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What villain organizations have you used?

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Have you used VIPER, DEMON, ARGENT, etc... in your campaigns? Are they a hunted or have you used whole games with them? Are they easily defeated or do the pose a major threat? What has been your encounters and how did they affect the PCs?

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22 minutes ago, Dr. MID-Nite said:

I've used DEMON, VIPER, PRIMUS and UNTIL.

 

Ditto, as well as ARGENT. The first two as general opponents in localized adventures, but never trying to counter their major schemes or dismantle the entire org. I've had the occasional PC take one or the other of them as a Hunter, but never to the degree that it drove a story arc. To be honest, I've fallen back more on major supervillains and teams for that.

 

UNTIL has mostly appeared in a support role, PRIMUS mostly as an impediment. (Sorry, America.) Lately I've been working on expanding ICON, from Cops, Crews, And Cabals, although mostly as a creative exercise. I haven't time to play these days, and as a group they're lower-powered than I generally like to use.

 

I've also gotten some mileage out of a more obscure CU villainous mystic organization, the Ouroboros cult. It's briefly described in The Mystic World, but its creator, Dean Shomshak, provided much more detail about it in the 4E The Ultimate Super Mage. An article in Digital Hero #4  also wrote up a team of supervillain-class operatives for the cult.

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VIPER sometimes as the punching bag for the evening, other times as a major threat. Fairly easy to do because there's so many different branches of the organization.

 

UNTIL and PRIMUS in various roles both positive and negative toward the heroes. I've kind of wanted to do a "heroes as agents of a major organization" thing but making heroic things seem organized isn't my strong suit.

 

DEMON though not necessarily getting around to using that name.

 

GRAB, a long, long time ago.

 

I don't recall using ARGENT.

 

If a PC wants to link his backstory to some organization, fine. If he wants to take a Hunted from one, that's fine too if the player tells me how he got it and how he expects it come into the game (I don't necessarily agree with how the player expects it to come up but getting his feedback is nice).

 

If multiple players want to take organization Hunteds, I might encourage them to put their head together and decide on the same organization rather than having two different organizations which play out  similarly (like PRIMUS and the old SAT organization). 

 

Hostile organization Hunteds I tend to treat as there being a fairly organized effort to make the hero's life a living hell. He'll get trashed on social media, non-uniformed agents will direct reporters toward negative stories, he might get sued if he recklessly endangers the public, the agency might help put together victims with opportunistic lawyers. There's just no way to put an organization Hunted in at an 8- frequency into adventures and have them as "the villain of the day" so I look for other ways to incorporate the organization into the hero's life. By definition, an organization outnumbers an individual so there's going to be hundreds or thousands of people trying to think of ways to get at the hero. Some number of those ideas will take effect either in an official top-down sort of decision making in the organization or maybe just a group of low level flunkies who are ticked at getting beaten up trying to get petty revenge.

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I myself don't have a game, but I do have two original villain organizations.  I'll start with Black Gear.

 

The inspiration for the group is Black Ghost from the anime Cyborg009.

 

The grunts of the group are cyborgs named Black Gear Soldiers (BGS followed by a number for individual names). They are basically low level supers (Right hand Energy Blast, 30 STR, highish defenses compared to agent characters). They have been programmed to be loyal to Black Gear, as there computer will shut down the agent's system if they detect a disloyal action. 

 

Black Gear's gole is the complete cyberization of the world. He views being a cyborg as neet and can't view why anyone would not want to be one. If he has to conquer entire countries to make his view of a cyborg nation possible, then so be it.

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Oh, right, the criminal research labs and tech suppliers from older Champs books. I keep forgetting about them, given that their mention was pretty brief. IIRC they were based in Germany. For a while I ran a rivalry between them and the Japan-based International Scientific Elite (ISE, from the Gadgets! book). The current CU has much bigger fish filling the villainous tech-sales pond, i.e. ARGENT and the Warlord, and Teleios for biologicals; although there's room on the local front for the likes of Wayland Talos and Brainchild.

