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DShomshak

Horror & Supermage Enemies Return: Whaddaya Want?

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Hello, all! For people who don’t know me, I wrote a few Champs supplements way back when: Creatures of the Night: Horror Enemies, Ultimate Supermage, and Supermage Bestiary. Some villains from those books got adopted into the official Champions Universe (in Arcane Adversaries and The Mystic World); many did not. Our colleague Tiger has shown, through the “Forgotten Enemies” line, that apparently some people like to see revised and updated versions of old characters that didn’t make the cut into the CU. But why should Tiger have all the fun? The esteemed Jason Walters says its okay if I publish new versions of my old characters. I hope I can get at least a few supplements out of this, and maybe supply some useful new/old villains for Champions GMs.

 

Villains risen from the grave, as it were. Summoned from publication Limbo!

 

This is where you come in. I’ll use this thread to propose collections of villains. You give feedback. Does the proposal sound interesting? Do you like the lineup of characters, or would you prefer a different set? How many would you like to see per supplement? If you have any favorites from those old books, let me know and I’ll try to do something with them. Similarly, if you think a character was potentially cool but would benefit from a new and different approach, make the suggestion. Looking back, I see that not every word I wrote was genius. This gives me a chance to do better.

I might also round out collections with a few brand new characters, too. We’ll see.

 

A lot of my old characters were supernatural. (Supermage. Duh.) I figure those can go in a line of “Mystic Enemies” supplements, the way Steve Long produced a few “Martial Arts Enemies” supplements. Non-mystical villains from CoTN can go in a “Horror Enemies” line, though that will of course be much smaller.
 

So let us begin...

 

Dean Shomshak

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Proposal #1
Mystic Enemies: A Selection of Sorcerers

 

This would receive super-sorcerer villains. Granny Hex and Shadowfire – two discards from the Devil’s Advocates – could go here, re-interpreted as solo villains. Maze can probably stay forgotten: Other characters, such as Tesseract and his Devil’s Advocates replacement Gyre, cover his powers and themes better. Brother Bone, I think, will appear elsewhere. Apollyon is only marginally a sorcerer, and I don’t think I want a character whose schtick is that he was trying to imitate another CU villain.

 

Other potential characters:
* Hierophant, my Baron Mordo homage from USM, is a definite yes.
* Simon Magus, the time-traveling ghost of the legendary sorcerer who clashed with the Apostles, might fit in as well.
* Tryxie, one of the supernatural super-thugs from Supermage Bestiary, could be an example of particularly bizarre magic.

 

I’d like to provide a spread of magic styles and character types. This means tweaking some characters to add more flavor to their magic style, or to avoid overlap.

 

Like, Shadowfire might be made more Eastern in his magic: I never defined where he found the black lotus drug, but it all feels South Asian to me. Give it more of a corrupted Sadhana feel. Character type: Your basic evil megalomaniac cult leader.

 

Shadowfire needs a big rewrite, though. First, elemental controls are gone. Second, the way his power level fluctuates with the number of drug-affected powers he has near him is a bitch to track in play. I think I’ll rewrite him using Multiform to represent his different power levels.

 

Simon Magus could be made more Neoplatonist/proto-Hermetic in his illusion-centric magic. He’s a bit like Shadowfire in his god complex and taste for minions, but he’s more of a con man.

 

Hierophant is straightforward. He uses classic light-show thaumaturgy, and he’s the perpetually vindictive rival of supermage PCs, hustling dark gods and dimension lords for the power to defeat them.

 

Granny Hex’s folk witchcraft seems okay, though I might think of more spells for her. She may need more raw force, too, especially as a solo villain. Her type or motivation is “Revolt Against Modernity.”

 

Tryxie: Also a simple character of no great depth. Magically, she’s an example of weird magic; also of someone who gained magic through a pac (in her case, the Hat). Thematically, she’s a hired super-thug or low-end magical criminal – she just steals magic tomes and artifacts instead of money or art treasures.

 

Sound good?

 

Dean Shomshak

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Sounds good. Real, real good. I would very much look forward to this. :bounce:

 

Based on the precedent tiger has already established, I''d say four to six characters would be a reasonable range per supplement. For this one in particular, I'd like to suggest including Matachin. He's already an official CU element of the Silvestri clan, and while as originally written up he was more of a sword-wielding super-thug, more could be done with his magical abilities without his Qliphothic Sword (to eat up the CP difference between editions). ;)  But perhaps you'd prefer to keep him for a different collection.

