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Hi, all!

I'm creating a Russian superteam -- basically, Putin's superpowered enforcement arm, which has a boring official name like Bureau 86 but is colloquially known as Red Alert -- and I'd like a little input.  Membership thus far is:

 

  • Major Vasilov -- the son of the late Colonel Vasilov (from Champions 4E Classic Organizations' Red Doom), who is a literal super-spy thanks to cybernetics and super-solider serum
  • Darkforce -- a darkness-controlling mutant with a sadistic streak, able to see/listen through shadows, teleport through them, and even summon a creature of darkness to do his bidding
  • Mother Russia -- what if the baby sent from a doomed planet was a girl instead of a boy, and landed in Russia instead of Kansas? 
  • Trickshot -- an archer, because one third of all superteams have archers, and the other two thirds suck.
  • Wight -- barely alive former cosmonaut, horribly burned during atmospheric re-entry and able to drain / steal bio-energy; he's also the frequent nemesis of Maker, one of the PCs in my Champions campaign, since both got their powers in the same orbital accident.

1)  I'm still looking for a few more members for Red Alert.  I don't want this to be formerly-Soviet Stereotype Superteam, so please don't suggest "Comrade Collective" or the like.

 

2) Writing up Mother Russia, I need something to be her version of kryptonite.  Figuring that most of the rocks carried in the wake of her escape pod would have landed in the then-Soviet Union when her ship entered the atmosphere, I figure an element in meteorites discovered by Soviet scientists in the 1980s might have been given a USSR-centric name.  But what?  Sovonite?  Stalinite?  Mosconium?  Or am I breaking the rule in #1 above by doing this?

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There's a range of more or less nasty options, depending on how you want your Putin to be.   I'd tend to have him tread very carefully in regards to Mother Russia's family. Genuine protective custod

Putin's an interesting case study. I read Gorbechev's last memoir recently, and his take on V.V. Putin comes across as more of a competent control freak who doesn't trust anyone else to run the show,

If you want to go full on weird how about the weakness fields from Hancock? Her children are litteraly her weakness, in their presence she's just a well built, very healthy woman, when seperated she b

Another thought -- keeping a Superman-level being like Mother Russia under control requires some forethought.  I made her an actual mother -- son Ivan, age 6 and daughter Irina, age 2 -- and figure that the Russian government has her children, as well as her Earth parents, in "protective custody" as a means to keep her following orders that she might not like.  (Her husband was killed by a terrorist bomb a few years ago, prompting her to stop hiding her powers.  Citing possible terrorist reprisals is a good way to justify keeping her family under lock and key.)  I'm sure they'd also have a ready supply of the kryptonite-substitute on hand, so she doesn't threaten Vladimir directly or just grab her kids / family and run.

 

Ideally, the PCs might eventually figure out that they can really hurt Red Alert by getting Mother Russia out from under Putin's thumb, most likely by the PCs going to Russia themselves and rescuing her family members.  So I'd like to have at least the basics laid out of what they'd be facing.  Underground, lead-lined facility? 

 

What other measures would they have in place? 

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Red Doom

Tokamak II (Colonel Sergi Vasalov) - Powered Armour [481pts]

Red Shield (Lyndon Johnson Kaufman) - Mutate Silver Avenger & Powered Shield [336pts]
People's Commando (Vlad Kyrlov) - Mutate Cybernetic Supersoldier [447pts]
Loupe Garoux (Pierre Jaquard, French Communist) - Thug & Mystic Werewolf [105 & 375pts]
Marathon (Nicholas Trikelis, Greek) - Martial Artist & Weapons Specialist [285pts]
Soyuz Proletariatski (George Pasternik, Russian Cosmonaut) - Duplicator w/Density Powers [546pts]

New Guard
Ivan (Dimitri Tiomkin) - Mystic Brick, Metamorph w/Growth Powers, & Martial Artist [395pts]
Cosmo (Vladimir Cossack) - Mutate Cosmic Powers [395pts]
Sputnik (Uri Kamononv, Ukrainian Cosmonaut) - Mutate Telekinetic w/Body Armour [338pts]
Perestroika (Karelia Sholokov) - Mutant Mentalist [273pts]
Nemesis (Constantin Kowalski) - Mutate Electrokinetic Energy Projector & Flyer [317pts]
Scarlet Sentinel (Hans Borscht) - Inventor & Giant Robot [277 & 261pts]
Disinformer (Antiocj Drezhavin) - Super Spy, Doppelganger, & Gadgeteer [400pts]

