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[Mutants & Masterminds] A World Less Magical But No Less Fantastic

Davies

Adventurer
Uplink
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Art by Michal Lisowski

The woman who uses the name Uplink has been relatively close-mouthed about her past -- which is perhaps understandable, as she claims that her past was the future of the World More Grim, and may still be. She uses the name Victoria Lemaçon when she needs to use a civilian name. While that might be an alias, it's been noted that she used it quite frequently, which suggests that it's more important to her than a disposable name would be. It's also been noted that her speech contains something of the rhythm of Haitian Creole, suggesting that her origins might lie in a future version of that nation.

Uplink first came to prominence in 2015 when she assisted the Superhuman Crew in defeating the genocidal robot Metalika. At the time, she claimed to be a time traveler from the future that came from Metalika's victory, who had only recently arrived in the present. The fact that the latter statement was soon discovered to be untrue -- there was photographic evidence of her presence as early as 2008, though none before that -- raised doubts about the former as well. She has never addressed these doubts, tending to answer questions about her origins with the phrase, "Believe me or don't."

Whatever questions might exist concerning her origins, there is none about her motivations. She has assisted the Crew, individually and as a group, on several other occasions since then, as well as obtaining employment -- on a strictly freelance basis -- with Real American Heroes, Inc. Uplink's activities tend to focus on preventing both the development of other artificial super-intelligences and other criminal activity involving hyper-technology. However, her opponents have included aliens, mutants and wizards, just like any other SPI on either side.

In truth, Uplink is a bit bewildered that she still exists. According to the theory of time travel as it was explained to her in her native era, the 2060s, she would be able to change history by helping to defeat Metalika before it slaughtered seventy per cent of humanity, but the cost of that change would be that she blipped out of reality. Yet here she still is. Does this mean that Metalika is not permanently defeated? Were the scientists who explained all this wrong, or were they lying to her. She has no way of getting any answers, as there are no experts on time travel in her world. However, while discussing his visitor from a parallel reality, Renegade has mentioned that time travel has been known on theirs for a lot longer.

An even more unusual journey might be in Uplink's future ...

Uplink -- PL 11

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

Powers:
Cybernetics:
Radio Communication 3; Enhanced Advantages 6 (Close Attack 2, Evasion, Improved Initiative 2, Improvised Tools), Quirk (Close Attack is only enhanced against targets with a lower initiative total); Protection 6, Impervious 10; Senses 7 (Accurate Hearing, Analytical and Extended Vision, Danger Sense, Infravision, Radio) - 40 points
Cybernetic Weapons: Array (22 points)
  • Augmentations: Enhanced Strength 7; Leaping 4 (120 feet); Speed 4 (30 MPH) - 22 points
  • Blaster: Ranged Damage 11, Accurate 3 - 1 point
Translator Circuit: Comprehend Languages 2 - 6 points

Advantages:
Accurate Attack, Agile Feint, Close Attack 2, Chronal Memory, Defensive Attack, Diehard, Evasion, Fearless 2, Improved Initiative 2, Improvised Tools, Skill Mastery (Technology), Startle, Takedown, Uncanny Dodge.

Skills:
Acrobatics 6 (+11), Close Combat: Unarmed 4 (+10), Deception 8 (+9), Expertise: Military 6 (+9), Expertise: Streetwise 6 (+9), Intimidation 10 (+11), Perception 6 (+10), Technology 8 (+11), Vehicles 6 (+11).

Offense:
Initiative +13
Unarmed +12/+10 (Close Damage 10)
Blaster +11 (Ranged Damage 11)

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

Totals:
Abilities 64 + Powers 68 + Advantages 11 + Skills 30 + Defenses 17 = 190 points

Complications:
Justice--Motivation. Electronic
(becomes Hindered, Immobile and Paralyzed if subjected to Nullify Electronics.) Secretive.
 

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Davies

Adventurer
Tommy Elagabalus
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Not quite twenty-seven years ago, two children were born to a witch named Callahan. The wife of the acknowledged leader of Boston's mystic underground, she had consumed alchemical reagents after learning of her pregnancy in hopes of inducing mystical abilities in her child. She succeeded, as both Weiss and Ross, as her son and daughter were named, possessed powers even in their infancy. She had relatively little time to take pride in her success, however, for the poisons she'd consumed killed her soon after they were born. Their father soon married again, this time to a mundane woman, and now they had the requisite step-mother.

Ironically, she was actually a very kind woman to the two of them, and it was their father who proved to be an onerous presence in their lives. He demanded that both of them demonstrate a mastery of mysticism, abusing them when they failed to live up to his expectations. While Weiss had abilities that made learning the secrets somewhat easier, Ross had a much harder time of it. Despite that, it was Weiss who decided that she'd finally had enough of all this, and urged Ross to run away from home with her when they were seventeen.

