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


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Davies

Adventurer
Sean Driscoll
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Actually getting into position to be a handler to an asset is seldom an easy task. The difficulty increases dramatically when the asset is a former agent who knows all the tricks that one might use. Fortunately, Argus will supply the prospective handler with information about almost every method that has or has not worked in the past, so that they can develop an appropriate plan.

So it was that when, in the summer of 2014, Detective Sergeant Sean Driscoll of the CID was ordered by his other employer to become the handler for the recently-emerged Robin Hood, he let out a low groan. He was supposed to get through the no-doubt completely paranoid defenses set up by an ex-Argus agent who was now an illegal vigilante? How was he supposed to accomplish this? Driscoll was, he flattered himself, a fairly good detective, and doing well in his ongoing infiltration of Scotland Yard, but he had no illusions that someone who'd been inserted into the bloody Powerhouse as Argus' inside man wouldn't see right through him.

Driscoll finally decided to use the Hayes method -- honesty and forthrightness -- and contacted Robin Hood through an online classified advertisement that set up a meet. Well, sort of a meet -- Mason never actually said anything, and Driscoll wouldn't have put it past the man to get someone dressed up in his costume and use them as a decoy, but on the other hand he stabbed an arrow through a business card that had an e-mail address on it and tossed it at Driscoll. Driscoll used the addy to pass on the information that Argus wanted to have passed on, to good effect in the next few months.

Up until fairly recently, Sean Driscoll believed that he could do both of his jobs -- as a CID Sergeant and an Argus agent -- without contradiction. Yes, he had to overlook a fair amount of corruption and brutality in the CID, but dealing with such things was not, strictly speaking, his job, and he did what he could to ameliorate the situation when possible. The revelations from the top of Argus, since 2019, about what is actually going on in the UK have genuinely horrified him, and he now lives in a state of quiet desperation that is much worse than the English way. He honestly wishes he'd never left Belfast ...

Sean Driscoll -- PL 4

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

Advantages:
Benefit (Police Detective), Contacts, Defensive Attack, Defensive Roll, Equipment 2.

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

Skills:
Athletics 2 (+3), Close Combat: Unarmed 2 (+5), Deception 5 (+8), Expertise: Current Events 5 (+7), Expertise: Police Detective 6 (+8), Expertise: Streetwise 6 (+8), Insight 5 (+8), Intimidation 5 (+8), Investigation 7 (+9), Perception 4 (+7), Persuasion 4 (+6), Ranged Combat: Guns 3 (+4), Vehicles 4 (+5).

Offense:
Initiative +1
Unarmed +5 (Close Damage 1)
Light Pistol +4 (Ranged Damage 3)

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

Totals:
Abilities 32 + Powers 0 + Advantages 6 + Skills 29 + Defenses 7 = 74 points

Complications:
Justice--Motivation. Appropriate Paranoia. Secret
(Argus agent).
 

Davies

Adventurer
Geena Grundy
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After Marc Bolton became Cadmus -- or, from the public's perspective, after he founded Cadmus Enterprises, which employs an anonymous individual to test pilot the latest version of the Spartoi power armor under the alias 'Cadmus' -- his company underwent quite a few personnel changes in a short period of time. Generally, the majority of people don't care to be employed by a corporation that's very likely to come under supervillain attack unless they are absurdly well-paid, somewhat psychotic, or brainwashed -- or any combination of the above. Neither the first nor the last applied to the employees of Cadmus Enterprises, and Bolton really did try to avoid employing the other category of prospective employees.

In particular, he found it difficult to find a personal assistant, going through seven in the first year of Cadmus' operations alone. And then, as Bolton was getting set to interview replacements for his current PA, he witnessed something interesting. An employee of the Muscle Factory, a criminal organization he'd spent a fair amount of time trying to break down as Cadmus, broke into his company's reception area and threatened his current receptionist. Bolton began to put on his armor, but he watched as the majority of the people expecting to be interviewed either cowered or fled, but one of them waited patiently until the muscleman was looking elsewhere then smoothly drew a Meta-Taser and shot him at point blank range, leaving him twitching on the floor. Bolton promptly headed down to meet his new personal assistant for the first time.

Despite what you're thinking, it wasn't a set-up; while Geena Grundy had been sent there by Argus to infiltrate Cadmus' life, her employers had not had any idea that the Muscle Factory was about to do something so blatant, and counted on Geena's well-designed CV to get her the job, rather than the cool head and excellent aim that she'd also developed in training. She nevertheless accepted the job, quickly confirming Argus' suspicions that Bolton and Cadmus were one and the same, and then feigning to 'accidentally' discover the truth in Bolton's presence. Bolton chose to take Geena into his confidence rather than risk firing her and trusting to her non-disclosure contract, and so they've continued to work together well.

Bolton believes that Geena is a genuine friend to him, who regards his activities as Cadmus as a necessary evil and hopes that he can one day pass the job on to someone else. He'd be startled and hurt to learn that, while she certainly doesn't wish him any harm, she considers their relationship entirely professional, and views him as completely expendable in the pursuit of Argus' goals -- and her own personal agenda. Geena fully intends to have a Director's chair at Argus before she turns forty, which is six years. She might cut corners or doctor her after-action reports to do this, but blatant illegality, or betraying Argus to its enemies, is not something she'd even momentarily consider.

If Bolton were to pass on the identity of Cadmus to another party, she'd cultivate his replacement as an asset and get as close to them as possible, too, as long as it didn't involve romance. She doesn't believe in mixing business with pleasure, and has heard too many horror stories about agents who got too close to their assets to ever consider doing that. As long as that replacement continued working for Cadmus Enterprises, she'd do the same, and even continue to socialize with Mark. If not ... then not.

Geena Grundy -- PL 5

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

Advantages:
Attractive, Contacts, Defensive Roll, Equipment 6, Improved Critical 2 (Meta-Taser), Language (Spanish), Precise Shot (ranged/cover), Quick Draw, Ranged Attack 2.

Equipment:
Meta-taser pistol (Ranged Affliction 5 [Fortitude; Dazed, Stunned, Incapacitated]), smartphone, 18 points of equipment as needed.

Skills:
Athletics 4 (+5), Close Combat: Unarmed 3 (+6), Deception 6 (+8), Expertise: Business 7 (+9), Expertise: Current Events 4 (+6), Insight 4 (+6), Intimidation 3 (+5), Investigation 6 (+8), Perception 5 (+7), Persuasion 6 (+8), Technology 6 (+8), Vehicles 2 (+5).

Offense:
Initiative +1
Unarmed +6 (Damage 0)
Meta-Taser Pistol +5 (Ranged Fortitude 5, Crit 18-20)

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

Totals:
Abilities 30 + Powers 0 + Advantages 15 + Skills 28 + Defenses 9 = 82 points

Complications:
Ambition--Motivation. Professionalism. Secret
(Argus agent.)
 

Davies

Adventurer
"Ken" Kang-su Jyeong
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Born in North Korea, Kang-su Jyeong was the son of a minor party functionary who narrowly avoided the decapitating attack that annihilated virtually every other member of the government of the Democratic People's Republic prior to the Pythonian invasion. While he and his wife were unharmed, four-year-old Kang-su suffered a serious head injury in the attack. In order to save him, his father contacted the American CIA and turned over information about what remained of the nation's security to them in exchange for new lives in America. It seems likely that some of this information helped ensure that the second invasion, by the South Koreans, was a success.

The operation that saved Kang-su's life was also a success, and he grew up as a typical teenager in a California household that spoke both Korean and English. Feeling that he owed a great debt to the country that had saved both him and his family, and despising what had become of the land of his birth, "Ken" Jyeong sought and found employment with the Federal Bureau of Investigations, hoping to be assigned to the department which handled spies from the Empire. That never quite materialized, and instead he found himself working on several cases with the telepathic agent Helice.

Ken was honestly a bit skeptical about Helice's abilities -- the idea that someone could read thoughts didn't seem at all consistent with what he'd learned in university about current theories of how the mind worked, and he decided that Helice was just using superpowered versions of cold reading and similar mentalist's tricks. The fact that she never managed to accurately read his own thoughts cemented this opinion. As it happened, she really could not read his thoughts; the damage from his long-ago injuries had made his thoughts indecipherable to telepathy. While he could be telepathically influenced in other ways, this often produced unusual results. It all made him a rather effective partner for her, though she doubted that he would have believed any of this if he was told about it.

After Helice left the Bureau to work for Heroic Enterprises, Ken's own career began to stagnate. He became the victim of a round of layoffs in 2015, and started looking for other work. Argus, having learned of his neurological peculiarity, contacted him and offered him a job, arranging for him to have a cover job in the Indiana State Police's Criminal Investigation Division -- not all that coincidentally, an organization that frequently had contact with Helice. They were soon reunited, and Ken was in a good position to become Helice's handler.

While she can't read his mind, Helice is herself a good enough detective that she's long since figured out that Ken is working for Argus as well as his official post. Since she knows him to be a fundamentally honest person, she has chosen not to expose him, and takes advantage of the leads he provides, verifying them personally beforehand but recognizing them as useful. As such, they have a very good working relationship, and so she'll go to some lengths to ensure that it can continue, rather than doing things that would lead to her being assigned someone different, whom she might not be able to trust completely.

"Ken" Kang-su Jyeong - PL 5

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

Powers:
Neurological Quirk:
Immunity 5 (mind reading); Perception Range Nullify Telepathy 5, Randomize, Reaction (when targeted) - 30 points

Advantages:
Benefit (state police officer), Contacts, Defensive Roll, Equipment 2, Language (Korean, English [bilingual]), Second Chance (mind control).

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

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

Offense:
Initiative +1
Unarmed +5 (Close, Damage 1)
Pistol +5 (Ranged, Damage 3)

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

Totals:
Abilities 30 + Powers 30 + Advantages 6 + Skills 22 + Defenses 12 = Total 101 points

Complications:
Responsibility--Motivation. Delusion
('telepathy is just trickery'.) Hatred (Empire of Korea.) Secret (Argus agent.)
 

Davies

Adventurer
Simon Garnoff
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Simon Ilyanovich Garnoff led a surprisingly comfortable life in post-Soviet Russia. His father adapted to the changes well, and ruthlessly built a small fortune while constantly looking for opportunities to make it a large fortune. When Simon was identified as a potential hyperbrain, Ilya Garnoff's signature was on the papers authorizing the think tank to take charge of him almost before the psychologist finished talking. Unfortunately, Simon proved to be only a mundanely talented and clever young man, washing out of the think tank's program when he was fifteen. His father was annoyed at the loss of the subsidy he was getting, but just added it to the long list of ways that his son was a disappointment. For his own part, Simon was only slightly upset that he'd probably never again see the one friend he'd made at the think tank, a boy named Kuznetsov. Life went on.

