Friday, March 17, 2017

Queen Snake - Occasional Super Hero - 5e DiBastet's Classless Rules

In this case, I am going to use DiBastet's Classless rules with a little bit in the way of modifiers in order to recreate a character I made for a 3rd Edition Mutant and Masterminds one-shot.
To quote the GM from the one-shot:
"Interesting, I like her. She sounds like the sort of character who was created in the 70s  as an attempt to ape Dr Strange or Iron Fist, who had her own series that folded but she stayed a background character of the 'verse, never really developed. Then someone like Alan Moore or Grant Morrison wrote a ground-breaking series about her in the 90s, when Sandman and Hellblazer were really popular - probably full of mysticism meeting chemistry and trippy serpent symbolism by some of the artists who drew Sandman. She became a cult favourite, but one who's fandom had never really warmed to any other writer since that revival, or had bad writers whose work was mostly retconned, so these days she mostly pops up as a guest star and occasional miniseries or crossover event."

She was a little bit of Spider-Man and a little bit of Dr. Strange. For our one-shot she was in her 40s though looking 25 still due to her change making her stop aging. She focused most of her effort on medical and mystical research, but recognized that her superhuman physique carried its own responsibilities. She also tends to make appearances when someone else mutated by the same source she was changed by appears. The public viewed her as a perpetual amateur with some taking her snakey-nature to be sign she was evil but any law enforcement, government, and heroes she worked with considered her to be professional.

For this I am using my typical theoretical 30 pt array of 15, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10.

1st Level Yuan-ti Pureblood
Str:11
Dex:14
Con:12
Int:16
Wis:13
Cha:12

HP: 11
AC: 12

Speed: 30 ft

Proficiency Bonus: +2

Darkvision 60ft
Innate Spell Casting at Will: Animal Friendship (Snakes only), Poison Spray
Magic Resistance
Poison Immunity

Armor Proficiencies: Light Armor
Weapons: Simple Weapons
Tools: Doctor's Kit, Alchemist's Kit
Saving Throws: Dexterity, Intelligence
Languages: English, Japanese

Proficient Skills
Acrobatics (Class) +4
Arcana (Sage) +5
Investigation (Class) +5
Nature (Class) +5
Medicine (Sage) +3
Perception (Class) +3

Background: Researcher

Class Feature: Cunning Action
Class Feature: Toughness d8 Hit Die
Class Feature: Toughness d10 Hit Die
Quirk: Ritual Caster - Wizard
Quirk: Skilled
Archetype: Ranger - Hunter

Reasoning: Ritual Caster isn't really one of the listed quirks in the classless build, but I felt that ritual casting without actual spellcasting was more of a quirk than full feature. She isn't really a caster, but she did have the ritualist advantage in M&M which allows her to create pretty much any sort of one-shot ability assuming she has the time to set it up. She also had inventor which is the tech version of the same. Her attribute points more represent her early on when her intelligence was her highest stat. Toughness can only be taken at first level, so two of my chosen class features went to that. I didn't have a particular idea in mind for archetype so I just took Hunter at random. I'm not particularly happy with needing to choose an archetype and wish that it had been folded into class features, but oh well. Choosing Cunning Action is due to my assumption that her movement abilities would develop before her fighting skills. At this level she is rather weak and not all that useful in a fight.

 

2nd to 5th Level


2nd Level - Quirk: Unarmored Movement, +7 HP (18)

3rd Level - Class Feature: Unarmored Defense: Constitution, Hunter Feature: Colossus Slayer, +7 HP (25)

4th Level - Ability Score Improvement: +2 Constitution, +11 HP (36)

5th Level - Proficiency Bonus: +3, Class Feature: Martial Arts, +8 HP (44)


Reasoning: So at this point, we start adding in her fighting abilities. Since her defenses were more based on her scales than on her agility, I went with Constitution. Note that DiBastet did not include Unarmored Defense in their write-up but I imagine that this was an oversight given that two of the classes had it. I considered assuming the Revised Ranger Hunter and giving her Extra Attack at level 5, but felt that was unintended and being a bit cheezy when you normally have to get Extra Attack with a Class Feature.

