Saturday, 11 May 2019

Heroes Unlimited: Phenomenal Paragons: The Warlock (Hardware Hero: Analytical Genius)

Marcus Mould built a fusion reactor in his parent's shed when he was 12 and joined the army at 18 to serve queen and country. But his genius was recognised and instead of getting his hands dirty he was moved into Army Intelligence. Bored, he left the day his contract was up for renewal. On his 22nd birthday he formed Clocktower Analytics. Now he still serves queen and country, and anyone else who can afford his fees, as The Warlock.
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This is the fifth character in my Phenomenal Paragons series. The introduction to which is here. It is inspired by Jacob Pisson's World's Strongest series, here.

The Hardware Hero is your MacGuyver type, although it includes your Knight Riders, your Airwolves, your Street Hawks, and, if you want to get into really obscure late 80's action shows, The Wizard.

The Wizard, for you not in the know, was a kids action show back in 1986, starring David Rappaport as little person inventor Simon McKay who, along with his FBI bodyguard, would go on adventures and fight crime. This show had a weird influence on me even though I never saw a single episode as while visiting family in the US I was given a tour of the set by one of the producers. I was 13. It was an experience.

All this becomes relevant in a moment.

Step One: The Usual.

11's across the board except with I.Q. which has a minimum of 9. The rules literally say to raise to raise an I.Q. of 8 or lower up to 9. However, while 11 is higher than 9, my rules for these characters say that if there's an attribute requirement then I raise the first required attribute up to 20. So 20 I.Q. it is.

Step Two: Education.

I go random and get Military Specialist. This has a tight list of programs to choose from and 5 secondary skills. The first program I don't get a choice in, being Basic Military at +20% skill. This gives me:
Hand-to-Hand Basic,
Running, +1 P.E., +10 Spd., +3 SDC.
Military Etiquette,
Basic Radio,
W.P. Rifle, +4 aimed shot, +2 wild shot.
I can then choose another military program or Espionage, and get +20%. I choose the latter.
Hand-to-Hand Martial Arts, This replaces Basic HtH. I consider tracking down the Commando HtH but I don't think its in any of the books I'm using.
Detect Ambush,
Wilderness Survival,
I then get given another go around on the Espionage program, this time only at +15%. I pick:
Detect Concealment,
Escape Artist,
Pick Locks,
Sniper, +2 aimed shot
Then I get the Modern Weapon Proficiencies program, which gives me 3 picks from a short list. I chose:
W.P. Pistol,
W.P. Heavy Weapons.
Finally I get a pick of any skill program at +10% and I, sticking with the theme, select Demolitions.
Demolitions Disposal,
Underwater Demolitions.

Star Lord Oh Sorry GIF - StarLord OhSorry MiddleFinger GIFsThen I spot the note at the bottom of the section saying that Analytical Geniuses (Genii?) don't get an education. They have a list of skills and a few secondary skills. Had I been following the rules to the letter I wouldn't even know what sort of Hardware Hero I was creating at this point. I'm literally discovering this now as I write this; character already designed. I'm not going to waste all my work up until this point. So rules... (freaking cargo cult game design, I swear...)

Step Three: Special Skills; Hardware Area of Expertise.

Hardware Heroes come in four broad categories: the Electrical Genius, as with The Gaunter; the Mechanical Genius, who builds Super vehicles; the Weapons Expert, who makes and uses weapons real well; and the Analytical Genius, who does all of the above, but not as well.

The Analytical Genius is MacGuyver and The Wizard rolled into one. Skills-wise they get:
Electrical Engineer (+15%),
Mechanical Engineer (+15%),
Weapons Engineer (+10%),
Robot Mechanics (+15%),
Robot Electronics (+10%),
Basic Radio (+20%),
Read Sensory Instruments (+20%),
Chemistry (+20%),
Analytical Chemistry (+20%),
Computer Operation (+20%),
Computer Programming (+10%),
Computer Repair (+10%),
Astrophysics (+15%),
Art (+10%),
Anthropology (+10%),
Biology (+10%),
Paramedic (+10%),
Intelligence (+10%),
Research (+20%),
Advanced Maths (+30%).