Usually, it takes more than a single generation to erase all the gains that a previous generation has made. In the case of the Garnoff 'dynasty', the process was slightly quicker. After his father's death during Cerebron's attack, Simon quickly realized that he was not nearly as callous as his father had been, nor as capable of bending people to his designs. Therefore, he deliberately let most of his family's businesses slip out of his hands, managing things just well enough to maintain a comfortable but not really luxurious life for himself, notably holding on to some real estate holdings that gave him a reasonably secure income. His mother was as happy with her second marriage as she could be, his younger sister ... well, she'd never had much use for him and so her change of circumstances didn't bother him. Much.

And then, in 2007, while visiting one of his properties to check on some noise reports, he was startled to find an injured man in a white costume collapsed on the floor of the building's show room. Parovoy, the vigilante, had been using it as a safe house and passed out there after a difficult fight with some bratva goons. Simon didn't even think about calling the police, of course, but he wasn't sure exactly sure about the better course of action. He settled for treating the man's wounds, which led to his discovery of Parovoy's secret identity as his old friend.

Pavel Kuznetsov was no less surprised to be reunited with him. He reluctantly discussed his situation with Simon, in the process convincing the latter that (a) Pavel was clearly insane and (b) Pavel needed help -- not just psychiatric help, but actual material assistance. He found himself providing that help, initially just sheltering Parovoy, then providing limited investigative backup, and ultimately joining the vigilante, some agents and the superhuman crew in preventing some people from taking over Russia two years later. In the process, Simon became known to Argus, who offered him help in learning how to protect himself a bit better if he was going to do this sort of thing.

Of course, there was a price tag, and so Simon has found himself acting as Pavel's handler for the organization. He's not all that happy about the situation, but having some sort of safety net if everything goes completely south -- which he's sure that it will -- is probably a good idea. It's not easy being Pavel's friend, after all! He gives Argus the bare minimum of information about Parovoy's activities, generally only what they could find out from other sources, and tries to steer him away from his association with Ugolev, whom Simon neither likes nor trusts. Not all that successfully, unfortunately, but at least Pavel has the sense to steer clear of the evil old man's daughter ...

Simon Garnoff -- PL 6

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

Advantages:
Benefit 2 (independently wealthy), Contacts, Defensive Roll, Equipment 6, Improvised Tools, Language (English, [Russian is native]), Well-Informed.

Equipment:
Meta-taser pistol (Ranged Affliction 5 [Fortitude; Dazed, Stunned, Incapacitated]), car, smartphone, 8 points of equipment as needed.

Skills:
Expertise: Business 4 (+9), Expertise: Science 5 (+10), Expertise: Streetwise 4 (+9), Insight 5 (+7), Investigation 4 (+9), Perception 6 (+8), Technology 6 (+11), Treatment 2 (+7).

Offense:
Initiative +1
Unarmed +4 (Close Damage 1)
Meta-Taser +3 (Ranged Fortitude 5)

Defense:
Dodge 4, Parry 4, Fortitude 3, Toughness 2/0, Will 5

Totals:
Abilities 32 + Advantages 13 + Skills 18 + Defenses 9 = 72 points

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

Davies

Adventurer
Remontnik
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Present day
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First age

Private Petr Ugolev was a relative latecomer to the SNM, transferred to it in 1964 after his superiors in the rifle brigade to which he'd originally been assigned discovered that he'd rebuilt his assault rifle into an energy projecting weapon as something of a lark. Nothing in Ugolev's background suggested he possessed such talents; he'd been an average student at best in his youth in Stalingrad. It soon became clear that he was what the Americans dubbed a Hyperbrain, and of a type which had been fairly common in the late 19th century -- the self-taught genius. Unfortunately, this made it difficult for other scientists to analyze or reproduce his discoveries, since the language he used to describe them was also entirely of his own creation.

Thus, rather than using his talents in a laboratory setting, Ugolev was given the code name 'Repairman' and assigned to the Assembly. He took this with studied insouciance. Sychkin was not any worse than the officers that he'd had up to this point, and honestly a bit better, if one stayed out of the way of the little dominance games that he and Rafikov were playing, and also had the sense not to fall for the different sort of games that Pulya played. The latter, at least, was easy -- there were plenty of other women made available to the Heroes of the Soviet Union.

Of course, Ugolev was well aware that the comforts he now enjoyed could easily be taken away if he disappointed his superiors. His win-loss record in conflicts with the Iconoclast generally favored the American, but he was able to make up for his defeats in other areas, against lesser-known heroes. Truthfully, he didn't really enjoy these games either, and would have preferred to use his talents to direct civil engineering projects. But, at least back then, it seemed better to act the part of the loyal soldier.

Things started to change after the nightmare in Vietnam. He'd been fortunate enough to be reserved for the planning department of the operation, and so was unaffected by the events, where even the other two survivors were traumatized by what happened. That left him more or less in charge of the Assembly's operations, and he found that he enjoyed that role. Of course, he had less to work with than Sychkin had. There had always been a few hangers-on in the group, people who variously had only very minor powers, had physical mutations that just set them apart, or didn't have any of that and yet pretended to have abilities, with the ministry encouraging such delusions or schemes in hopes that they might fool the Americans, too. Now these also-rans more than outnumbered the serious members of the group.

When Ugolev's position as the Assembly's commander was formalized after the other two died in 1982, he finally took steps to deal with this situation. The cranks were excised, while the feebly-powered and twisted were given the opportunity to get training that would make them them capable combatants, infiltrators and assassins. In many cases, he also arranged for them to receive cybernetics that could enhance their talents to make them better agents. With these agents, the Assembly became the Soviet Union's effective response to the Pythonian Insurgency, and is acknowledged to have done rather well in the role.

All good things must come to an end, however, and the dissolution of the Soviet Union also meant an end to the Assembly. Ugolev was given the opportunity to take up a new role with the Federal Security Service, which he graciously declined, preferring to cultivate his rose garden. By that point, he knew where enough of the bodies were buried that they couldn't really hold him, and so he became an ordinary citizen of the Republic. That lasted all of two weeks before he started marketing cancer-free cigarettes to the public, swiftly making him into a multi-millionaire.

In the years since then, Petr Ugolev has continued to quietly monitor Russia's superpower situation, arranging things to benefit himself with occasional thoughts of how they might help the general public. He has assisted both Parovoy and Baba Yaga at various times, and is one of the very few people who has figured out the true origin of the latter. However, he also provides superscience inventions to the Russian mob, mostly to give his designs necessary field-testing without much concern for how that testing impacts the public. His primary goal, as ever, is his own comfort and security ... and a little bit of fun.

The one person for whom he cares even the slightest is his daughter, born in 1990. However, his affection for her does not translate to respect for her, and so she has abandoned the family name to engage in anarchistic mad science all over the world, under the alias 'Zloba' ("Curse" ... or "Jinx".) He reads the accounts of her activities with annoyance, but also just a little pride, too, in the way that she keeps the Americans on their toes in the same way he did. If she was ever in serious trouble, he'd try to help her, though she wouldn't welcome his aid. Nobody ever appreciates the repairman until they really need him, after all.

Remontnik -- PL 11

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

Powers:
Blaster Rifle:
Array (16 points); Removable (-6 points)
  • Agonizer Setting: Ranged Affliction 8 (Resisted by Will; Dazed & Vulnerable, Defenseless & Stunned), Extra Condition, Limited Degree - 16 points
  • Standard Setting: Ranged Damage 8 - 1 point
  • Stun Setting: Ranged Affliction 8 (Resisted by Fortitude; Dazed, Stunned, Incapacitated) - 1 point
Concealed Force Field Device: Sustained Impervious Protection 6, Subtle; Removable (-3 points) - 10 points
Escape Switch: Extended Only Teleport 6, Limited to headquarters; Removable (-1 point) - 5 points
Psychic Shielding: Impervious Will 9, Limited to Mental Effects - 5 points

Advantages:
Benefit 5 (Billionaire), Connected, Defensive Roll 2, Equipment X, Inventor, Language (English, [Russian is native]), Ranged Attack 5, Well-Informed.

Skills:
Deception 12 (+14), Expertise: Business 7 (+15), Expertise: Science 4 (+12), Expertise: Streetwise 7 (+15), Intimidation 12 (+14), Persuasion 11 (+13), Sleight of Hand 8 (+11), Stealth 12 (+12), Technology 8 (+16), Vehicles 9 (+12).

Offense:
Initiative +0
Unarmed +2 (Close Damage -1)
Standard Setting +8 (Ranged Damage 8)
Agonizer Setting +8 (Ranged Will 8)

Defense:
Dodge 5, Parry 5, Foritude 3, Toughness 11/6/5/0, Will 13.

Totals:
Abilities 38 + Powers 32 + Advantages 15 + Skills 45 + Defenses 23 = 153 points

Complications:
Amusement--Motivation. Chauvinist
(national and sex.) Elderly. Family (daughter.)

In the first age, he had STR 1, STA 2, AGL 3, FGT 4, no Escape Switch or Psychic Shielding, only had 1 rank of Defensive Roll, Inventor and Ranged Attack as Advantages, no Expertise: Business, 3 ranks less of Technology, 4 ranks less of each of his other skills, Dodge 8, Parry 8 and Will 9.
 
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Davies

Adventurer
The Untouchable
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Even before Gregor Sychkin (b. 1933) became the Soviet Union's first known super-powered operative, he was a remarkable individual in many ways. Towering two meters and thirteen centimeters (less than an inch under seven feet, to reactionaries who cling to an Imperial system) in height with physical power to match, he was also a brilliant mind with a decided knack for negotiating the frequently dirty politics of working within the Committee of State Security -- better known to the West as the KGB. And then, late in 1956, he demonstrated superpowers.

The exact origin of the Untouchable's famous ability to make himself into a ghost-like figure has never been fully explained. For obvious reasons, the Soviets treated the origins of their superpower assets as state secrets, kept within the KGB's archives. Yet when those were finally opened to the public, explaining the origins of the rest of the SNM, nothing was revealed about what had sparked Sychkin's powers. It seemed fairly likely that the man himself had taken steps to ensure that no information about the source of his powers was available to be used against him. The most likely scenario is that he had been caught up in an experiment, like most of his colleagues. But it might be that his origins had something to do with the ancient families who had managed to survive the Revolution, and that his obfuscations were intended to conceal information about them, rather than himself.