5th Level Statistics


5th Level Yuan-ti Pureblood
Str:11
Dex:14
Con:14
Int:16
Wis:13
Cha:12

HP: 44
AC: 14

Speed: 40 ft

Proficiency Bonus: +3

Darkvision 60ft
Innate Spell Casting at Will: Animal Friendship (Snakes only), Poison Spray
Magic Resistance
Poison Immunity

Armor Proficiencies: Light Armor
Weapons: Simple Weapons
Tools: Doctor's Kit, Alchemist's Kit
Saving Throws: Dexterity, Intelligence
Languages: English, Japanese

Proficient Skills
Acrobatics (Class) +5
Arcana (Sage) +6
Investigation (Class) +6
Nature (Class) +6
Medicine (Sage) +4
Perception (Class) +4

Background: Researcher

Class Feature: Cunning Action
Class Feature: Toughness d8 Hit Die
Class Feature: Toughness d10 Hit Die
Quirk: Ritual Caster - Wizard
Quirk: Skilled
Archetype: Ranger - Hunter
Quirk: Unarmored Movement +10 ft
Hunter Feature: Colossus Slayer
Class Feature: Unarmored Defense: Constitution
Class Feature: Martial Arts (1d6)

6th to 10th Level


6th Level - Quirk: Ki-Empowered Strike, +8 HP (52)

7th Level - Class Feature: Expertise: Medicine, Arcana, Hunter Feature: Steel Will, +8 HP (60)

8th Level - Ability Score Improvement: +2 Con, +16 HP (76)

9th Level - Proficiency Bonus: +4, Class Feature: Extra Attack, +9 HP (85)

10th Level - Quirk: Eternal Life, +9 HP (94)

Reasoning: Eternal Life is another thing DiBastet doesn't have on their build for making classless feature, but they include Timeless Body as a quirk and the only real mechanical benefit that either Eternal Life or Timeless Body give is the immunity to magical aging. Having the potential to live forever has largely no impact on a game unless there is some sort of regeneration or self-resurrect ability attached. Even then, agelessness is rather more of a flavor ability than anything. Other than that, she does have a semi-magical nature so Ki-Empower Strikes makes sense. The Expertise goes toward her skill with science and ritual magic. This puts her close to the assortment of abilities her M&M version has at Power Level 10. Though we're still missing Evasion, Uncanny Dodge and a few other things.

 

10th Level Statistics


10th Level Yuan-ti Pureblood
Str:11
Dex:14
Con:16
Int:16
Wis:13
Cha:12

HP: 94
AC: 15

Speed: 50 ft

Proficiency Bonus: +4

Darkvision 60ft
Innate Spell Casting at Will: Animal Friendship (Snakes only), Poison Spray
Magic Resistance
Poison Immunity

Armor Proficiencies: Light Armor
Weapons: Simple Weapons
Tools: Doctor's Kit, Alchemist's Kit
Saving Throws: Dexterity, Intelligence
Languages: English, Japanese

Proficient Skills
Acrobatics (Class) +6
Arcana (Sage, Expertise) +11
Investigation (Class) +7
Nature (Class) +7
Medicine (Sage, Expertise) +9
Perception (Class) +5

Background: Researcher

Class Feature: Cunning Action
Class Feature: Toughness d8 Hit Die
Class Feature: Toughness d10 Hit Die
Quirk: Ritual Caster - Wizard
Quirk: Skilled
Archetype: Ranger - Hunter
Quirk: Unarmored Movement +20 ft
Hunter Feature: Colossus Slayer
Class Feature: Unarmored Defense: Constitution
Class Feature: Martial Arts (1d6)
Quirk: Ki-Empowered Strikes
Class Feature: Expertise (Medicine, Arcana)
Hunter Feature: Steel Will
Class Feature: Extra Attack
Quirk: Eternal Life

11th to 15th Level


11th Level - Greater Class Feature: Reliable Talent, Hunter Feature: Whirlwind Attack, +9 HP (103)

12th Level - Ability Score Improvement: +2 Constitution, +21 HP (124)

13th Level - Proficiency Bonus: +5, Greater Class Feature: Ki  +10 HP (134)

