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Let Me Tell You About My Character

Mr. Mojo

by Chad Underkoffler
Oct 24,2002


Let Me Tell You About My Character...: Mr. Mojo

by Chad Underkoffler

Mr. Joshua "Jinxsy" Murphy aka Mr. Mojo (Genre: Superhero)

The only notable thing about Joshua "Jinxsy" Murphy throughout early youth was his amazing luck -- all bad. You could set your watch by it: every piece of bread he dropped landed butter-side down, he'd spent more time in his Podunk town's hospital ER than some of the triage nurses, and he never once -- not once! -- ever picked anything worthwhile when playing Go Fish

You know what they say -- unlucky in cards, lucky in love, right? Wrong. Jinxsy could never catch a break with the girls in school. It wasn't his looks, or even his personality -- but he was clumsy. A paragon of awkwardness. The God King Emperor of maladroit oafs. You'd expect a fumble-fingered kid to spill punch on his date's formal, right? That's pretty de rigueur for high school. Jinxsy managed to light Becky Raumberger's dress on fire at the Freshman Hop, and as lagniappe, accidentally gave her a black eye while trying to put it out.

Jinxsy tried to fit it, but the odds were against him. His Boy Scout camping trips were always catastrophes. Though he made the cut for the soccer team, he spent most of his time warming the bench -- invariably, every time he hit the field during a game, they lost. He got kicked out of the marching band after the legendary Tuba Fiasco. He had some friends, but they always kept him at a distance, more mascot than buddy. So Jinxsy went through school lonely.

He compensated for this isolation through his carousel of hobbies. Stamp collecting, coin collecting, comics collecting, metahuman trading card collecting, logic puzzles, chess, gardening, knitting, garage-sink chemistry, role-playing games, contract bridge, ballroom dance, archery... Jinxsy had a keen mind, wide interests, and the habit of dropping hobbies after something disastrous happened -- like the time his mom used his copy of Metaman #5 -- price-guided at $100 -- to light the fireplace. (The poor woman was bereft, and offered to buy him a new copy; Jinxsy just shrugged resignedly and used the C-Note for a pottery wheel.)

Indeed, Jinxsy reached a fatalistic equilibrium and a mild sort of pessimistic happiness when he realized that his luck wasn't just bad, but dismal. When you know that despite a 99% chance of success you're going to draw that failing 1%, you can deal with it. He even learned to take advantage of it -- becoming ruthlessly pragmatic, always assuming that the worst would happen (because it did), and preparing for it. That's probably when he decided he wanted to be an accountant.

The way Jinxsy figured it, the only way to guard himself against future financial ruin was to know absolutely all he could about personal finances. So, what better way to hedge your bets than become a CPA? But before he did that, he felt he needed to get a firm grounding in the liberal arts.

College is where it all changed for Jinxsy. In the second semester of his sophomore year, he took a cocktail of courses that rocked his world. In the wee hours of cram week, looped to the gills on coffee, sugar, and nicotine, three different subjects suddenly snapped together in his head, fitting into a seamless whole: Accounting 101, Asian Culture & Philosophy 215, and Tai Chi for Stress Management (PE 344).

He realized exactly how dharma and karma interlocked with the credits and debits of the balance sheet; how liquidity evoked the Tao; and how kundalini, chi, and compound interest were all the same damn thing. In that moment of epiphany, he dropped his coffee cup, filled to the brim with scalding coffee.

His mutation activated (or maybe mystical powers), and the cup bounced off his lap, did a complete somersault over his new Christmas pants, and landed on the hard linoleum floor of the diner without breaking or spilling a drop.

After this revelation, Jinxsy saw the luck of the world as it welled and flowed. More than that, he could manipulate it.

People generate luck in two colors -- gold (good) and black (bad). When luck is active, it creates the potential of its opposite -- that is, the more good luck that someone has working, a commensurate store of black accumulates, waiting. Usually, this evens out -- bad luck follows on the heels of good, then good after bad -- creating a homeostasis, a teetering balance.

Over his entire life, Jinxsy had only had bad fortune -- in fact, unlike most people, he only generates active black -- and had locked away a preposterous credit of potential gold, ready to be unleashed. All that was needed was a key.

That key is his power, which he's since dubbed tychikinesis (or "luck-moving") from the Greek. By concentrating, Jinxsy can contain, reverse, move, or release active luck; with effort he can even tap into potential luck -- which is what happened when his coffee cup fell. Unconsciously, he reached into his vast hoard of gold, and used it to avoid disaster.

He fell to investigating his new abilities as his latest hobby, and quickly -- very quickly -- learned how to utilize his new talent. Some of his tychikinetic abilities (and what Jinxsy calls them, in parentheses), in ascending difficulty, include:

  • Sensing the type and amount of active and potential luck of a target (Luck Sight).
  • Shift a target's active luck to another target (Moving the Mojo). This is temporary, lasting no longer than 1 minute, before the target's "luck cloud" restores.
  • Holding a target's active luck in abeyance, so that it doesn't influence their actions (Luck Escrow). Luck can be dammed up this way for anywhere from 1 to 4 hours, depending upon the amount and the intensity of the luck's flow.
  • Changing a target's luck from black to gold or gold to black (Reversing the Neutron Flow). This also is temporary, lasting no longer than 5 minutes before the natural flow of the target's luck returns.
  • Concentrating his luck into throwable missiles (Black/Gold Bolt). A Black Bolt causes a massive negative probability to happen to the target: flung at a window, it'll shatter; at a car, the battery will die; at a person, they'll trip and fall. When struck with a Gold Bolt, something positive happens to the target: a stressed window will not shatter despite the pressure; a car will continue to run on barest fumes; or a person will find a $10 bill on the street (and serendipitously bend down, unknowingly dodging a wrecking ball).
  • Tap into and utilize a target's potential luck (Withdrawing from the Karma Bank). This is very tiring, and can only be done for individual actions or periods of time less than a minute.

