Suggestions needed: Taking down a Speedster

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Suggestions needed: Taking down a Speedster

Postby Blacklight » Fri Aug 08, 2003 5:26 am

I'd like to ask the collective wisdom's advice on interesting ways to bring down a Speedster PC.

Here's the situation - My group's resident speedster, Mach Ten, came with an excellent background, including a nemesis NPC called Nightshade. In last week's thrilling episode, Mach Ten had tailed the villains' getaway car to their secret HQ somewhere in the warehouse district. Rather than communicate this to the rest of the group, he decided to go on and do a preliminary recon before reporting back. Since the session was drawing to a close and I wanted to end on a cliffhanger, I had him run straight into a cloud of tear gas that brought him to a halt, more or less face to face with, you've guessed it, Nightshade. Cue "We meet again" speech, and fade to black. "To be continued..."

Sooo.. I've spoken with the player, and told him I'm going to cheat like heck to make sure he's captured, hog tied and hung upside down from the rafters so I can do some villain gloating/plot exposition, and he's perfectly happy with that. But rather than simply handwave it, I'd like to give him at least the illusion of a sporting chance of an escape.

We have Nightshade, whose powers are currently undefined (but we've agreed is your generic "sexy villainess" in style) and a potentially unlimited supply of goons with stun guns. Mach Ten has all the stuff that goes with a speedster - high Defence, high REF save & unfeasibly high initiative. The setting is a goods yard round the back of a warehouse.

One route I don't want to go down is that of making Nightshade a mentalist, as the last adventure already featured a female mind-bender, and I don't want to repeat that shtick too often.

Any suggestions for good anti-speedster tactics would be greatly appreciated.
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Postby drfeck » Fri Aug 08, 2003 5:47 am

anit-speedster tricks: i know a few, because so many pc's in my game went that rote: (Sigh-so much for a balanced team...)
1-damage shields-aka energy fields-can't use evasion on those
2-land mines-big fun!
3-area effect attacks, inculding area effect dazzles and snares-aka glue.
4-sonic attacks that do not involve direct beams of sound, rather just a painful high pitched wine of general noise.
5-harmless looking objects wired to explode or generate electricty
6-speaking of electricty-tanks of water filled with electric eels, suddenly
dumped on the floor
7-super fast computer controlling lasers turrents that target fast moving objects-like the pc's
8-use of a classic-how one man with a cold gun could stop a man moving at the speed of light-icy floor.
9-more classics-1000's of marbles on the floor
10-combine 2(or more) of the above-such as in the animated episode of world's finest-1000's marbles that when they touch each other explode like grenades.
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Postby Sunhound » Fri Aug 08, 2003 5:58 am

Alright, here's my go at it.

Give Nightshade dark-based powers, say cast darkness over an area, a shadow-based teleport, blindsight, and perhaps a shadow-manipulation ability that works like Green Lantern's ring.

Then give her goons darkvision/blindsight googles to go with their stun guns.

Mach Ten sees his arch-enemy for a heartbeat, then she brings down the night. Nightshade teleports as her first action to get away from any blind rush Mach Ten might try, and her goons, who can see in her darkness, begin blazing away with their stun rifles.

The dark gives the goons concealment, making it tougher for Mach Ten to hit them, plus he cannot tell who is firing at him at any given time, so he loses any Dex bonuses to Defense. When they finally drop him, Nightshade can wrap him in coils of shadow and suspend him from the roof as bait for his herioc partners.

Of course, if Mach Ten has any sort of blindsight or darkvision, this plan is hosed. :) Good luck!
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Postby Dr Archeville » Fri Aug 08, 2003 6:03 am

Give Nightshade Animation (Limit-Shadows only). Have the Shadows she animates have the powers of Drain-Strength & Incorporeality (w/ Ghost Touch). Once Speedy's drained to Str 0 by a dog-pile of Shadows, he can't move. Alternateively, give her Alt Form/Shadow, with the Str-draining touch.

Draining Speedy of a few points of Dex would likely throw off his equilibirum & make him mopre prone to crashing ("unsafe at high speeds"), too.
Last edited by Dr Archeville on Fri Aug 08, 2003 6:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Zhure » Fri Aug 08, 2003 6:05 am

Nah, give her duplication 2. So speedboy wacks a combat-weak duplicate, which goes poof, and dupe 2 has time to get out the villain diatribe.

