Friday, June 8, 2012

The Man Who Laughs

Leading up to the debut of The Dark Knight Rises next month, I've decided to post updated versions of my d20 write-ups on the key villains from the Nolan films, this one from The Dark Knight. (These versions of the characters are not intended to represent the film versions, however, but more a timeless modern interpretation from the comics.) Who better to start with than…!

THE JOKER
Male Human
Legendary Lucid Maniac Fast 3/Smart 3/Charismatic 1/Glamourist* 6/Swindler** 5; LA +1; CR 19
Medium Humanoid (height 6', weight 160 lb.); Age unknown
* See Urban Arcana
** See Future

Init +2; Senses (core) Listen +9, Search +13, Spot +11; Senses (house) Listen/Spot +24, Search +13
Languages English, Farsi (speak only), Spanish (speak only)

Defense (core) 22, touch 22, flat-footed 20; Defense (house) 22, touch 14, flat-footed 20; Dodge (+2 Dex, +10 class)
hp 98 (18 HD); Mas 14; DR 5/–
Fort +10 (+[see below]† vs. poisons, diseases, radiation sickness; +5 vs. massive damage), Ref +14, Will +13
Action Points 19

Speed 30 ft.
Melee unarmed strike +11/+6 (1d6+1 nonlethal, 20) or
Melee by weapon +10/+5 or
Ranged razor-edged throwing cards +12/+7 (2, 20, 10 ft.) or
Ranged by weapon +11/+6
Space 5 ft. by 5 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
Base Atk +9; Grp +11
Atk Options Drive-By Attack, Improved Feint, Opportunist, Streetfighting
Special Qualities ability surge (1/day), freak traits, immune to mind-affecting effects, internal toxicity (unique trait)†, legend traits (4), lucid maniac traits (see below)

† Due to crazed ingenuity and a polluted biology, the Joker has perfected a heightened level of resistance to poisons, diseases, and other bodily contagion by gradually subjecting himself to greater and greater doses of said intoxicants. Built up over years of experimentation and exposure, this internal toxicity grants him the ability to substitute his ranks in the Craft (chemical) skill for his Fortitude bonus when resisting such intoxicants. As a reaction, the Joker may spend an action point to do so. However, he may never raise his Constitution beyond its current score as a result.

Abilities Str 13 (9), Dex 14, Con 14 (10), Int 18 (16), Wis 14, Cha 19 (17)
‘(-)’ indicate original ability scores.
Allegiances chaos, jokes, evil, laughter, Batman; Rep +9; San –10
          Note: Joker suffers from permanent obsessive megalomania and acute narcissism.
Feats Action Boost, Aircraft Operation (helicopters), Alertness, Brawl, Builder, Charismatic Plus (see Future), Confident, Deceptive, Dodge, Drive-By Attack, Exotic Weapon Proficiency (throwing cards), Frightful Presence∫, Improved Feint∫, Iron Will∫, Meticulous, Personal Firearms Proficiency, Sidekick (Leader score: 25+; see Past), Simple Weapons Proficiency, Streetfighting∫, Toughness
∫ Bonus feats acquired from the Legend template.
Skills (core) Bluff +23 (+6 vs. Sense Motive, +7 when lying), Computer Use +9, Craft (chemical) +24, Craft (mechanical) +9, Craft (visual art) +9, Demolitions +15, Diplomacy +7 (+7 when lying), Disguise +14, Drive +6, Escape Artist +12, Forgery +12, Gamble +10 (+7 when cheating), Gather Information +10, Hide +9, Intimidate +15, Knowledge (art) +9, Knowledge (current events) +11, Knowledge (popular culture) +14, Knowledge (streetwise) +11, Knowledge (technology) +11, Listen +9, Move Silently +8, Perform (stand-up) +10, Pilot +6, Read/Write English, Research +8, Search +13, Sense Motive +10 (+6 vs. Bluff), Sleight of Hand +14, Speak English, Speak Farsi, Speak Spanish, Spot +11
Skills (house) Computer Use +9, Craft (chemical) +27, Craft (mechanical) +10, Craft (visual art) +9, Deduce +11 (+2 on Search), Demolitions +15, Disguise +16, Drive +7, Escape Artist +12, Forgery +12, Gamble +10 (+7 when cheating), Gather Information +10, Knowledge (art) +9, Knowledge (current events) +11, Knowledge (popular culture) +15, Knowledge (streetwise) +12, Knowledge (technology) +11, Perceive +22 (+2 on Listen/Spot, +6 on Sense Motive vs. Bluff), Perform (stand-up) +10, Persuade +26 (+2 on Bluff, +2 on Intimidate, or +6 on Bluff vs. Sense Motive, or +7 on Bluff/Diplomacy when lying), Pilot +6, Read/Write English, Read/Write Farsi, Read/Write Spanish, Research +8, Sneak +23, Speak English, Speak Farsi, Speak Spanish
Talents (Fast) Evasion, Opportunist
Talents (Smart) Savant (Knowledge [popular culture]), Trick (DC 17)
Talents (Charismatic) Dazzle (DC 21), Fast-Talk, Taunt (DC 21)
Talents (Glamourist) Audience, Hidden Allegiance, Hidden Motives, Self-Confidence
Talents (Swindler) Cheat Fate, Fortune's Favor +2, Thousand Faces, Warp Probability (30 ft.)
Starting Occupation (core) Creative (+1 on Bluff, Disguise, Perform [stand-up])
Starting Occupation (house) Creative (+1 on Disguise, Perform [stand-up], Persuade)
Possessions formal outfit (stylized purple zoot suit; 3 lb.), 8 razor-edged throwing cards (mastercraft [+1]), acid-filled balloon (requires only a ranged area attack to hit; delivers [potent] 2d6 acid damage to everything within 5 feet of the target zone, dealing 1d6 acid damage each round for two more rounds thereafter; targets that suffer a direct hit must also make a Fort save DC 15 or suffer 1 point of Con damage due to the fumes), joy buzzer (requires only a melee touch attack to hit; carries a charge that inflicts 4d6 points of electricity damage, rechargeable at any electrical outlet in 10 minutes; can be used to deliver a surprise attack in the palm of the hand with a successful Sleight of Hand check [damage is automatic if target agrees to a handshake, though a Bluff check may also be required]), 2d4 doses of “Smilex” (see below)
Wealth Bonus +15

