Godlike: Nahualli

Nahualli (“Priest/Sorcerer”)

   Metztli Ac’ab (“Moon that becomes the night”)

   Mexico was one of the allied powers in WWII. While only one air squadron – the “Aztec Eagles” – saw combat in the Philippines, the resources and oil of Mexico helped fuel the industries of the United States, they denied their ports to the Axis powers, their counter-espionage efforts were of considerable assistance, and many of their citizens opted to serve in the US armed forces.

   Metztli had always respected his ancestors. The old ways might have passed, and had had their limitations – but they had been glorious as well, and should not be forgotten. Respect was due, to the ancient people, to their gods, and to their works, even as the stones of their cities and temples endured. Sometimes he liked to climb the steps of one of the old pyramids in an overgrown city and imagine how it had once been. Occasionally he cleared away a few plants to see what lay beneath – but usually he left things undisturbed, a memory in stone that might persist for centuries to come.

   One day he impulsively cleared away a few of the plants and vines which had overgrown a small altar to Quetzalcoatl, the Culture-Bringer and Patron of Learning – a god who demanded a small sacrifice of the self, rather than the blood and hearts of others.

   He scratched his hand upon a fragment of an obsidian blade – and, as he lifted his hand to check his slight injury, a scattering of drops of blood – the blood of a young scholar and seeker of the old ways – fell upon the offering-bowl.

   And the Feathered Serpent answered. Metztli stood before the Wind of Heaven – and worshiped and learned. There was no longer any need for the greater blood-offerings to the Gods. Humans had become so numerous that their blood richly nourished the earth, and poured into the realms of the gods and the caverns of the underworld in an endless stream, nourishing the divine sun. From now on, the powers of the lesser gods might answer those who called respectfully upon their power without price – and even the greater gods would require only a token sacrifice of blood to open the path between the Heavens and the Earth.

   It was time for a defender of the old ways to walk the Earth again. In birth – of beasts, of men, of gods, or of cultures – there was always pain; his path must first lead through war. Only then might he prove himself in peace and return the knowledge of the true ways to the world. The Nazis wasted the blood of others, shedding it in despite and without honor. Thus were the demons of the underworld offered gateways into the hearts of evil men, to offer them dark powers. They must be defeated first – and if he fell in that struggle, another champion would arise. The gates of the realms of the gods had opened once again, and would not be closed again in this age of the world.

   His parents, siblings, and other relatives did not understand at first – but when they saw what had come upon him, their objections ceased.

   Mexico was not yet sending men to war – but the United States was. By the time Metztli Ac’ab – now also Nahualli, the Sorcerer-Priest of the Old Gods – passed the US border, most of his powers were in full operation.

   When a Jaguar-Warrior out of old myths appeared at the recruiting station, claiming to be a priest of Quetzalcoatl and the Old Gods of Mexico, and a supernatural being that had been sent by those Old Gods to aid in the struggle against the Axis powers, it caused a certain amount of confusion. Still, however crazy it seemed, “Nahualli” was certainly a near-ideal squad commander – and his power was difficult to deny. How often did you find a Chaplain who had no objection to personal combat and could actually heal wounds, cancel out other Talents (even if he did refer to enemy Talents as “demons”), issue orders and share information silently and without hindrance by the noise of battle, and become invisible, amongst an array of other “divine blessings”? Even if he did have to nick himself to use most of those powers, he seemed to be able to heal such wounds near-instantly anyway – and when you did put him in charge, the performance of any group he commanded shot up drastically.

  • Attributes: Body 1 (2), Coordination 1 (2), Sense 2 (3), Brains 2, Command 3 (4), Cool 3 (4).
  • Skills (20):
    • Body: Brawl 1, Climb 1,
    • Coordination: Blades 2, Rifle 1
    • Sense:
    • Brains: Anthropology 2, Language Group (Germanic, note that this includes English) 1, Language Group (Romance, includes Spanish) 1, Tactics 2, (Native Nahuatl 2, no cost).
    • Command: Inspire 1, Leadership 3.
    • Cool: Aztec Priest 2, Mental Stability 3

   Nahualli invariably carries a classical aztec “sword” (which somehow stands up to his strength and to hitting metal), although he has been willing to compromise on the classical armor, feathered cape, and similar items.

