Creating Characters for a 10-Year Old
I’m starting a Necessary Evil campaign (in addition to my weekly Stargate campaign). In addition to my children we’ve got two additional players, folks I know very well but have never gamed with before. Before my friend Grey Wulf suffers an aneurysm over my not using Mutants & Masterminds, let me say that currently, when playing with PIT #3 it’s better to use a system with less crunch.
So Sunday we began character generation. PIT #1 wants to be a tech-enhanced assassin. Styx is a woman I wouldn’t want to meet in a well-lit alley, let alone a dark one. PIT #2 comes up with a Thing-like character who also has Kitty Pryde’s powers. The other two players are developing a martial artist assassin and a cross between Storm and Gambit.
PIT #3 is having trouble coming up with a concept. I ask him what kind of powers he wants. “I want him to fly, shoot fire and able to do other cool stuff.” Well you only have 15 points to spend on powers he is reminded. “I know Daddy, but I want him to be completely different from everything else.” OK, as a father I want to give my son what he wants, as a GM I don’t want Superman suddenly walking around in a Novice campaign (that I could not build Superman with only 15 points to is completely beside the point).
So we sat down and gave “Heatwave”, as he was immediately christened, flight, ranged attack, and earthquake. All at relatively low power levels to make sure we got it all in. After spending 8 of the 15 points, I was then prepared to go back and extend some of Heatwave’s powers. When PIT#3 got a gleam in his eye, 7 points what other power can we give this guy? Don’t you want to make the powers you do have a little better?
“No Daddy, look. If we give Heatwave a device that can mimic all the other powers than he could have every power in the book.” At this point if I had brought this idea up with a my GM he’d have told me “No! absolutely not.” But I’m Daddy as well how can I make this work using the points we have left and not have “Superman” in the game.
The concept we cam up with is similar to Ben 10’s Omnimatrix. Basically this device stores any 7-point power that’s left in the book. When activated, the device over-rides the current power set and gives at random one of the stored powers. PIT #3 is happy and now I had a backstory to justify this thing to invent.
With input from PIT #3, we developed this. His character, Sam Lacker was a research assistant for one Dean C. Simitts. Dean was working on a way to have super powers while remaining undetectable to the V’sorii. Dean developed the Supero Facultas with the idea that he’d be able to walk around as a normal human being until he activated the device. Realizing that he’d need a bodyguard for the times he was de-powered, Dean convinced his lab assistant, Sam to undergo some genetic modification. Sam, eager to fight against the V’Sorii as well, agreed.
During the modification process, a power surge caused the laboratory to explode, killing Dean. Sam survived the explosion as he was in the sheilded modification chamber. Emerging from the chamber, Sam found the Supero Facultas and placed it on his forearm. It immediately bonded with his flesh. Sam discovered that he had the power to fly by controlling air currents. He could shoot fire from his hands. When standing on the ground he could cause minor earth tremors. When he was in the water he could form small tsunamis. Sam is still experimenting with the Supero Facultas he does not know the extent of the powers contained therein. He does know that when activated his “real” powers are superseded by the device.
What did I learn from this exercise? First, that it’s worth the effort to find reasons for doing what your players would like to do. Second, that it’s worth effort to bend the rules slightly as long as game play is not affected. Finally, a good backstory can explain away almost anything. I’m looking forward to our first game.