14th Level - Quirk: Skilled (Stealth, Deception), +10 HP (144)

15th Level - Hunter Feature: Evasion, Greater Class Feature: Uncanny Dodge, +10 HP (154)


Reasoning: I must admit that DiBastet suggests basing on what archetypes you have available based on what base features you chose at 1st level, but really nothing really best fits the situation. That said, while everything is coming about to the collection of abilities Queen Snake had, and I'll post her 3rd Ed M&M stats below, the combination doesn't really feel right. I'm at 15th level and haven't hit all her abilities yet and despite this, this character is largely much more dangerous and harder to kill than the original character. Also, while I marked them as "Greater Class Feature" each time, both Ki and Uncanny Dodge are basic Class Features, this is allowed.
 

15th Level Statistics


15th Level Yuan-ti Pureblood
Str:11
Dex:14
Con:18
Int:16
Wis:13
Cha:12

HP: 154
AC: 16
Ki: 15

Speed: 55 ft

Proficiency Bonus: +5

Darkvision 60ft
Innate Spell Casting at Will: Animal Friendship (Snakes only), Poison Spray
Magic Resistance
Poison Immunity

Armor Proficiencies: Light Armor
Weapons: Simple Weapons
Tools: Doctor's Kit, Alchemist's Kit
Saving Throws: Dexterity, Intelligence
Languages: English, Japanese

Proficient Skills
Acrobatics (Class) +7
Arcana (Sage, Expertise) +13
Deception (Class) +6
Investigation (Class) +8
Nature (Class) +8
Medicine (Sage, Expertise) +11
Perception (Class) +6
Stealth (Class) +7

Background: Researcher

Class Feature: Cunning Action
Class Feature: Toughness d8 Hit Die
Class Feature: Toughness d10 Hit Die
Quirk: Ritual Caster - Wizard
Quirk: Skilled
Archetype: Ranger - Hunter
Quirk: Unarmored Movement +20 ft
Hunter Feature: Colossus Slayer
Class Feature: Unarmored Defense: Constitution
Class Feature: Martial Arts (1d6)
Quirk: Ki-Empowered Strikes
Class Feature: Expertise (Medicine, Arcana)
Hunter Feature: Steel Will
Class Feature: Extra Attack
Quirk: Eternal Life
Greater Class Feature: Reliable Talent
Hunter Feature: Whirlwind Attack
Greater Class Feature: Ki (Flurry of Blows, Patient Defense, Step of the Wind)
Quirk: Skilled
Hunter Feature: Evasion
Greater Class Feature: Uncanny Dodge

16th to 20th Level


16th Level - Ability Score Improvement: +2 Con, +26 HP (180)

17th Level - Proficiency Bonus: +6, Class Feature: Diamond Soul, +11 HP (191)

18th Level - Quirk: Feral Instinct, +11 HP (202)

19th Level - Ability Score Improvement: +2 Dex, +11 HP (213)

20th Level - Final Class Feature: Primal Champion, +51 HP (264)

Reasoning: Yeah, Primal Champion gives a flat +4 to Str and Con, but there's really not much else that fits given that she is a semi-magical totem. In her M&M stats her best stat is actually Strength at a total of 8. And since an M&M 3rd edition Strength of 8 is the equivalent of a D&D Strength of 26, it's impossible to get her strength to what her M&M level is. And she still doesn't have all the capabilities her M&M version has while feeling much more dangerous. All in all, the classless rules felt a bit kludgy. D&D's lack of a central benchmark makes building characters this way rather dangerous. It's too easy to make a character either too powerful or too weak. For building charaters this way, I'd prefer to use Hero System, Mutants and Masterminds, and other such systems that are much better designed for building from scratch.

