Monday, January 23, 2012

Threat Report Update - Pack-Rat

The Mutants and Masterminds Threat Report series from Green Ronin gives a solid character with stats, Hero Lab files, an adventure hook for Mutants and Masterminds Third Edition. In the Threat Report Update, I give you some alternate views on, alternate versions of, and supplemental material for these great reports.

Threat Report #1 is about Pack-Rat, an uplifted rat who has become a thief on, and under, the streets of the city, and assembled a "guild" of other thieves to replace the other rats that were experimented on who didn't escape.  He is pursued by an evil organization called the Labyrinth.  Somehow it avoided even making a "rat in a maze" pun!

Wah-Wah They Hate Us Supers: Interestingly, Pack-Rat simply doesn't identify with human beings.  He doesn't "get" them and all their weird behaviors.  So if you're a deformed mutant who is struggling with feelings of rejection and alienation, meeting a deformed superbeing who just doesn't mind living in the sewers and doesn't expect anything more could be either empowering or terrifying.  Once the death robots start hunting your kind in the street, maybe Pack-Rat is what you see as the inevitable result - scrounging for scraps and living with criminals.

Get Dat Rat! - A cool adventure hook might be that Pack-Rat, while digging into the activities of the covert evil agency pursuing him, picks up an item or piece of information that other people want - a brutal law enforcement agency who doesn't care about collateral damage, an international terrorist organization, or maybe the player characters.  Or the item is inherently dangerous - a sample of a terrible bioweapon, for example.  Recovering something he not-so-"innocently" picked up is one thing, but what if lawyers turn up and demand that it be returned to the shady original owner?  Will the players back the law over the thief even if it means giving the terrible device back to the evil organization that had it?

Pack-Rat The Mastermind - This character was made smarter and better by science - what if he keeps getting better, or finds some way to improve himself?  He could reflect the desire for power or, more positively, the desire to improve your station in life?  The player characters' attempt to stop him could be perceived by him as a desire to put him "back in his place", whether that be in the sewers or in the Labyrinth.  Labyrinth might even share information (in a sinister way) with the player characters in order to keep Pack-Rat from evolving to a state where he could take effective revenge on his former captors.

Pack-Rat The Comic Relief - Let's not forget the comedic possibilities inherent in the character, as he messes up human interaction and runs off with shiny things the big bad villain really needed.

Using Pack-Rat in My Current Game - As with always, the main question I have is "can I use this in my game right now?"  And the answer is yes!  Obviously Pack-Rat will fall in with the Omegas. But what happens when it comes out that he's not a mutant after all?  Sentinels will pass him by, people won't be existentially threatened by him (although of course he's still a monster.)  Might he be separated from the only people who have identified with him?  What happens then?  Will he seek a new pack, attract new followers who might have avoided him thinking he was a mutant?  He might even become a Toad-like figure, always loitering around the outside of this fringe group or that, trying to find someplace he fits in.