A World Less Magical But No Less Fantastic

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Davies
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A World Less Magical But No Less Fantastic

Post by Davies » Thu May 14, 2020 3:48 am

Some people, when they're depressed, write songs. I create superhero worlds. I suspect that the people who write songs are probably happier overall.

Assumptions:

Magic is rare: In my other timelines, magic and magical beings have been fairly common. In this one, both are much rarer and significantly less powerful. Where there were usually a few dozen vampires in every major city in the World of Freedom, in this one there might be only one or two dozen vampires in the entire world. There are no ancient brotherhoods of magic; any such organizations which appear to exist are frauds which date back less than a century, if that long. Demons, fairies and other spirits are not summoned from other worlds, but are creatures of the id materialized by a mystic. There are no gods -- legends of such beings were inspired by extraterrestrials who colonized Earth thousands of years ago, and those aliens are nearly all extinct. Mysticism more or less works on the psychic model developed in the 1970s -- to quote Isaac Bonewits, "a magical system is a method for getting one's psychic powers to work, somewhat." The person who uses the alias Jodie Crowley is probably the most accomplished ritual magic user alive, and their Expertise: Magic skill has a total bonus of only +13.

Superheroes did not exist during World War II: The first publicly known super-powered beings were empowered in the late 1950s. Not only were there no costumed crimefighters in reality, there weren't many in popular fiction, either. Siegel and Schuster's second attempt to create a comic strip character, a non-powered but heroic Superman, was a success, while Lee Falk's pitch for a strip about King Arthur and his knights was accepted by the syndicate instead of rejected. (Consequently, Hal Foster's Derek, Son of Thane was set in a brilliantly realized 11th century setting.) For reasons that aren't terribly clear, George Trendle decided not to have the cowboy hero he and others created wear a mask or remain anonymous, and so Ranger Reid, while still an incredible success, did not inspire the creation of a modern day vigilante. (Not on the radio, at least.)

History has been altered: Not just in the little ways mentioned above, either. The course of world events dramatically altered in 1971, thanks to superheroes -- and an extraordinarily bad decision by the President of the United States that, perversely, saved his political career and legacy. Divergences have continued to accumulate since then. Iran is still ruled by the heirs of the Shah. The Korean peninsula has been united under the rule of a criminal mastermind. Bhutan is ruled by a super-powered alien. West Germany and East Germany are still divided, although allied. The United Kingdom never joined the European Union in the first place. Russia is a stable and well-regarded democracy. Okay, that last one's not true, but you get the idea.

We know we're not alone in the universe: There has never been a large scale alien invasion of Earth. There have been raids by the residents of Mars and Mercury, and by extrasolar aliens passing through, usually less out of a need for resources than to satisfy certain psychological urges. There has been no serious attempt to cover these events up, and the average person is well aware that other planets of the solar system are occupied by non-human life. Opinions are sharply divided about this, with vocal factions championing renewed space exploration or the isolationist fortification of Earth. So far, neither group has had their way completely.

House Rules

Artificer is not available. To create temporary magic items, use Ritualist to create an effect with the Removable or Easily Removable flaw. (This still isn't available for inventions.)

Benefit (Status) costs only 1 point, regardless of what sort of status you possess. As this is an entirely situational advantage, charging 6 points for the right to call yourself Emperor is highway robbery.

Defensive Roll is available at only two ranks. The first rank grants +2 to Toughness when not vulnerable or defenseless. The second rank grants +5 to Toughness when not vulnerable or defenseless.

Fearless is a ranked advantage. The first rank grants +2 to Will checks to resist fear effects and Intimidation. The second rank grants +5 to Will checks to resist fear effects or intimidation.

Improved Initiative is available as an advantage only in unranked form. Multiple ranks are possible as an Enhanced Advantage.

Expertise: Magic is based on Presence. (You can purchase it as an Intellect-based skill, but that version cannot be used for Ritualist.)

Comprehend costs 3 points per rank, to give the Languages advantage some use.

Remote Sensing extends to a distance rank of (effect rank + 8).

Ordinary, unaugmented humans cannot have Str, Sta, Agl or Dex above 4 ranks, or Fgt, Int, Awe, or Pre above 6 ranks.


Note: Blue named characters are heroes. Red named characters are villains. Black named characters are morally ambiguous supporting characters, or non-unique profiles.

Index

Heroes:
Basilea
Belle Dormond
Blakestone
The Blue Bolt
Chokyojin/Super-Giant
Danielle Caponegro
Darkwing
El Dorado/O Hombre de Ouro
Havfrue
Jora
Logan Stormstrider
Magnolia
Minuteman
Nereus
Paragon
Polymorph
Red Archer
Robin Hood
Sam Hazzard
Snowfall
Songbird
Trouble
Virginia Jones

Villains:
Abraxas
Akane
Anna Rothery
Billie Zane
Carl Crusher
Cerebron
El Diablo Rojo
Doctor Genome
The Emperor
Jack
Kingfisher
Martian Masterminds
Martian Soldiers
Nocticula
Prometheus
Railgun
The Schemer
Shaitan Topaz
Siren
Thunder Dragon
Vixen

Other:
Prof. Andrew Gibbon
Aqueroddi Freedom Fighters
Atlanteans
Dame Beatrice Barrowman
Le Charme
Ectotronian Jetwings
Eddie O'Neill
Erukse Warriors
Flumphs
Gail Astro
Gurrepp Hunters
Hesperan Soldiers
Kirsten Jansson
Tamura Miho
Novice Power Prism User
Pedro Blanco
Lt. Ralph Kinnison
Cmd. Spica Anakete
Tana Rivers
Violet Hayes
Last edited by Davies on Sat Jun 06, 2020 2:08 am, edited 21 times in total.

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Re: A World Less Magical But No Less Fantastic

Post by Davies » Thu May 14, 2020 3:56 am

Paragon

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Anacreon, a planet in the star system dubbed 61 Virginis by Terran astronomers, was settled by Dhakamite explorers in that species' brief flurry of interstellar exploration, before they realized just how few habitable planets in this region of the galaxy would allow their powers to continue to function. The majority of the colonists remained even after a recall order was sent, ordering all of them to return to the mother planet. Abandoned by their government, they nevertheless prospered, building a new life for themselves. Less than two centuries after that, however, their new world faced its first serious threat, as the interstellar raider known as Cerebron devastated the planet's capital region. In the aftermath, following an attempt by the head of their planetary defense forces to install himself as a dictator, the residents of Anacreon began to rebuild their lives.

It was then that the savant Van-Na discovered that one of the geothermal taps which powered their civilization was a ticking time bomb that would, eventually, render their planet uninhabitable. Unfortunately, due to her past association with General Mong (rumored to be the biological father of Van-Na's son) the Council was not inclined to listen to her doomsaying, believing that the problem would not become critical for several generations, giving them plenty of time to resolve it. They were tragically mistaken. Within a year of her attempt to inform them of the danger, the final explosions began. Van-Na put her son and a computer seed inside a hypersleep capsule attached to a stardrive engine, then launched the tiny capsule into space, sending it on a course towards a star system that her studies had indicated might also support a species like her own -- the Sol system. Then she, and every other living member of her species, died in flames.

The vessel arrived on Earth, specifically Northern Saskatchewan, roughly a hundred years later, in 1977. The child within, and the computer seed, were claimed by George and Sara Young, a married couple on their honeymoon, who chanced upon the capsule after it crashed. They raised their adopted son in full knowledge of his origins, instilling in him a pair of beliefs -- that he had to use the powers he possessed for the benefit of everyone, as the first generation of superheroes had at their best, and that it was essential that he keep those powers a secret, lest he become a tool of the powerful, as most of those superheroes also had. With great difficulty, Roger Young held back from open display of his powers throughout his teen-aged years. Following his high school graduation, he left home, taking the computer seed with him, and returned to the site of his arrival.

The computer seed activated, and built itself into a fully-functional system that contained a 'ghost' AI based on the mind of Van-Na. With the ghost's help, he trained for five years in the use of his powers, developing them further than the vast majority of Anacreonites had ever managed to do. Roger also learned scientific principles that Earth's scientists had yet to discover, though his personal interests lay more in the humanities. After five years of this training, he deemed himself to be as ready as he would ever be, and traveled to Toronto to begin 'post-graduate' studies at the University, and also to debut as the city's newest superhuman champion.