20th Level Statistics


20th Level Yuan-ti Pureblood
Str:15
Dex:16
Con: 24
Int:16
Wis:13
Cha:12

HP: 264
AC: 20
Ki: 20

Speed: 60 ft

Proficiency Bonus: +6

Darkvision 60ft
Innate Spell Casting at Will: Animal Friendship (Snakes only), Poison Spray
Magic Resistance
Poison Immunity

Armor Proficiencies: Light Armor
Weapons: Simple Weapons
Tools: Doctor's Kit, Alchemist's Kit
Saving Throws: Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, Charisma
Languages: English, Japanese

Proficient Skills
Acrobatics (Class) +9
Arcana (Sage, Expertise) +15
Deception (Class) +7
Investigation (Class) +9
Nature (Class) +9
Medicine (Sage, Expertise) +13
Perception (Class) +7
Stealth (Class) +9

Background: Researcher

Class Feature: Cunning Action
Class Feature: Toughness d8 Hit Die
Class Feature: Toughness d10 Hit Die
Quirk: Ritual Caster - Wizard
Quirk: Skilled
Archetype: Ranger - Hunter
Quirk: Unarmored Movement +20 ft
Hunter Feature: Colossus Slayer
Class Feature: Unarmored Defense: Constitution
Class Feature: Martial Arts (1d6)
Quirk: Ki-Empowered Strikes
Class Feature: Expertise (Medicine, Arcana)
Hunter Feature: Steel Will
Class Feature: Extra Attack
Quirk: Eternal Life
Greater Class Feature: Reliable Talent
Hunter Feature: Whirlwind Attack
Greater Class Feature: Ki (Flurry of Blows, Patient Defense, Step of the Wind)
Quirk: Skilled
Hunter Feature: Evasion
Greater Class Feature: Uncanny Dodge
Greater Class Feature: Diamond Soul
Quirk: Feral Instinct
Final Class Feature: Primal Champion


3rd Edition Mutants and Masterminds Stats and Background




Queen Snake – Ning Abe (formerly Ning Mayers while married)

Age: 47 (appears to be 25 still)
Reptile Totem – Mutation 

As a young resident Ning Abe was part of the staff in a research hospital involved with a project seeking to improve upon chemotherapy methods. Ning was quietly running her own experiments with combining her limited magical knowledge with the treatments. One day, there was a flood of emergency room patients due to a chase between a local Punisher-style vigilante and some criminals. The research staff was called to help and in the chaos, some of Ning’s formula ended up getting mixed up with other syringes. Ning was one of several people injected by “accident” (her accident was being taken hostage by a desperate thug). The drug took varying times to affect those injected but Ning reacted the quickest by far.

Ning has been an on-again-off-again hero for twenty years but she’s never sustained a consistent career as a hero so she is generally considered a perpetual amateur by the public. Long term heroes and government agents recognize she’s professional in approach but prefers not to go looking for trouble. She acquired her headquarters sometime after her divorce (eight years ago) as an “inheritance” from what the staff of the mansion claim is a great-aunt and uncle. The estate exists in dimensionally unfolded space making it larger inside than it is outside though most visitors don’t notice. The estate is paid for by a trust, Ning suspects it just exists for her benefit and doesn’t appear in actual government registers, her own wealth comes from her medical patents.

Ning refers to herself as “Queen Snake” due to her immunity to poisons similar to King Snakes. The fact that many of her enemies are also snake-based plays into that since snakes with the word “King” in their names are often known to eat other snakes.

Note: M&M stats show the bonus added to a d20 roll. Also note that defenses are generally active, so a person rolls their attack and the defender rolls their dodge, whichever one gets higher wins with attacker winning ties. The Strength score in parentheses differentiates natural strength from supernatural (and thus suppressible) strength.

Strength 4(8)
Stamina 4
Agility 2
Dexterity 4
Fighting 6
Intellect 3
Awareness 2 
Presence 0
 
Dodge: 8
Parry:    10 
Fort:      4
Tough:  10
Will:       8

Advantages: Attractive, Wealth 1, Equipment: 5, Ritualist, Inventor, Evasion, Great Endurance, Favored Environment (Tight Spaces), Uncanny Dodge

Skills: Expertise: Science 8 (+11), Investigation 4 (+7), Technology: 8 (+11), Expertise: Magic 4 (+7), Insight 4(+6), Perception 4(+6), Treatment 4(+7), Stealth 4(+6), Acrobatics 6(+8), Deception 6(+6)

