By Patrick O'Duffy.
Now, I admit to being a superhero fanboy -- you put a DC tag on something, and I'm compelled to check it out. So, I'm maybe a little oversenstive to supers being treated less than perfectly by game systems, but the Masked Avenger template is just... well, dodgy.
My main problem with the template is that it's very heavily weighted towards one kind of MA -- the gun-toting vigilante style. It doesn't allow for martial arts heroes, gadgeteers, thinkers, stealth-types or most others -- just gunmen. Kind of boring. I don't have as big a problem with the skills -- an AV of 13 is fine, to be honest. It's just the lack of scope.
So, here are some variations of the MA template, which I'll use in my own campaign if someone wants to play one. They're pretty obvious changes, but hey, might as well put 'em forth.
Instead of 2 gun schticks, 2 weapon schticks is just as effective -- and with a Martial Arts AV of 13, you've got a good Nightwing-style PC.
You could allow 2 Fu schticks, but you'd have to remove or change the Chi cap (see section 2).
I'm not sure I'd allow a PC to mix and match -- a gun/fu combo, for example. Not unless it sounded cool, at any rate.
The (Chi 2) limit really puts a dampener on any PC who wants a martial-arts capable MA. I'd remove it altogether, or perhaps put a [Max 5] cap on it instead -- a little better than an Ex-Special Forces fighter, but not treading on the Martial Artist's toes.
Then there's the max on Fix-It and Intimidation. Why? By limiting the Fix-It level, you cut out the whole "utility belt" thing, which is kinda keen. And the Intimidation ceiling is presumably to avoid a serious blowout on intimidating mooks -- but so what? They're mooks -- named characters don't scare so easily. I'd drop the Intimidation ceiling altogether, and raise the Max on Fix-It to 14, to avoid clashing with the Techie.
I wouldn't go all out with this -- you don't want super-powers in a FS game if you can help it, since they have the wrong feel. But a few touches, like the Shadow's hypnosis or Quantum & Woody's energy bracers would add character.
(What's that? Who are Quantum and Woody, you ask? Quantum and Woody, from Acclaim Comics, is the funniest superhero book on the market right now, with great art, terrific writing, and a kid sidekick who's really a kid -- as in a young goat. Q&W has a very FS-feel to it, and is a definite must read title. I plan to do FS write-ups as soon as the next issue comes out, since the police have all my back issues. End of Plug.)
In character creation, PC Masked Avengers can get the Derring-Do schtick by sacrificing 1 skill bonus. I'd add to that by allowing a Unique schtick to be taken instead for the same cost, or for 2 skill points if they want Derring-Do as well. Just something -- like a web of contacts, a crimemobile, a wacky special weapon or scary laugh or something cool.
Last modified: March 10th, 1998; please send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.