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Boom Box Benny


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ORtrail's description of introducing his niece to role-playing inspired me to write up some characters. I originally created Boom Box Benny for Champions but here he is for BRP.

Boom Box Benny

Quote: “Duuuuuude! You’ll never catch Boom Box Benny, King of the Skaters!”

Benjamin Finklestein, petty thief and not-so-petty annoyance, grew up tinkering with the junk in the back of his grandfather’s electronics repair shop, when he wasn’t ditching his homework to practice skateboard acrobatics with his friends on the sidewalks out front. Despite Grandpa’s insistence that education was the key to a better future, study just didn’t seem all that interesting … until the day two well-dressed but rough-looking men brought in some odd gizmos to be fixed. The badly damaged gadgets were like nothing that Benjamin (or his grandfather, for that matter) had ever seen. “Never mind what it does, Pops,” the men told Grandpa. “Just get it working.” When his grandfather indignantly protested that this was impossible, the men grudgingly supplied a set of schematics. Benjamin was fascinated. He diligently watched as Grandpa compared the diagrams to the objects on the workshop table. He held tools, solder and test equipment while his grandfather bent and spliced, cut away and replaced portions of circuitry, carefully adjusted crystalline-looking components, and tested connections. The men seemed satisfied with Grandpa’s work, took the devices and schematics, and paid him well, warning him to keep his mouth shut about the job.

But Benjamin had noticed more than his grandfather’s careful repairs. The connections, wiring and circuitry had changed in between work sessions, sometimes in barely perceptible ways and other times more obviously. Grandpa had frowned thoughtfully but hadn’t said anything about it. And there were always small parts left over somehow, including crystals. It almost seemed as if the leftover parts were growing and spreading, like mold or lichen. The tough-looking men had taken these extras along with the schematics. They didn’t get all of them, however. Benjamin had grabbed a few to examine more closely when Grandpa wasn’t looking, had hidden them inside the hulk of a decades-old portable radio and cassette player that he used as a stand for his skateboard when he wasn’t riding. He returned to claim his prizes the day after the men had left but found them missing. Instead, the formerly dusty interior of the bulky boom box bristled with shiny new electronics like those from the machines Grandpa had repaired. It worked now, with a sound crisper and louder than much newer portable music devices he’d seen in store displays. Benjamin found the boom box changed to accept whatever music-bearing media was offered to it. Benjamin’s skateboard was also crusted with the circuitry, although it didn’t interfere with the movement of the wheels. In fact, the additions made the ride faster and smoother than ever before and enabled Benjamin to perform aerial acrobatic stunts he’d only dreamed about. He discovered the radio’s offensive capabilities when some thugs tried to rob Grandpa’s shop. Benny blasted them out the shop door and across the street. He’s been cocky ever since.

Boom Box Benny is a short, wiry kid somewhere in his early teens. He doesn’t wear a costume as such but assorted hats, tee shirts, and shorts bearing the logos of various skateboard manufacturers such as Reckless (which describes Benny’s outlook pretty well). He never wears a helmet or pads (which would give him a modicum of safety and some Armor). Although he’s pretty good at skateboarding, his powers derive primarily from his augmented boom box and board. In addition to playing normal music beautifully, the boom box can emit damaging blasts of concentrated sound at Benny’s mental command. The skateboard gives Benny unnatural agility, speed and leaping ability. Even without his gear, he’s pretty nimble and sneaky, and he can make a normal skateboard seem to fly.

He isn’t a supervillain yet, but he is a super nuisance with his pranks, public stunts, and pilfering. For now, Boom Box Benny is exploring his powers and tweaking adult authority when he can get away with it. He still listens to his grandfather, however, and will do anything to protect him. Boom Box Benny is apt to stumble into the middle of things when player-character heroes are trying to stop a crime or get the drop on a malefactor. He’s absolutely fearless, likely to circle a master villain and shout taunts, then zoom away, attempting to blast the heroes when they intervene to protect him.

STR 11

CON 15


INT 13

POW 11

DEX 17

APP 10

Move: 10, skateboard 12

Hit Points: 23 (CON+SIZ)

Damage Bonus: +0

Armor: None

Attacks: Brawl 25%, 1D3+DB; Grapple 25%, 1D3+DB; Rousing Round of Blazing Sound 68%, 3D6

Skills: Climb 46%, Dodge 68%, Drive (Skateboard) 70%, Fine Manipulation 56%, Hide 61%, Jump 60%, Knowledge (All – just ask him) 100%, Listen 25%, Projection 68%, Repair (Electronics) 49%, Spot 59%, Stealth 61%

Powers: Defense, six levels, -30% to be hit; Energy Projection (Sound), three levels, 3D6 damage, 3 power points per use; Extra Energy, +100 power points; Leap, five levels, +10 meters to Jump; Super Speed, two levels, -20% to be hit, 2 power points per combat round

Failings: Socially excluded group (minor), +3 points; Sulky, reckless teenager, +2 points; Dependent, Grandpa, infrequent, +1

Notes: 250 skill points plus 130 personal skill points = 380 total. 85 initial power points based on characteristics total plus 6 for Failings = total 91

Edited by seneschal
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Heh, that's one SEGA game I missed. After my time, I suppose.


