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DC Heroes RPG – New Rules – Schticks

Character-specific tweaks and advantages


Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

Foreword

1/ Introduction and definition

Schticks are a specific category of Advantages. They are defined as signature moves, techniques and narrative elements allowing the characters to bend the rules in a small way, or to gain a small supplementary degree of freedom.

They can be compared to some extend to the Feats in some editions of Dungeons & Dragons or some Perks in the Hero System. They take their name from a fairly similar concept in Robin Laws’s critically acclaimed Feng Shui role-playing game .

Nearly all Schticks have been developed whilst writing up published fiction characters, in order to allow them to perform specific actions they were seen performing in the source material but did not entirely fit within the game rules.

Thus their reason for existing is that fiction heroes, villains and anti-heroes actually do that stuff, rather than “it was a neat idea I had for the game system”. In many cases, the concern was that a given character could perform a given action with relative ease, but did not seem to otherwise have the high Attributes, Hero Points or Skills necessary to pull off that specific trick.

Thus, many Schticks make a specific, signature action or plot twist easier or more affordable.

The large majority of Schticks have been needed to model “street level” or “action movie” characters – almost all early Schticks revolved around gunfighting scenes. Thus, some consider Schticks an additional way to make low-powered characters distinctive.

Since they denote ’signature moves’, ’special tricks’, ’a natural knack‘, ’secret long-lost techniques’, ’intensive training with an elite unit‘ and the like, Schticks are not built like other Advantages, Drawbacks, Powers, etc. Advantages are built to be fairly generic and broadly applicable, in order to keep the list of Advantages short.

Schticks, on the other hand, are nearly unique – most of them are only used by one or two characters in the entire roster on writeups.org. This is their nature – they are rare and remarkable.

(The glaring exception to this is the Paired Weapons Schtick, which in many genres could be considered a basic combat option and not a Schtick (which is why it is introduced first, out of alphabetic order).)

Likewise, Schticks tend to have names that are atmospheric and evocative of the genre and style of the story they were spotted in, rather than purposefully bland, generic descriptive names like other Advantages, Drawbacks, Skills…

2/ Character creation considerations

This document is not intended as a character creation aid. Since nearly all Schticks are so character-specific that shopping for a Schtick would be odd. Furthermore, since they come from character modelling and some only really make sense for NPCs, little serious thought has been given toward their proper cost in HPs.

As it stands, Players who think a Schtick in the list below is a perfect match for a character concept are encouraged to discuss with their friendly neighbourhood GM for greenlighting and pricing.

Note that Schticks are not the universal answer to modelling low-key unusual abilities. Do consider Specialisation (e.g., somebody who drives a given vehicle or uses a given weapon much better than anything else), a non-standard Subskill (e.g. Artist (Cooking), Charisma (Fast-Talk), Martial Artist (EV, only with an axe)…), or using Skilled Powers.

Past examples of the latter include :

  • Skilled Running: 04 (so it can be Pushed to deliver cheetah-like superhuman dashes)
  • Skilled Projectile Weapons (Requiring an Object of Opportunity) for people who can turn any throwable object into a deadly weapon
  • Skilled Superspeed (Only for Gadgetry Task Rolls)
  • Skilled Comprehend Languages (Only for Earth languages)
  • Skilled Reflection/Deflection (Only Against arrows, thrown weapons and the like)
  • One AP of Form Function Cold Immunity
  • Skilled Recall

The Accuracy Skill can also be an excellent mean to represent ’special techniques. The first two examples that come to mind are Accuracy (Trick Shots w/Firearms) or Accuracy (Duping Combat Manoeuvre), to achieve effects not unlike the Trick Shooter Schtick or the Group Control Schtick.

This is a finer approach than Schticks (you can set the AV to the exact AP you want), though many prefer the object-oriented, blocky aspect of Schticks.

For non-action ’special knacks’, Expertises and Scholars are often quite sufficient , giving significant bonuses in a specific area of Charisma (or Unskilled Character Interaction), Gadgetry, Scientist, Thief, etc.

And of course there are many Misc. Advantages (such as Biological Clock, Perfect Pitch, Mental Awakener, bones with a RV of their own, etc. – not to mention the infamous Life Support (Can Eat While Sleeping)) which are not Schticks, and are not included into the Schtick Compendium.

3/ Misc. methodological notes

Unlike much of our work, Schticks are not versioned, since… well, it was a bit useless to version them given the low reuse rate, so we never did. Please note, however, that in some very early character writeups, some of which may still be around on writeups.org, Schticks were a type of Scholar (ex: Scholar (Paired Firearms)). Which was very clumsy, rules-wise, and was quickly changed.

Likewise, some writeups still have some old version of the Schtick description — please ignore those and always use the version described in this document.

In some cases the author of a Schtick is unknown. If anyone has crediting information I don’t have, please let me know. If you are one of the authors of a particular bit of work and do not wish it to be included in this document, notify me and I will remove it.

If no author is specified, then I’m the author, sole owner before Ishtar and Grand Poobah Of The Exclusive Intellectual Property Of The Schtick, amen.

4/ Compiler’s note

I have been reluctant to assemble this document since my experience is that creating it is a recipe for misuse. When one scans a list of Schticks and decides what fits a given concept, the results are *very* different than when one gets stuck trying to write a character up because nothing really models a minor ability or tactic, then starts thinking about a Schtick that could model the ability.

The second approach is how Schticks were designed ; the first approach simply produces an excessive number of Schticks on character sheets, which does not match the vision for Schticks.

But since, obviously, writeups.org readers need descriptions of Schticks and those have to be centralised for easy maintenance and rational use…

Still, I’ll say it again : Schticks are not intended to be a part of character creation, or most character modelling. They are only there when you’re stuck as to how to model a knack.

5/ Versions history

v1: 06/06/01, e-mail, 14 Schticks
v2: 04/30/03, e-mail, compiling new material and discussion since v1
v3: 10/27/08, 3-parts e-mail and text file, compiled from the entirety of writeups.org + numerous bits of fine-tuning
V3.1 : 09/10/09, adaptation of v3 to web format, changes from peer review of v3, further clarifications and copy-editing

After that, the document keeps being tinkered with, with significant changes and additions being announced in the writeups.org update message after having been discussed by the community.

6/ This introduction is getting way too long

If you have questions, comments, corrections, or new submissions, please post them on the list. New input and material is always appreciated.

For a list of all articles like this one, see the Guide to new DC Heroes RPG rules.


List of Schticks

Name Category
— Paired Weapons Armed combat
All About ME !! Environment alteration
Ammunition freedom Environment alteration
Animal Friendship Environment alteration
Armor Optimization Special tactic
Blind-fighting Special tactic
Blindside Adept Special tactic
Bloodless Gunfighter Special tactic
Bottomless Reserve Other
Brainstorming Special tactic
Burst Of Strength Other
Bullet placement Special tactic
Called shot Armed combat
Clairvoyant Other
Conditional Recovery Powered combat
Contender Other
Contingency Plans Environment alteration
Crash Test Dummy Environment alteration
Damsel In Distress Environment alteration
Disarmer Special tactics
Dogpile Special tactic
Double-tapping Armed combat
Double Whammy Armed combat
Energy Funnel Powered combat
Fall Guy Environment alteration
Fast Draw Armed combat
Fast And Furious Special tactic
Fastball Special Powered combat
Fighting Array Special tactic
Final Piece Of The Puzzle Environment alteration
Fists of Fury Special tactic
Flashing Blades Armed combat
Flying Axe Armed combat
Foot Fetish Armed combat
Ford-Crossing Swordsmanship Special tactic
Fusillade Teleport Powered combat
Goonbane Special tactic
Gratuitous Fan Service Other
Group Control Special tactic
Gunmen’s Waltz Special tactic
Increased Reserves Other
Iron Fist Powered Combat
Knack for Improvisation Other
Land Of The Blind Environment alteration
Light Sleeper Other
Lightning Release Armed combat
Lightning Reload Armed combat
Lucky Shot Other
Make-do Equipment Other
Manic Pace Special tactic
Martial Chi Mastery Powered combat
Master Of Chi Powered combat
Master Of Interaction Special tactic
Master Of The Art Special tactic
Mentorship Environment alteration
Mighty Thews Armed combat
Miracle Shot Special tactic
Motherland Other
Mugging Special tactic
My playground, my rules Environment alteration
Mystique Other
Never Let Me Down Other
Night-fighting Special tactic
Ninja Stealth Special tactic
Nuclear Punch Powered combat
Packhorse Other
Pain management Special tactic
Parent Figure Other
Precise Blocker Special tactic
Preternaturally Streetwise Other
Provoked Attack Special tactic
Psy-ops Special tactic
Quick Change Artistry Other
Reach Special tactic
Relentless Special tactic
Response In Kind Armed combat
Robot Double Gambit Environment alteration
Safety Rope Environment alteration
Sharpshooter Armed combat
Shotgun Man Armed combat
Signature Subplot Environment alteration
Spatial Geometry Special tactic
Speed-shooting Armed combat
Split Schtick Powered combat
Stance Assessment Other
Star-Crossed Heart Special tactic
Stare Of Doom Other
Sticks and Bullets Special tactic
Strangler’s Hands Special tactic
Surefooted Special tactic
Sweeping Autofire Armed combat
Sympathy For The Devil Other
Taunting Special tactic
Telescopic Feint Armed combat
Trajectory Calculation Special tactic
Trick Shooter (and Bank Shot) Special tactic
Trigger Discipline Armed combat
Under Cover Of The Dark Special tactic
Underwater Combat Special tactic
Unfettered Fist Powered combat
Unpredictable Style Special tactic
Vedic Gunfighting Powered combat
Voice In The Dead Of Night Powered combat
Vulcan Nerve Pinch (Subdual) Special tactic
Walk Like A Panther Special tactic
Wasn’t Me Other
Weapons At The Ready Environment alteration
Weapons Stash Environment alteration
Wheelman Environment alteration
Wound Rejection Environment alteration
Zanbato Sacrifice Strike Special tactic
Zero G Combat Special tactic

Description of the Schticks

Paired Weapons (Weapon category)

Designed for:
A large number of cinematic, video game, pulp novel and comic book gunfighters (the Shadow, Lara Croft, Chow Yun Fat’s “gun opera” characters, the Punisher… have Paired weapons (Firearms).

Miyamoto Musashi  pioneered a Paired weapons (Swords) style and Bruce Lee dazzled the world with Paired Weapons (Nunchaku).

In many games this Schtick could be considered a normal combat option and not an Advantage. This ubiquity sets Paired Weapons aside from normal Schticks, which is why it is presented first and out of alphabetical order.

Suggested cost:
Both my and Dr. Piispanen’s cost analysis ends up at this Schtick being worth 5 HPs — since it’s way more common than other Schticks we figured that providing a costing suggestion for it would be nice.

Description:
This Schtick allows the stunt, now common is fiction and videogames, of using simultaneously and efficiently two one-handed weapons. By using two weapons, the Character can increase either the EV or AV of any given attack by one.

For instance paired 9mm pistols with Projectile weapon: 04 could have their EV boosted to 05, or our example shooter (with Weaponry (Firearms): 05) could choose instead to increase his AV for that dual-wielding attack to 06.

Alternatively, the Paired Weapons Schtick can allow to diminish either the AV or RV penalty by one CS when Multi-Attacking with two active weapons.

Both weapons being used will spend Ammo, if applicable, and test R#, if applicable.

This Schtick must be taken for a broadly specific category of weapons. Examples include Paired weapons (Firearms), Paired weapons (Sticks), Paired weapons (Kobudo weapons), Paired weapons (Common escrima combinations), Paired weapons (Knives), Paired weapons (Swords), Paired Weapons (Hammer and Sickle), etc.

Designer’s notes:
Since dual-wielding is so common in fiction nowadays, pay particular attention to characters who seem to alternate indifferently between dual-wielding or wielding just one weapon. If they do so they presumably do not have the Schtick, since not using a second weapon would make little sense if they had it.

Chow Yun Fat as the Bulletproof Monk dual-wields Desert Eagle pistols


All About ME !!

Writer:
John Colagioia

Schtick designed for:
Dawn Summers

Description:
The Character with the All About ME !! Schtick is phenomenally powerful in social circles for no obvious reason. As such, there are three major effects:

  • First, the Character may “horn in” on any Subplot currently unresolved, no matter which other Characters are supposed to be involved. The Character receives full Hero Point Awards for participation, as if they were central to the Subplot, even if they hinder the activities of other Characters.
  • Second, the Character can opt to change the course of any Subplot at will (even those in which the Character is not active), and all involved Characters must follow suit. The Character receives no Hero Point Awards for such Subplots, but the other Characters involved receive only half of their Awards if they refuse to accept any of the changes.
  • Finally, the Character gains a -1CS Bonus to the OV/RV of any Character Interaction check. Interestingly, the Character loses this Bonus should the Player roleplay the attempt, as this is supposed to happen for “no apparent reason.”

Ammunition Freedom (Subskill)

Writer:
Derived from a Misc. Bonus by Mayfair Games (official DCH material), further development by Dr. Peter Piispanen & Sébastien Andrivet

Schtick designed for:
Sergeant Rock, Hawkeye

Description:
This Schtick allows for continuing to use a weapon that is out of Ammunition without hindrance, as long as the weapon can be wielded using the Subskill picked when taking the Schtick – for instance Weaponry (Firearms) or Weaponry (Missile).

