Rogues, Rivals & Renegades

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Rogues, Rivals & Renegades on Drive Thru RPG

Welcome to Rogues, Rivals, & Renegades

This PDF series is filled to bursting with villains, antagonists, and even the occasional hero with serious problems for use with Mutants & Masterminds Third Edition.  Unlike Vigilance Press’ other product lines for M&M, Devilish Duos and Due Vigilance, which cover pairings and groups, this series is about solo characters.  Many of the villains here can easily be added to an existing group or even put together to form a group of their own but there are no assumptions made this will be the case.  We hope you enjoy these characters and use them to nefarious effect in your games.

The rest of this section will discuss a bit about what’s in this series and how it relates to other products from Vigilance Press.  None of this is required to enjoy and use the characters in the series.

Character Entries

Each character entry in this series is essentially organized the same way and has the following subsections:

•META Profile: this “agency memo” style piece of fiction gives an introduction to the villain.  It gives a snapshot view of the character, shows what others might think of him based on his history and actions, and often calls out particular hooks, concepts, problems, or mysteries surrounding the character that might be good fodder for GMs looking to incorporate the character into their games.  Each profile also includes the villain’s META Rating and Designation, which will be discussed shortly.

•Illustration: Artist’s representation of the villain.  This usually is of the character in costume, though in cases of villains who wear normal clothes or a variety of outfits it represents an iconic version.

•Quote: If a picture is worth a thousand words then a quote’s worth at least five hundred or so.  The included quote let’s the villain give the reader some insight into their demeanor and personality in their own words.

•Game Statblock: This is the character’s write-up in M & M Third Edition.  In addition to providing the game statistics for the villain, these sections can provide examples of power building and character design for both villains and heroes.

•History: This is the villain’s general history, how they came to be a super-powered menace, and what they’ve been doing up to the point they show up in a game.  In some cases things are left intentionally vague to increase utility for GMs who wish to use a character in their own setting, but the series isn’t hiding anything from the reader here.

•Personality: A description of the character’s personality, demeanor, and outlook to help roleplaying the character and provide further insight into how they would best fit into a game session or setting.  An eccentric but generally nonviolent theme-villain is going to fit in differently than a mass-murdering psychopath.

•Powers & Abilities:  This is a prose description of the characters powers, talents, skills, and other abilities.  This section takes the character’s stats and makes them something more than a bunch of titles and numbers.  This section also explains particularly strange or exotic abilities in more detail when necessary to make them easier to understand and use in games.

•Nemesis Option: All of these characters are designed to be a thorn in the side of a PC or PC group.  The Nemesis Option gives some suggestions on how to make this happen.  This section also mentions types of PC that might likely develop a long-running antagonistic relationship with the villain.

•Tricks & Tactics: Even the silliest villain tries to win.  This section suggests various tactics and rules usage that makes the villain more of a threat while also focusing on methods that fit the character’s personality and capabilities.  Thus an angry dumb brute’s entry here won’t be recommend complex battle tactics, no matter how effective they might be to a character smart enough to use them.

•Sidebars: Not every character has them, but some characters in this series have additional information, tips, quirks, connections, or elements that deserve a brief aside.

Beacon City, This Series, & You

This series is a stand-alone product designed to be easily used with most M&M campaigns focusing on comic book-style heroics.  The characters cover a variety of styles, from wacky to grim.  However, these characters are also part of the Beacon City setting, the official setting for Vigilance Press.

So what does this mean for GMs and players? Well, that depends on what you want it mean.  Those using this and other Vigilance Press Beacon City products like Six Gun or the Oktobermen will find these characters have backstories, references, and other elements that either meld with or at least in no way conflict those other products.  Those using their own setting or another company will have to decide if they want to incorporate aspects of Beacon City alluded to in this series or simply use the character and drop those references.

For example, all the entries include a snippet from the character’s META file profile.  GMs using Beacon City can just use META itself and reference that in games as needed.  This also means that the villains in this series, as well as any related characters, concepts, and organizations now exist in the Beacon City world by default and you can use them to grow and connect the setting together.  A GM running his own world might swap out META for his own government agency devoted to policing superhumans or just ignore that part entirely.  In any event, this series is written so that you won’t lose the ability to use a character in your games just because you aren’t using Beacon City, but some small adjustments might be desirable.