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Unfortunately, my access to Champions sourcebooks were limited to only the main books for Third and Fourth Edition, New Millennium, more recently Champions Complete along with the occasional Adventurers Club issue that came sporadically in the early to mid-1990s. As a result, I didn't really use VIPER or other major villain organizations published by Hero Games and had to adapt or create my own. Since most of the players I had were relatively new to the superhero genre, name recognition mattered so I incorporated villains they were familiar with from mainstream media or comics (e.g. Joker,  Dr. Doom, etc.)

 

Within the past few years, I was able to pick up a copy of Classic Enemies, Enemies III, and International Enemies and made an ad-hoc villain mercenary team that comprised of updated versions of Binder, Goldbug, Demonfire, Armadillo, and a couple others that were featured when I ran Champions for game conventions.

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PRIMUS (until a nasty budget fight September 2011 resulted in the President shutting them down), VIPER, DEMON (4e in 1980's stories, 5e in 2000-era stories), ARGENT, and UNTIL.

 

(EDIT: forgot about using GENOCIDE in 1990 in-universe.  After a failed attempt at their master plan in 1996, the organization rebuilt itself into the IHA seen in 5e and 6e)

 

In a one-shot scenario I played in-universe with some friends 3 years ago, I had updated workups on the Vril Society from The Ultimate Super Mage.

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44 minutes ago, segerge said:

In a one-shot scenario I played in-universe with some friends 3 years ago, I had updated workups on the Vril Society from The Ultimate Super Mage.

 

You're the only other person I've met who used the Vril Society in a game.

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3 hours ago, Lord Liaden said:

Oh, right, the criminal research labs and tech suppliers from older Champs books. I keep forgetting about them, given that their mention was pretty brief. IIRC they were based in Germany. For a while I ran a rivalry between them and the Japan-based International Scientific Elite (ISE, from the Gadgets! book). The current CU has much bigger fish filling the villainous tech-sales pond, i.e. ARGENT and the Warlord, and Teleios for biologicals; although there's room on the local front for the likes of Wayland Talos and Brainchild.

Yup you are correct. I have a scenario which involves Death Commando since his original background has him stealing the suit (and killing the scientists) from KRONOS. Also I had an idea whereas KRONOS was being rebuilt by Beamline as the head leader. Btw I never really knew about AIM so I thought I was original in having KRONOS suits looking like radiation suits. Also I have a soft spot for villains and such that get left behind in the updates.

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2 hours ago, Lord Liaden said:

 

You're the only other person I've met who used the Vril Society in a game.

 

It was the fault of one of my PC's.  For the 2017 "Black Sunday" scenario (February 2012 in-universe) he built a character who was a renegrade Vril-Ya attempting to disrupt a plan of theirs.  Since the scenario took place three weeks before the Leap Day Working in the TASK FORCE universe, it was immediately obviously to me that he was attempting to stop this.  It only took a couple of email exchanges to reconcile his character ideas with the broader in-universe myth arc (and in retrospect, I wish I had those ideas to work with back in 2014 when I began principal writing of those TASK FORCE stories :( )

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I can see why that would be problematic, but it's to your credit that you worked things out with your player without rancor. :thumbup:

 

I changed my own version of the Vril Society in some ways from that in USM. I made the "vril" they utilized psychic energy rather than magic, which I thought better matched the types of powers they displayed. My version of the Society wasn't inspired by Edward Bulwer-Lytton's novel, rather, he was inspired to write it by rumors about the Society.

 

The founder of the Society sought his inspiration in yogic masters from India, seeing reflections of their philosophies in some of the spiritual traditions of the West, and of their ascetic practices in monastic solitude and self-discipline. But he also believed applying scientific investigation to these practices would discover unifying principles behind them, rendering them more controllable and effective. He gathered like-minded colleagues and withdrew to a country estate built atop an extensive cave complex, where they could conduct research without distraction from undisciplined minds around them. That began a multi-generational process of training and eugenics that eventually yielded substantial abilities, and devices to enhance them further.

 

My use of the Society was more along the lines of what Fifth Edition Champions used the Circle of the Scarlet Moon for, as conspirators and manipulators behind the scenes.

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I've used VIPER and DEMON mostly with others peppered in.  But I use the pre-5th versions, with even those stripped down.  The 5th ed gear and NPC's can be nice, but the history/politics departed from what I could use. 

