Saturday, 20 July 2019

Heroes Unlimited: Phenomenal Paragon: The Gargoyle

The parents of Murielle Devine were members of a now defunct infernalist cult. After their world-ending schemes were stopped by The August, Murielle was left to pick up the pieces of her life. She was driven into hiding from mob debt collectors. In an old cult safehouse she found a demon lord bound and imprisoned. It offered her power in exchange for its freedom and, raging against those that hounded her, she accepted. Now marked and transformed into knight of hell she seeks to turn her dark powers to defend the unjustly persecuted as The Gargoyle.

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

So I shelled out for Armageddon Unlimited book when all the Heroes Unlimited books were on sale earlier this year. It's the Heroes Unlimited sourcebook for the blood war Minion Wars. Which definitely isn't Palladium's version of D&D's Blood War. No. Certainly not. Whatever gave you that idea. Look they're totally different.

The Blood War is an eternal conflict between the Demons of the Abyss and the Devils of the Nine Hells It is an extension of the ancient conflict between Chaos and Order. The fate of the whole multiverse hangs in the balance, but both sides are so equally matched there will probably never be a resolution.

On the other hand the Minion War is a recent conflict between the Demons of Hades and the Deevils (not a typo) of Dyval. Each side seeks to destroy the other. The prize is dominion over the whole Megaverse. The conquest of any one world could tip the balance either way.

See. Totally different. Deevil is spelt with two "e"!

Since Phenomenal Paragons is its own thing, definitely not set in the Megaverse (I'm just using the system for my own amusement), and I'd never be able say the word "deevil" with a straight face, it's of limited use to me. The bits that are useful, the new superpowers and character classes are more than enough what I paid for the book. It also inspires some worldbuilding thoughts.

One of these thoughts is that while there are demons and deevils in this setting they are not as advertised; there are many different "Hells" out there in the multiverse. Some of them are a lot like the versions of Hell as depicted by various popular religions. Indeed there are caverns in the valley of Gehenna, near Jerusalem, that lead to a Hell world that was abandoned around two millennia ago. Indeed until relatively recently it was used by mutants escaping persecution. The natives of these hell worlds are typically powerful supernatural beings with moral and spiritual natures antithetical to the natives of Earth. That said, there are also worlds out there which would classify the Earth of the Phenomenal Paragons to be a hell world.

So. Anyway. The Gargoyle.

The new character classes from Armageddon Unlimited includes a bunch of mystical bestowals, including from demons and devils. Of course no hero would make a pact with an infernal sponsor for power, right? And those two classes are flagged as being only suitable for villains. Except. There's the Corrupted Hero 'class' where a good-aligned character makes a deal for power with a fiendish source out of desperation or by accident.

This is one of two ways of getting a 'good' aligned character with demonic powers. The other is the "Heroic Hellion", which is a redeemed fiend. We'll get one of those some other time.

Since this is not one of those classes that holds hands I'm going to blast through character creation.

Attributes: 11's across the board.

Alignment: 10 - Non-Conformist.

Education: 3 years of college and a trade school. They're an information broker. This gives them: Native Language, Native Literacy Basic Maths, Advanced Maths as default skills.
They get Espionage: Information Broker as their starting program. This has another Literacy, Computer Ops, Computer Programming, Cryptography, Basic Radio, Radio Scramblers, Computer Hacking, Intelligence, Research.
They also get 4 basic programs.
The first of these is Basic: Cultist which is how they encountered  demon in the first place. This gives them Lore: Demons & Monsters with +10% because of their patron, Lore: Magic, Lore: Geomancy & Ley Lines, Lore; Cults & Sects, W.P. Knife.
For the next two  I decide that they are an alumni of the Blyghton Foundation's Summer Scholarship (which I really must finish writing up) This means that the second is Basic: Adventure/Tomb Raiding. This gives them Archaeology, Climbing, Horsemanship, a +10% to Research, and Wilderness Survival.
 The third is Basic: Explorer. This grants a +10% bonus to Climbing, the Dowsing skill, Land Navigation, Mountaineering (+1 PS, +1 PE, +10 SDC, +10% all climbing skills),  Prospecting, Spelunking, Swimming, and a +10% to Wilderness Survival.
The fourth and final basic program is Basic: Professional Athlete. This gives them Athletics (+1 parry/dodge, +1 roll with impact, +1 PS, +3 Spd, +5 SDC), Dieting (+2 HP, +1 PE, +1 PB), Running (+1 PE, +10 Spd, +3 SDC), Acrobatics (2d4 acrobatic kick, +2 roll with impact, +1 PS, +1 PP, +1 PE, +3 SDC), Boxing (+1 attack, +2 parry/dodge, +2 PS, +1 roll with impact, +10 SDC), Wrestling (pin on 18+, 1d4 crush, +1 roll with impact, +2 PS, +1 PE, +14 SDC).
Finally there's 12 secondary skills. The first 3 I spend of Hand-to-Hand Martial Arts, they I choose Pilot Automobile, Pilot Motorcycle, W.P. Archery, First Aid, Lore: Conspiracy, Play Musical Instrument: Guitar, Cooking, Bodybuilding (+2 PS, +10 SDC), and Streetwise.

