Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Dracula: Mutants & Masterminds

More Mutants & Masterminds today.  Here is one of my favorite builds.

Dracula, Lord of Vampires, Prince of Darkness

Duncan Summers left the lecture hall to bright mid-day sun. It was, by all accounts, a beautiful day. The sun shone brightly, it was warm, not too hot for August, with a gentle breeze. Freshman Orientation had gone off with out a hitch and the new faculty hires he had made the previous semester were working out great. Pleased that everything was going so well today that he decided to take a more leisurely walk across campus instead of straight to his office; there was plenty of time for paperwork later.
That’s when he saw 

It was so much that he saw him at first but rather felt his presence. To see him there was too much, like a black eye on a beautiful model’s face, or like someone had taken a marker and defaced the Mona Lisa. Duncan wasted no time in hurrying over to where the man sat.
Not once did the intruder move or even turn his back. He continued to sit there, reading his newspaper as if he belonged there.

Duncan had finally reached the side of the intruder, he only just now saw his face, but he knew who his old enemy was long before that.

“Get the hell out of here!” Duncan hissed.
“Good Afternoon Raven.” The man said calmly, not once averting his gaze from the paper. “Or is it ‘Professor Summers’ now?”
“What do you want?” Duncan asked. He needed time to find some help.
“You killed my mate Duncan. I came here to return the favor. Much to my disappointment I see I am too late. No matter.” He folded up his paper. “Speaking of ‘Raven’ your daughter is lovely by the way. The very image of her mother, but I fear she is a fool like her father.”
“So help me if you so much as touch her I’ll…” Duncan began, but his words were cut in his throat.
“You’ll do what?” the man hissed in Duncan’s face. He had moved so fast that even Duncan had trouble keeping track. “You are a cripple, a mere shadow of who you were, and I am Lord of my kind.” Duncan felt the vampire’s will beating down on him, attempting to overpower his psyche.
“Yet…and yet I defeated you once.” Duncan reminded his old foe.
“And yet here I stand. She will be mine Summers. Her, this school, this city will all be mine. And you will live to see it all fall, and then, only then will I kill you.”
“Revenge? This is nothing more than simple revenge?” Duncan asked, hardly believing it was true.
“Professor, there is so much you still need to learn. There is nothing ‘simple’ about it.”
There was a blur and the intruder was gone. Duncan looked around, but even to his highly trained eye, he could not see any trace that he was even there.

He paused and composed himself. He pulled out his phone and hit the speed dial that would put him in contact with the members of the Freedom League.

“We have a situation. Dracula has returned.”

No literary person or creature in the English language (and many others) has gained the notoriety, the infamy, or prestige as Count Dracula. His story has been told and retold in thousands of pages of text, hundreds of hours of film and not to mention having gone up against nearly every comic book and action hero there is. He has been sinister and monstrous, as well as suave and sexy, but always dangerous. He is quite simply the biggest villain of all time. Who else can claim to have fought Batman, Blade, the X-Men and Buffy and still be around to tell the tale? Are your characters ready, or just next in line to die?

The Freedom City source book only gives us a brief tantalizing clue to what the Lord of Vampires aims were for the city. In 1973 Dracula was reported to be in the city and coincidentally there was a rise in “Satanic Cult” activity.
Given this time period, it is VERY tempting to base the Freedom City version of Dracula off of the old Hammer films. So think Christopher Lee.

I'll forego posting his history here. There are lots of places to get that story. Start with Bram Stoker's book and then move on to movies and then comics.
Here are some links for you to start with,
Dracula for the WitchCraft RPG

Dracula in Freedom City, 1972
Dracula’s actual involvement in Freedom City begins the year before he is claimed to have been spotted. The Vampire Lord books passage on the Aphrodite passenger liner (commonly, and somewhat despairingly referred to as the ‘Love Boat’ in later years) and arrives in Freedom City. His timing could not have been better, while a new ‘Zero-Tolerance’ campaign was taken against costumed Heroes (thanks to the CODE), Dracula infiltrated Freedom City’s wealthiest families. He was, inevitably, put at odds with Duncan Summers. While the two aristocrats (Dracula by birth, Summers by wealth) were entangled in their war of intrigue in social circles of Freedom City’s elite, the original Raven had been hearing rumors of a new crime lord that had “magical” even “satanic” powers. Both Lords of the Night met in battle for the first time and the Raven barely made it out alive. Dracula had taunted him the whole time, offering him true power and the chance to really be able to clean up the crime ridden streets of Freedom City. It was not long after that battle that both men discovered the true identities of their antagonist. Dracula taunts Summers during the daylight hours and Raven during the night time. Dracula even sends Duncan, via a possessed messenger, a letter with only a pressed Jasmine flower in it. Panicked the Raven sought out Dracula and the two fought amongst the spires of the abandoned St. Michael’s cathedral. The Raven fought harder than he had ever fought before, and many times Dracula almost bested him. Finally the roof gave way and Dracula and Raven fell. Raven fell and landed on the rotten pews below, Dracula fell and was impaled on an ornate cross below. The Raven, sure his foe was defeated, lit a magnesium flare and set the cathedral ablaze.

