Tuesday, April 5, 2011

V&V A to Z: Diogenes

(no, they're not all going to be female characters... but you wouldn't have known that by the first three entries, would you?)

Character Name: Diogenes     Secret ID: Adam Hurst     Side: Evil
Gender: Male     Height: 6'0"     Weight: 190 lbs     Age: 27
Physical Description: An average looking male with short blond hair and brown eyes. His costume consists of a gray bodysuit and hooded cloak, with a gas mask over his face. As Adam Hurst, he dresses sharply in very nice, and rather expensive, three-piece suits.
STR: 12     END: 13     INT: 16     AGL: 12     CHA: 23

Level: 2nd     XP: 4,816     Basic Hits: 4     Hit Points: 11     Healing Rate: 1.2/day
Movement: 37" (ground)     Power: 53  Carrying Capacity: 257 lbs     HTH Damage: 1d6
Damage Modifier: +2     Accuracy: +1     Detect Hidden: 12%     Detect Danger: 16%  
Inventing Points: 1.2     Inventing: 48%     Reaction Modifier: -4 good/+4 evil
Training: Combat accuracy w/ pistol  

Heightened Charisma A: +11
Psionic ability: Truth Detection – Whenever someone lies to Diogenes, or tells a falsehood to someone else within his hearing, he automatically knows that they are lying, and more, he automatically knows what the truth is that they're not saying. This happens automatically, at no PR cost. A refusal to answer, or an answer that evades the question but does not tell a falsehood (“why should I tell you that?”) does not trigger this power. However, even a sarcastic or non-serious falsehood (“okay, under this mask, I'm really the clone of Abraham Lincoln!”) would allow him to know what would have been the truthful response. Diogenes must hear a person speak directly for this power to work; it doesn't activate when hearing someone speak over the television or radio, and someone speaking through a bullhorn would need to be inside his range (16”, based off of INT) for this power to activate.

Gas mask (provides the Chemical Power defense against gas-based attacks)
Pistol (+3 to hit, 1d8 damage, range 72”)
Tear gas grenades (2d8 damage done directly against a victim's Power score, 3” radius, -4 to hit in, out, or through the gas due to obscurement)

Areas of Knowledge
Psychology, Fine Art

Character Notes/Origin/Personality: Even as a young child, Adam Hurst could tell when people were lying to him. He sometimes got into trouble when confronting people with their falsehoods (especially adults), so he eventually learned not to say anything directly about it. As one might expect, Adam grew up to be very, very cynical regarding human nature.

When he attended college, Adam pursued a degree in psychology, to better understand why people tell the lies that they do. Although a bright student, he found it relatively easy to blackmail his way through his classes, threatening to reveal various indiscretions by his professors. He carried this habit of blackmail past graduation; a beginning psychologist doesn't make that much money, and he had student loans to pay off. To avoid any repercussions of his crimes, he began using a masked identity to confront the targets of his blackmail. When asked who he was, he responded by calling himself Diogenes, and said that he was simply in search of an honest man... but that he hadn't found one yet.

It should be noted that Adam usually doesn't blackmail the patients who go to him for counseling. In part, this is to avoid any connection between Adam Hurst and the criminal Diogenes. However, partially this is because Adam takes his work fairly seriously. Given his ability to discern lies from his patients (including the lies they tell themselves), he is actually an excellent counselor, and has an extremely high rate of success in his field. His preferred targets for blackmail are politicians; Adam Hurst has often been seen at various political rallies and speakings, ranging from local mayors to presidential candidates. Wealthy businessmen are another common target for Diogenes. Athletes and celebrities might also occasionally fall prey to his demands; anyone with a lot of money is a potential target for his schemes.

Diogenes is fairly non-violent as far as supervillains go. His pistol is primarily used to intimidate, and the tear gas grenades primarily for escape. However, if it looks like someone may be close to discovering his true identity, all bets are off.

Adam's main hobby is painting, something he has enjoyed since childhood. He's quite good, and has sold several pieces of work in the last couple of years. He's hoping to have a gallery showing any day now.

Campaign Use: A friend or ally of the PCs might find themselves being blackmailed by Diogenes over some indiscretion. It's even possible that the PCs themselves might be targeted, if they are not careful about what they speak of publicly (although Diogenes is smart enough to know that trying to blackmail a superhuman carries far more risk that his usual targets).

It's also possible that a former victim may pay an assassin (superpowered or otherwise) to kill Diogenes; the PCs might find themselves in the uncomfortable position of having to defend him from his would-be killers.

Finally, it's possible that, after his artwork takes off and becomes popular, several pieces of his work gets stolen from the gallery. PCs investigating the theft might become confused as to why the villain Diogenes is also in pursuit of the thief.


  1. I like! Diogenes may well find his way in my campaign as I'm always on the look-out for "non-combat" villains and this fellow has "winner" written all over him.

    Thank you also for the "campaign use" suggestions. Keep up the great work!

  2. What a cool way to use a-z! Diogenes sounds like a great character. :)