Unfortunately, they were quickly to discover that their lifestyle, for all its pain, had been positively luxurious by comparison to what they had as teenaged runaways, and they found themselves trapped in a life of crime. Their powers facilitated their activities, but also drew attention from so-called superheroes like the Superhuman Crew, whom the two of them fought on several occasions. They were never captured, but never really managed to accomplish much, either. So they decided to join forces with other supercrooks as the Cohort of Misfortune.

When they discovered that the leader of the Cohort of Misfortune, Metalika, had ambitions of widescale genocide, however, they were appalled. This was not what they'd signed up for, and they defected to the Crew in order to oppose the robot's ambitions. Tragically, Ross was killed in the battle that followed, taking a blast to the chest from one of Metalika's minions.

But he didn't stay dead, as it turned out that he had more powers than anyone had ever realized. A few hours later, he awoke in front of one of his new teammates, who helped him to conceal his resurrection. Ross had come to believe that his sister would be better able to make a new life for herself if she wasn't constantly looking after him. He seems to have been right, since she has become a leading member of the Superhuman Crew as Snow White.

For his part, Tommy Elagabalus has also moved on, becoming an occult investigator in Prague, the most haunted city in Europe, based out of a haunted mansion that he received as a reward for his first case. Ironically, this life has given him the opportunity to finally develop his mystical abilities through self-study that his father's punishing courses never did. His path has frequently led him into alliances (and conflicts) with Llogres and her master, and what has been passed onto him about that other world has him wondering if his world-walking powers could be used to go there ...

Tommy Elagabalus -- PL 8

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

Powers:
Hyper-Reflexes:
Enhanced Advantages 7 (Defensive Roll 2, Evasion, Improved Initiative 2, Uncanny Dodge); Enhanced Defenses 8 (Dodge 4, Parry 4) - 17 points
Teleporter: Accurate Teleport 9 (2 miles), Turnabout - 28 points
Won't Stay Dead: Immortality 12 (minimum of 15 minutes), Limited (not if beheaded), Stamina Check Required (DC 14); Immunity 1 (aging); Regeneration 10 - 19 points

Advantages:
Beginner's Luck, Connections, Contacts, Defensive Roll 2, Equipment 3, Evasion, Improved Initiative 2, Languages 2 (Czech, German, Hungarian, Slovakian), Ritualist, Uncanny Dodge.

Equipment:

Spook Central: Size Medium, Toughness 10, Features Concealed, Dual-size (Huge), Laboratory, Library, Living Space, Personnel, Sealed, Security System, Self-repairing, Workshop - 15 points

Skills:
Deception 7 (+9), Expertise: Magic 6 (+8), Expertise: Streetwise 5 (+6), Insight 8 (+10), Investigation 6 (+7), Perception 6 (+8), Persuasion 6 (+8), Stealth 4 (+9).

Offense:
Initiative +13
Unarmed +4 (Close Damage 1)

Defense:
Dodge 10/6, Parry 8/4, Fortitude 4, Toughness 6/1, Will 8

Totals:
Abilities 42 + Powers 64 + Advantages 9 + Skills 24 + Defenses 10 = 150 points

Complications:
Atonement ... Sort Of--Motivation. Manipulative. Secret
(lots.)
 



Davies

Adventurer
Merlin
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Long ago, there was a man named Morgan. Legend would remember him under another name, just as the ancestor for whom he was named was better known as Pelagius. Gifted with certain superhuman abilities in addition to those which he learned through his study of magic, he decided that the best thing he could do for the world, the best way to make the world a better place, would be to bring about a superhuman aristocracy to govern it well. The rape of a woman named Igraine by a man named Uther was one of the lesser crimes that Morgan enabled in pursuit of that goal.

Such activities are bound to make enemies, and eventually one of Morgan's would arrange for him to be imprisoned in a crystal cave, able to observe the world but not affect it. By the time someone freed him from that imprisonment, his first attempt at creating an ideal kingdom was already in ruins. Undaunted, he vowed to do better next time, and decided to use the girl who had freed him as a key part of his subsequent plans. She went in the cave while he went walking up and down on the world. A few centuries later, he would be known as Maugris, when he involved himself with some of the Frankish aristocracy. Later yet, he adopted the name that his earliest legend had given him -- Merlin.

At some point, Merlin achieved what no other mystic in the history of his world had managed to do, becoming truly immortal. Needless to say, he has never revealed exactly how he did this, but it seems to have involved melding his psyche and body with the fabric of another dimension, from which he could then dispatch incarnations which would instantly return to their origin if fatally injured. (This is much how the Ascendants of the World More Sorcerous operate, and Merlin bears a marked resemblance to one of them, a patron of sorcery known as Mardlyn. What connection, if any, exists here is not known.)