These duplicates are "shadows" of the villainess, quite appropriate for someone named Nightshade.

Similar effects can be done with hologramatic messages. :)
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Postby Novac » Fri Aug 08, 2003 6:19 am

Or just do like I plan to do when we first encounter a speedster, mind blast them. ;)
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Postby Luke de Sade » Fri Aug 08, 2003 7:03 am

The area obscure with the teleport sounds good.

Speedsters are a pain in the royale! Good thing my players are point-hungry, and all of them took a weakness (and they're wishing they didn't, hehehe). Well, my speedster took a weakness that when he's in contact with wood, all his powers shut off. And I do mean all! And it doesn't matter if he's wearing sneakers. He can't use his powers on wooden floors. So what do I do? He wanted to transfer from his college (Freedom City College) to Claremont Academy. So what does he have to do? Go get his transfer papers at his old college. He goes there and what do you know? The Green Man is attacking the campus. So the player (Hyper-G) is locked inside the campus facing an opponent which his powers do nothing against. Hehehehe. That was really sweet watching him squirm (by the way, the walls of the campus were covered with roots...so was most of the floor). So he finds a way out and runs as fast as hell to get the help of Übermann (the brick) who almost got his royale handed to him by the Green Man.
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Postby desufnoc » Fri Aug 08, 2003 8:23 am

Personally, I like the good old simple bluff + haymaker. ;)

Nothing like being tricked without even a power used.

"How do you run so fast with your shoes untied?"

"My shoe's aren't untied ... wait a minute!"

*Smack*
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Postby Sketchpad » Fri Aug 08, 2003 8:57 am

I would go a less obvious route ...
First off, make her an assassin of incredible calibur ;) For powers, I would go one or more of the routes below:

1 - Give her a form of muscle control that causes people's muscle to cramp and spaz as she hits them. Define it as a Mental attack, but give it a physical effect ;)

2- Neutralize is one of the best powers to use against most metas. Giver her some good fighting skills, a dart gun with some serious toxins and the Neutralize power and presto, she can stop SO much more than a speedster ;)

3- Give her the mimic ability with a limitation: Nemesis ... if she's confronted with power A, she gains the foil of it. Speedster? Perhaps she gains a form of momentum/kinetic control that uses his speed against him. Fire projector? She gains ice powers ... etc

4- Make her the Batman sort. Ever read Teen Titans: The Judas Contract? If not, read it ... it's so go at making characters that foil others. Give her a small army of agents at her disposal and have them observe the character, learning everything they can. Finally, while in his secret ID and someplace VERY public, she attacks him and, if he defeats her, use the "Careful, pajama boy ... if you hurt me, someone innocent will die" bit. As the hero hesitates, have her inject him with a fast acting poison or disease that will not only slow him down, but act as a Dex drain.

heh ... and people wonder why mt group calls me evil ;)
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Postby Neo » Fri Aug 08, 2003 10:59 am

Why not power her after her names sake.

Nightshade aka Solanum nigrum or Black Nightshade is a very poisonous plant, and even the vast majority of the animal kingdom avoid it due to its toxicity.

You could play on this by allowing Nightshade to possess poisonous qualities on a touch akin to Drain, that could reduce Mach Tehn's super speed or Dex/Con or all keeping him at normal levels. With maybe her kiss having near fatal poisonous traits.

the actual plant affects the gastrointestinal tract and the central nervous system very very badly all down to its major Toxin solanine, which is a alkaloidal glycoside and many glycosides have powerful effects on the body.

The worst of the symptoms of Nightshade poisoning is vomiting, passing blood, depression, difficulty breathing, incoordination, weakness, collapse, convulsions and in some cases Death (much more common in people than animals). the actual plant is roughly poisonous on a 1 pound consumed per 10lb of body mass ratio.

so taking this into account, it seems to me basing her powers on her namesake would provide you the ideal means to slow down and keep Mach tehn worried to me.
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Postby Jason Starr » Fri Aug 08, 2003 12:28 pm

I would combine all of the above. Give her darkness based powers, skills akin to a batman type (especially hideing and sneaking) and a poison attack. To top it all off, make her creepy as hell and give her the startle feat. Do the above and you may not need to bend the rules at all.
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Postby Strict31 » Fri Aug 08, 2003 3:21 pm

Any number of powers in the book can be used to take away the Speedster's footing. Technically, you don't need powers to spread some motor oil on the floor around you...And if she's a villainess, one assumes she'll have some capability at tactics. Lead him into her abode, that sort of thing. That way, she can shape and plan the battlefield....and that way, she doesn't need to worry about the potential of losing initiative to a high init speedster. Prepare a contained route that the speedster has little or no choice to make. Prep the floor with something sticky or slippery, or some long duration area effect power. Mach-10 runs along exactly the route he's supposed to and runs full tilt into the area of effect. Suddenly, his super-speed is no longer an asset, and she ties him up with his own underwear.

