Thursday, 20 July 2017

Masks the New Generation: Character Concepts

Once again I have decided to do some character concepts for another Powered by the Apocalypse game.  This time I decided to take a crack at Magpie Games' game of teenage Superheroes.  Masks the New Generation.  A game meant to portray stories, reminiscent of Young Justice or X-Men Evolution.  The drama that results when you take the angst of being a teenager and then throw in Superpowers.  You can find the play-sheets here.  Without further ado let's jump into our first character concept.

Kensei (The Beacon Playbook)

Real Name: Brandon Williams   

Gender: Man
Ethnicity: Asian or South Asian
Face: Smiling
Clothing: Stylish 
Costume: Gaudy 
Abilities: Swords and Martial Arts

Brandon's playbook is that of a Beacon.  One that doesn't have any particularly extraordinary powers and no real purpose to be a hero.  Other than that it's fun.  In Brandon's case it's all he ever wanted to be.  His grandparents are descendants of a Samurai family that later ran a Kendo school in Japan.  A heritage they later came to be ashamed of once World War Two ended.  With their country in ruin and their livelihood outlawed by the occupying American government.  They cast aside their past and immigrated to Halcyon City and from that point on became obsessed with Americanizing themselves.  They even went so far as to push Brandon's mother into marrying an American.  

They of course didn't count on Brandon learning about his family's past.  Which he discovered when his elementary school assigned a project on family history.  Discovering his family's past awakened something in him, something that he had always been searching for.  A purpose something to dedicate himself, an ideal.  From that moment on he knew that he wanted to become a modern-day samurai.  Somebody dedicated to virtuous warriordom.  (The ideal isn't exactly realistic or historically accurate.  But then again nothing about being a superhero is). 

How did you gain your skills?
Brandon ended up dedicating himself to learning various martial arts after his revelation.   Including Karate, Judo and most importantly Kendo.  He dual-wields, but has no formal training in that style. 

When did you first put on your costume?
Shortly after he finally had all the necessary pieces.  His first time taking it out in public?  On a small-time patrol against a neighbourhood grocery store stickup.

Who, outside of the team, thinks you shouldn't be a superhero?
It would most definitely be his parents and grandparents.  If they knew, they'd be horrified.  Otherwise it could be any number of established heroes who think Brandon's way in over his head.

Why do you try to be a hero? 
Brandon tries to be a hero, because he believes that it brings out the best in him.  It's the same as the samurai ideal, that he idolizes.  He's at his best when he's saving people and fighting evil-doers.  

Why do you care about the team? 
The team is a brotherhood.  A group of likeminded individuals, with similar powers that he can interact with.  He see kindred spirits in them, ones that he could never find anywhere else.  

As you can see Brandon is a little overeager and perhaps naive about this whole hero thing.  Which I think fits perfectly for the Beacon playbook, which is meant to be something of a thrill seeker.  For starting moves I would personally pick Won't Let You Down to reflect his enthusiasm for teamwork.  I would also pick Suck it Domitian to reflect his dedication to the ideals of Bushido.  Later on down the road I could also see him taking No Powers and not nearly enough training.  He also seems to have an affinity for taking moves from the Legacy or Janus playbooks. 
I imagine this is somewhat like what the original design for Kensei's costume looked like.
This was created on Hero Machine 2.5

Myrmidon (The Legacy Playbook)

Real Name: Alexandra Ormond 

Gender: Transgressing
Ethnicity: White 
Clothing: School Uniform
Costume: Traditional 
Insignia: None 
Abilities: Divine Armour, Magic Weaponry, God-Like Beauty (Legacy Powers she doesn't have: mythic might, legendary speed). 

