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

Davies

Explorer
Chiropterri


According to a fable supposedly set down by Aesop, at one point the birds and the beasts prepared to make war on each other. But the Bat found himself unsure for which side he should fight, for he was in some ways both. When the beasts bid him join them, he claimed to be a bird; and thus also when the birds bid him join them did he claim to be a beast. At last, peace broke out -- yet this was not a good thing for the Bat, for he was welcome among neither side, now. One who is neither one thing nor another has no friends.

Terri Cooper entered the superhuman community in 2010, as one of the victims of Dr. Charles MacCorkindale, alias the Manimalist, a mad scientist who developed a process of imprinting certain animal traits on human beings in the belief that this would allow his 'patients' to live lives unencumbered by what he considered the false and hypocritical morality of civilization. Basilea stopped the rampaging animal-people from doing too much damage and prevented Dr MacCorkindale from transforming himself into a kaiju-style creature, and used Hesperan medical technology to reverse the treatment he'd performed on most of his victims.

While transformed into a humanoid bat, Terri retained more of her original mindset than most of MacCorkindale's victims. While flying under her own power was an experience that she thoroughly enjoyed, she wasn't interested in 'rampaging' or hurting anybody, and actually helped to prevent one of the other transformed victims from doing that. However, when she overheard that the Hero of Hespera was planning on returning her to her original form, Terri panicked and few away as fast as she could, escaping that fate.

She made her way from California up to Illinois, occasionally engaging in petty crimes to keep herself fed, but also sometimes assisting people she encountered who needed help. Her somewhat vague plan was to present herself to Darkwing as a new partner in crimefighting, figuring that her abilities would be a useful compliment to his. To her annoyance, he tried to arrest her for all those minor offenses and wouldn't even listen to her explanations! He was able to fly rings around her, too, and so she went to jail.

There she stayed for a few years, until she got out for good behavior. While somewhat hardened by her experiences, Terrri -- Chiropterri, as she now called herself -- still wasn't interested in being a serious supervillain. But it was pretty clear that she wouldn't be welcomed as a superhero, either. So she's settled for trying to just do what she thinks is best, helping people when she feels like it, and committing petty crimes when it suits her. As a result, most of the villainous community in Chicago are disgusted with her, and Darkwing also keeps trying to put her back in the joint. One who is not one thing or another has no friends.

In addition to her wings and the claws at the ends of them, Chiropterri has the ability to release a shrill cry that can stun those in her immediate vicinity. This attack is both sonic and ultrasonic in nature, and so ordinary protection from sonic attacks doesn't assist in resisting it. Absolute sound-blocking techniques might work, however. She also recovers from most injuries quickly, and can echolocate like a real bat.

Chiropterri -- PL 9

Abilities:
STR
4 | STA 4 | AGL 7 | DEX 3 | FGT 8 | INT 0 | AWE 4 | PRE 1

Powers:
Bat-Signal:
Burst Area Cumulative Affliction 6 (Resisted and Overcome by Fortitude, Dazed, Stunned), Concentration, Limited Degree - 18 points
Claws: Strength-based Damage 2 - 2 points
Healing Factor: Regeneration 10 - 10 points
Keen Senses: Senses 7 (accurate radius tracking hearing, acute smell, danger sense, ultra-hearing) - 7 points
Wings: Flight 2, Wings - 2 points

Advantages:
Agile Feint, All-out Attack, Defensive Roll, Evasion, Improved Initiative, Move-by Action, Uncanny Dodge

Skills:
Acrobatics 7 (+14), Athletics 7 (+11), Close Attack: Claw 4 (+12), Expertise: Streetwise 10 (+10), Intimidation 8 (+9), Perception 8 (+12), Stealth 6 (+13).

Offense:
Initiative +11
Unarmed +8 (Close Damage 4)
Claws +12 (Close Damage 6)

Defense:
Dodge 12, Parry 10, Fortitude 5, Toughness 6/4, Will 6

Totals:
Abilities 62 + Powers 39 + Advantages 7 + Skills 25 + Defenses 10 = 143 points

Complications:
Thrills--Motivation. Neither One Thing Nor The Other. Prejudice
(animal looks).
 

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Davies

Explorer
Ah, what the hell. Let's see how long I can keep up this pace.

Incidentally, if you haven't watched
Brand New Animal yet, you're missing out.

Dú Láng and Láng Zai


The original Dú Láng (Lone Wolf) was a masked martial artist who fought crime in Hong Kong from the mid-1960s onward. Almost nothing is known about his mundane identity, and it's not clear if he had any super-powers; his feats, while extraordinary, have been duplicated by mundane martial artists since then. Having worked with the Grail Knight on one occasion, he joined his ally in fighting the Battle of Vietnam, and was reported killed while trying to save the life of Kid Wolf. However, in the immediate aftermath, it was discovered that his remains had disappeared, leading to a legend that Dú Láng had been some sort of immortal. Sightings persisted over the next two decades.

In 1999, sightings of Dú Láng increased dramatically, and even skeptics admitted that someone was clearly using the identity. The new Dú Láng was much more brutal than the original, and there were unconfirmed reports of him killing his opponents. These were investigated by the Hong Kong Police Force, who eventually announced that they were unable to determine whether any murders had been committed, or indeed any crimes at all; the official conclusion, announced in August of 2001, was that the activities of the supposed Dú Láng imitator were nothing more than urban legends.

Then Cerebron attacked, and any questions about the reality of the new Dú Láng were firmly answered when he was filmed in combat with the attacking drones. He was clearly different from the original, wearing a remarkably realistic wolf's head mask rather than a painted hood, and demonstrated clearly superhuman abilities. He was every bit as averse to interviews as the original had been, however, and escaped from the hospital where he was treated for his injuries in the attack's aftermath rather than answer any questions.

Reportedly, the Powerhouse attempted to contact Dú Láng and offer him membership, but he avoided contact with them right up until 2015, when he joined forces with a number of them while preventing an attempt to overthrow Hong Kong's government which was backed by the Empire of Korea. It was an uncomfortable alliance, as Dú Láng was very blunt that he would not observe any 'code against killing' that the Powerhouse expected, and that he viewed them as naive idiots for operating in that manner. Despite this, Darkwing noted that the wolf-headed hero did not actually kill anybody in the course of their battles, though he inflicted some very serious injuries against the enemy combatants, particularly those who had killed Hong Kong citizens. In addition to this difference of values, Dú Láng refused to answer any questions about his background, though he laughed at the idea that he was the original Dú Láng.

In 2018, Dú Láng began working with a partner, dubbed Láng Zai (Wolf Cub) by the press. If her mentor is a mystery, she's even more of one. Apparently possessing the power to change her shape into a bewildering variety of animals, ranging from insects through to mammals, she exhibits a friendlier attitude towards the public and the police, though this has become less apparent since the duo have started acting as protectors of Hong Kong's protest movement from 2019 up to the present.

Dú Láng -- or Mark Liu, to use the name he was born with -- is keeping a large number of secrets, even from his partner and pupil. He was born in West Germany in 1975, and associated with a number of pro-Pythonian students while still in high school. In 1992, he joined with twelve of these students to perform a ritual supposedly taken from the Book of the Great Scorpion which transformed them all into werewolf-like creatures. This so-called Brotherhood of the Wolf committed many crimes in the Germanies and Austria. (They are still active there, and have, ironically, become recurring enemies of Magnolia.)

After the end of the Pythonian Insurgency, Liu became increasingly disenchanted with his colleagues, whose political ideals had largely been replaced by greed and bloodlust, and broke with them, fleeing the country for Hong Kong. He eventually adopted the Dú Láng identity in order to do something to make up for the harm he'd caused. He has never deliberately killed anyone -- though he's not foolish enough to believe that no one has died as a result of fighting him -- but uses his murderous reputation as a tool to encourage people to surrender rather than risk death at his claws. This has not always had the results that he would prefer.

Láng Zai, on the other hand, is a native Hong Kong resident, born about a year after the handover. Her powers developed in her mid-teens, and are probably a straightforward mutation. Fearing that she'd be conscripted for the People's Liberation Army's Metahuman Guard, she ran away from home and sought out Dú Láng for training in avoiding capture. He initially refused to assist her, but events beyond either of their control have forced them together. Their relationship is strictly professional; she would either laugh or become ill at the idea of dating someone as ancient as he is, while he keeps his homosexuality another secret.

Dú Láng - PL 11

Abilities:
STR
7 | STA 6 | AGL 4 | DEX 1 | FGT 11 | INT 3 | AWE 3 | PRE 1

Powers:
Loping Movement:
Enhanced Advantages 5 (Defensive Roll, Evasion, Improved Initiative 2, Uncanny Dodge); Leaping 2 (30 feet); Speed 3 (16 MPH) - 10 points
Semblances: Array (5 points)
  • Homid: Morph 1 (completely human form) - 5 points
  • Lupus: Morph 1 (wolf form) - 1 point
Song of the Wolf Pack: Auditory Perception Area Affliction 10 (Resisted by Will; Dazed and Impaired, Disabled and Stunned), Extra Condition, Limited Degree - 20 points
Thick-Skinned: Protection 3, Impervious 9 - 12 points
Wolf Senses: Senses 5 (danger sense, low-light vision, acute tracking olfactory, ultrahearing) - 5 points

Advantages:
Animal Empathy, Close Attack 2, Defensive Roll, Evasion, Great Endurance, Hide in Plain Sight, Improved Initiative 3, Languages 3 (Cantonese, English, others [German is native]), Power Attack, Uncanny Dodge.

Skills:
Deception 8 (+9), Expertise: Survival 7 (+10), Intimidation 8 (+9), Investigation 5 (+8), Perception 8 (+11), Stealth 8 (+12).

Offense:
Initiative +16
Unarmed +13 (Close Damage 7)
Song of the Wolf Pack -- (Perception Area Will 10)

Defense:
Dodge 11, Parry 11, Fortitude 11, Toughness 11/9, Will 9

Totals:
Abilities 70 + Powers 53 + Advantages 7 + Skills 22 + Defenses 18 = 170 points

Complications:
Justice--Motivation. Power Loss
(Thick Skinned, against silver weaponry.) Reputation (murderous vigilante). Secret Identity, and Other Secrets.

Láng Zai - PL 9

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

Powers:
Beastforms:
Variable 9 (shapeshifter), Move Action, Limited to animal shapes - 72 points

Advantages:
Defensive Roll 2, Improved Initiative, Move-by Action, Uncanny Dodge

Skills:
Athletics 5 (+6), Close Combat: Unarmed 6 (+8), Insight 4 (+6), Investigation 4 (+6), Perception 4 (+6), Stealth 5 (+7)

Offense:
Initiative +6
Unarmed +8 (Close Damage 1 or by shapeshifted form)

Defense:
Dodge 8, Parry 7, Fortitude 6, Toughness 6/1, Will 5

Totals:
Abilities 28 + Powers 72 + Advantages 5 + Skills 14 + Defenses 19 = 138 points

Complications:
Justice--Motivation. Secret Identity.
 

Davies

Explorer
Bàofēngyu


Shen Meifeng, operating under the alias Bàofēngyu (Tempest), is recognized as one of the most powerful superhumans on Earth. There are other weather controllers -- Snowfall is one of them -- but none of them have Shen's command of all atmospheric phenomena or her sheer power. For more than a decade, she has been quietly working to reduce the atmospheric pollution of modern China and to prevent weather-related disasters, while also fighting monsters and supervillains who afflict her nation. This leaves her without much time for a social life, but she was something of a workaholic even before her powers developed in her early adolescence.

