shifts granted by a Hi-Tech origin, bringing my brains up to a whopping Typical.  And couldn't be happier with how the Power Ranks shook out, either—ol' Buck clearly rolled ridiculously well on his Repair / Tinkering rolls!

The four Talents were a total surprise.  Trying to fill the slots generated the backstory and personality..

Buck's long-suffering ex, Katherine, is a Proud Black Woman Who Is Sick Of His Nonsense, but she has a soft spot for the lug.  When he eventually shows up on her doorstep beaten and bloody (like he did plenty before ever donning a costume), she'll tear him a new one but still treat his wounds with pet meds.  Buck's daughter, Thelma, adores and supports him, even if she thinks he's ridiculous.

In my head-canon, Disco Devil, Razorback, The Hypno-Hustler, and Stunt-Master have a regular poker game spawned from sharing the same bookie.  Gambling winnings account for Sorensen's Good Resources.

Buck looks amazing for a man in his sixties, like he just stepped out of a copy of Playgirl.  Maybe the trident had some residual mojo after all...?

SIX DEGREES OF...
  • The Son Of Satan is a Defender --> Hulk is a Defender --> RICK JONES!!!
  • Dazzler dated The Beast --> The Beast is an Avenger --> RICK JONES!!!
  • Blue Streak fought Captain America --> Captain America is a certain someone's mentor!!!





Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Campaigns That Never Were... Marvel Super Heroes Edition!



About (at least?)  a decade ago, Official Friend Of The Field Guide Theron Bretz tossed out a random campaign idea just as casual as you please...

What Lies In The Bottom Of Rick Jones' Locker?!!!

...with only the tersest descriptor beyond the logline:  "hoodlums break into Rick Jones' storage unit; hijinks ensue."  A specific system wasn't even mentioned (though I suspect Icons would've been the ruleset, given the timeframe and HERO System / Mutants & Masterminds fatigue).

Tragically, that campaign never materialized, but Theron's few words triggered an avalanche of ideas in Yours Truly.  (He's the Grant Morrison of gaming that way, and it's a privilege to float in his gaming pool.)   I've obsessed with Rick Jones' trophies and junk the entirety of these long ten years, conjuring concept after concept, iPhone note after iPhone note, and doodle after doodle.

THE NEXUS OF THE MARVEL UNIVERSE!!!


I'm particularly riding high on Marvel vibes, what with Avengers:  Endgame and funnybook titles The Immortal Hulk, The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, and The Amazing Spider-Man (particularly the "Hunted" arc) rocking my socks.  In that spirit, I'm going to be posting characters that've been rattling around in my brain, and basing them on how I'd run What Lies In The Bottom Of Rick Jones Locker?!!! myself.


The 1990s were unkind to us all.

My version!

The Concept:  Kids on field trip hear explosion at nearby storage facility; hijinks ensue.  (This allows for teenage characters of the non-hoodlum variety, plus adults like bus driver, teacher, security guard, storage manager, wino , etc.)

The Engine:  TSR's Marvel Super Heroes.  Ol' school, y'all!

Character Concept:  Your character must tie into the world of Rick Jones in some form or fashion.  Given that he's been sidekick to The Hulk and Captains America and Mar-Vell, plus the honorary Avengers mascot, a hero of his own, and deceased (with all that entails in a funnybook milieu), if you're stuck, you should turn in your Merry Marvel Marching Society membership manifesto, effendi.

Revisiting this treasure was a  blast.


Character Generation:  A tweaked version of the Advanced Set rules, combining both random elements and choose-your-own.

  • Pick your Origin.
  • Roll FASERIP stats randomly, but slot as desired.
  • Pick up to 4 powers, rolling Ranks randomly but slotting as desired.
    • If you roll randomly for powers, you may potentially get more than four (per the charts), plus you get a free bump to one power of your choice's Rank.
  • Acquire fiddly bits (Talents, Resources, and Contacts) as normal, but no sell-downs allowed unless you plead your case.
  • No rules-lawyers or munchkins allowed.  Y'all know who you are.

If the above is gibberish, you can legally download the MSH rules (plus genuine and fan-made material old and new) right here to follow along!

So, stay tuned for my own long list of PCs That Never Were, true believers!

Friday, April 26, 2019

"G" is for "Godzilunan"

Godzilunan

No. Enc.:  1d3
Alignment:  Chaotic
Movement:  90' (30')
      —Swim:  180' (60')
Armor Class:  2
Hit Dice:  22
Attacks:  4 (2 claws, 1 bite, 1 tail-slap)
Damage:  2d8 / 2d8 / 1d12 / 3d10
Save:  L18
Morale:  10
Hoard Class:  None
XP:  21,250

Freakish, semi-aquatic hybrids of surly radioactive reptiles and insectoid slave-laborers from deepest space, godzilunans roam the wastelands with but one purpose:  destruction.

And rampant destruction, at that.

Godzilunans stand 30' tall, and their bodies are covered with thick scales and chitinous segments that make them nigh-impervious to *all* armaments  (meaning they suffer only one-third damage, no matter the weapon type).  Their bulbous, distended crania throb with menace.

A godzilunan can exhale a blast of pure radiation every three rounds that does 12d6 damage.

After a particularly satisfying rampage, godzilunans bury themselves underground or inside icebergs, going dormant for months or years at a time.  They inevitably awaken at the most inopportune times for local settlements.

Mutations:  Energy Ray (Radiation, x3), Mental Barrier, Reflective Epidermis (Cold, Heat, Radiation)







"What happens when you combine a Godzilla with a Mutant?" — The Question Posed By My Four-Year-Old That Prompted This Ridiculous Entry