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Woodsman

Power Level: 11/11 (182/184PP)

Unspent Power Points: 2
Trade-Offs: +4 ATK/-4 DMG, +4 DEF/-4 TOU

In Brief: Dimension-lost archer with a technical bent, trying to prove himself alongside walking gods and find a way to save his people

 

Alternate Identity: Riley Smith
Identity: Secret [Registered]
Birthplace: Freedom City, Earth-J-Disaster-1
Occupation: Student
Affiliations: Claremont Academy
Family: Casey Smith (father, dead), Peyton Quinn-Smith (mother, alive) 

 

Description:
Age: 18
Gender: Male
Ethnicity: Black
Height: 5'6"
Weight: 165 lbs.
Eyes: Brown
Hair: Black

 

Short and slim for a man his age, albeit muscular and well-defined, Riley's favorite look is layers and outdoor-friendly wear - on all but the warmest days, he'll wear a flannel shirt, windbreaker, jeans and heavy hiking boots that go above the ankle.  He keeps his hair cut very short in an almost military-style cut. Now that he's moved out of North Bay and doesn't have to worry about being confused for his counterpart, he's making plans to grow a mustache and goatee - he's just waiting to find exactly the right style. He's capable of sitting perfectly still for hours at a time, but when he does move it's with explosive bursts of energy that can take people by surprise.  His voice is higher than he would like, slowly evolving into the tenor he'll have as an adult. 

 

Riley's Woodsman costume adds further layers to his outfit - a greenish-brown hooded poncho, a leather harness to carry his crossbow at his back, and a carrying belt holding various useful items like matches, a compass, and other survival gear - along with various one-use crossbow bolts. He wears his hatchet at his left side, to better facilitate a quick draw and throw. 

 

History: 

Earth-J-Disaster-1 (tentative)

 

The old world died on the night of December 31, 1999. As the sun dipped across the horizon around the world, the darkness brought with it a terrible Event - a sudden super-imposition of an unnatural forest across the landscape of the globe. Trees shattered roads and broke buildings, killing millions in architectural collapses and road accidents across the world as thick forest growth was suddenly everywhere, passing right through man’s technological civilization. The news media, and the Freedom League, had time to track the horrific event as it happened, beginning in eastern China and stretching across the planet with the terrible fall of darkness, time to observe that the new growth matched whatever forests were native to the landscape they were devouring - but not time to stop it.

 

In the frigid days after the catastrophe, those few places that still had power were reassured by the government and by the Freedom League that help was coming. But no help came. It was the heroes who vanished first; the superheroes and brave humans who went into the forest looking for answers. And then the others began to vanish too - humans all over the planet left behind their families, their loved ones, and simply walked into the newborn Forest Primeval.

 

The mystery of their disappearances was solved when they returned, feral and maddened by animal impulses and predatory desires, and began attacking the surviving human communities. The war between the Children of the Forest and the survivors of the old world lasted for several years and resulted in the deaths of most of the world’s surviving superhumans and many of the survivors - there was no treaty, no negotiation, no mercy - the Ferals simply stopped coming.

 

Gradually the survivors learned how to cope with the new world - how to forage in the cities for food and gear without being caught by the Maddening Wild (avoiding the darkness was the key), how to resist the Maddening Wild’s call (sticking together in groups was the ticket), and about the small number of people, all of them without other superpowers, who had the ability to forage in the woods _without_ being maddened by the Wild.

 

2015 is the fifteenth year since the world ended. Freedom City lies, broken, by an impossibly old oak and pine forest in which trees with hundreds of years worth of rings lie at the heart of the civilization they impaled. The largest population of survivors lies at the edge of the city, a few thousand hearty souls dwelling in the community around the Raymond Nuclear Power Plant at the edge of North Bay. They can go into the city to scavenge and explore, but only during daylight hours. The Maddening Wild still calls - though perhaps less forcefully than it did in the grim days at the start of the new century. The woods themselves are haunted by the past - the murdered city they devoured, and what lies within.


