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Tyto (PL 10) - Secondling

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Tyto
Power Level: 10 (150/150PP)
Unspent Power Points: 0 
Trade-Offs: None

 

In BriefSlightly psionic cowl from Anti-Earth

 

Alternate Identity: Tyler Lee (Secret), Samuel Amber (Alias), Magpie (Former Superheroic Name), Yamanu (Former Superheroic Name)
Birthplace: Empire City

Residence: West Freedom, Freedom City
Base of Operations: The Nest (A hidden bunker beneath West Freedom)

Occupation: Network Penetration Specialist
Affiliations: None, yet
Family: Tyler “the Magpie” Lee, alternate Earth Prime self

 

Description:
Age: 23 (DoB: 1995)
Apparent Age: Early Twenties
Gender: Male
Ethnicity: Middle-Eastern 
Height: 5’7” (170 cm)
Weight: 159 lb. (72 kg)
Eyes: Brown
Hair: Black

In civilian garb, Tyler is a man that easily blends into a crowd. Without many distinguishing features, he often does just that. He wears simple, casual clothes that fit the environment, with a slight favoring of the color green. Neither tall nor short, broad nor slender, Ty’s most distinguishing features are the scars that are mostly covered by his clothing.

 

As Tyto, he wears a grey, brown, and green costume that breaks up his outline, along with a cowl-mask that strongly resembles a stylized owl. Across his chest in an X shape, he wears a set of pouches that form his utility belt, with a buckle bearing the symbol of an owl flying directly at the viewer. He also wears a grey cape that reaches to the back of his knees, allowing him to glide from high perches.

 

History:
On Anti-Earth, in Empire City, there was once an orphan who was named Tyler Lee. A member of the Red Fangs, one of Empire City’s many minor criminal gangs practically from birth, Ty, as he preferred to be called, was trained by his superiors as a pickpocket and roof-climber, for very few places were made secure enough that a small child could not slip through their protections. 

 

By twelve, Ty had become something of an expert thief, breaking into lower middle-class homes to loot their treasures. Nevertheless, something seemed to be missing in this life – he saw how the violence of his superiors often effected the families he was stealing from, and felt something odd when he did so – a thing that he would later learn to call guilt.

 

Ty was thirteen when he found his life turned on its head. The boss of the Red Fangs got too big for his boots, and sent Ty after some more lucrative scores, in wealthier districts. It was easily the most risky endeavor that Ty had undertaken, and it proved that he was not so skilled as he (and his boss) had thought he was, as the owner of the house, a woman called Saturnalia Roman, caught him in the act of stealing some of her jewels.

 

A mixture of terror, guilt, and shame consumed Ty, and he quickly began babbling apologies in both an attempt to avoid punishment and out of genuine regret. The fact that she was easily the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen may also have influenced his regret.

 

Luckily for Ty, Saturnalia was more amused than offended, and was intrigued by both his skill at getting into her home and his sincere apologies, and offered him a chance to work for her rather than for the Red Fangs. Confused and conflicted, Ty fled the home, whose owner made no attempt to stop him.

 

Harrowed by the experience, Ty made a resolution – he wasn’t going to steal from anyone ever again. Being thirteen, he didn’t really consider what implications this decision might have on his relationship with his gang, and so he returned to the base… just in time to discover that those unforeseen consequences had no real meaning anymore, as all the Red Fangs were either dead or vanished. The base that they had been using was the site of a massacre – Black Bowman had taken offense to an attack on one of his businesses by the Red Fangs, and had taken matters into his own hands.

 

Left alone on the streets of Empire City, Ty had few options, and fewer chances to pursue them. With no other choice, he broke into the Roman home once more and found that Saturnalia was waiting for him – after swallowing what little pride he had remaining, he begged her to hire him, on the condition that he not need to steal.

