Boom Box Benny
ORtrail's description of introducing his niece to role-playing inspired me to write up some characters. I originally created Boom Box Benny for Champions but here he is for BRP.
Boom Box Benny
Quote: “Duuuuuude! You’ll never catch Boom Box Benny, King of the Skaters!”
Benjamin Finklestein, petty thief and not-so-petty annoyance, grew up tinkering with the junk in the back of his grandfather’s electronics repair shop, when he wasn’t ditching his homework to practice skateboard acrobatics with his friends on the sidewalks out front. Despite Grandpa’s insistence that education was the key to a better future, study just didn’t seem all that interesting … until the day two well-dressed but rough-looking men brought in some odd gizmos to be fixed. The badly damaged gadgets were like nothing that Benjamin (or his grandfather, for that matter) had ever seen. “Never mind what it does, Pops,” the men told Grandpa. “Just get it working.” When his grandfather indignantly protested that this was impossible, the men grudgingly supplied a set of schematics. Benjamin was fascinated. He diligently watched as Grandpa compared the diagrams to the objects on the workshop table. He held tools, solder and test equipment while his grandfather bent and spliced, cut away and replaced portions of circuitry, carefully adjusted crystalline-looking components, and tested connections. The men seemed satisfied with Grandpa’s work, took the devices and schematics, and paid him well, warning him to keep his mouth shut about the job.
But Benjamin had noticed more than his grandfather’s careful repairs. The connections, wiring and circuitry had changed in between work sessions, sometimes in barely perceptible ways and other times more obviously. Grandpa had frowned thoughtfully but hadn’t said anything about it. And there were always small parts left over somehow, including crystals. It almost seemed as if the leftover parts were growing and spreading, like mold or lichen. The tough-looking men had taken these extras along with the schematics. They didn’t get all of them, however. Benjamin had grabbed a few to examine more closely when Grandpa wasn’t looking, had hidden them inside the hulk of a decades-old portable radio and cassette player that he used as a stand for his skateboard when he wasn’t riding. He returned to claim his prizes the day after the men had left but found them missing. Instead, the formerly dusty interior of the bulky boom box bristled with shiny new electronics like those from the machines Grandpa had repaired. It worked now, with a sound crisper and louder than much newer portable music devices he’d seen in store displays. Benjamin found the boom box changed to accept whatever music-bearing media was offered to it. Benjamin’s skateboard was also crusted with the circuitry, although it didn’t interfere with the movement of the wheels. In fact, the additions made the ride faster and smoother than ever before and enabled Benjamin to perform aerial acrobatic stunts he’d only dreamed about. He discovered the radio’s offensive capabilities when some thugs tried to rob Grandpa’s shop. Benny blasted them out the shop door and across the street. He’s been cocky ever since.
Boom Box Benny is a short, wiry kid somewhere in his early teens. He doesn’t wear a costume as such but assorted hats, tee shirts, and shorts bearing the logos of various skateboard manufacturers such as Reckless (which describes Benny’s outlook pretty well). He never wears a helmet or pads (which would give him a modicum of safety and some Armor). Although he’s pretty good at skateboarding, his powers derive primarily from his augmented boom box and board. In addition to playing normal music beautifully, the boom box can emit damaging blasts of concentrated sound at Benny’s mental command. The skateboard gives Benny unnatural agility, speed and leaping ability. Even without his gear, he’s pretty nimble and sneaky, and he can make a normal skateboard seem to fly.
He isn’t a supervillain yet, but he is a super nuisance with his pranks, public stunts, and pilfering. For now, Boom Box Benny is exploring his powers and tweaking adult authority when he can get away with it. He still listens to his grandfather, however, and will do anything to protect him. Boom Box Benny is apt to stumble into the middle of things when player-character heroes are trying to stop a crime or get the drop on a malefactor. He’s absolutely fearless, likely to circle a master villain and shout taunts, then zoom away, attempting to blast the heroes when they intervene to protect him.
Move: 10, skateboard 12
Hit Points: 23 (CON+SIZ)
Damage Bonus: +0
Attacks: Brawl 25%, 1D3+DB; Grapple 25%, 1D3+DB; Rousing Round of Blazing Sound 68%, 3D6
Skills: Climb 46%, Dodge 68%, Drive (Skateboard) 70%, Fine Manipulation 56%, Hide 61%, Jump 60%, Knowledge (All – just ask him) 100%, Listen 25%, Projection 68%, Repair (Electronics) 49%, Spot 59%, Stealth 61%
Powers: Defense, six levels, -30% to be hit; Energy Projection (Sound), three levels, 3D6 damage, 3 power points per use; Extra Energy, +100 power points; Leap, five levels, +10 meters to Jump; Super Speed, two levels, -20% to be hit, 2 power points per combat round
Failings: Socially excluded group (minor), +3 points; Sulky, reckless teenager, +2 points; Dependent, Grandpa, infrequent, +1
Notes: 250 skill points plus 130 personal skill points = 380 total. 85 initial power points based on characteristics total plus 6 for Failings = total 91
Last edited by seneschal; November 13th, 2012 at 17:31.
You could go with rollerblades, and complete the image of Jet Set Radio (classic Dreamcast videogame) in my mind.
