Chapter Six: Minifig Heroes
6.1: The Hero
|Six-sided dice may be
good enough for regular minifigs, but Heroes demand a
higher standard. Preferably forged from solid gold.
|Element shown: d10
Some minifigs are just better than others; you recognize them as soon
as you open the box. Their superiority has nothing to do with talent,
training, or genetics; the defining feature that separates Heroes from regular minifigs is their cool outfits. With shiny armor
and flapping capes, there's no confusing a Hero with his inferior
minifig comrades. 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 have a Skill of 1d10, are able to Move seven
inches per turn, and have an Armor rating of 2d6. With a cost of 11CP,
they're also a lot more expensive to field.
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 the fact
that he'll eventually have to die, and that some rules just can't
be broken. A Hero, on the other hand, admits no such things. Mortality, logic, and the
laws of physics are beneath his notice. A Hero is above the concerns
of lesser minifigs.
Above all else, Heroes are the rock stars and prima donnas of the
battlefield, and each one insists on being more important than any other
unit. He welcomes the presence of opposing Heroes on the enemy team, because
any lesser foes are a waste of his abilities. A Hero on an allied but
separate team gives him a rival to compete with, and in any case he
expects to get to stab them in their Heroic backs later when his Human's
politics inevitably shift.
Placing additional Heroes on his own team, on the other hand, is a
major insult that no Hero can overlook. There can only be one star
of the show, and he doesn't like getting upstaged. If a player fields
multiple Heroes, the Heroes' clashing Egos make each of them Cranky,
and the more Heroes there are, the Crankier they get.
For every other conscious unit on his team with an Ego, a Hero
receives a -1 Cranky Penalty, to a maximum Crankiness of -5. Any time
the Hero rolls one or more dice, whether for Skill, Armor, Damage,
Heroic Feats, or RedShirts, the Cranky penalty is subtracted from each die (total rolls can never be reduced below zero, however).
The penalty is not subtracted from dice rolled against the
Hero; he still receives full Damage from enemy attacks, for instance.
Penalties for Crankiness only remain in effect while the other Heroes
on the team are conscious. If the other Heroes are knocked out or
killed, the penalty is lightened accordingly. (If the Hero arranged to neutralize the co-headliners himself, all the better.) If one of those dead or unconscious
Heroes is revived, however, the penalty is reinstated.
The one advantage of a Cranky Hero is that he costs less. For every
point of Crankiness a Hero has at the beginning of the battle, he
costs one less Construction Point, up to a maximum discount of 50%
|Attacked by an evil
clone at a publicity appearance, Blue Space Hero is saved
by the intervention of a leaping red-shirted passerby.
From photos taken at the scene, it's unclear whether the
man's leap was intentional, or if the Hero picked him
up and threw him in the way of the attack. Either way,
he becomes the posthumous envy of Blue Space Hero fanboys
across the galaxy.
LEGO, Mega Bloks
|We can't all be heroes, because someone has to sit on the curb and clap as they go by.
|- Will Rogers
A Hero is more important than any regular minifig. As a result, 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 head and using them as a meat shield, 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. It's thought that they earned
the name by so often donating large portions of their bodies
to convert into a red splatter decoration covering a Hero's chest.
Any time a Hero takes damage from an external source (i.e., not from
something internal like poison, coronary disease, or from purposefully ingesting
a live grenade), he may try to inspire a nearby unit within 1d6"
to RedShirt. This does not take an Action; the Hero can inspire any
number of RedShirts in a single turn, but only one for each specific
incoming source of Damage. If successful, the RedShirting unit will leap in
to take the damage instead, knocking the Hero out of harm's way if
necessary (for instance, if the Hero is about to be hit by a speeding
locomotive, he'll need to be somewhere else when the train rolls in).
The inspired RedShirt must be on the Hero's team, it must be capable
of leaping (e.g., minifigs, robots, and animals; not tanks or jet
fighters, for instance), and it must have a lower CP cost than the Hero (not counting equipment).
When a Hero learns that he's 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 chooses one nearby eligible unit to sacrifice. He rolls 1d6
(plus any Bonus Dice, on a Critical Success). If the unit is within
this many inches of the Hero, the inspiration succeeds. The sacrificial
unit will leap in and take the damage intended for the Hero, and if
necessary, the Hero is knocked away the minimum distance required
to avoid being hit (even if the distance required is truly riduculous,
like getting RedShirted out of a nuclear explosion or a supernova). If the roll is too low
or is a Critical Failure, the Hero fails to inspire the unit to RedShirt,
and is forced to take the damage himself.
If the Hero is in a Squad, other
Squad members are automatically inspired to RedShirt on his behalf, without having to make the 1d6" distance
roll (Chapter 11: Armies).
RedShirts move unusually quickly and have no problem intercepting
gunshots, explosions, or even laser blasts. They're unconcerned with
whatever damage this might do to the laws of physics or to players'
suspension of disbelief.
RedShirting should not be abused to try and accelerate units' movement
across the battlefield. This will make the Hero's allies want to kick
him in the nuts rather than sacrifice themselves for him. A player
trying to force a RedShirting by attacking his own Hero should be ejected from
the game. The remaining players should confiscate his bricks and then take turns RedShirting him out of the
house and into the street.
|A hero is someone who rebels
or seems to rebel against the facts of existence
and seems to conquer them. Obviously that can only
work at moments. It can't be a lasting thing. That's
not saying that people shouldn't keep trying to
rebel against the facts of existence.
|- Jim Morrison
|Major Natalya launches herself over the chaos of the battlefield, guns blazing
|Which action personality
best fits this hard-hitting space marine Hero? Characters
from Futurama are proposed, and a nomination for Duke
Nukem is met with popular acclaim. But love for Samuel
L. Jackson wins out in the end, with the suggestion of
"Mace Windu, as played by Jules Winnfield."
