Saturday, 20 April 2019

Heroes Unlimited: Phenomenal Paragons: The Gaunter (Super Invention & Electrical Genius)

Doctor Gillian Waylon Gaunt was robbed of her life work, and her reputation destroyed. The fools didn’t even know what they had; technological binary forcefield generators. They thought imprisoning her would silence her; contain her. They were wrong. Recreating her discovery was child’s play. Even in the poorly equipped prison workshop. Now she is free to take back what was taken from her. Soon the world will tremble in the grasp of The Gaunter!

This is the third character in my Phenomenal Paragons series. The introduction to which is here. It is inspired by Jacob Pisson's World's Strongest series, here.

This one sort of got away from me. I didn’t mean it to, but as I worked on it things got larger and more complicated.

A note on the word “Gaunter”. I love nerding out over the origin of names and words. Most of you, like me, probably first encountered Gaunter as a name in the form of Witcher 3’s Gaunter O’Dimm. It’s a beautifully crafted name for a character and says so much about their, well, character. O’Dimm means “son of darkness” or just “of darkness”. Gaunter. Well Gaunter is the root of gauntlet. In medieval times gaunter was a job description for someone who makes gloves. Gaunter O’Dimm thus can be taken to mean “the gloved hand of darkness”. Given the form the super invention takes “The Gaunter” seemed like a suitably obscure name for the character. Although technically it should be Ganter.

Step One: The Eight Attributes.

As before everything is all 11’s for now. That will change. We will return.
There’s a note that the character with and without the super invention will have different attributes and that we should keep two running totals.

Step Two: Hit Points and S.D.C.

Hit points are the usual; P.E. score + 1d6 per level.
S.D.C. starts at 20 but some characters, those of a military or otherwise active background will get a bonus of +3d6.

Step Three: The Super-Gizmo and Powers.

Okay. Let’s do this.

Sponsoring Organisation: Independent. The inventor invented it out of their own pocket.
Character: Inventor.
Current Status: NA
Motive for Creation: To prove her theory.
Physical Appearance of Invention: Gauntlets: 130 S.D.C., 12 A.R. (small target) each.
Power Level: 7th level.

There’s a bit of rules about what sort of powers can and can’t be put in a super invention, how they can interact and all that sort of stuff. The general theme is that everything should make sense in regards as to what powers are installed in the device. There is something about duplicate devices so I decide that there’s a jury-rigged copy, called the “escape device”, that has a power level of only 5th level. She doesn’t have any other super devices, yet.

I give some thought to what sort powers I want and I’m reminded of the character of Golden Glove from the Astro City comics. I decide on a pair of gloves that, working in unison, can generate force fields.

