My First Crush

The first AF issue I ever bought, at a 7-Eleven

Sometimes, you discover your own history in strange ways – things you forgot you knew or did until something jogs your memory. Recently, my family and I spent some time in Boulder City checking out antique stores. Boulder City is not far away from Las Vegas, and is the anti-Vegas in many ways. The locals are anti-development, and thus B.C. has a small town atmosphere.

One of these aforementioned antique stores had a few shelves stacked with old comic books, and they were cheap so I was bound to buy a few. I started digging in and found a bunch of old Kamandis, Ka-Zars, Battlestar Gallacticas, John Carter Warlord of Mars, Shogun Warriors … groovy stuff from the ’70s and ’80s. I grabbed quite a few of those titles, and I also grabbed a couple old Alpha Flights.

When I first got into comic books in the ’80s (after playing TSR’s Marvel Super Heroes RPG, because I always get into things ass-backwards), the first two titles I grabbed onto were West Coast Avengers and Alpha Flight. So, I’m reading Alpha Flight #12, wherein Guardian dies a horrible fiery death, and it suddenly hits me … Heather Hudson (later to be Guardian and then Vindicator) was my first comic book crush (with Mockingbird a close second).

[Quick aside – I was thinking about that era in comic books, when I first started collecting them, and something struck me. The West Coast Avengers were led by Mockingbird, the Avengers by Captain Marvel (this lady), the X-Men by Storm (in her cool costume), and Alpha Flight by Vindicator. Four women leading super hero teams at the House of Ideas, and two of them black women. Has that happened since?]

So, Nodians – who was your first comic book crush?

(And keep it clean … there may be children present).

Non-over-sexualized women are sexier. Or is that just me?

The Trophy Case – a Magazine to Check Out

Hey folks,

Busy scribbling away at my monster book (I think I have the layout figured out) and GRIT & VIGOR, and finishing up NOD 23 (Zombies and Apes!), but I wanted to take a couple moments and point people to a gaming zine called The Trophy Case.

Written by Scott Casper, the writer of Hideouts & Hoodlums, a Swords & Wizardry-inspired superhero game, the zine focuses on golden and silver age heroes, with plenty of stats for H&H, comic book reviews and a nice locale for heroic adventures – the Double L Dude Ranch. Volume 2 – Issue 7 also features a very kind review of Mystery Men!

If you have the time and $0.50 (yes folks, just two thin quarters, four bits!) you can visit Scott’s page at Drive Thru RPG or RPGNow.com, and pick up The Trophy Case and get your golden age on.

Now then – back to work!

Spy Smasher is Smashing! [Review]

Last night, I revved up the old Roku and watched Spy Smasher Returns on Netflix. Spy Smasher Returns is a film created by putting together pieces of the Spy Smasher serial from the 1940’s, and if you’re interested in running any kind of pulp-era adventure game, you need to watch this film.

It’s not for the story – a basic little thing about Nazi saboteurs and spies operating in the United States and getting their orders from a fellow called The Mask who operates from a submarine off the coast (the coast of what – who knows?).

The acting isn’t bad for a serial, but not Oscar caliber either. No – the two reasons you want to watch this film (or the serial) are the stunts and the settings.

Gaming is often about scenes – setting the stage, introducing the players and then shouting “Action!”, which makes movies and television shows excellent fodder for the imagination. Spy Smasher has some excellent settings to drop the players into – a clay factory with roaring ovens, a rickety-looking lumber yard building, a Nazi submarine, a houseboat, a train, a motor boat, etc. All provide interesting obstacles and opportunities for supporting the action.

The second reason has little to do with gaming – the stunts. Absolutely fabulous stunts (and the same goes for the old Captain America serial, which I’ve mentioned before) that remind you how fun movies were before CGI came into existence. These knuckleheads go all out in the fight scenes – leaping around, flipping each other, bludgeoning one another with balsa wood chairs), Spy Smasher roars around on a motorcycle like a madman, a wooden tower gets blown up and collapses, a motor boat takes on a submarine, etc.

So – my highest rating (892 stars) goes to Spy Smasher Returns / Spy Smasher. Check it out HERE folks.

Power Packs: Alternative Power System [Mystery Men!]