It should be understood that Bàofēngyu is not an agent of her nation's government or a member of the People's Liberation Army's Metahuman Guard, though she has always 'happily' volunteered her services to the latter during times of national crisis. The quotes around 'happily' are deliberate. The price she pays for her independence is that she can never voice any opinion that is critical of the state or any of its policies, and must be seen as someone who voluntarily upholds it. If others voice such opinions in her hearing, the best reaction from her that is likely to be given is a very formal statement that she would prefer not to discuss such matters at the present.

She does in fact have some opinions on the subject of her country; if these are not necessarily as pro-democracy as some Western observers would prefer, they are generally in favor of a less authoritarian and more compassionate government than the one that currently exists. Under no circumstances will she ever express these opinions in any public manner; anyone could be listening, at any time. With regards to foreign governments, Sheng is generally politely skeptical that things are any better anywhere else, or at least that they are not better on a broad enough scale.

Another consequence of her situation is that she has had to decline the invitation she was given to become a member of the Powerhouse, not long after she made her debut on the world stage. She regrets this, as she would welcome the opportunity to talk shop with the other defenders of the world, and to have peers she could trust. But Shen is aware that if she were permitted to join the group by the State, it would be with the understanding that she would report on their activities, and she is not interested in being a spy.

What does interest in her is developing her powers even further than they already have. Her command of the atmosphere has probably reached its fullest potential, but she suspects that she can go further in other areas. She feels that she might be able to develop the same sort of command of the waves that she's seen Nereus developing, and possibly even command over the movements of the Earth and the flow of its fires. If she could do all that, then she would be truly beyond anyone's control but her own. It is a terrifying but very tempting thought.

Bàofēngyu - PL 12

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

Powers:
Forecast:
Senses 4 (precognition), Limited to weather phenomena; Senses 4 (hyper-extended ranged detect weather control) - 6 points
Hardened Air Shield: Sustained Immunity 2 (suffocation); Sustained Impervious Protection 8 - 14 points
Weather Control: Array (36 points)
  • Exposure: Selective Ranged Burst Area Affliction 8 (Resisted by Fortitude; Fatigued, Exhausted, Incapacitated), Subtle; Dynamic - 2 point
  • Fog: Selective Burst Area 3 Visual Concealment 4 Attack; Dynamic - 2 point
  • Hailstorm: Burst Area Ranged Damage 11, Indirect; Dynamic - 2 point
  • Shaping: Environment 9 (3 points of effect), Selective; Dynamic - 37 points
  • Thunder & Lightning: Linked Ranged Damage 8, Indirect 2; Linked Cumulative Ranged Affliction 9 (Resisted by Dodge, Overcome by Fortitude; Hearing Impaired, Hearing Disabled, Unaware), Limited to Hearing; Dynamic - 2 point
  • Tornado: Cylinder Area Damaging Move Object 12, Concentration; Dynamic - 2 points
Wind-Riding: Flight 6 (120 MPH); Movement 1 (environmental adaptation [weather]) - 14 points

Advantages:
Agile Feint, Benefit 2 (well-off), Connected, Defensive Attack, Defensive Roll 2, Evasion 2, Extraordinary Effort, Improved Defense, Languages 2 (English, Mandarin, others [Wu is native]).

Skills:
Acrobatics 6 (+11), Athletics 8 (+9), Close Combat: Unarmed 4 (+9), Expertise: Business 6 (+10), Expertise: Science 6 (+10), Insight 6 (+8), Intimidation 8 (+9), Perception 6 (+8), Persuasion 8 (+9), Ranged Combat: Weather Control 6 (+9).

Offense:
Initiative +5
Unarmed +9 (Close Damage 1)
Exposure -- (Ranged Burst Area Fortitude 8)
Hail Storm -- (Ranged Burst Area Damage 11)
Thunder & Lightning +9 (Ranged Damage 8 and Affliction 9, Resisted by Dodge)
Tornado -- (Cylinder Area Damaging Move Object 12)

Defense:
Dodge 9, Parry 9, Fortitude 5, Toughness 15/10/7/2, Will 9

Totals:
Abilities 46 + Powers 81 + Advantages 13 + Skills 32 + Defenses 18 = 190 points

Complications:
Responsibility--Motivation. Public Identity. Temptation of Power.
 

Davies

Explorer
Sun Wukong


He's never claimed to be the original Monkey King who accompanied Xuanzang on their Journey to the West, more than a thousand years ago. On the other hand, he's never claimed not to be the original Monkey King and so on and so forth. When he told the story of his origins to his closest current human friend, the wealthy and brilliant Zhang Xingxing, she noted that he'd left one crucial detail out of his account. He praised her perspicacity and smiled broadly, never addressing that point. By then, she'd gotten used to this sort of thing, somewhat to her dismay.

According to Wukong, in one particular heavily forested valley of the Himalayas, there still lives a community of the vanara people, ape-like humanoids who have sometimes been mistaken for the yeti of Tibetan folklore. Their histories and accounts of their origins are somewhat vague and confused, but they believe that they were somewhat more widespread in ages long past, featuring in the stories that became the Ramayama, and even travelling further west, possibly as far as Africa. Their legends claim that they are the children of gods, but these gods are not terribly important to their current view of the world, which is largely informed by Buddhist teachings.

In any event, periodically they hold a competition to determine if any of their young are capable enough to go out into the cruel, unwelcoming world beyond their forest, as the Monkey King once did. In the aftermath of the most recent such tournament, the current individual who proclaims himself the Great Sage Equal of Heaven set forth to see what could be seen, to learn and perhaps to teach. He wandered eastward into China, seeing much that did not please him, and some things that did. Eventually, he chanced to meet Xingxing, who has told him of a great martial arts tournament to be held next year, in which he has decided to involve himself.

If he is the original Sun Wukong, and he doesn't address the question except in vague and confusing ways, then his abilities have been greatly exaggerated. He is not a genuine shape-changer, but has mastered the art of projecting hypnotic suggestions into the minds of those around him that causes them to think he has changed his shape, along with other illusions. He can also project his will as physical force that is even greater than his already remarkable strength, and gaze into the hearts and minds of others. As a master of illusions, he cannot be deceived by them himself. His famous staff can extend itself quite some distance, but definitely not as far as the stories would claim. And above all else, he is as tough as the stone from which he was supposedly born.

Oh, and the crucial detail? He has never claimed to have actually won that tournament in his homeland. Then again, he has never claimed not to have won it, either.

Sun Wukong -- PL 11

Abilities:
STR
8 | STA 10 | AGL 6 | DEX 4 | FGT 9 | INT 1 | AWE 3 | PRE 3

Powers:
Cloud Surfing:
Flight 6 (120 MPH), Platform - 6 points
Compliant Gold-Hooped Rod: Strength-based Damage 2, Accurate, Reach 3, Split Attack; Easily Removable (-3 points) - 4 points
Contemplative Gifts: Array (33 points)
  • Deeper Truths: Illusion 11 (auditory, olfactory, visual), Phantasms - 33 points
  • Know The Hearts of Others: Cumulative Mind Reading 11 - 1 point
  • Strength of Will: Perception Range Move Object 11 - 1 point
  • Transformations: Morph 4, Resistable (Will), Improved Resistance 7 - 1 point
Superhuman Durability: Immunity 3 (aging, disease, poison); Protection 3, Impervious Toughness 13; Regeneration 10 - 29 points
True Sight: Senses 7 (visual senses counters all concealment and illusion) - 7 points

Advantages:
Agile Feint, All-out Attack, Benefit (Cipher), Close Attack, Fearless, Improved Critical (staff), Improved Initiative, Languages 4, Power Attack, Takedown.

Skills:
Acrobatics 3 (+9), Athletics 3 (+11), Expertise: Streetwise 6 (+7), Expertise: Theology 6 (+7), Insight 7 (+10), Intimidation 5 (+8), Perception 6 (+9), Persuasion 4 (+7).

Offense:
Initiative +10
Unarmed +10 (Close Damage 8)
Staff +12 (Close Damage 10)

Defense:
Dodge 8, Parry 9, Fortitude 11, Toughness 13, Will 11

Totals:
Abilities 88 + Powers 82 + Advantages 13 + Skills 20 + Defenses 11 = 214 points

Complications:
Faith--Motivation. Friend
(Zhang Xingxing.) Impulsive. Inhuman Appearance. Reputation (fake mythic hero).
 

Davies

Explorer
Zhang Xingxing


Argus is officially not welcome in the People's Republic of China. Official disapproval, of course, is not viewed as a particular barrier by Argus' board of directors or those individuals in China who want to employ the organization's services. They operate under a variety of front organizations, some of which the Ministries correctly suspect as being fronts, some of which they don't know about. These operations typically last only a few years before they have to be rolled up, fairly quickly. One that has lasted a surprisingly long time is the Bèimó Corporation, run by Zhang Xingxing.

Zhang's father recognized that she was a Hyperbrain when she was about two years old -- that was twenty years ago, incidentally -- and spent a day or so contemplating the future his youngest daughter would face when she was inducted into China's thinktanks, which have endured much longer than those in the West. That future was a sad one, but he knew that she would be trained to use her talents for the service of her nation, and took consolation from that. And then he saw that she was studying his company's spreadsheets and making adjustments to improve them, and decided that his nation could get stuffed.

Zhang has been carefully taught to present the appearance of a giggly, boy-crazy airhead used as an attractive 'face' for her company by a group of evil old men who actually don't take a breath without consulting her. The 'boy crazy' part has not taken much effort, as she does in fact have a healthy desire for romance. But she's sure that will come after she makes her first billion or so, and confines herself to flirting without ever taking anything further. Anything she does for Argus is done entirely in her own interests. That's why she's associated herself with Sun Wukong, or whoever he really is, with the intention of using him as the keystone of a strategy to take down Thunder Dragon, for which she expects to be given a seat at the big table. That's all that she cares about.

Except that's not really true. Spending time with Wukong, seeing the joyous way that the crazy hairy man lives his life, has opened her eyes to the fact that her own life is kind of sad and shabby by comparison. Sure, she gets excited when she makes a score, but it never lasts very long, and then she's back to living in constant apprehension about the next one. She's still not sure about any of this, and keeps telling herself that the reason he's so happy is that he is so very very dumb, but she can't shake the feeling that his genuine friendship might be worth -- well, let's not get crazy, only as much as all her money.

And regardless, she still intends to send him into a fight that she thinks he probably can't win, but he's so darn enthusiastic about it that she's starting to hope that she's wrong about that.

Zhang Xingxing -- PL 6

Abilities:
STR
-1 | STA 0 | AGL 1 | DEX 3 | FGT 3 | INT 8 | AWE 4 | PRE 2

Advantages:
Attractive, Beginner's Luck, Benefit 4 (multi-millionaire), Connections, Contacts, Defensive Roll 2, Equipment 6, Evasion, Grabbing Finesse, Improved Defense, Inventor, Languages 2 (English, Mandarin, others, [Cantonese is native]), Ranged Attack 3, Redirect, Taunt.

Skills:
Deception 7 (+9), Expertise: Business 3 (+11), Expertise: Science 3 (+11), Insight 4 (+8), Investigation 1 (+9), Persuasion 7 (+9), Stealth 6 (+7), Technology 2 (+10), Vehicles 5 (+8).

Offense:
Initiative +1
Unarmed +3 (Close Damage -1)

Defense:
Dodge 4, Parry 4, Fortitude 3, Toughness 5/0, Will 7.

Totals:
Abilities 40 + Advantages 27 + Skills 19 + Defenses 10 = 96 points

Complications:
Ambition--Motivation. Growing a Conscience. Secret
(Argus agent).
 
