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Sticklefront's Learning Curve; Adventures in Rules!


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Player Name: Sticklefront
Character Name: Havoc
Power Level: 10 (150/150PP)
Trade-Offs: None
Unspent Power Points: 0
Progress To Bronze Status: 0/30

In Brief: Black Ops killing machine turned principled man of honour. He’ll do what needs to be done; saving the day no matter the cost.

Alternate Identity: Brutus Haigh, Whitey, Scratch
Identity: Secret
Birthplace: Huntsville, Alabama
Occupation: “Superheroâ€
Affiliations: Former operative of Black Ops group “Section 12â€
Family: Benjamin Haigh (Father, Deceased), Sarah Haigh (Mother, Estranged, status unknown)

Age: Not entirely clear.
Apparent Age: Mid-thirties
Gender: Male
Ethnicity: Caucasian
Height: 5’9’’
Weight: 210 lbs
Eyes: Brown
Hair: Black

Havoc is a shorter-than-average man, but is stocky and well built. His upper body is packed with muscle, but with none of the Adonis-like definition of a male model; rather the build of a stevedore or construction worker. He could most politely be called “hirsuteâ€; every visible inch of skin showing dark body hair. He’s not furry by any stretch of the imagination, just hairy!
His nose has been broken and reset several times, and a distinct crookedness on the left hand side shows that his jaw has clearly been broken at some point. The heavy stubble covering the lower half of his face and neck do little to hide it, and neither does his horseshoe moustache. If visible, an observer would also be able to see two long, rectangular slots on the back of his forearms; the housings for his signature weaponry.
Out of costume, Haigh wears rough clothing, favouring stonewash denim, tank tops, and cowboy hats as a matter of course. He is clearly a man of simple tastes.
In costume as Havoc, he wears a close-fitting bodysuit. The suit has quilted sections along his upper arms, shoulders and thighs. It is rich blue in colour, with white sections running from armpit-to-knee on each side of his body. His head is covered by a smooth, white, open-faced helmet, with facial protection provided by a red visor extending down over his eyes. A white utility belt, heavy with pouches, is buckled around his waist, and he wears black combat boots.

Power Descriptions:
When his biological modifications are in use, his eyes widen, and his body begins to sweat profusely. The surging adrenaline however will cause him to “crash†within a minute or two, needing a similar time for his body to purge the resulting toxins from his blood and bring him back to optimum levels.
His other “power†takes the form of an implanted weapon in each of his forearms; with a thought, Havoc can extend two gunmetal grey housings from the back of his forearms, which can utilise a field of humming red energy in the form of offensive weaponry. Whether in the form of cutting blades more effective than tempered steel, phased nerve-scramblers that reach inside the targets own body or projecting rods of energy through the air at high speed, the weapon channels a never-before seen form of energy that glows a vibrant red, but gives off no heat.

Brutus Haigh was at best a C-student, but he excelled at physical sports. He joined the military straight from high school, against his mother’s wishes, to participate in the Vietnam war. She never spoke to him again, and the two lost contact.

He was “volunteered†for a black-ops program for a unit calling itself “Section 12â€. Assumed to be a covert CIA group, he signed away his rights and was transformed into a trans-human killing machine.

Codenamed Havoc, he served out the war, serving Section 12 until the end of the Cold War. An undisclosed event caused him to leave Government service mid-mission and return to the United States. No further mention of Section 12, or anything pertaining to any activity on their part, is ever found again. This was 1991. The Cold War ends three weeks later.

Spends the next two years fighting street-level crime in Freedom City; particularly the Fens. Eventually comes into contact with Bruiser of FORCE Ops, and seems likely to work with the team more closely, until…

1993. The Terminus Invasion. FORCE Ops, among many other heroes, are killed. Havoc kills Omegadrones without compulsion, engaging in close-and-dirty streetfighting with the invaders until Centurion forces a retreat, at the cost of his own life.

Present day. Havoc takes to the streets with renewed energy.

Personality & Motivation:
Haigh is a rough-and-ready character; he’s been around violence all his life, but despite everything has held to the belief that he has done the right thing. He would say that he just doesn’t like bullies, but the truth is that Havoc is a man who needs a war to fight; without an enemy in front of him, he might have to think about how he’s spent his life, and God knows, he’ll avoid that day for as long as humanly possible.

