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Old 11-11-2022, 03:02 PM   #71
Prince Charon
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Default Re: [Supers] A More Scientific Golden Age

Originally Posted by Fred Brackin View Post
In vacuum exhaust particles travel in straight lines like bullets and for similar distances. The plume will get wider and eventually be very thin indeed but as long as the back end of the rocket is pointed at the firer he could get stuff on his faceplate.
OK, that's what you meant. Probably something for the mad scientists, though even the sane ones will have weird ideas like windshield wipers or replaceable outer layers for the faceplate (one gets too bad, remove it and pull another from the box).

The experimental phase of weapons development (and tech development in general) is going to produce a range of oddities. In this instance it's one of the reasons that some nations are more interested in energy weapons.
Warning, I have the Distractible and Imaginative quirks in real life.

"The more corrupt a government, the more it legislates."
-- Tacitus

Five Earths, All in a Row. Updated 12/17/2022: Apocrypha: Bridges out of Time, Part I has been posted.
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Old 04-23-2023, 11:50 PM   #72
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Default Re: [Supers] A More Scientific Golden Age

This seems to be ready, so please have a look:

Space Technology Part I: Launch Vehicles & Space Capsules

"It was going well until it exploded."
-- Scott Manley

Space technology on this Earth is broadly TL6^, with TL(6+1)^ or other Superscience enhancements. The space launch systems of the various nations would be familiar to most people from Homeline: multi-stage, cylindrical or elongated-conical rocket stacks, occasionally with two or more outboard boosters. Internally, they mostly use liquid-fuel rockets with a few that are solid-fueled, mostly in the boosters; the first few BIS launches used clusters of solid-fuel rockets, though, and a few groups still do this, mostly for the first stage only. The Soviets and Italians are known to have more launch failures than average (though the Soviets do a better job of hiding how many than the Italians do). There are a few very superscience single-stage-to-orbit vehicles, like Dr. Zarkov's rocket, or some flying saucers, but the mad scientists making them are often quite mad. Flying saucers as the end-stage of a rocket stack are another matter.

The manned space capsules of the various space programmes differ a bit more widely: The BIS rapidly settled on a design with a spherical pressure-vessel for the astronauts to be contained in, with an equipment module on 'top' (and sometimes a second such module on the 'bottom'), containing everything that does not need to be in the re-entry capsule - engines (in a puller configuration), fuel, sensors, weapons, and so forth. The module is often conical for aerodynamic reasons, but may be cylindrical or blocky, with a fairing added for take-off; a smaller module containing the parachutes is often hidden under the main EM. The docking/escape hatch is normally on the side of the capsule; if the equipment module is pressurised, an additional hatch may open into the module, with a docking hatch for the space station on the EM. The BIS has more recently made some use of ovoid or elipsoid crew capsules, and has tended to make the capsules of any shape larger, with some models on the drawing board (planned for the Moon or Mars missions) being big enough to have separate rooms, or being made up of several pressure modules docked together, along with large fuel/propulsion modules. Before re-entry, the outer equipment modules are normally ejected to burn up in the atmosphere, and parachutes are deployed from the small inner EM once the capsule reaches the right altitude, after which the capsule splashes down in the ocean, generally near a RN vessel.

The SS-Raumabschnitt makes use of various designs of cone-shaped capsules with a docking hatch in the nose for those large enough to have one, and a separate escape hatch on the side. Like the British, they have tended toward larger capsules over time. The French use a form of 'flying saucer' (really a flattened cone, mainly intended for better reentries and more internal area) that isn't all that supersciencey, and uses large fairings at launch; one design they have on the drawing boards and artists' conceptions is more lenicular, and would be launched turned on its side to reduce drag. American manned capsules are spaceplanes, the currently-largest being the 30 ft (SM+4) Boeing S-19 Bumblebee. Brazil, the IJN, and Italy use roughly British style spherical capsules for manned missions; the IJA, on the other hand, uses spaceplanes, due to not wanting to be at the IJN's mercy. The Soviets started out using suspiciously-accurate copies of German designs, but in 1937 brought out a likewise-direct copy of an American design, the Consolidated SP6Y Comet (26 ft at the long axis).