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Davies

Explorer
Megan Excalibur


Every nation answers the challenge to its authority that the mystical poses in its own particular way. Many nations, including the United States, make a concerted effort to ignore it when possible and treat it as just another set of superpowers when not. Others typically seek out those who have ties to the mystical but remain sane enough -- and human enough -- that they can be guard dogs rather than wolves prowling the borderlands between the known and the unknown. This is the path that Japan has chosen, at least for now.

Why it is that so many of the mystical phenomena that transpire within the shadows of Japan's cities turn horrific so easily remains an unanswered question. There are those who insist that it is because of the island's frequent victimization by kaiju in the previous decades, which have left lingering scars on the nation's collective unconsciousness. Some place the blame on earlier scars that resulted from the nation's rapid modernization. And then there's the possibility that this isn't just the way that it is, but that someone is making things turn this way.

Regardless, the current set of wolves-turned-guard-dogs are a small group of agents, informally dubbed the Ghost Sweepers, who exhibit powers that -- they believe -- derive from their possession by spiritual entities associated with heroic or monstrous figures from Japan's history and folklore. The leader of these agents, or at least their commander in the field, is a young woman who uses the name Megan Excalibur, a somewhat eccentric individual for a government employee. She dresses casually, dyes her fair hair a pink color, and speaks in a slangy, English-influenced dialect that even her teammates have trouble understanding at times. However, no one questions that she has authentic powers that allow her to apparently create weapons from thin air and wield them with uncanny skill, allegedly due to her relationship with the ghost of the 16th century swordsmith Senjo Muramasa.

Much of Megan's behavior is a deliberate act, a pretense of taking nothing seriously. She was born in 1997 under the name Sakura Megumi, and is the biracial daughter of English businessman (and convicted criminal) Guy Gisborne and his Japanese mistress. She was initially educated in the United Kingdom, and speaks fluent English, but was sent to Japan for high school when her father's struggle against the Ultra Girls began to heat up. This ultimately resulted in him going to prison, where he is likely to remain for the rest of his life. Megan takes that very seriously, and wants to someday thank the people who put him there. More than anyone else in the world, she knows exactly what sort of person her father is, and how much he belongs in jail.

In the meanwhile, she hunts ghosts, demons, fairies, all sorts of things that people call into being because they can't accept that they are the authors of their own fate. She believes that 'Muramasa' is just a part of her own personality, but still speaks to 'him' in a courteous and formal manner, and uses the weapons that 'he' fashions for her in a dignified and respectful manner. Failing to do this will rob her of their use until she atones, which is a hassle she really doesn't need. She prefers to disrupt the activities of hostile entities in a way that leaves their host unharmed, even though it would be easier to end these phenomena by ending the host. So far, that hasn't ever had to happen. But how long can that last?

During the course of her activities, Megan has crossed paths with Argus agent Miho Tamura. They don't get along, as much because of their clashing attitudes as the rivalry between her government-sponsored organization and Argus' privately run operation. While they can and have worked together, it's never a comfortable partnership. She has also encountered Darkwing on one of his operations in Japan, and found him to be a much easier ally to work with. Aside from that, she mostly associates with her teammates and their circle of contacts, and hasn't left Japan in the last six years.

Megan Excalibur -- PL 8

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

Powers:
Weapon Mastery:
Enhanced Advantage 3 (Improved Critical 3), Variable (weapons) - 4 points
Weapon Summoning: Variable 2 (weapons), Free Action - 18 points

Typical Settings:
Blaster of Blasting: Ranged Damage 5, Accurate, Affects Insubstantial 2; Easily Removable (-5 points) - 8 points
Dual-Wielded Blades: Strength-based Damage 3, Split Attack, Affects Insubstantial 2; Easily Removable (-2 points) - 4 points
Shield of Defense: Enhanced Defenses (Dodge 3, Parry 3); Strength-based Damage 2, Affects Insubstantial 2; Easily Removable (-4 points) - 6 points
Sword of Promised Victory: Strength-based Damage 3, Improved Critical, Affects Insubstantial 2; Easily Removable (-2 points) - 4 points

Advantages:
Assessment, Attractive, Benefit (Ambidexterity), Close Attack 3, Defensive Attack, Defensive Roll, Evasion, Improved Critical 3 (variable), Improved Initiative, Language (English, [Japanese is native]), Power Attack, Takedown, Teamwork, Uncanny Dodge.

Skills:
Acrobatics 4 (+7), Athletics 4 (+6), Close Combat: Sword 2 (+8), Expertise: History 6 (+7), Expertise: Streetwise 6 (+7), Insight 6 (+8), Intimidation 6 (+9), Investigation 6 (+7), Persuasion 6 (+9), Ranged Combat: Blaster 4 (+7).

Offense:
Initiative +7
Unarmed +9 (Close Damage 2)
Dual-Wielded Blades +11 (Close Damage 5, Crit 17-20)
Sword of Promised Victory +11 (Close Damage 5, Crit 16-20)
Blaster of Blasting +9 (Ranged Damage 5, Crit 16-20)
Shield of Defense +9 (Close Damage 5, Crit 17-20)

Defense:
Dodge 10/7, Parry 12/9, Fortitude 5, Toughness 4/2, Will 9.

Totals:
Abilities 44 + Powers 22 + Advantages 15 + Skills 25 + Defenses 17 = 123 points

Complications:
Responsibility--Motivation. Power Loss
(all, if she offends "Muramasa".) Prejudice (biracial, both in Japan and the UK.) Secret (government agent).
 
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Davies

Explorer
Diorite


The American war in Vietnam, and its horrific finale, did a great deal to provoke anti-American sentiment in Japan. Many of the most militant members of this movement ended up joining the Pythonian Insurgency, but not all of them did. One particular group of these individuals held back and watched the gradual dissolution and ultimate destruction of the Pythons with the same jaded disgust as they'd watched Mishima's stunt two decades earlier. There had to be some way to make Japan great again, but nothing that had been tried so far was working. What to do?

And then, in 1995, they were contacted by a member of a different radical group who'd stayed out of the Pythonian grasp, perhaps the last surviving member of the Stardust Crusaders. Specifically, this individual had been in charge of the Crusaders' method of communicating with their master, and had spent the last two decades trying to figure out how to restore communications. He had a plan but not the wherewithal to implement it; the Japanese radicals had the wherewithal but no plan. Clearly, they should join forces.

They disagreed, and tortured the specifics of the plan out of him before killing him. The ritual, for there couldn't be any question that this is what it was, required some unusual components that would take a while to manufacture. So one of them adopted a child from the cadet branch of their family as his daughter and raised her isolated from the world except for one close companion. Fourteen years went by; the girl was separated from her companion, fed an unusual tasting meal, and then brought to the basement of their home where it was revealed to her whom she had just eaten. Over the sound of her screams, a chant began, and the door appeared before them. The girl's father opened it and then threw his daughter through it before closing it again.

A moment or so later, there came a knock from the other side of the door. They opened it, and a woman -- much older than the girl who had been sent through, yet still clearly her -- stepped through. Before they could say anything, she asked a simple question. "Whom did you seek to contact through your ritual?"

And her father answered, "Someone to destroy those who oppose us."

She nodded. "I am she." And with one more word, she caused his brain to melt out through his eyes, ears and nose. The others died in much the same way soon afterwards.

She took the name Diorite, the name of a rare mineral found in Japan, and then set about bringing about the destruction of the enemies of her summoners, which she casually defined as the entire human populace of Earth. She is in no hurry to bring this about, having all the time in the world at her disposal, and so has chosen to take the slow route of destroying this one specific nation through twisting its mystical phenomena to bring about horrific outcomes. Diorite intends to spread chaos, madness and death across Japan, and then move on from there to the rest of the world.

It should be understood that she doesn't hate humanity. She just believes that the species has demonstrated its unfitness to survive, and is seeking to euthanize it in what she considers a relatively humane manner. Diorite understands that she will be opposed, and has treated those who have opposed her with politeness and courtesy while nonetheless destroying them. There is no more point in becoming angry than there is in anything else. If they can stop her, then they demonstrate their continued worthiness to survive, until the next time the door to Daath is thrown open, which it surely will be.

It might be possible to convince her to abandon her goals; if she were to be made to realize that humanity exists on countless other worlds than this, then she could conclude that ending humanity on this one planet is ultimately irrelevant. If that happens, she will return to Daath and admit her defeat to Ananke, facing the consequences of that failure. What those will be, she cannot imagine. Perhaps a different assignment will be given her. Or she might be destroyed. It doesn't really matter.

In combat, Diorite will usually spend a few rounds simply defending herself rather than counterattacking, to establish that she cannot be harmed by those who oppose her. Thereafter she will utter such words of power as seem appropriate, reserving her Word of Death for the end of any conflict, or for someone who poses a genuinely serious threat. She has worked patiently to ensure that no one can take advantage of her greatest weakness, but it is still possible to discover the name she bore before she was sacrificed, and then use it to bring about her end.

Diorite -- PL 14

Abilities:
STR
7 | STA 8 | AGL 4 | DEX 2 | FGT 6 | INT 7 | AWE 8 | PRE 6

Powers:
Beyond Mortality:
Immortality 5 (1 day); Immunity 30 (Fortitude); Protection 8, Impervious 14; Regeneration 5 - 67 points
Seven Words of Power: Array (42 points)
  • Word of Banishment: Perception Range Movement 1 Attack (dimensional travel to prison dimension), Resisted by Will, Increased Resistance 13, Reversible - 1 point
  • Word of Death: Perception Range Damage 14, Resisted by Will, Hearing-Dependent - 42 points
  • Word of Motion: Accurate Easy Extended Teleport 10, Extended Only - 1 point
  • Word of Pain: Perception Range Cumulative Affliction 14 (Resisted by Will; Dazed, Stunned, Incapacitated), Hearing-Dependent - 1 point
  • Word of Rule: Perception Range Cumulative Affliction 14 (Resisted by Will; Dazed, Compelled, Controlled), Hearing-Dependent - 1 point
  • Word of Sight: Remove Sensing 14 (visual), No Conduit - 1 point
  • Word of Terror: Perception Range Affliction 14 (Resisted by Will; Impaired and Vulnerable, Defenseless and Disabled, Incapacitated and Paralyzed), Extra Condition, Hearing-Dependent - 1 point
Advantages:
Daze (Intimidation), Fascinate (Intimidation), Fearless 2, Improved Defense, Startle.

Skills:
Deception 8 (+14), Expertise: Magic 6 (+12), Insight 7 (+15), Intimidation 10 (+16), Perception 5 (+13), Stealth 8 (+12).

Offense:
Initiative +4
Unarmed +6 (Close Damage 7)
Word of Banishment -- (Perception Range Will 14)
Word of Death -- (Perception Range Damage 14, Resisted by Will)
Word of Pain, Rule or Terror -- (Perception Range Will 14)

Defense:
Dodge 8, Parry 8, Fortitude Immune, Toughness 16, Will 12

Totals:
Abilities 96 + Powers 109 + Advantages 6 + Skills 22 + Defenses 10 = 243 points

Complications:
Nihilism--Motivation. Power Loss
(Immortality, when killed by one who knows her true name and speaks it.)
 

Davies

Explorer
Bobby Garfield


Roberto 'Bobby' Garfield was born in Vancouver, but largely raised in New Zealand with his mother's Samoan family. After a brief stint in New Zealand's professional wrestling organization, he found a place in the ranks of Adventures Unlimited, a pan-Pacific private military company that provided muscle for various archaeological, exploration and reconnaissance efforts. (Based in Hawaii, it was founded by a former JSOT operator who'd decided that Argus was too stuffy for his tastes.) In 1999, he and several other employees of the organization were hired to accompany Professor Raymond Fenner on his mission to Dread Island.

