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Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 25, 2004 12:17 am
  

D-Bee

Joined: Thu Mar 18, 2004 12:21 am
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I am in the process of creating a sidekick character for the heroes game I am currently running. My hope is to get a "I can Drive/Fly Anything" type with a small pitch of Martial Arts. I wanted to make him just like I would a pc to give him a "real" feel. Anybody have any ideas of Class combos that would work well?


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Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 25, 2004 11:03 am
  

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Champion

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Sybercid wrote:
I am in the process of creating a sidekick character for the heroes game I am currently running. My hope is to get a "I can Drive/Fly Anything" type with a small pitch of Martial Arts. I wanted to make him just like I would a pc to give him a "real" feel. Anybody have any ideas of Class combos that would work well?


Well, there's always the option of pulling in a Psi-Tech or TurboJock (or even a Phaeton Juicer) from Rifts... they're pretty much the "fly/drive anything" type.

If you're wanting to keep it strictly HU though, I would take a character with a background in piloting (most likely a former military pilot who went into the civilian workplace), load him/her up with all the piloting programs (this may require a Bachelor's or Master's Degree), and slap him/her with Mechano-Link or Telemechanics.

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Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2004 8:52 am
  

Champion

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I dunno, it seems to me that part of the basis of a sidekick is to not outshine or equal the hero. There's a basis for this in gaming, as well, because, as a GM, you're supposed to let the PC's do the bulk of the work. Giving the character a martial art on top of pilot skill programs and such might just put them pretty darn high up, especially if they can both fix and fly everything.

My suggestion? Start small. Smaller than the PC, even, just so that the PC's still do the bulk of the work in the campaign. To me, NPC's are the basis of the game, and good interaction is critical, but balance should, in my opinion, favor the PC's only slightly. They need to be able to sweat every now and then.
Now, the fix-it sidekick has a venerable history of having just the right skills and potential (maybe a high IQ, for instance) that the hero never has. How much you wanna bet that Robin helps Alfred out fixing the Batmobile? And while Captain America was really good with motorcycles back in the 40's, young Bucky certainly had skills ol' Cap wasn't gonna get any time soon. I think we even saw him fly a plane a few times, and I'm pretty sure Captain can't do that.

So basically, if you're having your hero run around with a sidekick, I suggest trying not to make the character too over-the-top. It doesn't even need to be as powerful as a PC, just so long as it's not weaker than an average citizen and not as powerful as a person who is ready to adventure on his own. Does the party lack a fix-it guy? Give them a young, aspiring mechanic who may some day be a great Gadgeteer, but does not yet have the skill or abilities to make do on his own. Perhaps it will be a tear-shedding day when the character finally becomes equal to a Gadgeteer (at the appropriate age, no less! Start the character at 15 with the PC's, let him fight and train alongside them, and then let him head out on his own more skilled and experienced at around 19 or so!) and decides to leave the party to make his fortune. He'd become a long-term character who is happily indebted to the PC's and will even make them cool cars if they want it!

Or if you're not looking for a fix-it boy, then you can do the same as above with different skill programs and maybe a special ability (nothing more than a minor power, I don't think) to make a pilot who can fly them around until he later joins the Air Force with the PCs' blessings, maybe even becoming high rank and bestowing the PC's with a government and military contact who happens to be a decorated fighter ace and minor super hero!

Why the young age? To emphasize that this is a Hero in the making, but not yet full-fledged. High school education is a good starting point for skills, while high stats or IQ would emphasize the potential of the character and make it so he doesn't slow down the PC's in their own adventures.

I guess the point of a sidekick is to be only barely more help than hindrance, getting the heroes out of scrapes with his limitted means but wit and talent, and yet managing to get in trouble just enough to prove he's needed. I've found that powerful NPC's tend to make poor characters when constantly around, because they often enough could just go off on their own to get a job done rather than ask the PC's for help. Likewise, a too-weak NPC with low potential would weigh down the PC's until they refuse to take said character along, no matter how much fan mail the character sends them... These characters can make great one-shots who can end their association with "I really wish I could go with you guys, to fight this super villain, but you probably wouldn't have much room for a lowly Private," or "Wow... I guess being a hero is tough stuff. I think I'll stick to just being an average citizen, but do call back if you think I can help with anything."

At least that's my opinion on NPC sidekick power levels.

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Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2004 11:35 am
  

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Champion

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That's not a bad take on the whole NPC sidekick issue. I can see where you're coming from.

Personally though, I tend to view NPCs as playing roles the PCs don't fill -- in this case, a pilot/mechanic who takes care of the group's transportation and maintenance. The PCs take on the bad guys, and the NPC just gets 'em to the fight and back again.

I think it's possible to have an NPC that is as powerful (or even more so) than the PC as a sidekick and still not outshine him/her. It's all in how you play the NPC. Maybe he's a crusty old veteran who's past his prime, but does what he does because he likes feeling needed.. or maybe he's someone who has great potential power but either is too afraid of it or rejects it for some reason.