The Ferals themselves are dangerous enough, savage, animalistic humanoids, many of them with superpowers, but they are not the worst of it. The Forest Primeval came with animals too; bears and wolves and bobcats, all the creatures once endemic to coastal New Jersey. But they came back unnatural - too clever by half, and with an intelligence that has grown unnaturally in recent years. Bears have been seen in the Deep Woods wearing human clothing, and wolves howling to each other in some grim parliament. They have shown a terrible intelligence when fighting humans - hitting men carrying flashlights to blind them in the dark, making man-like noises to lure unwary travelers, and otherwise making it clear that the forest is theirs. Many kill not to feed - but to terrify the human survivors. The Forest is full of monsters - and the Forest is everywhere.  

 

Riley Quinn was only about two months old at the Millennium. His parents, Casey and Peyton Smith-Quinn, lived in North Bay when he was born - their home was a mansion, small by the standards of the neighborhood, but spacious enough after the relative poverty of their youths in Mississippi. Maybe because they came from poverty themselves, with a history of dealing with emergency situations, they took action promptly on that terrible night of the 31st as the news of threatening global destruction came. When the Forest Primeval hit Freedom City, they had taken shelter at the nearby Raymond Nuclear Plant where his mother worked as a plant nuclear engineer, trusting in its solid construction to save them. And it did, to an extent - the Forest devoured the plant, too, but fate, radioactivity, and maybe just good engineering kept Raymond together. An oak tree's sudden growth shattered one reactor and a scrub pine forest sent one cooling tower cascading to the Earth in a deadly shower of debris, but quick hands prevented a meltdown and even kept electricity pumping from the plant's generators. It was a natural place to send refugees in the early days before the true horror of the situation had settled in. 

 

Riley doesn't remember much about those days, but he's heard the stories a thousand times. The way the refugees at the power plant first scavenged for food, then began growing crops in their own right in the hastily-converted greenhouses. The way desperate engineers babied a wounded power plant, keeping two of five nuclear reactors alive and producing life-giving electricity even a decade and a half after the end of the world. The way they built a school, and a chapel, and a clinic, and a hospital out of the old plant, building an outpost to human dreams in the middle of an inhuman wilderness. The days when the Ferals hit the fences almost daily. The crack of gunfire, then of melee weapons, again and again. The heroic sacrifice of Lady Liberty, who finally succumbed to infection days after her last battle with the group of Feral metahuman teenagers who had so often led attacks against the reactors, willing to poison the whole city to stop the power plant. 

The horrific screams from Lonely Point as what had been the populations of Bayview and Port Regal, backed by a rampaging Feral Captain Thunder broke through the defenses. His father, whose cancer could have been easily caught five years earlier, and his grave in the old plant garden. 

Riley is almost certain he can remember his father's voice.

 

For various reasons, Riley grew up dissatisfied with his lot in life. He had ample reason for this, raised in a community at the edges of a world murdered by the Forest Primeval. He knew how lucky they were, especially compared to other survivor communities that lacked things like power, machine shops, and other tools providing some echo of what had once been modern life, but he also knew from his exploration of the (long-since-picked-over) homes near the Raymond site just how much they'd lost. So he dreamed, in between schoolhouse lessons and chapel prayers, between working in the greenhouse and going fishing, of the world that had been lost - and the wonders that had once been his birthright. But most of all, when he climbed the long-deserted Cooling Tower #4 and looked out at tree-skewered Freedom, he dreamed of the lost city of Freedom, and wondered what secrets lay within. 

 

Now these were no small dreams in the Raymond community, not when once a year or so someone would zone out and be sucked into the Maddening Wild, wandering into the Forest Primeval to either be eaten by animals or join the Ferals. So he kept them to himself as he got older, instead learning his mother's engineering skills with the idea of one day taking her place managing the reactors. But boys will be boys - by day he read technical manuals and worked in the machine shop, and by night he studied old city maps and the notes of those few explorers who had survived the journey into Freedom Primeval. On his fifteenth birthday, he presented himself to the Security Force as a volunteer for the Woodsmen, a dangerous, but highly valued part of life in their little community given the number of things the community's technology needed to survive - and how valuable the remaining scraps of super-tech scattered through the city still were. His mother wasn't happy - but after he demonstrated his skills at climbing and hunting, at marksmanship and hiding, even she couldn't say no. 