The guy, top row, far right, is the general idea, although I didn't envision Benny as a brawny brute.


Although I conceived of Boom Box Benny years before I was married, the current incarnation is at least in part influenced by my son, although he prefers tiny MP3 players to the massive boom boxes from my youth. In his Champions incarnation, Boom Box Benny was the leader of a gang of mall rats who preferred shoplifting to spray painting.

While discussing video game violence with my son recently, he made the comment, "Back in your day ...." I replied, "It's STILL my day, Buckaroo, and don't you forget it!"

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Rather than create a new thread, let's do a bit of threadjacking on this one: Has anyone done stats for the Oz characters?

A combination of circumstances has me interested in doing a one-shot type adventure in Oz. Maybe. It might have started with downloading some of the Oz books from Project Gutenberg (Nook for the win), adding a winged monkey to the recent Superworld adventure, seeing an Oz RPG (Adventures in Oz?) while buying dice recently, finding more Oz stuff at RPGNow, and digging out a one-shot Oz comic from 2005.

The comic, Oz F5: Gale Force was an interesting take on the familiar Oz characters. The Tin Woodman was bigger and stronger, the Scarecrow was Asian-themed with staff skills, Lion was a kilt wearing Highlander-type, Dorothy was a red head in a skin tight catsuit armed with a super-soaker, and Toto was a large bulldog. The story was similar, if nonsensical at times (Dorothy came out of the house all ready to roll like she already knew Oz and that water was a deadly weapon). The monkeys had jet packs, the Wick Witch was kinda hot, etc. It was... interesting.

I did not realize there were so many books written about Oz by L. Frank Baum, but I'm not sure I want to invest the time to read them all in the near future and write gaming notes. I could grab one of the Oz RPGs and save time researching, but having to learn a new RPG system is almost an automatic deal-breaker for me. I'd rather just do my own take anyway, considering the Oz we all know as "history/events told by young kids" and that the actual Oz is more grown-up. Actually, now that I think about it, watching Once Upon a Time (the TV show) on Netflix with the wife has had an influence too.

So, has anyone done stats for Oz characters in BRP? I'll write up some myself eventually, probably using Superworld as they will be at least minor super beings, but another person's take on them would be helpful.

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A few years ago, I did indeed read most of the Oz books and wrote nine characters up for Hero System, eight heroes and one master villain. You can find them here:


The Hero stats and my descriptions should give you a good leg up on doing BRP stats. Hero System killing attacks equal BRP damage. Divide Hero System regular damage by three to get a BRP equivalent. Hero strength scales differently than BRP; 40 STR in BRP is 28 STR in Hero, for example, but you can compare them by the amount of damage they do or by the amount they allow a character to lift. Hero skills are based on a 3D6 roll under rather than percentile. So an 8- skill roll is iffy; 11- is average, competent; a 14- skill roll is good; 18- skill roll is amazing. Skills in Hero System are cheap, so characters tend to have lots of them. Hero characters pay for their build (characteristics and powers/skills) points with Disadvantages, which are similar to Superworld Failings. For your BRP conversions, you'd just pick one or two of the most important ones. Hero Talents can be mimicked by BRP powers; Perks are the sort of thing that would just be role-played in BRP (such as being disgustingly rich) or represented by a high skill roll (such as having a high social status, Status for BRP).

In Hero System, 100-150 points is a character of action movie competence. Around 200-ish is low superhero level or really powerful pulp adventurer level. 250 points was, at the time I did the write-ups, where your standard superheros started out. So Dorothy, Oz, and the Shaggy Man are highly capable normals, while Dorothy's three companions are superhero material. Roquat of the Rocks, Nome King, the only villain to survive to face Dorothy more than once, is definitely a master villain.

Edited by seneschal
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Very cool, although reading this I feel I'm late to the party on this Oz thing:

Also, the heroes of the Oz books are arguably the earliest example of a modern

superhero team, predating the Justice Society of America by more than forty

years. While they may not be as "super" as later protagonists, they

demonstrably have abilities beyond those of mortal men.