Despite this ascent, Merlin was, like all the mystical powers of the World More Grim, lulled into a deep sleep by certain events which took place on the island of Bermuda around 1540, not to awaken until 1921. Disgusted by what he saw of the world that the superhuman aristocracy had made, he spent much of the subsequent century passing judgment (in the form of Llogres) on the worst of them, reshaping them into their current form. By the early years of the current century, he finally felt able to rest a bit, just in time to witness the start of the age of heroes.

Merlin has had a few interactions with these so-called SPIs, some friendly, some hostile, though he generally prefers to leave such interactions to Llogres. However, he did provide assistance to those who opposed the invasion of Dionysus in 2011, though he declined to take part in the formation of the Superhuman Crew in the aftermath. Truthfully, he feels the weight of his years, and would prefer to pass on his self-appointed responsibility as the world's mystical guardian to a younger party. Unfortunately, none of the candidates he has approached have had any interest in his patronage, and so he must soldier on. "How weary is my life," he is often heard to say.

Recently, however, a new spark has entered into that difficult life, as he has learned (through Llogres) of another world, arousing his curiosity for the first time in forever ...

Merlin -- PL 15

Abilities:
STR
10/2 | STA 3 | AGL 2 | DEX 3 | FGT 8 | INT 3 | AWE 7 | PRE 12

Powers:
Immortal:
Immortality 5 (one day); Immunity 1 (aging); Movement 1 (dimensional travel to home plane), Reaction (death); Movement 2 (dimensional travel to mystical dimensions), Standard Action - 15 points
Master of the Mystic Arts: Array (55 points)
  • Healing Word: Perception Ranged Healing 8, Energizing, Resurrection, Restorative, Side Effect (inflicts Damage 8 to target on failed roll) - 1 point
  • Lightning Barrage: Ranged Multiattack Damage 18, Dynamic - 2 points
  • Spellshatter: Nullify Magic 18, Broad, Simultaneous, Precise, Dynamic - 56 points
  • Portal: Extended Only Teleport 13, Portal, Dynamic - 2 points
  • Probing: Cumulative Effortless Mind Reading 13, Subtle - 2 points
  • Scrying: Remote Sensing 10 (all senses), Dimensional, Dynamic - 2 points
  • Shielding: Immunity 80 (Toughness), Concentration; Dynamic - 2 points
Mind Over Matter: Enhanced Strength 8; Continuous Flight 6 (120 MPH); Move Object 8, Subtle; Sustained Protection 9, Subtle - 60 points
Mystic Attunement: Senses 5 (extended 4 mystic awareness) - 5 points
Staff: Environment 1 (light); Strength-based Damage 2; Removable (-0 points) - 3 points

Typical Combination:
Cumulative Effortless Mind Reading 6, Subtle; Remote Sensing 6 (all senses)

Advantages:
Accurate Attack, Assessment, Equipment 4, Fearless, Improved Defense, Language 6, Ritualist, Trance.

Equipment:
Home Plane: Size Huge; Toughness 12; Features Communications, Concealed, Defense System, Grounds, Gym, Isolated, Library, Living Space, Power System, Personnel, Security System - 18 points.

Skills:
Deception 4 (+16), Expertise: History 12 (+15), Expertise: Magic 4 (+16), Insight 6 (+13), Perception 7 (+14), Persuasion 4 (+16), Ranged Combat: Mystic Arts 9 (+12), Treatment 8 (+11).

Offense:
Initiative +2
Unarmed +8 (Close Damage 10/2)
Staff +8 (Close Damage 12/4)
Lightning Barrage +12 (Ranged Multiattack Damage 18)

Defense:
Dodge 8, Parry 8, Fortitude 6, Toughness 12/3, Will 18

Totals:
Abilities 80 + Powers 151 + Advantages 16 + Skills 27 + Defenses 20 = 294 points

Complications:
Responsibility--Motivation. Arrogant and Patronizing. Secret Identity.


Note: If Merlin ever travels to the World Less Magical, he suffers Weaken 5 on all Master of the Mystic Arts effects except Shielding, is Disabled on checks with his Expertise: Magic skill, and suffers Power Loss for his Immortal and Mind over Matter powers.
 

