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'X-Men' as a minor template

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  • 'X-Men' as a minor template

    So, I saw Logan recently (I liked!), and maybe it's just because I was also reading through my copy of WtF 2ed earlier that day, but I thought the themes of savagery, loss, living with yourself and finding hope in an uncaring world all resonated strongly with the Chronicles of Darkness. I'm curious if anyone has ever done a homebrew with mutants within the CofD system before. It seems like it'd be fairly easy- start with a mortal, then add a single, unique "mutation merit" that grants them access to one power off a large list.

    One of the things about the X-Men is that they all tend to have just one superpower, instead of many. So I don't think it'd work so well as a full splat, because where's the advancement? You could maybe treat it like vampire Disciplines, where you have five levels of dots you can advance through. Maybe have a "secondary mutation" merit that gives you another power, but one that has to be related to the first one?

    For example, the Wolverine himself would probably have two mutation merits: one for his healing factor, and one for his claws/enhanced senses (perhaps belonging to a secondary list of traits under a blanket "bestial aspect" merit). Then maybe a unique merit reflecting his adamantium (it doesn't count as a mutation merit because it's not a natural part of his DNA), allowing his claw attacks to ignore durability and giving him an immunity to limb wracking affects.

    I dunno; just something I thought of. What do other people think? Would it work? Be too weird?

  • #2
    I'm pretty sure Logan is a textbook example of a Deviant. Most of the X-Men mutants don't follow the "changed by an organization's weird experiments" narrative quite as well, but for Wolverine specifically its a great fit. As is First Class's take on Magneto.

    I do think the easiest fit for any individual X-Men mutant would be a Merit-based mini-template like the ones in Hurt Locker. The problem there being that they tend to be pretty custom-tailored, and with the sheer variety of different mutant abilities in X-Men, it'd be a ton of work to make individual templates for even a small chunk of them. You could just go with some of the really common and/or iconic ones, like [whatever]kenesis, telepathy, regeneration, etc. But then you just kind of end up with the core book's Supernatural Merits. Maybe a unified but highly flexible mutant template could work? Seems tricky to pull off, and Deviant might do it better, we'll have to wait and see on that.


    Onyx Path Forum Moderator

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    • #3
      Yes, it seems like it would be better done with Merits than working on a template. In Deviant powers seem like they will be customizable in that fashion and comics seem at least part of the inspirational source material to me.

      Especially since most mutant powers don't have any connection to one another. One has super healing, one has fire control, one has super strength, one has feathers all over him and looks like a bird, and another has an octopus-creature in his chest that when fed the DNA of others can create voodoo dolls of them that let the mutant control them. And while some of these are straightforward, like super healing, which you could just take from Werewolf or Beast, others are more complicated, like Jean Grey's psychokinesis, which can be used in a huge variety of ways.
      Last edited by nofather; 03-19-2017, 11:55 PM.

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      • #4
        Just do mortals with supernatural merits, but play up the supernatural merits as 'mutations' instead of something mystical. That's what the supernatural merits are for, mostly. Hurt Locker provides more.

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        • #5
          Yeah, I totally forgot about that bit- that part of what had me thinking of it was how the description for Deviant instantly made me think of Weapon X. I mean, an amnesiac erupting from a vat and escaping half-crazed into the wilderness thanks to his brutal new powers is pretty much exactly what DtR is supposed to be about, right? So this is sorta just killing time until we learn more about that one. Oh! And I hadn't made the connection to Erik in First Class, but you're totally right!

          In terms of template, yeah, you can probably do everything with normal merits. I actually am thinking about getting the core book next, so I should check out the Supernatural Merits; I'm not familiar with them at all. I guess CofD already has a lot of ways to make humans just a little bit weird, which is sorta what I was going for with this. The X-Men's powers are often so specialized that they're almost useless except in specific circumstances. (as opposed to a full splat, which might have a specialty but probably also has a decent variety of supernatural tools that would be way wider than your average mutant would have)

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Gellydog View Post
            In terms of template, yeah, you can probably do everything with normal merits. I actually am thinking about getting the core book next, so I should check out the Supernatural Merits; I'm not familiar with them at all. I guess CofD already has a lot of ways to make humans just a little bit weird, which is sorta what I was going for with this.
            While I totally recommend buying the corebook, because it's very well done, if you just want to take a look at the supernatural merits, the God-Machine Rules Update is still free on Drive-thru RPG.

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            • #7
              Trust me, you'll love the concept of Supernatural Merit Templates (colloquially known as micro-templates) introduced in Hurt Locker. It's a 'template' that consists mostly of a defining Supernatural Merit, other Supernatural Merits that build off it, and a couple or more of unique mechanics and Conditions related to it.