I like to take walks – usually 2 or 3 miles. Clears the head, good exercise, etc. Also gives my mind time to wander without external influence from radio/tv/internet.

So, the other day I was walking about and an idea for a new system of buying super powers for Mystery Men! flew in and took roost. It took a couple more walks to get it to a point where it would work using an idea I’m calling Power Packs. I’m going to publish the entire thing in the next issue of NOD, but here’s a sample …

POWER PACKS

Yeah, I’m a little ashamed. But dang!

Power packs are an alternate way to handle character creation in Mystery Men! Please note that if players and masterminds wish to use this method, the method will need to be adopted by all in the game, as power packs, while blending into the rules as written, can produce more powerful characters than are produced using the normal character creation rules.

With this system, characters purchase power levels in a variety of “power packs”. A power pack is a grouping of powers under a single heading. A character with electricity powers, for example, would now purchase power levels in the Electricity power pack, rather than buying individual powers. Within each power pack, individual powers are given a rank. If a character’s power level in a power pack is equal to or greater than a power’s rank, they can access that power automatically. If the power’s rank is higher than their power level, they can attempt a dice roll to activate that power. This gives heroes and villains a greater variety of powers, often at a lower cost than when using the rules as written.

As with the official MM! rules, the cost of powers can still be halved by introducing limitations on power packs. Powers can also still be invested in items, the equivalent XP cost of the powers depending on the power’s power rank:

POWER RANK
1.  1,000 XP
2.  2,000 XP
3.  3,000 XP
4.  4,000 XP
5.  6,000 XP
6.  10,000 XP
7.  15,000 XP
8.  25,000 XP
9.  35,000 XP
10.  50,000 XP

ABILITY SCORES
Using this system, characters have ability scores ranked from 1 to 6. Various power packs add their power levels to ability feats and other rolls without actually increasing the ability score. Ability score bonuses with this system are equal to the ability score, thus a score of 6 adds a bonus of +6 to rolls associated with that ability score.

When creating a character, all ability scores start at 3. One ability score can be increased by lowering another ability score by the same amount.

CLASSES
Using this system, all characters can use the same adventurer class. Sorcerers purchase power levels in the Sorcery Power Pack, among others, and Scientists purchase power levels in the Super Intelligence Power Pack.

ACTIVATING POWERS
Powers with a rank (the number in parentheses) equal to or lower than your power level can be activated by you automatically, with no roll of the dice. Powers of a rank higher than your power level can only be activated by a roll of the dice. Subtract your power level from the rank of the power (the number in parentheses after the name of the power). You must roll higher than this number on 1d6 in order to activate the power.

POWER PACKS

Here are a couple sample power packs …

FORCE FIELDS (6,000 XP/Level)

FORCE MISSILE (1): You fire a single missile of pure force that deals 1d6 points of damage per power level and requires a ranged attack to hit.

SHIELD (1): An invisible disc of force gives you a +4 to DC and completely blocks force and energy missiles. Shield lasts one round per power level.

LEVITATE (3): You levitate up to 100 lb. per power level at rate of ascent or descent of 100 ft. per round.

FORCE SPHERE (5): You create a sphere of force 2 ft. in diameter per power level within a range of 30 ft. The sphere lasts for as long as you concentrate on it. A force sphere is only affected by disintegrate or negate power. A subject inside the sphere can breathe normally, but is otherwise trapped.

FORCE WALL (6): You create an invisible and invulnerable plane of force up to 10 sq. ft. per power level that lasts 1 round per power level. The plane cannot be damaged and it is unaffected by negate power, although it can be destroyed with disintegrate. Dimension hop and teleport can bypass the wall of force, but other powers cannot be used to get through the plane. The plane can be generated as a wall, floor or ceiling, and can be slanted like a ramp.

INVISIBILITY (6): You cannot be seen, but you can be sensed by hearing or scent. Opponents suffer a -5 penalty to hit you in combat. Lasts as long as you concentrate and 1 round per level thereafter.

FORCE CAGE (8): You create a prison cell of force 10 ft x 10 ft x 10 ft that lasts as long as you concentrate on it plus one round per power level thereafter.

