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Old 10-03-2019, 03:17 PM   #1
Prince Charon
 
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Default [Pulp] 'Superior Muscular Control' - Morph (Face Only) costs?

Pulp writers in the 1930s and earlier (and some later) had a problem when writing some stories: The hero would occasionally need to disguise himself perfectly as a specific other person, but they couldn't say that the hero was wearing makeup, because that wasn't manly. Pulp heroines (of which a few did exist) could get away with having such brilliant makeup skills that they could appear to be a completely different person with just a wig, different clothes, and the contents of their purse, but male heroes had to also be paragons of era-appropriate manliness. Some used specially made rubber masks, others donned 'an actor's greasepaint' (which was a form of makeup, yes, but they didn't call it makeup, which apparently made all the difference to some pulp magazine editors - and anyway, you wouldn't call Lon Chaney or Clark Gable unmanly), but a few did something a lot stranger: Through training in the Mysterious Orient, they possessed the discipline to contort their facial muscles such that they appeared to be someone else (like the scientists the bad guys want to kidnap, or the thug he just knocked out and tied up). Superman, who had previously used the greasepaint dodge, demostrated the ability to 'contort his plastic features' in the 1940s, at one point, IIRC, making his face look like a stylised tribal idol (like a tiki mask, or something weirder). The most recent use I can think of was in a movie from 1987 called Innerspace, where a guy in a miniaturized one-man submarine uses electric shocks to disguise a store clerk as a guy with a different complexion, build, and height (it was a comedy).

It seems to me that both versions would be Morph with something like the Cosmetic limitation, but limited to the face. For the more normal version, it would also be limited to humans with a similar complexion to the user, as while you could us it to make your skin paler or ruddier, actually becoming more or less tan would require either makeup, a different justification, or a Silly setting. The less normal version, as in Superman and Innerspace, would just be Face Only Cosmetic Morphing without any additional limitations (in fact, the Innerspace version might be Cosmetic Morph without Face Only, but in the movie the only thing he said he was changing was the face).

The question is, how big of a limitation on Morph is Face Only, and how much does 'Humans with similar complexion Only' add to it?
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Old 10-03-2019, 03:18 PM   #2
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Default Re: [Pulp] 'Superior Muscular Control' - Morph (Face Only) costs?

I'm pretty sure that's Elastic Skin rather than Morph.
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Old 10-03-2019, 05:42 PM   #3
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Default Re: [Pulp] 'Superior Muscular Control' - Morph (Face Only) costs?

It is in fact Elastic Skin and Elastic Skin is mostly for altering your face.
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Old 10-03-2019, 06:40 PM   #4
Fred Brackin
 
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Default Re: [Pulp] 'Superior Muscular Control' - Morph (Face Only) costs?

Richard Henry Benson a.k.a. The Avenger specialized in this. A terriable shock had left his face "frozen" and he discovered it could be molded like plastic. He did use greasepaint to tint his skin and wigs. Even colored contact lens to change his eye color.

Doc Savage had done many of the same things but it helpe that Benson was only 5'8" whereas Doc was about a foot taller than that. Doc did have a trick where he could manipulate his spine to make himself a few inches shorter shorter. Benson was often putting lifts in his shoes to make himself taller.

Also from around 1940 though it's pure SF rather than the fantastic pulps Odo from Captain Future did this sort of disguise thing but as an android he actually was made out of plastic. Even Captain Futuire himself did disguise work and he was 6'4 and red-haired.
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Old 10-03-2019, 11:11 PM   #5
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Default Re: [Pulp] 'Superior Muscular Control' - Morph (Face Only) costs?

Seconding Elastic Skin. It's exactly what you want, possibly with the Takes Extra Time or Preparation Required limitations.

For a version of Elastic Skin which lets you really push your disguise skills to cinematic levels, possibly a +50% Cosmic enhancement.

(And boggled by Mr. Brackin's Literature (Pulp Fiction) skill!).
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Old 10-04-2019, 07:56 AM   #6
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Default Re: [Pulp] 'Superior Muscular Control' - Morph (Face Only) costs?

Quote:
Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
I'm pretty sure that's Elastic Skin rather than Morph.
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Johnston2 View Post
It is in fact Elastic Skin and Elastic Skin is mostly for altering your face.
Thank you. Somehow, I either forgot that that existed, or completely missed it.

I should probably look up The Avenger.

How would you stat manipulating your spine to appear shorter? A perk, or something else?
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Old 10-04-2019, 08:06 AM   #7
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Default Re: [Pulp] 'Superior Muscular Control' - Morph (Face Only) costs?

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Originally Posted by Prince Charon View Post
How would you stat manipulating your spine to appear shorter? A perk, or something else?
It seems somewhat comparable to Compact Frame in GURPS Power-Ups 2: Perks. I suggest taking a look at that and seeing how well it fits.
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Old 10-04-2019, 09:33 AM   #8
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Default Re: [Pulp] 'Superior Muscular Control' - Morph (Face Only) costs?

Quote:
Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
It seems somewhat comparable to Compact Frame in GURPS Power-Ups 2: Perks. I suggest taking a look at that and seeing how well it fits.
*looks that up*
Doesn't quite work, as it's about contorting your body to fit in small spaces, not to look shorter, and once you do it, you can't move (other than to uncompact yourself, I would think), just talk. It might be that a new perk (Compressible Spine?) could work, though.
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Old 10-04-2019, 09:48 AM   #9
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Default Re: [Pulp] 'Superior Muscular Control' - Morph (Face Only) costs?

You want Flexibility (or Double-Jointed) for the spine compression: Squeezing into tight spaces uses the Escape skill, which is at +3 (or +5) for people with those advantages.
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Old 10-05-2019, 01:42 PM   #10
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Default Re: [Pulp] 'Superior Muscular Control' - Morph (Face Only) costs?

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Originally Posted by Harald387 View Post
You want Flexibility (or Double-Jointed) for the spine compression: Squeezing into tight spaces uses the Escape skill, which is at +3 (or +5) for people with those advantages.
OK, that makes sense. Thank you.
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