By any reasonable standard, this mission was a complete debacle. Three of the company lost their lives, and the four survivors were mutated, with Bobby being one of the latter. He fell into a pool of unidentified and electrified chemicals, and emerged with the ability to fly at fantastic speeds. All of that was bad enough, but it turned out that Fenner was planning on using a mind control device on some of the sub-kaiju creatures of the Island and turning them into an army to conquer Australia, and on top of that had no intention of paying his hired hands. So they stopped him on Dread Island and pursued him back to Australia, where their heroics attracted a fair amount of media attention.

The Australian government had been paying attention to recent world events, and recognized that superheroes were starting to make a comeback. One of their more foresighted ministers wanted to get ahead of the curve on this issue, and offered the four mutants support if they agreed to join forces as Australia's official super-team. In Bobby's version of events, he persuaded the other three that they had a responsibility to use their newfound powers for the benefit of the world, and so led them to form the Discovery Company. (There are three other versions of this series of events.)

In Bobby's view, the last twenty years have been pretty great. They've been doing the job that they set out to do, and are a respected and admired super-team. Sure, they've been through some rough patches, and Bobby's heart aches a bit when he thinks of all the crap Max, in particular, has suffered for the team, but the notion that any of this should make them call it quits is utterly alien to him. He wants to help people, and the Discovery Company helps him to help people, so why would he ever want to stop?

However, something that he's aware of but doesn't really want to admit to himself is that the members of the company are essentially big fish in a fairly small pond, and that there are much larger fish and ponds elsewhere. In Australia, they're some of the most powerful heroes around, but that doesn't mean much on the global scale that their friends in the Powerhouse operate on. If, as Brad has sometimes suggested, they were to combine with the Powerhouse, they'd be second-stringers at best. That's not something that Bobby really wants.

One common misconception about Bobby is that he has super-strength in addition to his super-speed. He is much stronger than a normal human being, but he's still within human limits, and his might is entirely the product of a fanatical dedication to physical fitness, which he encourages in his fellows. Just how well he'll be able to keep up this regimen, as he grows older, is another thing that he tries not to think about.

Bobby Garfield -- PL 9

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

Powers:
Hyper-Speed:
Concealment 4 (visual), Limited to While Moving; Enhanced Advantages 5 (Defensive Roll 2, Improved Initiative 3); Enhanced Defenses 12 (Dodge 6, Parry 6); Flight 10 (2,000 MPH), Aquatic; Quickness 6 - 48 points
Speedster Tricks: Array (18 points)
  • Cyclonic Press: Burst Area Move Object 9, Concentration - 18 points
  • Rapid Attack: Selective Burst Area on Strength Damage - 1 points
  • Sonic Boom: Burst Area Affliction 9 (Resisted by Fortitude; Dazed, Stunned, Incapacitated) - 1 point
Advantages:
All-Out Attack, Defensive Roll 2, Evasion, Fearless 2, Improved Initiative 3, Instant Up, Move-by Action, Takedown, Teamwork.

Skills:
Acrobatics 4 (+8), Athletics 6 (+10), Close Combat: Unarmed 4 (+8), Insight 5 (+7), Perception 4 (+6), Persuasion 7 (+10), Vehicles 6 (+9).

Offense:
Initiative +16
Unarmed +8 (Close Damage 4)
Rapid Attack -- (Selective Burst Area Damage 4)
Sonic Boom -- (Bust Area Damage 9)

Defense:
Dodge 11/5, Parry 11/5, Fortitude 7, Toughness 7/2, Will 6

Totals:
Abilities 46 + Powers 68 + Advantages 8 + Skills 15 + Defense 11 = 148 points

Complications:
Responsibility--Motivation. Fame. Slightly Oblivious.
 

Davies

Explorer
Jeanie Rayne


Born in Hawaii in 1974 and raised partly there and partly in California, Jean 'Jeanie' Rayne first got involved in heroics when she was a freshman at UCLA, when she stumbled onto a small-time Pythonian operation on campus and promptly contacted JSOT. After she graduated with honors in 1996, she was promptly headhunted for Argus, and took to the training rather well. Her first major assignment, a couple of years later, was to undercover in the competing Adventures Unlimited organization and keep an eye on its activities. She never found any evidence that they were up to anything criminal, but was still on the job a year later when she was tapped for the Dread Island expedition.

Exposed to the "photonic breath" of the kaiju known as Opticullus, Jeanie found herself mutated into a flying energy projector, and worked with her surviving teammates to thwart Professor Fenner's ambitions. She thus found herself on the ground floor of a new team of superheroes, an ideal position for an Argus agent. She was somewhat surprised by the orders she got from headquarters, but immediately obeyed them, and explained to her new teammates that she had been planted inside Adventures Unlimited by Argus, but had been cut loose after her mutation. This neatly sidestepped any possibility that they might find out about her past association with Argus, and would allow her to present her intelligence from the organization as "tips from old friends".

It's really been a while since Jeanie thought of herself as an agent, though. She's been a fairly straightforward superhero for more than twenty years now, and while she still gets the occasional briefing and passes monthly updates back, she's also fairly sure that the agency has other operatives in place to monitor the group. The directors probably wouldn't mind if she just resigned, at this point, and that might help her to deal with the periodic twinges of conscience that she feels about lying to her friends.

At the moment, she's vacillating between Brad's notion that they should contact the Powerhouse and apply for membership en masse, and Bobby's insistence that they keep right on trucking as they have been. Both ideas have their upsides and downsides, she thinks, and she also wonders if maybe the Discovery Company has outlived its usefulness. It's been an awful long time since they did any 'discovering', after all. Maybe a better course of action than either of those options might be to dissolve the Company while renegotiating their contract with the Australian government so that those who want to stay in Australia can keep on as government-sponsored heroes can, and those who don't can move on.

But she's not sure herself what she wants to do, and suspects that if she did become a member of the Powerhouse, she'd be under much more scrutiny by Argus. That's not something she really wants, but it might happen regardless.

Jeanie's greatest weakness arises from her nature as a solar energy absorber -- she becomes progressively weaker when her energy output exceeds her energy input, though even the relatively limited energy from the moon and stars will let her remain active during the night, outside of new moon and heavily overcast nights. Underground and undersea, she quickly burns through her stored up energy, and will try to get out of such situations as quickly as possible.

Jeanie Rayne -- PL 9

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

Powers:
Light Control:
Array (18 points)
  • Laser Barrage: Ranged Multiattack Damage 6 - 1 point
  • Laser Blast: Ranged Damage 9 - 18 points
  • Laser Flare: Cumulative Visual Perception Area Affliction 9 (Resisted by Dodge, Overcome by Fortitude; Visually Impaired, Visually Disabled, Visually Unaware), Limited to One Sense - 1 point
  • Light & Heat: Selective Environment 3 (daylight, extreme heat) - 1 point
  • Light Speed: Enhanced Flight 9 (125,000 MPH), Aquatic, Quirk (only in Photonic Form) - 1 point
Photonic Form: Enhanced Defenses 10 (Dodge 5, Parry 5); Flight 7 (250 MPH); Sustained Immunity 10 (life support); Sustained Impervious Protection 5 - 44 points
Photonic Resistance: Immunity 5 (light damage) - 5 points

Advantages:
Assessment, Fearless 2, Improved Initiative, Power Attack, Ranged Attack 3, Teamwork.

Skills:
Acrobatics 4 (+8), Close Combat: Unarmed 4 (+7) Deception 7 (+9), Insight 4 (+6), Investigation 5 (+5), Perception 4 (+6), Ranged Combat: Light Control 2 (+5), Stealth 4 (+8), Technology 4 (+4), Vehicles 4 (+7).

Offense:
Initiative +8
Unarmed +7 (Close Damage 1)
Laser Barrage +8 (Ranged Multiattack Damage 6)
Laser Blast +8 (Ranged Damage 9)
Laser Flare -- (Visual Perception Area Affliction 9, Resisted by Dodge)

Defense:
Dodge 11/6, Parry 9/4, Fortitude 5, Toughness 7/2, Will 6.

Totals:
Abilities 34 + Powers 75 + Advantages 9 + Skills 21 + Defenses 10 = 147 points

Complications:
Thrills--Motivation. Fame. Secret
(not-so-former Argus agent.) Weakness (darkness, becomes progressively Dazed, Stunned, Incapacitated.)
 

Davies

Explorer
Brad Payne


Brad Payne, one of the two actually Australian members of the Discovery Company, tells a story of trying to enlist in the Australian Defense Force after he got out of high school, but being turned down due to what he terms politics. Frustrated, he managed to make his way to Hawaii in order to sign up with Adventures Unlimited just a few days before he got tapped for the Dread Island expedition. The rest is history, of course ... and what precedes it are lies. He's not a particularly good liar, but he's never given anyone a reason to go looking for the truth.

Biron Panagakos, to use the name he was given at birth, never finished high school, much less tried to enlist in the ADF. By the time he was 16, he was thoroughly enmeshed in the coils of a group of latter-day bushrangers, who supposedly claimed descent from the legendary Kelly gang but were probably just a bunch of ex-Pythons. From this dubious source, "Brad" learned everything he knew about fighting and surviving in the wild, both skills that he would come to rely on heavily after the group was finally broken up in early 1999. He escaped capture, and managed to make his way to Hawaii ... well, the rest of it is more or less true. He viewed Adventures Unlimited as a sort of French Foreign Legion where he could escape from his past.

Whatever sins he might have committed as a bushranger, though, all karma was surely repaid when he ended up being first paralyzed and then swallowed alive by the horrific kaiju known as the Boalisk. He survived, thanks to a secret that he himself did not know -- he was a distant cousin of Steve Panagakos, the member of the Primal Pattern known as Antaeus, and the experience of being exposed to the Boalisk's stomach acids activated his own power to become solid stone. He was still somewhat traumatized by the way that his super-strength didn't allow him to tear his way out of the monster, but instead had to ... well, pass.

Despite this somewhat unauspicious start, Brad was an enthusiastic proponent of the formation of the formation of the Discovery Company, and an enthusiastic participant in their exploits. He's an enthusiastic fellow, though some have noted that his enthusiasm tends to burn itself out fairly quickly, leading him to move on to something else. So it was that he was also an enthusiastic voice in support of the proposal that the Powerhouse made to the Discovery Company, that they should all join not long after the other group was formed. The rest of the team voted against it, though, and he got used to the idea.

More recently, however, he's come back to that old idea, noting the way that Max's heart clearly isn't in it anymore, and arguing that they should check to see if the Powerhouse is still interested in having them as members. He'll never admit it, but he's a bit afraid that his own abilities aren't really anything special in comparison to the members of the Powerhouse, and worries that putting it off as long as they have was a big mistake. As for their contract with the government, well, the pols have tried to amend it so many times that they probably won't really care if it dissolves completely. Heck with 'em!

Honestly, it's a surprise to him that he's stuck around as long as he has.

Brad Payne -- PL 9

Abilities:
STR
10/4 | STA 12/4 | AGL 1 | DEX 2 | FGT 6 | INT 0 | AWE 1 | PRE 2

Powers:
Jet Pack:
Flight 7 (250 MPH); Removable (-3 points) - 11 points
Solid Form: Enhanced Stamina 8; Enhanced Strength 6; Enhanced Strength 3, Limited to Lifting; Immunity 10 (life support); Impervious Toughness 8; Activation, Move Action (-1 point) - 48 points
Sleeper Hold: Progressive Affliction 8 (Resisted and Overcome by Fortitude; Dazed, Stunned, Incapacitated), Grab-based - 16 points

Advantages:
Close Attack 2, Defensive Attack, Fearless 2, Interpose, Ranged Attack 2, Takedown, Teamwork

Skills:
Athletics 3 (+13/+7), Expertise: Survival 6 (+6), Intimidation 5 (+7), Perception 5 (+6), Stealth 5 (+6).