The rest is more or less history. Paragon has gradually been acclaimed as one of the greatest champions of humanity's history, and helped to form the Power Company in the wake of Cerebron's first attack on Earth, repelling it with the help of the other heroes. He has found a measure of personal happiness as well, marrying a fellow Anacreonite who was spared the devastation of their homeworld, and built a solid career as a professor at York. The passing of his foster parents has been a great sadness, as has the fact that he and his wife have yet to have children. While it's not clear how much of his lifespan remains before him, thanks to his training and its effects on his physique, Paragon hopes that there is yet time for such matters in the future. For now, all of humanity are his children.

Whether they will continue to welcome that status remains to be seen.

While Paragon is always willing to lend a helping hand in the event of natural disasters and superhuman phenomena around the world, it's been noted that he rarely if ever engages in conventional crime fighting outside of Toronto. This is deliberate on his part; he knows that he could easily work himself to the bone trying to make everyone in the world safe and still not achieve that goal. Instead, he focuses his efforts on making one particular city as free of crime as he can manage, which is honestly still just a bit beyond his abilities, as he can't be everywhere at once, and the more clever operators in town (most notably his archnemesis Austin Loomis, the Schemer) have learned how to exploit this.

Paragon -- PL 13

Abilities:
STR 15/11 | STA 12 | AGL 3 | DEX 4 | FGT 9 | INT 3 | AWE 3 | PRE 7

Powers:
Anacreonic Powers: Array (23 points)
  • Cold Projection: Environment 6 (intense cold), Quirk (character is at the edge of the area, not the center); Permanent Create 6 (ice object) - 23 points
  • Force Projection: Cone Area Damage 11 - 1 point
  • Heat Projection: Perception Range Damage 7, Precise, Subtle - 1 point
  • Sensory Projection: Remote Sensing 10 (Visual), Subtle 2 - 1 point
  • Strength Enhancement: Enhanced Strength 4; Enhanced Strength 15, Limited to Lifting - 1 point
  • Warp Speed: Enhanced Flight 9; Movement 2 (space travel 2) - 1 point
Great Speed: Enhanced Advantages 8 (Close Attack 2, Improved Initiative 4, Interpose, Move-by Action); Enhanced Defense 10 (Dodge 5, Parry 5); Flight 9 (1000 MPH), Aquatic; Quickness 9 - 46 points
Great Toughness: Immunity 10 (life support); Impervious Toughness 12; Regeneration 10 - 32 points

Advantages:
Close Attack 2, Connected, Equipment 5, Improved Initiative 4, Inspire 2, Interpose, Language 2 (Anacreon, French, Mandarin, Spanish [English is native]), Move-by Action, Power Attack, Ultimate Effort (Toughness checks).

Equipment:
Secret Sanctuary: Size Gargantuan; Toughness 12; Features: Communications, Computer, Concealed, Gym, Infirmary, Isolated, Laboratory, Library, Living Space, Personnel, Power System, Security System 3, Workshop - 22 points

Skills:
Expertise: History 9 (+12), Expertise: Science 9 (+12), Perception 8 (+11), Persuasion 6 (+13), Technology 6 (+9).

Offense:
Initiative +19
Unarmed +11 (Close Damage 15/11)
Force Projection -- (Cone Area Damage 11)
Heat Projection -- (Perception Range Damage 7)

Defense:
Dodge 12/7, Parry 14/9, Fortitude 13, Toughness 12, Will 9.

Totals:
Abilities 110 + Powers 106 + Advantages 12 + Skills 19 + Defenses 11 = 258 points

Complications:
Doing Good--Motivation. Fame. Relationship (wife.) Power Loss (all; exposure to theonite.) Secret Identity.

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Re: A World Less Magical But No Less Fantastic

Post by Davies » Thu May 14, 2020 4:01 am

Jora

Image

Not part of Anacreon's scientific aristocracy, and so not possessing a bifurcate name, Jora enlisted in the planetary defense forces as soon as she matured, in order to escape an unhappy living situation that she's never talked about. She excelled in her duties and rose to become the aide de camp/bodyguard of General Mong, whom she found to be a much more worthy father figure than any she'd had before meeting him. After Cerebron's attack on the planet, she reluctantly agreed to support the General in what he described as an attempt to restore order and what the Council viewed as a coup d'etat. Unfortunately, more of the defense force remained loyal to their oaths than supported their commander, and the coup was quashed.

To Jora's horror, Mong chose to commit suicide rather than take responsibility for his actions, leaving her as the scapegoat for the coup. She was sentenced to the most heinous punishment available to the Council -- exile to the Ghost Realm, where she would be effectively frozen in time, unable to influence the world while still able to perceive it. Ironically, when Anacreon died, the prisoners of the Ghost Realm survived, but most of them soon came to envy the dead.

More than a century later, when Paragon finally returned to the dead world which had borne him, he discovered the existence of the Ghost Realm from the fragmentary records that remained in the ruins. Horrified to learn that people who had been sentenced to a few years confinement had been imprisoned for far longer than a human lifespan, he managed to reconstruct the gate to the Ghost Realm and brought as many of the prisoners there back to reality as he could. Of those who were able to endure the shock of a return to physical reality, only Jora didn't demonstrate psychopathic tendencies. She assisted Paragon in containing those who did, with most of them being re-imprisoned in a Technate psychiatric hospital, located in a star system where they had no powers.

With that done, Paragon invited Jora to accompany him back to Earth, which she accepted. They became friends, then close friends, then intimates. Four years after her arrival on Earth, he proposed marriage, and she accepted. It's the most fulfilling relationship either of them has ever had, marred only by the fact that they have no children. Unbeknownst to her husband, Jora actually suspects that her time in the Ghost Zone may have made her incapable of natural childbirth, and fears that experience would also mark any exowomb children they made together.

Jora is not a superhero; she does not wear a costume or have a code name. (She uses the alias Miranda Young, but doesn't identify with it as her husband does his.) However, just as Paragon devotes himself to making their home city as safe and happy a place as possible, she works quietly and subtly to achieving that goal for their home neighborhood. She walks the streets, keeping an eye out for trouble, helping others in any way that she can. She volunteers at the local food bank, checks in on the elderly, and keeps an eye on the local schoolyard. Her personal time, such as it is, consists of weekly group therapy sessions with other people who've suffered traumatizing losses of autonomy, as she did. (They don't know that she's an alien, but she's told them most of the truth.) She has resisted the notion of developing her faculties, feeling that she's probably powerful enough for most situations that confront her -- and that she demonstrated an inability to use that power correctly in the past.

She has met most of her husband's friends, but isn't particularly close to or fond of any of them. Her closest human friend is probably Martha Paddington, Robert Richmond's personal assistant, who helped her to figure out what she ought to be doing with her life.

Jora -- PL 8

Abilities:
STR 8 | STA 6 | AGL 2 | DEX 3 | FGT 6 | INT 3 | AWE 3 | PRE 2

Powers:
Great Speed: Enhanced Advantages 8 (Close Attack 2, Improved Initiative 3, Interpose, Move-by Action); Enhanced Defense 8 (Dodge 4, Parry 4); Flight 6 (120 MPH), Aquatic; Quickness 6 - 35 points
Great Toughness: Immunity 10 (life support); Impervious Toughness 6; Regeneration 5 - 21 points

Advantages:
All-out Attack, Close Attack 2, Improved Initiative 3, Interpose, Language (English [Anacreon is native]), Move-by Action, Ranged Attack 5.

Skills:
Deception 6 (+8), Expertise: Military 9 (+12), Insight 6 (+9), Intimidation 6 (+8), Perception 6 (+9), Technology 9 (+12).

Offense:
Initiative +14
Unarmed +8 (Close Damage 8)

Defense:
Dodge 10/6, Parry 10/6, Fortitude 9, Toughness 6, Will 6.

Totals:
Abilities 66 + Powers 56 + Advantages 7 + Skills 21 + Defenses 10 = 160 points

Complications:
Penitence--Motivation. Relationship (husband.) Power Loss (all; exposure to theonite.) Secret Identity.

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Re: A World Less Magical But No Less Fantastic

Post by Davies » Thu May 14, 2020 4:05 am

Gail Astro

Image

Ten years ago, Gail Astro came out of relative obscurity -- to anyone who hadn't been reading Now Magazine, where she'd been covering Toronto arts events for the previous four years -- to accept a job at the Toronto Star ... and announce, to a televised press conference (held by calling in several favors with CityTV and other stations) that she was going to discover Paragon's secret identity and reveal it to the world. Most regarded this claim with amusement and confusion, as the idea of print media managing to get a story before television news managed to do so belonged to an earlier age. Also, a plurality of people believed that Paragon didn't have a secret identity, but acted as a hero full time.

