Infinity player characters are action-movie heroes. They are the headliners, the leads, those who fight evil and kick its ass.
But what is a hero? Let’s look at Audie Murphy.
5’5”, 110 lb. Audie Murphy, from Kingston, Texas, enlisted in the US Army in June 1942, at the age of 16. He’d previously been rejected by the Navy, the Marines, and the Army Paratroopers for being severely underweight. Even after enlisting, he had to fight to be allowed in combat (where, during the invasion of Sicily, he contracted malaria, a permanent condition).
After seeing action on the continent, he was field promoted to 2nd Lt. and given command of a platoon. Shot by a sniper, he was sent to the hospital. After convalescing he returned to his platoon, still wounded, and entered combat the next day.
During that battle his company came under fire from German troops, who killed or incapacitated 109 out of 128 soldiers in his unit. Fighting in below freezing temperature (14° F) and 24 inches of snow, the wounded Murphy sent the survivors to the rear, then attacked the Germans with his M1. Running out of ammo, he climbed aboard a burning M10 tank destroyer, and used its .50 cal to fight advancing German infantry (who shot and wounded Murphy).
While atop the burning vehicle, Murphy single-handedly fought off six German tanks and dozens of infantry, for almost an hour.
During that hour, he kept up the battle with the German forces, calling in artillery strikes with a phone, and only stopped when German artillery cut his own phone line. Thereafter he organized a counter-attack and drove the Germans from the town, winning the engagement. For this action, he was awarded the Medal of Honor.
During his two years of combat service, Murphy received 10 US citations for valor, plus two medals from the French and one from Belgium. He remains the most decorated US soldier of all time.
After the war, he became an actor, even portraying himself in an autobiographical movie. For the recreation of the described battle, Murphy was forced to tone down his real exploits, because the audience would find them unrealistic. He would go on to star in 44 movies (mostly Westerns) and die at the age of 46, in a plane crash.
The exploits of action heroes are not necessarily unrealistic. Extraordinary individuals have done incredible things, and it’s those real life heroes who are the template for Infinity PC’s.
The stories of real heroes share many common elements, the most important of which is their sheer determination and drive. Heroes never quit. (This is equally true of both wartime and peacetime heroes. Those who would succeed must persevere.) In game terms, this drive is known as Resolve.
[More on Resolve, next post.]