There are several reasons why someone might willingly take a back seat even though he's capable of being the frontrunner. Of course, if that same character is FORCED to take a back seat... well, that could open up some good opportunities for story threads (the sidekick becomes a deadly enemy, if for no other reason he knows intimate details about the PC).

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Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2004 11:47 am
  

Champion

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Oooooh. Good roleplay! I like that very, very much, and I think it's perfect superhero game material. Sorta requires a callous player character group, of course, but those aren't impossible to come by.
So the question is, how much ranting do you let the bitter little ex-sidekick do, and how much do you simply let subtlety and danger prove hir anger?

But yeah, that's an interesting point. They needn't be sidelined only on the basis of unfulfilled youthful potential, despite how fun that can be over time. It could, indeed, be great age and skill in a tired person. I'd never thought of that, but it's a lot like Master Splinter, only less master, more friend and favor.

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Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2004 12:04 pm
  

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Sybercid wrote:
I am in the process of creating a sidekick character for the heroes game I am currently running. My hope is to get a "I can Drive/Fly Anything" type with a small pitch of Martial Arts. I wanted to make him just like I would a pc to give him a "real" feel. Anybody have any ideas of Class combos that would work well?


Make a Minor Hero from PU2. Use the one Major and one minor combo. For the major use Mechano Link which gives you a 60% to pilot any vehicle IIRC. For the minor to give him a martial arts related ability simply pick EXT.PP. which gives a good dodge bonus and auto dodge even if he picks Basic HtH.
Thats how I would do it given the criteria.

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Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2004 12:52 pm
  

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Champion

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macksting wrote:
Oooooh. Good roleplay! I like that very, very much, and I think it's perfect superhero game material. Sorta requires a callous player character group, of course, but those aren't impossible to come by.
So the question is, how much ranting do you let the bitter little ex-sidekick do, and how much do you simply let subtlety and danger prove hir anger?


That's a valid question, and probably best left up to the individual GM's judgement depending on the situation and the other player characters. To me, though, there's plenty of room for both.

macksting wrote:
But yeah, that's an interesting point. They needn't be sidelined only on the basis of unfulfilled youthful potential, despite how fun that can be over time. It could, indeed, be great age and skill in a tired person. I'd never thought of that, but it's a lot like Master Splinter, only less master, more friend and favor.


That's pretty much it in a nutshell, yeah.

When I worked at Dagger Comics, we had a series about a government-sponsored group of supers called Scorpion Corps. One of the things I liked about it was the character Mayday -- he was a former Navy pilot who essentially filled the same role mentioned above and not much else (he was one of the few things I actually liked about that series, btw).

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Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2004 1:17 pm
  

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I'm gonna go with Preacher's suggestion- Mechano-Link and Ext PP makes a pretty good sidekick. Failing that, just find a 16-year-old orphan with a background in the circus, a taste for adventure, and full, pouting lips. Yeah... The lips seem to be important....

Anyone ever play a campaign where the PCs were the sidekicks? The big kids are off doing their important thing, leaving the players a crucial mission to complete.... It might encourage some roleplaying to move the big combat scene to the background, but it would probably take a really good GM to keep it interesting.

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Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2004 7:43 pm
  

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Actually... that sounds potentially hilarious. I don't think I could take it seriously enough to play a whole campaign of it, but it does sound amusing.
And agh, having to DM it... You're playing as many characters full-time as the Players are.

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Unread postPosted: Fri Apr 02, 2004 9:14 pm
  

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Why should you make it EASY for them to get to the bad guys, and their stuff fixed?

Half the fun is getting there.. it seems to me what you are looking for would take away the roleplaying element of the game - and just leave the action part.

So I will suggest something on the opposite end of the spectrum, an NPC the heroes dont really want but have no choice about.. A good looking female detective who has been assigned from the local police department to go with them and make sure they don't mangle the laws too badly. She can hold her own in battle (a bullet proof vest and a gun). The PCs have no choice, shes part of the team or they goto jail. I don't see the need to give her super powers.

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Last edited by G on Fri Apr 02, 2004 10:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Unread postPosted: Fri Apr 02, 2004 9:43 pm
  

D-Bee

Joined: Thu Mar 18, 2004 12:21 am
Posts: 8
I like preachers idea, keep overlooking that I have PU 1 & 2. Honestly when I was thinking up the sidekick I kept picturing Kato from the Green Hornet. The Hero he would be working with is an interesting piece of work to begin with. Her name is "Primaddona" she has Matter Expulsion Crystal, Physical Perfection, and Divine Aura which only works when she applies a experimental face cream. She hates getting her hands dirty and only particpated in one fight because a thug had shot at her and hit her compact. She gave away her identity to a Limo driver who had been hired by a TV network she works with the drive her around. I had plan for the limo driver anyway then got struck by the Green Hornet marathon.

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