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WIP: Breakdown

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Hey guys. Just putting the info and backstory here. I'll give the hard data on the character later, once I've figured it out, especially since I'm not sure about how to implement the character's signature thing.

Player Name: CoverAndFire
Character Name: Breakdown
Power Level: 10 (aiming to use all 150/150 PP)
Trade-Offs: TBD
Unspent Power Points: 0 (ideally)
Progress To Bronze Status: 0/30
In Brief: The personification of metalcore.

Residence: Denver, Colorado
Base of Operations: Across the Edge tour bus
Theme Song: "The End of Heartache" by Killswitch Engage

Alternate Identity: Mikkel "Mix" Hogan
Identity: Secret
Birthplace: The Realm of Music
Occupation: Lead guitarist for Across the Edge
Affiliations: Across the Edge
Family: All other Genre Gods

Age: 31 (sent to Earth when Hogan's Heroes formed in 1984)
Apparent Age: 27
Gender: Male
Ethnicity: Genre God (appears Swedish-American)
Height: 5'9"
Weight: 175 lb
Eyes: Black
Hair: Black

Mikkel Hogan is thin, but muscular, with medium-length, bone-straight black hair parted on the side. He tends towards black jeans, sleeveless T-shirts, Converse shoes, and Colorado Rockies hats. If it's cold, he'll throw on a hoodie.

When he reveals himself as Breakdown, his hair grows out to hide his eyes, which helps protect his identity. Stylized red crosses appear on the knees of his jeans, and whatever clothes he's wearing turn to black, if they weren't already. He also develops tattoo sleeves comprised of markings in an arcane language that signify his status as a Genre God.

Power Descriptions

Breakdown channels his powers through an electric guitar, given to him upon his creation. By playing it, he casts magic spells, which can be used to attack his opponents in combat with sonic waves and inspire courage in his allies.

His status as a Genre God also makes him much tougher than ordinary humans, though not necessarily stronger or faster. It also enables him to create fully-realized band members to accompany him on stage, which he uses to form the members of Across the Edge, the band he plays in when posing as a human. These personalities reside in his mind when they're not formed in the physical world, which can create significant internal conflicts.


Whenever a new genre of music develops, or a subgenre grows so strong as to become its own thing, the elder gods of music create a god to personify it and send them to Earth to spread its power. Every musician, whether they realize it or not, is fueled by the power of these gods. Breakdown is one of these gods, named for one of the signature elements of metalcore, the genre he represents. Bands like Earth Crisis, Killswitch Engage, and Converge owe much of their prestige, commercial success, or both to Breakdown's presence on Earth. During the New Wave of American Heavy Metal, Breakdown was one of the most powerful gods on the face of the earth, but since then, his influence has shrunk. While he's still one of the more active metal gods in influencing the current scene, his portion of the pie has been eaten into by gods representing metalcore's fusion genres, especially his nemesis Open Note, the Genre God of deathcore. He continues to travel the world looking for new talent to bless, keeping his genre alive, and fighting off the forces of evil and creative stagnation on the side.

Personality and Motivations

Breakdown is tough and determined, refusing to back down from anyone and more than willing to stand up for his beliefs. If someone's being hypocritical, he will not hesitate to call them out on it, usually in a mocking manner, no matter who they are. However, probably as a result of all the metalcore songs about personal anguish, Breakdown has a strong sense of empathy, and if someone he cares about is feelling down, he'll do whatever it takes to lift them up again.

The nature of his roots in thrash metal and hardcore punk make it a part of his nature to stand up to injustice, and when that attitude is combined with a divine guitar that can send those who oppress the weak flying, it's not hard to combine those into a crimefighting streak. Combine that with the need to fight to keep Open Note from sabotaging the metalcore scene, and crimefighting becomes as much a part of Breakdown's nature as breathing and playing guitar.


Defend Metalcore: Breakdown is incredibly devoted to his genre, his bands, his fans, and his friends. If any of these are in danger, the GM can force him to defend them if he hasn't already jumped in.

Dude, Where's My Respect?: Metalcore tends to not receive much respect from the heavy metal community due to some of the poppier bands in the genre, especially electronicore bands like Asking Alexandria and Attack Attack!. Calling bad electronicore "metalcore" is an easy way to set Breakdown off, and in general, the Genre Gods of more "respectable" genres of metal will look down on and possibly insult Breakdown, which might also set him off.

Enemies (Open Note, Project B.R.E.A.K.): In addition to his archnemesis Open Note, the Genre God of deathcore, Breakdown has to content with Project B.R.E.A.K., a hive mind of robots who collectively serve as the Genre God of electronicore, another metalcore derivative that took off as a separate entity. One of these two Genre Gods can usually be tied to any plots against Breakdown and/or his genre.

Get In The Pit: Breakdown does not, as a principle, run from battle. Once he gets in a fight, he doesn't stop until either his opponents are unconscious or he is. It takes a difficult willpower roll or someone else physically restraining him for him to abandon a fight.