At this point I'm not going to worry that I need to adhere to the books all that much, but this confirmed my thought of treating most of them as supers. I'm more inclined to treat Oz as a virtual reality gone amok or having gained a life of its own, as it were. Still mulling ideas and such. I did put down notes on a "super villian" team to oppose the "Champions of Oz". I'll see your Tin Woodman and raise you an Iron Horse, etc. :) Ideally, I'd like a 3-4 adventure campaign with a definite conclusion.

Another thought: Often I start with some image in my head that I then build into an adventure, filling in the details about what is going on, etc. A villian team based on the Oz characters would be hilarious to me in a "normal" supers campaign.

Edited by ORtrail
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Not sure if this helps, its for the Savage Worlds rpg but it may have content of use to you ORtrail:



Edited by Mankcam

" Sure it's fun, but it is also well known that a D20 roll and an AC is no match against a hefty swing of a D100% and a D20 Hit Location Table!"

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I just picked up the PDF and Epub versions of Adventures in Oz from DrivethruRPG, on sale for $6.99. While I reserve the right to run an Oz campaign at some point in the future (it would be a nice change of pace), I have collected together some maps and notes for a Superworld Oz adventure:

What if Dorothy never got back home to Kansas? What if the house landed a couple feet (pun intended) to the left? Or was it right? In any event the ruby slippers are toast. The Wicked Witch of the West (clearly the target of a smear campaign by the Emrald City powers that be) still ends up dead (actually only mostly dead) and Dorothy, unable to get home, takes over as ruler in Oz (as was her right after defeating the Wicked Witch). Dorothy had four rings made, all of which included fragments from the ruby slippers. Her three companions become the Champions of Oz, the enforcers that maintain order and collect tribute from the four countries of Oz. Power corrupts, and though only 15 years have passed in Oz it has been more than 5 times that here on earth. Remember, we are dealing with a girl who was living with Auntie Em and Uncle Henry after the (mysterious?) deaths of her parents! The warning signs were there.... ;)

A rebel movement is growing in Oz, and though Dorothy had her house moved safely into the Emerald City (for certainly coming from another world it retains some kind of power for having made the journey between worlds?) it never occurs to her or anyone else in Oz to look for the Gale family stable.... Recently, a desperate rebel stumbled upon a strange building in the wilderness of Oz while fleeing from the Lion. Having stolen the ruby fragment encrusted collar of the dead beast known as "Toto" the rebels hoped to find a way to turn its power against Queen Dorothy. A desire to get away, the Gale stable, the ruby dog collar, and a sudden windstorm.... do I have to spell it out?

Who better to right things in Oz than a group of super heroes? Golden Gate Park, where the fight for a free Oz begins....

"Transported to a surreal landscape, a young girl kills the first person she meets, then teams up with three complete strangers to kill again." -Wizard of Oz synopsis written by Rick Polito. :)

Edited by ORtrail
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Hmmm, Dorothy was about 6 when she landed in Oz, so in your campaign she'd be 21. In your version, she was The Bad Seed, deserving of the sanitarium featured in Disney's Return to Oz. The Evil Empress. But what happened to Oz the Great and Terrible, Ozma (daughter of former King Pastoria, therefore the rightful heir), and the three other witches? Also, Oz doesn't exist in a vacuum. There are surrounding kingdoms such as Ev and the underground world of the Nome King.

Are the PC heroes confronting the Trio in Oz or in Golden Gate Park? Or is it the rebels who arrive, asking help from investigating supers?

Note: Oz and its associated territories -- unlike, say, Narnia -- is supposedly somewhere on the surface of our Earth, separated from Bangladesh or Ivory Coast or Canada, etc., only by the Deadly Desert. That's why a tornado or ocean squall can get you there, and why assorted other early-20th-century adventurers in addition to the Wizard and Dorothy kept showing up in the book series. Unless Dorothy has thought to cloak the region magically (as Glinda eventually did in the book series), the Emerald City could theoretically be spotted via satellite or by overflying jet fighters -- and PC superheroes could actually fly there if they could get accurate GPS directions. Or the PCs could go to the rescue of the passengers of a downed airliner -- and find themselves not in Kansas anymore.

Oz being a "real" accessible place may seem limiting at first, but consider the possibilities. E.g., Iran breaks off its nuclear program, not because of UN sanctions but because it has discovered another, greater power in its neighbor: Oz!

Edited by seneschal
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As I've done more reading, I can see how my scenario requires either a mere passing knowledge of Oz, or the assumption that what we "know" about the history of Oz is the result of an interdemsional propaganda campaign by the Oz equivalent of "Baghdad Bob" (I'm looking at YOU Mr. Baum). Or both. :)

Consider it an "alternate Oz" world, but it would be a nice twist to have the Nome King, Wicked Witch of the West, and other baddies as the rebel fighters for a free Oz. Part of the fun being these rebels having to convince "real world" supers that they are not the persons potrayed in those books....