Independents
General Mayhem (Boris Tiomkin) - Mystic Brick, Metamorph w/Growth Powers & Cold Powers [502pts]
Erg (Alexi Andropov) - Mutate Powered Armour & Metamorph w/Body of Radiation [406 & 378pts]
Bolshevik Barracuda (Leonid Leoniv) - Mutate Metamorph w/Water Powers [303pts]
Cold Warrior (Boris Greshenko) - Scientist/Inventor, Powered Armour w/Cold Powers [365pts]
Tokamak I (Anya Andreyev) - Powered Armour w/Plasma Powers [355pts]
St. Peter's Star (Elena Lidiinovich, Russian Cosmonaut) - Mutate Energy Projector & Flyer w/Light Powers [390pts]

Warsaw Pact (European Enemies)
Cavalry ( , Polish) - Mystic Martial Artist & Weapons Masters w/Medieval Weapons & Armour [pts]
Carpathia (, Czeck) - Mutant Brick w/Growth Powers [pts]
White Rose (, Bulgarian) - Mutant Spy, Energy Projector & Metamorph w/Shrinking Powers [pts]
Bastian of Budapest ( , Hungarian) - Mutant w/ Force Field Powers [pts]

Mass Reaction (Villainy Unbound)
Ringer () - Mutant Metamorph w/Shapeshifter Powers [pts]
Bomb () - Mutate Energy Projector w/Radiation/X-Ray Powers [pts]
Echo () - Mutate Telepathic Powers [pts]
Fallout () - Mutate Energy Projector w/Radioactive Powers [pts]
Flower () - Mutate Energy Projector w/Radioactive Powers [pts]
Meltdown () - Mutate Brick w/Body of Radioactive Slag [pts]


European Enemies Debugged
http://surbrook.deve...ro/herorev.html

Eurostar (Conquerors. Killers. & Crooks) 
Durak of Eurostar - Mutate Brick [pts]
???


---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Russian Resources:

List of Russian superheroes
http://en.wikipedia....ian_superheroes

The Red Star
http://en.wikipedia....ki/The_Red_Star

GURPS Russia
http://www.sjgames.c...s/books/Russia/

Mythic Russia
http://mythicrussia....ress.com/about/

Rifts® World Book 17: Warlords of Russia™
http://www.goodreads...s_World_Book_17

Rifts® World Book 18: Mystic Russia™
http://www.goodreads...3.Mystic_Russia

Rodina (Mother Russia) 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rodina

Slavic Mythology 
http://en.wikipedia....lavic_mythology


Cheers


QM

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Official Russian heroes and villains for current Champions Universe


Full Sixth Edition character sheets and backgrounds

Champions Villains Vol. 1 : Slun ("the bishop")

CV Vol. 2: Durak (member of Eurostar), Red Winter (Soviet Guard, Drago, Hammer, Red Dawn, Sickle, White Wolf), The Alcedama (member of the Vandaleur family -- mentioned and briefly described, but no character sheet)

CV Vol. 3: Spektr


Champions Worldwide:

Full Fifth Edition character sheets and backgrounds

Heroes: Gyeroy Vedun ("hero wizard"), Stalnoy Volk ("steel wolf"), Vulnapyezdka ("wave rider"), Zemletpyasenee ("earthquake")

Villains: Beek ("ox"), Eretsun, Molnya ("lightning"), Slun, Technyik ("the technician")

Mentioned and briefly described, but no character sheets

Heroes: Russkiye Zashchitniki ("the Russian defenders"): Stalnoy Volk, Zemletpyasenee, Syeryebro ("silver"), Mamont ("mammoth"), Kapitan Ukrayina ("Captain Ukraine")


Past Russian supers mentioned in Champions Universe for Sixth Edition

Heroes: General Winter (first Russian superhero), Red Eagle, Checkmate, the Swan, Spartanyets ("the Spartan"), Nyepobyedimiy ("invincible”), Bohdan Stanislavski (former Archmage, killed in 1908)

Villains: Gorbun ("the hunchback" -- semi-active in Russian underworld due to age)

Another hero, the shape-shifter Taiga, was believed killed in 2004, but Champions Worlwide described how he was merely discorporated, and took years to reassemble his body and recuperate. Champions Universe 6E confirms this for current official continuity.