Powers: 2 major and 2 minor.
Create Force Fields: (Major) Can generate force fields, shields, barriers and the like.
Range of self 280 (200) ft., duration of 24 (20) minutes, size of 110 (90) sq.ft.. Maximum S.D.C.pool =P.E.x100, which can be split over multiple different force fields. +2 to parry with forcefield. Creating a forcefield uses 2 attacks. Recovers 200 S.D.C. per hour; 3 per minute.
Can create an invisible armoured force field shell, Force Armour, around their body with a maximum of 200 S.D.C. Maintaining it costs 1 attack each round it is active and penalises initiative by -2. I decide that when it is active it behaves like an exo-skeleton, allowing the use of superhuman strength. See below.
Can fire force bolts of 2d6 damage from each hand with a range of 110 (90) ft. Can also create a double strength (4d6) bolt by using both hands. All attacks count as a single attack each. Each single bolt uses 5 S.D.C. from the pool. +2 to strike when aimed. Force bolts are -4 to be dodged
Create Force Constructs: (Major) Can create things out of force fields, such as weapons, tools, and the like. Can’t create complex devices, such as a computer, energy source or anything that requires fuel. Can create bullets and firearms for some reason. Also animals.
Range of touch or close proximity, duration of 45 (35) minutes, takes 2 attacks to make a simple construct while an entire round is required for complex constructs. +1 to strike, +2 to disarm and +2 to pull punch with force constructs.
Instead of a double sized pool of S.D.C. we get a bunch of bonuses instead. +2 P.E., +1d6 for all force based attacks which pushes our force bolts up to 3d6 and 6d6, the force armour S.D.C. rises to 300, 20 minutes is added to the duration of both powers, and the range of  our force based attacks are doubled*.
Maximum weight of a force construct is 550 (450) pounds. Bigger constructs can take multiple rounds to create.
Force construct sidearms have a *range of 340 (300)ft. Force construct longarms have a *range of 880 (800) ft. They all do 5d6 (4d6) damage, take one attack per shot and have 6 to 12 shots each. The firearm cost 100 S.D.C. and reloads of 6 rounds cost 30 S.D.C., or 5 each.
Giant disembodied force construct limbs have a *range of 130 (110)ft., do damage as by P.S. but on the Supernatural strength scale. They cost 300 S.D.C. each.
There are rules for force construct animals which amount to only what your GM has stats for. Only creatures your characters know currently exist? And only in their natural environment. So no flying carcharodon megalodons then. Boring. Giant floating hands but not floating fish? They cost their actual S.D.C.
Flight: Wingless: (Minor) 200mph+20mph per level. 340mph (300mph).+1 attack per round, +2 strike, +2 parry, +4 dodge at speeds less than 80mph, +6 dodge at speeds greater than 80mph, +4 damage per 20mph of speed; max of +68 (+60), +40 S.D.C. while flying.
Superhuman Strength: (Minor) +28 P.S. carrying capacity x200lbs, lifting capacity x300lbs, become fatigued at half normal rate. As I’ve said above the Force Armour forms an exoskeleton to support the extra weight which costs 1 attack per round and -2 to init to maintain.
Stats for the escape device are given in parenthesis.
Repairs: Our character is smart. So smart that they can build and repair their supertech with basic off-the-shelf components and the most basic of skills. Repairs cost 2d6x$100 and require only the basic electronics skill. Seriously these things could easily be mass-produced and completely change the world. But no.

Step Four: Education and Skills.

This is where things get complicated. Having decided that our supertech is wielded by its inventor we now have to create said inventor. We are sent to Hardware heroes to create an electronics genius.

Step Four One: The Usual.

Hardware has a minimum IQ requirement so we boost IQ to 20. This then becomes the smartest character in the setting so far. Possibly until the PCs show up.

Step Four Two: Skills and Education.

We get to choose anything from High School to Doctorate, so I go for the higher extreme. We deduct a skill program and so get to choose ‘only’ 3 and 10  secondary skills. In place of the sacrificed program we get a list of skills. Not to choose from, no, we just get a list:
Electrical Genius:
Electrical Engineer,
Read Sensory Instruments,
Surveillance Systems,
Optical Systems,
Computer Operations,
Radio: Basic,
Maths: Advanced,
Special Electrical Skills:
Hot Wiring, which isn’t just shorting the ignition of a car but also rewiring live systems on the fly.
Computer Hacking, which is just the hacking skill from the rules, only the genius starts better at it but progresses slower.
Electronics Construction, which is exactly what it sounds like; a skill for making electronic devices.
Evaluate and Diagnose Electrical Systems, which is pretty much self explanatory.

Let’s sidestep what I call the Basic Program and go pick our other three. I decide to go with robotics to round out her technical skills and, well I initially picked a bunch of physical and science skills for my science hero, but after I rolled alignment I came back and replaced science with Criminal; this character has done time. The character is a physicist and engineer; physics isn’t a skill here. The physical skills I pick are chosen to maximise endurance as we’re going to need it to run the force fields. Personally I’d have given super inventions their own endurance attribute, but that’s just me.
Robotics Program:
Computer Operations, (+1)
Computer Programming, (+1)
Robot Electronics,
Robot Mechanics,
Physical Program:
Gymnastics, autokick 2d4 damage, +2 roll with punch, +2 P.S. +1 P.P., +2 P.E., +7 S.DC.
Boxing, +1 attack per round, +2 parry and dodge, +1 roll with punch, +2 P.S., +10 S.D.C.
Athletics, +1 parry and dodge, +1 roll with punch, +1 P.S. +3 Spd, +5 S.D.C.
Running, +1 P.E., +10 Spd, +3 S.D.C.
Criminal Program:
Pick Locks,
Find Contraband and Illegal Goods, I swear I’d just call this skill “Contraband” or something punchier.