Voltron64

Explorer
At some point, Merlin achieved what no other mystic in the history of his world had managed to do, becoming truly immortal. Needless to say, he has never revealed exactly how he did this, but it seems to have involved melding his psyche and body with the fabric of another dimension, from which he could then dispatch incarnations which would instantly return to their origin if fatally injured. (This is much how the Ascendants of the World More Sorcerous operate, and Merlin bears a marked resemblance to one of them, a patron of sorcery known as Mardlyn. What connection, if any, exists here is not known.)
Alternate reality counterpart, solved it in one.
Despite this ascent, Merlin was, like all the mystical powers of the World More Grim, lulled into a deep sleep by certain events which took place on the island of Bermuda around 1540, not to awaken until 1921. Disgusted by what he saw of the world that the superhuman aristocracy had made, he spent much of the subsequent century passing judgment (in the form of Llogres) on the worst of them, reshaping them into their current form. By the early years of the current century, he finally felt able to rest a bit, just in time to witness the start of the age of heroes.
Thus explaining why history and pop culture of A World More Grim didn't start of majorly diverge until the 2000s.

Also kind of a twisted relief to know he didn't approve of all the colonialism and plutocracy...
Merlin has had a few interactions with these so-called SPIs, some friendly, some hostile, though he generally prefers to leave such interactions to Llogres. However, he did provide assistance to those who opposed the invasion of Dionysus in 2011, though he declined to take part in the formation of the Superhuman Crew in the aftermath. Truthfully, he feels the weight of his years, and would prefer to pass on his self-appointed responsibility as the world's mystical guardian to a younger party. Unfortunately, none of the candidates he has approached have had any interest in his patronage, and so he must soldier on. "How weary is my life," he is often heard to say.
So was Nike's dad here an even bigger jerk than in A World Less Magical or about the same? (Considering the implied connection between Nike and Tiamat and the...process behind all that.)
 


Davies

Adventurer
Metalika
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In 2011, after Renegade accidentally revealed his own extraterrestrial origins in the aftermath of Dionysus' invasion, the brilliant and sociopathic Billie Zane saw an opportunity. Employing her vast web of corporate and government contacts, she was able to discover the whereabouts of the alien vessel which had brought Renegade to Earth twenty years before and obtain it for her own uses. Zane was genuinely startled that most of its technology was not that much advanced beyond what she herself could develop, except in one area that had always daunted her. That was the creation of genuine artificial intelligence.

With the involuntary assistance of a long dead Ibycan scientist's personality emulation, Zane was able to create a method to record the psyche of a living individual and use it as the basis for a robot's AI. Naturally, she chose her own mind as the ideal candidate; just as naturally, she applied certain limitations to the resultant program so that it was not quite as intellectually superior as she was. She wanted no rivals, after all, and if it was only ten per cent as brilliant as she, that should be more than enough when combined with the impervium armor and advanced weaponry installed within the robot's frame. Dubbing it Metalika, she wound it up and set it loose on a collision course with the Superhuman Crew.

Metalika quickly recognized her own limitations. (Just as with her creator, she identifies as female.) While more powerful, in some respects, than any of the Superhuman Crew, she was neither omnipotent nor omnipresent. Therefore, she began to recruit allies from those who already had reason to oppose them, forming and leading the Cohort of Misfortune. Together, they gave the Crew some of the hardest battles they'd ever faced ... which provided the ideal distraction for Metalika's actual goals.

Eventually, however, the members of the Cohort figured out what Metalika was plotting. She had constructed a number of facilities on the African, Asian, European and North and South American landmasses, that were intended to draw down meteor strikes that should exterminate most of humanity. While at least one of her subordinates was all for this, the rest were a bit disconcerted; she was able to deal with two of them, but two others escaped her and warned the Crew ...

... and inadvertently Zane as well, who was no less shocked. While able to encompass causing vast amounts of death for some goal, she could not perceive any greater goal in Metalika's actions; they seemed to be destruction for its own sake, and likely to put Zane herself in danger. She therefore covertly assisted the Crew in defeating Metalika before her plan could come to fruition. The robot was destroyed in the battle, but her hulk disappeared in the aftermath, and is believed to be in the process of reconstruction, if she has not already returned to full function.

In that final battle, Metalika recognized the handiwork of her maker, and was outraged that Zane was unable to comprehend her plan. By destroying human life on every continent except Australia, she would be giving Zane a species that she could much more easily dominate. Clearly, in order to fulfill her own goals, she would need to surpass her creator, and yet this is not so easily done. She would need the assistance of another entity of Zane's brilliance to undo her inbuilt limitations, and such are not easily found.

At least, not on her own world ...