EDIT: The history of the member of Red Winter called Sickle, in CV Vol. 2, also mentions his grandmother, Golden Sickle, who with her partner Iron Hammer were members of the "Soviet Super Patriots" during WW II.

 

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For Mother Russia, I would suggest that rather than a Kryptonian/ Kryptonite analogue, you take the Daxamite approach, wherein she's vulnerable to an element which doesn't exist on her home world, but is common on Earth. The Russian government keeps that a closely-guarded secret, but not only has weapons made with the element ready to use against her, but could threaten to make that knowledge public should she refuse to cooperate, so all her enemies would know.

 

Since TQM has thrown out a lot of Champions Universe references, I might as well include one from the recently-released Golden Age Champions for Sixth Edition, which may have potential as both character origin and legacy.

 

In the winter of 1939 Kiril Lenskii was a young officer in the Soviet army serving in his country's war against Finland. Badly wounded in an attack that wiped out the rest of his unit, and overcome by the severe winter cold, Lenskii collapsed unconscious over underground caverns which released strange gasses. As they entered his lungs his body began to change. He awoke to discover that not only was his body healed and stronger than before, but he was now immune to the cold, and could even create intense cold, snow, and ice over limited areas. Given the code name, General Zima ("winter"), over the course of World War II Kiril Lenskii became the Soviet military's leading superhero, and remained so for many years.

 

All seven of General Zima's post-war children developed super powers. Today there are over two dozen "super" descendants of General Zima active in Russia. (It would be reasonable to expect a few of their relatives to have emigrated to other countries at some point.) Although his history doesn't explicitly state it one way or the other, there's no reason to assume superhumans from his lineage necessarily manifest the same types of powers as their ancestor. General Zima's origin implies his abilities resulted from his body adapting to a specific environment. (General Zima has a full write-up and character sheet in GAC.)

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The Bear is a major totem of Russia so something like a werebear or a Bear shaped battlesuit ?

 

How about Peter the Great ? He's a giant.

 

I back Lord Liaden's suggestion about General Winter.

 

Then there is always Baba Yaga......

 

You could have Tunguska who has a one shot ever power. But it is a doozie........

 

How about a version of the Unknown Soldier but a Russian ? Look at all those who dies at Tannenburg, Stalingrad, the seige of Leningrad etc.

 

Scorched Earth also sounds good.

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Dunno if you're aware, but your Mother Russia scenario is very close to the DC Bombshells Supergirl:

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DC_Comics_Bombshells

 

And of course, the idea of Kal-El landing in Soviet Russia predates that:

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superman:_Red_Son

 

And I'm sure the idea predates the Mark Millar version.

 

There are some similarities to my own home grown soviet heroes (c.1990):

 

Red Star: Basically the Red Son Superman. DC stole my idea! Unless I'm right that it was done by them earlier (there were a lot of imaginary stories in the 60's and 70's...)

Defender: Heroic Power suit type and technical whiz. She's secretly paraplegic... which I'll admit I swiped from Alpha Flight's Box. :)

Ballerina: Cyborg super-spy/assassin and KGB plant. Bitter about her dancing career being destroyed by her injuries.

Siberia: Tundra Elemental with Growth and Ice powers. Inscrutable, but basically exists to defend the motherland.

 

I tried not to create a group of Captain Ethnics with that set (though Siberia sort of falls into that category). From the look of your list, you're on that wavelength too. A Cosmonaut origin doesn't count, any more than a KGB or CIA one would.

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Putin's an interesting case study. I read Gorbechev's last memoir recently, and his take on V.V. Putin comes across as more of a competent control freak who doesn't trust anyone else to run the show, rather than someone that's inherently corrupt. 

 

It's worth recalling that he stepped in and fixed a total mess, which WAS horribly corrupt, left by Yeltsin, and that his initial election appears to have been legitimate. Or at least, actually reflected the wishes of the majority of the voters.

 

He's yet to technically exceed his constitutional limits... the Russian constitution limited Presidents to two consecutive terms, but omitted an absolute lifetime two term limit (this was something Putin has exploited, but didn't invent). He served his first two terms 2000-2008, switched to Prime Minister 2008-2012 and was re-elected as President 2012. During Medvedev's term as President the term length was increased from four to six years, so Putin is still in his third term (and first consecutive one). Assuming he's reelected next year, it'll be 2024 before he needs to look at dropping back to Prime Minister again, retiring or changing the rules. He'd be 72, so it's not impossible that he may be planning retirement (though my guess would be not).

