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Judy "Violence" Battacker


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#1 Pseudonym

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 06:55 PM

Judy "Violence" Battacker

Superior Body
Superior Strength
Superior Agility
Bio

The choice was simple. Judy could spend ten years in prison or five at the Hernandez Centre for Anti-Violence Behavioral Therapy. Judy thought the Centre was the clear choice: less time and a cushier environment. She was wrong.

The philosophy of the Hernandez Centre was that patients should be taught to channel frustration without resorting to violent action. As such, patients were given material with which to do art. Violent Expression was censored and punished.

Judy was punished often. The staff worried that she wasn't reacting positively to her treatment. All other patients seemed to become less violent as treatment continued. Late at night when she thought no one was watching, Judy pummeled her pillow. With every savage strike into the fluff, she whispered the name of one of the administrators of the facility. She was punished harshly the next day, but the punishments did nothing to discourage the behavior from continuing.

On the last day of her appointed five years, Judy broke into a staff building. She stole supplies and hospitalized three workers with vicious blows to the head and body. The Centre wanted to keep her. They wanted to continue to mold her, that she would become a less violent individual. Unfortunately for them, her time was up. Judy was released at 12:00 Noon on August 20th.

Personality

"My God, I am so glad to be back out" exclaimed Judy. She threw a right hook that sent her heavy bag thudding against the opposite wall of the dojo.

Her friend, Castor smirked. "Was it really that bad?"

Judy went to set the heavy bag up again. "We had no violence at all." She punctuated her words with jabs to the bag. "It was terrible." Judy threw a haymaker. The bag shot across the room again. Judy frowned, "The bag is too light. I never got it that hard before."

Castor grinned and set the bag up in the middle of the room. He set up in a stance and roundhoused the bag. It tipped over. "You're a powerhouse, Judy. Looks like you had a lot of power backed up while you were out."

Judy nodded. "Do we have any jobs lined up? I'm itching to go out and crack some heads."

"There's an extortion operation out of a church about ten miles from here. You wanna go?"

"Let's do it."

Superior Crushing Weapon (Fisticuffs)

The Hallowed Church of The Apostles opened its mid-week service at 6:00 PM. They opened with the announcements for the week and then lifted their voices in praise to their lord. Judy and Castor got off the bus at 6:10. They could hear the sounds of singing coming from the walls of the church. Castor glanced at his watch in shock and then swore in frustration. "I wanted to get here before they started."

"Why?" The double doors were open a Judy wanted to walk right in.

"I don't want to interrupt." Castor sat down heavily at the bus stop. "Let them do their thing,"

Judy sat down next to Castor. "How long is their service?"

"Three hours."

Judy leapt up from the seat, "Three hours! This is bullshit." She crossed the street and walked right into the church. At the front, was a small man with a shock of red hair reading emphatically into a microphone. The audience in the pews had their heads all bowed in reverence. The priest himself was reading with such fervor that he hadn't noticed Judy walk in. Her entrance was met with no response. There was a slight eeriness to being in a room full of people who all pretended she didn't exist. Judy charged down the center aisle, screaming at the top of her lungs.

She reached the priest and yanked him off the ground with her non dominant hand. Her other arm was cocked back over her shoulder, hand balled into a fist. "You extortionist piece of shit! How dare you do that to all these nice people? "

"Please no!" The priest reached up and tried to pry Judy's hand off his collar. Castor ran down the aisle and tapped Judy on the shoulder. "He's our informant."

Judy set the man down with a muttered apology and smoothed out his collar. "I'm so sorry, sir." She looked around. The crowd was staring hatefully. She waved apologetically back.

"I will conclude my business within an hour." said the Priest. "Wait for me in the office in the back until then."

Judy and Castor walked to the priest's office in the back. It was a small room. In it, there was a desk, messy with papers strewn over the top and a file cabinet nearby. Judy closed the door behind her and immediately started rummaging through, scanning papers for any evidence of foul play. "I don't trust him. I really don't." she muttered as she tossed a tax form onto the desk behind her.

