HeroClix Tinkering: “Mastermind” (v1.2)

Subject: the HeroClix defense-slot standard power, Mastermind. Current definition: When this character would be dealt damage, you may instead choose to have all the damage be dealt to a single adjacent friendly character with a point value less than this character’s. Any additional effects of the damage dealt (knock back, penetrating damage, etc.) are applied to the character taking the damage. Damage dealt by this power is not an attack. [Note: Damage dealt by Mastermind is considered to have come from the original attacker.]

Some players find it wanting, though it’s pretty powerful. It can save a character’s bacon, shunting all the damage from an attack off to lower point “fodder”. Still, people complain. It’s often easier to K.O. the lower-point character first, as said character might be easier to hit. Or, the complaint is that the character Masterminding the damage might not be as valuable (due to design) as the lower-point character he’s passing damage on to. Therefore, a lost of Traits or Special Powers incorporating Mastermind remove or increase the “point value” restriction.

Always wondered if — keeping the power the same cost — that it might have an additional effect added, that compliments the “feel” or “theme” of the power? I mean, sometimes the minions are more powerful than the mastermind. Kinda the point of being the “evil genius” is that you employ big guns to do the hands-on for you, or *at least* be your bodyguard.

Mastermind (HCTinkerer’s Tweak): This character may replace its defense value with the value of any adjacent friendly character of a higher point value or with the “Brute” keyword. When this character would be dealt damage, you may instead choose to have all the damage be dealt to a single adjacent friendly character with a point value less than this character’s. Any additional effects of the damage dealt (knock back, penetrating damage, etc.) are applied to the character taking the damage. Damage dealt by this power is not an attack.

How’s that?

EDIT: Ha!

Found this pic by a “Marazzo” that fit the “feel” of this post. I tell ya, writer/artist John Byrne’s 1980’s era re-imagining of DC Comics’ Lex Luthor– melding the traditional “mad/criminal scientist” stereotype with elements of Marvel Comics’ Wilson “Kingpin” Fisk and director Oliver Stone’s “Gordon Gecko” character from the film “Wall Street” — has had a lasting impact. Lex is still hyper-intelligent in the disciplines of science and engineering, but also has the relentless and ruthless aspirations to greatness that make him scary.

EDIT III: Ooops, my bad. Kingpin as partial inspiration for Byrne? Check. “Wall Street”‘s Gordon Gecko? Nope. That movie came out a year after Byrne’s 1986 reboot. My apologies.

lex_luthor_time_cover_by_marazzo-d30dof2

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Ret-Con: The Leader (XP#090; v3.3)

EDIT (08 APR 2014): (1) Extensive re-write; (2) collages added; (3) “pulling forward in time”. First posted way, way back on 19 JUN 2011. A lot of changes major and minor to the game, not only since this character was introduced to the game (Marvel HeroClix XPLOSION, 2003) but also since this post in 2011.

Sidenote: I had started some months ago to move “Ret-Cons” off of the main blog, onto individual separate pages. Not sure I like that enough to continue. Thinking most of them should get some revisions anyway. And planning to do some newer “Ret-Cons” for older characters anyway.

The Leader! Ain’t it something the way radiation/radioactive waste works in the “narrative universe” of Marvel Comics? Out here in the Real World, you get caught in a Gamma Ray Bomb ™ explosion (if they were to exist), you’ll die a painful, lingering death from that radiation exposure. In the Marvel Universe, though? It’s better than a Cialis/Modafinil cocktail, my friend. In the case of “The Leader”, he went from a “low-IQ” minimum wage janitor to hyper-intelligent delusional would-be world conqueror.

As was the way of comics at the time he first appeared in 1964, what with the focus on action and shaky plots, he got his ass handed to him on a fairly frequent basis by the [Incredible] Hulk. As with MODOK and Doctor Octopus, it’s taken decades for writers to really start making such cool concept villains with strange appearances or names “scary”, seem like real threats, both to our heroes and the populace of the worlds they live in.