The Character with this Schtick can opt to pay a Hero Points fee to keep firing. Zero time is spent reloading, no extra Ammunition is consumed, the No Reload In The Field Drawback is ignored, and the Character doesn’t even have to have extra Ammunition on hand. It just comes out of nowhere.

The traditional example is the heroic cowboy firing his six-shooter at the enemy a dozen times in a row without ever reloading.

The Gamemaster can prevent this Schtick from being used in unusual circumstances (for instance of the Character has been deprived of all arrows after a thorough search but is allowed to keep his bow for ceremonial reasons).

A Character with this Schticks has several options to keep using an appropriate weapon:

  • A 5 HPs fee replenishes the weapon to its full Ammunition rating.
  • A 1 HP fee replenishes the weapon with one Ammunition of the most basic type for the weapon
  • A 2 HPs fee replenishes the weapon with one Ammunition of a common variant type of ammunition for the weapon (for instance a projectile doing Bashing Damage rather than Killing Damage, a tracer round or something similarly innocuous)
  • A 5 HPs fee (or more – GM’s call) replenishes the weapon with one Ammunition of a specialised type normally available to the Character, such as a trick arrow or a high-performance bullet. This must be a type of Ammunition which the Character normally carries at least one copy of.

Designer’s notes:
This can be thought of as a specialised version of the Altering the Environment rule.


Animal Friendship (specific area)

Writer:
Vincent P. Bartilucci

Schtick designed for:
Rima the Jungle Girl

Description:
This Schtick ensures that the animals in a specific milieu (for instance, a given jungle) never have an attitude below Friendly (and more often Awestruck/Enamored – GM’s call) on the Attitude Adjustment Table.


Armor Optimization

Writer:
Peter Piispanen

Schtick designed for:
Judge Dredd, the Rocketeer

Description:
The Character can gain the optimum benefits of any type of armor, even partially covering armor. This Schtick is of little use for those wearing a full body-covering armor.

For a fee of 5 HPs, any incoming random shots are guaranteed to hit the best type of non-fully covering armor the character happens to wear ; this even covers armor that normally is not large enough to provide any protection from incoming attacks.

For example, a helmet alone is not normally large enough to provide adequate protection of the wearer, in which case it would offer its BODY score as RV, but the Armor Optimization Schtick can enable any type of armor, however small, to take the full force of any incoming attack by paying the same HP fee.

Likewise, for such a fee, any and all Trick Shots against the character during that Phase, aiming to get around the character’s armor, receive a further +3 CS on their OV, on top of the base difficulty modifier.

Additionally, this HP fee enables armor, such as a Vest or a Helmet, to take the full damage incurred from crashing with a vehicle. The same rule might apply for any eventual falling damage gained by a rocketeer using a failing Jet Pack.


Blind-fighting

Schtick designed for:
Joe Armstrong (American Ninja)

Description:
Through a gift or special training, the Character can fight pretty well in conditions where visibility is poor or absent. He can negates one CS of penalty due to poor visibility, whether in melee combat or for range attacks within 3 APs of distance.

Designer’s notes:
Characters with highly acute senses, or who are blind in the first place, are far better modelled through used of Powers than this Schtick. This Schtick is *slightly* different from the Night-Fighting Schtick, as it allows for diminishing the penalties from being blindfolded, Flashed, Sensory Blocked, etc.


Blindside Adept

Schtick designed for:
Blackwing (Joe Silvermane)

Description:
This minor Schtick simply gives the Character a +1 to his final rolls when setting up and making Blindside attacks – using his Stealth Subskill, striking from the back, attacking an otherwise disoriented opponent, etc.


Bloodless Gunfighter

Writer:
Vincent P. Bartilucci

Schtick designed for:
The Lone Ranger and his expies .

Description:
Characters with the Bloodless Gunfighter Schtick are extraordinarily skilled at using lethal weapons in non-lethal ways. Despite its name, this Schtick need not refer to a character’s Weaponry (Firearm) Skill ; a character can instead take this Schtick to explain his ability to use his long sword or crossbow in non-lethal combat.

This Schtick could represent a cowboy who is skilled at shooting the guns out of his opponents’ hands or a swordswoman who is adept at knocking targets senseless with the flat of her blade. As always, the GM is final arbiter of what is considered a lethal weapon – in some Genres this Schtick may be completely disallowed.

Whenever a Character with this Schtick declares a Trick Shot in order to avoid entering Killing Combat with his ordinarily lethal weapon, he gains +1 to his EV.


Bottomless reserve

Writer:
Peter Piispanen

Schtick designed for:
Green Lantern (Kyle Rayner) during his time with the “magnificent 7” JLA, pre-Crisis Superman at some points

Description:
The Schtick-holder may spend any desired amount of HPs to increase his AV/EV/OV/RV, related to Physical Stats or his Powers. There is no upper spending limit.

Not-The-Designer’s notes:
This Schtick models really over-the-top, cosmic actions (usually taking place in the Silver Age) which can’t be explain by any normal rule and can’t be assumed to be a monstrous series of doubles. In every published writeup so far, its close relative Increased Reserves has been sufficient to model what is going on, but there are some identified cases where Bottomless Reserves is very likely.


Brainstorming (Skill, participants)

Schtick designed for:
Jess Bright and Hugh Evans of the Suicide Squad (Cold War version)

Description:
This Schtick must be taken for a specific Skill (often Scientist), and will only work with another specific Character whose name must be noted in the Schtick.

When several Characters with this Schtick are Team Attacking an intellectual, social, mystical, etc. issue, using the specified Skill and with the specified partners, they can bolster their Team Attack bonuses by one additional CS.

Designer’s notes:
This Schtick is the non-combat brother of the Fighting Array Schtick.


Bullet Placement

Schtick designed for:
Deathblow

Description:
The Character has a track record that includes exceptional performance in hitting armoured opponents in unprotected areas. This often results from bullet placement military training, concentrating on headshots and the like.

The Schtick allows to ignore part or all of the penalties for Trick Shots against Partial Coverage Armor (BOH:SE p171). This Schtick does not facilitate any other type of Trick Shot.

Being suddenly confronted with unfamiliar partial body armour that covers different areas of the body than those the Character is used to might negate the bonus from this Schtick – GM’s call.

At the Low level, the Bullet Placement Schtick negates one CS of penalties ; at the High level, it negates two such CSes.

Designer’s notes:
A very few Characters seem to completely ignore the body armour worn by minor opponents, but the math doesn’t work out – there’s no way they’re doing a Trick Shot and raising their EV with HP every time they shoot an armoured mook. This Schtick takes the problem away without creating more complications than it’s worth.


Burst Of Strength

Writer:
Peter Piispanen & Sébastien Andrivet

Schtick designed for:
Conan, Big Thunder

Description:
This Schtick is not that rare in literature featuring prominent strong men. Primarily, the Burst of Strength schtick allows the character to Push his STR attribute, paying HPs like normal for the performed Push RAPs, but without the risk of getting burned out. This means that a failure on the Push check does not reduce the character’s STR attribute to 0.

The in-game effect is that the Character can regularly perform great feats of strength without the risk of straining himself. The ability is great for breaking bonds, bashing obstacles and lifting heavy objects (also to attack opponents with lifted objects).

A wise GM will limit it so that Pushing is not allowed every single Phase, and may, optionally, declare a limit on how often the Schtick can be used (such as, every 8 APs of time, or as seems to be the case with Conan, three times per adventure).

This Schtick differs greatly from the Adrenal Surge power because the Schtick is only limited to one single attribute, namely STR. In contrast to Adrenal Surge, the Character with this Schtick must still pay the Push Fee.

Also, unlike Adrenal Surge, Pushing may still require the Character’s Dice Action ; although in the case of Conan, he can Push his STR, lift up a really heavy object and throw it at a group of opponents in the same turn.

Furthermore, this Schtick allows the character to push a maximum number of RAPs as allowed by the Action Genre, regardless of the Genre the character’s adventures are set in. 


Called Shot (specific attack type)

Schtick designed for:
Paris (StormWatch PHD)

Description:
The Character has an unusual proficiency for his power level with placing certain attacks so they hit vulnerable points. This Schtick allows to deliver a special type of Offensive Combat Manoeuvre, the Called Shot – which increases the opposing OV by one CS, but lowers the opposing RV by two CSes.

The Character with this Schtick must specify the precise type of attack it applies to (ex.: Weaponry (Firearms) – handguns ; Weaponry (Melee) – knives, etc.)

Designer’s notes:
For extreme examples, use the Find Weakness Power instead.


Clairvoyant

Schtick designed for:
Inspector Judiah Golem

Description:
The cost of Occultist (Precognition) is halved, rounding down, compared to the standard cost in the campaign for the Character with this Schtick.

Designer’s notes:
A distant relative of this Schtick is seen in some characters who can do Occultist (Precognition) for little to no HPs — but the results of such visions are cryptic and entirely decided by the GM.


Conditional Recovery (Trigger)

Schtick designed for:
Ursa Major, Marvel Atlanteans (such as Namor or Andromeda)

Description:
The Character with this Schtick gets a rebate to his Desperation Recovery HP cost (paying half-”price”, rounding down – if in the current Genre making a DR costs 15 HPs, the Character with Conditional Recovery only pays 7 HPs).

However, this rebate is only active if the Character meets a relatively simple condition, such as using his Powers in a way that could create a tactical risk, or exposing himself to a common element.

Past examples have included :

  • changing shape to erase wounds during the transformation (for instance, Ursa Major can sometime heal when he goes from bear form to human form, but that may leave him vulnerable depending on the circumstances)
  • dousing oneself in water (which usually gives Atlanteans in the Marvel Universe a second wind, and may have other effects not covered by the Schtick itself, such as moderating a Loss Vulnerability)

Contender

Schtick designed for:
The Question (O’Neil era), Stalker (DC)

Description:
The DEX and Martial Artist / Weaponry (Melee) of a Character with the Contender Schtick rise as he operates in Genres higher than his normal Genre. One Genre higher than normal means a +1 AP to both Skills, two genres is +1 to DEX and both Skills, two levels is +1 DEX and +2 to both Skills, three is +2 to DEX and both Skills, and so on.

Thus, while the Character’s baseline Attributes and Skills are appropriate for his native Genre (presumably a low Genre, where even world-class fighters are unlikely to have huge APs in those), he can ’scale up‘ and retain his ’rank‘ in the pecking order when he is involved in a more cinematic, free-flowing and spectacular Genre.


Contingency Plans

Writer:
Peter Piispanen

Schtick designed for:
Doctor Doom, Fantomex

Description:
The Character with this schtick _always_ has several backup and escape plans. He can mysteriously vanish, and/or appear to die, by spending 25 HPs, in order to escape immediate defeat. To other Characters, he will appear to fall to his death, be disintegrated by an attack or the like.

Also, if the Schtick-user regularly employs technological or biological replicas of himself or others, he might exchange himself against a robot, clone etc. by paying that same fee.

By use of this fee, it can actually have been the real character at the beginning of the fight, but still turn out that it wasn’t him at all in the end, but a fraud or copy !

Designer’s notes:
The Robot Double Gambit is a closely related, more specific approach of the same narrative trick.


Crash Test Dummy

Schtick designed for:
OMAC (original version)

Description:
A Character with this Schtick is never directly harmed when a vehicle they’re riding is damaged. If the vehicle is totalled the Character will not take any damage – even if the vehicle did not have Hardened Defenses, and even if the vehicle offers little protection to its passengers (say, a motorbike).

If the vehicle is destroyed, a Character with this Schtick will be able to handle the situation unless it is manifestly impossible. This includes :

  • having a parachute already equipped
  • already wearing a vacuum suit or having reached the escape pods just in time
  • being thrown into a nearby body of water
  • skidding on the asphalt with the motorbike jacket and helmet protecting against any serious damage
  • grabbing a handy cliff wall bush as the car vaults into the ravine
  • etc.

If the GM feels that this stretches the suspension of disbelief, a small Hero Points fee (5 or 10 points) might be requested.


Damsel in Distress

Schtick designed for:
Cassandra Craft

Description:
The Character with this Schtick can choose to be kidnapped by the villains at any moment, and the gamemaster is considered to have an SIA toward accepting this (though he can add +5 to his final die roll to resist for every cookie he offers to the player whose Character has this Schtick).

When the Character is freed from her bonds, she instantly gains 10 HPs as a mini-Subplot reward. The Character gains 2 more HPs if she is blonde, but the reward is cut by 1 HP for each full pair of years that has passed since 1978. Which means this Schtick is now useless.

Designer’s notes:
This meta-fictional Schtick may seem tongue-in-cheek… but it definitely can be used straight if your campaign loves to indulge in some dated genre conventions such as this one (for instance because it’s set before the 1990s).


Disarmer

Schtick designed for:
Shrike IV, Bethany Cabe, Peacemaker

Description:
A Character with this Schtick can reduce by one CS the OV/RV penalties for the following actions – Take Away, Disarm, and Trick Shots specifically aimed at a weapon or other held item.

This usually covers Characters who demonstrate a level of performance when disposing of weapons that is noticeably beyond their general level of fighting skill – for instance Characters who are good at shooting weapons out of opponent’s hands but not that good against high-OV targets.

The Character must take this Schtick for either a Martial Artist Skill, or a specific Weaponry or Accuracy Subskill — say, Disarmer (Weaponry (Firearms)) or Disarmer (Accuracy (Optic blasts)). It is only applicable when using this Skill or Subskill.