 

You may feel reluctant about this suggestion, but hear me out: I'd like to revisit Archimago. I know Takofanes has taken the lich-lord niche in the CU, but I was thinking two departures for Archimago fitting the continuity he was given for the new setting. One, he could be written up more as an intangible ghost/specter than a lich, his spirit bound to the Astral Plane by the spells that banished him. That would lead to my second recommended departure, that he would manipulate his remaining servants and artifacts to overcome those spells and allow him to manifest or incarnate himself on Earth. We already have hints of that with Evil Eye and the Zodiac Working; and his Staff of Power possessing anyone who holds it would fit that motif as well. That could potentially generate multiple plots without having to use Archimago directly, saving his return for the climax.

 

I have other villains from those books I'd like to see, but I think I'll hold my peace for now to first see what other categories you propose. :)

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5 hours ago, Ninja-Bear said:

Interesting. Could Shadowfire be in competition with the Red Banner?

 

Now that brings up another consideration: maybe Shadowfire could become part of a "cults" supplement line? Perhaps fit his group in with an updated Ouroboros, along with an expansion of Tappan Arkwright's followers, and a revisit of Hunters Moon (Hecate already having been rewritten for 6E by Steve Long in The Hercules Force).

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Have you watched Sailor Moon R? I can see Archmago as our version of Wiseman/Death Phantom. Both are powerful but limited mystics who manipulate others to do there work.

 

After looking back at CotN:HE, I can say that yes, I can see him as a permanently desolid semi-ghost draped in a sheet and giving 'advice' and power to a group of disenfranchised people, not knowing they are being manipulated.

 

To make this work, he needs his version of the Black Moon Family (for thoes who don't know Sailor Moon, the four Specter Sisters, Rubius, Esmerald, Safire, Desmand, and finally Black Lady). He shares his knowledge with them, and they gain powers, but to him they are only pawns, and expendable.

 

Considering Archmago's expance, he and his followers should have a dedicated supliment all to himself (and a special note that he is not official in the official Champions Universe, cause they will have there own take on the character). Also prehaps a section on how to incorporate his undeadness in a world where Takofanes is a thing.

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I like the idea of Brother Bone still believing he is some kind of healer. He could wrap himself in an illusion of a living being and run some new age 'health retreat' somewhere. All the pa, err, victims will be slowly dieing from his powers, but they will appear to be healthy and happy people (more illusions combined with 'helpful' necromancy which keeps pain at bay without healing a darn thing).

 

He does have an army of skeletons/zombies at his command, but thoes are more of a side effect of his gole of 'healing the world' than the gole itself.

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tlThe Great Beast and his 'good boys' should have a suppliment all to themselves. I can see him using his experments on himself after being wounded in a superbattle once.

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4 hours ago, steriaca said:

Considering Archmago's expance, he and his followers should have a dedicated supliment all to himself (and a special note that he is not official in the official Champions Universe, cause they will have there own take on the character). Also prehaps a section on how to incorporate his undeadness in a world where Takofanes is a thing.

 

A dedicated source book would depend on how many followers Dean would want to invent for him, as he was never given such in his original appearance. Of course Archimago IS official in the current Champions Universe -- his history is related in the source book of the same name, and in background elements for some official villains. The particular approach to him  I suggested would just be a new addition building on existing canon.

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4 hours ago, steriaca said:

tlThe Great Beast and his 'good boys' should have a suppliment all to themselves. I can see him using his experments on himself after being wounded in a superbattle once.

 

He's on the list of potential supplements. But I've noted that's one vote for a GB supplement already.

 

Dean Shomshak

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6 hours ago, Lord Liaden said:

 

A dedicated source book would depend on how many followers Dean would want to invent for him, as he was never given such in his original appearance. Of course Archimago IS official in the current Champions Universe -- his history is related in the source book of the same name, and in background elements for some official villains. The particular approach to him  I suggested would just be a new addition building on existing canon.

 

Back when I first imagined the "Shared Origins" series, they were CU-related (or at least CU-compatible), and one of them was Archimago's Legacy. The premise was that he is really, truly dead and gone, not even a ghost so far as anyone can tell... But he had already set plots in motion to continue after his death, designed to pay off his many debts. Former minions still under his influence, the children of the Zodiac Working, dire magic items with wills of their own, books such as Record of the Biafran Working written to provide guidance on destroying the world, things like that.

 

In the Millennium Uviverse setting hinted at in the SO supplements as published, Archimago is replaced by the Warlock, a.k.a. the Witch King. But it's still cooler, I think, to have Archimago as a villain who remains a power in the world despite having died decades ago. Creepier, because he's more shadowy. You never know what might be part of a plan he set in motion long ago.

