CoX — Hexcalibre

Time to time, I write up an explication of characters I’ve played in RPGs or made for my own purpose.  This is an exercise in character building and creative writing.


The witch, it’s said, is someone who knows things. She’s some usually-a-woman, usually old, usually removed, who has Ways of making magic happen. It’s curses and potions and strange, ancient rituals or the turning of the stars, knowledge that the witch has, and you don’t. The witch, it’s said, is the woman who Knows Things.

She’s Bridgitte on her forms, Jett to her friends, to the city that knows her as a heroine, she’s Hexcalibre, and she knows what swords know.

Jett is a sword witch. Her gimmick is that she can collect a sword, then she can extrapolate powers that are unique to that sword. So she has a look that’s her personal, classical sword-witch look – with a gladiator shoulder and lantern lights, and a mask that looks and feels like a proper superhero identity. Then she has a bunch of different swords through the Paragon City factions. A falcata from the Warriors, and a look like a Warrior. A Rikti sword, and a look for busting Rikti. A Vanguard sword, and a Vanguard look.

This means she’s got a thing she likes and that she wants but also a reason to want to get it, and opens up a whole host of ways that her powers can play into people’s lives. A sword can be a symbol of authority, of power, it can be military, it can be defensive, it can be performative – and literally anything I can find an excuse about, a story about, well, the ‘sword’ is all the excuse Jett needs.

Jett’s not a clearly, obviously ‘heroic’ character. She hangs around and visits with other heroes, she meddles in their lives and solves small problems, but she isn’t like, part of a supergroup, she’s not anyone’s, like, witch consultant.

Mechanics

Jett is a heavy hitting single target beater, but unlike other stalkers, she can switch gears in team situations to start pumping out pretty heavy area damage. Sure, she has to jump around a lot to position her cones, but it’s still one of the best area damage options a stalker can have.

I did spend a fair bit on her build, I think – stalker Archetype IOs are one of the cheaper options, but they’re still not free. Nonetheless, her stats include:

  • 45% or more defense to Melee, Ranged, and AoE, aka ‘Soft-Capped.’
  • 55%+ resist to smashing and lethal damage
  • Resting regeneration rate of 260%
  • Basically bottomless endurance
  • Permanent hasten and 170% global recharge
  • 35% global damage buff
  • Because she’s using Musculature, she has higher base damage than expected – most attacks are socketed like 115%

There’s also a bunch of incarnate stuff thrown on top of that. Musculature, as an Alpha slot, does one of my favourite things in that it gives you a lot of something you want more of, and also patches something handy. Normally, that’s what I use Cardiac for – where it makes all my endurance problems go away, and the little bump to resistances pushes a lot of characters up to the character’s appropriate cap. Here, Musculature is lots of damage, nice, and a goose to her endurance recovery rate. Just having two powers for this bonus to goose can feel really good, and give out a bunch of surplus damage.

If you want to look at it or build off it, you can get a link here.

History

First up, some history of the build, because… that’s the predominant thing.

Jett is a stalker. Stalkers were one of the beneficiaries of the last major balance patches before the game went down, but that balance pass didn’t give them, as best I can remember it, access to Shield or Broadsword. The old mindset for porting sets like these to the stalker often meant losing some very neat powers that scaled in group situations in exchange for some variant that might better service a single target damage specialist. This was usually a bit of a bummer for me, personally, even if very reasonable, because stalkers are meant to be good at single target damage (and they are), so if they’re also getting great area effects, it can feel a bit of a rip to other archetypes.

In porting broadsword there was kind of a wishlist of changes and an expected set of changes. Like you know obviously, broadsword is going to probably not get to keep the melee-area-damage power Whirling Blade, but you might not just lose that; you might also have the titanic heavy-hitter melee cone of Head Splitter turned into a single target effect, like it was done to the claws power Eviscerate. Which again, understandable when it happens but you wish it didn’t.

When talking about porting Shield Defense to stalkers, you get the same kind of potential concern: Is it going to keep a taunt aura power like Against All Odds, and is it going to keep Shield Charge, the two coolest powers in the set, and also, the two least justifiable for the stalker. Like, Shield Charge is basically a nuke, and it doesn’t interact cleanly with stealth. How messy is it? If you Shield Charge while stealthed, the Shield Charge does the damage, not you, so even though you damaged people, and they know you did it and they are getting up to hit you, you are still considered ‘hidden’ and can do a followup attack that’s a critical hit or even if you’re bold, an Assassins Strike. Like, surely that is going to be a pain to deal with and stalkers won’t get it, right?

Wrong!

Because not only did they get it, but they even made code for the stalker version of Against All Odds that means it doesn’t do anything while you’re stealthed. So you can run into a group, with that aura on, and still stay safe, attack, then it fires off and now you get the damage bonus. That’s absolutely fantastic, and it feels like a really pleasant quality-of-life addition to the game for the stalker, a class that, yes, was in my opinion fine, but hey, check it out, the least powerful melee damage class got something cool that’s just for them.

Anyway, getting to see these two changes in action, plus the simple stylishness of being able to match sword-and-shield costumes I made a Broadsword/Shield stalkers and I got a name that you may notice as sick as hell.

Okay, so here’s an odd detail. Lots of people I roleplay with have had some dealing with Jett. Most of them don’t remember it. Also, because Jett’s name is built around such a great fusion of terms, I have another character with a similar combo, and had others in the past, so it’s not uncommon for people to react to her with ‘wait, which one is that?’

This is a silly problem to have, but it’s a problem I do have.

Anyway, Jett was made when I saw how Stalkers got their new toys, and also that the name was available. I was super interested to try it out, and look at that, we got it. There’s not a lot more to her than that right now, beyond her always hovering on the periphery of being a character I want to introduce to people… but never being in a good position for people to actually hang out with.

I like the idea of her as this sword-collecting witch, interested in trading for weapons and enjoying meddling with people. Maybe some folk are going to have a place for that in their stories.

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