Batgirl's Guide to CapesA Mutants & Masterminds 3E Rule Option
Booster Gold wrote:Then he looked over at me, and y'know what he said? "You can't handle the cape." And he took it! He took my cape, Skeets! Do you know how it feels when Superman tells you you can't handle a cape? Not good...
Superheroes and capes go together like cowboys and hats, pirates and peg-legs, peanut butter and jelly. For most heroes though, the cape is just a matter of style, an accessory that enhances or complements their flashy and iconic uniform. For other heroes, however, the cape is yet another tool in their arsenal in the fight against crime.
A cape can be part of the super hero's accoutrements that is just as effective as their Magic Sword, Batarang, Web Shooters, or Cosmic Staff. But capes are not without their drawbacks. These optional rules are, in fact, just a heavily worked extension of the Equipment rules already present in the M&M3E game, any hero may wear a cape without gaining these benefits or drawbacks even in a campaign where another player uses them. That first character simply never uses their cape to gain the benefits, and the GM never uses any of the drawbacks. This should just be accepted as part of the genre's "polite agreements" like not recognizing a hero's secret identity due to common reading glasses, and not shooting the Big Bad Evil Guy during his monologue.The Batman Family (L to R) Azrael, Medium Cape; Batman, Extra Long Cape; Robin III, Long Cape; Batgirl III, Long Cape; and Nightwing.... No Cape.LENGTH
Capes come in all shapes and sizes, but for game purposes we can define them into four distinct categories: Short
, reaching between the middle of the back to the waist, e.g. Captain Marvel, Storm
, reaching between the waist and the knees, e.g. Mary Marvel, Powergirl, Vision
, the most common, reaching between the knees to just brushing the floor, e.g. Superman, Thor, Robin
); and, Extra Long
, draping on the floor, e.g. Batman, Dr. Strange
).Short (0 EP)
Capes of Short length are exceptionally limited in their application, although they run the least risk of interfering with any of the hero's actions. If the cape is going to be used for any of the benefits listed herein, it must be removed first, requiring a Move Action.
A hero with a Short cape cannot use the cape for the Dodge
, or Theatricality
benefits at all. They are at a -4 to all attempts with the Blind
, Melee Weapon
, or Thrown Weapon
benefits. Although the hero's cape can be Caught
at the normal difficulty, the hero does not run the risk of being Tripped
over it unless it has fallen on the ground.Medium (0 EP)
Capes of Medium length have more versatility but are still somewhat limited. The hero may not use the cape for any benefits without removing it first, requiring a Move Action.
A hero with a Medium cape cannot use it for Theatricality
. He can however use the Blind
, Melee Weapon
, and Thrown Weapon
benefits with a -2 penalty. A hero with this length of cape can have it Caught
at the normal difficulty, but he can not be Tripped
unless the cape is on the ground.Long (1 EP)
Capes of Long length have several different uses, although the have a greater opportunity for being used against the hero. A cape of Long length offers any of the benefits, whether the hero is wearing the cape or not, with the exception of Thrown Weapon
. The hero must remove his cape, requiring a Move Action, to use it as a thrown weapon.
The hero can use any of the benefits with no penalty, but he can be affected by the Caught
drawback at a -2 to his Defense. The hero can also be tripped
by the cape while wearing it.Extra Long (1 EP)
A cape of Extra Long length gives the hero the greatest amount of versatility, but it runs the greatest risk of interfering with the hero as well. All of the benefits can be used while the cape is worn by the hero or after it has been removed.
The hero with an Extra Long cape gains a +2 bonus to all attempts made with any of the benefits. However, he is affected by the Caught
drawback at a -4 to his Defense and can be tripped
by the cape while wearing it.MATERIAL
Most capes are made from cotton-polyester blend cloth, but they can also be fabricated from various other types of material. For example, Batman, Robin (Tim Drake), and Huntress (Helena Bertinelli) all wear capes made out of a triple-weave Kevlar and Nomex fabric that is fire retardant and protects against projectiles.
Gamemasters should allow their players to create capes with armor values, immunities, or other special properties. But those with extremely high armor values (+3 or higher) should be made with the Device power rather than the equipment creation rules. The standard "Batman Family" cape grants a Subtle +1 Toughness bonus. The fire retardant descriptor is just for flavor."Use the Theatricality Benefit," you said, "It makes you look like a badass."BENEFITSBlind
The hero can blind or disorient his opponent with his cape. The character wraps the head of his opponent either by removing the cape and throwing it around his opponent's head, or whipping the cape around and wrapping the end around his opponent's head while the cape is still attached to the hero's back (this can only be done with a cape of Long or Extra Long length.)