Designer’s notes:
Previous iterations of this concept included Bladebreaker and Gunbane, though the slightly more generic approach of Disarmer was eventually favoured. See also the Bloodless Gunfighter Schtick.


Dogpile

Schtick designed for:
The savage mutates from the atomic future

Description:
Characters with this Schtick are very adept at ganging up on a target with their bare hands — to wrestle it to the ground, to yank it and throw it to the floor, to defenestrate it…

As a dice action, all the Characters with the Dogpile Schtick who can rush the target within that Phase can add their respective STR to perform a Wrestling or a Submission Hold maneuver. This is a normal AP addition, with a upper limit of +3CS above the highest STR in the group.

Note that this ability to heighten the collective STR comes in addition of Team Attack bonuses, if any.


Double-tapping

Schtick designed for:
Alec “Firearm” Swan, Deadshot, the Marine (Doom video game)

Description:
The Character is trained to use handguns in close-quarter battles (CQB), and especially to place two bullets in quick succession in his targets (double tapping), shooting the second one before the recoil from the first can spoil his aim. This training may come from special commando training, SWAT training, etc.

When using this Scholar, the Character spends two Ammo, and the global EV of the attack is increased by one AP.

For instance, double-tapping with a Sig P228 (Projectile weapons: 04) using the Double Tapping Schtick results the Sig eating two shots, and an EV of 05 for the attack. Note that machine pistols, sub-machineguns, personal defence weapons, and other weapons using pistol-calibre ammo can use this Schtick when set to semi-automatic fire.

Designer’s notes:
Well-researched police drama or commando tales might mention double-tapping, but please focus your attention on whether the shots thus taken seem distinctly more powerful than normal shots in the story. If they’re not it’s just flavour, not a Schtick. Also note that this Schtick only makes sense with weapons that have an Ammo score.


Double Whammy (specific weapon type)

Schtick designed for:
Nomad III (Jack Monroe)

Description:
When a Character with this Schtick, wielding a pair of signature weapons (such as stun disks) wants to knock out or disarm thugs, he can very reliably use said weapons to hit two goons at once. The Schtick means that the Character takes no penalty whatsoever when attempting an attack, Trick Shot or Disarm against two opponents with an OV of 04 or lower.

Note that, in the case of a Trick Shot (or Disarm), he ignores both the penalty for the Trick Shot (or Disarm) *and* the penalty for Multi-Attacking two targets !

Designer’s notes:
For relatives, see the Speed-Shooting and Goonbane Schticks.


Energy Funnel

Schtick designed for:
Bishop (X-Men)

Description:
This Schtick allows a Character with energy absorption abilities to act as the focal point for a Team Attack done by energy projectors – basically all of the Team Attacking characters shoot at the energy absorbing Character with Schtick (Energy Funnel), who absorbs and re-channels the resultant energy as one Really Big Blast.

For some reason, Characters using this Schtick can if necessary absorb much more energy than they could otherwise – allowing them to channel Team Attacks where the APs of power used are much higher than their Energy Absorption power. This can be rationalized as controlled, progressive energy transfers rather than brutal attacks being directed at him.

This schtick allows the Character to add a further -1CS to the enemy’s RV due to Team Attacks tactics ; it only work with energies the Character can absorb and redirect.


Fall Guy

Schtick designed for:
Yukio the Wild One

Description:
When a Character with this Schtick falls from a heigh where landing would have dire consequences (say, from the roof of of a forty-stories building), she can Alter the Environment to save herself at a much lower cost than normal – five Hero Points.

This alteration usually involves an ally (often with flight powers) coming on to save the day at the last second, a conveniently-placed flag pole or penthouse, a strong gust of wind throwing the character back to a safer place, or the like.


Fast And Furious (vehicle type)

Writer:
Kal El el Vigilante

Schtick designed for:
John Carter of Mars

Description:
The character can juice 1 more AP of speed from a certain type of vehicle – as long as it makes sense in the game world. To do so he must spend a whole Phase on the attempt, rolling with his appropriate Vehicles Skill vs the total APs of speed he is trying to achieve. RAPs equate the APs of time for which he can sustain the augmented speed.


Fastball Special

Schtick designed for:
Colossus (Piotr Rasputin)

Description:
The Fastball Special Schtick consists of grabbing a trained comrade and forcefully throwing him at an opponent. The thrown person can perform a Charge attack, or just attempt a normal, flyby attack. In both cases, having the Fastball Special Schtick allows the throwing Character to add, using AP math, his own AV and EV to his comrade’s.

A Character with the Schtick (Fastball Special) can also give HPs to the thrown Character, even if he doesn’t have Leadership, during the Fastball Special.

Occasionally, the Fastball Special is simply used to hurl an acrobatic teammate to a point that person couldn’t otherwise reach, or to provide combat mobility. Such positioning maneuvers require a Strenuous Acrobatics (Athletics) roll for the projectile ; failure means landing in the wrong spot or taking a full Phase to recover from the throw.


Fast Draw (Weapon category)

Schtick designed for:
Legendary Old West gunfighters, legendary samurai

Description:
The Character can draw his weapon(s) as part of the Dice Action to use them, as long as they are sheathed or holstered in a reasonably convenient way. In the special situation of a fast-draw or iaijutsu duel (where all participants start with weapons holstered or sheathed), Characters with this Schtick get a special +4 bonus to their Initiative.

Further special situations include a special +6 Initiative Bonus in situations where all combatants run into each other without being prepared for it, and nobody has a weapon at the ready ; and a special -12 Initiative Penalty when attempting to draw and attack when faced by somebody who has the drop on the Character – something that is normally impossible.

The Schtick must be taken for a fairly specific kind of weapon – examples have included Fast Draw (Knives), Fast Draw (Daisho swords), Fast Draw (Pistols), etc.


Fighting Array (Skill, participants)

Schtick designed for:
Blood Brothers (Marvel), T&A (Marvel), Rumble Brothers (Image)

Description:
This Schtick is used by Characters who have an uncanny ability to complement each other while fighting together. The form of combat (Martial Artist, Weaponry (Melee), Energy Blast….) should be specified when taking the Fighting Array Schtick, as well as the person(s) involved.

If people with this Schtick are fighting as allies, all persons have the Schitck with all other persons, and the correct form of fighting is being used, all Team Attacks receive a further CS of bonus.

Designer’s notes:
This Schtick is the bellicose brother of the Brainstorming Schtick.


Final Piece Of The Puzzle

Writer:
Roy Cowan

Schtick designed for:
Col. Kira Nerys

Description:
The Character has a tendency to make vital deductive connections at the least minute during an episode/scenario even though she’s normally very observant. If she voluntarily forfeits any RAPs greater than “½ RV” on an important Research, Clue Analysis, or other related Check during an adventure, she gets an extra Standard Award at the end of the scenario.


Fists of Fury

Schtick designed for:
Jackie Chan characters, Gamora, OMAC, Batgirl (Cassandra Cain)

Description:
This Schtick allows the Character to negate one Column Shift of penalties when delivering a Multi-Attack using melee attacks. For instance, Multi-Attacking 3 nearby targets with punches and kicks, normally a +2CS OV/RV penalty, would become a +1CS OV/RV penalty.

This Schtick can be used with all melee attacks the Character can use, except for Unskilled use of weapons. It works with weapons and Martial Artist-boosted attacks – these are in fact the most common use of this Schtick. In the case of melee Power use, the Multi-Attack Bonus as a Bonus to that Power is often the preferable approach.

Designer’s notes:
See the design notes for the Speed-Shooting Schtick. For more extreme cases, we suggest using the Multi-Attack Bonus (BOH:SE p56) on the relevant Skill or Power.

The concept has gone through lots of design iterations, and previous takes include “Butterfly hands”, “Two-fisted action” and a version of “Goonbane”.

Gamora and the Watch fight trolls in Asgard


Flashing Blades (Weapon category)

Schtick designed for:
Machete, Zaran the Weaponmaster II

Description:
This Schtick allows the Character to freely substitute his relevant Weaponry (Melee) AV for his OV against melee attacks and slow-moving projectiles (such as thrown weapons and arrows), as long as he’s using an appropriate melee weapon. During any Phase in which this protection is active, it consumes an Automatic Action — he needs to whirl his blades around.

The Schtick must be taken for a fairly specific kind of weapon – the usual example being Flashing Blades (Swords). The Improved Flashing Blades Schtick allows the Character to use the bonus with any wielded weapon – or any wielded object in conjunction with the Improvised Weapon Schtick.

If a Character has both Paired Weapons (Foo) and Flashing Blades (the same Foo), using Paired Weapons to increase her AV does increase her OV through Flashing Blades.

Designer’s notes:
While this is not the Paired Weapon Schtick, this Schtick is beginning to see some mileage on Writeups.org since it matches a common character concept that the basic system does not handle well – the fighter with middling DEX but high Weaponry (Melee), who nevertheless has a good OV due to his weapon’s reach, feints, parries, etc.

Martial Artist (OV, only when holding a sword) or somesuch is also possible… but those characters also frequently have some Martial Artist (EV, only when holding a sword) to give them some oomph, so a non-Martial Artist solution has to be found and the Flashing Blades Schtick does the trick.


Flying Axe

Schtick designed for:
The Axeman

Description:
In the hands of a specifically trained martial artist (who has taken the Schtick : Flying Axe), this unusual weapon enjoys some unique benefits. Block attempts against it are conducted with a +3CS penalty to the OV, unspecified defenses receive a -2CS penalty and defenses specifically described as dodging receive a -1CS penalty to their OV.

This represents the flying axe’s sheer speed, reach and ability to wrap itself around any obstacle and still strike its target.

Likewise, a specifically trained martial artist (who has taken the Schtick : Flying Axe) who is taking the Laying Back maneuver enjoys a +1CS Bonus to his OV against attacks with a lesser reach than the flying axe’s.

Flying Axe [BODY 05, EV 04, Rec STR 04, Rec DEX 04, Drawback: On any roll of 5 or less, the flying axe will accidentally hit something the wielder didn’t intend in lieu of its target – unless a roll of 5 is sufficient to hit the target]. A Flying Axe is an heavy axe head tied to a rope.


Foot Fetish

Schtick designed for:
Tejja the Silek Killer

Description:
This Schtick allows a trick taught by a handful of martial arts in the world (chiefly some silat and capoeira styles) – wielding small bladed weapons with one’s toes. This is a very disconcerting style ; when the Character does that he can reduce the OV of his opponent by 1 AP.

If the Character has a suitable Paired Weapons Schtick he can wield one blade with a foot and one in a hand, stacking the Foot Fetish and the Paired Weapons bonuses – and retaining one free hand to boot, though he has to hop around on one foot (or, more likely, roll) to move.


Ford-Crossing Swordsmanship

Writer:
Phil Dixon

Schtick designed for:
Lone Wolf and Cub

Description:
The Character knows specialized melee techniques that are used in shallow water. He must be at least knee-deep in the water, and use a relatively streamlined melee weapon, such as a sword or axe – which is hidden just below the waterline.

The Character then receives a special +5 Initiative bonus, provided all opponents fail a Perception check against an OV/RV of 10/10.

This technique is sometimes known as Suio (water) technique.


Fusillade Teleport

Schtick designed for:
Nightcrawler

Description:
This Schtick involves grabbing a target and doing a quick succession of teleports in a single Phase, covering less than 3 APs of distance, in order to have the teleportation shock stun the opponent. The EV of the teleportation shock for all involved parties is raised by 5 APs. The Character can “brace” for this by spending HPs on LDD against his own Power.

Designer’s notes:
Obviously this Schtick only makes sense if the Character can teleport *and* some sort of shock with an EV is involved while doing so. But as you know, Schticks are designed to cover very specific cases.


Goonbane

Schtick designed for:
Deathblow (Michael Cray), Mademoiselle Marie (Joséphine Tautin), Scott James, Batgirl (Cassandra Cain)

Description:
The Character is particularly adept at engaging goons – nameless, faceless opponents such as generic thugs, soldiers, militia, guards, ninja mooks, enforcers in pin-striped suits, minions, etc. For the purpose of this Schtick, such opponents are defined as those who have all their AVs and OVs at 04 or below. The GM is the final arbiter as to whether opponents are goons.

When using Hero Points to boost AV, OV, or EV against goons, the Character is considered to operate in the Action Genre, regardless of what the normal Genre for the campaign is. This means that it takes but one Hero Point to raise an AV, EV, or OV by a single point for that Phase.

AV, OV, and EVs raised in this manner are only applied against goons, but they are applied against all goons present. In a gunfight against goons, a Character with this Schtick spending HPs to raise her OV has her OV raised against all the goons’s gunfire for the Phase. Thus, this Schtick still brings some utility in a campaign set in the Action genre or above.

For campaigns where rules cap the number of allowable targets in Multi- Attacks (such as limiting the number of targets to your Movement Speed), this Schtick also allows to increase that limit by one target – but only if all such targets are goons.

Designer’s notes:
In some campaigns (set somewhere to the right of the Action Genre, obviously) this could be considered a Genre Rule rather than a special ability of a small number of Characters. ”Mooks don’t really count compared to real people” has been an increasingly common trope for the last 15 years or so.

Note, however, that in some games this type of strict hierarchy between fighters can be represented by a modified Action Tables that makes relatively low differences in APs have a more dramatic effect on dice rolls, making sure that, say, people with a 04 in Weaponry are quite noticeably better shots than those with a 03 and quite noticeably worse than those with a 05.

