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Misery (Spider-Girl enemy) (Marvel Comics MC2)

Misery

(Melissa Carsdale)


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

Context

Misery (Carsdale) is a minor foe of Spider-Girl (May PArker). Which means in turn that she’s part of the MC2 continuity, a possible future of the Marvel Universe with a divergence date in the 1990s.

If you have no idea what the previous sentence means, you should first read our Spider-Girl character profile. It explains everything.

She’s an interesting source of scenarios, though she can be difficult to use in tabletop role-playing games. We’ll discuss that as well.


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Background

  • Real Name: Melissa Carsdale.
  • Marital Status: Unrevealed.
  • Known Relatives: None.
  • Group Affiliation: None.
  • Base Of Operations: New York City area.
  • Height: 5’9” Weight: 135 lbs.
  • Eyes: Green Hair: Dark red


Powers & Abilities

Misery is determined and in good shape. During her second appearance she seemed to have superior combat skills (enough to briefly engage Spider-Girl (May “Mayday” Parker)). However, this may just have been part of an hallucination.

Aw, balls

She is armed with large green plastic balls loaded with chemicals. Her main ones are :

  • Thick green smoke.
  • Powerful acid.
  • A vicious knockout gas.

The latter can bring down even superhumans such as Spider-Girl, isn’t distinguishable from her normal smoke charges, and works subtly so the victim will not realise that they are losing consciousness.

Her precision with these projectiles isn’t remarkable. But that only matters for the acid – the gas charges just have to be thrown at the ground.


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Other gear

Misery’s black leather gloves are electrified, shocking people whom she hits.

In her second appearance she had nozzles up her sleeves that sprayed a gas that dissolved Spider-Girl’s webbing. These even allowed her to “parry” a jet of webbing in mid-air. But this may also have been part of an hallucination.

Aggrievated damage

If Misery can capture an opponent (which is easy with the knockout gas balls), she can lock them into a sarcophagus-like apparatus called the Grief Machine. This means a full, fully realistic VR immersion spontaneously created by the person therein.

This reality is at first indistinguishable from real life. Furthermore, the victim will not even remember losing consciousness from the gas. They will probably imagine a scenario where they defeat Misery (or she escapes) and they carry on with their life.

Misery eyes closeup

At this point the events in the VR simulation become increasingly tragic. These events are based on the fears of the person in the Grief Machine. The Machine itself provides no material, and the operator has no information about what is happening to the victim.

It is essentially a realistic nightmare where the victim supplies the visuals, the characters, the lines, the scenario, etc. by themselves.

In Spider-Girl’s case the scenario involved being accused of plagiarism and getting terrible grades in high school, being expelled from the basketball team, seeing the Green Goblin (Norman Osborn) return from the dead and kill her parents, etc.

The second scenario was markedly more surreal. It seems that with the second Grief Machine, Misery could partially monitor the events and inject herself into the hallucination, or bring in new elements.


History

Melissa Carsdale was a popular B-list TV actress, best-known for her role in the Everybody’s Happy sitcom. A particularly handsome young actor, Leonard Groote, joined the cast. He and Carsdale got the top billing. They became an item, and Carsdale allegedly coached Groote into improving his nascent acting skills.

However, Groote was vainglorious and manipulative. He convinced the showrunner to focus on his character and hogged the limelight. Then he used this newfound popularity to ditch the show and Melissa to become a A-list movie star. He starred in two successful movies – Portrait of a Young Artist and The Sensitive Man.

Betrayed and not too mentally stable, Carsdale devoted her life and savings to gain revenge against Groote. She somehow acquired specialised thrown weapons. She also obtained advanced technology allowing her to plunge a subject into a self-generated nightmare VR.

He is Groote !

Now a full-time villainess as Misery, she attacked Leonard Groote during the shooting of his next movie. However, there was a crowd of squeeing young women in the street who wanted to see Groote. Spider-Girl (May “Mayday” Parker) was among them.

Spider-Girl prevented Misery from hitting Groote in the face with an acid ball. She thought that she had defeated the madwoman.

Misery vs. Spider-Girl

However, our webbed heroine had actually been felled by a knockout gas ball without realising it. Thus, all subsequent events were an hallucination in Misery’s Grief Machine. This was a psychological torture device she had procured for her revenge against Groote.