Regardless, Sychkin was given the codename of Neprikasayemyy, or The Untouchable when his full powers were quantified by the KGB's resident scientists. Not only was he able to become an intangible, phantasmal being, he was also able to disrupt both electronics and the synapses of the human brain by bringing his supposedly ghostly hands into contact with them. On top of that, he soon learned how to transform others into intangible creatures, leaving them helpless to interact with the material world or even to ask for help. While the majority of those transformed in this manner eventually regained their substance, there are unconfirmed reports some never did so, eventually starving to death in their ghostly state.

Sychkin, a fervent Communist, was perfectly willing to use these powers against the enemies of his nation, and wound up being the cause of the very first 'team-up' between two American superheroes, when he provided additional muscle to a KGB sponsored smuggling ring, confronting the Cowl and the Futurian in the process. Despite the awkward teamwork between the two Americans, they were able to disassemble the operation and even capture the Untouchable. This early in the first age, however, the authorities were still learning how difficult it could be to contain a superpower, and he was able to escape with ease, returning home with useful intelligence to soften the sting of the operation's defeat. That would be the pattern of most of his activities in the years to follow.

When the SNM took form, Sychkin was the natural choice to lead, due to his experience, his raw power, and (especially) his clout. The Arachnid proved to be willing to follow his lead, but the arrogant Chelovek-Meteor clearly believed himself to be the superior choice, even after the humiliation he suffered at the hands of the American who took his name from him like some sort of trophy. This was the milieu that Pulya and later Remontnik, and all the second- and third-raters of the Assembly, found themselves dropped into the middle of. Pulya, at least, made her willingness to work under the Untouchable very clear. Their relationship was not without its bumps, to put it nicely, but he was starting to develop a genuine fondness for her shortly before he was ... involved ... in her death, during the Battle of Vietnam, under circumstances that led to him being rescued by the damned Komet.

In the aftermath, the Untouchable became increasingly convinced that he and his people had been subjected to an elaborate hoax in Vietnam, and that the Americans had deliberately destroyed their own, public super-agents while keeping a much more powerful group hidden from view. In the era of detente, his warnings were largely ignored. Had he not been assassinated in his sleep in 1982, during the rise of the Pythonian Insurgency, there's no telling how he would have responded to the challenge they posed, but he would likely have regarded them as a false flag operation by the Americans.

Untouchable (Neprikasayemyy) -- PL 10

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

Powers:
Density Decrease:
Linked Concealment 4 (hearing, radio); Flight 4 (32 MPH); Linked Insubstantial 4 (vulnerable to mystical); Linked Sustained Immunity 10 (life support) - 46 points
Disruption Attacks: Array (24 points)
  • Disrupt Electronics: Nullify Electronics 12, Affects Corporeal, Close, Simultaneous - 24 points
  • Disrupt Synapses: Affliction 12 (Resisted by Fortitude; Dazed, Stunned, Incapacitated), Affects Corporeal - 1 point
  • Drag into Oblivion: Affliction 8 (Resisted by Will; Dazed, Stunned, Transformed [to intangible]), Affects Corporeal, Affects Objects - 1 point
Advantages:
Chokehold, Connected, Defensive Roll 2, Fast Grab, Hide in Plain Sight, Improved Grab, Improved Hold, Improved Initiative, Leadership, Power Attack, Redirect, Set-up, Teamwork

Skills:
Close Combat: Unarmed 2 (+10), Deception 3 (+7), Expertise: Civcs 6 (+9), Expertise: Military 6 (+9), Expertise: Science 4 (+7), Insight 4 (+6), Intimidation 5 (+9), Investigation 4 (+7), Persuasion 5 (+9), Perception 4 (+6), Ranged Combat: Guns 6 (+7), Stealth 7 (+7), Technology 4 (+7).

Offense:
Initiative +4
Unarmed +10 (Close Damage 4)
Disrupt Synapses +8 (Close Fortitude 12)
Drag into Oblivion +8 (Close Will 8)

Defense:
Dodge 6, Parry 8, Fortitude 5, Toughness 8/3, Will 7

Totals:
Abilities 48 + Powers 72 + Advantages 14 + Skills 30 + Defenses 13 = 177 points

Complications:
Responsibility--Motivation. Properly Paranoid
(before 1971.) More Paranoid Than Proper (after 1971.) Relationshp (Pulya.) Rivalry (Krasnya-Kometa.)
 

Davies

Adventurer
Krasnya-Kometa*
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There are not as many unanswered questions about the origins of Saveliy Rafikov's powers as there are those of some of the other members of the Assembly, but some have persisted long after the opening of the KGB's archives. While it's known that he was empowered by surviving the explosion of an experimental fighter jet while it was in air, the jet's specifications remain uncensored. It has long been assumed that the jet's engine was some new product of the Soviet equivalent of the Skunk Works, likely a micro-scale nuclear power plant, but there is some evidence that such devices were outside the reach of Soviet science in the late 1950s. A different theory has it that the jet was a perfectly normal if advanced aircraft, and that it encountered some as-yet unidentified phenomenon in the atmosphere which destroyed it and transformed Rafikov.

Regardless, when he was recovered from the crash site, unharmed, it was clear that he'd become something more than human. Months of testing then ensued, revealing that he had developed enormous, physics-defying strength, flesh and bone that were incredibly resistant to injury, eyesight that could accurately perceive objects at a distance of miles, and the ability to fly (and survive flying) at supersonic speeds. Intended as a much more visible example of the New Soviet Man, he was given months of training in the use of these powers ... months that resulted in his debut, as Chelovek-meteor, "Meteor Man", roughly a week after an American superpower known as the Meteor made his debut.

Being a test pilot is not a job conducive to humility. Much as with surgeons, the absolute self-confidence that it takes to strap oneself into an untested machine designed to push the limits of mechanical ingenuity tends to color one's attitudes when dealing with matters outside of that role, as well. So Chelovek-meteor, on joining the SNM, already had something of an attitude problem, and being forced to take orders from a KGB operative like the Untouchable didn't help matters. Rafikov made no secret of his belief that he should be the head of the Assembly instead, and the two of them clashed repeatedly, though there's no evidence that they ever came to blows -- of course, given that Sychkin could easily have avoided any of Rafikov's blows, that's not saying much.

In any event, matters began to change for him in 1962, during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Observing the blockade from a position in the stratosphere, Chelovek-meteor found himself annoyed and disgusted by the proceedings, and decided to intervene. Before he could descend to do so, however, the Meteor, piloting his spaceship, intercepted him, and captured him in its tractor beam after a brief chase. Expecting to be blasted by the ship's cannons, Rafikov was surprised that the Meteor left the safety of his ship to approach him, supply him with an earpiece that facilitated communication, and address him in Russian.

It was a somewhat hostile conversation, at first, but the Meteor's refusal to get angry eventually forced Rafikov to calm down as well, and admit that he was exceeding the orders that he'd been given in a way that would probably not make his superiors happy, even under the best of circumstances. On learning of Chelovek-meteor's grudge against him over their common name, the Meteor offered to change his, since he wasn't attached to it. That startled Rafikov, as did the Meteor's off-hand mention that he certainly didn't consider himself to be the example of American ingenuity that the press made him out to be. In the end, they parted with mutual respect.

But also with something else, something that Rafikov didn't mention to his superiors. That technology of his, that hint -- the only reasonable conclusion that made any sense was that the Meteor was actually from another world, an advanced, Communist world. And if such a utopia was possible elsewhere, it could happen here as well, as long as the defenders of Marxist-Leninism remained steadfast and cautious, rather than foolishly arrogant. Equipped with this new confidence, Rafikov persuaded the Ministry to change his alias, and so became Krasnya-kometa -- the Red Comet.

He didn't stop squabbling with the Untouchable, of course, since he still believed that he would be a much better leader. And once Pulya joined the group, he had another reason to compete, even though that never went anywhere. But more and more, he focused on just doing his job as best he could, protecting the people of the Union from threats mundane and paranormal, letting his actions speak for him. Ultimately, that led to him saving Sychkin's life during the Battle of Vietnam, flying them both away from Stardust at top speed while the Arachnid bought them both the seconds they needed to get clear with his own life.

The other man never stopped resenting him for that, but Rafikov didn't care. He'd come to a diametrically opposed conclusion about what happened that day. The eventual disappearance of the Meteor confirmed it in his mind; that war had been the tiniest, smallest battle of a war between aggressive capitalism and developing communism that continued, even out among the stars. They'd won, but the universe was filled with threats on Stardust's level. In the face of that, humanity must unite. He would spend the rest of his life pushing for such unity, for peaceful reconciliation with the West and the Chinese.

In 1982, at the start of the Pythonian Insurgency, Krasnya-kometa happened to be in Moscow. While unable to prevent the assassination of the Premier, he was on-sight when a high-yield fuel air explosive was discovered not far from the Kremlin, and flew it into the upper atmosphere. It exploded before he could fling it into orbit, apparently atomizing him. No remains were ever discovered, of course, and there has been speculation that he managed to survive even this, and went into hiding. If so, he has never emerged from it in the past forty years, and it is most likely that he died that day, within an hour of his most bitter rival.

Krasnya-kometa -- PL 10

Abilities:
STR
10 | STA 10 | AGL 3 | DEX 2 | FGT 6 | INT 3 | AWE 2 | PRE 3

Powers:
Astronomical Vision:
Senses 4 (hyper-extended vision 2) - 4 points
Invulnerability: Immunity 10 (life support); Impervious Toughness 10 - 20 points
Meteoric Flight: Flight 11 (4000 MPH) - 22 points
Mighty Power: Enhanced Strength 3, Limited to lifting - 3 points

Advantages:
Extraordinary Effort, Fearless, Improved Initiative, Inspire 2, Interpose, Move-by Action, Power Attack.

Skills:
Close Combat: Unarmed 3 (+9), Expertise: Military 6 (+9), Expertise: Science 5 (+8), Insight 6 (+8), Intimidation 5 (+8), Perception 8 (+10), Technology 5 (+8), Vehicles 8 (+10).

