CoX: Wolfbit

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.


Cody always knew someone. He was the kid who knew everyone shifty, who could get you favours, who could find you things off the books. He never really worked out why he was good at it, why he could remember these trades so well, why he could read the people around him for what worked, what made sense about them.

When the wolf woke up, it made a bit more sense.

He’s a fixer, a bit of a crook, certainly a bit grubby. There’s a lot of ways poor people make things happen in the city, and in the dark spaces, sometimes you hope to find the wolf.

Cody is a fairly ordinary low-key crook who operates out of Kings Row and Steel Canyon. His primary interest is moving stolen goods, getting things to people who will pay money for them. Thing is, that’s a pretty low key gig, especially because in the criminal hierarchy of the two locations, ‘stolen goods’ are very low interest. The big money movers are usually metahuman drugs or powered artifacts – junk you can trade to Skulls and Hellions. He’s not a big figure in those factions, though, choosing to avoid anything that earns Cape Attention. There’s plenty of stuff in the shadow economy he can take care of – he knows people who run book, make ‘illegal’ things like hooch and custom industry pieces, and even discrete medical care that may be regulated. When you have a small bag of recreational drugs to help a blind grandma get through the day, it’s a very different thing to having a piece of the cursed runes of Hapshetsut.

This makes him a pretty effective fence, but it isn’t a big high roller living. What it does mean is that Cody has a really big web of connections, which is part of how the shadow economy of The City Of Heroes works – most of what he does is more like barter and favours, with people being in debt to one another.

And also, sometimes, in spaces where people get too dangerous or the gangs try to lock down control, all of their plans get ruined by the appearance of a dangerous ominthreatening werewolf that wrecks people’s day, then disappears.

Mechanics

Wolfbit is a cheaply built Dark Armour/Savage Melee Tanker. His build hits these goals:

  • Soft-capped (45%) melee defense
  • Capped Smashing, Lethal and Psionic damage resistance
  • 87.5% global recharge
  • 17% global damage
  • Cheap knockback protection (Kinetic Crash in Kick)
  • Minimal expensive ATOs (the Tanker set)

It’s hard to mess up Tankers in general. Even if your damage output might feel a bit frail, they’re reliable enough that effects that matter over time are going to come up. Tankers get to last the longest and roll the most dice, so they get the biggest benefit out of damage over time effects like Savage Melee’s bleeds and

If you’d like to see the build, click this link.

Now, part of what’s going on with Wolfbit is a sort of – well, it is a mechanical trick, and one I’ve used on other characters, but I like how with Wolfbit it lets him produce a really pronounced effect.

In City of Heroes, any given costume is a saved file, in the costume subdirectory, with the subtype .costume. If you open any given file in a text editor, it’ll open with a block of text that looks like:

{
CostumeFilePrefix male
Scale 25
HeadScales  0,  0,  0
BrowScales  0,  0,  0
CheekScales  0,  0,  0
ChinScales  0,  0,  0
CraniumScales  0,  0,  0
JawScales  0,  0,  0
NoseScales  0,  0,  0
SkinColor  255,  178,  155
NumParts 28
CostumePart ""
{

What we want to focus on up there is the top line: Scale 25. Now, for no good reason (sexism, basically), City of Heroes characters were originally designed way back in the days of 2004 that male (and huge) bodies and female bodies weren’t just working on the same basic scale system. That 25 is not actually the ‘biggest’ a body can be.

If you edit a costume file, you can change that value from anywhere from 25 to 35, and the game will if you load that costume, let you make a much taller character. 35 with max legs is about the cap of height (and it is a lot bigger than the biggest female body you can make). I wish it wasn’t unfair like that, and I wish it wasn’t something that involves this kind of hacky trick, but if you want to make a character Very Big, this is an option.

The game can be a bit irregular about it. What I recommend you do is make the costume look exactly how you want it to look, save that file, then edit the file to have the new height. Load the costume file, and without changing anything, commit to the changes. It should look like:

{
CostumeFilePrefix male
Scale 35

For Wolfbit, he has 9 of his costumes dedicated to Cody, just the ordinary look of an ordinary boy. He’s dark skinned and he has sharp claws, but that’s stuff that’s meant to be easily ignored in most day to day interactions. His wolf form, however, is a huge model with its height scale set to 35. That means when he does ‘shapeshift’ into wolf form, he is really tangibly large, and it looks a lot more like a proper ‘werewolf’ shapeshift.

Sadly, this doesn’t work for female costumes. 😞

History

Wolfbit was created on the Homecoming server. I was curious about being able to use the shapeshifting difference between huge and human models, and I liked the look of this new ‘savage melee’ set. Turns out, it’s a big AOE set with a lot of damage over time effects and it has a teleport that speeds up the gap between combats.

When the Tanker update was done in 2020, it came with a big upgrade to all tank sets’ ability to do AOE damage – they got larger and got a target cap increase. That was pretty cool, and it meant that Wolfbit went from being a ‘very tough all-purpose tank’ for pickup crews to kind of defining perimeters of combat.

I’m really fond of Wolfbit, and at the moment he has no major social connections. He’s in a group of Midnighters a friend made, a sort of ‘all purpose spooky stuff’ pickup crew called The Eleventh Hour.

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