Just as the non-player characters will define the world the player characters live in, use the player characters to define the world of the non-player characters. Look at things from a player’s perspective when determining the motives of non-player characters. There is a tendency, sometimes, to treat your non-player characters as automaton that exist solely to go up against the player characters. In a sense, this is true. But the NPCs don’t know that that’s their only reason for existence, so they shouldn’t act like it.
Villains will have families that they’re worried about. They’ll have motivations for their actions. They’ll usually want to leave when it looks like they could be captured.
Generally, I assume approximately one out of every million people are Special.
A Normal is anyone who is not given special consideration by the game system. Normals tend to die easily. They may fall unconscious from a single heavy punch. Normals are easily controlled by magic and mind-control.
The first type are the kidnap victims, the police liaison, the reporter who covers the superhero beat, and other Normals who are still active in the story.
There are two types of Normals. Those who occasionally interact with non-Normals, and those who don’t. Usually, you’ll be dealing with the first type.
You will occasionally need a normal very quickly. When a stray shot goes into a crowd, when a villain decides to take a hostage or two, or when a hero gets mugged. When you are randomly creating a normal, use d100 divided by d4 for the age. For abilities, use 3d4+3 for 3d6 abilities, and 4d4+4 for the 4d6 abilities and attributes.
If these are Normals of the second type, and you have the time, roll twice for each ability and attribute, and take the roll that is closest to the average (10/11 for 3d6, and 14 for 4d6).
“We’re different than most people, Mitch. We’re Better.”
First, Normals are more likely to die if they get hit for DP. If a Normal is hit for DP, the Editor must make an injury/death roll even if the Normal still has more than 0 DP. Use the number of DP lost, not the number of DP less than 0.
All attacks against Normals are Death Shots, with no saving throw allowed to bypass the DP portion of the attack. Use the Random Body Location chart to determine the kind of Death Shot. If a Normal gets hit by a Death Shot (from an attacker or a Massive Body Attack), the Normal does not use VP to reduce the Death Shot.
If a group of Normals are being affected, the entire group gets only one save vs. Willpower.
Normals subjected to mind control attacks, mind probes, illusions, and similar effects must save vs. Willpower before being allowed the normal saving throw applicable to the effect.
Normals do not get to re-roll ones when they make Action Rolls, although they do re-roll for ‘passive rolls’ such as the Injury Roll.
You can follow the progression further out if you want, but why bother?
If one person in a family is Special (not Normal), others are more likely to be Special also. Parents and siblings of a Special character have a 1 in 10 chance of being Special themselves. Grandparents, uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces, step-brothers, and step-sisters have a 1 in 100 chance of being Special. Great grandparents, great uncles, great aunts, and cousins have a 1 in 1000 chance.
If both parents are Special, each child has a 50% chance of being Special. A true zygotic twin is 50% likely to be Special if the other twin is Special
When you are creating villains and NPC heroes randomly, don’t roll three sets of abilities. Just roll one set.
You can use these rules as needed to randomly flesh out your non-player characters.
There are four aspects to a non-player character’s personality. These do not, of course, completely define a personality. They do provide a good measure of how the non-player character will act in a comic book. Normals will be more average. For them, use 3d4+3, instead of 3d6.
Sociability (3d6): This measures how sociable the character is. At 3, the character always prefers to be alone. At 18, the character always prefers to be in a large group of people.
Morality (3d6): This measures the character’s moral code, or how far the character is willing to go to get what he or she wants. At 3, the character is motivated entirely by self-interest. At 18, the character is unlikely to harm others at any cost.
Honor (3d6): This measures the degree to which the character will keep his or her word. A character with an honor of 3 is completely dishonorable. A character with an honor of 18 is completely honorable and trustworthy.
Outlook (3d6): A character with a low outlook is pessimistic. Such a character will complain that the situation can only get worse. A character with a high outlook is optimistic, and believes that things will always get better.
Please, don’t succumb to harmful stereotypes when playing non-player characters of a different sex or sexual preference.
Half of human non-player characters are female, and the other half male. You’ll have to decide what percentage of alien races are what sexes.
Four out of a hundred non-player characters will be homosexual. Or, if you want to take a cue from Bem (1985), use a Sexuality roll of 3d6. A score of 8 to 18 indicates heterosexuality. This will be different in different cultures, but follows from the generally strong societal pressure towards heterosexuality. Scores of 6 or 7 indicate homosexuality, and scores of 3 to 5 indicate bisexuality. This will also vary from society to society, as there may also be pressures to prefer mates of exclusively one sex, or there may be pressures towards bisexuality. Again, you’ll have to decide what homosexual, bisexual, and heterosexual mean, if anything, for alien races.
Marriage: Non-player characters older than 16 have a chance of being married. Subtract their age from 16, and multiply by 2, for the chance that the character is married. This chance will never be greater than 50%. If the character is married, divide the roll by 4 and add to 16. This tells you how old the character was when the character married.
An non-player character who is married may have children. This chance is 50% plus the number of years the character has been married, but can be no greater than 65%.
For that matter, what makes a Tick a superhero?
Money, fame, pride. All the standard motivations are there. Some are in it for the money, some for the glory, some because it’s a challenge.
And why kidnap a hero who hasn’t got any friends?
