Eclipsing Karma

Karma was a war refugee, abuse victim, caretaker for her younger siblings, and – on a loose “team” of kids – the “adult” one. She had the ability to possess other people, although it put her into a trance at first, She could apparently drain their life energy too, although this was only mentioned in her backstory, and never happened again. Since it was with a sibling, presumably something special was going on. Later she developed the ability to keep functioning to some degree while possessing people and even to possess a lot of people at once. She apparently has some secondary telepathic powers and psionic resistance, but has never really developed those abilities.

Unfortunately, that made her a boring, BORING, character. She was the controlled adult one, the one who was trying to forget a past that was full of misery instead of searching enemies (OK, she had a crimelord uncle, and so what? She’s part of a superhero team) and thus was avoided when it came up, and she had a power that mostly took her out of action and either won (opponent controlled!) or failed (they resist!) in a single moment despite the writers occasional attempts to add some suspense with “psychic struggles” to gain or maintain control, defensive devices that other characters had to remove, and “I cannot hold him long!”.

So, like most characters with “win or useless” powers, Karma makes occasional appearances, but never stays in any given book for long. She was even, in about the most predictable “twist” in the history of comics, possessed herself for a considerable period. Who could EVER have guessed that a character called “Karma” who possessed people would wind up getting possessed?

According to THIS Mutants & Masterminds build Karma has Str 14, Int 16, Wis 16, Con 16, Dex 13, and Cha 10. I’m going to give her Str 10 instead, simply because she shows no signs at all of being stronger than average. (I’m not sure that being handed a job as a secretary so that she could support her younger siblings while studying at Xavier’s justifies Int 16 either, but eh…).

  • Superheroic World Template (gets Mana equal to her (Con Mod) to use each round, free).
  • Four Color Package (24 CP). This includes Superheroic Physics, Superheroic Durability, Superheroic Build, Rapid Recovery, Minor Conventions (Ready for Inspection, Comics Code, It’s Sufficient, Heroic Will, Heroic Rally, Coincidental Catch, Heroic Health, and a some Minor Benefits (in her case three cantrip effects, see below).
  • Pathfinder Package Deal (Free).
  • Pathfinder Human (Free)

Basic Attributes: Str 10, Int 16 (this covers her languages), Wis 14 (+2 Enh +2 Human = 18), Con 16, Dex 12 (+1 Level = 13), and Cha 10 (+2 Enh = +12). Pathfinder 25 Point Buy.

Innate Enchantment: All Spell Level One-Half or One x Caster Level One x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x .7 Personal Only (when applicable). 8000 GP Value = 9 CP.

  • Detect Psionics: (1000 GP)
  • Enhanced Attribute: +2 Wis (1400 GP).
  • Enhanced Attribute: +2 Cha (1400 GP).
  • Akhasic Library (Skill Mastery): +3 Competence Bonus on Int-Based Skills (1400 GP).
  • Alertness (Skill Mastery): +3 Competence Bonus on Wis-Based Skills (1400 GP).
  • Force Shield I: +4 Shield Bonus to AC (1400 GP).

There’s really not that much justification for this – and none at all for the Force Shield – but some skill bonuses aren’t really a big deal either and she needs SOMETHING to give her a little protection while she stands around in a trance. It may not be a required secondary power, but it comes close.

Her primary mutant power is also pretty easy:

  • Mana Powered Inherent Spell (Psionic Power) I: Psychic Bolt (Up to (Wis Mod) targets within medium range take 4d6 damage, save for nonlethal damage. User may allow an automatic save (she usually does, effectively making this “take 4d6 nonlethal”)) (6 CP).
  • Mana Powered Inherent Spell (Psionic Power) II: Dominate, Corrupted for Increased Effect (user may spend up to 3 Mana/12 Power on Augmentations regardless of level) / user is subject to sensory feedback from those controlled; if they are hurt the user must save or be dazed, if they are killed the user suffers 1d4 damage to a random attribute) (6 CP).
  • Mana Powered Inherent Spell (Psionic Power III): Tower Of Iron Will (6 CP).

