Character du Jour: Upgrade
“You cannot beat me, fool! I am stronger and faster than you!”
“Uglier too…..”, our hero muttered under his breath as he felt the nanites surge through his bloodstream. Opposite him, the powerhouse’s eyes widened as Upgrade grew, matching then exceeding his muscular frame. Within moments, the villain lay on the floor groaning, nursing a bruised head and ego. Upgrade leaned close.
“Look on the bright side. You’re still uglier than me.”
If Linux was a superhero, it would be Upgrade (Microsoft Windows would, of course, be Iron Man). Astronomer Richard Cox contracted a strange cancer-like virus from a meteorite he was studying. His fellow research scientists dubbed the disease The Necroxene and set about finding was to cure it before it literally absorbed his very being. He owes his life to a series of highly experimental surgeries that merged Environment Reactive Nanites (“ERNIES”) into his body. They successfully purged The Necroxene from his system – and did much, much more.
The Nanites react to external stimuli providing Upgrade with whatever Power or Abilties he needs at the time. Jump off a roof and he will fly; gain flame bolts to throw at Mr Freeze; take a bullet and he’ll regenerate. Unfortunately Richard doesn’t exactly have total control over what Powers he gets, and sometimes the ERNIES seem to have an agenda all of their own…….
Upgrade is a willing research subject, urged to “play the hero” to test the Nanite’s limits, for the benefit of all. His helmet provides live camera feeds and full statistical/biological data which is posted on the ‘net in real time for anyone to analyse and use.
Dirty little secret: Corporations are eager to get their hands on Upgrade’s Nanites and lock the project down. Are the ERNIES really artificially intelligent, or is that a product of Richard’s imagination? What of the Necroxene? Has it really gone from his system? Is it a precursor to an invasion – or is Upgrade himself the invading force?
Upgrade. The Open Source Superhero!
Notes: Nemesis + Adaptation means Upgrade can react to pretty much any situation or opponent as the situation requires. They’re Dynamic Alternate Powers meaning it’s possible to shift the points around from one to to other at will, which is nice. Add in the Reaction Extra to Adaptation and he can gain Immunity to any type of attack (Fire, Cold, Magnetic, whatever) but not more that one immunity per round. The key to taking this guy down is to hit him with two or more different attack types at the same time, and hit him, HARD. Otherwise, you don’t stand a chance. A totally game-breaking character that even I would think twice about allowing into my games. But I’d sure as heck love to play him!
This is a build much like the much loved Variable Power Pool from HERO System where the key is to have a selection of pre-built Power setups worked out in advance. Upgrade has 50 Power Points to shunt around each round so work out a few possible Blast/Strike/Flight/Protection/etc combos in advance and you’re good to go without needing to pour over the rulebook all the time.
Upgrade, aka Professor Richard Cox, PL 10, 150pp
STR 12, DEX 12, CON 12, INT 14, WIS 12, CHA 12
Tough +1, Fort +5, Ref +5, Will +5
Attack +6, Defense +6, Init +5
Bluff +8, Computers +5, Craft:Writing +5, Drive +2, KS:Earth Sciences +6, KS:Physical Sciences +7, KS:Technology +3, Notice +8
Improved Initiative 1, Taunt
Nemesis 10 (Dynamic)
– Dynamic AP: Adaptation 8 (Reaction)
Helmet (Device 2)
– Datalink 4 (1 mile, wifi)
– Mind Shield 4
– Super-Senses 2 (Low-light vision, Comm link A/V)