Chapter Six: Minifig Heroes
|The Immortal War, culminating in Warhead's Zombie (Zulu) Dawn, was the first truly epic BrikWars Forum campaign, and its Heroes became the standards against which all subsequent Heroes were judged.
Manly Santa, Lord Warhead, and the forces of Zombie Abraham Lincoln battled all comers in a space-age zombie apocalypse guest starring the Almighty Benny, a meddling janitor, and BrikThulhu himself. They all went on to cameos and starring roles in the battles of players around the world for years to follow.
| Characters by Warhead
from "Zombie (Zulu) Dawn"
6.1: The Hero
Some minifigs are simply better than others. Sharp-eyed Humans recognize them as soon
as they open the box. Their innate superiority has nothing to do with talent,
training, or genetics; the defining feature that separates the Hero from lesser minifigs is the cool outfit. With the blingiest armor
and flamboyantiest drapery, looking cool makes him fight better, live longer,
and succeed where others fail.
A Hero's standard attributes are significantly higher than those of
a regular minifig. Heroes are able to Move seven inches per turn, and have an Armor rating of 2d6. Most importantly, Heroes have an Action die of , letting them go Over The Top on half of all Action Rolls and dramatically increasing their Damage output in Close Combat.
| Unlike regular minifigs, a Hero's Armor rating is described in dice rather than as a static number. These Armor Dice are rolled each time the Hero takes Damage. If this Armor Roll equals or exceeds the amount of Damage, then the Hero survives unharmed. If the Damage is higher than the Armor Roll, then the Hero is killed.
6.2: The Ego
The difference between a warrior who's merely phenomenally skilled and a true Hero is a matter of Ego.
No matter how high a regular
minifig's stat numbers may be, he recognizes that some rules can't
be broken, and that one day he'll eventually die. A Hero, by contrast, recognizes no such things. Heroes are above the concerns
of lesser minifigs. Mortality, logic, and the
laws of physics are beneath them.
Heroes are the rock stars and prima donnas of the
battlefield, and each one insists on being more important than any other unit.
In the Core Rules, players can only field one Hero in a battle. A Hero forced to share the stage with other Heroes becomes Cranky and refuses to come out of his dressing room.
|In the advanced MOC Combat rules, players can field more than one Hero, but the Heroes still aren't happy about it (11.7: Elite Units). Heroes forced to share the spotlight are much less effective than Heroes working alone.
Because a Hero is more important than regular minifigs, it's
only right that lesser troops sacrifice themselves to keep him from
harm. Whether out of love, duty, fear, or the Hero grabbing them by
the heads and using them as meat shields, a Hero can rely on nearby
allies to leap into harm's way to protect him from damage. These self-sacrificing
troops are called RedShirts, thanks to their propensity for turning themselves into red splatter decorations on a Hero's chest.
When a Hero is about to take Damage, he has one chance
to inspire a nearby RedShirt to take the fall instead. Before the Damage is rolled,
the Hero rolls his Action die. If an eligible RedShirt is within
this many inches of the Hero, the sacrificial
unit leaps in and takes the Damage intended for the Hero. If the roll is too low
or is a Critical Failure, the Hero fails to inspire the unit to RedShirt,
and he is forced to take the damage himself.
|RedShirts can only protect Heroes from external sources of Damage. For internal Damage, like Poison, coronary disease, or the side effects of ingesting a live grenade, jumping in the way in the nick of time doesn't help.
RedShirts move unusually quickly and have no problem intercepting
gunshots, explosions, laser blasts, or lightning bolts. No matter how fast the incoming Damage might be, RedShirts always have time to yell "Nooooo!" or some other equally meaningful platitude mid-leap. They're unconcerned with
whatever damage this might do to the laws of physics or to the Humans'
suspension of disbelief.
incoming Damage is too great to be blocked by a single RedShirt, the Hero is knocked away the minimum distance required
to avoid being hit (even if the distance required is truly ridiculous,
like getting RedShirted out of a nuclear explosion or a supernova). This results in the Hero being Disrupted wherever he lands, unless he uses an Over The Top Benny or a Heroic Feat to stick an Ossum landing.