 

After much (mock) deliberation, Saturnalia accepted his offer, and declared that he needed training to be useful to her. She sent him to the Maximus Ring, where Ty was educated in all manner of subjects, from history to close and ranged combat, from calculus to acrobatics.

 

Taking to these studies like a fish to water, Ty gradually discovered that the faculty of the Maximus Ring was staunchly opposed to the Tyranny Syndicate, and by the time he was sixteen, his suspicions were confirmed. The Courage Foundation, the great foe of the Tyranny Syndicate, sponsored the Maximus Ring as a training ground for their operatives.

 

Two years later, Ty’s training was complete, and the class with which he was graduating was prepared to begin their activities against the Tyranny Syndicate. However, agents of the Syndicate – mostly law enforcement officers led by Master Metropolis, crashed the day of their graduation ceremony. In the ensuing chaos, most of Ty’s new friends and allies died, and he was forced to flee. He fled to Saturnalia’s home, where he discovered his patroness had already been captured by the League’s cronies.

 

Burdened by guilt and a deep well of anger, Ty adopted the name “Magpie” as a nod to his past, and began a solo war against the operations of the Syndicate. It didn’t last too long – four months after beginning his operations, the Syndicate discovered his hideout and captured him, imprisoning him in the Fortress, their base in Empire City. 

 

There, their scientists analyzed him intensively, looking to discover how he’d managed to survive. For three years he was tormented and experimented upon, but they did not execute him. By the time he was twenty, though, he discovered that their experiments were unlocking some sort of potential in him – he no longer fell into exhausted sleep after their experiments, or… very often at all, for that matter.

 

Ghosting through the halls reminded Ty of his earliest memories, but the stakes were much higher. He managed to evade or take down patrols until he finally found himself in a room where the scientists had created a device… a portal of some sort. Any thoughts of testing where it might go or how safe it was to use were banished as the alarm went off, and he threw himself into the portal.

 

Ty awoke to find himself, burned and badly damaged, awakening in a hospital in someplace called “Freedom City,” though no one seemed to know who he was, or what the Tyranny Syndicate was.

 

Escaping from the hospital, Ty hid in an abandoned building and began to research where he was. After getting over small facts like the sun rising in the wrong directionand the fact that the Syndicate here was called the Freedom League, Ty concluded that he was in an alternate reality, where things seemed to be the total opposite of his home.

 

Investigating his other self, Ty discovered that he was a wealthy (and deeply immoral) head of a crime syndicate based mostly in Freedom City. Disgusted with his other self, he decided to “re-appropriate” some of his own funds, and took on the name Yamanu – the original Egyptian form of Amon, which translates to “the Hidden One,” and began working in secret to support the superheroes of this new world, whilst researching where he had come from.

 

For two years, Yamanu stayed off the field, functioning as an information broker for the superheroic community, but usually staying under the radar, and began working as a Network Penetration Specialist at a local company under the assumed name of “Samuel Amber.”

 

Now, in 2019, at 23, Ty is finally (more) used to Earth Prime and Freedom City, and has begun to consider making his next move to reintegrate himself in the field. Donning a costume, cape, and mask that he’d been working on building during his nights for the past two years, he took the name Tyto, after the genus of owls. Silent and powerful, these winged predators were the ones from which he took his costume’s inspiration.

 

Personality & Motivation:
Tyler is driven by many things – he wishes to make up for his past as part of the Red Fangs, where he enriched petty criminals at the cost of tormenting the poor innocents of Empire City. He is driven by his perceived failures to save his classmates from the Maximus Ring, who were killed and arrested by the Syndicate when he survived, and by the fact that his one-man heroics in Empire City were such a dismal failure. To Ty, Earth Prime represents a second chance, where he’ll be able to redeem his past failures. It also is something of a training ground, for he hopes to one day return to Empire City and break the back of the Syndicate.

 

So far, no one on Earth Prime truly knowsTy, and he somewhat prefers it that way – trust does not come easily to someone born on Anti-Earth, especially in its capital. Nevertheless, some part of Ty wishes to share the burden with other heroes, comrades of the sort that he had during the years of his training.