Some supervillains try to avoid super heroes. Some plan for superheroes, but don’t care. Some actively seek out superheroes. When a villains beat a hero, they’ll usually finish what they came for and leave. A villain will rarely kidnap or kill an opponent unless that was the purpose all along. Doing so incurs the wrath of the hero’s friends.
Remember, beating up on a superhero, in and of itself, is not likely to result in a jail term.
Despite their horrible reputation, super villains tend to leave Normals alone. Normal people have this horrible tendency to die, and that means long jail terms. Beating up on super heroes is much more satisfying. This isn’t to say, of course, that a desperate super villain won’t take hostages to avoid being caught. But it’s only the really desperate or really crazy villains who actively seek non-super heroes to harm.
In the course of a super hero’s career, some villains will start showing up more and more often. When a super villain starts showing up just to get revenge on a superhero, the villain is well on the way to becoming an archenemy.
Archenemies can wreak havoc on a superhero. Especially the intelligent ones. These are the super villains who will take advantage of super heroes without secret identities. The really smart ones will also take advantage of a flimsy secret identity. They will collect generally known information on the superhero, and make whatever conclusions they can.
Some super villains will collect such information on any possible enemy--basically, every superhero in their area. Such villains will have files with whatever information they can find. They will often have underlings whose sole purpose is seeking out more information, in the newspapers, libraries, and office of records.
Why are heroes heroes? Why are villains villains? Without delving too far into philosophy and psychology, there are still many levels to that question.
Why do heroes and villains wear costumes? Because they can. Fashion is very important in today’s society. Every year fashion shows parade lines of clothing that no one will dare wear in public. As a superhero or villain, you can wear whatever you want to. Unless you’re really out of line, the only people to laugh at your costume will be other heroes and villains. And you can blast them.
The first super-powered being to go public put on a costume and ran around bashing criminals. So the second super-powered being put on a costume and ran around bashing him. Thus you have the first superhero and supervillain. After that, it just seemed like the normal thing to do. If you had superpowers, you put on a costume and either fought criminals or became one.
Heroes have different reasons for being heroes. Depending on their origin, heroes may defend law and order, they may simply help people, they may specifically go after supervillains, or they may be on the run from someone else.
MadStar wants to create a world based on peace, love, and order. To do so, he must first destroy the old world. Oh, well.
Villains usually have more clearly defined goals. Some are monomaniacs. They want one thing, and don’t care how they get it. Most monomaniacs want to rule the world.
Greed is the most common villainous motivation. Villains want money, or power, or both.
Other villains are on the run from someone, and they’ll do anything they can to get away or throw their pursuers off the trail.
Hoo, boy. Now we’re into deep doo-doo. Many people like to think that the majority of criminals choose to be criminals. And, of course, they do. But the choice may not be completely up to them. If crime were based solely on the individual, rather than the environment, we would expect criminals to be spread throughout the socioeconomic layers of our society. Instead, most criminals, especially those involved in violent crimes, are, were, and probably always will be, poor. Just a healthy note of reality as you design villains for your players to bash.
When you create your villains and other non-player characters, leave some room for retcons. As your campaign grows, you’ll probably want to add depth to the characters that the players meet. The best way to do this is to make your existing non-player characters more complex.
Technically, as Editor, you have an unlimited number of Editing Points at your disposal. However, you should never use Editing Points on a roll for which a player is using Editing Points. This interferes with the player’s concept for the character.
Only Archenemies and Master Villains should use Editing Points to modify die rolls. And the only time they’ll actually use them will be to escape those pesky heroes once it becomes obvious they’re about to lose. As Editor, you’ll have to decide how often you’ll use Editing Points to help archenemies and master villains escape. Usually, you’ll want to make it mysterious, or make it seem as if the villain planned ahead, if the villain successfully escapes. Remember to keep track of when you use Editing Points for a non-player character--this will increase the character’s skill levels, power rolls, or ability scores.
All Special characters can use Fate Points, even villains. When you do use a non-player character’s Fate Points to get that character out of a jam, make sure you have an explanation. Explanations of this type don’t have to be reasonable, they just have to work. Sure, it’s improbable that a meteor will strike the small outer space prison the villain’s body was stored in after she died, but in comics, it happens. Now she’s back, and she’s ready to party.
Remember that villains get Fate Points for the adventures they appear in (at the same rate as Player Characters).
When you convert heroes and villains from movies, comics, or novels, the most important aspect to convert is the style that drew you to that character in the first place. With that in mind, here are a few tips to use when you convert these heroes and villains to Men and Supermen game statistics.
Generally, the easiest ability to determine is strength. If you know the approximate mass and carrying capacity of the character, it’s simple enough to determine the character’s strength. Build is nearly as easy. All you need to determine that is height and mass. You do have to take into account constitution, though. Constitution, agility, charisma, learning, and newoen you’ll have to estimate from what you know of the character.
Remember that Men and Supermen abilities and powers are open ended and unlimited. You’ll find it easiest to convert characters from other superhero games, which also, usually, place no limits on ability scores.
If you’re converting a character from a non-heroic game, you’ll need to take quite a few liberties with the character’s ability scores. The ability to lift 1,000 kilograms makes a character superhumanly strong in many, if not most, non-superhero game systems. You’ll have to decide whether you want the character to be stronger than most normals or stronger than most super heroes.