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Dr Archeville

Doc's New Char: Claremont Student (Artificer?)

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I went over some of this in Chat the other night, but it's generally good to have one central place to collect my thoughts.

So I'm thinking, once my RL issues settle down some (which I hope will be within a few months), I'll try my hand at a fourth character. One slightly more grounded and human than my others (an amnesiac robot from the future, a zombie, and an Old One-tainted scientist-turned-transhuman cyborg), and younger (i.e., a student of the Claremont Academy). I'd also like to play a magic-user of some sort, since A] that's something I've not really done, and B] that's something we have little of here.

I'm leaning towards PL 7 versions of my or my (and leaning slightly more towards the former). Luckily, I've already made PL 7 versions of those character, in spoiler boxes at the bottom of each post! They'll probably need some tweaks, though.

For the Artificer, I was thinking of giving him something like what Marvel's Forge has: the ability to intuitively know how to craft magical items, but he doesn't know how he's doing it. This would be a good reason to go to a school like Claremont -- so he can know how the things he makes actually work!

How did he gain this ability? "Makes magic items" doesn't really lend itself to Mutant powers, and constructive powers in general don't really lend themselves to Terminus Babies (unless all the things he makes gobble up ambient magical energy, feeding it to the Terminus!). Magical knacks/talents can pass on just as easily as mutant powers, so the guy could be from a line of minor mages/magically-empowered folks. (A metamagi? ... probably not.)

I'd also thought of a darker route, that he was a normal kid (perhaps with a knack for motorcycle repair), who got in with the wrong crowd and tried a new drug, which opened his mind to magical patterns. What was this drug? (Laced with ground-up philosopher's stone?) Was it a creation of The Labyrinth (or Dr. Sin, or ), trying to find a way to awaken latent mystical abilities in people for some nefarious purpose? But I don't trust myself not to make a drugs origin into squicky druuugs territory, so I move on.

Then I remembered TT made a Forge-esque character, his and the origins ideas there struck me. Steve Kenson has said (though there's little evidence of) that he'd intended the Voudoun Loa to have as big a role in the Freedom City setting as the Norse gods do in Marvel & the Greek ones do in DC. So I could make him a recipient of some boon from Ogoun, patron of smiths (and warriors & politicians, and sometimes of healers).

Going that route, I'd likely make the character black (to avoid Mighty Whitey; another first for me, since I've only ever played white guys). May even go for a triple threat, make a magic-using black female.

For the Biomancer, I think the bare origin worked out there already -- student of assorted body-controlling and form-altering magics from around the world -- would work fine for a Claremonter. Trick is finding out why he's studying those particular magics, flesh (heh) it out more. (And try not to get too squicky/body horror-y with it in play.)

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Sick family members? Discontent with the advancements of modern medicine, maybe he or his family members have a rare genetic disorder which doesn't get the attention or funding, or currently does not have a known genetic cause to cure by standard means. If he's sick, then working hard to use what time he has to try some magical cure for his condition (without you know, selling your soul to the devil or some other super squicky thing like grafting) seems reasonable, especially if he feels cornered by his condition otherwise.

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Another Biomancer thought: he's an Anti-Grue Warrior. Maybe a Lor agent given powers to fight their long-times foes (so probably not magical; switch out the Detect Magic for Detect Shapeshifter or somesuch), or a human who lost a loved on in one of the Grue invasions and sought out ways to avenge them (so that could still be magical).

Or he is himself some weird mutant Grue, on the run from the Hive Mind! Except we already have one rogue Grue.

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Per the Biomancer: Another escaped Grue wouldn't hurt, the Unity is a terrible place after all. But I would say myself that it would be closer to your goal of making the character down to Earth by having them be a normal kid. Perhaps they have a looming tragedy in their home life, like Aoiroo suggested, or they've seen how freakish it looks in action and for whatever reason want to try and make it less of a horror to others by using it for helping and healing.

