What If ...?

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Davies
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What If ...?

Post by Davies » Sun Mar 15, 2020 7:03 pm

Unsurprisingly (and contrary to claims that they remain largely static) the powers, particularly the most visual powers, used by superheroes tend to increase as the decades pass. This came up in a discussion in Jab's thread, where it was stated that Spider-Man, stated to be the fourth strongest hero in the Marvel Universe after the Thing, Thor, and the Hulk, was originally supposed to be able to lift no more than 3 tons. That's Strength rank 7 in Mutants and Masterminds, which would suggest that the Thing was Strength rank 8, and Thor and the Hulk both Strength rank 9, around the time of their debut. Of course, they've all gotten stronger, and in some cases retconned to have always been that strong ...

But what if they hadn't, or at least hadn't gotten so very much stronger? Another part of what follows is inspired by some writings by Al Schroeder, published twenty years ago, which speculated about the exact amount of strength that the Golden Age Superman demonstrated. It was surprisingly low.

In any event, in a universe where things didn't get quite so high-powered, here are what I think the Strength ratings for various heroes, anti-heroes, and outright villains should be, in some cases accompanied by their Strength-based Damage when it's applicable.

Robin: STR 1
Also: Batgirl [Gordon & Cain], Hawkeye, Mockingbird
Nightwing: STR 2
Also: Green Arrow, Black Canary, Blue Beetle [Kord], Catwoman, Huntress
The Shadow: STR 2, Strength-based Damage 2
Also: Kwai-Chang Cain, The Shroud, Kim Possible
The Black Knight: STR 2, Strength-based Damage 3 (Removable)
Also: The Grey Mouser, Robin of Locksley, Prince Valiant, The Bride, Katana, Connor McCloud
The Punisher: STR 3
Also: Nick Fury, John Rambo, John Matrix, The Joker
Batman: STR 3, Strength-based Damage 1
Also: Shang Chi, Moon Knight, Jason Bourne
Daredevil: STR 3, Strength-based Damage 2 (Removable)
Also: Donatello, Michaelangelo
Leonardo: STR 3, Strength-based Damage 3 (Removable)
Also: Raphael
Red Sonja: STR 3, Enhanced Strength 1 with rage, Strength-based Damage 3 (Removable)
Also: Elektra, The Kurgan, Solomon Kane, Ra's al-Ghul, River Tam
Doc Savage: STR 4
Also: Six Million Dollar Man, Spock, Khan Noonien Singh, Kingpin
Tarzan: STR 4, Enhanced Strength 1 with rage
Captain America: STR 4, Strength-based Damage 2 (Removable)
Also: Black Panther, Little John
Conan: STR 4, Strength-based Damage 3 (Removable)
Also: Fafhrd, Guts, John Carter, Hawkman
Wolverine: STR 4, Strength-based Damage 3
Also: Shego, Sabertooth
Iron Fist: STR 4, Strength-based Damage 4 (Activation, Tiring)
Beast: STR 5
Also: Data, Sailor Moon, Starfire, Tigra, T-889
Chewbacca: STR 5, Enhanced Strength 1 with rage
Also: Werewolf by Night, Vandal Savage/Kane
Luke Cage: STR 6
Also: Cyborg, Deathstroke, Jessica Jones, Spider-Woman, Most Sailor Guardians, T-800, USAgent
Beetle: STR 6 (Removable)
Also: Guardsmen, Knight Sabres
Vision: STR 6, Enhanced Strength 4 at highest density
Also: Metamorpho
Spider-Man: STR 7
Also: Blue Beetle [Garrett & Reyes], Dracula, Sailor Jupiter
Valkyrie: STR 7, Strength-based Damage 3 (Removable)
Also: Saber, He-Man, Lancer, She-Ra, Xena
Iron Man: STR 7, Enhanced Strength 4 from absorbed energy (Removable)
Also: Silver Surfer*
Hellboy: STR 8
Also: Darth Vader, Doctor Doom, Robotman, Frankenstein Monster, The Demon, Mr. Hyde
Colossus: STR 8, Strength-based Damage 1
Also: Captain Atom, Doctor Octopus, Red Tornado, Rom, T-1000
Wonder Girl: STR 8, Power-Lifting 1
Also: Venom, Caitlin Fairchild
Supergirl: STR 8, Power-Lifting 2
Also: Superboy, Captain Marvel Jr., Mary Marvel, Captain Mar-Vell
Giant-Man: STR 9
Also: Most Sentinel Models, Most Transformers
She-Hulk: STR 9, Power-Lifting 1
Also: Cheetah [Minerva], Doc Samson, Rogue, Warbird
Thing: STR 9, Strength-based Damage 1
Also: Sandman, Rhino
Sub-Mariner: STR 9, Enhanced Strength 2 in water
Also: Aquaman
Wonder Man: STR 10
Also: Martian Manhunter, Adam Warlock, Doctor Fate, Spawn
Wonder Woman: STR 10, Power-Lifting 1
Also: Orion, Big Barda, Darkseid (?)
Captain Marvel: STR 10, Power-Lifting 2
Also: Optimus Prime, Megatron, Nimrod
Thor: STR 10, Strength-based Damage 2 (Removable)
Hercules: STR 11
Also: Thanos, The Spectre
Superman: STR 11, Power-Lifting 1
Also: Bizarro, Black Adam, Count Nefaria
Goku: STR 11, Strength-based Damage 1
Also: Vegeta, Abomination, Armadillo
Juggernaut: STR 12
Hulk: STR 12, Enhanced Strength X with rage

