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Champions Universe: Unique Character Origins


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I found it interesting that in two DC/Marvel crossover miniseries -- the superhero "versus" series in the Nineties that led to the short-lived Amalgam setting, and the Avengers/Justice League series early in this millennium -- explicit parallels were drawn between Superman and Captain America. They're completely different in their origins and the type and magnitude of their abilities, but they share very similar ideals and values, and fill much the same role in their respective universes as the universally recognized and respected paragons of heroism.

 

Now, the Champions Universe gave us a bit of a hybrid of Supes and Cap in Captain Patriot (most recently written up in Golden Age Champions), America's first superhero, a young man from small-town Kansas who was imbued with low-level superhuman strength and durability due to the Walpurgisnacht Working in 1938. Captain Patriot donned a flag-suit and fought during WW II, and remained a loyal American patriot even after his powers faded; but over time he was increasingly viewed as outdated in his beliefs and attitudes.

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  • 8 months later...

The following suggestion has been added to the main list at the top of this thread.

 

Mythic Forces: Under the entry for "Divine" Intervention, above, is the story of how circus strongman Johnny Hercules received the Hercules Force in an amulet bestowed by Zeus. Johnny died in the Battle of Detroit, and his amulet, apparently powerless, was buried with him. But the Hercules Force continued to exist, and over a decade later "chose" another human vessel for its power, a student of Classical culture, who became the second and current Johnny Hercules. One of his greatest foes is the monstrous Typhon, once a bitter, angry archaeologist who was the recipient of the Typhon Force, a sort of balance to the Hercules Force.
The PDF book, The Hercules Force, which fully writes up both characters, suggests that other "forces" could exist based on other gods, demigod heroes, or divine-level monsters. The examples imply that these would be mythic figures who are either dead or imprisoned, e.g. Achilles, Python, Baldur, or Ymir. Powers granted would be consistent with the legendary abilities of those entities. The forces are most likely drawn to people with personalities similar to the original source being and/or familiarity and strong attachment to the culture it comes from. They would differ from empowerment directly by a mythic god in that there would be no potential meddling in the character's life by their patron divinity.

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"RADIUM-X Dr. Phillippe Moreau and his followers are fully written up in Champions Villains Volume One: Master Villains, while both Leitstern and Liquifier are detailed in Golden Age Champions. Tiger has never been given a full background story or Hero System character sheet, but is mentioned and briefly described in CV Vol. 1, Champions Universe, and Book Of The Destroyer."

Radium-X! Wow, I missed those. I mean, I'm sure I read Golden Age of Champions at some point, but not carefully enough I guess. (Oh, wait, The Golden Age of Champions and 'Golden Age Champions' are different products.)

I made use of "Radium-X" in my Champions Campaign from it's inception, '83, I'd guess. In fact it was central, it fell to earth in the Tunguska event and catalyzed mutations of the 20th century, as well as powering super-tech and standing in for vibranium as the secret ingredient to make Adamantium. Thing is, I ripped it off from a much older source, Borris Karloff in "The Invisible Ray" (1936), which, I guess, made a real impression on me as a kid.
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0027800/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Invisible_Ray_(1936_film)

In the film, exposure to the mysterious extraterestrial element gave Dr. Janos Ruhk a lethal, glowing touch, that he suppressed with some sort of serum. It also powered a device capable of curing blindness, cancer, and other maladies - and disentegrating solid stone, though that was only used for dramatic effect.

I'd only ever met one other GM who drew inspiration from The Invisible Ray, it was a pulp Hero System convention game - I got to play The Shadow! - oh, more than a few years ago, and he used Ruhk, with his glowing, deadly hands, as a villain, a heavy, though, not a mastermind.


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3 hours ago, Opal said:


I made use of "Radium-X" in my Champions Campaign from it's inception, '83, I'd guess. In fact it was central, it fell to earth in the Tunguska event and catalyzed mutations of the 20th century, as well as powering super-tech and standing in for vibranium as the secret ingredient to make Adamantium. Thing is, I ripped it off from a much older source, Borris Karloff in "The Invisible Ray" (1936), which, I guess, made a real impression on me as a kid.
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0027800/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Invisible_Ray_(1936_film)

In the film, exposure to the mysterious extraterestrial element gave Dr. Janos Ruhk a lethal, glowing touch, that he suppressed with some sort of serum. It also powered a device capable of curing blindness, cancer, and other maladies - and disentegrating solid stone, though that was only used for dramatic effect.

I'd only ever met one other GM who drew inspiration from The Invisible Ray, it was a pulp Hero System convention game - I got to play The Shadow! - oh, more than a few years ago, and he used Ruhk, with his glowing, deadly hands, as a villain, a heavy, though, not a mastermind.
 

 

Darren Watts specifically credited The Invisible Ray for inspiring his use of Radium-X for Champions. Darren reportedly did even more with it in his Silver Age Champions campaign.

 

This movie has to be one of the earliest uses of a radioactive mutagen as a plot feature in fiction.

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