The only Martian spacecraft known to Earthfolk are long cylinders with a cone on one end, which serve as both space capsules and landing craft. The conical structure at the 'bottom/front' is equipped with rockets designed to both slow down the craft somewhat, and to bury much of the main body in the ground without damaging the vessel. The crew appear to remain in liquid-filled capsules that seem to provide suspended animation during the journey, as well as further cushioning them from adverse G-forces; it appears that the crew are only awakened after landing, with the vehicle's electronic brain serving as the pilot. The cylinder also contains samples of other Martian life like the Red Weed, stores of Black Smoke (since reverse engineered, and registered as a war crime by the Hague Convention), prefabricated mining equipment and other devices, advanced portable factories of some sort (many of the vehicles and other equipment used in the invasion appear to have been partially or totally built on Earth), and an atomic matter pile for power. In several cylinders, the pile was forced to melt down by the operators before they died (which has resulted in a number of environmental hazards that are still being studied), but in others, it was shut down by built-in safety systems when the operators died or were captured before they could activate the self-destruct. Many items found within are poorly understood or not understood at all, and quite a few were destroyed in the Martians' death throes, or by vengeful and ignorant Earthmen in the immediate aftermath. The work to understand them goes on, however.

Warning, I have the Distractible and Imaginative quirks in real life.

"The more corrupt a government, the more it legislates."
-- Tacitus

Five Earths, All in a Row. Updated 12/17/2022: Apocrypha: Bridges out of Time, Part I has been posted.

Last edited by Prince Charon; 05-27-2023 at 03:45 PM.
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Old 05-27-2023, 03:38 PM   #73
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Default Re: [Supers] A More Scientific Golden Age

Daniel Hung, aka 'The Magnificent Wang, Master of Illusions', 1938

Age: 35


ST 10 [0]; DX 12 [40]; IQ 12 [40]; HT 11 [10]

Secondary Characteristics

HP 10; Will 14 [10]; Per 13 [5]; FP 11

Thrust: 1d-2; Swing: 1d

Block: 9
Judo Parry: 9

Basic Speed: 5.75; Move: 5; Dodge: 8

Social Background

Languages: English (Native) [0]; Cantonese (Native) [6]; Spanish (Accented) [4].

TL: late 6^

Cultural Familiarity: 20th century Western [0]; 20th century Eastern [1].

Subtotal: 116


Handsome [12]

Chi Control Talent 3 [30]
Trained by a Master [30]


Chi Resistance (Hypnotic Hands). [1]
Dabbler (Current Affairs: Headline News 10, High Culture 9, People 9, Regional (USA) 10, Supers 10). [1]
Style Familiarity (Hung-style Illusion-fist). [1]
Technique Mastery (Phantom Fireball). [1]
Technique Mastery (Roll with the Blow). [1]

Subtotal: 77


Code of Honor (Xia) [-10]
Curious (12) [-5]
Enemies (Hunter; Unknown - Bad guy of the week; about as powerful; 9 or less) [-15]
Pacifism (Cannot Harm Innocents) [-10]
Social Stigma (Minority Group) [-10]


Dislikes tobacco smoke. [-1]
Fond of deniable sex jokes (like his stage name). [-1]
Mild Lecherousness. [-1]
Prefers spicy food. [-1]
Trickster. [-1]

Subtotal: -55



Area Knowledge (San Francisco) [IQ/E] [1] 12
Body Language [Per/A] [2] 13
Cloak [DX/A] [2] 12
Dancing [DX/A] [2] 12
Detect Lies [Per/H] [8] 14
Hypnotism [IQ/H] [12] 14
Artist (Illusion) [IQ/H] [4] 12
Judo [DX/H] [8] 13
Main-Gauche [DX/A] [2] 12
Performance (Magician) [IQ/A] [8] 14
Savoir-Faire (High Society) [IQ/E] [1] 12
Sex Appeal [HT/A] [2] 11
Singing [HT/E] [1] 11
Sleight of Hand [DX/H] [8] 14
Smallsword [DX/A] [4] 13
Stage Combat [DX/A] [4] 13
Stealth [DX/A] [8] 14

Subtotal: 77

Hypnotic Hands [IQ/H] [4] 15*
Invisibility Art [IQ/VH] [8] 15*
Illusion Disguise [Will/H] [4] 17*
Know Illusion [Per/H] [4] 16*
Mental Strength [Will/E] [2] 18*
Perfect Illusion [Will/H] [4] 17*
Phantom Fist [Will/H] [1] 15*
Phantom Flame [Will/H] [1] 15*
See Invisible [Per/H] [2] 15*
Sleep [Will/H] [1] 15*

Subtotal: 31

*Includes +3 from Chi Control Talent.