* The Silver Surfer's Strength is not Removable, but, like Iron Man, he can select Enhanced Strength from the options of his array.

Edit 3-18: Removed Firestorm, added two new categories, added the Turtles
Last edited by Davies on Wed Mar 18, 2020 11:58 pm, edited 7 times in total.

RainOnTheSun
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Re: What If ...?

Post by RainOnTheSun » Tue Mar 17, 2020 11:38 am

Question: When you compare the Marvel characters' early showings to other characters, are you going by their early showings too, or are you going by where you think they'd feel right in a shared universe? When you give Saber and and Xena the same strength as Valkyrie, for example, is that how strong they look in their shows, or do they seem roughly equivalent to Valkyrie in role and style? (Or both, of course)

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Re: What If ...?

Post by Davies » Wed Mar 18, 2020 12:13 am

RainOnTheSun wrote:
Tue Mar 17, 2020 11:38 am
Question: When you compare the Marvel characters' early showings to other characters, are you going by their early showings too, or are you going by where you think they'd feel right in a shared universe?
In the case of the DC characters, it's mostly early showings; outside of that, it's mostly 'feels right' guesswork.
RainOnTheSun wrote:
Tue Mar 17, 2020 11:38 am
When you give Saber and and Xena the same strength as Valkyrie, for example, is that how strong they look in their shows, or do they seem roughly equivalent to Valkyrie in role and style? (Or both, of course)
In Saber's case, she definitely is stronger than human norm, but it's not clear how much stronger (those report cards don't cut it). I think she is probably at least as strong as Val would be, in the same "Super-Mediumweight" class that Spidey was in per ASM Annual #15, one of the first superhero comics I ever read and probably the strongest influence on where I put these folks.

Xena, I'll admit, is put in that category because she dueled inconclusively with Hercules. A case could be made that she (and Callisto) are both actually Red Sonja's peers instead, and are able to achieve those results through skill rather than might.

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Re: What If ...?

Post by Ares » Wed Mar 18, 2020 2:26 am

Interesting idea, a setting without the massive Power Creep that happened in the 50s, and then again in the 70s. It makes for a more toned down setting that has some potential.

The only thing I'll add is that in his third appearance, Captain Marvel was already lifting 400 tons over his head. Well, he was strapped to a contraption that loaded 200 tons on each arm to keep him in place, and he was able to drag his arms down and pull against it enough to cause the restraints to break. So yeah, even by appearance 3, Cap was a heavy hitter. :)

Image

Image

Image

Incidentally, this was really the issue where Cap started to come into his own tone wise. The previous issues had him doing more 'clearly inspired by Superman' stuff, but this was where we started to see Cap really embrace the wonder factor of comics, traveling to alien worlds, fighting giant monsters, taking on an army of frog men, etc.

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Re: What If ...?

Post by Davies » Wed Mar 18, 2020 4:25 am

... hm. Extraordinary Effort ("straining every muscle"), on top of his Lifting 12, would still pull that off, and fit the "magic trumps science" overall feel of the milieu.

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Re: What If ...?

Post by Ares » Wed Mar 18, 2020 4:43 am

Sure, but that's still leagues above what Superman was doing by his third appearance. :D

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Re: What If ...?

