Cabal – Martyr

Martyr

(I’m way behind and decided to add two Cabal writeups at once; see below for Doctor Vitus. One to go, plus an optional themed character.)

Story: Michael Edwards wasn’t born with superpowers, did not become superhuman in a radiation accident, never learned anything about magic, avoided losing his parents to brutal street crime, and failed to dedicate himself to traveling the world to learn the greatest secrets of martial arts, detective work, and stealth. However, he did live at Floral Arms Apartments #205, on the hard side of Atlantic City, for some consulting work. And for some reason, when his neighbor was gunned down in the street during a gang shootout, the man who would become Martyr just couldn’t let it go. It took time, but he didn’t move away and he didn’t forget. Instead, he started researching the gangs and their war. It wasn’t hard to get close, just by dressing shabbily and drinking at their favorite bars. He overheard much, and then began spying on their hideouts. Planting bugs and trackers wasn’t hard, and that led him straight to their drug operations and protection rackets.

That was when the problems started. Although he was sure the gangs themselves hadn’t caught on to his tricks (they’d incriminated themselves enough on camera), he was sure people were following him. Then his bank account vanished overnight, followed shortly by a mysterious fire at his apartment which utterly destroyed his evidence. When he tried to give backups to the police and media, two assassination attempts were made on his life by professional hitmen. Worst of all, his backup evidence simply vanished, nothing of it ever turning up in the courts or the airwaves. Meanwhile, he was accused of the murder of the two “innocent bystanders” who’d just tried to kill him. Funny, that, since he’d only escaped, not daring a fight against armed killers.

Whether it was fate or fortune, he survived it all. Wounded, he escaped to a safe hole in a dark corner of Philadelphia’s subway system. There, he spent a long, quiet time thinking. He’d been thinking small – much too small. The gangs would have just shot him had they the chance, which meant he’d gotten involved with a group much more dangerous, of which the gangs were merely a tiny part. The police and the media couldn’t be trusted: they were already compromised. And that meant a man or a group with lots of money and power, ruthless enough to abuse it to the fullest, but cautious enough to have avoided attracting attention. This was no grandstanding costumed villain, but a conspiracy. Who and why were the questions, but he knew where to start: it began because he’d investigated the gangs, which meant that they were the beginning of the chain. Spying hadn’t gotten him very far, so now it was time for war.

When he emerged from his steel cocoon, Edwards was gone, and Martyr lived. Oh, he started out thinking he would just leave a red ‘M’ in spraypaint, as a sign and warning to his invisible enemies (i.e., M for murderers). The media later dubbed him Martyr, and he suspects his enemies had a hand in that. He doesn’t much appreciate the name, as it implies a rather short and unpleasant future. Still, Martyr is relentless, never ceasing to work at uncovering the conspiracies at work in his adopted home of New Jersey, as well as eastern Pennsylvania – and he knows it goes much further. He hasn’t yet penetrated the true identities of the conspirators, but he knows very well about the activities of Doctor Vitus and The Producer. Exposing anything seems impossible – no paper trail, no money trail, and no hard evidence linking events. Every time he gets close, any witnesses are eliminated and all traces destroyed.

But even that is a small victory in itself. Every day he takes one further step in unraveling the pans of this conspiracy, this cover, this… Cabal. Moreover, he has uncovered one name, for all its worth: The Chairman.

As a wanted felon believed to be armed and dangerous, Martyr must be extremely careful about whom he asks for help. He simply can’t walk up and ask for help from most superheroes, though he might discretely request assistance from a safe distance if he finds a group he can trust is not infiltrated. Martyr’s extremely paranoid, although that has kept him alive so far. To him, anyone could be a secret conspirator, willing or otherwise given what he knows of The Producer’s tricks. He won’t reveal himself to anyone without extremely good cause. The only way he’d join a super-group, if any would have him, is if he felt there was no way anyone involved could be a sleeper agent and if he has ample reason to trust the team and if they would help his goal of stopping the Cabal. Unfortunately, even if that were possible, he’s probably not considered strong enough to fight on a “real” super team. (Plus, drug-abusing hobo felons don’t fit in with the likes of the Avengers or the Justice League. Except for Iron Man and Red Arrow.)