"I got a question I wanted to ask you," said Castor. "Your bracelets, what's up with them."

Judy glanced down at her wrists where she had two bracelets in the shape of handcuffs. There was no chain between them, but on each side there was a single link where the chain would go. "I stole'em on the last day I was there." Judy pulled her way out of the file cabinet and turned to look at Castor. "They were reminders of self control. When we were there, they were connected. I broke these." Judy sat in the priest's chair and put her boots up on his desk.

"Why did you keep them?" asked Castor.

"Two reasons: Firstly, to remind myself of how people tried to control me. Secondly, because have you ever smacked someone upside the head with a bit of corrugated steel? This is the best head cracker I could find."

Castor shook his head and chuckled. "Not even five years of torture could change you."

Judy was about to respond when the priest walked in. "Now our conversation is able to commence. Thank you for your patience and for coming. He is coming tonight and I need your help.

Standard Iron Will (Tough Bitch)

"There are two of them. One is a man in a suit, he wields a long dagger. The other is some kind of beast - well over seven feet tall and strong enough to fling my desk out of this room." The priest's eyes darted back and forth from Castor to Judy. "Is there any way you can get them off my back."

Judy was confused. "A dagger? Seriously, who carries a dagger. What is this, the eighteen hundreds? Oh, let me just call up Lady frickin' Watchfob because apparently Lord DaggerMan is on the damn loose." Judy saw Castor's disapproving glance out of the corner of his eye. "Look, all I'm saying is. Any ponce who's carrying a dumb dagger can't be all that threatening. Tell us when he's coming back, we'll take care of him."

The priest sighed. "He should be here at midnight. He seems to have an affinity for that hour." The priest paused to pointedly ignore Judy's muttering under her breath. Then he glanced at his watch. "About a half hour from now, actually. Will you help?" Judy nodded.

Half an hour later, Judy and Castor were in the main room of the church waiting. In through the doors walked two people. The first was a short person in a suit, holding his dagger in his left hand. He looked young, maybe 15 years old. Behind him was a monstrous beast with muscles pushing out his skin. He wore no clothes except for a pair of shorts. Judy cupped her hand over her mouth and whispered to Castor, "The big one's mine." He nodded and grinned.

The child with the knife spoke first. "I assume the priest has hired you two to protect him?" He laughed and flipped his knife into an attacking position. Liquid dripped off the point. Castor reached into his back pockets and pulled out two glass canisters. With a click of a button, they revealed themselves to be oversized syringes that he wielded like two knives.

Judy cracked up. "Oh God, when did you start carrying those around?"

Castor shrugged, "Things have changed in five years."

"You're somehow managing to out-dork this little kid over here. On three, we go in for the attack, ready?" Castor nodded. "THREE!" Judy sprinted for the big guy.

She opened with a right hook. Her opponent easily ducked under the punch and stepped back a little. Judy was confused that he didn't strike back, she swung again with such force that the punch lifted her into the air. Just before she hit the beast's jaw, her opponent shifted his body weight and rolled her over his hip. The pew that broke Judy's fall ripped in half under the force of the throw.

The Beast laughed. "On my planet, only babies fight with as much anger as you do." The fact that her opponent was an alien didn't shock Judy. But she noticed that he thought she was down for the count. She waited, breathing shallowly, eyes mostly closed. Her opponent came closer. Judy exploded up from the ground, fist extended. The alien caught her fist and whipped her across the church again, this time toward Castor and the boy who were engaged in vicious combat.

As Judy tumbled through the air, she felt the pointed blade of a dagger slip into her side. She bucked wildly in pain, pulling away. She turned her head and swore loudly at the boy. The ground shook with her impact. She stood up next to Castor, bleeding heavily from the side.

"You okay?" asked Castor through heavy breaths.

"Never better."

"Plan B?" Castor offered.

"What's Plan B?"