Post by RainOnTheSun » Wed Mar 18, 2020 5:54 am

This is also assuming that those discs weigh 50 tons apiece, and it's not the entire stack that weighs 50 tons.

(I know, I know, I'm being That Guy)

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Re: What If ...?

Post by Ares » Wed Mar 18, 2020 6:02 am

You are indeed being "That Guy". Then again, this was at least partially motivated by Cap being placed below Superman, so I'm being "That Guy" too.

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Re: What If ...?

Post by Davies » Wed Mar 18, 2020 6:37 am

The reason that I gave Cap 10+2 lifting vs. Superman's 11+1 lifting wasn't that I thought he was weaker. It's that I thought he was nicer.

Also, if he's drawing on the Strength of Hercules, it doesn't make sense for him to have more raw Strength than Hercules. (The Power of Zeus makes up the difference.)

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Re: What If ...?

Post by greycrusader » Wed Mar 18, 2020 12:58 pm

This are mostly pretty good, and I'm in agreement with most of them, with a few exceptions (I wouldn't rate Tarzan above Doc Savage or Captain America, based on Wold-Newton Expanded U writer, Phillip Jose Farmer and his musings on the subject), Xena would likely be Red Sonja's peer (but she often got power-ups), and Firestorm was only supposed to have the strength of two men (Ronnie Raymond and Prof. Stein).

I do think Captain Marvel (if you're going by early appearances) is equal to Superman. That strip posted by Ares really captured what made GA Captain Marvel special-yes, his adventures were at times a bit goofball and childish, but they were also exciting adventures that embraced the fantasy aspects of super-heroes and magic.

And as I've said before, Captain Marvel Jr. and Mary Marvel's adventures were WAY different in tone. And the shared exploits of the Marvel Family tended to be straightforward superhero action, albeit more in the vein of the early Silver Age DC comics which would follow a decade later.

All my best.

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Re: What If ...?

Post by Davies » Wed Mar 18, 2020 5:43 pm

I basically think Doc's skill (Unarmed Attack +16) would allow him to fight Tarzan (Unarmed Attack +14) as an equal despite not being as strong -- and they'd probably be both as torn up as they were at the end of A Feast Unknown in the aftermath -- and that I can't justify Doc being stronger than Captain America.

Good point about Firestorm, though.

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Re: What If ...?

Post by Ares » Wed Mar 18, 2020 6:02 pm

I'd tend to put Steve, Tarzan, Conan and Doc all on roughly the same level. Doc has feats such as lifting an engine block out of an airplane with his bare hands, and killed a lion unarmed by wrestling it and snapping its neck, Tarzan style. He could even emulate Tarzan's tree travel ability. Doc has also beaten a gorilla unarmed via boxing skills, though admittedly Monk was helping him by providing a distraction.

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Re: What If ...?

Post by Davies » Wed Mar 18, 2020 8:35 pm

All right, I'm convinced. Tarzan now has Strength 4, while still getting an additional level when he goes ape.

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Re: What If ...?

Post by Davies » Sat Mar 21, 2020 4:15 am

What follows is probably not the first build you'd expect for this thread, but it's something that came to me while I was thinking about Strength and its applications. Breaking bricks is probably a good example of what you can do with Strength 6, you see, and ... well, anyway.

Mario -- PL 6

Image

Abilities:
STR 6/3 | STA 5/2 | AGL 1 | DEX 3 | FGT 4 | INT 0 | AWE 2 | PRE 2

Powers:
Super Mario: Growth 3 (STR +3, STA +3, -2 Dodge, -2 Parry, +1 Intimidation, -3 Stealth), Quirk (Deactivates after a failed Toughness save); Linked Impervious Toughness 4 - 9 points
Fire Mario: Ranged Damage 7 (fire) - 14 points

Advantages:
All-out Attack, Evasion, Great Endurance, Improvised Weapon, Improved Defense, Improved Initiative, Languages 2 (Italian, Koopa, Mushroom, others), Move-by Action.

Skills:
Athletics 8 (+11/+14), Close Combat: Unarmed 2 (+6), Deception 3 (+5), Expertise: Plumbing 6 (+6), Insight 3 (+5), Intimidation 4 (+6/+7), Perception 4 (+6), Ranged Combat: Fireball 2 (+5), Stealth 4 (+5/+2), Vehicles 2 (+5).