Powers & Tactics:
Havoc is a trained fighter, a combat veteran and hand-to-hand specialist. He can go toe-to-toe with almost anyone, as despite his apparent age he’s been in action for a long, long time.
The implants and gene-treatments applied to Havoc by his shadowy handlers have left him stronger than the average human by far, dramatically slowed his ageing, and modified his adrenal system to provide short bursts of ferocious energy.
The blades projected from his forearms are of solid-form energy using a technology not fully understood by its creators and seem to suffer little resistance when used to cut; despite having no weight, the energy blades cut as effectively as and metallic blade known to man.

The device was created by a race called the Gheel, a technologically advanced species of gaseous lifeforms that used solid-light energy constructs to manipulate physical objects. Havoc is entirely unaware of this fact, as the group that made his modifications told him only that he was providing a test-bed for advanced weaponry on behalf of the U.S. government.

Shadowy Makers: Havoc’s modifications were performed by a clandestine group that vanished as easily as they had appeared. Where they what they claimed to be? Are they still in operation? Do they have further plans for him?
Barely Understood: The gene-treatments are baffling scientists to this day. Who knows how long they will remain stable, or what long-term effects they will cause?
Deserter: Although the Government denies all knowledge of the team Havoc worked for, he receives at best a frosty reception from any U.S. Government body he comes across; intelligence agencies, military units… all seem to detest Havoc and hold him in low regard.
Adrenaline Crash: Havoc’s combat prowess, strength and speed are almost exclusively the result of his modified adrenal system dumping a chemical cocktail into his bloodstream. This level of heightened activity comes at a price, however, and can cripple his ability in longer fights when he suffers the inevitable adrenaline crash.

Abilities: 10 + 10 + 8 + 0 + 0 + 2 = 30PP
Strength: 20 (+5)
Dexterity: 20 (+5)
Constitution: 18 (+4)
Intelligence: 10 (+0)
Wisdom: 10 (+0)
Charisma: 12 (+1)

Combat: 20 + 16 = 36PP
Initiative: +14
Attack: +10 Base
Grapple: +16
Defense: +10, +4 Flat-Footed
Knockback: -5

Saving Throws: 0 + 5 + 9 + 6 = 20PP
Toughness: +10 , +6 Flat Footed
Fortitude: +9
Reflex: +15
Will: +7

Skills: 96R = 24PP
Acrobatics 12 (+14)
Disable device 10 (+10)
Drive 4 (+6)
Intimidate 14 (+15)
Knowledge (tactics) 8 (+8)
Languages 2 (English [Native], Vietnamese, Russian)
Notice 14 (+14)
Pilot 2 (+4)
Sense Motive 12 (+12)
Stealth 10 (+12)
Survival 6 (+6)
Swim 2 (+4)

Feats: 18PP
Accurate Attack
All-Out Attack
Defensive Roll 2

Dodge Focus 2
Endurance 1
Equipment 2

handcuffs(1), lock-release gun(1), mini-tracers(1), night-vision goggles(1), smoke grenades (4), Armoured Bodysuit (Protection 2)

Improved Initiative 2
Instant Up
Power Attack
Quick Draw

Takedown Attack


Powers: 17 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 1 = 22PP
Neotech Solid-State Energy Weapon:

Array Rank 7.5 (15PP Array, Power Feats: Alternate Power 2) [15pp]

Base Power: Strike 5, Mighty, Penetrating 8, Improved Critical "Monomolecular-Edged Energy Blades"

Alternate Power: Stun 7, Reversible "Phased-State Blades"

Alternate Power: Blast 6, Accurate 2, Improved Critical "Auto-Targetted Conscussion Bolts"

Immunity 1 (ageing)
Leaping [1PP]
Super-Strength 1 (Effective lifting strength 25) [2PP]
Speed 1 [1PP]


Drawbacks 0 PP

DC Block
Unarmed Touch Toughness DC20 Damage (Staged) (Physical)
Energy Blades Touch Toughness DC26 Damage (Staged) (Energy)

Phased Blades Touch Fortitude DC27 Stun (Physical)

Concussion Bolts Ranged Toughness DC20 Damage (Staged) (Physical)



Totals: Abilities (30) + Combat (36) + Saving Throws (20) + Skills (24) + Feats (18) + Powers (22) - Drawbacks (0) = 150/150) Power Points

Edited by Sticklefront
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A super-soldier generally has excellent physical stats, so it's odd that this guy has only 14s in those.