Cloak Art (A) Cloak-3 [3] 12
Disarming (Judo) (H) Judo [6] 18
Phantom Flame Jet (H) Phantom Flame-2 [3] 15
Phantom Fireball (H) Phantom Flame-4 [7] 17
Retain Weapon (Smallsword) (H) Smallsword [6] 18
Roll with the Blow (H) Judo-2 [4] 14

Subtotal: 29

Total: 275


Fancy robes
Good shoes
Magician's cloak (soft DR1)
'Magic' wand (short baton)
Nice walking stick
Wallet, keys, et cetra.


Daniel Hung is a member of a Chinese-American family whose great-grandparents left China for political reasons in the 19th century. He wasn't told the specifics, but they seem to have done so in a hurry, and Invisibly. 'Hung' is probably not their original clan name, and their ancestral art didn't have such developed illusions, most of which were brought into the style by Daniel's grandfather's marriage, or were developed since then. Daniel is a rare prodigy in the family's art, as well as being quite fond of stage magic. Some inspiration for this character sheet was taken from the Movie Star template in GURPS Martial Arts pp36-38.

Rather than spending FP or ER, his chi-based 'spells' are paid for by the Margin of Success; if the result is insufficient for the cost, the effect does not happen, but he can treat it as an extended task and make further rolls, as long as he doesn't fail any rolls on that skill.

Hung-style Illusion-fist
4 points

This is an old family style, similar (apart from the spell-like chi skills) to Dagger Fighting & various Eastern stickfighting styles, and far more distantly (according to family legend) descended from Shaolin Kung Fu. Invisibility Art and Hypnotic Hands cover the prerequisites for all of the style's 'spell-like' chi skills.

Stylists prefer to avoid direct confrontation where possible, and if forced to fight, will often open with Sleep or Phantom Fist, or seek to break line-of-sight, hide and/or become invisible, Evaluate, and attack from ambush. Defensive Attacks are generally preferred in melee, while All-Out Attacks are strongly discouraged unless the practitioner believes they can take the opponent down before the target can respond. As one might expect, Feints and other deceptive actions are common.

Quite often, practitioners prefer to use batons rather than edged weapons, or will have one edged and one not, such as a knife and a walking stick.

Skills: Judo, Main-Gauche, Smallsword.
Techniques: Arm Lock (Main-Gauche or Judo); Armed Grapple (Main-Gauche or Smallsword); Disarming; Feint (Main-Gauche or Smallsword); Judo Art; Retain Weapon (any required or optional weapon skill); Targeted Attack (Judo Grapple/Arm); Targeted Attack (Smallsword Thrust/Weapon Hand).
Cinematic Skills: Hypnotic Hands, Invisibility Art, Illusion Disguise, Know Illusion, Mental Strength, Perfect Illusion, Phantom Fist, Phantom Flame, See Invisible, Sleep.
Cinematic Techniques: Phantom Fireball, Phantom Flame Jet, Roll with the Blow.
Perks: Chi Resistance (Hypnotic Hands); Improvised Weapons (any required or optional weapon skill); Quick-Sheathe (any required or optional weapon skill); Technique Mastery (any technique listed above).

Optional Traits
Advantages: Ambidexterity; Chi Control Talent.
Disadvantages: Pacifism (any except Total Non-violence); Trickster.
Skills: Axe/Mace; Body Language; Breath Control; Broadsword; Diplomacy; Hypnotism; Fast-Draw (any required or optional weapon skill); Garotte; Jitte/Sai; Knife; Meditation; Stealth.
Techniques: Binding; Breakfall; Feint (any required or optional combat skill); Main-Gauche Art; Smallsword Art. Also, any required Main-Gauche technique may be learned with Knife or Jitte/Sai.
Cinematic Skills: Daze; Command; Phantom Body of Flames; Suggestion.
Cinematic Techniques: Clumsiness; Itch; Mass Daze; Mass Sleep; Spasm.

Phantom Fist is mechanically a variant of Mental Stun, with the same cost, duration, and casting time; fluffwise, the caster is using a tactile illusion to make the target feel as if they've been punched in the head. Most often, the punch seems to come from a direction other than where the caster is. Itch is a more subtle tactile illusion based on Phantom Fist, while Spasm and Clumsiness are conceptually similar, but developed in a different direction.