His first appearance in the game of completely sucked, even at the time. I don’t even want to get into it. So, just going to post the “Ret-Con Collage” I made for him (“Ret-Con Trait” imbedded into it), and an extra collage of all the much cooler designs that we’ve recieved since this one.

Enjoy. YMMV.

Ret-Con XP090 The Leader

HC The Leader -traditional- Mash

Wish-List & Ret-Con: The Wizard (v1.7)

EDIT (12 SEP 2013): This post was posted back on 05 APR 2013 as a “Wish-List” entry for The Wizard. Decided to delete an older “Ret-Con” post for the SINISTER Rookie-Experienced-Veteran version, and I would update the picture here to include the “Ret-Con Trait”. So, the title of the post may include “Ret-Con”, but the RCT is in the pic. Plus, wanted to add a little something, in light of another good TV show coming to an end…

The Wizard! Or “The Wingless Wizard”, if you want to go “old school”. First appeared in Strange Tales in the 1960’s as a bit more of a “generic criminal scientist” facing off against the Human Torch. Huge ego. He was a successful scientist and inventor as well as a celebrity of sorts before turning to crime (he’s like an evil Carl Sagan or Stephen Hawking, kinda). Part of his more public celebrity revolved around his skills as a stage magician, escape artist, and chess master (evil Houdini, evil Kasparov or Fischer, I suppose). His inventions, knowledge, and skill level rival Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic of the Fantastic Four) and Dr. Victor von Doom. Thing is, he’s never capitalized on his inventions or skills to the benefit of Humankind, only for his own profit and sense of prestige and power. As always, you wonder what other shady, “shadow economy” dastardliness he gets involved in, to fund his lifestyle. Considering the resources he seems to have often at his disposal, he seems set for life. Like the “Terrible” Tinkerer, he’s supplied some tech to certain other villains on occasion. 

Ret-Con_Wizard_Mash-UpAnyway, he eventually started fighting the entirety of the FF more than *just* the Torch, and has been involved in every incarnation of the Frightful Four (so far as I know). In looking for pictures for this “collage”, I didn’t realise he’d made some handful appearances in the various Marvel cartoon series too.

 Although his main schtick is manipulation of gravity to produce varied effects, he has dabbled in robotics, dimensional travel, genetic manipulation, time-distortion, and mind control. He apparently has Ph.D.’s in Applied Physics and Sub-Atomic Particles.

I am not up on recent Marvel comics storylines. What information I’ve read on this “supervillain MENSA” he was involved in called “the Intelligencia” doesn’t seem that coherent. I’m not sure why they were together, other than to fight the Hulk, but dissolved after some trouncing by a Doctor Octopus-lead Sinister Syndicate. (Which sounds cool, as I’m a fan of Doc Ock. He got boring for awhile, as writers couldn’t seem to break him out of this “seeking revenge on Spider-Man” rut they’d put him in. From what I hear lately, modern writers are playing up the “Master Planner” criminal scientist/organizational genius he used to have in the Lee/Ditko era; think: “Prof. Moriarty” from Sherlock Holmes. But, I digress….)

In HeroClix: We have the three versions, which I’ve covered a bit in a “Ret-Con” post (check it out if you have the time). So, the following “Wish List” of things I’d like to see may retread some of that post.