 

Ty holds himself to a high standard, both in terms of morals and in terms of excellence, though he acknowledges somewhat bitterly that he often fails in both accounts. He doesn’t take himself too seriously, though – you have to laugh at the world, or you’ll end up crying. Besides, Earth Prime is so much betterthan Anti-Earth that it seems to practically be a paradise.

 

Powers & Tactics:
Unbeknownst to Tyto, he has latent psionic powers invested in him (or catalyzed by) the scientists’ experiments back in the Fortress in Empire City. While thus far he has only found these manifested in his ability to go totally without sleep, it is possible that he will develop further powers as he grows into them.

 

Left without any offensive abilities, Tyto investigates his targets with utmost care, sometimes shadowing them, and other times thoroughly researching them online, but always learning about their weaknesses and fears. After doing so, he will strike from the shadows, relying on surprise and stealth to win the day.

 

Power Descriptions:
The most notable of Tyto’s abilities are not powers, but can seem that way to an uninformed observer – indeed, most are functions of devices that he built into his costume. He can hack into computer systems using his onboard datalink, and has a wide variety of onboard sensor systems that allow him to perceive threats and obstacles even in the dark. 

 

Complications:
Am I Enough?: Tyto is plagued with self-doubt and low self-esteem, as a result of perceived failures in his past. Anyone challenging him in this particular way is likely to cast him off balance.

Bird of the Night: Due to the legacy of die Eule, an infamous Nazi supervillain, virtually no heroes have adopted owls as their iconic animal. All unknowing, Tyto has done just that, and may be faced with stigmatization from those aware of the associations.

Identity Struggles: The Tyler Lee of Earth Prime is a fairly low-level crimelord of Liberty City, and anyone tying him to his Anti-Earth counterpart would have a decent chance at causing trouble for said counterpart.

Stranger in a Strange(r) Land: Being in a world where the sun rises in the eastrather than the west, and where the Freedom League takes the place of the Tyranny Syndicate is still rather startling to Tyto. Though he is mostly used to being on Earth Prime, occasionally acts of simple virtue and the differences in history or other such details take him aback, and reveal him to be not quite what he initially seems.



Abilities: 8 + 8 + 2 + 10 + 6 + 2 = 36PP
Strength: 18 (+4)
Dexterity: 18 (+4)
Constitution: 12 (+1)
Intelligence: 20 (+5)
Wisdom: 16 (+3)
Charisma: 12 (+1)



Combat: 16 + 10 = 26PP
Initiative: +4
Attack: +8 Melee (+8 Melee), +8 Ranged (+8 Base), +10 Battle Staff (+8 Base, +2 Attack Specialization)
Defense: +10 (+5 Base, +5 Dodge Focus), +2 Flat-Footed

Grapple: +10
Knockback: -3



Saving Throws: 6 + 6 + 5 = 17PP
Toughness: +10 (+1 Con, +4 Defensive Roll, +5 Protection)
Fortitude: +7 (+1 Con, +6)
Reflex: +10 (+4 Dex, +6)
Will: +8 (+3 Wis, +5)



Skills: 100R = 25PP
Acrobatics 8 (+12)

Bluff 4 (+5)

Climb 4 (+6)

Computers 10 (+15) Skill Mastery

Craft (Electronic) 6 (+11)

Disable Device 10 (+14)

Investigate 10 (+15)Skill Mastery

Knowledge (Technology) 10 (+15)

Languages 3 (English [Native], German, Mandarin, Spanish)

Notice 10 (+13)Skill Mastery

Search 4 (+7)

Sense Motive 4 (+7)

Sleight of Hand 6 (+10)

Stealth 11 (+15)Skill Mastery

Feats: 29PP

Attack Specialization (Battle Staff)
Benefit 1 (Wealthy) 

