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CHAMPIONS VILLAINS -- What Do *You* Want To See?


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Heya folx! It's time for another WDYWTS thread. This time out: the Champions Villains trilogy!

 

As many of you already know, I'm currently working on a three-book review of the villains of the Champions Universe:

 

Volume 1: Master Villains

Volume 2: Villain Teams

Volume 3: Solo Villains

 

These are currently planned as hardcover, full-color books.

 

My current outline for the three books (which I'm writing all together, as if they were a single book, to maintain consistency) has nearly 330 character sheets (mostly villains, of course, but some are minions, vehicles, and whatnot). Of those, a little over 300 are characters that have appeared in print before, but over 20 are new. Of those 20, about half are entirely new creations of mine, the other half appear in Champions Online but have never before appeared in print.

 

The 300-some pre-existing characters consist of nearly the entire run of villains from the following books: CKC, VVV, EU, AA, TMW, and CU/CU:NotW, plus selections from other Champions books. I've left out a couple from the major books for various reasons, but only a couple. All these baddies are receiving a 6E upgrade, a polish, some nice color art, and a sack lunch in case they get hungry later.

 

So, given all that information -- what would you like to see in this book that isn't already being covered? I can tell you right now that I don't have the time or space to add more all-new villains, so let's not be asking for that. ;) But I'm always interested in ideas you may have for making the books more generally useful for the reader, more fun to use, and so on. :hex:

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Re: CHAMPIONS VILLAINS -- What Do *You* Want To See?

 

Under the Bio section of villains I would like to see a field of Known Associates, listing some GM-friendly suggestions on who has worked worked together in the past. Little, informal teams-of-the-moment things and such. Who knew Black Star and Lady Blue dated briefly and operated as Black and Blue, before Slick did what Slick does and it all fell apart? Known Antagonists could be fun too, so you could exploit the old comic trope of "enemy of my enemy is my friend."

 

I would be tempted to replace the "team" book with this field of suggested pairings rather than hardcoded lineups. Your work probably needs to match up to the Champions Online and CU lineups though. But just like you nabbed and shifted some members of Terror Inc as new members of Eurostar, a brilliant move IMO, others might benefit from some suggestions and also some idea of what pairings might be explosive. Hey, I once put Foxbat, Wyvern, Leech and Bull(dozer) on the same team and great fun was had.

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Re: CHAMPIONS VILLAINS -- What Do *You* Want To See?

 

Have the Villain designations consistent with the Champions sourcebook p 162:

 

Gangsters & Hoodlums

Henchmen

Independent/Freelance

Lieutenants

Master Villains.

 

I really like those designations and having the Villains book match would be very useful. I also like the archetypes on 167 - it might be a useful way of summarizing the character quickly (e.g. Villain is a Prankster and a Mercenary). Where possible, if a character were to have a complication as described in the sourcebook.

 

When you talk about teams/agencies, defining them in terms of HIstory/Goals, STructure/Org, Methodology/Resources would be helpful.

 

Some kind of challenge suggestion (e.g. appropriate to face an entire team, or a single character, etc.).

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Re: CHAMPIONS VILLAINS -- What Do *You* Want To See?

 

The listing of the sources the villains will be pulled from sounds great; I expect to be very happy with these upgraded, polished, nicely illustrated and provided with individualized lunch boxes! :thumbup:

 

I second the idea of Known/Past Associates under the Bio section (or even listed separately in a sidebar). Also, naturally incompatible allies could be useful to note (it always bugged me no end when they paired Dr Doom with Red Skull in the MU).

 

 

Some other thoughts:

 

I loved the Master Reference chart of villains, I expect such to be present for these books too.

 

Also, whether a certain villain would be worth more points as Hunter or Watcher might be useful noting (i.e., in cases where it would differ drastically). At some point during 4th edition (not sure if this was 4th Ed CotN or Corporations) this was listed for corporations, which I found very useful info even if it can be deduced from text descriptions.

 

The concept of the "Public Knowledge" boxes in the Algernon Files books, while not perfect, is useful for those occasions where PC knowledge on villains has to be decided upon quickly. Perhaps a useful fact or two could be assigned a skill modifier for use of KS: Superhuman World, KS: Supervillains, etc.? Again, this can of course be decided upon from descriptions and writeups, so it's just a thought.

 

Any of these things could just be noted in sidebars where appropriate, to save some space.

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Re: CHAMPIONS VILLAINS -- What Do *You* Want To See?