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So one idea I'm toying with for my Claremont Artificer is the ability to use other people's magic items-

Wait, wait, hear me out!

Not just anyone's items, of course. No, my main thought was something akin to the Use Magic Device skill from D&D 3.0/3.5 and Pathfinder. For those not familiar with that, it's a skill that allow a character to use magic items they otherwise could not use, like an axe which gives several benefits when in the hands of a dwarven wielder (and harms any non-dwarf who dares wield it), or a talisman that saps the life from anyone who doesn't worship a particular demon lord or archdevil. A high enough skill check fools the item into thinking you are the particular alignment/class/race/sex/whatever needed for it to work. In M&M, the "item can only be used by certain people" is done with the Restricted power feat applied to the Device itself. What I'm picturing is a way to overcome that, so my guy can use otherwise Restricted items.

The scene playing out in my head is that he & his fellow Claremonters are facing some Serpent Men cultists, one of the Serpent Men raises a staff up that can turn innocent Bystanders into feral Snake-Men, but the heroes knock the staff out of his hand and seize it. "Foolisssh mammals! The Staff of Ssserpos can be used to reverssse the spell, but only in the handsss of a true Serpent-Man!" The Bystanders-turned-Snake-Men continue attacking, [Artificer] studies the Staff a moment, figures a "backdoor" way in, and successfully uses the Staff to reverse the spell and turn the feral Snake-Men back into confused human Bystanders.

The question -- aside from "would this be a viable ability for a PC to have?" -- is how to build it. I've done vaguely similar builds before where a character's training or powers allow them to overcome a Device's limitations, but this is something that would be applicable to any (GM permitting) Device he comes across. The only things coming to mind are either some weird variant of Morph or Illusion, or a 1-rank VP to get an as-needed Feature (can overcome Restricted feat on this item). There's also the question of if it'd be worth it to buy (i.e., just stunt it off his Magic power as needed), given how rare Restricted magic Devices are (have there even been any in-play here? I honestly don't know).

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I would call using restricted items is best handled as a 1PP feature.

One suggestion would be

Power control X (Mastery of magic Items Extras: Alternate Save (Reflex) +0, Effortless, Duration 1 [Continuous], Flaws: Limited 2 (Only Magic Items) )

That would be a more potent ability (perhaps as part of an array). If he see's someone using a magical item, he is just so cool, he can control it from afar!

I suppose other possibilities are nullification of magic items (or perhaps even transforming them into something else!).

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I'd have to third Supercape's second suggestion. Official Restricted magical Devices may be pretty rare, but whipping one up for a NPC doesn't take much using the magic descriptor.

This Item Control could be a persuasive new technique that illustrates heroic possibility. Nothing like bashing an angry Thor over the head with his own hammer. Not feasible in FC multiverse, but you get the idea. Reach out in desperation and find your destiny. A magical ability in this vein is still highly situational though.

Bundling this power into a Forge-esque character makes sense thematically and also gives a great deal of options on which to fall back. Particularly minor or a couple of "appropriated" Restricted items the character now owns. After all a lot of villains aren't magical. I'm envisioning the magewrights of D&D's Eberron Campaign Setting. They're not true wizards, able to master many spells and unlock arcane secrets, but learn practical spells for their profession, including magical item creation.

If not a lineage, then perhaps the character is artistically gifted and stumbles on a magical tutorial book? Distant relation of a crafting god? Initiated into an ancient guild of magical craftsmen? The latter two could work in with Ogoun or other supernatural powers.

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An extremely bare-bones draft for my Claremont Artificer.


Player Name: Dr Archeville

Character Name:


    Alagbẹdẹ (Yoruban word for "smith/smithy/smithery")
    Agbẹdẹ irin ("forge")
    Ẹlẹda ("maker")

Power Level: 7 (105/105PP)

Trade-Offs: +1 Attack / -1 Damage, -1 Defense / +1 Toughness

Unspent Power Points: 0

Progress To Orichalcum+ Status: 0/210 (Orichalcum Status earned with Doktor Archeville)

In Brief: Intuitive artificer looking to understand her abilities & do some good in the world.