Metalika -- PL 12

Abilities:
STR
9 | STA -- | AGL 0 | DEX 3 | FGT 8 | INT 10 | AWE 6 | PRE 4

Powers:
Impervium Armor:
Immunity 80 (Toughness), Limited to Half Effect; Impervious Protection 13 - 66 points
Reconstruction: Immortality 5 (minimum of one day), Check Required (Technology DC 20) - 1 point
Robot: Immunity 30 (Fortitude) - 30 points
Sensors: Radio Communication 3; Senses 8 (accurate extended radio, darkvision, direction sense) - 20 points
Weapon Systems: Array (27 points)
  • Arm Blade: Strength-based Damage 3, Improved Critical 2 - 1 point
  • Basic Cannon: Ranged Damage 13, Variable (technology) - 27 points
  • Psychic Magnetron: Perception Range Affliction 9 (Resisted by Will; Dazed, Compelled, Controlled) - 1 point
  • Tractor Beam: Perception Range Move Object 9 - 1 point
Advantages:
Accurate Attack, Assessment, Eidetic Memory, Inventor, Power Attack, Precise Attack (Ranged, Cover), Speed of Thought.

Skills:
Expertise: Science 5 (+15), Insight 6 (+12), Intimidation 9 (+13), Perception 8 (+14), Ranged Combat: Weapon Systems 8 (+11), Technology 6 (+16).

Offense:
Initiative +10
Unarmed +8 (Close Damage 9)
Arm Blade +8 (Close Damage 12)
Cannon +11 (Ranged Damage 13)
Psychic Magnetron -- (Perception Range Will 9)

Defense:
Dodge 9, Parry 9, Fortitude Immune, Toughness 13, Will 12.

Totals:
Abilities 70 + Powers 157 + Advantages 7 + Skills 21 + Defenses 16 = 271 points

Complications:
Destruction--Motivation. Obsession
(Billie Zane.) Weakness (becomes becomes Hindered, Immobile and Paralyzed if subjected to Nullify Electronics.)
 




Davies

Adventurer
She's already got the suit designed, but she's always backed away from that point so far. And this being a World More Grim, she comes out the winner in their conflicts more than you'd expect.
 

Davies

Adventurer
So was Nike's dad here an even bigger jerk than in A World Less Magical or about the same? (Considering the implied connection between Nike and Tiamat and the...process behind all that.)
No comment.
To elaborate on this, in preparation for tomorrow's entry ...

The exact nature of the beings known as Olympians is something of a mystery in the World More Grim. The official position of the authorities is that Dionysus, Pallas, and the others who've visited or reside on Earth are just aliens who reside on the Jovian moon Ganymede, and who have adopted names from Earth's cultural mythology for as-yet-unknown reasons. Pallas' personal recollection is that she's the daughter of a former ruler of their nation and one of his mistresses, and was put in suspended animation and sent to Earth during a conflict on Ganymede roughly 80+/-5 years ago. Therefore she's not really in a position to provide much insight about their history or culture. Though she's travelled to Ganymede once since her awakening, three years ago, she is apparently not welcome there.
 

Davies

Adventurer
Manneken
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The year was 2014, the place a hospital in Philadelphia, and the man was old, and sick, and dying. He had been many things in his time -- a decorated Marine, a celebrated artist, a lover -- though not as much as he wished -- and a good friend to have. But time runs out for the best of us, and despite how much pain he was in, the man nevertheless found himself wishing for just a little more time. He expected that this was a futile dream, however, so he started to drift off to sleep, unsure whether or not he would awaken.

Then he realized that he wasn't alone in his hospital room. He blinked in confusion, since visiting hours were long over, and he couldn't recognize the woman who was sitting in a chair gazing at him. And it occurred to him that this might be because her appearance changed at every moment, in every conceivable way. "Uh ... good evening, ma'am," he said, since his mother hadn't raised him to be rude. "Who might you be?"

"I have many names," she answered.

"Oh no."

"Not any of the ones you just thought of, though. You've led an interesting life, Mr. Montrose, particularly given my interests. Three times, in your life, you encountered my work --"

"Ohhhh no."

"Please calm down," the woman said, in tones of great restraint. "I'm actually a bit impressed, and you don't know how rare that is. You helped them. You gained nothing by doing so, and put yourself at considerable risk in the process. Yet nevertheless, you helped three pairs of incredibly star-crossed lovers come together against all odds. Why?"

He managed to shrug. "I believe in love, I guess. It's pretty much all I do believe in."

He couldn't really tell, but he thought she was smiling. "Me too," she said softly. "And so, I will grant you a bounty. Now, before you ask," she continued, suddenly businesslike, "there are some profound limitations on what I can actually do. I cannot cure what ails you, first of all. But there are two possibilities. I can take away your pain, so that when your end comes, you will go gently. Orrr I can give you what you just wished for -- more time. But you may spend much of that time cursing me. Which is it to be?"

He made his choice, the choice he suspects she knew that he was going to make, and the world went dark for a time. The next thing he knew, he found himself on a hill watching a funeral at Arlington, and recognized many of his friends among the guests, and guessed who the funeral was for. Feeling a bit dizzy, he raised his hand to his forehead -- then paused as he stared at the wrist of that hand, which had a visible joint. There were other, smaller ones in each of the fingers. He'd been turned into a mannequin.

