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A request on villain creation

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  • John McMullen
    One of my players has been playing with combats, putting the character he just rolled up against Diamond from theĀ ICONS book. His character is essentially a
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 21, 2012
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      One of my players has been playing with combats, putting the character he just rolled up against Diamond from the ICONS book. His character is essentially a trained one (think Robin after many years, because he got the Immortality power at twelve and has never changed beyond that), Diamond is, well, Diamond: tough and strong.
       
      When he commented that his combats essentially played out as Blue Beetle versus Despero (Blue Beetle stays alive right until Despero hits), I pointed out that the villain's Challenges are meant to be used to beat the unbeatable foe.
       
      And then I looked at the characters in the back of the book.
       
      So, here's my request to anybody writing ICONS stuff, whether it's professional or not (because the technique in Villainomicon requires players to fill out another player's arch-foe):
       
      * Every villain (and preferably every hero) needs a Challenge of some kind that can be used to take them down, even in a Robin vs. Darkseid situation.
       
      * Ideally, there's also a point or two where the players see that Challenge in action, or can deduce it from what they see.
       
      Now, the recurrence power of a villain is often tied to the type of weakness they have. A Challenge like "Overconfident" is a little more re-usable than something like "Has a terrible secret." Once the secret is revealed, the character undergoes a sea change and you have to create new Challenges. For instance, Diamond's Challenges mean that she gets taken down once, and then she's a supervillain. There are ways for her to avoid arrest--she claims she was being controlled, for instance, and she gets to extend her time a bit longer--but once she becomes an actual supervillain, she's just tough, and her Challenges have to change.
       
      Some characters have a Challenge that can only be used once. Some, like Rex Mundi, have Challenges that will always get in their way.
       
      So, for the professionals, do try to mention how the Challenges might be used to bring down the hero. You won't get every way--this isn't meant to be exhaustive--but it might make the villain more useful out of the adventure(s) the character lives in.
       
      FIVE WAYS TO USE THE "OVERCONFIDENT" CHALLENGE
       
      5. There's no abort switch when the character is fastened to the doomsday device.
       
      4. There's no problem with monologuing about the one weakness of the {device|character|plan} because the heroes will never be able to implement it--they're tied up and could never escape.
       
      3. Sure, I should stay to watch the deathtrap, but they'll never escape.
       
      2. As a sensible designer, I do have an abort switch at my mother's house, and the heroes will never figure that out. (Actually, 2-4 boil down to, "Enh, they're idiots and will never figure it out, and if they do, they can't do anything about it.)
       
      1. I can beat each of them individually, so collectively, there's no problem.
       
      OTHER NEWS
       
      I'm partway through converting two of the Dr. Null adventures, and I think one of them (or an Evil Genius adventure) will become the basis for my Roll20-with-ICONS adventure. So I'll be setting that up in the next couple of weeks, though depending on holidays and such it might get moved around. Given the different nature of online play, I'll probably ask for characters about a week ahead of time. (Guaranteed not to happen next weekend or August 11-19 because we're away.) So I'll put out a request in the next week or two for players and characters. I haven't decided yet whether it will be random roll or point buy: probably random roll, though I'm just going to trust you on that.
       
      John McMullen (Searching for a .sig)
      jhmcmullen@...
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