Character du Jour: Drifter Jenkins

Just as some people are destined for greatness, some are destined to be forgotten. Bernie Jenkins was such a one; a no-hope two-bit guy who drifted from baseline job to baseline job all the way across the US. It’s ironic that despite his lack of ambition he’s seen more of the country than most, albeit mainly from behind a bar, in a mall or inside a warehouse.

That was right up until his last job in the warehouse of an experimental drug facility. He was the nightwatchman on the night a couple of lowlifes tried to raid it – with predictably disastrous results. All three of them ended up bathed in experimental chemicals and Drifter Jenkins went from being a skinny runt to…….

Drifter Jenkins

The crooks fled, and a few moments later so did Drifter when he realized the trouble he’d be in. Oh boy.

Dirty little secret: The drug company have set a tracker on his tail and he’s got no hope of future employment this side of a state carnival. All he can do is hide and hope the effects wear off real soon. Good luck with that, Bernie.

Notes: It’s easy to forget what a thing of beauty Mutants & Masterminds is. Here’s a character whose entire sheet would fit on the back of a 3×5 card and still leave room for doodling, yet is fully fledged and immediately ready to play.

This is one of the archetypal builds I give to new players when indoctrinating them into the wonderful world of superhero role-playing games. No complicated powers here – just the raw ability to lift over 3,000 tons without breaking sweat, leap buildings with a single bound and climb sheer surfaces by making whatever handholds he needs with his bare hands (hence Noticeable – he’s easy to track!).

You know you’ve got them hooked when they say “I pick up the freight train and hit him with it.”

Oh yeah.

Bernie “Drifter” Jenkins, PL10 150pp
Str 40, Dex 18, Con 40, Int 12, Wis 8, Cha 16
Tough +15, Fort +15, Ref +10, Will +8
Attack +5 (Unarmed DC30), Grapple +20/+30, Defense +5

Leaping 6, Super-Movement 2(Wall Crawling 2, Noticeable), Super-Strength 10

Bluff +11, Escape Artist +8, Intimidate +15, Sense Motive +11
Accurate Attack, Assessment, Distract:Bluff

Even though it’s a simple build there’s no shortage of options both in and out of combat. As written he hits hard but wild (ie, he’s untrained) but thanks to Accurate Attack he can take a little more care with his fists (so to speak) and trade raw damage for accuracy. If he’s got time Assessment gives him the ability to size up his opponents (Bernie is a cautious guy!) and Distract means he’s pretty good at fooling his foes. As an ex-weedy guy Bernie knew how to trick bullies then run the other way. Only now he doesn’t need to run.

His main weakness is his Defense. Just like a brick wall he’s easy to hit but hard to hurt – but a couple of good shots from a powerful Energy Blast and he’ll drop.

From there, we could complicate things slowly. This is an intentionally simplified sub-optimal build so there’s plenty of wiggle room for improvement. Drop in a few levels of Growth to take care of the STR rather than buying it direct and you’ve got points to spare for Alternate Powers, trick shots, etc. Add in weaknesses (a future dependency on the chemicals he was bathed in, perhaps) and we’ve a solid, fun character to play.

So there you have it. One simple-to-play super strong guy.

I love you, Mutants & Masterminds.

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