Character Creation

posted by anagramarye Original SA post

I figured while we're going on with all this random rolling stuff, I'd crack open my copy of the Marvel Super Heroes Ultimate Powers Book . As a game, it's not bad, but... there's a lot of weird shit buried in the random generation tables. Furries, hypersmell, "Darkforce Control", you name it.

So I'll roll up a character right now!

Getting a 99 on the physical form table (all the tables use d100) means that this a Compound character. That's right, it's the "roll again" option. A sub-roll of 76 says that this character will mix 4 different physical forms, with 25% chance of retaining the advantages and disadvantages of each. Being a Compound being gives a -1CS (that is, minus one rank) to Popularity.

(I could not have asked for a better example of how bizarre this book can get.)

So, four more rolls.

The first roll, 30, is Mutant (Induced) . This is somebody like the members of Fantastic Four, who's been physically and genetically altered by an outside cause. (They call them "mutates" in Marvel nowadays, I think.) Normally, an Induced Mutant rolls for Primary Abilities on Column 1 of the Random Ranks Table, and gets +1CS to any one Primary Ability.

The second roll, 52, is Modified Human (Skeletal) . "Although he is also a Random Mutant, Wolverine is a good example of this type of character. The new skeleton can be crammed with various things that can give the hero his Powers." This normally gives +1CS to Physical Attacks, at least one Contact relating to whatever organization did this skeletal modification, and one less Power than usual.

The third roll, 66, is Demihuman (Avian) .


Avians come in two basic types, angels and harpies. The angelic avians resemble humans with wings sprouting from the shoulder blades. Angel of X- Factor is this type. They get an increased Popularity (+1CS). Harpies possess arms that are modified to also serve as wings and feather-covered legs that end in bird claws. They gain +1CS Fighting. Angelic avians reproduce by normal human means. Harpies lay eggs. Angelic Avians roll on Column 3. Harpies roll on Column 2.

"Harpies lay eggs."

Did they really need to include that?


I'll let you folks choose which type of avian, exactly, this monstrosity of a character is.

The fourth roll is ... 100 ... which means Changeling . This gives more body types. Uhh...


The hero can transform into any of a number of possible Body Types. Each Body Type aspect of the Changeling possesses its regular advantages and disadvantages which apply only when the hero is in that particular form.

What powers the hero possesses are assigned to any and all of his Aspects. Each Aspect must have one Power which is unique to it, a Power no other Aspect has.
The hero can transform himself from one Aspect to another in 10 turns. During this time, no Powers can function and all Primary Abilities temporarily drop -2CS. Changeling is similar to the Power of Alter Ego. If the player rolls that Power while creating a Changeling character, he can discard it and roll another Power.

Example: Kit has rolled Changeling for his Body Type. This one has two Aspects: 83, Humanshape Robot, and 91, Vegetable. "Great, a robot that turns into Man-Thing." Eventually, Kit decides his robot was specially designed to imitate other life-forms, but the Shapechange circuitry burned out after recording its first form.

Changelings roll on column 5, regardless of what the various Aspects would roll on.

If while in one Aspect the hero loses all Health points, he can save his life by making a red Psyche FEAT. Success means he lives, but permanently loses the ability to transform into that Aspect.

Powers can be assigned to any or all Aspects. Each Aspect must have a unique Power not shared with other Aspects.

(Yes, even the example text acknowledges how bizarre the possible results are.)

So, uh. Rolling for that gives 2 more body types, I guess.

Anyway, rolling for each type so far: The advantages are kept of Changeling. The disadvantages are kept of Demihuman (Avian) and Changeling.

So this means that most of this process was basically irrelevant, since the character is now a Demihuman (Avian) without the ability to fly(??), who has an altered skeleton (that has no special traits) and is an induced mutant (but has no lasting traits from that), who can assume two other forms.

So I'll roll for those now!

The first result is 84, Robot (Usuform) .


This is a robot that believes in the adage, "Form follows function." This robot's body is anything but humanshaped and is designed to best serve specific needs. For the game's purposes, needs refers to Powers the usuform possesses.