Offense:
Initiative +7
Unarmed +9 (Close Damage 10)

Defense:
Dodge 7, Parry 8, Fortitude 12, Toughness 10, Will 6

Totals:
Abilities 78 + Powers 49 + Advantages 8 + Skills 23 + Defenses 12 = 170 points

Complications:
Responsibility--Motivation. Arrogance
(until 1962.) Rivalry (Neprikasayemyy.) Tempered Caution (after 1962.)

* He was complicated, okay?
 

Davies

Adventurer
The Arachnid
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Of the core members of the SNM, the records pertaining to the origins of Ivan Lyutov, the Arachnid (Paukoobraznyy) were the least redacted among those contained in the KGB archives. It's likely that this results from the fact that his origins did not involve technology developed within the Soviet Union, but by a hostile entity. In early March, 1962, Lyutov was one of a team of Spetsnaz commandos sent to investigate and infiltrate an installation on an island north of Finland, operated by Hannes Zaharoff's organization. The installation turned out to be a biological science laboratory creating bizarre mutated and modified animals, most notably flying piranhas, and was destroyed in the action that followed.

During the operation, Lyutov was bitten by what seemed to be a bizarre hybrid of a spider and a scorpion, but seemed to recover quickly. During his debriefing, however, he was informed that his medical examination had indicated that he'd been mutated by the bite. Further tests revealed that he'd developed a superhuman physique and reflexes, the bewildering ability to adhere to walls, and a semi-precognitive danger-sense. The identity of the Arachnid was quickly developed for him, and he joined the other members of the Assembly when it made its debut on May Day of that year.

Privately, Lyutov had his doubts about this entire idea. It was far more showy and public than something that a commando, trained for stealth and discretion, should be doing. Still, he was also trained to obey orders and adapt to unfavorable conditions, so he did what he was told and stayed out of the way of the other two and their egos. As other members joined, he passed on advice to do the same to them, rarely giving them any help outside of missions beyond that. He looked out for himself, and they could do the same.

That callous behavior actually concealed a greater concern for him. Lyutov gradually became aware that he was having difficulty controlling his crueler impulses, often engaging in behavior that could only be called sadistic, particularly towards his romantic partners. He is known to have injured many and possibly murdered one of the second-stringer members of the Assembly. He believed this to be a side-affect of the mutations, but there's no real evidence to support that. To his credit, Lyutov seems to have been disgusted by his most vicious behavior, though possibly only because he regretted the lack of self-control that it demonstrated.

Regardless, his death was unquestionably heroic, sacrificing his own life in personal combat with Stardust to buy time for the Red Comet and the Untouchable to escape. Stardust proceeded to extract the Arachnid's blood and other vital fluids from his body, leaving his corpse a desiccated husk. It was recovered in the aftermath and supposedly buried in the Kremlin Wall, though there is some evidence that it was actually used for ongoing attempts to induce similar powers in others.

Those efforts had actually begun during the Arachnid's life, with at least one experiment, conducted in Cuba in 1967 on a political prisoner, having been a success, with the subject demonstrating additional powers that Lyutov did not possess. Before the prisoner could be vivisected to determine why he'd developed these abilities, however, he escaped from the laboratory and from Cuba, escaping to Florida and from there to Mexico. He began a new life there under the name Rafael Fuentes, occasionally fighting crime under the name el Arano -- just as his son and later grandson would also do.

The Arachnid (Paukoobraznyy) -- PL 9

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

Powers:
Spider-Movement:
Leaping 2 (30 feet); Movement 3 (Swinging, Wall-crawling 2) - 8 points
Spider-Senses: Enhanced Advantage 2 (Improved Initiative 2); Enhanced Defenses 8 (Dodge 4, Parry 4); Senses 3 (Danger Sense, Darkvision) - 13 points

Advantages:
Agile Feint, Close Attack 4, Equipment 5, Evasion 2, Great Endurance, Hide in Plain Sight, Move-by Attack, Ranged Attack 3, Redirect, Teamwork, Uncanny Dodge

Equipment:
25 points as needed for any given mission (often an assault rifle [Ranged Multiattack Damage 5]).

Skills:
Acrobatics 4 (+12), Athletics 4 (+10), Deception 6 (+8), Expertise: Military 6 (+7), Perception 6 (+10), Ranged Combat: Guns 2 (+6), Sleight of Hand 5 (+9), Stealth 3 (+11).

Offense:
Initiative +15
Unarmed +12 (Close Damage 6)

Defense:
Dodge 13/9, Parry 12/8, Fortitude 6, Toughness 5, Will 6

Totals:
Abilities 76 + Powers 21 + Advantages 21 + Skills 18 + Defense 4 = 140 points

Complications:
Patriotism--Motivation. Sadistic Tendencies. Weakness
(pest control chemicals.)
 

Davies

Adventurer
Pulya
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Sofya Shibalova was by all accounts a fairly typical female KGB agent in the early 1960s. She had been carefully trained to take advantage of the bourgeois hypocrisy of Western operatives, who were inculcated with the absurd notion that women were soft, easily manipulated, and in need of protection. Even before the episode, Sofya had never been soft. Her hardness had developed early, first by her childhood spent during the Great Patriotic War, and then by her father's arrest, trial and execution for rape when she was fifteen.

In 1964, Sofya was volunteered for duty to test a new chemical formula developed by the KGB's R&D division, based on research stolen from the United Kingdom concerning 'the New Accelerator'. To everyone's shock, she not only survived the injection, and developed super speed as a consequence, her body further mutated, becoming as hard and tough as lead. Her inexperience in using these abilities meant that she was unable to prevent the assassination of the scientist who'd developed the formula, or the escape of the British assassin, and so the formula was lost. Thus, Sofya became the Soviet Union's only speedster agent, under the alias 'Pulya' -- Bullet.

No one was sure how long the dose of the Accelerator drug in her system was going to last, and so she was quickly assigned to the SNM and told to make herself useful. She soon found herself the latest excuse for the rivalry between the Red Comet and the Untouchable, gravitating to the side of the latter as more familiar but always hinting to the former that she might be persuaded to change her mind if he impressed her enough. She engaged in lower-intensity flirtations with the other male members of the team as well, and with a few of their opposite numbers, most notably the Living Thunderbolt, her most frequent opponent. All of it was done in the service of the state, of course, to which she was utterly committed.

Her private diary, found in the KGB archives, reveals a rather different personality. Sofya Shibalova was a profoundly unhappy woman, fearful of the likelihood that her powers were going to fade, just as she was sure that her beauty would not last. Without such advantages, where would she be? What use would she be to anyone? She only had worth in as much as she was useful to the men around her, after all.

Ironically, her powers never did fade, nor did they ever require recharging, as the later users of Accelerator substances did. It seems likely that whatever changes to the formula hardened her body also turned it into a factory to produce regular doses of the drug. Some physical examinations undertaken towards the end of her life indicated that this was causing a strain on the rest of her organs, but it never had a chance to impair her activities.

During the Battle of Vietnam, she spotted the Untouchable confronting the American 'super-wizard', and, believing her lover to be in his intangible state, proceeded to attempt a power charge towards their enemy, moving through the Untouchable's form to do so. She had no way of knowing that Stardust had used a ray on the Untouchable to transform him into an immobilized and hyper-dense state. Pulya crashed against him at just under the speed of sound, and shattered like a bullet against him. She died instantly.

Remontnik has developed some odd hobbies in his old age, such as gazing at pictures of beautiful women he's known while also examining their DNA profiles. Quite recently, while doing so to a photograph of Pulya, he realized that he'd seen a remarkably similar profile recently, and leafed through the rest of his collection until he found it. Then he stared at the photograph and DNA profile of Baba Yaga, noting that the similarity between the two profiles was akin to that between a grandparent and their grandchild. "Now what do we have here?" he murmured to himself.

Pulya -- PL 9

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

Powers:
Hardened Body:
Strength-based Damage 2; Protection 2, Impervious 6 - 10 points
Hypersonic Speed: Enhanced Advantage 3 (Improved Initiative 3); Enhanced Defenses 16 (Dodge 8, Parry 8); Movement 3 (wall-crawling 2, water-walking), Limited to movement; Quickness 10; Speed 10 (2000 MPH) - 32 points
Sonic Boom: Linked Burst Area Damage 9; Linked Burst Area Cumulative Affliction 9 (Resisted by Fortitude; Hearing Impaired, Hearing Disabled, Hearing Unaware), Limited to One Sense - 36 points

Advantages:
Attractive, Close Combat 2, Evasion, Improved Initiative 3, Instant Up, Move-by Action

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

Offense:
Initiative +16
Unarmed +10 (Close Damage 4)
Sonic Boom -- (Burst Area Damage 9 and Fortitude 9)

Defense:
Dodge 12/4, Parry 12/4, Fortitude 7, Toughness 6, Will 7.

Totals:
Abilities 46 + Powers 78 + Advantages 6 + Skills 22 + Defenses 8 = 160 points

Complications:
Duty--Motivation. Low Self-Worth.
 

Davies

Adventurer
Zloba
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One of her earliest memories is of a rare occasion when her father actually took her with him when he went to visit one of his fellow mad scientists. She must have been four, maybe five years old. She's not sure what made him do it. Maybe her mother was just too busy or too stoned to look after her, or they were between nannies, or he'd heard about 'take your daughter to work day' and decided to make a mockery of it by bringing her along. And of course she didn't understand anything that she saw, not then. But she remembers, very clearly, staring up at the girl in the coldsleep matrix, and feeling ... something like a mix of pity and envy for her. It's funny how the image of that girl, in her slow time, still sticks with her, through all the drugs she's taken since then.

Years passed, and her mother found a way out of the pain that growing old caused her, and it became clear that she was a Hyperbrain, just like Daddy. When they came around to recruit her for a think tank, her father persuaded them to forget the whole business by underwriting their operations for a full year. Ironically, their operation didn't last much longer than that, but she's always been a little grateful that he gave her the chance to let her talents develop as she pleased, rather than for the benefit of the government. It's the only gratitude she feels towards him; her life, she's well aware, was an accident.

At seventeen, she left home and her name behind, and by her eighteenth birthday she was already being accused of being a curse. She owned that, just like she has always owned everything she does -- and nothing else. She gets paid for the work she does, of course, but what she doesn't need immediately, whether for food, work or fun, gets passed on to others who seem to need it more. While she has often caused death and destruction through her activities -- perhaps most heinously blowing up a certain video game company when she heard that they'd stolen her likeness for some silly game of theirs -- that's never the point of them. Whether there is any point, beyond her amusement, is really known only to her.