Martyr stole almost all his gear, including the experimental Psycho compound. Although it’s not physically addictive, he does have of a mental dependency and doesn’t believe he can fight effectively without it. The Combat Dress formerly belonged to the mercenary called Myrmidon, who is extremely eager to repay the insult in blood. Martyr made no changes aside from stripping the frills and adding a scarlet ‘M’ to the face.

[Note that Martyr gains a whopping 125 points if he were to hit the Superhero level – enough to make him a vastly more formidable foe. Buy off some of his most painful disadvantages and spend the rest of combat upgrades, or even improvements to the Psycho compound. He’s already extremely flexible. At that point, he’d be a match for most of the Cabal’s best agents.]

Roleplaying: Martyr is a good GM character or a useful pre-gen character for a player. He’s got enough abilities to be useful anywhere, but doesn’t have the resilience to dominate in battle. He’ll still hold his own with wise target selection and when using a cunning approach (that was a long-winded way of saying, “Don’t try punching the Superhuman strongman in the face.) Under the influence of Psycho, he’s cunning and brutal, attacking any weak point he sees and not letting up until the target is completely incapacitated.

As stated, he’s a paranoiac, but not mentally ill and certainly not stupid. People he believed were trustworthy betrayed him more than once, and the Cabal has previously set out bait in the form of innocent civilians with post-hypnotic suggestions to lure him into traps. He’s become extremely wary to compensate. This doesn’t mean he’s incapable of trusting anyone, but he sees secrets and plots everywhere. Moreover, he knows full well that whether he manages to take down the Cabal or not, he’s probably going to die in prison unless his enemies kill him first. That kind of future doesn’t lend itself to optimism, easy trust, or a healthy personality. He’s most likely to trust newer superheroes with a variety of powers, as those are the least likely to have been affected by the Cabal.

Height: 175cm (5’9″), Weight: 65kg (143 lbs), Sex: Male, Age: 31, Race: Caucasian (American)

Appearance: A slovenly drifter in a dirty old coat. He’s never properly shaven and his brown hair is always raggedly cut very short. When disguised, he can be anyone or anything. Every movement is clipped and tense, as though he were worried a wild predator was about to spring out at him.