Reason for Pact: Anger.
They were angry enough at something in the world that making a pact with an infernal entity seemed like a reasonable decision. Although it doesn't say so in the rules I've decided that that anger is inherently tied to their powers. Not in a Hulk-like they get angry and lose control of their powers. No quite the opposite. Whenever they use their powers the experience that original wrath all over again. This means that they're liable to lash out with their powers and, to some school of thought, means that any use of their powers in inherently sinful.

Empowered By: Demon Lord.
Their powers came from a demon. This gives them a Horror factor of 12, +1 save versus possession, +4 save versus Horror, +1 initiative, +1 strike, +1 parry, and +1 dodge. They have +3 MA (with a minimum of 16), +9 PS (with a minimum of 22), +3 PP (with a minimum of 18), +7 Spd, +20 Hit Points and +55 SDC when transformed into their demonic form.
They are vulnerable to holy and silver weapons, which cause double damage, as well as demon slaying weapons. They have an obvious demon mark somewhere on their body (a brand-like scar on their left breast) and the demon that empowered them knows their true name.
They have the rank of Demonic Knight (actually "task master" but that's a bit bleh) which grants them command over sub and lesser demons. At 6th level they are promoted to Demonic General (actually "master" but, y'know) and assigned a cadre of 1d4 lesser and 1 greater demon.

They get 2 demonic abilities. I roll:
Fire Resistance: Half damage from all fire.
Demonic Physique: +3 PS, +1 PP, +1 PE, +30 SDC, +2' height and +100 lbs. weight.

Our Superpower is Brute Strength.
This gives us +20 Hit Points and +30 SDC.
It also gives us Supernatural Strength (+37 PS; carry x300 lbs, lift 500 lbs, fatigue at 1/10th normal rate, +2 pull punch) and two other Major powers associated with physical strength and power.
For my first I pick Mega Wings. This is winged flight, only MEGA.  They grant winged flight at 360 mph with an additional 40 mph per level. They have a maximum altitude of 30,000 ft. They also grant +2 PB, +1 attack, +2 initiative, +2 parry with the wings, +2 dodge in flight below 90 mph and +6 dodge at faster speeds; they get +4 damage for every 20 mph of flight. The wings have AR 16 and 330 SDC each. The wings recover 1d6x10 SDC per hour. when harmed The character can hold their breath for 8 minutes, are unaffected by altitude and can accelerate to top speed with 1 action. They cam form  a wing cocoon around themselves or someone adjacent, granting them an AR of 17. Any attacks made with a wing do +1d6 damage and have a range of 8'.
For the second I consider APS: Stone but that would just negate all the sweet bonus SDC we've been getting. So instead I pick Massive Damage Capacity. This gives an AR 9, which will improve as we level. We also get +70 HP (+10/level) and +300 SDC (+100/level). we regen 1 point of damage every 2 minutes (30 per hour), fatigue at 1/3rd normal, get +2 PE and +10% save versus Coma/Death.

Okay. So let's put this all together.

Name: Murielle Roshanak Devine
Identity: The Gargoyle
Team: The Furies
Level: 1, Mystical Bestowal: Demonic (Corrupted Good)
Height: 6'5" (8'5"), Weight: 275 lbs (375 lbs), Age: 21
Alignment: Non-Conformist
Disposition: Hot headed and angry. Quick tempered and emotional but fundamentally a nice person.
IQ 11, ME 11, MA 11(16), PS 20(69), PP 12(19), PE 16(19), PB 12(14), Spd 24(31)
Hit Points: 21 (134), S.D.C.: 85 (500; 330 wings), P.P.E.: 20

Demonic Attributes:
Demonic Form: Transforms into demonic form to use powers. All attribute scores in parenthesis are for demonic form. Demonic Form has Horror factor of 12.
Vulnerabilities: 2x damage from holy and silver weapons. Vulnerable to demon slaying weapons.
Obvious Demon Mark: Rune-like branding scar on left bosom, over heart. Recognisable as such on a successful roll against Lore: Demons & Monsters. Further demon lord patron knows character's true name.
Demonic Knight: Can command demons of sub and lesser types.
Demonic Physique: Demonic form is 2' taller and 100 lbs heavier.
Fire Resistance: Half damage from  all forms of fire, heat and flame.
Brute Strength. Demonic form's super powers are strength themed.

