Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Assembly of Losers

SYSTEM: ICONS

I think we can all agree that I have a fondness for losers. Beating up the losers makes for a diverting evening of game-play. It's entertaining. And usually, the losers are losers not because of powers but because of personality problems.

I was thinking about this while I was looking at Bob Greenwald's adventure Power Dreams, which uses some not particularly great Champions villains: The Crusher Gang, introduced in Champions Universe. At various points, the Crusher Gang consists of Power Crusher (leader), Esper, Howler, Lazer, Lightning, Oculon, Panda, Powerhouse, Raccoon, Ripper, Shrinker, Thunder, and Vibron.

I remember that Oculon had (in our group) a reputation as a whiner; Lazer and Vibron were paper tigers, and the rest weren't really losers in our campaigns but the general non-impressiveness of Power Crusher, Lazer, Oculon, and Vibron might be contagious.

After Steve Kenson's reminder that ICONS Adversaries contains two groups that I could have used for my VIPER knock-off (Legion and Shadow Guild), I flipped through Adversaries, trying to see if I could make a group of combat losers.

ICONS is still too young for the effects of Villain Decay to have been really felt, but, without popular demand, here are the villains I think you might be able to play for laughs and put together the Assembly of Losers.

I'll try for alphabetical order.

Bombshell
There's nothing wrong with Bombshell as a character (and that goes for all of the one I pick here). On the other hand, she does seem a little unfocused (which might be humour-adjacent) and the sort of glory-grabbing mien I take from her write-up would go well with belonging to a group of losers.
Enemy Mime
Because he doesn't talk (it's part of his schtick) I kinda imagine him as the one who only barely gets along with the others. But he'd be a good utility player, and he seems to me to have the kind of neediness that would work in a group like this.
Fortissimo
Okay, he's an opera singer. With sonic powers. Who likes to rob opera houses (among other things). If you have a story where his gang gets broken up, I can easily see him joining a group like the Assembly of Losers as part of his "comback."
Pulsar
As written, his story has pathos and angst...he's a man out of time, trying to undo what has happened. That is a perfect take for Alan Moore to present after he's been reduced to a laughing stock by an idea like mine. He also seems smart enough to me to pull the others together...and after a couple of adventures where they just get beat up, he manages to get hold of equipment from Tempus Khan or Non-Stop's suit or something, and you suddenly have a real task for your players. Except, of course, it's still these guys.
Size Queen
There is a certain delightful quality to Size Queen (not to mention the double entendre of the name), and her presence pretty much ensures that the crimes will be high-visibility. She'll insist on it.
Zero
The paranoid Zero seems like he wouldn't play well with others. But in this take, he thinks he's using the others to get the components he needs for his next great advancement, making those fools see what he has accomplished. (I think he's trying to "deactivate" all other energy sources so the omnipresent "they" are forced to acknowledge zero point energy.)

Bounder seems a little too happy-go-lucky for this group; he's Ambush Bug. You don't have him join the Masters of Evil. Chopper might be appropriate, if your evil villain plan needs henchman muscle in the form of a motorcycle gang.

Oh, right. They need their own impressive name, because "Assembly of Losers" or "Cast-offs of Evil" doesn't really have a ring to it. They could call themselves the Assembly of Evil, because it's not like Ultra-Mind has a trademark on it. Still, something like "Brotherhood of Destruction" would be good.