Example Character Builds pt5


Below is this week’s build. If anyone out there has their own character builds, I would love to see them.

Today we present Hawkeye!


Today we present Firebird!


Today we present Goliath!



All trademarks, service marks, trade names, trade dress, and logos appearing on the site are the property of their respective owners. No copyright infringement intended. Any rights not expressly granted herein are reserved.

3 responses to “Example Character Builds pt5”

  1. “Is” and builds

    You've picked three really interesting characters in terms of referencing the comics. This is almost pure 70s Hawkeye, the Thomas-Englehart carny punching above his weight, only rarely recaptured in the 80s. He's mouthy as hell, a pain in the ass, but in a pinch, by far the most adaptable, indispensable comrade. His arrows are the real gadgeteer of the group, not Iron Man's, whose abilities at the time were pretty limited. I'm even thinking of the story where the Assassin successfully takes down the whole team with poison, except that Hawkeye is lucky enough to have puked it all up and turns the tables on the villain, saving everyone's lives. Yes – the whole Avengers, all of their lives, simply because he barfed, or as the then-retro jargon of the comics put it, "tossed his cookies." It has nothing to do with Shooter's interpretation of him as an asshole, or of the recent Fraction version who's pretty much an oaf. Maybe even not so much Thomas, as there's no indication of his stint as Goliath or of his multi-mistress hassles.

    So that's an example of pinpointing a long-standing character with a valued IP, who's been interpreted variously but has enough textual "nodes" to settle on one pretty easily. Whereas Firebird … well, opinions may differ, but I'm calling her a hot 80s mess and basically a failure of potential throughout. The Rangers were a great team concept, utterly scuttled; Firebird specifically underwent multiple concept and identity switches, themselves buffeted by planned arcs and title cancellations. In other words, she's not "there" textually, so you are basically making a functional expy, what she should have been if anyone had done a good job with her and the related storylines. That's not a criticism. This is, to me, far more exciting than picking an "is" from the comics and transcribing it into slightly numerical form.

    Let me clarify that a little. I personally liked the Hawkeye you chose to refine or distill into this playable version, but the task or act of making him is not all that exciting in terms of play. That Hawkeye, or any other "node" of him one might choose, is done – finished. Someone did it in the comics, and all we can do with him (or any textual version of him) is celebrate it, as fanfic, numbers or no numbers, RPG or no RPG. Whereas the textual Firebird preents a grossly obvious failure to do any such thing, and therefore my response is, "Yes! Let's see this work this time!"

    With that in mind, maybe those Disadvantages deserve review. Instead of drawing on the (bluntly) nonsensical plots that destroyed any notion of a proactive hero, and subordinated her to whatever they thought they were doing with Hank Pym at the time, start over. Look at those first couple of stories to see what Disadvantages are apparent or what could be extrapolated from the concept to build an original array of problems and situations. What would you come up with?

    OK, with those extremely different examples in mind … which one is Goliath closer to? That's a really interesting question. In this case, given the visuals and the Disadvantages, it'd be going too far to reboot all the way back to 1978 with "Black" Goliath – there's some value here to work with, not just a mess. Yet, just as with the other contemporary example from Tony Isabella, Black Lightning, the 80s writing seemed determined to force him into Beta not-really-hero status, via exactly the Disadvantages listed here. He's a hero who's handed a concept that isn't so great, who ought to hang it up and resign himself to walk-on parts when this or that "real" hero needs a gadget or something. But yet … this is playable, because the question is present and available: can he overcome that? Plenty have done it. Hawkeye, above, certainly did – who could anticipate that a throwaway antagonist ripping off everything from a long-established character would break out into a unique hero like that?

    What are your thoughts on this spectrum, based on textual heroes: celebrating a successful and loved concept; re-doing a failed, or rather, mistreated concept; and stepping up a written-down concept?

  2. I have a soft spot for Patsy

    I have a soft spot for Patsy Walker as Hellcat.

    I don't know where on Ron's spectrum she falls.

    Unfortunately, I am mainly a DC person, so I'm not the right person to analyse her.

    • I’m a huge fan! Her advent as

      I'm a huge fan! Her advent as a superhero coincides with the height of my tween/young-teen comics experience, and (as you know) I've written extensively about the Englehart Avengers and that particular storyline. My bit specifically about her is Faster, pussycat.

      The thing is, though, I missed just about all of the later events – my reading of 1980-1986 comics is mainly title-specific due to friends lending me their stashes, and not the broad-spectrum inter-title experience of my first "wave." So I'm aware that Hellcat went on to odd and odder treatment mainly in The Defenders, including some kind of romance (marriage?) to Damon Hellstrom, et cetera … who knows what. But just about all the 80s superheroines went into hot mess territory during the troubled late-stage Cadence ownership, usually undercutting and diminishing them. It's the opposite of what is usually deemed comics "growing up," in terms of female protagonism. They got shrill and dumb. I've actually avoided reading the 80s Defenders in order to keep myself from nerdrage apoplexy, or even from the awareness that I'm vulnerable to it.

      Terry, I'm curious – what would you do with a Mythic character sheet and Patsy/Hellcat?

Leave a Reply