Alternate Identity: [birth name]

Identity: Secret

Birthplace: Freedom City, New Jersey, USA

Occupation: Student (Claremont Academy), part-time automobile & motorcycle mechanic

Affiliations: Claremont Academy

Family: Mother, father, older twin brothers

Description:

Age: 16 (DoB: December 1996)

Apparent Age: 16

Gender: Female

Ethnicity: African-American (parents & gparents are Nigerian)

Height: 5'4"

Weight: 135 lbs.

Eyes: Brown

Hair: Black

[Forge] is a young black woman with close-cropped hair, and more often than not has smudges on her hands and face from her latest mechanical tinkerings. She favors simple, rugged clothes, which rarely go a week without getting some unremovable stain on them.

When out superhero-ing, [Forge] wears her Claremont-supplied blue-and-gold uniform, with a gold mask covering the upper half of her face. She is working on a personal outfit in black and green (the colors of Ogoun). She remains undecided if it should have a cape: capes are certainly iconic, but it might get in her way.

Power Descriptions:

All of [Forge]'s Powers have the Magic descriptor. Her Enhanced Feats, Enhanced Skills, Quickness, and Super-Senses also have the Divine descriptor, as they are direct boons from Ogoun; her Force Field and "Magic" are items she has created.

(Describe what their powers look like, if applicable)

History:

born Dec 1996

parents born 1970s?

gparents born 1940s?

Grandparents & parents (who were teens at the time) migrated to USA to escape political and economic problems exacerbated by the military regimes of self-styled generals.

(Why did I chose Nigeria? B/c it has a Ogun state.)

Mechanically gifted, started helping out at [relative]’s auto shop at an early age.

[something happened to gain Ogoun’s attention.]

Went to Claremont to gain education in mystical matters, and find other young heroes with which to work/play.

Personality & Motivation:

Boisterous Bruiser & a tomboy. Loves to tinker, with both mechanical/technological things (esp. motorcycles) and magical items. Potential to be a great leader (another reason Ogoun chose her).

(Describe here)

Powers & Tactics:

[Forge] was granted by Ogoun a superhuman intuitive talent for creating magical devices (and a lesser intuition with all forms of smithing), backed up by the ability to visually perceive mystical energy in action. This power allows her to instinctively recognize the potential and functional uses of any artifact or magical device in her visual range, a skill that combined with her natural intelligence gives her the ability to conceive, design and build potent magical devices, and operate, modify and disassemble existing artifacts or create countermeasures for it. [Forge]'s superhuman talent for artificing does not mean that she is of a superhuman intellect: even a genius at magical working must for the most part consciously work out the theoretical principles behind the creation and then the design of the item itself through a series of logical steps. In [Forge]'s case, however, many of these logical steps are worked out by her subconscious mind. Hence, [Forge] herself might not be entirely aware of exactly how she figured out how to create a magical item of hers; sometimes she must break down an item she has made to even figure out how it works. Lessons at Claremont are helping her understand magical theory on a conscious level, but she still has a ways to go.

[Forge]'s Force Field and Magic powers do not represent spellcasting power per se, but rather a group of magical items she has on her person; she has multiple items for each effect, so disarming any one would not remove her powers. Further, she has worked with these enhancements so often that they are second nature to her, and she can easily create items with those effects using most anything she can get her hands on.

Currently focusing on aiming/guiding her power (hence +Attack/-Damage), but will eventually learn to make better items.


Complications:

Intuitive Artificer: [Forge]'s Enhanced Skill (Knowledge [Arcane]) is only useful for the Design stage of the Artificer feat, not for answering general knowledge questions.

Prejudice: While being a young black tomboy in Freedom City, New Jersey is not as difficult as it would be in certain other parts of the country, [Forge] does still occasionally face some difficulties.