His exotic saves are pretty low. In general a character's exotic saves should average out to PL - 2, but some archetypes bump them up higher.

Deflect is a useless power. I can do the points breakdown if you'd like, but suffice to say that Reflective Toughness gets the job done a thousand times better.

In conclusion, a first pass would drop Deflect and the energy blades for some Enhanced Str and Con. Bump those up to about +7 or +8, and fill out the rest of the caps either with trade-offs or maybe some Devices.

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Thank you for the input!

I was thinking about stats and whatnot this morning... I think I've been a little bit too conservative. I've got to get it into my head that it's okay to make him powerful! Truth be told, I wanted to make him a decent fighter, but certainly no Superman. Maybe I punted too low.

I definitely want to keep the energy blades, as I kinda feel like he needs a signature weapon/attack. Otherwise, he's liable to be a Captain America rather than a Wolverine. Maybe I can invest in some more superhuman stats, maybe put some equipment points into a base, and make him stealthier. Maybe an implanted injector of combat drugs; would make a nice storyline in the future, trying to get rid of it if/when he became dependent on it.

If I was to boost his exotic saves, especially fort/toughness, I can see why I would need them from a mechanics point of view; I don't want to die in my first story! I suppose if I'm trying to reason out why he's so resilient, I can always fall back on "gene mods" as an explanation.

Edited by Sticklefront
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A warm welcome to Fcpbp!


There are lots of mechanical things to tidy up and refine (Raveled has mentioned a few), but thats fine, this is a draft and thats what this thread is for! Nothing stands out as way out problematic, just needing tinkering. 


First things first, however, comments on the fluff. These are only comments of course. 


Bear in mind that this site is PG-12 in principle. Of course the rules get bent a little now and again, just like in real life certification. And being PG-12 doesn't meant that it isn't adult. Bergman films are PG-12 by and large and would not appeal to kids! Anyway, I say this because we tend to avoid Iron Age style. Havok isn't in that style with both feet, but it feels like his toe may be dipping in into Iron Age. I don't say this a problem necessarily just as a heads up. 


A more definite thing is we pretty much blanket ban vigilantes / killing. We do of course have "valid targets" which we deem acceptable to "kill", like things not alive in the first place (robots/undead etc) and some truly evil non humans (such as, possibly, aliens or demons etc). The very occassional death in the right place for dramatic purposes is ok, but I hope you get the drift of this. Havok seems to have be outside this trope but I mention it to give a concrete example of our anthipathy towards more bloody forms of Iron Age. 


You may of course get some ribbing for being a wolverine expy  ;) that is no particular problem as we have various expys on the site!


One note about your description of short bursts of adrenaline. This sounds, mechanically a lot like the boost power or the rage feat. They can be very interesting to play, but from a build point of view they are fiddly and often sub optimal in terms of efficiency (or optimisation or whatever you want to call it). Rage in particularly makes it impossible to meet combat caps - which is something we like beginning characters to meet. Just a thought anyway. 

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Thanks for the welcome!

I think my allocation of powers will need an overhaul to make Havoc work more smoothly and actually be effective. I'll have more time to go through it tomorrow, so that'll be fun :-)

With regards to fluff; have no fear! It's no secret after reading all the introductory info that FCPBP is a Silver Age kinda place. My main aim with Havoc is to play him as someone who WAS definitely Iron Age, in his bad old days. He's not the guy to stab a mugger in the ear or anything, though; I want him to be dangerous, sure... But I can only see him killing when fighting an actual, balls-to-the-wall war, like with the Terminus, or in the dramatic exceptions to the rule that you've mentioned.

But yeah, I'm totally on board with the setting- Havoc's a good guy, I swear! :-D

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Yeah I kind of guessed you weren't Iron Age, but you know, thought I would give the Heads up. 