Spider-Girl eventually escaped, as her spider-sense had been telling her all along that something was off. She thendefeated Misery.

Misery returns

Misery (who no longer answered to her real name) was locked up at the Ravencroft Institute for the Criminally Insane for several years. But she escaped and sought revenge against Spider-Girl. This time her goal was pecuniary. She had sold her memoirs, and her agent thought that ending the book on a big event such as defeating Spider-Girl would greatly boost sales.

Misery somehow procured a new Grief Machine, and kidnapped Spider-Girl with her knockout gas. This time the hallucination within the Machine were odder, involving various references to Silver Age  Jimmy Olsen, Archie Comics, Looney Tunes cartoons or 1950s atomic horror movies. Spider-Girl nevertheless defeated the machine, and captured Misery.


Description

Misery doesn’t quite have a costume, just some tight black leather clothing. The patterns on her face are presumably permanent tattoos, and she seems to wear cosmetic contact lenses with a dark swirling pattern on the pupil.

Later on she switched to a Matrix-style dark red leather catsuit with a big matching leather trenchcoat thrown over it.


Personality

Misery seemed completely absorbed by her desire for vengeance against the (admittedly despicable) Groote. She left her previous life behind – as symbolised by her facial tats. She just wanted him to suffer, and by extension anybody defending him.

Her stay at Ravencroft was apparently beneficial. During her second appearance she didn’t seem particularly crazy or obsessive. Her goal was to get rich, though a degree of revenge obsession was still present.


Tabletop RPG use

Misery seems ideal for a one player/one GM session in-between the regular group games. Provided that the Player Character is sufficiently developed (and has enough fears) to support such a game.

The first take on Misery is probably the best to use. The sane Misery seen in 2005 engineered an hallucination that was chiefly about visual references, which doesn’t work as well outside of a comic book. You could instead use RPG tropes (such as character classes, and tropes from foundational 1970s games) by deciding that Carsdale is a roleplayer.


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

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Misery

Dex: 03 Str: 02 Bod: 04 Motivation: Revenge
Int: 04 Wil: 04 Min: 04 Occupation: Former actress
Inf: 04 Aur: 03 Spi: 04 Resources {or Wealth}: 005
Init: 011 HP: 025

Skills:
Artist (Actress): 04, Weaponry (Thrown balls): 04

Advantages
Headquarters (Constrained).

Connections:
Some unspecified underworld tech connection (Low).

Drawbacks:
Creepy Appearances (tats and cosmetic lenses), Minor Rage, SIA toward Revenge.

Equipment:

  • Electrified gloves [BODY 02, Lightning (No Range): 05, Bonus: Lightning can be Combined with her punches].
  • Smoke balls (x4) [BODY 01, Fog: 06, Grenade Drawback].
  • Acid balls (x2) [BODY 01, Acid (No Range): 06, Grenade Drawback].
  • Knockout gas balls (x2) [BODY 01, Fog: 06, Knockout Gas: 08, Grenade Drawback, Bonus: Knockout Gas is Combined With and Active Throughout the Fog, Bonus: People aren’t aware of the RAPs scored against them by the Knockout Gas].

The Grief Machine

The Grief Machine is probably best left abstracted out. However, you could consider that it has a BODY of 04, each major incident is both a Mental and Spiritual attack with an AV/EV one Column above the OV/RV, and breaking free is done with INT/WIL against an OV/RV higher by one CS than the AV/EV.

In superhero comics such technology tends to be effective against everyone. All heroic persons break out of the effect at the end with about the same difficulty, no matter what their Mental Attributes are.


Misery accrues forever

In her 2005 appearance, it is *possible* that she increased her abilities and gadgets to include the following :

  • DEX 06 STR 04 BODY 05
  • Martial Artist (including Techniques): 08, Lightning Reflexes (Initiative becomes 19).
  • Wrist nozzles spraying a gas that dissolves Spider-Girl’s webbing (treat as a Block with an AV/EV of 10/10).

By Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: Marvel MC2 continuity.

Helper(s): Darci.

Writeup completed on the 29th of May, 2014.

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We chat and work at the DC Heroes Yahoo! group .