Standard Berserker (The Calm and the Storm)

Before she could react, Castor put one of his syringes in Judy's neck. She looked at him in betrayed shock for a second before falling to the floor from the pain.

"Look, he's started betraying his partner," the alien chuckled, "maybe he wants to join us now."

Castor smirked, "Not quite." Judy stood up and rolled her neck to pop out the kinks.

"I'm surprised you still had any stored up." Judy said.

"Always prepared."

Judy turned to the two baffled extortionists to explain. "It's muscle relaxant. 'A calm mind is a functional mind.' I learned it while I was in jail, I guess Castor picked it up in the five years since I left."

"It's surprisingly useful," answered Castor.

"Now, in the holy name of whichever god watches over this church I will beat the shit out of you." Judy vaulted a pew and slammed her cuff into the wrist of the boy with the dagger. She felt bones shift and crumble under her savage blow. The boy screamed in pain. Judy chuckled and turned to the alien who was barreling through the church, scattering obstacles aside with big swipes of his hand. Judy ducked under his first punch and uppercutted him into the air. "On my planet, we call people like you huge pussies!" she shouted up at the alien.

The alien landed heavily and ran for the door. The boy followed, cradling his broken hand. Judy turned back to Castor, "Looks like we did it. You know, for a minute, I was convinced you'd actually betrayed me."

"I never would," responded Castor, "Angels stick together."

#2 Ivan

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 09:31 PM

I'm still in the process of reading it, but you're wasting four points in Crushing Weapon. Between Superior Strength and Standard Berserk, you've already got a Superior-to-Supreme level attack. Judy is also unbalanced for a brawler- you could take 2 points out of Crushing Weapon and pump up Iron Will. Violence is about being able to take as good as you get, and right now Judy can't.

I'd take those remaining two points and give her Martial Arts. Call it "Fisticuffs" if you like, or "Street Fighting" or whatever, but it assumes an attack/defense/mobility benefit, suggesting experience which augments and takes full advantage of her stats.

Story-wise, not much is going on here. Judy likes "violence" because she likes it. It doesn't seem fun, or fulfilling, or sexual, or compulsive, it's just a statement and it doesn't jive all that well. There is a paper-thin reason for them to be in the church and fight those two dudes. If they're just in it for the money, make that clearer. If they're in it because they simply like to rumble, say that.

Judy and Castor outed the priest as the informant in front of the entire congregation. Dick move. There is no reason for them to wait until midnight. The story would move along much more easily if they went to the church and found their opponents already there. Get to the part of the story where something happens much faster.

You've done a little with Judy's personality, but I'd like to see more. As of now she's the main character, and she has no more depth than "I like fighting" and "I'm impatient." If years of torture couldn't break her, show us that inner strength, that grit and drive and determination that allows that. Look, here is a character-based reason to raise Iron Will, it is much more a part of her character than Crushing Attack.

The Priest needs a name. Castor could know it and use it, Judy could learn it. The details of Judy and Castor's association should be there, too. You don't have to give them all, but you need to know them all and let us know they exist. They just show up places and fight things because the narrative demands fighting, not because they have a character-based or plot-based reason to do so.

There should be evidence of the beast having thrown the desk, (like a hole in the wall,) otherwise it sounds like Priest is using an incredibly bizarre, specific frame of reference for strength. Maybe have the alien actively throw a pew or something, instead.

It isn't clear what the trade-off is for Berserker. Judy doesn't seem to get stronger, but she does seem to get faster. That's a totally cool way to use Berserker, but be clear about it: what stat drops and what stat gets a boost?

My suggestion is rewrite it all. That might sound harsh, but you're now at a level where the FPL voting public expects a certain consistency in your characters. Get to know Judy and Castor. What makes them tick? What is the nature of their relationship? Do they have families? What do they do when they're bored? How do they make a living? How about the Priest? How exactly is he being manipulated? What does he have that the extortionists need, that is worth their time and energy to continually harass him? Who was Judy's main psychiatrist/counselor at HCA? Why did he/she sign off on Judy's release? (A place like that can keep you indefinitely unless you convince them you're "cured.")