It Seems, Mr. Anderson, You've Been Living Two Lives: Since Breakdown, like all other Genre Gods, has a band and human identity of his own, he must juggle his human and Genre God lives, as well as maintaining the illusion that the other members of Across the Edge are real people. If anyone finds out he is not human or that the rest of his band are mere constructs that exist only for shows, it could lead to Breakdown being reduced to a mere human and having his guitar taken away.

They Suck Now That They're Mainstream: Every Genre God maintains a musical act of their own--in this case, Breakdown has Across the Edge. It is considered a high crime against the elder gods for a Genre God to make their own music excessively popular, as it is a sign of unworthiness. Therefore, the GM can create situations where Breakdown, whether as his true self or as Mix Hogan, needs to actively prevent his band from being successful in order to maintain his powers.


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Metalcore is a very specific genre to build a character around. Why not the god of rock or the god of metal?


Having looked over this a bit more closely, this is really a kind of weird concept you're rolling around. It feel more like something out of Unknown Armies or Nobilis, the physical avatar of a particular musical genre fighting for the soul of music, against nihilistic and commercial users. I feel like the concept needs a little massaging to work in a superhero context.

Edited by Raveled
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I picked metal core because that's what I happen to be listening to a lot of lately, and there seem to be enough consistent themes and attributes to build a character around.

I checked the games you mentioned, and you're right, this character better fits those games. I still really want to use the magic guitar angle, so I've been brainstorming more human characters to put the guitar on.

The first thought that came to mind was a washed-up hair metal or visual kei guitarist who finds the guitar and decides to reinvent himself as a superhero. I figure those genres put enough emphasis on theatricality and showmanship that it wouldn't be too out of place to have the character be really over-the-top and dramatic. Do you think that's a good enough concept to run with?

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That's... hm. There is already a PC who uses a guitar to focus his powers, but that's a science guitar for mutant powers. I suppose a magic or even deific guitar is different enough of a concept to work from. So this guy is a musician, either a washed-up guitarist or a wanna-be who never had enough talent to break into the scene, who finds a guitar that grants him amazing skill, along with amazing powers.

What gods could be associated with guitars? Well Dionysus is the god of all sorts of music, as well as drunkenness and debauchery, so he obviously fits. If it's an electric god, any god of lightning like Raiden or Ogun could work, so you have a lot of options to pick from.

Or, if I can suggest a way to turn it on its head. Showmanship is not unique to musicians. This guy could be a musician with powers entirely separate from his songs, who still likes to showboat and be the center of attention. Something showy like lightning powers or laser/light powers could work, or even something undramatic like the standard paragon set. What I'm saying is that someone can be a showboat and not have their powers tied to music.

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I think I've got something here. Let me throw a statless sheet on here like the one I did for Breakdown.'


Player Name: CoverAndFire
Character Name: Outtlaw
Power Level: 10 (aiming to use all 150/150 PP)
Trade-Offs: TBD
Unspent Power Points: 0 (ideally)
Progress To Bronze Status: 0/30
In Brief: An '80's metal star riding superheroics and a magic guitar to another round of fame.

Residence: Los Angeles, California
Base of Operations: "The Cockpit" (bomb shelter beneath his private airplane hangar)
Theme Song: "Kickstart My Heart" - Motley Crue

Alternate Identity: Jonny V. Radke (legally changed from John Andrews)
Identity: Open secret (hasn't said as Outtlaw who he is, but it's obviously him)
Birthplace: West Hollywood, California
Occupation: Former lead guitarist for Zeitgeister
Affiliations: None...yet
Family: Estranged wife, several possible children from one-night stands

Age: 48
Apparent Age: 48
Gender: Male
Ethnicity: American
Height: 6'0"
Weight: 210 lb
Eyes: Green
Hair: Blond

Jonny has aged surprisingly well, considering the hard-partying life he once led. He gave up drugs and alcohol to take up boxing, which has helped keep him in good physical condition--in fact, he's more muscular now than he was when he was in his prime. Living in Southern California all his life has given him a healthy tan to go with it. In his normal life, he has a thing for striking suits, typically all-black save for a yellow or red tie. If he feels like toning that down, he'll wear a white shirt and a red vest instead of using black for those colors.

As Outtlaw, he wears an outfit similar to what he used to wear on stage with Zeitgeister. This ensemble consists of black leather jeans, a black leather jacket, a neon pink tank top that barely fits him, black leather boots, and a neon pink bandana. In a token attempt to hide his identity, he typically smears black warpaint on his face (like this, but only at the eye area) and wears cat eye contacts.

Power Descriptions

Outtlaw channels his powers through an electric guitar, given to him upon his creation. By playing it, he casts magic spells, which can be used to attack his opponents in combat with sonic waves and inspire courage in his allies. As he masters the guitar, he will learn other spells, the first of which will be one that causes a massive explosion.


In 1989, Jonny V. Radke was in the hottest new band out of Sunset Strip: Zeitgeister. Their flashy stage wear, massive pyrotechnics, and reputation for sex, cocaine, and bar fights helped them fit right in with the hair metal scene, and soon enough, they had a shiny new major-label record deal. Their major label debut, Spirit of the Age, went gold, and their power ballad "Everlovin'" went into heavy rotation on MTV. It seemed this was the beginning of a healthy career, but it was really their peak. When grunge hit, the band and their contemporaries fell by the wayside, and by 1993, the band had gone their separate ways.