NEW Archetype Lucid Maniac (Maniac [see Menace Manual] variant)
CR: Same as base +1.
Hit Dice: No change.
Attacks: No change.
Special Qualities: Refer below.
          Ability Surge: Once per day as a free action, the lucid maniac can temporarily increase any two of either its Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence, or Charisma scores, but doing so imposes a penalty on its saving throws. While this ability is in effect, the lucid maniac gains a +4 morale bonus to both scores but takes a –2 penalty on all saving throws. Ability surge lasts for a number of rounds equal to the lucid maniac’s character level. Following an ability surge, the lucid maniac is worn out (–2 to any two of the ability scores listed above) for as many rounds as the surge was in effect, but it may negate this penalty as a free action by spending an action point.
          Damage Reduction 5/– (Ex): A lucid maniac ignores the first 5 points of damage dealt by any attack.
          Immunities (Ex): A lucid maniac is immune to mind-affecting effects. However, it may choose to temporarily drop this immunity as a free action for as long as desired.
          Incredible Mien (Ex): Each lucid maniac possesses traits unique to their own psychological makeup and mania. These may manifest as conditional bonuses to saving throws, or skills, or may afford the character added or amended ways of utilizing feats or talents available to them. These benefits are always related to the character’s background and associated mental state, but otherwise provide the character with nothing more than what it can already do (i.e. a lucid maniac tough would no be able to amend the Second Wind or Stamina talents in order to have them behave as the regeneration ability would). Below are some examples of how this applies:
          -“Heroic Class” Plus feats: Upon selecting one of these feats, the lucid maniac may ignore the restriction limiting it to one talent from a single talent tree.
          Resistance to Massive Damage (Ex): A lucid maniac gains a +5 species bonus on Fortitude saves to negate the effects of massive damage.
Allegiances: Previous allegiances are not lost but any that conflict with the following are replaced by them: chaos and evil. Changed allegiances might cause the loss of particular class abilities (see Allegiances on page 37 in the d20 Modern Roleplaying Game).
Saves: Same as the base creature, with a +2 bonus on Fortitude saves, and modified by new ability scores.
Ability Scores: A lucid maniac gains the following ability score increases: Str +4, Con +4.
Feats: A lucid maniac may choose any two of the following as bonus feats: Alertness, Animal Affinity, Blind-Fight, Deceptive, Endurance, Improved Damage Threshold, Stealthy, Toughness, or Vehicle Expert.

NEW Poison Joker Venom ("Smilex")
Delivery Method: contact (or inhaled); Effect: initial 3d6 rounds laughing paralysis, secondary 3d6 Con damage; Save DC: Fort 18; Craft DC: 39 (or 34); Purchase DC: 18 (or 15); Time: 24 hours (1d4 doses)

This horribly virulent and debilitating poison attacks the victim’s entire nervous system, bleaching the skin in places, and often leaves the deceased victim’s face frozen in a rictus death grin.

FREAK TRAITS (House Rule)
Freaks are formed by a combination of tragedy and depravity. “Freak” is a special quality acquired by certain characters who have suffered from temporary or indefinite insanity (i.e. through Sanity loss). Freaks receive 1 bonus action point for every 3 Sanity points lost.