"Well, I guess I shouldn't be all that surprised, given what you said about your work," he said, shaking his head. And then he walked down the hill, away from the funeral.

Since then, Manneken -- he sometimes goes by Ken, but never uses the name he used in his first life -- has quietly tried to make the best of his extended time. Unlike certain animate mannequins he's known, he remains animate no matter how many people are looking at him, but on the other hand, he never appears as a realistic looking human being, either. He's not a superhero, despite having greater than human strength and toughness, as he doesn't go looking to get mixed up in trouble. That said, if he discovers that someone is having some difficulties that he can help with, especially in the area of romance, he'll always try to help them as much as he can. He once thought about abandoning a particularly annoying pair to their own devices, but found himself stiffening into immobility when he tried, only regaining his ability to move when he agreed to go back and help.

Despite all this, and other frustrations of his existence -- he can know love himself, but his ability to enjoy sex is very limited -- he hasn't ever cursed the being who did this to him. Despite everything, he still believes in Love.

Manneken -- PL 8

Abilities:
STR
5 | STA -- | AGL 0 | DEX 0 | FGT 8 | INT 0 | AWE 4 | PRE 4

Powers:
Mannequin:
Immunity 30 (Fortitude); Protection 8 - 38 points
Mystical Self-Repair: Immortality 5 (1 day); Regeneration 2 - 12 points

Advantages:
Attractive, Improved Grab, Improved Initiative, Jack-of-all-Trades, Power Attack

Skills:
Close Combat: Grab 3 (+11), Deception 4 (+8), Expertise: Art 6 (+6), Expertise: Magic 5 (+9), Investigation 2 (+7), Perception 5 (+9), Persuasion 4 (+8), Stealth 5 (+5).

Offense:
Initiative +4
Unarmed +8 (Close Damage 5)

Defense:
Dodge 6, Parry 8, Fortitude Immune, Toughness 8, Will 7

Totals:
Abilities 32 + Powers 50 + Advantages 5 + Skills 17 + Defenses 9 = 113 points

Complications:
Doing Good--Motivation. Obviously Inhuman
(but can disguise himself somewhat.) Weakness (must help lovers in difficult circumstances, or become progressively Hindered, Immobile, and Paralyzed.)

They say we're crazy/Let's prove them right!/Keep holding my hand and we'll get through this night ...
 

Davies

Adventurer
And with that ... I have now been doing this for a year and a day, according to the best information available to me. I think it's time to take an extended break.
 


Davies

Adventurer
The Scavengers

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David (Art by Slugg-o)
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Jude (Art by Brian Rubinfeld)
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Joshua (Art by Yngvar Apslund)

It seems unlikely that Dr. John B. Calhoun would have approved of the other experiments that were being conducted by employees of the National Institute of Mental Health at the Casey farm in 1962. His objections wouldn't have been founded on any sentimental considerations about what they were doing to the mice and rats, but rather on his belief that using 'mad science' on creatures intended for 'serious science' experiments could contaminate the results. That said, the most noteworthy experiments occurred after Dr. Calhoun had departed for California, with the creation of sapient and iconographic mice and rats, and their escape from the laboratory, taking place towards the end of the year.

The escaped rodents were broken up into several smaller groups by various circumstances, and while most of those who survived reunited somewhat later, many were thought lost for good. One of these lost rats was a pregnant female who used the name Judith, who gave bith to a litter of nine infants soon after the escape. Three of them survived to maturity. One of the first books that Judith ever read was a collection of stories about the Nine Worthies, and she named her children after three of them -- Joshua, David and Judah.

The rat pups' physical maturity outpaced their mental and emotional maturity by quite a bit, though they rarely spoke of their youth later on, and so many questions about this period remain unanswered. They travelled along with their mother, moving across the United States as tramps, until Judith died, apparently due to misadventure, in 1972. All three of the brothers' personalities were largely shaped by this loss -- David became determined to become able to protect what was left of his family, Joshua was left angry at the world and everything in it, and Judah -- or Jude, as he began calling himself -- developed a whimsical and easy-going attitude.

Despite their differences, they stayed together for several more years, right up until everything changed for them. In 1977, while passing through Denver, they were caught up in one of the last great battles of the first age of heroes and exposed to further mutating effects that caused them to increase in size many times over, until they were each roughly five feet in height. It was an extremely painful process that left them all but helpless for several hours, and so their existence was discovered by a human being.