For secondary skills let’s spend a couple on Expert Hand to Hand, +2 attacks per round, +2 roll with punch and +2 pull punch. For the rest we can have:
Business and Finance,
General Repair and Maintenance, with a 10% bonus because we’re a genius.
Automotive Mechanics, with another +10% bonus because we’re a genius.
Land Navigation,
W.P. Knife, strike +1
W.P. Throwing, strike +1
W.P. Pistol,
W.P. Shotgun.

Determining Equipment: Okay so this is where we cut back to Super Inventions, but I’ll first pencil in $70,000 worth of hidden workshop space.

Step Five: Alignment.

I roll up Miscreant; my first super villain for this setting. I’m suddenly reminded of another Astro City character; Demonica. Oh well. Too late now, but maybe I can direct The Gaunter in that sort of direction.

Step Six: Rounding Out & other stuff.

Okay time to cut to the character sheet.

Name: Gillian Weylon Gaunt
Super Identity: The Gaunter
Height: , Weight:
Alignment: Miscreant.
Disposition: Mean, suspicious and vengeful.
IQ 20, ME 11, MA 11, PS 16/44, PP 12, PE 14/16, PB 11, Spd 24
Hit Points 17/19, S.D.C. 55/95 when flying.

Binary Force Field Gauntlets 130 S.D.C., A.R. 12 each.
1600 S.D.C. power pool. Recovers 200 S.D.C. per hour/ 3 S.D.C. per minute.
Force Armour: <300 S.D.C.; reduces Initiative by 2 points and costs 1 attack per round to maintain. Grants Super Strength.
Force Bolts: 220 (180) ft. range; 3d6 damage per bolt, 6d6 damage double handed bolt. Costs 5 S.D.C. per bolt. -4 to be dodged. 1 attack each.
Force Constructs: Proximity range, 65 (55) minutes duration, 550 lbs maximum construct weight. 2 attacks per small constructs or all attacks per round for larger constructs. Largest constructs can take multiple rounds.
Force Knives: 80 ft. range, 2d6+29 damage, 20 S.D.C. each.
Force Pistols: 340 (300) ft. range. 5d6 (4d6) damage. 6 shots. 100 S.D.C. and reloads of 6 rounds cost 30 S.D.C., or 5 each.
Force ‘Shotgun’: 880 (800) ft. range. 5d6 (4d6) damage. 12 shots. 100 S.D.C. and reloads of 6 rounds cost 30 S.D.C., or 5 each.
Giant Limbs: 130 (110) ft. range, 44 supernatural strength. Cost 300 S.D.C. each.
Force Fields: 560 (400) ft. range, 44 (40) minutes duration, maximum 110 sq.ft. area. 2 attacks generate.
Wingless Flight: 340 (300) mph for 32 minutes.

Athletics, Automotive Mechanics, Basic Maths, Boxing, Business and Finance, Concealment, Expert Hand to Hand, Find Contraband 66%, General Repair, Gymnastics, Land Navigation, Pick Locks, Pilot Automobile, Prowl, Read/Write English, Robot Electronics, Robot Mechanics,  Running, Speak English, Streetwise, W.P. Knife, W.P. Pistol, W.P. Shotgun, W.P. Throwing.
Electrical Genius Skills:
Advanced Maths, Computer Ops, Computer Programming, Electrical Engineer, Optical Systems, Radio: Basic, Read Sensor Systems, Surveillance Systems.
Special Electrical Skills:
Hot Wiring 97%, Computer Hacking 89%, Electronics Construction 95%, Evaluate and Diagnose Electrical Systems 61%.