Heh, that's one SEGA game I missed. After my time, I suppose.
The guy, top row, far right, is the general idea, although I didn't envision Benny as a brawny brute.
Although I conceived of Boom Box Benny years before I was married, the current incarnation is at least in part influenced by my son, although he prefers tiny MP3 players to the massive boom boxes from my youth. In his Champions incarnation, Boom Box Benny was the leader of a gang of mall rats who preferred shoplifting to spray painting.
While discussing video game violence with my son recently, he made the comment, "Back in your day ...." I replied, "It's STILL my day, Buckaroo, and don't you forget it!"
Rather than create a new thread, let's do a bit of threadjacking on this one: Has anyone done stats for the Oz characters?
A combination of circumstances has me interested in doing a one-shot type adventure in Oz. Maybe. It might have started with downloading some of the Oz books from Project Gutenberg (Nook for the win), adding a winged monkey to the recent Superworld adventure, seeing an Oz RPG (Adventures in Oz?) while buying dice recently, finding more Oz stuff at RPGNow, and digging out a one-shot Oz comic from 2005.
The comic, Oz F5: Gale Force was an interesting take on the familiar Oz characters. The Tin Woodman was bigger and stronger, the Scarecrow was Asian-themed with staff skills, Lion was a kilt wearing Highlander-type, Dorothy was a red head in a skin tight catsuit armed with a super-soaker, and Toto was a large bulldog. The story was similar, if nonsensical at times (Dorothy came out of the house all ready to roll like she already knew Oz and that water was a deadly weapon). The monkeys had jet packs, the Wick Witch was kinda hot, etc. It was... interesting.
I did not realize there were so many books written about Oz by L. Frank Baum, but I'm not sure I want to invest the time to read them all in the near future and write gaming notes. I could grab one of the Oz RPGs and save time researching, but having to learn a new RPG system is almost an automatic deal-breaker for me. I'd rather just do my own take anyway, considering the Oz we all know as "history/events told by young kids" and that the actual Oz is more grown-up. Actually, now that I think about it, watching Once Upon a Time (the TV show) on Netflix with the wife has had an influence too.
So, has anyone done stats for Oz characters in BRP? I'll write up some myself eventually, probably using Superworld as they will be at least minor super beings, but another person's take on them would be helpful.
A few years ago, I did indeed read most of the Oz books and wrote nine characters up for Hero System, eight heroes and one master villain. You can find them here:
The Hero stats and my descriptions should give you a good leg up on doing BRP stats. Hero System killing attacks equal BRP damage. Divide Hero System regular damage by three to get a BRP equivalent. Hero strength scales differently than BRP; 40 STR in BRP is 28 STR in Hero, for example, but you can compare them by the amount of damage they do or by the amount they allow a character to lift. Hero skills are based on a 3D6 roll under rather than percentile. So an 8- skill roll is iffy; 11- is average, competent; a 14- skill roll is good; 18- skill roll is amazing. Skills in Hero System are cheap, so characters tend to have lots of them. Hero characters pay for their build (characteristics and powers/skills) points with Disadvantages, which are similar to Superworld Failings. For your BRP conversions, you'd just pick one or two of the most important ones. Hero Talents can be mimicked by BRP powers; Perks are the sort of thing that would just be role-played in BRP (such as being disgustingly rich) or represented by a high skill roll (such as having a high social status, Status for BRP).
In Hero System, 100-150 points is a character of action movie competence. Around 200-ish is low superhero level or really powerful pulp adventurer level. 250 points was, at the time I did the write-ups, where your standard superheros started out. So Dorothy, Oz, and the Shaggy Man are highly capable normals, while Dorothy's three companions are superhero material. Roquat of the Rocks, Nome King, the only villain to survive to face Dorothy more than once, is definitely a master villain.
Last edited by seneschal; November 15th, 2012 at 20:18.
Very cool, although reading this I feel I'm late to the party on this Oz thing:
Also, the heroes of the Oz books are arguably the earliest example of a modern
superhero team, predating the Justice Society of America by more than forty
years. While they may not be as "super" as later protagonists, they
demonstrably have abilities beyond those of mortal men.
At this point I'm not going to worry that I need to adhere to the books all that much, but this confirmed my thought of treating most of them as supers. I'm more inclined to treat Oz as a virtual reality gone amok or having gained a life of its own, as it were. Still mulling ideas and such. I did put down notes on a "super villian" team to oppose the "Champions of Oz". I'll see your Tin Woodman and raise you an Iron Horse, etc. Ideally, I'd like a 3-4 adventure campaign with a definite conclusion.
Another thought: Often I start with some image in my head that I then build into an adventure, filling in the details about what is going on, etc. A villian team based on the Oz characters would be hilarious to me in a "normal" supers campaign.
Last edited by ORtrail; November 16th, 2012 at 15:54.
The Oz heroes as villains could be funny. But the Oz-verse has plenty of regular villains -- the Nome King, assorted Wicked Witches, the ambitious Jinjur, Mombi, the Wheelers, Kiki Aru (a shape-shifter).
Not sure if this helps, its for the Savage Worlds rpg but it may have content of use to you ORtrail:
Last edited by Mankcam; November 18th, 2012 at 04:34.
Thanks Mankcam. I'm sure at least some of this will be useful.