On a successful Close Attack [Melee Weapon] or Ranged Attack [Thrown] attack roll, the opponent must make a Dodge vs. DC 10 Check to resist the Impaired [Visual] condition. This condition lasts until the opponent uses a Move Action to remove the cape.Dodge
One of the best uses of a cape is for cover or to add to the size and overall presence of the hero. Batman, and many of his allies, use a voluminous scalloped cape that not only gives him the image of having bat wings, but also greatly increases his apparent size, making him harder to hit.
A hero with a cape gains a circumstance bonus to his active defense checks when taking a Defend Action based on the length of the cape: +1 for a Long cape, +2 for an Extra Long cape. But if he rolls a Critical Failure on any active defense, he is Tripped by his cape (see below).Hide
A dark cape can allow the hero to bled into shadows or the general surroundings, even though his costume may be of a lighter color.
The hero receives an equipment bonus on Stealth checks based on the size of the cape: +2 for a Medium cape, +3 for a Long cape, and +5 for an Extra Long cape. Gamemasters should not allow this benefit if the hero has a cape of a bright color (such as Superman's) and may increase the bonus if the cape is especially suited to the environment (such as Robin's in an urban setting).Theatricality
The hero uses his cape for dramatic effect to seem more menacing and impressive.
When using the Deception skill for Feinting, Tricking; the Intimidation skill for Demoralizing; or the Slight of Hand skill for Concealing; and actively using his cape in a relevant manner (such as Batman crouching down and partially covering his face his his cape), the hero gains a +2 bonus to his skill check.Melee Weapon
By weighting the tips of his cape, a hero can lash out at a target with it, much like using a whip. A hero with a Long or Extra Long cape may even strike targets while the cape is still attached to his back, but with Long Capes there is a -4 penalty to the attack roll because of the awkwardness of this maneuver; Short or Medium length capes can be used this way if removed first.. The maximum effective range of this maneuver is the length of the cape, essentially making it no different than a normal Close attack.
If the ends of the cape are weighted, the cape is either a Damage 0 (Strength-based)
or Damage 1 (Strength-based)
attack. The Damage 0 cape costs the same as listed above, a Damage 1 attack for a heavier weight or edged cape costs an additional +1 EP. Thrown Weapon
A hero can use their cape to attempt to entangle their foe's feet and tripping their opponent.
Make a Ranged Attack [Thrown] check against your opponent’s Dodge with a circumstance penalty on the check based on the size of the cape: -6 for a Short cape, -4 for a Medium cape, -2 for a Long cape, and +02 for an Extra Long cape. If the attack succeeds, your opponent makes a Acrobatics or Athletics vs. DC 10. Failure to resist the Prone condition. This condition lasts until the opponent uses a Move Action to remove the cape and stand back up.Caught Dollar Bill a few pages before demonstrating the Caught Drawback.DRAWBACKSCaught
The hero has his cape caught either by an object or an opponent.
A character may make a called shot to grab hold of an opponent's cape. This is treated as a standard Grapple attempt with bonus determined by the cape's size (see above). Also, if the hero rolls a critical failure, or the Gamemaster gives the player a Hero Point as a Complication, the Gamemaster may declare that he may have gotten his cape caught (by a nail, twig, a bank's revolving door, or other hazard).
If the hero has his cape caught, he must either spend a move action removing the cape (if the cape is caught on an inanimate object) or make an opposed Grapple roll against his attacker to pull it free.Tripped
The hero has tread on his cape and caused himself to stumble.
Heroes with any length of cape can trip on them if they have been removed and are near the hero's feet. Heroes with Long or Extra Long capes can trip on them even if the heroes are still wearing them. If a hero with a Long or Extra Long cape fails an Active Defense check, Acrobatics, Athletics or Stealth check with a critical failure, he has tripped over his cape. Alternatively, the Gamemaster may give the player a Hero Point as a Complication and declare that the hero has tripped. A tripped character falls prone (and if critically failing a Stealth roll is no longer hidden!).Tripped Even Captain America (as Nomad) is powerless before a fickle Gamemaster and the Tripped Drawback!