Friday, July 3, 2015
Mind Games: Victim or Villain?
Along with Psymon, Mind Slayer is the other half of the scariest part of PSI. Taken in by PSI as a teenager, her telekinetic abilities were honed through torture and her personality largely erased by brainwashing. She fled the organization, living on her own as a criminal. After Psymon overthrew his father, he reached out to her, bringing her back into the fold, seducing her into a romantic relationship that ALMOST CERTAINLY DIDN'T INVOLVE MIND CONTROL AT ANY POINT, NO SIR. WHY DO YOU ASK?
Her character illustration could be in the dictionary next to "Late 80s Bad Girl." Seriously, she's got it all, from the Black No. 1 dye job, to the punk-influenced threads, to the PSI tat instead of a uniform insignia. She even smokes, which was the ultimate 80s comics visual code for "dangerous." (Seriously, check out 'The Judas Contract.' When Terra makes her heel turn reveal in front of the readers, she's smoking. It was a standard artistic shortcut back then.)
Personality-wise, she doesn't have much of one. She's been turned into a living weapon, so she pretty much makes Arnie's Terminator seem friendly by comparison. She's cold and merciless, only showing anything else for Psymon, to whom she's a completely devoted lapdog.
In terms of her actual powers, she's a brute: 545 points of useful stuff (only 86 of that from standard PSI gadgets). She's got 45 STR Telekinesis in a Multipower with her primary attack, a 4d6 RKA defined as "razor-sharp bursts of pure force." On top of that, she's a telepath with an Ego Attack that can drop a normal and better Telepathy than her boyfriend. She's also got telekinesis-based Force Field and Flight, and 24 points of Mental Defense. A mentalist WILL NOT TAKE HER DOWN. In fact, if her Force Field is up, it's going to take better than a 14d6 normal attack to even Stun her.
I can distinctly remember seeing this write-up and realizing that I needed to re-think my perceptions of mentalists. Here was one that could, if necessary, tangle with a team of superheroes and come out on top.
It's pretty easy to use her in a campaign. As a straight-up villain, she's going to be the literal sharp end of PSI if they're a hunted. Hopefully the hero in question remembered his resistant defenses. Another, potentially more interesting option is to have the heroes stumble upon her backstory. Maybe they find themselves in possession of Dr. Poe's experimental data and discover who Mind Slayer was and how she got that way. There are plenty of superheroes who would look at that situation and try to find a way to redeem her, to reach the brutalized child inside that killer's body and heal her. Or, a severe blow to the head allows her former personality a toehold in her consciousness. Suddenly, she has remorse for what she's done and a new-found hatred for PSI. She might turn up on the heroes' doorstep, looking for help in taking down her former masters.
And even without PSI, she's a fun character to use. In my Agents of IMPACT setting, she was an East German assassin who worked with Sliver (from the Strike Force Universe). She was less punk and more sophisticated jet-setter, but it didn't make her any less scary.