Offense:
Initiative +5
Unarmed +8 (Close Damage 10)
Sleeper Hold +8 (Grapple DC 20, Fortitude 8)

Defense:
Dodge 6, Parry 6, Fortitude 14/6, Toughness 12/4, Will 6

Totals:
Abilities 40 + Powers 75 + Advantages 10 + Skills 12 + Defenses 12 = 149 points

Complications:
Thrills--Motivation. Accident
(damage to surroundings). Dark Secrets. Fame.
 

Davies

Explorer
Max Lalande


Max Lalande graduated from a Sydney-based thinktank in 1997; either this particular operation never employed loyalty conditioning techniques or they failed to take effect on him, because he left the facility and never looked back. After paying his respects to his late parents, who'd passed away while he was inside, he found employment with Professor Raymond Fenner as his lab assistant, and accompanied him on the expedition to Dread Island. Fenner did not confide his goals to him, and Max found himself every bit as jeopardized by his employer's plans as the crew from Adventures Unlimited.

In fairness, though, he was keeping a fairly large secret from Fenner, specifically the rudimentary telekinetic abilities that the meditative disciplines he'd learned at the think tank had unlocked. Desperate to find a weapon to help himself survive the rigors of Dread Island, Max decided to experiment with eating the same plant life as herbivorous kaiju, which he theorized (on very shaky grounds) would energize his own abilities in the same way that they empowered the kaiju. It worked, and he experienced a considerable burst of power, but the consequence has been a lingering dependence on the Dread Island fauna that he ate.

Ignoring that, Max leant his brains, in both a scientific and psychic manner, to the formation of the Discovery Company. The name was his his idea, embodying the way that he hoped they could use their abilities as explorers of the unknown, making the world (or at least Australia) safe by making it more known. He also set quite a few of the group's initial policies, convincing his teammates that 'secret identities' were ridiculous when they were operating in the public interest as they were. His outrage at Fenner's actions had left Max with a lingering anger and loathing for anyone who kept secrets.

He's since had cause to regret that decision, but has responded to the tragedies that have ensued by doubling down on his attitude. First, when the group were attacked by Saturn operatives in 2006, he suffered serious injuries that put him out of action for a year and disfigured his face. The man who hates secrets began to wear a face-covering mask to keep the public from panicking.

He'd just about gotten used to the cognitive dissonance of that when the team picked up its fifth member, the gadgeteer Iris Phillips, who assisted him with his experiments and, by showing no revulsion at the sight of his unmasked face, won his heart. Unfortunately, five years ago, she was critically injured on a mission, and it became apparent that she was an android! And the so-called Discovery Company wasn't able to figure out who had sent her to infiltrate their team before she self-destructed, leaving them with more questions than answers.

Max is, bluntly, burnt out. He keeps going largely out of inertia, but he is desperately in need of some time off from the team at minimum, and probably a lot of therapy. His diet of bizarre vegetation from Dread Isle (and, whisper it, kaiju meat) may not be doing his physical health any favors, either. Unfortunately, he's much too proud to seek the help that he needs, and so he is gradually falling apart, just like his team. Eventually, he's going to snap under the pressure, and what happens next will not be pleasant for anyone.

Max Lalande -- PL 9

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

Powers:
Basic Telekinesis:
Move Object 9 - 18 points
Force Field: Sustained Impervious Protection 10 - 20 points
Levitation: Flight 7 (250 MPH), Distracting - 7 points
Telekinetic Techniques: Array (18 points)
  • Telekinetic Column: Line Area 2 Damage 6 - 1 point
  • Telekinetic Grab: Ranged Affliction 9 (Resisted by Dodge; Overcome by Damage; Hindered & Vulnerable, Defenseless & Immobile), Concentration, Instant Recovery, Extra Condition, Limited Degree - 1 point
  • Telekinetic Pulse: Ranged Damage 9 - 1 point
Advantages:
Accurate Attack, Fearless 2, Improved Initiative, Inventor, Leadership, Trance, Ultimate Effort (Will checks)

Skills:
Close Combat: Unarmed 4 (+5), Expertise: Science 6 (+12), Insight 4 (+7), Perception 8 (+11), Ranged Combat: Telekinesis 8 (+9), Technology 6 (+12)

Offense:
Initiative +6
Unarmed +5 (Close Damage 1)
Telekinetic Pulse +9 (Ranged Damage 9)
Telekinetic Column -- (Line Area Damage 6)
Telekinetic Grab +9 (Ranged Affliction 9, Resisted by Dodge)

Defense:
Dodge 7, Parry 5, Fortitude 5, Toughness 11/1, Will 11

Totals:
Abilities 34 + Powers 66 + Advantages 8 + Skills 18 + Defense 21 = 147 points

Complications:
Discovery--Motivation. Dependency
(unusual diet, powers become Impaired and Disabled without it.) Fame. Hatred (deception and secrets). Horrifying Appearance.
 

Davies

Explorer
Motley


After the Discovery Company, the best-known of Australia's few superheroes is probably Motley, an urban acrobat with lightly augmented coordination and physical prowess, who operates out of Sydney where they range over the whole continent and beyond. Famous for pelting his opponents with wisecracks as well as punches and kicks, his genuine heroism made him an easy ally of most of the Discoverers, and he frequently worked with him. (Max, of course, disliked the way that he kept a secret identity and the apparently unserious way that he approached things.) While sometimes viewed with suspicion by the Australian press, he is a largely beloved figure.

Unfortunately, this isn't him.

Two years ago, Dr. Anatole Correia, the notorious Mind Flayer, learned of Motley's secret identity as high school teacher Simon "Si" Simmons. Having fought Motley on and off for two decades, Correia was nearing the end of his life thanks to his repeated injuries suffered in their battles. He decided not to just go gently, but rather employed his telepathic powers to swap their minds so that Simmons would be stuck in his own dying body, while he would be in the young and vital form of his greatest enemy. And it worked, with Correia's original body quickly succumbing to the injuries sustained in their final confrontation.

But the experience was not what the Mind Flayer had expected it to be. He was unprepared for the fact that his consciousness would be directly exposed to Simmons' memories of his life, both the painful and uplifting ones. Correia's justifications for his cynicism and cruelty were shattered as he was shown how someone who had suffered as much as he had, if not more, had still chosen an altruistic and heroic path in life. He was forced to admit that Si Simmons was a better man than him, and that he had committed a crime that, for the first time, he deeply regretted.

Unfortunately, Simmons' consciousness was lost forever, and there was nothing that Correia could do to repair this. The only thing he could do to make amends for his terrible act, then, would be to live out the remainder of his life as he thought Simmons would have done, trying to be as heroic as him, and applying his greater intellect towards solving the problems of humanity, instead of his own selfish gain. Without regret, he stopped using the psionic technologies employed by the Mind Flayer, and became what he hoped would be a new and improved Motley.

Motley's friends and allies are aware that he's gone through a serious personality change in a few months, becoming increasingly focused on making sure that everyone knows about his accomplishments. They aren't sure what to make of it, and most of them hope that it's just a phase that he's going through in response to all the troubles in his private life (which Correia exploited in setting up the transfer.) None of them suspect that their friend is gone forever, and that someone else is running around inside his skin, engaged in a vainglorious quest to become a hero. Not yet, at least.

Motley -- PL 10

Abilities:
STR
2 | STA 2 | AGL 5 | DEX 6 | FGT 9 | INT 6 | AWE 3 | PRE 5

Powers:
Bag of Tricks:
Array (14 points)
  • "Mr. Sparky"/Overclocked Meta-Taser: Ranged Cumulative Affliction 7 (Resisted by Fortitude; Dazed, Stunned, Incapacitated), Unreliable--Limited Uses - 14 points
  • Itching Powder Explosion: Cloud Area Affliction 6 (Resisted by Fortitude; Impaired & Vulnerable, Disabled & Defenseless), Extra Condition, Limited Degree, Triggered 2 - 1 point
  • Gooey Spray: Cone Area Affliction 7 (Resisted by Dodge, Overcome by Damage; Hindered & Vulnerable, Immobile & Defenseless), Extra Condition, Limited Degree - 1 point
  • Good Old-Fashioned Bomb: Burst Area Damage 6, Triggered 2 - 1 point
Jet Pack: Flight 7 (250 MPH), Removable (-3 points) - 11 points

Advantages:
Accurate Attack, Daze (Deception), Defensive Roll 2, Evasion 2, Grappling Finesse, Improved Initiative, Inventor, Power Attack, Ranged Attack 5, Redirect, Set-Up, Taunt, Uncanny Dodge.

Skills:
Acrobatics 8 (+13), Athletics 8 (+10), Close Combat: Unarmed 4 (+13), Deception 10 (+15), Expertise: Science 7 (+13), Insight 8 (+11), Intimidation 7 (+12), Perception 9 (+12), Sleight of Hand 8 (+14), Stealth 8 (+13), Technology 9 (+15).

Offense:
Initiative +9
Unarmed +13 (Close Damage 2)
Overclocked Meta-Taser +11 (Ranged Fortitude 7)
Itching Powder Explosion -- (Cloud Area Fortitude 6)
Gooey Spray -- (Cone Area Affliction 7, Resisted by Dodge)
Bomb -- (Burst Area Damage 6)

Defense:
Dodge 13, Parry 13, Fortitude 5, Toughness 7/2, Will 12

Totals:
Abilities 76 + Powers 28 + Advantages 18 + Skills 43 + Defenses 24 = 190 points

Complications:
Fame--Motivation. Genuine Desire to be a Better Person. Secret Identity, And Then Some Secrets On Top of That.
 

Davies

Explorer
Nick Grey


Nicholas Grey never knew his parents, growing up in the questionable care of an aunt and uncle in Surrey. They were never actually cruel to him, but never kind, either, and they just told him that his parents were dead. In 1996, however, the ten year-old boy was contacted by Christopher Potter, a self-proclaimed magus who'd known his parents, revealing that they'd died to stop the monstrous Baron Khan from seizing control of the United Kingdom when Nicholas was two years old. Potter claimed that Nicholas was a chosen one, destined to help finish the job his parents had started, and Nicholas eagerly agreed to help.

It was of course all lies. Christopher Potter was a magician of sorts, but he was first and foremost a secret agent of the British government, who taught his pupil just enough about magic to make him a danger to himself. His youth and apparent talent were bait to lure Baron Khan into a series of deadly traps that were supposed to eliminate him as a threat to the ambitions of Potter's employer. Nick found this out only after the fifth time Potter had 'killed' Khan, and specifically after the still living Khan confronted the two of them, revealing much of the truth in the process.

Potter shot himself rather than suffer whatever vengeance Baron Khan had in mind, abandoning Nick to their enemy's tender mercies. For a wonder, Baron Khan didn't kill him. Perhaps he believed that the boy, absent his master's influence, was no longer any real threat, and simply satisfied his anger by beating him within an inch of his life while demolishing what was left of his belief in Potter. Nick woke up in a hospital, realizing how badly he'd been used, and feeling lower than he could imagine. Every ideal had been crushed, every hope ruined. What was he supposed to do with his life now?

And then, while he was recovering from his injuries, Cerebron attacked. The hospital was spared the worst of it, and so it was here that the young woman who'd fought to save London was brought and treated, and otherwise left entirely alone. Nick wasn't sure why he approached her, beyond the fact that no one seemed to really care whether she lived or died. They were both alone in the world, and yet she'd tried to help people while all he'd been able to do was cower in helpless fear. He held her hand while she slept, willing her to heal. He still doesn't know if it worked or not.

