My worst was Bounce Back Boy who had no powers except for extremely high recovery. He could be beaten to a pulp and recover almost immediately. The problem was he had no fighting skills or anything else useful.
Well, there was Yo-Yo, the zany Master of Gyroscopes, with a string of yo-yo based powers, but he was kinda cool.
I once played with a brick who was in powered armor with life support and otherwise allergic to our atmosphere.
Lemme see, there was Binky the Dinosaur. Transmogrified by Doctor Diabolic from a miniature poodle into a 150 ton playful dinosaur. The Big Wheel—a robot that basically, well, he uh, ran people over. And finally there was Acid Lad. He lasted, oh, maybe a Phase before someone hit him hard enough to do a lot of knockback. They were fighting near the East River in New York. He landed in the water. No one ever saw him again. Oh well.
Well, there was always GladiolaGal, who was an, er, herbopath—that is, she could communicate with plants. The problem here, of course, is that your average plant doesn't have much to say.
Imagine your average blade of grass: sway ... sway ... grow ... grow ... ooooh, sunlight ... ouch! the lawnmower!
Mind you, she was an NPC, and largely served the plot function of girl hostage.
The worst character concept I've ever been handed, and it was from a female player, yet. Her mammaries could produce any liquid substance she wanted, on demand.
Needless to say, it never was written up.
Midnight Cloud, my friend Rex's first Champions hero. He had Desolidification (Rex really liked the Vision) and ... that was pretty much the extent of his useful powers. It didn't take the villains long to figure out they could just ignore him instead of wasting their time trying to attack him, because he couldn't really do anything to stop them anyway.
Scarecrow, my first Champions hero. He had the Detective Work skill, a trenchcoat, and a blaster pistol. You know, your classic PI with a high-tech gun archetype—you've all seen those in the comic books, right? <lol>
The Scarecrow's first adventure—my friend Brian's first time as a Champions GM—Dr. Somebody (can't recall the name, let's call him Dr. Stupid for reasons that will become clear very shortly) builds a gigantic laser cannon on Alcatraz. He waits until the moon is full over San Francisco and threatens to blow it up unless he's paid $1 million. Later, we realized that all we had to do was wait for the moon to go down, but instead the Scarecrow and another hero went over to Alcatraz, beat up Dr. Stupid and smashed his big stupid gun. (BTW, this predated the last Austin Powers movie by about 15 years).
Then there was the time Brian's brick superhero, the Moose, was trying to save a dam being attacked by the Exploding Man (whose power was—he could explode. And come back together. And explode. And ... well, you get the idea). At one point in the battle, the Moose super-leaped across the reservoir and landed on top of the dam ... in his density increase form ... CRACK!!!
These are all examples from the very early days of playing 1st Ed. Champions. We're much better at this now.
Actually, back when we first started playing Champions, we didn't know anything about point limits. So everyone took as many Disads and Power Limitations as they could think of to grab as many points as possible. As a result, all the PCs had "Doesn't work in water" on all their powers. (Nobody worked in intense magnetic fields, either).
Because all the PCs were water-soluble, they assumed most of the villains would be, too, and got in the habit of dunking all their unconscious foes so they wouldn't wake up and be a problem or escape or something.
They fought Chlorine while raiding a villain base (AD&D was our only other RPG experience, so we tended to raid a lot of dun ... er, villain bases). Beat him up, dunked him in the fountain outside and went in to find the rest of the villains. Bye bye, Chlorine.
Later, the PCs took over the villain HQ as their own base. Never had an algae problem in the fountain.
Of course, there was also the time a super-speedster villain began racing in a circle around the PCs, shouting that he was going to create a vacuum vortex and suffocate them all. One of the PCs stuck his foot out. The speedster flew into a wall at Mach 2 or whatever and that was pretty much the end of him.
Some of the worst concepts come from players who are unfamiliar or disdainful of the superhero-genre (Pink Cadillac—a gay genie) or players who get their character-inspiration from the more extreme rules within the hero-system (I forget the name , but the character was all normal stats and he had purchased absorption and transfer abilities for ALL of his stats and the player was relatively new to the system , so I would have been expected to keep track of all the paperwork).