  • All the old REV standard powers his REV was given still work: Mind Control, Running Shot, Telekinesis, Incapacitate, Toughness and Energy Shield/Deflection (both could represent either the armor of the force field), Outwit, and Perplex.
  • As with my “Ret-Con” of the REV, I always though Force Blast was appropriate.
  • There’s an old Feat card called “Whirlwind” that allows a Force Blast user to divvy-up the FB die-roll among multiple adjacent opposing characters. That seems appropriate.
  • Or, maybe Quake. Or some Quake/FB combo effect.
  • Would like to see him get the SwitchClix treatment, both to encourage creation of different dials for him, as well as for use on a “Frightful Four” Team Base.
  • Wouldn’t mind seeing a Vehicle for that “Gravity Orb” transport thing the Frightful Four used a few times.
  • What might be cool is some sort of Vehicle/Team Base combo. Wonder if WizKids has considered this approach already?
  • One thing to keep in mind is that he has no real combat training. He has some experience now, sure. But he relies heavily on his tech, as well as working through his “select group of Minions” that is the Frightful Four. So,… average to below-average attack values, with a Trait ability allowing varying modifiers depending on which of his standard powers he’s using? Or replacement attack values, under similar conditions?
  • His armor/harness is outfitted with his anti-grav tech, for flight. Used to be just one of his discs attached to the vest, but seems like it’s a bit more “integral” now. Depending on the art team, his armor is either slim as he is or “modern Iron Man bulky” (and, annoyingly since the IRON MAN movies, sometimes has a central power core, a visual that more artists seem to have slapped onto every darn Marvel power-suit wearing character whenever they get the chance; hope that runs its course).
  • He keeps a supply of separate grav-discs ready. He’s used them, with a little of Trapster’s adhesives, by attaching them to opponent’s bodies, then Incapacitated them by making them float a few feet above the ground, or sending them into the stratosphere. I want to say he’s also used it to make targets “heavier”, but may be conflating him with the actions of a different villain character. He’s attached his grav-discs to opponents under both ranged combat and close combat conditions.
  • His “Wonder Gloves” or “Power Gloves”: Allows him to shoot beams of concussive energy. He’s used them to generate a personal force field (may be part of the or supplemented by his armor now), as well as manipulate objects in a way that mimics Super Strength. (Wizard is not a “bulked up” guy. I imagine, though, as a trained and accomplished escape artist that he keeps fit, probably does a lot of yoga. But, he’s not any sort of body-builder.)
  • The use of force fields may indicate that Impervious or Invulnerability may be appropriate, as might be Barrier.
  • Keywords: Frightful Four, Scientist, and Armor, Intelligencia as well.

Going to “break” the bullet points up a bit. The next run will be a list of existing Special Powers or Traits that might be reused for Wizard, or adapted to him.

  • Telepathic Coordination: Once during your turn (but not during another action), as a free action Saturn Girl modifies by +2 the attack value or defense value of any other target friendly character for the duration of an action. Saturn Girl must be within 10 squares of and have a clear line of fire to the target.
  • Datarangs: Give Batman a ranged combat action and modify his damage value by -1; the line of fire for the attack is not affected by hindering terrain or characters.
  • Lasso: Wonder Woman can use Incapacitate as if she has a range value of 8.
  • Concussive Blast: When Cyclops makes a ranged combat attack and deals damage to an opposing character, the character is knocked back equal to the damage dealt.
  • Energy Harpoon: Ahab can use Psychic Blast. When Ahab is given a ranged combat action, his line of fire ignores characters and hindering terrain.
  • Power Amplification: Fabian Cortez can use Perplex, but he can target only other friendly characters. When he uses Perplex, roll a d6. on a result of 1-3, Perplex is used normally. On a 4 or 5, the chosen combat value is modified by +2 or -2 and the target is dealt 2 damage at the end of the turn. On a 6, the chosen combat value is modified by +3 or -3 and the target is dealt 1 unavoidable damage at the end of the turn.
  • Strategic Database: Danger can use Probability Control. Her powers can’t be countered, and no opposing characters 10 or fewer squares from Danger to which she has a clear line of fire at the beginning of any action can have their combat values modified during that action if the modified value would be higher.
  • Minions of the Leader: The Leader can use Mastermind and Toughness. When the Leader uses Mastermind, he can treat any friendly character 4 or fewer squares away to which he has a clear line of fire as if it were adjacent.
  • Mind Games: Mastermind can use Mind Control and Stealth. Modify Mastermind’s attack value by +2 when he uses Incapacitate or Mind Control.
  • Cruel Experiment: Give Dark Beast a power action and roll a d6. On a result of 3-6, give an action token to an adjacent opposing character with zero or one action token. On a 5 or 6, deal unpreventable damage to an adjacent opposing character. On a 6, deal 1 damage to each adjacent opposing character. Apply all applicable results, which may be split among different characters.
  • Phantom Zone Projector: Supernova can use Incapacitate and Phasing/Teleport. When Supernova uses Incapacitate and successfully hits an opposing character, he may either resolve Incapacitate normally or give no action tokens to the target and instead immediately put the target in any starting area 8 or fewer squares from himself.
  • Inseparable: Modify Shimmer’s defense value by +2 if she has a clear line of fire to Mammoth.
  • Suspendium: Dr. Sivana can use Incapacitate. When he uses Incapacitate and successfully hits a target, also give an action token to each of up to two additional opposing characters that have zero action tokens and are adjacent to the target.
  • Mad Inventor: Dr. Sivana can use Barrier, Energy Explosion, Phasing/Teleport, Psychic Blast, Pulse Wave, Quake, Smoke Cloud, and Support. If while using this power, he makes an attack roll that results in a critical miss, deal 1 additional unavoidable damage to Dr. Sivana.
  • World’s Wickedest Scientist: Dr. Sivana can use Mastermind. He can choose to deal the damage to a friendly character that has a higher point value if that character shares a team ability or keyword with Dr. Sivana; damage transferred using World’s Wickedest Scientist can not later be dealt to Dr. Sivana.
  • Manipulate: The Chief can use Leadership. If Leadership would allow you to add an action to your action total for the turn, you can instead put a Manipulate token on the Chief’s character card if there are two or fewer Manipulate tokens on the card. When another friendly character would take pushing damage, you can remove a Manipulate token from the Chief’s character card and roll a d6; on a result of 3-6, the character ignores the pushing damage.
  • Strategist: The Chief can use Perplex and Mastermind (he can deal the damage to a friendly character that has a higher point value if that character shares a keyword with the Chief); damage transferred using Strategist may not be later dealt to the Chief.