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The second group I 'created' is Orochi. Think of them as a Japanese Eurostar with an agent core. And a thing for the number 8.

 

Plane agents dress in high strength plastic armor and carry lazer tipped spears. Next up are true samurai on plastic armor and a laser katana. Then more advance samurai with a flying robot horse and a laser tossing bow.

 

And then there are the other agents. Armored fighting geisha. Hi-tech ninjas. Robots based on one. Among others.

 

Then the eight heads of the Orochi themselves.

 

And if the heroes defeat them, they have to face the power behind them. The Tekshogun and his "Four Kings of Heaven". But that is a story for another time.

 

Orochi's goals: the forced fore reclosing of Japan. Do this and the Tekshogun uses his power to build an army to conquer first the whole of Asia, then the entire world. 

 

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1 hour ago, Lord Liaden said:

Of groups that aren't official for the current CU, I got the most mileage out of VOICE. I always liked its international flavor, and for some reason Lung Hung just seems compelling to me.

 

Goshawk really appeals to me as a villain. Something about the artwork maybe.

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I've used:

  • VIPER - both as minor players as well as major foes, depending on the campaign; there have been some great nemesis moments between the PC heroes and a few of the Nest Leaders.  I prefer the 4E version to the more recent creations.
  • DEMON - mostly as minor annoyances in past campaigns, but in the most recent one they were major recurring foes
  • Genocide, renamed in the last few campaigns as the Purity League - in one campaign as major recurring foes, though mostly as one-shot adventure fodder
  • ARGENT - major recurring foes in one campaign thanks to a PC hero taking them as a Hunted and writing them into his backstory
  • PRIMUS - mostly as official hindrances to the heroes, but a few times as allies / close associates
  • UNTIL - typically allies to the heroes, though not working closely with them all the time. 
  • PSI - had one campaign with them as major recurring foes, but more often the were mostly they were background or one-shot adventure fodder

I think I might have used COIL once or twice, but never as a major foe.  They never really appealed to me all that much for some reason.

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I remembered my first game I every ran did use COIL.  The only info I had was King Cobra, Black Mamba and my customization of Mind Slayer who became Mind Serpent. Her original headdress I turned into looking like snakes and I changed her Ego Blast that it could be dodged. It was OMCV vs DCV before AVAD! And of course I had Coil Agents that were weak and learned that with a typical (for Champions) Normal Damage can still break bones when the Agents have 3 PD defense and only 3 PD defense.

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The dividing line between definitions of "organization" and "team/minions" is sometimes unclear. For example, I tend to think of PSI as supervillains with some agent support; while COIL is just an extension of King Cobra's ambitions. The Circle of the Scarlet Moon is grouped with the villain teams in CV 2, but how they operate seems more in line with an organization.

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6 hours ago, archer said:

Come to think of it, I used GENOCIDE, or at least their giant robots, quite a lot.

 

20 hours ago, Sketchpad said:

I've used Demon, Genocide, Viper, PSI, and COIL in past campaigns. 

 

20 hours ago, Sketchpad said:

I've used Demon, Genocide, Viper, PSI, and COIL in past campaigns. 

 

 

Yeah, I've used Genocide a lot. Like archer, the giant robots were a big draw for me. I altered the organization so that it was giant mecha-suits (or was that how they always were?). I reasoned that AI was beyond most organizations. I had Mechanon as the only real AI.

 

My campaign also expanded the organization to be against all heroes with superpowers.

 

(This was when I was using CU stuff a lot. I stopped playing in the Nineties and then came back to Champions in 2007 or so; when I restarted I just used homebrew stuff across the board. Even in the Nineties it was getting to the point where there was very little CU stuff left. My group liked the CU, but we played so much that we eventually expanded far beyond the CU material and began to favor the homebrew stuff. Like, the characters kept evolving or dying off etc. For example, Foxbat reformed and became a high-ranking UNTIL guy; UNTIL was called some other acronym by this point. Mechanon was ultimately destroyed in a huge storyline that went over a year. A lot of baddies from Enemies II etc. were killed by a Punisher-like character...)

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