I would open with Judy sitting before the parole board. Think of the "Rehabilitated" speech from Shawshank. So you've got this character who was young and reckless, and now she's spent time learning to play the game but really all they've done is teach her how to effectively channel her impulses. They've made her a deadlier weapon without realizing it. They didn't just let her go- she outsmarted them. You should then show her reunion with Castor. Is he there waiting for her when she gets out? Does she go find him? How have the last five years changed him? (Does he have a twin brother named Pollux?)

So you've got these two characters you established in the Bio and Personality section, and they're going to do a job. I'd get right into the action- you can cover the six hours during the Crushing Weapon and Iron Will descriptions in a single line of dialogue and not miss any relevant information. Get right in to showing us how these powers work. Create a kinetic, exciting action sequence. Right now the story is mostly the breaks between action.

Finally, I'd suggest that if they're going to be Angels of Mercy, they need to have a reason to have chosen that organization over freelance vigilantism. What do they get out of being Angels? Information? Backup? Decoder Rings?

I'd say what you have here is the beginnings of an idea- raw ingredients. Use them to create something.

#3 Pseudonym

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 06:41 AM

Woah, thanks for the criticism.

Some things,

1) I don't feel that Crushing Weapon is extra. I was using it to introduce the handcuffs which was supposed to indicate how much this character is about Control and Punishment. It works as a powerful symbol for elsewhere in other stories. Self control, mind control, leadership etc. I do agree that it shouldn't be Superior level though. That was a dumb choice on my part.
2) I intentionally didn't give her martial arts, because she's not that experienced. Martial Arts is supposed to be Black Belt level, and I didn't want Judy to seem that great skill-wise.
3) I didn't sacrifice anythign with Berserker. The power definition says you don't have to in order to raise only one rank. I thought that was the definition we were going with, Rhekarid's.
4) As for personality, I tried one of those personality chart things where I write a lot of adjectives. I got: rude, impatient, violent, abrasive, belligerent, hotheaded, judgemental, loud, brash, and truculent. I tried to include all of these - as similar as they are. But you still say you want more personality. I guess what I'm saying is: How do you mean more personality?
5) Castor does have a brother named Pollux. You've figured me out.
6.You say you want to know if they have family, what they do on the weekends etc. But I don't see how that's relevant. I don't know what Brainchild does on the weekends or when she gets bored. I don't know if Sage has any family. I dunno how I would include these character details without deviating hard from the story I'm telling.
7) Rewrite ahoy, thank you kindly for the advice.

#4 Ivan

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 04:38 PM

3) I didn't sacrifice anythign with Berserker. The power definition says you don't have to in order to raise only one rank. I thought that was the definition we were going with, Rhekarid's.
4) As for personality, I tried one of those personality chart things where I write a lot of adjectives. I got: rude, impatient, violent, abrasive, belligerent, hotheaded, judgemental, loud, brash, and truculent. I tried to include all of these - as similar as they are. But you still say you want more personality. I guess what I'm saying is: How do you mean more personality?
5) Castor does have a brother named Pollux. You've figured me out.
6.You say you want to know if they have family, what they do on the weekends etc. But I don't see how that's relevant. I don't know what Brainchild does on the weekends or when she gets bored. I don't know if Sage has any family. I dunno how I would include these character details without deviating hard from the story I'm telling.
7) Rewrite ahoy, thank you kindly for the advice.