She's worked with criminals, even supervillains. But she is perfectly happy to lend her assistance to superheroes if the mood strikes her. Her most persistent adversary and associate is Trouble, who has fascinated her ever since they first crossed paths in her first few months of activity. Almost the first words out of her mouth when they met were, "Would you mind if I took you apart, figured out how you work, and den put you back togedder? I can totally do dat last part." (She has problems with the 'th' sound. Also with the truth.)

Those who know Trouble well are aware that nobody, not even Sam Hazzard, can get under Trouble's skin as easily as Zloba can. She expresses more emotions when dealing with the other woman than she ever expresses under any other circumstances -- usually frustration and embarrassment, more than anything else, but neither feeling is usually apparent on her. There is a theory that, despite how Zloba has often put Trouble in great danger, the living weapon experiences a sensation of safety whenever she's in the anarchist's presence, allowing her permission to be more open about her emotions than she can ever otherwise be. Sam Hazzard hates Zloba like poison, incidentally, and Zloba cheerfully returns 'Glass-Eyes'" disdain.

Among the chemical enhancements that Zloba has experimented with, over the years, is a weak variation on the Accelerator. Because of regular doses of the substance, she is biologically overclocked, able to move and think at great speeds -- not nearly as fast as some who've used similar substances, but quite fast all the same. The drugs are almost certainly going to kill her before she turns forty, but she regards this as trivial. She intends to live hard, 'love' fast, and not care about the condition of her corpse. If she realizes that attitude is a permanent barrier between her and Trouble, she's never given any signs of it.

Zloba -- PL 9

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

Powers:
Arsenal:
Array (15 points), Easily Removable (-8 points)
  • Boom Boom: Ranged Burst Area Damage 5 - 15 points
  • Buzz Buzz: Ranged Multiattack Damage 5 - 1 point
  • Scorch Scorch: Cone Area Damage 7 - 1 point
  • Squirt Squirt: Ranged Cumulative Affliction 5 (Resisted by Dodge, Overcome by Damage; Hindered & Vulnerable, Defenseless & Immobilized), Extra Condition, Limted Degree - 1 point
  • Zap Zap: Ranged Cumulative Affliction 5 (Resisted by Fortitude; Dazed, Stunned, Incapacitated) - 1 point
Nose for Nano: Senses 2 (acute nano awareness [olfactory]) - 2 points
Overclocked: Enhanced Advantages 2 (Improved Initiative 2, Move-by Action); Enhanced Defenses 6 (Dodge 3, Parry 3); Leaping 2 (30 feet); Quickness 2; Speed 5 (60 MPH) - 10 points
Teleportal Hack: Accurate Extended Only Teleport 6, Portal; Removable (-7 points) - 28 points

Advantages:
Defensive Roll, Evasion, Improved Initiative 3, Instant Up, Inventor, Jack-of-all-trades, Language 3 (many, [Russian is native]), Move-by Action, Power Attack, Ranged Attack 7, Skill Mastery (Technology), Well-informed.

Skills:
Deception 6 (+7), Expertise: Science 2 (+8), Investigation 4 (+10), Perception 6 (+8), Sleight of Hand 3 (+9), Stealth 6 (+11), Technology 6 (+12), Treatment 4 (+10), Vehicles 3 (+9).

Offense:
Initiative +17
Unarmed +8 (Close Damage 1)
Buzz Buzz +13 (Ranged Damage 5)
Squirt Squirt +13 (Ranged Affliction 5, Resisted by Dodge)
Zap Zap +13 (Ranged Fortitude 5)
Boom Boom -- (Ranged Burst Area Damage 5)
Scorch Scorch -- (Cone Area Damage 7)

Defense:
Dodge 13/10, Parry 11/8, Fortitude 5, Toughness 5/3, Will 7

Totals:
Abilities 64 + Powers 51 + Advantages 19 + Skills 20 + Defenses 12 = 166 points

Complications:
Thrills--Motivation. CANNOT Resist a Challenge. Family
(father.) Frenemy (Trouble.)

Do you ever wanna catch me?
Right now, I'm feeling ignored!
So can you try a little harder?
I'm really getting bored!
 

Davies

Adventurer
Joey Garber
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Growing up in the early nineties, Joseph Garber was always aware that he had a slightly skewed angle on things, and a talent for making observations that struck other people as funny. There was only one job that made any sense for someone with such talents, but Joey decided that politics didn't really interest him, and so left Hamilton behind right after his high school graduation, moving to Toronto to become a standup comedian. He arrived there only a few months before Paragon showed up for the first time.

Joey worked a lot of different jobs in those first few years, while crafting his standup persona. His routine sometimes made mention of the man in red longjohns, but usually only as something that was less bewildering than whatever situation was under discussion. On the whole, Joey liked Paragon, though he hoped that he'd never be in circumstances where he'd need the guy's help, and -- if he was being really honest -- figured that there was no chance that he was going to stick around all that long.

And then, in 2002, nearly everyone in the Toronto suburb of Brampton was turned into giant chickens, with the notable exception of guess who? Paragon naturally took an interest in fixing this little anomaly, and as Joey was the only person around who say anything except 'cluck cluck buckaw' in worried-sounding tones, the comedian proved to be the most helpful witness. Paragon dealt with the crazy man who'd done this out of the bewildering belief that this would demonstrate how wrong chicken factory farming was, and Joey had some new material for his act. He expected this to be the only time that his life would be inappropriately touched by the fantastic.

Boy was he wrong. After the fourth time that something like this happened around him, Paragon honestly became a little suspicious that Joey was somehow causing all this, but some observations (assisted by other members of the Powerhouse who had different perspectives) revealed that he was just stumbling into circumstances well beyond his control. Paragon decided to just cope with it, and began keeping an eye on Joey's activities in order to have some warning about when strangeness was about to erupt.

In the process, the two of them found themselves becoming friends. Joey's tendency to make light of situations ended up making even the very serious Paragon give the occasional chuckle, and the hero came to appreciate the comedian's brand of courage. Paragon wound up giving Joey a signal device that he could use to contact him whenever the situation called for it. The device has taken a variety of forms over the years, and currently exists only in digital form as an app on Joey's smartphone -- a P-shaped icon that will demand a PIN number before it allows him to contact Paragon. The hero can't respond to the signal verbally, but Joey is able to describe the circumstances he's calling rather than just rely on a high-pitched squealing noise.

At this point, Joey has encountered enough strangeness and badness that he will sometimes try to resolve things without calling in Paragon, since he knows that the big guy has a lot on his plate already. He's never been foolish enough to ask for help with simple inconveniences, nor traded on his friendship to gain greater celebrity, but he will use the device when he thinks Paragon could stand to hear a friendly voice. He doesn't know (or really suspect) that Paragon maintains a civilian identity in Toronto, and has never (as far as he knows) met any of the other superheroes with whom his friend associates. He does make wisecracks about some of them in his act, though.

Joey Garber -- PL 3

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

Powers:
Immutable:
Immunity 5 (alteration effects) - 5 points
Signal Device: Senses 1 (communication link with Paragon); Removable (-0 points) - 1 point

Advantages:
Daze (Deception), Equipment, Evasion, Improved Initiative, Taunt.

Equipment:
Smartphone.

Skills:
Athletics 4 (+4), Deception 3 (+6), Expertise: Comedy (PRE-based) 5 (+8), Insight 5 (+7), Investigation 3 (+4), Perception 4 (+6), Stealth 4 (+5).

Offense:
Initiative +4
Unarmed +0 (Close Damage 0)

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

Totals:
Abilities 16 + Powers 6 + Advantages 5 + Skills 14 + Defenses 9 = 50 points

Complications:
Fame--Motivation. Danger Magnet. Friend
(Paragon.)
 

Davies

Adventurer
Dr. Will Caulder
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Born in 1961, William Caulder knew that he wanted to be a doctor by the time that he was in his early teens. His education was partially underwritten by scholarships established by Ryan and Lucy Richmond, who believed in investing in doctors who might come to work for their hospital. While he only met the two of them a handful of times, and they weren't mentors, exactly, he respected and admired them both, and was horrified when they suffered their 'accident' shortly before he obtained his M.D.

Believing that this had to have been the work of the Pythonian Insurgency, William responded to that by volunteering his services as a doctor for the Joint Special Operations Taskforce. While he helped to save many lives in the process, his work with the Taskforce left him feeling increasingly revolted by violence, and uncertain whether this was really the best way to honor the Richmonds' memory. The loss of life at Delphi was particularly appalling to him, and he was glad that his contract expired with JTAS' dissolution. (He would later end up protesting the war in Syria.)

Returning to Chicago, William ended up working for a clinic located not far from the abandoned hospital that the Richmonds had run. His experiences here have further solidified his opposition to violence, viewing it as a vicious circle that wrecks as many lives as poverty does. The only appropriate use of force, in his view, is to prevent the use of force against another or one's self. Even non-lethal weaponry, like Richmond Enterprises' famous 'meta-taser', can end up causing permanent and irrevocable harm to someone if employed recklessly. That said, it is an improvement on firearms, and Dr. Caulder was pleased that the Richmonds' son was continuing their legacy, though he doubted that they'd ever meet.

In 2003, however, the vigilante known as Darkwing stumbled into their clinic with injuries inflicted by one of his frequent enemies, the January Man*. Dr. Caulder treated the man's injuries while respecting his right to maintain his secret identity, and they had a lengthy discussion about violence and vigilantism. The doctor was forced to admit that humanity might not survive its encounters with extraterrestrial and monstrous threats without the use of violence, but still felt that its use against street criminals was a waste of effort that could be better spent elsewhere. He discussed the Richmonds' role in his life, and spoke about how their lives had been cut short by violence, how much more they could have done without it. They parted ways without coming to any conclusion.

Dr. Caulder had, of course, not needed to remove Darkwing's mask to recognize the individual with whom he was dealing. And of course, Darkwing knew that he knew. He has since met Robert Richmond, in both of the man's identities, on several occasions, without ever admitting to that knowledge. He suspects that a number of the anonymous donations that the clinic receives come from him, but has never brought up the issue since he recognizes that Robert isn't trying to buy his approval -- which would be an insult, and wouldn't work. He has also formed a friendship with Robert's personal assistant, Martha Paddington, that has sometimes verged on romance. (He's never had time for a lasting relationship, unfortunately.)

Now approaching his sixtieth birthday, Dr. Caulder is seriously considering retirement. He's still in good health, and retains a certain amount of the physique he developed through high school and amateur wrestling, but he thinks he's probably earned a quiet rest for the remainder of his years. Whether he'll get that remains to be seen.