 

The concept of the "Public Knowledge" boxes in the Algernon Files books, while not perfect, is useful for those occasions where PC knowledge on villains has to be decided upon quickly. Perhaps a useful fact or two could be assigned a skill modifier for use of KS: Superhuman World, KS: Supervillains, etc.?

I second this idea. I absolutely loved this in the Algernon Files.

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Re: CHAMPIONS VILLAINS -- What Do *You* Want To See?

 

Well, I'm pretty sure you're keeping this, but just to be sure, I really love the 'plot seed' suggestions on the side in most 5th Edition books. It was a quick easy way to get a head start on a storyline one could develop. I'll also second 'what the public knows' idea. While some complications are tailor made for that, it still helps to give the players a rough idea what their characters have heard (Which admittedly may not always line up with the facts).

 

I suppose the 'Women of Evil' swimsuit calender is out?

kidding.. ;)

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Re: CHAMPIONS VILLAINS -- What Do *You* Want To See?

 

Have the Villain designations consistent with the Champions sourcebook p 162:

 

Gangsters & Hoodlums

Henchmen

Independent/Freelance

Lieutenants

Master Villains

 

I'd like to second this suggestion. It would help organize the ranks of villainy.

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Re: CHAMPIONS VILLAINS -- What Do *You* Want To See?

 

I can't think of one, so if you already have one planned I am sorry. I want a Antagonist who acts within the law, probably of the evil business man variety. I am thinking of some of the ways Lex Luther has been used over the years. Just someone who really hates costumed heroes and has dedicated his fortunes to ending them legally. For a nice bit make it so he is doing what he believes is right and that an argument can be made for it

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Re: CHAMPIONS VILLAINS -- What Do *You* Want To See?

 

Well' date=' I'm pretty sure you're keeping this, but just to be sure, I really love the 'plot seed' suggestions on the side in most 5th Edition books. It was a quick easy way to get a head start on a storyline one could develop.[/quote']

 

Absolutely agree with this. Plot seeds make the books especially useful to GMs new to the game and/or setting. I also enjoyed the little "what they think about each other" text boxes from CKC, describing impressions of certain villains by other villains and heroes "in their own words."

 

Could we please add the membership of PSI that appeared in Millennium City to the batch from CKC? MC had several key PSI villains, and it would be nice to have them all in one place.

 

I would like to see a reprint of some of the "organizational villains" from books that are unlikely to be redone for 6E in the foreseeable future. For example, 5E Champions Universe gave us a write-up of a basic VIPER agent. If that gets updated here (which I would hope), it would be nice if it was accompanied by members of VIPER's Dragon Branch. They include several Champions classics.

 

I already guessed that the non-American villains from Champions Worldwide and Champions Of The North would be beyond the scope of this project -- ah, well. But in the tradition of Evil Unleashed, I hope you'll include the villains written for Ultimate books that came out after EU was published.

 

I suppose the 'Women of Evil' swimsuit calender is out?

kidding.. ;)

 

That would probably blow the art budget right there. :rolleyes:

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Re: CHAMPIONS VILLAINS -- What Do *You* Want To See?

 

I can't think of one, so if you already have one planned I am sorry. I want a Antagonist who acts within the law, probably of the evil business man variety.

 

Already have one planned. ;) It is, of course, Franklin Stone, who's been mentioned in a sort of Luthor-ish role in a number of CU products. He'll appear in the Master Villains book.

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Re: CHAMPIONS VILLAINS -- What Do *You* Want To See?

 

I can't think of one' date=' so if you already have one planned I am sorry. I want a Antagonist who acts within the law, probably of the evil business man variety. I am thinking of some of the ways Lex Luther has been used over the years. Just someone who really hates costumed heroes and has dedicated his fortunes to ending them legally. For a nice bit make it so he is doing what he believes is right and that an argument can be made for it[/quote']

 

5E Champions Universe gave us abbreviated stats and background for Franklin Stone, founder, primary owner, president, and CEO of Advanced Concepts Industries (ACI), who clearly is the CU's version of Lex Luthor. He functions much as you describe, although he both resents superhumans (particularly heroes who interfere with his schemes), and willingly makes use of them as hirelings or patsies.

 

I remember Steve Long posting that Stone's CU entry was as much as he felt the character needed to be dealt with, so I'm guessing he won't be written up here, but probably has been reprinted in 6E CU.