 

My take on the kind of super team he'd assemble as a personal one would be "reliable operatives". Not dupes, not corrupt. Ruthless and personally loyal. I really doubt he'd consider blackmail a reliable means of control - too risky. Super special ops would be my take. These are the guys sent out on covert black ops strikes and who have a role in dealing with other teams that get out of hand. Probably have an official role as Presidential Bodyguard (which would by MY suggestion as their official title).

 

There should be other teams of less reliable, but powerful operatives that would be used for non-sensitive work like disaster relief and crime fighting, and have a big positive publicity role... with a reliable team leader.

 

There would also be Army teams for supers that could be relied on to follow military discipline but deemed not suitable for the Presidential Bodyguard. And penal teams aka Suicide Squad would fit in as well. 

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OTOH, there's some evidence that the apartment building attacks by "terrorists" in the late 90s/early 2000s were staged by Russian intelligence services.  Those attacks led to a renewed war in Chechnya and greatly expanded Putin's presidential powers.  Also, Putin basically made a deal with the oligarchs, they get to keep their oligopolies and he gets a cut.  He now has a net worth between 80 and 200 billion USD, and owns several hidden dachas around the country.  

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Champions books for Third and Fourth Edition, as well as Fifth/Sixth, put forth the notion that under the Soviet Union there were two government-controlled superteams: one very public and symbolic, performing traditional superheroics while representing the virtues of their nation; the other covert and more ruthless, engaging in grittier black ops. Putin being both a shrewd public relations manager, and a pragmatist who came up through the KGB, would probably be receptive to revisiting that arrangement.

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OTOH, there's some evidence that the apartment building attacks by "terrorists" in the late 90s/early 2000s were staged by Russian intelligence services.  Those attacks led to a renewed war in Chechnya and greatly expanded Putin's presidential powers.  Also, Putin basically made a deal with the oligarchs, they get to keep their oligopolies and he gets a cut.  He now has a net worth between 80 and 200 billion USD, and owns several hidden dachas around the country.  

 

In a super world, something comparable to the apartment attacks could have been staged using secret government supers.

 

And I've sometimes heard the current Russian governing system referred to as a "kleptocracy."

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Dunno if you're aware, but your Mother Russia scenario is very close to the DC Bombshells Supergirl:

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DC_Comics_Bombshells

 

And of course, the idea of Kal-El landing in Soviet Russia predates that:

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superman:_Red_Son

 

And I'm sure the idea predates the Mark Millar version.

 

There are some similarities to my own home grown soviet heroes (c.1990):

 

Red Star: Basically the Red Son Superman. DC stole my idea! Unless I'm right that it was done by them earlier (there were a lot of imaginary stories in the 60's and 70's...)

Defender: Heroic Power suit type and technical whiz. She's secretly paraplegic... which I'll admit I swiped from Alpha Flight's Box. :)

Ballerina: Cyborg super-spy/assassin and KGB plant. Bitter about her dancing career being destroyed by her injuries.

Siberia: Tundra Elemental with Growth and Ice powers. Inscrutable, but basically exists to defend the motherland.

 

I tried not to create a group of Captain Ethnics with that set (though Siberia sort of falls into that category). From the look of your list, you're on that wavelength too. A Cosmonaut origin doesn't count, any more than a KGB or CIA one would.

 

I'm not a DC person at all, so I had no idea about the Bombshells Supergirl.  Many thanks for pointing that out.  I'm not at all surprised that the idea of Kal-El landing in Soviet Russia has already been explored in comics - it seems a fairly obvious idea - but I didn't know it had already been done with Supergirl as well.  (Hey, I never said it was a terribly original idea on my part.)  I just don't want her origin to be obvious to the players at first.  Flying bricks are a dime a dozen, after all, so I figure it may take them an encounter or two (with her using heat vision and super breath) before they connect the dots.

 

The cosmonaut origin for Wight actually basically came from Maker's player, who made a mention in her origin backstory (involving an explosion aboard the UNTIL Gateway station) that another astronaut / cosmonaut could have also gotten powers in the same explosion.  I'm adding him to Red Alert mainly to give the PCs a personal animosity with the team.

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The cosmonaut origin for Wight actually basically came from Maker's player, who made a mention in her origin backstory (involving an explosion aboard the UNTIL Gateway station) that another astronaut / cosmonaut could have also gotten powers in the same explosion.  I'm adding him to Red Alert mainly to give the PCs a personal animosity with the team.