It wasn't MY character, but a player of mine tried to play a new hero who was a VietNam vet, seriously injured in the war, but (I can't remember all the details, it was so long ago) had some kind of enhancements that made him a virtual combat monster. How did he pay for all those powers? Well, he took Physical Limitations for everything he could. He tried to take it for each missing finger for each missing arm, etc., but I squelched that early on. So he wound up taking just about every Physical Limitation I would allow: No arms (he had weapons mounted somehow, IIRC), No legs (he had anti-grav flight devices), Blind (He had Radar), etc.
That was all bad enough, but then he named the Hero "Stubby"...
My personal worst was one of my earliest attempts at character building, an attempt to re-create Marvel Comic's 'Fabulous Frog Man.' He had Superleap and lots of levels with it... but was reduced to doing Move-Throughs and Move-Bys because he had no real combat skills. He also had no real heightened defenses, resulting in him being nicknamed "The Stupendous Splat Man."
My friend Jeff had a hero named Glowworm. He may have actually had useful powers, but I can't recall any. Mostly, he just glowed.
I know this guy who wanted nothing but 250 point of Superleap. I don't think he actually got to write it up because the GM wouldn't let him.
Gandhi Man was a character one of my Superworld players came up with. Stereotypical little Hindu mystic guy who levitated through the air and threw rice bowls at people. Wonderfully un-politically correct.
We were cooking up characters for a '70's supers game and there were some really good concepts coming out. However, my long time college and gaming buddy Big Gay Dan, says he wants to play a gay character. Fine, says the GM, no problem, we're all enlightened urbanites. So Dan begins to cook up this ridiculous caricature of a drag queen. It was driving us crazy because we couldn't nail him with the homophobia penalty since he was gay himself.
I think the character's name was Captain Queer or something. He would shoot butt plugs out of his ass and all kinds of tasteless s**t that's neither funny nor useful.
I began to think that Big Gay Dan's favorite part about being gay was trying to shock us breeders. He eventually caved in and made a reasonable character that we all wouldn't be sick of by the end of the first session.
FWIW, I've never really seen a hero concept who was so bad that it was impossible to execute in a practical manner. I think the players were just tired of the standard hero types, and wanted something different, but the characters almost always fit into something workable. Some of the most outrageous:
-- A pixie. A real pixie.
—A scientist with incredible brains and almost no brawn, who developed a formula that reversed that. When he decided to become a superhero, he went to a costume shop and the only thing they had in his size was a pink bunny costume. Thus was the origin of Thumper. (Far from being horrible, this remains my favorite humorous PC that I've ever GMed.)
—Big Mac, a large Irish brick who gained powers of super-strength whenever he ate a certain American sandwich.
—The Chocolate Moose, a Julia Child recipe gone horribly wrong.
—Major Fiasco, a gadgeteer with a pasta theme.
—Bumblebee, a man who could do literally anything as long as nobody explained to him that it was impossible.
Sounds like one of my first thoughts when I heard about the Gestalt world idea. The Gestalt of Cliches. "Crime doesn't pay!" (Teleportation, Area Effect, Usable against others, only versus money, only to send the money back to the owner), "Good always finish last!" (Disadvantage: Involuntary Movement Drain on all heroes).
In the vein of silly HERO ideas, a friend of mine had Bruno, Da Ogre Fairwy. A brick character who looked like a fantasy ogre, but with tiny fairy wings. He bought 5" flight at x10 END cost, 0 DCV concentrate.
Okay, I'll own to one of my own: My second character was one of those survived-since-the-middle-ages-due-to-some-magical-elixir guys, and he had chivalrous behavior towards women as a major psych lim. He was also Hunted by NOW (the National Organization of Women) on something like a 14 or less. Can't believe the GM let me get away with that....