META Rating & Designations

Most law enforcement agencies has adopted the META rating system to classify superhumans or developed their own variation of it.  The system is a simple color and number combination designed to give agents and officials a general idea of a superhuman’s power and origins.  In one of those strange fortuitous coincidences, a character’s META numerical rating is the same as their M&M Power Level.  The X designation is also used, usually for powerful individuals whose powers defy normal classification efforts. The color is based on the source of character’s powers, or the most notable source in the case of characters whose abilities come from a variety of origins.  The color codes are:

Red: Red is used for aliens and mutants, individuals born with their superhuman abilities.  Some have lobbied for reclassifying mutants as their own color, arguing it’s dehumanizing and racist to lump them in with species not even native to Earth.  However, META maintains this classification is medically and scientifically rather than politically motivated.  Still, some mutants have taken to self-labeling as “Red“ and the color is a slang for mutants in some circles.  META usually doesn’t reclassify aliens who are also enhanced beyond their race’s normal abilities, keeping them Red to avoid confusion. (Editor’s Note: The word “mutants” is often a misnomer in this setting, but more information on that will be revealed in the future.)

Blue: Technology-based superhumans are classified blue.  These can be power-armor operators, gadgeteers, or cyborgs.  In the case of inventors, META tends to focus on how technology use balances with other uses of brainpower.  Thus a hyper-genius who works primarily as a fixer and tactician for crime syndicates might be classified by another color while someone who supplies high-tech weapons to criminals would be classed Blue.

Violet: Violet is used for mystical powers.  It’s not limited to just mages or mystics, but those mutated by mystic energies, gods, spirits, and other such beings.

Gold: Gold is used for humans who were granted powers by genetic manipulation or accident.  Some purists insist that Gold classified subjects are the only true “metahumans” and that all others fall under some category but that’s a losing battle as everyone from META to the media uses superhuman, metahuman, supers, and other terms fairly interchangeably.

Orange:  This color covers intense training or conventional weapons usage on a level that nears or matches superhuman ability.  Note that some Orange –ranked subjects do have some powers, but these are usually minor when compared to their developed skills.

Black: Black is a wild card designation used when META is unaware of origin of the subject’s powers.  In this series it is also used for characters whose origins are left somewhat up to individual GMs to define or tweak in their games.

Designations

Last year, META added Designations to their files.  This is a classification based on psych profiles and the subject’s actions designed to give a quick impression of the metahuman outside of their powers and origins.  The classifications are:

Rogue: Also known as supervillains, costumed crooks, and bad guys.  These are individuals who use their powers for personal gain in defiance of laws and public safety.  Rogues usually have long criminal records or are wanted for many crimes.

Renegade: These individuals inhabit a gray area between purely criminal types and other classifications.  Renegades tend to have authority problems and might even be wanted for some crimes, but META has determined they have some political, social, or other motivation that makes them distinct from many other supervillains. That doesn’t mean these subjects aren’t dangerous, more that they are more complex to deal with than other Designations.

Rival: The Rival designator is used to denote individuals who seem to be trying to aid society, humanity, or the authorities in some fashion but who possess some aspect of their personality or nature that complicates matters.  From agents to foreign powers to well-meaning but untrained superhero wannabes, Rival is usually used for those whose Designation is expected to change once more data is acquired.

The following Designations are used in internal memorandum, but have not been added to the files yet. Some characters in the series are listed as Rivals that might officially be considered Vanguards, for example. This is mainly due to the need to remain consistent and simple for GMs so they can quickly evaluate how each character would be used in their campaigns. They are included here for you to use them in the fiction and narrative of your games, but are not necessary to understand the Rogues, Rivals & Renegades series.

Vanguard: Official metahuman operatives for META, other law enforcement, or the military.  This includes superhumans for various allied nations but not hostile powers.  META often has limited jurisdiction over Vanguards outside their own organization and this Designator often serves as a flag for a lower ranking META staffer to push cases involving them up the chain of command.  Some Private Military Contractors have metahuman agents who are given Vigilant Designation, though there is serious schism within META about the propriety of this. Captain Archon is technically a Vanguard, but is listed in the series as a Rival because she is intended to be a challenge for your heroes.

Vigilant: Vigilants are superhumans who work to enforce the law and stop various superhuman threats but have no status with any law enforcement or government power.  Vigilants are not considered inherently lawless or disrespectful to authorities, which is why this designation was changed from the more negative “Vigilante” in 2011.

Villager: Villager are civilians with metahuman powers and thus consider part of the “superhuman community” but who use them for employment or limit their use.  Many of these individuals have low-powered or highly specialized abilities.   Several keep their abilities a secret from the public, a desire META honors as much as possible.

As might be expected, Rogues, Renegades, and Rivals tend to have a more antagonistic relationship with META, its allies, and society in general.  Vanguards, Vigilants, and Villagers are seen more often as heroes and or at least positive contributors to society.   Designations are currently only used on META database profiles, though they are starting to slowly find their way into superhero culture and media.

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