              So far we have the Dreamers (sleeper agents with subliminal programming that turned them into killing machines, think James Bourne), the Infected (carriers of supernatural disease that can form a strained sort of symbiosis with their ailemnt), the Plain (followers of an internet pacifist movement who can force you to be incapable of violence), Atariya (people with extreme ups and downs in life's fortune), the Lost Boys (former soldiers who went through some sort of mysterious bio-augmentation protocol), and Psychic Vampires (exactly what they sound like). Skinthieves in Dark Eras arguably count as one as well.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Charlaquin View Post
                I'm pretty sure Logan is a textbook example of a Deviant.... As is First Class's take on Magneto.
                Canonically, both were born mutated and then augmented. Is that under the purview of Deviant? I'd suggest either version of Deadpool or X-23 as possibly better.

                I'd suggest psychic merits being updated to compatibility with GMC, coupled with the Infected template. If rather than an infection it were mutation, and the fluff/direction became focused on improving a limited skillset rather than evolving a jack-of-all-trades Parasyte™ and spreading contagion, I think the psychic merits alongside the template specific merits would be an excellent expy of mutant genetics as shown in the movies and comics.

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                • #9
                  I guess you could create a Supernatural Merit template but since the basic Mutation merit would appear to be nothing more than take a dot of any supernatural merit from a list the "template" would be meaningless. However going from what suggestions go with those rules, I would say you give 3 dots of supernatural merits to your mutant and 10 instead of 7 dots of merits if they are to be able to hang with a gameline character. Dread powers are an option but I don't believe they were balanced for such a purpose.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Necrophear View Post

                    Canonically, both were born mutated and then augmented. Is that under the purview of Deviant? I'd suggest either version of Deadpool or X-23 as possibly better.
                    Well we have no idea just how broad Deviant will be, but I still expect people born with Supernatural Merits (ie. mutations) a viable candidate for being Remade. All the other templates allow for not-so-purely mortal characters to become them (like Wolf-Blooded becoming Awakened)

                    Originally posted by Diggs View Post
                    Dread powers are an option but I don't believe they were balanced for such a purpose.
                    We could always build antagonistic Deviants and/or not-quite-same-but-similar-enough Deviants with the Horror rules, ie. have them use Dread Powers.
                    Last edited by 21C Hermit; 03-20-2017, 12:38 AM.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Necrophear View Post
                      Canonically, both were born mutated and then augmented. Is that under the purview of Deviant? I'd suggest either version of Deadpool or X-23 as possibly better.
                      Well we don't know for sure yet, but we do know that invitro is one of the Origins. Also, we know that (non-invitro) Deviants do start out human and are then augmented, and humans in CofD do qualify for supernatural Merits, which as established earlier could account for their inborn powers. With any other major splat I would assume supernatural Merits are lost (and refunded with Sanctity of Merits), but Deviant is breaking a lot of trends, so you never know. Would be pretty cool, and very much in keeping with the archetype if Deviants got to keep Supernatural Merits they had as humans but couldn't take new ones (effectively making them character creation-only options). And finally, their story doesn't need to be a perfect fit for them to be a good example of the splat, as long as it follows the narrative in broad strokes.


                      Onyx Path Forum Moderator

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by 21C Hermit View Post

                        We could always build antagonistic Deviants and/or not-quite-same-but-similar-enough Deviants with the Horror rules, ie. have them use Dread Powers.
                        Well yes, that would be consistent with their intended purpose. A horror could be a deviant or a mutant.

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                        • #13
                          I like the idea of a mutant Micro template. I would go with several merits and levels in those merits, though: Healing factor ranges from can heal a cut within hours, to can heal from the brink of death within seconds to can basically Regenerate from a single cell. The claws could be one merit, the bestial senses another one. Cyclops eye beam could progress to reflect increased control and/or damage. Progression could be used to reflect the acquisition of necessary secondary powers: super strength one to three can harm your body by pulling muscles or breaking bones, four reduces strain, five negates it entirely. Do not forget the logical drawbacks that should help dissiduate people from loading up heaps of mutations: Prone to disorientation due to Sensory overload, cannot make use of most medication because of fast metabolism, cannot shut the Power off without items x (e.g. special glasses), heightend aggression--> penalty to composure-related rolls etc.
                          Making the List would be extensive and character creation probably time consuming, but I suspect also quite fun.
                          Last edited by Wormwood; 03-20-2017, 02:38 AM.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Necrophear View Post

                            Canonically, both were born mutated and then augmented. Is that under the purview of Deviant?
                            I'd say that's a distinction without a difference, since Deviant does cover deviants who were altered before their birth ala Dark Angel and the like.

                            And I'd guess that you aren't a comic book fan because if you were you'd know that mutants aren't in fact natural.

                            The Celestials, aliens who make the average deity look like a 90 lb weakling, came to Earth and altered proto-humanity, giving them the ability to be mutated, both the mutants of X-Men and the later in life mutations of the like of Fantastic Four.

                            So Wolverine would fall into the "altered before he was born" camp of Deviants.

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