I knew the classic movie was loosely based on the book(s) but the changes are significant. Dorothy is much older, the lion is anthropormorphic, etc. I think my probable player group is only familiar with the movie version of Oz, so I need to play off of that.

I do have a nice map showing the wider world of Oz (past the deserts) with Ev, Boboland, Kingdom of Ix, Noland, etc. I can safely ignore those and assume an isolationist Oz under Queen Dorothy. I doubt the player will think to ask about the borders of Oz, as they'll only see a different map with Oz and the deserts.

This Oz adventure is a work-in-progress. Ideally, I'd love to work in the Superworld Oz adventure progressively, say starting with Oscar Zoroaster Diggs showing up outside Seattle in his balloon, seeking help for Oz. He crashed his balloon on the borderlands of Oz and was taken prisoner for several years as a spy -instead of heading back to earth as is presumed in the movie. Seeing the tyranny of Queen Dorothy, he joins the rebels (seperate rebel groups? uneasy alliance?) and seeks help back on earth. He is tracked to super earth by one or more of the Champions of Oz (making the trip back and forth in the Gale farm house of course) and his return is demanded, so he can stand trial for his crimes committed as "Oz the Great and Terrible". I'm guessing the heroes reluctantly allow Oscar to stay on earth, and the Champions depart peacefully. On to the Dr. Null adventure.

A month later, the Gale family stable appears near Portland, containing the Wicked Witch of the West (having survived her apparent death and dehydrated) some remaining loyal flying monkeys and a crazy story for our heroes. The Champions quickly follow again, the Witch demands political asylum, they depart again.

On to a different Superworld adventure.

Two weeks later, the Gale farm house appears in San Fran, the current San Fran super group, the Golden Gate Guardians, investigate the house, and it shifts back to Oz with them in it (they are swarmed by the forces of Oz and captured). The player characters join Uncle Stinger and his retired friends to help protect San Fran while the GGG are missing. The farmhouse appears two days later, near a San Fran school yard and most of a class of second graders are grabbed by the Champions and flying monkeys and taken back to Oz. Dorothy knows children are the easiest to indoctrinate and she misses human company, but won't give up her power and status to return to earth. It is a strange world to her now anyway.

By now the player heroes will be forced to cut a deal with the combination of Oscar and the Wicked Witch, who have a deal between themselves about dividing up Oz once Dorothy is overthrown. Together they can get either the balloon or the Gale family stable back to Oz, along with the heroes who need to rescue the GGG and the children. Or maybe Dorothy has a growing "shopping list" of things she wants from this world, the comforts of home if you will, and sends a Champion or two back yet again to gather these items at a mall. They will always retreat to the farm house and our heroes must follow them in to get to Oz.

Do they work closely with the rebels of Oz? Which group? Or do they concentrate on getting the children and other heroes back and flee Oz, letting things sort out as they may? I see the children being held at a recreated Kansas farm outside the Emerald City, and the GGG held in an underground prison run by fungi creatures who keep the inmates docile with tainted food.

Much of this may change as I read more of the Adventures in Oz RPG and incorporate other characters, etc.

Edited by ORtrail
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I actually missed reading your last post after the edit, or it just didn't register until today seneschal. Oz on earth? No, I like the idea of it being a dimension over from our world.

I was pondering what government agency would handle, or be created to handle, interdimensional relations? Assign an Interdimensional Ambassdor to accompany the heroes into Oz? Way too much fun to have a person along who can cause all kinds of issues for the characters -whether through stupidity or arrogance. With an ambassador eager to establish a peaceful resolution with concessions left and right, the heroes could end up having to decide whether to go along or do some "nation building" of their own.

Then a sentence popped into my head: "Oil fields of Oz." What if a pipeline could be established from Oz to our earth? Oz sits on top of a massive oil reserve, which would free the United States from (other) foreign oil dependence, and drop the cost of gas in half within six months.

An invasion force to "liberate" Oz spearheaded by the heroes? A treaty established with Queen Dorothy and any human, er, munchkin rights violations are overlooked? Of course most of my super adventures are fairly self-contained, with few lingering, world altering effects. This would in effect create a BOO (Before Oz Oil) world and a AOO (After Oz Oil) world. Then again, I have been fighting the flu all this week, so I might look back on this in a few days and wonder what combination of meds brought it about. :)

Okay, but I think adding an Envoy or Ambassador to help resolve the Oz-Earth "issues" needs to be part of this adventure.

Edited by ORtrail
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