And it would seem that people were right to regard her announcement with skepticism, for ten years later Gail has not filed that story. She's done all sorts of other reporting on Paragon, and even scored a few exclusive interviews with the Eternal Man. All she will say is that while she has a number of promising leads, the proof that she needs to make it news, instead of gossip, has so far eluded her. She's even held her tongue on the subject when kidnapped by people who want to know what she suspects, and turned the account of one such episode into a best-selling novel.

She frequently talks to people who claim to have evidence of Paragon's identity. For the most part, they're cranks who have no idea what they're saying. And then there are the times she meets people who claim to have evidence that Paragon is an unassuming professor at York University. Funnily enough, these people often disappear for a brief time after she meets them, and when they return, they tend to have no recollection of ever having believed such things.

Surprising no one at this point, Gail is well aware of Paragon's true identity. It was the biggest secret that she was told when she completed her training as an agent of the international private security organization, Argus, which she managed to do while maintaining her day job with Now Magazine. On become a field agent, she was given the assignment of acting as Paragon's 'handler' -- in other words, getting him to act as an asset for Argus without his knowledge. By making herself known as someone interested in his secret identity, she works to draw out others who have the same interest so that Argus can evaluate and, if need be, deal with them. She also draws Paragon's attention to world events where his intervention would (in Argus' view) be helpful.

Gail sees no paradox in the notion of being a secret agent and simultaneously a famous reporter. Who would ever suspect someone like the latter of being the former, after all? She believes that the public has a right to know, and that it has the right to have certain truths kept from it for its own good. How she reconciles that is known only to her.

While a trained combatant, Gail knows that she's not even close to being able to fight supervillains effectively, and her tactics will always follow the pattern of distracting and escaping an opponent. Trained in the use of a variety of firearms, she doesn't carry one -- her weapon of choice is her smartphone.

Gail Astro -- PL 5

Abilities:
STR 0 | STA 1 | AGL 2 | DEX 2 | FGT 3 | INT 2 | AWE 2 | PRE 3

Advantages:
Connected, Contacts, Defensive Roll, Equipment 2, Evasion, Improved Trip, Ranged Attack 3, Well-informed

Equipment:
Smartphone, 8 points of equipment as needed

Skills:
Athletics 4 (+4), Close Combat: Unarmed 2 (+5), Deception 4 (+7), Expertise: Journalism 9 (+11), Insight 6 (+8), Investigation 9 (+11), Perception 4 (+6), Persuasion 4 (+7), Stealth 4 (+5), Technology 7 (+9), Vehicles 3 (+5)

Offense:
Initiative +1
Unarmed +5 (Close Damage 0)

Defense:
Dodge 7, Parry 5, Fortitude 3, Toughness 3/1, Will 6

Totals:
Abilities 30 + Powers 0 + Advantages 9 + Skills 28 + Defenses 13 = 80

Complications:
Fame--Motivation. Curious. Secret
(Argus agent.)

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Re: A World Less Magical But No Less Fantastic

Post by Davies » Thu May 14, 2020 4:34 am

Darkwing

Image

Robert Richmond (nobody calls him Bob or Bobby) was born to wealthy parents in 1977. His father's and mother's focus was largely on their careers as the chief physician and chief administrator of a major hospital they'd helped to establish in South Chicago, and so his primary caregiver was his nanny, Martha Paddington. She was with him on the night in 1985 when the phone call that shattered his life came, informing them both that his parents' car had been the victim of a hit and run accident, that his father was dead and that his mother was not expected to live. Ironically, his mother beat the odds, but she remained on life support for the rest of her life.

Robert's uncle Kevin took custody of the boy. However, he was no less busy than his younger brother and sister-in-law had been, and so he asked Mrs. Paddington to continue to look after him. (He also shared with her, but not with Robert, his suspicion that the 'accident' had been nothing of the sort, but rather the latest in a series of hostile maneuvers against the Richmond family by forces unknown.) She agreed, and has spent the last thirty-odd years wondering if she made the right decision.

One of the consequences of that decision was that she was the first to discover that Robert was not just a precocious genius, but almost certainly a Hyperbrain. Fearing that he'd be forcibly recruited by one of the government's notorious think tanks, she taught him to keep his inventive talents a secret, and arranged for him to be privately educated. Despite her best efforts, however, Robert's thirst for knowledge would not be denied, and he finally ran away from home when he was fifteen, defying all attempts to find him.

The full story of the next five years remains untold. Robert trained under many different instructors, most of whom have never been identified. It's believed that he first crossed paths with Gan In-Geun, not yet the Emperor, during this time, but if so he has never discussed the circumstances of their encounter with anyone, only indicating that their mutual hostility dates back decades. It wasn't until 1997 that efforts by Mrs. Paddington to contact him finally worked, and she all but begged him to return to Chicago, as Kevin had passed away a few months before and the family business was being circled by vultures. He did so, took hold of the Richmond fortune, and in so doing took hold of the weapon he needed for his war on crime.

Designing the weapons he would use took most of the next year, but helped to keep the company in the black. His development of the Meta-taser, quickly adopted by many police and security forces across the country, was a key step in that. But the armored costume and the flight mechanism were considerably more expensive, and he reserved these particular tools for himself, at least for now. Finally, in early 1999, he made his debut as Darkwing, investigating misdeeds at a chemical syndicate. Despite being able to bring the mastermind of the affair to justice, Robert counts it as a grim failure, as the events gave 'birth' to the being known only as Jack.

Since then, Darkwing has risen and fallen. He was one of the founding members of the Power Company, and provides most of its funding. He's had good relations with the police department and mayor's office, and been hunted and pilloried by those organizations on other occasions. Robert has arranged to be seen in the same place as Darkwing on several occasions (employing body doubles for the purpose) so that no one ever suspects that they're the same person. However, a fair number of people suspect Richmond Enterprises of supporting Darkwing's activities, and he's decided to neither confirm nor deny such rumors.

Now in his early forties, Robert is starting to wonder how much longer he can keep doing this, and what his options should be if he cannot. He's tried working with a protege, who broke ties with him after only a few years, and isn't sure if he wants to go through that again. But he does feel an urge to pass on the lessons he learned to someone ...

Darkwing -- PL 10

Abilities:
STR 3 | STA 3 | AGL 5 | DEX 5 | FGT 8 | INT 8 | AWE 2 | PRE 1

Powers:
Flight Suit: Strength-based Damage 1; Flight 6 (120 MPH), Wings; Immunity 2 (suffocation); Movement 1 (wall-crawling); Protection 2; Senses 2 (darkvision); Removable (-3 points) - 12 points

Advantages:
Benefit 4 (Multi-Millionaire), Close Attack 2, Contacts, Defensive Attack, Defensive Roll, Equipment 8, Favored Environment (planned situations), Improved Critical (Unarmed), Improved Initiative, Inventor, Jack-of-all-Trades, Languages 5, Power Attack, Ranged Attack 7, Sidekick 14 (Martha Paddington), Skill Mastery 2 (Investigation, Technology), Uncanny Dodge, Well-informed.

Equipment:
Communication Link with Headquarters - 1 point
Aerie: Size Large; Toughness 10; Features Communications, Computer, Concealed, Fire Prevention System, Gym, Infirmary, Laboratory, Living Space, Personnel, Power System, Security System, Workshop - 16 points
Utility Belt: Array (18 points)
  • Techno-Bolos: Ranged Cumulative Affliction 6 (Resisted by Dodge; Hindered and Vulnerable, Defenseless and Immobilized), Extra Condition, Limited Degree - 18 points
  • Throwing Darts: Strength-based Ranged Multiattack Damage 4 (includes Strength 3), Accurate 2 - 1 point
  • Explosives: Ranged Burst Area Damage 5, Triggered 2 - 1 point
  • Meta-Taser: Ranged Cumulative Affliction 6 (Resisted by Fortitude; Dazed, Stunned, Incapacitated) - 1 point
  • Stun Grenade: Ranged Cloud Area Affliction 6 (Resisted by Fortitude; Dazed and Visually Impaired, Stunned and Visually Disabled), Extra Condition, Limited Degree - 1 point
Skills:
Acrobatics 6 (+11), Athletics 8 (+11), Close Combat: Unarmed 6 (+14), Intimidation 6 (+7), Expertise: Streetwise 4 (+12), Insight 7 (+9), Investigation 6 (+14), Perception 9 (+11), Stealth 6 (+11), Technology 8 (+16), Treatment 6 (+14)

Offense:
Initiative +9
Unarmed +16 (Close Damage 4/3)
Throwing Darts +16 (Ranged Multiattack Damage 4)
Techno-Bolos +12 (Ranged Affliction 6, Resisted by Dodge)
Explosives -- (Ranged Burst Area Damage 5)
Meta-Taser +12 (Ranged Fortitude 6)
Stun Grenade -- (Ranged Cloud Area Fortitude 6)

Defense:
Dodge 12, Parry 13, Fortitude 7, Toughness 7/5/3, Will 10.