*whew!* That’s the tip of the iceberg, and all I have time for today. There are a lot of appropriate SP’s and Traits in the game now, and I’m all for “reduce, reuse, recycle” and “semi-standardization of effects” when it comes to them.

May add in more later, time and other factors permitting.

Wish-List: Swarm (Marvel; v2.2)

EDIT (18 AUG 2012): Okay, WizKids previewed the “Flock of Bats” this week as part of its DC HeroClix BATMAN set previews, giving us what are in effect “3D Bystander Tokens”, a sculpt on a base that shows only one set of stats (like a Bystander Token, thus costing points to add to your force and functioning like a character).

In light of that, I’m pulling this “Wish-List” post forward in time from last January, slapping in an inspirational mash-up picture, and going to hope WizKids can get us a similarly inspired Swarm. Because, damn, I’ve been asking for this. 🙂

I hope that they can apply this kinda thing to other characters as well. Aquaman has already come up as a “candidate” over on HCRealms.com by one of his fans.

And soon thereafter I threw out names like: Marvel’s villain Swarm. Madrox the Multiple Man. DC’s Multiplex or Silent Majority. Marvel’s version of Scarecrow, with his “murder of crows”. Marvel’s own Falcon now has the power to telepathically communicate with birds (Aquaman-style, almost). DC’s modern Mr. Terrific has his high-tech “T-Spheres”.

Then there’s the possibility of “Constructs” for any of DC’s Lanterns. Not necessarily as “Attachable Items”, either. What’s so neat about the recent three “Flock of Bats” previewed is that they all have separate point-costs, just like Bystander Tokens. Or “generics”. You can field them without the Batman characters they’re intended for (you lose some benefits, obviously, but they’re *cheap* points-wise). So, in the area of “Constructs”, you have the potential for Lanterns or for a version of Quasar (Marvel) or other matter or energy manipulating characters (or the “summoning” types of magickal characters) to bring in a small “team” of these cheapies at the start of the game. Maybe being able to ‘summon’ some back after K.O. Maybe. Not always, just “maybe”, depending on the character and the interests of game balance.