Fortunately, Katsuki Junko could best be described as unflappable. The strange creatures she found hiding out in the basement of the flophouse where she was temporarily residing were in need of help. She took her responsibility to help all living creatures seriously, and therefore gave them what aid she could and listened with interest to the story of their lives so far. Observing their athletic and stealthy talents with interest, Junko hesitantly offered to give them instruction in how to use those natural abilities to better results, through the use of the martial arts.

They had to move a few times over the course of their training, but by 1984, when they were living in Detroit, the three brothers were highly accomplished martial artists and infiltrators, having developed combat styles that made use of weapons that they'd constructed from scavenged equipment. They referred to themselves as the Scavengers, and frequently used their training to protect humans as well as themselves and their Little Mother. In the process, they found themselves clashing with a criminal martial artist, Tobidashi, who was pursuing certain schemes in association with the Pythons and with an extraterrestrial stranded on Earth. It was the start of a great deal of strangeness, but the Scavengers found themselves enjoying being heroes, even if they were regarded as monsters by the public.

Tobidashi disappeared in 1987, most likely executed by his superiors for his repeated failures. The alien, Kulkafron, continued his experiments for a few more years, but also disappeared after a security team from the TSV Adventure, led by Otodevol, assisted the Scavengers in finally destroying his base of operations. The brothers were invited to travel to the Technate in order to give testimony concerning the activities of Vaskhane that they'd witnessed, and agreed once it was also mentioned that the Technate's medical treatment could assist their sensei with some difficulties she'd been sufffering in recent months.

Not much is known about the Scavengers' activities after they left Earth. It's believed that they may have worked alongside fellow Terran-expatriate Captain Mystic as agents of the Bureau of Law Enforcement, but if so they did so in secret. It's possible that they eventually settled in Manehil, a city on Muraddin largely occupied by the Xavin people, whom they somewhat resemble, and possible that by now a new generation of adolescent transgenic shinobi rats are active there.

The Scavengers -- PL 6

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

Powers:
Keen Senses:
Senses 3 (Low-light Vision, Acute and Tracking Olfactory) - 3 points
Mobility: Movement 2 (slithering, wall-crawling 1); Speed 2 (8 MPH) - 6 points

Advantages:
All: Agile Feint, Defensive Attack, Defensive Roll, Evasion, Improved Defense, Improved Disarm, Improved Initiative, Improvised Tools, Instant Up, Move-by Action, Power Attack, Takedown, Teamwork.
David: Equipment 2, Inspire, Interpose, Leadership
Jude: Close Attack, Equipment 1, Redirect, Set-up, Skill Mastery (Deception)
Joshua: Favored Environment (neighborhood), Great Endurance, Uncanny Dodge

Equipment:
David:
Sickles (Strength-based Damage 3, Improved Critical, Split Attack) and 5 points
Jude: Staff (Strength-based Damage 2, Split Attack) and 7 points
Joshua: Bow (Ranged Damage 3), Sword (Strength-based Damage 3, Improved Critical) and 3 points

Skills:
All: Acrobatics 6 (+9), Athletics 4 (+7), Deception 6 (+7), Perception 4 (+6), Sleight of Hand 6 (+8), Stealth 6 (+9), Technology 4 (+6).
David: Expertise: Philosophy 6 (+8), Treatment 6 (+8).
Jude: Expertise: Popular Culture 6 (+8), Vehicles 6 (+8).
Joshua: Intimidation 6 (+7), Ranged Attack: Bow 6 (+8).

Offense:
Initiative +7
David: Unarmed +6 (Close Damage 3), Sickles +6 (Close Damage 6, Crit 19-20)
Jude: Unarmed +7 (Close Damage 3), Staff +7 (Close Damage 5)
Joshua: Unarmed +6 (Close Damage 3) Sword +6 (Close Damage 6, Crit 19-20), Bow +8 (Ranged Damage 3)

Defense:
Dodge 5, Parry 6, Fortitude 5, Toughness 6/4, Will 5

Totals:
Abilities 46 + Powers 9 + Advantages 18 + Skills 21 + Defenses 6 = 100 points

Complications:
All: Survival--Motivation. Obviously Inhuman. Scavenged Equipment (frequently breaks down.)
David: Overconfident.
Jude: Easy-Going.
Joshua: Temper.
 



Davies

Adventurer
Katsuki Junko
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Debuting in 1964, Japan's first superhero was the self-proclaimed 'scientific ninja' known by his alias of Jiraiya, after the famous ninja of folklore. And debuting three years later, Jiraiya found himself (somewhat reluctantly) saddled with a partner, who naturally took the alias Tsunade as she fought by his side. Looking back on those days, many years later, Katsuki Junko preferred to remember the good times, and was laughingly grateful that they never ran into anyone who insisted on being called Orochimaru. When asked whether her relationship with Jiraiya had been romantic as well as professional, she gently tapped Jude on the head with a spoon and replied that a lady never answered questions like that.