Even though Jinxsy still only actively emanates black himself, his long-experience with bad luck and his new powers (especially Luck Escrow, Reversing the Neutron Flow, and Withdrawing from the Karma Bank) means it no longer threatens him -- though he does have to fear "karmic backlash" if he overuses his abilities. He has happily discovered that his "clumsiness" is entirely bad luck-based; without it, he's actually quite nimble. Indeed, liberated from the Damoclean sword of ill-fortune hanging over him, Jinxsy's become a bit of a daredevil.

Since he's only nineteen, and too young to gamble in casinos, he's decided to Fight Crime! Clad in his signature dark green trench coat, gloves, and facemask (over sturdy, comfortable street clothes), he's hit the streets of his college town as Mr. Mojo, to help balance the scales of Justice.


Mr. Mojo is (without pushing his luck):

    A Good hand-to-hand combatant.
  • A dilettante, having Good (if shallow) knowledge on any number of topics.
  • An Expert at preparation for the worst, including backups, contingencies, and Plan B's.
  • An Expert with his tychikinesis powers.
  • Poor at social interaction (he's still learning, given his past).
  • Poor at using complex machinery like cars and computers (again, still learning, because of his history).


  • Hero: Mr. Mojo is out there, fighting the good fight. He'll be very resistant to taking anyone's (even a villain's) good luck away, as he feels that would be "bad meta-karma." He's got the respect -- or at least the sufferance of -- his college town's police force. He spends his time trying to help those whose luck has soured; whether this means tackling muggers, passing out rolls at a soup kitchen, or just adjusting someone's luck cloud, he's here to make the world a happier place. He'd love to hook up with a big-name superhero team.
  • Star: Mr. Mojo's just amusing himself until he hits the big Two-One. Then it's Vegas, baby. Or Churchill Downs. Or Wall Street. Or anyplace he can turn his black and gold into cold, hard green. Mr. Mojo wants to be richer than God, plain and simple. Playing superhero is a great way to refine the skills he'll need at the casino, track, and stock exchange.
  • Villain: Mr. Mojo feels cheated -- why can't he bring forth his own good luck? What the hell did he do (in this life or one past) that saddled him with being a karmic leper? It's not fair; not fair at all. So, he's decided to take good luck from those who don't deserve it. Currently, that means criminals. But as his experience of the world increases, what will he do when he discovers non-criminals who don't deserve their good fortune? He'll take theirs, too, and start his slide into super-villainy.

Adventure Seeds & Plot Hooks

  • The archvillain Admiral Vengeance has gone to ground; the trail leads to a sleepy little college town with its own minor league superhero -- Mr. Mojo. Why would the villainous pirate go somewhere with a metahuman (or mystical) protector, no matter how insignificant? Could it have to do with the college's prototype Hypercollider?
  • One (or more) of the PCs falls victim to a magical hex. Bad luck dogs their heels, even to the point of threatening their secret identity! Luckily (heh), one of their comrades has heard about a small-time probability-based superhero that might be able to help...
  • Mr. Mojo wants to play with the big boys. He's come to the PC's headquarters -- secret or not, serendipity at work! -- and asks to join up. What do the heroes do?

Alternate Worlds

  • Fantasy: Whether urban or more traditional fantasy, Mr. Mojo becomes a mage specializing in luck-based charms and curses. He'll easily be able to gain fame, fortune, and respect, and could be a major force behind a petty chieftain's (or gang leader's) rise to power.
  • Horror: Born of the Leprechaun race of Fae, Joshua Murphy's luck runs amuck, causing danger to all around him. Is he a victim of cruel fate, or a monster coming out of his cocoon? (Imagine Mr. Mojo as a cross between typical poltergeist activity and Lovecraft's Innsmouth hybrids.)
  • Science-Fiction: The Force is strong with... ah, skip it. Try this one: Dr. Joshua Murphy has built a Schrodinger Compensator, a device that can actualize a chosen collapsed probability wave. The ramifications of being able to forcibly determine indeterminate states are staggering, not in the least to hyperspace researchers. Here kitty, kitty, kitty...

Inspiration(s) & Miscellany

Inspirations for Joshua "Jinxsy" Duke, aka Mr. Mojo:

  • Chance Harper (Strange Luck, DB Sweeney).
  • The concept of karma, collapsed into a single lifetime.
  • The Marvel Comics character Longshot.
  • The concept of joss.
  • A trace of Neo (The Matrix, Keanu Reeves) and a dash of Jim Morrison (Mr. Mojo Risin').
  • Murphy's Law, natch.
  • The observation of how to "surf the luck" in my own life (see below).

This LMTYAMC... is running a little long, so I'll be brief.

Ever have one of those days, where everything just goes wrong? Sure you have, same as me. Next time one of them happens to you, do what I do: surf the luck.

Basically, I just assume that every single thing that I do for the next hour or so will go wrong, and plan accordingly. So, when my pizza leaps off my plate and smears itself down my shirt, I already have a napkin and club soda ready for damage control. When you notice your fortune's going fuzzy and you're working on that important report for the Boss, save your document every twenty-three seconds; then, when the machine crashes, you're covered. Just assume all your change will explode out of your pocket when you reach for your car keys, and build in extra time to compensate.

It's fun. Try it.

Yeah, I can hear you folks in the back muttering "self-fulfilling prophecy," don't think I can't.

See you next time.

Chad Underkoffler is a freelance RPG writer. His "Campaign in a Box" column appears bimonthly at Pyramid Online.

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