Gotta say, just loving what WizKids’ design is pumping out since the advent of the Era of Special Powers and Character Cards.

Anyway, Original body of the post from back on 24 JAN 2012:

ZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzSWARM!zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.  Another oddball Marvel Comics supervillain.  Marvel has milked the “Nazi angle” for its supervillains, and in Marvel’s fictional universe, Dr. Fritz von Meyer here was one of Adolf Hitler’s favorite scientists.  (I’ll bet Arnim Zola was jealous…) Shorthand: The irradiated skeleton is not only the “haunted home”  of the spirit of this dead Nazi scientist but also the “mobile home” of a swarm of mutated killer bees!  Gotta love the quirkiness, the weirdness of comics.  (I do.)

So far in HeroClix, this is what we have: A “Bystander Token” the MUTATIONS & MONSTERS set.

Wow! Isn’t that awesome?! …. Yeah, so….

On the one hand: I guess the cardboard “Bystander Token” works, in that you could play a “swarm team” of these “one-click wonders”.  At 11 points you could play 27 of them for a 297 point team.  Wow.  Awesome.  And your opponent would thank for finally giving him an excuse to use that single-target Energy Explosion instead of using his printed damage value.

On the other hand: He could be a really cool HeroClix piece in this day and age of Special Powers and Traits.  (Yes, the “pog” above debuted in this era, in MUTATIONS & MONSTERS specifically, but for whatever reason, WizKids missed the opportunity for something quirky.)

What I’d like to see:

  • Double-base (the “peanut base”).
  • Sculpt: make use of some sort of amber-colored translucent material, “bubbly”.
  • Duo attack.
  • Poison.
  • Trait granting Flight, because I think we should avoid the {Wing} symbol, which would grant the Carry ability as well; He has Carried in the comics, yes, but we don’t need that for clix, would rather give him some mobility while saving points for a few other cool things.
  • Smoke Cloud is not out of the question, and I do see him as a nuisance piece, a “board control” piece.  Would like to see a Special Power that combines effects we’ve seen before, like  AA#026 Nightshade’s “From the Land of Nightshades” SP with AA#005 Floronic Man’s two SP’s, “Wilt Plant Growth” and “In Touch With The Green”.
  • Or, some kind of “Character Token” or “Construct Token” generating Special Power.  Examples include recent characters like CA#030 Falcon and CA#056 Squirrel Girl, DC75#043 Larfleeze, or — OR! — more like CD#225 The Spectre’s “Angry Spirit” SP/T; at least in the way it generates the Tokens (but not the stats the tokens can have).
  • It would be neat for that last one if he could get the “Removables/Detachables” game element treatment, with some 3D “swarm cloud” objects that were detachable from the peanut base.  (As with Squirrel Girl, that could be a good way to limit how many he can generate and have on the map at any one time.)
  • With such a”detachable” 3D  element, there’s an excuse to keep his ranged attack abilities at 4 or 3 range value and one target.  Otherwise, I’d prefer the “standard” 6 range, and give him 3 {Bolt}’s for “hedge your bets” ranged attacking.
  • That he be worthy of the Unique designation.  Yes, I said before he’d be more nuisance than heavy-hitting center-piece.  Doesn’t mean he can’t be “powerfully annoying”.  No he won’t be all that dangerous to any character with damage reducers.
  • Actually would want to see him at Rare level, if not Super-Rare.
  • **Under 100 points!** (Crucial.)
  • “Set Theme”: as my tags indicate, “Villains”, “Spider-Man”, or even “Marvel Monsters” set themes would be appropriate.
  • Keywords: Well, Scientist for one, Animal and Monster would work, and Exterminators (not much of a team, that one).
  • Team Abilities: None (though he’s a Spider-Man enemy, mostly, can’t justify the Sinister Syndicate TA at all).

EDIT (2014-12-16): Saw this post was getting some traffic, checked it out, noticed some spelling errors, and then corrected those errors. Added some tags. No other changes made.