Superheroes… and I?

I’ve decided that next time I play with my TT group, I’m going to intro them to Capes. I’ve mentioned it and given a very loose system pitch to two of them, and both think it’s interesting.

Hence, I’m going to go out there ready to rock and roll. I’ll have my still-ongoing nWoD game stuff with me just in case the group as a whole ain’t buying, but my plan is to run Capes. In fact, to hedge my bets, I’ve got two different “flavors” of capes play to throw at them.

One will be a Capes-ized version of the setting and characters from The Good War, which I’d love to play, and whch does not feature super-heroes. I’m not currently crazy about superhero roleplay, or at least  anything involving the flavor of superhero or villain that considers spandex a viable wardrobe choice, so a twisted post-WWII setting mostly focusing on ghosts, zombies, bullets and ideology sits well with me. I’ve written up many of the preexisting characters (NPC and PC) that we had ready back when we were planning to run TGW as an oWoD mod. I’ll post a few of those characters and things before much longer.

But that’s not what today’s post is about.

Today’s post is about the other option I’m bringing with me. I’ve only just started work on it, but it won’t take as much work on my part to do this one anyhow; I’m leaving a lot more of it up to the other lads and the lassy. This one is meant to have more of a comic-book feel, but something more related to, say, Hellblazer or the visual works of Tim Bradstreet than to Kirby or Rob Liefeld. There’ll definitely be folks that have powers and wage conflict against mortal or super-powered enemies, but I’m thinking of focusing it more on magical trouble than on costumed vigilantism. I’m going to suggest that each character have two versions: one, their more powered-action version and a version that’s built for more of what the character does the “rest of the time” – their “secret identity” if the character has such a thing, their “normal self” if they don’t. I’m thinking that the secondary version will have either one power or one power plus one powered style while the primary has a standard powered sheet.

For this reason, I’ve made a couple of characters to as a sort of taste of what I’m suggesting, and to provide characters that I think are interesting. Backgrounds are deliberately left very brief here, to leave room for determination in the course of play by the group at large. First, today I’ll give the halves of a two-faced character, one that actually does have an alias he operates under and that does engage in vigilantism at times. Oh, and just because I can I made cheesy caricatures of him with this site. As ever, these two “characters” can be in play simltaneously (by different players even though they are the same person), reflecting different facets of his personality and priorities.

The Shroud
The Shroud
Powers:

  • Storm of Blades (P) 5
  • Arcane Lore (P) 4
  • Enchanted Weaponry (P) 3
  • Animated Garments (P) 2
  • Fighting Arts (P) 1

Styles:

  • Iron Discipline 4
  • The Right Tools (P) 3
  • Eye of the Storm 2
  • Tools Pop Out of His Clothes (P) 1

Attitudes:

  • Righteous Indignation 3
  • Judgmental 2
  • Grim 1

Drives:

  • Justice 3
  • Truth 1
  • Love 2
  • Hope 1
  • Obsession 2

Vincent Vandermark is a magician and artificer that has devoted himself to trying to repair what he sees as wrong with the world and bring about his concept of ma’at (IE cosmic justice).  He believes that the world is in a continual slide into decay, and only aggressive action can halt or reverse that slide. Demons and evil spirits lurk everywhere, and even worse there are human parasites that must be cut out of the corpus of society by a surgeon puissant enough to recognize and eliminate them. To this end, he has crafted or acquired a broad array of weapons and tools both esoteric and mundane, followed by what he considers his greatest magical achievement, which he ironically dubbed The Shroud of Ahriman. This magical black garment seems possessed of an alien intelligence of its own, and serves its master in many ways: it is capable of changing its shape to camouflage itself as other garments, has limited power to move of its own accord, and serves as a conduit to some other space in which Vincent keeps his bristling arsenal. With a simple gesture, he draws long and deadly swords, morningstars, knives or other weapons, often several at a time (he has been known to disgorge a veritable hail of knives from a sleeve on more than one occasion). His studies have not all been sorcerous; he is an accomplished swordsman and martial artist as well, for he believes that the body must be as strong as the mind. When he detects something amiss, he sets about discovering the nature of the problem and determines whether it needs an armed response. If it does, a black-clad fury descends upon the unclean with sorcery and steel. Local rumors and urban legends have picked up on the cloaked, scarfed avenger and assigned it a place as an avenging demon, known to people on the street by its most distinctive feature: The Shroud.

Vincent Vandermark
Vincent Vandermark
Powers:

  • Sorcerous Knowledge (P) 4
  • Research 3
  • Negotiate 2
  • Investigate 1

Styles:

  • Deeply-Held Convictions 4
  • Wealth of Experience 3
  • Scholarly 2
  • Considerable Resources 1

Attitudes:

  • Insightful 4
  • Judgmental 3
  • Pensive 2
  • Cold 1

Drives:

  • Hope 3
  • Justice 2
  • Love 2
  • Pride 1
  • Fear 1

The Shroud is better known by his everyday persona, Vincent Vandermark: scion of a wealthy and connected family, astute businessman, writer and scholar.  His magical practices are not common knowledge, but he has quietly acquired an occult library and workshop of considerable depth and scope, the better to pursue his agenda of worldwide renewal. He speaks and writes passionately, and often turns the financial machinery at his disposal to bringing the world closer to his own vision.

So there you have him: an idealistic yet dangerously arrogant, rather Hermetic magician that has decided to purge what he sees as wickedness. He’s a bit like a magical cousin to Batman, but he hunts hostile ghosts, demons and rival wizards more often than criminals. Long and elaborate spells, while certainly within his abilities, are not emphasized on his sheet because he’s a very activity-oriented, martial figure, and that stuff’s more important to his story than sitting chanting in a circle for days on end. I’m actually going to write up stats for The Shroud of Ahriman as a character in its own right to make for even more complicated scenes, motivations and interactions.

Edit: tweaked the sheets a bit to differentiate them more. It’s better now. 😀

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