  • Talent Basics:
    • Quirks: Fervent worshiper of the old Aztec gods (2), Prefers to fight with swords (2).
    • Will Base = 3 Command + 4 Cool + 4 (remainder of base 25) + 4 (Quirks) = 15.
    • Side Effect: If Nahualli, the memory of the old ways, should fall, his power will transfer itself to a worthy successor back in Mexico – although this may take some time. Nahualli is, in effect, a “Cultural Power”, like the Oracles of Delphi.
  • Talent Powers (21 Will):
  • The Lesser Blessings:
    • Zed / “Touch of Huehuecoyotl” (1D, 1) (Base 4/8/16): No Go (cannot block talents with a religious theme, -1/2/4), Nervous Habit (must gesture, -1/2/4), Required Prop (must possess a properly-blessed sacred amulet for this power to operate, -1/2/4) = (1/2/4).
    • Light Armor / “Blessing of Huitzilopochtli” (Level 1, 2) (Defends, Robust, Useful outside of Combat, Always On, Unshaken, cost of 6 points for 3 levels of Light Armor OR two points per rank).
    • Healing / “Touch of Xipe Totec” (1D, 1) (Base 3/6/12): Nervous Habit (must mutter prayers to old gods to activate, -1/2/4), No Range (-1/2/4) = (1/2/4).
  • The Greater Blessings:
    • Thought Control; Projected Hallucination / “Wisdom of Quetzalcoatl” (2HD, 4) (Base 5/10/20): Everyone sees it (+3/6/12), Endless (+1/2/4), Unconscious (+1/2/4), Cannot Attack (-1/2/4), Cannot Defend (-1/2/4), Automatically Resisted if Desired (-2/4/8), Only to share sensory data and give directions (-2/4/8), Only works on targets you are highly familiar with and have spent at least a few hours working with (-2/4/8), Mental Strain (every time the user adds someone to the list of “targets” he or she takes a shock point to the head, -2/4/8), Backfires (every time the user adds someone to the list of “targets” he or she takes a point of killing damage to the torso, -2/4/8), and Loopy (every time the user adds someone to the list of “targets” he or she must make a Cool + Mental Stability roll or be stupefied, -2/4/8), Provides +2 Bonus Dice to all actions for those who accept the link and the user’s sensory input (+6/12/24) as long as they accept the user as group co-ordinator (-1/2/4) = (1/2/4).
    • Invisibility / “Shadow of Itzpapalotl” (2HD, 4) (Base 4/8/16): Unshakable (+2/4/8), Endless (+1/2/4), No Physical Change (-1/2/4), Backfires (must draw own 1 wound box worth of his own blood to activate, -2/4/8), Nervous Habit (must mutter prayers to old gods to activate, -1/2/4), Mental Strain (activating this power causes one box of shock damage to his head, -2/4/8) = (1/2/4).
    • Alternate Form – Jaguar Warrior / “Strength of Tezcatlipoca” (2HD, 4) (Base 5/10/20): Endless (+1/2/4), Backfires (must draw own 1 wound box worth of his own blood to activate, -2/4/8), Nervous Habit (must mutter prayers to old gods to activate, -1/2/4), Mental Strain (activating this power causes one box of shock damage to his head, -2/4/8) = (1/2/4).
      • Hyper-Sense (1D, 1) (Base 2/5/10): Attached to Alternate Form (-1/2/4).
      • Hyper-Coordination (1D, 1) (Base 2/5/10): Attached to Alternate Form (-1/2/4).
      • Hyper-Body (1D, 1) (Base 2/5/10): Attached to Alternate Form (-1/2/4).
      • Hyper-Cool (1D, 1) (Base 2/5/10): Attached to Alternate Form (-1/2/4).
      • Hyper-Command (1D, 1) (Base 2/5/10): Attached to Alternate Form (-1/2/4).

   The General Talent Experience Package is an alternative to the TOG Commando Training package, designed to allow experienced resistance fighters and other talents to join the game without being placed at an almost-crippling 60 EP (the cost of 20 skill levels) disadvantage. In place of those 60 EP, General Talent Experience provides +21 EP and +20 Will to spend according to the “after the game” rules and a +1 bonus to any single Stat. That isn’t worth as much as the TOG package – Will is easier to come by than EP and the total is only 51 in any case – but it’s considerably more flexible.