Totals:
Abilities 70 + Powers 12 + Advantages 54 + Powers 36 + Defenses 24 = 195 points

Complications:
Justice--Motivation. Nemesis (The Emperor.) Responsibility (Richmond Enterprises.) Secret Identity.

Martha Paddington -- PL 4

Abilities:
STR 0 | STA 1 | AGL 0 | DEX 1 | FGT 3 | INT 3 | AWE 3 | PRE 2

Advantages:
Connected, Equipment 2, Fearless, Improvised Tools, Languages 2, Ranged Attack 2.

Equipment:
Meta-taser pistol (Ranged Affliction 5 [Fortitude; Dazed, Stunned, Incapacitated])

Skills:
Deception 5 (+7), Expertise: Business 6 (+9), Insight 6 (+9), Investigation 3 (+6), Perception 4 (+7), Persuasion 4 (+7), Sleight of Hand 6 (+7), Stealth 6 (+6), Treatment 5 (+8), Vehicles 5 (+6)

Offense:
Initiative +0
Unarmed +3 (Close Damage 0)
Meta-Taser +3 (Ranged Fortitude 5)

Defense:
Dodge 4, Parry 3, Fortitude 2, Toughness 1, Will 6

Totals:
Abilities 26 + Powers 0 + Advantages 9 + Skills 25 + Defenses 10 = 70 points

Complications:
Loyalty--Motivation. Distaste for Violence. Secrets (other people's, too numerous to mention).
Last edited by Davies on Thu May 14, 2020 4:40 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: A World Less Magical But No Less Fantastic

Post by Davies » Thu May 14, 2020 4:37 am

Lieutenant Ralph Kinnison

Image

Ralph Kinnison is coming up on his fiftieth birthday, and looking back at the twenty-fifth anniversary of his graduation from the police academy. He doesn't talk much about his life before joining the Chicago Police Department, occasionally making vague noises about an attempt at college education that went absolutely nowhere. He has a respectable clearance record, relatively few civilian complaints, and a clean file with internal affairs. He is as friendly with his fellow officers as they'll allow him to be ... because there's one further wrinkle to his reputation.

Everyone on the force knows that he's the guy who has a way of getting in touch with Darkwing, and most of them believe that he basically works for the crimefighter. Ralph doesn't care for suggestions of the latter sort, and has occasionally invited those who make them to step outside in order to discuss the matter in a more private setting. Generally, people keep their mouths shut, and when Darkwing is in good odor with the police department, as is currently the case, Ralph's association with him is viewed as an asset to the department. It's the rest of the time that causes him problems.

As would the fact that, while Ralph works with Darkwing, he works for Argus, the international private security organization. He was recruited right out of high school thanks to some patronage by a cousin in the organization's administration (now deceased) and the story about the university career is part of his cover. When he was inserted into the CPD, his initial assignment was to investigate a flow of supertech coming out of the area. That assignment turned out to be part of the same cases that Darkwing began his career investigating, and Ralph was quickly given a new assignment -- to act as the new superhero's "handler".

This required him to find out who was under that mask, which was difficult but not impossible. The trouble is, Ralph isn't sure that he's got the right man. Robert Richmond disappeared from Chicago in 1992, and not even the full resources of Argus have been able to discover his whereabouts for much of that time. The trail goes completely cold more than a year and a half before Richmond reappears in Chicago, and the man who returned demonstrates talents that it would take a lifetime to master, not five years. The possibility that the man behind the mask is himself a mask for someone completely different concerns Ralph more than a bit.

Despite being a police officer in the home of the Meta-taser, Ralph still carries a light caliber revolver as a back-up piece, and is a slightly better shot with the old-fashioned weapon. He won't use it unless he has no other option, or if dealing with something that won't be knocked out by a stream of energy.

Lieutenant Ralph Kinnison -- PL 5

Abilities:
STR 1 | STA 4 | AGL 0 | DEX 1 | FGT 4 | INT 2 | AWE 3 | PRE 3

Advantages:
All-out Attack, Benefit (Police Detective), Contacts, Defensive Roll, Equipment 4, Ranged Attack 4

Equipment:
Light pistol (Ranged Damage 3), meta-taser pistol (Ranged Affliction 5 [Fortitude; Dazed, Stunned, Incapacitated]) handcuffs.

Skills:
Athletics 2 (+3), Close Combat: Unarmed 2 (+6), Deception 2 (+5), Expertise: Current Events 5 (+7), Expertise: Police Detective 6 (+8), Expertise: Streetwise 8 (+10), Insight 5 (+8), Intimidation 5 (+8), Investigation 6 (+8), Persuasion 2 (+5), Ranged Combat: Guns 1 (+2)

Offense:
Initiative +0
Light Pistol +6 (Ranged Damage 3)
Meta-Taser +5 (Ranged Fortitude 5)
Unarmed +6 (Close Damage 1)

Defense:
Dodge 3, Parry 4, Fortitude 6, Toughness 6/4, Will 4

Totals:
Abilities 36 + Powers 0 + Advantages 12 + Skills 22 + Defenses 6 = 76 points

Complications:
Justice--Motivation. Secret (Argus agent). Temper.

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Re: A World Less Magical But No Less Fantastic

Post by Davies » Thu May 14, 2020 6:49 am

Basilea

Image

Hespera was the name that the Greeks gave to the lands which lay as far to the west as they could imagine -- specifically Italy. The Latins, in their turn, applied that name to the lands which lay to their west -- specifically Spain and the northwest of Africa. How much this was influenced by the secret that a land which called itself Hespera could be found in the distant west, hidden by an invisible barrier among the mountains of what is now called the Western Sahara, is impossible to know. The Greeks would have been fascinated and horrified by that land, if they knew of it, for it was and is a place where what they viewed as the natural order of things was overturned -- where women governed and fought, and men cared for the home and the family. The men were not enslaved or usually ill treated, but they were certainly considered the lesser, weaker sex.

This has begun to change, in recent decades, as Hesperans become more and more aware of the world in which they live, a world which is slowly moving towards equality of the sexes. Many Hesperans wonder if they are not crippling themselves by suppressing the agency and intellect of the male half of their population. Yet there are voices which decry such change, and reject any imitation of the world beyond their barrier. After all, they are not human. Their ancestors were brought to this world millennia ago by the Olympians, from a world which supposedly orbits one of the stars in the constellation humans call Lyra.

The greatest voice for change, the greatest hero of her people, is Sharana, called Basilea (or Princess) by the people of the outside world. Nearly sixty years ago -- a small but significant fragment of the three centuries that her people normally live -- she was chosen by their oracles to leave their hidden city and prepare to answer a great threat to the world whose existence they perceived, but whose details they could not know. Obedient to the oracles, she did so, arriving in America in the year men called 1963. Almost by accident, she became known as a defender of the weak and the innocent, an example of what women could do. She joined with other champions as a member of the Institute, never dreaming that one of her fellows would become the great threat that the oracles perceived.

When that threat finally materialized in 1971, she fought harder than anyone else, and was badly wounded .., but was satisfied with the victory nonetheless. During her recuperation, in Hespera, she spoke of what she had seen and done, and the Queen of Hespera herself came to listen. Her ruler urged Sharana to consider her task complete and remain, and offered to make the young warrior an adviser long before her years would normally grant her the role. Sharana declined the honor she was offered, knowing that there was still more to do in the outside world, still more to see and do ... and learn.

She remained in action for another decade, far longer than any of her colleagues, before she was finally called back to be acclaimed as Hespera's new Queen, following the passing of her predecessor. By then, she'd reached a point where she was weary with trying to save a world which kept trying to tear itself apart, and more interested in trying to put what she'd learned into practice among her own people. The task of governing Hespera was as great a challenge as any she'd faced until then, and for a long while she let herself forget about the world beyond the barrier. Even in her moments of greatest frustration, she never thought to abandon her duties.