Coma/Death: +4%
Harmful Drugs/Toxins (15+): +1
Horror Factor: +0
Magic (Spells 12+, Circles/Wards 13+, Ritual 16+): +1
Poison (Lethal 14+, Non-Lethal 16+): +1
Psionics (15+): +0
Possession: +0

Initiative: +0 (-2 while armoured)
Attacks per Round: 2+3/+4
Strike: +0; +2 while flying +2 force bolt, +1 force constructs, +3 thrown force knives, +3 aimed force pistol, +3 aimed force shotgun,
Damage: +1/+29 when force enhanced.
1d4+1 punch
2d4+1 kick
1d4+29 force enhanced punch
2d4+29 force enhanced kick
3d6 force bolt
6d6 double force bolts
2d6+29 force knives
5d6 force pistol
5d6 force shotgun
Parry: +3; +5 flying
Dodge: +3; +7 flying below 80 mph, +9 flying above 80 mph.
Roll with Punch: +6
Pull Punch: +2; +4 with force constructs
Disarm: +0; +2 with force constructs

Normal Carry Capacity: 160lbs; Lifting: 320lbs.
Armoured Carry Capacity: 8,800lbs; Lifting 13,200lbs.
Construct Carry capacity: 13,200lbs; Lifting 22,000lbs.
Normal Stamina: Carry Max 56 minutes, 28 minutes while running or fighting. Lifting for 14 rounds (210 seconds; 3.5 minutes).
Superpowered Stamina: Carry Max 128 minutes, 64 minutes while running or fighting. Lifting for 32 rounds (480 seconds; 8 minutes).
Ground Speed: 16.8 mph for 14 minutes
Swimming Speed: Can't Swim.
Leaping Distance: 4ft. high; 8.5ft. broad.

By rights Gillian Gaunt should be celebrating a Nobel prize while a forever changed world celebrated around her. But the greed of Ennor University has delivered unto the world a criminal genius unlike any other. Gaunt’s doctorate thesis was on Creating Freestanding Crystals from the EMF Spectrum Using Wave Interference. It was enough to get her a Ph.D and tenure but she wasn’t prepared to stop there. In her own time and with her own funds she developed a practical application in the form of a pair of generators that could turn any frequency of light into solid objects. What was more, said objects could be used to isolate or block any of the four physical forces, and many of the esoteric forces used by superhumans.

She had literally invented force fields.

The university was impressed. So impressed that they sought to take the discovery from her. Which was perhaps an overreaction. Gillian reacted by scalding to death the Chair of her department by overturning a soup tureen on him. She was wrestled to the ground and arrested. Her discovery confiscated.

To say that the university didn’t understand what  they had was an understatement. They didn’t even understand that the device was in two parts. When they couldn’t get the device to work they stuffed it, along with Gillian’s possessions, in storage. All the while weeping heavy tears at the lost billions they could have made before conveniently forgetting the matter.

Gillian did not.

She did not languish in prison. She did what any academic with a modicum of social skills does in a strange place; make new friends and learn new things. She learned how to fight, how to build strength and stamina in a gym, how to engage in any number of criminal activities. If she also learned that she had a certain predilection towards sapphic relationships with other muscular women that is of no concern of ours.

But what she did most of was plan her vengeance. She knew that they hadn’t understood or back engineered her invention because there weren’t force field generators on every door and window in the joint. So after a few years of good behaviour got her access to the prison’s workshop it didn’t take long for her to rebuild her invention from memory and bust her way out.

Now on the run she’s getting ready to finally enact her plan. Then they’ll pay. They will all pay!


Next we’ll take a break from characters and poke at the system some. It’s been something like a quarter century since I ran a combat using the Megaversal system and I’d like to have some practice. So next time I’ll take two of these characters and play them against each other. Tune in for:

The Gaunter versus The Haunter!

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