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Kev' baby, get help.
At the top of the list it literally says "in addition to scholastic and secondary skills". I also get a skill program of choice and 6 secondary skills! I could just...

So I choose Business. I know I'm technically cheating at this point but if you're going to be bad at game design Kev', then I'm gonna milk it for every drop. This is an NPC after all.
Basic Mathematics,
Business & Finance,
Computer Operation,
Law (General),

I also get Special Skills. These are:
Analyse & Operate Devices,
Build/Modify Armour,
Communications: ECM.

Going all out I decide I have 11 secondary skills:
Athletics, +1 parry and dodge, +1 roll with impact, +1 P.S., +3 Spd., +5 SDC.
Body Building, +2 P.S., +10 SDC.
W.P. Knife, +1 strike when thrown.
W.P. Targeting (Knife), +1 strike.
Language, x3; I pencil in Russian, Mandarin, and Arabic. Normally when it comes to languages while designing characters I ask the GM what languages will be featuring in their game and select at least one of those. In this case I'm going with languages that an army intelligence officer is likely to find useful in the twenty first century.
Pilot Motorcycle,
Pilot Race-car.

Step Four: Hardware.

I get a random valued workshop, which I decide to to treat as a budget; so an £80,000 workshop. I then get a budget for building something. It's expected to be a suit of power armour or a supervehicle. I choose £4 million.

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No Tony, Business & Finance would have to be a secondary skill for you.
Given that Pilot Jet Pack and Pilot Armoured Vehicle are advanced piloting skills, playing strictly by the rules you'd have to pick the Advanced Piloting program to be able to use powered armour. That would be your one program and done. Not really a fully fledged character skill-wise.

I decide on a super vehicle. Just the one to start.

I settle on a motorcycle. Make it a heavy chassis for £2,000 and 100 SDC. Put in an engine capable of speed class 24, the maximum for a motorcycle, for £9,000. Heavy composite armour giving AR 18 and 1,400 SDC for £50,000. An autocannon that does 1d6x10+20 damage in a front facing fixed mount for £15,000. Engine readouts for £550 and a radio locator for £1,500. Modify the engine for super fuel efficiency for another £15,000. Ram prow for £1,100, searchlight for 300 and siren for £90. Armour the tires with AR 10 and 20 SDC to deflate, for £2,800 and make the self repairing and self inflating for £1,400.

The Warwolf.

Max speed or 480 mph, cruise speed of 150 mph.
Max load of 450 lbs.
10x range.
1 pilot and 1 passenger.
AR18, 1,500 SDC
£98,740 off the shelf.

The Guardian City Metropolitan Police Force pay £99,000 each, with livery for the P.R.A.T. Squad. It only costs The Warlock £39,496 in parts to make.

The Warwolf looks like the cross between a Dodge Tomahawk and the Batpod.

Other Stuff

Alignment: I roll 5 on my die and get Aberrant. This is when my military super spy turns into The Warlock. Like The Wizard, only evil. And not proper villainy either. No he's an anti-hero. A utilitarian pragmatist fighting the good fight in a bad way.
Hand-to-Hand: I'm tempted by the Assassin HtH style, which is only available to evil characters, but in the end I stick with martial arts.
There's an option to sacrifice a bunch of stuff, including attacks per round, to get an additional whole Hardware Hero class. I elect not to.
Weapons & Armour: I can use the budget to buy stuff, so that's alright.
When out and about The Warlock wears what look like motorcycle leathers but are actually the equivalent to riot armour (AR14, 180 SDC) when riding his Warwolf. The helmet has a multi-optic system built into it. Full cost is £39,600 and weighs 17 lbs.
Carries a ceramic combat knife and 3 ceramic throwing knives (1d6 damage). Has access to a number of different firearms locked away in an armoury in his home/workshop.
S.D.C.: The character starts with a base of 35 SDC.

Name: Marcus Mould.
Super Identity: The Warlock.
Level: 1, Analytical Genius.
Height: 5'10", Weight: 150 lbs.
Alignment: Aberrant.
Disposition: Snob. Arrogant. Acts superior to others.
Team: The Clock Tower.
IQ 20, ME 11, MA 11, PS 14, PP 11, PE 12, PB 11, Spd 24.
Hit Points 15, S.D.C. 43, P.P.E. 20.

