Eclipsing Rusty, a Starting Superhero

Having done Skids, it’s kind of mandatory to do Russell Collins – “Rusty” next. Unfortunately, Rusty was sort of pathetic – and incredibly unlucky. In a world full of serious super-villains, evil alien empires, and true demons, Rusty got chosen as the subject of a major manhunt that included assigning Freedom Force (at that time the USA’s major government metahuman force) to capture him. After all, when you’ve got Sabertooth, Carnage, Selene, Apocalypse, Venom, Mordo, and Ultron on the loose (even without considering entities like Thanos, Mephisto, Surtur, the Dread Dormammu, and Galactus) then your top priority target is OBVIOUSLY going to be a sixteen year old naval recruit (actually, even with parental consent you have to be seventeen to join the navy, although there was a special exemption allowing sixteen year olds with parental consent back in 1942) who accidentally set fire to someone. Admittedly, that’s a bad thing – but even if you think he did it on purpose it hardly seems like a reason for making him a major government target. Even if they were going with the “Muties BAD!” routine and had “make an example” pretty high on their list picking an unknown would be an odd choice.

Anyway, Rusty was immune to fire and could burst into flames – although he had poor control of that ability at first. Later on he learned to project, control, and shape his flames, as well as being able to make them burn underwater and to incinerate incoming projectiles. He never developed much range though. Still, while he showed a variety of useful tricks on one or another occasion, for the most part he could have been replaced by any random schlub with an asbestos suit and a flamethrower without anyone noticing. He got tossed from second-string team to second-string team repeatedly and was eventually casually killed off by Holocaust. Fortunately, his only known family didn’t like him (if they didn’t simply consider him a “mutie terrorist”), he had no social life, and even Skids (his companion in being untouchable / sort-of-girlfriend) seemed to get over his death pretty quickly after she dealt with the immediate shock.

Basically, as metahumans go… Rusty was a loser all around. There’s a Mutants & Masterminds build for him over HERE. This one will probably have a few upgrades in the interests of making him playable.

Russell Collins (A.K.A. “Firefist”, but it didn’t stick)

Not quite second level self-immolator

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 Minor Benefit (see below).

Pathfinder Package Deal (Free).

Pathfinder Human (Free)

Basic Attributes: Str 14, Int 10, Wis 13, Con 14 (+2 Human = 16), Dex 16, Cha 12 (Pathfinder 25 Point Buy)

Mutant Powers:

  • Flame Aura: Presence, Corrupted for Increased Effect / as per Shocking Grasp, but Flame and +1 die per two dice or part thereof (up to the limit of 8d6 at level five). Any enemy, and the occasional friend, who gets too close to Rusty when his powers are active (and occasionally even when they are not, over which he has very little control) gets blasted with flame (6 CP).
    • Metamagical Theorems: Amplify, Elemental Manipulation, Extension, and Sculpting with Streamline II (-1 level off each Theorem), Specialized and Corrupted / only for his Flame Aura, no more than two theorems may be applied at a time (6 CP).
  • Energy Infusion (Fire), (6 CP). Rusty’s immune to Fire, but does seem to get quite a shock from being doused.
  • Innate Enchantment: (6 CP).
    • Force Shield I (1400 GP): Rusty is a bit tougher than a normal human would be. +4 Shield Bonus to Armor Class. (Mage Armor might be more appropriate, but this works better).
    • Inspiring Word (1400 GP): Rusty still has some youthful optimism. +1 to Saves, Attacks, Checks, and Weapon Damage.
    • Resist Cold (1400 GP): Rusty has Resistance-20 to Cold. Of course, serious cold attacks will hit his vulnerability and hurt anyway, but he can use his own fire to automatically resist minor stuff.
    • Skill Mastery (Fiery Aura Intimidation): +3 Competence Bonus to Intimidation (700 GP).

Skills:

  • Skill Boosters: Upgrade Human Fast Learner to +2 SP/Level (3 CP), Fast Learner Specialized in Skills for Double Effect, Corrupted / only for levels 1-10 (4 CP).
  • Available Skill Points: 20 (Fast Learner)
  • Purchased Skills (All gain +1, Morale): Acrobatics 1 (+3 Dex = +5), Athletics 1 (+2 Str = +4), Expertise (Sailor) 1 (+0 Int = +1), Expertise (Survival) 1 (+1 Wis = +3), Insight 2 (+1 Wis = +5), Intimidation 1 (+3 Com = +5), Martial Art (Dex-Based Generic Hero) +4 (+3 Dex = +8), Perception 3 (+1 Wis = +5), Persuasion 2 (+1 Cha = +4), Stealth 1 (+3 Dex = +5), Vehicles 1 (+3 Dex = +5) = 18 Skill Points.
  • Skill Specialties: +3 to Expertise (Sailor) (US Navy) and Survival (At Sea) (2 SP Total).
    • Generic Hero Style Techniques: Strike, +2 to Attacks.