The Legacy is the latest member of a long tradition of a superheroes and Alexandra Ormond is no different.  Her legacy is the hero Myrmidon.  The legacy is passed down through a suit of armour and weapons, that her great great grandfather Aristotle Ormond a British Archaeologist (and contemporary of T.E. Lawrence, though it might be more fitting to call him a grave-robber) found while on a dig near Anatolia while looking for the ruins of Troy.  The armour became part of Aristotle's private collection of artifacts, which followed him to America when he immigrated to Halcyon City after World War 1.  It was eventually inherited by his son Alexander Ormond the First.  Alexander the First discovered the divine power of the collection by accident.  When his home was burglarized by members of the Thule Society in the late 1930s.  He put the Nazi burglars to flight and shortly thereafter took up the persona of Myrmidon!  Fighting against whatever evils plagued the nation, ultimately fighting in costume for the United States when World War 2 rolled around.

Since then there have been two other Myrmidons and two other Alexander Ormonds.  Alexander Ormond the Third was Alexandra's father, who died during the Bronze Age.  Becoming the first Myrmidon in the history of the legacy to fall in battle with the enemy.  Shortly before Alexandra was born.  Refusing to let the legacy die with his only son, Alexander Ormond the Second (still alive but retired from a life of heroism) took it upon himself to train his granddaughter in the ways of combat.  In hopes that the family tradition would never die.

Name the different members of your legacy (at least two):

Alexander Ormond the Second is retired and quite judgemental.  Nothing Alexandra ever does seems to live up to his high expectations.  Besides being a disappointment on account of her sex.  Alexandra has also failed to manifest the signature mythic might and legendary speed of the Myrmidon legacy.  Instead only being able to wear the armour, wield the weapons and having the traditional good looks of the Greek Heroes of old.  Only being able to really look the part, rather than actually playing it.

Ares the God of War is the greatest opponent your legacy has ever faced...and is still at large.  The God of War has been a foe ever since Alexander the First faced him during World War 2.  When the god was revealed to have been supporting Nazi Germany from behind the scenes!  Since then he has been a constant thorn in the side of the Myrmidons.  He was also the one responsible for the death of Alexandra's father!

When did you officially become a part of your legacy?
Despite being trained to fight with spear, sword and shield in full armour since childhood.  The collection's powers only manifested when Alexandra turned fifteen.  The traditional age at which boys in Ancient Greece were considered to be men.  As you can guess this hasn't done much for her self-esteem.

What's the greatest accomplishment of your legacy?
The defeat of Ares during the fall of Berlin in 1945.

How does the public perceive your legacy?
With an attitude akin to "Cerebus the Three-Headed Dog that guards the underworld has been unleashed in the land of the living, somebody get Myrmidon!"  Otherwise they a pretty much left in peace, ignored and only called upon when something requiring their special skills happens.  Kind of like how you only call upon a hero who constantly time-travels when you need something to do with time-travel fixed.

How does you legacy tie into your reasons for being a hero?
It doesn't.  Alexandra was never asked if she wanted to be a hero.  It was just expected of her as a child (note the term) Myrmidon legacy.  It's a burden that was forced upon her from birth, which has brought her nothing but stress, disdain and a gender identity crisis.  If she could walk away from it, she probably would.

Why do you care about the team?
Simply put, because they're the only friends that she has.  Her grandfather never let her have a normal childhood, which includes friends.  They were weaknesses that could be used against her, nosey children that could accidentally uncover the identity of the family.  Unleash unspeakable evils of the Ancient World.  They were never allowed over at the Ormond's Mansion and she was never allowed to leave the house for what her grandfather referred to as "childish games".  He tolerates the team because they are "peers" rather than friends, fellow heroes and potential allies.  For the first time in her life Alexandra has a group of people that can be thought of as friends.  That's why she care's about the team.    

