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The game was Fourth Edition Champions, the GM was a first-timer, the setting was San Antonio, Texas - our home town. The characters were Magnus, Master of Magnetism (modeled on Magneto), The Saint, Psychic Extraordinaire (brain scanning the planet was the least of his abilities), and Leda Pavlov aka Swanmay, a deaf lab assistant in a blue leotard, with improbable sonic powers. The biggest of these was the Swan Song, purchased for poetic appropriateness and loaded with so many disadvantages that 300d6 of damage (that is not a typo, don't edit it) cost 5 points. The primary disadvantage was that it would go off uncontrollably within a narrow radius when she was dying, and only when she was absolutely, positively, definitively dying. Otherwise, she could fly, had a minor energy blast, lots of science skills, that sort of thing. I really don't like high-powered characters, and I figured the Swan Song would make a good dramatic 100th issue spectacular somewhere down the line.

The GM looked over the character sheets, added up points, and for our inaugral adventure selected from the canned villains available ArmorDillo, a brick with power armor and laser cannons, with a point total equal to our combined active points. ArmorDillo got a van, a goon, and his power armor, and proceeded to break into a local museum to obtain a priceless McGuffin improbably on display there. Like good costumed citizens, we responded to the news by converging on the area.

Now, Magnus and the Saint were extraordinarily powerful heroes, between them readily able to put the kibosh on any Brick in existence, but the sad fact is, they could fly about as fast as the average person could walk. The ability allowed them to avoid traffic and gain the strategic advantage of height, and that's about it. Swanmay, on the other hand, could zip around effortlessly with the speed and grace of a bird. Seeing that ArmorDillo would escape before they could get within striking range, Swanmay circled around behind the museum as her companions approached from the front, with the purpose of simultaneously delaying him and attracting his attention away from their approach, so that they could take him from behind. She rose majestically and noisily from behind the building and directed a concentrated beam of ultrasound at the miscreant.

The power armor absorbed every point of damage with points to spare, but the ploy worked - ArmorDillo turned his attention and his laser cannons away from the approaching combat monsters and toward the distraction. The GM dropped a fistful of dice, counted pips, and asked: "Okay, how much armor do you have?"

"None," I said.

He looked at me blankly. "Don't you have, like, toughened skin or something?"

"I gave you my character sheet," I said. "She's wearing a blue leotard. That's it."

"Oh," he said. "Um."

As a result of this series of oversights - we won't cast blame - a neat round hole about six inches in diameter appeared in Swanmay's abdomen. I don't remember how many multiples of her BODY score the damage was, but even if the Saint had been flying next to her, and had put as many points into healing as he had into brain scans and telekinetic attacks, he still wouldn't have been able to do a thing about it.

The good news is, Magnus and the Saint weren't in the blast radius, but ArmorDillo was, and the armor was useless against 300d6 of sonic damage. The bad news is, the facade of the museum - including statues and a fountain - the priceless McGuffin, the van containing the relatively innocent goon, the charred forms of a couple of policemen, trees and landscaping, and various city utility lines were even more vulnerable than ArmorDillo.

That was the last time any of us picked a villain by comparing point totals, however.

Peni Griffin.

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