Monday, February 26, 2018

You Can Run But You Can't Hyde

Nothing would have come of the doctor's formula. Nothing should have come of it except a friend, another man of science, felt it had to have some use. Perhaps he was right. The doctor's notebooks were brought to the Ministry of Defense in the darkest of hours.

The Frankenstein Monster was spreading havoc and fear across Europe. The Japanese had seized the work of the other great doctor and were creating man-animal hybrids. Success in the Allied Electric Trooper Program and the Unseen Agent Project continued to elude discovery.

Avatine was described in the lab book as unlocking a person's inner self, of providing clarity of purpose and resolve. Unfortunately the doctor used it on himself and he was a repressed and bitter basket case. The inner self he unlocked was a violent sociopath who committed murder, robbery and possibly forced the fate worse than death on some poor women.

Therapists and psychoanalysts were set to find people without inner demons, or at least only run f the mill ones. The drug was tested, refined, tested again. The results were amazing but most were quietly shipped off to duty in distant areas and forgotten.  A winning combination of chemical refinement and hypnosis created the first successes in the Avatar program. A reaction with testosterone was the key to most of the subject's violent mood swings and explosive temper. With the refinements and female subjects the first test subject was used in a Commando operation and pronounced a success.

They jokingly referred to her as Lady Hyde and the name stuck.

Avatar agents are mostly women. The drug they take unlocks their 'inner self'. Mentally they possess a certain clarity, decisiveness, and are without fear. Physically the drug gives them increased strength, agility, and durability. Physically they grow several inches under the drug and gain an athletic, mesomorphic body type. The drug also gives them an intangible allure.

Male subjects who took Avatine experienced the same mental benefits but also soon developed explosive tempers and were prone to violent outbursts. Physically they benefited from bursts of strength (due to increased adrenal action) but became shorter (actually slightly hunched), stockier, and hairier (almost bestial) causing them to develop an air of menace. Many men also become addicted to the drug or worse stuck in their transformed state.

Personnel using Avatine are incapacitated for 5 rounds as they change. After changing they receive a +1 to all attacks and damage with melee weapons. Their forceful natures give them (and their group) a +1 to initiative rolls. In addition they do not have to roll against their level when exposed to horrifying scenes or run of the mill carnage.

Men and women both can force opponents to make a ST vs. Surprise. In the case of the men they are frightening their enemies and in the case of women they are using their bewitching good looks. Male agents have to make an ST when confronted with a frustrating situation (like being pinned down by a sniper or machine-gun fire).

The effects of Avatine last six hours (plus the taker's Constitution modifier).

Avatine was refined and developed further after the British turned research over to the USA. The Americans managed to create an antidote. their screening process for agents was not as stringent as the British program and they insisted on using men. Some disappointing results caused them to put it on a back burner while they worked on their Electric Trooper project. It did create several situations to keep American mystery men busy on the Homefront for years.

Later in the war the long term effects of the drug were noticed. In game terms a person using Avatine get no experience for that mission. The length of a mission is up to the referee. Their Avatar gets the experience. This means the Avatar will go up in experience level while the default character has their advancement slowed or even stopped. When the Avatar has double the experience level of the default character things get surreal. The character must make a saving throw every mission or time of stress to avoid taking the drug. This is at -1 for each level the Avatar is above the character. In addition 1 point of strength is added to the Avatar's stats but subtracted from the default character's strength for each level above the default character's level.

Some agents taking the drug had their default physical forms reduced in stature becoming shorter,  thinner, and weaker as they take more and more of the drug. This led to some interesting tactics as operatives used the Avatine for an undercover mission and then reverted to a smaller less imposing form to throw off pursuit.

An antidote to Avatine was developed. It will end the effects of a does in 1-6 rounds. The agent taking the antidote is incapacitated for that time. They will be unable to use Avatine for one day afterwards. Taking Avatine before then will result in 1d6 damage and incapacitate the agent for 1-6 hours with excruciating pain. The antidote was one way to treat agents addicted to the drug. Even if the agent uses the antidote they still forfeit their experience to the Avatar for that mission.

After the War Avatine fell into disuse as other enhancement techniques were developed. It became a tool of Third World dictators eager for any superhuman to boost their image.