 

Freedom Primeval was everything he'd dreamed - beautiful and terrifying, wonderful and dangerous, marvelous and lethal. He rested in the shade of the oak trees that had split Freedom Hall in half; he battled the wolf colony that had taken over lost Lincoln. He fought a desperate battle against the Feral pack in Bayview; he prayed beneath the pine tree cathedral in St. Sebastian's Church. From his fellow Woodsmen, he learned how to sneak and survive in the city, how to hunt and fish to keep himself alive (skills he'd already begun to learn in Raymond), and how to navigate the ruined metropolis. He also learned how to kill - building his own crossbow, he was able to fend off attacks from bears, wolves, and other of the too-clever, too-wise beasts roaming Freedom City. And the unclever beasts too - the savage, cannibalistic Ferals who might once have been people. It was grim work; but it was war. No - it was survival. 

 

At the beginning of summer, 2015, Riley joined his fellow Woodsmen on an especially dangerous mission - a scrounging run into the heart of the Goodman Building, loaded with vital super-technology that, suitably adapted as spare parts, could potentially keep the Raymond reactors running for another decade and a half. But the risk was great. The Atom children had survived the Forest Primeval, though tree damage had eventually destroyed their grandfather's systems - but become a particularly bloodthirsty pack of Ferals. But the risk was greater than the Woodsmen knew - the Atom pack had, by whatever inhuman, unholy means, _bred_ - and a pack of Feral, superpowered younglings waited inside the tree-ruined building to greet them. Separated from the rest and trying to tune out the screams of horror he heard from his fellows, Riley ran. Fleeing down a darkened, overgrown emergency stair, he found his way blocked and so ducked inside what turned out to be a long-abandoned, nearly pristine research laboratory. 

 

Fascinated by the discovery, Riley locked the doors behind him and wandered through what had once been Alexander Atom's sanctum sanctorum. He was particularly fascinated by one particular piece of technology; a big, circular, open disc mounted in the middle of the room - one that he realized with some shock still was powered up! Succumbing to temptation, he pressed a few buttons, bringing the big machine to life with a whine of long-dead circuits and the sudden sound of alarms! At the sound of fists pounding on the door he'd locked behind him and against the inhuman shrieks outside, Riley hefted his crossbow and dived through the hole to take up a firing position on the other side. 

 

Except he found himself somewhere else entirely. 

 

The Goodman Building had seen its share of dimensional refugees before and while Riley (or 'Woodsman' as he called himself initially, with vague memories of watching some old war movies on the projector in his school) was different than others, there was nothing particularly alien about him compared to some of the visitors they'd seen. He was kept in isolation for nearly two weeks, both to make sure he was no longer violent (he had made free use of his crossbow to try and escape the populated, brightly-lit, tree-free laboratory he'd stumbled into) and to make sure that whatever mysterious disaster had beset his homeworld wouldn't be coming with him. But nobody had any answers - consultants like Phantom and Harrier were unfamiliar with either the timeline he described or the kind of apocalypse that had destroyed his world's native civilization, and something seemed to make it impossible to return him to his homeworld. All attempts to trace the dimensional line that he carried with him led to tangled snarls along the generally smooth course of the Cosmic Coil. 

 

Being unable to go home was hard. He knew his mother, his fellow Woodsmen, and his people would think he was dead - devoured by the Atom pack. And how strange it was to see them, alive and well, in a healthy, thriving city full of living human beings! As much as he missed home, he loved this place. He avidly read every book he could get his hands on and (once he learned how to use modern computers) and soon found himself taking online high school classes to keep up. He was behind in a lot of areas, but not too far behind - and determined to make up for lost ground as soon as possible. If he couldn't go home yet, and if even this world full of living cities and heroes had no answers for him, he could at least make himself better here. Once he was out of isolation, he could even go to the building's gym, where he kept himself in shape by exercise and drill, determined not to lose a step when he made it back home. 