Benefit 1 (Alternate Identity)

Defensive Roll 2

Dodge Focus 5

Eidetic Memory

Equipment 7

Evasion 2

Fearless

Hide in Plain Sight

Inventor

Online Research

Precise Shot

Skill Mastery 1 (Computers, Stealth, Investigate, Notice)

Takedown Attack 1

Uncanny Dodge (Auditory)

Well Informed

 

Equipment: 7PP = 35EP

The Nest (Toughness: 10 Size: Medium; Features: Communications, Computer, Concealed, Gym, Laboratory, Living Space, Power System, Security System, Workshop) [10EP]

Utility Belt [24EP]

Bolas (Snare 10) [1EP]

Breath Mask (Immunity 2 [Suffocation]) [1EP]

Flash-Bang Grenade (Dazzle Burst 6 [Visual, Auditory]) [1EP]

Grapple-Gun (Super-Movement [Swinging]) [1EP]

Owl Talons (Blast 10) [20EP]



Powers: 1 + 12 + 6 = 17PP

Immunity 1 (Sleep) [1PP] (Psionic, Mutant)

 

Device 4 (Tyto Costume; 20 PP Container; Flaws: Hard-To-Lose) [12PP] (Technology)

                  Communication 3 (Radio; Feats: Subtle) [5PP]

                     -  Alternate Power: Datalink 3 (Radio)

                  Flight 3 (Flaws:Gliding) (4PP)

           - Alternate Power: Super-Movement 1 (Slow Fall)

                  Immunity 2 (Cold, Heat) (2PP)

                  Protection 5 (5PP)

                  Super-Senses 4 (Direction Sense, Distance Sense, Infravision, Low-Light Vision) [4PP]

 

Device 2 (Enhanced Battle Staff; 10 PP Container; Flaws: Easy-to-Lose) [6PP]

Battle Staff Array [10PP]

Strike 6 (Feats: Mighty) [7PP] (Bludgeoning Damage, Trained)

Blast 1 [2PP] (Bludgeoning Damage, Trained)


Drawbacks: (-0) + (-0) = -0PP



DC Block

ATTACK              RANGE              SAVE                               EFFECT
Unarmed                Touch        DC 19 Toughness            Damage

Battle Staff             Touch       DC 25 Toughness            Damage

Bolas                         Range     DC 20 Reflex                     Snare

Owl Talons         Range     DC 25 Toughness                Damage

 

 

Totals: Abilities (36) + Combat (26) + Saving Throws (17) + Skills (25) + Feats (29) + Powers (17) - Drawbacks (0) = 150/150 Power Points

 

Edited by secondling

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Looking purely at crunch, there's a few things I can see. Others more experienced in the system can probably see more, but here's what I got at least: 

 

Combat Caps

You will want to reach your combat caps, no matter what. That means as PL10, with no trade offs, you should reach Defense +10 (which you got) and Toughness +10, as well as +10 Attack and +10 DC/Damage for offensive effects, or with some trade offs. For a character such as this, who is largely skill and training oriented, and without much in the way of actual powers, I'd recommend a trade off to get higher defense and lower toughness, and likewise higher attack and lower DC/damage.

For your current +8 Toughness / +10 Defense, you could find some way to add +2 defense to reach defensive caps, at least.

 

Now, from the top with the rest

 

Combat

You should write out your attack bonuses the same way you have done defense, so it would be something like: Attack: +8 Base, +8 Melee (+8 Base), +8 Ranged (+8 Base), +10 Unarmed (+8 Base, +2 Attack Specialization). Also remember that attack specialization is a +2 bonus, not +1.
 

As for defense, it should be: Defense: +10 (+5 Base, +5 Dodge Focus), +2 Flat-Footed, since flat-footed is Base Defense / 2, rounded down.

 

Saving Throws

Already mentioned toughness under combat caps.