Junko's career as Japan's first superheroine began in her early twenties, after she received training from the same man who had trained Kageyama Sarutobi: the mad scientist known only as Professor Chi. The professor claimed to have stripped the various esoteric techniques employed by generations of would-be martial artists of their superstitious dross, leaving only practical methods that anyone could use. Despite this, he trained only two students in his methods, and they would both pay a steep price for their power, though they wouldn't learn that until after the professor died, in 1968.

Access to the professor's notes painted a clearer portrait of what he had done to them, and began to drive a wedge between the two heroes. Between these revelations and the cataclysm in Vietnam, Sarutobi began to increasingly reject the materialist and technological society that had produced him in favor of more traditional approaches to the martial arts and life in general. While Junko sympathized with such goals, she was unable to fully embrace them. Therefore, the two parted with a fair amount of acrimony in 1974, with Sarutobi beginning to lay the foundations for what he would call the Shadow School, and Junko departing for the United States.

Little is known of her life between her arrival in America and her meeting with the Scavengers, three years later. At some point in that time, she learned the horrific cost of the abilities she'd mastered -- they caused her to age much more rapidly than she should. By the time she began teaching David, Jude and Joshua, she resembled a woman in her early forties, ten years older than her actual age. Sarutobi suffered from the same affliction, which would ultimately kill him in 1992. For this reason, as much as her lack of access to the tools used in her training, she did not instruct the Scavengers in these techniques.

Generally, during the Scavengers' adventures, Junko remained behind and offered only counsel and advice to them. She encouraged David's quest to become a worthy leader to his brothers, laughed at Jude's pranks though never at the prankster, and tried to soften the sharp edges of Joshua's bad attitude. She was pleased when they began to make other human friends, such as Julie Martens, since she feared what would happen when her death left them alone in the world. She did not think of herself as their mother, exactly, and actually found the 'Little Mother' name she was saddled with to be somewhat irksome, particularly after she found out what inspired it. But she was always their biggest fan.

Ultimately, in the name of saving her life, the Scavengers left Earth behind in 1991, by which point she looked like a woman in her seventies. If their fate is something of a mystery, hers is even more so. It may be that what was done to her was repaired, and even reversed, though the miracles of Technate medicine. But perhaps it was too late, and her ashes rest in an urn somewhere on some alien world.

Katsuki Junko -- PL 8

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

Powers:
Abundant Step:
Leaping 3 (60 feet); Movement 1 (trackless) - 5 points
Chi Mastery: Array (8 points)
  • Flurry of Blows: Selective Burst Area Damage 4, Tiring - 8 points[/li]
  • Nerve Strike: Cumulative Affliction 8 (Resisted and Overcome by Fortitude; Dazed, Stunned, Paralyzed), Tiring - 1 point
  • Restoration: Healing 8, Tiring - 1 point
Advantages:
Assessment, Chokehold, Defensive Attack, Defensive Roll, Evasion, Fast Grab, Grabbing Finesse, Improved Disarm, Improved Grab, Improved Hold, Improved Initiative, Improvised Tools, Improvised Weapon, Language (English, [Japanese is native]), Prone Fighting, Tracking, Trance, Uncanny Dodge, Weapon Bind, Well-informed.

Skills:
Acrobatics 6 (+9), Athletics 6 (+7), Close Combat: Unarmed 2 (+8), Deception 8 (+9), Expertise: Philosophy 8 (+9), Insight 5 (+11), Perception 4 (+10), Persuasion 7 (+8), Sleight of Hand 6 (+10), Stealth 6 (+9), Treatment 6 (+7).

Offense:
Initiative +7
Unarmed or Improvised Weapon +8 (Close Damage 3 or more)
Flury of Blows -- (Close Burst Area Damage 4)
Nerve Strike +8 (Close Fortitude 8)

Defenses:
Dodge 5, Parry 6, Fortitude 3, Toughness 3/1, Will 11

Totals:
Abilities 46 + Powers 15 + Advantages 20 + Skills 32 + Defenses 9 = 121 points

Complications:
Responsibility--Motivation. Family
(the Scavengers.) Prejudice (homeless.) Rapid Aging.

Note: This represents Junko's abilities in the late 70s and early 80s. A decade earlier, while active as Tsunade, her AGL, DEX and FGT would all have been two ranks higher, she would have Close Attack 2 instead of Close Combat: Unarmed, Ranged Attack: Thrown 4 (+10), the abilities of her Chi Mastery would not have the Tiring limitation, and she would have carried an Equipment package identical to that used by Kiyohime. By the early nineties, she was in significantly worse condition than this; reduce all physical abilities and FGT by 2.
 

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