And then, two decades later, the oracles came to her with a new warning. She considered sending a younger warrior, one of the adopted daughters whom she'd trained, but decided that this task called for experience, not youth. And so she returned to the world to join in the battle against Cerebron, and helped to found the Power Company, dividing her time between the worlds outside and inside the barrier. In her more cynical moments, Sharana wonders whether the oracles -- most of whom have no love for the changes she seeks to make -- might have tricked her. If so, she is determined to make the best of it.

Sharana maintains no dual identity, preferring to meet people without hiding her true nature from them. While she's almost never there, her base of operations is in the city of Hesperia, California, which has a climate that reminds her of her homeland. Her most immediate goal is to persuade the elder Hesperan known as Nocticula to abandon her parasitic and hedonistic lifestyle and return to their people. Then, perhaps, she'll take advantage of the Company's contacts with interstellar factions to investigate the origins of her people, and learn whether it's true that the Olympians are all gone ...

Basilea -- PL 11

Abilities:
STR 7 | STA 8 | AGL 4 | DEX 5 | FGT 10 | INT 2 | AWE 5 | PRE 5

Powers:
Adamantine Shield: Strength-based Ranged Damage 2; Strength-based Damage 2; Enhanced Dodge 2; Enhanced Parry 2; Removable (-2 points) - 8 points
Hesperan Biology: Immunity 3 (aging, disease, poison) - 3 points
Hesperan Swiftness: Leaping 5 (500 feet); Speed 4 (30 MPH); Swimming 4 (6 MPH) - 13 points
Hesperan Telepathy: Mental Communication 3; Comprehend Languages 2 (understand and speak all languages) - 18 points
Hesperan Telepathy: Array (22 points)
  • Paralyzing Glare: Cumulative Sight-Dependent Perception Range Affliction 7 (Resisted by Will; Impaired, Disabled, Paralyzed), Reversible - 22 points
  • Soulgaze: Cumulative Sight-Dependent Mind Reading 11 - 1 point
Advantages:
Defensive Roll, Improved Defense, Improved Disarm, Improved Initiative, Leadership, Power Attack, Ranged Attack 4, Set-Up, Takedown.

Skills:
Acrobatics 6 (+10), Athletics 4 (+11), Close Combat: Shield 3 (+13), Expertise: History 6 (+8) Expertise: Tactics 6 (+8), Insight 6 (+11), Intimidation 6 (+11), Perception 8 (+13), Persuasion 7 (+12), Ranged Combat: Throwing 2 (+7), Vehicles 6 (+11).

Offense:
Initiative +8
Unarmed +10 (Close Damage 7)
Shield Bash +13 (Close Damage 9)
Thrown Shield +11 (Ranged Damage 9)
Paralyzing Glare -- (Perception Range Will 7)

Defense:
Dodge 12/10, Parry 12/10, Fortitude 11, Toughness 10/8, Will 9.

Totals:
Abilities 92 + Powers 64 + Advantages 12 + Skills 30 + Defenses 14 = 212 points

Complications:
Exemplar--Motivation. Nemesis (Nocticula.) Responsibility (Hespera.) Truthful and Direct.

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Re: A World Less Magical But No Less Fantastic

Post by Davies » Thu May 14, 2020 6:52 am

Hesperan Soldiers

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These statistics represent a typical twenty-year veteran of Hespera's armed forces. Recent enlistees might be lower in their abilities, while more senior veterans might be higher -- either all around, or in their mental abilities if not their physical ones. (The most elite will have additional telepathic abilities.) There is no 'officer class', as such; command is given to the most senior member of a battlegroup, who typically appoints sub-commanders based on her evaluation of the situation.

It was once all but unknown for the soldiers of Hespera to travel outside the barrier, but it has happened several times in the last few decades. The soldiers typically look down on outsiders, as their technology doesn't seem terribly useful for the most important things in life (such as medicine, an area where Hesperia is vastly advanced beyond the outside world.) The best among them, of course, do not let that preconception interfere with tactical considerations, never underestimating a potential enemy.

Hesperan Soldiers -- PL 8

Abilities:
STR 5 | STA 6 | AGL 3 | DEX 4 | FGT 8 | INT 1 | AWE 3 | PRE 2

Powers:
Hesperan Biology: Immunity 3 (aging, disease, poison) - 3 points
Hesperan Swiftness: Leaping 4 (250 feet); Speed 3 (15 MPH); Swimming 3 (3 MPH) - 10 points
Hesperan Telepathy: Mental Communication 3; Comprehend Languages 2 (understand and speak all languages) - 18 points

Advantages:
Equipment 2, Improved Disarm, Power Attack, Ranged Attack 2, Teamwork

Equipment:
Body armor (Protection 2), spear (Strength-based Damage 3, Improved Critical), sword (Strength-based Damage 3, Improved Critical)

Skills:
Acrobatics 3 (+6), Athletics 3 (+8), Expertise: History 3 (+4), Expertise: Tactics 4 (+5), Insight 4 (+7), Intimidation 5 (+7), Perception 6 (+9), Ranged Combat: Throwing 2 (+6)

Offense:
Initiative +3
Unarmed +8 (Close Damage 5)
Spear +8 (Close Damage 8, Crit 19-20)
Sword +8 (Close Damage 8, Crit 19-20)

Defense:
Dodge 6, Parry 8, Fortitude 9, Toughness 8/6, Will 7

Totals:
Abilities 64 + Powers 31 + Advantages 7 + Skills 15 + Defenses 10 = 127 points

Complications:
Loyalty--Motivation. Others as needed.

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Re: A World Less Magical But No Less Fantastic

Post by Davies » Thu May 14, 2020 6:59 am

Violet Hayes

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Born in 1968 and a military brat, Violet Hayes was raised all over the world. There was never any question in her own mind that she was going to follow her father into the army. (His mind had other ideas, but she adapted and overcame.) She enlisted right after high school, quickly rose through the ranks and joined the Army Intelligence and Security Command as a corporal. She was under consideration for assignment to the Joint Services Taskforce, but the Pythonian Insurgency came to an end before she could be formally recruited.

Her star continued to rise until 1997, when she crossed the wrong general, exposing him as a wife- and child-beater and forcing him to retire in disgrace, but also ensuring that his political allies would block any future promotions for her. Disgusted with the situation, she took the early retirement she was pressured to accept, but received a very unexpected job offer the next day. The same people who had considered her a JST candidate now worked for Argus, and offered her a job. With few other prospects, she accepted.

In 2001, not long after the formation of the Power Company and Basilea's return to the outside world, Agent Hayes was given the assignment of becoming Basilea's handler, secretly guiding her towards activities chosen by Argus. Violet spent a week studying all the information that Argus had on the Queen of Hespera, and came up with what she believed was a surefire way to accomplish that goal. She arranged to be invited to a social gathering that Basilea was attending, then approached her at a private moment.

And said, "Hello, Your Highness. I'm an agent of the international private security agency Argus. We'd like to work with you."

It worked. Her superiors were less than enthused about the situation, but they couldn't argue that it got the results that they wanted. Out of all the members of the Company, Basilea has the strongest working relationship with Argus, and Violet's own career has benefited from that special relationship. She genuinely admires Sharana, and sometimes wishes that she could always be as honest and straightforward as she was when they first met. But that's not always possible. So she maintains a cover as a civilian defense analyst, and never discusses her real job with anyone.

It's been more than twenty years since Violet last underwent training with conventional firearms, and she vastly prefers her Argus-issue blaster pistol. While not foolhardy, she's much more willing to confront superhuman opponents than is probably healthy.

Violet Haze -- PL 6

Abilities:
STR 1 | STA 2 | AGL 0 | DEX 2 | FGT 4 | INT 2 | AWE 1 | PRE 3

Advantages:
Benefit (Security Clearance), Connected, Defensive Roll, Diehard, Equipment 4, Evasion, Skill Mastery (Persuasion)

Equipment:
Body armor (Protection 2, Subtle), Blaster Pistol (Ranged Damage 5), and 11 points of equipment as needed.

Skills:
Athletics 5 (+6), Close Combat: Unarmed 2 (+6), Deception 5 (+8), Expertise: Military 6 (+8), Insight 9 (+10), Intimidation 5 (+8), Investigation 4 (+6), Perception 4 (+5), Persuasion 8 (+11), Ranged Combat: Blaster 5 (+7), Stealth 4 (+4), Treatment 4 (+6), Vehicles 5 (+7)

Offense:
Initiative +0,
Blaster Pistol +7 (Ranged Damage 5)
Unarmed +6 (Close Damage 1)

Defense:
Dodge 6, Parry 6, Fortitude 4, Toughness 6/4/2, Will 6

Totals:
Abilities 30 + Powers 0 + Advantages 12 + Skills 33 + Defenses 15 = 90 points

Complications:
Patriot--Motivation. Secret (Argus agent.) Zero Tolerance For Sexism or Racism.

