Thursday, April 9, 2015

Classic Enemies: The Raiders

After the long haul of writing up all eight members of Eurostar, I figured the three-man Raiders would be a snap.  Not so much.  While none were particularly intricate to input into CW, I had to do a fair bit of reverse-engineering in places and all three had some fiddly bits.

So yeah, the Raiders, created by Andrew Robinson.  I'm not too fond of these guys on a couple of levels. First off, their leader is probably my least-favorite supers cliche, the Gun-Bunny.  Second, the team is a really odd combination: Gun-Bunny, Growing Brick, and...Cosmic Energy Blaster From Beyond the Stars.  One of these things is not like the others...

Anyway, let's give them a once-over.

Name:  Bullet

Affiliation: The Raiders

What's His Deal?:  Randolph Ball is a bad-ass mercenary.  He got his start in 'Nam and never really looked back.  Somewhere along the way, he decided he was Merc enough to take on superhuman threats, via his skills and hardware.  He's a master tactician and goes after the big rewards, bringing in superpowered targets.

Coolness:  He's very versatile.  The team background includes code words for tactical maneuvers, which are down to his presence.  His primary weapon is the "Plugh Gun," which I assume derives its name from the noise it makes.

Lameness: He's a hard man making hard choices in a hard world.  His defining characteristic is his toughness, and the write-up implies that he's a favorite of the Right Wing Guns and Torture set.  I'm not fond of the "Normal Guy Gears Up And Fights Superheroes" schtick in comics or gaming, and he feels too early Iron Age for my liking.  On the other hand, where I see bugs, you might find features.

How's The Math?:  Slightly off, but I think Creation Workshop is rounding incorrectly.  His writeup includes Weapons Familiarities, which aren't something I typically bothered with in supers-level games.

Did/Would Use In My Campaign?:  Pass.  Between a concept I dislike and the team he has backing him up, I'm just not interested.

Name: Big John (seriously)

Affilation:  The Raiders

What's His Deal:  His name is John. He gets big (about six meters) and really strong and tough.  He's Scottish.  And very mechanically inclined.

Coolness:  While he's in a villain group, he's portrayed as a pretty decent guy who just likes to fight.  He's hunted by Genocide, so he's got that common with Neutron from The Conquerors.

Lameness:  I can't for the life of me figure out what he's doing with Bullet.  But I can't imagine any of the Raiders together, really, so maybe that's my problem.

How's The Math?: A bit screwed up, to be honest. His writeup charges him 10 pts more for his INT than he should spend.

Did/Would Use In My Campaign?:  Maybe, if I re-tasked him to be an independent, or maybe even as a guy just trying to live his life in peace who gets targeted by Genocide.  I'd probably change his name, though.

Name:  Starseer

Affiliation:  The Raiders

What's His Deal?:  Starseer is an alien space probe (obviously not from Plasmoid's world) who stumbled into Vast Cosmic Power(tm).  Unfortunately, his mind shattered under the weight of Ultimate Knowledge and he's not sure what his purpose is.  For some reason, that led him to teaming up with a couple of Earthling mercenaries.  He's depressed a lot, Silver Surfer style.

Coolness: I like the character concept.  He's a solidly designed character that works a bit differently from most Blasters, in that he uses an NND exclusively and can boost it by harming himself.  His defenses are based on Damage Reduction and Danger Sense, which is a nice variation.  He's hunted by METE, the Metropolitan Extra-Terrestrial Enclave, created by Aaron Allston for "Organization Book 1."  It's a nice call-back (though I never liked the name.  I used NASA, the National Alien Studies Administration, which isn't any sort of improvement, really).

Lameness: Putting aside my inability to believe he'd hang around with Bullet and Big John, I do have a few other problems with him.  First off, he's got Hand Attack, which is a power I really wish had been left out of the BBB.  I know what they were trying to accomplish, but it's badly broken and outlawed in any game I run.  Second, I hate, hate, hate characters that are all powers, no skills.  Starseer is supposed to have vast cosmic understanding, but he's got a mere 18 INT and his only skill is English.  I get that he's supposed to be broken, but I'd never let a player bring a PC into my game with 3 points in skills and I'm disinclined to do it for an NPC.

How's The Math?: My CW input came up six points cheaper, but I haven't found them.  Not that I looked too hard. It's been a long day.

Did/Would Use In My Campaign?: I never did, but I could see myself doing it under the right circumstances. I would pull him out of the Raiders, up his skills, and play up the cosmic origin more.  It's OK if he's unclear on his mission; that would make for a terrific plot.  I would definitely up his skill points and probably give him Eidetic Memory.  He's an interestingly designed character, I just think he's in the wrong group.

So, that's the Raiders.  What do you think?  Did you put them to terrific use and want me to lay off the Crack?  Next time, we'll look at that Bargain Basement Dr. Destroyer knock-off, Professor Muerte and Terror Incorporated.



  1. Oh, good--I always liked Terror Incorporated, and these write-ups of yours bring back memories. I was GMing and a friend was GMing, so we had to split the villains. I think I got the Raiders, but I only used Big John in another group.

    Gun Bunnies were very popular then, but I usually assigned them to UNTIL or SAT, as part of the perennial super-soldier arms race.

  2. I never used these guys, for one because I tended to have large groups and they were kind of small. I wonder if the alien was supposed to represent a role-playing opportunity, someone the group could get to turn on the villains at an inopportune moment.

  3. Yes, definitely a no-use as a group.I like your ideas for John and Starseer.

    Bullet, I would use as a solo merc, maybe have him hired by Viper to help train up a new cell, by the Mob to take down a super- or Fed-protected witness, etc.

  4. Oh I love these guys. They are my hard luck cases that aren't really bad or evil just looking to make a fast buck and get rich. They don't rob banks or kidnap people but anything that in the "gray Zone" is fair game. They never seem to get a break and get ahead. The players never really had a reason to arrest them but always seemed to bust up their latest get rich quick plan. Good comedy relief to throw at the heroes now and again.