Don’t ask me how, but the basic idea for Vengeance’s character came from watching Mutant-X. Vengeance is a low-powered street level dark superhero. He is a telepath, but contrary to the regular comic book telepaths, Vengeance is hardly aware of his powers. He won’t subdue enemies by crushing their egos or telekinetically tossing trucks at them. In a fight, he acts as a martial artist, using his mutant powers subconsciously to increase the effectiveness of his martial arts, such as reading opponents minds to know what they are about to do before they do it, or using his telekinesis to increase the power of his punches and height of his leaps.
Now that we’ve established what Vengeance can do, we need to know why he did it. Working back from his powers, we can see that in combat situation he’ll probably rely mainly on his martial arts – a rare sight in the gunslinging setting of any typical Dark Champions campaign. This could be justified by saying he hates using weapons. A plausible (or at least, plausible by superhero logic) cause of this hatred could be that his father was killed in front of his eyes by a crazed mutant hater (who obviously counted on technology to offset his lack of mutant powers disadvantage). This will explain to us why Vengeance is a vigilante, and even give him some initial personality.
To be a successful martial artist, we’d want Vengeance to be lightening fast, or at least as fast as the Dark Champions power limits allow. We’ll probably buy very little (if any) defensive powers and characteristics for Vengeance, relying on his quickness and dodging abilities.
Another major item to spend points on will be his martial arts abilities. Besides all sorts of maneuvers, we’d also like to but some extra Damage Classes. Vengeance couldn’t hold on a through long fight with so little defenses, so we’d like to be able to finish fights quickly (and hopefully, lethally).
Finally, we’ll buy an assortment of cheap powers to simulate the different ways Vengeance uses his telepathy and telekinesis to enhance his other abilities. His telepathic powers are mainly sense-like, and are sufficiently closely-knit to justify putting them into an Elemental-Control framework. His telekinetic powers are more pro-active, and it also makes sense that when he uses one, he cannot use the others (or at least only use them in decreased effectiveness), so we will buy them as a Multipower.
Note that Elemental Control frameworks usually aren’t appropriate for street-level campaigns. However, I feel that Vengeance’s inherit disadvantages (lack of long range attacks, very few Killing Attacks) make up for it.
As we said earlier, we want Vengeance to be lightening-quick – i.e. DEX 23 and SPD 5 (the super-powered street-level campaign maximum). We’d also like to buy up his other characteristics – after all, he is a super hero, isn’t he?
First of all, let’s set up Vengeance’s telepathy Elemental Control.
Normally, I’d like to finish all the powers before I start dealing with skills, but points are starting to get tight, and Vengeance’s martial arts are much more important to me than the telekinesis (as noted, he only uses his telekinesis to supplement his martial arts anyway), so we’ll deal with them next. Vengeance is as much a show-off as he is a lethal combatant, so I think that Savate, with all its high flying kicks will suit him just fine. Since we want him to be really be a master of savate, we’ll add in the analyze skill, a CSL and a KS (detailed under his background skills, since it doesn’t really have any effect on combat).
With just 39 more points to go, things are getting a bit tight – it’s a good thing multipowers make things so much cheaper. The entire Telekinesis Multipower cost only 13 points.
We’ll start out with some everyday skills Vengeance would have picked up in his adolescence, and which he can get at a cost of 0, as listed on page 46 of the HERO System Rulebook. Next, we’ll buy some skills to complement Vengeance’s martial arts: Acrobatics and Breakfall, and some skills to flesh out his background: Streetwise and Mechanics. Finally, we’ll buy up the especially useful everyman skills Vengeance has (Shadowing, Stealth, Paramedic) to a level that they can really become useful. A familiarity with Interrogation (just enough to scare the living daylights out of someone) makes up the picture.
Now we must fill out Vengeance’s disadvantages. The first few should be obvious from the information we have gathered so far. His main reason for being a vigilante is to hunt the people that killed his father, and his failure to protect him. Being a vigilante probably means that he’s considered a menace by at least some members of society, which should make him hunted by the police. His idealism and anti-weapon mentality will translate into two psychological limitations – insistence on fighting barehanded, and a code vs. killing. And of course lets not forget the classic disadvantages – a reputation as a feared crimefighter and a secret identity.
After we’ve got the most obvious disadvantages out of the way, we still have 65 points more of disadvantages to go, which also won’t be too much of a difficulty, and may even help us shape the character. First of all, lets decide the Vengeance is poor, growing up in the slums. And that after his father’s death, he was left alone to take care of his smaller sister. Also, he is probably being hunted by same criminals he is hunting who wish to get him out of their hair.
That’s it, we’re almost done. All we have to do now is to write down Vengeance’s background and personality notes we made throughout the process in a tidy fashion, give a good description of his appearance and his fighting tactics, and think of how to incorporate him in our game. And that’s it – here’s the final result.