 

Riley was so focused on learning about Earth-Prime that he barely noticed when it was time to move out. He was shocked by the thought; where could he possibly go? But then his counselor told him remarkable news - news that in retrospect he could immediately have expected. On this world, Riley Smith and his mother Peyton lived in their North Bay mansion just as they always had after his father had divorced his mother six years earlier. (And what a strange thought that was!) And that other Peyton, upon learning that a dimension-lost version of her son was in Freedom City, had thrown open her doors to that other Riley. 

 

They talked by email, then by phone, Riley a little surprised by his counterpart's voice - had he been born different in this universe? Riley and Riley met in one of the Goodman Building's rec rooms - Riley was reading a book while his counterpart, noticeably taller and heavier, entered the room, his sharp suit a contrast to Riley's flannel shirt, windbreaker, and jeans - all of them clothes he'd taken with him from his own planet. Riley met the eyes of his counterpart, saw his mustache and goatee, heard his deep-voiced, tentative greeting, and despite himself blurted out a question that, months later, still embarrasses him. 

 

"Jesus! How did you grow a mustache?!"

 

Riley had read about his condition in pre-Millennium books, of course - in the old days, men born with women's bodies had treated themselves with testosterone, the male hormone. But synthetic testosterone was out of reach of Raymond's medical facilities (an expanded version of the old plant's emergency clinic) and crystallizing it from other men was an idea that made him nervous. So he'd resigned himself to a lifetime of bulky clothing over tight bindings, and probably never getting so much as a girlfriend, much less getting married. But in the Prime reality, the chemicals were readily available - with a doctor's prescription, anyway. His double had come out to his parents at the age of 12 and had been transitioning (a whole new word!) ever since - and had been on hormones for years. This really was, he decided the first time he took a hormone shot, a wonderful dimension. 

 

But of course it wasn't as easy as that. The two Rileys sharing a room was not the same as having a sibling; it was like having a shadow, and an alien one, at that. Riley-Prime was a smart kid on the school academic challenge team, a member of the Gay-Straight Alliance on campus and a future nuclear engineer. The other Riley was restless and angular, sleeping on the floor or a rope hammock, roaming the rooftops by night and converting the basement into a lab to rebuild his crossbow. One Riley had lost his beloved father to cancer and an early grave; the other Riley had lost his father to divorce when he was in his early teens. (It had been acrimonious - Casey hardly saw his family anymore) Competing for a mother's love, both of them young men going through changes, they clashed - and finally they fought. Healthy and strong though he was, Riley-Prime was no trained fighter; and the Riley from offworld hadn't learned to pull his punches. 

 

The loss of his temper, the feeling of boiling, surging rage, and the look on Peyton's face all came together to make Riley feel for a frightening moment like he'd gone Feral - like he was the barbarian his counterpart had accused him of being. He grabbed his crossbow and jumped out his window, vanishing into the North Bay night over the alien sound of arriving sirens. Running away from the angry, frightened reflection of his mother, Riley roamed the city for four days, scrounging to survive and even stealing a dose of synthetic testosterone, before Bowman tracked him down and gave him two pieces of news. 

One was that his mother, and even his counterpart, had forgiven him - his counterpart had even reluctantly admitted to provoking him into the fight, even though Riley was pretty sure that had been all him. The other piece of news came from Bowman himself. He'd tracked Riley through the city and been impressed by his stealth and ability to survive - and had helped clean up after Riley had used some well-placed speciality crossbow bolts to take down a gang who'd been harassing homeless kids by the airport. Bowman couldn't help Riley figure out where he fit in on Earth-Prime, but he could make a suggestion - there was this school Bowman himself had graduated from...

 

Personality and Motivation:

Riley is at heart a good kid, an upright human being who does his best to do the right thing almost all of the time. He wants desperately to learn all he can about this world and take back what he's learned if he ever manages to find his way back to his native timeline; or even better, to find out exactly what it was that destroyed the Earth of his youth to make sure it doesn't happen here - and can perhaps be undone on his homeworld. He likes a good joke, as long as nobody seriously gets hurt, and doesn't even mind being the subject of them. In some respects, he's the perfect Claremont student.  