 

EDIT:

Already have one planned. ;) It is' date=' of course, Franklin Stone, who's been mentioned in a sort of Luthor-ish role in a number of CU products. He'll appear in the Master Villains book.[/quote']

 

 

And that's what I get for taking too long to post. :o

 

It does surprise me that Stone is getting a full write-up here, though. Makes me wonder what other non-costumed CU baddies might make an appearance. :think:

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Re: CHAMPIONS VILLAINS -- What Do *You* Want To See?

 

Could we please add the membership of PSI that appeared in Millennium City to the batch from CKC? MC had several key PSI villains, and it would be nice to have them all in one place.

 

If the membership of PSI were still the same, you sure could. Given that the organization fractured in 2005, leaving a number of members dead and others MIA or antagonistic, what you'll see in CV2 is the organization as it exists as of 2010.

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Re: CHAMPIONS VILLAINS -- What Do *You* Want To See?

 

I already guessed that the non-American villains from Champions Worldwide and Champions Of The North would be beyond the scope of this project -- ah, well.

 

Some are, some aren't. Baron Nihil, Borealis, Necrull, and a couple others from COTN made the cut, as did Taipan, Li Chun, and a few others from CWW. You're overlooking the "selections from other books" part of my initial announcement. ;)

 

One way to look at it: does a Canadian or international villain factor into CO, or into other storylines or whatnot that we've hinted at or developed? If so, he's probably in CV. If not, he probably ain't. ;)

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Re: CHAMPIONS VILLAINS -- What Do *You* Want To See?

 

For example, 5E Champions Universe gave us a write-up of a basic VIPER agent. If that gets updated here (which I would hope), it would be nice if it was accompanied by members of VIPER's Dragon Branch. They include several Champions classics.

 

There are basic agents for VIPER and DEMON in CU, actually; they won't appear in CV. Since I assume that at some point we'll update VIPER for 6E, I'm not including any members of Dragon Branch in CV.

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Re: CHAMPIONS VILLAINS -- What Do *You* Want To See?

 

If the membership of PSI were still the same' date=' you sure could. Given that the organization fractured in 2005, leaving a number of members dead and others MIA or antagonistic, what you'll see in CV2 is the organization as it exists as of 2010.[/quote']

 

Interesting. Since the PSI villain profiles for Champions Online made no mention of the group's breakup, I just assumed that event wasn't carried forward into the post-MMO continuity.

 

Rather a pity IMHO. A whole organization of villainous mentalists was one of the scarier factions in the CU.

 

Some are, some aren't. Baron Nihil, Borealis, Necrull, and a couple others from COTN made the cut, as did Taipan, Li Chun, and a few others from CWW. You're overlooking the "selections from other books" part of my initial announcement. ;)

 

One way to look at it: does a Canadian or international villain factor into CO, or into other storylines or whatnot that we've hinted at or developed? If so, he's probably in CV. If not, he probably ain't. ;)

 

Not overlooking that part of your announcement; it just didn't occur to me that you'd harvest only a few villains from those books. :ugly:

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Re: CHAMPIONS VILLAINS -- What Do *You* Want To See?

 

Quick comments about other suggestions:

 

1. I could see adding a "line item" to the descriptions called something like "Classification" that would cover the villain's "level" per Champions p. 162, or including a line for this in the Campaign Use section. I'm less sanguine about including the "archetype" designations from pp. 167-69 because that information is already covered by other parts of the description.

 

I can't list how much anyone's worth as a Hunter because that depends on a relative evaluation of power levels. However, I may be able to say in the Introduction something like, "Compared to a typical starting Superhero, a Lieutenant-level villain is typically an "As Powerful" Hunted." I'm reluctant to do even that, though, because it's a very individualized sort of evaluation.

 

2. I can also see adding something along the lines of a "Known Associates And Adversaries" section to the description -- or at least to some descriptions, since for many villains there may not be much of anything to say here, and I'm not going to force it. This could also include the "what so-and-so thinks about so-and-so" bits that I came up with to fill CKC whitespace. But I can guarantee you I'm not going overboard trying to think up stuff along these lines. ;)

 

3. I will consider adding a "what people know" sidebar for each character, though that's a good bit of extra work.

 

4. OTOH, the "Plot Seeds" sidebars are going away. They suffer from a number of problems, including (a) they tend to become repetitive, since there are relatively few ways to make a single villain the focus of a plot involving an entire superhero team, and (B) they're a royal pain in the ass to write. If I add a "what people know" sidebar, that would take up the requisite sidebar space anyway... and to some extent that and an "Associates and Antagonists" section might cover much the same ground as "Plot Seeds."