FORCE SWORD (8): You create a blade of pure force that appears before you and attacks as monster of your power level. The sword deals 4d6 points of damage per hit and can affect ethereal and incorporeal creatures. The sword lasts as long as you concentrate on it.

MASS INVISIBILITY (8): As Invisibility, but affects you and one other target per power level. Mass Invisibility lasts as long as you concentrate plus 1 round per power level.

FORCE HAND (9): You create a giant hand-shaped force field that can provide a +4 bonus to you DC or can bull rush or grapple as a monster equal to your power level. The hand deals 2d6 points of damage per attacks.

SUPER STRENGTH (2,500 XP/Level)

A character with this power pack adds his power level to all Strength feats, melee attack rolls, and adds 1d6 per power level to damage inflicted with a melee attack.

ADRENALINE (6): For 1 round per power level you increase your STR and CON by +2 (and thus gain bonus on melee attacks and damage and hit points), gain a +1 bonus on WILL feats and suffer a -2 penalty to your Defense Class. The Adrenaline power can only be used once per day.

STOMP (10): You stomp your feet to create a shock wave that knocks people within 10 feet per power level prone (STR feat negates) and inflicts 1d6 points of damage per power level on all who fail their STR feat.

FREESTYLE POWERS
When creating a character, especially an established comic book character, the above power packs often do not quite capture the right powers for the hero or villain. Players and Masterminds alike can, therefore, buy freestyle powers (or powers à la carte). The cost per level for a freestyle power depends on the power’s rank.

POWER RANK
1.  50 XP/power level
2.  100 XP/power level
3. 150 XP/power level
4. 200 XP/power level
5. 300 XP/power level
6. 500 XP/power level
7. 800 XP/power level
8. 1,000 XP/power level
9. 1,500 XP/power level
10. 2,000 XP/power level

SAMPLE CHARACTER: VECTRIX
Here’s a quick sample character who uses the Force Fields power pack above. This character is built with 50,000 XP.

LEVEL 9 | HP 58 | DC 15 | SPD 2 | XP 14,000

STR 2 | DEX 5 | CON 2 | INT 3 | WIL 2 | CHA 4

Power Packs: Force Fields [6]

Auto Powers: Force Missile (6d6), Shield (6 rounds), Levitate (600 lbs.), Force Sphere (12-ft. diameter), Force Wall (60 ft.; 6 rounds), Invisibility (6 rounds after concentration)

Activated Powers: Force Cage [3-6], Force Sword [3-6], Mass Invisibility [3-6], Force Hand [4-6]

With her 6 levels in Force Fields, Vectrix can access the following powers automatically: Force missile, shield, levitate, and force sphere. The other powers can be accessed by making an activation check. The numbers needed on a 1d6 roll to activate a power are included above.

Gentleman Dog [Mystery Men!]

Philo was a sophisticated man about town, a bon vivant with a mind like a steel trap. While he spent his days with the smart set, at night he often rubbed shoulders with a rougher element, aiding the New York City police when a crime proved too tough to solve. It was a day trip into Greenwich village, though, that proved his undoing.

A trip to a coffee house in Greenwich led to the discovery of a murder in the backroom, and through his investigations, Philo found himself confronting a rather powerful magician, one Hayden Olivier. Hayden murdered the woman in the coffee house accidentally, but has no intention of serving time in prison. More importantly, he has discovered in murder a powerful new form of magic, and now sets his sights on another, a sorceress of no mean ability named Leah. In the final scene of Philo’s case, he found himself caught between the two sorcerers, and though Olivier was forced to quite this plane, mortally wounded, he left behind a dead rival and a transformed detective. Philo was now a dog – a cunning, dashing little hound, of course, but a dog just the same. With her dying breath, Leah lays down a final, tender curse upon Philo – that he should live until the magic was reversed.

So it was that Philo became known as Gentleman Dog, a surprisingly cunning beast with a strange knack for making himself understood. With top hat and monocle, he lives an almost immortal existence, solving crimes and seeking out practitioners of the occult in hopes of reversing Hayden’s curse.

