Sunday, May 31, 2015

Classic Enemies: The Few, The Proud, The Miscellaneous, Part 2!

I apologize for the delays in getting this one out.  My original goal was to push through to the end of the book by the end of May.  Thanks to some unpleasantness at work, an anxiety attack, and the arrival of my copy of "Blowing Up The Movies", I've either been too out of it to work on this entry, or watching kung fu movies. So, let's see if I can get back on track.  Today, we're going to look at another four villains from Classic Enemies I've never gotten much use from.

We'll start with that walking, talking, 284 points of St. Patrick's Day Parade incarnate, Shamrock (created by Glenn Thain).

This guy always bugged me, but in re-reading him (and trying to keep my head in a late-80s, pre-Reconciliation mindset), there's some useful angles to him I hadn't considered.  But first, let's get deal with the 400 lb Guinness Bottle in the room: that's a terrible, terrible costume.  Coupled with the name Shamrock, there's no way this guy won't come off as a buffoon.

But it occurs to me, that could kind of be the point.  He's dedicated to the IRA and his activities in the US are all about raising money for arms.  Given the way the very real IRA used the US for just those purposes back in the day, his goofy outfit and handle might make a twisted sort of sense, if you look at it as sort of a marketing ploy.  If I'd considered that back in the days of the IMPACT game, I might have put him to use.

In terms of his powers, he's a straight-up high-end brick (STR 75) with solid Resistant defenses (it takes a 56 STUN punch to stun him for a round).  He's also got ridiculously high Luck, but that's always been a weird power in Champions, to be honest, seldom working as I think it was intended.  Generally, I play it as a reminder that this character will be improbably lucky, rather than worrying about the mechanics.  He's quite vulnerable to magic and mental powers, so he's hardly unbeatable.

The one thing in his write-up that bothers me is the inclusion of Martial Arts (in this case Boxing) on Brick archetype.  But that's a personal pet peeve, and in this case, it doesn't actually improve his damage output, so I'll let it slide.

Next comes Sparkler, another Barry Wilson creation.  She's pretty much the definition of a one-trick pony.  But it's a hell of a trick: A 2d6 Autofire RKA (10 shot burst) at 0 END, and +8 Combat Levels with it (OCV 16).  That's like an AK-47 with double the burst capability, and she can do it all day long.  She's got a solid, but not unbeatable Force Field, and that's pretty much it. All in all, not a bad starter villain or member of a low-end group.

I'm fairly sure the reason I never used Sparkler is because when she first saw print, I wasn't particularly enamored of the Silver Age.  As a result, a character named Sparkler, who has fireworks powers, and who got them due to an explosion in a fireworks factory was too "on the nose" and goofy for me.  Looking at her right now, I'm thinking about how much fun she would be to convert to ICONS.  Because now, she's square in my wheelhouse.

Though we'd have to do something about that costume.

Our last miscellaneous villain today is Thok, created by George MacDonald.  He's an alien bug prince.  Seriously, he's an another extraterrestrial nobleman stuck on Earth, trying to find a way home.  Unlike Herculan, he's incapable of communicating with humans, and is generally misunderstood, etc., blah, blah blah.  He's got nasty claws and a tough chitinous hide, and - unlike a lot of characters in this book - a fair number of useful non-combat skills.

I never disliked Thok, I just never really had a use for him back in the day.  My games didn't feature a lot of extraterrestrial hijinks, and Thok's primary focus being on getting off this ball of rock means a lot of players would be willing to help him, once the basic misunderstanding can be worked through.

That said, an adventure does suggest itself:  

The heroes hear of a meteor strike near the campaign city. If they investigate, they find the remains of a crashed spacecraft, but no lifeforms.

A few weeks later, heroes with an interest in VIPER (Hunteds, etc.) notice that VIPER activity in the city drops off completely.  It's like they just closed up shop.  Further investigation (informants, electronic intelligence - hey, it's your campaign) leads to a local business called Green Scales and Measures (a name I got from Steve Long, so credit where it's due).  It is, of course, a front for the local VIPER nest.

Investigating Green, the heroes discover a way into the sealed-off nest.  It's a charnel house: the nest has been wiped out completely and there are dead VIPER agents everywhere.  The nest is on emergency power (for atmosphere) and the stink of death is everywhere.  It's basically Thok as the exomorph from  "Alien", except it may take a while for the heroes to figure out they're up against a highly intelligent opponent.  Hopefully, no one else has to die, and maybe they can even keep Thok from getting out.  If they win, they have a treasure trove of VIPER intel.  Seems worth the fight.

Next time, I'll take a break from the miscellany.  We're on the home stretch now.


  1. I used Shamrock as a loveable, annoying buffoon. Always using the "I don't know how that happened, I'm just lucky I guess" line to get at the PCs. Never used Sparkler due the lethal RKA, just didn't fit into my campaign. Now Thok was the male 1/2 of a an alien race come to claim his bride that was stranded/escaped to Earth. She was a beautiful woman that one of the PC's was in love with, and then her hideous Betrothed shows up