Inspiring a RedShirt doesn't cost the Hero's Action. While a Hero can only inspire one RedShirt for each incoming source of Damage, there's no limit to the total
number of RedShirts he can sacrifice over the course of a turn.
Inspired units must be on the Hero's team, they must not be Disrupted or otherwise incapacitated, and they must be capable
of leaping (minifigs, robots, or animals rather than tanks, jet
fighters, or walls). RedShirts don't need to have an unspent Action to leap to the rescue, and if they survive the Damage they're Disrupted for the turn. RedShirts moving at Half Speed can only leap half as far as the inspiration roll would indicate.
If the Hero is part of a Squad, other
Squad members are automatically ready to RedShirt on his behalf, without having to make the inspiration
roll (Chapter 11: Armies).
6.3: Heroic Feats
A Hero's amazing abilities stem from a mixture of stunning bravado and pig-headed
obliviousness, but his greatest powers are drawn from a tradition handed
down through generations of action movie reruns.
The Action-Hero Cliché
To realize their full potential, all Heroes must take on an Action-Hero
Cliché, drawn from movies, video games, comic books, or
Saturday morning cartoons. It is mandatory that Heroes develop
an exaggerated accent in support of their role. In a pinch, an Austrian
accent almost always works. If a role hasn't been played by Arnold
Schwarzenegger, it probably doesn't count as a real Action Cliché in the first place.
|If you're too young to remember Saturday morning cartoons, ask your parents. They won't be able to explain them either, but you can enjoy watching the looks on their faces as they feel another part of their childhoods die.
|Example Action-Hero Clichés
||Example Action-Heroic Feats
||Austrian / Stallonian
||Dual-wielding heavy machineguns,
performing surgery on self, punching through walls
||Austrian / Swedish
||Dual-wielding heavy axes,
lifting massive objects, communing with animals
||Austrian / British
||Hacking security, seducing women/men/horses,
sniping, escaping deathtraps
||Austrian / Chinese
||Dodging bullets, running up walls,
balancing teacups, chi energy wave attacks
||Austrian / All-American
||Outsmarting booby traps,
fistfighting Nazis, dual-wielding bullwhips
||Austrian / Texan
||Trick shooting, trick horsemanship,
trick gambling, trick dueling
||Austrian / New Zealander
||Chakram tricks, impossible acrobatics,
nerve pinches, lesbian subtexts
For Heroes based on specific characters, picking the Action Cliché
is easiest of all: a Robin Hood Hero would perform Robin Hood Feats;
a Hercules Hero would have Herculean Feats, and a Davy Crockett Hero
would do King of the Wild Frontier Feats.
For an action-movie hero in the thick of battle, accomplishing the
impossible is more than just an everyday event - it's an every-couple-of-seconds
event. Any such stupendous or wildly improbable act, pushing fictional
license to its limits for the sake of spectacle, is a Heroic Feat.
Heroes are limited to the Feats appropriate to their Cliché. A ProWrestler Hero can't modulate phasers to bypass energy-shield frequencies
off the top of his head the way a ScienceOfficer Hero might, but he
can try picking up a motorcycle and swinging it like a baseball bat
through a group of opponents.
To attempt a Heroic Feat, the player describes the Feat their Hero is
about to attempt, and rolls a d6. If one of his or her opponents would like
the Feat to fail (and they probably will), they also roll a d6. (If more than one opponent would like to oppose the roll, the players choose the one most negatively affected by the Feat.) If the
Hero's roll ties or exceeds the opponent's roll, the Feat
succeeds; otherwise the Hero's effort ends in failure.
|If both players roll a one in the Heroic Feat Roll, it's a special case - the Hero has failed to accomplish his Feat, but the opponent has simultaenously failed to oppose him. Rather than try to unravel this Heroic Paradox, the Heroic Feat is cancelled. The Hero suffers a moment of uncharacteristic sanity and realizes that whatever he was about to attempt could never work. The Heroic Feat is spent for the turn, but play continues as if the Hero had never attempted it in the first place.