GENTLEMAN DOG, Adventurer 7 (Dog, Detective)
STR 1 (+0) | DEX 4 (+1) | CON 4 (+1) | INT 9 (+2) | WIL 5 (+1) | CHA 7 (+2)
HP 35 | DC 11 | ATK +6 (+6 melee, +7 ranged) | SPD 3 | XP 8,125 (start with 25,000 XP)

Ability Boosts: Charisma +4, Constitution +1, Dexterity +2, Intelligence +6

Powers: Sending (must make eye contact, humans only, short messages that come to the person as sudden realizations), Super Speed +1

Gear: Top hat, monocle, pipe

Found here … yeah, all this, because I found a picture of a dog in a top hat with a pipe and had to do something with it … I am at least proud that I managed to turn it into a half-assed mash-up of Philo Vance and Aleister Crowley. 

PS – Anyone out there want to do a comic book set in the “Mystery Men! Universe” – or maybe more properly the Shore City Universe? If so, let me know. I’d love to publish some 1 or 2 page quickie stories in Land of Nod.

Of Fembots and Bikini Machines [Mystery Men!]

During the 1960’s, beach movies by AIP (American International Pictures) briefly ruled the earth. As unfortunately as they might have been (honestly – I like most of them for exactly the reasons movie critics would tell me I should dislike them), their spawn were even stranger.

Enter Doctor Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine, a spy movie (kinda sorta) from AIP. Having just watched this movie over the weekend, I can report that is surprisingly high budget (for the time period and the quality of the picture), and even more amazing – not nearly as bad as it should have been. The presence of Vincent Price as Dr. Goldfoot probably has a lot to do with my forming this opinion, because I am an unabashed fan of his work. I also found the female lead, Susan Hart, surprisingly engaging as Diane (i.e. Number 11), the star of this particular blog post.

I’ll freely admit that I’m no expert on the subject of sexy fembots (though writing those words, I now am forced to wonder why not). I think Dr. Goldfoot may be the originator of the swinging, sexy, sixties fembots that plagued Austin Powers, International Man of Mystery. I know – Maria/Futura/Hel/Robotrix in Metropolis – but she didn’t swing like a pendulum do, so I’m not counting her.

In this case, they are gold bikini clad and possibly made from actual body parts filled with robot parts. They are produced by a large computer-ish machine, so maybe the bio-ingredients are rendered down into a paste and sprayed onto the robot chasis. They appear to do their best to avoid going “all the way” (as the kids say), so whether they are physically capable of going all the way is certainly in question. Diane, Number 11, is said by Dr. Goldfoot to be the most perfect of them – though that doesn’t stop him from torturing her with electro-shocks and menial floor scrubbing when she fails in her mission.

Dr. Goldfoot’s plan is simple, and would make a great Mystery Men! adventure. He picks a millionaire out of a magazine, programs his fembot to know what she needs to know to get him, equips the fembots with opera glasses that can jab poison needles into the eyes of their rivals, or lipsticks that shoot laser rays to blow their rivals’ head’s off, and sends them off to get hitched. They then use their feminine wiles to get power of attorney and then hand over the millionaire’s wealth to Dr. Goldfoot. Nice scheme … and it almost works. Or maybe it does. They never actually establish the SIC (Security International Command if my memory serves) completely foils the mad scientist.

Diane (Super Villainess), Adventurer
Number 11, Fembot
STR 7 | DEX 5 | CON 5 | INT 2 | WIL 2 | CHA 7
LVL 6 | HP 50 | DC 11 | ATK+6 | SPD 2| XP 7K

Powers: Charm (with kiss), Invulnerability III, Legend Lore (only very specific subjects that she has been programmed in), Phase (1/day), Super Cha +4, Super Str +4

Gear: Trench coat, fedora, walkie-talkie (implanted in head)

If we’re going to show the creation, we might as well show the creator.

Doctor Goldfoot (Super Villain), Scientist
True name unknown, Mad Scientist and Reanimator
STR 2 | DEX 3 | CON 6 | INT 12 | WIL 9 | CHA 3
LVL 11 | HP 50 | DC 10 | ATK+6 | SPD 2| XP 17.4K

Powers: Science Pool (30,000 XP)

Gear: Gold shoes with bells on the toes, handgun, super science devices

Deviant Friday – M Breitweiser Edition

Breitweiser brings a classic style to super heroes that is not derivative, or if it is derivative draws on many different illustrators and draftsmen. He is also one of those modern artists who don’t feel driven to “modernize” or, God forbid, “re-imagine*”, old characters (i.e. introduce needless details or ape the fad of the moment). He takes them at face value and makes them work. Enjoy!



