Saturday, July 11, 2015

Mind Games: To The Pain!

For today's featured villain, I'm looking at one of Mind Games' more tragic cases: Torment.  He's also an interesting example of one of the limits to Champions' versatility (though, to be fair, this would be true in most, if not all RPGs).  Let's get started.

Jeff Baldwin's life just sucks. He was born prematurely to a poor family in a depressed municipality.  He was misdiagnosed with a mental handicap, which led to his being put into foster care as well as hiding his true difficulty: despite being quite bright, he was in constant pain.  His brain's pain receptors were always on and fully registered.  His life was constant agony.

(As a lifetime migraine sufferer, I can sympathize.)

Somehow, he survived in foster care until age twelve, when PSI learned of him and offered to work on his case.  Within eighteen months, they'd synthesized a drug that brought his pain under control.  For the first time in his life, Jeff wasn't in pain.

Of course there was a wee little side-effect. Instead of being in relentless pain, Jeff could now inflict it on others.  With this, Jeff ceased to be an interesting case for PSI and became a useful resource.  Using access to their pain-relieving drug as leverage, he has little choice but to work for them.  As Torment, he brings pain to any who oppose PSI.

(He also got an very spiffy costume. Copper and black may not be your typical color scheme, but it really works.)

Mechanically, Torment is interesting.  He's got a boatload of Ego Attack to represent his pain projection, but he's limited in its use by having to stand still and concentrate.  For that reason, he's best used as a sniper: hiding out and striking targets who can't immediately hit him back.  If he has the time to concentrate, he can bring down a 5d6 Ego Attack every round.  He actually has the Continuous Advantage Soulfire doesn't, and here, it's potentially devastating.

That said, as a means of simulating pain projection, Ego Attack isn't a great fit.  Yes, it'll put a target down super-fast at that level and the GM can describe it as passing out due to overwhelming pain, it's all down to the special effects.  Unless the damage overcomes the target's Stun, there's no mechanical effect until you're KOed.  It's kind of like D&D combat, where you're at 100% until you lose that last hit point.  Having suffered through illness-inducing pain, I think if I were writing Torment, I'd actually build in some Drains, based on Ego Combat Value, as a way to debilitate a target rather than just knock them out.  Your mileage may vary.

In a campaign, Torment presents a foe heroes could easily grow to loathe, but he also could turn out to be a character worth redeeming, or at least using to harm PSI.  If the heroes capture him, within a day or two, he'll be in agony.  Given that his first motivation in life is being without pain, he could easily agree to turn on PSI if the heroes can offer him relief.  After all, he's a survivor.

No comments:

Post a Comment