Phantom Flame Jet is basically Phantom Flame as a Jet spell. Phantom Fireball is a variant of this, but as a Missile spell. In both cases, the normal maximum level is equal to skill, and any damage done is illusory, but so long as the recipient fails to disbelieve it, the 'damage' remains debilitating for the duration of the illusion.

See Invisible should be assumed to work on most forms of invisibility, though not necessarily all (it definitely works on chi-illusion based invisibility, though). The GM should decide which forms it does not work on in advance of the game, but need not tell the players if they have no reason to know. Likewise, Know Illusion works fine for chi-based illusions, but may be fooled by some others (again, determined by the GM).

Warning, I have the Distractible and Imaginative quirks in real life.

"The more corrupt a government, the more it legislates."
-- Tacitus

Five Earths, All in a Row. Updated 12/17/2022: Apocrypha: Bridges out of Time, Part I has been posted.
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Old 12-19-2023, 11:57 PM   #74
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Default Re: [Supers] A More Scientific Golden Age

Another 'street level' hero who is more expensive than expected:

Spring-heeled Jack VII (Lady Jennifer Tennyson), 1938

Age: 27


ST 12 [20]; DX 13 [60]; IQ 12 [40]; HT 11 [10]

Secondary Characteristics

HP 12; Will 12; Per 13 [5]; FP 13 [6]

Thrust: 1d-1; Swing: 1d+2

Brawling Parry: 10

Basic Speed: 6.25; Move: 6; Dodge: 11

Social Background

Languages: English (Native) [0]; French (Accented) [4].

TL: late 6^

Cultural Familiarity: Western [0].

Subtotal: 139


Ally (Sally Addams, Maidservant; 75% of points; appears on 15 or less) [9]
Attractive [4]
Contact (Dr Albert Carstairs, Gadgeteer; Science Skill 21; Usually Reliable; 9 or less) [8]
Enhanced Dodge (Pulp, +0%) 2 [30]
Gizmo 1 [5]
Injury Tolerance (Damage Reduction; Pulp, +0%) 2 [50]
Night Vision 2 [2]
Spring-heeled Boots (Super-Jumping 1; Breakable, DR5, -15%, SM-5, -10%; Can Be Stolen by force, -10%; Mechanical, -10%) [7]
Status 2 [10]
Wealthy [20]

Craftiness Talent 4 [20]
Natural Gymnast Talent 3 [15]


Dextrous Claws. [1]
High-Heeled Heroine. [1]
Honest Face. [1]
Looming Presence (in costume). [1]
Signature Gear (Spring-heeled Boots). [1]

Subtotal: 185


Code of Honor (Lady P.I.) [-5]
Enemies (Hunter; Unknown - Bad guy of the week; about as powerful; 9 or less) [-15]
Overconfidence (12) [-5]
Secret (Identity) [-10]
Social Stigma (Second-class citizen) [-5]
Stubbornness [-5]


Always wears black out of costume. [-1]
Flirts with men and women alike, but only in costume. [-1]
Leads with her knights in chess. [-1]
Trickster. [-1]
Wine snob. [-1]

Subtotal: -50



Acrobatics [DX/H] [4] 16**
Acting [IQ/A] [2] 16*
Area Knowledge (London Back-alleys) [IQ/E] [2] 13
Body Language [Per/A] [1] 12
Brawling [DX/E] [2] 14
Breath Control [HT/H] [1] 12**
Camouflage [IQ/E] [1] 16*
Climbing [DX/A] [2] 16**
Connoisseur [IQ/A] [2] 12
Criminology [IQ/A] [2] 12
Detect Lies [Per/H] [4] 13
Disguise/TL6^ [IQ/A] [1] 15*
Games (Chess) [IQ/E] [1] 12
Holdout [IQ/A] [1] 15*
Intimidation [Will/A] [4] 13
Jumping [DX/E] [4] 18**
Lasso [DX/A] [2] 13
Lip-Reading [Per/A] [2] 13
Literature [IQ/H] [4] 12
Lockpicking/TL6 [IQ/A] [4] 13
Makeup/TL6^ [IQ/E] [1] 12
Mimicry (Speech) [IQ/H] [4] 12
Observation [Per/H] [4] 13
Pickpocket [DX/H] [4] 13
Running [HT/A] [4] 15**
Savoir-Faire (High Society) [IQ/E] [1] 12
Sex Appeal [HT/A] [2] 11
Shadowing [IQ/A] [4] 17*
Sleight of Hand [DX/H] [4] 13
Stealth [DX/A] [2] 17*
Streetwise [IQ/A] [4] 13
Throwing [DX/A] [2] 13
Writing [IQ/A] [2] 12

*Includes +4 from Craftiness Talent.
**Includes +3 from Natural Gymnast Talent.