Averaging PL-2 for non-Toughness saving throws is the standard, with maybe one a bit higher and one a bit lower. I'd recommend getting a bit higher fortitude, and if your character is really good at dodging, as your feats and such seem to imply, try to get a higher reflex save too. The reflex save will help a lot against Area Effects where your Defense score doesn't matter.

 

Skills

No real comments here from me.

 

Feats

First a general thing: If you're heavily reliant on Dodge Focus and Defensive Roll to meet your caps, I'd really suggest getting Evasion, maybe even Evasion 2, and at least one rank of Uncanny Dodge. Evasion helps reduce situations with area attacks where your high defense doesn't matter, and Uncanny Dodge helps you avoid situations where you end up flat-footed.

For Skill Mastery, remember to pick 2 more skills. No sense letting it go to waste.

I'd recommend not taking Sneak Attack. Sure, the +2/rank damage bonus sounds nice, but you are not allowed to break the PL caps with it, so you will have to factor it into your tradeoffs, which means that in situations where you are not making a sneak, you will be under caps.

 

Equipment

7x5=35, you got another 5 EP to spend. Maybe get a grappling hook for your utility belt?

 

Powers

Descriptors: You really need to add that to all your powers. It helps a lot with determining what the power is, what you can do, how others can affect and be affected by it and so on. There's a list of official descriptors here, but you can also come up with your own, and one power can have multiple descriptors, if you want to. You should at least have an origin descriptor, which is how you have the power. For your Immunity it would probably be Mutation, for your Device it would probably be Technology, just to give some examples.

For Communication, you got no reason for Selective unless you also have area modifier. Without that, you can only communicate with one target at once, anyway.

 

---

Anyway, after going through the crunch, some suggestions for meeting caps:

Try and maybe get to +12 Defense, then stay at +8 Toughness. That's Toughness/Defense caps reached.

For offensive caps, you could always get a Damage power with the Mighty feat (so that you add your Strength bonus to its DC), which then has the descriptors Unarmed and Training. Basically, something to symbolize him knowing where to strike with martial arts training, or alternatively get a weapon as a device, and change the Attack Specialization to the weapon type. 

 

Hope all that made sense!

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I'll dissent a little and say that, given this is a relatively squishy skill-focused character, you could probably get away with only hitting PL9 caps in combat, still run with PL10s, and make up for it with utility and minion-sweeping. But if you do that, trust me, you will feel the difference in raw combat effectiveness between you and any PL10s you run with.

 

I also want to clarify, in regard to PL caps, that they're supposed to represent you at your absolute best, under ideal circumstances. If you've got a character with stuff like Attack Specialization, Favored Enemy, Favored Environment, and Sneak Attack, then they're not going to hit their max PL cap in every fight. They're only going to fight at their full "power" when they're using their best weapon against their worst enemy on their home turf when they've got the drop on them. And that's perfectly OK. The tradeoff between universal effectiveness at premium cost, or massive discounts for narrower specialization, is a fundamental part of the M&M rules mechanics, and you're free to choose where on that spectrum you want to be.

 

I saw in the Discord that you were told the cap for skills is PL+5.

I wanted to clarify that, since it's a point of frequent confusion in the 2E rules.

Your skill ranks in each skill are capped at PL+5.

But your Ability bonus is also and separately capped at PL+5.

So, technically, a PL10 character could have an ability at 40 (+15), and 15 ranks in a skill, for a total skill bonus of +30.

(That's wildly excessive, but technically possible.)

 

As far as the skills go, I would recommend the following: Crack open the "Skills" chapter of the core book. For each skill you intend to use and want to succeed with, read its description, paying close attention to the DCs for tasks associated with that skill. Check which skills you can take 10 and/or 20 with, and under what circumstances. Then buy your skill bonuses to the point where they're about 10 away from the DCs you want to reliably hit by rolling or taking 10, and within 20 of the tasks you can and will take 20 for. The task DCs vary wildly from one skill to another, so you need to adapt your build to each one if you want to actually succeed on skill checks. And for a character like this, actually succeeding on skill checks is mostly your purpose for existing.