It was a very different young man who left the hospital, a short while later. He started to study magic much more seriously than he ever had before, learning much about his talents that Potter had hidden from him. He wasn't the sort of magical soldier that Potter had tried to make of him, but a healer and seer, who could help others to fight the battles that needed to be fought. He found himself doing just that quite a bit over the next few years, and in the process reconnected with Jennifer Chase, now known as Blakestone, and also met Prydwen.

Nick's attitude towards life is very different from Jennifer's, which may contribute a bit towards the volatility of their relationship which will not be elaborated upon here lalala can't hear you. Nick has come to the conclusion that any immortality is probably just an illusion. Sooner or later, all things must perish, and even the 'one thing that never dies' of legend is something that will be remembered for only a few generations at best, in a tiny part of the world, on a speck of dust supported in a sunbeam. Ultimately, in the end, nothing matters.

Therefore, there is no reason in the world not to help people as much as you can. Nick can often be helping people out with things that Blakestone regards as incredibly trivial, never asking for a reward or even counting them as favors owed. This can sometimes result in frustration when his friends need his help for what they perceive as larger matters and he'd prefer to finish what he's doing rather than drop it, but they've had to learn to live with his decisions.

He also still wants to put a permanent end to Baron Khan, but because of what he's learned about the villain's actual goals rather than any imaginary wrongs done to him or his family. He's actually learned that his mother is still alive and supposedly holed up somewhere in Finland, and that his father, a mercenary, died only recently. What he's learned about them doesn't inspire him with any real urge to find out more ...

Nick Grey -- PL 9

Abilities:
STR
1 | STA 4 | AGL 2 | DEX 0 | FGT 6 | INT 3 | AWE 5 | PRE 3

Powers:
Prophecy:
Senses 4 (precognition), Unreliable - 2 points
Sorcery: Array (36 points)
  • Free Your Mind: Simultaneous Perception Range Nullify Mind Control 9, Sustained - 1 point
  • Healing Touch: Restorative Energizing Healing 9 - 36 points
  • Healing Word: Perception Range Restorative Engergizing Healing 6 - 1 point
  • Smithing Word: Perception Range Healing 9, Affects Objects Only - 1 point
  • Wordsmithing: Comprehend Languages 4 - 1 point
Advantages:
Benefit 2 (independently wealthy), Defensive Attack, Defensive Roll, Extraordinary Effort, Inspire 2, Luck 4, Set-up, Teamwork.

Skills:
Athletics 6 (+7), Close Combat: Unarmed 4 (+10), Expertise: Magic 8 (+11), Expertise: Streetwise 6 (+9), Insight 6 (+11), Intimidation 5 (+8), Investigation 6 (+9), Perception 4 (+9), Persuasion 5 (+8).

Offense:
Initiative +2
Unarmed +10 (Close Damage 1)

Defense:
Dodge 7, Parry 9, Fortitude 6, Toughness 6/2, Will 12.

Totals:
Abilities 48 + Powers 42 + Advantages 11 + Skills 25 + Defenses 15 = 141 points

Complications:
Doing Good--Motivation. Enemy
(Baron Khan.) Generous to a Fault. Relationship (Prydwen, Blakestone.) Reputation (cunning man.)
 

Davies

Explorer
Maureen Summerisle


When she was four years old, Gwenno Summerisle was sent with her mother away from the Hebridean island which her ancestors had ruled since time immemorial (that being defined as the late 18th century) ostensibly because her father planned to divorce her mother and marry someone to give him a son, but actually because he had well-founded concerns for his family's safety, to say nothing of his own. As it happened, he was right to worry, as he was murdered the next year when the harvest failed that year, just as it had the previous year, despite all the desperate measures that had been taken. Summerisle's culture rather devolved after that, but it seems to have made a comeback, recently, under the guidance of a distant cousin of Maureen's grandfather. It would probably not be a good idea for her or any other claimant to the title to go back, though.

Regardless, Gwenno grew up in Nevada and had almost completely forgotten about her origins by the time that she turned eighteen and started trying out to be a showgirl. She managed to get hired by one of the smaller casinos, and then a somewhat larger one, and was actually making a fairly good life for herself when a chance encounter with someone she's never talked about ended that life forever, since pregnant women are not generally considered to be showgirl material. Unwilling to take the simple solution to this problem, she gave birth to her daughter, Maureen, in 1992, spent a year recovering and then went back to work as a dance school instructor. Maureen's father was not in the picture, but Gwenno married a poor but dishonest LVPD officer and established a relatively happy family life all the same.

When Maureen was eight, her younger brother went missing and has never been seen alive since. When she was twelve, her stepfather was killed in a shootout with some drug dealers. When she was fourteen, her mother was murdered by a serial killer. People she got close to while in foster care tended to meet unpleasant ends. She developed the belief that death was stalking her, showing her what he could and would eventually do to her. She decided not to go to that meeting quietly, and took up martial arts, at which she showed a surprising amount of talent. Sometimes, she felt herself shifting, becoming stronger, faster, harder.

At eighteen, she was finally had her long-expected meeting. Death, as it turned out, was actually a man -- a crazy man who claimed to have magical powers which he'd employed to bend the fates of those around Maureen so that they'd meet unpleasant ends. Apparently, the psychopath was acquainted with her biological father, and took a sick interest in the notion of claiming Mephistopheles' daughter as a bride. All that she had to do to make it stop would be to marry him, and then --

Actually, she didn't bother listening to the rest. She proceeded to beat her tormentor half-way to death, at which point he gurgled out a threat that if he died the curse would never end, and that no one she loved would ever be safe. "Okay," she said, and then beat him the other half-way.

Ever since then, Maureen has ambled around North America in a series of cars that she obtains through fair means or foul, looking for people who have problems with what she considers to be monsters, and helping them out -- for a fee that she sets based upon a completely arbitrary assessment of her 'clients'. She is definitely not a superhero, and regards the capes-and-tights crowd with disinterested contempt. By and large, she preys upon low-powered supers who've completely lost their minds following their mutation, but she has also encountered werewolves, vampires, witches, apparent ghosts and so-called fairies. Whatever the opponent, if someone is willing to pay her to take it on, she does so. If not, then not.

Maureen has never met her alleged father -- either of him -- and has been noted to stay out of San Francisco. She has crossed paths with Dame Beatrice Barrowman, and wants to kill her. One important factor of Maureen's attitude is that once she decides that someone is a monster deserving of death, they are on that list for life, and nothing -- not the most saintly behavior -- will get someone off of it. While she worked with Argus agents during Dracula's recent activities in New York, and didn't attack Dame Beatrice when there were all sorts of people around who would have tried to separate the two of them, she spent the entire episode glaring cold death in the old witch's direction, and getting the same cold glare from her bodyguard.

Sort of a shame. He's kinda cute. Oh well.

Maureen Summerisle -- PL 9

Abilities:
STR
2/0 | STA 4/0 | AGL 5/1 | DEX 3/1 | FGT 7/3 | INT 1 | AWE 3 | PRE 2

Powers:
"Become Who You Were Born to Be":
Enhanced Characteristics 16 (Agility 4, Dexterity 2, Fighting 4, Stamina 4, Strength 2), Subtle, Activation (Move Action) - 32 points
Find Weakness: Strength-based Damage 4; Enhanced Advantage 4 (Close Attack 4) - 8 points
Monster-Killing Dance: Enhanced Advantage 3 (Evasion 2, Move-by Action); Enhanced Defenses 4 (Dodge 2, Parry 2) - 7 points
Resistance: Immunity 1 (vampiric blood drain); Immunity 20 (mental effects), Limited to Half Effect - 11 points

Advantages:
Attractive, Close Attack 4, Defensive Roll 2, Equipment 2, Evasion 2, Extraordinary Effort, Improved Initiative, Improvised Weapon 2, Languages 2, Move-by Attack, Power Attack, Redirect, Takedown 2, Taunt, Uncanny Dodge

Equipment:
Frequently-Replaced Car: Size Large; Strength 5; Speed 5 (ground); Defense 8; Toughness 8 - 10 points

Skills:
Acrobatics 6 (+11/+7), Athletics 6 (+8/+6), Deception 8 (+10), Expertise: Magic 5 (+7), Expertise: Streetwise 5 (+6), Insight 6 (+9), Perception 4 (+7), Persuasion 8 (+10), Vehicles 6 (+9/+7).

Offense:
Initiative +9/+5
Unarmed +11/+7 (Close Damage 6/4)
Improvised Weapon +11/+7 (Close Damage 7/5)

Defense:
Dodge 9/7/3, Parry 9/7/3, Fortitude 6/2, Toughness 9/5/4/0, Will 9.

Totals:
Abilities 22 + Powers 58 + Advantages 15 + Skills 27 + Defenses 10 = 132 points

Complications:
Vengeance, Or Something Like That--Motivation. Cursed to Bring Doom to Those She Loves, and So Loves No One.* Power Loss
(Monster-Killing Dance, if she's not committed to killing the target.) Reputation (heartless mercenary.) Vindictive.

* Just to be clear, it's not clear at all whether she's actually cursed in this manner. Frankly, voluntary emotionally detachment from everyone around her is probably a curse in and of itself.
 

Davies

Explorer
Helice


Compared to some superheroes, Tina Wilson has had a remarkably mundane life. Born in 1985, her telepathic powers began to emerge in her early adolescence, and were almost at their current level in 2003, when she was recruited by the Department of Defense to become the only female member of the United Supermen of America, tasked with keeping the group safe from psychic intrusion and subversion as well as acting as its lead investigator. As she'd already engaged in a certain amount of mystery-solving in her teens, none of this seemed all that difficult. Her biggest issue in this period was how uncomfortable she was with the constant public attention focused on her team.

When the group dissolved in 2007, it came as something of a relief. Unfortunately, that was followed up by the major headache of being hired by the Federal Bureau of Investigation to basically serve as a living lie detector. She wasn't allowed to probe anyone without their express permission -- not that she would have, regardless of rules -- just monitor people who were being interviewed to determine whether they were lying in response to specific questions. Tina found herself a bit horrified as she came to realize how many people who worked for the Bureau were such consummate liars as to be able to fool her telepathy.

After three years of this, she was more than ready for a change, and accepted Thomas Dore's invitation to come work with him again at Heroic Enterprises. She was back in the thick of the group's investigations again, and leading a much less sedate life, but it was enjoyable ... right up until it wasn't anymore. After three years of that, she decided that she'd had enough of this and handed in her resignation. Later, when she read about the business with the bridge, she briefly wondered if she could have prevented that if she'd stayed around, then reminded herself to only look forward, never back.

These days, Tina makes her home in Attica, Indiana, and acts as the semi-official superhero of the nearby city of LaFayette. She doesn't have to use much in the way of violence in the course of her job, while discreetly making sure that the local police force on which she relies for support is more honest and ethical than the national average. She also works to keep an eye on all the surrounding counties, paying considerable attention to anything that might be going on in haunted Delphi. So far, she hasn't found anything going on there, but she thinks it likely that just means that the Pythonian remnants are smart enough to avoid their former base. That's not a good thing, all around.

Helice has good relations with Darkwing, who contacts her for assistance when he requires a discreet telepath, which Basilea generally isn't. She wasn't particularly close to True Believer when they both worked at Heroic Enterprises, she felt a great deal of sympathy once the other left the company, and has spoken with her several times since then, offering support and consultation. She respects the work True is doing with the Minor League, knowing very well that this is not something she could ever do. She is just plain done with teams, though she has no objection to partnerships.

