Friday, July 6, 2018

T-E-E-N-T-I-T-A-N-S! TEEN! TI-TANS! LET'S GO!

Cover by Alan Okamoto
Yesterday, we looked at the Champions write ups for the X-Men in Different Worlds. Today, we look at Issue #30, cover date September 1983, for the magazine's second superhero issue, which gave us Steve Peterson's take on DC's New Teen Titans. Unlike Glenn Thain's previous article, this one just provides the stats. Peterson doesn't provide any explanations for how he came up with what's presented here (and in one case, I disagreed with him and made my own adjustment).

Instead of presenting transcriptions, this time I scanned the done-by-hand character sheets I made based on his write-ups, mostly because I think I got a lot of mileage off those old Mark Williams poses and it's fun to remember how much pride I took in those sheets back in the day. I've scanned them and put them up here.

So, let's look at them, shall we? Like the X-Men, all of these characters are built on 200 points + Disads. From the timing, the rules in question should be Champions, 2nd edition.

Changeling

A tough character concept to pull off until the advent of Variable Power Pools in Champions III, Gar's player would be well-served by coming up with a bunch of index cards or something with power combos on them representing different critters. He's set up to run off an Endurance Battery, which makes sense, because as-written, he's going to blow through a ton of it. His OCV and DCV are in a similar range as the X-Dudes, and his ECV is a tad higher than the average. Disads look pretty solid.

Cyborg

Whereas Wolverine's skeleton was not worthy of a Focus Limitation, pretty much everything on Cyborg seems to be. And, considering how many times he ended up in pieces at the hands of his enemies, this is probably the way to go. I note the lack of a Gadget Pool, which either reflects a strict reliance on the main rulebook or a difference of opinion here. Also, this is still the era of "Skills? What is Skills?", as Cyborg has Climbing and Computer Programming and...that's it. He's a fun Utility Player, being a capable brick as well as an energy blaster and a decent long-range scout. Physical CVs are 7s, so in that same sweet-spot. ECV is 3. With his Disads I'm a little leery in that he has a Physical Limitation on Cyborg Parts (which he already got a price break on for the Focus) and he has Unusual Looks, which makes sense. the PhysLim seems like a bit of double-dipping, but maybe that's just me.

Kid Flash

Here's where I had my biggest disagreement with the article. As published, Wally just isn't fast enough. I'd have to go back and run the math, but he was running under 100 MPH, which is not Flash material. My addition was some more "running" (actually Flight, only on a surface) that only added to his non-combat speed, which works on a multiplier and...I'm going to take my word for it that I figured out a way to boost his non-combat speed to over 37,000 mph, because I'm not sure how I derived that. To get the original version, just remove that 30 point power. The rest of Mr. West's write-up is okay. His OCV/DCV are high because his DEX is high. His ECV is down to 3 like Cyborgs. Disads look okay, but I'm not quite sure what constitutes a "Biological Attack." If I were GMing, I'd want some clear definitions of what the player had in mind. Otherwise, a punch in the face from a bare fist might be deemed "Biological."

Raven

Another really difficult one to do. Champions has never done justice to Astral Project or Planar Shifting and this write-up shows it. It's clunky and Raven-shaped, but it really doesn't quite hang together well. That said, there are some things I really like. Such as the way her Stun is purchased with a Limitation that basically triggers her Soul Self if she goes below half her starting total. It's true to the comics at the time and very flavorful. Her stats seem OK. Her lack of Skills is in keeping with the time. CVs of 6, 6, and 8 are respectable and fitting (she's not a combat monster, but she is a powerful mental force). Her lack of Ego Defense seems a glaring omission. On the Disad side, it works pretty well, but I'm kind of surprised there's no mention of her father, Trigon.

Robin

If you're unclear, this is Dick Grayson. The original, before he switched over to the Nightwing ID. This is a really terrific write-up for the Robin of that era. For once, ALL THE SKILLS are in play. Well, all the main rules Skills, anyway. I seem to have given him an additional +1 with Detective Work that makes no sense and a Combat Driving skill that wasn't in the main rules. Huh.

Building the Utility Belt as an Elemental Control is an interesting move. Now, it would be a VPP. It does a good job of representing the various Bat Gadgets of the time. I suspect Peterson had his copy of "The Untold Legend of the Batman" open to the page explaining all the contents, because they look to be here. His CVs are solid, his Disads look good (I like "Bat-Interiority Complex"). He's on a par points-wise with Raven and Starfire and he should be.

Speaking of Starfire

High characteristics, solid powers. I'd argue her BODY is a little low, but that's open to interpretation. Her Multipower is tied to an Endurance Battery, because the two powers running off it are potent and need lots of it to keep going. This allows her to fly with no worry about running out of juice. As usual, she has no real skills, though she does have Martial Arts. I'm not sure about the "No Kick" rationale, but whatever. Disads look good. CVs of 8, 8, and 5 are about what you'd expect. Easy-peasy.

I do want to note that her costume was extremely fiddly and took me a very long time to ink. I'm pretty happy with it, though.

Terra

This is Terra when she was just the newest Titan. The "Judas Contract" and the reveal of her full power potential hadn't happened yet. In fact, they didn't even present Disads for her, so what appears on the sheet there was entirely my doing. Powers-wise, she's an Elemental Control incarnate. I'm not a fan now, but they were the thing back then, so I'm okay with it. She can burn through a lot of END quickly, so a player or GM needs to keep that in mind and give her space for Recoveries. Her Characteristics are OK, and -- as usual -- no skills to speak of. No wonder these teens became superheroes; apart from Robin, they had no other marketable abilities.

Wonder Girl

Ah, Wondy. My DC Comics crush. Engaged to the Worst Dude Ever, but at least here, she got some points for the loser.

But I digress. She's a very efficient write-up here, giving maximum bang for the bucks, bearing in mind that she's kind of a weird brick variant in that she lacks any Resistant Defenses. So, a sword wound or an undeflected bullet can be seriously dangerous, especially since she takes double STUN. Granted, she's hard to hit, but players should be wary of Killing Attacks in her vicinity, because she's not immune. By this point, you're doubtlessly tired of me harping on the lack of skills, so just assume she doesn't have any (which probably explains why she married that creep).

Finally, as with the X-Men article, we get a bad guy, in the form of Deathstroke the Terminator.

Man, I love this guy. Seriously, he's one of my favorite DC villains. I don't care that he's a knock-off of the Taskmaster. He kicks ass. Dude not only beat the Titans single handed, he knows Batman's secret identity and doesn't do jack about it. At 630 points, I think Mr. Peterson captured him pretty well. Insanely good stats, appropriately-scaled weapons, high SPD (see my comments on Magneto for why this important for a major villain), low-drag on Endurance, a high enough con to take a punch and decent enough defenses to make that a last resort, he's a very complete and scary package. In the past, I've taken this write-up, changed the name and description and used him as Tempest, the greatest assassin in the world of IMPACT, and he was utterly horrifying. And so much easier to GM than an entire villain group. Seriously kids, invest in the occasional tentpole villain. Just make sure you've got his strategies worked out in advance.

So, yeah, that's the Teen Titans. This issue also gave us their stats in V&V and Superworld terms. The V&V illos by Jeff Dee are particularly tasty. Different Worlds did a third superhero issue featuring Eclipse Comics' DNAgents (who also got a V&V sourcebook). I've got that one somewhere. I suppose I can dig it out if there's a hue and cry.

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