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Re: A World Less Magical But No Less Fantastic

Post by Davies » Thu May 14, 2020 11:37 pm

The Blue Bolt

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They keep trying -- and the human cost of such attempts keeps increasing -- but no one has ever developed a reliable method of giving someone superpowers. The earliest documented experiments, towards the end of the 19th century, set the standard for all of those that came afterwards. A scientist developed a formula or process that worked on one individual -- often the scientist in question -- but every attempt to use it on a human being other than the initial test subject failed, often lethally. Even attempts to analyze why the processes don't work again generally lead absolutely nowhere. The case study of Jimmy Irving, who became the superhero known as the Blue Bolt at the age of fifteen, is perhaps the best examined example.

The process began long before Jimmy was born. In 1893, a Professor Cedric Gibberne began research into the creation of a drug which would, he believed, allow human beings to speed up their experience of time by a thousand-fold or more. He never succeeded in developing a working formula, but his discussions on the subject with his friend H.G. Wells inspired the latter to write a piece of speculative fiction. Other researchers continued to work on the formula after Gibberne passed away, sometimes achieving some results with animal testing, but never the extraordinary ones that would justify human usage.

In the last year of the 20th century, a descendant of Professor Gibberne, who spelled his family name Gibbon, developed what he called the Ultimate Accelerator. Through a series of coincidences that defy easy summary, Jimmy -- the younger brother of the security guard responsible for Gibbon's university facilities -- received a mega dose of this drug, and demonstrated that it did indeed grant him the ability to move and think at speeds beyond even Wells' imaginings. Exhilarated by this success, Gibbon proceeded to try a dose of the Ultimate Accelerator -- a much smaller dose than Jimmy had taken -- and promptly turned into a greasy blue cloud that dissipated over the next few minutes. For fairly obvious reasons, no one else has ever used the stuff, even though the late Professor Gibbon had, in fact, committed the formula to paper.

Horrified by this development, Jimmy swore to use the phenomenal speed he now possessed -- as long as he took regular doses of the Accelerator -- to try and make some good out of the tragedy of its creation, by fighting crime as a superhero. Well, that's what he says, but it's fairly clear to everybody that he's having an incredibly good time in the process. However, Jimmy does care about helping people, and demonstrated this by pitching in during Cerebron's attack and helping to form the Power Company. But he's as much a clown as he is a hero, and has never really learned how to cope with the unpleasant sides of his chosen career.

Jimmy's paying career is being a freelance writer -- actually, being several freelance writers. He routinely takes dozens of contracts and uses superspeed to complete them well before their deadlines. It's a little boring at times, but it puts a roof over the head of both himself and Amit Rajadwe, aka Polymorph, his closest friend among the Company. He's dated several people over the years, but his most serious relationship was with Jennie Park, now known as Railgun. It ... didn't end well, to put it very mildly, but that's really more her story than his.

Perhaps his biggest worry, aside from the possibility that his ex-girlfriend is going to kill someone, possibly him, is the notion that he's a drug addict. After all, he takes a dose of a substance that has no medical benefit every day. Professor Andrew Gibbon -- the son of the Professor who invented the stuff, who manufactures it for him -- keeps reassuring him that's not the case. Drug addiction usually involves the addict taking more and more of the substance in order to get less and less of its effects, which is the exact opposite of how the Accelerator works on Jimmy. Still, he wonders whether he could give the stuff up if he needed to do it, and he's not sure he likes the answer he'd get.

The Blue Bolt -- PL 11

Abilities:
STR 2 | STA 3 | AGL 5 | DEX 4 | FGT 5 | INT 1 | AWE 2 | PRE 3

Powers:
Super-Speed: Enhanced Advantages 22 (Agile Feint, Close Attack 5, Defensive Roll, Evasion, Improved Initiative 12, Instant Up, Move-by Action); Enhanced Defenses 22 (Dodge 11, Parry 11); Movement 3 (wall-crawling 2, water-walking), Limited to running; Quickness 12; Speed 18 (500,000 MPH) - 76 points
Super-Speed Fighting: Array (16 points)
  • Arm-Spinning Tornado: Cone Area 2 Close Range Move Object 8, Limited to pushing away - 16 points
  • Fast Attack: Strength-based Selective Burst Area Damage 6 (includes Strength 2) - 1 point
  • Flurry of Blows: Strength-based Multiattack Damage 9 (includes Strength 2) - 1 point
Advantages:
Agile Feint, Close Attack 8/3, Defensive Roll, Evasion, Extraordinary Effort, Grabbing Finesse, Improved Initiative 12, Instant Up, Move-by Action, Redirect, Taunt

Skills:
Acrobatics 5 (+10), Athletics 9 (+11), Deception 6 (+9), Expertise: Current Events 6 (+7), Expertise: Pop Culture 6 (+7), Expertise: Science 5 (+6), Expertise: Writer 7 (+8), Perception 8 (+10), Technology 4 (+5).

Offense:
Initiative +53
Unarmed +13/+8 (Close Damage 2)
Fast Attack -- (Burst Area Damage 6)
Flurry of Blows +13 (Multiattack Damage 9)

Defense:
Dodge 16/5, Parry 16/5, Fortitude 9, Toughness 5/3, Will 8

Totals:
Abilities 50 + Powers 95 + Advantages 7 + Skills 28 + Defenses 12 = 192 points

Complications:
Thrills--Motivation. Nemesis (Railgun.) Power Loss (regular serum doses.) Secret Identity.

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Re: A World Less Magical But No Less Fantastic

Post by Davies » Thu May 14, 2020 11:41 pm

Professor Andrew Gibbon

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Sometimes, Argus gets really lucky. Four years before his father made the breakthrough that resulted in the Blue Bolt's origin and his own horrible demise, they offered to fund Andrew Gibbon's post-graduate studies in exchange for his agreement to come work for their R&D department once he finished them. There was no way that anyone could have known that they were taking into their employ someone who would be closely connected with a superhero, who would become somewhat essential to that superhero's continuing activities, and who would therefore be in an ideal position to act as that superhero's handler. As Dame Beatrice Barrowman has been known to say, "Chance may favor the prepared mind ... but only a little. The rest of the time, it bestows its favors willy-nilly."

Professor Gibbon, a member of the faculty at Princeton, doesn't view his task of keeping an eye on Jimmy Irving to be a betrayal. To betray someone, you have to be loyal to them, and he's always made it clear to Jimmy that theirs is a professional association, not a friendship. (He will become uncomfortable if it's pointed out that Jimmy clearly views him as a friend regardless.) He doesn't blame the younger man for his father's death because he knows that would be irrational, but he also thinks he wouldn't be human if he didn't feel some resentment for someone who survived what his father didn't. So he copies to Argus' network every examination of the Blue Bolt that he conducts (and nearly all the research that he does on the Ultimate Accelerator) he passes on information to the Blue Bolt when he's told to do so, and, if ordered to cut Jimmy off of his supply of the drug, would probably only briefly hesitate before doing so.

His personal ambition is to finish the work that his father started and develop a version of the Ultimate Accelerator that will work on any subject. After years of study and a few test cases that produced, at best, poor copies of the Blue Bomber that didn't last very long, he worries that he's no closer to that goal than he was when he inherited his father's notes. Professor Gibbon is honest enough to privately admit that he doesn't understand the enormous logical leaps that those notes describe, some of which could certainly be described as 'mad science'. He's concerned that he might be too committed to the proper scientific method to ever achieve the results that his father did, for good and for ill. But that same commitment is what keeps him trying.

While trained to a fairly impressive degree of proficiency in the use of various weapons, Professor Gibbon is not a fighter by nature, and will seek to escape from combat situations ... unless his lab is under threat. He'll fight like a cornered wolverine to protect it.

Professor Andrew Gibbon -- PL 5

Abilities:
STR 0 | STA 1 | AGL 1 | DEX 1 | FGT 2 | INT 6 | AWE 2 | PRE 1

Advantages:
Equipment 4, Improvised Tools, Ranged Combat 4, Skill Mastery (Investigation)

Equipment:
20 points of equipment as needed

Skills:
Expertise: Current Events 4 (+10), Expertise: Pop Culture 2 (+8), Expertise: Science 9 (+15), Insight 4 (+6), Investigation 7 (+13), Perception 5 (+7), Technology 9 (+15), Vehicles 2 (+3)

Offense:
Initiative +1
Unarmed +2 (Damage 0)

Defense:
Dodge 5, Parry 4, Fortitude 4, Toughness 1, Will 6.