Helice's telepathic ethics allow her to read surface thoughts without any qualms -- it's not any different from being attentive towards people's facial expressions or body language. The same is true of using someone else's senses. She only permits herself to probe further if she encounters surface thoughts which indicate hostility towards another person who is actually present or if someone is contemplating a criminal act. Nothing of what she discovers through any of these methods is accepted as evidence in a trial, and so she must discover proof of intent or action if she wants to see criminal charges laid. Fortunately, she's kind of good at that.

Helice -- PL 11

Abilities:
STR
0 | STA 2 | AGL 3 | DEX 2 | FGT 5 | INT 3 | AWE 6 | PRE 5

Powers:
Shielded Mind:
Impervious Will 10, Limited to mental effects - 5 points
Telepathic Communication: Selective Area Mental Communication 3; Comprehend Languages 3 (understands and 'speaks' all languages) - 27 points
Telepathic Defenses: Enhanced Advantages 10 (Defensive Roll 2, Evasion 2, Improved Defense, Improved Initiative 2, Seize Initiative); Enhanced Defenses 16 (Dodge 8, Parry 8); Senses 2 (acute psychic awareness) - 28 points
Telepathic Feats: Array (34 points)
  • Mind Blast: Perception Range Damage 8, Resisted by Will, Subtle - 1 point
  • Mind Probe: Cumulatative Mind Reading 11, Subtle - 34 points
  • Paralysis: Perception Range Cumulative Affliction 8 (Resisted by Will; Dazed, Stunned, Paralyzed), Subtle - 1 point
  • Phantasms: Illusion 8 (all senses), Feedback, Resisted by Will, Selective - 1 point
  • Sensory Link: Remote Viewing 8 (all senses), Medium (living mind), Subtle - 1 point
Advantages:
Benefit 2 (well-off), Defensive Roll 2, Evasion 2, Fearless, Improved Defense, Improved Initiative 2, Seize Initiative, Trance, Ultimate Effort (Will checks).

Skills:
Deception 4 (+9), Expertise: Psychology 5 (+8), Insight 5 (+11), Investigation 4 (+7), Perception 5 (+11), Persuasion 5 (+10)

Offense:
Initiative +11/+3
Unarmed +5 (Close Damage 0)
Mind Blast -- (Perception Range Damage 8, Resisted by Will)
Paralysis -- (Perception Range Will 8)

Defense:
Dodge 15/7, Parry 13/5, Fortitude 5, Toughness 7/2, Will 13

Totals:
Abilities 52 + Powers 98 + Advantages 5 + Skills 14 + Defenses 14 = 183 points

Complications:
Responsibility--Motivation. Code of Honor
(telepathic ethics.) Fame. Power Loss (Telepathic Defenses, against non-intelligent beings or those with Immunity to mental effects.)
 

Davies

Explorer
The Reaper


Around the start of the Millar administration came the earliest reports of a lethal vigilante acting against mundane criminals in the New York metropolitan area, much as the notorious Hazard had operated against Pythonian-backed criminal operations thirty years before that. While many superheroes have considered taking action against this murderer, none have successfully tracked him down ... and some have gone missing while trying to do so. Basilea has argued that the Powerhouse should consider him a priority target at meetings, but the group has collectively concluded that they have higher priorities at the moment. This may be a terrible mistake.

Blake Rogers was born in 1966, a military brat whose father was serving in Vietnam and whose mother was a member of the Stardust Crusaders. This caused a certain amount of cognitive dissonance in the child when, at the age of five, his father was one of thousands of American servicemen killed during the Battle of Vietnam. His mother avoided jailtime for her association with the Crusaders, and started to devote her life to more conventional religion, but her son never forgave her for having worshipped what had killed his father.

Rogers enlisted in the marines right out of high school, and his performance at Camp Pendleton ensured that he was tapped for the Joint Special Operations Taskforce. He was glad to be given the chance to fight against the latest form of the evil that had claimed his father's life, which he defined as the worship of the super-powered. Given the number of super beings among the Pythonian Insurrection's hierarchy, and the fact that they had partially emerged from the Stardust Crusaders, there was a certain logic to this position. However, he was also noted for his expressed disgust and distrust of the handful of superhumans active among JSOTs allies. This kept him out of the Mars operation, for example, though all hands were employed in the attack on Delphi.

He returned to the Marine Corps after the Insurrection's end, and served a number of terms in Syria, noted for courage under fire. His career in the corps ended in 1999 under something of a cloud, after he exposed certain criminal acts committed by his superiors and was forced out. A later reinvestigation would suggest that he had actually worked to frame those superiors for acts he'd undertaken, but the truth remains somewhat nebulous after a number of classified files concerning his service record were destroyed during Billie Zane's coup.

After leaving the corps, Rogers found employment with Argus, but quickly grew disenchanted with the way that the organization existed in symbiosis with the superhuman plague rather than attempting to extirpate it. His attitude naturally resulted in him being drawn into Zane's conspiracy, and he rose within it. How he reconciled his hatred for superhumans with loyalty to an obvious Hyperbrain is known only to him, but it seems that he either sincerely believed Zane's claims to normalcy or regarded her as a lesser evil to be exterminated later. Regardless, he became an accomplished killer for her cause, and faked his own death as she had.

As he entered his fifties, Rogers began to feel his years and believed that he wasn't doing enough personally to bring about the end of the superhuman hegemony. Understanding this perspective, even though she didn't share it, Zane provided him with a chemical treatment she dubbed Revitalix, which restored him to the vigor he'd possessed in his thirties. (She neglected to mention that it was based on her studies of the work of Doctor Genome.) With restored youth came a more direct attitude, and so he created the identity of the Reaper, hunting down criminals whose actions didn't benefit Zane's organization, as well as using the killings as bait to attract superhumans whom he could capture, torture and eventually kill. He's doing what he loves, and is finally living his best possible life.

Blake Rogers has no idea that Zane has several clones of him prepared to take his place if he dies in this juvenile crusade. She may have already had to activate the first one.

The Reaper -- PL 10

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

Advantages:
Accurate Attack, Assessment, Benefit (Cipher), Close Attack 2, Contacts, Defensive Attack, Defensive Roll, Equipment 10, Evasion 2, Improved Aim, Improved Critical (Sniper Rifle), Improved Grab, Improved Initiative, Power Attack, Precise Attack 4 (Close and Ranged; Cover and Concealment), Ranged Attack 4, Takedown, Throwing Mastery 4, Ultimate Aim, Uncanny Dodge.

Equipment:
Arsenal: Array (16 points)
  • Flash-Bang Grenades: Ranged Burst Area Dazzle 4 - 16 points
  • Assault Rifle: Ranged Multiattack Damage 5 - 1 point
  • Combat Knife: Strength-Based Damage 2, Improved Critical - 1 point
  • Fragmentation Grenades: Ranged Burst Area Damage 5 - 1 point
  • Heavy Pistol: Ranged Damage 4 - 1 point
  • Sleep Gas Grenades: Ranged Cloud Area Sleep 4 - 1 point
  • Smoke Grenades: Ranged Cloud Area Concealment Attack 4 - 1 point
  • Sniper Rifle and Targeting Scope: Ranged Damage 5, Improved Aim, Improved Critical - 1 point
  • Tear Gas Grenades: Ranged Cloud Area Affliction 4 - 1 point
Body Armor: Protection 4 - 4 points
Commlink: Feature 1 (Communication) - 1 point
Mini-Tracers: Feature 1 (Tracking) - 1 point
Rebreather: Immunity 2 (Suffocation), Limited to half effect - 1 point
Motorcycle: Size Medium; Strengh 1; Speed 6 (ground); Defense 10; Toughness 8; Feature Smokescreen - 11 points
8 points of equipment as needed.

Skills:
Acrobatics 8 (+12), Athletics 8 (+11), Close Combat: Blades 4 (+10), Deception 6 (+9), Expertise: Criminal 8 (+9), Expertise: Military 7 (+8), Expertise: Streetwise 8 (+9), Insight 8 (+10), Intimidation 9 (+12), Perception 8 (+10), Ranged Combat: Guns 7 (+11), Sleight of Hand 8 (+12), Stealth 9 (+13), Technology 8 (+9), Vehicles 6 (+10)

Offense:
Initiative +8
Unarmed +8 (Close Damage 3)
Assault Rifle +15 (Ranged Damage 5)
Knife +12 (Close Damage 5, Crit. 19-20)
Pistol +15 (Ranged Damage 4)
Sniper Rifle +15 (Ranged Damage 5, Crit. 18-20)

Defense:
Dodge 9, Parry 10, Fortitude 7, Toughness 9/7/5/3, Will 9

Totals:
Abilities 52 + Advantages 41 + Skills 56 + Defense 20 = 169 points

Complications:
Hatred--Motivation. Dependence
(must take regular doses of Revitalix, or suffer Weaken Physical Abilities 3.) Sadism. Subject to Orders.
 

Davies

Explorer
Jeremiah Wander


Jeremiah Wander -- occultist and adventurer. Friend to Geoffrey Tempest, who novelized their adventures in a series of popular paperback novels of the 1960s. Mentor to Diane Fortune, staunch ally to Captain Mystic, and occasionally consulted by other members of the Institute on his areas of expertise. Occasional enemy and rumored romantic partner of Dame Beatrice Barrowman, and well-known foe of Baron Khan and Ayesha the Eternal. This is a man whose life touched many others in many different ways.

And so it is something of a surprise that so little is known about the life of the man himself. Geoffrey Tempest believed that Jeremiah was perhaps a year or so younger than himself when they met in 1963, but eight years later he would comment that the other man hardly seemed to have aged a day since then, rendering all speculation about his actual age pointless. He also believed that Jeremiah was a native New Yorker, and of fairly high class, though the latter may have been Tempest's own class prejudices talking. On the other hand, he was wealthy enough to maintain a brownstone in New York without apparent support.

Complicating the matter further are persistent, unanswered questions about what Jeremiah Wander actually did. His heroic deeds were chronicled, of course, but not only did Geoffrey Tempest invent a number of the stories in his series of novels, he also changed names and facts to slightly obscure the truth. And it's not clear how much of the truth that Tempest knew in the first place; the novels clearly depicted Tempest as entirely reliant on Wander's explanations about the phenomena that they encountered, and Wander may not have revealed everything he knew about them, or possibly just been mistaken in his conclusions.

Subsequent investigators, including Blakestone and Maureen Summerisle, have revisited some of the sites of Wander's exploits, and reached varying conclusions about what actually happened there, informed by their varying attitudes towards Wander's legacy. Blakestone regards him as something of a role model, while Maureen has referred to him as a screw-up who often left things half-done, though that might be because of the way that she favors much more lethal solutions than Wander did. No one has had the courage to ask Geoffrey Tempest what he thinks about his old friend, these days.

Jeremiah Wander was apparently killed during the Battle of Vietnam, not long after the death of Diane Fortune. However, in the years since, his astral form has been seen and even conversed with many people, offering counsel and reassurance to those engaged in mystical adventures, while also passing on warnings to those that are treading dangerous paths. Exelion is apparently acquainted with a method of contacting him but has not shared the details of this with anyone. Questions about the man's current situation will be politely rebuffed with statements that he has not come to talk about himself, but about the situation in which those he addresses finds themselves. The most detailed answer that he has ever given anyone about it was in response to a query from Robin Hood, where he expressed the idea that he was an idea in the mind of God.

"But aren't we all?" asked Robin.

"No," Wander replied. "Not all."