Dr. William Caulder -- PL 3

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

Advantages:
Connected, Improved Hold, Improvised Tools, Skill Mastery (Treatment).

Skills:
Athletics 5 (+6), Expertise: Physician 6 (+8), Insight 5 (+7), Perception 4 (+6), Persuasion 4 (+5), Treatment 6 (+8)

Offense:
Initiative +0
Unarmed +3 (Close Damage 1**)

Defense:
Dodge 2, Parry 3, Fortitude 3, Toughness 2, Will 3

Totals:
Abilities 22 + Advantages 4 + Skills 15 + Defenses 4 = 45 points

Complications:
Peace--Motivation. Friends
(Robert Richmond, Martha Paddington.)

* Yes this was a movie OOTL. No it wasn't a movie in this world's history. The individual who used this alias is no longer active in Chicago's crime scene.
** Included solely for completeness; Dr. Caulder will only ever attack someone for the purpose of setting up a Grab, and never inflict damage on a Grabbed target.
 

Davies

Adventurer
Donald Irving
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Some people are, however much they might prefer it otherwise, best defined by what they are not. While above average in most respects, Donald Irving is not an especially brave, clever, strong or charming individual. He has never been granted any sort of super-powers, even temporarily, and not only has Argus never even considered recruiting him, he has sometimes only held on to his position with the various, much more mundane security companies which have employed him by the skin of his teeth -- though he has never actually lost a job under any circumstances other than the company itself going under, and bounced back quickly when that happens. He is, it can be fairly said, good at his job.

Unfortunately, the biggest intrusion of the fantastic into his life -- the fact that his younger brother is the Blue Bolt -- is also a constant reminder of one of the biggest screw-ups of his professional career. He never should have let Jimmy anywhere near the laboratory he was supposed to be guarding. Everything that happened that day, especially the death of Professor Gibbon, followed directly from that, and Donald honestly isn't sure how he managed to keep his job after letting that disaster happen. He honestly hoped that the crazy powers his little brother picked up would wear off after a while, but it was not to be.

In the twenty-odd years since then, Donald has on very rare occasions sought his brother's help in dealing with some of the crazier situations that he's encountered -- preventing burglaries by other costumed goons and the like -- but always regrets doing so, or at least regrets the stress that these situations cause for himself. A good part of this stress, that he's never admitted to himself, is his worry that these episodes will eventually result in Jimmy's secret identity being exposed, and harm coming to Jimmy as a result. The fact that it's much more likely that harm will come to Donald or to their widowed mother has never really consciously occurred to him; deep down, he still sees himself as the guy who has to look out for his dumb little brother, despite the reality of the situation being exactly the opposite.

Donald has met a few other members of the superpower community over the years -- most notably his Jimmy's roommate and his insane ex-girlfriend, but he also found himself in the middle of an investigation by Darkwing on one weird occasion. Amit is a pretty nice guy, but the rest of these people are frankly every bit as nuts as the one who's actually trying to kill Jimmy, in his view. He was recently bewildered to be invited to a barbecue that had the entire extended 'family' of the Powerhouse in attendance, and actually found himself getting along with that Nick Grey fellow, who seemed to have a good head on his shoulders.

In recent years, Jimmy has been moving more and more into the administrative side of the security industry, though he still prefers to keep a personal eye on things as much as possible. He's just self-aware enough to absolutely refuse to think, especially not out loud, about how long he has until retirement (seven years, for the curious) and fully intends to live to collect his pension. Of course, he may not have any real choice in the matter.

Donald Irving -- PL 4

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

Advantages:
Beginner's Luck, Close Attack, Equipment 3, Ranged Attack 2.

Equipment:
Concealed armor (Protection 2, Subtle), light pistol (Ranged Damage 3), meta-taser (Ranged Affliction 4 [Fortitude; Dazed, Stunned, Incapacitated]), smart phone, handcuffs.

Skills:
Athletics 3 (+4), Expertise: Current Events 2 (+4), Expertise: Streetwise 3 (+5), Expertise: Security Guard 4 (+6), Insight 4 (+5), Intimidation 2 (+3), Investigation 2 (+4), Perception 4 (+5), Ranged Combat: Pistols 2 (+3), Stealth 2 (+3), Technology 2 (+4), Treatment 2 (+4), Vehicles 4 (+5).

Offense:
Initiative +1
Unarmed +4 (Close Damage 1)
Pistol +5 (Ranged Damage 3)
Meta-Taser +3 (Ranged Fortitude 4)

Defense:
Dodge 3, Parry 3, Fortitude 4, Toughness 4/2, Will 4.

Totals:
Abilities 24 + Advantages 7 + Skills 18 + Defenses 7 = 56 points.

Complications:
Duty--Motivation. Easily Rattled. Family
(Jimmy, their mother.)
 

Davies

Adventurer
Ibuki Kruger
Hitomi41-S.jpg


In 1983, a man from West Germany named Dieter Kruger went to Japan in order to become a ninja. Four decades on, he regards this particular ambition as a childish fantasy that he accidentally managed to make come true, as he became an initiate of the Shadow School of Kageyama Sarutobi, living a secluded life and practicing the Shadow School's martial arts style on the slopes of Mount Ibuki. It was a satisfying life, but when Sarutobi passed away in 1992, Dieter found himself no longer as welcomed by the Shadow School's new leaders. Rather than remain where he was not wanted, he left with his lover Nabiki and returned to West Germany, where a daughter, whom they named Ibuki, was born to them in the next year. After the Wall came down, they relocated from Bonn to Berlin.

Dieter continued to practice the martial arts, and established a school where he could teach them as well -- though what he taught was conventional jujutsu rather than the secret techniques that he'd learned. Eventually, his daughter began to join him and her mother in this practice, and demonstrated a remarkable talent, eventually becoming a junior instructor along with her father. (Her mother passed away when she was sixteen.) Her father strove to instill in her the philosophical teachings of the Shadow School -- that it was better to conceal one's abilities, that one should never be the first to fight, and that adventure and excitement were not things to be sought out.

He did not have much success with that last one. Ibuki is an excitable and cheerful young woman who is constantly looking for whatever adventure might come her way, as though trying to take the world in a love embrace. She doesn't wear a costume or have a secret identity, but she would definitely pass the 'rescue a kid's cat' test, and be bewildered that anyone would choose not to do so. She will usually fight defensively up to a point -- but after she (or someone else) has been injured, she will instantly switch tactics to a much more aggressive approach, and do whatever it takes to end the threat.

Since 2013, Ibuki has been a friend and frequent ally of Berlin's resident superheroine, Magnolia. Their first encounter was an eye-opener for Lin Ni-cheng, who had honestly thought her friends in the Ultra Girls were joking when they warned her that she might run into people who mistook her for a super-villain and tried to attack her. Fortunately, neither of them was hurt, and Ibuki was thrilled to meet someone who was as skilled as Magnolia. Magnolia has sometimes tried to gently discourage Ibuki from trying to help her out, to no avail. While these exploits have sometimes ended with Ibuki needing to be rescued, she has been a great help on other occasions, and her cheery demeanor is a definite comfort at times.

It's not at all clear whether Ibuki is a superpower. Her abilities are all within the realm of the most extraordinary examples of humanity, with one possible exception. She has sometimes quickly recovered from serious injuries much faster than simple adrenaline would permit, but the phenomenon is so unreliable that it can't really be studied. She herself views this as just the occasional lucky break.

Nabiki Kruger -- PL 7

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

Powers:
Parkour:
Leaping 2 (30 feet); Movement 1 (safe fall), Limited to Distance 0; Speed 1 (4 mph) - 4 points
Second Wind: Healing 5, Reaction (when staggered or worse), Self only - 20 points
Striking Strength: Strength-based Damage 2 - 2 points

Advantages:
Agile Feint, All-out Attack, Close Attack 2, Defensive Attack, Defensive Roll, Diehard, Evasion, Fearless, Improved Disarm, Improved Initiative, Improved Trip, Language (Japanese and German [bilingual]), Move-by Action, Power Attack, Skill Mastery (Athletics), Takedown, Uncanny Dodge.

Skills:
Acrobatics 5 (+8), Athletics 8 (+9), Close Combat: Unarmed 4 (+9), Expertise: Streetwise 4 (+5), Intimidation 6 (+7), Perception 4 (+6), Stealth 5 (+8).

Offense:
Initiative +6
Unarmed +11 (Close Damage 3)

Defense:
Dodge 8, Parry 10, Fortitude 5, Toughness 4/2, Will 8

Totals:
Abilities 34 + Powers 26 + Advantages 19 + Skills 18 + Defenses 17 = 114 points

Complications:
Thrills--Motivation. Family
(Father.) Friend (Magnolia.) Impulsive.
 

Davies

Adventurer
Makabre 2400
Destroyer1-M.png


Aleksandur "Sasho" Stancioff was born seven years after his native Bulgaria transitioned out of Communist rule and into one of the most corrupt democracies in Europe. By the time it was apparent that he was a potential Hyperbrain, all the think tanks had been closed down, leaving him with no real options to develop his talents except self-teaching. He became a base raider, seeking out what had been left behind by previous mad scientists and criminal geniuses, hoping to learn from it if possible and to make a few bucks from selling what he didn't immediately need.

Sasho enjoyed moderate success in this pursuit until four years ago, when he simultaneously hit the jackpot and moved on to a completely different line of work. Initially, he couldn't believe his good fortune -- everyone in the base raider lifestyle talked about what they'd do if they managed to get into one of Makabre's lairs without springing its defenses, but no one ever really thought it could happen. And yet there he was, staring at a fortune in robotics and a badly damaged Makabre robot double.

Before he finished congratulating himself on his good fortune, however, a portal opened up on one of the lair's walls. Sasho promptly took cover, and watched a group of clumsy-looking cyborgs stroll through the portal and pick up the robot double, then carry it with them back through. He cursed his bad timing for a moment, before he heard sounds of battle through the portal. Deciding to investigate and possibly exploit the situation, Sasho went through the portal himself.

In doing so, he became the first human from the World Less Magical to visit the reality known as the Sprawl. He didn't know that at the time, though, only that he'd arrived in a different laboratory than the one that he'd just departed, where the Makabre robot had reactivated and attacked the cyborgs who'd taken it. They were no match under normal circumstances, but had heavy weapons that equalized matters, and the result was that the Makabre robot was shut down, the portal-generating mechanism was ruined, and only one of the cyborgs was still functioning -- which lasted only until Sasho smashed its head open.