Such Action Tables redesigns are often facilitated by the fact these games seldom have AVs or EVs above 10.

This Schtick usually represents Characters who easily deal with minor opponents but do not seem to have very high AVs when confronted with more serious opponents, such as superhumans, “named” fighters and the like.

Since such Characters do not generally have oodles of HPs, it gives them an option to perform very well against opponents who are not that far below them in game terms, but are meant to be small fry in the story – yet without spending too many HPs on a combat scene that is not supposed to be important.

There have been numerous design iterations around this concept to make it simple and flexible ; prior iterations included “Taking Out The Trash”, a previous version already using the “Goonbane” name, a generic “Anti-mooks schtick” and “THRASH – the Thugs and Heavies Roughing up and Assaulting Schtick Hierarchy”.


Gratuitous Fan Service

Schtick designed for:
Black Widow II (Natalia Romanova)

Description:
A character with this Schtick has a track record of being depicted in a sexually enticing manner at the drop of a hat. While we cannot be certain, it might be a cunning and original strategy to monetise the public’s sexual frustration.

This track record must be notable even by the standards of the wider genre, and specify a motif. For instance, here are three characters with this Schtick :

  • Black Widow (Romanova during the 1970s) – undressing on-panel (usually to take a shower) whenever possible
  • A-Ko characters – panty shots occurring with machinelike systematicity
  • Elvira (1988 movie version) – performing tricks relying on her considerable bustline

Each occurrence of this motif earns the Characters 2 Hero Points, as a sort of micro-Subplot representing sarcastic genre emulation. An astonishingly shoe-horned and pointless one is worth 3 Hero Point.


Group Control

Schtick designed for:
Spider-Man, X, the Human Fly

Description:
When performing the Dupe manoeuvre, the Character can increase the EV of his Duping Dice Action by one CS. The Character has a remarkable gift for using tactics that lead his opponents to hit each other, normally in hand to hand combat or close shooting range.

Favourites include dodging at the last instant, use of illusions or holograms, performing throws on charging opponents or actually deviating an opponent’s weapon as he shoots or strike.


Gunmen’s Waltz

Schtick designed for:
Damien Tomasso (District B13), 47 (Hitman video game)

Description:
This Schtick allows for performing a specific maneuver without any penalty – grabbing an armed opponent and using his weapon as he still holds it, while using his body as a shield. The opponent can either be a mook (any opponent with a DEX below 04 and starting HPs below 10), or an unconscious or Stunned individual.

The Character with this Schick raises his OV by one CS (due to the cover he now has ; missed shots and blows are likely to hit the person he’s holding, GM’s call) and can freely use the weapon his opponent is holding without any penalty despite the awkward position.

While this Schtick is usually used on opponents wielding a pistol, it works fine for any weapon, unless the GM rules against it if the situation stretches disbelief too much.


Increased Reserves

Writer:
Peter Piispanen

Schtick designed for:
Silver Surfer

Description:
This Schtick allows a Character to mobilise incomprehensible energies to achieve starkly impossible results in dire circumstances – he can spend HPs to boost AV/OV/EV/RV not to a max of double their base value, but to a new cap of triple their base values. Physical Powers can likewise be Pushed to the triple of their normal power level.

Not-the-Designer’s notes:
This is a ’cosmic‘ Schtick, in case the description was not clear enough – though we might one day run into somebody who does that at a lower power scale. In the case of the Surfer, it represents his ability to occasionally perform actions at an astronomical scale when it really, really counts.


Iron Fist

Schtick designed for:
Well… Iron Fist

Description:
The Iron Fist Schtick allows a Character to augment through HPs his EV by the APs of his Martial Artist score, rather than his STR – normally, if you have, say, Martial Artist: 08 and STR 04, you can only use 04 HPs one the EV of the attack, even if you substitute your Martial Artist for your EV this Phase – HP spending is based on your base EV, not the enhanced one.

Just sayin’, since people occasionally miss this subtlety.

If you use the rule where using Martial Artist for full EV results in Killing Combat, the Iron Fist Schticks lifts this restriction as long as one or more HP is spent on EV ; if you use rules where the Martial Artist cannot be fully used as AP substitution, the Iron Fist Schtick allows full-power substitution as long as one or more HP is spent on EV.

If you use rules where Martial Artist-derived EV is less effective against certain defences or opponents, consider the EV of a Character is ’generic‘ EV – as long as one or more HP is spent on EV.

Thus a Character with Martial Artist: 10, by going all-out and spending 10 HPs, can strike with an EV of 10 + 10 = 20. This EV can also be used to crush something held in the Character’s hand instead of punching.

Lastly, as a misc. bonus, the RV of the Character’s hand and wrist during the Phase he uses the Iron Fist Schtick is equal to the EV he employs – as his fist becomes… like unto a thing of iron !

Note that this ability can be mystically manipulated – the Character this Schtick is based on has often been deprived of it, or had it stolen by another. For such purposes as Draining, Neutralizing, Duplicating, etc., this Schtick is treated like Mental Blast (ML, No Range): 10.

Designer’s notes:
We tried various approaches over the years for Iron Fist (especially after realising how much his Iron Fist ability fluctuated over time). Though intuitively a Power-based approach would seem to make more sense, this HP-based approach ends up being the most satisfying for much, but not all, of Danny’s career.


Knack for Improvisation

Writer:
Danielle Mendus

Schtick designed for:
Brainiac 5

Description:
The Character reduces the Unskilled penalty for any Mental or Mystical skill to -1 CS (if it says it may not be used Unskilled, he may still use it but at the normal -2 CS penalty).


Land Of The Blind

Writer:
Roy Cowan

Schtick designed for:
Nick Parker (Blind Fury movie)

Description:
For 5 HPs, the Character can find an area that suits the style of combat of a blind man with a highly developed sense of hearing – for instance a cornfield, which blocks everyone’s view while providing a lot of noise for the Character to work with. This is a specialised application of the Altering the Environment rule.


Light Sleeper

Schtick designed for:
Green Dragon

Description:
The Character can still do Perception Rolls whilst sleeping – usually to hear a noise nearby or detect somebody standing close. Those rolls are done with a mere +1CS penalty to the opposing OV/RV.


Lightning Release

Schtick designed for:
Green Arrow, Hawkeye and most cinematic archers

Description:
Bows have Ammo: 01 – thus they take time to be reloaded. If your arrows are reasonably accessible, this usually means sacrificing a Dice Action to draw and nock.

However, many fictional archers are quite capable of engaging opponents armed with guns — in fact, they are quite often faster than most such opponents. This requires a Schtick called Lightning Release, which allows one to draw, nock and aim with but an Automatic Action, letting you release and make your attack roll with a subsequent Dice Action.

In essence, this Schtick allows one to largely ignore the Ammo penalty – though sacrificing an Automatic Action makes archers slightly less mobile than other combatants, which models most books, movies, comics, etc. nicely.

Most if not all “named” professional archers will have the Lightning Release Schtick. This serves to mark a further contrast between professional, greater-than-life battling bowmen and mere mooks with bows. Thus this Schtick is more common than most.

Designer’s notes:
For non-archers, Lightning Reload is a close relative of Lightning Release.


Lightning Reload

Schtick designed for:
Deunan Knute (Appleseed), the Marine (DooM video game)

Description:
With this Schtick, a Character can slam ammunition into an empty weapon with great speed and assurance. If reloading would normally take an Automatic Action, the Character can perform it *as part* of an Automatic Action or Dice Action (for instance, firing the weapon in question or diving behind cover).

Weapons with the Long Reload Time Drawback can be reloaded with one Automatic Action, and weapons with the Very Long Reload Time Drawback can be reloaded with an entire Phase (two Automatic and one Dice Action). This Schtick applies to all weapons the Character is familiar with.

This Schtick does not allow a Character to beat somebody who has the drop on them.

Designer’s notes:
The Long and Very Long Reload Time Drawback are explained in the New Files (Drawbacks) entry on writeups.org. Archers have a special version of sorts, called Lightning Release.


Lucky Shot

Schtick designed for:
Sabra

Description:
This Schtick allows a Character whose attack has either the Autofire or the Scattershot Advantage a greater than normal chance of scoring a very lucky hit. Such an event happens when the Character rolls a double above 4s (double 5s, 6s, 7s, 8s, 9s or 0s).

The lucky hit is resolved immediately after the normal results of the attack, and is treated as a Sensory Block attack with an AV/OV equal to the APs in the original Power used to perform the attack. This is a special Dice Action that is not counted against the number of Actions of the Character.

The GM freely chooses the sense or other bodily function that is impaired – unusual examples of Lucky Shot hits have included hitting an invulnerable opponent in the mouth and depriving him of his ability to speak for a while, or hitting him in the ear and bollixing his sense of equilibrium.


Make-do equipment (Skill or Subskill)

Schtick designed for:
Examples of Make-do Equipment (Weaponry) include Jackie Chan, Zaran the Weapons Master or Sydney Bristow. Examples of Make-do Equipment (Weaponry (Thrown weapons)) include Steel (John Henry Irons) and Diamondback (Rachel Leighton) ; a custom Subskill would be Sportsmaster with Make-do Equipment (Weaponry (Sports Accessories)). Less martial examples include the Flying Boots with Make-do Equipment (Acrobatics) and Steel (John Henry Irons) with Make-do Equipment (Gadgetry).

Description:
The Character can ignore penalties associated with poor, inappropriate or improvised equipment when using a specific Skill or Subskill. This Schtick negates four Column Shift of penalties stemming from this – which in the vast majority of cases means operating without any penalty.

This Schick is most commonly use with improvised weapons, such as a ski, a chair, a dinosaur bone or a thrown golf ball. Those items will be used with an EV that looks good to the Gamemaster (usually 1 or 2, plus the normal STR adjustments) and full AV from the Weaponry Skill or Subksill.

Another example is using the environment to perform Acrobatics in the wild, for instance a forest. In this case the branches will always be separated by just the right distance, will always be the right diameter and will always be smooth and robust, vines will behave just like ropes and have just the right amount of slack, etc. Hence the Character with Make-do Equipment (Acrobatics) can perform trapeze, high wire, and other acrobatics work in a forest just as if they were using good, tested circus equipment and suffer no penalties.

One last example is Gadgetry work without having access to a Lab. Given the more detailed rules about Labs in Gadgetry work, the Make-do Equipment (Gadgetry) Schtick doesn’t provide a straight 4CS penalties reduction – instead it reduces the penalty for working without an appropriate Lab by half (round penalties down), and increases the rating of any Lab they work with by 4 APs.

Both these effects only work if every Gadgeteer involved in the project has this Schtick – which in the vast majority of cases means that the Character with Make-do Equipment (Gadgetry) has to work alone to benefit from the Schtick.

Designer’s notes:
Many Characters who do something akin to Make-do Equipment actually do not have the Schtick. Here are some common examples :

  • Characters who have the ability to use anything throwable as a deadly projectile (such as Marvel’s Bullseye or DC’s Arsenal) instead have a Skilled Power of Projectile Weapon, requiring an Object of Opportunity since they also enhanced the EV of the improvised weapons.
  • Most Characters who do well despite not having appropriate equipment simply do so by virtue of having a high Skill score that allows them to eat the penalties. Tony Stark can invent the arc reactor technology in a cave in Afghanistan because he’s got Genius and double-digits Gadgetry and Scientist, not because he has Make-do Equipment.

Designer’s notes:
Some Characters with this Schtick, such as Ah Keung (a Jackie Chan character) or the Tigress III (daughter of the Sportsmaster and the Tigress) also have a Misc. Advantage that give them a small HPs handout (about 2-3 HPs) when they do something really cool, spectacular and/or creative with a suitable piece of improvised equipment.


Manic Pace

Schtick designed for:
Slayback, Man-Ape (M‘Baku)

Description:
This Schtick makes any HP spent to enhance Initiative count double in its effects — treat this just like if the Character had spent two, except he only loses one. This has been designed for Characters who, when highly motivated, could consistently out-pace even superior hand-to-hand combatant and keep leading the fight.


Martial Chi Mastery

Schtick designed for:
Colleen Wing

Description:
This Schtick allows a Character to consider her Martial Artist Skill as a viable base for attempts at Stunt Powers, usually having to do with chi mastery and ancient martial arts secrets (preferably from a lost temple or civilisation).

Designer’s notes:
A much more potent version is the Master of Chi Schtick.


Master Of Chi

Schtick designed for:
Iron Fist, Peter Cannon… Thunderbolt !

Description:
The Character’s ability to focus his inner energies into great feats is arguably superhuman ; in game terms his Master of Chi Schtick makes him a specialist when it comes to Pushing his abilities. The effects of the Schtick are as follow :

  • The minimum number of RAPs the Action Check for the Pushing attempt can score is 1, even if it completely misses the mark
  • The “Push fee” is diminished from 3 HPs per AP down to 2 HPs per AP
  • Burnout only occurs on a failed roll of 7 or less
  • With the GM’s permission, this Schtick allows the Character to use his Martial Artist Skill for Power Tricks having to do with paranormal energies — like the Martial Chi Mastery above.

Designer’s notes:
The Burst Of Strength Schtick is a bit similar, but is specialised for strongmen. The ’cosmic‘ version of the concept is the Increased Reserves Schtick.