Jeremiah Wander -- PL 11

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

Powers:
Astral Projection:
Remote Sensing 10 (1000 miles; Auditory, Mental, Visual), Limitation (physical body is helpless), Dimensional, Subtle 2; Mental Communication 3, Dimensional - 47 points
Magical Spells: Array (30 points)
  • Dispel Magic: Perception Range Nullify 6, Broad (Magic), Simultaneous - 30 points
  • Ghost Hands: Perception Range Move Object 9, Precise, Subtle 2 - 1 point
  • Mystic Bindings: Ranged Affliction 14 (Resisted by Will; Hindered and Vulnerable, Defenseless and Immobile), Accurate 2, Extra Condition, Limited Degree - 1 point
  • Mystical Blast: Ranged Damage 14, Accurate 2 - 1 point
  • Phantasms: Illusion 6 (Auditory, Visual), Area (125 cubic feet), Resistible by Will, Selective - 1 point
  • Sensing: Cumulative Mind Reading 10 - 1 point
Mystic Awareness: Senses 3 (Mystic Awareness, Analytical, Radius) - 3 points
Warding: Sustained Protection 14, Subtle, Activation (Standard Action) - 13 points

Advantages:
Benefit 2 (independently wealthy), Contacts, Equipment 3, Fearless, Ranged Attack, Ritualist, Trance, Ultimate Effort (Will checks), Well-Informed.

Equipment:
New York Brownstone:
Size Medium; Toughness 10; Features Laboratory, Library, Living Space, Secret, Security System, Workshop - 11 points

Skills:
Close Combat: Unarmed 3 (+7), Expertise: Magic 8 (+12), Insight 6 (+12), Intimidation 5 (+9), Investigation 8 (+11), Perception 7 (+13), Persuasion 6 (+10), Stealth 7 (+8).

Offense:
Initiative +3
Unarmed +7 (Close Damage 1)
Mystical Blast +8 (Ranged Damage 14)
Mystical Bindings +8 (Ranged Will 14)

Defense:
Dodge 6, Parry 6, Fortitude 6, Toughness 16/2, Will 13

Totals:
Abilities 48 + Powers 98 + Advantages 12 + Skills 25 + Defenses 18 = 201 points

Complications:
Responsibility--Motivation. Friend
(Geoffrey Tempest). Mysterious and Enigmatic.

Author's Note: The profile above describes Jeremiah Wander before 1971. As far as is known, he has not used any powers aside from his Astral Projection (which has become Remote Sensing 13 and Mental Communication 4) and Sensing since then. His precise physical condition is a complete mystery.
 

Davies

Explorer
And that is that, for a while. I'm going to be taking a break from this project until late December, to recover my forces and focus on the holiday season.
 

Davies

Explorer
Thriller


The first act of George Hama's life has already been described in the biography of Kiyohime. Following the end of the Pythonian Insurgency, he resigned his commission in the Marines and quietly retired to a cabin in a remote part of Alaska. Occasional attempts were made, both by representatives of Argus and the Corps, to persuade him to either become an operative or return to duty, but he answered these with the same stony silence that he gave everything else. Aside from these visits, and trips to a nearby town to purchase supplies, he had very little human contact over the next fifteen years.

He did not abandon the martial arts training that he'd learned, though he began to explore its more meditative aspects. Towards the end of this period, according to a letter he sent to Shannon Hazzard, he realized that he was maintaining a level of physical ability well beyond what a man of his age should be able to achieve, even with constant physical exercise. In 2005, when he turned fifty, he had to admit that he was aging at a much slower pace than he should have been. Whether because of one of the many unusual situations he'd encountered during his years of service, something he'd learned in his training, or something innate to him, he had become more than human. He wanted to view this as irrelevant to the life he was living.

But George was not totally unaware of what was going on in the world during his self-imposed exile from it. He couldn't avoid knowledge of how superheroes had returned, of the threats that had emerged to the world and its peoples. Returning to the life of violence he'd managed to escape didn't appeal to him, but he had joined the Corps, and later JSOT, because he believed that he had a duty to use his skills in the defense of others. He'd done that, and despite how it had all turned out, he still believed that he should be putting his talents to some use. But how could he reconcile this with a desire to never do anyone any harm again?

And then he read about the great race that the Blue Bolt and Paragon had undertaken, racing around the world to raise money for charity, and the idea of using his gifts for that end, all the time, struck him. He contacted some old associates, Shannon among them, and with their help he was able to create the masked identity of Thriller, the masked stuntman who would undertake any risk to raise money for charitable purposes. Finally, there was a little more color in George's life, and he endured the situations where he had to deal with supervillains or more mundane criminals as simply an additional complication in the life he was choosing to live.

While not technically a superhero, Thriller will always choose to help someone in need of it over engaging in showmanship, though he's often found a way to do both. He doesn't deliberately seek out situations where he needs to fight crime, though he'll make an exception if he hears that the Reaper is active in the same area that he is. The two of them have clashed repeatedly and both have figured out the other's identity from their time in the same unit. (They weren't ever friends, but did work together on several occasions.) He has also made attempts, at Shannon's urging, to seek out the Nightstalker, but is increasingly skeptical that there's anything left of a man who was a friend of his left in the creature.

Thriller -- PL 10

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

Powers:
Inner Reserves:
Array (3 points)
  • Healing Boost: Regeneration 3 - 3 points
  • Speed Boost: Speed 3 (16 MPH) - 1 points
  • Strength Boost: Enhanced Strength 3, Tiring - 1 point
Longevity: Immunity 1 (aging) - 1 point

Advantages:
Agile Feint, Chokehold, Defensive Attack, Defensive Roll, Equipment 5, Evasion, Fearless 2, Improved Aim, Improved Disarm, Improved Hold, Improved Initiative, Improved Trip, Improvised Tools, Languages 3 (American English Sign Language, Japanese, Spanish, others [English is native]), Move-by Action, Power Attack, Prone Fighting, Ranged Attack 5, Redirect, Skill Mastery 4 (Acrobatics, Sleight of Hand, Stealth, Vehicles), Tracking, Uncanny Dodge.

Equipment:
Armorweave Costume (Protection 2, Subtle) and 22 points of equipment as needed (typically a vehicle used in his current stunt.)

Skills:
Acrobatics 8 (+12), Athletics 8 (+10), Close Combat: Unarmed 5 (+13), Deception 8 (+10), Expertise: Military 6 (+8), Expertise: Streetwise: 6 (+8), Intimidation 6 (+10), Insight 6 (+9), Investigation 6 (+8), Perception 8 (+11), Ranged Combat: Guns 4 (+7), Sleight of Hand 9 (+12), Stealth 8 (+12), Technology 6 (+8), Treatment 4 (+6), Vehicles 8 (+11).

Offense:
Initiative +8
Unarmed +13 (Close Damage 5/2)

Defense:
Dodge 11, Parry 12, Fortitude 7, Toughness 8/6/6/4, Will 9

Totals:
Abilities 56 + Powers 6 + Advantages 36 + Skills 59 + Defenses 20 = 177 points

Complications:
Charity--Motivation. Doesn't Speak. Enemy
(the Reaper) Fame. Secret Identity.
 

Davies

Explorer
Megawatt


By all accounts, in 2005 Steve Jovanovich was a fairly typical teenager, growing up in Newark as the only child of a single mother. (All attempts to determine the identity of his father have failed.) He got along with his friends, worked in a part-time job, and did fairly well in school, showing some promise in the sciences. And then, while attending a science exhibition devoted to the work of Nikola Tesla, the accident happened. A machine overloaded and discharged several million volts of electricity into Steve and several other onlookers.

Stunningly, Steve was only left in a coma for a few days, and no one else was seriously injured. When he awoke, Steve found himself bursting with energy. He could absorb, generate and direct electrical energy, even (somehow) using it to augment his own strength and endurance. Naturally, he swore to use these powers for the betterment of humanity, and embarked on a career of crimefighting as Megawatt, the Electric Excitement. His mother, whom he immediately told his secret identity, was a bit startled by the sudden change in her son's behavior -- he'd never been so impulsive before -- but believed that he was doing good.

Unfortunately, the editor-in-chief of The Star Ledger disagreed, and engaged in quite a bit of slanted, unfair criticism of the young hero. Megawatt claimed not to care about this, but his mother realized that he was actually hurt by the insults. She decided to do something about that, and contacted a reporter for the paper whom she knew, offering him an exclusive interview with Megawatt's mother, in the belief that this would counteract the editor's attacks. She was given a guarantee that her anonymity would be respected.

It wasn't.

It only took two days after the interview blowing Steve's secret identity was published for a criminal who'd narrowly escaped him in the past to break into the Jovanovich apartment in an attempt to kidnap Megawatt's mother, accidentally killing her. Megawatt caught him and turned him over to the police, but then he went after the person he actually blamed for the death, breaking into the paper's newsroom and grabbing hold of the editor-in-chief. To this day, it's not clear whether he deliberately electrocuted the man, or whether this was the first documented manifestation of his tendency to lose control of his powers. The results were the same, regardless.

Megawatt was finished as a hero, and he was in no mood to answer to the authorities for what he claimed had been an accident. He went on the run, hunted by former allies and enemies alike. His anger over what had happened congealed into spite and contempt for the world, and he became the menace that The Star Ledger had portrayed him as being, as well as a feared criminal mastermind. He has been captured, but never held for long, and never actually tried for the crime which began his reign of terror.

While originally independent, a confrontation with Hadron that turned into a conversation led to Megawatt becoming a lieutenant in the old man's organization, albeit one who still usually acts on his own. Conscious of Hadron's advancing age, he fully intends to take over the group when the Radioactive Raider finally kicks the bucket, and to turn it into a much more active criminal organization. He's still loyal enough to Hadron that he doesn't want to speed that day up, though a good part of that is his belief that he doesn't actually have to.

And before you ask, no, the editor of The Star Ledger wasn't connected to Billie Zane. He was just an asshole.

Megawatt -- PL 12

Abilities:
STR
9/0 | STA 12/3 | AGL 3 | DEX 2 | FGT 7 | INT 2 | AWE 0 | PRE 2

Powers:
Arc Riding:
Leaping 12 (4 miles) - 12 points
Electrical Absorption: Immunity 10 (electrical effects); Reaction Energizing Healing 10, Limited to Self, Source (Electricity) - 50 points
Electrical Control: Array (36 points)
  • Ball Lightning: Ranged Burst Area Damage 12 - 36 points
  • Electrical Aura: Reaction Damage 9 - 1 point
  • Lightning Flash: Ranged Burst Area Cumulative Affliction 12 (Resisted by Fortitude; Visually Impaired, Visually Disabled, Visually Unaware), Limited to One Sense - 1 point
  • Mega-Taser: Ranged Cumulative Affliction 12 (Resisted by Fortitude; Dazed, Stunned, Incapacitated) - 1 point
  • Power Drain: Burst Area Nullify Technology 12, Broad - 1 point
Power Boost: Linked Enhanced Strength 9, Fades; Lnked Enhanced Stamina 9, Fades - 18 points

Advantages:
Defensive Attack, Extraordinary Effort, Fast Grab, Fearless, Improved Initiative, Startle.

Skills:
Deception 5 (+7), Expertise: Criminal 8 (+10), Expertise: Science 6 (+8), Expertise: Streetwise 6 (+8), Intimidation 8 (+10), Perception 7 (+7), Ranged Combat: Electrical Control 8 (+10), Stealth 6 (+9).

Offense:
Initiative +7
Unarmed +7 (Close Damage 9/0 and Reaction Damage 9)
Ball Lightning -- (Ranged Burst Area Damage 12)
Lightning Flash -- (Ranged Burst Area Fortitude 12)
Mega-Taser +10 (Ranged Fortitude 12)

Defense:
Dodge 10, Parry 9, Fortitude 14/5, Toughness 12/3, Will 8

Totals:
Abilities 38 + Powers 99 + Advantages 6 + Skills 27 + Defense 19 = 199 points

Complications:
Power--Motivation. Power Loss
(all, when surrounded by conductive or insulating materials.) Uncontrolled Power.
 

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