Its probably wrong to say we are Silver Age too. We are probably a blend between Silver, Bronze, and Modern. Some players/GMs tend more towards one style than another of course. We have a fairly broad palate. What is fairly clear is that Iron Age is out of the window, and Golden Age is just too irrelevant!


And no, there is in general no culture here of optimisation or power gaming (fortunately). We have a culture where your PC will only die if you want him/her too. Villains and threats are totally calibrated towards the heroes they face. We dont encourage  "metagaming", where PCs try to outdo one another to be the strongest or smartest or most powerful on the board. What we like are strong backgrounds and fluff which will generate great stories. 


Some of your questions are about flavour. There is of course no right or wrong way to play an RPG. If you ask around, you will find that each of the site members here have different (slight or big) styles in terms of how they play or GM. We all end up with a tendency (not absolute) to gravitate towards that style and flavour. For instance, I prefer to play and GM medium and lower level PL games on a smaller, more intimiate and drama (insert jazz hands) scale which are combat light (but not combat absent). 


Having said that, some players find optimisation more important than others. Some get some intellectual stimulation or reward from it. 


We would like your player to be functional. That means meeting the PL caps at starting out. But there is no need for min-maxing or optimisation (or whatever you would like to call it). 

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Another thing: Right now you seem to be using only 122 of 150 power points. You need to use all your 150 power points from the start. 

On the plus side, that should make it easier to follow Raveled's tips!


As far as the "adrenaline crash" goes, if you don't want to mess with building it, I would suggest making it a Complication, because Hero Points are always awesome!


Maybe have something in the fluff about how his energy blades have a "stun" setting, which is just fluff for saying "My Strike does Non-Lethal damage". 


Also, as far as "undisclosed" history stuff, remember that even if the character doesn't know it, you should. If you want to designate something as "this isn't known by the character but I'm putting it here to avoid awkward OOC surprises or whatnot", you could use Spoiler tags. 

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Yeah, I kept a healthy chunk of PP's back for just that purpose. Slow and steady, and all that jazz, hehe.

The Energy Blades having a weaker setting sounds pretty cool. Maybe they can be dialled down to be partially-insubstantial. Would be cool to stab them through people in a similar manner to the Vision's touch. I could build it like a Stun attack, or a Paralyze, to reflect shocking the victims nervous system... Hmm...

I also love the idea of building the adrenaline crash as a Complication! I could tailor it so much more. I'm assuming that would would have to be approved by peer review too, so I can't really get it wrong. Cool!

And yeah. Spoilers will probably avoid the possibility of screwing with a DM's storyline. I'll work on that too.

Thanks for all if this input guys, it's golden!

Edited by Sticklefront
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OK, so following the feedback from you guys I've messed with my initial build The character should now be quite a hard hitting melee combatant, with some spec-ops skills, who is best suited for short, quick-burst assaults but is not too tough if struck back. All PP's are now spent :-D Let me know what you think!


 I've made the following changes:


  • Beefed up Str, Dex & Con to more superheroic levels


  • Messed with saving throws to make him more durable; maxed Reflex to show his reaction times and speed


  • Tinkered with his Equipment points to give him some minor armouring on his costume, and a couple of points of Defensive Roll. He is now pretty reilient, as long as he strikes first. Anyone moving faster than him can beat him down pretty easily. That makes sense to me, for the concept. Accordingly, I've beefed his Initiative a little more.


  • Added two Alternate Powers to his Energy Blades, turning them into an array with his original edged nasties, a blunted "energy truncheon" setting that turns them into clubs rather than blades, and my personla favourite Stun mode; where the density of the blades is turned down, letting them phase into their target and mess with their nervous system. (I'm not sure if I've done this correctly, as I found the array rules a bit confusing)



I've added a Complication for his Adrenaline Crash; I've kinda winged that one, so if anyone can see a problem with it, let me know. I'm not changing the fluff until the build is finalised; I'll make sure that everything makes sense then, but I'd like to make sure that everything's finalised before I put any work into that side of things.


As always, feedback will be very much appreciated!