Well, it was a one-shot I had the Grocer, who was dedicated to Truth, Justice, and preventing people from squeezing the Charmin. He had a leather apron that could stop bullets, a visor, a pencil perpetually behind one ear, and a magic grocery bag. The bag could produce anything that would fit through the opening. He captured a group of agents once by creating a jet of jello mixed with crazy glue. At a later date, he pulled out an octopus and threw it at a villain. He missed, and so reached in to get another octopus and an octopus launcher. Unfortunately, he had side effects, and he was last seen being pulled into the bag by a large tentacle.
I believe you were in that game, Bob. I think you were a player, but you may have been the GM. Do you remember the giant hairball character, last seen leaving with the super-dominatrix?
Wait, I just thought of another one. The local air traffic reporter at one radio station was nicknamed "Chopper Dave" ("Chopper", for the uninitiated, is a nickname for a helicopter). One day, Chopper Dave's pilot spotted a UFO which was apparently malfunctioning; just as the chopper closed in, the craft's synchronicity drive exploded. The pilot was killed, and Dave suffered extreme mandibular gigantism; his teeth (also nicknamed "choppers") grew to enormous size, giving him a devastating bite attack. Unfortunately, it also ruined his radio career by distorting his speech.
To make it worse, Chopper Dave also liked motorcycles (you guessed it, also called "choppers".)
Father Flash. He was a Catholic priest with a raincoat, and if you happened to look at the wrong time, you went momentarily blind. (The rest is better left to the imagination.... except maybe for the huge "CENSORED" sign across the middle of the character illo.)
Recently I was going through my file of old player characters (Champions) and was appalled by some of the "Heroes" submitted for my consideration... most of these were actually allowed in other peoples games:
Leech—A Bio-Energy vampire who must Kill at least one person every month and feed on thier life-force. More if he uses his powers of Physical Enhancement. He is Normally 20 STR and 4 SPD, but can boost this as high as 100 STR and 12 SPD.
Sting—A Mercenary with the following Gun: 1d6 RKA, Penetrating, Autofire 20, 4 clips of 120, x1 Stun Mult, Always does 1 Body. He has a "Code versus Leaving Villain Alive.
Enchantress—Looks like a pretty average sorceress type—until you read her origin story... She got her powers by feeding her Husband and 3 year old daughter to a Cthulhian-type Demon.
Sheesh! Some people just don't get the concept do they....
Worst & Most Abusive:
Way back when there was no cap on Disad's, there was Maus. He was an ultra-Aryan racist brick with a 250 STR named after an experimental Nazi tank. His Secret ID was Siegfried Hohenzollern, and he wandered the city destroying things that he didn't like: mostly synagogues. Fortunately, nearly all of his many Disad's were directed toward neon yellow. When this finally came out, the heroes (i.e. the other PCs) voluntarily gave this info to all of the many people Hunting him. A couple of days later, he was drawn into battle with a bunch of guys riding tanker trucks armed with water cannons. Hosed down with neon yellow paint, he literally dissolved away. The player didn't come back, and none of us really minded.
Born on a planet destroyed by energy waste and decay, Captain Zap now travels the universe teaching conservation. He had a space station Base which was run by species of intelligent hamsters who, over the course of the game, unionized, became communists, had an anarchist revolution, and finally turned Libertarian and demanded to be paid for the smallest of tasks. He fought polluters and energy wasters with his Plasmatic Zapperizer, Mind Control Rods (Incantation: "Waste not one watt!"), and bizarre gadgets. He heavily modified the team's base so that all the light switches automatically shut off when not actually held on, designed a bellows-like walkway to the front door that made for treacherous footing but recharged the base's batteries, and nailed all the windows shut after permanently setting the base air conditioning to 85 deg F. Eventually, he made the Zapwagon, which became more fuel efficient the faster it went. Of course, he refused to fly it at less than full speed-even in the midst of downtown, which made the thing awfully expensive to run thanks to all the speeding fines.
In one campaign I played in, one of the players build Hannibal Lechter as a PC. Don't ask me why the GM allowed this but he did. He was mostly a low level mentalist/martial artist with a huge presence. His defenses were defined as he weirded you out so much that you didn't really hit him when you thought you did.