 

5. Similarly, the "how this guy functions as a Hunter" sentence/paragraph in the Campaign Use section may go away on many sheets. All too often it's not really adding anything the average reader doesn't pretty much already know. If I have something actually useful to say on this subject, I certainly will, but otherwise I'd rather save a little space, perhaps to include some of the other things people have suggested.

 

6. There won't be any "master chart" of villains as I currently envision things. When polled on them some years ago, a sufficiently large majority of fans responded "don't use them/don't care about them" that I'm not willing to put myself or the layout guy through the agonizing work of preparing them. OTOH, this might be a fun project for a fan to undertake that we could then turn into a Free Stuff item. ;)

 

7. No Women Of Evil calendar, sorry. The budget's not big enough to handle the modeling fees.

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Re: CHAMPIONS VILLAINS -- What Do *You* Want To See?

 

Since the PSI villain profiles for Champions Online made no mention of the group's breakup, I just assumed that event wasn't carried forward into the post-MMO continuity.

 

The MMO clearly has former members of PSI working together again in a way that implies the breakup either never occurred, or occurred and has since been mended over to some degree. I chose the latter approach in CU; if Cryptic wants me to do otherwise they can tell me so as part of the review process.

 

Believe me, we've got plenty of PSI; there's nothing to worry about on that score. It's just not the exact same lineup you saw in CKC/MC; it simply can't be unless we eliminate the "fracturing of PSI" story element altogether.

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Re: CHAMPIONS VILLAINS -- What Do *You* Want To See?

 

If you rework the origins of the bad guys, Steve, I'd like to see some greater ties to the established places of the Champions Universe. There's a lot of kooky corners in the world now, which weren't explored when you did CKC. Going back to those and tying a few established characters into those places, where appropriate, would be a nice added value for the book.

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Re: CHAMPIONS VILLAINS -- What Do *You* Want To See?

 

That's certainly worth considering, Scott! I should also point out that CV will feature later-developed characters like Leviathan that already have ties to odd places, so to some extent we've already filled in that gap. But some additional filling may be feasible. ;)

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Re: CHAMPIONS VILLAINS -- What Do *You* Want To See?

 

I understand if this would constitute bean-spilling at this point, but I was wondering if any of the classic Champions villains that hadn't yet made it into 5E books will show up in the CV volumes. For example, I've sometimes seen hints in published books and website postings that Archimago could possibly make a comeback. :bounce:

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Re: CHAMPIONS VILLAINS -- What Do *You* Want To See?

 

I'm willing to spill that many beans, at least. ;) No, none of the 20-some new villains in CV are "old" villains being written up again, returned from the dead, or what have you. The new villains, be they from the MMO or not, are entirely new.*

 

As for Archimago specifically, you can see what I have to say about him and his current influence on the CU in Champions Universe itself. Gone, but definitely not forgotten....

 

 

 

 

 

*: This assumes, of course, that a given consumer owns every CU-related 5E book. If you don't have Stronghold, for example, than the "re-appearance" of Deathstroke (or more accurately, Requiem, Frost, and a dream! ;) ) in CV will strike you as "new."

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Re: CHAMPIONS VILLAINS -- What Do *You* Want To See?

 

I think there were some interesting villains in Shadows of the City and Underworld Enemies that have been lost in the shuffle since Dark Champions became pretty much supers-free with the 5th edition. Specifically the Nocturnals and Reverend M's organization in the former, and the Saietta crime family in the latter.

 

Reverend M wouldn't necessarily have to keep his street orgins, but a superpowered evangelist with the power to "heal" (and give powers to) his flock could be a great villain, especially if given some political aspirations as well.

 

The Nocturnals and/or Saiettas could need some heavy reworking, as one cannibalistic supervillain group might be enough. Come to think of it, they could even be combined: the Saiettas are the human-looking offspring, while the Nocturnals are the "Defective" children.

 

As far as solo villains go, I'd love to see the Weasel from Hi-Tech Enemies again. He's one of the few NPC villains that still really inspires a feeling of dread in my players.

 

Thanks for the opportunity to weigh in!

 

Edited to add: I'm not sure if that counts as asking for "new" villains as per your op. If it does, I apologize.

 

As far as making the book more useful, I do enjoy the suggestions to make villains more or less powerful. Conversion ideas from Champions to Dark Champions in 5th ed. hwere often less effective, as often it was all or nothing: "Take away the Dark Mage's Wand of Despair and give him a shotgun."

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