* If you would like my thoughts regarding “re-imagining” let me know. They aren’t kind and I generally try to keep Nod a friendly place on the internet.

Space Princess Inspiration … Power Nelson!

Yesterday, Golden Age Comic Book Stories featured a Power Nelson comic with art by Dick Sprang (one of the greatest names ever). The combination of “out-there” science and old school art makes it a nice source of inspiration for Space Princess, so let’s have at it. We’ll begin with Power Nelson himself.

According to the Public Domain Super Heroes Wiki, Nelson comes from the unimaginable year of 1982, when two world wars had left the people of earth defenseless against a Mongol horde led by Emperor Seng I. Seng now rules from his palace in New-New York (yeah, they beat Futurama by half a century). A group of scientists have endowed Gene West with superhuman powers. When fighting the Mongols, he goes by the name Power Nelson (which is kinda weird, if you think about it – it’s like if Clark Kent called himself Super Hank when he put on his tights).

For Space Princess, Power Nelson is a perfect candidate for being an Atomic Superman. We’ll make him a combination Star Warrior / Atomic Superman:

POWER NELSON – Star Warrior (Veteran)
STR 10 | DEX 4 | MEN 3 | KNO 3 | HD 6 (34 hp) | DEF 16 | SKILL 6 | LUCK 1
Gear: Light body armor (+2 DEF)

Oh, and just for fun, why not some stats for Mystery Men! as well.

POWER NELSON (Gene West)
Adventurer Level 10 (17,800 XP)
STR 16| DEX 7 | CON 7 | INT 3 | WIL 4 | CHA 3
HP 63 | DC 14 | ATK +5 melee, +5 ranged | SPD 2
Powers & Gear: Invulnerability III (15,000 XP), Super Constitution (3,000 XP), Super Dexterity (3,000 XP), Super Strength (10,000 XP)
Gear: Light Armor (600 XP), Spiked Boots (600 XP)

Yes, those yellow fellows above are the aforementioned Mongols. Since we’re not big on racist stereotypes here in the Land of Nod, we’re going to pretend they look that way because they are aliens from the planet Mongol-IV (which really isn’t that much better, to be honest).

MONGOL: Humanoid Alien (+1 DEX, -1 MEN) | Super Hearing

Ugi is the hapless son of the emperor. We’ll make him a rookie Star Warrior with pretty abysmal ability score.

UGI – Star Warrior (Cadet)
STR 2 | DEX 5 | MEN 3 | KNO 3 | HP 20 | DEF 15
Gear: None

Hey – there’s an interesting idea. You have a more powerful character adventuring with a bunch of lower level characters – how do you balance things? Give the powerful character his own personal Gilligan!

The scientists whip Power Nelson up a pretty slick spaceship in almost no time. From the size of it, I’d call it a blockade runner by Space Princess standards. Soon, he and Ugi are off to the planet Pluvius in search of radium needed to combat the green plague that is dropping people like flies in New-New York.

On the surface of Pluvius, they run smack-dab into a Tentacle Plant!

TENTACLE PLANT: HD 4 | DEF 18 | FIGHT 14 (1d8 tentacles x 6) | SHOOT 8 | MOVE n/a | STR 10 | DEX 4 | MEN 5 | KNO – | DL 5

Special: Those hit by the tentacles must make a STR test or be swallowed whole the next round, suffering 1d6 points of automatic suffocation and squeezing damage per round thereafter.

Next, the Gilligan of New-New York leaps into a yellow pool (why would you jump into a yellow pool to clean off?) that shrinks him to one-fifth his normal size. What a nice touch – a great little thing to throw into your next dungeon or space fortress.

The Ref is really socking it to them with the random encounters – now a Croco-Tiger!

CROCO-TIGER: HD 10 | DEF 17 | FIGHT 25 (2d6 bite) | SHOOT – | MOVE n/a | STR 15 | DEX 5 | MEN 3 | KNO 1 | DL 16

Power Nelson grabs him by his upper jaw and flings him into the yellow pool, shrinking him. Croco-tiggers definitely do not love strange yellow pools most of all.