Secret: Identity.

Abilities: 4 + 0 + 10 + 6 + 4 + 6 = 30PP

Strength: 14 (+2)

Dexterity: 10 (+0)

Constitution: 20 (+5)

Intelligence: 16 (+3)

Wisdom: 14 (+2)

Charisma: 16 (+3)

Combat: 8 + 8 = 16PP

Initiative: +0

Attack: +4, +8 Arts Arcane

Grapple: +6, +14 w/ Wizard-Hand

Defense: +6 (+4 Base, +2 Dodge Focus), +2 Flat-Footed

Knockback: -3 (-7 w/ Spells of Protection), -2 w/out Force Field

Saving Throws: 0 + 4 + 4 = 8PP

Toughness: +8 (+5 Con, +3 Force Field; Imp 7 w/ Spells of Protection), +5 w/out Force Field

Fortitude: +5 (+5 Con, +0)

Reflex: +4 (+0 Dex, +4)

Will: +6 (+2 Wis, +4)

Skills: 20R = 5PP

Bluff 2 (+5)

Concentration 3 (+5)

Craft (artistic) 1/2 (+4/+5)

Craft (mechanical) 6/7 (+9/+10)

Craft (structural) 1/2 (+4/+5)

Intimidate 2 (+5)

Language 3 (English [native], French, Spanish, Yoruba)

Knowledge (arcane lore) 0/5 (+3/+8)

Knowledge (technology) 2 (+5)

Feats: 4PP

Attack Specialization (Arts Arcane) 2

Dodge Focus 2

Powers: 3 + 2 + 3 + 29 + 2 + 2 = 41PP

Enhanced Feats 3 (artficer, luck 2) [3PP]

Enhanced Skills 8 (Craft [Artistic] 1, Craft [Mechanical] 1, Craft [structural] 1, Knowledge [Arcane Lore] 5) [2PP]

Force Field 3 [3PP]

Magic 9 (Arts Arcane, 18 points; PFs: Alternate Power 11) [29PP]

BE: Blast 6 (blasting rings/wands; Extra: Penetrating; PF: Variable Descriptor [any elemental]; Drawback: Reduced Range 1 [5 increments]) {18/18}

AP: Concealment 4 (misty form; all visual; Flaw: Blending; PFs: Close Range) {5} + Insubstantial 2 (gaseous; PFs: Subtle) {11} + Super-Movement 1 (air walking) (5+11+2=18/18)

AP: Dazzle Auditory & Visual 6 (Shango's thunderstone; PF: Reversible; Drawback: Reduced Range 1 [5 increments]) {18/18}

AP: Illusion 4 (invoked imaginings; auditory, olfactory, and visual; PFs: Progression 2 [25-ft. radius]) {18/18}

AP: Immunity 11 (mystical armor; critical hits, life support; Active Sustained effect) + Impervious Toughness 7 (note: Active Sustained effect) {11+7=18/18}

AP: Move Object 6 (mage hand gauntlet; Str 30, Hvy Load 1,600 lbs.; Extra: Damaging; PF: Precise; Drawback: Reduced Range 1 [5 increments]) {18/18}

AP: Nullify 6 (all magic effects [2/rank]; Extras: Area [30 ft. Burst], Duration [Concentration], Selective Attack; Flaws: Limited [items Only], Range [Touch]) [18/18]

AP: Obscure Olfactory & Visual 3 (foul smokebombs & goggles; 25 feet radius; Extras: Independent, Total Fade; PF: Slow Fade [1pp/5 rounds]) {13} + Immunity 1 (own powers; Active Sustained effect; Extra: Duration [Continuous]) {2} {13+2=15/18}

AP: Snare 6 (iron shackles; Extra: Regenerating; PF: Reversible; Drawback: Reduced Range 1 [5 increments]) {18/18}