One of my own horrors (before the idea that "just because you can build it doesn't mean you should build it" sunk in) was a mentalist named "Psion." He had formiable mental powers, Shrinking, and telescopic N-Ray vision. (I'm sorry.)
Another player had a combo that was terribly effective, if not outright abusive. The character was named Phantasm, and his two main offensive powers were Telekinesis and Mental Illusions. He had a reputation as being a fantastically powerful telekinetic. His typical strategy was to grab an opponent with TK, then on the next Phase, hit them with a Mental Illusion that they were still grabbed by the TK and couldn't escape. (Which is an incredibly easy illusion to achieve, since (A) he has a reputation for having powerful TK and (B) he just hit them with it.) He only needs to get maybe EGO+10 for this, so he usually gets substantial penalties on their breakout rolls. Repeat as desired. So he was basically good for taking a villain completely out of the fight every other Phase or so.
The strangest character I ever ran for I only saw once. I ran for it in a pick-up game at DunDraCon many years ago. It was a crab. A giant, mutated, crab. It was super-intelligent (for a crab), meaning that it was about as smart as a dim human. Being an outcast from both crab society and human society, it wandered around, and would go along with anyone who treated it nicely and didn't attack it. It was obviously a rather goofy idea for a superhero game, but I have to admit that the player played it rather well....
We have one player who is pretty much the master of both rules abuse (when he wants to be) and of strange characters. His favorite rule abuse is the mentallist with the N-Ray telescopic vision helmet with 360 degree vision.
Some of the more memorable odd characters:
Kingfisher—fought crime while reclining in his flying bass boat. Had entangles (the nets), Energy Blasts (hit 'em with lead sinkers), killing attack (the hook). He also had some Aid powers based on the stuff he kept in his fridge (beer, snack foods, etc) and some defenses based on his fishing vest and low slung hat. (this was for a serious game)
Mamma Mia—an "Italian Mother" who could produce copious amounts of food using a multipower. Her abilities included the typical throwing of foods at various temperatures and consistencies plus a really bizarre transform/entangle combo that forced the opponent to essentially eat himself into oblivion.
Soccer Mom—you can probably guess that she was a sports minded heroine, but she also had political connections, a mini-van for transporting heroes, and some impressive powers of persuasion.
Hot Mom—based solely on the You're the Hot Hom episode of Grounded for Life, she was a major seductress.
The last three were members of the "Mothers Against Villainous Evil Ne'erdowells (MAVEN)" a superteam in a Tick style game. There were 10 or 12 other members (all Mom's of some sort, some ethnic, some otherwise), but they were never detailed.
I felt like this was probably too minor to contribute (I know I have had better "attempts," I just can't think of any right now), but since Mike's collecting them, I decided to pipe up....
Had a player one time (an import from another HERO group—the kind of group that would have been happier with Blood Bowl or WarHammer) submit a character with the following brazenly written on the sheet:
PD: 45 (resistant)
ED: 45 (resistant)
Armor: 40 PD/ 40 ED
Power Defense: 60 pts
Mental Defense: 80 pts
Force Field: 30 PD/ 30 ED (I think it was 30, may have been more)
Damage Reduction, PD: 75%
Damage Reduction, ED: 75%
Damage Reduction, EGO: 75% (I don't remember if these were resistant)
Missile Deflection (bought to some ungodly level
+10 levels with DCV
As GAKK!-inducing as this is, the real kicker was that he had placed them all into an Elemental Control.
"So I asks de guy, 'Say, what's wit dis Element Control yez got here?' An' he sez te me, he sez 'It's in dis Element Control' An' den I sez 'What kinda Element Control ya got gives ya all dis?'"
It seems he had designed the Elemental control of "being hard to hurt."
We once had a guy (in fact he was the ISG but that's another thread) do up Space-Elvis. He was kind of a cross between Space Ghost and ... well... Elvis. You figure it out, I never could. :-)