Offense:
Initiative +5
Unarmed +6 (Close Damage 6/3)
Fireball +5 (Ranged Damage 7)

Defense:
Dodge 7/5, Parry 6/4, Fortitude 7/4, Toughness 5/2, Will 4.

Totals:
Abilities 34 + Powers 23 + Advantages 9 + Skills 19 + Defenses 12 = 97 points

Complications:
Doing Good--Motivation. Family (Luigi). Friend (Peach). Power Loss (all powers are lost with any failed Toughness save, and must be regained).

Note: Luigi uses mostly the same statistics, but is -1 to STR and STA, +1 to Dodge and Parry.

Roberto Mario (he always goes by his surname, and has sometimes claimed to be named Mario Mario as a joke) never dreamed that he'd be a hero. All he wanted out of life was to do a good job working in his family's plumbing business, and to be a good older brother to his adopted younger brother Luigi, to whom he became effectively a single father when their parents died when he was still in high school and Luigi was an elementary school student. He bore up under the burden rather well. Mario had mixed emotions when Luigi followed his example in dropping out of high school to come work for the company, but took a certain amount of pride in the work they now did as the Mario Brothers.

And then fate threw him an ape-shaped curveball. He just happened to be fixing some toilets in a theatre when a recently-discovered and -captured species of ape, being exhibited to the public, broke free of his chains, grabbed a young woman out of the audience, and escaped to the higher levels of the building, which were still under construction. Mario saw it happen, but almost didn't believe his eyes. He's still not sure what possessed him to do what he did, chasing up after the creature, somehow dodging the barrels thrown at him, and managing to damage the floor the ape was standing on so that he fell to the ground. Mario found himself breathless when the episode was over, both due to the exertion and the way that the young lady, Pauline Kaminski, was hugging him.

Eventually, the press left them both alone, just in time for the next big twist life had to throw. He was just getting ready to go out on a date with Pauline when Luigi called home frantically, saying something about weird monsters coming out of the pipes in the job site. Despite having just fought an ape, Mario was a bit skeptical about this, but his little brother needed help, and so he went to see what was actually happening. It was rather annoying to find out that, yes, there really were monsters coming out of the pipes. He and Luigi managed to cut them off, but they were left wondering about the source of the critters. Mario will insist that trying to follow up on the situation was all Luigi's idea, but he was really every bit as curious.

They descended into the sewers and found the warphole that led to the Mushroom Kingdom, and the rest is more or less history. After many encounters with bewildering monsters and countless castles where the Princess -- or rather her body double -- was being held prisoner, they finally managed to send King Koopa fleeing and rescue Peach, as she soon came to insist that they call her. Of course, none of them were under any illusions that the dinosaur critter would not be back once he'd recovered from his burns, and so Mario and Luigi began dividing their time between the Mushroom Kingdom and Brooklyn.

It should be noted that Mario and Peach are just good friends. While more than a little attracted to her, he's faithful to Pauline, and besides, he's much too old for her. He's quite happy that Daisy (one of the aforementioned body doubles) and Luigi have hit it off, particularly since he's started to suspect that this other world might be his little brother's birthplace, but for him, it's only ever going to be a nice place to visit, and help to protect. Nor does he particularly want word of his heroics on another world to spread to Earth.

But, regardless of his wishes, he's also found himself associating with some of Earth's heroes as well, starting when he was hired to fix some plumbing issues involving Titans Tower, which turned into a fight with invading critters from yet another dimension. Beast Boy and Cyborg were startled at the plumber's skill at monster fighting, and ended up discovering and travelling to the Mushroom Kingdom. (A similar episode involving a certain group of ninja turtles discovering a second warphole in a different part of the New York sewer system involved Mario with them and some of their adversaries.) Consequently, the Justice League has Mario and Luigi on file as 'local experts' when it comes to Mushroom Kingdom-related incursions, somewhat to Mario's dismay.

Oh well. Heroic anonymity was probably always a ... well, you get the idea.

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Re: What If ...?

Post by Davies » Sun Mar 22, 2020 7:22 am

Image

Superman vs. Captain Marvel

I'm not even going to try to write up backgrounds for these two ...