Any plan you put together has to take into account his initiative bonuses. And that means you're gonna have to use tactics in addition to "power A with Extra B".

Just my opinion. Know your enemy.
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Postby Sketchpad » Fri Aug 08, 2003 7:27 pm

Strict31 wrote:Just my opinion. Know your enemy.
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Amen to that Strict :)
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Postby Blacklight » Sat Aug 09, 2003 4:20 am

Thanks to everyone for the advice. I'm going for a mix of all the suggestions. Nightshade will have Obscure, Drain (physical attributes), a shadow teleport (can only move from shadow to shadow, including her Obscure field) good Bluff and Taunt and a scarily high Intimidate with the Startle feat. The area around the base will be liberally booby trapped.

So odds are Mach Ten wins initiative first round. If he tries to rush her (which he might, since he holds her responsible for his parents' death) he runs into the tripwire attached to a couple of boxes marked "FACE TOWARDS ENEMY". That uses the demolitions skill check of the guy who set them as an attack roll - bound to have been an expert who Took 10, which I reckon will be enough to hit even the speedster.

Once Nightshade gets her action she brings on the night, and starts with intimidates/taunts/bluffs as appropriate hoping to get Mach flat footed. Once that happens, she Turnabout teleports in and hits him with the Drain touch. And all this time her IR equipped minions are

If instead of mixing it up, Mach Ten decides discretion is a better part of valour - well he's going to run into more booby traps loaded with KO gas. Which will at least slow him down enough for Nightshade to hit him with the Obscure again.

And if he does somehow get through all that, well quite frankly he deserves to escape.

Thanks again to everyone who suggested stuff. I'll let you know how it turns out after our session on Sunday.
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Postby Blacklight » Mon Aug 11, 2003 3:30 am

The session went really well on Sunday. Here's how it went down.

The scene was set with Mach Ten faced off against Nightshade, with about half a dozen minions scattered around on rooftops. Mach got initiative (naturally) and the player decided Mach's hatred overcame common sense and he charged her. She took the blow unfazed, then brought down the darkness (Obscure) and stepped back, Taunting him about the death of his parents. The minions then opened fire, but missed. Mach knew he had to get out of the darness radius, so he decided to just try running in a straight line. But Blinded and on unfamiliar territory, he misjudged his line (botched INT check) and ran into an obstacle. Nightshade then used her used her Turnabout teleport stunt to hit Mach for a Drain attack, dropping his DEX by 8 points. Combined with the blindness, this knocked his defence down enough for the next Minion volley to score a couple of hits, one of which put him out.

So I got my scene with Mach trussed up like a turkey, and managed to spill a little of the metaplot to him. Job done. When the cavalry arrived and Mach Ten broke loose, Nightshade used the same tactics to great effect, getting Mach down to DEX 2, and tagging the team's Brick and Psychic with a well timed Fusillade attack. In the end those two took her down with a great bit of teamwork, the Psychic locking on to her telepathically and downloading her location to the Brick via Group Link. Next time she 'ported in for a surprise attack... BAM!

And I have to give credit to my players, they deliberately gave me an opening for her to escape at the end of the session. They had her tied up in an alleyway, fully illuminated by a truck's headlights to prevent her from using the shadow teleport. When Mach Ten and another character started interrogating her a little too forcefully, the Brick felt obliged to stop them, so he reached across to pull them off, casting a shadow large enough for her to use, and with a wink...she was gone. Although I felt a little guilty about robbing them of the capture, everyone thought it was a great ending. I guess I'm lucky that my players really get the comic book idiom.

Thanks again to everyone who came up with ideas. I now have a pretty cool recurring villainess who can give the heroes a run for their money. And I must have Mach's player scared, as the first thing he did with his PP reward was invest in a pair of Darkvision goggles 8)
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Postby Novac » Mon Aug 11, 2003 6:10 am

Awesome session man. Any plans for future updates?
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