In other respects, though, the young man has demons. There are the nightmares, of course, of hordes of bloody-faced Ferals sweeping through the windows and tearing him, his friends, and everyone else to pieces; the inner voices that drive him out of bed at night to patrol the streets of this strange Freedom. And it's hard for him not to resent the people around him sometimes, especially the pretty kids with pretty superpowers, who have lived all their life in luxury and think that a broken nail means real suffering. He bottles that temper up, disgusted by the rage he feels, but being sixteen and going through some hormonal changes, it's impossible for him to bite that rage back forever. And he's not well-suited to picking fistfights with people who can benchpress cars. 

 

Powers and Tactics

Woodsman is primarily a sniper - in a confrontation, his first instinct will be to climb up to a secure spot, conceal himself, and then make free with crossbow bolts at targets below. He'll stay mobile in a long battle, moving from location to location to avoid detection. When facing groups, he'll target obvious leaders or alpha creatures, the better to throw off the others (this works particularly well for Ferals, who will sometimes turn on their wounded in a blood frenzy.) Armored-looking creatures get an impervium arrow aimed right at their vitals. If faced with an enemy he can't reliably hurt, he'll use his magnesium-tipped flare arrow or his smoke/stink-bomb arrow to blind, confuse, or otherwise keep his targets from tracking his escape. 

 

His crossbow is a modified hunting crossbow, heavily customized by him in a basement laboratory. It uses a repeating action on the ancient Chinese model (albeit with a metal rather than wooden body) with a built-in arbalest-style crank if he needs real penetrating power (albeit at the cost of mobility). Almost all the bolts he uses are modified in some way, often with some explosive at the tip - repeating crossbows have little power, and so need some help. 

If forced into melee, he'll make free with his hatchet, hacking and striking his way free before making his escape that way. In combat, or expecting combat, he always has at least two magazines at his hip, and one mounted in the bow itself. He wears his hatchet on his left side for a quick draw. 

 

He has trouble in confrontations in the open given the nature of his chosen weapon and his combat experience - and with the non-lethal fighting style he's learning at Claremont. In the world of his birth, fighting and hunting isn't a place where you pull punches - not when your weapons are drawn, anyway. 

 

Complications:

Breakaway: Other Riley and Other Mom are Riley's only family on Earth-Prime - but his relationship there is complicated. 

Dark Side: Riley has a temper. 

Mr. Know-It-All:  Riley has lived a much more independent life than most teenagers from Earth-Prime and has some issues with going along with others. 

My Life Would Suck Without You: Riley misses home - and might make mistakes if confronted with the ability to make it back there. 

Never Again: Too-smart animals, too-insane people; Beasts and Ferals, and all the things like them - these are the stuff of Riley's nightmares, and he may make mistakes when confronted with their like on Earth-Prime. 

People Like Us: Riley is a black trans teen - and pretty put off by how these are all social problems in what's supposed to be the happy, shiny world of Earth-Prime. 

Stronger: Riley doesn't like being shown up by people with powers. 

 

 

Abilities: 6 + 12 + 4 + 6 + 6 + 4 = 38PP

Strength 16 (+3)

Dexterity 22 (+6)

Constitution 14 (+2)

Intelligence 16 (+3)

Wisdom 16 (+3)

Charisma 14 (+2)

 

 

Combat: 28 + 20 = 48PP

Initiative: +10

Attack: +14, +15 Hatchet, +16 Ranged

Grapple: +17

Defense: +16 (+10 Base, +6 Dodge Focus), +5 Flat-Footed

Knockback: -2/-1 flat-footed, -3/-2 with costume

 

 

Saving Throws: 4 + 6 + 5 = 15PP

Toughness: +6/+4/+2 (+2 Protection, +2 Defensive Roll, +2 Con)

Fortitude: +6 (+2 Con, +4)

Reflex: +12 (+6 Dex, +6)

Will: +8 (+3 Wis, +5)

 

 

Skills: 120R = 30PP

Acrobatics 6 (+12)

Climb 7 (+10) Skill Mastery

Craft (Chemical) 2 (+5)

Craft (Electronic) 2 (+5)