Superman -- PL 12

Abilities:
STR 11/3 | STA 11/3 | AGL 3 | DEX 2 | FGT 6 | INT 2 | AWE 4 | PRE 3

Powers:
Faster Than A Speeding Bullet: Enhanced Advantage 4 (Improved Initiative 3, Interpose), Enhanced Defenses 6 (Dodge 3, Parry 3), Quickness 6, Speed 10 (2000 MPH) - 26 points
More Powerful Than A Locomotive: Enhanced Strength 8; Enhanced Strength 1, Limited to Lifting - 17 points
Able To Leap Tall Buildings In A Single Bound: Leaping 8 (1800 feet) - 8 points
Nothing Less Than A Bursting Shell Could Penetrate His Skin: Enhanced Stamina 8; Impervious Toughness 8; Protection 4 - 28 points
Telescopic X-Ray Vision: Array (12 points)
  • Sensory Uses: Senses 14 (Vision Counters All Concealment, Vision Penetrates Concealment [Not Vs. Lead], Extended Vision 3, Microscopic Vision 2) - 12 points
  • Destructive Uses: Line Area Damage 12 (heat), Distracting - 1 point
Advantages:
Close Attack 3, Diehard, Fast Grab, Improved Grab, Improved Initiative 3, Improved Smash, Interpose, Power Attack, Takedown, Ultimate Effort (Toughness checks).

Skills:
Athletics 4 (+15/+7), Deception 8 (+11), Expertise: Journalism 4 (+6), Intimidation 8 (+11), Investigation 4 (+6), Perception 8 (+12), Ranged Combat: Throwing 6 (+8).

Offense:
Initiative +15/+3
Unarmed +9 (Close Damage 11)
X-Ray Vision -- (Line Area Damage 12)

Defense:

Dodge 7/4, Parry 9/6, Fortitude 11/3, Toughness 15/3, Will 8.

Totals:
Abilities 52 + Powers 92 + Advantages 10 + Skills 21 + Defenses 5 = 180 points

Complications:
Justice--Motivation. Power Loss (Kryptonite, magic). Secret Identity.

Captain Marvel -- PL 11

Abilities:
STR 10/0 | STA 10/0 | AGL 7/3 | DEX 2 | FGT 7/0 | INT 8/2 | AWE 6/2 | PRE 8/4

Powers:
Call Out The Name: Continuous Morph 1 - 6 points
Solomon's Wisdom: Enhanced Advantages 3 (Beginner's Luck, Benefit [inspiration], Jack-of-all-Trades); Enhanced Awareness 4; Enhanced Intelligence 6; Enhanced Presence 4 - 31 points
Hercules' Strength: Enhanced Strength 10; Enhanced Strength 2, Limited to lifting - 22 points
Atlas' Stamina: Enhanced Stamina 10; Impervious Toughness 10 - 30 points
Zeus' Power: Enhanced Advantage 1 (Extraordinary Effort) - 1 point
Achilles' Courage: Enhanced Advantage 6 (Ranged Attack 6); Enhanced Fighting 7 - 24 points
Mercury's Speed: Enhanced Advantage 4 (Improved Initiative 3, Interpose); Enhanced Agility 4; Enhanced Defenses 6 (Dodge 3, Parry 3); Flight 11 (4000 MPH); Quickness 6 - 48 points

Advantages:
Beginner's Luck, Benefit [inspiration], Extraordinary Effort, Improved Initiative 3, Interpose, Jack-of-all-Trades, Ranged Attack 6, Teamwork

Skills:
Close Combat: Unarmed 3 (+10/+3), Deception 2 (+10/+6), Expertise: Radio Announcer 4 (+12/+8), Insight 5 (+11/+7), Intimidation 2 (+10/+6), Investigation 4 (+12/+6), Perception 4 (+10/+6), Persuasion 4 (+12/+8).

Offense:
Initiative +19
Unarmed +10 (Close Damage 10)

Defense:
Dodge 11/4, Parry 12/2, Fortitude 12/2, Toughness 10/0, Will 10/4.

Totals:
Abilities 26 + Powers 160 + Advantages 1 + Skills 14 + Defense 7 = 208 points

Complications:
Doing Good--Motivation. Accidental Change (saying SHAZAM by mistake). Enemy (Sivana). Secret Identity.


A brief summary: Superman hits harder and can take a punch better than Captain Marvel, and has various super-vision powers. Those are his only advantages. Captain Marvel is faster, smarter, more enduring, stronger willed, and more charismatic. (As a radio announcer, Billy needs to have more presence than a newspaper reporter whose closest friends view as something of a limp biscuit, and that is magnified for Captain Marvel.) He is definitely the World's Mightiest Mortal.
Last edited by Davies on Sun Mar 22, 2020 2:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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