Across the desert and another random encounter – Pluvian archers – maybe one of the best things I’ve seen all week. It’s like they’re wearing some kind of rubber armor.

PLUVIAN ARCHER: HD 1 | DEF 16 | FIGHT 5 | SHOOT 4 | MOVE n/a | STR 4 | DEX 3 | MEN 4 | KNO 3 | DL 2
Gear: Vulcanized Armor (+2 DEF, missed attacks by blunt weapons turn back on their attacker; super-science DC 15), Longbow (1d8 damage)

The king of the Pluvians, Rari, uses a ray gun to bridge the language gap. Essentially a wand of comprehend languages, or for Space Princess a Rosetta Ray (DC 15 super-science).

As with most kings, Rari sends Power Nelson and Ugi on a quest. Capture the queen of the Hairy Guroos and in turn get the radium needed to stop the green plague.

The Hairy Guroos can be portrayed as cloned cavemen armed with spears. Not surprisingly, Queen Wodo is a bit more attractive than her people.

Radium Catapult!!!

RADIUM CATAPULT: Range 100 paces; victim loses 1d10 points of strength. If reduced to STR 0, the victim is left unconscious.

Dungeon of Spikes!!! 

Damn this is a great comic. No stats needed for this one – you have an hour to live – straight up.

Just as Power Nelson is about to be killed, a “strange arm” appears with the antidote for the raw radium that sapped his strength. It’s Princess Leelee, the rightful Queen and a true space princess if ever there was one.

Health is not enough! – great motto

A quick kidnapping of the evil queen, and Power Nelson gets his radium and saves the world. Not bad for 15 pages of work.

But what of the cover? Worry not, gentle reader …

BUBBLE TANK: Super-Science DC 65 | HD 20 | DEF 25 | SPEED Slow
Attacks: Three flame throwers in separately controlled turrets (range 100 paces, 4d6 points of damage) and spiked tracks (DEX test against DC 10 to avoid, otherwise trampled for 6d6 points of damage)

The Roustabouts [Mystery Men!]

While the Great War raged, the eminent fighter against supernatural evil, Doctor Silence, found himself locked in a struggle with a nascent demon lord. Their battleground was a circus, and in the ensuing struggle a fire was lit. While Silence managed to send the demon back to Hell, he had occasion to witness three of the circus performers save many people from the inferno. These people exhibited extraordinary powers, and as a result were soon ostracized from their former companions in the circus, despite their heroism. The Doctor gathered these three and made them the core of a team of extraordinary people that could work for the good of all. They are known as the Roustabouts.

ELASTO (Marcus DuPres, Sideshow Freak)
Born in New Orleans, Marcus learned early on of his strange gifts and hid them from the world. A gangly man with only a mediocre intellect and education, he wound up working in a sideshow as a rubber man, and it was in this job that he met Doctor Silence. Marcus isn’t sure he wants to help normal folks, but he has a crush on Hot Toddy, who is quite taken with the idea of being a hero.

Adventurer Level 8 (10,000 XP)
STR 2 | DEX 16 | CON 4 | INT 2 | WIL 4 | CHA 4
HP 38 | DC 19| ATK +6 melee, +11 ranged | SPD 2
Powers & Gear: Elasticity (4,000 XP), Invulnerability (1,000 XP), Super Dexterity (10,000 XP)

MINERVA (Candace Green, Strongwoman)
Minerva was one of the three original Roustabouts, a circus strong woman who could lift nearly anything short of a full-sized bull elephant. She has a sweet and amorous demeanor, but a terrible temper when riled.

Adventurer Level 10 (15,000 XP)
STR 16 | DEX 5 | CON 5 | INT 1 | WIL 3 | CHA 4
HP 57 | DC 11 | ATK +13 melee, +9 ranged | SPD 2
Powers & Gear: Super Strength (10,000 XP)

HOT TODDY (Delores Webb, Dancer)
The third of the original Roustabouts, Hot Toddy was a dancing girl employed in the sideshow who did some interesting things with fire. In fact, she can control flames and even disappear in a burst of flame and leap out of other flames in the immediate area.