If multiple Heroes are combining their powers to attempt a Feat together, their player rolls a separate d6 for each of them, and keeps the highest roll. The opposing player still rolls one d6 to oppose the Feat.
Regardless of how many Heroic Feats a player has available, they can only attempt one Feat per turn. Like a regular minifig's Action, if a player doesn't use their Feat during their own turn, it can be used as a Response Action during
another player's turn at no penalty. Feats can't be "saved up" between turns - at the beginning of the player's next turn, they will once again have a maximum of one Feat to spend.
The Consequences of Failure
The range of possible Feats for each type of action hero is
wide, and it's up to the players to agree on whether any specific Feat
is appropriate to a given Cliché, and what the effects of success
and the consequences of failure would be.
The consequences of a failed Feat will depend on the seriousness of the
battle and the attitudes of the players. As a rule of thumb, the more stupendous the Feat attempted, the more dire the
effects should be if it fails. A Hero failing an attempt to eat a dozen doughnuts
in a single bite might suffer an upset stomach. Choking
to death might be a more realistic result, but would seem severe
compared to the uninspiring Feat. A Hero failing to lift
an automobile over his head, on the other hand, would be subject to
much stronger consequences on failure: he might get it into the air
but then drop it on himself, or he might strain so hard to lift it
that he rips his own arms off.
If all else fails, imagine
what would happen to Homer Simpson, Wile E. Coyote, or the Three Stooges if they were to make similar attempts.
|Heroic Clichés are for Action Heroes, not Word Heroes. Heroic Feats must always be based on deeds rather than words. If a Hero wants to inspire his allies, he does it by leading a Charge, not by delivering pretty soliloquies about the nobility of combat by telegram while sipping tea in the safety of the rear guard.
If players decide that a Hero's Heroic speech is Heroic enough to ignore this rule, then they can allow it, despite the eye-rolling lameness of Speech Feats. But if the speech fails to inspire, then it means the Hero himself is no longer inspiring, and an uninspiring minfig loses his Hero status automatically and permanently. Boring Heroes are justly de-Feated.
In addition to not being Word Heroes, Action Heroes are also not Inaction Heroes. They especially can't use Feats to inspire others to negotiate more diplomatically, surrender more disarmingly, or resolve a disagreement like rational adults. Their powers exist solely to increase action, never to de-escalate it.
6.4: Heroic Duels
An ordinary minifig treats Close Combat much the same as Ranged combat. Each turn, he has one maneuver, whether Striking or one of the other maneuvers that he wishes was Striking. He makes an Action Roll, he resolves the effects, his job is done.
For a Hero, Dueling is a fine art, falling somewhere between interpretive dance and industrial food processing.
He's still limited to using each hand or held object once on each player's turn, but his options for employing them are much more cinematic.
On his own turn, as the active combatant, the Hero can perform a different Close Combat maneuver with each hand or held object against a single target. He might Grab an opponent with one hand before Striking him with a sword in the other, or using a Shield to Shove a minifig to the ground before Striking him in half with an axe.
As a defender, the Hero can use any held object as if it were a Shield to Parry a Close Combat attack or Thrown Weapon, making an Action Roll against the Use rating of the object he's Parrying with.
More importantly, he can Counterstrike after every Close Combat maneuver an opponent makes against him, not just when an opponent Disengages.
6.5: Heroic Deaths
If a Hero dies in spite of the best efforts of his loyal RedShirts, then he's dead - at least for the rest of the battle. But thanks to Everyone's The Boss Of Their Own Toys (1.3: Proper Observance of Rules), Heroes have a way of always popping back up, no matter how many times their enemies think they've killed them. By the time the next battle begins, the plot will have inevitably twisted in their favor. The Hero will have only been captured in preparation for a daring escape, or left for dead in anticipation of a daring recovery, or swapped out with a convincing android duplicate. No matter how gruesome the death, they are somehow revived by magic, or science, or the will of the gods, or even as part of an enemy plot, and almost always with new improvements tacked on as a result.