After going to rehab and getting all the coke out of his system, Jonny went from gig to gig, including session work on Zeitgeister's drummer's ill-fated nu metal album and guest guitar solos with any sufficiently hair metal-inspired new bands who ask for him. For years, Jonny was known as "that guy who played the solo on 'Everlovin'.'" Then, when emo hit, if anyone recognized Jonny, their first question would be, "Are you related to that guy from Escape the Fate?". Jonny was tired of being compared to others, tired of his life's work as a musician being reduced in the public eye to "Everlovin'", and tired of living like the idle white dwarfs of LA, with no more than their money left. He took to wandering dangerous parts of Los Angeles late at night, just to remind himself that there was more to life than what he had, that there were still people growing up poor and desperate to escape, just like he had been when he was a boy.

All that changed on one of his midnight escapades. As he was walking through a neighborhood torn apart by gang war, a building a few blocks down exploded. When he went to it, he found a solid white Stratocaster with black strings lying unharmed in the center of the wreckage. By the whammy bar, there was one word written in black: DIONYSUS. Curious, he picked it up and felt divine power flowing through him. That night, when someone tried to mug him for the guitar, Jonny played one chord and sent his would-be mugger through a brick wall. Immediately, he knew what he had to do: use this guitar to become a superhero and get appreciated for something other than a shred solo too good for the ballad it was on.

Personality and Motivations

Being a former rockstar, Jonny is still a bit full of himself and craves another taste of glory. However, he has a surprisingly strong sense of ethics and integrity. While other hair metal has-beens were showing off their expensive mansions or starring in sleazy reality TV, Jonny was turning every such offer down, preferring to give up-and-coming local musicians guitar lessons. He doesn't ever take easy money, and will outright refuse compensation if he doesn't believe he's earned it. Then again, that's easy when you already have $6 million in the bank.

Jonny may have adopted the Outtlaw persona in pursuit of fame, but there's a deeper moral compunction here. Jonny grew up in one of Los Angeles's worst neighborhoods, and his life was one of poverty and hardship before Zeitgeister happened. As he matures into his superhero career, his drive to help the helpless of LA will begin to take more precedence.


Ego This Side Up, Contents Are Fragile: Jonny still has a rockstar's massive ego. Bruising it is not a wise decision.

I'm Not Ronnie Radke's Dad, Dammit!: Jonny hates being asked if Ronnie Radke is his son/nephew/relative, partly because he's been getting that nonstop since 2006 and partly because Ronnie acts exactly like Zeitgeister's old singer did when the band was still together.

Enemies, or People Who Can Go [Expletive] Themselves (Edd E. Hardball): Edd Hardball is the former lead singer of Zeitgeister. When the band's fortunes soured, so did Jonny and Edd's friendship. The two now hate each other with a bitter passion, and upon encountering each other, will descend into profanity and catfighting, which is ironic for Edd, because his post-music career has been to turn evangelical and preach to the same people his music once terrified. Once Edd learns about Jonny and his new guitar, Edd just might get up to some revenge...

If You Wanna Hang Out, Don't Make Me Figure Out Cocaine: Jonny has been completely sober since 1995, but that doesn't mean that if he was to, say, get his face shoved in a pile of cocaine or have his water swapped out with vodka, that he wouldn't fall off the wagon faster than you can say "Tony Stark."

Secret Identity? What's That?: It is not hard at all for people to figure out that Jonny is Outtlaw. The one thing keeping him safe is that his residence is isolated, as far as LA mansions go, and he knows not to go announcing to potential nemeses where he lives. Still, this provides multiple ways for villains to interfere with Jonny's personal life and force the Outtlaw's hand.

Fame Ain't All It's Cracked Up to Be: Once Outtlaw starts attracting a following, Jonny will spend both his lives swamped in publicity and tabloids. This creates the possibility of the media leaking information that really needs to be kept secret to the public, where the Outtlaw's foes can make use of it.


How's that?

Edited by CoverAndFire
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Looks pretty good. TT and Ecal are probably better for putting together a power set relating to a Dinoysus-powered guitar, but the character here seems solid.

There's a few things you might want to flesh out. This guy comes into existence fully formed as a rock star; maybe just a couple sentences about how and where he grew up and how he got his big break into the industry. Is the guitar really a divine gift? If so, there's plenty of ways that can be spun off into additional stories. Either Titans or other gods who dislike him because they have a beef with Dionysus, or even things like maenads showing up and having to be dealt with. And if the guitar isn't really powered by the Greek god, then he might have an angry, hung-over deity to answer to.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Holy crap, I've really lost track of time. Sorry I've been gone so long. Don't worry, I'm sticking with Outtlaw. As for what's up with the guitar, I'm definitely going to connect it to Dionysus in some way, but since I haven't settled on anything yet, I'll let the stories write themselves and make finding the guitar's origins a part of Jonny's story arc.

I'm going to take this to a new thread, since this clearly isn't about Breakdown anymore. I'll see you over there.

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