   Nahualli should thus begin play with:

  • Attributes: Body 3 (8), Coordination 2 (10), Sense 2 (10), Brains 2, Command 4 (5), Cool 3 (10).
  • Skills:
    • Body: Climb 1
    • Coordination: Blades 2, Rifle 1, Stealth 1
    • Sense:
    • Brains: Anthropology 2, Language Group (Germanic, note that this includes English) 1, Language Group (Romance, includes Spanish) 1, Tactics 2, (Native Nahuatl 2, no cost).
    • Command: Inspire 1, Leadership 3.
    • Cool: Aztec Priest 2, Mental Stability 3

Talent Powers (21 Initial Will, 32 Will on after-design development).

  • Quirks and Side Effects are unchanged.
  • Will Base = 22 (Begins play with a Will Pool of 10, thanks to spending some during training).
  • Zed (2HD), Light Armor II, Healing (2HD), “Wisdom of Quetzalcoatl” (2HD), Invisibility (2HD), Alternate Form (2HD)
    • Alternate Form Includes Hyper-Sense (8D), Hyper-Coordination (8D), Hyper-Body (5D), Hyper-Cool (7D), and Hyper-Command (1D)

Attribute Side Effects:

  • Body: +2 Width to HTH damage, automatically breaches armor 4, two shock damage in each limb evaporates after each battle.
  • Coordination: can dodge gun attacks, can dodge multiple attacks without penalty, reduce the width of all incoming attacks by 2.
  • Cool: Takes no penalties for distraction, noise, or pain, can control all bodily functions, +5 width to all combat rolls for initiative purposes.
  • Sense: Shared Hyper-Sense Benefits: Cannot be snuck up on, can see in darkness, detect invisible Talents, see through camouflage and illusions, detect motion at more than a mile, identify targets by smell at more than a mile, and so on.

   Nahualli normally remains invisible and in his alternate form: after all, since he shares his enhanced senses with his nearby allies, so they’ll all know where he is – and will receive a +2D bonus on all their actions as long as he’s coordinating their efforts. At range, he’ll usually focus on that, and on providing sensory information, battle “maps”, communications, and support functions. In melee, he normally tries to strike by surprise with a bladed weapon. As he acquires more Will, he can be expected to finish maximizing his Stats, possibly adding a wiggle die or two on some of them, and to build up his other powers (probably starting with his Armor). Experience gains will probably go to Tactics, building up base attributes (dice above ten are good for offsetting penalties, if nothing else), and other brains skills. He’s well aware that he cannot stand up to anti-tank missiles and such, and will take care to arrange things so that he doesn’t have to try.

   After the war, Nahualli is likely to become the center of a political party / religion at the very least – and even if “Alternate Forms” age, when Metztli Ac’ab finally passes on, another shall come after him.

   That turned out somewhat more appalling than I meant it to; I just kept thinking of other things that would work so well together and fit the theme.

Godlike: Carnage

   Here we have an extremely destructive character for the Godlike or Wild Talents systems.

   Marcel Diggs wound up in the military in lieu of jail time for petty theft – and was pretty unhappy when, in the place of a mostly-empty village (where he could expect to scoop up the makings of a better meal than yet ANOTHER day on military rations) there turned out to be a heavily-defended enemy strongpoint. At that moment he just wanted the whole damned place obliterated – and the next thing he knew, he was flat on his back, bruised all over, almost deaf – and the strongpoint was a !#$% crater a hundred yards across.

   He thought it was a stray bomb, or an ammo cache going up, or something of the sort at first. A far smaller detonation when he was spotted by an enemy sentry proved that it was him… He wasn’t sure what to do for a day or so – surely there was SOME way to make a decent profit out of this kind of power – but the rest of the unit caught on when a group of enemy tanks came over a hill and were promptly annihilated by a wave of explosions.

   The platoon covered the retreat of the rest of the company, and Marcel earned his code name, destroying hundreds of men, dozens of tanks, and apparently even a few enemy Talents during the withdrawal.

   Marcel is still looking for a way to profit from his Talent, although he hasn’t found a good one yet. He has picked up a couple of tricks: he’s learned to create “shaped blasts”, to limit the size of the explosions he creates, and to propel himself through the air with the pressure-waves from micro-explosions. He even unconsciously deflects attacks with micro-explosions, making him about the only person around with inherently-noisy “armor”.

   Personally, Marcel is a conniving, unethical, con artist, a sneak-thief, and tends to remind people of a weasel. Since he’s gained his power, the more perceptive ones tend to add “rabid” to that classification.