The second result is 89, Deity . So, uhhh. Yeah, that means a Thor-type deity, now at superhero level either because of a loss of worship, being exiled from the home godly dimension, or just kind of general being bored and slumming around. There's also the option of a deity on earth seeking worshippers or other power, but that's explicitly restricted to NPC villains. Deities get +2CS to primary abilities, have one automatic Travel Power, have two extra Powers, have +2CS Popularity with the public (but 0 Popularity with the hierarchy of major religions), and attract worshippers that act as Contacts. They're also not allowed to actively promote religion based on themselves (no special reason, just "because") or they get a permanent -1CS to all Abilities and Powers.

Next is rolling for origin of power . A 67 means that it's because of a biological exposure . Bitten by a radioactive eagle god? I have no idea.

Rolling on Column 5 because of Changeling gives what's actually the best possible range of results for Abilities. Rolling for each one (and applying that Popularity penalty for being Compound) gives:

Primary Abilities: Fighting Remarkable (26), Agility Good (8), Strength Good (8), Endurance Remarkable (26), Reason Incredible (36), Intuition Typical (5), Psyche Poor (3)

Primary Abilities (Deity Form): Fighting Amazing (46), Agility Remarkable (26), Strength Remarkable (26), Endurance Amazing (46), Reason Monstrous (63), Intuition Excellent (16), Psyche Good (8)

Secondary Abilities: Health 68 (Fighting + Agility + Strength + Endurance), Karma 44 (Reason + Intuition + Psyche), Resources Remarkable (26), Popularity Good (8)

Secondary Abilities (Deity Form): Health 144, Karma 87, Popularity Remarkable (26)

Abilities go Feeble -> Poor -> Typical -> Good -> Excellent -> Remarkable -> Incredible -> Amazing -> Monstrous -> extra ranks off the top of the table most people use. For some context here, Reed Richards has a Reason of Amazing, thus making this character smarter than him while in deity form.

It's also time to generate a Weakness . Yes, every character has one. Even the normal humans. Anyway! Three d100 rolls (60, 14, and 20) mean that the character's weakness is energy depletion , causing power negation that's continuous with contact . So, if the character's too tired out, all their Powers stop working for the duration. That's, uh ... that's a special weakness? Really? "The character can't do super stuff if they're too exhausted to do super stuff"?

Part 2 - Powers will be next time. In the meantime, people need to decide if this will be an Angelic Avian or a Harpy Avian.


posted by anagramarye Original SA post

Marvel Super Heroes Ultimate Powers Book - part 2

Time to roll powers! These are going to be divvied up between the three forms, with each form getting at least one power from the normal allotment. The deity form is also going to have two extra general powers, plus one travel power. The Changeling entry gives exactly no rule for what happens if you don't actually roll for enough powers to give one to each form, so... I dunno.

Rolling for number of powers is an 85—8 Powers (maximum 10), 3 Talents (maximum 6), and 3 Contacts (maximum 6). (The maximum numbers are for trading Resources ranks for.)

Each power takes two rolls; the first dictates power class (eg. category), with the second being the actual power. I'll go down the list in order.

The first is 38 and 15: that's a Magic power, Energy Source. This one is actually more like a weakness—it limits the use of other Magic abilities if the character doesn't have access to their given magical energy source. It also prompts to roll for an extra power. This, uhh, this ends up entirely irrelevant because no other Magic powers get rolled.

The second power is 33 and 40: that's a Lifeform Control power, Hypnotic Control. It lets the character hypnotize people into following commands and can set up post-hypnotic commands. It can also potentially override somebody's normal sense of morality.

The third is 86 and 61: that's a Power Control power, Power Transferral. This can be used to loan the character's powers to another being or beings.

The fourth is 66 and 32: that's a Mental Enhancement power, Hyper-Intelligence. This can be used to either permanently boost the character's Reason or Intuition ability at character creation, or it can be used as a modal ability, able to flip the hyper-intelligence on and off during play. Hyper-Intelligence can also be specialized in a particular field to get +1CS rank.

