Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Character Creation: Venture City

Been thinking about superheroes of late. Let's do this.

The Game: Venture City
The Publisher: Evil Hat
Degree of Familiarity: None with this particular game, but a great deal with Fate.
Books Required: The Venture City book and Fate Core.

OK, so this is a superhero setting for Fate Core. It's a lot more sparse than I was expecting, really; mostly it's "here's a way to do superpowers in Fate, plus some pregens and some mini-adventures. But that's fine, that's really all I need.

I'm feeling a little mellow today, so I kinda want to make someone whose powers revolve around telepathy or empathy. The Venture City book says to make a character as described in Fate Core and then add the "powers" step, so we start with high concept and trouble aspects.

Well, I want my character to be restricted by his powers - he can feel what others are feeling but he can't really turn it off. Actually, Can't Switch it Off is a good trouble aspect; he feels what everyone around him feels and that means that if he's with teammates who are just having fun pummeling mooks, he gets overwhelmed because he feels the pain, anger, and fear of said mooks. High concept, though. Let's call it Troubled Empath.

And then I should give him a name. I like alliteration for superheroes, so I'll call him Oliver Owen.

OK, now I get into the Phase Trio. This is the "your first three adventures and each one gets me an Aspect" thing. Since I don't have a Venture City of my very own and I don't feel like parsing out the one in the book (it's just an example anyway), we'll just assume this is a basic four-color comic, maybe drifting a little closer to Iron Age but not quite Watchmen level of violence and so on. I also can't really do Phases Two and Three as they're intended, so I'll just wing it.

So, for my first phase, Oliver gets his powers. I think I want how he got his powers to be kind of a mystery. He's always been an intuitive person, but then one day he was attending a friend's wedding. He got their early and saw a woman in the church praying, and he was struck with this overwhelming wave of grief from her. Turned out her husband had been murdered, and she had no recourse - the police weren't taking it seriously. Oliver kind of bumbled his way through investigating it, mostly going on the fact that no one could really lie to him, and eventually dug up evidence that led to the killer's arrest. First Aspect: Don't Even Try to Lie to Me.

Second phase: Oliver tries to use his powers to continue to solve crimes, but the justice system makes that hard. He offered his services to the police (he's a perfect lie detector), and one detective even took him up on it, but the problem is that Oliver can read feelings, not thoughts. He knows when someone is lying, but not necessarily why. The detective brought him along to question a witness, but pushed her a little too hard and Oliver experienced her panic attack right along with her. After that he stopped working with the cops. Second Aspect: Stay Outside the System.

Third phase: Oliver, now angry, started going out looking for trouble. He found that just tailing people who were up to no good could prevent crime, which was more than a lot of superheroes can manage. One night, though, he wandered into a mugging in progress. The woman getting mugged was hurt, bloody, and terrified, and the guy might not have stopped there. Oliver, not the most fit or combat-capable guy, tried to step in, and the guy slugged him. Oliver glared at him and grabbed his hand, and caused an emotional "loop" that wound up shutting the guy down (he survived, but it was close). Third Aspect: Emotion is a Weapon.

Next step: The Skill ladder. One Great, two Good, three Fair, four Average.

Well, I think Empathy at Great makes a whole lot of sense, don't you? Then I'll put Rapport and Provoke at Good. I'll put Investigate, Deceive, and Will at Fair, and then Athletics, Burglary, Stealth, and Notice at Average.

And now, stunts and refresh, but that also means powers. Basically I get three extra stunts, but the three extras have to spent on powers. I think I'd like to do that first, because I can use my basic three stunts as powers, I just don't know if I'll need to.

Well, there's a Telepathy power that does more or less what I want. Let's start there. That's "read people's emotions." That costs 1 stunt.

Enhancements make the power more better. I'll take Master Telepathy (gives me a +2 when using it). I want something like Mental Blasts, but I don't need to use it at a distance. I'll call it Emotion Feedback (works on touch, Attack action, resist with Will). That's all three of my stunts for powers.

Next thing is Theme, and I get one for free, but I don't like any of them, so I'm gonna skip it.

Special Effects! I get two. These are things that I can activate with a Fate point when I succeed with style. I like Mental Recover (I recover all mental stress; basically I'm using someone else's feelings to recenter my own), and I kinda want to be able to stun people. I guess Inflict Condition; I can put the Overwhelmed Aspect on folks.

Now a Drawback, which is basically a trouble Aspect for my power. I think I want Easily Overwhelmed; I'm prone to emotional overload.

And finally, a Collateral Damage Effect. This is basically me letting go of my power and bad things happen. I like Psychic Maelstrom a whole lot; basically I open my mind up and share everyone's emotions among them, and everyone in my zone takes two mental stress. I think at the beginning of the game, Oliver doesn't know he can do that.

That still leaves me three stunts, fer cryin' out loud. You know, what, I'll use two to jack my Telepathy up to Master 3 (so I get a +6 when I use it). That means I only have one stunt left (plus more if I want to use refresh).

I'll make a stunt called Reality Check; I can Defend against a physical attack with Empathy (but it doesn't work on robots or other beings without emotions). And then I'll use a point of refresh to grab the Nose for Trouble stunt (lets me use Empathy as initiative; I'll substitute the usual caveat of "observe for a few minutes" with "if opponents have emotions," because if they don't I can't read 'em).

That makes my refresh 2. Sounds good. Last thing I need is a superhero name. I think Oliver wears grey cargo pants, a black or grey hoodie, boots, and dark glasses when super-heroing. He's known to try and defuse things rather than jump in and start punching (he's actually pretty punch-averse), and so he goes by Pax.