There’s not a lot of justification for this either, but there is a certain amount of “able to resist other telepaths” there, so why not?

  • 3d6 Mana, Specialized for Reduced Cost / only to power “Psychic” Effects (9 CP).

Basically, a small reserve so that she can augment her Dominate effects.

  • Rite of Chi with +4 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted / only to refill the Mana pool, above, maximum of 1d6 per hour (4 CP).

Skill Points: Upgrade Human Fast Learner to +2 SP/Level (3 CP). Plus Fast Learner, Specialized in Skills for +2 SP/Level (6 CP). Adept (Acrobatics, Athletics, Insight, and An Vinh Martial Art are purchased at half cost (6 CP). That’s 28 SP at Level One, +7 SP per Additional Level = 49 SP at Level Four.

  • Skills: Acrobatics 7* (+8), Athletics 7* (+7), Deception 4 (+5), Expertise (History) 2 (+8), Expertise (Hunting) 4 (+10), Expertise (Teaching) 4 (+10), Expertise (Philosophy/Theology) 4 (+10), Expertise (Treatment/Medicine) 2 (+8), Insight 7* (+14), Investigation 2 (+8), Martial Art (An Vinh, a wisdom-based empty-hand style 7* (+14), Perception 4 (+10), Persuasion 2 (+3), Rune Magic (Telepathy, Wis Based, Mastery and Casting 2 (+8), for telepathic effects of up to second level at caster level four, 4), and Stealth 3 (+6) = 49 SP.
  • An Vinh Techniques (7): Attack +3, Strike, Blinding Strike, Weapon Kata (Longsword), Expertise (may trade AC for Attack and Vice-Versa).

Basics:

  • BAB: +3 BAB (Corrupted, does not contribute to iterative attacks, 12 CP), Canny Strike (Finesse, 6 CP). Uses (Wis Mod) in place of (Str Mod) in melee combat.
  • Hit Dice: 6 (L1d6, 2 CP) +9 (L2-4d4) +12 (Con Mod x 4) = 27 (Mutants & Masterminds: Toughness 6, 9 with Costume).
  • Saving Throws: +2 Fort (6 CP), +2 Ref (6 CP), +5 Will (15 CP). All get +1 Resistance. Net Totals: Fort +6, Ref +5, Will +10.
  • Proficiencies: Proficient with all Simple and Martial Weapons (9 CP).
  • Armor Class: 10 (Base) +3 (Dex) +3 (Armor) +4 (Shield) = 20. May transfer up to +5 from Attacks when unarmed or fighting with a longsword.
  • Attacks
    • Unarmed +3 (BAB) +4 (Wis) +3 (M. Art) = +10, Dam 1d4 (Base) +4 (Wis) (Mutants and Masterminds, Damage 5, Improved Critical).
    • Longsword: +3 (BAB) +4 (Wis) +3 (M. Art) = +10, Dam 1d8+4 (Wis) with Longsword. (Mutants and Masterminds, Damage 7, Improved Critical).
    • Psychic Bolts: Three targets, 4d6, save for nonlethal. (Mutants and Masterminds, Affliction 7).

Minor Items

  • Minor Favors: The X-Groups (3 CP).
  • Privilege: Gets her X-Man outfit for free, Corrupted/Fixed Benefit (2 CP).
  • Immunity/The Minimum Level Requirement for Controlled Use Of Magic (Very Common, Major, Major, Specialized and Corrupted / only for the use of Innate Spells (Powers), only for the use of the three specific innate spells which make up her talent (5 CP). This lets her keep her mutant talent under control as if she was six levels higher than she actually is – allowing her to use her three effects without fear of backlash or failure.