Supernatural Strength.
Mega Wings. AR 16/17 wings
Massive Damage Capacity. AR 9 body

Natural Skills:
Trust/Intimidate 40% (demonic form only)
Scholastic Skills:
Acrobatics (), Advanced Maths, Archaeology, Athletics, Basic Maths, Basic Radio, Boxing, Climbing (Rappelling), Coding Literacy, Computer Hacking, Computer Ops, Computer Programming, Cryptography, Dieting, Dowsing, English Language, English Literacy, Horsemanship, Intelligence, Land Navigation, Lore: cults & Sects, Lore: Demons & Monsters, Lore; Geomancy & Ley Lines, Lore; Magic, Mountaineering, Prospecting, Radio Scramblers, Research, Running, Spelunking, Swimming, Wilderness Survival, W.P. Knife, Wrestling.
Secondary Skills:
Bodybuilding, Cooking, First Aid, Hand-to-Hand Martial Arts, Lore: Conspiracy, Pilot Automobile, Pilot Motorcycle, Play Musical Instrument: Guitar, Streetwise, W.P. Archery.

Coma/Death: +4% (+18%)
Harmful Drugs/Toxins: +1 (+2)
Horror Factor: +4
Magic (Spells 12+, Circles/Wards 13+, Ritual 16+): +1 (+2)
Poison (Lethal 14+, Non-Lethal 16+): +1 (+2)
Psionics (15+): +0
Possession: +1

Attacks: 2+3 (+4 demonic form)
Initiative: +2 (+3 demonic form; +5 flying)
Strike: +0 (+3 demonic form)
Damage: +5 (+54 demonic form; +1d6 wing strike)
 1d4+5 Punch
 2d4+5 Acrobatic Kick
 (5d6+54 Restrained Strike)
 (2d4x10+54 Strike)
 (3d6x10+54 Power Strike [2atk])
Dodge: +3 (+6 demonic form; +10 flying below 90 mph; +12 flying faster than 90 mph)
Parry: +3 (+6 demonic form; +8 with wings)
Pull Punch: +4 (+6 demonic form)
Roll with Impact: +8

Carry Capacity: 400 lbs. (20,700 lbs.); Lifting: 800 lbs. (34,500 lbs)
Stamina: Carry for 64 minutes. Carry maximum for 32 minutes. Lift for 16 rounds.
     (Carry for 2,280 minutes; 38 hours (1 day and 14 hours). Carry maximum for 1,140 minutes; 19 hours. Lift for 570 rounds; 8,550 seconds; 142.5 minutes (2 hours, 22 minutes and 30 seconds.)
Ground Speed: 16.8 mph for 16 minutes. (21.7 mph for 570 minutes; 9.5 hours).
(Air Speed: 400 mph for 570 minutes; 9.5 hours)
Swimming Speed: 60 yards (180 ft.) per round for 16 minutes. (207 yards (621 ft.) per round for 570 minutes (9.5 hours).)
Leaping Distance: 5 ft. high and 10 ft. broad from a running start. 3 ft. high and 6 ft. broad from a standing start. (276 ft. high and 414 ft. broad from a running start. 165.6 ft. high and 248.4 ft. broad from a standing start.)

Murielle Devine thought that having parents with secret religions was normal. She spent most of her early years at one boarding school or another. The time she did spend with her parents was usually for some dark ritual or another. She was ten when their final ritual was stopped dead by The August raiding their temple at The Sanctum Hotel. Murielle never saw her parents again. She did not have a happy childhood, her education provided by her missing parents wealth.

The best time she did have was on the four, yes four, summer scholarships with the Blyghton Foundation. She was among the group that found The Wreck of The Content, filled with golden treasure, and entombed in the dunes of Arizona. She found the secret door during The Mystery Of The Thirteenth Attic, helped expose Ridgestar Lab's crimes, and dig out Valentina Graves from a landslide, during The Case Of The Forbidden Spire, and was even able to use the occult lore she'd learned from her parents to resolve the puzzle central to The Secret At Dannity Island. On these adventures she made friends that persist to this day such a the journalist Dahlia Drake.

When she turned 18 everything went to shit. She came into her inheritance and the Strickland mob came looking for money they claimed her parents owed them. After they were done with her all she had left of her fortune was a small former cult safehouse out in the Guardian City suburbs. So of course she found a demon lord bound in the safe room.

It promised her power, it promised her wealth, it promised her vengeance. In return for its freedom. She was angry at the great injustice she'd suffered and more so with having this monster in her home. So she agreed. She'd release it in exchange for a portion of its power. It would never further interfere with her and she in turn would never interfere with it.

Not long after the Blyghton Foundation sent her a check for her share of The Content treasure. Able to afford university after all she studied information technology for three years before deciding to use her talents to become a freelance information broker.

Every now and then she'll uncover some evil deed that has gone unpunished, or someone unjustly persecuted, and she'll let her darker side out to prowl the night.

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