Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Oni Lee Revisited

So continuing with the last post we did some deeper examination of the character Oni Lee from the Worm Web Serial which, if you like good writing or super heroes in any configuration you ought to be reading. Remember that Oni is interesting because he combines Teleportation and Duplicate in an interesting way: when he teleports, he leaves behind a duplicate that can fight on its own for a few seconds.

Some Thoughts In General On the Worm-Verse
The Worm universe is fairly well realized in that the characters are richly and generally believably drawn and the power-scale ranges from "street level" to "really, really high" (if maybe not reaching 'cosmic'). The descriptions of the character's abilities are pretty detailed and the author puts thought into how they operate and clever ways to use or combine abilities (the main character is all about that, really).

There are a few things to note:

Lack of Armor
Not a lot of characters have armor or are really resilient. It's true that the main characters wear armored uniforms that are at least somewhat bullet-proof (spider-silk). However, that would not help with shots from energy weapons, crushing blows, or the like. A great deal of their combat staying power is, like the early X-Men, around not being hit directly.

Exactly how this plays out in an RPG is interesting. Firstly, the characters can be assumed to use a lot of tactical movement and maybe suppression. Secondly, it's explicitly stated that most super-battles are not participants trying to kill each other. Characters who go for the kill are few and fairly far between in the Worm Verse (Oni is one such exception).

The way JAGS handles this is two-fold. For characters who are supernaturally fast we give then negative damage mods which means they will be hit but for less damage each time. We also give them enhanced Agility which means they are harder to hit with ranged weapons and can dodge bullets the same way they dodge fists.

Secondly we have Ablative Damage Points and regular Damage Points which you can buy pretty cheaply and still be "human." Worm characters would tend to have a lot of those.

Finally there have to be rules for making certain things "defensive actions." A character, Trickster, can teleport others (exchanging them for any other object of roughly equal mass / size). In combat if you try to shoot him he exchanges you for someone else and you attack your friend.

That's something JAGS can handle but it takes some tweaking (you make Teleport Other a Ranged Damage Field which works as a Block Effect and has a Resisted Roll Effect Table that, if he rolls good enough can redirect your attack as he sees fit). When I get to that character I'll talk about what we learned about using "non-traditional defenses."

Power Levels
There are explicit character categories and power levels in the Worm-verse. This is useful. Oni gets a "?" on the Wiki meaning I don't think anyone ever said what his rating was. In JAGS terms I am going to try to keep most of the characters around 128 AP or less as is the "general rule." Some characters who are major league, however, would clearly be a LOT more.

Oni would be a candidate for being lower powered on the basis that he's kinda "street level" (although his leader, Lung, was, indeed, a heavy-hitter for the universe). I was happy to keep him at 128 AP though as I wanted to give him a heavier weapon than he generally carried in the stories.

Oni Lee's Stats
It's pretty hard to get a table working in Blogger so here's a screen shot:
Yeah, That's Legible
Here's the take-away: he has Duplicate (up to 2 dupes at once for 3 active characters). He has both Teleport and Flicker which is a kind of teleport that gives a dodge and lets you attack in ways that are hard to block (teleport and flank) as well as enter and leave close combat with a Medium action. It makes you VERY mobile.

He has Tough Guy, a Bullet proof Vest (4 Armor over his chest for Coverage 4) and Manic which gives +3 HTH damage and +3 Init (he will tend to go first). He has 18 AP's of Gun which could be like an AR 15 or something. We are assuming his knives and grenades are either ignored or are part of that cost.

He hits for about 22 PEN damage depending on exactly how the gun works out. We will assume he can fire 3x a Round (14 REA, level 3 skill). His dodge roll I am going to estimate at a very high 17- (he gets +2 for Flicker-dodging).

His Power: Here is how we did it.
1. Subtle for Teleport, Flicker, and Duplicate so it doesn't show. This is "small" and is +.06.
2. REA Link: Duplicate to Teleport. Duplicate is FREE (REA wise) when paying for a Flicker move (including a dodge) or Teleport move. Also SMALL +06. NOTE: Duplicate normally cost 5 REA and you can bring in all your duplicates at once.

The Link:
1. Cannot do them all at once. This was judged SMALL. It might be higher but many characters can dodge for 1 REA. Notably? He can't (in this configuration) but that was a decision I made intentionally. I prefered making him physically tougher to faster dodging.

2. Duplicates evaporate after 1 Round. Maybe 2 on a roll. This allows them 6-12 seconds of time which seems about right. This is LARGE. He can't use them for all kinds of roleplaying purposes and has to keep paying REA to create them rather than attacking or dodging.

3. Dodging with Flicker means a Duplicate is hit. These are valuable duplicates and he doesn't get the wonderfulness of his good, cheap dodge working. I will assume he can drop any injured duplicate instantly for 0 REA (it turns to dust or, at least, just stops attacking) but he'd still much rather teleport away and have two of him show up wherever he goes. This is MEDIUM.

The final numbers are +.12 for Subtle and REA Link and -.44 for the defects. The result is -.32 to the cost of Duplicate.

He also pays fewer points for his Manic HTH damage and Tough Guy strength as these are "back-up" attacks compared to Gun. This saves him the 4 APs he uses for the vest.

Analysis: In combat he will fire about 6 times per round for about 20 PEN each time. He will shoot accurately and, if he is crafty people may waste attacks on dupes that will turn to dust at the end of the Round. If he can hurt his targets, he will turn them to Swiss cheese.

On the other hand, a good blast from a 128 AP character can easily do 50 points of damage. Oni Lee probably has about 16 DP for his "basic guy" and then has 27 extra for his character. So he has around 43 DP and 4 Armor. A hit from a powerful blast will do a Major Wound. If he got hit by say Purity (a powerful blaster who might be well above normal 128 AP scale) would total him. He can't afford to go toe-to-toe with any real power-house.

My feeling is that with the modifications this handles a difficult character very well.

In an RPG setting he will almost never really want to get close to a target to knife or katana them--he will prefer to stand back and shoot. We might limit his gun to more of a handgun (which is what he had, usually) and that might actually give him more damage in close if we exchanged Gunslinger for some knife-fighting GAT. However, the carbine gives him more staying power against armor.

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