Putting his skills to use, Sasho eventually figured out that he'd traveled to a city that was more advanced than anything he'd ever seen. The full details of his situation still eluded him, but there would be time to figure that out. Gathering up the Makabre robot, he escaped from the lab and disappeared into the maze-like alleys of the Sprawl.

It took him a few weeks to learn the Patois that people spoke, but necessity is a great teacher. He managed to create an identity for himself as a denizen of the Sprawl, which he found a surprisingly easy task. (He'd later conclude that the system was designed to make it easy to create such false identities, to facilitate the endemic corporate espionage of the Sprawl.) Gradually, he learned about the Sprawl and its parasitic practices. These didn't bother him on a moral or ethical level, but it was annoying that these actions had led to him ending up in a completely different world. He decided to make the best of the situation.

All the while, he'd been studying the Makabre robot's systems, gradually hollowing it out until it could function as a suit of powered armor. This meant losing some of its more interesting systems, but he wanted something that could keep him alive. He also managed to restart its computer and reprogram it just enough that it viewed him as the real Alexandar Marković, and would act as an advisor. With that done, he was ready to embark on a career of super-villainy!

Except that he quickly realized that the local authorities clearly had a monopoly on villainy. He has basically ended up as a sort of resistance leader, opposing the corporate overlords. His followers have grand ambitions of overthrowing them -- Sasho doesn't particularly share such grandiose plans, and would really prefer to find a way to get home (ideally bringing a lot of Sprawl-tech with him that he could pass off as his discoveries.) Yet, egged on by the computer system, he has also started to wonder about the idea of seizing control of the Sprawl from its current rulers and becoming a better class of dictator. What might he do with that sort of power? What might he not do?

Makabre 2400 -- PL 9

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

Powers:
Robotic Armor:
Removable (-13 points)
  • Armored Shell: Impervious Protection 7 - 14 points
  • Comms: Senses 1 (communication link with Markovic) - 1 point
  • Force Field: Sustained Impervious Protection 5 - 10 points
  • Rocket Pack: Flight 8 (500 MPH) - 16 points
  • Sealed Systems: Immunity 10 (life support) - 10 points
  • Servomotors: Enhanced Strength 6 - 12 points
  • Weapon Systems:Array (20 points)
    • Chest Blast: Line Area 2 Damage 6 - 1 points
    • Focused Gauntlet Blast: Ranged Damage 10 - 20 point
    • Multifire Gauntlet Blast: Ranged Multiattack Damage 6, Accurate 2 - 1 point

Advantages:
Improvised Tools, Inventor, Languages 2 (Sprawl Patois, English, Russian, Serbian, [Bulgarian is native]), Sidekick 15, Takedown.

Skills:
Close Combat: Unarmed 3 (+6), Expertise: Science 3 (+9), Insight 8 (+10), Intimidation 8 (+9), Investigation 2 (+8), Ranged Combat: Weapon Systems 6 (+8), Technology 4 (+10), Vehicles 4 (+6).

Offense:
Initiative +0
Unarmed +6 (Close Damage 6/0)
Focused Gauntlet Blast +8 (Ranged Damage 10)
Multifire Gauntlet Blast +12 (Ranged Multiattack Damage 6)
Chest Blast -- (Line Area Damage 6)

Defense:
Dodge 6, Parry 5, Fortitude 3, Toughness 12/0, Will 5

Totals:
Abilities 30 + Powers 60 + Advantages 20 + Skills 20 + Defenses 13 = 142 points

Complications:
Survival--Motivation. Secret
(identity and illegal status.) Somewhat Power Hungry.


"Marković" -- PL 9

Abilities:
STR
-- | STA -- | AGL -- | DEX 0 | FGT 0 | INT 9 | AWE 3 | PRE 3

Powers:
Comms:
Senses 1 (communication link with Makabre 2400) - 1 point
Construct: Immunity 50 (Fortitude, mental effects) - 50 points

Advantages:
Second Chance (Insight checks), Skill Mastery (Technology)

Skills:
Expertise: Science 5 (+14), Insight 9 (+12), Investigation 4 (+13), Persuasion 9 (+12), Technology 5 (+14).

Offense:
Effectively none.

Defense:
Dodge --, Parry --, Fortitude Immune, Toughness 0, Will 9

Totals:
Abilities 0 + Powers 50 + Advantages 3 + Skills 16 + Defense 6 = 75 points

Complications:
Loyalty ... Right?--Motivation.
 

Davies

Adventurer
Wilmarth
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In the Sprawl, truth is what the powerful decide it to be. That notwithstanding, it is occasionally useful for the people who make those decisions to have access to facts, even if they later decide those facts to be irrelevant. And it also occasionally useful for the discovery of those facts to be made by unofficial and deniable agents, whose circumstances make it impossible for them to become potential rivals, rather than official ones who might well do so. So in this world of neon-lit darkness, there are still those who go down the mean streets without themselves being mean. Or, at least, not too mean.

The woman who uses the name Reuth Wilmarth is one such private investigator. Unlike most people in the same line of work, she was never employed by corporate security in any manner. Nor was she ever a member of the metropolitan patrol, the second most common source for private investigators. Why, exactly, old Duglas Sexton chose to give her a job as an operative, more than a decade and a half ago, and then later picked her out of all his operatives to head up the agency before he retired, are stories that she keeps close to her chest. If asked, she'd shrug and say 'some other time, maybe' -- which is a much more polite answer than will be given to anyone who asks her how an android became a citizen of the Sprawl.

Androids perform the bulk of the dangerous manual labor that sustains the sprawl. Their combination of machine-like resilience, self-repairing bodies, and organic brains -- unable to be 'hacked', as the digital brains of a robot could be -- make them the ideal slaves. Those who rebel are, of course, killed without hesitation. There isn't a special job title for those who do this, nor is it given any euphemistic name; 'retirement' is already in use as a pleasant way to describe suicide, after all. In the two centuries that the Sprawl has existed in its current state, there have only been a handful of androids who have been given their freedom. Reuth Wilmarth is the only one who is still alive.

Wilmarth doesn't talk about that, either. Truthfully, she doesn't say much beyond what she has to say in order to keep the agency running as smoothly as it can, and in order to pursue the handful of cases that she personally investigates. Among a handful of people whom she has allowed to get somewhat close -- all employees of the agency -- she will sometimes discuss a personal philosophy that is somewhere between existentialism and utilitarianism, and express her skepticism that any action undertaken any person in the Sprawl, from the highest to the lowest, is meaningfully delaying the eventual end of their world. After evaluating the response that she gets, she generally shrugs and says, "But hey, it pays the bills, right?"

And yet. From time to time, the agency is contacted not by those employed by the corps as cutouts, but by ordinary people who need to discover the truth. Most agencies won't even bother to lie to these people, just bluntly state that they aren't a charity and make it clear that their would-be clients can't afford their rates. But every now and then, when these desperate people contact Wilmarth's agency, she decides to work their cases for free. She won't discuss what triggers these decisions, or what motivates her. Generally, these people end up regretting their decision, for she never pulls any punches when it comes to revealing what she's learned, and what she's learned is generally tragic.

But sometimes -- oh so rarely -- in these investigations, there is a quality of redemption.

Wilmarth -- PL 8

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

Powers:
Android: Immunity 30 (Fortitude); Protection 8; Regeneration 1 (natural healing) - 39 points

Advantages:
Attractive, Equipment 5, Eidetic Memory, Evasion 2, Improved Aim, Improved Initiative, Move-by Attack, Precise Shot (ranged/cover), Power Attack, Ranged Attack 4, Taunt, Uncanny Dodge, Well Informed

Equipment:
Blaster Pistol (Ranged Damage 5, Accurate), Commlink and 13 points of equipment as needed.

Skills:
Acrobatics 4 (+7), Close Combat: Unarmed 3 (+11), Deception 8 (+10), Intimidation 6 (+8), Investigation 5 (+8), Perception 7 (+9), Stealth 6 (+9), Technology 7 (+10), Vehicles 4 (+9).

Offense:
Initiative +7
Unarmed +11 (Close Damage 5)
Blaster Pistol +11 (Ranged Damage 5)

Defense:
Dodge 8, Parry 8, Fortitude Immune, Toughness 8, Will 5

Totals:
Abilities 46 + Powers 39 + Advantages 21 + Skills 25 + Defenses 8 = 139 points

Complications:
Professional--Motivation. Capricious Curiosity. Responsibility (agency.) Second Class Citizen.
 

Davies

Adventurer
Bloodhounds
cyborg-S.png


The Sprawl's metropolitan patrol is ostensibly neutral in conflicts between the various corporate entities that rule this world the size of a city. However, this neutrality means that they make no real attempt to investigate activities that are official acts of the corps, to avoid the appearance of favoritism against any of them. They do make attempts to investigate unofficial acts of the corps, and deniable assets have a great deal to fear from them, though most such are better equipped and better trained than the enlisted personnel and officers of the patrol.

With the exception of the Bloodhounds. Their official designation is HDCLEO (Heavy Duty Cybernetic Law Enforcement Officer) but nobody ever uses that name or even the abbreviated version of it. Older residents of the Sprawl sometimes call them 'Hatchetmen', in memory of a corporate security officer who was rebuilt into the first of their kind, roughly one hundred and fifty years ago. The process to create a Bloodhound involves removing roughly 85% of the former organic material, leaving only the brain, skull, spinal column, and sometimes the face.

Despite what you might expect, the majority of those who become Bloodhounds are not patrol personnel who suffer serious, life-threatening injuries in the course of their duties. At one point, these did form the majority of the Bloodhound corps, but attitudes have shifted, and it is now considered foolish to offer what is notionally perceived as an honor to those who make mistakes that result in such losses. In today's Sprawl, Bloodhounds are typically volunteers who agree to the process in exchange for financial considerations paid to their survivors. Assuming they don't meet their end in the line of duty, which most do, a Bloodhound can expect to remain functional for around fifteen years before their remaining organic parts begin to shut down.

While the metropolitan guard is generally disliked by most proles within the Sprawl, the Bloodhounds are regarded with terror. The amount of damage that one of them can cause is horrific enough, but it is also widely (and correctly) rumored that each of them has an override mechanism that can force them to obey the commands of anyone able to activate it. At any time, then, a Bloodhound can be converted from a diligent if cold-blooded agent of the law into a mindless assassin for any corporate agent who knows the appropriate passcodes ... which are easily accessible to such individuals.