AP: Stun 7 (pouch of Sandman's sand; Extras: Alternate Save [Will], Area [General, 35-ft. Cone], Sleep; Flaws: Action [Full]; PFs: Insidious, Sleep, Subtle) {17/18}

AP: Teleport 4 (portal chalk; 400 feet / 1 mile; PFs: Change Direction, Easy) {18/18}

AP: Enhanced Feats 2 (quick change 2) {2} + Transform 3 (philosopher's stone; anything to anything, 5 pounds; Flaw: Range [Touch]; PF: Precise) {16} {2+16=18/18}

Quickness 6 (x250; Flaws: Limited 2 [One Task: Designing Magical Inventions]) [2PP]

Super Senses 2 (analytical detect magic [visual]) [2PP]

Drawbacks: (-0) = -0PP

None

DC Block:


ATTACK RANGE SAVE EFFECT
Unarmed Touch DC 17 Toughness (Staged) Damage (Physical)
Bolt of Power Ranged DC 21 Toughness (Staged) Damage (Variable)
Invoked Imaginings Perception DC 14 Will Disbelief
Invoked Iridescence Ranged DC 16 Reflex/Fort Blinded & Deafened
Somnolence Perception DC 17 Will (Staged) Dazed/Stunned/Asleep
Transmutation Ranged DC 13 Fortitude Transformed
Wizard-Hand Ranged Grapple Pinned/Bound
WH (Thrown Object) Ranged DC 21 Toughness (Staged) Damage (Physical)

Totals: Abilities (30) + Combat (16) + Saving Throws (8) + Skills (5) + Feats (4) + Powers (41) - Drawbacks (0) = 104/105 Power Points


APs I may eventually get, or just leave as Stunts.

Blast 6 (gout of mageflame; Extra: Secondary Effect; PF: Incurable; Drawback: Reduced Range 1 [5 increments]) {18/18}

Dazzle Visual 5 (flare of mageflame; Extras: Area 2 [Perception, General]; Flaw: Range [Touch]; PF: Incurable) {16/18}

Drain Strength 6 (withering weakness; Extras: Range [Ranged], Total Fade; PF: Reversible; Drawback: Reduced Range 1 [5 increments]) {18/18}

Strike 7 (arcane wave; Extra: Area [35-ft. Burst, General]; PFs: Knockback 2 [as DMG 9]) {16/18}

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If you want suggestions for the "Something attracted Ogoun's attention" bit, how about she started using her mechanical skills to protect her family's neighborhood?

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If you want suggestions for the "Something attracted Ogoun's attention" bit, how about she started using her mechanical skills to protect her family's neighborhood?

I'd thought of that angle. My problem is figuring out why she switched, from tech to magic. And "her tech wasn't good enough, so she switched to using the magic of her ancestors" is rather problematic.

Edit: trollthumper offered some fine advice:

Well, there's the always the tactic of Ogoun looking on her works and going "Damn, girl." For my Technoshaman build, I suggested the idea of Spider Woman coming to a Navajo defense contractor after he'd proven his skill at technology and gifting him magic - mainly because I wanted to set the idea apart from the comic book trope that every shaman can call down lightning and every houngan can raise zombies on demand, showing that there's a difference between following a god, being its holy man, and being its champion. After all, when's the last time you saw a priest heal a sucking chest wound with the power of Christ? But if the character just happens to be an adherent of Ogoun who's glorifying him through the forge, and he shows up and offers her a benediction, she'll find a way to work it into her own tech. Think of it not as being handed magic by the gods, but as being handed proprietary technology and figuring out how to reverse-engineer it. Which is likely how a forge god would go about handing down magic in the first place.

Character pic? Too steampunk-y? I'unno.

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That is an excellent point. However, wouldn't necessarily be a switch, could be written as an upgrade in what tools she had at her disposal. With the gifts of Ogoun she'd be able to turn her talents to making things she never could with the 'mundane' equipment at her disposal, meaning that for someone with her limited resources it would be a very real Godsend.

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