Basics:

  • BAB: +3, Corrupted/does not contribute to iterative attacks (12 CP).
  • Hit Dice: 8 (L1d8, 4 CP) +5 (L2d8, 4 CP) +6 (Con Mod x 2) = 19 HP (Mutants & Masterminds Toughness +5).
  • Saving Throws:
    • Fortitude +1 (3 CP) +1 (Morale) +3 Con = +5
    • Reflex +0 (0 CP) +1 (Morale) +3 Dex = +4
    • Will +1 (3 CP) +1 (Morale) +1 Was = +3
  • Proficiencies: Small Arms (6 CP). This is purely speculative, since ordinary sailors only get a few hours worth of “firearms training” in boot camp (mostly devoted to safety rules) and you’re never expected to need a gun on board a ship (ships fight at over-the-horizon ranges with missiles and such these days) – but oh well. He’s got a (flimsy) military background, so it will be assumed that he knows how to use a gun.
  • Armor Class: 10 (Base) +3 (Dex) +4 (Shield) +2 (Armor) = 19
  • Attack: Unarmed: +8 (+3 BAB +2 Str +2 M. Art +1 Morale), for 1d4+3 (Str and Morale), may add Flame Aura (3d6 Base) if desired. Optionally, he may make a flame aura only touch attack. (Mutants & Masterminds Damage +2 or +7, +5 for flame aura only). Note that Rusty can add two levels of Metamagic to his Flame Aura – boosting it’s power, altering its properties, shaping it, or giving it a 30-foot range. (If he learns to use Innate Magic/Spell Enhancement to use his Mana to enhance those effects even further he would actually be fairly effective. He never got the chance to learn that though).
    • His flame aura can be used to simply blast everyone who comes within ten feet of him; this requires no roll to hit.

Minor Abilities:

  • None.

Point Costs:

  • Four-Color Package: 24 CP
  • Mutant Powers: 24 CP
  • Skill Boosters: 7 CP
  • Base Attack Bonus: 12 CP
  • Hit Dice: 8 CP
  • Saves: 6 CP
  • Proficiencies: 6 CP

Total Point Costs: 87 CP

Available Character Points: 72 (Level Two Base) +10 (Disadvantages: History, Hunted, and Unluck) +12 (Human and Level One Feats) = 94 CP.

That leaves Rusty with seven extra character points. Given that he’s only level two to start with, that’s really rather sad; to the best of my knowledge, and what the Wiki’s can tell me… he never got enough development to get all the way from “kid with uncontrolled abilities” to “starting d20 superhero”. If you want to bump him up a bit, add Additional Form of Natural Magic / Spell Enhancement, Specialized and Corrupted / only to boost his Flame Aura (2 CP). That will let him use the superheroic supply of mana to boost his damage and/or add another +1 (if boosting his damage) or +2 levels worth of his metamagic to his Flame Aura – allowing him to add quite a few tricks, get a decent range and damage, or otherwise manipulate things. After that? Spend the other five points getting him mana-powered access to the Updraft (Spell Compendium) spell; that will let him get out of reach of the ground-bound melee types and certainly seems thematically appropriate.

Remaining Details:

  • Minor Four-Color Ability: Rusty never really showed enough personality or development to justify any minor abilities – so I’m going to leave this for further development. If you just wanted to make him playable, picking Immortal Vigor for +(12 + 2 x Con Mod HP) will help.
  • Equipment (1000 GP). Rusty is basically a somewhat-thoughtless teenager. As such he likely has a motorcycle (Yamaha YZ250F, 250 GP), a tough costume (as per classic leather armor, 10 GP), a smartphone (5 GP), a +1 mastercraft pocket tool (8 GP), a tactical flashlight (4 GP), a wallet (1 GP), a +1 mastercraft first aid kit (6 GP), and other minor items. He might have a (Desert Eagle and Ammo, 50 GP) pistol – if only because his mutant powers have a maximum range of around thirty feet – but I can’t recall him ever using one. That leaves him a little over 700 GP in cash – if it wasn’t for his being dead, enough to cruise around for several months. Go ahead, bring him back and team him up with Feral to play Bonnie and Clyde.

Rusty doesn’t rely on a steady supply of Mana to do his thing – and so would function perfectly well in a standard d20 fantasy or modern game. While he’d still be a one-trick pony, it would be a much more formidable trick there. He’d be GREAT at intimidating thugs, holding off a swarm of orcs, or burning his way through a dungeon. But as superheroes go… he doesn’t have the raw power or the range to stand back and blast, he isn’t tough or evasive enough to get into the melee (real armor would help some, but probably not enough), he isn’t a sneak, scout, commander, mystic, gadgeteer, detective, or sage and can’t even be the communicator, guy with resources, chauffeur, speedster, or funny one. He’s not even a decent elementalist since his bag of tricks is pretty empty. It’s really no wonder that he got bounced from team to team, and was eventually killed off; he simply didn’t have any role on a serious heroic, mercenary, or villainous team beyond “loser” – and eventually he lost.

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One Response

  1. […] Rusty could surround himself with an aura of flame, and… well, there wasn’t much “and”. This version has the potential to add considerable variety to his basic ability, but still isn’t very impressive as superheroes go. His power is built with Presence and Metamagic. […]

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