Value Characteristic Points
10/30 STR 0
13/23 DEX 9
12 CON 4
13 BODY 6
18 INT 8
18 EGO 16
10 PRE 0
10 COM 0
6 PD 0
2 ED 0
2.3/6 SPD 0
8 REC 0
24 END 0
25 STUN -9
Total 34
Points Powers END
2 12-Point Combat Dress Elemental Control: (5-pt reserve); All abilities -.5 OIF (Uniform), -1 (Conventional Technology Only).
a-5 Armor (8 PD/4 ED); Hardened: ×1, ¼; Always On: -½; Activation: 14-, -½
b-2 Life Support Systems
(3) Need Not Breathe; Relies on OAF Faceplate of OIF Uniform: -½; Charges: +2, -¼; Continuing Charges: 1 Hour, -5 lev
(1) Life Support: Intense Heat/Cold; Short term and subject to upper limits: -1
c-2 +3 level w/Stealth (Camoflague)
0 Military/Agent Electronics Package; Computer: Int 13, Dex 0, Spd 1 (-27 Points Base).
(1) Elemental Control: Electronics (3-pt reserve); All abilities Conventional Technology (-1)
a-2 Radio Listen and Transmit; Usable By Others: Simultaneous Use, +½
b-2 Infrared Vision; Usable By Others: Simultaneous Use, +½
c-2 Flash Defense (Sight, 5 pts); Usable By Others: Simultaneous Use, +½
d-2 Eidetic Memory; Always On (Memory is either perfect or utterly gone): -½; Items must be intentionally stored in limited memory space: -1
e-1 Basic Computer Functions
(1) Absolute Time Sense
(1) Lightning Calculator
f-1 GPS/Heads-Up Map Display: Navigation; Usable By Others: Power Lost, +¼ 12-
g-2 +1 level w/Rangefinder/Targeting System: Ranged Combat; Usable By Others: Power Lost, +¼; OCV Only: -½
h-4 2d6 Aid: Programs/Databases (Fade/week, Max. 12); Range: 0; Affects: Single Power of Special Effect, +¼; Extra Time: 1 min., -1½; Activation: 11-, -1; Must have program available to load: -2; This allows the user to load maps (area knowledge), mission information, and so on. All of it should be Usable By Others/Power Lost, so you can load a total of 10 points worth of information. 3
(2) Programs; 1) Monitor instruments and transmit information to user and command systems
2) Replay information/database search-The first two programs normally run continiously after boot-up.
(4) Easy Interface: Computer Programming; Usable By Others: Power Lost, +¼ 13-
3 Elemental Control: Psycho (9-pt reserve); Burnout: 11-, -¾; Charges: +3, -½; Focus: Inobvious Inaccessible, -¼; Continuing Charges: 1 Minute, -3 lev; Limited Power (Psycho radically stresses the human body. After a dose wears off, the character has half Strength, Dex, and Con. A second dose taken during time acts as if the character had no penalty, but only takes half effect (+10 Str, +5 Dex, +2 Speed, +3d6 physical damage). Following a second dose, the character simply collapses in exhaustion.): Seriously, -½; Psycho is an experimental military adrenal enhancer.
a-4 +20 STR; Burnout: 11-, -¾; Charges: +3, -½; Focus: Inobvious Inaccessible, -¼; Continuing Charges: 1 Minute, -3 lev; Limited Power (Psycho radically stresses the human body. After a dose wears off, the character has half Strength, Dex, and Con. A second dose taken during time acts as if the character had no penalty, but only takes half effect (+10 Str, +5 Dex, +2 Speed, +3d6 physical damage). Following a second dose, the character simply collapses in exhaustion.): Seriously, -½ 0
b-9 +4 SPD; Burnout: 11-, -¾; Charges: +3, -½; Focus: Inobvious Inaccessible, -¼; Continuing Charges: 1 Minute, -3 lev; Limited Power (Psycho radically stresses the human body. After a dose wears off, the character has half Strength, Dex, and Con. A second dose taken during time acts as if the character had no penalty, but only takes half effect (+10 Str, +5 Dex, +2 Speed, +3d6 physical damage). Following a second dose, the character simply collapses in exhaustion.): Seriously, -½
c-6 +10 DEX; Doesn’t Affect Figured: -½; Burnout: 11-, -¾; Charges: +3, -½; Focus: Inobvious Inaccessible, -¼; Continuing Charges: 1 Minute, -3 lev; Limited Power (Psycho radically stresses the human body. After a dose wears off, the character has half Strength, Dex, and Con. A second dose taken during time acts as if the character had no penalty, but only takes half effect (+10 Str, +5 Dex, +2 Speed, +3d6 physical damage). Following a second dose, the character simply collapses in exhaustion.): Seriously, -½
d-3 Hand-to-Hand Attack (6d6, Total 12d6); Range: 0; Costs END: -½; Burnout: 11-, -¾; Charges: +3, -½; Focus: Inobvious Inaccessible, -¼; Continuing Charges: 1 Minute, -3 lev; Limited Power (Psycho radically stresses the human body. After a dose wears off, the character has half Strength, Dex, and Con. A second dose taken during time acts as if the character had no penalty, but only takes half effect (+10 Str, +5 Dex, +2 Speed, +3d6 physical damage). Following a second dose, the character simply collapses in exhaustion.): Seriously, -½ 2
