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.
Day job? Youtuber. His name’s Acre, even. The channel’s pretty popular, in the low thousands, where his channel is guides on history, as told by examining historically interesting weapons and swords.
Thanks to this, he did one day get his hand on a cursed, haunted axe, which complicated his life quite a bit. Now, when he picks that weapon, the spirit of the Minotaur flows through him, which – well, he wrecked his studio recording the video unboxing it.
But a secret identity is too useful to pass up, and Acre is out on the streets, doing what he can to take advantage of this power.
Chances are in large-combat scenarios of Paragon City, you’ve seen a minotaur with an enormous, haunted axe, fighting in the bigger, more public brawls. And it is just a minotaur – over fourteen feet tall, weighing the better part of two tons, and the axe it’s swinging is absolutely that big. The minotaur communicates with gestures and groans and grunts, with a small crew of people who know to communicate with him, and he trusts, and they refer to him by his hero registration name of Labyrinthal.
Labyrinthal is a big dumb tank of a hero. He is huge, he is strong, he can move and lift and pull and push things, and fight things. When he’s shot and attacked, he heals quickly, he is hard to hurt, and he charges into people and deals a ton of damage to them. In a lot of hero descriptions, he’s considered a powerhouse. Not even a flying brick!
Labyrinthal is, as most things like him, limited in typical ways. He can’t attack things that are outside of his (very impressive!) reach, he doesn’t fly, and all he can do to close with very distant targets is to jump or run at them.
Then again, he can also disappear.
Somehow, the beast known as Labyrinthal can dissolve into nothingness, just vanish from sight, and get through doorways and gaps much smaller than it is. When this happens, the axe still persists and can be visible, which means most people think Labyrinthal is the axe, not the minotaur, and the minotaur is a summon created by the haunted axe.
Which, y’know, it’s close enough.
Tank numbers always are pretty big, because tankers are good at surviving and most of the things I build other things for is surviving better (and recharge, because recharge is always awesome). As a Dark Armour/Titan Weapon tanker, his numbers are:
- 45% defense to smashing, lethal, and melee attacks
- 90% smashing, lethal, and psionic damage resistance
- 160% global recharge, with only about 6 seconds downtime on hasten
- 10% global damage
I used to use a datalink system to give out the builds here, but that’s something Mids doesn’t do any more. It is an expensive build: It has the Tanker Archetype IOs, both sets, and it has a lot of high-value global and proc IOs. And all that to dress up a Titan Weapons character, where you can very reasonably make the case that Titan Weapons don’t need investment to be good, and Dark Armour, an armour that’s super good at the middle 90% of the game and bad at the bottom and top 5%.
What I mean by that is that at the bottom end of the game, certainly levelling up, Dark Armour is a bit shaky. This is because Dark Armour is a layered armour set; it improves your resistances and defenses, it gives you stealth, it protects you from almost all the common types of control and all the obscure ones. It adds to this with enemy debuffs and two different enemy controls, and a self-resurrection power and a stupidly powerful self-heal that gets better the more people you have around you, but also represents giving you 100% of your health back every 20 seconds or so. That’s really strong.
Thing is, at the lower levels, when these powers aren’t enhanced, they don’t do much, and they need enhancing because any one thing they give you isn’t much. That Dark Regeneration power needs 33 endurance to fire-off unenhanced and that is a lot. Remember that player characters have 100 endurance at base and it doesn’t increase as you level up. It can feel a lot like Dark Armour sucks endurance and doesn’t give you much for it.
There’s also how I said it protects you from almost all the common types of control. The one that it’s missing from common types is knockback, which is, annoyingly for this analysis, the most common control in the game and not only does it happen all the time, it tends to happen a lot in sequence. You can get juggled by the wrong combat scenarios, so you have to be careful.
What this means is that in the time when you learn how Dark Armour works, you mostly learn that it sucks and nobody should play it and you hate it and you bounce on the whole armour and roll up Willpower, which isn’t nearly as good when you push it but is also very, very good when you’re growing.
I guess while I’m describing the problem, Dark Armour’s top-end problems are that when you get to the hardest content of the game, you’re already going to be existing in a space where large amounts of buffing happens, and that means that dark armour, by bringing a third of everything to the table, will have fewer strengths when someone else is bringing you three thirds of something else. A regen brute is absolutely amazing if someone else is giving that brute 45% defense (all) and 90% resist (all), because then all the brute’s own resources are spent on improving a stat that nobody else is improving. It’s a virtue of the specialist.
But again, that’s the top 5% of the game, and my computer crashes when I show up for a Hamidon raid, so I don’t care.
When I first made Labyrinthal, in the between times after the shutdown and before homecoming, Labyrinthal was a character I created to have a job that didn’t exist when I first started making superheroes. There weren’t influencers, and there weren’t youtubers, and there were certainly not his kind of youtubers, a nobody with no audience scraping by on crowdfunding optimism and unemployment cheques.
Originally, he was created to be an interesting third wheel for two other characters to crush on – a modern day sword nut and a time-lost boy who was raised in Cimerora, two different people who found him attractive in different ways for a good old Ranma 1/2 style rivalry. That was back when the idea of ‘maybe people can just be poly’ was relatively new to me and oh my god it simplified so many problems in my roleplaying space. Relationships weren’t competitive any more, it wasn’t about who won or not.
He didn’t used to be a shapeshifter either, that was something brought on by the Prismatic Shards. When I made that video, I actually recreated Labyrinthal just to test to see if Titan Weapons interacted with the minotaur the way I wanted it to, and then I totally forgot to record footage of it to add to the video.
And that’s Acre. I like the mix of things going on with him, where he has a creative outlet that lets people meet him, and have opinions on him even if he doesn’t know them. He’s got a tenuous economic situation that diminishes his ability to solve problems with money, and he’s got some friends and partners that give him a story context. Then into that, he has a really cool secret identity idea that means his powers solve one very particular kind of problem, and that means he’s a character who has a reason to mode switch.