Master Of Interaction (specific Manoeuvre)

Writer:
Kal El el Vigilante & Sébastien Andrivet

Schtick designed for:
“Garbo”, Adam Adamant

Suggested cost:
Ten HPs for Characters who also have Gift of Gab. Seven HPs otherwise.

Description:
If a Character with Master of Interaction successfully performs the corresponding Character Interaction Manoeuvre, they gets a -2CS Column Shift Modifier to the target OV/RV instead of the usual -1 Bonus.

If the Character also has the Gift of Gab Advantage, the total bonus becomes -3CS.

The Master of Interaction Schtick can be taken several times, for different Character Interaction Manoeuvres.


Master Of The Art (specific martial art)

Schtick designed for:
Nitobe Asano

Description:
When fighting an opponent trained in a specific kind of martial art, this Schtick allows the Character to reduce his opponent’s OV by one CS, while increasing his own OV by one CS in respect to opponents using the style. At the GM’s discretion, a variant martial arts style that is *extremely* obscure might be exempt from this, but this is unlikely.

Designer’s notes:
This was designed to help model the Only Living Master Of Ninjutsu Who Has Trained Everyone Else And Thus Can Beat Them Silly Even If They Are Technically Superior, but I assume it could also come handy if we run into somebody who has designed a style of combat that is excellent at defeating another style.


Mentorship

Writer:
Pufnstuff

Schtick designed for:
The Sphinx (Mystery Men film)

Description:
A Character with the Shtick of Mentorship has the ability to dramatically improve the performance and overall effectiveness of any super (or, one suposes, any other person) he takes as a student.

The effect of this is that anyone whom the Character takes on as a student of his teachings immediately enters a “training” Subplot (of however short a duration), that results in up to one full standard HP award (when the Subplot is concluded rather than at the end of the adventure) that may only be used for advancement.

Designer’s notes:
In case this wasn’t clear, I really really recommend keeping this Schtick for NPCs — it makes little sense on the character sheet of a PC.


Mighty Thews (Weaponry Subskill) (1 point)

Schtick designed for:
Roadblock (GI Joe) was the first one

Description:
The Mighty Thews Schtick allows a Character to handle weapons that require a strength greater than theirs. Examples include wielding gigantic axes and swords, shooting bows with a disproportionate draw strength, wielding a machinegun like a rifle, or accurately shooting one-handed a firearm that usually takes two hands to control (such as most submachineguns).

Mighty Thews must be taken for a specific Weaponry Subskill – usually Weaponry (Missile), Weaponry (Firearms), Weaponry (Heavy) or Weaponry (Melee).

Whether this Schtick is necessary depends on the genre of the campaign. In some stories, any important character can wield a surfboard-sized sword or fire a riot gun one-handed. They don’t need to have this Schtick – everybody who wants it has it for free as a Genre Rule.

The Mighty Thews Schtick appears in stories where being capable of wielding such weapons without a sufficient high STR is distinctive rather than de rigueur.

If you are using house rules such as Recommended STR for weapons, this Schtick lowers the Recommended STR of weapons within the chosen Subskill by 2.

Designer’s notes:
This is a context-dependent Schtick, usually used in more realistic and low-powered Genres. The Gamemaster should specify whether it is necessary. For instance in many video games melee weapons such as swords are huge, but this is visual exaggeration so the individual designs can actually be seen on the screen — if they had a realistic size it would be impossible to tell any two swords apart.

This is just cosmetic, and such weapons don’t appear to hit any harder than a real sword would – so a DC Heroes campaign inspired by such environments would treat such giant swords as being just swords.

Mighty Thews is just worth one point. It can be understood as a way to “tag” a character for increased suspension of disbelief. It’s an acknowledgement that yes, wielding this weapon that way in unrealistic for somebody like that even in the context of a story, but in this case it’s okay.

The early version of this Schtick being intended for characters wielding support firearms as small arms, it was called Walking Tall Machinegun Man. ”Mighty Thews” is much more general, more neutral and relies less on an increasingly obscure Alice In Chains reference (and more on a classic R.E. Howard bit).


Miracle Shot

Schtick designed for:
Warlord (Travis Morgan) ; I, Spyder

Description:
This Schtick allows a Character to Push the Range component of his attacks – whether a weapon or a Power – for half the normal cost, rounded down, without influencing the EV component.

Designer’s notes:
Note that, barring an house rule, Range is normally not one of the scores you can pump HPs into.


Motherland (specific area)

Schtick designed for:
Firefox (Marvel Universe)

Description:
When the Character is operating in the specified country (or former country), he operates in the Action Genre, no matter what the actual Genre for the game in progress might be. When he operates elsewhere, but the stories is dominated by themes, persons and organisations clearly connected to the specified country, the Character operates in the normal Genre for that game.

If no such thematic elements tying the story to the country are present, the Character operates one Genre ’worse‘ than everybody else, making his HP use less efficient than normal.

Designer’s notes:
Presumably not a good idea at all for PCs, but works great for NPCs who are unstoppable on their home turf but perform like fishes out of water otherwise.


Mugging

Writer:
Tom Eilers

Schtick designed for:
Rikku (Final Fantasy X)

Description:
When attacking a person, the Character with the Mugging Schtick can in the same Phase use the Thief (Pickpocket) Subskill on the same target as an Automatic Action. Though it is an Automatic Action, the dice is still rolled.

Not-the-designer’s note:
A somewhat uncommon example of emulating the mechanics of another game using MEGS concepts. This ’simulationist‘ stance can be seen most clearly in the Final Fantasy X writeups and the Street Fighters writeups on Writeups.org.


My Playground, My Rules (Low/Medium/High)

Writer:
Sébastien Andrivet, Peter Piispanen, Tom Eilers

Schtick designed for:
Rhiannon (Ultraverse), Black Cat (Marvel), Michael Scofield (Prison Break), Joker (Dark Knight Returns movie)

Description:
This Schtick allows the Character to pay half cost (8 HPs instead of 15) for certain kinds of Altering the Environment stunts. In each level of the Schtick, the Character must specify 3 types of environmental action, and the perimeter.

  1. Low – the half-cost rebate is only available within a specific building (often a Headquarters)
  2. Medium – the half-cost rebate is only available within a specific neighbourhood (eg, Yancy Street) or within a specific kind of building (e.g., “all the research labs my company owns” or “all the egress routes I have prepared whilst extensively casing out the site of a projected major theft”.
  3. High – the half-cost rebate is available throughout an entire city (eg, Gotham City)

Examples of types of environmental action that can be chosen include “secret passages”, “weapons on display”, “trapdoors and pitfalls”, “sabotaged and weakened infrastructures”, “armed and ready bands of henchmen”, “numerous charges of explosives ready to detonate”, “obstacles deterring pursuit”, “well-hidden safe rooms”, etc.

Previous names for this Schtick include “King of My Castle” (now the Low version of MPMR), and “Terrain Mastery” and “Prepositioned Traps” (now the Medium of MPMR)

Designer’s notes:
Weapons Stash is a relative of this Schtick (one type of alteration, different price break, unlimited perimeter)


Mystique (specific area)

This Mayfair-designed bonus is described in the New Rules: Advantages. It is listed here since at one point we trended more toward considering a Schtick. Note that there’s much of a difference…


Never Let Me Down

Schtick designed for:
Batwoman

Description:
This Schtick allows the Character to perform a very limited version of Desperation Recovery. For a third (round up) of the normal Desperation Recovery fee, she can act normally for a Phase, even if she’s close to being dead, without any penalties – then collapse back to her current BODY condition.

This Schtick can only be used to save the life of a loved one, though the GM and and Player can tailor this condition to the Character (perhaps so that Character can only use it to strike at a specific type of hated enemy, or to rescue children, etc.)

Designer’s notes:
GMs may consider making this type of Desperation Recovery to rescue a loved one a part of the standard rules, since it’s something that super-heroes do. In such a case a possible approach is to make this Schtick free, and tailor the condition that allows its use for each Character as discussed above.

The original version of the Schtick, developped for Batwoman (Katherine Rebecca Kane), was called This We’ll Defend.


Night-fighting

Schtick designed for:
Tarantula II (Anton Rodriguez), Conan (comic book version)

Description:
This Schtick diminishes the penalties for fighting at night and in poor visibility by one CS. In some cases, the GM may allow it to also lower the difficulty of some Perception Rolls made at night.

Designer’s notes:
Note that Characters who actually have natural night vision are usually modelled with a Limited form of Ultra-Vision ; this Schtick does not represent night vision but talent, experience, training, etc. in fighting in the dark. A close relative of the Night-Fighting Schtick is the Blind-Fighting Schtick.


Ninja Stealth

Schtick designed for:
Elektra

Description:
The Schtick (Ninja Stealth) allows a Character to negate 2CSes of Difficulty Modifiers when using her Thief (Stealth). This means that she can achieve seemingly supernatural feats of stealth, yet can still be spotted by people with appropriately high perceptive AV (such as other ninja !).

Designer’s notes:
Difficulty Modifiers will occur to boost the observers’s OV/RV when you are trying to pull some crazy stuff, like sneaking behind a guy standing in the middle of an empty well-lit space and looking all around him.


Nuclear Punch

Schtick designed for:
Mahkizmo

Description:
The Nuclear Punch Schtick allows the Character to always consider himself in the Action Genre when it comes to HP Expenditure to augment the EV of his punches – i.e., 1 HP/AP and Unlimited.

If the Character is already operating in the Action or Humour Genre, the cost becomes ¾ – for each full 3 HP he spends, he gets 4 further APs for his punch’s EV.

Alternatively, when attacking an Inanimate Object (such as a wall), the Character can spend one Hero Point to increase his AV and EV by two Column Shifts. A Character choosing this option cannot spend further HPs to increase the AV or EV of the blow.

Characters delivering a Nuclear Punch – that is, spending HPs at these preferential rates to enhance EV – treat the final EV of their blow as if it were the base STR of the punch. For instance, if a Character with a STR of 04 and the Nuclear Punch Schticks spends 4 HPs to increase EV to 08, the punch is considered to have been thrown by a Character with a STR of 08.

If the same Character spends one HP to attack an Inanimate Object, his EV is increase by two CSes and is thus also considered as a STR 08 punch. This is chiefly important when it comes to the Impossible Feat rule, letting Characters with this Schtick damage materials that the GM would otherwise consider to be out of bounds.

Designer’s notes:
A distant relative of the Iron Fist Schtick, though more STR-centric than Martial Artist-centric. It particularly models people with a sort of energy that allows them to deliver enhanced blows, but can run out of energy – such as Mahkizmo or certain fighting game characters such as Ryo Sakazaki or Ralf Jones.

The Inanimate Objects option is chiefly there because such characters tend to show off their power by pulverising walls and the like, and burning HPs to show off would be bizarre.


Packhorse

Writer:
Roy Cowan

Schtick designed for:
The Marine (DooM video game)

Description:
This Schtick, common in classic shoot ’em up video games, allows the Character to somehow carry impossible amounts of weapons and ammunitions without any special hindrance – and to smoothly alternate between carrying and using any of those. Traditionally it is possible to carry ten different weapons (one for each number key on the keyboard) when you have this Schtick.


Pain Management (Low, Medium, High)

Schtick designed for:
Crippler (Karl Stryklan), Night Zero, Beach-Head (GI Joe)

Description:
The Character with the Pain Management Schtick has an even higher resilience toward torture and rough interrogation (or whatever the governmental weasel word du jour is) than his Attributes would indicate.

Pain Management (Low) is usually the product of unusual, specialised training, usually from an espionage or military agency ; higher levels are often the result of unusual psychological or physiological conditions such as deadened nerve ends, ’off‘ switch for pain transmission, masochistic tendencies of very uncommon vigour, brain rewiring to induce euphoria instead of pain….

The Low level of the Schtick improves the OV and RV of the Character by one CS, the Medium level by two and the High level by three. Note that civilised Interrogation Interaction, not relying on physical pain and distress, is not affected by the Pain Management Schtick.

Designer’s notes:
It is usually difficult to tell whether this Schtick is present since, in the overwhelming majority of cases, the Character’s training and resiliency, if any, is rolled into her Attributes – especially MIND and SPI.

This Schtick is chiefly useful when there is a noticeable discrepancy between resistance to torture and resistance to other sufferings – or, more likely, if the Character has a well-documented condition or background bit suggesting this Schtick.


Parent Figure

Schtick designed for:
Ma and Pa Kent

Description:
The Character is an ideal parent figure. Their personality resonates extremely well with people who have psychological issues relating to their mother and/or father – like Batman or Supergirl. When attempting Character Interaction with such people, the Parent Figure Schtick allows the Character to lower OV by one CS.


Precise Blocker (type of blocking object)

Schtick designed for:
Characters who are good at pulling the Block Manoeuvre with an object that should receive penalties due to its small size. Examples include Wonder Woman or Shang-Chi with their bracers, Gambit with his quarterstaff, Sarge Steel with his steel fist or Katana with her sword.

Suggested cost:
Three points

Description:
When wielding the specified object type (such as “bracers” or “staves”), the Character can use the Block Manoeuvre without a penalty for size. This means that they perform just as well at Blocking attacks than if they were wielding a full-size shield instead.

The Character may take this Schtick with the Subvelocity Limitation, lowering the suggested cost by 1 point. With the Subvelocity Limitation, the Schtick only applies to projectiles under 350 km/h. In practice this means thrown objects, sling bullets, arrows, most crossbow bolts, falling objects… but not bullets (even subsonic ones), shells and such.