16 Equipment Multipower (41-pt reserve); -1/2 Variable Limitations: various OAF’s, -1 Conventional Technology Only limitation. As a rule, characters should select a multipower reserve that suits them – 20 (8), 40 (16), 45 (to accomadate the Grenades and/or Tranqualizer Rifle, 18), 60 (24), or 75 (30) points and slots to match.
Minor Items: 1-20 Active Points. Requires 8 CP spent on the reserve.
u-1 Adhesion Bands: Clinging (Clinging STR +0)
u-1 Binoculars: Telescopic Sense (Sight, +10 to PER)
u-1 Bugs/Tracers: Radio Listen and Transmit; Ranged: +½; Usable Against Others: ×1 mass, 1; Charges: +8, +1½; Continuing Charges: 1 week, -8 lev; Transmits Only: -1
u-1 +20 STR: Crowbar; Champions Limitation (Crowbar limitations): -2 2
u-1 10″ Folding Paraglider: Gliding (NC: 20″); Non-Combat Multiplier: ×2, +0; Non-Combat (MPH): 47
u-1 Lockpicking Kit: Lockpicking 17-
u-1 Microprinter System: Forgery 17-
u-1 Parabolic Microphone: Telescopic Sense (Hearing, +10 to PER)
u-1 Security Systems Kit 17-
u-8 +4 level w/Pocket Tool Kit: Bonus to relevant skills; This can also be used for criminology kits, camping kits, electronics kits, and other general toolkits.
u-1 Swim Fins and Thrusters: Swimming (+6″, 8″, NC: 32″); Non-Combat Multiplier: ×4, +5; Non-Combat (MPH): 56 1
u-1 Wrist Grapnel and Line: Swinging (+12″, NC: 24″); Non-Combat Multiplier: ×2, +0; Non-Combat (MPH): 56; Reduced END: Half, +¼ 1
Notable Items: 21-40 Active Points. Requires 16 CP spent on the reserve.
u-1 5d6 Babble Drug (Mind Control); Communication: Verbal, +0; Charges: 6, +½; Continuing Charges: 1 Hour, -5 lev; Mental Power Based on CON: -½; Single Command: Babble Helpfully and Without Thinking: -1; Active Points: 37 0
u-1 Breaching Charges: Tunneling (2″ through DEF 12); Charges: +8, -½; Tunnels: Left Behind, +0 0
u-1 Chemical Sniffer “Wand”
(2) Discriminatory Sense (Smell)
(6) Enhanced Perception (Smell, +7 to PER)
u-1 2d6 First Aid Kit: Aid to all damaged powers and attributes (Fade/turn, Max. 12); Range: 0; Affects: All Powers of Special Effect, +2; Restore Only Lost Characteristics and Powers: -½; Charges: 12, -¼ 0
u-1 2d6 Flash Pellets (Normal Sight); Range: 200; Area Effect (Radius): 2″ radius, +1; Charges: 12, -¼ 0
u-1 1d6 Laser Cutter: Killing Attack (RKA); Range: 185; Penetrating: +½; Armor Piercing: 1, +½; Charges: 64, +½; Concentrate: 0 DCV, -½ 0
u-1 Privacy Scanner: Detect: Bugs, Microphones, Phone Taps, and other Sensors (+10 to PER); Time Required: Half Phase, +0; Range: Ranged, +5
u-1 6d6 Stun Shell: Energy Blast; Range: 150; Versus: PD; OAF: -1; Charges: +6, -¼; Clips: 4 0
u-1 Smoke Grenades: Darkness (Normal Sight, 1″ radius); Range: 135; Area Effect (Radius): 8″ radius, +1; Increased Area: ×8, +¾; Charges: 6, +0; Continuing Charges: 1 Minute, -3 lev 0
u-1 4d6 Thermite Pencils: Energy Blast/Fire; Range: 200; Versus: ED; Explosion (Extended Area +0″/DC): +½; Time Delay: +¼; Trigger (Radio Signal): Set, +¼; Charges: +8, -½ 0
81 Total Powers  
Points Skills, Talents, Perks Roll
30 +3 level w/Overall Level
5 Luck (1d6)
35 Total Skills, Talents, Perks  
75+ Disadvantages
10 Destitute
20 Paranoid (Very Common, Strong)
15 Hunted: The Cabal (8-); Capabilities: More Powerful, 15; Non-combat Influence: Extensive, +5; Geographical Area: Limited, -5; Actions: Hunting, ×1; Punishment: Harsh, 0
10 Needs Psycho for Combat (Common, Moderate)
; Martyr will almost always run from combat rather than fighting if he does not have Psycho available or can’t effectively use it at the moment. It would be very difficult, albeit not impossible, for him to get the courage to face down actual men with real weapons without the considerable edge it provides.
15 Secret Identity
10 Reputation (8-, Extreme)
; He is a wanted felon, although no police agency is actively pursuing him at the momen.
15 Weak Chest (Frequently, Greatly)
; Martyr has a weak chest and is prone to frequent coughs and other respitory infections. After any strenuous mission, he will need time to rest and recover – at least a week. Otherwise, lower his Con by 5 and his Spd by 1 (10 active points each).
20 Code Against Killing (Common, Total)
15 Psych Limit: Can’t Ignore Those in Need (Common, Strong)
20 Normal Characteristic Maxima
150 Total Disadvantages
COSTS: Char. Powers Total Total Disadv. Base
34 + 116 = 150 225 = 150 + 75
OCV DCV ECV Mental Def. PD/rPD ED/rED Phases
8 8 6 0 14/8 6/4 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12
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