Craft (Mechanical) 7 (+10)

Handle Animal 8 (+10)

Intimidate 12 (+14)

Knowledge (Tactics) 7 (+10)

Knowledge (Technology) 7 (+10)

Medicine 2 (+5)

Notice 14 (+17) Skill Mastery

Search 7 (+10)

Sense Motive 9 (+12)

Stealth 14 (+20) Skill Mastery

Swim 2 (+5)

Survival 13 (+16) Skill Mastery

 

 

Feats: 32PP

Acrobatic Bluff

Attack Focus (Ranged) 2

Challenge (Fast Startle)

Defensive Roll 1

Dodge Focus 6

Equipment 3

Evasion 2

Hide in Plain Sight

Improved Initiative

Improved Ranged Disarm

Improvised Tools

Inventor

Luck

Master Plan

Power Attack

Precise Shot 2

Quick Draw

Skill Mastery (Climb, Notice, Stealth, Survival)

Startle

Takedown Attack

Track (Visual)

Uncanny Dodge (auditory)

 

Equipment: 15EP = 3PP

Costume: Protection 2 (Feat: Subtle) [3EP]

Hatchet: Damage 3 (Feats: Masterwork [+1 Attack], Mighty, Thrown) [6EP]

Masterwork Binoculars [1EP]

Masterwork Handcuffs [1EP]

Masterwork Nightvision Goggles [1EP]

Masterwork Medical Kit [1EP]

Weighted Gauntlets: Damage 1 (Feat: Mighty) [2EP]

 

 

Powers: 12 + 1 + 6 = 19PP

Device 4 (Repeating Crossbow, 20PP, Flaw: Easy to Lose) [12PP]

Trick Arrow Array 8 (16DP, Feats: Alternate Powers 4) [20DP]

  • Base: Blast 6 (augmented bolts, Feats: Improved Crit 2, Variable Descriptor 2 [Chemical/Ballistic/Bludgeoning/Concussive/Piercing/Slashing]) {16/16}
  • AP: Blast 6 (poison, Extra: Linked [Drain], Flaw: Unreliable [5 Uses/Day], Feats: Improved Crit 2, Incurable, Variable Descriptor 1 [Chemical]) + Drain Dexterity 6 (Extras: Linked [Drain], Secondary Effect, Flaw: Unreliable [5 uses/daily]) {10 + 6 =16/16}

  • AP: Blast 11 (what's a box gonna do?, Extras: Area [General, Burst], Flaw: Unreliable 2 [1 Use/Day], Feats: Variable Descriptor 2 [Chemical/Ballistic/Bludgeoning/Concussive/Piercing/Slashing) {16/16}

  • AP: Dazzle 6 (stinkbomb, visual and olfactory, Flaw: Unreliable 1 [5 Uses/Day], Feats: Improved Crit 2, Variable Descriptor 2 [Chemical/Ballistic/Bludgeoning/Concussive/Piercing/Slashing]) {16/16}

  • AP: Speed 1 (grapple line, 10 MPH/100' per Move Action) + Super-Movement 3 (Swinging, Wall-Crawling 2) {7/16}


Feature 1 (From Another Dimension) [1PP]

 

Gadgets 1 (Hunter's Arsenal; 5PP Variable Power, Any One Power At A Time; Extra: Duration [Continuous]; Flaws: Hard-To-Lose) [6PP]

 

 

DC Block:

ATTACK             RANGE    SAVE             EFFECT
Unarmed            Touch    DC 18 Tou        Bruised/Injured
Augmented Bolts    Ranged   DC 21 Tou        Bruised/Injured
Penetrating Fire   Ranged   DC 21 Tou        Bruised/Injured [Penetrating 6, as DMG 12]
Flash Bolt         Ranged   DC 16 Ref/Fort   Blinded

Weighted Gauntlets Touch    DC 19 Tou        Bruised/Injured

 

 

Totals: Abilities (38) + Combat (48) + Saving Throws (15) + Skills (30) + Feats (32) + Powers (19) - Drawbacks (0) = 182/183 Power Points

Edited by Fox
+2pp for March/April 2018

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