Edited by Sticklefront
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An Array works like this: Array Rank 10(20PP Array, Power Feats: Alternate Power 2)[22PP]

                                    Base Power: Power 10[20PP]

                                    AP(Alternate Power): Power 10[20PP]

                                    AP: Power 10[20PP]


As you can see, the cost comes from the Array rank(that gives you your budget) and however many Alternate Powers you choose to have. Buying more ranks of AP doesn't need to be individually noted, Your Array has 15PP as its budget(making the rank 7.5) and the Primary Power doesn't use the full allotment of Power Points. Giving your Powers fancy names is fine, and can even be a good idea, but they should not be before the name of the Effect like your Stun. It should read Stun 12[24PP] 'Phased Setting'.


One final thing I would like to add is that having a whole other power that is exactly the same as another, just described differently, is not such a good plan. Perhaps a rank of Variable Descriptor for the first Strike could help? That way the energy blades could turn into a baton at will, or other similar kinds of weapons to those.


Read other people's sheets, especially those used by the Referees/Moderators. Those are the kinds of setups that both let you understand what's wanted without big boring diatribes, and show you good ways to manage your character to make them just how you imagine!

Edited by Arichamus
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Thank you, Arichamus, for your help with my array. I think (I hope) that it is now fixed- I removed the clone power and replaced it with a ranged attack; energy-pellets. I'm imagining a riot gun firing little bolts made out of Cyclops' eyebeam energy.


I beefed up the primary power's Penetration so that it's using its full allowance of PPs, and changed how it's laid out so the fancy names don't obscure the mechanics of the power!


As an aside; I wouldn't usually take so many ranks of the Accurate power feat, but it's the only way I could see of meeting caps (which has been repeated throughout as being preferred for new chars) for what is essentially a power that won't get used very often!


So... thoughts so far? I'm getting pretty happy with the build now. Some of the evolutions that the Energy Blade power has gone through have resulted in a kind of weird swiss-army-knife superweapon. I like it; it's made the character less of a direct Wolverine-expy, and had popped the idea in my head that... maybe this is alien tech, and Havoc's whole refit was an experiment. That would also mean that I could build in a drawback; aliens of the race that made the device are maybe immune to it? I dunno, just spitballing.

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Right, not fine toothing this - it still needs a little touch up with formatting - but this looks good!


The major issue I see is with the Array. 


On a related note, the Base Attack of +4 for a Super Soldier is...odd. If he picked up a gun, he would be actually worse a shot than your average soldier (who has a base attack of +5). I know it is expensive, but I would bring his base attack a lot, to something like +10. You have plenty of points you can shave off to compensate - his DEX could be brought down to 20 his saves could lose a few points, and some of his skills could have a few points shaved off. And, of course, if his base attack is brought up to 10, you dont need to buy any attack specialisation for his energy blades. 


This is just suggestion, of course. A super soldier should, to my mind, be a kick ass combatant with any weapon. He should be abble to grapple, punch, kick, and handle any fire arm. And, in fact, there is probably good tactical reason to have his base attack that high, because he may need to attack at range at some point. And throwing stuff with his high strength (like chairs or people) may be a good move. 


In any case it is annotated wrong! It should be +4 Base, +10 Neotech Energy Weapon


Anyway: The array!


So you have a 15PP Array with 2 Alt Feats. This costs you 17 PP, not 15!


Now, lets look at those powers:


Primary Power should be called Base Power. 


Strike 6, Mighty, Penetrating 8. So this costs 15. Correct! But, unfortunately, its damage bonus is 11. 6 Base, Plus 5 for your strength bonus. This puts you over caps. I suggest you reduce Strike Bonus to 5, and either up your Penetrating to 8 or add improved Crit feat to it (giving a crit range of 19-20)


The Next base power is Stun 7: This is Fine! Quite how it Reverse a stun, good question, but handwavium will fill that gap! no problems!


The next power: Blast 5, Accurate 5, adds up! However, we have a problem! Its attack bonus is +20! This, you will not be surprised to know, is not legal! The maximum attack bonus you can have is PL +5 (15 in your case) by shifting attack +5 and DC -5. In other words, the average of your DC bonus and attack bonus must be your PL (which, unshifted means both would be +10). Another limitation is that 1/3 of your total attack bonus must come from your base attack bonus, which in your case is +4. This is another reason to start bumping up your base attack bonus as above!


Hope that helps!

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