Adventurer Level 6 (7,000 XP)
STR 2 | DEX 6 | CON 2 | INT 4 | WIL 5 | CHA 6
HP 27 | DC 11 | ATK +5 melee, +6 ranged | SPD 2
Powers & Gear: Dimension Hop (5,000 XP; via fire only), Flame Body (10,000 XP), Pyrotechnics (3,000 XP)

UNCLE SAM (Samuel Prescott, Veteran)
Uncle Sam is an immortal who fought in the Civil War in the New York infantry. A failed business man, he has a deep, abiding love of his country and a desire to serve it and its people. Despite his aged appearance, he is quite rugged and an excellent soldier.

Adventurer Level 10 (15,400 XP)
STR 5 | DEX 4 | CON 6 | INT 3 | WIL 6 | CHA 3
HP 43 | DC 15 | ATK +9 melee, +9 ranged | SPD 2
Powers & Gear: Color Spray (1,000 XP), Invulnerability I (1,000 XP), Potent Attack (1,000 XP), Shield Other (3,000 XP), Strike True (1,000 XP), Super Will (2,000 XP) / Revolver (600 XP)

SWASTIKA KID (Grant Johnson, Cowboy)
Note: Before its use by the Nazis, the swastika was merely a sun symbol and, in the United States, a sort of exotic symbol of luck.

At first glance, Johnson appears to be a typical cowhand. He is tall and handsome and has deep, knowing green eyes. During one cattle drive, he found himself separated from his friends chasing down a rogue. Lost in a storm, he stumbled into a cave where he met The Old One, a strange little man who claimed to be a Tibetan monk. He nursed the injured cowboy back to health, and then taught him the mystic secrets of the Orient.

Adventurer Level 11 (18,800 XP)
STR 5 | DEX 6 | CON 5 | INT 2 | WIL 6 | CHA 3
HP 42 | DC 15 | ATK +10 melee, +10 ranged | SPD 2
Powers & Gear: Invulnerability (1,000 XP), Protection (1,000 XP), Read Minds (3,000 XP) / Two Six Shooters (1,200 XP)

THE MERMAID (Alice Jones, High Diver)
Alice Jones was a bathing beauty and high diver who, during a stunt, struck her head on rocks and sank beneath the waves. Her body could not be found, and people assumed her dead. It turned out, though, that she had the mutant ability to breathe water, and did not die. Her appearance later that night sent folks into a panic, and she now lives with the Roustabouts. She is the on-again, off-again romance of Sockdolager.

Adventurer Level 9 (14,000 XP)
STR 3 | DEX 6 | CON 7 | INT 4 | WIL 2 | CHA 5
HP 56 | DC 15 | ATK +7 melee, +8 ranged | SPD 2 (Swim 3)
Powers & Gear: Invulnerability I (1,000 XP), Super Constitution (4,000 XP), Water Breathing (6,000 XP)

LITTLE DANDY (Paulina Besser, Actress)
Paulina was a glorified extra in silent movies who one day received an electric shock and found herself shrunk to the size of a doll. With Doctor Silence’s tutelage, she learned to control her powers, and now serves as a part-time heroine, part-time actress still trying to make it big.

Adventurer Level 6 (7,000 XP)
STR 4 | DEX 5 | CON 4 | INT 3 | WIL 3 | CHA 7
HP 38 | DC 11 | ATK +6 melee, +6 ranged | SPD 2
Powers & Gear: Shrink (15,000 XP), Super Charisma (1,000 XP), Super Strength (2,000 XP)

SOCKDOLAGER (Ambrose Gorse, Prize Fighter)
Ambrose is a bare-knuckle boxer with the very useful mutation of unbreakable bones. A very coarse man, his relationship with the Roustabouts is often strained, though he looks on them as his family. He is deeply in love with the Mermaid, but not very clever at showing it. Ambrose is a died-in-the-wool fan of the Boston Nationals.

