Espionage is another character about as old as Atomic Avenger because do you know what 11 year old boys like? Ninja! Especially super-ninja like the comic books and cartoons of the day would show. Lo and behold, a ninja-like character sprung from my head complete with mysterious and shrouded pasts. The background story for Espionage has only changed minorly and his design has been refined but it remains a straightforward example of what I would term a “super soldier” or “generasupe” character. As one of the originals, he is getting a Power Level bump each new volume so he is one of the two Power Level 12 characters in this Card Catalog Write Up.
Powers are going to be the lightest of the build areas for Espionage, partially because we will be heavily investing in Abilities. Physically, as one of the premier hand to hand combatants in this world, a Fighting of 10 is our biggest splash with Agility and Dexterity of 7 each. Strength and Stamina both come in at 5 making him a significantly impressive well rounded physical specimen. The remaining abilities don’t go below 3 either making him an all around better than average or even above average human.
Because there will be few powers involved, I am also spending a good chunk on increasing Defenses even without powers involved. I’m going to raise his Dodge and Parry to a 12 which is going to end up better than most of the characters, but not as good as a moving Speedster. Both Fortitude and Will are also getting an increase.
A quick note about Devices and Equipment – Equipment is purchased as an Advantage and will generally reflect normal, everyday items of use while a Device will be something that is more identified with the character. Since his armor and his family sword are both items that have a story potential in them, I have them purchased as Devices/Powers for 3 and 5 points respectively. He also has 25 points of regular equipment he can carry with him for any of the adventures of missions. The most significant part of Espionage’s sheet are some of the least expensive – his Human Advancement powers of Retarded Aging and Regeneration. These are a big part of his backstory and the world but are only 1 point each.
On advantages, there are a lot so I won’t go threw them all. This is one place where a non super powered individual can even some of the scales. AMong the notable Advantages our of the 20 or so on his sheet are the Benefit: Cipher which explains his tendency to be a mysterious individual and makes it harder for anyone to dig up his past; Hide in Plain SIght which allows him to make the sudden disappearances; and a host of Teamwork or Set Up advantages that are all used to enhance his field leader position in the Argonauts.
For skills, you may be surprised at the limited levels some of them have, such as Close Combat: Unarmed only having 4 ranks. The level of attack is limited by your power level so that the damage plus the Ability and Skill cannot exceed twice the power level. This prevents a min-max approach on a single attack that is perfectly accurate and means characters who tend to have expanded fighting skills are not the most damaging. The 9 ranks of Investigation is the largest skill total and besides what you would expect from a ninja-inspired character, I have also added Expertises in History, Politics, Law, Ikebana, and Calligraphy to round out his long life and show how he tries to leave his “day job” behind. He is about 3 points over, but I am going to let that stand as one of the “big guns” of this comic book world.
The Complications from Mutants and Masterminds blend the nature between the crunch of construction and the incoming character notes. Every starting character has a Motivation and one other Complication which, if they come up in a session, may allow for Hero Points to be earned. Espionage’s Motivation is Responsibility because he feels that the current state of the world is his family’s fault or is his family’s legacy which he must contain. For further complications, Espionage has Honor as something that will limit his actions, for all that he is a sneak around in the dark type, he won’t fight dirty or take advantage of an unfair situation. Since he has been around for a while, and through several reboots and volumes of the Argonauts book, we will also give Espionage Secret as his true family origin is something that would create all sorts of problems in the world and Enemy in the form of Slugger, who now heads a major political party and will be running for President shortly This all has to do with the character history.
Espionage’s story does not start with him. It instead begins with his father – Doughboy. Espionage’s father was the involuntary face of the United State’s war effort in the Great War as a soldier who happened to have been born as a more advanced human – one stronger, faster, tougher, and smarter than other humans. His patriotism led him to the war effort, but the war effort nearly broke his idealism. The front lines and the gas and the horror of war left him needing to escape from what he knew. He went AWOL and settled into rural Japan, far away from the prying eyes of the United State’s. As you may have guessed, there was love, and there was a birth. Ishikawa Kenichi Yohane was born in 1926 and had an unremarkable life for a decade.
In 1936, Doughboy was taken by agents for a group that called themselves American Patriots. He was being returned to the United States because his body and powers may hold the key to future war efforts and future efforts in general. Doughboy managed to keep them from ever seeing or knowing about his son, but he was gone from his son’s life. Kenichi’s mother told him the story and the truth about his father and that he also possessed the same gifts his father had shown.
The next decade of Ishikawa Kenichi’s life was difficult. As Imperial Japan’s involvement in World War II began, his obviously mixed heritage was a liability. He hid in the mountains of Japan and began to learn the ways of combat and of internal peace. One would not be taught without the other, and that was the price to pay for being sheltered and protected through the war. After the war, and the horrors of the atomic bombs, Kenichi left Japan to travel across the face of the planet reshaped for a second time in only two and a half decades. By now, it was becoming apparent that he would not age like others would and the further he was from where his father stayed the safer his mother would be.
For several decades, and under several names, Kenichi worked as a mercenary and explorer honing skills and contacts he has to this day but it was during this time that he was first introduced to agents of the Global Commonwealth Agency. He began to work with them and for them helping the cold war never escalate too far, but also to use the GCA resources to try to find the American Patriots and possibly what happened to his father. It wasn’t until the 1980s that someone at the GCA put two and two together realizing that the nearly unaging Ishikawa Kenichi was actually Doughboy’s son. And Espionage was born.
These American Patriots had been at work in the background for the past century, ensuring that they had influence across the the United States from corporate, to political, to social, and protecting Kenichi’s identity became imperative. Under a mask and without a name, Espionage undertook covert action for the GCA becoming a legendary figure in the intelligence communities. When the Argonauts were formed, Kenichi was tapped by the GCA to be the field leader and to try to wrangle these disparate personalities into a team. Stepping back into the light, even masked, has been difficulty especially with what he has learned since that day.
You’ve already heard how Kenichi has found that he cares for Anthony Chandler, Atomic Avenger, but what you haven’t heard in why Eidolon was hunting the Argonauts. Slugger sent her to wipe out the Argonauts, but especially to make sure Espionage was brought back. The Argonauts were proving to be too great of a hindrance to the New Millenium Patriots, having rejected allegiance to just one country. Slugger is not just the current leader of the New Millenium Patriots but is a successful clone of Doughboy. The NMP have successfully cloned Doughboy a handful of times and spliced his DNA into multitudes of others. Confronting the shadowy NMP after surviving Eidolon’s attacks, Slugger revealed himself to Espionage. He had put the pieces together and wanted to torment Kenichi. He told Kenichi about his own past claiming to be a truer heir to Doughboy’s legacy and teased that Doughboy was still alive in a lab, but that Ishikawa Kenichi would never see him again.
Espionage Character Sheet Here.
Argonauts Overview Here.
Additional character imagery from Hero Machine 3.