1- You are free to make any choices you like in spending the points, but I feel like you can keep the handcuffs without needing to use a power to show them. They don't add any extra damage to her fists, so at the moment you're effectively paying for jewelry. Martial Arts doesn't specifically imply advanced training in a Far Eastern discipline. Boxing, Street Fighting, Brawling, those are all covered. I understand if you don't like the suggestion. Another option is to redistribute the strength stat, if she's got a Superior Crushing Attack for her punch then she might not need her strength for other things. This would let you take add-ons to Crushing Weapon like multi-attack (because she can "dual wield" her own fists.)
3- sorry, I hadn't realized that the power description was changed. I need to change that in the character template primer.
4- the characters don't *show* any personality in the story, as-is. After reading the character sheet, I can honestly say that I couldn't fill out one of those personality charts for Judy. You mentioned some a list of adjectives, most of them synonyms, which is a fine exercise. However, that stuff has to come through in the character. Theoretically, I as a reader should dislike Judy because of those qualities you mentioned. However, at present I don't care about her enough to dislike her. You need to bring her into the story more... right now it's written in a way that just plops her in a generic scenario with stock villains, bystanders, and allies, and nothing stands out. You mentioned the handcuffs being a symbol. I didn't get that at all. I nearly wrote "you missed a chance to do something meaningful with the handcuffs," in my original critique, but I thought it sounded unnecessarily harsh. If you want to make the handcuffs a symbol, they have to work as a symbol. The worst way to do that is for her to tell us they're a symbol. Maybe they've got a link or two of chain left on them, and every time she punches the chain makes a little jangling noise, and the repetition of that sound rings in her ears every single time. Maybe they dig into her wrists and leave scars, and the pain is cathartic. If you want to make them a symbol, you have to connect them to something physical that expresses their symbolism. If I'm not mistaken you wrote on the electricferret front page about the duty of readers to ascribe symbolism to an author's words. The caveat there is that there must be enough in-text support for that argument to be made if the reader wants the symbol to be considered valid. Holden's hat cannot be a symbol of his love for academia. Similarly, if it weren't for Judy spoon-feeding the audience her personal take on the meaning of the handcuffs, there would be no textual support for the reader to find that suggestion.
6) You may not know how my characters spend their free time, but I do. This is what is important. While the Alpha Sentinels aren't the best examples of that, I believe I was able to establish a personality profile for each character which distinguishes them from being direct ripoffs of existing superheroes. You may disagree. The point is, the author doesn't have to tell the audience everything, but he/she needs to know it. I get a strong sense that you don't know your characters beyond what you wrote about them. They don't feel like they have thoughts, emotions, relationships, phobias, opinions, etc.

#5 Pseudonym

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 04:45 PM

I see, I feel like I really need to rewrite this character, but before I do that, I need to learn some lessons on how to put personality in my writing. As it stands, I don't know how? I'm gonna go read me some books, I guess. If you have any advice, I'd be glad to hear it, because I sure as hell need it.

#6 Ivan

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 07:06 PM

I think Winston Little has personality. "Stone" in Wraith's character sheet has personality (even if I was confused by the Tyler Cook/Johnson thing.)

Look at this passage from Sarah Maroon:

Sarah woke up the next day mid-morning rejoicing in the fact that a Saturday allowed her to sleep in. She walked to the bathroom to combat her atrocious bedhead, but the shower was already running and the door was locked. Someone was inside. Patiently, Sarah sat and contemplated the pattern of stains on the wall until her neighbor emerged, towel wrapped around his waist. She bid him good morning and slipped into the bathroom to brush her teeth, comb her hair, and take a quick shower.

From just this paragraph, we can infer that Sarah is overworked, that she can take joy in the little things, that she cares about her appearance, that she is patient, observant, polite, and has distinct personal standards of hygiene that peg her as a product of more than just her socioeconomic status. She's a diamond in the rough, as it were.

Now Sarah Maroon is not a perfect character sheet, but it gets us right into the action, and Sarah's waiting at the beginning has distinct purpose and payoff (unlike Judy and Castor's waiting, which really just serves a purpose retroactively for them to be able to both interrupt a church service and still be around at midnight.) I'm sure you can do it, because I've seen you do it. If Judy and Castor had even 50% of the interplay between Sarah and Firestarter, you'd really have something.




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