Adventurer Level 9 (13,000 XP)
STR 5 | DEX 5 | CON 7 | INT 2 | WIL 4 | CHA 2
HP 55 | DC 15 | ATK +8 melee, +8 ranged | SPD 2
Powers & Gear: Invulnerability II (6,000 XP), Regenerate (6,000 XP), Super Constitution (1,000 XP)

TOP HAT (Unknown, Thief)
The man known as Top Hat is a gentleman thief who is permanently invisible. Captured by Doctor Silence, who saved his life, he now does his best to turn over a new leaf with varying degrees of success.

Adventurer Level 7 (9,400 XP)
STR 3 | DEX 6 | CON 3 | INT 6 | WIL 2 | CHA 4
HP 32 | DC 11 | ATK +6 melee, +6 ranged | SPD 2
Powers & Gear: Invisibility (15,000 XP) / Stout Cane (600 XP)

THE WAIF (Jessie Knox, Pick Pocket)
Another former criminal taken in by Silence, Jessie is a young woman with the ability to pass through solid objects. While she respects Silence and looks at him as a sort of father figure, the Swastika Kid is her “true love” (he doesn’t know) and Sockdolager is like a big brother to her.

Adventurer Level 3 (2,500 XP)
STR 3 | DEX 6 | CON 5 | INT 2 | WIL 3 | CHA 6
HP 9 | DC 11 | ATK +3 melee, +4 ranged | SPD 2
Powers & Gear: Etherealness (7,500 XP; must hold breath, only 3/day, cannot pass through metal)

DRAGON PRINCESS (Yen Lu, Mystic)
Yen Lu was a woman working as a fortune teller in Chinatown who was caught up in a tong war. Rescued by Doctor Silence, who realized she had a great potential as a sorcerer, she now works as his apprentice. She claims to be an exiled princess from China, but this is highly questionable.

Sorcerer Level 9 (13,500 XP)
STR 3 | DEX 4 | CON 4 | INT 6 | WIL 6 | CHA 5
HP 35 | DC 11 | ATK +4 melee, +5 ranged | SPD 2
Powers & Gear: Force Missile (500 XP), Hypnotic Pattern (3,000 XP), Precognition (3,000 XP), Sorcery (5,000 XP)

THE DOVE (Celeste Cross)
Celeste was a child preacher taken in by Silence when her itinerant preacher father died in a hail of gangster gunfire. She is a bit preachy for anyone’s taste, but her heart is in the right place. She aims to one day save Top Hat’s soul. The Waif is like a sister to her.

Adventurer Level 1 (0 XP)
STR 2 | DEX 3 | CON 2 | INT 2 | WIL 4 | CHA 4
HP 3 | DC 10 | ATK +1 melee, +1 ranged | SPD 2
Powers & Gear: Calm Emotions (3,000 XP), Heal Wounds (12,500 XP; 1/day) / Bible

THE MECHANIC (Rajmund “Ray” Nowak)
A Polish immigrant who fell into factory work, Ray soon learned he could repair things simply by touching them. Over time, he learned to turn raw materials into wondrous machines. He now serves as the Roustabout’s resident inventor and mechanic, keeping their machines in working order.

Adventurer Level 9 (13,900 XP)
STR 5 | DEX 6 | CON 5 | INT 5 | WIL 2 | CHA 3
HP 51 | DC 11 | ATK +8 melee, +8 ranged | SPD 2
Powers & Gear: Fabricate (7,500 XP – metal only), Make Whole (3,000 XP) / Monkey Wrench (600 XP)

DOCTOR SILENCE (Occult Investigator and Medical Doctor)
Dr. Silence was an independently wealthy man who became a medical doctor and soon got into occult investigations as a hobby. Now in his 60’s, he created the Roustabouts to help defend humanity from evil.

Sorcerer Level 11 (19,000 XP)
STR 2 | DEX 3 | CON 3 | INT 5 | WIL 6 | CHA 4
HP 27 | DC 10 | ATK +5 melee, +5 ranged | SPD 2
Powers & Gear: Protection (1,000 XP), Sorcery (10,000 XP)

Deviant Friday – Marcio Takara Edition

Marcio Takara has a way with tiny – I’ve featured his tiny superheroes before as being great for folks looking for cheap paper miniatures of superheroes for their RPGs. He’s also pretty slick with larger fare, with a clean, smooth line style and great eye for color. I would love to see him go after some Golden Age redesigns. He keeps things clean and simple, but injects a lot of life into them.