Point Costs:

  • Four-Color Package: 24 CP
  • Innate Enchantment: 9 CP
  • Inherent Powers: 18 CP
  • Mana Reserve: 13 CP
  • Skills: 15 CP
  • BAB: 18 CP
  • Hit Dice: 2 CP
  • Saving Throws: 27 CP
  • Proficiencies: 9 CP
  • Minor Items: 10 CP

Total Cost: 137 CP.

Available Character Points: 120 (Level Four Base) +10 (Disadvantages, History, Prejudice (Mutant Lesbian Immigrant), Enemy) +8 (Duties to Family) = 138 CP.

That leaves her with one extra character point. Go ahead and stick it into some skill she ought to be familiar with.

Finishing Touches:

  • Minor Four-Color Powers: Resistance (+1 Resistance Bonus on Saving Throws), Know Direction (After all that desert wandering, it’s hard to get Karma lost), and Stabilize (Karma automatically stabilizes if knocked below zero hit points).
  • Wealth By Level: 6000 GP:
    • Gifts of the Norns: Everlasting Rations (350 GP), Everfull Mug (200 GP), Travelers Cloak (1200 GP), Chronocharm of the Horizon Walker (Half move as a swift action 1/Day, 500 GP), Chronocharm of the Celestial Wanderer (Reroll a perception check 1/day, 500 GP ), Chronocharm of the Grand Master (+5 AC versus as ranged attack as an immediate action 1/Day, 500 GP), Boots of Landing (Always land on feat, reduce falling damage by 2d6, 500 GP). That leaves 2250 GP for other stuff.

There’s not a lot of justification for her having much of any non-standard gear along – but I’m going to assume that the Norns still favor her a bit and there’s nothing there that would be unusual for an unequipped superhero to do…

Standard X-Man Equipment

  • Kevlar Reinforced Costume (“Leather Armor”, but 40 GP and only 5 pounds), Masterwork (+150 GP), +1 (+1000 GP), Amulet of Tears (2300 GP. This can provide up to +36 HP per day. Armor Crystal: a Lesser Iron Ward Diamond (2000 GP). This isn’t a big deal, but every little bit helps.
  • Advanced First Aid Kit / Healing Belt (750 GP).
  • “Pocket Secretary”/Hero Team Comlink: Satellite Smartphone with HUD and hands-free links (250 GP), Smartsearch (As per a Tome of Worldly Memory, 1500 GP), Intelligent (500 GP), Int, Wis, Chr all 10 (0 GP), 30′ senses, uses Message at will (1000 GP). Note that, since smartphones can talk anyway, there is no need to buy speech for it.
  • Reactive Contact Lenses / Raptors Mask (3500 GP).+5 to Spot (Perception), Immunity to being Blinded or Dazzled.
  • Utility Pouch: Keys, LED minilight, multitool, chalk, nylon ties, etc. All the little junk that pops up once in a blue moon (10 GP).

 

Karma is very sad. This version has had a substantial upgrade on her skills, has been given a defensive and secondary offensive aspect to her power, can actually use her low-grade telepathy, knows how to use weapons, and now… makes a very good secretary for a superhero group and a passable investigator. Her basic flaw, however, remains exactly the same; she’s got a binary win / fail power with boring effects and no real action to it and is quite fragile. It’s that lack of OPTIONS that allows her to be built as a mere level four character. She’s got one trick. It’s a fairly powerful trick mind you, but her focus is still extremely narrow.

Secondarily, of course, she hasn’t really been a regular character anywhere and her appearances have been few and far between. Ergo, she hasn’t gone up in level all that much (like it or not, “leveling up” is a fairly good approximation of character development – they gradually overcome old limitations, develop new skills, tricks, and abilities, and strengthen their old powers as they make appearances (“go on adventures and earn experience”). Thus she’s still only level four.

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One Response

  1. […] Karma (L4) possesses a high-end set of Inherent Spells (psionic powers in her case), a few boosters for Psionic Dominate, and just a bit of general telepathy. That’s a pretty good power – but it’s very specific and if her targets are unaffected or simply resist… all she’s really got left is a minor psychic blast, and I put that in. […]

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