The fifth is 62 and 41: that's another Mental Enhancement power, Hyper-Invention. This allows stuff like studying alien technology quickly, building items for cheaper, and selling off fancy stuff to raise Resources. It can be specialized like Hyper-Intelligence can.

The sixth is 19 and 2: that's an Energy Emission power, Cold Generation. This can be used to cool down freeze stuff (duh), but you can't un-freeze anything.... even though, for some reason, you can use it to negate other sources of cold (even environmental cold). It also includes built-in resistance to cold.

The seventh is 68 and 86: Mental Enhancement again, Telelocation. This allows psionically tracking a target (and gets easier if you have a possession of theirs).

The eighth is 55 and 29: Matter Creation, Lifeform Creation. This power counts for two slots, so the character won't get a ninth power. This lets the character create living things out of nothing, though they don't have any special Powers other than those innate in their forms. The size is severely limited on power rank, and duration's limited too; making a creation permanent is extra-hard. (Yes, this means you're making new, unique life that is guaranteed to die most of the time.) This power also includes (unnamed) Detection Power abilities that allow studying lifeforms down to the atomic level without having to do anything harmful to them.

This power also gives another option: it can be instead be chosen at character creation to create a single unique being (insert Pikachu reference here) that retains memory and consciousness from creation to creation. It's also allowed to assign any powers the character has to said summoned being.

The deity form's first extra power is automatically a Travel type; rolling for the subtable gives it as 28, Hyper-Digging. This allows high-speed travel while digging, and also raises the character's Strength and Endurance.

The deity form's second extra power is 70 and 53, a...nother Mental Enhancement power, Iron Will. It can be used to defend against attacks and other effects in lieu of the character's lower-ranked abilities, and can be used to delay damage until the character can get somewhere they can be taken care of.

The deity form's third extra power is 7 and 49: a Detection power, Microscopic Vision. This can be used to see tiny things ("as small as chromosomes"), but also to perceive things potentially as tiny as atoms, electrons, or subatomic worlds.

Next time I'll post a finalized character sheet, but I'll need to know what forms people will want to see associated with which form (Demihuman (Avian), Robot (Usuform), and Deity, with at least one power for each), as well as which mode of the modal powers to use.


posted by anagramarye Original SA post

Marvel Super Heroes Ultimate Powers Book - part 3

Next is rolling for the rank of each power. This is just using another column on the same table that generated the ranks for the character's Abilities. I've plugged the results into the listing below, along with how they effect power durations, ranges, etc. In some cases, this has exactly zero effect - for example, assigning the permanent version of Hyper-Intelligence means that the power rank of it means nothing.

Rolling Talents means opening up the Advanced Set Player's Book, since none of the other rules are in the Ultimate Powers Book. This is another set of two rolls each, though the subtables use d10 instead of d100.

The first is 28 and 10: a Fighting Skill, Acrobatics. This gives +1CS when dodging, evading, and escaping attacks.

The second is 46 and 5: a Professional Skill, Business/Finance. This makes initial Resources have a minimum of Good, gives a +1CS when dealing with money, and gives another Contact that's specifically a Professional.

The third is 37 and 6: another Fighting Skill, Wrestling. This gives +2CS for making grappling attacks (but not damage boost).

Contacts don't actually have a roll, somehow. The game specifically lets you leave contacts undefined to start with and only fill them later.

So here, the full character sheet:

Body Type: Changeling (Avian (Demihuman)/Modified Human (Skeletal)/Mutant (Induced) / Deity / Robot (Usuform))

Primary Abilities: Fighting Remarkable (26), Agility Good (8), Strength Good (8), Endurance Remarkable (26), Reason Incredible (36), Intuition Typical (5), Psyche Poor (3)

Secondary Abilities: Health 68, Karma 44, Resources Remarkable (26), Popularity Good (8)

Weakness: Energy depletion, power negation, continuous with contact



Contacts: 3 general contacts, 1 Professional contact