Feature: Quick Change between current outfit and Runed Fighting Robes
Reptilian Movement: Slithering
Reptilian Senses: Acute and Accurate Smell, Infravision
Scaly Hide: Protection 6
Fast and Strong: Enhanced Strength 4, Enhanced Close Attack 4
Regrowth: Regeneration 1, Persistent
Sustained Metabolism: Immunity: Age, Poison
Speedy: Leaping 2 (30 ft), Wall-Crawling 2, Speed 3 (250 ft Walk Speed)
Claws: Strength based damage 2
Runed Fighting Robes: Provides Impervious 4, Subtle (not obviously magical/protective)

Headquarters: House with Hidden Spaces – Size: Medium, Toughness: 10, Features: Dual-Size (Huge), Secret 2, Communications, Computer, Workshop, Defense System, Holding Cells, Laboratory, Library, Living Space, Power System, Security System, Gym, Personnel

Attack: Claws - +10 Attack (Fighting 6 + Close Attack 4), +10 Damage (Strength 8 + 2 Damage)

Complications

Motivation: Responsibility – She feels a responsibility to use her abilities to protect people. Mostly she tries to focus on using her scientific abilities to find solutions to societal problems, but she recognizes the duty her superhuman abilities come with. The staff in her headquarters are part of some sort of guardian snake cult that stresses her position as a force of good fairly incessantly. She is familiar with magic to a small degree, but is still hesitant to believe in things like destiny. She does occasionally have dreams involving a celestial, feathered serpent of some sort. The fact that she is directly responsible for the creation of several villains and at least one short-lived hero wannabe, also fills her nightmares.

Identity – She uses a drug to suppress her mutation under normal circumstances. Adrenaline or high levels of similar hormones can burn through the drug. The limit is less about getting into the fight than it is about keeping calm long enough to get out of sight before changing. She does have a mystical tattoo that allows her to call her fighting robes in an instant. Doing so will flush her drug instantly. She is not entirely certain whether the personnel of her base are entirely human. The few samples she’s gotten a hold of are inconclusive both scientifically and with the little bit of magic she knows.

Relationship – Her ex-husband (Det Donald Mayers 45) and two children (daughter 20 named for her husband’s mother Linda, son 16 named Kenshiro for her own father) are still active in her life. They share a more or less friendly and healthy relationship but it was her secrets that ended the relationship. There sometimes appears to be a chance of them getting back together but that would hinge on her identity being revealed and how it is revealed. Her children were born after her mutation, depending on how thoroughly the mutation had infiltrated her when they were born, one or both may inherit her powers (or similar ones, the magical element of the formula means they might have other sort of powers). Her husband is a local police detective. Honestly he should have been able to figure out her secret, but it’s a matter of being too close to the issue.

Secret – The general public is not aware of who Queen Snake is and she’d rather it stayed that way. Her identity is known to certain governmental agencies that deal with superhumans. Most of her superhuman action results from her being on the spot, but she is often pressured or guilt-tripped into more proactive missions by these agencies. One of the contact agents, Marion DeWitt, tends to be rather authoritative and prone to dry wit (think Phil Coulson) but is usually upfront and honest. Most of the time he calls her is to speak to younger totems they’ve found but sometimes it’s a mission. There is another working for a different branch, Georgiana LaGrand, who tends to be disrespectful and manipulative while putting on a friendly act and is more likely to blackmail her or manipulate her from the shadows if she doesn’t want Ning to realize she’s involved.

Enemies: To date, Queen Snake has been sporadically active (mostly because of her preference to focus on scientific research) but she still has a large rogue’s gallery. Many of these include other snake totems of a more villainous bent. There are a number of snake-related individuals that resulted from the use of her formula in the instance that gave created her own powers. It seems like about half of these ended up turning villain. There is also the mysterious “Yuan-Ti” who has been known to hunt down or recruit those affected by Ning’s formula as he’s trying to recreate the formula. Somehow, Yuan-Ti has discovered that Queen Snake created the formula and has since tried to figure out who she is and get the formula out of her.

Prejudice: Due to her, to date, sporadic appearances, and her blatantly reptilian features, local press tends to be very negative when she does make an appearance. Certain fundamentalist Christian groups believe her to be demonic (though snake-handler denominations have other sorts of fascinations.)

 

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