It is not clear how much of an individual Bloodhound's consciousness survives their conversion, to be replaced by an artificial personality and engineered memories intended to support their mission. It may vary from case to case, with some remembering nothing and some having nearly complete recall of their previous life. The latter case nearly always go rogue at some point or another, vanishing into the underworld. Some of these become predators within their new environs. A few become protectors.

Bloodhounds -- PL 9/MR 9

Abilities
STR
6 | STA - | AGL 2 | DEX 2 | FGT 8 | INT 2 | AWE 1 | PRE 1

Powers:
Armored Frame: Impervious Protection 8 - 16 points
Cybernetics: Enhanced Advantages 2 (Eidetic Memory, Improved Initiative); Senses 7 (Accurate and Extended Hearing, Analytical and Extended Vision, Infravision, Radio) - 9 points
More Machine Than Meat: Immunity 30 (Fortitude) - 30 points

Advantages:
All-out Attack, Eidetic Memory, Equipment 8, Fearless, Improved Grab, Improved Initiative, Power Attack.

Equipment:
Autoblaster (Ranged Multiattack Damage 8, Accurate), Fragmentation Grenade (Ranged Burst Area Damage 6), Flashbang (Ranged Burst Area Dazzle 6), Tear Gas Grenade (Ranged Cloud Area Affliction 6), and 12 points of equipment as needed (often a rocket pack [Flight 6].)

Skills:
Athletics 2 (+8), Expertise: Civics 8 (+10), Expertise: Streetwise 7 (+9), Intimidation 10 (+11), Perception 10 (+11), Ranged Combat: Blaster 6 (+8), Stealth 4 (+6), Vehicles 5 (+7).

Offense:
Initiative +6
Unarmed +8 (Close Damage 6)
Autoblaster +10 (Ranged Multiattack Damage 8)

Defense:
Dodge 6, Parry 8, Fortitude Immune, Toughness 8, Will 5

Totals:
Abilities 34 + Powers 55 + Advantages 12 + Skills 26 + Defenses 8 = 135 points

Complications:
It's A Job--Motivation. No Human Rights. Override. Requires Maintenance. Others as Needed.
 

Davies

Adventurer
Jeemi Crysalid
Johnny_Silverhand_Japan_2020-S.jpg


In the two centuries that the Sprawl has existed, very few methods of creating augmented human beings have not been tried by the corps, in the pursuit of creating more effective operatives. A bit less than thirty years ago, one program was implemented to create the ideal salesman, on the theory that such an individual would be able to persuade the worlds exploited by the Sprawl that this exploitation was in their own best interests. This batch of cloned operatives were outfitted with cybernetics that emitted subsonic waves that caused those who heard their voices to become more relaxed and receptive. Beyond that, they were given extensive training in techniques of persuasion and salesmanship.

One of this batch was just a little bit smarter than his fellows, and so never tried to use his talents of persuasion on the staff who were supervising their education. This was smart because he never suffered the harsh discipline that was inflicted on any of the silvertongues, as they were called, who were caught doing such a thing, and they were always caught, no matter how clever they were. And yet, this planted the seeds of doubt in this particular clone; trained in the business of telling lies, he found himself seeing through the lies he was given in his training. If it was wrong to do this to one of the staff, then it should surely be wrong to do this to anyone, unless circumstances were dire.

With that in mind, the clone made his escape from the creche where he was being raised. It was a narrow success, for he ended up losing an arm in the process, and was half-dead when he stumbled into a street doc's clinic. Circumstances seemed dire, so he used his talents to convince the street doc to outfit him with a top line bionic arm in addition to treating his injuries without reporting them. While recovering from the surgery, he watched video recordings of popular musicians, and was moved by the way that they seemed to take control of the crowds watching them without the benefit of his enhancements. This was a role that he could fill, and perhaps use his talents to guide the masses against those who would be their masters.

So he taught himself to play a guitar, to sing, and made his debut as Jeemi Chrysalid, the newest electrothrash sensation. He's managed to thrive as a musician without selling his soul back to any of the corps, though very few people know that this is because he moonlights as a deniable asset in their wars with each other. He never uses his silver tongue while doing so, since he takes it for granted that the same protections that prevented it from working on the staff of the creche are in common use by now. (He's wrong about this, incidentally.) Besides, if he gets exposed, he knows what his fate will be, and he only wants to go back there as the leader of an invading army ...

Jeemi is genuinely idealistic in his desire to replace the corporate hegemony with something a bit less oppressive and a bit more open, though he doesn't know enough about history or government to imagine what that could be. He doesn't want to be a ruler, viewing that as the ultimate sell-out. However, he can't really help himself from using his abilities to his personal advantage, though he has certain personal limits in what he won't do with them. Getting out of a run-in with the metro patrol is one thing; getting someone to become interested if they weren't already is quite another, and he'd never do that. He hopes.

Jeemi Chrysalid -- PL 6

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

Powers:
Bionic Arm: Enhanced Advantage (Improved Grab); Enhanced Strength 2; Strength-based Damage 4; Removable (-2 points) - 7 points
Silver Tongue: Auditory Perception Area Affliction 6 (Resisted by Will; Dazed, Compelled), Limited Degree, Selective, Subtle, Persuasion Check Required (DC 11) - 12 points

Advantages:
Attractive, Benefit (well-off), Defensive Attack, Defensive Roll 2, Equipment 4, Evasion, Fascinate (Expertise: Performance), Fast Grab, Improved Initiative, Inspire 2, Power Attack, Teamwork, Uncanny Dodge.

Equipment:
Light Blaster (Ranged Damage 4), guitar and 11 points of equipment as needed.

Skills:
Athletics 4 (+5), Deception 4 (+8), Expertise: Performance 7 (+11), Expertise: Streetwise 6 (+7), Insight 5 (+6), Perception 7 (+8), Persuasion 6 (+10), Ranged Combat: Blaster 3 (+6), Stealth 5 (+7), Technology 4 (+5), Vehicles 5 (+8).

Offense:
Unarmed +5 (Close Damage 1)
Bionic Arm +5 (Close Damage 7)
Light Blaster +6 (Ranged Damage 4)

Defenses:
Dodge 5, Parry 5, Fortitude 4, Toughness 7/2, Will 7

Totals:
Abilities 38 + Powers 19 + Advantages 18 + Skills 28 + Defenses 11 = 114 points

Complications:
Freedom--Motivation. Fame. Manipulative Tendencies. Secret (origins, activities.)
 

Davies

Adventurer
Giasper
yicat-S.jpg

Art by Yicat (source)

"Privacy" is one of many concepts, like 'representative democracy' or 'pollution controls', that the denizens of the Sprawl have been forced to live without. The best that can be said is that the absence of privacy cuts both ways -- just as any of the corps can easily determine what's going on pretty much anywhere in the Sprawl, they find it difficult to keep secrets from each other, too. Digital security is largely imaginary, and so when the corporations need to send confidential information between their various tentacles, it has to be done by a human courier.

The woman who uses the name Giasper Kasey is one such courier, or rather she was until two days ago. She likes to think that she was pretty darn good at her job, efficient in her pickups and deliveries and very practiced in making sure that the package -- whatever it might be -- did not get taken away from her in transit, whether that meant fighting her way through the people who were trying to take it from her, or sneaking past them. She was doing well enough in that job to be able to afford top of the line equipment, like her skycycle and her headware, that gave her an edge on the competition. And she always followed one simple and inviolable rule -- never, ever, under any circumstances, do you peek at the package.

So two days ago, when she was told, explicitly, by the secretary who handed her the dataslug that she was supposed to take through the barrens to some remote outpost operated by a subsidiary of Zantech that was supposedly studying time travel, that if worst came to worst she was supposed to scan the slug and verbally deliver the message contained within it, Giasper treated this like the joke that she thought that it was. Problem was, he wasn't joking. After losing the slug twice to opposition forces and regaining it the same number of times, all within the first hour of what was supposed to be a three hour trip, Giasper decided that she should probably make some sort of backup for the data. So she copied it to her own headware.

And then the strangeness started. As soon as she did that, the attempts to steal the slug tapered off. She had an easy run of it until she got to the outpost and handed over the package, and was asked whether she'd looked at the contents. Lying to the person who would authorize the back half of her payment didn't seem like the greatest idea, so she admitted that she had, and quickly mentioned that the secretary had told her that she could.

"He's dead," said the recipient, and tried to inflict the same condition on Giasper. She managed to get out of the building and get away from the ambush, but nothing that has happened since then has made any sort of sense. People are trying to kill her over nothing! The message consisted of seven words, which didn't make any sense to her. What's Osiris, what does it mean that it's a black god, who is Nephren-ka, and what does it mean that he's awakened? Nobody will explain anything about that, much less why she now has a ridiculous price on her head! She needs help, and she's not really in any position to refuse it from any possible source ...

Giasper -- PL 6

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

Powers:
Cyberware:
Enhanced Advantages 9 (Close Attack 4, Defensive Roll, Eidetic Memory, Evasion, Improved Initiative 2, Quick Draw); Senses 6 (Accurate Hearing, Analytical and Extended Vision, Danger Sense, Infravision) - 15 points

Advantages:
Close Attack 4, Defensive Roll, Eidetic Memory, Equipment 8, Evasion, Fearless, Improved Initiative 3, Move-by Action, Precise Shot (ranged, concealment), Quick Draw.

Equipment:
Concealed Armor (Protection 2, Subtle), Light Blaster (Ranged Damage 4), 5 points of equipment as needed
Skycycle: Size Medium; Strength 4; Speed 7 (air); Defense 15; Toughness 5; Features Remote Control, Senses 3 (direction sense, radio, time sense), Subtle Flight - 24 points

Skills:
Athletics 5 (+6), Deception 8 (+9), Insight 6 (+7), Investigation 6 (+8), Perception 6 (+7), Ranged Combat: Blaster 4 (+8), Sleight of Hand 4 (+8), Stealth 5 (+7) Technology 6 (+8), Vehicles 6 (+10).

Offense:
Initiative +14/+6
Unarmed +9/+5 (Close Damage 1)
Light Pistol +8 (Ranged Damage 4)

Defenses:
Dodge 6, Parry 5, Fortitude 4, Toughness 6/4/4/2, Will 5

Totals:
Abilities 36 + Powers 15 + Advantages 12 + Skills 28 + Defenses 10 = 101 points

Complications:
Survival--Motivation. Enemies
(oh so many.)
 

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