Attitude firmly in place, Commander "Bad" Moe
Faux is born.
LEGO, Mega Bloks, Little Armory
A Hero's amazing abilities stem from both stunning bravado and pig-headed
ignorance, but his greatest powers are drawn from a tradition handed
down through endless generations of action movies.
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 almost mandatory that Heroes develop
a ridiculous 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.
Austrian / Stallonian
performing surgery on self, punching through walls
||Austrian / Swedish
axes, lifting heavy objects,
communing with animals
||Austrian / British
||Hacking security systems,
sniping, escaping deathtraps
||Austrian / Chinese
||Dodging bullets, running
speaking in riddles
||Austrian / All-American
||Dodging booby traps,
fistfighting Nazis, whipping things
||Austrian / Cowboy
||Trick shooting, trick
trick gambling, trick dueling
||Austrian / New Zealander
||Chakram tricks, impossible
nerve pinches, lesbian subtexts
For Heroes based on specific characters, picking the Action Cliché
is easiest of all: a Robin Hood minifig would perform Robin Hood Feats;
a Hercules minifig would have Herculean Feats, and a Davy Crockett minifig
would get King of the Wild Frontier Feats.
|Looking across the battlefield, Manly Santa sees that VOL troops are causing trouble for his allies, the Manly Men. Using a Santa Feat, he reaches into his sack and pulls out... a corpse!
|It's the recently-deceased mother of of VOL Commander Leonidus! Positioning the corpse, Manly Santa executes a brilliant strategem.
|It works! For the next turn, Leonidus and his troops are successfully distracted from fighting.
LEGO, painted elements
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 calculate energy-shield bypass 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 his Hero is
about to attempt, and rolls 1d6. If one of his opponents would like
the Feat to fail (and they probably will), he also rolls 1d6. If the
Hero's roll ties or exceeds the opponent's roll, the Feat
succeeds; otherwise the Hero's efforts end 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 his opponent has failed to oppose him. Rather than try to unravel this Heroic Paradox, the Heroic Feat is cancelled - the Hero suffers from a moment of untimely 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 hadn't attempted it in the first place.
A Hero may attempt one Heroic Feat on every turn. If he doesn't use
his Feat during his own turn, he may use it as a Response Action during
an opponent's turn at no penalty. If he doesn't use the Feat before
his next turn, it's lost; Feats reset at the beginning of a Hero's turn and can't be "saved up" over
The Consequences of Failure
|... if he fails, at least
he fails while daring greatly, so that his place
shall never be with those cold and timid souls who
know neither victory nor defeat.
|- Theodore Roosevelt
Because the range of possibilities for each type of action hero is
so wide, it's up to the players to agree on whether a specific Feat
is appropriate to a given Cliché, what the effects of success
will be, and what will be the consequences of failure.
The effects of failed Feats will depend on the seriousness of the
battle and the attitudes of the players, but a good general guideline
is that the more stupendous the Feat attempted, the more dire the
effects if it fails. A Hero failing an attempt to eat a dozen doughnuts
in a single turn might suffer the effects of upset stomach. Choking
to death might be a more realistic result, but it'd be a little severe
compared to the relatively 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. It's often best to start by imagining
what would happen to Homer Simpson, Wile E. Coyote, or the Three Stooges if they were to make similar attempts.
|| Heroic Clichés are based on Action Heroes, not Word Heroes - Heroic Feats must always be based on Actions rather than words. If a Hero wants to inspire his allies, he does it by leading a Charge, not by making pretty speeches about it while sipping tea in the rear guard.
If players decide that a Hero's Heroic Speech is Heroic enough to ignore this rule, then they can allow it, but if the speech fails to inspire then it means the Hero is no longer inspiring, and an uninspiring minfig loses his Hero status automatically and permanently. Word Heroes deserve to be punished.
In addition to not being Word Heroes, Action Heroes are also not Inaction Heroes. They ESPECIALLY can't use Feats to inspire others to withdraw from combat safely, negotiate more diplomatically, or surrender more sweetly. They exist to increase action, not diminish it.
Long after Heroes have withered to component plastic parts, their legendary accessories live on, inspiring new generations to avarice and conflict. Many such Artifakts are powerful enough to give a regular minifig Heroic powers all by themselves. Magical swords, enchanted armors, deific grails, zero-point blaster cannons, and suspiciously well-stocked gift bags have all inspired campaigns of slaughter from covetous Hero wannabes.
|The appearance of the divine janitor Stubby, wielding the legendary Banhammer and the Broom of Doom, drastically changed the course of battle for these Proto-Spacemen.
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. Any object can be made Heroic for an added cost of +3CP. These objects retain all the regular uses of an object of their type, but also grant one Heroic Feat per turn to whomever posesses or operates them.
Whoever picks up a Heroic Weapon can use it in a Heroic Feat as a regular Action, making it dangerous to leave them lying around on the battlefield or in the hands of easily-defeated amateurs.
A Heroic object
is limited to Feats that satisfy its Heroic Cliché, similar to that of a regular Hero, but often the Clichés are simple tautologies - Excalibur's Cliché, for example, is that it's Excalibur.
Heroic Weapons suffer no penalties from Crankiness themselves, since anyone can use them, but they may inspire Crankiness in minifig Heroes on the same team if they don't have Heroic Weapons of their own.
A Heroic minifig using a Heroic Weapon is still limited to one Feat per turn, but with a possible advantage. If the Feat satisfies both his own Heroic Cliché and that of the Weapon's, then he can roll two d6es instead of one when rolling for his Feat, succeeding if either d6 matches or exceeds his opponent's opposing roll.