No Skill Cap: Usually skills are capped at 98% but the Analytical Genius has no upper cap to their skills meaning that they can rise above this. This is used to counter negative penalties. However a roll of 99 or 100 is still a fail no matter how high the skill.

Scholastic Skills:

Basic Maths 76%, Business & Finance 56%, Law (General) 46%, Pilot Automobile 78%, Speak English, Read/Write English.
Military Skills:
Basic Radio 106%, Climbing 71% (Rappelling 61%), Demolitions 79%, Demolitions Disposal 79%, Detect Ambush 61%, Detect Concealment 51%, Disguise 56%, Escape Artist 56%, Impersonation 46%, Intelligence 82%, Martial Arts Hand-to-Hand, Military Etiquette 66%, Pick Locks 56%, Running, Sniper, Tracking 51%, Underwater Demolitions 76%, Wilderness Survival 61%, W.P. Heavy Weapon, W.P. Pistol, W.P. Rifle, W.P. S.M.G.
Analytical Skills:
Advanced Maths 86%, Analytical Chemistry 56%, Anthropology 41%, Art 56%, Astrophysics 51%, Biology 51%, Chemistry 61%, Computer Ops 81%, Computer Programming 51%, Computer Repair 46%, Electrical Engineer 66%, Mechanical Engineer 61%, Paramedic 61%, Read Sensors 61%, Research 81%, Robot Electronics 56%, Robot Mechanics 56%, Weapons Engineer 46%.
Special Skills:
Analyse & Operate Devices 88%, Build & Modify Armour 88%, Communications: ECM 78%.
Secondary Skills:
Athletics, Body Building, Language: Arabic 61%, Language: Mandarin 61%, Language: Russian 61%, Pilot Motorcycle 70%, Pilot Race-car 64%, SCUBA 61%, Swimming 61%, W.P. Knife, W.P. Targeting (Thrown Knife).

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

Initiative: +2
Attacks per Round: 2+2
Strike: +0, +2 (Thrown Knife)
1d4 Punch
1d6 Knife
Dodge: +1
Parry: +1
Roll with Impact: +4
Pull Punch: +3

Carry Capacity: 120 lbs; Lifting: 240 lbs
Stamina: Carry Max 48 minutes, 24 minutes while running or fighting. Lifting for 12 rounds (180 seconds; 3 minutes)
Ground Speed: 16.8 mph for 12 minutes
Swimming Speed: 42 yrds (126 ft.) per round for 12 minutes.
Leaping Distance: 3.5 ft. high; 7 ft. broad. 14 ft drop.


Born to a working class family in Guardian City Marcus Mould was something of a child prodigy. The sort of child who would take something apart to see how it worked he differed only in that he could put them back together again. At the age of twelve he built a fusion reactor in a garden shed, just to see if he could. It wasn't powerful or useful but it worked. The world became his oyster. Prestigious universities beat a path to his door just to offer him scholarships.

Then there came the Sunday of the Psirens when a cabal of psychic, self styled, 'witches' invaded Ennor in an attempt to make it their personal kingdom. Marcus and his family were sheltering in Ennor Cathedral during the fighting. His mother crippled by a stray telekinetic bolt. Marcus witnessed Brigadier Garret defeat the leader of the Psirens before succumbing to his own wounds.

The event galvanized Marcus. He decided to join the army at 18 and sign up for the super-soldier program. However after basic training he learned that he didn't have the right genetic markers to participate in the program (and he failed the psych evaluation). Instead he was transferred to army intelligence. Much to his irritation his squad-mate, Victor Valiant, was accepted into Project Broomstick, the super soldier program, and is now the hero Captain Valiant.

Marcus didn't renew his contract at 22 and instead left the army to form his own freelance intelligence and technology company; Watchtower Analytics. Now he works as a consultant and fights crime under the codename of "The Warlock". Although his talents are better served in the workshop or at a computer than out on the streets cracking skulls.

Join us next time when we'll be creating... 70... oh. Another...


...This one won't be a ghost, I swear.

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