The Character may also take the “Melee Only” Limitation, lowering the cost by 2 points.

Designer notes:
First, remember that the Blocking Manoeuvre means standing there and parrying incoming assault without counter-attacking. It’s “active” defense. It’s different from characters who can parry attacks while still delivering attacks on their own. For those, it’s OV at play.

If the Character is returning projectiles (or even blaster bolts), we’re in a different territory (namely the Deflect/Reflect Power). A given Character might have both, though.

This Schtick is an admittedly pedantic bit. It allows for the ability to Block without penalties using a small object to be a part of the Character and not a property of the object. If I put on Shang-Chi’s bracers, I’m not going to Block volleys of shuriken and arrows like he does. I’d clearly be better off with a full-size shield.

There *are* objects that should have the bonus on their own, though. A typical example is sai, jitte and other “blade-catcher” melee weaponry. Their design makes it easier to Block appropriate attacks than a similarly-sized melee weapon would.


Preternaturally Streetwise (specific city)

Schtick designed for:
X

Description:
This Schtick builds upon the proper Area Knowledge, Connections, Detective (Legwork) Subskill and the like to achieve a seemingly impossible level of awareness about the unusual activities and projects in town. Without having to role-play it, the Character knows practically everything that is going on.

Only the smartest and most extraordinary precautions, or a total X-factor from the outside, should stand a decent chance of blindsiding the Character. Even if drastic security precautions have been taken and only three guys know about The Secret Plan, the Character with this Schtick will be aware of this unless the GM has a good reason to forbid it.


Provoked Attack

Schtick designed for:
Red Guardian (Alexi Shostakov)

Description:
When provoking an opponent, the Character pits his Charisma Skill against the INT/SPI of his opponents. Each MIA/MIH he notices through observation add +1 to the roll (added to the final roll like the Dart Bonus) if he can find a way to incorporate it into his taunts, each Serious thing a +2, each Catastrophic a +4.

Likewise, Minor, Serious or Catastrophic Rage automatically adds +1, +2 or +4. Using his opponent’s Motivation against him is good for a -1CS drop of the opponent’s OV.

Attractions, Hatreds and Motivations have to be identified through role-playing, and only count if they can be used in some way by the Character against his opponent. Provoking is an Automatic Action.

If the Character manages to gain ½ RAPs, his opponent will attack or pursue him without thinking. Examples include provoking Hawkeye to try to punch the Red Guardian instead of recovering his bow, Captain America to throw his shield at the Guardian (so the Guardian could knock it away with his thrown belt buckle) or Hercules into chasing him in the psychotron room. Stupid capitalist running dogs !

Designer’s notes:
See also the Taunting Schtick and the Psy-Ops Schtick.


Psy-ops

Schtick designed for:
Zeiss, Typhoid Mary, the Confessor (Marvel Universe)

Description:
A Character with this Schtick has a remarkable ability to get under the skin of people and psychologically destabilize them. By observing them, hitting all their red buttons and striking where it psychologically hurts, he manages to make his opponents angrier, less focused and less efficient. This take some prep work, but if he can work on it it is pretty efficient, even on high-willpower people.

When destabilising an opponent, the Character pits his INF/WIL against the INT/SPI of his opponents. Each MIA/MIH/Minor Rage he notices through observation add +1 to the roll (added to the final roll like the Dart Bonus), each Serious thing a +2, each Catastrophic a +4. Using his opponent’s Motivation against him is good for a -1CS drop of the opponent’s OV.

Weaknesses and Motivations have to be identified through roleplaying, and only count if they can be used in some way by the Character against his opponent. Action to use such weakness varies – it can range from a conversation to full-scale terror actions and criminal plots intended to have the target jump through hoops and highlighting his weak points.

Several attempt at destabilization are possible, with RAPs being cumulative. However, for each attempt past the second, the target’s OV increase by a cumulative 2 CS.

The goal of this strategy is to have the opponent be emotionally destabilised and less efficient when the time comes of the Big Fight between the Character with this Schtick and his opponent. The results gained by the RAPs are thus as follows :

Result Advantage gained
One RAP Opponent operates one Genre lower for the first Phase of the fight
½ RAPs Opponent operates one Genre lower for the first five Phases of the fight
Full RAPs Opponent operates one Genre lower for the whole fight, and two Genres lower for the first two Phases of the fight

Quick Change Artistry (Low/Medium/High)

Schtick designed for:
Slaymaster, the Chameleon, the Christmas Madman

Description:
This specialised skill, usually used by some actors and stage magicians in the real world, allows to prepare disguises and clothes so they can be put on very quickly, and to switch in and out of them with astounding alacrity. The change can always be done within a single Phase, consuming all Dice and Automatic Actions ; the differing levels in the Schtick determine the complexity of the disguise.

  1. Low – the disguise must be optimised to be worn over the current clothes over the character, with maybe one or two pieces being hurriedly switched (for instance a robe, another pair of shoes and a lifelike rubber mask).
  2. Medium – the Character can get rid of as many articles of clothing he was wearing, *and* put on a new set of clothes, possibly including a mask and wig.
  3. High – Ditto, but some simple makeup, coloured contact lenses, specialised disguise items, voice alteration gadget, etc. can be thrown in – still within a single Phase !

Designer’s notes:
For really outlandish cases, Skilled Chameleon may be the way to go.


Reach (weapon or general)

Schtick designed for:
Triple-Iron, Skullcrusher

Description:
The Reach Schtick can be used by Characters with an exceptionally long reach in melee combat. In Triple-Iron’s case, it is a combination of his gigantic size and his triple iron weapon.

To use this Schtick, the Character must roll Initiative, then renounce Initiative, then state that his action is that he will attack the first melee fighter closing in with him. If somebody attacks him in melee, the Character with the Reach Schtick will then be able to attack the attacker before he can resolve his attack – if a condition is met.

That condition is that the melee attacker must have rolled an Initiative that is less than than (original Initiative roll of the Schtick (Reach) Character plus nine).

In most, but not all, cases, the Reach Schtick necessitates wielding a signature weapon, such as Triple Iron’s three-piece-rod (a sort of giant nunchaku with three sticks) or Skullcrusher’s Meteor Hammer (a long chain with a big metal sphere on each extremity).

Designer’s notes:
For an even more specialised version see the Flying Axe Schtick.


Relentless

Schtick designed for:
Iron Maiden (Melina Vostokovna)

Description:
A Character with this Schtick is able to Press the Attack whenever she chooses, whether she has won Initiative or not. She just has to declare it before Initiative is determined.

This Schtick has been designed to reflect the case of a character who just walks through and ignores the attacks hitting her as a matter of course, allowing her to be pretty successful against people who are objectively faster and more skilled than she is.


Response In Kind

Schtick designed for:
War Machine, Deadshot

Description:
The Character has the uncanny ability to regularly have just the right kind of speciality ammunition chambered when he needs it. When he fires, he can for a 5 HPs fee convert the shot and up to five of the Ammo remaining in his weapons to any kind of speciality ammunition he normally uses.

The ammunition (dum-dum, incendiary, explosive…) must be available to the Character, if only commercially. One special case is ammunition doing Bashing Damage (rubber rounds, mercy bullets…) – for Characters with this Schtick, declaring that a given shot is Bashing can always be done and does not cost any HP. GMs may reinstate the 5 HPs fee in some realistic and gritty Genres, though.

Designer’s notes:
If the Character can always fire genuinely exotic, potent, specialised rounds, an Omni-Gadget may be a better approach.


Robot Double Gambit

Schtick designed for:
The Mandarin

Description:
A Character with this Schtick can declare at any time, by paying 10 HPs, that he’s actually a robot double and he was never actually there. The GM can overrule this in very specific circumstances – for instance, if the Character has just been probed by cosmic technology and determined to be the real McCoy.

This is usually done to escape certain defeat or destruction, or, occasionally, if the Character is cut away from his main base.

Designer’s notes:
See also the Contingency Plan Schtick for a close, but broader, relative.


Safety Rope

Schtick designed for:
The Woman in Red

Description:
Whenever the Character with this Schtick falls from a great height, presumably to their death, they have a bonus on the Altering the Environment table. See our article expanding Altering the Environment in DC Heroes.

This bonus is a hefty -4CS (i.e., shift the cost by four columns toward the left), but it can only be used to have something the Character can catch and swing on. This usually means a rope, a curtain or something similar.

The Character will always be able to use this swinging object to land neatly to safety elsewhere.


Sharpshooter (level) (Subskill)

Schtick designed for:
XCom Project operatives

Description:
The Sharpshooter Schtick denotes the ability to land difficult, important attacks with more regularity than the Genre would normally allow for.

Each level of Sharpshooter provides one Column Shift toward the left of the Genre Table when determining the cost of boosting the AV of Dice Actions conducted with a specified Weaponry Subskill.

For instance, in the Real Genre increasing the value of a Dice Action costs 8 HPs. A Character with the Sharpshooter 2 (Missile) would instead pay the costs for the Mock-Real Genre, but *only* when it comes to increasing the AV of a Weaponry (Missile) Dice Action.

Designer’s note:
A low Genre was matching the 2012 version of the XCom video game very well, except for one thing – firearms accuracy. A Genre Rule did not fit, because the effect was only present for the best shooters, and giving them unearthly Weaponry APs was absurd.

With Sharpshooter it becomes possible to set the exact Genre costs for AV-boosting Dice Actions, per character and/or per piece of equipment, which models what we’re after.

This isn’t normally needed. In the *vast* majority of cases, high Weaponry APs do the job just fine. Here we had a crunch between the Genre and the power scale being set and not allowing for the desired effect.


Shotgun Man

Schtick designed for:
I’m talkin’ ’bout Shaft, so presumably you can dig it. Also John Nada, Shotgun II, John Matrix

Description:
When using any sort of shotgun, the Character ignores the Diminishing Limitation of his weapon, if any.


Signature Subplot

Schtick designed for:
Iron Fist, James Rhodes

Description:
The Character receives half again as many Hero Points (round down) as the reward for a very specific type of Subplot. The Subplot must be more specific than the usual categories (“Criminal past”, “Death guilt”, etc.) and have a negative impact on the Character.

Examples include “Events conspire to make my Character dangerously irrational” (a specific Power Complication Subplot), “my children are kidnapped by supernatural forces” (a specific Family Subplot), “my mother goes nuts and gives me crazy orders with dire consequences” (ditto), “my girlfriend is murdered by Bullseye” (a specific Enemies Subplot), and so on.

Less specific Subplots do not fit with the Signature Subplot Schtick, and no Character can have more than one Signature Subplot.

This Schtick is a metafunctional one. It helps explain why some Characters in comic books, TV series, etc. seem to have a storyline happen to them over, and over… and over… and over again, by providing an incentive for the Player to imitate this. This Schtick has an evil brother – the Repetitive Narrative Drawback.


Spatial Geometry

Schtick designed for:
Cyclops, Lester Girls

Description:
Much like a sort of three-dimensional pool expert, the Character can lower by 2CS the difficulty of Trick Shots relying on complex trajectories, reflections and ricochets. Given perfect conditions, such as an area filled with properly reflective surfaces allowing numerous ricochets, a Selective Area of Effect Attack becomes possible, though the AV of the attacker is halved.


Speed-shooting

Schtick designed for:
Korben Dallas (The Fifth Element), Chow Yun Fat’s “gun opera” characters, the Yeoman (Wild Cards)

Description:
This Schtick allows the Character to negate one Column Shift of penalties when delivering a Multi-Attack using ranged attacks. For instance, Multi-Attacking three targets with gunfire, normally a +2CS OV/RV penalty, would become a +1CS OV/RV penalty.

This Schtick can be used with all ranged attacks the Character can use, with the exception of the Unskilled Use of a weapon.

Designer’s notes:
This Schtick and its relatives are specifically intended to cover cases where the Character easily deals with multiple opponents, but basing the calculation of their AV on this produces scores that are too high.

It’s usually a case of “the Character is very good against low-OV opponents but can’t seem to reliably hit high-OV opponents, so his AV can’t be that high” or “her AV can’t really be that high, otherwise she’d be doing Critical Strikes all the time and she doesn’t.”

For similar approaches, see the Fists of Fury Schtick and the Sweeping Autofire Schtick. For more extreme cases, or for Characters who only multi-attack with a specific ranged Power, we suggest using the Multi-Attack Bonus (BOH:SE p56) on the relevant Skill or Power.

Note the presence of the Autofire Bonus in the stats of many weapons (at least on writeups.org) – for many Characters toting such weapons, the Autofire Bonus is entirely sufficient to explain their exploits.


Split Schtick

Writer:
Gareth Lewis

Schtick designed for:
Madrox the Multiple Man

Description:
If the Character (who must be able to produce identical Splits) is killed, he can pay 15 HPs to retroactively declare the person was actually a duplicate.

Designer’s notes:
A close relative of the Robot Double Gambit Schtick.


Stare Of Doom

Schtick designed for:
Cage

Description:
If the Character with the Stare of Doom gets 5 times full RAPs on an Intimidation attempt (say, 15 RAPs against a SPI 3 person), the GM is free to rule that his target fainted. This Schtick is mostly intended for colour.