Totals:
Abilities 32 + Powers 0 + Advantages 10 + Skills 21 + Defenses 13 = 74 points

Complications:
Discovery--Motivation. Secret
(Argus agent.) Skeptical.

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Re: A World Less Magical But No Less Fantastic

Post by Davies » Thu May 14, 2020 11:48 pm

Nereus

Image

Bjarni Árnisson, born in 1979, always wondered what his mother, the most beautiful and wonderful woman in the world, had ever seen in his father, who was nearly always at sea with his fishing boat and crew, and a drunken, brawling thug on the rare occasions when he spent more than a few days in town. When he finally asked her this, he got a gentle smack on the head and the answer that people were liked for their qualities but loved for their flaws, and that his father had always taken care of both of them when they needed it. The answer didn't make much sense to Bjarni, but he suspected that it was the best that he was going to get.

At least, it was the best that he got until he was twelve years old, and his mother was dying of an illness that none of the doctors could identify, and his father was almost always by her side in the hospital. It was then that his mother, knowing that there was never going to be another opportunity, told Bjarni the truth about herself. Long before he was born, she'd been a superhero who called herself the Selkie, using her water-controlling powers to fight crime. That life had ended when she was seriously injured in a terrible fight against latter-day pirates, and she'd been 'rescued' by his father when he caught her in one of his nets. From this unlikely beginning, a romance had blossomed.

She told him, too, that she could tell that he had inherited her powers, possibly to an even greater level than she'd possessed, and that it was up to him to decide how he should use them. All that she asked Bjarni was to look after his father after she was gone. She died later that day, and Bjarni used the strength he'd inherited to carry his father home from the bender he promptly went on. It was the first of many times that he did that. Not until the old man succeeded in drinking himself to death, eight years later, did Bjarni finally feel free to explore what he could do with his abilities. He called himself Nereus, after a Greek god from a storybook he'd read, mostly because he liked the sound of it.

Bjarni is an unusual hero in many respects. Despite having and using an alias, he doesn't maintain any sort of double identity or use a distinctive costume. Everyone in Akureyri knows exactly who he is, and no one asks him to pay for anything in exchange for his promise to protect his hometown. Unlike most of his fellows, he accepts reward money for bringing in wanted criminals -- generally pirates -- but usually gives it away to his fellow townsmen fairly quickly. However, he avoids developing close friendships or romantic relationships with people in Akureyri , in order to ensure that they don't become sorts of 'friends and loved ones' whom those who know his non-existent secret identity might victimize.

He's not totally friendless, however, as he gets along rather well with his fellows in the Power Company, and has had sporadic romances with his teammate Snowfall and her fellow 'Ultra Girl' Havfrue. (Both relationships are currently 'on a break', and he's never been so foolish as to two-time either of these powerful and capable women.) His worst enemy is the super-pirate known as Devilray, who employs a powered diving suit to put him on the same physical level as Nereus -- or so he keeps claiming, even though Nereus keeps winning their fights, even if Devilray always manages to escape capture.

Nereus has visited Atlantis, and -- after a very rough start -- is both welcomed there and considered an official friend of the gillfolk's royal family. Their scholars agree that his water-controlling powers are similar in kind (though much greater in degree) to those used by their adepts, but have no more idea as to why a surfacer family has such abilities than he does. Consequently, Bjarni has begun to wonder about the origins of his mother's powers, which she never explained to him beyond a mention of her father, about whom he's never been able to discover much. It doesn't seem likely that the Atlanteans, who aren't biologically compatible with surfacers, could be the original source of those powers, but the similarities are disturbing.

Nereus - PL 11

Abilities:
STR 12 | STA 10 | AGL 6 | DEX 4 | FGT 8 | INT 1 | AWE 3 | PRE 2

Powers:
Aquatic: Immunity 3 (cold, drowning, pressure); Impervious Toughness 8; Movement 1 (Environmental Adaptation—Aquatic); Senses 7 (Accurate Extended 2 Tracking 2 Hearing (Only when submerged), Low-Light Vision); Swimming 10 (500 MPH) - 27 points
Water-Mastery: Array (20 points)
  • Hard Water Objects: Create 10 (hard water) - 20 point
  • Move Water: Perception Range Move Object 10, Limited to Water - 1 point
  • Stormy Weather: Environment 10 (impede movement 1, visibility 1) - 1 point
  • Water Blast: Ranged Damage 10 - 1 points
  • Water Snare: Ranged Affliction 10 (Resisted by Dodge; Hindered and Vulnerable, Immobile and Defenseless), Extra Condition, Limited to Two Degrees - 1 point
Yes I CAN Talk To Fish, Actually: Comprehend Animals 2, Limited to Aquatic Animals - 4 points

Advantages:
Agile Feint, Chokehold, Diehard, Favored Environment (underwater), Great Endurance, Improved Grab, Improved Hold, Improved Initiative, Languages 2 (Atlantean, Danish, English, Inuit [Icelandic is native]), Power Attack

Skills:
Close Combat: Unarmed 2 (+10), Insight 4 (+7), Intimidation 8 (+10), Perception 6 (+9), Persuasion 8 (+10), Ranged Combat: Water Control 8 (+12).

Offense:
Initiative +6
Unarmed +10 (Close Damage 12)
Water Blast +12 (Ranged Damage 10)
Water Snare +12 (Ranged Affliction 10, Resisted by Dodge)

Defense:
Dodge 11, Parry 12, Fortitude 13, Toughness 10, Will 8

Totals:
Abilities 92 + Powers 56 + Advantages 11 + Skills 18 + Defenses 17 = 194

Complications:
Responsibility--Motivation. Nemesis
(Devilray.) Temper. Weakness (lack of regular exposure to water.)

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Re: A World Less Magical But No Less Fantastic

Post by Davies » Thu May 14, 2020 11:53 pm

Tana Rivers

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Born in 1998, Tana Rivers grew up in Birmingham -- the one in the UK, not in Alabama, unfortunately. She counts herself extraordinarily lucky to have picked exactly the right booth to visit on her high school's career day, and so ended up working for Argus and thus getting the eff out of Birmingham, the Midlands, and the fascist hellhole that is modern England. Her appreciation for that luck is only slightly diminished when she considers that it's led to her current assignment in Iceland, where she maintains a cover as a barista at the Boomer's coffee house that Bjarni Árnisson visits once or twice a week. She's dismally aware that she's only the latest in a series of failed initiatives to assign a handler to Nereus, all of which have crashed on his refusal to get close to anyone in his theoretical base of operations.

Tana has actually managed to make some progress on her assignment. The last time her shift at Boomer's coincided with one of his visits, she asked him about his most recent adventure, having done some prep work by talking to other customers about things they'd seen him do, so that she could present it as a community interest rather than a personal one. He hesitated a bit, but eventually did talk about some recent exploits, and answered questions posed to him. She recorded the whole thing and passed it on to her superiors. There's no way of knowing whether she'll be able to pull something like that off again, but it's worth a try.

Honestly, if it doesn't, and she ends up reassigned, she won't shed many tears as long as she ends up somewhere a bit warmer, or where she has the opportunity to do some serious studying. She takes night classes at the University, but nowhere nearly as much as she'd like. Árnisson seems like an all-right fellow, but she's not some would-be super-groupie like some people who get a handler assignment. The whole thing is not nearly as glamorous as it's made out to be, and she'd honestly pick a more comfortable position over what little glory she's gaining from all of this.

Tana Rivers -- PL 4

Abilities:
STR 1 | STA 2 | AGL 1 | DEX 1 | FGT 3 | INT 2 | AWE 2 | PRE 2

Advantages:
Contacts, Defensive Roll, Equipment 2, Language (Icelandic).

Equipment:
Light pistol (Ranged Damage 3), handcuffs, smartphone.

Skills:
Athletics 4 (+5), Deception 6 (+8), Expertise: Barista 3 (+5), Expertise: Civics 2 (+4), Expertise: Current Events 2 (+4), Expertise: Streetwise 2 (+4), Insight 4 (+6), Intimidation 4 (+6), Investigation 6 (+8), Perception 5 (+7), Persuasion 4 (+6), Ranged Combat: Guns 4 (+5), Technology 4 (+6), Vehicles 4 (+5).

Offense:
Init +1,
Unarmed +3 (Damage 1),
Pistol +5 (Ranged Damage 3).

Defense:
Dodge 4, Parry 4, Fort 3, Tou 4/2, Will 3.