 

I shall consider my options. Some of this depends on what Jason would approve, and on how much I want to work within the CU. At present I lean toward character use sidebars telling how to fit characters within the CU, but not locking them in to a CU context.

 

Dean

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7 hours ago, Lord Liaden said:

. For this one in particular, I'd like to suggest including Matachin. He's already an official CU element of the Silvestri clan, and while as originally written up he was more of a sword-wielding super-thug, more could be done with his magical abilities without his Qliphothic Sword (to eat up the CP difference between editions). ;)  But perhaps you'd prefer to keep him for a different collection.

 

I already wrote a revised Matachin for a supplement called The Sylvestri Family Reunion. Cryptic approved the project when I proposed it. When I finished the book, though, the new Cryptic censor (an unkind word, but accurate) nixed it. I could have toned it down the less "family friendly" elements to which he objected (it was very dark, some of these guys were truly horrible people), but the real sticking point was the surnames Liefeld and McFarlane. The censor was not persuaded by pointing out that clan members with those surnames were already published, and re-published, over 17 years. He didn't budge, and I wouldn't accede to something that stupid.

 

So The Sylvestri Family Reunion is a lost work. A forbidden book, if you will. I have instructed my friends to release the pdf onto the internet after my death, so you won't see it, and the new Matachin, until then.

 

I have designed other villains who use magic weapons, though, so that niche can be otherwise filled.

 

Dean Shomshak

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7 hours ago, Lord Liaden said:

. For this one in particular, I'd like to suggest including Matachin. He's already an official CU element of the Silvestri clan, and while as originally written up he was more of a sword-wielding super-thug, more could be done with his magical abilities without his Qliphothic Sword (to eat up the CP difference between editions). ;)  But perhaps you'd prefer to keep him for a different collection.

 

I already wrote a revised Matachin for a supplement called The Sylvestri Family Reunion. Cryptic approved the project when I proposed it. When I finished the book, though, the new Cryptic censor (an unkind word, but accurate) nixed it. I could have toned it down the less "family friendly" elements to which he objected (it was very dark, some of these guys were truly horrible people), but the real sticking point was the surnames Liefeld and McFarlane. The censor was not persuaded by pointing out that clan members with those surnames were already published, and re-published, over 17 years. He didn't budge, and I wouldn't accede to something that stupid.

 

So The Sylvestri Family Reunion is a lost work. A forbidden book, if you will. I have instructed my friends to release the pdf onto the internet after my death, so you won't see it, and the new Matachin, until then.

 

I have designed other villains who use magic weapons, though, so that niche can be otherwise filled.

 

Dean Shomshak

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7 hours ago, Lord Liaden said:

 

Now that brings up another consideration: maybe Shadowfire could become part of a "cults" supplement line? Perhaps fit his group in with an updated Ouroboros, along with an expansion of Tappan Arkwright's followers, and a revisit of Hunters Moon (Hecate already having been rewritten for 6E by Steve Long in The Hercules Force).

 

Mystic Enemies: Cults is on the list. I was thinking, the Hunter's Moon and the Vril Society.

 

Ouroboros is iffy. It's tied to the Dragon, so there's the issue I mentioned above of how closely I want things tied to the CU. And with King Cobra now having an entire organization and villain team, on top of VIPER, doe people really want another snake-themed group?

 

"Snakes. Why did it have to be snakes?"

 

Dean Shomshak

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But yes, whether Shadowfire should be in "A Selection of Sorcerers" or should be developed further and for a different supplement is the sort of thing I'd like to see discussed.

 

Dean Shomshak

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27 minutes ago, DShomshak said:

I already wrote a revised Matachin for a supplement called The Sylvestri Family Reunion. Cryptic approved the project when I proposed it. When I finished the book, though, the new Cryptic censor (an unkind word, but accurate) nixed it. I could have toned it down the less "family friendly" elements to which he objected (it was very dark, some of these guys were truly horrible people), but the real sticking point was the surnames Liefeld and McFarlane. The censor was not persuaded by pointing out that clan members with those surnames were already published, and re-published, over 17 years. He didn't budge, and I wouldn't accede to something that stupid.

 

So The Sylvestri Family Reunion is a lost work. A forbidden book, if you will. I have instructed my friends to release the pdf onto the internet after my death, so you won't see it, and the new Matachin, until then.

 

I have designed other villains who use magic weapons, though, so that niche can be otherwise filled.

