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D-Listers

Let's talk about the very awesome BASH!
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Sijo
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Joined: Wed Aug 01, 2012 11:00 pm
Location: Puerto Rico

D-Listers

Post by Sijo »

You know them: the Heroes (and Villains) who are considered "lame" because of their powers, costumes or personalities. Classic examples include the Great Lake Avengers, the Legion of Substitute Heroes, and The Inferior Five.

I have seen these characters referred to as "D-Listers" probably based on the way the Media rates celebrities: World-Class Heroes are A-Listers, Street Level ones are B-Listers, and Mystery Men are C-Listers (Cosmic Level characters are off the scale).

Why play a D-Lister? for these reasons:
1) They're fun. Nearly every D-lister is a comedy relief character. When you're tired of Saving The World -or Grim and Gritty games- maybe helping stop The Purple Piledriver is just what you need. :D
2) They're easy to create (while still having interesting options- see below)
3) They feel more real. Most D-Listers are basically normal people who have one (not that impressive) power. But they come across as the kind of person you are, or someone you know about.
4) When they DO win, it is more satisfying. Maybe a D-Lister cannot beat a 20-point Villain on his own- but a whole Team might!

RULES

Campaign Scale: 7 points (6 points Stats, 1 point Powers)

STATS: Average of 1 each- which is what Normal Humans get. However remember that D-Listers still receive Hero benefits such as 100 Hits and not being subject to Minion rules. You can also Lower 1 or 2 Stats to 0 to raise another to 2 or 3. This is not only playable in BASH, it fits the genre (most Bricks are Strong but Dumb, for example).

Powers: Lots of options here.
0-Level Powers: You can get these Powers for free:
Special Attack: at Level 0, you get no Hit or Damage bonus. But Ranged SA allows you to do damage with your Mind. Also any type of SA allows you to select your damage type- maybe your fists are claws, your mental ray is a laser, etc. Useful for targeting Enemy Weaknesses and Susceptibilities.
Push: All this does is double your knockback. But even at level 0 you can Push someone twice as hard, useful for slamming foes against walls and such.
Size 0 is Human Size, so the character has it by default. But you can assign it to your Super Vehicle and save some points. (That leaves room for only one passenger, but you can buy more room with a Super Vehicle Advantage)
1-point Powers: There are many Powers that either cost only 1 point, or can be bought at levels 1 or higher. A well-balanced team where each has a specialized Power- an Attacker, a Defender, a Scanner, a Transporter etc.- can be effective, at least until one or more get incapacitated.
Remember also that you can buy two Level One Powers for 1 point if they share the same Limitation.

Speaking of Limitations, D-Listers more than any other Hero Class are suited for them. Not only they allow them to buy Level 2 Powers for 1 point each, but it fits the genre, especially odd or inconvenient ones.

Don't forget that, like any Hero, D-Listers can boost their Power Level by Pushing. They will hurt themselves in the process, but that's one way of proving they are real Heroes!

Weaknesses
Similarly, D-Listers often have weaknesses, because they need the points for Powers.

Advantages
Suitable Advantages include: Alter Ego (multiple personalities tend to freak people out) Dumb Luck, Headquarters, Mentor, Super Vehicle.
Inappropriate ones include: Appeal, Celebrity, Frightening Presence, Police Powers, Resources, Security Clearance, and Sidekick (most likely they are the sidekick).

Disadvantages
These traits are what best helps define a D-Lister, because more often than not its not how powerful they are but how they perceived to be that affects their reputation. Suggestions: Age, Involuntary Change, Susceptibility, Freak, Normal, On the Run, Outsider, Physically Challenged, Public ID, Social Stigma (being an Emo, Overweight, or otherwise not conforming to "social norms"), Uncontrollable Powers, Unskilled.
Note: Hidden Powers does not really fit except for characters who are actually more powerful than they believe.

Mental Malfunction: D-Listers are often Depressed, yet determined to prove their worth, if only to themselves. Some even suffer from various Phobias. Conversely, a D-Lister might be Overconfident, or even Deluded about their own capacities. And of course, some are just playing along in hopes of gaining Fame or Money.

Skills
D-Listers often have skills that other characters eschew but which are natural for normal people- Craftsmanship, Perform, Domestics etc. Don't worry too much about being practical; just go with Defaults when needed. Again that's in-genre.

Equipment
The good thing about most BASH equipment is that it costs no points, so let the characters get what they want (as long as it isn't Restricted.) On the other hand, if the players wants to spend his points on Hi-Tech Items or Special Equipment, let them- many "super" heroes just stumbled over some fantastic item after all.

Adventures
A typical D-Lister adventure takes place in a small neighborhood or town, where activity by a (minor) supervillain frustrates the police but is not seen as important enough for the Government or higher-class heroes to worry about (they have their own, much more serious problems to deal with.) So the PC characters set out to do something about it, despite their lack of effective powers and skills (and sometimes common sense.) In one way or another, they stumble into the villain's track; its up to the PCs to find it (and find some way to stop it). If it turns out the menace is stronger or more sinister than it appeared- well, that's when they prove if they are cut out for this after all! :wink:
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MrJupiter
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Post by MrJupiter »

This is a brilliant campaign idea. I used to watch the British TV show Misfits, and often thought that it would be fun to run a game with heroes that barely have a super power (like lacto-kinesis! "I can mentally control milk."). This D-Listers structure does this genre one better by setting it within a typical supers world with heroes that are almost embarrassed by their pitiful powers but still filled with the urge to make a difference.
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