Totals:
Abilities 28 + Powers 0 + Advantages 5 + Skills 27 + Defenses 9 = 69 points

Complications:
Responsibility--Motivation. Secret (Argus agent.)

Note: Tana's stats can be more or less used as-is for any low-ranking Argus agent, substituting their cover job for Expertise: Barista and a locally-spoken Language for Icelandic.

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Davies
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Location: Edmonton, AB

Re: A World Less Magical But No Less Fantastic

Post by Davies » Thu May 14, 2020 11:59 pm

Atlanteans

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A typical Atlantean

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Atlantean soldier in full armor

Their own name for themselves is impossible to transliterate into the Roman alphabet, which was never intended to represent sounds expressed through water rather than air. Apparently, it can be roughly translated as 'people of the gill'. Atlantean would technically refer only to the residents of their largest city, located on an undersea plateau northwest of Bermuda, rather than those associated with the smaller settlements and nomadic groups that can be found beneath the surface of all the world's oceans. And even that is something of a misnomer, for there is no tradition that their city once existed above the surface. Gillpeople legend claims that they were transported from the oceans of another world directly to the oceans of this world by entities whom they call the 'sky kings', whom some identify with the Olympians.

Atlantean weapons are referred to as 'blasters' since they inflict similar bruise patterns to those of the force-field-jacketed plasma weapons usually termed that. However, they work on a completely different principle, projecting a momentary jet of 'hard' water at a target. They also work by focusing the water-controlling powers that are latent in all Atlanteans (and which partially account for their high speed swimming) and can't be used by individuals without such talents. However, they aren't personalized focuses, and are as mass produced as the Atlantean manufacturing base will allow.

By and large, the Atlantean peoples are not interested in the surface. They believe that they were here before the surfacers and will be here long after they are gone, and show little concern in the changes that the 'lungpeople' are making to the planet. On rare occasions, groups of Atlanteans do take offense to events that occur in territories that they occupy, as when a group of nomads who occupied the ocean off of Alaska were affected by the Exxon-Valdez oil spill, and tend to personalize such episodes by claiming that they were deliberately done to assault them. This invariably leads to a spate of violence directed against nearby surface settlements, lasting until such time as the Atlantean leader believes that appropriate retribution has been made. This usually happens a lot faster if they are answered with similar levels of violence.

Some Atlantean adepts possess active water-controlling powers, typically arrays based on 12 points or more. These should also increase their Swimming to around 8 ranks.

Atlantean Soldier - PL 7 / MR 5

Abilities:
STR 6 | STA 3 | AGL 3 | DEX 0 | FGT 3 | INT 0 | AWE 1 | PRE 0

Powers:
Aquatic: Immunity 3 (cold, drowning, pressure); Movement 1 (Environmental Adaptation: aquatic); Senses 1 (low-light vision); Swimming 5 (16 MPH) - 11 points

Advantages:
Equipment 4

Equipment:
Body Armor (Protection 4), Blaster Weapon (Ranged Damage 8).

Skills:
Athletics 2 (+8), Expertise: Military 4 (+4), Perception 5 (+6), Ranged Combat: Blaster 4 (+4), Vehicles 3 (+3).

Offense:
Initiative +3
Blaster Weapon +4 (Ranged, Damage 8)
Unarmed +3 (Close, Damage 6)

Defense:
Dodge 7, Parry 5, Fortitude 7, Toughness 7/3, Will 6

Totals:
Abilities 32 + Powers 11 + Advantages 4 + Skills 9 + Defenses 14 = 70 points
Last edited by Davies on Sat May 16, 2020 12:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Davies
Posts: 1713
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Location: Edmonton, AB

Re: A World Less Magical But No Less Fantastic

Post by Davies » Sat May 16, 2020 12:54 am

Trouble

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It's been years since she thought of her parents, who named her Fa Xing-la and lived happily, she thought, in Hong Kong. At the age of four, she was abducted by a mad scientist and used as a research subject in human cybernetics, integrating advanced nanotechnology into her body. (Much later she would learn that the technology in question had been scavenged from one of Cerebron's space probes.) The experiments took years, and she was kept in suspended animation in between sessions of torture. When she was finally freed from her torment, she resembled a thirteen year old girl, despite having been born eighteen years before that.

Engineered to be a living weapon, the child she became ended up involved in an underground superhuman fighting ring, where she quickly became one of the most accomplished fighters alive. She fought and killed without protest or complaint, without mercy or grief. Her existence beyond the squared circle was empty and barren. And then she came under the guidance of a new mentor, one Ken Hazzard, who not only made her an even better fighter, but began to fix the broken places in her soul. Despite being told that she was trouble, he kept teaching her ... and so she took that as her new name.

Just a year into their acquaintance, though, Hazzard was ambushed and killed by an old enemy. Trouble hunted down the killer, and prepared to end them ... but the faint hints of a conscience that her mentor had sought to encourage stopped her. But in the process of bringing her enemy to justice, she brought down the entire structure of the fighting ring which had been her existence to that point, and was left without a purpose in life. So she set out to find one.

Assisting in the fight against Cerebron, and helping to found the Power Company, provided part of that purpose. So did slowly starting to build a civilian existence for herself in Seattle. But Trouble thinks her new life really began when she met Hazzard's sister Sam, and made friends with her. As she feels responsible for failing to prevent Hazzard's death, she fears that she'll be rejected by Sam if the latter ever learns the whole story, and so has kept it from her, while doing everything in her power to help Sam out with her job as a social worker. She also fights street crime, but tries to avoid the more flash supervillains that other members of the Company spend so much time handling -- though not always successfully.

Trouble - PL 11

Abilities:
STR 6/3 | STA 5 | AGL 5 | DEX 5 | FGT 10 | INT 3/1 | AWE 6/4 | PRE -1

Powers:
Defensive Nanotechnology: Immunity 2 (nanotechnological effects) - 2 points
Technomorph: Enhanced Advantage 1 (Improvised Tools); Variable 7 (technological powers), Continuous, Free Action, Subtle - 72 points
Translator: Comprehend Languages 1, Limited to basic phrases - 2 points

Typical Variable Sets:
Default: Enhanced Awareness 2; Enhanced Intellect 2; Enhanced Strength 3; Enhanced Advantages 11 (Close Attack 4, Defensive Roll 2, Eidetic Memory, Improved Critical 2 [Unarmed], Improved Initiative 2); Enhanced Defenses 4 (Parry 2, Dodge 2); Senses 6 (Accurate Hearing, Analytical and Extended Vision, Danger Sense, Infravision).
Blaster: Ranged Damage 11, Accurate 3; Protection 4; Senses 6 (Accurate Hearing, Analytical and Extended Vision, Danger Sense, Infravision).
Heavy: Enhanced Strength 7; Enhanced Advantages 4 (Fast Grab, Improved Grab, Improved Hold, Improved Smash); Protection 6, Impervious 10; Strength-based Damage 1.
Martial: Strength-based Damage 1; Enhanced Advantages 4 (Close Attack 2, Defensive Attack, Improved Defense), Enhanced Agility 6; Enhanced Fighting 6; Regeneration 5; Senses 1 (Danger Sense)
Scout: Radio Communication 3; Morph 2 (humanoid forms); Senses 6 (Accurate Hearing, Analytical and Extended Vision, Danger Sense, Infravision); 10 points reserved for abilities useful in stealth form, such as Shrinking to appear as a small child.[/I]

Advantages:
Agile Feint, All-out Attack, Assessment, Close Attack 4, Defensive Roll 2, Diehard, Eidetic Memory, Evasion, Fearless 2, Great Endurance, Hide in Plain Sight, Improved Critical 2 (Unarmed Strike), Improved Initiative 2, Improvised Tools, Power Attack, Skill Mastery (Technology), Takedown, Uncanny Dodge.

Skills:
Acrobatics 6 (+11), Athletics 6 (+12/+9), Insight 6 (+12/+10), Intimidation 6 (+5), Perception 6 (+12/+10), Stealth 6 (+11), Technology 12 (+15/+13), Vehicles 6 (+12)

Offense:
Initiative +14/+10
Unarmed +16 (Close Damage 6, Crit 18-20)

Defense:
Dodge 12/10, Parry 12/10, Fortitude 8, Toughness 10/5, Will 9/7

Totals:
Abilities 62 + Powers 76 + Advantages 13 + Skills 27 + Defenses 11 = 190 points

Complications:
Acceptance--Motivation. Dark Secret. Friendship (Sam Hazzard.) Semi-Literacy.

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