Stance Assessment

Schtick designed for: Batgirl III (Cassandra Cain), Jubei Kibagami, Sakura Kasugano, Geese Howard, most of the cast of Black Lagoon

Description:
This Schtick means that the Character gains a +1CS bonus to his AV and EV when attempting to judge the skill level of an opponent. It is essentially an Expertise, but has a specific listing since it covers an Action with a few special rules and its own RAPs Results Table.

Judging the skill level of an opponent is a roll of Skill/INT against a standard OV/RV of 06/06. The Skill used is the same as the Skill that the Character is attempting to assess (Martial Artist for Martial Artist, Weaponry (Firearms) for Weaponry (Firearms), etc.) The Character does not actually have to see the target fight – she just looks at the way he moves, holds his weapons and so on.

If the opponent is attempting to hide his skill level, the OV/RV becomes INT/INT or Artist (Actor)/Artist (Actor) as the target chooses.

Result Data
1 RAP The answer is provided by the GM in broad, vague strokes (“He’s a wimp”, “He’s about your level” “He’s slightly better than you” ““You can’t hope to touch him” and so on).
½ RAP Rough idea of the fighting style (“looks like ninjutsu, possibly trained by Nitobe-san”), the Column of either DEX or Martial Artist (“in terms of Skill she’s probably in the 7-8 Column”), and perhaps a unique detail (“she seems to have a very aggressive stance”).
Full RAPs Specific idea about 2-3 key scores (“DEX of about 09, Martial Artist around 08”), specific idea about form (“savate tireur, with various acrobatic combat and military hand-to-hand skills blended in”), and perhaps insightful, unique details (“she’s performing the exact same moves you’ve seen Daredevil do last year, it’s eerie”)

More extreme cases (such as characters with a chi sense or Gadget allowing them to sense that the opponent’s strength is over nine thousand) are better covered by a Power.


Star-Crossed Heart

Schtick designed for:
Cinnamon I (Kate Manser)

Description:
The Star-crossed Heart Schtick allows the Character to subtract 1CS from the OV penalty when making a Critical Hit or Devastating Attack. Said attack can only be performed by throwing her signature bladed thrown weapon (such as a sharpened sheriff badge) at the heart of an opponent, and she must spend at least 1 HP on some component of that attack to unlock the Schtick’s bonus.


Sticks and Bullets

Schtick designed for:
Marion “Cobra” Cobretti, some John Wayne heroic cowboy characters

Description:
This Schtick represents a knack for the tactic of throwing small chunks of explosive (usually grenades or sticks or dynamite) then shooting them in mid-air to make them detonate when desired. With this Schtick, the Trick Shot to hit one’s own projectile is automatically successful (whether the explosive was thrown right is another matter) ; furthermore explosives that cannot realistically be detonated that way (such as plastique) will reliably explode when hit by the Character’s bullet or similar attack.


Strangler’s Hands (Armed/Unarmed)

Schtick designed for:
The Gael, Garrotte, the pre-Crisis version of the Crime Doctor

Description:
The Character receives special bonuses when attempting to strangle and choke somebody. The Schtick must be taken in either its Armed or its Unarmed version – the first allows the bonuses to be applied when using a suitable weapon such as a garrotte, chain, lasso, etc. and the second when using one’s bare hands or similar appendage.

The Armed version is often the result of special training, and the Unarmed one is often the result of having unusually large and strong hands – and the inclination to use them.

The bonuses are :

  1. +1CS AV/EV to initiate a Grappling or Wrestling attack
  2. STR is considered to be one AP higher in Grappling Combat (for the Armed version this stacks with weapons providing a similar bonus)
  3. If the Grappling Attack was initiated with the benefit of a Blindside or Surprise, the target is Suffocating (BOH:SE p156 or house rules) without the benefit of the five Phases of breath-holding.
  4. The GM is also encouraged to let such characters apply the +1 AP STR bonus to some minor actions related to the Schtick, such as when a Character with Strangler’s Hands (Unarmed) wants to rip an ordinary item (such as a book) apart with his bare hands, or a Character with Strangler’s Hands (Armed) want to pull himself up after wrapping his weapon around an overhead pipe.

Surefooted

Schtick designed for:
Georges Batroc

Description:
This Schtick simply allows the Character to reduce the penalty for slippery surfaces and general poor footing by 1CS – or to increase his OV and RV against Friction Control when it comes to retaining one’s footing and mobility. On ordinary ice this Schtick makes it possible to do basic jumps and acrobatics without hindrance.


Sympathy For The Devil

Schtick designed for:
Moondark

Description:
All Character Interaction actions and related Powers (such as Hypnotism, Sorcery-duplicated Hypnotism or broadcast Empath, etc.) the Character uses against demons and demonic otherdimensional creatures have their OV/RV reduced by one CS.


Sweeping Autofire

Schtick designed for:
Aeon Flux (the movie version played by Charlize Theron)

Description:
When a Character with this Schtick uses a weapon with the Autofire Advantage, she is allowed to subtract one further CS of penalty when Multi-Attacking. For instance, Multi-Attacking five targets with with an Autofire weapon, normally a +3CS OV/RV penalty, would become a +1CS OV/RV penalty.

Designer’s notes:
This Schtick has a more powerful relative – the Speed-Shooting
Schtick. See the design notes for the Speed-Shooting Schtick for more.


Taunting

Schtick designed for:
Spider-Man (Peter Parker)

Description:
When using the Taunting Schtick, the Character pits his INF/WIL against the INT/SPI of his opponents. Each MIA/MIH he notices through observation add +1 to the roll (added to the final roll like the Dart Bonus) if he can find a way to incorporate it into his taunts, each Serious thing a +2, each Catastrophic a +4.

Likewise, Minor, Serious or Catastrophic Rage automatically adds +1, +2 or +4. Using his opponent’s Motivation against him is good for a -1CS drop of the opponent’s OV.

Attractions, Hatreds and Motivations have to be identified through role-playing, and only count if they can be used in some way by the Character against his opponent. Taunting is a Dice Action, with a special rule – it can be used while Dodging.

The results gained by the RAPs are as follows :

Result Effects
One RAP Opponent must burn 1 HP/Phase on EV as long as the Character is Taunting
½ RAPs Opponent must burn 3 HP/Phase on EV as long as the Characte is Taunting, +1 Phase
Full RAPs Opponent must burn 5 HP/Phase on EV as long as the Characte is Taunting, +3 Phase

Designer’s notes:
This Schtick has a close relative – the Provoked Attack Schtick – and a more distant one, the Psy-Ops Schtick.


Telescopic Feint

Writer:
Roy Cowan

Schtick designed for:
Star Wars dual-length lightsabres

Description:
This Schtick relies on a weapon that can suddenly extends it length, and the opponent being unaware of that property. If both conditions are met, the Character with the Schtick can suddenly extend his weapon in an offensive manoeuvre that penalises the enemy OV by one CS.


Trajectory Calculation

Schtick designed for:
Fin (Silver Sable’s Intruders)

Description:
This Schtick allows the Character to ignore up to 2 CS of additional OV granted by the Flight Power, likely through an abnormal ability to calculate and anticipate flight trajectories.


Trick Shooter (attack type) (Low/Medium/High)

Schtick designed for:
The Futurians, Steel III (DC), Lucky Luke, Jinx (animated version)

Description:
This Schtick indicates that the Character has an abnormally high success rate when it comes to shots not intended to hit someone – but to, for instance, shoot off a weapon held by a foe, cut the line from which an opponent is hanging, and the like. This Schtick allows to ignore Column Shift Penalties to the OV of the shot (or to lower the Difficulty, depending on how the GM works) for ranged Trick Shots and Disarms.

Trick Shooter (Low) mitigates one CS of penalty, Trick Shooter (Medium) mitigates two, and Trick Shooter (High) mitigates three (for those extra-difficult trick shots).

The Character with this Schtick must specify to which Subskill or attack form it applies (Weaponry (Firearms), Flame Project, Weaponry (Missile), etc.). A more powerful version of this Schtick applies to all suitable ranged attacks made by the Character ; a narrower version only apply to a specific kind of trick shot (such as shooting ropes or Disarms against one-handed weapons).

Designer’s notes:
There is also a precedent for a Trick Shooter Schtick being specific to both an attack form (laser eyebeams) *and* a type of Trick Shot (ricochets on mirrors).


Trigger Discipline

Schtick designed for:
Jones (Project IGI)

Description:
The Character is an expert at controlling the size of his bursts when using an automatic firearm. Even with his weapon set a full auto, he can fire single shots or short (three-rounds) burst, as tactically appropriate.

When the Character is wielding an automatic firearm with an Ammo score, the Ammo rating of the weapon is considered to be 1.5 times higher than normal, rounding down. Thus, a submachinegun from the rulebook would have Ammo: 06 instead of Ammo: 04 ; and a semi-automatic rifle from the rulebook Ammo: 12 instead of Ammo: 08.


Under Cover Of The Dark

Schtick designed for:
King Snake

Description:
A Character with this Schtick can, when fighting in darkness, further diminish his opponent’s OV by one CS by maximising the cover given by darkness to make his blows come from unexpected angles, directions and heights. Of course the opponent has to actually be currently suffering penalties from ambiant darkness.


Underwater Combat

Schtick designed for:
Alec “Firearm” Swan, a former SBS commando ; the Sea Devils

Description:
When moving and fighting underwater, the Character ignores one CS of penalty to his AV and EV (or one of the CS of Bonus to his opponents’s OV and RV). This does not affect movement rate, though that can also diminish the difficulty of staying afloat despite fatigue, diving from an unusual height, and the like.

Designer’s notes:
More proficient, truly aquatic Characters are better served by Water Freedom.


Unfettered Fist

Schtick designed for:
Blackbelt, Iron Fist, Gamora, Karate Kid

Description:
The Character can fully substitute her Martial Artist (Battery) Subskill for her melee attacks without entering Killing Combat. If house rules are in effect to limit the efficiency of EV substitution from Martial Artist under some circumstances or against some targets, the Character can ignore such limitations.

If the GM is considering making use of the Impossible Feats rule when it comes to the Character destroying obstacles, a good rule of thumb is to consider that the Character with the Unfettered Fist Schtick has the same ability to destroy solid material as somebody whose EV comes solely from STR (e.g., a Character with a Martial Artist-derived EV of 09 and Unfettered Fist should be considered in the same light as a person with a STR of 09 when it comes to demolishing obstacles made of metal, concrete, etc.)


Unpredictable Style

Schtick designed for:
Voldo (Soulcalibur), Dhalsim (Street Fighter)

Description:
This Schtick represents insane and iconoclastic, self-taught fighting style. Such fighters are not rational, and their strikes and parries are very hard to predict and not coherent from one second to the next. Each Phase, a person with this Schtick can impose a -1CS Penalty to a melee opponent’s AV or OV.

It is possible to ignore this penalty once you have fought (11 minus your Martial Artist score) times with a fighter using Schtick (Unpredictable Style).

Designer’s notes:
The vast majority of insane, unpredictable fighters does not have this Schtick – they simply have good DEX or Martial Artist. It takes a rare, strange mixture of talent, insanity and experience to have this Schtick.


Vedic Gunfighting

Schtick designed for:
The Bride of Frankenstein (DC Universe)

Description:
A Character with at least two suitable Extra Limbs, this Schtick and at least four suitable weapons can basically use the Paired Weapons Schtick twice at once, to gain two more APs to put into AV or EV (or one AP in each).

Designer’s notes:
The source for the name of this Schtick is that the Bride has been grafted multiple working arms in order to make her look like a traditional Vedic deity.

The Bride of Frankenstein shooting her pistols


Voice In The Dead Of Night

Writer:
Vincent Bartilucci

Schtick designed for:
Whisperman

Description:
If the Character can use the Super-Ventriloquism Power to make a Charisma (Intimidation) Attack on a target while the target remains unaware of his exact location, he gains a -1 Column Shift bonus to the OV of the attack. 


Vulcan Nerve Pinch (aka Subdual)

Writer:
Roy Cowan

Schtick designed for:
Take a wild guess ! Also, Samurai Jack

Description:
A character with this Shtick is extremely adept at subduing and stunning his opponents. This is usually done by performing a nerve pinch, choke hold or similar. If he uses his Martial Arts for AV and a Critical Blow, he may score -4 CS to the RV instead of the usual -3 CS RV. The No Vital Areas Advantage is still useful against a character with this Shtick.


Walk Like A Panther

Schtick designed for:
Aeon Flux (Charlize Theron in Aeon Flux)

Description:
This Schtick allows the Character to subtract 1CS from the RV bonus of any Team Attack attempted against her — usually through high agility and mobility.


Wasn’t Me

Schtick designed for:
Captain Triumph

Description:
Inexplicably, despite not wearing any sort of mask (not even glasses !), the Character is not recognised while he is in costume. Somehow, he just changes his clothes and nobody can realise he looks just the same as his heroic identity.


Weapons At The Ready (weapons, Omni-Gadgets or booby traps)

Schtick designed for:
Some Chow Yun Fat’s “gun opera”‘ characters, the Joker (Tangent version), the Bat

Description:
A Character with the Weapons At The Ready Schtick can pay a 5 HPs fee to very quickly find a readily-available weapon he’s familiar with, ready to use. This takes but an Automatic Action and some reasonably plausible rationale.

Common examples include “one of the dead guards nearby just happen to have a flamberge” or “oh yes, let’s retroactively declare that I had discreetly hidden one of my Smith & Wessons into that potted plant during our previous visit”.