 

Nice. Those sort of links and touches are good.

 

If you do get tempted by some of the cornier suggestions made here, it's worth pointing out that the KGB's symbol was a Shield (to defend the revolution) and Sword (to smite its foes). My old GM had Shield and Sword as Soviet supers.

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For Mother Russia, I would suggest that rather than a Kryptonian/ Kryptonite analogue, you take the Daxamite approach, wherein she's vulnerable to an element which doesn't exist on her home world, but is common on Earth. The Russian government keeps that a closely-guarded secret, but not only has weapons made with the element ready to use against her, but could threaten to make that knowledge public should she refuse to cooperate, so all her enemies would know.

 

Since TQM has thrown out a lot of Champions Universe references, I might as well include one from the recently-released Golden Age Champions for Sixth Edition, which may have potential as both character origin and legacy.

 

In the winter of 1939 Kiril Lenskii was a young officer in the Soviet army serving in his country's war against Finland. Badly wounded in an attack that wiped out the rest of his unit, and overcome by the severe winter cold, Lenskii collapsed unconscious over underground caverns which released strange gasses. As they entered his lungs his body began to change. He awoke to discover that not only was his body healed and stronger than before, but he was now immune to the cold, and could even create intense cold, snow, and ice over limited areas. Given the code name, General Zima ("winter"), over the course of World War II Kiril Lenskii became the Soviet military's leading superhero, and remained so for many years.

 

All seven of General Zima's post-war children developed super powers. Today there are over two dozen "super" descendants of General Zima active in Russia. (It would be reasonable to expect a few of their relatives to have emigrated to other countries at some point.) Although his history doesn't explicitly state it one way or the other, there's no reason to assume superhumans from his lineage necessarily manifest the same types of powers as their ancestor. General Zima's origin implies his abilities resulted from his body adapting to a specific environment. (General Zima has a full write-up and character sheet in GAC.)

 

Hmmm... I don't want the element to be too common, because I don't want the PCs to have ready access to it.  (Plus, I made her powers not work in the presence of an Uncommon element, and I don't want to redo all of that.)  Though I could make it a relatively rare Earth element that her home world didn't have.  (quick research - just found this listing of radioactive gems that might be useful.  There's even one called - I kid you not - Coffinite.  Though I'm inclined toward Chevkinite, which was named after a Russian general-major who was chief of staff of the Russian Mining Engineers Corps.)

 

Truly Evil GM Moment -- I could still have the meteorites (kinda like the sound of stalinite), which the players will immediately latch onto... but it doesn't have any effect on her at all.  ("Why are you waving that rock in my face, Honey Badger?  Is that supposed to be some American humor that I just don't understand?")

 

As to General Zima, that's an idea.  One of his kids, or grandkids, could be a member of Red Alert.  I'll have to think on that.  Thanks.

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My take on the kind of super team he'd assemble as a personal one would be "reliable operatives". Not dupes, not corrupt. Ruthless and personally loyal. I really doubt he'd consider blackmail a reliable means of control - too risky. Super special ops would be my take. These are the guys sent out on covert black ops strikes and who have a role in dealing with other teams that get out of hand. Probably have an official role as Presidential Bodyguard (which would by MY suggestion as their official title).

 

 

Not necessarily corrupt (though there will be some corruption in certain members), but definitely the "ruthless and personally loyal" for the most part.  The Personality writeup for Major Vasilov (yes, I know it's spelled slightly differently than the 4E Colonel Vasalov / Tokamak, but Vasilov is a more common spelling) reads in part:

 

 

 

He is intensely proud of his country and will do anything he feels necessary to protect Russia from “foreign interests.”  He sees Putin as a great leader bringing his country back to international prominence, and is one of Putin’s staunchest supporters.

 

And yes, these are folks sent on covert black-ops missions.  Including an assassination of a defecting Russian spy, which also resulted in the death of an American super who was guarding the defector.  Nothing provable linking the deaths to Red Alert, but everybody in the intelligence community pretty much figures they were responsible. 

 

I'm including Mother Russia in the mix because I see her as a genuine heroine seeking to protect and help her countrymen, but forced into Red Alert as a means of keeping a close eye on her (and because she is a major powerhouse.)  I want the players to wonder, what is a person like her doing working with those guys?

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