 

Dean Shomshak

 

Balls. Ol' Dash has been my most-often-used Sylvestri. :(  I don't know how recently you dealt with Cryptic Studios, but since Perfect World Entertainment took them over they seem to scarcely pay attention to the tabletop game any more, so maybe prospects would be different. But at least I still have his original write-up. :)

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24 minutes ago, DShomshak said:

 

Mystic Enemies: Cults is on the list. I was thinking, the Hunter's Moon and the Vril Society.

 

Ouroboros is iffy. It's tied to the Dragon, so there's the issue I mentioned above of how closely I want things tied to the CU. And with King Cobra now having an entire organization and villain team, on top of VIPER, doe people really want another snake-themed group?

 

"Snakes. Why did it have to be snakes?"

 

Dean Shomshak

 

Well, "snakes" in relation to most of Ouroboros was really only if they summoned ophidians (or Dragon Warriors as described in USM). The human majority of the cult always struck me as pseudo-ecclesiastical in style and structure. There's also nothing historically tying their god Abraxas to snake motifs. To me this seems like an organization that could readily be developed discreet from the CU, with the connection of Abraxas to the Dragon being offered in a sidebar.

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38 minutes ago, DShomshak said:

But yes, whether Shadowfire should be in "A Selection of Sorcerers" or should be developed further and for a different supplement is the sort of thing I'd like to see discussed.

 

Dean Shomshak

 

Shadowfire's daughter set the precedent for their being ranking cult members with similar but lesser versions of Shadowfire's powers. If you do go the Multiform route for the stages of Shadowfire's power increase, it would be fairly easy to assign other named Cult members to those stages.

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I'll add my voice to those suggesting Archimago. My preference is the narrative that he's well and truly gone (with his plans maybe still being carried out posthumously by minions, cursed artifacts, and the Zodiac Working), but it'd still be nice to see a 6th Edition writeup direct from his creator. Especially given the possibilities inherent in period-set games or the use of time travel in present day campaigns...

 

I'd also like to request my favorite of your creepy supernatural beasties from the Supermage Bestiary, the Harab Serapel. The Ravens of Dispersion really sparked my imagination when I first started getting into HERO. If that turns out to be one of the selections you update, I'd be happy to offer the artwork of mine inspired by them more than a decade ago for pro bono use.

 

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3 hours ago, Lord Liaden said:

 

Well, "snakes" in relation to most of Ouroboros was really only if they summoned ophidians (or Dragon Warriors as described in USM). The human majority of the cult always struck me as pseudo-ecclesiastical in style and structure. There's also nothing historically tying their god Abraxas to snake motifs. To me this seems like an organization that could readily be developed discreet from the CU, with the connection of Abraxas to the Dragon being offered in a sidebar.

Well I finally bought the PDF Banner PDF and it has Dragon Warriors of some sort and your supposed to adjust Warriors that are Qlithpic in nature from Mystic Enemies I think.

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Well, what can I say. When I think of Archmago and anime, I think of Wiseman.

 

Truthfully, I like this "shadow" Archmago, truly dead but still a force of evil which will never go away. What we need is more about thoes wheels which Archmago started, and can't be seen, let alone stop. (Think wheels as plots and plans.)

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6 hours ago, DShomshak said:

I already wrote a revised Matachin for a supplement called The Sylvestri Family Reunion. Cryptic approved the project when I proposed it. When I finished the book, though, the new Cryptic censor (an unkind word, but accurate) nixed it. I could have toned it down the less "family friendly" elements to which he objected (it was very dark, some of these guys were truly horrible people), but the real sticking point was the surnames Liefeld and McFarlane. The censor was not persuaded by pointing out that clan members with those surnames were already published, and re-published, over 17 years. He didn't budge, and I wouldn't accede to something that stupid.

 

So The Sylvestri Family Reunion is a lost work. A forbidden book, if you will. I have instructed my friends to release the pdf onto the internet after my death, so you won't see it, and the new Matachin, until then.

 

I have designed other villains who use magic weapons, though, so that niche can be otherwise filled.

 

Dean Shomshak

 

So if the books is verboten, what about changing it around a bit so it doesn't have the same connections to the mainstream CU? 

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3 hours ago, Ninja-Bear said:

Well I finally bought the PDF Banner PDF and it has Dragon Warriors of some sort and your supposed to adjust Warriors that are Qlithpic in nature from Mystic Enemies I think.

 

The Dragon gets a full write-up in The Mystic World for 5E, and that includes stats for an Ophite, a human transformed into a reptilian humanoid through dark magic. It has nothing to do with the Qliphoth, but is malevolent in its own right.

The Ultimate Super Mage for 4E has a character sheet and description for a Dragon Warrior, another much more powerful transformed human servant of the Dragon. Neither write-up would be difficult to adapt to Sixth Edition Hero.

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