Acrobatic Stand (A) Acrobatics-6 [2] 11
Rope-Up (A) Climbing-2 [2] 17

Subtotal: 86

Total: 360


Nice boots
Fashionable dress
Pretty hat
Elegant purse
- makeup kit
- miniature camera
- silver mirror
- wallet, keys, et cetra

In costume:
Spring-heeled Boots
Clawed gauntlets (+2 to Climbing, +2 cut Brawling damage)
Cowl (conceals DR2 skullcap)
Mask (devilish-looking disguised gas-mask, DR1 face and neck)
Suit (mostly soft DR2, hard DR6 over Vitals)
Utility belt
- lockpick set
- tear gas bombs
- smoke bombs
- rope w/ grappling hook
- miniature camera


'Spring-heeled Jack' is a name held by a number of masked heroes and villains in England since at least 1837. The actual number is uncertain, as not all of them wore the same costume the whole time, nor worked in the same areas, and there was some overlap between them, but the current one - a heroic prankster and vigilante of the 'Pulp' variety - is at least generally considered to be the seventh distinct individual to use the name while mostly operating in Greater London. Secretly, she is Lady Jennifer Tennyson, a younger cousin of the 3rd Baron Tennyson. Her identity is known only to her best friend and maidservant, Sally Addams, though Dr Carstairs at least knows that this Spring-heeled Jack is a lady of means.

Lady Jennifer's fiance was murdered to cover up crimes than he had discovered an alleged friend committing. She became Spring-heeled Jack to bring the killer to justice, and continues because she sees the need for someone to punish those that the law often lets go.

The Spring-heeled Boots are the various Jacks' signature gear - boots which improve the user's jumping height and distance. The versions Jennifer wears also contain lifts to increase her height slightly. As a Science Contact, Dr Carstairs is most often used for small favours or as someone to discreetly buy specialized equipment from (a common source for her Gizmos), but he a skilled scientist, and does have a lot of friends in the scientific and engineering communities, and thus can occasionally provide quite useful information when a case touches on them - or put 'Jack' onto a case which she might not have noticed, because he owes a favour to another friend and called in a favour the heroine owed him.

'Looming Presence' is the ability to be mistaken for a greater height than you currently have: Whenever it is plausible that someone might get your height wrong, they tend to misestimate upwards rather than downwards. This is in addition to the effect of lifts in one's boots and other disguise elements. 'Dexterous Claws' allows one to use fine manual skills with claws, whether natural or mounted on gloves or gauntlets.

Natural Gymnast might be called Parkour Talent in a more modern setting. The skills covered are Acrobatics, Breath Control, Climbing, Jumping, and Running. Probably has the same Reaction Bonus as Natural Athlete, and the Alternative Benefit of Superior Equilibrioception.

Sally Addams was That Darn Kid (GURPS Mysteries pp106-107) in the 1920s, and is a much more skilled detective than Lady Jennifer (has the Forensics Whiz Talent). While less athletically gifted than her Lady, she is capable of faking being Spring-heeled Jack from a distance and with some work, which has been useful on occasion (whether this makes her the eighth Jack, or seventh-and-a-half, is something the two occasionally joke about together). I may write up a sheet for her at some point.

'Code of Honor (Lady P.I.)' is very similar to the Gentleman P.I. CoH from GURPS Mysteries. In Spring-heeled Jack's case, she is more inclined to allow humiliation to occur, it's part of her basic tactics, but only if the weight of the embarrassment falls mainly on the criminal, not the family. Even then, someone about to die or already dead is likely to be spared. When she found the man who killed her fiance, she reduced him to tears with her words and the evidence of his crimes, then left him in a room with a gun and one bullet, allowing him to take his own life. A sufficiently appealing Gentleman Thief (if he's careful not to kill anyone) will also tend to receive greater mercy than is warranted.

Her Enemy is not always a single individual. On many occasions, the Enemy has been a gang, or a group of rich and/or politically connected folk.
Warning, I have the Distractible and Imaginative quirks in real life.

"The more corrupt a government, the more it legislates."
-- Tacitus

Five Earths, All in a Row. Updated 12/17/2022: Apocrypha: Bridges out of Time, Part I has been posted.
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martial arts, psi, pulp, supers

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