 

Your attack bonus is wrong. Attack Focus (Melee or Ranged) adds +1 per rank, but Attack Specialization (like Unarmed) adds +2 per rank, since it's narrower in focus.

Also keep in mind, if you use Attack Specialization (Unarmed), that it doesn't add to your Grapple bonus, the way base Attack bonus or Attack Focus (Melee) would.

 

I wouldn't recommend more than one rank of Sneak Attack. That first rank is a bargain, 1PP for +2 damage, melee or ranged. After that, though, it's not really worth the cost. 1PP for very limited +1 damage isn't a good deal.

You've already got a decent Stealth, but if you really wanna get some mileage out of Sneak Attack, then consider buying your Bluff up higher so you can reliably Feint in combat.

Taking one rank of Sneak Attack is really common for Batman types in this system. It's an easy, cheap way to, for example, fight at PL9 most of the time, but get a "power-up" to PL10 when the stars align.

 

I would echo the recommendations for Uncanny Dodge if you're going to be using Dodge Focus and Defensive Roll, and Evasion for any "more agile than tough" type.

 

I would make the Datalink an Alternate Power of the Radio Communication. I don't see you wanting to use those both at once often enough to justify buying them separately. And you need to scrape up all the points you can for this type of character.

 

I would ditch the Sensory Shield (borderline useless), Impervious 3 (absolutely useless), the Sure-Footed (you've got Gliding to get you where you need to go, and you could get Swinging for a grapple at the same price), the Radio Super-Sense (Radio Communication already allows you to receive other Radio Communication while it's active), and Ultravision (Low-Light Vision + Infravision makes it redundant).

 

I can tell you copy/pasted the Utility Belt template right out of the core book. I wouldn't do that, because core book templates are crap. I would replace the Area types on those grenades with Burst instead of Explosion (the latter is a nightmare to keep track of in play-by-post), and I wouldn't bother taking any attack effect you're not going to buy up to at least rank 6. Below that, even Minions are going to make the save most of the time.

Also keep in mind that the "Utility Belt" power array from the core book is just that, a power array. They don't make it very clear in the chapter where it appears. And when you build a power array, each alternate power has as many points to work with as the base power. So there's no reason to arbitrarily limit yourself on the ranks for APs like the Snare or the Stun when you've got 16EP to work with on that flash-bang. But if I were you, I'd redesign each attack power from the ground up, and, again, not bother taking it if you can't get the cost down to the point where you can afford at least 6 ranks.

 

A quick note on the name: Yes, it's true that it seems to be something of a tradition for Freedomverse Cowls to take names associated with birds. But until very recently*, the only character in the setting to take the name of an owl was Die Eule (German for "The Owl"), the Nazi Batman described in the Golden Age sourcebook. And because of him, the whole idea of an "Owlman" has been tainted ever since. So keep in mind, if you do name your costumed detective after some type of owl, characters who are familiar with history might find it in poor taste. Maybe you want that source of in-character drama and tension, maybe you don't, but you deserve a heads-up. The fact that your character is from an alternate universe, where it doesn't have that sort of association, makes it fitting.

*I say "until very recently" because my own Cowl also has an owl name and motif. But he's also a poorly-disguised vampire, so "bad branding" isn't high on the lists of complaints from other characters.

 

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To be fair, I'm not sure that he'd be aware of the negative stigma associated with it, because he's from Anti-Earth, and everything seems backwards here. There probably was a heroic version of die Eule in Anti-Earth, but I'm not sure he's aware of the horrible nature of the legacy. I'll add it as a complication, with the idea he either redeems the thing or ditches it for a more suitable heroic handle.

 

That said, I'd be happy for more in-depth details on recommendations for his utility belt and getting his damage up to cap.

Edited by secondling

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