Cinemechanix Design Journal 9: A Sample Character

Category: Cussin' In Tongues
Created on Friday, 26 February 2016 Written by Steve

I've spent most of this week working on the first sample game, which is about terrible Image-style 90s super-heroes. It's turned out a long longer than I expected, but that's in part because I went a little overboard with the character backgrounds (at least half of the document is character information). I'm hoping to finish up the last few bits and post it to the playtest group later today. In the meantime, I thought I'd show you what a character for the game might look like. I chose to go with Captain Deity, since his abilities include some good examples of adding custom rules. 

Captain Deity

High school football star Mike Deity left Nebraska and joined the army right after graduation. After returning from Operation Desert Storm, he was selected as a Special Forces candidate, but before he could complete his training he was recruited into a top secret program called Project Helios. Although he didn’t realize it at the time, his role in the project was that of test subject in an experimental program that sought to create the first “solar powered soldier.” The project was a partial success, giving Deity the ability to store solar energy and channel the sun’s energy, but the human body proved to be a less than stable storage receptacle for so much energy. When Sergeant Deity “went supernova” and exploded with the energy of five atomic bombs, Project Helios was discontinued. 

Although Mike’s component atoms were strewn throughout time and space by the explosion, his consciousness ended up on a non-corporeal plane of pure light. Assuming that this was the tunnel of light to Heaven, Deity waited for St. Peter to lead him home, but St. Peter never came. The tedium and isolation of what seemed to be an eternity of waiting caused Mike to lose all hope and come to terms with the realization that existence was a meaningless exercise that led nowhere. When he awoke back on earth some time later, two years had passed. Mike has never satisfactorily determined how or why Dr. M managed to reassemble his body and pull his consciousness back into it, but his return to the world of the living has given him a tiny glimmer of hope that life has meaning. 

Role: Brooding Team Leader
Backstory: All-American Soldier
Fatal Flaw: Nihilism: Since his return to the world, Captain Deity has had trouble convincing himself that anything matters. As long as he keeps busy he can avoid thinking too much about the meaninglessness of existence. When he’s faced with a situation that seems overwhelming or unwinnable, however, his natural inclination is to just give up. He gets maudlin when he spends too much time alone with his thoughts. 
Power Theme: Solar Battery (can use solar energy to increase strength, resist injury, fly, create light, and shoot solar blasts)
Origin Story: Failed Military Experiment
Costume: Black spandex suit with yellow trim and sunburst chest design
Hooks: Legally Dead, Moody, Unstable Powers
Tag Line: “I’m gonna light you up!” 
WWPHITM? Alexander Skarsgard
Trademarks: Solar Blast (2 Dice), Kick In Some Teeth (2 Dice), Feats of Strength (1 Die), Commanding Presence (1 Die)
Drawbacks: None
Hero Factor: 6
Acclaim: 6
Stamina: 30
Solar Points: 60
Special Effects: 

Solar Battery: Captain Deity’s body act stores solar energy. He can use this energy to increase his physical power and speed, resist damage, heal himself, and even fly. He can also release deadly blasts of solar energy from any part of his body. Captain Deity’s solar energy reserves are measured in Solar Points. His maximum Solar Point capacity is equal to his Hero Factor times 10. His specific abilities, along with Solar Point costs, are: 

  • Flight: Captain Deity’s flight ability doesn’t cost Solar Points, but he can add Bonus Dice up to his Hero Factor to any flight roll by spending 5 Solar Points per Die. 
  • Increased Strength & Speed: Captain Deity gets a Concept Bonus and appropriate Trademark Dice for strength and speed rolls at no cost. He can add additional Bonus Dice to the roll up to his Hero Factor at a cost of 5 Solar Points per die. 
  • Resist Damage: Captain Deity can resist any or all damage from an attack by spending 1 Solar Point for each point of Stamina loss he wants to avoid.
  • Accelerated Healing: Captain Deity can spend Solar Points to recover lost Stamina at the rate of 2 Solar Points per point of Stamina recovery. He can also repair any Wound he has received for 20 Solar Points. 
  • Solar Blast: A Solar Blast aimed at an individual only costs 1 Solar Point. If Captain Deity wants to use an area effect Solar Blast, he must spend Solar Points equal to the radius of the blast in feet. He can add Bonus Dice (up to his Hero Factor) to either version for 5 Solar Points per Die.

All of Captain Deity’s powers stop working if he drops below 5 Solar Points. Captain Deity recovers lost Solar Points from direct exposure to sunlight. If he’s outside and the day is reasonably clear, he regains a Solar Point every 2 minutes. If he’s indoors but still exposed to the sun’s rays (for example, through a large window) or the day is overcast, he recovers more slowly (as determined by the GM). He doesn’t recover any Solar Points for exposure to artificial light. For every 24 hours that Captain Deity is completely deprived of sunlight, he loses 10 Solar Points. 

Unstable Powers: If Captain Deity rolls double 19s on any roll, he releases a massive solar blast centered on himself that uses up all his Solar Points. The radius of the blast is equal to the number of Solar Points he had when the blast occurred and the roll gets Bonus Dice equal to ⅕ of the blast radius. Captain Deity himself does not get a dodge roll and takes full damage from the blast.




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Cinemechanix Design Journal 9: A Sample Character.
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