Using Dracula in Freedom City
The Freedom League heard that Dracula was once again active. He was spotted on the western coast of the United States in the later part of 2000 and in Detroit by 2004.
Dracula wants more than just revenge against Duncan Summers, though that is reason enough for his return, he also wants to control the greatest city of super heroes in the world. The following are some plot hooks you can use for Dracula.

Brave New World
Dracula comes to Freedom City and works with leading geneticists collecting samples of super-hero blood. While the scientists believe they are working on a cure for some disease, they are in truth working on a formula that will make Dracula more powerful than he already is.

School Daze
Dracula uses his power, both vampiric and his great wealth, and gets himself appointed the Claremont Academy Board of Directors. He finds a way to publicly embarrass Duncan Summers and gets him removed as Headmaster. With Duncan gone, Dracula begins to feed on the super powered students.

Urban Decay
The heroes believe that Dracula is targeting one of their own, possibly Raven II. Only once the heroes have Dracula cornered is his true plan revealed. His true target is Dr. Metropolis and Dracula believes that if he can turn Metropolis into a vampire the entire city will become corrupted. The dead rise and zombies walk the streets of a corrupted Freedom City.

War in Hell
Dracula has come to town to unleash some nefarious plot but is thwarted, not by the Freedom League, but rather by the Crime League. After several days of nearly no crime the Crime League goes to the Freedom League begging for help.
Subplot: Dracula is actually working with Medea and the two are lovers.

The Impaler Returns
For a much darker and grittier game take the War in Hell plot and have Dracula return to his zero tolerance ways with criminals. Several mooks and maybe even a major member (my money is on The Maestro) have been impaled outside the city limits.

Count Dracula
PL: 18 (270 pp)

Born: 1431, turned 1476

Str: 26 (+8) Dex: 21 (+5) Con: NA (-) Int: 16 (+3) Wis: 15 (+2) Chr: 25 (+7)

SKILLS: Acrobatics 6 (+11), Bluff 10 (+17), Climb 4 (+12), Concentration 4 (+6), Diplomacy 10 (+17), Disguise 5 (+12), Drive 2 (+7), Escape Artist 6 (+11), Gather Info 6 (+13), Handle Animal 6 (+13), Intimidate 12 (+19), Investigate 6 (+9), Arcane Lore 8 (+11), History 8 (+11), Tactics 8 (+11), Theology and Philosophy 6 (+9), Streetwise 8 (+11), Medicine 2 (+4), Notice 8 (+10), Ride 4 (+9), Search 8 (+11), Sense Motive 8 (+10), Sleight of Hand (+5), Stealth 4 (+9), Survival 8 (+10), Swim (+8)

FEATS: Animal Empathy, Assessment, Contacts, Fascinate (1), Fearless, Fearsome Presence (1), Inspire (1), Leadership, Minions (4), Accurate Attack, All-out Attack, Attack Focus (Melee) (5), Blind-Fight, Critical Strike, Elusive Target, Improved Critical (1), Improved Grapple, Power Attack, Rage (1), Uncanny Dodge

Animal Control (8), Drain Constitution (blood Drain) (1), Immunity (Fortitude Effects) (30), Insubstantial (mist) (2), Protection (7), Regeneration (blood drain based) (5), Shapeshift (Wolf, Bat) (2), Mind Control (visual dependent) (5), Weather Control (obscure, wind and fog) (3), Super-senses (Acute) (2), Super-movement (wall crawling) (1)

COMBAT: Melee 20 Ranged 15 Defense 25 (25 flatfooted) Init +5

SAVES: Toughness 7 (7 flat-footed) Fortitude 0 Reflex 10 Will 10

Weakness -Blood Dependence
Weakness -Holy Items
Weakness -Sunlight * Dracula can move about during the daylight hours, but he can not use his powers. (Gave him this as opposed to Power Loss).
Weakness -Garlic, Mirrors

Breakdown: Abilities 43 + Skills 42 (165 ranks) + Feats 27 + Powers 96 + Combat 60 + Saves 13 – Drawbacks -11 = 270

Creation Notes
I based this write up largely on my Erzsébet Báthory one and the “Vampire Lord” archetype from the Core Book. I also based the stats on my conversions of the Unisystem Dracula (both the WitchCraft and Buffy versions by Thom Marrion), the d20 Masque of the Red Death version and Dracula from “Chill: Vampires”. I was very pleased with the way all the conversions sort of dove-tailed into this one. In a way this represents an “Ultimate Dracula” for me. Speaking of which; one of the things I really wanted to capture was the Dracula of the old Marvel series and his later appearances in Marvel comics. I still have this picture of Colossus trying to punch Dracula and he stops him with one hand.   The M&M Dracula needs to be as cool as this.

Bottom line: Dracula needs to be powerful and a credible threat to a group of super heroes. Dracula is not a team player, he has minions of course, but they are minions-not equals.
If you are going to go through the trouble to add Dracula to you game it needs to be a memorable encounter for both your characters and your players.

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