Alexandra is someone who struggles with her identity.  In that she doesn't have one other than what her Legacy tells her it should be.  That's partly why I put her gender as transgressing.  She knows that her grandfather begrudges her being born a girl when all of the Legacy's members have been men.  Yet he has always treated her the same way he might treat a boy.  Making such comments as "Take it like a man" or "You fight like a girl" all of which are comments he frequently makes during daily sparring.  She's not sure what she's supposed to be and has never been given an opportunity to figure it out for herself.  It's part of the reason I think one of her starting moves should be The Legacy Matters.  To reflect the control that her Grandfather has over her.  I also think she should have the move I Know What I Am.  For the one thing that she has clarity in her life about.  She knows that she cares about her teammates, it's one of the only things in her life that feels right and normal.  Later on down the line, I can see her gaining the mythic might and legendary speed as she matures.  Which will be a major milestone for her character.
What the Myrmidon armour and weapons look like in the display case at the Ormond mansion.
Also created with Hero Machine 2.5

Inferno (The Nova Playbook)

Real Name: Dante Torres

Gender: Man
Ethnicity: Hispanic/Latino
Skin: Normal
Clothing: Dark
Costume: None
Abilities: Elemental Control (Fire)

Dante's creation owes a lot to the character Warren Peace, from the Disney movie Sky High.  That character's concept always interested me, a teenager that has a mom who's a Super Hero and dad who is a Super Villain.  Dante was the result of my desire to explore this interesting concept.  What happens when a Super Hero and a Super Villain have a child?  What sort of conflict can arise from such a relationship.  I decided early on that Dante is the son of two Bronze age supers.  A superhero that upheld the values of her Silver Age predecessors named Firebird.  His father a former Protege or Beacon type super (who I have not come up with a name for) that slowly became disillusioned with Heroism, slowly sliding into Anti-Hero vigilantism, before finally going full-blown super-villain.  Sort of along the lines of the Red Hood.  I figured that was the only way such a relationship could really result, as people who fall in love tend to share similar ideals (at least at first).  The couple eventually separated (divorced) after Dante's father escaped from a intervention on the part of some of his former super-heroic colleagues.

When did you first use your powers?  Who was the first person you accidentally hurt with your powers?
The answer to these questions is linked.  When Dante was thirteen years old, his Dad showed up after having been missing for almost eight years.  Dante hadn't seen him since he was about five.  He remembered the man who had been his father, had been someone he'd looked up to and been proud of.  So rather than contacting any of his mother's colleagues he went for a walk with his dad.  Just to hear him out.  As the conversation wore on though Dante realized he didn't like what his father had to say.  When dear old dad grabbed him in a fit of rage, that's when it happened.  Dante unleashed a burst of flames that horribly scarred the entire right side of his face.  The enraged Super-Villain fled under a stream of curses, screams of pain and the smell of burning flesh.  That was six years ago.

Who outside the team helps you control your powers?
The answer would be Firebird Dante's mother.  Their powers are almost identical so she is naturally the best candidate when it comes to the technical aspect.  The problem is that Dante is almost as estranged with his mom as he is with his dad.  Talking with her tends to make him angry, which in turn tends to make it harder to control his powers.  The techniques are solid, when he uses them.  It's just that going through the learning process with her infuriates him.

Why do you continue to use your powers?
Honestly if he could he would just shut them off and leave them it at that.  Unfortunately trouble has a way of following Dante wherever he goes.  The kind of trouble that usually requires him to use his powers against it.

Why do you care about the team?
He doesn't, they just keep turning up where he is.  Further dragging him into a world where he doesn't want to be.  I guess deep down despite his reluctance Dante still inherited his parent's desire to see right done in the world.

Now for Dante's demeanour locked down is the obvious choice.  He doesn't like to get close to people, the way he sees it.  Everyone he's ever been close to has ended up hurting him in the end.  First his Mother when she told him that Dad was never coming home.  Then his Dad when he finally did come home.  In terms of Moves Dante can probably choose whatever Flares seem appropriate.  Later on down the line he might want to pick up moves from the Bull and the Delinquent Playbooks.
Warren Peace the inspiration for Dante.
So there you have it three character concepts for Masks a New Generation.  I had a lot of fun writing these and I hope you enjoyed reading them.  Feel free to use these these in your own game if you need inspiration or the like.  Be sure to +1 and Re-share.  Have a good day and may your rolls always be high.