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Boll Weevil

Red Winter

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I was just reading over Champions Villains (teams) and came across Red Winter. I don't recall seeing this group before in any other books. I really like this team, sort of an old school Russian Eurostar. If I was running an eighties game (or alternate timeline with a thriving cold war) I would know just how to run them but, alas, I can't figure our how best to use this group. Has anyone used them yet? How did you use them? I know I can use them as the mercenaries they are, I suppose.

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Re: Red Winter

 

Well, if you want to take them away from the mercenary path, at least half the group are still Communist and would like to see the restoration of the Soviet Union, and would help anyone they thought had both the desire and the means to make that happen. That could involve your PC heroes in a major international plot to overthrow the current Russian government. OTOH if you'd like, for gaming purposes, to actualize what many people in the real world fear, that Russia is moving back toward totalitarian rule, its government could offer Red Winter a chance to serve their country as they did before, as covert super-operatives. Encounters with RW would then become more along the lines of "basically heroes but with a competing agenda."

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Re: Red Winter

 

Any of a number of ways.

 

Play up their ambivalent fallen-hero status for some "social combat." For instance, they could be working for the Russian Mafia (or more specifically Slun) against your PCs for routine muscle work and suddenly get an order to do something really evil, like mass genocide. A united Red Winter should be able to overwhelm the PCs (if not, add some members or agent-level enforcer minions). However, if the PCs can "turn" a few of the more altruistic members to their side the odds would even out. Roleplay hints that these characters are reluctant to follow the new orders and see if the players run with it.

 

Do a Soviet Union Renaissance storyline. Spektr as presented in the 6th Edition Solo Vilains book would be ideal for this. Have him show up after his long absence and declare that he is going to restrore the USSR to its former glory. Red Winter and numerous reactionary nonpowered Russians are recruited as his henchmen.

 

An abandoned, forgotten top secret missile base in Siberia suddenly begins transmitting automated, encrypted verification requests. The Russian government realizes that the base may still house a long unaccounted for nuclear warhead in an experimental "stealth" ICBM. If the correct authorization codes are not transmitted before a countdown the missile will launch. The problem... nobody alive remembers the correct codes. Except, maybe, Fyodor Mikhailov (Red Dawn), who helped design the ICBM. MIkhailov, along with the rest of Red Winter, has gone underground to take care of a discreet and illegal job in the United States for the American wing of the Russian mob. The PCs must find him (almost certainly resulting in conflict with his team) and convince him to part with the codes. Even if he remembers them, Mikhailov will have some demands of his own, and his teammates will back him up.

 

In the Chernobyl Evacuated Zone, traces of a previously unknown radioactive isotope have recently been discovered, and scientists hypothesize a large deposit of the stuff formed underneath the ruined reactor after the explosion. The isotope frequently induces strange metahuman mutations and numerous groups are seeking it, including a criminal group that has hired Red Winter to enter the Zone. The PCs must contend with feral mutants and defend the ruined reactor from Red Winter.

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Re: Red Winter

 

BTW the visual designs and basic concepts for Red Winter were created by Cryptic Studios for Champions Online, which is why they've haven't been seen in Hero Games books before. Steve Long created their stats and system builds for Champions Villains Vol. 2.

 

However, the concept of a Soviet government black-ops superteam harks back to the "Supreme Soviets" from the 3E Champs module Red Doom. Likewise the more public Warsaw Pact heroes from that module, the "Comintern," are reminiscent of the People's Legion, which in the history of the current official Champions Universe were the USSR's official government heroes.

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Re: Red Winter

 

BTW the visual designs and basic concepts for Red Winter were created by Cryptic Studios for Champions Online, which is why they've haven't been seen in Hero Games books before. Steve Long created their stats and system builds for Champions Villains Vol. 2.

 

Correct. I wanted to include some new villains specifically from the MMO, and the members of Red Winter were good candidates IMO. ;)

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Re: Red Winter

 

Eventually, I will be writing an adventure called Eastern Blocs, which follows much the same themes. Apparently this and Mind over Matter were only slightly less popular than Journey to the Center of the Earth.

 

It begins with a Russian Superprison known as The Gulag, where the Russians imprison their supercriminals and the supercriminals of other nations for a fee. Of course, if the fee isn't paid, the supercriminal is released.

 

During a battle with supervillains where the heroes are called in (There are lots of reasons why the russians might call a foreign hero team in), a group of Silver Age Russian Superheroes the russians placed in suspended animation are freed. And they do not like the world they see....

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From the Be Careful What You Wish For file: With tensions in Crimea and a nostalgic Putin wanting to get the old band back together I can totally see some scenarios where the Red Winter would be active now.

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From the Be Careful What You Wish For file: With tensions in Crimea and a nostalgic Putin wanting to get the old band back together I can totally see some scenarios where the Red Winter would be active now.

So this is all YOUR fault!

 

Get him, guys!

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The direction Vladimir Putin is taking Russia could spark all sorts of reactions from the various CU heroes and villains of Russia, who have varying attitudes and allegiances to current Russian politics and the former Soviet empire.

 

Personally, I think Putin is fronting for Molnya. :eg:

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The direction Vladimir Putin is taking Russia could spark all sorts of reactions from the various CU heroes and villains of Russia, who have varying attitudes and allegiances to current Russian politics and the former Soviet empire.

 

Personally, I think Putin is fronting for Molnya. :eg:

 

I dunno about Putin fronting for Molnya, but that was my thought too - that Red Winter, or elements thereof, could be acting as agents provocateurs, or pro-Russia mercenaries in the Crimea/Ukraine (and may have been busy in Chechnya, if it dates that far back).

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OTOH Putin gets considerable support from some of the major Russian capitalists (which is one reason why the first recent Western sanctions against Russia included freezing the assets of Putin's cronies). Few of the old Soviet-era Communist heroes (or villains) have any liking for the contemporary Russian kleptocracy.

 

Red Winter would be a particularly interesting case, since there's a sharp divide between the members who support the dream of reviving the USSR, versus the members who just want to get rich.

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A state-sponsored team leading the charge of aggression against a sovereign nation is a great exercise in knowing your hero team's place in the world. I am reminded of a conversation in The Ultimates where many, including Thor, were concerned that a super team employed by SHIELD (I like UNTIL for this role) would just be puppets of the US government to further our jingoistic goals. If your team, government affiliated/sanctioned or not, get involved in fighting Red Winter in Crimea (or Baltic states...or Finland...), do their actions imply US intervention? Suddenly, a simple superhero throwdown can be construed as an act of war against Russia.  Good luck.. We're all counting on you.

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