  • Attributes: Body 1, Coordination 2, Sense 2, Brains 3, Command 1, Cool 3.
  • Skills (20 + 20 TOG Commando skills +1 Brains):
    • Body: Brawling 1, Climb 1, Endurance 1, Health 1, Running 1.
    • Coordination: Dodge 2, Grenade 1, Knife Fighting 1, Machine Gun 1, Pistol 1, Rifle 1, Stealth 2, Submachine Gun 1.
    • Sense: Hearing 1.
    • Brains: Cryptography 1, Explosives 3, Language (per setting) 1, Lockpicking 3, Map Reading I, Mechanics 1, Mortar 1, Navigation (Land) 1, Radio Operation 1, Survival 1, Tactics 1.
    • Command:
    • Cool: Gambling 1, Lie 3, Mental Stability 3, Thievery 3.

 

  • Talent Basics:
    • Quirks: Petty Crook (2), Automatically gives everyone the impression of a weasel (2)
    • Will Base: 1 Command + 3 Cool + 5 (remainder of base 25) + 4 (Quirks) = 13.
  • Talent Powers (20 Points):
    • Transmutation (2D + 2HD, 6) (Base 5/10/20): Can only transform N2 into 2N – breaking atmospheric nitrogen apart into hot free nitrogen atoms (-3/6/12), Can crudely shape the resulting blast with a (Brains+Explosives) skill roll (+1/2/4), Noisy (-1/2/4), Cannot Defend (-1/2/4).
      • Basically this is pretty simple: Carnage glances at something and the 16 cubic feet of the air per pound affected immediately in front of and around whatever-it-is flash-detonates as the free nitrogen atoms recombine with an energy release equivalent to ten times as much TNT by weight. At 200 lb, that’s up to 320 cubic feet and the equivalent of one ton of TNT – a “blockbuster bomb”. Enough to level a city block, and roughly equivalent to the 14-inch German shell. In roughly 10 seconds, he can deliver as much explosive power as a Flying Fortress bomber. Given a few minutes, he can level a small city. In practical terms, his principle problem lies in restraining himself enough to avoid blowing himself up when his targets are nearby. Oh well. At least he didn’t pick “antimatter” – or, far, far worse – “free electrons”.*
    • Flight (2HD, 4) (Base 4/8/16): Can’t Interfere (-2/4/8), Noisy (-1/2/4).
    • Super-Speed (1D, 2) (Base 4/8/16): Attached to Flight (-1/2/4), Noisy (-1/2/4), Glow (-1/2/4).
    • Heavy Armor (Level 1, 6): Noisy (-1/2/4).
    • Light Armor (Level 1, 2).

   Some Regeneration or Healing – even with some flaws – would be very nice, but it really wouldn’t fit the theme at all. Of course, Carnage will do his best to stick with a healer and – preferably – someone with area-effect protective abilities.

   *Transmuting 200 lb of material to free electrons is very bad. How bad? At one meter from one coulomb of charge we have an electrical potential of 9,000,000,000 volts. Now, there are 6.24x 10 to the 18’th electrons in a Coulomb – but an electron weighs only 4.1 x 10 to the -31’st lb. That’s 3.9 x 10 to the 11’th Coulombs per pound of electrons. Converting a 200 lb mass to electrons provides us with 7.8 x 10 to the 13’th Coulombs – and a one-meter electrical potential of 7 Exp 23 volts. The dispersal of 1/200’th of that charge will yield roughly 7 Exp 23 Joules – and the entire thing roughly 100 times that amount or 7 Exp 25 Joules (the equivalent of roughly 16,000,000 gigatons of TNT). To completely disperse the earth to infinity would require roughly 2.24 Exp 32 joules. We can start with lead, and get at least another ten times that energy, and then try to account for the (even greater) internal potentials of our 10-centimeter radius sphere of electrons – but that’s a far more complicated calculation than I feel like doing right now.

   The good news is that quite a large chunk of the earth may survive, since we’ll still be short of the required energy by several orders of magnitude – although there’s a modest chance that induced fission and fusion in the mantle will provide enough additional energy to tip the scales. The bad news is that, almost certainly, this will blow away most of the planetary crust and leave what’s left incandescent for centuries to come.

   Might I have dropped a decimal point or something here? Certainly. For that matter, I used a quick step-function approximation in my head and some sloppy rounding instead of getting out my somewhat rusty calculus. It’s still in right general order of magnitude though. And it would still be REALLY BAD.

   Perhaps fortunately, that’s about the limit of the cheap destructiveness I can think of. Once you can buy “automatically destroy the earth” for 4 points, what else can you shop for?