Saturday, January 23, 2010

Gyro, Gyro, Gyro!

With those words the hero Spartacus summed up how he felt about Vixen's constant deferral to the hero who was also her lover at the time. Out of game it gave all of us a great laugh and later proved to me how a properly used GMPC can enhance a game, so long as you allow them not to be a Mary Sue and are willing to kill them once in a while.

I don't see GMPCs as a bad thing, though I have read enough horror stories to see how they can go bad. While this is an article for another time, I just wanted to say that if used as a falvouring/seasoning a GMPC can add to a game. If used as a starring role or constantly saving the heroes butts and telling them what to do, then it is a bad thing.

Like too much salt.

I have reposted the "My Thoughts" part of the original posting at the end of this one, but enough about that though.

So here he is, my first hero I ever created back in V&V in 1985 and one of the most iconic characters of the Zenith Universe;

GYRO Richard Wilkerson
35pts (Stats 16/Powers 21/Weakness -2)


Brawn: 2 Agility: 4 Mind: 2

Damaging Weakness: Sonics

Athletics: Aerobatics
Pilot: Tricks/Evasion/Control
Investigation: Gut

• Boost: Mind 2 (For Energy Blast)
• Energy Blast: Special Attack 5 [Enhancement: Variable]
- Standard Blast: Mid Range, +1 Hit, +2 Dm
- Short Blast: Close Range +1 Hit +3 Dm
- Long Blast: Long Range, +1 Hit, +1 Dm
- Wide Angle: Close Range, Small Burst, +3 Dm
- Dodge This: +5 Hit
- Haymaker: +5 Dm
- Spin-Blast: Medium Burst, +3 Dm
• Flight 5 [Enhancements: Space]
• Immunity 4 [Suffocation, Vacuum, Temperatures, Radiation]/ Personal Force Field: Armour 3 [Enhancement: Linked]
• Super Speed 5 [Limitations: Only In Flight/Only Movement]


Social Stigma: Mocked

Mental Malfunction
To prove himself

Richard Wilkerson was born the son of Nathanial Wilkerson III, owner and head of Avitech, a large military contractor to the US. Raised around aviation it was only natural that Richard would become a pilot. Flying for the USAF, Richard was on a routine mission chasing a stray MiG back across the Bering Strait when something he could never have imagined happened.

A UFO came onto the radar and bathed both Richard’s F-15 Eagle and the Russian’s MiG in a strange golden glow. According to Air Force documents and statements, both jets dropped off radar over the Bering Strait. 2nd Lieutenant Richard Wilkerson was first listed as MIA and then 48 hours later as KIA.

Six months later, a fishing boat off the coast got the surprise of their lifetimes when they pulled a blonde, alive man in with their nets. His Air Force Dog Tags still on, they radioed to shore and were met there by a military detachment.

It is unknown what happened in the debriefing, but this much is know. Wilkerson was discharged after an Air Force Lawyer named Karen Winston brought his story to the media. The Air Force discharged her as well. Wilkerson moved in with her in Seattle for a time, where he began complaining of migraines. Then one night he began glowing with a tremendous golden energy and flew out of their penthouse, not stopping until he reached Japan.

Over a short period of time he came to learn that somehow he had developed tremendous powers. He went to his father immediately, explaining the situation. His father promised to help, but instead called the USAF and offered to hand over his son to them. EAGLE intercepted that call and stepped in.

Richard was given the choice of joining up with EAGLE or returning to the Air Force. He chose EAGLE and very soon found himself with a costume, a code name and a position on Team Justice. Now called Gyro he was suddenly a member of the premiere American super-hero team. To say he fit in would be a lie.

It didn’t take long for Gyro to get kicked out of Team Justice for undisclosed reasons, though rumours say it involved the villainess Trixie of Ravage V. EAGLE then convinced Guardsman to make him a member of the Guardians, which turned out to be the best thing for Gyro.

He respected Guardsman and looked to him as the father he wished he had. He learned to control his powers and his hot headedness under Guardsman’s careful tutelage and watchful eye. Eventually though this too would end for Gyro.

With the details having made all the gossip rags at the time, we will just sum it up by saying his romantic dalliance with Guardsman’s girlfriend at the time Sparrow Hawk, lead to both Gyro and her being removed from the Guardians. In a morbid turn of fortune, this occurred one week before the team was devastated by the Axis of Evil and Guardsman was killed.

Now without a team and cut loose by EAGLE, Gyro has taken up residence in New York City and hopes to prove that there is a hero inside him, the hero that Guardsman told him he could be. If only he could make everyone else see that.

Current Cosutme as of 1984 (top right) and original costume (left)

My Thoughts
Gyro was my first character I ever made. I made him in V&V and man did he get into trouble. My buddy Graeme was running the campaign and Gyro was actually a member of Team Justice. Then they captured Trixie from Ravage V and she worked her feminine wiles on poor old Richard and sure as shit he let her go. He was promptly kicked off the team.

When I started the Guardians campaign back in '89, I had Gyro with the rest of the PCs trying out for an open slot on Team Justice. Yup, he was such a thick head that he was determined to get back on the team. Needless to say he didn't make it but he did band with the PCs to stop a fight between King and Mega-Man (no relation), two other tryout rejects.

When they announced to the media that they were forming a superhero team, the first question asked was "Gyro! Gyro! Sally Such-in-such for the Blather Press Daily. Will you be kicked off this team too?" I recall having Gyro lose his temper and declare the press conference was over.

The funny thing was, the players really liked Gyro and decided to make him the team leader. Nowin those days no one in our group knew the term GMPC and certainly I didn't favour Gyro. So much so that years later one of the original players confessed to me that he knew it was a serious night when I had Gyro get killed flying a nuclear bomb into orbit as the first act of the session.

That's right. I killed my pet NPC two sessions into the campaign.

Something most folks won't understand, especially those who have been on the bad end of a GMPC experience, is that I treat my NPCs far worse than my PCs. I beat them, kill them, rape them, torture them, humiliate them, etc... all so that the players understand how the world works. Then I can do it to them without worry of them thinking I am picking on them.

Some players get it, some don't. Those who get it though have been coming to my table on and off for 25 years. So I must be doing something right.

Will Gyro be in the new game? Hell yes. This is the 25th Anniversary game! You bet your ass my first ever superhero will be in it, without a doubt!

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