If a Hero's death was so dramatically Heroic that it could never be taken back or plausibly denied, then the Hero may discover himself well and truly dead - and then proceed to slaughter his way out of Minifig Hades and back into the land of the living. His Ego will allow nothing less.
There is no number of deaths or defeats that can prevent the best characters from finding a way to return. Unless they're boring, in which case no force can save them.
"So the Warrior said:
Very well, since ye are a prince in this land, and because you did fight well,
I shall spare your life for a little while yet.
But thou has caused me to be cast out of the halls of mine fathers.
And thou has stolen from me that which I toiled for all the days of my life.
Therefore, tell me dark one; how is it that I may regain entrance to those halls?
And the daemon prince spake thus:
You can never enter that hall.
Unless thou should change thy name and go out once again unto the mortal wheel.
And thou must earn again the right to enter the halls of your fathers.
And this angered the Fearsome one.
And the daemon prince trembled at the sight of his countenance.
And he begged once more for his life.
So the Fallen one took hold of the daemon prince,
And he bound him into His armor, that he should still live.
And he took for His own the Hellblade as spoil.
And he did then depart from those burning hells to walk again the mortal realm."
- Excerpt from Tuefish's LEONIDUS Saga
6.6: Heroic Artifakts
|Before becoming the leader of the Metal Warriors, BFenix first had to satisfy the Gods of Metal and claim the forgotten blood sword RAGE in the Steelliums of Hellius.
| Character by BFenix
Long after Heroes have decomposed into component plastic parts, their legendary accessories live on, inspiring new generations to homicide. Many such Artifakts are powerful enough to give a regular minifig Heroic abilities all by themselves. If a minifig isn't an elite unit already, a magical sword, enchanted armor, deific grail, zero-point blaster cannon, or unusually well-stocked gift bag can let him fake it.
Heroic weapons are the most common type of Heroic Artifakt, but legends are also told of Heroic Vehicles, Heroic armor, Heroic fortifications, and even Heroic furniture. These objects retain all the regular stats and uses of an object of their type, but also grant one Heroic Feat per turn to whomever posesses or operates them.
Whoever takes possession of a Heroic Artifakt can use it in a Heroic Feat as part of any Action taken with the Artifakt, making it dangerous to leave Artifakts lying around unclaimed or in the hands of easily-defeated amateurs.
A Heroic Artifakt
is limited to Feats that satisfy its Heroic Cliché, similar to that of a regular Hero, but Artifakts' Clichés tend to be simple tautologies. Excalibur's Cliché, for example, is that it's Excalibur.
Heroic Artifakts suffer no penalties from Crankiness themselves, since anyone can use them, but they may inspire jealousy in minifig Heroes. In the Core Rules, if a player has a living Hero, then only the Hero can use the Heroic Artifakt's Heroic Feat. No matter how many Heroic units and Artifakts a player controls, they can only attempt one Heroic Feat per turn.
Orange Transparent ABS is the most powerful substance known to minifigs. The only source of this material is the frigid planet of Iceworld, where ancient crusades against Robotic Ice Daemons dropped the temperatures to far below absolute zero.
Under these impossible and supernaturally cold conditions, even laser beams froze, rendering all of the crusaders' weapons useless, save one: the planet-destroying Orange Laser. Thanks to its massive scale, a central core of destructive energy was able to punch through the cold, even as the outer layers of the beam froze solid and peeled away.
Bazillions of years later, the frozen shards of petrified laser remain preserved under continents of shifting ice, retaining all of their ancient world-destroying power for anyone with the secret knowledge and will to forge them into weapons.
The world-destroying fleets are lost and long forgotten, but the crusaders' descendants remain on the planet surface, locked in never-ending battles to prevent a Robotic Ice Demon resurgence and to protect the secrets of Orange Transparent Leg-Ore from falling into the wrong hands. In this quest, the Orange Transparent Chainsaw is their deadliest and most legendary weapon.