Villain A Day (The Octofather)
- One-sentence summary: The octopus-headed telepathic alien who's a mob godfather.
The thing about the Octofather is that he's roleplaying. Yes, there are people involved, but they're not, you know, people (that is, N'Cephalos). To a certain extent, we're not real. (Or the Octofather is a kind of sociopath...but that doesn't really fit into the whole comics attitude of ICONS.)
And what he's playing is the arc of a gangster movie. He believes himself to be the epitome of cool as a gangster. He's on top of the world, Ma. So there are really three kinds of adventures involving the Octofather:
Let's look at each of them.
- The stories in the fiction he's created--that is, the stories that deal with the crimes of his gang, and the kind of work that he has people doing.
- The stories involving the Octofather's arc. Like all old gangster movies, it's the American Dream written as a twisted tragedy.
- The stories that try to deal with the Octofather as an alien on earth.
Pretty much any crime can be tied to the Octofather, either because his gang is involved, or his gang wants to be involved, or his gang wants to lean on the crooks because they went ahead without getting the Octofather involved. Heck, in a superhero world, there are likely to be some crimes that aren't even possible in ours: illegal superpowers; superpowered enforcers; smuggling between dimensions; getting crooks out of the Intangible Zone for a fee; you name it, they probably do it.You can add Octofather goons to pretty much any crime as the force behind the crime, or as a complication. Someone is smuggling superpowered tech? The Octofather is footing it, and he wants to make sure his investment is paid back, whether the bad guys win or lose. Someone is summoning an interdimensional fiend? The Octofather is concerned that it will mess up his protection racket. Someone is using probability control to affect the outcomes in a casino? The Octofather first tries to hire the person to bet in his competitor's casino, and if that doesn't work, orders a hit. There's a supervillain team? The Octofather hired them to be enforcers.
The Octofather can usually be met at his home or at his legitimate businessman's social club. (Anyone with the appropriate specialties or powers can tell that both places have extraterrestrial super technology installed.) On meeting him for the first time, there is a waiting period (while he scans your mind and makes sure that you aren't freaked by him being a tentacled alien with a touch of telepathy or stunted Mind Control--each PC gets a point of Determination). If necessary, the PC also gets a hint of telepathic mind shuffling that ensures that him being an alien is so obvious that it never needs to be mentioned. (The Octofather has not yet run into Mind Shield, so he has no plans to deal with it, unless a PC has been flagrant about having it.) Both the club and his home probably have a "safe room" -- a place where he doesn't need the respirator, but heroes without life support will need some kind of help.
If you want to get the Octofather directly involved, you have to go to his narrative, which is based on movies made when the Hays Code was in place. Eventually he plans to lose, because it wouldn't be a good gangster movie otherwise--the Hays Code even says that the villain cannot profit by his actions. In the meantime, he has a number of cliches to work through. Any cliche from a gangster movie before about 1970 works. He wants to have the one upstanding cop he looks up to, he wants to have the good kid who is trying to escape a life of crime, he wants to be infiltrated by a snitch.In fact, he'll go out of his way to make sure that those things happen. And when he's tired of everything, he'll engineer his own fall from power. (He'll fake his death, or have an N'Cephalos medical machine near the place where he's going to be shot. And the death scene will happen in an appropriate place.)
But once the characters know who and what he is, they have to deal with him as he is: a telepathic alien. Perhaps there are protocols in place for telepaths, or for aliens; perhaps not.
- The Octofather decides he needs to get rid of the player characters. He has spared no expense to put together a team of supervillains designed to bring them down. The only catch is, he wants to watch. So the heroes have to be captured and taken to the empty factory (still with equipment!) where the battle is to take place, while the Octofather watches from the control
- In movies, there are certain crimes that the gangsters don't touch, primarily to make them acceptable to the audience ("At least they don't touch that!") Real gangsters don't have those limits--they deal with prostitution and drugs, to name two, because it turns a profit. He drops them, which leads to gang war between the other mobs who want to pick them up: the crime rate and the violence rate go up, as they go to the mattresses.
- Once that settles down, he decides to have someone snitch on those crimes. Not to the police, of course (the police in gangster movies are often corrupt) but to the player characters. And the mobs involved in those crimes target the player characters for causing them problems. (What's interesting is that the snitch involved has discovered that
he can say he's the snitch, and no one hears him; the Octofather is following the movie trope that the characters can never find the snitch until it's too late.)
- The Octofather is in love: he's found someone who loves him for what he is...an octopus-headed being from another planet. She gets anything she wants. Either she has a plan to get something (she has the Octofather collecting the items she needs), or she's nuts and liable to leave him for a parakeet. In either case, some of the things she wants are a bit unsettling. Can the heroes get to the bottom of these odd crimes and stop them? (The Octofather will relish the sting of betrayal as an important part of his narrative.)
- The Octofather decides he needs a son who doesn't want to be in the family business, so he adopts one of the player characters. The PC's objections are swept aside ("Of course you
don't want to be in the business, but come to your sister's wedding." The PC didn't know he had a sister....) If he has no mind shield and he meets with the Octofather, he might be made to think he is the Octofather's son... Can the other players rescue him?
- The Octofather is involved in some hideous things; can the PCs convince him that humans are people, and shouldn't be killed? He will be resistant to the idea, because it will end his fun.