The weapon will be, if applicable, loaded. If the Character employs Omni-Gadgets, she can choose this Schtick to apply to those instead of weapons. If the Character specialises in booby traps, he can choose this Schtick to apply to those instead of weapons.

Of course, any Character can hide weapons on a scene where he expects a fight to take place soon (you have to buy the weapons, gain access to the scene, plant them, etc.) – but this Schtick allows you to declare that you find weapons out of the blue without having ever mentioned anything before.

Designer’s notes:
This is in many ways a cheaper, specialised version of the Altering the Environment rule. This Schtick has a close relative called Weapons Stash.


Weapons Stash

Schtick designed for:
John Matrix (Commando movie), Grimjack

Description:
A Character with the Weapons Stash Schtick can pay a 10 HPs fee to, with some searching around and vague plausibility, find a number of weapons, ready to use.

For instance, he might just happen to know that a nearby sports good store has a secret back room full of military-grade weaponry, or find a junkyard that quickly allow him to devise deadly improvised weaponry, or know improbable weapons dealer who do one-hour-or-your-money-back delivery, or know of (or have established) secret weapon caches… or they may just stumble upon the castle’s arsenal.

The stash will include up to fifteen weapons, depending on how cheap and available the selection is – a crate of .38 revolvers or run-of-the-mill shortswords might have fifteen units (plus ammo, at least for the .38s), but if the Player wants the Stash to have expensive, rare sniper rifles or experimental laser weapons, having just two or three is much more likely (GM’s call).

Of course, any Character can establish weapon caches (you have to buy the weapons, set up and secure the cache, etc.) – but this Schtick allows you to declare that you find one out of the blue without having ever mentioned anything before.

Designer’s notes:
This is in many ways a cheaper, specialised version of the Altering the Environment rule. This Schtick has a close relative called Weapons At The Ready.

Photo of an arsenal with guns and other supplies


Wheelman

Writer:
Roy Cowan

Schtick designed for:
Tommy Vercetti (GTA IV), Frank Martin (The Transporter), Jake Blues (The Blues Brothers)

Description:
This Schtick represents the extraordinary bond that some drivers seem to have with any vehicle they use. Those vehicles can suddenly withstand a great deal more damage than they would normally and can make extraordinary leaps even when there seems to be no ramp or other feature that would allow them to get the necessary lift.

In game terms, when this character is behind the wheel the vehicle has +2 APs of BODY, Hardened Defenses, and Jumping: 01 (Usable by itself, combined with a normal jump by the vehicle, or added to any pre-existing Jump Power the vehicle already had). When the character leaves the vehicle these benefits immediately disappear and if the loss of the extra BODY drives the Current BODY Condition below 0, the vehicle falls apart or explodes.

The exact depiction of this Schtick varies by Genre. In a Humor Genre, one might see the durability represented by a car that takes an amazing amount of damage and suddenly falls to pieces when the driver finally ditches it. A more serious or realistic approach might have the driver use careful maneuvering to minimize impact damage and such and have a badly damaged abandoned vehicle explode dramatically.

Likewise, the jump may simply get ridiculous height and air-time despite a seeming lack of the necessary speed or ramps to jump with, while a more realistic setting might have the driver use a convenient bit of sloped scenery that just happens to be there when needed, such as an angled barrier or wall edge.


Wound Rejection (Low/High)

Schtick designed for:
Peter Cannon… Thunderbolt !, Sonny Sumo, Kam

Description:
This Schtick gives a rebate to Desperation Recovery – the Character never pays more than 10 HPs to do a DR, no matter what Genre the action is taking place in.

In the Low version of the Schtick, this rebate is only available if the Character has the Regeneration and/or Invulnerability power running when he does his Desperation Recovery ; in the High version no such Powers are necessary.

Designer’s notes:
The Low level models several regenerative characters fairly well (they regularly do well-placed Desperation Recoveries and don’t seem to be spending that many HPs) ; the High level usually represents special meditative/chi/breathing/willpower techniques to nullify and ignore wounds… for a while, and at a cost.


Zanbato Sacrifice Strike

Writer:
Phil Dixon

Schtick designed for:
Lone Wolf and Cub

Description:
The Character knows specialized melee techniques used in duels. When the Character wins Initiative against a given opponent, he may forego attacking first and choose to strike at the exact same moment as his opponent – both attacks being resolved simultaneously.

The Character taking this course of action receives a +1CS to his AV.


Zero G Combat

Schtick designed for:
Charlie-27 (Guardians of the Galaxy)

Description:
This Schtick reduces the penalty associated with Dice Actions in space by one CS. Note that this Schtick allows for a complete nullification of the penalties, which normally cannot go below one CS of handicap.


Schticks not matching the vision

While I have uncharacteristically and unilaterally proclaimed myself to be The Vision Guy when it comes to Schtick in MEGS, I have unfortunately not yet reached the level where I crush all dissent under my jackbooted heel.

Thus, here are those propose Schticks who do not match the vision that was ponderously expounded in the introduction, in their original format.

The authors for several of those are unknown – please let me know if you have the information.


Grenades of Doom, Stopping Power, Master of Gadgets, Bullets of Destruction
There have been several Schticks (of varying levels of specialisation) allowing Characters to spend HPs to increase the APs of a Gadget – usually its EV. This stemmed of either a misunderstanding of the rules, or house rules prohibiting to spend HPs that way – since being able to burn HPs to increase the AV, OV, EV, etc. of a suitable Gadget is part of the basic rules.


Brawler (10 HP)
By Morgan Champion

A character with this Schtick gets a +1CS in melee combat (unless the opponent(s)also have Brawler). I suggest that anyone purchasing this Schtick must have either Martial Artist or Weaponry(Melee) at Dex APs or higher.


(Devastator) [Cost: 20 HPs]
By Peter Piispanen

A character with the Devastator schtick is extremely adept at critically injuring his opponents. Care should be taken by the GM when allowing this schtick since it potentially might disbalance the game, although it really is not much more powerful that the theoretically opposite No Vital Areas Advantage.

It allows the character to very easily inflict Critical Blows and Devastation Attacks upon his opponents, while not necessarily having to have huge skill levels (he might, for example, be an expert at anatomy seeing multiple attack points to choose between). The OV increase, upon trying such an attack, is one column shift less that ordinary, while the RV changes are unchanged.

The No Vital Areas Advantage (NVA) is still useful against a Devastator. The following rules are always used, instead of the usual, by the Devastator character:

Maneuvre: OV: RV:
Critical Blow +1 CS -3 CS
Devastating Attack +3 CS -6 CS
Critical Blow (vs. NVA) +1 -3
Devastating Attack (vs. NVA) +3 -6

Lobo might have this schtick.


Returnable Weapon (5 HP):

This Schtick requires the character to purchase the Weapon Specialist Schtick (see below)with a throwable weapon. If thrown,the weapon will automatically bounce back to the thrower,unless caught or deflected by the target or another character.


Trick Shot (10 HP/lvl)
By Morgan Champion

A character with this schtick often makes shots that seem impossible. Unlike other schticks,Trick Shot may be purchased in multiple levels,as each level reduces a Trick Shot’s AV penalty by +1CS.

NOTE :This schtick REDUCES penalties,it doesn’t add to the Trick Shot’s AV.Marvel Examples of this schtick include Captain Ameroica and Cyclops.As for Weapon Specialist,I have a lot of GURPS and Hero System products,and I find it hard to believe that a character who is a noted swordsman is just as good with a warhammer or nunchaku,which is what the MEGS Weaponry subskills imply.


Weapon Specialist (10 HP):

A character with this Schtick has a +1CS bonus to Weaponry Skill if using a specific type of Weapon(such as a hammer).


Schtick (Bloody Mess) [Cost: 5 HPs]

This schtick is unusual in many ways. It doesn’t alter dice rolls in any way, nor does it increase the AP-levels of certain tasks or decrease the severity of common limitations. Bloody Mess, amusing for the bloodthirsty player, automatically alters the gaming environment so that people around the character always die violently.

By some strange twist of fate, the player (and, of course, others around him) will, regardless of the actual amounts of violence involved, always see the worst way a person can die when they do die. For example, a person killed by a small caliber gun shot will actually partially explode upon his death (such horrible mutilations will make forensic analysis more difficult, by one or two column shifts depending on the force of the weapons used).

Other gaming effects are rather obscure and mostly visual in origin; combat and death always end up bloodier and messier than they normally would around this particular character. The sensation that the player really is followed by or is death himself will instill itself due to the extraordinary levels of gore involved.

This special effect instills itself regardless of the actual Genre the players are playing. In combat, after Bloody Mess has manifested itself, the player can attempt Intimidation at -1 CS OV/RV against any remaining opponents that just witnessed the apparent slaughter.

This schtick is seen in effect in the Fallout computer game and might also be possessed by Lobo or the leading character in extraordinarily gory horror-comedies such as Braindead.


Schtick (Buzz Saw SPin)
By Chris Cottingham and Andrew Lee

This Schtick is vision-legal, but it is *so* specific it felt odd to include it in the main list.

The Silver Slasher has an unusual Shtick which takes advantage of her Claws and her smooth, low-friction skin. By paying a 10 HP fee and forfeiting her Automatic Actions for that phase, she can execute a spinning Claws attack on one (and only one) opponent at her normal AV 10/EV 08, but the opponent’s RV suffers a -2 CS.

This RV penalty is cumulative with the Slasher’s APs of Sharpness (Claws) ; first subtract the APs of Sharpness from the RV, then apply the -2 CS penalty. Basically she‘ getting the benefit of a Critical Blow without suffering the AV penalty.

To execute the spinning attack, she stands on her toes, claws digging into the ground, and spins in place at incredible velocity with her arms outstretched, metallic fingernails cutting and slashing. Thus, to use the Shtick she must be standing on solid ground. The Shtick requires the focusing of all the Silver Slasher‘ energies and concentration.

As such, she can take no other actions during the Phase in which she executes the Buzz Saw Spin – her Automatic Actions, including movement, are forfeit, so she must have closed to hand-to-hand range in a previous Phase. She must also, as mentioned above, pay a 10 HP fee – this fee is paid immediately when the Silver Slasher declares her actions at the beginning of the phase. This commits her to the Spin – she can’t suddenly decide not to spin and execute a Dodge or any other defensive maneuver.

If she decides to declare the Buzz Saw Spin attack, she commits all her energies to it and MUST execute it when it’s her turn to act, even if the object of the attack moves out of the way before she can strike – for this reason, she’ll generally spend additional HPs to win Initiative.

The only way she can not execute the attack once declared is if she is Stunned, Knocked Back, or knocked unconscious first. Note that the Slasher still receives her full OV vs. attacks in that round, as her blurring, blinding spin confuses the eye and is difficult to draw a bead on.

Because her Claws are flying around her at high velocity, anybody (other than the target of her focused assault) within her armspan (a circle approximately 6 feet across) is liable to suffer a Claws attack as well – this is collateral, incidental damage.

This is akin to a Claws Being sort of power, in that AV/EV are equal to APs of Claws, or 08/08. Sharpness still applies, but that doesn’t affect AV or EV ; it lowers the opponent’s RV.


The ’I‘ In ’Team‘
Schtick designed for:

Man-Ape (M‘Baku)

This odd duck (originally called “Gorilla Warfare”) was retired once M‘Baku was rewritten, using a less… experimental approach to the idiosyncrasies of his fighting style. So it’s now archived in there because, heh, somebody somewhere probably liked it.

A Character with this Schtick performs considerably better in combat when he is alone than when he is part of group – when he fights on his own, without allies, if he subs his Martial Artist for his melee AV it also simultaneously subs for his RV. This is the normal Martial Artist rules, except for the abnormal ability to use two specific substitutions at once in a single Phase.

This Schtick becomes ineffective for the rest of the Scene as soon as somebody takes a Dice Action against one of the Character’s opponents. Buddies/Confidants of the Character are the exception to that rule – the Character looses his double-substitution Schtick for the one Phase when a Confidant takes a Dice Action against an opponent, not for the remainder of the Scene.

If the Character is part of a large group (9+ other persons), he becomes unable to substitute his Martial Arts for anything for as long as he is part of that group – even if nobody else is present and/or takes Dice Actions. Furthermore he also is penalised by one Genre in all his HPs expenditures, also as long as he stays with that group.


Alienating Subplots
By Sébastien Andrivet and Peter Piispanen
Schtick designed for: War Machine (James Rhodes)

This guy has been replaced by a pair of entities to keep simpler, more precise and more modular – the Signature Subplot Schtick, and the Repetitive Narrative Drawback.

Thorough the years, the Character has been through a large number of often quite weird and pretty poor subplots regarding his mental health. To represent this, whenever the player chooses to engage in a Subplot which involves the Character mental stability being compromised, he will receive double the normal award for that Subplot. He cannot, however, Pull the Plug from such a Subplot, no matter how poor and embarrassing for everybody it gets.

This one is an example of our tendency to do ’meta‘ things – here, an history of poorly written, repetitive sub-plots is built into the character’s stats. Of course, other types of lame subplots can be used instead of mental stability ones, but they must represent a serious hindrance while they are on.

This is a typical case of a Schtick chiefly intended for a NPC – in order to provide a slightly tongue-in-cheek in-game explanation as to *why* the Character gets repeatedly dragged in pointless variants of the same Subplot over decades of comic books history.


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Compiled and pontificated over By Sébastien Andrivet

Format by Roy Cowan & Sébastien Andrivet

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